Durbin: ‘No reason’ that others would remember night of alleged assault

Sen. Dick Durbin on Sunday advocated for a thorough investigation of assault allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, saying there’s “no reason“ other people would remember the night of the alleged incident.

“It’s no surprise, if another person was … in the house that night and had no occurrence like the one that was stated by Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t even remember that party scene 36 years ago,” Durbin (D-Ill.) said on “This Week” on ABC.

Ford has said Kavanaugh tried to assault her at a party when both were in high school; other students say they don’t remember being at the party. Therapist‘s notes from 2012 reference an attempted assault by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes did not name Kavanaugh, a graduate of Georgetown Prep.

Continue reading “Durbin: ‘No reason’ that others would remember night of alleged assault”

Pompeo suggests ambivalent Trump officials ‘find something else to do’

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo suggested that uncommitted members of the Trump administration “find something else to do” — an implicit swipe at Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein in the wake of allegations he suggested secretly recording the president last year.

“If you can’t be on the team, if you’re not supporting this mission, maybe you’ve got to find something else to do,” Pompeo said on “Fox News Sunday.“

President Donald Trump’s advisers have been divided on whether he should fire Rosenstein in the wake of the New York Times report last week, which detailed remarks from Rosenstein about secret recordings and the 25th Amendment, the constitutional amendment that provides a way to remove a president from office. Rosenstein has denied making the remarks.

Pompeo said that everyone who works for the administration must be on board.

“I’ve told that to my senior colleagues, I’ve told it to junior Continue reading “Pompeo suggests ambivalent Trump officials ‘find something else to do’”

Graham: Ford’s testimony won’t change my vote

Sen. Lindsey Graham said Sunday the testimony of Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser won’t change his mind, no matter what she says.

“You can’t bring it in a criminal court, you would never sue civilly, you couldn’t even get a warrant,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” with Chris Wallace. “What am I supposed to do? Go ahead and ruin this guy’s life based on an accusation? I don’t know when it happened, I don’t know where it happened, and everybody named in regard to being there said it didn’t happen.”

Kavanaugh’s accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, has said Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party when they were both in high school. Therapist‘s notes from 2012 reference an attempted assault by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes did not name Kavanaugh (a graduate of Georgetown Prep), Continue reading “Graham: Ford’s testimony won’t change my vote”

Pompeo: U.S. may hold Russia accountable for chemical weapons in Syria

The Trump administration may hold Russia accountable for Bashar Al-Assad‘s use of chemical weapons in Syria, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview that aired Sunday.

“We’ll have to analyze once the activity takes place. We pray that it doesn’t,” Pompeo said in an interview with “Meet the Press” on NBC.

“But we’ll do our intelligence, our forensics. We’ll do our hard work. And we will hold accountable those that are responsible for violating this fundamental principle, this idea that chemical weapons are fundamentally different than other types of weapon systems.“

The U.S. last week imposed sanctions on a Chinese military group for allegedly purchasing military equipment from Russia. In a statement, the department said the sanctions aim to punish Russia “in response to its interference in the United States election process, its unacceptable behavior in eastern Ukraine, and other malign activities.“

The Trump administration Continue reading “Pompeo: U.S. may hold Russia accountable for chemical weapons in Syria”

Union dispute threatens Ohio Democrats

Less than two months ahead of the midterm elections, the Ohio Democratic Party finds itself at war with an unlikely adversary: a labor union made up of its own employees.

In bruising negotiations over the past several weeks, party leaders have resisted pay increases and other union demands and hired a management-side law firm to push back. One of the party’s negotiators is even a registered Republican.

For Democrats to be at odds with labor this close to Election Day is awkward enough. That the drama is taking place in Ohio, the rare state where even Republicans chase union votes, makes the conflict potentially devastating to a party that’s always claimed to represent working people’s interests.

Campaign workers, well aware of the leverage that the election deadline gives them, are beginning to whisper about a strike if party leaders don’t come around soon. The parties are scheduled to meet today Continue reading “Union dispute threatens Ohio Democrats”

Trump rolls back worker safety rules

When President Donald Trump came into office pledging to cut regulations “massively,” he made a point of exempting regulations that protected workers’ health.

But almost two years in, the Trump administration has done the opposite, rolling back worker safety protections affecting underground mine safety inspections, offshore oil rigs and line speeds in meat processing plants, among others.

Trump’s deregulatory moves on worker safety are at odds with his public stance as a champion of working class Americans, but consistent with his naming two management-side attorneys bent on rolling back economic protections for workers to the National Labor Relations Board, which regulates labor unions, and with his nominations of two reliably pro-management jurists to a now-Republican-majority Supreme Court that recently dealt a heavy financial blow to public-employee unions.

One of those Supreme Court nominees, Brett Kavanaugh, will on Tuesday begin Senate confirmation hearings, where Judiciary Committee Democrats will almost certainly quiz Continue reading “Trump rolls back worker safety rules”

Judge strikes down Trump’s federal workforce executive orders

A federal judge on Saturday struck down most of President Donald Trump’s executive orders limiting the power of federal employee unions.

The ruling, from the D.C. Circuit, is a victory for the multiple labor unions that sued to block the executive orders on the grounds that the president lacked authority to make the changes without approval from Congress.

“These directives undermine federal employees’ right to bargain collectively as protected by the [Federal Service Labor-Management Relations statute],” U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson wrote. “As a result, the president must be deemed to have exceeded his authority in issuing them.“

Public-sector unions are still reeling from a June Supreme Court decision that barred state and local unions from collecting so-called “fair share“ fees from union nonmembers to cover their portion of collective bargaining costs. But this month they’ve notched a couple of victories. In addition to Friday night’s Continue reading “Judge strikes down Trump’s federal workforce executive orders”

Trump to discuss NAFTA with union leaders

President Donald Trump will meet with union leaders at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday to discuss the status of NAFTA negotiations, the White House said.

Trump and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will meet with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, Teamsters President James Hoffa Jr., United Automobile Workers President Gary Jones, International Association of Machinists President Robert Martinez, and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard. They’ll be joined by several top White House officials, including chief of staff John Kelly and trade adviser Peter Navarro, deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters said.

The U.S. and Mexico have struggled in recent weeks to nail down labor provisions in NAFTA. Negotiators are still figuring out how to make the agreement’s new labor rules enforceable in way that will overcome the Trump administration’s aversion to being bound to trade rules. Unions in both countries argue that wage suppression south of the border is largely Continue reading “Trump to discuss NAFTA with union leaders”

Unions, citing ‘buyer’s remorse,’ score major win in Missouri

Democrats may have scored their most definitive win of Donald Trump’s presidency on Tuesday, as unions routed Republicans in a Missouri ballot measure battle that showed shocking strength from organized labor.

Unions crushed the state’s so-called right-to-work law, overwhelming conservative opponents by a 2-to-1 margin after running a deep-pocketed campaign. The outcome signals that unions still have paths to victory in red-leaning states — and provides a new playbook for fighting the policies of Republican-controlled state governments.

“I wouldn’t want to be on the ballot if I was in favor of right to work in 90 days,” said former Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon. “Clearly, there’s been a path defined.”

With their victory, unions may have discovered a strategy that fits neatly into their long history of organizing voters, countering conservative wins achieved mostly through legislatures and legal challenges. Their success comes after of a string of losses, most notably Continue reading “Unions, citing ‘buyer’s remorse,’ score major win in Missouri”

Job growth continues to slow

Job growth slowed for the second straight month in July, to 157,000 down from June’s 248,000, providing fresh evidence that the economy has reached full employment.

But wage growth remained sluggish at 2.7 percent over the previous year, indicating that the tight labor market and the robust 4.1 percent second-quarter growth in GDP that a jubilant Trump administration announced last week still isn’t showing up in paychecks.

The report was unwelcome news for President Donald Trump, who this week tweeted out a brisk Employee Cost Index increase during the three-month period that preceded July and a favorable estimate from private payrolls. Last week, Trump declared the United States “the economic envy of the entire world” in response to the strong GDP numbers.

After a year of positive job growth, the economy could be on the verge of a “darker” turn, warned Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.

Continue reading “Job growth continues to slow”

HHS submits updated plan for reuniting migrant children with parents

The Trump administration, responding to a federal judge’s sharp admonition, provided an updated plan Sunday about how it will verify the parentage of older children in detention.

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw scolded the Health and Human Services Department Friday, saying it was using safety concerns as "cover" to avoid meeting his July 26 deadline to reunite with their parents all 2551 children aged 5 to 17 who were detained at the border.

Sabraw previously ordered HHS to return to their parents by July 10 all 102 children under 5 who were detained at the border. In response, HHS reunited all but 46, saying these children were ineligible for reunificaiton because verification wasn’t complete or because of safety concerns.

The new plan that HHS submitted Sunday differed from an earlier plan in clarifying that HHS will use methods other than DNA testing to verify parentage for most older children. Continue reading “HHS submits updated plan for reuniting migrant children with parents”

Top Ivanka paid-leave staffer departs White House

Maggie Cordish, a close friend of Ivanka Trump and a top adviser to her on paid family leave, has left the White House.

There are no plans to replace Cordish, signaling a likely pullback from the Trump White House’s efforts to pass a paid family leave bill in the face of steep congressional resistance.

But a White House official who confirmed Cordish’s departure said "nothing could be further from the truth." Staffers from the Domestic Policy Council and the Office of Legislative Affairs, the official said, will continue working on paid leave, reporting to Ivanka Trump.

“They’ve always been involved on this issue, and continue to assist in Ivanka [Trump]’s efforts on paid family leave,” the official said.

Although Cordish kept a low profile, she was one of Ivanka Trump’s closest allies in the White House. The two have been friends since they met at the University of Pennsylvania. Continue reading “Top Ivanka paid-leave staffer departs White House”

Unemployment drops, but wage growth remains sluggish

The unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in nearly two decades, the government reported Friday, delivering good news to President Donald Trump and Republicans as they head into the summer campaign blitz.

But labor force participation remained low, and the wage bump that Trump predicted last year remained elusive in April, four months after Congress passed a massive tax cut.

Unemployment fell to 3.9 percent, the lowest since December 2000, and labor force participation was 63 percent, virtually unchanged since the start of 2018 and close to its lowest level since the 1970s. During the 2016 campaign, candidate Trump repeatedly questioned the validity of the official unemployment rate because it didn’t take into account those who’d dropped out of the workforce.

Average hourly private-sector wages were up 2.6 percent in April over the previous year, the same as in March. Those percentages don’t take into account the Continue reading “Unemployment drops, but wage growth remains sluggish”

Huge crowd converges on D.C. for gun control rally

Hundreds of thousands of people from across the country are descending on Washington Saturday to demand action from Congress on gun control in a mass demonstration that could rival the annual women’s marches sparked by President Donald Trump’s election.

Spurred by the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month, the “March for Our Lives” has the backing of well-funded gun control groups like Everytown for Gun Safety. They are organizing youth voter registration drives and running crash courses on activism and public policy.

More than 800 “sibling” marches are planned across the globe on Saturday.

Saturday’s demonstration is the culmination of years of inaction by lawmakers as mass shootings have continued unabated in America. Left-leaning activists, feeling stymied by the National Rifle Association’s lobbying, are wielding one of the few tools they have left: taking to the streets to demand change.

More than two hours before the start of the Continue reading “Huge crowd converges on D.C. for gun control rally”

Humane Society CEO resigns amid sexual harassment allegations

Humane Society President and CEO Wayne Pacelle resigned Friday amid a spiraling crisis over sexual harassment allegations against him and a former top executive.

Things had gotten progressively worse for Pacelle — one of the most well-known animal rights advocates in the country — since news broke last week of an internal investigation of allegations dating back to 2005. The board of directors cut the investigation short on Thursday and cleared Pacelle of wrongdoing, but Pacelle, facing a staff revolt and fleeing donors, stepped down less than 24 hours later.

“The last few days have been very hard for our entire family of staff and supporters,” board chairman Rick Bernthal said in a statement. “We are profoundly grateful for Wayne’s unparalleled level of accomplishments and service to the cause of animal protection and welfare.”

The Humane Society’s statement did not include remarks from Pacelle, who has denied wrongdoing.

An internal memo Continue reading “Humane Society CEO resigns amid sexual harassment allegations”

Job growth accelerates in January

Job growth accelerated in January, the government reported Friday, giving President Donald Trump a boost following his State of the Union Address.

The Labor Department reported that the economy added 200,000 new jobs, up from 160,000 in December. The unemployment rate was unchanged for the fourth consecutive month at 4.1 percent.

The numbers also lend credence to Trump’s claim during his address Tuesday that wages are beginning to rise under his leadership. Wages in January rose to 2.9 percent over the previous year, compared to 2.7 percent in December, offering a sign that wage growth is beginning to pick up after months of stagnation with the economy nearing full employment.

At the same time, continued growth will put pressure on Trump’s new Federal Reserve chair, Jerome Powell, to raise interest rates — which could pose a threat to the stock market, Trump’s favorite piece of evidence for Continue reading “Job growth accelerates in January”

Female Employees Allege Culture of Sexual Harassment at Humane Society

In September 2016, three employees of the Humane Society of the United States checked into a tiny Airbnb studio in Boston for a six-day business trip. Paul Shapiro, one of the nation’s most consequential animal rights advocates over the past decade, was accompanied by two campaign workers, a young man and a young woman. After a couple of nights, the male employee left to stay somewhere else, according to the 26-year-old female, leaving her alone with Shapiro.

Over the next few days, the woman told POLITICO, Shapiro, 37, repeatedly steered the conversation toward relationships and sex. He suggested she sit next to him on a small loveseat to watch TV on his iPad, which she refused, and stripped down to his underwear in plain view while changing clothes. At one point, Shapiro leaned out of the bathroom naked, save for a bundled-up pair of boxer briefs held over his groin. Continue reading “Female Employees Allege Culture of Sexual Harassment at Humane Society”

Tax payouts deliver a wave of hope and hype

Republicans are basking in a wave of good publicity for their giant tax cut.

WalMart, the nation’s largest private employer, just bumped up its minimum wage. Cash bonuses are flowing to employees from major employers including AT&T, Comcast and big banks due to the big corporate tax cut. Automakers and giant engineering companies are promising big new U.S. investments.

The result is a giddy sense of hope for President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans who pushed through their unpopular tax-cut plan over total opposition from every Democrat in Congress.

“Great news, as a result of our TAX CUTS & JOBS ACT!,” Trump tweeted following the announcement by WalMart that it would boost its minimum wage by a buck, to $11 per hour.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin showed up in the White House briefing room Thursday to discuss how paychecks would climb next month and take a victory lap. Continue reading “Tax payouts deliver a wave of hope and hype”

Schiff: ‘We have a seriously flawed human being in the Oval Office’

The ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said Sunday virtually every member of Congress has concerns about President Donald Trump’s mental state, even if they won’t say so publicly.

"I don’t think there is anyone in Congress, frankly, of either party who does not concur at least privately with those observations and concerns," Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on CNN’s "State of the Union." "Certainly, very few are willing to express them publicly in Congress, and I think that’s to the detriment of our institution.

"The big question for us, though," he added, "is, you know, plainly, we have a seriously flawed human being in the Oval Office."

Schiff also said the FBI’s reported investigation of the Clinton Foundation was politically motivated.

"If they are investigating Hillary Clinton, it doesn’t take a genius, let alone a stable genius, to see why," Schiff said, mocking Trump’s assessment Continue reading “Schiff: ‘We have a seriously flawed human being in the Oval Office’”

Haley: ‘There is no turnaround’ with North Korea

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations said Sunday there’s been "no turnaround" in the administration’s North Korea policy, after President Donald Trump said he’d "absolutely" be willing to talk to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump’s comments Saturday at anews conference at Camp David appeared to change direction from a tweet in October, when he said Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was "wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man."

"There is no turnaround," Ambassador Nikki Haley said on ABC’s "This Week." "What he has basically said is, yes, there could be a time where we talk to North Korea but a lot of things have to happen before that actually takes place. They have to stop testing. They have to be willing to talk about banning their nuclear weapons. Those things have to happen. What we’re trying to do is make sure Continue reading “Haley: ‘There is no turnaround’ with North Korea”