West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) is denying that comments he made about a high school basketball team and its coaches are racist.
When Justice isn't running the state of West Virginia, he's a coach for the girls basketball team at Greenbrier East High School in Lewisburg. On Tuesday, they played against Woodrow Wilson High School, but the game ended early when one of the Woodrow Wilson coaches got into an altercation with a person in the stands.
Afterward, an irritated Justice told The Beckley Register-Herald: "I hate to say it any other way, but honest to God's truth is the same thing happened over at Woodrow two different times out of the Woodrow players. They're a bunch of thugs. The whole team left the bench, the coach is in a fight, they walked off the floor, they called the game. ... They don't know how to behave, and at the end of the day, you got what you got."
Woodrow Wilson's coaches are black, and there are also black players on the team. By calling them "thugs," this was a "thinly veiled racial slur," West Virginia state Del. Mike Pushkin (D) tweeted. On Wednesday, Justice said in a statement there was nothing wrong with calling the teenage girls and their coaches thugs, because the definition "is clear — it means violence, bullying, and disorderly conduct. And we, as West Virginians, should have zero tolerance for this kind of behavior. Anyone that would accuse me of making a racial slur is totally absurd." Catherine Garcia
Democrats in Congress on Wednesday expressed bewilderment over Attorney General William Barr's statement that he believes spying on President Trump's 2016 campaign "did occur."
Barr made his comment during a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing on Wednesday, saying he's looking into the FBI's investigation into the Trump 2016 campaign and Russia because "spying on a political campaign is a big deal" and "I think spying did occur." Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), chair of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted that Barr's words contradicted previous Department of Justice communications. He has asked for an immediate briefing to clarify the issue:
These comments directly contradict what DOJ previously told us. I’ve asked DOJ to brief us immediately. In the meantime, the AG still owes us the full Mueller report. #ReleaseTheReporthttps://t.co/DFOP5igcnO
Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) also expressed confusion at Barr's statement. Asked by CNN's Manu Raju whether he has been told of spying on the Trump campaign, he said, "absolutely not." Warner went on to say that Barr "almost seems to be endorsing one of these theories that has been debunked time and time again," adding that his comments are "disrespectful" to Department of Justice employees.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, went even further, arguing "the top law enforcement officer of the country should not casually suggest that those under his purview engaged in 'spying' on a political campaign" and that Barr's "partisan talking point ... strikes another destructive blow to our democratic institutions." Brendan Morrow