IJR https://ijr.com Experience The News Mon, 09 Dec 2019 20:09:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Joe Biden Takes Shot at Ivanka Trump for ‘Patents From China’ https://ijr.com/joe-biden-ivanka-trump-axios/ https://ijr.com/joe-biden-ivanka-trump-axios/#respond Mon, 09 Dec 2019 20:09:25 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1216489 Former Vice President Joe Biden took a thinly veiled shot at Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, during an interview with Axios. More]]>

Former Vice President Joe Biden took a thinly veiled shot at Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, during an interview with Axios.

Biden, who was being pressed about his son Hunter’s work in Ukraine, said that if he became president his family would have no foreign business because of what’s happened with the Trump administration.

“No one is going to be seeking patents for things from China,” he said. “No one is going to be engaged in that kind of thing.”

The comment was an apparent reference to Ivanka, who has been criticized for seeking patents and business opportunities in China while her father wages a trade war with the economic giant. In November, Ivanka won approval from the Chinese government for 16 new trademarks, drawing increased scrutiny of the Trump family’s business dealings abroad while President Trump was in office.

Biden’s remarks came during a wide-ranging interview with Mike Allen, a reporter and co-founder of Axios. The former vice president has come under pressure to defend his son, Hunter, who took a lucrative job on the board of a Ukrainian gas company while his father was vice president and leading Ukraine foreign policy. Hunter’s work has been thrust into the impeachment inquiry after Trump asked Ukraine’s president to look into the Bidens’ work in Ukraine.

Biden told Axios that Hunter did nothing wrong, but also said he had not dug into what his work was overseas. Previously, Biden said that he and Hunter had a strict policy not to discuss his work in Ukraine so there could be no impression of impropriety or conflict of interest.

“I don’t know what he was doing,” Biden said. “I know he was on the board. I found out he was on the board after he was on the board and that was it.”

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California Church Puts Baby Jesus in a Cage to Protest Trump Immigration Policy https://ijr.com/california-church-puts-baby-jesus-in-a-cage-to-protest-trump-immigration-policy/ https://ijr.com/california-church-puts-baby-jesus-in-a-cage-to-protest-trump-immigration-policy/#respond Mon, 09 Dec 2019 19:59:21 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1216490 "What if this family sought refuge in our country today?" More]]>

As churches across the country set up nativity scenes, celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, a United Methodist Church in California is putting a different spin on the traditional Christmas scene.

The Claremont United Methodist Church set up two different scenes for the nativity. Inside the church, visitors will see the traditional nativity scene with Joseph, Mary, and the baby Jesus together.

Outside, visitors will see the family separate from each other in cages, a move designed to protest President Donald Trump’s policy to continue the controversial family separation policy at the border.

Stirred to tears by the Claremont UMC nativity. Inside the church, the Holy Family is reunited. The theological…

Posted by Karen Clark Ristine on Saturday, December 7, 2019

Senior Minister Karen Clark Ristine shared a picture of the protest scene on Facebook, with a statement from the church saying that while “refugees seek asylum at our borders and are unwillingly separated from one another,” the church was thinking about “the most well-known refugee family in the world.”

“In a time in our country, when refugee families seek asylum at our borders and are unwillingly separated from one another, we consider the most well-known refugee family in the world. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, the Holy Family.”

The statement continues to reference the record of Jesus’ birth in the Bible, noting that the family fled persecution after the birth of Jesus.

“Shortly after the birth of Jesus, Joseph and Mary were forced to flee with their young son from Nazareth to Egypt to escape King Herod, a tyrant. They feared persecution and death.”

It then posed a question to readers, “What if this family sought refuge in our country today? Imagine Joseph and Mary separated at the border and Jesus no older than two taken from his mother and placed behind the fences of a Border Patrol detention center as more than 5,500 children have been the past three years.”

Ristine told the Washington Post she hopes the display will highlight “asylum seekers and the ways they are being greeted and treated and to suggest there might be a more compassionate way to show God’s love.”

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Former FBI Lawyer Lisa Page Claims Vindication from DOJ Russia-Probe Report https://ijr.com/former-fbi-lawyer-lisa-page-claims-vindication-from-doj-russia-probe-report/ https://ijr.com/former-fbi-lawyer-lisa-page-claims-vindication-from-doj-russia-probe-report/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2019 19:52:51 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1216505 "In this review, we found that, while Lisa Page attended some of the discussions regarding the opening of the investigations, she did not play a role in the decision to open Crossfire Hurricane or the four individual cases." More]]>

The former FBI official often at the center of President Donald Trump’s Twitter tirades — as well as his campaign rally speeches — Lisa Page, fired back at the president Monday, saying the Justice Department report exonerates her once and for all.

In a pair of tweets, Page, who was relatively silent up until last week despite being at the center of a political firestorm, says FBI investigators have poured over “every text, email, and note I ever wrote” and concluded that her personal feelings had no bearing on the investigation into the president.

A report by the Department of Justice Inspector General, Michael Horowitz, released Monday concludes that the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia during the 2016 was justified. It said that, despite numerous procedural missteps by the agency, there was no indication it was politically biased against the president.

Despite months of abuse from Trump and other Republicans, Page remained relatively silent since she left the agency in May 2018. She left after texts between her and her lover, Peter Strzok, who was leading the counterintelligence investigation into the Trump campaign, leaked and showed the couple’s deep distrust of the president.

Page broke her silence in an interview with the Daily Beast, saying that Trump’s mockery of her at a campaign rally in Minnesota, in which he mimicked her having an orgasm, was the “last straw.”

“I’m done being quiet,” she tweeted at the time.

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House Democrats Study Proposed Changes to North American Trade Pact as Deal Nears https://ijr.com/democrats-study-proposed-changes-to-north-american-trade-pact-deal-nears/ https://ijr.com/democrats-study-proposed-changes-to-north-american-trade-pact-deal-nears/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2019 19:49:00 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1216506 Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Jesus Seade said over the weekend that the two were "very close" to an agreement on revisions aimed at winning support from House Democrats. More]]>

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives are still studying proposed changes to the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade pact, and there was no agreement to announce it yet, a senior Democratic aide said.

“We’re studying the proposal,” the aide told Reuters when asked about the state of the negotiations and if there would be an announcement of a final deal or a House vote soon on the replacement for the 26-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement.

Sources familiar with talks between U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Deputy Foreign Minister Jesus Seade said over the weekend that the two were “very close” to an agreement on revisions aimed at winning support from House Democrats.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Monday said that Mexican senators had accepted changes to the deal, and urged U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move forward with a vote on the deal.

Time is running out for a vote in the U.S. Congress before year end. U.S. lawmakers from both parties said that waiting until next year to vote on the trade pact could make it more difficult to ratify, because the presidential election campaign — and perhaps impeachment proceedings against U.S. President Donald Trump — will be in full swing.

Congress had been scheduled to leave Washington by the end of this week, but consideration of spending and defense bills is likely to keep them working for a few more days beyond that.

The Washington Post quoted AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka as saying that there was a deal on the changes and he will discuss it with his executive committee on Tuesday afternoon.

“We have pushed them hard and have done quite well,” Trumka told the Post in an email.

Trumka discussed the trade pact with U.S. President Donald Trump in a phone call on Monday morning, a person familiar with the conversation said.

Neither Trumka nor his spokeswoman responded to queries about the talks. The labor leader has been a key party to the negotiations, pushing Democrats for stronger enforcement of labor provisions that would allow Mexican workers to unionize.

Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Sunday that Mexico would accept a U.S. demand for stricter definition of North American steel and aluminum in USMCA’s automotive rules of origin if it comes with a five-year phase-in period. The new standard would require the metals to be “melted and poured” in North America, excluding semi-finished steel and aluminum from outside the region.

(Reporting by Richard Cowan, David Lawder, David Shepardson and Andrea Shalal; writing by David Lawder; editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)

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DOJ Report Finds FBI Probe of Trump Campaign was Justified https://ijr.com/doj-report-finds-fbi-probe-of-trump-campaign-was-justified/ https://ijr.com/doj-report-finds-fbi-probe-of-trump-campaign-was-justified/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2019 18:33:31 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1216484 Pundits said the report is not the smoking gun that Trump supporters hoped it would be. More]]>

A long-awaited Department of Justice report on the FBI’s investigation of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign concludes that the work was justifiable and not motivated by political bias against the president.

The report asserts that the agency mishandled some of its formal applications to conduct an inquiry into connections between Russia and officials in the Trump campaign, but says the overall rationale for it was nonetheless justified.

Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz said he found enough problems with the FBI’s requests to a national security court that he is launching a separate inquiry into how the agency obtains warrants to surveil U.S. citizens.

Pundits said the report is not the smoking gun that Trump supporters hoped it would be.

Trump has long maintained that the FBI treated him unfairly during the 2016 presidential campaign and singled out such players as former Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former Deputy Assistant Director Peter Strzok in repeated Twitter attacks.

In an interview on Fox & Friends last month, Trump said he thought release of the report would lead to “perhaps the biggest scandal in the history of our country.”

In a statement released Monday, Attorney General William Barr took issue with the findings, saying, “The Inspector General’s report now makes clear that the FBI launched an intrusive investigation of a U.S. presidential campaign on the thinnest of suspicions that, in my view, were insufficient to justify the steps taken.”

The inspector general’s office said it examined more than 1 million documents from the Department of Justice and FBI and conducted over 170 interviews involving more than 100 witnesses as part of the investigation.

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Amazon Lawsuit Blames Trump for Loss of Pentagon Cloud Contract https://ijr.com/amazon-lawsuit-blames-trump-for-loss-of-pentagon-cloud-contract/ https://ijr.com/amazon-lawsuit-blames-trump-for-loss-of-pentagon-cloud-contract/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2019 18:01:46 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1216481 Amazon called for a reevaluation of the proposals submitted to the Pentagon and a new award decision. More]]>

Amazon.com Inc on Monday accused U.S. President Donald Trump of exerting “improper pressure” and bias that led the Department of Defense to award a lucrative $10 billion cloud contract to rival Microsoft Corp.

In a complaint filed in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, Amazon said Trump launched “repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer” the Pentagon cloud contract called the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, popularly known as JEDI, away from Amazon Web Services.

The heavily redacted complaint said Trump’s motive was to “harm his perceived political enemy-Jeffrey P. Bezos, founder and CEO of AWS’s parent company, Amazon.com…and owner of the Washington Post.”

Trump’s interference made it impossible for the Pentagon to judge a winner “reasonably, consistently, an in a fair and equal manner,” Amazon said.

Trump has long criticized Bezos and Amazon over low tax payments and accused the Washington Post of acting as a lobbyist for Bezos and Amazon and spreading “fake news.”

Amazon called for a reevaluation of the proposals submitted to the Pentagon and a new award decision.

“The question is whether the President of the United States should be allowed to use the budget of DoD to pursue his own personal and political ends,” the 103-page complaint said.

Amazon and the Department of Defense did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Details from the complaint were first reported by Bloomberg last week.

In recent congressional testimony, a top Pentagon technology official, Dana Deasy, denied that Trump or the White House influenced the JEDI selection process.

A challenge to the Defense Department’s award announced in October was widely expected by legal experts, analysts and consultants, especially after Trump publicly derided Amazon’s bid for the high-stakes contract.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Richard Chang)

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North Korea Resumes Insults of ‘Erratic Old Man’ Trump https://ijr.com/north-korea-resumes-insults-of-erratic-old-man-trump/ https://ijr.com/north-korea-resumes-insults-of-erratic-old-man-trump/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2019 17:26:36 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1216476 Tensions have been rising in recent weeks as a year-end deadline approaches. More]]>

A senior North Korean official called President Donald Trump a “heedless and erratic old man” on Monday, resuming insults of the U.S. president that had been set aside during a thaw.

The new insults came a day after Pyongyang announced a “very important” test of an unspecified device. Satellite imagery indicated on Monday it may have been a rocket engine, an indication of possible future plans if Pyongyang carries out threats to declare disarmament talks a failure at year’s end.

The statement carried in state media KCNA by Kim Yong Chol, a ruling party vice chairman who was instrumental in arranging a failed second summit in February, was the strongest salvo yet in a war of words that has rekindled in recent days.

He described Trump as impatient, rebuked him over his own rhetoric and repeated a threat from last week that Pyongyang would dust off its previous insult “dotard” for the U.S. leader.

Tensions have been rising in recent weeks as a year-end deadline approaches set by North Korea for Washington to soften its stance in negotiations. Pyongyang has conducted a series of weapons tests and issued strongly worded statements.

Though Trump regularly exchanged insults with North Korea in the first years of his term, both sides had abandoned personal attacks after Trump met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore in 2018.

The North Korean official said the country’s leader may change his views toward Trump if the president continues uttering “inappropriate, highly risky words and expressions”.

He pointed to remarks by Trump on Sunday that Kim had “far too much to lose” and did not want to interfere with an upcoming U.S. presidential election.

Those comments indicate Trump is “an old man bereft of patience”, the North Korean official said. “As he is such a heedless and erratic old man, the time when we cannot but call him a ‘dotard’ again may come.”

Another senior North Korean official, Ri Su Yong, issued a separate statement saying Trump should stop using abusive language that may further offend Kim.

Trump should think twice if he does not want to see “bigger catastrophic consequences”, said Ri, a vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party Korea, adding that North Korea will make a final judgment by the end of this year.

North Korea had lauded a “special relationship” between the leaders even as it criticized other U.S. officials. However, Pyongyang bristled last week after Trump again referred to Kim as “Rocket Man”, a nickname Trump used early in his term.

On Sunday North Korea said it carried out a “very important” test at its Sohae satellite launching station.

Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in California, said satellite pictures of the site showed vehicles and equipment likely to be used in a test of a rocket engine, which were visible on Saturday but no longer present on Sunday.

“The ground appears to have been disturbed by the exhaust from the test,” he added.

South Korea’s defense ministry said the site was being monitored and analyzed along with U.S. intelligence authorities.

Kim Jong Un has warned he may take a “new path” if the United States fails to address his demands. Some experts say that might include the launch of a space satellite, which would help North Korea demonstrate progress in rockets without returning to overt military provocations, such as firing an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

Some South Korean experts said North Korea may have tested a solid fuel rocket engine, which could allow it to field ICBMs that are easier to hide and faster to deploy.

“They may well have tried to see the thrust and duration of a solid-propellant rocket engine for ICBMs,” a diplomatic source in Seoul told Reuters. “That’s effectively what they can do on the ground at this point without firing anything into the air.”

North Korea appears to have used Soviet-era liquid propellants in all its ICBM or satellite launches in recent years, while developing submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) based on solid fuel, officials and analysts say.

In March 2016, Kim oversaw a test of a high-power solid-fuel rocket engine. While inspecting a new missile modeled upon SLBMs in 2017, he said the country’s rocket industry had “firmly transitioned” to solid fuel from liquid propellants.

“It could be solid fuel or they might have developed a new engine,” said Jeong Han-beom, director of the Graduate School of National Security at Korea National Defense University.

“In any case, it’s meant to improve their capabilities for ICBMs, which need to be tested several times, while sending a message to Washington that we might go back to those old days of military confrontation if negotiations fail.”

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Marianne Williamson Roasted After Tweeting That Trump Pardoned Charles Manson https://ijr.com/marianne-williamson-roasted-after-tweeting-that-trump-pardoned-charles-manson/ https://ijr.com/marianne-williamson-roasted-after-tweeting-that-trump-pardoned-charles-manson/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2019 16:32:57 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1216464 "Marianne Williamson learns nothing good can come from tweeting at 12:53 a.m." More]]>

Democratic presidential hopeful Marianne Williamson fell for and promulgated a fake news story, tweeting at 12:53 a.m. on Monday that President Donald Trump had posthumously pardoned Charles Manson.

“There is something deeply sinister about Trump pardoning Charles Manson, even posthumously. Dog whistles of the very worst kind…”

Once journalist Yashar Ali noticed the tweet, he shared a screenshot of it saying, “This never happened. Williamson just tweeted this. This is a woman who gets furious when she’s told that she’s unserious and not prepared to run.”

Williamson deleted the tweet, but the screenshot of her message survived, and Twitter lit up with users roasting her for sharing fake news:

The Hill reports that Williamson probably saw the story from a site called MoronMajority.com. The fact-checking website Snopes declared that the story was false.

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Supreme Court Rejects Inmate’s Bid for Sex Reassignment Surgery https://ijr.com/supreme-court-rejects-inmates-bid-for-sex-reassignment-surgery/ https://ijr.com/supreme-court-rejects-inmates-bid-for-sex-reassignment-surgery/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2019 16:09:05 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1216457 Cruel and unusual punishment. More]]>

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear an appeal by a convicted murderer who filed a civil rights lawsuit because Texas prison officials denied her request to be considered for gender reassignment surgery.

The justices let stand a lower court’s decision to reject the claim by inmate Vanessa Lynn Gibson that denying the surgery request violated the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment.

Gibson, 41, who is transgender and also goes by the name Scott in court papers, was assigned male at birth and has lived as a female since age 15. Gibson was incarcerated in 1995 for aggravated assault, then was convicted of murdering a fellow inmate in 1997. She is eligible for parole in 2021.

Court papers said Gibson was diagnosed in 2014 with gender dysphoria, which medical experts define as distress from the internal conflict between physical gender and gender identity. She has suffered from severe depression, engaged in self-mutilation and attempted suicide several times, court papers said.

Gibson was provided with hormone therapy, but Texas has no policy allowing for “irreversible surgical intervention,” according to the state.

Gibson sued in federal court claiming that by refusing to conduct a medical evaluation for gender reassignment surgery prison officials were deliberately indifferent to her serious medical needs, a form of banned cruel and unusual punishment.

The Supreme Court in 1976 ruled that a deliberate indifference to serious medical needs of prisoners violates the Eighth Amendment because it is an “unnecessary and wanton infliction of pain.”

The New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in March rejected Gibson’s claim. In the decision, Judge James Ho, an appointee of President Donald Trump, said it is not cruel to deny a treatment that no other prison provides.

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U.S. Supreme Court Leaves in Place Kentucky Abortion Restriction https://ijr.com/supreme-court-leaves-kentucky-abortion-restriction/ https://ijr.com/supreme-court-leaves-kentucky-abortion-restriction/#comments Mon, 09 Dec 2019 15:44:43 +0000 https://ijr.com/?p=1216454 The justices declined without comment to hear an appeal by the American Civil Liberties Union. More]]>

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday left in place a Kentucky restriction requiring doctors to show and describe ultrasound images to women seeking an abortion, turning away a challenge arguing that the measure violates the free speech rights of physicians.

The justices declined without comment to hear an appeal by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of a lower court ruling that upheld the law after a federal judge previously had struck it down as a violation of the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment guarantee of free speech.

The Supreme Court has a 5-4 conservative majority and is closely divided on abortion rights.

On March 4, the court is scheduled to hear its first major abortion case in three years in a dispute over the legality of a Republican-backed Louisiana law that imposes restrictions on abortion doctors.

The ACLU said the Kentucky law has no medical basis and that its sole purpose is to coerce a woman into not getting an abortion.

The ACLU filed the lawsuit on behalf of EMW Women’s Surgical Center, Kentucky’s only licensed abortion clinic, as well as physicians who work there shortly after the law was passed in 2017.

Kentucky requires a physician or qualified technician to perform the ultrasound and position the screen so the woman can view the images of the fetus. The medical staff are required to describe what the images show, including the size of the fetus and any organs or appendages visible. They are also required to make audible the sound of the fetal heartbeat.

The law requires the physicians to continue with the process even if the patient objects and shows signs of distress. Doctors can be fined and referred to the state’s medical licensing board if they fail to comply with the Kentucky law.

On the Louisiana law case next year, the high court’s ruling could lead to new curbs on access to abortion. Numerous Republican-backed measures restricting abortion have been passed at the state level in recent years.

The Louisiana case will test the willingness of the court, which includes two conservative justices appointed by Republican President Donald Trump, to uphold laws that lower courts have ruled unconstitutional. The court has shifted to the right after Justice Anthony Kennedy, a decisive vote in favor of abortion rights, retired in 2018 and was replaced by Trump appointee Brett Kavanaugh, who has a thin judicial record on the issue.

In 2018, the Supreme Court blocked a California law requiring clinics that counsel women against abortion to notify clients of the availability of abortions paid for by the state, finding that it violated the free speech rights of the facilities. In that 5-4 ruling along ideological grounds, the court’s conservative justices were in the majority.

A federal judge in 2017 struck down the law but in an April 2019 ruling the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared it lawful. The 6th Circuit found that because the law “requires the disclosure of truthful, non-misleading and relevant information about an abortion, we hold that it does not violate a doctor’s right to free speech under the First Amendment.”

In 2015, the Supreme Court rejected a bid by North Carolina to revive a similar law that had been struck down. A similar law in Texas was upheld by a federal appeals court in 2012.

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; editing by Grant McCool)

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