biden - A power grab against private equity threatens the US economy

Garland to testify before Congress, with his record in the spotlight

Washington Post

23-09-19 23:01

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland's hands-off approach to some of the Department of Justice's (DOJ) most high-profile investigations has drawn both praise and criticism. Garland's commitment to running a law enforcement agency insulated from political interference has been tested as the DOJ investigates former President Donald Trump, current President Joe Biden, and Biden's son, Hunter Biden. Garland has appointed special counsels to investigate both Trump and Biden, which has led to charges being brought against both, but he has faced criticism from both sides of the political spectrum. Republicans accuse Garland of going too easy on Biden's son, while liberals have accused him of treating Hunter Biden too harshly. Garland has also faced criticism for not being aggressive enough in pursuing Trump and for the pace of the investigation. Garland's defenders argue that he is the right person to navigate the complexities of the current political climate, while his critics argue that his hands-off approach has left the DOJ unprepared to defend itself from attacks from both the right and the left.
Biden to create new office of gun violence prevention

Washington Post

23-09-19 22:58

President Biden is set to create a new office for gun violence prevention in the wake of stalled progress on the issue in Congress. The move is seen as an escalation of his administration’s efforts to tackle gun violence and will be announced by Biden and Vice President Harris on Friday. The new office is expected to coordinate efforts across the federal government to reduce gun violence and will report to Stefanie Feldman, the White House staff secretary. Gun violence prevention groups have long been pushing for the creation of such an office to increase leadership and coordination on the issue.
Hunter Biden to plead not guilty to gun charges


23-09-19 22:47

Hunter Biden, son of US President Joe Biden, will plead not guilty to charges related to a 2018 gun purchase, according to his lawyer. Hunter Biden was indicted last week for possessing a gun while an illegal drug user and lying to buy it. His lawyer has requested that the initial court appearance be held remotely to minimise disruption. If convicted, Biden could face up to 25 years in prison. The charges stem from a period when he was struggling with a crack cocaine addiction.
Hunter Biden to plead not guilty to firearms charges

Associated Press

23-09-19 22:14

Hunter Biden is set to plead not guilty to federal firearms charges after a plea deal in a long-running investigation collapsed. He is accused of lying about his drug use when purchasing a firearm in 2018. The indictment comes as the 2024 election approaches, potentially leading to a high-stakes trial. Biden is requesting to enter his plea remotely to avoid travel costs and logistical challenges. He is also under investigation for his business dealings and may face tax charges in the future.
Neither Biden nor Netanyahu Can Afford a Bad Meeting


23-09-19 22:14

When U.S. President Joe Biden sits down with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday in New York on the margins of the UN General Assembly opening, their private thoughts might not exactly reflect their public talking points.

“I wish Trump were president,” Netanyahu might be thinking.

“I can’t believe this guy’s still around,” Biden may muse. “Can’t Israel come up with a better prime minister?” Aaron David Miller Aaron David Miller is a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, focusing on U.S. foreign policy. More >

Smiles and warm words will almost certainly be on display. But those gestures will mask a growing divergence between a staunchly pro-Israel U.S. president and an Israeli prime minister. The latter is the longest serving in the country’s history, who is on trial for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust and who has become desperate to remain in power even at the expense of presiding over the most extreme and fundamentalist government in Israel’s history.

Nonetheless, Biden—driven by his own personal regard for Israel, domestic politics, and matters of state—isn’t prepared to go to war with Netanyahu or to fully embrace him. Indeed, Biden is the only president since Jimmy Carter who has not met an Israeli prime minister at the White House during an Israeli leader’s first year. A White House meeting might be possible by the year’s end if the judicial overhaul Netanyahu is pursuing goes into a deep freeze or if the Biden administration’s megadeal normalizing Israeli-Saudi relations—requiring Netanyahu’s close cooperation and concessions—moves forward.

For the Biden administration, after a rather easy relationship with the Bennett–Lapid rotational Israeli government, the inauguration of Netanyahu’s government in December was an unwelcome surprise. The Bennett–Lapid government— composed of parties from the right to the left, including the participation of an Israeli Arab party formally within the government—was risk-averse and cautious. Now, the new Netanyahu government is risk-ready in the extreme.

Netanyahu put together a coalition of right-wing religious Zionists and ultra-Orthodox parties, enabling him to return to power and perhaps find a way to undermine or even cancel his ongoing trial. His government—largely driven by the agendas of three right-wing extremist ministers—set into motion a series of radical policies designed to create and ensure permanent Israeli control of the West Bank and Jerusalem. On the domestic side, the coalition aimed to restructure the balance between the government and the judiciary, effectively ending any judicial oversight and an independent judiciary.

The threat to the judicial system produced the largest, most organized, and most sustained protests—now in their eighth month—in the history of Israel. Once seen as a cautious and careful reader of public opinion, Netanyahu now seems unchained, desperate, and hostage to a government he is responsibile for creating. Polls indicate that if elections were held today, Netanyahu could not form a government. He knows he has little choice but to go with the radicals—at least for now.

The last thing the Biden administration needed—given Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a muscular China, and a busy legislative agenda—was a disruptive Israeli government, serious violence in the West Bank, or a major crisis with Iran on the nuclear issue. In several rare, public interventions and at least one more pointed call with the prime minister, Biden spoke out in favor of the common democratic values that bound Israel and the United States, in an implicit criticism of the Israeli government’s judicial overhaul. But by and large, the president allowed the Israelis in the streets to do the walking and the talking on what was seen to be a domestic issue.

Biden isn’t looking for a fight with Netanyahu but isn’t prepared to embrace him either. Three reasons stand out.

First, the president’s persona. The model here for Biden isn’t Barack Obama but Bill Clinton. Support—even love—of Israel is deeply embedded in Biden’s emotional DNA. His first instinct isn’t to confront Netanyahu but to find a way to work with him.

Second is domestic politics. Presidents don’t like to fight with Israeli prime ministers. It’s distracting, messy, awkward, and potentially politically costly. The Republican Party has set itself up as the Israel-Right-or-Wrong Party and is eager to paint Biden as anti-Israel. This is the last place the president wishes to be, especially entering what will likely be a close election running against a former president who styles himself as the most pro-Israel president ever.

And finally there’s policy. Netanyahu stands at the center on two issues: the Iran nuclear issue and Israel–Saudi Arabia normalization. One is potential crisis, and the other a major opportunity. And Biden needs Netanyahu’s cooperation on both.

All of this leads to one inescapable conclusion. Despite what divides them, neither Biden nor Netanyahu can afford a bad meeting. Netanyahu will press Biden on toughening U.S. policy on Iran, and Biden will look for Israeli concessions on the Palestinian issue that will help him sell a Saudi deal. Biden will also remind Netanyahu that his judicial overhaul needs to find a compromise solution, lest it impact the shared democratic values that bind the two countries together.

But all of this is largely performative. The readouts of the meeting may differ slightly, with the Israeli leader putting out a warmer, more effusive to tone. But no one will be fooled. Biden is increasingly frustrated and annoyed with Netanyahu, but the U.S.–Israel relationship is too big and important to fail. In the end, it seems Biden can’t live with Netanyahu, but he can’t live without him either.

US House panel sets date for first Biden impeachment inquiry hearing


23-09-20 00:11

The US House of Representatives, led by Republicans, will hold its first committee hearing next week on its impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden. The House Oversight Committee plans to explore constitutional and legal questions and intends to subpoena the personal and business bank records of Hunter Biden and James Biden. Republicans have accused the Bidens of misconduct while Joe Biden was vice president, but have not provided concrete evidence. The White House has called the impeachment inquiry a political stunt and stated that no information has been requested from them. The impeachment process requires the House to approve formal charges by a simple majority, followed by a trial in the Senate where a two-thirds majority vote is needed for removal. However, Democrats control the Senate, making conviction and removal highly unlikely. The impeachment inquiry was announced by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy after pressure from far-right lawmakers who were angered by the impeachment of former President Donald Trump by Democrats in 2019 and 2021. Trump was acquitted both times by the Senate.
Biden’s efforts to court India challenged by assassination claim

Washington Post

23-09-19 23:58

US President Joe Biden is attempting to balance relations with Canada and India after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau accused the Indian government of being behind the killing of a Sikh separatist leader in British Columbia. The Canadian investigation alleges that Indian officials may have been involved in the assassination of Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who advocated for a separate Sikh state. The White House has voiced support for the investigation but has avoided any repudiation of India or Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The US is seeking strong relations with both countries as it tries to counter China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific.
Israel's Netanyahu to meet with Biden in New York. The location is seen as a sign of US displeasure

The Independent

23-09-20 04:07

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet US President Joe Biden on Wednesday for the first time since taking office. The meeting, which will take place in New York rather than Washington, is seen by some as a sign of US displeasure with Netanyahu's far-right government and its plans to overhaul Israel's judicial system. The two leaders are expected to discuss shared democratic values and a vision for a more integrated region, but differences over settlements and Palestinian statehood are likely to be raised.
Biden's Democratic allies intensify pressure for asylum-seekers to get work permits

The Independent

23-09-20 04:06

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York Governor Kathy Hochul have implored President Joe Biden to ease the migrant crisis by allowing migrants to work. However, experts have said that expediting work permits would be difficult both legally and bureaucratically. The Biden administration has said that it would take an act of Congress to shorten the current six-month waiting period for asylum-seekers to apply for work permits. The Homeland Security Department has sent over one million text messages reminding those eligible to apply for work permits, but it has shown no signs of speeding up the process as there is already a backlog of applications. The White House has also dismissed suggestions that New York State could offer work permits. As a result, migrants are unable to work and have instead filled homeless shelters in several cities. In New York, the city has rented hotel space and erected tent shelters to cope with the influx of migrants, which the Adams administration estimates could cost the city $12bn over three years.
Biden and Lula try to find common cause, despite their differences

Washington Post

23-09-20 04:00

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and US President Joe Biden have called for a return to multilateralism at the UN General Assembly. Lula, attending the event for the first time since 2009, celebrated Brazil's renewed global standing after four years of Jair Bolsonaro's unpredictable rule, which was widely criticised. Biden, meanwhile, used his speech to repudiate former President Donald Trump's "America First" policy. Both leaders highlighted the challenges of climate change and economic inequality, but Lula also criticised the US over its blockade of Cuba and said that great power competition had exacerbated inequalities. Biden, on the other hand, focused on Russia's invasion of Ukraine and called on the international community to support Kyiv. While Lula and his allies believe that the conflict reflects a broader conflict between Russia and the West, Biden and his allies have accused Russia of being solely responsible for the war. On Wednesday, Biden and Lula will focus on workers' rights, with the aim of convening a focus group to discuss the future of the working class.
Republican candidates race for Texas oil money

Financial Times

23-09-20 04:00

Republican presidential candidates are courting wealthy US oil donors as they seek to tap into campaign funds that remain up for grabs, reflecting a shift in support away from former president Donald Trump, according to oil executives. Florida governor Ron DeSantis, who is leading the charge, visited the energy hub of Midland, West Texas, on Wednesday to tout his support for US oil and gas and his intention to unpick President Joe Biden’s green agenda. DeSantis is hoping to capitalise on growing discontent with Trump among oil executives, who fear he will lose another election to Biden in 2024, resulting in more industry regulation.
Trump ex-aide claims he wrote ‘to-do lists’ on classified documents

The Independent

23-09-20 08:37

Former President Donald Trump allegedly tried to silence a former aide who knew about boxes of classified documents he kept at Mar-a-Lago after leaving the White House, according to a report by ABC News. Molly Michael, who worked as an assistant to Trump at the White House and after he left office, reportedly told federal investigators that he told her to stay quiet when he learned they wanted to speak to her. Trump denied the claims, with a spokesperson stating that he "did nothing wrong." It is also reported that Trump responded to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's challenge during his speech at the UN General Assembly to reveal his plans to end Russia's war with Ukraine in a single day by joining in the far-right outrage over the US's spending on Ukraine.
Zelensky says UN incapable of stopping Putin’s ‘criminal aggression’

The Independent

23-09-21 04:15

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused the United Nations (UN) of being incapable of preventing aggressors from invading other countries, specifically referring to Russia's "criminal and unprovoked aggression" against Ukraine. Zelensky made his comments during a special meeting of the UN Security Council, where he called for reform of the General Assembly and Security Council to address Russia's aggression. He proposed removing Russia's veto power on the Security Council and expanding the membership to include Germany and the African Union, among others. Zelensky argued that the UN has failed to defend the sovereign borders of nations and that humankind no longer pins its hopes on the organization for defense. He called for efforts to protect territorial integrity, sovereignty, human rights, and prevent aggression and genocide to be centered in the General Assembly and Security Council.

Zelensky’s criticism of the UN comes as tensions between Ukraine and Russia continue to escalate. The meeting at the UN Security Council was significant as it marked the first face-to-face encounter between Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ambassador to the UN since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Zelensky accused Russia of violating the norms of war and the UN Charter itself with its aggression. He called for international support to end Russia’s war on Ukraine and emphasized the need for reform within the UN to address the ongoing conflict.

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has been ongoing since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea. Since then, fighting has continued in Eastern Ukraine, leading to thousands of deaths and displacements. The UN Security Council has met numerous times to discuss the situation, but its ability to take action has been hindered by Russia’s veto power. Zelensky’s call for reform aims to address this issue and ensure that the UN can effectively respond to acts of aggression and protect the sovereignty of nations.

Ukraine's Zelenskiy to press skeptical Republicans on aid in Washington visit


23-09-21 10:04

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is visiting the US to seek support amid Republican skepticism over continued aid to Ukraine. While Biden and most congressional leaders still support aid to Ukraine, a growing number of Republicans are questioning the billions of dollars Washington has sent to Kyiv for military, economic, and humanitarian needs. Zelenskiy will meet with Republican leaders in the House of Representatives and the Senate, where he will face tough questions about the progress in fighting Russian invaders. The US has sent around $113 billion in aid since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.
US House Republicans look to restart spending agenda with defense vote


23-09-21 10:03

U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy will attempt to restart the Republican spending agenda on Thursday with a procedural vote on a defense appropriations bill for fiscal 2024. The bill has already been rejected twice by Republicans. McCarthy also stated that Republicans are "very close" to reaching an agreement on a short-term funding measure, known as a continuing resolution (CR). However, the Republican spending agenda faces opposition from Democrats in the Senate and the White House. McCarthy has been trying to win support from hardline conservatives who oppose exceeding a 2022 top line of $1.47 trillion in fiscal 2024 appropriations. McCarthy's proposal includes a 30-day CR that would cut spending to the 2022 level and a top line for full-year fiscal 2024 spending of just under $1.53 trillion.
Harris makes political, personal connection with students during college tour

Washington Post

23-09-21 10:00

Vice President Kamala Harris has embarked on a month-long "Fight for Our Freedoms" tour of several colleges in the United States. The tour is intended to address issues that the Biden administration believes are vital to young voters as the next election year approaches. Biden and Harris have struggled to attract support from young people and voters of color, both crucial demographics for the Democratic Party. During a visit to Reading Area Community College, Harris discussed a range of topics with students, including climate change, reproductive rights, and gun safety. The issue of gun violence seemed to resonate the most with students, many of whom had grown up participating in active shooter drills in school. Harris commended the students for their leadership and encouraged them to continue advocating for change. The need to address gun violence was an important issue for the students, given that guns are the leading cause of death among children and teens. Harris's visit to Reading was seen as a positive gesture, signaling her dedication to the community and its young people. The visit comes as Democrats are working to energize young voters and shore up support among Hispanic voters ahead of the 2024 election. However, polls suggest that Biden and Harris face challenges with some segments of their base. Many young voters and Hispanic voters disapprove of their performance, with a significant number believing that Biden is too old to effectively serve as president for another four-year term.
Trump seeks to appeal to unlikely Republican voters

The Globe and Mail

23-09-21 10:00

Former US President Donald Trump is attempting to expand the reach of the Republican Party by appealing to two traditionally Democratic constituencies: organised labour and Black voters. Trump's efforts could enhance his chances of returning to the White House and potentially staying out of prison, as he could pardon himself if he avoids conviction in Georgia. Trump is positioning himself as a victim of biases within the American legal system, which appeals to Black voters who have a high rate of incarceration. While many labour union leaders criticise Trump, many union members see him as a spokesperson for workers who have been left behind in the economy. However, scholars believe it is unlikely that Trump will attract significant numbers of Black voters due to the threat he poses. Trump's appeal to these groups is based on his identity as a figure treated with contempt by ruling elites and a judicial system he argues is corrupt. Trump has long argued that American culture and economics are stacked against large segments of the population, aligning him with the critique of American society by some on the Democratic left.
Trump speaks at Iowa rally as Giuliani accused of sex assault on Jan 6

The Independent

23-09-21 09:04

Former President Donald Trump has used his new Truth Social platform to mock Chris Christie over the "beachgate" scandal. Trump shared images of Christie sunbathing on a beach during a state government shutdown in 2017 and called him a "grifter." Trump also urged Republicans to "use the power of the purse" as Congress continues to debate spending bills and potentially faces another government shutdown.

During a rally in Iowa, Trump claimed that he would win “three” presidential elections, once again perpetuating the false claim that he beat President Joe Biden in the 2020 election. On the same day, Donald Trump Jr.'s Twitter account was hacked, with a post falsely claiming that his father was dead and that Trump Jr. was running for president in 2024. Meanwhile, a former aide to Trump’s ex-Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has accused Rudy Giuliani of sexually assaulting her on the day of the January 6 Capitol riot. Giuliani’s adviser has vehemently denied the allegations.

These events highlight the ongoing political battles and controversies surrounding Trump and his allies. Trump continues to assert his dominance within the Republican Party, while facing criticism and legal challenges. The hacking of Trump Jr.'s account adds another layer of intrigue to the mix, and the sexual assault allegation against Giuliani further tarnishes his reputation. As the political landscape continues to evolve, these incidents will likely shape the narratives and dynamics within the Republican Party leading up to the 2024 election.

Democrats think Trump is the opponent they want. They’re wrong, again


23-09-21 15:14

Joe Biden may be benefiting from promoting Donald Trump as the standard-bearer for the Republican Party. By highlighting Trump's positions on issues like abortion, Biden is able to rally support from his own base and strengthen his own candidacy. This strategy has been successful for Democrats in the past, as they have used negative partisanship to boost vulnerable Republican candidates and ultimately defeat them in general elections. However, the article warns that this is a high-stakes gamble, as Trump's surprise win in 2016 caused near-existential despair among Democrats.
Top military leader confirmed by Senate after GOP blockade

The Independent

23-09-21 14:52

Senator Tommy Tuberville has ended his blockade of military nominations, allowing the Senate to confirm the appointment of General Charles Q. Brown as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The Alabama Republican had been holding up the nominations in protest at military policy on abortion, arguing that it required taxpayers to fund the procedure. The policy, which was introduced by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, permits military personnel to receive “travel and transportation allowances” and “appropriate administrative absence” if they need to travel outside the military for an abortion.