Reports: Frustrated Trump Advisers Grumble About Debate 'Disaster,' Campaign Mood 'Dark'

Separate reports, similar message via exasperated campaign aides: Trump blew it under the brightest lights, and set himself up for failure. Before you read on, why would multiple advisers leak such dirty laundry to the likes of the New York Times and NBC News -- outlets that embody what the GOP nominee derides as the 'disgusting' and 'corrupt' media? Perhaps because they know their candidate won't listen to them unless a negative narrative lights a fire under his rear end, which is apparently what happened before his big (and generally successful) August pivot. If his yes-men keep telling him he won -- look at all of these "polls!" -- then there's nothing to worry about it. But if the media, which Trump tracks obsessively, starts talking about how badly he whiffed, he might get angry enough to change. That, I suspect, is why seven different campaign sources whispered these gripes to the Times.  Note the word 'convince' in the first paragraph here:

A delicate approach to the candidate is now in the works. Before his advisers can shape Mr. Trump’s performance for the next debate, on Oct. 9 in St. Louis — which, contrary to speculation, he does plan to attend, a top aide said — they need to convince him that he can do better than he did in the first one and that only a disciplined, strategic attack can damage Mrs. Clinton with voters. Advisers said that Mr. Trump had been prepped to handle Mrs. Clinton’s attacks on Monday but did not effectively execute responses to them...Even as Mr. Trump’s advisers publicly backed him on Tuesday and praised his debate performance, they were privately awash in second-guessing about why he stopped attacking Mrs. Clinton on trade and character issues and instead grew erratic, impatient and subdued as the night went on. In interviews, seven campaign aides and advisers, most of whom sought anonymity to speak candidly, expressed frustration and discouragement over their candidate’s performance Monday night. They blamed his overstuffed schedule, including a last-minute rally in Virginia that was added days before the debate. They blamed the large number of voluble people on his prep team, including two retired military figures with no political background. And they blamed the lack of time spent on preparing a game plan in the first place...

Almost all of his advisers rejected the idea that the debate was a failure for Mr. Trump, noting that he landed some punches and insisting that Mrs. Clinton looked more polished than she was because of her opposition. But all of them described the debate as filled with missed opportunities. And they openly expressed frustration that Mr. Trump seemed unable to stop chasing chum that Mrs. Clinton tossed at him...There were early efforts to run a more standard form of general election debate-prep camp, led by Roger Ailes, the ousted Fox News chief, at Mr. Trump’s golf course in Bedminster, N.J. But Mr. Trump found it hard to focus during those meetings, according to multiple people briefed on the process who requested anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. That left Mr. Ailes, who at the time was deeply distracted by his removal from Fox and the news media reports surrounding it, discussing his own problems as well as recounting political war stories, according to two people present for the sessions...The team had primed Mr. Trump to look for roughly a dozen key phrases and expressions Mrs. Clinton uses when she is uncertain or uncomfortable, but he did not seem to pay attention during the practice sessions, one aide said, and failed to home in on her vulnerabilities during the debate.

In other words, they're not trying to sabotage him; they're begging him to listen to them, delivering their concerns through a conduit that will get his attention. NBC News is hearing similar things:

Will Trump himself wake up to the reality that the general election is meaningfully different than the primary, and that more or less winging it didn't cut it on Monday? The nuggets about Trump losing focus and evincing little interest during debate preparation sessions indicate that the man Republicans have nominated lacked either the focus or the seriousness of purpose to adequately prepare for arguably the single most watched and most important event of his life.  So long as he remains in an "I won!" bubble, he won't adjust his approach for the final two debates.  Then again, his blamestorming about the moderator, his microphone, etc. suggests that he doesn't really believe his adulatory echo chamber's hosannas this time.  Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, who has earned her keep as a pollster for decades, can surely sit him down and explain the difference between his beloved internet polls, and these real numbers:

Stripping away the spin and braggadocio, Hillary won on Monday night, and they know it.  How will the campaign respond?  Or are reportedly warring internal factions hampering Team Trump's ability to focus and adapt?  This guy's already on his third campaign manager.  The kids can't seriously believe another change at the top is a wise move, can they?

I'll leave you with two links. First, here is Allahpundit once again marveling that in addition to woefully under-preparing for his monumentally important first debate with Hillary, America's most famous alleged "self-funding" billionaire still hasn't cut an unprecedentedly humongous check to his own campaign. With the stroke of a pen, he could finance an operation that would overwhelm Hillary's ground game and come close to matching her on-air.  He hasn't, but there are reports floating around that he's contemplating doing so. Tick tock, Donald. Second, we told you about Trump's self-destructive decision to raise Hillary's "Miss Piggy/Miss Housekeeping" attack the morning after the debate. Setting Trump's related conduct off to the side, did Team Clinton bother to vet this woman? This is their new poster-woman-slash-surrogate?  This is their new character witness against Donald Trump?  Good Lord:

Forbes Editor Reveals How Much Magazine Believes Trump Is Really Worth

Discussing Donald Trump’s wealth on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” editor of Forbes Magazine Randall Lane dismissed rumors that Trump may only be worth $200 million, noting that he is indeed a billionaire. But the $10 billion figure Trump claims he’s worth? Not even close, Lane said.

“He’s worth $3.7 billion based on the findings we’ve been spending most of the last year. We’ve been given an audit. We have 35 years, we’ve been tracking Trump's wealth since the Forbes 400 started. So we have years and years, decades and decades, there’s no assets that are hiding that we don’t know about. We’ve been tracking him since before anybody knew who he was. He’s worth a lot less than he says. He's worth a lot less than last year. He’s down $800 million. But he is a billionaire. He's worth -- again we think 3.7"

Cruz Grills DHS Official Into Admitting Some Refugees Are Allowed Into US Based on Their Testimony Alone

FBI Director James Comey has already acknowledged that the country can’t properly vet all Syrian refugees for ties to terror, but just how lenient the process can actually be may come as a surprise.

Grilling a top DHS official during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz read part of a DHS memorandum, which stated that the “refugee program is particularly vulnerable of fraud due to loose evidentiary requirements where at times the testimony of an applicant alone is sufficient for approval.”

Leon Rodriguez, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services at DHS, pushed back, arguing that the document was written by someone who lacked familiarity with the process.

Cruz then pressed him, asking if it is “true or false that the testimony of the applicant alone can be sufficient for approval?”

“It is considered, it depends on the case,” Rodriguez replied, before going into more detail.

“Mr. Rodriguez,” Cruz interrupted, “It’s a very simple question. … Is it true or false that the testimony of the applicant alone can be sufficient for approval?”

After another exchange, Cruz pressed him again wanting a clear answer. Finally, Rodriguez gave him what he was looking for.

“I am acknowledging that yes, testimony can be the basis for the grant of a refugee but it needs to be tested against other information that we know — about the country conditions, at a minimum.”

The Two Witnesses in the Chelsea NY Bombing Have Flown Back to Egypt

For some unexplained reason, the FBI allowed the two witnesses in the New YorkCity bombing to fly back to Egypt, according to law enforcement officials.

However, though the two men are not currently in custody, the FBI reportedly knows who they are and their whereabouts. Law enforcement officials say they are Egyptian pilots and are presumed to have returned to Egypt. They are still considered witnesses, not suspects.

Authorities on Tuesday released new photos of the men to the public.

"I think they were more interested in the bag, not what they were taking out," said Jim Watters, chief of the New York Police Department's counter-terrorism unit. 

"They're not in any jeopardy of being arrested," Watters said. "We have no reason to believe they're connected."

California Governor Signs Bill Giving Felons Right to Vote

Felons in California will now have the right to vote behind bars thanks to AB 2466, which Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law on Wednesday.

As part of a progressive effort to hasten their transition back into society, thousands of felons in county jail will now be able to take part in California elections.

Under the new law, anyone convicted of a felony, but who is not currently in state or federal prison or on parole, is allowed to vote.

California’s constitution denies the right to vote to anyone in prison or on parole. In 2011, the state’s Realignment Plan shifted many of the state’s corrections program responsibilities to local government. It spurred the transfer of many low-level felony offenders to county-run jails and programs in an effort to reduce overcrowded state and federal prisons and save money.

AB 2466 was borne from a 2014 lawsuit on behalf of those low-level felons who were no longer in state or federal prison. The lawsuit argued the people in county programs shouldn’t be classified the same as other felons, and won.

Upon introducing the bill, Democratic Assemblywoman Shirley Brown argued that civic participation would reduce the recidivism rate.

"I wrote AB 2466 because I want to send a message to the nation that California will not stand for discrimination in voting,” she said Wednesday.

Daniel Zingale, senior vice president of The California Endowment, a private health foundation, agreed.

 “California is stronger and healthier when more people participate in the electoral process,” he said, reports the Los Angeles Times. “Mass disenfranchisement for minor offenses is a tragic legacy of the Jim Crow era that disproportionately affects and diminishes the power of communities of color.”

But there’s plenty of disagreement—and not just from Republican lawmakers. The California State Sheriffs’ Assn and the California Police Chiefs Assn. opposed the legislation.

“We believe that there have to be consequences to your action, and the consequences of being a convicted felon are that you can’t vote and you can’t possess firearms,” Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Assn., told the LA Times.

The new law could mean as many as 50,000 new voters in California.

Obama Won't Say "Islamic Terrorism" Because He Doesn't Want to Offend Muslim Leaders

Barack Obama continues to refuse to use the words 'Islamic terrorism' because "the way it’s received by our friends and allies around the world... makes them feel as if they’re under attack."

During Wednesday’s Presidential Town Hall on CNN, Obama was asked by Gold Star mother Tina Houchins why he doesn’t use the term “Islamic terrorist,” and he quickly defended the religion and even compared the scenario to Christianity.  

“I don’t want to — if you had a — an organization that was going around killing and blowing people up, and said, we’re on the vanguard of Christianity, well, I’m not going, as a Christian, I’m not going to let them claim my religion and say you’re killing for Christ. I would say that’s ridiculous. That’s not what my religion stands for. Call these folks what they are, which is killers and terrorists,” he said.  

He even declared that the real danger comes from "loose language," particularly from presidential candidates.  

“I think that, I’ll just be honest with you, the danger is where we get loose in this language, particularly when a president — or people aspiring to get — become president get loose with this language," he said.

Obama defends and supports Islamic leaders in the middle east as if they were heroes fighting valiantly to combat terrorism that is rooted throughout the region.  But what really is Saudi Arabia and Egypt doing to fight ISIS?  What is Turkey doing or Pakistan doing for that matter?

The U.S. taxpayers send trillions of dollars to help fund and supply their war effort while they simply waste the resources through government corruption.  The multi-trillion dollar defense industry that has emerged from the conflicts in the middle east may go down as one of the biggest scams of the 21st century.  

Obama's pretense is that if we do not offend Islamic leaders in the middle east, then in return, they will all of the sudden eliminate ISIS and factions like it as an act of kindness to America.  But if sending them trillions of dollars in resources and weaponry did not work, then why will not saying 'Islamic terrorism' work?

Reality check, 15 of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001 were from Saudi Arabia and two were once accused of being Saudi intelligence officers. Saudis do not care what we call ISIS, they care about the bottom line and how much their government can benefit off of the American taxpayers.   They are smart and cunning negotiators who abuse our State Department officials sent to win for the American people, not the other way around.    

Watch Live: Trump Campaigns in Waukesha, Wisconsin

WATCH: Marco Rubio's Moving Tribute to Communist Refugee and MLB Pitcher Killed in Accident

A holdover from yesterday, but still worth watching if you haven't seen it already. For those who aren't not plugged into sports news, Miami Marlins standout pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed in a tragic boating accident early Sunday morning, along with two friends. He was just 24. His death has devastated his clubhouse, leading to many poignantheartbreaking, and inspirational moments both on and off the field. Florida Senator Marco Rubio -- a native son of Miami -- took to the Senate floor on Tuesday to mourn the loss, paying tribute to a young man who'd already led an extraordinary life before it was suddenly cut short.  Eloquent and moving:

As a young man, Fernandez and his family attempted to defect from Communist Cuba on multiple occasions. At 14, he was jailed after his third escape attempt. He finally completed the treacherous journey, but not before saving his own mother from drowning in choppy seas. Years later, he called becoming a US citizen one of his proudest accomplishments. "I consider myself now to be free," he said. "I thank this amazing country for giving me the opportunity to go to school here and learn the language and pitch in the major leagues. It’s an honor to be a part of this country, and I respect it so much." My friend Mary Katharine Ham wrote about Fernandez on Monday, noting his passion not just for the game, but for the incredible gift of liberty:

Five days before he died, Fernandez posted a black and white photo of his girlfriend on the beach, cradling an obvious baby bump. The caption read, “I’m so glad you came into my life. I’m ready for where this journey is gonna take us together. #familyfirst.”  Fernandez understood, more than most, what it meant to have his whole family here, in one place. One can only imagine the joy he would have taken in growing that family in the country he loved. Before he died, he left his teammates with a thought about freedom, something he often tossed around in the locker room. Usually a sunny jokester, this was more of an admonition than a celebration: “You were born into freedom. You don’t understand freedom, really.”

Descansa en paz.

Polls: Post-Debate Clinton Can't Get Beyond The Margin Of Error

The first debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is over. The media says that Clinton won in a landslide. Those outside of the D.C. beltway felt otherwise. They felt Clinton’s scripted and formulaic answers didn’t speak to any of their concerns and they were annoyed that she tries to paint herself as her husband. We all know Hillary isn’t Bill. Democrats think otherwise. So, did she have a surge? Reuters/Ipsos and the Morning Consult noted that Clinton did indeed have a surge…that falls well within the margin of error.

First, let’s look at the Morning Consult poll, which was sponsored by Politico, who released their results this morning. Out of a sample of 1,253 likely voters, they found that moderator Lester Holt was generally fair; they felt Clinton won, and over half watched the whole debate. Yet, despite Clinton winning the debate in this poll, only nine percent said the debate changed their mind—and she only went up three points. Trump led Clinton by one point in their previous poll, both fall within the margin of error.

We have a brand-new post-debate poll that confirms Hillary Clinton got a small bump over Donald Trump from her performance. Clinton is up THREE POINTS among likely voters in the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll of the four-way race for president. Before the debate Trump was up ONE POINT. JUST NINE PERCENT of respondents said the debate changed their mind about who to vote for.

Here are some other key findings of the poll, which was conducted online Monday and Tuesday among 1,253 likely voters with a margin of error of three points.

--LESTER HOLT WAS SEEN AS FAIR. 42% of respondents said Holt was impartial. 27% said he was more favorable to Clinton and 2% said he favored Trump.

--CLINTON WAS THE WINNER. This tracks with practically all other reputable public polling: 49% say Clinton won and 26% say Trump won. 18% of Republicans say Clinton won.

--VOTERS WERE RIVETED. 72% of likely voters watched the debate, and 55% of those viewers watched the whole 95-minute affair. Half of those polled said they would watch the debate again.

In the Reuters poll, Clinton surged six points, but when you add the third party candidates, she only leads by four. Again, well within the margin of error (via The Hill):

Clinton has 44 percent support among likely voters to Trump's 38 percent in the Ipsos/Reuters national tracking poll, which was taken before Monday's first presidential debate.

Clinton's lead shrinks slightly when third-party candidates are included. In that scenario, she has 42 percent to Trump's 38 percent. Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson has 7 percent and Green Party nominee Jill Stein is backed by 2 percent.

The sample size for this poll was 1,041 voters.

So, two polls post-debate show that Clinton (for now) was incapable of gaining any meaningful ground against Trump. I say for now because we need to see what the other polls came out with post-debate. She may have been good. She may have had detailed answers, but two things will continue to hamstring her a) she’s less trusted than Trump; b) she’s not likable; and c) a lot of people have already made up their minds. Still, a nine percent change post-debate from the Consult poll is interesting. If similar figures are found in other polls, we should be able to paint a clearer picture of where these folks are going. Are they heading into the third party camps? Are they heading into the sit this one out bunker? If one thing is clear at this point is that Monday night was neither good nor bad for either camp. Yes, maybe Clinton won Monday by a large margin, but why isn’t she leading by eight or ten points post-debate if it truly was a disastrous performance by Trump? In reality, I think the whole night was a draw, with both candidates getting the upper hand in various parts of the night, with the closing act being a toss up. The second debate is surely to be where things get a bit more interesting, especially if Trump brings up the Clinton Foundation, Benghazi, and the emails again. He has to hammer those points home, especially after blowing a missed opportunity when Clinton rambled about cyber security on Monday.

"Ballot Selfies" Law Struck Down in New Hampshire

It is now legal to take a picture of a ballot in New Hampshire and post it on the internet. A judge struck down a controversial law from 2014 that prohibited photographing a ballot and sharing it on various social media sites. The law was blocked before it could ever go into effect.

The American Civil Liberties' Union praised the court's decision as a victory for free speech.

BOSTON – Today, in a victory for the First Amendment, the First Circuit Court of Appeals struck down New Hampshire’s law banning “ballot selfies” on the grounds that it violates the right to free speech under the First Amendment. The decision can be found here.

In a thoughtful 22-page opinion, the Court unequivocally concluded that the law violates free speech rights. As the Court held: “The restriction affects voters who are engaged in core political speech, an area highly protected by the First Amendment …. Ballot selfies have taken on a special communicative value: they both express support for a candidate and communicate that the voter has in fact given his or her vote to that candidate.” The Court added: “New Hampshire may not impose such a broad restriction on speech banning ballot selfies in order to combat an unsubstantiated and hypothetical danger. We repeat the old adage: ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’”

Good. This law was silly, and all it was going to do was make more people into criminals--without any of the supposed "benefits" against voter intimidation. While "ballot selfies" may sound silly, they certainly shouldn't be a crime.

Tim Kaine No Show at 9/11 Bill Vote

The Senate and House of Representatives voted to override President Obama's veto of JASTA on Wednesday, legislation that allows 9/11 victims' families to sue Saudi Arabia. It was the first time Obama has faced an override since entering the Oval Office. The Senate vote was not even close, passing on an overwhelmingly bipartisan tally of 97-1. Harry Reid was the only senator to vote to sustain it. 

Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Hillary Clinton's 2016 running mate, was not present for the historic moment.

Unfortunately, the vice presidential nominee could not use geography as an excuse. In a press release, the Republican National Committee pointed out that Kaine was only 10 miles away from Capitol Hill at the time of the vote, appearing at an event in Alexandria, VA.

Sen. Bernie Sanders also missed the vote, for the same reason - he was stumping for Clinton.

Earlier this week, the Clinton campaign indicated Clinton would sign the bill if it reached her desk. 

Woman Who Accused Bill Clinton of Rape Calls Him A Sexual Predator

In 1999, Juanita Broaddrick accused then-President Bill Clinton of raping her in 1978 during his campaign for the Arkansas statehouse. On Wednesday, Broaddrick took to Twitter to admonish Chelsea Clinton for claiming that bringing up Bill's mistresses during the debates would be a "distraction." One of Bill's mistresses, Gennifer Flowers, was reportedly invited to attend the debate.

Broaddrick did not mince words in her several-part tweetstorm, going as far as to say that Hillary and Bill Clinton were "not good people" and that Bill Clinton is a sexual predator.

Read here:

Wow.

Obama: If You Vote Third Party, You're Supporting Trump–And That Means You're Ruining My Legacy

The vote shaming isn’t ending with President Obama. He said to black voters at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation gala this month that if they don’t vote, he would take it as a personal insult for everything that he’s done for us over the past eight, miserable years. For Democrats, votes are viewed as an entitlement program. Obama has been unusually aggressive this cycle as he prepares to help Clinton by dragging her across the finish line. As Donald Trump has come within striking distance of Clinton, the president has decided to turn his involvement with the Clinton campaign into a rescue mission.

Other Clinton supporters, like Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), also went commented on Clinton’s struggles to gain the edge over Trump, blaming third party candidates for siphoning off Democratic support for the former first lady. Now, Obama has decided to follow suit (via The Hill):

President Obama on Wednesday ratcheted up Democrats' attacks on third-party candidates, arguing anything other than a vote for Hillary Clinton is a vote for Donald Trump.

“If you don’t vote, that’s a vote for Trump. If you vote for a third-party candidate who's got no chance to win, that’s a vote for Trump,” Obama said during a radio interview with Steve Harvey.

Democrats have worried about Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein drawing votes away from Clinton, the Democratic nominee, especially among younger voters.

[…]

"My legacy is on the ballot. All the work we've done over the last eight years is on the ballot," he said.

Again, are these red flags that Democrats a) know they have a turnout problem since a core constituency—young people—are utterly unenthused by Clinton’s candidacy; and b) never thought this race would be this close? By the map, we seem to be having an electorate that resembles more 2004 than 2008, 2012, which bodes well for Republicans. Trump looks like he can win Nevada and Colorado, in which case if he wins Florida and Ohio, he’s elected president. That’s with him losing Virginia and Pennsylvania. So, yeah, I guess I can see why Democrats, including Obama, are trying to shame their own members into voting for Clinton, even though some core groups of their party base can’t seem to stand her. That’s not their fault—and these people don’t owe Clinton anything if they think she sucks, or is an old, sick decrepit liar.

In the meantime, Libertarian Gary Johnson continues to make his case.

Watch Live: Trump Speaks in Council Bluffs, Iowa

It Sure Looks Like the California AG Colluded With Planned Parenthood to Enact Legislation

For some time, the pro-life movement has been suspicious of California Attorney General Kamala Harris' relationship with Planned Parenthood. After all, she gave the greenlight to the sudden search of pro-life activist David Daleiden's home. Daleiden is the man behind the shocking Planned Parenthood videos last summer that urged Congress to investigate the organization and introduce bills to defund it. Daleiden and his group, the Center for Medical Progress, posed as a fetal tissue buyer and secretly recorded Planned Parenthood employees negotiating the sale of fetal body parts. The footage exposed the organization as greedy and desensitized to the plight of unborn children. Yet, pro-abortion groups argued the real sin was Daleiden's questionable tactics.

Now, pro-lifers may have some proof that Harris' office was working together to target Daleiden and his pro-life efforts. New emails obtained by the Washington Times appear to show a California Planned Parenthood influencing AB 1671, a bill that would make secretly recording communications with health care providers a crime. The legislation was introduced after Daleiden's investigation. 

The emails show Beth Parker, chief legal counsel for Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California, sending multiple drafts of AB 1671 to Jill Habig, who was at the time special counsel to the attorney general.

“Attached is the language for AB 1671, proposed amendments to Penal Code section 632,” Ms. Parker wrote in an email marked March 8. “I look forward to your thoughts about this.”

Ms. Parker sent a revised draft of the legislation to Ms. Habig on March 16. “Here’s the rewrite of the video tape bill,” she wrote. “Let me know what you think.”

Planned Parenthood donated thousands of dollars to Harris's reelection campaign. Is her office rewarding them by allowing them to have a say in legislation?

Meltdown: White House Calls Senate's 9/11 Veto Override The Most 'Embarrassing Thing' In Years

UPDATE: The House has more than enough votes to override President Obama's veto. It will now become law.

***Original Post***

As Cortney wrote earlier today, virtually every member of the United States Senate voted to override President Obama’s veto on a bill that would allow victims of the 9/11 attacks to sue Saudi Arabia. Pretty much everyone voted for it, with both the House and Senate passing it by voice votes. The only senator to vote against the override today was old, crusty crab Harry Reid.

Now, the Obama White House is going through something of a meltdown, calling the vote an embarrassment. It also offers insight into the president’s sway over Capitol Hill, which seems to be virtually non-existent at this point. The House is expected to hold their override vote later today—and it’s expected to pass the two-thirds threshold as well. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is expected to vote in favor of the override (via The Hill):

The White House lashed out at the Senate Wednesday for overriding President Obama’s veto of legislation that would allow U.S. citizens to sue Saudi Arabia over the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“I would venture to say that this is the single most embarrassing thing that the United States Senate has done, possibly, since 1983,” Obama spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters aboard Air Force One.

[…]

The veto override was a major blow to Obama, prompting questions about his diminishing sway over Capitol Hill and foreign policy months before he leaves office.

Earnest’s unusually harsh words are an effort to shame lawmakers for their support for the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA).

For weeks, White House officials have accused members of Congress of failing to publicly express the reservations about the measure that they have spoken about privately.

The Senate voted to override Obama’s veto 97-1.

New FBI Data Shows Murder Up By More Than 10 Percent

The FBI has released it's annual crime statistics for 2015 and for the first time in many years, violent crime is up and the murder rate has alarmingly increased by more than 10 percent. 

"After two years of decline, the estimated number of violent crimes in the nation increased 3.9 percent in 2015 when compared with 2014 data, according to FBI figures released today. Property crimes dropped 2.6 percent, marking the 13th straight year the collective estimates for these offenses declined," the FBI released. "The 2015 statistics show the estimated rate of violent crime was 372.6 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants, and the property crime rate was 2,487.0 offenses per 100,000 inhabitants. The violent crime rate rose 3.1 percent compared with the 2014 rate, and the property crime rate declined 3.4 percent." 

"In 2015, there were an estimated 1,197,704 violent crimes. Murder and non-negligent manslaughter increased 10.8 percent when compared with estimates from 2014," the report states. "Rape and aggravated assault increased 6.3 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, while robbery increased 1.4 percent."


FBI Director James Comey expressed the need for data about the use of lethal force by police in order to better understand the impact of crime on American communities.

"We need more transparency and accountability in law enforcement. We also need better, more informed conversations about crime and policing in this country. To get there, we are improving the way this nation collects, analyzes, and uses crime statistics and data about law enforcement’s use of force. Information that is accurate, reliable, complete, and timely will help all of us learn where we have problems and how to get better," Comey said about the report. "Key elements of this are our shift to the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), which will occur no later than 2021 (we hope sooner), and our first-ever use-of-force database. Those will give us a more complete, richer picture of crime in our communities, and a national and detailed picture of the ways we in law enforcement are using force. With indispensable support from our colleagues at the Bureau of Justice Statistics, all of us will be better able to talk in an informed way about things that matter tremendously."

Shooting Reported at South Carolina Elementary School, Two Children Injured

Three people have been injured in a shooting at Townville Elementary School in South Carolina, according to The Greenville News. Two of the victims are children and the other is a teacher.

The school has been evacuated and the victims have been transported to the hospital. 

The suspect is in custody. He shot his father to death before entering the school, the Associated Press is reporting.

This post has been updated.

Email Scandal: Sasse Grills Comey on Mills Immunity

Katie has been following the latest email scandal developments on Capitol Hill, but I thought this video might add some useful color. Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse questioned FBI Director James Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson yesterday, seeking information on the Justice Department's grant of limited immunity to top Clinton consigliere Cheryl Mills in exchange for producing a crucial piece of evidence in the Bureau's criminal probe of Hillary Clinton's email scheme. His questions are succinct and precise.  As Hugh Hewitt suggests, other lawmakers should take notes. Watch:

Sasse didn't extract any major revelations from Comey, but the FBI chief did explain that the immunity offer was necessary because without it, Mills would have fought investigators tooth and nail in an effort to withhold her computer.  A subpoena "would likely entangle us in litigation over privilege for a very long time," he said. Recall that Team Clinton has insisted throughout this ordeal that they've been fully cooperative. They have not. They deleted thousands of work-related emails, they only produced the (non-destroyed) records under a series of court orders, they refused to cooperate with the State Department's IG, and now here's Comey saying that because of Mills' highly unusual, hazy, overlapping roles under the Clinton umbrella, they "likely" would have fought hard in court to preserve Mills' ability to hinder the investigation.  Bill McGurn's Wall Street Journal column this week cites former US prosecutor Andy McCarthy's analysis in spelling out how...fragrant this entire arrangement appears to be:

There are two ways a witness can get immunity: Either she invokes the Fifth Amendment on the grounds she might incriminate herself, or, worried something on the laptop might expose her to criminal liability, her lawyers reveal what this might be before prosecutors agree to an immunity deal. As with so much else in this investigation, the way the laptop was handled was out of the ordinary. Normally, immunity is granted for testimony and interviews. The laptop was evidence. Standard practice would have been for the FBI to get a grand-jury subpoena to compel Ms. Mills to produce it...Now we learn about the multiple immunity deals. Immunity in exchange for information that will help make the case against higher-ups is not unusual. Even so, the Mills deal carries a special stink. To begin with, Ms. Mills was pretty high up herself. As Mrs. Clinton’s chief of staff, she was in the thick of operations. In 2012, while working at State, she traveled to New York to interview candidates for a top job at the Clinton Foundation. More disturbing still, not only was Ms. Mills granted immunity for the content on her laptop, she was permitted to act as Mrs. Clinton’s attorney even though she herself was also a witness in the investigation.

This was allowed in part because she told the FBI she knew nothing of Mrs. Clinton’s private server until after she’d left the State Department. But this claim is suspect and contradicted by emails that have since emerged. These include one to Huma Abedin asking, “hrc email coming back—is server ok?” The special treatment accorded Ms. Mills also reeks on a more fundamental level. As a rule, the Justice Department is aggressive about going after lawyers for any perceived conflict of interest. This would include, for example, a lawyer who wanted to represent different parties in a trial. By giving Ms. Mills a pass to serve as Mrs. Clinton’s attorney in an investigation in which she was a material witness, Justice allowed her to shield her communications with Mrs. Clinton under attorney-client privilege. Indeed, Ms. Mills invoked that privilege during her own FBI interview.

Comey testified today that Mills was, at least for a time, a subject of the probe herself.  McGurn concludes his piece with this question for Comey: "You publicly said there was no case for criminal charges. So what did Cheryl Mills need immunity for?"  Incidentally, if you keep watching the Sasse clip past his email scandal line of questioning, he inquires about the recent Inspector General report that hundreds of immigrants were accidentally given US citizenship.  He asks Jeh Johnson for the exact number of people affected by this error (Johnson can only offer an estimate), and wants to know if any of them were from "special interest countries" such as "Iran, Syria or Libya."  Johnson replies that doesn't know, prompting Sasse to politely but firmly ask how that could be possible, adding that the IG report stated that at least two of the individuals in question had been referred to the FBI at some point.  I'll leave you with Comey confirming to a House panel today that the DOJ has received Congress' criminal complaints regarding Mrs. Clinton's apparent perjury during her famous marathon testimony before the Benghazi committee -- and this:

Rick Perry Eliminated From Dancing With The Stars

Rick Perry will not be bringing the mirrorball back to Texas. On Tuesday night, Perry became the second contestant eliminated from the 23rd season of Dancing With The Stars. Perry and his partner Emma Slater were eliminated after scoring the lowest score for their paso doble routine and failing to defeat Vanilla Ice in the face-off challenge on Monday night. Perry had suffered an ankle injury during the week.

Speaking to E!, Perry called his brief stint on the show an "amazing experience."

"I look back on it for the last month as an amazing experience," Perry told E! News. "I was able to talk about those veterans issues that really brought me to the show to begin with…We're here tonight enjoying America's pastime because somewhere along the way there was some young American who served and kept us free."

A look back at Perry's time on the dance floor:

God Bless Texas, Cha-cha

Theme from 'Green Acres,' Quickstep

Tamacun, paso doble

Bravo. We'll miss ya, Rick.

Watch Live: Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Speak in Durham, New Hampshire

Paul Ryan Coy on Future Presidential Run

At the Economic Club of Washington Wednesday morning, Speaker Ryan was asked by the moderator if he’d consider running for the White House in the future. “You never say never to these things,” the Wisconsin Republican replied.

While stating that he didn’t want to rule the option out, he lamented that he never had the “ambition” to run for the nation’s highest office.

Giving hope to any ‘Ryan 2020’ supporters that this sentiment could change - Ryan said he used to find his previous job as Ways and Means Chairman as more enjoyable than being Speaker, but now feels the bigger role has grown on him.

Speaker Ryan explained his biggest goals are policy reforms. He also stressed the importance to him in spending time with his kids and making sure they live a normal life during their younger years. Despite a heavy fundraising schedule, Ryan visits his family in Janesville, Wisconsin every weekend.

A lot of speculation has gone around regarding a potential Paul Ryan run in 2020 or 2024. The Wisconsin congressman is extremely popular in Republican circles, has deep policy knowledge, and touts a national fundraising network resulting from his VP run in 2012.

Per the usual, Ryan has been hesitant of, but not outright against, the idea of a presidential run. Ryan supporters point to his initial reluctance to run for the speakership in which he was eventually pressured into.

Perhaps Republicans can push Ryan into a run for the White House, as well.

Watch Tim Tebow's First at Bat, First Pitch Home Run

It did not take long for Heisman winning quarterback Tim Tebow to make a splash in his first at bat during his professional baseball game debut.  

Playing for the New York Mets minor league system, Tebow hammered a pitch to left field in an instructional game in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He has not played organized baseball since his junior year of high school in 2005, in Florida.

"I feel like every day I'm getting a little more comfortable,'' Tebow, who singled in his last two at-bats of the simulated game, told The Associated Press. ''It's great just to see live pitching and get live at-bats. I'm just getting a little bit better every day. That's the goal.''

Senate Overrides Obama's 9/11 Veto, Only One Senator Votes to Sustain It

UPDATE: The House just voted to override Obama's JASTA veto as well, Fox News is reporting.

***Original Post***

In a vote of 97-1 (the only rebel being Minority Leader Harry Reid), the Senate voted to override President Obama's veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA). The bipartisan bill allows the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia for its alleged support of terrorism. It is the first time Obama has faced a veto override in his presidency.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) celebrated the successful effort.

“I applaud my colleagues for joining together and with the American people to stand against President Obama’s attempt to deprive terror victims from receiving full recourse under the law,” Sen. Cruz said. “Our nation has a duty to ensure that American victims of terrorism, first and foremost the 9/11 families, are able to receive justice. Congress, by passing JASTA, will do just that and will continue to protect our brave men and women in uniform who defend our freedoms and way of life across the globe. I encourage my colleagues in the House to follow the Senate in overriding the president’s veto and enact JASTA into law.”

The House will vote next and Speaker Paul Ryan expects they too will have more than enough votes. Even House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi noted that she would vote to override Obama's veto, arguing that September 11 families deserve their day in court.

UN Panel: U.S. Should Pay Black People Reparations Due To History Of 'Racial Terrorism'

A United Nations-affiliated panel has said that the United States owes reparations to its black population for a history of “racial terrorism.” As Ishaan Tharoor wrote for The Washington Post, the United Nations’ Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent came to these nonbinding conclusions in their report released from Geneva, with reparations coming in the form of financial payments, debt cancellation, increased opportunities in education, health initiatives, and a formal apology. Oh, and they also touched upon the string of police-involved shooting deaths as well:

The group of experts, which includes leading human rights lawyers from around the world, presented its findings to the United Nations Human Rights Council on Monday, pointing to the continuing link between present injustices and the dark chapters of American history.

"In particular, the legacy of colonial history, enslavement, racial subordination and segregation, racial terrorism and racial inequality in the United States remains a serious challenge, as there has been no real commitment to reparations and to truth and reconciliation for people of African descent," the report stated. "Contemporary police killings and the trauma that they create are reminiscent of the past racial terror of lynching."

Citing the past year's spate of police officers killing unarmed African American men, the panel warned against "impunity for state violence," which has created, in its words, a "human rights crisis" that "must be addressed as a matter of urgency."

[…]

Despite substantial changes since the end of the enforcement of Jim Crow and the fight for civil rights, ideology ensuring the domination of one group over another, continues to negatively impact the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of African Americans today," it said in a statement. "The dangerous ideology of white supremacy inhibits social cohesion amongst the US population."

Are these experts or a bunch of overly educated urban-based elites with doctorates in social justice warrior studies? White supremacy is the glue that keeps our nation together? That’s unadulterated crap. Our values, our Constitution, our belief in the defined system of rights that we felt so deeply as to rebel against to British rule is what keeps us together and makes us Americans—or at least that’s what I thought. Our country was founded on these unalienable rights, not around kings or ethnic groups as other nations in the past. Second, and most importantly, if this is some ridiculous way to foster a racial healing, it’s not going to work. In fact, most likely it will exacerbate the already abysmal race relations we have now. We’re blaming a racial group who had zero stakes in slavery. No white person today is to blame for slavery or racial terrorism. No white person today is responsible for the past actions of their racial group; people they didn’t event know. And have we forgotten that the abolitionist movement was comprised of…religious, church-going white folk? Who soaked the battlefields of Gettysburg, Antietam, and other battlefield of the American Civil War with blood to end slavery? Oh, that was mostly white people too. It remains our bloodiest war our country has ever fought, with over 600,000 dead, but it was one where the heart and soul of our country was on the line. In the end, slavery was forever abolished.

Yes, more works needs to be done. Yes, Jim Crow, the lynchings, and other forms of discrimination today are not pleasant, but we, ourselves, are destined to fix these problems, not some UN board in Geneva. This is just a mass exercise of guilt by association that will not mend any fences or heal wounds. It will merely reopen them, with both groups being even further apart. Blessedly, these recommendations, like most UN actions, lack teeth. They’re non-binding—and they should be ignored. At the same time, I’m sure more than a few social justice warriors will cite this report in various articles and blog posts.

What is it with the UN and their inability to realistically execute the function of conflict resolution? They’re utter failures at it.