Kurtz on Trump’s former Ms. Universe dust up: “He can’t seem to let go of it”

Howard Kurtz told viewers Friday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that when it comes to Donald Trump’s continued clashes with former Ms. Universe Alicia Machado, “he can’t seem to let go of it.”

“I cannot figure out what Donald Trump gains especially among women by continuing to attack Alicia Machado,” Kurtz said.

In a series of tweets posted before dawn Friday, Trump slammed Machado and told his followers not to believe any anonymously sourced reports about his campaign. A short time later, Trump tweeted that rival Hillary Clinton’s acceptance of Machado’s support was a sign of “bad judgement” and alleged that Machado has a sex tape.

Clinton responded by calling the tirade “unhinged, even for Trump.”

Kurtz said Trump’s tactic is nothing new, adding, “This is part of his familiar pattern of refusing to walk away from fights even with obscure figure even when the fight does not benefit him.”

Race for the White House

Krauthammer on Trump’s central weakness: ‘His Vanity.’

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Wednesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s central weakness is his vanity.

“I don't know why everybody's surprised of his lack of discipline. I mean he's been out there for 15 months, he's completely undisciplined,” said Krauthammer. Adding,  “Yet, for about a month he's been led around, shackled, handcuffed by his staff, made to read from the teleprompter.”

However Krauthammer asserts that it’s not that simple for the Trump campaign, “The minute you let him loose, meaning on the debate stage, where there is no prompter, and then immediately after when he's reacting... What emerges is his central weakness; Vanity.

US mil: 18 ISIS leaders killed in airstrikes in past month//500-800k refugees expected in Mosul

By Lucas Tomlinson

18 ISIS leaders have been killed in Iraq and Syria in the past month, a Baghdad-based US military spokesman told reporters at the Pentagon Thursday. 

Fox News had reported last week on Special Report that over a dozen ISIS leaders had been killed in Mosul ahead of the expected ground operation next month in Iraq’s second largest city. Some of the ISIS leaders are Chechens who hold a “special place” with the terror group, said Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the US-led coalition.

One of the critical tasks facing the Iraqi government in retaking Mosul from ISIS is the handling the expected 500-800,000 refugees expected to pour out of Mosul after ISIS is defeated, said Dorrian. He said the screening of the refugees is one of the most important components of the Mosul operation, saying it’s a conversation the US-led coalition has with the Iraqis “every day.”   Dorrian said the screening process must be done under the “command and control” of the Iraqi government.

In June, following the liberation of Fallujah by Iraqi forces, hundreds of Iraqi Sunni refugees fleeing the city were reportedly abducted and later killed by Iranian-backed forces outside the city, including Kataaib Hezbollah, which was designated a terrorist organization by the State Department in 2009 for attacking US forces in Iraq. 

The United Nations said in July that 900 Iraqi refugees who left Fallujah were missing and at least 50 had been executed and blamed Iraqi Shia militias, many backed by Iran.

Some of these Iranian-backed forces are now located on the outskirts of Mosul, according to US officials.  

Dorrian said the 615 troops going to Iraq that the defense secretary announced Wednesday would be the last increase needed to help the Iraqis take Mosul.

“We believe this is all the force we will need to liberate Mosul,” he said.

Dorrian said a sizable number of the new US troops going to Iraq are intelligence personnel that will be needed to sift through terabytes of information ISIS is expected to leave behind when they either flee the city or are killed.  

When the ISIS supply hub of Manbij was liberated near Syria’s border with Turkey, 20 terabytes of information was recovered by US-backed forces, said Dorian calling it a “treasure trove” of information about ISIS that has since been shared with western intelligence agencies including those in Europe.

When asked why some troops are going to a remote airbase in western Iraq’s Anbar province, Dorrian said the goal is to turn al-Asad airbase located northwest of Ramadi into a 24/7 airport to fly drones and support Iraqi military aircraft.  At the moment, the airbase can only support day time operations, he said.

Krauthammer: The veto override is not going to make a difference for 9/11 families but will injure the United States

Congress handed President Obama a stinging defeat as lawmakers in the Senate voted to override a veto of legislation that would allow 9/11 victims' families to sue Saudi Arabia over any involvement in the terrorist attacks.  Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer told viewers on Wednesday's "Special Report with Bret Baier" the veto override vote won't probably affect 9/11 families in the way most want it to. 

Krauthammer explained by saying, "I don't think this is not going to make any difference other than give them some kind of outlet...but I do think there will be a long term injury to us on the question of sovereign immunity." 

Those against The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act or JASTA as it is known, argue the new law would take away the tradition of sovereign immunity which could allow citizens of foreign countries to sue members of United States military and others on diplomatic duty when on overseas missions.

Krauthammer elaborated that while it's not the most important issue in the world, sovereign immunity is "irretrievable."

He also lamented on how members of Congress should have shown such steadfast resolve against President Obama a long time ago.  "I wish the Congress had shown the same kind of spine in resisting some of the other or more egregious encroachments," he said. 

With this override coming so late in the president's second term, Krauthammer says "I wish they had had the courage to do something like this on the Iran deal."

 

Jack Quinn & Michael Mukasey on 9/11 Bill

Ahead of tomorrow’s expected veto by President Obama, Bret Baier took a fair and balanced look at the 9/11 Bill, holding back-to-back interviews with Jack Quinn (an attorney representing the 9/11 families) and Judge Michael Mukasey.

Quinn told Bret that the 9/11 families are “incredibly distressed” that President Obama would veto the bill, but is “absolutely confident” that Congress will “overwhelmingly” override it. When asked about a letter written by top officials (including Judge Mukasey) arguing the bill would undercut sovereign immunity protection, Quinn described those suggestions as false because “sovereign immunity is not an absolute.” “The conflation, the confusion that the judge [Mukasey] and his colleagues in the administration make between what the United States does to prevent terrorism and what other countries do to support terrorism is a very dangerous proposition,” Quinn said.

On the other side, Mukasey argued that while he has sympathy for the 9/11 families, “we don’t want to hurt ourselves in an effort” to try to help them. Mukasey also said “there has been no such determination” that the Saudi government was involved in the 9/11 attacks. Overall, Mukasey’s view is that the United States has “the most at risk from the notion not that another country is going to do the same thing as was done in this bill, but rather that they're going to use this as the excuse to undercut sovereign immunity.”

 

Krauthammer: Debates are going to hold more importance than ever before

Krauthammer says this year's debates are going to hold more importance than ever before

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer told viewers on Tuesday's "Special Report with Bret Baier"  that the debates are going to be crucial this time around for candidate and voters.

With Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump starting to take a slight lead in some battleground state polls, such as Iowa and Ohio, Krauthammer says "it's getting late early" for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. 

Krauthammer explains that with both candidates being well-known to voters, debates are going to play a bigger role than in years past, especially for Clinton.  "People know who they are...I'm not sure what her advertising advantage is going to be at this point," Krauthammer said.

Past history has shown that debates do not alter the basic shape of the race but Krauthammer predicts this year will be different.  "The importance of these debates is gonna exceed the importance of any debates in any race that we have ever seen."

Pentagon wants 500 more US troops for Iraq

By Lucas Tomlinson

The US military is seeking to add another 500 US troops to Iraq in addition to the 400 that arrived over Labor Day Weekend, two military officials tell Fox News.

In July, the Pentagon received approval to raise the troop number in  Iraq to 4,647 troops in Iraq from a previous authorization of 3,870 in January.

If President Obama signs off on the military’s plan for more troops, the number would grow beyond 5,000.   There are other US troops inside Iraq that the Pentagon claims are on “temporary” assignments, although some of these deployments last up to one year in country.  Counting these troops, the new forces going to Iraq will push the number of American forces on the ground in Iraq to over 6,000 troops unofficially.

The new US troops in Iraq will remain in an “advisory” capacity officials say, but US troops have increasingly found themselves in danger in Iraq.

In addition to the rocket attack suspected of containing a “mustard agent,” earlier this week, nearly 500 US troops at a base 25 miles south of Mosul have been attacked four times in the past week in conventional rocket attacks, normally one to two rockets at a time, Fox News is told.

An official with knowledge of one of the attacks said one rocket landed “real close” to US troops.  “There is a real danger,” US troops face in Iraq right now, the official said.

Three US service members have been killed in Iraq fighting ISIS.

Officials said the planned deployment 500 additional troops would not be going Qayyarah Airfield, the base 25 miles south of Mosul, but elsewhere in the country as the US military ramps up efforts to support Iraqi forces in a ground assault on Mosul expected to kick off in the next few weeks.

A senior defense official confirmed to Fox News that Iraqi forces had successfully made it to the center of Shirqat, a key supply hub for ISIS forces 60 miles south of Mosul. 

Fox News Electoral Scorecard Map - Clinton Maintains Electoral Lead

We have certainly seen a tightening race over the last month, but Clinton still maintains an electoral lead. Clinton remains ahead in enough states to give her an electoral victory even though her grip on several states has weakened.

Since late August, Trump has trimmed Clinton’s polling leads in states such as Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, and Virginia. However, Clinton maintains sufficient polling average leads in those states for us to think they are still leaning in her direction. We’ll continue to watch for further tightening in the polls before we rate any of those as Toss Up contests. Wisconsin might be the first of these to slip back to being a Toss-Up state, but it’s not quite there yet.

We’ve avoided bouncing back and forth on Florida and Ohio by maintaining our Toss Up ratings on those states over the last month, expecting the polling margins to tighten, as they have, compared to what we were seeing in August.

And you might see others rating them as Lean Republican or even Toss Ups, but we still see South Carolina and Texas as being solidly Republican at this time.

2016 Scorecard

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If Clinton were to win the states we’ve rated Solid Clinton along with the states we see as leaning in her direction she’d have 273 electoral votes. A presidential candidate needs only 270 Electoral Votes to win the presidency. If Trump wins the Solid Trump states along with the states currently seen as leaning in his direction he’d come away with 164 electoral votes. The Toss-Up states, not currently in either candidate’s column, hold another 101 electoral votes.

The 2016 Scorecard map shows whether we think the state is solidly in a candidate’s column, leaning toward one candidate, or currently a toss-up state.  The solid states are not currently thought to be competitive, the leaning states are still competitive but one candidate appears to have an edge, and the toss-up states are races where neither candidate has a clear advantage.

Mean Tweet Monday: Bret's tan is so bad he looks like a bag of BBQ Fritos!

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