FILE PHOTO: Abortion-rights campaigners attend a rally against new restrictions on abortion passed by legislatures in eight states including Alabama and Georgia, in New York City, U.S., May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon
May 24, 2019
By Alex Dobuzinskis
(Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday blocked a Mississippi law that would ban abortions once an embryonic heartbeat is detected, which can occur at six weeks after conception, often before a woman even realizes she is pregnant.
Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, a Republican, signed the so-called “hearbeat bill” into law in March, and the measure had been due to take effect on July 1.
Mississippi is one of several states, including Georgia and Alabama, where Republican-controlled legislatures have enacted strict anti-abortion measures this year in direct challenge to the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing a woman’s right to terminate her pregnancy.
Roe held that the due process clause of the 14th Amendment provides a fundamental right to privacy protecting a woman’s right to abortion, though it allows states to restrict the procedure from the time a fetus can viably survive outside the womb, which the opinion placed at 24 to 28 weeks from conception.
The measure blocked on Friday was the second legislative bid in less than a year to restrict abortions in Mississippi, a state where only a single abortion clinic remains in operation.
Last November, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves struck down an earlier Mississippi law that would have banned most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, ruling it “unequivocally” violates women’s constitutional rights.
“Here we go again, Mississippi has passed another law banning abortions prior to viability,” Reeves said in his latest ruling to block the “heartbeat” abortion ban.
The measure would prevent a woman’s free choice, “which is central to personal dignity and autonomy,” the judge wrote in granting the preliminary injunction. The measure was challenged in court on behalf of the Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the state’s lone abortion facility.
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Gorman and Tom Brown)
Since announcing my campaign to challenge Thom Tillis to represent North Carolina in the U.S. Senate two weeks ago, the Swamp – Washington politicians and their consultants – have come out of the woodwork to challenge my support of President Trump.
In 2016, during the presidential primary, like other conservatives I had my doubts about Mr. Trump. Without a policy record, I questioned whether he would govern as a conservative. Like millions of Americans, I could not more delighted, and frankly amazed, at how he has transformed this country in the last two years. His policies and leadership have more than fulfilled his commitment to conservatives and to the American people and I proudly stand with him in his initiatives.
Mr. Tillis, on the other hand, has publicly opposed the president numerous times. My doubts were in 2016. In 2019, Thom Tillis wrote a scathing op-ed opposing the president on the emergency funding for the border wall and he placed it in The Washington Post, the biggest opponent of the president in media, save MSNBC and CNN.
What’s worse, Tillis co-sponsored a bill with liberal Democrat New Jersey Senator Cory Booker to protect the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s search and destroy investigation against President Trump.
When President Trump proposed cuts to foreign aid spending by 30%, Thom Tillis said ‘No.’
Thom Tillis voted to bust President Trump’s 2018 and 2019 budgets by $200 billion and voted to give Congress a veto over President Trump’s tariffs.
Veto power over the most successful negotiating position the President could put us in?
This is what Washington insiders do, they claim to be something that they are not. Tillis has proven, time after time, that he does not have the president’s back. When it comes to difficult decisions to do the right thing for the American people, President Trump goes one way, Tillis goes the other.
The Senate Leadership Fund, the Washington insider Super PAC that ran ads supporting anti-Trump Senator Jeff Flake two years ago, is now trying to tell the media and voters in North Carolina that Tillis is pro-Trump. I say actions speak louder than words.
That’s why President Trump has turned Washington upside down. He is actually accomplishing what he told the voters he would do in 2016. He cut taxes and cut onerous regulations on businesses to allow them to thrive, which they, and the economy have done. Job numbers at an all-time low. On foreign policy, he has crushed ISIS, brought home three hostages and Otto Wambier from North Korea. Despite all the naysayers, President Trump got North Korea to the table, is standing up to Russia and China and Iran and affirming our close alliance with Israel in the Middle East.
President Trump has been the most pro-life president in the last several decades and he has stood strong to protect religious liberty both on the domestic and international front.
After elected he worked quickly to repeal Obamacare only to be stymied by John McCain. On his signature issue, he has done everything in his power to build the wall he promised the American people he would build and is getting it done by finding bloated bureaucratic spending that could be better spent on protecting the American people.
Fulfilling your promises to the American people is foreign to the elite powerbrokers in Washington who want to keep the status quo and their padded consulting and lobbying fees.
The powerbrokers and establishment in U.S. Senate, like Tillis and Mitch McConnell, want to keep their power and have shown they will oppose the president at will to do so.
These are the reasons North Carolinians need a new, fresh, outside-the-Beltway conservative to represent them. Someone who can admit when they are wrong about this president and who can work with him to continue to fulfill his promises to the American people.
Garland Tucker, a respected entrepreneur, founded Triangle Capital Corporation, in Raleigh, North Carolina. He is the author of Conservative Heroes: Fourteen Leaders Who Changed America – Jefferson to Reagan.
This opinion piece first appeared in The American Spectator.
President Donald Trump, saying there is a national emergency because of tensions with Iran, is clearing the sale of billions of dollars worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia and other countries, U.S. senators said on Friday, despite strong resistance to the plan from both Republicans and Democrats.
The administration has informed congressional committees that it will go ahead with 22 arms deals worth some $8 billion, congressional aides said, sweeping aside a long-standing precedent for congressional review of such sales.
Some lawmakers and congressional aides had warned earlier this week that Trump, frustrated with Congress holding up weapons sales like a major deal to sell Raytheon Co precision-guided munitions to Saudi Arabia, was considering using a loophole in arms control law to go ahead with the sale by declaring a national emergency.
“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the Trump Administration has failed once again to prioritize our long-term national security interests or stand up for human rights, and instead is granting favors to authoritarian countries like Saudi Arabia,” Senator Bob Menendez said in a statement.
Menendez is one of the members of Congress who reviews such sales because he is the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
Another, the Republican Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Senator Jim Risch, said he had received formal notification of the administration’s intent to move forward with “a number of arms sales.”
In a statement, Risch said, “I am reviewing and analyzing the legal justification for this action and the associated implications.”
The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The American people have every right to know if there was “political misrepresentation” occurring in the Department of Justice in the days leading to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Rep. Greg Steube said Friday in response to President Donald Trump’s order to declassify information about the probe.
“I hope we find out soon,” the Florida Republican told Fox News’ “Outnumbered Overtime.” “If there’s documents that evidence that there were political motivations going on at the DOJ, and they were legitimately spying on the Trump campaign for political purposes and not for legitimate legal purposes, that’s going to completely change what the Democrats are talking about right now.”
Steube also said that he would think Americans would have “grave concerns” of an entity like the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court working in secret, as was the case when the DOJ obtained a warrant to surveil former Trump aide Carter Page.
“Given all the information and facts, if the information that was represented to the FISA court, if they knew this was campaign fodder or promulgated and still decided to issue a warrant, that would bring a lot of things to question,” said Steube, a member of both the House Judiciary and Oversight committees. “Those are questions that I would have.”
Meanwhile, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler has said Mueller would like to testify privately before the committee, and Steube said that’s because Democrats have changed their tone.
Further, Steube said he’d like to see Mueller testify publicly because he encourages the public to watch all such hearings.
The vast majority of American voters say that prescription drug prices are too high, and Congress must do something to lower costs for patients, a new poll shows.
Hart Research Associates and North Star Opinion Research conducted the poll on drug pricing, and found that “more voters identify the cost of health care as a top issue Congress and the president should address… than any other issue,” and more than 8 in 10 voters “think prices charged for prescription drugs are unreasonable.”
- 84 percent think drug prices are unreasonable.
- 45 percent think prices are very unreasonable.
- 75 percent “think drug manufacturers had a lot of responsibility for the high cost.”
The poll also found that the vast majority of American voters support allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices or similar policies.
- 95 percent support “Medicare drug negotiation for drugs with no competition in the marketplace.”
- 43 percent think that “allowing Medicare to negotiate with manufacturers to lower prices for expensive, single source drugs is a good approach.
- 49 percent think such an approach “does not go far enough to control drug prices.”
“In our experience, the voter intensity and anger about prescription drug pricing is at a record level,” Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates, and Whit Ayers, president of North Star Opinion Research, wrote in The Hill. “We believe it reflects the trends for higher deductibles and cost-sharing over time, high launch prices, price increases, reported profits of the pharmaceutical industry and years of unrealized policymaker pledges.”
FILE PHOTO – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) arrives at a House Judiciary Committee hearing titled “Oversight of the Report by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III,” at which witness former White House Counsel Donald McGahn was subpoened to testify at on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
May 24, 2019
By Peter Szekely
NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler became woozy and appeared almost to faint during a press briefing on Friday with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, but the congressman said soon after that he had been dehydrated and was now feeling better.
During the late morning briefing in Manhattan about the city’s planned implementation of speed traffic cameras, de Blasio stopped speaking, turned to Nadler who was slumping over in the chair next to him and offered him some water.
“You seem a little dehydrated,” the mayor said. “You OK?”
Nadler responded, “No,” but declined the mayor’s offer of water and put his hand to his head.
De Blasio later told reporters that the congressman’s condition improved markedly after receiving water, juice and treatment from emergency medical personnel.
“He got more energetic with every passing minute,” the mayor said “He was starting to talk to everyone, joke around, answer a whole bunch of medical questions.”
Nadler, 71, who has represented his New York City district in Congress since 1992, chairs the House Judiciary Committee which is currently dueling with the White House over Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The New York Democrat underwent stomach-reduction surgery 17 years ago when he weighed 338 pounds (153 kg) and shed more than 60 pounds from his 5-foot, 4-inch (1.6-meter) frame within months, according to media reports.
Nadler himself said he had felt dehydrated, which he blamed on the warm temperature of the school building where the briefing was held, adding that his condition improved quickly.
“Appreciate everyone’s concern,” Nadler wrote on Twitter at about 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT). “Was very warm in the room this morning, was obviously dehydrated and felt a bit ill. Glad to receive fluids and am feeling much better.”
Asked if Nadler was taken to a hospital, spokesman Daniel Schwarz replied by email that, “He is responsive and receiving a check-up.”
(Reporting by Peter Szekely; editing by Susan Thomas and G Crosse)
Missouri Governor Mike Parson signs Bill 126 into law banning abortion beginning in the eighth week of pregnancy, alongside state House and Senate members and pro-life coalition leaders at his office in Jefferson City, Missouri, U.S., May 24, 2019. Office of Governor Michael L. Parson/Handout via REUTERS
May 24, 2019
By Gabriella Borter
(Reuters) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit on Friday challenging a law enacted by Alabama last week that bans nearly all abortions and makes performing the procedure a felony punishable by up to 99 years in prison.
The lawsuit is one of several the groups have filed or are preparing to file against states that recently passed strict anti-abortion measures in an effort to prompt the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark case that guarantees a woman’s constitutional right to abortion.
“This dangerous, immoral, and unconstitutional ban threatens people’s lives and well-being and we are suing to protect our patients’ rights,” Leana Wen, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said in a statement.
The ACLU’s Alabama chapter and Planned Parenthood of America filed their complaint in federal court in Alabama on behalf of the Southern state’s three abortion clinics and Planned Parenthood Southeast.
Anti-abortion advocates expected legal challenges to Alabama’s new law, which will be the most restrictive in the nation when it takes effect in November, and say they welcome the chance to have a court test their conviction that a fetus’ right to life is paramount.
Also on Friday, Missouri Governor Mike Parson signed a bill into law that bans abortion beginning in the eighth week of pregnancy.
Earlier this year, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi and Ohio outlawed abortion after a doctor can detect an embryonic heartbeat, which can occur at six weeks, often before a woman knows she is pregnant.
The wave of anti-abortion legislation reflects a boost of confidence among anti-abortion advocates after Republican President Donald Trump nominated two conservative judges, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, to the U.S. Supreme Court, tilting the court’s political balance to the right.
Alabama state Senator Clyde Chambliss, a Republican, supports his state’s new law and said the whole point of the ban was “so that we can go directly to the Supreme Court to challenge Roe versus Wade.”
The ACLU and Planned Parenthood obtained an injunction from a judge in Kentucky in March, blocking that state’s abortion ban. The organizations have filed lawsuits in Ohio and are preparing to do so in Georgia, they said in a statement on Friday.
(Reporting by Gabriella Borter in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Jonathan Oatis)
FILE PHOTO – U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to the news media before boarding Marine One to depart for travel to Japan from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 24, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis
May 24, 2019
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he is considering pardons for “two or three” U.S. soldiers charged with war crimes, a move he said would be controversial but justified because he said they had been treated “unfairly.”
Trump told reporters at the White House that he has not decided yet on the cases, and said he may wait until after the men accused of the war crimes go through trials before determining whether to pardon them.
“Some of these soldiers are people that have fought hard, long. You know, we teach them how to be great fighters, and then when they fight sometime, they get really treated very unfairly,” Trump said. He did not identify the cases he was reviewing.
The New York Times reported on May 18 that Trump had asked for paperwork on the possible pardons to be prepared ahead of the U.S. Memorial Day holiday, which falls on Monday.
One of the cases was believed to be Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, a decorated Navy SEAL charged with war crimes in Iraq. His trial was delayed this week.
Gallagher has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer told Reuters he had not asked for a pardon and Gallagher declined to comment on the prospect of a pardon when asked by reporters in court.
(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
Sen. Richard Blumenthal D-Conn., is calling for a congressional investigation into the use of solitary confinement on immigrant detainees in the custody of the Department of Homeland Security, NBC News is reporting.
His comments came after an NBC News investigation in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and the Intercept. NBC News said that investigation revealed the extensive use of solitary for immigrant detainees.
It found thousands of immigrants suffer in solitary confinement in U.S. detention centers. Only half the cases involved punishment for rules violations. The other half involved the mentally ill, the disabled or safety reasons.
The story also detailed the attempts of a Homeland Security employee to call attention to the rampant use of solitary confinement.
“This report should shock the conscience of every member of Congress,” Blumenthal said on Friday. “Putting immigrants fleeing for their lives in solitary confinement, alone and away from any human contact for days, weeks, months is inhumane. It is un-American.
“We must open an investigation, seek testimony from DHS whistleblowers and hold individuals responsible for these abhorrent conditions and policies.”
Moves to send more troops into the Middle East shows President Donald Trump is serious about deterring Iran from launching attacks against U.S. interests or allies, Rep. Pete King said Friday.
“The last thing he wants is war, but on the other hand, he can’t allow Iran to think they can get away with attacks against us or our allies,” the New York Republican told Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”
“The president is doing the right thing. I think the president in the world we live in today has to have this power.”
On Friday, officials reported the Trump administration plans to send a few thousand more troops to U.S. Central Command, which oversees Middle East military operations, reports The Washington Post. The decision was made late Thursday in a meeting between Trump and Pentagon leaders.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff also support the move, said King, as they believe the build-up is not large, but it is significant and “sends a strong signal to Iran.”
Meanwhile, Hamas has enacted austerity plans, noted show host Bill Hemmer, and Shia militia groups have been told to uncover new revenue sources. King said that shows sanctions are working.
“Iran is more vulnerable than it had been,” said King. “Iran is a state terror nation and to the extent, we can weaken them and they run short on cash or assets it’s extremely important and again it strengthens our hand. You combine that with the military deterrents and what the president I think is doing is really reducing the threat of war at the same time reducing the threat from Iran.”