Day: February 17, 2017

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Trump to interview trio of candidates to replace Flynn 


UN Ambassador John Bolton, retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg and Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster will meet with Trump at Mar-a-Lago. (AP Photo, AP Photo, Wikipedia Commons)

President Trump will interview three candidates this weekend for White House national security adviser, a position left vacant after the president called for Gen. Mike Flynn’s resignation on Monday.

Similar to the manner in which Trump conducted interviews during his transition, the president asked all three men to meet at Mar-a-Lago for separate sit-downs with him and his aides.

Those invited include former UN Ambassador John Bolton, retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg and Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. Kellogg was spotted boarding Air Force One with Trump on his way to his beachside club in West Palm Beach, Fla. and was praised by the president in a tweet early Friday morning.

Bolton was thrown into the mix on Friday after Texas Sen. Ted Cruz floated his name in an interview with CNN. The former Bush administration official had previously been under consideration for secretary of state.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Friday that the administration does not have a specific timeline on when they plan to fill the post.

Trump tweets 'fake news media' is 'the enemy of the American people'

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The president’s relationship with the press has been especially shaky in recent weeks.

02/17/17 4:57 PM

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Susan Sarandon: Pruitt is 'the end of the EPA'


Sarandon also declared that a "revolution is taking place." (Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

In an interview with PrideSource, celebrated actress Susan Sarandon predicted Scott Pruitt would mark “the end of the EPA.”

Pruitt was confirmed as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency Friday in a bipartisan vote with the help of Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Heidi Heitkamp.

In the PrideSource interview published on Tuesday, Sarandon was asked whether she stands by her decision not to support Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.

“The important thing right now is that we stop harping on blame, because blame, if you really want me to talk about this election — you know, I was not the person who brought Trump into power,” Sarandon said.

She continued, “To talk about this, for me, is a waste of energy. I think right now we’re about to appoint Scott Pruitt, which is the end of the EPA, and we’ve got this gal, DeVos.”

Sarandon, who also declared that a “revolution is taking place,” encouraged activists to start, “applying their anger and their energy to rectifying what’s going on.”

In a statement tweeted out shortly after Pruitt’s confirmation, the EPA said, “We’d like to congratulate Mr. Pruitt on his confirmation! We look forward to welcoming him to EPA.”

Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

Democrats flag Fannie backing of Blackstone rental houses

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10 lawmakers question why the bailed-out mortgage buyer is aiding a private-equity company.

02/17/17 5:18 PM

Trump tweets 'fake news media' is 'the enemy of the American people'

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The president’s relationship with the press has been especially shaky in recent weeks.

02/17/17 4:57 PM

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Alan Dershowitz op-ed: Trump says Palestinians must earn a two-state solution


President Trump raised eyebrows when he mentioned the possibility of a one-state solution. The context was ambiguous and no one can know for sure what message he was intending to convey. One possibility is that he was telling the Palestinian leadership that if they want a two-state solution, they have to do something. They have to come to the negotiating table with the Israelis and make the kinds of painful sacrifices that will be required from both sides for a peaceful resolution to be achieved. Put most directly, the Palestinians must earn the right to a state. They are not simply entitled to statehood, especially since their leaders missed so many opportunities over the years to secure a state. As Abba Eben once put it: “The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

It began back in the 1930s, when Great Britain established the Peale Commission which was tasked to recommend a solution to the conflict between Arabs and Jews in mandatory Palestine. It recommended a two-state solution with a tiny non-contiguous Jewish state alongside a large Arab state. The Jewish leadership reluctantly accepted this sliver of a state; the Palestinian leadership rejected the deal, saying they wanted there to be no Jewish state more than they wanted a state of their own.

In 1947, the United Nations partitioned mandatory Palestine into two areas: one for a Jewish state; the other for an Arab state. The Jews declared statehood on 1948; all the surrounding Arab countries joined the local Arab population in attacking the new state of Israel and killing one percent of its citizens, but Israel survived.

In 1967, Egypt and Syria were planning to attack and destroy Israel, but Israel preempted and won a decisive victory, capturing the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Sinai. Israel offered to return captured areas in exchange for peace, but the Arabs met with Palestinian leaders in Khartoum and issued their three infamous “no’s”: no peace, no recognition, and no negotiation.

In 2000-2001 and again in 2008, Israel made generous peace offers that would have established a demilitarized Palestinian state, but these offers were not accepted. And for the past several years, the current Israeli government has offered to sit down and negotiate a two-state solution with no pre-conditions— not even advanced recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. The Palestinian leadership has refused to negotiate.

President Trump may be telling them that if they want a state they have to show up at the negotiating table and bargain for it. No one is going to hand it to them on a silver platter in the way that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon handed over the Gaza strip in 2005, only to see it turned into a launching pad for terror rockets and terror tunnels. Israel must get something in return: namely real peace and a permanent end to the conflict.

The Palestinian leadership’s unwillingness to come to the negotiating table reminds me of my mother’s favorite Jewish joke about Sam, a 79-year-old man who prayed every day for God to let him win the New York lottery before he turns 80. On the eve of his 80th birthday, he rails against God:

“All these years I’ve prayed to you every day asking to win the lottery. You couldn’t give me that one little thing!” God responded: “Sam, you have to help me out here— buy a ticket!!”

The Palestinians haven’t bought a ticket. They haven’t negotiated in good faith. They haven’t accepted generous offers. They haven’t made realistic counter proposals. They haven’t offered sacrifices to match those offered by the Israelis.

Trump tweets 'fake news media' is 'the enemy of the American people'

Also from the Washington Examiner

The president’s relationship with the press has been especially shaky in recent weeks.

02/17/17 4:57 PM

Now President Trump is telling them that they have to “buy a ticket.” They are not going to get a state by going to the United Nations, the European Union or the international criminal court. They aren’t going to get a state as a result of the BDS or other anti-Israel movements. They will only get a state if they sit down and negotiate in good faith with the Israelis.

The Obama administration applied pressures only to the Israeli side, not to the Palestinians. The time has come – indeed it is long past – for the United States to tell the Palestinians in no uncertain terms that they must negotiate with Israel if they want a Palestinian state, and they must agree to end the conflict, permanently and unequivocally. Otherwise, the status quo will continue, and there will be only one state, and that state will be Israel.

The Palestinians are not going to win the lottery without buying a ticket.

Alan Dershowitz (@AlanDersh) is the Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Emeritus, at Harvard Law School and author of “Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law” and “Electile Dysfunction: A Guide for the Unaroused Voter.” This article was previously published in Gatestone.

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.

Cuban nationals deported for first time since end of 'wet foot-dry foot'

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Two Cuban nationals have been flown back to their home country.

02/17/17 4:00 PM

Trump tweets 'fake news media' is 'the enemy of the American people'

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The president’s relationship with the press has been especially shaky in recent weeks.

02/17/17 4:57 PM



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Trump tweets 'fake news media' is 'the enemy of the American people'


President Trump on Friday referred to the New York Times, CNN, NBC News, ABC News, and CBS News as the “fake news media” and called them the “enemy of the American people.”

“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @CNN, @NBCNews and many more) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people. SICK!” Trump wrote in a tweet, before deleting it minutes later.

Shortly after, Trump tweeted the same message, but added ABC and CBS to the list.

“The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!” Trump tweeted.

Trump has taken to calling coverage he doesn’t like “fake news.” He lambasted the press at a White House briefing Thursday afternoon, when reporters asked him about the circumstances of former national security adviser Mike Flynn firing this week. Trump has denied the details of the some of the reporting of the episode, accusing the media of misreporting on his administration to discredit him.

Cuban nationals deported for first time since end of 'wet foot-dry foot'

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Two Cuban nationals have been flown back to their home country.

02/17/17 4:00 PM



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Veterans Affairs official mocking Trump over Twitter


A Department of Veterans Affairs official with a job related to public outreach has been regularly mocking President Trump on Twitter, which could raise questions over his ability to keep his job at the VA.

Timothy Lawson is a Marine veteran who hosts the department’s podcasts, but in recent weeks, he has made fun of Trump over his Twitter feed to his more than 5,000 followers.

That could put his job at risk, as some federal workers have already been fired for making public statements in opposition to Trump. For example, an official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development was let go from the agency because he wrote an anti-Trump op-ed last year.

Lawson has made it clear he opposes Trump in a series of tweets, including one from just days after the November election in which he indicated he doesn’t accept that Trump won.

Just this week, Lawson sent out a 2014 tweet from Trump that said under President Obama, “we are a rudderless ship heading for a major disaster.”

“A man ahead of his time,” Lawson said of that tweet.

Also this week, Lawson retweeted a tweet from someone who wrote about an interaction between Trump and an aggressive reporter on Thursday, “This needs to happen on EVERY lie. It’s up to the press to do this EVERY time. Go hard, y’all. On EVERY lie.”

Supreme Court to hear Missouri religious liberty case in late spring

Also from the Washington Examiner

At issue is the state’s decision to bar a church from receiving state funding for playground resurfacing.

02/17/17 2:59 PM

Lawson has retweeted other tweets making fun of Trump. He retweeted a video that was doctored to appear as if Trump just wrote the alphabet and showed it off to applause in the White House.

He retweeted a story that said the White House posted the wrong versions of Trump’s recent executive orders on the White House website.

Ted Cruz: John Bolton a 'very strong' choice to replace Mike Flynn

Also from the Washington Examiner

Sen. Cruz said Bolton would be a “very, very strong” choice for national security adviser.

02/17/17 2:54 PM

Lawson also posted a video of Saturday Night Live’s skit mocking White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

A spokesman for the VA said there are “no official policies” on what VA employees say on their personal Twitter accounts,” and said the VA believes Lawson’s tweeting does not affect his ability to do his job.

“I’ve spoken with Tim’s supervisor and learned that whatever personal opinions he has in no way affect his ability to do his job for the Department of Veterans Affairs or for Veterans,” said spokesman Randal Noller.

Trump touts jobs at Boeing visit: 'American industry is roaring back'

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“Already American industry is roaring back,” Trump said.

02/17/17 1:56 PM



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Boeing *loves* the Export-Import Bank, but Boeing doesn't *need* the Export-Import Bank


The Export-Import Bank of the United States is also known as “Boeing’s Bank,” because about 40 percent of its financing, in the average year, goes to subsidize Boeing sales.

Boeing spends a lot of time and money lobbying in favor of Ex-Im. One interesting detail: Kevin Varney, recently a vice president at Ex-Im is now chief of staff for government operations at Boeing.

Boeing says they desperately need Ex-Im financing — that is, U.S. taxpayer guarantees for private bank loans to foreign airlines — but the evidence suggests Boeing finds financing sells jets just fine without the subsidy.

“If the US Export-Import charter is not renewed,” a Goldman Sachs aircraft-industry analysis wrote in recent years, “we believe the overall impact in the near-to-medium term would be fairly limited given the robust financing environment at present….”

The Goldman note added: “It would only require a small step up from each of the many other sources of financing to fill an Ex-Im gap … a marginal impact to an otherwise very strong existing backlog and ongoing order trends.”

You see, Boeing has its own bank besides Ex-Im. It’s called Boeing Capital, and the head of Boeing Capital explained to the Wall Street Journal in 2013, that “he was confident the company could find alternative funding sources for customers that wouldn’t require it to boost its support of aircraft sales.”

Here’s a chart Boeing put out during that 2014 debate over Ex-Im. It compares the relative strength of different sources of financing for selling planes.

The first thing you’ll notice is that there are plenty of sources for aircraft finance. The second is that they’re all good and getting better except for financing from “Export Credit Agencies,” — that is, from Ex-Im.

Supreme Court to hear Missouri religious liberty case in late spring

Also from the Washington Examiner

At issue is the state’s decision to bar a church from receiving state funding for playground resurfacing.

02/17/17 2:59 PM

This year, the outlook is even better. Boeing Capital says “the aircraft finance industry is in a healthy state, with ample liquidity, a wide diversity of funding options, and an overall positive outlook for 2017.”

They said this at a time that Ex-Im lacked a quorum on its board of directors, and thus could not approve the large subsidies that go to Boeing buyers.

Here’s what I wrote in 2014:

“Emirates, Dubai’s flagship airline,” Reuters reported this week, “would not have trouble buying planes from Boeing Co. even if the U.S. Congress fails to renew the U.S. Export-Import Bank’s charter later this month, a senior company executive said on Friday.”
Another important factor: many of Boeing’s customers are owned by governments. Ex-Im approved $40.5 billion in guarantees to airlines from 2007-2014. More than $19.5 billion of this (48%) went to government-owned airlines like Air China.

Timothy P. Carney, The Washington Examiner’s commentary editor, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Tuesday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.

Ted Cruz: John Bolton a 'very strong' choice to replace Mike Flynn

Also from the Washington Examiner

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz wants President Trump to pick John Bolton to replace Mike Flynn as national security adviser.

In an interview with CNN on Friday, the Texas lawmaker said Bolton would be “very, very strong” choice as someone who understands threats posed by radical Islamic terrorism and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

.@tedcruz tells @mkraju that John Bolton should get the nod for the vacant National Security Advisor job https://t.co/PpKyty1hah— CNN Newsroom (@CNNnewsroom) February 17, 2017

Flynn resigned Monday amid leaks that showed he misled Vice President Mike Pence about his communications with a Russian envoy about sanctions before the inauguration.

02/17/17 2:54 PM

Trump touts jobs at Boeing visit: 'American industry is roaring back'

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“Already American industry is roaring back,” Trump said.

02/17/17 1:56 PM



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The AP blew it big time on that National Guard roundup story


The Associated Press dropped the ball Friday with a supposed scoop alleging President Trump is considering deploying approximately 100,000 National Guard units to round up illegal immigrants.

The Department of Homeland Security is considering no such thing, the agency’s secretary, John F. Kelly, claimed after the story’s publication.

The leaked DHS memo on which the entire AP report hinges was only an early, pre-decision draft, and it wasn’t written by Kelly, according to federal officials.

The draft memo doesn’t specifically suggest nationalizing the National Guard. The draft memo also never used the 100,000 figure cited by the AP, though it’s possible the news group came to that number by tallying the number of troops currently stationed in the 11 states where the National Guard would supposedly be used to crack down on illegal immigration. However, that doesn’t change that the draft memo cited by AP never suggested using National Guard units for the specific purpose of rounding up illegal immigrants.

Further, there is nothing in the AP’s report to indicate the president was ever aware of any such proposal.

In short, the AP story is the exact opposite of enlightening.

“We stand by our reporting,” the group’s spokeswoman, Laura Easton, told the Washington Examiner.

Their original headline read Friday morning, “Trump weighs mobilizing Nat Guard for immigration roundups.”

The global newswire said elsewhere in an alert on social media, “BREAKING: Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants.”

Boeing *loves* the Export-Import Bank, but Boeing doesn't *need* the Export-Import Bank

Also from the Washington Examiner

Boeing spends a lot of time and money lobbying in favor of Ex-Im.

02/17/17 1:32 PM

Reporters and pundits reacted with the usual mixture of shock, horror, dismay and lots of allusions to the Nazis.

“This isn’t going to end well. Remember Yellow Badge and Jews?” said Agence France-Presse’s Vishal Manve.

Gigantic magazine editor Lincoln Michel remarked elsewhere, “Yes, you are a literal Nazi if you support this.”

“This would literally lead families and children hiding in attics. Again, we’ve seen this before,” said the New York Daily News’ senior justice writer Shaun King.

McCain tells Europe: Trump team 'in disarray'

Also from the Washington Examiner

“Make no mistake, my friends, these are dangerous times but you should not count America out,” he said.

02/17/17 1:29 PM

White House and DHS officials fiercely disputed the report immediately following its publication Friday morning.

“The report referenced by the AP was a very early, pre-decisional draft that never made it to the Secretary,” Kelly said.

DHS confirmed that the memo is indeed authentic. But they also said it was “never seriously considered.”

AP didn’t release a copy of the draft memo in its original report. It was on reporters at competing newsrooms Friday to get ahold of the document to see for themselves what was actually floated by government officials. Unfortunately for the AP, what reporters found didn’t quite match up with what was reported.

The news group responded Friday to criticism by stressing it contacted the administration several times for comment prior to publishing the report. The AP said its repeated requests for clarity went unanswered.

“AP reached out to the White House repeatedly beginning 24 hours before publishing this story and also asked the Department of Homeland Security for comment prior to publication,” Easton told the Examiner.

If true, it’s a bit odd that the White House reportedly ignored requests for comment, while being so ready to go on the record to dispute the story.

AP has since amended its report’s headline so that it now reads, “AP Exclusive: DHS weighed Nat Guard for immigration roundups.”

However, by mid-afternoon Friday, long after the administration and the AP’s own reporting called the story into question, the global newswire’s social media account was still pushing the headline, “Trump weighs mobilizing National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants in 11 states.”

The AP’s social media account doubled-down later Friday afternoon, and claimed the draft memo, “proves Trump had considered mobilizing the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants.”

Here’s a copy of the memo that supposedly reveals Trump’s master immigration plan:

Trump touts jobs at Boeing visit: 'American industry is roaring back'

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“Already American industry is roaring back,” Trump said.

02/17/17 1:56 PM



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After Trump, Andrew Jackson drops on historian's list of best presidents


Andrew Jackson dropped on the list from 13th to 18th best president and already some are blaming President Trump. (iStock by Getty Images)

Andrew Jackson has been going through a rough streak lately. First the frontier president got booted from the twenty-dollar bill and now he’s been downgraded on C-SPAN’s 2017 Presidential History Survey.

Jackson dropped on the list from 13th to 18th best president and already some are blaming President Trump. It could be a sign that populism won’t fare well throughout history. Or more likely it could show that modern historians are really petty when putting together listicles.

It’s not like Jackson’s record has changed since 2009 when C-SPAN last gathered its gaggle of academics to hand out posthumous awards to the best presidents in history. Only politics is different.

Think pieces abound about the comparison between our current executive, who hails from Queens, and Old Hickory from Tennessee. And sure, there are some obvious similarities Both rallied big crowds, were hated by political elites, and spoke directly to the people. Perhaps that press appraisal inspired Trump to hang Jackson’s portrait recently in the Oval Office.

On the other hand, the two couldn’t be more different. Unlike Trump, Jackson was a man of intense personal honor, an opponent of crony capitalism, and an advocate for the decentralization of power.

Either way, the whole C-SPAN ranking seems unserious. It’s like the top friends of presidential history. More than anything, it inspires a fun sort of political gamesmanship.

The GOP will cheer that Republican Abraham Lincoln still tops the list and Democrats will trumpet Barack Obama’s promising No. 12 rank. And though good for snarky tweets, the historical listicle shouldn’t be given much credence just yet.

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

The AP blew it big time on that National Guard roundup story

Also from the Washington Examiner

In short, the AP story is the exact opposite of enlightening.

02/17/17 2:26 PM

Trump touts jobs at Boeing visit: 'American industry is roaring back

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“Already American industry is roaring back,” Trump said.

02/17/17 1:56 PM

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Italian carnival float features giant Trump head


One float, called "Big Bang," is a commentary on the new U.S. president and America's gun culture at the annual Carnival of Viareggio event.

A glitzy festival in Tuscany, Italy this month features a taste of the United States, in the form of cowboy gunslingers and President Trump’s head.

The annual Carnival of Viareggio event dates back to 1873, and is a well-known European tradition that is full of colorful costumes, music and floats. One float, called “Big Bang,” is a commentary on the new U.S. president and America’s gun culture.

“In the America that has elected Donald Trump as the next president of the United States, there are those who are fighting in defence of the constitutional law for the right to bear arms,” the float’s description says, according to the Guardian. “The consequences, however, are clear when one looks at the long list of crimes or of domestic accidents caused by the use of guns and rifles. Just as if we were in a modern saloon of the wild west, in the artists’ view Donald Trump is the symbol of all this.”

The float, created by the Cinquini brothers, has a giant representation of Trump’s gaping maw. On his head stands someone dressed up as the Statue of Liberty. The float also has neon light displays, reminiscent of downtown Las Vegas, including a cowboy brandishing a pistol and flashing a thumbs up.

Senate confirms Scott Pruitt to head EPA

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McConnell said “enough is enough” to the Democratic opposition on the floor ahead of the vote.

02/17/17 1:15 PM

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The media adopts a Brezhnev Doctrine toward Trump


During the Cold War, the Soviets reserved the right to condemn the “aggression” of others while maximizing its own aggression. That became known as the Brezhnev Doctrine. The dominant liberal media has adopted a version of that in its relations with President Trump. Its version of the doctrine could be summed up as: We can aggressively question you, but you must never aggressively question us.

To which Trump replies in effect: Who says so? His total disregard for the media’s game-rigging pieties may upset the mandarins of Washington, but it plays fine in many quarters of the United States. Humorless journalists, after Thursday’s press conference, made it clear they didn’t care for Trump’s joshing at their expense, suggesting darkly that he was deviating from sacred American traditions. No, he was just giving as good as he gets, which many Americans, whose opinion of the media is already low, can understand and appreciate.

Subjecting the media to a sustained and sarcastic critique worked for him in the campaign and will work for him as president. It is his way of taking charge. By holding a high-spirited and long press conference and pre-emptively ridiculing the media’s coverage of it (you will say I “ranted,” but “I am having a good time,” he said), he reasserts control over the news.

After days of the media pounding his proxies, he recognized the need to be his own press secretary. The press conference was in some ways a warm-up to his upcoming rally in Florida on Saturday. The media, as it did during the campaign, will work itself up into a lather over the unorthodoxy of it all. But it is precisely the originality of Trump that made him president and turned him into the first Republican since Reagan that the media can’t roll.

George Neumayr (@george_neumayr) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a contributing editor to The American Spectator and the co-author of “No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.”

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.

Senate confirms Scott Pruitt to head EPA

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Oklahoma attorney general had faced strong opposition from Democrats.

02/17/17 1:15 PM



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