Trump Stands by Endorsement of Roy Moore, Suggests Women are Lying

by Zack Ford – “He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. You have to listen to him also.” Before taking off for his Thanksgiving at Mar-a-Lago, President Trump took some questions from the press and finally responded to the multiple sexual abuse allegations against Roy Moore. “We do not need a liberal person — a Democrat” in that seat, Trump said. “He totally denies it. He says it didn’t happen. You have to listen to him also.” When asked if he had a message for women, Trump said it’s “very, very good” for women that these kind of allegations have been “exposed.” But he insisted Moore “totally denies it,” pontificating on the fact that 40 years had passed, implying he doubted the claims the multiple women have made.  This is a significant shift from the White House’s messaging on Moore as of just a day ago. At Monday’s...

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The Senate Ethics Committee is a Terrible Place for Sexual Harassment Investigations

by Josh Israel – The Franken case could set a terrible precedent for future cases. Just a few hours after broadcaster Leeann Tweeden accused Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) on Thursday of kissing and groping her without her consent on a 2006 USO tour, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) signaled to his colleagues how the matter should be dealt with: He farmed out the question to the Senate’s Select Committee on Ethics. “As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this. Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable — in the workplace or anywhere else,” he said in a statement. Soon after, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), other senators, and Franken himself followed suit. While noting that he had a different recollection of the events, Franken apologized for his conduct. Tweeden accepted the apology and said she...

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Epic Washington GOP v. Alabama Republicans Battle Breaks Out as the GOP Civil War Goes Nuclear

by Kerry Eleveld – The war between Washington establishment Republicans and rabid pro-Trumpers in the states reached a tantalizing boiling point Monday when Senate Majority Mitch McConnell called on Alabama’s Republican nominee for Senate, Roy Moore, to withdraw from the race. “I believe the women, yes,” McConnell said of a Washington Post piece in which four women went on the record to say Moore had sexually preyed on them when he was in his 30s and they were teenagers. By extension, McConnell was also saying that he believed the Post over Moore, who has spent the last several days refuting the report as “absolutely unbelievable.” McConnell’s remarks came after Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan sent a shot across the bow at any GOP elected official who dares oppose Moore’s candidacy. “It would be a serious error for any current elected GOP official or candidate to publicly endorse another party’s candidate, an independent, a third party or a write in...

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5 Major Advertisers Ditch Sean Hannity for Sticking up for Accused Pedophile Roy Moore (R)

by poopdogcomedy – Good: At least five companies have announced they will not advertise during Sean Hannity’s TV and radio shows following the host’s coverage of Alabama Senate candidate and accused pedophile Roy Moore. Eloquii, a plus-size clothing retailer, was the first company to publicly distance themselves from the right-wing personality, followed by 23 and me, Nature’s Bounty, Keurig and Realtor.com. Representatives for the five companies, as well as Fox News, did not immediately return HuffPost’s requests for comment. Hannity has come under fire in the last few days over his coverage of Moore, who was the subject of a bombshell Washington Post report Thursday detailing allegations that he had relationships and made sexual advances on teenagers while he was in his early 30s. In the most serious charge, a 14-year-old said he molested her. The report has prompted some Republican lawmakers to call on Moore to step down as the party’s nominee in Alabama’s Dec....

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‘None of This Is Inevitable’: Sen. Murphy Applauded for Texas Church Massacre Response

by Jon Queally – “The terrifying fact is that no one is safe so long as Congress chooses to do absolutely nothing in the face of this epidemic.” While President Donald Trump was ripped by critics for predictably announcing that the mass shooting in Sutherland, Texas on Sunday that left 26 people dead does not represent a “guns situation,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) was receiving widespread applause for speaking with impassioned frustration about the failure of U.S. lawmakers to address the “epidemic” of gun violence and murder that has gripped the nation in recent decades. “None of this is inevitable,” Murphy said Sunday in a statement that soon went viral. “I know this because no other country endures this pace of mass carnage like America. It is uniquely and tragically American. As long as our nation chooses to flood the county with dangerous weapons and consciously let those weapons fall into...

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In the Dead of Night, Republicans Vote to Give Lawsuit Immunity to Banks

by Ian Millhiser – Draining that swamp. Tuesday night, as many Americans were preparing to go to bed, an evenly divided Senate voted to give broad lawsuit immunity to credit card companies, auto lenders, credit reporting companies like Equifax, and many other financial firms. The 50-50 tie in the Senate was broken by Vice President Mike Pence (R), and the House approved the lawsuit immunity measure. President Trump is expected to sign it. The resolution passed by the Senate overrides a rule created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which prevents many financial firms from engaging in two abusive practices. The rule prohibited much of the financial industry from using “forced arbitration” agreements — a common tactic where a company refuses to do business with consumers who will not sign away their right to sue the company in a real court. Consumers who sign away their right to sue must resolve any...

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Republican Sen. Jeff Flake Rails Against Trump: ‘I will not be complicit or silent’ (VIDEO)

by Kerry Eleveld – Saying that he has “children and grandchildren to answer to” for his actions in this perilous political moment, Arizona Republican Sen. Jeff Flake declared that he would not stand by and say nothing while Donald Trump takes this country down. Robert Costa  ✔@costareports “I will not be complicit or silent,” Flake says, citing thoughts of grandchildren he will have to answer to in the coming years 3:19 PM – Oct 24, 2017 Quoting President Teddy Roosevelt, Flake called it “morally treasonable” that “we should say or do nothing in the face of such mercurial behavioral” as Trump has displayed. Ed O’Keefe  ✔@edatpost Flake says he will “free myself from political consideration” that causes him to “compromise far too many principles.” 3:19 PM – Oct 24, 2017 Flake also announced that he would not seek reelection in 2018. Read an excerpt of Flake’s speech and watch the video below. If I have been critical, it is not...

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Hatch Takes Hundreds of Thousands From Big Pharma, Calls Marino Report ‘baloney’

by Addy Baird – Hatch has taken $583,000 from the pharma and health product industry since 2013. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) called a report that led Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) to withdraw as President Donald Trump’s “drug czar” nominee “complete baloney” on Wednesday. Given that Hatch himself has raked in hundreds of thousands in donations from pharmaceutical and health contributors over the years, his comments were hardly surprising. The Washington Post report detailed a law that ultimately undermined the Drug Enforcement Authority’s (DEA) ability to go after drug distributors, which was sponsored by Marino in the House and by Hatch in the Senate. In short, the bill made it more difficult for the DEA to stop drug distribution companies who were potentially supplying pills to doctors and pharmacists who then sold the drugs on the black market. While the DEA had been able to fine distributors making suspicious sales — often millions of pills...

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Senate Democrats Vow to Keep Arctic Refuge Out of the Hands of Big Oil

by Samantha Page – Republican lawmakers have said they will open the reserve to raise revenue for the federal budget. Democratic Senators are vowing to keep drilling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge out of the upcoming federal budget, as Republican lawmakers in both chambers have indicated they want to use revenue from drilling in the refuge to balance their budget proposals. They are proposing to open Area 1002 of the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge — a 1.5 million-acre parcel that was not permanently protected in the 1980s, when Congress established the refuge. The sole mating ground for the porcupine caribou, Area 1002 is considered a pristine wilderness. “We’re not going to allow it to be opened,” Sen. Ed. Markey (D-MA) said Tuesday at a press conference. Opening the refuge is not expected to bring in much revenue, in the context of the $4-trillion overall budget. Recent analysis of the White House budget from the Congressional Budget...

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Senators Reach Bipartisan Deal to Save Key Obamacare Subsidies

by Addy Baird – There is not yet a guarantee from leadership that the bill will come to the floor for a vote. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have reached a deal on “a short-term limited plan to stabilize health care markets,” Alexander announced Tuesday afternoon. Alexander, the chair of the Senate Health Committee, said there was no guarantee from Senate Leadership that the bill would go to the floor for a vote, but that Alexander and Murray, the ranking member on the Senate Health Committee, were going to round up co-sponsors and then present the bill to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Schumer did tell CNN that he thought the deal was a “good solution” and that it got “broad support” from the Democratic caucus at their lunch Tuesday. Although details are still forthcoming, Schumer said the deal includes “anti-sabotage” provisions. “A very good step...

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Trump Takes His Rage Out On Obamacare, Again, With New Executive Orders

by Joan McCarter – Thwarted by the Republican Congress’s inability to take health insurance away from millions of people, Donald Trump is continuing his efforts to dismantle the Affordable Care Act from the inside. He’s expected to sign executive orders on Thursday intended to siphon off healthy Obamacare enrollees into skimpy cheaper plans. The order will loosen rules for what these plans have to cover and who they have to cover, like people with pre-existing conditions. The cumulative effect of the new rules he’s ordering will be to damage Obamacare’s regulated markets, leaving just the sickest, most expensive patients there. A press release issued by the White House in advance of his signing the orders is short on details, heavy on rhetoric attacking Obamacare, but generally follows what previous leaks and news reports have suggested he will do. He’s got a three-bladed hatchet that he’s taking to the law, one that will make it easier for...

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Corker: Virtually All Senate Republicans Know Trump is a Liability. Impeachment Coming?

by Karen Wehrstein – This morning the New York Times quotes Republican Senator Bob Corker saying that Trump’s insane shooting-off-at-the-mouth on foreign policy could start WWIII, that Trump needs constant babysitting by staff to contain him, and that almost every Republican senator knows damn well how volatile and dangerous he is.  (Emphases mine): In an extraordinary rebuke of a president of his own party, Mr. Corker said he was alarmed about a president who acts “like he’s doing ‘The Apprentice’ or something.” “He concerns me,” Mr. Corker added. “He would have to concern anyone who cares about our nation.” … Mr. Trump poses such an acute risk, the senator said, that a coterie of senior administration officials must protect him from his own instincts. “I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” Mr. Corker said in a telephone interview. There’s a run-down...

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Republicans Say it’s Too Soon to Talk About Guns After Las Vegas’ Shooting. How About Sandy Hook?

by Hunter – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has some notions on when we should be discussing new legislation to deal with the nation’s now near-daily mass shootings. Well that’s a shame. If it’s premature to talk about action after Las Vegas, though, perhaps we could instead use the opportunity to finally talk about legislative solutions to the Pulse Nightclub murders? It has been over a year since that day….. has enough time passed for the Senate to act? Specifically:  Sahil Kapur   @sahilkapur McCONNELL dismisses talk of new gun laws after Vegas massacre: “I think it’s premature to be discussing legislative solutions.” 2:20 PM – Oct 3, 2017 What about the Umpqua Community College mass shooting, in Oregon? It’s been two years since that one, is it still premature? What about the race-motivated murders of black American churchgoers in South Carolina? What about Sandy Hook? The Virginia Tech mass murder killed 32—that was in 2007. Surely,...

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Extremist Roy Moore Wins Alabama Senate Primary, Dealing Major Blow to Trump

by Kira Lerner – Trump campaigned for Moore’s opponent, Luther Strange. Roy Moore, an extreme far-right Republican, won Alabama’s GOP primary on Tuesday, defeating Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) who benefited from both President Trump’s endorsement and more than $10 million from the Republican establishment. The victory by Moore, a political outsider, is also a major loss for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who did his best to keep Moore out of Washington. But the far-right former judge framed his campaign as a rebuke of McConnell, ultimately convincing more Alabama Republicans that the party needs to move away from his leadership. Moore will face Democrat Doug Jones in a December general election. Despite their feuds in the past, Trump and McConnell came together in their support for Strange, who was chosen to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat by Alabama’s governor earlier this year. Instead, the Republican leaders saw another defeat in...

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The Return of Criminal Justice Reform

by C.J. Ciaramella – Congress failed to pass a bill reforming mandatory minimums last year; now two senators want to try again. Two senators announced on Wednesday that they will reintroduce a bipartisan bill to overhaul federal sentencing guidelines. The legislation failed to pass Congress last year, much to the disappointment of criminal justice reform groups. The Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, originally introduced by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Ia.) and Dick Durbin (D-Il.) in 2015, would reduce the mandatory-minimum sentencing guidelines for repeat drug offenders without serious violent felonies and would broaden the “safety valve” exception to federal mandatory minimum sentences. It would also add new mandatory minimum sentences for interstate domestic abuse and for providing support for terrorists, while strengthening penalties for certain other crimes. Grassley and Durbin say they will reintroduce the bill this year, although they did not say when. “While the political landscape in Washington has changed, the same...

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Last-Ditch Effort By Republicans to Replace ACA: What You Need to Know

by Julie Rovner – Here are five things to know about the latest GOP bill. Republican efforts in Congress to “repeal and replace” the federal Affordable Care Act are back from the dead. Again. While the chances for this last-ditch measure appear iffy, many GOP senators are rallying around a proposal by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), along with Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Ron Johnson (R-WI) They are racing the clock to round up the needed 50 votes — and there are 52 Senate Republicans. An earlier attempt to replace the ACA this summer fell just one vote short when Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and John McCain (R-AZ) voted against it. The latest push is setting off a massive guessing game on Capitol Hill about where the GOP can pick up the needed vote. After Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year,...

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White House Won’t Commit to Signing Joint Congressional Resolution Condemning White Supremacists

by Rebekah Entralgo – It passed unanimously in Congress. Just a day after the Senate unanimously passed a joint resolution condemning the acts violence and domestic terrorism by white supremacists and neo-Nazis over the weekend of August 11 in Charlottesville, Virginia, the House of Representatives unanimously passed it by a voice vote Tuesday evening. Mark Warner   ✔@MarkWarner Tonight the House passed my resolution condemning hate groups & the Charlottesville attack. POTUS should send a clear message & sign it ASAP 6:56 PM – Sep 12, 2017 Now it is up to President Donald Trump to officially condemn the actions of white supremacists by signing the joint resolution when it reaches his desk. The White House, however, will not immediately commit to signing it. Kyle Cheney   ✔@kyledcheney Asked whether president will sign, WH spox says “No announcements at this time.” https://twitter.com/kyledcheney/status/907743307115241472 … 7:22 PM – Sep 12, 2017 The joint resolution was introduced last week by...

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Senate Republicans Take Significant Step to Restrain Trump’s Power

by JUDD LEGUM – A unanimous decision. The Senate unanimously approved a procedure that will block Trump from making recess appointments during August. The move is the one of the first significant actions Republican Senators have taken to restrain Trump’s power. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) moved to hold a series of “pro-forma” sessions while senators are away for the month of August. Every few days a Republican senator will preside over an empty chamber for about a minute. The move will prevent Trump from filling posts that would ordinarily require Senate confirmation. Jamie Dupree  ✔@jamiedupree Senate to meet in pro forma sessions on August 4, 8, 11, 15, 18, 22, 25, 29 and September 1. Next votes Sept 5 6:55 PM – Aug 3, 2017 The action is significant because it comes as special counsel Bob Mueller ramps up his investigation into Trump’s campaign and possible collusion with Russia. On Thursday, it was...

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Senate Democrats Stepped Up, and They Saved Obamacare

by Joan McCarter – Sure, the trio of Republican defectors in the Senate—Collins, McCain, and Murkowski—are getting lots of plaudits for standing up to leadership to kill Trumpcare. But what absolutely has to be recognized and applauded is the unity of Senate Democrats throughout. Start with the five Democrats who are all up for re-election in 2018 in states Trump won by more than 20 points: Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Jon Tester of Montana. Five more are also in states that Trump won but by smaller margins: Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin, Sherrod Brown in Ohio, Bob Casey in Pennsylvania, Bill Nelson in Florida, and Debbie Stabenow in Michigan. Not one of them gave an inch in working with McConnell to undermine Obamacare. Not one of their votes—even in procedural motions—were in question throughout the process. Thank Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Patty Murray of Washington, who...

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Republicans Defect, Kill Senate Effort to Repeal Obamacare

by Amanda Michelle Gomez – Obamacare lives to see another day. The Senate voted against the Health Care Freedom Act (HCFA) early Friday morning, with a vote of 51–49. The so-called “skinny repeal” bill made serious cuts to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and would have left 16 million people uninsured by 2026. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John McCain (R-AZ), and Susan Collins (R-ME) were the only Republicans who voted against the bill. At this point, Republican lawmakers seem to have exhausted all options available to them for now in eliminating the ACA. The skinny repeal was the last route open for a Republican health care plan, and the latest bill to fail in the Senate this week. The Senate process has been rushed, secretive, and destructive since the beginning. Several Senate Republicans expressed that they did not want the skinny repeal bill to become law, and sought to conference the bill with the...

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AARP is Onto Mitch McConnell’s Trumpcare Tricks, Won’t Let Republicans Play Dumb

by Joan McCarter – The AARP writes again to Congress, reiterating their steadfast opposition to every aspect of Obamacare repeal and Trumpcare replacement that might come to a floor vote next week, and they’re putting Republicans on notice that it’s not just how they’ll vote on an eventual bill—it’s whether they vote for the bill to come to the floor in the first place. Oh, and a reminder too that they represent an awful lot of people. Who vote. AARP, on behalf of our 38 million members, strongly opposes the repeal and delay amendment. AARP also remains steadfastly opposed to the American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Better Care Reconciliation ACT (BCRA) due to the devastating impact the legislation would have on Americans 50 and older. We urge all Senators to vote NO on the Motion to Proceed, as well as reject the repeal and delay amendment and the BCRA. As our...

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The GOP’s Health Care Legislation Is Cruel and Punitive, Doctors Say

by Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report – As members of Congress return today after their July 4 break, they are hoping to rapidly conclude their attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The health bill overhaul, one of Trump’s consistent campaign promises, has been vexing his administration and angering the general US population. In fact, only 12 percent of Americans support what Trump and the Senate aim to do with the country’s health care system. Doctors, nurses, churches and myriad other health care workers and affiliates have expressed vehement opposition to the attacks on health care inherent in the “repeal and replace” plan put forward by Trump and the Senate. “The whole proposal is egregious,” Aaron Katz, a principal lecturer in the field of health services and policy at the University of Washington, told Truthout. Katz said that in the near term, the Trump/GOP health care plan will make needed health care unaffordable...

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Senate Republicans Stumble in Their Haste to Jam Through Obamacare Repeal

by Amanda Michelle Gomez – Compared to the current debate, the fight to pass Obamacare was strikingly deliberate and transparent. A week before former President Barack Obama left for Russia to meet with President Vladimir Putin at his Moscow residency, on July 7, 2009, he held a town hall on health care. The president spoke to — and took questions from — a studio and online audience for an hour and fifteen minutes at a community college in Virginia. “What we have been working on is the creation of something called the Health Insurance Exchange,” said Obama. He went on to explain, in broad strokes, the so-called Obamacare exchanges. Granted, he gave a generous description of the marketplace — he was after all trying to sell it. And the town hall would later be criticized for being tightly controlled. But that town hall would be the third time President Obama took questions from the public about health care, because, as he put it,...

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We Finally Know What’s Going to be in the Senate Version of Trumpcare — and it’s not Pretty

by Judd Legum – An ugly process begets an ugly bill. For weeks, Senate Republicans have negotiated their version of Trumpcare in near total secrecy. There have been no public hearings — just private meetings among a select group of Republicans about a bill that could reshape one-sixth of the American economy. For many Americans, the contours of the bill could be a matter of life and death. Text of the bill was released on Thursday, but key details began to leak Wednesday night (some from lobbyists who learned about the bill before the American people). Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is insisting on a vote before the July 4th holiday, which means everyone has a week to learn about this bill — including many of the senators who will be voting on it. So let’s get started. Here are the most important things you need to know. The bill would strip health care coverage from millions of low...

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Senate GOP’s Health Care Bill is so Secret not Even Trump’s Health Secretary has Seen it

by Ryan Koronowski – This takes secrecy to entirely new levels. No one seems to know what’s in the Senate’s Trumpcare bill. Not even Trump’s top health care adviser. At a Thursday hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) asked Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, “Have you or anyone in your department seen what the Senate Republicans are working on in terms of their version of Trumpcare?” Price began his response with a caveat that he has talked to senators who care about health care, but followed it up with the stunning admission that he had not yet seen any part of the bill. “I’ve had multiple conversations with senators who are interested in making certain that we have a health care system that works for patients, my staff has provided technical assistance,” said Price. “I haven’t seen any legislative language.” Sen. Durbin’s reaction was complete and utter disbelief: “ have not...

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On This Day, June 16, 1858 – Abe Lincoln Warns ‘A House Divided Cannot Stand’

1858 – Newly nominated senatorial candidate Abraham Lincoln addresses the Illinois Republican Convention in Springfield and warns that the nation faces a crisis that could destroy the Union. Speaking to more than 1,000 delegates in an ominous tone, Lincoln paraphrased a passage from the New Testament: “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” The issue dividing the nation was slavery’s place in the growing western territories and the extent of federal power over individual states’ rights. Lincoln declared that only the federal government had the power to end slavery. While the southern states relied on an economy and lifestyle dependent upon the cheap labor provided by African-American slaves, the North opposed slavery on moral grounds. The northern states also considered industrialization and manufacturing the key to America’s economic future, not farming. The entrance of new states into the Union, such as Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska, brought to a head...

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Senate Approves New Russian Sanctions 97-2

by Mark Sumner – In a vote that was as close to unanimous as the current Congress is likely to produce on anything more substantial than naming a post office, the Senate passed sanctions designed to punish Russia for interference in the 2016 election. Jamie Dupree   ✔@jamiedupree Senate votes 97-2 to approve new round of Russia sanctions in response to 2016 election interference 2:48 PM – 14 Jun 2017 This bill would put the force of legislation behind the sanctions that President Barack Obama already imposed following the election, making it more difficult for Donald Trump to remove those sactions—which is something Trump planned from his first days in the White House. Unknown to the public at the time, top Trump administration officials, almost as soon as they took office, tasked State Department staffers with developing proposals for the lifting of economic sanctions, the return of diplomatic compounds and other steps to relieve...

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Good Luck Trying to Pass an Infrastructure Bill Without Democratic Votes

by Casey Quinlan – An official hinted that the Senate might try budget reconciliation. But that would create a whole host of new problems. A White House official signaled Monday night that the Trump administration might try to push its infrastructure plan through the Senate without Democratic support using a parliamentary maneuver called budget reconciliation. But such a plan would face potentially insurmountable hurdles — meaning there may be no way for Senate Republicans to overcome a filibuster threat without reaching across the aisle. The official later told a reporter that he had not “intended to say” infrastructure would be passed through reconciliation, and that the White House is still aiming for the bill to get 60 votes to end cloture. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) urged the president to work with Democrats. Reconciliation, which allows certain types of legislation to pass the Senate without any danger of a filibuster, can only be used...

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James Comey to Testify Before Senate Intelligence Committee

by First Amendment – Comey fireworks next week. If previous reports are correct, Former FBI Director James Comey will tell the Senate Intelligence Committee that Donald Trump asked him to quash the FBI investigation. That would be obstruction of justice folks. www.wsj.com/… Former FBI Director James Comey is expected to testify as early as next week before a Senate committee that President Donald Trump asked him to back off the investigation of former national security adviser Mike Flynn, according to a person familiar with the matter. The testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee would be Mr. Comey’s first time speaking in public following his unexpected firing on May 9 by President Trump. …  A Once Great Nation @USARedOrchestra BREAKING: Former FBI director James Comey to testify before Senate Intel next Thursday, June 8, at 10 am 12:12 PM – 1 Jun 2017 www.bloomberg.com/… Fired FBI Director James Comey will testify June 8 before the...

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House, Senate Republicans at Odds Over Blistering Trumpcare CBO Score, Where to go From Here

by Joan McCarter – House Republicans are in full denial over how bad the Congressional Budget Office score of Zombie Trumpcare was for them, insisting that the CBO doesn’t know what it’s talking about. Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are at great pains to promise that their bill won’t be as awful as the CBO score says the House bill is. Here, for example, is Rep. Mark Meadows, the lead maniac in the Freedom Caucus. “Some of their assumptions appear not to be backed up by real analysis, specifically as it relates to obviously the number of people uninsured,” he said. “What was probably disappointing is that it was long on rhetoric and short on support of where that rhetoric came from,” Meadows told reporters Thursday. Economic analysis=rhetoric if you are a Republican. Or, if you’re Speaker Paul Ryan, you just ignore all the stuff that was really bad and focus on the sliver...

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In a Time of Madness, Sally Yates Is a Profile in Courage

by MICHAEL WINSHIP – The fired acting attorney general proved this week that there are still a few in Washington who believe in truth and the law. Let us now praise a class act. Amidst the turmoil of another chaotic week in Trump world, the Comey firing and a pandemic of Washington spinelessness, there was a certain righteous symmetry that occurred Sunday night and Monday afternoon. On Sunday, former President Barack Obama received the 2017 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award from the Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation. In his acceptance speech, Obama reflected on those public servants who, in the face of opposition, hold onto their principles and somehow keep alive their resolve, he said: “… To maintain a reputation for integrity that is stronger than a desire to maintain office, a conscience, personal standard of ethics, integrity, morality that is stronger than the pressures of public disapproval or party...

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Republican Senator Calls for Scrutiny of Trump’s Business Dealings in Russia

by Aaron Rupar – The former director of national intelligence’s comments during a hearing suggest they might already be under investigation. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) says an exchange he had with former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper during a hearing on Monday stoked his curiosity about President Trump’s shady business dealings in Russia. At one point during the hearing featuring Clapper and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, Graham asked Clapper if he ever encountered a situation where “a Trump business interest in Russia gave you concern.” “Not in the course of the intelligence community assessment,” Clapper replied, referring to the assessment he helped put together that detailed how Russian officials worked to help Trump get elected. “Since?” Graham followed up. “At all. Anytime.” Clapper’s response was definitely not a no. “Senator Graham, I can’t comment on that, because that impacts an investigation,” he said. Clapper’s response suggests there could...

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Republicans Nuke Senate, Clearing the Way for Gorsuch Confirmation

by Ian Millhiser – It’s official. Late Thursday morning, Senate Democrats opposed to Judge Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court successfully filibustered his confirmation vote. That victory proved short-lived, however, after Senate Republicans invoked a little-used procedure to change the Senate’s rules. Under the rules that existed prior to Thursday, Supreme Court nominees needed 60 votes in order to overcome a filibuster. Under the rules change enacted today, such nominees may now be confirmed with a simple majority (other nominees could already be confirmed by a majority vote under a rules change pushed by Senate Democrats in 2013). Because Senate rules regarding the timing of votes after a filibuster remain in place, the final vote to confirm Gorsuch is likely to come on Friday. Although the 44 senators who supported the filibuster are a minority in the Senate, they represent well over half of the nation. This is because the...

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Round Two of Republican Incompetence and Humiliation? Welcome to Tax Reform

by Hunter – Fresh off their humiliating display of incompetent healthcare “reform” (by which they meant a tax cut for rich people), Donald Trump and the Republican Party alike are moving on to their next big agenda item: tax reform. This will also consist of a tax cut for rich people. And like the attempt to strip health insurance from millions, this too is shaping up to be a fiasco of their own making. The problem, in short, is that Actual Tax Reform is hard. Very hard. And since nobody in the Republican Party is interested in doing a decent job of it, by which we mean taking suggestions from the opposition party as to reforms that both sides agree are needed, they’ll be seeking to pass “tax reform” legislation through reconciliation, an avenue that lets them dodge a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. That requires, according to reconciliation rules, that the bill...

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Senate Must Demand Answers About Gorsuch’s Work for Scandal-Plagued DoJ

by Billy Corriher and Michele L. Jawando – After Judge James Robart halted Donald Trump’s first travel ban, the president “lashe out” at him and suggested that his ruling was somehow illegitimate. Stephen Miller, a White House adviser, said on television that the president’s executive orders “will not be questioned.” The courts are charged with interpreting the Constitution, including the limits on executive power, but the president does not seem to accept this fundamental principle. With these constitutional questions looming, President Trump nominated Judge Neil Gorsuch to fill the empty seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Some have asked for more information about Gorsuch’s work for the U.S. Department of Justice, or DOJ, in 2005 and 2006, at a time when the agency faced alarming scandals involving abuse of power. At his confirmation hearing on March 20, Gorsuch should be asked about his work at the DOJ. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)...

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As the Wheels of the Trump Juggernaut Come Off

by TODD GITLIN – Cracks in Republican Senate servility are beginning to show, while right-wing media hang tough. Say this for Donald Trump: He sets records. It took more than a year of Warren G. Harding’s administration before the Teapot Dome scandal of 1921-22 brought down his Interior secretary for taking a massive oil company bribe. A half-century later, it took two years to expose the immensity of the Watergate crimes and force the conspirators out of their White House holes. It took almost that long for the Reagan administration Iran-Contra revelations to pour forth in the mid-‘80s, though that scandal left the enfeebled incumbent in place. Now, congressional Republicans’ marriage of convenience to the crackpot showman of Fifth Avenue shows signs of post-honeymoon stress. For in just four weeks, Trump has breathlessly caught up with his predecessors in power abuse. Having crashed into a big, beautiful wall, he is, by...

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Ted Cruz to Introduce Bill Allowing Discrimination Against LGBT Americans Nationwide

by Hunter   – Led by Sen. Ted Cruz, Republicans will be wasting no time in their efforts to roll back civil rights for LGBT Americans. would prohibit the federal government from taking “discriminatory action” against any business or person that discriminates against LGBTQ people. The act distinctly aims to protect the right of all entities to refuse service to LGBTQ people based on two sets of beliefs: “(1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.” The intentionally broadly-written law would, in other words, enshrine the “right” of any private business to deny service to gay Americans outright if they are personally opposed to marriage equality. It would not merely allow businesses to deny their services in same-sex marriage ceremonies themselves: it would allow any business to...

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On This Day, Dec. 2, 1954 – Senate Votes to Censure Joseph McCarthy

1954 – The U.S. Senate voted to condemn Sen. Joseph R. McCarthy for what it called “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute.” The vote was 67 to 22, with all the Democrats and about half the Republicans voting against him. He has been condemned on two counts: Contempt and abuse of a Senate committee that looked into his financial affairs in 1952 Insulting members of this committee on national television thereby bringing the Senate into dishonour and disrepute” and obstructing the constitutional process. In April this year, McCarthy attacked Secretary of the Army Robert T Stevens and General Ralph Zwicker for refusing to help him in an investigation of espionage at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. After years of witnessing his crusade against alleged Communists in government, the entertainment industry, and education, his attack on the army was the final straw and a committee was...

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Graham, McCain Want to Investigate Russian Hacks of the DNC

by Joan McCarter – Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain might finally be doing something useful in the Senate. WASHINGTON ― Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday said he wants Senate hearings to investigate whether Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in the U.S. election, casting doubts on President-elect Donald Trump’s desire to improve relations with Russia. “Assuming for a moment that we do believe that the Russian government was controlling outside organizations that hacked into our election, they should be punished,” Graham told reporters on Capitol Hill. “Putin should be punished.” Graham’s friend, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), also cautioned against Trump’s steps toward Russia. “With the U.S. presidential transition underway, Vladimir Putin has said in recent days that he wants to improve relations with the United States,” McCain said in a statement on Tuesday. “We should place as much faith in such statements as any other made by a former KGB agent who...

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Democrats’ Senate Chances are Peaking at the Right Time

by David Jarman – With less than a day left to go until Election Day, the odds of the Democrats controlling 50 seats or more in the Senate are as high as they’ve been: 72 percent. That’s still far from a sure thing, but the trendline looks very good. There’s one other first that we’re seeing: for the first time, the median number of Democrat-held seats is now 51, not 50. Fifty-one seats has two advantages. One, it gives the Democrats a bit of a cushion going into 2018, a midterm election where they’re defending a number of red-state seats that they won in 2012. And two, it keeps the Democrats from having to depend on their least-liberal member to reach 50 on non-cloture votes, so it keeps Joe Manchin from being perpetually in the driver’s seat. (Of course, any 5-seat gain includes Evan Bayh, so that would still leave Evan Bayh...

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Kamala Harris is Investigating Wells Fargo for Criminal Identity Theft

by Walter Einenkel – The Los Angeles Times is reporting that California’s Department of Justice under State’s Attorney General Kamala Harris has begun an investigation into possible charges that Wells Fargo committed criminal identity theft in the opening of millions of fraudulent accounts over the last five years. The warrant and related documents, served Oct. 5 and obtained by The Times through a public records request, confirm that California Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris, in the final weeks of a run for U.S. Senate, has joined the growing list of public officials and agencies investigating the bank in connection with the accounts scandal. Harris’ office demanded the bank turn over a trove of information, including the identities of California customers who had unauthorized accounts opened in their names, information about fees related to those accounts, the names of the Wells Fargo employees who opened the accounts, the names of those employees’ managers and emails or other communication related to those accounts. Harris’s office has...

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GOP Senators Aren’t Happy that John McCain was Probably Caught Telling the Truth

by Ian Millhiser – Dude, you weren’t supposed to say that out loud! On Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) confirmed one of Democrats’ worst fears. If Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wins the White House, but Republicans keep the Senate, the GOP “will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton, if she were president, would put up.” If America wants to have a Supreme Court in five years, in other words, it better elect the same party to the White House and the Senate. Not long after McCain’s comment, however, a new talking point was born. McCain’s own spokesperson said McCain did not actually mean what he said. The senator will “thoroughly examine the record of any Supreme Court nominee put before the Senate and vote for or against that individual based on their qualifications,” according to his communications director Rachael Dean. Though Dean also added that “McCain believes...

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Hillary Can Have One of the Most Productive and Consequential First Terms Ever- If We Win the Senate

by TobyRocksSoHard – This is not snark or wishful thinking. Sure, taking the House is still a major reach that will require a perfect storm to accomplish. Sure, Senate Republicans are already plotting the same kind of unprecedented obstruction we saw with President Obama. Sure, Trump and his minions are already trying to delegitimize and diminish her Presidency before she’s even won the election and been sworn in. All of that is true, and we will be continuing the same old fights from the Obama administration going forward. Despite all that, Hillary has a very real chance to have a major impact on the country that will last for decades within the first years of her Presidency. A couple of people are very important to making this a reality. Antonin Scalia already did his part. President Obama and (probably) Senator Schumer are the two others who matter the most going forward....

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Mike Pence Slowly Learning his Political Future is Dead

by Joan McCarter – Donald Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, probably expected to return to his former digs at the House of Representatives as the conquering hero. He left the House to become a governor, and then was elevated to the top of his party’s 2016 ticket—a heartbeat away from a potential presidency. Too bad it’s this potential president, because Pence’s reception from his former colleagues was less than celebratory. An otherwise friendly morning meeting with House Republicans turned awkward when Mr. Pence was pressed by Representative Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska about Mr. Trump’s difficulties with women, said two House Republicans who relayed the conversation. Mr. Fortenberry told Mr. Pence that his young daughter had come to him and said, “Daddy, Donald Trump hates women,” according to one of the lawmakers, who both insisted on anonymity to recount a private conversation.“It’s just not true,” Mr. Pence shot back, arguing that Mr. Trump...

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Rundown on the Most Vulnerable Republican Senate Seats in 2016

by David Nir – It’s only natural that everyone has been so focused on Donald Trump—how can you look away from that Cheeto-hued Dumpster fire?—but let’s not forget that if we want Hillary Clinton to have any shot of enacting the far-reaching progressive agenda she’s campaigning on, she’ll need a Democratic Congress on her side. And at Daily Kos Elections, you can trust us to never take our eyes off the ball. We track every key development in every key Senate and House race every day of the week—only serious news, no fluff or bogus “scandals”—and you can read about it all, for free, by signing up for our Morning Digest newsletter. To give you a taste of the kinds of news we cover, we’ve put together an overview of the top Senate races that the Democratic Party is targeting this year. Democrats currently hold 46 seats, so they need to win...

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Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC Tries To Bail Out John McCain’s (R) Doomed Campaign

by poopdogcomedy – Good luck with that: When Republican voters in Arizona receive a robocall this week featuring former House Speaker Newt Gingrich endorsing Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), they’ll hear just another example of how super PACs and political candidates take advantage of the loose system of regulations designed to prevent them from coordinating with each other. The robocall comes from Arizona Grassroots Action, a super PAC formed solely to re-elect the 79-year-old senator to a sixth term ― but the audio of Gingrich’s endorsement was actually recorded and posted online by McCain’s official campaign. Super PACs are political committees that can accept unlimited contributions from corporations, unions or individuals so long as they remain independent from political campaigns or parties that they support. This supposed independence has been called into question ever since 2010, the year super PACs were legalized. It is now fairly common practice for super PACs to...

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Conservative Legal Scholars Would Prefer Liberal Supreme Court Than a President Trump

by Joan McCarter – Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is contemplating forcing a vote on President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, when Congress reconvenes in September. The vote would put a lot of vulnerable Republicans in the tough position of going with a highly qualified candidate in Garland, or emphasizing the fact that they are implicitly endorsing the idea of Donald Trump picking the next SCOTUS justices. Reid just got some help for his strategy courtesy of conservative legal scholars who think a more liberal court is preferable to a Trump presidency. “The court is important, to be sure ― but not nearly that important,” said retired Temple University Law School Professor David Post, who now writes for the conservative website the Volokh Conspiracy. “With all due respect to my colleagues who might feel differently, this one strikes me as a no-brainer.” The next president might end up only filling...

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The Republican Congress Heads Toward Recess With no Answers for Zika, Gun Violence, or Anything Else

by Joan McCarter – Paul Ryan’s and Mitch McConnell’s Congress is getting ready for the longest August recess in something like 60 years, one that’s going to swallow up half of July and the first week of September. What are the Republicans doing with this very short week? Playing politics, what else? That includes refusing to work with Democrats to come up with a responsible Zika prevention bill. Meanwhile, Public health experts have warned that the mosquitoes carrying Zika will populate over the summer and exacerbate the spread of the virus, which can cause birth defects. Republicans continue to insist on funding that prevents money from going to birth control by blocking Planned Parenthood from getting any of the funds and on weakening Clean Water Act regulations with suspended pesticide rules. Oh, and underfunding it by stealing money from other public health programs. Like Ebola. You know, the thing they were...

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Donald Trump Can’t Even Control His Temper In Meeting About Party Unity

by Wendy Gittleson – In a meeting about “party unity,” Donald Trump had trouble holding his tongue (no surprise there) toward Senate Republicans who haven’t always had the most flattering things to say about the GOP frontrunner. He threatened three of them with making sure none are reelected. Trump is famously very thin-skinned. Whenever he feels he’s been wronged, which is basically all the time, or whenever someone fails to fawn all over him, he retaliates. He often takes to social media for retaliation, or the campaign trail, but this time, he’s threatening more and today’s biggest victim if Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona). Flake isn’t shy about saying that he thinks Trump would be very bad for the country. “When he (Trump) refers to a judge born in Indiana as a Mexican in a pejorative way, when he calls those crossing the border rapists or when he goes after McCain...

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PA-Sen: Toomey’s (R) Votes Prove He Is The Biggest Fraud When It Comes To Background Checks

by poopdogcomedy – All last week, U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R. PA) was getting praise for this: In a potential shift in the debates on gun laws, Donald Trump and some Senate Republicans are now saying they would consider new laws to limit suspected terrorists’ ability to buy guns – opening a door to action that has long eluded advocates for tougher restrictions on firearms purchases. Sen. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), a key figure in the contentious argument, renewed his advocacy Wednesday, taking part in a Democratic takeover of the Senate floor and later saying he would introduce a bill Thursday to bar anyone on a federal terrorist watch list from buying guns, but also creating an annual review of the names on that list. He was hoping for support from a group founded by gun control advocate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, his office said, though sources familiar...

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