NY Democrat's ties to Maduro may help Biden unlock stalemate
The relationship with Uribe —lionized by Venezuela’s opposition and demonized by Latin America’s left — may come in handy as he seeks to build momentum for politically fraught engagement with Maduro. But he said he is willing to speak to Maduro’s government if allies in Latin America, the European Union and the Biden administration see value in such an approach. Not for nothing, the Trump administration has said the only thing to negotiate with Maduro are the terms of his exit. “The Trump policy was predicated on Florida politics — not getting something done,” Meeks said. In one of those trips, he urged Maduro to release opposition activist Leopoldo Lopez, then in jail for leading anti-government protests.
Democrats propose sweeping bill to curb presidential abuses
WASHINGTON – House Democrats on Wednesday proposed a bill to curb presidential abuses, a pitch to voters weeks ahead of Election Day as they try to defeat President Donald Trump, capture the Senate from Republicans and keep their House majority. Each of the bill’s provisions is a response to actions by Trump or his administration that Democrats see as abuses of presidential power. It builds on an elections and ethics reform package the House passed soon after Democrats reclaimed the majority in 2019. Congress has yet to send to the president any legislation to try to curb foreign election interference after Russia meddled on several fronts in the 2016 presidential contest. “The degradation of our democracy over the past 3 1/2 years is not the work of the president alone,'' Schiff said.
Dems drop Pompeo contempt threat after records turned over
WASHINGTON – The House Foreign Affairs Committee has dropped a threat of contempt against Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after the State Department turned over 16,000 pages of records related to a Senate investigation of Democrat Joe Biden’s son. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., had subpoenaed Pompeo and threatened to hold him in contempt of Congress after months of requesting the records, which had already been turned over to the Republican-led Senate. The chairman of that committee, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, has said he will issue a final report in the coming weeks. “It shouldn’t have taken a subpoena, let alone the threat of contempt, for Secretary Pompeo to comply with the Committee’s oversight request,” Engel said in a statement. The president and his associates asked Ukraine for the probes as he was withholding military aid to the country.
State denies improper IG firing, defends Saudi arms sales
(Kevin Dietsch/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – The State Department on Wednesday rejected Democrats' charges of improperly firing its independent inspector general and defended its weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. Linick’s firing was one of several dismissals by Trump of people charged with preventing fraud and abuse in the government. The State Department officials told the committee that Pompeo acted appropriately on all counts. The IG concluded that the arms sales did not violate the letter of the law but said the department did not take enough action to limit civilian casualties. Members of Congress had been blocking some of the sales because they might contribute to the human rights disaster in Yemen.
House lawmakers ask for probe into Russian poisoning case
FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019 file photo Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny speaks during a rally to support political prisoners in Moscow, Russia. The German hospital treating Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny says he has been taking out of an induced coma and is responsive. German chemical weapons experts say tests showed the 44-year-old was poisoned with a Soviet-era nerve agent. Engel and McCaul urged Trump to enact additional sanctions on Russia if its determined that chemical weapons were used against Navalny. Russia has denied that the Kremlin was involved in poisoning Navalny and accused Germany of failing to provide evidence about the poisoning that it requested in late August.
Progressive challengers' year: 3 wins and some close calls
But some challengers lost, and their overall wins were a modest number compared with the 535 House and Senate members. Kessler wasn't impressed with the three progressive challengers who defeated Democratic incumbents, either. Other high-profile progressive hopefuls lost Senate Democratic primaries in Colorado, Maine and Texas, and House contests in states including Georgia, New York and Ohio. Jamaal Bowman, a Black educator raised by a single mom, defeated House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel of the Bronx and Westchester, New York. They're an effective and well-funded operation now," said Sean McElwee, who does polling and research for progressive Democrats.
House readies contempt resolution as Pompeo defies subpoenas
WASHINGTON The House Foreign Affairs Committee is moving to hold Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt after he has repeatedly rejected the committees subpoenas for records related to Ukraine that the department has turned over to the Republican-led Senate. In other words, Pompeo will give the committee what we were seeking if we join in a smear of the presidents political rival. Sound familiar?The contempt resolution is the latest and likely futile attempt by the Democrat-led House to pressure Trumps administration into complying with requests for testimony and information on a wide range of issues. Pompeo and his aides have said all of the House subpoenas are politically motivated, without merit, and unnecessary as the information and testimony could be otherwise obtained. Pompeo has also faced criticism for making a speech at this weeks Republican National Convention.
Pompeo shattering precedent, sparking fury with RNC speech
Pompeo's message to State Department employees reminding them of restrictions on political activity under the Hatch Act was not unusual. Secretary Pompeo will address the convention in his personal capacity, the department said. No State Department resources will be used. The State Department followed quickly with comments distancing the agency from the planned remarks. Like two of his predecessors, John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, both of whom were unsuccessful Democratic Party nominees for president, Pompeo was a member of Congress before joining the executive branch.
Progressives irked by spotlight on GOP at Dem convention
In this image from video, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., delivers a nominating speech during the second night of the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)WASHINGTON For nearly three minutes at this week's Democratic National Convention, Cindy McCain recounted Joe Biden's friendship with her late husband, John McCain, the Arizona senator and former Republican presidential candidate. Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, one of the most dynamic young stars of the Democratic Party, spoke for just 60 seconds. California Rep. Ro Khanna, head of the California delegation to the convention, said people need to be inspired to vote. Among those who have addressed the convention is Ady Barkin, a progressive activist who after being diagnosed with A.L.S.
How Sanders is helping keep the progressive movement strong
FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2020 file photo, Democratic presidential candidates, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and former Vice President Joe Biden, talk before a Democratic presidential primary debate in Charleston, S.C. Sanders, who will speak at the Democratic National Convention Monday, was the last primary challenger standing against Biden. He retains the partys largest cohesive constituency in a progressive base unwavering in its support. Most importantly, young people in this country, whether theyre Black or white or Latino, Native American, Asian American, young people strongly support the progressive agenda.The progressive movement is still far from the driving force of the Democratic Party. One example is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who will help nominate Sanders at the convention and is widely seen as his successor in leading progressives.
Watchdog report: Pompeo acted properly in Saudi arms sale
WASHINGTON The State Department's internal watchdog has found that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not act improperly last year when he approved billions of dollars in arms sales to Saudi Arabia without the consent of Congress. The State Department Office of Inspector General concluded in a report released Tuesday that Pompeo had the legal authority to declare an emergency and bypass Congress under the Arms Export Control Act. Pompeo cited the threat posed by Iran and its support for rebels in Yemen to justify approving arms sales totaling $8.1 billion to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Jordan. The report concluded that the law grants the secretary the discretion to decide what constitutes an emergency, something three previous administrations have done with respect to arms sales to Saudi Arabia. The official said the big takeaway from the report is that Pompeo and the department acted in accordance with the law" as it sought to aid the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
Pompeo rejects Congress' subpoenas for IG, Biden probe info
The refusals set the stage for an escalation in the confrontation between the State Department and the Democratic-controlled House ahead of November's elections. In letters sent to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Pompeo and the State Departments acting legislative affairs chief said they had no intention of complying with the subpoenas. Engel had issued the subpoenas on July 31 and Aug. 3, complaining that Pompeo and the State Department were stonewalling repeated requests for information on both matters. In rejecting that subpoena, Pompeo said in a letter to Engel that most of the officials in question, and others, were prepared to be interviewed voluntarily and repeated that offer. This is not the first time Pompeo has rebuffed a House subpoena.
Progressives say primary wins latest sign of momentum shift
FILE - In this March 6, 2020 file photo, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., speaks at a campaign rally in Detroit. Her opponent in the primary was Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones. Y'all, we about to change the world.Beyond signaling momentum, the victories are giving progressives confidence about two upcoming tests. Next week, squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota will face a challenge from a well-funded opponent, Antone Melton-Meaux. In March, Marie Newman knocked off Illinois Rep. Dan Lipinski, an abortion opponent who compared progressive Democrats to a tea party of the left."
Trump's envoy close to Brazil's leader -- some say too close
That's afforded Ambassador Todd Chapman broad leeway to push U.S. trade interests as well as seek cooperation on hot-button global concerns like Venezuela and China. Chapman, 58, needed little introduction when he arrived in the capital, Brasilia, four months ago amid the coronavirus pandemic. He also rushed to the defense of Bolsonaro's son chair of the lower house's foreign relations committee after the influential lawmaker promoted a Trump re-election video. As if to underscore the risks of becoming too close, Bolsonaro tested positive for coronavirus three days later, forcing Chapman to quarantine. Spektor says Bolsonaro, for all his mimicking of Trump's hostile rhetoric against China on the campaign trail, can ill afford to alienate Brazil's biggest trading partner.
House Democrats subpoena Pompeo for documents on Biden's son
WASHINGTON The House Foreign Affairs Committee has subpoenaed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for documents he turned over to a Senate panel that is investigating Hunter Biden, a son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. The committee says Pompeo had delivered more than 16,000 pages of records to the Senate but refused to send the same materials to the Democrat-led House. The subpoena represents another escalation in an election-year battle between Democrats and the GOP Senate committees investigating Hunter Biden. Democrats have criticized Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Ron Johnson, R-Wis., in particular for his probe of Hunter Biden and the gas company Burisma. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens, and Hunter Biden has denied using his influence with his father to aid Burisma.
Jamaal Bowman topples US Rep. Engel in NY Democratic primary
The former middle school principal has toppled 16-term U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel in New Yorks Democratic congressional primary. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, FIle)NEW YORK Former middle school principal Jamaal Bowman has toppled 16-term U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel in New York's Democratic primary in another upset victory for the party's insurgent wing. Bowman declared victory in the race on June 24, a day after the primary. By defeating Engel, Bowman replicated the success of democratic socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who defeated another powerful New York City Democrat, Joe Crowley, in a neighboring congressional district two years ago. The district is heavily Democratic, so the primary winner is virtually assured of victory in the general election in November.
Careers hang on mail-in ballots for 2 House Democrats
(AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)NEW YORK New York Democrats Eliot Engel and Carolyn Maloney have cruised to reelection through most of their decades in Congress. Now, both must wait for mail-in ballots to be counted a process that begins Wednesday to learn whether they will serve an additional term. Voting in New York's primary election concluded June 23, but an unknown number of ballots have continued to trickle in by mail over the past week. With potentially as much as 50% of the vote being cast by mail this year because of the coronavirus, absentee ballots could decide the primary election. The most closely watched contest in New York is the one involving Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
As party leaders age, progressive Black Democrats take stage
WASHINGTON Yearning for change, a group of progressive Black Democratic congressional hopefuls is rushing toward the national stage, igniting rank-and-file enthusiasm in a party dominated by aging white leaders. Each, for example, has supported the Green New Deal and Medicare for All proposals dear to progressive voters. Sean McElwee, a political analyst for progressive candidates, says liberal-leaning millennials are entering the age when people tend to vote more often. Many moderates dispute that the Democratic Party is increasingly becoming controlled by progressives and that Black voters inevitably skew to the left. But it's clear something is happening, and a new, aggressive generation of activists is impacting the Democratic Party."
2 Republicans opposed by Trump win in N. Carolina, Kentucky
(Patrick Sebastian/Cawthorn Campaign via AP)LOUISVILLE, Ky. Voters rebuffed President Donald Trump and nominated two Republicans he opposed to House seats from North Carolina and Kentucky on Tuesday. Kentucky usually has 2% of its returns come from mail ballots. This year officials expect that figure to exceed 50%, and over 400,000 mail ballots were returned by Sunday. New York officials expect the vast majority of votes to be mail ballots this year, compared to their typical 5% share. Counties have until eight days after Election Day to count and release the results of mail ballots, with 1.7 million requested by voters.
In NY, KY primaries, mail-in deluge and lines in Louisville
Kentuckys Republican secretary of state, Michael Adams, said he hoped early voting and the large demand for mail-in ballots would avert long lines. With the state now allowing any registered voter to vote by mail, more than 400,000 mail ballots were returned as of Sunday. Counties have until eight days after Election Day to count and release the results of mail ballots, with 1.7 million requested by voters. As Tuesday's voting approached, President Donald Trump continued his effort to undermine Americans' faith in mail-in voting by repeating his unfounded claim that the system is rife with fraud. Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history - unless this stupidity is ended," he tweeted, accusing proponents of using Covid in order to cheat.Already this year, problems like long lines and lost mail-in ballots have plagued elections in Georgia, Nevada, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.
Rights groups criticize Trump for inviting Polish president
File -- In this Thursday, July 6, 2017 file photo U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and Poland's President Andrzej Duda, leave at the end of a joint press conference, in Warsaw, Poland. Trump and Duda will meet at the White House on June 24, four days ahead of a presidential election in Poland in which Duda, a conservative, is seeking reelection. Trump is scheduled to meet Andrzej Duda on Wednesday, only four days before Duda competes for a second five year term. Duda has made LGBT rights an issue during the campaign, vowing to protect Polish families from what he calls LGBT ideology. He recently called the LGBT rights movement an ideology more dangerous than communism. It said Duda's use of anti-LGBT rhetoric is vile, manipulative and dangerous, and that Trump was showing he is no friend to the gay rights community.
Black candidates tap protest energy to challenge Democrats
Yet they are both the preferred candidates of the Democratic Partys Washington establishment as voters in Kentucky and New York decide their congressional primary elections on Tuesday. Scott Applewhite, File)NEW YORK Amy McGrath and Eliot Engel live hundreds of miles apart in states with dramatically different politics. Yet they are both the preferred candidates of the Democratic Partys Washington establishment as voters in Kentucky and New York decide their congressional primary elections on Tuesday. In New York, the progressive pushback against Engel's reelection was somewhat surprising given his status as one of the Democratic Party's most liberal members. The winner of the New York House primary on Tuesday is expected to win the general election easily given the district's strong Democratic tilt.
2020 Watch: Trump navigates chaos after his Oklahoma rally
President Donald Trump points during his campaign rally at the BOK Center in downtown Tulsa, Okla., Saturday, June 20, 2020. The political world was genuinely surprised to see thousands of empty seats at Trump's comeback rally in Oklahoma over the weekend. And perhaps more importantly, the finger-pointing inside Trump's campaign will intensify ahead of a possible staff shakeup. ___2020 Watch runs every Monday and provides a look at the week ahead in the 2020 election. ___Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, Ground Game.
New VOA chief seeks to ease fears of any Trump propaganda
In this image provided by the Voice of America, Amanda Bennett poses for a photo on Nov. 16, 2016, in Washington. Bennett, the director of Voice of America and her deputy Sandy Sugawara resigned Monday, June 15, 2020, following recent clashes with the Trump administration. The pair announced they were leaving the organization as Trump ally and conservative filmmaker Michael Pack takes over leadership of the agency that oversees VOA. (Magda Hishmeh/Voice of America via AP)WASHINGTON The new chief of U.S.-funded international broadcasting sought Wednesday to play down fears that he intends to turn the Voice of America and its sister outlets into Trump administration propaganda machines. In his job, he oversees VOA, along with Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and the Cuba-focused Radio and TV Marti.
Pompeo denies impropriety in firing of State Dept. watchdog
WASHINGTON Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his top deputy are rejecting allegations that the State Departments independent watchdog was fired for investigating alleged impropriety by Pompeo and his wife. I need an inspector general working every day to improve State Department operations and efficiency, Pompeo wrote. Linick was not that person.Pompeo has said President Donald Trump fired Linick at his recommendation, and Democrats have suggested his ouster was personally and politically motivated. Pompeo adamantly denied that and called suggestions that he wanted Linick fired to cover up impropriety a nasty insinuation aimed at misleading the American people. He said an investigation into the alleged leak by the Defense Department inspector general cleared him and his office.
Ocasio-Cortez endorses challenger of House Dem chairman
WASHINGTON Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has endorsed the Democratic primary challenger of a veteran House committee chairman whose New York district is adjacent to her own, the progressive freshman's latest challenge to party leaders. That meant Ocasio-Cortez was trying to topple fellow Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, 73, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Engel is in his 16th House term and represents a district from parts of the Bronx and Westchester, next door to Ocasio-Cortez' home base of the Bronx and Queens. She called Bowman, who is African American, a profound community leader. Engel's district has mostly black and Hispanic voters. Ocasio-Cortezs move also meant she was defying House Democratic leaders, who have stood behind party incumbents facing primary challengers.
Ocasio-Cortez backs challenger of House Democratic chairman
WASHINGTON WASHINGTON (AP) Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has endorsed the Democratic primary challenger of a veteran House committee chairman and fellow New Yorker in her latest challenge to party leaders. Ocasio-Cortez's support for Bowman puts her in direct opposition to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who as a party leader backs incumbents when they face primary foes. This moment requires renewed and revitalized leadership across the country AND at the ballot box, Ocasio-Cortez, 30, tweeted as she lent her support to Bowman. She called Bowman, who is African American, a profound community leader. The solidly Democratic district represented by Engel, who is white, has mostly black and Hispanic voters. Marie Newman defeated Rep. Daniel Lipinski in an Illinois district south of Chicago, but Jessica Cisneros lost to Rep. Henry Cuellar in south Texas.
Democrats to interview ousted State Department watchdog
WASHINGTON Members of three House and Senate committees will interview former State Department Inspector General Steve Linick on Wednesday as part of an investigation by House Democrats into his abrupt firing by President Donald Trump. Democrats announced Friday that they are expanding their probe into Linick's firing earlier this month with a series of interviews. The Democrats plan to interview multiple officials in the administration who may have more information about Linicks dismissal on May 15, including whether Secretary of State Mike Pompeo recommended the firing for retaliatory reasons. Linick is one of several inspectors general whom Trump has removed from office, sparking outrage among Democrats who say the administration is undermining government accountability. Democrats were probing Trumps pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democrats.
Democrats expand probe into firing of State Dept. watchdog
FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2019, file photo State Department Inspector General Steve Linick leaves a meeting in a secure area at the Capitol in Washington. A senior department official said President Donald Trump removed Linick from his job as State Departments inspector general on Friday, May 15, 2020, but gave no reason for his ouster. Linick is one of several inspectors general whom Trump has removed from office, sparking outrage among Democrats who say the administration is undermining government accountability. Linick is the second inspector general to be fired who was involved with the impeachment process. In addition, Trump demoted acting Defense Department Inspector General Glenn Fine, effectively removing him as head of a special board to oversee auditing of the coronavirus economic relief package.
Pompeo denies retaliation but won't explain watchdog ouster
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press briefing at the State Department on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, in Washington. (Nicholas Kamm/Pool Photo via AP)WASHINGTON Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday adamantly denied that he recommended firing the State Departments independent watchdog in retaliation for investigations into Pompeo's conduct as Americas top diplomat. Pompeo accused the senator's office of being behind allegations that Linick's ouster was motivated by revenge. In October, Linick turned over documents to House investigators that he had received from a State Department counselor, T. Ulrich Brechbuhl, a close Pompeo associate. Pompeo did not respond to a question about whether the State Department would comply with the demand, an omission that Engel lamented in a statement.
Democrats: Fired watchdog was looking into Saudi arms sale
(Kevin Lamarque/Pool Photo via AP)WASHINGTON Congressional Democrats say the State Department watchdog fired by President Donald Trump last week was investigating possible impropriety in a massive arms sale to Saudi Arabia last year, adding new questions to the watchdogs abrupt dismissal. Democrats said Monday that ousted Inspector General Steve Linick was probing how the State Department pushed through a $7 billion Saudi arms sale over congressional objections. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said it was alarming to see reports that the firing may have been in response to Linicks investigation into the Saudi arms deal. A finding of impropriety in the Saudi arms sales could be more serious. The law requires Congress to be notified of potential arms sales, giving the body the opportunity to block the sale.
House Dems subpoena White House for Ukraine documents
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Democrats on Friday issued a subpoena to the White House for documents related to Ukraine, ratcheting up the Democratic impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. The three panels leading the probe have already issued subpoenas to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Giuliani, in addition to Friday's White House subpoena. The vice president's spokesman said that the Democrats letter "does not appear to be a serious request." White House lawyers were drafting the letter saying they could not be compelled to produce documents until the full House votes to open an impeachment inquiry, something Pelosi has said is unnecessary according House rules. Previously, Democrats have responded to White House stonewalling with contempt votes and lawsuits to pry loose the materials they were seeking.