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Trump and McConnell unload on each other

Washington: Former President Trump on Tuesday blasted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and vowed to back challengers to lawmakers who have crossed him, foretelling a brutal primary season for divided Republicans.

Trump’s statement, which was released through his Save America super PAC, blames McConnell for the GOP’s 2020 Senate losses.

“Mitch is a dour, sullen, and unsmiling political hack, and if Republican Senators are going to stay with him, they will not win again,” Trump said. “He will never do what needs to be done, or what is right for our Country. Where necessary and appropriate, I will back primary rivals who espouse Making America Great Again and our policy of America First. We want brilliant, strong, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership.”

The statement comes days after seven Republican senators joined all 50 Democratic senators in voting to convict Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill.

McConnell voted to acquit Trump, but in remarks after the vote, he said Trump was “practically and morally” responsible for the deadly siege. McConnell also left open the possibility that Trump could face civil or criminal charges even though he was acquitted by the Senate.

The remarks from the Senate minority leader sent a clear signal that he believes the party must separate itself from Trump to remain competitive in future elections.

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Latest News USA

It’s Trump vs. Establishment for GOP’s soul

Washington: In the battle for the future of the Republican Party post-Trump, there are two competing power centers: the former President and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as a flagbearer of the old guard.

McConnell has been asserting himself in recent days, most notably by blasting the theories put forward by freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.), a QAnon sympathizer and Trump ally. He has also stepped in to support the senior Congresswoman  Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), the third-ranking Republican in the House, who was one of 10 members of her party to vote to impeach Trump in the wake of the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. Trump allies in the House want to impeach her.

In the aftermath of the Jan 6 horror, McConnell said that Trump had “provoked” the crowd and that “the mob was fed lies.”

McConnell has taken a stand against Trumpism by supporting Rep Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump, and lashing out against QAnon supporter Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene. (Photos courtesy NPR)

As per an analysis by The Hill, McConnell has come to see Trump — and Trumpism — as a liability for his party in the future. Comparisons are drawn with the rise of the Tea Party roughly a decade ago — which was a mixed blessing.

Today, a number of corporate donors have said they will pause their giving to GOP candidates who refused to accept the result of the 2020 presidential election.

But Trump loyalists see things entirely differently. They argue that among the party’s activist base, Trump remains the most popular Republican in the nation by far. In a recent  poll, Trump was viewed favorably by 81 percent of Republican voters. McConnell’s favorability rating among GOP voters was just 27 percent.

McConnell has taken a stand against Trumpism by supporting Rep Liz Cheney, who voted to impeach Trump, and lashing out against QAnon supporter Rep Marjorie Taylor Greene. (Photos courtesy NPR)

Still, some partymen welcome McConnell’s intervention as much needed to stop the GOP from careening off the rails.  The ongoing controversy over Greene is the clearest example. Greene has expressed support for calls for Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to be assassinated and has endorsed the fiction that the Sandy Hook and Parkland school shootings were “false flag” operations. McConnell lashed out at some of Greene’s ideas, albeit without naming her: “Looney lies and conspiracy theories are cancer for the Republican Party and for our country.”

In mid-January, McConnell was even open to convicting Trump at the upcoming impeachment trial. But noting the flux around him, he has vote with 45 GOP Senators that the Senate trial of Trump is unconstitutional.

For now, both sides seemingly prefer to avoid an outright civil war in the party.

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Latest News USA

GOP Senators move amendment to block ‘court packing’

Washington: Sen. Ted Cruz and five other Senate Republicans have introduced a constitutional amendment this week to prevent Democrats from packing the Supreme Court if Joe Biden wins the White House and Democrats capture the Senate.

The proposed amendment simply states: “The Supreme Court of the United States shall be composed of nine justices.”

It would need to pass with a two-thirds super majority in both the Senate and the House and need to be ratified by three-fourths of the states,  within seven years after its submission for ratification.

“Make no mistake, if Democrats win the election, they will end the filibuster and pack the Supreme Court, expanding the number of justices to advance their radical political agenda, entrenching their power for generations, and destroying the foundations of our democratic system,” Cruz said in a statement.

“We must take action before election day to safeguard the Supreme Court and the constitutional liberties that hang in the balance,” he added.

Some Democrats have threatened to add justices to the high court if they win the White House and control of the Senate after the Nov. 3 election.

Sen. Ed Markey called on fellow Democrats last month to “abolish the filibuster and expand the Supreme Court” if Mitch McConnell went ahead and filled late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat during the election year.

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer isn’t ruling anything out although there doesn’t appear to be much support in the Democratic caucus for expanding the court. Joe Biden has refused to take a stand on the issue so far.

Packing the U.S. Senate

A 104-seat Upper Chamber is on the agenda if Democrats sweep the election, or so say some of the Republicans leaders.

Some Democrats are making noises to pack the Supreme Court if Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, but they might not have the Senate votes if the chamber is closely divided. No problem: The number of seats in the Senate, as on the High Court bench, can be adjusted if Democrats have their way. In June the House for the first time passed a bill that would make the District of Columbia a state, and Barack Obama in July called Puerto Rican statehood a progressive priority.

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Latest News USA

Top Republicans creating distance from Trump

The President’s weakened position as he heads into the final stretch of the campaign is giving prominent members of the GOP greater latitude to express their concerns about the direction that Trump has steered the Republican Party as they look to protect their own ambitions and futures.

Senator Ben Sasse, Nebraska

“I don’t think the way he’s (Trump) led through Covid has been reasonable or responsible or right,” Ben Sasse said in an audio now public.  “The United States now regularly sells out our allies under his leadership, the way he treats women, spends like a drunken sailor.”

“We are staring down the barrel of a blue tsunami,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

He has said recently that he has not visited the White House in some months because he doesn’t think the White House coronavirus protocols are adequate.

He has also resisted White House negotiating a deal in the range of 2 trillion dollars with Speaker Pelosi.

Senator Lamar AlexanderTennessee

“Fauci is one of our country’s most distinguished public servant. If more Americans paid attention to his advice, we’d have fewer cases of COVID-19, and it would be safer to go back to school and back to work and out to eat.”

Former NJ Governor Chris Christie

He contracted coronavirus likely at a White House event, and spent seven days in ICU. He has expressed his regrets about not wearing a mask at the White House because of false sense of security arising out of supposedly rigorous coronavirus testing regimen there.

John Kelly, ex-White House chief of staff

The retired Marine general has said this to friends about Trump: “The depths of his dishonesty is just astounding to me. The dishonesty, the transactional nature of every relationship, though it’s more pathetic than anything else. He is the most flawed person I have ever met in my life.”

Senator Mitt Romney, Utah

Mitt Romney released a statement last week stating that the President’s refusal to denounce “the absurd and dangerous conspiracy theory” QAnon during Thursday night’s town hall “continues an alarming pattern.”

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee said Trump was part of a pattern where politicians and parties “refuse to forcefully and convincingly repudiate groups like Antifa, White supremacists and conspiracy peddlers.”

“Rather than expel the rabid fringes and extremes, they have coddled or adopted them, eagerly trading their principles for the hope of electoral victories. As the parties rush down a rabbit hole, they may be opening a door to a political movement that could eventually eclipse them both.”

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International USA

Both parties converging on need for police reform in US

Washington: There have been anti-racism protests in America before also, and not progress was made. But this time seems to be different. Two weeks of protests, over George Floyd’s custodial death, from coast to coast against police brutality and racism have produced a wave of change in public opinion on police reform. In Washington DC and in cities and states across the country, political leaders of all hues are beginning to listen.

Republican officials in red states like Texas, purple states like Wisconsin, and lawmakers in Washington are scrambling to appear responsive to the groundswell calling for change, says CNN in an analysis.

On Monday, Democrats unveiled a sweeping police reform bill in response to protests. And by Tuesday, congressional Republicans in the House and Senate said they planned to introduce their own reform proposals. House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy has said publicly that he would be open to supporting some provisions in the Democrats’ bill including linking police training to federal funds, making it easier to remove officers who are accused of misconduct, and a provision to prevent officers from moving from city to city in an effort to escape past misconduct allegations.

“I want to work and see that we get law. This is a moment in time,” McCarthy told the Los Angeles Times. “This is the moment where we ought to find where we can come together on.”

The lone African American Senate Republican, Tim Scott of South Carolina, presented ideas on police reform to Republicans during their lunch on Tuesday. In the House, a GOP aide said Rep. Jim Jordan, an Ohio Republican, would be releasing their own proposal this week.

In Texas, where Floyd grew up, that state’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott appeared to go further. Speaking to reporters outside of Floyd’s memorial in Houston, Abbott directly linked reform to the issue of racism.

Democrats have long pushed for police reforms and have opposed the increased militarization of local police departments — especially after the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of Michael Brown in 2014.

But some activists, disillusioned by some of the reforms that have been made since then that have not slowed the rate of killings of unarmed people at the hands of police, are now pushing for more extreme changes.

The “defund” and “abolish” police movements represent some of the most dramatic proposals being put forward at the grassroots level. In Minneapolis, the city council pledged in a veto-proof vote that they would seek to defund that city’s police department following Floyd’s death.

Yet most Democrats at the national level, including former Vice President Joe Biden have said they do not support defunding the police.

President Trump has focused on a “law and order” message and he and his party have seized on the defund police movement, seeking to tie national Democrats to the proposal. Yet, going forward, even the White House  is reportedly working on its own executive and legislative acts to deal with the issue. Trump is still not agreeable to addressing the nation on race.

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