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Trump slams Biden’s claim on race relations, points to treatment of Clarence Thomas

President Trump showed Wednesday that Joseph R. Biden’s treatment of Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991 won’t be out of bounds in the presidential campaign. In an interview with Fox News‘ Radio host Brian Kilmeade, Mr. Trump dismissed Mr. Biden’s claim that he would be a racial healer in the civil…

Trump slams Biden’s claim on race relations, points to treatment of Clarence Thomas

President Trump showed Wednesday that Joseph R. Biden’s treatment of Clarence Thomas during his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 1991 won’t be out of bounds in the presidential campaign.

In an interview with Fox News‘ Radio host Brian Kilmeade, Mr. Trump dismissed Mr. Biden’s claim that he would be a racial healer in the civil unrest that has gripped the country this week.

“Here’s the thing — he did a crime bill that was a disaster,” Mr. Trump said. “[And] it was a disaster the way he treated Clarence Thomas. A black man, a great Justice as it turns out. But go back to those horrible days, the way he treated Clarence Thomas — they write books about it.”

Mr. Biden was chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee during Justice Thomas’s confirmation hearing, in which Democrats heard testimony from Anita Hill, who accused the nominee of sexual harassment.

Last year, Mr. Biden apologized — to Ms. Hill. He told her in a private phone call that he regretted what she “endured” during the Thomas hearings.

Mr. Biden made the call 28 years later, just before he announced his candidacy for president.

The presumptive Democratic nominee also has been criticized for championing a crime bill in the 1990s that drastically increased prison terms for drug offenses, penalties that disproportionately affected minorities.

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firing

Turkey slams ‘biased’ EU sanctions over Libya arms embargo |NationalTribune.com

Turkey says the EU’s monitoring mission is biased as it overlooks armed shipments delivered by air and land routes [File: Matthias Schrader/AP] Turkey says the European Union’s sanctions on a Turkish firm accused of breaking a United Nations arms embargo on Libya showed the bloc’s double standards and biased stance. The EU on Monday froze…

Turkey slams ‘biased’ EU sanctions over Libya arms embargo |NationalTribune.com

Turkey says the EU’s monitoring mission is biased as it overlooks armed shipments delivered by air and land routes [File: Matthias Schrader/AP]
Turkey says the European Union’s sanctions on a Turkish firm accused of breaking a United Nations arms embargo on Libya showed the bloc’s double standards and biased stance.
The EU on Monday froze the assets of Avrasya Shipping, whose cargo vessel Cirkin was involved in a naval incident between NATO members France and Turkey in June.
The EU has accused the company of using the ship to smuggle weapons to Libya.
Ankara denies the arms-trafficking claim and says the ship was carrying humanitarian aid.
“The EU’s IRINI Operation is rewarding Haftar, and punishing the UN-recognised Libyan government,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said late on Monday, referring to the EU’s military mission in the Mediterranean to stop arms from reaching warring factions in Libya.
Ankara has supported Libya’s internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) based in Tripoli in the west.
Eastern Libya and much of the south, however, is controlled by renegade commander Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA), which is backed by the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia.
“Overlooking those countries and companies, starting with the UAE, that send weapons from land and air to the putschist Haftar in violation of the [UN Security Council] decisions, while the support provided to the legitimate government … is deemed an embargo violation, is a clear signal that the EU is … biased,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said.
In addition to sanctions on the Turkish company, the EU also imposed sanctions on two Libyan men, and two other companies – Kazakhstan’s Sigma Airlines and Jordan’s Med Wave Shipping.
“When effort is being made to decrease the tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean, taking such a wrong decision is unfortunate,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said.
Turkey may also face EU sanctions due to a dispute with Greece and Cyprus over rights to natural resources in the Eastern Mediterranean, although tensions between Ankara and Athens have reduced in recent days.

SOURCE:
Reuters news agency

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Biden

Biden slams Trump’s plan for Supreme Court vacancy |NationalTribune.com

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has urged Senate Republicans not to vote on any candidate nominated to the Supreme Court as the November election approaches, calling his rival Donald Trump’s plan an “exercise in raw political power.” Biden was speaking on Sunday, the day that a second Senate Republican voiced objections to Trump’s plan to…

Biden slams Trump’s plan for Supreme Court vacancy |NationalTribune.com

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has urged Senate Republicans not to vote on any candidate nominated to the Supreme Court as the November election approaches, calling his rival Donald Trump’s plan an “exercise in raw political power.”
Biden was speaking on Sunday, the day that a second Senate Republican voiced objections to Trump’s plan to vote quickly on a replacement to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday. Such an appointment by the president, if approved by the Senate, would cement a 6-3 conservative majority that could influence American law and life for decades.
“Voters of this country should be heard … they’re the ones who this Constitution envisions should decide who has the power to make this appointment,” Biden said in Philadelphia. “To jam this nomination through the Senate is just an exercise of raw political power.”
“I appeal to those few Senate Republicans, the handful who really will decide what happens,” Biden added. “Please follow your conscience. Don’t vote to confirm anyone nominated under the circumstances President Trump and Senator [Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell have created. Don’t go there.”
Trump on Saturday promised to nominate a woman and said he will make his nomination this week, naming federal appeals judges Amy Coney Barrett and Barbara Lagoa as possible candidates to fill the vacancy created by the death of liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Friday.

“I will be putting forth a nominee next week. It will be a woman,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, where supporters chanted “fill that seat”.
“I think it should be a woman because I actually like women much more than men,” he said. 
The death of Ginsburg could affect the November election, with Republican brass promising to vote on an appointee before voters go to the polls, despite resisting a similar election-year nomination by Democrats in 2016. 
The vacancy has brought new urgency to perennial social issues like gay rights, voting rights, religious rights, abortion rights, and gun rights, which could be reshaped for years to come by a resounding conservative majority.
Ginsburg’s death has also raised the stakes on the upcoming Senate elections, with attention turning to how voters will respond to Republican’s actions in the weeks to come.

A banner with an image of the late US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and a message referring to the selection of her successor is displayed outside the Supreme Court Yuri Gripas/Reuters]

Second Republican opposes pre-election vote 
With a 53 to 47 majority, at least four Republican senators would need to break from party ranks and vote against a Trump nominee to thwart the current plan. The vice president casts the deciding vote in the event of a tie. 
On Sunday, Lisa Murkowski, a senator from Alaska, became the second Republican in the chamber to oppose voting on a nominee before the November election. 
Susan Collins, a Senator from Maine, said on Saturday she would not support replacing Ginsburg before the election. 

My statement on the Supreme Court vacancy: pic.twitter.com/jvYyDN5gG4
— Sen. Susan Collins (@SenatorCollins) September 19, 2020

Senator Mitt Romney, the sole Republican to vote against the president in an impeachment trial earlier this year, is also considered a potential opponent to the move. 
Meanwhile, Senator Lindsey Graham, who staunchly opposed voting on a Supreme Court justice candidate nominated by then-President Barack Obama in 2016, said on Saturday he supported the Republican plan to move forward with the pre-election vote. 
‘Back from the brink’
During his speech, Biden cast the conflict over the nomination as bringing the country to the precipice of fundamental changes to social issues shaped by the court: “The right to health care, clean air, clean water, environment, equal pay for equal work, the rights of voters, immigrants”.
“Right now, our country faces a choice, a choice about whether we will come back from the brink,” Biden said. 
The former vice president also emphasised Trump’s attempts to overturn the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, the likelihood of which is expected to increase substantially with a more a conservative Supreme Court. 
Biden connected the attempt to repeal the legislation, which prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage based on a pre-existing condition, directly to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Donald Trump is before the Supreme Court trying to strip health care coverage away from tens of millions of families, strip away the peace of mind of more than 100 million Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Biden said.
“It’s complications from COVID-19 like lung scarring and heart damage that become the next deniable pre existing condition for over 6 million Americans who have already contracted the disease.” he said. 
‘Incredibly dangerous’
Earlier on Sunday, Republicans and Democrats sparred over the way forward, with Senator John Barrasso, a Republican speaking on NBC, brushing off Democratic complaints about the nomination process.
“Let’s be very clear – if the shoe were on the other foot and the Democrats had the White House and the Senate, they would right now be trying to confirm another member of the Supreme Court,” Barrasso said.
Meanwhile, Democrat Hillary Clinton, whom Trump defeated in the 2016 election, called Barrasso’s view “indefensible”.
“What’s happening in our country is incredibly dangerous,” said Clinton, a former secretary of state whose husband, Bill Clinton, nominated Ginsburg to the court in 1993.  
“Our institutions are being basically undermined by the lust for power,” she said. 

Some observers have raised the prospect of Democrats “packing the court” – or increasing the number of judges on the court – if Republicans push through with a confirmation before the election and Democrats go on to take control of the Senate. 
On Saturday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told a conference call of Democrats that “nothing is off the table for next year” if Republicans are successful in their attempt, Reuters news agency reported on Sunday, citing an unnamed source who listened to the call.
Trump has already appointed two justices: Neil Gorsuch in 2017 and Brett Kavanaugh in 2018.
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China

China slams US ‘bullying’, warns of action over TikTok, WeChat |NationalTribune.com

China has accused the United States of “bullying” and threatened to take “necessary” countermeasures after Washington banned downloads of the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok and effectively blocked the use of the messaging super-app WeChat. “China urges the US to abandon bullying, cease its wrongful actions and earnestly maintain fair and transparent international rules and order,”…

China slams US ‘bullying’, warns of action over TikTok, WeChat |NationalTribune.com

China has accused the United States of “bullying” and threatened to take “necessary” countermeasures after Washington banned downloads of the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok and effectively blocked the use of the messaging super-app WeChat.
“China urges the US to abandon bullying, cease its wrongful actions and earnestly maintain fair and transparent international rules and order,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Saturday.
“If the US insists on going its own way, China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”
The United States Commerce Department announced the bans on Friday, citing national security grounds although China and the companies have denied US user data is collected for spying
Under Friday’s order, the Tencent-owned WeChat app would lose functionality in the US from Sunday onwards. TikTok users will be banned from installing updates but could keep accessing the service through November 12.
The timeframe gives TikTok’s parent group ByteDance some breathing space to clinch an agreement over the fate of its US operations.
“We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban use of the TikTok app in the US from November 12,” ByteDance said in a statement.
“We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order.”

START HERE | Should TikTok be banned? (10:50)

TikTok says it has 100 million US users and 700 million globally.
‘Very very popular’
Friday’s order follows weeks of deal-making over TikTok, with US President Donald Trump pressuring ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US operations to a domestic company to satisfy Washington’s concerns over TikTok’s data collection and related issues.
California tech giant Oracle recently struck a deal with TikTok along those lines, although details remain foggy.
Trump said on Friday said he was open to a deal, noting that “we have some great options and maybe we can keep a lot of people happy,” suggesting that even Microsoft, which said its TikTok bid had been rejected, might continue to be involved, as well as Oracle and Walmart.
Trump noted that TikTok was “very, very popular,” said “we have to have the total security from China,” and added that “we can do a combination of both”.
The bans are in response to a pair of executive orders issued by Trump on August 6 that gave the Commerce Department 45 days to determine what transactions to block from the apps he deemed pose a national security threat. That deadline expires on Sunday.
The Trump administration has ramped up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from US digital networks amid escalating tensions with Beijing on a range of issues from trade and human rights to the battle for tech supremacy.
The American Civil Liberties Union said the Commerce Department’s order “violates the First Amendment rights of people in the United States by restricting their ability to communicate and conduct important transactions on the two social media platforms”.

INSIDE STORY | Why does Trump want to ban Tiktok? (24:11)

The action against WeChat, used by over 1 billion people worldwide, bars the transfer of funds or processing of payments to or from people in the US through it. Users could also start to experience significantly slower service or sporadic outages from Sunday night.
WeChat developer Tencent Holdings’ called the order “unfortunate” but said it “will continue to discuss with the government and other stakeholders in the US ways to achieve a long-term solution”.
WeChat has had an average of 19 million daily active users in the US, analytics firms Apptopia said in early August. It is popular among Chinese students, ex-pats and some Americans who have personal or business relationships in China.
The order does not ban US companies from doing businesses on WeChat outside the US, which will be welcome news to US firms such as Walmart and Starbucks that use WeChat’s embedded ‘mini-app’ programmes to facilitate transactions and engage consumers in China, officials said.
The order will not bar transactions with Tencent’s other businesses, including its online gaming operations, and will not prohibit Apple, Google or others from offering TikTok or WeChat apps anywhere outside the US.
WeChat users have sued to stop the ban, and a federal judge in California on Friday set an emergency hearing for Saturday at 1:30 pm Pacific time.
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