A History Of Katie Couric's Assault On The Second Amendment

Seriously, folks—the Media Research Center and Newsbusters is the go-to treasury for liberal media bias. And they’re sure having fun with Katie Couric’s self-inflicted wound of selectively editing the audio from an interview she conducted with the Virginia Citizens Defense League for her anti-gun documentary Under the Gun. To rehash, she asked a question about background checks, which, in reality, was responded to by various gun owners in the room. On the silver screen, it was met with eight seconds of silence that only served to portray the VCDL as morons. Heck, even National Public Radio said that the move was manipulative, and would pass muster with the news organization’s standards for conducting interviews. Ouch.

The reason Couric and company gave for the pause was for viewers to consider the question. Erik Wemple of The Washington Post did not buy it, and neither did anyone else for that matter. Couric finally took responsibility, but this isn’t new—and Geoff Dickens at Newsbusters compiled the greatest hits in anti-gun advocacy from the former Today Show host:

“Let’s talk about President Obama’s executive action on guns. What did you think when the President cried?...Were you affected by it?...I know you vehemently oppose the President’s use of executive actions. But constitutional issues aside, Mr. Speaker, do you still believe closing the gun show loophole is reasonable?”

— Yahoo! News anchor Katie Couric to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, January 7, 2016.

“As your convention begins today, there is reportedly a power struggle going on within the NRA. More traditional - you're laughing, but this is what by many accounts is the case that there is a schism between traditional NRA members, conservative sportsmen, and a more radical branch of Second Amendment fundamentalist zealots.”

Today co-host Katie Couric to the NRA's Tanya Metaksa, May 19, 1995.

[…]

“A lot of people are asking about the accessibility of guns. Have you wondered about that yourself?”

Katie Couric question to then Colorado Governor Bill Owens, one day after the Columbine School shooting on NBC’s Today show, April 21, 1999

[…]

Katie Couric: “Getting back to kids and guns, if you will indulge me for a moment. You cannot think of any other position the NRA could take in terms of trying to decrease the number of school shootings? You feel like this is not your bailiwick, this is not your problem?”

Charlton Heston: “Not at all. As I told you the NRA spends more money, more time...”

Couric, cutting him off: “Other than education.”

Heston: “Well what would you suppose? What would you suggest?”

Couric: “I don’t know, perhaps greater restrictions.”

— Exchange on the June 8, 1998 Today.

“Speaking of gun safety and children, Mr. Heston, as you well know and in fact as everyone in this country knows there has been a spate of school shootings recently that have been quite disturbing to all Americans. Given the fact that these seem to be happening with greater frequency has it caused you to rethink your philosophy about children and guns and the accessibility of guns for children?”

Katie Couric to the NRA’s new President, June 8, 1998 Today.

Actually, mass shootings are not increasing; we just may be paying attention to them more after the horrific Sandy Hook shooting. But if you look at mass shootings based on the FBI definition over a 30-year period, it’s hardly cause for the government to lead a concerted effort to massively erode of fundamental civil rights.

Lastly, and this is more of a mea culpa—I neglected to mention that even in Couric’s statement where she takes responsibility, she once again is incomplete regarding the audio. VCDL president Philip Van Cleave noted in an email that the transcript Couric provides is incomplete.

Here’s the incomplete transcript provided in the statement by Couric:

KATIE COURIC: If there are no background checks, how do you prevent ... I know how you all are going to answer this, but I'm asking anyway. If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from walking into, say a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun?

MALE: Well, one, if you're not in jail then you should still have your basic rights and you should go buy a gun.

KATIE: So, if you're a terrorist or a felon …

MALE: If you're a felon and you've done your time, you should have your rights.

MALE: The fact is we do have statutes, both at the federal and state level that prohibit classes of people from being in possession of firearms. If you're under 18 in Virginia you can't walk around with a gun. If you're an illegal immigrant, if you're a convicted felon, if you've been adjudicated in same, these things are already illegal. So, what we're really asking about is a question of prior restraint. How can we prevent future crime by identifying bad guys before they do anything bad? And, the simple answer is you can't.

And, particularly, under the legal system we have in the United States there are a lot of Supreme Court opinions that say, "No, prior restraint is something that the government does not have the authority to do." Until there is an overt act that allows us to say, "That's a bad guy," then you can't punish him.

FEMALE: I would take another outlook on this. First, I'll ask you what crime or what law has ever stopped a crime? Tell me one law that has ever stopped a crime from happening.

Van Cleave identifies the female as Patricia Webb. Oh, and he’s not happy about with the response the  filmmakers gave upon being caught red-handed:

…The transcript stops at a convenient place for Katie, where Patricia Webb has just asked Katie rhetorically, "Tell me one law that has ever stopped a crime from happening.” That sounds like an odd response by itself, but Pat goes on to clarify exactly what she means and it doesn’t help Katie’s case. There are other responses damning to Katie’s position on gun control, too, but none of that made it into the transcript.

All Katie had to do was put the audio of the full 4-minute response on the apology page, but she knew that people would be less likely to read a transcript than to listen to some audio. And if they did read the transcript, the last thing they read, with Katie’s edit, sounds like the group isn’t firing on all its cylinders.

If you ignore the twisting of gun-owner's words by taking a comment out of context, KATIE STILL DOES NOT SAY SHE WILL FIX THE FILM! Instead somebody watching the film on cable will have no idea that there is an “apology" buried on the film’s website for the unethical liberties Katie took with the VCDL members' responses.

Here’s the full audio again, along with the clip that shows how the VCDL was portrayed in the documentary:

ICYMI: Constitutional Carry Went Into Effect In West Virginia

Well, it’s happened. West Virginia became the eighth state to adopt constitutional carry. One in ten residents already have a concealed carry permit, and the new measures signal another victory for Second Amendment rights. Democratic Gov. Early Ray Tomblin vetoed the measure back in March, but the state legislature—with bipartisan support—overrode it. Yet, while permitless carry is now law, it also stiffens penalties for those who violate current gun statutes, like those that were mentally adjudicated, guilty of domestic abuse, and convicted felons—all of which are barred from owning firearms (via Herald-Dispatch)

More than 1 in 10 West Virginia adults has a permit to carry a concealed handgun, and the number of Mountain State residents carrying weapons is likely to increase with the new law that took effect this week.

As of May 24, a new permitless carry law allows West Virginians to carry firearms freely without going through a safety course or having to obtain permits, so long as they meet certain requirements.

House Bill 4145, which was passed in March after originally being vetoed by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, also enhances policies for those less than 21 years of age, criminals, defendants in domestic violence cases and anyone with mental impairments.

[…]

More than 156,600 West Virginians had permits to carry concealed weapons as of six weeks ago, according to a registry kept by West Virginia State Police. That is about 11 percent of the state's over-18 population.

The trend is another sign that Americans are feeling more comfortable about owning guns. According to a Gallup survey published in 2014, more than six in 10 Americans believed guns make homes safer, almost flipping from public perception in 2000. In 2000, 35 percent said guns made homes safer, while 51 percent said it made a home less safe.

[…]

While permits are still available, the only people required to obtain permits are 18- to 21-year-olds. The law also establishes a requirement for gun safety training participants to fire at least one live round of ammunition during gun safety training courses.

A $25 permit fee was set for 18- to 21-year-old residents. Anyone in that group found concealing a weapon without a permit will face a misdemeanor conviction with up to $1,000 in fines. Second offense is a felony with a one- to five-year sentence and up to $5,000 in fines.

Cheers, West Virginia.

Clinton Camp Dodges On Whether to Seek Death Penalty for Charleston Murderer

The Bernie Sanders campaign did not hesitate to respond when the Department of Justice announced last week that it was going to pursue the death penalty for Charleston murderer Dylann Roof. In an email to The Huffington Post, who asked both Democratic candidates to weigh in, Sanders spokesman Michael Briggs wrote, "Sanders opposes the death penalty.” 

The editors have yet to receive a straightforward answer from Hillary Clinton. 

The Huffington Post first posed the question to Clinton’s campaign on May 25, one day after the Justice Department made its announcement. We followed up twice that day, and once the day after. We tried again this Sunday and Monday.

The campaign only responded to one of those emails, and did so off the record — but needless to say, it didn’t answer the question.

Last year, Roof, a young man suspected of being sympathetic to white supremacist groups, walked into a Charleston church and murdered nine people who were ready to pray for him. It was a horrific tragedy that eventually convinced Gov. Nikki Haley to lead the effort to take down the state's confederate flag.

HuffPo, like many voters no doubt, believes that this tragedy demands some kind of response from the presidential candidates. Yet, once again, Clinton is giving us another example of her lack of transparency.

Interestingly, Clinton's husband introduced a piece of legislation during his presidency that could very well determine how the court decides Roof's sentencing - something that ThinkProgress reminded readers about last week.

That changed in 1994, when President Bill Clinton’s Federal Death Penalty Act greatly expanded the list of offenses for which federal defendants can face the death penalty. There are currently 54 people on federal death row, sentenced after Clinton’s expansive crime bill. Roof would bring that number up to 55 if convicted.

This context makes Hillary's silence even more awkward and unacceptable. 

As a rule, anyone running for president should know how to give a simple "yes" or "no" answer.

BREAKING: The 'Never Trump' Third Party Candidate is...Conservative Writer David French?

As a refresher, this is what Bill Kristol promised #NeverTrump holdouts over the long weekend:

And the grand reveal is...National Review writer David French? And it's not even confirmed?  Don't get me wrong: French is a decorated Iraq war veteran, a strong writer, and a principled conservative whose stalwart commitment to religious liberty is admirable, even if one disagrees from time to time. He's also advanced eloquent, consistent and compelling arguments against both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton throughout the 2016 cycle. He's an impressive man. The impressiveness of his team -- if this presidential run ever actually comes to pass -- remains to be seen. But the notion that a relatively little-known writer could parachute into this race at such a late juncture and have a prayer of winning even a single state is, frankly, preposterous.  I'll just re-up what I've written over the last week or so on these questions. First, from this morning:

Splashy national polling data and widespread discontent with the likely choices are one thing, but for anyone to take Kristol's "real chance" assessment seriously, let's see evidence that this third party ticket would be in a strong position to win -- not just compete in, but win -- several states. That is literally the only path to preventing a Trump or Clinton presidency: For this mystery man to carry a number of states in November, vacuuming up enough electoral votes to hold the two major party nominees below 270. Unless and until compelling evidence is presented that this scenario is plausible, let alone realistic, it seems as though any center-right alternative maneuver would only serve to pave Mrs. Clinton's path to the Oval Office. This is especially true in light of the Libertarian Party's nomination of Gary Johnson and William Weld at their convention over the weekend. Both Johnson and Weld are former multi-term GOP governors; their combined executive experience and commitment to shrinking the size and scope of government has already attracted the attention of many disaffected righties. Let's say Romney jumps in too, despite the immense logistical challenges and expired deadlines. The center-right would then be represented by three high-ish profile ballot options, leaving the center-left lane wide open for Clinton.

And last week:

it's simply a fact that for better or worse, the Republican Party is the only viable vehicle for defeating the Left in modern American politics, and the Republican Party's voters have seen fit to make Donald Trump their standard-bearer this year. My inclination is that it's time to allow Trumpism to sink or swim on its own. As enticing as a Romney gambit might be for those of us who cannot fully make peace with Trump as the nominee, why hand Trump's hardcore base a ready-made excuse if he loses? And why do anything to actively assist Hillary Clinton?

In my humble estimation, Trump-averse righties should suck it up and choose from among the three imperfect options that will be on the ballot in all 50 states this fall: (1) Clog your nose, say a prayer, and vote for Trump, (2) down a double tequila shot and support Hillary, or (3) pull the lever for the Johnson/Weld Libertarian ticket.  I'm personally inclined toward the latter course of action -- both as a conscience-affirming act in favor of limited government, and as a concrete, if symbolic, rejection of the radioactive options the two establishment parties have put forward this year.  So with due respect to the potential candidate, and with strong sympathy for its most prominent backers, I must say that if the French report proves accurate, it will represent an embarrassing fizzle for a 'Never Trump' movement that once seemed potent. Or at least relevant.  Instead, it will have roared in like a lion after Indiana, then trotted impotently and inexorably toward the political abyss ahead of California.

EU Court Adviser Rips Religious Freedom In Europe

A senior adviser to the European Court of Justice issued an opinion Tuesday that could have far-reaching implications for religious freedom across the European Union. Businesses have the right to ban employees from wearing headscarves and other visible political or religious symbols, Advocate General Juliane Kokott said.

Kokott’s statement came in response to a discrimination lawsuit by Muslim woman Samira Achbita, who was fired from her receptionist job at the Belgian branch of security firm G4S because she wore a headscarf. A Belgian court had asked the ECJ to clarify if the company’s religious symbol ban violated EU religious discrimination laws.

“While an employee cannot ‘leave’ his sex, skin color, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age or disability ‘at the door’ upon entering his employer’s premises, he may be expected to moderate the exercise of his religion in the workplace,” Kokott said in her published opinion.

Kokott emphasized that employers may prohibit such expression to ensure “religious and ideological neutrality.” She also said that companies can issue headscarf bans as long as the rule applies to all political and religious symbols and is not based on “prejudice against a particular religion,” according to AP.

Experts say that opinions like this one are non-binding, but lower courts generally follow the ECJ’s lead.

Reuters reported that Kokott’s statement is the first time the ECJ, Europe’s highest court, has taken on a case about headscarf bans. However, the issue has been a hot-button one in Europe and the United States for awhile.

Germany’s top court struck down a law banning headscarves for teachers last year, but anti-hijab laws in some French and Belgian schools and institutions still stand. The issue has become more important in recent years as Muslim populations in Europe have grown. Pew Research Center said last November that there were 4.8 million Muslims in Germany and 4.7 million in France as of 2010. This number has surely increased as high numbers of refugees have arrived in Europe within the past two years.

Muslims in the U.S. enjoy the First Amendment protection of religious freedom, but many European countries value secularism over free expression. A Wall Street Journal article explains that in France, this policy “is called laïcité—the idea that the state isn’t simply neutral toward religion but must banish all things religious, including religious arguments, from the public square.”

A case similar to Achbita’s was tried in California in 2013 with opposite results. Hani Khan, an employee for clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, was fired when managers decided her headscarf did not comply with the store’s “look policy.” Abercrombie paid Khan $48,000 and agreed to allow employees to wear hijabs.

Muslim American journalists Asra Nomani and Hala Arafa wrote a Washington Post opinion piece in 2015 explaining that hijab-based discrimination also exists in the U.S. within Islamic communities.

“Today, in the 21st century, most mosques around the world, including in the United States, deny us, as Muslim women, our Islamic right to pray without a headscarf, discriminating against us by refusing us entry if we don’t cover our hair,” Nomani and Arafa said.

Uh Oh: AR-15 Designer Says HBO ‘Omitted Key Parts’ In Real Sports Segment on Rifle

Another day, another possible instance of selective editing—this time by HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel over a segment on the AR-15 rifle. It aired on May 24, where Real Sports’ David Scott interviewed the rifle’s designer, Jim Sullivan, who appeared to say that the civilian AR-15 and the military-issue M16 were equivalent in their lethality. Apparently, that’s not the point he was conveying at the time, and wrote about his grievances over the interview conducted by HBO in The Federalist:

The anti-gun HBO sports interview misrepresented much of what I had said. They were apparently trying to make the AR-15 civilian model seem too dangerous for civilian sales. They didn’t lie about what I said, they just omitted key parts, which changed the meaning.

The examples I most object to are: 1) When I appear to say that the civilian-model AR-15 is just as effective or deadly as the military M16, they omitted that I had said “When firing semi-auto only” and that “the select fire M16 on full auto is of course more effective”; and 2) the interviewer pretended not to understand the relevance that, due to the Hague Convention, military bullets cannot be expanding hollow points like hunting bullets that give up all of their energy in the target body instead of passing through with minimum wound effect, with most of the energy still in the bullet and wasted.

Over at Newsbusters, Geoff Dickens clipped and transcribed the relevant portion of the interview:

DAVID SCOTT: Keane says the difference is clear, that military assault rifles are fully automatic, able to fire at speeds like this with a single pull of the trigger. While the AR-15 is semi-automatic, thus only able to fire at speeds like this. But the designer of the gun says the AR-15 is every bit as deadly as its military counterpart.

SCOTT TO JIM SULLIVAN The lethality of the AR-15.

JIM SULLIVAN: Right.

SCOTT: Is that reduced in the civilian semi-automatic mode?

SULLIVAN: No.

SCOTT: It’s not?

SULLIVAN: It’s the same.

SCOTT: The same?

SULLIVAN: In fact the gun is functioning exactly the way the military model is in semi-automatic.

SCOTT: And even the U.S. Army’s field manual advises soldiers to fire in semi-automatic mode during combat, because of its greater accuracy.

This comes after the Free Beacon’s Stephen Gutowski caught Couric and her entourage engaging in selective editing of an interview with gun owners. Couric asked them about background checks, which was followed by an eight-second pause. It was made to portray gun owners as morons, while the filmmakers content it was to allow viewers to ponder the question. No one bought it. Couric has since owned her mistake and provided the transcript of the audio that was omitted since those present during the interview actually responded to her question immediately. Who else as edited interviews to make gun owners, ownership, or the Second Amendment look bad? We’ll probably find out soon enough.

Radical Animal Rights Group Disrupts Bernie Sanders Rally

Animal rights activists rushed the stage as presidential candidate Bernie Sanders was delivering a speech in Oakland this Monday. Secret Service agents reacted quickly, shielding Sanders from the protesters before escorting them from the event.

In a press release, the group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) explained that the activists were protesting to encourage Sanders to adopt a stronger position on animal rights:

Activists do not protest at Bernie Sanders rallies in opposition to Sanders himself, but rather to pull Sanders in their direction. Sanders’ opponent Hillary Clinton recently released a campaign platform on animal issues, although it stops far short of what activists would like to see. Activists expect Bernie Sanders, the progressive candidate, to support more radical action to provide animals not just with improved conditions but with legal rights to be free from harm.

DxE promotes the idea that animals are entitled to certain basic rights, including “freedom from exploitation and enslavement.” Its ultimate goal is animal liberation, or for animals to be free from use by humans. It is in this respect that the animal rights agenda differs from the more mainstream movement for animal welfare.

As DxE alluded to in its press release, Hillary Clinton has adopted several positions promoting animal welfare: ending puppy mills, combatting wildlife trafficking, and encouraging more humane farming practices. Members of DxE want Bernie Sanders to go further than simple animal welfare and endorse their agenda of recognizing animals’ rights, which would require massive policy reconfigurations to prevent the violation of those rights. For DxE activists, to do otherwise would contradict the principles on which Sanders has campaigned.

“His campaign has promoted itself based on this idea of progressivism and rejecting discrimination and inequality," said Zach Groff of DxE, speaking to ABC News, "but when it comes to the animals in the United States and around the world, discrimination and violence is the name of the game every single day.”

Sanders continued with his rally immediately after the protesters were removed. “We don’t get intimidated easily,” he said, garnering loud applause.

New Hillary Camp Lie: If She'd Been Aware of an Email Problem, She'd Have Addressed It

Another day, another set of lies from Hillary Clinton's campaign about her national security-compromising and ongoing email scandal -- previous dissembling and dishonesty about which was exposed in last week's bombshell Inspector General report. Because mendacious assertions in earlier nothing-to-see-here memos have been blown to bits by the facts, Hillary's campaign chairman has been forced to roll out a fresh round of spin.  As John Podesta attempts to telegraph some degree of contrition, two points stick out.  First, he claims that if Hillary had been aware of any concerns about her email scheme, she would have nipped them in the bud.  Via Chuck Ross:

Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chairman offered a new explanation in a recent memo to big-dollar donors for why the Democratic front-runner used a private email system. “Had Secretary Clinton known of any concerns about her email setup at the time, she would have taken steps to address them. She believed she was following the practices of other Secretaries and senior officials,” John Podesta wrote in a memo obtained by Buzzfeed. Clinton did not inform State Department officials about the system, though the watchdog’s report said she had an “obligation” to do so. She also failed to follow State Department policy by failing to tell State Department information security officials about two attempted hacking attempts on the server, which was managed in secret by State Department information technology specialist Bryan Pagliano.

If only she'd known about those concerns at the time, "she would have taken steps to address them," he says, adding that she believed she was following guidelines and precedent. This is false. The IG report states that if Mrs. Clinton had bothered to seek permission for her scheme (which she wrongly described as "allowed" for months), she would have been denied.  Why?  Because her shockingly unsecure set-up violated data security rules that were instituted to comply with federal law and safeguard state secrets.  And on the "if she'd known" portion of Podesta's distortion, please direct your attention to this comprehensive Washington Post story chronicling the timeline of the scandal, which I summarized in a 12-point synopsis in late March. Clinton and her chief of staff were alerted to the security risks from the earliest days of her tenure at State, dating back to a February 17, 2009 meeting at which the issue "came to a head," according to the Post.  The key passage:

After the meeting on Feb. 17 with Mills, security officials in the department crafted a memo about the risks. And among themselves, they expressed concern that other department employees would follow the “bad example” and seek to use insecure BlackBerrys themselves, emails show. As they worked on the memo, they were aware of a speech delivered by Joel F. Brenner, then chief of counterintelligence at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, on Feb. 24 at a hotel in Vienna, Va., a State Department document shows. Brenner urged his audience to consider what could have happened to them during a visit to the recent Beijing Olympics. “Your phone or BlackBerry could have been tagged, tracked, monitored and exploited between your disembarking the airplane and reaching the taxi stand at the airport,” Brenner said. “And when you emailed back home, some or all of the malware may have migrated to your home server. This is not hypothetical.” At the time, Clinton had just returned from an official trip that took her to China and elsewhere in Asia. She was embarking on another foray to the Middle East and Europe. She took her BlackBerry with her.

In early March, Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell delivered a memo with the subject line “Use of Blackberries in Mahogany Row.” “Our review reaffirms our belief that the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the use of Blackberries in the Mahogany Row [redacted] considerably outweigh the convenience their use can add,” the memo said. He emphasized: “Any unclassified Blackberry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving e-mails, and exploiting calendars.” Nine days later, Clinton told Boswell that she had read his memo and “gets it,” according to an email sent by a senior diplomatic security official. “Her attention was drawn to the sentence that indicates (Diplomatic Security) have intelligence concerning this vulnerability during her recent trip to Asia,” the email said. But Clinton kept using her private BlackBerry — and the basement server.

She was made explicitly aware of "the concerns." She personally acknowledged those concerns. Then she proceeded to deliberately ignore them and continue her reckless conduct for the next three-plus years, as she trafficked thousands of classified emails -- including many dozens that contained secret, top secret and beyond top secret material -- through her unsecure server.  Furthermore, this issue flared up again two years later, when Sec. Clinton was specifically admonished that foreign hackers were attempting to penetrate US government secrets by targeting top officials'...personal email accounts.  Even as she instructed her subordinates to scrupulously follow email regulations, and punished noncompliance, she disregarded them herself.  The second point, flagged by John Sexton, pertains to her misleading excuse-making on the issue of her belated and incomplete fulfillment of records requests (and as a reminder, Mrs. Clinton and her top echelon of associates refused to cooperate with the recently-concluded IG investigation):

[Mrs. Clinton] did not turn over her email until nearly two years after leaving office, and only then when she was asked to do so by the State Department. But notice the timeline that Podesta has offered here. He is saying that Clinton believed her email had been “automatically captured” whenever she emailed someone on a government account. It wasn’t until “the Depatment contacted her in July 2014 that she learned this was not the case.” So before July 2014 she believed her email was being captured automatically. After July 2014 she knew that wasn’t true. So why was Hillary telling the media her email had been automatically captured in March 2015? According to Podesta, once the State Department contacted Clinton in July 2014, she realized that her email had not been automatically “captured and preserved.” That makes sense. If it had been captured and preserved, the State Department wouldn’t be contacting her looking for her emails. And yet, nine months later Clinton was telling the media that the “vast majority” of her emails “were captured and preserved immediately” because they went to other government accounts.

In other words, Podesta now says that Mrs. Clinton didn't realize that the overwhelming bulk of her emails were not automatically archived until she was informed of that fact in mid-2014 -- after which she and her attorneys turned over thousands of pages of emails, but not before unilaterally deleting 32,000 messages with no oversight, some of which have since been proven to be work-related.  But if Hillary was finally disabused of her misconception in 2014, why did she keep leaning so heavily on that very same misleading assertion during her March 2015 press conference?  One final note:  While, we're at it, it's time to drive another stake through the heart of the inaccurate "Powell did it too" talking point. The Clinton campaign has lied at every turn as this scandal has unfolded, and it appears as though previous lies are now complicating and undermining current lies.

U.S. Doubles Monthly Syrian Refugee Intake, 987 Admitted This May

Over 900 Syrian refugees were admitted to the U.S. this month, doubling April's total. Since October 1, 2015, more than 2,700 have been granted entrance to America.

The Obama Administration promised to receive 10,000 Syrian refugees by the end of this fiscal year. The flow of refugees has rapidly increased since last February, and the State Department set a single-day record when it admitted 225 on Monday, May 23.

Though about 10 percent of Syria's population is Christian, the refugees have been almost exclusively Muslim. Of the 987 refugees who came in this month, two were Catholic. Nine hundred and seventy-eight were Sunni Muslims, while the remainder did not specify their denomination of Islam. Of the 2,723 refugees admitted to the U.S. this fiscal year, 2,700 were Muslim, or 99 percent.

news release by the UN Refugee Agency stated that not all refugees are registering with the organization:

Some Syrians do not register out of fear. Minority communities and others fear that registration might bring retribution from other refugees or one of the many ethnic and religious groups within Lebanon. UNHCR works with various communities and religious charities to encourage them to come forward.

The chart below shows the recent increases in both the cumulative and monthly refugee totals:

A State Department official was quoted in the Washington Times as saying an increase in "process capacity" has led the government to "expect Syrian refugee arrivals to the U.S. to increase steadily throughout the fiscal year.”

The refugees who entered the U.S. this month took up residence in 30 states. Arizona received 118 and Michigan gained 102. The next highest states were Pennsylvania, California, and North Carolina. Each admitted less than 100.

Four hundred and fifty-nine of this month's refugees were boys and girls under the age of 14. The male/female distribution was 518 and 469. After the children, the next biggest age bracket was 31-40 years, which made up 16 percent, or 162 members of the group.

The Obama administration will have to admit 7,277 refugees in the next four months to reach its goal.

Hundreds of Trump University Court Documents to Be Released

Trump University is back in the news. Remember this exchange from the March 3 Fox News GOP presidential debate? 

A civil fraud case against Trump for the program won't be debated in court until after the November election, but we're about to find out some details surrounding documents being used in the case. 

Late last week Trump mocked U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel, the judge presiding over the case, and pointed out his Mexican race.  

"The judge, who happens to be, we believe Mexican, which is great. I think that's fine.," Trump said last Friday.

That same day, Curiel ordered hundreds of Trump University documents to be released to the Washington Post.

A federal judge has ordered internal Trump University documents to be released as part of a class-action lawsuit that alleges the now-defunct business owned by the presumptive GOP nominee defrauded students.

The order, requested by the Washington Post, was granted by U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel Friday. The Washington Post first reported the order online Saturday.

 The class-action civil lawsuit accuses the real estate mogul of fraud after students paid up to $35,000 for courses they say were worthless. Trump's lawyers deny any wrongdoing in the case.

The Post's order sought to unseal 153 pages from four Trump University "playbooks." Another judge earlier ruled that most of the material in the playbooks wasn't confidential or a trade secret. Politico already posted one of the playbooks online in full, Curiel noted.

"I have a judge who is very very unfair. He knows he's unfair and I'll win the Trump University case," Trump said Tuesday during a press conference. 

Trump has stated he could easily settle the Trump University case, but because he is a "man of principle" who never settles, he'll battle it out in court instead.

The Clinton Campaign's Scramble For California

Hillary Clinton is going to be the Democratic nominee after June 7. It’s virtually guaranteed, but it’ll be dotted with stories about how much of a fragile standard-bearer she would be for Democrats going into the 2016 general election. For starters, it’s very possible that she could lose California. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has been able to close the gap in the polling; she cancelled a campaign event in New Jersey, and she’s expanded her schedule in the Golden State to ward off a loss.

Again, her scramble for the state isn’t necessarily due to the fact that she needs it to win California. Clinton is definitely going to clinch the 85-100 delegates she needs to claim victory, as there are 576 delegates up for grabs in California, and they’re all allocated proportionally. There’s also the New Jersey primary, which has 142 delegates, where Clinton is leading Sanders by double-digits. But she does need the Golden State to win on a high note after a series of rather embarrassing defeats at the hands of a disheveled Democratic socialist who has been able to captivate some core groups of the Obama coalition. As The New York Times noted, Obama defeated Clinton in 2008, but she ended her campaign on a high note, along with California by an eight-point margin. Now, she’s losing states that she won in 2008, wasting valuable time and resources attacking Sanders instead of Trump, and failing miserably to sway Bernites that she isn’t compromised on the issues. Moreover, a defeat in California would increase the odds that Sanders supporters would be anything but orderly when Democrats hold their convention in Philadelphia come July (via NYT):

Mrs. Clinton’s lead in California has evaporated, going from seven percentage points over Mr. Sanders in March to two percentage points, within the margin of error, in a poll released Wednesday night by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

That has created the possibility of an embarrassing defeat here for the Clinton campaign and complicated Mrs. Clinton’s plans to turn her focus to the general election against the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump.

She dedicated this week to traversing the state for campaign events and fund-raisers and will return next week. Despite earlier signals that her campaign would avoid spending on expensive advertising in California, the campaign will begin running television ads in the Los Angeles, Fresno and Sacramento markets on Friday.

[…]

But Mr. Sanders may be helped by the state’s primary rules, which allow independents to vote in the Democratic primary as long as they register to do so. A surge of over 850,000 registrations between Jan. 1 and March 31 could indicate momentum for Mr. Sanders and signal a larger independent turnout than eight years ago, when they made up 18 percent of the Democratic primary electorate.

[…]

A defeat would also embolden Mr. Sanders and his supporters, some of who have pledged unrest at the Philadelphia convention if their issues are not taken seriously.

“Every minute she has to spend on Sanders is a moment and a dollar she can’t spend on Trump,” said Steven Maviglio, a Sacramento-based political consultant. But, he added: “It’s the Super Bowl for Bernie. It’s game over. He has nowhere else to put his money when this is done.”

To that end, Mr. Sanders has already spent 18 days in the state, speaking to crowds of thousands. And his campaign has spent $1.5 million on an ad urging Californians to choose “a new direction for the Democratic Party.”

[…]

Mrs. Clinton’s friends say winning the state is emotionally important for her to avoid humiliation, and to begin the battle against Mr. Trump from a position of strength.

Politico added onto the rather humiliating implications of a Clinton loss in California, along with the amount of resources that are being wasted in staving off an insurgent Sanders:

A California loss would cement the notion that even if Clinton isn’t what Trump would call a “total loser,” neither is she a decisive winner — despite her built-in strength and resources, she was incapable of shucking off a challenge from a self-described Democratic socialist even at the very end.

“Hillary has a lot of work to do to consolidate Democrats,” longtime ally Paul Begala conceded. “Proof of one of Bill Clinton’s Laws of Politics: ‘Democrats want to fall in love; Republicans just want to fall in line.”

Sanders’ surprising ability to do with ease exactly what Clinton can’t — make voters fall in love — has provided a damning contrast, even as Clinton is expected to finish out the primary season with more than 55 percent of the popular vote and a larger lead in pledged delegates than Obama ever scored over her.

[…]

To some extent, Sanders’ has already done damage to Clinton even if she pulls out a win. Her Brooklyn-based staff has been holding meetings to discuss the best way to attack Trump, and the candidate herself has been at the center of the effort, even presiding over one session last week.

But she has been diverted by the Sanders’ challenge, hopping back on a plane for a time-consuming West Coast campaign swing that otherwise might have been avoided. “There’s an opportunity cost” in not putting an end to Sanders earlier, said one Clinton insider.

Gov. Jerry Brown recently endorsed Clinton as we approach zero hour in California. Whether that will be enough remains to be seen, but what we’re seeing is Clinton—to her credit—at least trying to move away from what people thought she might become from the beginning of this campaign: a limousine liberal candidate, one who knows she’ll win—and won’t do much in terms of sharpening her skills as a retail politician. Granted, she hasn’t improved much in that arena. At the same time, it’s hard to sell yourself when you’re considered not far left enough on the issues by a very vocal and active segment of the Democratic Party, and continue to be caught in inconsistences regarding an ongoing FBI investigation into your private emails system that we now know wouldn’t have been approve by the State Department if she had asked, which she said she did—but did not. On the left, she’s refused to release her transcripts from her speeches to Wall Street banks, which is why this, coupled with the email server, is resonating when Trump calls her “crooked Hillary.” Moreover, it appears that younger voters, especially women voters under 30, view the email server as a pretty big deal. They’re looking for someone who would be held accountable, would take responsibility for their actions, be transparent, and not live by a different set of rules. Clinton has done nothing to live up to those standards.

If Clinton wins, there’s no guarantee that Sanders supporters will back off; they already have permits to protest in Philadelphia. Nevertheless, in the end, she will be the nominee, but not a decisive one. And she could have a monumental challenge in uniting the party, which has been fractured to a level that no one thought would be possible at the outset of this contest.

UMass Caves to Snowflakes' Demands, Agrees To Fossil Fuel Divestment

The University of Massachusetts has caved to the demands of student protesters and will be selling its investments in fossil fuel holdings, making it the first major public university to do so.

The decision followed a series of developments that signaled the University community’s desire to fight climate change. Last year, the Foundation voted to divest from direct holdings in coal companies in response to a petition from the UMass Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign, a student group. The UMass Board of Trustees later endorsed the Foundation’s decision and described climate change as “a serious threat to the planet.” Last month, the Campaign staged a series of demonstrations at UMass Amherst to call for divestment from all fossil fuels.

“This action is consistent with the principals that have guided our university since its Land Grant inception and reflects our commitment to take on the environmental challenges that confront us all,” UMass President Marty Meehan said in a statement. “Important societal change often begins on college campuses and it often begins with students. I’m proud of the students and the entire University community for putting UMass at the forefront of a vital movement, one that has been important to me throughout my professional life.”

Meanwhile, other college campuses haven’t been so receptive to students’ demands. At The Ohio State University, for example, school administrators stood up to protesters, insisting that they “will never receive a list of demands and … will not negotiate with [protesters].”

H/T: Campus Reform

Gov. Perry Defends 'American Sniper' Chris Kyle Against 'Slanted Representation' of His Medal Count

Late “American Sniper” Chris Kyle was the target of a new report last week that suggested he had exaggerated his military record. The Intercept obtained Navy documents they say prove the former Navy SEAL laid claim to medals of Honor he did not earn.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry says that is a bunch of bull. In a new op-ed for Fox News, the governor dismissed The Intercept’s “inaccurate,” “slanted representation” of Kyle’s military experience.

The most recent snake to peek its head up from the muck is a writing team for a leftwing publication whose only knowledge of the military was likely acquired while Googling derogatory slogans to scrawl on protest signs.

Perry, who served five years in the Air Force, had the support of Kyle’s widow, Taya, during his 2016 presidential campaign. Pushing back against The Intercept’s narrative, the governor explained that Americans should pay more attention to Kyle’s DD-214 record. The governor says that the DD Form, or Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, provides the most accurate account of one’s military record. As for Kyle’s DD-214, it gives him an even more impressive list of achievements: Two Silver Stars and six Bronze Stars.

When Kyle’s story was made into an Oscar-nominated motion picture two years ago, the liberal media did not exactly watch it through a patriotic lens. American Sniper, starring Bradley Cooper, detailed how he became the “deadliest sniper in American history,” amassing over 160 kills. One MSNBC analyst compared these anti-terrorism efforts to “killing sprees.”

Kyle hasn’t been the only target of a biased media. Perry felt the need to defend his friend "Lone Survivor" Marcus Luttrell in his Tuesday op-ed as well, noting how the press has distorted his record.

The anti-military appearance of today's media, Perry guesses, is the result of the "arch-liberal" Obama administration. 

The outpouring of gratitude Americans displayed after Kyle's murder in 2013 suggests that they will not let The Intercept change their opinion of him. When Texas honored the American Sniper with a memorial service that started at the Dallas Cowboys stadium, thousands of supporters showed up, with thousands more standing on the highway to pay respect to him as his casket traveled to Austin. 

With Couric Busted For Deceptive Editing, Epix Appears To Have Yanked Her Anti-Gun Documentary; UPDATE: Epix Says It Was Planned

Katie Couric was caught red-handed deceptively editing an interview with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League in her new anti-gun documentary Under The Gun. Pavlich wrote about this appalling exercise in liberal media bias. Couric questioned the group by asking “if there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons, or terrorists, from walking into a licensed gun dealer and purchasing a gun?” It was followed by an eight-second pause, which was aimed to make gun owners look like idiots.

The director of the film, Stephanie Soechtig, responded last week by saying:

There are a wide range of views expressed in the film. My intention was to provide a pause for the viewer to have a moment to consider this important question before presenting the facts on Americans’ opinions on background checks. I never intended to make anyone look bad and I apologize if anyone felt that way.”

Couric’s statement soon followed: I support Stephanie’s statement and am very proud of the film.”

Yet, even Erik Wemple of The Washington Post noted that the pause only gave “viewers a moment to lower their estimation of gun owners,” and labeled the moment to consider portion of the statement as a “weaselly excuse.” Even National Public Radio tore into the deceptive editing, saying that it would never pass muster with the new organization's protocols regarding interviews.

Now, Couric says she “takes responsibility” for the exchange with the VCDL, and provided the transcript of the audio that was left on the cutting room floor.

As Executive Producer of “Under the Gun,” a documentary film that explores the epidemic of gun violence, I take responsibility for a decision that misrepresented an exchange I had with members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL). My question to the VCDL regarding the ability of convicted felons and those on the terror watch list to legally obtain a gun, was followed by an extended pause, making the participants appear to be speechless.

When I screened an early version of the film with the director, Stephanie Soechtig, I questioned her and the editor about the pause and was told that a "beat" was added for, as she described it, “dramatic effect," to give the audience a moment to consider the question. When VCDL members recently pointed out that they had in fact immediately answered this question, I went back and reviewed it and agree that those eight seconds do not accurately represent their response.

VCDL members have a right for their answers to be shared and so we have posted a transcript of their responses here. I regret that those eight seconds were misleading and that I did not raise my initial concerns more vigorously.

I hope we can continue to have an important conversation about reducing gun deaths in America, a goal I believe we can all agree on.

Even with this act of contrition, Epix, which broadcasted the documentary, appears to have yanked it from circulation. Bob Owens wrote over at our sister site Bearing Arms that if you search for the documentary on Epix’s website it reads, “This movie is not currently playing on Epix.”

UPDATE: Epix says the removal of Under the Gun from their catalog was planned per an agreement that dated back to its premier at Sundance in March. Stephen Gutowski, who first reported on the editing, obtained this statement from their press office.

As of today, the doc moves out of the premium window - off of EPIX - and into a transactional VOD [video on demand] and EST [electronic sell through] window. This is part of the original agreement struck when we acquired the doc coming out of Sundance. The distribution strategy allowed us to premiere the doc on the network and also preserve maximum value for the transactional VOD and EST windows that follow. We did not pull the doc and there is nothing going on other than the distribution plan negotiated in January. The doc is now available in transactional VOD and EST."

Then again, the press release from Epix when they acquired the documentary in February makes no mention of the exclusivity agreement as indicated in a statement given to the Free Beacon today.

McConnell: Refusing to Back Trump Disrespects GOP Voters and Helps Hillary

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told CBS News this morning that any Republican who refuses to support Donald Trump as the party's presumptive nominee is being "disrespectful" to GOP primary voters and effectively assisting Hillary Clinton's campaign. He elaborated on this point with the Fox & Friends crew, responding to Bill Kristol's third party machinations by noting that Trump won the nomination the "good old fashioned way," adding that "we ought to respect the wishes of Republican voters. They've chosen him as the candidate." Conceding that both Trump and Clinton are unpopular, McConnell urged center-right to "look at the alternative" to a Trump win -- namely, a Hillary presidency, which he said would be a repeat of the last eight years.  "Anything that divides the right-of-center world is not helpful, and I don't think it's a good idea to do anything that helps elect Hillary Clinton," he said. Watch:

The Kentuckian is more or less echoing the words of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, who is telling his colleagues that the time has come to get in line.  Back in March, McConnell made headlines by suggesting on CNN that some GOP Senators in tough re-election fights would "drop [Trump] like a hot rock" back home. House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has prominently resisted endorsing the brash billionaire, has also reportedly given members in difficult districts carte blanche permission to do what it takes to win, vis-a-vis their treatment of Trump.  For his part, the nominee-in-waiting's campaign seems to understand that not all Republican districts are monolithic, and that some members of the party will need to distance themselves from him in order to prevail.  "If Senate Republicans want to keep their distance from the campaign and avoid the candidate altogether, Manafort said, the campaign would not hold it against the vulnerable senators," CNN reported last week.  In practice, however, Trump has evinced little tolerance for dissent, blasting away at Republicans who have criticized him, resurrecting barbs against vanquished opponents, and even ridiculing past adversaries who've come around to endorsing him.  Asked about his propensity to lash out and potentially undermine the Republican healing process at his extremely combative press conference this afternoon, Trump affirmed that he'll continue to slam members of the party who don't support him.  (By the way, while Sessions warns that Trump hold-outs within the party "won't remain in office," a new poll shows Speaker Ryan clinging to a 73-point lead over his Sarah Palin-backed primary opponent in Wisconsin).  Meanwhile, even as many within the Republican coalition are rallying around Trump, achieving full party unity remains an elusive task in some cases:

Even as Donald Trump and Republican Party bosses diligently work Capitol Hill in hopes of bringing the party together after a fractious presidential primary, convention planners could still be looking at a block of empty seats for the July convention. A growing roster of senior GOP figures – from governors to senators to, most notably, nearly every living GOP presidential nominee – is vowing to skip the convention in Cleveland, despite the candidate starting to win over the rank-and-file...Of all the living Republican presidential nominees and former presidents, only Bob Dole is expected to attend – and even then, only “briefly,” for the purpose of catching a luncheon hosted by his law firm, a source told Fox News earlier this month. Former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush have said they will not attend, as have 2008 nominee John McCain and 2012 nominee Mitt Romney...Others claim to be skipping in order to focus on their own election battles – some of those potentially made more challenging by Trump’s primary success.

A list compiled by Fox News and McClatchy features more than a dozen sitting GOP Senators, Governors and ex-presidents who say they'll sit Cleveland out.  While "respecting the will of the voters" may be more of an open-and-shut, dispositive case for the official party apparatus, National Review's Jonah Goldberg has written on multiple occasions about how people of principle have no obligation to join any candidate's bandwagon simply because he or she is a party's nominee:

I am constantly amazed at how many people get really angry at anyone who says Trump’s voters are wrong. Yeah, I get it. They’re angry. Blah blah blah. But let me ask you something: How many times have you been justifiably angry in your own life yet still let your anger lead you to a bad decision? More important, nowhere in democratic theory is there support for the idea that voters have to be right just because there are large numbers of them. By that logic, I shouldn’t be “allowed” to say Obama’s voters were wrong, either. Socialism sucks, and that won’t change if a majority of Americans elect Bernie Sanders. Democracy says we must abide democratic choices, it does not say they are dispositive of fundamental questions. Indeed, the reason we have a Bill of Rights is that the founders recognized that voters could be very, very, very wrong...It’s time to throw in the towel, they say. Trump wasn’t my first choice either, but we’ve got to make the best of it. I get that, coming from voters. But my vote isn’t my vocation...my job is to tell the truth as I see it.

I'll leave you with Trump's response to Kristol's recent hints, about which the Weekly Standard editor now seems to be hedging a bit -- with Romney sources doubling down on "no way:"

Terrific: Half of Voters Believe Hillary Clinton Should Keep Running If She's Charged With a Felony

According to a new Rasmussen Report, 50 percent of American voters believe Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton should continue her run for the presidency even if she's charged with a felony. The vast majority of voters believe it is likely Clinton broke the law by storing classified information on a private email server. 

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 43% of Likely U.S. Voters think Clinton should immediately stop campaigning if she is charged with a felony in connection with her use of a private e-mail server while secretary of State. Fifty percent (50%), however, think she should continue running until a court determines her guilt or innocence.
 
Among Democratic voters, 71% believe Clinton should keep running, a view shared by only 30% of Republicans and 46% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

Forty percent (40%) of all voters say they are less likely to vote for Clinton because of the e-mail issue, while nearly half (48%) say it will have no impact on their vote. Just eight percent (8%) say the issue makes them more likely to vote for the former first lady.

Sixty-five percent (65%) consider it likely that Clinton broke the law by sending and receiving e-mails containing classified information through a private e-mail server while serving as secretary of State. This includes 47% who say it’s Very Likely.

Whether Clinton will be charged with a felony for storing top secret, classified information on a private server inside her home is still in question. The FBI is reportedly wrapping up its criminal investigation on the matter soon, felony charges are on the table and they are being considered. 

We get the country we deserve.

WATCH: At Trump Tower, Marine Corps Vet Tells Liberal Media to 'Get Head Out of Their Butt' and Focus on Real Issues

At Trump Tower in New York City Tuesday morning, Donald Trump did his best to silence media criticism about a fundraiser he held earlier this year to support veterans' groups. For weeks, the press asked where the money had gone. On Tuesday, Trump listed each recipient along with the exact dollar amount, but that didn't stop him from getting into some heated exchanges with some of the reporters in attendance, calling one journalist a "real beauty" and another a "real sleaze."

Yet, it was a Marine Corps vet, Al Baldasaro, who really put the press in their place.

Baldasaro said there are a lot of "scam artists" who claim to want to help vets, but Trump isn't one of them. He then skewered the media for its obsession with Trump's fundraising records while neglecting to report on real veterans' issues like the alarming suicide rate and the VA scandal.

"Get your head out of your butt" and start asking the right questions, he insisted.

The List: These Are The Veterans Groups Receiving Money From Trump's Fundraiser

In January presumptive GOP Nominee Donald Trump boycotted the Fox News debate in Iowa and held a very public fundraiser for Veterans groups across town. The campaign and Trump repeatedly stated $6 million was raised and today, the list of groups receiving the money was announced. The campaign argues it took time for the checks to be paid out due to a lengthy vetting process for groups that applied for funds.

"The money has been paid out," Trump said to a sea of reporters, saying he wanted to keep the list private and that isn't anybody's business. "I have been thanked by so many great veterans groups." 

"I wanted to keep it private because I don't think it's anyone's business if I want to send money to the vets," Trump continued. "Most of the money went out quite awhile ago...you have to vet all of these different groups. You have to go through a process."

Here is the list of checks that have been delivered and cashed according to Trump:

#22Kill $200,000 

Achilles international $200,000

American Hero Adventures $100,000

Americans for Equal living $100,000

America's Vet Dogs, The Veterans Canine Corp. Inc. $75,000 

AMVets $75,000

Armed Services YMCA of the U.S. $75,000

Bob Woodruff Family Foundation Inc. $75,000

Central Iowa Shelter and Services $100,000

Connected Warriors Inc. $75,000

Disabled American Veterans Charitable Services Trust $115,000

Fisher House Foundation $115,000

Folds of Honor Foundation $200,000

Foundation for American Veterans $75,000 

Freedom Alliance $75,000

Green Beret Foundation $350,000

Hire Heroes USA $75,000

Homes For Our Troops $50,000

Honoring Americans Warriors $100,000

Hope for the Warriors $65,000

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund $175,000

Canines for Warriors $50,000

Liberty House $100,000

Marine Corp Law Enforcement Foundation $1,100,000

Navy SEAL Foundation $465,000

Navy Marine Corp Relief Society $75,000

New England Wounded Veterans Inc. $75,000

Operation Home Front $65,000

Partners for Patriots $100,000

Project for Patriots $100,000

Puppy Jake Foundation $100,000

Racing for Heroes Inc. $200,000

Support Siouxland Soldiers $100,000

Task Force Dagger Foundation $50,000

The Mission Continues $75,000

The National Military Family Association Inc. $75,000

Veterans Airlift Command $100,000

Veterans Count $25,000

Veterans in Command Inc. $150,000

Vietnam Veterans Workshop Inc. $75,000

Warriors for Freedom Foundation $50,000

Total: $5.6 million

Trump said he expects more money to come in and for more checks to be paid out.

This post has been updated with additional information.

Former State Department IG: No, Hillary Didn't Use Private Email Like Powell or Rice

After the State Department Inspector General issued a damning report last week proving former Secretary Hillary Clinton violated Department rules, the Federal Records Act and compromised national security by using a private email server to conduct all of her government business, the Clinton campaign responded by arguing other Secretaries had done the same thing. 

"While political opponents of Hillary Clinton are sure to misrepresent this report for their own partisan purposes, in reality, the Inspector General documents [show] just how consistent her email practices were with those of other Secretaries and senior officials at the State Department who also used personal email. The report shows that problems with the State Department's electronic record keeping systems were longstanding and that there was no precedent of someone in her position having a State Department email account until after the arrival of her successor. Contrary to the false theories advanced for some time now, the report notes that her use of personal email was known to officials within the Department during her tenure, and that there is no evidence of any successful breach of the Secretary's server. We agree that steps ought to be taken to ensure the government can better maintain official records, and if she were still at the State Department, Secretary Clinton would embrace and implement any recommendations, including those in this report, to help do that. But as this report makes clear, Hillary's use of personal email was not unique, and she took steps that went much further than others to appropriately preserve and release her records," the Clinton campaign released last week.

This is a false argument. No other Secretary of State, including Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, used private email exclusively to conduct all government business and neither set up a private server inside their homes. Further, there is no proof either Powell or Rice shared classified, top secret information on a private email account. 

Now in an exclusive interview with Fox News, former State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard is debunking the Clinton campaign narrative, exposing Clinton's lies about security protocol and argues he would have also investigated her use of a private server. 

"I would have been stunned had I been asked to send an email to her at a personal server, private address. I would have declined to do so on security grounds and if she had sent one to me, I probably would have started an investigation," Krongard said.

Krongard also touched on a key point at the center of the ongoing FBI criminal investigation of Clinton's server: How did classified information jump from a secure, closed, government system to Clinton's private server? We'll get that answer if the FBI moves forward with an indictment.

UNC Changes Mind, Will Not Enforce HB2

The University of North Carolina has had a change of heart about the state's HB2 law, which requires transgenders to use the bathroom that corresponds to the sex on their birth certificate. While the school initially accepted the rule, school administrators and attorneys are now arguing that their anti-discrimination policy includes the needs of transgenders.

University system President Margaret Spellings wrote in an affidavit that, pending the outcome of the North Carolina case, "I have no intent to exercise my authority to promulgate any guidelines or regulations that require transgender students to use the restrooms consistent with their biological sex."

The university system's lawyers went further, noting in a filing that the state law contains no enforcement mechanism and the university system also hasn't "changed any of its policies or practices regarding transgender students or employees."

The liberal group ThinkProgress argues that UNC only initially complied with the law out of "pleaded ignorance." 

They're likely not the only ones applauding the school's pivot. The Tar Heel State has received a lot of backlash from progressives for a bathroom bill they say is discriminatory. Bands have cancelled their scheduled concerts and businesses like PayPal have refused to expand its operations in the state.

The Obama administration then waded into the matter, turning a state controversy into a national one by sending letters to public schools across the country demanding they recognize transgender bathroom rights.

Some, however, have been able to find humor in the situation. Check out how NASCAR made fun of the controversy at this weekend's Coca Cola 600. 

Nevertheless, it's no laughing matter when it comes to how allowing those who identify as transgender to enter any bathroom or locker room they choose will affect students' safety. Will these institutions come to regret their decisions to give in to political correctness?

Rumor: An 'Impressive' Third Party Candidate Coming Soon?

If #NeverTrump chieftain Bill Kristol is to be believed, an alternative independent candidate is set to announce a presidential bid at some point, presumably soon -- identity and time frame TBD. Here's what the Weekly Standard editor and television mainstay tweeted on Sunday, touching off a tempest of speculation, hope, derision and scorn:

Is that a prediction, or a revelation based on inside knowledge? If it's the latter, he must be referring to Mitt Romney, right? The 2012 GOP nominee has been harshly critical of Trump for months, was reportedly deeply involved in the (failed) effort to recruit a strong non-Trump option for center-right voters, and is rumored to be reconsidering his previous decision not to jump into the fray himself.  Who else (of the dwindling list of names still in play) fits that description?  Who else has an established "strong team" already in place, or at least one that could be mobilized fairly quickly?  Who else has the name recognition and financing network that would allow him or her to even sniff putting up a strong enough fight to have a "real chance"?  Given the historic unpopularity of the two major parties' presumptive nominees, it's no great shock that some national polling demonstrates a healthy public appetite for a third option on the presidential menu this year. Indeed, a recent Washington Post/ABC News survey showed non-candidate Romney already pulling 22 percent against Clinton and Trump, who were both in the 30's.  Nevertheless, the ever cynical Allahpundit is almost certainly correct here:

Splashy national polling data and widespread discontent with the likely choices are one thing, but for anyone to take Kristol's "real chance" assessment seriously, let's see evidence that this third party ticket would be in a strong position to win -- not just compete in, but win -- several states. That is literally the only path to preventing a Trump or Clinton presidency: For this mystery man to carry a number of states in November, vacuuming up enough electoral votes to hold the two major party nominees below 270. Unless and until compelling evidence is presented that this scenario is plausible, let alone realistic, it seems as though any center-right alternative maneuver would only serve to pave Mrs. Clinton's path to the Oval Office.  This is especially true in light of the Libertarian Party's nomination of Gary Johnson and William Weld at their convention over the weekend.  Both Johnson and Weld are former multi-term GOP governors; their combined executive experience and commitment to shrinking the size and scope of government has already attracted the attention of many disaffected righties.  Let's say Romney jumps in too, despite the immense logistical challenges and expired deadlines.  The center-right would then be represented by three high-ish profile ballot options, leaving the center-left lane wide open for Clinton.  Unless Bernie Sanders decides to shiv Hillary and launch an outside bid of his own after she finally puts him away in the Democratic primary, Trump + Romney + Johnson = President Hillary Clinton.  Speaking of Her Majesty, I'll leave you with Jennifer Rubin hammering Team Hillary for their pitiful spin and endless lies in the face of the significant new report released by the State Department's Inspector General, pertaining to her national security-endangering email scandal:

Every talking point [California Democrat Adam] Schiff is forced to present is wrong. She did not get approval. Her situation is not analogous to Powell’s. She did not turn over the materials voluntarily. And she did not turn over everything. One really cannot blame the surrogates, of course. It is the campaign and Hillary herself who are continuing down the path of denial and deflection. In doing so, she continues to cement the impression of a defiant, dishonest pol. Moreover, it reminds us, as Ron Brownstein remarked, that ” there was no one around her who was willing to tell her that she was wrong. And when people tried to raise questions, they were told to be quite. That is a — that was ominous traits for a president.”

fact-checked Democrats on similar points late last week.

McConnell: Trump's 'Not Going to Change the Republican Party'

Speaking with radio host Hugh Hewitt Tuesday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell reassured listeners that Donald Trump will not change the nature of the Republican Party.

Many have said that the rise of Trump indicates the GOP has an identity crisis, some even going so far as to argue that the party will never be the same, and has even died.

Whether or not Trump has embraced the Republican Party’s limited government theory remains to be seen, but ultimately, “he’s not going to change the Republican Party,” McConnell told Hewitt. “Think of Eisenhower, for example. But Trump is not going to change the institution. He’s not going to change the basic philosophy of the party.”

McConnell said the reason he’s comfortable supporting Trump is because on the issues that will have the greatest impact on the future of the country—like nominating judges to the Supreme Court—“I think he’ll be just fine,” he said.

Holder Praises Edward Snowden: He Performed a 'Public Service'

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday said Edward Snowden, the NSA contractor who stole up to 1.7 million classified documents and released hundreds of thousands of them to journalists, performed a “public service” by igniting a debate in the country about domestic surveillance programs.

"We can certainly argue about the way in which Snowden did what he did, but I think that he actually performed a public service by raising the debate we engaged in and by the changes that we made," Holder said during an interview with CNN political commentator and former senior adviser to Obama, David Axelrod.

Nonetheless, Holder did follow up by saying that what Snowden did was wrong.

"Now, I would say doing what he did in the way he did it was inappropriate and illegal," he said. "He's broken the law. In my view, he needs to get lawyers, come on back and decide what he wants to do — go to trial, try to cut a deal."

Snowden has repeatedly said he would be willing to return to the United States if the federal government would provide him a fair trial. However, Snowden says he is concerned that under federal espionage laws he would not allow him to present a whistleblower defense, arguing in court he acted in the public interest.

"But in deciding what an appropriate sentence should be, a judge could take into account the usefulness of having that national debate," Holder added.

On Memorial Day, Bear In Mind Those We've Lost In ‘Forgotten Wars’

As Memorial Day comes to a close, there has been a lot of talk about whether we, as Americans, have forgotten the significance of this holiday. Many regard Memorial Day as pretty much the start of summer (though that doesn’t officially begin until June 20), where families head down to the beach for the long weekend. Others are heading to outlet stores to take advantage of the various shopping deals occurring over the weekend. We are able to do these activities because hundreds of thousands before us decided to give their lives in various wars to preserve our freedoms.

We should honor those who served and died for our country, and thank God (or whatever higher power that may exist) that this country is filled with scores of men who were willing to make that sacrifice. From the Revolutionary War to Operation Iraqi Freedom, we stand and take pause and the brave men and women who died performing extraordinary acts to defend this country and their fellow comrades in arms. Yet, I always have a special place for those who never came back from the Korean War.

Yes, we did fight in Korea starting in June of 1950-1953, though the first contingent of American troops committed at first were ill-prepared and poorly equipped. It wasn't until the landing in Inchon in September of 1950 that UN/US/ROK forces began to drive the North Koreans across the border. It was also the first time the United Nations went to war. Why do I hold those who died in Korea in high regard? For starters, I, and millions of other Korean-American adoptees, wouldn’t be here without their service and sacrifice. Without American intervention, it’s certain that the last of the South Korean forces would’ve been overrun near the Pusan Perimeter. It was the last sliver of land left for the communist North Korean forces to conquer and unite the peninsula under a reign of unbearable human suffering and tyranny, much like what we see today above the 38th parallel.

Millions of Koreans and Korean adoptees would’ve been shut off from the world, unable to live better lives in the homes of caring Americans. I’m one of them. If American soldiers decided not to get involved in Korea, I would not have been flown into Newark Airport on December 8, 1988 and adopted by my new family. I would not have been able to live the American Dream. Period. My life could have been marked by starvation, economic destitution, and the irrational paranoia that the Great Leader can read my thoughts. For native South Koreans, the Miracle on the Han River that helped catapult the nation into the G20, making them economic heavyweights in league with Europe and the United States, would have never happened.

Most importantly, the Korean War if often relegated as a forgotten one. No war in which American blood has been should ever be considered forgotten. Over 30,000 Americans fought to keep a people they really didn’t know free from communist oppression. I’m forever grateful for those who sacrificed their lives. I’m indebted forever to those who served in that war. And every Korean should feel the same.

So, while we honor those who have died to keep this nation free, and other countries free as well, let’s not forget the wars that might not have been covered so thoroughly in the classroom. After all, every American who has died in the service of his or her country is a hero. We must not forget a single one every year we mark this occasion.

To those who have died throughout the years in the defense of our republic, especially those who never came back from Korea—thank you.

BONUS: Historian Victor Davis Hanson analysis of the Korean War, where he says it "deserves to be remembered and studied with pride."

Editor's Note: Got some dates and facts mixed up ... thanks for pointing this out Everitt Simpson--and thank you for your service in Korea. I wouldn't be writing this post if it weren't you, sir. 

ESPN Columnist Laments Cops Singing National Anthem, Signals ‘Authoritarian Shift At The Ballpark’

Apparently, there’s been a shift towards authoritarianism at sporting events because law enforcement is participating is singing the national anthem. No, I’m not kidding—ESPN columnist Howard Bryant is somewhat unnerved by this spectacle seen prior to the start of a sporting event. The article ("The Unspoken Truth") is not available online, but Clay Waters, who perused the piece, at Newsbusters broke down this peculiar view:

Policing is clearly one of the most divisive issues in the country – except in the sports arena, where the post-9/11 hero narrative has been so deeply embedded within its game-day fabric that policing is seen as clean, heroic, uncomplicated. Following the marketing strategy of the military, police advocacy organizations have partnered with teams from all four major leagues to host ‘Law Enforcement Appreciation’ nights, or similar events.

[…]

Nobody seems to care much about this authoritarian shift at the ballpark, yet the media and the public are quick to demand accountability from players they consider insufficiently activist. They blame these black players for not speaking up on behalf of their communities, ignoring the smothering effect that staged patriotism and cops singing the national anthem in a time of Ferguson have on player expression. It’s indirectly stifled, while the increasing police pageantry at games sends another clear message: The sentiments of the poor in Ferguson and Cleveland do not matter....While athletes are routinely criticized for “not doing more,” it is conveniently ignored how deeply their employers have mobilized against the most powerless elements of their fan base.

Uh, what? Seldom do fans think about sociopolitical contexts of who sings the national anthem prior to the start of a game. Most people are still in line waiting for burgers hot dogs, fries, chicken tenders, and most importantly beer. They want to see a good game, not debate whether a police officer singing the national anthem means we don’t care about Ferguson, Missouri—or something.

Waters noted that in 2015, Bryant took umbrage with the way in which the Chicago Blackhawks acknowledged Veterans Day:

There is not just deceit in these practices but also an insulting distortion of history and images. The Chicago Blackhawks ostensibly honored Veterans Day with a camouflage jersey containing the Blackhawks' logo in the center, clearly uninterested in the colliding imagery -- the systematic removal of native tribes occurred at the hands of the U.S. Army. Since 9/11, America has conflated the armed forces with first responders, creating a mishmash of anthem-singing cops and surprise homecomings in a time of Ferguson and militarized police. Tensions continue to mount in aggrieved communities, yet the LA Dodgers pandered to police by holding Law Enforcement Appreciation Night in September.

Give me a break, dude.