Day: July 25, 2017


'TIME WILL TELL': Trump leaves door open on AG Sessions' fate

President Trump left the fate of Attorney General Jeff Sessions up in the air during a press conference Tuesday afternoon, saying he’s “disappointed” with his Cabinet member while stopping short of saying whether he’ll fire the country’s top cop.

“We will see what happens,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. “Time will tell.”

The president has publicly vented his frustration at Sessions for recusing himself from the Russia investigation.  

“He should not have recused himself almost immediately after he took office, and if he was going to recuse himself, he should have told me prior to taking office, and I would have, quite simply, picked somebody else,” Trump said. “So I think that’s a bad thing, not for the president but for the presidency.”

Trump also slammed Sessions for not being tough enough on leaks from intelligence agencies.

“These are intelligence agencies,” Trump said. “We cannot have that. I told you before that I am very disappointed with the attorney general but we will see what happens.”

Trump tore into the attorney general earlier Tuesday in a series of tweets where he called the former Alabama senator “VERY weak” on Hillary Clinton’s supposed “crimes.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would not confirm rumors that the president was considering firing Sessions but did not rule it out either.

She told “Fox & Friends” that she hasn’t been part “of any conversations discussing any potential replacements,” but made clear that Trump is “frustrated and disappointed” in the attorney general.

“That frustration certainly hasn’t gone away, and I don’t think it will,” Sanders said.

New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci also defended the president’s public comments on Sessions, saying Trump “wants his Cabinet secretaries to have his back.”

Despite the public digs from the White House, Sessions said last week that he plans to stay on as attorney general “as long as that is appropriate.”

Trump’s latest dig at Sessions came during a joint press conference he held with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Trump vowed U.S. humanitarian support for Syrian refugees as close to their homeland as possible – which means Lebanon. Syrian refugees make up about 25 percent of Lebanon’s population. Hariri was expected to seek additional U.S. aid to cope with the refugee influx though details were not disclosed Tuesday.

“America is proud to stand with those that have the courage to stand up to terrorism and take responsibility for affairs in their own region,” Trump said.

Trump also commented on the Senate vote that opened up debate on repealing and replacing ObamaCare.

“This is a tough vote to get,” Trump said. “Now we’re all going to sit together and we’re going to try to come up with something that’s really spectacular. We have a lot of options and a lot of great options. The Republican Senate… really went out there.”

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Phelps SLAMS backlash

Michael Phelps’ Shark Week special on Discovery Channel caused a stir on social media, with some viewers expressing disappointment that Phelps didn’t race a real-life shark in “Phelps vs. Shark: Great Gold vs Great White.”

Now Phelps and Discovery are defending the program, which was criticized for its use of a computer-generated shark.  

Phelps said in a Facebook Live session Tuesday he thinks the backlash, which has focused on the fact that he was not side-by-side racing a real-life shark, is just an excuse for people to express anger about something.

“Everybody wants to try to pick on something or say something or complain about something. I had fun racing a shark and seeing those animals up-close and personal,” he said. “If someone actually wants to get in the water and race side-by-side with a great white, go ahead.”

Phelps made it abundantly clear before the program aired that he wouldn’t be racing a great white side-by-side.

Ahead of the Sunday night event, Phelps told ABC News’ “Good Morning America,” “We’re not in the water at the same exact time. I think that’s the one thing we all – we want everyone to know — I was safe, which was number one. I had 12 to 14 divers underneath me when we were doing the race.”

He explained on Tuesday on Facebook that a side-by-side race with a shark would not be feasible.

“You’re not going to get the shark to swim in a straight line, and yeah, it would be interesting to see,” he scoffed. “We’ll leave it at that.”

Discovery Channel also defended the program’s use of CGI.

“In ‘Phelps vs. Shark’ we enlisted world class scientists to take up the challenge of making the world’s greatest swimmer competitive with a great white. The show took smart science and technology to make the challenge more accessible and fun,” Discovery said in a statement to Fox News. “All the promotion, interviews and the program itself made clear that the challenge wasn’t a side-by-side race. During Michael’s pre-show promotion, as well as within the first 2 minutes of ‘Phelps vs. Shark,’ this message was clear and we are thrilled with the audience and the engagement around the world.”

For the race, Phelps was outfitted with a wetsuit and a monofin to mimic a shark’s powerful tail. He finished the 100 meter race in 38 seconds, two seconds slower than the simulated shark.

Phelps tweeted Sunday that he’d like a rematch, but in warmer water.

The swimmer told Fox News earlier the challenge was “probably the hardest race I’ve ever had.”

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'NUCLEAR HAMMER' N. Korea threatens attack if US attempts regime change

North Korea will launch a “powerful nuclear hammer” at the “heart” of the United States if President Trump attempts a regime change in Pyongyang, North Korea’s state news agency warned Tuesday.

The statement comes amid heightening tension between the two nations, including a recent intercontinental ballistic missile launch showing the rogue state has the capacity to deliver a nuclear warhead as far as Alaska – as well as shows of force by the US Air Force and Navy, and recent comments by CIA Director Mike Pompeo at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado last week.

Although Pompeo did not explicitly state that regime change is on the table, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) stated that his remarks “have gone over the line, and it has now become clear that the ultimate aim of the Trump Administration … is the regime change.”

Therefore, the North Korean news agency warned that even “the slightest sign of attempt to remove our supreme leadership” will lead to a “merciless blow” with its “powerful nuclear hammer.”

Pompeo, however, barely alluded to regime change in an interview where he focused on the importance of “separating” the regime of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un from his burgeoning nuclear arsenal.

“These weapons systems still need development and testing,” said Pompeo, “to the extent we can convince China it’s in its best interest to help us convince Kim it’s not in his best interest to move down that path. There are lots of ways to narrow the (nuclear) capacity band.”

Pompeo said the subject of North Korea comes up in almost every meeting he has with Trump.  And he said the CIA is working on a “wide range of options” to deal with the threat, and “those answers will be delivered almost certainly alongside our partners at the Department of Defense.”

“There are things we can do to keep the (nuclear) capability out of Kim’s hands,” Pompeo said before addressing a direct question about regime change. “As for the regime, I’m hopeful we will find a way to separate that regime from this system.”

The North Korean news agency said those remarks demonstrate Pompeo’s “illiteracy” about North Korea and “an explicit illustration of incompetence of the U.S. intelligence community.” It then went on to threaten Pompeo directly, saying he will “bitterly experience catastrophic and miserable consequences” by daring to shake his “little fists” at the Kim regime.

If its “supreme dignity” is threatened, North Korea “must preemptively annihilate those countries and entities that are directly or indirectly involved in it by mobilizing all kinds of strike means including the nuclear ones,” according to the KCNA.

Pompeo actually argued in Aspen that he believes that Kim understands his “core mission” is to keep himself in power.  Thus, Kim has taken what Pompeo believes are “rational” responses to the uptick in threat posture from the U.S. military such as reaching out for help from South Korea’s new president to “get us to back off and stop pressing just as hard as he is.”

“You can certainly characterize that as a rational response to the threat he perceives from the U.S. and our allies,” said Pompeo, “Kim is certainly capable of responding to things that are in his regime’s best interest.”

Asked for comment, a CIA spokesperson said, “We
will let the Director’s words stand without additional comment.”

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TODD STARNES: Drag Queen Storytime for kids at the library

Public libraries across the fruited plain are inviting drag queens to read story books to small children — leading some folks to wonder what in the name of Captain Kangaroo is going on?

A trio of drag queens, decked out in full regalia, recently held court at the Indianapolis Central Library — gabbing about superheroes and cookies. 

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“Some parents choose to expose their children to religion, some parents choose to expose their children to culture, the arts,” parent Heather Pugh told USA Today. “I’m working to teach my children to be open-minded, loving, accepting people.”

And that’s the point of Drag Queen Storytime — indoctrination.

“I want kids to experience just the fun of being around drag queens, the creativity, their style, their expression of their individuality,” said Stephen Lane.

Mr. Lane is the library’s point man for planning programs for children, USA Today reports.

The Brooklyn Public Library held a similar event in May — funded by our tax dollars. Get a load of how the library promoted the event:

“What do drag queens and children have in common? They love dressing up and all things sparkly and fancy! Drag Queen Story Hour captures the imagination and play of the gender fluidity in childhood and gives kids glamorous, positive, and unabashedly queer role models.”

A library spokesperson for the Indianapolis library told me there is nothing wrong with teaching small kids about gender fluidity. 

“Young children often exhibit gender fluidity in their play, and Drag Queen Story Hour reinforces for them that there is nothing wrong with that,” the spokesperson said in a written statement to my new radio show “The Todd Starnes Show” 

Who knew that’s what the toddlers were talking about around the sippy cups these days?

To be fair, the Brooklyn library said the response to what they call Drag Queen Story Hour has been overwhelmingly positive. 

“Many of the parents who choose to bring their families to Drag Queen Story Hour do so because they would like their children to learn to love and accept themselves, and other people, as they are,” the spokesperson told me. 

So in the spirit of tolerance and acceptance, I asked the Brooklyn Public Library if they would ever allow ministers to dress up in clerical garb and read Bible stories to the children.

Let’s just say the library’s tolerance and acceptance does not extend to those people with religious beliefs. 

However, they said they would be glad to let a religious leader reserve a community room to conduct a story hour. And by community room, I suspect they mean a closet. 

Welcome to the 21st century, America — where childhood traditions have been upended to appease the sex and gender revolutionaries. 

That being said – don’t be surprised if Jack dresses like Jill or if the Old Lady in the Shoe has a beard and wears size 13 pumps. And whatever you do – don’t ask what the three men in a tub are doing. 

Todd Starnes is host of Fox News & Commentary. His latest book is “The Deplorables’ Guide to Making America Great Again.” Follow him on Twitter @ToddStarnes and find him on Facebook.

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State Department lawyers removing references to ISIS 'genocide' against Christians, other religious minorities

The State Department’s top lawyers are systematically removing the word “genocide” to describe the Islamic State’s mass slaughter of Christians, Yazidis, and other ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria from speeches before they are delivered and other official documents, according to human rights activists and attorneys familiar with the policies.

Additionally, Democratic senators are delaying confirmation of Mark Green, Trump’s pick to head the U.S. Agency for International Development who has broad bipartisan support.

These efforts guarantee that Obama-era policies that worked to exclude Iraq’s Christian and other minority religious populations from key U.S. aid programs remain in place, the activists said.

Richard Visek, who was appointed by President Obama as head the State Department’s Office of Legal Adviser in October 2016, is behind the decision to remove the word “genocide” from official documents, according to Nina Shea, an international human rights lawyer who directs the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom.

“I don’t think for a minute it’s a bureaucratic decision—it’s ideological,” said Shea, who also spent 12 years as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, or CIRF, from 1999 to 2012.

A State Department spokesman on Monday said he would look into the matter and respond.

Click for more from The Washington Free Beacon. 

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Trump Jr., Manafort slated to appear before Senate panel handling Russian probe

The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to hold a hearing on Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential election on Wednesday – and at least one key campaign aide to President Donald Trump could appear.

The committee issued a subpoena to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort Monday night to compel him to appear at the public hearing.

Sens. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said in a joint statement that the committee had been willing to work with Manafort in his request to aid the investigation without appearing at the hearing, but they “were unable to reach an agreement for a voluntary transcribed interview.”

So Manafort is slated as a witness for the hearing, called “Oversight of the Foreign Agents Registration Act and Attempts to Influence U.S. Elections: Lessons Learned from Current and Prior Administrations.”

Here’s what to know about the hearing and how it pertains to the investigation into potential Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election.

Who is Manafort?

Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign in August 2016 – just a few months shy of his boss’ election.

He is under investigation by multiple federal agencies, including the F.B.I., regarding his business dealings with Ukraine and a pro-Russia political party. Manafort retroactively registered as a foreign agent on June 27, 2016.

Manafort also attended the contentious meeting in June 2016 with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have damaging information about Trump’s political opponent, Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump Jr., the president’s oldest son, came under fire after details of the meeting were revealed, especially as publicized emails about the meeting said the information was part of “Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”


The Senate Judiciary Committee said Manafort would be excused from the hearing “if he would be willing to agree to production of documents and a transcribed interview, with the understanding that the interview would not constitute a waiver or his rights or prejudice the committee’s right to compel his testimony in the future.”

A spokesman for Manafort said later Tuesday morning that Manfort met with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier in the day and “answered their questions fully.”

What about Trump Jr. and Kushner?

Trump Jr. is also listed as a witness for Wednesday’s hearing.

The president’s son could be allowed to testify in private, according to the Associated Press.

Feinstein said on Twitter that the committee will talk to Trump Jr. and Manafort in private “before they testify in public.”

But Grassley tweeted later the same day that Trump Jr.’s testimony “albeit not public, will be on the record.”

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, met with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee behind closed doors on Monday and discussed the handful of meetings he took with Russians during and after the campaign.

Kushner, a quiet insider who generally avoids the spotlight, was the first top Trump lieutenant to be quizzed by the congressional investigators probing Russia’s meddling in the election.


Following the meeting, Kushner publicly said outside the White House that he “did not collude with Russia” and is not aware of “anyone else in the campaign who did so.”

What can we expect from the hearing?

The hearing will review a law that oversees the registration of foreign agents. 

Feinstein, the top Democrat on the panel, said special counsel Robert Mueller did clear Trump Jr. and Manafort for public testimony.

The panel had issued a subpoena for Glenn Simpson – whose firm hired a British intelligence officer who compiled a dossier of allegations pertaining to Trump and his ties to Russia – for Wednesday’s hearing but withdrew it after Simpson agreed to a private testimony.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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‘Blossom’ coming back?

Thanks to her role on “The Big Bang Theory,” actress Mayim Bialik has remained a fixture in the public eye. However, her former co-star claims that she’s interested in going back to her roots and returning to one of her first starring gigs in “Blossom.”  

Speaking to Us Weekly, Joey Lawrence, who played Joey Russo on the 1990-1995 series, confessed that a reunion isn’t out of the question.


“We get asked to do that all the time, Mayim and I talk frequently,” he said. “Mayim is interested in doing some type of reunion with the show and so am I, if we can find the right pieces and the right way in for a reboot/reunion, we’re both open to it, there’s a lot of talk around it, so we’ll see!”

Lawrence went on to explain how vital the public’s excitement to see something done with “Blossom” in the modern day would be to getting any kind of project green lit. This means the chances of a reboot might very well be in the hands of fans.


Lawrence and Bialik played siblings on the NBC sitcom, which focused on the life of a teenager as she navigated growing up both at school and in her single-parent home. It seems that both are interested in giving fans something new from “Blossom,” but the logistics might be tricky.

Currently, Bialik has a high-profile role on “The Big Bang Theory,” especially after this year’s Season 10 cliffhanger. With the show previously reported to be renewed through Season 12, it may be hard for the actress to find time for another project.

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Model's age is shocking

The latest object of the Internet’s fascination is a fit Singaporean male model. When we put it like that, it’s not exactly the most surprising thing in the world to read, is it? However, there’s a twist. The man, Chuando Tan, is shocking everyone because of just how young and cut he’s looking at his age.


How old would you guess that Tan, who boasts a six-pack and a full, colorful head of hair, is? It’s hard to say; in some photos, he doesn’t appear to look much older than 25. As it turns out, though, you have to double that number to arrive at the correct answer; that’s right, Tan is a 50-year-old man.

A former pop star who now doubles as a photographer to supplement his modeling career, Tan cites regular work-outs, and the “habit of not bathing late at night or early in the morning” as his secrets to keeping his appearance so youthful, per the Daily Mail.


That’s likely far from the full story of how exactly Tan is able to maintain his sprightly visage, though. If you’re already living the way of Tan, but still feel like you could stand to look younger, try a high-intensity interval training workout. A recent study found that HIIT provides cellular benefits that may reverse aging when you do it at least three times a week. 

This article originally appeared in Men’s Health

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TSA: United is wrong

On Sunday, United Airlines posted a message to all Comic-Con attendees traveling through San Diego, informing them that they would not be able to fly with comic books in their checked baggage. The airline even clairified on Twitter that the TSA handed down this edict, which applied to all airlines operating out of San Diego.

There was just one problem with United’s announcement: It wasn’t true.

In a statement obtained by Fox News, United claims to have “misunderstood” the TSA’s instructions regarding comics — even though a TSA spokesperson has since claimed that the agency never issued any instructions of the sort.

“I don’t know how United went ahead and stated a TSA policy incorrectly,” said Lorie Dankers, a TSA spokeswoman who spoke to Ars Technica.


United Airlines initially posted its flawed message in the San Diego International Airport on Sunday, but confused comics fans soon responded on Twitter, prompting the airline to explain that the restrictions came directly from the Transportation Security Administration. At the time, United also claimed that all airlines operating out of San Diego — and not just United — were affected by the order.

But according to the TSA itself, there was never any such order to restrict comic books from checked luggage at San Diego International Airport.

“I can say that TSA has advised in the past that if people bring several of the same type of item, it can alarm the checked baggage screening, but there is no prohibition on bringing things that are not a security threat,” Dankers told Ars Technica.


Dankers also claimed that comic books are not considered a “security threat,” and that the TSA encourages travelers to check comic books “if they so choose.”

On Monday, the TSA even took to Twitter to refute United’s claims, to the astonishment and amusement of several concerned travelers.

A United spokesperson did not reveal the source of the airline’s information, but admitted the airline “misunderstood” the TSA’s restrictions.

“While TSA is recommending that customers keep their comic books in their carry-on bags, there are no restrictions on packing them in checked luggage,” said a United spokesperson in a statement obtained by Fox News.

“We misunderstood TSA’s instructions and regret any inconvenience this may have caused our customers.”

Even though United declined to reveal its TSA source, it’s possible the airline made Sunday’s announcement based on an older @AskTSA blog post published during 2016’s San Diego Comic-Con, in which the TSA advised against packing “stacks of brochures and assorted comic books” in checked baggage, lest they set off any alarms and slow down the screening process. At the time, the TSA also recommended removing such items from carry-on luggage at screening checkpoints, and placing them in a separate bin where they could be x-rayed more easily.

In more recent blog post concerning books and carry-on bags, the TSA stated that, “occasionally, our officers may recommend passengers remove items such as heavy, glossy programs during a special event with a lot of travelers, such as Super Bowl programs,” but nowhere does the post mention that such items could be banned from checked bags.


A representative for United was not immediately available for comment.

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Hunt for biblical tabernacle

At the site of an ancient city on the West Bank, archaeologists are hunting for evidence of the tabernacle that once housed the Ark of the Covenant.

Associates for Biblical Research, a consortium of individuals and universities, recently completed four weeks of excavation in Shiloh with the goal of eventually locating the tabernacle.

Dr. Scott Stripling, director of excavations at Shiloh and provost at The Bible Seminary in Houston, Texas, told Fox News that the site could offer up vital clues. “We have just begun the process of accumulating evidence but we’re confident that the tabernacle rested at Shiloh,” he said, adding that that the tabernacle was located at Shiloh for about 350 years. “The tabernacle was set up at Shiloh in 1400 B.C. – Joshua 18:1 mentions it.”


The recent excavation, which ran from May 21 to June 17, unearthed a huge amount of animal bones, which Stripling believes may be related to animal sacrifices at the sacred site. “We excavated through a tremendous amount of bone,” Stripling explained. “You have 350 years of sacrifices – where do all of those bones go?”

The bones, which were found while excavating the northern fortifications of the ancient city, have been sent to ABR’s zoo archaeologist for analysis. “The Bible specifies which animals are sacrificial animals and it also says that they are young animals,” said Stripling. “If the bones match the animals of the Biblical sacrificial system and the type and age specified, then we may be looking at evidence that the tabernacle sat nearby.”

The group is expecting to receive results from the bone analysis in the next few weeks.


A host of other items were also found during the recent excavation including objects used to create seals and scarabs – ancient beetle-shaped carvings that were used for inscriptions and amulets. “We registered 700 objects this last [excavation] season – seal impressions, scarabs, tools, weapons, jewelry, utilitarian objects, cultic objects,” said Stripling. “And about 2,000 pieces of pottery a day.”

This summer’s dig was the first in a series of at least five annual excavations at the site by ABR under the auspices of the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria.  

The wall and storage areas studied by ABR during the recent dig date back to 1700 B.C. when Shiloh was part of the ancient Canaanite civilization. The city became a major site of worship for the Israelites after they arrived there about 300 years later.


The tabernacle was destroyed by the Philistines in 1050 B.C., Stripling told Fox News, around the same time that they briefly captured the Ark of the Covenant from the Israelites in a battle nearby. The Ark, however, was soon back in the hands of the Israelites.

While Shiloh’s link to the Ark of the Covenant is fascinating, Stripling notes that it was subsequently housed in a number of locations, where other tabernacles were built. “Later, the tabernacle was set up in other places, but we assume that it was rebuilt, reconstructed.”

The Ark of the Covenant was brought to Jerusalem by King David around 1000 B.C. but disappeared when the city was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 B.C, prompting multiple theories about its fate. While some people believe that the Ark’s gold was melted down, there have also been claims that it was taken to cave on Mount Nebo, Jordan, or to Ethiopia.


ABR’s research is focused firmly on locating the tabernacle site at Shiloh, and Stripling is confident that future digs will deliver results. The dimensions of a “tel” or “mound” at Shiloh, for example correspond to biblical descriptions of the tabernacle, he says.

“We’re revealing the material culture of the ancient cultures, they often do shed light on the biblical texts,” Stripling added.

This is, however, not the first time that archaeologists have focused their attention on Shiloh. The Times of Israel reports that a major dig at Shiloh in the 1980s by prominent Israeli archaeologist Israel Finkelstein did not reveal the tabernacle.


However, the professor of archaeology at Tel Aviv University was not expecting to find the tabernacle, according to the Times of Israel. Finkelstein, it notes, does not view the Bible as a blueprint for archaeological research, opting instead for an “evidence-based” approach.

“Over two centuries of critical biblical exegesis and over a century of modern archaeology have shown how complex the biblical text is,” explained Finkelstein, in an email to Fox News. “Reading the Bible, it is important to distinguish historical facts from the ideological/theological stances of the authors. Shiloh is an important site for studying the rise of ancient Israel in the highlands of Canaan. This should be the aim of any excavation carried out there.”

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers



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