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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that he doesn’t know why comedian Jon Stewart got “all bent out of shape” over funding for 9/11 first responders, and insisted “we will take care of” them.

The Kentucky Republican, who’s been accused over the years of slow-walking related legislation to help the emergency personnel who responded to the 2001 terrorist attacks, told “Fox & Friends” there’s “no way we won’t address this problem appropriately.”

Stewart had called out McConnell on “Fox News Sunday,” noting that the GOP leader had claimed earlier in the week he had always dealt with the first responders in a “compassionate way, and I assume we will again.”

“I want to make it clear this has never been dealt with compassionately by Senator McConnell,” Stewart said in the interview. “He has always held out until the very last minute, and only then under intense lobbying and public shaming has he even deigned to move on it.”

McConnell dismissed Stewart’s concerns Monday morning.

“Many things in Congress happen at the last minute,” he said. “We’ve never failed to address this issue and we will address it again. I don’t know why he’s all bent out of shape, but we will take care of the 9/11 victims’ compensation fund.”

Stewart, the former host of “The Daily Show,” took aim at Congress during his appearance before a House subcommittee last week, where he lobbied for a bill that would ensure the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund would be funded for 70 years. Congress has paid for the fund, which will run out of money in 2020, with a series of short-term spending bills, forcing first responders who were sickened by working in the toxic rubble of the World Trade Center to repeatedly travel to Washington to plead for help.

Testifying with Stewart last Tuesday was former NYPD detective Luis Alvarez, who was headed for a 69th round of chemotherapy the next day.

Stewart noted that there were several empty seats at the hearing.

“I can’t help but think what an incredible metaphor this room is for the entire process getting health care and benefits for 9/11 first responders has come to — behind me a filled room of 9/11 first responders and in front of me a nearly empty Congress,” he said. “Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak, to no one.”

“It’s shameful,” Stewart said.

McConnell shrugged off that complaint on “Fox & Friends” as well.

“That frequently happens because members have a lot of things going at the same time and it sounds to me like he was looking for some way to take offense,” he said.

In addition, the subcommittee hearing had been held in the full committee’s hearing room, increasing the number of empty chairs on the dais.

Asked if the legislation would be fully funded by the Senate after it is passed by the House, McConnell said, “Yeah.”



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Labour antisemitism is terrifying voters in THIS constituency – and here’s why

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FEAR of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is “palpable” in the key north London constituency of Golders Green and Finchley, with voters concerned about antisemitism within the party coupled with Mr Corbyn’s “Marxist” tendencies, Tory candidate Mike Freer has said.

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Ginsburg stays order demanding banks turn over Trump financial records

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Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave lawyers for President Donald Trump a temporary win on Friday in their bid to block subpoenas issued by House Democrats involving the president’s financial records.

Lawyers for the president had asked the Supreme Court to block subpoenas to Deutsche Bank and Capital One for the president’s financial records. Ginsburg granted their request for a stay, but it expires in one week barring further action from the court.

In the emergency application to the high court, Trump requested a hold be placed on a ruling by a lower court requiring the two banks to hand over his information to the Democratic-controlled House Intelligence and Financial Services committees.

“The Committees’ desire to use the President, his family, and his businesses as a case study is not a ‘legitimate legislative purpose,'” Trump’s lawyers argued in the application.

Rather, they claimed, “It is an attempt to exercise executive power beyond Congress’s legislative reach and to expose Applicants’ private records ‘for the sake of exposure.’”

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Trump’s lawyers wrote in the application that the issue at hand is “whether the President will be allowed to petition for review of an unprecedented demand for his personal papers, or whether he will be deprived of that opportunity because the Committees issued these subpoenas to third parties with no incentive to test their validity.”

The request came three days after the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that it would not block the congressional subpoenas for Trump’s financial records from Deutsche Bank and Capital One, affirming a lower court ruling and dealing the president a significant legal blow.

Trump and several members of his family sued Deutsche Bank and Capital One this year seeking to block them from responding to the subpoenas issued by House Democrats, which they said had “no legitimate or legislative purpose.”

The House Intelligence and Financial Services committees issued the subpoenas in April as part of investigations into alleged foreign influence in U.S. elections.

Judge Jon O. Newman of the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals wrote in a more than 100-page decision Tuesday that the Trumps’ “motion for a preliminary injunction was properly denied, except as to disclosure of any documents that might be determined to be appropriate for withholding from disclosure pursuant to our limited remand.”

That ruling had placed a seven-day stay on the subpoenas so the Trumps could appeal.

On Friday, lawyers for Trump wrote in their application asking that the Supreme Court “recall and stay the Second Circuit’s mandate pending the filing and disposition of Applicants’ petition for certiorari.”

Deutsche Bank has lent Trump’s business millions of dollars over the years, even when the president was on tough financial footing decades ago. Capital One is among the banks where Trump has personal accounts.

In August, Deutsche Bank disclosed in a court filing that it possessed tax returns tied to Trump. It was unclear exactly who or what entity the returns belonged to.

Dareh Gregorian contributed.



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House impeachment report looks at abuse, bribery, corruption

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WASHINGTON — Previewing potential articles of impeachment, the House Democrats on Saturday issued a lengthy report drawing on history and the Founding Fathers to lay out the legal argument over the case against President Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine.

The findings from the House Judiciary Committee do not spell out the formal charges against the president, which are being drafted ahead of votes, possibly as soon as next week. Instead, the report refutes Trump’s criticism of the impeachment proceedings, arguing that the Constitution created impeachment as a “safety valve” so Americans would not have to wait for the next election to remove a president.

It refers to the writings of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and others to link Trump’s actions in his July phone call with Ukraine’s president seeking political investigations of his rivals to the kind of behavior that would “horrify” the framers.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, a Democrat from New York.Loren Elliott / Reuters

“Where the President uses his foreign affairs power in ways that betray the national interest for his own benefit, or harm national security for equally corrupt reasons, he is subject to impeachment by the House,” the Democrats wrote. “Indeed, foreign interference in the American political system was among the gravest dangers feared by the Founders of our Nation and the Framers of our Constitution.”

Democrats are working through the weekend as articles are being drafted and committee members are preparing for a hearing Monday. Democrats say Trump abused his power in a July 25 phone call when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a favor and engaged in bribery by withholding nearly $400 million in military aide that Ukraine depends on to counter Russian aggression.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi says it’s part of a troubling pattern of behavior from Trump that benefits Russia and not the U.S.

Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong. “Witch Hunt!”the president tweeted Saturday morning.

The articles of impeachment are likely to encompass two major themes — abuse of office and obstruction — as Democrats strive to reach the Constitution’s bar of “treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

In releasing his report Saturday, Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said the president’s actions are the framers’ “worst nightmare.”

“President Trump abused his power, betrayed our national security, and corrupted our elections, all for personal gain. The Constitution details only one remedy for this misconduct: impeachment,” Nadler said in a statement. “The safety and security of our nation, our democracy, and future generations hang in the balance if we do not address this misconduct. In America, no one is above the law, not even the President.”

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The report released Saturday is an update of similar reports issued during the Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton impeachments and lays out the justification for articles under consideration, including abuse of power, bribery and obstruction.

It does not lay out the facts of the Ukraine case, but it hints at potential articles of impeachment and explains the thinking behind Democrats’ decision to draft them. Without frequently mentioning Trump, it alludes to his requests that Ukraine investigate Democrats, a move he believed would benefit him politically, by saying a president who “perverts his role as chief diplomat to serve private rather than public ends” has unquestionably engaged in the high crimes and misdemeanors laid out in the Constitution. That is true “especially” if he invited rather than opposed foreign interference, the report says.

The report examines treason, bribery, serious abuse of power, betrayal of the national interest through foreign entanglements and corruption of office and elections. Democrats have been focused on an overall abuse of power article, with the possibility of breaking out a separate, related article on bribery. They are also expected to draft at least one article on obstruction of Congress, or obstruction of justice.

In laying out the grounds for impeachable offenses, the report directly refutes several of the president’s claims in a section called “fallacies about impeachment,” including that the inquiry is based on secondhand evidence, that a president can do what he wants to do, and that Democrats’ motives are corrupt.

“The President’s honesty in an impeachment inquiry, or his lack thereof, can thus shed light on the underlying issue,” the report says.

In pushing ahead with the impeachment inquiry, Democrats are bringing the focus back to Russia.

Pelosi is connecting the dots — “all roads lead to Putin,” she says — and making the argument that Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine was not an isolated incident but part of a troubling bond with the Russian president reaching back to special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings on the 2016 election interference.

“This isn’t about Ukraine,” she explained a day earlier. “‘It’s about Russia. Who benefited by our withholding of that military assistance? Russia.”

It’s an attempt to explain why Americans should care that Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate rival Joe Biden while withholding the military aid that Congress had approved.

At the same time, by tracing the arc of Trump’s behavior from the 2016 campaign to the present, it stitches it all together. And that helps the speaker balance her left-flank liberals, who want more charges brought against Trump, including from Mueller’s report, and centrist Democrats who prefer to keep the argument more narrowly focused on Ukraine.

Pelosi and her team are trying to convey a message that impeachment is indeed about Ukraine, but also about a pattern of behavior that could stoke renewed concern about his attitude toward Russia ahead of the 2020 election.

Trump pushed back on the Democrats’ message. “The people see that it’s just a continuation of this three-year witch hunt,” he told reporters as he left the White House on a trip to Florida.

Late Friday, White House counsel Pat Cipollone informed the Judiciary Committee that the administration would not be participating in upcoming hearings, decrying the proceedings as “completely baseless.”

And Trump’s campaign announced new rallies taking the case directly to voters — as well as a new email fundraising pitch that claims the Democrats have “gone absolutely insane.”

“The Democrats have NO impeachment case and are demeaning our great Country at YOUR expense,” Trump wrote in the email to supporters. “It’s US against THEM.”

Impeachment articles could include obstruction of Congress, as the White House ordered officials not to comply with House subpoenas for testimony or documents in the inquiry. They could also include obstruction of justice, based on Mueller’s report on the original Trump-Russia investigation.

There is still robust internal debate among House Democrats over how many articles to write and how much to include — and particularly whether there should be specific mention of Mueller’s findings from his two-year investigation into Trump’s possible role in Russia’s 2016 election interference.

The special counsel could not determine that Trump’s campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia. However, Mueller said he could not exonerate Trump of obstructing justice in the probe and left it for Congress to determine.

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