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Right-wing ‘militia threat’ shuts down Oregon Capitol as Republicans flee climate bill vote

Right-wing ‘militia threat’ shuts down Oregon Capitol as Republicans flee climate bill voteThe Oregon Capitol will be closed on Saturday due to a "possible militia threat" from right-wing protesters as a walkout by Republican lawmakers over landmark climate change legislation drags on.Republican state senators fled the legislature — and some, the state — earlier this week to deny the majority Democrats enough votes to take up the climate bill, which would dramatically reduce fossil fuel emissions by 2050.It would be the second programme of its kind in the nation after California if passed.Governor Kate Brown then dispatched the state police to round up the rogue lawmakers, but none appeared in the Capitol on Friday and the stalemate seemed destined to enter its third day with a week left in the legislative session.Right-wing groups posted their support for the GOP lawmakers on social media on Friday — in one instance offering to provide escorts to them should the state police come for them.A group of local Republicans were set to protest inside the Capitol on Saturday when lawmakers were present, and anti-government groups threatened to join, prompting the statehouse shutdown.One of the groups, the Oregon Three Percenters, joined an armed takeover of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in 2016. Dozens of people occupied the remote Oregon refuge for more than a month to protest federal control of Western lands.The standoff began to unravel when authorities fatally shot the group's spokesperson and arrested key leaders as they headed to a community meeting."The Oregon State Police has recommended that the Capitol be closed tomorrow due to a possible militia threat," Carol Currie, spokesperson for Senate president Peter Courtney, said in an e-mail to The Associated Press late on Friday.The governor's office also confirmed the threats.Oregon State Police, in a statement, said it has been "monitoring information throughout the day that indicates the safety of legislators, staff and citizen visitors could be compromised if certain threatened behaviours were realised."Also late on Friday, Mr Courtney and House speaker Tina Kotek, both Democrats, condemned comments made by senator Brian Boquist, a Republican from Dallas, Oregon, that urged the state police to "send bachelors and come heavily armed" when they come to bring him back to the Capitol."His comments have created fear among employees in our workplace," the leaders said in a joint statement. "We will always defend free speech and welcome frank policy discussions, but threats like these are unacceptable."Mr Boquist has not responded to multiple requests for comment. A spokesperson for Senate Republicans did not respond to queries about the statehouse closure.Democrats have an 18 to 12 majority in the chamber, but they need 20 members present for a quorum. One GOP senator recently died and has not yet been replaced.Under the proposed cap-and-trade bill, Oregon would put an overall limit on greenhouse gas emissions and auction off pollution "allowances" for each tonne of carbon industries plan to emit.The legislation would lower that cap over time to encourage businesses to move away from fossil fuels: The state would reduce emissions to 45 per cent below 1990 levels by 2035 and 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050.Those opposed to the cap-and-trade plan say it would exacerbate a growing divide between the liberal, urban parts of the state and the rural areas. The plan would increase the cost of fuel, damaging small business, truckers and the logging industry, they say.Democrats say the measure is an efficient way to lower emissions while investing in low-income and rural communities' ability to adapt to climate change. It has the support of environmental groups, farmworkers and some trade unions.California has had an economy-wide cap and trade policy like the one Oregon is considering for a decade. Nine northeastern states have more limited cap-and-trade programmes that target only the power sector.Associated Press



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'This was a direct attack on U.S. assets': Trump's aborted Iran strike draws criticism from Republicans

'This was a direct attack on U.S. assets': Trump's aborted Iran strike draws criticism from RepublicansCongressional Republicans were divided Friday following President Donald Trump's decision to abort a planned missile strike against Iran.



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Speaking to Jewish Republicans, Trump calls Netanyahu 'your prime minister'

Speaking to Jewish Republicans, Trump calls Netanyahu 'your prime minister'Addressing a group of Jewish Americans in Las Vegas over the weekend, President Trump referred to Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu as “your prime minister.”



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Mueller report: Trump and Republicans target Adam Schiff as new villain

Mueller report: Trump and Republicans target Adam Schiff as new villainOn television, in Congress and before a crowd of thousands, President Donald Trump and Republicans are mounting a ferocious revenge campaign against one Democrat – representative Adam Schiff.Moments after taking the stage at a Michigan campaign rally on Thursday night, Mr Trump mocked the California lawmaker as "little pencil-neck Adam Schiff." House minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif, compared Mr Schiff to communist scaremonger Joseph McCarthy. And House whip Steve Scalise, R-La, used a colloquy on the House floor to press majority leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md, to remove Mr Schiff as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee."There has to be accountability, because it's all lies," Mr Trump said to a crowd booing the mention of Mr Schiff's name. "And they know it's lies – they know it."Together, the attacks levelled in the week since special counsel Robert Mueller III delivered his findings represent an unusually coordinated assault against the leading Democratic voice questioning whether Mr Trump and his associates had conspired with Russia to throw the 2016 election in his favour.Mr Mueller had been Mr Trump's villain for nearly two years, with the president lashing out at the "conflicted prosecutor" and his "angry Dems" investigators engaged in a "phony witch hunt."Now, with attorney general William Barr's four-page summary of Mr Mueller's report indicating no conclusion of a criminal conspiracy, Mr Trump and Republicans have a new target for their vitriol.The Trump campaign circulated a memo to TV producers on Monday questioning Mr Schiff's credibility, citing a litany of pronouncements that it claimed had been rebutted by Mr Mueller. Mr Trump on Thursday called for Mr Schiff to resign his House seat, accusing him of "knowingly and unlawfully lying and leaking," and the nine GOP members of the Intelligence panel signed a letter demanding he step down as chairman, questioning whether he was abusing his position and damaging the panel's integrity.Mr Schiff has stood resolute amid the attacks, maintaining that there is public evidence of collusion – such as Mr Trump's public July 2016 plea to Russia to hack Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton's emails – even if Mr Mueller determined that evidence does not amount to a crime. When Republicans confronted Mr Schiff at an Intelligence Committee hearing on Thursday, he struck back."You might think that's OK – I don't," Mr Schiff said repeatedly as he recounted a litany of interactions between Trump associates and Russia. "I think it's immoral. I think it's unethical. I think it's unpatriotic. And, yes, I think it's corrupt and evidence of collusion."He has won uniform backing from House Democratic leaders, including speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, who called Republicans "scaredy-cats" for attacking Mr Schiff before the Mueller report is publicly released."What is the president afraid of? Is he afraid of the truth, that he would go after a member … a respected chairman of a committee in the Congress?" she asked. "They just don't know what to do, so they have to make an attack."The GOP's outsize attention on Mr Schiff reflects his two years of omnipresence on Sunday talk shows and weekday cable news programmes. The congressman who represents Hollywood has long been ribbed by Republicans – and privately, even by some Democrats – for his frequent appearances.When Democrats were the minority party in the House, that tactic was intentional. Television was a "tool," Mr Schiff said last year, for "exposing what the majority's doing and often exposing what the majority's not doing."Since taking over as chairman, he has scaled back his appearances, but he has not pulled any punches when it comes to voicing his belief that Trump subordinates' contacts with Russians, their clandestine finances, and the lies they told to lawmakers and federal law enforcement are evidence of likely wrongdoing, even if they do not rise to the level of a crime.That caught Mr Trump's attention, making him a target of presidential derision with jeering nicknames like "liddle," "sleazy," and "Adam Schitt."In recent days, the president tried out the "pencil neck" insult at a White House meeting with House Republicans before using it at Thursday's rally, according to a White House official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations."He's got the smallest, thinnest neck I've ever seen," Mr Trump said. "He is not a long-ball hitter."The official Trump campaign on Friday rolled out a T-shirt with an image of Mr Schiff with a pencil for a neck and a red ball on his nose.For Republicans, the attacks on Mr Schiff are at least partial payback for months of Democratic attacks on the previous committee chairman, representative Devin Nunes, R-Calif, who oversaw a circumscribed probe of Russian ties to the Trump campaign and instead focused on Obama administration decisions that prompted the Justice Department probe."Important context is what happened to Devin Nunes," representative Matt Gaetz, R-Fla, said this week, pointing to Democratic pressure in 2017 after lawmakers found out that Mr Nunes made a late-night visit to the Trump White House to view classified materials pertaining to the Russia investigation.When Mr Nunes publicly alleged that Mr Trump's affiliates may have been picked up in a federal wiretap, that prompted allegations that Mr Nunes had disclosed secret surveillance reports, spurring an Ethics Committee investigation that ultimately cleared him. But as the cloud grew, Mr Nunes said in April 2017 that he would recuse himself from the committee's Trump-Russia probe.Later, Democrats accused Mr Nunes of destroying the credibility of the Intelligence panel and trying to use his subpoena power to undermine federal law enforcement as he sought to publicise the origins of the Trump-Russia probe.Mr Schiff said this week it was imperative that lawmakers be able to determine whether Mr Mueller weighed all the evidence they are looking into, especially regarding money laundering and Mr Trump's plans to build a tower in Moscow during his presidential campaign.But for the GOP, the matter is settled – and what goes around comes around."Here you have Mr Schiff, who essentially spent 22 months lying to the country," Mr Gaetz said. "I don't know how he's going to have credibility with the intelligence community."Mr Nunes himself has been largely quiet about Mr Schiff, but his fellow Republicans have not been shy about raising the Democratic attacks on Mr Nunes."Didn't the Mueller report justify exactly what chairman Nunes has said?" Mr McCarthy asked on Thursday amid his attacks on Mr Schiff. "I think chairman Nunes comes out on top. The concerns that he had with what was being said, what was being done was just proven correct."He added, referring to Mr Schiff and Mr Nunes respectively, "One member lied to the American public; one member told the truth and was attacked for it."Mr Schiff knows as well as anyone the political perils of assuming a role as a presidential inquisitor: He won his seat in 2000 by ousting representative James Rogan, R-Calif, who was among the House managers of President Bill Clinton's 1999 impeachment trial. Mr Schiff capitalised on Democratic outrage to raise millions of dollars from donors across the country eager to exact revenge.Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham, R-SC, speaking in a Fox News interview this week, compared Mr Schiff to Jim Garrison, the New Orleans prosecutor who spent decades pursuing an unproven conspiracy to assassinate President John F Kennedy."Adam Schiff has got to make a decision about his political future," he said. "Does he want to be the guy that won't let it go when the authority of the investigation, Mr. Mueller, has concluded there was no collusion?"But there is no indication Mr Schiff's pursuit of Mr Trump has caused him any political trouble in a district that preferred Ms Clinton by 50 percentage points in 2016 and re-elected him to a 10th term last year with 78 per cent of the vote.Mr Schiff, in fact, has emerged as one of the Democratic Party's most talented fundraisers, with $ 4.7m (£3.6m) in his campaign account – more than any other sitting House member. This week, he was named a national finance chair for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, aimed at holding the party's new majority.House Democrats are not in full agreement about how forcefully they want to continue to pursue the Russia matter now Mr Mueller has completed his report. But they are unanimous in their defence of Mr Schiff and their insistence that Mr Trump is not in the clear until they can see the full extent of the special counsel's findings.As Mr Scalise pressed Democrats to remove Mr Schiff – a decision under the sole control of Ms Pelosi – Mr Hoyer made clear on Thursday he was not going anywhere."Let me assure the gentleman, there is not a person on my side of the aisle that believes that Mr Schiff has done anything but act in the highest interest of our government, of the Intelligence Committee, and of full knowledge for the American people," he said.The Washington Post



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Mueller report: Republicans block move to release Trump investigations to public

Mueller report: Republicans block move to release Trump investigations to publicDemocrats vowed to continue their efforts to get the Mueller report released after Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell blocked an attempt to pass a measure aimed at making it public. The Justice Department has not said whether it will release Robert Mueller’s full report into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and related matters. Attorney General William Barr has provided a summary of the findings and informed Congress that Mueller had concluded the Trump campaign had not colluded with Russia, but said the probe left unresolved the question of whether Donald Trump engaged in obstruction of justice.



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Republicans Took a Victory Lap Over the Mueller Investigation

Republicans Took a Victory Lap Over the Mueller InvestigationSome of which includes a push for new investigations



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Republicans call for Rep. Adam Schiff to resign, step down from intelligence committee

Republicans call for Rep. Adam Schiff to resign, step down from intelligence committeeRepublicans including Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Kellyanne Conway and Donald Trump Jr. are calling for Rep. Adam Schiff's resignation.



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How Republicans Are Reacting to Barr’s Mueller Report Summary

How Republicans Are Reacting to Barr’s Mueller Report Summary(Bloomberg) — President Trump led a victory parade of Republican lawmakers and White House insiders after a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation released on Sunday showed no evidence of collusion with Russia.



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Trump news – live: Republicans round on president over 'absolutely unacceptable' attacks on late John McCain

Trump news - live: Republicans round on president over 'absolutely unacceptable' attacks on late John McCainDonald Trump continued his attacks on the late John McCain during a visit to Ohio yesterday and was challenged to “show us your bone spurs” by ex-Democratic senator and Navy SEAL Bob Kerrey in response to his criticism of the Vietnam War hero. Mr Kerrey demanded to see x-rays to prove the president really had the condition that allowed him to sit-out the conflict in south east Asia where McCain served as a pilot and was held captive in Hanoi between 1967 and 1973 after being shot down on a bombing raid. Speaking at a tour of a tank factory in Lima, President Trump repeated that he was “not a fan” of the late Republican presidential candidate and complained that he had never been thanked for McCain’s state funeral last year after the veteran passed away from brain cancer.



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Beto O'Rourke raises $6 million in first 24 hours of campaign as Republicans crank up attacks

Beto O'Rourke raises $  6 million in first 24 hours of campaign as Republicans crank up attacksWord travels fast through the corn fields of Iowa – and the word among Democrats is that Beto O’Rourke could be the real thing. After launching his White House bid last week the Texan, light on policy but long on charm, has beguiled and dazzled voters at cafes, bars, and other small venues across the state, which is the first to vote in the 2020 primaries. "He's Obamaish," said Jenny Turner, 38, a Republican voter who stopped in at an O'Rourke event to see what all the fuss was about. "I saw every Republican candidate in 2016 and this guy's better than all of them," she said. “He's something else, more likeable. He looked me straight in the eye and he really connected. Yes, he can win.” On Monday it was revealed that the O'Rourke campaign raised $ 6.1 million in the first 24 hours after his announcement, outstripping all other Democrat candidates.  Reactions like that are why Republican operatives in Iowa have Mr O’Rourke at the top of their list to be torpedoed early. Anti-O’Rourke TV adverts, the first against a 2020 Democrat contender, have already launched. The Republican answer to the “Beto problem” is an unexpected one. Rather than painting the skateboarding former punk rock guitarist, as a dangerous radical, the adverts instead describe him as a man "dripping in white male privilege”. The 2020 presidential candidate gesticulates enthusiastically as he speaks to a crowd in Iowa Credit: Reuters He is from a "blue blood pedigree,” educated at a  private boarding school, and his father-in-law, a billionaire property developer, "bought" him a seat in Congress, it is claimed. When he fled the scene of a drunk-driving crash, he got away with it because he was white and rich. The allegations, which will dog Mr O’Rourke, 46, for the next year, are aimed at driving a wedge between the candidate and the liberal primary voters he will need to win the Democrat nomination. For Republicans there is a sense of urgency because if Mr O’Rourke becomes the Democrat nominee, then his native Texas, the biggest Republican state, could turn blue for the first time in decades. Without Texas, Donald Trump almost certainly cannot win re-election. There is substance to this Republican depiction of Mr O'Rourke. He is far from the left-wing firebrand some might have expected. During six years in Congress his voting record put him in the most moderate 25 per cent of Democrats. With socialism all the rage in progressive circles he proudly declares himself a capitalist, and he has been evasive on committing to a government-run healthcare system. Those are positions that went down well in the tiny Iowa town of Washington, where a "Make America Great Again" banner welcomes visitors in the main square. Voters in the area went for Mr Trump by 20 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Speaking in a tiny art gallery, surrounded by paintings of corn fields, Mr O’Rourke delcared himself a "unifier" who could work with both parties. In a hyperbolic, and sometimes contradictory, speech he vowed to save the world from climate change, while also empathising with business owners. O'Rourke stands on a pick-up truck to speak to an audience of 200 on his plans for healthcare and education Credit: Xinhua/Barcroft Images He hailed US victory in the Second World War, and called for it to “reassert global leadership,” but also admitted to having voted against more funding for the military when he was a congressman. Then he misquoted Sir Winston Churchill. It didn’t matter, his audience applauded anyway. All the while Mr O’Rourke bobbed up and down on his toes, accepting questions by saying "Right on, right on" and flashing what some have described as his “Kennedy smile”. Mr O’Rourke is one of the most gesticulative politicians ever to take to the stump. When he talks his hands flail around wildly. On occasion he resembles a human windmill. If he gets particularly enthused – which is often – he raises an arm and appears to dunk an imaginary basketball. Whatever he says, he is difficult not to watch. While he was talking, and gesticulating, in Washington the first real scandal of his candidacy emerged. The Reuters news agency reported that he had once been part of a notorious computer hacking group called the “Cult of the Dead Cow”. Speaking outside the art gallery, in the deserted, windswept town square, Mr O'Rourke admitted it was true. He told The Telegraph: “Yeah, stuff I was part of as a teenager is not anything that I’m proud of today, that’s the long and short of it. It was something I was a part of in El Paso a long, long time ago.” O'Rourke told the Telegraph he was 'not proud' of his days in a hackers collective as a young man Credit: AFP Could it hurt him with centrist voters? "It could,” he admitted, nodding. "I can't control anything that I've done in the past, only what I do going forward. What I plan to do is give this my best. I will work with everything I’ve got. It’s going to be largest grassroots campaign this country has ever seen." Given his position towards the right of the party Mr O'Rourke may end up competing for the same moderate Democrat primary voters as Joe Biden. The Texan said he thought "very highly" of Mr Biden, but believes he would do a better job in the White House. "I do absolutely, yeah," he said. "I've got a history of running a (internet software) business, meeting a payroll week in week out, working in Congress across the aisle." Asked if he thought Mr Trump should be impeached, he was more forthright than other Democrats. He said: "You're asking me has the president committed impeachable offences? Yes. Period.” Mr O’Rourke’s foreign policy agenda has yet to be fleshed out. When asked about Brexit the candidate said he had "no position" but appeared to oppose it. He told the Telegraph: "I think it's in the world’s interest to strengthen our alliances and our partnerships. “I think the more breakups we see the more isolations we face and the harder it’s going to be for us to face our common challenges." He dismissed suggestions that his policies lack detail, saying part of the purpose of the campaign was to listen to citizens and hear their ideas. "If you have all the answers already then why show up," he said, then flashed a particularly Kennedyesque smile.



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