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January 20, 2019

CNN's Jake Tapper made a valiant effort to extract clarity from President Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in an interview on State of the Union Sunday.

Trump "did not have discussions with" his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, before Cohen gave false congressional testimony, Giuliani said, adding, "certainly [Trump] had no discussions with [Cohen] in which he told him or counseled him to lie."

But with his next breath, Giuliani allowed that some discussions may have happened after all. "If [Trump] had any discussions with [Cohen], they'd be about the version of the events that Michael Cohen gave them, which they all believed was true," he said.

Tapper pressed Giuliani to recognize he'd "just acknowledged that it's possible that President Trump talked to Michael Cohen about his testimony" after denying exactly that, and Giuliani responded with a wealth of answers.

Such a conversation "would be perfectly normal," Giuliani said, before emphasizing that he personally does not know whether it occurred and noting that even if he did know, he might not be able to talk about it because of attorney-client privilege.

All that said, Giuliani concluded, it's "not significant" whether such a conversation happened — which it didn't. Unless it did. Rudy Giuliani doesn't know, and if he did, it's possible he couldn't tell you. Bonnie Kristian

January 20, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence on Fox News Sunday slammed congressional Democrats' rejection of the immigration policy package President Trump proposed Saturday as a deal to re-open the federal government from its partial shutdown.

"Well, there's a legislative process that is going to begin on Tuesday in the United States Senate" based on Trump's pitch, Pence said, "and it was disappointing to see [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.)] reject the offer before the president gave his speech. I mean, look, the president is offering a solution, and what we have from Democrat [sic] leadership so far is just soundbites."

There were multiple points of overlap between Trump's plan and the statement Pelosi released shortly before Trump's Saturday remarks, though Pelosi panned Trump's deal as "a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable and in total, do not represent a good faith effort to restore certainty to people's lives."

Pence also pushed back on claims from immigration hardliners that Trump's offer of "three years of legislative relief" for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS) recipients amounts to amnesty. "This is not amnesty," he said. "There's no pathway to citizenship there's no permanent status here at all, which is what amnesty contemplates."

In a Sunday morning tweet, Trump also said the three-year extension is not amnesty, but he suggested he could accept amnesty in a future immigration deal.

Watch Pence's full interview below, or read a transcript here. Bonnie Kristian

January 20, 2019

President Trump's former personal attorney Michael Cohen pursued the possibility of a Trump Tower project in Moscow as late as October or November of 2016, Trump's current personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.

Cohen initially told Congress he abandoned the project in January of 2016, as the Republican primary elections began. He later admitted this was a lie and said talks related to the project continued through June of 2016, around the time Trump clinched the GOP nomination.

"Well, it's our understanding [conversations about the project] went on throughout 2016. Weren't a lot of them, but there were conversations," Giuliani told host Chuck Todd. "Can't be sure of the exact date. But the president can remember having conversations with [Cohen] about it ... as far as October, November. Our answers cover until the election."

Trump has repeatedly claimed the Moscow deal ended before his presidential campaign began. "I mean, I have nothing to do with Russia. I don't have any jobs in Russia. I'm all over the world but we're not involved in Russia," he said in July of 2016 — per Giuliani's present account, four to five months before these conversations about the Moscow project ended.

Watch a clip of Giuliani's comments below, and read his full interview here. Bonnie Kristian

January 13, 2019

Congressional Democrats are willing to spend on border security to end the partial government shutdown, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said on Meet the Press Sunday, but that doesn't mean building President Trump's proposed border wall.

"Drugs come in through ports of entry. Let's beef up ports of entry," Kaine told host Chuck Todd. "The biggest group of undocumented people in the country come in on legal visas and overstay. If you build a million-foot wall, it won't deal with that problem."

"What we don't want to do is waste taxpayer money on a vanity project that's ineffective, that the president said Mexico would pay for," Kaine concluded. Watch the full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

January 13, 2019

The New York Times reported Friday that the FBI opened an investigation into whether President Trump was secretly acting in Russian interests against the United States — and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is on the case. Graham said on Fox News Sunday he plans to ask FBI Director Christopher Wray about the report.

"I for one don't trust what I read in The New York Times," Graham told host Chris Wallace. "Having said all that, I'm going to ask the FBI director, 'Was there a counterintelligence investigation opened up regarding the president as being a potential agent of the Russians?'"

"I find it astonishing, and, to me, it tells me a lot about the people running the FBI," Graham continued. "So, if this really did happen, Congress needs to know about it, and what I want to do is make sure — how could the FBI do that? What kind of checks and balances are there?"

Graham also discussed the partial government shutdown, urging Trump to accept a short-term funding resolution to re-open closed federal agencies while border wall negotiations continue. However, the senator also said he would support Trump bypassing Congress, Graham's own branch of government, with an emergency declaration to fund wall construction.

Watch the full interview here. Bonnie Kristian

January 12, 2019

"The notion that President Trump is a threat to American national security is absolutely ludicrous," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a Saturday preview clip of a CBS Face the Nation interview set to air in full Sunday.

Pompeo was speaking in response to question from host Margaret Brennan about a Friday evening New York Times report. The story said "right after President Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey, the FBI began investigating whether President Trump himself was a potential threat to national security and whether he'd been working for Russia or unintentionally influenced by Moscow," Brennan summarized.

Pompeo dodged a follow-up question about whether, as then-director of the CIA, he knew about the FBI probe while it was happening. Instead, he simply reiterated that the idea that Trump "was a threat to American national security is silly on its face and not worthy of a response."

Watch a clip of Pompeo's comments below, and see Trump's response to the Times report here. Bonnie Kristian

December 30, 2018

The $5 billion President Trump wants for border wall funding would pay for a high-tech structure, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said on ABC's This Week Sunday.

"What we're talking about is not just a dumb barrier," McAleenan told host Martha Raddatz. "We're talking about sensors, cameras, lighting, access roads for our agents, a system that helps us secure that area of the border. That's what we were asking [from] Congress."

McAleenan also responded to the deaths of two migrant children in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody this month, for which President Trump has blamed congressional Democrats. The deaths are "absolutely devastating for us on every level. It's been over a decade since we've had a child die anywhere in our processes," he said, arguing that current U.S. immigration policies encourage families to make the dangerous journey to the United States.

Watch the full interview below. Bonnie Kristian

December 30, 2018

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and CNN host Dana Bash had a lengthy exchange over the Trump administration's immigration policies on State of the Union Sunday.

They particularly focused on President Trump's tweeted response to the deaths of two migrant children in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody this month. While administration staff "have said that they have empathy for the deaths of children who are coming across the border with their parents," Bash noted, Trump himself has not. "The only thing he has said is something that is very political and, frankly, misleading, with regard to Democrats being culpable for the deaths of children."

Conway pushed back, arguing Trump's proposed changes in U.S. immigration policy and enforcement would prevent similar deaths in the future, and commenting that she doesn't "like some of the Democrats using these deaths as political pawns."

"But," Bash shot back, "isn't that exactly what the president just did?" Watch the full interview below. The "pawns" exchange occurs around the 3:30 mark. Bonnie Kristian

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