7 Big Moments in Democrats’ Final Arguments to Remove Trump

In their final day of arguments that the Senate should remove President Donald Trump from office, House Democrats questioned the president’s character and defended former Vice President Joe Biden.

The seven House Democrats who are impeachment managers, acting as prosecutors, finished their allotted 24 hours on their third day of arguments on the Senate floor.  The Senate adjourned just before 9 p.m.

Trump’s legal defense team is scheduled to begin counterarguments Saturday at 10 a.m., but is expected to use only a few hours of the allotted 24 hours. The team includes White House counsel Pat Cipollone; Trump personal lawyer Jay Sekulow; constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz; and former independent counsel Ken Starr.

After each side presents its case, the Senate will vote on whether to call witnesses to testify. It takes a two-thirds majority, or 67 senators, to remove a president from office.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


Here are highlights from Day 3 of the Democrats’ arguments:

1. ‘Imagine It Wasn’t Joe Biden’

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., leader of the House managers, made an impassioned plea to the senators to put themselves “in someone else’s shoes,” in this case, those of Joe Biden.

“Let’s imagine it wasn’t Joe Biden. Let’s imagine it was anyone of us,” Schiff said, adding:

Let’s imagine the most powerful person in the world was asking a foreign nation to conduct a sham investigation into one of us.

What would we think about it then? Would we think that’s a good U.S. policy? Would we think he has every right to do it? Would we think that’s a ‘perfect’ call?

In 2016, Biden, as vice president, threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid from Ukraine unless the Eastern European nation fired Viktor Shokin, the state prosecutor who was investigating the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings.

Hunter Biden, the vice president’s son, held a high-paying job on the board of Burisma at the same time his father was the Obama administration’s point man for Ukraine policy.

In a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the two men briefly discussed Trump’s interest in Ukraine’s investigating the matter along with Ukraine’s possible meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

At the time, unknown to Zelenskyy, Trump had put a hold on $391 million in congressionally approved military aid to Ukraine to counter Russian aggression, which he would lift in September.

Both presidents say there was no pressure on Ukraine to begin investigations.

During his argument Friday on the Senate floor, Schiff brought up former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who Trump recalled to the United States on May 20, the day of Zelenskyy’s inauguration. Yovanovitch continues to work for the State Department.

“Would you think he [Trump] was abusing the power of his office? And if you would, it shouldn’t matter that it wasn’t you,” Schiff continued. “It shouldn’t matter that it was Marie Yovanovitch. It shouldn’t matter that it was Joe Biden. Because I’ll tell you something; The next time, it just may be you.”

Schiff warned that Trump likely wouldn’t be loyal to his own Republican allies in the Senate if it didn’t benefit him.

“Do you think for a moment, no matter what your relationship with this president, no matter how close you are to this president, do you think for a moment that if he felt it was in his interest, he wouldn’t ask you to be investigated?” Schiff said.

“If somewhere deep down below, you realize that he would, you cannot leave a man like that in office when he has violated the Constitution. It shouldn’t matter that it was Joe Biden. It could have been any of us. It may be any of us,” he said.

Schiff later added, referring to the elder Biden: “Yes, he’s running for president. He’s still a U.S. citizen, and he deserves better than that.”

2. Attack on American Character

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., said Trump’s conduct represented an assault on the character of the country.

“There’s a toxic mess at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and I humbly suggest that it’s our collective job on behalf of the American people to try to clean it up,” Jeffries said. “President Trump tried to cheat. He got caught, and then he worked hard to cover it up.”

Jeffries went so far as to talk about impeachment in the context of the Civil War, the Great Depression, World War II, the Jim Crow era, and the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“America is a great country. We can handle adversity better than any other nation in the world, but what are we going to do about our character?” Jeffries asked, adding:

President Trump tried to cheat and solicit foreign interference in an American election. That is an attack on our character.

President Trump abused his power and corrupted the highest office in the land. That is an attack on our character.

President Trump tried to cover it all up and hide it from the American people and obstruct Congress. That’s an extraordinary attack on our character.

Schiff later made a similar point.

“You don’t realize how important character is in the highest office in the land until you don’t have it, until you have a president willing to use his power to coerce an ally to help him cheat, to investigate one of our fellow citizens,” Schiff said.

3. President Disparaged as ‘Dictator’

Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., an impeachment manager who is chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, called Trump “a dictator” who must be removed for not cooperating with the House’s impeachment inquiry.

“President Trump is an outlier. He’s the first and only president to declare himself unaccountable and to ignore subpoenas backed by the Constitution’s impeachment power,” Nadler said, adding:

If he is not removed from office, if he is permitted to defy the Congress entirely, categorically, to say that subpoenas from Congress in an impeachment inquiry are nonsense, then we will have lost, the House will have lost, the Senate certainly will have lost, all power to hold any president accountable.

Nadler, not mentioning that House Democrats didn’t try to enforce their subpoenas through the courts, also said:

This is a determination by President Trump that he wants to be all powerful. He does not have to respect the Congress. He does not have to respect the representatives of the people. Only his will goes. He is a dictator. This must not stand. That is another reason he must be removed from office.

4. Military Consequences 

Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., a former Army Ranger, pushed that military role in buttressing Democrats’ national security argument.

“This defense would be laughable if this issue wasn’t so serious,” Crow said on the Senate floor, in anticipation of an argument the president’s lawyers will make. “No, the delay wasn’t meaningless. Just ask the Ukrainians sitting in trenches now.”

Crow suggested that former national security adviser John Bolton, who Democrats want as a witness in the trial, might have quit because of the hold on aid to Ukraine.

“Ambassador Bolton could shed light on that himself if he were to testify,” Crow said.

Schiff also noted, while on the Senate floor, the huge reliance Ukraine had on the United States, which provides 10% of the country’s military budget.

“Withholding aid has real consequences on real soldiers and their families,” Schiff said, adding the hold only “emboldened Russia.”

Trump ultimately followed through on military aid to Ukraine to defend itself from Russia, while President Barack Obama did not, Trump’s defenders note.

5. Drawing Roberts Into Case

Chief Justice John Roberts is presiding over the trial, as is his constitutional duty. Going back to his confirmation hearing, Roberts generally has said he only calls balls and strikes.

However, on Friday, Schiff broached the subject of having Roberts make the final decision on calling witnesses. Most reports indicate the 45 Senate Democrats and two independents will have a tough time getting four Republicans to join them for a majority to vote for calling witnesses.

Schiff cited Senate precedent from the 1868 impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, which ended in acquittal. In that trial, Chief Justice Salmon Chase cast a tie-breaking vote.

“We have a very capable justice sitting in that Senate chamber empowered by the Senate rules to decide issues of evidence and privilege,” Schiff told reporters. “So if any of these witnesses have a colorable claim that they wish to make or the president on their behalf, we have a justice that is able to make those determinations.”

6. Prepping for Trump Lawyers

Crow said he was anticipating the arguments of the president’s defense team, set to begin Saturday.

“Now since we won’t have an opportunity to respond to the president’s presentation, I want to take a minute to respond to some of the arguments that I expect them to make,” Crow said.

The Colorado Democrat said the president’s lawyers likely will say that Ukraine eventually got the $391 million in security assistance from the U.S.

“Regardless of whether the aid was ultimately released, the fact that the hold became public sent a very important signal to Russia that our support was wavering,” Crow said. “The damage was done.”

Crow warned senators that the Trump defense team will “cherry-pick” evidence and advised: “Don’t be fooled.”

Ukraine received the $391 million in military aid only after news broke of a whistleblower complaint about the Trump-Zelenskyy phone call, he said.

“The scheme was unraveling. He only released it after he got caught,” Crow said of Trump.

Schiff dismissed the often-repeated line from Trump defenders that the president had sought to address corruption in Ukraine before delivering the aid.

“He was not trying to end corruption in Ukraine,” Schiff said. “He was trying to aim corruption in Ukraine at Joe Biden.”

7. Making the Case for Obstruction

Trump’s refusal to cooperate with impeachment investigators could set a dangerous precedent, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., told senators, in arguing for removing the president from office for obstruction of Congress.

“All presidents after him with have veto power over Congress’ ability to conduct oversight and the power of impeachment,” Lofgren said.

“The House was not prepared to accept that, and that’s why the House approved Article 2,” she said, referring to the House’s second article of impeachment.

Lofgren was a member of the House Judiciary Committee during the 1998 impeachment hearings of President Bill Clinton and a congressional staffer during the 1974 impeachment inquiry of President Richard Nixon.

Over two days of arguments, the seven House impeachment managers prosecuted the case for abuse of power against Trump. The first three hours of Friday’s proceedings closed out their arguments for that first article of impeachment.

Just before 5 p.m., Democrats began arguing that the Senate should remove Trump from office for obstruction of Congress, charging that the president didn’t cooperate with the House’s impeachment investigation.

The House sent several subpoenas during the investigation. Cipollone, the White House counsel, wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in October saying that the White House would not provide any documents or witnesses.

The letter asserted that the impeachment investigation was an attempt both to overturn the results of the 2016 election and to influence the outcome of the 2020 contest.

Republicans, criticizing the second impeachment article, say House Democrats didn’t even attempt to enforce their subpoenas in court.

The House subpoenaed White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and various other officials, but not Bolton.

Still, Lofgren accused Trump of ordering nine witnesses to defy House subpoenas.

“In the history of our republic, no president ever dared to issue an order to prevent even a single government witness from testifying in an impeachment inquiry,” Lofgren said.

“President Trump abused the power of his office by using his official power in an attempt to prevent every single person who works in the executive branch from testifying before the House,” she said.

In fact, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which led the investigation, identified 17 current and former Trump administration officials who either were deposed behind closed doors or gave public testimony.

Trump made no attempt to cooperate with the House investigation, said Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, a former state judge.

“At President Trump’s order, agencies and offices refused to produce documents in response to the committee’s request,” Garcia said. “They refused to allow individual witnesses to do so either.”

“So let’s recap. No documents. Zero, goose eggs, nada, in response to over 70 requests and five subpoenas.”

Garcia continued:

No attempt to negotiate. No genuine attempt to accommodate. Categorial, indiscriminate, and unprecedented stonewalling. Again, never in my time as a lawyer or as a judge have I seen this kind of total disrespect and defiance of a lawfully issued subpoena, and all on President Trump’s orders.

This report was updated to include later developments.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

RELATED ARTICLES:

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I’m Sorry This Is Happening To You: Jerry Nadler Loses It and Calls Trump A Dictator

Report: NYT Killed Story on Obama WH Meeting About Burisma and Hunter Biden


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: From the Party of Abortion and Allah Akbar to the 2020 Right to Life March and death of terrorist Soleimani

EDITORS NOTE: This is the sixth in a series titled Decadent Democrats. You may read the previous installments here:

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Pedophilia to Sex with Animals

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Electing a Dream ‘Queer Latina’ Candidate to No Incarceration For Drug Use of Any Kind

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: The Enemies of America are Our Best Friends Forever

DECADENT DEMOCRATS — From Ricky Gervais’ Golden Globe Diatribe to Abortion to Climate Change [+Videos]

DECADENT DEMOCRATS: From Creating Weak Men and Disorderly Women to Making Sex a Biological Reality Illegal


“If a mother can kill her own child – what is left for me to kill you and you to kill me – there is nothing between.” ― Mother Teresa

“…kill not your children because of poverty – We provide sustenance for you and for them.”  – Quran 6:151


ABORTION – A Godless Act

Today,  February 24th, 2020, is the 46th annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. For the first time in history a sitting President spoke at this annual event. In October 1973 a group of 30 pro-life leaders gathers in Nellie Gray’s home in Washington, D.C. to discuss how to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Roe v. Wade. In January 1974 the first March for Life walks on Washington to lobby Congressional leadership to find a legislative solution to the Supreme Court’s decision. Soon after realizing congressional protection of the unborn was not on the horizon, Nellie Gray decides to hold a March for Life every year until Roe v. Wade is overturned.

The 2016 Democratic Party Platform states:

Appointing Judges
We will appoint judges who defend the constitutional principles of liberty and equality for all, and will protect a woman’s right to safe and legal abortion, curb billionaires’ influence over elections because they understand that Citizens United has fundamentally damaged our democracy, and believe the Constitution protects not only the powerful, but also the disadvantaged and powerless. [Emphasis added]

In The Atlantic article 2020 Candidates Are Going All In on Abortion Rights Emma Green wrote:

Kirsten Gillibrand has made abortion the central issue of her presidential campaign. The senator from New York has consistently led the field of 2020 candidates on abortion policy, moving first and going the furthest to embrace an expansive vision of abortion rights. Her approach is a bellwether of where the Democratic Party is heading on this issue: Abortion is guaranteed to be a key topic in the 2020 election, especially following major policy battles at the state and federal levels. Gillibrand and other Democrats have warned that Donald Trump and the conservative-leaning justices he has appointed to the Supreme Court are working to overturn Roe v. Wade, the decision that established a constitutional right to abortion in 1973. Because of this, they argue, now is the time for Democrats to take a definitive stance, rather than try to compromise or telegraph discomfort over the issue.

The Democratic Party has gone beyond protecting a “woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion” to fully embracing abortion up to and even after birth.

According to The Religion of Islam website:

These unique rights mentioned in Islam also include the rights of children.  Children’s rights are not guaranteed by the actions of their parents, their communities, or even their governments.  God Himself guarantees children’s rights.

The Party of Allah Akbar

The Democratic Party is the party of Allah Akbar. Among the Democratic Party’s Progressive Caucus are two Muslim women – Reps. Ilan Omar and Rashida Talib and Socialist Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez. Both have been highly critical if President Trump. But most recently they have been especially enraged by President Trump ordering the elimination of Iran’s Al Quds General Qassem Soleimani.

According to the Times of Israel:

In a 2013 profile of President Trump during his press conference after the termination of , New Yorker reporter Dexter Filkins wrote that as head of the Quds Force, which he took control of in 1998, Soleimani “sought to reshape the Middle East in Iran’s favor, working as a power broker and as a military force: assassinating rivals, arming allies, and, for most of a decade, directing a network of militant groups that killed hundreds of Americans in Iraq.”

Socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) responded to the U.S. military killing top terrorist targets in Iraq on Thursday [January 2, 2020] by ignoring the facts of the situation and going all in to stop the Trump administration from further targeting enemies of the United States that have killed Americans.

“Last night the President engaged in what is widely being recognized as an act of war against Iran, one that now risks the lives of millions of innocent people,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. “Now is the moment to prevent war & protect innocent people – the question for many is how, publicly & Congressionally.”

During President Donald J. Trump’s January 3rd, 2020 remarks the termination of  Soleimani, he stated:

Under my leadership, America’s policy is unambiguous: To terrorists who harm or intend to harm any American, we will find you; we will eliminate you.  We will always protect our diplomats, service members, all Americans, and our allies.

[ … ]

Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terrorist plots as far away as New Delhi and London.

[ … ]

We took action last night to stop a war.  We did not take action to start a war. [Emphasis added]

Women’s March vs. Right To Life March, Washington, D.C.

Here’s a video of the 2020 Women’s March:

President Donald J. Trump made history when he addressed the 2020 Right to Life March in Washington, D.C. Watch:

President Trump stated:

All of us here today understand an eternal truth: Every child is a precious and sacred gift from God. Together, we must protect, cherish, and defend the dignity and sanctity of every human life. When we see the image of a baby in the womb, we glimpse the majesty of God’s creation.

What a difference a party can make. 2020 will clearly be a choice between the Decadent Democrats and the Republican President Donald J. Trump.

© All rights reserved.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Trump Administration Takes on California’s Abortion Funding Coercion

Hard-Hearted Culture Has No Abortion Regrets

44 of the Best Signs From the 2020 March for Life

Why These Americans Marched for Life

I’m Pro-Life. Here’s What Happened When I Attended the Women’s March.

RELATED VIDEO: Worthless

A Cause, Not a Country: Iran’s Islamic Republic by Andrew Harrod

“The Iranian state serves the revolution, not the other way around,” concluded Iran analysts at the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change (IGC) in a series of 2019 studies four decades after Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution. As this series has previously indicated, in the name of pursuing an Islamic new world order, the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) has gone to extreme lengths to suppress any contrary indigenous, independent Iranian culture.

Iranian-Canadian political analyst Shahir Shahidsaless has noted that the IRI’s founding father and first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, had “viewed the concept of nationalism as un-Islamic.” “Like many other pious Muslims,” for him nationalism meant “opposition to the concept of ummah (Muslim worldwide community), which fundamentally rejects borders that divide Muslim societies.” “Those who, in the name of nationalism, factionalism, etc., create schism and disunity among Muslims are armies of Satan, opponents of the Holy Quran, and helping agents of the superpowers,” Khomeini had stated. He believed that “nationalism is designed by the plotters to create discord among the Muslims and it is being propagated by the agents of imperialism.”

Shahidsaless contrasted the “secular rule of the Shah,” Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, overthrown in 1979, whose “vast propaganda empowered nationalist fervour.” “In a glaring move,” the shah eliminated in 1976 the Islamic calendar, which begins with the 622 migration (hijrah) of Islam’s prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina. As replacement came the Iranian royal calendar based upon the 559 BCE coronation of Achaemenid king Cyrus the Great. From Najaf, Iraq, where Khomeini had fled from the shah into exile in 1963, Khomeini labeled the new calendar a “preamble to the elimination of Islam.”

Ascending to power in 1979, Khomeini presented a dramatic reversal with the statement “Islam in fact is an ideology, in which religion represents one aspect.” The IGC analysts have noted that the “constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran makes clear the expansionist and Islamist nature of the country’s 1979 revolution” with a “centrality of ideology.” “Iran’s Islamist ideology is therefore at the crux of the Islamic Republic and cannot be detached from the Iranian state” while “for Iran’s leaders, the creation of an Islamic state in Iran was a first step to establishing a broader pan-Islamic order.” “The revolution does not exist to perfect the state; the state—the republic—is simply a means to support and perfect the revolution. Where the two conflict, the revolution is prioritized,” the IGC experts have summarized.

“All of Iran’s leaders are Islamists and claim their mandate to implement an Islamic order on the nation derives from God,” the IGC analysts have detailed. The “supreme leader is the leader of the revolution, not of the republic,” and the “Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) is sworn to defend the purity of the revolution from enemies both within and without.” In public addresses, Iranian leaders have typically “opened with a prayer in Arabic, something that was not a regular feature of Iranian political culture before 1979.”

The IGC reports have especially noted that the

Green Movement protests against the 2009 Iranian presidential election results were a rude awakening to many Iranians who had believed the revolution was about political emancipation, when it was abruptly announced that obedience to the supreme leader and his appointees was the equivalent of obedience to God. No modern Iranian monarch could have made such a claim.

As Israeli Iran expert Raz Zimmt has explained, the IRI has tried to inculcate such loyalty by purging Iranian culture of nonconforming elements from the shah’s ancien régime in an attempt to create a new Iranian homo Islamicus. The “Islamic regime sought to place religion at the center of Iranian national identity, as a reaction to the blatant secularism of the royalist regime, and its efforts to emphasize Iran’s pre-Islamic past.” The national security and Middle East analyst Sarah Katz has concurred that the IRI “spurned Iranian nationalism in favor of a world conquering Islamist vision; and dissociated itself from Iran’s pre-Islamic past.”

Katz has elaborated that,

in the wake of the 1979 revolution, the government in Tehran has smothered the country’s rich, diverse, and ancient culture beneath a theocratic dictatorship. The regime is openly contemptuous of Iran’s history, its ethnic and religious minorities, and its secular-minded citizens.

In this diversity’s place, the IRI has indoctrinated a monoculture reflecting the Arab-Islamic seventh-century conquest of Iran, as the Iranian-American expatriate Amil Imani has noted. Since 1979 a “proud people with an enviable heritage have been systematically purged of their sense of identity and forced to think and behave like barbaric and intolerant Muslims.” His fellow Iranian expatiate Sheda Vasseghi has observed that the “Islamic Republic’s political and social agenda is to dilute Iranian culture and heritage with Islam to facilitate its Arabization.”

Public place names have served as one reeducation means. Khomeini gave Khalid al-Islambouli, the jihadist leader of the 1981 assassination of Egyptian president Anwar Sadat, martyr status and named a Tehran street after Islambouli after his 1982 Egyptian state execution. Katz particularly noted that the IRI has been “Arabizing many Tehran street names from their classical Persian.”

Much more egregious, a “concerted effort was made to demolish historical monuments,” Imani noted, including previously examined attempts to destroy remains of the ancient Achaemenid Empire such as Persepolis and Cyrus the Great’s tomb. “The Islamist zealots ruling Iran for the past 40 years have undertaken a systematic campaign of endangering and destroying the cultural sites of pre-Islamic Iran, ignoring the numerous petitions and pleas of the Iranian people.” Imani stated that:

History is repeating itself. When the original Arabs conquered Iran, the first thing they did was destroy Persian books, heritage and artifacts, as we have witnessed similar actions by ISIS [Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] in both Iraq and Syria. The Islamic Republic of Iran also despises anything and everything Iranian, and has been gradually obliterating Iranian antiquities while no one notices.

Yet Vasseghi found “no better evidence regarding the Islamic Republic’s cultural genocide of Iran than its own textbooks.” Imani elaborated that the

animosity toward Iranian pre-Islamic culture and history and became the hallmark of the Islamic Republic’s regime. De-Persianization and adulation of the Arabic tribal culture entered elementary school books. In schools, instead of teaching Persian history, culture and geography and history, they taught culture and geography of the Bedouins of another land. In schools, children were brainwashed by a type of ideological indoctrination no longer acceptable by modern society and taught a Persian language obliterated by unfamiliar jargon. Purging of our institutions of higher education of scholars, top professors and researchers caused lowering of educational standards relative to international standards and flight of the best and the brightest of our country.

The views of Imani and others, along with recent Iranian events, indicate that the IRI’s revolution is backfiring. Iranians naturally reject abandoning their national identity for the costly, cosmic claims of an Islamic ideology perceived by many Iranians as a foreign imposition. Rather than fomenting totalitarian religious zeal, the IRI has ultimately highlighted Iran’s conflicted history between native and Arab-Islamic elements, as the next part of this series will analyze.

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

VIDEO: DeVos Hails Trump’s ‘Partnership’ With Historic Black Schools

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos gave a pep talk Thursday to representatives and supporters of historically black colleges and universities gathered to discuss how to ensure they remain competitive in preparing students for a quickly changing job market.

Historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, defined in federal law, “are cultural institutions with storied legacies that are unique and remarkable,” DeVos said at The Heritage Foundation, which organized the forum.

“Today, I encourage you to think about how your institutions will be known decades from now, in addition to being an HBCU,” she said at the event at the think tank’s Capitol Hill headquarters, called the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Forum.

DeVos cited Johnathan Holifield, executive director of President Donald Trump’s HBCU initiative and a forum participant, saying that Holifield likes to ask how each of the roughly 100 designated schools will stay competitive.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


“A strong heritage, coupled with a strong vision for the future, can foster a competitive edge,” she said. “And I know that the question you are asking yourself every day is ‘How are we going to be relevant and distinctive five, 10, 20 years from now?’”

DeVos went on to say:

I know some HBCUs have opened public charter schools on their campuses, and others have forged partnerships elsewhere to improve the K-12 pipeline. Your competitiveness ultimately depends on your most valuable assets, your students. Helping them be better prepared before they walk your halls serves to strengthen their futures and your institutions. …

Educators, business leaders, community leaders, and, yes, even politicians must work in concert to put the success of students above everything else. After all, they are 100% of our future.

DeVos said the Trump administration’s work with historically black schools is a “valued partnership” and outlined what she called “a strong record of action for HBCUs and their students,” including:

—Trump’s signing of legislation, called the Future Act, designed to ensure consistent funding for HBCUs. Part of the new law simplifies the form for federal student aid, DeVos said, “making applying easier and reducing the compliance burden.”

“While others tried half measures or short-term fixes, we took the bold steps necessary to help students succeed in the long term,” she said.

—Resurrecting the HBCU Capital Financing Advisory Board and increasing spending for programs at black colleges, including those at faith-based schools that she said had been “unconstitutionally excluded.”

—Expanding Pell Grant eligibility so students may attend class year-round, as well as increasing the maximum a student may be awarded.

—“Reviewing, rewriting, or removing onerous regulations that are impediments to HBCUs and their missions.”

Among those scrapped was the Obama administration’s “gainful employment” rule, which DeVos said had given bureaucrats the “power to punish or even close colleges and programs that didn’t match the prior administration’s policies and preferences.”

—Modernizing student aid through initiatives such as the myStudentAid app, or software application, which she encouraged participants to download and try out.

—Updating the department’s College Scorecard so that information about higher education options is “way more useful for students to make informed decisions.”

DeVos took the opportunity to tout legislation to create Education Freedom Scholarships through a federal tax credit to support state-led efforts to expand choices for students and parents outside traditional K-12 public schools.

“We are very excited for the prospects of how this will provide rocket fuel to efforts that states already have engaged in and that some are on the verge of engaging in,” she said.

“Thank you for your commitment,” DeVos told her audience in closing. “President Trump and I value our continued collaboration.

COLUMN BY

Ken McIntyre

Ken McIntyre, a 30-year veteran of national and local newspapers, serves as senior editor at The Daily Signal and The Heritage Foundation’s Marilyn and Fred Guardabassi Fellow in Media and Public Policy Studies. Send an email to Ken. Twitter: @KenMac55.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Forum on Historic Black Schools Opens With a Personal Story

What the Trump Administration Is Doing to Boost Historically Black Colleges


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

7 Highlights From Day 3 of the Trump Impeachment Trial

House Democrats on Thursday, in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, argued that a crime isn’t necessary to remove a president from office and doubled down on their defense of Joe and Hunter Biden.

The seven House Democrats who are the impeachment managers, including Reps. Adam Schiff of California and Jerry Nadler of New York, have three days, with up to 24 hours, to make their arguments.

On Saturday, the president’s legal defense team, which includes White House counsel Pat Cipollone; Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow; and former independent counsel Ken Starr, begin their counterarguments.

After each side presents its case, the Senate will vote on whether to call witnesses to testify. The rules are similar to those used in the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, who was acquitted.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


It takes a two-thirds vote, or 67 senators, to remove a president from office.

1. Lighthearted Schiff

After a deeply partisan fight over Senate trial rules on Tuesday and speaking for about two hours in Wednesday’s opening argument, Schiff, the lead impeachment manager, was more lighthearted Thursday.

After Chief Justice John G. Roberts opened the day’s session, he said House impeachment managers have 16 hours and 42 minutes left to make their case to the Senate “jurors.”

Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman, spoke first for his team.

“I am not sure the chief justice is fully aware of just how rare it is, how extraordinary it is, for the House members to be able to command the attention of senators sitting silently for hours—or even for minutes, for that matter,” he said. “Of course, it doesn’t hurt that the morning starts out every day with a sergeant-at-arms warning you that if you don’t, you will be imprisoned.”

2. Defending Joe and Hunter Biden

Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, spent much of her floor time defending former Vice President Joe Biden, a fellow Democrat, and his son Hunter Biden.

“Common sense will tell us that this allegation against Joe Biden is false,” Garcia said, adding, “President Trump asked for the investigation into Biden, based on a made-up theory that no one agreed with—no one.”

In 2016, Joe Biden, as vice president, threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. aid from Ukraine unless the Eastern European nation fired Viktor Shokin, the prosecutor investigating Burisma Holdings. Hunter Biden held a high-paying job on the board of  Burisma at a time when his father was the Obama administration’s point man for Ukraine.

Garcia said Shokin was corrupt.

“Calling for Shokin’s replacement would, in fact, increase the chances that Burisma would be investigated,” she said. “In other words, Shokin was corrupt and not investigating allegations against Burisma. So, Vice President Biden was calling for Shokin’s removal, advocating for a replacement, would actually increase the chances of Burisma’s investigation.”

Garcia said Trump wasn’t interested in the Biden allegations in 2017 or 2018, but only became interested in 2019, after Joe Biden became a presidential candidate.

“Vice President Biden’s conduct was uniformly validated by the witnesses in the House investigation, who confirmed his conduct was consistent with U.S. policy,” she said.

Garcia’s adamant defense of the Bidens opened the door to call them as witnesses, tweeted Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., so the Senate can get answers.

“WOW, House managers make extended argument that Hunter Biden’s work w/ Burisma entirely appropriate & no conflict of interest w/ Joe Biden getting rid of prosecutor that had jurisdiction over Burisma,” Hawley said. “If we call witnesses, gonna need to hear from both Bidens.”

3. George Washington, Nixon, and Trump

Democrats spent most of Thursday homing in on the first impeachment article; specifically, abuse of power.

Nadler said Trump’s conduct “captures the worst fears of our Founders.”

“Since President George Washington took office in 1789, no president has abused his power in this way,” he said. “Let me say that again: No president has ever used his office to compel a foreign nation to help him cheat in our elections. Prior presidents would be shocked to the core by such conduct.”

Trump has made frequent references to his record, reaching all the way back to George Washington, albeit typically in a more favorable way.

A July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy led to the Democrat-controlled House’s voting, without support from a single Republican, to impeach Trump for alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

During their call, Trump and Zelenskyy referred to Hunter Biden’s highly paid role on the board of Burisma at a time when his father, then the vice president, was the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine policy.

According to a White House transcript of the call released by the president, Trump asked Zelenskyy “to look into” Joe Biden’s admission that he forced the firing of a Ukrainian state prosecutor—Shokin—who was investigating Burisma.

“This conduct is not ‘America First,’” Nadler said, taking a swipe at Trump’s 2016 campaign theme. “This conduct is Donald Trump first.”

Nadler followed with another presidential comparison.

“This presidential stonewalling of Congress is unprecedented in the 238-year history of our constitutional republic. It puts even President [Richard] Nixon to shame,” Nadler said. “Taken together, the articles and the evidence conclusively establish that President Trump has placed his own personal political interests first. He has placed them above our national security, above our free and fair elections, and above our system of checks and balances.”

4. Abuse of Power and Prior Impeachments

Nadler later defended the history of the term “abuse of power,” a charge often criticized as being too vague.

“All prior impeachment considered of high office have all included abuse of power,” Nadler said, and referred to the impeachment investigations of Presidents Andrew Johnson, Nixon, and Bill Clinton.

However, even left-leaning CNN fact-checked that comment and noted that abuse of power was not one of the 11 impeachment articles against Johnson in 1868. The House Judiciary Committee passed three articles of impeachment against Nixon in 1974, one of which was abuse of power. Nixon resigned the presidency before the full House voted.

The House Judiciary Committee, then run by Republicans, voted out four articles of impeachment against Clinton, a Democrat, in 1998, which included one for abuse of power. The full House only approved two impeachment articles, rejecting the abuse of power charge. The Senate acquitted Clinton in a 1999 trial.

5. ABCs of Impeachment

Nadler focused heavily on what he called the “ABCs of impeachment.”

“Abuse. Betrayal. Corruption. Here are each of the core offenses the Framers [of the Constitution] feared most,” Nadler said. “The president’s abuse of power, his betrayal of the national interest, and his corruption of our elections plainly qualify as great and dangerous offenses.”

Nadler said Trump abused his power by using the clout of his office to “solicit and pressure Ukraine to meddle in our elections.”

Regarding betrayal, the New York Democrat said, “He betrayed vital national interests; specifically, our national security, by withholding diplomatic support and military aid from Ukraine even as it faced armed Russian aggression.”

Regarding corruption, Nadler said, “President Trump’s intent was to corrupt our elections to his personal political benefit.”

“Article One thus charges a high crime and misdemeanor that blends abuse of power, betrayal of the nation, and corruption in elections into a single, unforgivable scheme,” he said. “That is why this president must be removed from office, especially before he continues his effort to corrupt our next election.”

6. Graham and Dershowitz Videos

Nadler explained that some Trump defenders note that neither article of impeachment is based on a criminal statute.

“In a last-ditch legal defense of their client, the president’s lawyers argue that impeachment and removal are subject to statutory crimes or to offenses against established law, that the president cannot be impeached because he has not committed a crime,” he said.

“This view is completely wrong. It has no support in constitutional text and structure, original meaning, congressional presence, common sense, or the consensus of credible experts. In other words, it conflicts with every relevant consideration,” he continued.

During his presentation, Nadler showed video from one of Trump’s chief advocates, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and one of the president’s lawyers, Alan Dershowitz.

According to several reports, Graham had left the Senate chamber before a 1999 video clip in which he was featured was displayed.

The clip showed Graham, then a member of the House, on the Senate floor, acting as a House manager in the Clinton impeachment trial, explaining what he thought a “high crime” was.

“What’s a high crime? How about if an important person hurts somebody of low means? It’s not very scholarly, but I think it’s the truth. I think that’s what they meant by high crimes,” Graham said in the 1999 video. “Doesn’t even have to be a crime. It’s just when you start using your office, and you’re acting in a way that hurts people, you have committed a high crime,” Graham said in the clip.

Nadler also showed a clip of Dershowitz.

“It certainly doesn’t have to be a crime,” Dershowitz said of impeachment. “If you have somebody who completely corrupts the office of president and who abuses trust and who poses great danger to our liberty, you don’t need a technical crime.”

7. Phone Calls, Ambassador’s Recall

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., laid out the case about an alleged conspiracy by Trump’s inner circle and his personal lawyer, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who was indicted and recently spoke out against Trump.

She attempted to play a recording of a voicemail between Giuliani and Parnas, but the audio didn’t work.

“Well, I was going to say it’s difficult to hear, but I’m sure you cannot hear that at all,” Demings said.

“According to phone records, Mr. Giuliani had a one-minute, 50-second call,” Demings, a former Orlando, Florida, police chief said. “Fifteen minutes after they hung up, the records also show that Mr. Giuliani placed three short phone calls to the White House. Shortly thereafter, the White House called Giuliani back. Giuliani spoke with someone at the White House for eight minutes and 28 seconds.

“I will just quickly note that at the time … the Intelligence Committee issued its report in mid-December, we did not know that eight-minute, 28-second call was from the White House.”

She said neither the White House nor Giuliani provided a recording or transcript of the call.

Demings said that Trump recalled Marie Yovanovitch from her job as ambassador to Ukraine out of fear that Yovanovitch, a holdover from the Obama administration, would stop the investigations of the Bidens and into suspected Ukraine election meddling in 2016.

Yovanovitch remains employed with the State Department at no change in pay and teaches at Georgetown University. But Demings said the ambassador’s removal created uncertainty among U.S. diplomats and State Department officials.

“So, why did President Trump remove a distinguished career public servant and an anti-corruption crusader and a top diplomat in the State Department?” she asked rhetorically.

“We know why. The answer is simple. President Trump removed Ambassador Yovanovitch because she was in the way,” Demings said. “She was in the way of the sham investigations that he so desperately wanted. Investigations that would hurt former Vice President Biden and undermine the Mueller investigation into Russia election interference, investigations that would help him cheat in the 2020 election.”

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

5 times Adam Schiff just totally made it up today

Democrats have based their whole impeachment sham on the word and judgement of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who pleaded the left’s case for 2 ½ hours before the Senate today. Spoiler alert: That wasn’t a good idea.

Schiff is the worst choice to put in front of Americans fed up with Washington’s partisan circus. His only real priority is attacking President Trump, and he’s more than happy to resort to lies, leaks, and whatever else it takes to do it.

In September, during a House Intelligence Committee hearing, Schiff made headlines by fabricating a completely made-up version of the July 25th phone call between President Trump and President Zelenskyy of Ukraine. Then, news broke that Schiff’s staff had behind-the-scenes contact with the “whistleblower” at the center of the impeachment probe before that complaint was ever even filed.

“We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower,” Schiff had claimed before the truth caught up with him. Oops—not the best person to stake Democrats’ credibility on.

Today was no different. Schiff’s one-sided impeachment report—the document that serves as the basis for Democrats’ entire case—is nothing but a partisan hatchet job. Rather than draw more attention to their flimsy, fake “investigation,” Schiff chose to deflect and make up more lies about President Trump. Here are a few of the biggest ones:

  • Schiff claims that President Trump endorsed the theory that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 election. FACTPresident Trump has publicly said, very clearly, that he accepts the conclusion of the intelligence community that Russia interfered in 2016.
  • Schiff says that President Trump withheld an Oval Office meeting from President Zelenskyy. FACTPresident Trump invited President Zelenskyy to the White House—with no preconditions—on THREE occasions: April 21, May 29, and July 25. They met at the first opportunity, at the UN General Assembly.
  • Schiff once again brought up claims of a “quid pro quo.” FACTNotice what’s not in Democrats’ articles of impeachment? Allegations or accusations of a quid pro quo. They couldn’t include that claim—because no such arrangement existed.
  • BONUS: Schiff completely misrepresented what Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said about foreign policy, Chris Wallace says.

For years, Schiff lied about the Russia hoax, claiming there was evidence of collusion only to be proven wrong by the Mueller Report. This time, House Democrats learned their lesson: Why risk letting the facts get in the way? Impeach first, investigate later—or beg the Senate to do it for them.


In better news: The great American comeback story!

President Trump traveled to Davos, Switzerland, this week for the World Economic Forum. The annual meeting brings together leaders from across the globe to discuss improving economic stability and unleashing prosperity for more people worldwide.

As he always does on the world stage, President Trump made his priority clear: The needs of the American people come first. His meetings with leaders from the European Union, Iraq, Afghanistan, and more will help America continue to protect its citizens and secure better trade deals for its workers.

America also has a story to tell. “When I spoke at this forum two years ago, I told you that we had launched the great American comeback,” President Trump said. “Today, I’m proud to declare that the United States is in the midst of an economic boom the likes of which the world has never seen before.”


Watch President Trump’s full speech at Davos.

Promise Made, Promise Kept: NAFTA replacement coming to POTUS’ desk! 

© All rights reserved.

PODCAST: Virginia gun rally. Thousands march on Richmond!

GUESTS AND TOPICS

FORD FISCHER

Ford Fischer is the editor-in-Chief of News2Share, an independent news outlet that uses raw footage and livestream without commentary or editorialization to cover political and activist movements. Their work has been featured in Academy Award and Emmy winning films.

RICHARD MANNING

Richard Manning, President of Americans for Limited Government. He worked directly with now President Trump on trade issues during Trump’s run for office. Manning also serves on Trump’s transition team in the Labor Department. His website is GetLiberty.org.

DAN GAINOR

Dan Gainor, Vice President for Business and Culture for the Media Research Center, a veteran editor whose work has been published or cited in the following media: Congressional Quarterly.com, Investor’s Business Daily, Chicago Sun-Times, New York Post, Washington Times, Orange County Register, San Diego Union-Tribune, Dateline Washington, Janet Parshall’s America, Chuck Harder Show, Thom Hartmann Show, American Family Radio, CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” CNN’s “Paula Zahn Now” and Fox’s “Hannity & Colmes” and “Fox Business Live.”

TOPIC: Virginia gun rally: Thousands converge on Richmond

5 Flash Points From Impeachment Trial’s Opening Arguments

House prosecutors claimed Wednesday that President Donald Trump is trying to “cheat” to win the 2020 election, as opening arguments from each side commenced in the Senate impeachment trial of the president.

The seven House Democrats who are impeachment managers, acting as prosecutors, made their case against Trump. They include House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff of California and House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler of New York.

Presenting the other side was the president’s legal defense team, which includes White House counsel Pat Cipollone; Trump’s personal lawyer, Jay Sekulow; and former independent counsel Ken Starr.

Under rules approved late Tuesday, each side has a total of 24 hours of speaking time on the Senate floor to make their case, a time allotment that may be spread over three days.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


After each side presents its case, the Senate will vote on whether to call witnesses to testify. The rules are similar to those used in the 1999 impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton, who was acquitted.

It takes a two-thirds vote, or 67 senators, to remove a president from office.

For now, the seven House impeachment managers have up to 24 hours over three days to persuade senators to convict Trump and remove him from office.

Schiff opened the proceedings with a presentation lasting more than two hours. He used video and text messages to support his case, including 2016 campaign footage and clips from sworn witnesses at the House impeachment hearings in November.

Here are five dramatic scenes from the second full day of the Senate impeachment trial, which began shortly after 1 p.m. and continued into the night.

1. ‘Cannot Be Decided at the Ballot Box’

A July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy led to the Democrat-controlled House’s voting, without support from a single Republican, to impeach Trump for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

During their call, Trump and Zelenskyy referred to Hunter Biden’s highly paid role on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma at a time when his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, was the Obama administration’s point man on Ukraine policy.

According to a White House transcript of the call released by the president, Trump asked Zelenskyy “to look into” Joe Biden’s admission that he forced the firing of a Ukrainian state prosecutor who was investigating Burisma.

Schiff told the Senate, sitting as a jury, that impeachment and removal of Trump is not about a policy disagreement.

“We are here today to consider a much more grave matter, and that is the attempt to use the power of the presidency to cheat in an election,” Schiff said.

Ahead of a presidential election in November, when Trump seeks a second term, Schiff rejected the notion that the matter should be left to voters.

“The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box,” Schiff said, adding:

For we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won. In corruptly using his office to gain a political advantage and abusing that office in such a way to jeopardize that national security and the integrity of our elections, in obstructing the investigation into his own wrongdoing, the president has shown he believes that he is above the law and scornful of constraint.

2. Resurrecting the Russia Narrative

Although one impeachment article alleges Trump was soliciting Ukraine to meddle in the 2020 election, the House impeachment managers brought up Russia again.

This comes despite the conclusion by special counsel Robert Mueller’s team that neither Trump nor his campaign conspired with Russian government operatives to influence the 2016 election.

Before Schiff became chairman when Democrats reclaimed the House majority in the 2018 elections, the House Intelligence Committee reached a similar conclusion prior to release of the Mueller report.

Nevertheless, Schiff wasn’t ready to let the subject of Russia go.

“This is not the first time the president solicited foreign interference in our elections,” Schiff said. “In 2016, then-candidate Trump implored Russia to hack his opponent’s email account—something the Russian military did only hours later. Only hours later.

“When the president said, ‘Hey Russia, if you’re listening,’ they were listening. Only hours later, they hacked his opponent’s campaign.”

In 2016, Trump’s Democratic rival for the presidency, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, was under FBI investigation for conducting State Department business over an unsecure private email server.

Weeks after then-FBI Director James Comey announced that he wouldn’t recommend prosecution of Clinton, despite thousands of “missing” emails, Trump talked about the issue on the campaign trail.

This also came after news that Russia was believed to have hacked the Democratic National Committee.

“If it is Russia, it’s really bad for a different reason,” Trump said at a rally on July 27, 2016. “Because it shows how little respect they have for our country when they would hack into a major party and get everything.”

“But it would be interesting to see—I will tell you this, Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let’s see if that happens. That will be next.”

Later in the House impeachment managers’ arguments in the Senate, a video clip showed a Trump interview with ABC News after the Mueller investigation concluded, in which Trump was asked if he would report to the FBI if Russia or China offered him negative information on his opponent, or would take the information.

“I think maybe you do both,” Trump told the network in June. “I think you might want to listen; there isn’t anything wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said,] ‘We have information on your opponent’—oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

Arguing on the Senate floor, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, proclaimed of the clip: “Shocking video.”

3. Trump’s Real-Time Response

Trump apparently weighed in on Schiff’s arguments from the economic conference he was attending in Davos, Switzerland. He took the time for a short tweet, in all capital letters: “NO PRESSURE.”

The president was making the point that he did not pressure Zelenskyy to conduct investigations of the Bidens and possible Ukrainian meddling in the 2016 election in order to get $391 million in congressional approved military aid.

Zelenskyy also has said repeatedly that there was no pressure from Trump.

4. Citing an Actual Statute

Trump defenders and independent legal analysts frequently note that after House Democrats failed in their effort to show Trump had engaged in bribery or extortion, they had to rely on vague charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress—neither of which are crimes in federal statutes.

However, Schiff pointed to a Government Accountability Office opinion last week that said Trump violated a law called the  Impoundment Control Act in delaying the congressionally approved assistance to Ukraine.

The California Democrat said the president’s lawyers “pooh-poohed” the GAO’s finding.

“They are a nonpartisan organization that both parties have come to rely upon, but I’m not surprised they don’t like the conclusion of the GAO because the Defense Department warned them that this was going to be the conclusion,” Schiff said. “And that conclusion was that a hold on aid was not only wrong, it was not only immoral, it was also illegal.”

The GAO provided a legal opinion, not a legally adjudicated decision, and the White House Office of Management and Budget disputed the finding.

The 1974 Impoundment Control Act provides the executive branch only narrow and limited discretion in spending money appropriated by Congress and signed into law by the president in the budget process.

“It violated the law, a law that we passed, so that presidents could not refuse to spend money that we allocated for the defense of others and for ourselves,” Schiff said.

The GAO and a federal court determined that President Barack Obama violated certain laws regarding congressionally approved expenditures, The Wall Street Journal noted.

5. Defending the Bidens

Senate Democrats spent most of Tuesday asserting that they were committed to having witnesses testify in the Senate trial. However, before the trial began Wednesday afternoon, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., threw that desire into question.

During a press conference, Schumer was asked about a possible deal to have testimony from Trump’s former national security adviser, John Bolton, in exchange for testimony from Hunter Biden about his lucrative board position with Burisma Holdings, the Ukrainian energy company, while his father was vice president and Obama’s point man on Ukraine policy.

“That trade is not on the table,” Schumer told reporters. “This isn’t like some fantasy football trade. Trials aren’t trades for witnesses.”

Viktor Shokin, then Ukraine’s prosecutor general, was investigating Burisma in 2016, when Biden visited the country.

Biden boasted on camera at a 2018 event that he had threatened to withhold $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees to Ukraine unless the government fired Shokin. He was fired.

Biden defenders say his threat had nothing to do with the Burisma probe.

Nadler delivered a strong defense of the former vice president on the Senate floor.

“It is true that Vice President Biden helped remove Mr. Shokin, who was widely believed to be corrupt,” Nadler said, adding:

It was official policy of the United States, the European community, and others—in order to fight corruption in Ukraine—to ask that Shokin and [former Ukraine prosecutor Yuriy] Lutsenko be removed. So Vice President Biden, in fulfilling U.S. policy, pressured Ukraine to remove Shokin, not to secure some personal benefit, but to advance the official policy of the United States and its allies.

Nadler invoked the Watergate scandal that enveloped President Richard Nixon as he talked about Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor, who pursued the president’s interest in investigations in Ukraine.

“Who benefited from this scheme? Who sent Mr. Giuliani to Ukraine in the first place?” Nadler said.

“Of course, we could rephrase that question, as the former Republican leader of the Senate, Howard Baker, asked it in 1973: What did the president know and when did he know it?”

Ken McIntyre contributed to this report.

COLUMN BY

Fred Lucas

Fred Lucas is the White House correspondent for The Daily Signal and co-host of “The Right Side of History” podcast. Lucas is also the author of “Tainted by Suspicion: The Secret Deals and Electoral Chaos of Disputed Presidential Elections.” Send an email to Fred. Twitter: @FredLucasWH.

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‘Obviously Pornographic’: Tucker Carlson Mocks Media’s ‘Surging Waves Of Ecstasy’ Over Adam Schiff

RELATED VIDEO: Mark Levin Delivers His Opening Statement on Impeachment to Senate!


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

5 Key Exchanges From the Supreme Court in Religious School Case

The Supreme Court heard oral argument Wednesday in an important case involving a Montana tax credit scholarship program that provided scholarships for underprivileged kids to use at private schools.

Initially, families could use scholarship funds at qualified religious schools, but the Montana Department of Revenue later implemented an administrative rule excluding religious schools, citing a provision in the state Constitution that bars state funds from aiding religious organizations.

Parents who relied on the scholarship funds to send their kids to religious schools challenged the administrative rule for violating the religion clauses of the U.S. Constitution as well as the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

The state’s highest court struck down the program in its entirety for violating the “no aid” provision in the state Constitution. Almost 40 states have similar provisions (sometimes called Blaine Amendments) that prohibit money from supporting “sectarian” schools.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


As Justice Clarence Thomas explained in Mitchell v. Helms (2000), “[I]t was an open secret that ‘sectarian’ was code for ‘Catholic.’”

Now, the Supreme Court has heard oral arguments in Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue.

Dick Komer of the Institute for Justice argued on behalf of the parents, and Jeffrey Wall of the Solicitor General’s Office represented the United States, which shared argument time with the parents. Adam Unikowsky, an experienced Supreme Court litigator, argued on behalf of Montana.

Here are five key exchanges from the argument.

1. Do the parents have standing to bring this challenge?

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked the first question, and she wanted to know why the parents have standing to bring this lawsuit in the first place.

In order to bring a lawsuit, the complaining party must have an actual injury, and Ginsburg asked if the case should have been brought by the religious schools or taxpayers who donate to the scholarship program and then receive a modest tax credit, instead of the parents.

Komer explained that the parents were the beneficiaries of the scholarship program.

Then, Justice Elena Kagan jumped in, asking, “[W]here is the harm in this case at this point?” She pointed out that no one will be allowed to use the scholarship funds (whether at secular or religious private schools), so where is the discrimination?

Komer replied that the discrimination occurred when the Montana Supreme Court invalidated the program in its entirety. He said, “[Y]ou can’t let the remedy shield the discriminatory judgment,” which was “mistakenly believing that this Blaine Amendment and the application of it did not violate the federal Constitution.”

Chief Justice John Roberts—back at the court after presiding over President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial until the early hours of the morning—returned to the issue when Wall stepped up to the lectern.

Wall explained that taking away the scholarship funds is a clear injury, and the parents have been penalized for their free exercise rights—not the schools’ right.

Wall said, “Everybody concedes that if all the parents in this program had wanted to choose secular schools, there’d be no basis for the state court’s ruling. The scholarship program would still exist.”

2. Are states required to give money to religious schools?

Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked if the parents believe the Constitution requires states to give money to secular and religious private schools.

Komer explained that states can choose whether or not they want to set up voucher programs, tax credit scholarships, or other school choice initiatives, but once they do, they can’t discriminate between parents who want to use those funds at secular and religious private schools.

He noted that states are not required to create these types of initiatives in the first place, but “if they give to one, they must give to the other.”

3. Will the court strike down all Blaine Amendments?

Sotomayor asked Wall if all state Blaine Amendments are unconstitutional. She went on for some time about “the long history of people [going back to the founding] who for non-discriminatory reasons … have taken the position that the state should not give money to religious institutions.”

Roberts politely interjected, “Perhaps you could comment, counsel?”

Wall replied that what the founding era evidence actually shows is that forced support of churches was prohibited, and that’s different from denying a “generally available benefit … to an institution [or individual] based on its religious character.”

4. Does eliminating the program eliminate the constitutional violation?

Justice Brett Kavanaugh asked Unikowsky if it would be constitutional to allow scholarship funds to be used at secular and Protestant schools but not Jewish, Catholic, or any other religious schools.

Unikowsky said the “right lens to look at … is the establishment clause, which prohibits the state … from distinguishing between one religion versus a different religion.”

Kavanaugh followed up, asking why giving scholarships to use at secular schools but not at religious schools is not discrimination. Unikowsky said there’s a “principled objection to funding of religious institutions,” but also that “coercing people [to use funds at secular schools] is a penalty on religion” and to balance the interests, the Montana court “simply level[ed] down” and eliminated the scholarship program.

He reiterated that the Montana Blaine Amendment is not based on “religious bigotry,” but Kavanaugh replied that these amendments were “certainly rooted in grotesque religious bigotry against Catholics. … That was the clear motivation for [Montana’s amendment.]”

5. How does this compare to other types of discrimination?

Justice Samuel Alito posed a hypothetical about a scholarship program where most of the recipients ended up being black. Would it be discrimination to strike the whole program down for that reason?

Unikowsky agreed that would be discrimination, but responded that race and religion are not “identical for all constitutional reasons.”

Alito pointedly remarked, “Basically what you’re saying is, the difference between this and race is, it’s permissible to discriminate on the basis of religion. It’s not permissible, ever, to discriminate on the basis of race.”

Wall addressed this issue in his opening, saying, “If the Montana Supreme Court had invalidated this program because it included historically African American schools or all-girls schools, that would be a straightforward equal protection violation. Nothing about it would be cured by the fact that other parents had been denied funding as well.”

After an hour of argument, several justices, including Kavanaugh, Alito, and Roberts, appeared to be troubled by Montana’s arguments while Sotomayor, Ginsburg, and Kagan seemed unsure about whether the parents had standing to bring the lawsuit in the first place.

The justices should issue their ruling in this case by the end of June when the 2019-2020 term wraps up.

Looking Ahead

This term is shaping up to be a significant one, and the court has already heard cases involving the Second Amendment, Obamacare, and whether federal law covers claims of discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Later in the spring, the justices will take up cases looking at the president’s ability to fire the head of an “independent” agency, regulation of abortion providers, a dispute over a subpoena for Trump’s financial records, and the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are still seeking relief from the Obama-era contraceptive mandate.

COMMENTARY BY

Elizabeth Slattery writes about the proper role of the courts, judicial nominations, and the Constitution as a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation. Read her research. She hosts SCOTUS101, a podcast about everything that’s happening at the Supreme Court. Twitter: .

RELATED ARTICLE: Listen to “SCOTUS 101,” a podcast with Elizabeth Slattery and friends bringing you up to speed on what’s happening at the Supreme Court.


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

TEXIT Has Proudly Endorsed Lt. Col. Allen West for Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas

GARLAND, TexasJan. 21, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — TEXIT, the organization dedicated to bringing Tejanos across Texas out of the Democrat Party and into the conservative movement, has endorsed Lt. Col. Allen West for Chairman of the Republican Party of Texas.

The Chairman of TEXIT, Luis Burrola, stated,

“We support Lt. Col. Allen West because we believe the vision he has will provide the most opportunity for Tejanos. Additionally, his conservative values and deep faith are most in line with the nature and history of our constitutional republic.”

For years Lt. Col. West has recognized that for conservatives to win, they must engage more with ethnic minority voters. “Some of the most faithful, religious, and conservative communities are the fastest growing demographics in America. It is up to the Republican Party to engage with them on shared values and bring them home to the GOP,” West stated.

TEXIT’s endorsement of Allen West for chairman is just another example that preaching values and actually engaging with communities is how Republicans can expand their reach in Texas. Only by bringing new voters into the Grand Old Party, can Republicans effectively counter the Democrat advances across the state.

Lt. Col. Allen West knows effective, consistent fundraising, determined leadership and a dedicated conservative message is how Republicans can #KeepTexasRed

Colonel West’s full statement can be found here.

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

Government Begins At Home

For those Americans paying attention to the news, most are consumed by politics at the federal level. There is nothing wrong with this, but as I like to remind young Americans, “Government begins at home.” By this I mean government affects us first and foremost at the municipal and county levels. If you have a fire, you contact the local fire department, not a federal agency; if you want to report a crime, you call the local police or Sheriff’s office, not the Feds; if you have questions about your offspring’s school, you contact the local School Board, not the Department of Education, and; If you have a problem with water and sewer, you contact the local public works/utilities offices. The same is true for road maintenance and traffic, everything begins at the local level, all of which has the greatest impact on us.

Interestingly, few people seem to be aware of this which explains why voters rarely turnout in local elections as opposed to state or federal elections. Because of this voter apathy, it is easier to seize political control at the local level, and quite often, politicians slip a tax increase by in these poorly attended elections.

The notion local government is the bedrock of all government was first observed in 1835 by noted historian and political commentator Alexis de Tocqueville, a Frenchman, as published in his famous book, “Democracy in America,” which was an analysis of our young country as compared to those in Europe. This was based on his travels through America in 1831 and 1832. The book, which is frequently referenced even to this day, contains his observations on the young country, everything from its geographical layout, to its culture, and particularly its new political system as a democratically elected republic, as opposed to a monarchy.

In his book, de Tocqueville observed, “…the strength of free nations resides in the township.” Whereas, European countries at the time consisted of monarchies, and a top-down approach to government, America had employed a bottom-up strategy instead. He also recognized, successful local government officials would likely progress up the ladder to state and federal positions. He wrote, “In France, the government lends its officers to the township – In America, the township lends its officers to the government.” This bottom-up approach is still common to this day, and provides another reason why citizens should pay close attention to local elections. It represents the “farm club” for government at higher levels. Today’s mayors, councilmen, police chiefs, prosecutors, public defenders, fire chiefs, and judges are tomorrow’s governors, attorney generals, congressmen, supreme court justices, and more.

One reason why people do not spend much time understanding local government is because the local news media spends little time covering it with qualified reporters. Most think it is trivial and their time is better served at the state and federal levels. This is why town hall meetings are so important to communicate what exactly is going on locally.

As we approach the 2020 elections, we of course need informed citizens to vote accordingly on major issues, but we also need voters for what appears to be inconsequential local elections in March or throughout the summer. They are every bit as important.

Just remember, local government is the basic building block of our entire government. Support it, don’t ignore it, as it has a great bearing on our lives.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – Also do not forget my books, “How to Run a Nonprofit” and “Tim’s Senior Moments”, both available in Printed and eBook form.

EDITORS NOTE: This Bryce is Right column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved. All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Islamic Republic of Iran: MP offers “$3 million reward in cash to whoever kills Trump”

“U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood dismissed the reward as ‘ridiculous’, telling reporters in Geneva it showed the ‘terrorist underpinnings’ of Iran’s establishment.”

Indeed. And if anyone succeeds in doing this, there will be great rejoicing in Washington and mourning all over Iran. It’s a topsy-turvy world.

“Iran MP offers reward for killing Trump, U.S. calls it ‘ridiculous,’” by Parisa Hafezi, Reuters, January 21, 2020:

DUBAI (Reuters) – An Iranian lawmaker offered a $3 million reward to anyone who killed U.S. President Donald Trump and said Iran could avoid threats if it had nuclear arms, ISNA news agency reported on Tuesday amid Tehran’s latest standoff with Washington.

U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood dismissed the reward as “ridiculous”, telling reporters in Geneva it showed the “terrorist underpinnings” of Iran’s establishment.

Tensions have steadily escalated since Trump pulled Washington out of Tehran’s nuclear agreement with world powers in 2018 and reimposed U.S. sanctions. The standoff erupted into tit-for-tat military strikes this month.

“On behalf of the people of Kerman province, we will pay a $3 million reward in cash to whoever kills Trump,” lawmaker Ahmad Hamzeh told the 290-seat parliament, ISNA reported.

He did not say if the reward had any official backing from Iran’s clerical rulers.

The city of Kerman, in the province south of the capital, is the hometown of Qassem Soleimani, a prominent Iranian commander whose killing in a drone strike ordered by Trump on Jan. 3 in Baghdad prompted Iran to fire missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq.

“If we had nuclear weapons today, we would be protected from threats … We should put the production of long-range missiles capable of carrying unconventional warheads on our agenda. This is our natural right,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA….

This month, Iran announced it was scrapping all limits on its uranium enrichment work, potentially shortening the so-called “breakout time” needed to build a nuclear weapon….

RELATED ARTICLES:

Britain Commits Suicide to Avoid Being Called Racist

Khamenei says Islamic Republic of Iran is “religious democracy” that is “image of resistance” to “highway bully” US

Arab Countries Say “We Miss the Jews”

RELATED AUDIO: Robert Spencer on Iran in context

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

FLORIDA: Cop suspended for liking his wife’s social media posts criticizing Tlaib and Omar

Lost in the fracas here is the fact that what Annabelle Lima-Taub wrote is largely true. Tlaib really is demonstrably an anti-Semite who is friendly with several open supporters of jihad terror. See, for example, all the evidence here and here. That she might “blow up Capitol Hill” is hyperbole, but of course J. C. Jimenez never for a moment considered the possibility that Anabelle Lima-Taub may actually have been on to something, or that Ilhan Omar really might be a hatemonger and that Rashida Tlaib may really be an anti-Semite who is sympathetic to jihad terror groups and jihadis themselves. And no establishment media journalist would dare ask Tlaib or Omar themselves for a statement on their obvious closeness to anti-Semites and supporters of the jihad against Israel. Establishment media journalists only ask tough questions to those who dissent from the Leftist agenda, not to those who support that agenda.

Pablo Lima should immediately be reinstated, and Jimenez should apologize to him. But that would require this to be a sane world.

“Bay Harbor Islands cop suspended for social media post on wife’s anti-Muslim comments,” by Aaron Leibowitz, Miami Herald, January 16, 2020:

The husband of a Hallandale Beach commissioner who was condemned for anti-Muslim comments was placed on administrative leave by the Bay Harbor Islands police department Thursday for social media posts appearing to show support for his wife’s views.

Pablo Lima, a corporal in Bay Harbor Islands and a former vice president of the Miami-Dade police union, submitted an application Tuesday to become the town’s next police chief.

On Thursday morning, after the Miami Herald asked town officials about comments and posts that Lima “liked” on Facebook and Instagram, the department placed him on paid leave and opened an internal affairs investigation.

“The content of the social media posts that were brought to our attention are not consistent with our Town’s values and policies,” Town Manager J.C. Jimenez said in a statement. “Corporal Pablo Lima is currently on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation. State law prohibits us from discussing details of an open internal affairs investigation.”…

In January 2019, the Hallandale Beach City Commission voted 3-2 to condemn Commissioner Anabelle Lima-Taub for a Facebook post saying that Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, the first Palestinian-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress, might become “a martyr and blow up Capitol Hill.”

The post was denounced as hate speech by numerous Muslim and Jewish human rights organizations, but Lima-Taub remained unapologetic, saying Tlaib’s support for boycotting Israel equated her with terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

The day of the commission vote, dozens of supporters of Lima-Taub held Israeli flags and signs calling Tlaib a terrorist outside Hallandale Beach City Hall. The group included people with a wide range of politics, including those who support Israel and denounce the boycott movement against it, and far-right Internet personality and conspiracy theorist Laura Loomer.

On Jan. 30, 2019, one week after the vote to condemn the Israeli-born Lima-Taub, Pablo Lima shared a story on his Facebook page from WLRN.org titled, “Why A Hallandale Beach Panel Condemned A Commissioner For Anti-Islamic Language.”

Lima proceeded to “like” five comments showing support for Lima-Taub, including multiple comments that appeared to espouse anti-Muslim sentiments. One comment that Lima “liked” included the line: “This [piece of s—] took her oath on the Koran.”

“Screw these liberal commisioners and mayor,” the comment said. “When will these politicians grow some cohones and start supporting America and it’s Americans. They talk about [Lima-Taub] being a racist and spewing hate. These [expletive] forget that this muslim [Tlaib] supports the people who flew planes into our NY twin towers and killed over 5000 people and more dying from exposure still 18 years later.”

The comment continued: “This [piece of s—] took her oath on the Koran. She openly hates Jews and talks about how they should all die or be killed. Remind me again why you would not support Lima-Talib [Lima-Taub]?”

Lima also “liked” comments on the post that said: “I applaud her”; “Complete BS….”; and “free speach fk them.”

Another comment that Lima “liked” said: “But Talib [Tlaib] gets to spew her hatred of Jews and others not of the Islamic faith and it’s ok not to defend yourself ? I’m with the commissioner, awaiting the next terrorist plot to open eyes again only when something happens.”

Lima did not post any comments below the Facebook post himself.

The Herald also made Bay Harbor Islands officials aware of an Instagram post by Lima-Taub that was “liked” by Lima’s personal account.

In a post on Sept. 11, 2019, Lima-Taub quoted a statement by U.S. Rep Ilhan Omar ⁠— one of the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress, along with Tlaib ⁠— that “some people did something” in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Lima-Taub, using her Instagram account “@theroguecommissioner,” called Omar a “hate monger” and said the United States was “founded on Judeo-Christian values.”

“#NeverForget #911 ‘Some people did something,’ as per America’s vitriolic hate monger, @repilhan!” Lima-Taub wrote. “Those 19 Jihadi terrorists massacred over 3,000 innocent men and women, encroached on our constitutional rights and caused several billion in loss to dollars with the deliberate action to destabilize our economic stability.

“This country was founded on Judeo-Christian values and we must never let the deaths of those who perished on 9/11 be in vain.”…

The Bay Harbor Islands police department’s social media policy prohibits any speech that “ridicules, maligns, disparages, or otherwise expresses bias against any gender, race, religion, or any protected class of individuals.”…

RELATED ARTICLES:

Britain Commits Suicide to Avoid Being Called Racist

Khamenei says Islamic Republic of Iran is “religious democracy” that is “image of resistance” to “highway bully” US

Islamic Republic of Iran: MP offers “$3 million reward in cash to whoever kills Trump”

RELATED AUDIO: Robert Spencer on Iran in context

EDITORS NOTE: This Jihad Watch column is republished with permission. © All rights reserved.

China’s underground Christian communities: Unwitting forerunners of the Benedict Option?

Both Catholics and Protestants have survived decades of persecution.


In early 2017, conservative American pundit Rod Dreher published a bombshell of a book called The Benedict Option: A Strategy for Christians in a Post-Christian Nation.

He argued that conservative Western Christians should give up their futile war over the cultural mainstream and withdraw into tightly-knit communities centred around their faith and their church. This would be the only way to survive a coming persecution of conservative Christian values.

Many articles have been published about Dreher’s controversial proposals, most of them centred on the West.

But what about the East? For more than a century the “Benedict Option” has worked in China, a nation which has never been overly friendly to Christianity. These communities in China pre-date Mr Dreher by many decades. Christians in the West will do themselves a favour by pondering their brethren’s experience of survival.

Who are these Chinese communities? Catholics and Protestants in China can be roughly divided into two camps: a faction loyal to the government and an independent faction.

Protestants can worship in the government-sanctioned Protestant “Three-Self Patriotic Movement” (三自爱国运动). Or they can join defiant house churches, which have been long subject to persecution and produced many heroic examples of resistance. Pastor Wang Yi of the Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, for instance, was sentenced to nine years in prison late last year for “inciting subversion of state power and illegal business operations”.

For Catholics, the underground movement loyal to the Pope has long suffered harsh persecution and has had a bitter relationship with the official Catholic Patriotic Association (天主教爱国会). Its government-approved bishops were even excommunicated by the Pope until the recent controversial Sino-Vatican agreement.

All of the above has been well covered by Western media — but what has it to do with the Benedict Option? Well, Dreher believes that in an age where anyone who does not toe the progressive line of thinking is at risk of being excluded from the cultural mainstream, minority Western Christians must huddle together for warmth.

Newsflash, guys! Chinese Christians were never in control of the cultural mainstream. Ever since the days of the Boxer Rebellion in 1900 and even in the years before that, Chinese who converted to Christianity were brutally oppressed and many were murdered. Catholics, who outnumbered Protestants before the 1900s, had to endure the wrath of not only the Qing Empire but also of their ancestor-worshipping neighbours.

It was the Boxer Rebellion that marked the emergence of Chinese “Benedict option” communities. The Boxers were virulently anti-West and anti-Christian, and thousands of Chinese faithful were slaughtered along with Western priests. Many Catholics had to retreat to places deep in the mountains and build settlements which were easier to defend and harder to attack; they formed militias of their own to protect themselves.

Thousands fled to communities like these throughout northern China and especially in the Shanxi and Hebei Provinces. To this day they make up the bulk of northern Chinese Catholics. This is the origin of the so-called “Catholic laity villages” (教友村),hundreds of which still exist. Even today, the Provincial Religious Bureau monitors these villages and publishes lists to help local party cadres to increase surveillance of these areas.

Many of these communities unwittingly mirror Dreher’s vision. Life centers around the Church and all the villagers are raised as Catholics, in stark contrast to most of the neighbouring villages. Fortifications (many still visible) were built to defend themselves from the wrath of their fellow countrymen, who viewed them as traitors to the Chinese nation. From a point of weakness, these early Chinese Catholics gathered together in a vision of strategic retreat and managed to survive years of violence.

Some of these communities thrive today, even after 70 years of Communist rule. During the Cultural Revolution, many Catholic villagers in Hebei, Shanxi and other Chinese provinces hid statues of the Virgin Mary which they venerated in secret, at a time when religious eradication was government policy and churches and pilgrimage sites were being bulldozed.

After enjoying a brief revival, the Chinese Catholic faithful are once again at the crossroads. Many regard the Vatican negotiation and eventual agreement with Beijing as a betrayal. But as a Hong Kong media (RTHK) documentary broadcast in February 2019 shows, the rural villagers in Hebei show amazing resilience. They set up makeshift altars and chapels in decrepit village factories and fields. Defiant underground priests performed services in the most unremarkable of rural courtyards. Hundreds of villagers came to worship in bitterly cold nights after the police and party cadres have gone.

Chinese Catholics also have larger families. Many young children can be seen even in the makeshift chapels — yet another act of defiance against a law banning all minors from attending religious services or activities, as well a snub to China’s population control.

This is the true resilience of faith. Westerners accustomed to freedom of religion may be shocked at the sacrifices Chinese underground Catholics have endured. But Catholics in China are benefitting from adversity. It only strengthens their faith, at a time when Westerners seem to have lost their way. It is very similar to Rod Dreher’s strategy.

Protestant house churches fill in the other half of the picture. Unlike Catholics, whose strength is in rural strongholds, Protestant house churches draw their strength from urban China. The recently jailed Pastor Wang’s Early Rain Covenant Church is one of the best examples.

Started barely a decade ago, Early Rain grew and challenged the Chinese government’s authority. The church held commemorative services for the June 4 crackdown, a huge taboo in China. It had a pro-life department which openly went onto the street every Children’s Day (June 1) rolling out banners protesting abortion. Early Rain also aggressively planted churches in its native city of Chengdu and beyond and sought to form a “Calvinist association” of sorts in Southwestern China, a direct snub and rejection of the Chinese government sanctioned Three-Self Association.

Early Rain is another facet of the “Benedict Option”. Even though it is urban and its followers do not necessarily live in the same compound, it is an amazingly tight-knit community in a country where everyone feels that he has to fend for himself and the government is omnipotent and omnipresent.

Early Rain was a pioneer in establishing unsanctioned church schools catering for its congregants’ children (illegal according to Chinese law). It operates a seminary of its own instead of sending people to government sanctioned seminaries (again, illegal). It even operates its own online video and radio channels with recorded footage of Mr. Wang and other pastors preaching.

At its peak, Early Rain had more than 700 congregants.

Of course, this was never going to be tolerated by Beijing’s mandarins. Thus in December 2018, the church was raided (the last of many raids), Mr. Wang and his wife, together with key congregants, were arrested, and the church was shut down for good.

But in a true show of strength, many congregants continue to form prayer groups and still attempt to worship together in apartments, backyards and bathrooms. The faith still lives on.

In short, something very much like the “Benedict Option” has worked to the advantage of the Chinese faithful, both Catholic and Protestant. The difference between them and American Christians like Dreher is that Dreher can still ponder his options for a survival strategy.

For many Chinese Christians, the Benedict Option is their only option.

COLUMN BY

WILLIAM HUANG

William Huang is a product of the one-child policy as he is the only son in the family. Born and raised in China, it is only when he went overseas to study that he had an epiphany, realizing just how much damage this policy has done to the Chinese nation and his generation of peers. Now he is an avid researcher in China and East Asia’s looming demographic crisis and he also aims to raise his voice for the sanctity of life wherever and whenever he can. Mr. Huang is an avid researcher into China and East Asia’s looming demographic crisis. He also aims to raise his voice for the sanctity of life wherever and whenever he can.

EDITORS NOTE: This MercatorNet column is republished with permission. All rights reserved.

The Media’s Shameful Depiction of Pro-Second Amendment Protests in Virginia

It’s the tea party all over again.

Way back in 2009 the press, followed by a gaggle of left-wing commentators and politicians, did a number on tea party protests, often portraying them—with little evidence—as driven by racist rage against President Barack Obama rather than principled opposition to his administration’s policies.

These same tactics were on full display Monday in the coverage of pro-Second Amendment protests that took place in Richmond, Virginia.

The protests were a response to the gun control policies of Gov. Ralph Northam and the state’s Legislature, which is now controlled by Democrats.


In these trying times, we must turn to the greatest document in the history of the world to promise freedom and opportunity to its citizens for guidance. Find out more now >>


Northam called for a “state of emergency” in response to the protest, and numerous media outlets predicted it would be marked by “hate” and violence, and overall would be a menacing and sordid affair.

Jim Geraghty at National Review gave an excellent rundown of the most absurd headlines and statements from various national media outlets.

NBC reporter Ben Collins said in a now-deleted tweet on Sunday that the gathering in Richmond would be a “white supremacist” rally.

MSNBC anchor Craig Melvin said of the rally on Monday: “Right now thousands of gun-rights activists, white nationalists, militia groups—all swarming the Virginia state capitol in Richmond.”

But no violence took place, and it appears that only one person was arrested for violating an anti-mask prohibition put in place by the governor.

Pretty impressive, given that the crowd reached an estimated size of 20,000 on a very cold day.

Though there were some reports that racist groups were planning to attend and infiltrate the event, there was little sign of them when it took place, if it took place at all.

It seems the protesters were aware of how they were being portrayed.

Tristan Justice, who covered the protest, wrote for The Federalist:

Dozens of protesters throughout the rally were sure to remind the public that Northam wore blackface, carrying signs of the Virginia governor’s infamous high school yearbook photo showcasing Democrats’ double-standard regarding racism.

Some media commentators claimed that the pro-Second Amendment demonstrators were insulting Martin Luther King Jr. by holding the event on a holiday celebrating his legacy.

Rev. Al Sharpton even said on MSNBC said that this was putting “salt in the wound” of King’s legacy.

He then doubled down, saying the protesters getting in the way of MLK Day celebrations “are in effect canceling them to have their event. That in and of itself is symbolic of a country that seems to be bent on accommodating the wrong side of the equation of peaceful coexistence and racial justice and fairness.”

King was indeed nonviolent, as the protests were, but to claim that being in favor of gun rights is an affront to his legacy is absurd.

In fact, the right to bear arms was often an essential element to black civil rights, especially when local authorities were doing little to protect black citizens from violence.

Ida B. Wells, one of the founders of the NAACP, once said in 1892—a year in which a massive number of lynchings of black Americans took place—that “a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give.”

To that very point, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a 2018 interview with “The View” that she saw firearm ownership as essential when growing up.

“Let me tell you why I’m a defender of the Second Amendment,” Rice said. “I was a little girl growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, in the late ’50s, early ’60s. There was no way that Bull Connor and the Birmingham police were going to protect you.”

“I’m sure if Bull Connor had known where those guns were, he would have rounded them up,” she said. “So I don’t favor some things like gun registration.”

The bottom line is that associating the right to bear arms with anti-black racism is out of step with modern history. It was, in fact, an essential component of the civil rights movement.

The fact remains that the Richmond event on Martin Luther King Jr. Day was a large, entirely peaceful demonstration in defense of a right protected by the Constitution. That seems like a pretty solid justification for a protest.

Contrast all of this coverage and commentary with, for instance, the way media outlets treated the Women’s March protests, which also occurred over Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

Though many noted the waning interest in these mostly anti-Trump protests, little attention was given to the movement’s troubling ties to anti-Semitism. Any mention of this association—if it was mentioned at all—was buried in the story, not slapped in the headline.

Whether the difference in coverage between the two events was the result of willful bias or the simple cultural norms of those who work in elite media—or both—the fact is, it was obvious and noticeable.

Just like with the tea party movement and even the annual March for Life, America’s national media seems hopelessly biased and one-sided.

COMMENTARY BY

Jarrett Stepman is a contributor to The Daily Signal and co-host of The Right Side of History podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. He is also the author of the new book, “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.” Twitter: .


A Note for our Readers:

This is a critical year in the history of our country. With the country polarized and divided on a number of issues and with roughly half of the country clamoring for increased government control—over health care, socialism, increased regulations, and open borders—we must turn to America’s founding for the answers on how best to proceed into the future.

The Heritage Foundation has compiled input from more than 100 constitutional scholars and legal experts into the country’s most thorough and compelling review of the freedoms promised to us within the United States Constitution into a free digital guide called Heritage’s Guide to the Constitution.

They’re making this guide available to all readers of The Daily Signal for free today!

GET ACCESS NOW! >>


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

Copyright © 2019 DrRichSwier.com LLC. A Florida Cooperation. All rights reserved. The DrRichSwier.com is a not-for-profit news forum for intelligent Conservative commentary. Opinions expressed by writers are solely their own. Republishing of columns on this website requires the permission of both the author and editor. For more information contact: drswier@gmail.com.