Defense President Donald Trump’s decision to tap into billions of dollars in defense funding to help build his signature border wall drew fierce criticism Friday from military-minded lawmakers in both parties, who warned the move would damage military readiness. Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, including tapping into $3.6 billion in military construction funding to finance more barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, set off another firestorm on Capitol Hill as he declared that the military projects his administration intended to raid “didn’t sound too important to me.”Story Continued Below “Some of the generals think that this is more important. I was speaking to a couple of them. They think this is more important than what they were going to use it for,” said Trump, who didn’t name any of those generals.The move is likely to be subjected to myriad legal challenges and votes to block it in Congress. For one, House Armed … [Read more...] about Trump’s raid on Pentagon funds draws bipartisan Hill fire
legal Roger Stone remains free to talk about Robert Mueller and the Russia investigation, just not in and around the Washington, D.C., courthouse where the longtime Donald Trump associate is fighting the special counsel’s charges he lied to Congress and obstructed its Russia investigation. That’s the end result from a four-page order issued Friday from a federal judge who had been considering a complete gag order on Stone in the wake of his full-on media blitz since his arrest last month in south Florida. Story Continued Below Instead, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled that attorneys for Stone, Mueller and any witnesses in the case “must refrain from making statements to the media or in public settings that pose a substantial likelihood of material prejudice to this case.”As for Stone specifically, she said he could keep talking about the case except when entering or exiting the D.C. courthouse. But, she cautioned that his comments must not … [Read more...] about Judge gags Roger Stone from Mueller comments around D.C. courthouse
Immigration President Donald Trump aims to build a border wall through creative use of an emergency military statute — a strategy that even the president acknowledges will invite immediate court challenges. The plan is to allocate $8 billion to wall construction, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said in a Friday call with reporters, of which only $1.4 billion was included in the spending bill that passed Thursday.Story Continued Below The remainder will come from three separate “pots,” Mulvaney said: $600 million from Treasury Department drug-related forfeitures; $2.5 billion from a Defense Department drug prevention fund; and $3.6 billion, the largest chunk, from unobligated military construction funds, or MILCON. The White House intends to access the $3.6 billion in MILCON funds through a statute (10 U.S. Code 2808) that allows the president, in the event of a national emergency, to tap MILCON for a project that "requires use of the armed forces" and supports … [Read more...] about Can Trump use military construction funds to build his wall?
Finance Mel Watt misused his position as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency in attempting “to coerce or induce” a subordinate “to engage in a personal relationship with him” by dangling the possibility of a promotion, according to an inspector general’s report made public today. “We find that there are no circumstances under which it would be appropriate for the head of FHFA to induce a subordinate employee to meet with him alone, in his apartment, for a conversation in which he professes his attraction for that employee and holds out opportunities for the employee to serve in specific executive positions over which he exercises total control,” the FHFA Office of Inspector General said in the report.Story Continued Below It's the latest development in a saga that involved three investigations, a federal pay discrimination lawsuit and a congressional hearing. FHFA employee Simone Grimes accused Watt, whose five-year term … [Read more...] about Inspector General finds Watt misused office in misconduct case
Dolores Huerta, the iconic labor and civil rights leader who co-founded what became the United Farm Workers, is endorsing Sen. Kamala Harris for president, according to a statement shared first with POLITICO. Huerta, who started the National Farmworkers Association alongside the late Cesar Chavez, is also signing onto Harris’ campaign as a California co-chair, joining Rep. Barbara Lee, a former Congressional Black Caucus chair, who endorsed Harris on Wednesday.Story Continued Below Huerta’s backing is a significant development in the early stages of the 2020 campaign and gives the California senator a leading voice in the labor movement and among Latinos nationally. “I have spent my career advocating for workers’ rights, immigrants’ rights, women’s rights, and on behalf of the LBGTQ community because I believe our country is only as great as the opportunities we afford all our communities,” Huerta said. “Senator Kamala Harris is the right … [Read more...] about Latino labor rights icon endorses Kamala Harris