Back home in South Bend, Buttigieg faces ‘his nightmare’


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The shooting of a black man by a white police officer is reopening wounds in the city’s black community that threaten to tarnish the mayor’s charmed presidential campaign.

Biden comments trigger renewed scrutiny of his record on race


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Joe Biden has boasted on the campaign trail that he knows how to make government work again, pointing out that he even got things done with Southern segregationists decades ago.

But rather than bolster his image as an effective pragmatist, Biden’s parables of working with long-dead Dixiecrats have started to reinforce two of his biggest liabilities: his age and his record on race.

A 76-year-old centrist who spent 36 years in the Senate before serving as vice president, Biden was already out of step with the Democratic Party’s left wing, which wants a fresh face, a woman, a candidate of color or at least an unapologetic progressive torch-bearer.

Now, just a week before the first debate of the presidential campaign, the criticisms from progressives and Biden’s opponents have begun to mount. The backlash came after Biden told donors Tuesday night about how he worked with racist lawmakers like Georgia Sen.

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18 Years Later, The House Finally Repeals The President’s 9/11 War Authority


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But how hard are Democrats willing to fight to actually prevent war?

Facebook’s Fake Currency Is A Joke


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Libra would be dangerous — if it weren't so stupid.

Trump’s plan for the Dem debates: Make it about him


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Donald Trump wants his Democratic competitors for the White House to introduce themselves to the American public next week on his terms.

Ahead of the first two Democratic presidential primary debates next Wednesday and Thursday, the president and his political team are angling to dominate the news cycle with carefully released tidbits meant to keep the public hooked on the machinations of the commander in chief. This will range from the president sitting down for an extended interview with an anchor from Noticias Telemundo, who is also a moderator of the Democratic debates, to an announcement by the vice president next Tuesday in Miami — where the Democrats are holding their debates — that unveils a list of prominent Latino and Hispanic supporters. And on the night of the first debate, Trump himself might live-tweet the debates as he flies on Air Force One to Japan for the G-20.

Continue reading “Trump’s plan for the Dem debates: Make it about him”

Sonny Perdue reverses Jobs Corps closures amid backlash from Congress


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The Trump administration, under heavy pressure from Congress, will withdraw plans to end a U.S. Forest Service program that trains underprivileged youth, spokespersons for the Agriculture and Labor departments told POLITICO.

The Job Corps Civilian Conservation Centers, a program within the Job Corps, trains low-income young people to to become first responders to natural disasters, to work on rural infrastructure projects, and to maintain national forests. The administration’s reversal on its shuttering the centers comes after significant pushback from lawmakers of both parties — including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — and also from the union that represents USDA Forest Service employees.

“For the time being, USDA does not intend to transfer these centers to DOL to allow management to determine a pathway that will maximize opportunity and results for students, minimize disruptions, and improve overall performance and integrity,” the USDA and DOL spokespersons said in an e-mailed statement. Continue reading “Sonny Perdue reverses Jobs Corps closures amid backlash from Congress”

Democrats demand more info on Craft’s travels


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Senate Democratic aides on Wednesday released new details about the frequent absences of President Donald Trump’s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, from her post as U.S. ambassador to Canada, demonstrating that she was away from Ottawa for an average of 20 days per month over the last eight months.

Those absences occurred after the completion of negotiations for the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico, which Craft cited at her confirmation hearing on Wednesday as a chief reason she was away from her posting. She also said she has made official trips to promote the deal.

Senate aides cited those recent absences and other new details about Craft’s travels to buttress Sen. Bob Menendez’s demand that the State Department provide greater documentation that the trips were for ambassadorial work and not for personal business.

After Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking member of the Continue reading “Democrats demand more info on Craft’s travels”

HUD hires former official at center of racial scandal


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The Department of Housing and Urban Development has hired Eric Blankenstein, the former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau official whose racially charged blog posts sparked an uproar last year.

Blankenstein has been hired by HUD’s Office of General Counsel as a senior counsel working on Ginnie Mae matters, making $166,500 a year, according to people familiar with the matter.

Democrats and civil rights activists demanded that the CFPB fire Blankenstein after the Washington Post reported in September that he had questioned the veracity of hate crimes and whether the N-word is racist, in blog posts he wrote 14 years earlier.

The then-acting CFPB director, Mick Mulvaney, referred the matter to the agency’s inspector general. Mulvaney had appointed Blankenstein to be the policy associate director for the Supervision, Enforcement and Fair Lending, a post he left last month.

Blankenstein will report to HUD’s principal deputy general counsel starting Monday, the people said.

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Felix Sater set to testify before House Intel panel on Friday


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Felix Sater, who served as the chief negotiator for the Trump Tower Moscow project, will testify on Capitol Hill later this week.

The Russian-born businessman confirmed to POLITICO that he will appear behind closed doors before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday.

Sater was initially scheduled to testify in March, but the imminent release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election prompted the panel to postpone the interview.

Lawmakers had initially said the interview — which is expected to focus on the negotiations surrounding the failed Moscow real estate project — would be public. But the panel decided to make it private because the subjects are extremely sensitive and concern national security issues, including Sater’s previous work as an undercover asset for the Defense Intelligence Agency on Russia issues, said a person familiar with the matter.

A spokesman for Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff Continue reading “Felix Sater set to testify before House Intel panel on Friday”

Democrats bristle as Hicks appears for daylong Capitol Hill testimony


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Former longtime Trump aide and White House communications director Hope Hicks spent nearly eight hours behind closed doors on Wednesday fielding a range of questions from the House Judiciary Committee about her…

De Blasio splits with Ocasio-Cortez on ‘concentration camps’


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Mayor Bill de Blasio said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was wrong to describe the Trump administration’s migrant detention facilities as “concentration camps.”

“Of course she was wrong,” the mayor and presidential candidate said in an appearance on MSNBC Wednesday afternoon.

Ocasio-Cortez has drawn criticism for using the term to refer to the detention facilities holding thousands of migrants near the southern border.

“This administration has established concentration camps on the southern border of the United States for immigrants, where they are being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying,” she said on Twitter.

The Congresswoman, who represents parts of Queens and the Bronx, did not specifically invoke the Holocaust, and the term has been used throughout history to refer to other mass detention camps, but critics accused her of inappropriately drawing a parallel to the Nazi genocide.

“You cannot compare. What the Nazis did in the concentration camps unfortunately is without Continue reading “De Blasio splits with Ocasio-Cortez on ‘concentration camps’”

Senate to vote Thursday to block Trump’s Saudi arms deal


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The Senate will vote Thursday to block President Trump’s controversial arms sales to Saudi Arabia, paving the way for a showdown with the White House.Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate will hol…

Senate to vote Thursday to block Trump’s Saudi arms deal


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The Senate will vote Thursday to block President Trump’s controversial arms sales to Saudi Arabia, paving the way for a showdown with the White House.Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Senate will hol…

Military Grapples With White Nationalists In Ranks


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The Marines and the Army National Guard took different approaches to extremists.

Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee who called homosexuality ‘disordered’


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Michael Dreeben, longtime Supreme Court lawyer who aided Mueller probe, leaving Justice Dept.


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He took a sabbatical from the solicitor general’s office to join the special counsel’s team investigating Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Why the acting Defense secretary may have to sit out Turkey missile talks


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Incoming acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper’s past as a lobbyist for one of the Pentagon’s top contractors is already threatening to complicate one of his department’s most sensitive diplomatic tasks — a high-stakes negotiation with Turkey over its purchase of a Russian missile defense system.

Esper will probably need to recuse himself from the talks because the outcome has implications for Raytheon, which employed him for seven years before he joined the Pentagon in 2017, defense and ethics experts said Wednesday.

Esper’s conflicts highlight the potential problems in nominating a Defense secretary from the defense industry, as much of his work would touch on his former employer, Raytheon — in the same ways acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan’s prior work for Boeing was scrutinized.

Shanahan, who announced his resignation Tuesday, had taken a leading role in trying to persuade Turkey to purchase Raytheon’s Patriot system instead of the S-400 air Continue reading “Why the acting Defense secretary may have to sit out Turkey missile talks”

A Trump supporter was arrested after smacking a reporter’s phone. ‘MAGA,’ a GOP lawmaker responded.


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Former Trump business partner Felix Sater set to testify Friday before House Intelligence Committee


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The closed-door hearing is part of the panel’s ongoing investigation into President Trump’s efforts to build a tower in Moscow.

Democrats seek to rein in the contact between White House, Justice Department on probes


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Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) says the traditional limits have been cast aside and more than 800 officials can talk about investigations in the Trump administration.