President Donald J. Trump vetoed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) Wednesday in a move that defied Congress. The bill had previously been passed by Congress every year since 1967.
The $740 billion defense spending bill had been passed by the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities, which could set up a potential fight to override the outgoing president’s veto power.
“The Act fails even to make any meaningful changes to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, despite bipartisan calls for repealing that provision,” Trump said in a message to the House Wednesday.
He continued, “My Administration recognizes the importance of the Act to our national security. Unfortunately, the Act fails to include critical national security measures, includes provisions that fail to respect our veterans and our military’s history, and contradicts efforts by my Administration to put America first in our national security and foreign policy actions.”
He then said it was a “gift to China and Russia.”
At 1:43am, Mitch McConnell set up the process for the vote to override Trump’s expected veto of the defense authorization bill.
The Senate will return Dec. 29 to begin processing the veto override. This would only occur if the House succeeds in overriding the veto on Dec. 28.
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) December 22, 2020
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Trump Taunts Dems Amid Reports of Upcoming Biden Impeachment Inquiry
Former President Donald Trump taunted Democrats amid reports that House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is working to start the impeachment process against President Joe Biden next month.
“These Indictments and lawsuits are all part of my political opponents campaign plan. It is Election Interference, and they are going to use the DOJ/FBI to help them, which is illegal. Crooked Joe pushed this litigation hard to get it done. This is a new low in Presidential Politics. To the Democrats, I say, ‘be careful what you wish for,'” Trump wrote on his social media platform Truth Social.
On Monday, CNN reported that McCarthy privately told some of his fellow Republicans that his plan is to start the Biden impeachment process in late September, according to unnamed GOP sources.
Pro-impeachment Republicans accuse Biden of using his status during his vice presidency to help his son Hunter Biden. The GOP alleged that Joe Biden profited from his son’s business dealings and that his administration has interfered in Hunter Biden’s criminal case. None of these allegations have been proven, and Joe Biden denies them.
Many House Republicans have threatened to start the impeachment process throughout Biden’s term. The threat of a Biden impeachment trial started even before his presidential inauguration. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) submitted an impeachment resolution on Biden’s first full day in office. Far-right Republicans have filed nine impeachment resolutions, with Greene filing over half; none have been successful.
Though McCarthy initially shut down impeachment attempts, this July he told Fox News host Sean Hannity the House’s investigations into Biden are “rising to the level of impeachment inquiry.”
There are questions as to whether opening an impeachment inquiry would require a floor vote, CNN reports. If McCarthy can avoid a floor vote, that would allow moderate GOP candidates to remain silent and avoid angering their constituents.
An impeachment inquiry provides the House with more power to investigate a president of potential wrongdoing. It’s not a necessary step in impeaching a president, and impeachment resolutions can be filed without an inquiry, for any reason. In Biden’s case, the filed resolutions have normally failed to make it out of committee, and those that made it to the House floor were voted down. Trump’s first impeachment was the result of an inquiry; his second, related to the events of January 6, 2021, however, was not.
Trump is facing a number of indictments over the 2020 election, but his poll numbers remain strong. Even in Georgia, where a grand jury indicted the former president earlier this month, an Atlanta Journal-Constitution poll released Tuesday shows Trump with a 42-point lead over Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the second-place candidate.
Bill Barr Calls Trump Documents Case ‘Brazen Criminal Conduct’
Former Attorney General Bill Barr is going hard against his former boss in a new op-ed published Monday, calling former President Donald Trump’s alleged actions in the documents case “brazen criminal conduct.”
Writing for The Free Press, Barr starts out sympathetic, agreeing with the former president that “Trump has been the victim of witch hunts by obsessive enemies willing to do anything to bring him down,” but then admits “The effort to present Trump as a victim in the Mar-a-Lago document affair is cynical political propaganda.”
Barr lays out the case against the former president. He says the National Archives and Department of Justice tried to let Trump quietly return the documents—similar to what happened when former Vice President Mike Pence and President Joe Biden were discovered to have classified documents at home—but he refused.
“Why would Trump risk the safety of the American people by hanging on to these documents in the face of the government’s lawful demands for their return? As trophies? Because he thought it was a fun party trick?” Barr wrote. “Or simply because he thought he could get away with it? Knowing him, it was an act of self-assertion merely to gratify his ego.”
Barr’s piece debunks arguments from apologists before coming to the conclusion that it appears as though Trump indeed committed obstruction of justice.
“If true—and many key facts come from Trump’s own lawyer—this was brazen criminal conduct that cannot be justified in any way,” he wrote.
However, Barr again stops short of recommending prison time. On Sunday, Barr appeared on Face the Nation, saying if Trump is convicted, “I don’t like the idea of a former president serving time in prison.”
In the op-ed, Barr declines to state what an appropriate punishment should be. Initially, he says that “sensible Republicans” don’t defend Trump, but point to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton facing no charges over her email scandal in 2016. But Barr debunks this argument as well.
“But if Trump engaged in the kind of brazen criminal conduct alleged, then applying the law in his case is not unfair to him. The injustice lies in not having applied it seven years ago to Hillary,” he wrote. “Even if you buy the double standard argument, at most it justifies not holding Trump accountable criminally.”
“It is one thing to argue that Trump should not face criminal liability. Fine. But the next obvious question is whether, given his conduct, the GOP should continue to promote him for the highest office in the land,” Barr wrote.
Though Barr neglects to say what he thinks an appropriate punishment for Trump would be should he be found guilty, based on the maximum sentences attached to the statutes he allegedly violated, Trump could get 20 years for conspiracy to obstruct justice, and 10 years for violating the Espionage Act, according to Al Jazeera. That said, it is unlikely for Trump to get the maximum sentence as, in addition to being the former president, he’s also a first-time federal offender, as the outlet points out.
Elie Honig, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, told CNN that if Trump is convicted, that while it’s likely he would get some prison time, a sentence of eight to 12 years would be more likely—and even then, it may not be that much.
“Even if the judge goes below that eight to 12 year range, it’s hard for me to see a judge going down to probation, to no sentence,” Honig said.
Trump Swipes at Mark Zuckerberg Asking for White House Goodies: ‘He Didn’t Do Too Well’
Former President Donald J. Trump mocked Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and “big tech” during an interview on Tuesday when he appeared on Fox News with Sean Hannity.
Trump meandered throughout the interview and went off on a tangent claiming he did “big things” when discussing the 2020 election. Trump said Zuckerberg visited the White House “trying to get goodies,” but that “he didn’t do too well.”
Trump added, “So I thought that he was concerned we were doing things. We were doing things. Had we had a second term, we would have had that much, really, pretty much under control. We had some incredible things planned for big tech.”
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