The U.S. Capitol building is seen through flowers in Washington, U.S., April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
April 24, 2019
By Ann Saphir and Trevor Hunnicutt
SAN FRANCISCO/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Stephen Moore, the economic commentator that U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will nominate to the Federal Reserve Board, is drawing new fire from top Democrats for his comments denigrating, among other targets, women and the Midwest.
But Republicans, whose 53 to 47 majority in the U.S. Senate gives them the final say on whether Moore’s pending nomination is confirmed, have not weighed in since news surfaced this week documenting Moore’s long history of sexist remarks, some of which he says were made jokingly.
As a Fed governor, Moore would have a say on setting interest rates for the world’s biggest economy. Some economists and Democratic lawmakers have questioned his competence, citing his support for tying policy decisions to commodity prices and his fluctuating views on rates. This week though, it is his comments about gender and geography that are drawing criticism.
“What are the implications of a society in which women earn more than men? We don’t really know, but it could be disruptive to family stability,” Moore wrote in one column in 2014.
In 2000, he opined that “women tennis pros don’t really want equal pay for equal work. They want equal pay for inferior work.” The New York Times among others has documented many other instances where he expressed similar viewpoints.
It’s just added evidence that Moore is unfit for the Fed job, vice chair of the joint economic committee Carolyn Maloney told Reuters.
“Those include his reckless tendency to politicize the Fed as well as his bizarre and sexist comments about women in sports that came to light this week,” she said.
Republicans, she said, “should also take note that Moore has said capitalism is more important than democracy. That’s a dangerous comment that further confirms my belief that Moore shouldn’t be allowed on the Fed Board.”
Maloney earlier this month sent a letter urging Republican Senator Mike Crapo and Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown to oppose Moore’s nomination. Crapo and Brown are the chair and vice chair, respectively, of the Senate banking committee, which would be Moore’s first stop in any confirmation hearings.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Charles Schumer, both Democrats, have also publicly criticized Moore as well as businessman Herman Cain, who withdrew his name from consideration for the Fed this week amid mounting objections. Cain said he stopped the process because he realized the job would mean a pay cut and would prevent him from pursuing his current business and speaking gigs.
The Senate banking panel’s 13 Republican members, contacted by Reuters about their views on Moore’s suitability for the Fed role after his derisive commentary about women came to light, all either did not respond or declined to comment.
But Brown on Wednesday blasted Moore for comments he made in 2014 calling cities in the Midwest, including Cincinnati, the “armpits of America.” Brown demanded an apology.
“It would be your job to carefully consider monetary and regulatory policies that support communities throughout the country — even those you apparently consider beneath you,” Brown wrote in a letter to Moore. “Based on your bias against communities across the heartland of our country, it’s clear that you lack the judgment to make important decisions in their best interest.”
On Wednesday, Moore told Reuters his earlier remarks on women were not in accord with his current views.
“I DO regret writing that column 17 years ago and it does not reflect my feelings today,” he said, referencing a column on his dim view of women’s participation in the game of basketball.
His views on the Midwest also had improved, now that Trump is in office.
“I’m writing a column about Ohio right now as a matter of fact. Trump is making Ohio great again. It’s a wonderful renaissance. Was just in Cleveland a few weeks ago and the vitality is back.”
(Reporting by Ann Saphir and Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
U.S. President Donald Trump attends the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
April 24, 2019
By Roberta Rampton
ATLANTA (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump touted progress in the fight against opioid abuse on Wednesday and promised to hold drugmakers accountable for their part in the crisis, a day after his administration brought its first related criminal charges against a major drug distributor and company executives.
America’s opioid epidemic, especially damaging in rural areas where Trump is popular, has been a focus for the Republican president.
On Tuesday, the government charged drug distributor Rochester Drug Co-operative Inc and company executives for their role in fueling the epidemic. The company agreed to pay $20 million and enter a deferred prosecution agreement to resolve charges it turned a blind eye to thousands of suspicious orders for opioid pain killers.
“We are holding big Pharma accountable,” Trump said at the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta.
Deaths from opioid overdose in the United States jumped 17 percent in 2017 from a year earlier to more than 49,000 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Deaths from potent synthetic opioids like fentanyl surged 45 percent in that time, according to the CDC.
Hundreds of lawsuits by state and local governments accuse drugmakers such as Purdue Pharma of deceptively marketing opioids, and distributors such as AmerisourceBergen Corp, Cardinal Health Inc and McKesson Corp of ignoring that they were being diverted for improper uses.
Trump said he convinced Chinese President Xi Jinping in a December meeting in Argentina to designate fentanyl as a controlled substance.
China last month listed all fentanyl-related substances as controlled narcotics after criticism from Trump, though its government blamed U.S. culture for abuse of the drug and said the amount of fentanyl going from China into the United States was “extremely limited.”
“Almost all fentanyl comes from China,” Trump said on Wednesday. “They are going to make it a major crime.”
Little has come of Trump’s earlier calls for executing drug dealers. But the administration has taken some action to address the crisis on other fronts.
Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in October 2017. Last week, U.S. health officials said they will spend $350 million in four states to study ways to best deal with the opioid crisis on the local level, with a goal of reducing opioid-related overdose deaths by 40 percent over three years in selected communities in those states.
The Democratic National Committee said in a statement before Trump’s remarks that his proposed Medicaid cuts and efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare, could make the opioid problem worse.
Trump has used the crisis to support his call for building a wall on the border with Mexico, saying it would help keep out heroin and other illegal drugs and curb the crisis.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh, David Gregorio and Bill Berkrot)
U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump depart the White House in Washington, U.S., April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
April 24, 2019
By Susan Heavey
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump vowed on Wednesday to fight all the way to the Supreme Court against any effort by congressional Democrats to impeach him, even though the U.S. Constitution gives Congress complete authority over the impeachment process.
Trump’s threat, made in a morning tweet, came as the White House launched a fierce legal battle to fight subpoenas from Democrats in the House of Representatives for documents and testimony from his administration.
Democrats remain divided on whether to proceed with Trump’s impeachment after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry. Trump defiantly proclaimed on Twitter that the investigation “didn’t lay a glove on me.”
“If the partisan Dems ever tried to Impeach, I would first head to the U.S. Supreme Court,” the Republican president, who is seeking re-election next year, said without offering details about what legal action he envisioned.
The Constitution gives the sole power of impeachment and removing a president from office to the House and the Senate, not the judiciary, as part of the founding document’s separation of powers among the three branches of the federal government.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders have remained cautious over launching impeachment proceedings against Trump ahead of the 2020 election, although they have left the door open to such action. Others in the party’s more liberal wing have demanded impeachment proceedings.
Mueller’s findings, released in a redacted report last week, detailed about a dozen episodes of potential obstruction of justice by Trump in trying to impede the inquiry but stopped short of concluding that he had committed a crime.
The report said Congress could address whether the president violated the law. Mueller separately found insufficient evidence that Trump’s campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Russia in the 2016 presidential race.
House Democrats have stepped up their oversight of the Trump administration since taking control of the chamber in January, from Trump’s tax returns and White House security clearances to the investigation into Russian interference in U.S. politics.
Trump has ordered officials not to comply with subpoenas, and has filed a lawsuit to prevent material from being turned over to lawmakers.
“We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday.
Under the Constitution, Congress is a co-equal branch of government alongside the executive branch and the judiciary.
The Constitution empowers Congress to remove a president from office for “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” The House is given the power to impeach a president – bring formal charges – and the Senate then convenes a trial, with the senators as jurors, with a two-thirds vote needed to convict a president and remove him from office.
The Constitution gives no role to the Supreme Court in impeachment, though it does assign the chief justice the task of presiding over the Senate trial. Conservative John Roberts currently serves as chief justice.
That would not preclude Trump from proceeding with litigation to tie up the issue in the courts, despite Supreme Court precedent upholding congressional impeachment power. In 1993, the nation’s top court ruled 9-0 in a case involving an impeached U.S. judge that the judiciary has no role in the impeachment process.
Lawrence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard who has been critical of Trump, said the U.S. founding fathers had considered but ultimately scrapped the idea of allowing the Supreme Court to have any role in the impeachment process.
“Not even a SCOTUS filled with Trump appointees would get in the way of the House or Senate,” Tribe said in a series of tweets on Wednesday.
Some congressional Republicans have urged the country to move forward after the Mueller report, while a few, including Senator Mitt Romney, have condemned Trump’s actions. Some conservatives outside of Congress have urged congressional action in the wake of Mueller’s report.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey, Steve Holland, Roberta Rampton and Makini Brice, Writing by John Whitesides, Editing by Andrea Ricci and Alistair Bell)
FILE PHOTO: Former Vice President Joe Biden who is mulling a 2020 presidential candidacy, speaks to the media after speaking at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ (IBEW) construction and maintenance conference in Washington, U.S., April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
April 24, 2019
By Chris Kahn
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former Vice President Joe Biden, expected to declare his run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, leads all other candidates in the race and draws his strongest levels of support from minorities and older adults, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos public opinion poll.
The April 17-23 poll released on Wednesday focused on the vote preferences of 2,237 Democrats and independents: the two groups that may select the Democratic nominee in most of the statewide contests ahead of the 2020 general election.
(Graphic: Who is running in 2020 – https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-ELECTION/010091471JC/index.html)
According to the poll, 24 percent would vote for Biden over 19 other declared and potential candidates.
Another 15 percent said they would support U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who ran a competitive campaign for the Democratic nomination in 2016.
No other candidate received more than 7 percent of public support, and 21 percent said they “don’t know” which candidate they would back in a primary.
The poll measures how potential voters feel right now. Many may change their minds as they become better acquainted with the candidates. It has a credibility interval, a measure of precision, of 2 percentage points for the combined group of Democrats and independents.
The statewide nominating contests will kick off in early February next year, led by Iowa.
Biden, 76, who has sought the Democratic presidential nomination twice before, remains widely popular since he left the White House in 2016 after two terms as vice president. The former longtime U.S. senator will announce he is seeking the Democratic nomination https://reut.rs/2IAxNys on Thursday, a source familiar with the plans said on Tuesday.
Sixty-three percent of all Americans say they have a “favorable” impression of Biden, including 88 percent of Democrats, 59 percent of independents and 39 percent of Republicans.
In comparison, 58 percent of Americans said they have a favorable view of Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, whose upstart campaign has out-raised some of his more established rivals this year.
All three appear to have stronger bipartisan appeal than Republican President Donald Trump. According to the poll, 44 percent of all adults said they have a generally favorable view of Trump.
Biden receives his strongest levels of support from older adults and minorities.
Thirty-two percent of adults who are 55 years old and older said they would vote for Biden over other candidates. And 30 percent of nonwhite adults, including about 4 in 10 African-Americans, said they would back Biden for the nomination.
The poll shows that at this early stage of the presidential campaign, Americans say they will vote for candidates who have been in the national spotlight for a long time.
Their preferences may change once they get to know other candidates for the Democratic nomination.
More than 80 percent of Democrats said they were at least “somewhat familiar” with Biden and Sanders.
Sixty-seven percent of Democrats were familiar with Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, and about half said they were familiar with former U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas or U.S. Senators Kamala Harris of California and Cory Booker of New Jersey.
The rest of the field appears to be largely unknown by a majority of Democrats.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English throughout the United States. It gathered responses from 4,018 adults in all, including 1,449 Democrats, 1,437 Republicans and 788 independents.
(To see the poll question and answers, please see: https://tmsnrt.rs/2W7qykY.)
(Reporting by Chris Kahn; Editing by Leslie Adler and Jonathan Oatis)
U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he greets supporters on the tarmac at Palm Beach International Airport, as he arrives to spend Easter weekend at his Mar-a-Lago club, Florida, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago
April 24, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump is opposed to current and former White House aides testifying to congressional committees on Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report, the Washington Post quoted him as saying on Tuesday.
In an interview with the newspaper, Trump said the White House cooperated with Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and did not need to comply with congressional committees, which are probing possible obstruction of justice by Trump.
“There is no reason to go any further, and especially in Congress where it’s very partisan – obviously very partisan,” Trump said, according to the Post.
Earlier, the Post reported that the White House was planning to oppose a subpoena issued by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee for former White House Counsel Don McGahn to testify.
The Post said the White House planned to assert executive privilege to prevent McGahn and other current and former Trump administration officials from testifying.
Trump said the White House lawyers had not “made a final, final decision” about whether to assert executive privilege, according to the Post.
But Trump said he opposed cooperating with House Democrats, who he said were trying to score political points against him.
“I don’t want people testifying to a party, because that is what they’re doing if they do this,” the Post quoted Trump as saying.
According to the Mueller report, Trump called McGahn in June 2017 to say he should tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to remove the special counsel because he had conflicts of interest. McGahn did not carry out the order.
(Reporting by Eric Beech; Editing by Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney)
Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, a potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, speaks at a rally with striking Stop & Shop workers in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
April 23, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden plans to announce he is seeking the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination for the 2020 election on Thursday, NBC news reported.
Biden, who will join a crowded field seeking to win the White House back from Republican President Donald Trump, will then travel to Pittsburgh on Monday, followed by trips to all four early voting states in coming weeks, an NBC news reporter said on MSNBC, citing unnamed sources involved in the planning.
(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Tim Ahmann)
Immigrants attend a naturalization ceremony to become new U.S. citizens in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 23, 2019. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
April 23, 2019
By Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top advisers to President Donald Trump will present him with a proposed immigration plan in coming days that will cover border security and immigration reform, his senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner said on Tuesday.
The plan will cover stopping illegal immigration – one of Trump’s signature campaign issues – and will also include proposals for a merit-based immigration system, a guest worker program for agriculture and seasonal work, and measures for improving trade flow, Kushner said.
Speaking at a Time Magazine forum, Kushner said he would present what he described as a “very detailed” plan to Trump at the end of the week or early next week.
“He’ll make some changes, likely, and then he’ll decide what he wants to do with it,” Kushner said.
Trump pledged to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico in his 2016 run for office, and has since fought with Congress and in the courts for funding to pay for the barrier.
He has argued the wall is needed to prevent illegal migrants from Central America from entering the country, and has pushed to change laws to make it easier to deport immigrants.
Kushner has held about 50 listening sessions with conservative groups on immigration, a senior administration official said. He has been working with White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett and policy adviser Stephen Miller on the plan.
Any immigration overhaul would require legislation from Congress to pass – a difficult order in the time leading up to the next presidential election in November 2020, particularly since Democrats control the House of Representatives.
(Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump attends the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
April 23, 2019
By Tim Reid
(Reuters) – A group of Democratic presidential candidates were divided on Monday over whether Republican President Donald Trump should be impeached, reflecting a broader split in the Democratic Party over how to react to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report into Russian election meddling.
Answering audience questions at a televised CNN event in the early voting state of New Hampshire, three Democratic 2020 candidates shied away from calling for Trump’s impeachment.
Another, California U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, said Congress should “take the steps towards impeachment” but believed such an effort would likely fail.
Only one candidate at the event, Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, issued a full-throated call for Congress to try and remove Trump from office.
“If any other human being in this country had done what’s documented in the Mueller report, they would be arrested and put in jail,” Warren said. Julian Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and another 2020 hopeful – who was not at the CNN event – has also called for Trump’s impeachment.
In the report released on Thursday, Mueller portrayed a president bent on stopping the probe into Russian meddling. But Mueller stopped short of concluding that a crime was committed, leaving it to Congress to make its own determination as to whether Trump obstructed justice.
Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Speaker of the House, and some other Democratic Party leaders have been wary of impeaching Trump before the November 2020 presidential election.
They believe there are not enough votes in the Republican-controlled Senate to remove Trump from office, and that such a move could play into his hands. They also remember Republican efforts to impeach former Democratic President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, which backfired politically.
But prominent liberals have demanded the start of proceedings to remove Trump from office since the release of a redacted version of Mueller’s report last week.
In a letter to fellow Democratic lawmakers on Monday, Pelosi did not rule out impeaching Trump, but said it is “important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings.” She added that Trump engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior “whether currently indictable or not”.
Reflecting the divide in the party over how to proceed over Mueller’s findings, the five 2020 candidates, who appeared at back-to-back events before an audience of young voters, were also split.
Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders said: “If for the next year and a half all the Congress is talking about is ‘Trump, Trump, Trump,’ and ‘Mueller, Mueller, Mueller’ and we’re not talking about the issues that concern ordinary Americans, I worry that works to Trump’s advantage.”
Minnesota U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar said she did not want to “predispose things” over the question of whether to impeach Trump and left that question up to the U.S. House of Representatives, where impeachment proceedings are initiated.
South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Trump “deserves” to be impeached, but he would leave it to the House and Senate. He said politicians have to stop talking about Trump so much, and the best thing for Democrats would be to deliver “an absolute thumping” to Trump at the ballot box next November.
(Reporting by Tim Reid; Editing by Michael Perry)
FILE PHOTO: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stands during a meeting with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
April 22, 2019
By Susan Cornwell
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Democrats are divided over whether to proceed directly to impeach President Donald Trump after Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, but they can still hold Trump accountable without impeachment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday.
In a letter to fellow Democratic lawmakers, Pelosi said it is “important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings.” She added that Trump engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior “whether currently indictable or not”.
Pelosi and some other Democratic Party leaders have been wary of impeaching Republican Trump just 18 months before the November 2020 presidential election, although prominent liberals have demanded the start of proceedings to remove Trump from office since the release of a redacted version of Mueller’s report on Thursday.
Senior congressional Democrats have left the door open to pursuing impeachment but have also said they would first need to complete their own probe into whether Trump obstructed justice in Mueller’s investigation.
“While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” Pelosi said in her letter.
During a conference call of House Democrats on Monday, House committee chairmen discussed moving ahead with various investigations of Trump to see where the facts lead, lawmakers said afterwards.
“Not fact-finding as a means of punting … but as a means of determining how best to fulfill our responsibilities,” Representative Tom Malinowski said. “There’s no question that Mueller referred this to the Congress, and none of us want to drop the ball.”
Mueller’s report concluded that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election “in sweeping and systematic fashion,” but that there was not enough evidence to establish that Trump’s campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow.
However, the report outlined multiple instances where Trump tried to thwart Mueller’s probe. While it stopped short of concluding Trump had committed a crime, it did not exonerate him. Mueller also noted that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law.
Impeachment advocates also spoke up during the Democrats’ conference call, but “I would say that was a minority point of view,” said Representative Gerry Connolly. He said Democrats would continue various investigations of Trump, including of his tax returns and financial dealings, but any quick move to impeachment could “truncate” those probes.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell in WashingtonEditing by James Dalgleish and Cynthia Osterman)