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    Biden honors Roe v Wade’s 50th anniversary as anti-abortionists rally in Washington – as it happeend

    Today is the 50th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision, which protected abortion rights nationwide until it was overturned by the conservative-dominated supreme court last year. The White House has issued a proclamation honoring the formerly precedent-setting case, and promising to continue fighting for abortion access.“The Court got Roe right 50 years ago. It was a balanced decision with broad national consensus that the majority of Americans have continued to support for the last 50 years. And it was a constitutional principle upheld by justices appointed by Democratic and Republican Presidents alike,” Joe Biden wrote in the proclamation, which honors “generations of advocates who have fought for reproductive freedom, to recognize the countless women whose lives and futures have been saved and shaped by the Roe v. Wade decision, and to march forward with purpose as we work together to restore the right to choose.”“I continue to call on the Congress to pass legislation to make those protections the law of the land once and for all. Until then, I will continue to use my Executive authority to protect women and families from harm in the wake of the Dobbs decision,” which overturned Roe, the president said.But just blocks from the White House, anti-abortion advocates are gathering for the annual March for Life rally, the first since the supreme court ruling in Dobbs vs Jackson Women’s Health Organization allowed states to ban the procedure. They’ve changed up their route this year and will finish near the Capitol, a recognition that the latest front in the abortion debate is in Congress and state legislatures nationwide.The Guardian’s Lauren Gambino is on the scene at the rally:Abortion opponents are beginning to gather on the mall before the annual March for Life rally and march, the first since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v Wade. The theme this year is “Next Steps: Marching Forward into a Post-Roe America.” pic.twitter.com/aQnnE5SLiT— Lauren Gambino (@laurenegambino) January 20, 2023
    Today was the 50th anniversary of the supreme court handing down Roe v Wade, and the first since its conservative justices reversed that ruling last year and allowed states to ban the procedure. Joe Biden marked the day with a proclamation restating his administration’s commitment to protecting reproductive rights, while blocks from the White House, anti-abortion activists gathered for the annual March for Life – the first since Roe was overturned. The route for their march this year finished near the US Capitol, a signal that swaying legislatures nationwide is the next task for their movement.Here’s what else happened today:
    The supreme court will next week issue the first opinion of its current term after an unusually long period of silence.
    Donald Trump has warned Republicans not to cut the popular Social Security or Medicare programs after the party’s leaders vowed to reduce government spending in exchange for raising the debt limit.
    Today marked the halfway point of Biden’s first term in office, and reports indicate he still intends to seek a second term, with an announcement planned for after the 7 February State of the Union address.
    Democrats breathed a big sigh of relief when Virginia senator Tim Kaine said he would seek re-election. Had he opted to retire, the party’s quest to hold on to the Senate in the 2024 election could have become more complicated.
    Arizona’s new Democratic administration has paused executions and announced a review of the state’s use of capital punishment.
    Joe Biden will host the leaders of Congress at the White House next week, Bloomberg Government reports.He’ll also meet separately with Kevin McCarthy, the Republican House speaker, about raising the debt limit:NEWS: House, Senate Democratic leaders to White House Tuesday to talk about new session w BidenBiden says he’ll have a separate discussion w GOP Leader #McCarthy about US #DebtLimit soon but gives no detailsUS default would be “unprecedented calamity,” Biden says— Nancy Ognanovich (@NOgnanovich) January 20, 2023
    In Arizona, newly elected Democratic governor Katie Hobbs has announced a review of the state’s procedures for applying the death penalty, and the attorney general has moved to pause executions.“If Arizona is going to execute individuals, it should have a system for doing so that is transparent, accountable, and faithful to our Constitution and the rule of law,” Kris Mayes, the Democratic attorney general elected in November, said in a statement that announced the withdrawal of a pending warrant of execution for a death row prisoner.Hobbs said she had signed an executive order creating a Death Penalty Independent Review Commissioner, who is tasked with evaluating “lethal injection drug and gas chamber chemical procurement process, execution protocols, and staffing considerations including training and experience.”“With the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry (ADCRR) now under new leadership, it’s time to address the fact that this is a system that needs better oversight on numerous fronts,” Hobbs said. She noted that Arizona “has a history of mismanaged executions that have resulted in serious questions and concerns about ADCRR’s execution protocols and lack of transparency.”Looks who’s at the March for Life in Washington DC.It’s white nationalist group the Patriot Front, according to two independent photographers documenting the anti-abortion event:Members of patriot front heading out flyers once again at March for life in Washington DC today pic.twitter.com/fWD5MTHJT3— Zach D Roberts – Photojournalist (@zdroberts) January 20, 2023
    Groups of men in flannel and face masks handing out Patriot Front flyers at March for Life in DC today. pic.twitter.com/lu2hKayMxk— Nathan Howard (@SmileItsNathan) January 20, 2023
    In a lengthy reply to Republican House judiciary chair Jim Jordan, the justice department laid out some conditions for its cooperation with the committee, CNN reports:News: DOJ responds to GOP Rep. Jim Jordan’s requests for documents & info related to House Judiciary Committee probes. Makes clear department unlikely to share information about ongoing criminal investigations but will work to accommodate other requests. pic.twitter.com/mbS2zSpKbZ— Zachary Cohen (@ZcohenCNN) January 20, 2023
    Jordan’s committee is one of several in the House that Republicans are using to launch inquiries into the Biden administration, and it has already sent several requests for documents on various subjects to the White House, justice department and elsewhere.The supreme court is well into its 2022-2023 term, but hasn’t released any opinions yet, in what court observers say is an unprecedented period of silence.That’s set to change Monday morning, when the justices finally release their first decision, SCOTUSblog reports:NEW: The Supreme Court expects to issue one or more opinions on Monday morning. It will be the first opinion-release of the 2022-23 term.— SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog) January 20, 2023
    As NBC News points out, there’s no telling which opinions they will release:Court heard some big cases in the fall but generally its first rulings are in lower-profile cases in which the justices are (mostly) unanimous— Lawrence Hurley (@lawrencehurley) January 20, 2023
    US vice president Kamala Harris is due to give a speech on Sunday in the Florida state capital of Tallahassee, to mark the 50th anniversary of the US Supreme Court making abortion in the US a constitutional right, with its 1973 decision in the case Roe v Wade.It would have been a celebration for those in favor of reproductive rights in America, including personal choice in the matter of abortion.Instead, the anti-abortion movement is holding its annual rally and march in Washington in an atmosphere of triumph for the anti-choice school because of last June’s decision by the now-conservative-dominated supreme court overturning Roe.That decision in the so-called Dobbs case out of Mississippi ripped up Roe and threw away federal abortion rights, returning the power to make law on abortion back to individual states.On Sunday, Harris will make a pro-choice speech and moments ago, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the veep chose Florida partly because it has tough restrictions on abortion – though less so than its neighboring states. “Florida’s restrictions are not as tough as neighbors,” said Jean-Pierre, but noted that Florida “is considering an even more extreme ban which would be devastating for women.”Harris and Joe Biden have been in office for exactly two years today.In the wake of a federal judge ordering Donald Trump and one of his attorneys to jointly pay nearly $1m in penalties for pursuing a frivolous lawsuit that accused Hillary Clinton and others, the former president today also withdrew his lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James.The case against James, in federal court in Florida, had also been before US district court judge Donald Middlebrooks, the Associated Press reports.Just in: Trump withdraws suit against NY State AG Letitia James — the type of frivolous case that was cited by the judge who last night imposed sanctions of nearly $1 million against Trump and his lawyer Alina Habba— Hugo Lowell (@hugolowell) January 20, 2023
    Trump sued James in November in response to her lawsuit alleging he and his company mislead banks and others about the value of assets in a practice she dubbed “The art of the steal” [a parody on Trump’s best-selling book about getting rich as a New York real estate mogul, The Art of the Deal.]Trump, a Republican, also sought to prevent James, a Democrat, from having any oversight over the family trust that controls his company.His 35-page complaint rehashed some claims from his previously dismissed lawsuit against James in federal court in New York, irritating Middlebrooks.Middlebrooks wrote in an order in December:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}This litigation has all the telltale signs of being both vexatious and frivolous.”Today is the 50th anniversary of the supreme court handing down Roe v Wade, and the first since its conservative justices reversed that ruling last year and allowed states to ban the procedure. Joe Biden marked the day with a proclamation restating his administration’s commitment to protecting reproductive rights, while blocks from the White House, anti-abortion activists have gathered for the annual March for Life – the first since Roe was overturned. In a sign of the struggle ahead, the route for their march this year will finish near the US Capitol, a signal that legislatures nationwide are now the main battlefields for their movement.Here’s what else has happened today:
    Donald Trump has warned Republicans not to go after the popular Social Security or Medicare programs after the party’s leaders promised to cut government spending in exchange for raising the debt limit.
    Today marks the halfway point of Biden’s first term in office, and reports indicate he still plans to seek a second term, with an announcement planned for after the 7 February State of the Union address.
    Democrats breathed a big sigh of relief when Virginia senator Tim Kaine said he would seek a third term. Had he opted to retire, the party’s quest to hold on to the Senate in the 2024 election could have become more complicated.
    Ron DeSantis violated the law when he suspended a Florida state attorney for saying he wouldn’t enforce the state’s restrictive new 15-week abortion ban, a judge has ruled.But district court judge Robert Hinkle says he doesn’t have the authority to overturn the Republican governor’s decision and reinstate Hillsborough county state attorney Andrew Warren to office.DeSantis removed Warren in August after the Democrat said he wouldn’t enforce the abortion law, or prosecute providers of gender transition treatment for young people. Accusing Warren of following a “woke” agenda, the governor said he had put himself “above the law”.But in a scathing 59-page ruling released Friday, Hinkle said it was DeSantis, a likely candidate for the Republican party’s 2024 presidential nomination, who had broken the law.He rejected DeSantis’s assertion that Warren had a blanket policy of not prosecuting certain cases, and that Warren had every right as a state attorney to “exercise prosecutorial discretion at every stage of every case”:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The governor violated the first amendment by considering Mr Warren’s speech on matters of public concern as motivating factors in the decision to suspend him.
    The governor [also] violated the first amendment by considering Mr Warren’s association with the Democratic party.Hinkle conceded that DeSantis would still have removed Warren without the violations, and because they didn’t affect the outcome, he couldn’t provide injunctive relief.DeSantis’s violation of the Florida state constitution did affect the outcome, Hinkle said. But he noted the 11th amendment prohibited a federal court awarding relief against a state official based only on a violation of state law, and that he had no alternative to dismiss Warren’s request for reinstatement.In an earlier stage of the legal case, Hinkle ordered DeSantis to testify in defense of his decision, but backed down in November.With his legal path to reinstatement now apparently blocked, Warren is expected to lay out his next steps to reporters later today.The demise of Roe v Wade was unusual in that Americans knew it was coming weeks in advance.That’s because somebody obtained a draft of the decision in the Dobbs case and leaked it to Politico, a highly unusual development for an institution whose inner workings are almost never revealed. Chief justice John Roberts ordered an investigation into the leak, but yesterday, the court’s marshal said they could not figure out who did it.That hasn’t sat well with some. Republican senator John Kennedy deployed his trademark colorful language in an interview with Fox News, blaming the leaker for putting a supreme court justice in danger:“Congratulations, butthead.”— Sen. John Kennedy’s (R-LA) message to the leaker of the U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion on overturning Roe v. Wade pic.twitter.com/m6XMognn70— The Recount (@therecount) January 20, 2023
    He doesn’t name him, but Kennedy is likely referring to Brett Kavanaugh,a conservative who was among the justices voting to overturn Roe. Last summer, a 26-year-old man was arrested for allegedly plotting to assassinate Kavanaugh.The sentiment among March for Life attendees is a mixture of politics, prayer and poetry, the Guardian’s Lauren Gambino reports from the rally:Signage is similar to last years: “I am the post-roe generation.” “Love them both” with an image of a pregnant woman. Also spotted some Trump 2024 signage and attire and at least one “let’s go Brandon” flag.” pic.twitter.com/pXD0iUvD8S— Lauren Gambino (@laurenegambino) January 20, 2023
    The Dr. Seuss quote is also a popular one in signs pic.twitter.com/OB2ArfeMBF— Lauren Gambino (@laurenegambino) January 20, 2023
    The Irish musician performing at the rally is asking women to pray for the men in the audience who are here standing up for women and children pic.twitter.com/sSrHQoLQ3j— Lauren Gambino (@laurenegambino) January 20, 2023 More

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    Kevin McCarthy’s debt ceiling standoff is yet more Republican madness | Richard Wolffe

    Kevin McCarthy’s debt ceiling standoff is yet more Republican madnessRichard WolffeThe new House speaker is just a small man, talking a big game, taking a long walk off a short pier Kevin McCarthy might not look stupid.In the privacy of his home, far away from the TV cameras and the Maga bozos in his Republican caucus, he might not always sound stupid.US heads for debt-ceiling standoff as House Republicans refuse to budgeRead moreBut the new House speaker has fully embraced the politics of stupid.Stupid is picking a political fight you know you are going to lose. Stupid is taking the economy and the markets to the brink of debt default before caving like it’s no big deal. Stupid is pretending to look tough about deficit spending after waving through every budget-busting dollar that Donald Trump wanted to spend.Stupid is what Kevin McCarthy does. Because Kevin McCarthy was stupid enough to want the job of leading this motley crew of House Republicans in the post-Trump era.Still, our Kevin is something of a conundrum. He is smart enough to know he’s acting dumb.After all, he was present and on the job when the House Republicans first tried to prove their macho bona fides. Back in the heady days of 2011, when the Republican party was drunk with the Tea Party, McCarthy was the House majority whip – the third in command – as they thought the unthinkable about defaulting on Treasury debt.After months of pointless crisis, the Republicans caved and ended up with a package of budget cuts that were vastly outweighed by the billions of dollars in extra costs incurred by the crisis itself. According to the Government Accountability Office, the debt ceiling fiasco cost Treasury an extra $1.3bn in just one year, and billions more in higher borrowing costs for years to come.But saving money was never the point of this particularly predictable game of chicken. A chicken’s brain is the size of two peanuts, which is at least one peanut bigger than the political brains behind the debt ceiling crisis.Naturally, the House Republicans fared badly in the polls after 2011, and their attempt to wound then President Obama succeeded so well that he sailed to re-election the following year.Having learned precisely no lessons from their failures, they repeated the same chicken run in 2013, when they caved again with even less to show for the self-inflicted crisis than they salvaged two years earlier.Kev was still majority whip for that second Hail Mary, but why stop when you’re losing?This is the Republican leader who just lost 14 votes to grab the job of speaker, and succeeded only at the 15th attempt by offering what was left of his peanut-sized dignity as a ritual sacrifice to the craziest collection of Trump-inspired loons outside Florida.There’s a reason why Marjorie Taylor Greene has been handed a seat on the House homeland security committee. It’s either because of her desire to investigate the gazpacho police or the Jewish space lasers. Only time, and some delicious cold soup, will tell.In his private moments, Kevin can probably make sense of this insanity by telling himself that goddamit he’s all that stands between us and the end of civilization. Who else could possibly bridge the divide between the Trumpy-trons and regular, white middle America?If it weren’t for our Captain Kevin, they would still be voting for a House speaker and Marjorie Taylor Greene would have seized control of all the lasers.So what if he had to humiliate himself to get the job? It wasn’t the first time. He had to humiliate himself by groveling to Trump after that nasty insurrection thing got out of hand on January 6. Sometimes you have to take one for Team America.But these delusions can only take you so far: to the end of the cliff, where the lemmings finally realize the folly of their decisions.At the very point where the debt ceiling crisis ends, the speaker’s real suffering starts to kick in.Because that’s when the Kev-meister stares down the reality of the deal he made with the devil to get his job in the first place. This is the so-called motion to vacate, giving one single, unhinged House Republican the ability to call for a vote to fire their so-called leader.You see, the debt ceiling crisis is not, in fact, a show of strength by the House Republicans and the political mastermind who sits in the speaker’s office. It is a demonstration of weakness, unfolding over many months, with only one destination: the debt ceiling lifted, and the end of Kevin McCarthy’s career.For now, McCarthy is the only one at the negotiating table over the debt ceiling. Even his Republican partner in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, will have nothing to do with this nonsense.“I would like to sit down with all the leaders and especially the president and start having discussions,” said the incredible shrinking speaker. “Who wants to put the nation through some type of threat at the last minute with the debt ceiling? Nobody wants to do that.”Nobody, except Kevin. Nobody knows the trouble Kevin has seen. And nobody but Kevin knows how lonely he feels.It was his old boss, John Boehner – the House speaker who tried and failed to stare down President Obama over the debt ceiling – who put it best: a leader without followers is just a man taking a walk.Kevin McCarthy is just a small man, talking a big game, taking a long walk off a short pier.
    Richard Wolffe is a Guardian US columnist. He is the author of Renegade: The Making of a President
    TopicsRepublicansOpinionUS CongressHouse of RepresentativesUS politicsDemocratsKevin McCarthycommentReuse this content More

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    US hits borrowing limit, kicking off fight between Republicans and Democrats – as it happened

    The US government has hit the legal limit on how much money it can borrow, and Congress must approve an increase to avoid a debt default in the coming months, Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said this morning.In a letter to congressional leaders, Yellen announced the Treasury would begin taking “extraordinary measures” to make the government’s cash on hand last until Congress acts. These include a “debt issuance suspension period” lasting from today till 5 June, as well as suspending investments into two government employee retirement funds.“As I stated in my January 13 letter, the period of time that extraordinary measures may last is subject to considerable uncertainty, including the challenges of forecasting the payments and receipts of the US government months into the future. I respectfully urge Congress to act promptly to protect the full faith and credit of the United States,” Yellen wrote.The latest standoff over the debt ceiling kicked off today, when the US government officially hit its legal borrowing limit. The clock is now ticking for Congress to reach an agreement to raise it, otherwise the country will default for the first time in its history, perhaps as soon as June. The White House is demanding Republicans controlling the House raise the limit without conditions, but several moderate GOP lawmakers say the Biden administration needs to compromise. Separately, the supreme court released a report into the leak of its draft opinion overturning Roe v Wade, and said they could not figure out who did it.Here’s what else happened today:
    Joe Biden remains unpopular, a new poll found, but the president still reportedly plans to announce his re-election campaign soon.
    The debt ceiling gets the New Yorker treatment, for better or worse.
    The top Senate Democrat and the head of America’s largest bank both warned of the consequences of breaching the borrowing limit, while the Senate Republican leader sounded optimistic a deal would be reached.
    As eager as some in Washington may be to fight over the debt ceiling, Edward Helmore reports that the head of America’s largest bank has warned of the consequences of a protracted standoff: The US should not be “playing games” with the debt ceiling, the JP Morgan chief executive, Jamie Dimon, warned warring US political factions on Thursday as a heated row over the federal borrowing limit reached a crisis point.“We should never question the creditworthiness of the US government. That is sacrosanct and it should never happen,” Dimon said on Thursday in an interview on CNBC. “This is not something we should be playing games with at all.”​Dimon’s comments came as the US treasury department announced later Thursday it would take steps to keep paying the federal government’s bills as the US hit its $31.4tn debt limit as expected.JP Morgan chief says US should not be ‘playing games’ with debt ceilingRead moreThe White House is maintaining its no-negotiations stance on the debt ceiling, the Associated Press reports:White House principal deputy press secretary @ODalton46 on the debt limit, during her first AF1 gaggle: “Our posture on this hasn’t changed. There will be no negotiations on the debt ceiling.”— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) January 19, 2023
    This report could be the last word from the investigation into who leaked the draft of the Dobbs opinion to Politico.The supreme court marshal’s investigators “continue to review and process some electronic data that has been collected and a few other inquiries remain pending. To the extent that additional investigation yields new evidence or leads, the investigators will pursue them,” the report said.But to underscore that the marshal had truly pursued all leads in its investigation into what the report calls “one of the worst breaches of trust in its history”, the supreme court asked former homeland security secretary Michael Chertoff to review the investigation and see if there was anything they missed.“At this time, I cannot identify any additional useful investigative measures,” Chertoff concluded. This investigation must have made the lives of supreme court employees stressful.The report details all the ways in which about 100 employees were questioned and scrutinized, as well as how the court examined its electronic equipment for clues.The electronic leads the court pursued turned up nothing, according to the report. Analysts could not determine if the court’s systems were hacked, though “the investigators did not find any logs or IT artifacts indicating that the draft opinion was downloaded to removable media, but it is impossible to rule out,” the document states. While some of the court’s printers kept logs of who was duplicating what, others did not, or kept records that were incomplete. And there was “no relevant information” on any of the court-owned electronic devices the investigators retrieved from staff, nor on any of the personal cellphones and other gear they examined.Besides the justices, 82 people had access to either physical or electronic copies of the Dobbs opinion. The investigators conducted a total of 126 interviews with 97 people, according to the report, but these, too, were fruitless. All staff agreed to be interviewed, but the report notes no leads came from these conversations. The court also checked legal research history requests from staff, and found nothing suspicious. Finally, they asked each employee interviewed to sign and swear to an affidavit saying they didn’t disclose the opinion. All they got out of this was “a few” admissions from staff that they’d told their spouse about the opinion or vote count, and some other violations of court rules that did not reveal the leaker.“Some individuals admitted to investigators that they told their spouse or partner about the draft Dobbs opinion and the vote count, in violation of the Court’s confidentiality rules. Several personnel told investigators they had shared confidential details about their work more generally with their spouses and some indicated they thought it permissible to provide such information to their spouses. Some personnel handled the Dobbs draft in ways that deviated from their standard process for handling draft opinions,” the report said.Finally, the investigators looked into connections between the court and reporters, especially Politico, the website that published the draft, but found nothing. Nor did anything come out of a forensic examination of the draft digital opinion posted on Politico’s website, an analysis of an employee’s home printer, or fingerprint analysis of “an item relevant to the investigation.”There is one group of supreme court staff that the document makes no mention of investigators interviewing – the justices themselves.In a nutshell, here is what the supreme court’s investigation into the May leak of the draft opinion in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization found:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}At this time, based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, it is not possible to determine the identity of any individual who may have disclosed the document or how the draft opinion ended up with Politico. No one confessed to publicly disclosing the document and none of the available forensic and other evidence provided a basis for identifying any individual as the source of the document. While investigators and the Court’s IT experts cannot absolutely rule out a hack, the evidence to date reveals no suggestion of improper outside access. Investigators also cannot eliminate the possibility that the draft opinion was inadvertently or negligently disclosed – for example, by being left in a public space either inside or outside the building.The Dobbs case was so controversial because it overturned the precedent allowing abortion access nationwide established in Roe v Wade.The case is not completely closed, the report notes, saying “continued investigation and analysis may produce additional leads that could identify the source of the disclosure.”Supreme court investigators could not determine who leaked the draft opinion of conservative justices’ June ruling overturning the right to abortion established in Roe v Wade, according to a report released by the court this afternoon.A team composed of the supreme court’s marshal and her staff “has to date been unable to identify a person responsible by a preponderance of the evidence,” the report said.Follow this blog for more on this developing story.Joe Biden still plans to announce his re-election campaign relatively soon despite the investigation into classified documents found at his former private office and home in Delaware, CNN reports, quoting anonymous members of the president’s inner circle.The article asserts that the president’s inner circle sees the document case ensnaring Biden as little more than “DC noise” from members of the elite within the nation’s capital. Biden, therefore, intends to stick to a timeline that would see him make a re-election announcement sometime after his state of the union speech scheduled for 7 February, the article adds. Supporters of Biden’s Oval Office predecessor Donald Trump – who is running for the White House again in 2024 – have hoped that the documents case undermines the president’s re-election chances. But Biden and his fellow Democrats argue that there are differences between the president’s case and the one involving government secrets found at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.An FBI search of Mar-a-Lago last year uncovered more than 11,000 documents, including about 300 marked classified or top secret, from Trump’s time as president. Meanwhile, the documents involved in Biden’s case reportedly number fewer than 12 and date back to his time as Barack Obama’s vice-president.The US “will pay the price” if it stops paying off debts now that the nation has hit the legal limit on how much money it can borrow, the Democratic Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer has said. Schumer’s statement backed up the Joe Biden White House’s demands that Republicans controlling the US House agree to raise the country’s so-called debt ceiling without conditions, though several GOP lawmakers have said the president’s staff must be willing to compromise. “This is not complicated: if the Maga GOP stops paying our nation’s bills, Americans will be the ones to pay the price,” Schumer’s statement Thursday argued. “Political brinkmanship with the debt limit would be a massive hit to local economies, American families and would be nothing less than an economic crisis at the hands of the Republicans.”The statement continued, “From rising home costs, interest rates, cuts to social security, Medicare and more, it’s clear who will actually pay the price for gratuitous partisan politics: American families.”For the US to avoid a debt default in the coming months, both chambers of Congress must approve an increase to the limit on how much money the federal government can borrow, Treasury secretary Janet Yellen has said. Democrats hold a slim majority in the Senate, and the same is true of Republicans in the House, setting up a fight over the issue between the two parties.So it begins. The US government has hit its legal borrowing limit, and the clock is now ticking for Congress to reach an agreement to raise it, or for the country to default for the first time in its history, sometime in the coming months. The White House is demanding Republicans controlling the House agree to raise the debt ceiling without conditions, but several moderate GOP lawmakers say the Biden administration needs to compromise at the bargaining table. Meanwhile, top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell thinks everyone needs to chill out.Here’s what else has happened today so far:
    Joe Biden is still pretty unpopular, a new poll finds.
    Donald Trump plans to speak in response to comments that his latest presidential campaign just doesn’t have that 2016 vigor.
    The debt ceiling gets the New Yorker treatment, for better or worse.
    There are many factors dragging down Joe Biden’s popularity, and the recent discovery of classified documents in his possession has probably not helped matters.The president is now facing a scandal similar to the one that Donald Trump was caught up in starting in August of last year, but there are importance differences between the two men’s situations. Here’s a breakdown:Two presidents, many classified documents.Joe Biden remains an unpopular president, a Reuters/Ipsos poll released today finds, though voters don’t seem to like other Washington power players much either.Biden’s approval rating was 40% in the poll conducted over three days till Sunday, just a smidgen higher than the 39% reported a month ago and remaining near the lowest level ever recorded of his presidency.However, Republican House speaker Kevin McCarthy’s approval was a dismal 20% in the poll, while only 35% said they had a positive view of the House and 38% said the same of the Senate.Moderate House Republicans who represent districts Joe Biden won are frustrated with the White House’s refusal to negotiate over the debt ceiling, CNN reports.The Biden administration is currently pushing Congress to agree to a “clean” debt limit increase, without the conditions sought by the GOP leadership in the House. These moderate lawmakers could be crucial to bridging the narrow gap with Democrats in the lower chamber to make that happen, but several have told CNN that some kind of agreement needs to be reached on addressing America’s budget deficit.“I don’t think that a clean debt ceiling is in order, and I certainly don’t think that a default is in order,” Pennsylvania’s Brian Fitzpatrick said.Don Bacon of Nebraska said, “I’m not in favor of Biden’s no-negotiating strategy, and I’m not inclined to help,” adding, “The GOP can’t demand the moon, and Biden can’t refuse to negotiate. There needs to be give-and-take on both sides.”Mike Lawler, a New York Republican newly arrived in the House, said the Biden administration can’t ignore the GOP’s demands. “They need to come to a realization pretty quickly they are no longer in a one-party controlled government, and it requires negotiation.”The debt ceiling is the talk of the town in Washington DC, but in New York, it is merely a cartoon:A cartoon by @adamdouglasthom. #NewYorkerCartoons pic.twitter.com/Fhbe0IqaBc— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) January 19, 2023
    It is not even a particularly scrutable New Yorker cartoon, as this Washington Post reporter notes:?? What’s the joke lol pic.twitter.com/S9Th6bI2xM— Jeff Stein (@JStein_WaPo) January 19, 2023
    Brian Riedl is an economist who has advised a number of Republican politicians in the past, and shared some thoughts on Twitter about why the GOP is so eager to throw down over raising the debt ceiling:Democrats assert that the debt limit is the wrong place/time to address soaring deficits. Fine. But with 70% of spending and nearly all taxes on autopilot – untouchable in the annual budget process – perhaps they can tell us when they *would* be willing to address the issue?— Brian Riedl 🧀 🇺🇦 (@Brian_Riedl) January 17, 2023
    Deficit hawks would be happy to move the negotiations out of the debt limit debate. Just give us an alternative time and place and we’ll be there. If the answer is “never,” well, this is why – rightly or wrongly – critics will grab the only (admittedly bad) tool they have.— Brian Riedl 🧀 🇺🇦 (@Brian_Riedl) January 17, 2023 More

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    US government hits debt ceiling as Biden and House Republicans face off

    US government hits debt ceiling as Biden and House Republicans face offTreasury secretary says department will take ‘extraordinary measures’ to skirt default while also urging Congress to act The US government has hit the ceiling on its debt, brushing up against its legal limit of $38.381tn and piling pressure on Congress to approve an increase to avoid a debt default in the coming months that would send a shock wave through the global economy.In a letter to congressional leaders, the treasury secretary, Janet Yellen, said it would begin taking “extraordinary measures” to make the government’s cash on hand last until Congress acts. These include a “debt issuance suspension period” lasting from today until 5 June, as well as suspending investments into two government employee retirement funds.JP Morgan chief says US should not be ‘playing games’ with debt ceilingRead more“As I stated in my January 13 letter, the period of time that extraordinary measures may last is subject to considerable uncertainty, including the challenges of forecasting the payments and receipts of the US government months into the future. I respectfully urge Congress to act promptly to protect the full faith and credit of the United States,” Yellen wrote.The countdown toward a possible US government default puts the spotlight on frictions between President Joe Biden and House Republicans, raising alarms about whether the US can sidestep a potential economic crisis.An artificially imposed cap, the debt ceiling has been increased roughly 80 times since the 1960s. The government can temporarily rely on accounting tweaks to stay open. Any major threats to the economy would be several months away.But with the House speaker, Kevin McCarthy, presiding over a restive Republican caucus, there are concerns that the government could default on its obligations for political reasons.Biden insists on a “clean” increase to the debt limit so that existing financial commitments can be sustained and is refusing to even start talks with Republicans. McCarthy is calling for negotiations that he believes will lead to spending cuts. It’s unclear whether enough fellow Republicans would support any deal after a testy start to the new Congress that required 15 rounds of voting to elect McCarthy as speaker.The White House press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said it was the “constitutional responsibility” of Congress to protect the full faith and credit of the United States.McCarthy said Biden needs to recognize the political realities that come with a divided government. The speaker has called for spending cuts of a kind that did not occur under President Donald Trump, a Republican who in 2019 signed a bipartisan suspension of the debt ceiling.The Senate Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, said on Thursday in Louisville, Kentucky, that he was unconcerned about the situation because debt ceiling increases are “always a rather contentious effort”.“America must never default on its debt,” McConnell said. “We’ll end up in some kind of negotiation with the administration over what are the circumstances or conditions under which the debts are going to be raised.”Any deal would need to pass the Democratic-run Senate. “There should be no political brinkmanship with the debt limit,” said the Senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, a Democrat from New York. “It’s reckless for Speaker McCarthy and Maga Republicans to try and use the full faith and credit of the United States as a political bargaining chip.”In order to keep the government open, the treasury department on Thursday was making a series of accounting maneuvers that would put a hold on contributions and investment redemptions for government workers’ retirement and healthcare funds, giving the government enough financial space to handle its day-to-day expenses until roughly June.What happens if these measures are exhausted without a debt limit deal is unknown. A prolonged default could be devastating, with crashing markets and panic-driven layoffs if confidence evaporates in a cornerstone of the global economy, the US treasury notes.The government would have to balance its books on a daily basis if it lacks the ability to issue debt, and it would have to impose cuts equal in size on an annual basis to 5% of the total US economy.Analysts at Bank of America cautioned in a report last week that “there is a high degree of uncertainty about the speed and magnitude of the damage the US economy would incur”.Markets so far remain relatively calm, given that the government can temporarily rely on accounting tweaks to stay open and any threats to the economy would be several months away. Even many worried analysts assume there will be a deal.TopicsUS economyJanet YellenEconomicsUS politicsRepublicansDemocratsnewsReuse this content More

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    White House condemns appointments of far-right Republicans to House oversight panel – as it happened

    The Biden administration has condemned the appointment of several far-right Republicans to the House committee overseeing investigations, Axios reports.“[I]t appears that House Republicans may be setting the stage for divorced-from-reality political stunts, instead of engaging in bipartisan work on behalf of the American people,” White House spokesman Ian Sams said in a statement obtained by Axios.Sams singled out the House oversight committee, which under chair James Comer will take a lead role in investigating the Biden administration. “Chairman Comer once said his goal was to ensure the Committee’s work is ‘credible,’ yet Republicans are handing the keys of oversight to the most extreme MAGA members of the Republican caucus who promote violent rhetoric and dangerous conspiracy theories.”Among the lawmakers appointed to the panel are Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene, both of whom were stripped of their committee assignments in the last Congress for making violent threats. Also serving on oversight will be Scott Perry, a Donald Trump ally whose phone was seized last year reportedly as part of the FBI’s probe into efforts to overturn the 2020 election, and Lauren Boebert, a promoter of conspiracy theories, including Trump’s false claim that his election loss was illegitimate. That’s it for today’s US politics live blog! Here’s what happened so far:
    Kamala Harris will be traveling to Florida on Sunday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Roe v Wade, said the White House. White House officials have said that Harris will give a speech while in the Sunshine state, as local Democrats have battled against attempts to restrict abortion access from Republican governor Ron DeSantis, reported Associated Press.
    Trump is still the most popular man in the GOP, a new survey found.
    The Biden administration condemned the appointment of several far-right Republicans to the House committee overseeing investigations, Axios reports.
    Donald Trump is said to be planning a return to both Twitter and Facebook. The former president had his Facebook account locked following the January 6 insurrection, while Twitter did the same until its new owner Elon Musk reversed the ban after buying the platform last year.
    Trump claimed that classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago were just a bunch of cheap folders.
    Thank you for reading! See you here tomorrow for more US live coverage.During today’s White House press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded to questions about Representative George Santos being given committee positions, despite allegations that Santos fabricated several qualifications and life experiences. From Real Clear News Philip Melanchthon Wegmann: While “it’s up to the Republican conference, who have to decide what they owe the American people” when it comes to Rep. George Santos, @PressSec adds that “sadly” GOP has demonstrated a lack of commitment by appointing Santos to committee assignments.— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) January 18, 2023
    Kamala Harris will be traveling to Florida on Sunday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Roe v Wade, said the White House. White House officials have said that Harris will give a speech while in the Sunshine state, as local Democrats have battled against attempts to restrict abortion access from Republican governor Ron DeSantis, reported Associated Press. “The Vice President will make very clear: the fight to secure women’s fundamental right to reproductive health care is far from over,” said Harris spokesperson Kirsten Allen in a statement. “She will lay out the consequences of extremist attacks on reproductive freedom in states across our country and underscore the need for Congress to codify Roe.”The speech is one of many actions Harris has taken in recent months to signal the White House’s commitment to reproductive rights, including meeting with activists, healthcare providers, and local lawmakers, AP further reported. Read the full article here. The Associated Press reports that a longtime adviser to Donald Trump and organizer of conservative causes is being sued for allegedly groping a staffer for former GOP Senate candidate Herschel Walker:A staffer for Herschel Walker’s Republican Senate campaign filed a lawsuit against the prominent conservative activist Matt Schlapp on Tuesday, accusing Schlapp of groping him during a car ride in Georgia before last year’s midterm election.Schlapp denies the allegation. His lawyer said they were considering a countersuit.The battery and defamation lawsuit was filed in Alexandria circuit court in Virginia, where Schlapp lives, and seeks more than $9m in damages.It accuses Schlapp of “aggressively fondling” the staffer’s “genital area in a sustained fashion” while the staffer drove Schlapp back to his hotel from a bar in October, on the day of a Walker campaign event.The allegations were first reported by the Daily Beast.Trump ally Matt Schlapp sued by Herschel Walker aide over groping claimRead moreA ex-New York prosecutor has written a book he says will provide an “inside account” of the Manhattan district attorney’s case against Donald Trump, and his former boss is not pleased.Publisher Simon & Schuster last week announced it would on 7 February release “People vs. Donald Trump” by Mark Pomerantz, a former prosecutor in the office of the Manhattan district attorney, who after resigning last year said he believed Trump “is guilty of numerous felony violations”. In a synopsis of the book, Pomerantz says his work was used in district attorney Alvin Bragg’s prosecution of the Trump organization and its former finance chief Allen Weisselberg, but he decided to quit when Bragg refused to pursue “a larger criminal case” against the former president.“In People vs. Donald Trump, Pomerantz tells the story of his unprecedented investigation, why he believes Donald Trump should be prosecuted, and what we can learn about the nature of justice in America from this extraordinary case,” according to the synopsis.At last week’s sentencing of the Trump organization after it was found guilty of tax fraud, Bragg hinted that his investigation is continuing, and his office today sent a letter to Simon & Schuster warning the Pomerantz could break the law if he discloses details of the case. The Daily Beast obtained a copy of the letter, in which Bragg offers to review the book before publication:Here’s the letter the Manhattan DA’s Office sent to Simon and Schuster warning about an upcoming tell-all book written by a prosecutor who quit the Trump investigation. pic.twitter.com/fZXkhzwQAJ— Jose Pagliery (@Jose_Pagliery) January 18, 2023
    Republicans have lost an election finance complaint against Google, in which they alleged the tech giant violated US law by deploying its spam filter against campaign emails, Ars Technica reports.The Federal Election Commission (FEC) rejected a complaint filed jointly by the Republican National Committee (RNC), National Republican Senatorial Committee and National Republican Congressional Committee which alleged Google’s filtering of their emails represent an “illegal in-kind contributions made by Google to Biden For President and other Democrat candidates.”Last week, the FEC ruled that there was “no reason to believe” Google had made an illegal contribution, nor that Joe Biden’s presidential campaign had accepted such a contribution.“The Commission’s bipartisan decision to dismiss this complaint reaffirms that Gmail does not filter emails for political purposes,” Google said in a statement to Ars Technica on Tuesday.The Republican complaint cited a study from North Carolina State University (NCSU) that found “Gmail marks a significantly higher percentage (67.6 percent) of emails from the right as spam compared to the emails from left (just 8.2 percent).”However, the FEC rejected that assertion, saying there were several limitations to the study, and “the NCSU Study does not make any findings as to the reasons why Google’s spam filter appears to treat Republican and Democratic campaign emails differently.”Google’s trouble with the Republicans aren’t over. In October, the RNC sued the company, saying it is “throttling its email messages because of the RNC’s political affiliation and views.”A woman who helped attack the US Capitol on January 6 was indeed simply following Donald Trump’s orders but that fact does not absolve her of her culpability, a federal judge found.The opinion came in an 18-page ruling spelling out why Danean MacAndrew was guilty of violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building.Prosecutors persuaded the judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, that MacAndrew recorded video of herself storming the Capitol along with other Trump supporters in a failed attempt to prevent certification of Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win.In her ruling on Tuesday, Kollar-Kotelly found that MacAndrew traveled to Washington DC from California because Trump urged supporters to somehow overturn his defeat.MacAndrew ignored signs on the way to the Capitol and in the building itself which warned that her actions were unlawful, and therefore she was guilty as charged, Kollar-Kotelly concluded after a three-day bench trial.The ruling could have important implications. It echoes the central finding by the House January 6 committee which recommended Trump be charged criminally in connection with the Capital attack, because of how he urged his supporters to stage it.Trump has not been charged but prosecutors have not said he will not face charges.Others charged over the Capitol attack have defended themselves by saying they were following Trump’s orders. Such cases include five members of the far-right Proud Boys group currently on trial on charges of sedition who say they are being scapegoated for following Trump’s orders, because they are easier to prosecute than a former president.Kollar-Kotelly’s ruling in effect says obeying orders from Trump is a valid argument but does not get the accused off the hook.MacAndrew is among more than 940 people charged over the Capitol attack. About 540 have been convicted. MacAndrew’s sentence has not yet been handed down.Interesting reporting from CNN about how the White House is formulating its strategy for answering Republican attacks over Joe Biden’s retention of classified documents after leaving the vice-presidency in 2017, particularly in light of claims of hypocrisy and unfair treatment of Donald Trump, who retained many more documents when he left power two years ago and was markedly less keen to return them to the National Archives when they were discovered.A key quote, from an unnamed adviser: “He’s the president. But he also knows what people really care about – and this isn’t it.”Another key quote, from a “person familiar with the internal White House discussions”:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}I’m not sure anyone is comfortable saying they’ve put that behind them at this point. That said, there’s a pretty prevalent view that if this lands how they think, nobody will remember the mess of last week anyway.CNN says “the clearest window” into White House thinking is a “barrage of attacks leveled from West Wing officials in the last 48 hours at House Republicans pledging their own investigations into the matter”..css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Phrases targeting House Republicans that include ‘fake outrage’, ‘purely for partisan gain’ and ‘shamelessly hypocritical’ have started to animate a demonstrably more aggressive response from the West Wing.
    In an example of that strategy, Ian Sams, spokesman for the White House counsel’s office, accused Republicans of ‘handing the keys of oversight to the most extreme MAGA members of the Republican caucus who promote violent rhetoric and dangerous conspiracy theories’.Sams provided a statement to CNN. It said: “As we have said before, the Biden administration stands ready to work in good faith to accommodate Congress’ legitimate oversight needs. However, with these members joining the oversight committee, it appears that House Republicans may be setting the stage for divorced-from-reality political stunts, instead of engaging in bipartisan work on behalf of the American people.”Reuters reports on a warning from the US energy secretary, Jennifer Granholm, to Republicans in Congress, in which Granholm says limiting Joe Biden’s authority to tap US oil reserves would undermine national security, cause crude shortages and raise gasoline prices.Here’s a taste of the Reuters report:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}A bill called the Strategic Production Response Act, introduced earlier this month by Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers, would limit presidential authority in releasing oil from the strategic reserve, except in the case of a severe energy supply interruption.
    McMorris Rodgers now chairs the House energy and commerce committee after Republicans took over the chamber earlier this month.
    “This bill would significantly weaken this critical energy security tool, resulting in more oil supply shortages in times of crisis and higher gasoline prices for Americans,” Granholm said in the letter to the House energy panel, which was first seen by Reuters.
    The administration has faced bipartisan concern over the current inventories of the emergency reserves and the letter represents the administration’s latest efforts to defend its actions and ease concerns about the state of reserves.Some further reading about Biden and oil:Biden implores US oil companies to pass on record profits to consumersRead moreSpeaking of the culture wars in which Ron DeSantis so gleefully fights, here’s some lunchtime reading from our columnist Jill Filipovic about a key if somewhat surprising front in those seemingly never-ending wars…Of all the political issues I assumed would come to the fore in 2023, gas stoves were not on my bingo card. And yet Americans’ right to cook on an open gas flame has turned into a red-hot culture war issue. Conservatives are gearing up for a War of the Cooktops – and unfortunately, some Democrats aren’t helping.Some five decades’ worth of studies have found that gas stoves are hazardous to human health, with a recent one suggesting that gas stoves in US homes may be to blame for nearly 13% of childhood asthma cases. Gas stoves are bad for the environment, too, powered as they are by fossil fuels.This has led some liberal cities – Berkeley, California, and New York City – to mandate that some new buildings use electric over gas. But the blistering gas stove dispute really ignited when a commissioner at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Richard Trumka Jr, told Bloomberg gas was a “hidden hazard” and that when it came to banning gas stoves, “any option is on the table. Products that can’t be made safe can be banned”.Cue rightwing firestorm.Read on:How did gas stoves ignite a culture war in the US? | Jill Filipovic Read moreIn light of the Morning Consult poll, reported by Chris Stein here, which showed Donald Trump 17 points up on Ron DeSantis in the notional Republican primary for 2024 … some interesting work from the Daily Beast.The site reports today on DeSantis’s decision to open a new front in his “war on woke” by going after … the NHL.Yes, the NHL, a pro sports league where even the playing surface is white and where, the Beast points out, “the player base is 93% white, and until the hiring of Mike Grier by the San Jose Sharks earlier this month there had yet to be a Black general manager in the history of the sport” … has in DeSantis’s mind apparently “somehow become the new epitome of woke culture gone awry”.DeSantis’s beef with the NHL is that around its forthcoming All-Star Game in Florida, it wanted to stage a jobs fair to benefit Floridians, and said it would welcome applications from employees in the following categories: “female, Black, Asian/Pacific Islander, Hispanic/Latino, Indigenous, LGBTQIA+, and/or a person with a disability”.On Friday, a DeSantis spokesman said: “Discrimination of any sort is not welcome in the state of Florida, and we do not abide by the woke notion that discrimination should be overlooked if applied in a politically popular manner or against a politically unpopular demographic.”An unnamed Republican strategist told the Beast DeSantis “sees this issue as an easy one to use as an example of hypocrisy by folks on the left as well as another example of woke culture”, and insisted: “It’s a great play to make.”But others were not so sure.Stuart Stevens, a veteran Republican operative now an anti-Trump campaigner, told the Beast: “I’ve been in these rooms where political consultants get together, they try and say, ‘Well, what can we do to appeal to white voters without being just super-blatantly racist?’”But, Stevens said, DeSantis’s swipe at the NHL showed “Republicans are losing culture wars at an exponential speed.“What the NHL is doing bothers absolutely nobody in America … There was a time with Ronald Reagan, ‘Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall.’ So here’s Ron DeSantis standing in front of a hockey rink in Florida saying, what, exactly?“I mean it’s just ridiculous. It makes him look very small.”The White House is continuing its counteroffensive against the new GOP majority in the Congress’s lower chamber, encouraging Democrats to attack Republican economic proposals and criticizing the appointment of four rightwing lawmakers to the panel leading its investigation campaign. Elsewhere, Donald Trump is said to be planning a return to both Twitter and Facebook, and offered up a new explanation for the classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago: they were just a bunch of cheap folders.Here’s what else has happened today so far:
    Trump is still the most popular man in the GOP, a new survey found.
    “If you’re going to have a party, you have to pay the band.” So says Republican senator John Kennedy, when describing the GOP’s stance in the high-stakes negotiations over raising the debt ceiling.
    Republicans have made cutting government spending their top priority in this Congress.
    In posts on his Truth social account today, Donald Trump argued that the classified documents found last year at his Mar-a-Lago resort were merely “ordinary, inexpensive folders with various words printed on them”.“The Fake News Media & Crooked Democrats (That’s been proven!) keep saying I had a “large number of documents” in order to make the Biden Classified Docs look less significant. When I was in the Oval Office, or elsewhere, & ‘papers’ were distributed to groups of people & me, they would often be in a striped paper folder with ‘Classified’ or ‘Confidential’ or another word on them,” the former president begins in the first of three posts arguing that Joe Biden’s possession of classified materials was more significant than his.“When the session was over, they would collect the paper(s), but not the folders, & I saved hundreds of them,” Trump wrote. “Remember, these were just ordinary, inexpensive folders with various words printed on them, but they were a ‘cool’ keepsake.”He then went on to posit that “the Gestapo” may have construed these as classified documents, or that “Trump Hating Marxist Thugs” would “plant” classified materials. Never one to beat around the bush, Trump concludes with, “I did NOTHING WRONG. JOE DID!”Biden’s defenders have pointed to the substantial differences in the two cases, including that the president’s aides quickly alerted the justice department when they discovered classified materials, while Trump repeatedly dithered and only partially complied with a subpoena to turn over the secret documents in his possession. More

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    White House says Republicans have ‘zero credibility’ over Biden documents case – as it happened

    Republicans are continuing to pressure Joe Biden over the classified documents found at his residence and former office, while Democrats are telling anyone who will listen that there are significant differences between the president’s case and that of Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the White House is demanding Kevin McCarthy release the details of agreements he made with conservative Republicans to win their support for his House speaker bid, arguing he has empowered extremists.Here’s what else has happened today so far:
    The White House attempted to explain why it didn’t announce the discovery of classified documents in Biden’s possession when it was first made in November.
    Trump may be the big winner of the kerfuffle over Biden’s classified documents, especially if it undermines the investigation into the government secrets found at Mar-a-Lago.
    Daniel Goldman, who served as the Democrats’ lead prosecutor of Trump during his 2019 impeachment, will play a major role in defending Biden from the GOP’s investigation campaign.
    State Democratic parties are revolting against Biden’s plan to shake up the primary calendar for presidential nominations.
    George Santos lied his way into office, but he will nonetheless serve on committees in the House, McCarthy said.
    It’s going to be a tough couple of months for Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary who has become the subject of near-daily criticism from Republicans for his handling of the surge of migrants at the country’s southern border.The GOP has already vowed to call him repeatedly before the House, and will probably use the hearings as another cudgel against the Biden administration. Today, CNN reports that several top Republicans are ready to impeach the secretary – something that hasn’t happened to a cabinet secretary since 1876:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The House Judiciary Committee, which would have jurisdiction over an impeachment resolution, is prepared to move ahead with formal proceedings if there appears to be a consensus within the GOP conference, according to a GOP source directly familiar with the matter. The first impeachment resolution introduced by House Republicans already has picked up support, including from a member of the GOP leadership team.
    A GOP source said the first Judiciary Committee hearing on the border could come later this month or early February.
    One top chairman is already sounding supportive of the move, a sign of how the idea of impeaching President Joe Biden’s Cabinet secretary has moved from the fringes to the mainstream of the conference.
    ‘If anybody is a prime candidate for impeachment in this town, it’s Mayorkas,’ Rep. James Comer, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told CNN.But not all Republicans are on board, with several lawmakers worrying the public won’t see the need for the effort, which is sure to die in the Democratic-controlled Senate anyway. Here’s Republican Dusty Johnson’s thoughts on the matter, to CNN:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Clearly, the management of the Southern border has been incompetent … That is not the threshold in the Constitution for impeachment – it’s high crimes and misdemeanors. … I would want to think about the legal standard the Constitution has set out – and whether or not that’s been met.Mario Diaz-Balart was of a similar mind:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Has he been totally dishonest to people? Yes. Has he failed in his job miserably? Yes … Are those grounds for impeachment? I don’t know.For all the bombast of Kevin McCarthy and the Republicans in the House, keep this fact in mind: their margin of control is only four seats. If the party wants to maintain its grip on the chamber for the next two years, the GOP simply cannot afford to have any of their lawmakers leave office.That said, not all Republicans were happy with the deals that McCarthy cut to win the House speakership, and Puck reports that one lawmaker is particularly aggrieved over the Californian’s bargaining. That would be Vern Buchanan, who was passed over as chair of the tax-writing ways and means committee in favor of Jason Smith, an ally of the speaker.With no committee to helm, Puck reports that the 71-year-old Buchanan could decide that now’s the time to retire. According to their story, he already told McCarthy what he thought of his decision to promote Smith rather than himself on the House floor:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Just how angry was he? Well, a source on the House floor during the vote told me that while McCarthy was gaveling down the votes, Buchanan walked up to McCarthy and said, ‘You fucked me, I know it was you, you whipped against me.’ He then proceeded to chew out McCarthy’s deputy chief of staff for floor operations, John Leganski. It was shocking to see such fury from Buchanan, who’s known for being mild mannered. Indeed, I heard that the tirade was so heated that the Speaker’s security detail stepped in with a light touch. (McCarthy’s spokesperson Matt Sparks disputed this detail saying, ‘at no point did anyone have to step in.’ A spokesperson for Buchanan declined to comment.)The House hasn’t convened its committees yet, and thus Democrats and Republicans have taken their squabble over the investigations into Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s possession of classified material to the next logical venue: Twitter.Jim Jordan, chair of the House judiciary committee, fired the latest salvo by reiterating his latest talking points about the investigation into Biden’s documents:Why was President Trump’s home raided but not President Biden’s? Why did the FBI take pictures of President Trump’s so-called classified documents but not President Biden’s?Americans are tired of the double standard.— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) January 17, 2023
    To which Daniel Goldman, a Democrat who has lined up to be one of Biden’s chief defenders in the House and served as the lead counsel when Democrats impeached Trump in 2019, fired back:1) because Trump obstructed justice by failing to comply with a subpoena. Biden volunteered all docs. 2) It’s standard procedure for the FBI to photograph everything they find during a search warrant. In the future, feel free to reach out to me directly with your questions. https://t.co/05JVjbNCgI— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) January 17, 2023
    And before you “investigate the FBI” to obstruct their investigations into you and others, you might want to brush up on the FBI Manual of Investigative Operations and Guidelines (MIOG) so you don’t ask any more dumb questions.— Daniel Goldman (@danielsgoldman) January 17, 2023
    Arizona’s US senator Kyrsten Sinema, who recently left the Democratic party and declared herself an independent, drew political fire from critics Tuesday after defending her congressional chamber’s filibuster rule at Switzerland’s Davos World Economic Forum.Among other remarks Tuesday, Sinema reportedly said the Senate filibuster was the “basis of the productivity for some incredible achievements” in Congress during Joe Biden’s first two years in the White House.Both Democrats and Republicans have used the rule, which allows a relatively small group of senator to block action by the majority. Sinema outraged Democratic supporters before she left the party in December when she opposed filibuster reform to pave the way for the passage of voting rights legislation.A group named “Replace Sinema Because Arizona Deserves Better” on Tuesday issued a statement arguing that the first-term senator preferred to be at Davos rubbing elbows with “billionaires and Wall Street execs” as well as others belonging to the global elite rather than “doing her job” in her state or on Capitol Hill.Meanwhile, one journalist snapped and tweeted out a photograph of her appearing to speak warmly with former Donald Trump White House spokesperson Anthony Scaramucci and ex-US House speaker Paul Ryan, both figures in the Republican party. The tweet referred to both Ryan and Scaramucci – Republican figures and Democratic opponents – as “old pals”.Sinema, like centrist Democrat Joe Manchin (who was alongside her on stage at Davos), has often taken stands that undermined key Biden administration agenda items along with other left-leaning interests in the nation’s capital. Her defection from the party came shortly after Raphael Warnock’s victory over Republican challenger Herschel Walker in Georgia left the Democrats thinking they had a clear one-seat majority in the Senate.There has been no indication that Sinema will caucus with Republicans, and she has said she doesn’t intend to. Either way, when the Senate was split 50-50 for two years beginning in 2021, Vice-President Kamala Harris broke ties in the Democrats’ favor.The White House on Tuesday defended its public handling of revelations that classified documents were discovered at Joe Biden’s home and the president’s private office. In a call with reporters, White House spokesperson Ian Sams said the decision not to immediately inform the public of the discovery of sensitive records in November was “consistent with safeguarding the integrity of the investigation”.“We understand that there’s a tension between the need to be cooperative with an ongoing DOJ investigation, and rightful demands for additional public information,” Sams said. “And so we’re trying to strike that balance.” He pointed reporters to a line in a statement released by the president’s personal attorney, Bob Bauer, after the discovery of additional documents, which stated that “regular ongoing public disclosures also pose the risk that, as further information develops, answers provided on this periodic basis may be incomplete.”The explanation did little to satisfy Republicans – or reporters – who have repeatedly pressed the White House on why it was not transparent with the public when the documents were first found at the president’s private Washington office on 2 November. On 2o December, Biden’s personal lawyers found “a small number of potential records bearing classified markings” in the garage of the president’s Delaware home. Five more pages of materials were found at his home on Thursday. ‘Rampant hypocrisy’After the first discovery two months ago, the White House said it “immediately”notified the National Archives and Records Administration, which then informed the US justice department.Sams repeated that the White House was cooperating with the investigation and would continue to do so, drawing a sharp distinction with the way Biden’s presidential predecessor Donald Trump handled sensitive documents. Trump refused to turn over troves of government documents that he took with him to his Mar-a-lago estate, even after being subpoenaed. Agents dispatched to his home to retrieve the materials, which Trump said he had the right to keep, and even argued without evidence that he had declassified. Sams accused Republicans of fomenting “faking outrage about disclosure and transparency” and “rampant hypocrisy.” ‘Fake outrage’He seized on comments by the newly installed Republican chair of the House Oversight Committee, James Comer, who has promised to aggressively investigate Biden’s handling of the documents. In a CNN interview this weekend, the Republican said: “At the end of the day, my biggest concern isn’t the classified documents, to be honest with you. My concern is there’s such a discrepancy between how President Trump was treated … versus Joe Biden.” Asked last year about Trump’s handling of the documents, Comer, Sams noted, said it “didn’t amount to a hill of beans.” “House Republicans lose credibility when they engage in fake outrage about an issue that they’re clearly pursuing only for partisan gain,” Sams said. Sams said the White House was reviewing “a few letters” from the House Oversight committee related to Biden’s retention of classified documents and will make a “determination about our response in due course.”Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy has vowed to investigate both the classified documents found at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort and at Joe Biden’s properties.But his sympathies were clearly with Trump. The Republican leader argued that the former president had been treated more harshly than Biden, which “just does not seem fair.”“This is why the American people get so upset and distrust their government when they see that the law is not applied equally,” he continued, accusing Biden of “hypocrisy” for not making the document discovery public before the November midterms.Here’s C-SPAN with his full comments:.@SpeakerMcCarthy (R-CA) on Biden and Trump documents probes: “It’s not a fair process when you equalize this out, and that is what is wrong with the system.” https://t.co/wY8OFxGe89 pic.twitter.com/FZ8vlO1aDZ— CSPAN (@cspan) January 17, 2023
    George Santos will be seated on committees in the House, even though the New York Republican admitted to lying about his qualifications for office, House speaker Kevin McCarthy said.While he did not say on which committees the freshman lawmaker will serve, the comment underscores that Republican leadership is disinclined to take any major steps to exclude Santos, who is facing an array of investigations into his admitted dishonesty on the campaign trail.Here are McCarthy’s comments, courtesy of C-Span:.@SpeakerMcCarthy (R-CA) on Rep. George Santos (R-NY): “He’ll get seated on committees.” https://t.co/77obCJittk pic.twitter.com/Oo2JIBf9Cc— CSPAN (@cspan) January 17, 2023
    Republicans are continuing to pressure Joe Biden over the classified documents found at his residence and former office, while Democrats are working to point out the significant differences between the president’s case and that of Donald Trump. Meanwhile, the White House is demanding Kevin McCarthy release the details of the agreements he made with conservative Republican to win their support for his House speaker bid.Here’s what else has happened today so far:
    Trump may be the big winner of the kerfuffle over Biden’s classified documents, as it undermines the investigation into the government secrets found at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
    The House Democrats’ lead prosecutor of Trump during his first impeachment will play a major role in defending Biden from the GOP’s investigation campaign.
    State Democratic parties are revolting against Biden’s plan to shake up the primary calendar for presidential nominations.
    In Florida, the Guardian’s Richard Luscombe reports that US authorities are turning back more and more migrants amid a surge in arrivals:Authorities in Florida have been turning back growing numbers of undocumented Cubans and Haitians arriving by sea in recent weeks as more attempt to seek haven in the US.Local US residents on jet skis have been helping some of the migrants who attempted to swim ashore after making arduous, life-threateningand days-long journeys in makeshift vessels.Joe Biden’s turn to the center over immigration comes as Florida’s Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, attempts to plot his own strategy for handling a sensitive situation in the south of his state, calling out national guard troops in a hardline approach.US turns back growing number of undocumented people after arduous sea journeysRead moreTo the GOP, the White House’s demand for answers from Kevin McCarthy is little more than a distraction from the unfolding investigation into Joe Biden’s classified documents.Here’s Republican operative Matt Whitlock:The communications wizards at the Biden White House right now: https://t.co/dT9swCaPVc pic.twitter.com/hTKj4qIntv— Matt Whitlock (@mattdizwhitlock) January 17, 2023 More

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    Democratic plans to overhaul primary process hit a fresh snag

    Democratic plans to overhaul primary process hit a fresh snagFor very different reasons, New Hampshire and Georgia remain obstacles to Joe Biden’s bid for equity The Democratic party’s rationale for shaking up its presidential primary process was fairly straightforward: the current system is dominated by two predominantly white states who vote first, giving people of color little say in choosing the potential next president.Facing fuming New Hampshire officials, however, and a Georgia Republican party happy to meddle in Democrats’ plans, the Joe Biden-led effort to make things more equitable now looks increasingly in peril.New Hampshire, which has held the first presidential primary for decades, is proving itself particularly unyielding, raising the prospect of a rogue vote taking place in the state.The Democratic National Committee (DNC) approved a new primary schedule in December 2022, which would see the most significant changes to the way a potential president is selected in decades.Iowa Republicans threaten to move caucuses if Democrats change scheduleRead moreUnder the new plan, Iowa – which holds its vote under a complex caucus system – and New Hampshire, the two states which have led off the voting since the modern-day presidential nominating process began in the 1970s, would be nudged down the calendar – with Iowa in particular punted way down the schedule, following a shambolic counting process in 2020.Instead, Democrats want South Carolina, a more racially diverse state than Iowa and New Hampshire, to have first say in whom the Democratic party should nominate for president. The proposal would see New Hampshire vote a week later, along with Nevada, while Georgia – another racially diverse state, and one which was crucial to Joe Biden’s 2020 victory and Democrats’ successful holding of the Senate in 2022 – would go next.The plan hit a snag last week, however, when New Hampshire and Georgia asked for more time to meet the DNC’s requirements. The committee said it remained hopeful the new calendar would take effect in 2024, and it plans a full vote on the schedule next month, but it is clear that officials in New Hampshire and Georgia have other ideas.David Scanlan, who as New Hampshire’s secretary of state is in charge of selecting the date of the primary, suggested he would move the vote forward anyway.He told WMUR9: “I’m going to wait to set the date. There is a lot that can happen between now and next fall,” Scanlan said.“We have the luxury of just being patient and watching. We’ll see how the landscape develops and then at the right time we will announce the date of our primary.”Part of the issue is that New Hampshire has a law that states that the New Hampshire primary should be held on the second Tuesday in March, or “on a date selected by the secretary of state which is seven days or more immediately preceding the date on which any other state shall hold a similar election”.The date of the primary has been moved forward several times over the years to preserve New Hampshire’s “first in the nation” status. In 2008, Michigan and Florida moved their primary dates forward, in defiance of the DNC’s official calendar, and party bosses reacted by cutting the number of delegates assigned to each state. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton agreed not to campaign in either state, although the issue would become contentious when the DNC later decided to grant Michigan and Florida delegates after all.But as well as being law, at least some of the furore is about a desire to cling on to the first-primary-in-the-nation status, said Dante Scala, a professor of political science at the University of New Hampshire.“It’s really much more about political culture, and it’s about political elites really enjoying their moment in the spotlight,” Scala said.“They’re exceedingly protective; they’re exceedingly reluctant to give it up. They love the access that the primary brings in terms of access to candidates. Every party activist, Democratic or Republican, seemingly has a story to tell about their rubbing elbows with candidate X, or having a picture taken with such a person, all that sort of thing.”Democrats in New Hampshire have reacted angrily to the new plan. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan, New Hampshire’s Democratic senators, skipped an annual congressional ball at the White House in December in protest, while Raymond Buckley, the chairman of the New Hampshire Democratic party, has described the plan as “unrealistic and unattainable”.In Georgia, the DNC faces a different problem. The state is led by Republicans, including Georgia’s secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, who sets the primary date. Raffensberger has said he wants both primaries on the same day, and the Republican party has already said that its first four states will be in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.At the moment, the scheduling could be theoretical. Biden has indicated he will run in 2024, making it unlikely there would be a serious Democratic primary. But the party is also keen to shake up the schedule in 2028 and beyond – possibly with a different state order each election cycle – meaning New Hampshire’s days of going first could be doomed either way.Scala and Caitlin Jewitt, a political scientist at Virginia Tech university, said it was unlikely New Hampshire would back down, raising the prospect of an unwanted – by party leaders – first primary in 2024.Should that happen, the Democratic party could ask candidates not to campaign in New Hampshire, and not put their names on the ballot in the state. That would require the candidates to agree, but with the Republican primary taking place early in the state – something which will bring thousands of members of the media and national attention – it could be hard to resist.Jewitt said the DNC could also strip New Hampshire of its delegates, who cast votes for their chosen candidate at the party’s pre-presidential convention, effectively rendering the primary redundant.“That is supposed to be a punishment: you won’t have as much influence on the outcome, but it has never been very effective to stage because New Hampshire’s influence has never been that they have a large number of delegates and they can influence the outcome at the national convention.“Their influence has always been the media attention and the candidate attention and having this first-in-the-nation primary.”TopicsDemocratsUS politicsJoe BidenfeaturesReuse this content More

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    Biden honors Martin Luther King Jr with sermon: ‘His legacy shows us the way’

    Biden honors Martin Luther King Jr with sermon: ‘His legacy shows us the way’ President gave sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and spoke about the need to protect democracy Joe Biden marked what would have been Martin Luther King Jr’s 94th birthday with a sermon on Sunday at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, celebrating the legacy of the civil rights leader while speaking about the urgent need to protect US democracy.There’s one winner in the Biden documents discovery: Donald TrumpRead moreBiden said he was “humbled” to become the first sitting president to give the Sunday sermon at King’s church, also describing the experience as “intimidating”.“I believe Dr King’s life and legacy show us the way and we should pay attention,” Biden said. He later noted he was wearing rosary beads his son, Beau, wore as he died.“I doubt whether any of us would have thought during Dr King’s time that literally the institutional structures of this country might collapse, like we’re seeing in Brazil, we’re seeing in other parts of the world,” Biden said.In a sermon that lasted around 25 minutes, the president spoke about the continued need to protect democracy. Unlike some of his other speeches on the topic, Biden did not mention Donald Trump or Republicans directly.The GOP has embraced new voting restrictions, including in Georgia, and defended the former president’s role in the attack on the US Capitol on 6 January.“Nothing is guaranteed in our democracy,” Biden said. “We know there’s a lot of work that has to continue on economic justice, civil rights, voting rights and protecting our democracy.”He praised Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, who noted at a ceremony after she was confirmed it had taken just one generation in her family to go from segregation to the US supreme court.“Give us the ballot and we will place judges on the benches of the south who will do justly and love mercy,” Biden said, quoting King.Biden preached in Atlanta a little over a year after he gave a forceful speech calling for the Senate to get rid of the filibuster, a procedural rule that requires 60 votes to advance most legislation, in order to pass sweeping voting reforms.“I’m tired of being quiet,” the president said in that speech.A Democratic voting rights bill named after John Lewis, the late civil rights leader and Georgia congressman, would have made election day a national holiday, ensured access to early voting and mail-in ballots and enabled the justice department to intervene in states with a history of voter interference.But that effort collapsed when two Democrats, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, refused to get rid of the filibuster. Sinema is now an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.Since then, there has been no federal action on voting rights. In March 2021, Biden issued an executive order telling federal agencies to do what they could do improve opportunities for voter registration.The speech also comes as the US supreme court considers a case that could significantly curtail Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the 1965 law that was one of the crowning achievements of King and other activists. A ruling is expected by June.Biden’s failure to bolster voting right protections, a central campaign pledge, is one of his biggest disappointments in office. The task is even steeper now Republicans control the House. In advance of Biden’s visit to Atlanta, White House officials said he was committed to advocating for meaningful voting rights action.“The president will speak on a number of issues at the church, including how important it is that we have access to our democracy,” senior adviser Keisha Lance Bottoms said.Bottoms, who was mayor of Atlanta from 2018 to 2022, also said “you can’t come to Atlanta and not acknowledge the role that the civil rights movement and Dr King played in where we are in the history of our country”.This is a delicate moment for Biden. On Thursday the attorney general, Merrick Garland, announced the appointment of a special counsel to investigate how Biden handled classified documents after leaving the vice-presidency in 2017. The White House on Saturday revealed that additional classified records were found at Biden’s home near Wilmington, Delaware.Biden was invited to Ebenezer, where King was co-pastor from 1960 until he was assassinated in 1968, by Senator Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor. Like many battleground state Democrats in 2022, Warnock kept his distance from Biden as the the president’s approval rating lagged. But with Biden beginning to turn his attention to an expected 2024 re-election effort, Georgia can expect plenty of attention.Warnock told ABC’s This Week: “I’m honored to present the president of the United States there where he will deliver the message and where he will sit in the spiritual home of Martin Luther King Jr, Georgia’s greatest son, arguably the greatest American, who reminds us that we are tied in a single garment of destiny, that this is not about Democrat and Republican, red, yellow, brown, black and white. We’re all in it together.”In 2020, Biden won Georgia as well as Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Black votes made up much of the Democratic electorate. Turning out Black voters in those states will be essential to Biden’s 2024 hopes.The White House has tried to promote Biden’s agenda in minority communities, citing efforts to encourage states to take equity into account under the $1tn infrastructure bill. The administration also has acted to end sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses, scrapping a policy widely seen as racist.The administration highlights Biden’s work to diversify the judiciary, including his appointment of Jackson as the first Black woman on the supreme court and the confirmation of 11 Black women judges to federal appeals courts – more than under all previous presidents.King fueled passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. Members of his family attended Biden’s sermon. The president planned to be in Washington on Monday, to speak at the National Action Network’s annual breakfast, held on the MLK holiday.TopicsJoe BidenBiden administrationUS voting rightsUS politicsCivil rights movementMartin Luther KingRacenewsReuse this content More