FOX NEWS FIRST: Comey returning to the hot seat on Capitol Hill; Shutdown deadline looms

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Developing now, Monday, Dec. 17, 2018

  • Fired FBI Director James Comey is expected to return to Capitol Hill on Monday for more testimony before House lawmakers
  • A deadline for a possible government shutdown on Friday looms as both the White House and Democrats are both standing their ground in their dispute over funding for President Trump's border wall
  • A top Republican predicts former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's conviction for lying to FBI investigators will be tossed
  • In an interview with FOX News, President Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, insists Trump would never sit down with Special Counsel Robert Mueller in wake of allegations that Flynn was pressured into talking to the FBI without having a lawyer present
  • Trump wondered in a tweet over the weekend whether 'Saturday Night Live' and NBC should be challenged in court after he was the focus of an 'SNL' Christmas parody
  • Catriona Gray of the Philippines is named Miss Universe 2018, defeating contestants from 93 other countries for the crown in Bangkok, Thailand

THE LEAD STORY – COMEY RETURNS TO THE HOT SEAT: Fired FBI Director James Comey is expected to return to Capitol Hill on Monday and could be further grilled behind closed doors about alleged political bias in the agency under his watch, especially wake of allegations that former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was pressured into answering questions without having a legal representation ...  When Comey previously testified Dec. 7, a key focus of questioning from lawmakers then, FOX News is told, was Comey's decision to draft the 2016 statement recommending against filing criminal charges in the Clinton email probe before the former secretary of state was even interviewed, as well as the alleged political bias demonstrated in a slew of text messages and leaks by top FBI officials.

COUNTDOWN TO SHUTDOWN: The Trump administration Sunday reaffirmed the president's insistence that he would allow a partial shutdown of the federal government if Congress does not provide $5 billion to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, with senior adviser Stephen Miller calling it a "fundamental issue" ...  "The Democrat Party has a simple choice. They can either choose to fight for America's working class or to promote illegal immigration. You can't do both," Miller said on CBS News' "Face the Nation." 
When asked if the administration was willing to allow parts of the government to cease operation at midnight Friday if the wall is not funded, Miller answered: "If it comes to it, absolutely."

On NBC News' "Meet The Press," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., insisted that President Trump "is not going to get the wall in any form." - Reported by Samuel Chamberlain (@SChamberlainFOX on Twitter)

FLYNN TO BE ABSOLVED? - A leading Republican is predicting that Special Counsel Robert Mueller's case against ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn will soon be thrown out of court ... U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., told FOX News' "Sunday Morning Futures" that the FBI had "tricked" Flynn into not having a lawyer and had improperly "post-dated" documents to "morph" them into critical evidence against him. "I would not be surprised a bit if the conviction of Flynn is overturned, because of the Justice Department and FBI's misconduct -- and that in fact, we go potentially all the way to the Supreme Court, with new protections -- when the FBI and the Department of Justice lies to someone and tricks them into making statements, and then charges them with a lie they entrapped them in. ... This kind of conduct we haven't seen in a long time." - Reported by Gregg Re (@gregg_re on Twitter)

'OVER MY DEAD BODY': Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani told "FOX News Sunday" that President Trump will sit down one-on-one with Special Counsel Robert Mueller "over my dead body" amid bombshell new revelations in the false statements case against ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whom Giuliani said was "railroaded" and "framed" ... "Yeah, good luck, good luck -- after what they did to Flynn, the way they trapped him into perjury," Giuliani told "FOX News Sunday" host Chris Wallace. Trump has already provided written responses to inquiries from the special counsel.

In a spirited back-and-forth with Wallace, Giuliani also reiterated his claim that Trump initially "didn't know about" the hush-money payments made to two women by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen that prosecutors have alleged constituted campaign finance violations. - Reported by Gregg Re

ICYMI: 'SNL' NO LAUGHING MATTER WITH TRUMP: Donald Trump called for courts to test NBC and “Saturday Night Live” in a fiery tweet on Sunday that followed the show’s final airing until after the holidays ... "SNL" wrapped up a year of political humor directed at the Trump administration with a parody of the Christmas movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” in which it posited a world wherein Donald Trump, played by Alec Baldwin, was never elected president of the United States. The real President Trump responded Sunday morning by jabbing both the sketch show and NBC.

Trump tweeted: “A REAL scandal is the one-sided coverage, hour by hour, of networks like NBC & Democrat spin machines like Saturday Night Live. It is all nothing less than unfair news coverage and Dem commercials. Should be tested in courts, can’t be legal? Only defame & belittle! Collusion?” - Reported by Tyler McCarthy

BEST 'LAVA WALK' IN THE UNIVERSE: Was it the “lava walk” that helped crown Catriona Gray of the Philippines as the new Miss Universe? ... Just one day before Sunday’s final competition in Bangkok, Thailand, Gray won praise from model Tyra Banks, who described a video of Gray’s runway walk during a preliminary competition as “Pinoy Power to the Max!!!” On Sunday, Gray, 24, bested contestants from 93 other countries to capture the Miss Universe crown. The first runner-up was Tamaryn Green of South Africa and the third-place finisher was Sthefany Gutierrez of Venezuela. Gray succeeds last year’s winner, Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa. - Reported by Dom Calicchio

THE SOUNDBITE

FBI OVERSTEPPING ITS AUTHORITY? - "I don't think in America we want to empower the FBI or grand juries or prosecutors to impose morality tests -- criminal morality tests -- on citizens." – Alan Dershowitz, a Harvard Law School professor emeritus, on “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” speaking about the FBI’s questioning of former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. WATCH


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STAY TUNED

On FOX News: 

FOX & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill on the legal battle against ObamaCare; Stuart Varney, host of "Varney & Co."; Noelle Nikpour, Republican strategist and former congresswoman; Nathan Rubin, Democratic strategist; Kevin McAleenan, commissioner, Customs and Border Protection; Maj. Dan Rooney, founder, Folds of Honor; Martha McCallum, host, "The Story"; Ashley Bratcher, actress; Michael Goodwin, New York Post columnist on why someone hasn't set up a GoFundMe page for President Trump's proposed border wall; Carey Reilly, lifestyle expert.

Special Report with Bret Baier, 6 p.m. ET: Special guests include: Kiersten Todt, resident scholar at the University of Pittsburgh in Washington, D.C., with the Institute for Cyber Law, Policy, and Security.

On FOX Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Special guests include: U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas; Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor; Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the House; Joy Falotico, Lincoln Motor Co. vice president.

Varney & Co., 9 a.m. ET: Special guests include: Marc Lotter, former special assistant to President Trump; Chad Sweet, former chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Jerry Howard, National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) CEO.

Countdown to the Closing Bell with Liz Claman, 3 p.m. ET: Peter Schiff, Euro Pacific Capital CEO and chief global strategist; Andy Bromberg, co-founder and president of CoinList.

On FOX News Radio:

The FOX News Rundown podcast: Bernie Madoff was arrested 10 years ago after committing one of the largest financial frauds of all time. Former federal prosecutor Matthew Schwartz joins the podcast and discusses stopping the Madoff Ponzi scheme. President Trump delivers the press a lump of coal before Christmas by not hosting a White House holiday party for them. FOX's Howard Kurtz, who has attended the previous parties, weighs in on what this means moving forward for reporters. Plus, commentary by FOX News Channel's Juan Williams.

Want the FOX News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin talks about funding for President Trump’s border wall and the possibility of a government shutdown; attorney and GenCo Legal CEO Bryan Rotella discusses a Texas judge’s ruling on ObamaCare; and Executive Editor Of RealClearPolitics.com Tom Bevan looks ahead to the 2020 presidential race.

#TheFlashback

2011: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il dies after more than a decade of iron rule; he was 69, according to official records, but some reports indicated he was 70.
1975: Lynette Fromme is sentenced in Sacramento, Calif., to life in prison for her attempt on the life of President Gerald R. Ford. (She is paroled in August 2009.)
1944: The U.S. War Department announces it is ending its policy of excluding people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast.
1777: France recognizes America’s independence from Britain.