Report: Record number of Republicans file to run for House, Senate seats

File – Voters line up in voting booths to cast their ballots at Robious Elementary School in Chesterfield, Va. on Tuesday Nov. 8, 2016. (Shelby Lum/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:14 PM PT — Friday, February 21, 2020

Another surge of candidates are running for Congress in the 2020 elections, but this time it appears to be conservatives. According to reports, a record number of Republicans have filed to run for the House and Senate this election cycle.

The surge mirrors that of the 2018 midterms, where more Democrats were running for office compared to previous elections. The current surge in Republican candidates is an apparent response to the election of more radical progressive and socialist-leaning candidates whom Democrats pushed to victory last election.

“I’m a conservative wife, mother, and businesswoman who 100% stands with President Trump and against the left-wing socialists who want to wreck our country.”

— Marjorie Greene (R), congressional candidate – Ga.’s 14th District

Meanwhile, New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez announced she will be endorsing over a dozen female progressive congressional candidates through her political action committee.

Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass., left, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., listen as U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham testifies during a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

On her Twitter Friday, Ocasio-Cortez confirmed the move is part of her greater push to elect a “progressive majority” to Congress. The congresswoman said the idea behind the move is to “open the door” for political newcomers and “reward political courage” in Congress.

Among her endorsements, AOC is backing several long-shot candidates who are running against Democrats endorsed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

RELATED: Outdated software could leave 2020 elections vulnerable to hacking

Original Article

VA. Democrats push to ban assault weapons fails Senate vote

FILE – This Monday an. 20, 2020 file photo shows pro gun demonstrators holding signs in front of the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond, Va. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:23 PM PT — Monday, February 17, 2020

The Virginia State Senate rejected a measure to ban the sale of some semi-automatic weapons and large magazines. State senators rejected the measure in a 10-to-five vote Monday, postponing the bill for the rest of the year and asking the State Crime Commission to study the issue.

The state of Virginia has been known as the center of all the gun debates. Protesters have been gathering at the state’s capital the past couple of weeks to showcase their right of keeping their legal weapons.

Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran argued that Americans apparently have no right to carry firearms because those guns are made for war.

On the other hand, the NRA was delighted to hear the news of Virginia’s rejected bill.

A group of four moderate Democrats joined their Republican counterparts in voting against the measure. The bill would have prohibited the sale of AR-15 style rifles and banned the possession of magazines holding more than 12 rounds.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his allies believe this bill could potentially save lives and help prevent future mass murders.

A spokeswoman for the governor said his office would be back next year in a renewed push for the bill.

RELATED: Joe Biden Emphasizes His Legislative Record On Gun Control In New Campaign Ads.

Original Article

President Trump expected to veto War Powers Resolution if passed in Senate

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:43 AM PT — Thursday, February 13, 2020

President Trump is expected to veto a War Powers Resolution, which would limit his ability to take military action against Iran, if the measure is passed in the Senate. This comes after eight Senate Republicans and 43 Democrats voted Wednesday to bring the measure to the Senate floor for a final vote Thursday.

The president has criticized the Democrat proposal and said it’s very important for the country’s security that the Senate not vote in favor of the resolution. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also urged senators to reject it. The Kentucky lawmaker said it would limit the U.S. military’s ability to defend itself against Iranian threats.

The War Powers resolution was drafted after President Trump green-lit the killing of a top Iranian general last month. The bill would require the president to remove U.S. troops engaged in hostilities against Iran unless Congress signs off on a Declaration of War.

In a series of tweets Wednesday, the president criticized the resolution and said the motion would greatly embolden Iranian aggression in the Middle East.

However, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). has said the resolution is about Congress, not the president.

“Some view this as an effort to tie President Trump’s hands, it’s not really about President Trump,” he stated. “It’s about Congress fully inhabiting our Article One role to declare war and taking that deliberation seriously.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) echoed Kaine’s sentiments and claimed the resolution does not make the U.S. appear weak.

“There is abundance support for the United States taking tough positions with regard to Iran and, as part of that, we want to make sure that any military action that needs to be authorized is, in fact, properly authorized by Congress,” he explained. “That doesn’t show weakness, that shows strength and I think that’s the strength that’s going to unfold as we debate this.”

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, craft an amendment as the Senate advanced a bipartisan resolution asserting that President Donald Trump must seek approval from Congress before engaging in further military action against Iran, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Seven fellow GOP senators have joined Sen. Lee in supporting the resolution, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). Despite reaching across the aisle, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has urged Republicans to reject the resolution.

“It is dangerously overbroad , an overbroad resolution that should not pass Congress, that is certain to be vetoed if it does,” he stated. “If my colleagues want to make a real difference, this is not the way to go.”

It’s not clear if there will be enough support to override a possible presidential veto.

RELATED: Sen. McConnell Urges Senate Against Passing War Powers Resolution

Original Article

Sen. McConnell urges Senate against passing War Powers Resolution

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by, from left, Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Majority Whip John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, talks to reporters following a GOP strategy meeting at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:55 PM PT — Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is warning against limiting the president’s war powers. On Wednesday, McConnell called Democrat Sen. Tim Kaine’s (D-Va.) War Powers Resolution “blunt and clumsy.”

He went on to say the legislation “severely limits” the White House’s power to mitigate threats from Iran.

On Wednesday, the upper chamber voted to advance the resolution in a 51 to 45 vote. McConnell stood firm, comparing the resolution to the Democrats’ impeachment efforts.

“The collateral institutional damage of this action would fall on our military, its ability to operate quickly and adaptively, and emerging threats would be jeopardized. Like impeachment, this War Powers Resolution cuts short that interplay between the branches, it short circuits the deliberation and debate. It is (a) dangerously overbroad resolution that should not pass Congress, that is certain to be vetoed if it does.”

– Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader

The Senate is scheduled to hold a full vote on the measure this Thursday, but appears to lack the two-thirds majority needed to override an expected veto by the president.

Original Article

Senate acquits President Trump on both articles of impeachment

President Donald Trump departs following a Christmas Eve video teleconference with members of the military at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:25 PM PT — Wednesday, February 5, 2020

History was made on Wednesday following the Senate’s final vote in the impeachment trial of President Trump. Lawmakers formally struck down both articles of impeachment, acquitting the president on both charges.

The Senate voted 52 to 48 against Article One: Abuse of Power.

Sen. Mitt Romney was the sole Republican to side with Democrats, voting against the president on the first article.

However, Republicans stood united on Article Two: Obstruction of Congress. Lawmakers voted 53 to 47 to acquit the president on this charge.

“It is therefore ordered and adjudged that the said Donald John Trump be, and he is hereby, acquitted of the charges in said articles,” stated Chief Justice Roberts.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the CenturyLink Center, Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019, in Bossier City, La. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

Wednesday’s vote marked the end of a historic period in our nation’s history. It began last year with a whistleblower complaint, which was followed by House hearings, an impeachment vote and the Senate trial.

Following the final vote, President Trump said he would be delivering a public statement on Thursday to “discuss our country’s victory on the impeachment hoax.”

Original Article

Sen. Paul reads question about whistleblower on Senate floor after Justice Roberts refused to recite it

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:40 PM PT — Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor to read the question Supreme Court Justice John Roberts refused to recite during the impeachment trial.

On Tuesday, he stated that the Constitution protects debate and said he thinks the chief justice made a big mistake by not allowing his question about the whistleblower.

The Kentucky Republican also pointed out the law does not preserve the anonymity of whistleblower’s. Sen. Paul specifically named the suspected whistleblower while delivering question.

Sen. Paul said he does not support jailing or firing the whistleblower, however, he continued to point out that lawmaker as well as the American people should know if they and others had biases going into impeachment proceedings.

RELATED:President Trump employs heavyweight defense team as GOP threatens to weaponize witnesses

Original Article

Sen. Paul reads question about whistleblower on Senate floor after Justice Roberts refused to recite it

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, during the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. (AP Photo/ Jacquelyn Martin)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:40 PM PT — Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor to read the question Supreme Court Justice John Roberts refused to recite during the impeachment trial.

On Tuesday, he stated that the Constitution protects debate and said he thinks the chief justice made a big mistake by not allowing his question about the whistleblower.

The Kentucky Republican also pointed out the law does not preserve the anonymity of whistleblower’s. Sen. Paul specifically named the suspected whistleblower while delivering question.

Sen. Paul said he does not support jailing or firing the whistleblower, however, he continued to point out that lawmaker as well as the American people should know if they and others had biases going into impeachment proceedings.

RELATED:President Trump employs heavyweight defense team as GOP threatens to weaponize witnesses

Original Article

McConnell: Senate to acquit President Trump

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., leaves after the Senate heard closing arguments in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:27 PM PT — Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he’s voting to acquit President Trump on charges levied against him by House Democrats. He confirmed his intentions while speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday. At least 34 Republicans have reportedly said they will acquit the president, which would make a conviction mathematically impossible.

The Kentucky lawmaker said House Democrats think President Trump committed a crime by beating Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. McConnell chastised the House on the impeachment process by calling it rushed and unfair. He claimed Democrats are the ones who abused their power.

“We’ve watched a major American political party adopt the following absurd proposition: ‘We think this president is a bull in a China shop, so we’re going to drive a bulldozer through the China shop to get rid of it.’ This fever led to the most rushed, least fair and least thorough presidential impeachment inquiry in American history.”

— Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader

McConnell said elections are the ultimate tool to assess a president’s character and policies, and added that Democrats are afraid they will lose again.

President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, waves as he walks on the South Lawn as they depart the White House, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Washington. Trump is en route to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Meanwhile, has President Trump took to Twitter ahead of Wednesday’s impeachment vote to highlight his support among Republicans as well as tout what he called “a new high” in regards to overall approval.

The president pointed to the surging U.S. economy and other major success as contributing factors to high approval. He went on to blast Democrats for their continued “witch hunts” and attempts to remove him from office.

RELATED: Trump defense team says acquittal is the only appropriate result of Impeachment trial

Original Article

Senate votes against witnesses, documents in trial

In this image from video, the final vote total on the motion to subpoena and allow additional witnesses and documents, during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. The motion failed by a vote of 51-49. (Senate Television via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 4:37 PM PT — Friday, January 31, 2020

The Senate has moved to block additional witnesses and documents in the impeachment trial. Senators voted 51-to-49 on Thursday afternoon, shutting down any attempts to introduce more evidence in the case.

Senators Lisa Murkowski and Lamar Alexander, among a few others, were considered key swing votes in deciding if the trial would be prolonged.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell previously predicted the outcome of the vote and has since weighed in with a new statement.

Tally for vote to subpoena witnesses in the Senate impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

“There is no need for the Senate to re-open the investigation, which the House Democratic majority chose to conclude and which the Managers themselves continue to describe as ‘overwhelming’ and ‘beyond any doubt.’ Never in Senate history has this body paused an impeachment trial to pursue additional witnesses with unresolved questions of executive privilege that would require protracted litigation. We have no interest in establishing such a new precedent, particularly for individuals whom the House expressly chose not to pursue.” – Mitch McConnell, U.S. Senator

The upper chamber is now in its very final stages of the trial. A vote on the two articles of impeachment is expected next week.

Republicans have signaled they want to get the trial over with as quickly as possible and added it’s very likely senators will vote to acquit President Trump.

President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, waves as they walk on the South Lawn as they depart the White House, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020, in Washington. Trump is en route to his Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Following the vote, the president reacted to the news on Twitter.

He added, “No matter what you give to the Democrats, in the end, they will never be satisfied.”

He earlier stated that they were “scamming America.”

Democrats reacted to vote by condemning the move as a “grand tragedy.”

“America will remember this day, unfortunately, where the Senate did not live up to its responsibilities, turned away from truth and went along with a sham trial,” stated Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. “If the president is acquitted with no witnesses, no documents, the acquittal will have no value, because Americans will know that this trial was not a real trial.”

RELATED: McConnell Has Support Needed To Kill Impeachment Witness Vote

Original Article

Reports: Senate Republicans lack votes to block witnesses from testifying in impeachment trial

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., walks to the chamber for President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:48 AM PT — Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Senate Republicans have reached a roadblock in their efforts to stop witnesses from testifying in the impeachment trial. According to reports Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell fears he does not have enough votes to block witnesses, such as former National Security Advisor John Bolton, from taking the stand.

If allowed to testify, Bolton is expected to say the president froze military aid to Ukraine in order to push Ukrainian officials to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden’s business ties. With the 53 Republicans and 47 Democrats, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer believes he can attract votes from the other side of the aisle.

“I hope that we have just four Republicans, all we need is four, who rise to the occasion and say we need to find out the truth,” he stated.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to media at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan.28, 2020. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is remaining optimistic that Republicans will not vote in favor of witnesses. However, he suggested that he would will call more than just Bolton. Sen. Graham claimed he would also subpoena Hunter Biden and call him to the stand.

The Senate is expected to vote Friday on whether to call witnesses.

RELATED: President Trump’s defense team set up their final defense in the impeachment trial

Original Article

Florida lawmakers advance pro-life legislation to Senate

State Sen. Kelli Stargel, R-Lakeland, speaks during a Senate Rules Committee hearing regarding SB 404, known as the “parental consent” bill, at the Capitol, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020 in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Aileen Perilla)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:20 PM PT — Friday, January 24, 2020

Florida has passed a pro-life bill, which aims to expand protections for unborn and full-term infants, to the Senate. On Wednesday, state legislators advanced the SB 404 bill, which would make parental consent mandatory for underage abortions.

This expanded upon an existing law, which stated parents of children under 18-years-old must be notified before their children undergo the procedure. The new measure would also reclassify aborting infants born alive from a first-degree misdemeanor to a third-degree felony.

This came after Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis expressed support for the bill in his State of State Address earlier this month.

“I also hope that the legislature will send me, this session, the parental consent bill that was debated last year,” he said. “(It was) passed by the House, but not passed by the Senate.”

The bill will be heard on the Senate floor and a vote is expected next month.

RELATED: President Trump Becomes First President To Speak At ‘March For Life’ Rally In D.C.

Original Article

House prosecutors rehash old arguments on second day of Senate trial, cry corruption

Night falls on the Capitol, in Washington, Wednesday evening, Jan. 22, 2020, during in the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. House prosecutors are outlining what they refer to as President Donald Trump’s “corrupt scheme” to abuse power and obstruct Congress as they open six days of arguments in his impeachment trial. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:45 AM PT — Thursday, January 23, 2020

Arguments and accusations from House prosecutors marked the second day of the Senate impeachment trial. The trial kicked off Wednesday with two-hours of opening statements.

Democrat House managers reportedly went into lengthy and worn-out arguments. In one instance, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) cited the founding fathers to accuse the president of corruption for allegedly pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political opponent.

“The framers of the Constitution worried then, as we worry today, that a leader might come to power not to carry out the will of the people that he was elected to represent, but to pursue his own interests,’ he stated. “They fear that a president would subvert our democracy by abusing the awesome power of his office for his own personal or political gain.”

Rep. Schiff went on reportedly suggesting removing President Trump from office is necessary to safeguard the 2020 elections from a Russian meddling.

In this image from video, House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., holds redacted documents as he speaks during the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. (Senate Television via AP)

Although House Democrats promised to create a “overwhelming and damning” picture of the president’s alleged misconduct they failed to appeal to their Republican colleagues. One of those GOP members is Sen. John Barrasso, (R-Wy.), who made the following comments following the trial:

“Well, we’ve just come out of listening to, what, about six hours of testimony so far today, six and a half. I didn’t hear anything new at all. We were here all day yesterday for about 13 hours. No new material presented. It still seems to me this this was an effort by the Democrats in a very partisan way to bring a case against President Trump because they weren’t happy with the results of the 2016 election and are concerned that they’re going to have real problems in the 2020 election when we look at the candidates running for president against President Trump.”

Meanwhile, President Trump seems to be unaffected by the trial against him and issued a response before leaving the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “They’re doing a very good job, we have a great case,” he stated.

As the trial concluded for the day, the president’s impeachment defense team echoed similar optimism.

“I want to let them try their case and we want to try our case, because we believe without a question that the president will be acquitted,” said Jay Sekulow, personal attorney for President Trump. “There is not a doubt.”

RELATED: Rep. Schiff misconstrued Parnas evidence

Original Article

Trump accuses Pelosi of ‘crying for fairness’ in Senate trial after ‘unfair’ House impeachment

closeSen. Mitch McConnell calls Nancy Pelosi's decision to withhold articles of impeachment an 'absurd position'Video

Sen. Mitch McConnell calls Nancy Pelosi's decision to withhold articles of impeachment an 'absurd position'

Speaker Pelosi seems to think she can dictate the rules of a Senate impeachment trial, says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

President Trump slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday for making demands of the Senate regarding his upcoming trial as she sits on two impeachment articles, accusing her of "crying for fairness" after leading an "unfair" process in the House.

Throughout the House Democrats' impeachment inquiry, Trump and fellow Republicans criticized elements of the process — including the initial closed-door sessions with witnesses, an invitation for him to participate in a hearing while he was overseas, and the decision to cite the president's assertion of executive privilege as evidence of obstruction as opposed to battling it out in court.

MCCONNELL RIPS PELOSI FOR IMPEACHMENT DELAY, SAYS DEMS 'AFRAID' TO TRANSMIT 'SHODDY' ARTICLES

"Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so," Trump tweeted Monday morning. "She lost Congress once, she will do it again!"

Both chambers of Congress are engaged in an unusual battle over the next steps in the historic process after the House accused Trump of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress for his actions concerning Ukraine, in the third-ever impeachment of an American president.

Pelosi is now indicating she will not turn over the articles of impeachment to the Senate or name impeachment managers until the upper chamber announces the process of how the trial will be conducted.

Coinciding with that position, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has demanded that the Senate be allowed to subpoena documents and witnesses who did not appear before the House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., responded by saying that the Senate's role is not to do what the House failed to do during what he has called "the most rushed, least thorough, and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history."

PELOSI STANDS BY DELAY IN SENDING IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES TO SENATE, CALLS MCCONNELL A 'ROGUE LEADER'

Pelosi fired back Monday morning, tweeting: "The House cannot choose our impeachment managers until we know what sort of trial the Senate will conduct. President Trump blocked his own witnesses and documents from the House, and from the American people, on phony complaints about the House process. What is his excuse now?"

Pelosi has also faced criticism for pushing House Democrats to pursue articles of impeachment on a tight timetable, only to drop that sense of urgency after the final vote. McConnell has accused her and fellow Democrats of getting "cold feet."

Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., defended Pelosi on "Fox News Sunday," noting that President Bill Clinton was impeached in mid-December and managers were not appointed until Jan. 6 of the following year after the House returned from the holiday break. She suggested that the current process would not move any faster, even if Pelosi took swift action.

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Earlier on the show, Marc Short, chief of staff for Vice President Pence, claimed that Pelosi would ultimately move forward and allow the Senate to conduct a trial.

"She will yield, there's no way she can hold this position," he predicted.

Original Article

Jeff Flake claims Senate Republicans, not just Trump, are on trial

closePresident Trump takes aim at House Speaker Pelosi for not sending articles of impeachment to the SenateVideo

President Trump takes aim at House Speaker Pelosi for not sending articles of impeachment to the Senate

Trump accuses Nancy Pelosi of 'playing games' with impeachment; chief White House correspondent John Roberts reports.

Former Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is warning his former colleagues in the Senate that they, along with President Trump, will be on trial when the articles of impeachment eventually move from the House to the upper chamber.

“President Trump is on trial. But in a very real sense, so are you. And so is the political party to which we belong,” Flake writes in an op-ed for The Washington Post Friday.

JEFF FLAKE SAYS 'AT LEAST 35' REPUBLICAN SENATORS WOULD PRIVATELY VOTE TO IMPEACH TRUMP

Flake, who left the Senate this year after having staked out a vocally anti-Trump stance, wrote after the House voted for two articles of impeachment — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The articles are expected to soon go to the Senate for a trial, although there are indications House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., may delay the articles being transmitted. In the Senate, Trump is almost certain of acquittal unless there is a sudden and dramatic shift of Republicans in favor of impeachment.

Flake urges Republicans to consider the evidence, but at the same time not to repeat House Republican assertions the president hasn’t done anything wrong: “He has.”

“The willingness of House Republicans to bend to the president’s will by attempting to shift blame with the promotion of bizarre and debunked conspiracy theories has been an appalling spectacle,” Flake argues. “It will have long-term ramifications for the country and the party, to say nothing of individual reputations.”

TOP DEMS IN CONTENTION TO PROSECUTE TRUMP IMPEACHMENT CASE — IF IT GOES TO TRIAL

He asks what Republicans would have done if President Barack Obama had engaged in the same behavior, in regards to Ukraine.

Breaking down media coverage of impeachment voteVideo

“I know the answer to that question with certainty, and so do you. You would have understood with striking clarity the threat it posed, and you would have known exactly what to do,” he says.

While Flake says he does not envy Republican senators’ task, he urges them to avoid “an alternate reality that would have us believe in things that obviously are not true, in the service of executive behavior that we never would have encouraged and a theory of executive power that we have always found abhorrent.”

“If there ever was a time to put country over party, it is now,” he writes. “And by putting country over party, you might just save the Grand Old Party before it’s too late.”

There have been no public signs so far of any mass defection against Trump by GOP senators. Despite rumors that a number of Republicans in the House may break off, no GOP members in the lower chamber voted for impeachment — while a few Democrats voted against.

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It isn’t the first time Flake has indicated he believes that a Senate conviction of Trump is in the realm of possibility. He claimed in September that close to three dozen Republican senators would back ousting the president if the vote was held in private.

"I heard someone say if there were a private vote there would be 30 Republican votes. That's not true," Flake said on Slate's "What Next" podcast. "There would be at least 35."

Fox News’ Joseph Wulfsohn contributed to this report.

Original Article

Senate OKs spending bills to avoid government shutdown, sending them to Trump’s desk

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 19

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 19 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com

The Senate on Thursday passed a $1.4 trillion spending package, avoiding a shutdown and funding the government through the rest of the fiscal year.

The first bill in the two-bill package, covering domestic programs, passed 71 to 23. The second spending bill passed 81 to 11, and the pair will now head to President Trump's desk Friday night — the deadline to fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2020, or through Sept. 30. The White House said Tuesday that the president will sign the bill.

The legislation gives Trump a victory on his U.S.-Mexico border fence and gives Democrats domestic spending increases and an expensive repeal of Obama-era taxes on high-cost health plans. It provides health care and pension benefits for retired coal miners and increases the nationwide legal age to buy tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, from 18 to 21.

The tobacco measure was pushed by Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R.-Ky.

HOUSE APPROVES $1.4 TRILLION SPENDING BILL, REPEALING OBAMACARE TAXES

The deficit tab for the package grew, as well, with the addition of $428 billion in tax cuts over 10 years to repeal the three so-called ObamaCare taxes.

The split-their-differences legislation was carrying a large number of unrelated provisions into law, drawing protests from fiscal conservatives. It would put in place an earlier spending deal that reversed unpopular and unworkable automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs — at a $2.2 trillion cost over the coming decade.

“These spending bills are a fiscal dumpster fire,” said Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah. “This is embarrassing.”

The legislation is laced with provisions reflecting divided power in Washington. Republicans maintained the status quo on several abortion-related battles and on funding for Trump's border wall.

CONGRESS RAISES NATIONAL TOBACCO AGE TO 21 AS PART OF SPENDING PACKAGE

Democrats controlling the House succeeded in winning a 3.1 percent raise for federal civilian employees and the first installment of funding on gun violence research after more than two decades of gun lobby opposition.

The bill provides $25 million for gun violence research, divided between the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The bill exceeds Trump’s budget requests in every domestic category, except for his $8 billion-plus for the U.S.-Mexico wall, which was cut back to $1.4 billion — the same as last year’s appropriation. However, Trump may use his budget powers to tap other accounts for several times that amount. Though it may anger liberal opponents to the wall, it was a trade-off for Democrats who wanted to gain $27 billion in increases for domestic programs.

Popular programs such as health research, veterans' medical care, NASA, sewer and water projects, and law enforcement grants to state and local governments would also get increases under the package. The Pentagon would receive $738 billion, a record amount, to buy expensive weapons systems such as the F-35 fighter.

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Democrats won $425 million for states to upgrade their election systems, and in turn, they boosted the U.S. Census budget $1.4 billion above Trump’s request.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Alex Pappas contributed to this report, as well as The Associated Press.

Original Article

Pelosi stands by delay in sending impeachment articles to Senate, calls McConnell a ‘rogue leader’

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday defended her decision to hold off on sending impeachment articles to the Senate, calling Mitch McConnell a "rogue leader" in an unusual press conference where she repeatedly tried to shut down questions about the impeachment process.

Pelosi spoke to reporters after Democrats passed two articles of impeachment against President Trump in a Wednesday evening vote. She indicated the House would eventually send the articles over to the upper chamber, but insisted it is up to the Senate to determine how the process develops going forward.

“The next thing for us will be when we see the process that is set forth in the Senate, then we’ll know the number of managers that we may have to go forward, and who we would choose,” Pelosi said during a Thursday morning press conference.

After an impeachment in the House, the articles are normally sent over to the upper chamber for an impeachment trial, but Pelosi signaled earlier that the House is waiting for the Senate to set out how Trump's trial will be conducted before they determine their next steps, such as designating impeachment managers who will represent them.

Earlier Thursday morning, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said Democrats may be “too afraid” to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate after the House speaker abruptly held off on transmitting them.

"Looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet," the Senate GOP leader mused.

McConnell also criticized the impeachment in remarks on the Senate floor, calling it “a rushed and rigged inquiry.”

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On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., had requested that the Senate issue subpoenas for documents and witnesses who had not testified during the House's impeachment inquiry. McConnell responded by stating that the House should have been more thorough, and it was not the Senate's role to do the House's "homework" for them.

Fox News' Adam Shaw contributed to this report.

Original Article

McConnell says he’ll address Senate floor Thursday morning, day after House impeachment vote

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., is expected to address the Senate floor at 9 a.m. ET Thursday — the day after the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives voted to impeach President Trump for "abuse of power" and "obstruction of Congress" related to his dealings with Ukraine.

“At 9:30am tomorrow morning, on the Senate floor, I will speak about House Democrats’ precedent-breaking impeachment of the President of the United States,” McConnell tweeted Thursday night.

MCCONNELL: 'WE'VE HEARD ENOUGH' ON IMPEACHMENT, PROLONGED SENATE TRIAL COULD BE 'EMBARRASSING SCENE'

Article one, abuse of power, passed on a 230-197 vote, with two Democrats joining Republicans in voting nay. The obstruction-of-Congress vote was 229-197, with three Democrats voting nay. No Republicans supported either article. 2020 presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, voted “present,” indicating she did not support impeachment. Trump became the third U.S. president to be impeached after the historic vote.

In a news conference following the House impeachment vote Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested Democrats may wait to send their articles of impeachment against Trump to the GOP-controlled Senate until they’re assured Republicans are capable of holding a fair trial.

McConnell told Fox News’ Sean Hannity last week that he would coordinate with the White House counsel when setting the procedure for the Senate trial, adding that “There will be no difference from the president’s position and our position.”

Waiting to send the articles to the Senate could prove to be a tactical play for Democrats – as leaving Trump in limbo would mean he’s an impeached president – and would prevent him from an almost certain acquittal in a trial in the GOP-controlled upper chamber of Congress. That would leave the president open to claim he was exonerated as he campaigns for re-election in 2020.

Under the rules of impeachment, the Senate has no option but to turn to impeachment once the articles are handed over from the House. Because the Republicans have the majority, McConnell will have the authority to decide on the procedures of the trial.

On Wednesday morning, McConnell rejected a request from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to subpoena new documents and call witnesses who had been blocked by the White House during the impeachment inquiry on the House side.

"The Senate is meant to act as judge and jury, to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it,” McConnell told the Senate floor.

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In a letter on Sunday, Schumer suggested dates for the trial, a presentation of the articles by impeachment managers, a list of witnesses including acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton, how to handle the witnesses, and ideas on how much time the Senate should devote to debate in the trial.

McConnell stressed the fact-finding mission should have been completed during the impeachment inquiry led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. He accused the House of doing a rush job, and said Schumer is now looking "to make Chairman Schiff's sloppy work more persuasive."

Fox News' Ronn Blitzer and Julia Musto contributed to this report.

Original Article

Reporter’s Notebook: Senate impeachment trial could be biggest reality TV show of all time

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Fitton on impeachment: Trump being abused, Constitution being attacked

Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton reacts to House vote on impeachment articles.

The Senate has a specific set of 25 rules which dictate operations for a Senate impeachment trial. But the Senate’s only conducted 17 impeachment trials in history. No one knows how President Trump’s prospective Senate trial may look. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have wrestled for days about the possibilities of a Senate trial. So far, neither side is giving any quarter.

Senate impeachment trial rules are vague. They only say the Senate holds the trial six days a week, starting at 1 in the afternoon, Saturdays included.

There are only a few things the Senate has to do with the trial. One of them is present the House’s impeachment articles to the Senate out loud. Former Senate Sergeant at Arms James Ziglar announced that the House was “exhibiting to the Senate of the United States, articles of impeachment against William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States” on January 7, 1999. On January 14, 1999, the late House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill., laid out the House’s case to the Senate.

“We the managers of the House are here to set forth the evidence in support of two articles of impeachment against President William Jefferson Clinton,” said Hyde.

And after the managers speak to the Senate, pretty much anything can happen.

Clinton’s Senate trial ran about five weeks in January and February 1999 before the Senate voted to acquit. But no one is quite sure how long Trump’s trial could run. After the Senate verbally announces the charges and receives the House managers, anything can happen.

“Impeachment trials of the president of the United States are extremely rare. We really do not have a great deal of precedent on which to rely,” said former Senate Parliamentarian Alan Frumin, the body’s head referee. “The potential playing field is as yet defined. The lines are not on the field yet. I don't know if it's going to be 100 yards or 200 yards field and whether you can get a first down or a series of first downs and keep going.”

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over any Senate trial. But no one will have more influence over a Senate trial than McConnell.

“We don’t create impeachments. We judge them,” said McConnell.

But the Kentucky Republican says he’s coordinated with the White House about what the administration wants in a Senate trial.

THE LATEST FROM FOX NEWS ON THE TRUMP IMPEACHMENT

Nancy Pelosi speaks after House votes to impeach President TrumpVideo

Trump says he’s open to either a short or long trial. There’s been talk of the president appearing himself in a trial. Maybe calling the Bidens, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as witnesses.

Schumer tried to preempt GOP messaging on a Senate trial by making requests for when a trial should start, how much debate the Senate should allocate for closing arguments which witnesses the Democrats would like to see testify.

Schumer is executing an interesting gambit. Schumer and Democrats have long portrayed McConnell as keeper of the legislative “graveyard,” capitalizing on his self-assigned nickname as the “Grim Reaper.” Schumer essentially dared McConnell to say no to Democratic demands. The New York Democrat suspects McConnell would:

  1. Fail to implement any of the Democrats requests.
  2. Rush the Senate trial to the point that Democrats think senators never gave the House charges a fair hearing and abused the impeachment process.
  3. Conducts a trial which favors the president, since McConnell says he’s working with the administration to implement about what Trump wants from the GOP-controlled Senate.

Schumer then will attempt to add to the narrative that McConnell is indeed “the Grim Reaper.” Moreover, Democrats will weaponize such the Senate’s handling of a trial (and perhaps actual roll call votes in a Senate trial) against vulnerable Republicans facing challenging reelection bids in 2020: Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.

Schumer wants Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and former National Security Adviser John Bolton to testify – among others.

McConnell is cool to the idea.

“If the Senate volunteers ourselves to do House Democrats’ homework for them, we will only incentivize an endless stream of dubious partisan impeachments in the future,” said the majority leader.

A Senate trial with witnesses could produce one of the most surreal spectacles in American history.

That’s why even some key Republicans are leery of an unorthodox scene, and what it could mean for the integrity of the Senate.

Graham: Pelosi would lose her job if she didn't move toward impeachmentVideo

“I'm getting a lot of pushback from the right on this,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. “You know everybody's dying to hear from Joe Biden and Hunter Biden and prove that there was corruption on their part, and to get Schiff. Shifty Schiff and all that good stuff. I'm really worried about where this could take the country.”

Like Graham, senators who served more than two decades ago also fretted about Clinton’s impeachment trial. Then-Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss. says there were concerns about publicly airing salacious details about Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

“There were some that wanted to have witnesses on the floor of the Senate in the well. Bill Clinton. Monica Lewinsky. And I said, no. We're not going to demean this institution to that degree,” said Lott.

That’s why Lott and then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-S.D., forged a pact. The leaders convened a conclave of all 100 senators in the Old Senate chamber. Lott and Daschle forged a pact on how to conduct Clinton’s trial. It’s unclear if senators can form a bipartisan accord for Trump’s trial in today’s toxic political climate.

“If they don’t do this in the right way and they have witnesses on the floor, I think it takes on a context that could be harmful,” observed Lott. “It's bad enough and if this turns into an absolutely mudslinging process, it'll make things even worse.”

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A Senate trial isn’t expected to begin until January. And, Lott and Daschle didn’t reach their agreement until just before Clinton’s trial started two decades ago. And if there’s no pact on a Senate trial, Trump could find himself in a familiar spot: the star in a Senate trial.

Perhaps the biggest political reality TV show of all time.

Original Article

Pelosi suggests she may wait to send impeachment articles to Senate: ‘We’ll make a decision … as we go along’

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Democrats may wait to send their articles of impeachment against President Trump to the GOP-controlled Senate, for fear that they are incapable of holding a fair trial.

Pelosi held a press conference on Wednesday following the House impeachment vote and was asked what would qualify as a "fair trial."

"We'll make a decision as a group, as we always have, as we go along," she replied.

Pelosi was then asked about possibly withholding the articles of impeachment from the Senate until they get certain reassurances, and the Speaker refused to give a direct answer.

"Again, we'll decide what that dynamic is, but we hope that the resolution of that process will be soon in the Senate," she said.

GOHMERT SHOUTS AT NADLER ON HOUSE FLOOR AFTER 'RUSSIAN PROPAGANDA' ACCUSATION

Pelosi proceeded to read a statement from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about impeachment procedure and used it as an example of what she considers to be an unfair process.

"Let me tell you what I don't consider a fair trial," she told the crowd of reporters. "This is what I don't consider a fair trial — that Leader McConnell has stated that he's not an impartial juror, that he's going to take his cues, in quotes, from the White House, and he is working in total coordination with the White House counsel's office."

She finally deferred to the Senate as the final arbiter of Trump's fate and accused the president of withholding vital documents from Congress.

"It's up to the senators to make their own decision working together, hopefully in recognition of their witnesses that the president withheld from us, their documents that the president withheld from us and we would hope that that information would be available in a trial to go to the next step. Because that's another level in terms of conviction, in terms of this," Pelosi said. "But right now the president is impeached."

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The Speaker then repeatedly fended off questions about withholding the articles, before saying it would ultimately be a joint decision between the House and Senate.

"We will make our decision as to when we're going to send — when we see what they're doing on the Senate side, but that's a decision that we will make jointly," she said.

The impeachment vote total on the abuse-of-power count was 230–197, with Hawaii Democratic Rep. Tulsi Gabbard voting present. The obstruction vote total was 229–198, with Gabbard also voting present on that count too.

Original Article