Posts

The Rushmore Report – Let’s Assume Trump Is Guilty of Collusion; Is It Even a Crime?

For two years, CNN has committed more air time to the Trump collusion story than they have to the tax bill, ISIS, and job creation combined. One reporter calls this the “story of the century.” And it’s true that the president’s son met with a Russian lawyer in hopes of securing damaging information on Hillary Clinton. But does that mean Trump colluded with Russia? And even if he did, is that a crime? Let’s consider the opinions of leading legal experts, including famed Democratic attorney Alan Dershowitz.

William Jeffress, the attorney who defended Scooter Libby, writes, “If the Trump campaign conspired with or assisted the Russians in hacking the emails of John Podesta or the Democratic National Committee, the crime is clear. But beyond that, it is anything but clear. We do not have a federal statute punishing corrupt efforts to influence an election, unless done by particular prohibited acts such as vote buying or illegal political contributions.”

The whole collusion “scandal” is considered a “nothing burger” by Saikrishna Prakash, distinguished professor of law at the University of Virginia. He writes, “There are tidbits worth investigating here. For one, why did the convener of the meeting (with Trump, Jr. and the Russian lawyer) say the meeting was ‘part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump?’ After all, the lawyer from Russia now claims she is not a government lawyer. But I don’t think this really amounts to much, at least as a legal matter. ‘Collusion’ is not a cognizable federal offense. Politicians seek dirt on other candidates – the dirtier the better. That is what opposition research is all about.”

Samuel Bell, Duke law professor, says simply, “Collusion, of course, is not a legal thing.”

But I find the words of famed Democratic attorney Alan Dershowitz to be the most compelling, both on the merits of his argument and the credibility of the source. Dershowitz, who is an unapologetic liberal Democrat, is emeritus professor of law at Harvard University.

Dershowitz writes, “Which criminal statutes, if any, would be violated by collusion between a campaign and a foreign government, if collusion were to be proved? Unless there is a clear violation of an existing criminal statute, there would be no crime. Obviously, if anyone conspired in advance with another to commit a crime, such as hacking the Democratic National Committee, that would be criminal. But merely seeking to obtain the work product of a prior hack would be no more criminal than a newspaper publishing the work products of thefts such as the Pentagon Papers and the material stolen by Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. That is why the entire issue of alleged collusion with, and interference by, the Russians should be investigated openly by an independent nonpartisan commission, rather than by a prosecutor behind the closed doors of a grand jury.”

Let’s return to our foundational question. Even if President Trump is guilty of collusion, is it even a crime? The short answer is “no.” The long answer is: “No, but as long as Trump opponents can keep the story going, in an effort to sidetrack legislative progress, they will.”

Democrat Adam Schiff has claimed, for two years, that there is “strong evidence” for collusion. But when he does a rare interview with any news outlets that are not strongly anti-Trump, he has yet to produce one piece of evidence to support his claim.

So this is where we stand. President Trump has been accused of a crime that a) is not a crime, and b) has zero evidence that it even happened.

And this – for mainstream media outlets – is the “story of the century.” Such an assertion can only be explained in one of two ways. Either a) the media is driven by its desire to get Trump, regardless of the evidence, or b) we are having a really boring century.

The Rushmore Report – Who Had the Higher Approval Rating at This Point in His Presidency, Obama or Trump?

For two years leading up to every presidential election, the biggest story in cable news is pre-election polls which indicate who is leading in the race. For the next two years, the biggest story is the sitting president’s approval rating. So at this point in their presidencies, whose approval rating was higher – Obama’s or Trump’s? The answer may surprise you.

The Rasmussen Report’s daily tracking poll – the most accurate in the business the last eight years – shows President Trump sitting at a 50 percent approval rating. At the same point in his first term, President Obama’s approval rating was 46 percent.

Yes, you read that correctly. Trump’s approval rating is ahead of Obama’s at this point in each presidency – by four points.

Meanwhile, Democrats continue to have an edge in the generic ballot for the November congressional elections, but the gap is narrowing. The latest Fox News Poll has revealed a shrinking difference – from 15 points in October (50-35 percent) to just five points now (46-41 percent).

Giving further hope to Republicans, these generic ballots have traditionally undervalued conservative support. For example, at this same time in the run up to the 2014 midterm elections, such polls gave Democrats a two-point advantage, but they went on to lose 13 net Congressional seats. And in 2010, though Republicans held only a slim four-point lead in the polls, they gained a record 63 seats in the November elections.

In all but two midterm elections of the last 50 years, the party that held the White House lost congressional seats. This cycle will likely follow suite. But don’t believe the narrative being pedaled by most media outlets. They are trumping up Democratic optimism in order to suppress Republican turnout. Plus, it’s a lot easier to cover polls than real news stories.

Anyone can report on the lowest number of jobless claims since the Nixon Administration (yes, the Nixon Administration). Anyone can cover the decimation of ISIS, success in Iran, and record tax cuts. But it takes a real journalist to tell you who is ahead in a historically unreliable poll seven months before an election. Real news? That would be the daily report of how “Generic Democratic Candidate” is doing verses “Generic Republican Candidate.”

I’m not even sure of which state in which “Generic” is on the actual ballot. I guess that’s what makes it news.

Does Trump’s rise to 50 percent approval in the Rasmussen poll mean much? Probably not. Nor did Obama’s 46 percent rating matter much in 2010. And Generic Democrat’s five-point lead over Generic Republican doesn’t matter much, either.

Leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats have an edge. But it’s not nearly as big as you’ve been told.

The Rushmore Report – Will a Wall Really Matter? Border Commissioner Answers

Candidate Donald Trump ran for president on the promise of building a “beautiful world-class wall” on our southern border. Now, his border demands are mired in uncertain legislation, budgeting, and endless debate. Here’s the critical question: Would a wall really matter? Ronald Vitiello, Customs and Border Protection Deputy Commissioner answers that question – with clarity and certainty.

Yes, it will matter – a lot, Vitiello contends.

The acting commissioner met with national media members last week. He declared that the simple truth is that “walls work and the data shows it.” Then he raised his primary concern – lack of funding.

Vitiello called for a “balanced investment in physical infrastructure, access, patrol roads, and technology, as well as personnel to support critical border security missions.”

He added, “A border wall system is a comprehensive solution that provides a wall, lighting, enforcement cameras, and other related technology, and all-weather roads to impede and deny illegal cross-border activity.”

The U.S. government recently allotted $1.6 billion for border wall construction security. On that note, Vitiello said, “We appreciate this down payment, but it does not fully fund our needs in the most critical locations.”

For perspective, Vitiello said “$25 billion would be enough to replace or upgrade existing fencing and add about 300 miles of new pedestrian barrier. Vehicle barriers account for 300 miles of current fencing. The rest is higher and intended to keep out individuals,” reported the Dallas News.

There are currently 654 miles of fencing on the southern border, but that number is not even close to enough to secure the 1,954-mile border. According to Customs and Border Protection, “when fully funded, about 1,000 of the nearly 2,000-mile U.S./Mexican border with have a border wall and other critical infrastructure.”

Vitiello said, “We’re on track to replace 20 miles of a primary vehicle barrier in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. Ground breaking is scheduled for early April. But we need much more. Anyone who says otherwise is informed by their politics rather than the facts.”

The Rushmore Report – Guess Who’s in Trump’s Corner Now?

You won’t believe who is coming to the support of President Trump. Last week, when liberal MSNBC host Rachel Maddow expressed hostility over Trump’s announcement that he would meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, this comedian came to Trump’s defense. It’s hard to believe, but it’s true.

First, back to Maddow. “Why has no other sitting president ever met with the leader of North Korea? You’d think this president would see that and learn from it.”

Of course, Maddow conveniently forgot that this was exactly what President Obama promised to do while running for president in 2007. In a debate, Obama was asked if he would “be willing to meet separately, without precondition,” with the Korean leader. Obama responded, “I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment for them – which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this [Bush] administration – is ridiculous.”

But Obama never met with Kim, and relations between the North Koreans and United States have deteriorated ever since.

So, to Trump’s defense comes . . . Bill Maher.

A true Trump hater, Maher said on his HBO show last Friday that Trump’s plan has merit.

“I was watching all the cable news last night. All these liberals who are reflexively hating on this proposed the exact same thing in 2008 and they loved it.” Then he characterized Obama’s strategy against North Korea as “failed.”

Maher admitted that the pending meeting and conciliatory tone the North Korean leader has recently adopted may well be the result of Trump’s tough talk and sanctions. “If you hate Trump so much – and I do – you must admit this may actually be happening because of Trump. Because of his tough talk.”

Maher concluded, “Another stupid argument I heard on TV last night was, ‘Well, we’ll just be giving Kim the respect he and his family have always craved.’ Well, so what? It might actually work!”

So there you go. Bill Maher defending Donald Trump. Enjoy it while you can. A liberal late-night TV host offering sensible, unemotional commentary – we may not see this again in our lifetime.

The Rushmore Report – President Trump: ‘We Want Our Cities to Be Sanctuaries for Americans, Not Safe Havens for Criminals’

President Donald J. Trump used his weekly address to discuss the rampant problem of liberal public servants defying federal immigration law in hopes of protecting illegal aliens from deportation. In reality, these actions committed by mostly Democratic office holders endanger the community and American citizens.

“Protecting the safety and well-being of American citizens is my highest duty as President. Yet, lawless sanctuary jurisdictions are nullifying federal law, obstructing immigration enforcement, and releasing thousands of criminal aliens into U.S. communities to prey on innocent victims. It’s absolutely terrible,” the president said.

The 45th commander-in-chief then went on to highlight notable examples of ICE arresting illegal aliens convicted of gruesome crimes. But, he also pointed out Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who went so far as to issue a warning to residents of an impending ICE deportation operation.

“And last week, the mayor of Oakland warned criminal aliens of a coming ICE enforcement action, giving them time to scatter and hide from authorities. The mayors conduct directly threatened the safety of federal immigration officers and the law-abiding Americans in her community.

The State of California is sheltering dangerous criminals in a brazen and lawless attack on our Constitutional system of government. Every state in our Union is subject to the laws and Constitution of the United States, including California. Yet, California’s leaders are in open defiance of federal law. They don’t care about crime. They don’t care about death and killings. They don’t care about robberies. They don’t care about the kind of things that you and I care about.”

ICE eventually conducted the operation, arresting 232 illegal aliens. Most of those illegals were previously convicted of a crime.

President Trump ended his address, saying, “We want our cities to be sanctuaries for Americans, not safe havens for criminals. That is why I am calling on Congress to block funds for jurisdictions that shield dangerous criminals. It is time to end the bloodshed brought about by reckless sanctuary policies and it is time to save American lives and American cities.”

About the Author

Timothy Meads writes for Townhall.

The Rushmore Report – President Trump’s Message to Democrats

President Trump went on a Twitter rage on Saturday night. His subject was mostly the shooting at the high school in Parkland, Florida, that took 17 lives. While addressing the shooting and expressing his opinions on what could be done in the future, the president had a very direct message to Democrats – one they don’t want to hear.

This was the president’s message:

“Just like they don’t want to solve the DACA problem, why didn’t the Democrats pass gun control legislation when they had both the House & Senate during the Obama Administration? Because they didn’t want to, and now they just talk!”

As is usually the case, Mr. Trump’s tweet could have been toned down. But does he have a point? Sure he does. Under former president Barack Obama, Democrats passed the most sweeping reform to health care in American history – without a single Republican vote. They could do this because they had a filibuster-proof Senate majority of 60-40, plus the majority of the House.

For two years, the Democrats passed every single law they introduced. But what was missing? Gun control.

On the heels of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, which left 26 dead, the Democratic Congress did nothing. They could have passed a ban on assault weapons, but they didn’t. They could have passed universal background checks, but they didn’t.

Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich (who is running for president in 2020 – ignore his statements to the contrary) said on Sunday that he has no confidence in Congress to do anything on guns.

“Do I think they can do something on guns? I hope they prove me wrong, but I have no confidence in them,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

This Congress can act, but it won’t be easy, as neither party can get what they want without buy-in from across the aisle. But there was a day – not that long ago – when Democrats had the votes to do whatever they wanted (as they did with Obamacare). They had a chance to pass gun legislation, and they whiffed.

On this point, President Trump is right.

The Rushmore Report – Trump Tweets the Real Reason He Refused to Release Democratic Memo

The mainstream media got all fired up to see the 10-page Democratic rebuttal to the Republican memo that was released two weeks ago. The GOP memo showed that President Obama’s Justice Department abused its surveillance program to spy on Republicans. The Democrats tried to get their memo out. Trump blocked it. Why?

The president tweeted: “The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods, would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!”

Right on cue, the Democrats played their already-exposed card.

“Mr. President, what you call ‘political’ are actually called facts, and your concern for sources and methods would be more convincing if you hadn’t decided to release the GOP memo before even reading it and over the objections of the FBI,” Rep. Adam Schiff said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blasted Trump for his “hypocrisy.”

There’s just one problem with Schiff’s and Schumer’s argument. Of the 11 Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, all 11 voted to release the Democratic memo – after the FBI redacts sensitive material that would endanger national security.

Meanwhile, of the nine Democrats on the committee, not a single one voted to release the Republican memo.

Let’s review. How many Republicans voted to release the Democratic memo? All of them.

How many Democrats voted to release the Republican memo? None of them.

For Rep. Schiff and Sen. Schumer, the issue is obviously not one of transparency. It’s all a game – called politics. And it’s getting old.

The Rushmore Report – Kellyanne Conway Defies White House, Says ‘No Reason to Not Believe’ Rob Porter’s Accusers

One of the president’s closest advisers, Kellyanne Conway, broke with President Trump on Sunday morning, telling CNN “State of the Union” host Jake Tapper that there is no reason to not believe Rob Porter’s ex-wives, who claim the former White House aide violently abused them.

“In this case, you have contemporaneous police reports, you have women speaking to the FBI under threat of perjury. You have photographs, and when you look at all of that pulled together, Rob Porter did the right thing by resigning,” Conway told Tapper. “I have no reason to not believe the women,” she added.

This marks a clear departure for Conway from the president’s thoughts on the issue. On Friday, Trump suggested that Porter had not been given a fair shake, and that he was an asset to the White House, rather than addressing the allegations directly. On Saturday, Trump tweeted that men accused of sexual harassment and abuse should be given “due process.”

Conway did assure Tapper that the president is “very disturbed” by the allegations against Porter.

The interview marks yet another strange turn in the story of a high-placed White House aide – Porter – apparently forced to resign after his ex-wives brought evidence of abuse, including photographs and police reports, to the Daily Mail last week. As the story drew national attention, reporters questioned how much Trump administration officials, including Chief of Staff John Kelly, knew about Porter’s past. By Friday, it became clear that Kelly, at least, knew that Porter was having difficulty obtaining a security clearance necessary to work in or near the Oval Office because of the accusations of abuse. Rumors also began to swirl that Hope Hicks, Trump’s communications director, had run interference with Trump for Porter, with whom she has a romantic relationship.

Kelly has since said that he would gladly resign if asked to by Trump. Conway told Tapper on Sunday that the president still has “faith” in Kelly and has not asked his Chief of Staff to resign.

About the Author

Emily Zanotti writes for The Daily Wire.

The Rushmore Report – Will Trump Meet with Mueller?

As the Mueller investigation crawls to its eventual conclusion, there seems to be one more significant witness Mr. Mueller will want to sit down with. He happens to be the President of the United States. Mr. Trump has said it several times. He “wants” to meet with Mr. Mueller, as he says he has nothing to hide. But will he really sit down with Mueller and his team of lawyers? Will Trump testify under oath? His own legal team is divided on their counsel. But it’s really a no-brainer. Will Trump meet with Mueller? Here’s the answer . . .

No.

Sort of.

Trump’s lawyers seem concerned that the Mueller investigation is setting a perjury trap for the President. A report from The New York Times concludes that Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip communication style is the very thing that would get him into trouble – potentially big trouble. Even Trump’s most ardent supporters admit he often contradicts himself. Citing “four people briefed on the matter,” the Times report claims there is friction brewing between the president and his attorneys, as he sincerely wants to meet with Mueller.

The Times reports, “But John Dowd, the longtime Washington defense lawyer hired last summer to represent Mr. Trump in the investigation, wants to rebuff an interview request, as do Mr. Dowd’s deputy, Jay Sekulow, and many West Wing advisers, according to the four people. The lawyers and aides believe the special counsel might be unwilling to subpoena the president and set off a showdown with the White House that Mr. Mueller could lose in court.”

Others have cautioned Trump against meeting with Mueller, including Marc E. Kasowitz, Trump’s longtime personal lawyer who initially dealt with Mueller’s Russia investigation last May. Former governor of New Jersey Chris Christie and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich agree.

Christie told ABC News, “I don’t think the president of the United States, unless there are credible allegations – which I don’t believe there are – should be sitting across from a special counsel.”

Gingrich told Fox & Friends, “The idea of putting Trump in a room with five or six hardened, very clever lawyers, all of whom are trying to trick him and trap him, would be a very, very bad idea.”

But notice I added, “Sort of.”

I suggest Trump will not appear before Mr. Mueller – “sort of.” By that I mean, he might be willing to answer questions in writing. If Mueller is willing to submit questions in writing, and Trump can consult with his attorneys in answering those questions, he might agree to do so.

One thing is certain. If Trump sits down with Mueller, even the slightest exaggeration or misstatement will be blown up as grounds for impeachment by his enemies on the Democratic side.

It has become sadly apparent that many Democrats would rather see America fail than succeed under Trump. They will stop at nothing to drive him from office. Sitting down with Mueller and his team of lawyers would only fuel the fire and postpone any chance Trump has of getting his agenda back as the lead story of his presidency.

The Rushmore Report – Evangelical Leader Explains Why Evangelicals Still Support Trump

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council and has been an ardent supporter of President Trump. This has brought him under fire, due to some of Trump’s past indiscretions and his comment that evangelicals had given Trump a “mulligan.” Perkins recognizes Trump’s shortcomings. Still, he remains a strong supporter – for one reason.

Trump has kept his promises.

Perkins admits that supporting Trump is not always easy. He says evangelicals have forgiven the president for his past behavior, but don’t want to see him repeat himself now that he is in office.

“Nothing has changed since the evangelical community agreed to support President Trump,” he said, noting that he wasn’t an early Trump supporter, but that he came around once the general election came down to Trump and Democratic rival Hillary Clinton.

In the end, Perkins said that many evangelical leaders decided to come around Trump so long as he abided by a few requests: nominating pro-life judges, having a sold running mate, and not diminishing the Republican Party platform. Perkins said that Trump has kept his promises; he has abided by all of those pledges and continues to keep his promises.

“Evangelicals kind of gave him a mulligan,” he said. “They said, ‘Look, we know your past, we don’t agree with it, we don’t like it – it’s reprehensible to us, but we’re going to start fresh and work forward.'”

As for evangelicals not addressing moral concerns with the president, that is not true, Perkins asserts.

“They are wrong in saying that evangelical leaders are not addressing it. If I can talk to you, if you will allow me to express my concern about things, I will do so privately. These things are being communicated.”

And it seems Perkins has had that opportunity with the president. He says evangelicals have had more access to Trump and a better relationship with him than they did with George W. Bush during the entirety of his presidency.

“This president has more aligned with and shown concern about the issues that matter to pro-life Americans, those who advocate for religious freedom, than any other president in my lifetime,” he said.

Despite all of this, Perkins said that evangelical leaders’ support for Trump isn’t unconditional and that it really hinges on him keeping his promises and not falling into bad patterns of past behavior.