By Richard Cowan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A bill to fund border security blew up in House Speaker John Boehner's face on Thursday, leaving Republicans in disarray and struggling to reconcile Tea Party demands with the need to deal with a humanitarian crisis on the southwestern border with Mexico. Boehner, the top U.S. Republican, withdrew the bill after failing to corral a sufficient number of Republican votes for passage. That left him in an all-too-familiar position of having to somehow pass legislation or risk damage to his party in the November congressional elections in which Republicans are trying to capture the Senate. A carefully crafted, $659 million bill to pay for more border security and help feed and house tens of thousands of Central American children arriving illegally in the United States unexpectedly collapsed on Thursday. Tea Party-backed Senator Ted Cruz of Texas had his fingerprints all over Thursday's debacle for Boehner. Cruz, a potential 2016 presidential contender, had lobbied his House Republican colleagues to reject the legislation on the grounds that it was too timid. The measure, complained Cruz, would not reverse President Barack Obama's 2012 policy of suspending deportations of undocumented residents who were brought to the United States as children by their parents. Shortly after the drama unfolded on the floor of the House of Representatives, rank-and-file Republicans were publicly warring with each other. "Someday, Republicans will wise up and stop listening to Ted Cruz," Representative Peter King of New York told reporters. Cruz and a handful of other Republicans, King said, "have hijacked the party." Contrast that with a pleased Representative Michele Bachmann, the Minnesota Tea Party activist and failed 2012 presidential candidate. "The people are very clear. They want people deported immediately," Bachmann said. "And they want to have the fence built up so that they don’t come in. They are tired of seeing their tax dollars spent on people who are here illegally in the United States." All this happened as Boehner and moderate Republicans try to expand Republican Party appeal to the growing number of Hispanic voters, who roundly rejected Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012. Thursday's theatrics were not the first time Cruz proved to be a thorn in Boehner's side. The freshman Texas senator engineered October's government shutdown when he prevailed upon House Republicans to withhold federal funds until Obama's signature healthcare law was either repealed or hobbled. In the end, "Obamacare" was untouched, agency funding was restored after a damaging 16-day shutdown and public opinion polls showed that voters were disgusted with Republican tactics. This latest dust-up over immigration, an issue that has dogged Boehner for years amid Republican rank-and-file opposition to comprehensive legislation, could foreshadow even tougher times in September. That is when Congress returns from a five-week summer recess, a break that was supposed to have begun for House members on Thursday but was delayed by the border funding fight. Boehner's newly-installed leadership team, one that was supposed to demonstrate improved ties with the party's conservative wing, sputtered on Thursday. That team will be tested in coming days, as Boehner tries to figure out a way to finally pass a border-security funding bill, even if it dies in the Senate. And then, in September, Republican leaders will face another test of whether they can win passage of a budget bill and avoid another government shutdown, just weeks before November elections when Boehner's party will be arguing that it can govern better than Obama. It's an argument Democrats worked hard to unravel, even as the Democratic-led Senate failed to win passage of a $2.7 billion border-security funding bill. Republicans lined up to oppose it on the grounds that it would have spent too much while not addressing the root of the Central American migration problem. Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski tried to contrast her party's approach to that of Republicans when, during Thursday's floor debate, she said she had spoken to a 15-year-old girl whose parents were killed in gang violence in Honduras. "You're going to send her back?" Mikulski asked. (Additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle, David Lawder and Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Caren Bohan, Jonathan Oatis, Toni Reinhold and Cynthia Osterman)
- Yahoo News
Republicans built up QAnon backer Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but now are they afraid of what they created?
On the eve of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, freshman Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, the combative Georgia Republican known for her association with QAnon, was back on Twitter after a 12-hour suspension, and back to making waves.
- Yahoo News 360
Historians will face a daunting task in trying to assess Donald Trump’s presidency. What will he be remembered for?
- The Independent
‘It’s unfortunate’: Ashley Biden confirms first lady snubbed her mother on traditional White House handover
"I think we’re all OK with it,' says incoming first daughter in first ever TV interview
- The Week
Heroic Capitol Police officer who fended off Senate from mob will escort Kamala Harris at the inauguration
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris had a fitting escort to walk her up the stairs of the Capitol on Wednesday: Eugene Goodman, the lone, Black police officer who bravely lured rioters away from the Senate chamber during the invasion of the Capitol building earlier this month. Goodman is the new acting deputy House Sergeant at Arms, and a candidate for the Congressional Gold Medal, one of the highest honors a civilian can receive. "I've always said, if bullets start ripping through, I'm finding Goodman," a friend of Goodman's told The Washington Post. "He's been in hostile firefights [in Iraq], so he knows how to keep his head."Goodman will also accompany Harris on the presidential platform on Wednesday, where she will be sworn in as vice president of the United States. > NEW: Eugene Goodman, the Capitol Police officer who put himself in harms way while defending the building from a violent mob, has been named the Acting Deputy House Sergeant at Arms.> > Goodman will escort Vice President-elect Kamala Harris up the stairs of the Capitol today. pic.twitter.com/n3FGg0jRtp> > -- CBS Evening News (@CBSEveningNews) January 20, 2021More stories from theweek.com CNN anchors laugh as Trump's departing flight takes off to Sinatra’s 'My Way' Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment
Alexei Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic who was jailed at the weekend, on Tuesday released a video in which he and his allies alleged that an opulent palace belonged to the Russian leader, a claim the Kremlin denied. The allegations, which first surfaced in 2010 when a businessman wrote about them to then-President Dmitry Medvedev complaining of official graft, come as Navalny's supporters urge people to join nationwide protests on Saturday. Reuters reported in 2014 that the estate in southern Russia had been partly funded by taxpayer money from a $1 billion hospital project.
- Associated Press
Pakistan’s prime minister reacted angrily Monday to media reports of a text exchange between an Indian TV anchor and a former media industry executive that suggests a 2019 Indian airstrike inside Pakistan was designed to boost Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s chances for reelection. Imran Khan took to Twitter to respond to Indian media reports of an exchange on the WhatsApp messaging service between popular Indian TV anchor Arnab Goswami and Partho Dasgupta, the former head of a TV rating company.
- Yahoo News
CIA Director Gina Haspel is marking the end of a tenure that was often publicly quiet, but often included behind-the-scenes resistance to some of President Trump’s controversial moves.
Tam Dinh Pham of the Houston police department was part of the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. A veteran Houston police officer is in trouble after attending the U.S. Capitol riots in Washington, D.C., then lying about it. Officer Tam Dinh Pham joined the deadly mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.
- Architectural Digest
Mercedes-Benz’s Hyperscreen, General Motors’ Bright Drop, and Jeep’s Electric Wrangler were among the unveils that turned headsOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Week
Melania Trump was reportedly "emotionally checked out" long before boarding Air Force One to leave D.C. on Wednesday, going as far as to outsource writing her "thank you" notes to the White House residence staff, The New York Times and CNN report.Traditionally, the first family of the United States will write short cards to their household staff, thanking them for taking care of them over the past four to eight years. The cards tend to be intimate and "much of the correspondence includes personal anecdotes and the letters become 'cherished keepsakes' for the residence staff," such as the butlers, cooks, and housekeepers, who do not tend to turn-over between administrations, CNN writes.Melania Trump, however, reportedly did not personally write the cards for the approximately 80 staff members charged with caring for her, her husband, and her teenage son, Barron, while they lived in the White House. Instead, she is said to have instructed a "lower-level East Wing staffer" to write the type-written notes "in her voice," and then signed her name."I think she was a reluctant first lady and she did it for her husband," society publicist R. Couri Hay, who knows Trump from New York, told The New York Times. He added that after she departs Washington, "I think that you will find that she will be even less visible, and less available."More stories from theweek.com CNN anchors laugh as Trump's departing flight takes off to Sinatra’s 'My Way' Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment
The United States on Tuesday sanctioned a network of oil trading firms, individuals and vessels that have helped Venezuelan state-run oil company PDVSA sell crude mainly to Asia despite Washington's sanctions on the South American nation. The measure targets a network that the U.S. Treasury Department says helped the administration of President Nicolas Maduro, whose 2018 re-election Washington called a sham, broker the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars in Venezuelan oil.
- Associated Press
Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end.
- The Telegraph
The Trump administration has determined that China has committed "genocide and crimes against humanity" in its repression of Uighur Muslims in its Xinjiang region, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday, delivering an embarrassing blow to Beijing a day before US President-elect Joe Biden is to take office. US officials briefing reporters on the move said in a call that "an exhaustive documentation of (China's) own policies, practices and abuse in Xinjiang" viewed by Mr Pompeo led him to make the determination that such acts had been committed since at least March 2017. "After careful examination of the available facts, I have determined that the PRC, under the direction and control of the CCP, has committed genocide against the predominantly Muslim Uighurs and other ethnic and religious minority groups in Xinjiang," Mr Pompeo said in a statement.
Armenia has returned all Azeri prisoners who were captured during last year's conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, but the process with Armenian prisoners has been held up, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday. The six-week conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh was brought to a halt in November by a Russian-brokered ceasefire agreement under which Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces were expected to exchange all captives. Armenia has said that many of its prisoners of war remain in Azerbaijan, a problem it has raised with the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group.
- Associated Press Videos
Twelve U.S. Army National Guard members have been removed from the presidential inauguration security mission after they were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or posted extremist views. (Jan. 19)
Biden's transition team lawyers have reminded Vice President-elect Kamala Harris' niece, Meena, that she can't profit off her famous aunt's image, after she unveiled a collaboration between her company and Beats By Dre.Why it matters: Following Republican attacks, President-elect Joe Biden pledged that neither his family nor Harris' would profit from their service as president and vice president. Be smart: sign up FREE for the most influential newsletter in America. * While Meena Harris did nothing illegal, it underscored the challenge of keeping relatives in line, and of adhering to the higher ethical standards that the incoming administration has pledged.The backdrop: The specially curated products come in a black box and include a black hoodie emblazoned with the word AMBITIOUS on the front; a Bluetooth speaker with the word PHENOMENAL across it; and the over-ear headphones. * Ambitious refers to the criticism some leveled against Harris — who was a first-term senator — as Biden weighed a variety of female candidates to be his running mate. * Phenomenal is a female-powered lifestyle brand of which Meena Harris is CEO.The spine connecting the two earpieces reads, "The First But Not The Last," an apparent reference to Kamala Harris' becoming the first female vice president. * While the products are not for sale, they were gifted to influencers and celebrities ahead of the inauguration.The team surrounding the incoming vice president was not made aware of the collaboration in advance, people familiar with the situation told Axios. The lawyers followed up and told Meena Harris that she — like anyone else — cannot profit off of Harris' image or likeness once she becomes vice president. * Meena Harris's team did not respond to a request for comment. * Meena is the daughter of Kamala Harris' sister, Maya.Between the lines: The optics of Meena Harris' business ventures are especially challenging after Democrats spent four years criticizing business deals involving President Trump and his children, and after Biden's public pledge to avoid any influence-peddling. * “My son, my family will not be involved in any business, any enterprise that is in conflict with or appears to be in conflict,” he said last year. * In December, lawyers for the presidential transition team started "drafting new rules for the Biden White House that are likely to be more restrictive than the rules that governed the Obama administration," per the Washington Post. The bottom line: Phenomenal has sold several other items inspired by Kamala Harris since Biden announced her as his running mate. * They include a sweatshirt with "MVP" on it, standing for "Madam Vice President," and another with the phrase "I'm speaking" on the front — a nod to a moment when Kamala Harris complained about being interrupted during a vice-presidential debate. * After Kamala Harris received the "too-ambitious" criticism, her niece created and sold a pink sweatshirt with "AMBITIOUS" written on the front. * “I look at her as another figure in history and someone to be celebrated,” she said of her aunt during an interview with the New York Times.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- NBC News
Suspect William McCall Calhoun Jr. faces a host of charges stemming from the Jan. 6 pro-Trump riot at the U.S. Capitol Building.
- The Week
President Trump has spent the last few days asking his friends, aides, and associates if they would like pardons — even those who are not facing any charges, a senior administration official told The Washington Post.In one case, the official said, Trump offered a pardon to a person who declined the chance at clemency, saying they weren't in any legal trouble and hadn't committed any crimes. "Trump's response was, 'Yeah, well, but you never know. They're going to come after us all. Maybe it's not a bad idea. Just let me know,'" the official recounted.Trump has taken a great interest in pardoning people, the Post reports, even calling families to personally let them know he granted a pardon. A person familiar with the matter told the Post that Trump was talked out of pardoning himself, family members, and controversial figures like Rudy Giuliani. An aide said there was also a brief discussion about possibly issuing pardons related to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, but that idea went nowhere.While Trump has held a few ceremonial events in recent weeks, journalists have been kept away from the White House, largely because the president is "just not in a place where they would go well," one official told the Post. Trump is constantly flip-flopping, another administration official said, talking about his future but uncertain of where he will be. "He goes between, 'Well, I'm going to go to Florida and play golf, and life is honestly better,' and then in the next moment, it's like, 'But don't you think there's a chance to stay?'" the official said. Read more at The Washington Post.More stories from theweek.com CNN anchors laugh as Trump's departing flight takes off to Sinatra’s 'My Way' Trump issues last-minute order attempting to free his appointees from ethics commitments 5 more scathing cartoons about Trump's 2nd impeachment
Malaysia on Tuesday said it would extend lockdown restrictions across most of the country as it grappled with a rise in coronavirus infections. Last week, capital Kuala Lumpur and six states went into a two-week lockdown. Security minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob on Tuesday said the lockdown will also be imposed on six other states from Friday for two weeks.
- Reuters Videos
Blinken told his Senate confirmation hearing there was "no doubt" China posed the most significant challenge to the United States of any nation, and added he believed there was a very strong foundation to build a bipartisan policy to stand up to Beijing. Asked whether he agreed with outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's assessment on Tuesday that China was committing genocide against minority Muslims, Blinken replied: "That would be my judgment as well." "I think we're very much in agreement," he said. "The forcing of men, women and children into concentration camps; trying to, in effect, re-educate them to be adherents to the ideology of the Chinese Communist Party, all of that speaks to an effort to commit genocide." Asked how he would respond in his first 30 days as secretary of state, Blinken replied: "I think we should be looking at making sure that we are not importing products that are made with forced labor from Xinjiang ... we need to make sure that we're also not exporting technologies and tools that could be used to further their repression. That's one place to start." China denies U.S. accusations of human rights violations.