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Ilhan Omar’s most controversial moments, from AIPAC tweet to ‘not 1 dollar for DHS’ call



Ilhan Omar's most controversial moments, from AIPAC tweet to 'not 1 dollar for DHS' call

Freshman Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., stepped into the spotlight as she made history — alongside Michigan Democrat Rashida Tlaib — as the first Muslim woman elected to Congress in November. And since she was officially sworn-in, Omar has used her platform to voice her bold opinions, particularly on social media.

Omar has made a string of controversial statements in recent weeks that have sparked a backlash from members across both sides of the aisle.

On Monday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called on Omar to apologize for tweets suggesting members of Congress are being paid by American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to support Israel. AIPAC has vehemently denied the assertion.


“Congresswoman Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive,” Pelosi said in a statement, which was also signed by other Democratic leaders. “We condemn these remarks and we call upon Congresswoman Omar to immediately apologize for these hurtful comments.”

In response, Omar promised Pelosi, fellow lawmakers and voters that she is “listening and learning, but standing strong.”

“Anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on the painful history of anti-Semitic tropes. My intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole,” she wrote in a statement released online. “We have to always be willing to step back and think through criticism, just as I expect people to hear me when others attack me for my identity. This is why I unequivocally apologize.”

However, Omar added she still “reaffirms” what she considers a “problematic role of lobbyists” in politics. She highlighted AIPAC, as well as the NRA and fossil fuel industry as particularly troubling.

“It’s gone on too long and we must be willing to address it,” she continued.

As Omar attempts to put this most recent controversy behind her, take a look at other contentious moments she’s had since taking office.

“Not 1 dollar for DHS”

Omar called on members of her party to “stand their ground” against the Department of Homeland Security in a Feb. 8 tweet demanding “#Not1Dollar for DHS.”

But after Fox News reported that she had called for cutting funding to DHS, she subsequently claimed her tweet had advocated a freeze in the DHS budget, not a cut.

“@RepPressley, @RepRashida, @RepAOC and I are calling for #not1dollar more in new funding for Trump’s abuses under DHS,” she wrote in a follow-up tweet two days later.

A “coup” in Venezuela?

As the U.S. officially recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as the president of Venezuela amid an economic “crisis” under socialist leader Nicolás Maduro, Omar took to Twitter to claim President Trump was backing a “coup” in the country.

The comment came as tens of thousands of people marched the streets in protest of Maduro’s rule.

“The citizens of Venezuela have suffered for too long at the hands of the illegitimate Maduro regime,” Trump said as he endorsed Guaido, adding that he would work alongside the leader to “restore constitutional legitimacy.”


Omar said a “U.S.-backed coup” is “not a solution to the dire issues they face.”

“Trump’s efforts to install a far right opposition will only incite violence and further destabilize the region. We Must support Mexico, Uruguay, & the Vatican’s efforts to facilitate a peaceful dialogue,” she added

The remarks soon came under fire, as several slammed Omar for seemingly siding with Maduro.

Covington commentary

Omar deleted a tweet criticizing a group of Covington Catholic students for allegedly starting a confrontation at a rally in Washington, D.C. before more footage was released that offered more context to the story.

In mid-January, Omar replied to one of Trump’s tweets defending Covington student Nick Sandmann and his peers who were in D.C. to attend the March for Life which happened to coincide with the Indigenous Peoples March in Washington. Omar argued the students were taunting black protesters, despite accounts to the contrary, and cited a videotaped comment about rape, though it’s unclear whether it was one of the Covington students who said it.

“The boys were protesting a woman’s right to choose & yelled ‘it’s not rape if you enjoy it’ … They were taunting 5 Black men before they surrounded Phillips and led racist chants … Sandmann’s family hired a right wing PR firm to write his non-apology,” she wrote in the since-deleted tweet.


But eventually, as an apparently unedited roughly 2-hour video surfaced, Omar took down the tweet.

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) slammed Omar for spreading fake news at the time.

“Rep. Omar is an embarrassment to Minnesota, and it’s time for the rest of the Minnesota delegation to denounce her anti-Semitic views and support of hate groups,” NRCC spokeswoman Carly Atchison told The Hill in a statement.

Lindsey Graham is “compromised”

Omar suggested Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was blackmailed into supporting Trump’s agenda in an early January tweet.

“They got to him, he is compromised!” Omar commented, sharing a video clip of Graham appearing on CNN. 

The comment came the same day that MSNBC anchor Stephanie Ruhle came under fire for implying that Graham was being blackmailed by Trump over “something pretty extreme,” though neither Omar nor Ruhle provided any evidence to support such a bold claim.

Fox News’ Frank Miles, Joseph A. Wulfsohn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump’s a Russian asset




McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump’s a Russian asset

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an interview Tuesday that he believes it is possible that President Trump is a Russian asset and thinks “that’s why we started our investigation.”

McCabe has said in the past that the FBI had a good reason to open up a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was working with Russia and a possible national security threat.

The former official was on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” when he was asked if he believes Trump may still be a Russian asset. He said he’s “anxious” to see the conclusion of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation.


He was also asked if he believes Trump is fit to serve and said it is not up to him to make the determination.

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Gowdy challenges McCabe’s claim congressional leaders didn’t object to Russia counterintelligence probe




Gowdy challenges McCabe's claim congressional leaders didn't object to Russia counterintelligence probe

Former congressman and Fox News contributor Trey Gowdy disputed former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe’s claim Tuesday that congressional leaders didn’t object to the bureau’s counterintelligence investigation over President Trump’s Russia ties.

“The reason he’s doing it this way is that [Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.] and [former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.] are not allowed to discuss anything that’s said in a ‘Gang of Eight’ meeting and McCabe knows that,” Gowdy said on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.” “So he can level the accusation and Devin and Paul cannot refute him.” Nunes chaired the House Intelligence Committee from 2015-19.

McCabe, in an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday morning, said no members of the “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders, including Nunes and Ryan, objected to the investigation.

“I told Congress what we had done,” McCabe told Savannah Guthrie.

“Did anyone object?” Guthrie asked.

“That’s the important part here, Savannah,” McCabe replied. “No one objected. Not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds and not based on the facts.”


Gowdy, formerly a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said he believed McCabe wasn’t telling the truth and that Nunes and Ryan did not know about a second investigation.

“There were three investigations into a duly elected president. The Peter Strzok one from July of 2016 and then McCabe started a counterintelligence [probe] and if he’s telling the truth, started a criminal probe into the president of the United States,” Gowdy told Martha MacCallum.

“I listened to Devin and Paul quiz the [Justice Department] and the FBI for hours on multiple occasions about the one counterintelligence investigation, we all knew about it. I find it stunning that they would know about a second one and not say a single solitary word.”


Gowdy also addressed former FBI Director James Comey’s May 2017 firing and McCabe’s belief that the president was trying to shut down the Russia investigation.

“If thinking that Jim Comey is not a good FBI director is tantamount to being an agent of Russia then just list all the people that are agents of Russia. [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein…,” Gowdy said.

Fox News’ Martha MacCallum contributed to this report.

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Trump, Giuliani deny president tried obstructing Michael Cohen investigation




Trump, Giuliani deny president tried obstructing Michael Cohen investigation

President Trump’s attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, denied a New York Times report that Trump asked then-Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker whether U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, a presidential ally, could be put in charge of the investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Trump’s onetime personal attorney Michael Cohen.

“The president said today he had no such conversation with the acting AG, and I believe Mr. Whitaker issued a statement to the same effect,” Giuliani said in a statement late Tuesday. “The rest of the piece is just a regurgitation of previously refuted obstruction theories. They all fail as obstruction because as [Harvard Law] Professor [Alan] Dershowitz’s recent book and many other authorities make clear, all of the alleged actions were within the president’s sole discretion under Article II of the U.S. Constitution.”

The Times report said that Whitaker told Trump that he could not put Berman in charge of the Cohen investigation because he had already recused himself from that matter. The paper claimed that Trump “soured” on Whitaker and “complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president’s many legal problems go away.”

Trump denied the story at the White House Tuesday afternoon, referring to the Times report as “more fake news” and saying that he had a “very good” relationship with Whitaker, who was replaced last week by William Barr.

“I have a lot of respect for Mr. Whitaker. I think he’s done a great job,” Trump said. He said Whitaker was “a very fine man, and he should be given a lot of thanks by our nation.”

Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec referred to testimony Whitaker gave to the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month.


“Under oath to the House Judiciary Committee, then-Acting Attorney General Whitaker stated that ‘at no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel’s investigation or any other investigation,'” Kupec said. “Mr. Whitaker stands by his testimony.”

Berman was named acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in January 2018 by the AG at that time, Jeff Sessions. Berman was appointed to the position indefinitely by the panel’s judges three months later.

Prosecutors in the Southern District say Trump directed Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments to two women — adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal — in order to keep them quiet about alleged sexual encounters with them dating back more than a decade and coming soon after he’d married his current wife, Melania. Cohen is scheduled to report to prison next month to begin a three-year sentence after pleading guilty this past August to campaign finance and other violations.

Cohen is also scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 28. His attorney, Lanny Davis, has said that Cohen also plans to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Oversight Committee before the end of this month. In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.


Fox News’ John Roberts and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.

Click for more from The New York Times.

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