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GOP senator: Trump lied about hush-money payments because he ‘loves his family’

Reblog Ever since Donald Trump was elected president and consolidated his hold over the Republican base, the consistent position of most GOP officeholders, in the face of gigabytes of debunking by fact checkers, has been: Trump never lies. But now, faced with evidence in the form of checks written to Michael Cohen by Trump while…

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GOP senator: Trump lied about hush-money payments because he ‘loves his family’

Reblog Ever since Donald Trump was elected president and consolidated his hold over the Republican base, the consistent position of most GOP officeholders, in the face of gigabytes of debunking by fact checkers, has been: Trump never lies. But now, faced with evidence in the form of checks written to Michael Cohen by Trump while in office — payments his former lawyer says were to silence women who alleged they had extramarital affairs with Trump — their defense has taken a new twist: If he did lie, it was only to protect the feelings of his family. Stormy Daniels, Donald Trump and Melania Trump (Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photos: AP (3), Courtesy Michael Cohen/Handout via Reuters) More “I think most of us have a concern anytime you have a president who is trying to work through some very personal matters,” Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., said when asked in an interview with CNN Wednesday if he was “OK” with Trump paying hush money to a porn star while in the White House. “I honestly think this president loves his family,” Rounds continued. “And I think it has as much to do with trying not to have public discussions about something that is, for him, a private matter that he didn’t want to have discussed with his family.

” He added: “Every time I think about this, I think about that particular issue because I think he really does care about his family, I think he loves his family, and I don’t think he wanted his family to go through this.”
Sen.

Mike Rounds: Trump paid hush money to Stormy Daniels because “he loves his family and I don’t think he wanted his family to go through this.” He won’t say whether he thinks the payments broke campaign finance laws. pic.twitter.

com/LJTItYUd5o — Matt Shuham (@mattshuham) March 6, 2019 During his appearance before the House Oversight Committee last week, Cohen testified that Trump directed him to make a $130,000 hush money payment on the eve of the 2016 presidential election to silence porn star Stormy Daniels, who says she had a sexual encounter with him in 2006. At the time, Trump had been married to his wife, Melania, for less than two years.

Trump has denied reports of the relationship and claimed he had no knowledge of payoffs to Daniels or another woman, Karen McDougal. His lawyer Rudy Giuliani has given a series of conflicting and confusing explanations on the matter. As evidence, Cohen submitted a $35,000 check he says Trump gave to him in July 2017 in partial reimbursement of the payment to Daniels. He told the committee there are a total of 11 checks issued by Trump himself or Trump associates that year. Cohen also said he was told by Trump to lie to reporters about the president’s knowledge of the payments .

Republicans members of the committee did not challenge Cohen’s evidence — opting, instead, to attack his credibility. Cohen, who last year pleaded guilty to charges involving campaign finance fraud related to the payments and lying to Congress, is due to begin a three-year prison sentence in May. A $35,000 check signed by President Trump to Michael Cohen is shown on a television monitor inside the hearing room as Cohen testifies on Feb.

27. (Photo: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters) More Rounds is not the only Republican to raise the family defense. On ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” Sunday, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy was asked about the hush money checks. McCarthy argued that if reimbursing Cohen for payments intended to avoid embarrassing news during the campaign was a violation of campaign finance laws, then Cohen, as Trump’s lawyer, should have informed the president at the time.

And in any case, McCarthy contended, it was a technical violation of a reporting requirement which is typically settled with a fine — and not, as some Democrats have argued, an impeachable offense. “If there’s no problem,” Stephanopoulos said, “Then why did the president lie about it for so long? “You know, you could ask that question to the president,” McCarthy said. “But this is a personal issue, and why would most people not go to the American public about this?” Trump’s extramarital adventures have already caused turmoil in his family. According to a 2017 memoir by his first wife, Ivana Trump, Donald Jr.

didn’t speak to his father for a year after the pair split over Trump’s public affair with Marla Maples . After divorcing Ivana, Trump married Maples in 1993. .

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US Senate votes to terminate Trump’s border order

US Senate votes to reject Trump’s emergency declaration, setting up President’s first veto 15 Mar, 2019 7:52am Don’t auto play Never auto play Some Senate Republicans will support a Democratic resolution to terminate the President’s national emergency declaration to build a wall along the US border with Mexico. / CNN Washington Post Share on Reddit…

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US Senate votes to terminate Trump’s border order

US Senate votes to reject Trump’s emergency declaration, setting up President’s first veto 15 Mar, 2019 7:52am Don’t auto play Never auto play Some Senate Republicans will support a Democratic resolution to terminate the President’s national emergency declaration to build a wall along the US border with Mexico. / CNN Washington Post Share on Reddit reddit In a stunning rebuke, the Republican-controlled Senate has voted to terminate President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the US-Mexico border. The disapproval resolution passed the House last month, so the 59-41 Senate vote will send the measure to the Trump’s desk. Trump has promised to use the first veto of his presidency to strike it down, and Congress does not have the votes to override the veto.

But the Senate vote stood as a rare instance of Republicans breaking with Trump in significant numbers on an issue central to his presidency – the construction of a wall along the southern border. Advertisement Advertise with NZME. For weeks Trump had sought to frame the debate in terms of immigration, arguing that Republican senators who supported border security should back him up on the emergency declaration.

But for many GOP lawmakers, it was about a bigger issue: The Constitution itself, which grants Congress – not the president — control over government spending. By declaring a national emergency in order to bypass Congress to get money for his wall, Trump was violating the separation of powers and setting a potentially dangerous precedent, these senators argued. “It’s imperative for the president to honor Congress’ constitutional role,” Senator Rob Portman, said on the Senate floor as he announced his vote in favor of the disapproval resolution. “A national emergency declaration is a tool to be used cautiously and sparingly.” Republicans who voted with Trump and against the disapproval resolution said the president was acting within his authority under the National Emergencies Act, and taking necessary steps to address a humanitarian and drug crisis at the border that Democrats had ignored. “There is a crisis at the border and Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer have prevented a solution,” said Senator Cory Gardner, naming the House speaker and Senate minority leader. “It should never have come to this, but in the absence of congressional action, the President did what Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer refused to do.

” Many GOP senators agonized at length before deciding how to vote, with significant numbers of them – including Portman and Gardner, who is up for re-election next year – waiting until Thursday to announce their positions.

Senator Thom Tillis, another senator up for re-election in a politically divided state, had announced last month that he would vote for the disapproval resolution. He wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Post at the time arguing there would be “no intellectual honesty” in supporting executive overreach by Trump that he had opposed under President Barack Obama. But today Tillis flipped and cast his vote with the President, saying he was reassured by indications that Trump would support changes to the National Emergencies Act itself, to rein in presidential powers going forward. Tillis’ flip-flop highlighted the political pressure Republicans felt over potentially crossing the president. In the end only one Republican who is up for re-election next year Susan Collins, R-Maine, voted for the disapproval resolution. Thursday’s vote followed numerous failed efforts at compromise by vacillating GOP senators, including a dramatic incident Wednesday evening where a trio of GOP senators — Senators Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz, and Ben Sasse – showed up nearly unannounced at the White House, interrupting Trump at dinner in a last-ditch effort to craft a compromise.

Their efforts failed, and Graham, Cruz and Sasse all ended up voting against the disapproval resolution. “I said thank you for meeting with us. Sorry we ruined your dinner. And again, if it’d been me, I would have kicked us out after about five minutes,” Graham said later. Ahead of the vote, Trump took to Twitter to goad his critics and insist that defectors would be siding with Pelosi. “A vote for today’s resolution by Republican Senators is a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime, and the Open Border Democrats!” Trump wrote. The president said he would support GOP efforts to update the National Emergencies Act at a later date – something that’s been under discussion as a way to rein in presidential powers going forward – “but today’s issue is BORDER SECURITY and Crime!!! Don’t vote with Pelosi!” Pelosi herself told reporters: “The Senate will hopefully vote for the Constitution of the United States to uphold the oath of office that we all take by voting to reject the president’s measure that does violence on the Constitution.

. . . We’ll then send the bill to the president.” Concern among GOP senators has focused on Trump’s use of the National Emergencies Act to grab $3.6 billion appropriated by Congress for military construction projects nationwide – and use it to build barriers along the border instead. Graham declined to specify what exactly was discussed when he and the others showed up to interrupt Trump’s dinner Wednesday night, but said it focused on satisfying those concerns.

The attempted last-minute intervention by Graham and the others was just the latest attempt by Republicans to find some kind of compromise, as they choose between siding with Trump or crossing him on Thursday’s vote. But Trump repeatedly shot down the GOP’s attempts at dealmaking, calling Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, during a private GOP lunch Wednesday to reject a proposal to curtail presidential powers under the National Emergencies Act. Shortly after that, Lee announced he would be voting for the disapproval resolution. The vote on the disapproval resolution came a day after a Senate vote to end US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen, marking unusual twin rebukes from a Senate that has mostly bowed to Trump’s wishes.

Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., offered contrasting takes on the Senate floor Thursday morning about what is at stake. “This is not a normal vote,” Schumer said. “This will be a vote about the very nature of our constitution and the separation of powers.” But McConnell argued that Trump was acting well within his powers and consistently with previous invocations of the National Emergencies Act. “Let’s not lose sight of the particular question that’s before us later today, whether the facts tell us there’s truly a humanitarian and security crisis on our Southern border and whether the Senate, for some reason, feels this particular emergency on our own border does not rise to the other national emergencies current in effect,” McConnell said. – With AP.

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Border wall: Senate votes to end Donald Trump’s national emergency

WASHINGTON – In a major rebuke to President Donald Trump on his signature domestic policy issue, the Republican-controlled Senate voted Thursday to block the national emergency the president declared to free up money for his border wall. A dozen Republicans joined all Democrats backing a resolution to rescind Trump’s effort to tap into more than…

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Border wall: Senate votes to end Donald Trump’s national emergency

WASHINGTON – In a major rebuke to President Donald Trump on his signature domestic policy issue, the Republican-controlled Senate voted Thursday to block the national emergency the president declared to free up money for his border wall. A dozen Republicans joined all Democrats backing a resolution to rescind Trump’s effort to tap into more than $6 billion that Congress set aside for other programs, most of them at the Pentagon.
Trump vowed to use his veto power for the first time to kill the resolution, which passed the House last month. There’s probably not enough opposition to override that veto, but the Senate vote was nevertheless a significant political setback for Trump.
The president, who had lobbied hard in recent days to keep Republicans in line, responded with a single-word tweet after the vote.
“VETO!” was all he wrote..

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Trump faces Senate revolt in vote on border emergency – World News Gateway

Senate Republicans revolt against Trump over border 14 March 2019 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright AFP Image caption President Trump says the situation on the southern border constitutes a national crisis Rebel members of President Donald Trump’s party have helped pass a vote to…

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Trump faces Senate revolt in vote on border emergency – World News Gateway

Senate Republicans revolt against Trump over border 14 March 2019 These are external links and will open in a new window Close share panel Image copyright AFP Image caption President Trump says the situation on the southern border constitutes a national crisis Rebel members of President Donald Trump’s party have helped pass a vote to reject his declaration of an emergency on the US-Mexico border.
Twelve Republican senators broke party ranks to side with Democrats, approving a proposal to revoke the proclamation by 59-41.
The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives last month backed the measure.
Following Thursday’s vote, Mr Trump tweeted: “VETO!”
Congress needs a two-thirds majority of both chambers to override a presidential veto, which is viewed as unlikely in this case.

Nevertheless, the vote will be seen as an embarrassing loss for the president on his signature domestic issue.
On Twitter, Mr Trump slammed the vote, calling it a “Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs and Trafficking in our Country”. Skip Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump I look forward to VETOING the just passed Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs, and Trafficking in our Country. I thank all of the Strong Republicans who voted to support Border Security and our desperately needed WALL! Report End of Twitter post by @realDonaldTrump
It comes just a day after the Senate rebuked him on foreign policy by approving a bill to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen .

The Republican rebels on Thursday were Mitt Romney and Mike Lee of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rob Portman of Ohio, Jerry Moran of Kansas, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.
Thom Tillis of North Carolina changed his mind minutes before the vote and said he would oppose it.
The Republican president declared the emergency on 15 February after Congress refused funding for a wall on the US-Mexico border, a key campaign pledge.
He aims to circumvent Congress and build his long-promised barrier by raiding military budgets.

It could free up almost $8bn (£6bn) for the wall, which is still considerably short of the estimated $23bn cost of a barrier along almost 2,000 miles (3,200km) of border, but far more than the nearly $1.4bn begrudgingly allotted last month by Congress. Where authority ends and overreach begins
Gary O’Donoghue, BBC News, Washington
By any standards this is a big rebellion by Republicans in the Senate and therefore a significant embarrassment for the president.
But what it’s not, is a repudiation by them of his border wall policy which many of them support with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

Which begs the question: what were they bothered about?
In straightforward terms, the use of national emergency powers was seen as overreach by the president in two ways:
First, it is a pretty blatant attempt to bypass Congress’s power of the purse – its constitutional right to raise and spend money.
The president had demanded billions for the wall, Congress hadn’t agreed it; the government shutdown; and eventually the White House backed down. So going after the cash by this route was seen as not playing by the rules.
Second, Democrats and some Republicans regard this as a power grab that could set a dangerous precedent.
In the past, a constant refrain from Republicans was that former President Barack Obama regularly abused executive powers to do things he should have won congressional backing for.
And many of the current batch of Republican Senators will be in situ long after President Trump has departed. They might find it harder, if they’d backed the president now, to argue that a future Democratic president couldn’t use emergency powers to, say, move on gun ownership or climate change.
So these rebellious Republicans get to have their cake and eat it.

A marker has been laid down, but, with no chance of a veto override, the president still gets his way.
Or at least for the time being. Ultimately it will be the nine justices of the Supreme Court who will decide where legitimate authority ends and overreach begins.
Earlier on Thursday Mr Trump called Democrats “border deniers” and said any Republican opposing him would be casting “a vote for Nancy Pelosi”.

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