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March 19, 2018

Conservative commentator Erick Erickson alleged in a blog post Monday that Fox News removed him from air in 2014 at the request of Elaine Chao, who didn't like Erickson's criticisms of her husband, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Chao held an influential position on the Newscorp board of directors at the time, and former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes reportedly told Erickson that she was "riding [his] a--" about Erickson's unfavorable coverage of McConnell. Now the Senate majority leader, McConnell at the time was running a primary against Matt Bevin in Kentucky, and Erickson supported the latter candidate.

Roger felt the need to apologize, but told me that as long as I was writing about McConnell at RedState that I would find my appearances on Fox limited. I kept writing about McConnell. To his credit, Roger later called me and said he appreciated that I was willing to give up air time to keep doing what I believed in. He said most people would have shut up to be on TV. [The Resurgent]

Erickson adds: "I had long dismissed the idea that Fox really was tied in some way to the GOP," although clearly he has his suspicions now. Today, Chao serves as President Trump's transportation secretary. Read Erickson's entire post at The Resurgent. Jeva Lange

1:33 p.m. ET

President Trump claimed on Twitter Sunday he will be subject to criticism by Democrats and the media no matter how positive a result he secures at his Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Trump also alleged the press has not given adequate attention to North Korea's decision not to conduct new weapons tests for the better part of a year. "[W]hy isn't the Fake News talking about these wonderful facts?" he asked. "Because it is FAKE NEWS!" Alternatively, maybe it is because it is customary to report more on things that do happen than things that don't. Bonnie Kristian

1:05 p.m. ET

France won the 2018 World Cup Sunday, triumphing over Croatia 4-2 in a dramatic, hard-fought match.

The first goal went to France when Croatia scored the first-ever own goal in a World Cup final. Croatia leveled the score half an hour in, only to see France score three more goals in succession.

French player Kylian Mbappe, 19, became the youngest player to score in a World Cup final game since the legendary Pele's two goals scored for Brazil against Sweden at age 17 in 1958.

Croatia came back from the dead with another goal at 69 minutes, bringing the score to 4-2, but proved unable to close that gap before game's end.

Belgium took third place Saturday, and England came in fourth. Qatar hosts the next World Cup in 2022. Bonnie Kristian

12:27 p.m. ET

President Trump promised to ask Russian President Vladimir Putin at their Monday meeting about extradition of the 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe Friday — but Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Sunday said don't bother.

"I think it'd be a moot point. I don't think Russia is sending anyone back over here for trial, the same way we wouldn't send anybody over there for trial," Paul mused on CNN's State of the Union. Americans would be better served, the senator said, if Washington worked to develop stronger security for future votes.

"I think we have to protect ourselves," Paul said. "So, because we waste time saying, 'Well, Putin needs to admit this and apologize' — he's not going to admit that he did it, and we can't take on face value anything they tell us. We have to assume — and if we have proof that they did it, which it sounds like we [do] — we should now spend our time protecting ourselves instead of having this witch hunt on the president," Paul continued. "If the president is involved, by all means put the information forward."

The Kentucky senator noted that the U.S. has a long history of meddling in foreign elections, arguing that though American and Russian actions are not "morally equivalent," the U.S. would do well to remember that past interference in Russia's sphere of influence may have helped motivate Russia's actions. "If we don't realize everything we do has a reaction," Paul said, "we're not going to be very clear on having peace in the world."

Watch an excerpt of Paul's comments below. Bonnie Kristian

11:49 a.m. ET

Asked who he considers to be the United States' "biggest competitor" or "biggest foe globally" in a CBS interview aired Sunday, President Trump named Europe, Russia, and China.

"Well, I think we have a lot of foes," Trump said. "I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they're a foe. Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe," he continued. "But that doesn't mean they are bad. It doesn't mean anything. It means that they are competitive. They want to do well, and we want to do well."

In the same CBS interview, Trump said he has "low expectations" for Monday's summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Read the president's foe comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

10:54 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security has observed "persistent Russian efforts using social media, sympathetic spokespeople, and other fronts to sow discord and divisiveness amongst the American people" in the 2018 election, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Saturday. However, she continued, DHS has not found evidence of meddling "focused on specific politicians or political campaigns," as was the case in 2016.

Her comments echo those of DHS cybersecurity chief Christopher Krebs, who said Wednesday his agency has not seen "anything that rises to the level of 2016 — [a] directed, focused, robust campaign." This comes as President Trump prepares to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday; Trump has claimed "low expectations" for the summit. Bonnie Kristian

10:32 a.m. ET
CNN/Screenshot

An Oregon woman named Andrea Hernandez, 23, survived for a full week after her SUV crashed over a 200-foot cliff on California's rocky coast.

Hernandez was driving to visit her sister when she went missing near Big Sur. Her family filed a missing person report, but she was ultimately discovered by hikers who happened to be in the area. Hernandez suffered a concussion and a shoulder injury, but authorities said she was able to walk and talk when they found her.

While awaiting rescue, she used her car's radiator hose to collect water from a stream to stay alive. Hernandez was hospitalized after discovery.

"We just want to thank everybody ... that helped," said her sister, Isabel Hernandez. "It's day seven, and you guys helped us through the whole thing." Bonnie Kristian

10:21 a.m. ET

"I go in with low expectations," President Trump said of his Monday summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a CBS interview aired Sunday morning.

"I'll let you know after the meeting," he added of his goals for the encounter, which begins with private talks attended only by the leaders' translators. "I think it's a good thing to meet. I do believe in meetings. ... Nothing bad is going to come out of it, and maybe some good will come out."

Trump also indicated he will ask about extradition of the 12 Russian intelligence agents indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe Friday. "I hadn't thought of that," he said. "But I — certainly, I'll be asking about it. But again, this was during the Obama administration. They were doing whatever it was during the Obama administration." Highlighting the timeline of the election meddling is a new favorite strategy for the president; he noted it in multiple weekend tweets.

Watch an excerpt of Trump's comments below. Bonnie Kristian

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