×
Here we go again
June 7, 2019

Another contempt vote against Attorney General William Barr is likely to take place next week.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee is proceeding with plans to hold Barr in contempt, as the Justice Department and the Commerce Department did not provide documents subpoenaed by the committee by the Thursday deadline, The Hill reports. These documents have to do with the committee's investigation into the Trump administration adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The panel will also vote on holding Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt.

"We gave Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross every opportunity to produce the documents the Committee needs for our investigation, but rather than cooperate, they have decided that they would rather be held in contempt of Congress," Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said.

This comes after the committee on Monday threatened Barr and Ross with this contempt vote but again asked for the requested documents by Thursday. Now that the documents were not provided, The Hill reports the vote is likely to take place the very same week the House of Representatives is to vote on holding Barr in contempt for not turning over Special Counsel Robert Mueller's full, unredacted report and its underlying evidence. The House Judiciary Committee in May voted in favor of holding Barr in contempt.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd in a letter to Cummings criticized the House Oversight and Reform Committee's action as "premature," CNN reports, also saying that "we are disappointed by the Committee's mischaracterization of the Department's continued and ongoing efforts to accommodate the Committee's oversight interests." Brendan Morrow

April 24, 2019

President Trump on Wednesday repeated a conspiracy theory that British intelligence spied on his 2016 campaign, an idea that Fox News backed away from years ago.

Trump tweeted out a quote from a former CIA analyst, who on the right-wing One America News Network alleged that U.K. intelligence helped former President Barack Obama's administration spy on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Trump added that eventually, "the truth comes out."

If this sounds familiar, it should. This conspiracy theory was previously promoted by the White House in 2017, with Press Secretary Sean Spicer referencing it in a briefing. He got the idea from Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, who had used former CIA analyst Larry Johnson as a source, per The New York Times.

After this theory was elevated by the White House, Fox News pushed back on it, with Shepard Smith saying on air, "Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano's commentary. Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-president of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way. Full stop.”

Napolitano was subsequently pulled from the network for a time, while Spicer defended himself as simply "passing on news reports." A spokesperson for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May called the claims "ridiculous," also saying that "we've received assurances that these allegations won't be repeated," per CNN.

Still, Trump repeated the allegations two years later on Wednesday, just one day after announcing his upcoming U.K. visit — a visit that likely just became a lot more awkward. Brendan Morrow

March 9, 2019

It might soon be déjà vu all over again for Alabama.

Reuters reported on Friday that Roy Moore, the former chief justice of Alabama's Supreme Court and the Republican candidate in the 2017 Alabama special election for Jeff Sessions' Senate seat, said that he is "seriously considering" challenging Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), who defeated Moore during that previous campaign, in 2020.

Moore was a heavy favorite early on in 2017, but allegations that he sexually assaulted or pursued teenaged girls while in his 30s derailed his campaign, and Jones won the vote by a narrow margin, becoming the first Alabama Democrat in a quarter-century to win a Senate election.

Moore spoke about the possibility of running again on Friday during an appearance on the radio show "Focal Point", a Christian-based program which airs on American Family Radio. Per The Washington Post, Moore said that the 2017 election "was stolen" thanks to a "disinformation" campaign (he has denied the allegations against him.) The Post noted that there were a slew of misleading online tactics geared toward influencing the election, but most political analysts agree that those tactics were not the reasons behind his defeat. They argue that the allegations remain the impetus for Jones' victory. Tim O'Donnell

February 9, 2019

Bipartisan congressional negotiators working on a federal spending deal to avert a second partial government shutdown reported Friday afternoon they are close to reaching an agreement.

Talks will continue over the the weekend, and negotiators from both houses of Congress hope to have a finalized proposal Monday so a vote can take place well before their deadline of Friday, Feb. 15.

The question remains whether President Trump will sign any package which does not include the $5.7 billion he has demanded for border wall construction. Democrats have been adamant they will not approve that much, but Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), one of the negotiators, suggested Friday something in the range of $1.6 to $2 billion for "physical barriers" "possibly could be workable."

"I think the political reality is we can't get to [$5.7 billion]," said Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.), a GOP negotiator who is aiming for $1.6 billion in wall funding. "I think [Trump] understands that we're operating under a divided government scenario and we've got to get the best deal that we can get." Bonnie Kristian

January 2, 2019

President Trump's feud with Senator-elect Mitt Romney (R-Utah) has been fully reignited.

"Here we go with Mitt Romney," Trump tweeted Wednesday after the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate published an op-ed criticizing his character. Trump demanded Romney "be helpful" and a "TEAM player" while a member of the U.S. Senate, also taking a swipe at his 2012 election loss, writing, "I won big, and he didn't."

Romney in his op-ed said that Trump has "not risen to the mantle of the office." Any president, he wrote, should demonstrate "honesty and integrity" and "elevate the national discourse with comity and mutual respect," but in that department, Trump has fallen short. He also promised to "speak out against significant statements or actions" from Trump that are "divisive, racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, dishonest, or destructive to democratic institutions."

This wasn't too surprising considering Romney criticized Trump during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, calling him a "phony" and a "fraud" and ultimately refusing to vote for him in the general election. Trump, in turn, went after Romney, calling him a "mixed up man who doesn't have a clue." Despite this, Trump ultimately endorsed Romney's 2018 campaign, saying he would "make a great Senator." Brendan Morrow

October 28, 2017

White nationalists have planned marches in Shelbyville and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, on Saturday to protest refugee resettlement in their state, highlighting last month's lethal church shooting in Antioch, Tennessee, by a Sudanese suspect. The "White Lives Matter" events are organized by some of the same groups involved in the rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this year, where an anti-racist demonstrator, Heather Heyer, was killed when a white supremacist rammed his car into a crowd.

A group of 172 Tennessee clergy issued a statement condemning Saturday's marches before they began. "These organizations are founded on the principles of white ethnonationalism," the statement says. "Our faiths call us to build bridges across racial and ethnic divides, not to dig deeper trenches. We stand as neighbors and as people of faith to proclaim that we are stronger as a community of love, faith, and peace."

Counter-protests are expected, and local law enforcement as well as demonstrators on both sides say they hope to avoid violence. "There is a threat level that didn't exist before," mused Brad Griffin, a "White Lives Matter" organizer. "It used to be just us and these peaceful liberals out there yelling at each other." Griffin told The Washington Post he urged Saturday's attendees to leave their guns at home. "Come to the White Lives Matter rallies to make a good impression," he wrote in a blog post promoting the event. Bonnie Kristian

October 17, 2017

When President Trump issued the third version of his travel ban in late September, the Supreme Court canceled oral arguments for two challenges to the policy's second iteration. But this week the ban is back in court as a federal judge in Maryland has held hearings to determine whether the new ban codifies religious discrimination against Muslims, as well as whether it exceeds Trump's executive authority to regulate immigration.

At the hearing Monday, U.S. District Judge Theodore Chuang pressed the Justice Department attorney defending the ban about the contents of the classified report that informs the new rule. "How is this different than Korematsu?" Chuang asked, referring to inaccurate information presented by the federal government to the Supreme Court in 1944's Korematsu v. United States, in which SCOTUS approved the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.

Chuang has yet to issue a ruling. The new ban is scheduled to take effect Wednesday, Oct. 18, which gives him a tight deadline to decide whether to suspend Trump's order. Bonnie Kristian

August 19, 2017

Boston city officials have announced a heavy police presence will be on hand to contain potential violence at competing protests scheduled Saturday in Boston Common, the city's most historic park.

What those officers — and protesters — will encounter is unclear. The event started with a permit for up to 100 people with the stated purpose of demonstrating for free speech, but counter-protests were planned when other local activist groups, including Black Lives Matter, noticed two of the scheduled speakers have ties to the alt-right, and one of those two attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville.

"We're expecting about 20,000 to 30,000," said one counter-protest organizer, Monica Cannon. "We plan to send a really strong message that ... you don't get to come here and do this."

A previous demonstration by Boston Free Speech, the group that applied for the original permit, was organized in a different park in Boston earlier this year. Also billed as a pro-Constitution event, many attendees were affiliated with alt-right and white supremacist groups, and speakers included one Augustus Invictus, who told his audience to prepare themselves to fight a second Civil War. Boston Free Speech abridged Saturday's schedule in response to the planned counter-protests. Several of the more controversial speakers, including Invictus, are no longer on the docket. Bonnie Kristian

See More Speed Reads