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Danziger: Don’t Hurry Back

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 and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.com.

Senate Republicans Blast Colleague Over Trump Jr. Subpoena

Republicans are so upset by the Senate subpoena of Donald Trump Jr. that they are attacking one of their own.

The subpoena “has set off an internal fight among Senate Republicans, some of whom are now pressing the North Carolina Republican to back off the request,” The Hill reported on Friday.

Trump led the charge in complaining about the subpoena during his bizarre rant to the press at a White House event on Thursday.

“Frankly for my son, after being exonerated, to now get a subpoena to go again and speak again after close to 20 hours of telling everybody that would listen about a nothing meeting, yeah I’m surprised,” Trump said.

He singled out Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) in particular, noting, “I saw Richard Burr saying there was no collusion two or three weeks ago.” Burr chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, which issued the subpoena to have Trump Jr. testify about lies he told Congress regarding Trump campaign interactions with Russian operatives in 2016.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), second in command in the House, was so upset by the subpoena that he slammed Democrats in a tweet, apparently forgetting that his own party is in control of the Senate still.

“This is how low they are willing to sink to harass @realDonaldTrump & his entire family,” he wrote, before deleting the embarrassing gaffe.

“There’s no need for another subpoena for @DonaldJTrumpJr It’s time to move on & focus on issues Americans care about,” wrote Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said he understood Trump Jr.’s “frustration” about the subpoena, adding, “I think we have an important job to do to try to keep the intelligence committee out of politics.”

Burr “didn’t get the memo,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) chimed in, an apparent reference to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s premature declaration that the case is “closed” on Trump’s obstruction and other crimes.

White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney lambasted the subpoena too, describing it as “bad form.”

“Endless investigations — by either party — won’t change the fact that there was NO collusion. It’s time to move on. It’s time to focus on ISSUES, not investigations,” complained House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Burr may have been slightly emboldened to be a little independent since he isn’t running for reelection in 2020, but he has mostly marched in lockstep with his party in covering for Trump thus far.

His apparent mild concession to Democrats was all it took for his party to be in disarray in full view of the public.

Published with permission of The American Independent.

IMAGE: Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), official photo.

At Hearing, Ted Cruz Accidentally Blows Up GOP Conspiracy Theories

While Democrats grilled Attorney General Bill Barr on Wednesday over his mishandling of the end of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee used their time at the hearing to stoke the flames of conspiracy theories about the investigation into President Donald Trump and his campaign.

Essentially, the GOP and right-wing media have been arguing for years that the Russia probe was built on a flimsy basis that was really just a pretextual excuse to inappropriately surveil (or spy on!) the Trump campaign. This would seem to be completely belied by the Mueller report, which shows that there were many credible bases for investigating crimes, including extensive contacts between people connected to the Russian government and the Trump campaign. And while all that was going on, the Kremlin was, in fact, conducting a wide-ranging criminal effort to interfere in the 2016 election, efforts the Trump campaign knew about and welcomed.

In a back-and-forth between Sen. Ted Cruz and Barr on Wednesday, though, the Texas Republican accidentally elicited information that also completely undermines from another angle the theory that President Barack Obama’s Justice Department and FBI were somehow engaged in an effort to target the Trump campaign.

“I believe that Department of Justice under the Obama administration was profoundly politicized and was weaponized to go after political opponents of the president,” said Cruz. “It is an unusual thing, is it not, for the Department of Justice to be investigating a candidate for president, particularly a candidate from the opposing party of the party in power?”

“Yes,” said Barr.

“Do we know if they investigated any other candidates running for president?” asked Cruz.

“I don’t know,” said Barr.

“Do we know if they wiretapped —” Cruz started.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Barr said, cutting off Cruz’s rhythm. “I guess they were investigating Hillary Clinton for the email.”

Oh right! That thing!

It was hilarious — and also deeply revealing — that this investigation seemed to slip the mind of Cruz in preparing his questions and Barr in his initial answer. In fact, the Hillary Clinton email investigation dominated the news during the 2016 campaign. Meanwhile, the investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia — of which, it’s now clear, there were plenty — was not confirmed to exist until well after the election.

And in fact, many argue that former FBI Director James Comey’s letter, sent to Congress at the end of October 2016 confirming the reopening of the investigation of Clinton, likely cost her the presidency and gave it to Trump. When Trump eventually fired Comey, he used Comey’s unorthodox an extensive publication of his findings and the proceedings of the investigation as a justification for his termination (a justification which was, it is clear, entirely false). In other words, even Trump has claimed that the FBI was unfair to Clinton during the campaign.

Watch the clip below:

DeVos Plans To Deliver Billions Of Public Dollars To Private, Religious Schools

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has been touring the country to promote her plan to hand over billion of dollars in federal tax credits to dramatically expand the number of students attending private schools, religious schools, or even being homeschooled. The program, part of a bill in Congress, would be funded through private donations in exchange for tax credits. In other words, tax dollars would effectively be paying for the program, as those dollars will have to be made up by taxpayers.

DeVos’ “Education Freedom Scholarships” program would continue the Trump administration’s blurring of the lines between church and state. Just last week Sec. DeVos announced the Dept. of Education will no longer ban religious organizations from being funded with taxpayer dollars for secular projects.

The Dept. of Education claims up to $5 billion annually could be allocated, but Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), who spoke at an event with DeVos to roll out his bill to support the program (video below), said it would be $10 billion.

The reception at Sec. DeVos’ stop in Iowa appeared less than enthusiastic.

“Pitching her proposal to fund scholarships for private school and home-schooled students, federal education secretary Betsy DeVos met behind closed doors Friday with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds and other state leaders and lobbyists,” Iowa’s Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports.

The Iowa paper notes that Waterloo Community Schools’ Superintendent Jane Lindaman was “the lone public education representative invited to participate,” and described her as being “concerned.”

“I was surprised by the imbalance of people at this meeting today,” Lindaman told the Courier. “Out of 14 people, I was the only public school advocate. I quickly realized the responsibility and, quite honestly, the burden of speaking for the hundreds of thousands of kids who are in public education in Iowa.”

Here’s a local news report from Alabama last month that features DeVos and Senator Ted Cruz, a big home schooling advocate, promoting his bill and the Secretary’s program. Cruz endorses the federal government effectively paying for private and religious education, calling it a “civil rights issue.”

In 2015 Sen. Cruz spoke with homeschooling parents, telling them LGBT people are waging “jihad” on Christianity.

IMAGE: Betsy DeVos testifies before the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee confirmation hearing to be next Secretary of Education on Capitol Hill in Washington, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas