Live Blog

Here is your live blog for the day.

Good Thursday morning!

Here is what's on President Trump's agenda today:

  • President Trump receives his intelligence briefing
  • The president has lunch with the acting secretary of the Interior
  • President Trump participates in a reception for National African American History Month

FBI Lawyer thought Hillary should be prosecuted for email shenanigans

Well slap my face and call me Sally.

The FBI's top lawyer in 2016 thought Hillary Clinton and her team should have immediately realized they were mishandling "highly classified" information based on the obviously sensitive nature of the emails' contents sent through her private server. And he believed she should have been prosecuted until "pretty late" in the investigation, according to a transcript of his closed-door testimony before congressional committees last October.

Former FBI general counsel James Baker said high-level officials at the bureau were "arguing about" whether to bring charges against Clinton, "I think, up until the end" -- and he initially thought Clinton's behavior was "alarming" and "appalling."

Pursuant to the "statutes that we were considering at the time," Baker told lawmakers, it was "the nature and scope of the classified information that, to me, initially, when I looked at it, I thought these folks should know that this stuff is classified, that it was alarming what they were talking about, especially some of the most highly classified stuff.

We were told by Comey the Redeemer that no reasonable prosecutor would bring charges against Hillary and her team for setting up a basement homebrewed internet server to conduct all United States Government State Department business: "although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case."

But Baker disagreed.

"And I understood that, that you had to be persuaded, and stated as a basis that ultimately you were persuaded there was a lack of evidence establishing knowledge or criminal intent, correct?" the lawmaker asked.

Again, Baker replied, "Yes."

Pressed on when exactly he changed his mind, Baker responded: "Sorry. Pretty late in the process, because we were arguing about it, I think, up until the end."'

Wow, and it keeps going.

"Well, I know there’s been a lot of public discussion about that," Baker said, referring to Comey's memos. "I believe if I had been persuaded that she had the intent, I would have argued that vociferously with him [Comey] and maybe changed his view. And I think he would have been receptive to changing his view even after he wrote that thing.”

He added: "My original belief — well, after having conducted the investigation and towards the end of it, then sitting down and reading a binder of her materials, I thought that it was alarming, appalling, whatever words I said, and argued with others about why they thought she shouldn’t be charged."

Baker acknowledged, "I was struggling with the facts about even just ascertaining what literally did she know and what was reasonable to infer about what she knew."

You don't need to have INTENT to be guilty of mishandling classified information. There are people in prison for the same crime who didn't have intent. What ridiculous reasoning. Read the full article.

Jussie Smollett case has gone from bad to worse

Smollett has been indicted.

He has hired Colin Kaepernick's lawyer.

Many clear-headed people doubted Smollett's story right out of the gate. If you weren't drunk with Trump-hatred, Smollett's claim that some MAGA hat-wearing, homophobic, white supremacist Empire fans were wandering around Chicago in subzero temperatures with some bleach and a noose...well, come on. It sounds ridiculous, right?

But more importantly, we know the media believed the story because they wanted to believe it. It fits their agenda and it fits their worldview. How many actual Trump voters do the elite media know? They probably don't know any, so of course they think MAGA heads are carrying around nooses and bleach in their camouflage jackets in case they see a gay, black man they can beat, right?

Remember this?

Did you ever notice many of these MAGA hate crimes happen in hardcore blue neighborhoods like Brooklyn, New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago? I had no idea so many Trump supporters live in these neighborhoods, but I'm supposed to believe lynchings are happening on the Upper West Side and on the NY Metro while not hearing reports from the deep South. Gimme a break.

Related:

Rep. Adam Schiff Deletes Sympathetic Tweet About Jussie Smollett

As it should be. Lemon: Smollett has lost in the court of public opinion

Omar apologizes to Jewish groups over her anti-Semitic tweets

Right.

Omar reportedly apologized in a confidential conference call with Jewish organizations on Tuesday night, according to multiple reports.

“Let me reiterate my sincere apology for any actual hurt my words have caused,” Omar reportedly said. “I know there are a lot of people who in the last weeks have expressed support in trying to say this isn’t anti-Semitic or this shouldn’t be looked at in that way.”

She added that it was up to the Jewish community to define anti-Semitism, according to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

“I do not want to give space or energy to anyone who wants to minimize the hurt,” she said.

Meanwhile, we have a fake hate group "watchdog" throwing accusations against their political enemies.

SPLC Whitewashes Democrats’ Ties To Anti-Semite Farrakhan, Nation Of Islam

Number of hate groups in US hits all-time high and Trump to blame: watchdog [fake watchdog, it's the SPLC]

Historical picture of the day:

U.S. President Richard Nixon shakes hands with Communist Chinese leader Mao Tse-Tung during Nixon's historic trip to China on February 21, 1972, in Peking. (AP Photo)

Other morsels:

Buh-bye. Trump says Alabama woman who joined ISIS should not return to US

Yikes: Coast Guard officer accused of plotting to kill Democrats, journalists

Soon? Bombshell Mueller report may never be fully revealed

79-year-old woman fends off intruder by firing 2 shots inside her Georgia home, 911 call reveals

Johnson & Johnson receives federal subpoenas related to baby powder litigation

Two cardinals blame 'plague of the homosexual agenda' for clerical sexual abuse

These North Korean Ambassadors Made It Out Of The Country Alive. But One Of Their Daughters Got Sent Back

Mentally ill man wounds eleven in yet another China knife attack

Michael Cohen to testify publicly before House committee next week

Frozen strawberry shipment from Mexico contained $12.7 million worth of meth, authorities say

Covington Catholic High student's lawyer says lawsuit is 'message' for 'weaponized' Washington Post

Soy latte Swalwell bypasses coffee inside Trump Tower, tweets about it

German police raid 16 homes of suspected Islamic extremists

I guess we are all okay with this now. Virginia governor cancels first stop on listening tour after blackface controversy

And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!

Paula: Roger Stone is a clown and has been since the days of the Nixon administration. You know the Mueller investigation must be nearing the end when he's down the smallest of small fry like Stone and Jerome Corsi. As Ned Sparks says in the greatest movie ever made, Gold Diggers of 1933:

A month ago Jussie Smollett tweeted out some smack about President Trump and his supporters: "across the world...no matter the border...from sea to shining sea" ... Trump and his "white hooded cohorts are a national disgrace."

Uh-huh. Who's the national disgrace now, Jussie?

#JusticeForJussie #Clowns

Not a good day in court for Roger Stone:

Stone was ordered back to court after he posted an Instagram picture of U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson. The AP reports:

A judge has imposed a full gag order on Trump confidant Roger Stone after he posted a photo on Instagram of the judge with what appeared to be crosshairs of a gun.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Thursday she believes Stone would “pose a danger” to others in the case if she didn’t institute the order.

Jackson ordered Stone to court to show why she shouldn’t modify or revoke his bail or implement a full gag order. The judge had already issued an order limiting comments in the case.

The 66-year-old Stone said the post was an egregious mistake and the symbol was a logo, not crosshairs.

Another feel-good story:

More of this please. I want to see all malicious deep state leakers prosecuted. These people aren't whistleblowers -- they're A-holes.

Here's your feel-good story for the day:

Poor Don Lemon. He's brokenhearted for Jussie Smollett because it didn't have to happen this way.

Jussie could still have won "in the court of public opinion" after perpetrating this hoax -- if he'd had just been smarter about his public appearances -- or something?

This is bizarre:

Hat tip Ace.

These people are absolutely pathological.

 

The Hill reports that "MSNBC did not cover breaking news of 'Empire' actor Jussie Smollett being charged with filing a false police report about an attack in Chicago during its prime-time programs on Wednesday night."

Chicago police announced just before 8 p.m. that Smollett was being charged with faking his own attack, prompting Fox News and CNN to cover the story heavily for the remainder of the evening.

But a review by The Hill of all four MSNBC programs from 8 p.m. to midnight showed no coverage of the Smollett story.

MSNBC did not immediately reply to a request for comment from The Hill.

Honestly, I'm not surprised.

Live news conference going on right now where the state's attorney rep just revealed that Jussie Smollett bought ecstasy from one of the brothers. They're reading the text messages at this link. It's insane.

Steve, on Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine's proposed gas tax, I can't improve upon what my friend Doug Deeken, chairman of the Wayne County GOP, wrote on Facebook yesterday:

With all due respect Governor DeWine, I object to tax increases in general and this one in particular.

I hear people arguing that it’s OK since we haven’t raised gas taxes since 2005. Those of you in politics, do you remember the results of the 2006 election here in Ohio? I sure do. Want a repeat of that? I sure don’t.

Furthermore, the correct approach is to address the reasons why state construction projects are so expensive. Going broke is from excessive and wasteful spending, not insufficient revenue.

I encourage the administration to change their course on this. It is bad policy and bad politics. Failing that, I urge the General Assembly to stand up against this tax increase and exercise fiscal discipline.

In 2006 incumbent Sen. Mike DeWine was trounced, losing by 13 points to Sherrod Brown, who has been comfortably parked in that Senate seat ever since. The gubernatorial election was an outright bloodbath — Democrat Ted Strickland beat Ken Blackwell by 24 freaking points. It was an utter embarrassment for the Ohio GOP and likely paved the way for Obama to win the state two years later. No one (who is not part of the permanent political class or a member of a trade union) wants to see a repeat of that debacle.