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Allen West After Motorcycle Accident: ‘I am Alive By the Grace of God’

Former Lt. Col. Allen West (Ret.) was involved in a motorcycle accident on Saturday in Texas and is now recovering, according to a statement released exclusively to Breitbart News.

West, who won election to Congress in the Tea Party wave a decade ago, represented Florida’s 22nd congressional district for one term, but found re-election difficult after district boundaries were redrawn. He now lives in Texas and is running for state Republican Party chair.

A statement released by his campaign read in full:

On his drive back from the “Free Texas Rally” in Austin, TX, Lt. Col. Allen West was struck by a fellow motorcyclist. He is recovering now and has his family with him.

Local law enforcement reported that “an unidentified vehicle changed lanes when unsafe in front of two motorcyclists. The motorcyclist attempted to brake, and the rear motorcyclist crashed into the front motorcyclist.  Both motorcyclist were transported to Baylor Scott and White in Waco to be treated for non-life threatening injuries.”

Allen West is currently dealing with a concussion, several fractured bones, and multiple lacerations. Though these injuries are serious, Lt. Col. West stated, “that I am alive by the grace of God.” He plans to continue to be an proponent for freedom and the state of Texas, but he will be taking the next couple weeks off of advocacy to recover.

Your continued prayers and grace are appreciated.

Colonel West’s full statement and other releases can be found here:

Learn more about Allen West, his campaign, and how to keep Texas Red by visiting www.west4texas.com.

President Donald Trump held a motorcycle rally Friday at the White House, “Rolling to Remember,” in honor of Memorial Day.

The current chair of the Texas state Republican Party is James Dickey.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Democrats Claim, Without Evidence, Trump Gave Ventilators to Russia as ‘Political Favor’

House Democrats wrote to President Donald Trump on Friday, questioning his decision to send 200 ventilators to Russia to help coronavirus patients there.

In a letter signed by three committee chairs (Oversight, Foreign Affairs, and Appropriations) and two subcommittee chairs (Coronavirus and National Security), Democrats objected to the donation, claiming that the president was “providing or selling ventilators to other countries as gifts or favors to serve your own political or personal interests without any meaningful strategic justification, thorough interagency process, or policy rationale for doing so.”

While they claimed that they are not averse to being “part of the global solution to the coronavirus pandemic,” the Democrats added that “we must first ensure that cities and hospitals across the United States can address their own ventilator shortages.”

The White House has repeatedly noted that every American who has needed a ventilator during the coronavirus pandemic has had one thanks to the administration’s guidance of private sector production. The president has begun calling the U.S. the “king” of ventilators.

“With your help,” President Trump told employees at a Ford Motor Company plant in Michigan on Thursday, “not a single American who has needed a ventilator has been denied a ventilator. Not one.”

In their letter, House Democrats wrote: “The use of American taxpayer dollars to purchase and deliver ventilators overseas cannot and should not be used as political favors.” But they provided no evidence that Trump has done so.

Instead, Democrats demanded the White House preserve and provide documents, including “[c]omplete and unredacted flight manifests for U.S. ventilator shipments to foreign governments or entities” and “[f]ull summaries of any and all conversations between yourself and President Putin during which the shipment of ventilators was discussed.”

Trump announced this week that the U.S. was sending 250 ventilators to Nigeria — more than the U.S. is sending to Russia. The administration has said that it will provide 8,000 ventilators to foreign countries by the end of July, since there will be an oversupply in the U.S.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Joe Biden Did Not Call for Country to Be Shut Down One Week Earlier

CLAIM: Joe Biden called on Trump to shut down the country’s economy “one week earlier” to deal with coronavirus.

VERDICT: FALSE. Biden did not call for an early shutdown, though he did criticize Trump’s policies on the pandemic.

Former Vice President Joe Biden appeared Friday morning on The Breakfast Club, the popular radio show hosted by “Charlemagne tha God.” (Charlemagne had been ripping Biden for months for not appearing yet on his broadcast.)

While much of the ensuring controversy focused on Biden’s comments on race — “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black” — he also made some rather outlandish claims on coronavirus.

Biden cited a recent study, which was written up in the New York Times, claiming fewer people would have died from coronavirus if the country shut down one week earlier. He then claimed he had been calling for such action to be taken.

“If he had listened to me, and others, and acted one week earlier to deal with this virus, there’d be 36,000 fewer people dead. Dead! Dead! And you guys are wondering, what’s he doing? Come on, man! Get a life! Get a life!” Biden said.

But Biden never called for the country to be shut down. Trump delivered his Oval Office address on March 11. One week earlier, on March 4, Biden was still traveling around the country and holding campaign rallies with supporters.

For example, he held a campaign rally in Detroit, Michigan, on March 9 (above) with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer — now hailed by Democrats and the media for her tough coronavirus restrictions. He campaigned in a Detroit auto plant the next day, cursing at a worker who criticized his stance on gun control. He only began canceling rallies on March 10.

Biden did write an article criticizing Trump’s coronavirus policies on January 27 — one of the few times a Democratic candidate said anything about the issue before late February. He also attacked Trump’s travel ban on China on Jan. 31 as “hysterical xenophobia” — though that ban proved successful in slowing the spread of the virus to the United States.

The first time any Democratic debate discussed the coronavirus was at the Feb. 25 debate in South Carolina. Biden did not call for shutting down the economy; rather, he said he would restore funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which had already been restored; and he said he would demand that China allow American experts into the country, which had also already happened. He never urged Trump to shut down the U.S. economy.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Michael Flynn’s Lawyer Joins Susan Rice in Calling for Transcript Release

Sidney Powell, the attorney for former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, said Wednesday that she would like to see the transcripts of his calls with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak declassified and released.

Powell appeared on SiriusXM’s The Dan Abrams Show (weekdays from 2-3pm ET on SiriusXM POTUS channel 124). She told the host that she was absolutely certain that they would exonerate Flynn completely:

Abrams: Based on your position of sort of, no wrongdoing, he didn’t lie, et cetera, that you would support releasing the entirety of the conversations that he had with Kislyak, right?

Powell: I’d love to see them.

Abrams: So you would support that?

Powell: I think the reason we haven’t seen them is because the word “sanctions” doesn’t even appear in them.

Abrams: But so you would support the full release of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations?

Powell: I would — I would love to see the release of that transcript. Apparently, the Washington Post or the New York Times had it, but has the defense been allowed to see it? No. No defense lawyer for General Flynn has been allowed to hear the recording or see the transcript. And frankly, I would want both, because I can’t trust the FBI or the CIA or the NSA or whoever it was to do an accurate transcription of anything, given the lies I’ve seen in the 302.

The “302” refers to the FBI’s report of its meeting with Flynn in the White House on January 24, 2017, during which he is alleged to have lied to agents. The original 302 is missing.

Flynn was prosecuted, in part, because he allegedly told the FBI that he had not discussed sanctions with Kislyak during the transitional period between Election Day 2016 and Inauguration Day 2017. He was fired because he told Vice President Mike Pence the same thing.

However, it is unclear exactly what Flynn and Kislyak discussed.

Flynn became embroiled in controversy because his name was leaked to the Washington Post in mid-January 2017, where columnist David Ignatius first reported the Flynn-Kislyak conversations. Flynn’s name was apparently leaked after he had been “unmasked” in transcripts of surveillance of Kislyak’s phone calls.

One of those who asked for Flynn’s name to be “unmasked” was his immediate predecessor, Susan Rice. She wrote a now-infamous email to herself on Jan. 20, 2017 — hours before President Barack Obama left office — memorandizing a Jan. 5, 2017, meeting in the Oval Office where the outgoing administration discussed investigations into Flynn and Trump. She claimed that Obama had instructed that everything be done “by the

Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell declassified the last portion of that email earlier this week, in which Rice records that Comey told Obama “he has no indication thus far that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak, but he noted that ‘the level of communication is unusual.’”

In response, Rice’s spokesperson called for the DNI “to release the unreacted transcripts of all Kislyak-Flynn calls. The American people deserve the full transcripts so they can judge for themselves Michael Flynn’s conduct.”

Others — on both sides of the controversy — have also called for the release of the transcripts. The report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Russia “collusion” — which found none — only quoted Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak indirectly.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Local News Report Faults State of Michigan for Poor Oversight of Failed Dam

An investigation by a local news station in Detroit, Michigan, found Wednesday that the state government bears some of the responsibility for the poor oversight that contributed to the failure of the Edenville and Sanford Dams.

The Edenville Dam failed on Tuesday night, following heavy rains and a “500-year” flood. Another dam downstream along the Tittabawassee River, the Sanford Dam, also failed as a result, flooding the nearby city of Midland, Michigan.

As Breitbart News reported, federal authorities revoked the license of the private company that owns the Edenville Dam in 2018 due to fears the dam could not withstand heavy floods, and the company’s failure to expand the spillway.

But as Karen Drew and Derick Hutchinson of WDIV channel 4 reported Wednesday evening, the State of Michigan failed to take corrective action once it assumed greater responsibility for oversight of the dam in October 2018:

In 2018, federal officials revoked the hydro power generating license for the dam and gave the regulatory authority to the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy [EGLE].

[Gov. Gretchen] Whitmer might need to look at her own state agency, the Defenders found.

Local 4 Defender Karen Drew obtained a 2018 inspection document from EGLE, which states the dam’s two concrete spillway showed signs of moderate deterioration but appeared to be stable and functioning normally.

The problems and citations went on and on, but no major action was taken.

The report quoted EGLE spokesman Hugh McDiarmid Jr. defending the agency’s management, saying that it had “acted pretty aggressively” on the dam.

However, WDIV noted that the company that owns the dam, Boyce Hydro Power LLC, failed to submit a report to the state in March about what it planned to do to improve the dam.

The Tittabawassee River crested Wednesday at 35.05 feet, more than a foot above the previous record in 1986.

The river waters had risen roughly 20 feet in merely three days.

There are environmental concerns due to the effect of flooding on the facilities and operations of the Dow Chemical Company, located in Midland.

The company’s contamination pond was mingling with flood waters — though the company said that was not as dangerous a problem as it seemed, since the pond was being used for storm water drainage.

The greater danger is that toxic sediments from past contamination decades before, which had settled at the bottom and banks of the river, have been stirred up by the flooding, and may be deposited throughout the floodplain.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Joe Biden Falsely Accuses Trump of Ignoring Antisemitism

Former Vice President Joe Biden renewed his accusation that President Donald Trump is ignoring antisemitism — even though the president condemned it at length, once again, just a few weeks ago.

Biden, speaking to an online fundraising event, claimed that the president was “not saying a word” about antisemitism, according to the pool report (via Sahil Kapur of NBC News).

Not only has Trump repeatedly condemned antisemitism, but he did so extensively just a few weeks ago, in issuing a proclamation declaring May to be Jewish Heritage Month. The president said:

Throughout history, the Jewish people have demonstrated an unbreakable spirit, overcoming suffering, cruel oppression, violence, and bigotry. Tragically, Jewish men, women, and children continue to face anti-Semitic discrimination, persecution, and violence today, and Jewish institutions and places of worship remain targets of vandalism and destruction. Our country has wept too many times in the aftermaths of horrific attacks, including last April when a murderer opened fire in a synagogue in Poway, California, taking innocent life and shattering families in a cowardly display of evil. Such unconscionable acts are an abomination to all decent and compassionate people. Hatred is intolerable and has no place in our hearts or in our society. We must therefore vigorously confront anti-Semitic discrimination and violence against members of the Jewish community. That is why I signed an Executive Order last December, bolstering my Administration’s efforts to combat the rise of anti-Semitism in the United States and build a culture of respect, humanity, and equality.

This month, we reaffirm our commitment to never compromise our steadfast support for the Jewish community, our rejection of anti-Semitic bigotry, and our disdain for malicious attacks of hatred. Jewish Americans strengthen, sustain, and inspire our country through dedication to family, respect for cherished traditions, and commitment to the values of justice and equality that unite Americans of every faith and background. We give thanks for the profound contributions that Jewish Americans continue to make to our society, and way of life.

Biden appears to have been referring to recent protests in Michigan against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) and her strict stay-at-home orders. A few people used the swastika symbol — to accuse Whitmer of being a fascist, not to express solidarity with fascism or antisemitism.

While offensive to many, the symbol appears at both left- and right-wing protests in that context, as Breitbart News recently noted. The swastika appeared in pro-union protests against Gov. Scott Walker (R) at the Wisconsin state capitol in 2011, for example — a cause that was broadly embraced by the Democratic Party. The symbol was used to foment outrage against Walker — albeit at the cost of shocking observers.

Tuesday’s fundraiser was hardly the first time that Biden has made false accusations that Trump is sympathetic toward antisemitism. He launched his campaign last April with the false claim that Trump called neo-Nazis in Charlottesville, Virginia, “very fine people” in August 2017. In fact, Trump said that the neo-Nazis should be “condemned totally.” Breitbart News confronted Biden last summer with the fact that he was misquoting Trump; he continued to do so.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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New Black Panther Party Launches Boycott of ‘Chinese Merchants’ to Protest Racism

The radical New Black Panther Party launched a nationwide boycott of “Chinese merchants” on Tuesday — including restaurants, beauty salons, and other businesses — to protest China’s treatment of Africans, among other grievances.

Attorney Malik Zulu Shabazz announced the boycott campaign, which he also described as part of a “Buy Black Offensive,” as a protest against discrimination in the People’s Republic of China, as well as the behavior of Chinese companies in Africa.

The protests targeted over a dozen businesses across the country, none of which had any apparent affiliation with the Chinese government.

For example, one group of protesters held a demonstration outside Yum’s in Washington, DC, a popular local eatery. (The founder came to the U.S. from Hong Kong in 1979.)

Breitbart News live-streamed some of the protests in Washington, which included several Black Panther activists trampling a Chinese flag.

Shabazz also staged a press conference outside the Chinese embassy, at which he called Chinese merchants the “bloodsucker of the black community.”

Shabazz issued a press release listing the targeted businesses. At his press conference, he singled out the Red Star Restaurant in Harlem, New York City, vowing to “shut it down.”

He live-streamed from the Red Star several hours later, apparently having made the trip, filming outside and inside the restaurant as organizers attempted to inform customers about the protest and hand a memorandum to the owner.

Shabazz then live-streamed several times from the protest itself, including after police officers arrives on the scene.

Shabazz’s press release blamed the Chinese government for “vicious human rights violations; anti-Black racism of Africans living in China; supplying the Black community with poor quality and substandard food; exploiting the local retail market; refusing to hire Blacks; rude and disrespectful treatment; and failure to assist community organizations.”

The release further explained that the protests were aimed at “local Chinese business outlets that are open during the pandemic,” with the message that “Harm to Africans in China can bring Harm to Chinese in America.”

The protests were timed to coincide with Malcolm X’s birthday.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Neil Cavuto Shocked By Doctor Who Calls Hydroxychloroquine ‘Potentially Life-Saving’

Fox News’ Neil Cavuto offered strident criticism of President Donald Trump after he told reporters that he was taking hydroxychloroquine and zinc as a prophylactic against coronavirus.

“I cannot stress enough: This will kill you,” he said, of patients in a “risky population.”

But Cavuto seemed taken aback moments later when he interviewed a doctor who said while the drug might not be good for some, “it may be beneficial and potentially life-saving for others,” and that people should consult their doctors.

Cavuto: Dr. Janette Nesheiwat with us right now. Doctor, what do you think of this — surprised a lot of folks, the president wanted to take hydroxychloroquine, the White House physician or physician team let him, as a preventative measure I guess, to ward off COVID-19. Do you agree with hydroxychloroquine for that use?

Dr. Nesheiwat: Hi, Neil. So it’s important to understand, first and foremost, this is an FDA-approved drug. It is not new, it’s been around for many years, and he is taking it as a prophylactic, preventative measure, which I think is very smart to do, because, you know, there’s a lot of people, we just saw recently the vice president’s press secretary tested positive. And you never know, with people coming and going, even if you test daily, you could pick it up, you know, that evening, and then potentially spread it, you know, the next day or two.

Cavuto: Would you recommend it, doctor? Doctor, Would you recommend it? Would you recommend it, someone who, a patient came to you, “Doctor, I just heard the President of the United States is taking this as a preventative measure for COVID-19, I want to do it, too. Would you write a prescription for that patient to do just that?

Dr. Nesheiwat: Neil, being a doctor on the front lines of this pandemic here in New York City, I have prescribed hydroxychloroquine to some of my patients. And for some of them, they said it helped tremendously. Some of them, it didn’t make much of a change. But each person needs to be looked at individually —

Cavuto: For COVID-19? COVID-19, to deal with it — not for malaria, lupus, but for COVID-19 — you were fine with that?

Dr. Nesheiwat: Yes, absolutely. For COVID-19. I have prescribed it to patients who were very, very ill. Some of them benefited from it. Some of them did not. So we need to look at each patient individually. You have to talk to your doctor. We have to look and see, do you have any underlying medical problems? Do you have post-follow-up? Will this medicine interact with any other medicines you may be on? So we have to look at the situation individually —

Cavuto: Well, I just had a doctor on — I just had a doctor on, just to be clear, and I want to make sure I’m sharing good advice with people at home — that if you had any respiratory issues, cardio-related issues, diabetes, or any — this is not the thing you want to be taking. Is — I had a prior physician on earlier, who was saying, under no circumstances would I allow that. What do you think?

Dr. Nesheiwat: That’s not necessarily true. We have to look at the individual medical history, their past medical history. Now, if you have an underlying cardiac arrhythmia, we ned to be careful. We might not want to put you on that unless, you know, you’re on your deathbed and it’s the last resort. But again, what’s important is that you look at the patient’s history, their underlying status, what medicines are they on, do they have any underlying medical problems. This is not a medication for everyone. But it’s important to have that conversation with your doctor to decide: is it best for you? Are you in a high-risk category of death from coronavirus — or, maybe you’re better off just taking high-dose zinc and vitamin D, for example. Both have been show to help fight coronavirus and help prevent viral replication.

Cavuto: Got it. So if you’re in any of that high-risk group, if you’re in any of that high-risk group — very quickly, doctor — that might have any of these other issues, because there are many right now who might, and are hearing the president say that i’s a good thing to do — are you saying that, that group, the one thing you could lose is your life. You’ve got to be very careful, or not?

Dr. Nesheiwat: It’s something that you can consider — again, you’ve got to have to have the discussion with your doctor to decide if it is best for you. It’s not going to be good for everyone. But it may be beneficial, and potentially life-saving for others. So think it is good to have this medication in our toolbox, along with remdesivir, while we wait for vaccines to become approved, and for other therapeutics to get on the market.

Cavuto: All right, doctor. All right, we will have more after this. Dr. Nesheiwat, thank you very much.

Earlier in the program, Cavuto spoke with Dr. Robert Lahita, a prominent physican in New York, who said that while “we use it in those who are very sick,” he had seen “no effect whatsoever.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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‘Do You Know How Stupid that Sounds?’

President Donald Trump mocked the media Monday for asking him about the firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick last Friday, who was apparently looking into claims that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had asked a staffer to walk his dog, among other personal errands.

It emerged Monday that Linick was also suspected of having leaked information to the media without authorization.

Trump answered questions from the press after a roundtable with restaurant owners. He scorned the idea that having a staffer walk a dog was a scandal:

You mean he’s under investigation because he had somebody walk his dog, from the government? I don’t know. It doesn’t sound — I don’t think it sounds like that important. I mean, you have a man that’s supposed to be — and he’s a brilliant guy, number one at West Point, number one at Harvard, I believe — Harvard Law School, or close … and they’re bothered because he’s having somebody walk his dog, as you’re telling me? I didn’t know that, I didn’t hear that, I didn’t know about an investigation. But this is what you get with the Democrats. Here’s a man supposed to be negotiating war and peace with major, major countries, with weaponry like the world has never seen before, and the Democrats and the fake news media, they’re interested in a man who’s walking their dog? And maybe he’s busy. And maybe he’s negotiating with [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un, okay, about nuclear weapons. So that he’d say, “Please, could you walk my dog? Would you mind walking my dog? I’m talking to Kim Jong-un,” or, “I‘m talking to [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] about paying us for some of the damage they have caused to the world, and to us. Please walk my dog.” To — who, a Secret Service person or somebody, right? I don’t know. I think this country has a long way to go. They — the priorities are really screwed up when I read this. Now, I don’t know anything about the investigation but, you’re just telling me about walking a dog — and, what’d you say, doing dishes?

Trump later asked: “I’d rather have him on the phone with some world leader than have him wash dishes … Do you know how stupid that sounds to the world?”

Pompeo has a five-year-old golden retriever named Sherman, named after William Tecumseh Sherman, a famed — and feared — Union general in the Civil War:

The journalist also asked Trump about reports that Pompeo was negotiating “Saudi arms deals.” He incorrectly stated that Congress “passed a law to restrict sales to Saudi Arabia.” In fact, Congress passed a bill that Trump vetoed last year. Congress did not have the votes to override the veto, and the bill never became law.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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‘Do You Know How Stupid that Sounds?’

President Donald Trump mocked the media Monday for asking him about the firing of State Department Inspector General Steve Linick last Friday, who was apparently looking into claims that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had asked a staffer to walk his dog, among other personal errands.

It emerged Monday that Linick was also suspected of having leaked information to the media without authorization.

Trump answered questions from the press after a roundtable with restaurant owners. He scorned the idea that having a staffer walk a dog was a scandal:

You mean he’s under investigation because he had somebody walk his dog, from the government? I don’t know. It doesn’t sound — I don’t think it sounds like that important. I mean, you have a man that’s supposed to be — and he’s a brilliant guy, number one at West Point, number one at Harvard, I believe — Harvard Law School, or close … and they’re bothered because he’s having somebody walk his dog, as you’re telling me? I didn’t know that, I didn’t hear that, I didn’t know about an investigation. But this is what you get with the Democrats. Here’s a man supposed to be negotiating war and peace with major, major countries, with weaponry like the world has never seen before, and the Democrats and the fake news media, they’re interested in a man who’s walking their dog? And maybe he’s busy. And maybe he’s negotiating with [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un, okay, about nuclear weapons. So that he’d say, “Please, could you walk my dog? Would you mind walking my dog? I’m talking to Kim Jong-un,” or, “I‘m talking to [Chinese] President Xi [Jinping] about paying us for some of the damage they have caused to the world, and to us. Please walk my dog.” To — who, a Secret Service person or somebody, right? I don’t know. I think this country has a long way to go. They — the priorities are really screwed up when I read this. Now, I don’t know anything about the investigation but, you’re just telling me about walking a dog — and, what’d you say, doing dishes?

Trump later asked: “I’d rather have him on the phone with some world leader than have him wash dishes … Do you know how stupid that sounds to the world?”

Pompeo has a five-year-old golden retriever named Sherman, named after William Tecumseh Sherman, a famed — and feared — Union general in the Civil War:

The journalist also asked Trump about reports that Pompeo was negotiating “Saudi arms deals.” He incorrectly stated that Congress “passed a law to restrict sales to Saudi Arabia.” In fact, Congress passed a bill that Trump vetoed last year. Congress did not have the votes to override the veto, and the bill never became law.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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The Obama-Biden Pandemic ‘Playbook’ Is Less than Advertised

Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign has frequently pointed to a 69-page “playbook” that the Obama-Biden administration created for dealing with pandemics, arguing that President Donald Trump had ignored it.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany recently called the playbook “insufficient,” according to the Washington Examiner.

In fact, the playbook is less than advertised. Of the 69 pages, only 27 are the actual “playbook.” The first 13 pages are the table of contents, executive summary, and various title pages. The last 29 pages are appendices. And within the 27 pages of the “playbook” section, only 17 deal with an international outbreak of an infectious disease.

The introduction to those 17 pages explains:

This Rubric is not intended to serve as a comprehensive concept of operations or replace national or pre-existing U.S. Government response structures, but rather to serve as a proposed guide based on existing authorities, guidance, and response frameworks for staff monitoring emerging infectious disease threats and interagency planning and response, should the need arise in the future. This document is divided into two sections: key questions that provide the foundation for analytic work and key decisions and response options in accordance with the epidemiological rating.

This Rubric is not intended to supplant other existing guidance such as the U.S. Government international disaster response system, United States Government International Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Response (ICBRNR) Protocol [footnote omitted] and the United States Government Policy Framework for Responding to International Requests for Public Health and Medical Assistance during an Influenza Pandemic (PI Framework, see appendix B) [footnote omitted] or those of the World Health Organization and the Global Outbreak Alert & Response Network (GOARN). Users are encouraged to refer to these documents, as applicable.

Translated into English, what that means is that the document is a summary of documents that exist elsewhere. All the new playbook does is create a set of color-coded categories to define different stages of a pandemic and the different questions that might be asked at each stage, as well as the different agencies that might be asked to respond.

It is not clear what, if anything, the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force omitted that the playbook included. The document itself admits that it is not intended to replace existing plans — only to provide a new way of organizing them.

(President Trump had his own thoughts about organizing the federal government’s response, and they were expressed in the structure of the task force, which brought the expertise of several agencies together, with clear accountability at the top.)

Some of the steps the playbook suggests are quite obvious. For example, in a situation of “elevated threat,” defined as an “infectious disease outbreak with high mortality or morbidity,” the playbook recommends asking about borders and travel: “Can the cisease [sic] be effectively screened in travelers as a means to stop transmission?”

Curiously, a note adds: “It is rarely appropriate to put border screening measures in place at an elevated threat level.”

In a situation of “credible threat,” when a case may have been “imported to the U.S. regardless of evidence of community transmission” — roughly the situation the U.S. faced in late January with coronavirus — the playbook is ambivalent about restricting travel. “The issue of border screening is complex and requires extensive and operational consultations,” it advises.

The next level of threat occurs when the World Health Organization (WHO) declares a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” (PHEIC). That only happened on Jan. 30 with the coronavirus; President Trump imposed a travel ban on China the next day. Had he been following the playbook, he might not have imposed the travel ban: the playbook’s recommendation does not change as the threat level rises: “The issue of border screening is complex.”

Throughout the playbook, there is a glaring weakness: reliance on the WHO. In the cast of the coronavirus, the WHO advised as late as Jan. 14: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China.” The “playbook” refers to WHO several times; while it anticipates weaknesses in local and regional WHO leadership, it does not suspect the kind of failure at senior levels of WHO that caused the world to underestimate the threat of the virus.

In one very important sense, the playbook anticipates the current crisis: it advises that “[t]he epidemiologic analysis and country context is likely to be dynamic and change. We recommend continuous reevaluation of the epidemiology to inform changes in US response options.”

In plain English: our knowledge of a new disease is likely to change, and policy changes will have to be made as our knowledge improves. That is exactly what has happened with COVID-19.

Later, in the section that deals with domestic pandemic outbreaks, the playbook reiterates the point: “Early in the emergence of an emerging infectious disease threat, either within or outside the United States, there will be more that is known than what is known. Decision-makers will choose courses of action with incomplete information.”

Thus while the Biden campaign has suggested otherwise, the playbook itself admits that there is no magical plan for containing pandemics, and that policymakers would have to learn and adjust over time — which Trump has done.

The appendices to the playbook include a list of government agencies and departments, and a few pages of charts showing how the color-coded threat levels would have applied to past pandemics, none of which reached the scale of coronavirus.

In at least two other respects, the playbook is indeed “insufficient,” as McEnany suggests: it downplays the use of travel bans, and emphasizes the role of the WHO. It is to President Trump’s credit that he chose a different path.

The Biden campaign places great store in the “playbook,” but never explains exactly how it would have made the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus any better. Arguably, it would have made the response worse.

If Joe Biden seriously believes that a document with a color-coded “rubric,” filled with bureaucratic jargon, is the answer to a pandemic threat like the coronavirus, perhaps Americans have new reasons to question his judgment.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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House Republican Introduces Bill to Ban ‘Ballot Harvesting’

Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), ranking member of the Committee on House Administration, introduced a bill last week to ban the practice of “ballot harvesting,” which allows anyone to deliver unlimited numbers of mail-in ballots on others’ behalf.

The practice, legalized by Democrats in California in 2016, is banned in most of the rest of the country, except for immediate family members. It is also unknown in the rest of the world, because of its high susceptibility to fraud.

In 2018, California Democrats used “ballot harvesting” as part of a successful effort to flip seven Republican-held seats. Hundreds of thousands of ballots were dropped off by Democratic Party operatives. Republicans have been unable to do the same because Republican voters apparently do not part with their ballots as easily as Democrats.

The new bill, called the “Election Fraud Prevention Act,” argues:

(4) the practice of ballot harvesting in California creates significant vulnerabilities in the chain-of-custody of ballots because individuals collecting ballots are not required to be registered voters and are not required to identify themselves at a voter’s home, and the State does not track how many ballots are harvested in an election;

(5) in North Carolina, a congressional election was invalidated due to fraud associated with ballot harvesting committed by a political operative, and it is unlikely such activity would have been detected were it not for the prohibition against ballot harvesting in the State; and

(6) ballot harvesting invites electioneering activity at home and creates the possibility of undue influence over voters by political operatives.

The bill would prevent states that allow ballot harvesting from receiving federal funds through the Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The only people who would be allowed to deliver other people’s ballots would be election officials; U.S. Postal Service employees and officials authorized to deliver the mail; and a “family member, household member, or caregiver of the person to whom the ballot was mailed.”

In a statement, Davis said:

We cannot allow politics to interfere with the integrity of our electoral process. Ballot harvesting, in the way House Democrats are trying to nationalize, allows any individual to pick up any voter’s ballot for any reason and deliver it to the polling location, completely unchecked. This ‘pandemic relief’ bill from House Democrats would actually jeopardize public health by allowing ‘ballot brokers’ to go door to door with a blatant disregard for social distancing guidelines. Not to mention, allowing political operatives to pick up ballots is unnecessary when mail ballots already have pre-paid postage.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has included nationwide ballot harvesting in every coronavirus relief bill she has proposed. None has become law.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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CNN’s Jake Tapper Blasted for Hypocrisy After Accusing Trump of ‘Smear Campaign’ Against Rivals

CNN’s Jake Tapper was hit by a wave of criticism on social media Sunday after he accused President Donald Trump of “launching an unprecedented smear campaign against any rival,” with many accusing him and CNN of hypocrisy.

Tapper, commenting on former President Barack Obama’s recent criticism of Trump’s leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, added during a monologue on his show:

The criticism from Obama comes at a time when President Trump and his team are launching an unprecedented smear campaign against any rival. Leveling wild and false allegations against critics in the media and political rivals that range from bizarre false conspiracy theories to spreading false allegations of pedophilia to even suggesting one TV anchor committed murder. These smear campaigns are unmoored from reality. They’re deranged and indecent and seem designed to distract from us from this horrific health and economic crisis.

Tapper made similar comments on Twitter:

Tapper did not mention specific examples, though the “murder” claim appears to refer to an intern who died in MSNBC host Joe Scarborough’s office when he was a congressman. The death was ruled accidental, caused by a heart condition that had previously been undiagnosed. Trump has ribbed Scarborough over the incident, referring to it as a “cold case.”

But critics were not having it, noting that Tapper and CNN had relentlessly pushed a variety of smears against Trump and his administration, including the false claim of Russia “collusion”; the uncorroborated claims of sexual assault against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and many more besides — without ever offering any sort of apology.

Last week, CNN’s media reporter, Brian Stelter, complained that conservative media were emphasizing the Michael Flynn story — in his view, at the expense of coronavirus coverage. Stelter showed no concern for the role CNN and other networks played in hyping Flynn’s supposed role in a Russia “collusion” conspiracy that never actually existed.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Obama Fired Inspector General Who Pursued Ally Kevin Johnson

Democrats are outraged that President Donald Trump has fired several inspectors general in recent weeks. President Barack Obama came under more muted criticism — most of it from Republicans — in 2009 when he fired AmeriCorps Inspector General Gerald Walpin, who had pursued an investigation of Kevin Johnson, the former NBA star and mayor of Sacramento, California. Johnson was a supporter of President Obama, suggesting the possibility of political interference.

The Wall Street Journal reported in June 2009:

A George W. Bush appointee, Mr. Walpin has since 2007 been the inspector general for the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that oversees such subsidized volunteer programs as AmeriCorps. In April 2008 the Corporation asked Mr. Walpin to investigate reports of irregularities at St. HOPE, a California nonprofit run by former NBA star and Obama supporter Kevin Johnson. St. HOPE had received an $850,000 AmeriCorps grant, which was supposed to go for three purposes: tutoring for Sacramento-area students; the redevelopment of several buildings; and theater and art programs.

Mr. Walpin’s investigators discovered that the money had been used instead to pad staff salaries, meddle politically in a school-board election, and have AmeriCorps members perform personal services for Mr. Johnson, including washing his car.

At the end of May, Mr. Walpin’s office recommended that Mr. Johnson, an assistant and St. HOPE itself be “suspended” from receiving federal funds. The Corporation’s official charged with suspensions agreed, and in September the suspension letters went out. Mr. Walpin’s office also sent a civil and/or criminal referral to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California.

So far, so normal. But that all changed last fall, when Mr. Johnson was elected mayor of Sacramento. News of the suspension had become public, and President Obama began to discuss his federal stimulus spending. A city-hired attorney pronounced in March that Sacramento might be barred from receiving stimulus funds because of Mr. Johnson’s suspension.

Pressure began to build on Walpin, and he was eventually fired, with the call allegedly coming from Obama White House ethics “czar” Norm Eisen. (Eisen was, more recently, counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump; he used a deceptively edited video in his questioning.)

The Journal reported that Eisen told Walpin that the president “felt it was time for Mr. Walpin to ‘move on,’ and that it was ‘pure coincidence’ he was asked to leave during the St. HOPE controversy.” However, the Obama administration had to change its explanation because of a law requiring a written explanation for such firings be sent to Congress.

Worse, the Obama White House later claimed that Walpin had been “confused” and “disoriented” at a meeting.

Some Democrats protested. But nothing was done, and the media — now following Trump’s firings closely — moved on.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Kayleigh McEnany Shoots Down Question About Her Views, as a Student, on Same-sex Marriage

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany shot down a question from a member of the White House Press Corps on Friday about the views she held on same-sex marriage as a Harvard Law School student in 2015.

McEnany had argued in favor of letting the states decide the issue for themselves — which had been the position of President Barack Obama as of 2012. (In 2008, he ran in opposition to same-sex marriage, citing his Christian faith.)

Washington Blade reporter Chris Johnson asked McEnany about her views in Friday’s press briefing:

Johnson: In a previous life, as a Harvard Law student, in 2015, you were vocally against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in favor of same-sex marriage, calling arguments for it “farcical blabber.” Do you think that’s consistent with the president’s views?

McEnany: Look — you know, I’m not up here to give my personal views on anything. What I’d say is that I’m very proud of this administration, which has been fair equitable, and just to all Americans, and open to all Americans, as [the president] should be. I think our views are entirely consistent, and I’m not up here to give my views on a Supreme Court case from many years ago.

Johnson misquoted McEnany somewhat. She was not referring to all arguments for same-sex marriage as “farcical blabber,” but rather commentary in the mainstream media framing the issue as one of “state-sanctioned discrimination.”

Moreover, her article did not concern the decision at the Supreme Court, but rather the anticipated oral arguments.

McEnany explained that a previous decision in 2013 had framed the issue in terms of federalism and the power of states to define marriage, and wondered whether the Supreme Court would stick to that framework, or abandon it in favor of a substantive decision about the right to marriage. She did not argue her personal views on that subject.

In his own report, Johnson said that McEnany had deflected the question, and quoted a spokesperson for GLAAD, an LGBTQ rights organization, saying that McEnany’s views “should have disqualified her” from a White House job.

Johnson also sought to contrast McEnany’s views with those held by President Donald Trump, who has said that he accepts the Supreme Court’s decisions on same-sex marriage and has not sought to challenge them.

In 2009, Trump defended Miss California, Carrie Prejean, who had answered a question from judge Perez Hilton about same-sex marriage by stating that while she favored traditional marriage, she supported people being able to choose for themselves. Hilton was clearly displeased, and ranted later that Prejean, who was first runner-up, lost because she was “a dumb bitch.”

Trump stood up for her, telling reporters: ““It’s the same answer that the president of the United States gave.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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If Joe Biden Does Not Remember Her, He Should ‘Open Up His Record’

Douglas Wigdor, the attorney for Tara Reade, told Breitbart News on Friday morning that former Vice President Joe Biden’s claim not to remember her is all the more reason for him to consent to opening up his Senate records.

Biden told MSNBC on Thursday evening that he did not remember Reade, who worked for him as a Senate staffer, and  who alleges he sexually assaulted her in 1993. Biden has refused to open his Senate archive, which is housed at the University of Delaware.

Wigdor responded in a telephone interview with Breitbart News.

Biden “hasn’t been that sharp on many things, not least of which now is not recalling Tara Reade,” Wigdor said, “which is all the more reason why now, frankly, he ought to consent to opening up his record at the University of Delaware.”

The former vice president, who is the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president, has said that he will not consent to his papers being released while he is seeking or serving in public office, because of the risk that information might be taken out of context.

But Wigdor says that Biden’s Senate records could be the key to refreshing his memory and establishing the truth.

“We’re starting to now see, as the attacks change from her being some sort of a Russian sympathizer, to there being no record of her working there, to [writing] bad checks, to now it’s sort of changed — I’ve seen things about work performance and even the clothing that she was wearing,” Wigdor told Breitbart News.

Asked whether the case was “closed,” as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said earlier this month, Wigdor retorted: “The case hasn’t even started.”

He challenged Biden to sit down for an interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, as Reade had done, noting that his client had granted multiple interviews.

Asked why other women had not come forward with similar stories, Wigdor replied: “I think a number of women have come forward who have spoken about his hands-on touching, and looks at them, and things like that [that] made them feel very uncomfortable.

“I think that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that someone who’s willing to do those sorts of things, in public, would venture into the next phase of what he did to Tara Reade.”
Wigdor, who also represented some of the victims of convicted Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, added that the way Reade had been treated by the media could deter other women from speaking out.

He noted that he had been an enthusiastic supporter in 2018 of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh of assaulting her when they were both in high school in the early 1980s.

MSNBC invited him on the air to discuss the case against Kavanaugh, he said, but when it came to Reade — who, unlike Dr. Ford, had given a contemporaneous account of the assault to a friend who worked for the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) — they did not want to hear from him.

“Somehow now Tara Reade comes into the picture and …  the same people are running away from things they have embraced,” he said.

“It’s a complete and utter double standard that’s going on … I can tell you while my phone was ringing off the hook [about] Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing — [MSNBC] couldn’t get enough of me — they haven’t called me once. They don’t want to hear from me.”

Wigdor also noted that many advocacy groups and organizations that rallied around Dr. Ford had failed to defend Reade against “hit pieces” in the media. “I don’t see those same groups rallying for her and the same exact issues.”

He added that Reade would have an “announcement” in the coming days, given that the Democratic National Committee did not want to participate in an “independent, nonpartisan investigation” into the facts.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Amb. Marie Yovanovitch Knew More About Burisma than She Admitted to Impeachment Inquiry

Newly-released State Department documents suggest that former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch knew more about Burisma, the corrupt company tied to Hunter Biden, than she told the House impeachment inquiry last year.

In November 2019, Yovanovitch testified in a public hearing before the House Intelligence Committee that she first learned about Burisma when she was being briefed for her confirmation hearings in 2016, and that the company was “not a focus” when she arrived at post.

In October, in her closed-door deposition, Yovanovitch told the committee — under oath — that she did not recall being briefed by embassy staff about Burisma, and that much of what she had learned came from “press reports.”

But investigative reporter John Solomon reported Wednesday that Yovanovitch had discussed the company with staff:

[N]ewly unearthed State Department memos obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show Yovanovitch’s embassy in Kiev, including the ambassador herself, was engaged in several discussions and meetings about Burisma as the gas firm scrambled during the 2016 election and transition to settle a long-running corruption investigation and polish its image before President Trump took office.

Yovanovitch, for instance, was specifically warned in an email by her top deputy in September 2016 — three years before her testimony — that Burisma had hired an American firm with deep Democratic connections called Blue Star Strategies to “rehabilitate the reputation” of the Ukrainian gas firm and that it had placed “Hunter Biden on its board,” the memos show.

She also met directly with a representative for Burisma in her embassy office, less than 45 days before Trump took office, a contact she did not mention during her impeachment deposition.

The discussions about Burisma inside Yovanovitch’s embassy were so extensive, in fact, that they filled more than 160 pages of emails, memos and correspondence in fall 2016 alone, according to the State Department records obtained under FOIA by the conservative group Citizens United.

Read Solomon’s full report here.

Following that report, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, wrote to the State Department requesting it provide all documents from the Obama administration relating to Bursima, without redactions.

Yovanovitch was portrayed sympathetically by Democrats during the impeachment inquiry and trial as a victim of President Donald Trump and his attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who they claimed smeared her.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Ron DeSantis Was ‘More Right’ About Coronavirus; Victim of Media Bias

Politico noted in its nightly bulletin Thursday that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis “looks more right than those who criticized” his response to the coronavirus pandemic, and that media bias is one of the reasons he is polling worse than other governors.

The Beltway publication, which often leans left, offered a sober look at DeSantis’s performance — and the media’s slant (original emphasis and links):

First, let’s just come out and say it: DeSantis looks more right than those who criticized the Sunshine State’s coronavirus response. According to the latest Florida figures, fewer than 2,000 have died, and around 43,000 have been infected. That’s a fraction of the dire predictions made for Florida when spring breakers swarmed the beaches, and those numbers are dwarfed by similarly sized New York, which has seen 12 times more deaths and nearly eight times more infections. (Check out POLITICO’s coronavirus tracker for more.) More people reportedly died in New York nursing homes than in all of Florida.

The polling disparity: DeSantis is actually polling worse than Cuomo in their respective states, and the Florida press is wondering why. Part of that is style. Cuomo has a smooth delivery, a deep and calming voice and an attitude that projects he can answer any question. DeSantis sometimes comes across as peevish and defensive, has made a misstatement or two and was mocked for struggling to put on a mask. But most of the difference between DeSantis and Cuomo is due to politics. DeSantis governs a politically divided state. Cuomo is a scion of Democratic royalty in a deeply Democratic state.

Yes, there’s media bias, too. Cuomo also has something else DeSantis doesn’t: a press that defers to him, one that preferred to cover “Florida Morons” at the beach (where it’s relatively hard to get infected) over New Yorkers riding cramped subway cars (where it’s easy to get infected). In fact, people can still ride the subways for most hours of the day in New York, but Miami Beach’s sands remain closed. Maybe things would be different if DeSantis had a brother who worked in cable news and interviewed him for a “sweet moment” in primetime.

The authors of the bulletin, Marc Caputo and Renuka Rayasam, also say that DeSantis cannot take all the credit, because he allowed local government to take the lead. They also criticize the state’s inefficient unemployment insurance system, though they also note that DeSantis inherited it, and “is trying to get it fixed quickly.”

The White House press corps repeatedly badgered President Donald Trump about DeSantis in the early days of the pandemic, when the Florida governor was one of the few who waited before he shut his state’s economy down.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Fresno County Sheriff Won’t Enforce Stay-at-Home Orders; Too Busy Re-arresting Freed Criminals

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said Tuesday that she would not be able to enforce Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home orders because she was too busy re-arresting accused criminals set free under the state’s new “zero-dollar bail” policy.

Mims appeared on the Trevor Carey Show, discussing the challenges facing law enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as the economic hardship. She pointed out that government employees were also vulnerable to the economic damage, because the decline in tax revenues meant that state and local governments would cut services.

Carey asked her: “I’ve heard multiple sheriffs around the nation state they will not enforce their governors’ shelter-in-place orders. Is that your position?

“That is my position. We do not stop the public to find out what they’re doing when they’re not sheltering in place. We don’t ask those questions, we don’t ask if they’re ‘essential’. We’ve got our hands full trying to re-arrest people that are released due to zero-dollar bail. So we’ve got other things that are on our mind that are more important than stopping normally law-abiding citizens.”

Listen (from 11:44):


Fresno is the fifth-largest city in California and the hub of the state’s agricultural Central Valley. As of Wednesday, the county had recorded 1,014 coronavirus cases and 13 deaths.

California adopted zero-dollar bail after criminal justice reform advocates argued that cash bail was discriminatory.

California began “phase two” of Gov. Newsom’s re-opening plan late last week, with limited reopening of businesses.

The Trevor Carey Show, which broadcasts live from Fresno on FM 96.7 and AM 1400 from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Pacific, is available any time nationwide via iHeartRADIO.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Democrats Decline to Put ‘Whistleblower’ Dr. Rick Bright Under Oath

Democrats declined to require Dr. Rick Bright, the “whistleblower” who appeared before the House on Thursday, to testify under oath as he told a subcommittee that the Trump administration had not responded adequately to the coronavirus pandemic.

Bright, the former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), was reassigned last month to a position at the National Institutes of Health. He claimed he was a victim of retaliation for his opposition to President Donald Trump’s support for the use of hydroxychloroquine, azithromycin, and zinc to treat coronavirus patients.

However, plans to remove Bright were reportedly in the works before the coronavirus pandemic, as he was accused of “incompetence and insubordination.” Politico also reported that Bright had written in support of hydroxychloroquine.

Bright, who has failed to show up for work at his new job, immediately hired attorney Debra Katz, who represented Christine Blasey Ford in 2018 during Democrats’ effort to stop the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

At the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health hearing, Ranking Member Rep. Dr. Michael Burgess (R-TX) noted that this was only the first hearing the committee was holding on the pandemic, five months after it first began.

Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) noted that Katz was seated at the table next to Dr. Bright with a microphone, calling the arrangement “extraordinarily unusual” for a government witness to be testifying along with a private attorney.

Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) raised a parliamentary objection, noting that Dr. Bright was not testifying under oath. “[If] he’s … not under oath, if we get into whistleblower allegations, how can we be sure the witness is telling the truth under oath if they’re not under oath, and if they’re not under oath, then how can you talk about the whistleblower complaints in a fair and equitable manner?” he asked.

Committee chair Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) declined to place Dr. Bright under oath before his testimony, but noted that “all witnesses know that it is illegal to lie to Congress.”

Dr. Bright’s opening statement consisted largely of criticisms and concerns about the Trump administration’s policy response to the pandemic. He praised experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of President Trump’s coronavirus task force.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Judge Sullivan to Consider Criminal Contempt Charge Against Michael Flynn

Judge Emmet G. Sullivan will consider whether to find former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn in criminal contempt of court after the Department of Justice (DOJ) moved last week to drop its prosecution of Flynn for lying to the FBI.

Sullivan issued an order Wednesday appointing retired judge John Gleeson as amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) to argue against the DOJ’s motion to dismiss the case, as well as to advise the court on whether it should begin contempt proceedings.

Gleeson was appointed by President Bill Clinton, as was Sullivan. On Tuesday, Sullivan said he would entertain amicus curiae briefs from outside parties, such as the anti-Trump “Watergate Prosecutors,” advising him about whether to allow the case to be dropped.

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure provide that a judge “may summarily punish a person who commits criminal contempt in its presence if the judge saw or heard the contemptuous conduct and so certifies.” However, it would be very unusual for a judge to find a defendant in contempt merely for exercising his right to change a prior guilty plea.

In withdrawing its case against Flynn, the DOJ did not say Flynn had not lied, but that his lies were not “material” because Flynn was not actually being investigated by the FBI for any offense at the time he made false statements to FBI agents.

In December 2017, Flynn accepted a plea bargain from Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team, and pleaded guilty. But by December 2018, as Flynn awaited sentencing, more details about the strange circumstances in which the FBI had initially spoken to Flynn began to emerge. As Breitbart News reported, Flynn’s lawyers pointed out “the possibility of entrapment, the fact that the deputy director of the FBI had advised Flynn not to have counsel present when he was interviewed by the FBI, and that the agents who interviewed him later said that he did not appear to have lied.”

Sullivan was not moved. “I cannot recall any incident in which the court has accepted a plea of guilty from someone who maintained he was not guilty and I don’t intend to start today.” He asked Flynn whether he wanted to change his guilty plea, and Flynn declined to do so.

The judge then launched a tirade against Flynn, even asking prosecutors whether he should have been tried for treason.

Afterwards, the judge was forced to apologize when it was pointed out that he had mistakenly accused Flynn of being an unregistered foreign agent while he was working in the White House. Flynn ended his foreign contract in November 2016.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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Retired Judge Who Will Argue Against Michael Flynn Said Case ‘Reeks of Improper Political Influence’

The retired federal judge who was appointed Wednesday to argue that Michael Flynn should be held in criminal contempt of court for changing his guilty plea published an op-ed in the Washington Post Monday criticizing the Trump administration.

Retired Judge John Gleeson was appointed by Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is presiding over the Flynn case, both to oppose the Department of Justice motion to drop the case and to argue Sullivan should begin proceedings to hold Flynn in contempt.

In an op-ed titled “The Flynn case isn’t over until the judge says it’s over,” Gleeson and two co-authors wrote (original links and emphasis):

There has been nothing regular about the department’s effort to dismiss the Flynn case. The record reeks of improper political influence. Hours after the career prosecutor abruptly withdrew, the department moved to dismiss the indictment in a filing signed only by an interim U.S. attorney, a former aide to Attorney General William P. Barr whom Barr had installed in the position months before.

The department now says it cannot prove its case. But Flynn had already admitted his guilt to lying to the FBI, and the court had accepted his plea. The purported reasons for the dismissal clash not only with the department’s previous arguments in Flynn’s case — where it assured the court of an important federal interest in punishing Flynn’s dishonesty, an interest it now dismisses as insubstantial — but also with arguments it has routinely made for years in similar cases not involving defendants close to the president. And all of this followed a similarly troubling reversal, also preceded by the withdrawal of career prosecutors, in the sentencing of Roger Stone.

The Washington Post played a role in Flynn’s prosecution when columnist David Ignatius reported in January 2017 that Flynn, as incoming National Security Advisor, had spoken to the Russian ambassador. (The leak of Flynn’s name was likely a felony.)

Flynn was later accused of lying about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to Vice President Mike Pence and to the FBI. The DOJ now says that those lies were not “material” because Flynn was not under investigation.

Both Gleeson and Sullivan were appointed to the federal bench by President Bill Clinton.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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List of Obama Officials Who May Have ‘Unmasked’ Michael Flynn Includes Joe Biden

Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell responded to a congressional request Wednesday by submitting a declassified list of Obama administration officials who had requested names be “unmasked” from Nov. 8, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2017.

Among those “unmasked”: incoming National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn (Ret.).

And among those doing the “unmasking”: then-Vice President Joe Biden, who is now the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for the presidency in 2020.

Flynn, who was then the incoming National Security Advisor, spoke several times to then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The calls were picked up by U.S. intelligence, and Flynn’s name was leaked — illegally — to the media.

David Ignatius, a columnist for the Washington Post, reported Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak on Jan. 12. But reporter Adam Entous may have had the information first.

One call in particular — on Dec. 29, 2016 — attracted particular attention, because Flynn discussed the Obama administration’s new sanctions imposed that day on Russia for election interference. Flynn told Kislyak that Russia should not “escalate” in response, according to the report of Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Flynn was later prosecuted for lying to the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak, though it is not clear what he told them.

On Tuesday, following reports that Grenell had declassified the list, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) wrote to Grenell asking for the list. On Wednesday, CBS News’ Catherine Herridge obtained a copy of Grenell’s response.

Grenell noted that the list was of those “who may have received Lt. Gen. Flynn’s identity,” though they may not have specifically requested Flynn’s name, and it could not be confirmed whether they had actually seen Flynn’s name.

Herridge  tweeted images of the list — and former Vice President Joe Biden’s name was on it, having asked for Flynn’s name to be “unmasked” on Jan. 12, 2017 — the same day that Ignatius’s column ran in the Post.

The tweets and list follow:

  • U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samatha Power
  • Director for National Intelligence James Clapper
  • Deputy Chief of Mission to Italy and Republic of San Marino Kelly Degnan (now Ambassador to Georgia)
  • U.S. Ambassador to Italy and the Republic of San Marino, John R. Phillips
  • CIA director John Brennan
  • U.S. Treasury Office of Intelligence and Analysis Patrick Conlon
  • Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew
  • Acting Assistant Treasury Secretary Arthur “Danny” McGlynn
  • Acting Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Mike Neufeld
  • Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Sarah Raskin
  • Under Secretary Treasury Nathan Sheets
  • Acting Under Secretary Treasury Adam Szubin
  • U.S. NATO Advisor Robert Bell
  • U.S. Representative to the NATO Military Committee Vice Admiral John Christenson
  • FBI Director James Comey
  • U.S. NATO Office of the Defense Advisor Policy Advisor for Russia Lt. Col. Paul Geehreng
  • U.S. NATO Defense Advisor James Hursh
  • U.S. Deptuy Chief of Mission to NATO Lee Litzenberger (now Ambassador to Azerbaijan)
  • U.S. Permanent Representative to NATO Ambassador Douglas Lute
  • U.S. NATO Political Office Scott Parrish
  • Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall
  • U.S. NATO Political Advisor Tamir Waser
  • U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Tefft
  • U.S. Ambassador to Turkey John Bass
  • White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough
  • Deputy Director of National Intelligence for Intelligence Integration Michael Dempsey
  • Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Stephanie O’Sullivan
  • Vice President Joe Biden

The names are presented in chronological order of their requests. Several of the names on the list are redacted.

Those who requested “unmasking” on or after Dec. 29, 2016 include: Power, Clapper, Lew, McDonough, Dempsey, O’Sullivan, Biden, and an unnamed person.

McDonough is the only person who made an unmasking request between Dec. 29, 2017 and Jan. 5, 2017.

That was the date of a key Oval Office meeting at which President Barack Obama met with several senior officials and informed Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates of the Flynn-Kislyak conversations.

At that meeting, the president also discussed Comey’s plan to approach President-elect Donald Trump  to inform him about salacious (and unverified) information from the “Steele dossier” at Trump Tower the next day, Jan. 6.

On Tuesday, in an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America, Biden, who had been at the Jan. 5 meeting, initially denied knowing about the plan to investigate Flynn, then admitted that he had known that “they had asked for an investigation.”

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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John Brennan Suppressed Intel Saying Russia Wanted Hillary Clinton to Win

Fox News’ Ed Henry reported Tuesday evening that Acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell has declassified information calling into question the conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump.

Henry told Tucker Carlson on Tucker Carlson Tonight that the new information would suggested John Brennan, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency under President Barack Obama, “also had intel saying, actually, Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win because she was a known quantity, she had been secretary of state, and Vladimir Putin’s team thought she was more malleable, while candidate Donald Trump was unpredictable.”

Former National Security Council chief of staff Fred Fleitz made a similar claim in an article on FoxNews.com April 22:

House Intelligence Committee staff told me that after an exhaustive investigation reviewing intelligence and interviewing intelligence officers, they found that Brennan suppressed high-quality intelligence suggesting that Putin actually wanted the more predictable and malleable Clinton to win the 2016 election.

Instead, the Brennan team included low-quality intelligence that failed to meet intelligence community standards to support the political claim that Russian officials wanted Trump to win, House Intelligence Committee staff revealed. They said that CIA analysts also objected to including that flawed, substandard information in the assessment.

On Tuesday, Henry said that he had obtained independent confirmation of the claims made by Fleitz in that report.

For three years, the received wisdom in Washington has been that 17 intelligence agencies concluded that Russia had interfered in the election to help Trump win. It then transpired that only four agencies had actually been involved.

The Senate Intelligence Committee, chaired by embattled Republican Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), issued a report last month that appeared to confirm the work of the intelligence agencies.

However, that conclusion may soon be contradicted.

President Trump has accepted the claim that Russia interfered in the election — though he does not believe Russia actually helped him win, and he has publicly cast doubt on the idea that Russia preferred him over Clinton, his Democratic rival.

Breitbart News noted in 2017: “[T]he Russians may just as well have preferred Hillary Clinton, who had given Russia everything it wanted while serving as President Barack Obama’s Secretary of State — from the ill-fated “reset,” to a surrender of U.S. missile defenses in Eastern Europe, to the sale of 20% of America’s uranium reserves to a Russian company closely tied to the Russian state.”

“This could be a bombshell,” Henry told Carlson on Tuesday.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new book, RED NOVEMBER, is available for pre-order. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.



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