The public is being denied access to about 2,000 boxes of records from Joe Biden’s Senate career — information that spans more than three decades.
The University of Delaware, where the Biden archive is stored, says the records might not be available until late 2019, possibly even later.
The news comes as the former vice president is set to announce his candidacy for president on Thursday morning, joining a crowded Democratic primary field where he’s going to immediately stand out. The latest polls already put him on par with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., another leading 2020 candidate.
The delay in access to Biden’s records — coinciding with new scrutiny he is facing over behavior toward women — results from the conditions of his donation to the University of Delaware.
“The Biden senatorial papers are indeed still closed, pending completion of processing (still underway) and as per our agreement with the donor, which is that the papers would remain closed until the later date of 12/31/2019 or two years after the donor retires [from] public service,” L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin, head of the university library’s archives department, told HuffPost.
“The Biden senatorial papers are indeed still closed, pending completion of processing (still underway) and as per our agreement with the donor, which is that the papers would remain closed until the later date of 12/31/2019 or two years after the donor retires [from] public service.”
She added that it remains to be seen whether the records will be released even after the December 2019 deadline.
Biden voluntarily donated the records to his former school back in 2011, initially setting out the following condition for their release to the public: “no sooner than two years after [Biden] retires from any public office.”
But an updated agreement with the university was somewhat amended after he left office in 2017, reflecting Biden’s growing political ambitions. The records will now be sealed until at least the end of the year or even further, as the university library official confirmed.
The library is reportedly holding about 1,850 boxes of archival records and “extensive electronic records” from Biden’s time in the Senate.
Source: Fox News Politics
It has constitutional crisis written all over it.
But I’m not sure it will play that way with much of the public.
By vowing not to cooperate with a spate of House Democratic probes, President Trump is gambling that people are sick of the whole investigative culture and it won’t hurt him politically. And he’s also betting that having survived the Mueller investigation, he can make Congress look petty and partisan in pursuing what he dismissed yesterday as “nonsense.”
The fundamental problem with this approach is that Congress is an equal branch of government. It doesn’t matter what Bob Mueller’s probe found, lawmakers have their own responsibility to oversee the executive branch, just as Republicans did during the Obama and Clinton administrations.
Still, Trump flatly told The Washington Post that he sees no reason to comply with the mounting Hill requests for testimony and documents. “There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan — obviously very partisan … I don’t want people testifying to a party, because that is what they’re doing if they do this,” he said.
The president was equally dismissive with reporters yesterday: “The subpoena is ridiculous … We just went through the Mueller witch hunt where you had really 18 angry Democrats that hate President Trump. They hate him with a passion.”
Among the issues: Trump is close to invoking executive privilege to block former White House counsel Don McGahn from testifying under House subpoena.
McGahn became a key witness in the special counsel’s probe, testifying that he refused the president’s order to have Mueller fired and threatened to resign instead.
Another House committee is threatening to hold former White House personnel security director Carl Kline in contempt for not showing up to testify about security clearances. Treasury is also resisting a House demand for Trump’s tax returns.
These battles tend to drag on for a very long time, often winding up in the courts. Richard Nixon famously used executive privilege to try to protect the Watergate coverup. But every modern president (and some not so modern) has clashed with Congress, usually with the opposition party, over hearings and investigations. For Barack Obama, it was Benghazi and Fast and Furious, among other issues.
The Democrats are naturally outraged by the Trumpian tactics, with Nancy Pelosi saying: “Now we see the administration engaging in stonewalling of the facts coming to the American people.”
What’s highly unusual about Trump’s approach is that rather than fighting one or two requests on specific grounds, he appeared with the Post to just make a blanket statement of noncooperation.
In fact, Axios quoted a “source familiar with the president’s legal strategy” as saying, “Trump can run out the clock by taking a hardline position. The president thinks it’s in his political interest to keep the fight going, and make it harder for the Democrats to have a coherent message.”
Trump told reporters that Congress should get back to dealing with issues. “These aren’t like impartial people. The Democrats are trying to win 2020,” he said. This echoes what liberals said on Bill Clinton’s behalf during the allegations that led to his impeachment, that everyone should “move on,” which became the name of a left-wing group.
But all of this may become background noise to average voters, already numbed by two years of constant investigations and media scrutiny of this president. They may not share the view that constitutional principles and the separation of powers are on the line. If the whole back-and-forth seems unduly partisan, many may dismiss the rhetoric as just more game-playing in a hyperpolarized capital.
Footnote: Trump got into an odd back-and-forth with Post reporter Robert Costa, who had tweeted: “President Trump called me this evening, in response to my request for comment on a profile story on a Trump World figure. After speaking on that topic, he took a few questions about his administration’s standoff with Congress. We’ll publish those remarks tonight.”
Yesterday Trump offered this Twitter taunt: “I didn’t call Bob Costa of the Washington Post. He called me (Returned his call)! Just more Fake News.”
Um, isn’t that what Costa said? Maybe Trump just didn’t like the story.
Source: Fox News Politics
President Trump on Wednesday said he agreed with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., that the Department of Veteran Affairs doesn’t need fixing, but insisted that it was his administration that made it better.
The freshman lawmaker said during a recent town hall event in New York that the VA isn’t broken and is actually providing “some of the highest quality” care to veterans.
“All I can think of is that classic refrain that my parents always taught me growing up, is that: ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’” she added, as part of her argument against privatizing aspects of the scandal-scarred agency’s work.
Trump tweeted on Wednesday that Ocasio-Cortez was “correct” that the VA is not broken, but only because his administration had passed the “Veterans Choice & Accountability.”
Ocasio-Cortez is the latest big name on the left to espouse a position that, intentionally or not, matches with Trump’s policies. Earlier this month, Cher questioned Los Angeles’ ability to handle a large influx of illegal immigrants when it has 50,000 homeless on its streets.
Source: Fox News Politics
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., on Wednesday refused to acknowledge that the Mueller Report failed to establish evidence of a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia and appeared to double down on his claims that President Trump puts Russia’s interest before the U.S.
Swalwell has been one of Trump’s most vocal Democratic critics and has announced his bid for the 2020 presidential election.
MSNBC host Ari Melber challenged Swalwell during his appearance.
“Do you accept the findings in the Mueller report that do not support some of those claims?” Melber asked Swalwell.
“I accept that I probably should have been out there a little bit earlier because who knew how many links there were? 200 pages of links,” Swalwell said. Melber pressed him again, asking if he no longer maintained that Trump is a “Russian asset.”
“No, I think he acts on Russia’s behalf and I challenge him to show me otherwise,” Swalwell said.
The host asked him one more time about the distance between his allegations of conspiracy and the findings in the Mueller report. Swalwell replied that he believes Trump puts Russia’s “interests ahead of our interests,” citing “Assad in Syria, he wants to reduce the role of NATO, he continues to pull back sanctions on Russia, he won’t tell us what he talked about with Vladimir Putin and he won’t tell us anything about his finances with the Russians.”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report released late last month revealed Mueller did not establish evidence that the Trump campaign had conspired with Russia.
Swalwell has long been a critic of the president and even documented his determination to not buy coffee at Trump Tower on Twitter in February.
Trump has railed against Mueller’s report, even resorting to public profanity in dismissing it, but has also embraced it, claiming exoneration and painting any other attempt as partisan overreach.
“You want to see the nonpartisan, definitive, conclusive taxpayer-funded lengthy unobstructed, unimpeded, un-interfered with investigation? You just saw it and it’s called the Mueller report,” senior counselor Kellyanne Conway said Wednesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Source: Fox News Politics
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to announce his 2020 presidential candidacy Thursday, would instantly become the most “sane” candidate in the Democratic field, Lara Trump said Wednesday.
President Trump’s daughter-in-law, who also serves as a senior adviser to his 2020 re-election campaign, shared her views on Fox News’ “Hannity.”
“He certainly right now seems to look the most sane out of the candidates that we have seen,” Trump told host Sean Hannity, referring to Biden.
But Trump said Biden may have a tough time making it through his party’s primary process on the way to the nomination and also addressed the rest of the field, which she described as “radically far left.”
“If Joe Biden gets in the race let’s see if he makes it,” Trump said. “The number of candidates that are so radically far left now in this field is unbelievable. So I don’t know, maybe Joe Biden doesn’t stand a chance. Maybe they are looking for somebody so far outside of the norm — which is crazy to me. I don’t think the American people will get behind somebody like this.”
Trump, 36, a native of North Carolina who has been married to the president’s son Eric Trump since 2014, said she believes her father-in-law will win reelection easily in 2020. She also addressed remarks by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., that convicted criminals such as the Boston Marathon bomber should be allowed to vote.
Sanders has been under scrutiny since making the comments Monday during a CNN Town Hall event.
“And then you have, as you were just talking about, Bernie Sanders suggesting that someone who would use an event that is such a tradition in America like the Boston Marathon … as an opportunity to maim and murder scores of people, including children, Sean, and these individuals should be allotted a right to vote?” Trump said.
“Are you kidding me? It’s crazy that we are even talking about this.”
Source: Fox News Politics
The Florida House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a bill that would require former felons to pay all court fees and costs in addition to restitution before becoming eligible to vote.
The measure passed 71-45, with the vote along party lines.
The proposal’s main sponsor, state Rep. James Grant, R-Tampa, argued that the bill — which would not restore voting rights to those convicted of murder or felony sexual offenses — helps clarify a referendum on the issue that voters approved in November. He stressed that requiring ex-felons to pay the debts was not unconstitutional and not discriminatory, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
But state Democrats — as well as some Democratic candidates for president — slammed the proposal as a form of “poll tax” that would discriminate against minorities and the poor. Poll taxes were historically used in the 1890s to bar impoverished African-Americans in Southern states from voting by requiring them to pay a fee.
The referendum that passed in November was meant to end the disenfranchisement of more than 1 million felons who served their time, the Tallahassee Democrat reported.
U.S. Sens. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., both of whom are seeking the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, have slammed the bill, bringing national attention to the Florida plan.
“This is a poll tax,” Booker wrote Wednesday.
“Enough with the racist and unconstitutional efforts to deny people the right to vote,” Sanders wrote Wednesday. “If you are an American citizen you must be able to vote. End of discussion.”
Sanders sparked a furor Monday when he said during a CNN Town Hall event that even convicted criminals like Boston Maraton bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should be allowed to vote from prison. President Trump’s campaign fired back that Sanders’ position was “deeply offensive.”
“The extremity and radicalism of the 2020 Democrats knows no bounds,” Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News. “Giving imprisoned terrorists, sex offenders, and murderers the right to vote is an outrageous proposal that is deeply offensive to innocent victims across this country, some of whom lost their lives and are forever disenfranchised by the very killers that 2020 Democrats seek to empower.”
While the Florida House version of the bill requires all court fees and restitution be paid, the Senate version calls for ex-felons to pay only restitution, the Miami Herald reported. The Senate will have to deliberate which version, if either, will advance to the governor’s desk.
Fox News’ Sally Persons and Alex Pappas and the Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
In an editorial posted on its website, the Zionist Organization of America, which dates to 1897, pointed to what it described as Tlaib’s “anti-Israel record,” and accused the freshman congresswoman of associating with “terrorists, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists.”
“Rashida Tlaib’s anti-Israel record was already well-known before she was elected in last year’s midterm elections,” the ZOA article asserts. “She calls Israel a ‘racist country’ on the basis of the lie that Israel discriminates against those ‘darker skinned,’ supports the destruction of Israel in favor of an Arab-dominated state (“It has to be one state”), ‘absolutely’ backs withholding U.S. aid from Israel, and openly supports the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which is committed to international ostracism and weakening of Israel with a view to its eventual elimination.”
The ZOA supports its assertions with links to news stories that quote the 42-year-old Palestinian-American lawmaker from Detroit.
The same article includes a list of people with whom Tlaib has been photographed, or about whom Tlaib has posted social media messages, and includes information about their alleged links to bombings or other crimes.
“It is perfectly clear that Rashida Tlaib is not in the smallest degree ashamed, and has not the slightest inhibition about, being publicly being associated with these anti-Semites, terrorists and glorifiers of Jew-murderers,” ZOA National President Morton A. Klein and Chairman Mark Levenson said in a joint statement.
“The Democratic Party must do the only honorable thing,” they continued, “which is to expel her from the party and remove her from Congressional committees.”
Since taking office in January, Tlaib has been a lightning rod for criticism from Republicans as well as from members of her own party.
She quickly drew national attention just hours after being sworn in, when she used a profanity in calling for the impeachment of President Trump.
“We’re gonna go in there and we’re gonna impeach the motherf—er,’” she told a crowd of supporters, referring to Trump.
In March, Tlaib denounced anti-Semitism in an interview with the Detroit News.
“I’m always pushing back against it,” Tlaib said of anti-Semitism. “But this is going to continue happening because I’m Palestinian.”
She claimed that an important distinction needed to be made between anti-Semitism and her criticisms of the policies of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“When I criticize Netanyahu’s discrimination, inequality, human rights violations, saying you have to do better and we have to look at real equality and even desegregating certain communities,” Tlaib told the News, “that, to me, does not make me charging toward the Jewish faith at all. And I’m very conscientious of that.”
In April, Tlaib quickly came to the defense of another progressive Democrat, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, after Omar referred to the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, as “some people did something.”
Tlaib claimed that critics had taken Omar’s words out of context.
“My sister Ilhan Omar, what she was talking about, was uplifting people by supporting their civil liberties and civil rights,” Tlaib said in a television interview. “She has always, always condemned any strategy, especially of a person directly impacted by being a refugee herself.”
More recently, Tlaib asked her supporters last week to join her in a hunger strike in protest of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), arguing that the federal agency that enforces U.S. immigration laws should be shut down.
Source: Fox News Politics
The Washington state senator who suggested that some nurses “play cards” during a “considerable” portion of their shifts received more than 600 packages of playing cards Tuesday as backlash over her remarks continued to grow.
The United Parcel Service location in Tumwater, Wash., said that it received 667 packages of playing cards addressed to state Sen. Maureen Walsh, R-Walla Walla, after an open letter criticizing her remarks circulated on Facebook last week and included Walsh’s P.O. box address, Seattle’s KOMO-TV reported.
“You said that not all nurses deserve breaks as they just sit around playing cards while on shift anyway,” the letter read. “I know nurses who can go all night without food or a bathroom break. I know nurses with nerve damage and back pain from doing whatever it takes to take care of patients. I know nurses who cry in their cars. Do you think that’s where they play cards, Senator Walsh?”
The letter went on to predict that after the next election cycle Walsh may find herself with “plenty of time to play cards and plenty of cards to play with.”
Walsh first drew criticism from nursing professionals while debating a bill last week that would require uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses and would also provide mandatory overtime protections for them.
She pushed for an amendment that would exclude hospitals with fewer than 25 beds from the provision, arguing that such small facilities struggle to provide 24-hour care as it is.
“I would submit to you that those (small hospital) nurses probably do get breaks,” Walsh said. “They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day.”
Despite the bill being passed with Walsh’s amendment, her ill-received comments sparked a flurry of social media posts mocking her.
Walsh addressed the issue Monday, apologizing to those who were offended and saying she would spend a day shadowing a nurse throughout his or her 12-hour shift.
“I want to offer my heartfelt apologies to those I offended with my comments on the Senate floor last Tuesday. I was tired, and in the heat of argument on the Senate floor, I said some things about nurses that were taken out of context – but still they crossed the line.”
In 2012, some comments by Walsh on a different subject also went viral, the News Tribune of Tacoma reported. That year Walsh bucked most other members of the state GOP by speaking out in support of same-sex marriage. The state’s House subsequently backed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage.
Source: Fox News Politics
The husband of top White House official Kellyanne Conway expressed solidarity with Hillary Clinton after the former secretary of state wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post urging Congress to pursue the findings from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, telling his followers on Twitter, “I’m with her.”
In the piece published Wednesday afternoon, Clinton called for holding President Trump “accountable for obstructing the investigation and possibly breaking the law” but insisted that choosing between “immediate impeachment or nothing” was a “false choice.” She also referred to the Mueller report as “road map” for Congress.
“It’s up to members of both parties to see where that road map leads — to the eventual filing of articles of impeachment, or not,” Clinton wrote. “Either way, the nation’s interests will be best served by putting party and political considerations aside and being deliberate, fair and fearless.”
George Conway, who has made a name for himself as an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, praised the 2016 presidential candidate on Twitter and highlighted a portion from her op-ed, where she acknowledged that some may say she’s “not the right messenger.”
“Perhaps so. Probably so. But if she’s with the Constitution, I’m with her,” Conway tweeted.
Conway regularly slams the president and repeatedly has questioned his mental fitness. The president fired back on Twitter last month.
Source: Fox News Politics
The first man released from prison under President Trump’s criminal justice reform law reacted to Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., saying that prisoners should be permitted to vote by noting the “logistical” problems of allowing prisoners serving a sentence to vote and backing prisoners who served their time to have their rights restored.
“I do know while you’re incarcerated you do lose some of your liberties. But my thing is, once a person has been completely released and they paid their debt to society and they are back in society actually functioning, paying taxes, then they should have their rights restored to vote,” Matthew Charles, who was released from prison under the First Step Act, said on Fox News’ “The Story with Martha MacCallum.”
“But during the period they’re incarcerated, it’s going to be like a complex issue because of the logistics. You got people incarcerated in states that they actually are not from.”
Sanders opened himself to scrutiny this week after saying that not only should incarcerated prisoners be permitted to vote but that Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should also be permitted to vote.
“If somebody commits a serious crime, sexual assault, murder, they will be punished. But I think the right to vote is inherent to our democracy. Yes, even for terrible people,” Sanders said Monday on a CNN Town Hall.
Trump’s re-election campaign called out Sanders Wednesday, describing his idea “deeply offensive.”
“The extremity and radicalism of the 2020 Democrats knows no bounds,” Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News.
“Giving imprisoned terrorists, sex offenders, and murderers the right to vote is an outrageous proposal that is deeply offensive to innocent victims across this country, some of whom lost their lives and are forever disenfranchised by the very killers that 2020 Democrats seek to empower,” she said.
Fox News’ Sally Persons and Alex Pappas contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics