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Reporter’s Notebook: Cokie Roberts’ important lesson for this journalist

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087092254001_6087088236001-vs Reporter's Notebook: Cokie Roberts' important lesson for this journalist fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox news fnc/media fnc Chad Pergram article 5cd694e5-f968-54c4-9844-5527668e1828

Cokie Roberts couldn’t talk to me at that particular moment.

That’s understandable.

She was doing her job.

And, at the time, I was trying to get one.

It was September 1993. I had just arrived in Washington, fresh out of graduate school at Miami University (of Ohio). I was looking for a job in Washington and wandering around on the plaza on the east front of the U.S. Capitol, near the Senate steps. I had been to Washington only once before. Now, I hoped to work here, preferably as a journalist. And, at that moment, Roberts – with an ABC News camera crew in tow – was in pursuit of Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y.

The honeymoon had just ended for then-President Clinton. A legislative fight loomed over a national health-care program, “Hillary Care,” as it was dubbed. The first lady molded the health care package behind the scenes and testified about the plan before congressional committees. Just a few days after I arrived in Washington, President Clinton spoke to a Joint Session of Congress to make his health-care pitch.

“There’s still a lot of people who say it would be an outright miracle if we passed health-care reform,” the president said in his address.

Democrats held both the House and Senate in those days. Moynihan would be key to shepherding a health-care bill to passage. After all, Moynihan chaired the Senate Finance Committee, one of the main panels with jurisdiction over health care.

But, Moynihan was a skeptic of the proposal.

This was why Cokie Roberts wanted Moynihan.

I immediately understood the news gravity of the moment. I knew why Moynihan’s stand was crucial to the health-care debate and why this was a story for ABC.

Just a few moments before, I was at the Dirksen Senate Office Building and spotted Sen. Dennis DeConcini, D-Ariz., crossing Constitution Avenue toward the Capitol. Before then, I had met only one U.S. senator in person. I was proud I recognized DeConcini and I briefly introduced myself. The senator shook my hand. But, the reason I knew DeConcini was because he had been caught up in the “Keating Five” ethics scandal. DeConcini wouldn’t seek re-election in 1994.

The top of the Capitol dome was bare at that stage. A gigantic helicopter had lifted the Statue of Freedom off the dome for some repairs earlier in the year. The statue itself then stood on the Capitol plaza, cordoned off behind a chained-link fence. Onlookers gathered around the statue to see it up close before workers would return it to its perch atop the dome.

And then, down the Senate steps came Moynihan.

I had worked in radio news since high school in Cincinnati at WKRC-AM. I watched the Sunday talk shows each weekend. I knew who Daniel Patrick Moynihan was because he was a fixture on TV and in the newspapers. I had just purchased a gigantic copy of Congressional Quarterly’s “Politics in America.” I remembered that Moynihan listed “Pindars Corners, N.Y.” as his hometown.

“Hello, senator,” I said to Moynihan.

“I’m coming over here to look at the statue,” Moynihan said in his inimitable style. He drew out the final syllable of the word “statue” through the middle of next week.

I started to ask Moynihan about the statue. But, my time with the senator had expired. Here came Cokie Roberts. An ABC photographer jogged behind, his camera fixed like a shoulder-mounted missile. An ABC soundman followed, an intricate spaghetti weave of cables dragging across the asphalt.

“Whoa,” I thought.

We were in the big leagues here. First, DeConcini, then Moynihan, and now, Cokie Roberts and ABC News? Welcome to the show. This wasn’t like what I was used to seeing in Cincinnati. This wasn’t like interviewing Butler County Sheriff Richard Holzberger on the steps of the county courthouse.

Then, it hit me.

NPR.

I specifically hung around Miami University for a couple of years to earn my master’s degree and work at WMUB-FM, the university’s NPR station. At WMUB, I hosted an afternoon news program which aired before “All Things Considered.” I covered local city council meetings, crime and politics – including a freshman congressman named John Boehner. We always wondered what happened to him.

But now, I was standing at the Capitol, and here was Cokie Roberts. Could this be my “in?”

I didn’t know anyone at NPR. You have to remember, this was 1993. I had mailed numerous resumes and tapes to NPR. I called NPR constantly to follow up. I found myself marooned in a cul-de-sac of voicemail. I never once reached the actual person with whom I needed to speak about a job.

Here was Cokie Roberts. Back then, there were three people I would never miss on NPR: Frank Deford, Red Barber and Cokie Roberts. I had heard Roberts de-brief “Morning Edition” host Bob Edwards about politics and Capitol Hill for years. I even remember where I was on Middletown Oxford Road in Ohio in 1990 when Roberts was doing an early morning two-way with Edwards about the economy – and a dog started barking in the background.

The barking didn’t surprise me. I worked in radio and knew what a “remote” sounded like. Although they never said it on the air, it was obvious to me that Roberts wasn’t in the studio during these pre-dawn chats. Her voice sounded tinny and echoed. I pictured Roberts speaking from a wooden study in her home, a jerry-built microphone rigged to an old desk. Edwards’ bass obviously emanated from a studio. I suspected Roberts was either on what was known as a “Comrex” line or something called “Switched 56.” These essentially were enhanced phone lines. Radio stations often used those systems to broadcast football and baseball games. They sounded close to studio quality, but someone in the industry could tell the difference.

A week later, I was driving at nearly the same spot on the road when Roberts was on with Edwards again.

“Well, Bob,” said Roberts, “our dirty little secret is out. Most mornings when you and I have our conversations, I must admit it, I am in my very discreet nightie.”

The dog? It was Roberts’ basset hound, Abner. She described him as “about 4 years old, brown and white, very long ears and very sad eyes.”

Roberts worked mostly at ABC at that point. I had seen her on ABC’s “This Week With David Brinkley” alongside Brinkley, Sam Donaldson and George Will. I knew that her father was the late House Majority Leader Hale Boggs, D-La. Boggs served on the Warren Commission, investigating the Kennedy assassination, and was said to have died in a plane crash in Alaska. But, even though Roberts “day job” was at ABC, she still appeared regularly on NPR.

My mind raced.

Maybe she would take a few minutes to talk to a young journalist? Perhaps put me in touch with someone at NPR or ABC? Anything to get a foot in the door.

I played the NPR card since we had that in common.

EX-NEW YORK TIMES BOSS DEFENDS BRETT KAVANAUGH ARTICLE

I introduced myself to Roberts and immediately told her how I worked at the NPR station in Ohio. I asked if she had any advice. I thought the NPR part might resonate with her.

Cokie was very polite, but it was immediately clear she couldn’t stop to talk. She told me she was working on a story for “Nightline” and had to talk to Moynihan.

Roberts never broke stride, squeezing the microphone with a grip that would make you think she was clutching the Holy Grail. Meantime, Moynihan’s 6’5” frame ambled away, bound for the Statue of Freedom. The soundman hopscotched over his tangle of cords in an effort to keep pace with Roberts, determined not to lose her quarry.

I sighed.

I understood. After all, I was a reporter, too.

I stood slightly out of earshot as Roberts interviewed Moynihan. The senator talked about premium caps and pre-existing conditions. I could hear only about every other word and not be in the picture.

I was a little dejected. But, Roberts was doing her job, and I learned something from Cokie Roberts even though we didn’t really talk:

Do your job. Get the story. Don’t let other things distract you.

These days on Capitol Hill, I often think of that brief interaction with Cokie Roberts. I find myself amid a horde of scribes chasing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., through Statuary Hall. Tourists are all around, wondering what’s going on. Maybe I’m somewhere on the Capitol plaza, close to where Moynihan was, trying to catch up with elusive Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C. – or, not-so-elusive Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.

The lesson stuck.

Do your job. Get the story.

This past July, I sprinted through the Cannon Tunnel, trying to channel John Ross eluding a defensive back. I was trying to get on the air from the Fox News camera in the Cannon Rotunda.

Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., had just tried to sanction Pelosi on the floor for her language about President Trump. I knew such an occurrence hadn’t unfolded in the House since the mid-1980s with House Speaker Tip O’Neill, D-Mass. Never breaking stride, I shoved my IFB earpiece into my ear and slid into an elevator in the Cannon Building. I was panting, fishing my notebook out of my pocket. The control room in New York was calling my phone, trying to get an explanation about the imbroglio on the House floor.

The elevator door closed.

Inside the elevator was a polite man, clearly from out of town, who recognized me. He said he saw me on the air and liked my work. He wanted to talk.

Out of breath, I apologized profusely. I thanked him for watching. But, I told him there was some breaking news. I handed the man my card and told him I was sorry I couldn’t chat. I felt badly, but I had to get on the air.

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I arrived at the third floor and squeezed out of the elevator.

I hope the man understands.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087092254001_6087088236001-vs Reporter's Notebook: Cokie Roberts' important lesson for this journalist fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox news fnc/media fnc Chad Pergram article 5cd694e5-f968-54c4-9844-5527668e1828   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6087092254001_6087088236001-vs Reporter's Notebook: Cokie Roberts' important lesson for this journalist fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/media fox-news/entertainment/events/departed fox news fnc/media fnc Chad Pergram article 5cd694e5-f968-54c4-9844-5527668e1828

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House Freedom Caucus elects Biggs to succeed Meadows as chairman

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084324641001_6084311196001-vs House Freedom Caucus elects Biggs to succeed Meadows as chairman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox news fnc/politics fnc Dom Calicchio article 4e246410-9a81-549e-8b5b-9ecf312cdaad

Change is coming to an influential group on Capitol Hill following a vote Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., was elected the next chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, and will succeed U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C.

“I’m grateful for the trust of my colleagues in selecting me to serve as the next chairman of the House Freedom Caucus,” Biggs said in a statement from the caucus. “The Freedom Caucus has revolutionized Capitol Hill because our members have shown that they will stand for principle over politics – every time.”

REP. MARK MEADOWS: COMEY HAD A ‘BAD DAY’ BUT DURHAM PROBE WILL BE ‘MORE DAMNING’

Meadows, a key ally of President Trump, will step down as chairman Oct. 1 but will remain a member of the group’s board, the statement said.

“I’ve been honored and humbled to serve as chairman of the Freedom Caucus for the last two and a half years, and I can’t think of a better person to pass the torch to than Andy Biggs,” Meadows said, according to the statement.

“Rep. Biggs is an outstanding public servant, a strong conservative, and a steady voice with the right experience to build on the tremendous strides our caucus has made since 2015 in fighting for open, limited, and accountable government,” Meadows added. “He’ll be a phenomenal leader for our group.”

Biggs, 60, a native of Tucson, represents Arizona’s 5th Congressional District, which mostly covers suburbs east of Phoenix.

A member of Congress since 2017 after serving as a state lawmaker, Biggs has been a staunch backer of President Trump’s plans to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Meadows, also 60, represents North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District, in the western part of the state, and has been serving in Congress since 2013.

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Meadows became chairman of the House Freedom Caucus in January 2017, succeeding U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who remains chairman emeritus of the group.

The Freedom Caucus has struggled to advance its agenda since Democrats took control of the House following the 2018 midterms.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084324641001_6084311196001-vs House Freedom Caucus elects Biggs to succeed Meadows as chairman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox news fnc/politics fnc Dom Calicchio article 4e246410-9a81-549e-8b5b-9ecf312cdaad   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084324641001_6084311196001-vs House Freedom Caucus elects Biggs to succeed Meadows as chairman fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox news fnc/politics fnc Dom Calicchio article 4e246410-9a81-549e-8b5b-9ecf312cdaad

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For Congress, a new session of compressed chaos

Westlake Legal Group us-capitol-hill For Congress, a new session of compressed chaos fox-news/us/congress fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics fox-news/newsedge/sports fox news fnc/politics fnc Chad Pergram bf587dcb-f854-5846-bd9f-e97b0f367b8c article

It was extraordinary that nee-Pittsburgh Steelers/Oakland Raiders wide receiver Antonio Brown could condense so much chaos into a matter of a few weeks, let alone days.

Those calling this the “Antonio Brown saga” are wrong. It hasn’t gone on long enough to be a saga. It doesn’t matter whether Brown was recovering from frostbitten feet in France, scrapping with the league over the type of helmet he was permitted to wear or getting into a heated confrontation with Raiders General Manager Mike Mayock. Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden said late last week he expected Brown to play on Sunday. Then the Raiders planned to fine and suspend Brown. Oakland cut the All-Pro wideout Saturday morning. By nightfall, Brown signed, with of all teams, the New England Patriots.

The compressed chaos rocked the NFL.

But that’s nothing.

Congress regularly crams just as much mayhem into similar timeframes.

GUNS, IMPEACHMENT PUSH, BORDER WALL: WHAT’S IN STORE AS CONGRESS RETURNS FROM RECESS

The House and Senate are now back after a lengthy summer recess.

Consider what all will unfold on Capitol Hill in the coming days.

Democrats are ramping up efforts to push the Senate to vote on House-approved gun measures. The House will follow suit soon prepping additional firearms related legislation dealing with hate crimes and red flag laws. House Democrats are formalizing aspects of their impeachment inquiry. Impeachment will unquestionably dominate Washington as Democrats continue their rope-a-dope strategy with President Trump. The sides must forge an agreement to fund the government by Oct. 1.

The budget accord Congress approved earlier this summer could help avoid a shutdown. But the president’s repeated efforts to bypass Congress and redirect money tagged for other projects to his border wall ignited tempers on both sides. Lawmakers are very protective of their constitutional prerogatives when it comes to federal spending.

The reprogramming of federal funds is a flashpoint. Lawmakers may seek to restrict Mr. Trump from moving money around without their blessing in upcoming appropriations bills. Democrats could draw his ire as they wrestle with impeachment and investigations.

That is the wild card in all of this. Impeachment and inquiries could set the president off, making it hard to come to an accord on the spending bills.

“You know, a shutdown would help him with his base,” observed one House Republican.

TRUMP SAYS TALKS WITH TALIBAN ARE ‘DEAD,’ AFTER CANCELING SECRET CAMP DAVID SUMMIT

And, don’t forget how inflamed lawmakers are about President Trump inviting Taliban leaders to Camp David for peace talks on the eve of 9/11. The president canceled the conclave over the weekend and now says a deal is essentially dead. But members of both parties were incensed that an American president would even ask Taliban chiefs to visit U.S. soil.

In addition, lawmakers are sure to continue their questioning about stopovers by the U.S. Air Force in Scotland. And we haven’t even gotten down to Sharpie-gate. Members may find it hard to resist putting too fine a point on that imbroglio.

There is a special election for a House seat in North Carolina tomorrow night. Republican Dan Bishop faces Democrat Dan McCready. The seat has been vacant since Jan. 3. Former Rep. Robert Pittenger, R-N.C., lost the primary last year. But due to election irregularities, the seat was never filled. Political observers bill a lot of special elections as bellwethers. Many are not.

But this one truly meets the bellwether bar. North Carolina is a swing state. This is a flippable district for Democrats. The outcome of the race could serve as one of the few federal, electoral metrics between now and next year’s primaries.

So much squished into such a short period of time.

That’s just how Congress always rolls. Congress stuffs all of its Washington activity into abbreviated workweeks. Usually late in the day Monday through early afternoon Thursday. It’s hard to see how things wouldn’t be anything but tumultuous.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., returned to the Capitol Monday for the first time after a fall at his home in August where he fractured his shoulder. The Kentucky Republican sported an elevated splint, propping up his left arm as he navigated a warren of reporters in the Ohio Clock Corridor, en route to the floor.

“Well, how was your August,” McConnell facetiously questioned the press corps. When asked how he was doing, McConnell replied “I’m feeling good.”

In his first remarks on the Senate floor in six weeks, McConnell talked about the need to keep the government open and work on appropriations bills. But he did not mention firearms at all.

As McConnell spoke, Dayton, Ohio, Mayor Nan Whaley, a Dem,  joined leading congressional Democrats just steps away in the Senate’s Lyndon Baines Johnson Room for a press conference about guns. Whaley arrived a few minutes late for the presser after meeting at the White House with top aides, including White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, about firearms.

Whaley said she thought the Trump administration was now serious about guns.

“I think it means there is something new in this,” said Whaley “Actions are better than words.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Ct., represented Newtown in the House and was a senator-elect when the massacre unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012. Murphy says “it’s good we’re still at the table.” But Murphy has been down this path too many times on guns. He urged caution.

“You have to be very sober-minded with this White House,” said Murphy.

PEACE TALKS WITH AFGHANS, TALIBAN CALLED OFF AFTER TRUMP CANCELS SECRET MEETING

At the press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., predicted that Democrats would “make this issue too hot for (McConnell) to handle.” The speaker added that if McConnell doesn’t act, “Republicans in the Senate will have hell to pay.”

A couple of hours later, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., held court with a coterie of reporters to explain Thursday’s meeting to establish guidelines for his panel’s impeachment inquest.

“It has been an impeachment inquiry and it continues to be,” said Nadler,  who also noted that such a probe might not result in actually impeaching President Trump.

But Nadler was direct when asked if he thought the public might interpret his effort as full-blown impeachment effort.

“I don’t think so,” replied Nadler. “What we are doing is clear. It has been very clear. It continues to be very clear.”

Still, some House Democrats aren’t sure what’s going on.

“Reality is only what people say,” mused one influential Democrat.

It’s hard to keep up. Almost like trying to track the Antonio Brown serial. But there’s a difference.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

In the NFL, teams only suit up for one game a week.

The difference on Capitol Hill? This game never ends.

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Guns, impeachment push, border wall: What’s in store as Congress returns from recess

As Congress heads back to work on Monday in Washington after a six-week recess, lawmakers who already have struggled to pass substantive legislation this term are set to grapple with a slew of combustible issues, ranging from trade deals and border wall funding to gun control and impeachment proceedings.

With an already heated presidential cycle in full swing, experts have said the political landscape would afford little hope for legislative compromise, but plenty of opportunity for gamesmanship and stonewalling. To top it all off, lawmakers also need to fund the government by Oct. 1 to avert another shutdown, despite deep-seated disagreements on appropriate budget levels for the State Department, the Pentagon, and other key agencies.

“It’s a really tough environment for lawmaking,” Sarah Binder, a political-science professor at George Washington University and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, told Fox News. “First, the parties are surely more ideologically polarized from each other than they were decades ago. Second, there’s more sheer partisanship in town than before– tit for tat, your team is for it, so my team is against it. Third, close electoral competition narrows the window for dealmaking — each election offers each party a chance to hold or gain control. … [And,] because the president is so unpopular nationally and with independents, there’s limited pressure on Democrats to resolve problems.”

“Parties may have an incentive periodically to show voters that they can govern,” Binder added. “But as often they disagree about what the problems are, their base rewards them for inaction, and they are better off blaming the other side for gridlock than negotiating solutions.”

YOO: TRUMP CAN REALLOCATE FUNDS TO THE BORDER WALL, AND THE SUPREME COURT WILL BACK HIM

In a video posted to Twitter on Sunday, President Trump seemingly dismissed the need for any bargaining at all on his border wall, which he said was being built already “on an expedited basis.”

Last week, Defense Secretary Mark Esper signed off on spending $3.6 billion in Defense Department construction funds for 175 miles of wall on the southern border with Mexico. Lower courts had frozen use of the money while a lawsuit proceeded. Last month, however, the U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way for the use of about $2.5 billion.

“We’ll have, by the end of next year, close to 500 miles of wall. We’re taking money from all over, because as you know, the Democrats don’t want us to build the wall,” Trump said. “They’re fighting us at every step, but our military has stepped up, and they’re doing a fantastic job.”

The decision to redirect funding could prompt many Democrats to try reining in future repurposing efforts in the new congressional session. Some courts have suggested that if Congress wanted to stop Trump from repurposing funds for the border wall, it could do so — with legislation.

But, there’s “not a lot of incentive” for House Democrats to “play along” and pass meaningful bills, given that Republicans and the White House would “take credit” for them, Northern Illinois University political science professor Scot Schraufnagel told the CQ Roll Call podcast this week.

“It’s a really tough environment for lawmaking.”

— Sarah Binder, a political-science professor at George Washington University

According to Schraufnagel, Congress has succeeded so far in passing little “substantive” legislation, even as the raw number of bills passed remained loosely comparable to previous congresses.

“If you look at sheer numbers, we’re at the summer recess of the Trump second Congress,” Schraufnagel said. “And… if you go back and look at sheer productivity, it’s … actually been more productive than the 104th under Clinton, much less than Bush Sr., who had over 382 public laws at this point in his second Congress. Right now, we’re at 56 new public laws, much less than Obama’s 112th [Congress,] but right around the same as Carter and Bush Jr. in the 108th. A little bit less.”

But, Schraufnagel said only 16 of the 56 new public laws passed by Congress this term ranked as significant.

However, despite the gridlock, experts said lawmakers likely would reach a deal to avert another government shutdown this month. The House already has okayed ten of the annual 12 spending bills, but those bills would be dead on arrival in the Senate. The House would have to compromise with the Senate to come to an agreement. In the meantime, Democrats have signaled they will craft a temporary measure to fund the government to avoid a shutdown in less than a month.

“I think the partisan environment often means that at least one party doesn’t feel the cost of saying NO to bargaining,” Binder told Fox News. “Only when the costs of refusing to negotiate are so steep for BOTH parties are we more likely to see effort. (Think about recent shutdowns– when GOP finally felt the blame, they caved).”

Compounding the problem, Binder said, were the “cleavages within the parties as well as between, such as the Progressives vs. Pelosi and her swing district members. (And when GOP controlled House, pragmatists vs the Freedom Caucus members.)”

Westlake Legal Group ocasio-cortez-1-AP Guns, impeachment push, border wall: What's in store as Congress returns from recess Gregg Re fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/topic/border-wall fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/legislation fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article aced03b1-be96-5ecb-a02c-da105d751e3e

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has sparred openly with top Democrats on key issues — and experts say factions in the party could lead to gridlock. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Meanwhile, reports also emerged over the weekend indicating that the House Judiciary Committee was escalating its impeachment investigation into the president and was preparing a vote as soon as next Wednesday to establish procedures for hearings the panel could hold this fall.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., turned heads by claiming just before the recess began that the committee already had launched an impeachment investigation, only to send conflicting signals about the matter later. This week’s possible vote would lend more outward credibility to the idea that Nadler has been serious about putting the president on trial.

But, the move would still amount only to a technical maneuver, and top Democrats have cautioned that impeachment would be premature. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier this month that the public generally still hasn’t supported impeachment, and many moderate Democrats have balked, saying there’s no chance of obtaining a two-thirds vote in the Republican-controlled Senate necessary to convict and remove Trump from office.

“I’ve been traveling all of August,” Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, said this week. “This is not an issue people bring up. I think a lot of people would rather just vote him out, vote the president out.”

And Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, said in an interview airing Sunday with Greta Van Susteren’s “Full Court Press” that impeachment proceedings would “tear our country apart.”

THE LATEST FOX NEWS POLL ON THE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL RACE

A Fox News poll from this past June showed that most Americans didn’t think impeachment was in Trump’s future and didn’t want him impeached and removed from office.

But, an August Fox News poll showed growing public support on another hot-button issue certain to appear on the agenda this congressional session: gun control. Overwhelming and bipartisan majorities of voters have favored background checks on gun buyers and taking guns from people who’ve posed dangers to themselves or others, the poll found.

Those numbers surged after deadly shootings in Dayton, Ohio; El Paso, Texas; and elsewhere. In early August, amid a national outcry on mass shootings, Pelosi wrote to Trump to demand that he invoke a little-known constitutional power to recall Congress early from its recess to pass gun-control legislation.

The DOJ last week sent a package of legislative proposals on gun violence to the White House, a person familiar with the matter told Fox News. It was not immediately clear what proposals were included in the DOJ package.

BETO O’ROURKE SAYS DEATH PENALTY FOR MASS SHOOTERS IS FUNDAMENTALLY WRONG

A bill passed by the House in February would require background checks on all gun sales, including those between strangers meeting online or at gun shows. Currently, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) has been employed for sales involving licensed firearms dealers, constituting the majority of all firearm sales.

But, some Republicans have refused to take up several gun control bills that passed the House on support from Democrats, saying they would encroach upon the Second Amendment without preventing the vast majority of shootings.

The president has sent conflicting signals on expanding background checks — and his falling standing in many national polls could be contributing to the problem, observers said.

“Trump’s deep unpopularity limits lawmaking in another way,” Binder told Fox News. “First, the Democratic base shows little interest in their representatives making deals with Trump that would give him credit and enhance his position for 2020. NAFTA 2.0 is a prime example. Really not clear whether Democrats will get the concessions their base groups demand or the extent to which the Speaker might be dragging her heels. Either way, that trade agreement is moving very slowly. And because the president is so unpopular nationally and with independents, there’s limited pressure on Democrats to resolve problems.”

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-731b7636da354867a32675b054871302 Guns, impeachment push, border wall: What's in store as Congress returns from recess Gregg Re fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/topic/border-wall fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/legislation fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article aced03b1-be96-5ecb-a02c-da105d751e3e

President Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meeting in the Oval Office this past June, behind a model of the new Air Force One design. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

And, on the Republican side, Bidner asserted, “a president’s signal contribution to lawmaking is often his ability to stake out a path forward, even if less popular, to provide cover for his party to make concessions (gun restrictions are a prime example). [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell won’t bring up a bill unless Trump stakes out a clear position, STICKS to that position, and takes the heat for giving Democrats some of what they want.

“I think that’s largely why — coupled with the partisanship — Trump has achieved very little of his legislative agenda outside what he got on taxes (that didn’t require Democratic votes) and outside issues on which both parties agree,” such as opioid-related bills, Binder said.

Among the proposals being considered: red flag laws, more money for mental health and making sure juvenile information would get into existing background checks. Additionally, White House aides have said Attorney General Bill Barr has been drafting legislation to speed up the death penalty process for mass shooters.

The issue could be contentious among Democrats seeking to unseat President Trump in 2020. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke has sought to revive his struggling candidacy by calling for a mandatory buyback of what he called “assault weapons” — but he also has insisted, in a recent policy shift, that capital punishment was categorically wrong.

There has been some precedent for decisive action from the Trump administration on gun control. The White House last year unilaterally banned bump stocks and other gun modifiers that would make semi-automatic firearms fire faster, after the mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017 left 58 dead and more than 800 injured. The move angered some conservatives, but the Supreme Court rejected a push to delay its implementation earlier this year.

Despite the high-profile nature of some agenda items, the House’s legislative traffic for the upcoming week wouldn’t grab the biggest headlines. The House is tentatively scheduled to debate a bill about the Florida coastline, a measure to protect the “Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain” and legislation dealing with “marine economies.” These plans would bar drilling and impose other environmental protections. A memo to Democrats from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., mentioned guns but offered no timetable for legislation in the House.

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Democrats are expected to hold a forum Tuesday to try pressuring McConnell to consider gun measures. Political scientists said they were wrestling with a fundamental question.

“Does (an apparent) rise in incivility complicate problem-solving and lawmaking, more so than ideological divides between the two parties?” Binder said. “Or does a rise in incivility merely reflect the increased partisan combustion we see every day on Capitol Hill?”

Fox News’ Chad Pergram, Jake Gibson, Dana Blanton and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084213486001_6084214110001-vs Guns, impeachment push, border wall: What's in store as Congress returns from recess Gregg Re fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/topic/border-wall fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/legislation fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article aced03b1-be96-5ecb-a02c-da105d751e3e   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6084213486001_6084214110001-vs Guns, impeachment push, border wall: What's in store as Congress returns from recess Gregg Re fox-news/us/personal-freedoms/second-amendment fox-news/us/immigration/border-security fox-news/topic/border-wall fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/legislation fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article aced03b1-be96-5ecb-a02c-da105d751e3e

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Reporter’s Notebook: What to expect from Congress as lawmakers return from recess

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6083401635001_6083395981001-vs Reporter's Notebook: What to expect from Congress as lawmakers return from recess fox-news/politics/senate/bills fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/legislation fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc Chad Pergram article 20e327ba-82ef-58ea-a0d1-c24becd65cb6

If you’re going to pay attention to Congress, do it now. Lawmakers are on the verge of returning to Washington after a lengthy recess. But the 2020 presidential sweepstakes will soon eclipse everything on Capitol Hill.

President Trump’s 2016 victory represents one of top upsets in American political history. Everyone is bracing for a competitive 2020 campaign after the Electoral College awarded the presidency to Mr. Trump four years ago. Democrats are still months away from sorting out their standard-bearer to challenge the president.

Yes, control of the House and Senate will be in play. At this stage, the Senate is looking like a stronger bet. But the presidential race will dwarf anything in Congress … with a few exceptions.

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For example, if House Democrats truly try to impeach Trump. Or, if there’s another government shutdown, the U.S. attacks Iran or North Korea, Congress actually approves serious gun legislation, or the Dems’ presidential nominee comes from Capitol Hill. The field has remained extensive: Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Cory Booker, D-N.J., Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Reps. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, and Tim Ryan, D-Ohio.

For the record, if Gabbard or Ryan somehow rallies to erase a seven-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth, Nationals-over-Mets style, then we’ve got a real story.

Impeachment and investigation of Trump and his administration likely will consume a lot of news oxygen in Washington when Congress returns to work next week. Expect to hear a lot about how many Democrats favor impeachment or an inquiry, and where the Judiciary Committee stands with subpoenas for people like former White House Counsel Don McGahn.

There will be lots of chatter about guns, too.

But the House Judiciary Committee must first hold a “markup” session on those bills. The panel is expected to hold a hearing on banning military-style weapons late this month, but the House lacks the votes to pass such a prohibition. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has reiterated that he’s not interested in entertaining legislation unless it’s destined to secure Trump’s signature.

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The House’s legislative traffic for next week doesn’t grab the biggest headlines. The House is tentatively scheduled to debate a bill about the Florida coastline, a measure to protect the “Arctic Cultural and Coastal Plain” and legislation dealing with “marine economies.” These plans would bar drilling and impose other environmental protections. A memo to Democrats from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., mentioned guns, but offered no timetable for legislation in the House. Democrats are expected to hold a forum Tuesday to try pressuring McConnell to consider gun measures.

Granted, Democrats clearly have wanted a bona fide outcome when it comes to firearms legislation. But, they also could try using what they’ve seen as McConnell’s recalcitrance on guns as a political opportunity heading into 2020. McConnell is up for reelection. That seat may be hard for Democrats to win. But, the party could deploy guns as a wedge in states with competitive Senate elections in 2020. Such a tactic could help Democrats try to flip seats into their column.

Democrats will attempt to capitalize on this among suburban voters in states which could be in play. Consider Senate Democrats’ efforts to topple Sens. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa., John Cornyn, R-Texas, and David Perdue, R-Ga. Remember that Republicans likely will have to defend two GOP Senate seats in Georgia next year once Republican Gov. Brian Kemp appoints a successor to Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson. Isakson said he’s resigning at the end of the year due to health concerns.

Lawmakers also need to fund the government by October 1.

The Senate Appropriations Committee has been planning to prep four of the annual 12 spending bills in the middle of the month. Those measures would fund the State Department, energy & water programs, the Departments of Labor & Health and Human Services and the Pentagon.

The House has okayed ten of the annual 12 bills, but those bills would be dead on arrival in the Senate. The House would have to compromise with the Senate to come to an agreement on everything. Hoyer’s letter indicated lawmakers would craft a temporary measure to fund the government to avoid a shutdown in less than a month.

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Defense hawks secured a reasonable gain in Pentagon funding in the recent budget accord, but a stopgap plan for the military would constitute something of a setback. Many pro-defense lawmakers backed the budget blueprint earlier this summer because it helped give the Pentagon certainty.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, says he backed the budget package only “because of the incredible benefits that come from stable and predictable funding.”

President Trump’s decision to redirect funding for his border wall from “military construction” projects could prompt Democrats – and frankly, some Republicans – to attempt to harness future repurposing efforts. There have been serious questions as to whether the fiscal reprogramming maneuver is Constitutional. After all, Congress retained the power of the purse, not the executive.

The decision to divert funds drew the ire of Thornberry.

“Rebuilding military infrastructure is a critical part of that recovery and a bipartisan priority. It is important that Congress now restore the military construction funding diverted for border security. Failing to do so only forces our troops to pay for political discord in Washington,” Thornberry said.

But, the biggest decision would how House Democrats approach impeachment. The party’s internal wrestling match over impeachment would open a door for Republicans to lambaste their opponents. Democrats have been dithering on impeachment – and simultaneously ramping things up.

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This would give Republicans an opportunity to portray all Democrats as taking an “extreme” position with impeachment. That could work against Democrats – and, frankly, filter into the 2020 race. As this drags on, the party’s presidential contenders will have to stake out positions on impeachment. Those candidates may not like President Trump, but impeachment is another question.

This is where the Congressional universe would collide headlong into the presidential race in 2020. And, few will pay attention to much else coming out of Congress until the final votes are cast next fall.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6083401635001_6083395981001-vs Reporter's Notebook: What to expect from Congress as lawmakers return from recess fox-news/politics/senate/bills fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/legislation fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc Chad Pergram article 20e327ba-82ef-58ea-a0d1-c24becd65cb6   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6083401635001_6083395981001-vs Reporter's Notebook: What to expect from Congress as lawmakers return from recess fox-news/politics/senate/bills fox-news/politics/senate fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives/legislation fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc Chad Pergram article 20e327ba-82ef-58ea-a0d1-c24becd65cb6

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Alabama football star’s father seen wearing ‘Tulsi 2020’ hat during season opener

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Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s parents were in the stands Saturday to watch their son help one of the top teams in the country pick up a season-opening win over the Duke Blue Devils.

Tagovailoa’s father, Galu, turned heads when he appeared to display his political colors with a hat that he was wearing. Galu’s head read: “Tulsi 2020.”

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The Alabama quarterback is originally from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, the same state where Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a presidential candidate, is a congresswoman.

Gabbard, a Democrat, tweeted a photo of herself with Tagovailoa’s family and revealed that she had met Tua when he was a kid and hired his aunt to work for her when she was a local lawmaker.

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Alabama defeated Duke, 42-3. Tua Tagovailoa was 26-for-31 with 336 passing yards and four touchdown passes.

Westlake Legal Group CFB-Tua-Taglovailoa4 Alabama football star's father seen wearing 'Tulsi 2020' hat during season opener Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/ncaa/alabama-crimson-tide fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox news fnc/sports fnc article 7a7849c9-0a1f-5216-90b6-aab34612b113   Westlake Legal Group CFB-Tua-Taglovailoa4 Alabama football star's father seen wearing 'Tulsi 2020' hat during season opener Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/ncaa/alabama-crimson-tide fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox news fnc/sports fnc article 7a7849c9-0a1f-5216-90b6-aab34612b113

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Alabama football star’s father seen wearing ‘Tulsi 2020’ hat during season opener

Westlake Legal Group CFB-Tua-Taglovailoa4 Alabama football star's father seen wearing 'Tulsi 2020' hat during season opener Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/ncaa/alabama-crimson-tide fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox news fnc/sports fnc article 7a7849c9-0a1f-5216-90b6-aab34612b113

Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback Tua Tagovailoa’s parents were in the stands Saturday to watch their son help one of the top teams in the country pick up a season-opening win over the Duke Blue Devils.

Tagovailoa’s father, Galu, turned heads when he appeared to display his political colors with a hat that he was wearing. Galu’s head read: “Tulsi 2020.”

HUGH FREEZE COACHES LIBERTY FOOTBALL TEAM, GIVES MOTIVATIONAL SPEECH FROM HOSPITAL BED

The Alabama quarterback is originally from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, the same state where Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a presidential candidate, is a congresswoman.

Gabbard, a Democrat, tweeted a photo of herself with Tagovailoa’s family and revealed that she had met Tua when he was a kid and hired his aunt to work for her when she was a local lawmaker.

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Alabama defeated Duke, 42-3. Tua Tagovailoa was 26-for-31 with 336 passing yards and four touchdown passes.

Westlake Legal Group CFB-Tua-Taglovailoa4 Alabama football star's father seen wearing 'Tulsi 2020' hat during season opener Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/ncaa/alabama-crimson-tide fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox news fnc/sports fnc article 7a7849c9-0a1f-5216-90b6-aab34612b113   Westlake Legal Group CFB-Tua-Taglovailoa4 Alabama football star's father seen wearing 'Tulsi 2020' hat during season opener Ryan Gaydos fox-news/sports/ncaa/alabama-crimson-tide fox-news/sports/ncaa-fb fox-news/sports/ncaa fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/tulsi-gabbard fox news fnc/sports fnc article 7a7849c9-0a1f-5216-90b6-aab34612b113

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Geraldo: Tlaib’s canceled trip should cause outrage, Palestinian territory being ‘occupied’

Westlake Legal Group Rashida-Tlaib Geraldo: Tlaib's canceled trip should cause outrage, Palestinian territory being 'occupied' fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/benjamin-netanyahu fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc ee265a34-a3cc-5f07-a222-a6ccd753efdb Charles Creitz article

President Trump rightfully supports the state of Israel, but the Netanyahu government should not have barred Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., from visiting, according to Geraldo Rivera.

People living in Palestinian territory are being denied rights and Tlaib was similarly denied the ability to visit her grandmother, Rivera claimed Monday on “The Story.”

“As a Jewish-American, and as a fervent Zionist who believes deeply in the right of Israel to exist, I am comforted by President Trump’s support of Israel,” he said.

“I also think it is absolutely outrageous that two sitting members of the Congress of the United States of America… were denied entry into the country. I’m shocked that the ambassador did not mention 52 years of Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.”

TLAIB GETS EMOTIONAL AS OMAR CALLS FOR CONGRESS TO ACT OVER ISRAEL TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS

Prior to Rivera’s remarks, Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon discussed the situation with host Martha MacCallum.

In his interview, Rivera explained why he found it wrong for Israel to deny Tlaib entry at first. Officials later said they would allow Tlaib to visit, but the Michigan Democrat declined.

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“These are people being denied their human rights. They can’t freely travel,” he said.

“The fact that the congresswoman from Detroit could not go and visit her grandmother… if it was any other country that took this action, we would all be outraged.”

MacCallum then allowed Danon to respond to Rivera’s claims.

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“[T]alk about the facts,” he said.

“She was allowed to come to visit her grandmother, then she decided not to accept that invitation because she wanted to come and create a provocation,” Danon said. “Let’s speak to the facts… Maybe you should leave your provocational politics here in the U.S. and not bring it to our territory.”

Danon added Israel would like to solve the historic territory issue but said Palestinian officials are not an example of a “viable partner” for negotiations.

In closing, Rivera criticized former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Andrew McCarthy – who was also on set – for doubting the veracity of characterizing the Palestinian territory as an “occupied” territory.

“I’ve been to Ramallah and Bethlehem. I have friends in the West Bank. I see that they cannot travel freely… This is an occupied country,” he said, also reiterating he is proud to support Israel’s right to exist as well.

Westlake Legal Group Rashida-Tlaib Geraldo: Tlaib's canceled trip should cause outrage, Palestinian territory being 'occupied' fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/benjamin-netanyahu fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc ee265a34-a3cc-5f07-a222-a6ccd753efdb Charles Creitz article   Westlake Legal Group Rashida-Tlaib Geraldo: Tlaib's canceled trip should cause outrage, Palestinian territory being 'occupied' fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/person/benjamin-netanyahu fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc ee265a34-a3cc-5f07-a222-a6ccd753efdb Charles Creitz article

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Rep. Dan Crenshaw rips Antifa demonstrators, blasts Portland protests as ‘sad showing’

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060288835001_6060285929001-vs Rep. Dan Crenshaw rips Antifa demonstrators, blasts Portland protests as ‘sad showing’ fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/us/us-regions/west/oregon fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/terror fox-news/us/crime/antifa fox-news/politics/socialism fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox news fnc/politics fnc Dom Calicchio article 40993a50-1893-5dc1-b502-64f66a56956a

In a Twitter message Saturday, U.S. Rep. Dan Crenshaw declared Saturday’s protests in Portland, Ore., “a sad showing,” and said the city’s Antifa activists paled in comparison to the demonstrators fighting for democracy in Hong Kong.

“In Hong Kong,” the Republican congressman from Texas wrote, “antifascists wave American flags, demand freedom and actually fight fascists.

“In Portland,” he continued, “ ‘antifascists’ burn American flags, demand violence in the name of socialism.”

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Crenshaw, 35, is in his first term in the U.S. House after being elected las November. The former U.S. Navy SEAL served in Afghanistan and is the recipient of two Bronze Stars for heroic service and a Purple Heart after being wounded in combat.

On Saturday, demonstrators from both left-wing and right-wing groups converged in Portland, Ore., the scene of numerous violent confrontations in the past.

As of Saturday evening, the city’s mayor was declaring the day’s events “largely peaceful,” with 13 arrests and a small number of minor injuries reported.

Members of the Proud Boys and other conservative groups have argued that Antifa protesters have instigated violence at their events, but have often escaped prosecution because many of their members keep their faces covered during attacks.

In July, the city’s police chief called for new laws against wearing masks during such protests.

“We cannot allow people to continue to use the guide of free speech to commit a crime,” Chief Danielle Outlaw said.

On Saturday, President Trump threatened to push for Antifa to be declared a terror organization.

As a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Crenshaw frequently speaks out on matters of security and terrorism.

In July, Crenshaw accused Democratic U.S. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., of using the U.S.-Mexico border crisis as a stage for criticizing President Trump rather than for proposing solutions to the nation’s immigration problem.

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“What they really want is more commissions … more investigations they can point to, to call the president evil,” Crenshaw said during an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” “That’s what they want.”

In June, Crenshaw went after Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, accusing her of “literally repeating the lies of the Iranian regime” after she asserted that President Trump was trying to provoke a conflict with Iran.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060288835001_6060285929001-vs Rep. Dan Crenshaw rips Antifa demonstrators, blasts Portland protests as ‘sad showing’ fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/us/us-regions/west/oregon fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/terror fox-news/us/crime/antifa fox-news/politics/socialism fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox news fnc/politics fnc Dom Calicchio article 40993a50-1893-5dc1-b502-64f66a56956a   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6060288835001_6060285929001-vs Rep. Dan Crenshaw rips Antifa demonstrators, blasts Portland protests as ‘sad showing’ fox-news/world/world-regions/hong-kong fox-news/us/us-regions/west/oregon fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/terror fox-news/us/crime/antifa fox-news/politics/socialism fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox news fnc/politics fnc Dom Calicchio article 40993a50-1893-5dc1-b502-64f66a56956a

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Brooke Goldstein: Israel smart about Omar, Tlaib – They are enemies of the Jewish state

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073352458001_6073359183001-vs Brooke Goldstein: Israel smart about Omar, Tlaib – They are enemies of the Jewish state fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Brooke Goldstein article 07fb4497-3a56-5ea2-a88c-e986043272f9

Israel was wise to deny entry Thursday to Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. These freshmen Democratic congresswomen have built their brands on delegitimizing the Jewish state and working towards its destruction and would have used a visit to Israel to give themselves an international platform to spew their hate.

These are not good-faith actors, earnestly seeking to visit the Holy Land and learn about its people, history and culture. If their intention was to truly see the facts on the ground for what they are, they could have easily joined 72 of their fellow House members who visited Israel last week as part of a congressional delegation.

Omar and Tlaib were invited to be part of that delegation by the leadership of the House Democratic Caucus. But the pair ruled this out, instead choosing to plan their own trip to advance their anti-Israel and anti-Semitic political agenda.

ILHAN OMAR ACCUSES NETANYAHU OF IMPOSING ‘MUSLIM BAN’ AS DEMS DECRY DECISION TO BLOCK ISRAEL VISIT

Omar and Tlaib’s proposed itinerary read like a laundry list of provocative actions designed to intentionally stoke ethnic and religious tensions. Their rumored demand to pray alongside leaders from the Palestinian Authority at the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site and also the location of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third-holiest site in Islam – could have incited a riot and kicked off a round of deadly violence.

Lest we forget, the Second Intifada began with calls for violence following former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount in 2000. More than 4,000 people were killed in the ensuing weeks after Palestinian leaders unleashed a deadly wave of suicide attacks.

The two congresswomen have First Amendment rights – as do all American citizens – to express their beliefs. But Israel, as a sovereign nation, also has every right to decide who can and cannot enter its borders and for what purpose.

The irony is that if I, as a member of the Jewish faith, attempted to pray on the Temple Mount, I would be arrested on the spot by the Israelis, who seek to defuse tensions at the site.

Omar and Tlaib also reportedly intended to visit the security fence separating southern Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza, where terrorists recently launched explosive incendiary balloons towards Jewish communities. The security fence is among the most dangerous hotspots in the region. A visit by well-known foreign politicians would have required significant security resources.

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One item that wasn’t on the agenda for Omar and Tlaib was official government business. They planned no meetings with Israeli or Palestinian officials during the trip.

Sadly, this is par for the course for Omar and Tlaib. Although they have only been members of Congress since January, both have already been embroiled in scandals over racist statements and actions.

Omar has said the U.S.-Israel relationships is “all about the Benjamins.” And she has implied that Jewish Americans “pledge allegiance to a foreign country.”

These statements employ classic anti-Semitic tropes, implying that “Jewish money” buys support for Israel from U.S. elected officials and that American Jews are more loyal to Israel than the United States.

Similarly, Tlaib has said Jewish members of Congress “forgot what country they represent.” She even wrote a column for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan’s blog. Farrakhan is a notorious anti-Semitic bigot, who compares Jews to termites and has long been persona non grata for all but the most extreme fringe of the far-left.

Both Omar and Tlaib are enthusiastic supporters of an anti-Semitic global campaign to boycott Jewish businesses, institutions and individuals in Israel. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign promotes economic warfare as a means to bring about the eventual destruction of the Jewish state.

Under Israeli law, supporters of BDS are, very sensibly, not allowed into the country. It’s ironic they would want to visit in the first place, considering the boycott.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman said Thursday that the planned trip to Israel by Omar and Tlaib was “nothing more than an effort to fuel the BDS engine that Congresswomen Tlaib and Omar so vigorously support.”

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And President Trump, who called for Israel to keep Omar and Tlaib out, tweeted in support of the Israeli decision to deny the pair entry, writing: “Representatives Omar and Tlaib are the face of the Democrat Party, and they HATE Israel!”

The two congresswomen have First Amendment rights – as do all American citizens – to express their beliefs. But Israel, as a sovereign nation, also has every right to decide who can and cannot enter its borders and for what purpose.

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No country on Earth would allow its sworn enemies to use its territory as a base from which to continue an insidious campaign of delegitimization.

Thankfully, Israel is prioritizing the safety and security of its own citizens ahead of the political agenda of two hateful members of Congress.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073352458001_6073359183001-vs Brooke Goldstein: Israel smart about Omar, Tlaib – They are enemies of the Jewish state fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Brooke Goldstein article 07fb4497-3a56-5ea2-a88c-e986043272f9   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6073352458001_6073359183001-vs Brooke Goldstein: Israel smart about Omar, Tlaib – They are enemies of the Jewish state fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/politics/house-of-representatives fox-news/politics fox-news/person/rashida-tlaib fox-news/person/ilhan-omar fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Brooke Goldstein article 07fb4497-3a56-5ea2-a88c-e986043272f9

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