News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Steinle Verdict, Today's Harassment Allegation Advent Calendar and Much, Much More

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump stand on stage after lighting the 2017 National Christmas Tree on the Ellipse near the White House, Thursday, Nov. 30, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Good Friday morning!

Here is what’s on the president’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
  • The president will then meet with Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj of Libya.
  • In the afternoon, the president will have lunch with Secretary of Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
  • In the evening, the president will give remarks at the White House Christmas reception.

Illegal Alien found not-guilty in Kate Steinle murder

This is straight-up disgusting. Of course, President Trump weighed in on the verdict last night:

This morning the president tweeted:

CBS News describes Jose Ines Garcia Zarate as a “Mexican man” rather than the more accurate description of “a seven-time convicted illegal alien felon who had been deported from the U.S. five times before the shooting.” Oh well.

Zarate claimed that he “found” the gun used to kill Kate Steinle and that it accidentally fired, killing her. Guns don’t “accidentally fire.” This is just a lefty myth.

Before the shooting, Garcia Zarate had finished a federal prison sentence for illegal re-entry into the United States and was transferred in March 2015 to San Francisco’s jail to face a 20-year-old charge for selling marijuana.

The sheriff’s department released him a few days later after the district attorney dropped the marijuana charge, despite a U.S. request to detain him for deportation.

San Francisco is a sanctuary city, meaning San Francisco does not cooperate with federal authorities or recognize federal immigration law, so Zarate was not detained as requested by the feds but rather was released into the public to roam freely and do whatever it is he does.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a statement following the verdict.

“While the State of California sought a murder charge for the man who caused Ms. Steinle’s death—a man who would not have been on the streets of San Francisco if the city simply honored an ICE detainer—the people ultimately convicted him of felon in possession of a firearm,” Sessions said.

“When jurisdictions choose to return criminal aliens to the streets rather than turning them over to federal immigration authorities, they put the public’s safety at risk,” Sessions said in the statement. “San Francisco’s decision to protect criminal aliens led to the preventable and heartbreaking death of Kate Steinle.”

“I urge the leaders of the nation’s communities to reflect on the outcome of this case and consider carefully the harm they are doing to their citizens by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement officers,” Sessions finished.

Zarate’s attorney took a victory lap after the jury announced its decision.

Defense attorney Matt Gonzalez, speaking after the verdict was read Thursday in California, said the jury heard the evidence in the case and their verdict “should be respected.”

“For those who might criticize this verdict – there are a number of people who have commented on this case in the last couple of years; the Attorney General of the United States and the President and Vice President of the United States,” Gonzalez said, according to a local CBS affiliate.

“Let me just remind them: they are themselves under investigation by a special prosecutor in Washington D.C. and they may soon avail themselves of the presumption of innocence beyond a reasonable doubt, so I ask that they reflect on that before they comment or disparage the results of this case.”

No, they aren’t under investigation.

Here’s my question: what other federal laws are cities free to ignore? Gun laws? Abortion?

[Alleged] harassment update

Every morning I wake up and fire up my computer, wondering what will be behind the window on today’s sexual harassment advent calendar. Here’s the latest: Senator Al Franken had two more accusers pop up. Stephanie Kemplin is an Army veteran who claims Franken touched her inappropriately during a USO tour back in 2003. The other accuser is remaining anonymous. The Senate Ethics Committee, which I explained earlier this week is a useless operation that will result in absolutely nothing, has opened a preliminary investigation into Franken.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has called for Rep. John Conyers to resign. Finally! It took her four days. Conyers, 88! years old, is currently in a hospital back in his district suffering from an acute case of scandalitis. Conyers’ attorney Arnold Reed said at a press conference that “it’s not up to Nancy Pelosi. Nancy Pelosi did not elect the congressman, and she sure as hell won’t be the one to tell the congressman to leave. That decision will be completely up to the congressman.” Black lawmakers are asking why Conyers (black) is being asked to resign but not Franken (white).

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have been privately airing concerns about a double standard within Democrats’ ranks since sexual harassment allegations against Conyers, the longest-serving House member and a founder of the CBC, first surfaced last week. Their concerns were thrust into the open Thursday when Conyers’ lawyer hinted that Conyers was being treated differently than Franken because of race.

“Nancy Pelosi is going to have to explain what is the discernible difference between Al Franken and John Conyers,” Arnold Reed, Conyers’ attorney, told reporters after the House Minority Leader said Conyers should resign.

I agree. Franken needs to go too.

Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) has speculated that the claims against Conyers are “suspicious?” because they are coming from white women. Not a peep from the National Organization of Women on Clyburn’s comments.

I wonder how this battle of intersectionality will play out.

Moving away from Capitol Hill to 30 Rock, Matt “rape button” Lauer wants $30 million after he was fired for [allegedly] harassing/raping his co-workers. “They are currently looking at his contract and determining whether the claims against him, which clearly would affect any moral clause in his contract and his ensuing termination would cut off his contractual rights to be paid through to the end of his contract,” a source close to Lauer told Page Six. Maybe Lauer is legally entitled to the money. He may have had a “Weinstein clause” in his employment contract.

CNN explains to you why Alabamans might vote for Roy Moore despite the allegations made against him. (Because they hate CNN? Just tossing that out there…)

Bette Midler wants to know why Geraldo Rivera apologized for mansplaining that journalism is a “flirty” industry in regard to the allegations made against Matt Lauer, but hasn’t apologized for this: “He and his producer left the crew in the other room, they pushed me into my bathroom, they broke two poppers [the drug amyl nitrite] and pushed them under my nose and proceeded to grope me,” Midler told Barbara Walters in an interview.

Vice Magazine has fired three employees:

…amid an ongoing investigation into sexual harassment and misconduct in the workplace.

Vice did not name the employees, but said their conduct “ranged from verbal and sexual harassment to other behavior that is inconsistent with our policies, our values, and the way in which we believe colleagues should work together.”

This entire national harassment epidemic is getting really weird with my next item: Beastie Boys’ Adam Horovitz sides with women accusing his famous father of sexual abuse. Horovitz’s father is playwright and artistic director Israel Horovitz. “I believe the allegations against my father are true, and I stand behind the women that made them,” said the Beastie Boy.

“Actress” Pamela Anderson tells Megyn Kelly that Harvey Weinstein’s victims should have been more careful around him. “It was common knowledge that certain producers or certain people in Hollywood or people to avoid, privately,” she told Kelly. “You know what you’re getting into if you’re going into a hotel room alone.”

“When I came to Hollywood, of course I had a lot of offers to do private auditions and things that made absolutely no sense,” she said. “Just common sense: don’t go into a hotel room alone. If someone enters a door in a bathrobe, leave. These things that are common sense.”

Finally, our last destination will be Silicon Valley. Alaska Air is investigating a sexual harassment claim by Randi Zuckerberg of the Facebook Zuckerbergs.

Zuckerberg wrote on social media late on Wednesday that she boarded the first-class cabin on a flight from Los Angeles to Mazatlan, Mexico, when a passenger in a seat near her began making lewd and explicit sexual remarks to her.

“Feeling furious, disgusted and degraded,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post detailing her experience. She said her complaints were dismissed by flight attendants.

Whew! It’s exhausting detailing all these soul-killing allegations. But I do it for you, my audience, so you don’t have to.

Rest in Peace Jim Nabors

Other morsels:

President Trump, first lady Melania Trump light National Christmas Tree

Officials: Trump mulls calling Jerusalem Israel’s capital

Vox: Don’t fear impeachment, normalize it

Mulvaney: Authority I have at consumer bureau ‘should frighten people’

Trump weighs plan to oust Tillerson, put CIA’s boss at State

Replacing Tillerson With Pompeo Would Supplant a Moderate With a Hawk

Sports Illustrated To Honor Kaepernick With Muhammad Ali Legacy Award

Judge questions Fusion GPS claims in Trump dossier probe

US cancels Trump’s visit to UK after anti-Muslim tweet backlash

Las Vegas Strip takes a revenue hit in month after massacre

Michigan AG Candidate: Don’t Vote For People With Penises

Dog shoots hunter after man leaves shotgun on ground

Blake Shelton slams rumor alleging he had a secret meeting with Paul Ryan

In-N-Out is expanding to Colorado

A net neutrality supporter allegedly threatened to kill a congressman and his family if he didn’t back the internet rules

Paul Manafort reached an $11 million bail agreement with Mueller’s team

WHITE HOUSE: Cryptocurrencies are ‘being monitored by our team’

American says it has found pilots for most Christmas flights

Sen. McCain says he’ll back the Senate GOP tax plan

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