Washington Free Beacon
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) responded Friday to being called a "hypocrite" by a former Hillary Clinton aide, saying the criticism is "ridiculous."
Former Hillary Clinton adviser Philippe Reines sharply criticized Gillibrand after she told the New York Times that former President Bill Clinton should have resigned after his sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
"Ken Starr spent $70 million on a consensual blowjob. Senate voted to keep POTUS WJC. But not enough for you @SenGillibrand? Over 20 yrs you took the Clintons’ endorsements, money, and seat. Hypocrite. Interesting strategy for 2020 primaries. Best of luck," Reines tweeted Thursday.
Ken Starr spent $70 million on a consensual blowjob. Senate voted to keep POTUS WJC. But not enough for you @SenGillibrand? Over 20 yrs you took the Clintons’ endorsements, money, and seat. Hypocrite.
Interesting strategy for 2020 primaries. Best of luck.https://t.co/KIsnfY4WLT
— Philippe Reines (@PhilippeReines) November 17, 2017
Gillibrand responded Friday to MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, saying Reines is wrong and that elected officials should be held to the highest standards.
"Ridiculous, and he's wrong," Gillibrand replied to Hunt. "Bill Clinton did very important things for this country, but my point is about this conversation we are having today, and that we need to have the highest standards for elected leaders, and we have to change what's happening throughout society, and we have to allow people to tell their stories."
Gillibrand initially noted in the Times interview the sexual misconduct climate has changed since the 1990's, when Bill Clinton's relationship with Lewinsky occurred.
"Things have changed today, and I think under those circumstances there should be a very different reaction," Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand has been a strong advocate for the Clinton’s over the years, during 2016 she wrote an essay expressing her inspired support from Hillary Clinton's 2016 election.
"In my adult life, politically, no one has inspired me to get off the sidelines and truly make a difference more than Hillary Clinton has," Gillibrand wrote.
During the Campaign, she also campaigned throughout New York with Bill Clinton.
"Bill Clinton and I stopped for coffee in Pulaski, NY, spoke w/New Yorkers about why we support Hillary Clinton!" Gillibrand tweeted.
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) April 16, 2016
The post Gillibrand: ‘Ridiculous’ to Call Her a Hypocrite for Saying Bill Clinton Should’ve Resigned appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.
Some members of the media have downplayed the sexual misconduct Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) has apologized for committing in 2006, pointing to his contrition and even suggesting the photo of him with his hands over a woman's breasts as she slept was "mock groping."
Franken was photographed with his hands over the breasts of Leeann Tweeden, who was traveling on a USO tour with the then-comedian in 2006. She released the picture on Thursday and recounted how Franken also forcibly kissed her during rehearsal for a skit. Franken apologized without admitting to improper conduct besides what was pictured.
MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt downplayed Franken’s actions as the story was developing Thursday. Calling them "allegations" despite the fact that there is photographic evidence and Franken admitted wrongdoing, Hunt qualified Franken’s actions as "not actually groping, but mock groping."
Hunt summarized Franken’s actions in sanitized terms, not laying out Tweeden’s description of being forced to kiss Franken’s "slimy" mouth or feeling "violated."
"In a nutshell, she said she was on this USO tour that Al Franken wrote—he was a comedian then, not a senator—wrote into the script that he should kiss her," Hunt said. "Tried to get her to rehearse it. It was uncomfortable. She avoided him after that. Then he took a picture, which his office now says was of a joke, that showed him potentially—not actually groping, but mock-groping her while she was asleep."
On "Deadline: White House" Friday, host Nicolle Wallace and Wall Street Journal reporter Eli Stokols said Franken deserves credit for his contrition.
"Al Franken was contrite," Stokols said. He was echoing Wallace, who credited Franken for admitting and apologizing for his conduct.
On MSNBC Friday, political correspondent Garrett Haake said Franken "leaned into accepting responsibility," even though he admitted only to the groping charge, which was photographed. Franken did not take responsibility for forcing his tongue into Tweeden’s mouth, which he said he "remembers differently."
Haake credited Franken for agreeing to an ethics investigation and "quieting his critics in his own party and from the right."
"[Calling for an investigation] seems to have done a lot to quiet his critics in his own party and from the right, just to say that there's a process here and that he's willing to take part in it," Haake said.
Haake also commended Franken for apologizing to Tweeden, saying applause for that apology on ABC’s "The View" indicates that the scandal will "work its course."
"Bottom line, Leeann Tweeden reads this apology on ‘The View’ this morning—a show watched by women, hosted by women, very much in that demographic area—and when she's done reading the apology one of the hosts says, ‘You know, that’s pretty good,’ and the crowd applauds it," Haake said. "There seems to be a movement here towards allowing this to kind of work its course with Al Franken."
Haake did not mention that the audience and nearly all the hosts of "The View" skew to the left.
On Thursday, CNN’s chief political analyst Gloria Borger repeatedly expressed her trust in Franken’s contrition.
"I don’t doubt his remorse at all," Borger said, noting the picture but dismissing Tweeden’s account that Franken went even further. "He didn't remember the messy kiss, but whatever."
"I look at this and I look at Franken, and I’m sure he’s remorseful, I’m sure he’s beating himself up over it, because he is in a lot of trouble," Borger added.
Borger then noted that Tweeden is not calling for Franken to resign, which host Brooke Baldwin said is a "great point."
"He is suffering tremendously," Borger added, while noting that the ethics investigation was an "easy out."
The post Media Members Play Defense for Al Franken Amid Sexual Misconduct Scandal appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.
An organizing committee tied to the Writers Guild East announced that it had received a majority of support from Vox's more than 300 editorial employees from the company's eight websites, including Vox, SB Nation, and Recode among others. The committee hopes that the company will recognize the union without the use of a secret ballot election by accepting signed petitions from workers.
The organizing committee said a union is necessary to ensure the liberal website lives by its "forward-thinking values" while safeguarding workers' ability to share in the company's good fortune.
"By organizing, we intend to protect the nimble culture and inclusive, forward-thinking values that make this company great, and to ensure all concerns and challenges can be addressed by a collective voice," it said on its website. "Vox Media will eventually buy or sell properties, engage with investors and advertisers, and perhaps discipline or lay off employees. In any such case, we want to preserve our benefits, to ensure our fair share of capital, and to protect individuals and their work from forces outside their control."
The committee also alluded to the recent dismissal of a manager accused of sexual harassment. It said a union would ensure diversity in promotion talks.
"We seek a continued commitment to hiring inclusively, a focus on promoting people of color within the company, and formal processes for addressing when company culture fails to reflect these values," it says.
Vox is the latest digital media company to form a labor union. Vice and the web empire formerly know as Gawker each voted to join the Writers Guild in recent years. Unionization has posed a quandary for liberal websites in the past with labor sympathizers accusing resistant companies of hypocrisy for contesting organizing campaigns.
Media Matters for America sparked intense backlash from liberals in 2014 after management refused to approve a card check campaign from the guild, even as it published articles advocating against secret ballot elections.
Vox published an article declaring that collective bargaining through a labor union should be considered a constitutional right in a Labor Day post. The opinion article argued that the decline in unionization has harmed the well being of American workers thanks to a judicial system that favors employers.
"Researchers have shown that nearly half of the decline in middle-class incomes is due to the shrinking rates of unionization," the op-ed said. "Unions and their allies should challenge unequal restrictions on free speech and assembly as the violations of workers’ constitutional rights that they are."
Vox did not respond to request for comment about whether it would accept a card check campaign.
Some staffers supporting the union emphasized that they are satisfied with Vox's working conditions. Writer Charlotte Wilder said she is more concerned with the instability of the journalism industry than she is with her employer.
I want to stress that Vox is the best place I've ever worked. I'm excited about the union not because I'm unhappy currently, but because it will provide more stability in an unstable industry
— Charlotte Wilder is homework then out try the cell (@TheWilderThings) November 17, 2017
Vox ‘s unionization drive comes weeks after another digital journalism start-up folded amid newsroom unionization. Locally focused news sites DNAInfo and Gothamist ceased operations shortly after their staff voted to join the Writers Guild East. Owner Peter Ricketts ‘ cited increasing costs and lack of profitability for the decision to lay off all staff members.
The Writers Guild did not respond to request for comment.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday called on failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton to address her "own issues" before criticizing President Donald Trump.
White House correspondent April Ryan asked for a comment about a conversation she had with Clinton earlier on Friday where Clinton criticized Trump for alleged past behaviors.
"She [Clinton] said ‘look, I worry about everything from his past because it tells you how he behaves in the present and the future.' What do you say to that as it relates to these allegations against the president?" Ryan asked, referring to allegations of sexual misconduct that arose during the 2016 presidential race.
Sanders addressed the criticism by saying Clinton should probably deal with issues that have surrounded her and former President Bill Clinton over the years.
"I think Hillary Clinton probably should have dealt with some of her own issues before addressing this president," Sanders said.
The question arose in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including allegations against Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R.) and most recently, against Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.).
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R.) said Friday that she has "no reason to disbelieve" the women who have accused Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of sexual misconduct but will still vote for her party's nominee.
"I will cast my ballot on December 12th, and I do believe that the nominee of the party is the one I will vote for," she told reporters. "I believe in the Republican Party and what we stand for, and most important, we need to have a Republican in the United States Senate to vote on the things like Supreme Court justices, other appointments that the Senate has to confirm, and make major decisions."
Ivey did not say that Moore's accusers are lying, however. When a reporter asked whether she believes any of the women who came forward with accusations, Ivey noted the devastating timing of the allegations but said she has no reason to "disbelieve" them.
"I certainly have no reason to disbelieve any of them," Ivey said. "The timing is a little curious, but at the same time, I have no reason to disbelieve them."
A reporter also asked Ivey if she will be proud to vote for Moore; the governor responded that she will because all Alabamians should be proud to cast a vote.
"Every Alabamian has a right and a duty to vote to determine who their U.S. Senate person is going to be from Alabama, and, yes, I'm proud to vote and I hope every Alabamian will be proud to cast their vote," she said.
Moore's campaign has been rocked by a series of recent sexual assault and misconduct allegations levied against him.
A Washington Post report from last week described the stories of four women, who said that Moore pursued relationships with them while they were teenagers and he was in his 30s. One of the women said that she was 14 when he pursued her and initiated a sexual encounter. Five more women have come forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct since the initial report.
Moore's campaign has painted the allegations as politically motivated.
Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court justice, was removed from the court twice, and he has run against the Republican Party's national establishment. He has argued that GOP leaders, such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), who have called on him to drop out of the race are conspiring to "steal this election from the people of Alabama."
CARLSBAD, Calif.—Members of the Democracy Alliance, a secretive dark money liberal donor network, appear to have moved to increase security presence and alter its schedule at its fall donor summit following a Washington Free Beacon report released Friday morning based off the group's internal documents.
The high-dollar progressive donors, who each vow to direct at least $200,000 in funding to approved left-wing groups of the alliance, are currently gathered at the posh La Costa Resort located in Carlsbad, Calif., for its three-day fall investment conference to plot their 2018 "resistance" and game plan.
The Free Beacon, who appears to be the only members of the media on site covering the conference, has obtained internal documents meant only for attendees that detail the conference's agenda and those who are currently at the gathering. Janell Ross, a Washington Post reporter, is allegedly at the summit, but is listed as being on a "getting the economic narrative right" panel at the conference.
Following publication of the story on early Friday morning, there has been a noticeable increase in security personnel at the resort. These reporters noticed that the original itinerary also appears to have been altered.
Diners also now have to identify their names and room numbers upon sitting down at the restaurant, which was not required yesterday, as these reporters discovered this morning.
The DA's agenda, titled "Beyond #Resistance: Reclaiming our Progressive Future," establishes "participation guidelines" that include guests not sharing any of the members' names with the press or on social media. It also asks attendees to refrain from leaving any sensitive materials behind.
Friday's headliners include liberal billionaire George Soros, who was introduced by a video message from Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), and House Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who is scheduled to speak at the network's dinner. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) also delivered a video message to the group.
David Brock, the former conservative investigative reporter turned Clinton ally and founder of Media Matters, DCCC chair Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D., N.M.), CNN contributor Van Jones, Center for American Progress CEO Neera Tanden, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, California politician Sandra Fluke, and others, are also at the summit, according to the agenda.
Tom Steyer, a billionaire environmental activist and past prominent member of the alliance, who is currently in the midst of launching a campaign geared at impeaching President Donald Trump, does not appear to be at the gathering. Pelosi, who is in attendance at the summit, previously lambasted Steyer for the campaign.
However, Sky Gallegos, the political director of NextGen Climate, Steyer's group, is listed in the group's documents as having participated in a lunch program Thursday on "mobilizing the electorate for a progressive future."
Below is the original schedule and attendees at the conference.
MSNBC's Donny Deutsch wrote in his 2005 book that he constantly flirted with and fantasized about his female colleagues, with thoughts like, "Why haven't I fucked that girl?"
Deutsch joined a "thoughtful" conversation about sexual harassment on Morning Joe Friday morning. He said he hopes he is not "brought down" for his behavior towards women 30 years ago, like attempted kissing.
More recently, in his book Often Wrong, Never In Doubt published 12 years ago, Deutsch described in explicit detail how he interacted with women at the office as an advertising executive.
"I don't think there's been a day in my business career when there hasn't been some woman at work that I fantasized about," Deutsch wrote in his chapter "Women Are Muses."
"People come by the office, look around and say, ‘Boy, the men and women at Deutsch are very physically attractive,'" Deutsch continued. "Now obviously we hire supremely competent and talented people, but the idea of some woman that I'm excited to see or flirt with or even just think about stimulates me in business."
"I cannot remember a time in my career when I was not having either a flirtation with a woman in the office, or a friendship, a fantasy, or all of the above. I am at my best when women are there to energize and excite me," he wrote.
Deutsch says the average man is constantly thinking about sex. "Whether it's ‘I want to fuck that girl' or ‘Why haven't I fucked that girl?' or ‘I'm so horny,' sex and how we appeal to the opposite sex—or the same sex, if that's your dinner choice—is a huge driver of everything we do," he said.
Deutsch also said "carnal guys" are "better people" and praised men in power who are "womanizers."
"The question ‘How is this going to get me into the sack' goes deep to the heart of all impulse to action," Deutsch writes. "I truly believe that's why men accumulate power. I also believe it's the carnal guys who are better people and use their power to better ends."
In 2005, Deutsch praised Bill Clinton and other Democratic presidents who were known philanderers. On Friday, the Morning Joe panel called Clinton a "predator" who sexually harassed Monica Lewinsky. Clinton has also been accused of rape and other sexual misconduct with women.
"We acted shocked when we find that throughout history, men in power have been womanizers: FDR, Eisenhower, JFK, Bill Clinton," Deutsch wrote in the book. "I would argue that this goes hand in hand with the personality type. Why do we expect men who are conquerors to stop conquering when it comes to women? If in ancient times you were conquering new worlds, or in the modern era you are buying up companies, why would that impulse go away? It's more surprising when things don't work out that way."
Deutsch argued in ancient civilizations the "spoils of war" were "beautiful virgins, the ultimate prize." Now, it's the "trophy wife, the ultimate trophy."
He ended the chapter by praising Donald Trump, who he called an "expert" at women, using an anecdote about how Trump once walked past Deutsch to say hello to two "incredibly cute women."
Deutsch also recalled shooting an episode of The Apprentice, in which he described the cast as "large, small, leggy, busty, black, white." He said Trump told him, "It's all about the babes."
Deutsch no longer has flattering things to say about Trump and now calls him a "sociopath."
Later in the book, Deutsch talks about how he told his "buddy" Harvey Weinstein to get into shape.
"What fun is it knowing that all the chicks want to sleep with you for one reason only? Takes the fun out of it," Deutsch says he told Weinstein. Weinstein has since been accused by over 80 women of sexual harassment, assault, and rape, which many have described as a "known secret" in Hollywood.
The Weinstein scandal has led to a cascade of sexual harassment victims coming forward. This week Sen. Al Franken (D., Minn.) was accused of unwanted kissing and groping a woman while she slept, which prompted the panel on Morning Joe Friday.
Deutsch was praised for "insight, candor, and depth" on the subject, which he said was a "tough topic but a necessary one."
MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski pressed Deutsch on his past behavior of women. Deutsch had said, "there will be casualties, and that should happen" when lines are crossed.
However, Deutsch said his past behavior toward women, without naming details, should be excused because of his "lifetime of feminism."
"Here's the tough question then," said Brzezinski. "Do you worry, do you know, do you feel that the way you were around—the way you were around women 30 years ago is a little different, Donny, than the way you are now."
"A million percent," he said. "A million percent."
"Exactly," Brzezinski said. "So should you be brought down for the way you were 30 years ago? I want to know."
"Every incident is—should I be brought down if I tried to kiss a woman, should my life end because I did that 30 years ago?" Deutsch said. "I would hope not. But I think everything is contextualized."
"And in my case, a lifetime of feminism, and blah blah blah, loving women, and elevating women versus a man who for his entire lifetime was chasing underage children, everything has to be contextualized," he said.
Request for comment from MSNBC and Deutsch's representative were not immediately returned.
MSNBC has already severed ties with one contributor over past allegations of sexual misconduct. Mark Halperin, a Morning Joe regular was accused of propositioning junior staffers, groping, and pressing his erection against women while working for ABC. The network cut ties with Halperin last month.
Two years ago, Deutsch made colleagues on Morning Joe uncomfortable when he approached Brzezinski and gave her a kiss on the cheek on-air. "That was weird," said fellow guest Dan Senor.
"Come on, you felt something," Deutsch told Brzezinski. "You felt something. I felt something."
Update 4:30 p.m.: This post has been updated with further information.
The head of the Florida Democratic Party announced Friday that he is stepping down following multiple allegations of demeaning behavior toward women.
Chairman of the Florida Democratic Party Stephen Bittel faced accusations of misconduct from six former staffers and consultants, all of whom said, on condition of anonymity, that Bittel created an unprofessional work environment. The women described in a Politico report that Bittel leered at them, made inappropriate comments, and would invite women onto his private plane. In response, the Democratic Party chief was led to apologize and announce his resignation.
In Bittel's resignation announcement, he touted his record leading the Democratic Party, but apologized for making people feel "uncomfortable."
"When my personal situation becomes distracting to our core mission of electing Democrats and making Florida better, it is time for me to step aside," Bittel said Friday. "I am proud of what we have built as a Party and the wins we have had for Florida families, but I apologize for all who have felt uncomfortable during my tenure at the Democratic Party. I am working with our leadership to set the date for our party to elect my successor."
And Florida Democratic Party Chair Stephen Bittel resigns after POLITICO Florida first reports 6 women complain of "creepy" behavior
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) November 17, 2017
Initially, he apologized but did not say whether he would step aside, instead declaring he was sorry and would try to do better.
"Every person, regardless of their gender, race, age or sexuality should be treated with respect and valued for their hard work and contributions to our community and if any of my comments or actions did not reflect that belief I am deeply sorry," Bittel said.
Bittel kept breast-shaped stress balls at his desk, would make lurid comments about women, and would invite those he found attractive into his hotel room or on his private plane, according to the report.
"There was a lot of boob stuff in his office," one woman, who was a fundraiser for Bittel, said. "I was told by other women not to go into his bathroom. I was warned."
Bittel is a wealthy developer who has gained power and connections in the Florida Democratic Party. Women who spoke to Politico in the initial report said they did so anonymously out of fear he would use those connections against them.
Bittel is known to be friends with prominent Democrats in the state, such as former Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Sen. Bill Nelson. He also hosted fundraisers with former President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.
The post Florida Democratic Party Chief Steps Down Amid Reports of Harassment appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.
Former Donald Trump aide Sam Nunberg told Politico that he made up the viral story of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R.) going on a McDonald's run for then-candidate Trump.
In a lengthy profile published Friday on Christie as he prepares to leave Trenton, author Josh Dawsey said Nunberg told him he "he made up the story to embarrass Christie."
"Sam Nunberg, a former Trump aide, told me he made up the story to embarrass Christie—and that it spread like wildfire," Dawsey wrote.
"The sad reality is that it was believable," Nunberg said.
The fake story first was first told through the New Yorkerwho wrote‘s Ryan Lizza, "One Republican told me that a friend of his on the Trump campaign used Snapchat to send him a video of Christie fetching Trump’s McDonald’s order."
Nunberg was fired from Trump's campaign last year after past racially charged Facebook posts he wrote reemerged. Shortly before the election, he trashed Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner as "an absolute joke."
Christie addressed other perceived indignities he endured at Trump's hand in the Politico piece, including the clip where Trump told him to get on the plane and "go home." Christie said it was not a sign of disrespect.
"People were acting like it was a fucking punishment," he said. "The guy gave me his smaller plane and said, ‘Leave early so you don’t have to wait for me, because you’ve been so great to me the last two days doing this for two days.’ And then asshole reporters write that he was like, ‘Get Chris off the stage.' That’s the stuff that drives you crazy."
The post Former Trump Aide Says He Made Up Viral Story of Christie Fetching Trump’s McDonald’s appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) on Friday ripped a provision in the Senate Republican tax reform bill that gives a tax break to private airplane owners, not noting that a fellow Democrat proposed a similar idea earlier this year.
The latest version of the Senate GOP bill would "lower taxes on some of the payments made by owners of private aircraft to management companies that help maintain, store, and staff those planes for owners," the Hill reported.
The language would exempt owners or leasers of private aircraft from paying taxes on certain costs related to the upkeep and maintenance of the jets, according to a description from the Joint Committee on Taxation
Harris blasted the provision in the GOP bill on Twitter, linking to a Business Insider article about it and writing, "Retweet if you would *not* benefit from a private jet tax break." Her message has been retweeted more than 14,500 times since she posted it Friday morning.
Retweet if you would *not* benefit from a private jet tax break. https://t.co/jxAWezkbq8
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) November 17, 2017
Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown (Ohio) introduced such a measure in the form of S.321 on Feb. 7, however. It is entitled, "A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exempt amounts paid for aircraft management services from the excise taxes imposed on transportation by air."
The same Business Insider article that Harris linked to noted the GOP bill provision's similarities to Brown's bill.
The change appears to be similar to a bill offered by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and cosponsored by GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio. A separate bipartisan bill amending the same part of the tax code was also offered in the House.
According to the lawmakers, the excise tax was designed to be imposed on commercial flights rather than "general aviation" flights, like chartered and private planes, but the IRS has been imposing the tax on private-aircraft management firms. This has been a sore spot for chartered-flight management companies for some time.
The bills, and thus the provision, are designed to clarify the types of flights the excise tax will apply to.