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Rep. Will Hurd: no proof Trump committed bribery, extortion. Top takeaways from impeachment hearingsHolmes, who testified alongside former National Security Council official Fiona Hill, laid out the competing priorities in Ukraine on Thursday.

Meghan McCain Snaps at Sunny Hostin: ‘Take Your Cheap Applause Line!’Things are just going swimmingly on The View.Following a week’s worth of dramatic impeachment hearings, conservative co-host Meghan McCain lashed out at her View colleagues on Friday over Republican belief that President Trump did not commit an impeachable offense—specifically getting into a heated, personal clash with co-host Sunny Hostin.After McCain pointed out that retiring Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) said that he has not heard evidence proving Trump committed bribery or extortion, liberal co-host and frequent sparring partner Joy Behar wondered aloud whether Hurd was “deaf” since “we all heard it.” This prompted McCain to grumble that Democrats had “gotten out over their skis” so many times with Trump that there’s now a problem of distrust for conservatives like here when it comes to impeachment.“Can I say one thing—what about the Constitution? Isn’t that the bottom line?” Behar asked.“I have a copy of the Constitution on my nightstand,” the daughter of John McCain shot back. “Please don’t talk to me about the Constitution.”“The Constitution belongs to all of us whether we have it on our nightstand or not,” Behar retorted.Moments later, McCain moved on to her next target after Hostin said she was “shocked” to hear Hurd dismiss the evidence against the president.“I will also say that it tells me that he is complicit, the Republican Party has enabled this president, continues to enable this president,” Hostin continued, causing McCain to accuse her of “slandering” a former CIA officer.“It’s about the fact that he heard evidence clear and simple and for him to sit there and say that he—the evidence has to be overwhelming and that he heard no overwhelming evidence, I want to know which hearings he was sitting at,” Hostin added to loud cheers from the audience.“It’s easy to get a cheap applause line here,” McCain groused. “It just is, and that’s fine. Take your cheap applause line.” After Hostin sternly responded that it isn’t a “cheap applause line” and “they agree” with her, McCain yelled: “Let me speak!”“You have been speaking a lot,” Hostin quickly fired back.‘The View’s’ Meghan McCain Explodes at Sunny Hostin for Defending Julian AssangeRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Trump Admin Warns Sanctuary States against Barring ICE Courthouse Arrests in LetterState supreme courts in Washington and Oregon received a letter from Attorney General William Barr and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Friday warning them to reconsider “dangerous and unlawful” directives that prohibit immigration officials from detaining illegal immigrants in and around state courthouses.Last week, Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Martha Walters banned ICE from courthouse arrests “to maintain the integrity of our courts and provide access to justice,” unless the agency has a criminal judicial warrant. Washington is considering adopting a similar measure.In response to Walters’s ruling, ICE said it “will continue to carry out its mission to uphold public safety and enforce immigration law.”“It is ironic that elected officials want to see policies in place to keep ICE out of courthouses, while caring little for laws enacted by Congress to keep criminal aliens out of our country,” an ICE statement read.Barr and Wolf’s letter, obtained exclusively by Fox News, disparages a claim that Walters makes in requiring a judicial warrant for ICE to make its arrests — an often-peddled sanctuary city policy that obfuscates the reality of immigration law.“Put simply, an administrative arrest warrant is all that Congress requires for authorities to make an arrest of an alien inside the United States for violations of federal immigration laws subject to the exceptions specifically delineated by Congress in the Immigration and Nationality Act for immigration officers to make warrantless arrests. Administrative arrest warrants —while civil in nature —are issued based on probable cause, carry the full authority of the United States, and should be honored by any state or local jurisdiction,” the letter explains.“We will further note that ICE and CBP officers are not subject to state rules that purport to restrict ICE and CBP from making administrative arrests on property that is otherwise open to the public and other law enforcement officers,” the letter continues. “Under the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution, such rules cannot and will not govern the conduct of federal officers acting pursuant to duly-enacted laws passed by Congress when those laws provide the authority to make administrative arrests of removable aliens inside the United States.”In concluding, Barr and Wolf urge the courts that “we should all agree that public safety should be of paramount concern.”“Court rules that would purport to further restrict the lawful operations of federal law enforcement officials only serve to exacerbate sanctuary laws and policies that continue to place our communities at unacceptable risk,” the letter ends.

Teacher in kidnapping case says there was a misunderstandingA Utah elementary school teacher charged with felony kidnapping after leaving school property with a 6-year-old student said she was trying to help the upset girl get home. Prosecutors filed the case against Amy Martz this week, alleging she was gone with the child for 40 minutes in a neighborhood more than a half-mile from the school. Martz, 49, acknowledged Thursday that she left Fox Hollow Elementary with the girl on Sept. 4, but said it was because the child was “sobbing uncontrollably” and seemed to need help, the Deseret News reported.

JFK files: CIA spy in Cuba ‘befriended’ Castro, Che; played key role amid nuclear-war fearsFifty-six years after John F. Kennedy's murder, unsealed government files detail dangerous intrigues about Cuba. This CIA spy was deeply involved.

Former Boston College student charged over boyfriend's suicide pleads not guiltyA former Boston College student pleaded not guilty on Friday to charges of involuntary manslaughter stemming from what prosecutors said was her role in encouraging her boyfriend to commit suicide. A lawyer for Inyoung You, 21, entered the plea on her behalf during a hearing in Suffolk County Superior Court after she returned from South Korea to face charges brought last month over the May 20 suicide of her college boyfriend, who leaped to his death from a parking garage hours before his graduation. "These text messages demonstrate the power dynamic of the relationship," Assistant District Attorney Caitlin Grasso said in court.

Ninth family member dies after Israeli strike: ministryA Palestinian wounded in an Israeli strike that killed eight members of his family has died, the health ministry in the Hamas-run strip said on Friday. Mohammed Abu Malhous al-Sawarka, 40, succumbed after being wounded in "the massacre in which eight members of a family died when they were targeted in their homes," ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said in a statement. It said he was the brother of Rasmi Abu Malhous who was killed when his home was hit by an air strike on November 14.

Protests after snake kills Indian schoolgirl in classAngry students at an Indian school protested Friday after a 10-year-old pupil died after being bitten by a venomous snake lurking in a hole under her desk. Shehala Sherin was only taken to hospital from the school an hour after being bitten and once her leg turned blue, media reports said. Around 50,000 people are killed by snakes every year in India, mostly in rural areas, with high mortality rates blamed on a deficiency of health care centres and insufficient stocks of anti-venom.

Christian group wrote legislation eerily similar to Ohio religious liberty billCritics suspect hand of Project Blitz in draft passed by Ohio house which they fear could let students’ religious beliefs trump scienceThe draft law says a teacher ‘shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work’ – language strikingly similar to Project Blitz’s model legislation. Photograph: Justin Lane/EPAAn Ohio state bill which could allow students’ religious beliefs to trump science-based facts is almost identical to model legislation backed by an evangelical, anti-gay Christian group.The Student Religious Liberties Act, which passed the Ohio house last week, instructs schools to neither “penalize or reward” students on the basis of their religious speech. It also stipulates schools must provide opportunities for religious expression “in the same manner and to the same extent” as secular speech. Critics argue the bill would provide protect students from bad grades based on religion.The bill’s backers deny it is connected to the group, called Project Blitz but the bill has nearly identical language to the model legislation backed by Project Blitz in their 2018-19 “playbook”.While student religious liberties bills existed before Project Blitz, its inclusion in a playbook by groups whose goal is to inject religion into law shows the priority they place on the matter. When contacted by the Guardian, Steven W Fitschen, president of the National Legal Foundation, said “We are, of course, delighted that legislators in Ohio drafted a bill so similar to our model bill since we believe its provisions are constitutional and beneficial to students of faith in Ohio, without impinging on anyone else’s rights.”By contrast, many mainstream civil rights groups have lined up against the bill.Project Blitz model legislation says: “A student may not be penalized or rewarded based on the religious content of his or her work.” The Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act says teachers “shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work.”“This bill is under the guise of religious freedom for students, but it’s really designed to encourage students to pray and proselytize in public schools,” said Maggie Garrett, the vice-president of policy for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “It adds more confusion than clarity, and of course current law already protects the rights of students,” she said.The law’s predicted effects have divided critics and supporters. Opponents have said the bill will cause controversy-averse teachers and school administrators to hedge against correcting students who might cite religious beliefs in classwork.Backers argue school officials are intimidated by “well funded groups” who are “biased against Ohio students’ religious freedom”. The most likely impact, groups such as the Anti-Defamation League said, is potential lawsuits against school districts.Student religious liberty bills have spread across the US south and midwest for more than a decade with roots in a 1995 set of guidelines from the Clinton administration, according to a University of California, Davis law review article.In 2007, Texas reincarnated the guidelines in a form which “intentionally lacks” some of the caveats the Clinton administration included, such as a prohibition on having a “captive audience” in school, the article said.“This bill has been around since before the Project Blitz campaign, but the bill is part of the Project Blitz playbook,” said Garrett, the vice-president for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “We will be seeing more of these bills in the future, because we’re certainly seeing an increase in other Project Blitz bills.”In another example of their similarities, Project Blitz’s model legislation reads, “A student may organize prayer groups, religious clubs, and other religious gatherings before, during, and after the school day in the same manner and to the same extent that a student is permitted to organize secular activities and groups.”Ohio’s bill said students could attend “religious gatherings, including but not limited to prayer groups, religious clubs, ‘see you at the pole’ gatherings, or other religious gatherings” and “may engage in religious expression before, during, and after school hours in the same manner and to the same extent that a student is permitted to engage in secular activities or expression before, during, and after school hours.”Even though backers deny the bill has been designed to promote Christian values, others disagree. “It is negligent and reckless of our colleagues to push an agenda this way and act as if it is not based on this one religious tenet,” said Emilia Strong Sykes, the Democratic Ohio house minority leader and a Christian. “It is anti-American,” she said.Long-term Republican control of Ohio state politics through gerrymandering – a process of drawing district lines to benefit one party – has turned Ohio into a proving ground for conservative legislation. Including 2019, Republicans have held all three levers of Ohio state government for 21 of the last 27 years, according to Ballotpedia.Ohio was the first of several states to pass a six-week ban on abortion last summer. The same legislators introduced a bill to ban abortion outright last week, including new criminal penalties for “abortion murder”. Courts stopped Ohio’s six-week ban from going into effect. Abortion is legal in all 50 US states.“My personal feeling, quite frankly, is this is disgraceful,” said Paul Beck, an Ohio State University political science professor and an expert on gerrymandering, about the Student Religious Liberties Act. “One of the products of gerrymandering and Republican domination we have in the Ohio general assembly is these are not necessarily reasonable people making our laws,” he said.“Here you have legislation that is not only not needed, but will – at minimum – cause confusion,” said Gary Daniels, chief lobbyist for the American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio. The ACLU often sues on behalf of those who suffer religious discrimination, and opposes the bill.Project Blitz is organized by the Congressional Prayer Caucus, the National Legal Foundation and the WallBuilders ProFamily Legislators Conference. Other Blitz proposals include proclamations to establish, “Christian heritage week” and a “public policy resolution favoring sexual intercourse only between a married man and woman”.The privately run Congressional Prayer Caucus works to “preserve America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and promote prayer”, according to its website. WallBuilders is led by a widely criticized revisionist historian who claims the US was founded on Christian ideals. The not-for-profit National Legal Foundation aims to “create and implement” public policy “to support and facilitate God’s purpose for [America] … in such a way as to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ”.When contacted by the Guardian, Steven W Fitschen, president of the National Legal Foundation, said “We are, of course, delighted that legislators in Ohio drafted a bill so similar to our model bill since we believe its provisions are constitutional and beneficial to students of faith in Ohio, without impinging on anyone else’s rights.”Representative Timothy Ginter, the bill’s sponsor and a pastor, said he had “no knowledge” of Project Blitz. He declined further requests for an interview.The Guardian contacted 11 co-sponsors of the legislation. None responded. The Guardian also contacted the legislator who originally introduced the legislation in 2016, former representative Bill Hayes. He did not respond to a request for comment.In a statement, Ginter argued the bill is necessary, “Because of increased pressure on our schools from groups who are biased against Ohio students’ religious freedoms, many school officials are confused, and frankly intimidated by the threat of litigation from these well-funded groups.” He also denied the bill is meant to promote Christianity. “Nowhere in the language of the bill is a specific religion mentioned,” Ginter said.The Republican-backed Ohio house passed the bill last week with a party-line vote. Only two Democrats voted in favor. The bill must be passed by the Republican-controlled Senate and the Republican governor, Mike DeWine, to become law. He did not respond to a Guardian request for comment.

Meet America's New 'Assault Ship' Armed with F-35s (And Much More)Firing deck-mounted guns, intercepting enemy cruise missiles, launching F-35B Joint Strike Fighters and using Osprey tiltrotor aircraft to attack behind enemy lines - are all mission possibilities envisioned for the Navy’s fast-progressing second big-deck America-class amphibious assault ship, the future USS Tripoli.

I love Pete Buttigieg, but sheesh, Mayor Pete is not ready to be presidentDemocrats attacked Donald Trump for his lack of government experience. We were right, and now we can't abandon our standards to elect Mayor Pete.

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