House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was “taken aback” this week by the growing dissent and anger among rank-and-file Democrats over a possible resolution to formally condemn anti-Semitism, a Democratic source told Fox News on Wednesday — highlighting Pelosi’s tenuous grip on control over the House and underscoring the growing power of the party’s nascent far-left progressive wing.
The resolution originated after freshman Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, for at least the second time in recent months, ignited an uproar for echoing tropes critics have deemed anti-Semitic. In February, she suggested on Twitter that supporters of Israel have been bought. The congresswoman then accused American supporters of Israel of pushing people to have “allegiance to a foreign country.”
Omar — who also tweeted in 2012 that “Israel has hypnotized the world, may Allah awaken the people and help them see the evil doings of Israel” —refused to address questions on Wednesday about accusations that she’s anti-Semitic.
Meanwhile, debate over how to address her latest remarks has overtaken House Democrats in recent days.
A vote on the resolution, which was originally planned for earlier this week, did not appear on the House’s official docket for Thursday.
President Trump, turning to Twitter on Wednesday, highlighted Democrats’ troubles getting the resolution passed. He wrote that their failure to “take a stronger stand” against anti-Semitism was “shameful.”
Fox News has been told that the Democratic caucus is trying to get the language of the proposed anti-Semitism language “right,” and that there is concern about mentioning Omar by name — a non-starter for many members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Two knowledgable sources said such a scenario could increase security threats against Omar, who is a Muslim.
Republicans did not specifically name Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, in a bipartisan disapproval measure that followed comments that seemingly defended white nationalism earlier this year. But GOP leaders stripped King of his committee assignments as punishment — while Omar remains on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and Democrats say they have no plans to oust her.
By the same token, Fox is told Democrats are also concerned about making “a martyr” out of Omar if they don’t address some of her controversial comments.
Added a frustrated senior House Democratic aide on Tuesday: “Here we are again, fighting with ourselves. I’ve spent another week dealing with this and not on policy.”
“I’ve spent another week dealing with this and not on policy.”
Pelosi, for her part, was stunned by criticism among some Democratic members who complained they weren’t informed in detail about the resolution; freshman Rep. Jahana Hayes, D-Conn., for example, asserted the Democratic leadership team failed in its duty to inform members about the resolution’s details.
But senior leadership sources scofffed at that assertion, saying Pelosi spoke with multiple lawmakers all weekend long about the measure.
Fox News was also told one senior House Democratic lawmaker expressed concern about the influence pro-Israel interest groups have over the Democratic caucus, prompting debate about a resolution to condemn anti-Semitism in the first place. Their complaints came in contrast to the push by a trio of Jewish lawmakers who have pushed hardest for the resolution: House Ethics Committee Chairman Ted Deutch, D-Fla., House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y.
One senior House Democrat even suggested the rift in the caucus was emblematic of age-old tensions between Pelosi and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
“He’s more AIPAC,” said the Democrat. “She’s more J Street. The caucus is more J Street these days.” That’s a reference to two major, pro-Israel lobbying organizations in Washington.
Pelosi reportedly walked out of a meeting Wednesday with rank-and-file members, setting down her microphone and telling attendees, “Well if you’re not going to listen to me, I’m done talking.”
A senior House Democratic leadership aide, however, disputed the divide between Pelosi and Hoyer.
Lawmakers are also buzzing about if they should even address the comments by Omar at all. There’s a concern about precedent.
“Should the House condemn [House Minority Leader] Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., for what he said about George Soros?” asked one lawmaker who requested to not be identified. In 2018, McCarthy tweeted: “We cannot allow Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg to BUY this election! Get out and vote Republican November 6th. #MAGA.” (Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg all are of Jewish heritage.
McCarthy has since deleted the tweet.
One source questioned if House Democrats ever attempted to rebuke former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., who was known for questioning if President George W. Bush knew of the 9/11 attacks ahead of time. She also questioned U.S. support for Israel and demanded a more balanced approach when dealing with the Palestinians.
The prolonged delay in passing an anti-Semitism resolution — which threatens to become a public-relations headache for Democrats with each passing day — spilled over into the 2020 presidential race as well on Wednesday, as White House contender Bernie Sanders, who is Jewish, defended Omar in a statement.
“Anti-Semitism is a hateful and dangerous ideology which must be vigorously opposed in the United States and around the world,” Sanders wrote. “We must not, however, equate anti-Semitism with legitimate criticism of the right-wing, Netanyahu government in Israel. Rather, we must develop an even-handed Middle East policy which brings Israelis and Palestinians together for a lasting peace. What I fear is going on in the House now is an effort to target Congresswoman Omar as a way of stifling that debate. That’s wrong.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.
Bernie Sanders’ hiring of non-American campaign advisers may violate federal election laws, complaint says
Bernie Sanders was hit a complaint this week, claiming his presidential campaign violated federal election laws by employing non-Americans in advisery positions.
A new complaint by the Coolidge Reagan Foundation filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) notes that three members of the Sanders campaign are foreign nationals, which appears to be a violation of federal election laws that prohibit foreign interference.
Maria Belén Sisa, Sanders’ deputy national press secretary who joined the campaign last month, was among the staffers named in the complaint, as first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. Sisa claims to be an illegal immigrant whose residency is protected under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an Obama-era program for assisting illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.
Sisa recently caused an uproar after invoking an anti-Semitic “dual allegiance” trope of Jewish Americans while defending Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and questioning whether American Jews, including Sanders, were loyal to the United States.
The complaint notes that Sisa not only got a salary from Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign, she also contributed money to it and is now serving in “an advisory position” in the 2020 campaign – all of which are “direct and serious violations” of federal election laws.
“Senator Sanders and Bernie 2020 is permitting a foreign national, Ms. Sisa, to serve in an advisory position which allows her to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to election-related activities in violation of FEC regulations,” the complaint reads.
“Senator Sanders and Bernie 2020 is permitting a foreign national, Ms. Sisa, to serve in an advisory position which allows her to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to election-related activities in violation of FEC regulations.”
According to the FEC rules, foreign nationals, who aren’t lawfully admitted permanent residents, cannot directly or indirectly participate in political campaigns. Such individuals are also barred from making political contributions.
The complaint also names two other foreign nationals on the Sanders’ 2016 campaign, immigration activists Erika Andiola and Cesar Vargas, who worked as the campaign’s national Latino outreach strategist and press secretary for Latino outreach, respectively.
“Due to the high profile of Cesar Vargas, Erika Andiola, and Maria Belén Sisa as leading activists in the undocumented community, there is reason to believe that respondents are ‘foreign nationals’ within the meaning of 52 U.S.C. § 301219b)(2), and in violation of 11 C.F.R. § 110.20 (i) and A.O. 2004-26, directly or indirectly participated in the decision-making process of persons with regard to the election-related activities of Bernie 2016,” the complaint continued.
“There is reason to believe, having previously employed Ms. Sisa, that Bernie 2020 is currently, and knowingly, permitting a ‘foreign national’ … to directly or indirectly participate in the decision-making process of persons with regard to the election-related activities of Bernie 2020.”
The complaint calls on the FEC to investigate both the 2016 and the current presidential campaigns and take action to curb the violations.
“The Commission should determine and impose appropriate sanctions for any and all violations,” the complaint read. “Further, the Commission should enjoin respondents from any future violations and impose any necessary and appropriate remedies to ensure respondents’ future compliance with the Federal Election Campaign Act.”
Democrats vow to keep investigating Trump despite Mueller's conclusions, no new indictments
Congressional Democrats vowed Friday to keep investigating President Trump, his family, and associates despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapping up his Russia investigation with no new indictments.
‘There needs to be a reckoning’ for those who spread Russia collusion narrative: Mollie Hemingway
Those who spent the last two years pushing the narrative that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 presidential election need to be held accountable, the Federalist senior editor Mollie Hemingway argued Friday.
Earlier in the day, the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller handed in its report on the Russia investigation to the Department of Justice and it was announced that no new indictments would be forthcoming.
During Friday’s All-Star panel segment on Fox News’ “Special Report with Bret Baier,” Hemingway — along with Washington Free Beacon editor-in-chief Matthew Continetti and Reuters White House correspondent Jeff Mason — weighed in on the breaking news that reverberated throughout Washington.
Hemingway began by noting that the “Russia narrative” predates the Mueller probe, having begun circulating during the 2016 election after the creation of the infamous Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier, which pushed the theory that then-Republican candidate Donald Trump was a “Russian agent.”
“We have, for the last three years … frequently [witnessed] hysteria about treasonous collusion with Russia to steal the 2016 election,” Hemingway told the panel. “The fact [is] that there are no more indictments coming and the fact [is] that all of the indictments that we’ve seen thus far have been for process crimes or things unrelated to what we were told by so many people in the media was ‘treasonous collusion’ to steal the 2016 election.”
“If there is nothing there that matches what we’ve heard from the media for many years, there needs to be a reckoning and the people who spread this theory both inside and outside the government who were not critical and who did not behave appropriately need to be held accountable,” she added.
“The people who spread this theory both inside and outside the government … and who did not behave appropriately need to be held accountable.”
Mason told the panel that there’s likely “some relief” in the White House, particularly from Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and top adviser. And while he insisted it was “too early” to draw major conclusions, he later added that those who attacked Mueller’s credibility throughout his investigation will have to walk back their hostility if he concludes that there was no collusion, including President Trump.
Meanwhile, Continetti suggested that the Mueller report could be the “greatest anticlimax in American history,” and that the entire investigation could be “for nothing” because it was “an investigation without a crime.” He did, however, insist that the “battle will continue” as the White House will fight Congress on transparency of the Mueller findings.
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- Lara Logan, formerly of CBS, sounds off on media’s treatment of Trump, other liberal bias
- Bernie Sanders’ hiring of non-American campaign advisers may violate federal election laws, complaint says
- ‘Knightfall’ star Tom Cullen recalls working alongside ‘Star Wars’ icon Mark Hamill, befriending Kit Harington
- The five biggest ‘View’ bombshells we learned from ex-host Jenny McCarthy
- Country singer-songwriter Ryan Hurd opens up about newlywed life with Maren Morris: We just ‘fit’
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