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October 8, 2020

President Trump seems to have forgotten who he's running against.

Trump joined Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo on Thursday morning to discuss whatever he wanted to talk about, apparently. And he started out on a relevant note, saying he wasn't going to "waste my time on a virtual debate" scheduled against Joe Biden due to the fact that Trump has coronavirus.

Bartiromo later got a question in, asking Trump if he would be able to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. "If we don't, it's the Republicans' fault," Trump said, before spinning to claim Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) made a mistake about the history of election year confirmations at Wednesday night's vice presidential debate. "They're worse than Crooked Hillary," Trump then said out of nowhere, pivoting to her 2016 email scandal and marking a transition from relevancy to history in less than a minute.

And again as Bartiromo tried to end her interview with Trump, he jumped back in with some off-the-wall accusations, "Everyone else I know gets indicted" when they don't hand over emails, Trump claimed — which begs the question of just who Trump hangs out with. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 21, 2020

When Justice Antonin Scalia died in 2016, Republicans steamrolled former President Barack Obama's nominee because they said the next president should choose the nominee. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) even invited Democrats to "use my words against me" if there was an election-year vacancy come 2020 — but he seems to have changed his mind.

In a Monday letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Graham claimed he still felt the same about election-year vacancies. He looked back a few years to claim Americans "elected a Republican Senate majority in 2014" because they wanted a check on the end of Obama's lame duck presidency. Likewise, since the 1880s, no Senate "has confirmed an opposite-party president's Supreme Court nominee during an election year," he continued. Americans renewing a Republican Senate majority in 2018 points Graham in the same direction this time around, he said, as well as the fact that Trump is up for re-election.

But Graham went on to say that he actually had changed his mind about the nomination process after the "treatment" of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. When comparing the overwhelming confirmations of Ginsburg and the testy nominating processes for Robert Bork, Kavanaugh, and Clarence Thomas, "it's clear that there already is one set of rules for a Republican president and one set of rules for a Democrat president," Graham finished. Kathryn Krawczyk

December 28, 2018

The Environmental Protection Agency doesn't want to prioritize health anymore.

In a rule change proposed Friday, President Trump's EPA seeks to soften its regulation of toxic mercury emissions. It'll reconfigure the Obama-era Mercury and Air Toxic Standards (MATS), giving higher consideration to how much future regulations would cost manufacturers before implementing them, The Washington Post reports.

In 2011, former President Barack Obama's EPA implemented the standards, which essentially created an algorithm to determine whether health benefits would outweigh the massive cost of cutting power plants' toxic emissions. Scientists say there's been an 80 percent reduction in mercury pollution since then, The New York Times reports. Friday's proposal wouldn't repeal the Obama rule entirely, but would merely discount the value of human health in its equation.

Complying with MATS costs power plants $7.4 to $9.6 billion annually, the EPA estimated in its Friday statement. But it only estimated $4 million to $6 million in annual health benefits, concluding it's not "appropriate and necessary" to regulate "hazardous air pollutants" from oil- and coal-fired power plants. The Obama-led EPA produced a similar figure, but also said the regulations would reduce nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide in the air, producing further cost benefits. That's not to mention that mercury itself can "lower IQ, cause motor function deficits, damage the nervous system, and lead to more heart attacks," Bloomberg reports.

Power plants initially opposed MATS and some sued for its repeal. But an energy lobbyist has since told the Times "nobody who operates power plants ... is asking for the rule to go away" anymore, seeing as they've already spent an estimated $18 billion to comply with it. Kathryn Krawczyk

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