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House Impeaches President Donald Trump. Here’s What Happened and What Comes Next

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  • The House of Representatives impeached President Donald Trump on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.
  • While most Democrats voted in favor of both charges, 2020 presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) voted present.
  • In a lengthy statement, Gabbard said that “could not in good conscience vote either yes or no” because of the partisan nature of the process, and added that her vote was “a vote for much-needed reconciliation.”
  • The articles will now be sent to the Senate for trial. Speaker of the House Pelosi has said she will delay sending the articles until she can be assured that the Senate will conduct a fair trial.

House Votes to Impeach

The House of Representatives voted to impeach President Donald Trump Wednesday night, officially making him the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

After a day’s worth of debate, the House held two separate votes on the two articles of impeachment levied against Trump. 

The first article is for abuse of power and claims that Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate his political rival Joe Biden by withholding nearly $400 million in military aid, as well as a meeting at the White House.

The second article alleges that Trump obstructed Congress by refusing to cooperate with their impeachment inquiry.

The abuse of power article was passed with 230 yeas to 197 nays, with one member voting present. The obstruction of Congress article was passed along similar margins, with 229 yeas to 198 nays, and one present vote.

House members voted almost entirely along party lines. No Republicans voted in favor of either article, while nearly all of the Democrats voted in favor of both.

Two Democrats voted against the abuse of power article and three voted against the obstruction of Congress article.

However, one of the Democrats who voted against both articles was Rep. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, who recently announced that he plans to switch his party affiliation to Republican.

Tulsi Gabbard Votes Present

Notably, the single Democrat who voted present for both articles of impeachment was 2020 presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI).

Gabbard explained her decision in a lengthy video posted on Twitter.

“After doing my due diligence in reviewing the 658-page impeachment report, I came to the conclusion that I could not in good conscience vote either yes or no,” she said. “I am standing in the center and have decided to vote Present.”

“I could not in good conscience vote against impeachment because I believe President Trump is guilty of wrongdoing,” she continued.

“I also could not in good conscience vote for impeachment because removal of a sitting President must not be the culmination of a partisan process, fueled by tribal animosities that have so gravely divided our country.”

Gabbard also said that she had introduced a censure resolution, which is basically a strong rebuke of the president.

She claimed that the resolution would send a message to Trump and future presidents while still leaving the question of removal to voters in 2020. 

“My vote today is a vote for much-needed reconciliation and hope that together we can heal our country,” she concluded.

Gabbard’s decision still drew a lot of criticism from Democrats, and the topic trended on Twitter with hashtags that included #TulsiCoward and #TulsiIsARussianAsset.

Questions of Fairness in Senate Trial

With the Houses’ decision to impeach Trump, the process will now be passed off to the Senate, where a trial will be held.

Even before the House voted to pass the articles, the Senate was already gearing up to hold the impeachment trial.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rejected Democrat’s demands to call four White House officials as witnesses.

He argued there were no reasons for the Senate to agree to hear testimony from officials who could help the Democrats’ case. The move was condemned by many Democrats. 

McConnell also was criticized Tuesday for telling reporters that he would not be impartial in the impeachment trial.

“I’m not an impartial juror,” he said. “This is a political process. I’m not impartial about this at all.”

McConnell’s actions have raised more questions about whether or not Senate Republicans will hold a fair trial. 

Pelosi Delays Sending Impeachment Articles to Senate

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also appeared to share that concern. 

After the House approved the articles, Pelosi said Wednesday night that she would delay sending them to the Senate until it is clear that the upper chamber would conduct a fair trial.

The move appears to be an effort to slow down the impeachment process and force Senate Republicans to set procedures that Democrats find more favorable. 

“So far, we have not seen anything that looks fair to us, so hopefully, it will be fairer, and when we see what that is, we will send it over that matter,” she said.

Many Republicans reacted angrily to Pelosi’s decision, including Trump.

“Pelosi feels her phony impeachment HOAX is so pathetic she is afraid to present it to the Senate, which can set a date and put this whole SCAM into default if they refuse to show up!” the president wrote on Twitter. 

McConnell also attacked the move in a speech on the Senate floor Thursday.

“It was made even made clear last night when Speaker Pelosi suggested that House Democrats may be too afraid, too afraid to even transmit their shoddy work product to the Senate,” he said.

“Mr. President, looks like the prosecutors are getting cold feet in front of the entire country, and second-guessing whether they want to do to trial.” 

But Pelosi doubled-down on her stance while speaking at a press conference Thursday, where she also responded to McConnell’s accusations.

It reminded me that our founders, when they wrote the Constitution, they suspected there could be a rogue president,” she said, referring to McConnell’s speech. “I don’t think they suspected that we could have a rogue president and a rogue leader in the Senate at the same time.”

McConnell and other Republican Senate leaders had initially said they wanted to hold the trial in January and make it as fast as possible.

Now, Pelosi’s plan to hold the articles until the Senate outlines a procedure the Democrats support could complicate that timeline.

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (Politico) (Fox News)

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Feds Investigate Classified Files Found in Biden’s Former Office

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The documents reportedly include U.S. intelligence memos and briefing materials that covered topics such as Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom


What Was in the Files?

President Biden’s legal team discovered about 10 classified files in his former office at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement in Washington D.C., the White House revealed Monday.

The Department of Justice has concluded an initial inquiry into the matter and will determine whether to open a criminal investigation.

According to a source familiar with the matter who spoke to CNN, they include U.S. intelligence memos and briefing materials that covered topics such as Ukraine, Iran, and the United Kingdom.

A source also told CBS News the batch did not contain nuclear secrets and had been contained in a folder in a box with other unclassified papers.

The documents are reportedly from Biden’s time as vice president, but it remains unclear what level of classification they are and how they ended up in his office.

Biden kept an office in the. Penn Biden Center, a think tank about a mile from the White House, between 2017 and 2020, when he was elected president.

On Nov. 2, his lawyers claim, they discovered the documents as they were clearing out the space to vacate it.

They immediately notified the National Archives, which retrieved the files the next morning, according to the White House.

What Happens Next?

Attorney General Merrick Garland must decide whether to open a criminal investigation into Biden’s alleged mishandling of the documents. To that end, he appointed John Lausch Jr., the U.S. attorney in Chicago and a Trump appointee, to conduct an initial inquiry.

Garland reportedly picked him for the role despite him being in a different jurisdiction to avoid appearing partial.

Lausch has reportedly finished the initial part of his inquiry and provided a preliminary report to Garland.

If a criminal investigation is opened, Garland will likely appoint an independent special counsel to lead it.

The case mirrors a similar DoJ special counsel investigation into former President Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified materials and obstruction of efforts to properly retrieve them.

On Nov. 18, Garland appointed Jack Smith to investigate over 300 classified documents found at Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago.

Trump resisted multiple National Archives requests for the documents for months leading up to the FBI’s raid on his property, then handed over 15 boxes of files only for even more to be found still at Mar-a-Lago.

“When is the FBI going to raid the many houses of Joe Biden, perhaps even the White House?” Trump wrote on Truth Social Monday. “These documents were definitely not declassified.”

Rep. James Comer (R-KY), the new chairman of the House Oversight Committee, told reporters he will investigate the Biden files.

Republicans have been quick to pounce on the news and compare it to Trump’s classified files, but Democrats have pointed out differences in the small number of documents and Biden’s willingness to cooperate with the National Archives.

The White House has yet to explain why, if the files were first discovered six days before the midterm elections, the White House waited two months to reveal the news to the public.

See what others are saying: (CNN) (The New York Times) (BBC)

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Lawmakers Propose Bill to Protect Fertility Treatments Amid Post-Roe Threats

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The move comes as a number of states are considering anti-abortion bills that could threaten or ban fertility treatments by redefining embryos or fetuses as “unborn human beings” without exceptions for IVF.


The Right To Build Families Act of 2022

A group of Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill Thursday that would codify the right to use assisted reproductive technologies like in-vitro fertility (IVF) treatments into federal law.

The legislation, dubbed the Right To Build Families Act of 2022, was brought forward by Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Il) and Patty Murray (D-Wa.) alongside Rep. Susan Wild (D- Pa.). The measure would bar any limits on seeking or receiving IVF treatments and prohibit regulations on a person’s ability to retain their “reproductive genetic materials.” 

The bill would also protect physicians who provide these reproductive services and allow the Justice Department to take civil action against any states that try to limit access to fertility treatments.

The lawmakers argue it is necessary to protect IVF because a number of states have been discussing and proposing legislation that could jeopardize or even ban access to the treatments in the wake of the Roe v. Wade reversal. 

“IVF advocates in this country today are publicly telling us, ‘We need this kind of legislation to be able to protect this,’” Murray told HuffPost. “And here we are after the Dobbs decision where states are enacting laws and we have [anti-abortion] advocates who are now starting to talk, especially behind closed doors, about stopping the right for women and men to have IVF procedures done.”

Fertility Treatments Under Treat

The state-level efforts in question are being proposed by Republican lawmakers who wish to further limit abortions by redefining when life begins. Some of the proposals would define embryos or fetuses as “unborn human beings” without exceptions for those that are created through IVF, where an egg is fertilized by a sperm outside the body and then implanted in a uterus.

For example, a bill has already been pre-filed in Virginia for the 2023 legislative session that explicitly says life begins at fertilization and does not have any specific language that exempts embryos made through IVF.

Experts say these kinds of laws are concerning for a number of reasons. In the IVF process, it is typical to fertilize multiple eggs, but some are discarded. If a person becomes pregnant and does not want to keep the rest of their eggs. It is also normal that not all fertilized eggs will be viable, so physicians will get rid of those.

Sometimes doctors will also implant multiple fertilized eggs to increase the likelihood of pregnancy, but that can result in multiple eggs being fertilized. In order to prevent having multiple babies at once and improve the chance of a healthy pregnancy, people can get a fetal reduction and lower the number of fetuses.

All of those actions could become illegal under proposals that do not provide exemptions. 

“In my case, I had five fertilized eggs, and we discarded three because they were not viable. That is now potentially manslaughter in some of these states,” said Duckworth, who had both of her daughters using IVF.

“I also have a fertilized egg that’s frozen. My husband and I haven’t decided what we will do with it, but the head of the Texas Right to Life organization that wrote the bounty law for Texas has come out and specifically said he’s going after IVF next, and he wants control of the embryos,” Duckworth added.

In a hearing after Roe was overturned, Murray also raised concerns about “whether parents and providers could be punished if an embryo doesn’t survive being thawed for implantation, or for disposing unused embryos.”

Experts have said that even if anti-abortion laws defining when life begins do provide exceptions, it would be contradictory and confusing, so providers would likely err on the side of caution and not provide services out of fear of prosecution.

“[Abortion bans] are forcing women to stay pregnant against their will and are, at the very same time, threatening Americans’ ability to build a family through services like IVF,” Murray said in a statement to Axios. “It’s hard to comprehend, and it’s just plain wrong.”

The federal legislation to combat these efforts faces an uphill battle. It is unlikely it will be passed in the last few days of lame duck session, and with control of Congress being handed to Republicans come January, movement in the lower chamber will be hard fought.

Duckworth, however, told Axios that she will keep introducing the legislation “until we can get it passed.” 

See what others are saying: (Axios) (HuffPost) (USA Today)

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Hundreds of Oath Keepers Claim to Be Current or Former DHS Employees

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The revelation came just weeks after the militia’s founder, Stewart Rhodes, was convicted on seditious conspiracy charges for his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection.


An Agency Crawling With Extremists

Over 300 members of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group claim to be current or former employees at the Department of Homeland Security, the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) reported Monday.

The review appears to be the first significant public examination of the group’s leaked membership list to focus on the DHS.

The agencies implicated include Border Patrol, Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Secret Service.

“I am currently a 20 year Special Agent with the United States Secret Service. I have been on President Clinton and President Bush’s protective detail. I was a member and instructor on the Presidential Protective Division’s Counter Assault Team (CAT),” one person on the list wrote.

POGO stated that the details he provided the Oath Keepers match those he made in a sworn affidavit filed in federal court.

The finding came just weeks after Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes was convicted on seditious conspiracy charges for his involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“Law enforcement agents who have associations with groups that seek to undermine democratic governance pose a heightened threat because they can compromise probes, misdirecting investigations or leaking confidential investigative information to those groups,” POGO said in its report.

In March, the DHS published an internal study finding that “the Department has significant gaps that have impeded its ability to comprehensively prevent, detect, and respond to potential threats related to domestic violent extremism within DHS.”

Some experts have suggested the DHS may be especially prone to extremist sentiments because of its role in policing immigration. In 2016, the ICE union officially endorsed then-candidate Donald Trump for president, making the first such endorsement in the agency’s history.

The U.S. Government has a White Supremacy Problem

Copious academic research and news reports have shown that far-right extremists have infiltrated local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies.

In May, a Reuters investigation found at least 15 self-identified law enforcement trainers and dozens of retired instructors listed in a database of Oath Keepers.

In 2019, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that almost 400 current or former law enforcement officials belonged to Confederate, anti-Islam, misogynistic or anti-government militia Facebook groups.

The Pentagon has long struggled with its own extremism problem, which appears to have particularly festered in the wake of the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Nearly one in four active-duty service members said in a 2017 Military Times poll that they had observed white nationalism among the troops, and over 40% of non-white service members said the same.

The prevalence of racism in the armed forces is not surprising given that many of the top figures among right-wing extremist groups hailed from the military and those same groups are known to deliberately target disgruntled, returning veterans for recruitment.

Brandon Russell, the founder of the neo-Nazi group AtomWaffen, served in the military, as did George Lincoln Rockwell, commander of the American Nazi Party, Louis Beam, leader of the KKK, and Richard Butler, founder of the Aryan Nation.

In January, NPR reported that one in five people charged in federal or D.C. courts for their involvement in the Capitol insurrection were current or former military service members.

See what others are saying: (Project on Government Oversight) (Business Insider)

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