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September 1, 2018
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"I have no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff under the [Elementary and Secondary Education Act]," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a letter Friday to Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The letter argued DeVos does not have the authority to stop schools from using federal funds to purchase weapons to arm educators. The decision, she said, belongs to local school districts and administrators. "I will not take any action that would expand or restrict the responsibilities and flexibilities granted to state and local education agencies by Congress," Devos wrote. Bonnie Kristian

June 10, 2018

Shortly after Justify's Saturday triumph at the Belmont Stakes made him the 13th winner of the Triple Crown, Trump supporter and controversial former Sheriff David Clarke suggested the horse get an invite to the White House. His reasoning: Unlike human athletes, horses can't critique the president.

Unfortunately for Clarke, Justify may be a secret leftist interloper after all: A minority portion of his breeding rights is owned by none other than George Soros, the progressive billionaire who is believed by some right-wing conspiracy theorists (Clarke very much included) to be behind — well, just about anything they oppose in politics.

Looking on the bright side, Justify is the second Triple Crown winner in four years after a decades-long drought. Maybe a nice Republican horse will win before Trump's time in office is over. On the other hand, maybe he wouldn't want to visit either. Bonnie Kristian

May 31, 2018
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President Trump met with Kim Kardashian West on Wednesday to discuss prison reform, and the reality star highlighted the appalling case of 62-year-old Alice Marie Johnson, who is serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense. Kardashian West has become a champion of Johnson's cause, saying she will do "whatever it takes" to get the grandmother out of prison.

But Trump apparently intends to go in a different direction, instead applying the prison reform message to famous people he likes. While Johnson remains an inmate, Trump said Thursday he is considering commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and issuing a presidential pardon to Martha Stewart.

Blagojevich is six years into a 14-year sentence for corruption charges mostly focused on his attempt to sell the Senate seat previously held by Barack Obama. Stewart was convicted of charges related to insider trading in 2004 and sentenced two five months in prison plus two years of supervised release.

Trump previously issued a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion, who was arrested in 1912 for driving his white girlfriend over state lines. Earlier Thursday, he announced he will pardon right-wing provocateur Dinesh D'Souza, who pleaded guilty to felony charges related to campaign finance violations in 2014 and was sentenced to a fine, probation, and eight months in a halfway house. Bonnie Kristian

May 1, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has about four dozen questions he'd like to ask President Trump, The New York Times reported Monday, sharing a leaked list of queries. On Tuesday morning, Trump called the leak "disgraceful" in an angry tweet, labeling collusion "a made up, phony crime ... that never existed." But what if the White House is responsible for the leak?

That's the theory of Michael Zeldin, a former Mueller aide who is now a CNN legal analyst. He thinks the questions may have been publicized by White House counsel in an effort to shape the president's thinking about whether to grant Mueller an interview. Zeldin's case rests on the way the questions are phrased.

"Because of the way these questions are written — lawyers wouldn't write questions this way, in my estimation. Some of the grammar is not even proper," he said on CNN on Tuesday. "So, I don't see this as a list of written questions that Mueller's office gave to the president. I think these are more notes that the White House has taken and then they have expanded upon the conversation to write out these as questions."

The Times, for its part, noted that the questions were provided by "someone outside Mr. Trump's legal team." Watch Zeldin's comments below. Bonnie Kristian

February 25, 2018
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The Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee on Sunday announced a proposal to remove the presidential term limit that would constrain the rule of President Xi Jinping.

Under the present structure of the Chinese Constitution, Xi is limited to two five-year terms, the second of which is due to end in 2023. If the constitutional amendment is approved, Xi could potentially stay in office indefinitely. An editorial in a Chinese state newspaper said the change would not mean "the Chinese president will have a lifelong tenure," but it quoted a Communist Party source saying China needs "consistent leadership" through 2035.

Xi's anti-corruption campaign has been popular among the public, but comments about the proposal on Weibo, China's Twitter analogue, suggested extending the term limit would be preferred over ending it. "If two terms are not enough, then they can write in a third term, but there needs to be a limit," wrote one user. "Getting rid of it is not good!" Bonnie Kristian

January 24, 2018

The Washington Post on Tuesday reported that last year, President Trump asked Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe whom he voted for in the 2016 election. McCabe was then the bureau's acting chief, and the alleged conversation is reportedly of interest to Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

But if you ask Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, it's really not a big deal — and hey, who knows if it really happened anyway. During Wednesday's briefing, ABC News' Cecilia Vega asked Sanders if Trump "[made] a habit" of asking federal employees whom they voted for. When Sanders replied that Trump and McCabe "have had limited and pretty non-substantive conversations," Vega fired back: "But that's kind of a yes or no question. He did or didn't ask." Sanders shrugged and replied, "I wasn't in the room, I don't know what was discussed."

Later in the briefing, another reporter called the reported conversation between Trump and McCabe "the leading story of the day." Sanders disagreed: "I very seriously doubt that any person in America would list that as an issue they care about."

The conversation between McCabe and the president reportedly occurred last May, shortly after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and The Washington Post reported that Mueller is interested in its contents. McCabe thought the question about his political leanings was "disturbing," the Post reported. Kelly O'Meara Morales

January 23, 2018

On Tuesday, American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp appeared on CNN's New Day and tried very hard to avoid talking about President Trump's alleged affair with an adult film star.

CNN's Alisyn Camerota began by asking Schlapp about a recent report that alleges that President Trump's campaign tried to cover up the tryst, which allegedly took place in 2006 when he was married to wife Melania, with campaign money. Schlapp responded: "I don't really have many thoughts on this, Alisyn. I don't even know what we know."

Schlapp then tried to claim that the report came out of "a gossip publication," referring to a lengthy interview the woman gave to InTouch Weekly. Camerota pointed out in response that the original story about the affair was published by The Wall Street Journal. "Do you think The Wall Street Journal is legit?" she asked.

Schlapp admitted that the Journal is credible, but spun back to referencing InTouch Weekly. "We're going to really talk about about an article by InTouch magazine on facts we don't even know to be true? We are all better than this," he said.

That's when Camerota struck: "Matt, so conservatives don't care anymore about extramarital affairs?" Watch a clip of the interview below, or watch the full segment at Mediaite. Kelly O'Meara Morales

January 12, 2018

On Friday, American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp went on Fox News to offer a tenuous defense of President Trump's reported characterization of Haiti and several African states as "shithole countries." Schlapp, the former political director for former President George W. Bush, chose to back the president by ... disparaging the quality of Haiti's beaches.

Schlapp began by noting that Trump denied making the vulgar remarks entirely, before pivoting to his creative defense of the president's alleged comments. "Here are the facts. The facts are: I don't know anybody who has spent two weeks on the beach in Haiti."

Schlapp then moved on to blame the Democrats who were in the meeting — a bipartisan summit on immigration reform — for stirring up the controversy. "The president learned a lesson," Schlapp declared: "When the Democrats and their staff are in the Oval Office, they're gonna say and leak anything to harm you politically, and they did that."

Fox News' Sandra Smith pointed out in response that the Democrats were not lying about what the president said. "To be clear, Matt, Fox News has confirmed his choice of words in that meeting," she said.

For the record: Here are some pictures of Haiti's beaches. Kelly O'Meara Morales

Editor's note: This post originally mischaracterized Schlapp's relationship to Fox News. It has since been corrected. We regret the error.

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