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June 25, 2018
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If you've ever wondered why President Trump's Oval Office desk is always so clean, he keeps most of his paperwork, plus stacks of newspapers, on the table in the president's private dining room right off the Oval Office, a former Trump administration official tells Jonathan Swan at Axios. This is where Trump spends a good chunk of his workdays, including his morning "Executive Time" of watching cable news and tweeting.

In the dining room, the former official said, Trump is "constantly referencing articles and columns in the Times, WSJ, or Post, watching TV and responding in real time — like, a good interview with an elected official might get them a phone call. Unexpected criticism might get them one too." Aides will come in with something to sign or a phone call or a proposed tweet, and Trump apparently rewatches confidante Sean Hannity's Fox News show from the night before, the official said. "I remember one specific time when he was watching a Hannity replay and he interrupted the conversation and turned up the volume, 'Wait, wait for it ...' (Hannity says whatever it was defending DJT.) 'So good,' Trump said. 'He's so good.'" You can read more at Axios. Peter Weber

8:36 a.m. ET

President Trump raged on Twitter in response to the Justice Department's publication of the FBI's applications for warrants to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in connection to Russian election interference. Saturday evening, Trump claimed the entire Russia probe is a Democratic attempt to undermine the GOP in the 2018 midterms, repeating all his usual refrains:

On Sunday, Trump pivoted to accusing the DOJ and FBI of illegal actions and partisan aims:

The four "judges who signed off on this stuff" were all appointed by Republican presidents. Bonnie Kristian

8:13 a.m. ET
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The Department of Justice on Saturday made public the FBI's applications for warrants to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page in connection to Russian election interference.

The 412-page release says the FBI "believe[d] Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government ... to undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 U.S. presidential election in violation of U.S. criminal law." Page denies such accusations and has not been charged. "I'm having trouble finding any small bit of this document that rises above complete ignorance and/or insanity," he told The Hill.

The heavily redacted applications were made to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, also known as the FISA court, and were published thanks to information requests from media outlets and advocacy groups like the conservative Judicial Watch.

The warrants obtained from this application were the subject of dueling memos released by the Democratic and Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee earlier this year. The memo from Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) alleged these FISA applications were illicitly based on the Steele dossier, which was created with funding from a Hillary Clinton campaign lawyer, not telling the court the information's source. A counter-memo released by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said the dossier was only narrowly used in the surveillance application, with proper identification of its political provenance.

Read Saturday's publication here. Bonnie Kristian

July 21, 2018
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Hamas on Saturday announced it has accepted a ceasefire deal in the contested Gaza Strip after fighting on Friday left four Palestinians and one Israeli soldier dead. The temporary peace was brokered by officials from Egypt and the United Nations.

Israel has yet to confirm its acceptance of the agreement, but the Israeli military said in a statement Saturday it has "decided to maintain a full civilian routine in the communities close to the Gaza Strip," suggesting a cessation in hostilities. Nevertheless, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) also reported an Israeli tank targeted a Hamas outpost Saturday morning after "a number of suspects" allegedly crossed a border fence into Israel for a brief time.

This is the second ceasefire in a week, punctuating the worst conflict in Gaza since 2014. Palestinians have been protesting at the Gaza border fence since March, and about 140 Palestinians — including protesters, militants, and medical workers — have been killed in that span. Thousands more have been wounded, including journalists. One IDF soldier has been killed and 10 Israelis injured. Bonnie Kristian

July 21, 2018
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Police in Clearwater, Florida, declined to arrest or charge a man who fatally shot another over a handicapped parking spot because they believe he is likely shielded by the state's controversial Stand Your Ground law.

"I don't make the law. I enforce the law," said Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri at a press conference Friday. "The law in the state of Florida today is that people have a right to stand their ground and have a right to defend themselves when they believe that they are in harm."

Gualtieri noted the state's attorney's office will review the case and could decide to bring charges if it seems realistic to "overcome that heavy burden at a Stand Your Ground hearing of proving by clear and convincing evidence [the shooter] was not entitled to use force in this circumstance."

The shooting took place at a convenience store Thursday afternoon. The shooter, Michael Drejka, confronted a woman, Britany Jacobs, who had parked in a handicapped spot to wait while her boyfriend, Markeis McGlockton, and their 5-year-old son went inside the store.

When McGlockton and the boy came outside, he saw the argument and intervened, forcibly pushing Drejka to the ground. From there, Drejka fired a single round at McGlockton's chest with his handgun, for which he had a valid concealed carry permit. McGlockton died at a hospital soon after. Bonnie Kristian

July 21, 2018
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Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and new progressive darling Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took their democratic socialist show on the road Friday with a campaign stop in Wichita, Kansas.

They appeared together at a rally for Democrat James Thompson, who is challenging GOP incumbent Rep. Ron Estes for his House seat. "People told me Kansas was a Republican state," Sanders told an enthusiastic crowd. "It sure doesn't look that way."

Some attendees were not previously familiar with Ocasio-Cortez, who burst onto the national scene this summer with an upset primary win against the No. 4 House Democrat, Rep. Joe Crowley (N.Y.), in her Bronx district. In Kansas, she touted the broad appeal of her platform. "What you have shown me, and what we will show in the Bronx, is that working people in Kansas share the same values — the same values — as working people anywhere else," she said.

Whether Ocasio-Cortez's optimism is justified remains to be seen. Kansas voted for President Trump by a 20-point margin and has not elected a Democrat to Congress in a decade. Bonnie Kristian

July 21, 2018
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The father of two survivors of February's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, was fatally shot by an armed robber in his convenience store Tuesday.

Ayub Ali, 61, was stocking shelves when a robber forced him to open the cash register. The robber took the money and left, but then returned to shoot Ali, who was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

A suspect identified as Tyrone Fields Jr., 19, was arrested Friday based on security camera footage from the store. He has been charged with murder and robbery with a firearm.

Ali is survived by his wife and four children, the youngest of whom is just 22 months old. "It's hard for them to accept it," said a family representative. "He [met] everyone with a smile." Bonnie Kristian

July 21, 2018
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Is a laugh enough to get you fired in Trump's White House? President Trump is "exasperated" with his director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, Politico reported Friday night, after the intelligence chief publicly chuckled Thursday at the idea of another Trump summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"That's going to be special," Coats said of Trump's invitation to Putin to visit Washington this fall, indicating he did not know of the meeting plan in advance. A former Trump administration official described the administration as in "meltdown" over Coats' comments, and Reuters reports White House staff are alarmed Coats was kept in the dark about the forthcoming Putin visit.

Some sources suggested to Politico the DNI, who is 75, may soon wish to retire — or that he may become Trump's newest target for firing. "He was not particularly eager to take the job to begin with and was sort of talked into it on the theory of when the president asks, you should serve," explained one of Politico's sources. Should Coats leave or be forced out, Politico notes, Trump may have a difficult time replacing him, especially given Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russian election interference. Bonnie Kristian

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