GOP governor calls on fellow Republicans to ‘move on’ from Trump
Newly revealed emails show former Donald Trump attorney John Eastman urged GOP officials in Pennsylvania to throw out thousands of absentee ballots in an effort to ultimately overturn the result of the 2020 presidential election, Politico reports.
“You’d be left with a significant Trump lead that would bolster the argument for the Legislature adopting a slate of Trump electors,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, former Trump NSA General Mike Flynn claims he is being “persecuted” by the Army which is trying to recoup almost $40,000 he was paid by Russian government-controlled TV network Russia Today. The payment may violate the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution.
And in New York, Donald Trump has been ordered to pay $110,000 in fines as a judge lifted a contempt order against him stemming from a legal dispute over Trump Organization documents.
The Wednesday ruling comes after Mr Trump’s chosen Republican representative Alex Mooney defeated fellow Republican David McKinley in a primary in West Virginia last night, while another Trump-backed candidate fell short in Nebraska’s gubernatorial primary.
‘Fiery’ Psaki ending tenure as press secretary on Friday
Jen Psaki, whose last day on the job is Friday, has answered reporters’ questions nearly every weekday of the almost 500 days that Joe Biden has been in office.
That makes her a top White House communicator and perhaps the administration’s most public face after only the president and Vice President Kamala Harris. Her departure could complicate how Biden’s message gets out at a critical time for him, at least in the short term.
Oliver O’Connell11 May 2022 22:30
Trump wanted to court-martial former military officials, book claims
Former Defence Secretary Mark Esper’s list of shocking revelations about his former boss continued to grow on Tuesday with the official release of his new book detailing his time in the Trump administration.
Mr Esper wrote in the book, and further detailed in an interview with The Washington Post, that he and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Mark Milley were left trying to talk then-President Donald Trump out of ordering court martials of two retired military officers after they criticised his leadership style.
John Bowden has the story.
Oliver O’Connell11 May 2022 22:13
VP Harris calls out extremist Republican leaders who want to punish women
More from Vice President Kamala Harris following the vote: “What we are seeing around this country are extremist Republican leaders who want to punish and criminalise women who want to make decisions about their own body.”
Oliver O’Connell11 May 2022 21:58
The Independent’s Eric Garcia reports from Capitol Hill following the Senate vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act, having spoken with Senator Tim Kaine.
Oliver O’Connell11 May 2022 21:55
Judge to block DeSantis’ Florida redistricting plan
A congressional map approved by Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and drawn by his staff is unconstitutional because it breaks up a district where Black voters can choose their representatives, a state judge said on Wednesday.
Leon County Circuit Judge Layne Smith said he would issue a formal order Thursday or Friday to keep the maps from taking effect in November’s election. He made it clear he would rule in favor of voting rights groups challenging the maps.
Mr Smith said the order will likely replace the DeSantis map with one of two that the Legislature included in a bill and sent to Mr DeSantis in March. The governor vetoed the bill and later called the Legislature back into special session. The Republican-dominated House and Senate chose not to draw a new map, and instead passed the DeSantis map.
The challenge focuses on a north Florida district now held by Democratic US Representative Al Lawson. The district runs from Jacksonville west more than 200 miles (322 kilometers) to Gadsden County and nearly half of its population is Black.
Governor DeSantis’ proposal prompted a protest by Black House members as the chamber was preparing to vote on the maps.
Mr Smith said he will issue his order as soon as he can so the state can immediately appeal it. It may be the conservative state Supreme Court that ultimately resolves the dispute.
He said that while the DeSantis map is more compact, the issue of allowing Black voters to choose their representatives is more important.
“The district that has since been enacted and signed into law by the governor does disperse 367,000 African American votes between four different districts,” Mr Smith said in a video call with both sides. “The African American population is no way near a plurality or a majority.”
The governor’s office drew up a map it described as neutral on race and party affiliation, and which it said abided by both the state and federal constitutions.
Mr Smith said his ruling will be based on the state constitution, not the US Constitution.
Qualifying for federal office will run from June 13-17.
Oliver O’Connell11 May 2022 21:42
Watch: Kamala Harris announces the Women’s Health Protection Act did not pass
As she left the chamber, the vice president spoke briefly with reporters.
“This vote clearly suggests that the Senate is not where the majority of Americans are on this issue,” Ms Harris said. “It also makes clear that a priority for all who care about this issue, the priority should be to elect pro choice Democrats.”
Oliver O’Connell11 May 2022 21:38
Statement from President Biden on the Senate Vote on the Women’s Health Protection Act
Once again – as fundamental rights are at risk at the Supreme Court – Senate Republicans have blocked passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act, a bill that affirmatively protects access to reproductive health care. This failure to act comes at a time when women’s constitutional rights are under unprecedented attack – and it runs counter to the will of the majority of American people. Republicans in Congress – not one of whom voted for this bill – have chosen to stand in the way of Americans’ rights to make the most personal decisions about their own bodies, families and lives. To protect the right to choose, voters need to elect more pro-choice senators this November, and return a pro-choice majority to the House. If they do, Congress can pass this bill in January, and put it on my desk, so I can sign it into law. The protections that the Women’s Health Protection Act would ensure are essential to the health, safety, and progress of our nation. While this legislation did not pass today, my Administration will not stop fighting to protect access to women’s reproductive care. We will continue to defend women’s constitutional rights to make private reproductive choices as recognized in Roe v. Wade nearly half a century ago, and my Administration will continue to explore the measures and tools at our disposal to do just that.
Oliver O’Connell11 May 2022 21:33
Senate Democrats fail to pass legislation to protect abortion rights
Senate Democrats’ attempt to pass legislation codifying the protections in Roe v Wade ended unceremoniosuly despite the fact that many of them fear that abortion rights are at risk.
Many Senators from both parties filed in and out of the chamber, not staying in their desks during the actual vote, as if to understate the lack of gravity of such a vote.
Eric Garcia reports from the Senate Chamber for The Independent.
Oliver O’Connell11 May 2022 21:28
Report says watchdog investigating if Texas misspent Covid aid on border crackdown
Texas Governor Greg Abbott, who made immigration a cornerstone issue of his administration since assuming office seven years ago, is catching heat from a federal watchdog investigating whether his state misspent Covid aid to offset the costs of his crackdown on the US-Mexico border.
Operation Lone Star, the Republican’s massive security mission that sought to increase arrests along the state’s southern border, was reportedly partially supported by rerouting roughly $1bn in public health and safety funds to the border, while the state continued to accept federal pandemic funds to replace some of that money lost, according to The Washington Post, who analysed the spending records.
Johanna Chisholm has the details.
Oliver O’Connell11 May 2022 21:14
Background: How the ‘pro-life’ movement killed Roe v Wade
Powerful legal groups, conservative Christian activists and right-wing figures shaped an anti-abortion agenda in the hands of the US Supreme Court, Alex Woodward reports.
Oliver O’Connell11 May 2022 21:11