Benson: Buyer's Remorse Aside, Voters still Don't want Hillary Clinton

Guy Benson, political editor of Townhall.com, told viewers on Monday's "Special Report with Bret Baier"  that if Americans are changing their tune about President Trump, it probably still has to do with his then-opponent. 

A recent ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that if voters had a do-over today, even more would vote for Donald Trump, with 43% choosing the current White House occupant and only 40% choosing Hillary Clinton.  

Benson said "you would get a sense from the coverage that there is massive widespread buyers' remorse with President Trump and this poll suggests that that's just not the case."

Benson, a Fox News contributor, stated that certain obstacles still cloud things for the president.   "The Russia stuff is interesting," Benson said.  "It ought to be investigated," he continued. 

The Townhall.com editor said that some disgruntled voters look at FBI Director James Comey's investigation into the former Secretary of State's private e-mail server as foul play but any loss really lies with the candidates themselves. 

Benson explained "I think that what we're seeing now that even with a very controversial president whose numbers in that poll, internally, not very good would still defeat Mrs. Clinton."  As for the new poll numbers,  "maybe she was just a really lousy candidate and people still recognize that," Benson said. 

NoKo failed missile is KN-17, new type of Scud, US officials tell Fox

By Lucas Tomlinson

U.S. officials tell Fox News the failed North Korean missile was a KN-17, a new type of Scud, which could be used to target ships similar to the one launched earlier this month days before Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Trump at his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach.

“The only way a Scud gets a new designation is if it is substantially different,” said Jeffrey Lewis, a scholar at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey.

The KN-17 is a single-stage, liquid-fueled missile -- not the three-stage, solid-fuel missile that North Korea successfully tested back in February, which caused more concern among Pentagon officials.

Monday, the Pentagon announced it was conducting a new nuclear posture review, two days after North Korea failed to launch a new type of ballistic missile, which exploded four seconds after launch.

The latest failed test over the weekend occurred hours before Vice President Pence touched down in Seoul. On Monday, he visited the Demilitarized Zone on the border between North and South and warned the rogue communist regime against conducting further tests.

"There was a period of strategic patience. But the era of strategic patience is over. President Trump has made it clear that the patience of the United States and our allies in this region has run out, and we want to see change,'' Pence said.

Aside from the rumblings out of North Korea, Russia recently deployed a ground-based, nuclear-capable cruise missile in violation of a decades-long arms treaty between Washington and Moscow, drawing condemnation from Capitol Hill lawmakers. The 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty between the United States and the then-Soviet Union required complete “destruction” of ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 310 and 3,418 miles and support equipment by 1990. 

On Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked Deputy National Security Adviser KT McFarland on “Fox News Sunday” if the U.S. played a role in North Korea’s failed test launch over the weekend.

“You know we can't talk about secret intelligence and things that might have been done, covert operations that might have happened. So, I really have no comment on that, and nor should I,” McFarland said.

She added, “I do think we are entering a whole new era, not just with North Korea, but with everybody, with any country, major country, we are entering a cyber platform, a cyber battlefield.”

Krauthammer on Russian Involvement in Syria

Fox News Contributor and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that Russia’s continued support of the Assad regime in Syria is “not an affection for Assad or Syria, but because as a result of their involvement, they now have a naval base in the warm water Mediterranean, they have active, very powerful airbase in Syria. They have a presence in the Middle East. They are the power.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Moscow on Tuesday as tensions have flared between the United States and Russia over American airstrikes on a Syrian airbase in retaliation for last week’s chemical weapons attack in Idlib province. The Kremlin has denied suggestions that the Syrian government led by President Bashar al Assad may have been behind the attack.

On Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin went so far as to suggest that Assad was being framed for the chemical weapons attack, saying “"We have intelligence from various sources that similar provocations are being prepared in other regions of Syria, including southern suburbs of Damascus, where they are planning to plant chemicals and blame the Syrian government for using them."

Before arriving in Moscow, Secretary Tillerson reaffirmed the need for regime change in Syria, and criticized Russia for failing to live up to its  obligation in Russian government brokered a deal to remove chemical weapons from Syria saying “ I hope that what the Russian Government concludes is that they have aligned themselves with an unreliable partner in Bashar al-Assad….The Assad regime, the Iranians and Hezbollah -  is that a long term alliance that serves Russia's interests?”

Krauthammer noted that it may be foolish for an American Secretary of State to lecture Russia on its own best interests: “They have displaced the united states, and their entire foreign policy under Putin is to recover the glory and the territory and the influence of the old Soviet Union one piece at a time and it does that by taking away from the United States. It's a zero sum game.

“So, the idea that we're going to persuade them it's not in your interest to stay with Iran and Hezbollah and Assad, who are we to say, of course it's in the Russian interest, they have succeeded in doing it and unless we show them a reason to abandon it, they are not going to leave. “

Krauthammer on Obamacare Repeal and Replacement: “I don't think there's a reason why it has to be pronounced dead.”

Fox News Contributor and syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer said Tuesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that despite last week’s failure to get a vote on the American Health Care Act, the House Republican alternative to the Affordable Care Act, a renewed Republican effort for health care legislation is still possible noting: “I don't think there's a reason why it has to be pronounced dead. The president had an ultimatum, he decided he was going to stick to it, he decided that as a result he would not be involved. That's fine. But, it's still, I think an open question whether the republicans in the house and the senate can negotiate among themselves.”

House Republicans held their first conference meeting since last Friday’s decision to pull the American Health Care Act after divisions among the conference – particularly lack of support within the conservative House Freedom Caucus and the moderate Tuesday Group- showed the legislation could not pass the House. After the meeting, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said “some of those that are within the "no" camp expressed the willingness to work to getting to yes and making this work" signaling that he hasn’t given up hope of undertaking new health care legislation.”

Ryan added “I don’t want us to become a factionalized majority. I want us to become a unified majority, and that means we're going to sit down and talk things out until we get there and that's exactly what we're doing. And we saw good overtures from those members from different parts of our conference to get there.”

Krauthammer noted that despite the divisions within the House Republican Conference over the AHCA, there are still methods to find a path forward on a unified GOP solution on health care: “They were not that far apart…I've been advocating this other alternative where you abandon the restrictions that are imposed by the reconciliation process. Meaning, you stuff the bill with all the kinds of stuff you were going to add later, stuff that would appeal to the Freedom Caucus, and you put that in the bill and you toss it over to the Senate.

 

“And if Senate Democrats want to filibuster, fine. So I think there are several options, I don't think they are that far apart, I think it's perfectly reasonable that they couldn't negotiate a deal among themselves, and I do think that in the fall when Obamacare's problems are going to really become, come to the surface again, spiking premiums and deductibles and it gets worse every year, there might be, there will be less nostalgia for Obamacare than you have found in the current debate."

Krauthammer: Another Republican opportunity for healthcare legislation is right around the corner

Syndicated columnist Charles Krauthammer told "Special Report with Bret Baier" viewers that the Republican sponsored healthcare legislation may be dead right now, but another opportunity to revitalize it is just around the corner. 

Because Krauthammer explained that in the Fall, Americans will see the Affordable Health Care implode even more. 

He said, new premiums are "going to be much higher, they'll be fewer choices, far more insurers are going to be withdrawing  from exchanges and they are going to be in a state of collapse."  

The columnist pointed out that while those higher premiums might be good news for Republicans, the defeat of their legislation last week did do some damage to their party clout.  "It's not just a promise betrayed," Krauthammer said, "it's a complete inability to govern."

But Krauthammer showed viewers just how Republicans need to get back on track with any new healthcare legislation.  He said, "put everything in the bill including what's called the "phase three" stuff that was supposed to come later.  The stuff that the conservatives want that everybody really wants -including tort reform, including stripping out the coverage requirements which are largely irrational - put all that in the bill."

By doing that, Krauthammer said, the pressure will be on Democrats to explain why healthcare is failing.  "It'll be the Democrats that have to filibuster," Krauthammer explained, "and let the country watch them deny them a reform of a collapsing system."

NUNES/TRUMP: The search for a "smoking gun" at NSA

By James Rosen

Capitol Hill sources tell Fox News that the classified intelligence that Chairman Nunes has seen and only vaguely described in his public appearances over the past twenty-four hours came to him from multiple sources; corroborated information about surveillance of the Trump team that had been known to the chairman even before the president’s now-famous tweets of March 4; and leaves no doubt that the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on the president-elect.

The key to the last conclusion is the unmasking of selected U.S. persons whose names appeared in the intelligence, the sources said, adding that the documentary trails leaves no other conceivable purpose for the unmasking to have been done other than for its fruits to be used selectively against Mr. Trump.

The FBI has not been responsive to the House Intelligence Committee’s request for documents, but the National Security Agency is expected to produce documents to the committee by tomorrow (Friday). The NSA document production is expected to provide more than that which Chairman Nunes has been describing, including what one source described as a potential “smoking gun” establishing the spying. The materials will take time to be assessed properly, with the result that congressional investigators and attorneys won’t have a solid handle on their contents, and their implications, until early next week or mid-week.

Because Nunes’s intelligence came from multiple sources over a span of weeks, and he has not shared the actual materials with his colleagues, he will be the only committee member in a position to know whether NSA has turned over some or all of the intelligence he is citing. However, Fox News is told that Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff has been briefed on the basic contents of Nunes’s intelligence, so he can no longer truthfully state that he has no idea what Nunes is talking about.

Fox News is further advised that CIA Director Mike Pompeo is sympathetic to the effort to determine, with documentary evidence, the extent of Obama administration spying on the Trump team, if any, in its final days.

 

Krauthammer: “The storyline now is that the President was wrong”

Charles Krauthammer told viewers Monday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that when it comes to President Trump’s allegations via Twitter about wiretapping by President Obama, “the storyline now is that the President was wrong.”

His comments come after FBI Director James Comey and NSA Chief Michael Rogers testified before the House Intelligence Committee today regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. Comey said he has “no information to support” Trump’s wiretapping allegations.

“His own FBI director is saying it and speaking on behalf of all the Department of Justice which is Trump’s own department of Justice which makes Spicer look ridiculous,” Krauthammer said. “Because it’s his own department saying the president is wrong. But that’s the price of doing this kind of tweeting.”

Schumer on Trump 2005 tax return: ‘Where’s he getting this money from?’

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said Wednesday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that the leaked release of a document from President Trump’s 2005 tax return is wholly insufficient to answering questions about the president’s business interests.

“It’s two pages of one year. What happened over ten years? There might have been a year he was good,” he said, “But much more importantly, where’s he getting all this money from? The key question here is are there Russian sources, and might those have affected or will affect President Trump?”

Schumer went on to say that Trump’s behavior toward Russian president Vladimir Putin has been “much softer” than that of other Republican politicians.

“The question is why? When he makes a deal with Russia, whatever it is, you don’t want anyone suspecting it’s done because he has hotels there,” he said.  

Ingraham: White House trying to salvage GOP healthcare proposal

Laura Ingraham said on “Special Report with Bret Baier” Tuesday she thinks President Donald Trump is not fully behind the Republican plan to revise the Affordable Care Act since the bill is not “popular” among conservatives and moderates alike.

“I think he’s given orders to fix this if possible,” Ingraham argued. “The fact that he doesn’t want his name on this from the very beginning… he’s a brand guy and if this brand is going down he doesn’t want to be tagged with it, and that’s why you see the shift over to this is going to be Ryan’s game to fix or to start over.”

In an intensive effort, the White House is trying to salvage support for the GOP plan a day after the Congressional Budget Office released its analysis showing 14 million fewer Americans would be insured next year under the GOP plan.

“He [Vice President Pence] is making the rounds in conservative media and it’s not popular and I think Donald Trump wants this to be popular and I don’t blame him,” added Ingraham. “I think he’s seeing the threads are slowly coming unraveled.”

Hemingway: CBO estimates “notoriously bad”

Mollie Hemingway told viewers Monday on “Special Report with Bret Baier” that new figures about the American Health Care Act come from an office that is “notoriously bad” when it comes to such estimates.

Earlier, the Congressional Budget Office released its estimate that the GOP health care plan would decrease the budget deficit by $337 billion over a 10 year period. It also estimated that under the plan, 14 million people would lose health care coverage next year – a number that would grow to 24 million people in the next decade.

Hemingway cited previous examples of CBO problems.

“Think back to 2010 when they said that under Obamacare you would have 23 million Americans insured. It is actually 12 million this year,” she said. “They also made a forecasting error so they dramatically underestimated the cost of Medicaid. So we need to keep these things in mind as we are talking about this scoring as well.”

 

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