Friday Top Headlines

by Political Editors: Democratic Party files lawsuit alleging Russia, the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks conspired to disrupt the 2016 campaign (The Washington Post)

DOJ finally sends Comey memos to Congress (Associated Press)

Six things you need to know about the released Comey memos (The Daily Wire)

DOJ watchdog reportedly sends criminal referral for McCabe to federal prosecutor (Fox News)

Trump: Feds will not pay for Jerry Brown’s National Guard “charade” (Hot Air)

Court rules against Trump effort to hit sanctuary cities (The Hill)

Raul Castro, 86, stepped down Thursday as president, handing the reins to his hand-picked successor, the much younger Miguel Diaz-Canel (National Review)

Senate confirms Trump pick for NASA administrator over Democratic objections (The Washington Post)

This just in: White working-class voters may not care about Trump scandals (New York)

Students walk out across United States in yet another call for gun control (Reuters)

liar-nObama pens ‘TIME 100’ tribute to Parkland students pushing for gun control (The Washington Free Beacon)

Wells Fargo to be slapped with $1 billion penalty by regulators, just after teachers union severs ties over guns (USA Today)

Arizona teachers vote to strike, sparking first-ever statewide walkout (NPR)

College Republicans get in huge trouble for posting “I.C.E. I.C.E. Baby” signs (Reason)

Policy: The Renewable Fuel Standard’s policy failures and economic burdens (American Action Forum)

Policy: Despite Trump’s cutbacks, federal regulatory monster still consumes $1.9 trillion (Investor’s Business Daily) ~The Patriot Post


Trump Adding Rudy Giuliani To Legal Team


{ } ~ President Donald Trump is reportedly adding former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani to his personal legal team… A source familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast, Giuliani has been in negotiations with Trump and his team for some time, yet the process has slowed due to recent developments the Trump administration has made in dealing with North Korea and Syria. Giuliani confirmed the news to The Washington Post Thursday afternoon. “I’m doing it because I hope we can negotiate an end to this for the good of the country and because I have high regard for the president and for Bob Mueller,” he stated…


Congress will get its hands on the Comey memos Thursday

by Kelly Cohen

{ } ~ The Department of Justice is expected to allow Congress access to the so-called “Comey memos” sometime Thursday… a Justice Department official told the Washington Examiner. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said in a letter to Justice Department officials earlier this week that there is “no legal basis for withholding these materials from Congress.” Comey, who was fired by President Trump last May, said in congressional testimony that he kept memos memorializing conversations with the president…


Republicans Are Fleeing And So Are Their Hopes For Keeping The House


{ } ~ Republicans’ hopes for maintaining control of the House are dwindling and that is likely an understatement… Forty-six House Republicans are either resigning, retiring or seeking other office in 2018. Roughly 22 House members retire each election cycle, so to say the party is going through a seismic shift is not a misnomer. In fact, its been nearly 25 years — since 1994 — that a majority party incurred as many losses as Republicans have this year. Democrats controlled the House leading up the to the 1994 midterms. The party had 28 members announce retirement and Republicans subsequently took them to the cleaners, picking up 54 seats and outright claiming the majority in what is now known as the “Republican Revolution.”…If we can replace those who are leaving with a conservative then theres no need to worry.


DOJ sends Comey memos to Congress

by Kelly Cohen

{ } ~ The Justice Department sent Congress the memos written by former FBI Director James Comey… In a letter to relevant committee chairmen, the Justice Department said it consulted with “relevant parties” and concluded turning over the memos would “not adversely impact any ongoing investigation or other confidentiality interests” of the White House. The Justice Department turned over both the redacted and unredacted formats of the memos, as well as an unclassified version of the redacted version…


James Comey’s memos leaked. Read them here

by Washington Examiner Staff

{ } ~ The memos written by former FBI Director James Comey that were delivered to Congress by the Justice Department on Thursday… have been leaked. The memos were first obtained by the Associated Press and were subsequently posted online. Comey, who was fired by President Trump last May, said in congressional testimony he kept memos memorializing conversations with the president. Read the memos, in redacted form, below:


Were Missile Strikes in Syria ‘Unconstitutional’?

by John J. Bastiat: The latest bombshell in the leftist pile-on against President Donald Trump is the claim that his missile strikes on Syrian chemical weapons production and storage facilities were “unconstitutional.” This laugh-out-loud irony sources from the same treason-lobby that despises the U.S. Constitution — except when it can be used as a weapon to destroy the enemies of progressivism. Setting aside the president’s moral right to ignore a claim steeped in hypocrisy from a group that routinely elephant-stomps over the document to which it now self-righteously cleaves, the merits of the Left’s baseless claim face more than two centuries’ worth of rebuttals.

First, let’s make sure we address the strongest argument posed so we’re not knocking down a strawman. The most compelling line of reasoning for the Trump-acted-unconstitutionally crowd goes something like this: Either the president can never authorize military force without getting a declaration of war from Congress, or if he can, he must at least have congressional approval for the same. As a fallback position, any such authorization must at least be in direct self-defense of the U.S. or its forces, or else at a bare minimum critical U.S. national interests must be at stake.

At the outset we note some weaker proponents of the president’s authority as commander-in-chief (CINC) point to Congress’s authorization for the same under the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) public law (2001), passed by Congress in the immediate wake of 9/11. Failing this, they further point to authority under the War Powers Resolution (1973), passed as an ostensible check on the president’s power during Vietnam. But reliance on these authorizations is misplaced for a host of reasons, not least of which is the fact AUMF was directed solely to actions against al-Qaida and its affiliates or supporting states, and the War Powers Resolution has not been recognized by any president as a constitutionally permissible limitation upon CINC authority. It should also be noted that no federal court has upheld the resolution, and even Congress itself has refused to assert it. Moreover, the resolution explicitly states it cannot be read as authorization for the use of force. The simpler truth is that the president simply doesn’t need Congress’s permission to defend the nation.

That’s right: The president has inherent powers as commander-in-chief of America’s military. We know; this just in. But from where, specifically, do these derive? How about from the Constitution, for starters? Article II, Section 2, states, “The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States.” So far, so good. But from where do his independent powers to control the military derive? From the original conceptions of the Founders, as validated through their actions — as well as through the consistent actions of their successors down through the generations.

For example, in his “Pacificus” essays, Founder and Federalist Papers co-author Alexander Hamilton noted that the powers of war and peace are “a concurrent authority” shared by the executive and Congress, which he expounded in Federalist No. 74. Founder James Madison further noted that the constitutional language authorizing Congress to “declare war” was crafted in lieu of the originally drafted language giving Congress the power to “make war,” specifically so the CINC could respond to a “sudden attack.” The discarded, latter term encompassed all use of military force and Congress did not want to so limit CINC authority.

Madison further noted, however, strong opposition to ceding power to the executive to “commence” war — the idea being that the president could act immediately for defensive purposes, but would require deliberative, congressional approval to engage an enemy force offensively. Admittedly, the lines between “offensive” and “defensive” use of military force blur in the landscape of today’s threats and battle spheres, but the general idea in the Founders’ day was that the CINC could act immediately, whenever-wherever, to protect against imminent threats to national security, but would need Congress to authorize other uses of force.

So what actions of the Founders and their successors validate this notion of the CINC’s authority? George Washington’s actions in the Northwest Indian War (1793) come to mind, as do Thomas Jefferson’s against the Barbary pirates (1801) and James Monroe’s in Amelia Island (off the coast of modern-day Florida, 1817). We probably shouldn’t leave out Abraham Lincoln’s actions in the War Between the States (1861), or Woodrow Wilson’s in Mexico (1916) or Russia (1919). Harry Truman’s actions against communists in North Korea (1950) and John F. Kennedy’s nuclear brinksmanship in the Cuban Missile Crisis (1962) should not be forgotten for that matter, either.

In fact, every other president’s military actions since the Cuban Missile Crisis — notwithstanding sporadic, after-the-fact congressional stamps of approval validating such actions — have only reinforced this “CINC Doctrine,” whether under a Republican or Democrat president.

More proof? How about the fact that although the U.S. has used military force well over 100 times abroad, we — as a nation — have formally declared war only five times? These were the War of 1812; the Mexican-American War; the Spanish-American War; World War I and World War II. The remaining uses of force — from Washington to Trump — have been under the authority of the president, with or without congressional imprimatur.

The argument further goes, if the president indeed has these CINC powers, then how is Congress supposed to rein in a rogue president who is off the rails? Answer: The same way it did in America’s most unpopular modern-day conflict, Vietnam: By cutting funding. Both houses of Congress voted to cut funding for the Vietnam effort, overriding a presidential veto in the process. The move was further fueled by an overwhelming desire to terminate bombing in Cambodia, a use of U.S. military force enjoying virtually no support from the American public. Such congressional actions take courage, of course, but are nonetheless available as fail-safes to ensure the ultimate power over the military remains in the hands of America’s citizens.

From a commonsense standpoint, were the president required to wait for Congress to weigh in on every military action, U.S. national security could be threatened by the lack of expediency in the face of imminent threats. Such a vulnerability could be readily exploited by America’s adversaries to gain military and political advantage over the U.S. And ceding all CINC authority to Congress by accepting congressional approval to “legitimize” inherent Article II executive powers undermines fundamental constitutional separation-of-powers principles.

Circling back to the question of whether President Trump’s actions against Syria were constitutional, Syria used chemical weapons on its own people, has used them before and has indicated it would not hesitate to use them again. Now, whether this fact — considered in light of other threat factors in that volatile region — constitutes an imminent threat to U.S. security interests is difficult to say with any certainty. But one thing is certain: The president, as commander-in-chief, has the constitutional authority to make that assessment — and act on it, if need be — without blessing from Congress. ~The Patriot Post


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