The Morning Briefing: James Comey, Tucker Carlson, Criminal Justice Reform, and Much Much More

Tucker Carlson smiles on Fox News set.

Happy Tuesday morning!

While you were minding your own business yesterday...

James Comey was doing damage control

After a closed-door meeting with Republicans and Democrats in Congress focused on the Clinton investigation and the Russia investigation, former FBI Director James Comey launched into the GOP, clearly attempting to distract from the gravity of something he admitted behind closed doors.

From CNN:

"Somebody has to stand up and speak for the FBI," Comey told reporters after his nearly six-hour interview with members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees. "People who know better, including Republican members of this body, have to have the courage to stand up and speak the truth, not be cowed by mean tweets or fear of their base. There is a truth and they're not telling it. Their silence is shameful."

Comey's comments came after he spent more than five hours behind closed doors on Monday with Republicans and Democrats. He was questioned on the FBI's handling of both the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the Russia investigation.

Comey issued a fiery and defiant statement as he left Monday, charging Trump and Republicans with damaging the FBI's reputation and asserting that "damage has nothing to do with me."

"The FBI's reputation has taken a big hit because the President of the United States has lied about it constantly," Comey said.

Behind closed doors, Comey defended the FBI, saying he and the bureau made the right call in 2017 when he rebuffed Trump's requests to announce publicly that the President wasn't under investigation, a source familiar with the interview told CNN.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders wasn't buying it.

Meanwhile, the first reporter who met with Christopher Steele, the British spy behind the Trump-Russia dossier, admits the dossier as not been "vindicated." The FBI also released part of the Russia dossier used to brief Trump in January 2017. The document did not name Steele or mention the fact that the Clinton campaign and the DNC were behind the dossier's funding.

Much ado about nothing

Liberal activist groups have again attempted to pressure companies to distance themselves from a Fox News show over supposedly horrible comments.

Two companies announced they are pulling advertisements from "Tucker Carlson Tonight" after Tucker said that the "immigration crisis" in America makes the country "poorer and dirtier and more divided."

Pacific Life decided to pull their ads on Friday.

Nautilus, the parent company of Bowflex, announced it also has pulled its ads from the show, The Hollywood Reporter said on Monday.

"It is a shame that left-wing advocacy groups, under the guise of being supposed 'media watchdogs' weaponize social media against companies in an effort to stifle free speech," a Fox News spokesperson told The Hill. "We continue to stand by and work with our advertisers through these unfortunate and unnecessary distractions."

Carlson responded Monday night, declaring that he and his show will not be silenced by the bullying. He also explained how the illegal immigration crisis has resulted in garbage strewn across the Western deserts.

Carlson added, "I like immigration. I like immigrants."

None of that stopped Rep. Tedd Lieu (D-Calif.) from saying Tucker hates immigrants.

Bipartisan reform

It's not every day that Republicans and Democrats agree on something, especially in the Trump era. But on Monday, the Senate made huge strides toward passing the First Step Act, a major piece of criminal justice reform legislation. Here's Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) on the subject:

President Donald Trump strongly supports the legislation, and it is likely to pass the House easily. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had been holding it up, but Trump finally got McConnell to bring it to the floor.

Organizations on both the Right and the Left have been working on this issue for decades, and this progress is a wonderful Christmas present for the millions who suffer under long mandatory minimum sentences and other abuses of the drug war.

Photo of the day

On this day (December 18) in 1957, the world's first full-scale nuclear power plant began to generate electricity at the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Pennsylvania. Nuclear power remains one of the absolute best options for providing large amounts of electricity at a low cost (after the plants are built) and with a comparatively small environmental impact, and it does not deserve the stigma associated with it. Most nuclear power is extremely safe — although a few high-profile disasters immediately come to mind when people first mention it.

Tragically, the Shippingport Atomic Power Station is no longer in service. It was safely dismantled in 1987, after being turned off in 1982.

Interior view of 25-foot (8m) steel walls of the reactor, which are 8 inches (20 cm) thick, of the Shippingport Atomic Power Station in Shippingport, Pa., USA, June 22, 1987. Built 30 years ago, it's the largest nuclear plant to be dismantled, rather than entombed or mothballed. (AP Photo/Gene Puskar)

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