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November 20, 2018

President Trump's daughter and senior White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, reportedly used her personal email account for government business last year — which wouldn't be such a big deal had her father not made endless political hay out of his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, doing the same thing.

But former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.) argued on CNN Tuesday it's not the same at all.

"To ignore the obvious differences here is, I think, a little hypocritical," Santorum told host Chris Cuomo. "Hillary Clinton went out and established her own server in full knowledge that what she was doing was wrong." Trump used her personal email account after Clinton's actions had been analyzed and debated in detail for months on end.

Furthermore, Santorum continued, Clinton "was a political person who had political aspirations, who was doing things in her own interest as a political figure, as opposed to Ivanka, who is not a political figure, who is the daughter of the president, yet she was not the secretary of state dealing with a variety of very sensitive and classified information."

Trump is not paid for her White House work and does often on domestic policy, like the family leave Santorum mentioned, but she has accompanied her father on state visits abroad, held his seat at a G20 summit, and met with the United Nations secretary-general.

Watch Santorum's comments in context below. Bonnie Kristian

October 30, 2018

Much of the conversation surrounding Saturday's deadly shooting at a Pittsburgh synagogue has examined the question of whether and how President Trump's rhetoric encourages extremism. Outgoing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley thinks that's not fair.

In a Monday night tweet, she argued that just as then-President Barack Obama was not blamed for a white supremacist's murderous attack on a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015, so Trump should not be linked to what happened in Pittsburgh:

Trump himself made a similar claim Monday about Cesar Sayoc, the man accused of mailing pipe bombs to prominent Democratic and media figures last week. Sayoc is an avid Trump supporter — his van is plastered with pro-Trump stickers — but Trump believes reporting that fact is unfair.

"I was in the headline of The Washington Post, my name associated with this crazy bomber," he said. "They didn't do that with President Obama with the church, the horrible situation with the church — they didn't do that."

Three things here: First, Obama wasn't linked to the shooting in Charleston in this manner because the racist shooter was not a devoted supporter of the country's first black president. Second, Obama was criticized by some on the right for allegedly exacerbating race relations with his response to Charleston. And third, Haley herself, then governor of South Carolina, laid blame for Charleston on Trump's rhetoric. "I know what that rhetoric can do," she said. "I saw it happen." Bonnie Kristian

September 22, 2018

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Brock Long will not be fired for his inappropriate use of cars owned by the government, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Friday.

Long used federal vehicles and personnel for his weekend commutes from Washington, D.C., to North Carolina. He had a driver take him home, and reportedly brought aides with him, housing them in hotels using taxpayer money. He was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general.

Nielsen said Long, who will repay the government an undisclosed amount, was acting in line with a longstanding but unofficial FEMA practice intended to keep the administrator accessible in case of crisis. That practice has now been discontinued.

"We had a productive conversation where we discussed my expectations regarding the agency's use of government vehicles going forward," Nielsen's statement said. "The administrator acknowledged that mistakes were made, and he took personal responsibility." Bonnie Kristian

September 1, 2018

"I have no intention of taking any action concerning the purchase of firearms or firearms training for school staff under the [Elementary and Secondary Education Act]," Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said in a letter Friday to Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.), the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce.

The letter argued DeVos does not have the authority to stop schools from using federal funds to purchase weapons to arm educators. The decision, she said, belongs to local school districts and administrators. "I will not take any action that would expand or restrict the responsibilities and flexibilities granted to state and local education agencies by Congress," Devos wrote. Bonnie Kristian

June 10, 2018

Shortly after Justify's Saturday triumph at the Belmont Stakes made him the 13th winner of the Triple Crown, Trump supporter and controversial former Sheriff David Clarke suggested the horse get an invite to the White House. His reasoning: Unlike human athletes, horses can't critique the president.

Unfortunately for Clarke, Justify may be a secret leftist interloper after all: A minority portion of his breeding rights is owned by none other than George Soros, the progressive billionaire who is believed by some right-wing conspiracy theorists (Clarke very much included) to be behind — well, just about anything they oppose in politics.

Looking on the bright side, Justify is the second Triple Crown winner in four years after a decades-long drought. Maybe a nice Republican horse will win before Trump's time in office is over. On the other hand, maybe he wouldn't want to visit either. Bonnie Kristian

May 31, 2018

President Trump met with Kim Kardashian West on Wednesday to discuss prison reform, and the reality star highlighted the appalling case of 62-year-old Alice Marie Johnson, who is serving a life sentence for a nonviolent drug offense. Kardashian West has become a champion of Johnson's cause, saying she will do "whatever it takes" to get the grandmother out of prison.

But Trump apparently intends to go in a different direction, instead applying the prison reform message to famous people he likes. While Johnson remains an inmate, Trump said Thursday he is considering commuting the prison sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and issuing a presidential pardon to Martha Stewart.

Blagojevich is six years into a 14-year sentence for corruption charges mostly focused on his attempt to sell the Senate seat previously held by Barack Obama. Stewart was convicted of charges related to insider trading in 2004 and sentenced two five months in prison plus two years of supervised release.

Trump previously issued a posthumous pardon to Jack Johnson, the first black heavyweight boxing champion, who was arrested in 1912 for driving his white girlfriend over state lines. Earlier Thursday, he announced he will pardon right-wing provocateur Dinesh D'Souza, who pleaded guilty to felony charges related to campaign finance violations in 2014 and was sentenced to a fine, probation, and eight months in a halfway house. Bonnie Kristian

May 1, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has about four dozen questions he'd like to ask President Trump, The New York Times reported Monday, sharing a leaked list of queries. On Tuesday morning, Trump called the leak "disgraceful" in an angry tweet, labeling collusion "a made up, phony crime ... that never existed." But what if the White House is responsible for the leak?

That's the theory of Michael Zeldin, a former Mueller aide who is now a CNN legal analyst. He thinks the questions may have been publicized by White House counsel in an effort to shape the president's thinking about whether to grant Mueller an interview. Zeldin's case rests on the way the questions are phrased.

"Because of the way these questions are written — lawyers wouldn't write questions this way, in my estimation. Some of the grammar is not even proper," he said on CNN on Tuesday. "So, I don't see this as a list of written questions that Mueller's office gave to the president. I think these are more notes that the White House has taken and then they have expanded upon the conversation to write out these as questions."

The Times, for its part, noted that the questions were provided by "someone outside Mr. Trump's legal team." Watch Zeldin's comments below. Bonnie Kristian

February 25, 2018

The Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee on Sunday announced a proposal to remove the presidential term limit that would constrain the rule of President Xi Jinping.

Under the present structure of the Chinese Constitution, Xi is limited to two five-year terms, the second of which is due to end in 2023. If the constitutional amendment is approved, Xi could potentially stay in office indefinitely. An editorial in a Chinese state newspaper said the change would not mean "the Chinese president will have a lifelong tenure," but it quoted a Communist Party source saying China needs "consistent leadership" through 2035.

Xi's anti-corruption campaign has been popular among the public, but comments about the proposal on Weibo, China's Twitter analogue, suggested extending the term limit would be preferred over ending it. "If two terms are not enough, then they can write in a third term, but there needs to be a limit," wrote one user. "Getting rid of it is not good!" Bonnie Kristian

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