Steak, Sumo and Fighter Jets: Inside Japan’s Plan to Keep Trump Busy

This news was published by : TIME POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 22:11

When Donald Trump arrives in Tokyo on Saturday, he’ll be the first foreign leader to meet Japan’s new Emperor Naruhito, but he won’t find much “executive time” on his schedule.

Japanese officials have gone to great pains to ensure that Trump’s time will be filled by playing golf with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, presenting the “Trump Cup” to the winner of a sumo wrestling tournament and visiting a helicopter carrier that is being adapted so it could host Lockheed Martin’s vertical takeoff F-35B jet fighters. A dinner is planned at a robatayaki restaurant, where with respect for the president’s preference for well-done steak, the meat will be grilled before his eyes.

Much of that kabuki choreography is simply the product of traditional Japanese culture and hospitality, as well as Abe’s long-running effort to flatter the American leader, which in the past has included giving him a $3,755 gold-plated golf club.

However, Trump’s schedule is also booked to minimize any possibility that a substantive issue might arise and disrupt an agenda designed to make both leaders look good to the voters at home, say U.S. and Japanese officials and outside experts.

“This is a policy-free visit,” says Stanford University’s Daniel Sneider. “The Japanese know that Trump can be unpredictable and that his attention is focused on Washington, but it’s completely choreographed. It’s more like a weekend jaunt to Japan.”

It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of serious issues on the table for the old allies. In addition to the breakdown in nuclear talks with North Korea, those include Trump’s threat to impose tariffs on Japanese auto and auto parts exports if Japan doesn’t open its doors to more U.S. agricultural products and pay more of the cost of supporting the 50,000 or so American forces in the country.

Neither country is in a hurry to confront those issues. Facing the prospect of a trade war with China, Trump has put his auto tariff threat on a 180-day hold. Japanese officials say that Abe, whose Liberal Democratic Party is facing elections in July for both houses of the Diet, Japan’s parliament, is in no position to make any unilateral concessions now on trade, defense costs or anything else.

Indeed, says a senior administration official, pursuing those issues now could endanger U.S. relations with its most important military, political, and economic ally in Asia. Nevertheless, Japanese officials are apprehensive ahead of the unpredictable Trump’s visit.

Barring an unintended tariff battle, however, Japan’s delicate choreography may underline the areas where the two nations remain aligned, Nicholas Szechenyi of the Center for Strategic and International Studies told a briefing this week. Take Trump’s planned visit to the Izumo-class helicopter carrier. If Tokyo decides to replace its aging F-2 warplanes with stealthy American F-35s, it would boost Japan’s already position as a top buyer of U.S. weapons. Upgrading to the F-35 would be a logical move since China’s most advanced fighter, the J-20, bears a remarkable resemblance to the American F-22, the F-35’s predecessor.

A friendly visit, uninterrupted by tweets about the divisive issues, also would send a message to other U.S. allies such as Germany and Canada that have stormy relations with Trump that peaceful coexistence is still possible.

“It’s critical for Japan’s survival that the U.S. uphold the international institutions built after (World War II), but that Europe and other countries work with the U.S. to do that, even in difficult times,” said Green.

In the end, said the senior U.S. official, “the mood will be the message.”

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Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder, indicted on 18 charges

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 22:02

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been newly indicted on 18 charges accusing him of complicity in one of the largest leaks of classified information in U.S. history, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Mr. Assange was ousted from his sanctuary at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last month and is now ...

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DOJ accuses Assange of violating Espionage Act

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 22:02

The Justice Department has hit WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with Espionage Act charges, significantly escalating a legal fight against the high-profile activist.

DOJ had previously only indicted Assange on a single count of conspiracy to commit computer intrusion. Thursday's revelation of the additional 18 charges, filed in the Eastern District of Virginia, means Assange could face significantly more prison time if found guilty.

The alleged Espionage Act violations relate to Assange’s complicity with Chelsea Manning, a former U.S. Army soldier who was convicted in July 2013 of violating the Espionage Act.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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US charges WikiLeaks founder with publishing classified info

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 22:00

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Justice Department has charged WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with receiving and publishing classified information.

The charges are contained in an 18-count indictment announced Thursday.

The new charges go far beyond an initial indictment against Assange made public last month that accused him of conspiring with former ...

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange charged in new US indictment with receiving and publishing classifi

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 22:00

WASHINGTON (AP) - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange charged in new US indictment with receiving and publishing classified information.

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US Providing $16B in Aid to American Farmers  

This news was published by : US Politics exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 21:59
The United States is providing $16 billion in aid to American farmers who have been hurt by the trade war with China. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue told Fox Business News on Thursday that most of the funds would go directly to farmers, while smaller amounts would be directed to aid initiatives such as food banks and school lunch programs. The administration allocated $12 billion in bailout money to farmers last year to offset the costs of President Donald Trump's trade battles with China and other trading partners. Perdue did not disclose additional information about the aid package, but said more information would be made available later Thursday. Trump was to address the nation's farmers Thursday afternoon at a White House event. Trump has placed tariffs on thousands of Chinese products and on foreign steel and aluminum. Countries have retaliated with their own tariffs, particularly on agricultural exports produced in the rural U.S., where Trump enjoys strong political support. The Trump administration had voiced optimism that an agreement with China was close to being finalized earlier this month, but hopes were dashed when China backed away from previous commitments. Trump responded by doubling existing punitive tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese products and threatened to impose tariffs on goods that had been spared to date.
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How Abortion Became a Top Issue in the 2020 Democratic Primary

This news was published by : TIME POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 21:51

Among the hundreds who gathered in front of the Supreme Court to protest for abortion rights on Tuesday were roughly a half-dozen candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.

As activists held up signs reading #StopTheBans to protest recent laws severely restricting abortions in Alabama, Georgia, Ohio and Missouri, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar; South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and others spoke, recorded video clips and took pictures with the protesters.

For Ryan, who switched from being anti-abortion to pro-choice in an op-ed in 2015, the protests in D.C. and other cities showed how pivotal abortion rights may turn out to be in the 2020 election.

“[Abortion] is definitely going to be a part of the conversation, no question, as it should be,” he told TIME as he stood just off the stairs leading up to the Supreme Court. “I hope what it does is energizes a lot of women. I think there’s going to be a lot of suburban women who are going to look to us, and to the Democrats hopefully, as willing to join because of this issue, when otherwise maybe they didn’t.”

Abortion is also shaping up to be a clear campaign issue in the Democratic primary. Although the candidates largely agree — they generally support abortion rights and oppose the recent state laws — they differ on how much they stress its importance, whether they’ve put forward specific plans to protect abortion rights and their record in past votes.

Among those leading the conversation are some of the female candidates: New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand took a trip to the Georgia capitol last week to protest its anti-abortion legislation and vowed to only nominate judges who will uphold Roe v. Wade, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren rolled out an extensive plan to ensure access to reproductive health care.

But this week it became clear that candidates were feeling the pressure to give more detail. At a CNN town hall on Tuesday night, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke laid out his plan for reproductive rights; the following morning, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker put forward his plan, which would include creating a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom.

Notably, most candidates have also now expressed support for codifying the protections of Roe v. Wade in a federal law.

“I think these candidates will compete to mobilize women around this issue,” Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowsky told TIME. “They’re going to see it as a way to really appeal to women voters. The majority of the voters each cycle are women, and I think that they’re absolutely going to compete on this issue.”

Strategists agree that the eventual nominee will be supportive of abortion rights.

“At the end of the day, there’s going to be very little space between them on this issue,” a Democratic strategist told TIME, but noted that candidates’ plans to expand access to abortion is indeed something that they’re competing on. “I think it’s a great conversation that we’re having on the Democratic side.”

The issue came to a boiling point last week, when Alabama’s governor signed a bill that would effectively outlaw abortion in the state, without exceptions for rape or incest. It’s one of the most extreme anti-abortion bills in the country, but other states have also passed severely restrictive measures, like Georgia’s so-called heartbeat bill, which bans abortion once cardiac activity can be detected, typically around six weeks.

Both anti-abortion advocates and abortion-rights supporters say that these laws will help kickstart the process of getting Roe v. Wade overturned in the Supreme Court.

“Roe is at stake here,” said Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY’s List, an organization that works to elect women who support abortion rights. “This is a crisis for women and families in this country who need to have the ability to make the full range of choices in their lives, and to have access to safe abortion. And so this is just a critical moment.”

Democrats say the issue may play a larger role in Senate, House and state races.

“The answer to every question is the same: mobilize, mobilize, mobilize. Our whole country changed when women decided to march,” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi told the audience at the Center for American Progress’s Ideas conference on Wednesday. “We don’t agonize, we organize, and we cannot let this happen to the families of America.”

Still, there are some Democrats who aren’t supportive of abortion rights, though their numbers are shrinking.

Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, in particular, has been a lightning rod for criticism from the left for his anti-abortion stance. Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, had been scheduled to headline a fundraiser for him, a decision she faced backlash for. In a sign of the times, the New York Times reported Wednesday that Bustos would no longer be appearing at the event.

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Judges fast track court fight over Trump financial records

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 21:48

President Donald Trump’s fight to stop the release of his financial records is on the fast track for a key court decision after a three-judge appellate panel agreed Thursday to hear oral arguments later this summer.

In a two-page order, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals’ judges scheduled oral arguments for July 12 in the case that pits the president’s attorneys against House Democrats, who issued a subpoena to the accounting firm Mazars USA for eight years of Trump’s financial records.

The court date will come several weeks after a lower court rejected the president’s attempts to block the subpoena, arguing that the request was politically motivated. Trump’s lawyers immediately appealed the ruling, and the president called the opinion “ridiculous” and “totally wrong,” and noted Mehta was an appointee of President Barack Obama.

In the next round of legal sparring, Trump will go before a panel of judges that includes another Obama appointee, Patricia Millett, as well David Tatel, a Clinton appointee, and Neomi Rao, who joined the D.C. Circuit in March as a Trump appointee.

Under the order approved Thursday, Trump’s first round of legal briefs spelling out its arguments are due June 10, followed by a response from lawyers for the House committee and Mazars by July 1. A final reply brief from the Trump attorneys is due July 9.

Democrats have said they will suspend the deadlines in their subpoena for production of the Trump financial documents while the president’s appeal works its way through the courts. Mazars, meantime, has said it will still keep working to collect and prepare the documents but won’t turn any over until the judges’ render an opinion.

Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) sent the subpoena to Mazars last month as part of its investigation into whether Trump committed financial crimes before he became president.

The panel’s focus has been on trying to corroborate claims made by Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen, who earlier this year gave the committee documents purporting to show Trump artificially inflated and deflated the value of his assets for his personal financial benefit.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Democrats declare 'war' on GOP over abortion bills

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 21:36

Democrats declared "war" Thursday against GOP-led states approving new abortion restrictions, and announced legislation to codify abortion rights in federal law.

The legislation is unlikely to advance far in Congress, but it creates a flashpoint for lawmakers looking to push back against Alabama, Georgia, Missouri and other states that have ...

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All the congressional investigations into Trump that aren’t Mueller related

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 21:21
Trump likes to accuse Congress of re-litigating the report. But that's not what's happening here.
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All the congressional investigations into Trump that aren’t Mueller related

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 21:21
Trump likes to accuse Congress of re-litigating the report. But that's not what's happening here.
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Trump makes unannounced visit to Arlington National Cemetery

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 21:17

President Donald Trump on Thursday made an unannounced trip to Arlington National Cemetery, where he and first lady Melania Trump planted American flags at the graves of several fallen U.S. service members.

The president’s outing came ahead of Memorial Day on Monday, when he will be in Japan for a state visit and summit meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Trump departs for Tokyo on Friday.

Trump last appeared at the cemetery in December after facing criticism for declining to visit the historic military graveyard on Veterans Day 2018.

The president was also roundly mocked during a trip to France in November for canceling a planned visit to a cemetery for American troops outside of Paris because of rainy weather.

Trump’s Arlington visit follows new reports that the Pentagon is considering deploying thousands of additional troops to the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Far from border, US cities feel effect of migrant releases

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 21:13

MIAMI (AP) - A surge of asylum-seeking families has been straining cities along the southern U.S. border for months, but now the issue is flowing into cities far from Mexico, where immigrants are being housed in an airplane hangar and rodeo fairgrounds and local authorities are struggling to keep up ...

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Zuckerberg dismisses calls to break up Facebook

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 21:13

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday rebuffed calls for the company to be broken up over competition concerns, disputing claims the firm has grown too dominant.

During a call with reporters, Zuckerberg was pressed to address recent calls from Democratic officials and one Facebook co-founder for federal regulators to force the company to spin off WhatsApp and Instagram, previously acquired in two blockbuster deals.

“I think it kind of almost goes without saying that we exist in a very competitive and dynamic environment where new services are constantly coming up,” Zuckerberg said.

He later disputed arguments that the company has grown too dominant as an advertising player as "a little stretched," noting the company controls just around a fifth of the global digital ad market.

The Facebook chief, whose company has come under heavy scrutiny on issues from election security to harmful content to data privacy, argued a break-up would only make it more difficult to address those challenges.

“I don’t really think that the remedy of breaking up the company is going to address those,” he said. “I actually think it’s going to make it a lot harder.”

During a wide-ranging Q&A, Zuckerberg was also asked about the White House’s invitation for Americans to report political bias by social media companies. He declined to directly address the tipline, instead highlighting the company’s commitment to impartiality.

“This is certainly an issue that we take seriously,” he said. “I personally deeply care about freedom of expression for all people.”

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Rep. Jennifer Wexton says ‘inept’ Ben Carson should resign as HUD secretary

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:47
Wexton (D-Va.) criticized the Cabinet official for proposed changes affecting transgender people at federally funded shelters.
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Trump administration unveils new $16 billion aid package for American farmers hit in trade war

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:42
Farm aid package is bigger than last year's $12 billion in emergency aid for farmers and ranchers caught in tariff showdowns.
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Faked Pelosi videos, slowed to make her appear drunk, spread across social media

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:41
Distorted videos of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, altered to make her sound as if she’s drunkenly slurring her words, are spreading rapidly across social media as Congress and the White House battle over efforts to gain access to Trump's financial records.
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Immigrant graduates from Arizona high school, future unclear

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:39

PHOENIX (AP) - An immigrant student who faces deportation proceedings in southern Arizona has graduated from high school several weeks after his classmates protested his detention.

Thomas Torres, dressed in a burgundy cap and gown, wears a big smile as a big cheer goes up in the video of the ...

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Trumps pay respects to the fallen at Arlington ahead of Memorial Day

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:36

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump made an unscheduled visit to Arlington National Cemetery Thursday to pay their respects to the fallen ahead of the Memorial Day weekend.

The Trumps planted U.S. flags at several graves in Section 34 of the cemetery, which includes the final resting places of ...

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Congress announces deal on disaster bill; no border money for Trump

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:30

Top negotiators agreed to a disaster aid package Thursday — but left out billions of dollars President Trump had asked to deal with the border crisis.

The measure includes $19.1 billion in assistance for Puerto Rico and states struck by hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires and other disasters over the last ...

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Migrant Surge Accelerates at US-Mexico Border 

This news was published by : US Politics exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:28
The Trump administration on Thursday said a surge of migrant arrivals at the southern U.S. border continues to accelerate, with more than 300,000 mostly Central American undocumented immigrants apprehended or requesting asylum so far in the current fiscal year, which began last October.    "We are in the midst of an ongoing humanitarian and security crisis at the southwest border," acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan told a Senate panel. "Almost 110,000 migrants attempted to cross without legal status last month, the most in over a decade, and over 65% were families and unaccompanied children."    At the current pace, 2019's total for migrant arrivals would more than triple the number reported for all of 2018, which was 169,000.  Factors in migration   McAleenan said that while gang violence and rampant insecurity in three Central American nations has started to ebb, other factors, such as persistent droughts and a lack of economic opportunity, continue to compel a large number of people to trek north.   The DHS acting secretary also highlighted U.S. policy as a "pull factor" for migrants.    "Families [apprehended at the border] can no longer be held together through an appropriate and fair proceeding, and essentially have a guarantee of release and an indefinite stay in the United States," McAleenan told the Senate Homeland Security Committee. "It's been exploited by smugglers who are advertising that opportunity, and that's what's causing the significant surge that we see this year."    The administration's handling of migrant children continued to be a focus of congressional scrutiny after news broke earlier this week that a sixth minor — a 10-year-old girl from El Salvador — had died in U.S. government custody.    "We all agree that we must absolutely secure our borders, but the death of children in custody is simply unacceptable," the panel's top Democrat, Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, said. "We must identify what went wrong and ensure that this doesn't happen again."  Overwhelmed system   McAleenan said he has directed that all arriving children receive health screenings, and that, on average, 65 migrants are taken to hospitals daily. Overall, he pointed to an overwhelmed system pushed to the breaking point.   "Given the scale of what we are facing, we will exhaust our resources before the end of this fiscal year," said McAleenan, who also serves as chief of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, an agency within DHS.    The Trump administration has requested supplemental funds for the current fiscal year and substantial increases in next year's DHS budget to address the border crisis. The panel's chairman echoed the calls.    "This is a growing crisis and we have to … pass that emergency spending bill," Republican Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin said.    While agreeing that more resources are needed, several lawmakers said money alone can't resolve the situation.    "I think the smartest thing we could actually do would be comprehensive immigration reform, and God willing, someday we'll get back and do that," Delaware Democratic Sen. Tom Carper said. 
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Warren, Ocasio-Cortez team up to question Steve Mnuchin's time at Sears

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:26

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have joined forces to question Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin about his role in the failure of Sears department store chain while he was a board member.

In a letter to the Treasury Secretary, the two progressive idols said they were "deeply ...

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Congress on cusp of delivering long-overdue disaster aid

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:09

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate on Thursday passed a long-overdue $19 billion disaster aid bill by a broad bipartisan vote, but only after Democrats insisted on tossing out President Donald Trump's $4.5 billion request to handle an unprecedented influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The relief measure would deliver ...

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5 indicted in Wisconsin accused of forced immigrant labor

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 20:05

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Federal prosecutors indicted five people accused of forcing 14 Mexican immigrants to work in farms in Wisconsin "by means of serious harm and threats of serious harm."

A grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday says the defendants got agriculture work visas under the pretense the immigrants would work ...

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Women and older Democrats are far more worried about beating Trump

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:52
New Monmouth University polling shows that they also are much more likely to back Biden.
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North Carolina Democrat in House race not for impeachment

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:48

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The Democrat running for a still-vacant U.S. House election he seemed to lose last year before signs of ballot fraud were unearthed says he doesn't favor impeachment hearings confronting President Donald Trump and believes the Iraq War wasn't justified.

Dan McCready said in an Associated Press ...

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Bank CEO Charged in Scheme to Win Job in Trump Administration

This news was published by : US Politics exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:45
Federal prosecutors on Thursday unsealed criminal charges against Federal Savings Bank CEO Stephen Calk, accusing him of corruptly approving high-risk loans to U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort in exchange for trying to secure a top job in the Trump administration. The indictment against Calk, issued in New York, does not name Manafort directly. But the bank executive's name repeatedly came up during Manafort's 2018 financial fraud trial in Virginia in which prosecutors said Calk and Manafort engaged in a scheme to exchange the $16 million in loan approvals for an administration post. Calk, 54, faces one count of financial institution bribery, which carries a maximum prison term of 30 years. Federal Savings Bank, based in Chicago, said in a statement it is a victim of bank fraud perpetrated by Manafort. It added that Calk "has been on a complete leave of absence and has no control over or involvement with the bank" and that the bank is "not a party to the federal criminal case." It described Calk as its "former chairman." Calk could not immediately be reached for comment. He provided Manafort with a ranked wish list of government jobs that he wanted, starting with treasury secretary and followed by other top jobs in the Treasury, Commerce and Defense Departments, prosecutors said. Other possible jobs on his list included 19 ambassador posts in countries including Britain, France, Germany and Italy. Manafort also used his influence with Trump's post-election transition team before taking office to land Calk a formal interview for the position of under secretary of the U.S. Army in January 2017, though Calk was not selected for the position, according to the indictment. While Calk never managed to secure a government job, the indictment said Manafort did help Calk land an appointment on a "prestigious economic advisory committee" affiliated with Trump's campaign. Manafort was one of the first people in Trump's inner circle to face charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his now-completed investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election and Trump campaign contacts with Moscow. Manafort was convicted of bank and tax fraud in the Virginia trial, and also pleaded guilty to other charges in Washington. He is serving a 7-1/2-year sentence in a federal prison in Pennsylvania. The prospect of Calk facing charges emerged in a transcript of a bench discussion during the Manafort trial. "Mr. Calk is a co-conspirator," Greg Andres, a prosecutor on Mueller’s team, said during a discussion with the judge at the bench, according to a transcript of the discussion. "And he participated in a conspiracy to defraud the bank." "There was an agreement between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Calk to have the loans approved," Andres said. "They were approved and, in turn, Mr. Manafort proposed Mr. Calk for certain positions within the administration."
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Trump planning more restrictions on tech exports to China

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:45

The Trump administration is taking steps toward issuing even more restrictions on exports of high-tech goods to China as the U.S. ratchets up its trade war with Beijing, according to two people familiar with the plans.

The Commerce Department will soon recommend rolling back regulations making it easier for U.S. companies to export certain goods that have both civilian and military purposes, the people said. Commerce will also recommend ending a general policy of approving export licenses for that group of goods if they go to civilian use and instead require reviews on a case-by-case basis.

The expected moves would make it harder for China to acquire U.S. technology. They come on top of actions President Donald Trump has taken since U.S.-China trade talks ground to a halt earlier this month, such as raising tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods. His administration also put Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei on a trade blacklist and is considering similar actions against other Chinese tech companies.

How Trump is willing to use these actions as leverage could become clearer next month when he may meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in late June on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Japan, though no formal plans have been set.

“It seems to me we’re still turning up the pressure to try to get a deal,” said Scott Kennedy, a senior adviser and China expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Commerce is drafting the recommendations as part of a review required by an export-control law recently passed by Congress. A Commerce spokesperson said the department is finalizing the review, which has a May 10 deadline, but declined to confirm specific actions the administration is weighing.

Commerce is considering at least four regulatory actions targeting China under the Export Control Reform Act, said the two people, who declined to be identified because of the sensitive nature of the deliberations.

Two of those options would involve revoking two license exceptions U.S. companies can get for shipping restricted technology to China. U.S. firms can avoid an export license requirement to China if they can prove the good is bound for civilian end-use or if a U.S.-origin good is approved for re-export to China from an allied third country.

Another option would be expanding a prohibition on any U.S. goods bound for military use in China on par with restrictions now applied to Russia and Venezuela.

Finally, Commerce could look at changing its general policy of approving export licenses for goods bound for civilian uses.

One of the people close to the deliberations said the actions appear to be “a direct response to the civilian-military fusion that is happening in China.”

The U.S. already maintains relatively tight restrictions on exports to China of technology and goods that have both civilian and military uses. Tough U.S. export controls aimed at China have long riled Beijing and Chinese officials have raised objection to mounting restrictions with previous administrations.

The additional restrictions would add to the recent Commerce Department decision to blacklist Huawei, forcing most of the company’s U.S. suppliers to obtain a special license for export transactions. Commerce has a general policy of denying license applications for blacklisted companies.

The Commerce Department is also considering similar action against a number of other Chinese companies, including Hikvision and Dahua Technology, which manufacture sophisticated video surveillance technology, according to the two people familiar with the plans.

Those companies have been implicated in alleged human rights abuses as a result of the monitoring and mass detention of members of the Muslim Uighur group in China’s Xinjiang province.

Any final actions related to the surveillance companies are complicated by the scope of a broader proposed package of sanctions the administration is considering. Officials are looking at using a law that would allow the U.S. to ban Chinese government and business officials accused of human rights abuses in the region from entering the U.S. or holding assets in America, said a lobbyist familiar with the matter.

“There is broad disagreement over both timing and which tools to use here,” the lobbyist said. “In any case, this will really piss off Beijing.”

The Trump administration had held back on several actions — including punishing China for its activities in Xinjiang as well as Huawei’s blacklisting — in the hopes that a deal could be reached with Xi to draw down trade tension. But talks fell apart earlier this month amid accusations from U.S. officials that Beijing had backtracked on commitments to codify under domestic law obligations to address intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers.

“China’s backtracking in a massive way at the eleventh hour from four months of shuttle diplomacy has fed a view in the administration that there is no reason to hold back from these types of actions,” said one person close to the internal deliberations.

Eric Geller contributed to this report.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Does President Trump actually want to be impeached?

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:45
One of Trump's best political skills is his ability to goad his opponents into overreaching. But that might not be what's happening here.
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Does President Trump actually want to be impeached?

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:45
One of Trump's best political skills is his ability to goad his opponents into overreaching. But that might not be what's happening here.
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Aid payments of up to $16 billion coming for farmers hit by Chinese tariffs

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:36

Farmers and ranchers will begin to receive government aid payments totaling up to $16 billion in late July or early August to ease the impact of Chinese tariffs, the Agriculture Department announced Wednesday.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the aid, which will be delivered in up to three installments through ...

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Pelosi refuses to engage with White House aide Kellyanne Conway over wealth

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:23
The White House counselor — who lives in a $7.7 million mansion — took aim at Pelosi’s wealth after the speaker said she would negotiate with the president, not his staff.
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Lawmaker accused of showing gun in Wisconsin Capitol office

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:22

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - A Republican lawmaker allegedly displayed his holstered gun in a Democratic legislator's Wisconsin Capitol office earlier this year.

Democratic Rep. Sheila Stubbs' aide, Savion Castro, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that Republican Rep. Shae Sortwell came into Stubbs' Capitol office in late February or early March ...

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Kellyanne Conway accused Pelosi of sexism. It’s not the first time she’s used that card.

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:18
When criticizing Democrats, Conway often pulls the woman card.
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Kellyanne Conway accused Pelosi of sexism. It’s not the first time she’s used that card.

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:18
When criticizing Democrats, Conway often pulls the woman card.
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European elections 2019: EU citizens turned away from UK polls

This news was published by : BBC POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:17
Thousands of EU citizens have been unable to vote in the European elections, a campaign group says.
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House lawmakers warn Pentagon against choking off information flow

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 19:13

The leaders of the House Armed Services Committee are hitting back at a memo from acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that they say will restrict the information lawmakers receive from the Pentagon on military operations.

Committee Chairman Adam Smith, Washington state Democrat, and Texas Rep. Mac Thornberry, the panel's ranking ...

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Joe Biden fundraising off Donald Trump's charge he 'deserted' Pennsylvania

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:56

Democratic presidential hopeful Joseph R. Biden is looking to cash in on President Trump's charge that he "deserted" Pennsylvania when he moved with his parents as a grade-schooler to neighboring Delaware.

The former vice president, who represented Delaware in the Senate for more than three decades and often touts his ...

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Patty Murray, Lamar Alexander unveil bipartisan plan for health costs

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:55

A Senate duo unveiled draft legislation Thursday to tackle "surprise" medical billing, speed generic drugs to market and promote vaccines, checking a host of bipartisan boxes just 24 hours after a blowup between President Trump and Democratic leaders cast serious doubt on cross-aisle cooperation.

The proposal from Senate Health ...

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POLITICO Playbook PM: Pelosi lights up Trump

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:54
And a Chicago bank CEO is charged with bribing Paul Manafort for a Trump administration post.
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Kellyanne Conway calls out Pelosi: She treated 'me like her maid' during infrastructure meeting

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:53

White House counsel Kellyanne Conway railed against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday, saying the California Democrat shut down a conversation with her during a meeting on infrastructure that fell apart Wednesday.

"Speaker Pelosi went on and launched into some odd, self-curated history of infrastructure in our country. She talked about ...

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Stephen Calk, Chicago banker, indicted on bribery charge connected to Paul Manafort loans

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:52

A Chicago banker who approved $16 million in loans to Paul Manafort in exchange for a post in the Trump administration was indicted on a bribery charge Thursday.

Stephen Calk, president and CEO of Federal Savings Bank, surrendered to the FBI Thursday morning. He is scheduled to appear later in ...

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Senate GOP approves permanent earmark ban

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:47

Senate Republicans voted Thursday to adopt a permanent ban on earmarks, in a move that signals as long as the GOP controls the chamber the practice of pork-barrel spending won't return.

A ban had been adopted every Congress since House Republicans imposed it after taking the majority in that chamber ...

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Contaminated blood inquiry: Extra money 'a matter for the assembly'

This news was published by : BBC POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:29
The Northern Ireland secretary says a decision over more financial help is not hers to take.
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Pelosi: Trump needs 'an intervention' after White House blow-up

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:28

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Donald Trump needs “an intervention” after his latest “temper tantum” at the White House, ratcheting up her criticism of a president she says is not fit for office.

“I wish that his family or his administration or his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country,” Pelosi told reporters a day after the president stormed out of a meeting on infrastructure and the two leaders held dueling press conferences.

“What goes on there? Who's in charge? And he says he's in charge. And I suspect that he may be,” Pelosi added. “And I suspect he may be even more since yesterday, because I don't think that any responsible assistant to the president of the United States would have advised him to do what he did yesterday.”

Pelosi's comments underscore how eager she is to keep pummeling Trump, even as she resists an effort from a growing number of House Democrats to impeach the president.

At a closed-door caucus meeting earlier Thursday, Pelosi lay into Trump while repeating her warnings against impeachment.

“His actions are villainous to the constitution of the United States,” she told lawmakers. But, she added, “He wants to be impeached, so he can be exonerated by the Senate.”

Heather Caygle contributed to this report.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Gun control legislation passes New Hampshire Senate

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:18

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - Three bills aimed at intending to reduce gun violence have cleared the state Senate.

The Senate on Thursday passed bills imposing a waiting period between the purchase and delivery of a firearm, requiring background checks for commercial gun sales, and enabling school boards to declare gun-free ...

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A New Way to Cover Trump’s Tweets

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:15

President Donald Trump has been tweeting and retweeting with such velocity in recent weeks that his fingertips must be raw. For the past month, he’s been blasting an average of 22 tweets a day from his presidential bunker, and hitting some extreme peaks: Trump got so worked up on May 11 that he tweeted or retweeted 71 times about border security, the Democrats and tariffs. Not long before, on May 1, he fired off 84 tweets and retweets seeking to prove that America’s firefighters love him more than Joe Biden, who just got an endorsement from the largest firefighter union.

As it has since 2015, the press corps scrambles to cover his every tweet like it was an asteroid striking the earth. But why? The normal argument is that when the president of the United States says something—whether he threatens war, as Trump did recently against Iran, or praises the winner of the World Series—it’s news. But so much of Trump’s Twitter fury is posturing, name-calling, bragging, transparent subject-changing—or simply revisiting a tired earlier theme (“witch hunt”; “no collusion”; “Build the Wall”)—that the nation can safely ignore it.

It’s not just the press that Trump captivates with his tweets. In his Fox News Channel town hall on Sunday, Pete Buttigieg—now a regular Trump Twitter target—described his attraction-repulsion for the president’s tweets. “It’s the nature of grotesque things that you can’t look away,” Buttigieg said.

I would never call for the press blackout of Trump’s tweets. If he’s threatening war on Twitter, I want to hear about it. But as the 2020 campaign gets underway, and his flurry of distractions really kicks into gear, journalists need a new approach.

For four years, and particularly since he took office, reporters have been treating Trump’s Twitter feed as akin to White House announcements—serious policy statements backed by the full force of his administration, the kind of thing you’d get caught out if you ignore. Based on the copious record, though, we now know that’s rarely the case. His tweets are distractions, head-fakes, trial balloons. His presidency has been one long political campaign, a series of threats and promises designed more to capture attention than get anything done. Reporters would be doing their readers a service if they began to regard most of them not as presidential statements, but as campaign ads.

In practical terms, that means Trump’s tweets deserve demotion to a lower position in the news stream. The press should no more publish stories every time Trump tweets about tariffs any more than it should every time one of his campaign commercials airs.

Instead of rushing to write a piece every time Trump tweets, journalists should first ask themselves a few questions. Is the Trump tweet basically a campaign ruse? In other words, is it a campaign statement, a campaign promise, or some other campaign positioning presented in White House dressing? If so give it a place in the tenth or eleventh paragraph of the next story about his campaign. Is the Trump tweet designed primarily to gain press attention, like a new nickname for one of his opponents? Feel free to ignore it completely. Does it repeat one of his previous nutty tweets? Is it an accusation of treason; a charge of “fake news” with no evidence; the charge that Democrats are committing collusion? Does it include the words “witch hunt”? Print the tweets and spindle them for future reference. Did he tweet early in the morning? If he did, it’s a good chance it’s an empty response to a Fox & Friends segment.

Was the tweet designed to change the subject? This is a big one, since some of his most seemingly “newsworthy” tweets have a very specific purpose. As my colleague Gabby Orr has written, Trump routinely tweets something spicy to sidetrack the press corps’ attention from one of his political bruises. When his healthcare bill languished, he tweeted excitedly about Colin Kaepernick. When NBC News reported that Rex Tillerson, his own secretary of state, had referred to Trump as a moron, Trump tweeted about yanking NBC broadcast licenses. When the original Russian connection stories were published in 2017, he moved to change the subject by alleging in a tweet that President Obama had placed a “tapp” [sic] on his phones.

What needs to happen, heading into 2020, is for the press to resume its role as the dog, not the tail. For years it was media organizations, not politicians, that used their judgment to decide what is news. As political scientist John Zaller writes, politicians and their staffs work hard to craft messages in hopes that journalists will cover them and bring them to the attention of a mass audience—all those rallies, fact-finding trips, TV appearances, photo-ops and press releases are just gestures designed to get coverage, and journalists usually have well-honed instincts for dismissing the vast majority that are meaningless. But Trump cracked the system, lobbing his incendiary messages over their heads to the competing mass medium of Twitter, and ending their gatekeeper status. They may no longer be gatekeepers in the same way, but they don’t have to be mindless amplifiers. (I’m looking at you, CNN, a network seemingly built entirely around fanning anxiety over Trump’s latest Twitter feint.)

The best authority on Trump’s tweets and how we should read them is probably Trump himself. In a Sunday interview with Fox News Channel’s Steve Hilton: “Twitter is really a typewriter for me,” Trump said. “It’s really not Twitter—it’s—Twitter goes on television, or if they have breaking news, I’ll tweet, I’ll say ‘Watch this—boom.’…If I put out a news release nobody’s even going to see it.”

And then: “[A] s soon as it goes out, it goes on television, it goes on Facebook, it goes all over the place and it’s instant—it really is, to me it’s a modern way to communicate.”

Trump’s tweets lose their allure the minute you remove them from their social media context and view them for what they are—news releases and pleas for attention and coverage delivered in a new container. They’re not news, they’re advertisement for himself. Let’s start treating them that way.


Trump thinks of Twitter as a typewriter because he can’t use a computer. Send your typewritings to Shafer.Politico@gmail.com. My email alerts have wrestled control over this forum from my Twitter feed. My RSS feed, a technological artifact of an earlier age, goes unnoticed, unloved, and unused.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Kellyanne Conway accuses Pelosi of treating her like a 'maid'

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:08

Kellyanne Conway escalated a feud with Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, accusing the House speaker of treating her like "her maid" following the previous day’s disastrous meeting on infrastructure.

Conway, a senior counselor to Trump, said that following his abrupt departure from the meeting with Democratic leaders, during which the president told lawmakers he could not work with them so long as they continued their investigations into him, she asked Pelosi if she had any response.

“When she was finished I said, respectfully, ‘Madam Speaker, would you like to address some of the specifics the president talked about,’” Conway recounted in an interview on Fox News.

According to Conway, Pelosi shot back: “I don’t — I talk to the president, I don't talk to staff.”

But Conway said she shrugged off the interaction.

“Because let's face it, she is the sixth most rich member of Congress, she treats everybody like they’re her staff,” she claimed. “She treats me like I'm either her maid or her driver or her pilot or her makeup artist and I'm not.”

Conway then said the shot back to the speaker: “I said to her, ‘How very pro-woman of you.’ Per usual, because she is not very pro-woman. She is pro some women, a few women.”

The speaker has been blamed by Trump and his allies for dooming Wednesday's meeting by publicly accusing Trump of engaging in a "cover-up." Conway repeatedly blasted the speaker on Thursday, accusing Pelosi of being unable to "control her temper" about Trump or the members of her party calling for his impeachment.

"She was the one who came to the mics and said that the president was engaged in a cover-up, which is nonsense. All she had to do was either move her meeting to later in the afternoon with her caucus where she's under enormous pressure to get on with impeaching the president which she doesn't want to do right now — or she could have said 'I won't talk to you right now, we're on our way to the White House to work on infrastructure. Let's meet at 2:00 or 3:00 and I'll give you the rundown of the whole day,'" Conway suggested. "But no, they can't resist going out and giving a live running commentary of what her more outrageous, liberal hellbent on getting this president out of the White House members are pressuring her to do."

Pelosi, in her weekly news conference Thursday, refused to address the exchange with Conway.

“I'm not going to talk about her,” she told reporters.

According to a Roll Call analysis of last Congress’ wealthiest members, Pelosi had a net worth of $16 million, good enough to make her the 30th wealthiest member of Congress. Though a 2015 estimate of her net worth by Center for Responsive Politics pegged her at over $100 million, making her the 6th richest member of the House at the time. Much of that wealth, however, is attributed to her husband, who runs real estate and venture capital investment and consulting firm.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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If 2020 comes down to turnout, a white male Democratic nominee might be a problem for his party

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:00
New Pew data shows much more enthusiasm for other types of candidates.
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Conrad Black’s unconventional path to a pardon boosted by one of Trump’s biggest on-air defenders

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:00
Alan Dershowitz, a law professor who has regularly gone on television to declare Trump’s innocence from charges of obstruction of justice, wrote a letter to the White House requesting the pardon.
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Spirituality guru Williamson locks in 2020 debate spot

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 18:00

Marianne Williamson, a self-help author and former failed congressional candidate running an upstart campaign for president, is now virtually assured of a spot in the first series of Democratic debates next month.

Williamson has met both thresholds of the Democratic National Committee’s criteria for qualifying for the debates: polling and fundraising. That’s after a Monmouth University poll released Thursday showed her at 1 percent — the third poll to do so this year, meeting the DNC’s low bar for qualification.

Williamson, a friend of Oprah Winfrey and a spirtuality guru, has centered her campaign around a theme of love.

“We have someone … [who] has harnessed fear, racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, some of the worst faces of the human character for political purposes,” Williamson recently told TIME Magazine. “There is only one way to override that, and that is to harness love, decency, compassion, forgiveness, and mercy, love for each other and love for our country, and love for our unborn great grandchildren. We need to harness that for political purposes.”

According to Williamson’s campaign, she has already cleared the donation threshold earlier this month, receiving contributions from more than 65,000 donors, including more than 200 in at least 20 states.

By reaching 1 percent in a third poll, Williamson will almost certainly be among the candidates included in two back-to-back nights of debates held on June 26-27 in Miami. That’s because candidates who cross both the polling and grass-root donors threshold take priority over candidates who have only crossed only one, and it is unlikely that more than 20 candidates hit both.

According to a POLITICO analysis, 19 candidates have met at least one threshold. Williamson joins Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, Tulsi Gabbard, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Andrew Yang in the group of candidates who have met both, all of whom are virtually guaranteed to make it to the first debate stage. A maximum of 20 candidates will be on the debate stage, with the field split randomly between the first and second night.

Williamson is one of the two outsider candidates basically assured of a spot on the debate stage, along with Yang. The inclusion could come at the possible expense of major officeholders, who could be left off. Sen. Michael Bennet, Rep. Seth Moulton and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, have not crossed either threshold, according to POLITICO's analysis. Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne Messam and former Sen. Mike Gravel have also not hit either threshold.

The debates will be televised on broadcast TV on NBC and Telemundo. They will also air on MSNBC.

In Thursday's Monmouth poll, Biden leads the Democratic field, with 33 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters nationally saying he is their pick for the nomination. Sanders is in second with 15 percent, followed by Harris at 11 percent and Warren at 10 percent. Buttigieg is at 6 percent, the last candidate at or above 5 percent.

Biden, Harris and Warren all saw a slight bump in support compared to an April Monmouth poll, while Sanders and Buttigieg both saw small decreases. All of the changes in support are within the poll's margin of error.

The Monmouth University poll was conducted May 16-20, surveying 334 Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 5.4 percentage points.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Buttigieg likens Trump to a 'crazy uncle'

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 17:48

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Thursday likened his approach to taking on President Donald Trump to dealing with a “crazy uncle.”

“It’s almost like a sort of crazy uncle management,” the Democratic primary candidate said. “Like, he’s there. You’re not going to disrespect his humanity. But he thinks what he thinks. There’s not much you can do about it.”

In an hour-long live interview with The Washington Post, Buttigieg refused to personally attack the 23 challengers he faces in the Democratic primary. But he had plenty to say about the president.

“Any energy that goes his way — including energy that goes his way in the form of criticism — turns into a kind of food,” Buttigieg said. “He just devours it and gets bigger. What we’ve got to learn is how to kind of stiff-arm him.”

“It’s actually getting harder and harder to find a policy of this administration that most Americans don’t disagree with,” he continued. “Which is exactly, of course, why they need it not to be about policy.”

The Indiana mayor has emerged as somewhat of a dark horse in the Democratic primary, garnering an unexpected amount of support in early polls. Members of both parties have praised Buttigieg's relatively calm demeanor and willingness to engage with those across the aisle.

Still, in response to a number of questions about Trump, the mayor went after the president’s record and moral character. He called the pardons the president is reportedly considering for American troops accused or convincted of war crimes “disgusting,” he slammed Trump for his “fake” injury to avoid serving in the Vietnam War, and he accused the president of racist behavior.

The New York Times reported last week that Trump is mulling pardons for several American military members, including those accused or convicted of murder or attempted murder.

“The idea that the president is going to overrule that is an affront to the basic idea of good order and discipline, and to the idea of the very thing we put our lives on the line to defend,” said Buttigieg, who served as a Navy intelligence officer in Afghanistan.

He later added that he has a “pretty dim view” of Trump’s decision to “use his privileged status to fake a disability in order to avoid serving in Vietnam.”

The president was granted five draft deferments — four for college and one for bone spurs in his heel — and never served in the military.

“This is somebody who, I think it’s fairly obvious to most of us, took advantage of the fact that he was the child of a multi-millionaire in order to pretend to be disabled so that somebody could go to war in his place,” Buttigieg said.

The 37-year-old also said he was “old enough to remember when conservatives talked about character as something that mattered in the presidency.”

Buttigieg, who has struggled to gain traction among African American voters, said he thinks Trump is a racist.

“The problem with the president is he does and says racist things and gives cover to other racists,” he said.

Trump has taken shots at the South Bend mayor before, though with not nearly as much frequency as with the Democratic front-runners like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

After Buttigieg spoke at a Fox News town hall Sunday, the president took to Twitter to complain that the network was “wasting airtime” on the mayor, who he said “never speaks well of me.”

Trump last week in an interview said he has no problem with Buttigieg being openly gay, adding that “he thinks it’s good.”

But the president has also likened Buttigieg to Alfred E. Neuman, the gap-toothed, big-eared character on the cover of the humor magazine Mad.

Buttigieg has brushed off Trump's words, characterizing them as campaign tactics. “I’ve got a fair amount of familiarity with bullies,” he said Thursday.

“I don’t have a problem standing up to somebody who was working on season seven of ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ when I was packing my bags for Afghanistan,” he added. “But at the end of the day, it’s not about him.”

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Trump: Democrats 'a Do-Nothing Party'

This news was published by : US Politics exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 17:42
U.S. President Donald Trump unleashed new attacks Thursday on congressional Democrats investigating him, contending they are "the do-nothing party!" "All they are geared up to do, six committees, is squander time, day after day, trying to find anything which will be bad for me," Trump said on Twitter a day after he abruptly walked out of a White House meeting with the top Democratic congressional leaders about infrastructure spending. The U.S. leader, incensed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi contended he was "engaged in a cover-up," said he would not talk about policy issues with the Democrats as long as they continue their investigations. "A pure fishing expedition like this never happened before, & it should never happen again!" Trump claimed, although Republican lawmakers in recent times often investigated Democrat Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state Trump defeated in the 2016 election.  There was no indication that Democratic lawmakers would back off their investigations of Trump's finances related to his global business empire and the aftermath of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe of Trump campaign links to Russia and whether, as president, Trump obstructed justice by trying to thwart Mueller's investigation. Mueller concluded that Trump had not colluded with Russia to help him win, but reached no decision whether he obstructed justice. Subsequently, Attorney General William Barr and then-Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided obstruction charges against Trump were not warranted. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, one of the Democrats Trump rebuffed at the White House, described Trump's walk-out as a "temper tantrum." He told MSNBC that he believes it occurred because Trump and his aides "were so ill-prepared and afraid to actually say how they pay for infrastructure — they were unable — that they looked for a way to back out." After walking out of the meeting, Trump told reporters in the White House Rose Garden, "I don't do cover-ups." He said investigations of him and efforts to engage in government policy negotiations could not be conducted simultaneously. "You can't do it under these circumstances," he said. "What they've done is abuse. Let them play their games." On Thursday, Trump tweeted: Schumer called Trump's 28-month White House tenure a "do-nothing, helter-skelter, radical presidency." "It doesn't look good for him to anyone but his hardcore base, and even some of them are gonna start saying, he's not getting anything done,'" Schumer said. "It's just a show." "A lot of people now see — more and more people — see that he's not getting anything done. And he doesn't realize what a liability that is. The presidency is not just a reality show. And if you don't get real things done for the American people they're going to want change again, and they will want change away from Donald Trump," Schumer said.  On Twitter, Trump contended the opposite: Business, financial records Trump continues to spar with congressional Democrats over access to his business and financial records from the years prior to his presidency when he was widely known as a New York real estate mogul. Twice this week, federal judges have upheld congressional subpoenas for his records, at an accounting firm that handled some of his financial transactions and from Deutsche Bank, his primary lender for two decades, and Capital One Bank, where he keeps some of his money. Meanwhile, the New York state legislature approved a measure that would authorize state tax officials to release his state tax returns to any of three congressional committees in Washington. Trump has appealed the ruling related to the accounting firm and is likely to appeal the bank information decision, as well. Trump, unlike U.S. presidents for the past four decades, has declined to release his federal tax returns, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has refused a congressional request for the last six years of Trump's returns. Impeachment issue  With one exception, Trump has held Democrats at bay, for the moment, in their pursuit of information and public oversight. Three dozen Democrats in the House of Representatives, and a lone Republican congressman, have called for the start of impeachment hearings against Trump, even though the Republican-controlled Senate is highly unlikely to remove him from office. Pelosi, the leader of the majority Democrats in the House of Representatives, wants the investigations to continue, but has resisted the calls for an impeachment inquiry. Congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday his panel has won an agreement from the Justice Department to turn over 12 categories of counterintelligence and foreign intelligence information that had been collected as part of Mueller's investigation. The House Intelligence panel had subpoenaed the information, and Schiff said the subpoena "will remain in effect, and be enforced" if Justice fails "to comply with the full document request." Other House committees, however, have not been successful in retrieving information and testimony they have demanded from Trump and his administration. Mueller's report cited 11 instances of possible obstruction of the investigation by the president, saying that "while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him." Barr, however, has refused to turn over an unredacted copy of the Mueller report to the House Judiciary Committee, with the Democrat-controlled panel then overriding Republican objections and voting to hold him in contempt of Congress. 
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Nancy Pelosi says Trump needs an 'intervention'

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 17:41

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she wishes President Trump's family would stage an "intervention" to stop him from his behavior.

"That's up to his family and his Cabinet and his staff in the White House. This is not behavior that rises to the dignity of the office of ...

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Bank CEO charged with bribing Manafort for Trump administration post

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 17:33

A Chicago bank executive tried to bribe Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort with roughly $16 million in loans after the 2016 election in the hopes of scoring a top Trump administration post, according to a federal indictment released on Thursday.

Stephen Calk, then the CEO of the Federal Savings Bank of Chicago, “sought to leverage his control over” Manafort’s proposed loans in order to obtain a senior administration position, said court documents unsealed in the Southern District of New York. And Calk approved the loans even though he “was aware of significant red flags regarding” Manafort’s ability to pay back the money.

The indictment is just the latest reverberation of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Manafort’s corruption and Russia’s election interference. The loans were first mentioned during Manafort’s Virginia prosecution on bank- and tax-fraud charges, when one of Calk’s colleagues described the potential quid pro quo during courtroom testimony.

However, the case is not one of the 14 criminal referrals Mueller made to the Justice Department during his probe, according to an SDNY spokesman. A spokesman for Mueller, Peter Carr, declined to comment. The bribery charge carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Manafort received three separate loans between December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City, Virginia and the Hamptons, prosecutors said.

Manafort’s debt became “the single largest lending relationship at the bank,” prosecutors noted, so when Manafort defaulted, the bank suffered a multi-million dollar loss.

The indictment also references a “Transition Official-1,” who appears to be Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

An email submitted during Manafort’s trial revealed that Manafort had reached out to Kushner in November 2016 urging him to consider Calk for Army secretary.

“Mr. Calk willingly risked his national professional and personal reputation as an active, vocal, early supporter of President-Elect Trump,” Manafort wrote to Kushner on November 30.

While Kushner’s response — “On it!”— wasn’t included in the Calk indictment, prosecutors did note that Kushner forwarded Manafort’s recommendation to three other Trump transition representatives asking that Calk be considered.

Manafort was ultimately convicted last summer in Alexandria, Va., on five counts of tax fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of failure to disclose a foreign bank account. The jury was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining 10 counts, and the judge declared a mistrial on those charges. He was sentenced to seven and a half years in prison.

During his trial, Mueller prosecutor Greg Andres called Calk a “co-conspirator” in Manafort’s fraud. Calk never appeared at the trial, however, despite his alleged role in Manafort’s misconduct.

“Mr. Manafort was submitting both false documents and other material to the bank,” Andres told Judge T.S. Ellis in August. “Mr. Calk approved those loans. And it’s the government’s theory that he did that because he was trying to obtain a position within the Trump administration.”

It worked — albeit briefly. Calk was appointed to the Trump campaign’s Economic Advisory Council on Aug. 5, 2016, days after Calk and Manafort discussed the bank’s ability to extend the loan. During that same meeting, Calk expressed interest in joining the campaign, prosecutors said.

Manafort resigned from the campaign on Aug. 19, 2016 amid a controversy over his work for the pro-Russian Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, who had fled to Russia after being ousted in a popular uprising in 2014.

But Manafort continued to signal to Calk that he could secure him a Cabinet position, prosecutors said, leading Calk to provide Manafort with a ranked list of the jobs he wanted as Manafort’s loans were pending approval. At the top was Treasury secretary, followed by Commerce secretary and Defense secretary, “as well as 19 ambassadorships similarly ranked and starting with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy,” according to prosecutors.

Three days after Trump was elected, Calk called the senior vice president of Federal Savings Bank, Dennis Raico, and asked Raico to contact Manafort. Raico was the one who testified in Manafort’s Virginia trial last summer after receiving a grant of immunity.

Calk “said he had not spoken to Manafort in a day or two and thought it was possible he might be up for a senior role in the administration," Raico said in court. Raico said Calk asked him to "call Paul and see if he was a possible candidate for secretary of Treasury or secretary of HUD [Housing and Urban Development]."

Raico ultimately didn’t make the call because, he said, “it made me very uncomfortable.”

Manafort managed to secure tickets for Calk to Trump’s inauguration, according to an email disclosed at Manafort’s trial. He also arranged for Calk to be interviewed for the No. 2 position at the Army at the Trump transition team’s New York offices in January 2017, prosecutors revealed in the indictment. He was ultimately not hired.

The Federal Savings Bank said in a statement that it is “not a party to the federal criminal case in New York involving its former chairman Steve Calk, who has been on a complete leave of absence and has no control over or involvement with the bank.”

Darren Samuelsohn and Josh Gerstein contributed to this report.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Democrats shoot down effort to rein in anti-Israel BDS movement

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 17:28

House Democrats shot down the GOP's effort Thursday to take a stand against the anti-Israel boycott movement, calling it a distraction from their agenda.

Republicans forced the vote as the final action on an unrelated retirement savings bill, saying Democrats had refused to bring up the legislation on their own, ...

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Banker Charged With Trying to Trade Loans to Paul Manafort for List of Jobs in Trump Administration

This news was published by : TIME POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 17:13

A Chicago banker who loaned millions of dollars to Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was charged by prosecutors with bribery for seeking a post in the Trump administration in return for $16 million in loans.

Stephen Calk was appointed to a post as economic adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign in summer 2016, days after his bank approved a $9.5 million loan, federal prosecutors in New York said. Months later, after Trump was elected president, Calk was recommended for a position in the Trump administration while loans worth more than $6 million were awaiting approval at Calk’s bank, they said.

Calk presented a list of positions he wanted, ranking them from secretary of the Treasury on down to 19 ambassador posts beginning with the U.K. and France, according to an indictment unsealed Thursday.

A former U.S. Army helicopter pilot, Calk, 54, faces a single count of financial institution bribery. He is scheduled to appear later in the day in federal court in New York. Calk’s attorney didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Manafort isn’t named in court papers, but the description of the high-ranking campaign official matches him. Calk’s name came up several times during Manafort’s criminal fraud trial last year as a lender seeking a post in the administration.

The indictment is the latest to target a Trump campaign associate and indicates that prosecutors are aggressively pursuing offshoots of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election. In addition to Manafort, former Trump aides Michael Cohen and Michael Flynn have been convicted of federal crimes.

The indictment also shows prosecutors have examined actions of Trump’s transition team. About three weeks after Trump’s election, Manafort sent Calk’s request for a job to a senior transition official, who forwarded it to three other transition representatives with a recommendation to consider Calk, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors say that Calk abused his positions as head of his bank and holding company to provide loans to Manafort, who Calk understood needed the loans to avoid foreclosures on multiple properties owned by him and his family.

After Trump was elected, Manafort used his influence with the transition team to help Calk, recommending him for a position in the new White House. Calk was formally interviewed for the position of under secretary of the Army in January 2017 but wasn’t hired, prosecutors said.

Calk proceeded with the loans despite “significant red flags regarding the Borrower’s ability to repay the loans, such as his history of defaulting on prior loans,” according to the U.S. The Manafort loans became the single largest lending relationship at the bank.

Holding Company

In addition, in order to enable the bank to issue the loans without violating legal limits on lending to a single borrower, Calk authorized a maneuver never before done by the bank, using the holding company — which Calk also controlled — to acquire a portion of the loans from the bank, prosecutors said.

About July 2017, the bank’s primary regulator, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, downgraded the credit quality of the loans to “substandard,” after determining that the bank’s “satisfactory” classification was inappropriate, prosecutors said. Calk lied to regulators about the Manafort loans and falsely told them that he had never desired a position in the Trump administration, the U.S. said.

After Manafort was charged, he subsequently stopped making payments to Federal Savings Bank, and the bank has foreclosed on the cash collateral securing the loans and written off the remaining principal balance — more than $12 million, prosecutors said.

Manafort Trial

In Manafort’s trial last August, a witness testified that Calk expedited approval of two loans to Manafort despite red flags raised by his staff about Manafort’s ability to repay. Calk wanted Manafort to help him land a job in Trump’s administration as Treasury secretary or housing secretary, according to testimony at the Manafort trial by Dennis Raico, a former senior vice president at Federal Savings Bank. Jurors were also told that Calk was also interested in becoming secretary of the Army.

Manafort’s request “didn’t go through the normal process because Mr. Calk was expediting the loan and pushing it through, notwithstanding the red flags,” prosecutor Greg Andres said during Manafort’s trial. “So there was agreement between Mr. Manafort and Mr. Calk to have the loans approved, they were approved, and in turn, Mr. Manafort proposed Mr. Calk for certain positions within the administration.” Calk didn’t receive a position in the administration.

But a defense attorney countered that there was no evidence that Calk knew that Manafort had submitted false financial documents and questioned whether Calk could defraud a bank that he controlled.

Manafort was convicted of tax and bank fraud in a trial in Alexandria, Virginia. Jurors deadlocked on some charges, including four relating to Federal Savings bank. A month later, Manafort pleaded guilty in Washington to two separate conspiracy counts, and he also admitted but didn’t plead guilty to an assortment of other crimes, including defrauding Federal Savings Bank.

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As it turns out, Democrats can both investigate and legislate

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 16:59
The president's transparent rhetoric isn't bolstered by reality.
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Buttigieg: ‘It’s disgusting’ that Trump is reportedly considering pardoning soldiers convicted of war crimes

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 16:47
The Democratic presidential aspirant, who served in Afghanistan as a Navy Reserve intelligence officer, was interviewed at a Washington Post Live event.
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US Senate Committee Unveils 2020 Defense Policy Bill

This news was published by : US Politics exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 16:40
The U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday unveiled a draft $750 billion defense policy bill that would authorize more Lockheed Martin F-35 jets for the United States and effectively end Turkey's partnership in the program if Ankara pursues a plan to buy a Russian missile defense system. In March, U.S. President Donald Trump requested $750 billion for defense, a budget that included more money to build ships and buy jets. In the coming weeks the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, controlled by Democrats, will release its own version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which must be reconciled with the version in the Republican-controlled Senate before it can be passed. Because it sets policy for the Defense Department, the annual NDAA is one of the few bills that Congress passes every year. Because it has become law every year for more than half a century, lawmakers use it as a vehicle for a wide range of policy measures. This year, the Senate version of the bill would authorize spending on eight F-15X fighter jets as the current aging fleet of about 234 jets is getting more expensive to operate. The defense arm of aircraft maker Boeing Co could potentially make 80 or more of them for the U.S. Air Force. F-35 The bill authorizes the Pentagon to buy 94 Lockheed Martin-made F-35 stealth fighter jets. The F-35 comes in three models. The bill authorizes 60 of the F-35A conventional take-off and landing model; 12 of the F-35B, a short take-off/vertical landing version, and 22 of the F-35C, used aboard aircraft carriers. The F-35 program targets a fleet of more than 3,000 jets, with unit price of the F-35A closer to $80 million in 2020 as more of the aircraft are produced. Lockheed, the jet's prime contractor, is developing and building the new warplanes for the U.S. military and 10 other countries: Britain, Australia, Italy, Turkey, Norway, the Netherlands, Israel, Japan, South Korea and Belgium. Strained relations The NDAA would remove Turkey from the international partnership of nations that have worked together to build the fifth generation F-35 fighter jet. Like other NATO allies of Washington, Turkey is both a prospective buyer and a partner in production of the F-35. But U.S. officials have said Turkey's plan to buy the Russian system would compromise the security of the F-35 jets. The dispute has strained relations between Washington and Ankara. Members of Congress have tried repeatedly to discourage Turkey from buying Russia's S-400 air defense system. An early version of a House appropriations bill released this month also sought to prevent the shipment of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey because of its planned Russian purchase. Space force The legislation also authorizes the creation of a Space Force as a separate uniformed service, but still part of the U.S. Air Force. Islamic State prisoners Another provision of the bill would create a special U.S. envoy to address the situation of former fighters and supporters of the Islamic State militant group now languishing in detention centers in Syria.
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The Daily 202: Trump administration's spurning of Harriet Tubman opens a new front in the monument wars

This news was published by : WASHINGTON POST POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 16:38
Obama alumni are outraged by the announcement that she won’t go on the $20 bill anytime soon.
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Schumer: Trump was 'ill-prepared' for infrastructure meeting and blew it up as a 'way to back out'

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 16:35

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer said Thursday President Trump was not prepared for their infrastructure meeting on Wednesday and "concocted a temper tantrum" to get out of it.

"We want to do [infrastructure] and he's incapable of it. What happened yesterday – in my judgment – is that they ...

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Bank CEO charged with trying to trade loans for Trump post

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 16:33

NEW YORK (AP) - A banker who prosecutors say tried to buy himself a senior post in President Donald Trump's administration by making risky loans to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was arrested Thursday on a financial institution bribery charge.

Stephen M. Calk, 54, was scheduled to appear in ...

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Measure to compensate the wrongly convicted moves forward

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 16:25

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A bill that would compensate people who have served prison time for crimes they did not commit is advancing in Rhode Island's legislature.

The legislation passed the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

It was inspired by the case of a former Warwick police officer who was ...

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Warren, Ocasio-Cortez press Mnuchin for answers on Sears bankruptcy

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 16:09

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez today called on Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to disclose more information about his role in the demise of Sears, where he served as a board member before the retailer's bankruptcy.

In a letter to Mnuchin, the liberal icons said they were "deeply concerned by the financial engineering and potentially illegal activity" that took place at Sears while he was a board member, leading to thousands of lost jobs.

Warren and Ocasio-Cortez also asked Mnuchin whether he has been involved in any discussions about Sears' pension plans as a board member of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corpration, the federal agency that oversees private pension plans.

Last month, Sears named Mnuchin in a lawsuit against former CEO Edward Lampert, a close friend of the Treasury secretary, alleging that board members helped Lampert and his hedge fund strip more than $2 billion from the company.

Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat who has rooted her 2020 presidential campaign in combating Wall Street, released an accompanying explainer video with Ocasio-Cortez.

"Mr. Mnuchin is President Trump's Treasury secretary, and he is a walking example of what happens when rich and powerful people put other rich and powerful people into power," Ocasio-Cortez said in the video with Warren.

Earlier this month, Ocasio-Cortez, a New York Democrat, also gave the White House run of Sen. Bernie Sanders a boost by teaming up with him on a bill that would cap credit card interest rates.

A Treasury spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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TSA predicts record-breaking summer travel as employees head to the border

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 16:07

TSA is bracing for its busiest summer ever, even as airports worry that screening lines could balloon with DHS siphoning employees away from TSA and Customs and Border Protection to bolster its presence at the southern border.

TSA acting Deputy Administrator Patricia Cogswell told POLITICO that the agency is working to staff up in anticipation of the "busiest summer season we have ever had as an agency," with a more than 4 percent increase in travel volumes estimated compared to last summer.

More than 260 million passengers are expected to come through airport checkpoints between the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends — May 23 through Sept. 3 — she said. And TSA is planning to hire an additional 2,000 employees, including bag screeners, she said.

"We allocate it, so they can have them in place right at the beginning of the summer holiday season," she said. "We are expecting this weekend, frankly, to be one of the highest weekends of the entire summer. So, we need them starting immediately."

An official from Seattle-Tacoma airport told a House panel this week that he expects lines to see lines out the parking garage, if the airport loses TSA staff.

Airports Council International's North American division also suggested the diversions would only compound existing TSA and Customs understaffing at airports.

"ACI-NA has grave concerns at the prospect of reducing the number of essential TSA and CBP officers at airports this summer," Christopher Bidwell, the group's senior vice president of security, said. "Many airports are already struggling with long lines at security and Customs, and diverting additional officers to the border with record travel forecast for this summer will further exacerbate the situation."

Cogswell did not directly address the impact of shifting part of TSA's workforce to the border, but said she does not expect the increased volume to affect wait times. However, she added that TSA is encouraging travelers to enroll in PreCheck and to also check the list of prohibited carry-on items before they get up to a screening checkpoint.

"I want to emphasize how critically important our workforce is throughout the year, but in particular, their dedication for the summer," she said, noting that some screeners work overtime during peak travel periods.

But the American Association of Airport Executives urged the administration to reverse course on the reassignments.

We urge the administration to "reconsider these assignments to ensure that long lines at the nation's airports are a bad memory of summers past rather than a reality of the summer ahead," said Stephanie Gupta, AAAE's senior vice president of security and facilitation.

Airlines for America released its own summer travel estimates earlier this week, saying it's expecting 257.4 million air passengers between June 1 and Aug. 31. But rather than suggesting DHS stop diverting employees, the group is urging Congress to provide DHS with supplemental border funding instead.

"Our message has been that it's not sustainable to continue to pull CBP or TSA away from their jobs, especially as we see the numbers of passengers increase over the summer," Sharon Pinkerton, A4A's senior vice president of legislative and regulatory policy, said.

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said during a House hearing Wednesday that security would not be impacted by any employee reassignments. However, some House members, like Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), say they remain concerned about the deployments.

The issue is likely to come up again today at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on DHS' fiscal 2020 budget request.

"It's a real possibility because I'm obviously concerned about the funding so they can handle this crisis," said Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

Ranking member Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said he's heard from airports and shares their concerns about the impact on summer travel. "I'm going to be asking those questions tomorrow," he said Wednesday.

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Donald Trump 'faked' injury to avoid Vietnam draft, Buttigieg claims

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 16:06

Pete Buttigieg, a 2020 Democratic presidential contender and U.S. Navy veteran, accused President Trump Thursday of pretending to have an injury in order to avoid serving in the Vietnam War, saying the commander-in-chief manipulated the system to get a diagnosis that allowed him to skip the war — forcing the ...

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Trump Jr. on demands to testify again: 'It is all nonsense'

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:54

Donald Trump Jr. on Thursday expressed frustration over demands that he reappear before the Senate Intelligence Committee following the release of the Mueller report, saying that he is "fully cleared" of any wrongdoing following "30 hours of testimony nonsense."

"No one has spoken to these guys more than I have," Trump Jr. told "Fox & Friends." "The Mueller report cites my congressional testimony, cites my Senate testimony, It cites my Twitter feed. The 19 leftist lawyers on that committee — who would love nothing more than to get a guy like me, and certainly my father — they didn't do anything."

Trump Jr. recently received a subpoena from the GOP-led committee, causing an outcry from Republicans who lambasted the action as being in "bad form" and "wrong." Even President Donald Trump said he was “very surprised” to learn his eldest son had been subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee to testify as part of the panel's ongoing investigation into Russian election interference.

"Democrats want an opportunity to try to attack me so they can do what (Sen. Richard) Blumenthal did to me in House Judiciary," Trump Jr. said. "We finished up testimony; He asks, 'Are there anymore questions?' No. Either side, left, right. (Blumenthal) runs out 30 seconds later, he's giving a press conference (saying), 'There are many more questions.' It is all nonsense."

Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Doubt over Theresa May’s future overshadows UK vote

This news was published by : POLITICO TOP PICKS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:53
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War of words intensifies between Trump, Democratic leaders

This news was published by : WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS exactly at Thu, 05/23/2019 - 15:51

WASHINGTON (AP) - The rift between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats appeared to be widening Thursday after a dramatic blow-up at the White House at a meeting on infrastructure.

A day after Trump stalked out of the Cabinet room demanding an end to congressional investigations, the Republican president and ...

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Hello. My name is Ed Snowden. A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone’s communications at any time.

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