House Dems out to Get Religion

One of the most important religious freedom laws in America turns 25 this Friday. But will it make it to 26? House Democrats are doing everything it can to ensure it doesn’t.

A quarter of a century ago, nothing about religious liberty was controversial. In fact, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) was so popular that all but three members of Congress voted yes. When Bill Clinton signed RFRA into law, no one dreamed that two decades later, his same party would be trying to sanctimoniously kill the law.

For most Americans, the Democrats’ shift hasn’t exactly been subtle. A party platform that mentioned God seven times in 2004 kicked him out in 2012. A senator who said, “We worship an awesome God” in 2004 declared war on faith as president a few years later. Now, a party that almost unanimously agreed that the government shouldn’t undermine religion in 1993 has 172 cosponsors to scrap RFRA and take a sledgehammer to our First Freedom. And they’ll have control of the House to advance their attack.

In an important column for the Washington Examiner, Ernest Istook points out that one of the people behind this push is about to become the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.). Of course, he and the rest of his party want you to believe that Democrats wouldn’t destroy RFRA, they’d just carve out areas where it wouldn’t apply — like marriage, sexual orientation, gender identity, abortion, health care, and any other area where long standing religious beliefs clashed with the vogue values of the Left’s agenda.

“In short,” Istook explains, “an explicit constitutional right would be declared less important than other claims never mentioned in the Constitution and often not even legislated by elected officials.” The repeal of RFRA, he warns, would be a nightmare for men and women of faith – especially Christians, who just want the freedom to live out their beliefs in peace. That’ll be incredibly hard to do, Istook warns, since the Democrats’ bill would wipe out the Supreme Court victories in the Hobby Lobby and Masterpiece Cakeshop cases. The world that Chai Feldblum envisioned will have finally arrived. Asked what should happen when religious liberty clashed with the LGBT agenda, Obama’s EEOC chief said she’d have “a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.” The modern Democratic Party agrees.

The good news, for now, is that the GOP-controlled Senate would never go along with something as extreme as gutting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The bad news — at least for the Democratic party — is that neither will their heartland base. Not everyone is on board with the Left’s hard turn on religion. As Yale’s Stephen Carter wrote, “When you mock Christians, you’re not mocking who you think you are.” And if Democrats aren’t careful, they’ll fall right down the God gap they’ve created.

“Spend much time in secular progressive circles,” David French writes, “and you’ll quickly encounter the kind of sneering, anti-Christian elitism evident in pieces such as the recent New Yorker creed against Chick-fil-A. But this culture is fundamentally at odds with the lived experience of the Democratic party’s black and Latino base.” In their beliefs, Pew Research Center warned earlier this year, “nonwhite Democrats more closely resemble Republicans than white Democrats.” That’s significant — not just because it creates tension in the Democratic Party, but, as French points out, “to the extent that faith informs politics, it could crack open the progressive coalition.”

Just last week, exit polling showed how misguided the Democrats’ war on religious expression is. Of all the competing social values — life, marriage, privacy, gender identity — religious liberty was far and away the most popular consensus issue. When McLaughlin & Associates asked 1,000 Americans if the government “should leave people free to follow their beliefs,” a whopping 70 percent of the respondents said yes. Only 18 percent agreed with this radical crusade to end religious liberty as we know it.

In a lot of ways, it’s the Democrats’ liberal agenda that’s boxed them into a godless corner. They’ve had to become hostile to public faith because it acknowledges a moral standard. And when you embrace policies that are antithetical to the stated values of any orthodox religion — like same-sex marriage or abortion — there’s only one way to reconcile it. You get rid of faith — or, at the very least marginalize it.

Make no mistake: The threat to RFRA from Democrats is real. But so is the threat to Democrats if they keep alienating faith and the voters who embrace it.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

EXCLUSIVE: Mich State Dept investigates college for potential campaign finance violations

  • The Michigan State Department launched an investigation into Schoolcraft College over possible campaign finance violations.
  • The investigation was prompted by an ethics complaint, filed by Michigan attorney Karen Woodside.

The Michigan State Department is investigating Schoolcraft College for potential campaign finance violations after school employees allegedly used public resources for political activism.

The Michigan Department of State confirmed to Campus Reform on Tuesday that its Bureau of Elections unit launched an investigation into  Schoolcraft College for potentially illegal activity. Fred Woodhams of the Michigan State Department told Campus Reform that the investigation will take a couple of months to complete.

The Michigan Department of State confirmed to Campus Reform on Tuesday that its Bureau of Elections unit launched an investigation into Schoolcraft College for potentially illegal activity.    

Michigan attorney Karen Woodside filed an ethics complaint against Schoolcraft College, as previously reported by Campus Reform. Woodside’s complaint alleged that some employees used school computers during office hours to campaign for a property tax hike on the Nov. 6 election ballot. The ballot initiative did pass and is set to give the school increased funding through 2029.

Employees urged residents to vote in support of the initiative, referring to the ballot question passing as “winning,” according to emails obtained by Campus Reform.

According to Michigan campaign finance law, “a public body or a person acting for a public body shall not use or authorize the use of funds, personnel, office space, computer hardware or software, property, stationery, postage, vehicles, equipment, supplies, or other public resources to make a contribution or expenditure” for local ballot questions.

An incident in which communications show “express advocacy” can be addressed by Michigan’s Secretary of State Elections Bureau, according to Watchdog.org.

Campus Reform reached out to Schoolcraft College, but did not receive a response in time for publication.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

A New Way of Tracking Trump’s Judicial Nominees

Addressing a convention of labor commissioners in 1889, prominent government statistician Carroll D. Wright reminded his audience that “figures will not lie,” but warned that “liars will figure.” He urged them to “prevent the liar from figuring”—that is, from “perverting the truth, in the interest of some theory he is trying to establish.”

To that end, The Heritage Foundation has launched its Judicial Appointment Tracker, a tool to track judicial nominations and confirmations, not only currently but also compared to previous administrations.

The judges a president appoints may be his most important legacy. Judges serve long after the appointing president leaves office. They have the power to determine what our laws mean and to decide cases involving the most important issues of our time.

It was not supposed to be that way, because judges were never meant to be so powerful. America’s Founders assigned a modest role for judges within our system, leading Alexander Hamilton to call the judiciary the “weakest” and “least dangerous” branch.

The conflict over judicial appointments today is really a conflict over judicial power—whether to maintain, or abandon, the judicial role as defined by the Founders.

Evaluating and participating in the judicial appointment process requires good information. Not just random, carefully spun data points, but fair, accurate, and reliable statistics in proper context.

The Judicial Appointment Tracker provides this data for six elements of the judicial appointment process: vacancies, nominees, hearings, confirmations, cloture votes, and roll call votes. It provides the current data since President Donald Trump took office and comparable data for the previous five presidents.

The status of judicial appointments as of Nov. 13 in the second year of the last six administrations. (Photo: The Heritage Foundation)

Each of these categories can significantly affect what people know or understand about the process. For example, Trump’s 19 appointments in 2017 and President Bill Clinton’s 20 appointments in 1996 appear comparable until one realizes that vacancies averaged 127 in 2017, but only 61 in 1996.

The 65 judges confirmed so far this year surpasses the average of 56 appointed during previous presidents’ second year. But this year’s progress is even more significant in light of Democratic obstruction. Democrats forced the Senate to take a separate vote to end debate on 43 percent of judicial nominations, compared to fewer than 2 percent under previous presidents.

Some senators and activist groups, as well as media covering the appointment process, often paint a skewed picture when it comes to appointments, making false comparisons between apples and oranges, or even worse. The Judicial Appointment Tracker will provide an accurate picture, using similar time periods and, when necessary, percentages rather than raw totals to maintain the validity of comparisons over time.

The tracker will also be updated immediately whenever there is a new development in these categories, such as new vacancy figures from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Court, hearings in the Senate Judiciary Committee, or votes on the Senate floor.

Liars may figure, but this new resource will present accurate, reliable, and comparable data about the judicial appointment process so that the figures can speak for themselves.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Thomas Jipping

Thomas Jipping is deputy director of the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation.


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12 Potential Trump Nominees for Attorney General

Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned Wednesday, creating a vacancy in President Donald Trump’s Cabinet and the opportunity to confirm a new leader at the Department of Justice.

The question facing Trump is whom he might pick as the next attorney general. The Heritage Foundation’s John Malcolm, vice president of the Institute for Constitutional Government and director of the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies, discussed the following dozen possible candidates for the position during recent TV interviews.

1. Pam Bondi

Bondi, 52, is Florida’s attorney general, a position she has held since 2011. Previously she served as an assistant state attorney. She was a part of a 2018 lawsuit by 19 states to overturn the Affordable Care Act and has also served as a Fox News co-host.

Malcolm called Bondi “terrific and outgoing,” “very, very bright,” and a “rather dynamic personality,” noting he thinks she served her state well and is often a speaker at conservative events.

“I have no doubt that she’d do an excellent job if she got the nod,” he added.

2. John Ratcliffe

Ratcliffe, 53, is the representative for Texas’ 4th Congressional District, a position he has held since 2014.

In 2004, former President George W. Bush appointed him to serve as the Justice Department’s chief of anti-terrorism and national security for the Eastern District of Texas.

3. Trey Gowdy

Malcolm said Gowdy “would receive a serious look” for the position of attorney general because he was the federal prosecutor in the District of South Carolina from 1994 to 2000 and was later the district attorney for the state’s 7th Judicial Circuit.

Gowdy, 54, currently serves as the representative for South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District and rose to national prominence for his role in leading the U.S. House select committee established by Republicans to investigate the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

In January, he announced he would not seek re-election to the House and instead restart his legal career.

4. Janice Rogers Brown

Brown, 69, is a former judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. She was appointed by Bush in 2003 and confirmed in 2005. She retired in August 2017.

Brown was also an associate justice of the California Supreme Court from 1996 to 2017. She is known for her conservative judicial philosophy.

5. Lindsey Graham

Graham, like Gowdy, hails from South Carolina, having served as its senator since 2003. Graham, 63, is a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve colonel and has also served in his state’s House of Representatives and the U.S. House of Representatives.

“Lindsey Graham would also do an excellent job. He knows the Department of Justice extremely well,” Malcolm said.

Even though he often criticized Trump during the 2016 election and at the beginning of his term, “he certainly did a tremendous job during the Kavanaugh hearings and has been very supportive of the president,” Malcolm added.

Graham recently said he would not accept an offer by Trump to succeed Sessions, noting he was happy serving as a senator for the time being.

6. Edith Jones

Jones, 69, has been a judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit since her appointment by former President Ronald Reagan in 1985. She served as that court’s chief justice from 2006 to 2012.

7. Michael Luttig

Luttig was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit from 1991 to 2006 when he resigned to work for Boeing Co. He has served in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and once clerked for now-deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia when Scalia was a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

During his time in the Bush administration, he worked in the Justice Department and assisted then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas through his confirmation hearings in 1991.

Luttig, 64, is considered to be conservative in his judicial philosophy. He was once on President George W. Bush’s shortlist for the Supreme Court, and many of his law clerks have clerked at the Supreme Court.

8. Alex Acosta

Acosta, 49, currently serves as Trump’s secretary of labor. Before his appointment to that position in 2017, he served as the assistant attorney general for civil rights and federal prosecutor for the Southern District of Florida.

Acosta is the only Hispanic in the president’s Cabinet.

9. Matt Whitaker

Whitaker, 49, is the current acting attorney general in the wake of Sessions’ departure.

He was the Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney general from Iowa, where Malcolm said he “served with distinction” from 2004 to 2009. He also served as a U.S. attorney under former President George W. Bush.

Malcolm noted that for the last year Whitaker has served as Sessions’ chief of staff, so he knows the political appointees at the department and has a relationship with the president himself.

10. Alex Azar

Azar, 51, is the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services under Trump. He previously served in the George W. Bush administration.

11. Chris Christie

Malcolm said Christie has a “lot of executive experience and knows the Department of Justice very well.”

Christie, 56, was appointed to be the U.S. attorney for New Jersey by Bush, and served in that capacity from 2002 to 2008. He later served as the state’s governor and presided over the Fort Lee closure scandal, during which he was accused of shutting down a major highway as a form of political retribution.

Malcolm said that while Christie and Trump have known each other for a long time, it remains to be seen whether the president will find Christie attractive for the job of attorney general given his high public profile and “larger than life” persona.

12. Rudy Giuliani

Giuliani, 74, is a former U.S. attorney general and mayor of New York City. He currently serves as the president’s outside legal counsel and has made frequent (and oftentimes newsworthy) media appearances defending the president on the Mueller investigation and adult film actress Stormy Daniels’ lawsuit against him.

COLUMN BY

Troy Worden

Troy Worden is a member of the Young Leaders Program at The Heritage Foundation.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call/Newscom.

If Trump Ended Birthright Citizenship by Executive Order, He’d Be Enforcing Existing Law

President Donald Trump’s critics have found something else to rend their garments over: his determination to end so-called “birthright citizenship.” Why, they thunder, it’s unconstitutional. And even if it could be changed, it can’t be by executive order.

They’re wrong on both counts.

That probably comes as a surprise to many Americans, including some who consider themselves Trump supporters. Haven’t we all been told for years that if you’re born here, you’re automatically a U.S. citizen? It’s all right there in the 14th Amendment. No matter who your parents are or what their status is, you’re an American. Simple as that.

Or is it? Consider the actual wording: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the States wherein they reside.”

Seems pretty cut and dry, but check out that crucial clause: “and subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” It’s easy to mumble over it, but we shouldn’t. The Senate included it there for a reason when it passed the amendment in 1868: to make it clear that not everyone born here is automatically a citizen.

Being born here is only half the equation. You also must be “subject to the jurisdiction thereof.” The original proposed wording of the amendment did not include that phrase. It was inserted specifically to make it clear that the law did not, in fact, confer citizenship on everyone born here.

Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, a member of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction and a strong supporter of the Citizenship Clause, noted that Congress intended to exclude “persons born in the United States who are foreigners, aliens, [or] who belong to the families of ambassadors or foreign ministers accredited to the Government of the United States.” Supreme Court cases decided in the years soon after the amendment’s passage confirm this view.

Moreover, says constitutional scholar Edward Erler:

“It is hard to conclude that the framers of the 14th Amendment intended to confer citizenship on the children of aliens illegally present when they explicitly denied that boon to Native Americans legally present but subject to a foreign jurisdiction.”

Notes Hillsdale College’s Matthew Spalding:

“Few developed nations practice the rule of jus soli, or ‘right of the soil.’ More common is jus sanguinis, ‘right of blood,’ by which a child’s citizenship is determined by parental citizenship, not place of birth.”

In short, it was wise of Congress to limit the scope of the amendment. And those who misinterpret it are wrong. Trump should be commended for trying to bring current understanding back in line with the original intent of the framers.

That leaves us with the question of whether he would be right to set this issue straight via an executive order. Some people who agree with him on birthright citizenship, such as National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy, believe that he shouldn’t. They argue that it should be done by the same body that issued the amendment in the first place: Congress.

In other words, this is a job for Congress, the branch of government that creates our laws, not the executive, which enforces them.

According to McCarthy, a president cannot “unilaterally change an understanding of the law that has been in effect for decades under a duly enacted federal law.”

Granted, but as constitutional scholar Hans von Spakovsky points out, “that assumes the ‘understanding’ is the correct one. If that understanding actually violates the plain text and intent of the law, the president as the chief law-enforcement officer can, and indeed has an obligation, to direct the federal government to begin applying and enforcing it correctly.”

To put it another way, the president here would not be attempting to make a new law, but to enforce the correct view of an existing law.

Sure, his order would be immediately challenged. Perhaps we’d even wind up with Congress clarifying the original intent of the law.

All the more reason to do it. Fairness demands that we get this issue settled—and soon.

Originally published in The Washington Times

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Ed Feulner

Edwin J. Feulner’s 36 years of leadership as president of The Heritage Foundation transformed the think tank from a small policy shop into America’s powerhouse of conservative ideas. Read his research. Twitter: .


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Photo: Ron Sachs/CNP/AdMedia/Newscom.

First Gun Confiscation Death

Why 5:17 a.m. – doesn’t appear to have been an imminent threat – this is ridiculous overreaction by law enforcement in the People’s Republic of Maryland and could happen anywhere.

These Red Flag Laws are also known in Florida as Risk Protection Orders under the Marjory Stoneman Public Safety (gun control) Law. We are the only Red state out of 12 which have instigated such laws. Already in Polk County since Sep 14, there have been 121 cases of gun seizures prior to a hearing. Don’t know how many of these cases were proven or unproven (and guns returned or how long it took) but in cases threat not proved, it is certain to generate unnecessary costs to those accused persons who elect to hire attorney and unnecessary humiliation.

Totally unconstitutional and in violation of Due Process. hard to believe Republican dominated Florida Legislature approved this and Governor Scott signed it.

This has got to be challenged in courts and soon before more innocent Americans are killed or put thru this wringer ignoring their 4th, 5th and 14th Amendment rights against false search and seizure and due process of being innocent until proven guilty based on someone’s unproven perception they are a threat!

You could predict this would happen in a state with red flag laws.

Breaking: First Gun Confiscation Killing Reported in Maryland

This is absolutely tragic. Police officers in Anne Arundel County, Maryland arrived at a man’s home to confiscate his guns under the state’s Red Flag law. When he answered the door holding a gun, a fight ensued and they shot him dead.

For months, we have been warning you about the so-called “red flag” bills that are being passed in states around the country. These laws allow family members, friends, and even complete strangers to turn gun owners into police to have their firearms confiscated. It is then up to the gun owner to prove that he or she deserves the right to keep and bear arms. It completely turns the justice system on its head. Under these laws, gun owners are presumed guilty until proven innocent.

On Monday morning, police officers in Anne Arundel County, Maryland showed up confiscate 60-year-old Gary J Willis’ guns. A family member had called police and asked them to suspend Gary Willis’ gun rights, and the local police department was more than happy to oblige.

When the pounding on the door began at 5:17 am, Gary showed up to his door holding a firearm. When he saw it was police, he put the gun down to talk to them. But then, the officers informed him they were there to confiscate all of his weapons.

Imagine how you would feel. You wake up out of a sound sleep to pounding on your door. You grab a gun in case it is a criminal, but it turns out that the police are there to confiscate your guns without even accusing you of committing a crime…

Read more.

EDITORS NOTE: The featured photo is by Bruno Martins on Unsplash.

Trump Calls Out Embattled County Election Official in Florida Vote-Count Mess

President Donald Trump is scrutinizing the Florida election-recount process, and he isn’t the only one—largely because of Broward County.

On election night, it appeared likely that Rick Scott, the outgoing Florida Republican governor, had defeated Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson for his seat. It appeared even more likely that Republican ex-Rep. Ron DeSantis defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, to be Florida’s next governor.

By Friday morning, both Nelson and Gillum were challenging the outcome.

Also still in question is the outcome of the race for the state agriculture commissioner, with the candidates separated by fewer than 500 votes as of Thursday night.

Automatic recounts are triggered under Florida law when the candidates are separated by less than 0.5 percent of the vote. The office of Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Republican, will review the returns on Saturday.

Scott’s Senate campaign and the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee sued both Broward and Palm Beach counties, seeking to make the counties’ vote counting more transparent and ensure that each is following state election laws. Late Friday, a Florida court ruled in Scott’s favor in the Broward County case.

Nelson’s campaign sued the state Thursday to force a recount. Nelson’s lawyer, Marc Elias, a former attorney for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, called the Senate race a “jump ball.”

“We’re doing it to win,” he said.

Departing the White House on Friday morning en route to Paris, Trump said there “could be” a federal role for sorting out the electoral mess in Florida, when asked about it by a reporter.

He also referenced Brenda Snipes, the supervisor of elections for Broward County—though not by name. Snipes, a Democrat, was most recently re-elected in 2016.

“If you look at Broward County, they have had a horrible history,” Trump said. “If you look at the person, in this case a woman, involved, she has had a horrible history.

“All of the sudden, they are finding votes out of nowhere, and Rick Scott who won—it was close, but he won by a comfortable margin,” the president said of the Republican hopeful’s vote edge. “Every couple of hours, it goes down a little bit.”

As The Daily Signal reported last year, Snipes admitted, in a lawsuit over the county having more registered voters than eligible voters, that noncitizens and felons might have voted.

In May of this year, a state judge ruled that Snipes violated state and federal law when she destroyed ballots from a Democratic congressional primary in August 2016, even though there was a pending lawsuit seeking access to the ballots.

Her office also posted results of an election 30 minutes before polls closed, which was a violation of the law.

Days before the election this year, the Miami Herald ran an article anticipating problems in Broward County, noting Snipes and her background.

“Bad things have gone on in Broward County, really bad things. She’s been to court. She’s had a lot of problems. She’s lost,” Trump said. “I say this: He [Scott] easily won. But every hour it seems to be going down. I think that people have to look at it very, very cautiously. … What’s happening in Florida is a disgrace.

“Go down and see what happened over the last period of time, 10 years. Take a look at Broward County. Take a look at the total dishonesty of what happened with respect to Broward County,” he said.

Scott was also critical of Snipes.

For her part, Snipes told a South Florida ABC affiliate that her office was counting five or six pages for each person who voted by mail.

“It’s a serious issue with me. … We ran 22 sites, we ran 14 days, we ran 12 hours. We had a big vote by mail, so don’t try to turn it around to make it seem like I’m making comedy out of this,” Snipes told a reporter.

The Associated Press reported Snipes said she wasn’t certain how many ballots remain to be counted.

J. Christian Adams, a former election lawyer with the Justice Department and now president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, argued against Snipes’ office in a two-week trial in 2017 in Florida.

“Brenda Snipes is one of the most incompetent election officials in the United States,” Adams told The Daily Signal. “She does a terrible job maintaining the voter rolls and enforcing the voter laws. She has been sued three times in the past two years. It’s astounding to me that she keeps her job.”

In 2014, her office was sued over a confusing ballot layout. In 2016, she was again sued regarding the destroyed ballots. Scott’s legal action marks the third lawsuit against her.

Interestingly, Snipes was first appointed to the post in 2002 after her predecessor, Miriam Oliphant, was removed for incompetence. She has since been elected and re-elected to several four-year terms to the county office.

Ballots were counted slowly every year except for 2008 and 2010 under her watch, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

The last time the eyes of the political world were on Florida was after the presidential election of 2000. That’s when Florida recounts and a Supreme Court case decided the presidential contest between then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, a Republican, and then-Vice President Al Gore, a Democrat.

Still, there’s scant legal comparison between then and now, Adams said.

“I don’t even think there’s any similarities,” Adams said. “In 2000, the question was about the intent of the voter. In these cases, we’re not even there yet.”

During his briefing with reporters Friday, Trump also referenced Nelson’s lawyer, again though not by name, and the connection Elias had with the infamous so-called “Steele dossier,” the unverified opposition research document that suggested ties between Trump and Russians.

Elias works for the Perkins Coie law firm, which retained Fusion GPS for opposition research on Trump. That resulted in the document written by a former British spy, Christopher Steele, that became the basis for the federal investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian operatives to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.

“Then, you see the people, and they were involved in the fraud of the fake dossier, and I guess I hear they were somehow involved with the [Fusion GPS] people,” Trump said referencing Elias.

Elias, Nelson’s lawyer, bickered Thursday with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., on Twitter.

Elias also heralded the tightening Senate race.

Gillum, the Democratic candidate for governor, said he is just interested in seeing all votes counted. He previously conceded the race, but subsequently rescinded his concession.

DeSantis, the Republican candidate for governor, who has declared victory, has generally continued acting like the victor, the Associated Press reported.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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Liberals Aren’t Losing Faith in Our Constitutional System. They Just Don’t Like Its Results.

In liberals’ imaginations, there are only four ways to lose elections—and none has to do with their leftist turn, their hysterics, or their one-dimensional identity politics.

Democrats say they lose because of gerrymandering, voter suppression (sometimes known as asking for ID), Russian mind-control rays deployed by social media, and our antiquated and unfair Constitution.

That last excuse is becoming increasingly popular among pundits who continue to invent new crises to freak out about.

Take Vox’s Ezra Klein, a longtime champion of direct democracy: “I don’t think people are ready for the crisis that will follow if Democrats win the House popular vote but not the majority,” he tweeted before the midterms. “After Kavanaugh, Trump, Garland, Citizens United, Bush v. Gore, etc, the party is on the edge of losing faith in the system (and reasonably so).”

The “House popular vote” now joins the “national popular vote” and “Senate popular vote” as fictional gauges of governance used by Democrats who aren’t brave enough to say they oppose the fundamental anti-majoritarianism that girds the Constitution.

Otherwise, why would Democrats lose faith in a “system” that is doing exactly what was intended?

The Constitution explicitly protects small states (and individuals) from national majorities. The argument for diffusing democracy and checking a strong federal government is laid out in the Federalist Papers and codified on an array of levels. This was done on purpose. It is the system.

I mean, do Democrats really believe that the Electoral College was constructed to always correspond with the national vote?

Do they believe that the signers of the Constitution were unaware that some states would be far bigger than others in the future?

If the Founding Fathers didn’t want Virginia to dictate how people in Delaware lived in 1787, why would they want California to dictate how people in Wyoming live in 2018?

If you don’t believe that this kind of proportionality is a vital part of American governance, you don’t believe in American governance.

You can despise Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh all you like, but why would Democrats lose faith in “the system” that saw Republicans follow directions laid out in the Constitution for confirming a Supreme Court nominee?

Why would Democrats lose faith in “the system” that elected Donald Trump using the same Electoral College that every other president used?

Why would they lose faith in a system that houses a Supreme Court that stops the other branches from banning political speech?

When the Supreme Court affirmed the election of George W. Bush, it turned out to be the right call.

It’s because they see the system as a way to achieve partisan goals, not as a set of politically neutral idealistic values.

It’s not a civics problem, either.

One hopes that such liberal activists as NBC News’ Ken Dilanian, who wonders “how much longer the American majority will tolerate being pushed around by a rural minority,” understand sixth-grade civics.

New York Times columnist Paul Krugman surely knows that the Constitution doesn’t give “disproportionate weight” to smaller states. It intentionally gives all states the same weight in the Senate.

Krugman only finds this idea “disproportionate” because it protects millions of Americans from the centralized coercive state that he envisions for them. The disproportionality he sees merely reflects his own concerns. It has nothing to do with the system.

Also, rural America doesn’t bully people such as Dilanian. The federal government was never supposed to be this powerful. Those in non-“forward-moving” America—those dummies Krugman would like to nanny from Washington—don’t very much care how Dilanian lives. He, on the other hand, has big plans for them.

It should be noted that these majoritarians throw millions of Americans aside to make this argument. We don’t know how a national majority would vote.

There are many millions of Republicans in New York and California who don’t involve themselves in the futility of state politics. Those who rely on a “Senate popular vote” are being particularly dishonest, considering California didn’t have a Republican on the ballot Tuesday. There are more Republicans in California than there are in Wyoming.

But as you can see on Election Day, liberals have made “democracy”—a word mentioned zero times in the Constitution and Declaration of Independence—into a sacramental rite.

Getting more votes in an election outweighs the inherent rights of liberty that are laid out in our founding documents—unless, of course, a right happens to intersect with some advantageous partisan idea, e.g., birthright citizenship; then Democrats become strict originalists.

The only reason these folks who claim to want to save Constitution from Trump see crisis in the system is that it fails to deliver for them politically.

They’re not losing faith in the system. They just don’t like the system.

COPYRIGHT 2018 CREATORS.COM

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of David Harsanyi

David Harsanyi is a senior editor at The Federalist and the author of the forthcoming “First Freedom: A Ride through America’s Enduring History With the Gun, From the Revolution to Today.” Twitter: .


The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now


EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. The featured photo is by Anthony Garand on Unsplash.

UPDATED: The Latest On The Florida Recount Furor

On election day, Democrat Nikki Fried lost in a very close race to Republican Matt Caldwell for the Florida Cabinet office of agriculture commissioner. But after Broward’s rounds of late — illegally late — vote tallies, she is now ahead by 5,326 votes,

So in a display of dizzying chutzpah, she has claimed victory and started working on a transition team — before the recount…in a race where she is ahead by six-one-hundredths of one percent (0.06). That’s a problem for a few reasons. Of course the closeness, but also the reality that the most recent tallies do not include the overseas votes, which are primarily military and those tend to skew heavily Republican.

Now the mischief in Broward may still cancel those out, but it’s worth noting that all things being equal at this point, the likelihood of her not losing votes in the recount including military ballots is thin.

11/10/18 — 5:55 p.m.

The official recount is underway, and we’ll see if the re-writing of Florida’s election laws after the disastrous 2000 presidential election has created the smoother process that was promised.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner called for automatic machine recounts in races for U.S. Senate, governor and agriculture commissioner this afternoon after receiving unofficial vote counts.

This was mandatory. Statewide contests decided by less than a half a percentage point must go through a machine recount — everything is fed back through the machines. This is the case for the races between Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson; Congressman Ron DeSantis and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum; and Matt Caldwell and Nikki Fried.

If after this, the vote is less than one-quarter of one percentage point, then by law the vote must go to a manual recount, which opens the door for the incompetence and mischief of Broward and Pam Beach counties. It looks like the Scott-Nelson race will likely qualify for that.

EARLIER…

11/10/18 — 10:25 a.m.

The recount drama has now expanded to the the U.S. Postal Service.

The USPS is investigating its handling of absentee ballots mailed through a sorting facility in Opa-locka — which is located in Miami-Dade County, just south of Broward County — to “verify that all ballots have been handled in accordance to USPS service standards.”

A group of liberal activists protested outside the federal building, claiming possible voter suppression and sharing photographs they claimed showed scores of uncounted ballots sitting inside the facility’s mail room, according to the Miami Herald.

“At this time, we have no information to suggest any ballots were not properly handled and provided to local election officials, per our established process,” said Debra J. Fetterly, a USPS spokesperson with the South Florida District.

“What we are demanding is some transparency,” said Caroline Thompson of the Advancement Project, a civil rights organization. “Voters deserve to know if their ballots are sitting in a mailing facility.”

But apparently these were ballots that were postmarked after Election Day, and thus not legally eligible to be counted. Democratic Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, whose district includes Opa-locka facility, confirmed that postal officials told her the ballots left behind were postmarked after Nov. 6 — Election Day.

According to the Florida Division of Elections, absentee ballots must be received by the Supervisor of Elections office no later than 7 p.m. on Election Day. A 10-day extension is offered only for overseas voters, primarily members of the military.

11/09/18 — 8 p.m.

Gov. Rick Scott has won the first round in the process battle.

In Palm Beach County, a Circuit Court Judge granted the Scott team’s request for an injunction and ordered the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections to submit “overvoted” and “undervoted” absentee ballots to the Palm Beach County Canvassing Board for an open and public review of each vote before they are counted.

In Broward County, a judge ordered Broward County Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes to allow immediate inspection of voter records after an emergency hearing prompted by Scott’s legal team. The Judge said the Supervisor must allow inspections by 7 p.m. Friday evening.

And another lawsuit has been filed by Rep. Matt Caldwell, the Republican candidate for commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, who had apparently won on election night but now is behind.

Caldwell’s lawsuit asks the court to determine if Snipes, the Broward County supervisor of elections, “illegally included ballots after polls closed” Nov. 6. His campaign also filed a public records request for all vote count communications and emails between Snipes, her team and anyone else regarding ballot counting.

And hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Broward County elections headquarters, calling for Snipes to be locked up. Snipes office called Lauderhill police to provide protection, although it was not clear such a step was necessary.

11/09/18 — 12:30 p.m. Original Story

Well, Broward and Palm Beach counties have screwed up another national election. It cannot be emphasized enough that these are the two most heavily Democratic counties in Florida, and before this election, they were known for incompetence and, particularly in Broward, for corruption.

So those of us who have lived in Florida a long time recognize this pattern of recount corruption. Nonetheless, this time we have a Governor who will come out firing and already has filed a lawsuit against Broward and directed the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate the county elections office. And it goes without saying, yet we will say, we have a President who is more than willing to enter the fray and fight back.

Neither of these leaders existed in the infamous 2000 Florida presidential recount, which absolutely would have eventually gone to Al Gore if the U.S. Supreme Court had not stepped in and said, “Enough!” Remember, Palm Beach was the “hanging chads” county and they would have continued to keep “finding” more Democrat votes.

With that context in mind, The Revolutionary Act will be keeping a running update of the recount shenanigans that will have national implications.

Current Tallies

Republican Gov. Rick Scott leads Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate race by 0.18 percent, about 15,000 votes — down from the 70,000 on election night.

Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis leads Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by 0.44 percent, about 36,000 votes.

The Democratic voting “indiscretions” have already flipped one statewide Florida race to a Democrat. Nikki Fried now has a lead of 0.04 percent over Republican Matt Caldwell for the Cabinet post of agriculture commissioner. That’s 2,915 votes. But we all know it will only grow for the Democrat. Caldwell had won that race on election night.

Gov. Rick Scott

Scott has accused Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes and Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher of trying to steal the election — and not without merit.

Snipes has a long and well reported history of violating election laws, the last time being when she destroyed ballots too soon in the re-election of Debbie Wasserman-Schulze in 2016. Scott has ordered the Florida Department of Law Enforcement to investigate Snipes.

Scott has the authority to suspend Snipes and/or Bucher from office. To do so, he must cite evidence of malfeasance, misfeasance, neglect of duty or incompetence. It seems there is prima facia evidence for incompetence. If he does that, he can then appoint an interim elections supervisor.

Scott has filed suit against Snipes, alleging noncompliance with Florida’s Public Records Act by not allowing the inspection of the ballots as required under law. “The allegations are part of what appears to be a broader array of inconsistencies in vote counting,” writes Julio Gonzalez at the Federalist Pages.

“It has been over 48 hours since the polls closed” and ballots are still being “found” in Broward and Palm Beach, Scott said. “The people of Florida deserve fairness and transparency” and Floridians should be very worried about “rampant fraud” in Tuesday’s elections.

Later in the evening, Scott announced the lawsuit: “I will not sit idly by while unethical liberals try to steal this election.”

Sen. Marco Rubio

The Senator not known as a bomb-thrower has gone on a tear on the recount fiasco, and its refreshing. This is a little like when Sen. Lindsey Graham went off during the Judge Kavanaugh hearings. Even mild-mannered Republicans have really begun to have enough of what Democrats are doing and the anger and frustration is rising.

Rubio tweeted out a series of pieces of evidence that essentially makes the case that Snipes held back votes in some reserve method to pull out in case of a recount. It’s pretty incendiary, but also pretty compelling.

Here’s the full tweet storm:

“Long but IMPORTANT THREAT ON ELECTIONS IN #FLORIDA.

#BayCounty was hit by a Cat 4 Hurricane just 4 weeks ago,yet managed to count votes & submit timely results.

Yet over 41 hours after polls closed #Broward elections office is still counting votes?  

#Broward supervisor:

  • says she doesn’t know how many ballots are left to be counted; &
  • Isn’t reporting hourly or regularly, but rather releasing thousands of additional votes, often in the overnight hours,that are chipping away at GOP leads

#Broward elections department has a history of violating the law: 

A court found they improperly handled votes by mail:

https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2018/08/13/judge-sides-with-florida-gop-in-absentee-ballot-dispute-with-broward-county-555553 …

Court found they destroyed ballots in 2016 in violation of state & federal law:

https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2018/05/14/florida-to-monitor-broward-election-chief-after-judge-finds-unlawful-ballot-destruction-in-wasserman-schultz-race-415832 …

Now democrat lawyers are descending on #Florida. They have been very clear they aren’t here to make sure every vote is counted. 

  •  They are here to change the results of election; &
  • #Broward is where they plan to do it. A U.S. Senate seat & a statewide cabinet officer are now potentially in the hands of an elections supervisor with a history of incompetence & of blatant violations of state & federal laws. 

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/broward/article220841135.html

#Broward election supervisors ongoing violation of #Florida law requiring timely reporting isn’t just annoying incompetence. It has opened the door for lawyers to come here & try to steal a seat in the U.S. Senate & Florida”

President Trump

Shortly after Scott announced his lawsuit, the President took to Twitter, condemning what he called a “big corruption scandal” brewing in Broward County, adding, “Florida voted for Rick Scott!”

Other State Leaders

Florida’s Republican House Speaker-designate Jose R. Oliva released this statement:

” I fully support and commend the Governor for directing FDLE to investigate. The power of the vote is only as strong as the trust in the count. With each new ballot ‘found’ that trust erodes.”

This is a long way from being resolved. Recounted ballots can be sent to the Florida Department of Elections beginning today (Friday.)

But if history is any guide, Broward and Palm Beach will keep “counting” long after today and keep finding more Democrat votes.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Broward Mystery Boxes Tossed Into Trucks After Missed Deadline; Gaetz Forcibly Removed While Filming

Dem-Leaning County in Florida Won’t Meet the Recount Deadline. Here’s What That Means For Voters.

BREAKING: Avis Employee Finds Provisional Ballot Box and Election Signs in Back of Returned Broward County Car (VIDEO)

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act.

PODCAST: Judicial Watch’s Weekly Update: New Awan Bros Dem IT Suit

Clean House at Justice Department

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has resigned, bringing an end to his controversial tenure as the nation’s top law enforcement officer. He advanced some significant policy advances for the rule of law, but made a terrible mistake in recusing himself needlessly from the so-called Russia investigation. This led to the abusive, unconstitutional Mueller special counsel investigation of President Trump. Frankly, President Trump has been terribly victimized by Justice Department and FBI corruption.

And disappointingly, the Justice Department under AG Sessions was a black hole in terms of transparency. It covered up institutional misconduct and, unbelievably, went out of its way to defend misconduct by Hillary Clinton and other Obama administration officials.

I hope transparency and rooting out corruption and abuse becomes the focus of any new attorney general.

Now that President Trump has removed AG Sessions and appointed Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, the new DOJ leadership should end the abusive Mueller investigation and finally do a serious prosecution of Clinton’s email crimes and other misconduct.

In the meantime, your Judicial Watch will continue its independent oversight of the Justice Department through its myriad Freedom of Information Act lawsuits on Deep State abuses.


Major New Lawsuit on Awan Brothers Democratic IT Scandal

Of the many bizarre corruption stories in Congress, one of the strangest was the IT scandal in the House of Representatives on the Democratic side of the aisle. This scandal is of heightened public interest now that Democrats have gained control of the House.

As is often the case when the government refuses to fully investigate itself, we have stepped in, filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for all records of communications relating to the investigation into former Democratic information technology (IT) staffers Abid Awan, Imran Awan, Jamal Awan and Hina R. Alvi (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-02563)).

Imran Awan and his family were banned from the House computer network in February 2017 after the House’s top law enforcement officer wrote that Imran is “an ongoing and serious risk to the House of Representatives, possibly threatening the integrity of our information systems,” and that a server containing evidence had gone “missing.” The inspector general said server logs showed “unauthorized access” and procurement records were falsified.

Imran Awan was Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s top information technology aide. Most lawmakers fired Awan in February, but Wasserman Schultz kept him on until he was arrested in July, trying to board a flight for Pakistan.

Imran Awan was allowed a plea deal. He pleaded guilty to federal bank fraud, but prosecutors found no evidence that Awan “violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems.”

Color us skeptical that DOJ conducted a full investigation.

In October 2017, I participated in a discussion between House members and experts regarding the Wasserman Schultz/Awan Brothers/IT affair. During this discussion, I stated:

“Frankly when it comes to crimes with a political component, I fear the Justice Department is going to fear to tread. And because of the political nature of what went on (with the Awan family) they’re not going to push the House … and I fear that the Justice Department will be fearful of raising these issues with the House for fear of embarrassing the leadership of both parties … and that’s something we need to push the Justice Department on. That they don’t under-charge or under-investigate this for fear of the consequences that will happen if they push further and find something that no one wants to find, which is a national security threat at our breast here in the House.”

That is why Judicial Watch sued after the FBI failed to respond adequately to two FOIA requests.

The FBI claimed it could neither confirm nor deny records related to the first request, filed on May 26, 2017, seeking:

  • All records related to any investigations or preliminary investigations involving former congressional IT support staffers Abid Awan, Imran Awan, Jamal Awan, and Hina R. Alvi. As part of this request, searches should of records [sic] should include, but not be limited to, the FBI automated indices, its older manual indices, and its Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Data Management System (EDMS), as well as cross-referenced files.
  • All records of communication sent to or from FBI employees, officials or contractors involving the subjects in bullet item 1.

The timeframe for the requested records is May 2015 to the present.

Further, the FBI claimed that records related to a July 3, 2018, FOIA request were located in an investigative file and exempt from disclosure. That request sought:

  • All records related to any investigations or preliminary investigations involving former congressional IT support staffers Abid Awan, Imran Awan, Jamal Awan, Hina R. Alvi and Rao Abbas. As part of this request, searches of records should include, but not be limited to, the FBI automated indices, its older manual indices, and its Electronic Surveillance (ELSUR) Data Management System (EDMS), as well as cross-referenced files.
  • All records of communications, including but not limited to emails (whether on .gov or non-.gov email accounts), text messages, instant chats or messages on the Lync system, sent to or from FBI employees, officials or contractors involving the Awan brothers, Ms. Alvi and Mr. Abbas. Records of communications searched should include but not be limited to those between FBI officials, employees and contractors and officials with the Capitol Police, the Office of the Inspector General of the House, and the Office of the Chief Administrative Officer of the House.

It’s time for the full truth to come out about the House Democrat IT scandal, especially with the impending change of power in the House. Let’s hope the new leadership at the DOJ will bring transparency to this case, as well as many other pending FOIA investigations.

President Trump is aware of this strange situation. On June 7, 2018, he tweeted, “Our Justice Department must not let Awan & Debbie Wasserman Schultz off the hook. The Democrat I.T. scandal is a key to much of the corruption we see today. They want to make a “plea deal” to hide what is on their Server. Where is Server? Really bad!”

“Really bad” is right and Judicial Watch aims to get more of the truth about this major congressional scandal.

Judicial Watch Sues for Docs on Influence Peddling Scandal At Energy Department 

Michael Cohen was a personal lawyer for President Trump from 2006 until President Trump fired him in May 2018, a month after a federal investigation of Cohen became widely public. On August 21, 2018, Cohen pled guilty to eight counts of campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud.

Coincidentally, we have also been looking into a questionable deal involving Cohen, the Energy Department and an investor in a nuclear plant project.

We have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy for all records of communications relating to Michael Cohen and the application for a $5 billion federal loan guarantee for the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Energy (No. 1:18-cv-02208)). Cohen, who was reportedly offered a $10 million “success fee” and paid a monthly retainer for his efforts on behalf of the Alabama nuclear-power project, never registered as a federal lobbyist.

The suit was filed after the Department of Energy failed to respond to an August 22, 2018, FOIA request for:

  • All records of communications between the Department of Energy (DOE), including oral communications, and Michael Cohen relating to the loan application for the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant.
  • All records of communications between the DOE and Michael Cohen in relation to any other loan application.
  • A copy of and all records related to the application of Nuclear Development, LLC for a loan application relating to the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant in Alabama.
  • A full and complete copy of DOE’s response to an August 9, 2018, letter to Secretary Perry from Senator Ed Markey regarding Franklin Haney, Nuclear Development, LLC, and Michael Cohen.

On August 2, 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported that Franklin D. Haney, “a major donor to President Trump agreed to pay $10 million to the president’s then-personal attorney [Michael Cohen] if he successfully helped obtain funding for a nuclear-power project, including a $5 billion loan from the U.S. government …” The contract reportedly was given to Cohen “in early April to assist his efforts to complete a pair of unfinished nuclear reactors in Alabama, known as the Bellefonte Nuclear Power Plant …”

On August 10, 2018, the Washington Examiner reported:

“Cohen was also given a retainer payment for each month of lobbying on top of the $10 million ‘success fee’ for gaining final approval of a $5 billion loan guarantee from the Energy Department. Cohen had made calls in the spring to the Energy Department to see if there was any way to speed up the approval process. The agreement between Haney and Cohen was reportedly rescinded, but Markey says the issue warrants further investigation to examine the integrity of the loan guarantee program that Perry oversees.”

Mr. Cohen may have broken basic lobbying disclosure and other laws in setting up a deal to advocate for a loan guarantee from the Energy Department. It is disappointing that the Energy Department is giving us the run around on this simple request, forcing us to go to federal court.

Government Warning: Narco-Terrorism will Worsen Under New Leftist Leader

Mexico held an election this year, too – on July 1 – and the result is not good for the United States, as our Corruption Chronicles blog reports. Our border is about to get a lot more dangerous.

The overwhelming majority of illegal drugs in the United States already come from Mexico, and Mexican traffickers are the greatest criminal threat to the nation, but things are about to get worse when Mexico’s new leftwing president takes over. His name is Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known popularly as AMLO), he opposes hardline anti-drug policies and believes in amnesty for drug war criminals.

A State Department document obtained by Judicial Watch warns that Obrador, who takes over on December 1, will seek to decriminalize marijuana and poppy cultivation early in his term. He will also end Mexican military intervention in the drug war and pardon some drug offenders, according to the document which was issued recently by the agency’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and is titled “Mexico’s Drug War & AMLO” and subtitled “Crime; Drug Trafficking; Narco-Terrorism.”

Narco-violence and cartel-associated crime is already one of most dangerous threats against U.S. private-sector interests in Mexico, according to the State Department, and Obrador’s new policies will only worsen the crisis. “The promised amnesty deal with organized criminal groups and the pledge to investigate and prosecute corrupt politicians, many of whom are in business with the cartels, prompts concern about increased impunity for violent offenders,” the new memo states.

It identifies “hot spots” for Mexican Criminal and Narco-Violence and reveals that the drug war and cartel infighting has caused severe, nationwide security repercussions. Five Mexican states (Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas) have such high levels of violence that the U.S. government warns against travel. Common crimes include homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery. “In these states, gang activity, including gun battles, is widespread,” the State Department writes. “Criminal organizations operate freely and sometimes with impunity. Local law enforcement has limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of these states, as criminal organizations have laid territorial claim to significant portions of the region.”

In 2017, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handled 116 kidnappings in Mexico, 81 for ransoms, and during the 2018 general elections there were 774 attacks against politicians. More than 150 politicians were killed in the attacks, the State Department reveals, and 371 non-elected officials. On election day alone, 138 assaults were reported in Mexico and seven politicians were murdered, compared to nine during the entire 2012 election season. Clearly, our neighbor to the south is a perpetually unstable, crime-infested cesspool. Intra-cartel violence remains the most prevalent type of crime much like an outlaw society taken over by thugs.

“Although Mexico employs strict gun-control laws, criminals are often armed with guns, which has resulted in the increase of homicide incidents in Mexico,” according to the State Department memo. “While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred. In some states, members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers.”

It’s difficult to imagine that the Mexican crisis will worsen in a few weeks. For years a variety of government audits have documented that the overwhelming majority of illegal drugs in the U.S. come from Mexico and Mexican traffickers remain the greatest criminal threat to the country. A recent one that comes to mind is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment proclaiming that Mexican cartels are in a class of their own, that “no other group can challenge them in the near term.” The government classifies them as Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCOs) and they smuggle in enormous quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. We’re talking about sophisticated operations that have been smuggling huge amounts of illicit drugs into the U.S. for some time.

It doesn’t end there. The DEA has confirmed that major Mexican cartels are actually operating in the United States. They include the Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO), New Generation Jalisco Cartel (Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación or CJNG) the Los Cuinis, Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo or CDG), Juarez Cartel, Michoacán Family (La Familia Michoacána or LFM), Knights Templar (Los Caballeros Templarios or LCT), Los Zetas, and the renowned Sinaloa Cartel.

Mexican drug cartels have long benefitted from our susceptible southern border and the situation is more serious than ever because traffickers have joined forces with Middle Eastern terrorists to enter the U.S. Years ago Judicial Watch broke a story detailing how smugglers (“coyotes”) working for the Juárez Cartel help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico. To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed “coyotes” also smuggle ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. Judicial Watch’s high-level government sources say these specific areas were targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

Florida Dems: Steal Going Strong?

There are plenty of threats to democracy, but what happens in the voting booth shouldn’t be one of them! Tell that to the people of Florida. Days after the media called the Senate and governor’s races for Rick Scott (R) and Ron DeSantis (R), election officials have suddenly “found” tens of thousands of Democratic votes. And we’re concerned about other governments meddling in our elections?

Unfortunately for Republicans, this isn’t the first time Broward and Palm Beach Counties have been caught cheating the system. More people have been burned by voter fraud on the west side of Florida than the sunshine. Brenda Snipes, the head of Broward County’s election board (and a registered Democrat), could have faced five years in jail for tampering with votes two years ago. Now, Snipes is back to her dirty tricks, telling reporters she has no idea how many ballots are left to count in a race for governor that the Democrat already conceded.

In testy exchanges with reporters, Snipes was visibly upset when Local 10 News asked why two days had gone by and she still didn’t have a final count. “But, Dr. Snipes, it’s now Thursday. We’re still counting ballots in Broward County.” “We’re counting five pages or six pages for each of the people who voted,” Snipes fired back. “But other counties have been able to do it,” he replied. “Other counties didn’t have 600,000 votes out there,” she argued. “Well, Miami-Dade did,” the reporter said simply. “Don’t try to turn this around [on me],” Snipes said and stormed off.

But people who know Snipes’s history say it is on her. In 2016, a judge found her guilty of destroying ballots from a primary in the middle of a lawsuit. In August, she was charged with “improperly handling mail-in ballots,” opening them in secret. Even fellow Democrats, Governor Rick Scott (R) reminds everyone, accused her of “individual and systematic breakdowns” in 2014. Tim Canova, one of the victims of her political sabotage, said, “We’re dealing with organized crime. I don’t trust anything that comes out of this office…”

Neither does Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R), who blasted the counties’ leadership for trying to steal the election. Bay County, he points out on Twitter, “was hit by a Cat 4 Hurricane just four weeks ago, yet managed to count votes and submit timely results. But over 41 hours after polls closed Broward elections office is still counting votes?” Pictures snapped by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel show stacks of ballots that supposedly still haven’t been counted. “A U.S. Senate seat and a statewide Cabinet officer are now potentially in the hands of an elections supervisor with a history of incompetence and blatant violations of state and federal election laws.”

Then there are the other inconsistencies: a passerby allegedly sees ballots being transported in private vehicles and transferred to rent truck on Election night and posts the video “This violates all chain of custody requirements for paper ballots,” Rubio fumed. “Were the ballots destroyed and replaced by a set of fake ballots? Investigate now!” At Miramar Elementary School, a teacher stumbled on an entire box labeled “Provisional ballots” left behind on Tuesday. Republicans in Palm Beach complained that they weren’t allowed to monitor the county’s handling of damaged absentee ballots, which is a serious violation of protocol. And it gets even fishier in Minnesota, where a woman who hadn’t lived in Florida for five years says she got a Florida ballot in the mail.

Governor Scott, whose race for Senate against Bill Nelson (D) had been called by all of the major news networks, now seems headed for a recount, thanks to the magical appearance of 42,000 Democratic ballots. How unusual is that? Well, according to the Florida Department of State, there hasn’t been a recount for governor or senator in state history. And now, suddenly, there are two in one year?

“Late Tuesday night, our win was projected to be around 57,000 votes,” Scott told reporters yesterday. “By Wednesday morning, that lead dropped to 38,000. By Wednesday evening, it was around 30,000. This morning, it was around 21,000. Now, it is 15,000.” Scott, who filed a lawsuit and launched a state investigation, told Fox News’s Sean Hannity, “We don’t know how many votes they’re gonna come up with. But it appears they’re going to try to come up with as many votes as it takes to win this election…” But, he promised, “We’re gonna fight this… No ragtag group of liberal activists or lawyers from D.C. will be allowed to steal this election from the voters in the state of Florida.”

After the antics and outright lies we’ve seen from the Left this year’s, no one can be surprised at how low they will stoop to get their hands on more political power. But this isn’t just about 2018. It’s about 2020, 2022, and every election that comes after. Democrats, Republicans, Independents — we all have a stake in making the democratic system an honest one.


Tony Perkins’ Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.


RELATED ARTICLES:

Yes, Democrats Are Trying To Steal The Election In Florida

Florida election supervisor mixed bad provisional ballots with good ones

Broward County Is An Embarrassment, And The Potential For A Stolen Florida Election Is Real

Florida Vote Scandal Coverage Shows Media-Democrat Complicity. Again.

A Washington Post Mortem on SPLC

Voters Recoil at House Gun Agenda

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

Democrats Protest Trump’s Naming Critic of Mueller Probe as Acting Attorney General

With Jeff Sessions’ resignation Wednesday as attorney general, Democrats immediately began attacking his interim replacement.

President Donald Trump tapped Sessions’ chief of staff, Matt Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, to be acting attorney general.

Sessions, a former Alabama senator and early Trump supporter who angered the president by recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, had been expected to go sometime after the midterm elections Tuesday, if not so soon.

Whitaker, 49, previously ran an ethics watchdog organization called the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, or FACT.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., wasted little time in going after Whitaker in a tweet, referencing an op-ed critical of special counsel Robert Mueller that the acting attorney general wrote before joining the Justice Department.

At the time, Whitaker was a contributor to CNN, paid to give his legal opinions on current events on air and in written commentary.

The CNN op-ed published Aug. 6, 2017, stated that Mueller should not expand the investigation from Russian meddling—the mandate of the investigation—into Trump’s personal finances.

“It does not take a lawyer or even a former federal prosecutor like myself to conclude that investigating Donald Trump’s finances or his family’s finances falls completely outside of the realm of his 2016 campaign and allegations that the campaign coordinated with the Russian government or anyone else,” Whitaker wrote. “That goes beyond the scope of the appointment of the special counsel.”

The previous year, while running the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, Whitaker called for the Obama administration to appoint a special counsel to investigate Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct official business while secretary of state.

After Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation shortly after Trump took office, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein named Mueller to conduct the probe.

Trump repeatedly clashed with Sessions, publicly complaining since last May that he should not have recused himself and blaming him for appointment of a special counsel.

There was nothing inappropriate about Sessions’ expected departure, said Sidney Powell, a former federal prosecutor from Texas who was chief of appellate divisions in two districts.

“The president is entitled to ask the attorney general or any Cabinet member he wants to resign,” Powell told The Daily Signal. “We all saw this coming. This came about 36 hours faster than I expected.”

She noted that because Sessions had recused himself from the Russia probe, it would be impossible to make a credible claim that Trump’s move to push him out was to obstruct an investigation.

“I hope the new AG clearly doesn’t have any conflict of interest and can start doing a lot of things that need to be done such as enforcing immigration laws, reopening the Clinton email investigation, and taking Clorox and a firehose to the Justice Department,” Powell said.

During a press conference Wednesday, shortly before his announcement of Sessions’ departure, Trump said he would not interfere in the special counsel’s investigation.

“I could fire everybody right now, but I don’t want to stop it because politically I don’t like stopping it,” he said. “It’s a disgrace. It should never have been started, because there is no crime.”

Trump announced the replacement of Sessions in a tweet.

In his undated but signed resignation letter to Trump, Sessions wrote: “At your request, I am submitting my resignation.”

The letter goes on to talk about the Justice Department’s crackdown on violent crime and illegal immigration under his watch.

Sessions, 71, left the Justice Department around 5:30 p.m., shaking some hands outside and raising a hand to acknowledge applause from agency employees, including Whitaker, before getting into a car and departing.

Former Attorney General Edwin Meese, who served under President Ronald Reagan, issued a statement praising Sessions’ time at the Justice Department:

Jeff Sessions served his country and the Department of Justice with distinction as the 84th Attorney General of the United States. Although he had a rocky relationship with President Trump, he brought many welcome changes to the Department during his tenure, including a renewed emphasis on fighting violent crime, illegal immigration, and the drug epidemic.

He also brought greater transparency to the Justice Department in a number of areas, ably defended the administration’s legal positions in court, and pursued a more cooperative and productive relationship with state and local law enforcement authorities. He restored integrity to the Justice Department, for which we are grateful.

“I have no doubt that General Sessions will continue to be a passionate and forceful advocate for upholding the rule of law and for the issues that he holds dear,” Meese, the Ronald Reagan distinguished fellow emeritus at The Heritage Foundation, said. “The Heritage Foundation wishes General Sessions well in all of his future endeavors.”

Heritage Foundation President Kay Coles James also had high praise for Sessions.

“Jeff Sessions has dedicated his life to public service as attorney general, senator, and U.S. attorney,” James said in a prepared statement, adding:

I am grateful for his many years of public service and his unwavering fight to preserve liberty in this country. During his time at the Department of Justice, he focused on priorities important to the American people, including strengthening our borders, protecting religious liberty and freedom of speech, and improving public safety. On behalf of The Heritage Foundation, I would like to thank my friend, General Sessions, for his commitment to upholding the rule of law and the Constitution.

But the incoming chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., sounded alarms.

President George W. Bush nominated Whitaker and the Senate confirmed him to serve as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa in 2004.

Whitaker continued to serve in the position through the first 10 months of the Obama administration. He was among federal prosecutors serving on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of U.S. Attorneys.

After a stint in the private sector, in October 2014, Whitaker served as the first executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust. FACT investigated public corruption, and in early 2016 called for the Obama administration to name a special counsel to look into Clinton’s use of the private email server.

In October 2017, Whitaker left FACT to join the Justice Department as Sessions’ chief of staff.

Whitaker unsuccessfully ran as a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate from Iowa in 2014 and for Iowa state treasurer in 2002. Before going into politics, he was on the football field as a tight end for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.

COLUMN BY

Portrait of Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.


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EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission. Featured photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters/ Newscom.

Narco-Terrorism to Worsen under Mexico’s New Leftist President, State Dept. Warns; Amnesty for Drug Traffickers

The overwhelming majority of illegal drugs in the United States already come from Mexico and Mexican traffickers are the greatest criminal threat to the nation, but things are about to get worse when Mexico’s new leftwing president takes over.

His name is Andrés Manuel López Obrador (known popularly as AMLO), he opposes hardline anti-drug policies and believes in amnesty for drug war criminals. A State Department document obtained by Judicial Watch warns that Obrador, who takes over on December 1, will seek to decriminalize marijuana and poppy cultivation early in his term.

He will also end Mexican military intervention in the drug war and pardon some drug offenders, according to the document which was issued recently by the agency’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and is titled “Mexico’s Drug War & AMLO” and subtitled “Crime; Drug Trafficking; Narco-Terrorism.”

Narco-violence and cartel-associated crime is already one of most dangerous threats against U.S. private-sector interests in Mexico, according to the State Department, and Obrador’s new policies will only worsen the crisis. “The promised amnesty deal with organized criminal groups and the pledge to investigate and prosecute corrupt politicians, many of whom are in business with the cartels, prompts concern about increased impunity for violent offenders,” the new memo states.

It identifies “hot spots” for Mexican Criminal and Narco-Violence and reveals that the drug war and cartel infighting has caused severe, nationwide security repercussions. Five Mexican states (Colima, Guerrero, Michoacán, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas) have such high levels of violence that the U.S. government warns against travel.

Common crimes include homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery. “In these states, gang activity, including gun battles, is widespread,” the State Department writes. “Criminal organizations operate freely and sometimes with impunity. Local law enforcement has limited capability to respond to violence in many parts of these states, as criminal organizations have laid territorial claim to significant portions of the region.”

In 2017 the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) handled 116 kidnappings in Mexico, 81 for ransoms, and during the 2018 general elections there were 774 attacks against politicians. More than 150 politicians were killed in the attacks, the State Department reveals, and 371 non-elected officials. On election day alone, 138 assaults were reported in Mexico and seven politicians were murdered, compared to nine during the entire 2012 election season.

Clearly, our neighbor to the south is a perpetually unstable, crime-infested cesspool. Intra-cartel violence remains the most prevalent type of crime much like an outlaw society taken over by thugs. “Although Mexico employs strict gun-control laws, criminals are often armed with guns, which has resulted in the increase of homicide incidents in Mexico,” according to the State Department memo. “While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred. In some states, members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers.”

It’s difficult to imagine that the Mexican crisis will worsen in a few weeks. For years a variety of government audits have documented that the overwhelming majority of illegal drugs in the U.S. come from Mexico and Mexican traffickers remain the greatest criminal threat to the country. A recent one that comes to mind is the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) 2015 National Drug Threat Assessment proclaiming that Mexican cartels are in a class of their own, that “no other group can challenge them in the near term.”

The government classifies them as Transitional Criminal Organizations (TCOs) and they smuggle in enormous quantities of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana. We’re talking about sophisticated operations that have been smuggling huge amounts of illicit drugs into the U.S. for some time. It doesn’t end there. The DEA has confirmed that major Mexican cartels are actually operating in the United States. They include the Beltran-Leyva Organization (BLO), New Generation Jalisco Cartel (Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación or CJNG) the Los Cuinis, Gulf Cartel (Cartel del Golfo or CDG), Juarez Cartel, Michoacán Family (La Familia Michoacána or LFM), Knights Templar (Los Caballeros Templarios or LCT), Los Zetas, and the renowned Sinaloa Cartel.

Mexican drug cartels have long benefitted from our susceptible southern border and the situation is more serious than ever because traffickers have joined forces with Middle Eastern terrorists to enter the U.S. Years ago Judicial Watch broke a story detailing how smugglers (“coyotes”) working for the Juárez Cartel help move ISIS terrorists through the desert and across the border between Santa Teresa and Sunland Park, New Mexico.

To the east of El Paso and Ciudad Juárez, cartel-backed “coyotes” also smuggle ISIS terrorists through the porous border between Acala and Fort Hancock, Texas. Judicial Watch’s high-level government sources say these specific areas were targeted for exploitation by ISIS because of their understaffed municipal and county police forces and the relative safe-havens the areas provide for the unchecked large-scale drug smuggling that was already ongoing.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images is republished with permission.

BREAKING NEW VIDEO: Electioneering in New Jersey & Ohio Exposed

Project Veritas has released undercover video exposing New Jersey election officials suggesting people vote for Democrats, which is illegal.

Click here to see the video.

Ohio: Project Veritas Action has released another undercover video, this time exposing an election official encouraging voting for Sherrod Brown.

Click here to see the video.

RELATED ARTICLES:

FBI seeks info on woman identified as Democratic volunteer after Georgia voter system attacked – True Pundit

San Francisco Registers 49 Noncitizen Voters—at a Cost of More Than $6,300 Each

EDITORS NOTE: These videos and images are republished with permission.

ESTABLISHMENT MEDIA NIXES TRUMP AD ABOUT DANGEROUS CARAVAN: Is there really no difference between a house-guest and a burglar?

On Monday November 5, 2018, NBC news posted a report, NBC, Fox News pull Trump immigration ad, Facebook blocks paid promotion. The online article included a tweet from Donald Trump, Jr which included a supposedly racist ad.

The article began with these two paragraphs:

NBC and Fox News said on Monday morning that they would no longer air an immigration ad from President Donald Trump that has been widely derided as racially divisive.

“After further review, we recognize the insensitive nature of the ad and have decided to cease airing it across our properties as soon as possible,” said Joe Benarroch, a spokesperson for NBC’s advertising sales department.

The article included this statement:

Brad Parscale, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, tweeted that NBC, CNN and Facebook “have chosen to stand” with undocumented immigrants.

By standing with illegal aliens, these “news” organizations that refuse to make a clear distinction between lawful immigrants and illegal aliens have turned their backs on lawful immigrants and have harmed their reputation in the eyes of the American public.

We may be a “nation of immigrants” but we most certainly are not a nation of trespassers.

I urge you to watch the video. It simply references an illegal alien who killed two police officers in the United States and, in court, laughingly laments that he did not kill more cops! The commercial then shows the caravan heading to the United States and ends with President Trump promising to stop this invasion.

The preface of the official report 9/11 and  Terrorist Travel begins with this paragraph:

It is perhaps obvious to state that terrorists cannot plan and carry out attacks in the United States if they are unable to enter the country. Yet prior to September 11, while there were efforts to enhance border security, no agency of the U.S. government thought of border security as a tool in the counterterrorism arsenal. Indeed, even after 19 hijackers demonstrated the relative ease of obtaining a U.S. visa and gaining admission into the United States, border security still is not considered a cornerstone of national security policy. We believe, for reasons we discuss in the following pages, that it must be made one.

The local CBS radio station in New York City covered the report about the Trump ad by claiming that it reinforced negative stereotypes about immigrants.

On November 3, 2018 that local radio station (News Radio 880) posted an article, “Migrants In Caravan Respond To Trump: ‘We Are Not Killers,’” which reported on how many in the caravan were fleeing poverty in their home countries and gang violence.

One of the members of the caravan, identified as Marta Cuellos, a 40-year-old from Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital, was quoted in the article:

Cuellos said she owned a cantina back home in Honduras but left because she could no longer make rent and was being harassed by police. She persuaded her 35-year-old sister to join her on the trip, and said the only thing they want is work and a better life in the United States. It’s her second attempt. She first crossed into the U.S. seven years ago but was deported last year.

The article blithely ignored that under the provisions of federal immigration statute 8 U.S. Code § 1326 an alien who is deported from the United States and then returns without authorization is committing a felony that carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison. However, if that alien has committed serious crimes, the penalty for unauthorized re-entry carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years. Cuellos never explained the grounds for her previous deportation, but in any event, what the media neglected to report was that she was heading to the United States to commit a crime, the crime of illegal re-entry.

Cuellos is certainly not the only alien in the caravan who was previously deported. In fact, on November 2, 2018 I was a guest on Dana Loesch’s, NRA-TV program Relentless to discuss the supposed “caravan of migrants” heading north from Central America to the United States.

My segment on Dana’s show began with an alien in the caravan being interviewed, during which he confessed to having been previously deported from the United States because he had been convicted of attempted murder in the third degree. He claimed that his purpose for joining the caravan was to come back to the United States to seek a pardon!

I recently wrote an article about the caravan with the unambiguous title, “The Threats Posed By The Impending Invasion.”

That article included this paragraph:

Nearly a year ago I wrote an article, “New York City: Hub For The Deadly Drug Trade, wherein I discussed the fact that the only reason that the Mexican drug cartels had decided to make the City of New York their central hub for their drug trafficking operations on the east coast was due, in large measure, to the sanctuary policies of New York City.

My article focused heavily on the drug smuggling activities of the Mexican Drug Cartels, particularly El Chapo’s Sinaloa Cartel, and how NYC’s “Sanctuary” policies emboldened the cartels to turn NYC into a major hub for drug trafficking notwithstanding the fact that the NYPD is the largest, best-equipped and -trained police departing in the United States.

Ironically, even as NBC and other mainstream news outlets derided President Trump’s ad and his public statements about the threats that illegal immigration pose to the United States, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the alleged leader of the highly violent Mexican Sinaloa Drug Cartel, was brought from his jail cell in lower Manhattan to the federal courthouse in downtown Brooklyn to begin the process of jury selection for his trial for a laundry list of felonies pertaining to drug trafficking and violent crimes he is alleged to have committed in the United States in furtherance of his criminal enterprises here.

The November 4, 2018 NBC reportNotorious ‘El Chapo’ Trial Begins in NYC Monday, begins with this excerpt:

He is accused of having a hand in dozens of murders, of using his drug cartel to smuggle more than 200 tons of cocaine into the United States, even pulling off running the massive operation from behind bars. That’s when he wasn’t busy escaping from jail — twice.

The almost-mythical criminal pedigree of Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who was extradited in 2017 to face U.S. drug conspiracy charges, has sparked security concerns at his upcoming New York City trial that at times have drawn as much attention as the case’s sensational allegations.

The article also reported:

FORTIFYING THE COURTHOUSE

At pretrial hearings leading to the trial, heavily armed federal officers and bomb-sniffing dogs patrolled outside. Anyone trying to attend the hearings was put through airport-style metal detectors at the courthouse entrance and at the door of the courtroom itself.

The judge also agreed with prosecutors that the jury for the case should be kept anonymous, a measure typical in terrorism or mob cases where jury intimidation is a concern.

No one’s hiding the ominous nature of the case from potential jurors. Questions for them on an initial screening form ask if they’ve ever heard of “El Chapo” along with, “Have you, or has anyone close to you, ever felt fearful of or threatened by people who you thought were associated with drug crimes?”

Jurors also will be escorted to and from the courthouse by federal officers and sequestered from the public while inside. As a reason, the judge cited prosecutors’ contention that Guzman’s cartel “employs ‘sicarios,’ or hit men, who carried out hundreds of acts of violence, including murders, assaults and kidnappings.”

There are clear and well-founded concerns that cartel hitmen or “sicarios” have been able to infiltrate the United States to do El Chapo’s bidding. It is almost a certainty that any such criminals would have entered the United States by running the U.S./Mexican border and entering the United States without inspection.

All of the cocaine and other drugs “imported” into the United States by the Sinaloa Cartel were smuggled here by various means. However, the most likely means would be to smuggle them across the U.S./Mexican border.

Yet when President Trump insists that our borders, particularly the dangerous U.S./Mexican border, need to be secured to prevent the entry of members of the drug cartels, transactional gangs and international terrorist organizations, he is accused by the media as well as by his political adversaries of creating bad stereotypes about “immigrants.”

The media and politicians who refuse to make a clear distinction between lawful immigrants and illegal aliens are actually responsible for discrediting lawful immigrants who patiently wait their turn on line and submit themselves to scrutiny in the lawful immigration process that, each and every year, generously admits approximately one million new lawful immigrants and immediately places them on the pathway to U.S. citizenship.

As I have noted on many, many occasions for the sake of clarity, the difference between an immigrant and an illegal alien is comparable to the difference between a houseguest and a burglar.

The title of my recent article will serve as the summation for my article: “Trump Connects The Dots On Dangers Of Illegal Immigration.” But the Left attacks him for the picture it creates.

RELATED VIDEO: Illegal Immigration: It’s About Power – Prager University.

EDITORS NOTE: This column with images originally appeared in FrontPage Magazine. It is republished with permission.