U.S. Challenges Russian Aggression in Ukraine

The United States military flew an “extraordinary” mission over Ukraine in a show of aggression against Russia. The Department of Defense announced the flyover, conducted under the Open Skies Treaty, as a protest of Russia’s aggressive posture toward Ukraine—particularly its seizure of three Ukrainian ships several weeks ago. President Trump added that he is not happy with Russia’s latest actions, and cancelled a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit last weekend.

—QUOTABLE: “Based on the fact that the ships and sailors have not been returned to Ukraine from Russia, I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting in Argentina with President Vladimir Putin. I look forward to a meaningful Summit again as soon as this situation is resolved!” -Trump on Twitter

—QUOTABLE: “Today the United States and Allies conducted an extraordinary flight under the Open Skies Treaty. The timing of this flight is intended to reaffirm U.S. commitment to Ukraine and other partner nations…Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Black Sea near the Kerch strait is a dangerous escalation in a pattern of increasingly provocative and threatening activity.” -Dept. of Defense

Lemon Criticizes Trump-Obama Funeral Handshake, Cuomo Disagrees

CNN hack Don Lemon just can’t help himself. On Wednesday, the cable news host said that he would not have shaken President Trump’s hand at the memorial service for President George H.W. Bush if he had been in former president Barack Obama’s place. He’s not nearly as big a man as Obama, who did shake the president’s hand, Lemon proclaimed in a nauseating attempt at broadcasting his humility. But fellow CNN host Chris Cuomo condemned Lemon—it’s about showing respect in an important moment for the country, Cuomo rebutted. The Obamas don’t have to show respect, Lemon said—and shouldn’t, given Trump’s attitude toward Barack, he went on.

—QUOTABLE: “Nope, couldn’t do it. I’m not that big a person. I would hope that I would be, but I don’t — I can’t fake the funk as they say. I’m not saying the Obamas did that, but there they go, right there.” -Lemon

—QUOTABLE: “I don’t think it’s about faking the funk. I think it’s about showing respect for something bigger than them.” -Cuomo

Dem Head Doesn’t Like Republicans Hearing Politics in Church

The head of the Democratic Party is unhappy that with Republicans going to church. “People buy” what they hear at church, and that’s usually a conservative message—and that gives the GOP an unfair advantage, according to Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez in comments recently before a left-wing political group. Republicans have churches, Fox News, and the NRA, which are the only voices most people in rural Republican areas listen to, Perez implied. 

—QUOTABLE: “I’ve learned this from the outreach we’ve done at the DNC. Why aren’t we penetrating, I ask? And I had someone in northwest Wisconsin tell me: ‘You know what? For most of the people I know, their principle sources of information are Fox News, the NRA newsletter and the pulpit on Sunday.’ And it should come as a surprise to no-one that our message doesn’t penetrate.” -Perez

FBI Raid of Clinton Foundation Critic Draws Criticism

Whistleblower advocates are condemning an FBI raid of a Clinton Foundation insider who reported possible wrongdoing involving the so-called charity, nuclear material broker Uranium One, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. 16 FBI agents raided the home of Dennis Cain on Nov. 19, who used to work for an FBI contractor. According to the Daily Caller, those familiar with the raid said it should’ve never happened because Cain had been granted whistleblower status by Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz. Raiding his home goes against the spirit of laws designed to protect people who report nefarious activity, experts say.

—QUOTABLE: “This isn’t how we should be treating whistleblowers who are coming forward with information about high level wrongdoing…It sends a very strong message that you will be treated as a criminal even though what you’re trying to do is expose crime or a potential crime.” -Nick Schwellenbach, Project on Government Oversight

Drug Dealer Released from Prison, Immediately Hijacks Woman’s Car

A drug dealer let out of a Pennsylvania prison was in a big hurry to go back to the slammer. 36 year old Thomas Lee Williams was let out of jail Tuesday, but minutes later he decided it’d be a great next move to hijack a woman’s SUV. He threw her out and peeled out with the woman’s one year old grandson still in the back seat—and crashed 15 minutes later. After fleeing on foot, the hapless criminal fled on foot into the woods, but was apprehended shortly afterwards and put back behind bars. 

Bloomberg Probably Running for President

It looks like Michael Bloomberg is serious about running for president. The New York billionaire is advising Democrats to “do something” now that they’ve won control of the House, not just rest on their laurels. In a CNN interview during a day trip to Iowa—an important early presidential primary state—Bloomberg talked about his green energy objectives and his hypothetical approach to campaigning. The media mogul, prominent gun rights foe, and former New York City mayor recently registered as a Democrat after years as an independent. He spent some $110 million getting Democrats elected in November.

—QUOTABLE: “I do think that after 12 years in City Hall, dealing with international problems and security problems and economic problems and creating jobs and the environment and guns and women’s rights and tobacco and these things, that I have a lot of experience which would be useful if I was President of the United States.” -Bloomberg

Cohen Likely Giving Mueller Dirt on Trump Business Dealings

Former lawyer and top confidante to President Trump, Michael Cohen, is probably providing information to special counsel Robert Mueller…but it likely has nothing to do with Russian collusion in the 2016 election. Although that’s what Mueller is supposed to be confined to investigating, Cohen is on the record time after time denying any involvement in such a scheme. And Cohen was indicted for lying to Congress, but not for when he made those denials. Which means Cohen—who has worked for the Trump Organization since long before he became president—could be telling Mueller where the bodies are, figuratively speaking, buried.

Buzzfeed Blames Paris Riots on Facebook, Not Climate Change Taxes

Buzzfeed is mischaracterizing the recent riots that tore Paris apart. They are the result of Facebook! the left-leaning website proclaimed, blaming the outpouring of violence and vandalism on recent changes Facebook made that allowed so-called “Anger Groups” to spread their message more easily. That ignores the real cause of the riots, which was a proposal by French President Emmanuel Macron to jack up the country’s carbon and gas taxes to pay for his fight against global warming. A petition protesting the taxes garnered more than a million signatures, a clear sign that while Facebook might’ve made the protests easier to organize, the root cause is the French president’s Ahab-like global warming quest.

—QUOTABLE: “Due to the way algorithm changes made earlier this year interacted with the fierce devotion in France to local and regional identity, the country is now facing some of the worst riots in many years — and in Paris, the worst in half a century.” -Buzzfeed writer Ryan Broderick.

Trump, China Tout Trade Agreements to Quell Markets

President Trump’s rhetoric on trade with China may have caused a major stock market tumble on Tuesday, and now he’s trying to smooth things over. In a series of tweets on Wednesday, Trump expressed his optimism that the U.S. and China will in fact be able to work out a slate of trade disputes. And China also took aim at clearing up any confusion, stating it is “confident” a trade deal can be reached and that it will be working on an agreement over the next 90 days. The tumult came after days of silence by China following a summit of economic leaders in Argentina over the weekend. Trump announced afterwards that China had agreed to start buying more American products and ease the trade war.

—QUOTABLE: “Very strong signals being sent by China once they returned home from their long trip, including stops, from Argentina,” Mr. Trump tweeted. “Not to sound naive or anything, but I believe President Xi meant every word of what he said at our long and hopefully historic meeting. ALL subjects discussed!”

Fox Legal Expert Expects Trump Junior to Face Indictment

Andrew Napolitano said Wednesday he expects President Trump’s son to be indicted by Robert Mueller. In an interview on SiriusXM, the senior judicial analyst for Fox News told host Dan Abrams that he expects the “substantial assistance” Mueller got from former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn likely means Donald Trump Jr. will be facing an indictment for comments he made to the FBI and Congress about a June 2016 meeting he took part in at Trump Tower involving several Russians. Trump Jr. has been telling friends he expects to be indicted, too, Napolitano said.

Trump Plans Rollback of Obama-era Coal Regulations

President Trump is continuing his efforts to save coal country. The administration is reportedly getting ready to give the flagging coal industry a big boost by rolling back another Obama-era environmental regulation requiring all new coal plants to be outfitted with carbon capture technology, according to The New York Times. The 2015 Obama mandate sets a limit on how much carbon dioxide a new coal plant can emit per megawatt hour of energy produced—Trump’s EPA plans to raise that limit. Saying it makes building new coal plants more difficult, the coal industry hates the rule. Instead of the strict Obama rule, Team Trump plans to allow new coal plants to open if they install more efficient boilers and other technology.

Bush 43 Joins World Leaders Mourning His Late Father

George W. Bush eulogized his late father on Wednesday in a speech filled with tears and laughter. Family, friends, and world leaders from around the globe gathered at the National Cathedral on Wednesday to mourn President George H.W. Bush, the nation’s 41st president, who died on Friday at age 94. In his eulogy, the younger Bush shared memories of his father’s sense of humor and about how his dad and mom, Barbara liked to hold hands. She died earlier this year. He ended by tearfully saying his father is back with daughter Robin, who died at age 3 from leukemia, and Barbara—and that the two are holding hands again.

—QUOTABLE: “After mom died, dad was strong, but all he really wanted to do was hold mom’s hand again…We’re going to miss you. Your decency, sincerity, and kind soul will stay with us forever…So through our tears, let us enjoy the blessings of knowing and loving you, a great noble man. The best man a son or father could have,” Bush continued, choking up. “And in our grief, let us smile knowing that dad is hugging Robin and holding mom’s hand again.” -George W. Bush

ALSO—President Trump and First Lady Melania also attended the Bush memorial service. They sat in the pew next to former President Barack Obama and Michelle. In a showing that the moment goes far beyond petty politics, Trump shook both their hands. He also tweeted before the service a tribute to Bush, which was praised by Trump nemesis Sen. Jeff Flake—“Well said, Mr. President,” Flake replied.

—QUOTABLE: “Looking forward to being with the Bush family. This is not a funeral, this is a day of celebration for a great man who has led a long and distinguished life. He will be missed!” -Trump on Twitter

Porn Lawyer Bows Out of Dem Presidential Field

Celebrity porn lawyer Michael Avenatti will not run for president in 2020. On Tuesday the combative attorney for President Trump foe Stormy Daniels, and an outspoken Trump critic himself, said he is withdrawing his name after consulting with his family. Avenatti is the father of two teenage girls and a four year old son—and he’s also been accused recently of domestic abuse and is embroiled in a contentious divorce from his estranged second wife. The personal life problems—especially the charges of violence toward a lover—caused his beloved cable TV appearances to dry up, and the invitations to speak in front of groups of politically correct, social justice lefties eager to hear about his work on behalf of porn stars took a slide. That may have also played a role in his decision to bow out early.

—QUOTABLE: “I think today’s a good reminder that this whole thing is a marathon and not a sprint. Just because someone is the most click bait-y or cable-ready candidate at any moment doesn’t mean they’re going to go the distance.” -Jesse Ferguson, Dem strategist 

Retired House Stalwart Urges Abolishing Senate, Electoral College

The longest serving congressman is calling for the abolition of the U.S. Senate and the electoral college. Former Rep. John Dingell, of Michigan, represented the state for more than 59 years, said in an Atlantic op-ed that a series of suggestions would restore the public’s trust in the government—and he said it’s “antiquated” and “dangerous” that all states get two senators regardless of their population. The Senate is supposed to represent the states themselves, not just groups of people in the states. But Dingell forgot that, saying it’s crazy that the 20 lowest populated states get 40 senators, while California has as much population but has just two senators. Just the same, giving weight to small states in the Presidential Electoral College is dumb—essentially, the people living in the biggest cities should be able to run the lives of everyone across the country, Dingell believes. Both must be abolished in favor of rule by the mob, he insinuated.

—INANE QUOTABLE: “California has almost 40 million people, while the 20 smallest states have a combined population totaling less than that. Yet because of an 18th-century political deal, those 20 states have 40 senators, while California has just two.” -Dingell

—INANE QUOTABLE: “It will take a national movement, starting at the grassroots level, and will require massive organizing, strategic voting, and strong leadership over the course of a generation. But it has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? ‘Abolish the Senate.’ I’m having blue caps printed up with that slogan right now. They will be made in America.” -Dingell

“Zero Chance” Saudi Monarch Didn’t Spearhead Journalist’s Murder

There’s no doubt that the Saudi Crown Prince was deeply involved in the murder of a journalist living in the U.S., according to top CIA officials who briefed senators on Tuesday. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was definitely deeply involved in the killing of Kamal Khashoggi, intelligence officials insist, even though President Trump’s administration says there is no “smoking gun” tying the key U.S. ally directly to the October murder and dismemberment. Sen. Lindsey Graham, for one, says there is indisputable evidence and that the Crown Prince and his behavior poses a threat to the critical alliance between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia.

—QUOTABLE: “There’s not a smoking gun, there’s a smoking saw (in reference to the dismemberment of Khashoggi)…It is zero chance — zero — that this happened in such an organized fashion without the crown prince.” -Graham

Ocasio-Cortez Embarrasses Herself Again, This Time Over Defense Spending

The Washington Post gave Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the dubious “Four Pinocchios” award for her latest claims about Pentagon funding and her “Medicare for All” scheme. The newly elected Democratic Socialist member of the House claimed Monday in a tweet that unaccounted for Defense Department funding could be used to pay for the Bernie Sanders-inspired socialist healthcare plan, which was pegged at a cost of $32 trillion over ten years. But according to a 17-year Pentagon audit, there were $21 trillion of difficult to explain spending, the result of accounting issues. The audit does not mean there is a giant pot of cash sitting around somewhere, and Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t give thought to basic accounting, the Washington Post concluded. Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood added that the DOD spending hasn’t even been appropriated $21 trillion in its entire existence, making her claim completely impossible.

—QUOTABLE: “Ocasio-Cortez is not the first Twitter user to mangle information from a news report. But it’s unconvincing to try to pass this off as a rhetorical point being misread. She cited the $21 trillion figure and said ‘66% of Medicare for All could have been funded already by the Pentagon…That’s a direct comparison. It’s badly flawed. The same article she referenced on Twitter would have set her straight. The tweet is still up, probably causing confusion. So we will award Four Pinocchios to Ocasio-Cortez.” -Washington Post

Dole Pays Respects to Fellow WWII Vet, President Bush

Bob Dole paid his respects to fellow World War II veteran, President George H.W. Bush, who is lying in state in the U.S. Capitol rotunda. Dole is 95 years old and is confined to a wheelchair as Bush was in the later years of his life, but he stood up briefly with the help of an aide to salute Bush—a fellow Republican who defeated him in the 1988 presidential primary and served with him in the Second World War. Bush passed away Friday at age 94.

Republican Emails Were Hacked During 2018 Election

Republicans said they were hacked in the 2018 election. Emails from the top four honchos at the National Republican Congressional Committee were stolen in a major hack detected in April, according to a Tuesday report from Politico. The NRCC didn’t make a public statement, but did inform the FBI. The hacking came after the group hired cyber security firm CrowdStrike, the same firm that handled Democratic National Committee hacks during the 2016 election. Senior Dem officials have accused CrowdStrike of being incompetent.

—QUOTABLE: “We don’t want to get into details about what was taken because it’s an ongoing investigation…Let’s say they had access to four active accounts. I think you can draw from that.” -NRCC official

Grassley: Fusion GPS Foe Misled Congress

Sen. Chuck Grassley is accusing Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson of giving his committee “extremely misleading” if not false testimony. The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee grilled Simpson in 2017 about his work with the Democrat Party and the infamous Steele Dossier, which Simpson’s firm produced. Simpson, in his testimony, denied he still worked for the Dems after the 2016 election, but Grassley compared his sworn claims to former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony, which have been revealed to be riddled with falsehoods—for which he’s been convicted. The two should be treated the same, Grassley said.

—QUOTABLE: “I hope that the Justice Department is handling all these instances of false statements to Congress with the same level of seriousness they treated Mr. Cohen’s.” -Grassley

—QUOTABLE: “Contrary to Mr. Simpson’s denial in the staff interview, according to the FBI and others, Fusion actually did continue Trump dossier work for a new client after the election.” -Grassley

Mueller Spares Flynn from Prison Time

Robert Mueller is sparing the whip when it comes to Michael Flynn. The special counsel is recommending no prison time for Flynn, the former national security adviser to President Trump. Mueller cited Flynn’s “substantial assistance” with his investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia in the 2016 elections. Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI last year about his conversations with a former Russian ambassador, but agreed to fully cooperate with the Mueller probe.

GHWB, RIP

President George H. W. Bush’s remains arrived in Washington DC Monday evening, on board a military jet with the callsign Special Air Mission 41. Speaking at a ceremony upon the casket’s arrival, Vice President Mike Pence gave remarks, speaking to the 41st president’s life and character: “[he] never lost his love of adventure, and he never failed to answer the call to serve his country,” Pence said.

The casket will remain on display in the Capitol rotunda until early Wednesday morning, when the state funeral will begin. President Bush made clear he wanted President Trump at the funeral, though the current Commander in Chief will not speak. 

Bern 2020

Bernie Sanders gathered a group of friends and loyalists for a strategy retreat in Vermont over the weekend, and talk of a 2020 run for president felt like a foregone conclusion. His advantage this time will be frontrunner status from the beginning, meaning starting out with a much bigger, more complex organization — at least that’s what his top supporters say.

Harris 2020

California Senator Kamala Harris says she’ll make a decision about a 2020 White House bid over the holidays, and that it comes down to what her family says. But in the meantime, she says the whole process will be ugly.

Speaking to The Hill, Harris said, “Let’s be honest. It’s going to be ugly.” 

“When you break things, it is painful. And you get cut. And you bleed.”

Zucker for America

CNN Head Honcho Jeff Zucker hasn’t ruled out running for office. Chatting with former Obama flunkie David Axelrod on his podcast “The Axe Files,” Zucker said he’s always felt in his gut he could get involved in politics. 

Axelrod pointed out Zucker had turned down an opportunity to work for Al Gore in 2000 — and Zucker has had curiosity about public office ever since.

Adelson Unleashed

GOP Megadonor Sheldon Adelson says he’s not backing Republican organizations in the next election cycle unless they shape up their operations. He gave $112 million during the 2018 cycle, including $100,000 to the National Republican Campaign Committee and $33,000 each to the Republican National Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee. 

In the future, he’s not giving money to “inefficient” organizations, sources say. In particular, he thinks Republicans need a counterpart to ActBlue, the progressive online donation platform that focuses on small contributions, and get funneled to left-wing candidates in both statewide and local races.