2016: Trump campaign hires political strategist Rick Wiley

Today, Donald J. Trump announced that he has hired veteran political strategist Rick Wiley as National Political Director to head the campaign’s statewide field operations.

Mr. Trump stated, “Rick is a seasoned political expert with a very successful career in winning elections. He brings decades of experience, and his deep ties to political leaders and activists across the country will be a tremendous asset as we enter the final phase of securing the nomination.”

Mr. Wiley said, “Voters are frustrated with the political status quo in our country and are hungry for an outsider to shake up Washington. Donald Trump has energized millions of hard working people across the country with his no-nonsense straight talk and will bring his record of success to tackle the real problems that face our nation.”

Previously, Mr. Wiley has held several roles with the RNC including National Political Director, and has managed multiple election campaigns. 

The Shermanesque Pledge


By Chad Pergram, Fox News 

Many commentators today will declare that House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) uttered a “Shermanesque” pledge to rebuke those who would court him for the Republican presidential nomination.

In his remarks, Ryan said “let me be clear: I do not want, nor will I accept the nomination for our party.”

The term “Shermanesque” is derived from American politics in the late 19th Century.

There was an effort to draft Civil War General William Tecumseh Sherman to run for President in 1884. Sherman didn’t, famously snubbing his suitors by saying “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”

There is also some contention about the precise verbiage Sherman deployed. Sherman’s quote is sometimes cited as “I will not accept if nominated and will not serve if elected.”

Hence the origin of a “Shermanesque pledge.”

Shortly after the Civil War, Sherman also indicated he had no interest in running for president. At that point, Sherman said “I hereby state, and mean all that I say, that I never have been and never will be a candidate for President; that if nominated by either party, I should peremptorily decline; and even if unanimously elected I should decline to to serve.”

President Lyndon Johnson bowed out of re-election in 1968, saying “I shall not seek, and I will not accept, the nomination of my party for another term as your president.”

Richard Nixon also had something of a “Shermanesque” statement in November, 1962. He lost the California gubernatorial contest to Gov. Pat Brown (D). Nixon famously said to the press “you don't have Nixon to kick around any more, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference.”

But Nixon came back and won the GOP Presidential nomination and won the presidency in 1968.




Fox News Reporting - Donald Trump – The Disrupter

Disrupt – “Interrupt (an event, activity, or process) by causing a disturbance or problem.”

When Donald Trump announced his candidacy last summer, the experts rolled their eyes. They’d heard it before and few took him seriously. But his blunt talk, and promise to “Make America Great Again,” struck a nerve.  He became the GOP frontrunner, with a base of voters whose belief in the man borders on fanaticism.

In Donald Trump – The Disrupter, we give you access inside this improbable presidential campaign – warts and all -- speaking to his family, friends and supporters, and going on the road with the candidate himself.  Trump has disrupted the pundits, the GOP, the presidential race and business-as-usual.  This assault on the political world has naturally created pushback, and the hour also investigates the resistance Trump has gotten from both right and left – and the damage he has done to himself.

Donald Trump – The Disrupter offers a fresh take on one of the most unlikely presidential campaigns ever.  America may never be the same.

Computer Outages Continue for the DC Area's Largest Healthcare Provider

A spokeswoman with MedStar Health tells Fox News that the healthcare provider is still experiencing widespread computer outages but that progress is being made “by the hour.” MedStar Assistant VP Ann Nickels tells Fox that the hospital network has regained its ability to access patient records and other vital information largely in a “read only” capacity, she added that many doctors and nurses throughout MedStar are still unable to enter patient data and other medical information into the network’s computer systems.

Nickels would not elaborate on what specific type of attack the healthcare network was experiencing, only saying that MedStar’s IT professionals were working to rid the network of malicious computer software present on its system.

Fox News reported on Tuesday, citing a MedStar doctor, that the healthcare provider is wrestling with a “ransomware” attack and that hackers were holding MedStar’s computers hostage in exchange for payment in Bitcoin.

Nickels also confirmed to Fox that MedStar’s entire email system is still inoperable. Fox News learned this firsthand late Wednesday when an email to a MedStar employee bounced back as undeliverable (a screenshot of that mail is attached).

FBI confirmed earlier this week that it is investigating the cyberattack and “looking into the nature and scope of the matter,” according to a spokesperson with the agency.

MedStar’s latest statement on the incident was released Wednesday afternoon at 3pm:

3 p.m. MedStar Health Update Regarding Computer Downtime

Posted on March 30, 2016

Thanks to the diligent and tireless efforts of our MedStar leaders, IT systems team, clinicians, and associates-and above all else, the trust and support from our patients and community, MedStar is not only continuing to move toward full restoration of our major IT systems, but has maintained its promise to meet the care needs of the communities we serve. The malicious malware attack has created many inconveniences and operational challenges for our patients and associates. With only a few exceptions, we have continued to provide care approximating our normal volume levels.

Our focus throughout has been on providing high quality, safe patient care and meeting the needs of our communities. Since Monday morning, we have seen more than 6,000 patients in our hospitals and ambulatory centers. Specifically, we have:

Cared for an average of 3,380 patients a day in our 10 hospitals

Treated 2,400 patients in our emergency departments

Performed 782 surgeries

Welcomed 72 babies into the world

"Our remarkable team of physicians, nurses and associates have been dedicated to maintaining high quality care for all our patients despite the disruption caused by the malware attackers," said Stephen R.T. Evans, MD, chief medical officer of MedStar Health. "The disruption to our systems has not impacted our ability to provide quality care to our patients, and we regret any inconveniences to our patients and the extra challenges to our associates that the perpetrators of this attack have caused."

Brussels Airport Suicide Bombers Listed in U.S. Databases; Known to FBI

Two additional law enforcement sources confirm to Fox News that the two brothers named as suicide bombers in the Brussels airport attack were listed in U.S. intel databases and known to FBI.

One source explained to Fox that Belgian authorities shared intelligence on these individuals with their foreign counterparts. Fox is told that among the agencies listed under the “tear line” of an intelligence document on these individuals was FBI.

This source explains that intelligence on these individuals lived in U.S. databases for cross-referencing purposes – essentially so FBI and other U.S. agencies had awareness of the names if they were to come up over the course of another investigation.

Fox is told that post-9/11, this is a prime example of the kind of foreign intelligence sharing that we hear about.

Additionally, this source tells Fox that FBI’s participation in the investigation into the Brussels attacks amounts to a full court press right now. Director Comey noted today that there are no known connections between Monday’s attacks and threats to the U.S. homeland, but Fox is told that FBI assets overseas and agents across the country are working their sources hard to get any possible information on the perpetrators named in these attacks and any potential copycat plots that might be planned against the U.S. homeland. 

DOJ to Announce Charges Against Several Iranians for Connection to NY Dam Hack

Matt Dean, Fox News Producer

Fox News has learned through a law enforcement source that an indictment will be unsealed in the Southern District of New York tomorrow charging up to five individuals with ties to the Iranian government for computer hacking-related crimes. According to this source, these individuals are being charged in connection with the 2013 cyberattack of the Bowman Avenue Dam in Rye Brook, New York.

Fox is told that Attorney General Loretta Lynch and U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara are expected to make the announcement Thursday morning at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.

The Wall Street Journal reported in December that officials at the Department of Homeland Security believe that hackers infiltrated the Bowman Avenue Dam through a cellular modem which enabled them to access the control system.

The Department of Justice would not comment on the matter.

Fox News first reported the Iranian connection on March 10. The State Department declined to comment on the incident that day instead deferring to the Justice Department. Spokesman Mark Toner did add though that the U.S. government takes seriously all malicious activity in cyberspace and continues to ensure the safety of U.S. interests when it comes to cyberattacks. 

FBI Sends "Fly Team" From NY Field Office & Evidence Techs to Assist Belgians in Brussels Investigation

A law enforcement source tells Fox News that the FBI has sent a fly team from its New York Field Office to assist Belgian authorities in their investigation of the terror attacks in Brussels yesterday. Fox is told this team consists of agents who will be on the ground conducting interviews to gain any and all intelligence they can on the incidents.

Additionally, Fox is told that an FBI Evidence Response Team (ERT) from the FBI Lab in Quantico, VA has deployed to Brussels as well. FBI ERTs are generally looked upon as some of the best forensics teams in the world.

FBI’s Legal Attache (LEGAT) office in Brussels has been working with Belgian authorities since the attacks took place yesterday. Fox is told that part of that work includes facilitating intelligence sharing between Belgian authorities and U.S. intelligence databases.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates told reporters at a press conference this afternoon that the Justice Department has been in touch with its Belgian counterparts and stands ready to offer any and all assistance it can. 

US officials: 1 North Korean missile blew up shortly after launch

By Lucas Tomlinson, Fox News Producer

Despite earlier claims by North Korea that it fired two ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan, two US officials tell Fox News that one blew up shortly after lift-off in an embarrassing new twist for the North Korean military.

A US defense official Thursday evening said North Korea launched two ballistic missiles, but did not specify how far each missile traveled.  Both missiles were  Nodong medium-range ballistic missiles, based on the Soviet-era Scud-C missile.

"Neither was assessed to be a threat to the U.S. or our regional allies.  These launches are a violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions," the official said.  

Both missiles were launched from mobile road launchers, making it difficult to track their movement since the launchers can be easily hidden.

One of the missiles, launched from the west coast of North Korea north of the capital, Pyongyang, flew hundreds of miles into the Sea of Japan, marking a dangerous escalation in North Korea's missile program.   

The medium-range launch was the first North Korean missile capable of hitting Japan since 2014.

This is the second launch of missiles into the Sea of Japan this month by North Korea.

In February, North Korea launched a satellite into space on Super Bowl Sunday in the United States.   The concern among Pentagon officials is the same components used to launch the long-range rocket into space are the same components used for an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Last week, the US Air Force’s top officer told reporters North Korea did not possess the capability to put a nuclear warhead atop one of its long-range ballistic missiles.   North Korean leaders a day later said they did.

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said the U.S. military can knock any North Korean ballistic missile out of the sky.

On January 6, North Korea claimed to have detonated a hydrogen bomb, later refuted by US officials.

President Obama signed authorized new sanctions earlier this week targeting North Korea's coal industry, which some analysts suspect fuels its missile program. 

An earlier sanctions bill signed by the president in recent days targeted luxury goods consumed by North Korea's elite.

The missile launches coincide with annual military exercises between the United States and South Korea involving more than 10,000 troops.

Three nuclear-capable B-2 bombers were sent to the region as part of the exercise in a show of force to the North Koreans.

Late Thursday, State Dept. spokesman John Kirby said used the singular when referring to the missile launch.

"We have seen reports that North Korea launched a ballistic missile into the Sea of Japan," said Kirby. 

Garland the best "political” pick Obama could make

By Bill Mears, Fox News

 Judge Merrick Garland has long been on President Obama's political radar-- considered for each of the three Supreme Court nomination opportunities of his term, and receiving incrementally more serious attention each time. That he was chosen reflects what court watchers call his experience, legal acumen, and consensus-building skills.

At the Wednesday Rose Garden announcement ceremony, Garland called the nomination the greatest opportunity in his life, a "gift." It may be something he ultimately wishes he could return.

The 63-year-old chief judge of the federal appeals court in Washington will take on a role more daunting and precarious than any judicial nominee in recent memory has tackled-- that of a political "pinata" -- as Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) so bluntly put it.

"Judge Garland is the best political pick the President could make in this unique environment we're in," said one former administration lawyer with knowledge of the confirmation process, emphasizing the word "political."

"And I don't mean that in a bad way. [Justice Antonin] Scalia's unexpected death in an election year really changed the rules for choosing someone for this court" that source added.

The nomination of a Supreme Court nominee in such a charged environment-- following the unexpected February 13 death of conservative lion Scalia-- will test Garland's fortitude. Colleagues praise his intelligence, personal charm, and sense of humor as necessary to navigate his initial meetings on Capitol Hill with senators, a process that begins Thursday.

Senate Republicans who control the chamber have vowed not to give a Garland a hearing, saying the next President-- and by extension the American people-- should have that power.

"In light of the contentious presidential election already well underway, my colleagues and I on the Judiciary Committee have already given our advice and consent on this issue: we will not have any hearings or votes on President Obama's pick," Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) told Fox News. Lee, a former law clerk of Justice Samuel Alito, vowed not even to speak with Garland. "Any meeting with the nominee only be a waste of the Senate's time."

Anticipating that rhetoric, President Obama again urged lawmakers to put partisanship aside.

"It is tempting to make this confirmation process simply an extension of our divided politics, the squabbling that's going on in the news every day," he said with his nominee standing by him, expressionless. "But to go down that path would be wrong.  It would be a betrayal of our best traditions and a betrayal of the vision of our founding documents."

Some of the president's supporters expressed mild disappointment he did not make history and name the first Asian-American to the court. Sources close to the selection process tell Fox News the decision came down to Garland and Sri Srinivasan, who was born in India and raised in Kansas. Both are colleagues on the DC federal appeals court.

"While we are disappointed that President Obama did not nominate an Asian American today, we stand behind his nominee and are confident that when future Supreme Court vacancies occur, Asian Americans will continue to receive this highest level of consideration," said Christopher Kang, director of the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans. 

As for Garland-- who would become the fourth Jewish member of the court-- joining fellow liberals Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan-- left-leaning  advocates downplayed his liberal record and instead sought to promote his consensus credentials.

"In this moment President Obama was facing a very difficult choice," said Elizabeth Wydra, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center. But by choosing Garland, "That's a pretty smart move on the president's part,  and it makes it pretty hard for Republicans  to continue their hard line that they wont even meet with this nominee and we're already seeing some cracks in that position."

But conservative groups urged Senate Republicans to hold firm, saying Garland has a clear progressive record, especially in issues like gun rights and executive power.

"There's no way this President would nominate someone to the Supreme Court who he wasn't confident of joining those four extremely liberal judges we already have on the supreme court," said Carrie Severino, chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network. "That would make an unassailable five-justice majority for a laundry list of issues."

Already legal advocacy groups have begun scouring Garland's 19-year record on the appeals court, which handles a range of hot-button issues, especially dealing with the statutory limits of Congress and the constitutional limits of the President. It is considered the second most powerful federal court after the one Garland would join. Three current justices-- and Scalia-- had served on the DC Circuit.

His judicial record is reliably liberal, but on some issues Garland sided with more conservative colleagues-- a dynamic similar to what he would face on the current divided 4-4 liberal-conservative majority of the high court. Among the higher-profiled cases he has decided:

Discrimination  (Barbour v. WMATA, 2004): Allowed a Washington, D.C., government worker to sue for disability discrimination. He was supported in the ruling by then-appeals court colleague and good friend John Roberts, now chief justice.

Environment  (Rancho Viejo v. Norton, 2003): Parted ways with Roberts by refusing to rehear a case over federal protection for the rare arroyo toad, and sided against a California developer who challenged the Endangered Species Act.

Electronic privacy  (ACLU v. U.S. Department of Justice, 2011): Concluded information about how and when the government gathers and uses cell phone location data to track certain criminal suspects should be made available to the public.

Drone strikes   (ACLU v. CIA, 2013): The CIA must acknowledge the existence of any records related to military unmanned drone strikes aimed at people such as terror suspects overseas, calling the agency's previous denials "fiction." He wrote:  "The CIA asked the courts to stretch that doctrine too far-- to give their imprimatur to a fiction of deniability that no reasonable person would regard as plausible."

Terror detentions  (Parhat v. Gates, 2008):  Wrote an opinion slamming the reliability of U.S. government intelligence documents, saying just because officials keep repeating their 

Reliability had been the template for Presidents choosing a Supreme Court nominee for more than a quarter century-- someone who may not exactly excite the political base, but would carve a predictable liberal or conservative record, depending on the president making the choice. No surprises, no David Souters was how some conservatives labeled it, a nod to Justice David Souter, nominated by a GOP president who went on the side mostly with liberals on the court.

But now with the nomination of Garland to fill this election-year vacancy, this President also wants something more: confirmability, the best person possible to navigate what could be failed, pointless mission to get a hearing and a vote in the Senate.

His friends privately say Garland was not reticent taking up the challenge, and is fully aware of the obstacles in front of him.

In his White House remarks, the Chicago native made a point to mention his work prosecuting the Oklahoma City bombing case, which included briefing the families of victims about the legal process that would unfold in the federal courts.

 He said that approach owed much to public trust.

"People must be confident that a judge's decisions are determined by the law and only the law," he said. "For a judge to be worthy of such trust, he or she must be faithful to the Constitution and to the statutes passed by the Congress."

That emphasis on "trust" will his guiding star in the months ahead, as he and the White House seek a chance to make their case. It may be an argument that will fall on deaf ears, but the political fallout from how all this plays out-- for good or bad-- could be felt in all three branches of government for years to come.

DOJ Natl Security Chief: ISIS "actively attempting" to possess destructive cyberattack capabilities

By Matt Dean, Fox News DOJ Producer

The Justice Department’s chief national security prosecutor said Tuesday that ISIS is “actively attempting” to possess destructive cyberattack capabilities, adding that the group is intent on causing major damage via cyber means.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin made the comments during the Financial Times Cyber Security Summit at the National Press Club in Washington. Carlin did note that there is no evidence to suggest ISIS yet has the ability to wage destructive hack attacks because, as he put it, if they had the capability “they’d use it.”

But speaking more broadly to ISIS’ cyber ambitions, Carlin touched on an ongoing case involving data theft when acknowledging the so-called caliphate’s less sophisticated capability.

Kosovo citizen Ardit Ferizi, who was extradited to the United States from Malaysia in January, faces federal charges tied to his alleged hacking of a U.S. company for the purposes of stealing personally identifiable information on U.S. military and federal personnel and turning that information over to ISIS. That information was later distributed by British-born ISIS operative Junaid Hussain in a social media campaign that urged the group’s followers to target the individuals whose information was stolen.

Hussain was killed in a U.S. drone strike last summer.

In touching on ISIS’ “strategic success” in its use of social media as a recruitment tool, Carlin noted the terror group’s ability to target American youth through what he called a “Madison Avenue-quality” propaganda campaign. As Fox News has reported in the past, of the terrorism-related prosecutions the Justice Department has undertaken over the last year, nearly every case involves some social media component.

Just last month the Justice Department convened a summit attended by U.S. national security leaders, academics, as well as executives in the technology, advertising, and media industries to discuss terrorist recruitment and propaganda distribution via the Internet.

The gathering was described to Fox News as a “brainstorm” intended to give the attending organizations the opportunity to contribute their respective talents in the digital countering violent extremism movement.  



Coming Up

President Obama called on nations to "escape the logic of fear" and reduce their stockpiles of nuclear weapons as he became the first sitting U.S. President to visit Hiroshima, Japan Friday.

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