CONFIRMED: No Order Given to Storm School During Uvalde Mass Shooting

UVALDE, TX — A Texas state legislator said Tuesday that no one gave the order for cops to storm a local elementary school classroom while a gunman remained barricaded inside for more than an hour.

State Sen. Roland Gutierrez told CNN’s “At This Hour” that no order was ever given to rush gunman Salvador Ramos at Robb Elementary School where 21 people were killed — before a group of agents decided on their own to go in and take out the killer.

“Is it your understanding that no command decision was ever made to breach the classroom?” host Kate Bolduan asked.

“That is my understanding,” Gutierrez answered. “What I have been told from law enforcement is that [the US Border Patrol] finally took it upon themselves and said, ‘We’re going in.’

“There’s a lot going on and I understand, and they’re still unpacking a lot of these things,” Gutierrez added, according to a rebroadcast of the interview by Mediaite. “These families deserve all the answers.”

Police said 19 fourth-graders and two teachers were shot dead after the 18-year-old stormed the school and opened fire with an AR-15-style assault rifle.

Ramos remained barricaded inside two adjoining classrooms for more than an hour before the border agents stormed in and shot him dead.

But Gutierrez said the inquiry has to go beyond the actions of Uvalde School District Police Chief Pete Arredondo, who waited all that time without giving an order to attack Ramos.

“To blame one cop on the scene with the six other cops that work for him isn’t good enough,” he said. “I don’t know Mr. Arredondo. Certainly, there was an error there.

“But I think at every point along the way you have superior forces coming in that should’ve said, ‘Let’s go in now,’ just like the CBP cop at one point said, ‘I’m done with this. I’m going in,’” Gutierrez said.

“And so, at what point do people not use some common sense here, listen to 911 calls that are coming in, understand that kids are still alive inside and know that they have to go in there, do their jobs under the active shooter protocol,” he said. “Just ’cause one person makes a mistake doesn’t mean that others have to compound on that.”

The senator’s comments come as the first two funerals for the young victims of the mass shooting are being held in Uvalde.

Grieving families are also holding wakes for two other youngsters and one of the two teachers who were killed at the school.


The New York Post’s Jorge Fitz-Gibbon contributed to the contents of this report.


Gutierrez told CNN that Border Patrol agents took it upon themselves to enter the school and confront the shooter.
Photo Courtesy: Facebook / Joe Paul Ortega

REPORT: Trump To Resume MAGA Rallies In May

WEST PALM BEACH (Gateway Pundit) — President Trump is preparing to restart MAGA rallies as early as next month.

Trump will also announce if he is running for president again after the 2022 midterm elections.

“Recently, Trump has initiated discussions about resuming the signature MAGA rallies that fortified his nascent political movement in 2016 and continued throughout his presidency. While he has vowed to travel to Alaska to campaign against Murkowski and is said to be interested in hosting campaign events for some of the candidates he’s already endorsed, aides said the logistics are still being worked out but that he could resume rallies as early as May.” – CNN reported.

“It will definitely be different in terms of the setup, but we got really good at planning these events in 2020, so we will probably use a lot of those same vendors again,” said the person close to Trump’s post-White House operation.

Donald Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity last Monday evening that he is very seriously considering a 2024 presidential bid.

“Are you running again in 2024? Hannity asked Trump during an exclusive, sit-down interview.

“I am looking at it very seriously, beyond seriously,” Trump said as he bashed Joe Biden and the Democrat party.

OVEREXPOSED: CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin Suspended After Exposing Penis During Zoom Call

NEW YORK — CNN’s Jeffrey Toobin has been suspended by New Yorker after exposing himself on Zoom call, according to a report Monday by Vice.

“I made an embarrassingly stupid mistake, believing I was off-camera. I apologize to my wife, family, friends and co-workers,” Toobin said in a statement Monday. “I believed I was not visible on Zoom. I thought no one on the Zoom call could see me. I thought I had muted the Zoom video.”

The incident in question occurred on a Zoom video conference call last week between members of the New Yorker and WNYC radio, a nonprofit public radio station in New York.

A New Yorker spokesperson has confirmed that Toobin, who has been with the publication for more than 25 years, “has been suspended while we investigate the matter.”

Toobin has worked as a CNN legal analyst since 2002. The network said in a Monday statement that he asked for time off to deal with a “personal matter.”

“Jeff Toobin has asked for some time off while he deals with a personal issue, which we have granted,” the network said in a statement.

Calls to Mr. Toobin for comment were not immediately returned.

PANETTA HITS TRUMP: Former Defense Secretary Claims POTUS Has Gone ‘AWOL’ Over Corona Crisis

WASHINGTON– Former President Barack Obama’s Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Thursday attacked President Donald Trump over his administration’s handling of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“This is a major crisis,” Panetta told Anderson Cooper 360 on CNN, noting infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci’s recent warning that America may soon hit 100,000 new cases a day.

“But the president, rather than bringing together some kind of national strategy to confront this crisis, simply resorts to tweeting about vandalism and other things to kind of divert attention from the crisis that’s there.”

“We have a president that is not willing to stand up and do what is necessary in order to lead this country during time of major crisis,” said Panetta. “I have never experienced a president who has avoided that responsibility.”

Panetta then went on to echo presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s slam at Trump’s handling of the pandemic, saying “It seems like our wartime president has surrendered and waved the white flag, and left the battlefield.”

According to a report published by Johns Hopkins University, the Coronavirus has infected more than 2.6m Americans and killed 128,000.

When questioned Wednesday about the president’s recent efforts to combat the virus, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, said: “The president is not focused on talking; he’s focused on action. And this administration has taken historic action with regard to the coronavirus.

“We have an excess amount of PPE, surge – a huge amount of ventilators in the stockpile. Things that could never be done, we were told, have been done under this administration. Testing more than 600,000 a day. This president has done a historic job with regard to coronavirus.”

Giuliani: Bolton a ‘Backstabber’ Over New Trump Tell All

WASHINGTON — Rudy Giuliani came out swinging Wednesday against former National Security Adviser John Bolton’s new tell all book.

During an appearance on Fox News, Giuliani, who serves as President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, called Bolton a “backstabber” and said he’s not quite sure “what happened” to him.

“I don’t care if he says what he saw or he doesn’t,” Giuliani said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom” of Bolton’s new book, “The Room Where It Happened.”

“If they want to publish what he says about me, I’m sure that’s not classified,” said Giuliani. “I’m happy to have him do it and I’m happy to respond to it because he’s a backstabber.”

Addressing Bolton’s claims that Giuliani and Trump “mishandled” foreign affairs, Giuliani said Bolton never came to him to address his concerns.

“He never came to me and gave me those concerns,” Giuliani said. “If he was concerned about that, if the man were a man rather than a backstabber, he would’ve talked to me…He’s selling out to sell a book. I don’t know what happened to him.”

The Trump administration has filed suit to block Bolton’s book, which is scheduled for release on June 23, on claims that it contains classified information.

In its filing, the Justice Department argues that Bolton “regularly came into possession of some of the most sensitive classified information that exists in the U.S. government,” as part of his day to day duties. Officials said Bolton’s manuscript, which contains over 500 pages, was “rife with classified information, which he proposed to release to the world” and contained “significant quantities of classified information that it asked Defendant to remove.”

“The United States is not seeking to censor any legitimate aspect of Defendant’s manuscript; it merely seeks an order requiring Defendant to complete the prepublication review process and to take all steps necessary to ensure that only a manuscript that has been officially authorized through that process — and is thus free of classified information — is disseminated publicly,” the suit argues.

In a statement Tuesday, the American Civil Liberties Union called the lawsuit “doomed to fail.”

Ben Wizner, director of the ACLU’s speech, technology and privacy project, said the Supreme Court rejected a half-century ago the Nixon administration’s efforts to block the release of the Pentagon Papers, and said it has been since established that prior restraints on publication are unconstitutional.

“As usual, the government’s threats have nothing to do with safeguarding national security, and everything to do with avoiding scandal and embarrassment,” Wizner said.

Calls for statement to John Bolton’s spokesperson was met with “no comment.”

WASHINGTON, DC – President Donald Trump, left, flanked by then national security advisor John Bolton, right, speaks to the media as he meets with senior military leadership in the Cabinet Room of the White House on April 9, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A ‘LYNCHING’: Trump swings back against impeachment inquiry; Dems cry racism

WASHINGTON– President Donald Trump on Tuesday hit back at House Democrats that are leading an impeachment inquiry they hope will remove him from office.

“So someday, if a Democrat becomes President and the Republicans win the House, even by a tiny margin, they can impeach the President, without due process or fairness or any legal rights,” Trump tweeted. “All Republicans must remember what they are witnessing here – a lynching. But we will WIN!”

The president’s comments were quick to draw criticism from those on the left who deemed his use of the term “lynching” as “racist.”

“I really believe this man is prone to inflammatory statements and that is one word no president ought to apply to himself,” Rep. James Clyburn, (D)-S.C., told CNN’s “New Day.”

“I’ve studied presidential history quite a bit and I don’t know if we’ve ever seen anything quite like this,” Clyburn said. “I am not just a politician up here. I’m a Southern politician, I’m a product of the South. I know the history of that word, that is a word that we ought to be very, very careful about using.”

“By comparing his current situation to lynching, Trump is engaging in both the weaponizing of race and his sense of victimhood,” Clyburn continued. “He is purposely dredging up some of the darkest images of our country to vent his anger and rally his supporters to his cause.
It is, in a word, gross.”

Calls for response from the White House were not immediately returned.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Trump departs for Wisconsin from the White House in Washington

BLUMENTHAL: Mueller must testify before Congress

WASHINGTON — Special Counsel Robert Mueller must testify before Congress on the details relating to his investigation of President Donald Trump, Sen. Richard Blumenthal declared Monday.

“I think he has to understand that part of his job as special counsel is to appear before congressional committees,” Blumenthal told CNN’s “New Day”.

“I hope he will do it voluntarily. If not, a subpoena may be necessary,” Blumenthal continued. “Robert Mueller wrote the book and it is a powerful 450-page description, obstruction and a threat by the Russians. Most Americans won’t read the book, they have to see the movie and Robert Mueller is the movie.”

“The key is accountability and Bob Mueller is the absolutely critical witness to holding the president accountable for his lawbreaking,” he added.

The senator also commented on House Democrat’s plans to call those mentioned in the Mueller report who have not worked in the White House and therefore cannot claim executive privilege to testify.

“They have no claim of executive privilege,” Blumenthal said. “But I’d argue that those individuals who worked in the White House previously like [former White House Counsel Don] McGahn and some of the others also lack a viable claim of executive privilege and it will be rejected by the courts.”

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‘IT’S A LIE’: Cohen backs away from plea bargain claims

NEW YORK — Michael Cohen, who once served as President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, is walking back claims he made as part of his plea bargain according to a report published by the Wall Street Journal.

Cohen, who pled guilty to eight criminal charges, including campaign-finance violations regarding hush-money payments made to adult film star Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, now claims he did not commit tax evasion and that a criminal charge related to a home-equity line of credit was “a lie.”

“There is no tax evasion,” the Journal claims Cohen said during a secretly recorded phone call with former television star Tom Arnold, a vocal critic of the president. “And the Heloc? I have an 18% loan-to-value on my home. How could there be a Heloc issue? How? Right? . . . It’s a lie.”

During the call, Cohen, who is preparing to face a three-year prison sentence in exchange for testifying against the president, said he felt like a man “all alone.”

“You would think that you would have folks, you know, stepping up and saying, ‘You know what, this guy’s lost everything,'” Cohen said.

“My family’s happiness, and my law license. I lost my business . . . my insurance, my bank accounts, all for what? All for what? Because Trump, you know, had an affair with a porn star? That’s really what this is about.”

Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, told CNN in response to the report that nothing Cohen said to Arnold during the course of the phone conversation “contradicts Mr. Cohen’s previous defense attorney, Guy Petrillo, in his sentencing memorandum to the presiding federal US District Court Judge William H. Pauley III back in December.”

“I would also add the important words used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and others, in describing Michael Cohen’s cooperation and testimony as ‘credible’ addressing the ‘core’ issues involved in his investigation,” Davis said.

According to the Journal report, Cohen told Arnold that he agreed to the plea deal in order to protect his wife.

“I love this woman,” Cohen said. “I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap, and I never thought the judge was going to throw a three-year fricking sentence.”

Cohen is scheduled to begin his prison sentence on May 6.

Trump and Cohen during a campaign stop at the New Spirit Revival Center church in Cleveland Heights, Ohio

BUSTED! ‘Creepy porn lawyer’ Michael Avenatti charged in $20 million extortion case

NEW YORK — Michael Avanetti, best known for representing adult film star Stormy Daniels in her lawsuit against President Donald Trump, was arrested Monday and charged with extorting between $15 and $25 million from Nike, the sports apparel giant.

Avanetti, an outspoken critic of president Trump, had at one time vowed to make it his “life’s work” to see Trump indicted on charges of rigging the 2016 presidential election. The New York based attorney’s arrest comes just one day after a report released by special counsel Robert Mueller cleared the president of such allegations.

Prosecutors allege that Avenatti, who claimed to have “dirt” on the Nike corporation, had threatened “to use his ability to garner publicity to inflict substantial financial and reputational harm on the company if his demands were not met.”

“As alleged, Michael Avenatti approached Nike last week with a list of financial demands in exchange for covering up allegations of misconduct on behalf of the company,” FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney Jr. said in a released statement. “The lofty price tag included a $1.5 million payoff for Avenatti’s client and upwards of tens of millions of dollars for the legal services of his firm – services Nike never requested. This is nothing more than a straightforward case of extortion.”

U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said Monday that Avenatti, 48, had engaged in “a shakedown” against the company.

“Our system of justice requires and relies on attorneys, members of the bar, to not simply follow the law, but uphold its finest principles and ideals,” Berman said in a statement. “But when lawyers use their law licenses as weapons, as a guise to extort payments for themselves, they are no longer acting as attorneys. They are acting as criminals, and they will be held responsible for their conduct.”

Co-named in the allegations against Avanetti Monday was Mark Geragos, an attorney who has represented such defendants as Michael Jackson, accused killer Scott Peterson and — more recently — “Empire” star Jussie Smollett, who was charged with falsely reporting a hate crime. Geragos also works as a contributor to CNN.

So far Avanetti has been charged with extortion, transmission of interstate communications with intent to extort, conspiracy to transmit interstate communications with intent to extort, and conspiracy to commit extortion.

Avenatti has also been charged with wire fraud and bank fraud in a separate case in California.

Daniels, who claims she terminated Avanetti as her attorney a month ago, says she was not shocked to hear of his arrest.

“Knowing what I know now about Michael Avenatti, I am saddened but not shocked by news reports that he has been criminally charged today,” Daniels told reporters. “I made the decision more than a month ago to terminate Michael’s services after discovering that he had dealt with me extremely dishonestly and there will be more announcements to come.”

Trump Lawyer Investigation, New York, USA - 12 Dec 2018

‘LOCK HIM UP’: Dems raise prospect of impeachment, jail for Trump in wake of ‘hush money’ allegations

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top House Democrats have raised the prospect of impeachment or the real possibility of prison time for President Donald Trump if it’s proved that he directed illegal hush money payments to women, adding to the legal pressure on the president over the Russia investigation and other scandals.

“There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him, that he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the incoming chairman of the House intelligence committee. “The bigger pardon question may come down the road as the next president has to determine whether to pardon Donald Trump.”

Rep. Jerry Nadler, the incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, described the details in prosecutors’ filings Friday in the case of Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as evidence that Trump was “at the center of a massive fraud.”

“They would be impeachable offenses,” Nadler said.

In the filings, prosecutors in New York for the first time link Trump to a federal crime of illegal payments to buy the silence of two women during the 2016 campaign. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office also laid out previously undisclosed contacts between Trump associates and Russian intermediaries and suggested the Kremlin aimed early on to influence Trump and his Republican campaign by playing to both his political and personal business interests.

Trump has denied wrongdoing and has compared the investigations to a “witch hunt.”

Nadler, D-N.Y., said it was too early to say whether Congress would pursue impeachment proceedings based on the illegal payments alone because lawmakers would need to weigh the gravity of the offense to justify “overturning” the 2016 election. Nadler and other lawmakers said Sunday they would await additional details from Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with the Trump campaign to determine the extent of Trump’s misconduct.

Regarding the illegal payments, “whether they are important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question, but certainly they’d be impeachable offenses because even though they were committed before the president became president, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office,” Nadler said.

Mueller has not said when he will complete a report of any findings, and it isn’t clear that any such report would be made available to Congress. That would be up to the attorney general. Trump on Friday said he would nominate former Attorney General William Barr to the post to succeed Jeff Sessions.

Nadler indicated that Democrats, who will control the House in January, will step up their own investigations. He said Congress, the Justice Department and the special counsel need to dig deeper into the allegations, which include questions about whether Trump lied about his business arrangements with Russians and about possible obstruction of justice.

“The new Congress will not try to shield the president,” he said. “We will try to get to the bottom of this, in order to serve the American people and to stop this massive conspiracy — this massive fraud on the American people.”

Schiff, D-Calif., also stressed a need to wait “until we see the full picture.” He has previously indicated his panel would seek to look into the Trump family’s business ties with Russia.

“I think we also need to see this as a part of a broader pattern of potential misconduct by the president, and it’s that broad pattern, I think, that will lead us to a conclusion about whether it rises to the level to warrant removal from office,” Schiff said.

In the legal filings, the Justice Department stopped short of accusing Trump of directly committing a crime. But it said Trump told Cohen to make illegal payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom claimed to have had affairs with Trump more than a decade ago.

In separate filings, Mueller’s team detail how Cohen spoke to a Russian who “claimed to be a ‘trusted person’ in the Russian Federation who could offer the campaign ‘political synergy’ and ‘synergy on a government level.’” Cohen said he never followed up on that meeting. Mueller’s team also said former campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to them about his contacts with a Russian associate and Trump administration officials, including in 2018.

Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida called the latest filings “relevant” in judging Trump’s fitness for office but said lawmakers need more information to render judgment. He also warned the White House about considering a pardon for Manafort, saying such a step could trigger congressional debate about limiting a president’s pardon powers.

Such a move would be “a terrible mistake,” Rubio said. “Pardons should be used judiciously. They’re used for cases with extraordinary circumstances.”

Sen. Angus King, an independent from Maine and a member of the Senate intelligence committee, cautioned against a rush to impeachment, which he said citizens could interpret as “political revenge and a coup against the president.”

“The best way to solve a problem like this, to me, is elections,” King said. “I’m a conservative when it comes to impeachment. I think it’s a last resort and only when the evidence is clear of a really substantial legal violation. We may get there, but we’re not there now.”

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut urged Mueller to “show his cards soon” so that Congress can make a determination early next year on whether to act on impeachment.

“Let’s be clear: We have reached a new level in the investigation,” Murphy said. “It’s important for Congress to get all of the underlying facts and data and evidence that the special counsel has.”

Nadler spoke on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Rubio was on CNN and ABC’s “This Week,” and Schiff appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” Murphy spoke on ABC, and King was on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

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Hope Yen of the Associated Press contributed to the contents of this report.

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