Senate Republicans Slashing 60 Percent Of Hurricane Sandy Aid
Senate Republicans, the week before Christmas, are trying to slash 60 percent of aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy, funding only projects and needs that they feel are immediately necessary. This means that village, town, city, and state governments cannot plan or move forward on vital long-term projects to rebuild in the wake of the hurricane-turned-superstorm.
“U.S. SenateÂ RepublicansÂ sought to slash a $60.4 billion aid bill to cover reconstruction after Superstorm Sandy, proposing on Wednesday to fund only $23.8 billion in immediate disaster relief while assessing longer-term needs,” Reuters reports:
Senator Daniel Coats of Indiana said his plan for $23.8 billion in initial funding would provide sufficientÂ moneyÂ for immediate needs through March 27, for work such as debris cleanup, repairing damaged equipment, rebuilding destroyed homes and businesses.
“It seems to me the most logical, responsible way to move forward is to identify the immediate needs and provide the immediate funding to meet those needs,” said Coats, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
“We don’t have time right now to get all the way through and analyze the actual losses that were attributable to Sandy,” said Republican senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, adding that the full $60.4 billion looked like a “slush fund.”
The Republican plan would eliminate some $13 billion in infrastructure improvements aimed at helping to prevent damage from future storms. Among these are projects to keep New York City subway tunnels from flooding and to build sand barriers to protect some shorelines from storm surges.
It labels $5.4 billion to make transportation systems more resilient as “non-Sandy related.” The Amtrak passenger rail agency, a frequent target of Republican budget-cutting efforts would get only $32 million under the bill, instead of $336 million.
Coats said such mitigation efforts were “long-term projects” that should not be immediately funded without further study.
The Republicans also aim to cut out $150 million for rebuilding fisheries, including those damaged by disasters in Alaska and the Gulf Coast. It would exclude a $58.9 million Department of Agriculture request to replant trees on private property due to “unsubstantiated” estimates for damage from Sandy.
Image via NOAA
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Trump Files Sweeping Legal Motion to Try to Block Georgia Grand Jury Findings and District Attorney Fani Willis
Attorneys for Donald Trump Monday morning filed a sweeping 483-page legal motion asking a Georgia court to block any report from the Fulton County special grand jury and any evidence the grand jury may find, and to force District Attorney Fani Willis to recuse in the investigation into his unlawful attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results in that state.
The Daily Beast’s Jose Pagliery first reported the filing. The Atlanta Journal Constitution also reports Trump’s attorneys have filed the motion.
Lawfare Blog’s Anna Bower, who has been covering the Fulton County case, calls the filing “mammoth.”
BREAKING: In a mammoth filing debut in Fulton County Superior Court, Trump’s legal team in Georgia is seeking to quash the report of the special purpose grand jury that investigated 2020 election interference in the state. pic.twitter.com/M9MXTejYIP
— Anna Bower (@AnnaBower) March 20, 2023
The news comes just hours after reports District Attorney Willis could be considering RICO, or conspiracy and racketeering charges against Trump.
READ MORE: ‘This Man Is a Criminal’: George Conway Busts GOP’s ‘Completely Ridiculous’ Trump Defense
This is a breaking news and developing story.
Image via Shutterstock
‘RICO’: Trump Could Be Facing Racketeering and Conspiracy Charges Used to Prosecute Organized Crime
Fulton County, Georgia District Attorney Fani Willis is reportedly considering RICO charges against Donald Trump in her probe of his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election, CNN reports. RICO charges are generally used when prosecuting organized crime cases.
“The reason that I am a fan of RICO is, I think jurors are very, very intelligent,” Willis had said last year about a different case. “They want to know what happened. They want to make an accurate decision about someone’s life. And so RICO is a tool that allows a prosecutor’s office and law enforcement to tell the whole story.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, a law professor and an NBC News/MSNBC contributor, Monday morning on Twitter, pointing to CNN’s report, said Willis “is seriously considering a RICO charge.” She repeated that claim on MSNBC shortly after.
READ MORE: Experts Warn Trump Is Encouraging Violence One Day After He Announces Rally at Waco on 30th Anniversary of Siege
CNN reports, “Investigators have a large volume of substantial evidence related to a possible conspiracy from inside and outside the state, including recordings of phone calls, emails, text messages, documents, and testimony before a special grand jury. Their work, the source said, underscores the belief that the push to help Trump was not just a grassroots effort that originated inside the state.”
On-air Monday morning, CNN senior legal analyst Elie Honig, a former federal and state prosecutor, explained conspiracy, racketeering, and RICO, saying, “conspiracy” is “a loaded word. But all it really means is an agreement, a meeting of the minds between two or more people to commit a crime.”
But he added, “if we go up to racketeering, now, this is a really powerful tool the prosecutors use. What you have to do is show two things. First of all, the existence of what we call a racketeering enterprise, that can be a Mafia family, that can be a drug trafficking organization, but it could also be a corporation or a political entity, and then you have to show that they engage in what we call a pattern of racketeering activity, meaning that they committed two or more crimes in an organized fashion, which brings us to this other new piece of information. There’s a third phone call we already know about, of course, the infamous phone call to Brad Raffensperger. ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes.’ There’s also a public recording of Donald Trump talking to this investigator, Francis Watson, when he tells her, ‘when the right answer comes out, you’ll be praised.'”
READ MORE: ‘Reacting to a Cult Leader’: Trump Supporters Organizing to ‘Stock Up on Weaponry’ Says GOP Adviser
“Now we know, Trump also called the former Georgia Speaker of the House asking him to convene a special session,” Honig continued. “As we know we’ve heard from some of the grand jurors special grand jurors who’ve come out, they’ve told us that they recommended indictments for more than a dozen people.”
Watch CNN’s report below or at this link.
Prosecutors in Atlanta are considering bringing RICO charges in connection with Donald Trump’s effort to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.@eliehonig breaks it down: pic.twitter.com/H7YXKQnus8
— CNN This Morning (@CNNThisMorning) March 20, 2023
‘This Man Is a Criminal’: George Conway Busts GOP’s ‘Completely Ridiculous’ Trump Defense
George Conway ripped Republicans for defending lifelong “criminal” Donald Trump against a looming indictment in New York.
The ex-president apparently expects to be charged in the Stormy Daniels hush money payoff, and the conservative attorney told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that he richly deserves it.
“The Republicans are behaving like complete disgraces,” Conway said. “They’re basically saying that, by saying that Trump is being persecuted, they’re essentially saying, you can’t touch Trump and Trump is above the law. Whatever slack you might have wanted to cut a former president, that was gone after Jan. 6. This man is a recidivist criminal, he’s committed fraud all his life, he’s lied all of his life.”
“This Stormy Daniels thing was something he cooked up,” Conway added. “The notion that [Michael] Cohen is going to be discredited on it is ridiculous given the paper trail. We see the checks signed by Donald Trump. It’s hard to say he is being picked on for paying $130,000 in hush money to a porn star and concealing that and using a straw donor, which was Cohen, to do that, and saying he’s being persecuted somehow when no one has ever done that it is completely ridiculous.”
RELATED: Georgia weighs slapping Trump with racketeering charges: CNN
Watch the video below or at this link.
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