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February 17, 2019

Enough senators are unhappy with President Trump's Friday declaration of a national emergency to obtain funding for border wall construction, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said on ABC's This Week Sunday, that the Senate could pass a resolution to block Trump's plan.

"Now, whether we have enough for an override of veto, that's a different story," Duckworth said. "But frankly, I think there's enough people in the Senate who are concerned that what he's doing is robbing from the military and the [Defense Department] to go build his wall, that it's really not the best way to fight the crisis that he's talking about at the border."

Per an accounting from The Bulwark, a conservative commentary site, 14 GOP senators have criticized the emergency declaration, albeit with differing rationales. The Senate currently seats 45 Democrats plus two independents who caucus with the Democrats. If all 47 plus those 14 Republicans voted to block Trump's declaration, their combined 61 votes would fall short of the 67 needed to override a presidential veto.

And a veto should be expected, said White House senior adviser Stephen Miller on Fox News Sunday. "Obviously the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration," Miller told host Chris Wallace. This would be the first veto of Trump's presidency.

Watch Miller's comments below. Bonnie Kristian

February 17, 2019

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller appeared on Fox News Sunday to defend President Trump's Friday declaration of a national emergency to obtain funding for border wall construction — and host Chris Wallace did not let him off lightly.

"The president talks about an 'invasion' — he used that word multiple times on Friday — an 'invasion' on the southern border," Wallace said. "But let's look at the facts," he continued, citing statistics to show illegal border crossings have fallen dramatically in the last two decades; that the vast majority of heroin and fentanyl seizures at the border take place at official entry points, not unfenced areas; and that visa overstays now account for twice as many illegal entries to the United States as illicit border crossings.

"Again," Wallace concluded, "where's the national emergency to build a wall?"

After promising to address every fact Wallace raised, Miller responded by arguing that would-be illegal immigrants are now sneakier and more difficult to deport than they were two decades ago and that more drugs are not captured in unfenced areas of the border because there is not enough manpower there to capture them.

Wallace didn't seem convinced, but turned the conversation to constitutional questions concerning the national emergency, repeatedly pressing Miller on whether he can "name one case where a president has asked Congress for money, Congress has refused, and the president has then evoked national policy to get the money anyway?"

Miller refused to give Wallace the yes or no answer he sought, instead arguing the National Emergencies Act is Congress "saying the president could have this authority," so any time the president declares an emergency he automatically has congressional approval to spend money on the situation as he pleases.

Watch the full interview below, or read the transcript here. Bonnie Kristian

February 10, 2019

If congressional Democrats continue to refuse President Trump the $5.7 billion he demands for border wall construction, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said on Fox News Sunday, Trump will find the money ... somewhere.

"[W]e'll take as much money as [Congress] can give us, and then we will go off and find the money someplace else — legally — in order to secure that southern barrier. But this is going to get built with or without Congress," Mulvaney told host Chris Wallace, who pressed for more specifics as to where, exactly, the money would come from, and whether obtaining it would require Trump to declare a national emergency. The Constitution gives Congress, not the president, the power of the purse.

"[T]here are other funds of money that are available to him through what we call 'reprogramming,' There is money that he can get at and is legally allowed to spend," Mulvaney replied. "There are certain things that every president must do in order to trigger the rights that he has to sort of move money around. ... He would prefer legislation because it's the right way to go and is the proper way to spend money in this country. But if that doesn't happen, the president proceeds."

Watch Mulvaney's full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

February 10, 2019

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Sunday endorsed a Saturday request from Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) for a federal investigation of sexual assault allegations leveled against Fairfax by two women this past week.

"I say again without reservation: I did not sexually assault or rape Meredith Watson, Vanessa Tyson, or anyone else," Fairfax said in a statement issued late Saturday night. "I call on all appropriate and impartial investigatory authorities, including the FBI, to investigate fully and thoroughly the allegations against me by Ms. Watson and Dr. Tyson. I ask that all three of us be respected during this process."

Northam backed Fairfax's proposal the next day. "I really think, where we are now, we need to get to the truth," he said on CBS. "I support an investigation. These accusations are very serious and we need to get to the bottom of them." Should the allegations prove true, Northam added, Fairfax ought to step down.

Northam is embroiled in his own scandal following the revelation that his 1984 medical school yearbook page contains a photo of a man in blackface and one in Ku Klux Klan robes. The Democratic Party of Virginia and other prominent Democrats have called on both men to step down; so far, both have refused to do so. Bonnie Kristian

February 3, 2019

"[O]ne of the reasons I want to keep [a U.S. military presence in Iraq] is because I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem," President Trump said on Face the Nation Sunday.

"I want to be able to watch Iran," Trump continued. "All I want to do is be able to watch. We have an unbelievable and expensive military base built in Iraq. It's perfectly situated for looking at all over different parts of the troubled Middle East rather than pulling up."

The president also said he would keep a reduced military and intelligence presence in Afghanistan long-term, and that he would be willing to "come back if we have to." However, in the same breath he decried the length, casualties, and expense of "endless" U.S. wars and nation building in the Middle East, arguing that "[w]hat we're doing is got to stop at some point."

CBS host Margaret Brennan asked Trump about his foreign policy plans for Venezuela, a point on which the president spoke more briefly. Military intervention there is "an option," Trump said, though he suggested he would presently prefer to let the Venezuelan opposition movement continue leading the process of change.

Read Trump's full interview here, or watch it on CBS in two portions airing at 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Eastern. Bonnie Kristian

January 20, 2019

CNN's Jake Tapper made a valiant effort to extract clarity from President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in an interview on State of the Union Sunday.

Trump "did not have discussions with" his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, before Cohen gave false congressional testimony, Giuliani said, adding, "certainly [Trump] had no discussions with [Cohen] in which he told him or counseled him to lie."

But with his next breath, Giuliani allowed that some discussions may have happened after all. "If [Trump] had any discussions with [Cohen], they'd be about the version of the events that Michael Cohen gave them, which they all believed was true," he said.

Tapper pressed Giuliani to recognize he'd "just acknowledged that it's possible that President Trump talked to Michael Cohen about his testimony" after denying exactly that, and Giuliani responded with a wealth of answers.

Such a conversation "would be perfectly normal," Giuliani said, before emphasizing that he personally does not know whether it occurred and noting that even if he did know, he might not be able to talk about it because of attorney-client privilege.

All that said, Giuliani concluded, it's "not significant" whether such a conversation happened — which it didn't. Unless it did. Rudy Giuliani doesn't know, and if he did, it's possible he couldn't tell you. Bonnie Kristian

January 20, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence on Fox News Sunday slammed congressional Democrats' rejection of the immigration policy package President Trump proposed Saturday as a deal to re-open the federal government from its partial shutdown.

"Well, there's a legislative process that is going to begin on Tuesday in the United States Senate" based on Trump's pitch, Pence said, "and it was disappointing to see [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)] reject the offer before the president gave his speech. I mean, look, the president is offering a solution, and what we have from Democrat [sic] leadership so far is just soundbites."

There were multiple points of overlap between Trump's plan and the statement Pelosi released shortly before Trump's Saturday remarks, though Pelosi panned Trump's deal as "a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives."

Pence also pushed back on claims from immigration hardliners that Trump's offer of "three years of legislative relief" for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS) recipients amounts to amnesty. "This is not amnesty," he said. "There's no pathway to citizenship there's no permanent status here at all, which is what amnesty contemplates."

In a Sunday morning tweet, Trump also said the three-year extension is not amnesty, but he suggested he could accept amnesty in a future immigration deal.

Watch Pence's full interview below, or read a transcript here. Bonnie Kristian

January 20, 2019

President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen pursued the possibility of a Trump Tower project in Moscow as late as October or November of 2016, Trump's current personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.

Cohen initially told Congress he abandoned the project in January of 2016, as the Republican primary elections began. He later admitted this was a lie and said talks related to the project continued through June of 2016, around the time Trump clinched the GOP nomination.

"Well, it's our understanding [conversations about the project] went on throughout 2016. Weren't a lot of them, but there were conversations," Giuliani told host Chuck Todd. "Can't be sure of the exact date. But the president can remember having conversations with [Cohen] about it ... as far as October, November. Our answers cover until the election."

Trump has repeatedly claimed the Moscow deal ended before his presidential campaign began. "I mean, I have nothing to do with Russia. I don't have any jobs in Russia. I'm all over the world but we're not involved in Russia," he said in July of 2016 — per Giuliani's present account, four to five months before these conversations about the Moscow project ended.

Watch a clip of Giuliani's comments below, and read his full interview here. Bonnie Kristian

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