Trump wades deeper into abortion politics as midterms loom
By JILL COLVIN
Tuesday, May 22
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has long been an unlikely sweetheart for conservative and evangelical voters. Now, in the lead-up to the midterm elections, the thrice-married former Democrat who used to describe himself as “very pro-choice” is offering catnip to conservative voters with a new administration push to strip funding from Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics.
The initiative, announced last week, has arrived just in time for Trump to highlight it Tuesday night when he speaks at the Susan B. Anthony List’s annual “Campaign for Life Gala.” It is aimed at resurrecting parts of a Reagan-era mandate banning federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, or sharing space with abortion providers.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, says the move “will help tremendously” in the midterm elections.
It’s also the latest evidence that as he frets over the Russia investigation and prepares for a planned summit with North Korea, Trump has also been focused on fulfilling campaign promises and tending to issues that galvanize his base: holding a series of events to rail against the dangers of illegal immigration, pulling out of the Iran-nuclear deal and wading anew into the fight over abortion rights.
Trump is far from a natural fit for conservative voters. He recently admitted to reimbursing his lawyer for paying pay hush money to a porn star who claimed she had sex with Trump (a charge that he denies). And Trump has bragged about groping women without their permission. During the campaign, he sometimes had trouble articulating his views on abortion, at one point suggesting women should be punished for having abortions. His campaign later walked back the statement, saying that if abortion were ever outlawed, he believed that doctors who perform them should be punished.
Nonetheless, white evangelical voters overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016, and that support has only grown. A PRRI survey released last month found white evangelical support for Trump at an all-time high, with 75 percent of those polled holding a favorable view of the president and just 22 percent holding an unfavorable view. Support for Trump within the general population in the poll stood at just 42 percent.
Religious groups like the Catholic Medical Association approve of a series of actions Trump has taken, beginning with his appointment of judges who oppose abortion rights, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Trump’s reinstatement of the global “gag rule” that bars federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion referrals.
Trump has also surrounded himself with staffers with deep ties to conservative groups, including counselor Kellyanne Conway and Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp.
Ralph Reed, chairman of the private Faith & Freedom Coalition, also pointed to the president’s dismantling of the Iran nuclear deal and his decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as steps that have played especially well with evangelical voters. But he said the president’s actions on abortion hold special sway, in part because of Trump’s early struggle with the issue.
“On a policy level, I see it as a series of promises made and promises kept. And in this case, a pro-life promise made and pro-life promise kept. And I would argue those are the most important promises to keep because he was someone who was believed, accurately or otherwise, as a recent arrival to conservatism and someone who had an ideologically mixed past,” Reed said.
Reed added that as president, “Trump has done everything that he can to keep faith with the faith-based voters that provided him with his margin of victory in 2016.”
When it comes to the midterms, Reed said, “I expect Donald Trump to be rewarded for these efforts by a similarly historic turnout among evangelical and other pro-life voters.”
Dannenfelser, whose group works to elect candidates who want to reduce and ultimately end abortion, is planning to raise and spend $25 million this cycle, up from the $18 million the group spent in the lead-up to the 2016 elections.
She said the president’s latest move would play especially well with voters in states like Missouri, where Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents, as well as in Indiana and North Dakota, where Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer is challenging Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.
“He has proved himself refreshingly predictable,” Dannenfelser said of Trump’s record on abortion issues.
The other side, meanwhile, is preparing for a potential legal fight against Trump’s latest action and aiming to build support for candidates who support abortion rights.
“We have to fight back in the best way we know how,” the group Emily’s List wrote in a fundraising email, “electing pro-choice Democratic women who will always protect reproductive freedom.”
Associated Press writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.
“These things I believe: That government should butt out. That freedom is our most precious commodity and if we are not eternally vigilant government will take it all away. That individual freedom demands individual responsibility. That government is not a necessary good but an unavoidable evil. That the executive branch has grown too strong, the judicial branch too arrogant and the legislative branch too stupid. That political parties have become close to meaningless. That government should work to insure the rights of the individual, not plot to take them away. That government should provide for the national defense and work to insure domestic tranquillity. That foreign trade should be fair rather than free- That once a year we should hang someone in government as an example to his fellows.” ~ Lyn Nofziger (conservative Republican political consultant and author, June 8, 1924 – March 27, 2006).
I hereby demand that we arm all students and teachers with big hunks of beautiful clean coal to throw at gunmen
I don’t think Trump was a billionaire when he entered the Whitehouse but d/t all his pay for play since his election, he will be VERY rich when he leaves.
Americans killed in the Revolutionary War: 4,435
Americans killed by guns in 2017: 38,658
Americans killed by guns in the last 50 years: >1.5+ million
Is this what the framers of the Constitution had in mind?
Adam Schiff Busts Trump On A New Impeachable Offense
Posted on Sun, May 20th, 2018 by Jason Easley
After Trump demanded that the DOJ investigate the “spy” that was placed into his presidential campaign, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) busted Trump for abusing his power by trying to force the Department of Justice to conduct a bogus investigation.
Abuse of presidential power is an impeachable offense
Trump can demand anything that he wants. He can demand that the sun no longer set but remain in the sky 24 hours a day. It is the pressure that he is putting on the Department of Justice through using his presidential platform that creates an abuse of power. With each tweet, Trump is creating more impeachable offenses. The president is asking that the DOJ be misused for his own partisan political purposes.
We’ve come full circle on the Trump excuses. Donald Trump has returned to claiming that Obama spied on him. Obama never spied on him. There was never some great conspiracy to get Trump, because no one, including the Trump campaign, ever thought that they would win. If Trump had a real lawyer or an adult that was capable of stopping him, they would tell the president to stop tweeting right now.
Forget a “perjury trap,” Trump is creating his own impeachment trap.
Taxpayers should not subsidize companies who pay poverty wages.
Givers have to set limits because takers never do.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announces his re-election bid
BURLINGTON, Vt. — Independent U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont says he’s running for re-election this fall.
Sanders’ campaign made the announcement Monday.
The 76-year-old Sanders plans to launch his campaign next month with a series of rallies across Vermont.
In a statement issued by his campaign, Sanders, who is among the list of possible contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, says it has been an honor to serve the people of Vermont, but more remains to be done.
He says the 2018 midterm election will be a pivotal moment in U.S. history and people must fight for an agenda that works for working people.
Sanders was first elected to the U.S. House in 1990. He was elected to the Senate in 2006.
Roger Stone to Be Indicted for Financial Dealings in Mueller Probe, Former Trump Adviser Sam Nunberg Says
By Gillian Edevane On Sunday, May 20, 2018
Sam Nunberg, a former campaign adviser to President Donald Trump, predicted on MSNBC that Roger Stone will likely be indicted in special counsel Robert Mueller‘s probe into Russian election meddling for “some stupid financial thing.” .
“Do you think Roger Stone is in any legal jeopardy?” MSNBC host Alex Witt asked Nunberg, who has previously described Stone as a “mentor.”
“I think Roger is most likely—and he’s prepared for this and he should be—going to get indicted, on some financial, I’d say picayune, matter,” Nunberg said.
“Mueller is treating all Trump associates as if they are the Mafia,” Nunberg added. “And he is very selective about that.”
Nunberg went on to say he believes Stone will beat whatever charges come up against him. The former aide, who has earned a reputation for speaking rather candidly during cable news segments, said he still keeps in contact with the former lobbyist.
“My last phone conversation with Roger was the Saturday before my Friday grand jury appearance, where I explained to Roger that I had received a subpoena, and his name is one of the people where I would have to hand over all communications,” Nunberg said.
Mueller also issued a subpoena in mid-May to Jason Sullivan, a former assistant to Stone, for documents and called on him to testify before a grand jury. During an earlier Sunday appearance on Meet the Press, Stone indicated that he was ready in case he is indicted.
Keep up with this story and more by subscribing now
“I am prepared should that be the case,” Stone said on Sunday. “But I think it just demonstrates, again, this was supposed to be about Russian collusion, and it appears to be an effort to silence or punish the president’s supporters and his advocates.”
Although Nunberg apparently still supports Stone, he has not been shy about his disdain for the president. In 2016, Trump sued Nunberg for $10 million for allegedly leaking information and violating a confidentiality agreement. The two eventually settled out of court.
“I’m not a Donald Trump fan, as I told you before, OK? He treated me like crap,” Nunberg said during a March media appearance that lit up the Twittersphere.
Since it launched in May 2017, Mueller’s investigation has brought 17 indictments and five guilty pleas. Trump has called the probe a “witch hunt” several times, including once in a fiery tweet storm Sunday, where he tried to cast blame onto Democrats.
The FBI spied on my campaign !!! Excuse me but isn’t that their job? For good reason.
Isn’t it odd … Trump’s angry that the FBI ‘may have’ infiltrated his camp … BUT he’s not upset that the RUSSIANS did ?!
Still think he’s rich? Trump owes Deutsche Bank $480mil, and that is what we know about
Gas prices at 4 year high. Two questions for the MAGA crowd: 1. Tired of Winning yet? 2. Miss President Obama yet?
Call me crazy BUT I place more value on human life than I do on an idiot’s right to OWN GUNS designed for WAR.
“I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a lot of pleasure.” (Clarence Darrow)
Texas high school had a shooting plan, armed police, armed teachers and practice – and yet 10 people died. Utter failure!
The only solution is making military weapons illegal and require intense background checks on buyers. And gun owners must be required to have liability insurance.
So Obama sent a spy into Trump’s campaign to get dirt, didn’t use any of the dirt, and let Trump win the election. Brilliant!
This world needs more art and less violence.
Trump is a joke in Scandinavia but in Russia he was a hero.
Just a thought. It took President Obama 8 years to fix what G.W Bush did to the country. Looks like trump is going to put us back before the Mid Terms.
Companies win big at U.S. top court on worker class-action curbs
May 21, 2018
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court delivered a blow to the rights of workers on Monday by allowing companies to require them to sign away their ability to bring class-action claims against management, agreements already in place for about 25 million employees.
FILE PHOTO: Light from the setting sun shines on the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, U.S., January 20, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo
The justices, in a 5-4 ruling with the court’s conservatives in the majority, endorsed the legality of the growing practice by companies to compel workers to sign arbitration agreements waiving their right to bring class-action claims on various disputes, primarily over wages and hours.
The ruling could apply more broadly to discrimination claims like those raised by women as part of the #MeToo movement raising awareness of sexual harassment in the workplace but the court did not explicitly address that issue.
Craig Becker, a former member of the U.S. National Labor Relations Board and now general counsel of the AFL-CIO union federation, said the decision will have a “chilling effect” on employees coming forward to complain of mistreatment.
“It will cripple enforcement of all the major employment laws,” Becker added.
Growing numbers of employers, alarmed by a rise in class-action claims brought by workers on wage issues, have demanded that their workers sign waivers. Class-action litigation can result in large damages awards by juries and is harder for businesses to fight than cases brought by individual plaintiffs.
Republican President Donald Trump’s administration last year reversed the government’s stance in the case, siding with the companies. The Justice Department said it was pleased with Monday’s ruling. Democratic former President Barack Obama’s administration had supported a decision made by the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 invalidating such employment agreements. The board at the time had a Democratic majority.
The ruling is the latest in a series of pro-business decisions by the conservative-majority Supreme Court in recent years curbing class-action claims of various types and endorsing arbitration to resolve contractual disputes. Companies have said arbitration is quicker and cheaper than litigation in court.
FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch participates in taking a new family photo with his fellow justices at the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, U.S., June 1, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo
Justice Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s appointee to the court, wrote the ruling, joined by the four other conservative justices. Gorsuch wrote that federal arbitration law does not conflict with the National Labor Relations Act, which outlines the right of workers to act collectively.
“The policy may be debatable but the law is clear: Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written,” Gorsuch wrote.
Workers have fought back against the waivers, arguing that the cost of pursuing their cases individually in arbitration is prohibitively expensive. The ruling does not affect workers represented by unions.
Writing in dissent on behalf of the court’s four liberals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the ruling “egregiously wrong” and urged Congress to take action to protect workers’ rights.
‘TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT’
“The court today holds enforceable these arm-twisted, take-it-or-leave-it contracts — including the provisions requiring employees to litigate wages and hours claims only one-by-one. Federal labor law does not countenance such isolation of employees,” Ginsburg said in a statement she read in court.
Ginsburg said she does not believe the ruling would apply to certain claims alleging discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion or national origin covered by Title VII of the landmark federal Civil Rights Act.
Civil rights advocates were not so sure.
“Today’s decision will make it easier for employers to escape liability for widespread discrimination and harassment. No American should be forced to sign away their right to invoke the meaningful protections afforded by our nation’s critical civil rights laws,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
The ruling came in the biggest business case of the court’s current term, which began in October runs through the end of June.
“When it comes to grievances regarding wages and hours, we believe individual arbitration agreements strike that reasonable balance and are pleased with the court’s decision in support of this,” Epic CEO Judy Faulkner said in a statement.
The NLRB argued that the waivers violate federal labor law and let companies evade their responsibilities under workplace statutes.
About one in four private-sector non-union employees have signed arbitration agreements that include class-action waivers, according to the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute.
One U.S. law firm, Ogletree Deakins, seized on the ruling by launching a service it said will help employers create arbitration agreements containing class-action waivers for employees in less than five minutes.
U.S. Placed Immigrant Children With Traffickers, Report Says
By Emmarie Huetteman
Jan. 28, 2016
WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services placed more than a dozen immigrant children in the custody of human traffickers after it failed to conduct background checks of caregivers, according to a Senate report released on Thursday.
Examining how the federal agency processes minors who arrive at the border without a guardian, lawmakers said they found that it had not followed basic practices of child welfare agencies, like making home visits.
The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations opened its inquiry after law enforcement officials uncovered a human trafficking ring in Marion, Ohio, last year. At least six children were lured to the United States from Guatemala with the promise of a better life, then were made to work on egg farms. The children, as young as 14, had been in federal custody before being entrusted to the traffickers.
“It is intolerable that human trafficking — modern-day slavery — could occur in our own backyard,” said Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and the chairman of the subcommittee. “But what makes the Marion cases even more alarming is that a U.S. government agency was responsible for delivering some of the victims into the hands of their abusers.”
In addition to the Marion cases, the investigation found evidence that 13 other children had been trafficked after officials handed them over to adults who were supposed to care for them during their immigration proceedings. An additional 15 cases exhibited some signs of trafficking.
The report also said that it was unclear how many of the approximately 90,000 children the agency had placed in the past two years fell prey to traffickers, including sex traffickers, because it does not keep track of such cases.
“Whatever your views on immigration policy, everyone can agree that the administration has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the migrant kids that have entered government custody until their immigration court date,” Mr. Portman said.
In the fall of 2013, thousands of unaccompanied children began showing up at the southern border. Most risked abuse by traffickers and detention by law enforcement to escape dire problems like gang violence and poverty in Central America.
As detention centers struggled to keep up with the influx, the Department of Health and Human Services began placing children in the custody of sponsors who could help them while their immigration cases were reviewed. Many children who did not have relatives in the United States were placed in a system resembling foster care.
But officials at times did not examine whether an adult who claimed to be a relative actually was, relying on the word of parents, who, in some cases, went along with the traffickers to pay off smuggling debts.
Responding to the report, the Department of Health and Human Services said it had taken measures to strengthen its system, collecting information to subject potential sponsors and additional caregivers in a household to criminal background checks.
Mark Greenberg, the agency’s acting assistant secretary of the Administration for Children and Families, said it had bolstered other screening procedures and increased resources for minors.
“We are mindful of our responsibilities to these children and are continually looking for ways to strengthen our safeguards,” he said.
Follow The New York Times’s politics and Washington coverage on Facebook and Twitter, and sign up for the First Draft politics newsletter.
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU