HEADLINES: GORSUCH CONFIRMED

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Embattled Trump nominee Neil Gorsuch has been assigned to the U.S. Supreme Court. The new Justice was declared after a 54-45 vote for confirmation.

The confirmation comes after weeks of infighting between Republicans and Democrats and deepened congressional divides. The battle forced use of the so called “nuclear option” by Republicans, which changed the process of high court appointments going forward.

“He’s going to make the American people proud,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said after Gorsuch’s confirmation was announced.

Gorsuch will become the 113th Justice of the Supreme Court and succeeds Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in February 2016.

 

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BREAKING: RUSSIAN WAR SHIPS MOVE TOWARD U.S. MILITARY VESSELS IN MEDITERRANEAN SEA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Military officials have confirmed reports that Russia warships are now heading toward U.S. Navy destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. These reports are just coming in and details are still unclear but the move toward the Navy destroyers follows this morning’s response by the Russian government in which it condemned Trump’s Thursday order of a military strike against Syria, Russia’s ally, as an “act of aggression”.

I will bring you details as they break.

…STORY DEVELOPING

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TONIGHT’S STATEMENT IN IT’S ENTIRETY BY PRESIDENT TRUMP ON HIS DECISION TO ORDER A MILITARY STRIKE AGAINST SYRIA:

“My fellow Americans,

On Tuesday, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad launched a horrible chemical weapons attack on innocent civilians using a deadly nerve agent.

Assad choked out the lives of innocent men, women and children. It was a slow and brutal death for so many. Even beautiful babies were cruelly murdered in this very barbaric attack.

No child of god should ever suffer such horror.

Tonight I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria from where the chemical attack was launched.

It is in this vital national security interest of the United States to prevent and deter the spread and use of deadly chemical weapons.

There can be no dispute that Syria used banned chemical weapons, violated its obligations under the chemical weapons convention, and ignored the urging of the UN security council.

Years of previous attempts at changing Assad’s behavior have all failed and failed very dramatically.

As a result the refugee crisis continues to deepen and the region continues to destabilize, threatening the United States and its allies.

Tonight I call on all civilized nations to join us in seeking to end the slaughter and bloodshed in Syria, and also to end terrorism of all kinds and all types.

We ask for god’s wisdom as we face the challenge of our very troubled world.

We pray for the lives of the wounded and for the souls of those who have passed.

And we hope that as long as America stands for justice that peace and harmony will in the end prevail.

Goodnight and god bless America and the entire world.

Thank you.”

BREAKING: TRUMP SPEAKS ON DECISION TO ATTACK SYRIA

PALM BEACH, FL — President Donald Trump spoke just moments ago of his decision to order a military strike against Syria.

Speaking at his Mira-Lago estate, where he was in the midst of meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, a visibly angry Trump said the decision was a direct result of this week’s chemical attack upon the Syrian people by the country’s leader, Bashar al-Assad, which lead to the deaths of 86 people, 27 of which were children.

“Even beautiful babies were murdered in this very brutal attack. No child of God should have to suffer such horror,” said Trump. “We ask for God’s wisdom as we face the challenges of our very troubled world… We pray for the souls of those who have passed.”

The decision to strike Syria is sure to add additional conflict to the already strained relationship between the United States and Russia as the Russian government is a backer and supporter of Syria.

According to sources, Trump did not speak to Putin in advance of the strikes, but did notify him via military to military channels. A military spokesperson said the president also received “support from a broad list of nations.”

The president ordered a cruise missile strike against a Syrian airfield just a short time ago. According to a military spokesperson, the U.S. military fired at least 50 missiles from a U.S. Navy vessel in the Mediterranean Sea.

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BREAKING: U.S. LAUNCHES AIRSTRIKES AGAINST SYRIA

The U.S. military has launched an airstrike against a Syrian airfield.

President Trump ordered a cruise missile strike against the rogue nation in retaliation for the chemical weapons attack that killed 86 people on Tuesday, according to U.S. officials.

The attack, the first conventional assault on another country ordered by the new president, comes just one day after he declared that the chemical weapons assault had “crossed many, many lines,” that resulted in the deaths of 27 children.

The missiles fired, reportedly as many as 50, were fired from a U.S. Navy vessel in the Mediterranean Sea.

An official statement on the escalation is expected shortly.

…STORY DEVELOPINGBreakingNewsRed

NO MORE NUNES: HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN STEPS DOWN FROM TRUMP-RUSSIA INVESTIGATION AS SCANDAL CONTINUES TO GROW

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes announced on Thursday that he was stepping down from his role leading the committee’s investigation into what, if any, role the Russian government played in manipulating the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

In a statement released Thursday morning, Nunes cited the attempts by “several left wing activist groups” to lodge “entirely false and politically motivated” accusations against him as his reason for stepping down. In a statement, the House Committee on Ethics confirmed that it was investigating allegations that Nunes “may have made unauthorized disclosures of classified information, in violation of House Rules, law, regulations, or other standards of conduct.”

In his statement, Nunes said that he would “continue to fulfill all my other responsibilities as Committee Chairman” and had requested to speak with the Ethics Committee “in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims” and hinted that the accusations against him were timed intentionally to distract from the scandal surrounding reports about the names of Trump associates being “unmasked” by former Obama administration National Security Adviser Susan Rice.

“The charges are entirely false and politically motivated, and are being leveled just as the American people are beginning to learn the truth about the improper unmasking of the identities of U.S. citizens and other abuses of power,” said Nunes.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told Fox News that neither House Speaker Paul Ryan nor Nunes gave the White House any advance knowledge of Nunes’ decision to step down, but added that Nunes’ absence would not change the “substance” of the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation.

In March, Nunes held a press conference in which he disclosed knowledge of classified reports that appeared to show the unmasking of Trump associates. Democrats were quick to pounce Nunes due to his admission that he briefed president Trump on the matter before meeting with the Intelligence Committee.

In a statement, Speaker Ryan said supported Nunes’ decision to step down amid the controversy.

“Devin Nunes has earned my trust over many years for his integrity and dedication to the critical work that the intelligence community does to keep America safe,” said Ryan. “He continues to have that trust, and I know he is eager to demonstrate to the Ethics Committee that he has followed all proper guidelines and laws.”

Rep. Mike Conaway, (R)-Texas, Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R)-S.C., and Rep. Tom Rooney, (R)-Fla. are now slotted to take over Nunes’ role in the investigation.

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FUNNY MAN DON RICKLES DEAD AT 90

LOS ANGELES, CA — Don Rickles, the legendary comic and actor best known for his frequent appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and Late Show with David Letterman, has died, his family has confirmed.

Rickles passed away at his Los Angeles, California home with his wife, Barbara, by his side. He had kidney failure.

After working as a sidekick to entertainment giants such as Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, Rickles shot to fame as the star of his own television comedy show, “The Don Rickles Show” in the late 1960’s.

Known for his rye wit and comedic insults, Rickles later proved his acting abilities through a series of dramatic roles in films such as “Run Silent, Run Deep,” in which he appeared along side Clark Gable and Burt Lancaster.

In May 2014, Rickles was saluted in the Spike TV special “One Night Only: An All-Star Comedy Tribute to Don Rickles.”by fellow funny men Jon Stewart and Jerry Seinfeld, who called Rickels his “role model and inspiration”.

Rickles is survived by his wife, Barbara, children, Mindy and Larry Rickles and several grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

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GOING NUCLEAR: GOP DEFIES DEM FILIBUSTER TO ASSURE GORSUCH CONFIRMATION

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Republicans in the Senate ignored the complaints of their Democrat counterparts on Thursday by evoking the so called “nuclear option” to ensure confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch.

The move to do so came after Democrats initially blocked Gorsuch’s next steps toward confirmation in a filibuster earlier in the day.

Although four Democrats, Sens. Michael Bennet, (D)-Colo.; Heidi Heitkamp, (D)-N.D.; Joe Donnelly, (D)-Ind.; and Joe Manchin, (D)-W.Va. broke rank and voted to confirm Gorsuch, Republicans still fell short of the 60 votes needed to proceed.

Saying he must do so “for the sake of our country,” Senate majority Leader Mitch McConnell said going nuclear (overriding Senate rules so that the president’s nominee could move toward final confirmation with a simple majority of just 51 votes) was necessary in order to “restore norms” move forward after what he called an “unprecedented” Democratic filibuster.

“This is the latest escalation in the left’s never-ending judicial war, the most audacious yet and it can not and will not stand. There cannot be two sets of standards, one for the nominees of a Democratic president and another for the nominees of a Republican president,” said McConnell. “Few outside New York or San Francisco believe Ruth Bader Ginsburg is in the mainstream, but Neil Gorsuch is not.”

“This will be the first and the last partisan filibuster of the Supreme Court nomination,” he added.

Democrats, angry that Merrick Garland, former president Barack Obama’s pick to replace Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia after Scalia’s death in 2016, was not given a hearing due to the then president’s outgoing status, were quick to criticize the move.

“We believe what Republicans did to Merrick Garland was worse than a filibuster,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D)-New York. “We will sadly point to today as a turning point in the history of the Senate and the Supreme Court,” said Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said. “In 20 or 30 or 40 years, we will sadly point to today as a turning point in the history of the Senate and the Supreme Court, a day when we irrevocably moved further away from the principles our founders intended for these institutions: principles of bipartisanship, moderation and consensus.”

Shumer’s comments were echoed by Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D)-Illinois, who said “The nuclear option was used by Senator McConnell when he stopped Merrick Garland. What we’re facing today is the fallout.”

In the end, Republicans supported the nuclear decision, voting to eliminate the 60-vote requirement.

A final vote to confirm Gorsuch is expected on Friday.

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OUTNUMBERED: MUSLIM POPULATION WILL SURPASS CHRISTIANS WITHIN 20 YEARS, SAY EXPERTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Within 20 years, more children will be born to Muslim women than to Christian women world-wide, says a new report released by the Pew Research Center (http://www.pewforum.org/2017/04/05/the-changing-global-religious-landscape/).

Although Christianity is the largest global religion, Islam is quickly gaining ground with the Muslim population increasing by more than 150 million people between the years 2010 and 2015. Currently the number of Muslims world wide total approximately 1.8 billion.

“Christianity is literally dying in Europe,” Conrad Hackett, the study’s lead researcher, said of the findings. And the United States is not far behind.

Almost half of Muslims living in America, 48%, say that all or almost all of their close friends are also Muslims, and 69% say religion is the primary issue in their lives.

According to a previous report by Pew, American Muslims also identify overwhelmingly with the Democratic Party. When polled, 70 percent of Muslims said that they align themselves with Democrats versus just 11% who say they associate their political beliefs with that of the Republican Party. U.S. Muslims are also favorable to big government, with 68 percent saying they expect that the government provide “more services.”

Since the attack upon America on September 11,2001, there has been a dramatic increase in immigration from Islamic countries, including a 66 percent increase in the past decade alone (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/number-muslims-u-s-doubles-9-11-article-1.1071895).

In his book “Slavery, Terrorism, and Islam”, Peter Hammond detailed the correlation between the proportion of Muslims to the overall population and increased violence and adherence to Sharia law. In one segment, he wrote:

“When the Muslim population remains at or under 2%, their presence tends to fly low under the radar. In the 2% – 5% range, Muslims begin to seek converts, targeting those they see as disaffected, such as criminals. When the population reaches 5% they exert influence disproportionate to their numbers, becoming more aggressive and pushing for Sharia law. When the population hits the 10% mark Muslims become increasingly lawless and violent. Once the population reaches 20%, there is an increase in rioting, murder, jihad militias, and destruction of non-Muslim places of worship. At 40%, there are “widespread massacres, chronic terror attacks, and ongoing militia warfare.” Once beyond 50%, infidels and apostates are persecuted, genocide occurs, and Sharia law is implemented. After 80%, intimidation is a daily part of life along with violent jihad and some state-run genocide as the nation purges all infidels. Once the nation has rid itself of all non-Muslims, the presumption is that ‘Dar-es-Salaam’ has been attained – the Islamic House of Peace.”

According to the most recent statistics, the five U.S. states with the largest number of Muslim residents are Texas, California, New York, Michigan, and Florida (http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/01/06/a-new-estimate-of-the-u-s-muslim-population/). With the constantly expanding influx of immigrants from Muslim countries, however, those numbers will continue to change.

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ENOUGH: TILLERSON SAYS IT ALL IN SHORT, CRYPTIC RESPONSE TO NORTH KOREAN MISSILE LAUNCH

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sometimes what is left unsaid says it all. That appears to be the case when it comes to Rex Tillerson’s shrouded message on Wednesday to North Korea.

In response to news that the rogue nation had fired yet another practice missile just one day before president Donald Trump’s scheduled meeting with Chinese president Xi Jinping, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated that his patience with North Korea dictator Kim Jong-un had reached it’s end.

“North Korea launched yet another intermediate range ballistic missile. The United States has spoken enough about North Korea. We have no further comment,” Tillerson said in an official statement.

U.S. officials have pinned their hopes on the possibility that China may play a role in easing tensions between the United States and North Korea. While China’s official stance is that it opposes military action against North Korea, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying on Wednesday called for cooperation from both sides.

“China has noticed such reports, we all know that the Security Council at the United Nations has issued regulations related to the missile launch by North Korea,” said Chunying. “We think that all sides involved should exercise restraint and not do anything that will escalate the difficult situation in the region.”

Despite China’s call for compromise, political analysts recognized Tillerson’s statement as further proof that the Trump administration’s policy in regard to dealing with the communist nation will be far different than that of Barack Obama’s.

“It seems Tillerson purposefully issued a short statement to send a tough signal,” said Kim Sung-han, a professor at Seoul’s Korea University and a former South Korean deputy foreign minister. “He is making it clear that, no matter what North Korea does, the United States won’t commit to direct negotiations unless Pyongyang shows real willingness for disarmament.”

Although the Pentagon has assessed North Korea’s latest test missile as a failure, intelligence officials have discovered that the North Korean military has developed an arsenal of high tech nuclear weapons that, if utilized, could anihalate up to 90 percent of the U.S. population (http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/defense/326094-how-north-korea-could-kill-up-to-90-percent-of-americans-at-any).

Narushige Michishita, an analyst from Tokyo’s National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, said Trump’s attempt to “sound scary” won’t work with North Korea, or China for that matter, if he fails to back his words with action.

“The Trump administration’s credibility will be undermined if it fails,” he said.

“The clock has now run out,” said Tillerson on the North Korean threat. When asked if a preemptive nuclear strike against North Korea was a possibility, he replied, “All options are on the table.”

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