Fox News Politics

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Fox News’ Tucker Carlson vented his frustration on Friday with Democrats, criticizing them for their reaction to President Trump giving Attorney General William Barr authority to declassify information related to the origins of the Russia probe and accusing them of trying to “distract” Americans.

“Politicizing the Justice Department, that’s what they’re concerned about? Politicizing the Justice Department didn’t seem to be a main concern when FBI agents spied on and then slandered [former Trump campaign aide] Carter Page an entirely innocent American citizen. When another two FBI agents were caught talking about an insurance policy against trump becoming president, and then promising to stop him, that wasn’t politicizing the Justice Department either according to them,” Carlson said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

TRUMP GIVES AG BARR AUTHORITY TO DECLASSIFY DOCUMENTS RELATED TO 2016 CAMPAIGN SURVEILLANCE

Trump on Friday promised to uncover the origins of the Russia investigation for all to see after he approved the declassification of documents related to the surveillance of his campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., criticized the president for allowing classified materials to be released.

“While Trump stonewalls the public from learning the truth about his obstruction of justice, Trump and Barr conspire to weaponize law enforcement and classified information against their political enemies.  The coverup has entered a new and dangerous phase.  This is un-American,” Schiff tweeted Thursday.

Carlson called Schiff a “nut case” and accused Democrats of trying to distract Americans.

“For two and a half years we listened to their absurd theories about Russian collusion. The goal was to distract us from the implications of the 2016 election. And more broadly to keep Americans from noticing what is happening to their country. The dying small towns, the needles and garbage flooding the big cities, the overrun border, the Middle Eastern wars that persist for no reason. The grotesque and growing income inequality on the coast. The rise of China abroad, etc. these are actual problems. In some cases they are full-blown crises,” Carlson explained.

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Carlson added, “They need solutions and serious people to think about those solutions every day this farce about Russia and coverups continues is another day that America gets weaker and more divided.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked the Trump administration from spending billions to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border with money from Trump national emergency declaration.

U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam’s ruling applies to construction in specific areas in Texas and Arizona.

“In short, the position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds “without Congress” does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our republic.”

Around 20 states, environmental groups and civil liberties groups sued the administration to halt plans for the wall.

This is a developing story. Check back with Fox News for updates.

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A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked the Trump administration from spending billions to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border with money from Trump national emergency declaration.

U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam’s ruling applies to construction in specific areas in Texas and Arizona.

“In short, the position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds “without Congress” does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our republic.”

Around 20 states, environmental groups and civil liberties groups sued the administration to halt plans for the wall.

This is a developing story. Check back with Fox News for updates.

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A federal judge on Friday temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s plan to spend billions to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border with Defense Department funds.

U.S. District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam’s ruling applies to wall construction in specific areas in El Paso, Texas and Yuma, Arizona. Trump declared a national emergency in February to redirect funding from the Department of Defense to begin construction of his long-promised border wall.

“In short, the position that when Congress declines the Executive’s request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds “without Congress” does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” wrote Gilliam, who was appointed to the bench by former President Barack Obama.

In this Nov. 21, 2018, file photo, two Honduran men pose as a photographer, at left, takes their picture after the group climbed the border wall separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, before climbing back down on the Mexican side, seen from San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

In this Nov. 21, 2018, file photo, two Honduran men pose as a photographer, at left, takes their picture after the group climbed the border wall separating Tijuana, Mexico, and San Diego, before climbing back down on the Mexican side, seen from San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

THAT LOOSE CHANGE LEFT AT AIRPORTS MAY BE USED TO HELP FUND BORDER OPERATIONS

The move was a workaround Congress, which had not given in to his demands to fund the barrier. The wall has been Trump’s signature promise. Gilliam’s ruling doesn’t prevent the Trump administration from using other sources to fund the wall.

He said Trump’s plan to divert Pentagon funds for border-wall construction was unconstitutional because the argument White House relied on applied to unforeseen needs, Politico reported.

“Defendants’ argument that the need for the requested border barrier construction funding was ‘unforeseen’ cannot logically be squared with the Administration’s multiple requests for funding for exactly that purpose dating back to at least early 2018,” the Obama nominee wrote.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a Fox News request for comment.

Trump declared the national emergency after a stand-off between him and Democrats over border wall funding resulted in the 35-day partial government shutdown.

Around 20 states, environmental groups and civil liberties groups sued the administration to halt plans for the wall.

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“This order is a win for our system of checks and balances, the rule of law, and border communities,” Dror Ladin, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, said in a statement. “The court blocked all the wall projects currently slated for immediate construction. If the administration begins illegally diverting additional military funds, we’ll be back in court to block that as well.”

The ACLU filed a motion on behalf of the Sierra Club and the Southern Border Communities Coalition to block wall construction.

This is a developing story. Check back with Fox News for updates.

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Why are Obama-era intelligence officials so concerned with President’s Trump’s call to declassify information regarding the origins of the Russia probe?

“Because we don’t know exactly what they did,” Washington Examiner chief political correspondent Byron York said Friday on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”

Trump vowed Friday to uncover the origins of the Russia investigation for all to see after he approved the declassification of documents related to the surveillance of his campaign during the 2016 presidential election.

DOJ AGREES TO SHARE SOME MUELLER DOCUMENTS WITH DEMOCRATS

“We are exposing everything,” the president said Friday.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., blasted the president for allowing the release of classified materials, calling it a “corrupt escalation of the president’s intention” to politicize the intelligence community.

York argued that the president and Attorney General Barr are trying to get to the bottom of a story that has become a public concern.

“We are learning in dribs and drabs something we need to have a bigger picture on that’s what the president and attorney general are trying to get at,” York said.

As for concerns that confidential material will be released York says that that will be Barr’s job to ensure that what needs to remain confidential will.

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“There are a few things that need to stay secret. Most of it can be released. These are judgments that the attorney general is going to make to give the public an idea of what happened,” York said.

York added, “But, in this, especially since it’s a matter of such public concern, one party has wanted to use this Trump-Russia affair to try to remove the president from office. I mean, there is the highest need for public knowledge about this.  This is the president’s way by delegating it to the attorney general to do it a fairly orderly but fast fashion.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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Is there a double standard for President Trump in his war of words with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich says there is and criticized Democrats and the media for favoring Pelosi. Indeed, Pavlich defended the president for defending himself.

“I love how the phrase ‘getting under someone’s skin’ is now defined by simply responding to attacks. Remember how [then-Supreme Court Justice nominee Brett] Kavanaugh defended himself and everyone’s like, ‘he’s too angry to be on the Supreme Court.’ This is basically the same thing,” Pavlich said Friday while co-hosting “The Five.”

TRUMP CALLS OUT PELOSI FOR ACCUSING HIM OF A ‘COVER-UP’ DURING INFRASTRUCTURE MEETING

“She accuses him of a cover-up in front of everybody to appease her Democratic caucus after an impeachment meeting, and then wonders why the president would have something to say about her behavior and what they are doing.”

Trump and Pelosi went back and forth Thursday, with the speaker asking the president’s family to hold an intervention for Trump due to his meeting walkout Wednesday. Trump responded by saying Pelosi was “not the same person, she’s lost it.”

Pavlich called out MSNBC host Joe Scarborough for saying Friday that the president was “pre-dementia.”

“People very close to him told us that he feared he was pre-dementia, that he had changed. You watch Donald Trump in the late 1980s, even in the 90s, you watch him now, he is completely changed,” Scarborough said.

“Can we talk about the media again doing their own self-diagnosis of the problem? Like, you’re not allowed to make any jokes right now about Jerry Nadler having an issue, but people like Joe Scarborough are allowed to go on national television and say that people have told him without actually naming anybody, that the president is pre-dementia,” Pavlich said.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Nadler, D-N.Y., had to receive medical attention Friday after a health scare at an event in New York City.

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His office said he merely felt ill but did not faint, disputing reports. A spokesman for Nadler told Fox News that the congressman “seems to have been dehydrated.”

Pavlich criticized members of the media for speculating on the president’s health.

“I remember when … we weren’t allowed to ask about anybody’s health when it came to that, but now news anchors are diagnosing people’s mental health,” Pavlich said.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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The American people “have every right to know” if political interference took place at the Justice Department regarding the Russia investigation, Greg Steube said.

Representative Steube, R-Fla., claimed Friday on “Outnumbered Overtime” that anyone involved in potential interference “has every right for justice to be served.”

Steube’s remarks come in the wake of President Trump giving Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016.

TRUMP GIVES AG BARR AUTHORITY TO DECLASSIFY DOCUMENTS RELATED TO 2016 CAMPAIGN SURVEILLANCE

“Today, at the request and recommendation of the attorney general of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the attorney general’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“The attorney general has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” Sanders’ statement continued.

Steube, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, predicted that Barr would empanel a grand jury if indictments are necessary in the future.

He added Americans are likely concerned with the existence of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.

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“I think that every American would initially have some grave concerns of a court that is operating completely in secret,” Steube claimed. “Given all the information and facts, if the information that was represented to the FISA court — if they knew this was campaign fodder or promulgated and still decided to issue a warrant, that would bring a lot of things to questions.”

“Those are questions that I would have,” he said.

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The American people “have every right to know” if political interference took place at the Justice Department regarding the Russia investigation, Greg Steube said.

Representative Steube, R-Fla., claimed Friday on “Outnumbered Overtime” that anyone involved in potential interference “has every right for justice to be served.”

Steube’s remarks come in the wake of President Trump giving Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016.

TRUMP GIVES AG BARR AUTHORITY TO DECLASSIFY DOCUMENTS RELATED TO 2016 CAMPAIGN SURVEILLANCE

“Today, at the request and recommendation of the attorney general of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the attorney general’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 presidential election,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“The attorney general has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” Sanders’ statement continued.

Steube, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, predicted that Barr would empanel a grand jury if indictments are necessary in the future.

He added Americans are likely concerned with the existence of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court.

CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“I think that every American would initially have some grave concerns of a court that is operating completely in secret,” Steube claimed. “Given all the information and facts, if the information that was represented to the FISA court — if they knew this was campaign fodder or promulgated and still decided to issue a warrant, that would bring a lot of things to questions.”

“Those are questions that I would have,” he said.

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The Trump administration on Friday informed Congress the president will invoke his emergency authority to bypass lawmakers’ approval of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing the threat to the United States from Iran.

The move comes as Trump announced plans Friday to send about 1,600 troops to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran.

TRUMP APPROVES PENTAGON PLAN TO SEND MORE U.S. TROOPS TO MIDDLE EAST

“Iran’s malign activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability of the Middle East and to Americans at home and abroad. We took this step of prudent diplomatic deterrence to augment our partners’ long-term capacity for self-defense and threat mitigation,” a senior State Department official told Fox News.

The official added, “Congress won’t act, but we will. “

The administration is using an emergency loophole in the Arms Export Control Act to move ahead with sales of $7 billion in precision-guided munitions, other bombs, ammo and aircraft maintenance support to Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, without lawmakers’ approval.

The chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, said he was “reviewing and analyzing the legal justification for this action and the associated implications.”

The administration pointed out that this authority has been invoked by past presidents on multiple occasions, including in 1979, 1984, 1990 and 2006.

The plan was swiftly condemned by Democratic senators.

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Trump administration has failed once again to prioritize our long-term national security interests or stand up for human rights, and instead is granting favors to authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia,” said New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“President Trump circumventing Congress to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia is unacceptable,” said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

“President Trump is only using this loophole because he knows Congress would disapprove of this sale,” said Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In his notification, Pompeo said he had made the determination “that an emergency exists which requires the immediate sale” of the weapons “in order to deter further the malign influence of the government of Iran throughout the Middle East region.” He said the transfers “must occur as quickly as possible in order to deter further Iranian adventurism in the Gulf and throughout the Middle East.”

It comes as the administration has actively courted close ties with Saudi Arabia over congressional objections, notably following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S.-based columnist for The Washington Post, by Saudi agents in October.

There is a precedent for using the emergency exemption for arms sales to Saudi Arabia. President Ronald Reagan invoked it in the 1980s, and both Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush used it for sales before the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq war, respectively.

Fox News’ Rich Edson, Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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President Trump’s administration will reportedly reverse his predecessor’s policy of blocking federal funding for religious adoption organizations that refuse to serve same-sex couples.

Administration officials, according to Axios Friday, debated to decide between two different provisions — a religious-based exemption and striking down the previous administration’s rule altogether — to accomplish their goal without facing defeat in the courts.

The policy change would likely come in July and through the Health and Human Services Department’s Office of Civil Rights, a group that has been at the forefront of angering progressives with rules advancing Trump’s religious freedom agenda.

Roger Severino, director of that office, reportedly refused to comment directly on the issue.

PROTECTIONS EXPANDED FOR DOCTORS WITH ‘CONSCIENCE’ OBJECTIONS TO ABORTIONS, OTHER PROCEDURES

The administration’s reported decision reflected a broader battle in which states struggled to balance religious interests with those of same-sex couples. Multiple Catholic adoption agencies have already shut down, refusing to comply with anti-discrimination policies due to Church teaching on marriage and sex.

The reported policy drew swift condemnation from the Human Rights Campaign, which has derided similar measures at the state level.

“Quite literally the definition of cruel and evil,” HRC president Chad Griffin tweeted on Friday.

CHRISTIAN ADOPTION AGENCY SUES NEW YORK AFTER STATE TRIES TO SHUT IT DOWN

“Our leaders should be making it easier for children in need of a loving home to find one, not trying to find new ways to license discrimination,” he added. “This is unconscionable and an attack on families.”

Conservatives have maintained that same-sex couples could seek opportunities with secular agencies. They’ve also argued that without religious exemptions, foster children would lose even more resources as longstanding agencies drop their practices altogether.

In Philadelphia, foster families sued the city over an ordinance that would force Catholic Social Services to end its program. The suit, according to the firm that brought the case, represented the first opportunity to test how courts viewed religious freedom in that context. A Christian adoption agency similarly sued the city of Syracuse after it gave them an ultimatum: serve same-sex couples or close shop.

The Supreme Court eventually dismissed a request to grant a preliminary injunction on behalf of the foster families in Philadelphia. Becket Fund senior counsel Lori Windham, who spearheaded that case, said HHS’s current rules violated the First Amendment.

FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKS MEDICAID WORK RULES IN SETBACK FOR TRUMP

HHS did not immediately provide comment when requested by Fox News.

“We need all hands on deck finding loving homes for kids. We have already seen this regulation used to try to shut down faith-based agencies in Michigan,” Windham said in a statement provided to Fox News.

“HHS should admit that this rule violates the First Amendment. Then it should remove barriers to the full participation of faith-based adoption agencies.”

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News of the administration’s decision came on the same day that HHS faced blowback over a rule excluding “gender identity” from sex discrimination protections for health care.

HHS, along with the Education Department, took the controversial step of interpreting Title IX — a sex discrimination statute — as only applying to biological attributes rather than self-described identity.

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