EXCLUSIVE: Jim Banks Demands DOJ Investigate Midwest Nonprofit Linked To Chinese Communist Influence Network

Indiana Republican Rep. Jim Banks urged the Biden administration to probe a Midwestern nonprofit with extensive ties to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intelligence and influence operations to determine if it violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), according to a letter shared exclusively with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Banks sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday asking the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct an inquiry into the United States Heartland China Association (USHCA), a 501(c)(3) bipartisan organization, which characterizes its mission as “building bridges and promoting opportunities” between 21 U.S. heartland states and China. However, USHCA leads trips to China for Midwestern mayors in cooperation with organizations affiliated with a Chinese government influence arm, and also employs multiple individuals belonging to such organizations, the DCNF reported.

Banks’s letter asks the DOJ to review whether or not USHCA may need to register under FARA, which “requires certain agents of foreign principals who are engaged in political activities or other activities specified under the statute to make periodic public disclosure of their relationship with the foreign principal, as well as activities, receipts and disbursements in support of those activities,” according to the DOJ.

“I am writing to urge you to investigate the U.S. Heartland China Association (USHCA) for apparent violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), as revealed in a recent report from the Daily Caller News Foundation,” Banks’ letter states. “FARA requires all U.S. residents acting as agents of foreign governments to regularly file public disclosures with the Justice Department (DOJ) outlining their activities and describing their status as a foreign agent.”

Banks’ letter alleges that USHCA “acts in concert with the United Front to expand CCP influence within Indiana and the Midwest.”

The CCP utilizes an influence and intelligence collection strategy known as the “United Front,” which, among other things, targets “foreign actors and states,” according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The United Front is coordinated by the Chinese government’s United Front Work Department (UFWD), which “oversees many subordinate organizations,” including operations within the U.S., according to the House Select Committee on the CCP.

The UFWD “conceals its influence over groups like the USHCA through its use of proxy groups,” Banks’ letter alleges, citing USHCA’s partnership with the Chinese People’s Association For Friendship With Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) as an example.

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has characterized CPAFFC as a “key organization” in the CCP’s United Front.

In November 2023, USHCA announced it had led a delegation of six mayors to China in order to “underscore the importance of maintaining open lines of communication between the United States and China.” Yet, Chinese state-run China Youth Daily reported that CPAFFC took credit for inviting the delegation to China.

“CPAFFC is the UFWD proxy responsible for managing and expanding sister relationships between the U.S. and China,” Banks’ letter states. “During the trip, the former Mayor of Carmel, Indiana, Jim Brainard, who also serves as vice chair of USHCA, ratified a sister-city agreement with Xiangyang, Hubei.”

The U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center has warned that CPAFFC “may exploit” sister-city agreements to “press its agendas.”

USHCA “will inevitably work with Chinese entities” because it “promotes people-to-people exchanges in culture, education and business between the Heartland and China,” a spokesperson for the nonprofit recently told the DCNF.

Mary Kissel, former senior advisor to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, told the DCNF that U.S. engagement with the United Front only benefits China.

“Please give me an example of when engagement with a United Front organization resulted in positive change on the Chinese side?” Kissel said. “The answer is, there is no example of that.”

The United Front’s “brazen” targeting of America’s heartland suggests far more extensive operations in high-population states, said Kissel, who’s now an executive vice president at Stephens, a private financial services firm.

“If they’ve done it in Missouri, what in the world are they doing in places like Florida or California or New York or Texas?” Kissel said. “Alarm bells should be going off.”

Banks’ letter to the DOJ also calls attention to USHCA’s leadership, which includes at least four individuals who’ve held positions at UFWD-affiliated entities, the DCNF reported.

“One of these senior USHCA officials, a strategic advisor named Zhao Suisheng, has worked directly for China’s government in a variety of advisory positions,” Banks’ letter states.

Zhao, who serves as the director of the University of Denver’s Center for China-U.S. Cooperation, told the DCNF he’d attended events hosted by several UFWD-affiliated organizations, such as the Center For China And Globalization (CCG), which lists him as an “expert” on its “academic advisory committee.” Zhao claims the reason he’s held advisory positions with Chinese government agencies and UFWD-affiliated organizations is because he’s an “independent scholar” studying “Chinese politics” and “United Front tactics.”

“USHCA is not an independent entity — it is a malign agent of our foremost foreign adversary,” Banks’ letter concludes.

AUTHOR

PHILIP LENCZYCKI

Investigative reporter.

RELATED ARTICLE: EXCLUSIVE: Communist Influence Network Is Deeply Involved With Nonprofit Connecting China To US Heartland

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


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PERKINS: Hostility to Churches Fueled by Biden’s Anti-Faith Climate

“It’s an emotional moment,” Pastor Robin Lutjohann said quietly, surveying the rubble of his church. “It’s been a place of worship for a number of communities for over a century,” he told reporters after a six-alarm fire raged through the building Easter Sunday, destroying the Massachusetts landmark. “It fills me with sadness and dread about the work that is ahead of us,” Lutjohann admitted, wondering why anyone would have such malice toward Faith Lutheran. “If and when a person is found who has done this then we will pray for the power to forgive,” he insisted.

Unfortunately, his congregation isn’t alone in that prayer. An astonishing 436 churches in America were victims of criminal attacks in 2023, according to a new report from Family Research Council — more than double the number in 2022. From shattering stained glass and spray-painting relics to lighting five-gallon drums of gasoline on fire and riddling altars with bullet holes, houses of worship have become an increasingly dangerous target.

“You just feel the hate,” Rev. Jerome Jones shook his head, still shocked at the sight of his trashed Maryland sanctuary. Bibles, ripped into shreds that “looked like snow” on the pews, slashed upholstery, the big wooden cross — where congregants lifted their hands during the offering — torn down and tossed on the $100,000 of damage. From now on, Jones had to tell worshippers, “the cross is in your hearts.”

His Fowler United Methodist Church is just a few miles from the Maryland State House, a fact that didn’t shield Jones from the violence that too many U.S. congregations are experiencing. If anything, experts say, our country’s deepening political divides may be what’s fanning the all-too-real flames. The growing anti-faith rhetoric of the Left, led by the Biden administration’s own bigotry toward Christians, has made it open season on houses of worship. After just 55 acts of hostility in 2020 under Donald Trump, the aggression has skyrocketed from 96 (2021) to 195 (2022) to a staggering 436 acts last year.

None of this happened in a vacuum. Under the Biden administration, there’s one common denominator between the growing religious persecution abroad and the rapidly increasing hostility toward churches here at home: our government’s policies.

Frankly, Congressman Nathanial Moran (R-Texas) insisted on Tuesday’s “Washington Watch,” the biggest reason for this spike is probably because “this is the behavior that’s being modeled by the federal government.” When we see “the Department of Justice weaponizing its political views against everyday Americans and religious institutions and faith-based organizations, more of [these attacks] are going to happen.”

Under Joe Biden, men and women at the highest levels of government have not only condoned religious intimidation, they’ve encouraged it — refusing to investigate, hold culprits accountable, or worse, targeting Christians themselves. From the FBI to IRS, the Biden administration has spent the last three years criminalizing Americans with biblical views, only to turn around and complain about threats to democracy. What bigger threat is there than a government weaponized against its own people?

And sadly, this 800% spike in church attacks hasn’t just triggered terror here at home, it’s also had deadly consequences abroad. During my time as chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), I witnessed firsthand that when American leaders turn their backs on religious hostility, it sends a message that the world’s persecuted are on their own.

As my friend and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo understood: “If we got it right here in America, good things would happen all across the world.” If we get it wrong, we’re no longer just hurting ourselves, but millions of innocents who depend on the United States to fight against oppression around the world.

We see evidence of that failure in the freshly dug graves in Nigeria, in the Christians hiding deep within Afghanistan, even in the global calls for Israel’s ceasefire. Biden’s weakness on the international stage has escalated the threat for the world’s religious populations to a degree we’ve not seen in modern history. And the situation grows more dire every day.

When America ignores the indiscriminate slaughter of 8,222 Nigerian Christians in a single year — even going so far as to remove the nation as a Country of Particular Concern from America’s watch list— it gives permission for other world leaders to look the other way. Worse, it sends a green light to terrorists everywhere to continue their killings, abductions, land-grabs, and torture. But if Joe Biden can’t be bothered to condemn thugs and vandals at home, how could he possibly take on jihadists?

At its core, this is cultural terrorism, and it’s designed to silence us. The spiritual enemy of our soul has a goal to intimidate Christians everywhere into backing away from speaking biblical truth. So here’s what we’ve got to do: not yield.

Obviously, we need to take the appropriate precautions, so our people can come to church free of fear with the sole focus of worshiping the Lord. But then, we do something just as important: vote for men and women who respect and understand our vibrant First Amendment freedom, which is the ability — not only to worship God — but to live your life according to your faith. That means teaching your children. That means carrying your beliefs into the workplace.

So we need to be bold. We need to be courageous and live out our faith for the Lord in such a way as it brings honor and glory to him. Yes, we need to take the practical steps to make sure our churches are safe, but we cannot give in to those who would make us shrink back into the shadows of society. We need to continue to hold forth the banner of the Lord Jesus Christ — without apology.

AUTHOR

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of Family Research Council and executive editor of The Washington Stand.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

Fixing Congress’ Worst Problem

And you’ve likely never even heard about it!

Do you know what is the worst fixable problem Congress has?

I’m willing to bet that I can tell you: 1) what Congress’ most substantial problem is, and 2) have it be something they’ve never heard of (!), and 3) have a simple, low-cost, elegant solution for it!!! I suspect that some people would be willing to bet against me…

Since we are daily deluged with political news from hundreds of sources, is it possible that alert citizens are unaware of Congress’ worst fixable problem? I say YES, so I could make good money if I went around making such a bet.

To appreciate the scope of the #1 Congressional problem, we need to understand how our representatives make decisions. In other words: how do they decide on what to vote for or against; how do they decide which issues to champion; how do they decide which laws to propose; how do they decide exactly what to say in any proposed law they put into the hopper; etc., etc. Do you know the answer (singular)? Consider:

Fact One: there are dozens of major issues (from election integrity to energy) clamoring for our representative’s attention every day.

Fact Two: in our current society, almost every one of these issues is moderately or extremely complicated.

Fact Three: it is very rare that any member of Congress is a bonafide expert in even one of the dozens of issues on their plate.

Fact Four: each member of Congress is solicited every day by lobbyists giving them advice as to what to say or do about one or more of these numerous complex issues.

What does a competent, conscientious representative do?

Nearly 100% of the time, the answer is to rely on their aides. Every Congress person has a staff of aides, plus a Chief of Staff, etc. Let’s take energy as an example, as most members of Congress have an “Energy” aide. We’ll call this their E-aide.

It is the E-aide’s first responsibility to be a buffer between lobbyists (also the public), and the member of Congress. For example, when an appointment is made to discuss wind energy legislation, in most cases it is the E-aide who meets with the lobbyist, citizen, etc. (An exception might be for a repeat visit, a VIP, a major donor, etc. Then the member might also be at the meeting. Note that the E-aide is usually still very involved.)

Typically, the member of Congress heavily relies on the E-aide’s advice regarding the support that should be given to what is requested, the priority of it, how to specifically handle it, who else to communicate with, etc., etc. After that, the E-aide stays actively involved with what happens (e.g., drafting a proposed law).

OK, you’re probably thinking, I knew most of that. It makes sense that members of Congress extensively rely on their staff. After all, there are only so many hours in a day, and certainly, we would not expect any member of Congress to be an expert on more than one or two topics. So what’s the substantial problem?

The answer is: the aides. Who are these sources of knowledge, and how do they work? I’ll keep it simple, only outlining some of the major problems with the current system.

Problem #1: Most of the aides are energetic youths in their early twenties — i.e. wet behind the ears. Few of them have any real-world experiences. For example, a typical E-aide has rarely visited a nuclear plant, hydroelectric facility, or wind project. If they did, it was a show-and-tell, not for serious discussions.

Problem #2: It’s extremely rare that an aide will have an advanced degree (e.g., a PhD) in their assigned field. (People with PhDs can make more money elsewhere.)

Problem #3: Much of what aides know about their assigned field, actually comes from what they are told by lobbyists — people they see daily. Clearly, listening to lobbyists is NOT a successful way to have a comprehensive and objective understanding of anything.

Problem #4: These youths are products of some of the worst education our country has ever provided anyone. For example, these energetic young people have been heavily propagandized with Left-wing ideology. Worse, they have not been taught how to think critically — but instead have been schooled to defer to authority [e.g., re Climate], to follow (without questioning) what is politically correct [e.g., re COVID], etc., etc.

Problem #5: The troublesome relationship between lobbyists and aides gets worse. All the players know that the aide is in a temporary job. (For example, their employment would end if their boss did not get re-elected.) Some lobbyists leverage this uncertainly to their advantage, by letting the aide know that if things work out well now, a cushy gig awaits them when they are looking for a job in the future.

Problem #6: The net result of the above is that we now have a lobbyists-run legislative system. Citizens are often perplexed as to why their elected representatives rarely act in the public’s best interest — that’s the answer. The public interest and the lobbyist’s client interest are almost never the same.

Some of the times when we see a Republican Congressional member take RINO actions, it is due to the fact that lobbyists and their own aide have consciously (or otherwise) ganged up against our representative — and our elected member does not have the expertise to be able to counter their undue influence.

I could go on here, but I promised to keep it simple. Hopefully, you can see that we have a horrifically troubling political system that is putting many of the key decisions about our country and its future in the hands of inexperienced, miseducated, Left-indoctrinated aides, very susceptible to being inappropriately influenced by powerful and sophisticated lobbyists.

So the second part of the bet was that you’ve never heard about this profound weakness of our legislative system. If you think otherwise, show me where it has been adequately discussed and publicized…

Part 3 of my bet was that I could come up with a reasonable solution. Here it is…

Members of Congress should have most of their key aides be seniors and/or retired people. Amazingly, each and every substantial deficiency of the young people aide system is fixed by switching to a mature people system. Consider (using the same numbering as above) the major benefits of making this one easy change:

Benefit #1: Senior aides have a wide variety of real-world, life experiences.

Benefit #2: A good number of the senior aides will have an advanced degree in a relevant field or equivalent job experience.

Benefit #3: The senior aide’s knowledge would have come from their job history, so they would not need to listen to salespeople (lobbyists).

Benefit #4: Their education was during a time when the US education system was much less politicized, and actually taught us things like the Scientific Method!

Benefit #5: These retirees would not be looking for a future job, so would not be susceptible to this inappropriate lobbyist enticement.

Benefit #6: The net result of the prior five items, is that lobbyist influence over our legislative process would be substantially reduced. That would mean that citizen-oriented laws would become the norm, rather than the exception: a Very Big Deal!

In other words, EVERY one of the serious problems inherent in the current system would be fixed by this simple change.

Would it be hard to find such people? I doubt it. Seniors are not only some of the most patriotic citizens, but many of them are very keen on having their experiences put to good use.

So do I win the bet?

If you think otherwise, please tell me where I’m wrong.

If we agree, then why isn’t this happening, today?

PS — It should be obvious that the same reasoning applies to State Legislator aides. State Legislators have fewer aides than their Federal counterparts do, so it makes even more sense for them to have their smaller staffs predominantly mature citizens.

©2024. John Droz, Jr. All rights reserved.

Read The Lie Filled Letter I Got From Joseph Robinette Biden Jr.

I received a letter, below, from Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. in response to my concern about the rising cost of energy in America.

After reading his letter I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry. It was so filled with myths, lies and propaganda.

Here are some of the lies in the letter below:

  1. Biden blames Russia for our energy crisis, when in fact it is due to his green energy policies, which are anti-fossil fuels, anti-drilling and anti-building new pipelines to deliver oil and natural gas nationwide.
  2. It claims that by releasing millions of barrels of oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve it brought prices down at the pump. The truth is that prices at the pump in some areas keep rising and that robbing oil from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve and don’t drill policies are making the U.S. energy dependent on foreign oil and natural gas.
  3. Biden wrote, “When I signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, we made a historic move to transition America to a clean energy economy and create millions of good-paying jobs in the process.” This statement is false as many of the “green companies” that Biden sent our hard earned tax dollars to have either gone bankrupt or are losing billions in revenue a year. These green companies are barely staying afloat only because they are being subsidized with billions of our tax dollars.
  4. Biden claims that the Inflation Reduction Act, “It will make it easier for families to install energy efficient appliances and make home upgrades so they can save on household energy costs. ”  This is a lie because now were are seeing this act used to eliminate certain appliances and the use of things like natural gas stoves, home heating and cooling units and even gasoline driven lawn mowers.
  5. Finally Biden wrote, “And it [the Inflation Reduction Act] will make it easier to buy electric vehicles so that more Americans never have to pay at the gas pump again.” This again is a lie in that many of Biden’s charging stations are either not working or are being provided electricity from diesel generators. In fact, there are NO EV charging stations at Interstate rest stops because of Biden’s policies. On August 16th, 2023 even Newsweek wrote an article titled “One Year Later, President Biden’s ‘Inflation Reduction Act’ Is a Total Flop.” One paragraph states, “The legislation mostly consisted of green energy subsidies, healthcare subsidies, tax increases, and more funding for the Internal Revenue Service. Yet the President sold it to the public as a way to bring down the crushing inflation that continues to bankrupt the American people. (The typical U.S. family spent $709 more on monthly expenses last month, July 2023, than it did in July two years ago.)”
  6. Biden ended his letter with the BIG LIE! He wrote, “At this critical inflection point, we are finally taking historic steps to break our reliance on foreign energy, lower energy costs for American families, and protect our children’s futures from the impacts of climate change.  And we’re bringing true energy security to America, making us stronger and cleaner than ever before.” Since January 20th, 2021 America has become less and less energy secure. Biden has take historic steps to see that we are not energy secure via his Green New Deal policies. Never before have I feared that the future of our son, his wife and our two grandchildren is in such great peril. Finally, I don’t give a damn about climate change because mankind cannot control the weather let alone the climate. Climate change is a hoax and a myth to take control of all of our choices on what cars we buy, how to heat and cool our homes and made everything more expensive all at the same time.

America is going bankrupt, its people are deeper in debt and our nation is no longer safe. Put that in you pipe and smoke it.

Letter from Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr. I reply to my dissent to his energy policies:

On November 5th, 2024 we have a choice between Biden’s failed energy policies or Trump’s drill baby drill and make American truly energy independent policies.

Chose wisely.

©2024. Dr. Rich Swier. All rights reserved.

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Hamas didn’t just gang-rape children and women at gunpoint, they forced their families to watch.

“Hostages who have returned from Gaza have revealed grotesque sexual violence towards the hostages” — Jerusalem Post


“Most of those sexually assaulted by Hamas terrorists were killed afterward, and some even during the act of rape. Others still were found dead later, their genitals mutilated beyond recognition or penetrated with weapons.”

In one photo, a burned body appears to project anguish. In another, a woman lies naked from the waist down, her underwear hanging from her leg. In interviews, first responders haltingly describe finding naked female corpses tied to beds and survivors recount witnessing a gang rape at the music festival.

All of this is part of a mounting body of evidence of the gender-based crimes carried out by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7.

Fourteen young girls remain hostage in Gaza.

Hamas terrorists forced families to watch loved ones get raped at gunpoint

TRIGGER WARNING: Most sexual assault victims of Hamas on October 7 were killed either before or during rape; several victims’ genitals were mutilated beyond recognition.

By Tamar Uriel-Beeri, Jerusalem Post, February 21, 2024:

(Warning: This story describes deeply disturbing events and testimonials in graphic detail.)

A report analyzing numerous testimonies from the October 7 massacre specifically relating to Hamas’s sexual violence revealed that families and friends were forced by Hamas terrorists to watch their loved ones be raped and sexually assaulted at gunpoint.

The report, presented by the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel, analyzes confidential and public testimonies, eye-witness accounts, and interviews with victims, first responders and witnesses. It was sent to “decision-makers” in the United Nations to leave “no room for denial or disregard.

“The terrorist organization Hamas chose to harm Israel strategically in two clear ways – kidnapping citizens and committing sadistic sexual crimes,” said ARCCI CEO Orit Sulitzeanu. “Silence will be remembered as a historical stain on those who chose to remain silent and deny the sexual crimes committed by Hamas.”

The report revealed that Hamas terrorists threatened victims, often injured women, with weapons in order to rape them violently, often collectively with collaboration between multiple terrorists.

Partners, family, and friends were forced to watch to “increase the pain and humiliation for all present.”

Most of those sexually assaulted by Hamas terrorists were killed afterward, and some even during the act of rape. Others still were found dead later, their genitals mutilated beyond recognition or penetrated with weapons.

The full extent of Hamas’s sexual crimes will probably never be known

The report highlighted that it cannot provide the full numerical measure of the extent of Hamas’s sexual violence, “most of which resulted in the victims’ deaths, making their full extent unknown and possibly unknowable.”

The sexual assaults occurred in four main locations: At the Nova Festival, in kibbutzim, on IDF bases, and in captivity.

Severe sexual assaults were reported on multiple occasions by eye-witnesses and first responders in the Nova Festival, including group rapes. On kibbutzim, women and girls alike were brutally assaulted, including at least one case of a knife being hidden in the genital organ of one such victim.

Soldiers on IDF bases were victims of sexual violence, as well, their bodies clearly indicated. Hostages who have returned from Gaza have revealed grotesque sexual violence towards the hostages, as well.

“As the scars in our hearts refuse to heal, and the souls of our sisters and brothers cry out to us from the depths of the earth, a significant portion of those we considered partners responded in silence and denial of these horrors,” the report’s authors, Dr. Carmit Klar-Chalamish and Noga Berger, wrote. “We call on you to raise your voices and not allow the cries of these victims to fade away.”

Continue reading.

AUTHOR

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

CEO of Cardone Capitol To Team: “Immediately Discontinue All Underwriting on New York City Real Estate” In Wake of Insane Ruling in Trump Case

It begins. As predicted, one of the most successful private equity real estate firms has called for a cessation of business in New York.

Grant Cardone to Team: “Immediately Discontinue All Underwriting on New York City Real Estate”

By: Joey Solitro, Yahoo News, Feb 21, 2024:

Grant Cardone is less than pleased with the ruling against former Donald Trump, in which Trump has been ordered to pay $355 million in penalties plus interest. If Trump were to pay the full amount of the penalty today, it would cost him roughly $450 million.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Grant Cardone said, “Dear Cardone Capital team, Immediately discontinue ALL underwriting on New York City real estate. The risk outweigh the opportunities at this time. Recent political decisions will continue to deteriorate price and benefit states that don’t have these challenges. Focus on Texas & Florida.”

Cardone’s comments echo what Kevin O’Leary said in a recent interview, calling the decision to fine Trump “unjust,” “appalling,” and “Un-American.”

“That fact that he was found guilty, you might as well find guilty every real estate developer on Earth,” O’Leary said.

Continue reading.

AUTHOR

RELATED ARTICLE: Insane Trump’s Penalty Will NY Businesses To Flee to FLA, as New York State Becomes ‘Legal Banana Republic’: Experts

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EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

His Best Townhall Yet: Trump Energy and His Deep Love For America Shines Through

Donald Trump’s Passion for America Shines Through During Townhall

Former President Donald Trump called his recent New York civil fraud case and $354 million fine “a form of Navalny” on Tuesday, just days after Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny died in a penal colony at the age of 47. Trump proceeded to pull a copy of the 8th Amendment out of his pocket, before reading the section which states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted,” to applause from the audience (Mediaite).

Collin Rugg: Donald Trump says his “revenge” will be success and goes on to suggest that he has multiple rallies planned in New York City after the $350M ruling against him. “My revenge will be success” (X).

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Benny Johnson: Trump challenges Biden to presidential debates: “I’ll do it right now on your show. I’ll challenge him right now” (X). Maga War Room: Laura Ingraham: Why not drop out instead of face all of these legal battles? President Donald Trump: “I can’t because I want to make America great again” (X).

AUTHOR

EDITORS NOTE: This Geller Report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Forget Basement Campaign — It’s Been A Whole Basement Presidency For Joe Biden

Critics of President Joe Biden have begun dusting off the “basement campaign” allegation now that the 2024 election cycle is in full-swing, but a low-profile, press-free campaign would fall right in line with how Biden has conducted his entire presidency.

During Biden’s run for president in 2020, the now 81-year-old was criticized for running a “basement campaign” as he often stayed in his home studio for media appearances and had limited, low-attendance rallies. Now, as the 2024 election approaches, similar critiques are bubbling after Biden ducked out on a traditional end of year press conference and opted out of a prime-time Super Bowl interview.

Going on his fourth year in office, Biden is averaging about 11 press conferences a year, according to data compiled by the University of California at Santa Barbara’s American Presidency Project. Biden’s average is the lowest since former President Ronald Reagan, who held office from 1981 to 1989, and averaged 5.8 press conferences per year.

The parallel between Biden and Reagan is not a coincidence, historian Barbara Perry, co-chair of the Presidential Oral History Program at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, told the Daily Caller.

“I think it’s more than coincidental that you have these two presidents with an aging factor. And I don’t mean to say that he’s non compos mentis and he’s going down. I’m not saying that at all. I’m just saying I do think it’s more than coincidental that oftentimes as these presidents get older, they want to do these kinds of pressers less. Prior to that would be the third and most elderly president was Eisenhower, who was well known for having trouble with his syntax,” Perry told the Daily Caller.

“I just think that’s part and parcel of what happens when you have older presidents, that to be on the hair trigger and be able to respond immediately to let’s face it, and I think this is the role of the press is to press and ask pressing questions instead, sometimes may even be hostile or at the very least, be pointed, and ask presidents to explain what they’re doing and why they’re doing things and to be controversial,” Perry continued.

In addition to snubbing press conferences, Biden has participated in fewer interviews with media outlets than his predecessors, according to NBC News. Since his 2021 inauguration, Biden has done 86 interviews with media outlets, NBC tallied. Former President Donald Trump and former President Barack Obama trounce Biden’s numbers, each doing 300 and 422 interviews, respectively, at the same point in their presidency.

When Biden has done sit-down interviews with the media, his administration has often chosen to go the non-traditional route, sometimes avoiding hard-hitting journalists in favor of celebrity personalities. The president has done interviews with the Weather Channel, CBS News’ 60 MinutesRyan Seacrest and comedian Conan O’Brien.

In 2024, Biden has already foregone media opportunities. Biden turned down a prime-time Super Bowl interview for the second year in a row. His campaign then claimed that they wanted to give Americans a break from politics during the game, CNN reported. The NFL, however, is notoriously political, playing the black national anthem before the U.S. national anthem while players don helmet stickers reading “End racism” and “It takes all of us.”

“We are being less traditional because less people get their news from traditional mediums than ever before,” a Biden campaign official told CNN.

This year’s Super Bowl was the most-watched program in television history.

After giving an address on border initiatives being debated in Congress, Biden promised reporters on Feb. 5 that he would be back sometime during the week to answer questions. That same week the president unexpectedly gave a press conference to address a special counsel report that had been released that day discussing the president’s physical and mental state. It was widely panned after Biden mixed up the presidents of Egypt and Mexico and snapped at reporters who asked about his age.

Biden again promised to take questions from reporters following remarks on Ukraine funding stalling in Congress. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre dismissed further questions about the president’s promise.

“On Tuesday, President Biden, he said, ‘I’m not going to answer your questions today. I will answer them tomorrow and the day after,’” a reporter asked Jean-Pierre during a press briefing. “What was he talking about?”

“Well, he was outside yesterday, and he took questions from some of you,” Jean-Pierre responded, referring to when the president told the media he was giving them up for Lent. Biden also continued to repeat “Happy Valentines day” as he was asked about a mysterious national security threat.

“And what about today?” the reporter followed up.

“Today I don’t have anything to share beyond what you all know, don’t have anything to add on his public schedule,” Jean-Pierre followed up.

Mark R. Weaver, a GOP strategist, pointed to the quick-witted nature of press conferences as a reason Biden may be conducting less of them.

“It can be a little bit like playing ping pong. So in these gaggles, the reporter can serve the ping pong ball towards him, and he can hit once back, but he can’t hit the next shot or the next shot. He’ll walk away before he does. So [for example a reporter]  will say ‘Mr. President, why are the prices still so high?’ And he is able to give a first response he will say ‘Well, that’s because the Republicans in Congress’ right, so we can get a first response out,” Weaver said.

“But then the reporter will follow up ‘no, Mr. President, you did you know, you did this policy, you forgave student loans and and that change this monetary policy, what do you have to say about that,’ and then he’ll mumble and walk away. He can’t hit that second shot,” Weaver continued.

The White House dismissed questions about the president’s lack of press interactions during a February press briefing.

“The numbers show that President Biden has engaged in about 33 news conferences.  Compare that to Obama’s 66 and Donald Trump’s 52 by this time in their presidencies.  Can you explain why the President isn’t doing more?” a reporter asked Jean-Pierre on Feb. 12.

“We’re always going to try to find ways — obviously, outside of press conferences as well — t0 — for the President to be out there. And we have found some nontraditional ways.  We think it’s important to try and meet the American people where they are,” Jean-Pierre responded.

“As far as press conferences, we’re going to try and make sure when it’s the right time for — for those to happen, certainly we will — we will do so. But it doesn’t mean that this President does not engage with — with the press corps — with the White — White House press corps or with other reporters, journalists out there who have different — different ways with communicating with the American people as well.  We think that’s important too,” the press secretary continued, pointing to the amount of times Biden takes questions from reporters while on the road.

Biden does appear more willing to speak to the press when it is spontaneous, whether that be during trips or following a speech.

As of Oct. 17, 2023, Biden has engaged with the press 492 times in an informal “gaggle,” which is more than any other president aside from Trump, the Washington Post reported. The president is averaging about 131 interactions with the press per year as of Feb. 20, according to the American Presidency Project. The number is less than Trump, though far more than Obama who averaged 25 exchanges with the press per year.

Perry recounted a time she attended a December 2022 event at the White House and had an opportunity to speak to the president. Biden’s strength, Perry noted to the Daily Caller, is more personal, unexpected interaction.

“About 10 to 15 years, slid off his face between standing on that stage looking kind of tired and coming down and talking to each person standing behind the velvet rope line. And so I do think that part is a shame that to the extent that he is not out as much as maybe he would have been as a younger person meeting and greeting and pressing the flesh because that is his strength,” Perry told the Daily Caller.

While doing fewer press conferences, the Biden White House has still made an effort to meet the Americans through social media platforms such as Instagram and Tik Tok, the Washington Post previously reported. Throughout his presidency, Biden and his administration have leaned heavily on social media influencers in an effort to reach a younger crowd, though some argued to the outlet that the medium allows the White House to control the president’s messaging more.

“I think we should also point out that the press these days and in part may be trying to keep up with social media, may be more confrontational than at other times in long past,” Perry noted. “I mean, certainly the press was confrontational with Reagan, they were confrontational with Nixon, and I would compare him to someone like Trump, who really disliked the press. I don’t think Joe Biden dislikes the press, I think he probably misses the days when he could go toe to toe with them.”

AUTHOR

REAGAN REESE

White House correspondent. Follow Reagan on Twitter.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Joe Biden’s Brother Switched Up Story On China Deal After Lawmakers Showed Him Receipts, Source Says

James Biden altered his story during a closed-door interview with lawmakers on Wednesday after congressional investigators presented him with evidence directly contradicting his claims, according to a source familiar with the interview.

Joe Biden’s younger brother, in closed-door testimony to the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees, initially told his interviewers that he was not part of a business deal involving Hunter Biden and several of his associates, according to a source familiar with the interview. However, after investigators showed him an agreement that featured his signature alongside those of Hunter Biden and his business partners ,James Biden then told legislators that he did not remember signing the agreement.

The deal in question was a proposed joint venture involving an entity known as SinoHawk and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-tied CEFC China Energy Limited energy firm, according to a source familiar with the interview.

Fifty percent of SinoHawk was to be owned by Hudson West IV — an entity nominally managed by CEFC “emissary” and Joe Biden “office mate” Gongwen Dong — with the other 50% to be owned by Oneida Holdings LLC, an entity composed of LLCs controlled by Hunter Biden, James Biden, Rob Walker, James Gilliar and Tony Bobulinski, according to Bobulinski’s Feb. 13 testimony to congressional investigators and documents obtained by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The president’s younger brother also stated that he threw out a diamond that Hunter Biden had given him to appraise, according to a source familiar with James Biden’s interview. That diamond had initially been given to Hunter Biden by CEFC Chairman Ye Jianming, presumably to woo Hunter Biden to engage in business with CEFC, according to the source.

A May 2017 email from Gilliar to Hunter Biden, Bobulinski and Walker detailed the potential equity split for Oneida’s piece of SinoHawk, with 20% for “H,” 20% for “RW,” 20% for “JG,” 20% for “TB,” 10% for “Jim” and “10 held by H for the big guy,” according to the archive of Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Bobulinski told the FBI in 2020 that Oneida was supposed to receive a $5 million unsecured loan from CEFC or a related entity, and that the loan was supposed to be forgivable, according to an October 2022 letter signed by Republican Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley. As of July 2017, the funds had not yet been sent to Oneida, apparently to the chagrin of Hunter and James Biden.

Then, on July 30, 2017, Hunter Biden sent a threatening WhatsApp text message to a Chinese business associate affiliated with CEFC, according to information disclosed to lawmakers by Internal Revenue Service whistleblowers.

“I am sitting here with my father and we would like to understand why the commitment made has not been fulfilled. Tell the director that I would like to resolve this now before it gets out of hand, and now means tonight. And, Z, if I get a call or text from anyone involved in this other than you, Zhang, or the chairman, I will make certain that between the man sitting next to me and every person he knows and my ability to forever hold a grudge that you will regret not following my direction. I am sitting here waiting for the call with my father,” the text reads.

Bank records obtained by congressional investigators do not indicate that SinoHawk ever received the cash infusion from CEFC or related entities that may have been expected, according to Grassley’s October 2022 letter.

However, records and other information obtained by Republican lawmakers demonstrated that Hunter Biden and James Biden profited from a $5 million wire from a CEFC-linked firm in August 2017.

Those funds do not appear to have been transmitted to SinoHawk, but instead to Hudson West III, a joint venture established by the Bidens and CEFC in August 2017, according to Grassley’s letter. Subsequently, wire transfers were conducted from Hudson West III to Owasco — Hunter Biden’s firm — and Lion Hall Group, James Biden’s company, a move that appears to have effectively cut SinoHawk out of the deal altogether.

Bobulinski told investigators on Feb. 13 that “the Biden family — Joe’s son Hunter and his brother Jim — knowingly and aggressively defrauded me as the CEO of SinoHawk Holdings and as a member of Oneida Holdings, LLC, at the end of July 2017” and that “the Biden family violated their fiduciary duties to SinoHawk and Oneida as they enriched themselves at the CEFC trough.”

The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

AUTHOR

NICK POPE

Contributor.

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EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

American Values 2024 Responds to the DNC’S Botched Attempt to Smear Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.

NEW YORK/PRNewswire/ — American Values 2024 (AV24), the super PAC supporting Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s candidacy for president, responded to the latest DNC attempt to smear Kennedy in Michigan and disenfranchise voters with billboard advertisements running in nine locations throughout the state.

Click to view:

American Values 2024 Billboard

DNC Billboard

Last week, the DNC and Biden campaign strategists declared that AV24’s Super Bowl “Kennedy Jingle” television ad was “bought and paid for by Trump’s largest donor, Tim Mellon,” when in reality, the ad’s idea, funding, and execution came primarily from Nicole Shanahan, a Democratic donor who contributed to Biden’s 2020 campaign and as the New York Times reported, considers herself a “progressive through and through.”

“President Biden’s sinking approval rating and plummeting polling numbers nationally and in key battleground states like Michigan have triggered unprecedented panic in both the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee,” said Tony Lyons, Co-Founder of AV24.

Precedent speaks volumes. As exemplified by Deleeuw v. State Board of Canvassers in Michigan, a case firmly upheld by the Supreme Court, “the act of collecting signatures and submitting them on behalf of a candidate is not just a civic duty but an exercise of First Amendment rights.”

“The DNC’s FEC complaint, the billboards in Michigan and NY, and the unprecedented and repeated denial of secret service protection to Kennedy, show a pattern of corruption aimed at vilifying Bobby Kennedy while attacking the super PAC’s donors,” said Lyons.

About AMERICAN VALUES 2024 (AV24)American Values 2024 (AV24) is a super PAC committed to educating and mobilizing voters to elect candidates who will restore and protect the soul of democracy in the United States. Our long-term vision is to build a movement starting at the local level to create a national groundswell to address the critical issues our country faces. Today, AV24 supports Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s presidential campaign. AV24 is co-founded by Mark Gorton (Chairman of Tower Research Capital) and Tony Lyons (President of Skyhorse Publishing).

©2024. American Values 2024 (AV24). All rights reserved.

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Judge Overseeing Trump’s Georgia Case Donated To Fani Willis Campaign Prior To Appointment

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee, who is overseeing the case against former President Donald Trump, made a small donation of $150 to Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ campaign prior to his appointment.

McAfee, who was sworn in on Feb. 1, 2023 after being appointed by Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, made his donation in June 2020 while still working as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Department of Justice (DOJ), according to financial disclosures. He will soon have to decide whether Willis should be disqualified over allegations that she financially benefited from appointing her romantic partner, Nathan Wade, to work on the Trump case.

McAfee also formerly worked under Fani Willis when she led the complex trial division in the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office, according to the New York Times.

Atlanta-based criminal defense attorney and legal analyst Philip Holloway told the Daily Caller News Foundation McAfee’s donation was “nominal,” but said it should still have been disclosed to the defendants so they could determine “whether they believed that amounted to a conflict of interest on the part of the judge.”

“The donation itself is more or less a token amount and was made prior to his becoming a judge,” he said. “But failure to disclose to the defendants a political donation to the prosecutor can be seen as a present appearance of a conflict of interest. Judges are required to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.”

McAfee has not shied away from delivering unfavorable decisions to Willis, and reprimanded her several times for her behavior on the stand.

Last week, McAfee oversaw the hearing on Trump co-defendant Michael Roman’s motion to disqualify Willis. He previously declined the district attorney’s request to cancel the hearing.

McAfee’s other donations include $200 to Kemp’s campaign in 2018 and $200 to Republican state representative candidate Lyndsey Rudder’s campaign in 2020, according to financial disclosures. McAfee’s wife donated $99 to Willis’ campaign in 2020 and $101 in 2018.

During last week’s hearing, Willis and Wade maintained on the witness stand that their relationship began after Wade’s contract started, despite a long-time friend of Willis testifying to the contrary. The two said there is no documentation showing Willis reimbursed Wade for travel expenses because she paid him in cash.

The district attorney’s office and the Superior Court of Fulton County did not immediately respond to requests for comment. McAfee could not be reached.

AUTHOR

KATELYNN RICHARDSON

Contributor.

RELATED ARTICLE: Dramatic Hearing On Fani Willis Corruption Allegations Comes To A Close With Outcome Still Unclear

EDITORS NOTE: This Daily Caller column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.


All content created by the Daily Caller News Foundation, an independent and nonpartisan newswire service, is available without charge to any legitimate news publisher that can provide a large audience. All republished articles must include our logo, our reporter’s byline and their DCNF affiliation. For any questions about our guidelines or partnering with us, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

The Presidents and Faith

Since we celebrated Presidents’ Day recently, I thought it might be interesting to reflect on the faith of the first six men who held that office.

Most of them were believers in Jesus and were not ashamed to say so. Several of these instances are not politically correct, but they are historically accurate.

In 1779, ten years before he became the first president under the Constitution, George Washington was asked by Delaware Indian chiefs for advice on the education of three of their sons.

Washington told them, “You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are.”

John Adams, our second president, said in his Inaugural Address in 1797 that he considered “a decent respect for Christianity among the best recommendations for the public service.”

Our third president Thomas Jefferson was a church-going man whenever it was available to him, generally in the Episcopal tradition. As a young man, before he entertained some private doubts of core Christian doctrines, he helped found an evangelical church. This was in 1777, a year after he wrote the first draft of the Declaration of Independence.

That church was the Calvinistical Reformed Church of Charlottesville, and Jefferson wrote up its by-laws and donated more money than any other parishioner. He said in the charter for this church that they started it because they were “desirous of…the benefits of gospel knowledge.”

They called Rev. Charles Clay as the minister. He was an ordained Anglican minister who was also an evangelical. A book I co-wrote with Mark Beliles on Jefferson’s faith or lack thereof contains two of Rev. Clay’s sermons. To our knowledge, this is the first time any of Clays’ works have been in print. They are straight forward Gospel preaching.

Clay preached some things as, “Repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are the means of the sinner’s reconciliation with God.” And Jefferson supported Rev. Charles Clay’s ministry for years.

James Madison, a key architect of the Constitution, served on the committee to appoint chaplains to the legislature. (The first non-Christian chaplain appointed was not until the 1860s, long after Madison’s death.)

Writing in his Memorial and Remonstrances in 1785, Madison, (later, our fourth president), described Christianity, as “the Religion which we believe to be of divine origin.” Madison felt the faith best served by not denying “an equal freedom to those whose minds have not yet yielded to the evidence which has convinced us.”

Madison believed in the separation of the institution of the church from the institution of the state, but he certainly didn’t believe in separating God and government.

Madison once wrote of the correlation between morality and Christian conviction, “The belief in a God All Powerful wise and good is so essential to the moral order of the World and to the happiness of man.”

Our fifth president, James Monroe, was the last of the founding fathers to serve as president. Monroe professed to believe in Christian doctrine, although he is perhaps best known for the eponymous Doctrine, which essentially states that the European nations should not interfere with those of the Western hemisphere and vice versa.

In his First Inaugural Address, in 1817, Monroe stated that he was taking office with “my fervent prayers to the Almighty that He will be graciously pleased to continue to us that protection which He has already so conspicuously displayed in our favor.”

Our sixth president John Quincy Adams (JQA) was the son of our second president. He was the only president who went on to a political career in Congress after he served in the White House.

Why? Adams was so dead set against slavery which was inconsistent with the founding principles of the United States, that he sought to remove this evil. John Quincy Adams was nick-named “The Hell-Hound of Slavery.”

While serving in Congress, he sat next to a young man from Illinois, and some argue he was able to influence that man to help end this evil. That man was Abraham Lincoln.

John Quincy Adams had a great motto, “Duty is ours. Results are God’s.”

JQA once observed, according to author John Wingate Thorton, in his 1860 book, The Pulpit of the American Revolution, “The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.”

And we could go on and on.

In our highly secular age, we have been largely cut off from our Judeo-Christian roots. It’s time for America to rediscover the indispensable role that the Bible played in our nation’s founding.

Hat tip to Bill Federer and “America’s God and Country” for research help with this column.

©2024. All rights reserved.

VIDEO: Democrat Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, ‘Immigration is not a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution’

Barbara Jordan’s vision on immigration is more relevant today than ever before.


In a February 21, 2024 Numbers USA column titled “The Essential Barbara JordanJeremy Beck wrote,

February 21, 2024 – Today is Barbara Jordan’s birthday. She would have been 88 years old. Tragically, she died in 1996, just before Congress voted on the immigration recommendations she developed over the last years of her life.

If you don’t know much about Barbara Jordan, you should look her up. She regularly appears on lists of great American orators. Jordan’s life story is full of “firsts,” including the first Southern Black woman to be elected to the House of Representatives, and the first woman to deliver the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention.

If you are concerned at all with immigration policy, you must learn about Barbara Jordan and the last act of her illustrious life and career. Her work as chair of the last bi-partisan commission to study immigration is essential to understanding where we’ve been; and necessary for us to see where we need to go.

Growing up during the Great Migration

Jordan was born in 1936, twelve years after the Immigration Act of 1924 was signed into law (one hundred years ago this May). That bill permanently ended The Great Wave of European migration (after the Great War had temporarily halted it in 1917). The slowdown of ships from Europe forced Northern industrialists to do the unthinkable: they sent recruiters to the far corners of the deep South and recruited the descendants of slaves and American Freedmen. The result was The Great Migration of Black Americans into the North and West.  White workers’ income went up two hundred and fifty percent. Black workers’ income went up four hundred percent. W.E.B. DuBois called the immigration slowdown “the economic salvation of American black labor.” DuBois’ declaration was echoed by Black journals and newspapers.

Jordan grew up during segregation and other forms of institutionalized racism. She also grew up during The Great Leveling and the rise of the Black middle class, whose economic gains led to new political power. In the year before Jordan was elected to the Texas State Senate (another first), Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1965. Four decades of economic empowerment had finally led to the dismantling of institutional barriers to social equality.

Righting an old wrong; creating a new one

As Jordan was on the cusp of beginning her political career in the Texas Senate, legislators in Washington, D.C. were about to make a mistake that Jordan would spend the coda of her political career trying to clean up. In the spirit of the civil rights movement, and to honor the slain President Kennedy, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. In doing so, they righted an old wrong, and created a new one.

Multiple administrations and Congresses had criticized one aspect of the immigration system created by the 1924 law: national-origin quotas made it virtually impossible for anyone outside of Europe to immigrate to the United States. The 1924 Act drastically reduced immigration from Europe, but it effectively banned immigration from other parts of the world, regardless of an individual’s merit. If the fundamental questions of immigration policy are “how many” and “which ones,” the 1924 Act was right on the former, and wrong on the latter.

“Everywhere else in our national life, we have eliminated discrimination based on national origins,” Senator Ted Kennedy said, “Yet this system is still the foundation of our immi­gration law.”

Kennedy and his fellow reformers vowed to leave the successful “how many” part of the 1924 Act in place. They promised a system that would admit 265,000 immigrants per year. Their aim was only to recalibrate the “which ones” part. The new system, they promised, would be less discriminatory.  A nuclear physicist, for instance, wouldn’t be denied just because he or she came from the “wrong” part of the world.

In the end, the bill changed both the “which ones” and the “how many.” The discriminatory quotas were abolished, but immigration numbers almost immediately doubled. Decades of declining inequality, an expanding middle class, and shrinking racial wealth gaps were halted and reversed. Inadvertently, it seems, Congress created new economic barriers to equality within a month of passing landmark civil rights legislation.

The 1965 Act was the photo negative of the 1924 bill. The legislation got the “which ones” right and the “how many” wrong. The challenge for policy makers today is to get both parts right. Nobody in the last half century has provided a clearer roadmap to achieving that sensible balance than Barbara Charline Jordan.

Read the full article.

EDITORS NOTE: This Numbers USA column is republished in part with permission. ©All rights reserved.

Church Attacks Increase 800% in less than 6 Years: FRC Report

If you believe anti-Christian attacks have skyrocketed over the last decade, you’re right. Attacks on churches have increased 800% in less than six years — and more than doubled over the last year, according to a new report released today by Family Research Council. Documented acts of anti-church hostility include attempted bombings, shootings, satanic vandalism, and numerous attacks based on anti-Christian bias due to support for abortion or extreme transgender ideology. Some constituted unpunished election interference.

The report identified 915 acts of hostility against churches between January 2018 and November 2023, including:

  • 709 acts of vandalism
  • 135 completed or attempted arsons
  • 32 bomb threats
  • 22 gun-related incidents
  • 61 other incidents, including assault, threats, and interruption of worship services.

These acts of “religious intimidation” send the message “that churches are not wanted in the community or respected in general,” Arielle Del Turco, who authored the report, told The Washington Stand. “Regardless of the motivations of these crimes, everyone should treat churches and all houses of worship with respect and affirm the importance of religious freedom for all Americans.”

The report shows that church attacks, and acts of violence, continued to explode in 2023. During the first 11 months of last year, researchers verified at least 436 acts of hostility against U.S. churches — more than double the number of attacks in all of 2022, including:

  • 315 acts of vandalism
  • 75 completed or attempted arsons
  • 20 bomb threats
  • 10 gun-related incidents
  • 12 instances of satanic graffiti
  • 59 churches faced repeated acts of hostility

These statistics likely understate the extent of the problem, because “[m]any acts of hostility against churches are likely not reported to authorities and/or are not featured in the news or other online sources from which we collected data,” says the report. “[T]he number of acts of hostility is undoubtedly much higher.”

Acts of anti-church hostility blanketed the country in 2023, taking place in 48 states and Washington, D.C. California experienced the largest number of incidents, with 91. Texas churches endured 62 incidents; New York had 58; and Florida had 47.

“The rise in hostility we identified in our December 2022 report has neither slowed nor plateaued; rather, it has accelerated,” says the new report. “The rise in crimes against churches is taking place in a context in which American culture appears increasingly hostile to Christianity. Criminal acts of vandalism and destruction of church property may be symptomatic of a collapse in societal reverence and respect.”

The raw numbers paint a grim picture of escalating anti-Christian action boiling over into bigoted action. The report totals:

  • 50 acts of hostility against churches in 2018
  • 83 in 2019
  • 55 in 2020
  • 96 in 2021
  • 195 in 2022
  • 436 in 2023

“If this rate continues, 2023 will have the highest number of incidents of the six years FRC has tracked,” the last such report accurately predicted last April.

Although federal civil rights laws explicitly ban religious discrimination, and hundreds of assailants targeted houses of worship, only “a minority were under investigation as hate crimes,” according to the 157-page analysis, titled “Hostility Against Churches Is on the Rise in the United States.”

Deadly Shootings, Bomb Threats, and Political Ideology

The report’s longest section is a robust 97 pages of church attacks, verified through 50 pages of endnotes, which show bomb threats, shootings, politically motivated attacks, and explicit Satanism.

Transgender violence: Perhaps the most shocking act of anti-Christian bias took place last March 27, when transgender-identifying Audrey Hale opened fire at the Nashville Covenant School, operated by the Covenant Presbyterian Church, killing six people, including three young students. Hale, who frequently identified as a male named “Aiden,” told a friend she had left a manifesto and “plenty of evidence behind” attesting to her motive. Yet, aside from a few pages pried out of police hands by conservative commentator Steven Crowder, Hale’s manifesto remains hidden.

The assault is but one example of 2023’s transgender-related anti-church violence. Last January 3, a man named Cameron Storer who identifies as female set fire to Portland Korean Church, an historic, 117-year-old vacant building. Storer claimed that voices in his head threatened to “mutilate” him unless he set the church ablaze.

Transgender activist-vandals painted the message “TRANS PWR” on St. Joseph Catholic Church in Louisville, on March 3. The attack came one day after the Kentucky legislature overrode the veto of Governor Andy Beshear (D) to enact a law protecting children from transgender surgeries. Also in March, vandals cut down crosses in the cemetery of the Friendship United Methodist Church in Newton, North Carolina, shortly after it disaffiliated with the United Methodist denomination over the denomination’s liberalizing views on LGBT issues. On June 16, vandals spray-painted the words “Stay gay, stay hard, Love is 4 everyone” on Grace Community Church in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

The report does not include incidents that took place in 2024, such as Genesse Moreno — an ex-Muslim convert to Judaism who is not a U.S. citizen and whom neighbors say has identified as “transgender” — opening fire in Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston.

Bombings, shootings, and Molotov cocktails: Christian churches faced potential mass casualties from explosions or shootings in 2023. Someone set a five-gallon drum of gasoline ablaze inside Word of God Ministries in Shreveport last January, but fire personnel’s quick response limited the damage.

Last October 29, a man purloined Holy Communion from Saints Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church in San Fransisco. “After being confronted about it, the man punched the person who confronted him and ran out. Police pursued the man, who reportedly ‘set off a pipe bomb’ and ignited a ‘Molotov cocktail’ to deter police,” notes the report. Similarly, on July 17, a man threw Molotov cocktails through the windows of Living Stones Church in Reno, Nevada. In March, four people fired 50 rounds into Clearview Mennonite Church of Versailles, Missouri.

While some acts of violence seemed senseless, others carried a pointed political message. Many church assaults stemmed from the Christian church’s 2,000-year-old teaching that life begins at fertilization/conception, and abortion is murder.

Pro-abortion hostility: The number of church assaults peaked in June, the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs decision, overturning Roe v. Wade. An arsonist set the Incarnation Roman Catholic Church in Orlando ablaze on the pro-life ruling’s first anniversary, although investigators could not determine if the date figured into the blaze.

But pro-abortion attacks on Christian churches continued unabated all year long. On January 18, just before the March for Life, someone vandalized the monument to the unborn at St. Rosalia Roman Catholic Church in Pittsburgh. Eight days later, someone desecrated a pro-life banner inside a Florida Catholic parish with the phrase “Women’s body, women’s choice.” Months later, on September 9, someone splattered red paint on a pro-life sign at the Second Baptist Church in Palermo, Maine, leaving behind two messages: “Abortion is our human right” and “Queer love 4 eva.” Vandals destroyed a pro-life display of 1,000 wooden crosses, representing unborn lives snuffed out by abortion, at a display in Mary Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Acts of Anti-Christian Election Interference

Several of Ohio’s 24 reported church attacks involved the state’s Issue 1 campaign. The controversial constitutional amendment created a “right” for people of all ages to access abortion at essentially any point in pregnancy. Many constituted acts of election interference. “In October, someone pulled the ‘Vote No’ sign at Cincinnati’s St. Monica-St. George Church out of the ground and threw it in a dumpster,” notes the report. “At St. Bartholomew Church, also in Cincinnati, between six and eight ‘Vote No’ yard signs were removed from the church’s property and replaced with ‘Vote Yes’ signs.” Additional acts of pro-abortion election interference occurred at:

  • Cincinnati’s Cathedral Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, Cincinnati, Ohio, where vandals stole or vandalized anti-Issue 1 signs one month before the election.
  • At St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in the university town of Oxford, home of (Miami University), a pro-life sign opposing Issue 1 “was cut in half, and many other similar church signs were vandalized or stolen.”
  • At the Church of the Incarnation in Centerville, “someone spray-painted the church’s front door window to cover up a sign opposing Ohio Issue 1.”

Issue 1 passed handily last November.

“Americans appear increasingly comfortable lashing out against church buildings, pointing to a larger societal problem of marginalizing core Christian beliefs, including those that touch on hot-button political issues related to human dignity and sexuality,” says the report. “Attacks on houses of worship may also signal a discomfort with religion in general.”

Anti-Christian, Muslim-based hatred: Some acts of violence appeared to spring from Islamist sources. Last October, a man claiming to be with Hamas entered Sacred Heart Church in Cicero, New York, and threatened its employees.

International conflicts invaded U.S. churches throughout the year. Last September 24, vandals painted an anti-Christian, pro-Muslim slogan on St. Stephen’s Armenian Apostolic Church in Watertown, Massachusetts. The message — “Artsakh is Dead, Karabakh is Azerbaijan,” which was taped to the Armenian church’s outdoor bulletin board — referred to a violent Christian-Muslim feud over control of Nagorno-Karabakh (also known as Artsakh) between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

A few attacks also involved Jewish issues, including vandalizing a sign showing support for Israel and graffiti on one church denouncing “Israel’s genocide.”

Targeting minority churches: A few attacks targeted ethnic minorities. The report documents nine attacks targeting Missionary Baptist churches and six targeting parishes of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME). Additionally, on October 28, someone burned down Holy Innocents Episcopal Church, which serves the Rosebud Indian Reservation in Parmelee, South Dakota.

Some incidents straddled the line between arson and the demonic. “In June, Ascension of the Lord Romanian Orthodox Church of Hayward, California, was broken into, and several religious artifacts were set on fire, including a Bible and a crucifix. The charred items and ashes were left around an altar,” the report notes.

Whatever the purported motivation, many anti-church attackers directly invoked demonic forces in their attacks on the church, which the Bible identifies as “the Body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12).

Satan: “At least 12 incidents included satanic imagery or symbols,” the report notes. It goes on to specify numerous examples:

  • In July, vandals broke into Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church of El Paso, Texas, and left behind satanic imagery, including writing the number “666” on multiple items. Crosses inside the church were also turned upside down, and holy oil was dumped out.
  • In October, someone spray-painted the words “Devil Has Risen” and a symbol like a pentagram on the buildings of Jesus Worship Center in Jennings, Louisiana.”
  • Last February 4, vandals desecrated the Old Philadelphia Church — the oldest church in Izzard County, Arkansas — with inverted crosses and a pentagram.
  • Last October 7, someone spray-painted “Their [sic] is no God” on the marquee of Miracle Faith Christian Center in Columbia, South Carolina.
  • A vandal spray-painted “Lucifer Lives Here” and “God No More” on Bethlehem Church in Austin, Texas, on October 29.

These attacks leave aside the largest category of anti-church hostility: vandalism.

General anti-Christian vandalism: The 315 acts of vandalism against churches include disturbing reports, including:

  • A man broke into the Roman Catholic Subiaco Abbey Church of St. Benedict in Subiaco, Arkansas, busting the marble altar with a hammer and stealing 1,500-year-old relics.
  • Last January 12, vandals attacked five churches in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. One of its targets alone, Greater Tabernacle Worship Center, suffered $15,000 of damage.
  • The next day, a lone vandal targeted three Roman Catholics churches in New Jersey, setting fire to a flagpole in one, and attempting to burn a cross in front of another.
  • In January, a vandal spray painted “Mary is the whore of Babylon” inside a Roman Catholic church in Billings, Montana, in addition to stealing $8,300 of statutes and paintings, and doing $4,000 damage.
  • Weeks later, a man poured bleach on a statue of the Virgin Mary and threw a statue of Baby Jesus down the stairs at Good Shepherd Church in Fall River, Massachusetts.
  • A woman defecated and wiped feces on the altar of the chapel inside Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati on May 13.

The Biden administration cannot plead ignorance of church desecrations and vandalism targeting houses of worship: The administration actively warned such incidents would increase for the foreseeable future. Last May 27, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a bulletin warning of “a heightened threat environment” for churches and religious institutions, thanks to “the 2024 general election cycle and legislative or judicial decisions pertaining to sociopolitical issues,” such as issues involving “the LGBTQIA+ community.” The Biden administration then opened its Faith-Based Security Advisory Council (FBSAC), allegedly to advise houses of worship on how to improve security. Biden’s handpicked FBSAC members included controversial street agitator Al Sharpton, LGBTQ activists, and “three Islamists.”

Experts say the skyrocketing number of attacks on churches mirrors the general anti-Christian tenor of the Biden administrations’ policies, at home and abroad. President Joe Biden’s “indifference abroad to the fundamental freedom of religion is rivaled only by the increasing antagonism toward the moral absolutes taught by Bible-believing churches here in the U.S.,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. The Biden administration’s whole-of-government opposition to biblical morality is “fomenting this environment of hostility toward churches.”

AUTHOR

Ben Johnson

Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.

EDITORS NOTE: This Washington Stand column is republished with permission. All rights reserved. ©2024 Family Research Council.


The Washington Stand is Family Research Council’s outlet for news and commentary from a biblical worldview. The Washington Stand is based in Washington, D.C. and is published by FRC, whose mission is to advance faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a biblical worldview. We invite you to stand with us by partnering with FRC.

The PLO Covenant Calling for the Liquidation of the State of Israel was Never Abolished

Palestinians | MEMRI Daily Brief No. 572


It is widely believed that, in April 1996, the PLO abolished its notorious Covenant calling for the liquidation of the State of Israel. This belief is based on PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat’s statement in his September 9, 1993  letter to Israel’s then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin: “The PLO affirms that those articles of the Palestinian Covenant which deny Israel’s right to exist […] are now inoperative and no longer valid. Consequently, the PLO undertakes to submit to the Palestinian National Council for formal approval the necessary changes in regard to the Palestinian Covenant.” However, the fact is that this crucial commitment was never fulfilled. In order to understand the gap between the false impression and the facts on the ground we must look back to those days and see exactly what transpired.

It was Wednesday, April 24, 1996, Israel’s Independence Day. Thousands of guests were gathered for the traditional reception at the Tel Aviv compound of the Ministry of Defense. At the very same time hundreds of Palestinian National Council (PNC) members were convened in Gaza for a session at which the articles of the Covenant calling for Israel’s destruction were to be abolished (a move that requires a two-thirds majority). Another significant event was approaching: early elections to the Knesset were set for May, initiated by the ruling Labor Party, and the amendment of the PLO Covenant was important for this party’s electoral victory. In fact, it had now become crucial, because for several months, despite the Oslo Agreements signed three years earlier, Israelis had been witnessing horrific suicide bombings resulting in dozens of casualties.

The PLO leadership had repeatedly deferred the fulfilment of Arafat’s commitment in his September 1993 letter to Rabin, but in those special circumstances the time to do so had finally come. As for the Israeli leadership, after its painful experience with Arafat’s broken promises it was understandably taking no chances: it had dictated to Arafat word by word the required language of the PNC resolution. However, two days before the PNC session, Arafat notified Prime Minister Shimon Peres that it would not work – the agreed-upon text would not be endorsed by the required majority in the PNC. Without delay, another, milder text, was prepared and agreed upon by Arafat and the Israeli government. We learned of this maneuver only two years later, when it was publicized by Yoel Zinger, the legal advisor of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, who was among those who had worded the resolution dictated to the PLO (see “The Truth About the Covenant,” Ma’ariv, June 19th, 1998, in Hebrew).  Thinking the matter closed, the government’s seniors waited in Tel Aviv for the expected note from Gaza. The moment it came the good news was announced with great fanfare by the prime minister: “This is the most important ideological event in the history of the Middle East in the last hundred years.”

But it was not. It took several hours for the PLO press agency WAFA to publish the official text of the PNC resolution in Arabic. Yigal Carmon, until 1993 the counterterrorism advisor to prime ministers Rabin and Shamir, sent it to me, and later that evening I brought the text to Professor Yehoshua Porat, a leading expert on the Palestinian national movement. After reading it carefully he told me: “This is a hoax”.

And that is exactly what it was. Arafat had cheated again and disregarded the second wording he had agreed on with the Israeli Government. The trick used by the PLO will no doubt be familiar to any reader who has ever decided to stop smoking or go on a diet but never actually did. The official PNC statement stated that “the PNC has decided to amend the articles of the Palestinian National Covenant […] [and] has authorized the Judicial Committee to formulate a new Covenant”.  The PNC only “decided to amend” the Covenant, but the Judicial Committee never convened and no amendment ever took place. Former Israeli Finance Minister Yoram Aridor remarked at the time that “Arafat does not respect agreements but he has a great respect for covenants”.

The farce reached its peak when, in the weeks after the passing of this PNC resolution, PLO leaders were asked how many articles would be struck from the Covenant. Haidar Abd Al-Shaffi said two. The PLO representative in Washington DC said six. Nabil Sha’ath was not sure: “I have a feeling that the number of cancelled articles is sixteen,” he said. PNC chairman Salim Za’anun was not so vague. He stated plainly, three weeks after the PNC session, that “there are still no specific articles that [we] have decided to remove from the Covenant.”

Immediately after the PNC session, all its resolutions were published in a large ad in the Palestinian press, except for the resolution concerning the Palestinian Covenant. The reason was simple: The Israeli government understood it had been cheated but refused to admit it, and therefore negotiated a new wording with the PLO, which would be included after the fact in a letter by Arafat to Prime Minister Peres. On April 29, 1996, five days after the PNC session in which the PLO Covenant had been “amended”, the IDF Chief of Intelligence announced in the Knesset that the final wording of the PNC resolution had not yet been agreed upon. Eventually, the Israeli pressure bore fruit, and instead of the original version, “decided to amend,” Arafat wrote to the prime minister in English that the PNC had resolved that the Covenant was “hereby amended by canceling the articles that are contrary to the letters exchanged between the PLO and the Government of Israel on 9-10 September 1993.” The date of Arafat’s letter to the government of Israel in which the (false) version of the resolution was included was May 4, 1996, ten days after the PNC session.

Thus, it was all a hoax in which both parties took part. Two years later, in January 1998, in a letter to U.S. President Bill Clinton, Arafat listed 28 articles of the PLO Covenant that had been cancelled or altered. However, it should be stressed again that no article had actually been changed. The original Covenant in its evil entirety was still valid, and a second round of the PNC bluff was therefore needed. The next grand show was produced one year later, in December 1998, when the PNC convened in Gaza in order to – once again! – cancel the poisonous articles in the PLO Covenant, this time in the presence of President Bill Clinton. The hall was full of PNC members and many others. The vote took place by acclamation: all those present who were in favor of abolishing the Covenant articles were asked to raise their hands – but the raised hands were not even counted. Twenty-five years later, one fact is certainly clear: to date no alternative version of the murderous PLO Covenant has been put forward.

“So what?”, one may ask. True, these are merely words, but they are not trivial. The PLO leadership never extracted the venom from the PLO Covenant.  The fact that this document, including its message that the Jewish State of Israel is destined to perish, is still valid signifies both the unwillingness and the inability of the PLO leadership to change its attitude towards Israel. A peace treaty between two rival parties must include a specific article in which the parties declare “an end to all mutual claims”– but the PLO cannot and will not sign such a document. For them, the goal is still the establishment of a Palestinian State stretching “from the River to the Sea”, thereby eliminating the Jewish state.

One effective tool for the realization of this plan is the implementation of the “right to return” of millions of descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees to their original homes within the state of Israel. The small key on Chairman Mahmoud ‘Abbas’s jacket lapel stresses his commitment to this goal. Paying monthly allowances to the families of murderous terrorists is another way to demonstrate this approach. And since they refuse to abolish their Covenant, the PLO cannot be “renewed” as expected by some leaders. Thus, all maneuvers aimed at taming the PLO are just solemn diplomatic nonsense, and the political concept of the “Two State Solution” is stillborn.

A shorter version of this article was printed in Ha’Aretz on December 19, 2019.  

AUTHOR

Ze’ev B. Begin

Ze’ev B. Begin is a senior fellow at MEMRI.

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EDITORS NOTE: This MEMRI report is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.