President Donald Trump says he will rally in North Carolina in support of Republican Dan Bishop, who is running for Congress in a special election after voter fraud allegations tainted a 2018 race in the state’s 9th District.
“Looking forward to soon being in North Carolina to hold a big rally for wonderful Dan Bishop, who is running for Congress,” Trump wrote in a tweet Thursday night before attacking Bishop’s Democratic opponent, Dan McCready, without naming him directly. “His opponent wants Open Borders, Sanctuary Cities, and Socialism. He likes the ‘Squad’ more than North Carolina. Dan has my Full and Complete Endorsement!”
Trump didn’t announce a date or time for the rally, but it won’t be the first time he appears with the North Carolina Republican candidate; Bishop, a state senator, spoke briefly at a Trump rally last month.
And as pundits point to the race as an early indicator of the 2020 election cycle, Trump seems keen on deploying his own re-election strategy: tying Democrats to its most progressive fringes, particularly the young, female liberal lawmakers known as “the squad.”
Bishop is running against McCready, a Marine Corps veteran who lost a race for the seat last year against another Republican, Mark Harris. That election result was thrown out earlier this year amid allegations of absentee voter fraud against Harris’ campaign. Harris declined to run again and Bishop won a spring primary for the race.
While political pollsters have yet to give the race much attention, recent internal polling from the McCready campaign showed the candidates in a tie among likely voters in the special election Sept. 10.
Already, national politics have dogged this closely watched race: McCready returned a $2,000 donation from the campaign of squad member Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., this spring, amid controversy over her remarks about Israel.
McCready responded to Trump’s tweet with a call for donations.
“Look, we expected these attacks, but we cannot let them go unanswered,” he wrote in a tweet.
John Bercow makes prime ministers’ lives ‘hell’ by breaking precedent, claims Cameron
DAVID CAMERON has revealed that Commons Speaker John Bercow used to make his “life hell” and was often left baffled by his actions as he made unprecedented decisions to side against the Government.
Barr praised 2017 book that claims colleges unfairly went after male students accused of sexual assault
WASHINGTON — Before being nominated by President Donald Trump to be attorney general, William Barr strongly endorsed a 2017 book accusing colleges and universities of unfairly punishing male students accused of rape.
Barr’s praise for “Campus Rape Frenzy: The Attack on Due Process at America’s Universities” by K.C. Johnson and Stuart Taylor, is posted on the book’s Amazon.com page. But during his confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, Barr was not questioned about the blurb, which suggested men are often railroaded by a politically correct campus “mob.”
In the blurb, Barr praises the book for examining multiple cases where, as he described, “Male students are sacrificed to the mob, with academic leaders happily serving as the hangmen.”
Barr’s professed skepticism about some campus sexual assault claims surfaced after Trump’s call this week for the Justice Department to “rescue” Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, after The New York Times published an excerpt of a new book detailing asexual assault allegation against Kavanaugh while a student at Yale that he had previously denied. The book also includes information about a new allegation.
Several Democratic presidential hopefuls have called for further investigation or for the impeachment of Kavanaugh in light of the allegations.
Barr’s endorsement of the book includes a broadside on the Obama administration’s approach to the issue of campus sexual assault.
During Obama’s presidency, colleges and universities were directed to aggressively pursue sexual misconduct allegations under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that bans sex discrimination in education. In 2017, the Trump administration ordered those Obama-era protections to be reversed.
“President Obama’s Education Department — promulgating regulations beyond its statutory authority, invoking erroneous data, and fanning the false narrative of a ‘rape culture’ on college campuses — has created a regime of kangaroo justice,” Barr wrote in the blurb.
Kerri Kupec, a spokeswoman for Barr at the Justice Department, declined comment.
The book by Johnson and Taylor — and Barr’s endorsement of it — were part of the administrative record Education Secretary Betsy DeVos relied on to make her decision to roll back the Obama-era rules, according to records ordered released by a judge in response to a lawsuit challenging the rollback. DeVos, not Barr, has led the Trump administration’s effort to change campus sexual assault policy.
Taylor told NBC News that now that Barr is attorney general, “I am hopeful he will help move policy in the direction Betsy DeVos is trying to do,” while acknowledging that many of DeVos’s proposals could easily be undone by a future administration.
The changes include requiring schools to disclose the identity of accusers to alleged assailants and allowing the accused to question alleged victims during campus investigations.
In light of Trump’s recent tweet about the Justice Department and Kavanaugh, it’s unclear Barr has the power to do anything to “rescue” Kavanaugh or any male student accused of sexual misconduct. Most sexual offenses are prosecuted locally, not by the Justice Department, which handles sex trafficking and child exploitation cases.
In an interview, Taylor said Barr had agreed to write a blurb for his book at a time when neither expected Barr would serve in the Justice Department again. Barr was attorney general under President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993.
Barr’s blurb has also raised concerns among some Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who said it should have been raised during his confirmation hearings last January. A spokesman for Judiciary Democrats said they had not been aware of the blurb at the time.
Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., a member of the committee, is among those who say they would have wanted to question Barr about the statement.
Due process is always important, Blumenthal told NBC News, but Barr’s comments are “way over the top.”
Emily Martin, vice president for education and workplace justice at the National Women’s Law Center, said Barr’s comments are “incredibly disturbing” coming from someone who is now the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.
His statement “really discounts the experiences of survivors and the challenges they face,” Martin said.
She went on to raise concerns that Barr’s comments would mean his Justice Department would “leave schools less safe, especially for women and girls.”
Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., and Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, also members of the committee, agreed that Barr should have been pressed on the matter during his confirmation.
“This statement seems very out of step with the improvements that have been made in recent decades” around how victims of rape are “taken seriously,” said Whitehouse.
Trump and a number of administration officials have come under scrutiny for expressing skepticism about whether females alleging sexual assault should be believed.
In July 2017, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Education Candace Jackson told The New York Times that 90 percent of accusations fall into the category of “we were both drunk, we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title IX investigation.” She later apologized for the comments.
Earlier, DeVos delivered a policy address in which she said “if everything is harassment, then nothing is.”
At least 17 women have accused Trump of inappropriate behavior, including allegations of sexual harassment or assault. Trump has strongly denied the accusations multiple times.
Taylor, the book’s author, said he doesn’t believe Barr’s endorsement of his book has any bearing on how he would pursue prosecution of sex crimes as attorney general.
Taylor said that he and his co-author are “strong critics” of Trump, adding, “I’m quite willing to believe a lot of the accusations against him are true.”
Trump names Robert O’Brien as new national security adviser
President Donald Trump on Wednesday named Robert O’Brien, a State Department official who has specialized in hostage issues, as his new national security adviser.
“I have worked long & hard with Robert,” Trump tweeted. “He will do a great job!”
O’Brien will replace John Bolton, whom Trump fired last week after a string of disagreements.
O’Brien had been on Trump’s list of finalists, and the president had praised him as recently as Tuesday as “fantastic.”
Trump, speaking to reporters in California with O’Brien at his side later Wednesday, said his administration has “had a tremendous track record with respect to hostages.”
O’Brien, for his part, said “it’s a privilege to serve with the president.”
O’Brien was integrally involved in the release of rapper ASAP Rocky by Swedish authorities last month. The rapper had been detained and charged with assault in connection with a June 30 scuffle between his entourage and a 19-year-old man in Stockholm.
Trump had emerged as a vocal supporter of the rapper in the criminal case.
O’Brien had been present in court in Sweden when the rapper’s trial began and had written to Swedish prosecutors urging them to release him.
Download the NBC News app for breaking news and politics
As a State Department envoy for hostage affairs, O’Brien led American diplomatic efforts on overseas hostage matters, working closely both with families of American hostages and senior government officials, according to his State Department biography.
Previously, O’Brien was the co-chairman of the State Department’s Public-Private Partnership for Justice Reform in Afghanistan, for both the Obama and George W. Bush administrations. He was nominated in 2005 by Bush and confirmed by Senate to serve as a U.S. representative to the United Nations General Assembly.
The position of national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation.
O’Brien replaces Bolton — who had been one of the most hawkish voices in Trump’s inner circle on a number of issues, including Taliban negotiations and China trade talks — and will be Trump’s fourth national security adviser. His first, Michael Flynn, was in court for a status hearing last week before his sentencing for lying to U.S. officials. Flynn’s successor, Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, said he was retiring after repeated disagreements with Trump.
Bolton, known as a fierce infighter, had few loyal allies internally. He had clashed with many senior members of the administration at times, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trump’s announcement comes as his administration deals with a number of international hot spots, including North Korea, Iran, Venezuela and Afghanistan.
The tweet also came just moments after the president vowed to “substantially increase” sanctions on Iran as tensions in the Middle East rise after an attack on a Saudi oil field, and with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo headed to Saudi Arabia to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss the recent attack.
American officials believe the attack originated from Iranian territory and the president tweeted over the weekend that the U.S. was “locked and loaded” in preparation for some sort of retaliatory action.
Politics1 week ago
Inside the Education Department’s effort to ‘obstruct’ student loan investigations
Politics7 days ago
September Democratic Debate: Live Updates
World6 days ago
Trump says he would consider an interim trade deal with China
World1 week ago
SoftBank asks WeWork to shelve IPO, reports FT
Politics1 week ago
President Trump’s Commerce Chief denies threat to fire NOAA staffers
Politics6 days ago
Andrew McCabe’s lawyers urge prosecutors not to keep pursuing charges
World7 days ago
European Central Bank launches new bond-buying program
Politics4 days ago
Debate night split screen highlights the Democrats’ Trump challenge