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Posts tagged ‘Ron Johnson’

Senate Panel Approves Subpoenas For ‘Spygate’ Figure Stefan Halper, 40 Others


Reported by REUTERS/Erin Schaff | CHUCK ROSS, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER | September 16, 202011:13 AM ET

URL of the originating web site: https://dailycaller.com/2020/09/16/ron-johnson-subpoena-stefan-halper/

A Senate committee voted along party lines on Wednesday to authorize depositions and subpoenas for 41 individuals as part of a review of the Trump-Russia investigation. The vote authorizes Sen. Ron Johnson, the Republican chairman of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, to subpoena Stefan Halper, a former University of Cambridge professor who served as a confidential source for the FBI during Crossfire Hurricane, the name of the Trump-Russia counterintelligence investigation.

The committee also approved issuing a subpoena for Steven Somma, an FBI counterintelligence investigator who served as Halper’s handling agent. A Justice Department inspector general’s report released on Dec. 9 faulted Somma for numerous errors during Crossfire Hurricane.

The Senate committee voted in June to issue subpoenas for 35 people on Johnson’s witness wish list, but Democrats raised a procedural issue that required a new vote on Wednesday. (RELATED: GOP Senator Seeks Subpoena For ‘Spygate’ Professor)

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters, the top Democrat on HSAGC, voiced his opposition to the subpoenas ahead of the vote on Wednesday. He accused Johnson of leading a politically-motivated investigation aimed at helping President Donald Trump.

Johnson has sought interviews with former FBI officials who led Crossfire Hurricane, including James Comey, Andrew McCabe, James Baker, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

He is also seeking depositions for former CIA Director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Also on the list are Cody Shearer and Sidney Blumenthal, two longtime Clinton allies who circulated a dossier that accused Donald Trump of illicit sex acts in Russia. The allegations are similar to those in the dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele.

Jonathan Winer, a former State Department official, obtained the so-called Shearer dossier from Blumenthal, and in turn shared it with Steele. Steele passed the report to the FBI.

Johnson also plans to subpoena Winer as part of his investigation.

McConnell tries to unify GOP


Reported 

Friction among Senate Republicans on the next round of coronavirus relief legislation and a suddenly shaky stock market has eroded President Trump’s leverage in the ongoing standoff with Democrats.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was still searching Tuesday afternoon for 51 Republican votes for a half-trillion-dollar economic relief package that he hopes will put pressure on Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to soften their demands.

Meanwhile, the stock markets in the past week have suffered their worst one-day drops since the coronavirus first froze the U.S. economy in March. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 dropped 632 points and 95 points, respectively — more than 2 percent each — while the tech-heavy Nasdaq composite dropped 465 points, or 4.11 percent.

While the stock markets surged upward through July and August, the start of September has brought a stark shift in sentiment. Coronavirus infections are expected to spike when the fall temperatures drop and there doesn’t appear to be a clear path to getting another federal relief package.

“Trump needs a package just because the stock market has been declining. There is a possibility that COVID infections will increase in the fall and we know the economy is a big variable in how people vote,” said Darrell West, director of governance studies at the Brookings Institution.

“Republicans want to protect the Senate and protect the presidency and they’re going to need a deal,” he said.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned Congress during testimony in June that “significant uncertainty” remained in the economy and that “support would be well-placed at this time.” The recent big drop in the stock indices is a significant political development because Trump often cites Wall Street to argue that the economy is making a strong recovery.

“The Dow Jones Industrial just closed above 29,000! You are so lucky to have me as your President. With Joe Hiden’ it would crash,” Trump tweeted exuberantly on Sept. 2, just before the markets started tumbling.

Another relief package passed by Congress, especially one as large as what Pelosi and Schumer want, is expected to give another boost to the markets.

“You live by the sword and you die by the sword. If you’re claiming credit when the market is high, you have a problem when the market drops,” West said.

One Republican senator who wants a larger relief bill said the market turmoil “ought to” put pressure on the White House and colleagues to agree to more federal aid. But the lawmaker, who requested anonymity to discuss Trump’s motives, conceded “I’m having trouble mapping out a scenario one way or another.”

Pelosi on Tuesday seized on calls by Fed officials for more fiscal stimulus from Congress as well as divisions among Republicans to press her growing leverage.

“The chairman of the Fed and other Fed leaders around the country have said clearly that we need a stimulus, that we need a boost,” she noted in an interview with Bloomberg’s “Balance of Power.”

At the same time she slammed McConnell’s revised relief bill, which is estimated to cost around a half-trillion dollars, as “pathetic.” She pointed out it is roughly “half of what [Treasury] Secretary [Steven] Mnuchin has proposed.”

“They are not even in agreement. They are in disarray,” she said of Republicans.

The Senate Republican bill needs 60 votes to overcome an anticipated Democratic filibuster and pass. It will fall well short of that threshold, but McConnell is hoping to get at least a simple majority in favor of it so he can argue that Democrats are acting as obstructionists.

He said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he will schedule a vote this week and indicated to reporters in the hallway that it would happen Thursday.

“Republicans are making yet another overture,” McConnell said.

Conservatives such as Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) are skeptical about spending hundreds of billions of dollars in more federal aid and are pushing for concessions from the GOP leadership. With all Democrats likely to oppose the Republican bill, McConnell can only afford three defections.

Paul on Tuesday said he would oppose the measure.

“We don’t have any money up here. I’m not for borrowing any more money,” he said.

Johnson on Tuesday afternoon said he would support the bill after McConnell and Mnuchin agreed to repurpose about $350 billion in funding from the $2.2 trillion CARES Act passed in March to new relief measures. He said the revised bill would add only $150 billion to $300 billion to the deficit, though he cautioned the numbers aren’t final yet. Johnson said he worked closely with the GOP leadership and Mnuchin to make changes to the measure to make it more appealing to conservatives but didn’t know if it would get 51 votes.

“We’ll see what all ends up happening. We’ll probably have a discussion. There might be some further arm twisting,” he said.

Hawley, a rising conservative star, is pressing for a fully refundable tax credit for homeschooling expenses such as books, technology and laboratory equipment. His proposal was not in the bill as of Tuesday afternoon and he remains undecided. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) used his leverage with Republican leaders to gain two years of tax credits for individuals and businesses that donate to nonprofit scholarship funds, a proposal designed to help subsidize private school tuition.

There are also questions as to whether more-moderate Republicans in tough reelection races such as Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Cory Gardner (Colo.) will be satisfied with the smaller price tag for the revised package, and the lack of additional federal aid for state and local governments, other than money set aside for schools.

Without the repurposed federal funding offsetting some of its cost, the package would be in the range of $500 billion to $700 billion, according to Senate GOP aides. The Republican bill, which McConnell unveiled Tuesday, would provide $300 a week in federal unemployment assistance, a second round of Paycheck Protection Program loans, $105 billion to help reopen classrooms and $16 billion in more money for COVID-19 testing.

Failure to win a simple majority vote for a largely symbolic bill would be another setback for the White House and Senate Republicans, who declined to put the $1.1 trillion coronavirus relief proposal they drafted in July on the Senate floor because of divisions within their conference. Plans to vote during the first week of August on proposals to extend federal unemployment assistance and to fund a second round of small-business loans were scrapped after disagreements again broke out among Republican senators.

Democrats, however, have stayed unified behind their own proposal, the $3.4 trillion HEROES Act, which the House passed in May, as well as a trimmed-down $2.2 trillion proposal that Pelosi and Schumer offered to White House negotiators in late August.

Pelosi and Schumer on Monday said McConnell’s bill was “headed nowhere” and dismissed it as a “political” gesture.

Grassley, Johnson Renew Inquiry into Democrat Efforts to Seek Dirt from Ukraine on Trump in 2016


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URL of the original posting site: https://steadfastandloyal.com/politics/grassley-johnson-renew-inquiry-into-democrat-efforts-to-seek-dirt-from-ukraine-on-trump-in-2016/

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Ron Johnson (R-WI) have written a letter to Attorney General Bill Barr requesting information on documents Ukraine has been trying to give over to the Department of Justice detailing Democratic efforts to dig up dirt on Donald Trump and his campaign team.

They plan on reopening their investigations into the origin of the Trump/Russia hoax. They will be looking into Alexandra Chalupa, who the DNC sent to Ukraine to gather up the dirt they were trying to supply the Clinton campaign.

From Breitbart News 

Grassley and Johnson wrote in the letter:

Ukrainian efforts, abetted by a U.S. political party, to interfere in the 2016 election should not be ignored. Such allegations of corruption deserve due scrutiny, and the American people have a right to know when foreign forces attempt to undermine our democratic processes.

Their letter follows a previous July 2017 letter from Grassley, then-Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, to the DOJ referencing reports that then-DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa worked with the Ukrainian government to obtain opposition research on Trump during the 2016 election.

Grassley cited a January 2017 Politico report that said, “Ukrainian government officials tried to help Hillary Clinton and undermine Trump,” and “helped Clinton’s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers.”

In addition, Grassley and Johnson asked whether the Justice Department has acquired information from Ukrainian prosecutors that may contradict Vice President Joe Biden’s claim that he pressured Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor because he was corrupt, and not because he was investigating a company in Ukraine that hired his son based on a report.

According to a press release on their letter:

A report yesterday revealed new documents that call into question the stated reasons behind a 2016 ultimatum by then Vice-President Biden to fire a Ukrainian prosecutor who had investigated a company for which Biden’s son was a board member. According to the report, Ukrainian officials have tried to forward documents related to the matter to the department, to no avail. Grassley and Johnson are requesting details on any actions the department is taking to review the material referenced in the report,” according to a press release on their letter.

House passes sweeping tax bill in huge victory for GOP


Reported

The House on Thursday passed legislation to overhaul the tax code, moving Republicans one step closer to achieving the top item on their legislative agenda.  The measure was approved by a vote of 227-205. No Democrats voted for the bill, while 13 Republicans broke ranks to oppose it.

Passing this bill is the single biggest thing we can do to grow the economy, to restore opportunity and help these middle-income families who are struggling, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said ahead of the vote.

Once the bill reached the magic number for passage, Republicans in the chamber erupted into applause. Democrats mockingly joined in, with some singing “na na na na, hey hey, goodbye,” like they did when the chamber passed an ObamaCare repeal bill earlier this year.

Besides Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), who had concerns about the bill’s impact on the debt, all of the GOP no votes came from the states of New York, New Jersey and California.

Opposing the bill were New York Reps. Dan Donovan, John Faso, Pete Kingc, Elise Stefanik and Lee Zeldin; New Jersey Reps. Rodney Frelinghuysen , Leonard Lance , Frank LoBiondo  and Chris Smith, and California Reps. Darrell Issa , Tom McClintock 

Passage of the tax bill, which was unveiled just two weeks ago, was relatively drama-free compared to the GOP’s failed effort to repeal ObamaCare earlier this year.

The stakes are high for Republicans, who are feeling pressure to show that they can govern ahead of next year’s midterm elections. The Democratic wave in last week’s gubernatorial and state house elections in Virginia and New Jersey has only added to their anxiety.

GOP leaders are hoping to get legislation to President Trump’s desk by Christmas, an ambitious timeline given the obstacles that are mounting in the Senate.

Ahead of the House vote, Trump visited the Capitol to rally the House GOP conference in support of the bill. The president and his economic advisers have touted tax reform as the key to unlocking economic growth.

The measure approved Thursday would reduce the number of individual tax brackets, slash the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and eliminate a number of tax breaks and deductions.

The Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated that the bill would lower federal revenues by about $1.4 trillion over 10 years — a key finding, as the Republican budget only allows lawmakers to add $1.5 trillion to the debt during that time.

JCT said that all income groups would see a tax cut on average under the bill in 2019, but that some income groups, particularly those making $20,000 to $50,000, in some future years would see tax increases on average.

House Republicans who have labored for months on the tax bill celebrated the vote on Thursday, saying the GOP is on track to put more money in people’s pockets and spur investment in new jobs.

“For too long, this broken tax code has eroded America’s economic leadership around the world,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady  (R-Texas), the chief architect of the legislation.

Democrats denounced the bill, saying it mostly benefit wealthy individuals and corporations while increasing taxes on some in the middle class.

Rep. John Yarmuth  (D-Ky.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee, brought a giant check to the House floor debate giving $500 billion to “The Wealthiest 1%” from “The American Taxpayers.” The fake check was signed, “Congressional Republicans.” 

“Hard-working families get pocket change,” Yarmuth said, holding up a handful of coins for emphasis. “But millions don’t even get that.”

The House bill would eliminate the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes and cap the property-tax deduction at $10,000, which could hurt people in high-tax states like New York, New Jersey and California.

“I just have too many constituents who are going to see their taxes go up or not see the benefit of the tax relief,” Zeldin said.

Senate Republicans have their own tax bill, which is currently being considered by the chamber’s tax-writing committee. The Senate legislation differs from the House’s in a number of ways. Unlike the House bill, the Senate bill fully repeals the state and local tax deduction, delays the corporate tax cut until 2019 and repeals ObamaCare’s individual mandate. The Senate’s bill also sunsets tax cuts for individuals after 2025, in order to comply with the “Byrd rule” that the measure can’t increase the deficit after 10 years if it is to pass with a simple majority.

No more than two Senate Republicans can vote against their bill if Democrats are united in opposition to it. Already, Sen. Ron Johnson  (R-Wis.) has said he doesn’t support either the House or the Senate bills because they provide more of a benefit to corporations than to other types of businesses. Sen. Susan Collins(R-Maine) has expressed concerns about including repeal of the individual mandate, but has not taken a hard stance yet on the measure.

Senate Republicans are aiming to vote on their tax plan during the week after the Thanksgiving holiday.

If the Senate passes its bill, it will set up a difficult conference negotiation between the two chambers over the final legislation.

– This story was updated at 2:15 p.m.

Cruz, DeSantis push for congressional term limits


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Cruz, DeSantis push for congressional term limits / © Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) are pushing for an amendment to the Constitution to place term limits on lawmakers, arguing the move will help overhaul Washington.

“The American people resoundingly agreed on Election Day, and President-elect Donald Trump has committed to putting government back to work for the American people,” Cruz said in a statement on Tuesday. “It is well past time to put an end to the cronyism and deceit that has transformed Washington into a graveyard of good intentions.” 
 partyof-deceit-spin-and-lies
Under an amendment the two GOP lawmakers filed on Tuesday, House members would be allowed to serve three two-year terms and senators would be able to serve two six-year terms.
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DeSantis added that the measure would be a “first step toward reforming Capitol Hill.” 

GOP Sens. Deb Fischer (Neb.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah) and David Perdue (Ga.) are backing the proposal. Cruz and DeSantis previously pledged in a Washington Post op-ed to introduce the measure this year. stupid

According to the resolution, any congressional term before the amendment becomes law wouldn’t be taken into account when determining if a lawmaker can run for reelection or not. Trump backed term limits during his White House run, but the measure could face an uphill battle in Congress.

Neither House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), who has said he supports term limits, nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has signaled it could come up for a vote. McConnell appeared to shut down Trump’s push after the election, telling reporters, “We have term limits — they’re called elections.”

In addition to clearing Congress, the Cruz-DeSantis proposal would also need to be ratified by three-fourths of state legislatures before going into effect.

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