FOX NEWS FIRST: Comey's anti-Trump media blitz begins; Inside Trump's decision to strike Syria

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Developing now, Monday, April 16, 2018

  • Fired FBI Director James Comey calls President Trump 'morally unfit to be president,' defends his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation in new interview
  • Trump was dissuaded from a more aggressive military strike against Syria by his newly-revamped national security team, according to one report
  • The United States plans to announce new economic sanctions against Russia Monday for aiding the government of Syrian President Assad
  • Former first lady Barbara Bush is in 'failing health' and will not seek additional medical treatment, a family spokesman said Sunday
  • Jason Aldean took home Entertainer of the Year as the annual ACM Awards returned to Las Vegas six months after the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history

THE LEAD STORY - COMEY'S MEDIA BLITZ BEGINS: In his first interview since being fired, former FBI Director James Comey defends his handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and described President Trump as an ego-driven liar who treats women like “meat” and is “morally unfit to be president" ...  During Sunday’s televised interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos, Comey also weighed in on the salacious – and unverified - Russian dossier, as well as his reason for going public about the probe into Hillary Clinton’s private email server in the final days of the 2016 election. Clinton- as well as a large number of Democrats – have blamed her November 2016 defeat on Comey’s actions. “I hope not – but the honest answer is, it wouldn’t have changed the way I think about it,” Comey said. Comey claimed he wasn’t trying to favor one candidate over the other but instead tried to do “the right thing." However, he also admitted his decision was influenced by the assumption Clinton would beat Trump in the election.

Ahead of the interview, Trump fired off a series of tweets calling the country’s former top cop a “slimeball,” a liar and directly refuted claims he asked Comey for his loyalty. Trump tweeted Sunday that Comey was the “WORST FBI Director in history, by far!,” suggested he should be behind bars and referred to him as “a man who always ends up badly and out of whack (he is not smart!).”

TRUMP CHOSE RESTRAINT ON SYRIA, THANKS TO 'MAD DOG': Although the recent Syrian airstrikes were double the size of last year’s, President Trump reportedly selected one of the more restrained proposals designed by the Pentagon ... The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that Trump was presented with a wide array of options. There were intense discussions on the best approach after Defense Secretary Jim Mattis presented the three military options, the report said. Trump chose a restrained response. The paper reported that the most expansive proposal included airstrikes on Russian air defense capabilities in Syria. The attack would have been three times the size of the operation carried out—which included 100 advanced missiles launched at three targets. Trump reportedly wanted his team to consider the strikes on Iranian and Russian targets, but Mattis resisted, warned of a possible response.

SYRIA FUELS RISING U.S.-RUSSIA TENSION: The Trump administration will levy new economic sanctions against Russia over its support of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley told "Fox News Sunday" ...  "We're letting Russia know this is not something that we want to be a part of," Haley said. "It's not something we're going to tolerate and they've got to make a decision. Right now, they don't have very good friends, and right now, the friends that they do have are causing them harm." "The international community is telling Russia that either you make a decision on how you act and when you act, or the rest of us will make a decision in isolating you," Haley added.

PRAYERS FOR BARBARA BUSH: Former first lady Barbara Bush is in "failing health" and will not seek additional medical treatment after a series of recent hospitalizations, a family spokesman said Sunday ... The 92-year-old wife of former President George H.W. Bush will instead focus on comfort care, a family spokesman Jim McGrath said in a statement. “Following a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors, Mrs. Bush, now age 92, has decided not to seek additional medical treatment and will instead focus on comfort care. It will not surprise those who know her that Barbara Bush has been a rock in the face of her failing health, worrying not for herself — thanks to her abiding faith — but for others,” the statement read. “She is surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she is receiving."

VEGAS - AND COUNTRY - STRONG: Jason Aldean took home the biggest honor at ACM Awards on Sunday night for Entertainer of the Year as country music returned to Las Vegas six months after a lone gunman killed 58 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history ... Aldean, who was onstage at the Route 91 Harvest music festival last October when the gunshots started, admitted it was a "rough year" after he accepted the coveted award for the third consecutive year at the end of the night. "I just want to say thanks to everybody that reached out to us, that showed us love and support, over the last six months," Aldean said. "It meant the world to us. To my Route 91 people -- you guys are in my hearts always. I love you guys and we love Las Vegas. Vegas strong baby!"


A TALE OF TWO LIARS: "Felon McCabe, who's now been accused of by the [Inspector General] of lying three times under oath... is also saying that [former FBI Director] Jim Comey has been untruthful. So, now you've got two liars lying about each other but they work together every single day." – Corey Lewandowski, on "MediaBuzz," ripping fired former FBI leaders Jim Comey and Andrew McCabe. WATCH

'HISTORY REPLETE WITH LIES': "James Comey, you are a pompous, egotistical, patronizing, condescending, holier-than-thou political operative trying to redeem your reputation...Your book is about a higher loyalty to none other than you." – Judge Jeanine Pirro, in her "Opening Statement" on "Justice with Judge Jeanine," slamming James Comey's new memoir "A Higher Loyalty" as all about a "loyalty to himself." WATCH


Kaine won't support Pompeo, calls him 'anti-diplomatic' like Trump.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin apologizes for child sex abuse remarks amid teacher protests.

Justice Dept. wants 'sanctuary' areas to prove they comply with laws.


Nearly 207 million eggs recalled over salmonella fears.

Mom supports letting Ohio woman testify from beyond the grave in ex-boyfriend's murder trial.

Florida woman ordered to share custody of her dog with neighbor in lawsuit.


Tax deadline looms: Top tips for late filers.

Restaurant chain Bertucci’s reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy.

Clicking 'checkout' could cost more after Supreme Court case.

Bank earnings headline this week's events.


Sen. Tom Cotton and Ajit Pai: Hostile powers like Russia and China threaten U.S. communications networks -- enough.

Peter Morici: Here's why Trump needs to a more realistic approach to trade with China.

U.S. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson: Space is an American frontier that must be defended.


'Full Metal Jacket' actor R. Lee Ermey dies at age 74.

John Cena, Nikki Bella end engagement.

Dwayne Johnson's 'Rampage' narrowly beats John Krasinski's 'A Quiet Place' at the box office.


Black bear cubs rescued by Virginia trooper after mother killed in crash.

WARNING, GRAPHIC IMAGES: Greedy snake tries to eat 8 chicken eggs at once, fails miserably.

Chili grower defends world's hottest pepper after man who ate one was hospitalized.


On Fox News: 

Fox & Friends, 6 a.m. ET: Sen. Joni Ernst reacts to U.S. military action in Syria; Sen. Lindsey Graham on U.S. military action in Syria and more; former Boston police commissioner Ed Davis reflects on the Boston Marathon bombing five years later; Alan Dershowitz on James Comey's first interview in his media blitz for his new book and on whether a new law is needed to protect attorney-client privilege.

Tucker Carlson Tonight, 8 p.m. ET: Guests include: radio host and best-selling author Mark Steyn.

On Fox Business:

Mornings with Maria, 6 a.m. ET: Guests include: Terry Turchie, former deputy assistant director, FBI Counterterrorism Division; Ed Goeas, Tarrance Group President and CEO and GOP pollster; Rep. Ron DeSantis; Kellyanne Conway, counselor to President Trump; Rep. Louie Gohmert.

Cavuto: Coast to Coast, Noon ET: Steve Ballmer, former Microsoft CEO.

After the Bell, 4 p.m. ET: Rep. Jodey Arrington

Risk & Reward, 5 p.m. ET: Rep. and U.S. Senate candidate Marsha Blackburn

On Fox News Radio:

The Fox News Rundown podcast: President Trump declared, "Mission accomplished" after the United States and its allies launched airstrikes on Syria over the weekend over a suspected chemical attack. But Fox News contributor Col. David Hunt tells Fox News' Eric Shawn he believes these new strikes weren't effective at all. Plus, commentary from Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Want the Fox News Rundown sent straight to your mobile device? Subscribe through Apple PodcastsGoogle Play, and Stitcher.

The Brian Kilmeade Show, 9 a.m. ET: New York Post columnist Michael Goodwin and Ron Hosko sound off on James Comey's new memoir and media blitz; columnist Andrew McCarthy on the Comey interview with ABC News and fallout from the Michael Cohen raid; Dennis Ross and Gen. Jack Keane on the implications of the U.S.-led strike on Syria this weekend; Bret Baier on his upcoming interview with Comey.

The Tom Shillue Show, 3 p.m. ET: Tom fact-checks the media's reaction to President Trump's use of military action in Syria with Robert Nicholson, executive director of the Philos Project.


2008: The Supreme Court upholds, 7-2, the most widely used method of lethal injection, allowing states to resume executions after a seven-month halt.

2007: In one of America's worst school attacks, a Korean-born college senior kills 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his own life.

1963: Martin Luther King Jr. writes his "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in which the civil rights leader responds to a group of local clergymen who had criticized him for leading street protests; King defends his tactics, writing, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Fox News First is compiled by Fox News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for joining us! Enjoy your Monday! We'll see you in your inbox first thing Tuesday morning.