Day: February 8, 2017

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Warriors' Stephen Curry says Trump is an 'ass'


The reigning MVP in the NBA says President Trump is not an “asset” to the country, as Under Armour’s CEO has described the commander in chief.

Instead, Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry says the president is an “ass.”

“I agree with that description, if you remove the ‘et’” from asset,” Curry told Mercury News on Wednesday.

Curry is butting heads with Kevin Plank, whose company the Warriors player is a well-known endorser. Plank was included in a group of businessmen who met with Trump during his first week in office to discuss adding and retaining manufacturing jobs in the U.S.

Curry said he was surprised to see Plank endorse Trump.

“I spent all day yesterday on the phone,” Curry said, “with countless people at Under Armour, countless people in Kevin Plank’s camp, my team, trying to understand what was going on and where everybody stood on the issue. Based off the release that KP sent out this morning, and what he told me last night, that’s the Under Armour that I know. That’s the brand I know he’s built and one that, as of Wednesday afternoon, is something that I’m standing on.”

Curry said Plank has informed him the “asset” comment was meant in regard to Trump’s potential to do good for American businesses, not a show of support for the president’s remarks on every social or policy issue.

“It’s a fine line but it’s about how we’re operating,” Curry said, “how inclusive we are, what we stand for. He’s the President. There are going to be people that are tied to them. But are we promoting change? Are we doing things that are going to look out for everybody? And not being so self-serving that it’s only about making money, selling shoes, doing this and that. That’s not the priority. It’s about changing lives. I think we can continue to do that.”

Still, Curry says he will monitor Under Armour’s policies to make sure they do not change to something he does not support.

Melania Trump announces White House social secretary

Also from the Washington Examiner

Niceta Lloyd will help Melania Trump with the planning and execution of social events at the White House.

02/08/17 6:14 PM

“If there is a situation where I can look at myself in the mirror and say they don’t have my best intentions, they don’t have the right attitude about taking care of people,” Curry said. “If I can say the leadership is not in line with my core values, then there is no amount of money, there is no platform I wouldn’t jump off if it wasn’t in line with who I am. So that’s a decision I will make every single day when I wake up. If something is not in line with what I’m about, then, yeah, I definitely need to take a stance in that respect.”

Black Caucus members storm Senate floor to protest Sessions

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Group of roughly 10 House members marched onto the Senate floor to draw attention to their opposition.

02/08/17 2:04 PM



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The origins of the Senate's Rule 19 that Mitch McConnell used to silence Elizabeth Warren


WASHINGTON — A fistfight on the Senate floor involving two Southern “gentlemen” gave rise to Rule 19, the arcane Senate directive that Republicans used more than a century later to silence Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren. GOP lawmakers rebuked Warren Tuesday night for speaking against colleague and Attorney General-nominee Jeff Sessions.

She was silenced for reading the letter that Coretta Scott King wrote three decades ago criticizing the Alabama senator’s record on race. Senators barred Warren from speaking on the Senate floor until Sessions’ confirmation vote.

Conduct unbecoming

Rule 19 states that senators may not “directly or indirectly, by any form of words impute to another senator or to other senators any conduct or motive unworthy or unbecoming a senator.”

It states that when, in the opinion of the presiding officer, a senator violates that decorum, the presiding officer “shall call him to order and … he shall take his seat.”

Raucus history

In the Senate, where men are referred to as “gentleman” and women are called “gentle lady,” the rule stems from a notorious 1902 incident in which two South Carolina lawmakers got into a fistfight on the Senate floor. According to the Senate historian’s office, Sen. John McLaurin raced into the Senate chamber and said fellow Democrat Ben Tillman was guilty of “a willful, malicious, and deliberate lie.”

Tillman — a fiery populist who had earned the nickname “Pitchfork Ben” for threatening to bring a pitchfork to prod then-President Grover Cleveland to act on the economy — spun around and punched McLaurin squarely in the jaw. The Senate “exploded in pandemonium as members struggled to separate both members.” The fracas ended, “but not without stinging bruises both to bystanders and to the Senate’s sense of decorum,” according to an account on the historian’s office website.

White House lists 24 terror suspects who previously came to U.S. from countries banned by Trump

Also from the Washington Examiner

The White House on Wednesday afternoon released a list of 24 terror suspects who previously entered the U.S. from the seven countries named in President Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order.

The document lists 24 refugees and other immigrants from Somalia, Sudan, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Syria and Libya who entered the U.S. in the last eight years and were later arrested by U.S. law enforcement officials on terrorism charges after being admitted.

The seven countries are Muslim-majority nations. Critics have alleged the Trump administration targeted those countries in a move of religious discrimination. The White House’s release of the list was meant to push back against those attacks as proof the 90-day suspension of immigration is

02/08/17 6:04 PM

The Senate censured both men and added to its rules the provision that survives today as part of Rule 19.

Selective enforcement

Enforcement of Rule 19 has been rare, and the historian’s office wasn’t sure when it was last enforced.

Some longtime Capitol observers recalled a 1988 dispute between Sen. John Heinz, R-Pa., and Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas. Heinz said Gramm broached Senate protocol with caustic remarks. Gramm withdrew the language in question. There was no official rebuke.

Heinz was also involved in a 1979 dispute with fellow Republican Sen. Lowell Weicker of Connecticut. After heated words, the two men shook hands and no further action was taken.

Ryan would block Trump effort to lift Russia sanctions

Also from the Washington Examiner

The Speaker is not convinced Russia can change

02/08/17 6:03 PM

Democrats cited more recent statements that appeared to violate Rule 19, but in which no action was taken:

• In 2015, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said McConnell “looked me in the eye” and “told every Republican senator … a simple lie.”

• In 2016, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., lambasted the “cancerous leadership” of then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Fight continues:

Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. had engaged in a “tear-jerking performance” that “belongs at the Screen Actors Guild awards” as he opposed President Donald Trump’s travel ban on some Muslim countries. No rebuke followed.

Other Democratic senators read from King’s letter in the Senate chamber Wednesday after Warren was told to sit down. No one was punished.

Black Caucus members storm Senate floor to protest Sessions

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Group of roughly 10 House members marched onto the Senate floor to draw attention to their opposition.

02/08/17 2:04 PM



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Jake Tapper's missed opportunity


CNN’s Jake Tapper is getting plenty of praise for his Tuesday interview of Kellyanne Conway in which he pressed the presidential advisor to explain some of her and her boss’s misstatements. But he didn’t go far enough on one point.

President Trump has said several times that the murder rate is as at its highest point in 47 years. In a meeting with county sheriffs Tuesday, Trump stated this falsehood three times. At other times, he has said it’s been 45 years since America’s murder rate was as high as it is now.

Tapper called out Conway on these misstatements, saying:

“Earlier today, President Trump made a quote about the murder rate being at the highest level it’s ever been in 47 years. He said that and said nobody in the media reports on that. There’s a reason why nobody in the media reports on that. It’s not true. The murder rate is not at its highest rate it’s been in 47 years. It’s spiked a little. It went up a little. But it’s still much, much lower. It’s 4.98 people per 100,000 people. It’s dwarfed by the murder rates in the 1990s and before that in the 1980s.”

Tapper is correct. The murder rate is near a 45-year low. But he could have gone further. FBI data show that the murder rate nationwide experienced its largest single-year jump since 1971. That’s 46 years.

There’s a good chance Trump is conflating the murder rate with the rise in the murder rate. It’s not at all clear that Trump understands the difference. This possibility probably tells us more about Trump than the accusation he is lying. It seems that Trump is careless with facts, and that he doesn’t take the time to educate himself thoroughly before going public.

Either way, Tapper didn’t bring up this possibility. Instead, he simply called Trump a liar and left it at that. He missed an opportunity to do what journalists are supposed to do — not just speak truth to power but also to clarify and add insight and context for their audience.

Daniel Allott is deputy commentary editor for the Washington Examiner

Feb. 16 hearing set for Labor nominee Puzder

Also from the Washington Examiner

Puzder’s first confirmation hearing had been postponed four times.

02/08/17 5:22 PM

Black Caucus members storm Senate floor to protest Sessions

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Group of roughly 10 House members marched onto the Senate floor to draw attention to their opposition.

02/08/17 2:04 PM



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Did Ivanka really need the president to call out Nordstrom?


While Donald Trump has left reality television, he hasn’t shaken the bumbling dad trope. On Wednesday, President Trump attacked Nordstrom on Twitter after the luxury department store dropped his daughter’s designer label.

Obviously unseemly, the presidential episode raises another question. If Trump’s children are as successful as he bragged on the campaign trail, shouldn’t they be able to make it in business without their father’s help? Until the leader of the free world learns to let go, Trump will stunt his kids’ growth.

There wasn’t any reason to get involved anyway. Just 21 minutes after his daily intelligence briefing was scheduled to start, Trump took a moment to kick off the fashion faux-pas. “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by Nordstrom,” he typed at 10:51 A.M. “She is a great person – always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”

Twitter quickly erupted, a boycott was born, and Nordstrom stock took a tumble all before noon eastern time. It didn’t matter that the retailer said its decision was apolitical. The damage was done, but Nordstrom wasn’t the one that got hurt. Its stock bounced back later while Ivanka’s brand plummeted.

The embarrassment already cost market share. After Trump fleeced Nordstrom, the New York Times reports that off-price retailer TJ Maxx started pulling Ivanka’s brand from its shelves. After all, what business will want to partner with the president’s daughter if it puts them at risk of a public lashing from the leader of the free world?

To clean up this mess, Trump’s normal approach won’t work. Clearly, Twitter’s a powerful tool. With just a few tweets he’s convinced Carrier to stay stateside and Lockheed Martin to reduce its prices. But Nordstrom doesn’t keep air conditioners and multi-role stealth fighters in stock. They sell luxury goods to customers, many of whom likely didn’t vote for the president.

There’s only one way for Trump to untangle this mess for his daughter. To truly focus on the issues of national importance, the president needs to divest completely. It’s not enough for him to set aside his assets. He needs to ignore the family business for the next four years. It’d remove questions of impropriety and help improve his stock as a serious leader.

Of course, this would be difficult. Trump’s clearly an adoring father. But he needn’t worry; the kids will be alright. Ivanka can take care of her own company. Her product became high end long before Trump announced his candidacy, mostly because the product is the polar opposite of his style. While he sports oversized suits and taped ties, Ivanka has rolled out a sleek and modern clothing line. So long as Trump doesn’t drag her clothing brand through the mud again, the company will rebound.

So while Trump’s made it clear he won’t leave business behind for the good of the country, maybe he can do it for the sake of his own kids?

House Democrats probe fallout from Obamacare executive order

Also from the Washington Examiner

Lawmakers write that they’re worried the order could “sabotage” the law’s coverage gains.

02/08/17 4:05 PM

Philip Wegmann is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.

White House: Trump defending Ivanka from Nordstrom 'attack'

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Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s fashion line following pressure from a left-leaning campaign.

02/08/17 2:23 PM



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Make Congress work (Saturdays) again


Amid partisan battles over President Trump’s cabinet nominees, Republican congressional leaders are threatening to make members work weekends to get the president’s confirmations finalized. While these threats largely are a response to Democratic stalling tactics, expanding Congress’ work week actually would be a good idea from a policy perspective, as well.

The last several decades have seen an immense growth in the size and scope of the federal bureaucracy, all at a time in which congressional capacity and oversight have dwindled.

Currently, the executive branch comprises 180 agencies with 4.1 million employees and a yearly budget of $3.9 trillion. For comparison, Congress and its support staff max out at a mere 30,000 employees and a fraction of the executive branch budget: $4.5 billion.

The discrepancy can be seen in the amount of legislative activity each branch engages in: Agencies issue 4,000 new rules annually, whereas Congress is often lucky to pass 50 significant laws in a year.

As a result, a severe knowledge gap has developed between these two supposedly co-equal branches of government. House members are elected to two-year terms and senators to six-year terms, and all are expected to oversee and manage executive agency officials who have spent their entire careers embedded in the nitty-gritty policy minutiae of everything from financial regulation to nuclear safety.

As a result, congressional “oversight” too often devolves into politically charged hearings hastily convened in the immediate aftermath of some government scandal. Far rarer are the inquiries that see deliberative legislators tracking the day-to-day functioning of administrative agencies.

Congress’ current work schedule only exacerbates this problem.

Compared to the executive branch’s “perpetual motion machine” — in which agencies function 52 weeks a year and are constantly pumping out new regulations — Congress continues to convene on a Tuesday-through-Thursday schedule in which its members are only in Washington for about one-third of the year.

According to the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Healthy Congress Index, the number of working days in Congress has declined significantly in recent years. House of Representative working days fell from 247 in 1995 to 227 in 2015, and Senate working days fell from 320 to 262. Both chambers fall far short of the 330 days the center recommends for a healthy Congress.

Pelosi: Nordstrom attack shows Trump is 'totally inappropriate'

Also from the Washington Examiner

BALTIMORE — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pounced on President Trump’s Wednesday tweet condemning Nordstrom for dropping Ivanka Trump’s clothing line from their stores, by calling those comments “inappropriate” and labeling him a “totally inappropriate president.”

“Yes, I think it’s inappropriate, but he’s a totally inappropriate president, so it’s totally in keeping with who he is,” Pelosi told reporters. She also ripped into Trump after he called U.S. District Judge James Robart, who ruled against his executive order banning travel from seven countries, a “so-called judge.”

“What I think is more inappropriate though is for him to refer to a judge who made a ruling that he didn’t agree with as a ‘so-called

02/08/17 3:23 PM

Worse yet, congressional members and staff are often forced to dedicate disproportionate time toward meeting with constituents, raising money or working in home-state district offices, rather than studying policy issues in Washington. No doubt part of the reason for this is fear of being seen as “out of touch” if they spend too much time in Washington. But at a time when Congress’ approval ratings are at all-time lows, it seems clear that voters would look favorably on a more productive and engaged Congress.

To fix the problem, Congress needs to dispense with the fiction of the amateur legislator who, Cincinnatus-style, can lay down his plow and swoop into Washington for three days a week and “govern with pure horse-sense.” Congressmen cannot be expected to exercise effective oversight when they lack the time and resources to study the complex regulatory systems they are charged with monitoring.

Congress should instead commit to a more rigorous work schedule: something along the lines of working five days a week for three weeks out of every five. To be sure, Congress won’t be able to fix all its problems by simply extending its workweek (it also should consider expanding its support staff) but doing so would be a good down payment on further reforms.

Asking employees to increase their workload or time spent at the office is never an easy sell, but Congress has a constitutional duty to reassert its role as our country’s first branch of government. Working longer weeks in an effort to better check the ever-growing federal bureaucracy would be a good place to start.

C. Jarrett Dieterle (@cjdieterle) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is a governance policy fellow at the R Street Institute.

9th Circuit will not decide on Trump's travel ban Wednesday

Also from the Washington Examiner

A three-judge panel of the West Coast circuit heard oral arguments on Tuesday.

02/08/17 3:20 PM

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.

White House: Trump defending Ivanka from Nordstrom 'attack'

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Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s fashion line following pressure from a left-leaning campaign.

02/08/17 2:23 PM



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Niece of MLK: Coretta Scott King would agree Sessions has done some 'good work'


The niece of Coretta Scott King believes King would have thought Alabama GOP Sen. Jeff Sessions did some “good work” in his time as a U.S. attorney and a senator in order to help further the cause of civil rights.

Alveda King said on Fox Business Network on Wednesday that a letter sent by Scott King in the 1980s criticizing the Alabama senator might not reflect how she would feel about Sessions today if she was still alive.

“Aunt Coretta was a very reasonable woman and she, with integrity, would have noted that he had done some great work in fighting against discrimination…she had very strong opinions and concern for all Americans and perhaps people all of the world,” King said, “and I believe certainly that if she could look at the record of Sen. Sessions today, with integrity, she would say ‘well he has worked to prosecute the Ku Klux Klan, he has worked to desegregate public schools.'”

King, a conservative supporter of President Trump, called her aunt a “reasonable woman” who wanted to make peace with people she disagreed with.

She said Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren reading Scott King’s letter on the Senate floor slamming Sessions for using his power as a U.S. attorney to hinder civil rights progress was a “bait and switch.”

“It’s almost like a bait and switch, stir up their emotions, use the name King, and my name is Alveda King, play the race card…it is not dividing my family at all,” she said, “we are taking a look at many things Ms. Coretta Scott King said, Martin Luther King Jr said, my dad Reverend A.D. King, but my family, we are peace makers, we bring people together … we do not divide people.”

White House: Trump defending Ivanka from Nordstrom 'attack'

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Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s fashion line following pressure from a left-leaning campaign.

02/08/17 2:23 PM



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No defense for Obamacare in Cruz vs. Sanders debate


Americans who tuned in to the Obamacare debate on CNN featuring Sens. Bernie Sanders and Ted Cruz were treated to an increasingly rare spectacle: a civil, substantive debate. The senators were kind to each other and even occasionally found common ground. Still, the line in the sand was clear: Cruz, a conservative, is staunchly opposed to government healthcare, and Sanders is for it.

Nevertheless, neither debater offered a robust defense of Obamacare, the status quo. Sanders, who voted for the legislation, could only occasionally provide weak support for a mandate here and there. Most of his points focused on his vision for the healthcare system, which is neither Obamacare nor a conservative replacement, but “Medicare for all,” his euphemism for universal government-run healthcare.

Credit where credit is due: Sanders is an honest, consistent Democrat (even if he is dead wrong on occasion — as was the case when he charged that the United States has high infant mortality rates). Sanders admitted, in so many words, that he wants to see a public option added to Obamacare with the intention of transitioning to the public-option-as-only-option, also known as “single payer.” This is more transparency than you’ll get from most Democrats.

The few times Sanders tried to defend Obamacare were his weakest moments in the debate. Cruz did well to extol the virtues of choice and freedom (as he usually does), but Sanders faced his fiercest opponent in an audience member and small business owner named LaRonda.

LaRonda, with a simple and practical question, took Obamacare down.

“My question is, how do I [provide health insurance to my workers] without raising my prices to my customers or lowering my wages?” she asked.

LaRonda owns five hair salons in Fort Worth, Texas. She employs almost 50 people, but can’t hire more or else she would trigger Obamacare’s employer mandate, the requirement that employers provide government-approved (read: expensive) health insurance for their workers. This is obviously a huge business expense, especially for small businesses like LaRonda’s.

Sanders’ response stunk. He basically told LaRonda that he believed she should be providing health insurance benefits. He admitted he did not know a lot about the business of dressing hair, jokingly referencing his own white and messy coiffure, but what he really could have been saying was, “I don’t know anything about business.”

If Sanders was being true to his democratic-socialist self, he could have sidestepped the question entirely and said under his preferred plan, employers wouldn’t have to provide insurance because the government would pay for everyone’s costs. He’d also have to explain to LaRonda why he wants to raise her taxes to cover the $17 trillion cost of such a proposal, but even this explanation might have been better than attempting to shame the businesswoman for not providing health benefits.

Niece of MLK: Coretta Scott King would agree Sessions has done some 'good work'

Also from the Washington Examiner

She said Democrats are trying to use her aunt’s words to divide.

02/08/17 3:01 PM

Sanders also had a bad moment when Cruz pressed him on LaRonda’s personal health insurance costs. LaRonda admitted to being uninsured because she makes too much money to qualify for a subsidy to buy an Obamacare plan. Cruz asked Sanders why former President Barack Obama and others promised that insurance premiums would go down (by $2,500 on average) when the opposite (twice over) happened.

That “turned out not to be true,” Sanders confessed. Indeed.

Simply put, there was no one on stage who could defend Obamacare or the status quo in our healthcare system. Like most of the American people, Cruz and Sanders both want change. We should be thankful to both of them for respectfully and reasonably laying out their visions for the future.

In the end, Cruz won the debate because he made it clear that we should hope for change in the opposite direction than where Obamacare took us. The road toward single-payer is paved with good intentions, but Americans should ask themselves, what else might “turn out not to be true” about government-run healthcare?

We don’t want to find out.

Pelosi: Democrats can't work with Trump on anything

Also from the Washington Examiner

“As long as the president continues down this path, there is nothing Democrats can work with him on,” Pelosi said.

02/08/17 2:53 PM

Hadley Heath Manning (@HadleyHeath) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. She is a senior policy analyst and director of health policy at the Independent Women’s Forum, and a Tony Blankley Fellow at the Steamboat Institute.

If you would like to write an op-ed for the Washington Examiner, please read our guidelines on submissions here.

White House: Trump defending Ivanka from Nordstrom 'attack'

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Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s fashion line following pressure from a left-leaning campaign.

02/08/17 2:23 PM



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White House: Trump was defending Ivanka from Nordstrom 'attack'


President Trump’s tweet about Nordstrom’s decision to drop a clothing line designed by his daughter was intended to defend her against attacks and not to boost her business, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday.

“I think this was less about his family business than an attack on his daughter,” Spicer said. “For people to take out their concern about his actions or his executive orders on members of his family, he has every right to stand up for his family.”

Trump took to Twitter earlier Wednesday to argue that the retail chain had treated his daughter Ivanka “so unfairly.” The official government account for the president later retweeted the swipe at Nordstrom’s, stoking speculation that Trump may have run afoul of ethics restrictions on promoting his family’s business interests.

Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s fashion line following pressure from a left-leaning campaign called “Grab Your Wallet” to convince major department stores to abandon the first daughter’s products in protest of her father’s policies.

“There is clearly a targeting of her brand. She is not directly running the company, but her name is still on it,” Spicer said on Wednesday. “This is a direct attack on his policies and [his tweet] is clearly an attempt for him to stand up for her because they have a problem with his policies.”

“There’s clearly efforts to undermine that name based on her father’s positions on particular policies that he’s taken,” Spicer added.

The White House press secretary rejected the suggestion that Trump had tweeted about his daughter’s company during his daily intelligence briefing. The tweet was done 21 minutes after the briefing was scheduled to start.

Black Caucus members storm Senate floor to protest Sessions

Also from the Washington Examiner

House lawmakers led by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee other Congressional Black Caucus members staged a protest against Sen. Jeff Sessions’ nomination to attorney general on the Senate floor Wednesday.

The group of roughly 10 House members, including the dean of the House, Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., as well as Democratic Reps. Lacy Clay of Missouri, Hank Johnson of Georgia and Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, traveled to the Senate side of the Capitol and marched onto the floor in an effort to draw attention to their opposition to Sessions’ confirmation on civil rights grounds.

“Sen.

02/08/17 2:04 PM

Senate Dems allowed to read Coretta Scott King's letter on floor

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McConnell interrupted Warren’s remarks to say they were out of order, and in violation of Senate rules.

02/08/17 10:42 AM



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Hillary Clinton uses Warren's floor censure to urge supporters to 'persist'


"So must we all." (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton encouraged people to “persist” in the face of critics after Sen. Elizabeth Warren was silenced during a Senate debate over Sen. Jeff Sessions’s appointment as attorney general.

Clinton quoted words from Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during his motion to censure Warren during the debate, which have quickly become a rallying cry among feminists.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” McConnell said.

Clinton quoted those words and added, “So must we all” before linking to a video clip of Warren’s speech.

Warren was attempting to read a letter from Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King, written in the 1980s about Sessions, accusing Sessions of using his power as a U.S. attorney to work against civil rights. She had earlier read a statement from former Sen. Ted Kennedy on Sessions condemning his proposed appointment to the federal bench.

President Trump attacks judges after immigration court hearing

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“It would be so great for our justice system if they would … read a statement and do what’s right.”

02/08/17 10:45 AM

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