Trump Administration Denies Report of Trying to Block Yates from Testifying

The Trump administration is denying it tried to block former acting attorney general Sally Yates from testifying before Congress about Russia, the Washington Post reports.

The report will likely anger Democrats about what they view as Republican meddling in the investigation into alleged links between President Trump's campaign and Russian officials. She and others were scheduled to testify this week before the House Intelligence Committee, but that hearing was canceled by chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.):

According to letters The Post reviewed, the Justice Department notified Yates earlier this month that the administration considers a great deal of her possible testimony to be barred from discussion in a congressional hearing because the topics are covered by the presidential communication privilege.

Yates and other former intelligence officials had been asked to testify before the House Intelligence Committee this week, a hearing that was abruptly canceled by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). Yates was the deputy attorney general in the final years of the Obama administration, and served as the acting attorney general in the first days of the Trump administration.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer released a statement calling the allegation "entirely false."

It read: "The White House has taken no action to prevent Sally Yates from testifying and the Department of Justice specifically told her that it would not stop her and to suggest otherwise is completely irresponsible."

Trump fired her in January after she ordered Justice Department attorneys not to defend his temporary travel ban order on seven countries with predominantly Muslim populations.

Dem Rep: Defunding Sanctuary Cities Is Like ‘Putting a Gun to the Head of Americans’

Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D., N.Y.), the first former illegal immigrant in Congress, argued on CNN's "New Day" Tuesday morning that the Trump administration's plan to defund cities that refuse to enforce federal immigration laws was the equivalent of putting a gun to the head of the American people.

"This is a serious threat to the security of Americans throughout the country and particularly New York City, which is the largest, safest city in America," Espaillat said.

"By yanking funding away and clawing back funding away from law enforcement, we're putting average Americans at risk," Espaillat said. "In fact, it's almost like putting a gun in the head of Americans and playing Russian roulette."

"This is egregious, and this is something that shouldn't happen," he concluded.

New America Rising Ad Pressures Senate Democrats to Confirm Gorsuch

America Rising Squared released a new video on Tuesday lauding Judge Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination a week before the Senate Judiciary Committee gathers to vote on his confirmation.

The ad, titled "Everybody Knows It," highlights commentators, political figures, and anchors with different political views praising Gorsuch's performance during last week's confirmation hearings and touting his credentials.

MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell praises Gorsuch in the video.

"I think this has been a slam dunk," she says of his confirmation hearings.

CNN correspondent John King discusses how Democrats could not cause Gorsuch to falter during the hearing process.

"The Democrats have not proved or blemished anything to this judge so far," he says.

Sen. Mike Lee (R. Utah) is shown praising Gorsuch's qualifications.

"This is a judge who is exceptionally well prepared for the Supreme Court," he says.

Sen. John Cornyn (R. Texas) also discusses how Gorsuch is a well-qualified candidate for the nation's highest court.

"If Neil Gorsuch isn't good enough for you, there probably never will be anyone good enough for my Democratic colleagues," he says.

The video shows multiple CNN and MSNBC reporters praising Gorsuch for "performing admirably" during his confirmation hearing, being "impressively disciplined," coming off as a "very warm, affable, down home kind of person," and "maintaining his independence."

America Rising concludes the ad with audio of CNN political analyst Gloria Borger saying that Gorsuch "is obviously qualified for the position, and everyone knows it."

The ad will run online and on social media ahead of Monday's scheduled Judiciary Committee vote on Gorsuch's confirmation, as part of America Rising's push to pressure undecided Senate Democrats to approve Gorsuch for the vacant Supreme Court seat.

America Rising is one of many conservative groups supporting Gorsuch's confirmation, promoting his credentials and confirmation hearing performance to help get him confirmed by the Senate.

Maxine Waters Suggests Trump Supporters Not as Patriotic as His Critics

Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) insinuated Monday night on the House floor that Americans who support President Donald Trump are not as patriotic as those who oppose him.

Waters was criticizing the Trump administration's proposed budget, especially how it affects African Americans, when she castigated the president and those who voted for him.

"We knew about his background and his history and what he is known for, and that is discrimination, disrespect for African Americans," Waters said.

"My position against this president and his administration is clear: I oppose this president; I do not honor this president; I do not respect this president," Waters continued.

The congresswoman said everyone but the wealthy will lose under the Trump administration and reiterated that she would fight the president whenever she could.

Later in her speech, Waters took aim at Trump voters.

"We stand up for America, oftentimes when others who think they are more patriotic, who say they are more patriotic do not," Waters said. "When we fight against this president and we point out how dangerous he is for this society and for this country, we are fighting for the democracy, we are fighting for America."

"We're saying to those who say they are patriotic but they turned a blind eye to the destruction that he is about to cause this country: you are not nearly as patriotic as we are," Waters continued.

She went on to say that Trump does not belong in the White House.

Waters has repeatedly called for Trump to be impeached and removed from office.

Schumer Says He Realized Importance During Trump Presidency After Receiving ‘Almost a Message From God’

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) said in an interview published Tuesday that he only rebounded after President Trump's election victory when he received a message from on high telling him how important his job is with Trump in the White House.

Schumer told Politico that he fell into a "deep funk" after Hillary Clinton lost the presidential race in November and did not recover until he got "almost a message from God."

"He said he fell into a deep funk for three days after Clinton lost and Democrats blew their best chance at taking back the Senate until 2020," Politico reported. "But on the fourth day, Schumer says, ‘it was like a thunderbolt hit me, almost a message from God.'"

"I said to myself if Hillary won and you were majority leader, the job would be more fun and it would be a lot easier. And most importantly you'd get to do some good things," Schumer said. "But with Trump as president and you as minority leader, the job is much more important. That has fueled me ever since."

The New York Democrat also discussed with Politico upcoming Senate battles over Judge Neil Gorsuch's Supreme Court nomination and a potential government shutdown. He predicted Democrats would come out on top in both cases, despite the party's weak state after the 2016 elections.

"They're in charge. Government shuts down, it's on their back. We have leverage," said Schumer, who also predicted he would get his way in opposing the Gorsuch nomination, besting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.).

Schumer is confident he can block McConnell from filling a Supreme Court vacancy–and that McConnell might not have the votes to gut the filibuster to get Gorsuch through.

"There's been an almost seismic shift in the caucus," against Gorsuch, Schumer said. As for McConnell changing the rules in response, the minority leader added: "I don't think it's a foregone conclusion. … There are people in his caucus who really don't want to change the rules, OK?"

Schumer has come out against Gorsuch's nomination and said Democrats would filibuster a confirmation vote.

Schumer's interview came less than two days after he reportedly yelled at a Trump supporter at a Manhattan restaurant.

The senator yelled at Hilary Califano, wife of prominent Democrat Joseph A. Califano Jr., for supporting Trump, according to Page Six.

"She voted for Trump!" the New York Democrat yelled in the restaurant, according to witnesses. "How could you vote for Trump? He's a liar!"

Another patron of Sette Mezzo, the restaurant, disputed claims that Schumer yelled, saying the conversation was civil.

Chris Matthews Compares Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump to Saddam Hussein’s Kids

MSNBC anchor Chris Matthews compared President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner and daughter Ivanka Trump to former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein's kids on Monday night.

"Let me just say, you know, we kid," Matthews said. "I kid about everything, but Uday and Qusay working for Saddam Hussein – you couldn’t go to a restaurant and have eye contact with those guys without getting killed. These people are really powerful. Imagine getting into a fight in the office with Jared or Ivanka, they have enormous power, and they’re always gonna be there."

Politico reporter Annie Karni responded that this is what worries her about Ivanka and Jared being top officials in the Trump White House.

"This is what I worry about for other people in the White House," Karni said. "Ivanka Trump has been described as her father’s eyes and ears on the ground. That’s a little scary if you’re just a regular White House staffer."

Uday and Qusay Hussein were the sons of Saddam Hussein and were prominent figures during their father's dictatorship. The two sons were responsible for numerous crimes against the Iraqi people. Uday was known for torturing athletes if they didn't perform to his standards, while Qusay ordered the killing of his father's political opponents.

Matthews made the comparison after recent news that Jared and Ivanka's power within the White House is growing. The White House recently announced that Kushner would lead the ‘American Innovation' office at the White House, which is tasked to reform the government using private sector solutions. It was also announced that Ivanka would have her own office within the West Wing.

It isn't the first time Trump's kids were compared to the Iraqi dictator's kids. Back in September, HBO's Bill Maher compared Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump to Uday and Qusay Hussein.

"Donald Trump also once said, ’Sometimes people will come into my office and they will be great. They will look great, they’ll sound great, they dress beautifully. Everything is great. Then after you hire them they turn out to be morons,’ which explains his sons Uday and Qusay," Maher said.

Schumer Causes Scene At NYC Restaurant, Yells Donald Trump is ‘A Liar’

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) reportedly caused a scene at a New York City restaurant on Sunday, where he was seen yelling at a wealthy and well-connected supporter of President Donald Trump, calling Trump "a liar."

Schumer was dining at Upper East Side restaurant Sette Mezzo Sunday night with friends, according to Page Six. During the dinner, Schumer encountered former secretary of health, education, and welfare under President Jimmy Carter and domestic policy adviser to President Lyndon B. Johnson, Joseph A. Califano Jr.

Califano was dining with his wife Hilary, the daughter of the founder and current chairman of CBS. Hilary voted for Trump, but her husband is a well-known Democrat.

An onlooker said that Califano complimented Schumer on what he has done with health care, and then joked about how his wife voted for Trump. Schumer then began yelling, "She voted for Trump!"

Schumer reportedly followed the couple outside, where he yelled, "How could you vote for Trump? He’s a liar!"

Hilary confirmed the incident to Page Six.

"Sen. Schumer was really rude . . . He’s our senator, and I don’t really like him. Yes, I voted for Trump. Schumer joined us outside and he told me Trump was a liar. I should have told him that Hillary Clinton was a liar, but I was so surprised I didn’t say anything," she said.

But according to a spokesman for Schumer, nothing dramatic occurred.

"[He] and his wife ate at the café on Sunday, engaging in unremarkable conversation with patrons who approached their table. There were no heated exchanges with ‎anyone."

Gowdy Goes After Schumer for Attacking Nunes

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R., S.C.) blasted Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) on Monday for Schumer's criticisms of the House Intelligence Committee chairman.

Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), has been criticized for a trip to the White House he made to go through classified material related to possible surveillance over President Donald Trump during his transition. After Schumer asked Nunes to be removed from his position as chairman, Gowdy went after Schumer, Fox News reports.

"I just love it when Senator Schumer gives Republicans advice on what we ought to do," Gowdy said on Monday. "Devin is doing exactly what the chairman is to do."

"I wish Senator Schumer and some of the other Democrats would be interested in the authenticity and reliability of the underlying data the means by which it was acquired," Gowdy continued.

Gowdy has served on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and was an active watchdog of the Obama administration.

Nikki Haley Slams the Iran Deal, Says It ‘Empowered’ Iran and Russia

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley blasted former President Barack Obama's Iran Nuclear Deal on Monday during a question and answer session at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference.

"At the U.N., what is the attitude about the enforcement of the Iran Deal and how to hold Iran accountable, most importantly how to hold Iran accountable for the deal and for the threats it's posing?" Dan Senor, a former adviser to President George W. Bush and the moderator for the conference, asked.

"It's concerning, and the reason it's concerning is because when the Iran Deal took place, all it did was empower Iran and it empowered Russia," Haley said. "And it emboldened Iran to feel like they could get away with more."

"You can put sanctions on a country. To take sanctions away, it's very hard to go back and put sanctions back on, so what we have said is we are going to watch them like a hawk. We are going to make sure that every single thing they do is watched, processed, and dealt with," Haley added.

Haley added that she was concerned there was a "lot of love" for the Iran Deal in the U.N. Security Council, calling the situation "unfortunate."

"Why that was ever allowed to go through, why that was ever passed is beyond me. I mean, it's terrible," Haley said.

Schiff Calls for Nunes to Recuse Himself from Russia Investigation

Ranking member on the House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) called on Monday for Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) to recuse himself from an on-going investigation into Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Schiff was responding to the revelation that Nunes met on White House grounds with a source privy to incidental surveillance of President Donald Trump and his associates. In a statement posted to Twitter, Schiff suggested Nunes's involvement undermined public confidence in the committee's investigation.

"I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the President's campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the Chairman," Schiff said.

Schiff also called for Nunes to avoid investigating incidental surveillance of Trump's transition team, as Nunes was a part of that team.

"This is not a recommendation I make lightly, as the Chairman and I have worked together for several years, " Schiff said, before denouncing Nunes recent actions.

Nunes told Bloomberg that the source he met with was an intelligence official, not a White House staffer, and that they met on White House grounds because it was the most secure and convenient location with a computer connected to the system that held the reports.

Nunes's spokesman Jack Langer stated on Monday that Nunes had been looking into "improper unmasking" before Trump claimed that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign.

"Chairman Nunes met with his source at the White House grounds in order to have proximity to a secure location where he could view the information provided by the source," Langer said. "The chairman is extremely concerned by the possible improper unmasking of names of U.S. citizens, and he began looking into this issue even before President Trump tweeted his assertion that Trump Tower had been wiretapped."