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Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears uses leather high heel to gavel in Senate after gavel goes missing

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Virginia Lt. Gov. Winsome Sears reportedly used her high-heeled patent leather pump to gavel the Virginia Senate to order Monday after someone made off with her gavel.Washington Post reporter Laura Vozzella tweeted that “an unknown prankster” took the gavel and hid it, but that Sears “took the trick in stride.””One shoe can change your life,” Sears said of her quick-thinking solution. “Just ask Cinderella.””Resourcefulness- never underestimate it!” Sears also tweeted in response to Vozzella.WINSOME SEARS RIPS CRITICAL RACE THEORY: ‘OUR CHILDREN ARE NOT LEARNING’ IN SCHOOLSears, who is the first Black female lieutenant governor of Virginia, presides over the narrow Democrat majority in the state Senate, where she is able to cast a tie-breaking vote.
Former Republican Delegate Winsome Sears celebrates winning the race for lieutenant governor of Virginia as she introduces Republican candidate for governor Glenn Youngkin during an election night party in Chantilly, Virginia, Nov. 3, 2021.
(REUTERS/ Jonathan Ernst)CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APPOn Feb. 10, she cast her first tie-breaking vote on SB137, which was related to discretionary sentencing guidelines.Sears has already been a critical player in the administration of the newly sworn-in Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin, who has taken measures related to COVID-19 and critical race theory in schools.
Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin waves to the crowd before his inauguration ceremony, Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Richmond, Virginia.
(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)On his first day in office, Youngkin signed 11 executive actions, including ending the use of critical race theory in schools, investigating officials’ alleged wrongdoing in Loudoun County and allowing parents to decide if their children should wear masks in schools.

Longtime Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway backs Jane Timken in Ohio Senate GOP primary

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FIRST ON FOX: Kellyanne Conway, who was a top adviser to former President Trump for most of his time in the White House, is endorsing Jane Timken in the Ohio Senate race Tuesday, “Jane Timken is a true MAGA champion who was there for President Trump in 2016 and throughout his presidency when many others, including her opponents, hid or stayed on the sidelines,” Conway said in a statement. “In a field of click-bait candidates, celebrities and rich guys trying to buy this election, Jane stands out as the thoughtful leader, mom on a mission, and problem-solver ready to tackle the issues facing Ohio.”
Former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken speaks at former President Trump’s Make America Great Again Rally on July 25, 2017, in Youngstown, Ohio.
(Kyle Mazza/NurPhoto via Getty Images)Conway’s endorsement gives Timken, the former chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party, another high-profile Trump ally on her side after endorsements in recent months from South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem and Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y.GOP WOMEN’S PAC BACKS BRITT FOR SENATE IN ALABAMA, TIMKEN IN OHIO, AS KEY GOP PRIMARIES TAKE SHAPETimken was part of a wave of pro-Trump officials who were elected to lead state parties in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, when many establishment Republicans were reluctant to support the former president. Timken was endorsed by Trump when she ran for that job – but Trump himself hasn’t endorsed in the Ohio Senate primary yet this year.
Kellyanne Conway, who advised former President Trump for much of his time in the White House, walks back into the West Wing following an interview with Fox News outside the White House July 7, 2020, in Washington. Conway is endorsing former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken in the Ohio Senate race. 
(Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)Conway previously supported Bernie Moreno for the Ohio Senate seat. But Trump earlier this month appeared to convince Moreno to drop out of the race to help narrow the field. Moreno said he dropped out in part because there were “too many Trump candidates” splitting votes.That made Trump’s longtime counselor a free agent in the race, and now Conway is throwing her support behind Timken. 
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem meets with then-Ohio GOP chair Jane Timken at an Ohio Republican Party event in Columbus, Ohio, in September 2020. Noem endorsed Timken’s run for Ohio Senate this year. 
(Jane Timken Senate campaign)BIDEN SAYS HE’S RUNNING IN 2024, BUT 2020 DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES KEEP COMING TO NH”I am honored to have Kellyanne Conway’s support and guidance as we head into the most crucial part of this campaign,” Timken said in a statement. “Kellyanne’s strategic insights and leadership helped support President Trump’s incredible successes for this country, and she will be an important team member in the fight to protect that progress and reverse the destruction of the radical Left.”Among the other candidates in the GOP primary are former Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, “Hillbilly Elegy” author J.D. Vance, state Sen. Matt Dolan and investment banker Mike Gibbons. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPVance’s national backers include Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. Mandel’s supporters include Sens. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo. Gibbons is supported by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and former Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien recently signed up as a senior adviser for this campaign. Ohio’s Senate seat is open this year because Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, is retiring. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, appears to be the front-runner for the Democrat nomination for that seat. Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report. 

Flashback: Democrats long trashed Durham probe as 'politically motivated investigation'

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Democrats who once pushed to protect then-special counsel Robert Mueller to ensure that his Russia investigation would continue without interference sang an entirely different tune when the Trump administration appointed John Durham as special counsel to continue investigating the origins of that same Russia probe.Durham has already indicted three people as part of his investigation: Igor Danchenko on Nov. 4, 2021, Kevin Clinesmith in August 2020, and Michael Sussmann in September 2021. Durham’s latest court filing on Friday alleges that lawyers from Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, including Sussmann, paid to access servers belonging to Trump Tower and later the White House in order to establish an “inference” and “narrative” to bring to federal government agencies linking then-President Trump to Russia.JIM JORDAN SOUNDS OFF ON DURHAM PROBE BOMBSHELL: ‘THEY SPIED ON A SITTING PRESIDENT’
Photo of John Durham, left, and Michael Sussmann, right.
(Perkins Coie)Durham was appointed special counsel by then-Attorney General William Barr on Oct. 19, 2020, giving Durham a degree of added independence, as he can only be fired by an attorney general or someone acting in that capacity. Barr revealed the appointment on Dec. 1, 2020, about a month after the presidential election.Democrats like Reps. Adam Schiff of California and Jerry Nadler of New York slammed Barr’s appointment at the time, despite previously calling to protect the special counsel’s office as Mueller conducted his earlier probe, which concluded without finding any evidence to support claims of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., a key member of the House select committee on the Jan. 6 attack, does a tv news interview after preparing most of the day with other committee members, at the Capitol in Washington, on July 26, 2021.
(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)”Barr is using the special counsel law for a purpose it was not intended: to continue a politically motivated investigation long after Barr leaves office,” Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said in December 2020.But during Mueller’s earlier investigation, Schiff was eager to protect the special counsel’s office to ensure Mueller could continue the Russia probe without interference. In 2018, he told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that Congress had to “take up a bill to protect Mueller so that we don’t invite a crisis.”
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) attends a news conference on April 9, 2019 in Washington, DC. 
(Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, also slammed Durham’s appointment at the time as “one more desperate attempt to feed President Trump’s fixation on events that have been investigated over and over again.” That statement came nearly a year after Nadler introduced legislation to protect Mueller’s earlier investigation from “improper interference.”Schiff and Nadler, along with House Oversight Chair Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., and House Administration Chair Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., had also sent a letter in September 2020 asking the Justice Department’s top watchdog to open an “emergency” review into Barr’s handling of the Durham probe.Fox News first reported Saturday a filing by Durham on Feb. 11 that said Clinton campaign lawyers worked with a technology company and “assembled and conveyed” allegations about Trump’s ties to Russia to present to the FBI and a second federal government agency.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe motion on Feb. 11 focused on potential conflicts of interest related to the representation of former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who has been charged with making a false statement to a federal agent. Sussmann has pleaded not guilty.The offices of Schiff and Nadler did not respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer and Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

AOC ties expiration of child tax credit to jump in NYC crime

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tied the increase of thefts in New York City to the expiration of the child tax credit at the end of the year, according to an interview published on Monday.Ocasio-Cortez, who just recently made waves when she predicted a Democrat takeover of Texas, sat down for a wide-ranging interview with the New Yorker and the subject turned to crime in New York City. 
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joins delivery workers to celebrate the passage of legislation by the New York City Council guaranteeing them basic labor rights such as wages, tips, and rest areas, January 23, 2022 in Times Square, New York City. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)
(Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)The representative said she has engaged “hospitals, doctors and social workers” and was told that the surge in violence is driven by the young– mainly young men.”And we allow the discourse to make it sound as though it’s, like, these shady figures in the bush jumping out from a corner. These are young men. These are boys. We’re also not discussing the mental-health crisis that we are experiencing as a country as a result of the pandemic,” she said.The representative’s office did not immediately respond to an after-hours email from Fox News.She pointed out that the child tax credit, which was seen as a lifeline to many families, expired on Dec. 31 “and now people are stealing baby formula.”
FILE: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, U.S. Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district, speaks during an event at the US Climate Action Centre during COP26 on November 09, 2021 in Glasgow. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
(Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)The monthly tax credits were part of President Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Biden had proposed extending them for another full year as part of a separate measure focused on economic and social programs, but Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin objected to extending the credit out of concern that the money would discourage people from working and that any additional federal spending would fuel inflation that has already climbed to a nearly 40-year high.GET THE FOX NEWS APP”We don’t want to have that discussion. We want to say these people are criminals or we want to talk about “people who are violent,” instead of ‘environments of violence,’ and what we’re doing to either contribute to that or dismantle that.”On the day the interview was published, an Asian-American woman in New York City’s Chinatown was stabbed to death inside her apartment after police said she was followed inside by a homeless man, the New York Post reported.The Associated Press contributed to this report 

California teachers union leader under fire for maskless picture at Rams game

The Five – Monday, February 14 On today’s episode, ‘The Five’ debate when the hypocrisy of mask mandates will end after celebrities weren’t wearing them at the Super Bowl. Plus, the Clinton campaign hacked into Trump Tower servers to link Donald Trump to Russia. NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
A member of the California Teachers Association Board of Directors is under fire for the union’s continued support of school mask mandates despite being pictured at a recent Los Angeles Rams game without a mask.”This California Teachers Association Board of Directors Member, Jesse Aguilar, isn’t interested in a ‘cautious’ approach for adults, only our kids. This is Jesse Aguilar. He went to NFC championship game with 70k strangers – he is #DoneWithCovid but his Union wants kids masked,” the LA Parent Union, a group advocating for an end to California’s school COVID-19 restrictions, posted on Twitter Monday.
Masked students wait to be taken to their classrooms at Enrique S. Camarena Elementary School, Wednesday, July 21, 2021, in Chula Vista, California.
(AP Photo/Denis Poroy, File)CALIFORNIA MASK MANDATE IGNORED BY HIGH-PROFILE CELEBRITIES SPOTTED ENJOYING SUPER BOWL LVIPictured in the tweet was CTA Board of Directors member Jesse Aguilar, who appeared to be celebrating the Rams NFC Championship win last month. A Facebook profile belonging to Aguilar features the same photo from Jan. 31.Attached to the LA Parent Union post was a recent statement from the California Teacher’s Association, which included CTA President E. Toby Boyd applauding the state’s decision to keep COVID-19 restrictions such as masks in place for K-12 students.
Photo of Gov. Gavin Newsom and Magic Johnson 
(@MagicJohnson)”We support the administration’s decision to pause and gather more information to make a science-based decision on school masking that responds to this moment in the pandemic and helps the state transition with an eye on equity,” the statement reads.The picture of Aguilar comes from the same game that saw California Gov. Gavin Newsom generate controversy for his own maskless photograph, a move he defended despite a policy in place that required all spectators to wear masks.”I was very judicious yesterday, very judicious, and you’ll see the photo that I did take where Magic was kind enough, generous enough, to ask me for a photograph, and in my left hand’s a mask and I took a photo,” Newsom said of the photo he took with NBA legend Magic Johnson. “The rest of the time I wore it as we all should — not when I had a glass of water or anything, and I encourage everybody else to do so.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
(AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPAguilar took a similar line of defense to his maskless picture in a Facebook post Monday, claiming that he only took off his mask to snap the photo.”This person wants to know where my mask was. It was in my pocket. I took it off for the picture. There was nobody in front of me,” Aguilar said in the post. “I’m glad to wear my mask in a pandemic. It’s not hard and it shows I care about the people around me. I was glad SoFi required proof of vaccination. Getting vaccinated is the sane thing to do in a pandemic. I’m glad sane people behave in a sane manner in an insane time. Where’s your mask?”

Reporter's Notebook: Why 2022 midterms could mirror 2010 bloodbath for Democrats

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Former President Obama was a toxic commodity heading into the 2010 midterms.Obama and his party muscled through Obamacare 12 years ago. The House also approved a controversial climate policy bill. And as a result, the commander in chief mostly sat on the sidelines for House candidates in that fall’s midterms. The president truly only campaigned for one sitting House Democrat: former Rep. Tom Perriello, D-Va.We note that Perriello is a “former” lawmaker because he lost in 2010, despite Obama stumping for him. It was a stunner that Perriello won in the first place in 2008. He defeated former Rep. Virgil Goode, R-Va., by 727 votes. It would have been hard for Perriello to hold the seat in 2010 anyway. And, had it been any other midterm year than 2010, Perriello may have pulled it off. Especially with the president’s support.BIDEN, DEMOCRATS, STRUGGLE TO KEEP PARTY ON SAME PAGE ABOUT ‘DEFUND THE POLICE’But Perriello lost. Democrats hemorrhaged 63 seats in one of the most bloody landslides in American political history.The 2010 midterms were a historically bad year for Democrats. It’s believed that Perriello may have faced a better fate had he been up in any other year than 2010.This year’s midterms mirror the challenges Democrats faced in 2010.
President Biden and congressional Democrats face an uphill battle in the 2022 midterm elections. 
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci)President Biden insists he’s going to be involved in this fall’s midterms. It’s unclear what constitutes “being involved.” Biden’s sagging poll numbers could dissuade some sitting members or Democratic candidates from wanting him anywhere near their same zip code. In other words: “Don’t call us. We’ll call you.” But the president made one foray into a swing district lately that could portend what’s ahead of this fall’s campaigns.Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., is a moderate, second-term Democrat who represents a battleground district. Spanberger clung to her seat by less than two percentage points in 2020. In fact, Democrats nearly lost control of the House in 2020, a phenomenon few political analysts saw coming. In an election post-mortem, Spanberger upbraided party leaders for tilting to the left with a progressive agenda and talk about “defunding the police.”In an audio recording of a Democratic Caucus conference call first obtained by the Washington Post, Spanberger declared, “We need to never use the word socialist or socialism ever again.”It’s likely that new district lines bolster Spanberger’s re-election chances this fall. She even represents a few parcels of what had been Perriello’s district back in 2010.Biden descended on Germanna Community College in Culpeper, Virginia, last week, alongside Spanberger. The congresswoman noted that the event was not a campaign rally. But Spanberger welcomed Mr. Biden to her district.”I’m just pleased to have the opportunity to have so many constituents speak with the President, take some pictures and tell their stories to the President of the United States,” said Spanberger. “That’s, for me, the height of what representations can and should be.”
U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) 

California leaving school mask mandate in place despite lifting indoor mask mandates elsewhere

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California is not lifting the state’s school mask mandate despite allowing vaccinated people to go maskless in most indoor spaces starting Tuesday.California Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly made the announcement during a Monday afternoon news conference, during which he also said that the school mask mandate and other COVID-19 protocols would be reassessed on Feb. 28.Ghaly assured that the mandate for schoolchildren will eventually be lifted, maintaining that “the question is when, not if.”Effective Tuesday, California’s mask mandate will be lifted for most indoor venues. Masks will still be required in schools, as well as on public transit, in health care facilities and in airports.Los Angeles County is maintaining its own mandate independent of the state regulations, and will be requiring indoor masking for at least a few more weeks, according to the county’s Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom holds a face mask while speaking at a news conference in Oakland, Calif., Monday, July 26, 2021.
(AP/Jeff Chiu)BOWSER LIFTING DC MASK MANDATE FOR BARS, GYMS, CONCERTS, BUT NOT SCHOOLSCalifornia’s policy echoes that of Washington, D.C., where Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Monday that the city will lift its mask requirements for many public venues, including bars, restaurants and schools, but will keep in place its mask mandates for schoolchildren.The city’s vaccine mandate for indoor venues will also expire starting Tuesday.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Browser listens during a public safety briefing at the Marion S. Barry, Jr., Building in Washington, D.C., on July 28, 2021.
(Olivier DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP”Because of that diligence that we have seen since the height of omicron wave entered the district in December, cases have dropped more than 90% and there has been a 95% reduction in hospitalizations,” Bowser said. “We are in a much better place now.”Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report.