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Senate Republicans unveil police overhaul bill

Senate Republicans unveiled their new policing package Wednesday that will attempt to strike a balance between supporting and improving police in the country, with leaders pledging to take up the legislation before lawmakers leave town for the Fourth of July holiday. Sen. Tim Scott, the sole black Republican senator, said major themes in the bill…

Senate Republicans unveil police overhaul bill

Senate Republicans unveiled their new policing package Wednesday that will attempt to strike a balance between supporting and improving police in the country, with leaders pledging to take up the legislation before lawmakers leave town for the Fourth of July holiday.

Sen. Tim Scott, the sole black Republican senator, said major themes in the bill are “accountability” and “transparency.”

He said it’s a “false, binary choice” to say you either support law enforcement or communities of color.

“I support America and if you support America, you support restoring the confidence that communities of color have in [police],” said Mr. Scott, South Carolina Republican.

The package ramps up requirements for police departments to report on use of force and “no-knock” warrants and provides incentives for chokehold bans. It provides grants for training resources and body cameras, with penalties for improper use of the recording devices.

Republicans have stayed away from implementing national mandates on policies in the way that House Democrats’ bill does, but Mr. Scott said tying incentives to chokehold bans, for example, will likely result in a similar end in some areas.

The Justice Department will have a large role in implementing new de-escalation training procedures across the country, particularly regarding duty-to -intervene policies that will require officers to step in when they witness excessive force.

The bill will also create two new commissions. One will review the criminal justice system, while the other will take a more holistic approach in reviewing conditions affecting black men and boys in multiple areas including education, health care, finance and the justice system.

Senate Republicans have cast the House Democrats’ approach as too heavy-handed and dependent on federal mandates.

“We don’t have any information around no-knock warrants, so for us to start a conversation with banning no-knocks doesn’t sound like a solid position based on any data because we don’t have that data,” Mr. Scott said.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will take up the bill next week, after the chamber is finished with confirming a pair of judicial nominees.

“Our Democratic friends — if they want to make a law, and not just make a point, I hope they will join us in getting on the bill,” said Mr. McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

The push to act quickly across Capitol Hill comes as the protests continue across the country. Outrage and demands for changes to policing policies began in earnest last month when George Floyd, a black man in Minnesota, died after a white officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

Like House Democrats’ bill, the Senate GOP’s does make lynching a federal crime.

Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer said Democrats were still reviewing the bill.

“But what’s clear is that the Senate Republican proposal on policing does not rise to the moment,” Mr. Schumer, New York Democrat, said on the Senate floor.

He said the bill needs dramatic improvement, though he did not say whether his party would try to block the Senate from moving the process forward, which would require support from at least seven Democrats.

Meanwhile, House Democrats are set to debate and vote out of committee their own policing overhaul package Wednesday.

Their bill mandates anti-bias training, imposes national use-of-force standards and makes it easier to sue officers for misconduct in the line of duty.

It also includes chokehold and “no-knock” warrant bans as well as an anti-lynching provision. It goes further by proposing a national use of force standard, creates a national misconduct registry and limits qualified immunity.

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Republicans erupt over digs from left at Amy Coney Barrett’s adoption of Haitian children

First there was “The Handmaid’s Tale” flap, and now Democratic activists are raising alarm about U.S. District Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s adoption of two children from Haiti. Republicans unloaded after Dana Houle, who has worked for both Democratic congressional offices and campaigns, tweeted Friday that he would “love to know which adoption agency Amy…

Republicans erupt over digs from left at Amy Coney Barrett’s adoption of Haitian children

First there was “The Handmaid’s Tale” flap, and now Democratic activists are raising alarm about U.S. District Court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s adoption of two children from Haiti.

Republicans unloaded after Dana Houle, who has worked for both Democratic congressional offices and campaigns, tweeted Friday that he would “love to know which adoption agency Amy Coney Barrett & her husband used to adopt the two children that they brought from Haiti.”

“So here’s a Q: Does the press even investigate details of Barrett’s adoptions from Haiti?” Houle wrote in a follow-up tweet. “Some adoptions from Haiti were legit. Many were sketchy as hell. And if the press learned they were unethical & maybe illegal adoptions, would they report it? Or not bc it involves her children,” Mr. Houle tweeted.

The blowback on the right was immediate. “Disgusting,” tweeted Sen. Tom Cotton, Arkansas Republican. “The left now smearing Amy Coney Barrett for adopting children.”

He added: “It was the most predictable thing in the world that Democrats would attack Amy Coney Barrett’s children.”

Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, called it “the Dem gameplan. Nothing but raw bigotry and hate. I promise you, this will not stand.”

pic.twitter.com/NzNAUKJfGT
— Anne James teammate (@OMGquitwhining) September 26, 2020

Read this from Democrat activist & Hill staffer. Questioning whether #AmyConeyBarrett *illegally* adopted her children from Haiti, maybe snatching them from birth parents! This is the Dem gameplan. Nothing but raw bigotry and hate. I promise you, this will not stand pic.twitter.com/JEMqhe05dY
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) September 26, 2020

Another progressive activist, NextGen America managing director John Lee Brougher, raised concerns about the Barretts, who are White, adopting Black children. The organization is part of Democratic billionaire Tom Steyer’s NextGen network.

“As an adoptee, I need to know more about the circumstances of how Amy Coney Barrett came to adopt her children, and the treatment of them since,” tweeted Mr. Brougher on Saturday. “Transracial adoption is fraught with trauma and potential for harm, and everything I see here is deeply concerning.”

His Twitter account is now private. So is Mr. Houle’s, but Breitbart captured a subsequent message from Mr. Houle in which he said, “I shouldn’t have tweeted it.”

“Not bc there is anything substantively wrong w it, but bc it was too easy to misunderstand, to mischaracterize, or use to manipulate the rubes who think I control what the press investigates. (As if!),” Mr. Houle tweeted. “Also, anyone getting the vapors at the suggestion that anything untoward might have happened in an adoption from Haiti shouldn’t.”

Judge Barrett, who is expected to be nominated Saturday to fill the vacancy left by the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, has seven children, two of whom—Vivian and John Peter—are adopted from Haiti.

Media outlets have linked Judge Barrett to “The Handmaid’s Tale” over her reported membership in People of Praise, a conservative Catholic community, because the group referred to its female leaders until 2018 as “handmaids.”

Newsweek reported that People of Praise may have been the inspiration for the 1985 dystopian femi ist novel “The Handmaid’s Table,” but later issued a correction saying it was another group called People of Hope.

Canadian author Margaret Atwood said in an interview Wednesday posted on the University of California Santa Cruz denying that People of Praise were the group that inspired her book, which was turned into a Hulu series in 2017.

“It wasn’t them. It was a different one but the same idea,” Ms. Atwood said.

Even so, the “Handmaid” references kept coming. “The Handmaid’s Tale is just one justice away. The fix is in,” tweeted University of Minnesota law professor Richard W. Painter.

The Handmaid’s Tale is one justice away.The fix is in.https://t.co/NR0UWjV0GP— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) September 26, 2020

Add Joy Reid to the long list of historical illiterates who don’t know the origin of the “handmaid” term used by Catholics (Virgin Mary’s statement to Angel Gabriel) and instead use it to make bigoted comments about a Catholic woman https://t.co/tVvPDhWhlJ— Ellen Carmichael (@ellencarmichael) September 26, 2020

The reference comes from the New Testament’s Book of Luke, in which Mary describes herself to the angel Gabriel as “the handmaid of the Lord.”

Sean Connolly, People of Praise communications director, said in a statement that “there has never been any evidence whatsoever to suggest that the People of Praise played a role in inspiring Margaret Atwood’s book.”

“In suggesting a link between People of Praise and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the burden of proof clearly lies with the news outlet making such a claim,” he said in an email.

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Senate Republicans release report on Hunter Biden’s ‘problematic’ business ties

Two Senate Republicans released a report on Wednesday detailing Joseph R. Biden’s alleged conflicts of interest tied to his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in countries where the former vice president was wielding considerable influence at the time. Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa released the anticipated report with less…

Senate Republicans release report on Hunter Biden’s ‘problematic’ business ties

Two Senate Republicans released a report on Wednesday detailing Joseph R. Biden’s alleged conflicts of interest tied to his son Hunter Biden’s business dealings in countries where the former vice president was wielding considerable influence at the time.

Sens. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Charles E. Grassley of Iowa released the anticipated report with less than a week to go until the first presidential debate between President Trump and Mr. Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee.

“What the Chairmen discovered during the course of this investigation is that the Obama administration knew that Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board was problematic and did interfere in the efficient execution of policy with respect to Ukraine,” the report said.

Hunter Biden held a lucrative position on board of Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian energy company, while his father was vice president and running point for the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy.

George Kent, the former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, had raised concerns about perceptions of conflicts of interest with Hunter Biden’s position on the board but they went unheeded, according to the senators’ report.

“Furthermore, the presence of Hunter Biden on the Burisma board was very awkward for all U.S. officials pushing an anticorruption agenda in Ukraine,” Mr. Kent wrote in an email to colleagues in 2016.

Mr. Kent delivered similar testimony during last year’s Trump impeachment probe, when he also said he didn’t think Mr. Biden, the candidate, did anything wrong.

In 2016, Mr. Biden had threatened to withhold $1 billion in loan guarantees unless the country’s leaders fired Ukraine’s top prosecutor, who had also reportedly been looking into Burisma.

The candidate has said he didn’t do anything wrong with respect to his son’s work and that the two of them never discussed business deals.

Democrats have cried foul on the probe, saying Mr. Johnson is leveraging information from sources who are actively trying to undermine Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign.

The Biden campaign said that Mr. Johnson is helping subsidize “a foreign attack against the sovereignty of our elections with taxpayer dollars.”

“The senator has now explicitly stated he is attempting to exploit [it] to bail out Donald Trump’s reelection campaign,” said Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates.

Mr. Johnson and Mr. Grassley have defended their investigation, saying that if there’s no wrongdoing, then Democrats shouldn’t have an issue with their asking questions.

“Many in the media, in an ongoing attempt to provide cover for former Vice President Biden, continue to repeat the mantra that there is ‘no evidence of wrongdoing or illegal activity’ related to Hunter Biden’s position on Burisma’s board,” Mr. Johnson said last month. “I could not disagree more.”

The Democratic-led House impeached Mr. Trump last year, accusing him of strong-arming Ukraine into digging up dirt on the Bidens. The GOP-led Senate voted to acquit him earlier this year.

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Republicans laud Trump, fear left-wing takeover, as RNC opens |NationalTribune.com

The Republican Party began its presidential nominating convention on Monday praising President Donald Trump as a hero and the political saviour of a nation they see under threat from a dangerously radical Democratic Party. A parade of Republican speakers angrily cast the upcoming election as an extreme choice between Trump, defender of the American way…

Republicans laud Trump, fear left-wing takeover, as RNC opens |NationalTribune.com

The Republican Party began its presidential nominating convention on Monday praising President Donald Trump as a hero and the political saviour of a nation they see under threat from a dangerously radical Democratic Party.
A parade of Republican speakers angrily cast the upcoming election as an extreme choice between Trump, defender of the American way of life, and a “rotten cabal” of left-wing activists who would destroy the United States.
“It’s almost as if this election is shaping up to be church, work and school versus rioting, looting and vandalism, or in the words of Biden and the Democrats, ‘peaceful protesting’,” Donald Trump Jr, the president’s son, said.
“If you’re looking for hope, look to the man who did what the failed Obama-Biden Administration never could do, and built the greatest economy our country had ever seen,” Trump Jr said.
“And President Trump will do it again,” he said, one of the very few references on the night to the coronavirus pandemic and its devastating economic effect.
The convention began in Charlotte, North Carolina, and continued via pre-taped video feed from Washington, DC, in a hybrid convention limited by safety concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.
Nikki Haley, the Trump administration’s former ambassador to the UN said Trump has pursued an “America first” agenda in international affairs.
“Obama and Biden let North Korea threaten America. President Trump rejected that weakness, and we passed the toughest sanctions on North Korea in history,” Haley said.
“Obama and Biden let Iran get away with murder and literally sent them a plane full of cash. President Trump did the right thing and ripped up the Iran nuclear deal,” Haley said.
“Obama and Biden led the United Nations to denounce our friend and ally, Israel. President Trump moved our embassy to Jerusalem – and when the UN tried to condemn us, I was proud to cast the American veto,” she said.
Speakers in the Republican programme warned repeatedly about an alleged socialist agenda behind the Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the national chair of the ‘Trump Victory Finance Committee’ and girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr, delivers a pre-recorded speech to the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention. [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

“They want to destroy this country and everything we have fought for and hold near and dear,” said Kimberly Guilfoyle, a conservative television personality and the girlfriend of Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr
“They want to enslave you to the liberal, weak, dependent ideology to the point where you will not recognise yourself,” Guilfoyle said.
“This is an election about a party that wants to burn the foundations of our country to the ground and a party that wants to rebuild and protect our great nation,” said Representative Steve Scalise, a leading Republican member of the US House of Representatives.
Tim Scott, the only Black Republican in the US Senate, described Trump’s policy agenda for creating jobs through opportunity zones, school choice and tax cuts for small businesses.

Trump supporter US Senator Tim Scott recounted growing up in a poor Black family on a tobacco farm and running in a majority White district to win his seat in Congress [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

“We live in a world that only wants you to believe in the bad news, racially, economically and culturally polarising news,” Scott said. “The truth is, our nation’s arc always bends back towards fairness.”
“Make no mistake. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris want a cultural revolution, a fundamentally different America. If we let them, they will turn our country into a socialist utopia,” he said.
Repeatedly, speakers sought to characterise the Black Lives Matters protesters as radicals and a dangerous mob and claimed – incorrectly – that Biden’s Democrats want to defund the police. Biden has explicitly rejected calls by some Black Lives Matter protesters to defund police.
Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the white suburban St Louis couple who waved semi-automatic guns at marching protesters, delivered pre-taped remarks in support of Trump.

Patricia McCloskey and her husband Mark McCloskey aimed firearms at protesters, including a man who holds a video camera and microphone, in St Louis, Missouri, on June 28, 2020 [File: Lawrence Bryant/Reuters]

“These radicals are not content with marching in the streets. They want to walk the halls of Congress. They want power,” said Mark McCloskey.
Democrats “want policies to abolish the suburbs” with the introduction of “low-quality, low-income housing”, warned Patricia McCloskey.
“Make no mistake, no matter where you live, your family will not be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” she claimed.
The McCloskeys have been charged by a St Louis city prosecutor with unlawful use of a weapon.

Patricia and Mark McCloskey, who confronted protesters outside their home while holding weapons spoke at the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention [Republican National Convention/Handout via Reuters]

Trump spoke earlier in the day at the convention in Charlotte after Republican delegates voted to nominate him as the Republican Party’s candidate for president once more.
In his remarks, he complained that North Carolina’s governor, a Democrat, had refused to ease restrictions on the size of public gatherings in order to allow the planned convention of 2,550 delegates to go ahead.
“You know these Democrat governors – they love to shut down until after the election is over because they want to make our numbers look as bad as possible for the economy,” Trump said in a rambling 50-minute speech in which he mischaracterised Biden’s agenda.
The US has recorded the most cases and deaths from coronavirus in the world. As the convention concluded its first day, the country had confirmed more than 5.7 million cases and 177,248 deaths from the disease.
New York fraud probe
The convention began on a day when the New York state attorney general, a Democrat, revealed an ongoing civil fraud investigation of the president’s business, the Trump Organization.
Attorney General Letitia James filed papers in state court in New York City seeking enforcement of subpoenas for documents and testimony from witnesses including Eric Trump, the president’s son.
New York is investigating whether the Trump Organization and the president inflated the value of real estate and other assets in order to secure loans for Trump’s Seven Springs mansion on a 230-acre property north of New York City.
The state is collecting information about several other Trump-related properties, including the Trump National Golf Club near Los Angeles, the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago and an office building on Wall Street in Manhattan, New York, according to the court filing.
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