Two of the women vying for the vice presidential spot on the Democratic ticket are taking bigger risks in embracing aspects of the “defund the police” movement than the presumptive nominee, Joseph R. Biden, further complicating his decision.
Sen. Kamala D. Harris of California and Rep. Val Demings of Florida haven’t completely shut down activists’ calls to gut law enforcement.
Most of the other women up for the No. 2 spot have remained silent on the issue — most notably, failed Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who has made civil rights her key issue.
Ms. Harris, who served as attorney general of California and a prosecutor for several years, gained notoriety during her own bid for the party’s presidential nomination by challenging Mr. Biden on race relations, specifically busing.
Now Ms. Harris has come out strongly in support of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s announcement that he is cutting $150 million from his city’s police budget. The move comes after California Gov. Gavin Newsom deployed the National Guard to curtail violence and looting in Los Angeles.
“I support investing in communities so that they become more healthy and therefore more safe. Right now, what we are seeing in America is many cities spend over one-third of their entire city budget on policing, but meanwhile, we have been defunding public schools for years in America. We have to reexamine what we are doing with American taxpayer dollars and ask the question, ‘Are we getting the right return on our investment?’” Ms. Harris said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
She noted that calls to defund police departments, though, should not be seen as proposals to do away with law enforcement altogether, a characterization she suggests is misleading.
Like Ms. Harris, Ms. Demings, who has served as police chief of Orlando, Florida, appeared somewhat open to defunding. She said the move to dismantle Minneapolis’ police department was “thoughtful.”
Most key Democrats, though, have kept the “defund the police” movement at arm’s length, including Mr. Biden, who advocates a broader reexamination of how money is spent.
Congressional Democrats also introduced a bill for a major overhaul of policing, including setting national standards for use of force.
But the defund movement continues to pick up steam on the political left in the wake of the death of George Floyd, a black man, during an arrest in Minneapolis.
The Minneapolis City Council is poised to approve a plan to dismantle the police department.
Far-left superstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez of New York also called for the New York Police Department to be defunded.
Mr. Biden won’t go that far and instead is opting to condition federal aid on certain standards of policing.
“No, I don’t support defunding the police,” Mr. Biden told CBS News. “I support conditioning federal aid to police based on whether or not they meet certain basic standards of decency and honorableness and, in fact, are able to demonstrate that they can protect the community and everybody in the community.”
On Tuesday, he took a unifying tone while speaking through a video message to those gathered at Mr. Floyd’s funeral in Houston. Mr. Biden told mourners that the grief they feel will turn into purpose and called for unity against racism and injustice.
The Republican National Committee and President Trump have jumped on Democrats’ calls to defund law enforcement, making it an election issue. They say defunding police departments are essentially an attempt to do away with them.
“Democrats have made clear they want to eliminate law and order and let chaos reign,” said Steve Guest, a spokesman for the RNC.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat who was one of the longest-lasting female Democratic presidential primary candidates this year, has taken heat for her role as a county prosecutor in Minnesota after some reports emerged suggesting she didn’t prosecute Derek Chauvin, the white officer accused of killing Floyd, in a legal dispute.
She pushed back on those allegations, saying she had already been elected to the Senate when a case involving Mr. Chauvin was being investigated.
“This idea that I had somehow declined a case … against this officer is absolutely false. It is a lie,” Ms. Klobuchar recently told MSNBC. “The case was investigated, that investigation continued into a time where I was already sworn in to the U.S. Senate.”
Ms. Klobuchar didn’t comment to The Washington Times on the police movement, but Antjuan Seawright, a Democratic strategist, said her history as a prosecutor has dampened her chances for making it as Mr. Biden’s running mate.
“The current environment has made me doubt the temperature … for Amy Klobuchar and changed the temperature of the conversation about her potential,” he said.
Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has entered the debate as a viable option for Mr. Biden after she made news during riots in her city by being one of the first local leaders to implement an early curfew to curtail looting and unrest.
She hasn’t commented on the defunding movement, but she is looking at recommendations for changes to law enforcement policies on the use of force. Two police officers in Atlanta were fired last month for violently pulling people out of a car.
Georgia’s Ms. Abrams and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who have both long been considered favorites for the vice presidential slot, also did not return requests for comment from The Washington Times on the “defund the police” movement.
It’s unusual for Ms. Abrams, who became the first black woman to deliver a response to the State of the Union address last year, to be mum on the movement because she has made civil rights and criminal justice reform key parts of her agenda.
Two other female governors, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and New Mexico’s Michelle Lujan Grisham, have also been quiet on defunding police departments, though both have announced law enforcement policy changes in their states.
Ms. Lujan Grisham is planning to appoint a racial justice czar to conduct oversight of law enforcement across New Mexico, and Ms. Whitmer is focused on increasing police training. She backs a push for officers to complete implicit bias training and techniques for de-escalation.
“Here in Michigan, we are taking action and working together to address the inequities Black Michiganders face every day. That’s why I’m calling on Michigan police departments to strengthen their training and policies to save lives and keep people safe. I am also ready to partner with the Michigan Legislature and law enforcement officials to pass police reform bills into law,” Ms. Whitmer said in a press release last week.
Mr. Seawright said Mr. Biden needs to pick a black woman as a running mate to target a key voting bloc of the Democratic Party instead of worrying about tapping someone from a Midwestern swing state such as Ms. Klobuchar or Ms. Whitmer.
“Even if you make the geographical argument, even in those places, you have to turn out black voters,” he said.
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Hunter Biden Burisma payments detailed in Treasury Department reports
Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden flatly denied at Tuesday night’s debate that his lawyer son took huge sums of money from corrupt oligarchs and Chinese communists during his vice presidency, but Treasury Department reports show that Hunter Biden did receive the money. President Trump chose to make an issue of Hunter Biden’s cash haul…
Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden flatly denied at Tuesday night’s debate that his lawyer son took huge sums of money from corrupt oligarchs and Chinese communists during his vice presidency, but Treasury Department reports show that Hunter Biden did receive the money.
President Trump chose to make an issue of Hunter Biden’s cash haul from Russia, Ukraine and China with the implication that unsavory figures were trying to buy Vice President Biden and the Obama administration.
“When somebody gets 3½ million dollars from the mayor of Moscow,” Mr. Trump said.
“That’s is not true. That report is totally false,” Mr. Biden said.
A Senate Republican report by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee says Mr. Trump is right, though it was not Moscow’s mayor, but his wife, whom the U.S. suspects of corruption in attaining billionaire status.
Hunter Biden received a single wire transfer of $3.5 million from Elena Baturina. The Senate report said she became a billionaire through illegal construction contracts awarded by her husband, since deceased.
This is based on Treasury Department reports received by committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican.
The Senate narrative is not specific, but the types of transaction records match the description of confidential suspicious activity reports that the Treasury issues when it suspects illegal activity.
The Senate report says, “On Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) bank account for a ‘Consultancy Agreement.’ Rosemont Seneca Thornton is an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.”
Russia invaded Crimea in Ukraine the month Ms. Baturina sent the money.
“Why did he get it?” Mr. Trump asked.
“That report was written for political reasons,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Trump asserted, “Once you became vice president, he made a fortune in Ukraine, in China, in Moscow and various other places.”
Mr. Biden responded, “That is not true.”
According to the senators’ Treasury records, it is true.
In April 2014, President Obama made Mr. Biden the point man in Ukraine, after the Russian invasion, to persuade leaders to rid the country of rampant corruption.
The next month, Hunter Biden showed up on the board of directors of the energy company Burisma Holdings, which the State Department considers corrupt, as it does its oligarch owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, already had secured a spot.
Over the years, Burisma paid the two more than $4 million. Treasury records show that 48 wire transfers from May 2014 to February 2016 totaled $3.4 million. The money went to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a shell company run by Mr. Archer in partnership with a Chinese investment fund.
In 2014 and 2015, Burisma sent $700,000 directly to Hunter Biden. After Mr. Archer was arrested on fraud charges, Burisma sent Hunter Biden another $752,000.
On China, Vice President Biden promoted closer ties to the communist regime on many fronts. He traveled to China in 2013 on Air Force Two and took along Hunter, who met with Chinese businessmen.
“China ate your lunch, Joe,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday night. “And no wonder your son goes in and he takes out billions of dollars. He takes out billions of dollars to manage. He makes millions of dollars.”
Mr. Biden said, “None of that is true.”
The Bidens have adamantly denied reports that Hunter Biden’s investment firm received a $1 billion infusion.
But the Senate report documents extensive ties between Hunter Biden and various Chinese entities that produced millions of dollars in wire transfers.
In one example, China’s CEFC Infrastructure Investment wired $5 million to HudsonWest LLC, a New York company jointly owned by Hunter Biden and Chinese interests. HudsonWest then sent $4.7 million to Hunter Biden’s law firm. The next year, another $1 million was delivered.
Hunter Biden sent 20 wire transfers totaling $1.3 million to Vice President Biden’s brother James for consulting services. Treasury flagged the transfers as potentially criminal, the Senate report said.
When the bank contacted James Biden’s wife, Sara, to learn details, she refused to cooperate, the Senate report said.
“Hunter Biden has extensive connections to Chinese businesses and Chinese foreign nationals that are linked to the Communist government,” the Senate report said. “Those contacts bore financial fruit when his father was vice president and after he left office.”
The Senate report also said Hunter Biden sent money to Ukrainian and Russian women. The Treasury reports said the transactions are linked to “what appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.”
Mr. Johnson, the Senate homeland security panel chairman, wrote in a FoxNews.com column Tuesday that liberal news media have ignored his report showing disturbing ties between the Biden family and corrupt people.
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Joe Biden: Trump ‘looks down on us’
Joseph R. Biden leaned into his recent populist messaging Wednesday as he kicked off a train tour of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, saying President Trump looks down on Americans who might be struggling. “I think it’s more than ignoring us,” Mr. Biden said in Cleveland. “I look at things from [a] Scranton perspective —…
Joseph R. Biden leaned into his recent populist messaging Wednesday as he kicked off a train tour of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, saying President Trump looks down on Americans who might be struggling.
“I think it’s more than ignoring us,” Mr. Biden said in Cleveland. “I look at things from [a] Scranton perspective — he looks at it from Park Avenue. I think he basically looks down on us.”
Mr. Biden spoke the day after his first debate with Mr. Trump that was dominated by name-calling and interruptions.
“The question is does he see you where you are and where you want to be? Does he care? Has he tried to walk in your shoes to understand what’s going on in your life?” Mr. Biden said. “Or does he just ignore you and all the folks all over America who are in a similar situation?”
Mr. Trump said Wednesday that Mr. Biden flopped the previous night and that the former vice president’s performance probably cost him support from the far left.
“Second Amendment is DEAD if Biden gets in! Is that what you want from a leader? He will destroy our Country! VOTE NOW USA,” the president said on Twitter.
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Joe Biden blasts Green New Deal after defending it
The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it. During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.” But a moment later, he said:…
The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it.
During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.”
But a moment later, he said: “The Green New Deal will pay for itself as we move forward. You’re not going to build plants that in fact are great polluting plants.”
Moderator Chris Wallace interrupted, saying, “You support the Green New Deal?”
Mr. Biden replied: “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal.”
President Trump jumped in with, “Oh, you don’t? Well, that’s a big statement,” predicting that Mr. Biden had just lost “the radical left.”
Mr. Biden explained, “I support the Biden plan that I put forward, which is different than what [Mr. Trump] calls the radical Green New Deal.”
The exchange deflated environmentalists on social media who champion the Green New Deal, although Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who sponsored the House resolution, insisted that, “This isn’t news.”
“Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force — so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet,” tweeted Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. “Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real.”
In 60 seconds Joe Biden said he doesn’t support the Green New Deal… then he DID support the Green New Deal.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 30, 2020
This isn’t news, Kellyanne.Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force – so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet.Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real. https://t.co/Bj8SMD9Syf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 30, 2020
Mr. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate, the companion to the measure introduced by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in the House.
The Biden campaign website says, “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” although Mr. Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan is less ambitious than Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan.
Mr. Biden’s plan calls for limiting but not abolishing hydraulic fracturing; replacing fossil fuels on the electrical grid by 2035, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.
— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 30, 2020
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