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    Republicans accuse Biden of hypocrisy over classified documents discoveries

    Republicans accuse Biden of hypocrisy over classified documents discoveriesHouse oversight chair requests Delaware visitor logs as Democrats stress difference from Trump classified records case Republicans pounced on the discovery on Saturday of more classified documents at Joe Biden’s residence, accusing the president of hypocrisy and questioning why the records were not brought to light earlier.There’s one winner in the Biden documents discovery: Donald TrumpRead moreBiden lawyers have discovered at least 20 classified documents at his residence outside Wilmington, Delaware, and at an office in Washington used after he left the Obama administration, in which he was vice-president.It is not yet clear what exactly the documents are, but Biden lawyers have said they immediately turned over the documents to the National Archives. This week, the attorney general, Merrick Garland, appointed a special counsel, former US attorney Robert Hur, to look into the matter.The materials are already a political headache for Biden. When the FBI raided Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort to obtain classified material the former president kept, Biden said: “How could that possibly happen? How anyone could be that irresponsible?”On Sunday, Don Bacon, a Nebraska Republican, told ABC’s This Week: “It just just reminds me of that old adage, ‘If you live in a glass house don’t throw stones.’ And I think President Biden was caught throwing stones.”James Comer of Kentucky, the new chair of the House oversight committee, told CNN’s State of the Union: “While he was doing this, he knew very well that he himself had possession of classified documents so the hypocrisy here is great.”There is no evidence Biden was aware he had the documents. His lawyers have said they were misplaced.Comer also noted Biden’s attorneys discovered the classified material on 2 November, days before the midterm elections, and questioned why the discovery hadn’t been made public earlier.“Why didn’t we hear about this on 2 November, when the first batch of classified documents were discovered?” he said.Comer has requested visitor logs for Biden’s Delaware residence from January 2021 to the present as well as additional communications about the search for documents, CNN reported.Marc Short, who was chief of staff to Mike Pence in the Trump administration, told NBC’s Meet the Press: “Why’d they hold it? Why didn’t anybody talk about it? Is it because of the midterm elections they didn’t want to interfere with?”Even though two special counsels are looking into how both Trump and Biden handled classified material, there are key differences between the cases.Trump had hundreds of classified files and rebuffed government efforts to return them. The White House has said the 20 or so Biden documents were inadvertently misplaced and turned over as soon as they were discovered.Jamie Raskin of Maryland, the ranking Democrat on the House oversight committee, told CNN: “We were delighted to learn that the president’s lawyers, the moment they found out about the documents that day, turned them over to the National Archives, and ultimately to the Department of Justice.“That is a very different posture than what we saw with Donald Trump. He was fighting for a period of more than eight months to not turn over hundreds of missing documents that the archives was asking about.“There are some people who are trying to compare having a government document that should no longer be in your possession to inciting a violent insurrection against the government of the United States,” Raskin added, referring to the 6 January 2021 attack on Congress Trump incited after losing the 2020 election to Biden.“And those are obviously completely different things. That’s apples and oranges.”The California Democrat Adam Schiff, the former chair of the House intelligence committee, praised the appointment of a special counsel in the Biden matter and said he wanted Congress to do its own intelligence assessment of the Biden and Trump materials.But Debbie Stabenow, a Democratic senator from Michigan, acknowledged that the discovery of additional documents on Saturday was “certainly embarrassing” and that Republicans would use it as a distraction.“It’s embarrassing that you would find a small number of documents, certainly not on purpose,” she told NBC.Biden’s lawyers, she said “don’t think [this] is the right thing and they have been moving to correct it … it’s one of those moments that obviously they wish hadn’t happened.“But what I’m most concerned about, this is the kind of things that the Republicans love.”TopicsJoe BidenBiden administrationDonald TrumpTrump administrationUS politicsUS national securityRepublicansnewsReuse this content More

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    The Fight of His Life review: Joe Biden, White House winner

    ReviewThe Fight of His Life review: Joe Biden, White House winner Chris Whipple’s assured account of the president’s first two years in power after beating Trump is fascinating and timely“Maybe we don’t suck as much as people thought.”That was the email the White House chief of staff, Ron Klain, sent to Chris Whipple at 1.16am after the 2022 midterms, as it became clear Democrats were likely to hold the Senate and lose far fewer seats in the House than almost every reporter predicted.Whipple’s inside look at Joe Biden’s White House is a ringing confirmation of Klain’s judgment. Though Whipple’s friendships within the Washington press corps prevent him from saying so, this is a book-length rebuke of the incompetence of legions of reporters who have persistently underestimated this extraordinary president.A crucial reason for Democrats’ midterm success was Biden’s instinct to emphasize the importance of reproductive rights and the Republican threat to democracy. Reporters derided him, insisting voters only cared about the price of gas. And yet, as Whipple writes, “exit polls showed that both concern for democracy and a backlash against the supreme court’s Dobbs decision had been winning issues”.How will Biden handle a hostile Republican House and what does it mean for 2024?Read moreThe brilliant and likable Klain began his career clerking for Byron White, John F Kennedy’s only appointee to the supreme court. Klain is the second-most important character in this book, after Biden. He was a great source with many great stories to tell, and Whipple has a special fondness for White House chiefs of staff, the subject of one of his previous volumes.One of many mini-scoops in the book is a description of a Zoom meeting Klain had, a month before Biden’s inauguration, with 18 former chiefs of staff, including George W Bush’s Josh Bolten, who in 2016 tried unsuccessfully to get all former Republican chiefs to declare Donald Trump unfit to be president. Dick Cheney and James Baker refused to do so.At the end of Biden’s first year in office, Klain hailed “the most successful first year of any president ever. We passed more legislation than any president in his first year” – including the American Rescue Plan and the bipartisan infrastructure bill. “We created more jobs than any president in his first year” and – least noted – “we got more federal judges confirmed than any president since Nixon.”Which was all the more astonishing with a 50-50 Senate and a slim House majority. Sixty years ago, to enact Medicare and the rest of the Great Society, Lyndon Johnson needed huge Democratic majorities in the House and Senate.In 2022, long after everyone assumed the West Virginia senator Joe Manchin had killed it, the Build Back Better bill came roaring back to life as the Inflation Reduction Act. To corral Manchin, the administration had to give up on an extension of the child tax credit and throw in a pipeline. But in return there was a $391bn investment in energy and fighting the climate crisis.A big reason Biden struggled in the polls was a decision that required more political courage than anything his three predecessors did: withdrawal from Afghanistan.Biden understood the folly of the war back in 2009, when generals Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus begged Barack Obama for a troop surge even after Petraeus acknowledged that the Afghan government was a “criminal syndicate”.According to Bob Woodward, then Vice-President Biden went to the heart of the matter: “If the government’s a criminal syndicate a year from now, how will troops make a difference?”Woodward reported that Obama’s special envoy, Richard Holbrooke, was the only other clear-eyed adviser, explaining: “All the contractors for development projects pay the Taliban for protection and use of roads, so American and coalition dollars help finance the Taliban. And with more development, higher traffic on roads and more troops, the Taliban would make more money.”Obama approved a surge of 40,000 troops anyway.Whipple adopts the conventional wisdom about the Afghanistan withdrawal, calling it “a whole-of-government failure” in which “everyone got nearly everything exactly wrong”. He assumes an orderly withdrawal was possible without a reliable Afghan fighting force – an idea for which I have never seen any serious evidence.But unlike other commentators, Whipple at least includes some of the real reasons for the chaos, including a decision driven by Stephen Miller. The leading xenophobe in the Trump White House was determined to destroy the special immigrant visa program, the only way Afghans who worked for the US could come here. In 2020, Trump virtually closed the program, creating a backlog of 17,000 applicants. One of Whipple’s sources described the attitude of the Trump administration this way: it felt America “wasn’t ready to have a lot of hook-nosed, brown-skinned Muslims … coming into this country”.Leon Panetta, a veteran of the Clinton and Obama administrations always quick to jump on CNN to attack his former bosses, compared Biden’s handling of the withdrawal to John F Kennedy’s disastrous invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.To Whipple, Klain shoots back: “Joe Biden didn’t pay a trillion dollars to these people to be trained to be the army. He wasn’t out there saying for years, as Leon was, that we had built a viable fighting force. Leon favored the war. Leon oversaw the training of the Afghan army … if this was Biden’s Bay of Pigs, it was Leon’s army that lost the fight.”Trump’s political fate may have been decided – by a Georgia grand juryRead moreWhipple makes one other point about Afghanistan. “As an operational success,” the evacuation “ranked with the Berlin airlift.” In 17 days and 387 sorties, the US evacuated 124,000 people.One of the largest sections of Whipple’s book describes Biden’s prescience about Vladimir Putin’s plan to invade Ukraine, and the extraordinary efforts the Biden administration has made to unite Nato and send weapons to Kyiv.Even Panetta was impressed.“This war in Ukraine has really strengthened Joe Biden’s image as a world leader,” he said. “His confrontation with Putin is going to determine what the hell his legacy is going to be as president. I think it’s that big a deal.”
    The Fight of His Life: Inside Joe Biden’s White House is published in the US by Scribner
    TopicsBooksJoe BidenBiden administrationUS politicsDemocratsRepublicansDonald TrumpreviewsReuse this content More

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    There’s one winner in the Biden documents discovery: Donald Trump

    There’s one winner in the Biden documents discovery: Donald TrumpBiden’s retention of classified papers is different from the Mar-a-Lago case, but it is a big setback for his administration The discovery of government secrets at two locations associated with Joe Biden appears to have produced one big political winner: Donald Trump.The White House was in rare crisis mode last week as it emerged that lawyers for Biden had found classified material at his thinktank in Washington DC and home in Delaware. At an unusually contentious press briefing, one TV correspondent dubbed the affair “garage-gate”.The justice department appointed a special counsel to investigate Biden’s handling of classified documents from his time as vice-president. It was a rare setback for an administration that promised to be transparent and scandal-free. It also complicated an investigation into Trump over an ostensibly similar matter.‘It’s going to be dirty’: Republicans gear up for attack on Hunter BidenRead moreAnother special counsel is already examining the ex-president’s retention of top secret papers at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida estate and club. Although the situations are very different, the nuances and subtleties are likely to be lost in the court of public opinion.“This may be pure sloppiness on Biden’s part or the Biden team’s part but it doesn’t matter,” said Larry Sabato, director of the Center for Politics at the University of Virginia. “In the public mind, now they will say, ‘Well, a pox on both your houses. You’re both guilty. Shame on you both.’ It’s over.”The issue could become a continuing political headache for Biden, Sabato added. “It’s just a real distraction. It was totally unnecessary. Every White House makes mistakes and this is a big one they made.”Despite superficial similarities, the two cases are like chalk and cheese. In January last year the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of documents from Trump’s home, telling justice department officials they contained “a lot” of classified material.In August, after prolonged resistance from Trump’s associates to requests and even a justice department subpoena, FBI agents took about 33 boxes and containers of 11,000 documents from Mar-a-Lago, including roughly 100 with classification markings found in a storage room and an office. The FBI warrant showed it was investigating crimes including the wilful retention of national defence information and efforts to obstruct a federal investigation.The Biden papers are far less voluminous. First it emerged that a “small number” with classified markings had been found in November in a locked closet at the Penn Biden Center thinktank in Washington.Speaking to reporters on Tuesday in Mexico City, the president claimed that he was surprised when he was informed about them. His lawyers “did what they should have done” when they immediately alerted the National Archives, he said. “I don’t know what’s in the documents.”Then came news that a second batch of classified documents had been discovered in the garage at Biden’s home in Wilmington, Delaware, and one additional classified page was found in his personal library there. Again, his lawyers informed the archives.Biden’s offence is seen by analysts as significantly less grave than his predecessor’s. Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia, said: “Given what we know now, it seems that there is a difference in kind, rather than degree, between Trump’s case and Biden’s case.Classified documents: how do the Trump and Biden cases differ?Read more“For example, quantitatively and qualitatively, Trump’s cavalier and even intentional misconduct regarding the documents, especially those related to national security, appears substantially more egregious than Biden’s apparent neglectful behaviour in not safeguarding certain documents.”Even so, the White House refused to disclose the content and exact number of the Biden records, how they arrived at his thinktank and home , why they stayed there and why the administration waited more than two months to acknowledge their discovery.The questions deepened on Saturday when the White House lawyer Richard Sauber revealed that a total of six pages of classified documents had been found in Biden’s personal library in Wilmington; the administration had previously said only a single page came to light there and insisted that the search was “complete”.White House reporters, who have endured lean times since the wildly norm-busting Trump presidency, have seized on the day-by-day revelations like hungry lions. In the kind of confrontation seldom seen over the past two years, Peter Doocy of the conservative Fox News network asked Biden bluntly: “Classified material next to your Corvette: what were you thinking?”The president replied: “I’m going to get a chance to speak on all this, God willing, soon, but as I said earlier this week, people – and, by the way, my Corvette is in a locked garage. OK? So, it’s not like they’re sitting out in the street.”Merrick Garland, the attorney general, selected Robert Hur, a Trump-appointed former US attorney, to investigate the matter. Many legal commentators suggested that a special counsel would not normally have been warranted but the move reflected Garland’s sensitivity to the unique political dynamics.Trump himself seized on the news, seeking to use it to undermine the investigation into his actions. “It’s over,” he told conservative talk radio host Mark Levin. “When all of these documents started coming out and Biden had them, it really changed the complexion and the intensity that they were showing to me because, you know, what they did is – I don’t say far worse, I did nothing wrong – what they did is not good. What they did is bad.”In reality, the twist is unlikely to affect the justice department’s decision making with regard to charging Trump. But it could make a criminal case a harder sell to voters, fuelling the scepticism of congressional Republicans and others who have doubted the basis for a viable prosecution.Jay Town, who served as US attorney in the northern district of Alabama during the Trump administration, told the Associated Press: “I don’t think that it impacts Trump’s legal calculus at all, but it certainly does impact the political narrative going forward. To the extent that the political narrative is a consideration, it does make it harder to bring charges against former President Trump as it relates to the documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.”Joe Biden may have broken the Espionage Act. It’s so broad that you may have, too | Trevor TimmRead moreThe drama is unfolding just after Republicans took control of the House of Representatives eager to target the federal government with accusations of politically motivated prosecutions. On Friday, Jim Jordan, chair of the House judiciary committee, announced an investigation into Biden’s handling of classified documents, particularly what the justice department knew about the matter.Republicans are also well practised in the political art of false equivalence and “whataboutism”. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, allegations that the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia were effectively neutralised by a controversy over rival Hillary Clinton’s private email server.The week’s events dealt an unexpected blow to Biden as approval ratings were rising, inflation was slowing and Republicans had just endured a chaotic election for House speaker. They also threw a lifeline to Trump, whose 2024 presidential election campaign made a wretched start. But he still faces myriad investigations into his business affairs and his role in the January 6 attack on the US Capitol.TopicsJoe BidenThe ObserverDonald TrumpRepublicansDemocratsUS politicsfeaturesReuse this content More

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    Democrats plan defense as Republicans ramp up investigations into president and Hunter Biden – as it happened

    Republicans on the House judiciary committee have announced their own investigation of the classified documents found at Joe Biden’s home and former office, sending a letter to the attorney general, Merrick Garland, demanding details of the inquiry.“We are conducting oversight of the Justice Department’s actions with respect to former Vice President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, including the apparently unauthorized possession of classified material at a Washington, D.C. private office and in the garage of his Wilmington, Delaware residence. On January 12, 2023, you appointed Robert Hur as Special Counsel to investigate these matters. The circumstances of this appointment raise fundamental oversight questions that the Committee routinely examines. We expect your complete cooperation with our inquiry,” the committee’s chair Jim Jordan along with congressman Mike Johnson said in a letter.The letter notes that the documents were first discovered just before the midterm elections in November, and accuses the justice department of departing “from how it acted in similar circumstances,” notable the inquiry into government secrets found at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. The committee members demand Garland turn over an array of documents related to the Biden investigation by 27 January.The investigation is the second to be announced by the House GOP since reports of the documents’ discovery first emerged this week. The other is being pursued by James Comer of the oversight committee, who is playing a major role in the Republicans’ campaign of investigations against the White House.Donald Trump’s organization was fined $1.6m by a judge after being convicted of tax fraud charges, but the Manhattan district attorney hinted that’s not the end of his investigation into the former president’s businesses. Meanwhile in Washington, House Republicans demanded more information about the classified documents found at Joe Biden’s home and former office, while the top Senate Democrat said special counsel Robert Hur should be allowed to look into the matter without interference.Here’s what happened today:
    Biden doesn’t trust his Secret Service detail, according to a new book about his presidency.
    Treasury secretary Janet Yellen warned the US government will soon hit its debt limit, and could run out of money by June.
    Special counsel Jack Smith wants to talk to two people hired by Trump’s attorneys to look for any secret materials in his possession.
    Congress will convene for the annual State of the Union address on 7 February.
    Who is George Santos really? Two Daily Beast reporters try to get to the bottom of the fabulist congressman’s saga in an interview with the Guardian’s Politics Weekly America podcast.
    Last week, the much-talked-about George Santos of New York was sworn into the House. The Democrats and even some Republicans think he should have resigned after he admitted to lying about a lot of things during his campaign.So who is the real George Santos? How likely is it that he’ll see out his full term in office? And does his success tell us more about the state of US politics than it does an individual’s misgivings? Jonathan Freedland and Will Bredderman of the Daily Beast discuss the man behind the lies on the Guardian’s Politics Weekly America podcast:Politics Weekly AmericaCan George Santos outrun his lies? Politics Weekly AmericaSorry your browser does not support audio – but you can download here and listen https://audio.guim.co.uk/2020/05/05-61553-gnl.fw.200505.jf.ch7DW.mp300:00:0000:29:31Attorney general Merrick Garland has asked Robert Hur to handle the investigation into Biden’s classified documents, putting a justice department veteran whose most recent government service was as a Donald Trump-appointed US attorney in a role that could upend his presidency.Semafor reports that Democrats remember his work as US attorney for Maryland fondly. “He handled himself with real professionalism when he was U.S. attorney in Maryland,” the state’s Democratic senator Ben Cardin said, while Jamie Raskin, a House Democrat from the state and noted Trump foe, said Hur had a “good reputation.”Rod Rosenstein, who was deputy attorney general under Trump, said Hur was his “point person” for dealing with one of the men the former president liked least: Robert Mueller, the special counsel who led the investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election.The House armed services committee is also requesting details about the classified documents found in Joe Biden’s possession.The committee’s Republican chair Mike Rogers earlier this week wrote to two defense officials requesting details on what the documents contained, and how they had been handled.You can read the letter below:Read the full letter here ⬇️https://t.co/Y98CJppa8M pic.twitter.com/7Yz5uCZqdV— Armed Services GOP (@HASCRepublicans) January 12, 2023
    Needless to say, this is turning into a headache for Democrats in Congress.The party has been on a roll lately, doing much better in the November midterms than expected and then being gifted with Republican disarray in the House and a surprisingly quiet presidential campaign from Donald Trump.Now, they’re back to playing defense after Joe Biden was found to be doing something similar to what has gotten Trump into so much trouble: possessing classified documents. There are substantial differences to the two cases, but party leaders nonetheless are being called upon to answer for their president.“It’s much too early to tell,” Senate majority leader Chuck Schumer today replied on CNN, when asked if he believes Biden broke the law. “I think president Biden has handled this correctly. He’s fully cooperated with the prosecutors … it’s total contrast to president Trump, who stonewalled for a whole year.”With special prosecutors looking into both men’s cases, Schumer called for patience. “We should let it play out, we don’t have to push them in any direction or try to influence them,” he said. “Let the special prosecutors do their job,” Schumer said, adding that he supports the appointment of Robert Hur to that role in the Biden case.You can watch the full interview here:Republicans on the House judiciary committee have announced their own investigation of the classified documents found at Joe Biden’s home and former office, sending a letter to the attorney general, Merrick Garland, demanding details of the inquiry.“We are conducting oversight of the Justice Department’s actions with respect to former Vice President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, including the apparently unauthorized possession of classified material at a Washington, D.C. private office and in the garage of his Wilmington, Delaware residence. On January 12, 2023, you appointed Robert Hur as Special Counsel to investigate these matters. The circumstances of this appointment raise fundamental oversight questions that the Committee routinely examines. We expect your complete cooperation with our inquiry,” the committee’s chair Jim Jordan along with congressman Mike Johnson said in a letter.The letter notes that the documents were first discovered just before the midterm elections in November, and accuses the justice department of departing “from how it acted in similar circumstances,” notable the inquiry into government secrets found at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. The committee members demand Garland turn over an array of documents related to the Biden investigation by 27 January.The investigation is the second to be announced by the House GOP since reports of the documents’ discovery first emerged this week. The other is being pursued by James Comer of the oversight committee, who is playing a major role in the Republicans’ campaign of investigations against the White House.Joe Biden will make the annual State of the Union speech on 7 February, after the president accepted a formal invitation from House speaker Kevin McCarthy:It is my solemn obligation to invite the president to speak before a Joint Session of Congress on February 7th so that he may fulfill his duty under the Constitution to report on the state of the union. pic.twitter.com/YBmzLxs3Iz— Kevin McCarthy (@SpeakerMcCarthy) January 13, 2023
    In a statement confirming his attendance, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre struck a bipartisan tone. “The President is grateful for and accepts Speaker McCarthy’s prompt invitation to address the peoples’ representatives in Congress,” she said. “He looks forward to speaking with Republicans, Democrats, and the country about how we can work together to continue building an economy that works from the bottom up and the middle out, keep boosting our competitiveness in the world, keep the American people safe, and bring the country together.”Looping back to Donald Trump’s legal troubles, here’s a little more about the situation in New York and beyond.The Trump Organization’s sentencing doesn’t end Trump’s battle with Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, who said the sentencing “closes this important chapter of our ongoing investigation into the former president and his businesses. We now move on to the next chapter,” the Associated Press writes.Bragg, in office for little more than a year, inherited the Trump Organization case and the investigation into the former president from his predecessor, Cyrus Vance Jr.At the same time, New York attorney general Letitia James is suing Trump and the Trump Organization, alleging they misled banks and others about the value of its many assets, including golf courses and skyscrapers – a practice she dubbed the “art of the steal” – a parody of Trump’s long-ago bestselling ghostwritten book about getting rich The Art of the Deal.James, a Democrat, is asking a court to ban Trump and his three eldest children from running any New York-based company and is seeking to fine them at least $250 million. A judge has set an October trial date and appointed a monitor for the company while the case is pending.Trump faces several other legal challenges as he ramps up his presidential campaign.A special grand jury in Atlanta has investigated whether Trump and his allies committed any crimes while trying to overturn his 2020 election loss in Georgia.Last month, the House January 6 committee voted to make a criminal referral to the Justice Department for Trump’s role in sparking the violent insurrection at the US Capitol. The FBI is also investigating Trump’s storage of classified documents.During last year’s Trump Org trial, assistant district attorney Joshua Steinglass told jurors that Trump himself had a role in the fraud scheme, showing them a lease that the Republican signed himself for now-convicted finance chief Allen Weisselberg’s perk apartment that was kept off the tax books.“Mr Trump is explicitly sanctioning tax fraud,” Steinglass argued.Joe Biden this weekend will become the first sitting US president to speak at a Sunday service at Ebenezer Baptist church in Atlanta, Georgia, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was a pastor.Biden is expected to address the ongoing struggle to protect voting rights in the US, despite his failure a year ago to persuade Congress to pass key related legislation, to the exasperation of activists and organizers, especially in Georgia and the south.At the White House press briefing ongoing now, former Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, now senior adviser for public engagement at the White House, talked of the importance of the president’s visit this Sunday, ahead of Martin Luther King Day, the federal holiday that marks the birthday of the assassinated icon.She said that there was “more work to do” to protect democracy and acknowledged that the Biden administration’s two pieces of voting rights legislation have not made it through Congress.She noted that Biden has been invited to the church by Georgia’s recently re-elected Democratic senator Raphael Warnock, who is a pastor at the Ebenezer Baptist church. The church was also regularly attended by the late congressman and lifelong civil rights activist John Lewis.Biden will meet members of King’s family and leaders of the civil rights movement in Atlanta during his visit on Sunday and Monday.Lance Bottoms joined White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who pointed out that she and the former mayor are examples of “Black women who have broken barriers” on the shoulders of the civil rights movement.Donald Trump’s organization was fined $1.6m by a judge after being convicted of tax fraud charges, but the Manhattan district attorney hinted that’s not the end of his investigation into the former president’s businesses. Meanwhile in Washington, the Treasury secretary warned the US government will hit its legal borrowing limit on Thursday and could default in the summer, unless Congress acts to increase it. Republicans controlling the House have said they won’t cooperate unless government spending is cut, ensuring this is going to turn into a big fight at some point.Here’s what else has happened today so far:
    Joe Biden doesn’t trust his Secret Service detail, according to a new book about his presidency.
    The top House Republican government watchdog is trying to link his investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings with the inquiry into classified documents found at the president’s properties.
    Special counsel Jack Smith wants to talk to two people hired by Trump’s attorneys to look for any secret materials in his possession.
    The US government will hit the legal limit on how much debt it can carry on 19 January, but it should have enough money to operate until at least early June, Treasury secretary Janet Yellen said Friday.“I am writing to inform you that beginning on Thursday, January 19, 2023, the outstanding debt of the United States is projected to reach the statutory limit. Once the limit is reached, Treasury will need to start taking certain extraordinary measures to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations,” the secretary wrote in a letter to Republican House speaker Kevin McCarthy.“While Treasury is not currently able to provide an estimate of how long extraordinary measures will enable us to continue to pay the government’s obligations, it is unlikely that cash and extraordinary measures will be exhausted before early June.”Republicans in the House have signaled they won’t agree to increase the debt ceiling unless the Biden administration and its Democratic allies in Congress agree to reduce spending, though it remains unclear what areas of the budget the GOP wants to cut. Raising the borrowing limit is one of the few pieces of leverage House Republicans have over the Democrats, but the strategy is not without risks. A failure to increase the ceiling could lead to the United States defaulting on its debt for the first time in its history, likely with serious consequences for the economy.The Republican-controlled House Oversight Committee is attempting to make two alleged scandals into one: the investigation of classified materials found at Joe Biden’s properties, and their inquiry into his son Hunter Biden’s business activities.The committee’s chair James Comer has sent the White House a new demand for information about whether Hunter had access to the garage at Joe Biden’s Delaware residence where it was revealed yesterday some classified material was found:🚨 @RepJamesComer presses the White House about classified docs stashed at Biden’s Wilmington home.We have docs revealing this address appeared on Hunter’s driver’s license as recently as 2018, the same time he was cutting deals with foreign adversaries.Time for answers. pic.twitter.com/663qG3REm4— Oversight Committee (@GOPoversight) January 13, 2023
    Even before Biden took office, Republicans have been trying to find evidence of corruption in Hunter Biden’s business dealings, and of his father’s involvement. They have had mixed results in doing that, but this week’s revelations that classified materials were found at Biden’s residence and an office he once used in Washington DC have given them new material to attack his administration. Yesterday, the justice department appointed a special counsel to look into the matter.The trial of members of the Proud Boys militia group over their involvement in the January 6 insurrection is continuing in Washington DC, today with testimony from a Capitol police officer.Thomas Loyd’s testimony contains fresh reminders of the violence that day, as Politico reports:Radio transmissions show Capiotl Police leaders pleading with officers to get off the inaugural stage scaffolding, worried it was going to collapse. “If they’re going to lock the capitol down, we can’t be up here when they breach,” someone yells.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 13, 2023
    “They’re coming and we can’t stop them from breaching,” someone else says on the radio, as police were overwhelmed near the lower west terrace. There were repeated concerns about lack of “hard gear” for officers to defend themselves.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 13, 2023
    Joe Biden doesn’t trust his Secret Service detail, fearing that some of them remain loyal to Donald Trump, Vox reports, citing a new book about his presidency.“The Fight of His Life” by Chris Whipple chronicles the past two years of Biden’s presidency from a positive perspective, according to Vox, and in particular shows the degree to which he loathes his predecessor. Biden, for instance, believes the White House’s Resolute desk was “tainted” by Trump’s use and unsuccessfully asked to swap it out for one used by Democratic icon Franklin D Roosevelt.When it comes to the Secret Service, he minds what he says around them, believing that agents harbor sympathies for the former president. He also thinks they lied about an incident where his dog Major bit an agent. Reached by Vox, the White House wouldn’t comment directly on the book’s content. More

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    ‘He’s a coward’: Lucas Kunce on his Senate run – and Hawley running away

    Interview‘He’s a coward’: Lucas Kunce on his Senate run – and Hawley running away Martin Pengelly in New York Missouri Democrat mounting a second bid for US Senate hammers the Republican incumbent over his actions on January 6Announcing his second bid for US Senate in Missouri, Lucas Kunce needed to hit the ground running. He did so by running an ad targeting the Republican he hopes to defeat, Josh Hawley, for running away from the January 6 rioters he encouraged.Republican Josh Hawley fled January 6 rioters – and Twitter ran with itRead moreThe ad appeared on the second anniversary of the deadly attack on the US Capitol by Donald Trump’s supporters. On 6 January 2021, before the mob broke in, Hawley was photographed raising his fist in its direction. The House January 6 committee showed what happened after rioters breached the walls: the senator ran for cover.Hawley has insisted he is “not gonna run” from his political opponents. But Kunce’s ad, showing a fleeing man in a ripped suit, entitled simply Running, attracted national attention.A self-described populist in the midwestern tradition of President Harry S Truman, Kunce told the Guardian the ad “goes back to the reasons why I’ve run the campaign.“What I want to do is change who has power in this country, and take some back for everyday people. Folks in Missouri, they’re tired of career politicians like Josh Hawley just doing things for power for themselves and not caring about Missouri and not caring about the country.“And so that’s why we launched on January 6. It was a seminal moment where Josh Hawley showed he only cares about power for himself. He doesn’t stand for anything. He gets out there when he thinks it’s gonna get him some sort of political power, he’s raising his fist, he’s ‘rah-rah-ing’ the crowd, trying to incite them to do things. And then the second things get real, he’s getting out the back door, running as fast as he can to get away. It shows what a fraud and a coward he is.”Kunce is a military veteran who also worked on international arms control. In his new ad, as in conversation, he takes aim at Hawley’s contention that America has forgotten what it means to be a man, an argument the senator will make at length in May with a book, Manhood: The Masculine Virtues America Needs.Kunce said: “As a marine who ran missions in Iraq, deployed to Afghanistan twice, if any of us had shown that type of cowardice [that Hawley showed on January 6], we would have been court martialed.“Missourians deserve better than someone who’s just going to run. They deserve someone who’s gonna stand for them, fight for them, and that’s what I’m gonna do.”The Hawley campaign responded to the Kunce ad by wielding the most obvious attack line back: Kunce has lost once in Missouri already.An adviser said: “We welcome this desperate woke activist to yet another political race. He just barely finished losing his last one. Maybe he’s running in the wrong state.”Kunce said Hawley’s camp was “obviously worried” because the senator, though thought to be eyeing the Republican presidential nomination, “has never had to run after showing everybody what a fraud and a coward he is. Now he’s got to deal with that.”In Missouri in 2022, the Democratic primary decided who would run for an open Senate seat as the Republican Roy Blunt retired. Kunce lost to Trudy Busch Valentine, a member of the Anheuser-Busch brewing dynasty who was then beaten by Eric Schmitt, the Republican attorney general, in the general election.Asked what he learned, Kunce said he had “shown people that no matter how hard it is, I’m not going to take money from the wrong folks. I’m only going to owe the people that took care of my family, everyday Missourians.“We took no money from corporate Pacs, no federal lobbyists, no big pharma, no big fossil fuel executives. The list is pretty long. And we did that because we want to show that in America everyday people, an everyday person like me, who doesn’t come from connections, doesn’t come from money, can get elected and can do it without corrupting themselves. It’s an uphill battle, but I think it’s worth it.“Josh Hawley does understand that when he got elected, he took millions of dollars from banks who wanted to control him. His dad was the president of the bank, he had all sorts of connections. And we provide a very good contrast to that.”01:08Kunce raised more than $5m in 2022 but Valentine, who would ultimately spend more than $16m of her own money, won comfortably. Kunce said: “What we learned in the primary was that money is critical in this political environment. And so we had to figure out a way to raise money without selling out.”Josh Hawley’s schooldays: ‘He made popcorn to watch the Iraq invasion’Read moreHe says “we did that. By the end, we had a record-breaking grassroots fundraising operation. And the beautiful thing is that all that work we did last time, none of it’s gone. The people are still there behind us. We’re growing it out even more, so we’re going to be very formidable this time. We have an operation that can run us all the way through November [2024].” In most minds, Missouri is a solidly red state. Asked why he thinks a Democrat can win there, Kunce cited recent ballot measures including “expanding Medicaid, increasing the minimum wage $5 over the federal level, passing medical and then recreational legalisation of marijuana, overturning right to work” anti-union laws.These, he said, were all “things that Josh Hawley did not stand for, that I do stand for. And … Missourians are willing in those situations to flip their vote.“In 2016, probably the reddest year of all time in Missouri, Donald Trump won here by 17 points. But the Democratic US Senate candidate, Jason Kander, he came within three points of winning.“I think we’re trending in the right direction. We just need to be able to capture the energy of everyday people trying to take back power for themselves, which clearly is my mission, and which we’ll be able to do.”TopicsUS SenateUS CongressUS elections 2024US politicsDemocratsMissouriinterviewsReuse this content More

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    White House pledges to cooperate with special counsel over classified documents – as it happened

    Here’s the Guardian’s David Smith on what little we know about the reports that emerged yesterday of a second batch of classified materials found somewhere linked to Joe Biden, and how it compares to what was found at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort:Joe Biden was facing fresh scrutiny over his handling of government secrets on Wednesday after a second batch of classified materials was reportedly found at a location linked to him.The White House was already on the defensive after revelations that classified documents were discovered last November in an office used by Biden after he served as US vice-president. On Tuesday he said he was “surprised to learn” of their existence.Then came a report from the NBC News network, followed by other media outlets, that said the president’s aides had found another set of classified documents at a separate location. The classification level, number and precise location of the material was not immediately clear, NBC News added.Biden under scrutiny as second batch of classified documents reportedly foundRead moreAttorney general Merrick Garland appointed former US attorney Robert Hur as special counsel to handle the inquiry into classified material found at Joe Biden’s home and former office. That means there are now two special counsels looking into the conduct of American presidents, the other being Jack Smith, who is overseeing the investigation of former president Donald Trump for the government secrets found at Mar-a-Lago, the January 6 insurrection and the broader plot to overturn the 2020 election. The decisions of Hur and Smith could have major consequences for American politics in the months to come.Here’s what else happened today:
    House Republicans said they’d mount their own investigation of the classified files found at the president’s properties.
    The House Democratic leader called on George Santos to resign for lying about his qualifications. Speaker Kevin McCarthy says the chamber’s ethics body will handle the complaints against the Republican lawmaker.
    Inflation is on the decline in the United States, according to government data released today.
    Hunter Biden has issues that are more significant than Democrats would like to admit, but may add up to less than Republicans believe, the New York Times reports.
    The daily sparring match is ongoing in the White House briefing room, as press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre parries questions from reporters wanting to know more about the classified documents inquiry.As the Guardian’s David Smith reports, Jean-Pierre wouldn’t get into whether Joe Biden would consent to an interview with investigators:Asked if Biden is willing to be interviewed by federal investigators, Jean-Pierre replies: “I’m just not going to get into hypotheticals… The president has said he takes classified documents and information very seriously.”— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) January 12, 2023
    But she said the president does not know what was in the documents:Jean-Pierre on Biden: “He was surprised that the records were found. He does not know what was in them. That hasn’t changed.”— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) January 12, 2023
    And didn’t have much more to say besides that:Jean-Pierre: “I’m not going to get into the decision that was made by the Attorney General… This is a president who believes in the independence of the justice department.”— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) January 12, 2023
    Here’s more from Richard Luscombe on what we know about Robert Hur, the just-appointed special counsel tasked with getting to the bottom of how classified documents ended up in Joe Biden’s home and former office:Robert Hur, appointed on Thursday as special counsel in the case of Joe Biden’s retention of classified documents while out of office, is according to his LinkedIn profile a “seasoned trial lawyer, former supreme court law clerk and former US attorney … with decades of experience in government and in private practice”.An appointee of Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, the 50-year-old was US attorney for Maryland from 2018 to 2021 before becoming a partner at Gibson Dunn, a Washington law firm specializing in white-collar “enforcement, investigations and litigation”.Andrew McCabe, a former FBI deputy director turned CNN law enforcement analyst, said Hur was a “well-informed, industrious, hard-working guy”.Robert Hur: special counsel in Biden documents case was Trump appointeeRead moreA top Republican government watchdog in Congress announced he would open an investigation into the classified documents found at Joe Biden’s home and former office.“With or without a special counsel, the House Oversight and Accountability Committee will investigate President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents and the Swamp’s efforts to hide this information from the American people,” House oversight committee chair James Comer said in a statement.“The National Archives and Records Administration, the White House, and the Department of Justice were aware of the classified documents stashed in a closet at the Penn Biden Center before the election, and now we’ve learned classified documents kept in President Biden’s garage were found in December. There are many questions about why the Biden Administration kept this matter a secret from the public, who had access to the office and the residence, and what information is contained in these classified documents. Republicans will push for transparency, accountability, and answers for the American people.”Comer is leading the House GOP’s investigations of the Biden administration. Yesterday, he demanded records from the Treasury related to the president’s son Hunter Biden and other family members, as well as the testimony of former Twitter executives involved in the response to the publication of stories related to Hunter’s laptop in 2020.This is what George Santos’s days are like in the Capitol.He walks out of his office to a mob of reporters all wanting to know the same thing: will he resign after admitting to making up big parts of his resume? Yesterday, he said, he would not, but today, he caused some confusion by saying he’d do so if 142 people requested it. ABC News caught the moment:Rep Santos tells reporters “If 142 people ask for me to resign, I’ll resign.” pic.twitter.com/Q4jBHFUTVh— Lalee Ibssa (@LaleeIbssa) January 12, 2023
    According to NBC News, he appeared later in the day on Trump confidante Steve Bannon’s podcast to clarify that he would resign at the request of the 142,000 people who voted for him in the Republican’s New York district.House speaker Kevin McCarthy would consider releasing more surveillance footage from the January 6 assault on the US Capitol, despite the objections of police and the justice department, Politico reports.“I think the American public should actually see all what happened instead of a report that’s written for a political basis,” the Republican House leader said at his press conference today.Some footage has already been made public as part of court cases or the January 6 committee’s investigation, but much of the 14,000 hours of footage recorded by surveillance cameras that day remains held by Congress, Politico says. Both the justice department and Capitol police have objected to past efforts to release more of the video, saying it could help plan another attack.There are now two special counsels investigating two American presidents – one current, one former – related to the discovery of classified documents in their possession. The Guardian’s Richard Luscombe takes a look at what kind of trouble Joe Biden and Donald Trump could be in:The discovery of documents from the Biden-Obama administration in at least two locations linked to Joe Biden has been greeted with dismay by Democrats and glee by Republicans, given the extensive legal troubles that Donald Trump faces for taking classified papers to his Florida resort.Republicans believe the incident shows that Biden has committed the same transgression as the former president, and argue that the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago and subsequent investigation were politically motivated point-scoring.But Democrats insist the two incidents are different legally, while acknowledging that they present a political problem for Biden that allows Republicans to go on the offensive.Classified documents: how do the Trump and Biden cases differ?Read moreThe Biden administration says it will cooperate with special counsel Robert Hur’s investigation into the classified documents found at the president’s Delaware home and at a former office in Washington DC:Statement from the White House on continued cooperation with the Justice Department and the Special Counsel: pic.twitter.com/pVS46b2KII— Ian Sams (@IanSams46) January 12, 2023
    Special counsel Robert Hur has released a statement following his appointment by attorney general Merrick Garland.“I will conduct the assigned investigation with fair, impartial, and dispassionate judgment. I intend to follow the facts swiftly and thoroughly, without fear or favor, and will honor the trust placed in me to perform this service,” Hur said.Merrick Garland closed his speech with a few words of support for Robert Hur.“I am confident that Mr Hur will carry out his responsibility in an even-handed and urgent matter, and in accordance with the highest traditions of this department,” he said.He ignored a question from a reporter about whether he’d spoken with Biden about the investigation.In his brief speech, Merrick Garland gave a timeline of how the document discovery unfolded behind the scenes.He confirmed that last November, he ask John Lausch, the Trump-appointed US attorney for the northern district of Illinois, to look into whether the materials found in an office formerly used by Biden in Washington DC warranted the appointment of a special counsel.The following month, a personal lawyer for Biden informed Lausch that more classified items were found in Biden’s garage at his home in Wilmington, Delaware, Garland said. These were turned over to the FBI. Garland also noted that Lausch was informed this morning by Biden’s attorney that another classified document was found at the president’s Wilmington home.Last week, Lausch informed Garland that he believed the matter warranted such an appointment, but he was unable to fill the role himself. Garland chose Robert Hur, another Trump appointee who stepped down as US attorney for Maryland after Biden took office, for the role.“I strongly believe that the normal processes of this department can handle all investigations with integrity,” Garland said. “But under the regulations, the extraordinary circumstances here require the appointment of a special counsel for this matter.”Merrick Garland named the special counsel as Robert Hur, who served as US attorney for Maryland from 2018 to 2021.He was nominated to that role by Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump.Attorney general Merrick Garland has announced the appointment of a special counsel to handle the inquiry into classified documents found at Joe Biden’s properties.Follow this blog for more.Oliver Milman reports on a key issue occupying Washington this week…Joe Biden has ruled out any ban of gas stoves in the US, following a furious backlash from Republicans to suggestions they could be phased out due to their contribution to indoor air pollution linked to childhood asthma and other conditions.Biden “does not support banning gas stoves”, Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, said on Wednesday. Jean-Pierre added that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the federal agency responsible for consumer safety, “is not banning gas stoves. I just want to be very clear on that.”The president’s intervention follows the possibility of a ban raised by Richard Trumka Jr, a CPSC commissioner, who called gas stoves a “hidden hazard” and said any option restricting their ongoing sale was “on the table”. In December, Trumka said that “we need to be talking about regulating gas stoves, whether that’s drastically improving emissions or banning gas stoves entirely”.Gas stoves have become a target for public health advocates, as well as climate campaigners, due to their leakage even when turned off of pollutants such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde. The biggest concern is over their emission of nitrogen dioxide, which can trigger cardiovascular problems and cause the inflammation of airways.Read on…Biden rules out gas-stove ban after Republican backlashRead moreHere’s a thought-provoking lunchtime, pre-DoJ presser read from Trevor Timm, executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, about Joe Biden’s classified-document problem, how it compares to Donald Trump’s retention of such papers and why the Espionage Act itself is the problem…With Joe Biden now embroiled in his own classified documents controversy, partisan commentators will surely have a field day playing the tired old game of “no, you endangered national security.” Instead, I’d like to focus on the real issues: the overly broad and often-abused Espionage Act and the massive, draconian secrecy system that does far more harm than good in the United States.This should be yet another wake up call that both the classification system and the Espionage Act need a dramatic overhaul. The question is — as more secret documents are found at a second Biden location and Donald Trump’s special prosecutor continues to work — will anyone listen?Now, before someone accuses me of “both side-ing” the separate Trump and Biden scandals here: no, they are not the same. Trump had mountains of secret documents he purposefully absconded with that he both refused to give back and arguably lied to authorities about. Whereas it seems Biden’s team actually alerted the authorities that the president had them in his office and is fully cooperating in their return.But here’s the thing: that doesn’t mean Biden didn’t potentially violate the Espionage Act – at least according to some legal experts.That’s because the Espionage Act is incredibly broad and spares no one.Read on…Joe Biden may have broken the Espionage Act. It’s so broad that you may have, too | Trevor TimmRead moreA growing number of Republicans are calling for George Santos to resign, though as yet party leaders have not moved against the newly elected congressman whose resumé has been shown to be largely fictional and whose campaign finances are the subject of formal complaints.Hakeem Jeffries, the Democratic minority leader in the House, had stern words for Santos and Republican leaders when he spoke to reporters earlier:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}He’s a complete and total fraud. He lied to the voters of the third congressional district in New York. He deceived and connived his way into Congress, and is now the responsibility of House Republicans to do something about it.
    “This is not a partisan issue, but it is an issue that Republicans need to handle. Clean up your house. You can start with George Santos.”Six New York Republicans have called for Santos to quit. Santos has said he will not.Of a move earlier this week by two New York Democrats, Daniel Goldman and Ritchie Torres, to hand-deliver to Santos their request for an investigation of his campaign finances, Jeffries said: “I was well-aware of their decision to do so.“But any matters before the ethics committee are before the ethics committee, and should be resolved by members of the ethics committee.”Kevin McCarthy would seem – up to a point – to agree. The Republican House speaker told reporters today: “What I find is that voters have elected George Santos. If there is a concern he will go through ethics. If there is something that is found it will be dealt with in that manner. But they [voters] have a voice in this process.”Read on:More Republicans call for George Santos to resign over fictional resuméRead moreAttorney general Merrick Garland has a public address planned for 1.15pm eastern time after a second batch of classified materials was found at Joe Biden’s house in Delaware. Garland may indirectly respond to calls from Republicans to appoint a special prosecutor to handle the matter, as he did for the government secrets found at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. Follow this blog for the latest from his press conference as it happens.Here’s what else has happened so far today:
    The House Democratic leader has called on George Santos to resign for lying about his qualifications. Speaker Kevin McCarthy says the chamber’s ethics body will handle his case.
    Inflation is on the decline in the United States, according to government data released today.
    Hunter Biden has issues that are more significant than Democrats would like to admit, but may add up to less than Republicans believe, the New York Times reports.
    The trial of five members of the Proud Boys militia group has started today in Washington DC, Politico reports. The group is facing seditious conspiracy charges related to the January 6 attack on the US Capitol:NOW: The Proud Boys seditious conspiracy jury is in the courtroom and being sworn in. DOJ opening arguments should begin momentarily.— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 12, 2023
    MCCULLOUGH starts with reciting history of peaceful transfer of power”On Jan. 6, 2021, these men — Enrique Tariro, Ethan Nordean, Joe Biggs, Zacahry Rehl and Dominic Pezzola — sought to change that history.”“These men did not stand back. They did not stand by. They mobilized”— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 12, 2023
    In November, the founder of the Oath Keepers, another militia group involved in the insurrection, was found guilty of the same charge by a federal jury, along with a co-defendant.Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes found guilty of seditious conspiracyRead more More

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    House’s Republican majority gets to work with two abortion measures – as it happened

    The first days of a new Congress are typically when the party in charge lays out its priority, and today, it’s the turn of abortion foes.The two measures the Republican-led House will consider don’t amount to the sort of draconian laws some abortion foes would like to see passed, and supporters of the procedure fear. They are not, for instance, the nationwide abortion ban Republican senator Lindsey Graham proposed last year.Rather, they target more niche aspects and consequences of the procedure. One is a resolution condemning attacks on churches, groups and facilities that work against abortion. The other is the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which is intended to protect the rights of babies born after surviving an attempted abortion. Abortion rights advocate argue their rights are already secured by a 2002 law, and just last November, voters in Montana rejected a similar measure that was on their ballots.Democrats are telling their members to vote against both measures.Republicans in the House are set to pass two measures concerning abortion later this afternoon, one a resolution condemning violence against opponents of the procedure, the other a bill meant to protect the life of babies who survive abortions. Democrats oppose both. Meanwhile, GOP officials in New York have called on George Santos to resign from Congress after he admitted to lying about his qualifications, but he says he’s not going anywhere.Here’s what else happened today:
    Domestic flights resumed across the United States after all departures were briefly halted this morning by a systems failure at the Federal Aviation Administration.
    The top Republican investigator in the House demanded documents from the Treasury related to Hunter Biden and other members of the president’s family. He also wants testimony from three former Twitter executives involved in the platform’s temporary banning of the New York Post after it reported on the discovery of Biden’s laptop.
    Republicans tried their best to get voters riled up over gas cookstoves.
    Joe Biden’s aides found more classified documents at a location he once used, though further details are scarce.
    Virginia’s Republican governor is unlikely to be able to ban abortion after 15 weeks, after Democrats flipped a state Senate seat in a special election.
    Another batch of classified documents has turned up at a location used by Joe Biden that is separate from the Washington DC office where the first cache was discovered in November, NBC News reports.The president has faced scrutiny ever since reports emerged this week that approximately 10 papers bearing government classification markings and dating to his time as vice-president were found at an office once used by Biden. According to NBC, the latest cache was found by aides to the president, though details of the documents’ content and how many were found were not available. NBC reports the documents were discovered after the president ordered a search for any other classified documents that may have been taken from the White House when he departed in January 2017 at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.At 4 pm, the House is scheduled to vote on a GOP-proposed resolution and bill concerning abortion.But first, the Democrats will try to attach an amendment to the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which is meant to protect babies who survive the procedure. The proposed amendment would “prohibit government restrictions on abortion care,” according to Democratic whip Katherine Clark’s office. “This would include any limits to providers’ ability to prescribe certain drugs, offer abortion counseling services via telemedicine, or provide emergency abortion services when a delay would risk the health of the mother.” Republicans are certain to vote this proposal down.The chamber will then consider both the born-alive act and the resolution condemning violence against anti-abortion groups. Clark’s office is encouraging Democrats to vote against both, saying the resolution does not contain “any acknowledgment of violent attacks on providers or facilities that offer abortion care,” and the born alive bill “unnecessarily restates current law requiring a doctor to provide the same standard of medical care for an infant born during an abortion procedure as they would for any other infant.”Republicans have the numbers to pass both, but at this stage, the effort is more about signaling priorities to GOP voters than changing the law. When the born-alive act arrives in the Senate, it is unlikely to be considered by its Democratic leadership.The calls for George Santos to resign have spread from county level Republicans to the state party, Politico reports:INBOX: NY state GOP backs call for Rep. George Santos’ resignation pic.twitter.com/fIr0uSzDJX— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) January 11, 2023
    White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was asked at her daily briefing about the classified documents discovered at an office formerly used by Joe Biden, and she said… not much.The Guardian’s David Smith was in the White House briefing room to experience the illuminating exchange up close:Jean-Pierre on Biden’s classified documents: “He was surprised to find any records were there. He doesn’t know what’s in them… As he said, his team is cooperating fully with the review… We are committed to doing the right thing.”— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) January 11, 2023
    Jean-Pierre: “This is under review by the Department of Justice. I’m not going to go beyond what the president shared yesterday.”— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) January 11, 2023
    Reporters are wont to press, and press they did, at which point it grew a little heated:Ed O’Keefe of CBS News notes that Biden acknowledged that he would make mistakes and ask for help fixing them. Jean-Pierre replies: “We don’t need to have this kind of confrontation. Ask your question… You don’t need to be contentious here with me, Ed.”— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) January 11, 2023
    Asked if Biden is looking into whether there might be more classified documents elsewhere, Jean-Pierre replies: “I’m just not going to speak to this. I’m going to let the process continue.”— David Smith (@SmithInAmerica) January 11, 2023
    Joe Biden has joined Donald Trump in the club of current or former American presidents who may be in trouble over classified documents. But as the Guardian’s Hugo Lowell reports, the two men are not facing identical peril:Donald Trump’s retention of documents marked classified at his Mar-a-Lago resort has aggravating factors that might support his criminal prosecution unlike the discovery of some documents also marked classified stored at Joe Biden’s former institute from his time as vice-president, legal experts said.The US justice department has clear criteria for prosecuting people who intentionally mishandle highly sensitive government documents, and the facts of the Trump documents case appear to satisfy more elements than in the Biden documents case.Broadly, the Department of Justice has typically pursued prosecutions when cases have involved a combination of four factors: wilful mishandling of classified information, vast quantities of classified information to support an inference of misconduct, disloyalty to the United States and obstruction.The criminal investigation into Trump touches on at least two of those elements – obstruction, where a person conceals documents with an intent to impede a government agency, and the volume of classified materials at Mar-a-Lago – unlike the Biden case, which appears to touch on none.In the case of the classified documents, it’s more serious for Trump than BidenRead moreWhile they may have momentum in the US House, anti-abortion groups continue to lose ground at the state level, with a special election in Virginia bringing the latest setback for their movement.Last night, Democrat Aaron Rouse claimed victory in the race for a vacant seat in Virginia’s state Senate, which, if confirmed, would expand the party’s margins in the chamber. It would also mean Republican governor Glenn Youngkin would not have the votes he needs to pass a proposed ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, which he unveiled last month.Abortion rights have faired well at ballot boxes ever since the supreme court last year overturned Roe v Wade. In the November midterms, voters rejected new limits on abortion or expanded access in every state where it was on the ballot.Earlier this morning in the Capitol, George Santos kept it to the point with a quick “I will not,” when asked if he would resign.He was a bit more loquacious on Twitter this afternoon: I was elected to serve the people of #NY03 not the party & politicians, I remain committed to doing that and regret to hear that local officials refuse to work with my office to deliver results to keep our community safe and lower the cost of living.I will NOT resign!— George Santos (@Santos4Congress) January 11, 2023
    Ahead of the introduction of two anti-abortion measures in the newly Republican-controlled House, one House Republican said her party was “tone deaf” on the issue.Nancy Mace, of South Carolina, told NBC on Tuesday: “We have been tone deaf on this issue since the time that Roe was overturned.”Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling which protected abortion rights, was overturned by the ruling in Dobbs v Jackson which the conservative-dominated supreme court handed down last June.Extensive evidence, including Republicans’ disappointing performance in the midterm elections in November, suggests the ruling was drastically out of step with public support for abortion rights, which runs around 60%.“We buried our heads in the sand,” Mace said. “We didn’t have any policy alternatives. We were not compassionate to both sides of the aisle on this argument.”Mace also told NBC her party was “paying lip service to the pro-life movement” and said anti-abortion measures introduced in this Congress were “never going to pass the Senate. It’s never going to get to the president’s desk to be signed into law.“If you want to make a difference and reduce the number of abortions with a Democrat-controlled Senate, the No1 issue we should be working on is access to birth control.”Some pertinent lunchtime reading from our columnist Jill Filipovic, as House Republicans seek to advance their agenda in the chamber they newly control…The Republican party didn’t exactly start 2023 hot out of the gate.Despite a new House majority, the Republican members of Congress spent their first few days in office in an embarrassing protracted squabble over the speakership. Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, who has spent the last few years assisting members of the extremist conspiracy-mongering Trumpian Republican radicals in their rise to power, found himself predictably on the receiving end of the extremist conspiracy-mongers, who wanted one of their own in charge as well as a series of rule changes. After largely capitulating to his party’s lunatic fringe, McCarthy squeaked through on the 15th vote.Now, he holds the gavel, but it’s clear he doesn’t hold his party’s confidence, and that he’s not a leader in any meaningful sense of the word. If he can’t even get his troops lined up to vote for him, how is he going to get his clearly out-of-control party in line to support even tougher votes?Which raises the question of what the party can reasonably accomplish in the House this term.Read on…Expect the Republican House to be just like the speaker debacle: pure chaosRead moreSome good news for Joe Biden – according to polling by the Economist and YouGov, his approval rating is net positive, his best such rating since July 2021:Biden’s net job approval is now positive in @TheEconomist’s polling with @YouGovAmerica: https://t.co/IVjBfI5OAY- This includes a +2 reading (47% approve to 45% disapprove) in this week’s poll- 45% approve of his handling of the economy- Biden’s best numbers since July 2021 pic.twitter.com/5ASvKye83h— G. Elliott Morris (@gelliottmorris) January 11, 2023
    More from the Economist and YouGov, under the title “Weekly Insight”:.css-cumn2r{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Two years on from the mob attack at the US Capitol on 6 January 2021, a new poll from the Economist and YouGov finds that most Americans still disapprove of the insurrectionists who stormed the building. The poll finds that 64% of adults disapprove of “the Trump supporters taking over the Capitol building” on January 6, including 52% who say they “strongly” disapprove. Meanwhile 20% of adults – mostly respondents who also said they voted for Mr Trump in 2020 – say they approve. By 45% to 37%, a plurality of adults believe Mr Trump urged his supporters to engage in violence that day.So that’s reassuring. Ish.Republicans in the House are set to pass two measures concerning abortion this afternoon, one a resolution condemning violence against opponents of the procedure, the other a bill meant to protect the life of babies who survive abortions. Democrats oppose both. Meanwhile, GOP officials in New York have called on George Santos to resign from Congress after he admitted to lying about his qualifications, but he says he’s not going anywhere.Here’s what else has happened today thus far:
    Domestic flights are resuming across the United States after all departures were briefly halted this morning by a systems failure at the Federal Aviation Administration.
    The top Republican investigator in the House is demanding documents from the Treasury related to Hunter Biden and other members of the president’s family. He also wants testimony from three former Twitter executives involved in the platform’s temporary banning of the New York Post after it reported on the discovery of Biden’s laptop.
    Republicans are trying their best to get voters riled up over gas cookstoves.
    Here’s newly elected congressman Anthony D’Esposito becoming the first Republican lawmaker to call for George Santos’s resignation:Rep. Anthony D’Esposito (R-NY) becomes the first GOP member of Congress to call on Rep. George Santos (R-NY) to resign from the House. pic.twitter.com/VArdpuwLor— The Recount (@therecount) January 11, 2023
    Like Santos, D’Esposito is a Republican who represents a Democratic-leaning suburban New York City district.Here’s Joseph Cairo, chair of the Republican party in New York’s Nassau county, calling for George Santos’ resignation:Nassau County Republican Chair Joseph Cairo calls for Rep. George Santos’ (R-NY) “immediate” resignation:“He’s not welcome here at Republican headquarters … He’s disgraced the House of Representatives, and we do not consider him one of our Congress people.” pic.twitter.com/fgK4t1lzC0— The Recount (@therecount) January 11, 2023
    Santos’s congressional district includes part of the county in suburban New York City, and his victory in last November’s midterm election flipped it from Democratic to Republican representation.ABC News caught up with Santos at the Capitol, who said he has no plans to step down:🚨Rep. George Santos tells @rachelvscott and me he will NOT resign pic.twitter.com/vBMvotq3Y0— Lalee Ibssa (@LaleeIbssa) January 11, 2023
    There’s no shortage of business on the House’s agenda, but several Republicans are doing all they can to make the gas cookstove kerfuffle last.Consider this, from Missouri’s Mark Alford: pic.twitter.com/ePzSGT9woQ— Mark Alford 🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸 (@markalfordkc) January 11, 2023
    Texas’s Ronny Jackson, the former White House doctor to Barack Obama and Donald Trump, is promoting a website…:If gas stoves were really a health hazard, would “doctor” Jill Biden be using one?? I think not.https://t.co/2DQMkP2ZIy pic.twitter.com/QSH3A72Ifj— Ronny Jackson (@RonnyJacksonTX) January 11, 2023
    … and employing the all-caps approach:187 MILLION Americans have gas stoves in their homes, and it will cost a FORTUNE to replace them. There’s no “science” behind this. It’s just another excuse Biden is trying to use to put MORE GOVERNMENT in your lives. HANDS OFF OUR STOVES!!https://t.co/2DQMkP2ZIy pic.twitter.com/xPxM5KwbKa— Ronny Jackson (@RonnyJacksonTX) January 11, 2023 More

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    George Santos says he won’t resign as fellow Republicans call on him to quit

    George Santos says he won’t resign as fellow Republicans call on him to quitChair of Nassau county committee says Santos ran ‘a campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication’ to win third district The Republican George Santos said on Wednesday he would not resign from Congress less than a week after being sworn in, despite calls to do so from the chairman of his district committee and a fellow New York representative, amid continuing scrutiny of Santos’s mostly made-up résumé and growing calls for campaign finance investigations.In Santos’s district, reactions to brazen lies remain mixed: ‘I might let him slide’Read moreIn a tweet, Santos said: “I was elected to serve the people of the New York third district not the party and politicians, I remain committed to doing that and regret to hear that local officials refuse to work with my office to deliver results to keep our community safe and lower the cost of living.“I will NOT resign!”He was responding to remarks to reporters by Joseph Cairo, chair of the Nassau county Republican committee, who said Santos ran “a campaign of deceit, lies and fabrication” to win the third district last year.At the same time, a first sitting Republican congressman, Anthony D’Esposito, also of New York, called on Santos to quit.Santos has faced a barrage of negative coverage.He has admitted to “embellishing” his résumé, including lying about his college record – he did not attend Baruch and New York University – and saying a “poor choice of words” created the impression he worked for Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.He has claimed a tragic link to the Pulse nightclub shooting and said the attacks on New York on 11 September 2001 “claimed my mother’s life”. His mother died in 2016.He has claimed to have Jewish roots and to be descended from Holocaust survivors.He is under investigation in New York and in Brazil, in the latter case over the use of a stolen chequebook.His Democratic predecessor in the third district has called him a “conman”.Cairo said Santos “deceived the voters of the third congressional district, he deceived the members of the Nassau county Republican committee, elected officials, his colleagues, candidates, his opponents and even some of the media.“His lies were not mere fibs. He disgraced the House of Representatives. In particular, his fabrications went too far. Many groups were hurt. Specifically, those families that were touched by the horrors of the Holocaust. I feel for them.“He has no place in the Nassau county Republican committee, nor should he serve in public service nor as an elected official. He is not welcome here at Republican headquarters for meetings or at any of our events. As I said, he’s disgraced the House of Representatives, and we do not consider him one of our congresspeople.“Today, on behalf of the Nassau county Republican committee. I am calling for his immediate resignation.”In his own statement, to Politico, D’Esposito said Santos’s “many hurtful lies and mistruths … have irreparably broken the trust of the residents he is sworn to serve. For his betrayal of the public’s trust, I call on [him] to resign”.Santos was sworn into Congress last weekend, almost a week late after backing Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader, through 15 votes for speaker.Casting one vote, Santos appeared to flash a “white power” sign. He has previously claimed to be partly Black. He also told the New York Post he was “Catholic. Because I learned my maternal family had a Jewish background I said I was ‘Jew-ish’.”Another newly elected New York Republican, Nick LaLota, has called for an investigation. On Tuesday, two New York Democrats who hand-delivered a request for an ethics investigation of Santos, Daniel Goldman and Ritchie Torres, said they had heard from Republicans who supported such a step.But Republican leaders have not acted.On Tuesday, Politico reported that Republicans were discussing what to do. Santos told the site he expected to be given committee assignments. On Wednesday, asked if Santos would sit on top committees, McCarthy said: “No.”Seizing on Cairo’s remarks, Jaime Harrison, chair of the Democratic National Committee, tweeted that McCarthy’s “spine found a new home in Nassau county”.Harrison added: “It is shameful that a New York county party chair has to protect and defend the honor of the House of Representatives against the lies of Santos while McCarthy is too scared to even utter his name.”In Washington on Tuesday, Goldman and Torres delivered to Santos their demand for an investigation by the House ethics committee.Goldman, like Santos elected last November, said: “Santos, we have a complaint for you.”Santos said: “Sure.”In their complaint, Goldman and Torres cited “extensive public reporting – as well as Santos’s own admissions … that Mr Santos misled voters in his district about his ethnicity, his religion, his education, and his employment and professional history, among other things”.They requested an investigation of Santos for “failing to file timely, accurate and complete financial disclosure reports as required by law”.Santos’s campaign finances are the subject of a complaint filed with the Federal Election Commission by the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a non-partisan watchdog.George Santos scandal: Democratic predecessor calls him a ‘conman’Read moreThe CLC complaint questions the source of Santos’s personal wealth and the propriety of loans to his own campaign.Torres and Goldman called Santos’s financial reports for a failed run in 2020 and his win in 2022 “sparse and perplexing”, adding: “At a minimum it is apparent he did not file timely disclosure reports for his most recent campaign.”They wrote: “If Mr Santos’s 2020 and 2022 financial disclosures are to be believed, his salary increased from $55,000 in 2020 to $750,000 in 2021 and 2022, of which he gave a whopping $705,000 to his campaign.“The committee should investigate the veracity of these claims and whether Mr Santos has engaged in fraudulent activity.”Santos told reporters that though Goldman and Torres were “free to do whatever they want to do”, he was not concerned, as he had “done nothing unethical”.Asked if he had done anything wrong, he said: “I have not.”Torres and Goldman also said Santos had “failed to uphold the integrity expected of members of the House of Representatives”.TopicsGeorge SantosRepublicansDemocratsNew YorkUS CongressHouse of RepresentativesUS political financingnewsReuse this content More