Connect with us

News

Trump Builds Suspense Over Supreme Court Pick, but Battlelines Are Already Drawn

Published

on

President Donald Trump once again kept Americans in suspense over his Supreme Court pick, promising a reality-show style big reveal at a White House event on Monday night.

All the major broadcast networks plan to break into regular programming to cover the announcement, giving the president the same primetime platform to build public support for his choice as he had for Neil Gorsuch, selected just 10 days after Trump took office.

Trump himself has indicated that his selection is down to four prospects: Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals; Amy Coney Barrett, a judge on the 7th Circuit; Raymond Kethledge, on the 6th Circuit; and Thomas Hardiman, on the 3rd Circuit.

“I have long heard that the most important decision a U.S. President can make is the selection of a Supreme Court Justice – Will be announced tonight at 9:00 P.M.,” Trump tweeted on Monday morning.

Trump kept his choice of Gorsuch under wraps until the last minute, save for just a few outlets that reported correctly on his pick. That day, a CNN news crew caught Hardiman at a Pennsylvania gas station, apparently en route to D.C., leading to speculation that he was the choice. After Gorsuch was announced, there was suspicion that Hardiman made the trip to serve as a kind of decoy.

Trump’s choice is widely expected to solidify the court’s conservative bloc, igniting a summer-long confirmation battle that will play out on the airwaves. Interest groups are already scheduling time for spots in support or against the choice.

Demand Justice said last week that it planned to spend $5 million on ads in opposition. The group already has created a web video warning of Trump’s pick, and is already running spots in Maine and Alaska focusing on Roe v. Wade. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) are potential swing votes in the coming Senate confirmation battle.

The conservative group Judicial Crisis Network said it already has purchased a seven-figure ad-buy to support Trump’s nominee, in a spot that warns that “extremists will lie and attack” the choice. The group’s Carrie Severino said they spent $10 million on the campaign for Gorsuch, and indicted they would be prepared to spend a similar amount if necessary to win the confirmation of the next justice.

A half-hour after Trump is scheduled to appear with his choice in an East Room ceremony, Demand Justice, MoveOn, Indivisible, and People for the American Way will gather at the Supreme Court for a rally in opposition.

Public interest groups have been combing the records of the candidates for any signs of their positions on LGBT rights, free speech, health care, and abortion — views that will certainly come up at confirmation hearings. Kavanaugh has the longest record, including a recent opinion where he weighed in on one of the raging debates over the internet, net neutrality.

He opposed the FCC’s decision in 2015 to impose a set of robust net neutrality rules on internet service providers, writing that it should be up to Congress. He also wrote, “Supreme Court precedent establishes that internet service providers have a First Amendment right to exercise editorial discretion over whether and how to carry internet content.”

The appeals court, though, upheld the net neutrality rules, but the Trump-era FCC has since repealed most of them. Still, Hardiman’s decision could be a factor if some kind of challenge eventually makes its way to the high court.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

News

Israel says it has conducted ‘wide-ranging’ air strikes against Hamas

Published

on

Israeli aircraft and tanks hit targets across the Gaza Strip Friday after shots were fired at troops on the border, the army said, with Hamas reporting three members of its military wing killed.

An army statement said shots were fired at troops during renewed protests along the Gaza-Israel frontier and “in response, (Israeli) aircraft and tanks targeted military targets throughout the Gaza Strip.”

The IDF says its warplanes have carried out ‘wide-ranging’ air strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza, in response to the earlier gunfire.

Continue Reading

News

US Secretary of State Pompeo demands “full enforcement of sanctions” on North Korea

Published

on

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told United Nations Security Council envoys on Friday that there needs to be “concrete actions” by North Korea before an easing of sanctions on Pyongyang can be discussed, said Dutch U.N. Ambassador Karel van Oosterom.

“The secretary made very clear we need concrete deeds, concrete actions and only then we can start the discussion,” van Oosterom told reporters after Pompeo informally briefed envoys from the 15-member council, Japan and South Korea behind closed doors at the South Korea U.N. mission.

(New York Times)

Continue Reading

News

Michael Cohen Secretly Taped Trump Discussing Payment to Playboy Model

Published

on

 President Trump’s longtime lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, secretly recorded a conversation with Mr. Trump two months before the presidential election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, according to lawyers and others familiar with the recording.

The F.B.I. seized the recording this year during a raid on Mr. Cohen’s office. The Justice Department is investigating Mr. Cohen’s involvement in paying women to tamp down embarrassing news stories about Mr. Trump ahead of the 2016 election. Prosecutors want to know whether that violated federal campaign finance laws, and any conversation with Mr. Trump about those payments would be of keen interest to them.

The recording’s existence further draws Mr. Trump into questions about tactics he and his associates used to keep aspects of his personal and business life a secret. And it highlights the potential legal and political danger that Mr. Cohen represents to Mr. Trump. Once the keeper of many of Mr. Trump’s secrets, Mr. Cohen is now seen as increasingly willing to consider cooperating with prosecutors.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, confirmed in a telephone conversation on Friday that Mr. Trump had discussed the payments with Mr. Cohen on the tape but said the payment was ultimately never made. He said the recording was less than two minutes and demonstrated that the president had done nothing wrong.

“Nothing in that conversation suggests that he had any knowledge of it in advance,” Mr. Giuliani said, adding that Mr. Trump had directed Mr. Cohen that if he were to make a payment related to the woman, write a check, rather than sending cash, so it could be properly documented.

“In the big scheme of things, it’s powerful exculpatory evidence,” Mr. Giuliani.

Mr. Cohen’s lawyers discovered the recording as part of their review of the seized materials and shared it with Mr. Trump’s lawyers, according to three people briefed on the matter.

“We have nothing to say on this matter,” Mr. Cohen’s lawyer, Lanny J. Davis, said when asked about the tape.

(New York Times)

Continue Reading

Popular

Copyright © 2018 News This Second