Mornings on the Mall
Thursday, April 11, 2019
Hosts: Mary Walter and Vince Coglianese
Executive Producer: Heather Hunter
5am – A/B/C IMMIGRATION CRISIS… THE TIMES IS ON IT! The U.S. Immigration System May Have Reached a Breaking Point — For years, there have been warnings that America’s immigration system was going to fail. That time may be now.
- The NY Times Blames Trump… Yet, perversely, the president’s own anti-immigrant rhetoric has helped supercharge the pipeline of migrants from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Smugglers lately have been buying radio ads in Central America, warning that Mr. Trump is about to shut down all immigration. If you ever want to go to the United States, they say, go now!
5am – D/E Barr testifies ‘spying did occur’ on Trump campaign, amid reported review of informant’s role. Attorney General Bill Barr testified Wednesday that he believes “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign in 2016, as he vowed to review the conduct of the FBI’s original Russia probe — and the focus of a related internal review shifted to the role of a key FBI informant.
6am – A WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested after Ecuador withdraws asylum. (Fox News) — Ecuador announced Thursday that it has withdrawn asylum from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for “repeatedly violating international conventions and protocol.” Assange was subsequently arrested by British police. Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Jose Valencia told Teleamazonas this week that living in the embassy indefinitely is bad for Assange’s “state of mind, his health,” but that Assange has a right to a fair trial and right to a defense. London’s Metropolitan Police vowed earlier this month to arrest Assange if he were freed. Assange, who has lived in the embassy for more than six years, faces possible extradition to the U.S. for publishing thousands of classified military and diplomatic cables through WikiLeaks. Assange has been in the embassy since 2012 when British courts ordered him extradited to Sweden to face questioning in a sexual assault case. That matter has since been dropped, but Wikileaks is facing a federal grand jury investigation over its publication of American diplomatic and military secrets during the Iraq War. Assange and his website were front and center during the 2016 presidential election, when they published thousands of Democratic National Committee emails and files from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. Democrats believe the emails were delivered to Assange by Russian operatives, but Assange has insisted they did not come from a state actor.
6am – B/C Sanders relaunches ‘Medicare for All’ with Dems divided. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduces the Medicare for All Act of 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. WASHINGTON (AP) — Sen. Bernie Sanders launched a revamped “Medicare for All” plan on Wednesday, highlighting a divide among Democrats over one of their bedrock 2020 campaign issues — the future of health care in America. As before, the Democratic presidential candidate’s signature proposal would replace job-based and individual private health insurance with a government-run plan that guarantees coverage for all with no premiums, deductibles and only minimal copays for certain services. In this latest version, Sanders added coverage for long-term care. Some Democratic 2020 hopefuls point to their support of Medicare for All to prove their progressive bona fides. But other Democrats say it’s not politically or economically feasible because of the large tax increases required, preferring instead to stabilize the Affordable Care Act and use it to expand coverage. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has sounded skeptical about Sanders’ plan. Republicans, meanwhile, cite Medicare for All as Exhibit A in their own 2020 narrative depicting a radicalized Democratic Party steering toward “socialism.”
6am – D INTERVIEW — GREGG JARRETT – author of “THE RUSSIA HOAX: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump”
- Reaction to AG Barr’s hearing: Barr testifies ‘spying did occur’ on Trump campaign, amid reported review of informant’s role. Attorney General Bill Barr testified Wednesday that he believes “spying did occur” on the Trump campaign in 2016, as he vowed to review the conduct of the FBI’s original Russia probe — and the focus of a related internal review shifted to the role of a key FBI informant.
- SPY GAMES: Attorney General William Barr is feeling backlash from both Democrats and the mainstream media for testifying Wednesday that federal authorities spied on the Trump campaign in 2016 … Despite mounting evidence that the FBI pursued an array of efforts to gather intelligence from within the Trump campaign — and the fact that the FBI successfully pursued warrants to surveil a former Trump aide in 2016 — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told the Associated Press, “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told Fox News that Barr’s loyalties were compromised. Various members of the media accused Barr of peddling right-wing “conspiracy theories” and being part of a White House cover-up.
6am – E NATIONAL ENQUIRER NEWS:
- CNN: Jeff Bezos to meet with federal prosecutors on extortion and hacking claims. Jeff Bezos is set to meet with SDNY prosecutors as soon as this week, per people familiar. Plans for meeting come as prosecutors, who are probing claims of Saudi hacking & AMI extortion attempt, are seeking access to examine Bezos’s electronic devices
- The National Enquirer Is for Sale, and a Deal Seems Near. National Enquirer expected to be sold imminently as parent company faces pressure. (Washington Post) – American Media Inc. is actively seeking to sell off the National Enquirer, according to three people familiar with the process who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The decision to sell came after the hedge fund manager whose firm controls American Media became “disgusted” with the Enquirer’s reporting tactics, according to one of these people. American Media has been under intense pressure because of the Enquirer’s efforts to tilt the 2016 presidential election in favor of Donald Trump, who is a longtime friend of American Media’s president and CEO, David Pecker. Pecker and his supermarket tabloid have also been embroiled in recent months in an unusually public feud with Jeff Bezos, who also owns The Washington Post.
6am – F Retiring as a Judge, Trump’s Sister Ends Court Inquiry Into Her Role in Tax Dodges. (NY Times) — President Trump’s older sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, has retired as a federal appellate judge, ending an investigation into whether she violated judicial conduct rules by participating in fraudulent tax schemes with her siblings. The court inquiry stemmed from complaints filed last October, after an investigation by The New York Times found that the Trumps had engaged in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud, that greatly increased the inherited wealth of Mr. Trump and his siblings. Judge Barry not only benefited financially from most of those tax schemes, The Times found; she was also in a position to influence the actions taken by her family. Judge Barry, now 82, has not heard cases in more than two years but was still listed as an inactive senior judge, one step short of full retirement. In a letter dated Feb. 1, a court official notified the four individuals who had filed the complaints that the investigation was “receiving the full attention” of a judicial conduct council. Ten days later, Judge Barry filed her retirement papers. The status change rendered the investigation moot, since retired judges are not subject to the conduct rules. The people who filed the complaints were notified last week that the matter had been dropped without a finding on the merits of the allegations. The decision has not yet been made public, but copies were provided to The Times by two of the complainants. Both are involved in the legal profession.
7am – A/B AG BARR ‘SPYING’ BACKLASH: Attorney General William Barr is feeling backlash from both Democrats and the mainstream media for testifying Wednesday that federal authorities spied on the Trump campaign in 2016 … Despite mounting evidence that the FBI pursued an array of efforts to gather intelligence from within the Trump campaign — and the fact that the FBI successfully pursued warrants to surveil a former Trump aide in 2016 — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told the Associated Press, “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told Fox News that Barr’s loyalties were compromised. Various members of the media accused Barr of peddling right-wing “conspiracy theories” and being part of a White House cover-up.
7am – C PORN BAN: Catholic University Student Gov Seeks To Ban Porn On University Wi-Fi. The student government at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., has passed a resolution asking the administration to ban porn on university Wi-Fi. The Catholic University of America Student Government Association passed the resolution, entitled “A Resolution for a Pornography Free Campus Network,” on April 1. The bill was sponsored by Catholic University student Sen. Gerard McNair-Lewis and calls on the administration to “take an outward stance on the use of pornography by prohibiting access to the top 200 pornography sites through the campus network,” according to the resolution provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation. Vice President Weston Kirby cast the tie-breaking vote of 13 to 12 to pass the resolution, according to a statement released by SGA President Jimmy Harrington. “I am signing the Resolution not from purely religious or Catholic grounds, but because The Catholic University [of] America can and should exercise its rights to prohibit the use of pornography on the campus network,” Harrington wrote in a statement issued April 3 that he provided to The Daily Caller News Foundation. “First, I do not believe that the freedom to watch pornography is one that any student on this campus is entitled to through our network,” the statement said. “Second, some claim that this is censorship of thought, expression, or a violation of some freedom of due information. I respectfully disagree. Rather, it is a regulation that the national University of the Catholic Church or any other private institution ought to be able to enact.” This resolution comes after The University of Notre Dame and Georgetown University petitioned their administrations to regulate pornograhy use on internet Wi-Fi earlier this year.
7am – D INTERVIEW – DR. MARC SIEGEL – Professor of Medicine at NYU and Fox News medical correspondent @DrMarcSiegel doctorsiegel.com
- SUPERBUG: A deadly ‘superbug’ fungus has been spreading in the U.S. and worldwide. CDC’s latest count lists nearly 600 cases of the drug-resistant Candida auris in 12 states, including Maryland and Virginia. The CDC’s latest count at the end of February confirmed 587 cases in the U.S., with 309 in New York State, 144 in Illinois, 104 in New Jersey, 12 in Florida, seven in Massachusetts, three in Maryland and one in Virginia.
- The CDC is warning about a drug-resistant superbug, a contagious fungus known as “Candida auris” that has sickened nearly 600 people in the US over several years – with some hospitals using special cleaning chemicals.
- Candida auris can cause different kinds of infections, including bloodstream infection, wound infection, and ear infection.
- MEASLES OUTBREAK: Measles outbreak is spreading rapidly, now reaching 19 states, as the CDA reports 78 new cases
7am – E A Burglar Hiding In An Oregon Bathroom Turned Out To Be…A Trapped Roomba. “We entered the bathroom and saw a very thorough vacuuming job being done by a Roomba vacuum cleaner.” (Buzzfeed) — Oregon police responded with guns drawn after a woman reported a burglar was locked in her bathroom. Instead, they found an unlikely suspect: a trapped Roomba. In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon said it responded to a 911 call from a woman, who said she could see shadows under the bathroom door. Deputies surrounded the house, even requesting a K-9 officer for backup. “Rustling” noises could be heard from behind the bathroom door, the sheriff’s office said. After multiple commands for the suspect to come out were ignored, police opened the bathroom door. “With guns drawn, deputies open the door to encounter the suspect…an automated robot vacuum,” the sheriff’s office said. The scene was cleared — and probably quite clean, too. “We entered the bathroom and saw a very thorough vacuuming job being done by a Roomba vacuum cleaner,” Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Rogers said.
8am – A INTERVIEW – MARK KRIKORIAN – Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) – discussed the border crisis and his thoughts on DHS leadership.
- POLITICO: White House eyeing former head of anti-immigration group for DHS job. The White House is considering nominating the former head of an anti-immigration group to lead U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to a White House official and three people briefed on the deliberations, the latest development in a series of staffing shakeups that have alarmed some Republican senators. Julie Kirchner, the former executive director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which pushes for lower levels of immigration, is being considered as an option to lead the agency, the sources said. She had also been considered for the deputy director role in recent weeks. If selected and confirmed by the Senate, she would replace Francis Cissna, who is expected to be ousted by the end of this week, according to three sources familiar with the matter, as President Donald Trump and aide Stephen Miller continue their purge of top Homeland Security officials. While White House officials have repeatedly said privately they expect Cissna to be pushed out, one official acknowledged that Sen. Chuck Grassley’s opposition to the move could complicate things, potentially causing the president to keep Cissna on the job. The decision also likely won’t be finalized until after Kevin McAleenan steps in as acting DHS secretary. McAleenan is expected to weigh in on the personnel move. DHS, USCIS and Kirchner did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
- ACTING ICE DIRECTOR RESIGNS. (The Hill) — The acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ron Vitiello, has resigned amid an agency-wide restructuring of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Vitiello had originally been nominated to take over the post permanently, but his nomination was abruptly pulled last week by President Trump, who said he wanted to go in a “tougher” direction.
- ‘Breaking Point:’ Migrant Family Apprehension Up 374 Percent, Say Feds (Breitbart/9 Apr 2019) — Border Patrol officials announced that the apprehension of migrant families who crossed the border illegally between ports of entry skyrocketed by 374 percent when compared to the first six months of the last fiscal year. Agents apprehended 189,584 Family Unit Aliens (FMUA) during the first six months of Fiscal Year 2018, which began on October 1, 2018. This is up from 39,975 during the same period in Fiscal Year 2018. “The Border Patrol is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis,” U.S. Border Patrol Chief Law Enforcement Director Brian Hastings told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday. “We’ve arrived at the breaking point.”
- NY TIMES FINALLY ADMITS IT. NY TIMES HEADLINE: “The U.S. Immigration System May Have Reached a Breaking Point. For years, there have been warnings that America’s immigration system was going to fail. That time may be now.”
- TRUMP ON KOBACH: Asked if he is considering Kris Kobach for DHS secretary, President Trump says, “I have respect for him, but I haven’t really thought about that. I’m very happy right now with Kevin”
8am – B Washington Post Says Teen in Viral Video Can’t Show Defamation Nor Anti-Trump Bias. (Hollywood Reporter) — The paper tells a Kentucky judge that “politics has nothing to do with this case” and that its coverage of a Jan. 18 incident was “ultimately favorable” to Nicholas Sandmann. The Washington Post has moved to dismiss a defamation lawsuit brought by Kentucky teenager Nicholas Sandmann, who on Jan. 18 quickly found himself the talk of social media when a group of students at Covington Catholic High School came face-to-face with Native American activists at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial. Sandmann has filed lawsuits against both The Washington Post and CNN for what his attorney characterizes as “modern-day form of McCarthyism.” In a dismissal motion filed Tuesday, The Washington Post stands by its coverage and says it is neither false nor defamatory to report comments by eyewitnesses, including participants speaking publicly about an event that went viral on the Internet. “Newspapers are often unable to publish a complete account of events when they first come to light,” writes the paper’s lawyers. “Stories often develop over time, as more witnesses emerge.” The Washington Post points a Kentucky federal judge to its entire coverage of the incident from the initial condemnation of students by the Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School to a front-page story offering Sandmann’s perspective when he came forward to speak publicly about what happened. “In short, the articles at issue may not have been flattering of the Covington Catholic students, but they do not give rise to a defamation claim by Sandmann,” continues the dismissal motion. “Indeed, the Post’s overall coverage — including the articles that the Complaint fails to mention — was not only accurate; it was ultimately favorable to him.”
8am – C Caps Stanley Cup Playoffs 2019:
- Will the Capitals bring home the Stanley Cup for the second year in a row? (Washington Post) – They’ve had a very good season, but they also may need a bit of puck luck. The Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals begin their National Hockey League (NHL) title defense Thursday night against the Carolina Hurricanes at the Capital One Arena. The big question is: Can the Caps win the Cup again? Winning the Stanley Cup is never easy. A team has to win four best-of-seven-game series against tough teams to get their name on the Cup. The Caps’ first-round foe, the Carolina Hurricanes, are no pushover. Their 2018-19 record (46-29-7) is almost as good as the Caps’. If the Capitals reach the Eastern Conference finals, they may have to face the Tampa Bay Lightning. Tampa Bay is scary good. The Lightning outscored its opponents by an unbelievable 103 goals in the regular season. The Caps outscored their opponents by 29 goals. Big difference. This season, the Caps’ defense was not as steady as in the past. Only two NHL playoff teams allowed more goals during the 2018-19 season than Washington. The Caps will have to tighten their play in front of the net if they want to repeat.
- The Capitals recreated their iconic Stanley Cup moments with babies conceived during run. (ABC7) — Capitals fans took to the streets to celebrate after the team won its first Stanley Cup in franchise history last June. For some, those celebrations also seem to have led to the next generation of Capitals fans. Andrew Knepp and Jennifer Unglesbee say their daughter is their good luck charm. “This is Alexis Riley Knepp,” Andrew said. “She’s named after the Great 8, Ovi, Alex Ovechkin.” The huge Caps fans made it to most of the home playoff games last season. “We were all about celebrating afterwards and then, all of a sudden, we found out we were expecting her and so it’s been a really fun ride,” Unglesbee said, smiling. Now ahead of the Capitals’ next run at a championship starting Thursday, the team invited several newborns of fans to partake in a photo shoot at MedStar Capitals Iceplex and recreate several of last summer’s memorable Stanley Cup moments.
8am – D AG BARR ‘SPYING’ BACKLASH: Attorney General William Barr is feeling backlash from both Democrats and the mainstream media for testifying Wednesday that federal authorities spied on the Trump campaign in 2016 … Despite mounting evidence that the FBI pursued an array of efforts to gather intelligence from within the Trump campaign — and the fact that the FBI successfully pursued warrants to surveil a former Trump aide in 2016 — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told the Associated Press, “I don’t trust Barr, I trust Mueller.” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told Fox News that Barr’s loyalties were compromised. Various members of the media accused Barr of peddling right-wing “conspiracy theories” and being part of a White House cover-up.
- DEM POLITICIAN RESPONSES:
- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi: Barr ‘Is Going off the Rails
- House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., told Fox News that Barr’s loyalties were compromised.
- Dem Sen. MARK WARNER: AG Barr’s ‘Spying’ Comment ‘Disrespectful,’ Shows ‘Willful Ignorance.’ Wednesday, CNN’s senior congressional correspondent Manu Raju asked Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) about Attorney General Bill Barr’s comments during his congressional testimony that the Department of Justice had spied on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign. Warner said, “I’m amazed that the Attorney General would make that kind of statement. I think it is in many ways disrespectful to the men and women who work in the Justice Department. And it shows, I think, either a lack of understanding or willful ignorance of what goes into a counterintelligence investigation.”
- MEDIA REACTION:
- NBC’s Todd: AG Barr ‘Gave Credence to a Factless Conspiracy Theory.’ Wednesday on MSNBC’s “MTP Daily,” host Chuck Todd said Attorney General Bill Barr’s comments during his congressional testimony that the Department of Justice had spied on the 2016 Trump presidential campaign “gave credence to a factless conspiracy theory.” Todd said, “Attorney General Bill Barr did something extraordinary on Capitol Hill. He didn’t just say what the president wanted to hear, although he did do that and he didn’t make an explosive claim of what might have led to the Russia investigation. He did that, too. The country’s chief law enforcement officer went in front of Congress and gave credence to a factless conspiracy theory.”
- CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin: AG Barr Spying Comments ‘A Dog Whistle to Sean Hannity’
- CNN’s Don Lemon says Barr is doing Trump’s ‘dirty work’
- ON HARDBALL: Ex-CIA Director JOHN BRENNAN: Bill Barr Sounded Like ‘A Personal Lawyer for Donald Trump Today.’ CIA Director John Brennan criticized Attorney General Bill Barr for his comment about “spying” on the Trump campaign in 2016 during today’s big congressional hearing.
- Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper: ‘Stunning and scary’ that Barr would raise spying allegation
8am – E Netflix Defends Graphic Walrus Scene in ‘Our Planet.’ The new Netflix series “Our Planet” is pissing off some viewers distraught about graphic images of walruses falling to their deaths — but the studio is standing behind the filmmakers and the disturbing scene. In case you haven’t heard, Netflix dropped the multi-episode series Friday. It documents the effects of climate change on wildlife around the globe. One episode focuses on Russian walruses that are dying off due to receding ice levels. In covering the epidemic, filmmakers recorded several walruses scaling rocky cliffs near the ocean, and some of them fell over the ledge … leaving them seriously injured or even dead from the impact. The scene left tons of viewers traumatized. Some critics accuse the producers of emotional manipulation and twisting facts … and that includes some zoologists and prominent environmentalists, who claim the walrus scene is out of context. For instance, Dr. Susan Crockford went public this week saying the walruses filmed for this scene were falling off the cliff to escape polar bears … not because climate change is reducing their natural icy habitat. Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace, backed that up too. Worth noting the clip doesn’t show any polar bears, and you also don’t see any of the walruses attempting to flee a predator.