Mornings on the Mall
Wednesday, November 27, 2019
Hosts: Mary Walter and guest co-host HANS VON SPAKOVSKY – Manager, Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow at The Heritage Foundation
Executive Producer: Heather Hunter
Cal Thomas, AAA’s Jeanette Casselano, Newt Gingrich, Daily Caller’s Henry Rodgers and guest co-host Hans Von Spakovsky joined WMAL on Wednesday!
5am – A/B/C STUDENTS COMPLAIN ABOUT WASHINGTON AND LEE ON THEIR DIPLOMAS: These students want their Washington and Lee diplomas — without the portraits of Washington and Lee. (Washington Post) – A group of law students is calling on Washington and Lee University to give future graduates the option of a diploma stripped of portraits of the school’s namesakes, George Washington and Robert E. Lee. The proposal, which is supported by more than half of students at the Washington and Lee School of Law and has sparked intense backlash from alumni, comes amid a national reckoning over the legacy of historic figures. That debate is deeply felt on the campus of this private university in Virginia: The school was named for Washington, an early benefactor, and Lee, an influential president of the university, who is buried in a chapel at the heart of campus. A commission examining how history shapes Washington and Lee suggested numerous changes last year but stopped short of recommending renaming the school. Students who organized the petition say Lee’s role as a Confederate leader has made him a symbol of white supremacy for many — especially after violence erupted in nearby Charlottesville in 2017 amid debate over a statue of the general. For that reason, and because Washington enslaved people working on his estate, they argue that the prominence of the portraits does not reflect the university’s values in 2019. Some alumni support the idea. Others oppose it for a host of reasons: Some admire Washington and Lee and their contributions to the school and the nation. Some argue that the debate oversimplifies the lives and complex legacies of the men. Some object to the idea of eliminating images that might offend, as though that could erase history. Tom Rideout, a 1963 graduate of the university who helped form the Generals Redoubt nonprofit group to combat pressure to change the school, said many of the alumni have a simple question about the students who support the petition: “Why are they there, if they don’t like these two people?”
5am – D House Democrats Sue Trump Administration over Census Documents. (Breitbart) — The House Oversight Committee has sued Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for blocking its investigation into the administration’s decision to forgo adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), who was recently elected as chair of the oversight panel, said she filed the lawsuit because the two departments have not handed over documents related to the squashing of the question. “Since the Supreme Court ruled against them — and the House of Representatives held them in contempt for blocking the Committee’s investigation — Attorney General Barr and Commerce Secretary Ross have doubled down on their open defiance of the rule of law and refused to produce even a single additional document in response to our Committee’s bipartisan subpoenas,” said Maloney. “I am filing this enforcement action today because the Trump Administration’s brazen obstruction of Congress must not stand,” she added. “President Trump and his aides are not above the law.” Trump abandoned the citizenship question last summer after the Supreme Court said the administration’s justification for the question “seems to have been contrived.” Trump diected agencies to try to compile the information using existing databases. The Justice and Commerce departments did not immediately comment on the lawsuit, although officials have previously said the documents Democrats are demanding are subject to executive privilege.
5am – E DOJ moves to halt judge’s ruling that McGahn must testify. (Politico) – The planned appeal means impeachment investigators won’t likely hear from McGahn anytime soon. The Justice Department asked a federal judge Tuesday to put a temporary pause on her ruling that orders former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn to testify in the House impeachment probe, saying it needs the delay to pursue an appeal. While expected, the move from DOJ means that the primary congressional panel responsible for drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump likely won’t hear anytime soon from McGahn, one of the star witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report. Also Tuesday, a lawyer representing two other key White House impeachment witnesses said his clients would keep resisting congressional subpoenas, arguing that Monday’s decision didn’t apply to their situation. Both actions have crystallized the next steps in the months-long legal battle, one day after U.S. District Court Judge Kentanji Brown Jackson issued her potentially precedent-setting decision. In her 120-page opinion, Jackson argued that Trump’s advisers do not enjoy “absolute immunity” from facing lawmakers’ questions about their work under oath. She found that “no one is above the law” and took issue with Trump’s efforts to stonewall congressional oversight via a blanket order directing aides not to testify. “Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings,” Jackson wrote. But DOJ on Tuesday responded by requesting a new hearing before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, as well as asking Jackson for a temporary stay on her ruling for McGahn to testify.
6am – A/B/C #WAYSTORUINTHANKSGIVING / Taking Your Calls:
- Dont Think So @DontThinkso555: Ask everyone their thoughts about the border wall #WaysToRuinThanksgiving
- HEED THE HERALD @KindaSquirrelly: #WaysToRuinThanksgiving Reveal who you voted for.
6am – D INTERVIEW – CAL THOMAS – Syndicated Columnist — discussed the upcoming Judiciary impeachment hearing and his thoughts on the 2020 election.
6am – E INTERVIEW – Jeanette Casselano – Spokesperson for AAA
- AAA: More Than 55 Million Travelers Taking to the Roads and Skies this Thanksgiving. – More than 55 million travelers are making plans to kick off the holiday season with a trip of 50 miles or more away from home this Thanksgiving. This will be the second-highest Thanksgiving travel volume since AAA began tracking in 2000, trailing only the record set in 2005. Overall, an additional 1.6 million more people will travel compared with last year, a 2.9% increase. The vast majority of holiday travelers will drive to their destinations and, INRIX, a global transportation analytics company, expects Wednesday afternoon to be the worst travel period nationally, with trips taking as much at four times longer than normal in major metros. “Millions of thankful Americans are starting the holiday season off right with a Thanksgiving getaway,” said Paula Twidale, vice president, AAA Travel. “Strong economic fundamentals are motivating Americans to venture out this holiday in near-record numbers. Consumer spending remains strong, thanks to increasing wages, disposable income and household wealth, and travel remains one of their top priorities for the holiday season.”
- For the 49.3 million Americans traveling by automobile, INRIX, in collaboration with AAA, predicts major delays throughout the week, peaking Wednesday with trips taking as much four times longer as commuters mix with travelers. DC Metro Area’s Worst Time on Wednesday, Nov. 27: 3:00-5:00 PM.
6am – F Hunter Biden suspected of smoking crack in DC strip club’s VIP room. (PageSix) – Hunter Biden was suspected of smoking crack inside a strip club where he dropped “thousands of dollars” during multiple visits — at the same time he held a seat on the board of a controversial Ukrainian natural-gas company, The Post has learned. The incident, which took place at Archibald’s Gentlemen’s Club in Washington, DC, late last year, represents the most recent alleged drug use by Biden, 49, who has acknowledged six stints in rehab for alcoholism and addiction that included a crack binge in 2016. Workers at Archibald’s, located about three blocks north of the White House, said Biden was a regular there, with two bartenders and a security worker all instantly recognizing his photo and one worker identifying him by name. Security worker Ranko Petrovic said Biden — the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic front-runner to challenge President Trump next year — would routinely hole up in a VIP room and drink during his visits. Although Petrovic said the club “had no issue with him,” former Archibald’s managing partner James Ritter said one occasion in late 2018 was marred by a “suspicion of drug use.” “There was a smell of burning Styrofoam in the VIP room. We told him nothing illegal can go on here,” Ritter said. “We didn’t see anything illegal. After he was spoken to, the smell stopped.” “VIP employees suspected it was crack,” he added. Hunter spent “thousands and thousands of dollars in the Archibald’s VIP rooms,” and paid his bills with “credit cards that didn’t have his name on it.” The club generally required customers to use credit cards that matched official IDs, but “Hunter was a bit of an exception,” Ritter said. “Whenever he was in town he came in for two days in a row, disappeared and come back a month later,” Ritter said.
7am – A Nadler Sets First House Judiciary Impeachment Hearing For December 4: The House Judiciary Committee next week opens its first hearing in the impeachment inquiry, as Democrats push closer to a possible vote on charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” in President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Chairman Jerry Nadler invited President Trump or his counsel to attend and ask questions of as-yet unnamed legal experts on an impeachment framework. The president’s schedule calls for him to attend a NATO summit in London.
7am – B/C Highlights of Trump’s Rally Tuesday Night
7am – D INTERVIEW – NEWT GINGRICH – former Speaker of the House, host of “Newt’s World” podcast and author of new book “Trump Vs. China: Facing America’s Greatest Threat” – discussed China, Hong Kong elections and his op-ed on Thanksgiving.
- HONG KONG ELECTIONS
- Hong Kong elections seen as win for pro-democracy candidates after massive turnout. (Fox News) – Anti-government protestors prevailed on Sunday after polls closed in Hong Kong and pro-democracy candidates clinched nearly half of the seats on the ballot. So far, pro-democracy candidates have won 269 out of 452 seats in 18 district council races, while pro-Beijing forces, who previously held 73 percent of the seats, have only won 30. Voters came out in droves — with a 71 percent turnout — up from 47 percent four years ago in the same elections, according to the Electoral Affairs Commission.
- Hong Kong elections: Chinese media attempt to downplay results. (BBC) — Chinese state media outlets have attempted to downplay the results of Hong Kong’s district elections, which saw the pro-democracy camp score a landslide victory. The government had been hoping the election would bring a show of support from the so-called “silent majority” opposed to the protests.
- THANKSGIVING HISTORY: Newt Gingrich: First Thanksgiving wasn’t like what you were taught in school – Here’s the true story. (By Newt Gingrich | Fox News) — As we gather with family and friends later this week for the Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to devote an episode of my “Newt’s World” podcast to the real history behind this uniquely American tradition. When most people imagine the first Thanksgiving, they think of the Mayflower Pilgrims, donning tall black hats with big buckles on their shoes, gathering outdoors with feather-wearing Native Americans at a long table near Plymouth Rock. They are celebrating with a grand feast of turkey, bread,and fall vegetables. This is a lovely image – and it carries nostalgia for the holiday – but it’s only partly true. In the episode, I have a great conversation with Melanie Kirkpatrick. She is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and is the author of “Thanksgiving: The Holiday at the Heart of the American Experience.” Kirkpatrick shared a tremendous amount of insight on the Thanksgiving holiday. For instance, what most consider the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in October 1621 after the pilgrims’ first harvest. The feast lasted for three days and included games and all-around good cheer. It was attended by 90 Wampanoag warriors and 53 Pilgrims, according to Pilgrim Edward Winslow’s account. It’s unclear whether the Wampanoag were expected to be there or even invited – although they did bring enough venison to feed the entire party for three days. It’s also likely that this was (at least in the beginning) a tense interaction. The Native Americans were all male warriors. They outnumbered the Pilgrims nearly 2:1, and many of the Pilgrims included women and children, who were not trained for battle. Nevertheless, the two groups gathered and gave thanks for the bounty of the harvest, and the rich natural resources of this American continent. There was plenty for which to be thankful. The Pilgrims and Wampanoag had settled on a peace treaty – and the English newcomers had a survived the winter largely because the natives had shown them how to plant corn, where to fish, and how to survive in the environment. However, no one ever called that celebration “Thanksgiving.” In fact, the first recorded “Day of Thanksgiving” happened two years later. It was July, and the English settlers were celebrating rain after a prolonged drought. From there, Kirkpatrick shares a fascinating story of how today’s Thanksgiving was born out of a series of political fights. That’s right. When President George Washington first proclaimed a national Day of Thanksgiving, it was hotly debated. Some in the Congress suggested the president lacked authority to impose a national holiday upon governors. Others suggested it was a religious holiday and shouldn’t be in federal purview. Again, in 1863, Lincoln proclaimed a nationwide Day of Thanksgiving as a means to bridge divides in our war-wracked country.
7am – E THANKSGIVING NEWS:
- Don’t wash your Thanksgiving turkey this year. (Fox News) — Grocery shopping and recipe preparations may be well underway ahead of Thanksgiving, but several health agencies have banded together to deliver one clear rule before the holiday: Don’t wash the turkey before cooking it. “You can’t wash off bacteria with water, and rinsing out the turkey risks splashing its juices all over the sink,” Amy Keating, R.D., a Consumer Reporters nutritionist, said in a food safety memo last week. Experts instead recommend opening the plastic wrap and draining any liquid into the sink before throwing the packaging out. They then suggest patting the turkey dry with paper towels, and washing your hands and utensils thoroughly with hot water and soap when done. According to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service, washing raw poultry — and even beef, pork, lamb or veal — before cooking is not recommended because bacteria in the raw meat and juices can be spread to other foods, utensils and surfaces. Some of the bacteria are so tightly attached to the meat that they cannot be removed with washing. There’s also the risk of failing to clean all surfaces of the kitchen where the bacteria has spread, leaving open the possibility for cross-contamination.
- Will They Fly? Winds Could Ground Balloons For Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The floats and bands will march in the 93rd annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, but will the balloons fly? Strong winds could weigh down the 16 large character balloons. “We had the same concerns last year. It’s going to be a game day decision,” NYPD Chief of Patrol Rodney Harrison said Tuesday. The NYPD plans to make the call tomorrow morning. The department will use weather instruments placed along the route and work closely with parade officials. “We have supervisors assigned to each one of the 16 character balloons that are trained. We have seven anemometers throughout the route that will determine the wind gusts regarding the height of each one of the balloons,” said Harrison. The balloons cannot fly when sustained winds exceed 23 miles per hour with gusts over 34 miles per hour. The only time they were grounded for bad weather was back in 1971. Safety is paramount, especially after past incidents left spectators injured. In 1997, four people were hurt when the Cat in the Hat balloon whipped around, snapping a light pole. One woman spent a month in a coma. In 2005, an M&M balloon also snagged a pole, and the pieces fell on two sisters from Albany.
8am – A/B/C OBAMA SECRETLY WORKING BEHIND THE SCENES:
- POLITICO: Barack Obama is meeting privately with 2020 Democrats to offer candidates advice — and to get intel about what matters most to him: who can beat Donald Trump.
- Obama warned he would intervene to stop Bernie, had cutting words for Biden: report. (Fox News) – Former President Barack Obama once warned he would intervene to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., from winning the Democratic presidential nomination, according to a new report that sheds light on Obama’s personal views of the jam-packed primary field with no clear front-runner. Obama has largely stayed on the sidelines to date, refraining from any endorsements though he has issued general warnings to the party to avoid calls for radical upheaval in their policy pitches. These warnings were seen as a swipe at candidates like Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sanders. A new Politico Magazine report gives a clearer picture of what Obama is worried about — claiming he has said in private he’d speak out against Sanders if it looked like he could actually win.
- Obama once admitted Joe Biden ‘doesn’t have it’ for 2020 bid: report. The same Politico report, meanwhile, addressed Obama’s relationship with Biden, whom he has not yet endorsed, despite Biden serving as vice president in his administration — and routinely touting their relationship on the stump. The Politico piece said Obama recalled to one candidate who came to him for advice how he himself had a bond with the voters that has since faded. He reportedly added, “And you know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden.”
8am – D INTERVIEW – HENRY RODGERS – Congressional Correspondent at The Daily Caller
- Nadler Sets First House Judiciary Impeachment Hearing For December 4. The House Judiciary Committee next week opens its first hearing in the impeachment inquiry, as Democrats push closer to a possible vote on charges of “high crimes and misdemeanors” in President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Chairman Jerry Nadler invited President Trump or his counsel to attend and ask questions of as-yet unnamed legal experts on an impeachment framework. The president’s schedule calls for him to attend a NATO summit in London.
- Democrats Release More Transcripts Just As Thanksgiving Holiday Begins. The House Intelligence Committee has released the last two transcripts from its depositions of witnesses in the impeachment inquiry, including testimony from a White House budget official who detailed concerns among colleagues as Trump ordered them, through intermediaries, to put a hold on military aid to Ukraine. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has said his panel’s report could be released soon after the House returns from its Thanksgiving break.
8am – E THAT’S AN AWKWARD THANKSGIVING — CUMMINGS’S DAUGHTERS ARE NOT ENDORSING THEIR STEPMOTHER FOR THEIR FATHER’S CONGRESSIONAL SEAT:
- Wow. Rep. Cummings’s daughters are NOT endorsing their stepmother Maya Rockeymoore Cummings to succeed the late Oversight chairman in Congress. Instead they are endorsing longtime Cummings aide Harry Spikes to replace their father in the Baltimore district
- Maryland Rep. Cummings’ daughters endorse his longtime staffer for his congressional seat. (Baltimore Sun) – The late Rep. Elijah Cummings’ daughters are supporting one of the congressman’s longtime staffers in the crowded race for his seat — a race that also includes Cummings’ widow and nearly three-dozen others. His oldest daughter, Jennifer, wrote in a statement that she and her sister, Adia, are endorsing Harry Spikes to represent Maryland’s 7th Congressional District. ”Our father often said of himself that he was ‘an ordinary man called to an extraordinary mission,’ and Harry embodies that same spirit,” she wrote in a statement. The two women appeared alongside Spikes last week when he formally announced his candidacy at the Umar Boxing Gym on North Avenue in Baltimore. Jennifer Cummings said Spikes, who is among the younger candidates in the race, “has the unique ability to build a multigenerational and diverse coalition of support.” After a long career fighting for civil rights, Cummings rose to the chairmanship of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and gained national prominence for his clashes with President Donald Trump as he pursued an impeachment inquiry. It was her father’s wish, Jennifer Cummings said, to get as many freshmen members of Congress assigned to his committee as possible so he could prepare the next generation to lead. ”Harry Spikes represents that next generation of leadership,” Jennifer Cummings wrote.