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House Democrats are threatening to hold attorney general William Barr in contempt of Congress. They are acting prematurely and irresponsibly.

The supposed grounds for a contempt citation are two. First, Barr has defied a House subpoena ordering him to give Congress an entirely unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report about Russian interference into the 2016 election. Second, he refused to testify to the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday because the committee planned to have staff counsel question him in a process similar to the Watergate hearings of 1974.

House Democrats aren’t even in the right on the underlying disputes, much less on the idea that the impasses have reached a point in which a contempt citation should be imminent. Specifically, the House request for the unredacted report is understandable but, for now, misguided. Worse, the committee’s insistence on interview-by-staff-attorney is a cheap stunt.

The request for the wholly unredacted report to be made available to all of Congress, rather than to only certain, select leaders, is misguided because the redactions are legitimate and the risk of leaks from Congress too great. Nobody seriously has suggested the minor redactions in this report are hiding anything that ought to be public. Congress has yet to hear Mueller himself testify, to ask if he, as the author, believes the Barr-directed redactions were proper.

The extremely serious step of holding the attorney general of the United States in contempt should be a last resort. Instead, it has become the first shot fired in what ought to be a negotiated process between two coequal branches of government. To hold Barr in contempt for not immediately publicizing legitimately redacted material, without so much as a conversation, would be a gross violation of norms and of the spirit of the Constitution’s structure and intent.

The same applies to the idea of a contempt citation merely for Barr’s refusal to kowtow to the exact parameters of the committee’s intended inquisition. Barr is a Cabinet member. Congress justly has oversight over executive branch actions, but heads of major executive departments are not Congress’ playthings. The committee so far has merely requested Barr’s presence, but Barr has declined while citing copious precedent as to why a top Cabinet member might object to being publicly questioned by a staffer.

The committee has not even issued a subpoena yet for Barr himself to testify. Unless and until Barr fails to comply with a valid subpoena, it is ludicrous for a contempt citation even to be considered. The committee’s obvious intent is to invoke the visuals of Watergate, rather than to acquire information the members themselves could not acquire by their own questions. Even if and when a subpoena is issued, a Cabinet member has every right to negotiate the terms and means of compliance. If he agrees to appear before Congress and to answer the questions of members as duly elected representatives of a coequal branch of government, but refuses to be queried in public by a mere staff attorney, Congress would be on dubious grounds in citing him for contempt.

Granted, if there is an official impeachment inquiry, then the committee hearing becomes the equivalent of a court proceeding, in which counsel leading the questioning is more appropriate. Absent an impeachment proceeding, though, Congress is merely performing oversight, and a Cabinet member has good reason not to submit to the impertinence of staff-counsel questioning.

Barr’s views on executive authority may be outlandish, and his demeanor may be seen by some as obnoxious. Neither flaw, though, amounts to criminally chargeable contempt. If House Democrats insist otherwise, they deserve to be treated — not in a legal sense, but in the vernacular — quite contemptuously.

FILE PHOTO: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech inside Parliament in Khartoum
FILE PHOTO: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir delivers a speech inside Parliament in Khartoum, Sudan April 1, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/File Photo

May 2, 2019

By Khalid Abdelaziz

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s public prosecutor on Thursday ordered ousted President Omar al-Bashir to be interrogated on charges of money laundering and financing terrorism, as hundreds of thousands of protesters joined a sit-in to demand the army give way to civilian rule.

Bashir was removed by the military on April 11 after months of demonstrations against his 30 year rule. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague for war crimes over the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.

The prosecutor’s statement said other unidentified senior figures would also be investigated for financial crimes.

The huge crowd that gathered on Thursday outside the defence ministry was answering a call by an alliance of activists and opposition groups to join a protest march through Khartoum.

The Declaration of Freedom and Change Forces (DFCF) alliance said on Thursday it had sent the Transitional Military Council (TMC) set up after Bashir’s ouster a draft constitutional document containing its vision for the transitional period.

Protesters and activists have been negotiating with the TMC to form a joint civilian-military body to oversee the country until elections. But the parties are deadlocked over who would control the new council and what the features of a transitional government would be.

The constitutional draft, seen by Reuters, outlines the duties of a sovereign transitional council which the opposition groups hope will replace the TMC, but does not specify who would sit on it. It also outlines the responsibilities of the cabinet and a 120-member legislature.

Opposition groups say the ruling council must be civilian-led and have promised to maintain a sit-in outside the Defence Ministry until their demands are met, but the TMC has shown no sign of willingness to relinquish ultimate authority.

At a televised news conference, a spokesman for the DFCF said it expected a response from the military to its constitutional draft within two or three days. The TMC acknowledged receiving the draft and said in a statement that this step pushes dialogue forward.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by Andrew Heavens and Nafisa Eltahir)

Source: OANN

Here comes everybody. Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris and Beto and Mayor Pete and 15 others and, finally, in a few days, Joe Biden. CNN reports that Biden will be formally announcing the launch of his presidential campaign today with an online video. Then, Axios tells us, he’ll give a speech about “the moment” and “the kind of leadership” we need — i.e., his. Next he’s going to a fundraiser with the executive vice president of Comcast.

You can’t make this stuff up. Biden is said to have already begun making private calls to donors, most of whom are probably only too glad to pony up for what is being called a “third Obama term.” Does anyone care about the fact that Biden has no discernible political agenda or ideas apart from his conviction that he is simply the man for the job? Does it matter that he has been in politics long enough to hold positions on whether gay people should be allowed to work for the federal government (his answer was no)? Shouldn’t we all be a bit creeped out by his nonchalant dismissal of his own hair-sniffing antics as a desire to “connect” with people and by his bizarre sense of entitlement to our nation’s highest office?

Biden’s candidacy is going to be a parody of itself. Get your bingo cards ready for the debates, folks. He’s going to talk about being “a little rough around the edges,” about how “times have changed,” about how he admires young people for their “energy” about things like the Green New Deal and Medicare-for-all but that he’s “seen a few things” in his time. He knows the difference between what sounds like a good idea and what’s practical. He cares about doing what’s right, but also about getting things done, even if it means “reaching” — no pun intended — “across the aisle.” Has he made a few mistakes over the years? Yeah, sure, and he owns up to them. But he knows better now. He’s “willing to listen,” maybe even “to learn.” Did I say to bring your bingo cards? Make that a barf bag.

The unfortunate thing is that this is all genius. Incredibly stupid, cringe-inducing, fourth-rate Dick Morris triangulating drivel — but genius nevertheless. It’s exactly what older Democratic voters, especially the ones who feel nostalgic about Obama’s eight years in office, want to hear. Uncle Joe is “someone who has what it takes to make a great president.”

It might just work, too. A lot will depend on how hard the other 2020 candidates are willing to go after Biden. The old adage about what you shouldn’t do when you come at the king applies here. If someone like Kamala Harris can successfully turn Biden’s record against him — without drawing too much attention to her own shortcomings in the more recent past — good for her. But if she and the other would-be nominees attack him as a racist, sexist handsy old fogey and he ends up being the nominee anyway, they might as well say goodbye to their futures in centrist liberal circles. There is a reason Jeb Bush did not become secretary of education in the Trump White House — and why Paul Ryan was cut out of the president’s decision-making process long before he announced his retirement as speaker of the House.

A principled — if to his base no doubt infuriating — insistence on sticking to the issues is what prevented Bernie Sanders from campaigning as effectively as he could have against Hillary Clinton in 2016. In 2020 the field is larger. Bernie doesn’t need to compete with Biden for votes except at the margins. But ignoring him would still be unwise. If anything, as the obvious frontrunner among already declared candidates this time around, Sanders might be the only person with the political authority to punch down at Biden. He has nothing to lose and everything to gain by heaping scorn on Biden as yesterday’s candidate, a shill for big banks and other corporate interests, a buffoonish throwback with nothing to contribute to American politics. Biden would almost certainly respond in kind by painting a caricature of Sanders as a dangerous commie thug who probably wants to ban cars and deodorant and turn all of our major cities into habitats for the blackpoll warbler — but how many people would be receptive to this criticism who haven’t made up their minds about Bernie ages ago?

The fight against Biden is not going to be won by droning on about your 15-point plan for green energy. You don’t beat dummies with ideas.

A couple found passed out in a van was arrested last week following the discovery of a naked toddler wandering around a Florida IHOP’s parking lot, authorities said.

IHOP employees arriving at the restaurant around 5:30 a.m. found the toddler and wrapped him in an apron, Panama City police said. They said they noticed a van parked nearby, but were unable to wake 24-year-old Jordyn Freeman and 27-year-old Randy McMillin, both of whom were allegedly under the influence of drugs.

FLORIDA GREAT-GRANDMA FENDS OFF 300-POUND BURGLAR WITH A BASEBALL BAT: COPS

Police said they could clearly see the drugs inside the van, along with nine-month-old twins. They said one of the twins was covered in blankets and pillows.

The 9-month-old twins were found with soiled diapers. Police gave them a fresh change.

The 9-month-old twins were found with soiled diapers. Police gave them a fresh change. (Panama City Police)

The three children were in good health, but needed clean clothes and diapers, police said. The IHOP staff made fresh pancakes for the children. The siblings were then placed in the custody of the Department of Children and Families (DCF).

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP 

Freeman, the children’s biological mother, and McMillin, her fiancé, were originally from Ohio. The couple was charged with Child Neglect, Possession of Methamphetamine and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

Source: Fox News National

The Eastern Conference Finals features two players who could be considered the NBA’s best in Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard, a team that posted the league’s best record and point differential (Milwaukee Bucks) and a grizzled opponent looking to make their first NBA Finals (Toronto Raptors).

None of that seems to be a compelling draw for the average viewer in the United States, however.

The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch detailed that Game 2 between the Bucks and Raptors averaged 4.39 million viewers on TNT, down 48 percent year-over-year from when the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers squared off against the Boston Celtics in 2018.

It’s worth nothing that Canadian television numbers don’t figure into these calculations but you have to wonder what the Raptors have to do to capture the imagination of the average fan.

After the Raptors took down the Bucks in a double-overtime thriller on Sunday, perhaps the audience will come flocking back for a pivotal Game 4.



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FINAL HUMILIATION…

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced Friday that she “will shortly leave the job that has been the honor of my life to hold.”

The long-anticipated address, outside Downing Street, confirms that May will step down as the leader of the Conservative Party on June 7. She will remain prime minister until the party chooses a new leader, a process that will take approximately six weeks.

In many ways, May’s announcement marks a solemn end to a profoundly weak yet surprisingly stable premiership. But if the past three turbulent years of parliamentary deadlock, infighting, and division have demonstrated anything, it’s that May’s leadership ended a long time ago.

Her premiership didn’t begin that way. When May succeeded David Cameron as prime minister in July 2016, she inherited a parliamentary majority and a 20-point lead in the polls over the opposition Labour Party. She was dubbed the “New Iron Lady,” in a favorable nod to the country’s only other female prime minister, Margaret Thatcher. But she also inherited a policy challenge of historic proportions: to deliver on a referendum result she didn’t support, and take Britain out of the European Union.

Whatever strength she had at the start of her premiership, she quickly lost. First, May made the consequential decision on March 29, 2017, to trigger Article 50, the EU’s time-limited exit procedure, thereby setting into motion a two-year countdown for the country’s departure. Less than a month later, in a profound miscalculation, she announced a snap general election in a bid to increase a parliamentary majority that she would ultimately come to lose. By the time negotiations with the EU formally kicked off in Brussels in July, May lacked a governing majority and, crucially, a plan. Time had already started running out.

The ill-fated call for a snap election was the beginning of the end for May. Still, she persisted—first by striving to reach a negotiated deal on the terms of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU, and once more by attempting to rally enough parliamentary support behind it. If there were questions about whether the agreement had any support among members of her own party, they were soon dispelled: It did not.

Throughout it all, there were many false starts to the end of the May era. Many, many false starts. But in the end, it wasn’t the 36 cabinet resignations, the Tory infighting, or the multiple challenges to her leadership that spelled the end for this British prime minister. Rather, it was her thrice-defeated Brexit deal and her bid this week to bring it back for a fourth and final vote in Parliament.

Paradoxically, it was May’s unpopular deal with the EU that has enabled her to last this long. When the prime minister offered assurances to her Conservative Party colleagues in December that she wouldn’t lead the party into the next general election, she did so in a twin bid to avoid a no-confidence vote in her leadership and salvage her negotiated agreement with the European Union outlining the terms of Britain’s withdrawal from the bloc. Three months later, she spelled out that aim even further by pledging to step down just as soon as members of Parliament passed her deal. When she presented lawmakers with “one last chance” to deliver on Brexit by backing a new, “compromise” agreement, it was clear there was no hope for her deal passing muster in Parliament—and no hope for her.

The race to succeed May is already well under way. Whoever replaces her will undoubtedly face the same parliamentary deadlock and division that she did—and will likely face the same challenge of delivering Brexit. “He or she will have to find consensus in Parliament where I have not,” May said, calling on her successor to reach a compromise that she was ultimately never able to deliver.

“She’ll be [remembered as] the prime minister that failed to deliver Brexit,” Anand Menon, the director of the London-based research institute UK in a Changing Europe, told me. “And that was the only thing that she tried to do.”

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

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Soccer: U.S. players want more investment in women’s game

Soccer: U.S. Women's National Team World Cup Media Day
May 24, 2019; New York, NY, USA; Carli Lloyd , Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe take questions during the U.S. Women's National Team World Cup media day at Twitter NYC. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

May 24, 2019

By Amy Tennery

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The 1999 U.S. women’s team may defy comparison in the eyes of many soccer fans but, 20 years after their famous World Cup triumph, the challenges they faced are all too familiar with pay and conditions still at the top of the agenda.

Soccer’s world governing body FIFA has boosted the prize money for this year’s women’s World Cup to $30 million but that figure is dwarfed by the roughly $448 million on offer at the men’s tournament in Russia last year.

“For the resources and for the ability that FIFA has to implement that change (more investment), they’re not doing nearly enough,” co-captain Megan Rapinoe said on Friday. “I hope that it’s just so much better (in 20 years) than it is now.”

The success of the 1999 team, playing in front of huge home crowds, turned players like Mia Hamm into household names and inspired a generation of girls and female athletes, even if the promise of widespread gender parity in sports remains elusive.

In March, the U.S. women’s squad sued U.S. Soccer for gender discrimination, saying the sport’s national organizing body paid them less than the men’s team despite their superior performance and provided them with sub-standard facilities.

Julie Foudy, a midfielder on the 1999 team, told Reuters earlier this week that she was “frustrated” there was still a need to pursue the dispute.

“It’s exhausting to keep fighting that fight and especially (for them) to do it right before a World Cup,” Foudy said.

All 23 members of this year’s squad spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s friendly against Mexico, part of a farewell series of friendlies ahead of next month’s tournament in France where they will be defending the title they won in 2015.

“I think it’s pretty clear women in sport have not been treated with the same care and financing that men’s sports has,” said Rapinoe.

Despite the frustration over the progress made by the women’s game since the U.S. beat China 5-4 on penalties to win the 1999 World Cup, that triumph continues to resonate.

Co-captain Alex Morgan, who has drawn comparisons to Hamm, said the 1999 team were very influential in her development.

“The ’99ers had a huge impact on me and growing my passion to want to play, and being good friends with a lot of them now, I still draw a lot of inspiration from them,” she said.

The U.S. launch their title defense against Thailand on June 11 in Group F which also features Sweden and Chile.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Ken Ferris)

Source: OANN

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At Amazon, facial recognition ban won just 2% of shareholder vote

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

May 24, 2019

By Jeffrey Dastin

(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc shareholders overwhelmingly rejected a proposal that the company stop selling facial recognition technology to government agencies, a regulatory filing on Friday showed.

Some 2.4% of votes were in favor of the closely watched resolution, while the remaining votes were against it and some were in abstention. The tally excludes broker non-votes.

Amazon’s sale of the technology to law enforcement in Oregon and Florida has put the company at the center of a growing U.S. debate over facial recognition, with critics warning of false matches and arrests and proponents arguing it keeps the public safe.

Drawing more shareholder support was a second proposal that called for a study of the extent to which Amazon’s service harmed civil rights and privacy. Some 27.5% of votes were in favor.

These and other resolutions faced an uphill battle to winning majority support, with Amazon’s board recommending against them and founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos controlling 16% of the stock and voting rights.

Among other issues on the ballot was a request to make it easier for shareholders to call a special meeting, which garnered 35.3% of votes. A proposal that the company report how it plans to deal with climate change received 29.8% of votes. Nearly 7,700 employees had signed a letter of support of the climate resolution in a sign of rising worker activism at Amazon.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Dastin in San Francisco; Editing by Leslie Adler and Richard Chang)

Source: OANN

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Trump will tap ex-Virginia attorney general for U.S. immigration agency: Washington Post

FILE PHOTO - Former Virginia Attorney General Cuccinelli speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames
FILE PHOTO - Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli speaks at the Family Leadership Summit in Ames, Iowa August 9, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Frank?

May 24, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will pick former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli as the head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the Washington Post reported on Friday.

Cuccinelli will replace L. Francis Cissna as the head of the agency, which manages the country’s legal immigration system. Cissna told staff in a farewell letter on Friday he had resigned at the president’s request, effective June 1, a USCIS official said.

The White House is still figuring out what exactly Cuccinelli will be doing in his new role, the Post reported. A White House official did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

As Virginia’s attorney general and a state senator, Cuccinelli developed a reputation as a hardliner.

In Virginia, he called for denying citizenship to U.S.-born children if their parents are in the country illegally, introduced a proposal barring unemployment benefits to people who were fired from jobs for not speaking English and authorized law enforcement officials to investigate the immigration status of anyone they stopped.

Cuccinelli will likely face a pitched battle for the Senate approval of his nomination, though it is controlled by Trump’s Republican party.

Cuccinelli heads a political group that has clashed with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, who has vowed to block Cuccinelli from being confirmed for any administration position, according to media reports.

He is also unlikely to receive much support from Senate Democrats.

In April, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced her departure from the Trump administration, raising the specter of more firings of senior immigration officials.

Trump is seeking to overhaul the U.S. immigration system and has sought to crack down on illegal immigrants, but has been largely unable to enact the sweeping changes he has sought.

Cuccinelli met with Trump on Monday and was expected to be picked for an immigration policy position by the president.

(Reporting by Makini Brice, Yeganeh Torbati and Roberta Rampton in Washington; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

Source: OANN

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Navaho Code Talker and NM Senator Dies at 94

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SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — John Pinto, a Navajo Code Talker in World War II who became one of the nation’s longest serving Native American elected officials as a New Mexico state senator, has died. He was 94.

Senate colleague Michael Padilla confirmed Pinto’s death in Gallup on Friday after years of suffering from various illnesses that rarely kept him from his duties.

After serving as a Marine, Pinto was selected to the Senate in 1976 and represented a district that included the Navajo Nation for more than four decades. The region is one of the poorest in the country.

Born in Lupton, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation to a family of sheep herders, Pinto didn’t start formal schooling until he was nearly a teenager.

“At the age of 12, I was in kindergarten,” Pinto told the Albuquerque Journal in a 2007 interview. “I guess I did all right.”

After serving as a Navajo Code Talker — a group of radio men translating American coordinates and messages into an indecipherable code based on the Navajo language — Pinto had to take an English test four times before he was finally admitted into the University of New Mexico’s College of Education. He graduated with a bachelor’s in elementary education at 39 and eventually earned his master’s.

Like many returning Native American veterans, Pinto delved into politics to address the needs of impoverished indigenous populations. The Democrat won a seat in state Senate in 1976 as one of the state’s first Native American senators.

Read More:
https://apnews.com/d01db5e875d54a94b61e297bd2134c06

Photo Credit: Morgan Lee/AP File

Source: The Washington Pundit

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Trump bypasses Congress on Saudi arms sales, citing Iran threat

The Trump administration on Friday informed Congress the president will invoke his emergency authority to bypass lawmakers' approval of arms sales to Saudi Arabia, citing the threat to the United States from Iran.

The move comes as Trump announced plans Friday to send about 1,600 troops to the Middle East amid rising tensions with Iran.

TRUMP APPROVES PENTAGON PLAN TO SEND MORE U.S. TROOPS TO MIDDLE EAST

"Iran’s malign activity poses a fundamental threat to the stability of the Middle East and to Americans at home and abroad. We took this step of prudent diplomatic deterrence to augment our partners’ long-term capacity for self-defense and threat mitigation," a senior State Department official told Fox News.

The official added, "Congress won’t act, but we will. "

The administration is using an emergency loophole in the Arms Export Control Act to move ahead with sales of $7 billion in precision-guided munitions, other bombs, ammo and aircraft maintenance support to Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates and Jordan, without lawmakers' approval.

The chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, said he was "reviewing and analyzing the legal justification for this action and the associated implications."

The administration pointed out that this authority has been invoked by past presidents on multiple occasions, including in 1979, 1984, 1990 and 2006.

The plan was swiftly condemned by Democratic senators.

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Trump administration has failed once again to prioritize our long-term national security interests or stand up for human rights, and instead is granting favors to authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia,” said New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“President Trump circumventing Congress to sell more weapons to Saudi Arabia is unacceptable,” said California Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

“President Trump is only using this loophole because he knows Congress would disapprove of this sale,” said Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

In his notification, Pompeo said he had made the determination "that an emergency exists which requires the immediate sale" of the weapons "in order to deter further the malign influence of the government of Iran throughout the Middle East region." He said the transfers "must occur as quickly as possible in order to deter further Iranian adventurism in the Gulf and throughout the Middle East."

It comes as the administration has actively courted close ties with Saudi Arabia over congressional objections, notably following the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, a U.S.-based columnist for The Washington Post, by Saudi agents in October.

There is a precedent for using the emergency exemption for arms sales to Saudi Arabia. President Ronald Reagan invoked it in the 1980s, and both Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush used it for sales before the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq war, respectively.

Fox News’ Rich Edson, Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

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Trump administration to reportedly let allow federally funded adoption agencies to reject same-sex couples

President Trump's administration will reportedly reverse his predecessor's policy of blocking federal funding for religious adoption organizations that refuse to serve same-sex couples.

Administration officials, according to Axios Friday, debated to decide between two different provisions -- a religious-based exemption and striking down the previous administration's rule altogether -- to accomplish their goal without facing defeat in the courts.

The policy change would likely come in July and through the Health and Human Services Department's Office of Civil Rights, a group that has been at the forefront of angering progressives with rules advancing Trump's religious freedom agenda.

Roger Severino, director of that office, reportedly refused to comment directly on the issue.

PROTECTIONS EXPANDED FOR DOCTORS WITH 'CONSCIENCE' OBJECTIONS TO ABORTIONS, OTHER PROCEDURES

The administration's reported decision reflected a broader battle in which states struggled to balance religious interests with those of same-sex couples. Multiple Catholic adoption agencies have already shut down, refusing to comply with anti-discrimination policies due to Church teaching on marriage and sex.

The reported policy drew swift condemnation from the Human Rights Campaign, which has derided similar measures at the state level.

"Quite literally the definition of cruel and evil," HRC president Chad Griffin tweeted on Friday.

CHRISTIAN ADOPTION AGENCY SUES NEW YORK AFTER STATE TRIES TO SHUT IT DOWN

"Our leaders should be making it easier for children in need of a loving home to find one, not trying to find new ways to license discrimination," he added. "This is unconscionable and an attack on families."

Conservatives have maintained that same-sex couples could seek opportunities with secular agencies. They've also argued that without religious exemptions, foster children would lose even more resources as longstanding agencies drop their practices altogether.

In Philadelphia, foster families sued the city over an ordinance that would force Catholic Social Services to end its program. The suit, according to the firm that brought the case, represented the first opportunity to test how courts viewed religious freedom in that context. A Christian adoption agency similarly sued the city of Syracuse after it gave them an ultimatum: serve same-sex couples or close shop.

The Supreme Court eventually dismissed a request to grant a preliminary injunction on behalf of the foster families in Philadelphia. Becket Fund senior counsel Lori Windham, who spearheaded that case, said HHS's current rules violated the First Amendment.

FEDERAL JUDGE BLOCKS MEDICAID WORK RULES IN SETBACK FOR TRUMP

HHS did not immediately provide comment when requested by Fox News.

"We need all hands on deck finding loving homes for kids. We have already seen this regulation used to try to shut down faith-based agencies in Michigan," Windham said in a statement provided to Fox News.

"HHS should admit that this rule violates the First Amendment. Then it should remove barriers to the full participation of faith-based adoption agencies."

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News of the administration's decision came on the same day that HHS faced blowback over a rule excluding "gender identity" from sex discrimination protections for health care.

HHS, along with the Education Department, took the controversial step of interpreting Title IX -- a sex discrimination statute -- as only applying to biological attributes rather than self-described identity.

Source: Fox News Politics











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