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Mid-Day Digest

Oct. 3, 2019

THE FOUNDATION

“He tells lies without attending to it, and truths without the world’s believing him. This falsehood of the tongue leads to that of the heart, and in time depraves all its good disposition.” —Thomas Jefferson (1785)

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IN TODAY’S EDITION

IN BRIEF

The Schiff Has Hit the Fan

“The Democratic head of the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, learned about the outlines of a C.I.A. officer’s concerns that President [Donald] Trump had abused his power days before the officer filed a whistle-blower complaint,” reports The New York Times in a blockbuster story that undermines what little credibility Schiff had left.

Schiff and his PR team at the Times are building his defense in this matter around the assertion that the congressman never met with the whistleblower. Schiff asserted numerous times before Wednesday that he did not know about the complaint before the inspector general of the intelligence community (IGIC) notified his committee. He asserted on Sept. 17, when news of the complaint first surfaced, “We have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.” And according to Schiff’s intelligence committee spokesman, “At no point did the committee review or receive the complaint in advance.”

Those smokescreen denials sound quite similar to the claims of the whistleblower’s attorney, Mark Zaid: “I can unequivocally state that neither any member of the legal team nor the whistleblower has ever met or spoken with Congressman Schiff about this matter.”

Thanks to the Times, however, we now know this is a lie. And by Schiff’s spokesperson’s own admission, the congressman’s office referred the whistleblower to the IGIC. The Times adds, “It also explains how Mr. Schiff knew to press for the complaint when the Trump administration initially blocked lawmakers from seeing it.”

President Trump isn’t buying Schiff’s defense. “He knew long before and helped write it, too,” Trump said. “It’s a scam.” That, of course, prompted the Times to offer a tut-tutting “fact check” dutifully echoing Schiff’s talking points: “There is no evidence that Mr. Schiff [helped write the complaint], and his spokesman said he saw no part of the complaint before it was filed.”

Again, those denials are as carefully scripted as the complaint itself. Of course the whistleblower didn’t meet directly with Schiff or his committee. They use cutouts, as they are known in the intelligence community — individuals who convey information between the whistleblower and Schiff in order to provide him “plausible deniability.” Except it’s not so plausible.

Schiff didn’t personally have those conversations or literally help write the complaint. But the idea that Schiff didn’t know exactly what was in the complaint is preposterous. His staff received “outlines” of the complaint before referring the whistleblower to the ICIG. In other words, they knew what would be in the complaint. After all, Schiff needed time to write his B-movie skit about the president’s phone call — a deceitful show for which House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has signed a resolution seeking to censure Schiff.

“This is a hoax,” Trump rightly concluded. “This is just a continuation of what has been playing out since my election.” And, he insists, Schiff “should be forced to resign from Congress.”

Given that the Times studiously avoids the issue of timing — that Schiff had a month and a half to coordinate the rollout of a complaint filed on Aug. 12 — all of this now leads to another serious question: Is there a connection between Schiff and the altered CIA reporting form?

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Dems’ ‘Gun Safety’ Proposals Trample Second Amendment

The FBI released its Uniform Crime Report for 2018 on Monday. Notably, the number of homicides decreased significantly — by 7%. What may be even more surprising is that murders committed with firearms fell by 6.7%. And of those murders committed with a firearm, only 2.8% were with a rifle (this includes AR-type rifles), for a total of 297. It’s not a new trend, but The Washington Free Beacon notes, “Rifles were used less often to commit murder than knives, fists, and blunt objects.” Meanwhile, the overall steady decrease in violent crime has coincided with a steady increase in the number of firearms sold and owned. These are the facts.

However, one would not know this reality after listening to the rhetoric coming from the Democrat presidential candidates who gathered in Las Vegas on Wednesday for the dubiously titled “2020 Gun Safety Forum.” The forum was spearheaded by the anti-firearms activist organization March for Our Lives, and it gave each of the candidates 30 minutes to present their plans for gun control. And as one would imagine, any semblance of genuine concern over protecting Americans’ Second Amendment rights was exuberantly quashed in favor of the unanimously agreed upon “need” for “commonsense” gun control.

With the backdrop of the event orchestrated to coincide with the two-year anniversary of the Las Vegas atrocity, nine Democrat candidates, using emotionally hyperbolic language combined with personal anecdotes that were devoid of any relevant facts, offered some of the most draconian firearms proposals to date.

All of the Democrats advocated proposals such as universal background checks and “red flag” laws. However, not everyone was willing to jump aboard Beto O'Rourke’s gun-confiscation bandwagon. O'Rourke, who has focused his entire campaign on essentially eliminating the Second Amendment, called for a “mandatory buyback” of all semiautomatic rifles, tying ownership of “assault weapons” to racism. (Actually, it’s gun control that has a racist history, but that’s another story.) Likewise, Cory Booker threw his support behind a mandatory buyback, but suggested that no force would be needed to enforce the law. (Wrong.) Pete Buttigieg called the “mandatory” part of a buyback a long shot. He didn’t object on constitutional grounds but rather saw it as politically untenable. Julian Castro endorsed a voluntary buyback and registry of firearm owners. Elizabeth Warren called for more federal studies on the cause of “gun violence,” while conveniently ignoring the mass of data definitively showing that the vast majority of gun-related crimes are directly tied to criminal activity such as drugs and gangs, primarily operating in Democrat-controlled urban centers. Joe Biden broke with the buyback proposal and instead called for repealing laws that protect gun manufacturers’ civil liability and for banning online sales.

What was conspicuously absent from this forum was any defense of the Second Amendment. The bottom line is, Democrats want to remove as many firearms as possible from the American citizenry. The reason: Democrats don’t want to be held to account by an American population that is armed. If a government doesn’t fear its citizens, then it can and will abuse them.

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The Power of Real Forgiveness

“I forgive you.” Those may be the most powerful words in the English language, and Brandt Jean uttered them in the most amazing of circumstances. Jean said he forgave Amber Guyger of murdering his brother Botham.

“I wasn’t ever going to say this in front of my family or anyone,” the 18-year-old Jean said, “but I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want you to do. And the best would be to give your life to Christ. I’m not going to say anything else. I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want you to do. Again, I love you as a person and I don’t wish anything bad on you.”

He paused before asking the judge, “I don’t know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please? Please?”

When the judge answered, “Yes,” Jean and Guyger embraced for nearly a full minute, exchanging heartfelt words. It was a powerfully emotional moment in our divided nation.

You see, Guyger, who is white, was a Dallas police officer and the Jean brothers are black. Guyger shot and killed Jean in September 2018 after entering what she said she thought was her apartment and discovering a man she assumed was an intruder. But amidst Black Lives Matter protests outside the court, she was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for first-degree murder.

For Jean to forgive and embrace Guyger in that atmosphere shows the true power of Jesus Christ to bring restorative forgiveness when it’s impossible for humans. Judge Tammy Kemp, also black, wept openly when the two embraced, and was moved herself to hug Guyger and tell her, “Ma'am, it’s not because I am good. It’s because I believe in Christ. None of us are worthy. Forgive yourself.” She gave a Bible to Guyger.

To the Jean family, Kemp said, “Thank you for the way you modeled Christ.”

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ON OUR WEBSITE TODAY

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BEST OF RIGHT OPINION

For more of today’s columns, visit Right Opinion.

TOP NEWS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

PROSECUTOR CORROBORATES ACCUSATION: “Former Ukrainian prosecutor Viktor Shokin — who was fired after then-Vice President Joe Biden pressured the president of Ukraine to fire him as he investigated a company, Burisma, that employed Biden’s son, Hunter — says that he was told to back off the investigation into the company before he was fired.” (The Daily Caller)

BORDER DNA TESTING: “The Trump administration is moving forward with its plan to dramatically expand DNA testing of illegal migrants at the southern border, a move intended to help control the immigration crisis. Border Patrol agents will soon have the ability to collect DNA samples of migrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement Wednesday. DHS had already implemented a pilot program that tested family relations; however, the new, broad program will be able to identify migrants.” (The Daily Caller)

DEMS TARGET NRA’S TAX STATUS: “Top Senate Democrats on Wednesday called on the IRS to determine whether the National Rifle Association should be stripped of its tax-exempt status. An investigation by Senate Finance Committee Democrats found that the NRA had violated its non-profit status by using the organization’s money to develop relationships during the 2016 election with two Russian nationals, the deputy governor of the Central Bank of Russia, Aleksander Torshin, and unregistered foreign agent Maria Butina.” (National Review)

GROTESQUE GRANDSTANDING: “A charity event in honor of a police officer killed while responding to a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, California last year has been canceled after the local police chief and a Democratic politician objected to the participation of prominent Republicans.” (National Review)

BIGGER WORRIES THAN “BLACKFACE”: “A new political action committee launched by liberal billionaire George Soros has given $350,000 to Planned Parenthood Virginia, its largest outside contribution ever, ahead of the state’s November elections, records show.” (The Washington Free Beacon)

SANITY PREVAILS: “Stung by a public outcry, Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. announced Wednesday that he had canceled the suspension and restored to duty an officer who had turned an illegal immigrant over to ICE.” (The Washington Times)

POLICY: Three things to know about Paul Ray, Trump’s pick for top deregulator (The Daily Signal)

POLICY: How rent control threatens the American Dream (Foundation for Economic Education)

HUMOR: Russia to launch investigation to determine if any Democrats have ties to the U.S. (Genesius Times)

For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.

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OPINION IN BRIEF

Gary Bauer: “Former Attorney General Eric Holder expressed his concern Tuesday that Attorney General William Barr was leading a ‘highly unusual’ investigation of the U.S. intelligence community and acting more like Trump’s personal attorney than the attorney general of the United States. This is coming from the guy who was the first attorney general ever to be held in contempt of Congress. Holder once bragged that he was Obama’s ‘wing-man,’ adding, ‘I’m here with my boy.’ Why is Holder trying to smear Barr? Because Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham are following up on several previous inspector general reports confirming that laws and Department of Justice rules were violated during the 2016 election. That is why Comey, McCabe, Strzok, and others were fired. As you may recall, Barr stated that he had more questions than answers after he began digging into the FISA warrants, and he was concerned that illegal spying took place on the Trump campaign in 2016. He appointed John Durham to investigate what is clearly more than just circumstantial evidence of corruption. So it’s not surprising that former Attorney General Holder, who could be implicated in this corruption, is now objecting to Attorney General Barr investigating this corruption.”

SHORT CUTS

Upright: “Two years ago, [House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff] lied to the American public [when] he said he had proof and evidence beyond circumstantial, and carried us through this nightmare for the last two years. He then … met with Michael Cohen and his staff, what, three times, more than 10 hours. He met with Glenn Simpson with Fusion GPS. And now he met with this whistleblower and lied to the American public. Every time they have attempted a coup, there’s been one common denominator: the lies and deceit of Adam Schiff. … He needs to recuse himself today, and the speaker needs to remove him as the chairman of one of our most sensitive committees that we have.” —House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy

For the record: “I don’t even believe this whistleblower actually wrote this complaint because it’s written in a way that reads exactly like the Steele dossier, which … was Clinton bought-and-paid-for dirt.” —Rep. Devin Nunes

Deflecting: “I think we should just focus on — [Trump’s] the issue. Nobody has ever asserted that I did anything wrong except he [sic] and … Rudy [Giuliani].” —Joe Biden

Braying jenny: “The vice president has a lot to answer to. And he also should be brought before the United States Congress to speak about what exactly was his involvement and what if any solicitations were made by the president to have the vice president engage in unethical conduct and potentially illegal conduct.” —Sen. Kamala Harris

Non compos mentis: “[Trump] should not be going after anybody. He is the president of the United States of America. He is setting some of us up to be killed. I have death threats constantly.” —Rep. Maxine Waters, who told her constituents to harass Trump officials

Braying jackass: “I understand the danger of this president. I understand that he has colluded with Russia. I understand that he’s embraced Putin. I also understand that he really wants to be and act like a dictator.” —Maxine Waters

The Award for Total Lack of Self-Awareness goes to… “We have a responsibility to uphold our oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. We also have a responsibility to get the job done for the American people.” —House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on how Donald Trump should still help Democrats pass legislation while they’re taking up impeachment

The BIG Lie: “‘Billionaires should not exist’ does not mean certain people should not exist. It means no person should have a billion dollars. The ascent of billionaires is a symptom & outcome of an immoral system.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Submit! “Here’s my message to Democrats. The public is already there. Well over 75% of Americans support gun licensing. … You should not be a nominee from our party … if you don’t believe in gun licensing.” —Sen. Cory Booker

Letting the cat out of the bag: “The idea of getting to federal [firearm] registration down the line? Possible.” —Joe Biden

And last… “Adam Schiff has never been afraid of a microphone. He’s never met a camera he didn’t love. And frankly, he’s never met a camera he didn’t lie to. Adam Schiff is basically the Jussie Smollett of Congress on steroids.” —Donald Trump Jr.

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TODAY’S MEME

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TODAY’S CARTOON

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