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Tag: lindsey graham

Senate Republicans Insist They Won't Ban Abortion, Despite McConnell Gaffe

For decades, Republicans have assailed pro-abortion Supreme Court rulings — for instance, 1973’s Roe v. Wade and 1992’s Planned Parenthood v. Casey, among others -- but with the end of Roe reportedly imminent, conservative Congressional representatives are quickly dialing back their anti-abortion rhetoric, fearing public reaction could cost them in the midterms.

Despite secretly meeting with leading anti-abortion activists to brainstorm plans for a federal ban on abortions nationwide, GOP lawmakers were quick to dismiss Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s weekend suggestion that the party could soon turn its sights to enacting a total abortion ban.

"I don't think it's really an appropriate topic for Congress to be passing a national law on," said Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), according to CNN.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO), a religious rightist, echoed Cornyn, telling Newsweek, "No, I don't support a federal ban on abortion after Roe vs. Wade, if it's overturned in the first instance."

Hawley added, "I think it would be better for states to debate this, allow it to breathe and for Congress to act where there's national consensus."

Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), the third-ranking Senate Republican, noted that the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion suggested that states should regulate abortion. "I want to see the states have that opportunity and the authority to do so," Barrasso said when asked for his thoughts on a potential federal abortion ban.

Republicans in Congress are trying to keep focus trained on inflation, crime, and border security, as recent polls show that most Americans oppose national legislation to ban abortion. So they want to talk about almost anything else.

“You need — it seems to me, excuse the lecture — to concentrate on what the news is today,” McConnell himself said last Tuesday. “Not a leaked draft but the fact that the draft was leaked.”

Last week, in an interview with USA Today, McConnell promised that Republicans, if they win back the Senate, won’t scrap the filibuster for a total abortion ban by a simple majority vote.

"If the leaked opinion became the final opinion, legislative bodies — not only at the state level but at the federal level — certainly could legislate in that area," the minority leader told the paper. "And if this were the final decision, that was the point that it should be resolved one way or another in the legislative process. So yeah, it's possible."

However, McConnell dodged questions from CNN on whether he’d bring an abortion bill to the floor of a Republican-controlled Senate.

Democrats immediately decried McConnell’s abortion ban suggestion, and GOP lawmakers, sensing a rapidly spreading wave of public outrage at attempts to overturn abortion rights, have expressed little interest in it or noted that there wouldn’t be enough votes to enact such a ban.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) played down the notion his party would have the votes for a total national abortion ban. "It's about as possible as this vote we will take on Wednesday," Graham told CNN, referring to an upcoming Democratic effort to codify in federal law .

"Let's see what happens. I'm not going to get into what-ifs," Senator Shelley Moore Capito said, declining an opportunity to weigh in on the matter.

Senator John Thune (R-SD) declared his support for an abortion ban with exceptions, but noted that his stand might not be a consensus within his party. "That's my personal position," Thune said. "That's certainly not a caucus position. I don't think we have any idea at this point about any of that."

Despite sudden Republican back-pedaling on abortion, Democrats have signaled their intention to use the looming Supreme Court ruling to ask voters to punish Republicans in November.

Anti-Semitic Remarks By GOP State Senator Inflame Tennessee Primary Dispute

In a bold display of defiance against the self-proclaimed leader of the Republican party, the Tennessee Republican Party voted Tuesday to kick a Trump-endorsed candidate, Morgan Ortagus, and two others from the primary ballot in the state’s newly-drawn Fifth Congressional District.

Tennessee Republican Party chair Scott Golden confirmed Tuesday that Ortagus and two other congressional hopefuls, Baxter Lee and Robby Starbuck, had been booted from the ballot by the party’s executive committee. The announcement came one week after party officials confirmed that official challenges were filed against all three candidates.

The move is a culmination of a months-long effort by state and local Republicans, including legislators and activists, to challenge Ortagus’ candidacy because she had moved to the state just last year, according to NBC News.

Ortagus expressed her “deep disappointment” in a statement blasting the move, saying, “I’m a bonafide Republican by their standards, and frankly, by any metric.” Only three members of the state GOP’s executive committee voted to keep her on the ballot, according to CNN, and a whooping seventeen members voted in favor of the boot.

“As I have said all along, I believe that voters in Middle Tennessee should pick their representative — not establishment party insiders," she continued. "Our team is evaluating the options before us,” Ortagus added in her statement. However, the state GOP’s rules grant the executive committee power to disqualify candidates who don’t adhere to the party’s bylaws.

Golden has shrugged off the criticism generated by the move — which saw him called many names, but not his chair title — saying, "Never Trumper, establishment, RINO, fascist, whatever. It’s just the rules of the Republican Party."

Ortagus’ campaign argued that she had met all the requirements listed in the bylaws, touting her vote in recent GOP primaries, activity in the party’s women’s group, and her endorsement by former President Trump.

Republican State Senator Frank Niceley dismissed the endorsement when speaking to NBC News. "I don't think Trump cares one way or the other. "I think Jared Kushner — he's Jewish and she's Jewish — I think Jared will be upset. Ivanka will be upset. I don't think Trump cares."

Niceley recently came under fire himself for a tirade in which he used Adolf Hitler as an example of how homeless people can turn their lives around. Citing this gaffe, Ortagus fired back Tuesday by saying Niceley "should be ashamed of his repeated anti-Semitic rhetoric."

“I voted for Trump. I supported him,” Niceley said in an interview. “I’ll vote for Trump as long as he lives. But I don’t want him coming out here to tell me who to vote for.”

In a report this week, the Tennessean said it had obtained an April 10 email from GOP committee member Beth Campbell that said "RNC sources" had informed her that former President Trump was “OK” with the move, a claim Trump spokesperson Taylor Budowich vehemently denied.

"That is a dirty lie, which should not surprise anyone, given there are RINOs in Tennessee trying to quietly pull strings and illegally remove President Trump’s endorsed candidate, Morgan Ortagus, from the ballot," Budowich said, according to NBC News.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) derided the Tennessee GOP on Twitter, saying, "I can't imagine having the 2024 Republican National Convention in a state that would allow this type of corrupt politics."

Former President Trump’s son, Don Jr., attacked the move in a tweet, too.

Trump, whose endorsement instigated this drawn bout of infighting, has yet to issue a public statement on Ortagus’ removal.

Danziger Draws

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel, and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

After Twice Voting To Confirm Jackson, Graham Attacks Her On TV

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) tried to make fireworks on Tuesday during the second day of the Senate Judiciary Committee's confirmation hearing for President Joe Biden's nominee to the Supreme Court, Ketanji Brown Jackson, when he trashed Jackson's previous defense of detainees at the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba and then stormed out of the room in a move the committee's chair, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), called a play for media attention.

According to CNN reporter Manu Raju, Durbin said, "Lindsey knows how to get on CNN."

Jackson was a defense attorney for detainees at the Guantanamo prison both as a public defender and later in private practice. She has defended her role as a criminal defense attorney, including in an exchange at Tuesday's hearing.

Graham said: "I'm suggesting the system has failed miserably, and advocates to change the system — like she was advocating — would destroy our ability to protect this country. We're at war, not fighting a crime. This is not some passage-of-time event. As long as they are dangerous, I hope they all die in jail if they're gonna go back and kill Americans."

"Federal public defenders do not get to pick their clients," Jackson said during a round of questioning by Durbin. "Under our Constitution [they] are entitled to representation. They are entitled to be treated fairly. That's what makes our system the best in the world. ... That's what makes us exemplary."

It's unclear why all of a sudden Graham thinks Jackson's record is so concerning, given that he voted to confirm her to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in July 2021.

Graham also did not object to Jackson's confirmation to sit on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in 2013 or the U.S. Sentencing Commission in 2010.

What's more, Jackson had defended Guantánamo Bay detainees as early as 2005, long before Graham voted to confirm her to the federal bench.

Civil rights groups have slammed the Guantanamo Bay military prison, which houses prisoners who have been detained for years without being charged with a crime or sitting for a trial. The ACLU said in January, "Around the world, Guantánamo is a symbol of racial and religious injustice, abuse, and disregard for the rule of law. ... The prisoners at Guantanamo — and indeed our nation — have lived with the legal and moral stain that the prison represents for far too long. We can't look away from what our country has done. We need to face it and shut it down."

The GOP, for its part, is putting up an attempt to block Jackson's nomination by painting her as soft on crime, in part based on her record of defending Guantánamo Bay prisoners.

But Jackson defended her record, noting in addition that she has family in law enforcement and the military.

And legal scholars have defended Jackson for representing those charged with crimes and pointed out that legal representation is a right guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution.

"The American tradition of zealous representation of unpopular clients is at least as old as John Adams's representation of the British soldiers charged in the Boston massacre. People come to the bench with a diverse array of prior private clients; that is one of the strengths of the American judiciary," Benjamin Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, wrote in a Lawfare blog post about Jackson published on March 20.

If no members of the Democratic majority vote against her nomination, Jackson is likely to be confirmed, as nominations to the Supreme Court now require only a simple majority vote of the Senate.

It's unclear whether any Republicans will vote for her.

Graham is one of just three GOP senators who voted to confirm Jackson to her position on the U.S. Court of Appeals. The other two were Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Book: Graham Threatened Trump With 25th Amendment After Capitol Insurrection

A new book is shedding light on Sen. Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) push back against former President Donald Trump while an angry mob of far-right Trump supporters invaded the U.S. Capitol on January 6.

Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, the authors of the book, titled This Will Not Pass, detailed the Republican senator's call to White House general counsel Pat Cipollone.

During the call, Graham reportedly leveled a threat toward Cipollone, saying, "we’ll be asking for the 25th Amendment” if Trump didn't take aggressive action to quell the chaos erupting inside the federal building.

Speaking to the authors of the book after the chaos waned on January 6, Graham reportedly said, “People will say, ‘I don’t want to be associated with that.’ ... There will be a rallying effect for a while, the country says: We’re better than this,” Graham said, according to Axios.

While an impeachment trial could have led to Trump's removal, a CNN report highlighted the unique difference between impeachment and the 25th Amendment:

"The 25th Amendment, which has periodically been discussed as a means of last resort to remove a rogue or incapacitated president, would be a faster route to removing Trump."

So, how would that have worked? CNN senior writer Zachary Wolf explained the full process.

"To forcibly wrest power from Trump, Pence would have to be on board, according to the text of the amendment," Wolf wrote. "Pence would also need either a majority of Trump's Cabinet officials to agree the President is unfit for office and temporarily seize power from him."

He added, "Trump could dispute their move with a letter to Congress. Pence and the Cabinet would then have four days to dispute him, Congress would then vote -- it requires a two-thirds supermajority, usually 67 senators and 290 House members to permanently remove him."

According to HuffPost, the January 6 insurrection wasn't the only time the 25th Amendment was mentioned. The book details reportedly follow multiple occasions where lawmakers discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office.

Internet Mocks 'Pathetic' Lindsey Graham For Groveling To Trump

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), second only to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy when it comes to being Trump's footstool, all but handed over his organs to the defeated former president when asked about the 2024 Republican presidential nomination.

Lacking any functional backbone, Graham heaped praise on the man he once warned would destroy the party if elected in 2016 and vigorously denounced following his failed January 6 coup.

" If you want to be a Republican leader in the House or the Senate, you have to have a working relationship with President Donald Trump,” Graham told Fox News host Sean Hannity. “He’s the most consequential Republican since Ronald Reagan. It’s his nomination if he wants it, and I think he’ll get reelected in 2024.”

The internet took notice and savagely laid into Graham

Graham Whines That Voting Rights Push Depicts Republicans As 'Racists'

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) complained on Tuesday that Democratic efforts to protect the right to vote are really just about making Republicans look racist. And though GOP-run states passed dozens of bills to make it harder to vote in just the past year, he said the issue is completely "manufactured."

Mere days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his office tried to gaslight the nation into believing Republican state legislators were not trying to suppress voting rights, Graham made similar comments in a Senate floor speech.

"As to voting rights itself, I think this is the most hyped, manufactured issue in a long time," the South Carolina Republican argued. "It's not a problem in search of a solution, it's a manufactured problem."

Graham then defended efforts in some states to change voting laws to require photo identification in order to vote by mail, before accusing Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of trying "to basically say that Republicans, at our heart, are a bunch of racists when it comes to voting."