Thomas More Law Center Will Provide Legal Assistance To Students On National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Thomas More Law Center (“TMLC”), a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is again collaborating with American Life League’s annual National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day which will take place this Friday, April 20, 2018. TMLC lawyers will defend, without charge, the right for students to wear their pro-life t-shirts. Students requiring legal assistance from TMLC should contact Margaret at Life Defenders via email at mhaislmaier@all.org or by phone at 571-398-9904.

American Life League has spearheaded National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day (“NPLTD”) for over two decades. The goal of NPLTD is to empower young people to witness to the dignity of all human beings by wearing their favorite t-shirt with a pro-life message. Students are encouraged to post pictures on social media wearing their t-shirts and use the hashtag #NPLTD18.

This year’s featured t-shirt, pictured above, was designed by two teenage brothers, who created the shirt to resemble a nutrition label found on most packaged food products. The purpose of the design is to show the value of the preborn, the elderly and people of all abilities as being worthy of the right to life. The design features the “ingredients” as virtues needed to be pro-life: courage, compassion, charity, hope, understanding, and perseverance.

TMLC proudly stands with American Life League to support the students choosing to participate in the National Pro-Life T-Shirt Day.

Gorsuch Defends the Rule of Law in Immigration Case

If you take anything away from Justice Neil Gorsuch’s opinion concurring with the Supreme Court’s so-called “liberal” bloc in an immigration case this week, it should be his continued faithfulness to the rule of law and the separation of powers.

In Sessions v. Dimaya, Justice Elena Kagan wrote the court’s opinion—joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and in part by Gorsuch—holding that part of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which defines a “crime of violence” for purposes of removal proceedings, is unconstitutionally vague.

Gorsuch wrote a separate opinion expressing concerns about how vague laws can lead to the arbitrary exercise of governmental power.

Some media outlets and noted conservatives have suggested that Gorsuch’s opinion is surprising or misguided, ruling with the liberal justices and against the Trump administration. For example, a New York Post headline reads, “Gorsuch Sides With Liberal Justices in Supreme Court Immigration Vote.” And Mark Levin tweeted, “Gorsuch blows it, big time.”

Whatever you think of any immigration policies or other issues surrounding this case, one thing is clear: Gorsuch faithfully applied fundamental constitutional principles and upheld the rule of law.

In many ways, Gorsuch also carried on Justice Antonin Scalia’s legacy.

Consider what the law in this case required, and what Gorsuch wrote.

The Immigration and Nationality Act

Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, any alien who is convicted of an “aggravated felony” in the United States is subject to deportation, regardless of their ties to the country. Congress defined “aggravated felony” by a long list of specific offenses and offense types (at 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(43)), one of which is “a crime of violence” punishable by imprisonment for at least one year.

Congress defined “crime of violence” elsewhere, in 18 U. S. C. §16, in part by stating that it includes any felony “that, by its nature, involves a substantial risk that physical force against the person or property of another may be used in the course of committing the offense.”

Only that provision, known as the residual clause, was at issue in this case.

But in order to figure out which convictions trigger that residual clause, the court assesses the presence of “substantial risk” by looking not at the facts of the case, or the elements of the crime, but to “the ‘nature of the offense’ generally speaking,” and asks this: Does “‘the ordinary case’ of [this] offense pose[] the requisite risk”?

Immigration judges held that James Dimaya, a Philippine native and lawful permanent resident, is deportable because he was convicted—twice—of first-degree burglary under California law. The government sought to remove Dimaya after his second conviction, and immigration judges found that first-degree burglary counts as a “crime of violence” under federal law.

Dimaya appealed to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled that the “residual clause” is unconstitutionally vague.

The 9th Circuit relied in part on Johnson v. United States, a 2015 opinion that the Supreme Court published while Dimaya’s appeal was pending.

In Johnson, the court struck down part of the definition of “violent felony” under the Armed Career Criminal Act on vagueness grounds.

That law increased the sentence of a defendant convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm if he had three or more previous “violent felony” convictions, which includes any felony that “involves conduct that presents a serious potential risk of physical injury to another.”

Scalia wrote the majority opinion for the court in that case, joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, Ginsburg, Breyer, Sotomayor, and Kagan.

Scalia concluded that the residual clause left “grave uncertainty about how to estimate the risk posed by a crime,” and further “uncertainty about how much risk it takes for a crime to qualify as a violent felony.” Rather than make up those aspects of the law himself, Scalia chose instead to send Congress back to the drawing board.

For that, Scalia’s opinion advanced the rule of law and the separation of powers.

Gorsuch’s Concurring Opinion

In his concurring opinion this week in Dimaya, Gorsuch provided thorough reasoning for a narrow conclusion: that “to the extent it requires an ‘ordinary case’ analysis, the portion of the Immigration and Nationality Act before us fails the fair notice test for the reasons Justice Scalia identified in Johnson.”

Gorsuch’s concern in Dimaya was, like Scalia’s in Johnson, a fundamentally conservative one: hostility to vague laws and arbitrary power.

Gorsuch wrote that “vague laws … can invite the exercise of arbitrary power … by leaving the people in the dark about what the law demands and allowing prosecutors and courts to make it up.” Gorsuch explained:

[T]he Immigration and Nationality Act requires a judge to determine that the ordinary case of the alien’s crime of conviction involves a substantial risk that physical force may be used. But what does that mean? Just take the crime at issue in this case, California burglary, which applies to everyone from armed home intruders to door-to-door salesmen peddling shady products. How, on that vast spectrum, is anyone supposed to locate the ordinary case and say whether it includes a substantial risk of physical force? The truth is, no one knows.

Gorsuch gave the following examples of the confusion that results from the “ordinary case analysis”:

Does a conviction for witness tampering ordinarily involve a threat to the kneecaps or just the promise of a bribe? Does a conviction for kidnapping ordinarily involve throwing someone into a car trunk or a noncustodial parent picking up a child from daycare? These questions do not suggest obvious answers.

Because the statute “leaves judges to their intuitions and the people to their fate,” Gorsuch wrote, “the Constitution demands more.”

And Gorsuch explained exactly why that is.

Looking to history, Gorsuch cited early American court cases and turned to the Federalist Papers for the principle that “[w]ithout an assurance that the laws supply fair notice, so much else of the Constitution risks becoming only a ‘parchment barrie[r]’ against arbitrary power.”

And Gorsuch discussed exactly how vague laws might jeopardize other constitutional rights.

“Take the Fourth Amendment’s requirement that arrest warrants must be supported by probable cause,” Gorsuch wrote, “and consider what would be left of that requirement if the alleged crime had no meaningful boundaries.”

Finally, Gorsuch observed precisely how vague criminal laws undermine the separation of powers.

Only Congress may enact law, but if Congress writes vague statutes, Gorsuch wrote, then it leaves judges, prosecutors, and police “free to ‘condem[n] all that [they] personally disapprove and for no better reason than [they] disapprove it.’”

Thus, to “keep the separate branches within their proper spheres,” Gorsuch wrote, is “the more important aspect” of the vagueness doctrine.

And that is the most important aspect of Gorsuch’s opinion in Dimaya.

To judge how individual justices vote in particular cases in relation to one another, without regard to the substance of their opinions, unjustifiably politicizes the judiciary.

Dimaya is interesting not because of how the justices voted in relation to one another, but because of how the justices—especially Gorsuch and Justice Clarence Thomas—debated legal history and precedent, and did so respectfully.

Yes, the other conservative justices all dissented. Roberts dissented, joined by Thomas and Justices Anthony Kennedy and Samuel Alito, arguing that, unlike the law in Johnson, the statute at issue in this case was not vague.

Thomas also wrote a separate dissent, joined by Kennedy and Alito, challenging Gorsuch on the merits of the vagueness doctrine.

And yes, Gorsuch’s opinion is not what the government hoped for in this case.

The government had pointed to the executive’s “considerable constitutional authority” in immigration and foreign affairs but, as Gorsuch wrote, “to acknowledge that the president has broad authority to act in this general area supplies no justification for allowing judges to give content to an impermissibly vague law.”

Now, Congress can go back to the drawing board and draft a more precise law.

Gorsuch’s opinion has explained why that is a job for Congress, echoing his prior statements on the role of the judge: “to put aside their personal politics and preferences to decide cases and to follow the law and not try and make it.”

And by echoing Scalia’s opinion in Johnson, this case also illustrates how Gorsuch carries Scalia’s legacy.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of John-Michael Seibler

John-Michael Seibler is a legal fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

EDITORS NOTE: The Daily Signal depends on the support of readers like you. Donate now. The featured image of Justice Neil Gorsuch is by Oliver Contreras/Sipa USA/Newscom.

James Comey and the Stinking Fish Factor

(In August 2016, I wrote an article entitled “James Comey and the Stinking Fish Factor,” warning readers that the Comey fish was already rotting and that things were bound to get worse. Clearly, they just did. And it’s just as clear that the uncontrolled hysteria we are witnessing from Democrats has to do not with bogus accusations about Russia but about the criminal indictments coming down the pike for the people they’ve blindly defended for decades—that would be Bill & Hill Clinton—and possibly against even bigger fish! I’ve updated this article by abbreviating its length but also adding a few sentences. -JS))

I always thought that James Comey was a company man. As it happens, the company he headed is among the most influential, powerful and scary companies in the world—the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

But still, a company guy. Whether working for a president on the moderate-to-conservative spectrum like G.W. Bush or for a far-left Alinsky acolyte like Barack Obama, makes absolutely no difference to this type of obedient—and also subservient—accommodator.

The red flag of skepticism should have gone up years ago to the American public when lavish praise was heaped on Comey by people who revile each other. While the spin insists that Comey is a lot of virtuous things—“straight-shooter,” “unbiased,” “fair-minded,” “non-partisan” “man of his word”—don’t be fooled. That’s Orwellian newspeak for someone who will do and say anything to keep his job, including, as Comey did in yet another Clinton fiasco case last summer, allow her to create out of whole cloth an “intent” criterion in federal law to let a clearly corrupt politician—that would be Hillary—off the hook, and, appropriate the job of the Attorney General in announcing what the outcome of the FBI’s investigation should be.

While citing Hillary’s “extreme negligence” in handling classified information, a virtual litany of illegal acts committed by the then-Secretary of State, and the fact that hostile foreign operatives may have accessed her email account, Comey said he would not refer criminal charges to Attorney General Loretta Lynch and the Justice Department. Hillary, he said, was “extremely careless” and “unsophisticated,” among other spitballs he hurled in her direction before completely letting her off the hook!

Comey’s friend and colleague, Andrew C. McCarthy, said that the FBI director’s decision is tantamount to sleight-of-hand trickery. “There is no way of getting around this,” McCarthy wrote. “Hillary Clinton checked every box required for a felony violation…in essence, in order to give Mrs. Clinton a pass, the FBI rewrote the statute, inserting an intent element that Congress did not require.”

Thomas Lifson, editor and publisher of AmericanThinker.com, wrapped the entire debacle up neatly, saying that “the director of the FBI offered 15 of the most puzzling minutes in the history of American law enforcement. James Comey spent the first 12 minutes or so laying out a devastating case dismantling Hillary Clinton’s email defense. Then, “in a whiplash-inducing change of narrative, he announced that `no reasonable prosecutor’ would bring the case he had just outlined, an assertion that was contradicted within hours by luminaries including former U.S. attorney (and NY City mayor) Rudy Giuliani and James Kallstrom, former head of the FBI’s New York office.”

Which begs the question: Why would Comey act contrary to the wisdom of virtually every legal scholar who has written or spoken about this case?

It is certainly not because he wasn’t taught by his upstanding parents the difference between right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral. One could make the case—and many have—that he is as close to a moral man as it gets in public life. According to his bio in Wikipedia, Comey, a lawyer, majored in religion at the College of William and Mary, and wrote his thesis about the liberal theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and the conservative televangelist Jerry Falwell, emphasizing their common belief in public action.

THE LOOKING-THE-OTHER-WAY FACTOR

That’s what company guys do.

Affirming this unflattering opinion, Jerome Corsi, journalist and NY Times bestselling author, said that Comey has a long history of cases ending favorable to the Clintons.

In 2004, Corsi says, Comey was a deputy attorney general in the Justice Department when he “apparently limited the scope of the criminal investigation of Sandy Berger…[and Berger’s] removal and destruction of classified records from the National Archives. The documents were relevant to accusations that the Clinton administration was negligent in the build-up to the 9/11 terrorist attack.”

“Curiously,” Corsi continues, “Berger, Lynch and Cheryl Mills (Hillary’s longtime advisor and Chief of Staff during her years as Secretary of State) all worked as partners in the Washington law firm Hogan & Hartson, which prepared tax returns for the Clintons and did patent work for a software firm that played a role in the private email server Hillary Clinton used when she was secretary of state.”

Corsi said that “various statements Comey made about Berger’s mishandling of classified documents bear comparison to his comments regarding Hillary Clinton’s email server” and that Berger, “a convicted thief of classified documents, had been advising Clinton while she served as secretary of state and had access to emails containing classified information.”

Yep… a company guy. As an editorial in The Wall St. Journal stated: “Three days after James Comey’s soliloquy absolving Hillary Clinton of criminal misuse of classified information, the big winner is—James Comey. He often poses as the deliverer of `hard truths,’ and the hard truth is that he has helped himself politically but not the cause of equal treatment under the law.”

Indeed, recommending that Hillary be indicted would have been bad for—ta da—James Comey! “Doing that, however,” the editorial goes on, “would have courted fury among Democrats and their media friends. And if Mrs. Clinton later won the election, Mr. Comey might have had to resign before his 10-year term expires in 2023. Otherwise he’d risk becoming persona non grata as Louis Freeh was under Bill Clinton.”

The entire, protracted, and fraudulent investigation seems now like a dog-and-pony show for the American public. Here, journalist Bill Still says that during Hillary’s interview with the FBI, not only was Comey not present, but it wasn’t recorded and she was not under oath!

THE PERSUASION FACTOR

Let’s take another upstanding guy, the once-esteemed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, conservative John Roberts. Did I say “conservative”? Silly me. At midnight on Christmas Eve in 2009, the Democrats voted unanimously—without one Republican vote—for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, to inflict the proven-failure of socialized medicine on the American public.

When the constitutionality of the legislation was challenged up to the Supreme Court, a vote of 5-4 affirmed that the individual mandate was constitutional under Congress’s taxation powers. It was Roberts who tipped the balance, sending shockwaves of disbelief throughout the country—much like the reaction to Comey’s incomprehensible decision on Hillary.

At the time, there was talk of Roberts’ “caving” because “someone” had “reached” him and threatened to expose the fact that his two young children had been adopted illegally, a revelation that, if true, would have effectively forced him to resign in ignominy for lying under oath about the adoption. I have no idea if that allegation is true or not, but it made sense to me at the time, particularly because his decision made no sense.

I was also aware of the many allegations listed in websites like Clinton Body Count (and this one too), Bush Body Count, and Obama Body Count, which detail the many people who have gone missing, been killed, had “accidents,” or “committed suicide” under each president’s tenure, the implication being, of course, that each of these chief executives had a personal “hit” squad to, ahem, remove anyone who threatened their tenure in office, or, more seriously, could land them in prison. Oh, let’s not forget the Hillary list compiled by noted radio host Tami Jackson.

Around the time of Comey’s colossal whitewash of Hillary’s email scandal, the prominent former President of the United Nations General Assembly, John Ashe, died when a barbell dropped on his throat and crushed his larynx. Coincidentally, that very day he was scheduled to testify in a trial about “Chinagate” (of Bill Clinton fame) and, specifically, of the bribery charge against Chinese businessman Ng Lap Seng, and even more specifically of Hillary’s links to Seng.

I’ve followed the persuasion factor not only through “The Godfather” and other mafia-themed movies, but in real life watching Rudy Giuliani deal with and decimate the mob, first as Associate Attorney General under President Reagan and later as mayor of New York.

It’s really quite simple how the thug culture works, be it in the Mafia or in government: Find out what a person values and then home in on that vulnerability. Isn’t that how ObamaCare passed?

Here Perry Peterson, a retired auditor and tax accountant, documents the many backroom deals that persuaded various politicians to sign on, such as Nebraska’s Senator Ben Nelson, who was promised the “Cornhusker kickback” that would pay the full price of expanded Medicaid coverage in Nebraska forever, or Senator Mary L. Landrieu’s agreement to sell her vote in the “Louisiana Purchase” for $300,000,000.00 that would flood into her state through added benefits in the ObamaCare bill, on and on and on.

There’s more hardball persuasion, to be sure, like reminding the target that you know that his daughter just moved to an off-campus apartment, or that his wife would feel terrible learning about his girlfriend.

Mmmmm…what “persuasion” could possibly be employed on a rich, successful guy like Comey?

THE CONFLICT-OF-INTEREST FACTOR

Well whaddaya know? According to Investment Watchdog, “It seems that our beloved FBI Director was once a director and board member of HSBC, which is tightly connected to the Clinton Foundation…this is the same HSBC [Swiss bank] that was accused of laundering drug cartel money, was heavily involved in the LIBOR scandal, and who knows what else, and all while our esteemed FBI Director was part of the senior leadership.”

Writer Kim McLendon elaborates upon a report issued by one of the few major whistleblowers about the foundation, Wall St. analyst Charles Ortel, who exposed AIG as well as the massive discrepancies in General Electric’s finances in 2008. Ortel found more massive discrepancies “between what some of the major donors say they gave to the Clinton Foundation…and what the Clinton Foundation said they got from the donors and what they did with it.” The letter he sent to donors, charity regulators, and investigative journalists labeled the charity “the largest charity fraud ever attempted‚Äö that being the network of illegal activities worldwide, whose heart is the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation.”

Ortel goes on to say: “The Clinton Foundation…has been part of an international charity fraud whose entire cumulative scale (counting inflows and outflows) approaches and may even exceed $100 billion measured from 1997 forward. Yet state, federal and foreign government authorities, that should be keenly aware of this massive set of criminal frauds, so far, move at a snail’s pace, perhaps waiting for the Federal Bureau of Investigation to reveal the scope of its work and the nature of any findings.”

Aha! “Perhaps” the powers-that-be are “waiting for the FBI” to investigate this international con game. And wouldn’t that be one James Comey? Is there indeed a conflict of interest that prevents the esteemed director from looking into this ostensibly criminal enterprise?

Writer Tim Brown says that just because Comey was a Director with HSBC “does not assume corruption.” But it’s notable, he adds, that according to The Guardian, the “Clinton foundation received up to $81 million from clients of controversial HSBC bank.”

In March, Judicial Watch documented the piles of money taken in by The Clinton Foundation, and reported: “Our lawsuit had previously forced the disclosure of documents that provided a road map for over 200 conflict-of-interest rulings that led to at least $48 million in speaking fees for the Clintons during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state.

All of this and more led InfoWars reporter Kit Daniels to conclude, “Comey may be on the periphery of Clinton’s use of foreign policy to raise money for her foundation, but his position at HSBC may explain in part why she received kid glove treatment while others accused of similar crimes were prosecuted. His connection, however tenuous, should be reason enough to revisit the case and appoint a special prosecutor, as Rep. Matt Salmon of Arizona has demanded.”

According to a report by Investors Research Dynamics, “in 2003, Comey became the deputy attorney general at the Department of Justice (DOJ). In 2005 he signed on to serve as general counsel and senior vice president at defense contractor Lockheed Martin. In 2010 he joined Bridgewater Associates, a Connecticut-based investment fund, as its general counsel. On September 4, 2013, James B. Comey was sworn in as the seventh Director of the FBI. Talk about the revolving door in and out of government! A shill for the private defense industry and later a Wall Street investment firm, two of the groups that support Hillary’s ascent to the Throne.”

Meanwhile, last month, the IRS preempted the FBI by launching an investigation into what appears to be a full-blown, multi-tentacled criminal enterprise that spans the globe. Was this timed to let Comey slither away untarnished?

Is that why Comey failed to ask Hillary even one question about her Foundation and its seemingly nefarious Kremlin connections? About the indictments (as reported by Michael Sainato) of several of her super-delegates for corruption and ethics violations involving huge sums of money? Of her closest aides for funny money vis-a-vis the Clinton Foundation? About the 181 Clinton Foundation donors who lobbied the State Department while Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state? About State Department favors for weapons manufacturers and foreign governments? How about how Hillary’s campaign chairman John Podesta bagged $35 million but failed to fully disclose this windfall, or about how Hillary showed remarkable disinterest in going after the murderous butchers of Boko Haram (as reported by Mindy Belz and J.C. Derrick in WORLD Magazine) because, allegedly, millions of dollars in donations were given to the Clinton Foundation by Nigerian billionaires with oil interests in northern Nigeria? On and on and on.

And is it not relevant that Comey’s brother, Peter Comey, works at the law firm that does the Clinton Foundation’s taxes?

Do any of these (and other) “dots” connect to Comey? Did he ever wonder if any of the 33-thousand emails that Hillary destroyed involved these explosive subjects? Is he just an incurious guy, or does his high position with HSBC and its oh-so-close Clinton Foundation connection make the conflict-of-interest suggestion too uncomfortably plausible?

THE STINKING FISH FACTOR

Whether it’s in industry or the military or sports or show business, if failure occurs, it’s always the top dog who is accountable. Not the assembly line worker or the buck private or the third baseman who calls the shots, but the one who occupies the ultimate seat of power. Look at what happened at the Democratic National Committee…the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief of Communications, and Chairwoman all resigned because of the hacking that proved the DNC to be both crooked and racist.

That is why they say that the fish stinks from the head, or, in the DNC case, the hydra-headed monster. And the same is true in politics. Which may be the real reason why Comey punted, taking the coward’s way out in steadfastly refusing to do what both the law and morality demanded of him.

No matter how you look at Hillary’s email scandal, as well as the murders of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, information Officer Sean Smith, and CIA operatives Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods in Benghazi—and for all we know, a dozen paths to the Clinton Foundation—they all led directly to the Oval Office and its former occupant, one Barack Obama. Reminds me of the cards in a Monopoly game: Go to Jail, Go Directly to Jail, Do not Pass Go!

Legal scholar Henry Mark Holzer reminds us that,” Hillary was not under oath when she testified before Comey’s FBI investigators. Seems to get her off the hook, doesn’t it? But under 18 United States Code Section 1001, it is a five-year felony to lie to an FBI agent (and other government officials) about a material fact relevant to an investigation. The federal criminal dockets are loaded with convictions of people who beat the underlying charge only to be convicted of an 18 USC 1001 offense. If Hillary loses the election, keep an eye out for an Obama pardon, to choke off a retributive indictment by a Trump Department of Justice. There is a long road ahead for Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton before the statutes of limitations expire on her crimes.”

Whether or not it’s the stinking fish factor or something else that compelled James Comey to cave to the Obama Justice Department and the Clinton Machine will be for historians to determine. Personally, however, I can’t imagine a man of James Comey’s stature tolerating the fact that history will include obituaries of him that state in their opening paragraphs that he was the first Director of the FBI who took a fall—and now the second FBI Director in history to be fired!

Andrew McCabe Lied. So Will the FBI Apply the Same Rules Against Him That It Applies to All of Us?

It’s official: Andrew McCabe lied.

The new report from the Justice Department inspector general concludes that McCabe, the former FBI deputy director, lied to then-FBI Director James Comey, to other FBI agents, and to officials of the Office of the Inspector General. Some of those lies came when McCabe was under oath.

What did he lie about? Unauthorized disclosures about the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation. The information was leaked to a reporter for The Wall Street Journal.

The inspector general has completed his work. The question now is, will the Justice Department prosecute McCabe? Or, put another way: Will the FBI and the Justice Department follow the same rules they apply to members of the public who lie to a federal agent?

Remember, the only charge brought against Gen. Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Donald Trump, was lying to the FBI, a felony. And Flynn wasn’t even under oath when he supposedly lied to the FBI.

Given that recent history, failure to prosecute McCabe would tell the American people that officers of the Justice Department and the FBI think they are above the law.

According to the inspector general’s report, “law enforcement sensitive information” appeared in an Oct. 30, 2016, Wall Street Journal article titled “FBI in Internal Feud Over Hillary Clinton Probe.” Until that time, the FBI had publicly refused to confirm that an investigation into the Clinton Foundation was underway.

Despite that official stance, the inspector general determined, McCabe told his special counsel and an assistant director in the FBI’s Office of Public Affairs that they could give information about the probe to Wall Street Journal reporter Devlin Barrett.

In particular, McCabe told them to disclose a phone call he had received in August from the Justice Department’s principal associate deputy attorney general. The report does not identify the person by name, but the principal associate deputy attorney general at the time was apparently Matthew Axelrod.

McCabe claims that the official called him and “expressed concerns about the FBI agents taking overt steps in the [Clinton Foundation] Investigation during the presidential campaign.” According to McCabe, he pushed back, asking, “Are you telling me to shut down a validly predicated investigation?”

McCabe told the inspector general the conversation was “very dramatic” and that he had never had a similar confrontation with a high-level Justice Department official “in his entire FBI career.”

The way The Wall Street Journal reported this was that a “senior Justice Department official” called McCabe “to voice his displeasure” that the FBI was “still openly pursuing the Clinton Foundation probe during the election season.” The “Justice Department official was ‘very pissed off,’ according to one person close to McCabe, and pressed him to explain why the FBI was still chasing a matter the department considered dormant.”

What spurred McCabe’s disclosure, according to the inspector general, was a prior Wall Street Journal story “that questioned McCabe’s impartiality in overseeing FBI investigations involving former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” This was due, according to that Oct. 23 story, to the fact that a PAC run by longtime Clinton friend and associate Gov. Terry McAuliffe, D-Va., had donated nearly $675,000 to the unsuccessful 2015 state Senate campaign of McCabe’s wife.

Friday’s report from the inspector general presents a series of findings. It concludes that McCabe lied when he told Comey that he had not authorized the disclosures to The Wall Street Journal and did not know who did. He repeated that lie when questioned by agents from the FBI’s Inspection Division and again when questioned by the Office of the Inspector General.

Only in a second round of questioning by the inspector general did McCabe finally acknowledge that “he had authorized the disclosure to [The Wall Street Journal].”

The inspector general notes that McCabe could have authorized the disclosure of the existence of the Clinton Foundation investigation if it were in the “public interest.” However, the report concludes, that was not his motivation.

Instead, it finds, McCabe violated FBI policy because the disclosure was “designed to advance his personal interest at the expense of department leadership.” Therefore, what he did “constituted misconduct.”

The inspector general cannot prosecute. All he can do is provide his office’s report to the FBI “for such action as it deems appropriate.” And so we wait to see what, if anything, is next.

Flynn was charged with lying to FBI agents about conversations with the Russian ambassador. Lying to a federal agent is a felony, even if—like Flynn—you are not under oath at the time. It is clear from the inspector general’s report that McCabe lied to federal agents multiple times, including while under oath.

Will he be prosecuted as Flynn was? It seems as if the FBI and the Justice Department have no choice—unless they believe that their colleagues are somehow above the law.

And if the Department of Justice no longer believes in the rule of law, the whole notion of America is turned on its head.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Hans von Spakovsky

Hans von Spakovsky is an authority on a wide range of issues—including civil rights, civil justice, the First Amendment, immigration, the rule of law and government reform—as a senior legal fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies and manager of the think tank’s Election Law Reform Initiative. Read his research. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: How 4 Big Comey Claims Stack Up to His Senate Testimony

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testifing before the Senate intelligence committee on May 11, 2017. (Photo: Jeff Malet Photography/Newscom)

Robert Mueller Is Following The Infamous Playbook of Patrick Fitzgerald

We’ve seen this before, just on a smaller scale.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is following the infamous playbook of Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who managed to convict an innocent man while the guilty one walked free — and Fitzgerald knew it.

They both went after and indicted people who either did not commit any crimes or were indicted for things unrelated to the purposes for which they were appointed. Both were in hotly political environments with supportive media. Both were open-ended investigations. And, it seems, both were hungry for convictions for the sake of convictions — not truth or justice.

Fitzgerald is the special counsel appointed in 2003 to investigate the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame (who it turns out was a desk jockey in the D.C. area, not an undercover agent who was endangered by the outing as the media liked to imply.) Nonetheless, there was a leak that identified her.

At the time it was thought this was done by the Bush Administration, and specifically Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, in retaliation for Plame’s husband writing an op-ed in the New York Times saying he doubted Saddam Hussein had bought uranium in Africa before the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The purchase, along with other intelligence, was part of the case for invading Iraq. Two weeks later, Plame was outed.

Fitzpatrick was appointed to find out who did it, and soon fixed his eyes on Cheney and his staff, for what appeared to be political reasons. In the end, he wrongly identified the leaker as Scooter Libby, Cheney’s Chief of Staff. Libby’s crime? Not being the leaker, but providing false or misleading information to the special counsel, for which he actually went to prison.

So we can draw a lot of comparisons between Mueller’s current investigation and Fitzgerald’s four-year-long investigation — it can take a long time to get someone to even accidentally contradict themselves. The one comparison that is not there is that Fitzgerald had an actual crime he was investigating in the illegal uncovering of a CIA agent, whereas Mueller’s original appointment was to investigate collusion, which is not a crime. So from the start, there was more legitimacy to the Fitzgerald appointment than to Mueller’s.

However, both prosecutors are following a similar path.

Fitzgerald’s long investigation came up with one indictment, that against Libby. Libby was not charged with leaking, the actual crime Fitzgerald was investigating, but with a “process” crime of misleading the FBI. That is exactly what Mueller charged Gen. Michael Flynn with. Not Russian collusion or really anything related to Russian collusion, but lying to the FBI (or not correctly remembering) about the timing of an event for which there was also no underlying crime. So it was a clever form of entrapment.

The tragedy of the Libby case is that apparently, Libby didn’t even lie or mislead. Much of his convictions were based on the testimony of New York Times reporter Judith Miller, who testified that she believed it was Libby who told her about Plame. Her testimony was the key to convicting Libby. However, after Miller read Plame’s autobiography “Fair Game” she realized that she had been misled by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald.

In April 2015, Miller published an autobiography in which she, “now concluded, after reviewing old notes, that her testimony about her conversations with Libby that led to his conviction may have been false … Had I misconstrued my notes? Had Fitzgerald’s questions about whether my use of the word Bureau meant the FBI steered me in the wrong direction?”

She realized that she was wrong and her testimony “made no sense.” However, her recantation meant nothing to Libby’s conviction during Obama’s presidency and was roundly ignored by the media.

In the same way, Flynn pleaded guilty to making statements inconsistent with tapped and taped conversations he had with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak during the transition. However, Flynn’s conversation was legal. He was not charged with the content being illegal, or even having the conversation with Kislyak. He was charged with giving the FBI the wrong time for the conversation, and part of his reason for the plea was because the investigation was bankrupting him personally. He has had to sell his house to pay his legal bills. But why was the FBI even questioning Flynn when they had the entire transcript of a conversation that they knew contained nothing illegal, and that conversation took place legally? Because they were looking to entrap him in a process crime, just as Libby was entrapped.

Worse yet, we later found out that it was Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage that actually outed Plame. Apparently he did accidentally in a long interview about the intelligence leading up to the invasion of Iraq. Many news outlets thought they knew it was Armitage, not Libby. Fitzgerald also knew it was Armitage, but was going after Libby for lying under oath, and asked Armitage not to go public with the information. But Armitage, who had testified to the grand jury that indicted Libby, asked Fitzgerald again if he could go public and on Sept. 5, 2006, Fitzgerald relented. Two days later, Armitage admitted publicly to being the source in the CIA leak.

On March 6, 2007, six months later, a jury convicted Libby and to this day many people think that Libby was the one who leaked.

That’s why Trump rightly pardoned Libby, although even pardon seems like the wrong word.

Both investigations were also broad and open-ended, meaning the prosecutors could go after about anyone or anything. We see that with Libby, who had nothing to do with the outing and was charged relating to nothing to do with it.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was so negligent drafting the appointment of Mueller that he failed to limit the investigation in either scope or time. Totally open-ended. It appears that Mueller can investigated Trump until he dies. This resulted in Paul Manafort, former chairman of the Trump presidential campaign, being indicted for alleged financial crimes that happened years before he was on team Trump. Both the Flynn and Manafort charges have zippo to do with Russian collusion, just as Libby’s had nothing to do with leaking Plame’s identity — and he didn’t even do what he was charged with.

Another comparison is that they were and are both all political. There is no search for truth or justice. There is a search for political targets. Fitzgerald knew it was Armitage who leaked, but he accepted it was just an accident, but after four years, he had to show something. And so Libby.

But look at the comments from Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame on the pardon of Libby:

Wilson told the Huffington Post:

“Libby’s problem was with the Justice Department. He was indicted, tried and convicted on obstruction of justice and perjury charges for basically violating the national security of the United States of America…Now he’s being pardoned for it, which suggests of course that Mr. Trump is willing to allow people to violate the essence of our defense structure, our national security, our intelligence apparatus and essentially get away with it.”

Plame told MSNBC that “you can commit crimes against national security and you will be pardoned.”

There is no way that Wilson and Plame don’t know that Libby neither lied nor was the leaker. They are both misleading, shall we say, to make Trump look bad just as Wilson maneuvered with the New York Times to make Bush look bad.

In the same way, we see Mueller’s investigation going far and wide to get indictments for people that have nothing to do with the original charge he was given. And they all make Trump look bad.

Finally, the man who had oversight of Patrick Fitzgerald was none other than James Comey, a close friend and confidant of Mueller.

None of these comparisons bode well for actually getting to the truth of Russian collusion. Just as Fitzgerald let the actual leaker off the hook, it seems Mueller is not interested in the actual colluder, which resides in the Clinton campaign, DNC and the Russian dossier.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in The Revolutionary Act. Please join The Revolutionary Act’s YouTube Channel.

Minnesota: Another Somali migrant arrested, this time it’s a plot to bomb the St. Cloud City Hall

However, perhaps more interesting is the lack of mention of the arrested man’s name, a critical omission in the first St. Cloud Times version of the story.

Apparently, only after a local radio station posts his pic and names him, did the politically correct St. Cloud Times bother to report that vital information.

Mayor welcomes Somalis, so why would they want to bomb city hall?

Remember when you read this first account on the 11th, which quotes the great defender of all things Somali, Mayor Kleis, that this office ostensibly targeted for a bomb, is the very office that is silent on anything relating to crimes involving Somalis the office welcomes to St. Cloud with open arms.

The “suspect” (the man) had already been arrested when the St. Cloud Times said this (hat tip: Bob):

Law enforcement has taken a suspect into custody in connection with a bomb threat at St. Cloud City Hall, according to authorities.

mayor Kleis

St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis

Mayor Kleis: no threat to the public

Officers responded to city hall at approximately 10 a.m., according to a press release, and conducted a K9 search of the building.

Mayor Dave Kleis said the building was searched after an individual “posted threatening comments and made statements about a bomb in St. Cloud.”

[….]

Officers found the suspect on St. Cloud State University’s campus at 110 Atwood Center. The suspect is not enrolled as a student there, according to the release.

Local investigators are working with the FBI, according to Kleis, on the active investigation. The area where the man was found was also searched, according to a press release. No suspicious items were found.

The suspect is being held in the Stearns County Jail in connection with charges of terroristic threats.

However, here we see that KNSI radio reported the arrested ‘man’s’ name and picture.

Listen to the nutty story the man’ is telling investigators.

(KNSI) – A man who says he felt he was being radicalized is accused of making a bomb threat that referenced St. Cloud’s city hall.

ege

Abdalle Ahmed Ege

According to the criminal complaint, Abdalle Ahmed Ege, of St. Cloud, posted on his Facebook page “Im bouta bomb this town” on Wednesday morning.

Police found a duffel bag next to a gas can outside city hall. Investigators say the duffel bag contained Ege’s personal items. Police found no explosives when they searched the building.

According to the complaint, the 25-year-old told police that he was being radicalized and posted the threat on Facebook to get attention from the FBI.

He has been charged with two felony counts of making terroristic threats.

A couple hours later the St. Cloud Times got around to publishing his name and photo, see here.

So we are to believe that Ege wanted to get the FBI’s attention to what?—protect him from being radicalized!  Why not just walk in to a local police station and describe what you think someone is doing to you. This is nuts, or he is nuts (a distinct possibility!).

We don’t know when Ege arrived in the US, but just know that mental illness is not a reason the feds use to screen out prospective refugees to place in your towns and cities.

See my ginormous St. Cloud archive by clicking here.

Bungling Judicial Precedent, Federal Court Upholds AR-15 Ban

Last week, a federal judge for the District Court for Massachusetts granted a motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the state’s prohibition of so-called “assault weapons,” such as the AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.

Judge William Young held that the AR-15 and similar weapons aren’t protected by the Second Amendment, because they were originally designed for military service and because democracy means policymakers—not courts—are best suited to regulate weapons.

In doing so, he authored an opinion taking such extreme liberties with history, judicial precedent, and logic that one can’t help but wonder if he relied exclusively on a SparkNotes summary guide of Second Amendment jurisprudence when drafting his opinion.

Young begins his analysis by stating that “[f]or most of our history, mainstream scholarship considered the Second Amendment as nothing more than a guarantee that the several states can maintain ‘well-regulated’ militias.”

This statement is objectively untrue, unless one considers such brilliant legal minds as James Madison, Samuel Adams, George Tucker, and Joseph Story to be outside the mainstream of constitutional scholarship.

Young supports this highly questionable premise by citing early works by liberal scholar Laurence Tribe, apparently oblivious to the fact that Tribe, while still in favor of stricter gun control measures, recanted his former collectivist-right position, and now concludes that “having studied the text and history closely … the Second Amendment protects more than the collective right to own and use guns in the service of state militias and National Guard units.”

Young cites seminal Second Amendment cases stating that firearms commonly used by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes are protected, but then inexplicably asserts that the AR-15’s “present-day popularity is not constitutionally material.”

But these gaffes pale in comparison to the two biggest problems with the opinion: Young completely ignores Supreme Court precedent on the proper standard for determining whether a particular firearm is protected by the Second Amendment, and he fails to recognize that—even under the standard he concocts, seemingly out of thin air—the AR-15 would still be protected.

It’s Irrelevant Whether a Firearm Is ‘Military-Style’

Young formulates a novel standard to determine whether a firearm is protected by the Second Amendment: Is the firearm similar to a “military weapon”?

He supports the use of this standard by quoting from Justice Antonin Scalia’s majority opinion in District of Columbia v. Heller, where the late justice appeared to validate a federal prohibition on fully automatic firearms: “It may be argued that if weapons that are most useful in military service—M-16 rifles and the like—may be banned, then the Second Amendment right is completely detached [from the clause concerning ‘a well-regulated militia’].”

But Young’s use of this single sentence ignores context at the expense of fundamentally misinterpreting the main premises of Heller. His interpretation also makes no sense as a Second Amendment standard from a purely rational standpoint.

First, it’s painfully obvious that Young has missed the point of Scalia’s remark.

Scalia wasn’t suggesting that the M-16 can be prohibited for civilians because it’s useful in military service. Rather, it can be prohibited because fully automatic weapons aren’t in common usage and can be fairly categorized as “dangerous and unusual” among the civilian population, even though it is most useful in military service.

This is clear from the surrounding paragraphs, which explain that certain restrictions—like the prohibition on firearms possession by felons—are presumptively lawful, as are “sophisticated arms that are highly unusual in society,” but generally used by the military (such as tanks and bombers).

But even if this plain reading were questionable, the court in Caetano v. Massachusetts made this point explicit by stating that the “pertinent Second Amendment inquiry [for whether a weapon is protected] is whether [it] is commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes today.”

Further, regarding whether a weapon is “dangerous and unusual,” the court held that “the relative dangerousness of a weapon is irrelevant when the weapon belongs to a class of arms commonly used for lawful purposes.”

In other words, whether a firearm is a “military weapon” has absolutely no bearing on whether it is protected by the Second Amendment.

In fact, by simply filling in the language of “AR-15 and similar semi-automatic rifles” for Caetano’s original language of “stun guns,” the answer to whether the Second Amendment protects the weapons now banned by Massachusetts is unequivocal:

[T]he pertinent Second Amendment inquiry is whether [the AR-15 and similar semi-automatic firearms] are commonly possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes today.

… [More Americans may possess handguns than possess semi-automatic rifles like the AR-15], but it is beside the point. … The more relevant statistic is that ‘[millions of AR-15s and similar semi-automatic rifles] have been sold to private citizens,’ who it appears may lawfully possess them in [most] states.

… While less popular than handguns, [AR-15s] are widely owned and accepted as legitimate means of self-defense, [hunting, and target shooting] across the country. Massachusetts’ categorical ban of such weapons therefore violates the Second Amendment.

… [It is true that law-abiding citizens could use alternative firearms to defend themselves,] “[b]ut the right to bear other weapons is ‘no answer’ to a ban on the possession of protected arms.

Second, even if the Supreme Court hadn’t already articulated a standard in Heller and Caetano, the standard created by Young is logically preposterous. Almost all lawfully owned firearms throughout all of American history have been “based on designs of weapons that were first manufactured for military purposes.”

From the “Brown Bess” smoothbore musket of the American Revolution, to the Colt single-action revolvers of the Civil War, to the Lee Enfield bolt-action rifles of World War I, right up to present-day SIG Sauer P320 standard-issue sidearm, the majority of firearms chosen by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes were originally designed for military use.

It’s illogical to suppose that, even if the Founders intended the Second Amendment to protect only a collective right to arms for service in the militia, the right wouldn’t protect the very arms most suitable for militia service—those designed as “military weapons,” but nonetheless commonly possessed by civilians.

The AR-15 Is Protected Even Under Young’s New Standard

The most incomprehensible part of Young’s opinion is, perhaps, his attempt to exclude the AR-15 from Second Amendment protections under his novel standard.

According to Young, military-style weapons are those “designed and intended to be particularly suitable for combat, rather than sporting applications.” They include the following characteristics:

(1) The “ability to accept a large, detachable magazine.”
(2) “Folding/telescoping stocks.”
(3) Pistol grips.
(4) Flash suppressors.
(5) Bipods.
(6) Grenade launchers.
(7) Night sights.
(8) The ability for selective fire.

Under these criteria, the AR-15 and other semi-automatic rifles are not “military-style” firearms.

First, bipods, grenade launchers, and night sights are not standard components of civilian-owned AR-15s any more than armored plates and a gunner’s hatch are standard components of civilian-owned Hummers—which themselves are the civilian equivalent of the military Humvee “assault car.”

Second, semi-automatic rifles sold to civilians lack a capability of selective fire—that is, the capability of being adjusted to fire in semi-automatic, burst mode, or fully automatic firing mode—except for those firearms already heavily regulated under federal law and subject to extensive licensing and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives oversight.

Third, pistol grips, detachable magazines capable of holding 30 rounds, flash suppressors, and telescoping stocks are beneficial for military use for the same reasons they’re beneficial for lawful civilian use—better control under less-than-ideal circumstances, greater accuracy, and a lessened need for reloading.

These characteristics don’t make the AR-15 exceptionally suited for military use rather than sporting applications, but exceptionally suited for both military and lawful civilian applications—just like the Hummer’s off-road handling, cargo space, and relative water-proofing make it suitable for both military personnel and civilians to engage in a wide array of lawful activities.

A Disservice to Gun Control Advocates

To be sure, there are many respectable judges who think that the Supreme Court has seriously misunderstood the Second Amendment and scholars who have sincerely held doubts about the legitimacy of an individual right to keep and bear arms.

Young’s opinion is a disservice to these scholars and makes a mockery of more logical—if still erroneous—lower court judges who have upheld similar prohibitions in recent years.

It’s one thing to disagree about the scope of the Second Amendment. It is quite another to so completely disregard context, history, and precedent.

This opinion should be challenged and overturned on appeal.

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Amy Swearer

Amy Swearer is a visiting legal fellow at the Meese Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation. Twitter: .

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is by AlexStar/Getty Images

Mueller Investigates $150K Donation to Trump From Ukrainian Who Gave Clintons $13 Million

Special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating a $150,000 donation from a Ukrainian businessman to President Donald Trump’s charity in 2015, according to a new report.

The donation from steel magnate Victor Pinchuk pales in comparison to contributions he gave to the charity set up by Bill and Hillary Clinton. The billionaire has contributed $13 million to the Clinton Foundation since 2006 and had access to Hillary Clinton while she served as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state.

dcnf-logo

Mueller, who is not investigating the Clintons, is conducting a broad investigation of Trump, including the flow of foreign money into various Trump-controlled entities.

Mueller began investigating the Pinchuk donation after receiving documents in response to a subpoena issued to the Trump Organization—the real estate company Trump ran before entering politics.

In September 2015, Trump appeared via video link at a conference Pinchuk hosted in Kyiv. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, negotiated details of the event with Democratic pollster Douglas Schoen, a former consultant for Bill Clinton, according to The New York Times.

Trump did not initially request payment for the appearance, but Cohen contacted Schoen at one point to request a $150,000 honorarium, the Times reported.

In a seemingly unrelated matter, the FBI raided Cohen’s Manhattan office and residence Monday. The search reportedly was conducted for records related to Cohen’s payments to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic movie star who says she had a one-night stand with Trump in 2006.

The Victor Pinchuk Foundation issued a statement to the Times, downplaying the donation to Trump. The charity reached out to Trump and other world leaders to “promote strengthened and enduring ties between Ukraine and the West,” it said.

Contact with Trump came at a time when “it was by no means assured that Mr. Trump would be the Republican nominee in 2016,” the foundation pointed out.

Pinchuk appears to have had a much closer relationship to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

In June 2012, the billionaire attended a dinner at the Clintons’ residence. And through Schoen, Pinchuk lobbied the State Department in 2011 and 2013.

Documents filed with the Justice Department show Schoen and Pinchuk met on several occasions in 2012 with Melanne Verveer, a close Clinton associate who then served as an ambassador at large for global women’s issues.

Bill Clinton attended Pinchuk’s annual Yalta conference, The New York Times reported on Feb. 13, 2014. Pinchuk also attended the former president’s 65th birthday party in Los Angeles.

The FBI reportedly investigated the Clinton Foundation over its foreign donations. The status of that investigation is unclear.

COMMENTARY BY

Chuck Ross

Twitter: @ChuckRossDC

Chuck Ross is a reporter for The Daily Caller News Foundation.

RELATED ARTICLE: Avenatti Exposed: Stormy’s Lawyer May Face Disbarrment, Legal Action As Past Catches Up

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image of Hillary Clinton delivering her concession speech after the presidential election as husband Bill Clinton applauds Nov. 9, 2016, in the New Yorker Hotel’s Grand Ballroom. (Photo: Olivier Douliery/UPI/Newscom). Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities for this original content, email licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

VIDEO: Ted Cruz Grills Mark Zuckerberg Over Facebook’s Political Bias, Censorship

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg spared over political bias and censorship during the Senate’s hearing Tuesday. Lawmakers questioned Zuckerberg about the social media company and its handling of user data. Cruz specifically asked if Facebook considers itself a neutral public forum. A full transcript of their exchange is below.

Cruz: “Thank you Mr. Chairman. Mr. Zuckerberg, thank you for being here. Mr. Zuckerberg, does Facebook consider itself a neutral public forum?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, we consider ourselves to be a platform for all ideas.”

Cruz: “Let me ask the question again. Does Facebook consider itself to be a neutral public forum? And representatives of your company have given conflicting answers on this. Are you a First Amendment speaker expressing your views, or are you a neutral public forum allowing everyone to speak?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, here is how we think about this: I don’t believe that – there is certain content that clearly we do not allow. Right? Hate speech, terrorist content, nudity, anything that makes people feel unsafe in the community. From that perspective, that’s why we generally try to refer to what we do as a platform for all ideas.”

Cruz: “Because the time is constrained, it’s just a simple question. The predicate for Section 230 immunity under the CDA is that you are a neutral public forum. Do you consider yourself a neutral public forum, or are you engaged in political speech? Which is your right under the First Amendment.”

Zuckerberg: “Well, Senator, our goal is certainly not to engage in political speech. I’m not that familiar with the specific legal language of the law that you speak to, so I would need to follow up with you on that. I’m just trying to lay out how broadly I think about this.”

Cruz: “Mr. Zuckerberg, I will say there are a great many Americans, who I think are deeply concerned that Facebook and other tech companies are engaged in a pervasive pattern of bias and political censorship. There have been numerous instances with Facebook. In May of 2016, Gizmodo reported that Facebook had purposefully and routinely suppressed conservative stories from trending news, including stories about CPAC, including stories about Mitt Romney, including stories about the Lois Lerner IRS scandal, including stories about Glenn Beck. In addition to that, Facebook has initially shut down the ‘Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day’ page, has blocked a post of a Fox News reporter, has blocked over two dozen Catholic pages, and most recently, blocked Trump supporters Diamond and Silk’s page with 1.2 million Facebook followers, after determining their content and brand were, ‘unsafe to the community.’ To a great many Americans, that appears to be a pervasive pattern of political bias. Do you agree with that assessment?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, let me say a few things about this. First, I understand where that concern is coming from because Facebook and the tech industry are located in Silicon Valley, which is an extremely Left leaning place. And this is actually a concern that I have and that I try to root out in the company is making sure that we don’t have any bias in the work that we do, and I think it is a fair concern that people would at least wonder about.”

Cruz: “So let me ask this question. Are you aware of any ad or page that has been taken down from Planned Parenthood?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, I’m not. But let me just, can I finish?”

Cruz: “How about MoveOn.org?”

Zuckerberg: “Sorry?”

Cruz: “How about MoveOn.org?”

Zuckerberg: “I’m not specifically aware of those.”

Cruz: “How about any Democratic candidate for office?”

Zuckerberg: “I’m not specifically aware. I mean, I’m not sure.”

Cruz: “In your testimony, you say that you have 15,000 to 20,000 people working on security and content review. Do you know the political orientation of those 15,000 to 20,000 people engaged in content review?”

Zuckerberg: “No, Senator. We do not generally ask people about their political orientation when they’re joining the company.”

Cruz: “So as CEO, have you made hiring or firing decisions based on political positions or what candidates they supported?”

Zuckerberg: “No.”

Cruz: “Why was Palmer Luckey fired?”

Zuckerberg: “That is a specific personnel matter that seems like it would be inappropriate to speak to here.”

Cruz: “You made a specific representation that you didn’t make decisions based on political views. Is that accurate?”

Zuckerberg: “I can commit that it was not because of a political view.”

Cruz: “Do you know of the 15,000 to 20,000 people engaged in content review, how many, if any, have ever supported financially a Republican candidate for office?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, I do not know that.”

Cruz: “Your testimony says, ‘It is not enough that we just connect people. We have to make sure those connections are positive.’ It says, ‘We have to make sure people aren’t using their voice to hurt people or spread misinformation. We have a responsibility not just to build tools, but to make sure those tools are used for good.’ Mr. Zuckerberg, do you feel it’s your responsibility to assess users whether they are good and positive connections or ones those 15,000 to 20,000 people deem unacceptable or deplorable?”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, you’re asking about me personally?”

Cruz: “Facebook.”

Zuckerberg: “Senator, I think that there are a number of things that we would all agree are clearly bad. Foreign interference in our elections, terrorism, self-harm. Those are things…”

Cruz: “I’m talking about censorship.”

Zuckerberg: “Oh, well, I think that you would probably agree we should remove terrorist propaganda from the service. So that I agree, I think is clearly bad activity that we want to get down and we are generally proud of how well we do with that. Now, what I can say, and I do want to get this in before the end here, is that I am very committed to making sure that Facebook is a platform for all ideas. That is a very important, founding principle of what we do. We’re proud of the discourse and different ideas that people can share on the service, and that is something that as long as I’m running the company, I’m going to be committed to making sure is the case.”

Cruz: “Thank you.”

COMMENTARY BY

Video Team

Dear Readers:

With the recent conservative victories related to tax cuts, the Supreme Court, and other major issues, it is easy to become complacent.

However, the liberal Left is not backing down. They are rallying supporters to advance their agenda, moving this nation further from the vision of our founding fathers.

If we are to continue to bring this nation back to our founding principles of limited government and fiscal conservatism, we need to come together as a group of likeminded conservatives.

This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

ACTIVATE YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY

Reinforcing our National Guard at the Border: The steps that must be taken to really stop illegal entries…

President Trump’s decision to send National Guard troops to the U.S./Mexico border to provide support to the U.S. Border Patrol is not unprecedented.  Both Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama also sent unarmed National Guard troops to the southern border.

While the administration has yet to fully explain how the troops will assist the beleaguered Border Patrol agents, it is to be presumed that the National Guard personnel will also be unarmed and not directly involved in the interdiction and apprehension of aliens attempting to enter the United States surreptitiously without inspection.

Of course anything that can be done to free up Border Patrol agents from activities that distract them from their primary mission of securing the border are welcome, but we must understand that these national guard troops will not, by themselves, seal that problematic border.

Once again attention has been drawn, virtually exclusively, to the need to secure the southern border of the United States.  Make no mistake, that border must be secured, however, the need to enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States has always been ignored.  We will consider interior enforcement shortly.

The justification for President Trump’s decision to deploy those National Guard troops was reported in an April 8, 2018 ABC News report, Trump adviser cites ‘alarming’ 200 percent increase in attempted US-Mexico border crossings.

Here is how the article reported on the underlying circumstances:

“It’s alarming. It’s an over 200 percent increase and we’re talking about apprehending over 50,000 people attempting to cross our border in one month,” White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Tom Bossert told ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent and co-anchor Martha Raddatzon “This Week” Sunday.

The increase in March 2018 over the same month the year before paints a different picture than other figures from the Department of Homeland Security that show the number of people caught crossing the border illegally in 2017 was the lowest since 1971.

We can only speculate as to why the number of apprehensions has exploded as compared with the arrest statistics from the previous months.

One possible factor may be President Trump’s contradictory statements about how he would deal with DACA aliens, holding out the possibility that aliens who had not been processed but who claim to meet the requirements for participation in this illegal program may have convinced large numbers of individuals from around the world that if they can somehow enter the United States, especially without inspection, where no record is created of their admission, they could then easily falsely claim to have been present in the United States for years just days after actually entering the United States.

The number of such illegal aliens would be so great that no interviews and no field investigations could be routinely conducted in an effort to uncover fraud.  Under such circumstances as the number of aliens who successfully game the overwhelmed bureaucracy increases, even more illegal aliens would be emboldened to submit similarly fraud-laden applications, thereby creating a vicious cycle of ever-increasing numbers of applications forcing the adjudications officers at USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) to process more applications in the least amount of time possible.

An application can be approved in minutes while a denial may require days.  It must be presumed that an alien whose application is denied will file an appeal.

The denial of an application often requires a field investigation be conducted and a formal report of that investigation be completed by the investigator.  The adjudications officer must then prepare a formal denial that will have to be reviewed by a government attorney to make certain it meets minimum standards of legal sufficiency to justify that denial.

Often no investigators are available to conduct that essential field investigation leaving adjudicators no choice but to approve applications that should not be approved.

This undermines the integrity of the system thereby undermining national security.

Indeed, immigration fraud and the overall lack of integrity of the immigration system were cited by the 9/11 Commission as the key means by which terrorists have entered the United States and embedded themselves as they went about their deadly preparations.

Concerns about immigration fraud was the focus of my articleImmigration Fraud – Lies That Kill.

Of course the number of Border Patrol arrests along the U.S./Mexican border don’t provide a comprehensive assessment of the true number of illegal aliens present in the United States or who are seeking to enter the United States.

A couple of years ago when I was a guest on Neil Cavuto’s program on Fox News, Neil attempted to draw the conclusion that when border arrests are down there are fewer illegal aliens entering the United States.  I told Neil that to attempt to determine the number of illegal aliens present in the United States purely on the basis of Border Patrol arrests is comparable to taking attendance by asking people not present to raise their hands.

Not all illegal aliens enter the United States by entering the United States without inspection from Mexican and Canada.  Some stowaway on ships while others enter the United States via the lawful entry process conducted at America’s hundreds of ports of entry, particularly international airports, and then, in one way or another, violate the terms of their admission.

For nonimmigrant (temporary) visitors this may involve overstaying their temporary authorized period of admission, working illegally, or otherwise violating their terms of admission.

Aliens who are lawfully admitted for permanent residence become subject to deportation (removal) when they commit crimes.

In November 2001, just weeks after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, I testified before the House Immigration Reform Caucus about failures of the immigration system that enabled the terrorists to enter the United States and hide in plain sight as they went about their deadly preparations.  My prepared statement for that hearing was subsequently submitted for inclusion in the Congressional Record by Caucus Chairman Tom Tancredo.

My testimony included the recommendation that Congress and the administration conceptualize effective immigration law enforcement as standing on an “Immigration Enforcement Tripod” and that each leg of that tripod must be of equal length.

Under this concept, the Immigration Inspectors (today they are referred to as Customs and Border Protection inspectors) enforce the immigration laws at ports of entry.

The U.S. Border Patrol enforces the immigration laws from between ports of entry and finally, the Immigration Special Agents- now known as ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents) comprise the third leg of that enforcement tripod and enforce the immigration laws from within the interior of the United States.

This critical leg of the tripod is not only responsible for arresting illegal aliens but also deter many aliens from entering illegally.

ICE agents also investigate employers who may hire illegal aliens and ICE agents also participate in various task forces such as the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the Organized Crime, Drug Enforcement Task Force.

ICE agents and also conduct investigations into immigration fraud, a key vulnerability.

The official report, 9/11 and  Terrorist Travel included these paragraphs:

Once terrorists had entered the United States, their next challenge was to find a way to remain here. Their primary method was immigration fraud. For example, Yousef and Ajaj concocted bogus political asylum stories when they arrived in the United States. Mahmoud Abouhalima, involved in both the World Trade Center and landmarks plots, received temporary residence under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers (SAW) program, after falsely claiming that he picked beans in Florida.

[ … ]

Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.

More recently, consider how the Tsarnaev family was granted political asylum, claiming “credible fear” that they could not go back to their native Russia and then, upon being granted asylum, voluntarily boarded airliners for Russia.  The two Tsarnaev brothers went on to launch the deadly terror attack on the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

For decades, this third leg of the immigration enforcement tripod has been much shorter and weaker than the other legs of this tripod and, I would argue, this has been intentional.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce exerts extraordinary influence in Washington. Without an adequate number of ICE agents, employers who violate the immigration laws go undiscovered and unpunished.  Additionally,  all too many politicians from both parties are globalists and all too many members of Congress are lawyers.  Some, in fact, are immigration lawyers who don’t see illegal aliens as a problem but as clients for their friends, or, perhaps for themselves when they leave Congress and resume their legal practices.

Effective enforcement of immigration laws from within the interior of the United States is as important as securing our nation’s borders to solve the immigration crisis.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared on FrontPage Magazine.

Florida: Former Democrat now Republican U.S. Senate candidate was convicted of check fraud

After I ran a U.S. Senate campaign and assisted in two Gubernatorial and two Congressional campaigns, U.S. Senate Candidate A. Lateresa Jones (R) asked for my help.

I agreed and met with her, her Campaign Manager, her Political Director and her bodyguard in Pensacola.

After the meet and greet I went home and conducted my due diligence here is what I found out:

  1. She was convicted of check fraud and served 2 months in jail in Denton Texas.
  2. She was a life long Democrat who recently changed to the Republican Party – an Obama supporter.
  3. She was using her campaign managers and political directors credit cards to fund her campaign without filing any expenditures with the Federal Election Committee (FEC) – no records shown.
  4. She shows only $100 in contributions.
  5. Her Campaign Manager and Political Director have just resigned after U.S. Senate Candidate Jones refused to refund them their out of pocket costs.
  6. The end of the quarter FEC filing closes the middle of this month – if no expenditures are posted for her campaign showing how her campaign is funded I’m filing charges with the FEC against her.

The integrity of the political process will be adhered to in order to protect the U.S. Constitution and the Republican Party.

I helped dismantle and expose Charlie Crist – assisting in his removal from the GOP and others – I look forward to continue the process of draining the swamp – God Bless America.

EDITORS NOTE: The author of this column Geoff Ross is a Senior Chief US Navy (Retired) and is a Republican Candidate for County Commissioner in District 1. – Santa Rosa County, Florida in 2020. The featured image of U.S. Senate Candidate Lateresa Jones (R) is courtesy of Lateresa Jones.

How an Obscure Author Made Chappaquiddick a National Story

If anyone ever truly deserved a Profiles in Courage Award, it was the late Leo Damore, the author of the book “Senatorial Privilege: The Chappaquiddick Cover-Up.

Of course, the awards are handed out by the Kennedy family, and they are all about not courage, but political correctness. But no one can dispute the fact that Damore put himself and his career on the line to write this book, and that one way or another, he paid the ultimate price—as a suicide, in 1995, at the age of 65.

I met Damore in 1994, on the 25th anniversary of Chappaquiddick. I was doing my radio show from the cottage on Chappaquiddick, and I booked some of the surviving principals.

Only Damore asked for money—$100. Every time I spoke to him, he seemed nervous, agitated. The day after the show he telephoned again, begging me to send him the money ASAP, which I did.

Fifteen months later, Damore was depressed and broke, about to be evicted from his rented house in Essex, Connecticut. As a visiting nurse and a constable (who was there to serve the eviction notice) looked on in horror, Damore pulled out a gun and shot himself in the head.

Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., died of brain cancer in 2009, at the age of 77. In his later years, it was considered bad form to even mention Chappaquiddick in polite company. Teddy himself seemed oblivious to the scandal—he named his last dog Splash.

The Kennedys’ official fanzine has always been The Boston Globe. Every sixth year, when he was running for re-election, the Globe would run stories about how Teddy was “turning his life around,” and how in an amazing feat of self-discipline, he had totally sworn off alcohol until his birthday—Feb. 22. On the day after Chappaquiddick, the Globe ran a front-page headline saying, “Senator Wandered in Daze for Hours.”

In 2003, the Globe perfectly summed up the mainstream media’s revisionist take on Chappaquiddick: “If she had lived, Mary Jo Kopechne would be 62 years old. Through his tireless work as a legislator, Edward Kennedy would have brought comfort to her in her old age.”

In 2015, the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the U.S. Senate opened in Dorchester. One of its exhibits is titled the “Senate Immersion Module.” Immersion—you can’t make this stuff up.

Near the end of his life, in 2009, Teddy wrote a sorrowful letter to Pope Benedict XVI:

I have always tried to be a faithful Catholic, Your Holiness, though I have fallen short through human failings … I know that I have been an imperfect human being but with the help of my faith, I have tried to right my path.

Then he added, in a somewhat incongruous attempt at penance, “I have worked to welcome the immigrant.”

Somehow I don’t think Teddy was referring to Damore.

Few of the principals ever talked about what happened. The prosecutor, Walter Steele, was quickly appointed to a state judgeship—another nationwide search, as we say in Massachusetts.

As a judge, his most famous case involved allowing a convicted child predator to leave the state without restrictions, after which the offender moved to Montana and then murdered and cannibalized a 7-year-old boy.

When Steele reached the mandatory retirement age of 70 in 1996, the local New Bedford paper ran a story about him without a single mention of Chappaquiddick. But Steele did obliquely mention the difficulty of explaining to victims and their survivors how sometimes an obviously guilty party gets off scot-free: “It’s awful hard to explain to them that you think you’re doing justice.”

Do you think the Kopechnes would have understood what Steele was getting at?

The boiler-room girls you will soon be reading about have maintained omerta—silence—for almost half a century. But as Damore notes in Chapter 54, on the fifth anniversary of Mary Jo’s death in 1974, Rosemary “Cricket” Keough did issue the following terse statement: “My friend Mary Jo just happened to be in the wrong car at the wrong time with the wrong people.”

In a strange way, Damore’s life turned out like Mary Jo’s—“Senatorial Privilege,” now retitled as “Chappaquiddick: Power, Privilege, and the Ted Kennedy Cover-Up” is an unforgettable book, muckraking in the best sense of the word. But for Damore personally, it was the wrong book at the wrong time about the wrong people, and it cost him his life.

But at least we still have his book—and the truth.

This partial excerpt of the foreword by Howie Carr has been republished with permission from Leo Damore’s “Chappaquiddick: Power, Privilege, and the Ted Kennedy Cover-Up” (Regnery Publishing, 2018).

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of Howie Carr

Howie Carr is a New York Times bestselling author, a Boston Herald columnist, and a syndicated talk radio host. He has chronicled Ted Kennedy’s career for 30 years in the Herald and in his own book, “Kennedy Babylon.” Twitter: .

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The Shadow: a Review of “Chappaquiddick”

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This is the mission of The Heritage Foundation. We want to continue to develop and present conservative solutions to the nation’s toughest problems. And we cannot do this alone.

We are looking for a select few conservatives to become a Heritage Foundation member. With your membership, you’ll qualify for all associated benefits and you’ll help keep our nation great for future generations.

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FBI Seizes Website Linked to Sex Trafficking — Owners Donated to Hillary and Pelosi

The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra in a column titled “FBI Seizes Website Linked To Sex Crimes; Owners Donated To Democrats” reports:

On Friday, the U.S. government seized Backpage.com as part of a law enforcement action by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies after the site came under intense legal scrutiny for allegations of facilitating sex trafficking and underage prostitution.

An FBI official said that there was “law enforcement activity” at the home of Michael Lacey, one of the website’s founders, at his home in Arizona, Reuters reported. The seizure banner on the website stated:

backpage.com and affiliated websites have been seized as part of an enforcement action by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division, with analytical assistance from the Joint Regional Intelligence Center.

Other agencies participating in and supporting the enforcement action include the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, the office of the California Attorney General, and the office of the Texas Attorney General.

[ … ]

The owners of the website have given tens of thousands of dollars to Democrats in recent years, including a Super PAC backed by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the failed presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, Democratic candidate for governor in Arizona David Garcia, and the Arizona Democratic Party.

Read Saavedra’s full article here.

Victory for Religious Liberty in the U.S. Air Force!

AFA urged supporters to sign a petition to reverse Obama’s hostility toward Christians in the Air Force, and the voice of AFA supporters made a difference.

Over 50,000 supporters signed the AFA petition urging Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to restore the religious liberty of U.S. Air Force Col. Leland Bohannon.

Col. Leland Bohannon was asked in May 2017 to sign a “certificate of spouse appreciation” for a retiring master sergeant in a same-sex “marriage.”

As a devout Christian, Bohannon refused to sign the document stating it would violate his religious belief of marriage being between one man and one woman. As a result, the Air Force suspended the colonel and effectively ended his career.

As a result, “Bohannon was relieved of command. Additionally, a letter sent by a superior officer recommended against Bohannon’s promotion to brigadier general, effectively ending his career.”

But Col. Bohannon’s religious liberty was restored after an appeal to the Air Force Review Boards Agency. Secretary Wilson announced Monday that the Agency ruled in favor of the religious liberty of the colonel saying:

The director [of the Agency] concluded that Colonel Bohannon had the right to exercise his sincerely held religious beliefs and did not unlawfully discriminate when he declined to sign the certificate of appreciation for the same sex spouse of an Airman in his command. (Emphasis added.)

This is a tremendous victory for religious liberty in President Donald Trump’s administration and in the armed services. The glory for the success belongs to God alone.

Christians who work together and stand for righteousness can make a difference.

If our mission resonates with you, please consider supporting our work financially with a tax-deductible donation. The easiest way to do that is through online giving. It is easy to use, and most of all, it is secure.

Air Force Throttles back War on Faith

For combat pilot Leland Bohannon, it’s been a turbulent year. One promotion shy of his first general’s star, the Air Force colonel watched his 24-year career flash before his eyes last May when he was asked to sign a certificate of appreciation for a same-sex couple. When his religious accommodation wasn’t granted, Bohannon asked a higher-ranking officer to sign it instead. Now, months after wondering if he’d ever be able to return to the military he loved, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson gave him the answer he’d been waiting for: yes.For Bohannon, who’d been grounded, suspended, and virtually guaranteed that he’d never be promoted for his beliefs on marriage, the news of his reinstatement was almost as shocking as his temporary dismissal. As most service members understand all too well, religious hostility in the military didn’t disappear when Barack Obama did. President Trump has had to walk a long and determined road to weed out the bureaucrats still loyal to the intolerance of the last administration. And thankfully, he has leaders like Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson to help him do it.

Wilson had been clear before she was confirmed: “Air Force policy must continue to ensure that all Airmen are able to choose to practice their particular religion.” This week, she proved it — vindicating Bohannon and creating an important precedent for other branch leaders to follow. As our own Lt. General Jerry Boykin points out, that was no easy task. An Equal Opportunity investigator had already determined Bohannon was guilty of discrimination, even after his request for a religious accommodation.

“When you overrule an inspector general or independent investigator, that’s a big deal,” General Boykin insisted. “That takes a lot of time and a lot of nerve. It’s very rare.” Still, Wilson had plenty of motivation to try. Eight senators had called on the Air Force to stop punishing Bohannon’s beliefs, along with House Armed Services members like Reps. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) and Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.). In December, supporters of FRC and American Family Association piled on, giving Wilson 77,024 reasons to reconsider the attack on this airman’s faith. “We not only delivered 77,024 petitions,” General Boykin said, “we delivered a message: We will not back down from defending the religious liberty of those in the military.”

Message received. “The Air Force places a high value on the rights of its members to observe the tenets of their respective religions or to observe no religion at all,” Wilson explained in a letter to House and Senate leaders, absolving the colonel of wrongdoing. “…Colonel Bohannon had the right to exercise his sincerely held religious beliefs and did not unlawfully discriminate when he declined to sign the certificate of appreciation for the same-sex spouse of an Airman in his command,” the secretary went on. “The Air Force has a duty to treat people fairly and without discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, national origin, or sexual orientation and (Bohannon) met that duty by having a more senior officer sign the certificate,” she concluded.

For our friends at First Liberty Institute, who represented Bohannon, it was cause to celebrate – not just for this colonel, but for the thousands of men and women who are witnessing this president’s commitment to religious liberty. “This is clear evidence that the Trump administration is helping to right the ship at the Pentagon,” attorney Hiram Sasser told Fox News’s Todd Starnes. No one should be forced to check their faith at the base’s gates.

So the next time you wonder if signing a petition or calling your congressman makes a difference, think of Colonel Bohannon. You have the power to help shape the direction of this country — use it!


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


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