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Soon after Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., went against the GOP consensus by claiming President Trump committed “impeachable conduct” in the form of obstruction of justice, another known Trump critic took the opposite position.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, acknowledged that while he has called out Trump when he’s deemed it appropriate, he does not believe the Mueller report provided evidence that supports impeaching the president.

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“I just don’t think that there is the full element that you’d need to prove an obstruction of justice case,” Romney told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday, while acknowledging, “Everyone reaches their own conclusion.”

Still, Romney said he “was troubled by it,” but did not feel the allegations laid out in the report were enough to rise to the standard of an obstruction charge.

Romney specifically pointed to the element of intent, which is required as part of an obstruction charge. He said that the lack of any underlying crime — such as any conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia — makes it difficult to show that Trump’s actions were based on a corrupt intent to cover something up.

“You just don’t have the elements,” Romney said.

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Amash put forth the opposite theory in a Saturday Twitter thread, saying that he read the report, and that “President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.” Romney said that while he has “respect” for Amash, he disagrees with his conclusion.

Source: Fox News Politics

Two political scientists retracted a study last week that claimed comedian Jon Stewart’s departure from Comedy Central’s influential “Daily Show” helped get President Trump elected.

Tom Wood of Ohio State University and Ethan Porter of George Washington University published their paper in April to London-based journal Electoral Studies, claiming the political satirist’s absence on the satirical news show led to a 1.1 percent increase in Trump’s vote share.

The researchers collected rating for the show across the U.S. and county-level voter turnout for 2012 and 2016. They theorized that the change in hosts from Stewart, who mocked Trump nightly, to Trevor Noah, led to a dip in ratings. The result was Trump earning around 1 percent more of the votes in each county.

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“Our results make clear that late-night political comedy can have meaningful effects on presidential elections,” the paper stated.

Readers quickly alerted the pair to an error in their findings. After checking their work, the pair realized a computational error altered their conclusion.

“Upon closer investigation … we discovered we had made a computational error in aggregating years of ratings data,” Wood tweeted on May 10. “After fixing this error, the corrected regression results do not implicate changes in the Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert audiences as important correlates of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential vote.”

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The pair notified the journal and asked that the paper be withdrawn, to which it agreed. They even received praise on Twitter for publicly acknowledging the mistake.

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Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., broke with his Republican colleagues on Saturday when he claimed that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian election meddling showed President Trump engaging in “impeachable conduct.”

Attorney General William Barr, Amash argued, “deliberately misrepresented” that report in not emphasizing clear evidence of obstruction on Trump’s part.

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“In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report,” Amash said, “it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings.”

Barr has, for weeks, faced criticism for allegedly shielding Trump through congressional testimony and his summary of the Mueller report. Although the report did not conclude that Trump committed obstruction or conspired with the Russians, its findings have fueled Democratic investigations and led some to call for impeachment.

Impeachment, Amash indicated, was appropriate even in the absence of probable cause or a formal indictment.

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“Impeachment, which is a special form of indictment, does not even require probable cause that a crime (e.g., obstruction of justice) has been committed; it simply requires a finding that an official has engaged in careless, abusive, corrupt, or otherwise dishonorable conduct,” he said.

In another tweet, he referenced the constitutional language surrounding impeachment — “high crimes and misdemeanors” — as implying that the president only needs to violate public trust for Congress to consider his removal.

Amash concluded by lamenting both parties’ apparent hypocrisy and inaction in responding to the Mueller investigation.

“Few members of Congress even read Mueller’s report; their minds were made up based on partisan affiliation — and it showed, with representatives and senators from both parties issuing definitive statements on the 448-page report’s conclusions within just hours of its release,” he said.

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Some Democrats have expressed hesitation — or outright rejected — towards impeachment but others — like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. — have boldly advanced that as an option.

While many have dismissed those calls as overreaction, Amash indicated that Congress wasn’t pursuing impeachment as much as it should.

“While impeachment should be undertaken only in extraordinary circumstances, the risk we face in an environment of extreme partisanship is not that Congress will employ it as a remedy too often but rather that Congress will employ it so rarely that it cannot deter misconduct,” he tweeted.

Amash appeared to be the only elected Republican seriously pushing impeachment. He’s publicly criticized the president and indicated he was open to challenging Trump on a third-party ticket in 2020.

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Republicans and the administration have responded to Mueller’s report by questioning the origins of what they suggested was an illegitimate investigation.

During an interview with Fox News, Barr vowed to uncover exactly what happened when the DOJ investigated Russian influence and the Trump campaign.

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Mischievous hackers apparently gained access to President Trump’s golf account and posted remarkably bad scores on Friday.

Four scores were posted to the president’s USGA-administered GHIN (Golf Handicap and Information Network) system on Friday, though there’s no indication that the scores – 101, 100, 108, 102 – are authentic because Trump was traveling and didn’t play golf.

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TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND - JULY 15: U.S. President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort during the U.S. President's first official visit to the United Kingdom on July 15, 2018 in Turnberry, Scotland. The President of the United States and First Lady, Melania Trump on their first official visit to the UK after yesterday's meetings with the Prime Minister and the Queen is in Scotland for private weekend stay at his Turnberry. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND – JULY 15: U.S. President Donald Trump plays a round of golf at Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort during the U.S. President’s first official visit to the United Kingdom on July 15, 2018 in Turnberry, Scotland. The President of the United States and First Lady, Melania Trump on their first official visit to the UK after yesterday’s meetings with the Prime Minister and the Queen is in Scotland for private weekend stay at his Turnberry. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

According to Golfweek, the courses used in the fake scores were Trump National New York, Trump International in West Palm Beach, and the Cochise Course at Desert Mountain in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“We have become aware of reports in the media questioning recent scores posted on President Trump’s GHIN account. As we dug into the data it appears someone has erroneously posted a number of scores on behalf of the GHIN user,” USGA’s Craig Annis told Golfweek in a statement.

“We are taking corrective action to remove the scores and partnering with our allied golf associations, and their member clubs, to determine the origin of the issue.”

“We have become aware of reports in the media questioning recent scores posted on President Trump’s GHIN account. As we dug into the data it appears someone has erroneously posted a number of scores on behalf of the GHIN user.”

— USGA’s Craig Annis

SPORTSWRITER TAKES SWING AT TRUMP: BOOK SAYS PRESIDENT CHEATS AT GOLF, BATTLED LOCALS TO BUILD COURSE

The media has long scrutinized Trump’s golf record as he maintains an index of 2.8 that is perceived as especially good.

A book released last month by longtime sportswriter Rick Reilly accused Trump of not being always honest on the course when marking the scores.

Reilly detailed one time Trump played with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson shortly after becoming president. Trump’s partner, Fox Sports golf analyst Brad Faxon, said the president marked down a score that didn’t account for two balls he hit in the water.

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Faxon recalled that he was laughing about the situation at the time, “because Trump was actually putting for a seven, but he was claiming it was for a four, which would’ve worked out to a three with his free stroke on the hole.”

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg ripped President Trump on Friday over allegations of past affairs and sexual misconduct while questioning the support the president enjoys from the religious right.

The South Bend, Indiana mayor – a one-time long-shot for the nomination whose surge over the past two months has made him a legitimate contender for the Democratic nomination – drew attention to Trump’s payment to adult film actress Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with Trump. The president has repeatedly denied the affair with Daniels took place.

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Healso accused leaders of the religious right of “hypocrisy”  for supporting someone like Trump, whom he targeted as morally lacking.

“I’m old enough to remember when Republicans talked a lot about character in the Oval Office,” Buttigieg said in an interview with Fox News.

“And I’m a little bit puzzled that some leading figures on the religious right can look at somebody who has the track record that this president has on everything from the boasting about sexual misconduct to the payoff to somebody he’s having an affair and believe that that person ought to be the moral as well as the political leader of this nation. To put it mildly it seems inconsistent,” the mayor said.

Pointing to Trump’s payment of $130,000 to Daniels, Buttigieg charged that “the revelations about the payoff to the adult film actress he was allegedly having an affair with is just a concern on a moral level, but it has some pretty troubling legal implications too. So sometimes personal conduct and official or legal implications intertwine.”

Buttigieg made his comments one day after the president – in an interview with Fox News – supported Buttigieg’s status as a married gay man. The candidate, if elected, would become the nation’s first gay president.

“I think it’s absolutely fine. I do,” the president told Fox News host Steve Hilton.

“I think it’s great. I think that’s something that perhaps some people will have a problem with. I have no problem with it whatsoever. I think it’s good,” Trump stressed.

Hilton’s full interview with the president will air Sunday night on the Fox News Channel.

Buttigieg on Friday also took aim once again at Vice President Mike Pence, accusing the former Indiana governor of advancing “homophobic policies.”

“I don’t know what’s in his heart,” Buttigieg said in an interview conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that aired Friday. But he added that “if you’re in public office and you advance homophobic policies, on some level it doesn’t matter whether you do that out of political calculation or whether you do it out of sincere belief.”

“The problem is, it’s hurting other people,” Buttigieg pointed out.

Buttigieg and Pence have bene clashing in recent weeks over issues affecting the LGBT community.

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In a Fox News interview earlier this week, the vice president said it was “disappointing” to see both Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden criticizing him on the campaign trail.

And pointing to Buttigieg, Pence teased that “if he wins their party’s nomination, we’ll have a lot more to say about him.”

Last month Pence accused Buttigieg of attacking his faith to stand out in a crowded Democratic primary field of contenders.

Source: Fox News Politics

There may be 22 Democratic candidates, but the Republican candidate — and therefore the media — are increasingly focused on just one.

At times we seem to have a two-man race pitting Donald Trump against Joe Biden, even though it’s ridiculously early and the Dem debates don’t even begin until next month.

The president’s constant focus essentially allows Biden to act as if he’s already in a general election matchup, depriving the other candidates of crucial oxygen. And with Biden already dominating the polls and having the Obama connection, the White House attacks make him sound like a done deal.

There are two possible reasons for Trump’s approach:

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— He’s embarked on a calculated strategy of trying to scuff up Biden early on, painting an indelible image that will either produce a wounded nominee or knock him out of the primaries.

Or:

— He just can’t help himself.

But the net effect is the same: building up Biden, paradoxically, by trying to take him down.

One thing is clear: many of the president’s aides aren’t happy about what he’s doing. This plunges us back into familiar territory, where Trump confidantes, unable to persuade him, send him messages through the media. The practice is known more formally as leaking.

For Trump’s advisers, says The New York Times, such tweets as “China is DREAMING that Sleepy Joe Biden … gets elected” was “one more example of the president’s inability to resist offering what amounts to an in-kind contribution to a Democrat who, according to their own polling, is positioned to soundly defeat them next year.”

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Trump’s constant swipes at Biden “have defied the pleadings of his own aides, who think almost any other candidate would be easier to defeat, and left Republicans puzzled while delighting Biden supporters,” the paper says.

Some Republicans “would prefer a more easily caricatured boogeyman on top of the Democratic ticket next year,” with one quoted as saying that Bernie Sanders would be perfect because “he looks like the professor out of ‘Back to the Future’ and is a hard-core socialist.” Ouch.

According to this view, Trump is inadvertently aiding the man that GOP pollster Tony Fabrizio found would easily beat the president.

But while some Republicans say Trump is just watching cable news and strafing Biden based on the coverage, others believe he can badly damage the longtime senator as a creature of the discredited establishment. Trump’s gift for mockery, which served him well against his 16 Republican opponents, could take a toll on Biden, especially if he’s baited into intemperate responses.

Biden has been fairly restrained in his rejoinders, but he’s also prone to say things like “things will fundamentally change” with “Donald Trump out of the White House. Not a joke. You will see an epiphany occur among many of my Republican friends …This nation cannot function without generating consensus. It can’t do it.”

Democrats who are in a fighting mood think Biden is deluding himself about cooperation from his “Republican friends.” From this vantage point, they want a revolution and he’s offering a  restoration.

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One final note is whether the president projects as far more energetic than the man he’s trying to brand as sleepy.

Taking a moment to praise the president he usually bashes five mornings a week, MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough says Trump has more “vigor” than some of his Democratic opponents:

“That guy can do on a campaign stage what nobody else can do: He can engage the audience. He can engage viewers, despite the hateful rhetoric … He does look like he is about 20 years younger than a lot of Democratic candidates.”

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Trump is 72 and Biden is 76, but Morning Joe has a point. He didn’t say it, but the other Joe looks a step slower than he did as vice president. Biden can dispel that by running a fast-paced, high-energy campaign in the face of all those Trump jibes.

The kicker is that the president, who had a bitter falling-out with his former friends Joe and Mika and recently slammed the ex-congressman as Psycho Joe, actually thanked him on Twitter. What’s more, the president said, “the BRAIN is much sharper also!”

Source: Fox News Politics

America should move toward a “merit-based” immigration system that also respects the “rule of law” and gets rid of the “dumb laws” currently on the books, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham on Wednesday night.

“Right now, we’ve got some of the dumbest laws on the books. If we educate somebody in America to be a computer scientist or engineer … we force them to leave the country to compete against us, while we’ve got the ‘visa lottery’…” Scalise, a Louisiana Republican, said on “The Ingraham Angle.”

“Why don’t we flip that narrative?” Scalise asked.

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Scalise said that transitioning to such a merit-based immigration system would strengthen the “rule of law,” and “ultimately get back to those basic foundational principles where you come to America to seek the American dream.”

He said that there are more moderate Democrats in the heartland who he believes would support such a measure, while the left-wing of the party would not.

Earlier Wednesday, three senior Trump administration officials told Fox News that the White House is set to unveil a sweeping new immigration plan that would outline a skill-based system as one of its tenets.

Fox News has been told the reason for the push for a skill-based system would be to attract the best and brightest talent, protect American wages, increase the gross domestic product (GDP), and preserve humanitarian values.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner spoke about the plan in April at an event in New York City.

“We want to protect our country’s humanitarian values. We want to make sure we’re reunifying families, and we want to do this in a way that allows our country to be competitive long term,” Kushner said. “And my hope is we can really do something that unifies people around what we’re for on immigration.”

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Other than adopting a merit-based admissions procedure, the plan also would update the asylum admissions procedure and expedite the adjudication process for people with legitimate asylum claims, the sources told Fox News.

Fox News’ Gregg Re, John Roberts and Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report.

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Many in the mainstream media wanted Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation to result in a scandal similar to Watergate, reporter Joe Concha of the Hill said Wednesday night on Fox News’ “Hannity.”

“[F]or two years, we heard about Russia collusion,” Concha told host Sean Hannity. “We heard about stories always going in the same direction.

“[Reporting] was always in the direction of [President] Trump, Trump associates — in terms of, ‘There is collusion, here’s our story, here’s the proof’ — based on nefarious sources, bad sources,” he said.

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Concha said that many reporters “wanted to believe” information given to them “because they wanted this to be their next Watergate – the next ‘Woodward and Bernstein’ in taking down a president.”

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the Washington Post journalists who reported on former President Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal, which led to Nixon’s resignation in 1974.

Concha said that, in the case of the Mueller investigation, “They believed information that was fed to them that wasn’t necessarily true.”

He said that journalism’s goal is supposed to be to “speak truth to power, to challenge power.”

Concha said that, by that metric, many more journalists should be “embracing” the fact that Attorney General William Barr has appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham of Connecticut to probe the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation.

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Hannity played a montage of media figures criticizing the establishment of Durham’s new probe.

“The liberal establishment media… [is] finding themselves on the wrong side of pretty much every issue facing the country,” Hannity said.

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Former FBI general counsel James Baker said this week that he and other officials were “quite worried” that former FBI Director James Comey appeared to be blackmailing then President-elect Trump during a 2017 meeting regarding salacious allegations found in the Steele dossier.

On the latest episode of the Yahoo News podcast “Skullduggery” published Tuesday, Baker said he and others were so concerned about Comey briefing Trump on January 6, 2017 on Russia’s interference in the election as well as the controversial dossier that “analogies” were made to J.Edgar Hoover, the former FBI director who famously abused his power to blackmail individuals.

“We were quite worried about the Hoover analogies, and we were determined not to have such a disaster happen on our watch,” Baker said, hoping to convey to the incoming president that they did not want to continue the “legacy” of Hoover’s blackmailing.

Baker did not recall the moment he first heard about the Steele dossier but remembered the bureau taking it “seriously” and said that they were “obligated to deal with it” and determine whether or not anything about it was true, but insisted they didn’t accept it “as gospel.” He did, however, believe Trump had to be briefed on the dossier because it was “about to be disclosed to the press.”

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The former top FBI lawyer explained why he clashed with Comey over whether to tell Trump that he wasn’t the subject of the Russia investigation. According to Baker, he argued that the then President-elect’s activities “fell into the category” of being a subject and he didn’t think it was “accurate” to say otherwise. By contrast, Comey repeatedly told Trump that the president was not under investigation before his dismissal in May 2017.

Nonetheless, Baker said he supported any investigation that is looking into the origins of the Russia probe.

“I welcome scrutiny,” Baker said. “I plan to fully cooperate with the department to help them figure out what happened. Because I believe what happened was lawful, at least based on every piece of information that I have.”

Source: Fox News Politics

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told Fox News’ “Hannity” Wednesday that he would be “reluctant” to have Donald Trump Jr. appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee after the panel subpoenaed President Trump’s eldest son.

“What you see happening is Congressional committees are now beginning to take the place of prosecutors, and that’s dangerous for us all,” Graham told host Sean Hannity.

Graham, the Senate Judiciary Chairman, was criticized earlier this week when he said: “[I]f I were Donald Trump Jr.’s lawyer I would tell him, ‘You don’t need to go back into this environment anymore, you’ve been there for hours and hours and hours. And nothing being alleged here changes the outcome of the Mueller investigation.”

“Let me tell you why I weighed in on this,” Graham said Wednesday. “[Special Counsel Robert] Mueller, I thought, was the final word on all things criminal.”

“The last thing you want, Sean, is 535 special counsels,” added Graham, referring to the 435 voting members of Congress and 100 senators.

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Graham noted that Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C. – who issued the subpoena and was hit with swift backlash among his own party’s ranks – is a “good friend,” a “wonderful fellow” and an accomplished head of the panel.

“[Burr] is going to issue a good report,” Graham said of the committee’s own investigation into links between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.

However, Graham pointed out that Burr had asked Trump Jr. to come “back in an environment where two of the people on the Intel committee in the Senate are running for president of the United States.”

Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., have announced 2020 Democratic presidential bids.

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“They want to impeach Barr. They want him to resign,” Graham said of a number of the Democrats. “They want me to resign. And, they think [Supreme Court Justice] Brett Kavanaugh was Bill Cosby in high school … These people are going nuts.”

Source: Fox News Politics


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