Dems walk out on Trump, House condemns troop withdrawal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., left, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speak with reporters after a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Washing his hands of Syria, President Donald Trump declared Wednesday the U.S. has no stake in supporting the Kurdish fighters who died by the thousands as U.S. partners against IS extremists. Hours later, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats walked out of a meeting at the White House, accusing him of having a “meltdown,” calling her a “third-rate politician” and having no plan to deal with a potentially revived Islamic State group.

Condemnation of Trump’s stance on Turkey, Syria and the Kurds was quick and severe during the day, not only from Democrats but from Republicans who have been staunch supporters on virtually all issues.

The House, bitterly divided over the Trump impeachment inquiry, banded together for an overwhelming 354-60 denunciation of the U.S. troop withdrawal. Many lawmakers expressed worry that it may lead to revival of IS as well as Russian presence and influence in the area — in addition to the slaughter of many Kurds.

At the White House, Trump said the U.S. has no business in the region — and not to worry about the Kurdish fighters.

“They know how to fight,” he said. “And by the way, they’re no angels.”

After the House condemnation vote, the congressional leaders of both parties went to the White house for a briefing, which grew contentious, with Trump and Pelosi trading jabs. The Democrats said they walked out when the meeting devolved into an insult-fest.

“What we witnessed on the part of the president was a meltdown,” Pelosi told reporters, saying Trump appeared visibly “shaken up” over the House vote.

“We couldn’t continue in the meeting because he was just not relating to the reality of it,” she said.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer criticized Trump for not having an adequate plan to deal with IS fighters who have been held by the Kurds. He said the meeting “was not a dialogue, this was sort of a diatribe, a nasty diatribe not focused on the facts.”

Republicans pushed back, saying it was Pelosi who’d been the problem.

“She storms out of another meeting, trying to make it unproductive,” said House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy.

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham called Pelosi’s action “baffling but not surprising.” She said the speaker “had no intention of listening or contributing to an important meeting on national security issues.”

Trump himself famously stormed out of a meeting with congressional leaders during the partial government shutdown last January.

In public appearances Wednesday, Trump said he was fulfilling a campaign promise to bring U.S. troops home from “endless wars” in the Middle East — casting aside criticism that a sudden U.S. withdrawal from Syria betrays the Kurdish fighters, stains U.S. credibility around the world and opens an important region to Russia, which is moving in.

“We have a situation where Turkey is taking land from Syria. Syria’s not happy about it. Let them work it out,” Trump said. “They have a problem at a border. It’s not our border. We shouldn’t be losing lives over it.”

Trump said he was sending Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Ankara to urge the Turks to halt their weeklong offensive into northeastern Syria. But his remarks, first to reporters in the Oval Office and later at a news conference with his Italian counterpart, suggested he sees little at stake for America.

“Syria may have some help with Russia, and that’s fine,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of sand over there. So, there’s a lot of sand that they can play with.”

“Let them fight their own wars.”

More than once, Trump suggested the United States has little concern in the Middle East because it is geographically distant — a notion shared by some prior to Sept. 11, 2001, when al-Qaida militants used Afghanistan as a base from which to attack the U.S. That attack set off a series of armed conflicts, including in Iraq, that Trump considers a waste of American lives and treasure.

But Republicans, too, made their concerns clear.

The current withdrawal is the worst decision of Trump’s presidency, said South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, who meets often with the president and is one of his strongest and most important supporters in Congress.

“To those who think the Mideast doesn’t matter to America, remember 9/11 — we had that same attitude on 9/10 2001.”

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he strongly disagreed with Trump and had told the president so. But he asked, “What tools do we have” to back up that disagreement?

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., told reporters he didn’t know what could be done to undo the harm he felt was resulting.

“There are some mistakes that are not easy to reverse. And there are some that are irreversible,” said Rubio, who was a Trump rival for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

Turkish troops and Turkish-backed Syrian fighters launched their offensive against Kurdish forces in northern Syria a week ago, two days after Trump suddenly announced he was withdrawing the U.S. from the area. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he wants to create a 30-kilometer (20-mile) -deep “safe zone” in Syria.

Ankara has long argued the Kurdish fighters are nothing more than an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Turkey, as well as the U.S. and European Union, designate as a terrorist organization.

Trump mischaracterized the progress made thus far by the U.S. military in carrying out his instructions to withdraw all 1,000 troops in northeastern Syria. He referred to the approximately two dozen soldiers who evacuated from Turkey’s initial attack zone last week, but cast that as meaning the U.S. has “largely” completed its pullout.

A U.S. official familiar with planning for the withdrawal of the 1,000 said that they are consolidating onto two main bases but have not yet begun flying out of Syria in significant numbers. Military equipment is being gathered and flown out, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the withdrawal, which poses big security risks.

Trump downplayed the crisis that followed his decision to pull out of Syria, which critics say amounted to giving Turkey a green light to invade against the Kurdish fighters.

“It’s not between Turkey and the United States, like a lot of stupid people would like you to believe,” Trump said, adding that he’s more than willing to let adversaries fight it out in that area of the Middle East.

In the meantime, he said, “Our soldiers are not in harm’s way, as they shouldn’t be.”

Trump did impose new sanctions on Turkey this week in an attempt to force Erdogan to end his assault. But he said Wednesday, “It’s time for us to come home.”

Even as Trump defended his removal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, he praised his decision to send more troops and military equipment to Saudi Arabia to help the kingdom defend against Iran.

Trump said the U.S. is sending missiles and “great power” to the Saudis, and “they’re paying for that.”

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Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Budget deal avoids shutdown, default

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., addresses the NAACP convention, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

President Donald Trump and congressional leaders announced Monday a critical debt and budget agreement that’s an against-the-odds victory for Washington pragmatists seeking to avoid political and economic tumult over the possibility of a government shutdown or first-ever federal default.

The deal, announced by Trump on Twitter and in a statement by Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, will restore the government’s ability to borrow to pay its bills past next year’s elections and build upon recent large budget gains for both the Pentagon and domestic agencies.

“I am pleased to announce that a deal has been struck,” Trump tweeted, saying there will be no “poison pills” added to follow-up legislation. “This was a real compromise in order to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!”

The agreement is on a broad outline for $1.37 trillion in agency spending next year and slightly more in fiscal 2021. It would mean a win for lawmakers eager to return Washington to a more predictable path amid political turmoil and polarization, defense hawks determined to cement big military increases and Democrats seeking to protect domestic programs.

Nobody notched a big win, but both sides view it as better than a protracted battle this fall.

Pelosi and Schumer said the deal “will enhance our national security and invest in middle class priorities that advance the health, financial security and well-being of the American people.” Top congressional GOP leaders issued more restrained statements stressing that the deal is a flawed but achievable outcome of a government in which Pelosi wields considerable power.

“While this deal is not perfect, compromise is necessary in divided government,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

However, it also comes as budget deficits are rising to $1 trillion levels — requiring the government to borrow a quarter for every dollar the government spends — despite the thriving economy and three rounds of annual Trump budget proposals promising to crack down on the domestic programs that Pelosi is successfully defending now. It ignores warnings from deficit and debt scolds who say the nation’s fiscal future is unsustainable and will eventually drag down the economy.

“This agreement is a total abdication of fiscal responsibility by Congress and the president,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a Washington advocacy group. “It may end up being the worst budget agreement in our nation’s history, proposed at a time when our fiscal conditions are already precarious.”

A push by the White House and House GOP forces for new offsetting spending cuts was largely jettisoned, though Pelosi, D-Calif., gave assurances about not seeking to use the follow-up spending bills as vehicles for aggressively liberal policy initiatives.

The head of a large group of House GOP conservatives swung against the deal.

“No new controls are put in place to constrain runaway spending, and a two-year suspension on the debt limit simply adds fuel to the fire,” said Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Johnson, R-La. “With more than $22 trillion in debt, we simply cannot afford deals like this one.”

Fights over Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, other immigration-related issues and spending priorities will be rejoined on spending bills this fall that are likely to produce much the same result as current law. The House has passed most of its bills, using far higher levels for domestic spending. Senate measures will follow this fall, with levels reflecting the accord.

At issue are two separate but pressing items on Washington’s must-do agenda: increasing the debt limit to avert a first-ever default on U.S. payments and acting to set overall spending limits and prevent $125 billion in automatic spending cuts from hitting the Pentagon and domestic agencies with 10 percent cuts starting in January.

The threat of the automatic cuts represents the last gasp of a failed 2011 budget and debt pact between former President Barack Obama and then-Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, that promised future spending and deficit cuts to cover a $2 trillion increase in the debt. But a bipartisan deficit “supercommittee” failed to deliver, and lawmakers were unwilling to live with the follow-up cuts to defense and domestic accounts. This is the fourth deal since 2013 to reverse those cuts.

Prospects for an agreement, a months-long priority of top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., became far brighter when Pelosi returned to Washington this month and aggressively pursued the pact with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin , who was anointed lead negotiator instead of more conservative options like acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney or hardline Budget Director Russell Vought.

Mnuchin was eager to avert a crisis over the government’s debt limit. There’s some risk of a first-ever U.S. default in September, and that added urgency to the negotiations.

The pact would defuse the debt limit issue for two years, meaning that Trump or his Democratic successor would not have to confront the politically difficult issue until well into 2021.

Washington’s arcane budget rules give each side a way to paint the numbers favorably. Generally speaking, the deal would lock in place big increases won by both sides in a 2018 pact driven by the demands of GOP defense hawks and award future increases consistent with low inflation.

Pelosi and Schumer claimed rough parity between increases for defense and nondefense programs, but the veteran negotiator retreated on her push for a special carve-out for a newly reauthorized program for veterans utilizing private sector health care providers. Instead non-defense spending increases would exceed increases for the military by $10 billion over the deal’s two-year duration.

In the end, non-defense appropriations would increase by $56.5 billion over two years, giving domestic programs 4% increases on average in the first year of the pact, with a big chunk of those gains eaten up by veterans increases and an unavoidable surge for the U.S. Census. Defense would increase by $46.5 billion over those two years, with the defense budget hitting $738 billion next year, a 3% hike, followed by only a further $2.5 billion increase in 2021.

Trump retains flexibility to transfer money between accounts, which raises the possibility of attempted transfers for building border barriers. That concession angered the Senate’s top Appropriations Committee Democrat, Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who said he has “many concerns” with a memorandum outlining the agreement that promised there will also be no “poison pills,” new policy “riders,” or bookkeeping tricks to add to the deal’s spending levels.

The results are likely to displease some on both sides, especially Washington’s weakening deficit hawks and liberals demanding greater spending for progressive priorities. But Pelosi and McConnell have longtime histories with the Capitol’s appropriations process and have forged a powerful alliance to deliver prior spending and debt deals.

The measure would first advance through the House this week and win the Senate’s endorsement next week before Congress takes its annual August recess. Legislation to prevent a government shutdown will follow in September.

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JFK: A virgin and a White House affair

President John F. Kennedy (left), the 19-year-old college sophomore Mimi Alford (right) who lost her virginity to the president on the White House bed of Jackie Kennedy (bottom)

Illicit sexual activity did not arrive at the White House in Washington when Donald Trump became president.

He’s just the latest adulterer to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Bill Clinton’s infidelities and sexual escapades are well-documented, including the oral sex that left a splatter of his semen on 19-year-old Monica Lewinsky’s dress.

He wasn’t the first president to bed a teenage intern in the White House.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy found a teenaged Wheaton College student he met so infatuating he arranged her to get an unasked-for internship at the White House during his presidency and took her virginity on the bed used by first lady Jackie.

Mimi Beardsley Alford detailed how Kennedy also pushed her to perform oral sex on a White House aide so he could watch and then suggested she do the same for younger brother Ted Kennedy because “he needed cheering up.”

Alford said she did go down on presidential aide Dave Powers as he watched but refused to do the same on Ted.

Kennedy moved fast on Alford.  Just a few days after she arrived at the White House as a 19-year-old intern, he invited the beautiful girl for a swim and then took her to the first lady’s bedroom.

“I wouldn’t describe what happened that night as making love, but I wouldn’t call it nonconsensual either,” she later wrote in her book: “Once Upon a Secret: My affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath.”

Their 18-month relationship ended when Kennedy died n 1963

“I’m not going to say he loved me, but I think he did like me a lot,” she recalls.

Revealing the relationship did not bring hasty denials but confirmations from others.

Robert Dallek’s acclaimed Kennedy Biography “An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963, describes “a tall, slender, beautiful nineteen-year-old college sophomore” who was often with him

Barbara Gamarekian, former press side to Kenndey, says Alford “has a sort of a special relationship with the president…the sort of thing that legitimate newspaper people don’t write about and don’t even make any implications about.:

Alford kept quiet about her relationship with Kennedy for 40 years but went public after reporters tracked her down in 2003. Dallek says Alford’s admissions about her affair with is “entirely credible” and calls the incident with Powers “disgusting” but believable.

He said he wrote about Alford in his book as a reference to the changing social mores of the country.  When Kennedy was president, reporters in Washington knew about his adultery and other sexual antics but never wrote about it.

Kennedy’s libido may have been unreported at the time, but it was the topic of much discussion at parties in Washington during his presidency.

His affair with Marilyn Monroe is now well known.  Lesser known was his on-again-off-again affair with an artist, Mary Pinchot Meyer, who later died from a gunshot attack in Georgetown in a crime that remains unsolved.

Kennedy also had the hots for Meyer’s sister, Antoinette “Tony” Meyer, then married to Newsweek Washington reporter Ben Bradlee, who would later become editor of the Washington Post.

On May 29, 1963, Kennedy had about two dozen guests aboard the presidential Yacht Sequoia for his 46th birthday and spent most of the evening “pursuing” Tony Bradlee.  The guests included actors David Niven and Peter Lawford, married to Kennedy’s sister Pat.

Tony Bradlee remembered that evening all too well.

“I was running and laughing as he chased me. He caught up with me in the ladies’ room and made a pass,” Tony Bradlee later recounted. “It was a pretty strenuous attack, not as if he pushed me down, but his hands wandered. I said, ‘That’s it, so long.’ I was running like mad.”

“I guess I was pretty surprised, but I was kind of flattered, and appalled, too.”

Appalling, perhaps, but not surprising.

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Press secretary Sarah Sanders leaving White House

President Donald Trump speaks about White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, who is leaving her position at the end of the month. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, whose tenure was marked by a breakdown in regular press briefings and questions about the administration’s credibility, as well as her own, will leave her post at the end of the month, President Donald Trump announced.

Trump said Thursday he’s encouraging her to run for governor when she returns home to Arkansas, where her father once held the job.

Sanders is one of Trump’s closest and most trusted White House aides and one of the few remaining who worked on his campaign, taking on the job of advocating for and defending a president who had his own unconventional ideas about how to conduct the people’s business.

At an unrelated White House event, Trump described Sanders as a “warrior” as he called her to the stage. Sanders, appearing emotional, said serving Trump has been “the honor of a lifetime” and pledged to remain one of his “most outspoken and loyal supporters.”

Sanders, who is married and has three young children, later told reporters she wanted to spend more time with her family, but she did not rule out running for public office.

“I learned a long time ago never to rule anything out,” said Sanders, 36.

She was the first working mother and just the third woman to be named White House press secretary.

Under her roughly two-year tenure as chief spokeswoman for the White House, daily televised briefings led by the press secretary became a relic of the past after Sanders repeatedly sparred with reporters who aggressively questioned her about administration policy, the investigation into possible coordination between Trump’s campaign and Russia or any number of controversies involving the White House.

Sanders has not held a formal briefing since March 11 and said she does not regret scaling them back. Instead, reporters were left to catch her and other administration officials on the White House driveway after their interviews with Fox News Channel and other networks.

Trump also has made it a habit to regularly answer reporters’ questions in a variety of settings, most notably on the South Lawn before boarding the Marine One helicopter. Sanders often sought to justify the lack of formal briefings by saying they were unnecessary when journalists could hear from Trump directly.

Behind the scenes, Sanders worked to develop relationships with reporters, earning the respect and trust of many of those on the beat.

Still, her credibility had come under question after she succeeded Sean Spicer , Trump’s first press secretary, in mid-2017 in the high-profile role.

The Russia report released by special counsel Robert Mueller in April revealed that Sanders admitted to investigators that she had made an unfounded claim about “countless” FBI agents reaching out to express support for Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.

Sanders characterized the comment as a “slip of the tongue” uttered in the “heat of the moment.”

She faced similar questions last year after Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s personal attorneys, surprised the White House by saying on national TV that Trump had reimbursed his then-fixer Michael Cohen for the $130,000 Cohen had paid porn actress Stormy Daniels to keep quiet during the campaign about an alleged past sexual encounter with Trump. Trump has denied Daniels’ claim.

The White House had failed to disclose the reimbursement. Sanders said she didn’t know anything about the repayment until Giuliani disclosed it.

Sanders told reporters Thursday that she had informed Trump earlier in the day of her decision to step down. Her staff learned the news shortly before Trump tweeted, “After 3 1/2 years, our wonderful Sarah Huckabee Sanders will be leaving the White House at the end of the month and going home to the Great State of Arkansas.”

Trump added that “she would be fantastic” as Arkansas governor. Sanders said she’s had people “begging” her to run for governor for more than a year.

Her father is former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, a two-time GOP presidential candidate. She managed his second White House bid.

Asa Hutchinson, the current Arkansas governor, was re-elected in 2018 and is limited to two terms. The seat will become open in 2022.

Sanders said she hasn’t discussed possible replacements with Trump. She said she saw no reason to delay informing the president once she had made her decision, saying her departure should give Trump time to put someone else in place before the 2020 presidential campaign heats up.

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Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

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Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

Trump overturned rejections of security clearances

White House iin Washington. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

A career official in the White House security office says dozens of people in President Donald Trump’s administration were granted security clearances despite “disqualifying issues” in their backgrounds, including concerns about foreign influence, drug use and criminal conduct.

Tricia Newbold, an 18-year government employee who oversaw the issuance of clearances for some senior White House aides, says she compiled a list of at least 25 officials who were initially denied security clearances last year but then had those denials overruled by senior administration officials.

The allegations were detailed in a letter and memo released Monday by Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee. The documents, which are based on Newbold’s March 23 private committee interview, don’t identify the officials on the list but say they include “two current senior White House officials, as well as contractors and individuals” in different parts of the Executive Office of the President.

“According to Ms. Newbold, these individuals had a wide range of serious disqualifying issues involving foreign influence, conflicts of interest, concerning personal conduct, financial problems, drug use and criminal conduct,” the memo says.

The release of the documents sets the stage for another fight between the White House and the Democratic-controlled House, and immediately drew criticism from House Republicans who called the allegations overblown and “cherry-picked.”

Cummings’ panel has been investigating security clearances issued to senior officials including Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former White House aide Rob Porter. That probe has picked up steam after The New York Times reported that Trump ordered officials to grant Kushner a clearance over the objections of national security officials, and after Newbold spoke out to NBC News and other news outlets about her concerns.

On Monday, Cummings said he will move this week to authorize his first subpoena in the probe. The subpoena will be for the deposition of Carl Kline, who served as the White House personnel security director and supervised Newbold. He has since left the White House for the Defense Department.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

Rep. Jim Jordan, the committee’s ranking Republican, said in a statement that Cummings’ probe is a “partisan attack” and an “excuse to go fishing” through personnel files. He also said that one person on Newbold’s list is a GSA custodian.

Also, in a response memo circulated to Republican members, Jordan’s staff cast Newbold as a disgruntled employee who had only limited knowledge of the reasons security clearances were granted. The Republican document also suggests Newbold’s concerns were “overblown,” saying that four or five of the clearance denials for “very serious reasons” were a small fraction of about 5,000 employees who work in the Executive Office of the President.

According to Democrat Cummings’ memo, though, Newbold considered the decisions to be part of a “systematic” problem within her office where the decisions of security clearance reviewers were “continuously” overridden.

Newbold said she raised her concerns up the chain of command in the White House to no avail. Instead, she said, the White House retaliated, suspending her in January for 14 days without pay for not following a new policy requiring that documents be scanned as separate PDF files rather than one single PDF file.

Newbold said that when she returned to work in February, she was cut out of the security clearance process. The office also announced a plan to “restructure” that would remove her from a supervisory role, she said.

In response to Newbold’s interview, Cummings is asking the White House to turn over the list she created as well as documents related to the handling of security clearances for several senior officials including Flynn, Kushner and Porter.

Flynn maintained his clearance even after the White House learned that he lied to the FBI about his conversations with Russia’s ambassador and that he was under investigation by the Justice Department for his previous foreign work.

Kushner failed to initially disclose numerous foreign meetings on security clearance forms, and, according to the Times, career officials recommended against granting him a clearance before Trump personally overruled them.

Porter had high-level access with an interim security clearance even though the FBI repeatedly told the White House of past allegations of domestic violence lodged against him by two ex-wives.

Porter resigned after the allegations becoming public.

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Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report.

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Read the documents: http://apne.ws/NuF4iSJ

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Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

White House, not Trump, condemns Rep. Steve King

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, listens during a hearing on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Comments by Republican Rep. Steve King about white supremacy are “abhorrent,” the White House said Wednesday as bipartisan condemnation of King continued.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders praised a move by House Republicans to strip the nine-term Iowa lawmaker of his committee assignments.

King told The New York Times last week that, “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

The comments were widely denounced as racist.

The House on Tuesday approved a Democratic measure rebuking King, and a member of the House Republican leadership suggested King should leave Congress.

When President Donald Trump was asked on Monday about King’s remarks, he said: “I haven’t been following it.” But Sanders said Wednesday that King’s comments were “abhorrent,” and said GOP leaders took action when one of their members said “outrageous and inappropriate things.”

House Democratic leaders, meanwhile, blocked an effort to censure King, referring a proposal by Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush to the House Ethics Committee for further review.

Censure is the most serious sanction for a House member short of expulsion, and it has been imposed only six times in the past 100 years.

Rush, the sole House member to oppose the earlier measure rebuking King, pressed for a vote Wednesday to censure King, saying the House should take a stronger stand against what he called “Steve King’s violent, vitriolic and rabid racism.”

After the House clerk read Rush’s resolution detailing a string of inflammatory comments by King over the years, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland moved to refer the matter to the Ethics Committee. Lawmakers approved the motion on a voice vote, postponing action on the censure measure indefinitely.

“I think we have spoken, and we have spoken on both sides of the aisle, that this is unacceptable rhetoric and behavior,” Hoyer said.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., who sponsored the disapproval motion, said censure should be reserved for statements made on the House floor. He and other Democratic leaders also said censuring King could open Democrats to Republican attacks.

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Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

In Trump’s case, ‘Mother’ is only half a word

Lots of talk about Rashida Tlaib’s comments to a crowd of supporters after she officially became a new member of the House of Representatives in the United States Congress.

“And when your son looks at you and says, ‘Mama, look, you won. Bullies don’t win,’ and I said, ‘Baby, they don’t,’ because we’re going to go in there and we’re going to impeach the motherfucker,” Tlaib said.

That comment brought anguished cries from the right-wing and Trump’s dwindling “base” of supporters but it also caused a lot of hand-wringing by Democrats and the party’s leadership because she brought up the dreaded “I” word — impeachment.

The Christian Broadcasting Network called Tlaib, a Palestinian-American, a “foul-mouthed Islamic congresswoman.”  Not exactly a surprise from CBN, where religious discrimination and racism is part of their self-proclaimed “word of God.”  Tlaib is Muslim.

Trump, of course, jumped into the fray, condemning Tlaib’s “profanity.”

“I thought her comments were disgraceful,” Mr. Trump said at the news conference. “I think she dishonored herself, and I think she dishonored her family.”

Really?  Watch what Trump has said publicly:

That’s not the only time Trump has used the word. He’s also the one who bragged that he would “grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” On audio tape, he bragged “I did try and fuck her. She was married…I moved on her like a bitch.”

Trump believes in frequent use of obscenities to make his often fact less claims.  It’s his standard operating procedure.  After her comment became public, Trump criticised her for using such language in front of kids.

In today’s society, the kids most likely have not only heard the term but probably have used it among themselves.

As a photojournalist who often shoots public school athletic events, I heard a middle school basketball player shake her head in disbelief after being called for a foul and mutter the same word as the new Congresswoman from Michigan.  She was in the eighth grade.

Actor Bruce Willis often utters the phrase “Yippee Ki Yay Motherfucker” in his Die Hard Movies.

“I’m not in the censorship business,” said new Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, but added that it is too early to talk about impeaching Trump.

She adds:

We shouldn’t be impeaching for a political reason, and we shouldn’t avoid impeachment for a political reason. So we’ll just have to see how it comes.

Tlaib is not apologizing for how she feels about Trump or what she said.  On Twitter, her hashtag is #unapologeticallyme.  On a Detroit television station Friday, she said “it’s probably exactly how my grandmother, if she was alive, would say it.”

She is not alone in feeling that Trump must be impeached if he does not voluntarily resign.

Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman of California and Al Green of Texas introduced an article of impeachment to the House on Thursday.

Says Sherman:

I continue to believe that obstruction of justice is the clearest, simplest and most provable high crime and misdemeanor committed by Donald J. Trump. I hope that the articles of impeachment are the subject of hearings before the Judiciary Committee early in 2019.

Adds California Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell:

Donald Trump is going to be impeached whether it is by the ballot box or Congress.  It will just be a matter of which one comes first.

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