President Trump on Censorship

Romans 1:18 “The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness”

Important Takeaways:

  • “It’s the Beginning of Communism and I Think It’s Beyond, Long Beyond the Beginning” – President Trump on Censorship of Conservatives Like Gateway Pundit by T-Mobile
  • So conservatives, and rightly Americans are concerned that our freedom of speech is in jeopardy. What do you think?
  • President Trump: It’s the beginning of communism and I think it’s beyond, long beyond the beginning.  They are censoring in a very strong level, conservative voices, Republican voices.  And they’re almost blatant about it.  It’s incredible when you think what they are doing and how they’re going about it.

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Trump ally Republican congressman Perry declines interview with Capitol riot panel

By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Representative Scott Perry, an ally of former President Donald Trump, on Tuesday said he would not provide information requested by a congressional committee investigating the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Perry, a Republican, said on Twitter that he would not sit for an interview with the panel and would not provide electronic communications it had requested, including messages he exchanged with Trump’s lawyers.

“I stand with immense respect for our Constitution, the rule of law, and the Americans I represent who know that this entity is illegitimate, and not duly constituted under the rules of the U.S. House of Representatives,” Perry said.

An appeals court ruled earlier this month that the Jan. 6 Select Committee was legitimate and entitled to see White House records Trump has tried to shield from public view.

A spokesman for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Perry.

On Monday the committee publicly released a letter to Perry that asked him to voluntarily cooperate.

The committee said it was seeking information about Trump’s attempts to oust Jeffrey Rosen, the acting head of the U.S. Justice Department during the closing weeks of his presidency, and replace him with Jeffrey Clark, an official at the time who tried to help Trump overturn his election defeat.

The letter marked a new phase for the committee’s lawmakers, who have so far not publicly demanded information from Republican colleagues who supported Trump’s efforts to retain power after losing the November 2020 presidential election to Democrat Joe Biden.

Perry and other Republican lawmakers met with Trump ahead of the attack and discussed how they could block the formal certification by Congress on Jan. 6 of Biden’s victory.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Scott Malone and Grant McCool)

Analysis-Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court appointees poised to deliver on abortion

By Andrew Chung and Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The month before being elected president in 2016, Donald Trump promised during a debate with his opponent Hillary Clinton to name justices to the U.S. Supreme Court who would overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion nationwide.

His three appointees – Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett – may be on the verge of turning that pledge into a reality, based on their remarks during arguments over the legality of a restrictive Mississippi abortion law.

“Trump is very effective, as we saw at the Supreme Court,” Mike Davis, who leads the Article III Project legal group that backed the Republican former president’s judicial appointees during his time in office, said, referring to Wednesday’s arguments. “He delivered, as he promised he would.”

During four years in office, Trump managed to appoint one third of the current members of the highest U.S. judicial body and half of its conservative bloc, with all three of his picks coming from a list compiled by conservative legal activists.

Wednesday’s arguments marked the first time that the current court has heard a case in which overturning Roe was explicitly on the table. Trump’s appointees – Gorsuch in 2017, Kavanaugh in 2018 and Barrett in 2020 – may prove instrumental in how far the court may go in rolling back abortion rights. All six conservative justices indicated a willingness to dramatically curtail abortion rights and perhaps outright overturn Roe.

Then-candidate Trump said in the October 2016 debate with Democrat Clinton of overturning Roe: “Well, if we put another two or perhaps three justices on, that … will happen automatically in my opinion because I am putting pro-life justices on the court.”

It was a pitch that appealed to conservative Christian voters who helped put him into office and remained among his most ardent backers. Trump has not yet announced whether he will run again in 2024.

“I think it’s more possible than any time that we’ve seen at least in my lifetime,” Jeanne Mancini, president of the March for Life group that holds annual anti-abortion rallies in Washington, said of overturning Roe.

While saying politics is just one part of the effort to stop abortion, Mancini added: “I’m very grateful to President Trump for the decisions he made.”

Barrett’s appointment in particular buoyed religious conservatives and anti-abortion activists, cementing the court’s 6-3 conservative super-majority. Barrett, a devout Catholic and former legal scholar, previously had signaled support for overturning Roe in the past.

RESPECTING PRECEDENT

Gorsuch, Kavanaugh and Barrett voiced doubts during the argument either about Roe’s legal underpinnings or the need to adhere to it as a decades-old major decision, a legal principle called stare decisis. Supporters of the principle have said it protects the court’s credibility and legitimacy by avoiding politicization and keeping the law steady and evenhanded.

Gorsuch highlighted what abortion opponents consider a weakness in the argument to keep Roe: it has already been changed and limited by a 1992 ruling called Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey that reaffirmed the right to abortion, and the test for what restrictions states may enact has “evolved over time, too.”

Kavanaugh emphasized American divisions over abortion, offering a view often expressed by abortion opponents that the question should be one for the “people” – state legislatures or the U.S. Congress – to decide.

“The Constitution’s neither pro-life nor pro-choice on the question of abortion,” Kavanaugh said.

Barrett during her Senate confirmation hearings indicated Roe was not a “super-precedent” that should never be overturned. During Wednesday’s arguments, Barrett raised the idea that certain precedents should be harder to overrule than others.

She also asked whether the recent adoption in some states of “safe haven” laws, which let women hand over unwanted babies to healthcare facilities without penalty, undermines certain justifications for abortions because women are not forced into motherhood merely by giving birth.

The last time the Supreme Court was this close to overturning Roe was in the 1992 Casey case, when its moderates banded together and reaffirmed abortion rights.

The outcome could be different this time in part thanks to a decades-long effort by conservative legal activists to reshape the court and remarkably effective political maneuvering by a key Republican senator, Mitch McConnell.

Trump entered office with a Supreme Court vacancy to fill because McConnell, then Senate majority leader, refused to consider Democratic President Barack Obama’s 2016 nominee. Then last year McConnell moved to have the Senate speedily confirm Barrett a week before the presidential election to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an abortion rights champion.

Roe v. Wade recognized that the right to personal privacy under the U.S. Constitution protects a woman’s ability to terminate her pregnancy. Mississippi’s Republican-backed 2018 law, blocked by lower courts, bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. A ruling in the case is due by the end of next June.

(Reporting by Andrew Chung and Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

U.S. to restart Trump-era border program forcing asylum seekers to wait in Mexico

By Ted Hesson and Dave Graham

(Reuters) – The Biden administration will restart a controversial Trump-era border program that forces asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for U.S. immigration hearings, in keeping with a federal court order, U.S. and Mexican officials said on Thursday.

The United States will take steps to address Mexico’s humanitarian concerns with the program, the officials said, including offering vaccines to migrants and exempting more categories of people deemed vulnerable.

Migrants also will be asked if they have a fear of persecution or torture in Mexico before being enrolled in the program and have access to legal representation, U.S. officials said during a call with reporters on Thursday.

President Joe Biden ended the policy known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) soon after his inauguration in January. But a federal judge ruled Biden’s rescission did not follow proper procedure and in August ordered its reinstatement. The U.S. government said it had to wait for Mexico’s agreement before the policy could restart. “The United States accepted all the conditions that we set out,” said one Mexican official.

At the same time, the Biden administration is still actively trying to end the MPP program, issuing a new rescission memo in the hopes it will resolve the court’s legal concerns.

The policy was a cornerstone of former Republican President Donald Trump’s hard line immigration policies and sent tens of thousands of people who entered at the U.S.-Mexico land border back to Mexico to wait months – sometimes years – to present their cases at U.S. immigration hearings held in makeshift courtrooms near the border.

The MPP program will restart with a small number of migrants at a single U.S. border crossing on Monday, but will eventually expand to San Diego, California and El Paso, Laredo and Brownsville in Texas, one of the U.S. officials said.

The reinstatement of MPP adds to a confusing mix of immigration policies in place at the U.S.-Mexico border, where arrests for crossing illegally have hit record highs.

Biden promised what he called a more humane approach to immigration. But even as he tried to end MPP, his administration continued to implement a Trump-era public health order known as Title 42, which allows border authorities to rapidly expel migrants without giving them a chance to claim asylum. Nearly two-thirds of the record 1.7 million migrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year have been expelled under the Title 42 order.

Migrants caught at the U.S.-Mexico border will first be evaluated to determine whether they can be quickly expelled under Title 42, one U.S. official said. If not, migrants from the Western Hemisphere could be placed in the reworked MPP program, the official said.

Exceptions will be made for migrants with health issues, the elderly and those at risk of discrimination in Mexico, particularly based on gender identity and sexual orientation, a different U.S. official said.

Immigration advocates argue MPP exposed migrants to violence and kidnappings in dangerous border cities, where people camped out as they waited for their hearings.

The United States and Mexico will arrange transportation for migrants waiting in Mexican shelters so that they can attend their court hearings in the United States, a third U.S. official said. But local officials in Mexico said that many border shelters are already full and overwhelmed.

Migrants with cases in Laredo and Brownsville will be placed in shelters further away from the U.S.-Mexico border to avoid security risks in Mexican border cities, the official said.

(Reporting by Dave Graham in Mexico City and Ted Hesson in Washington; Additional reporting by Kristina Cooke in San Francisco; Editing by Mica Rosenberg and Daniel Wallis)

 

U.S. prepares to resume Trump ‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum policy in November

By Mica Rosenberg

(Reuters) – President Joe Biden’s administration is taking steps to restart by mid-November a program begun under his predecessor Donald Trump that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for U.S. court hearings after a federal court deemed the termination of the program unjustified, U.S. officials said Thursday.

The administration, however, is planning to make another attempt to rescind the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly called the “Remain in Mexico” policy, even as it takes steps to comply with the August ruling by Texas-based U.S. District Court Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, the officials said.

The possible reinstatement of MPP – even on a short-term basis – would add to a confusing mix of U.S. policies in place at the Mexican border, where crossings into the United States have reached 20-year highs in recent months. The administration said it can only move forward if Mexico agrees. Officials from both countries said they are discussing the matter.

Mexico’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Thursday that it has expressed a “number of concerns” over MPP to U.S. officials, particularly around due process, legal certainty, access to legal aid and the safety of migrants. A senior Mexican official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “there is no decision at this point” about the program’s restart.

Trump, a Republican known for hardline immigration policies, created the MPP policy in 2019, arguing that many asylum claims were fraudulent and applicants allowed into the United States might end up staying illegally if they skipped court hearings. Biden, a Democrat, ended the policy soon after taking office in January as part of his pledge to take a more humane approach to border issues.

Immigration advocates have said the program exposed migrants to violence and kidnappings in dangerous border cities where people camped out for months or years in shelters or on the street waiting for U.S. asylum hearings.

Biden in March said that “I make no apology” for ending MPP, a policy he described as sending people to the “edge of the Rio Grande in a muddy circumstance with not enough to eat.”

After the Republican-led states of Texas and Missouri sued Biden over his decision to end the program, Kacsmaryk ruled in August that it must be reinstated. The U.S. Supreme Court, whose 6-3 conservative majority includes three justices appointed by Trump, subsequently let Kacsmaryk’s ruling stand, rejecting a bid by Biden’s administration to block it.

The administration has said it will comply with Kacsmaryk’s ruling “in good faith” while continuing its appeal in the case. The administration also plans to issue a fresh memo to terminate the program in the hopes it will resolve any legal concerns surrounding the previous one, officials said.

“Re-implementation is not something that the administration has wanted to do,” a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said in a call with reporters. “But in the interim we are under this obligation of the court.”

In a court filing late on Thursday the administration said that “although MPP is not yet operational,” they are taking all the steps necessary to re-implement it by next month.

Those steps include preparing courts, some housed in tents, near the border where asylum hearings could be held. The administration said in the filing that these facilities will take about 30 days to build, costing approximately $14.1 million to erect and $10.5 million per month to operate.

The filing said the aim is for MPP to span the entire Southwestern border, which the government deemed preferable to it operating only in certain areas.

At the same time, Biden has left in place another policy that Trump implemented in March 2020 early in the COVID-19 pandemic that allows for most migrants caught crossing the border to be rapidly expelled for public health reasons, with no type of asylum screening. One DHS official said that policy will continue.

Mexico has also expressed its concern over this policy, known as Title 42, which the foreign ministry said incentivizes repeat crossings and puts migrants at risk.

In a win for Mexico on a separate front, the United States said this week it will lift restrictions at its legal ports of entry for fully vaccinated foreign nationals in early November, ending curbs on nonessential travelers during the pandemic.

(Reporting by Mica Rosenberg in New York and Kristina Cooke in San Francisco; Additional reporting by Frank Jack Daniel; Editing by Will Dunham and Jonathan Oatis)

Post Trump, U.S. Democrats offer bill to rein in presidential powers

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -U.S. House of Representatives Democrats introduced legislation on Tuesday seeking to pull back powers from the presidency, part of an ongoing effort to rein in the White House in a rebuke to the administration of former Republican President Donald Trump.

House leaders said the “Protecting our Democracy Act” would restore the balance of power between the executive and legislative branches of government that was written into the Constitution.

Among other things, it would put new limits on the use of presidential pardons, prohibit self-pardons and strengthen measures to prevent foreign election interference or illegal campaign activity by White House officials.

The bill also would boost subpoena enforcement, protect inspectors general and watchdogs and strengthen oversight of emergency declarations.

As president, Trump fired a series of inspectors general – watchdogs charged with fighting corruption at federal agencies. To sidestep congressional control over government spending, he declared a national emergency at the border with Mexico to force the transfer of military funds to help build a wall there, a campaign promise.

“We have to codify this… so that no president of whatever party can ever assume that he, or she, has the power to usurp the power of the other branches of government,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a news conference.

Representative Adam Schiff, a lead sponsor, said Democratic President Joe Biden’s White House had been consulted on the bill’s contents. He said he hoped for a House vote this autumn.

The path forward was uncertain. Democrats hold only a slim House majority, and the Republican caucus stands firmly behind Trump, who is expected to run for re-election in 2024 and remains the party’s most influential leader.

Republicans overwhelmingly opposed Trump’s two impeachments – led by many of the Democrats who introduced the legislation – and rejected a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by Trump supporters.

Aides to House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Patricia ZengerleEditing by Bill Berkrot)

Pelosi predicts ‘what’s his name’ would fail in a 2024 White House run

(Reuters) – Former U.S. President Donald Trump might make another White House run in 2024, but if he does, he will take his place in American history as a two-time loser, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicted on Thursday.

Visiting England for a meeting of parliamentary leaders from G7 countries, the Democratic leader was asked during a forum to reflect upon the two impeachment proceedings she initiated against Trump late in 2019 and in January 2021.

Seizing an opportunity to score a political point against the man who continues to be the most powerful force in the Republican Party, Pelosi proclaimed, “I don’t ever talk about him.”

However, she continued to talk about Trump, though not by name.

“I reference him from time to time as ‘What’s His Name,'” Pelosi said, quickly adding: “If he wants to run again, he’ll be the first president who was impeached twice and defeated twice.”

Her remarks were met with loud applause from the largely British audience.

Throughout Trump’s four years in the White House, Pelosi tangled with the president over immigration policy, infrastructure investments, the pandemic response and a wide range of other domestic and foreign issues.

She gained a reputation of being eager to skewer the hard-hitting Trump and became one of the biggest thorns in his side as she initiated not one, but two impeachment proceedings against him.

The Republican-controlled Senate acquitted Trump both times.

The former president is already playing a role in the 2022 midterm elections for Congress by recruiting challengers to Republican lawmakers he has tangled with. And Trump has dropped numerous hints he might seek the presidency for a third time in 2024.

“I say to my Republican friends, and I do have some, ‘Take back your party,'” Pelosi said. “You have now been hijacked by a cult that is just not good for our country.”

(Reporting by Richard Cowan in Washington; Editing by Scott Malone and Jonathan Oatis)

U.S. Capitol Police says ‘robust security’ planned for Sept 18 rally

By Jan Wolfe

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Capitol Police on Wednesday said it is enacting strong security measures ahead of a Sept. 18 rally in which supporters of former President Donald Trump intend to show support for people arrested for participating in the deadly Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol.

“We have a robust security posture planned for September 18th,” the U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement. “All available staff will be working.”

Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger will provide a security briefing to top lawmakers on Monday, Sept. 13, a source familiar with the meeting said.

The source said U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has invited three top congressional leaders — U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy — to the security briefing, which will be held in Pelosi’s office.

Citing an internal Capitol Police memo, CNN reported on Wednesday that law enforcement officials are bracing for potential clashes and unrest during the Sept. 18 rally, which is being planned by a right-wing group.

(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Alistair Bell)

Trump backs challenger to third House Republican who voted to impeach

By Jason Lange

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former President Donald Trump on Tuesday endorsed Michigan state lawmaker Steve Carra’s bid to unseat U.S. Representative Fred Upton, his third endorsement of a challenger to a Republican who voted to impeach him on a charge of sparking the Capitol riot.

It was his second such endorsement in a week after throwing his weight behind a challenger to Republican U.S. Representative Jaime Herrera Beutler in Washington state, as he mixes his efforts to help Republicans win control of Congress in the November 2022 elections with a campaign to replace his Republican critics in Congress.

Upton was among 10 Republican lawmakers who joined House of Representatives Democrats in a January vote to impeach Trump on a charge of inciting insurrection in a fiery speech ahead of the deadly Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol by his supporters.

Upton was an early critic of Trump’s false claims that he lost the November presidential election due to widespread fraud.

Upton’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But he said in January he was supporting impeachment to “send a clear message” that the country will not tolerate a president impeding the peaceful transfer of power.

In February, Trump endorsed a former aide who is challenging Republican Representative Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, who also voted to impeach. Last week, he backed Army veteran Joe Kent against Herrera Beutler.

The former president has also backed a Republican challenging Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who was among the seven Republicans in that chamber who voted with Democrats in a failed attempt to convict Trump.

Trump said in a statement that Upton’s impeachment vote was “on rigged up charges” and that Carra “is strong on Crime, Borders, and loves our Military.”

Upton has represented Michigan in Congress since 1987 and won re-election in 2020 with 56% of the vote. He has easily led the Republican field at campaign fundraising, ending June with over $600,000 in the bank.

Carra, whose campaign website describes him as “pro-Trump” and touts his opposition to COVID-19 business shutdowns, had just over $80,000, second to Upton among Republican candidates.

(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Scott Malone and Peter Cooney)

Analysis: U.S. Supreme Court’s rightward lurch put Roe v. Wade on the brink

By Lawrence Hurley

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – During a 2016 presidential debate, then-candidate Donald Trump made a statement that seemed brash at the time: If he were elected and got the chance to nominate justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, the Roe v. Wade ruling that legalized abortion would be overturned.

By this time next year, with the court having tilted further to the right thanks to Trump’s three appointments to the nation’s highest court, his prediction could come true.

The court’s decision on Wednesday night to allow Texas’ six-week abortion ban to go into effect in apparent contravention of the 1973 Roe decision suggests the court is closer than ever to overturning a ruling U.S. conservatives have long reviled.

“We don’t know how quickly or openly the court will reverse Roe, but this decision suggests that it’s only a matter of time,” said Mary Ziegler, an expert on abortion history at Florida State University College of Law.

Two generations of American women have grown up with access to abortion, although its use has declined over the past decade.

But while Roe handed liberals a victory on a crucial issue of the times, it also helped to power the religious right into a galvanizing force as it worked to get the decision overturned.

Since Congress never acted to formalize abortion rights – which shows what a hot button issue it is politically – the same court that once legalized abortion has the power to allow states to ban it.

In the coming months, the court will weigh whether to throw Roe out altogether as the justices consider whether to uphold a 15-week abortion ban in the state of Mississippi.

Unlike the Texas dispute, in which the justices did not directly address whether Roe should be reversed, they will in the Mississippi case.

A ruling is due by the end of June 2022, just months before an election that will determine whether the Democrats retain their narrow majority in both houses of Congress.

The last time the Supreme Court was this close to overturning Roe, in 1992, opponents were bitterly disappointed when the court’s moderates banded together and upheld abortion rights. Although the Supreme Court had a conservative majority, it was not deemed conservative enough.

MCCONNELL’S ROLE

The reason why the outcome could be different now is in part thanks to the decades-long efforts of conservative legal activists to re-shape the court, which bore fruit during Trump’s presidency. Trump was aided by then-Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as well as the death of liberal icon Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, which gave him a third vacancy to fill just before he lost the November 2020 election.

All three Trump nominees were pre-vetted by conservative lawyers associated with the Federalist Society legal group. All three — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — were in the majority as the court allowed the Texas abortion law to go into effect.

The court now has a rock-solid 6-3 conservative majority, which means that even if one peels away – as Chief Justice John Roberts did on Wednesday and in another abortion case in 2020 – the conservative bloc still retains the upper hand.

Conservative Republican McConnell played a key role in the Senate, which has the job of confirming nominees to the bench.

Democrats’ hopes were raised early in 2016, when conservative Justice Antonin Scalia died, that what had been a 5-4 conservative majority on the high court could switch to a 5-4 liberal majority for the first time in decades. McConnell crushed those dreams, refusing to move forward with then-Democratic President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.

As a result, when Trump came into office in early 2017 he was able to immediately nominate Gorsuch, who was duly confirmed by McConnell’s Republican-led Senate.

Trump and McConnell then pushed through the nomination of Kavanaugh to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy in 2018 despite allegations of sexual misconduct against the nominee, which he denied. Kennedy was a conservative but had voted to uphold abortion rights in key cases, including in 1992.

Finally, in September 2020, Ginsburg died. In an unprecedented move, Trump and McConnell installed Barrett just days before Election Day on Nov. 7, leading to widespread accusations of hypocrisy but cementing the conservative majority.

Despite the favorable winds, some anti-abortion advocates are playing down the importance of the Supreme Court’s Texas ruling, and say the fate of Roe v Wade is still up in the air.

“I’ve long thought the court should overturn Roe because it is not based on what the Constitution actually says,” said John Bursch, a lawyer at conservative Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, before adding: “This order doesn’t give a signal either way about what the majority will do in the Mississippi case.”

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Scott Malone and Sonya Hepinstall)