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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., released another joint video Thursday in which they pressed Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over his role in Sears’ 2018 bankruptcy — implying that he made money off of American workers’ hardships.

Americans, Warren argued, deserved a “Treasury secretary who fights for them — not someone who spent a decade raking in cash for himself at the expense of hundreds of thousands of Sears employees.”

The video highlighted ties between Mnuchin and Eddie Lampert, Mnuchin’s old college roommate and the subject of a lawsuit claiming he improperly stripped Sears of its assets. Lampert, the former CEO and Chairman of Sears, appointed Mnuchin, also named in the lawsuit, to Sears’ board before driving “the company into the ground,” Ocasio-Cortez claimed.

“He is a walking example of what happens when rich and powerful people put other rich and powerful people into power,” Ocasio-Cortez said of Mnuchin.

SANDERS’ SUPPORT DROPS AS HARRIS, WARREN RISE IN NEW NATIONAL POLL

The progressive lawmakers implied that Lampert either intentionally or carelessly saddled the department store with debt, allowing him to make “billions” while millions of people lost their jobs.

“Instead of investing in the company, he sucked about $6 billion in value out of it,” Warren said of Lampert, “and then did stock buybacks which certainly made him a lot of money.”

In a letter sent on Thursday, Warren and Ocasio-Cortez gave Mnuchin until June 13 to provide answers to questions related to his work with Lampert. It also questioned whether, as a Treasury official, he engaged in any unethical behavior related to Sears.

AOC SAYS ONLY A ‘SEA SPONGE’ WOULD BELIEVE HER ’12 YEARS’ DOOMSDAY REMARK, BUT MOST DEMS BOUGHT IT

“We are deeply concerned by the financial engineering and potentially illegal activity that took place at Sears Holding Corporation while you served on the company’s board,” the letter read.

“In addition, we are concerned that, as Treasury Secretary, you are in position to take actions that benefit Sears’ shareholders and owners at the expense of workers and taxpayers.”

At the end of the video, Warren and Ocasio-Cortez portrayed themselves as fighters for the American people. “We think the American people deserve answers and we’re out there to fight for them,” Warren said, as Ocasio-Cortez nodded.

The Treasury Department did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

DEM WANTS TRUMP OFFICIALS JAILED FOR NOT TURNING OVER TAX RETURNS

It’s unclear how Mnuchin will respond, although he’s already pushed back on another congressional demand relating to President Trump’s tax information. The lawmakers’ letter was the latest in a series of Democratic efforts to investigate the Trump administration as the 2020 election approaches.

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Warren, a 2020 hopeful, reportedly sought Ocasio-Cortez’s endorsement and has tried to highlight their relationship in joint videos. The two adopted a lighter tone when they discussed the “Game of Thrones” finale during another video released on Tuesday.

During that video, they seemed to unify behind criticism that the show missed its shot at providing viewers with a feminist ending.

Source: Fox News Politics

President Trump on Thursday night issued a memo giving Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016.

Trump also ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr. The memo read: “The heads of elements of the intelligence community… and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.”

“Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election,” Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.”

Trump claims his campaign was the victim of “spying,” though the intelligence community has insisted it acted lawfully in following leads in the Russia investigation.

Last month, Barr ran into a buzz saw of criticism from Democratic lawmakers and media figures for testifying that “spying did occur” against the Trump campaign in 2016. But despite the backlash, Barr appeared to be referring to intelligence collection that already has been widely reported and confirmed.

Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page are currently the subject of a Justice Department inspector general investigation looking at potential misconduct in the issuance of those warrants. That review also reportedly is scrutinizing the role of an FBI informant who had contacts with Trump advisers in the early stages of the Russia investigation.

The use of the term “spying” as it applies to the FBI’s surveillance in 2016 has been fiercely disputed. The New York Times, even as it reported last year on how the FBI sent an informant to speak to campaign advisers amid concerns about suspicious Russia contacts, stated that this was to “investigate” Russia ties and “not to spy.”

But Barr’s testimony suggests he makes no distinction between the two. He also stressed that the question for him is whether that “spying” was justified.

“I think spying did occur. The question is whether it was adequately predicated,” Barr testified last month, adding that he believed it is his “obligation” to review whether there was misconduct in the original investigation. “Congress is usually very concerned with intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane.”

He added that “spying on a political campaign is a big deal.”

President Trump backed the attorney general’s testimony, saying the same day Barr testified last month that he thinks what Barr said “was absolutely true,” adding, “There was absolutely spying into my campaign.”

Democrats, though, charged that the testimony indicated Barr was a compromised witness.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told the Associated Press last month that she doesn’t “trust Barr,” but she trusts Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., accused Barr of “peddling conspiracy theories.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Fox News’ John Roberts and Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Source: Fox News Politics

Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane says sending thousands of troops to the Middle East amid tensions with Iran would be both offensive and defensive in nature, with the Trump administration seeking to force Iran to the negotiating table.

Keane, a Fox News senior strategic analyst, said Thursday on “America’s Newsroom” that the “initial build-up of our forces” in the region, including a carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, additional forces and bombers, was all about deterrence.

PENTAGON WEIGHS REQUESTING SEVERAL THOUSAND MORE TROOPS IN MIDEAST AMID IRAN TENSIONS: OFFICIAL

“Making certain that the Iranians really get the message that based on intelligence we thought they were going to have an unprovoked attack on our forces” Keane said.

But the potential plan to send between 5,000 and 10,000 more American troops to the region to beef up the existing forces is now all “about a response if [the Iranians] do” attack the U.S.

“I think what we’re probably looking at is increased offensive missile capability to be able to conduct cruise missiles from submarines and surface ships and also likely some additional missile defense capability to protect our facilities,” Keane said.

“I think what we’re probably looking at is increased offensive missile capability to be able to conduct cruise missiles from submarines and surface ships and also likely some additional missile defense capability to protect our facilities.”

— Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane

The Pentagon will present plans to the White House, which may also include Patriot missile batteries and naval ships, according to U.S. officials. No decision has been made, and it was not clear if the White House would give its blessing.

GEN. JACK KEANE: IRAN IS TRYING TO DESTABILIZE THE MIDDLE EAST, HAS ‘POLITICAL AND MILITARY ALLIANCE’ WITH RUSSIA

Tensions between Washington and Tehran came to a head after President Trump ordered warships and bombers to the Middle East earlier this month to counter unspecified threats to U.S. interests. In addition, all non-essential U.S. staff at the U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Iraq were ordered to leave following a surprise visit by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The general went on to state that the possible extra forces would be both an offensive and defensive move against the Iranian threat.

“It’s largely defensive in the sense that we want to protect our facilities and that’s what the return of the forces is about,” he said, adding that “it’s also offensive because if they do conduct an unprovoked attack, we’ll have to respond to that and that is what this capability is really all about.”

“It’s largely defensive in the sense that we want to protect our facilities and that’s what the return of the forces is about. But it’s also offensive because if they do conduct an unprovoked attack we’ll have to respond to that and that is what this capability is really all about.”

— Retired four-star Gen. Jack Keane

Yet the ultimate goal, Keane says, is about forcing Iran to restart the negotiations and find a “political solution,” pointing to the Trump administration’s pressure on the regime that made a significant impact on the country’s economy.

“The economy is in the tank. Inflation up 37 percent, the economy contracted 6 percent. This is notable. Power shortages, routinely, food shortages. Civil unrest growing in the country,” Keane said.

“However, all of those pressures we put on the Iranians, their behavior in terms of what they’re doing in Lebanon, Syria, encroaching on Israel, Yemen as well, that has not changed yet.”

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He added: “But they certainly feel the pressure. Remember where we’re going with this. We’re going to a political solution is what this administration is trying to achieve. Get Iran back to the negotiating table and work out a better deal.”

Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Jennifer Griffin contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Presidential adviser Kellyanne Conway accused Nancy Pelosi of treating her like her “maid,” as she fired back at the House speaker Thursday following a tense encounter at the White House.

The counselor to President Trump gave her side of the story on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” after it emerged that Pelosi brushed her off a day earlier by saying she wouldn’t talk to “staff.”

The clash happened after Trump cut short a meeting with Democratic leaders on infrastructure amid complaints about their investigations into him. Conway told Fox News that Pelosi proceeded to give an “odd” history of infrastructure in America, when Conway asked if she’d like to “address some of the specifics the president talked about.”

KELLYANNE CONWAY, NANCY PELOSI CLASH AFTER TRUMP MEETING WITH DEMOCRATS WAS CUT SHORT

“She said … ‘I talk to the president, I don’t talk to staff,’” Conway recalled Thursday. “You know, let’s face it, she’s the sixth-most-rich member of Congress. She treats everybody like they’re her staff.”

Pelosi is among the wealthiest members in Congress, though her actual ranking varies depending on how it’s calculated.

But Conway added: “She treats me like I’m either her maid or her driver or her pilot or her makeup artist and I’m not. And I said to her ‘how very pro-woman of you’ … she’s not very pro-woman.”

Speaking to reporters later Thursday morning, Pelosi declined to comment on their encounter.

“I’m not going to talk about her. I responded as the speaker of the House to the [president]. Other conversations people want to have among themselves is up to them,” she said.

The meeting involving Trump, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., fell apart in a matter of minutes. Pelosi, moments earlier, accused the president of having “engaged in a cover-up” with regard to the Russia investigation. Trump abruptly ended their session and then decried Democrat-led investigations in a Rose Garden statement.

At the podium, Trump said Pelosi’s comments and the Democratic-led probes prevented them from negotiating.

“You can’t do it under these circumstances,” Trump said. “Get these phony investigations over with.”

He added that he wanted to negotiate on infrastructure with the two Democratic leaders but “instead of walking happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up.”

He added: “I don’t do cover-ups.”

Later in the day, Pelosi accused the president of committing an “impeachable offense.”

TRUMP SLAMS DEMS AS ‘DO NOTHING PARTY,’ CALLS POST-MUELLER PROBES A ‘FISHING EXPEDITION’

“The fact is, in plain sight, in the public domain, this president is obstructing justice and he’s engaged in a cover-up,” Pelosi said. “And that could be an impeachable offense.”

At the same time, Pelosi this week has scrambled to tamp down calls from rank-and-file Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings against the president. She held a closed-door meeting Wednesday with the Democratic caucus to discuss their battles with the administration.

When asked about her success in persuading members, Pelosi said: “It’s not a question of persuasion. We were just exchanging information and points of view.”

The meeting came as top Democrats have steadily ramped up pressure on the Trump administration. On Tuesday, the Justice Department reached an agreement with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., to turn over some documents related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, in a rare de-escalation. But it only came after Democrats issued a subpoena, one of many that congressional Democrats have approved for Trump-related investigations. They’ve also pursued a contempt citation against Attorney General Bill Barr and could do the same for ex-White House counsel Don McGahn.

But as for infrastructure, Schumer accused the president of “looking for every excuse” not to pursue a bipartisan plan.

Last month, Schumer and Pelosi said Trump had agreed to support a $2 trillion infrastructure spending package. But, at the time, they said no decisions were made on how to pay for the plan. The president – a real estate developer before he was elected president – has long sought to strike a big infrastructure deal, but has faced some resistance from conservatives in his party over concerns about the country’s rising debt.

But questions have remained over whether Pelosi and Schumer can strike deal with Trump on infrastructure, as congressional Democrats ramp up investigations of the president and subpoena members of his administration in the wake of the release of Mueller’s Russia report.

Source: Fox News Politics

House Democrats are not interested in putting forth an agenda to help the American people and are instead entirely focused on investigating President Trump, the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee said Thursday.

Speaking on “America’s Newsroom,” Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., was asked about Trump’s declaration one day prior that he will not work with Democrats on issues like infrastructure until the “phony” investigations come to an end.

“You can’t do it under these circumstances,” Trump said after cutting short a meeting with top Democrats. “Get these phony investigations over with.”

PELOSI SCRAMBLES TO TAMP DOWN TRUMP IMPEACHMENT FRENZY IN CAUCUS

The president said he wants to pursue an infrastructure proposal, but “instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up.”

Trump added: “I don’t do cover-ups.”

HOUSE JUDICIARY CHAIRMAN NADLER: TRUMP IS MAKING IT ‘MORE DIFFICULT’ NOT TO CONSIDER IMPEACHMENT

Collins said Democrats ran last November on an agenda “for the American people” but have not governed that way in the first five months since taking control of the House of Representatives.

“All they wanted to become was political hacks attacking the president. … They’re more concerned about coordinating their investigations than they are about legislation for the American people,” he argued.

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Collins said it’s possible Democrats don’t want to call Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before the Judiciary Committee.

“They already know there was no collusion, no charged obstruction and they’re having trouble keeping the narrative going. As long as they can keep him, sort of, at the diustance, they think they can continue to fool the American people,” he said, adding he’d like to hear Mueller’s testimony.

Source: Fox News Politics

A confessed murderer serving multiple life sentences for the slayings of two Virginia college students has been diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer and was transferred to a new prison this week to undergo treatment.

Jesse Matthew Jr., 37, pleaded guilty in 2016 to killing Morgan Harrington, a 20-year-old student at Virginia Tech, and Hannah Graham, an 18-year-old student at the University of Virginia. The two women were killed about five years apart, and Matthew was only connected to the Harrington case after police tied him to Graham’s killing.

Jesse Matthew Jr. was transferred on Monday to a new prison in Virginia to undergo cancer treatment, officials said.

Jesse Matthew Jr. was transferred on Monday to a new prison in Virginia to undergo cancer treatment, officials said. (Pool, File)

Matthew was moved from Virginia’s Red Onion State Prison, in Wise County, to Sussex I State Prison on Monday.

MAN SENTENCED FOR WIFE’S COLD-CASE MURDER THAT SON HELPED SOLVE YEARS LATER

He confirmed to WTVR earlier this month he’d been diagnosed with the disease, which is reportedly in its most advanced stage and has traveled beyond the colon. The American Cancer Society pegged the current survival rate for stage 4 colon cancer at 14 percent in a 2017 study.

Jesse Matthew Jr. pleaded guilty to killing Hannah Graham, left, and Morgan Harrington, right.

Jesse Matthew Jr. pleaded guilty to killing Hannah Graham, left, and Morgan Harrington, right.

In October 2009, Harrington disappeared after she left a Metallica concert at UVA’s basketball arena. More than three months later, in January 2010, her body was found in a field roughly 10 miles south of Charlottesville.

“This is justice and perhaps karma.”

— Gil Harrington

Years later, Graham disappeared after leaving an off-campus party alone in September 2014. Her body was found a month later — about six miles from where Harrington’s body was found.

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Harrington’s mother told WTVR Matthew “doesn’t loom big in my mind.”

“He is contained and our mission is to help save the next girl, so I take comfort however this plays out,” Gil Harrington said. “This is justice and perhaps karma.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News National

Boston’s venerable Museum of Fine Arts has apologized to a group of minority middle school students who say they were subjected to racism by staff and some other patrons during a field trip.

Museum officials in a letter posted on its website Wednesday apologized to the students and staff at the Helen Y. Davis Leadership Academy in the city’s Dorchester neighborhood for “a range of challenging and unacceptable experiences that made them feel unwelcome.”

Principal Arturo Forrest tells The Boston Globe he was told that one museum staff member told the students “no food, no drink, and no watermelon.” He heard other reports of museum security following his students while leaving white students alone.

Forrest said about 30 seventh grade students were on last week’s field trip, all students of color.

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Information from: The Boston Globe, http://www.bostonglobe.com

Source: Fox News National

Sales of new U.S. homes sank 6.9% in April, driven by a decline in the sale of homes worth less than $300,000 that are generally bought by middle class and first-time buyers.

The Commerce Department said Thursday that new homes sold at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 673,000 in April, down from 723,000 in March. Still, year-to-date home sales are running 6.7% above the pace set in 2018.

Buyers have been helped by lower mortgage rates and a solid job market. Yet higher prices and a lack of sales listings have been an obstacle this year for sales of new and existing homes, limiting the number of people who can afford to buy.

The median sales price of a new home jumped 8.8% from a year ago to $342,200.

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MSNBC host Joe Scarborough slammed President Trump as the “worst dealmaker that’s ever sat in the presidential office” after the president cut short meeting on infrastructure over Democrats’ accusations that he’s “engaged in a cover-up” regarding the Russia probe.

Scarborough made the comment after Trump demanded on Wednesday that Democrats halt what he called their “phony investigations” before he negotiates with them on issues like infrastructure.

TRUMP DEMANDS END TO ‘PHONY INVESTIGATIONS’ IN FIERY ROSE GARDEN STATEMENT, AFTER MEETING WITH DEMS CUT SHORT

“I know that he acts in such bad faith that it’s so ironic that the guy that wrote ‘The Art of the Deal’ is not only incapable of making a deal, but he does it in such bad faith,” Scarborough said during a Thursday morning broadcast of “Morning Joe”.

“Of course I remember back during the immigration plan that they were going to come up with a big deal. Donald Trump sat at the table and lied to everybody when he said to Democrats and Republicans ‘you guys come up with a big plan, I’ll sign it,’” he continued.

“In fact, he said that to Dianne Feinstein and then lied because he’s incapable of making a deal. He’s just no good at it. He stinks at it.”

TRUMP INFRASTRUCTURE MEETING DISPUTE SHOWS DEMS’ ‘TRANSPARENT’ STRATEGY TO HINDER PRESIDENT: COMPAGNO

Trump cut the talks short just minutes after meeting with Democratic leaders after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused him of “cover-up,” a charge the president vehemently denied in a fiery Rose Garden speech.

“You can’t do it under these circumstances,” Trump said. “Get these phony investigations over with.”

He added that wanted to pursue an infrastructure proposal, but “instead of walking in happily into a meeting, I walk in to look at people that have just said that I was doing a cover-up,” noting that “I don’t do cover-ups.”

“He’s incapable of striking a deal. The worst dealmaker that’s ever sat in the presidential office.”

— Joe Scarborough

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But Scarborough said the episode on Wednesday just proves Trump is a bad negotiator, claiming that Trump actually prefers Democratic leaders.

“The same thing here also. He wanted an infrastructure plan … the guy who claims to be able to make deals, a guy who actually likes Democratic leaders a lot more than he likes Republican leaders, this guy has always hated Republicans,” he said.

“Despite that background, he’s incapable of striking a deal. The worst dealmaker that’s ever sat in the presidential office”

Source: Fox News Politics

A jury has acquitted a Kentucky man who was accused of killing his 4-year-old foster son.

News outlets report the Elizabethtown jury returned the verdict Wednesday for 34-year-old Billy Embry-Martin after deliberating for about five hours.

Hunter Payton died two years ago from head injuries. He was removed from his parents’ home by the state just two months earlier over alleged drug abuse and neglect.

Embry-Martin has maintained his innocence and testified that the boy fell and struck his head. A state medical examiner ruled the injuries were inflicted and not accidental. An investigation by Radcliff police and Child Protective Services led to Embry-Martin being charged with murder last year.

Embry-Martin’s attorney said the verdict was a relief.

The boy’s paternal grandmother said she was disappointed with the jury’s decision.

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Information from: Courier Journal, http://www.courier-journal.com

Source: Fox News National


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