At 9 p.m. Thursday night, the House Benghazi Committee's hearing adjourned, after 11 hours of questioning Hillary Clinton on everything from her email correspondence with friend Sidney Blumenthal to her Libya policy as secretary of state to efforts to rescue Ambassador Chris Stevens.
During the hearing, Clinton revealed that during her time as secretary of state, she "did not do the bulk of my work on email. Some of [the memos] were so top secret that they were brought into my office in a locked briefcase that I had to read and immediately return to the courier." Clinton also said multiple times that Stevens had been in contact with her inner circle, and if he'd wished to communicate his needs, he could send cables and emails. She described how rescuers had tried to get Stevens, who died from smoke inhalation, into a "safe room" following the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi. "One of our failures after the attack was our failure to find the ambassador," she said. "We hoped against hope that he had somehow managed to get out of the compound. Additional efforts to find his body or to find him were unsuccessful, and they had to withdraw because of the continuing attack on the CIA annex before we knew what happened to the ambassador." Later, it came to light that "the Libyans had found the ambassador. And they had carried him back to the hospital, and Libyan doctors labored nearly two hours to resuscitate him."
Committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said the hearing was "not a prosecution," but the Democrats questioned its purpose, with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) telling Clinton: "There's a lot of interest in trying to score points against you tonight." The panel, Schiff said, found "nothing new to tell the American people," adding, "I think we'll rue the day that we did this." Committee member Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) announced on Twitter before the hearing started that "this investigation does not end today. We will continue interviewing others till we get to the bottom of this." He tweeted throughout the day, and after the hearing concluded, stated: "And with that — it's over. The Committee is one step closer to understanding the truth surrounding the death of 4 Americans."
Toward the end of the hearing, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) alluded to accusations that the committee's goal was to harm Clinton's presidential campaign, saying to applause: "We are better than using taxpayer dollars to try to destroy a campaign. That's not what America's all about." Clinton responded by saying her answers haven't changed since she appeared before the House and Senate two years ago to discuss Benghazi. "I can only hope that the statesmanship overcomes the partisanship," she said. "At some point we have to do this. It is deeply unfortunate that something as serious as what happened in Benghazi could ever be used for partisan political purposes, and I'm hoping that we can move forward together and start working together, we can start listening to each other." Catherine Garcia
At least 44 people have died since Hurricane Florence made landfall in the Carolinas more than a week ago, and though the catastrophic rains have finally ceased, flooding continues to hit North Carolina especially hard.
The Cape Fear River will crest this wkd. while the Lumber River will crest again. The Neuse will rise until Mon. Additionally, new areas are flooding with little warning. Due to this, travel isn’t recommended south of US 64. See flood levels https://t.co/xPLtIKVMoY #FlorenceNC pic.twitter.com/ATypLvVZTm
— NCDOT (@NCDOT) September 21, 2018
As some rivers continue to rise, tens of thousands remain without power, and many roads are still submerged or covered in debris. "I know we sound redundant, but it bears repeating," tweeted South Carolina's emergency management department. "Turn around, don't drown!"
Floodwaters have receded from Interstate 40, leaving behind a glut of dead fish. See firefighters hosing fish off the blacktop below. Bonnie Kristian
— USA TODAY Video (@usatodayvideo) September 23, 2018
A new ad for Democrat David Brill, who is challenging Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) for his seat, features six people in diverse occupations arguing Gosar is "absolutely not working for his district." The twist: They're all Gosar's siblings, and they're encouraging Arizonans to vote their brother out of office.
Gosar responded on Twitter Saturday:
Not one of my siblings lives in Arizona and my opponent's policies are out of sync with what Arizona wants and the country needs. I will not be deterred from fighting for our conservative values regardless of these attacks. #az04 #MAGA2018
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) September 22, 2018
My siblings who chose to film ads against me are all liberal Democrats who hate President Trump. These disgruntled Hillary suppporters are related by blood to me but like leftists everywhere, they put political ideology before family. Stalin would be proud. #Az04 #MAGA2018
— Paul Gosar (@DrPaulGosar) September 22, 2018
On a lighter note than linking his siblings to a genocidal dictator, Gosar joked he must be "Mom's favorite," as his mother supports his campaign. Thanksgiving is gonna be so awkward this year. Bonnie Kristian
The Trump administration on Saturday proposed a rule change that would make it more difficult for immigrants to receive visas and green cards if they are deemed likely to use public assistance programs.
"Under long-standing federal law, those seeking to immigrate to the United States must show they can support themselves financially," said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen in a statement arguing the rule would "promote immigrant self-sufficiency and protect finite resources by ensuring that they are not likely to become burdens on American taxpayers."
The proposal will define a threshold for a total amount of assistance from programs like public housing and food stamps, and using assistance above that line will be "a heavily weighed negative factor" in the consideration of immigration status change applications, DHS said. The new rules could take effect before the end of the year.
Critics say the proposal is less about frugality than restricting immigration, and legal challenge is expected. "Today's announcement by the Trump administration is a backdoor, administrative end-run to substantially reduce legal immigration that, if implemented, will hurt our entire country," Todd Schulte of FWD.us told CNN. "This policy will cost the United States in the long run by limiting the contributions of hardworking immigrants who could become legal residents, and no one is better off because of it." Bonnie Kristian
Social media users responded over the weekend to President Trump's tweeted claim that if Christine Ford's alleged assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh were "as bad as she says," she'd have reported it immediately.
Using the hashtag #WhyIDidntReport, launched by actress Alyssa Milano, survivors explained why they kept silent after suffering sexual abuse:
#WhyIDidntReport. The first time it happened, I was 7. I told the first adults I came upon. They said “Oh, he’s a nice old man, that’s not what he meant.” So when I was raped at 15, I only told my diary. When an adult read it, she accused me of having sex with an adult man.
— ashley judd (@AshleyJudd) September 21, 2018
I was 17. Raped by a friend. I was confused. In denial. Afraid. His parents were richer & better connected than my parents. He was a "good" student. Ppl liked him. The only friend I told--responded w: "He wld never do that." I didn't think anyone would help me. #WhyIDidntReport https://t.co/YbCuIMg07M
— Abigail Hauslohner (@ahauslohner) September 21, 2018
I was 9 years old. A man took me away from everyone else at a birthday party and stuck his hand down my pants. He asked me if I liked it. I thought I had done something wrong. #WhyIDidntReport
— Karen Tumulty (@ktumulty) September 22, 2018
I did, it didn’t matter, I was dismissed, disparaged, & I still get blamed #WhyIDidntReport
— Daryl Hannah (@dhlovelife) September 21, 2018
It is particularly difficult for sexual assault victims to report misconduct by those in positions of power, Laura Palumbo of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center told USA Today. And the assault is "not just something that affects their life in the short-term," Palumbo said. "It also affects their life in the long-term." Bonnie Kristian
"America is acting like a bully toward the rest of the world," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani charged Sunday in the aftermath of Saturday's attack on an Iranian military parade that left 25 people dead.
"But our people will resist, and the government is ready to confront America. We will overcome this situation," Rouhani continued, referring to U.S. sanctions on Iran, "and America will regret choosing the wrong path."
Rouhani linked the attack to the United States, arguing U.S.-allied Gulf states like Saudi Arabia support an Iranian separatist group, the Patriotic Arab Democratic Movement, and the Islamic State, both of which claimed the attack. "The small puppet countries in the region are backed by America, and the U.S. is provoking them and giving them the necessary capabilities," he said, including "financial, weaponry, and political needs."
Rouhani, who has been called the "diplomat sheikh," managed his country's side of negotiations in the Iran nuclear deal, from which President Trump withdrew the United States earlier this year. Bonnie Kristian
A communications aide working with the Senate Judiciary Committee on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation process has resigned in connection to a past sexual harassment allegation, a committee representative confirmed Saturday.
The aide, Garrett Ventry, denied all "allegations of misconduct," but a committee statement said despite the denial "he decided to resign to avoid causing any distraction." Ventry was in a temporary position on leave of absence from a public relations company; he resigned from that role as well.
Politico reports, citing an unnamed source, that Ventry also resigned in 2017 from a role with North Carolina House Majority Leader John Bell for allegedly misrepresenting his work with the 2016 presidential campaign of Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Two former Rubio staffers told Politico Ventry was also accused of harassment while on the campaign. Ventry denied these allegations as well.
This comes as the committee grapples with the sexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh himself, a development that has stalled the confirmation. Bonnie Kristian
Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will sit for a deposition on a question about U.S. citizenship that has been added to 2020 census forms, a federal judge ruled Friday evening.
"Applying well-established principles to the unusual facts of these cases, the court concludes that the question is not a close one," wrote U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in his decision. "Secretary Ross must sit for a deposition because, among other things, his intent and credibility are directly at issue in these cases."
The deposition is part of a suit brought by New York, as well as other cities, states, and counties, seeking to exclude the new question. Critics have argued the citizenship question will distort census results because some immigrants may choose not to participate in the survey.
Ross is the first Cabinet-level official in two decades to be deposed in a civil case. The Department of Justice argued that to "demand for a Cabinet secretary's deposition is extraordinary, unnecessary, and unsupported." Bonnie Kristian