Mornings on the Mall
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Hosts: Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese
Executive Producer: Heather Hunter
Jonathan Morris, Gen. Jack Keane, Eli Lake and MEP Alexandra Phillips joined WMAL on Tuesday!
5am – A/B/C President Trump is defending his decision to pull U.S. troops out of northern Syria as Turkey prepares an operation in the region. Speaking to reporters Monday at the White House, the President said he has “great respect” for the prominent Republicans who are urging him to reconsider his strategy but that “it’s time to come back home.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi both say the withdrawal benefits Russia, Iran and Syrian President Assad.
5am – D Report Shows FBI Official Received Sports Tickets From CNN Reporter And Lied About It To Investigators. (Daily Caller/Chuck Ross) – An FBI senior official who resigned under mysterious circumstances last year accepted baseball game tickets from a CNN reporter in 2016 and lied about it to investigators, according to a report obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller News Foundation. Michael Kortan accepted the tickets from the CNN journalist to at least two games, in May 2016 and September 2016. Kortan displayed a “lack of candor” during multiple interviews about the tickets. He was prohibited under FBI policy from accepting gifts from reporters who cover the bureau. He also accepted tickets from a New York Times reporter. The FBI’s top press officer during the Hillary Clinton and Trump-Russia investigations accepted tickets to a Washington Nationals game from a CNN correspondent and lied about it repeatedly during interviews with the Justice Department’s inspector general, according to a report obtained by the Daily News Foundation. Michael Kortan, who served as assistant director of public affairs, displayed a “lack of candor” during multiple interviews under oath with the DOJ watchdog about how he obtained the tickets, who we went with, and whether he reimbursed the CNN journalist, according to the report. “The OIG…concluded that Kortan lacked candor under oath when he provided answers to OIG’s questions relating to the September 2016 tickets that were misleading and false,” reads the report, which the DCNF obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. FBI policy prohibits employees from receiving gifts from “prohibited sources,” including journalists who cover the bureau. The office of the inspector general (OIG), which is led by Michael Horowitz, discovered Kortan’s contacts with the CNN reporter during a review of his text messages as part of the investigation into the FBI’s activities during the 2016 presidential election. Kortan’s media contacts and those of other FBI officials are noted on page 430 of the DOJ inspector general’s report from June 14, 2018, regarding the bureau’s handling of the Clinton email investigation. On Oct. 16, 2018, the OIG separately released a summary of the Kortan investigation (though without identifying him). The summary said that the Justice Department declined prosecution in the case.
5am – E OPEN SKIES:
- BUSINESS INSIDER: A top Democrat is sounding the alarm that the Trump administration is considering pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty
- FLASHBACK: Tom Cotton wants out of Open Skies…
- Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., reacted to Russia’s claim on Wednesday, tweeting: “It’s rich for the Russians to protest the U.S.’s refusal to certify one of their planes for the Open Skies Treaty when they routinely restrict surveillance flights over Kaliningrad. The Open Skies Treaty is out of date and favors Russia, and the best way forward is to leave it.”
6am – A/B/C INTERVIEW – JONATHAN MORRIS – Fox News analyst and former Catholic priest
- The Roman Catholic Church has required celibacy for priests since the 11th century. Pope Francis has opened a debate that could change that.
- Pope Francis considers dropping celibacy requirements for some priests. (USA Today) – Pope Francis urged South American bishops gathered at the Vatican on Monday to “speak with courage” as they address a severe priest shortage in remote areas of the region that could result in the church dropping celibacy requirements for some priests. The three-week Synod of Bishops for the Amazon also will address crucial regional topics ranging from protection of rainforests and local cultures to climate change, migration and clean water. “We have not come here to invent programs of social development or custody of cultures,” the pope said. “We come to contemplate, to understand, to serve the peoples.” Cardinal Claudio Hummes, retired archbishop of Sao Paulo who organized the synod, said many rural Amazon communities have so little access to priests that Sunday Mass can’t be held. And while the Eucharist can be distributed to worshippers by non-priests, the wafers must be blessed by a priest. Last rites and other Catholic sacraments also are affected, Hummes said. “Indigenous communities, faced with the urgent need experienced by most of the Catholic communities in Amazonia, requested that the path be opened for the ordination of married men resident in their communities,” Hummes said. “Albeit confirming the great importance of the charisma of celibacy in the Church.”
6am – D WAPO: House Democrats consider masking identity of whistleblower from Trump’s GOP allies in Congress. Democrats overseeing the logistics of the testimony for the House impeachment inquiry are leaning toward a staff-only session that would prevent lawmakers from attending and asking questions, according to officials familiar with the conversations. Aides have even considered having the whistleblower testify from a separate location via a video hookup in which the camera would obscure the whistleblower’s image and alter his voice, possibly with modification technology.
6am – E Omar Files For Divorce Five Weeks After Telling Reporter On Video That She Wasn’t Separated. (Daily Caller/Luke Rosiak) – Democratic Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar filed for divorce Friday, just over a month after she denied to a local TV reporter that she was separated. Omar sat for an on-camera interview with WCCO reporter Esme Murphy on Aug. 27, who asked “Are you separated from your husband? Are you dating someone?” Omar replied: “No, I am not. And like I said yesterday, I have no interest in allowing the conversation about my personal life to continue.” The question came the same day that the wife of Tim Mynett, her campaign consultant, filed for divorce in Washington, D.C., saying that Mynett told her he was having an affair with the congresswoman and was leaving her for Omar. Five weeks later, Omar filed for divorce from her husband, Ahmed Hirsi, in Minnesota. An anonymous source told the New York Post in early September that Hirsi and Omar had allegedly been living apart since March.
6am – F HYATTSVILLE WIRE: Jared and Ivanka Spotted at Route 1 Burger King. Of all the places you could think you might spot Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, the Burger King in College Park on Baltimore Avenue probably isn’t one of them. It was a typical Friday night on Oct. 4, for Matt Giorgianni, an assistant research professor in the biology department at the University of Maryland, who had just picked up his nine-year old son from ice hockey practice at the nearby Wells Ice Rink. Because it was around 8 p.m. his son was hungry and wanted to grab a bite to eat at the nearby Burger King. So they made a quick stop for dinner. The restaurant wasn’t very busy, with just one other customer who didn’t seem to take notice of the fact that Jared, Ivanka and their three kids were ordering food at the counter. Matt spotted their youngest, Theodore, wearing a stormtrooper shirt and a Burger King paper crown. Jared was dressed casually in a sweatshirt while Ivanka was dressed nicely and wearing makeup, likely from taping an interview on Fox News earlier that day. At first, Matt wasn’t sure if it was actually Jared and Ivanka, thinking maybe they were just University of Maryland students dressed in Halloween costumes to look like Jared and Ivanka. It wasn’t until Matt saw their order on the screen amount to over $100 worth of Whoppers and fries that he was convinced. After Jared ordered, the family sat down and waited for their food, while four or five Secret Service agents stood around with three black SUVs parked in the back.
7am – A INTERVIEW – GEN. JACK KEANE – a retired 4 star general, the chairman of the Institute for the Study of War and Fox News Senior Strategic Analyst.
- Gen. Jack Keane: Trump’s Syria withdrawal is a ‘betrayal’ and would be a ‘strategic blunder.’ (Fox News) — As President Trump prepares to draw down U.S. troops from northeastern Syria to extricate America from what he called “endless wars,” Gen. Jack Keane said the move is a “betrayal” of the Kurdish people, and strongly advised against it, on “America’s Newsroom” Monday. “There’s one word that describes this for me, betrayal,” he said. “I think it’s a strategic blunder that will have significant implications… We went into eastern Syria to defeat ISIS. The Syrian democratic forces, which the Kurds were a part of, had 60,000 ground troops. We provided 2,000 to help them. It took us two years. We fought every single day to defeat ISIS. The Syrian Kurds, who we’re talking about here, lost over 11,000 in that fight. “And now we’re trying to keep our foot on their throat so they don’t reemerge again in eastern Syria and they’re already showing some activity,” he continued. “How can we possibly walk away from them?” Keane said the United States was engaged in a successful partnership with the Kurdish people, but political considerations caused the process to speed up. “There were serious negotiations going on in terms of how to establish this safe zone. The Turks wanted 30 kilometers,” he said.
7am – B/C NBA SIDES WITH COMMUNIST CHINA:
- China suspends business ties with NBA’s Houston Rockets over Hong Kong tweet. Hong Kong (CNN Business) Several Chinese businesses are suspending ties with the Houston Rockets after the American basketball team’s general manager expressed support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. Daryl Morey set off a firestorm in China over the weekend when he posted an image on Twitter that read, “Fight for freedom, stand with Hong Kong.” Tensions between Hong Kong and Beijing, which controls the former British colony, have been fueled by months of political unrest. The backlash from China followed quickly. The Chinese Basketball Association said Sunday it would suspend all cooperation with the Texas-based team. The association’s chairman is Yao Ming, a former Rockets player. China’s consulate general in Houston also urged the team to “clarify and immediately correct the mistakes” in a statement on Sunday. […] The backlash triggered responses from the NBA and Morey. The NBA said Monday that it recognizes that Morey’s views “have deeply offended many of our friends and fans in China, which is regrettable.” “While Daryl has made it clear that his tweet does not represent the Rockets or the NBA, the values of the league support individuals educating themselves and sharing their views on matters important to them,” NBA Chief Communications Officer Mike Bass said in a statement, which was published on the Chinese social media website Weibo. “We have great respect for the history and culture of China and hope that sports and the NBA can be used as a unifying force to bridge cultural divides and bring people together.” Morey’s original tweet on the subject has since been deleted. In a new series of tweets on Monday, he said that he was speaking on his own behalf. “I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China,” Morey said. “I was merely voicing one thought, based on one interpretation, of one complicated event. I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives.”
- James Harden Apologizes To China Over Daryl Morey Tweets. Houston Rockets guard James Harden apologized to China over general manager Daryl Morey’s tweets expressing support for Hong Kong protesters. “We apologize, we love China, we love playing here,” Harden said, according to CBS Sports. “For both of us individually, we go there once or twice a year and they show us the most support and love. We appreciate them as a fanbase, and we love everything they’re about. We appreciate the support they give us individually, and as an organization.”
- Sen. Hawley Thrashes NBA Commissioner Who Apologized To China For Houston Rocket GM’s Pro-Hong Kong Remarks. “The Government has sought emergency powers and deployed riot police to put down the protests, often violently,” he noted, referring to Beijing. “Police have employed tear gas, batons, water cannons with dye, pepper spray, and rubber bullets against their own people.” Hawley added: “And as the people of Hong Kong risk their lives for freedom, the NBA offers apologies. . . to the Chinese regime … That was wrong. Reconsider.” He went on to express “disgust” that the NBA suggested Morey’s comments caused pain when the country jails “political dissidents.”
- JOSH HAWLEY: Let’s make this real simple. @NBA should apologize for groveling to Chinese Communist Party and cancel all exhibition games in China until the situation in Hong Kong is resolved. Peacefully. With the rights of Hong Kong’s people protected.
7am – D FREE BEACON: County Records Contradict Warren’s Claim She Was Fired Over Pregnancy. RIVERDALE, N.J.—The Riverdale Board of Education approved a second-year teaching contract for a young Elizabeth Warren, documents show, contradicting the Democratic presidential candidate’s repeated claims that she was asked not to return to teaching after a single year because she was “visibly pregnant.” Minutes of an April 21, 1971, Riverdale Board of Education meeting obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show that the board voted unanimously on a motion to extend Warren a “2nd year” contract for a two-days-per-week teaching job. That job is similar to the one she held the previous year, her first year of teaching. Minutes from a board meeting held two months later, on June 16, 1971, indicate that Warren’s resignation was “accepted with regret.” Warren’s claim that she was dismissed after her first year of teaching because she was pregnant has become a cornerstone of her stump speeches. She has used it to both explain her jump from teaching into the legal world as well as to showcase the difficulties that women face in the workplace. The principal of the school she worked at in the early 1970s, Warren has said, “showed [her] the door” at the end of the school year because she was “visibly pregnant.” Warren’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment on the board of education records. The documents emerge at a time when Warren’s campaign has surged. Ahead of the fourth Democratic debate next week, the Massachusetts senator is running neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden. The RealClearPolitics polling average shows her trailing Biden by just 0.3 percent nationally and leading him by 2.7 percent in Iowa. Boosted by a strong campaign apparatus and a bevy of detailed policy proposals, Warren has succeeded in positioning herself as the progressive choice for Democratic voters. In recent weeks, she has appeared to elbow out Bernie Sanders, her chief rival for the party’s most liberal voters. Sanders suffered a heart attack last week, a setback that temporarily derailed his campaign.
7am – E JEFF DANIELS TO PLAY COMEY:
- Jeff Daniels to Play James Comey, Brendan Gleeson to Play Donald Trump in CBS Studios Miniseries. Jeff Daniels has found his next challenging role. The actor is set to star as former FBI Director James Comey in a four-hour CBS Studios event miniseries based on Comey’s bestselling book, “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership.” In addition, Brendan Gleeson has been cast as President Donald Trump while Michael Kelly will play Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe and Jennifer Ehle will play Patrice Comey, James’ wife. “Captain Phillips” screenwriter Billy Ray has adapted the book and will be directing the as-yet-untitled series, which is executive produced by Alex Kurtzman, Shane Salerno and Heather Kadin. The drama is slated to being production in November, 2019 with an airdate to be announced at a later date. CBS Studios has yet to determine whether the series will air on Showtime, CBS Access or both. “Jeff is so perfect for this part. Great actor, instant integrity, loads of warmth, intelligence, complexity and gravitas. We talked backstage after I saw him in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ on Broadway, and I knew I was looking at the only person who could play Jim Comey. Lucky for me, he said yes,” said Ray of Daniels’ casting.
- FLASHBACK: Jeff Daniels says it’s the ‘end of democracy’ if Trump wins again in 2020. (Fox News) – Actor Jeff Daniels declared that it will be the “end of democracy” if President Trump is re-elected in 2020 during his Monday appearance on MSNBC. “I live in Michigan. After the election, I was surprised at some of the people,” Daniels reflected about 2016. “I said, ‘Could you believe this election?’ And they go, ‘Yeah, isn’t it great?’… you didn’t see it coming.”
8am – A INTERVIEW – ELI LAKE – Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering national security and foreign policy
- ELI LAKE: How Erdogan Backed Trump Into a Corner on Syria. The U.S. president has essentially conceded that he has no power to deter Turkish aggression against the Kurds. (Bloomberg Opinion) — President Donald Trump, according to his Twitter feed, has made a deliberate policy decision to cut America’s losses and withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. “The endless and ridiculous wars are ENDING!” he tweeted Monday. “We will be focused on the big picture, knowing we can always go back & BLAST!” Like a lot of the president’s tweets, that’s not entirely accurate. The new U.S. posture in northeastern Syria is a response to the obduracy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, U.S. officials tell me, who was unmoved by the pleading and pressure of U.S. diplomats and generals to forgo a planned invasion. Some background: Last summer, U.S., Turkish and Kurdish diplomats ironed out a safe-zone agreement between Kurdish forces and Turkey. Erdogan, however, was determined to break that agreement by sending his army into Syria. Trump decided that he would not have U.S. forces stand in the way and risk a military confrontation with a NATO ally. This is reflected in the White House statement from Sunday evening. “The United States Armed Forces will not support or be involved in the operation, and United States forces, having defeated the ISIS territorial ‘Caliphate,’ will no longer be in the immediate area,” it says. Note those final three words. A senior administration official tells me that there has been no order to withdraw the 1,000 or so U.S. troops left in Syria; Sunday’s announcement amounts to a tactical retreat from just the areas where the Turks were preparing to invade. The second part of Sunday’s statement announced that the U.S. would not be detaining the Islamic State fighters captured by allied Kurdish militias. Instead, the White House said, “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years.” The president reemphasized this point in a tweet on Monday, saying Turkish officials “must, with Europe and others, watch over the captured ISIS fighters and their families.” Currently, those Kurdish militias are primarily responsible for those detained Islamic State fighters. So if Erdogan was under the impression that he could turn his military against the Kurds and then receive U.S. assistance to detain those Islamic State fighters — well, Trump and the White House have made it clear that he would be on his own in this regard. This is a high-stakes gamble. It’s in the U.S. interest to make sure Islamic State terrorists never return to the battlefield. The White House message may well be meant for Erdogan, warning him against a large-scale campaign against the Kurdish positions. Turkey lacks the resources and capabilities to detain those fighters.
8am – B/C IMMIGRATION NEWS:
- DC Council considers bill to stop cooperation with ICE. (WTOP) – A D.C. Council member is proposing emergency legislation to prohibit the District from cooperating with federal immigration agencies. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has declared the District a sanctuary city, and a law passed in 2012 set restrictions on when the Department of Corrections can hold individuals in custody past their release dates to comply with immigration detainer requests. But council member Charles Allen, who represents Ward 6, said the law is no longer sufficient. “Since passage of the act, ICE’s practices have evolved to include requesting notification of individuals’ release dates, in addition to or instead of holds,” said Allen in a proposed resolution. The bill would stop city agencies from working with Immigration and Customs Enforcement unless provided a judicial warrant or order. This includes sharing information with ICE, complying with detainer requests or allowing ICE agents to enter city facilities, such as the jail, juvenile justice facilities and St. Elizabeths Hospital. The D.C. Council will review the bill, co-sponsored by council members David Grosso (I-At Large), Brianne K. Nadeau (D-Ward 1) and Elissa Silverman (I-At Large), at its meeting on Oct. 8.
- Protesters chanting names of migrant children who died in U.S. custody push acting DHS secretary to abandon speech. Homeland Security secretary shouted off stage at immigration conference at Georgetown Law. (Fox News) – Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan walked off the stage at a speaking engagement at Georgetown Law School on Monday after being shouted down by audience members protesting the Trump administration’s immigration policies. McAleenan was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at an annual immigration law and policy conference hosted by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and Georgetown Law, at the Washington, D.C., university. But before he even began to talk, protesters stood up and shouted: “When immigrants come under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” Some in the audience shouted at the protesters to sit down so they could hear the DHS acting secretary speak. Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at MPI who served as a top immigration official under the Clinton administration, was to moderate the Q&A, and told the protesters they were robbing the audience of their ability to engage in a meaningful dialogue on a contentious and important topic. DHS, in a written statement released afterward, echoed those concerns: “The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the right to free speech and assembly. Unfortunately that right was robbed from many who were scheduled to speak and attend today’s event at Georgetown. Unfortunately the Acting Secretary and the audience did not get the opportunity to engage in a robust dialogue this morning due to the disruptions of a few activists.” The department, which published the secretary’s prepared remarks, said those in attendance would have “learned more about DHS’s successful strategy to work with international partners to reduce unlawful migration and end the exploitation of children by smugglers and cartels, and then they would have had the opportunity to participate in an unmoderated question and answer session.” McAleenan, a longtime civil servant who was the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection before he was tapped to lead DHS, tried three times to start his speech, but was interrupted almost immediately by the demonstrators on each occasion. As McAleenan tried to speak, protesters stood and held banners with phrases like “Hate is Not Normal” and shouted out the names of children who had died in immigration custody.
8am – D/E INTERVIEW – ALEXANDRA PHILLIPS is a member of the European Parliament and a rising star of Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party. She is a former Nigel Farage’s chief of staff for more than a decade and is a former BBC journalist.
- What next as UK and EU seek last-minute Brexit deal. LONDON (AP) — Britain is due to leave the European Union in just over three weeks, but still no one knows the terms of the divorce — or even whether the country will really meet that Oct. 31 deadline. With both the U.K. and the EU saying this is a make-or-break week in the long-running Brexit drama, a look at what could happen next.
- TODAY: UK’s Johnson tells Merkel a Brexit deal is ‘essentially’ impossible: report. Boris Johnson, the embattled British prime minister, told Germany’s Angela Merkel that as long as the European Union insists Northern Ireland stays in the EU’s customs union, a Brexit deal is “essentially impossible,” Bloomberg reported early Tuesday. Last week, Johnson’s government delivered a new proposal to the EU, focused on maintaining an open border between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland — the key sticking point to a Brexit deal. The U.K. proposes to do that by keeping Northern Ireland closely aligned to EU rules for trade in goods, possibly for an extended period. Johnson made the comment in a phone call with Merkel, Bloomberg reported.