News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Mueller's Circus, Days of Rage and Much, Much More

Masked Palestinian militants from Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, a militia linked to the Fatah movement, give a press conference to condemn the decision by U.S. President Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital, in Gaza City, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2017. A number of U.S. allies in the Middle East are condemning the decision, with the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia urging Washington to reconsider and reverse the announcement. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

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 have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.
  • In the afternoon, the President will meet with Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
  • The President will then depart the White House for Joint Base Andrews, en route to Pensacola, FL.
  • In the evening, the President will arrive in Pensacola, FL, and will participate in a Make America Great Again Rally.
  • The President will then depart Pensacola, FL, en route to West Palm Beach, FL.

The Mueller circus

Yesterday we learned that another one of Mueller’s “top DOJ officials” has been demoted because of contacts with Fusion GPS, the firm that created the salacious Trump dossier. According to Obama DOJ victim James Rosen:

Initially senior department officials could not provide the reason for [Bruce G.] Ohr’s demotion, but Fox News has learned that evidence collected by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., indicates that Ohr met during the 2016 campaign with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who authored the “dossier.”

Oh, really?

Additionally, House investigators have determined that Ohr met shortly after the election with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS – the opposition research firm that hired Steele to compile the dossier with funds supplied by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. By that point, according to published reports, the dossier had been in the hands of the FBI, which exists under the aegis of DOJ, for some five months, and the surveillance on Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump campaign, had started more than two months prior.

So now the count is at two officials that had to be removed from the special council’s “investigation” because of their suspicious partisan activities.

Sara Carter reports Rep. Devin Nunes, House Intelligence Committee chairman, is planning on a subpoena for Mr. Ohr.

Speaking of Nunes, what’s up with that Ethics Committee investigation he’s been under? He’s been cleared.

The House Ethics Committee has cleared House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes of any wrongdoing in its investigation into whether the Republican improperly disclosed classified information to the Trump White House.

Excellent news!

[Alleged] harassment update

Yesterday, soon-to-be former Senator Al Franken announced that he would be resigning “soon,” made some nasty remarks about Trump, didn’t apologize to his accusers and said some of the accusations weren’t true.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) announced last night that he would be resigning, effective January 31, 2018. Franks is under investigation for talking to two former staffers about being a surrogate for his child. Is this sexual harassment? I don’t know — maybe I’m jaded by the fact that we have a RAPE BUTTON on the index of sexual harassment now, but I see this as highly inappropriate rather than sexual harassment. Good thing sexual harassment training is on the rise inside the beltway.

Another beltway bandit is being investigated by the Ethics Committee: Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX), “after he reportedly settled a claim brought by his former communications director using taxpayer money.” I think the amount we, the taxpayers, paid out on behalf of Farenthold is in the neighborhood of $80,000. Rep. Mia Love has called for Farenthold to resign.

Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. (D-TN) is next in the roundup. Ford was fired from Morgan Stanley for inappropriate behavior, allegedly.

HuffPost on Thursday reported that a woman interviewed by human resources as part of the investigation alleged that Ford forcibly grabbed her during a professional meeting in Manhattan several years ago. Ford allegedly harassed and intimidated the woman and continued to contact her after the encounter until she wrote an email asking him to stop. The woman is not an employee of Morgan Stanley but worked with Ford professionally, HuffPost reported.

Moving along to possible members of the Senate, the National Republican Senatorial Committee head honcho Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) has said that Roy Moore will never have the committee’s support.

On the Hollywood beat, The Daily Caller has put together this handy slide show of all the celebrities accused of sexual assault/harassment.

X-men director Bryan Singer is being sued for assaulting a minor on a yacht. This is not the first lawsuit against Singer.

Underage extras on the Apt Pupil sued in 1997, claiming filmmakers told them to actually get naked for a shower scene. That complaint failed in court. Singer faced another unsuccessful lawsuit in 2014. Ugly rumors persisted nonetheless. When he recently lost his job on the Freddie Mercury biopic, some speculated that this had to do with a sexual assault allegation, though he said he just had health problems that interfered with work. In recent months, other high-profile men lost their perch amid sexual misconduct claims.

Another person has stepped forward with accusations against Kevin Spacey.

Ari Behn is the former husband of Princess Martha Louise of Norway, who is fourth in line to the Norwegian throne. Behn recently told a Norwegian radio station that back in 2007 he was groped by actor Kevin Spacey while attending a Nobel Peace Prize Concert hosted by Spacey and actress Uma Thurman. Behn was seated next to Spacey and says they had a good conversation until things took an unexpected turn.

“After five minutes, he says ‘Hey, let’s go out and have a cigarette’ – and then he takes me under the table in the middle of my balls.” Wow.

Renee Zellweger says Harvey Weinstein is a liar for claiming she performed sexual favors for him. “If Harvey said that, he’s full of s–t,” a rep for the actress said in a statement. Zellwegger has appeared in numerous Weinstein productions.

Finally, James Levine, of the Metropolitan Opera, denies the unfounded allegations against him.

Let’s get ready to rumble

Following President Trump’s announcement that the United States would recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, warnings sounded out about the Palestinian/Muslim backlash. We’ve seen Days of Rage before and they usually end with a high body count for the Palestinians, not so much for the Israelis. Yesterday the “festivities” began:

On Thursday, Palestinian protesters clashed with Israeli forces in Jerusalem, Ramallah and other places in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. In some places, demonstrators burning American flags and posters of Trump. Palestinian Red Crescent said that more than 100 people were injured.

Still, the backlash against Trump’s recognition of Israel’s right to call Jerusalem its capital rippled across the wider region, with hundreds of demonstrators gathering outside the U.S. Embassy in neighboring Jordan holding placards reading “Decision Rejected” and “No to U.S. arrogance.” Criticisms continued to flow in from governments in the Middle East, Europe and beyond, with U.S. friends and adversaries alike voicing disapproval and alarm.

Actor and foreign policy savant Mark Ruffalo tweeted out some “advice” to Israel.

How about you tell the Palestinians not to freak out? How about that?

Adam Kredo over at Free Beacon has a piece on how the “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood and our “partner in peace” Iran have threatened violence following Trump’s Jerusalem announcement.

Historical picture of the day:

This was the scene outside the gates of the Dakota apartment building on Central Park West in New York, Dec. 8, 1980, as news of the murder of former Beatle John Lennon was announced. (AP Photo/David Handschuh)

Other morsels

Congress passes 2-week stopgap to avoid government shutdown

Russian social media exec reached out to Scavino, Trump Jr. during campaign: report

Gay marriage becomes law in Australia; weddings start in Jan

Pelosi: Democrats are prepared to shut down the government over DACA

House Dem John Lewis says he’ll skip civil rights museum opening over Trump’s attendance

Fat squirrel steals pricey goods left out for delivery folks

Planned Parenthood under investigation by Justice Department over sale of fetal tissue

Texas gun owner shoots, kills man trying to rob him and family at Popeyes, report says

Veterinarians seek permission to research pot meds for pets

Less-guarded Sessions spars with interns in internal DOJ video

Widower, children sue estate of Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock for $45M

And that’s all I’ve got, now go enjoy your weekend!