Cicilline, a member of the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee, appeared on MSNBC and offered his reaction that the White House is instructing McGahn to refuse to comply with a subpoena to appear on Capitol Hill and the assurance from the Department of Justice that McGahn has “immunity” which does not legally require him to testify before Congress, something Cicilline believed was “legally incorrect.”
“Let me be clear; if Don McGahn doesn’t testify, it is time to open an impeachment inquiry,” Cicilline said. “The president has engaged in an ongoing effort to impede our ability to find the truth, to collect evidence, to do our work, and this is preventing us really from ultimately finding the facts and doing our work in terms of oversight.
“And I think we have now seen a pattern where the White House’s continuing effort to impede our search for the truth. No one is above the law, including the president of the United States and we expect Mr. McGahn to come before the committee and testify.”
The Democratic congressman added that lawmakers are left “with no other choice” so that they can “actually get the information we need to make an informed judgment.”
This declaration from Cicilline was welcomed by his freshman colleague, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, who has been vocal with her calls to impeach President Trump.
“Let’s do this @davidcicilline!” Tlaib tweeted, adding “#TimeToImpeach.”
Source: Fox News Politics
Austria’s Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has called for new elections on Saturday after the release of a video showing his far-right vice chancellor, Heinz Christian Strache discussing government contracts with an alleged Russian investor.
“After yesterday’s video, I must say quite honestly: Enough is enough,” Kurz said. “The serious part of this [video]was the attitude towards abuse of power, towards dealing with taxpayers’ money, towards the media in this country.”
After Kurz’s statement, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said he supported a snap vote and would talk over next steps with the chancellor again on Sunday, according to the BBC. The leaks had come within days before European Parliament elections.
The video, which took place at a Spanish villa on the island of Ibiza in 2017, appeared to show Strache and Freedom Party member Johann Gudenus speaking with an unnamed woman, who claimed to be a wealthy niece of a Russian Oligarch looking to invest in Austria. The BBC says the woman offered to buy a 50 percent stake in a prominent Austrian newspaper and switch its position to support the Freedom Party. Stache discusses several journalists he says would have to get “pushed” from the paper and five “new people whom we will build up.” In return, Stache said he would award her public contracts.
The chancellor attributed his actions to drinking, and to acting like a “teenager,” saying his behavior had been “stupid” and “irresponsible.” He mentioned he was leaving to avoid further damage to the government.
Both party leaders have attempted to create a balance between Kurz’s mainstream conservative party and Stache’s far-right Freedom Party, but over time that coalition has eroded, leading to Saturday’s boiling point.
Source: Fox News World
Bullock is the latest to enter the ever-growing field of Democratic candidates striving to defeat President Trump in the 2020 general election, hoping to rely on his credentials of being a blue governor in a red state like Montana.
During a Q&A session, however, an attendee asked what was apparently a stumper, “What have you been proudest to achieve as governor?”
After roughly seven seconds of silence with an “um” squeezed the middle, Bullock proceeded with caution with his response.
“I am happy that…,” Bullock said before pausing again. “Hopefully my kids still know my most important job is being their dad.”
“I think that things were… You know, as governor, it’s not like attorney general when you know you won or lost a case. Sometimes you won’t have impact for years,” Bullock continued.
“But, I know that 100,000 people have health care because of the work we have done. I know that we’ve done more… to try to keep the outside influence of dollars out of our elections so that your voice matters as long as you vote… more than some big treasury or company, I’m pleased with the way that we’ve invested in education, I think that’s one of the great equalizers we’ve had.”
Bullock may not be the last candidate to enter the Democratic primary. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is still mulling a 2020 run and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams keeps hinting that’s she’s considering eyeing the Oval Office.
Source: Fox News Politics
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich, doubled down on her controversial remarks about having a “calming feeling” whenever she thinks that Palestinians created a “safe haven for Jews” after the Holocaust during her appearance on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” on Monday night, suggesting that she should be speaking to “racist idiots” at a fourth-grade level.
Last week, Tlaib drew backlash for comments she made during a Yahoo News podcast interview, where critics accused her of saying that the WWII genocide of six million Jews gave her a “calming feeling” as well as offering revisionist history for claiming that Palestinians welcomed Jews to the Middle East when Palestinian leader Grand Mufti Haj Amin el Husseini was actually an ally of Adolph Hitler and met with the dictator in 1941.
Tlaib began by explaining to “Late Night” host Seth Meyers that her grandmother lives in the West Bank, which she referred to as “the occupied territories of Palestine” and how many of her ancestors “died” or “gave up their livelihood” to provide that safe haven for Jews, which she wanted to “recognize and honor.”
“I want all of us to feel safe. All of us deserve human dignity, no matter our backgrounds, no matter our ethnicity, no matter even our political opinions, we all deserve that kind of equality and justice. And, you know, for me, I wanted to uplift that and bring that to light and it was unfortunate,” Tlaib explained. “You know, I got a text from a friend who’s like, ‘Hey, next time, you know, really clarify. Maybe talk like a fourth grader because maybe the racist idiots would understand you better.'”
“I will continue to speak truth to power and continue to uplift my grandmother through love and that’s all I can do is continue to share the human impact of what it means to be a Palestinian in the occupied territory,” the freshman congresswoman added.
Seth Meyers responded by saying it “wouldn’t hurt” if everyone spoke on a “fourth-grade level” about the complex history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also told Tlaib that there’s a “bad-faith argument” regarding the notioned that she was “calmed” by the Holocaust, but mentioned that there was a “good-faith argument” that her history was “not in alignment with everyone else.”
Tlaib was widely condemned by GOP lawmakers as well as President Trump, who accused her of “tremendous hatred,” and was widely defended by Democratic lawmakers including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, who called the “smear” attempt “outrageous.”
Source: Fox News Politics
President Trump mocked the field of 2020 Democratic challengers at a “Make America Great Again” rally in Panama Beach, Florida on Wednesday, “previewing what these attacks will look like” closer to the election, John McCormack, Washington Correspondent for the National Review, said on “America’s Newsroom” Thursday.
Trump spared no one as he poked fun at each of the Democratic hopefuls, calling the pool of candidates “some real beauties.”
“We have a choice between Sleepy Joe [Biden] and Crazy Bernie [Sanders], and I’ll take any of them,” Trump said.
“Let’s just pick somebody, please, and let’s start this thing.”
The main Democratic contenders at this point include Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former Texas Democratic congressman Beto O’Rourke, with Biden leading the others by more than 26 points, and beating Trump by 7 points, according to the latest poll by Real Clear Politics.
“He has the best shot right now if the election were held today,” McCormack said, referring to the poll that projects Biden as a frontrunner against Trump. “It won’t be for 18 more months. I do think that objectively, Biden is the strongest candidate. The poll numbers do reflect real people out there in the suburbs.”
“If you know a lot of people, you probably know someone who likes Biden but thinks the other candidates are too extreme. Biden does seem to be the strongest despite a strong economy. Trump is trailing him. He is not polling above 50%, Biden is not. But still in a good position against President Trump. A long way to go.”
McCormack predicted that voters will view Trump favorably because of his soaring approval ratings with respect to the economy, at 46% according to the latest Gallup poll.
“Joe Biden is running on basically a return to the Obama administration years,” McCormack said. “He wants to take things slightly to the left of where Obama took us on things like $15 minimum wage, getting a public option for ObamaCare rather than Medicare for All. He will try to argue that while the economy is only doing so well right now because we did a good job of bringing the — with the recovery. That will be a hard argument to make. The American people will, in the end, give whoever is in office credit or blame for the current state of the economy. Things are looking pretty good right now.”
Trump attacked the opposing party, touting his strong economy among other things.
“Democrats are now the party of high taxes, high crime, open borders, late-term abortion, witch hunts and delusions. The Republican Party is the party for all Americans. We want to make America great again, that’s what we’re doing” Trump said.
Trump’s mockery was particularly scathing towards Buttigieg, calling him “Boot edge edge.”
“He has a great chance, don’t he? He will be great,” Trump said sarcastically. “Representing us against President Xi of China, that will be great. That will be great. I want to be in that room and I want to watch that one.”
“Focusing on the fact that Buttigieg is a young 37-year-old mayor of a city and that Trump, now that he is president, has this stature, of course, on the issue of trade negotiations with China, this could also be a real risk for the president if this trade war heats up and the market takes a big dive,” McCormack said.
Source: Fox News Politics
After a decade without a pay raise, a handful of House members are considering accepting an annual automatic wage hike, but most lawmakers are worried about the politics of looking out of touch with voters not making six figures.
“It would be as popular as the plague,” Rep. Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., said. “It would show kind of a disconnect with the people.”
This year’s estimated pay hike of around $4,000 is part of a 1989 reform measure that stipulated Congress members would shun outside speaking engagements in favor of a large pay hike and the annual pay increase – based on inflation. It was supported at the time by then Rep. Newt Gingrich, R-Ga.
Current House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said he knows representatives who are leaving Congress over the wage stagnation. “It’s been more than a decade,” he told the Associated Press.
Congress has voted each year since former President Obama took office in 2009 to reject the raise – possibly due in part to Democrats’ success in attacking Republicans over the pay increase in their effort to take the House in 2006.
Now, more than two-thirds of Congress members have never had a pay increase.
Most representatives keep two homes – one in Washington, D.C., and one in their home state, and with home prices soaring in the capital and across the country, the $174,000 salary might have some members struggling.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., is a key force behind reviving the measure and he’s been discussing it with Republicans. He told the AP that most Republicans fear the politics of the pay raise.
The annual appropriations process is underway, the usual means of overturning the pay raise. Democrats decided not to kill the raise when drafting the legislative branch spending bill, but it could be overturned later in the process.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
PARKLAND, Fla. – More than a year after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead and 17 injured, Florida lawmakers approved a controversial school safety bill to allow teachers to be armed on campus.
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign it into law.
But school districts in the state, even some that embraced the armed “guardian” program, which started last year and armed school staff members, have not embraced the law — so it’s unclear how many will implement it once it passes.
“…The type of teacher that’s willing to sacrifice themselves to protect the child in their care deserves the option of a firearm when they put themselves between that child with a gun,” said Eric Friday, legal counsel for Florida Carry. “We’ve got a lot of teachers who already understand firearms. We have teachers that are former military former police officers themselves. There is no reason those people especially shouldn’t be allowed to carry.”
But so far school districts have balked at the bill.
The bill is an expansion of the Coach Aaron Feis Guardian program, a one-year-old initiative named after the Parkland high school’s assistant football coach killed in the Valentine’s Day massacre. The program allowed some school staff, but not classroom teachers, to receive weapons training to carry a concealed weapon on school campuses if their school board and local sheriffs agree. The new bill expands the program to allow school teachers to be armed in the classroom.
If passed, it will still be up to individual school boards to vote on whether to implement the change.
Teachers who volunteer and are chosen by school superintendents would undergo psychological evaluations, background checks, drug screenings and at least 144 hours of police-style training.
About 25 of Florida’s 67 school districts, including Broward County, where Parkland is located, are taking part in the “guardian” program.
But school boards for some of the state’s largest counties, including Broward, say they draw the line on arming teachers.
“It’s very risky and dangerous,” said Erin Wiley, a spokeswoman for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
“For the school to think that kids won’t know which teachers have the guns or where they are stored or which teachers are wearing the guns, that’s just foolish,” Wiley said. “Kids are curious, kids will find things out and when they do accidents are bound to happen.”
Stephanie Baxter-Jenkins, executive director of the Hillsborough County Classroom Teachers Association, agrees. She said the responsibility put on teachers goes too far.
“Can you imagine somebody you taught potentially coming on the campus and you…protecting other children and shooting a child you once taught? We’re not thinking about all the mental issues that go into that,” she said. “We also have kids that come from places where school is the only safe space that they have…so turning that into a different scenario — we don’t think is healthy for kids mentally.”
According to The National Conference of State Legislatures, Florida is among at least nine states allowing armed school staff.
Baxter-Jenkins added that if the state wants to throw an extra burden on its teachers, it should increase salaries and benefits for the educators, too.
Republicans and Second Amendment advocates in favor of the bill cited the 458-page report of recommendations released in January by the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Commission, which investigated a wave of errors revealed in the wake of the shooting, including disregarded tips, lax school security policies and a delay in action by the Broward County Sheriff’s Office during the shooting.
The commission recommended arming teachers and called for increasing spending on security in schools.
“A year after lawmakers passed sweeping gun control in a knee-jerk reaction to Parkland, I’m glad they are finally stepping up to defend our children. The only way to end these tragedies is to end the so-called ‘gun free’ zones that are magnets for criminals,” said D.J. Parten, executive director of Florida Gun Rights. “In fact, 98 percent of mass shootings occur in gun free zones…this bill is a step in the right direction.”
In a statement to Fox News, Florida’s Department of Education said, “The department’s top priority is ensuring the safety and welfare of Florida’s students…We support the bill and hope it makes its way to Governor DeSantis.”
In addition to arming teachers, the follow-up bill would also create new guidelines on reporting school safety incidents, assessing students’ mental health and establishing standardized “threat assessment” tools for schools to keep records of students they feel may pose a “behavioral threat” to themselves or others.
Teachers unions, which are against guns in the classroom, said that if the governor signs the bill into law they will sue.
Source: Fox News Politics
MANCHESTER, NH – Rep. Will Hurd of Texassays he’s on a mission to help Republicans try and win back the House of Representatives next year.
“We lost 40 Republican seats in the last election and if want to take back the House, that path comes through New England,” Hurd told Fox News during a quick trip to New Hampshire on Friday.
“With the unique role that New Hampshire plays in our upcoming elections, I want to help build the infrastructure and make sure we’re articulating our values to as many people as we possibly can,” the three term congressman emphasized.
But for Hurd, considered an up-and-comer in the GOP, parachuting into to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state also sparks some speculation that the former CIA officer may have national designs in 2024.
Asked about the possibility of a White House run in four years, Hurd said “it’s very nice for people to think that that’s even in the cards.”
But he quickly added that “my goal right now is to help build the party and make sure the Republican Party, our future is strong, and we are growing that party.”
Hurd spoke with Fox News after sitting down with Victoria Sullivan, a former Republican state representative who’s hoping to oust the Democratic mayor in this year’s election in Manchester, the state’s largest city. Hurd also met with GOP Gov. Chris Sununu, and later he headlined a Rockingham County Republican event.
Longtime New Hampshire based GOP consultant David Carney, who advised then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign as well as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s 2014 and 2018 election victories, noted that by coming to the Granite State, Hurd “clearly has some inkling” of a potential White House run down the road.
Carney described Hurd as “a really hardworking member of Congress” who represents an extremely large district that tends to favor the Democrats.
In his interview with Fox News, Hurd spotlighted the Republican Party’s issues when it comes to appealing to younger voters, saying “it’s scary to me that if you’re under the age of 40 in a lot of places, you have to whisper that you’re a Republican. Most of the people that brought me to the party were inspired by Ronald Reagan when they were in their twenties.”
He described Texas as a “purple state” and touted that “I know how to win in tough races. I have a 71 percent Latino district. It’s a district that was one by Hillary Clinton by four points in 2016.”
Hurd, 41, is the only black Republican in the House. He said it’s an absolute “priority” to increase that number.
“If the Republican Party is shrinking, the only way we’re going to grow the party is by going into communities that haven’t seen a Republican before and talk about our values,” he said.
“We need to be able to broaden our base of support,” Hurd highlighted. “We have to make sure we’re our taking our message to different people.”
Asked if President Trump helps that cause, Hurd quickly responded “I focus on what I do, and I focus on bringing on an aspirational message.”
Hurd’s district includes more than 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border, the most of any of the 435 districts in the House. And on the combustible issue of illegal immigration, Hurd also distanced himself from the Republican president’s mission to extend the border wall.
Hurd emphasized there’s no need for a wall along the entire southern border.
“Every mile of the border is different than every other mile. And so in some places a physical barrier makes sense. Where there’s urban to urban contact,” Hurd explained. “But for all 2,000 miles, it doesn’t. Building a wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to do this. And the president has agreed with that notion. He’s stated that publicly.”
But he agreed with Trump that there’s a crisis, saying, “what we’re dealing with at the border right now is a crisis. There’s no question about it.”
In January, Hurd had a different message, saying in Rolling Stone interview that a border crisis was a “myth.”
While he doesn’t line up at all times with Trump, Hurd also was happy to take aim at the perceived leftward shift in the Democratic Party.
He emphasized that “the way we achieve real prosperity and have everyone move up the economic ladder is through free markets, not socialism.”
Source: Fox News Politics
The former president was “shocked” by the election results and felt the American people had turned on him, The Washington Examiner reported, citing New York Times correspondent Peter Baker’s book “Obama: The Call of History.” It was originally published in 2017. He was also reportedly frustrated by Hillary Clinton’s “soulless” campaign after believing his legacy “was in safe hands.”
Clinton apologized to Obama after the election, according to Baker, saying “I’m sorry for letting you down.” He writes, “To Obama … [s]he was the one who could not translate his strong record and healthy economy into a winning message.” Baker also says Obama was incredulous that voters replaced him with a “buffoonish clown” known for “repeated bankruptcies, serial marriages and racist dog whistles.”
Obama also compared himself to Michael Corleone from “The Godfather” because he “almost got out” of office unscathed like a mob boss avoiding a hit job, and he said Trump was like a character right out of “Huckleberry Finn” who “peddles in bulls–t,” The Washington Examiner reported.
Source: Fox News Politics
Democrats are decrying Attorney General William Barr be charged with perjury, with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi asserting that Barr lied to Congress during a House Appropriations Committee hearing in April.
Pelosi apparently told Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla. in a closed-door meeting, “We saw [Barr] commit a crime when he answered your question,” referring to when Barr was asked if Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller or his team would have any objections to the summary presented by Barr of the Russia probe findings, according to a report by Politico.
“Bill Barr explained it differently yesterday and he said that he didn’t feel that Robert Mueller had any dispute with the conclusions that were drawn in the letter that he drafted but with some of the process of how it went out,” Fox News host Martha MacCallum said Thursday on “America’s Newsroom.”
She added that Mueller: “would have liked to have seen more of those summaries come out. It seems like a very fine point of distinction.”
Several Democratic lawmakers, as well as 10 2020 presidential candidates, are also calling for Barr to step down from his position.
MacCallum thinks the Democratic outrage is misplaced, while also pointing to Barr’s admission that he was surprised that Mueller’s investigation did not clearly yield any charges of obstruction of justice against President Trump despite a two-year investigation.
“I think that there’s an enormous amount of frustration that this process did not produce what Democrats thought it should and now they’ve got to figure out what their next move is,” she said.
Barr was a no-show on Thursday as the House Judiciary Committee gathered for a second hearing to discuss the Mueller report. He refused to attend the hearing after Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y. insisted committee lawyers be allowed to question him instead of the usual members.
Nadler has threatened to issue a citation in contempt of Congress against Barr since he did not attend the hearing.
Source: Fox News Politics