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Portland protests: More than a dozen mayors join in asking Trump administration to withdraw federal forces

In a letter Monday addressed to Attorney General William Barr and Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, the mayors called the administration’s intention to deploy federal forces against protesters an “abuse of power.”

The letter — signed by the mayors of Portland, Seattle, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, DC, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, Tucson, Sacramento, Phoenix and Kansas City, Missiouri — calls on the administration to withdraw federal forces from the cities where they are currently deployed and halt plans to send them elsewhere.

Protesters and federal agents have clashed in Portland, where protests have lasted more than 50 days. Ahead of the July Fourth weekend, the Trump administration dispatched teams of federal agents to the city — the President said the effort was to protect federal property but protesters say the action itself has fueled the public’s outrage.

The letter says federal officers have used “significant force” against Portland protesters on a nightly basis, accusing the officers of having “snatched” a person from the street and placed them in an unmarked vehicle and shooting another in the head with a munition.

“These are tactics we expect from authoritarian regimes — not our democracy,” the mayors wrote.

The letter noted that President Donald Trump threatened to send forces to “clear out” protesters in Seattle and to “clean up” Chicago. The letter also accused federal forces of using “extreme action” against protesters in Washington, DC, without the mayor’s approval.

“The murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a national uprising and reckoning,” the letter said. “The majority of the protests have been peaceful and aimed at improving our communities. Where this is not the case, it still does not justify the use of federal forces. Unilaterally deploying these paramilitary-type forces into our cities is wholly inconsistent with our system of democracy and our most basic values.”

The protests in Portland began after Floyd’s death in police custody. Demonstrators have also called for justice in the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Elijah McClain and other Black people.

But while peaceful Black Lives Matter marches have taken place during the day, at times protests devolved into arson and vandalism in a portion of the city at night. The result has been injuries to civilians and police, vandalism, arson and allegations of brutality.

In the last week, at least 40 protesters were arrested on charges varying from resisting arrest to disorderly conduct, according news releases from the Portland Police Bureau.

The state’s US Attorney last week called for an investigation into why some protesters were being taken by federal agents without badges and put into unmarked vehicles.
“I offered DHS support to help locally address the situation that’s going on in Portland, and their only response was: please pack up and go home,” Wolf said in an interview with Fox News. “That’s just not going to happen on my watch.”

CNN’s Brian Rokus, Hollie Silverman and Josh Campbell contributed to this report.

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Senate GOP starts to unveil coronavirus proposal amid deep discord

Millions of newly unemployed Americans have been receiving the additional $600 unemployment payment from the federal government, but that boost starts running out at the end of the week. With a federal eviction moratorium also ending, many Americans could be even more severely affected by the economic slowdown.

Democrats have seized on the GOP divisions to blast Trump and the Republicans while pushing the House-passed $3 trillion Heroes Act.

“It’s in the middle of the week, and the Republican Party is so disorganized, chaotic and unprepared that they can barely cobble together a partisan bill in their own conference,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “When Leader McConnell at this crucial moment can’t even mention Covid, it shows what a knot Republicans are tied in.”

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows have been meeting with Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and other senior appropriators to hash out details of the spending portion of the Republican proposal.

The White House duo — along with economic adviser Larry Kudlow — met with the full Senate GOP Conference on Tuesday, and Mnuchin and Meadows also spoke briefly with Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, though they didn’t begin negotiations.

Coming out of that closed-door session, some Senate Republicans expressed strong opposition to the soon-to-be-released package, including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, among others.

Yet with Trump’s presidency and the Republican majority on the line, McConnell and other Senate leaders are under enormous pressure to offer a proposal. McConnell has termed the GOP effort “a starting line,” knowing he will face challenges from the left and right on the legislation.

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CNN, MSNBC skip Trump’s White House event addressing violence in US cities

CNN and MSNBC did not cover President Trump’s White House event on Wednesday, which announced the deployment of 100 federal agents to Chicago in an effort to combat rising rates of gun violence in that city.

The “surge” of agents to Chicago and other American cities is part of Operation Legend – named after 4-year-old LeGend Taliferro, who was fatally shot while sleeping in a Kansas City apartment late last month – and comes as federal law enforcement officers have already descended on Portland, Ore. and Kansas City, Mo.

Attorney General William Barr, Acting Department of Homeland Security secretary Chad Wolf, and FBI Director Christopher Wray were in attendance and made remarks at the event.

CNN SKIPS TRUMP’S PREPARED REMARKS AT REVIVED CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE BRIEFING

Family members who lost loved ones due to city violence also spoke at the event, including an Albuquerque man whose wife was shot on their driveway as well as the mother of 4-year-old Taliferro.

However, CNN and MSNBC continued with their regularly-scheduled programming. CNN also skipped Trump’s prepared remarks at Tuesday’s revived coronavirus task force briefing.

Viewers of both networks were also kept in the dark on Tuesday night’s breaking news of the mass shooting that took place outside of a Chicago funeral home that left at least 15 injured.

A search of transcripts revealed that CNN and MSNBC did not mention the mass shooting in Chicago through midnight.

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By comparison, Fox News informed viewers of the news during an interview with White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on “Hannity” at roughly 9:15 p.m. ET. “Hannity” then conducted a panel discussion about the tragic shooting as the news unfolded.

Fox News then cut short Hannity’s interview with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, to air a news conference about the shooting at 9:30 p.m. ET, which CNN and MSNBC ignored.

Fox News’ Andrew O’Reilly and Brian Flood contributed to this report. 

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Progressives settle for less with Biden at the helm

The Democratic National Committee’s platform committee is set to take up the proposal on Monday.

“Support for Medicare for All has never been mentioned in a Democratic Party platform. Its inclusion now is significant,” said Analilia Mejia, Sanders’ political director, who spearheaded the Vermont senator’s strategy on the platform drafting committee. “The way we approach our movement is sometimes making big, rapid change, and sometimes it requires smaller gains that ultimately transform the discourse.”

The most contentious debates between moderates and progressives in the drafting of the platform were over health care, criminal justice reform and Israel, according to people involved in the process. Though their deliberations on both the panel and task forces were more hidden from public view compared to 2016, when the intra-party conflict was on display in nationwide meetings about the Democratic agenda, the opposite flanks of the party still fought this year over even small wording changes.

For instance, Sanders aides tried to push moderates to remove language from the platform about the right to “affordable” health care, preferring instead to emphasize the right to simply have health care, said people on the committee. They were largely unsuccessful.

However, progressives did win a positive mention of Medicare for All, despite the fact that Biden opposes the idea. Sanders staffers said that furthers their goal of normalizing single-payer health care.

“Generations of Democrats have been united in the fight for universal health care,” the draft reads. “We are proud our party welcomes advocates who want to build on and strengthen the Affordable Care Act and those who support a Medicare for All approach; all are critical to ensuring that health care is a human right.”

Andrew Bates, Biden’s rapid response director, said the line reflects the remarks Biden made in an attempt to make inroads with Sanders supporters after he effectively wrapped up the nomination earlier this year.

“On March 10, when Joe Biden made his speech in Philadelphia, he reached out to backers of other candidates and hasn’t stopped since,” he said. “Of course we welcome supporters of Medicare for All, and everyone who wants to gain more Americans health care and block Donald Trump from costing tens of millions their coverage.”

Sanders aides see the drafting committee as one part of a multi-step process, which also included the “unity” task forces they formed with Biden, to nudge the former vice president and the Democratic Party to the left this year.

They anticipate more lobbying, including over foreign policy, will take place in the coming days among members of the platform committee. Progressives on that panel are considering pushing amendments to support legalizing marijuana and defunding the police, both of which Biden opposes, as well as changes involving Israel.

Sanders himself is also pushing for the DNC to re-adopt the party reforms it supported in 2016, including a diminished role for superdelegates that bars them from voting on the first ballot, said Faiz Shakir, Sanders’ 2020 campaign manager.

Three of Sanders’ current and ex-aides — Mejia, senior adviser Josh Orton and former senior policy adviser Heather Gautney — served on the 15-person platform drafting committee. Shakir and Jeff Weaver, his longtime top adviser, also worked with them to influence the platform.

Progressives said they successfully pushed for a more explicit promise to grow Medicare to include dental, vision and hearing coverage in the platform. The draft states that “Democrats will fight any efforts to cut Medicare benefits, and support finding financially sustainable policies to expand Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing.” The task force recommendations said “voids in coverage such as dental, vision, and hearing services can lead to severe health consequences for Medicare patients” and Democrats will “fill coverage voids.”

The Sanders team also asked for and received a mention in the platform about backing an “updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall,” something that went unmentioned by the task forces. An investment bank previously told clients in a report that the task forces “did not propose breaking up the big banks,” and that their recommendations were “light on specifics” and “positive.”

But progressives again failed, as they had in the task forces, in trying to persuade moderates on the drafting committee to support legalizing pot and ending “qualified immunity,” a legal doctrine that guards law enforcement officials from being sued for misconduct.

Sanders staffers also pointed to some anti-interventionist language in the draft as a victory, particularly compared to the 2016 platform’s foreign policy proposals, which they viewed as overly hawkish. “Democrats believe the United States should not impose regime change on other countries and reject that as the goal of U.S. policy toward Iran,” the 2020 document reads.

Another achievement for the left is the draft’s opposition to settlement expansion in Israel. The left wing tried and failed to include that in the party platform in 2016, said James Zogby, president of the Arab American Institute and a Sanders ally who served on the DNC’s Unity Reform Commission that year.

Progressives said discussions over the platform’s section on world affairs were less heated this time around than four years ago.

“In part because of Trump’s warmongering and in part because of the work the committee did, the 2020 platform has moved significantly” to the left on foreign policy since 2016, a Sanders aide said.

However, Sanders staffers failed to persuade moderates to include in the platform a reference to Israel’s “occupation” of the West Bank, as well as a call for placing conditions on military aid to the country. Instead, the draft platform said a 2016 vow by former President Barack Obama to provide assistance to Israel is “ironclad.”

In a demonstration of the compromise behind the document, it reads, “We oppose any effort to unfairly single out and delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement, while protecting the Constitutional right of our citizens to free speech.”

Progressives considered that a step forward.

“It’s a statement of personal preference on part of whoever wrote the draft, but affirmation of the fact that everyone has the right to do it. The second clause nullifies the first clause, so it’s a win,” said Zogby. “That’s like the Republican platform saying, ‘We are against abortion, but every woman has the right to choose.’”

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Ratcliffe offers to answer House Intelligence Committee questions about worldwide threats behind closed doors

The nation’s spy chief offered to appear before the Democratic-led House Intelligence Committee to discuss the intelligence community’s worldwide threats assessment but suggested that the question-and-answer session be held behind closed doors to allow for classified discussions.

John Ratcliffe, who has overseen the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies since taking over for former Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell in May, made the offer to appear for an early August hearing in a Wednesday letter obtained by the Washington Examiner sent to Chairman Adam Schiff and GOP ranking member Devin Nunes. In the terms he laid out, public remarks by the congressmen, Ratcliffe himself, and by the heads of the FBI, CIA, NSA, and other intelligence agencies, would be followed by a “closed session” because then “a thorough exchange of classified questions and answers between the panel and Committee members could be conducted to ensure members receive the threat information they need.”

This is a similar offer to the one Ratcliffe made to the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Ratcliffe was previously a Republican congressman from Texas who served on the House Intelligence Committee.

An ODNI official told the Washington Examiner that Ratcliffe believes it’s important to share threat information with the U.S. public in an unclassified setting through public opening remarks but that the classified information should be discussed behind closed doors. The official noted that the director of national intelligence and the spy office have held dozens of engagements with members of Congress in the past few months related to global threats.

Ratcliffe’s request for a mostly closed session to discuss classified information is not without precedent. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sent a letter in 2013 to the Senate Intelligence Committee that said that “given … the challenges associated with discussing inherently classified matters at the unclassified level, I feel strongly that we should refrain from having open global threat assessment hearings.”

Acting Chairman Marco Rubio and Vice Chairman Mark Warner seemed cool to Ratcliffe’s proposal on Tuesday, saying they “will continue to work with DNI Ratcliffe and are hopeful that the Committee will hold a hearing on this important topic soon.”

In his opening statement during the Senate Intelligence Committee’s confirmation hearing in May, Ratcliffe pledged to provide unvarnished updates to lawmakers. “You have my commitment to deliver timely, accurate, and objective intelligence and to speak truth to power, be that with Congress or within the administration,” he said.

Ratcliffe’s correspondence to Congress about setting up world threat hearings came after congressional Democrats revealed this week that they had sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, claiming, “Congress appears to be the target of a concerted foreign interference campaign” related to the 2020 election.

“Gang of Eight (and others impacted) were already briefed. Weeks ago. This request is a CYA,” Grenell tweeted in response.

When he testified in May, Ratcliffe said, “My views are Russia meddled or interfered with active measures in 2016, they interfered in 2018, and they will attempt to do so in 2020.”

Last week, Republican Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina released freshly declassified documents that cast doubt on the veracity of British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s dossier and undercut the theory of Trump-Russia collusion.

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As Dems Push To Defund Police, Melania Trump Delivers Lunch to DC First Responders

The hard-working police officers, firefighters and other first responders who risk their lives every day deserve appreciation and respect from folks on both sides of the political aisle.

Unfortunately, while Democratic Party politicians increasingly criticize law enforcement agencies and call for them to be defunded, the political divide leaves first responders caught in the crossfire.

But for first lady Melania Trump, taking care of those who risk their lives for others was all in a day’s work when she made a surprise visit to the Engine Company 9 fire station in Washington, D.C., on July 15.

“Today I met w/ @dcfireems & @DCPoliceDept members at Engine Company 9 fire station to drop off face masks, boxed lunches & other #BeBest items to show my appreciation for their work to provide critical life-saving services to keep our local communities healthy, secure & safe,” the first lady tweeted.

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Her tweet included photos of men and women in uniform chatting with the first lady, who handed out White House chef-prepared boxed lunches to firefighters, as well as police officers from the nearby DC Metropolitan Police Department’s Third District, according to a White House news release.

She also provided them with supplies such as reusable masks, sanitizer and tote bags bearing her “Be Best” slogan, which refers to first lady’s initiative encouraging children to strive for excellence and stay away from harmful habits like opioid abuse.

Plenty of Twitter users lost it at the sight of the first lady acting charitably toward brave public servants, responding with obscene memes and vulgar tweets (in other words, the language of the radical left).

Do you think Democratic politicians would dare be caught handing out lunches to police officers?

But some offered support for the first lady and her cause:

RELATED: Melania’s Response Condemning Riots Should Be Covered by Every Media Outlet in America

On the same day as the first lady’s visit, the National Association of Police Organizations announced its endorsement for President Donald Trump over former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee, in the 2020 presidential election.

The first couple has provided unwavering support to first responders — especially police — in stark contrast to the spineless, witless politicians like Biden and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who denigrate law enforcement in order to pander to radical groups like Black Lives Matter and their anti-police rhetoric.

Firefighters in cities across the United States have been there to quench infernos set during the riots that followed the death of George Floyd, even as city leaders allowed the destruction and mayhem to rage on.

Emergency medical services personnel revived COVID-19 patients in places like New York, where Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo and his failed policies allowed the virus to spread unimpeded in nursing homes.

And worst yet, police officers were routinely attacked, defunded and smeared as racists while holding the thin blue line against the anarchy that leftist politicians endorsed.

Leftists politicians like to sell themselves as friends of the downtrodden.

But while they see the Democratic Party as the only party in touch with the common person, that facade has crumbled as they have firmly aligned themselves against the public servants who are the backbone of America in favor of the destructive anarchists tearing the nation down.

The fact that it would be hard to imagine the likes of Pelosi or Biden providing lunches for and thanking police officers simply says it all.

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

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Senate Republicans secure impeachment witness who flagged concern about Hunter Biden

Kent was recently promoted to a new rank in the Senior Foreign Service, and is one of the few impeachment witnesses who was not purged from government following his impeachment testimony. He told lawmakers in closed and open sessions late last year that Trump’s then-personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani conducted a “campaign of lies” about the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, that led to her early recall from Kyiv.

But he also testified that he had raised concerns in 2015 about the appearance of a conflict of interest stemming from Biden’s son Hunter’s position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma. At the time, he emphasized that he “did not witness any efforts by any U.S. official to shield Burisma from scrutiny.”

Burisma’s owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, has been investigated multiple times by Ukraine’s top prosecutor and the country’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, but a money laundering probe against him was abruptly dropped in January 2015, raising eyebrows among U.S. officials at the time.

“In early 2015, I raised questions with the deputy prosecutor general about why the investigation of Mr. Zlochevsky had been terminated, based on our belief that prosecutors had accepted bribes to close the case,” Kent said in prepared remarks during his public impeachment testimony.

“Later, I became aware that Hunter Biden was on the board of Burisma,” Kent continued. “Soon after that, in a briefing call with the national security staff in the Office of the Vice President, in February 2015, I raised my concern that Hunter Biden’s status as board member could create the perception of a conflict of interest. Let me be clear, however: I did not witness any efforts by any U.S. official to shield Burisma from scrutiny. In fact, I and other U.S. officials consistently advocated reinstituting a scuttled investigation of Zlochevsky, Burisma’s founder, as well as holding the corrupt prosecutors who closed the case to account.”

Kent’s deposition is part of an escalating GOP probe of the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and his family. Johnson is also seeking testimony from former Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken, currently a senior foreign policy adviser on Biden’s campaign; former special envoy for international energy Amos Hochstein; and former State Department officials Geoffrey Pyatt and Elizabeth Zentos.

The committee views testimony from Blinken and Hochstein in particular as critical for its forthcoming report on allegations surrounding Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma, and is eyeing subpoenas for the pair if they don’t agree soon to voluntarily appear before the panel.

On Wednesday, Biden campaign communications director Kate Bedingfield said in a memo circulated to “interested parties” that Johnson’s probe was a “desperate taxpayer-funded smear campaign” based “on a farcical, long-debunked, hardcore rightwing conspiracy theory.”

Trump has long urged his Republican allies on Capitol Hill to target his political enemies, and Democrats have raised concerns, including in a recent letter to the FBI, that Johnson’s probe has become a vehicle for “laundering” a foreign influence campaign to damage Biden.

Johnson renewed his demand for transcribed interviews and documents from the former Obama administration officials days after a Ukrainian lawmaker — Andriy Derkach, who has met with Giuliani to discuss investigating the Biden family — used a news conference to make unsubstantiated corruption allegations against the Bidens and Hochstein.

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A Wall Of Moms And Leaf Blowers Against Tear Gas : Live Updates: Protests For Racial Justice : NPR

As protests for racial justice in Portland have continued for more than 50 nights, striking new images and tactics have emerged – particularly in resistance to the federal law enforcement officers whose actions have earned the ire of Oregonians who want them to leave.

A group of women who call themselves the Wall of Moms has drawn national attention, clad in bike helmets and goggles. They link arms to form a protective barrier between law enforcement and Black Lives Matter protesters who took to the streets after the May 25 death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

In a recent moment captured on video, a large crowd of the yellow-garbed women sing as if a lullaby, “Hands up, please don’t shoot me.”

The Moms say they follow the directions of Black leaders, and that their driving vision is that “we moms would take some physical hits in hopes our Black and Brown kids, friends, neighbors, and loved ones will be spared some pain.”

In another video, also taken by freelance journalist Sergio Olmos, a protester uses a hockey stick to push back a canister of tear gas. Another uses a leaf blower to blow back the gas, a tactic used last year by protesters in Hong Kong.

State and local leaders have repeatedly called for the federal agents to leave the city, arguing that their presence has made an already tense environment worse.

“The federal police have their marching orders on how they’re going to do things,” Portland Police Association President Daryl Turner told NPR on Tuesday. “And that coordination was not made with Portland police.”

In response to both the federal actions in Portland and the implied threat by President Trump to deploy federal officers to other U.S. cities, more than a dozen U.S. mayors have sent an open letter to Attorney General William Barr and Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

The letter calls on the Department of Justice and DHS to withdraw the forces from American cities and halt plans to send any more.

“Deployment of federal forces in the streets of our communities has not been requested nor is it acceptable. While U.S. Marshals have had jurisdiction inside federal courthouses for decades, it is unacceptable and chilling that this administration has formed and deployed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Rapid Deployment Unit and is sending federal authorities to conduct crowd control on city streets and detain individuals,” the mayors write.

They point to the federal officers’ use of less-lethal munitions against protesters that have caused serious injury and to the grabbing of people off the street and pulling them into unmarked vehicles. “These are tactics we expect from authoritarian regimes – not our democracy,” the mayors write.

On Tuesday, Wolf said, “Portland is unique,” arguing that local officials and police hadn’t done enough to control what he said was violence stemming from the nightly protests, and saying those protests increasingly threaten federal buildings downtown.

Asked about Trump’s threat to send federal officers into other cities, Wolf said reporters could “ask the White House.”

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said the situation in Portland had been starting to calm before federal forces arrived.

“The harsh reality is, this is about scoring political points with [Trump’s] base,” Brown told PBS NewsHour on Monday. “This is about political theater. If they were really interested in problem-solving or in public safety, they would be willing to de-escalate and engage in dialogue.”

“Instead, they bring more troops to the streets,” she added. “They take peaceful protesters off into unmarked cars. And, unfortunately, last weekend, they almost killed a peaceful protester. This is absolutely outrageous. It is a violation of the principles on which this country was founded.”

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Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s home vandalized, hours later she votes to protect police funding

Sometime late Monday night a group of protesters showed up at Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff’s home and vandalized it with Black Lives Matter slogans. The fact that Schaff’s home had a BLM sign in the window didn’t seem to matter to the vandals.

Oakland authorities are investigating vandalism that appeared overnight on the front of Mayor Libby Schaaf’s home.

Graffiti tagged on the garage door, walls, driveway and pathway appeared to be related to the recent George Floyd protests and the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The writing features phrases like “Defund the police,” “Cancel rent,” “Homes for all,” and “Blood on your hands.”

Here are a few more images of what that looked like:

Schaff’s home was the main target but her neighbors weren’t too happy either as the vandals arrived around 2 am and were banging on drums and setting off large fireworks. They also left some graffiti in front of other homes.

“This crosses the line, because it’s someone’s house and property,” 15-year-old neighbor Alexandra Wright said. “It’s not exactly okay. It’s not okay on any level.”

Alexandra’s mom, Amy, said this kind of activism doesn’t further social justice.

I love these well-off progressives with BLM signs in the windows who are shocked to discover that the same mob which has been marauding through Oakland vandalizing businesses and public property don’t draw the line at vandalizing private homes. Guess what? Many of these people are socialists/anarchists who don’t respect private property. It’s not like this is a big secret at this point. Pay attention!

A spokesperson for the mayor issued a statement saying, “This attack, designed to intimidate the Mayor and strike fear into her family, will not stop her from advocating for the policies she believes are in the best long-term interests of her beloved hometown.”

Hours after the graffiti was discovered Tuesday morning, the city council held a meeting to debate slashing the Oakland police budget by $150 million. The President of the Oakland Police Officers Association argued that, with crime on the rise, now was not the time to slash the budget in half:

“We had another murder again last night, three murders over the weekend making it four since just Friday,” said Oakland Police Officers Association President Barry Donelan. “A more than 20 percent increase in murders and shootings combined.”

“You know, adding resources to things like mental health and homelessness are all positive,” Donelan said. “But the idea of taking it from the police department that is already strapped, dealing with those issues in public safety as it is, just seems foolhardy.”

The police officers’ union has warned against additional cuts, as has the chief of police.

“We did furloughs, layoffs, and we still have not caught up,” said Chief Susan Manheimer. “We have over 60 openings.”

When the city council deadlocked around 11 pm Tuesday night, Mayor Schaff cast the deciding vote against cutting the police budget. To be clear, she was probably going to vote this way anyway which is probably why the vandals showed up to apply pressure on her. Still, I wonder if the vandalism didn’t reinforce for Mayor Schaaf that the city needs a police force to prevent everything from descending into mob rule.

Last month, Oakland’s city council voted to approve a new budget with $14 million removed from the police budget. Most of that money, more than $10 million, comes from shifting certain items out of the police budget, but a couple million will come directly from the police budget. As things stand now, the council has agreed to study the feasibility of a 50% cut to the police budget in advance of the next budget meeting. So this very bad idea isn’t dead yet.

Here’s a local news report on the Mayor’s deciding vote to protect the police budget.

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Jordan: Obama Biden Admin Had No Proper Predicate For FBI Trump Probe. There Must Be Indictments.

Rep. Jim Jordan told Fox News Wednesday that former FBI and Obama officials must be held accountable for dragging the nation through four years of turmoil in an investigation against President Donald Trump and his campaign that in “their own words” was not predicated on any real evidence.

Jordan, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said the “Obama- Biden intelligence community told us” they didn’t have any evidence showing the Trump campaign was conspiring with Russia. The investigation into Trump was purely political and based on lies, he added.

Senior Obama officials worked against congressional investigations to hide the truth from the American people, Jordan said. He added “they didn’t want to tell us – but thanks to Rick Grenell who released their sworn testimony we have all what they said.”

Grenell, who recently served as the acting Director of National Intelligence, declassified and released a mountain of congressional testimony from former Obama officials that revealed they had no predicate to believe Trump, nor anyone in his campaign, was conspiring with Russia in the 2016 election.

Jordan pointed to testimony from former national security advisor Susan Rice, who was intimately involved in the FBI’s probe into Trump, stating that there was never any evidence of a conspiracy. Moreover, he noted that former Obama DNI James Clapper also admitted there was no evidence of a conspiracy. Still, both Rice and Clapper, along with Obama’s other top officials, continued to investigate Trump and propagate lies in the media that the campaign had somehow colluded with Russian intelligence officials.

“Let’s hope John Durham has some indictments coming real soon,” said Jordan, noting that Durham’s investigation has criminal prosecution power. Jordan said there should absolutely be indictments against FBI officials, like former FBI agent Peter Strzok and others, who falsified information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to spy on Trump campaign advisor Carter Page.

He noted that Attorney General William Barr, among others, believe that there were members of the FBI, and possibly senior officials within the Obama administration, that were aware illegal spying was taking place on a political opponent.

Jordan also stressed that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation uncovered that the FBI agents involved in obtaining Page’s FISA warrant, lied to the FISA court 17 times.

Watch the interview with Jordan below: