US commerce secretary says Hong Kong protests are an 'internal matter' – live

Guardian Web |

block-time published-time

Donald Trum p is linking US-China trade talks with the Hong Kong protests on Twitter, suggesting that if the China government wants to work out a deal it has to “humanely” work with the protestors.

Whereas investors and foreign leaders have blamed uncertainty around trade negotiations between the US and China is triggering economic volatility around the world, Trump has insisted that negotiations between himself and China’s Xi Jinping are going well and that Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Fed chairman that Trump nominated in 2017, is to blame.

enltrI know President Xi of China very well. He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people. He is also a good man in a “tough business.” I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

enltr..deferral to December. It actually helps China more than us, but will be reciprocated. Millions of jobs are being lost in China to other non-Tariffed countries. Thousands of companies are leaving. Of course China wants to make a deal. Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

block-time published-time

A video of Elizabeth Warren running at a town hall event in New Hampshire this afternoon has inspired journalists and comedians alike.

enltrMy friends celebrating after I finally get over a guy

Yashar Ali ?? (@yashar)

enltrme leaving a party after putting in the bare minimum amount of socializing acceptable for the setting

Lee Germaine (@lee_gsc)

enltrme celebrating and taking a break after crossing off literally one item on my to-do list

David Mack (@davidmackau)

enltrOfficially starting the conspiracy theory that this is Elizabeth Warren's stunt double.

Tim Barnes (@TimBarnes451)

block-time published-time

Democratic senators are asking Donald Trump to withdraw his $5 billion request for border wall funding and instead use the money on initiatives to stop gun violence.

From Reuters :

In a letter, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Patrick Leahy informed Trump that he does not have enough support in Congress for his wall funding request to be included in the federal budget for fiscal year 2020, which begins on .

“Instead, we urge you to support spending funds you have requested for the border wall, on other pressing needs such as proven initiatives that will address the threats of gun violence and white supremacist extremism in America,” wrote Schumer and Leahy, who is the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee that oversees government outlays.

The request, which was expected, surfaced as Democrats in the Senate and House of Representatives are trying to pressure Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell to call the Senate back early from its August recess and allow votes on universal background check legislation that passed the House in February.

block-time published-time

Lawmakers have subpoenaed the owner of 8chan, the far-right website linked to the man suspected of killing 22 people in El Paso, Texas.

“At least three acts of deadly white supremacist extremist violence have been linked to 8chan in the last six months. We have questions on what is being done to counter this trend so we can be sure it is being properly addressed,” said Mississippi congressman Bennie Thompson, the democratic leader of the House homeland security committee, and Alabama congressman Mike Rogers, the committee’s highest-ranking republican, in a joint statement.

The committee is asking 8chan owner Jim Watkins to testify at a deposition in September.

Related: 8chan: the far-right website linked to the rise in hate crimes

block-time published-time

More Democratic presidential candidates, including Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, have condemned representative Steve King ’s comments on rape and are urging people to donate to his opponent JD Scholten, who is looking to unseat King in next year’s elections.

enltrRape apologists have no place in Congress. Iowans deserve better than Steve King. Donate now to his opponent, @JDScholten.

Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris)

enltrSteve King must resign. His latest comment is a disgusting attack on victims of sexual assault. The people of #IA04 deserve better. We must work together to elect @JDScholten in 2020.

Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren)

enltrSteve King's remarks are reprehensible. It's time for him to go. Donate to his opponent @JDScholten now -

Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar)

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

That’s it from me today. My West Coast colleague Maanvi Singh will be taking over the blog for the next few hours.

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • US stocks tumbled as signs increased that the economy may be headed for a recession. The Dow Jones dropped 800 points, or 3 percent, and many blamed the downturn on market uncertainty caused by Trump ’s trade wars. But the president unsurprisingly blamed the Federal Reserve for Wall Street’s woes.
  • Representative Steve King is once again facing calls for his resignation after he defended his stance on abortion by claiming that rape and incest had helped fuel population growth.
  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Hong Kong protests were an “internal matter,” echoing a talking point from China ’s own government.
  • More lawmakers from both parties have put out statements expressing support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong and sternly warning China against any violent crackdown of the demonstrations.
  • Ken Cucinnelli is still facing widespread condemnation for saying the poem at the Statue of Liberty refers to “people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies.” Beto O’Rourke said the comment proved that Trump officials “think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people.”

Maanvi will be covering more fallout from the market dip and King’s comments, so stay tuned.

block-time published-time

Representative Liz Cheney, the chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, has called for Representative Steve King to resign over his abortion comments.

enltrToday’s comments by @RepSteveKingIA are appalling and bizarre. As I’ve said before, it’s time for him to go. The people of Iowa’s 4th congressional district deserve better.

Liz Cheney (@Liz_Cheney)

Cheney previously suggested King should resign after he said in an interview with the New York Times, “white nationalist, white supremacist, western civilization – how did that language become offensive?”

block-time published-time

The Dow’s 800-point drop is among the market’s worst in history, but it is much less daunting when compared by percentages:

enltrIn percentage terms, today's decline in the Dow (-3.05%) was the 342nd largest in history. To break the top 20 you need a drop of over 7%. $

Charlie Bilello (@charliebilello)

And a Politico reporter noted that even economists seem to be having a hard time determining the implications of the inverted yield curve:

enltrI have a lot of economist/strategist notes in my inbox essentially saying "boy this inverted curve looks bad but may not be bad honestly we have no idea but we had to send out something so here you go."

Ben White (@morningmoneyben)

block-time published-time

As the Dow sank 800 points and signs increasingly pointed to an impending recession, the vice president said he would travel to Michigan next week to tout the “growing” economy:

enltrUnder @realDonaldTrump, the economy is growing & jobs are soaring. This Monday, I will travel to the Great State of Michigan where I’ll talk to the Detroit Economic Club about why our economic agenda is benefiting businesses large & small and hardworking Americans are thriving!

— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP)

block-time published-time

Dow suffers worst percentage drop of the year; Trump blames the Fed

The Dow Jones suffered its worst percentage drop of the year, closing down 800 points or about 3 percent as signs intensified of a looming recession.

While the hashtag #TrumpRecession trended on Twitter, the president himself directed his ire at a familiar target, the Federal Reserve.

enltr..Spread is way too much as other countries say THANK YOU to clueless Jay Powell and the Federal Reserve. Germany, and many others, are playing the game! CRAZY INVERTED YIELD CURVE! We should easily be reaping big Rewards & Gains, but the Fed is holding us back. We will Win!

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

Republican Randy Feenstra, an Iowa state senator who has launched a primary challenge against Representative Steve King , has also condemned the congressman’s comments about abortion.

enltrI am 100% pro-life but Steve King's bizarre comments and behavior diminish our message & damage our cause. Trump needs defenders in Congress, not distractions. I will ensure we win this seat & I'll be an effective conservative leader in Congress. #IA04

Randy Feenstra (@RandyFeenstra)

Feenstra is one of three Republicans challenging King for the Republican nomination, but the state senator has outraised all of his competitors – including the incumbent – with the support of the GOP establishment.

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

Another House Democrat, Deb Haaland of New Mexico, has announced her support for launching an impeachment inquiry against Trump.

enltrI support an impeachment inquiry. My full statement here:

— Rep. Deb Haaland (@RepDebHaaland)

“There is growing evidence of impeachable offenses and I believe we have a responsibility to defend our Constitution and our Democracy,” Haaland said in a statement announcing her support. “We must move forward with an impeachment inquiry. The President is not above the law.”

The freshman congresswoman becomes the 122nd House Democrat, according to the Washington Post’s count, to back an impeachment inquiry.

block-time published-time

Pelosi resurrects 'Moscow Mitch' nickname

Nancy Pelosi once again invoked the “Moscow Mitch” nickname for Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell while the House speaker was addressing a Democratic event in Springfield, Illinois.

“We sent our legislation to the Senate,” Pelosi said. “Moscow Mitch says that he is the ‘grim reaper.’ Imagine describing yourself as the ‘grim reaper,’ that he’s going to bury all this legislation.”

McConnell has previously expressed anger at the “Moscow Mitch” nickname, which was created to criticize the Senate leader for blocking legislation aimed at targeting foreign election interference.

“I don’t normally take the time to respond to critics in the media when they have no clue what they’re talking about, but this modern-day McCarthyism is toxic and damaging because of the way it warps our entire public discourse,” McConnell said in a floor speech last month.

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

Several Democratic presidential candidates are arguing that Representative Steve King ’s comments on abortion underscore the urgent need to replace him in the House with Democratic congressional candidate J.D. Scholten.

“You would think it would be pretty easy to come out against rape and incest. Then again, you’d think it would be pretty easy to come out against white nationalism,” Pete Buttigieg told CNN in the early voting state of Iowa, King’s home state. “This is just one more example why there needs to be a sane representative in that district, and it’s why I think J.D. Scholten will be an excellent public servant for that district.”

Some of Buttigieg’s opponents made the same point over Twitter:

enltrIowans have long deserved better than Steve King and his hateful, insulting words. He should resign.

We can show him it's time to go by donating to the guy who will beat him—my inspiring friend @JDScholten :

Cory Booker (@CoryBooker)

enltrAll IA-04 constituents—including women—deserve a leader who will fight for them. Donate to @JDScholten to help make that happen:

Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand)

enltrHelp restore decency to Congress by donating to @JdScholten today:

John Delaney (@JohnDelaney)

block-time published-time

King's Democratic challenger slams his 'unacceptable' abortion comments

JD Scholten, the Democrat running to replace Representative Steve King in the House, denounced the Republican’s comments on abortion as “entirely unacceptable” and “disrespectful to survivors”.

enltrTo answer @stevekingia ’s question, yes.

Our congressman continues to push his selfish agenda above the needs of #IA04 -- this time he excuses violence. This isn’t what we stand for. Help us spread our message of positive change across all 39 counties:

— J.D. Scholten (@JDScholten)

“Yet again, Steve King puts his selfish, hateful ideology above the needs of the people of Iowa’s fourth district,” Scholten said in a statement. “His comments are disrespectful to survivors and don’t reflect Iowan values. We stand for bringing all people together and fighting for the positive change that we desperately need here in Iowa.”

Scholten recently announced he would once again attempt to unseat King after narrowly losing to the incumbent Republican last year. King’s unexpectedly close race has also spurred fellow Republicans to launch primary challenges against him.

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

Representative Steve King has previously attracted controversy for comments about pregnancy resulting from rape or incest.

During his re-election campaign in 2012, King was asked by a reporter about Medicaid covering abortion for victims of statutory rape or incest. “Well,” King told the reporter, “I just haven’t heard of that being a circumstance that’s been brought to me in any personal way, and I’d be open to discussion about that subject matter.”

That remark prompted outcry and comparisons to then-Representative Todd Akin, who was denounced for saying that pregnancy from rape was “really rare.” “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut the whole thing down,” Akin said.

But King later denied claims that he had been making a similar argument. “I never said, nor do I believe, a woman, including minors, cannot get pregnant from rape, statutory rape or incest,” King said in a later statement.

block-time published-time

Democrats express outcry over Steve King's comments on rape and inest

Democratic presidential candidates and lawmakers are expressing outrage about Representative Steve King ’s comments that rape and incest have helped fuel population growth.

The Iowa Republican told a local conservative group that he opposed abortion even in cases of rape or incest because, “What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?”

Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand said the Iowa congressman should resign over the comments:

enltr. @SteveKingIA : You are a disgrace. Resign.

Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand)

One of her opponents, Beto O’Rourke, called on his supporters to donate to the campaign of King’s Democratic rival:

enltrMy friend @JDScholten is standing up and fighting back against Steve King, and he needs all of our help — because no matter where you live, you know there’s no place for Steve King’s racism, bigotry, and hatred in Congress.

Pitch in:

Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke)

And Democratic Senator Brian Schatz noted that Republican presidential candidates in 2016 welcomed King’s support:

enltrJust a reminder that every Republican presidential candidate coveted Steve King’s endorsement in the last cycle.

Brian Schatz (@brianschatz)

block-time published-time

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez cited Ken Cuccinelli ’s comments about the Statue of Liberty to urge her Twitter followers to register to vote.

enltrThis man is acting Director of Citizenship & Immigration Services.

For the love of everyone, double check your voter registration status + register if you haven’t:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC)

The progressive congresswoman is only the latest Democrat to condemn Cuccinelli’s remarks. The acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services told CNN last night that the poem at the State of Liberty refers to “people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies.”

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke said Cuccinelli’s comment proved that Trump officials “think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people.”

block-time published-time

Republican congressman says rape and incest have helped population growth

Republican Representative Steve King has once again reinforced his reputation for defending his controversial positions with even more controversial comments.

Explaining his opposition to abortion even in cases of rape or incest, the Iowa Republican told a local conservative group, “What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?”

King added, “Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”

The nine-term congressman was stripped of his committee assignments earlier this year after he told the New York Times that he didn’t understand how terms like “white nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization” had “become offensive.”

In the same appearance where he made his abortion comments, King claimed the coverage of his racist comments was just of a media plot to oust him from Congress. “People think it was an organic media feeding frenzy, but no, it was orchestrated from the beginning,” he said. “They had told me, heads up before Christmas, they’re going to try to drive you out of office and get you to resign. Within 24 hours, you had people saying ‘resign, resign, resign.’ Why? Because the New York Times misquoted me?”

Despite the backlash over those comments, King is still running for re-election next year and has already attracted challenges from Democrats and fellow Republicans.

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

Another Republican senator, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, put out a statement expressing support for the Hong Kong protesters and criticizing the Chinese government.

“America has always stood alongside freedom-seekers because ?– unlike the corrupt Communist elites in Beijing – we believe in universal human dignity,” Sasse said.

He urged the Chinese president, Xi Jinping , to “think very carefully about the fallout of violating Hong Kong’s internationally recognized autonomy.”

“America must stand with the protesters,” Sasse concluded. “The world is watching.”

block-time published-time

More lawmakers from both parties are expressing support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

The leading Democrat and Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee have just issued a statement warning that any effort by the Chinese government to force an end to the demonstrations “would be met with universal condemnation and swift consequences.”

enltrWe have deep respect for the brave efforts of Hong Kong people from every walk of life who have demonstrated their clear desire for freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has called upon Beijing to cease encroaching on Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Eliot Engel (@RepEliotEngel)

“The House Foreign Affairs Committee has called upon Beijing to cease encroaching on Hong Kong’s autonomy — it is Beijing’s actions that are at the root of the frustration among the people of Hong Kong,” Democrat Eliot Engel and Republican Michael McCaul said. “No foreign powers are fomenting this dissent. It is the result of Beijing’s successive violations of their commitment to honor the will of the people of Hong Kong.

“We have deep respect for the brave efforts of Hong Kong people from every walk of life who have demonstrated their clear desire for freedom, democracy, and the rule of law.”

block-time published-time

State department issues travel advisory for Hong Kong

The US state department has issued a travel advisory for Hong Kong, warning Americans there to “[e]xercise increased caution... due to civil unrest”.

“Since , several large scale and smaller political demonstrations have taken place in various areas of Hong Kong, including at Hong Kong International Airport. Most have been peaceful, but some have turned confrontational or resulted in violent clashes,” the department said in a notice posted to its website.

“Police have used a variety of crowd control measures, including the deployment of teargas. The protests and confrontations have spilled over into neighborhoods other than those where the police have permitted marches or rallies. These demonstrations, which can take place with little or no notice, are likely to continue.”

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

Here’s where the day stands so far:

  • Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Hong Kong protests were an “internal matter,” echoing a talking point from the Chinese government.
  • Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, was slammed for saying the poem at the Statue of Liberty refers to “people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies.” Crtics argued he was saying the American dream should only be made available to white people.
  • US stocks have tumbled as signs intensify that the economy may be headed toward a recession.
  • Former Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams said she would consider becoming the vice-president of “any nominee.”

The blog is keeping its eye on gun-control negotiations and the latest from Hong Kong, so stay tuned.

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

Commerce secretary says Hong Kong protests are an 'internal matter'

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appeared to reiterate a talking point from the Chinese government when he was asked about the Hong Kong protests.

enltrThe protests in Hong Kong are "an internal matter" says Commerce Secretary Ross

— Squawk Box (@SquawkCNBC)

Appearing on CNBC, Ross was pressed on whether the US had relinquished its role as a supporter of democracies around the world. “What would we do, invade Hong Kong?” Ross asked with a laugh.

“The president has made it clear that he is watching very carefully what’s happening,” Ross added. Trump said yesterday that the protests were a “very tough situation” but refrained from criticizing China over the demonstration. “I’m sure it’ll work out,” Trump said. “I hope it works out for everybody, including China.”

Ross went on to tell CNBC, “He talked about the possibility of troop build-up and it’s not that we are not watching it, it’s a question of what role is there for the US in that matter. This is an internal matter.”

The “internal matter” line was echoed in a statement yesterday from China’s Foreign Ministry. “We solemnly remind you this plain truth: Hong Kong affairs are entirely China’s internal affairs, and you are neither entitled nor qualified to wantonly comment on them,” the ministry said. “Mind your own business and stay out of Hong Kong affairs.”

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

US stocks tumble amid signs of a recession

The Dow Jones is currently down more than 500 points, erasing all of yesterday’s gains, as signs intensify that the US economy could be headed toward a recession.

The bond yield curve has inverted, signaling investors’ uncertainty about the country’s economic future. An inverted yield curve has preceded every recession for the past five decades, the Washington Post notes, and is thus considered one of the more reliable signs of an economic downturn.

The market tumble comes one day after stocks jumped with the news that the Trump administration was delaying some of its tariffs on Chinese imports. But the good news was clearly short-lived, which the president unsurprisingly appears to be blaming on the Federal Reserve :

enltr“The Fed has got to do something! The Fed is the Central Bank of the United States, not the Central Bank of the World.” Mark Grant @Varneyco Correct! The Federal Reserve acted far too quickly, and now is very, very late. Too bad, so much to gain on the upside!

Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)

block-time published-time

Pelosi rejects US-UK trade deal unless agreement upheld

Nancy Pelosi warned in a statement that the Democratic-controlled House would reject any US-UK trade deal if Brexit threatened the peace agreement between Ireland and Northern Ireland.

enltr #Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the Agreement. The peace of the Agreement is treasured by the American people and will be fiercely defended on a bicameral and bipartisan basis in the US Congress.

Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi)

Our colleague Julian Borger reports :

Pelosi was restating the entrenched position of congressional Democrats and many Republicans in the wake of remarks made by Donald Trump ’s national security adviser, John Bolton, during a visit to London this week.

Bolton had said that Britain and the US could sign interim, partial free trade deals, one sector at a time, which would go through the a fast track legislative process, to help the UK cope economically if there is a no-deal Brexit on 31 October.

In a statement on Wednesday, the House speaker, who commands a Democratic majority, warned the Trump administration would not be able to sidestep congressional approval.

‘Whatever form it takes, Brexit cannot be allowed to imperil the agreement, including the seamless border between the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland, especially now, as the first generation born into the hope of 21 years ago comes into adulthood.’ Pelosi said. ‘We cannot go back.’

block-time published-time

The spokesperson for Mike Pence is headed to the Pentagon after nearly two years as the vice president’s press secretary:

enltrAfter 2 unforgettable years at the White House with the @VP, I’m honored to head to @DeptofDefense to serve as Press Secretary on behalf of @EsperDoD & the incredible men & women of our Armed Forces. I look forward to joining the team helmed by @ChiefPentSpox ????

Alyssa Farah (@Alyssafarah)

block-time published-time

Trump appears to have backed off plans to commute the sentence of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich amid complaints from the state’s Republican lawmakers.

CNN reports :

Several Republican lawmakers called acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and White House counsel Pat Cipollone, [multiple] sources told CNN, and the Republican members of Illinois congressional delegation issued a joint statement opposing the move.

At least two of them, Reps. Darin LaHood and Mike Bost, made their case directly to the President on Thursday night, urging him not to go forward. They laid out the litany of crimes Blagojevich committed while in office and argued it would send the wrong message to voters about corruption by public officials....

LaHood -- a former federal and state prosecutor -- called Trump... and laid out in detail the brazen charges against Blagojevich, including allegations he threatened to cancel millions in state dollars for a children’s hospital if its CEO did not write him a $25,000 campaign check. Among the charges was that Blagojevich attempted to sell former President Barack Obama’s Senate seat that he resigned in order to become president.And Trump was informed on the call that Blagojevich -- whom Trump knew from his role on ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ -- didn’t offer any remorse for his crimes, sources said.

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

Democratic presidential candidate Steve Bullock is accusing one of his opponents, billionaire activist Tom Steyer, of buying his way on to the fall debate stage.

enltrA billionaire just spent $10 million to buy 130,000 donors.

Here’s what I think of that.

Steve Bullock (@GovernorBullock)

Steyer announced yesterday that he has received contributions from more than 130,000 unique donors, crossing the threshold outlined by the Democratic National Committee. He is also just one qualifying poll away from making the fall debate stage.

But Bullock argued Steyer’s rise was only made possible by his aggressive ad spending, underscoring the unfairness of the DNC’s debate qualifications. “A billionaire literally just spent $10 million to qualify for the next debate stage,” the Montana governor said in a video posted to Twitter. “If we think as Democrats that spending $10 million to get 130,000 donors is grassroots support, we’re missing something.”

Steyer’s campaign manager pushed back against Bullock’s complaint, claiming that most of his donations did not come from advertising:

enltrFewer than half of Tom's donations came from advertising. Writing off the support of thousands of Democratic voters who are responding to Tom’s message isn’t the way to beat Trump in 2020, no matter what you think about the DNC’s criteria.

Heather Hargreaves (@hmhargreaves)

block-time published-time

Bernie Sanders released a teaser video of his conversation with Cardi B, who recently endorsed his presidential bid. The rapper said in an Instagram post that she asked the Vermont senator about raising the minimum wage.

Sanders tweeted that their full conversation, filmed at a nail bar in Detroit, would be available tomorrow:

enltrCardi B knows this is the most important election of our lives. So we sat down to talk about the pressing issues facing people today.

Watch our full conversation from @TheTENNailBar on Thursday.

Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders)

block-time published-time

An ally of Mike Pompeo has been telling Republican donors to hold off on contributing to Senate candidates in Kansas until the secretary of state decides whether to jump into the race.

Bloomberg News reports :

The top U.S. diplomat and former CIA director, who served as a congressman in Kansas’s 4th district from 2011-2017, has until June to enter the race.

Pompeo has given mixed signals about his intentions. In a July interview with David Rubenstein at the Economic Club of Washington, he said: ‘It’s off the table. As a practical matter, I’m going to serve as secretary of state every day that I get the chance to do so.’

But asked earlier in the month about running for the Senate, Pompeo told KCMO Radio -- which broadcasts in Kansas -- that ‘I always need to be open to the possibility that something will change and my path in life will change too.’...

As he weighs his decision, Pompeo has been courted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republican leaders who are anxious that a Democratic candidate could claim the seat that will open with fellow Republican Pat Roberts’s retirement.

block-time published-time

Cuccinelli: Statue of Liberty poem was about 'people coming from Europe'

Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, made the mistake of saying the quiet part out loud about the Trump administration ’s new “public charge rule”.

The policy would penalize green-card applicants who use public benefits, leading to accusations from critics that it discriminates against lower-income immigrant families. Cuccinelli has repeatedly been pressed on whether such a rule files in the face of the poem at the Statue of Liberty – which reads, in part: “Give me your tired, your poor / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

“Well, of course, that poem was referring back to people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies, where people were considered wretched if they weren’t in the right class,” Cuccinelli told CNN host Erin Burnett. “And it was written one year after the first federal public charge rule was written.”

enltrCuccinelli: That statue of liberty poem was about "people coming from Europe."

Josh Marshall (@joshtpm)

Critics of the policy jumped on the comment, arguing that it showed how the Trump administration believes the American dream should only be available to white people.

From Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke :

enltrThis administration finally admitted what we’ve known all along: They think the Statue of Liberty only applies to white people.

Beto O'Rourke (@BetoORourke)

From a New York Times editorial board member:

enltrNot only disgusting, but factually inaccurate. The Statue of Liberty was created to celebrate emancipation.

Mara Gay (@MaraGay)

From a writer for GQ magazine:

enltrThe whole point of the Trump political experiment has been to make subtext text. This is just the latest installment.

(P.S. It's funny how now all of Europe is okay, but 100 years ago, a man with a name like Cuccinelli was from the "wrong" part of that continent.)

Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe)

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

O'Rourke to return to the campaign trail tomorrow

Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke will return to the campaign trail tomorrow after spending nearly two weeks in his hometown of El Paso as it mourns the 22 people lost in a recent mass shooting.

Beto O’Rourke is surrounded by reporters as he walks on a bridge to cross into Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Photograph: Christian Chavez/AP

He will deliver a speech in El Paso tomorrow morning and then resume his campaign stops across the country, his campaign said in a statement. “[H]is remarks will outline the path forward for his presidential campaign and for the future of the country,” the statement added.

But that path forward appears very uncertain. Despite narrowly losing to Republican Senator Ted Cruz in the longtime Republican state of Texas last year, O’Rourke’s presidential campaign seems to have stalled.

He has been largely unable to attract more than 3 percent of the vote in recent national polls and has faced calls to return to Texas and launch another Senate bid, including from the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle.

But O’Rourke’s allies note that he has already qualified for the fall debates, expressing hope that he will pick up momentum once other candidates drop off.

block-time published-time

Republican senator drafts bill to make domestic terrorism a federal crime

Senator Martha McSally, a Republican of Arizona, has drafted a bill that would make domestic terrorism a federal crime in the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.

Senator Martha McSally speaks during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. Photograph: Andrew Harnik/AP

The legislation would close a legal loophole that has left federal authorities unable to charge suspects specifically with domestic terrorism. Instead, suspects from tragedies like El Paso and Dayton have faced charges of weapons possessions or hate crimes.

“For too long we have allowed those who commit heinous acts of domestic terrorism to be charged with related crimes that don’t portray the full scope of their hateful actions,” McSally said upon releasing the draft bill. “That stops with my bill. The bill I am introducing will give federal law enforcement the tools they have asked for so that they can punish criminals to the fullest extent of the law.”

The bill also comes as Republicans have sent mixed messages about what gun legislation, if any, they might pursue after the latest mass shootings. Trump has repeatedly said that Mitch McConnell is supportive of expanding background checks, but the Senate majority leader himself has avoided committing to any specific action.

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

block-time published-time

Stacey Abrams open to becoming the vice-president of 'any nominee'

Good morning, live blog readers!

Stacey Abrams can’t stop making news. The former Democratic gubernatorial candidate announced yesterday that she would not launch a White House bid, instead focusing on elevating her voting rights initiative to a national level.

But many reporters noted that the Georgia Democrat would still likely be atop many presidential candidates’ lists of potential running mates. Abrams has now thrown gasoline on that fire of speculation by telling the New York Times that she would be open to becoming vice-president.

“I would be honored to be considered by any nominee,” Abrams told the Times last night. After her widely lauded response to Donald Trump ’s State of the Union address earlier this year, many Democrats believe Abrams has the political skill and the star power to take back the White House ?– and potentially turn her home state of Georgia, a longtime Republican stronghold, into a blue dot on the 2020 electoral map.

US rapper A$AP Rocky attends a 2017 gala in Cap d’Antibes, France. Photograph: Guillaume Horcajuelo/EPA

Here’s what else the blog is keeping its eye on:

  • Trump has no events on his public schedule, but his Twitter feed has been noticeably quiet this morning after a very active Tuesday.
  • House speaker Nancy Pelosi will keynote a brunch for the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association this morning.
  • The US rapper A$AP Rocky has just been found guilty of assault in Sweden.

The blog will have more on all of that soon, so stay tuned.

block-time updated-timeUpdated at

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:



Symbol Last Price Change % Change






Blockchain in Digital Identity - Discussion at the EU Parliament

From the recent Blockchain For Europe Summit in Brussels: Panel on Digital Identity