Dylan Stableford at The Ticket 3 yrs ago
Sen. John McCain weighed in on the Edward Snowden saga on Tuesday, saying that Russia's actions in the wake of the accused National Security Agency leaker's reported arrival in Moscow harkens back to the Cold War.
"It's reminiscent of the days of the Cold War, when you hear a Russian spokesman saying that [Snowden’s] not in Russia when every shred of evidence indicates that he is,” McCain said on CNN. “We've got to start dealing with Vladimir Putin in a realistic fashion for what he is. He’s an old KGB colonel apparatchik that dreams of the days of the Russian empire, and he continues to stick his thumb in our eye in a broad variety of ways. Most importantly to me, of course, and should be to the world, is their continued support of [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad and the massacre taking place in Syria."
McCain's comments echoed what fellow U.S. lawmakers said about Putin on Sunday.
Putin added that he hoped the Snowden case would not affect Russia's relations with the United States.
Rachel Rose Hartman at The Ticket 3 yrs ago
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange confirmed on Monday that Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor accused of espionage for leaking information about U.S. surveillance programs, is in transit and headed to Ecuador to seek asylum.
"Edward Snowden left Hong Kong on the 23rd of June bound for Ecuador via a safe pass through Russia and other states," Assange told reporters on a conference call. "Mr. Snowden has submitted an asylum application to Ecuador and possibly to other countries."
The WikiLeaks legal team has been assisting Snowden's applications for asylum in Iceland and has aided his efforts to do the same in Ecuador at Snowden's request. Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks representative, has been traveling with Snowden.
Snowden and Harrison "are healthy and safe ... and they are in contact with their legal teams," Assange said. Later, during a Q-and-A session, Assange declined several times to offer further details regarding their location.
Questions remain regarding whether WikiLeaks is planning to publish leaked material from Snowden.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is launching a "seven-figure" ad buy on Monday in support of the effort to overhaul the nation's immigration laws, a chamber spokeswoman confirmed.
The 30-second message, which will air on radio and cable news stations nationwide, features clips from Republican Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Rand Paul of Kentucky calling for the need for reform. (While Rubio is one of the co-authors of the immigration bill making its way through the Senate, Paul has said he plans to vote against the measure and may even support a filibuster effort.) The ad calls for an end to "de-facto amnesty," referring to the nearly 12 million people living in the United States illegally under the current system.
After just a few hours of floor speeches Monday afternoon, the Senate voted 67-27 to proceed on an amendment to the immigration bill that would increase border security funding, taking another step toward the legislation's final passage.
Fifteen Republicans joined Democrats in support of a motion, which required 60 votes to proceed.
As part of an agreement between Republican Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota, the amendment is intended to ease concerns of skeptical lawmakers who are calling for tougher border enforcement as part of the bill.
“The American people want a strong, comprehensive immigration reform plan, but we need to get it right,” Hoeven said in a statement last week. “That means first and foremost securing the southern border before we address other meaningful reforms to our immigration policy. They want to know that ten years from now, we won’t find ourselves in this same position, having to address the same problem.”
Before the vote, many Republicans stressed that they did not have enough time to read and debate the amendment, which was introduced late Friday afternoon after many lawmakers had already left Washington.
Liz Goodwin at The Ticket 3 yrs ago
The Supreme Court has surprised legal experts by declining to strike down the University of Texas' use of race in undergraduate admissions. On Monday, the justices sent the case back to a lower court for a rehearing, dodging a decision on whether affirmative-action policies at public colleges around the country are unconstitutional.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court's conservative-leaning swing vote, wrote the opinion for Fisher v. University of Texas, which was decided 7-1. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the court's liberal leader, dissented, arguing that the lower court's decision in favor of affirmative action should stand.
"Strict scrutiny imposes on the university the ultimate burden of demonstrating, before turning to racial classifications, that available, workable race-neutral alternatives do not suffice," the justices wrote.
Justice Elena Kagan, a President Barack Obama appointee, recused herself from the case, most likely due to her work on it as solicitor general.
Dylan Stableford at The Ticket 3 yrs ago
As the international manhunt for Edward Snowden continues to unfold like a social-media-fueled spy novel—ping-ponging from Hong Kong to Moscow and, perhaps soon, Havana, Caracas and Quito—angry U.S. officials in Washington appeared on the Sunday morning talk-show circuit to talk about the accused National Security Agency leaker-turned-asylum-seeking fugitive.
“I believe he hurt our nation," South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham said on "Fox News Sunday." "He compromised our national security program. The freedom trail is not exactly China-Russia-Cuba-Venezuela, so I hope we’ll chase him to the ends of the Earth, bring him to justice and let the Russians know there’ll be consequences if they harbor this guy.”
“If they want to be part of the world community," Graham added, "want a good relationship with the United States, they should hold this fellow and send him back home for justice."
— Joanna Ruck (@joannaruck) June 23, 2013
Olivier Knox at The Ticket 3 yrs ago
The war in Iraq is over, everybody knows that. “I promised to end the war in Iraq—and I did” was one of President Barack Obama’s best-received stump speech applause lines last year.
Except it’s not. First, most obviously, because bombings and other acts of violence have killed more than 2,000 people there this year, as detailed in this amazing Agence France-Presse analysis. Pressed on that point last year by Yahoo News, White House press secretary Jay Carney said: "The president promised to responsibly end our war in Iraq, the United States military operation in Iraq. He did that and our troops came home."
Asked whether Obama favored repealing the Iraq AUMF, the White House had no response at the time this post was published.
That one, signed into law Sept. 18, 2001, gave then-President George W. Bush the authority to invade Afghanistan. But both he and Obama have used its vague wording to justify a wide range of actions.
Rachel Rose Hartman at The Ticket 3 yrs ago
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the president's birthplace.
President Barack Obama makes the first extended trip to Africa of his presidency next week—but he won't be stopping in his ancestral homeland.
Obama's weeklong trip—June 26-July 3—which he's taking with his wife, Michelle, and daughters Sasha and Malia, as well as with members of his economic and trade team, is to signal America's interest in trade, democracy and economic development in Africa. He will visit Senegal, South Africa and Tanzania.
"We see Africa as one of the most important emerging regions in the world," deputy national security adviser for strategic communications Ben Rhodes told reporters on a conference call Friday. He added that the administration sees "growing economic opportunities [in the continent] for increased trade and investment" by U.S. businesses.
The trip will also focus on "democracy and democratic institution-building," Rhodes said.
The trip has drawn some controversy at home related to its projected costs, which have varied in multiple news reports.
Rachel Rose Hartman and Chris Wilson at The Ticket 3 yrs ago
Jay Carney doesn’t have an answer for that. He hasn’t discussed that subject with the president. He will refer you to the Department of [insert agency here]. He refuses to speculate on that. He’ll have to get back to you.
But he appreciates the question.
A Yahoo News analysis of the 444 briefings through June 18 that Carney has held since becoming White House press secretary has identified 13 distinct strains in the way he dodges reporters' question. Since Carney held his first daily briefing with reporters in the White House Brady Press Briefing Room on Feb. 16, 2011, for example, he’s used some variation of "I don’t have the answer" more than 1,900 times. In 1,383 cases he referred a question to someone else. But will he at least speculate on hypotheticals? No. In fact, he has refused to do so 525 times.
In the following interactive, you can browse all 9,486 of Carney’s most-used responses and verbal crutches.
When pressed further? "We can't comment on specifics around our program."
With good humor, Carney acknowledged it the next day.