Posts tagged with "The Hill"

Fox News runs disclaimer on-air during Trump CPAC speech about 2020 election

July 13, 2021

On Sunday, July 11, Fox News aired a disclaimer adding context to comments made by former President Donald Trump referencing electoral fraud during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), The Hill reports.

“And now, it’s also because I got more votes, 75 million, than anybody in the history of the presidency, and far more than Clinton, far more than Obama, and a record 12 million more than 2016,” Trump said of what he has continued to describe as an effort to “rig” the election against him. “Think of it, in the history usually they go down a little bit second term and they win, but they go down a little bit.”

According to The Hill, as Trump continued to make misleading or false claims about the result of the election, Fox News, which was carrying the former president’s speech live, replaced its chyron with a disclaimer. 

“Voting system companies have denied the various allegations made by President Trump and his counsel regarding the 2020 election,” the disclaimer read.

In April, Fox News Media filed a response to a $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit by the voting machine company Smartmatic that was filed against it for spreading Trump’s false claims about the election, saying it should be dismissed.

“The press does not lose its protection if the allegations are disproven; instead the reporting is part of the truthseeking process,” Fox News Media argued in its response to the lawsuit from Smartmatic. “That is why virtually every media outlet in the country covered the President’s election-fraud allegations without fear of being sued if they were disproved in court. Smartmatic’s efforts to erode that bedrock constitutional protection are dangerous and should be rejected.”

Fox did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the disclaimer that was displayed during Trump’s speech on Sunday.

Research contact: @thehill

Department of Justice sues Georgia over voting law

June 28, 2021

The Department of Justice is suing the State of Georgia over its controversial new law imposing a number of restrictions on voting, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on Friday, June 25, according to a report by The Hill.

“Today, the Department of Justice is suing the state of Georgia,” Garland said. “Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of Black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color, in violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.”

The Georgia law—passed in March along party lines in the span of just a few hours—imposes restrictions that voting rights groups say will fall most heavily on minorities: It sets new voter ID requirements for absentee ballots, limits drop boxes and even bars passing out food and water to those waiting in line to vote.

The suit is the first from the Justice Department to challenge an influx of state laws that they say will limit access to the ballot.

In a speech earlier this month, Garland pointed to 14 “new laws that make it harder to vote,” vowing to scrutinize “current laws and practices in order to determine whether they discriminate against Black voters and other voters of color.”

Georgia Republicans argued the law was needed to protect the integrity of elections. Its swift passage into law followed a loss by former President  Donald Trump in the state, followed by claims of election fraud from Trump along with a call from him to Georgia’s secretary of state asking him to “find” the president votes,  The Hill notes.

A review of pending state legislation by the Brennan Center for Justice found a wave of bills with restrictive voting provisions—and warned that the activity is outpacing other years and leaving “the United States … on track to far exceed its most recent period of significant voter suppression,”

Research contact: @thehill

Biden doubles FEMA funding for extreme weather preparations

May 25, 2021

The Biden Administration announced on May 24 that it will direct $1 billion toward the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s fund for extreme weather preparations—representing a 100 percent increase over existing funding levels, The Hill reports.

The budget increase will go to the Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program, which provides support for local, state, and tribal government preparation efforts.

The increase, and the program in general, are part of an effort to “categorically shift the federal focus” from responding to individual disasters on a case-by-case basis to “research-supported, proactive investment in community resilience,” the White House said.

“As climate change threatens to bring more extreme events like increased floods, sea level rise, and intensifying droughts and wildfires, it is our responsibility to better prepare and support communities, families, and businesses before disaster—not just after,” the administration said in a statement. “This includes investing in climate research to improve our understanding of these extreme weather events; [as well as] our decision-making on climate resilience, adaptation, and mitigation. It also means ensuring that communities have the resources they need to build resilience prior to these crises.”

The additional funding comes after a sharp increase in major hurricanes in 2020, with a record high of 30 named storms and a dozen hurricanes or tropical storms that made landfall in the United States.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is projecting a heavier-than-average hurricane season in 2021. Between 13 and 20 named storms are likely—with six to 10 becoming full hurricanes and three to five becoming major hurricanes, according to the NOAA. These numbers would constitute the sixth above-average storm season in a row.

“Now is the time for communities along the coastline as well as inland to get prepared for the dangers that hurricanes can bring,” Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said in a statement last week.

Research contact: @thehill

Senators introduce bipartisan bill to overhaul U.S. Postal Service

May 21, 2021

On May 19, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a bill—the Postal Service Reform Act—intended to improve management of the troubled U.S. Postal Service, The Hill reports.

The move to “stabilize” the USPS is being led by Senators Gary Peters (D-Michigan); and  Rob Portman (R-Ohio)m both of the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee.

A total of nine Republicans signed on as co-sponsors. Adding their support, as well as Portman’s vote, to the Democrat vote of 50 members would secure passage of the legislation and head off a filibuster—making the new legislation the closest thing Congress has done to a postal overhaul in more than a decade, The Capitalist reports.

Specifically, The Washington Post has said, the bill would repeal $5 billion a year in mandatory retiree health care expenses, the Post reports, and require future retirees to enroll in Medicare. The bill would also create a public online performance dashboard that would allow customers to see the Postal Service’s on-time delivery metric by ZIP code.

The change in health care requirements would purportedly save the Postal Service $30 billion over the next ten years.

The bill will likely affect Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s proposed ten-year plan of increasing postage prices, creating longer delivery windows and reducing post office hours. The Post notes that an important part of DeJoy’s plan hinged on congressional intervention on retiree health care costs.

Some officials have argued that these costs, which must be prepaid per the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act, are the main reason why the agency cannot invest in new technology and equipment. However, the Post notes that the Postal Service has not made these payments since 2011 and they do not affect the agency’s liquidity.

Regardless of its financial situation, the agency’s problems may be beyond legislative action experts told the newspaper.”Some things are beyond the realm of legislation to be able to deal with,” Postal Policy Associates consulting firm President Kenneth John told the Post.

“Letter mail volume is going to decline to the extent that prices increase more rather than less,” John, a former senior analyst at the Government Accountability Office, added. “That decline may accelerate somewhat, but it’s fundamentally a result of changing ways of communication and payment, and these are going to continue.”

Research contact: @thehill

Ocasio-Cortez on Taylor Greene: ‘These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time’

May  17, 2021

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) took a swipe at Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia) on Thursday, May 13— likening her to the “kinds of people that I threw out of bars” after the GOP newcomer aggressively confronted her outside the House chamber the day before, The Hill reports.

“I used to work as a bartender. These are the kinds of people that I threw out of bars all the time,” Ocasio-Cortez told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“For me, this isn’t even about how I feel. It’s that I refuse to allow young women, people of color, people who are standing up for what they believe, to see [these] kind[s] of intimidation attempts by a person who supports white supremacists in our nation’s Capitol,” she continued.

Greene is facing blowback from Democrats off the heels of a Washington Post report that she harassed Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday and shouted at her as the two left the floor.

Greene repeatedly yelled, “Hey, Alexandria,” according to two Washington Post reporters who witnessed the incident. Ocasio-Cortez reportedly did not stop to address Greene, who went on to press the young progressive on her support for Black Lives Matter, which Greene claimed to be a “terrorist” group.

“You don’t care about the American people,” Greene reportedly shouted. “Why do you support terrorists and Antifa?”

After Ocasio-Cortez’s departure, Greene also reportedly called the Democrat a “radical socialist” and a “chicken” who “doesn’t want to debate the Green New Deal.”

The report came after Greene challenged Ocasio-Cortez to a debate over her “Green New Deal” legislation. Not long after, Greene also went up to Ocasio-Cortez in the House chamber and posted a photo of the moment on social media.

Greene defended her actions Thursday and rejected the notion that her behavior was uncivil.

“So she throws out paying customers. Is that how she feels? She throws out paying customers, is what she’s saying?” Greene said in response to a reporter who relayed how Ocasio-Cortez compared her to an aggressive bar patron.

“You know, it would be nice if they would treat us civilly. But ever since January 6, they can’t even treat us with respect. And we were just as much as victims of the riot here, too. We didn’t cause it,” Greene continued. “All these lies that they say on and on and on. You know, they need to be civil. None of them [is]civil to me.

“I was telling her, you need to debate me, you need to defend your policy,” she added. “There is nothing wrong with that.”

Ocasio-Cortez’s office has expressed concerns about security for congressional members and staff after the incident, The Hill notes.

“We hope leadership and the Sergeant at Arms will take real steps to make Congress a safe, civil place for all Members and staff—especially as many offices are discussing reopening. One Member has already been forced to relocate her office due to Congresswoman Greene’s attacks,” a spokesperson for her office, Lauren Hitt, told the Post.

Earlier this year, Representative Cori Bush (D-Missourialso announced that she would be moving her office away from Greene’s after she said the Georgia lawmaker berated her.

“I’m moving my office away from hers for my team’s safety,” Bush tweeted at the time about the move.

Greene countered that Bush instigated the exchange by yelling at her to put on a mask in a House hallway and posted a video of the exchange.

“She is lying to you. She berated me. Maybe Representative Bush didn’t realize I was live on video, but I have the receipts,” Greene said at the time.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) on Thursday described Greene’s confrontation with Ocasio-Cortez as a “verbal assault,” and warned the situation could be a matter for the House Ethics Committee.

Pelosi called Greene’s behavior “so beyond the pale of anything that is in keeping with bringing honor to the House.”

Research contact: @thehill

Trump sued by Swalwell over mob attack on Capitol

March 8, 2021

On Friday, March5, former President Donald Trump, as well as his eldest son and a couple of his allies were hit with a suit brought by Representative Eric Swalwell (D-California) over their roles in the run-up to the January 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, The Hill reports.

The 65-page complaint—filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.—accuses Trump, his son Donald Trump Jr., Representative Mo Brooks (R-Alabama),and Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani of inciting the riot and violating a number of federal and D.C. laws.

According to The Hill, each defendant was among the speakers at a pro-Trump rally that immediately preceded the deadly Capitol breach. The lawsuit depicts the incendiary rally speeches as a tipping point that culminated a months-long disinformation campaign to push the false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from Trump.

“The horrific events of January 6 were a direct and foreseeable consequence of the Defendants’ unlawful actions,” the complaint states. “As such, the Defendants are responsible for the injury and destruction that followed.”

The lawsuit seeks unspecified money damages and asks for a court order requiring Trump and his allies to provide at least a week’s notice before holding any future rally in D.C. related to an election.

Among the allegations contained in the nine-count complaint is that defendants conspired to prevent lawmakers and then-Vice President Mike Pence from certifying President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris’s election win, in violation of a federal civil rights law.

Attempts by the Hill to reach Trump, Brooks and Giuliani for comment were not successful.

The lawsuit is the latest instance of potential legal exposure for the former president. Trump also faces a criminal probe in Georgia for pressuring officials to overturn President Joe Biden’s electoral win; and is under investigation in New York for possible financial crimes and civil violations related to his businesses.

The Biden Administration’s Justice Department also faces pressure from progressives and Trump critics to pursue criminal charges against the former president.

Swalwell’s lawsuit comes less than a month after Trump was acquitted in a Senate impeachment trial over his role in the Jan. 6 attack. Swalwell, a former county prosecutor in California, served as one of the House impeachment managers in the Senate trial.

Research contact: @thehill

Biden says Lindsey Graham is a ‘personal disappointment’ as a former friend and colleague

December 21, 2020

President-elect Joe Biden called Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) “a personal disappointment” when asked about his friendship with his former Senate colleague in an interview that aired on Friday, December 18, The Hill reports.

“Lindsey’s been a personal disappointment because I was a personal friend of his,” Biden told talk show host Stephen Colbert when asked whether he could patch things up with the Republican senator.

Biden and Graham served in the Senate together before Biden became vice president eight years ago.

Graham has previously spoken emotionally about his friendship with Biden, notably calling him “the nicest person I think I’ve ever met in politics” in a 2015 Huffington Post interview.

“If you can’t admire Joe Biden as a person, you’ve got a problem. You need to do some self-evaluation, ‘cause, what’s not to like?” Graham told the HuffPost at that time, calling Biden “as good a man as God ever created.”

Graham was also particularly critical of then-presidential candidate Donald Trump at the time—calling him a “race-baiting, xenophobic religious bigot.”

However, Graham’s tune has changed dramatically over the past four years. The South Carolina Republican is seen as one of the most vocal allies of the president, The Hill notes—and was initially slow to formally accept Biden’s presidential victory. 

Graham, along with a number of other Republican senators, said they accepted Biden’s win after the Electoral College vote on Monday.

Biden will face a bitterly divided Congress when he takes office next month but has touted his history of reaching across the aisle as a senator and vice president.

“I think I can work with Republican leadership in the House and the Senate,” Biden told Colbert.

“I think we can get things done, and I think once this president is no longer in office, I think you’re going to see an impact on the body politic fade, and a lot of these Republicans are going to feel they have much more room to run and cooperate.”

Research contact: @thehill

Daddy dearest: Ivanka Trump shares photo of father on Mount Rushmore

December 8, 2020

On December 7, devoted “first daughter” Ivanka Trump tweeted out a photo of President Donald Trump that showed him smiling alongside the past commanders-in-chief—George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln—whose heads are chiseled on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota..

According to a report by MSN, The snapshot appeared similar to one the president had tweeted in August, when he denied a report by The New York Times that the White House had reached out to South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) about adding his face to Mount Rushmore.

Trump , himself, tweeted at the time it was “never suggested,” although “based on all of the many things accomplished during the first 3 1/2 years, perhaps more than any other Presidency, sounds like a good idea to me!”

When asked by The Hill last year if his head should be carved among the giant granite landmark, Trump replied, “If I answer that question, ‘Yes,’ I will end up with such bad publicity.”

At a 2017 rally, Trump quipped to the crowd, “I’d ask whether or not you think I will someday be on Mount Rushmore.”

Research contact: @MSN

Mnuchin puts $455 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief funds beyond Yelin’s reach

November 26, 2020

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has moved $455 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief capital from the Federal Reserve back into the Treasury’s General Fund—making it much more difficult for his chosen successor, Janet Yellen, to access the emergency funding, The Hill reports.

Indeed, the political news outlet notes, it may require another act of Congress for Mnuchin’s designed successor to deploy COVID relief patyments.

Mnuchin said last week that he was shuttering a handful of the Fed’s emergency lending facilities, a move the central bank opposed in a rare critical statement. While those facilities were little-used during the pandemic, they were seen as confidence boosters for capital markets.

Mnuchin at the time requested the Fed return the funding, which Congress appropriated to cover potential pandemic-related losses, saying the CARES Act from March set a legal deadline for the facilities to expire by year’s end.

CARES Act watchdog, Bharat Ramamurti—appointed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) last April to oversee the funds—told The Hill that Mnuchin’s move was unlawful. “This is Treasury’s latest ham-handed effort to undermine the Biden Administration,” he said on Twitter. The good news is that it’s illegal and can be reversed next year. For its part, the Fed should not go along with this attempted sabotage and should retain the CARES Act funds it already has.

Neither the Treasury Department nor the Biden transition team immediately responded to a request for comment.

Research contact: @thehill

ABC’s Raddatz: ‘Is the president planning a military operation?’

November 12, 2020

Could Trump possibly be planning to go down fighting? ABC’s Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz has questioned whether outgoing President Donald Trump is “planning a military operation” amid a flurry of Pentagon resignations, The Hill reports.

“No one has seen anything like this. There is concern about what this means,” Raddatz told ABC’s David Muir on World News Tonight, asking, “Is the president planning a military operation or the use of federal troops, which [former Defense Secretary Mark] Esper opposed?”

The resignations came Tuesday, November 10,  from the Pentagon’s top policy official James Anderson, the agency’s top intelligence official Joseph Kernan; and Jen Stewart, chief of staff to Defense Secretary Mark Esper before Trump fired him Monday.

Raddatz echoed sentiments expressed by President-elect Joe Biden, who has said Trump’s refusal to concede “will not help the president’s legacy.”

According to The Hill, she pointed towards other GOP members voicing support for Esper’s role as defense secretary despite Trump’s removal of him on Monday.

“Even Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) praised Esper today, and Republican John Cornyn (Texas), a member of the Senate GOP leadership, said of Trump’s decision to fire Esper, ‘I don’t think it helps him and I don’t think it helps the country.'”

Esper’s firing by Trump also comes as the president has indicated to allies that FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Director Gina Haspel stand as the next officials in line for removal. However, he has yet to take action.

Experts in national security are concerned any further disruptions of administrative roles in the Department of Defense, FBI. and CIA could create a problematic and disjointed transfer of power when Biden is slated to take the Oval Office on January 20.

Max Stier, director of the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit and nonpartisan group that oversees the Center for Presidential Transition, told CNN the importance of a swift and stable transition of power from presidents post-inauguration, citing the George W. Bush and Al Gore White House race of 2000.

“You look back to 9/11 and the 9/11 Commission. It was very clear, looking back, that some of the delays that then-President George W. Bush experienced during the transition resulted in his delaying getting his national security team in place. And that hurt us,” Stier said, citing the 9/11 Commission report.

“What’s at stake, really, is our security, our safety. And with the world we’re in today, with economic challenges that are incredibly severe, we have a lot that we should be worried about,” said Stier.

Research contact: @thehill