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March 20, 2017

Last Thursday, the White House provoked a diplomatic spat with America's closest ally, Britain, when Press Secretary Sean Spicer reiterated a claim from Fox News judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano that Britain's GCHQ spy agency had wiretapped President Trump during the presidential campaign at the behest of former President Barack Obama. By Friday, Britain and the White House were sparring over whether the Trump administration had apologized for repeating the claim, and if so, how much, and Napolitano had pointed The New York Times to one of his "intelligence sources," Larry C. Johnson.

Johnson, who was a CIA analyst before leaving the government about 30 years ago, is perhaps most famous, The Times notes, for spreading "false rumors in 2008 that Michelle Obama had been videotaped using a slur against Caucasians." On CNN Sunday, he told Brian Stelter where his information had come from and said he was actually not "knowingly" a source for Napolitano, adding that the retired judge "didn't get it right, accurate either." "I'm not saying the British GCHQ was wiretapping Trump's tower," Johnson said. Napolitano "shouldn't have used the word 'wiretap.' I call it an 'information operation' that's been directed against President Trump."

Johnson explained that the day after Trump's tweets about Obama wiretapping him, he went on RT, the Kremlin-funded news channel, and talked about how "the British through GCHQ were passing information back-channel," then shared that on a discussion board for former intelligence operatives. "Apparently one of the individuals there shared that with Judge Napolitano," he said. "I don't know what his other sources are." Johnson said two people "who were in a position to know" told him about the back-channel communications, but "this was not done at the direction of Barack Obama — let's be clear about that."

Napolitano is reportedly standing by his claim, but Fox News anchor Shepard Smith noted tartly on Friday that "Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary" and "Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way. Full stop." Peter Weber

11:26 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trump administration will soon debut its Israel-Palestine peace plan, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner said in an interview published Sunday by Al-Quds, an Arabic language newspaper.

The proposal will be released with or without feedback from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he announced. Abbas has refused to meet with Kushner during his trip to the Middle East this past week. "If President Abbas is willing to come back to the table, we are ready to engage," Kushner said. "If he is not, we will likely air the plan publicly."

The Al-Quds article offered some hints as to what the plan might entail. Kushner "mentioned nothing about a sovereign Palestinian state or of Palestinian refugees," The New York Times reports, and "also did not mention Israeli settlements on the West Bank or using the 1967 lines as a starting point to draw borders; and nothing about East Jerusalem serving as the Palestinian capital." Bonnie Kristian

11:14 a.m. ET
Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Turkey votes in a presidential and parliamentary election Sunday, a snap election in which President Recep Tayip Erdogan is expected to face his most serious challenge in a decade and a half.

Erdogan called the election in April, planning to consolidate his party's parliamentary majority. Instead, opposition parties have displayed unusual unity, galvanized by the campaign performance of Muharrem Ince, the presidential nominee of the Republican People's Party (CHP).

Erdogan has claimed new powers and kept Turkey in a state of emergency since an attempted coup two years ago. If he wins another term, "Turkey enters a new era in which Erdogan will become the most powerful Turkish leader ever elected," said Soner Cagaptay of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute. Cagaptay and fellow critics of Erdogan's government argue he is undermining democratic institutions to expand his own authority.

Results are anticipated Sunday evening local time. Bonnie Kristian

10:35 a.m. ET

Saudi Arabian women can legally drive for the first time in decades as of Sunday, when the cancellation of the national ban on women drivers officially went into effect. Riyadh announced its plan to lift the ban last year, and since then, women have obtained driver's licenses but were not yet able to use them.

"I feel like I'm surprised — am I really driving in my own country?" said Mona Al-Fares, a doctor. "I feel happy, relieved. I feel like I'm free."

Saudi Arabia was the last country in the world to prohibit female drivers. Most Saudi women have yet to obtain licenses, and wait lists for gender-segregated driving classes are long. Watch a few delighted early adopters take their first legal drives below. Bonnie Kristian

8:46 a.m. ET

President Trump spoke at a campaign rally for Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) in Las Vegas Saturday evening, urging his audience to vote against Heller's opponent, Rep. Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), whom Trump called "Wacky Jacky." A "vote for her is a vote for increased taxes," Trump claimed. "Weak borders. It is really a vote for crime."

The president also weighed in on key current issues for his administration, positing that trade relations will "work out" somehow. "The trade stuff is coming along, just starting, but it's going to happen because, you know, we're the piggy bank that everybody likes to rob from," he said.

On immigration, Trump argued the U.S. has "to be very strong," adding that his administration is doing "a very good job." Of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un he said, "We have a good chemistry together. We get along great. He's a smart, tough guy. He's a great negotiator."

Trump also took the opportunity to slam Sen. John McCain (R) of nearby Arizona. Though he did not mention McCain by name, Trump critiqued the senator for his crucial "no" vote on the GOP health-care bill last year. The two men have a history of poor relations: Trump has belittled McCain's history as a prisoner of war, saying he prefers "people who weren't captured;" and McCain, who has been diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer, has said Trump lacks "principles and beliefs."

Watch Trump's full speech below. Bonnie Kristian

8:24 a.m. ET
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The Trump administration released a plan Saturday night to reunite migrant families who were separated before President Trump signed his executive order reversing his own policy of splitting up children and parents at the border.

The plan ties reunification to deportation proceedings: Parents will have to request their children share the result of their deportation hearings. Once the process is complete, the children will either be deported with their parents or, if the family is permitted to stay in the U.S., parents can apply to sponsor their children upon release.

Some parents may not elect to use this process to protect their children from violence in their home countries. It is unclear how many parents of separated children may have already been deported before this plan was implemented and how long this plan will take. Children awaiting the results of their parents' proceedings will remain in detention at least for several weeks.

Administration officials said 2,053 separated children remain in detention and their locations around the country are documented. Reunification will primarily happen at the Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Brownsville, Texas. Parents trying to determine if a child is held by the Department of Health and Human Services have been directed to contact the Office of Refugee Resettlement National Call Center at 1-800-203-7001 or information@ORRNCC.com. Bonnie Kristian

June 23, 2018

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday became the third member of the Trump administration to have trouble dining out this week.

Senior policy adviser Stephen Miller was heckled while eating at a Mexican restaurant. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen left a different Mexican establishment after about a dozen protesters surrounded her table yelling "shame." And Sanders was asked to leave a Virginia restaurant by its owner.

The incident was first noted online by a social media user claiming to have been her server and later confirmed by Sanders herself:

Since the story broke, The Red Hen's Facebook and Yelp pages have been flooded with predictably political reviews both for and against the owner's decision. "I live in the Midwest and have already heard what you did to Mrs. Sanders and her party," wrote one reviewer. "What a total disgrace you are! Talk about Nazis!!"

"We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone," snarked another. "No shirt, no truth, no service..." Bonnie Kristian

June 23, 2018

Former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee posted a tweet Saturday morning in which he suggested House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is in league with the MS-13 gang, a favorite subject of President Trump and his allies when talking immigration policy:

Huckabee's comment appears to come in response to Pelosi's pushback on Trump's repeated use of the word "animals" to describe gang members: Pelosi said she believes the label is inappropriate because it ignores the basic human dignity and "spark of divinity" in every person. Trump has said this means she "loves MS-13."

The tweet promptly came under fire on Saturday:

As The Washington Post's Dave Weigel noted, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is actually responsible for electing Democrats to the House, and its "chairman (Ben Ray Lujan) and executive director (Dan Sena) are both Hispanic." The president will be a guest on Huckabee's TV show Saturday night. Bonnie Kristian

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