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The Latest: Gantz votes in Israel, calls for ‘new dawn’

The Latest on Israel's election (all times local):

9:40 a.m.

Benny Gantz, the main challenger to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel's general elections, has cast his ballot, calling for a "new dawn" for the country.

Gantz voted early on Tuesday in his hometown of Rosh Haayin in central Israel alongside his wife, Revital. He called on all Israelis to get out and vote, saying they should "take responsibility" for their democracy.

He says that voting will "let us all wake up for a new dawn, a new history."

Gantz's Blue and White party has inched ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud in polls. Netanyahu still appears to have the best chance of forming a coalition, though, with a smattering of small nationalist parties backing him.

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07:00 a.m.

Voting has begun in the Israeli elections as the country decides whether longtime Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains in power.

Polling stations opened at 7 a.m. Tuesday with exit polls expected at the end of the voting day at 10 p.m. Official results are expected to come in overnight.

Clouded by a series of looming corruption indictments, Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term in office. It would make him Israel's longest-ever serving leader, surpassing founding father David Ben-Gurion.

He faces a stiff challenge from retired military chief Benny Gantz, whose Blue and White party has inched ahead of Netanyahu's Likud in polls. Netanyahu still appears to have the best chance of forming a coalition, though, with a smattering of small nationalist parties backing him.

Source: Fox News World

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Chicago to Bill Jussie Smollett for Investigation Cost

Actor Jussie Smollett will face a “bill” for the cost of the investigation into his assault, which prosecutors alleged he staged himself before dropping all charges against him, Page Six reports.

“The City of Chicago will be sending Mr. Smollett a bill,” Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.

“From a 30,000-foot view, the bill will include the hours, the overtime, the financial costs and the resources that were used” in the investigation.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said on Thursday that the city’s corporation counsel will sent a bill to Smollett and his legal team after the police calculate the total cost.

“When [Smollett] does pay the city back on just what the taxpayers have fronted, in that memo section [of the check], he can write, ‘I’m sorry and I’m accountable for what I’ve done,'” Emanuel said, according to USA Today.
“I want clarity, I want accountability I want responsibility for a hoax that was committed,” Emanuel added.

Smollett’s legal team told the newspaper in a statement that “It is the Mayor and the Police Chief who owe Jussie - owe him an apology - for dragging an innocent man’s character through the mud. Jussie has paid enough.”

“Jussie Smollett thinks that hate-filled environment that the president created, pinning one American against another because of their background. ... He thought he could take advantage of and create a hoax [through] a hate crime,” Emanuel said. “It’s a vicious toxic environment and cycle. I want to break it.”

Source: NewsMax America

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Mark Levin: 'Sick' Democratic Party is the 'greatest threat to our constitution and economic system'

The Democrats’ dramatic, leftward turn is proof of how “sick” the party has become and why it is “the greatest threat to the constitution,” according to Fox News Channel’s Mark Levin.

Levin, a best-selling author whose daily broadcast is heard by more than 10 million listeners on nearly 400 stations and who also hosts Fox News’ “Life, Liberty & Levin,” delivered the explosive diagnosis during “Hannity” on Thursday night.

After Sean Hannity mentioned some of the recent pushes by Dems to scrap the Electoral College and stack the Supreme Court, Levin launched his attack.

“The greatest threat to our constitution and economic system isn’t any foreign power, it’s the Democrat party,” he said. “It’s the leftists within the Democrat party, because they use our liberty and our constitution to destroy our liberty and our constitution, and they’re very good at it. Look at this, you named some of them.”

CONSERVATIVE HOST MARK LEVIN CLAIMS 'SILENT COUP' WARNING JUSTIFIED BY McCABE, ROSENSTEIN REPORTS

Levin then turned his attention to Democratic presidential candidates who declined invitations to a key pro-Israel policy group's conference next week, an annual meeting that has usually been a must-attend meeting for members of both parties, in what some see as a further sign of the party's growing disdain for the Jewish state.

Sens. Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke and many others have said they won’t be attending the American Israel Public Affairs Committee's annual Policy (AIPAC) conference, a move that coincides with a moneyed progressive advocacy group’s call to boycott the event.

“This is a sick party,” Levin said. “These are sick people running for president of the United States. There is no other explanation for this.”

TOP 2020 DEMOCRATS SNUB AIPAC CONFERENCE WITH LITTLE OR NO EXPLANATION

MoveOn.org, a group that spent around $3.5 million in the 2018 midterm elections, called on the 2020 Democratic candidates to skip the conference, even though in the past all presidential candidates viewed the AIPAC conference as a crucial campaign stop.

The three-day conference this year will be headlined by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Vice President Mike Pence, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, and Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

So far no Democrats who are officially running for president have issued a statement confirming their attendance at the conference.

Sanders’ aide Josh Orton told media outlets that the leading candidate among the Democrats won’t be attending because “he’s concerned about the platform AIPAC is providing for leaders who have expressed bigotry and oppose a two-state solution” in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

2020 DEMS TAKE AIM AT FILIBUSTER, SAY SENATE TRADITION SHOULD 'GO THE WAY OF HISTORY'

Other candidates such as Kamala Harris or Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, confirmed that they don't plan to attend the conference, but provided no explanation for their decisions.

Harris addressed the AIPAC in 2017, saying it was “an honor” to speak there and praised the group’s leadership. “And I'm proud to say and be among the many voices represented here, the California delegation is the largest and hopefully the loudest. There you go,” she said.

O’Rourke criticized the embattled Israeli prime minister during a campaign stop earlier this week, saying Netanyahu “has openly sided with racists.”

“Right now, we don’t have the best-negotiating partners on either side. We have a prime minister in Israel who has openly sided with racists,” he charged.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Other Democratic candidates who won’t be attending the conference are Julian Castro, Pete Buttigieg, and Rep. John Delaney, though the latter politician said he’s unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts.

AIPAC is a non-partisan organization that seeks to foster the relationship between the U.S. and Israel. The group, despite misleading portrayals on the far-left, supports a two-state solution and doesn’t endorse nor donate to political candidates.

Fox News' Lukas Mikelionis contributed to this report

Source: Fox News Politics

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Bounce house employee, 18, took photos of girl, 7, performed lewd acts, police say

An 18-year-old California man was arrested Monday after allegedly taking inappropriate photos and committing lewd acts with a 7-year-old girl at an indoor bounce house, authorities said.

Tavi Benelli, an employee at the Pump It Up Bounce House in Belmont, allegedly escorted the child to a private room before he inappropriately touched and took photos of her, the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said.

SEVERAL ARRESTED IN LOUISIANA SEX TRAFFICKING, FACE-TATTOOING OF MINORS BUST

Benelli allegedly told the child to turn around and jump up and down as he took photos, the San Mateo Daily Journal reported. He allegedly also told her there was a dead bug on her posterior and brushed it off.

The child’s nanny reported the crime to her parents, who then told the police, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Deputies arrived at the bounce house and interviewed Benelli. Prosecutors allege that the suspect had tried to delete photos of the child from his phone before speaking to police, the Daily Journal reported.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Benelli pleaded not guilty in court Tuesday to felony charges of committing a lewd act with a child under age 14 and destroying or concealing evidence along with a misdemeanor of molesting or annoying a minor, the Daily Journal reported. He could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

His bail was set at $350,000. He is next due in court on April 15.

Source: Fox News National

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Airbus CEO Enders’ ‘golden parachute’ excessive: French finance minister

FILE PHOTO: Airbus CEO Tom Enders attends Airbus's annual press conference on Full-Year 2018 results in Blagnac
FILE PHOTO: Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders attends Airbus's annual press conference on Full-Year 2018 results in Blagnac, near Toulouse, France February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

April 2, 2019

PARIS (Reuters) – An almost 40 million euros ($44.78 million) golden parachute farewell that Airbus’ outgoing Chief Executive Tom Enders could get is excessive and may harm the company’s image, France’s finance minister said in remarks published on Tuesday.

Le Monde newspaper reported that his departure package was worth 36.8 million euros, citing a calculation made by corporate governance firm Proxinvest.

Two people familiar with the company told Reuters the deal was closer to 40 million euros.

“The figure announced regarding Tom Enders is obviously excessive and could harm the reputation of Airbus,” Finance Minister Bruno le Maire told Les Echos newspaper. “I call on the directors of Airbus to draw the (necessary) conclusions.”

Airbus declined to comment.

(Reporting by John Irish and Tim Hepher; editing by Leigh Thomas)

Source: OANN

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Indonesia opposition says could challenge discrepancies in voter list

An election official records votes in Tangerang, west of Jakarta
FILE PHOTO: An election official records votes in Tangerang, west of Jakarta, Indonesia, June 27, 2018. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

April 1, 2019

By Ed Davies

JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia’s opposition has uncovered data irregularities affecting millions of people in the election rolls and vowed on Monday to take legal action, or use “people power”, if its complaints were not resolved.

The world’s third-biggest democracy holds elections on April 17, with the incumbent, President Joko Widodo, now enjoying a double-digit lead in most opinion polls over his challenger, retired general Prabowo Subianto.

But the opposition is dissatisfied with the response by the election commission (KPU) after it found anomalies, such as errors in dates of birth, or duplicate identity card numbers, affecting 17.5 million people, or about 9 percent of the 192 million voters, an opposition official said.

“We will continue to demand our right, as one of the contestants in this election, that this be resolved as quickly as possible,” Hashim Djojohadikusumo, media director for the opposition campaign, told a news conference.

If not settled, such issues could raise questions over the legitimacy of the vote, he said, citing a chaotic recent election in neighboring Thailand that provoked criticism of how authorities ran the poll and accusations of manipulated results.

There was a “clear possibility” the opposition could go to the constitutional court unless it obtained satisfactory answers, he said, adding that if fraud was proven then “people power” street protests could also be a legitimate response.

Viryan Azis, a commissioner at the KPU, told Reuters the election commission had “responded positively” to issues raised by the opposition, had clarified the data with other agencies and conducted sampling. The opposition would receive a written response as well as evidence from the field, he added.

Another KPU commissioner, Wahyu Setiawan, told the Republika news portal that all parties should use legal channels if they felt there was fraud in the election.

Ma’ruf Amin, the vice presidential running mate of President Widodo, was cited by Tempo.co as saying his side did not cheat and wanted a transparent election.

In 2014, the constitutional court rejected an attempt by Prabowo, as he is usually known as in Indonesia, to overturn his loss in the election over claims it was tainted by cheating.

Political analyst Kevin O’Rourke said voter list issues had been problematic for some time, due partly to dysfunction between different authorities overseeing the data.

However, he added, “Organizing systematic fraud on a scale capable of swaying the outcome would be virtually impossible to conceal, given the extensive role of election monitoring agencies, observer groups and witnesses from each contestant’s campaign.”

Nonetheless, O’Rourke said that if one side did challenge the result in the constitutional court, a ruling would not come until Aug. 8, ushering in several months of uncertainty.

(Additional reporting by Jessica Damiana and Tabita Diela; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

Source: OANN

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Republicans want census data on citizenship for redistricting

FILE PHOTO: A community activist holds a sign in Chinese and English at an event to mark the one-year-out launch of the 2020 Census efforts in Boston
FILE PHOTO: A community activist holds a sign in Chinese and English at an event to mark the one-year-out launch of the 2020 Census efforts in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

April 8, 2019

By Nick Brown

NEW YORK (Reuters) – John Murante, a conservative Nebraska senator, last year introduced a bill to prevent non-citizens from being counted when the state redraws its voting maps.

He said the effort aimed to ensure each election district contained similar numbers of voters, but opponents argued it intended to undermine the political power of immigrant communities.

Murante’s bill died after its critics pointed out a lack of granular data on where the state’s non-citizens live.

That data may soon be available.

The Trump administration believes its proposed question about citizenship on the 2020 Census will help states that want to draw citizens-only voting districts in the next round of redistricting by providing the first comprehensive data on non-citizens in about 70 years, according to a Reuters review of court and federal register documents and interviews with more than a dozen state lawmakers.

Such a change would provide a new opportunity for Republican-controlled states – those most likely to adopt citizens-only redistricting – to redraw their voting maps in a way that could help their party win more state-level elections.

Currently, state and federal voting districts are drawn to be roughly equal in population, regardless of how many residents can legally vote. That means tallies for district-drawing purposes include non-citizens, such as green-card holders and undocumented immigrants.

Democrats and immigrant rights activists say this system ensures elected leaders represent everyone in their district who depends on public services such as schools and trash pickup, regardless of voting eligibility.

Republicans argue that districts should be the same size so each vote carries the same weight. If one district has far fewer eligible voters than another, each vote there has more influence on election outcomes.

That’s a problem for Republicans because the eligible voters in immigrant-heavy districts tend to support Democrats.

Trump administration officials have been considering the merits of citizens-only redistricting since 2017 – well before announcing their intention in March 2018 to add the citizenship question to the decennial survey, according to court documents filed as part of litigation over the citizenship question.

And in December, the Census Bureau issued a notice in the Federal Register saying that if any states “indicate a need for … citizenship data” to use in redistricting, it would “make a design change” to provide it.

Republican lawmakers in Texas, Arizona, Missouri and Nebraska told Reuters they would consider making use of the citizenship data if it became available.

The tactic is prohibited at the federal level by past U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have interpreted the U.S. constitution as requiring that U.S. House districts be based on total population. But the court, in a 2016 case known as Evenwel v. Abbott, left the door open for state-level districts to use other metrics.

The Commerce Department, which includes the Census Bureau, declined to comment on whether redistricting was part of the motivation for proposing the citizenship question.

James Whitehorne, the chief of the Census Bureau’s Redistricting & Voting Rights Office, called the federal register notice routine. “We’re supposed to provide states with what they identify as needing,” he said.

U.S. voting districts are drawn at the state level, most often by state legislators, giving the party in power control over how the lines are redrawn.

While both Republicans and Democrats frame the debate over citizen-only districts around fairness, demographic experts point out that both sides have a lot at stake politically.

Data from the nonpartisan APM Research Lab showed that 95 of the 100 U.S. congressional districts with the highest foreign-born populations are represented by Democrats. Similar data for state-level seats was not available.

Redrawing such districts with citizen-only populations would give Republicans a better shot by expanding the districts into more conservative areas, said Albert Kauffman, a professor at St. Mary’s School of Law in San Antonio who has studied redistricting and opposes excluding non-citizens.

In Texas, a citizens-only map could strip Latino voters of majorities in two or three state senate seats and six or seven state representative seats, Kauffman said, pointing out that Hispanic voters traditionally lean left.

“Democrats know they would probably lose seats at every level,” Kauffman said.

SUPREME CHALLENGE

Immigrant rights activists and Democratic-led cities and states have sued the Trump administration to prevent it from asking census respondents about their citizenship, and the Supreme Court will decide by June if the question can remain.

Opponents argue the administration aims to use the question to intimidate immigrants out of responding to the census, which would cost their communities political representation and a share of about $800 billion in annual federal aid allocated based on population.

The administration disputes that. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said his decision to add the question was aimed at getting the Justice Department the comprehensive citizenship data it needs to better enforce Voting Rights Act provisions that protect minorities from discrimination.

Ross has not publicly commented on how citizenship data might be used in redistricting. But Census records, as well as emails released during the litigation over the citizenship question, showed he was thinking about citizens-only redistricting well before he announced plans to add the question.

In April of 2017, at the behest of former White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, Ross spoke with former Kansas Secretary of State and noted immigration hawk Kris Kobach, according to the emails. One topic of discussion was “the problem that aliens … are still counted for congressional apportionment,” according to a subsequent email from Kobach to Ross describing their conversation.

The following month, Ross asked Commerce Senior Policy Advisor David Langdon to look into whether non-citizens, including illegal immigrants, are included in voting maps, according to Langdon’s deposition in the litigation over the citizenship question.

Kobach and Langdon did not respond to requests for comment.

ATTRACTING INTEREST

A handful of states will likely request the census data on citizenship if the question survives its legal challenges, state lawmakers and a Republican strategist told Reuters.

Lawmakers and state officials from Arizona, Missouri, Nebraska and Texas said in interviews they are considering citizen-only districts. Republicans in Tennessee also voiced support for citizens-only redistricting in court papers filed in the Evenwel Supreme Court case. Reuters reached out to several of the Tennessee lawmakers who signed the court brief, but all declined to comment.

Missouri Representative Dean Plocher, a Republican who sponsored unsuccessful legislation last year to base Missouri’s voting districts on citizen population, said the effort is aimed solely at equalizing the power of all votes in the state. He said he hadn’t considered how such changes might affect his party’s chances in elections.

Nebraska’s Murante – the former senator behind his state’s failed citizens-only redistricting bill and now the state’s treasurer – said he supports citizens-only maps because the state’s constitution requires that “aliens” be excluded from voting districts.

Immigrant rights activists counter that citizens-only districts could be forced to expand in ways that weaken the political influence of immigrant communities.

The effect could be particularly pronounced in places such as south Texas, where immigrants make up more than a quarter of the population, said Juan Hinojosa, a Democratic state senator.

Hinojosa’s district includes areas known as colonias — informal communities of poor, largely Hispanic families. Citizen-only redistricting would make it more likely that anti-immigration Republicans would win elections in the border region, Hinojosa said.

The question of how to count non-citizens in voting districts may end up at the Supreme Court, said Kel Seliger, a Republican Texas state senator, who told Reuters that lawmakers there would explore citizen-only maps.

“You’ve got be careful,” he said, “that the Republican bias doesn’t get us on the wrong side of the Constitution.”

(Reporting by Nick Brown; Editing by Richard Valdmanis, Brian Thevenot and Paul Thomasch)

Source: OANN

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Workers construct a new home in Leyden Rock in Arvada, Colorado
FILE PHOTO: Workers construct a new home in Leyden Rock in Arvada, Colorado, U.S. August 30, 2016. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

April 22, 2019

By Lucia Mutikani

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. home sales fell more than expected in March, pointing to continued weakness in the housing market despite declining mortgage rates and slowing house price gains.

The sharp drop in home sales reported by the National Association of Realtors on Monday came ahead of the busy spring selling season. The housing market continues to buck the broader economy, which has shown signs of gaining momentum after stumbling at the turn of the year.

Existing home sales dropped 4.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.21 million units last month. February’s sales pace was revised down to 5.48 million units from the previously reported 5.51 million units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast existing home sales would fall 3.8 percent to a rate of 5.30 million units last month. Existing home sales, which make up about 90 percent of U.S. home sales, declined 5.4 percent from a year ago. That was the 13th straight year-on-year decrease in home sales.

LAND SHORTAGES

Falling mortgage rates, strengthening wage growth and slowing house price inflation have improved affordability, but housing supply remains tight, especially at the lower end of the market as land and labor shortages are making it difficult for builders to ramp up construction in this market segment.

The 30-year fixed mortgage rate has dropped from a peak of about 4.94 percent in November to around 4.12 percent, according to data from mortgage finance agency Freddie Mac. Wage growth is also strengthening.

A survey last week showed that while builders reported strong demand for new homes in April, they also complained about “affordability concerns stemming from a chronic shortage of construction workers and buildable lots.”

There were steep declines in sales in the lower and upper ends of the housing market last month.

The dollar slipped against a basket of currencies after the release of the existing home sales data. Stocks on Wall Street were trading lower and U.S. Treasury prices fell.

Last month, existing home sales fell in all four regions. There were 1.68 million previously owned homes on the market in March, up from 1.63 million in February. At March’s sales pace, it would take 3.9 months to exhaust the current inventory, up from 3.6 months in February.

A six-to-seven-month supply is viewed as a healthy balance between supply and demand. The median existing house price increased 3.8 percent from a year ago to $259,400 in March.

The Commerce Department reported last Friday that housing starts dropped to a rate of 1.139 million units in March, the lowest level since May 2017.

That was the second straight monthly drop in homebuilding and pushed starts substantially below the 1.5 million to 1.6 million units per month range that realtors estimate is needed to alleviate the shortage.

Houses for sale typically stayed on the market for 36 days in March, down from 44 days in February but up from 30 days a year ago. About 47 percent of homes sold in March were on the market for less than a month.

First-time buyers accounted for a third of sales last month, little changed from February and up from 30 percent a year ago. Economists and realtors say a 40 percent share of first-time buyers is needed for a robust housing market.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)

Source: OANN

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Police say they arrested two people who climbed and placed Ku Klux Klan hoods on statues at a Confederate monument in North Carolina.

News outlets report that Enzo Niebuhr and Jody Anderson were detained Sunday during a protest near the North Carolina Women of the Confederacy monument. The monument is located in the capital of Raleigh near the Statehouse.

Police said Niebuhr and Anderson are charged with defacing a public monument and disorderly conduct. The reports did not say whether the two have attorneys who can speak on their behalf.

The news outlets quote the “Smash Racism Raleigh” group as saying that its members were holding a peaceful protest to provide context about the history of the statues. The group says Niebuhr and Anderson shouldn’t have been arrested.

Source: Fox News National

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President Trump never said he wanted to “get rid” of Special Counsel Robert Mueller and instead cooperated fully with his investigation, according to one of the president’s former attorneys.

John Dowd, who served as a member of President Trump’s legal team from June 2017 until March 2018, discussed Trump’s approach to Mueller during an interview on “Fox & Friends” Monday.

Frequent media accounts prior to the release of the report suggested Trump tried to fire Mueller at times during the Russia investigation. The report itself said Trump told then-White House Counsel Don McGahn in June 2017 to tell the acting attorney general that Mueller “must be removed.” McGahn refused.

But asked on Monday when Trump said to fire Mueller, Dowd said: “He never did. I was there at the same time that the report says McGahn mentioned this, and I was assigned to deal with Mueller and briefed the president every day.

CONTROVERSIAL STEELE DOSSIER BACK IN SPOTLIGHT AFTER MUELLER REPORT’S RELEASE

TOM PEREZ: NO ONE — NOT EVEN PRESIDENT TRUMP — IS ABOVE THE LAW FOLLOWING MUELLER REPORT REVELATIONS

“At no time did the president ever say, ‘you know, John, I’m going to get rid of him.’ It was the opposite.

“Here’s the message the president had for Bob Mueller, he told me to carry — number one, you tell him I respect what he is doing; number two, you tell him he has my full cooperation; number three, get it done as quickly as possible; and number four, whatever else you need, let me know.

“That was always the message and that is exactly what we did.”

Dowd continued, saying he spoke to Mueller about the president’s frequent public criticism of the investigation.

GIULIANI SLAMS ‘CONFLICTS OF INTEREST’ IN SPECIAL COUNSEL’S OFFICE: ‘WHEN DID MUELLER BECOME GOD?’

“I talked to Bob about that. I said, ‘do you understand what’s going on?’ and he said, ‘oh, it’s political, he has to do that for political reasons’.

“I said, ‘I tell you what, the president and I will make sure, we’ll say publicly cooperate with Bob Mueller’ and we did early on. So that was it.”

Host Steve Doocy then asked Dowd about “the suggestion from the report that Don McGahn, the president’s attorney, was told go out and fire him” Mueller.

GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I just I think there was a misunderstanding,” Dowd said.

“I just don’t believe it. I think the president simply wanted McGahn to call Rosenstein, have him vetted, because the president believed Mueller did have some conflicts.”

Source: Fox News Politics

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Islamic terrorism is a threat spreading to different parts of the world, Fox News contributor Mike Huckabee said Monday in wake of the Sri Lanka Easter Sunday massacre.

Huckabee, the former Arkansas Governor, told “Fox & Friends” said Sunday’s attack should remind everyone of the challenges faced across the globe in fighting the scourge of terrorism.

SURVIVOR OF SRI LANKA BOMBING FEARS RETURNING TO CHURCH

“It’s global. It’s not just targeted to a handful of countries like the United States…not just targeted to Middle Eastern countries…it’s a global war on terrorism,” Huckabee said.

“These are cowardly people who go after innocents. These aren’t folks who take on a military. These are people who blow up innocent people, in this case, people who are going to church, people who are celebrating the holiest day for Christians around the world, and nothing could be more cowardly, nothing could be more disgusting, and it shows you the character of those who were involved in this kind of terror.”

CALIFORNIA CHURCH PARISHONERS HELP TACKLE WOMAN WITH GUN WHO ALLEGEDLY THREATENED ATTACK

His comments came after it was reported authorities in Sri Lanka received warnings a domestic radical Muslim group would attack the nation on the Christian holy day.

Despite multiple warnings from international intelligence agencies, however, Sri Lanka’s security officials reportedly failed to heed the alerts and apparently took no action to protect against a potential attack. Authorities were first alerted to the threat April 4.

More than two weeks later, near-simultaneous blasts detonated at three churches and three luxury hotels in and around Colombo, the capital city. Two more explosions occurred hours later outside of Colombo – one at a guesthouse and the other near an overpass.

At least 290 people – including 39 foreigners – were killed and more than 500 people were injured. The government on Monday said the attacks were likely perpetrated by local militant group National Thowfeek Jaamath, a little-known radical Islamist organization.

CNN’S APRIL RYAN CALLS FOR SARAH SANDERS TO BE FIRED

Experts told the New York Times the group promotes an Islamic terrorist ideology.

“These attacks appear to be quite different and look as if they came right out of the ISIS, Al Qaeda, global militant jihadist playbook, as these are attacks fomenting religious hatred by attacking multiple churches on a high religious holiday,” Anne Speckhard, the director of the International Center for the Study of Violent Extremism, told the newspaper.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said international agencies warned of possible attacks several times beginning in early April. He said the defense ministry wrote to the police chief on April 9 to give law enforcement a heads up about the intelligence, including providing the group’s name.

Two days later, on April 11, police wrote to the heads of security of the judiciary and diplomatic security division about the warnings. It was not immediately clear what action, if any, was taken in response.

MILLENNIAL STARTUP CHANGING THE WAY PEOPLE READ THE BIBLE: ‘OUR HOPE IS TO DEEPEN YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH GOD’

Top government officials, including Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Cabinet, were reportedly kept in the dark about the intelligence until after the attack – which Senaratne blamed on political dysfunction within the government.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“We must look into why adequate precautions were not taken,” Wickremesinghe said Sunday.

An investigation has been launched into the apparent breakdown of communication within the government.

Source: Fox News World

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The Latest on the investigation into the killings of two northern Indiana girls (all times local):

10:25 a.m.

A spokesman says Indiana State Police will release “very significant information” about the 2017 deaths of two teenage girls who were killed during a hiking trip.

Agency spokesman Sgt. Kim Riley said Monday that no arrest warrants have been issued and no arrests have been made in the killings of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams. But he says investigators will release new information Monday about the unsolved case.

Riley says State Police Superintendent Doug Carter and a State Police captain will be making statements but won’t take questions.

The teenagers’ bodies were found in February 2017 in a rugged, wooded area a day after they went hiking near Delphi, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis.

___

9:44 a.m.

Indiana State Police are to make an announcement about the investigation into the 2017 killings of two teenage girls.

State police say Superintendent Doug Carter will discuss how the investigation has gone in a “new direction” during a midday Monday news conference in Delphi.

The bodies of 14-year-old Liberty German and 13-year-old Abigail Williams were found in February 2017 in a rugged, wooded area, one day after they went hiking near Delphi, about 60 miles (95 kilometers) northwest of Indianapolis. The slayings remain unsolved.

Investigators have reviewed thousands of leads looking for a man who forced the teens off the trail, ordering them to go “down the hill.” Police also have released a composite sketch from eyewitnesses who believe they saw the man in Delphi.

Source: Fox News National

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