| Boris Johnson's Brexit bill straight out of Trump playbook, David Lammy says |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Boris Johnsons law-breaking Brexit bill is straight out of the Donald Trump playbook, and leaves justice secretary Robert Buckland looking a very small figure, says shadow justice secretary David Lammy.
As the controversial internal market bill returns to the House of Commons this week, the prime minister appears to have bought off most Tory rebels by promising a parliamentary vote before the powers in it would be used.
But Lammy, who was a barrister and the first black Briton to attend Harvard law school before becoming Labour MP for Tottenham, says the government has dented the UKs standing in the world by legislating to tear up the Brexit withdrawal agreement that Johnson himself signed up to.
The conservatives have abandoned the rule of law, abandoning an international agreement which we signed up to just a year ago and then claiming as we go to negotiate trade deals with the rest of the world that they cant see this, he said. Its a very, very curious position. Ive never seen it in my lifetime.
Asked about the governments motive for the drastic measure, which Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis openly conceded would break international law, Lammy said it was populism and compared it to the no-holds-barred politics of the Trump White House. Its a playbook. Notes are passed, strategies discussed, he says.
Johnson's racism inquiry plan 'written on back of fag packet', says Lammy Read more
People describe [Johnsons chief adviser] Dominic Cummings as a revolutionary, and Im afraid
its not clear where [Johnson] stands because he hasnt really got a position. He will take the position thats most advantageous to him at that particular point in his life; and hes attached himself to some very dangerous people determined to get their way. And I dont know what theyll leave behind but I think Britain will be a very different country.
Asked about the role of Buckland, Lammy said:I think hes looked a very small figure.
He cited the resignations of Richard Keen as advocate general for Scotland, and head of the governments legal department Jonathan Jones over the legislation, and criticism of the legislation by the Bar Association and the Law Society.
Lammy said: He is in a unique position, because he is the only cabinet member to have made a special undertaking to stand up for the rule of law. And he hasnt stood up for the rule of law, hes rolled over, hes allowed his belly to be tickled.
With the Tories keen to portray Labour as soft on crime Lammy stressed the governments poor record in keeping the streets safe as well as the importance of rehabilitation.
Theyre committed to giving us 20,000 police officers the 20,000 police officers that theyve cut. And what that has meant is that crime is soaring. It is an absolute disgrace that knife crime, gang crime, drug crime is all up under this government, and the serious violence taskforce I was asked to sit on by Theresa May has not met under Priti Patel.
Lammy highlighted the fact that Labour had backed recent changes to anti-terror laws in the wake of the Streatham and Fishmongers Hall attacks, saying: Were not afraid to be clear that sentencing has to reflect the public mood.
But he added: I do believe in second chances. I do believe in rehabilitation. I want probation restored. The vast majority of prisoners have to come out one day, and you want them to come out and not go back and commit more crime.
An ardent supporter of calls for a peoples vote during the last parliament, Lammy was plucked from the backbenches by Keir Starmer when he won the Labour leadership earlier this year.
Lammy said that under Starmer, Labour had begun to get our mojo back and said the party was enjoying a kind of renewed professionalism. But he stressed the long haul to the next general election in 2024.
Starmer has been criticised by some BAME MPs and party members for failing to take the Black Lives Matter movement seriously enough.
But Lammy praised his leaders refusal to be drawn into a culture war. The key issues of our time are the governments handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and the economy and the huge joblessness, he said.
Yes, Boris Johnson would prefer you to believe that the key issue is securing Winston Churchills statue, or singing at the Proms. But thats a distraction and Labour would be being incredibly naive if it fell into those distractions.
| Supreme court: Biden accuses Trump and Republicans of abuse of power |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, made an urgent plea on Sunday to the conscience of Senate Republicans, asking them to defy Donald Trump and refuse to ram through his nominee to the supreme court before the November election.
Rushing to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg, McConnell shows power trumps principle | Robert Reich Read more
Trump has said he plans to nominate a woman in the coming days, to fill the seat of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the liberal justice who died on Friday at age 87.
Speaking in Philadelphia, Biden demanded that the people be heard. He accused Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, of hypocrisy after he stonewalled Merrick Garland, Barack Obamas pick for the court in 2016, also an election year.
Look, Im not being naive, the former vice-president said. Im not speaking to President Trump, wholl do whatever he wants. Im not speaking to Mitch McConnell, wholl do what he wants, and he does.
Im speaking to those Republicans out there, Senate Republicans, who know deep down what is right for the country and consistent with the constitution.
People have already begun voting in an election that is just six weeks away, Biden added. The people of this nation are choosing their future right now, as they vote. To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise in raw political power and I dont believe the people of this nation will stand for it.
Let the people speak, cool the flames that have been engulfing our country Joe Biden
It would represent an abuse of power, he said. This is constitutional abuse.
Biden said he spoke to Ginsburgs family on Saturday night and noted that the justice dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.
Biden said: As a nation, we should heed her final call.
The right to healthcare, clean air, clean water, equal pay for equal work and the rights of voters are all at stake, Biden insisted. Healthcare in this country hangs in the balance before the court.
Biden, who often reached across the aisle in a decades-long career as a US senator from Delaware, added: We need to de-escalate, not escalate, so I appeal to those few Senate Republicans, the handful who really will decide what happens: please follow your conscience. Dont vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator McConnell have created.
Dont go there. Uphold your constitutional duty, your conscience, let the people speak, cool the flames that have been engulfing our country. We cant keep rewriting history, scrambling norms, ignoring our cherished system of checks and balances.
Play Video 0:59 Donald Trump pledges to nominate a 'very brilliant' woman to supreme court video
On Saturday night, Trump told a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, he would select a female justice. I actually like women much more than I like men, I have to say, said a man who has denied accusations of sexual misconduct from more than 20 women, eliciting laughter from a crowd that chanted: Fill that seat!
Donald Trump accused of sexual assault by former model Amy Dorris Read more
On Sunday, Trumps campaign sent out a fundraising email that said the People want to FILL THAT SEAT!
Whether enough Republican senators will consent to ram through Trumps nomination remains on a knife edge. On Sunday, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska joined fellow moderate Susan Collins of Maine in arguing that the Senate should wait.
For weeks, I have stated that I would not support taking up a potential supreme court vacancy this close to the election, Murkowski said. Sadly, what was then a hypothetical is now our reality, but my position has not changed.
The nine-member court has the power to hold presidents to account and rule on issues including abortion rights, gay rights and voting rights. A week after the election it is set to rule on a healthcare law that protects millions with pre-existing conditions.
We have arrows in our quiver that Im not about to discuss, but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country Nancy Pelosi
Trump has already appointed two justices but both were conservatives succeeding conservatives. A pick to replace Ginsburg could tilt the court right for decades, imperiling precedents such as Roe v Wade, the 1973 ruling that effectively legalised abortion.
The current frontrunner for the vacancy is Amy Coney Barrett of Chicago, a federal appeals judge and the ideological opposite of Ginsburg. A Catholic and outspoken opponent of reproductive rights, Barrett was described by the New York Times as having a rock-star reputation in conservative circles.
Another leading contender is Barbara Lagoa, an appeals judge in Atlanta. She is Cuban American and the first Hispanic woman appointed to the Florida supreme court. Either choice might rally conservatives wavering over Trump because of his behaviour and pandemic response.
The struggle threatens to be among the most explosive Washington has seen for decades, stress-testing a system many see as broken and rattling a country already reeling from the coronavirus, economic collapse and a racial reckoning.
McConnell has vowed to grant Trumps pick a hearing. On Sunday he received backing from some prominent colleagues.
Ted Cruz, senator for Texas, told ABCs This Week the right thing to do is for the Senate to take up this nomination and to confirm the nominee before election day. Lindsey Graham, who chairs the Senate judiciary committee and previously said he would oppose filling a vacancy in an election year, pledged to support Trump in any effort to move forward.
But if McConnell does hold a vote before the election, he will need to hold together at least 50 of his 53-strong caucus, aware Vice-President Mike Pence would break any tie. Having lost both Collins and Murkowski, the margin of error is wafer thin with Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Mitt Romney of Utah seen as potential obstacles.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest A makeshift memorial for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in front of the US supreme court in Washington. Photograph: Samuel Corum/Getty Images
Democrats have limited options but could strike back quickly. If they win the White House and a Senate majority, they could expand the supreme court to from nine to 11 justices.
Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House judiciary committee, tweeted: If McConnell and Senate Republicans were to force through a nominee during the lame duck session before a new Senate and president can take office then the incoming Senate should immediately move to expand the supreme court.
Tom Cotton: Democrats 'rioting in the streets' as supreme court battle heats up Read more
Asked if Democrats might even move to impeach Trump or attorney general Bill Barr during a lame duck session, in a bid to stall the process, Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, told ABC: Well, we have our options.
We have arrows in our quiver that Im not about to discuss right now, but the fact is we have a big challenge in our country. This president has threatened to not even accept the results of the election with statements that he and his henchmen have made.
A new Reuters/Ipsos poll on Sunday found that 62% of respondents thought Ginsburgs replacement should be chosen by winner of the election. But the issue will fire up both party bases.
Democrats took in a record $91.4m in fundraising in just over 24 hours after Ginsburgs death. Republicans hope this late plot twist could yet rescue Trump in an election where an NBC News/ Wall Street Journal poll on Sunday showed Biden leading by nine points, 51% to 42%.
| Thai protesters call for reform of monarchy and general strike |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Thousands march to demand curbs on the power and budget of the royal family
Thousands of Thai protesters marched near the official residence of the king on Sunday to hand-deliver a letter demanding curbs on the power and budget of the royal family, in one of the boldest challenges to the institution in living memory.
Thailands monarchy has long been considered beyond direct public criticism, but over recent months a student-led pro-democracy movement has broken deeply ingrained taboos to call for reforms.
On Sunday morning, demonstrators laid a plaque in cement at Sanam Luang, an area near to the Grand Palace, which read: This country belongs to the people and is not the property of the monarch as they have deceived us.
Later, protesters marched to deliver their demands for reform to the kings privy council, but were stopped by police in front of the supreme court. One of the student leaders, Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, was allowed to walk past a line of officers and hand an envelope containing their demands to a police commissioner.
The biggest victory of all is that ordinary people like us can submit a letter to the monarchy, Parit Chiwarak, a protest leader, told crowds, before announcing further action to step up pressure on the establishment.
He called for a general strike on 14 October, the anniversary of the 1973 student uprising, and for people to withdraw their money from Siam Commercial Bank (SCB), of which King Maha Vajiralongkorn is the largest shareholder. Get all your money out and burn your bank book, he said.
Play Video 0:40 Protesters demand changes to monarchy in Thailand video
Crowds were also urged to continue to wear white ribbons, a symbol of the pro-democracy movement, and to show a three-finger salute, an act of defiance borrowed from the Hunger Games. The gesture has been displayed by protesters, especially school students, during the national anthem, which is played twice a day in public spaces such as train stations.
I want to see people do it at
every train station, every shop, even police stations or civil service offices, Parit said. Our bravery will spread to those who agree with us.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Anti-government protesters hold up a three-finger salute during a rally at Sanam Luang on Sunday. Photograph: Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images
Thailands royal family is shielded from criticism by a strict lèse majesté law that carries a sentence of up to 15 years, though the prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, has said the king requested that nobody be prosecuted under the law for now.
Dozens of protesters, including Parit and Panusaya, have been charged with other offences, such as sedition, which carries a seven-year sentence.
Prayuth, who first came to power in the 2014 military coup, has said he will consider some protester demands, including calls for reform to the constitution, which was written under army rule. On Sunday, a government spokesperson said the prime minister thanked both police and protesters for the peaceful nature of the demonstration, according to the public broadcasting service Thai PBS.
Students are also calling for the dissolution of parliament and Prayuths resignation. The prime minister has previously told protesters to leave the monarchy out of their discussions.
Despite this, throughout the weekend, protest leaders again addressed the role and wealth of the royal family. While you live abroad, back at home the elderly have their allowances delayed [by the government], Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer, said. Officials have previously said delays to older peoples payments were caused by administrative problems, not a lack of funds.
Thailand protesters 'cross the Rubicon' and risk all to criticise the monarchy Read more
King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who assumed the throne following the death of his father, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in 2016, has been criticised for spending most of his time in Germany. Since assuming the throne he has strengthened his authority, bringing the wealth of the crown and key army units under his direct control.
Im one of the people, who you might see as mere dust under your feet, said Panusaya, who addressed the king directly in a speech on Saturday night. Id like to tell you that dust like us have our rights and voices too.
Protesters camped out on Saturday night at Sanam Luang, which translates roughly as royal ground, but which organisers said they would instead call peoples ground. The plaque they placed there is a reference to another brass plate that previously featured at Bangkoks Royal Plaza, where it commemorated the end of absolute monarchy in 1932. In 2017, the plate disappeared.
Over the weekend, students were joined by older demonstrators, including redshirt protesters supporters of the former populist prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.
What the students are saying today, if it was 10 years ago they would all be put in jail. Today they dont dare do it, said a man attending Saturdays gathering, who asked not to be named. Its not about abolishing the monarchy, its about having monarchy under the constitution and stopping people from using it for their political benefit.
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Pro-democracy protesters install a plaque declaring This country belongs to the people at Sanam Luang in Bangkok. Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP
Dr Paul Chambers, a special adviser on international affairs at Naresuan University, in northern Thailand, said the wave of protests was unprecedented in the country, and that the rallies were shifting the rules regarding what can be discussed in public.
The demonstrations could easily lead to the fall of the Prayuth government, though they could also produce a brutally repressive reaction from the army. The overall strategy of the authorities is to wait out the demonstrators, he said, adding that authorities would continue to pursue legal charges against protest leaders, and to pressure universities and the parents of student activists.
| Leak reveals $2tn of possibly corrupt US financial activity |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Among those named in reports is Paul Manafort, an ex- political strategist for Donald Trump
Thousands of documents detailing $2 trillion (£1.55tn) of potentially corrupt transactions that were washed through the US financial system have been leaked to an international group of investigative journalists.
The leak focuses on more than 2,000 suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed with the US governments Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
Banks and other financial institutions file SARs when they believe a client is using their services for potential criminal activity.
However, the filing of an SAR does not require the bank to cease doing business with the client in question.
The documents were provided to BuzzFeed News, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.
The documents are said to suggest major banks provided financial services to high-risk individuals from around the world, in some cases even after they had been placed under sanctions by the US government.
According to the ICIJ the documents relate to more than $2tn of transactions dating from between 1999 and 2017.
One of those named in the SARs is Paul Manafort, a political strategist who led Donald Trumps 2016 presidential election campaign for several months.
He stepped down from the role after his consultancy work for former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was exposed, and he was later convicted of fraud and tax evasion.
According to the ICIJ, banks began flagging activity linked to Manafort as suspicious beginning in 2012. In 2017 JP Morgan Chase filed a report on wire transfers worth over $300m involving shell companies in Cyprus that had done business with Manafort.
The ICIJ said Manaforts lawyer did not respond to an invitation to comment.
A separate report details over $1bn in wire transfers by JP Morgan Chase that the bank later came to suspect were linked to Semion Mogilevich, an alleged Russian organised crime boss who is named on the FBIs top 10 most wanted list.
A JP Morgan Chase spokesperson told the BBC: We follow all laws and regulations in support of the governments work to combat financial crimes. We devote thousands of people and hundreds of millions of dollars to this important work.
According to BBC Panorama, the British bank HSBC allowed a group of criminals to transfer millions of dollars from a Ponzi scheme through its accounts, even after it had identified their fraud.
HSBC said in a statement: Starting in 2012, HSBC embarked on a multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime across more than 60 jurisdictions. It added: HSBC is a much safer institution than it was in 2012.
In a statement released earlier this month FinCEN condemned the disclosure of the leaked documents and said it had referred the matter to the US Department of Justice.
The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network is aware that various media outlets intend to publish a series of articles based on unlawfully disclosed suspicious activity reports (SARs), as well as other sensitive government documents, from several years ago, it stated.
As FinCEN has stated previously, the unauthorised disclosure of SARs is a crime that can impact the national security of the United States, compromise law enforcement investigations, and threaten the safety and security of the institutions and individuals who file such reports.
| Hazmat tuxedos and video calls to feature at first all-virtual Emmys |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Normally one of the most glamorous Hollywood nights of the year, the first all-virtual Emmy awards are likely to be remembered for hazmat tuxedos and designer pyjamas.
For nominees, there would be the added strangeness of an official outside their home who might, or might not, personally deliver a trophy when the moment came, the actor Brian Cox said.
Jimmy Kimmel will host the 72nd edition of the US television awards on Sunday night, with HBOs Watchmen leading the charge with 26 nominations.
British actors including Cox, Olivia Colman, Jodie Comer, Thandie Newton, Helena Bonham Carter, Matthew Macfadyen and Harriet Walter are all in with a shout of winning a prize in what is set to be the oddest Emmy show in history.
Producers dreamed up the hazmat tuxedo to ensure the health and safety of all our winners and the presenter by following all of the health and safety protocols with a twist.
Recipients, who will all be in their own homes and appearing via video call, have been asked to come as you are but make an effort. A leaked letter sent to nominees suggests: If youre in the UK and its 3am, perhaps you want to be in designer pajamas [sic] and record from your bed!
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Brian Cox. Photograph: Childrens Hospices Across Scotland/PA
Cox is odds-on with bookmakers to win best actor in a drama for his portrayal of the mercurial billionaire media tycoon Logan Roy, in Succession. He said Emmy producers were planning to send people out to personally deliver trophies to winners in their own homes.
Theres going to be a man standing outside the door with an Emmy, which I may not win, he told BBC Breakfast. Every Emmy nominee therell be a man standing outside their house.
Cox will be up against Jeremy Strong, who plays the oldest son, Kendall, in Succession, and Jason Bateman for Ozark, Sterling K Brown for This Is Us, Billy Porter for Pose, and Steve Carell for The Morning Show.
Comer was the surprise winner last year of the best actress in a drama award for her unhinged killer Villanelle in Killing Eve. She is nominated once more, up against her co-star Sandra Oh, Colman for The Crown, Laura Linney for Ozark and Jennifer Aniston for The Morning Show.
The Emmy drama awards have, in recent years, been dominated by Game of Thrones while Veep has mostly led the way in comedy. With both those shows no longer around, pundits are predicting a much more interesting set of results.
A popular winner in the best comedy series category would be the Canadian sitcom Schitts Creek, about a rich family forced to move to a small town. Since it went on Netflix it has steadily and quietly become a huge feelgood hit.
The fourth and final series goes up against Curb Your Enthusiasm, The Good Place, Dead to Me, Insecure, The Kominsky Method, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel and What We Do in the Shadows.
By far the biggest number of nominations has gone to Watchmen, an adaptation of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons 1986 comic series for DC.
Damon Lindelofs show has attracted stellar reviews with Joel Golby in the Guardian calling it an astonishing feat of adaptation and Variety labelling it one of the best TV seasons of the decade.
It consisted of only nine episodes and that, in all likelihood, will be that, after Lindelof said he did not wish to produce a second series. He gave his blessing for HBO to do it without him but it declined.
Among the Watchmen nominees are actors Regina King, Jovan Adepo, Louis Gossett Jr, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Jeremy Irons for his portrayal of villain Adrian Veidt.
| New tactics against 'county lines' drug dealing are working, say police |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Police say new tactics have enabled them to drive the expansion of county lines drug dealing into reverse, and have vowed to eradicate it from the countrys worst-affected area.
County lines whereby drug-dealing gangs from cities expand their operations to other areas had been growing every year, with rural areas such as Norfolk plagued by drugs from London and serious violence. Gangs had become so comfortable they were sending out Happy Christmas messages to their clients.
Under the tactics, escalated during the coronavirus lockdown, officers go after those controlling the lines from London via their pay-as-you-go mobile phones rather than just chasing the runners sent to rural areas.
In Norfolk, the runners are usually teenagers who transport drugs in clingfilm wraps within their body. Cash is taken back to London in the same way.
So far, 30 out of 75 lines in Norfolk have been shut after those controlling them were traced and arrested in London, police say, with the closed lines responsible for half the drugs sold. Det Insp Robin Windsor-Waite, the officer leading Norfolk polices efforts, told the Guardian: It is a massive rollback.
Norfolk is the area in Britain with the highest number of recorded crimes linked to county lines, with hotspots in Great Yarmouth and Kings Lynn, and police say they have rewritten the rule book on how to tackle it.
Windsor-Waite said: As those controlling the networks are commonly based outside the county, they may have a feeling of impunity, believing theyre beyond our reach and being careful not to attract the attention of their home force. To successfully tackle county lines criminality, we need to arrest the controlling minds rather than the mules and street dealers.
In the majority of cases, the arrest of the line controller terminates the line and the risk associated with that line. Prior to this operation there was a degree of resignation to the continued exponential growth of county lines within Norfolk. The outlook has been transformed and our ambition is to completely eliminate the county lines business model from the county.
The tactics have led to arrests being made in London since December. The Home Office provided extra money for the Met to act on intelligence.
Since November, 146 London-based alleged county line holders have been charged with selling class A drugs such as crack and heroin across Britain in Scotland, Surrey, Kent, south Wales, and Devon and Cornwall, as well as Norfolk.
The Mets deputy assistant commissioner Graham McNulty, the national police lead for county lines, said: They probably felt they were doing something that was low risk, high reward. And what we are starting to do is turn it on its head. Suddenly county lines becomes a high risk issue for them, and the reward relatively low.
On the 146 arrested, 69% had gang connections, with most having previous convictions for drugs or carrying weapons, McNulty said. More than 70 alleged associates operating from the capital have also been arrested, while forces in Merseyside and the West Midlands have also been targeting county lines dealers based in their areas.
The dealers employ a range of tactics to evade police, Windsor-Waite said, using children in the belief they are less likely to be stopped, while gangs operate a just in time supply chain, eschewing transporting large amounts of drugs at once. The usual method of transportation is anal concealment, known as plugging.
Windsor-Waite said: The crack and heroin is usually prepared for sale in London before being exported to Norfolk. The drugs are divided into individual £5 or £10 street deals and bundled into £1,000 packages, wrapped in clingfilm and plugged in the couriers rectum. The cash proceeds are carried in the same way ... Sadly, this has become normalised amongst the children and young people involved.
This is driving the exploitation. If you move small amounts of a commodity, its a lot safer, but it needs lots more people. You need to move drugs every day or two.
Norfolk police chiefs say those involved in county lines changed tactics towards the end of 2019. Bad publicity about cuckooing taking over properties from the vulnerable to use as a base led gangs to cajole and bribe rather than threaten, and there was an increased attempt to recruit and use local children.
The force adopted behavioural science tactics developed to fight terrorism in order to spot child victims arriving at Norfolks train stations from London. Ch Supt David Matthews said: For a county force seen as an easy target, we have probably made the environment as hostile as we can.
Norfolks chief constable, Simon Bailey, warned that police can only do so much: While there is demand, there will always be a supply. Somebody will take that risk. That is why other agencies are working with police to deliver a comprehensive rehabilitation programme for people for are addicted to class A drugs, to break the habit.
| Joe Biden: Senate Should Not Vote on SCOTUS Nominee Before Election |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joe Biden on Sunday used the sudden Supreme Court vacancy to reinforce his argument that the upcoming election should be a referendum on President Donald Trumps handling of health care and the coronavirus.
The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg jolted the presidential campaign just six weeks before the election and as several states are already voting. Trump has seized on the opportunity to nominate a new justice to motivate his most loyal voters. Biden kept the focus on health care, which has proven to be a winning issue for Democrats during previous elections and could be even more resonant amid the pandemic.
The Supreme Court will hear a Republican-led case challenging the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration supports, the week after the Nov. 3 election. Biden charged that Trump is seeking to undermine the protections for people with pre-existing conditions under the ACA, as well as its provisions covering preventative care for women.
Millions Americans are voting because they know their health care hangs in the balance, Biden said during remarks at Constitution Center in Philadelphia. In the middle of the worst global health crisis in living memory, Donald Trump is before the Supreme Court, trying to strip health care coverage away from tens of millions of families.
The Supreme Court could also hear cases on a few more particularly salient issue in the next few months: voting rights, and potentially who wins the November election.
Biden is expected to focus in the weeks ahead on the Democratic fight to prevent a nominee from being confirmed to the court, with a particular emphasis on the effect the court could have on health care and climate change. Biden aides stopped short of ruling out the possibility the campaign would advertise around the court fight, though that decision hadnt been finalized.
Trump is promising to put forth a nominee this coming week and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has vowed to call a vote.
In a raw political move, this president and the Republican leader have decided to jam a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court through the United States Senate, Biden said. Thats the last thing we need at this moment.
Biden is still not, however, planning to release a list of potential Supreme Court nominees, because putting out a full list, the aide said, would further the court and the nomination process, aides said. Bidens aides said those interested in his thinking on a justice can look to his long history as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee for guidance.
Their refusal to put names to Bidens potential court pick underscores the political peril that the Supreme Court debate holds for Biden. Conservatives are still energized by the issue, and putting out names could offer Trump and his allies a list of conservative boogeymen to use against Biden to rev up his base.
Trump himself, at a rally Saturday night, basked in chants of fill that seat from the audience, and has pledged to move quickly on the nomination, whom he says is likely to be a woman.
Indeed, the Supreme Court has traditionally been seen as a major motivator for conservative voters, for its significance to hot-button social issues like gay rights and abortion. But in recent years, following the contentious confirmation fight over Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and a number of high-profile rulings on the Affordable Care Act, polls suggest the issue is becoming more salient for Democrats.
A Pew Research Center poll conducted in August suggested a comparable number of Biden and Trump voters view the appointment of Supreme Court justices as very important to their vote.
While Bidens aides acknowledge that the issue is still significant for conservatives, they believe it could be a winning one for their campaign, potentially driving support among undecided moderates, young voters and women, who may be energized in particular by the continued legal attacks on abortion rights.
They point to the massive fundraising numbers seen for Democrats online $91.4 million processed through Democratic fundraising engine ActBlue from Friday night through Saturday as further evidence of the base enthusiasm around the issue.
So, I think in that sense, the vacancy will really sharpen the focus on the stakes in this election when it comes to life and death and the health of Americans, Sen. Tim Kaine, a Virginia Democrat who was Hillary Clintons running mate in 2016, said Sunday.
| Joe Biden Claims 200 Million Americans Have Died from Coronavirus |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Joe Biden claimed on Sunday that, by the time he would be done speaking, 200 million Americans will have died from the coronavirus.
As Biden demanded inaction from the U.S. Senate on providing advice and consent on a potential Supreme Court nominee, he said, Its estimated 200 million people have died probably by the time I finish this talk.
That would be roughly two-thirds of the country.
Several minutes later, he read from the teleprompter: 200,000.
Its not the first time Biden has had trouble with numbers this campaign.
In June, Biden claimed over 120 million have died from the virus before correcting himself, USA Today reported.
In February, the Democrat nominee asserted 150 million people have been killed since 2007 on the streets by guns.
Kyle Olson is a reporter for Breitbart News. He is also host of The Kyle Olson Show, syndicated on Michigan radio stations on Saturdays. Listen to segments on YouTube or download full podcast episodes. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook, and follow him on Parler.
| Maxine Waters: Democrats Must Fight, Fight, Fight to Stop Trump from Getting SCOTUS Pick |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) urged Democrats to fight, fight, fight to stop President Donald Trumps nominee from replacing the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a Saturday appearance on MSNBC.
Waters said, I think McConnell is McConnell. Hes attempting to do what he has shown us he is willing to do no matter what, whether it makes good sense, whether its right, whether its wrong. Hes carrying out the wishes of the president. Hes held up, you know, legislation that we have sent to him. He has not been the kind of leader that cares about fairness at all. So I fully expect that he would act this way. He sent a note out to the other Republicans in the Senate telling them to hold their water, dont do anything, that there was going to be a vote on the floor. So that note is basically saying dont you dare interact with any of the Democrats. Dont you dare attempt to make any commitments. Dont you dare think about your re-election. This is about the president of the United States having control over the United States Supreme Court for sure. This certainly will sign that and seal it that he will be in control at least for the time that he is the president of the United States.
She added, So I am hoping that certainly, they would be more respectful, he would be more respectful, and he wouldnt act in this manner. However, it is incumbent upon Democrats to fight, fight, fight to try and stop him from having this appointment. Of course, we look forward to him not being the president of the United States. But if the judiciary has his stamp on it, it will make it difficult for our Democratic president that we expect to win this election to be successful when the cases go to the Supreme Court dealing with some of the most important issues of our time.
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| Michael Moore Urges Pelosi to Shut Down Government to Block GOP from Filling Ginsburgs Seat |
Published Date: 2020-09-20
Documentary filmmaker and hard-left activist Michael Moore has suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shut down the U.S. government to prevent President Trump from filling the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Moore spent most of his September 20 podcast urging leftists and Democrat voters to rise up and speak out to prevent President Trump from fulfilling his promise to pick a Supreme Court justice to fill Ginsburgs seat on the nations highest court. As he wrapped up his hour-long podcast, Moore turned to Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and urged her to refuse to pass the governments budget to prevent the U.S. Senate from having the funds to continue operating.
You have to do something that the Republicans have been doing for decades, Moore said, addressing the Speaker. For the first time
you have to block the continuing resolution that funds the government and just let it shut down, Moore said of the bill to fund the government that will soon be hitting the House floor for a vote.
Shut the whole damn thing down. Shut the government down, so they do not have the funds to try to ram through this person they want to get on the Supreme Court before Trumps gone, Moore said.
Despite Fahrenheit 11/9 directors proclamation, there is not yet any this person. Moores preemptive attack on this person is being delivered before any SCOTUS candidate has even been presented to the U.S. Senate. We dont even know who this person might be.
Just take the money out of the system that runs the halls of Congress, Moore continued. Or, make it contingent on Mitch McConnell signing a pledge, in writing, that he will put no Supreme Court nominee in front of the Senate before inauguration day.
However, the House of Representatives has no role whatsoever in picking, considering, or placing a nominee on the high court. U.S. Senate leader Mitch McConnell has no obligation at all to answer to Nancy Pelosi concerning Supreme Court picks.
I know, some people wont like this, Moore concluded his rant on the matter, but were all going to have to sacrifice here, a little bit, for a week or two or whatever it is to make sure that the Republicans
cannot do the job that theyre going to try to do, to not pull off another one of their crimes.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Facebook at: facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.