NY Gov. Cuomo lashes out at reporter inquiring about school closures
‘Media Buzz’ host Howard Kurtz examines the Democrat’s latest coronavirus briefing.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday undercut New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, declaring in-person school learning to be “safe” even during high transmission rates, just as NYC schools were shutting down once again.
“Medical research as well as the data from Northeastern states, from across the country, and from around the world make clear that in-person learning is safe when the appropriate protections are in place, even in communities with high transmission rates,” said the statement from Cuomo, along with a number of other governors from New Jersey, Massachusetts, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island.
“In-person learning is the best possible scenario for children, especially those with special needs and from low-income families. There is also growing evidence that the more time children spend outside of school increases the risk of mental health harm and affects their ability to truly learn,” the statement said.
COMBATIVE CUOMO CAUGHT OFF GUARD ON NYC SCHOOLS CLOSING, TIMELINE QUESTIONED
The statement came a day after de Blasio announced that schools would close after the city’s 7-day test positivity rate hit 3%. De Blasio has set a metric of 3% for school closures as part of the partial re-opening plan in the fall, as he faced significant pressure from the powerful teachers union, which had threatened to strike.
The 3% threshold for NYC school closures has been a flashpoint for lawmakers, school officials and parents, as some argue the number is unnecessarily low. Even Cuomo has urged de Blasio to raise the threshold, citing lower infection rates in schools when compared to the city at large.
NYC Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza conceded as much this week when he noted in an email to principals that testing in school had produced a 0.19% positivity rate, which he called a “reassuring sign that our schools are safe.”
NYC PROTESTERS GATHER AT CITY HALL AFTER DE BLASIO CLOSES PUBLIC SCHOOLS, BUT NOT PRIVATE SCHOOLS
The closures have sparked fierce pushback from parents and advocates, who echo Cuomo’s statement that in-person schooling is low-risk, and that closing them causes significant harm to children and families — particularly from low-income backgrounds.
De Blasio, meanwhile, tweeted on Thursday that the city was trying to bring back in-person learning as soon as possible — but suggested it would come with even more stringent standards than were in place already.
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“We all want to bring our schools back. We need to reset the equation to keep our schools safe. We are working on a new standard, including increased testing, to bring students and staff back safely,” he said.
Fox News' Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.
Tony Bobulinski reveals details of conversation with Joe Biden
Ex-Hunter Biden business partner calls out family for accusing him of spreading disinformation on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight’
CNN has shocked critics by ignoring Tucker Carlson’s interview with Tony Bobulinski, a former business associate of Hunter Biden who said the Biden family shrugged off concerns that Joe Biden’s alleged ties to his son's business deals could put a future presidential campaign at risk.
“This seems pretty newsworthy. Maybe they could, at the very least, answer some questions about it and that recording he has,” Mary Katharine Ham, who mentions CNN in her Twitter bio, tweeted to accompany a clip of Bobulinski articulating Joe Biden’s alleged role in the deal.
‘LAPDOG PRESS’ BLACKS OUT EXPLOSIVE TONY BOBULINSKI CLAIMS AS CNN, MSNBC, NYT, WAPO SKIP STORY
Ham then compared coverage of Bobulinski to FBI Director James Comey’s memos documenting private discussions with President Trump that were eventually leaked to the press, noting that claims Bobulinski’s comments could not be verified shouldn’t be an excuse to dismiss them altogether.
“Every now and then, I recall the Comey Memos dictated national news coverage for months on end even though not one journalist saw them,” Ham added. “Comey had his buddy call the NYT & read them like beat poetry & everyone snapped along. Whither our verification standards then?”
'PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY': TONY BOBULINSKI CLAIMS BIDEN FAMILY SHRUGGED OFF CONCERNS ABOUT RISK TO 2020 BID
Ham hasn’t been visible on CNN lately but notes that she works for CNN in her Twitter bio and was described by The Atlantic as a CNN contributor back in April. She also refers to herself as a CNN commentator on LinkedIn.
CNN did not immediately respond when asked about Ham’s status with the network.
Bobulinski, a retired lieutenant in the U.S. Navy, sat down with Carlson for a one-hour interview that aired on Tuesday night. Bobulinski said he raised concerns in 2017 to the former vice president's brother Jim Biden, about Joe Biden’s alleged ties to a possible joint venture with a Chinese energy firm.
While the mainstream media has scrutinized President Trump and his family members at every turn, there has been a near blackout of coverage of Bobulinski’s shocking claims.
Bobulinski’s comments to Carlson were completely ignored by CNN, MSNBC, The New York Times and Washington Post as of 8 a.m. EST on Wednesday, exactly 12 hours after the start of the damning interview.
HUNTER BIDEN BUSINESS ASSOCIATE'S TEXT MESSAGES INDICATE MEETING WITH JOE BIDEN
But while his own network suppresses the information, CNN’s Scott Jennings condemned the talking point that the entire narrative is “Russian disinformation,” which has been a popular stance among the Biden camp.
“What’s amazing: at the *same time* Biden & his operatives are screaming publicly this is Russian disinformation, their own family’s reps are calling this guy behind the scenes to try to kill it. Biden & his people look like pretty big liars rn on the Russia bit,” Jennings tweeted.
Cornell Law School professor and media critic William A. Jacobson told Fox News that it’s clear the liberal media “thinks this could hurt their preferred candidate” so the story is simply being avoided.
"The easiest way to determine whether ignoring or minimizing the Bobulinski interview and documents reflects media bias is to imagine if something similar happened to Donald Trump. If Bobulinski were blowing the whistle on Trump influence peddling, all the networks and newspapers would be carrying the story nonstop through Election Day,” Jacobson said.
TONY BOBULINSKI TELLS TUCKER: JOE BIDEN DENIALS OF INVOLVEMENT IN SON'S BUSINESS 'A BLATANT LIE'
As for CNN, the network seems to have other priorities on the morning after Bobulinski spoke out.
CNN editor-at-large Chris Cillizza complained that the media hasn’t spent enough time covering Trump’s taxes.
CNN anchor Jake Tapper tweeted that Trump rallygoers were forced to wait in freezing temperatures for a bus to take them to their cars, promoting mockery from Real Clear Politics president Tom Bevan.
“The state of our media: Buses > Bobulinski,” Bevan wrote.
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Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.
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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey addressed the controversy surrounding actions the company took on Wednesday to block the spread of a New York Post article critical of Hunter Biden, calling them "unacceptable."
"Our communication around our actions on the @nypost article was not great," he tweeted. "And blocking URL sharing via tweet or DM with zero context as to why we’re blocking: unacceptable."
He was also asked by Dave Rubin on the same Twitter thread if the company shadow bans certain users in an attempt to stifle their online influence due to their political beliefs, and Dorsey only replied, "No."
Twitter had issued a statement about the incident earlier in the day after Fox News reached out about the story.
The tech giant claimed it took action against the article due to the company's "Hacked Materials Policy." Twitter is blocking the post from being shared on its platform.
"In line with our Hacked Materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to or images of the material in question on Twitter," a spokesperson said.
REP. KEN BUCK DEMANDS DOJ INVESTIGATE REMOVAL OF BIG TECH PROTECTION AFTER CENSORING OF NYPOST BIDEN ARTICLE
Fox News attempted to send via direct message the article titled "Smoking-gun email reveals how Hunter Biden introduced Ukrainian businessman to VP dad" to another user multiple times but was continually met with the same error message.
The article, which Fox News hasn't independently verified yet, also claimed that the outlet had been given emails showing Hunter had introduced his father Joe to a top executive at the energy firm, less than a year before the prosecutor was forced out.
On Wednesday afternoon, NY Post business reporter Noah Manskar said the outlet's official Twitter account had been locked due to the Biden story being sourced from allegedly "hacked" information.
"The Post's primary Twitter account (@nypost) has also been locked because the Hunter Biden stories violate its rules against 'distribution of hacked material,' per email we received from Twitter," he wrote.
News of Dorsey's comments come after Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., sent a letter to the Department of Justice asking that it look into the censorship tactics employed by both Twitter and Facebook — which had also taken steps to limit the article's reach while intimating that the story needed fact-checking.
He also suggested revoking the prosecutorial immunity enjoyed by big tech companies, after repeated complaints about their handling of political speech and their apparent disregard for the First Amendment.
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"I write to express my concerns regarding Twitter and Facebook’s recent actions to censor a prominent American news outlet," Buck began. "These actions violate the platform’s immunity under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and threaten to chill free speech throughout our nation."
He added, "As such, I urge the DOJ to open an investigation into Twitter and Facebook’s harmful actions to censor free speech and curtail Americans’ access to a free press. I also urge the DOJ to consider removing Section 230 immunity for social media platforms that engage in political content moderation."
Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what’s clicking on Foxnews.com.
Hackers, possibly nation-state actors, have penetrated U.S. government networks and accessed election systems, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) said in a joint alert.
In some cases, there was unauthorized access to election support systems, CISA added.
The agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, explained there is no evidence so far that the integrity of elections data was compromised and that "it does not appear these targets are being selected because of their proximity to elections information."
US TREASURY WARNS RANSOMWARE ATTACK PAYMENTS COULD TRIGGER AN INVESTIGATION
CISA did intimate that election system data could be compromised, noting “there are steps that election officials, their supporting … IT staff, and vendors can take to help defend against this malicious cyber activity.”
Hackers got access via a combination of vulnerabilities – what CISA calls “vulnerability chaining.” It is a commonly used tactic and in this case targeted federal and state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) government networks, critical infrastructure, and elections organizations.
The hackers targeted a Virtual Private Network (VPN) vulnerability and a flaw in Netlogon, a Windows protocol to authenticate users.
“Patches are available for all of the vulnerabilities referenced in the joint cybersecurity advisory from CISA and the FBI,” Tenable, a cybersecurity company, said in a statement sent to Fox News. “Most of the vulnerabilities had patches available for them following their disclosure."
The alert did not state explicitly who the bad actors were, only referring to them as "advanced persistent threat (APT) actors." But that is a term often reserved for state-sponsored hacking groups, according to experts.
In October, Microsoft’s Security Intelligence team cited a campaign leveraging one of the bugs from a threat actor known as CHIMBORAZO, also known as TA505, a “financially motivated nation-state actor,” according to an analysis of the alert by Tenable.
In September, Microsoft said it detected Russian, Chinese and Iranian actors targeting the 2020 U.S. elections.
"The activity we are announcing today makes clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts targeting the 2020 election as had been anticipated, and is consistent with what the U.S. government and others have reported," Microsoft said at the time, citing a statement by the National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina.
Trump authorizes ‘total declassification’ of Russia probe documents
Fox News legal analyst Gregg Jarrett, Trump 2020 campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie react on ‘Hannity.’
Top Republicans and allies of President Trump praised his move to declassify all documents related to the Russia investigation saying the “American people deserve the truth.”
“I have fully authorized the total Declassification of any & all documents pertaining to the single greatest political CRIME in American History, the Russia Hoax,” the president tweeted Tuesday night. “Likewise, the Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. No redactions!” The president tweeted Tuesday night.
"All Russia Hoax Scandal information was Declassified by me long ago," Trump tweeted. "Unfortunately for our Country, people have acted very slowly, especially since it is perhaps the biggest political crime in the history of our Country.”
He added: “Act!!!"
Page has been at the center of the FBI’s original Trump-Russia probe, after the bureau used the controversial and unverified anti-Trump dossier as the basis to obtain Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants against him.
The dossier contains claims about alleged ties between Donald Trump and Russia that served as the basis for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrants obtained against former Trump campaign aide Carter Page.
The Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, through law firm Perkins Coie, hired Fusion GPS and ex-British intelligence officer Christopher Steele to author and compile information for the controversial and unverified anti-Trump dossier.
Fox News reported last month that Steele’s primary "source" for the dossier was the subject of an FBI counterintelligence investigation from 2009 to 2011 for suspected contact with Russian intelligence officers.
The president’s tweets come after Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified documents that revealed former CIA Director John Brennan briefed former President Obama on Hillary Clinton’s purported “plan” to tie then-candidate Donald Trump to Russia as “a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server” ahead of the 2016 presidential election.
Fox News first reported that Ratcliffe declassified Brennan’s handwritten notes – which were taken after he briefed Obama on the intelligence the CIA received – and a CIA memo, which revealed that officials referred the matter to the FBI for potential investigative action.
"Today, at the direction of President Trump, I declassified additional documents relevant to ongoing Congressional oversight and investigative activities," Ratcliffe said in a statement to Fox News Tuesday.
A source familiar with the documents explained that Brennan's handwritten notes were taken after briefing Obama on the matter.
“We’re getting additional insight into Russian activities from [REDACTED],” Brennan notes read. “CITE [summarizing] alleged approved by Hillary Clinton a proposal from one of her foreign policy advisers to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service,” Brennan’s notes read.
The notes state “on 28 of July." In the margin, Brennan writes "POTUS," but that section of the notes is redacted.
“Any evidence of collaboration between Trump campaign + Russia,” the notes read.
The remainder of the notes are redacted, except in the margins, which reads: “JC,” “Denis,” and “Susan.”
The notes don't spell out the full names but "JC" could be referring to then-FBI Director James Comey, "Susan" could refer to National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and "Denis" could refer to then-Obama chief of staff Denis McDonough.
DURHAM ASSUMED PARTS OF HUBER'S CLINTON INVESTIGATION
The declassification comes after Ratcliffe, last week, shared newly-declassified information with the Senate Judiciary Committee which revealed that in September 2016, U.S. intelligence officials forwarded an investigative referral on Hillary Clinton purportedly approving “a plan concerning U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering U.S. elections” in order to distract the public from her email scandal.
That referral was sent to Comey and then-Deputy Assistant Director of Counterintelligence Peter Strzok.
“The following information is provided for the exclusive use of your bureau for background investigative action or lead purposes as appropriate,” the CIA memo to Comey and Strzok stated.
"This memorandum contains sensitive information that could be source revealing. It should be handled with particular attention to compartmentation and need-to-know. To avoid the possible compromise of the source, any investigative action taken in response to the information below should be coordinated in advance with Chief Counterintelligence Mission Center, Legal,” the memo, which was sent to Comey and Strzok, read. “It may not be used in any legal proceeding—including FISA applications—without prior approval…”
“Per FBI verbal request, CIA provides the below examples of information the CROSSFIRE HURRICANE fusion cell has gleaned to date," the memo continued. "“An exchange [REDACTED] discussing US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s approval of a plan concerning US presidential candidate Donald Trump and Russian hackers hampering US elections as a means of distracting the public from her use of a private email server.”
The memo is heavily redacted.
Meanwhile, Attorney General Bill Barr appointed U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham last year to investigate the origins of the FBI’s original Russia probe, which began in July 2016, through the appointment of Mueller in May 2017, shortly after Mueller completed his years-long investigation into whether his campaign colluded or coordinated with the Russians to influence the 2016 presidential election.
Mueller’s investigation yielded no evidence of criminal conspiracy or coordination between the Trump campaign and Russian officials during the 2016 election, though the question of whether Trump obstructed justice was left open in the final report.
White House touts Trump’s leadership on coronavirus amid criticism
White House director of communications Alyssa Farah reacts on ‘America’s Newsroom’
The White House is defending President Trump as he fights coronavirus, saying that he is “projecting an image of strength” and wants Americans to get back to “normal life safely.”
The president returned to the White House on Monday evening after being discharged from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, and is continuing to receive treatment for COVID-19.
Upon arriving at the White House from Marine One on Monday evening, the president walked out onto the Truman Balcony overlooking the South Lawn, removed his face mask, and saluted military officers as Marine One departed the grounds. Critics took swings at the president, claiming the move was irresponsible.
“At times like this, in these moments, it is highly important for the commander in chief to express confidence to our domestic population, and it is very important, to our allies and adversaries,” White House Communications Director Alyssa Farah said on “America’s Newsroom” Tuesday, adding that the president is “projecting an image of strength.”
Farah also addressed the president removing his mask, despite a White House photographer being on the balcony with him.
“This was a brief interaction,” she said. “Our photographers, we know, when we work with the president, wear your mask and keep your distance.”
“The world and the American people needed to see their president strong and leading,” Farah said.
Farah added that the president’s focus is “working to defeat” COVID-19, while also making sure therapeutics and potential vaccines reach the American public.
“On this date, you are the most likely to survive and get treatment for the coronavirus because of this president’s leadership,” Farah said.
“The president’s message is clear: while taking safe mitigation practices, Americans need to get back to ordinary life,” Farah added, saying “businesses are closing and people cannot make ends meet.”
TRUMP DISCHARGED FROM WALTER REED, RETURNS TO WHITE HOUSE TO CONTINUE FIGHTING COVID-19
“The president wants us to get through coronavirus, to be safe and be smart, so we can get back to normal life,” she said. “His point is, we can’t do this forever. We can’t keep the nation locked down.”
Meanwhile, Farah was asked about a report published Tuesday by the Associated Press, which suggested White House staff are angered by the outbreak of coronavirus within the White House.
The president, last Friday, just before 1 a.m., announced that he and first lady Melania Trump tested positive for COVID-19, after White House adviser Hope Hicks also tested positive. Since then, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and director of Oval Office Operations David Luna have also tested positive.
Farah pushed back on the report, saying that she doesn’t “give much credence to anonymous sources.”
“We feel comfortable working here, we are taking precautions in the West Wing, we need to be washing our hands, wearing masks when we can’t socially distance,” Farah said. “That is not representative of the vibe in the White House … If anything, the team has been highly inspired by the president’s strong leadership.”