Thursday, August 16, 2018

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Developing now, Thursday, August 16, 2018
  • President Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan and suggested in an interview that Brennan’s role in the Russia investigation influenced his decision; the clearances of other Obama-era officials and others are under review
  • Jury deliberations in the fraud trial of Paul Manafort are expected to begin Thursday after heated closing arguments Wednesday between prosecutors and the former Trump campaign manager's defense team
  • Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a potential 2020 presidential candidate, engaged in a war of words after Cuomo said Wednesday that America 'was never that great'
  • One man has been arrested after more than 70 people overdosed around a park in New Haven, Conn., on Wednesday, police say
THE LEAD STORY - IS REVOKING BRENNAN'S SECURITY CLEARANCE TRUMP'S REVENGE? -  President Trump has revoked the security clearance for former CIA Director John Brennan, and suggested in an interview that he based his decision on Brennan's role in starting the Russia collusion investigation .... Brennan was director of the CIA under President Obama and presented evidence to Trump before his inauguration that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election. “I call it the rigged witch hunt, [it] is a sham. And these people led it. ” President Trump told the Wall Street Journal. He added: “So I think it’s something that had to be done.”
Trump's decision to revoke Brennan's security clearance, the White House said Wednesday, was the first to come from a review of access for several top Obama-era intelligence and law enforcement officialsWhite House press secretary Sarah Sanders read a statement on behalf of the president during the start of the press briefing, saying Brennan "has a history that calls his credibility into question." The statement also claimed Brennan had been "leveraging" the clearance to make "wild outbursts" and claims against the Trump administration in the media.
In response, Brennan tweeted hours later: "This action is part of a broader effort by Mr. Trump to suppress freedom of speech & punish critics. It should gravely worry all Americans, including intelligence professionals, about the cost of speaking out. My principles are worth far more than clearances. I will not relent."
Last month, the White House said it was looking into the clearances for other former officials and Trump critics, including former FBI director James Comey; former deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe; former director of national intelligence James Clapper; former national security adviser Susan Rice and former CIA director Michael Hayden (who also worked under President George W. Bush). On Wednesday, Sanders added to the list Justice Department official Bruce Ohr, former FBI agent Peter Strzok (who was fired from the bureau last week) and former FBI general counsel Lisa Page.
MANAFORT TRIAL GOING TO THE JURY: Jurors in the tax evasion and fraud trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort were expected to begin deliberations Thursday, and defense lawyers said Manafort was optimistic about his chances for acquittal ...  A unanimous verdict from the 12 jurors is required to convict Manafort on each of the 18 counts against him.
Prosecutors painted Manafort as a chronic liar who thought he was above the law. "This is a case about Mr. Manafort’s lies,” prosecutor Greg Andres said. Throughout their closing arguments during the day, defense attorneys claimed prosecutors not only failed to meet their burden of proof that Manafort committed bank and tax fraud, but that "not a single bit" of evidence supported their allegations. Manafort's defense team also tore into Rick Gates, the prosecution's star witness who pleaded guilty earlier this year in hopes of receiving a lighter sentence.
Manafort's lawyers suggested that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team had improperly ensnared their client in the ongoing Russia probe, prompting a last-minute recess in the case after prosecutors cried foul. Judge T.S. Ellis told jurors to ignore the defense team's suggestion that the Mueller prosecution was politically motivated.
TRUMP VS. CUOMO: THE 'GREAT' BATTLE BEGINS -  President Trump fired back at Andrew Cuomo late Wednesday, saying the Democratic New York governor was having "a total meltdown" after he declared at an earlier bill-signing that America “was never that great" ... during the event in New York. But the line drew gasps from the crowd. "We're not going to make America great again. It was never that great," Cuomo said.
In response to the remark, Trump tweeted, "Can you believe this is the Governor of the Highest Taxed State in the U.S., Andrew Cuomo, having a total meltdown!" Cuomo fired back at the president on Twitter shortly after. "@RealDonaldTrump: What you say would be 'great again' would not be great at all...We will not go back to discrimination, segregation, sexism, isolationism, racism or the KKK," the tweet said.
OVERDOSE MYSTERY: As many as 76 people overdosed on what was believed to have been synthetic marijuana at or near a Connecticut city park as fellow parkgoers watched in horror. Police said they arrested a man believed to be connected to at least some of the overdoses ...  Officials said most of the overdoses happened on the New Haven Green throughout the day on Wednesday. No deaths were reported, but authorities said two people showed life-threatening symptoms.
CBS News reported the victims, covering a range of ages, experienced “a multitude of signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting, hallucinating, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, semi-conscious and unconscious states,” said Rick Fontana, director of the city’s Office of Emergency Operations. Naloxone, an antidote for narcotic overdoses, was administered to some victims but didn’t appear to be effective.

BRENNAN'S ALLEGED COMMUNIST TIES: "He voted for a Stalinist, how did he ever get a security clearance?" –"Life, Liberty & Levin" host Mark Levin, on "Hannity," blasting critics of President Trump's move to John Brennan's security clearance, noting that the former CIA director supported Communist presidential candidate Gus Hall in the 1970s. WATCH
NEW 'SPOTLIGHT' ON CHURCH SEX ABUSE: "This is a systemic problem within the Catholic Church." – Michael Rezendes, Pulitzer Prize-winning member of the Boston Globe's team that exposed the church's sexual abuse cover-up in the city, telling Dana Perino on "The Daily Briefing" that he wasn't surprised by the bombshell sexual abuse scandal around the Catholic Church in Pennsylvania. WATCH

Husband confesses to killing pregnant wife, two daughters: reports.
Hillary Clinton backs kid who knelt during Pledge of Allegiance: 'Keep up the good work.'
CNN's April Ryan slams Omarosa: 'She stabbed in the back, the neck, the eyeballs'
Todd Starnes: Masterpiece Cakeshop owner targeted for refusing to make transgender-themed cake.

Cruz-O'Rourke Senate race may hold insight on future politics of Texas.
Make election ballots English-only, Arizona GOP candidate says.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says tariffs 'like weight loss.'

Pence prays with Mollie Tibbetts' family in Iowa, promises federal support.
Priest abuse accuser calls on church to ‘lay out’ sin ‘at the foot of Christ.’
Parents of missing journalist Austin Tice tell Fox News they're 'confident' he's still alive.

China, U.S. to hold trade talks in late August: report.
Cisco tops profit, revenue estimates boosted by software.
SEC ramps up Tesla investigation after Elon Musk's tweets.
Shopify bans certain gun sales through its online stores.
Millennial workers earn the most in these states.
Kobe Bryant $6M sports drink investment yields massive return: report.

Newt Gingrich: Here are three big lessons from the primaries this week.
Peter Roff: 'Big blue wave' boasting is dissipating, but it's not time to celebrate yet.
Jeremiah Poff: The Catholic Church is guilty of a grave moral failure for allowing massive sexual abuse of children.

Trump supporter says he took beating after protesting Social Distortion singer's politics.
Smashing Trump’s Walk of Fame star was ‘rightful’ act, suspect says after pleading not guilty.
Ailing Aretha Franklin 'at peace with her journey': report.
Madonna turns 60, celebrating more than three decades of fame -- and controversy.

Stern of U.S. WW II destroyer discovered near remote Alaskan island.
Iowa State Fair's strangest food this year could be cookie dough spaghetti.
Georgia thieves escape with nearly $100,000 worth of ramen noodles, police say.

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On FOX News: 
FOX & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Todd Piro kicks off the "All-American Road Trip" with an adventure in Dollywood. Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, on the state of the economy under President Trump. Sen. Ron Johnson discusses meeting with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and movie critic Kevin McCarthy visits the last remaining Blockbuster.
Your World with Neil Cavuto, 4 p.m. ET: Exclusive: Former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson explains why he's running for the U.S. Senate.
On FOX Business:
Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke; Karl Rove; and "Benson & Harf" co-host Marie Harf.
Varney & Co., 9 a.m. ET: Former SEC chairman Harry Pitt; Don Bramer, former Naval Intelligence officer; Sen. Steve Daines.
The Intelligence Report, 2 p.m. ET: Christian Whiton, former State Department senior adviser in the President Trump and George W. Bush administrations; Heather Zumarraga, Vision 4 Fund Distributors senior vice president; Kayleigh McEnany, RNC national spokeswoman.
On FOX News Radio:
The FOX News Rundown podcastAmerican spending is through the roof, with most of the purchases occurring at grocery stores, restaurants, and department stores. FOX Business anchor Gerri Willis discusses why consumers appear so confident and its link to the job market. In his new book "The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump," FOX News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett dives into Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation. He joins the podcast with his analysis. Plus, commentary by former U.S. Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
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The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: Joe Kelley guest hosts. Special guests include: Kevin Corke on the latest news from the White House; Rep. Brian Babin explains the Threat, Assessment, Prevention and Safety (TAPS) Act, legislation he has introduced to counter school and community violence.
The Tom Shillue Show, 3 p.m. ET: Legendary voice actor Bill Lobley and FOX Business producer Jennifer Eckhart join Tom Shillue’s nightly panel to discuss the most important stories of the day!

1977: Elvis Presley dies at his Graceland estate in Memphis, Tenn., at age 42.
1962: The Beatles fire their original drummer, Pete Best, replacing him with Ringo Starr.
1954: Sports Illustrated is first published by Time Inc.
1948: Babe Ruth dies in New York at age 53.
FOX News First is compiled by FOX News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your day! We'll see you in your inbox first thing Friday morning.
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