Mornings on the Mall
Friday, May 10, 2019
Hosts: Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese
Executive Producer: Heather Hunter
5am – A/B/C AOC AND BERNIE SANDERS TEAM UP TO TAKE ON CREDIT CARD INTEREST RATES:
- The radical AOC-Sanders team-up. (Fox News) – Two of the major faces of the Democratic socialist movement teamed up Thursday to unveil a sweeping legislative proposal that even they described as a “radical” crackdown on financial institutions. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., revealed their plans for legislation that would target the credit card and banking industries by capping interest rates at 15 percent. In a joint announcement that streamed live on Twitter and Facebook, they claimed existing practices target people in financial straits. Fox Business anchor Charles Payne, in an appearance Thursday on “America’s Newsroom,” said the AOC-Sanders measure has very little chance of passing the Senate.
- AOC, Bernie Sanders introduce plan to cap credit card rates, blast ‘loan-sharking’ (Yahoo! Finance) – Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced on Thursday a plan to rein in the profit banks can collect from consumers, proposing to cap credit card interest rates at 15%. “Despite the fact that banks can borrow money today at less than 2.5% from the Federal Reserve, the average credit card interest rate today for consumers is a record-breaking 17.71%,” the Vermont Senator and freshman Queens Congresswoman said in a statement about the plan. The plan is meant to contain credit card rates that are well above other benchmarks. The average annual percentage rate (APR) on new credit card offers rose to another record high of 17.73%, according to CreditCards.com — a full percentage point higher than it was a year ago despite interest rates that are near historic lows. Consumers with less-than-perfect credit scores are being offered especially high interest rates, and Bankrate points out that even borrowers with good credit are paying over 17%, on average.
- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez @RepAOC: 17h17 hours ago: There is no reason a person should pay more than 15% interest in the United States. It’s common sense – in fact, we had these Usury laws until the 70s. It’s a debt trap for working people + it has to end.
- Ocasio-Cortez admits plan to cap interest rates ‘sounds radical’ (Fox Business) – “A 15 percent cap on interest rates, it’s one of those things that might sound radical today, but we had these laws in half of the states in America up until the 1970s,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Capitol Hill.
5am – D FBI’s Steele story falls apart: False intel and media contacts were flagged before FISA. (By John Solomon/The Hill) — The FBI’s sworn story to a federal court about its asset, Christopher Steele, is fraying faster than a $5 souvenir T-shirt bought at a tourist trap.Newly unearthed memos show a high-ranking government official who met with Steele in October 2016 determined some of the Donald Trump dirt that Steele was simultaneously digging up for the FBI and for Hillary Clinton’s campaign was inaccurate, and likely leaked to the media. The concerns were flagged in a typed memo and in handwritten notes taken by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec on Oct. 11, 2016. Her observations were recorded exactly 10 days before the FBI used Steele and his infamous dossier to justify securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to spy on Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the campaign’s contacts with Russia in search of a now debunked collusion theory. It is important to note that the FBI swore on Oct. 21, 2016, to the FISA judges that Steele’s “reporting has been corroborated and used in criminal proceedings” and the FBI has determined him to be “reliable” and was “unaware of any derogatory information pertaining” to their informant, who simultaneously worked for Fusion GPS, the firm paid by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign to find Russian dirt on Trump. That’s a pretty remarkable declaration in Footnote 5 on Page 15 of the FISA application, since Kavalec apparently needed just a single encounter with Steele at State to find one of his key claims about Trump-Russia collusion was blatantly false.
5am – E CHINA TARIFFS:
- Trump administration green-lights tariffs hike on China. (Fox News) — The Trump administration moved ahead with increased tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods Friday after a round of trade talks between the S. and China on Thursday failed to produce an agreement. The new tariffs raised the import taxes of those goods from 10 percent to 25 percent. The White House said talks would continue Friday. The world’s two largest economies were nearing a trade deal to open up the Chinese market to American companies, but negotiations stalled when China called for changes to the text that served as a blueprint for a pact, the New York Times reported. U.S. negotiators have also accused China of reneging on its commitments.
- Despite trade talks resuming yesterday at the White House, President Trump’s increased tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports are taking effect, heightening tensions with Beijing. At 12:01 a.m. Eastern time this morning, the Trump administration raised the import taxes on those goods from 10% to 25%. China’s government says it will take “necessary countermeasures” in response but gave no details of possible retaliation.
- US tariffs on China jump as deadline passes, China immediately says it will retaliate. The Trump administration is hiking duties on $200 billion worth of Chinese products from 10% to 25%.
6am – A Giuliani traveling to Ukraine to push for probes that could be ‘very helpful’ to Trump. (The Hill) — President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani says he plans to travel to Ukraine in the coming days in an attempt to push for investigations that he says could benefit the president. Giuliani told The New York Times in a Thursday interview that he plans to ask the country’s president-elect to look into the origin of the federal Russia probe as well as former Vice President Joe Biden’s past influence on the country. Giuliani’s comments to the Times come after The Hill relayed key details on the issue last month. “We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do,” the Trump lawyer asserted. “There’s nothing illegal about it,” he added. “Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.” The Times reported that the meeting’s goal is to try to undermine the credibility of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe as well as the case against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Trump’s allies are also reportedly seeking information that could hurt Biden, who has led recent polls for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Such inquiries were previously launched by the administration of current Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, who lost a recent reelection bid to political newcomer Volodymyr Zelensky. The new Ukrainian president will take office June 3. Giuliani last week called for an investigation into Biden for his previous actions in Ukraine after a New York Times report on the former vice president’s dealings with the country.
6am – B/C NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS HARASSED IN D.C. FOR WEARING MAGA HATS:
- North Korea Defectors Bullied Over MAGA Hats. (Daily Caller) — A viral video of a group of Koreans, including two North Korean defectors, being harassed in Washington, D.C., for their support of President Donald Trump surfaced over the weekend. The video shows the group walking around in “Make America Great Again” (MAGA) hats in Washington, D.C., last month before two men start heckling them. One of the men can be seen pulling the hat off one of the victims’ heads and tossing it up in the air. The video was originally posted by a rapper who goes by the name “Bigolow Black” but was deleted after PJ Media reported on the incident. “Not Around Here Pimp … Ain’t None Of That Make America Great Again Sh*t,” Black wrote according to PJ Media. The video was picked up and re-posted by several users over the past week. One of the South Koreans wrote to PJ Media that the group was proud of Trump’s policies toward North Korea, and that they wanted to show their appreciation of the president. “Two of us were North Korean defectors who escaped for freedom. They had to save up money for a long time to come. We thought America is a democracy. But we had no freedom to wear a hat?” He said. “We came here to speak out about human rights abuses. And we had no right to wear a hat? We thank Trump. The sanctions are working. The North Korean regime should be collapsed.”
- North Korean Defectors Respond To Anti-Trump Rapper After He Harassed Them. (Daily Caller) – The North Korean defectors harassed for wearing Make America Great Again hats in a viral video that recently surfaced are speaking out. They are part of Christian Freedom International, an organization that helps the persecuted. Wendy Wright, the president of the organization, sat down with The Daily Caller and read a message from the group, also sharing with us the details of their important mission. One of the North Korean defectors sent this message to Wright to share with the Caller on behalf of the group: “We are familiar with living a life where you cannot express your views, beliefs or values. In North Korea, if you do express opposing views and get caught, torture, execution or concentration camp becomes your fate. That was and is North Korea and its system. No freedom of expression, continuous fear, man-made starvation, fear of death. The people we are trying to rescue are those who have fled North Korea, and the person you took the hat off and stomped on it, his six-month-old son, six-year-old and nine-year-old daughter and his wife in North Korea were all brutally executed or sent to concentration camp by the brutal North Korean regime. He does not know all of the things President Trump does, but he is appreciative of the present administration’s stance towards North Korea and its effort for freedom and not compromising with Kim Jong Un in recent Hanoi summit. While you can express your discomfort towards the MAGA hat, as long as it is done in a peaceful manner, that’s fine with us. But what you did to us was absolute hatred. We are back in our homeland, but I hope you protect the freedom that was hard-fought, which was not free to your country.”
6am – D COMEY’S CNN TOWN HALL:
- Comey defends Obama’s handling of Russian interference in 2016 election. (Fox News) — Former FBI Director James Comey defended President Barack Obama’s handling of Russian interference during the 2016 election, placing more blame on Republican lawmakers for not wanting to disclose Russia’s involvement to the public sooner. During a televised town hall, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper asked Comey about President Trump’s repeated criticism of his predecessor for not taking more action against Russia on his watch. “That’s a hard question. President Obama faced a very difficult choice. The No. 1 goal for the Russians is to damage our democracy and undermine faith in our electoral process,” Comey responded. “If he makes an announcement that the Russians are coming for the election, has he just accomplished their goal for them and has he given Donald Trump an excuse to say, ‘Obama fixed the election’? So I get why he struggled with it.” Meanwhile, Fox News Chief Intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reports that the Justice Department’s inspector general is focusing on how the Democrat-funded anti-Trump dossier was used to secure surveillance warrants for former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in 2016, despite questions about its credibility.
- Comey: It’s ‘Totally Normal’ To Plant People Near Political Campaigns
- James Comey says Rod Rosenstein is not a person of strong character. One thing to note: President Trump used Rosenstein’s letter to justify firing Comey
- Anderson Cooper wouldn’t have to give viewers this speedy crash course on who Peter Strzok and Lisa Page are, or Andrew McCabe’s misdeeds, if CNN had actually covered them in any kind of serious manner
- Comey says Barack Obama “did a very sensible thing” by seeking bipartisan cooperation upon learning of Russia’s intent to interfere in American elections. “To their everlasting shame, the Republicans refused,” Comey alleges.
- Comey on saying Hillary was “extremely careless” with classified material: I wish I’d said something “plainspoken” like “really sloppy” so Republicans didn’t think she committed a crime.
- Comey when told he lied about the pee tape and that Mueller said it wasn’t real… CONTINUES TO LIE
7am – A INTERVIEW – WENDY WRIGHT – President, Christian Freedom International (CFI)
- North Korean Defectors Respond To Anti-Trump Rapper After He Harassed Them
- CFI sends rice and medicine in bottles to North Korea. (ChristianFreedom.org) — By the time you read this, bottles filled with rice and medicine have washed ashore in North Korea. Wrapped around the bottles are Bibles. One bottle of rice is worth more than a month’s salary. God’s Word is outlawed – and priceless. Christian defectors from the cruel regime tossed hundreds of rice bottles into the waters from an island close to North Korea. They carried 40 lb. bags on trails to snow-tinged rocks above the shore. The defectors risked their lives to escape North Korea. Now they save lives trapped in the country ranked #1 in persecuting Christians.
7am – B/C TRUMP REACTS TO DON JR SUBPOENAED:
- President Trump says he was “very surprised” at the move, and Republicans are lashing out at GOP Senator Richard Burr allowing a Intelligence Committee subpoena of Donald Trump Jr. It’s the first known subpoena of a member of Trump’s immediate family and a new sign that the Senate panel is continuing with its own two-year-long investigation, despite majority leader Mitch McConnell’s “case closed” speech this week.
- “My son is a good person. He testified for hours and hours. My son was totally exonerated by Mueller who doesn’t like Trump, me,” Trump continued. “And for my son, after being exonerated to now get a subpoena to speak again after telling everyone about a nothing meeting, I’m pretty surprised.”
- Ted Cruz: There’s no need for another subpoena for Donald Trump Jr. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) is joining colleagues such as Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in saying Donald Trump Jr. should not have to submit to another round of testimony on Capitol Hill. “The Russia investigation is over. After 2 years of Dem & media hysteria, after millions of dollars, after 2800 subpoenas, the Mueller Report found NO collusion,” Cruz tweeted Thursday. “There’s no need for another subpoena for @DonaldJTrumpJr. It’s time to move on & focus on issues Americans care about.”
- Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal says if Donald Trump Jr. fails to comply to a subpoena from the GOP-led Senate Intelligence Committee he should be “put in jail”: “He has no privilege, prison is the only answer”
7am – D/E CALLS: HONESTLY, WHAT DO MOTHERS REALLY WANT FOR MOTHER’S DAY?
8am – A INTERVIEW – LT. COL. TONY SHAFFER – a CIA trained former senior intelligence officer and president of the London Center for Policy Research
- DoD NOMINATION: Trump to nominate Patrick M. Shanahan as defense secretary, White House says. President Trump said yesterday he will formally nominate Patrick Shanahan to be his second secretary of defense, putting an end to months of speculation about the former Boeing executive’s standing. Shanahan has been leading the Pentagon as acting secretary since Jan. 1, an unusual arrangement for an important Cabinet position. Shanahan took over after Jim Mattis resigned.
- SPY MUSEUM REOPENS: The Spy Museum opens up in its new location this weekend. The new museum, which opens Sunday, takes on current affairs and ethical issues faced by intelligence officers. There are exhibitions on “enhanced interrogation” (a.k.a. torture) and Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
- NORTH KOREA TENSIONS:
- North Korea Conducts New Missile Launch For Second Time in a Week. The United States and North Korea appear to be sending not-so-friendly messages to each other, a far cry from the diplomacy attempted by President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un a few months ago during their second summit in February. The U.S. Navy launched an unarmed ballistic missile off the coast of Florida on Thursday hours after North Korea fired two short-range missiles, its second weapons launch in five days. The U.S. Air Force, meanwhile, tested a long-range missile from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California within 10 minutes of the reported launch by Pyongyang.
- North Korea says missile test was defensive, criticizes Seoul
- “They’re talking about negotiating, but I don’t think they’re ready to negotiate,” President Trump says regarding North Korea after its latest missile launch.
- US seizes North Korean coal vessel accused of violating sanctions. The U.S. said yesterday that it has seized a North Korean cargo ship that was used to violate international sanctions, a first-of-its kind enforcement action. The “Wise Honest,” North Korea’s second largest cargo ship, was detained in April 2018 as it traveled toward Indonesia. Officials made the announcement hours after North Korea fired two suspected short-range missiles toward the sea, the second weapons launch in five days.
8am – B/C AOC, Bernie Sanders introduce plan to cap credit card rates, blast ‘loan-sharking’ (Yahoo! Finance) – Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez introduced on Thursday a plan to rein in the profit banks can collect from consumers, proposing to cap credit card interest rates at 15%. “Despite the fact that banks can borrow money today at less than 2.5% from the Federal Reserve, the average credit card interest rate today for consumers is a record-breaking 17.71%,” the Vermont Senator and freshman Queens Congresswoman said in a statement about the plan. The plan is meant to contain credit card rates that are well above other benchmarks. The average annual percentage rate (APR) on new credit card offers rose to another record high of 17.73%, according to CreditCards.com — a full percentage point higher than it was a year ago despite interest rates that are near historic lows. Consumers with less-than-perfect credit scores are being offered especially high interest rates, and Bankrate points out that even borrowers with good credit are paying over 17%, on average.
8am – D INTERVIEW – REP. DOUG COLLINS – (R-GA) – a Republican ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee @RepDougCollins – shared his thoughts on the AG Barr contempt vote, endless subpoenas, calls for impeachment and how House Democrats won’t give up on the narrative despite the release of the Mueller Report.
- Rep. Doug Collins: By voting to hold Barr in contempt, Dems defy logic and precedent. (By Rep. Doug Collins | Fox News) — The partisan slog continued Wednesday, as House Judiciary Committee Democrats passed a resolution to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress. Last week I urged Democrats who serve with me on the committee to respect the history and traditions of our committee and conduct its business accordingly. Instead, Committee Democrats passed their contempt resolution. Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said he expects that resolution to get a full House vote soon. What justification can Democrats offer for holding Attorney General Barr in contempt of Congress? Perhaps it’s that Barr failed to abide by the regulations dealing with Special Counsel Robert Mueller? No, that can’t be, because Barr went above and beyond what the regulations required by transmitting the full Mueller report to Congress, with very limited redactions. Could it be that the attorney general failed to accommodate the demands for information from Chairman Nadler? No, Barr offered to let Democratic leaders review a less-redacted report, including a 99.9 percent unredacted volume on obstruction of justice. In an odd move for anyone demanding access to information, Nadler – and every other elected Democrat given access – has declined to view that report. Moreover, the chairman admitted Wednesday that the attorney general can’t legally release the unredacted report or underlying documents, as the subpoena commands. Nadler said in January that a subpoena is “a powerful and coercive tool” to be used “only when our attempts to reach an accommodation with the witness have reached an impasse.” At Wednesday’s business meeting, though, Nadler claimed the subpoena is simply “the beginning of a dialogue.” But so far the Justice Department has been at the negotiating table by itself.