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Trump asks black reporter to "set up the meeting" with Congressional Black Caucus
Reena Flores Feb-16-2017 38 0


President Trump’s freewheeling press White House press conference Thursday -- in which he announced his new labor secretary pick -- also included an awkward exchange on race, after a reporter asked him about his policies to improve inner cities.

“You go to some of the inner city places and it’s so sad when you look at the crime,” the president said. He went on to describe how people “lock themselves into apartments petrified to even leave in the middle of the day” in urban areas for fear of crime in the cities.

Journalist April Ryan, who serves as the White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, followed up: “When you say the inner cities, are you going to include the CBC, Mr. President, in your conversations with your urban agenda?”
When Mr. Trump seemed unfamiliar with the “CBC” acronym, Ryan, who is black, clarified: “Are you going to include the Congressional Black Caucus -- “

The president interrupted: “Well I would. I’d tell you what -- do you want to set up the meeting?
“Do you want to set up the meeting?” the president pressed again. “Are they friends of yours?”
Ryan emphatically shook her head and said, “No, no, no, I’m just a reporter...I know some of them but --”

“No, get us -- set up the meeting,” he urged. “Let’s go, set up the meeting, I would love to meet with the black caucus - the Congressional Black caucus.”
The CBC tweeted at Mr. Trump after the news conference.

President Trump went on to say he had once had a scheduled meeting with Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who is a senior member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

“Every day I walked in and said I would like to meet with him, because I do want to solve the problem,” Mr. Trump said. “But he probably was told by [Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer or somebody like that … he was probably told don’t meet with Trump. It’s bad politics.”  
“I was all set to have the meeting,” he said.

But Rep. Cummings, a Democrat, pushed back against the president’s claims in a short statement immediately after the news conference.

“I have no idea why President Trump would make up a story about me like he did today. Of course, Sen. Schumer never told me to skip a meeting with the President,” Cummings wrote Thursday. 
“I was actually looking forward to meeting with the President about the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs,” he said, adding that he looks “forward to meeting with [Mr. Trump] on this issue and others.

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AP Feb-09-2017 129 0
A federal appeals court in San Francisco has refused to reinstate President Donald Trump's ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday wouldn't block a lower-court ruling that suspended the ban and allowed previously barred travelers to enter the U.S. An appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is possible.

U.S. District Judge James Robart in Seattle issued a temporary restraining order halting the ban last week after Washington state and Minnesota sued. The Justice Department appealed to the 9th Circuit.

Government lawyers argued that the ban was a "lawful exercise" of the president's authority and that the seven countries have raised terrorism concerns.

The states said Trump's executive order unconstitutionally blocked entry based on religion.

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AP Feb-03-2017 86 0
The Republican-controlled Congress on Thursday scrapped Obama-era rules on the environment and guns, counting on a new ally in the White House to help reverse years of what the GOP calls excessive regulation.

The Senate gave final approval to a measure eliminating a rule to prevent coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby streams, while the House backed a separate resolution doing away with extended background checks for gun purchases by some Social Security recipients with mental disabilities.

The Senate's 54-45 vote sends the repeal of the stream protection rule to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it. The gun measure awaits Senate action.

Republicans and some Democrats say the coal-mining rule could eliminate thousands of coal-related jobs and ignores dozens of federal, state and local regulations already in place.

The Interior Department, which announced the rule in December, said that it would protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests, preventing coal mining debris from being dumped into nearby waters.

The vote was the first in a series of actions Republicans are expected to take in coming weeks to reverse years of what they call excessive regulation during President Barack Obama's tenure. Rules on fracking, federal contracting and other issues also are in the cross-hairs as the GOP moves to void a host of regulations finalized during Obama's last months in office.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called the stream rule "an attack against coal miners and their families" and said it would have threatened coal jobs and caused major damage to communities in Kentucky and other coal-producing states.

"The legislation we passed today will help stop this disastrous rule and bring relief to coal miners and their families," McConnell said.

Democrats called the vote an attack on clean water and a clear win for big coal-mining companies and other polluters.

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said the stream rule had nothing to do with the decline of coal, which faces stiff competition from cheap natural gas.

"This rule was not in place" when coal production began declining in the past half-dozen years, Cantwell said.

In the House, the issue was an Obama rule extending background checks for disabled Social Security recipients mentally incapable of managing their own affairs. The House voted 235-180 to scuttle it.

Under the rule, the Social Security Administration had to provide information to the gun-buying background check system on recipients with a mental disorder so severe they cannot work and need someone to handle their benefits. The rule, also finalized in December, would have affected an estimated 75,000 beneficiaries.

"There is no evidence suggesting that those receiving disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are a threat to public safety," said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

"Once an unelected bureaucrat unfairly adds these folks to the federal background check system, they are no longer able to exercise their Second Amendment right," he said.

After the 2012 school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut, Obama directed the Justice Department to provide guidance to agencies regarding information they are obligated to report to the background check system.

In Newtown, 20 children and six educators were shot to death when a gunman entered the Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14, 2012. The gunman had earlier killed his mother inside their home, and he used a gun and ammunition that she had purchased. His mental health problems have been extensively reported since the shooting.

Democrats said Republicans were doing the bidding of the National Rifle Association, which opposed the Social Security Administration's rule.

"These are not people just having a bad day," Rep. Mike Thompson, D-Calif., said. "These are not people simply suffering from depression or anxiety or agoraphobia. These are people with a severe mental illness who can't hold any kind of job or make any decisions about their affairs, so the law says very clearly they shouldn't have a firearm."

The NRA said overturning the regulation will protect a broad class of vulnerable citizens from government overreach. And the American Civil Liberties Union agreed, telling lawmakers that a disability should not constitute grounds for the automatic denial of any right or privilege, including gun ownership.

Republicans are employing a rarely used tool to roll back some of the rules issued in the final months of Obama's tenure. The Congressional Review Act provides a temporary window for a simple majority of both chambers to invalidate a rule. Trump would have to sign the disapproval measure for a regulation to be deemed invalid.

The law also prevents the executive branch from imposing substantially similar regulations in the future.

On the coal mining vote, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine was the sole Republican to oppose the repeal measure, which was supported by four Democrats: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. All four face re-election next year in states Trump won.

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Daryl Washington Jan-31-2017 152 0
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dan good Jan-16-2017 265 0
President-elect Donald Trump met with Martin Luther King III on Monday, as the country observed the holiday honoring King's father.

The two were seen shaking hands in the Trump Tower lobby following the early afternoon meeting, which addressed voter participation and poverty, King said.

Trump said "over and over" during the session that "he's going to represent Americans ... I think that we will continue to evaluate that," said King, who followed his father's footsteps in his work on human rights.

Trump had earlier been rumored to spend Martin Luther King Jr. Day visiting the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. — but the trip was called off due to unspecified "scheduling issues."

King answered questions from a handful of reporters after the meeting and briefly discussed the simmering feud between the President-elect and Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.), who said that he didn't consider Trump a "legitimate president."

"In the heat of emotion, a lot of things get said on both sides," King said. "The goal is to bring America together, and Americans," he added. "We are a great nation, but we must become a greater nation."

"The goal is to bring America together, and Americans," he added. "We are a great nation, but we must become a greater nation."

William Wachtel – a lawyer who relaunched the Drum Major Institute, a think-tank and community action group, with King – also attended the meeting and later displayed a mock-up Social Security card featuring an image of Trump. The non-profit wants Trump to improve the government’s photo ID system to give more people the opportunity to vote.

The Rev. James A. Forbes and Scott Rechler were also present, the Washington Post reports.
Trump posted a message on Twitter honoring Martin Luther King Jr., the civil rights icon who was assassinated in 1968.

“Celebrate Martin Luther King Day and all of the many wonderful things that he stood for,” he wrote. “Honor him for being the great man that he was!”

Lewis and dozens of other lawmakers have said they plan to boycott Trump's inauguration after Trump wrote on Twitter that Lewis was "all talk" and that his district was in "horrible shape and falling apart."

Lewis worked alongside King and other civil rights activists during the 1960s, and was severely beaten during the "Bloody Sunday" marches from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.

"Congressman Lewis started this," Spicer told NBC's "Today" on Monday. "To see somebody of John Lewis' stature and iconic nature who has worked so hard to enfranchise people and talk about people getting involved with our voting systems, and talking about the integrity of our voting systems, to then go out when the candidate of his choice didn't win and try to talk about the delegitimization of the election, is frankly, disappointing."
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mary papenfuss Jan-15-2017 100 0
Donald Trump not only slammed Georgia Democratic Rep. John Lewis after the black congressman challenged the legitimacy of Trump’s coming presidency, but he also ripped Lewis’ Atlanta district as “crime infested” and in “horrible shape and falling apart.” Now Atlanta residents are furious.

“He needs to do a little more research before he opens his mouth,” local mom Monique Smith told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

If “Trump believes Georgia’s Fifth Congressional District is ‘falling apart,’ then he believes Atlanta is falling apart,” the newspaper noted, and that’s hardly the case. The economically and racially diverse district includes 750,000 people and encompasses most of the city along with some suburbs.

It’s unclear what Trump meant by “falling apart.” As for “crime infested,” Atlanta was ranked 14th in violent crime rates by the FBI in 2015. Kansas City, Missouri, ranked 8th, and Washington, D.C., ranked 12th. The 5th District includes impressive sections of wealthy areas like Buckhead, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Trump’s knee-jerk perception of Lewis’ district is similar to views he expressed during his campaign when he characterized some black communities as crime-ridden hellholes worse than Afghanistan.

Trump appears to be less concerned about accuracy in his portrayal of the 5th District and more focused on devaluing a critic’s assessment of him by evoking a negative image of a blighted black community failed by its leadership.

Lewis’ furious constituents and others flooded Twitter after Trump’s comments with responses defending their congressman and their community under hashtags such as #defendthefifth and #notsad.

Houston Astros pitcher Collin McHugh of Atlanta tweeted: “As someone who lives in the 5th district, I don’t think #DJT has any idea what he’s talking about. And then doubling down by insulting the civil rights hero on #MLK wknd … wow #classy.”

Some people posted photos of high-rises, beautiful homes and children playing in a park. One Twitter user quipped that Atlanta should be relieved about Trump’s attitude — because it means he probably won’t be visiting.

Trump attacked Lewis and his district after the congressman said he wouldn’t be attending the inauguration. He said he believes Trump won the White House with the help of Russian hackers.


“I think it was a conspiracy on the part of the Russians and others to help him get elected,” he said in an interview Friday on NBC for Sunday’s “Meet The Press.” “That’s not right. That’s not fair. That’s not the open democratic process.”

Lewis added: “I don’t see this president-elect as a legitimate president.”

Lewis, an iconic civil rights leader who was once beaten so badly by a law enforcement officer in a protest that his skull was fractured, has represented the 5th District since 1987. The NAACP has called on Trump to apologize to him. Organization President Cornell William Brooks said in a Saturday tweet that Trump’s remarks “demeaned Americans” and the rights Lewis has fought for throughout his life.


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Mallory Shelbourne Jan-14-2017 155 0
Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) on Saturday said he will not attend Donald Trump's inauguration next week after the president-elect ripped Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).

"'All talk, no action.' I stand with @repjohnlewis and I will not be attending the inauguration," Takano wrote on Twitter.

Trump took to Twitter early Saturday to slam Lewis for saying he does not see Trump as "a legitimate president."

"Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk - no action or results. Sad!" Trump wrote in several tweets.

The attack sparked heavy backlash from several Democratic lawmakers as well as Republican Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), who noted Lewis' prominent role in the Civil Rights Movement.

Lewis said Friday that while he believes in forgiveness, working with Trump would be "hard."

"I believe in forgiveness. I believe in trying to work with people. It will be hard. It's going to be very difficult. I don't see this president-elect as a legitimate president," Lewis told NBC News on Friday.
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AP Jan-14-2017 118 0
House Republicans have shown no inclination to challenge President-elect Donald Trump on ethics matters. Instead, they are going after the federal ethics official who questioned Trump's potential conflicts of interest.

Democrats slammed the move, saying GOP lawmakers are trying to intimidate an independent watchdog for having the temerity to challenge Trump's business arrangements.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, has summoned Walter Shaub Jr., the director of the Office of Government Ethics, to answer questions about his public comments on Trump.

This week, Shaub issued a scathing review of Trump's plan to turn over control of his business to his sons. Shaub said in a speech Wednesday that the only way Trump could avoid a conflict of interest as president would be to divest from his business and have his assets placed in a blind trust. "Stepping back from running his business is meaningless from a conflict of interest perspective," Shaub said of Trump.

Chaffetz sent Shaub a sternly worded letter late Thursday requesting that he sit for a transcribed interview. He said the interview would "help the committee understand how you perceive OGE's role, among other things."

"Your agency's mission is to provide clear ethics guidance, not engage in public relations," Chaffetz wrote.

In an interview, Chaffetz said Shaub is offering opinions on conflicts of interest without fully researching the circumstances. "What he's doing is highly unethical," Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz said his own letter was drafted before Shaub's speech. Chaffetz said he has been trying to meet with Shaub since the fall but that Shaub has declined his invitations. "All I wanted to do is try to get him to come in and talk to us," Chaffetz said.

Chaffetz' letter cited a series of tweets by Shaub in November. In the tweets, Shaub congratulated Trump for agreeing to divest from his business — an agreement that Trump never made.

The congressman's letter did not mention Shaub's speech.

In the speech, Shaub noted that members of Trump's Cabinet — some of them very wealthy, like Trump — are required to place their assets in a blind trust. Shaub said the president should be held to the same standard. "The plan the president-elect has announced doesn't meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting and that every president in the past four decades has met," Shaub said.

Shaub's criticism of Trump has been echoed by several government watchdog groups and both Republican and Democratic government ethics experts. They include Norman Eisen, a former chief ethics counselor for President Barack Obama, and Richard Painter, who served in the same role for President George W. Bush.

Congressional Democrats sharply criticized Chaffetz for summoning Shaub.

"The Oversight Committee has not held one hearing, conducted one interview, or obtained one document about President-elect Donald Trump's massive global entanglements, yet it is now apparently rushing to launch an investigation of the key government official for warning against the risks caused by President-elect Donald Trump's current plans," said Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, then top Democrat on the committee.

Some Democrats see a coordinated effort by Republicans to undermine the office responsible for ethics reviews of Cabinet nominees and ensuring they will avoid conflicts of interests.

"Instead of honoring his committee's responsibility to hold the administration accountable, Chairman Chaffetz has appointed himself President-elect Trump's chief strongman and enforcer," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

A week ago, Shaub complained that Senate Republicans were moving ahead with confirmation hearings before Trump's choices had reached ethics agreements.

This week, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., circulated an online petition that says, "It's time for the bureaucrats at the Office of Government Ethics to pick up the pace on vetting President-elect Trump's nominees for the cabinet."
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Reuters Jan-07-2017 161 0
President Obama said on Friday that criticism from the left wing of his own Democratic Party helped feed into the unpopularity of Obamacare, his signature health care reform law.

Obama has been spending part of his last two weeks in office urging supporters to speak out against plans by Republicans - who will soon control both the White House and Congress - to dismantle the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

At a town hall event with Vox Media, Obama acknowledged the politics have been stacked against his reforms, mainly blaming Republicans who he said refused to help make legislative fixes to Obamacare, which provides subsidies for private insurance to lower-income Americans who do not have healthcare plans at work.

But Obama also said liberals like former Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders had contributed to the program's unpopularity.

During Sanders' campaign for the presidential nomination, he proposed replacing Obamacare with a government-run single-payer health insurance system based on Medicare, the government plan for elderly and disabled Americans.

"In the 'dissatisfied' column are a whole bunch of Bernie Sanders supporters who wanted a single-payer plan," Obama said in the interview.

"The problem is not that they think Obamacare is a failure. The problem is that they don't think it went far enough and that it left too many people still uncovered," Obama said.

Michael Briggs, a spokesman for Sanders, agreed that many people would rather the government "take on the private insurance industry and the pharmaceutical companies" and play a bigger role in providing healthcare.

"There are many millions of Americans, including many of Bernie's supporters, who don’t understand why we are the only major country on earth that does not provide healthcare as a right and they don’t understand why we pay more but get less for what we spend on healthcare," Briggs said.

Polling by the Kaiser Family Foundation last month showed 46% of Americans have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare, while 43% have a favorable view. Americans are also split on whether the law should be repealed.

Trump and congressional Republicans have vowed to quickly repeal the law, but Obama and Democrats have argued they should reveal a replacement plan before dismantling the program.

More than 20 million previously uninsured Americans gained health coverage through Obamacare, according to the White House. Coverage was extended by expanding the Medicaid program for the poor and through online exchanges where consumers can receive income-based subsidies.
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Jason Silverstein Jan-03-2017 109 0
Members of the NAACP started occupying the Mobile office of Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions Tuesday, calling for him to turn down his controversial nomination to become the next U.S. Attorney General.

NAACP President Cornell William Brooks led several protesters into the office after noon, and said he'd be fine with leaving in handcuffs.

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped Sessions, 70, to be his Attorney General — a move that drew immediate rebukes for Sessions' history of opposing civil rights causes.

Sessions lost a nomination from President Ronald Reagan to become a federal judge after accusations that he had made racist remarks. Former colleagues said he called civil rights groups, including the NAACP, “un-American” and “communist inspired,” but said he was “okay” with the Ku Klux Klan until he learned that some members smoked marijuana.

Since then, he has earned a reputation as one of the staunchest conservatives in the Senate, and he has opposed Obamacare, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and all three of President Obama’s Supreme Court nominees.

In a press conference before the protest, Birmingham NAACP leader Hezekiah Jackson said the black civil rights group "has chosen not to remain silent on this critical matter."

"We have found no evidence of (Sessions') ability, past or present, to be impartial and unbiased as the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America, especially in the areas of civil rights, voting rights and equal protection under the law," Johnson said.

There were not any arrests in the first hour of the protest, Mobile Police Public Affairs Officer Charlette Solis told the Daily News. She was not sure how many protesters were in Sessions' office.
A representative in Sessions' Mobile refused to answer questions and referred to News to the senator's Washington, D.C. office. 
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