The Journal Gazette
 
 
Friday, December 06, 2019 1:00 am

Politics

Trump asks for court's help

News services

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to void a subpoena from the House of Representatives that seeks the president's financial records from his accounting firm.

The justices already have shielded the documents from being turned over while they consider whether to hear Trump's case and his separate appeal of a court order that requires the same accounting firm, Mazars USA, to give his tax returns to the Manhattan District Attorney. The court could say as early as mid-December whether it will hear and decide the cases by the end of June.

Yet another case involving House subpoenas for Trump's records from New York banks also is headed for the Supreme Court, and the justices are likely to prevent the handover of any documents for the time being.

The two court cases involving House subpoenas are distinct from the ongoing impeachment inquiry.

'04 nominee Kerry endorses Biden

John Kerry, the former secretary of state and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, endorsed Joe Biden for president on Thursday, buoying the former vice president's argument that his international experience should be a deciding factor for voters in 2020.

“I've never before seen the world more in need of someone who on day one can begin the incredibly hard work of putting back together the world Donald Trump has smashed apart,” Kerry said in a statement.

The Biden campaign rolled out Kerry's endorsement as it continued to portray Trump as a dangerous and erratic commander in chief and head of state. The campaign amplified its argument with an online ad featuring video of other world leaders mocking Trump at a Buckingham Palace reception held alongside the NATO summit this week.

21st Republican to retire from House

Georgia Republican Rep. Tom Graves said Thursday he will retire after his current term in Congress, joining a larger-than-typical group of lawmakers taking their leave from an increasingly partisan and unproductive Washington.

The six-term congressman is the 21st House Republican to announce his retirement and the third Capitol Hill lawmaker from Georgia who won't seek re-election in 2020. 

In a statement addressing his constituents, Graves, 49, called his decade in Washington “an honor that won't be replicated.” But he said he's “entering a new season in life” with his wife nearing retirement and their children now young adults.

Guilty lawmaker warned on voting

The House Ethics Committee on Thursday warned Rep. Duncan Hunter not to vote on the House floor, two days after the California Republican pleaded guilty to misusing campaign funds.

In a sternly worded letter, the top two lawmakers on the committee noted that their request is not mandatory. But they told Hunter that he could face disciplinary action if he ignores their warning.

“This provision of House Rules was promulgated to preserve public confidence in the legislative process when a sitting Member of Congress has been convicted of a serious crime,” the committee's chairman, Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., and ranking Republican member, Rep. Kenny Marchant of Texas, said in the letter.

Hunter last voted on Wednesday, when he voted against two procedural motions and for the passage of a bipartisan measure aimed at combating robocalls. He did not participate in House votes Thursday afternoon.

Bench seat vacant since '05 filled

The nation's longest federal court vacancy ended Thursday after nearly 14 years of foot-dragging and politics as the U.S. Senate confirmed a university professor to a North Carolina trial court seat in a bipartisan vote.

The chamber voted 68-21 to confirm Richard E. Myers, a former journalist turned attorney and law professor, to the U.S. District Court vacancy in eastern North Carolina. The vote belied the volatile politics of past years as nominees came and went — one several times — across three presidential administrations.

The seat has been vacant since Judge Malcolm Howard moved to semi-retirement status at the end of 2005. The next longest current vacancy in the federal courts began in 2013, according to the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

Trump accuser sues Fox News

The former Playboy model who took a $150,000 payoff to squelch her story of an affair with a pre-presidency Donald Trump sued Fox News on Thursday, claiming prominent host Tucker Carlson slandered her by saying that what happened “sounds like a classic case of extortion.”

Karen McDougal's lawsuit, filed Thursday in New York, says the host and network were “grossly irresponsible.”

“They accused McDougal of committing a felony under state and federal law” to an audience of roughly 3 million, “without justification or excuse,” McDougal's lawyer, Eric Bernstein wrote.

Fox News said it “will vigorously defend Tucker Carlson against these meritless claims.”

McDougal has said she had an affair with Trump in 2006 and 2007. He denied it.

Panel to Virginia:Repeal race laws

The laws are still on the books in Virginia: Blacks and whites must sit in separate rail cars. They cannot use the same playgrounds, schools or mental hospitals. They can't marry each other either.

The measures have not been enforced for decades, but they remain in the state's official legal record. A state commission on Thursday recommended that dozens of such discriminatory statutes finally be repealed, in some cases more than a century after they were adopted.

The commission, which issued an interim report Thursday and will continue its work, said the laws should be repealed in the legislative session that begins in January. Gov. Ralph Northam pledged to work with fellow Democrats who will control the General Assembly to do so.


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