Laura Ingraham: Lame duck negligence

Last week, President Trump threw down with Democrat leaders over his signature promise to build a wall. Well, naturally, open border Democrats desperate to replace you with new voters are digging in against the president. "President Trump should understand there are not the votes for the wall in the House or the Senate," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer … Continue reading “Laura Ingraham: Lame duck negligence”

Last week, President Trump threw down with Democrat leaders over his signature promise to build a wall. Well, naturally, open border Democrats desperate to replace you with new voters are digging in against the president.

"President Trump should understand there are not the votes for the wall in the House or the Senate," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said over the weekend. "He is not going to get the wall in any form."

Oh, no shock there. He's not thrilled about it. But what about the House GOP? Surely in their waning days of power, they have their priorities straight. They'll finally support the president's agenda and the rule of law. Right?

Well, not so much. Retiring House Speaker Paul Ryan seems to have his mind on other things, like his favorite Christmas movies.

"I like 'Elf.' I think 'Elf' is probably the — my favorite is 'It's a Wonderful Life.' It's one of my favorite movies of all time," Ryan said in a recent interview. "I love 'It's a Wonderful Life.' I watch it every Christmas. It's a thing I do. It's a thing I make my kids do. It's in black-and-white. They think they're very confused about that."

They are not the only ones confused. The cold, hard facts are this: Many Republicans have no desire at all to build the wall. They don't want to fund it and they don't want it or anything else that actually matters to the voters who elected them.

While they're still being paid to do the people's work, I think they've clearly moved on to merry-making, frivolity, talking about old family movies and family favorites. Meanwhile, the administration, however, is doing its best to light a fire under Congress. So what if they only have a few legislative days left in the majority?

However, as Monday's New York Times reports, the Republicans are not feeling the urgency at all. "Vanquished and retiring members are sick and tired of Washington and don't want to show up anymore to vote," the Times reports. "Many lawmakers, relegated to cubicles as incoming members take their offices, have been skipping votes in the weeks since the House Republicans were swept from power in the midterm elections, and Republican leaders are unsure whether they will ever return."

Oh, really? They know we, as taxpayers, should be unsure whether they are ever going to receive their last paychecks or maybe a chunk of their fat pensions, for that matter. This is a complete dereliction of duty when we have an ongoing emergency at our southern border. And they're worried about working out of a cubicle?

But let's not kid ourselves, my friends. The leadership of both parties, again, never wanted to fund the wall. Speaker Paul Ryan is a nice person, but he was always against it. Remember what he said back in October?

"We intend on having a full-fledged discussion about how to complete this mission of securing our border," he said. "And we will have a big fight about that. And we are going to be looking at doing just how – we'll figure out how to do it in December."

A full-fledged discussion? A fight? Well, we've had neither. And as I predicted in October, it's all talk, push it to right before Christmas, they'll do nothing.

Now, does Ryan really think we're all that stupid? And anyway, what's there to discuss? Secure the border. That's what we want. We have people pouring across our border, children dying from the trek because adults — they know that if they have a child with them, they're going to be processed and then they'll be released into the country. That's just the way it works.

The truth is, Republican leadership, for the most part, with few exceptions, again, never wanted a wall. They just want the appearance of border fortification.

"You need cameras. You need electronic devices," Ryan said in one Fox News interview. "You need these — you need the aerial devices to be able to place it in the mountainous areas. You can't build a wall over a mountain … So you need cameras and you need drones up there."

"You can't build a wall over a mountain." OK. Anyone and any time they start talking about sensors and drones, they're closer to the Schumer position than the Trump position.

This is why I repeatedly urged the Republicans to elect a new Speaker back when Ryan announced his retirement. They needed a strong leader who would help enact the president's agenda, not someone more focused on his long goodbye.

"I remember just being awestruck the first time I walked down that Senate aisle, that feeling just never goes away," Ryan said in his farewell to Congress. "I still feel it when I walk onto the floor each and every time. Since becoming Speaker of theHouse, which is not something that we're used to in Wisconsin, I'm the only 
one who's done that, I appreciate the indulgence of the people I work for who indulge the fact that I had other responsibilities in addition."

Well, that's sweet. That's a nice little farewell address. But we should have to indulge anyone working for us. Paul Ryan is a really kind person, and he's a nice man. And he's smart. And he always called the taxpayers his employers. I like that.

So shouldn't we the people expect our employees to work through their last day on the job? If we're in charge, we say, work. Right?

Well, given the lack of initiative in the House and absolutely no direction being given by leadership, you might wonder how the retiring speaker is spending his time. Well, prepare to put on a pair of fuzzy jammies and watch Paul Ryan, the Series.

Fire up the popcorn maker, kids. Come see how Paul Ryan did it. I love how they're worrying about running out of time in the little documentary. You know, we're running out of time, too — we're running out of time for America.

The Republicans were elected to Congress to move the Trump agenda. And in many cases, they have frustrated it. That is a fact.

Now, this is my last week on terrestrial radio. And I'm launching a new podcast in January. A lot of you have already heard about it. But my listeners today had this to say about the Republicans' refusal to do what's right at the border: "Purposefully incompetent, maliciously incompetent." "Political opportunists." "Infantile."

"Call your Congressmen people out there listening, call them, tell them no matter what to back our President," one viewer said.

And those are the nice things they said.

Well, you may have to call your congressman. There are reports that the Republicans are considering a continuing resolution scam where they would fund the government until September with no real money for the wall.

Now, the people in the White House cannot allow this. They should not stand for this. Bring on the shutdown. For all the bluster and the worry about a government shutdown, we all should realize one thing. With the exception of tax reform, which frankly could have been a lot better, and VA reform, which was good and needed, the government has essentially been shut down – shut down to the will of the American people – for two years. Does that sound harsh? Well, I'm telling you the way it is. Not the way you want it to be.

The Republicans were elected to Congress to move the Trump agenda. And in many cases, they have frustrated it. That is a fact.

They passed a massive defense spending bill without any offset and cuts – so much for spending caps. They secured no asylum reform. They did not end chain migration. They failed to produce an infrastructure bill. And they blocked the president's effort to fully fund his signature promise.

And the reason why many of them got into office in the first place? Well, it was supposed to be to build the border wall. Republicans are spending time and political capital this week on criminal justice reform, which I generally support. But this was not the reason the reason the American people turned out to vote in 2016. It's also not an emergency, whereas the disaster at the border really is.

So, whether they're retiring or returning in the New Year, Republicans should stay focused and in session through Christmas, if necessary, to get this wall funded. I know what you're saying. It'll never happen, Laura. It'll never happen.

Well, guess what? This is our country. This is what they promised to do, implicitly, when President Trump was elected.

And by the way, this goes for the White House as well. For the retirees, the holidays will be here soon enough. And they're going to have plenty of time to join Paul Ryan. They can binge-watch things like "It's a Wonderful Life" even as our political life becomes anything but.

Adapted from Laura Ingraham's monologue from "The Ingraham Angle" on December 17, 2018.

Laura Ingraham is the host of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) The Ingraham Angle (weeknights 10PM/ET). She joined the network in 2007 as a contributor.

Trump, Dems dig in as government shutdown looms: ‘I know of no plan’

President Trump and congressional Democrats remain sharply at odds over a spending package as Washington barrels toward a Friday at midnight deadline, leaving some on Capitol Hill increasingly worried that a Christmas government shutdown is in the making.

“I know of no plan,” Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas, said as he emerged from a leadership meeting late Monday, despite rumors and speculation of a possible way out of the legislative logjam.

The major sticking point continues to be Trump’s call for border wall funding. The president insists on $5 billion for a U.S.-Mexico wall, while Democrats don’t want to appropriate a dime more than $1.3 billion — for fencing and other border security but not necessarily a wall.

But White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders indicated Tuesday on Fox News that there’s room for compromise. She said on “America’s Newsroom” there are "other ways that we can get to that $5 billion," including a broader bill that would include $1.6 billion for a wall.

It's unclear whether that would sway Democrats.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer thundered from the floor late Monday that with just days before the deadline, “President Trump still doesn’t have a plan to keep the government open.”

Schumer maintained that Trump does not have the votes for a wall, at least in the Senate.

“So everyone knows the situation: even with a Republican Congress, no threat or temper tantrum will get the president his wall,” he said.

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But Trump suggested Monday that Democrats’ calls for border security ring hollow without support for the wall. “Anytime you hear a Democrat saying that you can have good Border Security without a Wall, write them off as just another politician following the party line. Time for us to save billions of dollars a year and have, at the same time, far greater safety and control!” he tweeted.

He followed up Tuesday morning: “Illegal immigration costs the United States more than 200 Billion Dollars a year. How was this allowed to happen?”

It’s unclear where that cost estimate originates.

One possible escape hatch for Congress and the president would be to approve a short-term funding measure known as a “CR,” a time-tested tactic for delaying difficult funding fights without immediately resolving them.

One senior Senate Republican source said after Monday’s leadership meeting that a CR may be necessary, but noted that it appears Trump is running out the clock to build pressure.

“We are as unsettled as we have been for some time,” one GOP source said.

Fox News is told there are some efforts to try to convince Trump that a short-term spending bill is better. That would give Trump the opportunity to fight next year over the wall.

“I’m not sure that will sell,” one source cautioned. Some in the White House’s legislative affairs shop are coming to Capitol Hill to discuss options, though multiple Republican sources on Capitol Hill say they are running out of time.

“There are not a lot of options and not a lot of certainty,” said one senior Republican source.

Several GOP sources suggest that the Trump administration has broad latitude to determine which workers are essential or not and may try to minimize the impact of a government shutdown. That would mean the shutdown could go for a while.

The ball seems to be in the president’s court: Lawmakers from both sides seem willing to punt into the New Year, and fight then.

Senate Democrats, meanwhile, continue to push the same plan offered during last week’s contentious Oval Office meeting with Trump. The proposal would wrap together six appropriations bills with a one-year spending measure for the Department of Homeland Security – including the $1.3 billion for border security. An alternative is a one-year funding package for all seven outstanding spending bills.

Fox News’ John Roberts and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Michael Flynn ex-associate pleads not guilty after charges of illegal lobbying for Turkey

An ex-business associate of former national security adviser Michael Flynn pleaded not guilty on Tuesday after being charged by a federal grand jury with alleged illegal lobbying on behalf of the Turkish government in the United States.

Bijan Rafiekian, also known as Bijan Kian, appeared in U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia on Tuesday and entered a not guilty plea. He requested a jury trial, which is now expected in early 2019.

Kian was charged after allegedly being involved in a conspiracy to “covertly influence U.S. politicians and public opinion” against a Turkish citizen living in the U.S. whose extradition had been requested by the Turkish government, according to an indictment unsealed on Monday. Kamil Ekim Alptekin of Istanbul was also charged.

That Turkish citizen is Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused of directing a failed coup.

FLYNN RESPONSES IN FATEFUL WHITE HOUSE INTERVIEW DOCUMENTED IN WITNESS REPORT RELEASED BY MUELLER

The alleged plot detailed in Monday’s indictment included using a company founded by Kian, referred to in the filing as “Company A,” based upon “Person A’s” national security expertise. Person A is Michael Flynn.

According to the indictment, the purpose of the conspiracy was to use Company A to “delegitimize the Turkish citizen in the eyes of the American public and United States politicians, with the goal of obtaining his extradition, which was meeting resistance at the U.S. Department of Justice.”

Kian and Alptekin allegedly sought to conceal that the Turkish government was directing the work. According to the indictment, Turkish cabinet-level officials approved the budget for the project, and Alptekin allegedly provided Turkish officials with updates on the project.

Both Kian and Alptekin failed to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), under which Flynn, the former White House national security adviser, also failed to register connected with his work with Turkey. According to the indictment, Rafiekian was vice chairman of Flynn's business group, the Flynn Intel Group. The two worked throughout 2016 to seek ways to have cleric Gulen extradited from the U.S. to Turkey.

MUELLER TEAM TURNS OVER MISSING FLYNN INTERVIEW DOCUMENT AFTER JUDGE'S ORDER

Kian is charged with conspiracy and acting as an illegal agent of the Turkish government. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of six years in prison for conspiracy, and 10 years for the charge of acting as a foreign agent. Alptekin is also charged with conspiracy and acting as an agent of Turkey, but also faces four counts of making false statements to the FBI. He faces up to 35 years in prison.

Meanwhile, Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI regarding his contacts with the former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and potential collusion with Trump campaign associates in the 2016 presidential election.

But according to Mueller’s statement of Flynn’s offense, the former national security adviser also made “materially false statements and omissions” in Foreign Agent Registration Act filings to the Justice Department regarding his lobbying projects with Turkey. In the FARA filing, Flynn allegedly falsely stated that his company, Flynn Intel Group Inc., “did not know whether or the extent to which the Republic of Turkey was involved” in a Turkey project, and that the project was focused on improving U.S. business organizations’ confidence regarding doing business in Turkey.

Mueller's office has only charged him with one count of false statements regarding his communications with the Russian ambassador. Flynn is expected in federal court later Tuesday for his sentencing hearing in connection with that charge. Earlier this month, Mueller's office recommended a lenient sentence for Flynn, with the possibility of no prison time, stating that Flynn had provided "substantial" help to federal investigators about "several ongoing investigations."

Fox News' Lillian LeCroy and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Trump signs memo directing Pentagon to establish Space Command

That’s one small signature for President Trump, one giant leap for the “space force.”

President Trump on Tuesday signed a memorandum that officially established the United States’ interstellar armed forces. The news was announced by Vice President Mike Pence during a speech Tuesday morning at the SpaceX Rocket Launch event in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

“Under his leadership the United States is taking steps to ensure that American national security is as dominant in space as it is here on Earth,” Pence said. “It is my privilege to announce that today, President Trump will direct the Department of Defense to establish a combatant command that will oversee all our military activities in space.”

Pence added: “The U.S. Space Command will integrate space capabilities across all branches of the military. It will develop the space doctrine tactics, techniques and procedures that will enable our war fighters to defend our nation in this new era.”

Officially called the United States Space Command, the new command will fall short of becoming a new branch of the armed services – or “space force” as Trump has said previously – but Pence noted in his remarks on Tuesday that Trump is expected to soon sign a policy directive laying out plans and a timeline to make the “space force” the sixth branch of the military.

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“We're working as we speak with leaders in both parties in Congress to stand up the United States Space Force before the end of 2020,” Pence said.

Besides establishing the “space force,” Trump’s memo also directs Secretary of Defense James Mattis to select commanding officers for the president’s nomination and for Senate approval.

The U.S. Air Force has operated U.S. Space Command since 1982 at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

The new command raises its profile, putting it on par with the current combatant commands such as U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), responsible for U.S. forces in the Middle East and Afghanistan, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) and U.S. Cyber Command.

The U.S. Space Command existed in this same capacity from 1982 to 2002. After the 9/11 attacks, it was moved under U.S. Strategic Command, responsible for all of the U.S. military’s nuclear weapons.

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Experts told Military.com shortly after Trump first floated the idea over this summer that the space force would need somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 active personnel – augmented by a small army of civilian contractors – and that a service academy like the U.S. Military Academy at West Point or the Air Force Academy in Colorado would need to be established to train its future leaders.

"The most compelling justification for an independent service for space is on the personnel side," said Todd Harrison, director of the Aerospace Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. "A grooming of a space cadre of space professionals … that's where the Air Force has not offered much in the way of reform.”

But maybe the biggest question is: What would the “space force” actually do?

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While some online commentators envision something akin to Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica, the reality would – at least in the foreseeable future – be more down to earth.

Inside the Pentagon, there is a small but vocal minority pushing programs such as anti-satellite weapons, missile detection capability and space-based solar power to counter mounting space threats from Russia and China. But others argue that the biggest danger to future space exploration is the debris floating around Earth’s orbit now.

Whatever the mission, experts tend to agree that a “space force” won’t be something that will be patrolling the final frontier anytime during Trump’s current presidential term.

“This is something that is going to take a long time to get running, three to five years if things run smoothly and this actually gets through Congress,” John Crassidis, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the University of Buffalo, told Fox News.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlison contributed to this report.

President Trump and Melania, Pence family, unveil official Christmas portraits

The official Christmas portraits for President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence have been released.

The first lady unveiled on Tuesday the photograph that was taken in the White House’s Cross Hall on Saturday during the Congressional Ball.

Melania Trump wore a white Celine gown while the president donned a suit and bowtie.

“Merry Christmas from President Donald J. Trump and First Lady Melania Trump. @POTUS & @FLOTUS are seen Saturday, December 15, in their official 2018 Christmas portrait, in the Cross Hall of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks)” a tweet from the first lady's official Twitter account read.

Karen Pence also tweeted out her official Christmas portrait with the vice president on Tuesday, which was taken on Dec. 8.

"We wish you a very Merry Christmas! The @VP and I took our official 2018 Christmas portrait on Saturday, December 8, at the Vice President's Residence at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. (Official White House Photo by Myles Cullen)" Pence's tweet read.

The Christmas portrait was noticeably not taken in the hallway featuring the now-infamous red Christmas trees that sparked social media backlash. The first lady’s office called the “forest” of red cone-shaped trees “a symbol of valor and bravery” — but many mocked the decorations.

MELANIA TRUMP BRUSHES OFF CHRISTMAS DECORATION CRITICS: 'I THINK THEY LOOK FANTASTIC'

The first lady later brushed off the criticism surrounding the White House Christmas decorations.

"It’s the 21st century and everybody has different tastes, I think they look fantastic,” she said during her appearance at Liberty University last month.

Katherine Lam is a breaking and trending news digital producer for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @bykatherinelam

Rep. Martha McSally appointed by Arizona governor to Senate seat held by John McCain

Republican Rep. Martha McSally, just weeks after losing one of the midterms' tightest and most contentious Senate races, was appointed by Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday to fill the state’s other U.S. Senate seat.

McSally will serve for at least the next two years in the seat that was held by longtime Arizona Sen. John McCain until his death in August.

“With her experience and long record of service, Martha is uniquely qualified to step up and fight for Arizona’s interests in the U.S. Senate,” Ducey said in a statement.

Ducey had appointed former Sen. Jon Kyl to the seat in September, but Kyl, after serving for several months, announced plans to resign at the end of the year. According to Ducey’s office, Kyl’s resignation will be effective Dec. 31.

McSally was defeated by Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in this year’s midterm election for the seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Jeff Flake. Her appointment means she will now serve alongside her opponent, something Ducey noted in his statement.

“I thank her for taking on this significant responsibility and look forward to working with her and Senator-Elect Sinema to get positive things done,” Ducey said.

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McSally will serve until the 2020 election, when voters will elect someone to serve the final two years of McCain's term.

Democrats hope that the state swings again in 2020 and are expected to target it both in the presidential race and the contest for McCain's seat. U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, former astronaut and current gun control advocate Mark Kelly and former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, who left the GOP this year, have all considered running as Democrats for the post.

The intense interest in the seat was a factor in Ducey's convoluted decisions. He initially appointed Kyl while the governor himself was campaigning for re-election. By picking Kyl, Ducey dodged tough political decisions that could have complicated his own re-election bid.

McSally is a two-term congresswoman who was long considered for the Senate by the state's GOP establishment. The first female combat pilot, McSally rose to the rank of colonel in the Air Force before entering politics.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

Democratic Party facing data challenges going into 2020: ‘We better get on the same page’

Democrats are on a high after winning back the House last month, but they have a looming problem they know they need to address: data. Specifically, getting all their voter data under one proverbial roof.

Heading into 2018, Democrats made a concerted effort to build a voter database that could compete with President Trump’s campaign operation and the sophisticated data-sharing program they have with the Republican National Committee. But, the Democratic National Committee is looking to take that a step further by unifying its data under one for-profit operation – but it's prompted pushback among state party leaders, according to Politico. The state party leaders reportedly fear losing ownership rights of this data to a large, national operation, while the DNC says bringing the data from outside groups together with state parties would create a more powerful tool looking ahead to 2020.

The problem for Democrats is not necessarily a lack of data.

DNC officials moved to ramp up their voter engagement program, IWillVote, ahead of the 2018 races. The program reached over 60 million people in the 2018 midterms. They did so by connecting with voters at events like March for Our Lives – though the DNC is not directly affiliated with it – to encourage people to fill out voter commitment cards. Through those cards, the DNC was able to collect personal information.

Anyone who committed to vote was then part of a digital “chase” program that used text and email methods to send people personalized information on their polling places — the first fully digital commit-to-vote and chase program of its time, according to one official.

"From Women's Marches to rallies in Congress, the DNC has organized around large grassroots gatherings to engage voters and harness the enthusiasm on the ground to translate to votes at the ballot box,” DNC spokeswoman Sabrina Singh said.

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The party also purchased over 110 million cell phone numbers to add to its voter file, collecting every available number for registered voters across the country. The DNC used these numbers to get out the vote in key races, contacting and encouraging less-frequent voters to turn out.

"Throughout the year, the DNC used this data to send more than 15 million state-specific peer-to-peer text messages through DNC-funded programs to engage voters to turn out in the midterm election,” Singh said.

According to Democratic strategists, however, the problem going forward is a lack of unity.

“If Democrats want any chance of winning in 2020 then we better get on the same page,” said a senior Democratic strategist and former state party official.

Much of the data on the Democratic side has come from marches and other political movements that turned their issue-based outreach into operations to get out the vote in the 2018 midterms. The Women’s March created the Power to the Polls effort to mobilize and register voters. The group also hosted “Call Your Sister” phone-banking events across the country that encouraged women to contact other women.

But, these are not run by the party.

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When compared with the RNC’s massive voter operation — which works in unison with the Trump campaign and the state party officials — this could put the Democrats at a disadvantage looking toward 2020 because they wouldn’t have as much compiled data for the eventual nominee.

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The former state party official who spoke with Fox News said the last time the DNC was truly unified in its data operation was under former chairman Howard Dean, when the party had a 50-state strategy. Dean left his post in 2009.

Doug Schoen, a Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor, agreed that the party would be better off if the data was under one operation — but he acknowledged that would be unlikely.

"Given the divisions in the party, and the mutual mistrust that exists between state and local parties, I doubt that this will ever, in fact, happen," he said.

POTENTIAL 2020 HOPEFUL SAYS TRUMP'S DAYS OF 'PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY' ARE OVER

Strategists have disagreed about whether Democrats are under pressure to compete with Trump’s operation and rally events.

The former state leader said that digital guru Brad Parscale’s new role as head of the 2020 Trump campaign should make Democrats nervous, while another said the recent midterms showed Democrats can compete in their own way.

“I think we did a pretty great job of that in the midterms and will be spending even more in a presidential cycle,” said Jessica Tarlov, a Democratic strategist and Fox News contributor. “We don't need to fight him with rallies of the same size. They're really only good for the crowd that's there and they're his die-hard supporters.”

She added that since the president is running for re-election, the rallies will mean less in terms of attracting support and predicted that they will also not be televised as much, which would mean less exposure.

“I think with Trump as a known quantity after four years in office, the rallies matter a lot less. He's not being introduced to any new audiences,” Tarlov said.

Fox News’ Peter Doocy contributed to this report.

Sally Persons is White House producer for Fox News Channel. Follow her on Twitter @sapersons.

Michael Flynn, former national security adviser, stands by guilty plea ahead of sentencing

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn stood by his plea in federal court Tuesday after pleading guilty more than a year ago to making false statements to the FBI — but his fate was in doubt as the judge abruptly tore into the defendant during his sentencing hearing.

Before sentencing, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan called Flynn and his attorneys to the stand and asked a series of questions to ensure Flynn did in fact want to plead guilty. Flynn said he did not want to withdraw his plea.

Later in the hearing, though, Sullivan ripped into Flynn, calling his plea "very serious" and accusing him of being an unregistered agent of a foreign country while serving as national security adviser. The judge even asked prosecutors if Flynn could have been charged with treason, which they hesitated to answer.

"Arguably, you sold your country out," Sullivan told Flynn, saying he would not hide his "disgust" or "disdain" for the offense.

The prosecution told Sullivan that Flynn played a role in the indictment this week of two Flynn associates charged with illegally lobbying for Turkey without properly registering under the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). They said Flynn could have been indicted in that case had he not cooperated.

The court went into a brief recess before Sullivan proceeded to sentencing. Flynn has since returned to the courtroom.

The bureau, meanwhile, has faced mounting criticism from Trump allies in recent days over its handling of the original Flynn interview that led to the false-statement charge, after it was revealed bureau leaders discouraged Flynn from having a lawyer present and some inside the FBI had doubts about whether he intentionally lied. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team defended investigators' actions, but also urged a lenient sentence.

Ahead of the hearing, Mueller's team recommended that Flynn be spared jail time, citing his cooperation with the special counsel probe as part of a deal with prosecutors in December 2017.

The president on Tuesday expressed his support for Flynn ahead of the sentencing.

“Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn,” the president tweeted. “Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!”

The sentencing follows the rapid rise – and fall – of Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general and director of the Defense Intelligence Agency who joined the Trump campaign as an adviser on national security issues in 2016.

After Trump’s election, Flynn – who had been floated as a possible running mate to Trump – was named national security adviser but his tenure at the White House was brief. Flynn was fired in February 2017 after misleading Vice President Pence and other officials about his contacts with then-Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

FLYNN RESPONSES IN FATEFUL WHITE HOUSE INTERVIEW DOCUMENTED IN WITNESS REPORT RELEASED BY MUELLER

By the end of 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI about his conversations with Kislyak. This was in connection with a January 2017 interview by two FBI agents about those discussions with Kislyak — specifically regarding then-President Barack Obama's recently imposed sanctions for election meddling.

Out of work and under investigation, Flynn faced mounting legal bills that forced him to sell his home amid the prosecution.

At the time of his guilty plea, Flynn said in a written statement that "I recognize that the actions I acknowledged in court today were wrong, and, through my faith in God, I am working to set things right. My guilty plea and agreement to cooperate with the Special Counsel's Office reflect a decision I made in the best interests of my family and of our country. I accept full responsibility for my actions."

But since then, questions have been raised about the FBI’s conduct in interviewing and prosecuting Flynn, and whether the former national security adviser actually deliberately lied to agents.

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Recent memos released by the FBI indicate the FBI discouraged Flynn from having an attorney present during the questioning. Those memos also show that FBI agents did not instruct Flynn that any false statements he made could constitute a crime, and decided not to "confront" him directly about anything he said that contradicted their knowledge of his wiretapped communications with Kislyak. One of the agents who conducted the Flynn interview, Peter Strzok, was later fired from the Russia probe in late July 2017 over his apparent anti-Trump bias.

Fired FBI Director James Comey also admitted earlier this month that the FBI's move not to involve the White House Counsel — which the FBI usually involves in any interviews with senior White House officials — was not standard protocol, and that the FBI felt it could get "away with" the tactic in the early days of the Trump administration.

Some Republicans have accused the FBI of misconduct over their prosecution of Flynn.

Speaking to "Fox News Sunday," Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani flatly alleged that Flynn had been "railroaded" and "framed."

"What they did to General Flynn should result in discipline," Giuliani told host Chris Wallace on Sunday. "They’re the ones who are violating the law.

Hours before Flynn was set to be sentenced, a new FD-302 witness report from the FBI was released shedding more light on Flynn’s fateful interview with the FBI — indicating Flynn issued few definitive statements in response to FBI agents' questions, and at various points suggested that such conversations might have happened or that he could not recall them if they did.

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The document stated that Flynn told agents "not really" and "I don't remember" when they asked if he had requested Kislyak and the Russians not engage in a "tit-for-tat" with the U.S. government over the Obama administration's sanctions in December 2016.

Flynn was not charged with wrongdoing as a result of the substance of his calls with the Russian ambassador.

Fox News’ Kelly Phares and Gregg Re contributed to this report.

Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.

Tucker Carlson responds to his immigration critics: We’re not intimidated, we’ll continue to tell the truth

We’ve talked a lot on this show about the threat to free speech. It turns out it’s very real.

Here’s one example: Last week, we interviewed a man named Genaro Lopez. Lopez is an elected official in Tijuana, Mexico. He’s exactly the kind of person you’d think a lot of American journalists would want to talk to. For months, the media have demanded that the migrant caravan from Honduras must be admitted into the United States. Once it gets here, they’ve told us, our country will be greatly improved by its presence. That’s how immigration works.

OK. It turns out we can test that hypothesis. That very same caravan, the one they’ve been telling you about, is now encamped in Tijuana. It’s been there for weeks. Simple question: Has the caravan made Tijuana better? Genaro Lopez would know the answer. His job is to represent the citizens of that city. We’ve invited Lopez on twice to ask about the caravan. He’s some of what he told us. 
 
I asked him, "Behind you it seems that somebody's cleaning up garbage. Is there a lot of trash there?"

Lopez responded: "There's a lot of trash because, what I was trying to tell you, the 360 [people we had here] grew to 6,200. And that's why it got out of hand. So, we got another facility. It's a big concert hall where you can have like 10,000 people under a roof."

That was on December 3. Ten days later, we invited Genaro Lopez back on to the show to see how Tijuana was doing.

Nobody else in the media seemed interested in what had happened to the caravan. As long as the migrants remained in Mexico, they couldn’t really be used to attack Donald Trump. So the press moved on to the next dumb, shiny thing. But we were interested. Here’s what Lopez told us:

"Things aren't getting better. They're probably getting worse," he said. "Last weekend, we issued an ultimatum to all the Hondurans and Guatemalans that are camping out here on the street. They're blocking the street. And they're bringing all their necessities, trashing the street. … Problems are still going on. There's been like 280 arrests. Before, it was solely for drug possession and being drunk in the streets. Now, it's for breaking and entering into homes."

Trashing the street. Doing drugs in public. Blocking traffic. Breaking into homes. That’s not at all what CNN promised us.

Was Genaro Lopez one of those white nationalists the New York Times is always warning us about? Did he make the whole thing up, pictures and all, for his own sick, bigoted reasons?

Possibly. Or maybe, and this was our conclusion, there could be a lesson here for the United States. Here’s what we said that night on the show:

"Our country's economy is becoming more automated and tech-centered by the day. It's obvious that we need more scientists and skilled engineers. But that's not what we're getting. Instead, we're getting waves of people with high school educations or less. Nice people, no one doubts that but as an economic matter, this is insane. It's indefensible, so nobody even tries to defend it. Instead, our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world's poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided."

In a fast-evolving economy, it could be preferable to import more engineers, and fewer people with low skills, no matter how nice or well-meaning those people might be. And we always assume they are.

That’s what we said. That was our claim. And it’s hard to argue with that. In fact, nobody on the left did argue with it. They ignored it. Instead, they zeroed in on the last line: “The left says we have a moral obligation to admit the world's poor, even if it makes our own country more like Tijuana is now, which is to say poorer and dirtier and more divided.”

That’s what we said. It’s true. Ask Genaro Lopez. Thanks to the efforts of the American left, he and his city are living with the consequences. But precisely because it is so obviously true, saying it out loud is a threat. Our immigration policy exists for the profit and the comfort of a relatively tiny number of people. Everybody else gets shafted, including Genaro Lopez and an awful a lot of people just like him. Meanwhile, the people profiting from the policy don’t want the rest of us to think about it too much. They want us just to mouth the empty platitudes and move on. Nothing to see here. Shut up and go away.

Those who won’t shut up get silenced. You’ve seen it a million times. It happens all the time. The enforcers scream “racist!” on Twitter until everyone gets intimidated, and changes the subject to the Russia investigation or some other distraction.

It’s a tactic. A well-worn one. Nobody thinks it's real. And it won’t work with this show. We’re not intimidated. We plan to try to say what’s true until the last day. And the truth is, unregulated mass immigration has badly hurt this country’s natural landscape. 
 
Take a trip to our southwestern deserts, if you don’t believe it. Thanks to illegal immigration, huge swaths of the region are covered with garbage and waste that degrade the soil and kill wildlife.

The Arizona Department of Environment Quality estimates that each illegal border crosser leaves six to eight pounds of trash during the journey into our country. If you’re interested in more detail, look at the website they’ve created, it’s called Arizona Border Trash. It’s dedicated to highlighting and cleaning up the thousands of tons of garbage strewn across Arizona by immigrants every year.
 
Illegal immigration comes at a huge cost to our environment. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) put it this way: “Illegal border activity on federal lands not only threatens people, but endangered species and the land itself. Illegal aliens and smugglers have destroyed cactus and other sensitive vegetation that can take decades to recover, including habitat for endangered species. One land management official described another federal property on Arizona’s border as so unsafe and with resources so destroyed that it is now primarily used for illegal activities and no longer visited by the general public.” 
 
Keep in mind this is not a press release from Donald Trump’s campaign team.That’s a federal study from 2002. That was back when people could do science without getting fired for it. 
 
The left used to care about the environment – the land, the water, the animals. They understood that America is beautiful because it is open and uncrowded.

Not so long ago, environmentalists opposed mass immigration. They knew what the costs were. They still know. But they don’t care.

We do care. And we’re going to continue telling you about it. We think you have a right to know. No matter what they say.

Tucker Carlson currently serves as the host of FOX News Channel’s (FNC) Tucker Carlson Tonight (weekdays 8PM/ET). He joined the network in 2009 as a contributor.

Trump Foundation agrees to dissolve after lawsuit alleged ‘illegal conduct’

The Donald J. Trump Foundation agreed to dissolve “under judicial supervision” on Tuesday, as part of the New York State attorney general’s lawsuit against it alleging illegal conduct and “unlawful political coordination” to benefit President Trump's personal and business interests.

Attorney General Barbara Underwood brought the suit against the Foundation in June, following a months-long investigation led by disgraced former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

On Tuesday, Underwood announced that, following a court decision in favor of the attorney general, the Foundation “signed a stipulation” agreeing to dissolve, distributing the remaining charitable assets of the Foundation “to reputable organizations approved” by her office.

“Our petition detailed a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation – including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more,” Underwood said in a statement Tuesday. “This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.”

NEW YORK AG FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST TRUMP FOUNDATION FOR ALLEGED 'ILLEGAL CONDUCT'; TRUMP SAYS HE 'WON'T SETTLE'

She added: “This is an important victory for the rule of law, making clear that there is one set of rules for everyone. We’ll continue to move our suit forward to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of federal and state law.”

The suit claims that Trump used the foundation’s charitable assets to pay off his legal obligations, promote Trump brand hotels and business, and to purchase personal items. The suit also claims that the foundation “illegally provided extensive support to his 2016 presidential campaign by using the Trump Foundation’s name and funds it raised from the public to promote his campaign for presidency.”

The suit seeks to ban President Trump from future service as a director of a New York non-profit for 10 years, and ban his sons Eric and Donald Jr., and daughter Ivanka from service for one year.

In a statement to Fox News, Trump Organization attorney Alan Futerfas said the foundation has been looking to shut down since Trump was elected to office.

“Contrary to the NYAG’s misleading statement issued earlier today, the Foundation has been seeking to dissolve and distribute its remaining assets to worthwhile charitable causes since Donald J. Trump’s victory in the 2016 Presidential election," Futerfas said in a statement to Fox News. "Unfortunately, the NYAG sought to prevent dissolution for almost two years, thereby depriving those most in need of nearly $1.7 million. Over the past decade, the Foundation is proud to have distributed approximately $19 million, including $8.25 million of the President’s personal money, to over 700 different charitable organizations with virtually zero expenses. The NYAG’s inaccurate statement of this morning is a further attempt to politicize this matter.”

WHERE ARE TRUMP FOUNDATION FUNDS ACTUALLY GOING?

Underwood took over the investigation into the organization in May, after Schneiderman stepped down following the publication of a damning report by The New Yorker, detailing four women’s claims that he had repeatedly hit them, threatened them and demeaned them. The graphic accusations included choking a former girlfriend and demanding another, who was born in Sri Lanka and whom Schneiderman reportedly referred to as his “brown slave,” call him “Master.”

The Manhattan District Attorney opened an investigation into Schneiderman following the explosive report that prompted his stunning fall from grace.

Fox News' Kristin Brown and Lissa Kaplan contributed to this report. 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.