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Julian Castro admits Hatch Act ‘mistake,’ calls for Kellyanne Conway’s termination, in Fox News Town Hall

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Julian Castro admits Hatch Act 'mistake,' calls for Kellyanne Conway's termination, in Fox News Town Hall

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro told Fox News on Thursday night White House adviser Kellyanne Conway should be fired for violating the Hatch Act — the same federal law that Castro himself was found to have violated in 2016.

The 2020 White House contender’s remarks came in a Fox News Town Hall in Tempe, Ariz., hosted by Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum. Separately, the Democrat tried to defend the Hillary Clinton campaign’s decision to fund an opposition research dossier written by a British ex-spy, even as he condemned President Trump for saying this week that he would be open to opposition research from foreign actors.

Castro, who served in the Obama administration, qualified on Thursday to participate in the Democrats’ first presidential primary debate, along with more than a dozen other candidates.

But, the day also brought an unwelcome spotlight on Castro’s past. The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) recommended Thursday that Conway violated the Hatch Act on “numerous occasions,” and concluded that she should be removed from federal service.

FOX NEWS EXCLUSIVE: WATCHDOG DEFENDS DECISION TO CALL FOR CONWAY’S TERMINATION

The Hatch Act is a federal law that limits the political activities of certain federal employees. In 2016, “OSC concluded that Secretary Castro violated the Hatch Act by advocating for and against Presidential candidates,” the watchdog wrote in a letter to Obama. “Secretary Castro’s statements during [a televised] interview impermissibly mixed his personal political views with official agency business despite his efforts to clarify that some answers were being given in his personal capacity.”

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act, a watchdog found Thursday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway violated the Hatch Act, a watchdog found Thursday. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The Obama White House took no action. Castro, pressed by Baier, argued that his case was different from Conway’s.

“Instead of saying, ‘Look, I’m going to take these efforts to make sure that doesn’t happen again,'” Castro said, “she said, ‘To hell with that, I’m going to do it.'”

Castro added that Conway’s lack of remorse was disqualifying: “Because she repeatedly violated it, even though she was told it was a violation, she should be removed from office.”

Baier and MacCallum also pushed for Castro to explain his condemnation of Trump’s recent statement that he would accept foreign political opposition research if offered. In 2017, Brian Fallon, a former Clinton campaign spokesperson, told The Washington Post that foreign-generated opposition research was a normal part of the political process.

DEMS HAMMER TRUMP FOR STATEMENTS ON FOREIGN OPPO RESEARCH, STAY SILENT ON STEELE DOSSIER, UKRAINE COLLUSION

“The first I learned of Christopher Steele or saw any dossier was after the election,” Fallon said. “But if I had gotten handed it last fall, I would have had no problem passing it along and urging reporters to look into it. Opposition research happens on every campaign, and here you had probably the most shadowy guy ever running for president, and the FBI certainly has seen fit to look into it. I probably would have volunteered to go to Europe myself to try and verify if it would have helped get more of this out there before the election.”

Republicans have pressed for answers on the Hillary Clinton campaign and DNC’s role in the creation of the infamous Steele dossier, written by British ex-spy Christopher Steele. The Clinton campaign and DNC, through the opposition research firm Fusion GPS, funded the dossier’s creation by a foreign national.

A key source for Steele was an ex-Russian intelligence officer, according to notes obtained by The Hill and written by Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. “Much of the collection about the Trump campaign ties to Russia comes from a former Russian intelligence officer (? not entirely clear) who lives in the U.S.,” Ohr wrote.

The FBI went on to cite the dossier to obtain a secret surveillance warrant to monitor former Trump aide Carter Page. Numerous problems with the Steele dossier’s reliability have surfaced, including several issues that were brought to the FBI’s attention before it cited the dossier in its FISA application and subsequent renewals.

“Democrats and even some Republicans are criticziing the preisdent for saying he would listen to opposition research from a foreign government if it was offered,” MacCallum said, “but one of the questions from the other side that comes up, is how is that really different from the Democrats funding the Steele dossier in 2016 through a British operative that they knew had Russian sources?”

Castro deflected: “Well, first of all, I don’t think we should distract our situation from the fact that he have an unprecedented situation here, of a president of the United States, who if I remember the video correctly, was actually sitting in the Oval Office bbehind his desk saying that he would take intelligence against his political opponent from a foreign government.”

Pressed on Fallon’s remarks, Castro asserted that the situations were simply “completely different,” without explaining.

“I think it’s safe to say we have never seen that moment in American history, and I don’t think that’s a good thing,” Castro said, referring to Trump’s comments. “I don’t understand why, on this network and in many conservative circles, people are still talking about Hillary Clinton.”

Toward the end of the town hall, even as he expressed his opposition to the Hyde Amendment that bans federal funding for abortion, Castro pointedly refused to condemn Biden’s recent flip-flop on the issue.

“We’re not on the debate stage,” Castro, considered a potential vice presidential pick, responded. “The fact is, I need to introduce myself to a lot of people who don’t know who I am yet.”

Immigration also featured prominently early in the town hall, with Castro saying the issue was “personal” to him — and that Obama, his former boss, had demonstrated real “compassion on the issue.”

“I think the crisis that exists is driven by conditions in countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala,” Castro said. “I believe we have a crisis of leadership.”

Fox News’ Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum contributed to this report.

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Emergency aid bill challenges Pelosi’s grip on Democrats

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Emergency aid bill challenges Pelosi’s grip on Democrats

A $4.5 million House bill aimed at providing more funding to migrant families detained at the U.S.-Mexico border is posing a challenge to Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s grip on her party, as its liberal faction argue that the bill doesn’t go far enough while moderates worry that pushing for perfection will result in inaction at the border.

Calls for more funding at the border come amid reports that children detained entering the U.S. from Mexico are being held under harsh conditions. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told Fox News on Monday that the situation at the U.S.-Mexico border is dire. Azar said HHS shelters are at capacity and the budget is not there to increase it unless Congress acts.

Customs and Border Protection Chief Operating Officer John Sanders told The Associated Press that Border Patrol stations are holding 15,000 people – more than three times their maximum capacity.

A $4.5 trillion House bill aimed at alleviating circumstances like these is up for a vote Tuesday, but liberal Democrats are calling for provisions to strengthen protections for migrant children, and challenge the Trump administration’s border policies. Democrats met on Capitol Hill with Pelosi late Monday to try and reach a compromise. The meeting reportedly eased some Democratic complaints.

PELOSI TELLS NEW YORK CROWD ‘VIOLATION OF STATUS’ NOT A REASON TO DEPORT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Asked before the meeting about her concerns that Democrats’ push for perfection might result in inaction at the border, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called it “a delicate situation.” Afterward, she appeared to have left the door open saying: “My main goal is to keep kids from dying,” before calling the humanitarian bill a “short-term” measure.”

But others weren’t swayed. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., said after the meeting: “We cannot continue to throw money at a dysfunctional system. We are not just asking for simple changes to be made into this bill, but to go back to the drawing board and really address this from a humanitarian issue.”

The White House accused lawmakers in a letter earlier Monday of trying to undermine its efforts at the border, arguing that the House package does provide enough money to toughen border security or funds for Trump’s proposed border wall.

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Congress plans to leave Washington in a few days for a weeklong July 4 recess. While lawmakers don’t want to depart without acting on the legislation for fear of being accused of not responding to humanitarian problems at the border, it seems unlikely that Congress would have time to send a House-Senate compromise to Trump by week’s end.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Laura Ingraham: Media, Democrats, and Pelosi ‘misleading’ on illegal immigration

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Laura Ingraham: Media, Democrats, and Pelosi 'misleading' on illegal immigration

Fox News host Laura Ingraham blasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “using children to get her way” in regards to illegal immigration.

“Note her typical emotional ploy, using children to get her way. Except when she wants their lives ended,” Ingraham said on “The Ingraham Angle” Monday in response to a clip of Pelosi taking credit for delaying President Trump’s ICE raids.

TRUMP DELAYS PLANNED ICE RAIDS TO SEE IF CONGRESS CAN SOLVE BORDER CRISIS

“When I spoke to the President, I said ‘Look, I’m a mom, I have five kids, seven, nine grandchildren and children are scared,'”Pelosi said Monday in New York.

“No one wants any child ever to be afraid, ever. It is tragic, and it really shouldn’t happen. And kids of American criminals, they suffer here too because of the mistakes of their parents. And parents coming illegally, again tragic but now comes the consequences for the whole family sometimes. Or at least there should be consequences if the rule of law means anything,” Ingraham told her audience.

The host criticized Pelosi for not taking care of American citizens first and use San Francisco as an example.

“Nancy doesn’t need to go far, does she, from San Francisco to see suffering and desperation. We have seen all those stories. Maybe she should focus on fixing that before throwing rocks,” Ingraham said.

Ingraham also blasted Democrats for remaining silent on the issue when former President Obama faced the same accusations.

“But where were the Democrats? Where were their outrage before Trump came into office?” Ingram said before playing a clip of Obama.

“Do not send your children to the borders. If they do make it, they will get sent back, more importantly they may not make it,” President Obama said in 2014 interview with ABC News.

PELOSI FLEXES MUSCLE OVER PARTY IN IMPEACHMENT DEBATE, BUT ‘DAM’ COULD COLLAPSE

Ingraham blasted the media, Democrats and Pelosi for misleading the public.

“Now, do any of you remember Nancy Pelosi firing off angry tweets in demanding a change in Obama policy or criticizing these allegedly inhumane conditions?” Ingraham said.

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“Don’t be deceived by the media coverage where the motive images you are seeing because it happened years ago and the Democrats were silent.”

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Hannity: Democrat 2020 presidential candidates looking to be the ‘most radical’

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Hannity: Democrat 2020 presidential candidates looking to be the 'most radical'

Fox News host Sean Hannity previewed this week’s Democratic primary debate,  calling the Democratic Party “unhinged” and “extreme.”

“2020 Democrats are ramping up their radicalism. They want to be the most radical. Let me be clear, what we’re witnessing from this new extreme socialist Democratic Party, this is beyond socialism even, it is unhinged,” Hannity said on his television show Monday. “It is beyond impractical. It is divisive and destructive to the country.”

‘THE VIEW’ HOST SLAMS MAYOR PETE FOR TOWN HALL PERFORMANCE

Hannity played a multitude of clips highlighting what he felt were the more extreme elements the Democratic presidential candidates were promising and he went after South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg who has been criticized over his handling of a police officer shooting a African-American man, highlighting racial tensions in the city.

“Buttigieg has been a total absentee mayor and a failure,” Hannity said. “He’s hardly ever in South Bend.”

Hannity  warned his viewers the that Democrats have moved even further left and want to take the country in a direction beyond even what the Obama administration had wanted to.

STIREWALT: SANDERS AND WARREN IN A ‘LUNATIC DERBY’

“Instead of sticking to any principles real agenda real policy that will help the forgotten men and women that got destroyed under the Biden-Obama economy, the extreme left now has gone further out to the fringe pandering to every corner of the Democratic Party,” Hannity said.

The host blasted candidates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., for supporting reparations for gay Americans and Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., for saying he would meet with controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

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“Of course specifics aren’t a priority for the new radical Democrats and they’re not going to tell us how to pay for anything they’ll say and do anything to try and get elected, to take away every person’s fear with false promises and lies that really are about their power,” Hannity said,

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