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Trump Is A Two-minute Man In Bed, Porn Star Stormy Daniels Claims

Porn star, Stormy Daniels, who has been having a running battle with the United States President Donald Trump, has said that the president is not much of a good lover and that he lasted only two minutes in bed.

The controversial sex worker also claims that President Trump is a “good conversationalist,” and that in the course of their sexual trysts, he asked “good questions about the porn industry,” including if adult film stars get royalties and residuals or had a union.

In an interview with the Vogue magazine published on Tuesday, she explained part of the extra-marital encounter she had with Trump to New York Timesreporter, Amy Chozick.

When asked, “How many details can you really give about two minutes?” Daniels said, “Maybe. I’m being generous.”

She, however, remained consistent with her past claims that the sex was consensual and that she never felt forced into it.

She also said that Trump wasn’t a bad conversationalist and that he asked good questions about the porn industry, including if adult film stars get royalties and residuals or had a union.

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Trump’s In-laws Become US Citizens Under Rules He Hates |RN

The first lady’s Slovenian-born parents, Viktor and Amalija Knavs, were sworn in in New York City, their lawyer Michael Wildes said, adding that the couple received no preferential treatment.

Asked by the New York Times if the couple had become citizens through “chain migration,” Wildes answered, “I suppose.”

Wildes said the term was a “dirtier” way of describing “a bedrock of our immigration process when it comes to family reunification,” the Times reported.

President Trump has frequently slammed the process under which legal U.S. residents can sponsor the admission of family members and other people who are not close relatives.

In November, Trump tweeted that the process “must end now!”

“Some people come in, and they bring their whole family with them, who can be truly evil. NOT ACCEPTABLE!” he wrote.

Melania Trump was born Melania Knavs in what was then the communist country of Yugoslavia and later changed her surname to Knauss.

(dpa/NAN)

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Trump’s Comment That Knives Attacks In London Would Abate If Guns Are Legalised Draws Ire Of Victim Families

By Steve Bird

(Sky News) 

Parents of children murdered in knife and gun attacks on British streets have condemned Donald Trump for claiming that the right to bear arms could help tackle gang violence in the UK.

The US president claimed that knife crime in London was so bad that a hospital ward was like a “war zone” due to stab wounds.

He told the National Rifle Association convention in Dallas, Texas, that because Britain has “unbelievably tough gun laws” there was “blood all over the floors” from knife attacks in one of the capital’s emergency wards.

It appears Mr Trump may have been referring to comments by Martin Griffiths, a surgeon at the Royal London Hospital, who likened an emergency ward there to an Afghan war zone due to the number of victims of knife attacks.

a man wearing a suit and tie             © Provided by The Telegraph  

The surgeon responded to Mr Trump on Twitter with an image suggesting the president had missed the point, adding that he was “happy to invite Mr Trump to my prestigious hospital … to discuss our successes in violence reduction in London.”

Meanwhile, Professor Karim Brohi, a trauma surgeon at The Royal London Hospital and Director of London’s major trauma system, said hospital staff were proud of the “excellent trauma care” they provide, adding that it was “ridiculous” for the president to suggest guns could be part of the solution.

“The Royal London Hospital has cut the number of our young patients returning after further knife attacks from 45 percent to 1 percent. There is more we can all do to combat this violence, but to suggest guns are part of the solution is ridiculous. Gunshot wounds are at least twice as lethal as knife injuries and more difficult to repair.”

Bhupinder Iffat Rizvi, whose 20-year-old daughter, Sabina, was shot dead in Kent in 2003 after being caught up in a dispute about a car, said she was “horrified and offended” by Mr Trump’s comments.

“I found his speech very, very offensive,” she said. “Since he made it I’ve had calls from other mother and fathers affected by knife and gun crime.

“Mr Trump may be a businessman, and the US does see guns as big business and money is important to them, but we are mothers and have lost our children to violence.

“Is he really suggesting we should legalise guns? I couldn’t believe it. Is he really saying people should pick up a gun and go and shoot someone they are in dispute with, and they can try to shoot you back?

a man and a woman looking at the camera                   © Provided by The Telegraph  

“He needs to look at his own hometowns where young people are standing up against gun ownership. They don’t want to be put in a situation where they are being shot at in schools.”

Caroline Shearer, from Essex who set up Only Cowards, Carry after her son Jay Whiston, 17, was murdered at a Colchester house party in September 2012, said that the last thing Britain needed was to follow America’s example where “nutcases” carry guns.

“We have enough of a problem with knife crime,” she said. “We don’t need a new problem with gun crime. That’s the last thing we need. We have got enough nutcases running around with knives. Can you imagine what it would be like if they had guns?

“We must not go down that route otherwise we are heading for even more of a disaster.”

However, Mrs Shearer agreed with the president that knife crime was out of control and hospitals and police were bearing the brunt of the crisis.

“Our wards in our hospitals are not just seeing two or three stabbings a night. They are seeing many, many more. It is so out of hand.”

Lynne Booker, who son Terry, 19, was stabbed to death in 2000, said she disagreed with Mr Trump’s suggestion that guns could be part of the solution to the menace of knife crime.

“We are trying to get dangerous weapons off the streets, not put more on with guns,” she said.

a person posing for the camera                      © Provided by The Telegraph  

Patrick Green, chief executive of The Ben Kinsella Trust, an organisation set up to tackle knife crime after schoolboy Ben Kinsella was murdered in 2008, said the president’s suggestion that escalating the weaponry would help tackle knife crime was “absurd”.

“Clearly, I disagree strongly with the president’s sentiments,” he said. “We know violence breeds violence. Blood will lead to blood.

“The president, in my opinion, has missed the point in what we are trying to do in the UK. We need to tackle knife crime by stopping young people carrying knives in the first place.

“Therefore if you go around with a gun ready to shoot someone you believe is about to do you harm you will only increase the crime rate. The crime and murder rate in the US speak for themselves.

“We need to go in completely the opposite direction. We know the answer to London’s knife crime problem is to stop young people carrying knives in the first place. If we do that then everything else falls into place. There will be less demand on hospitals. The police will be under less pressure. That’s the critical first step.”  (The Telegraph)

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Firing Mueller “Would Be The End” Of The Trump Presidency – Lindsey Graham

Emily Stewart
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is taking a hard line on the Russia investigation and the president’s seeming inability to stay out of it.On Sunday, Grham warned that Firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the Russia scandal, would be the end of the Donald Trump presidency — adding that everyone surrounding the president knows it.

“It’s pretty clear to me that everybody in the White House knows it would be the end of President Trump’s presidency if he fired Mr. Mueller,” Graham told ABC’s Martha Raddatz in an appearance on This Week on Sunday.The remarks come amid revelations that Trump ordered Mueller’s firing last June, reported by the New York Times this week and subsequently confirmed by other outlets, including the Washington Post and CNN. Top White House lawyer Don McGahn threatened to quit instead of going through with the president’s order, which apparently stopped the president from going through with it. The report provides another example of President Trump’s attempts to interfere with ongoing investigations — a pattern of behavior that has put him under scrutiny for potential obstruction of justice.

US President Donald Trump              © Catalyst Images US President Donald Trump

Graham said he didn’t know whether the stories about Trump’s order to fire Mueller or McGahn’s threat to quit stopping him were true, despite them being confirmed by multiple reputable news outlets (and, oddly enough, by Sean Hannity), but said he believes Mueller should look into it. “We’re not just going to say it’s fake news and move on. Mueller is the best person to look at it,” he said. He clarified he sees no evidence Trump wants to fire Mueller now.

Graham was among a group of both Republican and Democratic senators last summer to introduce legislation seeking to block Trump from firing Mueller. He co-sponsored a bill with Democratic Senator Cory booker (D-NJ). A similar measure was introduced by Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Chris Coons (D-DE) around the same time.

On Sunday, Graham said he’d be “glad to pass it tomorrow” but clarified that he thinks “it would be good to have legislation protecting all special counsels.” He also called for a special counsel to probe the Department of Justice and the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation and the early stages of the Russian investigation — seemingly toeing a line in an attempt not to anger the president or other Republicans.

US President Donald Trump                   © Catalyst Images US President Donald Trump

Many lawmakers remain lukewarm on Trump potentially firing Mueller

Graham largely stands alone in the GOP in the forcefulness of his rhetoric on the Russia investigation and his commitment to protecting Mueller.

In an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union with Jake Tapper on Sunday, Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) said it “probably wouldn’t hurt” to pass one of the proposed bills to block the president from firing Mueller. Collins, widely considered one of the party’s most moderate lawmakers, said enshrining that protection in law isn’t a bad idea. “There are some constitutional issues with those bills, but it would certainly not hurt to put that extra safeguard in place, given the latest stories,” she said.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) disagreed, saying he still just can’t see why such legislation would be necessary. “I don’t think there’s a need for legislation right now to protect Mueller,” he said In an interview with NBC’s Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. “So we’re raising an issue that’s not.”

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who is up for reelection in 2018 and is one of the party’s more moderate members, told NBC’s Todd on Sunday that Trump’s order to fire Mueller was probably just “New York talk” — sort of taking a line from Trump’s “locker room talk” excuse over the Access Hollywood tape. When pressed on the assertion by Todd, he went on to discuss Trump’s business record and explain that that’s probably why Trump thought it would be a good idea to cut Mueller. “You have a person who’s the president of the United States that has been totally in control of his life, personally and professionally,” he said. “Now all of a sudden he’s understanding there’s equal branches and there’s equal powers.” Manchin said if Trump fires Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the person who actually has the authority to fire Mueller, that’s when he’d start to worry.

Whether Trump firing Mueller would actually lead to any consequences is, at the very least, unclear — Republican lawmakers aren’t exactly chomping at the bit to really go after the president. Their latest comments on the matter aren’t exactly heartening. (Vox.com)

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We Must Rise To Trump’s Insult, AU Commission Chief Tells African Foreign Ministers

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The chairman of the African Union Commission said yesterday that the continent’s leaders cannot stay silent after United States President Donald Trump’s alleged vulgar remarks about African countries and Haiti.

Moussa Faki Mahmat told African foreign ministers gathering in the Ethiopian capital that many are still digesting Trump’s comment that the continent’s countries are like a filthy toilet. “The continent is deeply shocked by the message of hatred and the desire to marginalize Africa,” Mahmat said, in preparation for the African Union summit which will be held on Sunday.

He said African leaders may also respond to other statements and actions by Trump. “The statements on Jerusalem, a reduction of contribution to a peacekeeping operations budget . the continent cannot keep quiet about all these,” said Mahmat.

Many Africans have reacted angrily to Trump’s rude comment but Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni grabbed headlines this week by saying the U.S president should be praised for not mincing words.

Botswana’s government called Trump’s comment “reprehensible and racist” and summoned the U.S. ambassador to explain. The U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres responded to Trump’s remark by saying that “the dignity, equality and human rights of refugees and migrants has to be respected everywhere.”  (The Sun)

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UN Says Trump Budget Cuts Would ‘Make It Impossible’ To Do Its Job – New York Times

APTOPIX Israel United Nations

In this photo provided by the United Nations, members of the United Nations Security council vote at the United Nations headquarters on Friday, Dec. 23, 2016, in favor of condemning Israel for its practice of establishing settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem. In a striking rupture with past practice, the U.S. allowed the vote, not exercising its veto. (Manuel Elias/The United Nations via AP)

The United Nations said on Wednesday that the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts would “simply make it impossible” for the global organization to maintain essential operations.

The statement, by a United Nations spokesman, added to the growing criticism of a budget submission for the 2018 fiscal year that would reduce funding of the State Department by roughly a third and cut foreign assistance by about 29 percent.

The spending proposal, which was released on Tuesday, would reduce American financial support for the United Nations, including for its peacekeeping operations and international aid programs. The United States is the organization’s biggest single donor.

“The figures presented would simply make it impossible for the U.N. to continue all of its essential work advancing peace, development, human rights and humanitarian assistance,” Stéphane Dujarric, a spokesman for Secretary General António Guterres, said in response to queries about the budget proposal.

Republicans and Democrats have criticized the proposed budget’s cuts to foreign assistance, saying that such reductions would undercut national security and send the wrong message about American generosity as humanitarian crises are escalating in the Middle East and Africa.

The United States ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki R. Haley, has said the United States wants the United Nations to use American taxpayer money more efficiently.

But she has also expressed opposition to what she has called a slash-and-burn approach to budget reductions and has suggested that final allocations will not be as austere as what has been proposed.

“I was a governor; I had to do an executive budget,” Ms. Haley said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal during a visit to the Middle East this week. “What an executive budget is is the start of a conversation.”

Mr. Dujarric acknowledged that the “budgetary process in the U.S. is complex and lengthy, and it needs to be completed.”

He also said, “We are indeed very grateful for the support the United States has given to the United Nations over the years as the organization’s largest financial contributor.”

The United States contributes 22 percent of the United Nations’ core operating budget of $5.4 billion. That share is set by an international agreement and is based on the size of the American economy. The United States has also been a leading provider of aid to United Nations organizations that rely on voluntary contributions.

Twenty-eight percent of the United Nations’ peacekeeping budget of nearly $8 billion has been paid by the United States. The Trump administration’s budget proposal would reduce the American portion to about 25 percent.  (New York Times)

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UN Security Council Draft Resolution Would Render Trump’s Jerusalem Recognition “Null and Void”

President+Donald+Trump+Signs+Executive+Orders

UN Security Council draft resolution would render Donald Trump’s Jerusalem recognition ‘null and void’

The UN Security Council is considering whether to render all decisions about the status of Jerusalem void, just days after US President Donald Trump acknowledged the city as Israel’s capital.

The 15-member UN Security Council is reviewing a draft resolution that would rescind such decisions and demand that “all states comply with Security Council resolutions regarding the Holy City of Jerusalem,” according to a draft obtained by Reuters. The draft does not mention Mr Trump or the US specifically.

The one-page draft resolution affirms that “any decisions and actions which purport to have altered, the character, status or demographic composition of the Holy City of Jerusalem have no legal effect, are null and void and must be rescinded in compliance with relevant resolutions of the Security Council”.

The draft resolution also instructs member states not to establish diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. The UN maintains that the status of Jerusalem is a “final status issue” that should be negotiated between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The document was drafted by Egypt, and diplomats say it has broad support – though it will likely be vetoed by Washington. A UN Security Council resolution needs nine votes in its favour and no vetoes from the US, France, Britain, Russia or China in order to pass.

Mr Trump acknowledged Jerusalem as Israel’s capital earlier this month, fulfilling  a campaign promise and satisfying his conservative voter base. The announcement also set in motion a plan to move the US Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to the Holy City.

Israel considers the Jerusalem its eternal and indivisible capital and wants all embassies based there. Palestinians want the capital of an independent Palestinian state to be in the city’s eastern sector, which Israel captured in a 1967 war and annexed in a move never recognised internationally.

Mahmoud Abbas: US decision on Jerusalem has violated international law

Mr Trump’s decision broke with nearly 70 years of US policy, and angered many of the country’s international allies. France, Germany and Saudi Arabia and the UK all condemned the decision. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, firmly stated that the bloc would not be following the US President’s lead.

Source: (Independent)

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President Trump Departs For His First Foreign Trip |The Republican News

 

Jordan Fabian
Trump departs for first foreign trip: President Trump's foreign tour begins in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. © Provided by The Hill President Trump’s foreign tour begins in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.   

President Trump set off Friday for his first foreign trip, a nine-day, five-stop tour of the Middle East and Europe that comes amid turmoil at home.

A jovial-looking Trump waved and gave a thumbs-up to the press and staff on the South Lawn before taking off on Marine One en route to Joint Base Andrews for his overseas flight.

He was accompanied by first lady Melania Trump; his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner; chief of staff Reince Priebus and longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller.

Trump is the first president since Jimmy Carter not to take a foreign trip during his first 100 days in office. The president, who is known as a homebody, has reportedly been dreading the journey.

The ambitious schedule begins trip begins on Saturday in Saudi Arabia, where he plans to meet with Gulf Arab allies and deliver a high-stakes speech on Islamic extremism.

He’ll also make a stop in Israel, where the thorny Mideast peace process looms, before traveling to the Vatican for an audience with Pope Francis, who has been critical of his policies. He’ll end his trip with summit meetings with NATO allies and leaders from the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

Trump said in a Friday morning tweet he’s excited for the trip: “Getting ready for my big foreign trip. Will be strongly protecting American interests – that’s what I like to do!”

The president’s trip will be shadowed by the growing controversy at home over his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.

Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey last week set off a firestorm in Washington that resulted in the appointment of a special counsel to oversee the probe. The situation has dashed hopes in the White House that the trip could have served as a reset for Trump’s chaos-filled presidency.

Meanwhile, Trump is hurriedly trying to find a replacement for Comey. Former Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) emerged as the front-runner for the job in recent days. But the White House said an announcement wouldn’t be made before Trump’s departure.         (The Hill)

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GOP Healthcare Bill: Trump, Ryan Confer At The White House Amind Opposition

Mike DeBonis, Sean Sullivan, Ed O’Keefe

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) headed to the White House midday to brief President Trump on an overhaul of the nation’s health-care system, amid mounting evidence that enough House Republican would spurn their pitches and send the bill to defeat.In one stunning defection, Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) announced at midday that the health care bill is “currently unacceptable” and that changes made late Thursday to placate conservatives “raise serious coverage and cost issues.”

“We need to get this right for all Americans,” he said.

Other members who had raised concerns about the bill — both conservative and moderate — said the late changes had done nothing to change their minds.

Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), a Freedom Caucus member, was one of six Republicans who voted against a procedural resolution bringing the bill to the floor.

“You know what? I came here to do health care right,” said Gosar, a dentist. “This is one chance we that can get one-sixth of our GDP done right. It starts with here.”

Still, the sales pitches from Trump and Ryan appeared to be having some effect. At least three lawmakers who had previously pledged to vote against the bill indicated that they had changed their minds.

At the heart of the argument: Keeping the Affordable Care Act is a worse outcome than passing a potentially flawed replacement.

“You want to score a touchdown, but sometimes, on the fourth down, you kick a field goal,” said Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas), the longest-serving member of Congress in the Freedom Caucus. “The choice is yes or no. I’m not going to vote no and keep Obamacare. That’d be a stupid damn vote.”

Earlier Friday, a panel that sets rules for House floor debate approved the revised legislation, sending it to the full House for several hours of debate. Trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter to try to close the deal.

“After seven horrible years of ObamaCare (skyrocketing premiums & deductibles, bad healthcare), this is finally your chance for a great plan!” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

Asked by a reporter Friday morning what he would do if the bill fails, Trump shrugged and said: “We’ll see what happens.”

Trump also said he didn’t feel the process had been rushed and that Ryan should remain as speaker if the bill fails.

Trump briefly answered shouted questions at the White House after an announcement of a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, a revived project that the president touted as creating jobs.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) walks to a meeting Thursday with the GOP about the American Health Care Act trying to drum up support along with Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s director of the Office fo Management and Budget.© Katherine Frey/The Washington Post House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) walks to a meeting Thursday with the GOP about the American Health Care Act trying to drum up support along with Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s director of the…

 

In a last-ditch attempt to force a vote, Trump dispatched White House budget director Mick Mulvaney to the U.S. Capitol on Thursday night to tell rank-and-file Republicans in a closed-door meeting that he was done negotiating .

It was a high-risk gamble for Trump and Ryan, who have invested significant political capital trying to pass legislation that would replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act. For Trump, who campaigned as a skilled negotiator capable of forging a good deal on behalf of Americans, it could either vindicate or undercut one of his signature claims.

Leaders were focused especially on winning over members of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus, most of whom have so far refused to back the bill. Asked if GOP leaders had secured the votes early Friday, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) chuckled at a reporter: “You guys ask me the same question every day. You know I don’t talk about Fight Club.”

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), who chairs the caucus, said late Thursday that he was leaning against the legislation. He did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday morning.

And Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), a caucus member who had been a hard “no” earlier in the week, told NPR on Friday morning that he could potentially vote yes.

“If I think that premiums are going to come down enough . . . I could be a yes,” Harris said, citing a letter Trump sent Thursday to Freedom Caucus members outlining administrative steps he could take to address that issue. “But my yardstick is, will premiums come down enough under these actions?”

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), a moderate who had expressed qualms as recently as Tuesday, when he was singled out by Trump inside a private meeting of House Republicans, said he had all but decided to vote for the bill.

“I’m not one they should worry about,” he said.

King said Trump and GOP leaders had a powerful closing argument, making members choose between the Republican bill and the ACA.

“What’s the alternative?” he said. “If it’s this or stick with Obamacare, it’s a pretty heavy decision to make if you’re that opposed to Obamacare.”

But Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), one of Trump’s most ardent congressional supporters, said he remained opposed to the legislation because it made more political sense to keep current law than to start rewriting it.

“A no vote means we save Donald Trump from a Democratic majority in 2019,” Gohmert said. “If this passes, then Obamacare stays.”

Of his colleagues in the Freedom Caucus, Gohmert said: “Most of them are gonna vote no, and will save the Trump presidency from this lie that they have been handed.”

In another tweet on Friday, Trump homed in on the Freedom Caucus, saying, “The irony is that the Freedom Caucus, which is very pro-life and against Planned Parenthood, allows P.P. to continue if they stop this plan!”

With 237 House Republicans, party leaders can afford only 21 or 22 defections, depending on how many Democrats are present on Friday. If the measure fails, it would be a defeat for Trump in his first effort to help pass major legislation. An unsuccessful vote could also jeopardize other items on his wish list, including a tax overhaul and infrastructure spending.

No matter what happens in the House, the ultimate fate of the legislation hinges on the Senate. There are at least a dozen skeptics of the bill among Senate Republicans, who maintain a slim 52-to-48 advantage, and many of them want to maintain some of the current law’s more generous spending components.

Defeat of the legislation would mean that Obamacare — something that congressional Republicans have railed against for seven years — would remain in place.

Republicans convened a Rules Committee hearing at the crack of dawn Friday, where they sought to sign off on the final changes they made to the bill the previous day. In a snug room near the House chamber, the meeting quickly turned into a tense partisan clash, as Democrats expressed their disgust with the measure and Republicans sought to defend their legislation.

“You never intended for there to be a health plan of consequence for this nation,” said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fla.), raising his voice as he spoke.

He added: “What we will have done is helped rich people. And we will not have helped poor people.”

Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and one of the bill’s architects, forcefully rejected Hastings’s claim during testimony before the rules panel, saying he was “offended” by the remark. He tried tempering the tone of his exchange with Hastings, who wouldn’t oblige.

“I’m mad as hell about what you all are doing!” the Democrat exclaimed.

Later, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that the GOP bill would levy an “age tax” and “veterans tax” in order to lower taxes on the richest Americans.

“It’s in their DNA,” she told reporters. “They can’t help themselves.”

President Donald Trump pauses in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington Friday, March 24, 2017, during an announcement on the approval of a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, clearing the way for the $8 billion project. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci): Late Thursday, President Trump issued an ultimatum to lawmakers opposing the health care overhaul.        © The Associated Press Late Thursday, President Trump issued an ultimatum to                             lawmakers opposing the health care overhaul.

Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) added that some Republicans were likely “ashamed” by a process that had been defined by “backroom deals,” turning an old Republican attack back onto the majority.

“For what? To keep a seven-year old campaign promise?” said Crowley. “So Trump doesn’t send a mean tweet about you? That’s not leadership; that’s politics.”

On Thursday night, a rowdy group of Republicans burst out of their closed-door meeting like explorers on a quest for glory. “Burn the ships,” one Republican shouted to House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (La.), invoking the command that Hernan Cortes, the Spanish conquistador, gave his men upon landing in Mexico in 1519.

The message was clear, to the GOP leaders now and the Spaniards in 1519, there was no turning back.

“Only way to do it,” Scalise told a packed elevator of lawmakers.

After the meeting, and during an unrelated late-night vote, Ryan got down on a knee to plead with Rep. Don Young, an 83-year-old from Alaska who is the longest-serving Republican in Congress and remains undecided.

When the speaker finished with Young, he spent about 10 minutes in an animated discussion with Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), one of the bill’s most outspoken critics. At one point, the speaker took his own arms and held them up, his hands at face level, then slowly lowered them to his waist — presumably trying to demonstrate his belief that the bill will lower costs.

Ryan had intended to bring up his plan for a vote Thursday, but that plan unraveled after Freedom Caucus members rejected Trump’s offer to strip a key set of mandates from the nation’s current health-care law. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Trump chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon trooped up to Ryan’s office to make the case personally, warning recalcitrant conservatives that the only alternative would be to accept the ACA as the law of the land.

By evening, leaders adopted the proposed change conservatives had rebuffed earlier, eliminating the law’s “essential benefits” that insurers must offer under the ACA in an effort to reduce premium costs. Those benefits include covering mental-health treatment, wellness visits, and maternity and newborn care, and states would have the option of adding them back next year.

They also added one sweetener for moderates, a six-year delay in repealing a 0.9 percent additional Medicare tax on high-income Americans who earn above $200,000 if filing individually, or $250,000 if married and filing jointly. By keeping the tax in place, GOP leaders could provide an additional $15 billion to the states to help cover treatment for mental health and substance abuse issues, as well as maternity and infant care.

Meanwhile, a new analysis by the Congressional Budget Office released Thursday evening showed that changes House leaders made to the bill Monday do not alter a projection that 24 million more Americans would be uninsured by 2026 under the bill. In addition, the updated bill would cut the deficit by $150 billion over the next decade — nearly $200 billion less than the earlier version of the legislation.

AP

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There Is ‘More Than Circumstantial Evidence’ On Trump Camp, Russia-Schiff

 

Kailani Koenig

WASHINGTON — The top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee claimed Wednesday evening that he has seen “more than circumstantial evidence” that associates of President Donald Trump colluded with Russia while the Kremlin attempted to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the Ranking Member on the committee, was asked by Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press Daily” whether or not he only has a circumstantial case.

“Actually no, Chuck,” he said. “I can tell you that the case is more than that and I can’t go into the particulars, but there is more than circumstantial evidence now.”

Questioned whether or not he has seen direct evidence of collusion, Schiff responded, “I don’t want to get into specifics but I will say that there is evidence that is not circumstantial and is very much worthy of an investigation.”

This is a shift from Sunday’s “Meet the Press” interview, when Schiff only went as far as to say that there was circumstantial evidence of collusion and “direct evidence” of deception.

The Trump campaign and the White House have repeatedly denied that Trump’s associates were at all connected to any activities related to Russia’s attempts to influence the last election.

On Monday, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia had been ongoing since July. Comey said the probe was included in the agency’s investigation into what the U.S. intelligence community concluded was an attempt by Russia to interfere with the 2016 election with the purpose of helping Trump win.

Image: Sens. Blumenthal, Murphy, And Rep. Schiff Discuss Gun Industry Legislation© Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) speaks at news conference on Jan, 27 in Washington, D.C. \ Image: Sens. Blumenthal, Murphy, And Rep. Schiff Discuss Gun Industry Legislation

 

The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are conducting their own investigations.

Two weeks ago on “Meet The Press,” James Clapper, the former Director of Intelligence under President Obama, said that to his knowledge, there was no evidence of collusion between Moscow and Trump associates. Clapper oversaw the work of U.S. intelligence agencies through January 20th.

On Wednesday, Schiff told Todd of Clapper’s statements, “All I can tell you is reviewing the evidence that I have, I don’t think you can conclude that at all — far from it.”               (NBC News)

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