Kellyanne Conway says critics employ Hatch Act to ‘silence’ her support for Trump

Counselor to the president Kellyanne Conway responded to critics Monday after formally defying a Hatch Act-related subpoena from the House Oversight Committee.

Her opponents are concerned about her effectiveness at her job and hoped to silence her, Conway said Monday on “Hannity.”

“I’m concerned that there’s such a weaponization and politicization of this thing called the Hatch Act,” she said.

The Hatch Act limits political activity by federal workers. Congress approved the Hatch Act in 1939 to limit partisan activity by federal employees to ensure the government functions fairly and effectively.

KELLYANNE CONWAY DEFIES HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE SUBPOENA OVER ALLEGED HATCH ACT VIOLATIONS

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The Office of Special Counsel — separate from the office formerly run by Special Counsel Robert Mueller — opened two cases focused on allegations Conway violated the Hatch Act by engaging in “both official and political activity” — during her media appearances and on her Twitter account, @KellyannePolls.

The report stated, “Ms. Conway regularly participated in official media interviews in her capacity as a White House spokesperson to answer reporters’ questions about the Administration. Beginning in February 2019, Ms. Conway, during official media appearances, engaged in a pattern of partisan attacks on several Democratic Party candidates shortly after they announced their candidacy for President,” detailing instances involving Sens. Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren, and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke.

The OSC stated that in one Feb. 19 interview on “Fox & Friends,” Conway “insinuated that Senator Booker was ‘sexist’ and a ‘tinny’ ‘motivational speaker,’” and claimed Warren, D-Mass., was “’lying’” about her ethnicity.

Conway said that no matter how heavy the pressure is on her to keep a low profile, she will continue to publicly support the president’s policies.

“They’re not going to silence me,” she said. “They’re not going to take away my First Amendment rights.”

Conway also “attacked” O’Rourke for not “thinking the women running are good enough to be President.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report

Trey Gowdy: Unless Mueller ‘fumbles,’ not much will be learned from testimony

There’s little chance that former Special Counsel Robert Mueller will reveal any significant new information about his Russia investigation when he testifies on Capitol Hill later this month, former U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy said Friday.

In fact, Gowdy said on Fox News’ “Hannity,” the only significant thing Mueller could possibly say is whether he would have indicted Donald Trump if he were a private citizen instead of president of the United States.

“I think what the Democrats are going to focus on is, had that [Justice Department] policy not been in place [against indicting a sitting president], would you have indicted private citizen Donald Trump? That’s the only thing that can come out of this for the Democrats that would be significant,” Gowdy told host Sean Hannity.

TREY GOWDY: MUELLER DOES NOT WANT TO ‘PARTICIPATE’ IN KEEPING THE RUSSIA STORY ALIVE

Mueller was supposed to appear before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees this coming Wednesday but on Friday his scheduled hearings were postponed until July 24.

Gowdy — a Republican who declined to seek re-election last November after representing South Carolina‘s 4th Congressional District for four terms, from 2011 until January of this year — also advised Republicans to ask Mueller about all the things he “didn’t bother to look for” during an investigation that lasted two years.

“If you’re a Republican,” Gowdy said, “you’re going to want to ask about bias. You’re going to want to ask about what you didn’t look into — and I also have a bunch of friends on that committee. I would spend all of my time getting Mueller to talk about things he didn’t bother to look for.”

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The former chairman of the House Oversight Committee (2017-2019) and House Benghazi Committee (2014-2016) told Hannity that America wouldn’t learn much from the hearings unless Mueller “fumbles.”

“Trust me when I say, Sean … We’re not going to learn a lot unless he fumbles. The answer from my point of view, the Republican point of view, if he fumbles, the answer on why he did not indict Donald Trump, then this thing will continue to go on for another six to nine, twelve months,” Gowdy said.

Steve Hilton announces he’s applying to become US citizen

Steve Hilton, host of “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton,” announced on his show Sunday that he’s started the process of becoming an American.

“I’m in the process of applying for U.S. citizenship,” he said, noting that he’s appreciated “the opportunity this country has given me.”

He said he has been a proud immigrant, and he mentioned his parents who escaped communism in Hungary.

He said he believes in immigration and its benefits, but wants to see it controlled properly.

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He said he is looking forward to the day he becomes an American, “if you’ll have me, that is.”

Hilton added that it’s fitting how he made the announcement just days after the U.S. celebrated Independence Day.

Frank Miles is a reporter and editor covering geopolitics, military, crime, technology and sports for FoxNews.com. His email is Frank.Miles@foxnews.com.

Trump press secretary: Democrats ‘hate this president more than they love America’

White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley appeared on “Hannity” Wednesday defending the upcoming Fourth of July parade with military tanks and claiming Democrats were being clouded by their hatred of President Trump.

“It is pretty clear at this point that the Democrats in this country hate this president more than they love America, and that hatred has taken many forms in the short period that Donald Trump has been in the White House,” Gidley told guest host Gregg Jarrett.

Gidley accused Democrats of lying about the president’s motives saying he wants only to celebrate the greatness of America.

JOY REID SAYS TRUMP USING TANKS AT 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION AS ‘THREAT’ TO AMERICANS

“First the Democrats lied about collusion, then they lied about the corruption. Then they lied about the crisis at the southern border,” Gidley said, referring to the Russia investigation and the immigration crisis.

“And now, they are lying about the motives of Donald Trump who simply wants to celebrate to the greatest idea ever realized in the history of humankind, and that is America.”

It is pretty clear at this point that the Democrats in this country hate this president more than they love America.

— Hogan Gidley

Gidley said the only reason Democrats had a problem with the celebration is that Trump was involved.

“Democrats refuse to celebrate that greatness, refuse to even celebrate our nation’s independence or the fourth of July simply because it is Donald Trump who is doing the celebrating,” Gidley said.

He defended the celebration, saying it’s not political.

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“I was with the president for quite some time this afternoon talking about the speech and listening to him talk about the themes that he wants to address, and there is not a political bone in the entire speech. I mean, the whole thing is about the greatness of America,” Gidley said.

“That is what this is about, for all Americans. It is not political or about Donald Trump. It is about each of us. That’s what he wants to convey.”

Dana Perino: Dems could be looking to ‘chop down’ tallest oak in Biden at debates

Expect Democratic presidential candidates to focus on ‘chopping down’ former Vice President Joe Biden at next week’s debates, says Fox News’ Dana Perino.

“He is the tallest oak in the yard and there are a lot of Democrats that want to figure out a way to chop him down,” Perino told “The Story with Martha MacCallum” guest host Ed Henry Tuesday.

The first debate of the Democratic primary season will be split into two nights, June 26-27. The second nigh features most of the high-polling candidates on the stage, including Biden.

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The Daily Briefing with Dana Perino” host said fellow 2020 hopefuls could take the opportunity to try to paint Biden as the past and follow the path of former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama by pitching future and progress to the Democratic base.

“Next week at the debates when they start for the Democrats you will see that the shots being taken, not just at Donald Trump… They’ll all do that. But there is going to be a movement for example like a Pete Buttigieg, who’s trying to say that we want the party to go forward. Biden wants to take you backward,” Perino said.

LATEST POLL NUMBERS IN 2020 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION RACE

“And most Democrats the ones who have done very well just think in the past Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. What were their big campaign slogans — hope and change, moving forward.”

The comments came after Biden said he can win states no Democrat has won in presidential elections in decades.

“I plan on campaigning in the South. I plan on — if I’m your nominee — winning Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, believe it or not,” Biden vowed Monday, as he spoke at a gathering in the nation’s capital of the Poor People’s Campaign’s Moral Action Congress.

No Democrat has carried South Carolina in a presidential election since Jimmy Carter more than four decades ago. Biden, who has developed deep ties over the years in the state where he often vacations, enjoys a large lead over his primary rivals in the state’s crucial first-in-the-South presidential primary.

But capturing the conservative state in a general election would be a high hurdle. Republicans have won the state in every presidential election dating back to 1968, except for Carter’s victory in 1976.

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No Democrat has won Georgia since Bill Clinton in 1992. And other than Barack Obama’s victory in 2008, North Carolina has been solidly in the GOP column in each presidential election dating back to 1968.

Linda McMahon: Trump critics pointing to poll numbers forgetting what happened in 2016

Trump critics pointing to President Trump’s less than ideal 2020 poll numbers are forgetting what happened in 2016, according to Linda McMahon.

Not only are they missing the point, but McMahon said those concerns about Trump’s reelection prospects are largely unfounded on Monday on “The Story.”

“Doesn’t it sound a little bit like it did four years ago at about the same time?” the America First Action chairwoman asked host Ed Henry.

“How is Trump ever going to win? Well, he did win. He just absolutely surprised a lot of the pundits, and they were all wrong.”

FOX NEWS POLL: BIDEN UP BY DOUBLE DIGITS IN DEMOCRATIC RACE

On Monday, MSNBC host Joe Scarborough became the latest in a chorus of critics to question the president’s viability in 2020.

“Considering everything that’s happened over the past several years, I must say I’m completely at a loss at how he thinks he’s going to get where he needs to go to get reelected again, while he still just keeps playing to that small base,” he said.

A Fox News Poll released Sunday showed the president trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup by double-digits, and four other contenders by single digits.

Henry asked McMahon what she thought of Trump falling behind the former Delaware senator.

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“If you want to roll back the clock a little bit and look, how did it look with Reagan? He was behind. How did it look with Clinton? He was behind and he won again,” she said.

“I really do think that polls, at this particular point, we’re not really putting much faith in them.”

Julián Castro: Americans will look back at Trump and ask ‘what in the hell was wrong with that president?’

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro predicted that Americans in 20 years would ask what was “wrong” with President Trump when he expressed willingness to receive opposition research from foreign governments.

“I think you know, a few years from now — whether it’s 10 years from now, 20 years from now — we’re going to look back on this as Americans — not Republicans or Democrats or liberals or conservatives — and say ‘What in the hell was wrong with that president?'” Castro, a 2020 hopeful, told Fox News during a town hall on Thursday.

Trump, on Wednesday, was criticized after he indicated that he would be willing to listen to foreign opposition research without notifying the FBI.

Castro added himself to the long list of Democrats criticizing Trump over those comments. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called Trump’s remarks “appalling” and accused Republicans of trying to make money by staying silent about his “unethical” behavior.

JULIAN CASTRO ADMITS HATCH ACT ‘MISTAKE,’ CALLS FOR KELLYANNE CONWAY’S TERMINATION, IN FOX NEWS TOWN HALL

During Thursday’s town hall, called Trump’s remarks “unprecedented.” “I think it’s safe to say we have never seen that kind of moment in American history — and that’s not a good thing.”

Fox News host Martha MacCallum had asked Castro about how Trump’s comments were different from Democrats funding the controversial Steele dossier, which was compiled by a former British spy and used Russian sources.

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After Castro initially seemed to dodge the question, Fox News anchor Bret Baier pressed him on the perceived “double standard.”  Baier pointed to Brian Fallon, former spokesman for 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, saying he would have had “no problem” passing the Steele dossier along to reporters.

Castro responded by talking about a situation involving former Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and suggesting that people should move on from Clinton because she wasn’t on the ballot for 2020.

Who ‘unsettled’ who? Jesse Watters and Juan Williams disagree on Trump and Biden’s verbal sparring

Is the verbal sparring unsettling former Vice President Joe Biden or President Trump?

The Five” discussed the possible 2020 presidential election opponents as they continue to take shots at one another Tuesday.

“I would rather run against, I think, Biden than anybody. I think he is weakest mentally,” Trump told reporters.  “Joe Biden is a dummy.”

Biden, the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential race, called the president an “existential threat to America” Tuesday in Iowa adding, “This is a guy who does everything to separate and frighten people.”

BIDEN TO SLAM TRUMP AS ‘EXISTENTIAL THREAT’ DURING DUELING IOWA STOPS

On “The Five,” Juan Williams said he thinks Biden is clearly under the president’s skin.

“I’m telling you what’s clear is that Joe Biden had unsettled Donald Trump. What he says Joe Biden is dumb or slow, please,” Williams said.

However, co-host Jesse Watters disagreed, arguing instead that it was Biden who was “unsettled.”

“I think Trump has unsettled Joe Biden because he flip-flopped on China today. He’s had actually China is our competitor and is a huge threat,” the “Watters’ World” host said.

AS TRUMP LIKENS BIDEN TO ‘CROOKED HILLARY,’ BIDEN SAYS TRUMP ERA ‘HAS GOT TO END’

Co-host Greg Gutfeld argued that Biden will say anything to keep the “spotlight.”

“He is in a bad situation where the more you look, the less you see. He has cruised along as a co-star, secondary character in a sitcom, not the star. Now you know why because he will say anything for the spotlight,” Gutfeld said.

Biden and Trump have repeatedly taken shots at one another in recent weeks, offering a glimpse of what a potential 2020 race would look like.

Biden, though, is leading the Democratic primary field by double digits in recent national polls.

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Nevertheless, Trump said he hopes to run against Biden in the 2020 general election.

Trump, who will be 73 on Friday, has repeatedly said he would “easily” beat Biden in 2020 and has poked fun at the former vice president’s age while giving the 76-year-old new nicknames including “Sleepy Joe” and “1 percent Joe.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

Jesse Watters: John Dean’s testimony ‘a stunt’

John Dean’s testimony Monday on Capitol Hill where he discussed the parallels between Watergate and the Russia investigation was nothing more than a “stunt” according to “The Five” co-host Jesse Watters.

“Back to John Dean who they’re calling the star witness. He’s not a star, he’s not a witness to anything,” Watters said Monday.

“No one knows who he is. He is a CNN contributor which makes perfect sense that a CNN guy is a witness in their fake Russia collusion story. He witnessed something almost 50 years ago, so, I don’t know what that adds.”

THIS IS GETTING SERIOUS: NEW YORK TIMES DRAFTS ‘ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT’ AGAINST TRUMP

Dean, the former White House counsel to Richard Nixon, testified Monday that he sees “remarkable parallels” between Watergate and the findings of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report during a hearing that Republicans panned as a political “show” as they repeatedly challenged the credibility of the witness.

Before the House Judiciary Committee, Dean, an outspoken critic of President Trump, testified that several points in the Mueller report “echo Watergate,” especially relating to the obstruction of justice probe.

Watters dismissed Dean and his relevance.

“Every time the media wants to talk about impeachment or compare something to Watergate, they send a town car over to John’s house.  They bring him into the studio, he says this is worse than Watergate and he’s sent back to his house. It’s a stunt like the bucket of chicken, just like the other felon they had out there. It’s not going to change anything,” Watters said.

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The “Watters’ World” host also accused Democrats of trying to “resuscitate” the Mueller report.

“The Democrats are trying to resuscitate this Mueller report because they don’t have anything else,” Watters said.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report.

Gold Star widow discusses husband’s ultimate sacrifice ahead of Memorial Day

The wife of a Marine and veteran firefighter who died following a suicide bombing in Afghanistan said Friday her husband “just did the right thing.”

Shannon Slutman, the widow of Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman, told “Fox & Friends” her husband was the “most humble man you ever wanted to meet” and always “did what was right.”

“He just did the right thing,” Slutman said. “He didn’t expect anybody to put him up on a pedestal, [or] to put it on Facebook.”

She said Sgt. Slutman was once given an award by the FDNY but didn’t tell anyone about it.

“One of his best friends was so angry with him because he didn’t tell him,” she said.

VETERAN US FIREFIGHTER, AN ‘AMERICAN HERO,’ IDENTIFIED AS ONE OF THREE MARINES KILLED IN AFGHAN BOMB BLAST

She recalled telling her children in the wake of their father’s death he “would want us to be strong and live every day to the fullest because that’s exactly what he did.”

Sgt. Slutman died April 8 near Bagram Airfield, a U.S. military base. Two other members of Slutman’s Massachusetts-based Marine Reserve unit also were killed.

Shannon Slutman said she was overcome with gratitude for the amount of people who came out to express their condolences after her husband’s casket was returned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

She said firetrucks and people with American flags lined roadways and overpasses along their journey back to New York City.

“Private citizens, firemen, police, all the first responders, I mean, it was an extremely emotional experience,” she said.

Frank Siller, of the Tunnels to Towers Foundation, joined Slutman on “Fox & Friends” to show his support for the Gold Star widow and her family.

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Siller said his foundation is hoping to help the Slutman family pay off its mortgage.

“What a sacrifice by a husband, a superhero,” he said. “Someone who not only serves his country, also a New York City firefighter who serves his community.”

Fox News’ Greg Norman contributed to this report.