Tag: Politics

McDonald’s Deletes Tweet Calling Donald Trump a ‘Disgusting Excuse of a President’

McDonald’s deleted this tweet about President Donald Trump.

McDonald’s has deleted a tweet from its corporate Twitter account calling President Donald Trump a “disgusting excuse of a president” with “tiny hands.”

The tweet was posted at 9:16 a.m. on Thursday and deleted shortly after.

“@realDonaldTrump You are actually a disgusting excuse of a President and we would love to have @BarackObama back, also you have tiny hands,” the deleted tweet read.

McDonald’s responded with a second tweet about an hour later, saying its account was “compromised.”

“Twitter notified us that our account was compromised,” the follow-up tweet said. “We deleted the tweet, secured our account and are now investigating this.”

The account has 151,000 followers and has continued to respond to McDonald’s customers since the tweet. McDonald’s hired Robert Gibbs, the former press secretary to President Barack Obama, in 2015 to be its global chief communications officer.

Trump does have a history with McDonald’s, he once appeared in a commercial alongside Grimace:

And he posted a photo of his McDonald’s meal on his plane last May during a campaign trip:

Instagram Photo

Trump has talked about being a fan of the fast food brand, praising it for its cleanliness and saying he prefers fish sandwiches, Big Macs and Quarter Pounders in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper last February.

“It’s great stuff,” Trump told Cooper during the town hall interview. “One bad hamburger, you can destroy McDonald’s. One bad hamburger and you take Wendy’s and all these other places and they’re out of business. I like cleanliness, and I think you’re better off going there than maybe some place that you have no idea where the food is coming from.”

Patrick Onesko: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Patrick Onesko, an assistant football coach at California University of Pennsylvania, is accused of sending “sexual” Snapchat messages to two teen boys, police say.

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Who Are the Judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals?

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit building is seen February 6, 2017 in San Francisco, California. (Getty)

President Donald Trump again criticized the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals this week, the court that will hear any appeal of a Hawaii judge’s recent decision to halt the administration’s revised travel ban.

In a campaign-style rally on Wednesday night, Trump referred to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals as being “much overturned” and complained that his new travel ban was blocked even though it was written to address the 9th Circuit’s complaints.

Trump said in his Nashville speech that the judge who blocked his travel ban, Derrick Watson, is part of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. That is actually not the case; although the 9th Circuit has jurisdiction over Hawaii, Derrick Watson is a part of the U.S. District Court for the District of Hawaii.

Still, if the Trump administration is to appeal Watson’s decision, they will have to return to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the court that decided last month not to reinstitute the travel ban. So who are the judges who make up this 9th Circuit, and where do they all fall politically?

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is the largest appellate court in the United States. It is so large, in fact, that Republican Senator Jeff Flake recently introduced a bill, the Judicial Administration and Improvement Act of 2017, which has the express purpose of breaking the court into two. Congress has been attempting to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals since the 1990s.

A total of 29 judges make up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, although four of those seats are currently vacant. Of the 25 currently-active judges, there are 10 Clinton appointees, six George W. Bush appointees, seven Barack Obama appointees, one Ronald Reagan appointee, and one Jimmy Carter appointee.

On Wednesday, five judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, all George W. Bush appointees, voiced support for President Donald Trump’s travel ban, saying that the president has the authority to suspend immigration as Trump did. Those judges were Alex Kozinski, Jay Bybee, Consuelo Callahan, Carlos Bea and Sandra Ikuta.

Here’s a look at the judges who are currently active on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:

  1. Sidney Runyan Thomas – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1996. In 2014, he became the chief judge of the Ninth Circuit. Thomas was one of President Barack Obama’s possible choices to replace John Paul Stevens on the Supreme Court, but Obama ended up picking Elena Kagan instead.
  2. Stephen Reinhardt – A Jimmy Carter appointee who assumed office in 1980. Reinhardt is known for being extremely liberal. “I was a liberal from a very young age,” he told California Lawyer. “I think I was born that way.” His decisions are reversed by the Supreme Court at a higher rate than most other judges.
  3. Alex Kozinski – A Ronald Reagan appointee who assumed office in 1985. In 1993, he reached a notable decision in an intellectual property case in which Wheel of Fortune‘s Vana White sued Samsung for parodying her likeness in a TV ad. Kozinski said, “Overprotecting intellectual property is as harmful as underprotecting it. Creativity is impossible without a rich public domain.” In another case, in which Mattel sued MCA Records over the song “Barbie Girl,” Kozinski wrote, “The parties are advised to chill.”
  4. Susan P. Graber – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1998. In 2013, she ruled that a California law prohibiting mental health professionals from engaging in gay conversion therapy is constitutional, writing, “Without a doubt, protecting the well-being of minors is a legitimate state interest,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
  5. M. Margaret McKeown – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1998. One notable decision of hers came in 2007 when she said the display of a cross at a nature reserve was unconstitutional because it was akin to the federal government endorsing a religion. This decision was reversed by the Supreme Court.
  6. Kim McLane Wardlaw – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1998. Before serving on the 9th Circuit, Wardlaw volunteered for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign, and she was also a delegate at the Democratic National Convention in 1992.
  7. William A. Fletcher – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1998. He authored the decision of Demers v. Austin, which said that academic faculty members are protected by the First Amendment; the plaintiff in that case was a professor who was criticizing his school’s administration and who was punished for doing so.
  8. Ronald M. Gould – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 1999. In 2002, he removed an injunction against a rule prohibiting the building of new roads in underdeveloped areas of national forests, according to The Recorder. He has been described as a moderate.
  9. Richard A. Paez – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 2000. When Clinton nominated Paez, Jeff Sessions, who is now the U.S. attorney general but was then a senator, lead a campaign against him. Sessions took issue with Paez having accepted a plea agreement allowing John Huang, a central figure in the 1996 campaign finance controversy, to avoid going to jail, according to The New York Times.
  10. Marsha S. Berzon – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 2000. In 2009, she ruled that a San Francisco resolution which condemned the Vatican for its position on same-sex marriage was constitutional, saying that it would be a difference case if the resolution condemned the Vatican for its teaching on something like transubstantiation.
  11. Richard C. Tallman – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 2000. However, Tallman himself is a Republican. He is also a judge on the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, a court which reviews denials of FISA warrants.
  12. Johnnie B. Rawlinson – A Bill Clinton appointee who assumed office in 2000. She is the first African-American woman to serve on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In 2014, she ruled in favor of keeping protections intact for the delta smelt, an endangered species of fish.
  13. Jay Bybee – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2001. He previously served as assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, and he authored the 2002 torture memos which said that enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding are legal.
  14. Consuelo María Callahan – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2003. She was floated as a possible Supreme Court nominee to replace Sandra Day O’Connor in 2005, but Bush ultimately selected Samuel Alito.
  15. Carlos T. Bea – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2003. He is from Spain and was almost deported for allegedly dodging the draft during the Korean War, but a judge ruled in his favor. He later became a nationalized citizen. Above the Law refers to him as “refreshingly conservative, on a famously (or infamously) liberal court.”
  16. Milan D. Smith, Jr. – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2006. He has authored the most opinions of any judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. In United States v. Henry, he upheld the conviction of a man who had made a homemade machine gun, saying that this is not protected by the Second Amendment because machine guns are “dangerous and unusual weapons” that law abiding citizens don’t usually have.
  17. Sandra Segal Ikuta – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2006. She wrote the opinion in United States v. Baldrich, a case involving a man who plead guilty to six counts of robbery and who argued that the court violated his right to due process because it did not disclose a probation officer’s confidential sentencing recommendation, according to Ninth Circuit Blog. The court ruled against the defendant.
  18. N. Randy Smith – A George W. Bush appointee who assumed office in 2007. He wrote the dissent in Perry v. Brown, the case in which the 9th Circuit found that California’s same-sex marriage ban was unconstitutional.
  19. Mary H. Murguia – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2011. In 2011, she acquitted Elton Simpson, who had allegedly lied to the FBI about intending to travel to Somalia to commit acts of terror. She felt that there was not enough evidence of Simpson’s intentions. He later attacked an art exhibit featuring cartoon images of Mohammad in Texas.
  20. Morgan Christen – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2012. She previously served as a Planned Parenthood board member in the 1990s, and her nomination was opposed by some pro-choice advocacy groups. However, she was confirmed by the Senate in a 95 to 3 vote.
  21. Jacqueline Nguyen – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2012. She is the first Asian-American woman to serve as a federal appellate judge. She was floated as a possible pick to replace Antonin Scalia, but Barack Obama ended up nominating Merrick Garland.
  22. Paul J. Watford – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2012. He authored the opinion in City of Los Angeles v. Patela case in which the court ruled against a city ordinance in which police could conduct unannounced investigations of hotel registries without a warrant. He was also floated as a possible Supreme Court nominee of Barack Obama’s in 2012.
  23. Andrew D. Hurwitz – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2012. In Citizen Publishing Co. v. Miller ex rel Elleithee, he ruled that a newspaper that ran an ad calling for the murder of Muslims was protected by the First Amendment.
  24. John B. Owens – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2014. He earned some attention in 2016 for referencing the HBO series Game of Thrones during a decision. In the case of Flores v. City of San Gabriel, he wrote that the court’s interpretation of a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act was “very close to a qyburnian resurrection of [a rejected case law] standard,” according to Above the Law.
  25. Michelle Friedland – A Barack Obama appointee who assumed office in 2014. She was one of three judges who in February 2017 rejected the Trump administration’s request to lift the restraining order against the first travel ban.

In addition, there are 19 Ninth Circuit judges who have senior status: Alfred Theodore Goodwin, J. Clifford Wallace, Procter Ralph Hug, Jr., Mary M. Schroeder, Joseph Jerome Farris, Harry Pregerson, Dorothy Wright Nelson, William Cameron Canby, Jr., John T. Noonan, Jr., Diarmuid Fionntain O’Scannlain, Edward Leavy, Stephen S. Trott, Ferdinand Francis Fernandez, Andrew Jay Kleinfeld, Michael Daly Hawkins, A. Wallace Tashima, Barry G. Silverman, Raymond C. Fisher, and Richard R. Clifton.

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Sebastian Gorka: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Counterterrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka was already a controversial member of President Donald Trump‘s team. Now, the London-born author is being accused of having membership in the Nazi-affiliated, Hungarian group Vitézi Rend. Leaders of the group told Foreward.com that Gorka is a “sworn member.”

In an interview with TabletMag.com, Gorka insisted that he has never been a member of Vitez Rand.

“I have never been a member of the Vitez Rend. I have never taken an oath of loyalty to the Vitez Rend. Since childhood, I have occasionally worn my father’s medal and used the ‘v.’ initial to honor his struggle against totalitarianism,” Gorka said.

The 46-year-old Gorka is a member of Trump’s Strategic Initiatives group, alongside Jared Kushner and Steve Bannon. He previously worked for Bannon as the National Security Affairs editor of Brietbart from 2014 to 2016.

Here’s a look at Gorka.


1. Vitézi Rend Leaders Say Gorka Is a ‘Sworn Member’ of the Group, Which Is Linked to the Nazis

Leaders of the Vitezi Rend (or Order of Vitez in English) group told Foreward.com that Gorka is a “sowrn member.” The site notes that the State Department considers the group as “under the direction of the Nazi Government of Germany” during World War II.

The group was established in 1920 by Miklos Horthy, who was the Regent of the Kingdom of Hungary from 1920 to 1944 and cooperated with the Nazi government. After the war, the Order of Vitez was one of the pro-Hitler groups banned.

On the night of Trump’s inauguration on January 20, Gorka was seen wearing the badge of the Order of Vitez, a medal that was formally abolished by the Hungarian government by 1948. Gorka’s father received one from Hungarian exiles in 1979 and Gorka has claimed that he wears it to honor the memory of his father, who fled Hungary.

Leaders of the group told Forward.com that he took a lifelong oath of loyalty to the group. The site contacted Gorka for a comment, but he never responded.

Buzzfeed contacted Gorka. “Send a request to White House press,” he told the site.

When asked why Gorka didn’t just tell Forward.com that the allegations were false, a source told TabletMag.com, “These guys genuinely believed that the allegations were so blatantly false and so aggressively poorly-sourced, that no responsible journalist would ever publish them. Is Seb Gorka, whose family literally bears the scars of anti-fascist fights, a secret Nazi cultist? Come on now.”

Recently, Vitezi Rend has made a comeback, and there are actually two parties in Hungary that claim to be heirs to the group, Foreward.com notes. Gorka belonged to the one called “Historical Vitezi Rend,” which isn’t violent, but still follows the nationalist views of the original group.

“This administration has staff with shockingly anti-Semitic pasts and it is hard to imagine that they have nothing to do with the horrifically weak reactions to anti-Semitic hate crimes that we see coming from this administration,” Steven Goldstein, executive director of the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, told Buzzfeed. “That Sebastian Gorka cannot even deny that he has links with a Nazi-affiliated group is symptomatic of the grotesque anti-Semitism that has infected the Trump White House.”

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2. Gorka Says He Wears the Medal to ‘Remind Myself Where I Came From’

In an interview with Brietbart Gorka said that he doesn’t wear the medal linked to Vitezi Rend because he’s a Nazi sympathizer. It’s to remind him of his parents, who fled Hungary to the U.K. during the communist regime.

“I’m a proud American now and I wear that medal now and again. Why?” Gorka, who has been a naturalized U.S. citizen since 2012, told Brietbart. “To remind myself of where I came from, what my parents suffered under both the Nazis and the Communists, and to help me in my work today because as far as I’m concerned, groups like the Islamist State, like Al Qaeda — they’re just another kind of totalitarian. They’re not Communists, they’re not Nazis, but they will enslave or kill you if you disagree with them.”

In February, Brietbart also ran a headline calling attempts to label Gorka as a Nazi sympathizer “fake news.” The site’s post was written specifically in response to a blog post by Eli Clifton.

After Gorka’s response was published, Clifton and his editors later updated the post. “Gorka evidently felt compelled today to respond (via Breitbart) indirectly to our post here about his public display of a Vitezi Rend medal at an inaugural ball and on other occasions,” the note reads. “We want to make clear that we respect his devotion to his parents and the commemoration of their experience and suffering. But we in turn are compelled to ask why his father joined a group with a known history of anti-Semitism and collaboration with the Nazis.”

Foreward.com noted in a previous article in February that Gorka did have ties to nationalist politicians in Hungary and was very active in the anti-government protests in 2006.

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3. Gorka Endorses Trump’s Use of ‘Radical Islamic Terrorism’ & Wrote ‘Defeating Jihad’

Gorka’s views mark a dramatic turn from the views of previous administrations. He endorses Trump’s use of the phrase “Radical Islamic Terrorism.” While the Bush and Obama administrations tried to frame the War on Terror as a war against terrorists, not Islam, Gorka doesn’t see it that way. In 2016, he wrote the book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.

“Our enemy is the global jihadi movement, a modern totalitarian ideology rooted in the doctrines and martial history of Islam,” the synopsis for the book reads. “Taking his cue from the formerly top-secret analyses that shaped the U.S. response to the communist threat, Dr. Gorka has produced a compelling profile of the jihadi movement—its mind and motivation—and a plan to defeat it.”

“As the president said, we will ‘obliterate’ groups like ISIS and wipe the scourge of radical Islamic terrorism from the face of the earth,” Gorka told the Washington Times in February.

Gorka was also excited to hear Trump use the phrase “Radical Islamic Terrorism” during the inauguration. “When he used those three words today — radical Islamic terrorism — he put the marker down for the whole national security establishment,” Gorka said on Fox News, notes the Washington Post.

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4. Gorka’s Colleagues Question His Credentials as a ‘Counterterrism Expert’

The rest of the counterterrorism community has an overall negative view of Gorka, criticizing his credentials and wondering how he could be considered an expert on Islam. Gorka has been known to not take this criticism lightly. For example, in February, Newsweek obtained a recording of Gorka threatening to sue terrorism expert Michael S. Smith II, a Republican, for criticizing Gorka on Twitter. Gorka never responded to comment on the Newsweek story.

“I was like a deer in the headlights,” Smith told Newsweek. “I thought it was a prank. He began by threatening me with a lawsuit.”

Smith further explained, “Gorka asserted my tweets about him merited examination by the White House legal counsel. In effect, he was threatening to entangle me in a legal battle for voicing my concerns on Twitter that he does not possess expertise sufficient to assist the president of the United States with formulating and guiding national security policies.”

Gorka himself does use Twitter, but mostly retweets members of the Trump Administration.

“It’s always personal, always ad hominem,” he said told the Washington Times. “That tells you all you need to know about the other side’s true weakness. They can’t win on the merits of their case, so they ‘play the man, not the ball.’”

Gorka does have a Ph.D. in political science and studied at the University of London and the Corvinus University of Budapest. Before joining the Trump administration, he was a faculty member at Georgetown University.

“He thinks the government and intelligence agencies don’t know anything about radicalization, but the government knows a lot and thinks he’s nuts,” former CIA analyst Cindy Storer told the Washington Post.

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5. Gorka’s Wife Katharine Has Also Been Accused of Islamophobia

In July 1996, Gorka married Katharine Fairfax Cornell, according to a New York Times wedding announcement. Katharine’s father is M. Keen Cornell, president of Cornell Iron Works. She even wrote a book about the company’s history.

Katherine has also written for Brietbart and was an adviser on Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. She’s the president of the think tank Council on Global Security. Despite her work with Cruz, Katharine was a member of the Trump transition team.

Like her husband, Katherine has been accused of being Islamophobic. Many of her work on Brietbart focused on Islam.

In a 2014 piece, she defended the five Republican members of Congress who were criticized for calling for an investigation of possible “Muslim Brotherhood influence operations in the Obama administration.” She suggested that a 2014 New York Times article even indirectly confirmed the conspiracy theories.

“If members of Congress or the Department of Justice decide to dig deeper into this issue, their investigation cannot stop at influence-buying of US think tanks but must look into every aspect of America’s national security apparatus,” Katherine wrote.

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Donald Trump Budget Cuts: What Do the 19 Agencies Cut Do?

Donald Trump, with members of his cabinet behind him, gives Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney a pen after signing an executive order on March 13. (Getty)

On March 16, President Donald Trump unveiled his proposed 2018 budget. It likely won’t be implemented in exactly the way he and his director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, dream it will be, but it does paint a clear picture of the administration’s priorities. In addition to cuts to all departments in the government but defense, the president is also proposing to stop funding to 19 independent agencies.

There has been an uproar over Trump’s targeting of the arts, cutting funding for the National Endowment of the Arts and Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. But Trump also wants to cut funding to the Chemical Safety Board and regional agencies like the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Delta Regional Authority. Many of these agencies have annual budgets less than $200 million, notes the Washington Post.

The budget as proposed will likely not be implemented as is because it has to pass through Congress. It’s only a proposal, showing how the president wants to spend taxpayer money in the future. The 2018 federal budget will not be in place until the start of the U.S. government’s 2018 fiscal year begins in October 2017.

Here’s a look at what these 19 agencies do.


African Development Foundation – This foundation was created in 1980 and began operations in 1984. The agency gives grants for up to $250,000 to communities and small businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its budget for 2017 is $28.2 million.

Appalachian Regional Commission – This is a commission set up to promote the economy in the Appalachian region, which stretches from Southwest New York through Mississippi and includes all of West Virginia and the majority of Pennsylvania. It has a $146 million budget.

Donald Trump budget, Donald Trump budget cuts, Donald Trump 2017 budget

PRES CEO Paula Kerger. (Getty)

Chemical Safety Board – The mission of the Chemical Safety Board is to lead independent investigations into chemical incidents and hazards, as well as promote chemical safety. It requested a $12.436 million budget for the 2017 fiscal year.

Corporation for National and Community Service – This is by far the largest agency Trump is proposing be cut in its entirety. The agency promotes community service across the country and requested a $1.1 billion budget for 2017 in an effort to meet President Barack Obama’s goal to get more Americans involved in their communities.

Corporation for Public Broadcasting – This is the most high-profile target for Trump’s budget cuts. It provides funding for NPR and PBS, as well as local public broadcasters, who take in the majority of the grants handed out. The CPB receives $445.5 million a year and has been an annual target for Conservative Republicans. The CPB says that half of its $445.5 million budget goes to grants for local public TV stations.

Delta Regional Authority – The Delta Regional Authority is much like its counterpart in Appalachia, but covers the states along the banks of the Mississippi River. It has a $25 million budget.

Denali Commission – This regional agency is for Alaska, helping to build that state’s infrastructure. It has a $20 million budget.

Institute of Museum and Library Services – President Obama requested a $230 million budget of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This agency helps fund local libraries and museums.

Inter-American Foundation – This is another foreign relations agency Trump wants to cut. It focuses on grants for non-governmental organizations throughout Latin America. Its budget is $22 million.

U.S. Trade and Development AgencyThis agency is key to promoting American exports around the world and helping to build the infrastructure to make sure the exports get to where they’re going. It has a $60 million budget.

Donald Trump budget, Donald Trump budget cuts, Donald Trump 2017 budget

Miami artist Claudio Roncoli is among the many recipients of a NEA grant. (Getty)

Legal Services Corporation – This is an agency that has been around since the Nixon administration and helps the poor and veterans have access to legal representation and assistance. It is one of the larger agencies Trump has targeted, with a $375 million budget.

National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities – These two agencies each have $145 million budgets. The goal of the NEA is to promote arts and culture through grants, while the NEH provides grants for arts education.

Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation – This agency‘s budget is $175 million. Also known as NeighborWorks America, the agency has local groups in every state, as well as Puerto Rico, that help lower-income people and communities. Trump has also proposed cutting Meals on Wheels funding.

Northern Border Regional Commission – This is another regional agency and it covers counties in Upstate New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and most of Maine that are along the U.S.-Canada border. Its budget is $8 million.

Overseas Private Investment CorporationThis agency is focused on promoting U.S. investment in third-world countries. It has an $83.5 million budget.

Donald Trump budget, Donald Trump budget cuts, Donald Trump 2017 budget

Wilson Center CEO Jane Harman with David Petraeus at a 2016 summit. (Getty)

United States Institute of Peace – This agency was created by a law signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 to produce analyses of international crises. It has a $35 million budget. Strangely enough, back in 2011, Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz and then-Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner joined forces to push for the USIP’s federal funds to be dropped.

United States Interagency Council on HomelessnessThis agency has one goal in mind – helping the homeless. The group has a $4 million budget.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for ScholarsThe Wilson Center is a trust that acts as a think tank, conducting “its own original research on many of the most pressing major global issues and has unique expertise on countries and regions around the world.” In his 2017 budget, President Obama requested $10.4 million for the center.

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Joachim Sauer, Angela Merkel’s Husband: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her husband, Joachim Sauer, in August 2016. (Getty)

Theoretical chemist Joachim Sauer is the husband of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, considered by many to be the most powerful woman in the world. She will be meeting U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time since Trump took office in Washington, D.C. on March 17.

Despite being married to the leader of the most populous country in the European Union, Sauer is known to go out of his way to avoid the media and lead a private life. He gets the kind of publicity research scientists aren’t used to. Sauer didn’t even attend Merkel’s swearing in ceremony.

The 67-year-old Sauer and the 62-year-old Merkel do not have any children together, but Sauer does have two sons, Daniel and Adrian, from a previous marriage.

Here’s what you need to know about Sauer.


1. Sauer & Merkel Have Been Married Since 1998

Joachim Sauer, Angela Merkel husband, Angela Merkel married, Angela Merkel Joachim Sauer

(Getty)

Sauer and Merkel have been married since December 1998. According to Bild, the marriage was so secretive that neither brought their parents or friends. The paper reports that even some of Merekl’s closest confidants learned about the wedding from a newspaper.

It was the second marriage for both of them. Merkel, whose maiden name is Kasner, was previously married to physics student Ulrich Merkel from 1977 to 1982. The name of Sauer’s first wife has not been revealed publicly.

Their marriage might have been politically motivated. According to Reuters, the two first met in 1981 while they were both married to other people. They lived together for a decade before getting married, reportedly under pressure from the church and the Christian Democratic Union. Members of the party thought it might be inappropriate for the leader of Germany’s conservative party to be living with a man for so long and not married.

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2. He’s a Professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin

Joachim Sauer, Angela Merkel husband, Angela Merkel married, Angela Merkel Joachim Sauer

(Getty)

Sauer is currently a professor at the Humboldt University of Berlin, one of the oldest universities in Germany. He was also a chemistry student there from 1967 to 1972 and earning a doctorate in the field in 1974. Three years later, he joined the Academy of Sciences, Central Institute of Physical Chemistry.

As Reuters points out, Sauer wasn’t able to leave the Soviet bloc until 1989 because he wasn’t a member of the Communist Party. When he was finally allowed to leave, he went to San Diego for a year to work for BIOSYM Technologies. Around that time, his future wife was just leaving the science field to get into politics.

In 1992, he returned to Humboldt. He’s also a member of the Max Planck Society.

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3. He’s on the Board of Trustees for the Friede Springer Foundation

Joachim Sauer, Angela Merkel husband, Angela Merkel married, Angela Merkel Joachim Sauer

(Getty)

Sauer is also a member of the Board of Trustees of the Friede Springer Foundation. He’s one of seven members of the board, which also includes former German President Horst Köhler.

The foundation was created by Horst Köhler, the widow of publisher Alex Pringer and the current owner of Europe’s largest newspaper, Bild. She’s also one of the richest people in Germany with an estimated net worth of $4.1 billion, Forbes reports. After her husband died, Springer founded several charities, including the non-profit foundation and the Friede Springer Heart Foundation.

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4. His Bad Temper Was Seen as a Threat to Her Becoming Chancellor

Joachim Sauer, Angela Merkel husband, Angela Merkel married, Angela Merkel Joachim Sauer

Sauer, Michelle Obama, President Barack Obama and Merkel when the Obamas visited Berlin in 2013. (Getty)

Sauer’s last name literally translates to “sour” in English and he reportedly has a demeanor to match. He is very guarded about his life and reportedly threatened his students with expulsion if they said anything to the media about him.

The Telegraph reported in 2005 that Sauer’s bad temper was so well-known that some feared it would ruin Merkel’s chance to become Chancellor. Of course it didn’t, since she’s been leading Germany for over a decade now.

But others dispute this portrait of Sauer. “He has a nice, sarcastic, English sense of humour,” a spokesman for Merkel told the Telegraph in 2005.

“The clichés that circulate in the German media about Joachim Sauer are a total fallacy,” Reinhold Messner, a mountain climber who is friends with Sauer, told Reuters. “The fact is that he’s his own man. He’s witty, he’s profound, he can be incredibly funny, and he’s an extremely bright guy. He’s an ideal counterpart to the Chancellor.”

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5. He’s a Devoted Richard Wagner Fan

Joachim Sauer, Angela Merkel husband, Angela Merkel married, Angela Merkel Joachim Sauer

(Getty)

Sauer is a well-known opera fan and particularly enjoys Richard Wagner. Express reports that he’s even earned the nickname “Phantom of the Opera” because he attends the Bayreuth music festival every year.

When a reporter tried to ask him a question at the event in 2005, he replied, “I’m not going to say anything for your microphone.”

Sauer rarely goes to official events, although he was seen at the 2015 G7 summit in Japan with Merkel. He also made the trip to Washington in 2011, when President Barack Obama presented Merkel with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

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WATCH: Donald Trump Holds Press Conference With Angela Merkel

Today, President Donald Trump welcomed German Chancellor Angela Merkel to the White House. It was the first time the two ever met in person and the meeting ended with a joint press conference in the East Room. You can watch the complete press conference above.

Although today will also end with Trump going to Mar-A-Lago, Merkel is not joining them. Before the press conference, Merkel and Trump will hold meetings closed to the press and after it, will have a working lunch in the State Dining Room. After that, they will go their separate ways.

Merkel and Trump have a somewhat combative relationship, as Trump has criticized Europe for taking in thousands of refugees from Syria. He also criticized her throughout the presidential campaign. This continued into his presidency. During a rally in Florida last month, Trump told supporters, “We’ve got to keep our country safe. You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden. Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers.”

(Photo by Jörg Schüler – Pool/Getty Images)

After Trump’s surprising victory in November, Merkel offered to work with Trump, saying in a statement at the time, “Germany and America are connected by values of democracy, freedom and respect for the law and the dignity of man, independent of origin, skin color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political views. I offer the next President of the United States close cooperation on the basis of these values.”

Trump has also been complimentary of Merkel in the past. He told Time Magazine in 2015 that he thinks she is “probably the greatest leader in the world today,” adding that she’s “fantastic” and “highly respected.” But when Time picked her over Trump as the 2015 Person of the Year, he tweeted that she was “ruining Germany.”

As the leader of the Christian Democratic Union party, Merkel has been the Chancellor of Germany since November 2005. She is the first woman to hold the office.

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Andrew Napolitano: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

(Getty)

This week, Fox News legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano claimed that the British foreign surveillance agency GCHQ helped President Barack Obama wiretap Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign. The GCHQ called Napolitano’s claims “utterly ridiculous” and Fox News has reportedly pulled him from the network.

On March 20, The Los Angeles Times reported that Fox News hasn’t used Napolitano since Thursday. He was oddly absent during the network’s coverage of Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings.

Sources told the LA Times that Napolitano isn’t expected to be on the network “any time in the near future.” An anonymous source also confirmed to Heavy.com that Napolitano was “benched.”

The 66-year-old Napolitano has been at Fox News since 1998, after serving as a judge in the New Jersey Superior Court from 1987 to 1995. Napolitano, who was born in Newark, New Jersey, is not married. According to Celebrity Net Worth, he has an estimated net worth of $7.5 million.

Here’s what you need to know about Napolitano and the diplomatic incident he started.


1. Fox News Says They Have Seen no Evidence That Obama Surveilled Trump

On March 14, Napolitano appeared on Fox & Friends, claiming that Obama asked British intelligence for surveillance on Trump so it wouldn’t look like the American government was behind it, reports LawNewz. Napolitano claimed that the GCHQ, the British version of the NSA, did the heavy lifting. He also claimed that the man who ordered the surveillance “resigned three days after Trump was inaugurated.”

Napolitano didn’t say who this man was or who his sources were. However, when the New York Times tried to contact Napolitano on March 17, they instead heard from former intelligence officer Larry C. Johnson, the same former Fox News contributor who spread a 2008 hoax about Michelle Obama. Johnson told the Times that Napolitano told him to call the Times and confirm that he was one of Napolitano’s sources for the report. He claimed to have came across the information “from sources in the American intelligence community.”

On March 16, Napolitano’s claims appeared on Fox News’ website in a column, which remains unedited since it was published. However, Fox News did add a link to the GCHQ’s statement.

In his opinion piece, the former judge wrote:

Sources have told me that the British foreign surveillance service, the Government Communications Headquarters, known as GCHQ, most likely provided Obama with transcripts of Trump’s calls. The NSA has given GCHQ full 24/7 access to its computers, so GCHQ — a foreign intelligence agency that, like the NSA, operates outside our constitutional norms — has the digital versions of all electronic communications made in America in 2016, including Trump’s. So by bypassing all American intelligence services, Obama would have had access to what he wanted with no Obama administration fingerprints.

Since there were reports that the U.S. government apologized for citing Napolitano’s report as evidence, Fox News has backed away from the reporting. In a statement on his show, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said that the network has “no evidence of any kind that the now-President of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way. Full Stop.” He said that the network can’t confirm Napolitano’s “commentary.”

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2. GCHQ Called Napolitano’s Claims ‘Utterly Ridiculous’ & ‘Should be Ignored’

Although Napolitano never revealed the source for his information, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer repeated the claims during his March 16 press conference. The White House has continued to try to justify Trump’s claims on March 4 that Obama wiretapped him in 2016. The White House has said that Trump was talking about surveillance in general, and didn’t specifically mean “wiretap.”

A spokesman for the GCHQ then told the Telegraph that Napolitano’s allegations are “ridiculous.”

“Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored,” the spokesman said.

The Telegraph also reported that National Security Adviser Gen. H.R. McMaster and Spicer called Sir Mark Lyall Grant, Prime Minister Theresa May’s National Security Adviser, to apologize. A spokesman for the U.K. government said that they “made clear the allegations were ridiculous and received reassurances that they would not be repeated” after speaking with the U.S. government.

But then, Buzzfeed reported that the Spicer is not apologized. “I don’t think we regret anything,” Spicer told Buzzfeed.

Another official told the New York Times, Trump “didn’t apologize, no way, no how.”

And when Trump was asked about it by a German reporter during his press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump said, “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox.”

Leaders of the intelligence committees in both houses of Congress have said they haven’t seen evidence to back Trump’s wiretapping claim.

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3. Napolitano Sided With 9/11 Conspiracy Theorists in 2010

Back in 2010, even the conservative News Busters took Napolitano to task for appearing to side with Geraldo Rivera on the conspiracies about how the original 7 World Trace Center fell on September 11, 2001.

“It’s hard for me to believe that [WTC7] came down by itself. I was gratified to see Geraldo Rivera investigating it. I’m gratified to see the people across the border interested,” Napolitano said in an interview on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio show. “I think 20 years from now, people will look at 9/11 the way they look at the assassination of JFK today. It couldn’t possibly have been done the way the government told us.”

Napolitano hasn’t said anything on the topic of 9/11 conspiracy theories publicly since, but in September 2016, he praised Congress for overriding Obama’s veto of a bill that would have prevented 9/11 victims and families from suing Saudi Arabia.

The veto override means “that shroud is about to be lifted by plaintiffs’ lawyers, who will bring people from the Saudi government into their offices in New York, put them under oath and ask them questions,” Napolitano said on Fox News. “This essentially becomes law in a couple of minutes. As of this very moment…survivors of 9/11 or their families can sue for damages.”

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4. Napolitano Called the Decision on Trump’s First Immigration Executive Order ‘Intellectually Dishonest’

After the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reinstate Trump’s first immigration executive order, Napolitano criticized the decision as “intellectually dishonest” and “so profoundly wrong.”

“This is an intellectually dishonest piece of work that the 9th Circuit has produced tonight, because it essentially consists of substituting the judgment of three judges for the president of the United States, when the Constitution unambiguously gives this area of jurisdiction – foreign policy – exclusively to the president,” Napolitano said on Fox News.

A few days later, Napolitano advocated for the creation of a new immigration executive order, which is exactly what Trump did. The new immigration executive order was issued on March 6 and has since been blocked by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland.

In a March 16 appearance on Fox & Friends, Napolitano criticized the Hawaii judge for judging the executive order on Trump’s intent. He said that the court should only judge an executive order basedd on the exact written works and not go into “psychobabble and try and figure out what the intent was.”

“Basically what the judge said last night in Hawaii was this is a Muslim ban by another name,” Napolitano said. “That’s the way I would summarize this with a very short handle on it. Without getting too much into the weeds, he basically looked at the things that candidate Donald Trump said, that our friend Mayor [Rudy] Giuliani said, that Kellyanne Conway said.”

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5. Napolitano Isn’t a Fan of Abraham Lincoln

Napolitano has an unpopular opinion of President Abraham Lincoln and famously appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2014 to defend his reasons for not liking Lincoln. He appeared on The Daily Show a month after saying on Fox News that he is a “contrarian” on Lincoln, suggesting that slavery could have been brought to an end without the bloody Civil War.

“At the time that [Lincoln] was the president of the United States, slavery was dying a natural death all over the Western world,” Napolitano told Stewart. “Instead of allowing it to die, or helping it to die, or even purchasing the slaves and then freeing them — which would have cost a lot less money than the Civil War cost — Lincoln set about on the most murderous war in American history.”

Napolitano also claimed that Lincoln enforced the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, which allowed slaveowners to use the federal government to get escaped slaves back, even if they were found in a free state. Politifact rated this claim “mostly false,” noting that the law was enforced inconsistently at the start of the war.

Napolitano didn’t suddenly become anti-Lincoln in 2014. Back in 2007, he wrote The Constitution in Exile: How the Federal Government Has Seized Power by Rewriting the Supreme Law of the Land, which includes a chapter called “Dishonest Abe,” in which me makes the case that many of Lincoln’s actions were unconstitutional.

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Jesse Watters: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Jesse Watters is a Fox News journalist who filmed an interview with President Donald Trump earlier this week. The interview will air during his Saturday show Watters’ World at 8 p.m. ET.

Watters has been at Fox News since 2002 and has been a part of The O’Reilly Factor since 2003. He started out as a behind-the-scenes producer, but became an on-camera talent thanks to his on-the-street interviews. He got his own spin-off series Watters’ World in November 2015. Although his show is billed as a “comedic” look at news, he still nabbed a one-on-one interview with the president.

The 38-year-old Watters stirred controversy in October 2016 with an infamous segment where he interviewed residents of New York’s Chinatown. The segment was considered by some to be racially insensitive, but Watters was never punished for it.

You can follow Watters on Twitter and Instagram.

Here’s a look at Watters’ life and career.


1. Watters Called Himself a ‘Political Humorist’ After the Chinatown Segment Fallout

In October 2016, Watters filmed a segment for The O’Reilly Factor, in which he interviewed people in New York’s Chinatown. The segment was filled with racial stereotypes, both in its presentation and with the questions Watters asked. He asked his interview subjects how to bow, if the watches being sold were stolen and if a man sold herbs “for performance,” all while scenes from martial arts movies played and “Kung Fu Fighting” was heard in the background.

At the end of the segment, Bill O’Reilly and Watters sounded surprised that many of the people he talked to knew about American politics. But they also knew that the segment would be controversial.

“It’s gentile fun. I know we’re going to get letters. It’s inevitable,” O’Reilly told Watters.

“It was all in good fun,” Watters said.

Fox News got more than just letters after it aired. New York Mayor Bill De Blasio tweeted that Watters’ “vile, racist behavior” has “no place in our city.”

The Asian American Journalists Association criticized the segment. They did manage to set up meetings with Fox News executives, getting them to agree to receiving pitches from AAJA members.

Initially, Watters wrote a non-apology on Twitter. “My man-on-the-street interviews are meant to be taken as tongue-in-cheek and I regret if anyone found offense. As a political humorist, the Chinatown segment was intended to be a light piece, as all Watters World segments are,” Watters wrote.

“I was surprised, at the time, with the blowback,” Watters told Business Insider in a December interview. “I didn’t see it coming, and that’s on me. I understand I did offend a lot of people, and I’m very sorry for that. People took issue with some of the statements I made, and some of the reaction to the Chinatown segment, and I understand that. And it’s a learning experience — I definitely learned a lot from it. But it’s a new day, and we are moving forward with it.”

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2. Watters Says Bill O’Reilly Comes Up With Many of the Ideas for ‘Watters’ World’ Segments

Jesse Watters Donald Trump, Jesse Watters bio, Jesse Watters Fox News, Watters World Host

Jesse Watters and President Donald Trump. (Instagram/Jesse Watters)

Watters has been working for O’Reilly for over a decade, so the two have clearly developed a rapport. In an interview with Business Insider about his career, Watters said that it’s his boss who comes up with many of the ideas for Watters’ World segments.

“Usually he’ll say, like, ‘This is kind of how I want you to approach it,’ and then he’ll give me one line, and then I have to fill in the rest,” Watters told the site. “Bill is very understanding of the backdrop of the segment. I think because he was a field guy for so many years, he’s very interested in aesthetics behind the Watters’ World, where it’s being shot, why it’s being shot there.”

“I think he’s either living vicariously through me, or he’s reliving things he did back in the day,” Watters told Business Insider of O’Reilly.

Watters loves his “ambush” style man-on-the-street interviews, which have often been criticized by the media. After all, the style is usually employed more by comedians than journalists.

“I don’t pay attention to a lot of that stuff that they write,” he told Business Insider of his critics. “It doesn’t really bother me that much. I stand by my work, especially the confrontations. There are heroes and villains out there in the media landscape, in the news landscape, in the political landscape. People sometimes get called out, they react how they react. And I’m proud of what I do.”

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3. His Wife Noelle Used to Host a Fox News Fashion Segment

Watters is married to Noelle Inguagiato Watters, who used to host a fashion segment on FoxNews.com called iMag Style.

As Walking Points Memo reports, in 2014, Watters said on Outnumbered that Noelle told him that she voted for President Barack Obama in 2012.

“When I was dating my wife, we were very simpatico politically,” Watters told his co-hosts. “And then all of a sudden, after 2012, she told me she voted for Obama. And I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! Are you kidding me?’”

It turned out she was. “She got me good,” Watters joked.

However, it’s worth noting that Politico reported back in 2012 that an FEC filing revealed that Watters donated $500 to the Obama Victory Fund 2012 and even listed “News Corp.” as his employer.

The couple live on Long Island. Celebrity Net Worth estimates that he has an estimated net worth of $1 million.

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4. Journalist Amanda Terkel Accused Watters of Stalking Her While on She Was on Vacation

In 2009, Huntington Post journalist Amanda Terkel, who is now a senior political reporter for the site, accused Watters of stalking her. At the time, Terkel was writing for Think Progress and she had recently published a story about O’Reilly’s past comments on rape victim Jennifer Moore when he was slated to speak at an Alexa Foundation to support rape victims at the time.

On March 23, Terkel wrote that she was “followed, harassed and ambushed” by Watters while on vacation because she wrote a piece that O’Reilly didn’t like. She wrote that Watters and his cameraman followed her on a two-hour drive from Washington, DC to Winchester, Virginia.

“Shortly after checking into our lodgings, we emerged and immediately saw two men walking toward us calling out my name,” Trekel wrote. “Watters said he was from Fox News, but never said his or his companion’s name, nor did he say he was with The O’Reilly Factor.”

During an edited version of the segment that aired, O’Reilly called Terkel a “villain,” claiming that she was criticizing the Alexa Foundation, which she said she never did. They accused her blog of causing “pain and suffering” to rape victims.

Terkel talked about her experience with Watters on CNN in 2015:

When New Yorker writer Hendrik Hertzberg also wrote a piece criticizing O’Reilly, he was ambushed by Watters. After the segment aired, O’Reilly claimed that Hertzberg declined an invitation go on The O’Reilly Factor. “That’s an outright lie,” the writer told Politico in 2008.

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5. Watters Grew Up in Philadelphia & Has a Degree in History

Watters was born in Philadelphia and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut with a degree in history. His family moved to Long Island while he was in high school.

In a 2015 interview with Philly.com, Watters explained that he had initially wanted to go into finance aftr college, but he didn’t do well in that field. He then tried to work in politics directly, working for Dora J. Irizarry’s failed campaign for New York Governor.

“I got hired at Fox News, because I like politics and I like television. And one day, [Bill] O’Reilly said, ‘Watters! I want you to go down to Alabama and confront this judge,’” Watters recalled. “So I go all the way down to Alabama and run up to some judge who’d given a sex offender a soft sentence, and I ended up confronting the wrong guy, in my first-ever time in the field. So I got off to a rocky start. But after that, I kind of got the hang of things.”

Watters told Philly.com that both of his parents are liberal. “But my parents always brought me up to have discipline and respect for other people and the belief that hard work pays off,” Watters told Philly.com. “They didn’t raise me to be who I am politically, but I think they gave me a lot of the values and the resources to kind of shape my own path.”

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WATCH: Devin Nunes Says There Was No Wiretap of Trump Tower

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 15: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) speaks to the media about Committee’s investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, at the U.S. Capitol on March 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Rep. Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee, said Sunday morning the documents delivered to the committee by the Department of Justice indicate there was no wiretap of Trump Tower.

“The president doesn’t go and physically wiretap something,” Nunes said on Fox News Sunday. “So if you take the president literally, it didn’t happen. I think the concern that we have is, were there any other surveillance activities that were used … Was there a physical wiretap of Trump Tower? No. But there never was. And the information we got on Friday continues to lead us in that direction. … There was no FISA warrant that I’m aware of to tap Trump Tower.”

Nunes, a Republican who represents California’s 22nd District, also said during his appearance on Fox News Sunday there has been no evidence so far to show collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“I’ll give you a very simple answer: no,” Nunes said, when asked by host Chris Wallace if he had “seen any evidence of any collusion between” what Wallace called “Trump World, any associates and campaign officials,” and the Russians “to swing the 2016 election.”

Nunes said he has seen “no evidence of collusion.”

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Hassan Aden: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Hassan Aden. (Alexandria Police)

A retired North Carolina police chief says he was detained for more than an hour at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York after returning home from a family trip to Paris to celebrate his mother’s 80th birthday.

Former Greenville Police Chief Hassan Aden, 51, wrote a Facebook post on Saturday about the March 13 incident.

Aden said in the post he was held at JFK for an hour and a half while Customs and Border Patrol agents worked to “clear” him for entry to the United States:

I spent nearly 30 years serving the public in law enforcement. Since I retired as the Chief of Police in Greenville, NC, I founded a successful consulting firm that is involved in virtually every aspect of police and criminal justice reform. I interface with high level U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Court officials almost daily. Prior to this administration, I frequently attended meetings at the White House and advised on national police policy reforms-all that to say that If this can happen to me, it can happen to anyone with attributes that can be ‘profiled.’ No one is safe from this type of unlawful government intrusion.

Aden said he has contacted his senators and others about what happened “to tell the story of what is happening in the United States of America.”

Here’s what you need to know:


1. Aden Says He Was Told His Name ‘Was Used as an Alias by Someone on Some Watch List’

hassan aden, hassan aden jfk

Hassan Aden in a photo taken during his trip to Paris. (Facebook)

Hassan Aden said in his Facebook post the incident occurred when he returned to the United States after a “lovely weekend in Paris celebrating my mom’s 80th birthday.” Aden’s flight from France landed at JFK in New York, and he was set to board a connecting flight there to take him home to Washington, D.C.

“I happily boarded my flight to return to the United States-something I have done countless times for 42 years after becoming a U.S. citizen. I had an enjoyable flight to New York’s JFK International Airport,” Aden wrote. “On all of my prior trips, I was greeted by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers with a warm smile and the usual, ‘Welcome home sir.’ Not this time.”

Aden said an officer named Chow “didn’t say anything” when he handed him his passport and “looked at me with a gruff expression and simply stated ‘are you traveling alone?’”

The former chief said he “knew this was a sign of trouble,” and when he answered yes, Officer Chow told him “let’s take a walk.”

Aden, in his explanation of what happened, said he was told someone on a watch list use dhis name as an alias:

I was taken to a back office which looked to be a re-purposed storage facility with three desks and signs stating, ‘Remain seated at all times’ and ‘Use of telephones strictly prohibited’ – my first sign that this was not a voluntary situation and, in fact, a detention. By this point I had informed CBP Officer Chow, the one that initially detained me, that I was a retired police chief and a career police officer AND a US citizen-he stated that he had no control over the circumstance and that it didn’t matter what my occupation was. He handed my passport off to another CBP officer who was working at one of the desks. The second CBP officer was indeed kind and appreciated the fact that I was a career police officer and tried to be helpful. He explained that my name was used as an alias by someone on some watch list. He stated that he sent my information to another agency to de-conflict and clear me, so that I could gain passage into the United States….my own country!!!

Aden said he watched at least 25 “foreign nationals” brought in and quickly released while he was in the detention center, and said he was shocked when Officer Chow told him he wasn’t being detained:

I pointed out the irony of this fact to the CBP officer that was attempting to ‘clear me for entry.’ I told him, as he avoided eye contact, how wrong this scenario was that the only US citizen, career US police officer and chief of police, out of the group of detainees, was the one with the longest unreasonable detention- I was held for an hour and a half. I asked several times, ‘how long of a detention do you consider to be reasonable?,’ the answer I was given by CBP Officer Chow was that I was not being detained-he said that with a straight face. I then replied, ‘But I’m not free to leave-how is that not a detention?’ I was in a room with no access to my mobile phone to communicate with my wife and family about what was happening, my movements were restricted to a chair and they had my passport………and he had the audacity to tell me I was not being detained. His ignorance of the law and the Fourth Amendment should disqualify him from being able to wear a CBP badge – but maybe fear and detention is the new mission of the CBP and the Constitution is a mere suggestion. I certainly was not free to leave. As former law enforcement, believe me, I agree that if certain criteria is met, a reasonable investigative detention is not inappropriate-the key here being ‘reasonable.’

Aden said an officer who was just beginning her shift “took interest in my situation” and helped get him out of the detention center.

“She aggressively asked (the other agency) for status updates and eventually called me over to tell me I was cleared to enter the United States of America. I promptly thanked her and filled her in on how impactful this situation was — she apologized and I was on my way after an hour and a half detention.”

Aden said he was able to make his connecting flight to D.C.

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2. The Former Chief Says His Hour-and-a-Half Detention Left Him Feeling Vulnerable & ‘Unsure of the Future’ of the Country

Aden said in his Facebook post the incident “Left me feeling vulnerable and unsure of the future of a country that was once great and that I proudly called my own. This experience makes me question if this is indeed home. My freedoms were restricted, and I cannot be sure it won’t happen again, and that it won’t happen to my family, my children, the next time we travel abroad.”

He said, “This country now feels cold, unwelcoming, and in the beginning stages of a country that is isolating itself from the rest of the world – and its own people – in an unprecedented fashion. High levels of hate and injustice have been felt in vulnerable communities for decades-it is now hitting the rest of America.”

You can read his full Facebook post below:

In an interview with the Raleigh News & Observer, Aden said, “I support and respect the CPB mission and their very difficult job. I fully support reasonable detention, with the key word being ‘reasonable.’ When you get into an hour, an hour and a half, in any law enforcement situation, that’s unreasonable. The clock is ticking.”

Aden told the newspaper, “I wonder what would happen to a regular citizen with no idea about his rights? Bedside manners matter in situations like these. Every single day the way you treat people matters.”

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3. Aden Retired as Greenville, North Carolina’s Police Chief 2 Years Ago After More Than 25 Years in Law Enforcement

Aden retired as the Greenville, North Carolina, police chief in December 2014, two years after he was hired to fill the role, according to WITN-TV.

His law enforcement career spanned also included 25 years working in Alexandria, Virginia, where he rose to the rank of deputy chief.

Aden worked in patrol, undercover vice and internal affairs while in Alexandria, according to the Washington Post.

“He is going to be missed. He builds good relationships. You can tell he really cares about the line officers,” Sergeant Mike Kochis, the former head of Alexandria’s police union, told the Post when Aden left for Greenville.

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4. He Now Works as a Senior Advisor at the Vera Institute of Justice in D.C. & Founded a Criminal Justice Reform Group

After retiring, Aden worked with the International Association of Police Chiefs in Washington, D.C. as its head of research, programs, and professional services.

He now works for the Vera Institute of Justice in D.C. as a senior advisor on policing, according to its website.

“Hassan will be involved in developing and implementing projects that aim to make the practice of policing better informed by community members’ needs,” the Vera Institute says.

Aden also formed a criminal justice reform organization, The Aden Group, which says on its website it, “exists to fill a gap in current Criminal Justice Reform efforts. Our consultants are experts in modern policing as well as being “Pracacademics” and well versed in research methods and evidence based solutions.

“We leverage the best and brightest thought leaders in the policing, and the larger criminal justice field to help your organization avoid and/or rebuild loss of community trust, legitimacy and support.”

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5. He Is the Son of an Italian Mother & Somali Father & Went to High School in Brussels

hassan aden wife

Hassan Aden and his wife. (Facebook)

Hassan Aden is the son of an Italian mother and a Somali father, according to the Washington Post.

He spent time living in Rome, Italy, as a young child, and moved to Alexandria, Virginia, when he was in the sixth grade, according to the Post. His stepmother worked for the State Department, and that job took his family back to Europe.

He spent his high school years in Belgium, and graduated from Brussels American High School in 1983. He returned to the United States for college, attending American University, and then became an police officer in Alexandria in 1987.

Aden returned to school in 2007, completing a master’s degree in public administration at American.

He is married and has two sons.

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