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"Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech," said Benjamin Franklin. Everyone has an opinion and the right to speak that opinion our forefathers granted us that right it is called the First Amendment. Read it then discuss it in the Forums.

Welcome to GOP Watch page 6 keeping an eye on Republicans for you
Republicans claim to be patriots but they are not. Real patriots put country first not party; Republicans put party first not country, Republicans are not real patriots. The Republican Party is doing some very unpatriotic things and is willing to destroy our democracy using lies, hate, fear, alterative facts and whataboutism to stay in power and protect a comprised and corrupt Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party and Putin. Republicans will tell you anything depending on the day of the week or the way the wind blows. Republicans use lies and alternative facts (more lies) to support there fabricated stories. Many of same Republicans who wanted to impeach Clinton are now protecting Trump from obstruction charges and are not protecting Americans from Trump or Russian election interference. Once again, Republicans put party above country. We need to keep an eye on them before they destroy America, as we know it. Welcome to GOP Watch keeping an eye on Republicans for you. The Republican Party is using lies, hate, fear, alterative facts and whataboutism to stay in power and protect a comprised and corrupt Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party and Putin. The GOP is a danger to America and Americans.

Ken Cuccinelli's new frontiers in racism: Real Americans are "people coming from Europe"
Donald Trump and his minions keep hiding behind euphemisms. What they clearly want is to make America whiter
By Amanda Marcotte
How many euphemisms can Donald Trump's allies and members of his administration come up with for "white" when trying to explain their preferences for what the population of the United States should look like? There's "Western civilization," which Trump has declared superior to "the South or the East," because people from the magical lands of the West apparently "pursue innovation" while others do not. (Someone should tell the tech-driven economies of South Asia and East Asia about that.) The language, sometimes modified to "Western values," was picked up by much of right-wing media. Then there's "culture and demographics", a euphemism for whiteness preferred by folks like Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who is beyond any serious doubt the most racist member of Congress.

By Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman
In January, as the Senate debated whether to permit the Trump administration to lift sanctions on Russia’s largest aluminum producer, two men with millions of dollars riding on the outcome met for dinner at a restaurant in Zurich. On one side of the table sat the head of sales for Rusal, the Russian aluminum producer that would benefit most immediately from a favorable Senate vote. The U.S. government had imposed sanctions on Rusal as part of a campaign to punish Russia for “malign activity around the globe,” including attempts to sway the 2016 presidential election. On the other side sat Craig Bouchard, an American entrepreneur who had gained favor with officials in Kentucky, the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Bouchard was trying to build the first new aluminum-rolling mill in the United States in nearly four decades, in a corner of northeastern Kentucky ravaged by job losses and the opioid epidemic — a project that stood to benefit enormously if Rusal were able to get involved.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should explain why he blocked a bipartisan denunciation of Russian interference in our election before voters went to the polls. Americans deserve to hear why McConnell did not trust them with the evidence that he and 11 other congressional leaders received in a confidential briefing in September. The Washington Post reports that during that briefing McConnell “made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.” McConnell also questioned the veracity of the intelligence, according to the Post, based on information from unidentified officials present at the September briefing. On Monday, McConnell said he had the “highest confidence” in U.S. intelligence agencies. But McConnell would not answer reporters’ questions about the Post’s account. He passed up the opportunity to deny that he torpedoed the administration’s request for a bipartisan pre-election statement calling out the Russians. Now McConnell and other Republicans are saying the integrity of our elections is too important for partisanship. But before the election McConnell appears to have put partisan concerns first. It’s impossible to say whether the outcome would have changed if Republicans and Democrats in Congress had united to publicly rebuke Russia.

By Marik von Rennenkampff, Opinion Contributor
Republicans have labeled the rising national debt a dire threat to national security. Indeed, an ever-increasing federal debt constrains future defense budgets and severely limits the government’s ability to respond to future conflicts or economic crises. Moreover, China is the single largest foreign holder of U.S. debt. Ironically, however, virtually every one of the GOP voices now citing the national debt as a major national security threat voted for the 2017 tax cut, which is forecast to balloon the debt. Nearly two years following the passage of the tax law, its dramatic effects are coming into focus. Normally, in a reasonably strong economy, the government collects more tax dollars year-over-year. In short, economic growth and a larger pool of taxpayers from the previous year generate higher tax receipts. As a direct result of the GOP tax cut, however, 2018 was the first year that tax revenues actually declined in a relatively strong economy. When accounting for inflation, this unprecedented drop in revenues is even starker. But it gets worse. The actual decline in tax receipts was partially hidden by a surge in government revenues – amounting to the largest tax increase in decades – due to the Trump administration’s ongoing trade wars. To put all of this into perspective, the last time that the unemployment rate was as low as it is today, federal revenues increased by a whopping 22 percent over the previous year. It should come as little surprise, then, that nonpartisan sources have forecast trillions of dollars in debt over the next decade due to the 2017 GOP tax cut. Despite the Republican mantra that “spending is the problem,” these forecasts account for modest spending scenarios. All told, the 2017 GOP tax law is a fiscal disaster with clear implications for national security. Moreover, the tax cuts did not “pay for themselves,” as the Trump administration repeatedly promised. Spending, meanwhile, spiraled out of control, despite Republican control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.

By Mona Eltahawy
From King's Twitter feed to the manifesto of the El Paso shooter, white supremacists and white nationalists are obsessed with falling birth rates.
On Wednesday, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, catapulted into the news again after musing that humanity might not exist if not for rape and incest. These cruel and highly offensive remarks were in service of the argument that even sexually assaulted women should be denied abortions. But King’s comments were just the latest reminder of the way sexism and white supremacy so often go hand in hand. Whether in Europe or in the United States, white supremacists and white nationalists are obsessed with falling birth rates, and by extension they are obsessed with the recruitment — and total control — of women’s wombs. In 2017, when the far-right, anti-Islam and anti-immigrant Dutch politician Geert Wilders was polling in second place in the Netherlands’ national elections, Breitbart’s European sister site Voice of Europe tweeted an image of Wilders plugging a hole in a wall labeled “Western Civilization.” King approvingly retweeted that image, noting that “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies. King doubled down on this sentiment after an outcry, telling CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day": "You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else's babies. You've got to keep your birth rate up, and that you need to teach your children your values. ... In doing so, you can grow your population, you can strengthen your culture, and you can strengthen your way of life." - Sounds like from King's statement he supports rape and incest and explains why he does not support abortion.

The Lead
A Russian company with ties to the Kremlin made a major investment in a new mill in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's home state of Kentucky weeks after McConnell killed sanctions on Russia, according to the Washington Post.

By Zack Ford
The poem only refers to welcoming "people from Europe," he claimed this week. Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was roundly criticized for comments he made Tuesday on NPR suggesting that the Statue of Liberty’s poem was only meant to welcome immigrants “who can stand on their own two feet.” Tuesday evening, he doubled down by suggesting the poem only applied to “people coming from Europe, where they had class-based societies.” CNN host Erin Burnett was grilling Cuccinelli about his earlier remarks, noting that the Emma Lazarus poem The New Colossus, written in 1883 and inscribed on the Statue of Liberty in 1903, specifically describes people who have nothing. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” the poem excerpt reads, “the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” It does not refer to people who can “stand on their own two feet,” as Cuccinelli had said earlier in the day. Burnett asked Cuccinelli what he believed America stood for. Cuccinelli responded that the poem only referred to class-based societies in Europe, “where people were considered ‘wretched’ if they weren’t in the right class.”

By Clare Foran, CNN
Washington (CNN) - GOP Rep. Steve King of Iowa questioned on Wednesday whether there would be any population left on Earth if not for rape and incest, a remark that has drawn condemnation from both Democrats and Republicans. "What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?" he said in Urbandale, Iowa, according to video posted online by the Des Moines Register, which was first to report on the remarks Wednesday. "Considering all the wars and all the rape and pillage that has taken place ... I know I can't certify that I was not a part of a product of that," King said. "I'd like to think that every one of the lives of us are as precious as any other life," he added. The remarks came as King was defending not allowing exceptions for abortion in cases of rape or incest. The Iowa Republican is a controversial and polarizing figure on Capitol Hill who has a track record of making racist comments that have generated backlash across the political spectrum. In January, House Republicans stripped King of committee assignments, an action that took place after an interview in which he appeared to lament that the term "white supremacist" is considered offensive. CNN has reached out to King's office for comment, but did not immediately receive a response. The remarks quickly generated condemnation from lawmakers in both parties.

Are Trump and his traitorous enablers modern-day McCarthyists?
By Matthew Rozsa
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn't like it when you call him #MoscowMitch. He hates it so much that he'll accuse you of being a McCarthyist for doing so. If the accusation was untrue — that is, if McConnell, President Donald Trump and other Republicans weren't empowering Russia at the expense of America for their personal benefit — then #MoscowMitch and talk of collusion in Trump's 2016 presidential campaign would be unfair, even unjust. As the facts currently stand, however, it is a perfectly fair label. They still are not McCarthyist, though, because McCarthyism wasn't really about hating Russia — it was about hating liberals. A quick history lesson. Joseph McCarthy was a United States senator from Wisconsin who served between 1947 and 1957. His political heyday, however, lasted from 1950 to 1954. On February 9, 1950, he delivered an infamous speech in Wheeling, West Virginia in which he claimed without evidence that he had "a list of 205 [State Department employees] that were known to the Secretary of State as being members of the Communist Party and who nevertheless are still working and shaping the policy of the State Department." Notice that he did not say "Russians" or "traitors to Russia." This isn't because the Soviet Union (the empire controlled by Russia during the bulk of the 20th century) wasn't America's primary geopolitical enemy at the time, or that there wasn't a valid and widespread fear of that nation. Rather it is because the assumption wasn't simply that people would betray America to Russia, but that they would do so because the Soviet Union's authoritarian left-wing ideology was being conflated with all forms of liberalism. When McCarthy warned of "Communists," he was using a dog whistle to vilify anyone whose beliefs were to the left of what he and his supporters deemed acceptable.

New Day
CNN's John Avlon reports on growing frustration over Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's refusal to call the Senate back into session to vote on gun reform legislation after mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas.

By Isabel Kershner
JERUSALEM — Israel on Thursday barred the entry of two American Democratic congresswomen who had planned to visit the West Bank, hours after President Trump had urged the country to block them. Mr. Trump’s intervention was an extraordinary step to influence an allied nation and punish his political opponents at home. The two congresswomen, Representatives Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, both freshmen, are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Both are outspoken adversaries of Mr. Trump and have been vocal in their support of the Palestinians and the boycott-Israel movement. The president has targeted them in speeches and Twitter postings that his critics have called racist and xenophobic. It was reported last week that Mr. Trump was pressing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to deny entrance to the two women, and Thursday morning he left little doubt. While Israeli officials were still deliberating the matter, he said in a Twitter post that “it would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit.”

By Tim Elfrink
The young men wear matching shirts from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)’s campaign, and cluster around a cardboard cutout of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Several of them hold their thumbs down. One grasps the life-size poster by the waist and pretends to kiss the congresswoman. Another appears to mime his hand around her neck. To Ocasio-Cortez, the photo — originally posted to Instagram and then made viral on Twitter on Monday — suggested an endorsement of violent misogyny. “Are you paying for young men to practice groping & choking members of Congress w/ your payroll, or is this just the standard culture of #TeamMitch?” Ocasio-Cortez asked on Twitter on Monday night. McConnell’s campaign answered in the negative to both questions, saying in a statement that it “in no way condones” the image and also noting that the men are high school students with no official affiliation.

By Leah Asmelash and Brian Ries, CNN
(CNN) - A Republican state representative is speaking out against what he believes is his own party's complicity in "enabling white supremacy," and says history won't judge his fellow Republicans kindly. Nebraska state legislator Rep. John McCollister tweeted Sunday night, "The Republican Party is enabling white supremacy in our country. As a lifelong Republican, it pains me to say this, but it's the truth." The Twitter thread came one day after a white supremacist killed at least 20 people in El Paso, Texas. The criticism came as some politicians began pointing to the rhetoric from the Republican Party and the current administration as a contributing factor for the violence. McCollister, who represents part of Omaha, said that he didn't think all Republicans are racist or white supremacists, but "the Republican Party is COMPLICIT to obvious racist and immoral activity inside our party." "We have a Republican president who continually stokes racist fears in his base. He calls certain countries 'sh*tholes,' tells women of color to "go back" to where they came from and lies more than he tells the truth," he added. He finished the tweets asking his colleagues to no longer look the other way. "When the history books are written, I refuse to be someone who said nothing," he said. "The time is now for us Republicans to be honest with what is happening inside our party. We are better than this and I implore my Republican colleagues to stand up and do the right thing."

By Chris Sommerfeldt - New York Daily News
Chuck Schumer is bringing the “Moscow Mitch” moniker to a whole other level. The New York senator speculated Thursday that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been blocking election security bills from becoming law because he wants "the Russians to interfere” in 2020. Appearing on Joe Madison’s namesake radio show, Schumer said he could only think of two reasons for why McConnell derailed a couple of proposals last week that would have beefed up election security ahead of next’s year presidential contest — “neither of them good.” “One, they want the Russians to interfere because they think it’ll help them,” Schumer said. “The second, is another reason not so good. Donald Trump in his puerile, babyishness, if that’s even a word, is so upset at the fact that the Russians might have interfered, that it delegitimizes his election, and McConnell is so scared of Trump that he goes along.” Referring to former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress last month, Schumer added, “Mueller made this clear: the Russians wanted Trump to win.”

Top Nixon adviser reveals the racist reason he started the 'war on drugs' decades ago
By Alex Lockie
President Richard Nixon in 1971 declared a US "war on drugs" that hasn't saved the US from the dangers of drugs, but has fueled migrant crises and the mass incarceration of minorities in the US. A top Nixon aide told an author that the policy was specifically designed to target opposition to Nixon: Blacks and Hippies. Today, hundreds of thousands of people of color languish in jail for drug charges as the US's seemingly insatiable appetite for drugs wreaks havoc on countries in Latin America, fuelling humanitarian crises at the border and far beyond it. President Richard Nixon in 1971 declared a US "war on drugs" that, over the decades, fueled mass incarceration and the crisis at the US's southern border without preventing Americans from accessing dangerous drugs, and one of his top aides say it's because it was a racist policy implemented as a power grab. Criminalizing possession of drugs like heroin and marijuana was intended to "disrupt" two of the biggest anti-establishment forces that opposed Nixon, one of his top advisors later admitted. Nixon, the only US president to resign in scandal, presided over the waning days of the Vietnam war, a relentlessly brutal fight over far away lands that nominally represented a fight between the free world and communism.

Ronald Reagan called African diplomats ‘monkeys' in call to Richard Nixon – audio
Guardian News
Ronald Reagan made racist remarks about African delegates to the United Nations, newly released audio recordings have revealed. 'Damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes,' Reagan tells Richard Nixon, who erupts in laughter. At the time of the call, Nixon was still president and Reagan was governor of California.

Thursday’s budget deal proves once again Republicans never cared about the deficit
By Matthew Yglesias
Let’s remember for the next time they flip-flop. Republicans used to profess to be extremely worried about the budget deficit. Many of us suspected at the time that they were full of it. And one big thing we’ve learned this week is that they were, indeed, full of it. The budget deal the Senate is passing today will raise spending by $320 billion, split between defense and non-defense measures, in the context of deficits that have already soared to more than $1 trillion per year. In 2012, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the budget deficit “the nation’s most serious long-term problem.” That same year, House Speaker Paul Ryan called it a “serious threat” to the economy. They were full of it. Not just in the narrow sense that they both went on to enthusiastically endorse a $1.5 trillion tax cut in 2017 — a tax cut that the Congressional Budget Office says did little to boost the economy but a great deal to boost payouts to rich shareholders. Nor even in the somewhat broader sense that the real cost of that tax cut is much higher than $1.5 trillion when you consider the various accounting gimmicks and bad-faith phaseouts. Even under the weird linguistic conventions of American conservative politics where deficits caused by tax cuts don’t count as real deficits, this week’s budget deal — a big, multibillion-dollar increase in military spending “offset” by a nearly as large increase in nonmilitary spending — gives up the game entirely. Republicans don’t care, on any level, about the size of the federal deficit.

By Bess Levin
Twenty senators have urged the Treasury to give the wealthy another tax cut via executive order. A sitting U.S. president who can’t stop attacking black and brown people. A never-ending trade war that has necessitated more than one multibillion-dollar farm bailout. A humanitarian crisis on the border of his own state. These are just a handful of the many issues that Senator Ted Cruz could be focused on. Instead, he’s currently devoting his efforts to a much more important cause: demanding another tax cut for the rich, this time without Congress’s approval. In a letter sent to Steve Mnuchin on Monday, the senator from Texas urged the Treasury Secretary to use his “authority” to index capital gains to inflation, a move that would almost exclusively benefit the mega-rich. Claiming, falsely, that the United States economy “has experienced historic levels of growth as a result of Congress and the current administration’s policies such as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” Cruz insists that it is now crucial for the Treasury Department to adjust capital gains for inflation “so that everyday Americans can continue to enjoy better lives and livelihoods.” And by “everyday Americans,” he of course means (but doesn’t say) the spectacularly wealthy. Missing from Cruz’s call for Mnuchin to use “executive authority” to end this “unfair” treatment of taxpayers, which was signed by 20 of his Republican colleagues, is the fact that, according to the Penn Wharton Budget model, a whopping 86% of the benefit of indexing capital gains to inflation would go to the 1 percent (and reduce annual tax revenue by an estimated $102 billion over a decade). Perhaps seeking to address this criticism, Cruz claimed that changing how capital gains are taxed “would…unlock capital for investment, increase wages, create new jobs, and grow the economy, benefiting Americans across all income levels.” In other words, he’s arguing that the executive branch should give the super-rich another tax cut and it’ll benefit everyone because of trickle-down economics which—checks notes—has never actually worked. Including in the case of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

By Jessica Campisi
The hashtag #LeningradLindsey trended on Twitter Thursday after Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) forced a controversial asylum bill through committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday advanced a bill to overhaul U.S. asylum laws, waiving committee rules to force the bill through to the full Senate, where it likely won’t get the 60 votes it needs to pass. But Graham’s move to push the bill through the panel outraged Democrats who say the South Carolina senator broke the rules on how lawmakers take up legislation in order to move a partisan bill along. Hundreds started using the hashtag invoking Leningrad — the Soviet-era name of the Russian city of St. Petersburg — slamming Graham for the move. “#LeningradLindsey is breaking procedural code, lying to the American people, and has betrayed the principles this country was founded upon,” one person tweeted."

by Tim Naftali
In newly unearthed audio, the then–California governor disparaged African delegates to the United Nations. The day after the United Nations voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China, then–California Governor Ronald Reagan phoned President Richard Nixon at the White House and vented his frustration at the delegates who had sided against the United States. “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said. “Yeah,” Nixon interjected. Reagan forged ahead with his complaint: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon gave a huge laugh. The past month has brought presidential racism back into the headlines. This October 1971 exchange between current and future presidents is a reminder that other presidents have subscribed to the racist belief that Africans or African Americans are somehow inferior. The most novel aspect of President Donald Trump’s racist gibes isn’t that he said them, but that he said them in public. The exchange was taped by Nixon, and then later became the responsibility of the Nixon Presidential Library, which I directed from 2007 to 2011. When the National Archives originally released the tape of this conversation, in 2000, the racist portion was apparently withheld to protect Reagan’s privacy. A court order stipulated that the tapes be reviewed chronologically; the chronological review was completed in 2013. Not until 2017 or 2018 did the National Archives begin a general rereview of the earliest Nixon tapes. Reagan’s death, in 2004, eliminated the privacy concerns. Last year, as a researcher, I requested that the conversations involving Ronald Reagan be rereviewed, and two weeks ago, the National Archives released complete versions of the October 1971 conversations involving Reagan online.

By Carl Hulse
WASHINGTON — Senator Mitch McConnell is usually impervious to criticism, even celebrating the nasty nicknames that have been bestowed on him by critics. But Mr. McConnell, the Senate majority leader, is incensed with his new moniker, “Moscow Mitch,” and even more miffed that he has been called a “Russian asset” by critics who accuse him of single-handedly blocking stronger election security measures after Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Democrats had been making the case for months, but it was supercharged last week by the testimony of Robert S. Mueller III, the former special counsel, who told the House Intelligence Committee that the Russians were back at it “as we sit here.” Mr. McConnell cites several reasons for his opposition — a longstanding resistance to federal control over state elections, newly enacted security improvements that were shown to have worked in the 2018 voting and his suspicion that Democrats are trying to gain partisan advantage with a host of proposals. Republican colleagues say that Mr. McConnell, a longtime foe of tougher campaign finance restrictions and disclosure requirements, is leery of even entering into legislative negotiation that could touch on fund-raising and campaign spending. But whatever Mr. McConnell’s reasoning, criticism of him for impeding a number of election proposals has taken hold — even back home in Kentucky, where the majority leader faces re-election next year. A spotlight on the people reshaping our politics. A conversation with voters across the country. And a guiding hand through the endless news cycle, telling you what you really need to know. “Democrats want more aggressive legislation to protect America’s elections after Robert Mueller’s stark warning about Russian interference,” began one report aired on a Louisville television station last week. “Mitch McConnell blocked it.”

By Amber Phillips
As President Trump’s own FBI director warns that Russians are planning to try to undermine American democracy in the next presidential election, Republican lawmakers led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) are blocking bills aimed at blocking foreign hackers from states’ voting systems. Why? Republicans have policy objections to the legislation, but it seems clear that politics is at the forefront of McConnell’s decision-making. Specifically, the politics of pleasing Trump. Trump is so sensitive to findings that Russians tried to help him win in 2016 that a Cabinet secretary was warned against briefing him on it. He’s repeatedly sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over his own intelligence community about whether Russians interfered. He’s said he might accept foreign help in his 2020 reelection. And last month, he made light of it all when he mock-scolded Putin in front of cameras. “Don’t meddle in the election,” he said, waving a finger and wearing a smile.

By Morgan Gstalter
The hashtag #MoscowMitchMcTreason began trending on Twitter Tuesday morning after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fired back against the nickname "Moscow Mitch" in a fiery speech from the Senate floor. MSNBC host Joe Scarborough, a former GOP lawmaker, dubbed McConnell “Moscow Mitch” after McConnell on Friday blocked two election security measures. The hashtag #MoscowMitch quickly began trending on Twitter following Scarborough's comments. McConnell responded on Monday, decrying the attacks against him as “modern-day McCarthyism.” “I was called unpatriotic, un-American and essentially treasonous by a couple of left-wing pundits on the basis of bold-faced lies. I was accused of aiding and abetting the very man I’ve singled out as an adversary and opposed for nearly 20 years, Vladimir Putin,” McConnell said. “These pundits are lying, lying when they dismiss the work that has been done. They’re lying when they insist I have personally blocked actions which, in fact, I have championed and the Senate has passed," he added. "They are lying when they suggest that either party is against defending our democracy.”

By Nicole Goodkind
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell squashed two bills intended to ensure voting security on Thursday, just one day after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned that Russians were attempting to sabotage the 2020 presidential elections "as we sit here." McConnell said he wouldn't allow a vote on the bills because they were "so partisan," but, as previously reported, earlier this year McConnell received a slew of donations from four of the top voting machine lobbyists in the country. "Clearly this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly something so partisan that it only received one single solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent," said McConnell on the Senate floor. The plans would likely burden the two largest electronic voting machine vendors in the United States, Election Systems & Software and Dominion Voting Systems, with new regulations and financial burdens. Together, the companies make up about 80 percent of all voting machines used in the country and both have far-reaching lobbying arms in Washington D.C. Many of those lobbyists have contributed to the McConnell campaign, reported Sludge last month, an investigative outlet that focuses on money in politics. Sludge found that Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck lobbyist David Cohen, who has worked on behalf of Dominion Voting Systems this year, donated $2,000 to McConnell during this time. Brian Wild, who works with Cohen and has also lobbied Dominion, gave McConnell $1,000.

By Dana Milbank
Mitch McConnell is a Russian asset. This doesn’t mean he’s a spy, but neither is it a flip accusation. Russia attacked our country in 2016. It is attacking us today. Its attacks will intensify in 2020. Yet each time we try to raise our defenses to repel the attack, McConnell, the Senate majority leader, blocks us from defending ourselves. Let’s call this what it is: unpatriotic. The Kentucky Republican is, arguably more than any other American, doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding. Robert Mueller sat before Congress this week warning that the Russia threat “deserves the attention of every American.” He said “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in our election is among the most serious” challenges to American democracy he has ever seen. “They are doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign,” he warned, adding that “much more needs to be done in order to protect against these intrusions, not just by the Russians but others as well.” Not three hours after Mueller finished testifying, Mark Warner (D-Va.), vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, went to the Senate floor to request unanimous consent to pass legislation requiring presidential campaigns to report to the FBI any offers of assistance from agents of foreign governments. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) was there to represent her leader’s interests. “I object,” she said.

Posted By Ian Schwartz
MSNBC 'Morning Joe' host Joe Scarborough went on a rant Friday denouncing Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for blocking a series of election security bills. JOE SCARBOROUGH: He is aiding and abetting Putin's ongoing attempts to subvert U.S. democracy, according to the Republican FBI, CIA, DNI… All Republicans are saying Russia is trying to subvert U.S. democracy and Moscow Mitch won't even let the Senate take a vote on it. That is un-American... How can Moscow Mitch so willingly turn a blind eye not only this year to what his Republican chairman of the Intel Committee is saying, to what Robert Mueller is saying, to what the FBI director is saying, to what the DNI is saying, to what the CIA is saying, to what the United States military intel community is saying?

By Kathryn Watson
Hours after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified Wednesday that Russians are still meddling in the U.S. political system, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked the advancement of legislation to secure the nation's election system. Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith also blocked a set of bills on election security Wednesday. In blocking the legislation crafted by Senate Democrats to provide more funding for election security, McConnell declared the effort partisan and insisted the Trump administration has already done much to secure the nation's elections. One bill McConnell objected to would have both required the use of paper ballots and provided funding for the Election Assistance Commission. He also objected to legislation that would have required campaigns and candidates to report offers offers of election-related aid from foreign governments.

By By Shane Croucher
The hashtag #MoscowMitch was trending on Twitter on Friday morning after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blocked two election bills designed to deter interference by Russia and other states, claiming it was "partisan legislation" by the Democratic Party. It followed special counsel Robert Mueller's testimony on Wednesday that Russia is still attempting to interfere in American democracy, further to its meddling in the 2016 presidential election, with a view to disrupting the 2020 contest. Then on Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee published a report detailing Russian interference dating back to at least 2014 through to 2017 that targeted U.S. election infrastructure with an "unprecedented level of activity." Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough used the moniker "Moscow Mitch" in reference to McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, multiple times during his MSNBC show on Friday, and tore into the congressional leader for several minutes. Scarborough made reference to an effort in 2016 ahead of the election by President Barack Obama to sound the alarm to American voters about Russian interference by urging congressional leaders to sign a bipartisan statement condemning it publicly. At the time, according to The Washington Post, McConnell rebuffed Obama's suggestion, and said he would view the White House talking publicly about Russian interference before polling day as an act of partisanship designed to aid the then Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

by Chris Baynes
US president says has given attorney general William Barr permission to share files with 'whoever he wants' Donald Trump has given the US attorney general permission to share classified information about the Russia investigation with Devin Nunes, the Republican House Intelligence Committee ranking member who has called for Justice Department and FBI officials to be jailed over the probe. The US president said he had given William Barr “a total release” of documents relating to the investigation into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 election, and had also “given him authorisation to release it to whoever he wants”. “He’s got everything; everything he needs, he’s got,” he told Sean Hannity in an interview on Fox News on Thursday night. Mr Trump added: “He’s the attorney general of the United States, he’s has got a lot of very good people under him that I guess are involved and I gave them a total release. So, all of it’s been released and he has all of it. “I’ve also given him authorisation to release it to whoever he wants, whether it’s his people or frankly perhaps people like Devin Nunes, who is a star.”

There’s nothing wrong with defending the president during a scandal. But denying reality helps no one.
By Jonathan Bernstein
Some things are so obvious that no one even bothers to mention them. So I want to be clear: House Republicans embarrassed themselves Wednesday at former special counsel Robert Mueller’s hearings. There’s nothing wrong with politicians defending a president of the same party during a scandal. It’s their job, in fact, to point out where evidence is weak, conclusions assume too much, or stories have holes in them. Nor is it a problem when they try to place a scandal in context if (as is often the case) a media frenzy or overeager out-party has exaggerated the importance of some instance of wrongdoing. Many Republicans played that role during Watergate, and while they were burned by a president who couldn’t be trusted, historians have been relatively kind to them. That’s not what happened Wednesday. Instead of reading carefully into the evidence and finding contradictions or loose ends, House Republicans largely busied themselves with conspiracy theories. It wasn’t Donald Trump and his campaign who welcomed and benefited from Russian interference in the 2016 election; it was Hillary Clinton! Never mind what U.S. intelligence agencies and Senate investigators have concluded. Never mind that this reality-denying line of inquiry left lawmakers defending Wikileaks and even, seemingly, the Russian agents indicted by Mueller.

By Sophia Tesfaye
How did Republicans react to Robert Mueller's testimony? By lying, deflecting and blocking election security bills. The integrity of American elections was compromised long before Donald Trump’s shocking victory in 2016, but former special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress on Wednesday made clear that one political party is actively subverting attempts to protect our democracy. Hours after Mueller testified about foreign election interference before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday afternoon, the Republican-controlled Senate moved to block four separate bills to defend the U.S. democratic process. "Over the course of my career, I've seen a number of challenges to our democracy," Mueller said in his opening remarks. "The Russian government's effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious. As I said on May 29, this deserves the attention of every American." Muller told the committee that the Russian effort “wasn’t a single attempt. They’re doing it as we sit here, and they expect to do it during the next campaign.” He later told lawmakers that "much more needs to be done in order to protect against these intrusions — not just by the Russians, but others as well.” Researchers have already reported suspected Iranian disinformation campaigns on most major social media platforms this year. What Mueller said, coupled with his report — which found that the Russian government interfered in the 2016 election in “sweeping and systematic fashion” — is breathtaking. Russia's disinformation campaign in 2016 spent more than $1 million a month, as Mueller reported in an indictment last year. When given an opportunity to question Mueller, however, some Republicans on the Intelligence Committee actually challenged him on his findings, complaining that he was baselessly defaming the Kremlin.

By Jordain Carney
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked two election security measures on Thursday, arguing Democrats are trying to give themselves a "political benefit." The move comes a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned about election meddling in 2020, saying Russia was laying the groundwork to interfere in the 2020 election "as we sit here." Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had tried to get consent Thursday to pass a House bill that requires the use of paper ballots and includes funding for the Election Assistance Commission. It passed the House 225-184 with one Republican voting for it. But McConnell objected, saying Schumer was trying to pass “partisan legislation.”  “Clearly this request is not a serious effort to make a law. Clearly something so partisan that it only received one single solitary Republican vote in the House is not going to travel through the Senate by unanimous consent,” McConnell said. Under the Senate’s rules any one senator can request consent to pass a bill, but any one senator can object. Schumer argued that if McConnell didn’t like that bill “let’s put another bill on the floor and debate it.” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) also asked for consent to pass legislation that would require candidates, campaign officials and their family members to notify the FBI of assistance offers from foreign governments. McConnell also objected to that bill.

By Ted Barrett and Kevin Collier, CNN
(CNN) - Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi on Wednesday blocked the advancement of a trio of bills aimed at strengthening election security just hours after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned of the continued threat that foreign powers interfering in US elections. Democratic Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia, Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Ron Wyden of Oregon had advocated for the bills on the Senate floor, asking for unanimous consent to pass the package, but that ask can be halted with an objection from any senator. Two of those bills would require campaigns to report to federal authorities any attempts by foreign entities to interfere in US elections, and the third is aimed at protecting from hackers the personal accounts and devices of senators and some staffers. Hyde-Smith objected to each unanimous consent request in keeping with GOP arguments that Congress has already responded to election security needs for the upcoming election. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a tweet Wednesday evening.

By Christopher Brito
A state Republican group apologized Sunday after sharing a meme calling four Democratic congresswomen the "The Jihad Squad." The post showed a faux movie poster featuring Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar –– progressive lawmakers known as "the Squad" who were the target of attacks from President Trump last week. The Illinois Republican County Chairman's Association (RCCA), a group that helps elect Republicans in the state, drew widespread criticism from both sides of the aisle after it posted a photoshopped image of the four congresswomen with guns, labeled "The Jihad Squad." A logo for the RCCA appeared at the bottom. The association's president, Mark Shaw, apologized in a statement Sunday night for the meme. "I condemn this unauthorized posting and it has been deleted," Shaw wrote. "I am sorry if anyone who saw the image was offended by the contents."

By Ephrat Livni & David Yanofsky
In between stints as US attorney general for George HW Bush in the early 90s and now for Donald Trump, while making millions as an executive at Verizon and a lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis, William Barr sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to various Republicans and their causes. Most of those donations made between 1993 and 2019 were occasional at best. But in the lead up to his Senate confirmation hearings for attorney general earlier this year, his giving habits suddenly changed. Barr’s donations became far more frequent, notable for their size, recipients, and possible utility to him. In total, Barr gave $51,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)—a group that raises money to help elect Republicans to the Senate—in the months leading up to the Senate’s confirmation of his nomination.

Republican state senators in Oregon remain in hiding Wednesday, in an attempt to avoid a vote on a controversial climate bill. But as a result, more than 100 other bills – including funding for state agencies – are at risk of being scrapped. Activists who want the Oregon state senate to pass the climate bill are running out of time.  Last week, 11 GOP lawmakers walked off the job -- and with only five days left in the legislative session, the senate doesn't have enough people to vote on the climate bill or the many others. "They are turning their backs on Oregonians and they are turning their backs on the democratic process," said the state's Democratic governor, Kate Brown. The Republicans' refusal to show up for work since last Thursday has also frustrated some voters. "Why do we elect them if they're not going to make a decision for us?" Sara Nickel said. Gov. Brown authorized state police to track down the runaway senators. But many have fled to neighboring states, including state Sen. Tim Knopp, who told CBS News that he's "in Idaho at a cabin by a lake."

It raises new questions about what else the Trump administration is hiding.
By Zack Ford
A former top adviser to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross confirmed the secretary lied about his intentions for adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census, according to House testimony made public on Tuesday. The Trump administration has blocked many of its officials from answering questions for House Democratic investigations. James Uthmeier, who served as senior adviser and counsel to Ross, appeared before the House Oversight Committee earlier this month and refused to answer more than 100 questions. Still, he “confirmed key information” about the changes to the census, according to Democratic members of the committee. His testimony informs the committee’s recent recommendation for contempt charges against Ross and Attorney General William Barr. As a new U.S. Census Bureau report explains, including a question on citizenship status in the census could result in as many as 9 million people not being counted as living in the United States. This undercount would largely impact racial minorities who fear that disclosing their status could lead to their deportation or that of friends, family members, and neighbors. Because the census determines redistricting for congressional representation, the resulting erasure would drastically benefit Republicans in the next decade of elections.

By MELANIE ZANONA, KYLE CHENEY and JOSH GERSTEIN
Federal prosecutors have accused Rep. Duncan Hunter of improperly using campaign funds to pursue numerous romantic affairs with congressional aides and lobbyists, according to a new court filing late Monday night. The Justice Department alleged that Hunter (R-Calif.) and his wife Margaret Hunter illegally diverted $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use, including to fund lavish vacations and their children’s school tuition. Monday’s court filings also spell out allegations that Hunter routinely used campaign funds to pay for Ubers, bar tabs, hotel rooms and other expenses to fund at least five extramarital relationships. “At trial, the United States will seek to admit evidence of defendant Duncan D. Hunter’s expenditure of campaign funds to pay for a host of personal expenses. Among these personal expenses were funds Hunter spent to pursue a series of intimate personal relationships,” the Justice Department said in a motion to admit evidence filed on Tuesday. “This evidence is necessary to establish the personal nature of the expenditures to demonstrate Hunter’s knowledge and intent to break the law, and to establish his motive to embezzle from his campaign.” Prosecutors said they approached the defense to reach an agreement “that would eliminate the need to introduce this potentially sensitive evidence at trial,” but the congressman’s lawyers declined. Hunter’s wife has pleaded guilty and agreed earlier this month to cooperate with prosecutors. Prosecutors also filed motions to permit Margaret Hunter’s testimony to be used at trial, which is slated for September 10.

By Mark Joseph Stern
Donald Trump’s Department of Justice has decided to run interference for Paul Manafort, protecting him from harsh imprisonment and even questioning the validity of charges brought against him by state prosecutors. This effort to aid the president’s loyal associate behind bars is a startling escalation of Attorney General William Barr’s campaign to help Trump and his confederates evade consequences for their misdeeds. Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman, was convicted of fraud and tax evasion in 2018 then pleaded guilty to illegal foreign lobbying and witness tampering. He was first prosecuted by special counsel Robert Mueller, who secured a 7.5-year federal prison sentence earlier this year. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance then brought 16 additional charges under New York law. Manafort is currently housed in Loretto, a federal prison in southwest Pennsylvania, and Vance’s office requested his transfer to a New York facility. (Typically, federal prisoners awaiting trial in New York state court are held in the notoriously brutal Rikers Island jail.)

By Igor Derysh
The FBI and many Republicans want Congress to pass bills protecting the 2020 election. Mitch wants none of it. Special counsel Robert Mueller warned of ongoing election interference efforts during his press appearance on Wednesday, just days after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to block two more election security bills approved by his Republican colleagues. “I will close by reiterating the central allegation of our indictments — that there were multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election,” Mueller said Wednesday in his first public remarks since being appointed. “That allegation deserves the attention of every American.” FBI Director Christopher Wray similarly told Congress earlier this month that “the threat just keeps escalating and we’re going to have to up our game to stay ahead of it.” “We are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020,” Wray warned. Even the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by tireless Trump defender Sen. Lindsey Graham, unanimously approved two bipartisan bills earlier this month aimed at deterring foreign actors from interfering in elections and making it a federal crime to hack into a state voting system. But McConnell vowed to block the bills from being voted on by the full Senate. “I think the majority leader is of the view that this debate reaches no conclusion,” Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., a member of McConnell’s leadership team, said earlier this month, according to The Hill. “At this point I don’t see any likelihood that those bills would get to the floor.” It’s a position that McConnell has taken before. During a hearing with Attorney General Bill Barr earlier this month, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., called out McConnell and the Trump administration for working in tandem to block the Secure Elections Act, an election security bill she co-sponsored with Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla.

By TUCKER DOHERTY and TANYA SNYDER
A top Transportation official helped coordinate grant applications by McConnell’s political allies. The Transportation Department under Secretary Elaine Chao designated a special liaison to help with grant applications and other priorities from her husband Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky, paving the way for grants totaling at least $78 million for favored projects as McConnell prepared to campaign for reelection. Chao’s aide Todd Inman, who stated in an email to McConnell’s Senate office that Chao had personally asked him to serve as an intermediary, helped advise the senator and local Kentucky officials on grants with special significance for McConnell — including a highway-improvement project in a McConnell political stronghold that had been twice rejected for previous grant applications. Beginning in April 2017, Inman and Chao met annually with a delegation from Owensboro, Ky., a river port with long connections to McConnell, including a plaza named in his honor. At the meetings, according to participants, the secretary and the local officials discussed two projects of special importance to the river city of 59,809 people — a plan to upgrade road connections to a commercial riverport and a proposal to expedite reclassifying a local parkway as an Interstate spur, a move that could persuade private businesses to locate in Owensboro.

By Carl Hulse
WASHINGTON — When it came to filling a Supreme Court vacancy during the 2016 presidential election year, Senator Mitch McConnell had a constant refrain: Let the people decide. But should a high court seat become open in 2020, Mr. McConnell has already decided himself. “Oh, we’d fill it,” Mr. McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and majority leader, gleefully told a friendly Chamber of Commerce audience back home in Paducah on Tuesday. Mr. McConnell regularly celebrates his history-altering 2016 decision to thwart President Barack Obama from filling a vacancy that occurred with 11 months remaining in his term, saying the seat should be kept open until a new president could be elected and inaugurated. But he has been laying the groundwork to change course ever since Donald J. Trump was elected president. Tuesday’s remarks were only his most definitive: He would not be bound by the standard he himself set in preventing Judge Merrick B. Garland from being seated on the high court. The comments immediately drew howls of blatant hypocrisy from Democrats and progressive allies. They said it underscored their view that Mr. McConnell was unprincipled and acted out of purely partisan motives in 2016 when he single-handedly decided to blockade Mr. Obama’s choice to replace Antonin Scalia after the court icon’s death that February.

By Michael McGough
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had barely breathed his last in February 2016 when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced that the Republican-controlled Senate wouldn't act on any replacement proposed by President Obama. "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court justice," McConnell said. "Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president." As the Los Angeles Times noted in an editorial at the time, McConnell’s justification for keeping the Scalia seat open was “self-serving sophistry.” We added: “The American people do have a voice in any nomination Obama makes. They ‘spoke’ when they elected him to a second term that has 11 months remaining. His authority to nominate Supreme Court justices is no more diminished by his supposed lame-duck status than any of his other constitutional powers.” Alas, McConnell’s stonewall held. Because the Senate refused to act on Obama’s nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to succeed Scalia, the seat was held open until a new president, Donald Trump nominated Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, who was confirmed largely on party lines. It was obvious from the start that McConnell’s invocation of the “principle” that Supreme Court seats shouldn’t be filled in an election year was bogus. Now it develops that it was a principle he’s willing to abandon to serve his party’s interests. On Tuesday, McConnell was asked at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Paducah, Ky., about the possibility that a Supreme Court justice might die next year. The questioner asked: “What will your position be on filling that spot?" Ted Barrett of CNN reported on what happened next: “The leader took a long sip of what appeared to be iced tea before announcing with a smile, ‘Oh, we'd fill it,’ triggering loud laughter from the audience.” It was a Mr. Burns moment that has brought cries of “Hypocrisy!” from McConnell’s critics. His spokesman and defenders in the media argued that no hypocrisy was involved because the actual “principle” guiding McConnell is that Supreme Court nominees shouldn’t be confirmed in an election year in which the Senate and the White House are controlled by different parties.

In 2016, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell R-Ky., refused to hold a hearing on President Obama's Supreme Court nominee, saying it was an election year, and the American people "deserved a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice." That was then. Speaking to an audience in Kentucky Monday, McConnell said should a vacancy occur on the court in 2020, another presidential election year, he would allow a vote. Asked at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon "should a Supreme Court justice die next year, what will your position be on filling that spot?" McConnell responded with a grin, "Oh, we'd fill it." The comments were first reported by CNN. McConnell has made similar pronouncements in the past, noting that the nomination of Merrick Garland by Obama came during a time of divided government, and should a vacancy occur with President Trump in the White House and the Senate also under GOP control, circumstances would be different. Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. responded to McConnell on Twitter, calling him "a hypocrite" - Hey Mitch you hypocrite what happen to letting the American people decide?

The comment, however, diverges from his decision in 2016 to not consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland following the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier that year.
By Rebecca Shabad and Frank Thorp V
WASHINGTON — If a Supreme Court vacancy emerges next year, Mitch McConnell will fill it, the Senate majority leader said Tuesday. The comment, however, diverges from his decision in 2016 to not consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nomination of Merrick Garland after the sudden death of Justice Antonin Scalia earlier that year. At a chamber luncheon in Paducah, Kentucky, on Tuesday, McConnell was asked by a member of the audience, “Should a Supreme Court justice die next year, what will your position be on filling that spot?" “I would fill it,” he responded, smirking, which drew loud laughter. McConnell said that while the 2017 GOP tax cuts could be repealed by future Congresses, judicial confirmations are more permanent. “What can’t be undone is a lifetime appointment," McConnell said. “That’s the most important thing that we have done for the country, which cannot be undone.” The majority leader said earlier that the biggest decision he had made in his Senate career was his choice not to consider Garland’s nomination. “I made the call in 2016 that we would not fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Scalia in the last year of the previous administration, a decision of enormous consequences,” he said. “You may have recalled the level of controversy that it produced. I thought I was on pretty firm ground because if I knew the shoe had been on the other foot, the guys on the other side would have done the same thing. That provided an opportunity for the American people to speak up about who they wanted to make that decision.” In a tweet Tuesday night, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called McConnell a hypocrite. - Hey Mitch you hypocrite what happen to letting the American people decide?

By Ted Barrett, CNN
(CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday if a Supreme Court vacancy occurs during next year's presidential election, he would work to confirm a nominee appointed by President Donald Trump. That's a move that is in sharp contrast to his decision to block President Barack Obama's nominee to the high court following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February 2016. At the time, he cited the right of the voters in the presidential election to decide whether a Democrat or a Republican would fill that opening, a move that infuriated Democrats. Speaking at a Paducah Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Kentucky, McConnell was asked by an attendee, "Should a Supreme Court justice die next year, what will your position be on filling that spot?" The leader took a long sip of what appeared to be iced tea before announcing with a smile, "Oh, we'd fill it," triggering loud laughter from the audience. David Popp, a spokesman for McConnell, said the difference between now and three years ago, when McConnell famously blocked Judge Merrick Garland's ascension to the Supreme Court, is that at that time the White House was controlled by Democrat and the Senate by a Republican. This time, both are controlled by the GOP. McConnell's remarks were viewed by CNN on the website of WPSD TV in Paducah. McConnell hinted at this position during an October appearance on Fox News Sunday when host Chris Wallace pressed the senator on whether he would fill a vacancy should one occur in 2020. - Hey Mitch you hypocrite what happen to letting the American people decide?

By Jordain Carney
Senators are growing increasingly frustrated as legislative activity has slowed to a crawl during the first half of the year. The Senate voted on two bills Thursday, breaking a nearly two-month drought during which Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has focused instead on judicial nominations, his top priority. The lack of floor action has left lawmakers publicly complaining, even though the high-profile feuding between President Trump and congressional Democrats makes it highly unlikely that large-scale bipartisan legislation will succeed heading into the 2020 elections. Tensions boiled over onto the Senate floor this week when Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) knocked the slow start to the new Congress, characterizing lawmakers as having done “nothing, zilch, zero, nada.” “I’m not saying we haven’t done anything. We have confirmed some very important nominees to the Trump administration, long overdue,” Kennedy said. “I’m saying we need to do more.” Asked how he felt about the pace of legislation in the Senate this year, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) shot back: “What legislation?” “So it’s pretty slow, isn’t it?” he asked.

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