The man who “made” the conservative activist who posed as a pimp to undermine the community organizing group ACORN, confessed that he pays him — while at the same time arguing he has “nothing to do with” what he does.
James O’Keefe was arrested Monday after “maliciously tampering” with the phones at the Louisiana offices of Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA). After his interdiction by federal marshals, O’Keefe admitted to planning the operation.
Conservative pundits have sought to distance themselves from O’Keefe after the arrest.
“Let it be a lesson to aspiring young conservatives interested in investigative journalism: Know your limits,” wrote conservative blogger Michelle Malkin Tuesday afternoon. “Know the law. Don’t get carried away. And don’t become what you are targeting.”
In a statement, conservative heavyweight Andrew Breitbart — who helped O’Keefe become famous after posting videos of him posing as a pimp and chatting with ACORN employees and served as an editor for The Drudge Report and contributor to the Huffington Post — said he had “no knowledge about or connection to” any of the alleged plots.
“We have no knowledge about or connection to any alleged acts and events involving James O’Keefe at Senator Mary Landrieu’s office,” Breitbart remarked. “We only just learned about the alleged incident this afternoon. We have no information other than what has been reported publicly by the press. Accordingly, we simply are not in a position to make any further comment.”
And yet, on a radio interview the same day, Breitbart told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that O’Keefe was all but an employee.
HH: Last question, in terms of his relationship with you not connected to this event, are you still, is he in your employ in any way?
AB…What he does for the site exclusively is he tells his life rights, basically. So when he puts a story out there, it’s on the Breitbart sites, the Big sites, that he can tell people what transpired. So…
HH: Do you pay him for that?
HH: And are you free to tell me how much you pay him?
AB: I’ll…perhaps at another date, but he’s paid a fair salary.
HH: Is he…so he is an employee?
AB: I’m not sure that’s technically the thing, but yes, he’s paid for his life rights. And he’s, you know, he’s still…we reserve the right to say yes or no to any of the stories that he puts up on our site as we do to any other contributor who comes to the site.
HH: Will it be a mischaracterization to say he was working for you when he went about this?
AB: Well, I mean, no. He was not involved in anything that was related to Big Government, or Breitbart.com.
At the time of his arrest, O’Keefe was writing for Breitbart’s website, though there’s no indication Breitbart had any involvement with the stunt.
“Let me state clearly for the record: wiretapping is wrong,” he wrote. “But until I hear the full story from James O’Keefe, I will not speculate as to what he was doing in Louisiana.”
The exchange with Hewitt was noted late Tuesday by MediaMatters.
O’Keefe and three associates allegedly posed as telephone company employees in a self-confessed effort to tamper with the senator’s office phones.
Trump announces toughest sanctions ‘ever’ on Iran
President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on Iran's central bank, calling the measures the toughest ever imposed on another country by the United States.
"We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.
"These are the highest sanctions ever imposed on a country," he said.
The Trump administration has vowed a response after US officials blamed Iran for weekend blasts on Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure, which caused a sharp hike in global crude prices.
The United States already maintains sweeping sanctions on Iran including on its central bank, with anyone who deals with it subject to prosecution.
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When asked about the importance of Australia's mineral industry, the president praised the country for doing so much to extract resources in what he described in an environmentally friendly way.
"Coal, as an example, you're the leader of safety in coal digging and we've actually studied it," the president said. "We're doing a lot of coal. You have very little -- you have almost no -- used to have a thing, black lung disease, and in Australia you almost don't have it anymore, you've got all of the dust down."
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Meghan McCain managed to place herself at the center of a debate about a whistleblower complaint filed against President Donald Trump.
"The View" grappled with reports that Trump dangled U.S. military aid to Ukraine in exchange for damaging information against Joe Biden, and co-host Abby Huntsman agreed that was an impeachable offense -- but expressed doubts about the accuracy.
"This is a blown-up story and we have no facts, there's no gray area," Huntsman said. "It's black and white, and that would give Trump all the more ammunition if this isn't even true to say, this is what the media does."