BECKEL GETS THE BOOT: FOX FIRES LIBERAL COMMENTATOR AFTER ALLEGED RACIST REMARK

NEW YORK, N.Y. — Outspoken liberal commentator Bob Beckel has been fired from the Fox News network after reportedly making a racist remark to a fellow co-worker, the network announced on Friday.

“Bob Beckel was terminated today for making an insensitive remark to an African-American employee,” a network spokesperson said in a short statement.

Beckel, who has had a history of profanity filled on-air outbursts, previously parted ways with the network in 2015 after sources at the media giant said network executives had had their fill of his “arrogant demands” while recovering from back surgery.

“We tried to work with Bob for months, but we couldn’t hold ‘The Five’ hostage to one man’s personal issues,” Bill Shine, the network’s then executive vice president of programming said in a statement at that time. “He took tremendous advantage of our generosity, empathy and goodwill and we simply came to the end of the road with him.”

However, in an effort to give the political pundit another go, Fox News brought Beckel back as co-host of “The Five” on a part time basis earlier this year. Although co-hosts Jesse Watters, Dana Perino, Greg Gutfeld, and Kimberly Guilfoyle were initially leery, say sources, they cautiously welcomed the Trump critic back.

“Bob was missed by many fans of ‘The Five’ and we’re happy to welcome him back to the show,” said Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of Fox News Channel and its corporate parent, 21st Century Fox, in a prepared statement, in January.

A Fox News spokesperson refused to provide additional detail on the context of Beckel’s remarks or who the remark was directed toward, however, Douglas Wigdor and Jeanne Christensen, lawyers who have recently filed a racial discrimination lawsuit on behalf of both current and former Fox employees, said in a joint statement that Beckel told one of their clients, a black IT worker, that he was leaving the room while the employee serviced his computer because the employee was “black”.

It has not yet been confirmed who would fill Beckel’s spot on “The Five”, but Juan Williams, who rotated with Beckel each week since the now fired correspondent’s return, is expected to make additional appearances until a permanent replacement is decided.

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THE ART OF THE DEAL: TRUMP ANNOUNCES PLANS TO RENEGOTIATE NAFTA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Despite the controversies surrounding the White House this week, president Trump says he plans on sticking to business as usual when it comes to making America great again and that includes, he says, renegotiating NAFTA.

Following up on his campaign promise to do so, the president notified Congress on Thursday that he intends to enter into renegotiation with Mexico and Canada on the terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Speaking on the president’s behalf, newly confirmed United States trade representative Robert Lighthizer notified congressional leaders courtesy a two page memo that the president intends to overhaul the 23-year-old contract, which Trump referred to as “the worst trade deal ever.”

“We are going to give renegotiation a good strong shot,” Lighthizer said in the letter. But the representative refused to comment on whether or not the president would pull out of NAFTA all together should his desired terms and conditions not be met.

“Since the signing of NAFTA, we have seen our manufacturing industry decimated, factories shuttered, and countless workers left jobless,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement. “President Trump is going to change that.”

In response to the announcement, both Mexico and Canada indicated that they would welcome the opportunity to renegotiate the agreement if it meant that the pact, which was entered into by then president Bill Clinton in 1994, could benefit all nations involved.

“We look forward to working with the administration to strengthen the agreement in a seamless way and ensure that we retain the current benefits for American workers, farmers and businesses,” Texas Republican Rep. Kevin Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a statement.

Since the agreement was entered into, American farmers have primarily benefited from the reduction in trade barriers. But critics say the pact encouraged American manufacturers to relocate some operations to Mexico to take advantage of cheaper labor, resulting in the loss of much needed U.S. manufacturing jobs.

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PRESIDENT PENCE? VP LAUNCHES SUPER PAC AS RUMORS OF IMPEACHMENT SWIRL

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As his boss faces increasing backlash over reports of his alleged ties to Russia, Vice president Mike Pence filed papers on Thursday to launch a political action committee of his own.

The announcement comes just one day after the justice department announced it had appointed a special prosecutor to look into whether or not president Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Comey had anything to do with his investigation into what, if any, role the Russians played in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

In an interview with Bloomberg (https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-17/pence-takes-steps-to-build-war-chest-as-white-house-stumbles), Nick Ayers, Pence’s senior advisor to the “Great America Committee”, downplayed rumors that the VP was capitalizing on the president’s woes by pouncing on the opportunity to slide in to the Oval Office given the remote chance that impeachment should occur, claiming that the creation of the committee was simply another attempt by Pence to boost the president’s legislative efforts.

“The Vice President is playing a leading role in passing legislation on the Hill,” Ayers said. “He wants to support House and Senate members who are helping pass the president’s agenda.”

Despite his denials, Pence is well aware of the rumors circulating on the Hill. On Wednesday, conservative radio show host Michael Savage opened his show by asking his listeners if Trump should resign in order to save the party’s agenda.

Also on Wednesday, Politico ran an opinion piece (http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/17/mike-pence-president-trump-238525) which insinuated that the ultra conservative Pence may be the only hope left in saving the Republican party from collapse.

Once source close to Pence says the rumors of his sharpening the knife to stab the president in the back are “ridiculous”.

“Mike is loyal to the president,” said the source, who wished to speak off the record. “Don’t read anything more into this than his running for re-election as vice president in 2020 and supporting other candidates. This president (president Trump) isn’t going anywhere.”

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U.S. STRIKES ASSAD: TRUMP ORDERS HIT ON SYRIA AT IRAQI BORDER

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Thursday ordered a fresh round of airstrikes against pro-Assad troops in Syria after rogue forces repeatedly ignored warnings from both coalition and Russian forces, says a defense spokesperson.

The forces came within a 34-mile defensive zone around the al-Tanf base in southern Syria, according to the latest reports.

The U.S.-led coalition first tried to use a Russian hotline to warn the Syrian government to remove the forces from near the coalition base, but the forces refused to withdraw, the spokesperson said.

U.S. commanders say they quickly became concerned when they saw military tanks, bulldozers and other heavy equipment advance without authorization entering into a “de-confliction” zone near the base where American forces were located and acted accordingly.

“The coalition commander assessed the threat and after shows of force didn’t stop the regime forces and those forces refused to move out of the deconfliction zone, the commander on the ground called for the air strike as a matter of force protection,” a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News (http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/05/18/us-air-strikes-pound-pro-assad-forces-in-syria.html). “We conducted a show of force. We conducted warning shots. All to no avail,” the official said.

The strike is the second time within as many months that president Trump authorized the targeting of Syrian forces. The military action follows an April 6 attack on a Syrian government airfield, which the president ordered in response to a chemical attack that killed dozens of civilians, including children.

Syrian activists say the strike left an unknown number of casualties.

There was no immediate word from the Syrian government on the attack. Russian officials, who were initially angered by last April’s military strike against their Syrian ally, have yet to comment on the attack.

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BREAKING: PRESIDENT RESPONDS TO APPOINTMENT OF SPECIAL PROSECUTOR TO PROBE TIES TO RUSSIA

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump on Wednesday released a brief statement in response to the Department of Justice’s announcement that it had appointed a special prosecutor to investigate what, if any, ties the president has to Russia and what role Russia may have played in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

“As I have stated many times, a thorough investigation will confirm what we already know – there was no collusion between my campaign and any foreign entity,” said the president. “I look forward to this matter concluding quickly. In the meantime, I will never stop fighting for the people and the issues that matter most to the future of our country.”

The announcement comes on the heels of revelations by recently fired former FBI director James Comey that the president had asked him to pull back on his investigation of former national security advisor Michael Flynn, who was removed from his position after it was discovered that he had not been forthcoming with the Trump administration on his communications with a Russian diplomat.

…STORY DEVELOPING

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BREAKING: FORMER FBI HEAD ROBERT MEULLER APPOINTED TO OVERSEE SPECIAL INVESTIGATION INTO TRUMP

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Justice Department announced on Wednesday that former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been appointed as special counsel to oversee a federal investigation into claims of Russian influence during the 2016 presidential election and the recent firing of James Comey by president Trump.

The appointment came as a result of bipartisan outcry for a probe into what, if any, role Russia may have played in the outcome of the 2016 election and whether Comey was fired from his role as FBI director because he refused to cease an investigation into the possible ethics violations by former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

“In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement. “My decision is not a finding that crimes have been committed or that any prosecution is warranted.”

The decision by the DOJ to appoint Mueller follows a report by the New York Times on Tuesday that fired FBI Director James Comey claimed in a memo that Trump had asked him to end his investigation into Flynn.

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan had spoke out earlier on Wednesday, saying that no special counsel was needed on the matter.

Calls for comment to the White House have not yet been returned.

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SEATTLE FIRST U.S. CITY TO OFFER ‘SHOOT UP’ SUITES FOR HEROIN USERS; IS YOUR TOWN NEXT?

SEATTLE, WA — As the nation battles an epidemic the opiate addiction, one major U.S. city has decided that if you can’t beat them, join them.

Seattle heroin addicts will soon be able to legally shoot up heroin at supervised “safe space” facilities, complete with luxury surroundings, a full staff of medical experts on hand should the user choose to get a little too high and it’s all being paid for by, you guessed it, your tax dollars.

According to Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the goal behind the project is to stop the spread of highly communicable diseases that tend to accompany heroin use, such as the HIV, which can be transmitted through the use of dirty needles.

A 40-member task force developed last year by the order of Seattle Mayor Ed Murray and King County Executive Dow Constantine is in charge of the project, which supporters of say will help to save lives, but not all Washingtonians are in favor of the so called “shoot up suites” (http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/seattle-could-be-first-city-to-give-heroin-users-safe-spaces/article/2622944).

“Toleration is not compassionate, it is a signal of defeat. We cannot give up on drug users. In the end, these sites will only distract us from getting resources into real, medically proven treatment options,” says Republican state Sen. Mark Miloscia, who proposed a bill to ban secure injection zones in Washington State.

John P. Walters, director of drug control policy in George W. Bush’s administration, echoed Miloscia’s comments in support of the bill and said the only way to stop a drug addict’s addiction to opiates is to curtail the addict’s access to the drug.

“Supporting addicts’ heroin use maintains their disease, administering the poison that causes their illness and diminishes their lives. A government-approved place for unlimited heroin injection creates the conditions for never-ending addiction and gives government a drug dealer’s power over the addicted,” Walters wrote in an op-ed. “We do not protect addicts by reviving them from overdose death only to return them to death’s front door, perpetuating the self-destructive cycle of addiction.”

The city of Vancouver, British Columbia has sponsored “safe spaces” for heroin users since 2013. Despite city officials’ claims that the shoot up suites have helped to save lives, a report from the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General proves otherwise. According to data obtained from the report, drug overdose deaths have actually increased greatly since safe drug use zones were implemented (http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/public-safety-and-emergency-services/death-investigation/statistical/illicit-drug.pdf).

The city of San Francisco recently announced that they too are looking into development of a similar project.

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‘FAKE NEWS’: PRESIDENT DENIES WRONGDOING IN COMMUNICATION WITH RUSSIA; CALLS INFORMATION EXCHANGED WITH RUSSIAN OFFICIALS ‘WHOLLY APPROPRIATE’

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump came out swinging this morning in response to a Washington Post report on Monday that he provided classified information to Russia during a meeting last week at the White House (https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-revealed-highly-classified-information-to-russian-foreign-minister-and-ambassador/2017/05/15/530c172a-3960-11e7-9e48-c4f199710b69_story.html?utm_term=.57d4272b0b7b).

“As President I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining to terrorism and airline flight safety,” the president wrote on Twitter. “Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism. I have been asking Director Comey & others, from the beginning of my administration, to find the LEAKERS in the intelligence community,” the president continued.

Calling the Washington Post report just another example of “fake news” the Trump administration defended the president’s conversations with Russian officials as “wholly appropriate,” denying claims that the president revealed highly classified information on an Islamic State terror threat at any point to Russian officials.

During an often combative White House briefing on Tuesday, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said the president was not “even aware” of the information he is being accused of sharing with the Russians.

“The president wasn’t even aware where this information came from. He wasn’t briefed on the source or method of the information either,” said McMaster. “What was shared was wholly appropriate given the purpose of that conversation and the purpose of what the president was trying to achieve through that meeting.”

When pressed for a yes or no answer on whether Trump had disclosed any classified information during the course of the meeting, McMaster replied, “We don’t say what’s classified, what’s not classified. What I will tell you again is that what the president shared was wholly appropriate.”

McMaster, who said he was in the room throughout the entire meeting between the president and Russian officials, said as much as members of the mainstream media may like to assert a scandal, there is none on this topic to be found. “The president was emphasizing we have some common interests here. We have to work together in critical areas,” McMaster said. “So this was the context of the conversation in which it was wholly appropriate to share what the threat was as a basis for common action and coordination.”

A spokesperson for the Russian government also came forth on Tuesday to call allegations that Trump inappropriately shared classified information with representatives of their government “completely false”.

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DID HE KNOW TOO MUCH? INVESTIGATOR SAYS SLAIN DNC STAFFER SETH RICH SOURCE OF DNC LEAK

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rod Wheeler, a retired Washington homicide detective hired to investigate the still unsolved murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich, has come forward with allegations that Rich may have been the source who leaked a wealth of DNC documents to Wikileaks just months before last November’s election.

Rich, who was employed as the Voter Expansion Data Director for the Democrat National Committee, was found murdered in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Washington, D.C. on July 10, 2016. Although police officials called the murder the probable result of a robbery gone bad, Rich’s personal items including wallet, credit cards, watch and cell phone were never stolen.

Since Rich’s murder, speculation has run rampant that his death may have been tied to the leaked documents, which many blame for the downfall of the campaign of then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

Now, just two months shy of the one-year anniversary of Rich’s death, revelations by Wheeler, who says he believes that there has been a massive cover up into the DNC staffer’s murder, may just prove that speculation correct.

“The police department nor the FBI have been forthcoming,” Wheeler told Fox News D.C. affiliate Fox 5 (http://www.fox5dc.com/news/local-news/254852337-story). “They haven’t been cooperating at all. I believe that the answer to solving his death lies on that computer, which I believe is either at the police department or either at the FBI. I have been told both.”

When asked if Wheeler’s sources have told him there is information that links Rich to Wikileaks, Wheeler replied, “Absolutely. Yeah. That’s confirmed.”

“I have a source inside the police department that has looked at me straight in the eye and said, ‘Rod, we were told to stand down on this case and I can’t share any information with you,’” Wheeler continued. “Now, that is highly unusual for a murder investigation, especially from a police department. Again, I don’t think it comes from the chief’s office, but I do believe there is a correlation between the mayor’s office and the DNC and that is the information that will come out [Tuesday].”

According to a federal source close to the investigation, An FBI forensic report of Rich’s computer — generated within 96 hours after the polling expert’s murder — showed the staffer made contact with WikiLeaks through Gavin MacFadyen, a now-deceased American investigative reporter, documentary filmmaker, and agent of WikiLeaks who was living in London at the time.

“I have seen and read the emails between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks,” the source confirmed.

On July 22, just 12 days after Rich’s murder, WikiLeaks published internal DNC emails that appeared to show that lead party officials had conspired to stop Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont from becoming the party’s presidential nominee. The fall out from the controversy resulted in Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigning as DNC chairperson.

Later in the campaign, a series of more sinister emails released by Wikileaks revealed a series of bizarre, cult like activities partaken in by some of the DNC’s highest ranking members including the attendance of so called “spirit cooking” dinners where guests were urged to bring human urine, blood and breast milk to the event. The emails were a devastating and humiliating blow to the Hillary Clinton campaign and Clinton, herself, blamed the emails in part for her presidential loss.

The federal source says the emails are now in possession of the FBI, but that the investigation into Rich’s death is being “stalled” by the Washington Police Department.

In response to Wheeler’s comments, a spokesperson for Rich’s family has come forward with denials that the slain DNC staffer was the source behind the leak. Brad Bauman, who says that Wheeler is not authorized to speak for the Rich family, called Wheeler’s allegations “unsubstantiated.”

Calls for statement to a DNC spokesperson resulted in “no comment”.

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‘NOTHING TO SEE HERE’: WHITE HOUSE REJECTS CALLS FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR ON COMEY FIRING

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The White House is rejecting calls from Democrats to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the firing of former FBI director James Comey.

During Monday’s daily press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said there was “no need” to appoint a special prosecutor to determine whether Comey was fired as a result of the investigation into alleged Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

“There is no need for a special prosecutor. There are two congressional committees and the FBI is conducting their own review,” said Spicer.

A growing number of Democrats have been rallying for the appointment of a special prosecutor since last week’s announcement that president Trump had notified Comey that his services were no longer needed, although Comey had been the target of Democrats themselves ever since his announcement just before the election that the FBI director had reopened the agency’s probe into then Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email scandal. Many Democrats, including Clinton herself, claimed Comey’s announcement on the reopening of the investigation played a direct role in the former Secretary of State’s November loss to president Trump.

“This is a process that’s working exactly as it should,” Spicer said. “There’s frankly no need for a special prosecutor.”

When pushed for comment on whether or not the White House’s decision to avoid use of a special prosecutor may lead to push back from Democrats when the president chooses Comey’s replacement, Spicer essentially said that Democrats would just need to get over it.

“If you look at what Acting Director [Andrew] McCabe said last week, he said they have the resources they need and their work continues,” Spicer said.

“It’s at what point, you have a House and Senate, a House committee, a Senate committee, the FBI (investigating),” Spicer said. “I don’t understand why you need additional resources when you have three entities.”

Spicer also added that despite speculation to the contrary, the operation to find a replacement for Comey is running “completely as it should,” and being overseen by Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — whose letter to the president on Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email case was cited by the White House as cause for his removal.

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