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CARBONDALE, Ill. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will hold a town hall meeting in southern Illinois to familiarize the people it serves with its health care programs.
The Wednesday evening event will be held on the campus of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale at the Student Recreation Center Alumni ...
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is predicting that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Vice President Joe Biden will be the final two Democrats standing in the 2020 race against him.
Looking ahead to his re-election campaign, Trump tweeted Tuesday that he believes "it will be Crazy Bernie Sanders vs. ...
Democrats are increasingly ready to acknowledge a problem at the southwestern border — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi last week dubbed it "a humanitarian crisis" — but their solutions lie almost everywhere but the border itself.
Sen. Bernard Sanders said he would be willing to talk about more detention facilities to ...
Yuma, a city on the U.S.-Mexico border in Arizona, declared a state of emergency Tuesday, saying it cannot handle the crush of illegal immigrants the government is being forced to release onto its streets.
Mayor Doug Nicholls said the migrants are being released faster than they are leaving and local ...
With a year of the new tax system under their belt, members of Congress are pushing fixes they say are needed to fine-tune things, ranging from permanently extending the individual tax cuts to making more minor changes that created untended consequences for major interest groups like retailers.
Some proposals are ...
Rep. Ilhan Omar may be the most controversial freshman Democrat right now. And it's apparently paying off in fundraising, as she reported collecting more than $832,000 for her campaign over the first three months of the year.
That put her ahead of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who collected about $700,000, and ...
President Donald Trump on Tuesday vetoed a bipartisan measure to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war, calling it “an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”
Tuesday’s veto was the second of Trump’s presidency, coming a month after he vetoed a resolution to reverse his national emergency declaration to build a border wall.
All Democrats and several Republicans — including Trump allies — in both chambers backed the War Powers resolution amid a worsening humanitarian crisis on the ground in Yemen, where Iran-backed Houthi rebels have sought to overthrow the country’s government. Others voted for the bill as a way to punish Saudi Arabia for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
In his official veto message, Trump echoed an argument advanced by senior Republican lawmakers and the Pentagon: that the U.S. has never been engaged in hostilities in Yemen counterterrorism missions targeting al Qaeda.
“[T]here are no United States military personnel in Yemen commanding, participating in, or accompanying military forces of the Saudi‑led coalition against the Houthis in hostilities in or affecting Yemen,” Trump wrote in his veto message, referring to the bill as a “political document.”
The Trump administration has said that backing the Saudi-led coalition is crucial in order to push back on Iran’s influence in the region, a key priority for the president, who said on Tuesday that the War Powers resolution would “embolden” Iran. Last year, the Pentagon ceased in-flight refueling of Saudi aircraft amid the diplomatic row over Khashoggi’s brutal murder in October.
Rep. Ro Khanna, the California Democrat who spearheaded the Yemen effort on Capitol Hill, called Trump’s veto a “painful missed opportunity” for “a president elected on the promise of putting a stop to our endless wars.”
“The Yemen War Powers Resolution was a bipartisan, bicameral effort to end the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and supported by some of the president’s most trusted Republican allies,” added Khanna, who called the legislation a historic effort to reclaim Congress’ power to declare war.
Trump referenced his vow to wind down U.S. involvement in foreign conflicts abroad, but said the Yemen measure would “harm” America’s foreign policy.
“My administration is currently accelerating negotiations to end our military engagement in Afghanistan and drawing down troops in Syria, where we recently succeeded in eliminating 100 percent of the ISIS caliphate,” Trump said. “Congressional engagement in those endeavors would be far more productive than expending time and effort trying to enact this unnecessary and dangerous resolution that interferes with our foreign policy with respect to Yemen.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
The most vulnerable House Democrats are off to a fast start defending their seats — and their party's fragile new majority.
Nearly three-dozen Democratic freshmen in battleground districts raised more than $300,000 for their campaigns in the first three months of 2019 — a barometer of early momentum in the seats that could determine control of the chamber in the 2020 election.
Competing with a crowded Democratic presidential field and higher-profile Senate races, the new class of Democrats responsible for flipping control of the House have fought to sustain the torrent of campaign cash, much of it from small donors, that allowed candidates to outspend GOP incumbents in most of the contested House races last year. Now, as incumbents themselves, the eye-popping numbers could help fend off GOP challengers as Democrats attempt to hold their majority while waging war with President Donald Trump on multiple fronts.
Democrats currently hold a 19-seat majority in the chamber, which they won back in last year's midterm elections after eight years in the minority.
Out of the 43 freshman Democrats being targeted by Republicans heading into 2020, only eight posted numbers less than $300,000, according to a POLITICO analysis. No freshman Democrats were outraised by Republican challengers who have declared at this point, though many more are expected to jump in later in the year.
Freshman Rep. Josh Harder (Calif.) pulled in the highest figure among the targeted frontline Democrats, a total of $874,000 — more than triple the average for all House candidates.
The next top fundraisers are Reps. Antonio Delgado (N.Y.), Joe Cunningham (S.C.), Katie Hill (Calif.), Max Rose (N.Y.) and Lizzie Pannill Fletcher (Texas), who each raised more than a half-million dollars.
“Our supporters and both voters of all kinds realize these aren’t seats that are just going to stay safe,” Hill, who defeated an incumbent Republican in a Southern California district and brought in $608,000 so far this year, said of the first-quarter fundraising blitz. “We all know we’re up for a long fight.”
“That was a question mark for a lot of us — which was, ‘Are we going to be able to keep that energy?’ And I feel like it’s definitely still there,” Hill said of the 2018 blue wave that ushered in her history-making class.
Hill is already facing two challengers, but they declared after the fundraising cutoff and won't report their contributions until July.
In fact, the first round of fundraising numbers — still early in the cycle — offer more insight about incumbents than the strength of potential challengers. But out of the handful of Republican challengers declared in other seats, three raised notable sums in the first quarter.
That includes New York assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, who is challenging Rose for a Staten Island-based district in New York City. Malliotakis, who received contributions from Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and New York Republican Elise Stefanik’s new Elevate PAC, raised $300,000 in two months. But Rose brought in $603,000 — an exceptionally strong number in the nation's most expensive media market.
Democrats say they aren't only on defense, and part of their House strategy includes picking off districts Republicans only narrowly held in 2018. Of the 31 GOP incumbents targeted by Democrats, only 15 raised more than $300,000, showing a potential weakness ahead of 2020. And House GOP leaders have sought to fill that gap.
“Republican challengers and incumbents will have the resources necessary to successfully make the case against the socialist policies coming out of Nancy Pelosi’s conference like the Green New Deal and eliminating private health insurance,” said NRCC spokesperson Michael McAdams.
Frontline Democrats can also expect national support. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised a record amount for a first quarter in an off-year, bringing in $32.5 million — a majority of which came from contributions under $200.
“It’s that first reelect that’s your hardest,” Rep. Cheri Bustos (Ill.), chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said in an interview. “The people who helped get these members here, they’re invested now.”
In a speech to her colleagues at the Democratic retreat in Virginia last week, Bustos told the caucus that they need to control "our energy, our focus and our determination to lockdown our majority."
“We cannot rent these districts for the next two years,” Bustos said. “We have to own them.”
After watching Democrats raise millions through ActBlue, an online small-dollar fundraising platform that’s been around since 2004 but gained new power in 2018, Republicans realized they needed a platform of their own to combat the influx of Democratic cash. The new Patriot Pass platform is still being built.
In addition to the flood of Democratic cash online, Republicans are also wary of mega-donors like former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who spent more than $100 million in 2018 to help Democrats flip the House, including $11 million in the final two weeks of the election in California alone.
“Michael Bloomberg alone is responsible in many ways for the margin of the Democrats majority,” said Chris Grant, a GOP consultant. “Republicans from [Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy] on down have been laser-focused on that. The leader has taken this on his shoulders.”
By and large, Democratic incumbents are starting to stockpile the cash necessary to defend their seats, though there were some weaker-than-expected showings. Freshman Rep. Jeff Van Drew (D-N.J.) raised only $121,000 in a contested, South Jersey district. Freshman Rep. Dean Phillips (D-Minn.) also raised less than $200,000 in the Twin Cities suburbs, though he supplemented his 2018 campaign with self-funding.
So far, three Republican incumbents have been outraised by Democratic challengers, including two in California, where Democrats are attempting to pick off the state’s final few red districts. Rep. Duncan Hunter, who has been indicted for misusing campaign funds, raised just $93,000. That’s just one-quarter of the $350,00 raised by his opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar — the most of any Democratic challenger so far.
Rep. Doug LaMalfa (Calif.) — who sits in a more reliable GOP seat — brought in just $87,00 for a rematch against his Democratic opponent from last fall, Audrey Denney, who has already raised $253,000.
The other Republican who has was outraised is Rep. Chris Collins of New York, who pulled in just $5,200 after being indicted on insider trading charges last year. Nearly all of his campaign cash came from GOP-aligned PAC groups, with not one dollar from an individual donor.
Controversial Iowa Rep. Steve King, who was nearly defeated by a Democratic challenger last year, brought in only $62,000 in the first quarter. King's $18,000 in cash on hand is less than the bankrolls of three of his GOP primary challengers, including state Sen. Randy Feenstra, who had $240,000 in cash on hand.
Two incumbent Democrats have so far been outraised by challengers from their own party, including Rep. Dan Lipinski (Ill.), one of the party’s last anti-abortion representatives. Rep. Stephen Lynch (Mass.), who has spent nearly 20 years in the House, faces a primary challenge in his diverse South Boston district. His opponent, Mohammad Dar, has raised $180,106 — nearly three times more than Lynch’s totals.
In another sign of continued enthusiasm, Democrats hold a substantial fundraising advantage ahead of this year's closely watched re-do election in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.
Dan McCready — the sole Democratic candidate — reported a fundraising haul of $1.6 million, which is more than three times the amount that all of his Republican competitors combined have raised ahead of their GOP primary in May.
House leaders continued to rake in campaign cash in the first quarter, as did some members who have seen their public profiles grow in the Trump era. Minority Whip Steve Scalise (La.) raised more than $4.3 million, while Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy pulled in a total of $3.8 million. And Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) — the ranking member of the House intelligence committee — raised a stunning $1.2 million on his own, and has nearly $5 million on hand.
That compares to a roughly $4.6 million haul from Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), and another $1.8 million from the next top-raising Democrat, intelligence committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a frequent Trump target. Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) raised $651,000 for his campaign and has raised or contributed $756,000 for other House Democrats.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
PHOENIX (AP) - Detained asylum seekers who have shown they have a credible fear of returning to their country will no longer be able ask a judge to grant them bond.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr decided Tuesday that asylum seekers who clear a "credible fear" interview and are facing ...
News organizations cannot wait to get their teeth into the Mueller report, due to be released in redacted form on Thursday. Print and broadcast outlets are already salivating though — providing speculative or wishful reports about the document, so many that Newsbusters.org has tracked the trajectory of these ...
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand raised less than $3 million for her presidential campaign over the last three months and spent almost as much as she raised, setting off warning bells for the New Yorker's floundering presidential campaign.
Her take put her near the back of the pack in the Democratic money ...
President Trump vetoed a congressional resolution Tuesday night calling for an end of U.S. involvement in the Saudi-led war in Yemen, calling the measure "an unnecessary, dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities."
In issuing the second veto of his presidency, Mr. Trump said the congressional action would be "endangering ...
Pittsburgh now stands with fellow sanctuary city Oakland in telling President Trump it'd be happy to take in detained illegal immigrants.
Mr. Trump claimed this week that "Illegal Immigrants who can no longer be legally held ... will be, subject to Homeland Security, given to Sanctuary Cities and States!" following ...
As Elizabeth Warren’s campaign developed its organizing strategy this winter, it spent big to bring on a whopping 161 staffers — nearly twice as many as her closest rival in the Democratic presidential primary.
The early hiring spree, which cost Warren’s campaign nearly $1.2 million in salary plus more on related expenses, amounts to a big bet on what it will take to win the 2020 presidential race. The buildup had Warren spending money almost as fast as she raised at a time of year when presidential campaigns traditionally hoard their cash, according to new campaign finance filings. But the decision sheds new light on the priorities and strategy behind Warren’s campaign, which believes organization in the early-voting states could make the difference next year.
And it wasn’t just Warren placing a wager. Kamala Harris’ shock-and-awe first week in the race culminated with a big gamble: a highly produced rally in Oakland that cost the campaign over a half-million dollars to put on — but drew 22,000 people and saturation media coverage, providing an early jolt for her standing. Nearly every campaign spent big on digital advertising in recent months, bidding for online donor support that may not take off for months.
“The risk is you build it and they don’t come,” said Steve Elmendorf, a Democratic strategist and presidential campaign veteran. He doubts all 18 Democratic campaigns will be around later this year.
“I don’t believe that when we get to the third and fourth quarter that you’re going to have 20 candidates. If they don’t break out, maybe they can make it through to Iowa; but not much further than that.”
The financial reports from the race’s first three months offer the first detailed, behind-the-scenes look into the campaigns’ earliest priorities. Roughly half of Warren’s 161 staffers are working in the early states — a huge on-the-ground investment at a time when her campaign has yet to take off. Warren’s employee overhead far eclipsed Bernie Sanders, who paid 86 staffers; Cory Booker, who hired 62; and Harris, who had a staff of 44 by the end of March.
The decisions come with tradeoffs: Harris was able to hold onto more of the $12 million she raised. Yet she’ll have to build out her staff after other campaigns have hired, in an exceedingly crowded field that will grow even larger. Warren’s spending — her outlays were more than 85 percent of the $6 million she raised after swearing off traditional fundraisers — means she’s relying on the safety net of the $10.4 million in reserves transferred from her Senate committee.
But the large team is central to Warren’s organizing strategy. She announced her exploratory committee earlier than most of the other candidates and immediately began scooping up experienced field staff, many of whom were also recruited aggressively by rival campaigns.
There’s precedent for having such a large team so early in a presidential contest: In the first quarter of 2007, Barack Obama’s field-focused campaign paid 191 staffers, while Hillary Clinton’s paid 85.
Such a large staff also requires a regular flow of dollars. In the first quarter of 2007, Obama raised $25 million. Warren’s ability to raise money may be more restrained given that she has foresworn big-dollar fundraisers. But the campaign can go back to most of its 135,000 donors from the first quarter for more money; fewer than 150 people have given Warren the maximum allowed donation.
The campaign has also been trying to use its small-donor approach rolled out in February to distinguish itself from others and jumpstart more small-dollar donors.
"One of the other candidates who had more or less the same number of donations raised 55% more money because of big-dollar contributions. Another candidate had just about the same number of people donate overall, but also raised twice as much money from big-dollar donors,” campaign manager Roger Lau told supporters in an email last week, in a jab likely meant for Harris, who raised $12 million from 138,000 donors.
Harris transferred in another $1.2 million to her campaign. She finished the quarter with $9 million.
Harris’ splashy launch, which shutdown a plaza in her hometown of Oakland and was carried live in its entirety on all three cable networks, was made before she emerged as one of the race’s top early fundraisers, bringing in a mix of small and large-dollar donations. It paid off. Her favorability with voters shot up by double-digits and generated a buzz that continues to follow her. Harris has drawn crowds of thousands to her routine town hall events in the early states and Texas. The Oakland rally was also a one-time expense and won’t require repeated feeding.
In all, Harris spent more than $475,000 on staff, while Sanders paid about $415,000.
Others who raised less risk trouble, as early campaign “burn rates” grow given the high cost of staff and increasing importance of digital ads. The Senate transfers helped paper over some of the less impressive performances. Kirsten Gillibrand transferred $9.6 million —76 percent of the total money she brought in.
Digital ad spending continued to grow in importance, as top candidates work to build the networks that will help sustain their campaigns in later months. Lesser-known candidates struggling for cash, meantime, pressed supporters for small contributions to help them meet the Democratic Party’s threshold for the June and July debate stages.
Sanders dropped about $1.5 million on digital ads, while former Rep. Beto O’Rourke spent $1.3 million on his digital advertising blitz — which accounted for half his total campaign spending, given his recent entry into the race. Harris, who has worked in recent years to improve her digital standing, spent $1 million.
“It's remarkable, digital advertising is the largest line item outside of staff for most of, if not all, the 2020 candidates,” said Tim Lim, a Democratic digital strategist who is a partner at NEWCO Strategies and founder of Blue Digital Exchange.
More than half of the money that Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s campaign spent last quarter, $450,000, went towards digital advertising. Of the campaigns still panhandling for as little as $1, Lim added, “it shows how much the debate threshold rules have affected the digital strategies.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
President Trump's claim that Robert Mueller's report is a total exoneration is about to be put to the test as what is known about the special counsel's findings swells from four pages to nearly 400, undermining the White House's ability to frame the narrative.
Mr. Trump has spent recent days ...
In a move that could keep tens of thousands of asylum seekers locked up, the Justice Department said Tuesday that it will deny a large class of undocumented immigrants a bond hearing to argue for their release.
The opinion, by Attorney General William Barr, adheres to the Trump administration’s stance that migrants caught at the border should be detained whenever possible, even when they’ve petitioned for asylum.
The 11-page precedent-setting decision reverses a 2005 immigration court ruling that guaranteed bond hearings for certain migrants. Under the earlier ruling, some migrants who passed a “credible fear” interview — the first step in their asylum review — were eligible to seek release on bond.
The new standard will eliminate that option. The Homeland Security Department will, however, retain discretion to let individual asylum seekers out of detention, a decision that can be dictated by the availability of resources.
“It strips away the ability of an immigration judge to look at the merits of the case and determine in a bond hearing whether the person is going to be a flight risk or a threat to the community,” said Andrew Free, a Nashville-based immigration attorney.
Barr said in the opinion that the effective date will be delayed 90 days, so that the Homeland Security Department “may conduct the necessary operational planning for additional detention and parole decisions.” A spending bill passed by Congress in February funded more than 45,000 detention beds, but the Trump administration has argued that’s not enough.
The ruling, known as Matter of M-S-, will not apply to migrant children traveling alone or with families, Free said. Under the 1997 Flores settlement agreement, children cannot be detained for longer than 20 days.
In addition, the decision does not apply to migrants who seek asylum at ports of entry. They must be granted “parole” into the U.S. and are not eligible for bond hearings.
Greg Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, called the new standard “a devastating blow to those seeking protection from persecution.”
With Tuesday’s decision, Barr followed in the footsteps of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who issued several precedential immigration decisions during his tenure at the Justice Department.
A June decision issued by Sessions, known as Matter of A-B-, restricted the ability of migrants to seek asylum based on domestic violence or gang violence. However, a federal judge struck down the bulk of that ruling and related policies in December.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
Top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said Tuesday that it would be up to Herman Cain to withdraw from consideration to be nominated to the Federal Reserve, if the embattled former pizza chain executive and presidential candidate chooses to bail out.
"At the end of the day, it will ...
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A proposed constitutional amendment to limit how long the state's top executives can serve has passed the Senate.
Senators voted 31-3 Tuesday to send the measure to the state House for consideration.
The proposal would limit the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, auditor and attorney ...
PHOENIX (AP) - The husband of a U.S. soldier killed in Afghanistan was deported to Mexico last week and then allowed back to Arizona after the move sparked outrage.
The Arizona Republic first reported that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 30-year-old Jose Gonzalez Carranza last week. Gonzalez Carranza came ...
RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina lawmakers have given final passage to a bill to require doctors and nurses to care for babies born alive during a failed late-term abortion, a measure critics say is really intended to intimidate abortion providers.
The state House passed the bill Tuesday, a day after ...
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a rising star in the Democratic Party, and she's got a huge edge over many of her colleagues: A savvy understanding of social media.
AOC, as she is known, is prolific, sending out dozens of tweets and retweets on Twitter each day, as well and posting ...
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - A bill to ban so-called sanctuary policies in Florida is going to the House floor.
The House Judiciary Committee voted 12-6 Tuesday in favor of the bill that would require that local law enforcement agencies cooperate with federal authorities that enforce immigration law.
Immigrants and their ...
Most Republicans are rejecting Democrat-led state bills to tighten childhood immunization laws in the midst of the worst measles outbreak in two decades, alarming public health experts who fear the nation could become as divided over vaccines as it is over global warming.
Democrats in six states — Colorado, Arizona, New Jersey, Washington, New York and Maine — have authored or co-sponsored bills to make it harder for parents to avoid vaccinating their school-age children, and mostly faced GOP opposition. Meanwhile in West Virginia and Mississippi, states with some of the nation’s strictest vaccination laws, Republican lawmakers have introduced measures to expand vaccine exemptions, although it’s not yet clear how much traction they have.
In Washington state, which has one of the biggest measles outbreaks, a bill in the state Senate to narrow vaccine exemptions passed through the health committee without the support of a single Republican. The same thing happened in legislative committees in Colorado and Maine over the past week.
All states have mandatory vaccination laws, but they vary in how liberally they dispense exemptions on religious or philosophical grounds. That’s getting scrutiny as measles spreads.
Democrats present bills tightening the loopholes as science-based and necessary to fight disease, while sometimes demeaning their foes as misguided or selfish “anti-vaxxers.“ Republicans portray themselves as equally enthusiastic about the life-saving virtues of vaccines, but many are loath to diminish the right of parental control over their children’s bodies, and yield that power to the government.
Of course there are vaccine skeptics on the left, too, Robert Kennedy Jr. being the most prominent example. But to date, their influence isn’t as strong in state legislatures.
Fed by major epidemics in Israel and in Europe, measles has punctured the U.S. barrier of immunity at multiple points of entry in what’s shaping up to be the worst year for the disease since 1993, with 555 cases through early April. Outbreaks in six states include hundreds of cases in ultra-Orthodox communities in Brooklyn and Rockland County, N.Y. And the numbers are growing.
“What if God forbid someone dies?” said Jeff Dinowitz, a Bronx assemblyman whose bill to limit religious exemptions has nine Democratic co-sponsors — but no Republican backers — in the New York Assembly.
Andrew Raia, ranking Republican on the New York Assembly’s health committee, said he wouldn't support the bill. While not totally convinced by constituents who link their children’s autism on vaccines, and unaware of any real religious injunction against vaccination, he said, “I’m not a religious leader, and I’m not a scientist either, so it’s my job to weigh both sides.”
The political struggle over vaccination is complicated by the fact that President Donald Trump and two of his Republican primary foes, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) an ophthalmologist, and Ben Carson, a neurosurgeon who is now HUD secretary, both voiced support for disproven theories linking vaccine to autism during a 2016 debate. Just last month, Paul said he had his own children vaccinated but railed against government mandates to do so.
Since becoming president, Trump has dropped the subject and scrapped a plan to create a commission led by Kennedy Jr. to investigate a supposed coverup of vaccine’s supposed harms by public health officials.
But officials worry they are “three Trump tweets away” from an even more polarized situation, noted MIT political scientist Adam Berinsky, who has studied communication around politicized public health and scientific issues.
In Texas, the Tea Party and related groups created an anti-vax PAC in 2015. It hasn’t yet gotten its chosen candidates elected, but the very existence of a vaccine-oriented political action committee shows the political salience is growing. Influential voices on the right, including Rush Limbaugh, Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones, have all raised suspicions about vaccines.
“There’s a credulity gap between the parties in regard to science that wasn’t there 25 years ago,” Berinsky said. And Trump could easily inflame the vaccine skepticism, should he weigh in. For a large share of the highly polarized U.S. population, “at the end of the day it’s not the arguments people are making, but who is making them,” Berinksy said.
To be sure, Republicans have traditionally backed vaccines as a parental responsibility. And although Sen. Paul opposes mandatory vaccination, other GOP members of Congress — including Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and Reps. Phil Roe (R-TN) Michael Burgess, (R-TX) and Rep. Brad Wenstrup R-OH), who are all doctors — strongly backed vaccination in statements to POLITICO, while stopping short of supporting the removal of religious or philosophical exemptions. Cassidy has come out strongly for mandatory vaccinations, and has publicly sparred with Paul.
A century of vaccination laws has shown that states with the strictest ones have lower burdens of vaccine-preventable disease. Scourges including smallpox, polio and diphtheria have been eliminated.
Rules generally get tighter following big outbreaks of disease, and groups like the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have used the measles outbreak to push for an end to state laws that allow people to refuse vaccination of their kids on religious or philosophical grounds.
In 1972, during a measles epidemic in Los Angeles, public health authorities kept 50,000 children out of school until their parents could prove they were vaccinated. The success of that effort led to a nationwide push for stricter laws and more enforcement.
After 89 people, mostly children, died in a 1990 measles epidemic, millions of dollars were poured into expanding vaccine availability for the poor, and in 2000, the disease stopped circulating in the United States. Since then, every case has been linked to visitors from overseas — although the virus has then spread here among the growing pockets of vaccine shunners.
Yet even Walter Orenstein, a field marshal in the earlier crackdowns who headed CDC’s immunization branch from 1993 to 2004, isn’t sure that legislation against all non-medical exemptions is the way to go.
“In my heart, and from a purely medical point of view, I agree with it,” said Orenstein, who now teaches at Emory University. “I’m a little worried it will backfire.”
Experts differ on the gravity of the political polarization. Dan Salmon, a vaccinologist at Johns Hopkins's Bloomberg School of Public Health, notes that the only vaccine bills that have passed in legislatures in recent years — notably a 2015 law eliminating philosophical exemptions in California — have tightened, rather than loosened restrictions.
“I don’t think this is a partisan issue,” Salmon insists.
But research by Neal Goldstein of Drexel University's public health school suggests the issue of vaccine mandates has indeed entered a hyper-partisan landscape. As a result, he said, it may be wise to avoid legislation when possible to avoid opening more wounds.
Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at the University of Michigan, said, “My concern is that tightening requirements through the political process risks politicizing an issue that we can't allow to be politicized if we're going to maintain public health."
Dan Goldberg, Renuka Rayasam, Amanda Eisenberg and Sam Sutton contributed to this report.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
Rep. Brad Sherman implied a combination of bad faith, poor judgment and a dumb boss on press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders for having said that Congress might not understand President Trump's tax returns.
"I'm surprised to see Sarah Sanders talking about intelligence," the California Democrat, a certified public accountant,
After three months in power, House Democrats have finally hit their investigative stride. They’ve teed up invasive probes of President Donald Trump’s finances, uncorked subpoenas, and set the stage for court battles that could consume Washington through the 2020 election.
But everything could change Thursday when Attorney General William Barr releases a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s long-anticipated report on the Trump campaign’s links to Russia.
Mueller’s findings — and whether they’re damning, benign or too heavily redacted to understand — are certain to be a major factor guiding the direction of Democrats’ probes.
Such a realignment may be inevitable. While Democrats have vowed to press on with their investigations regardless of Mueller’s report, they’ve continued to publicly lean on the special counsel’s findings in order to determine what comes next.
According to a senior Democratic aide, the six House committees conducting Trump-related investigations will immediately determine which revelations in the report apply to which panel and where there might be overlap as lawmakers move forward.
But Democrats have also made clear that they have low expectations for what they’ll receive from Barr, who has said he would not share the full Mueller report with Congress.
“I find it quite infuriating,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), a member of the Judiciary and Oversight panels. “That’s what we’re afraid of — that he will behave like a political functionary and make redactions for political rather than legal reasons.”
That frustration was visible last month when Barr released a four-page summary of Mueller’s findings that indicated Mueller did not establish that the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 election and that Mueller did not render a judgment on whether Trump obstructed justice — though the Trump-appointed attorney general decided not to pursue charges against the president.
Despite the limited information that was actually provided by Barr, the political fallout extinguished any immediate push for impeachment and led to a rapid reshuffling of Democrats’ budding probes.
The House Intelligence Committee postponed an interview with longtime Trump associate Felix Sater and the Judiciary Committee deemphasized a wide-ranging obstruction of justice and corruption probe aimed at Trump. Both panels’ chairmen say they need to see Mueller’s report before continuing.
And in recent weeks, Democrats have publicly downplayed their desires to investigate Trump on every front imaginable. At their annual retreat last week, House Democrats pointedly excluded any discussions of their oversight strategy and pivoted quickly to discussing health care and the economy when pressed on their plans.
Democratic lawmakers and aides argue that public support for congressional oversight is still strong. Regardless of the findings in the Mueller report, they say, polling shows Americans want Congress to police Trump and investigate allegations of corruption, and that many Americans are skeptical of Barr’s characterization of Mueller’s findings.
“There was an assault on the integrity of the elections in our country, the basis of our democracy. There is no doubt about that,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters last week. “You would think that [everyone] in our country would say we want to make sure this doesn’t happen again instead of engaging in this silliness — this obstruction of giving the truth to the American people.”
Mueller’s findings will arrive just as Democrats reach flashpoints in their investigations.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) is set to issue a subpoena as early as Friday for all of Mueller’s grand-jury information and underlying evidence, which could be used as part of his panel’s own investigation. Barr has said he won’t ask a court for the grand-jury information and doesn’t intend to share the full report with Congress, including passages on “peripheral” third-party figures.
“The subpoena will be issued eventually. We’re going to force him because we need to see it all,” said Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a member of the Judiciary Committee. “Otherwise, you’re trusting him to be the arbiter and the unappealable judge on what’s harmful to somebody’s reputation. … So he becomes the great censor.”
Similarly, Democrats have launched an effort to access Trump’s tax returns and other financial information, an effort they say is aimed at ensuring that Trump has no foreign entanglements or conflicts of interest stemming from his sprawling business empire.
Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) has already issued subpoenas to accounting firm Mazars USA to get his hands on 10 years of the president’s financial records. On Monday, Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) issued subpoenas to other financial institutions including Deutsche Bank; Capital One is likely to be served with its own subpoena, too.
In the meantime, Trump’s attorneys are doing everything they can to ensure that the president’s financial history is shielded from House Democrats.
Nadler said Monday during a talk at Fordham University that House Democrats are “just starting” their oversight of the Trump administration.
“We are way behind the eight-ball,” Nadler said, accusing Republicans of abandoning oversight of the Trump administration when they held the House in the previous Congress.
One wildcard remains ahead of Thursday’s release: Trump’s reaction to the report.
The president has flirted with pardons for some of his associates entangled in the probe, though he insists he hasn’t given it much thought of late. And even as Trump triumphantly tweets “No Collusion - No Obstruction!”, his tone has soured as the likelihood of damaging details emerging in Mueller’s report appears to grow.
Trump has increasingly demanded that the FBI and Justice Department officials who launched the Trump-Russia probe be investigated themselves. Barr has indicated he intends to review allegations of FBI misconduct as well, emboldening Trump allies who have alleged a “deep state” conspiracy to undermine the Trump presidency.
It remains unclear whether the White House will move to claim executive privilege to shield some parts of the report from public view. Barr has said publicly that he does not intend to give the White House a privileged review of the report before it’s released to the public; but aides and lawmakers are skeptical of that promise, especially if it could undermine Trump’s claim that the report exonerated him.
“As usual, he’s overplayed his hand. ‘Total exoneration’ — 400 pages does not equal ‘total exoneration.’ So of course they’re getting cold feet. But we’re going to get the report,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a member of the Intelligence Committee.
A Mueller report that provides little new information — or one so heavily redacted that its findings are hard to decipher — could encourage Democrats to shift their focus.
Though a wide range of investigations will undoubtedly continue, an underwhelming report from Mueller will likely drive those probes underground and keep Democrats focused on the pocketbook issues that voters say are more important to them.
Still, the lawmakers leading the probes have said publicly that Mueller’s report has little bearing on their own investigative strategy. Mueller, they note, had a limited mandate and didn’t pursue avenues like money laundering or hush-money payments to women alleging affairs with Trump in 2016.
At the Fordham event on Monday, Nadler said his efforts to investigate potential abuses of power by Trump were an important area for Congress to pursue, even if impeachment isn’t part of the equation.
“The important thing is to vindicate the rule of law, to say you can’t do certain things and to make sure the power is there to make sure that the next guy can’t do that,” he said. “We have to come down hard on abuses of power, on obstruction of justice … We may have to change how you enforce congressional subpoenas.”
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama lawmakers have voted to exempt economic developers from the state law that governs lobbyists.
The Alabama Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to the bill. It now goes to Gov. Kay Ivey for her signature.
Under the bill, economic developers would not be considered lobbyists ...
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - The Alabama Senate voted Tuesday to change a decades-old system that has allowed some sheriffs to pocket leftover jail food funds, a practice that has created concerns and scandals centering on whether inmates were being adequately fed.
The bill by Republican Sen. Arthur Orr of Decatur ...
WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke says he'll amend "as appropriate" federal tax returns from 2013 and 2014, when he may have underpaid around $4,000 because of incorrectly deducted medical expenses.
O'Rourke late Monday released 10 years of returns filed by himself and his wife, Amy, through 2017. The ...
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A judge says it appears the Trump administration can identify potentially thousands of children who were separated from their families at the border in less time than the one to two years it wants.
U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw said Tuesday that he was reluctant to ...
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The case of an Indiana fertility doctor using his own sperm to impregnate perhaps dozens of women has led to state legislators voting to make such actions a felony crime.
The Indiana Senate gave final approval Tuesday to a bill allowing felony charges in cases of deception ...
The Trump administration will announce on Wednesday a big shift in policy toward Cuba by allowing U.S. individuals to file legal claims against foreign companies that conduct business in Cuba, a senior administration official told POLITICO.
The move represents a new hard-line stance against the island nation, which has been accused of providing assistance to the embattled regime of Venezuela’s Maduro government.
A law on the books has long been delayed by previous administrations through waivers. Enforcing it could exacerbate trade tensions with allies like Canada and the European Union, which have had companies doing business in Cuba for years.
White House national security adviser John Bolton is expected to unveil the policy as part of new actions he will announce against Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua during a speech in Miami on Wednesday.
The European Union has already warned the U.S. it would challenge the action in a WTO dispute and said the move would trigger an unending chain of countersuits against U.S. companies operating in Europe.
“We believe that the issue of outstanding US claims should not be conflated with the cause of furthering democracy and human rights in Cuba, or by our share desire urgently to find a peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis in Venezuela,” European Commission foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström wrote in an April 10 letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The EU officials said that EU law would allow any European company targeted by a U.S. claim to counter-sue in EU court and noted that the majority of the 50 largest U.S. claimants have assets that could be targeted in the EU.
The Trump administration plans to invoke a provision of the 1996 Helms-Burton Act that allows U.S. persons to pursue lawsuits against businesses "trafficking" in property nationalized during the Communist revolution. The so-called Title III provision of the law has been suspended repeatedly by successive administrations every six months.
The Trump administration announced earlier this year that it would study its policy toward Cuba, triggering a 45-day period in which it would study enforcing the law. The administration decided to extend the review period until May 1, which is the date the waiver will expire.
The review had caused concern in Canada as well and officials in Ottawa had been reaching out to the Trump administration in the beginning of the year to clarify the possibility of ending the waiver.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has given initial approval to legislation that would block developers of a high-voltage power line from using eminent domain to string it across Missouri.
The bill endorsed Tuesday targets the proposed Grain Belt Express - a 750-mile (1,255-kilometer) transmission line that ...
CHICAGO — Former President Barack Obama's foundation collected contributions of more than $1 million from 11 firms and individuals in the first three months of 2019, records show.
The Obama Foundation's donor list, which is updated quarterly, included the AT&T Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on Monday, along with ...
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California Gov. Gavin Newsom has kept up a frenetic pace in his first 100 days, jousting with President Donald Trump, traveling to Central America, placing a moratorium on executions and pledging bold action on housing and clean water.
It's in contrast to Jerry Brown, his predecessor ...
One of the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls is inverting President Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan by suggesting there was nothing great in the past and that appeals to past virtues are dishonest.
"We cannot find greatness in the past," reads a headline at the official website of ...
HOUSTON (AP) - The Trump administration wants to open two new tent facilities to temporarily detain up to 1,000 parents and children near the southern border, as advocates sharply criticize the conditions inside the tents already used to hold migrants.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection said in a notice to ...
Three Senate Committee chairmen have renewed their request for additional information from an inspector general report on the FBI’s handling of an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.
In a letter sent to Attorney General William Barr on Tuesday, Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.) re-upped their request for a classified briefing on steps the Justice Department plans to take in light of its inspector general’s 2018 report.
The report found that political bias did not interfere with the FBI’s conclusion in its 2016 investigation. But it blasted then-FBI Director James Comey and claimed that he made a “serious error of judgment” by telling Congress before the 2016 election that it was re-opening the probe.
The chairmen initially asked for a classified briefing in July, but the Justice Department responded that such a briefing could interfere with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Grassley followed up with a letter in October.
“Now that the Special Counsel’s investigation has concluded, we are unaware of any legitimate basis upon which the Department can refuse to answer the Judiciary Committee’s inquiries,” the chairmen wrote in their Tuesday letter.
The lawmakers noted that the classified appendix of the inspector general’s report “raises significant issues associated with the FBI’s failure to review certain highly classified information in support of its Midyear investigation.” In particular, the lawmakers highlight the report’s finding that the FBI obtained classified information that could have been included in the investigation into Clinton’s use of a private email server, and that it wrote a draft memorandum that suggested the information was necessary to complete the investigation. But FBI witnesses told the inspector general that the information would not have affected the conclusion, the lawmakers wrote.
“That explanation is inconsistent with the memorandum’s self-identified purpose and demands clarification,” they said.
The letter from the Senate committee chairmen comes amid renewed interest in examining the Justice Department, now that the Mueller investigation is completed and found no conspiracey between Russia and the Trump campaign. Last month, Graham said that he would investigate whether the FBI and the Justice Department influenced the 2016 election in an attempt to stop Trump from becoming president.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
RICHMOND, Va. — A series of scandals surrounding Virginia's top Democrats has made it difficult for them to raise money in a key election year.
Gov. Ralph Northam, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Attorney General Mark Herring all posted anemic campaign finance reports Monday that are far below what their ...
Attorney General William Barr has created public distrust about whether the Justice Department is committed to sharing as much as possible about the Russia probe's findings, a federal judge said on Tuesday.
“The attorney general has created an environment that has caused a significant part of the public … to be concerned about whether or not there is full transparency,” U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton said during a hearing Tuesday afternoon on a Freedom of Information Act suit demanding access to a report detailing the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller.
Walton, an appointee of President George W. Bush, did not elaborate on what actions or statements by the attorney general have generated those perceptions.
Democrats and other critics have faulted Barr for adding his own conclusions favorable to President Donald Trump into a letter sent to Congress last month summarizing the top-line findings of the report. In addition, Barr has warned that he plans to make redactions to the report on grounds such as privacy and grand jury secrecy, prompting more complaints.
But despite Walton’s criticism, he denied a request from BuzzFeed to issue a preliminary injunction requiring the Justice Department to release Mueller’s report by Thursday.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said Monday that the nearly 400-page report, with redactions, will be released that morning to Congress and the public. However, the online media outlet pressed for an order requiring the release of the portions that must be disclosed under FOIA.
Matthew Topic, a lawyer for BuzzFeed, said at the hearing that putting a court order in place would speed up further litigation over whatever information is redacted from the report.
“The government claims it can make an open-ended extension with no specific deadline in mind,” Topic said.
Indeed, Justice Department attorney Courtney Enlow declined to say whether the version of the report made public Thursday will be identical to what the department releases under FOIA. Nor could she say whether she’d be prepared to commit to that during another hearing set for May 2 on the BuzzFeed case and a related suit.
“I can’t give you a timeline,” Enlow said.
Walton previously declined to issue a deadline for the release of a broader set of Mueller-related records in a suit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a nonprofit privacy-advocacy group.
However, the judge said Tuesday that he plans to “fast track” the issue of the report and what information in it must be disclosed, then deal with other records from Mueller’s probe.
“We’d be dealing separately with the report,” said Walton. He also said he’ll want to consider whether to order the government to give him an unredacted copy of the report so he can assess whether the redactions are proper.
“That’s something we will have to work through. I’ll have to think about it,” he said.
Walton said he hopes any disputes will be limited because the Justice Department makes the bulk of the document public.
“I would hope that the government is as transparent as it can be,” the judge said.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
Top Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee requested information Tuesday related to President Donald Trump’s reported offer to pardon a top border official if he acted illegally to block asylum seekers.
Multiple media outlets reported Friday that Trump earlier this month told Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan he'd pardon him if he broke the law to deny migrants the ability to petition for asylum. It wasn’t clear whether the president intended the remark as a joke, and Trump denied later that day on Twitter that he "offered pardons to Homeland Securi[t]y personnel in case they broke the law."
News of the pardon offer followed Trump’s announcement last week that former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen would step down from her post and be replaced in an acting capacity by McAleenan.
The dismissal was part of a department purge as the White House seeks to stem the flow of Central American migrants to the U.S. The number of border crossers arrested in recent months rose to the highest levels in more than a decade and likely will increase during the warmer months ahead.
In a letter to McAleenan, Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and other Democrats asked the new acting secretary to turn over a list of all DHS employees present during a meeting with Trump in Calexico, Calif., where the pardon exchange reportedly took place. The lawmakers also said the list should include individuals McAleenan told about the encounter.
Nadler, along with Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), wrote the reported pardon “follows a troubling pattern of conduct.” The lawmakers said the alleged conversation suggests Trump “views the pardon power as a political tool, or even worse, as an expedient mechanism for circumventing the law or avoiding the consequences of his own conduct.”
Trump issued the first pardon of his presidency to former Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio in August 2017. A month earlier, Arpaio — an immigration hard-liner and early supporter of Trump’s presidential campaign — had been found guilty of criminal contempt for violating an order in a racial-profiling case.
In their letter, the Democratic lawmakers called for documents related to a March 21 meeting between Nielsen and Trump. Nadler and his colleagues asserted the meeting focused on the reinstatement of the “zero-tolerance” enforcement policy — which split apart thousands of migrant families last year — and possible closure of the U.S.-Mexico border at El Paso, Texas.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
The Trump administration will announce Wednesday that it's authorizing U.S. citizens to sue certain companies doing business in Cuba, a senior administration official confirmed.
White House national security adviser John R. Bolton will announce that the administration plans to enforce a provision of a 1996 law known as Helms-Burton, which ...
Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday flatly rejected charges of anti-Semitism against freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar amid a mounting onslaught of verbal attacks by President Donald Trump.
“I don’t think that the congresswoman is anti-Semitic. I wouldn’t even put those in the same category,” Pelosi declared in an interview with CNN International.
It’s not the first time that Pelosi has dismissed accusations of anti-Semitism against the Minnesota Democrat. But the speaker appeared to go further in her defense on Tuesday as Omar faces a rise in death threats amid an aggressive Republican campaign, fueled by Trump, for the way she recently characterized the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
GOP critics have also sought to resurface some of Omar’s comments earlier this year, which had been widely perceived as anti-Semitic and led to a rare rebuke by House Democratic leaders. Pelosi doubled down Tuesday that Omar herself was not anti-Semitic.
“We have no taint of that in the Democratic Party,” Pelosi said. “Just because they want to accuse somebody of that doesn’t mean that we take that bait.”
Instead, Pelosi has sharply criticized Trump for fueling the controversy with an edited video of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Those images have caused a rise in death threats against her life, according to Omar’s office.
Pelosi also dismissed any suggestions that she and other House leaders have been too slow to defend Omar, as suggested by Omar’s close ally and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), over the last week. Another Muslim Democrat, Rep. Andre Carson of Indiana, told reporters on Monday that the House security officials had been “too slow to respond to death threats” like the ones Omar has faced.
“I haven’t had a chance to speak with her. I’m traveling, she’s traveling,” Pelosi said on Tuesday, speaking from Ireland during a multi-country trip with other lawmakers. “Until I talk to somebody, I don’t even know what was said. But I do know what the president did was not right.”
Two days earlier, Pelosi called for enhanced security from the Capitol Police to help protect Omar after Trump’s tweet spurred an increase of threats against her life.
Omar has faced a firestorm within her own party after suggesting in a tweet in February that lawmakers’ support for Israel is driven by campaign donations from pro-Israel groups. That came less than two weeks after Omar invoked another anti-Semitic trope, saying that supporters of Israel have pledged “allegiance to a foreign country.”
Pelosi and other party leaders responded then with a statement condemning “Omar’s use of anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters.” Pelosi told reporters that Omar wasn’t anti-Semitic and that she “doesn’t understand” the meaning of her words.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
MINNEAPOLIS — U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, who's engaged in an intensifying feud with President Donald Trump, has raised nearly $830,000 in the first quarter for her re-election campaign.
Campaign finance reports show the Somali American - and one of the first Muslim women elected to Congress - drew many out-of-state ...
MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) - Nicaragua's national police denied a permit request Tuesday for a march to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the start of anti-government protests, setting up a possible conflict with the opposition, which has called for the march to go on.
The police said the request did not ...
WASHINGTON (AP) - The special counsel's Trump-Russia report will be out on Thursday for all to see. But not all of it.
The Democrats' demands for a full, unredacted version of Robert Mueller's report are likely to prompt a political and legal battle that could last for months, if not ...
The Republican chairmen of three Senate committees called Tuesday for Attorney General William P. Barr to brief them on classified material relating to the FBI's investigation into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server.
The three senators — Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, Charles ...
The White House has rebuffed Democratic House Judiciary leaders' request for documents detailing any discussions held with the Justice Department on the AT&T-Time Warner merger, claiming executive privilege, according to a letter obtained by POLITICO.
In a letter to Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) and antitrust subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline (D-R.I.) sent Monday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone called the talks “protected communications.”
“As I have conveyed to the Committee before, we stand ready to work to accommodate all congressional committee requests for information related to a legitimate legislative purpose,” he wrote. “We cannot, however, provide the Committee with protected communications between the President and his most senior advisors that are at the very core of the Executive Branch's confidentiality interests.”
The lawmakers had asked the DOJ and White House to, by late March, detail any communications on the AT&T-Time Warner merger. Administration critics have long suggested a link between President Donald Trump's animus toward CNN — one of the assets changing hands in the deal — and the DOJ's failed quest to block the merger. The Judiciary request followed a recent New Yorker report that Trump directed aides to pressure the DOJ to try and spike the merger.
Cipollone said such inquiries were best directed to the DOJ, which he said “will be responding in due course.” A DOJ spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.
DOJ antitrust chief Makan Delrahim has said he was never instructed by the White House to challenge the deal.
Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The state Supreme Court says Missouri lawmakers violated the constitution when they cut funding for the salary of an administrative law judge who was accused of discrimination and retaliation.
The court ruling Tuesday says lawmakers violated the constitution's separation of powers by using the ...
WASHINGTON (AP) - A bipartisan panel is calling for significant changes in how the federal government deals with a surge of migrant families at the border.
In an emergency interim draft report Tuesday, the Homeland Security Advisory Council said the federal should immediately establish three to four regional processing centers ...
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