Why Biden is flailing



While the causes of Biden’s decline are numerous (e.g. declining trust of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the American troop withdrawal from Afghanistan), perhaps the biggest one is that Americans believe there are big economic problems and that Biden isn’t focused nearly enough on them. These negative perceptions of Democrats on the economy are impacting the marquee Virginia gubernatorial election, too.

Approval of Biden on the economy has tracked almost perfectly with approval of him overall. Right now, his economic approval is in the low 40s, just as it is overall. In the early summer, it was in the low 50s — as it was overall then, too.

This decline comes as consumer confidence in the government’s economic policy has noticeably declined over the last six months, according to the University of Michigan. American consumer sentiment is significantly worse than it was a month before President Donald Trump was booted from office a year ago.
Take a look at the top concerns most Americans have right now. According to a Fox News poll released this week, 53% of voters said they were extremely concerned about inflation and higher prices. No other issue topped 50%.
A recent CBS News/YouGov poll points to why inflation (and the economy at large) is a problem for Biden. A clear majority (60%) of Americans believe that Biden is not focusing enough on inflation. No other issue tested showed that many Americans who thought Biden had not paid enough attention.

A low 37% say that Biden and his fellow Democrats are focusing on the issues they care a lot about.

This jibes with what voters say about infrastructure. A major part of Biden’s agenda is the infrastructure plan that has passed the Senate. But just 27% of voters put infrastructure down as a major concern of theirs.

You can contrast it to climate change, too. Combating climate change is part of Biden’s Build Back Better plan, which is the other bill Democrats are trying to pass through Congress. A mere 35% of voters say that’s an extremely important concern of theirs.

Though there are other parts of the Build Back Better plan that poll quite well, the overall perception of the deal is one that won’t be particularly helpful to the economy. Only about 40% of Americans say the Build Back Better plan would help them or the nation’s economy.

Of course, economic troubles aren’t just a national issue.

We’ve seen Democrat Terry McAuliffe’s lead over Republican Glenn Youngkin decline over the last few months. What once was a mid-to-high single digit advantage has shrunk to a mere 2 points in the average poll, an edge that is well within any margin of error.
Although much has been made about education, this isn’t the most important issue to voters in Virginia. Instead, it’s the economy and jobs (asked as a pair). More voters (27%) said the economy and jobs was the most important issue in their vote for governor than any other issue in a recent Monmouth University poll. More than that, this 27% is up from 21% who said it was the most important issue last month.

Indeed, one of the biggest edges Youngkin has over McAuliffe on any issue is the economy and jobs. By a 5-point margin, more voters trust Youngkin over McAuliffe on the economy. The only issue on which Youngkin holds a larger advantage is taxes, which is another economic issue.

The fact that the economy is playing such a large role both nationally and Virginia shouldn’t be a surprise when taking the long historical view. Normally, the economy plays a predominant role in our politics. It’s just that over the last five years, amid the entirety of the Trump administration and the coronavirus pandemic, the economy seemed to take a back seat.

After nine months of the Biden administration, though, what the American electorate is saying is a sign that our politics are becoming a little more normal again.



Source link

Virginia Democrats sue USPS over delayed delivery of election-related material



‘);$vidEndSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–active’);}};CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;var configObj = {thumb: ‘none’,video: ‘politics/2021/10/21/early-voting-virginia-governors-race-zeleny-pkg-lead-vpx.cnn’,width: ‘100%’,height: ‘100%’,section: ‘domestic’,profile: ‘expansion’,network: ‘cnn’,markupId: ‘large-media_0’,adsection: ‘const-article-pagetop’,frameWidth: ‘100%’,frameHeight: ‘100%’,posterImageOverride: {“mini”:{“width”:220,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211021183214-va-early-voting-small-169.jpeg”,”height”:124},”xsmall”:{“width”:307,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211021183214-va-early-voting-medium-plus-169.jpeg”,”height”:173},”small”:{“width”:460,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211021183214-va-early-voting-large-169.jpeg”,”height”:259},”medium”:{“width”:780,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211021183214-va-early-voting-exlarge-169.jpeg”,”height”:438},”large”:{“width”:1100,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211021183214-va-early-voting-super-169.jpeg”,”height”:619},”full16x9″:{“width”:1600,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211021183214-va-early-voting-full-169.jpeg”,”height”:900},”mini1x1″:{“width”:120,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/211021183214-va-early-voting-small-11.jpeg”,”height”:120}}},autoStartVideo = false,isVideoReplayClicked = false,callbackObj,containerEl,currentVideoCollection = [],currentVideoCollectionId = ”,isLivePlayer = false,mediaMetadataCallbacks,mobilePinnedView = null,moveToNextTimeout,mutePlayerEnabled = false,nextVideoId = ”,nextVideoUrl = ”,turnOnFlashMessaging = false,videoPinner,videoEndSlateImpl;if (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === false) {autoStartVideo = true;autoStartVideo = typeof CNN.isLoggedInVideoCheck === ‘function’ ? CNN.isLoggedInVideoCheck(autoStartVideo) : autoStartVideo;if (autoStartVideo === true) {if (turnOnFlashMessaging === true) {autoStartVideo = false;containerEl = jQuery(document.getElementById(configObj.markupId));CNN.VideoPlayer.showFlashSlate(containerEl);} else {CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = true;}}}configObj.autostart = CNN.Features.enableAutoplayBlock ? false : autoStartVideo;CNN.VideoPlayer.setPlayerProperties(configObj.markupId, autoStartVideo, isLivePlayer, isVideoReplayClicked, mutePlayerEnabled);CNN.VideoPlayer.setFirstVideoInCollection(currentVideoCollection, configObj.markupId);videoEndSlateImpl = new CNN.VideoEndSlate(‘large-media_0’);function findNextVideo(currentVideoId) {var i,vidObj;if (currentVideoId && jQuery.isArray(currentVideoCollection) && currentVideoCollection.length > 0) {for (i = 0; i 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.showEndSlateForContainer();if (mobilePinnedView) {mobilePinnedView.disable();}}}}callbackObj = {onPlayerReady: function (containerId) {var playerInstance,containerClassId = ‘#’ + containerId;CNN.VideoPlayer.handleInitialExpandableVideoState(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, CNN.pageVis.isDocumentVisible());if (CNN.Features.enableMobileWebFloatingPlayer &&Modernizr &&(Modernizr.phone || Modernizr.mobile || Modernizr.tablet) &&CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibraryName(containerId) === ‘fave’ &&jQuery(containerClassId).parents(‘.js-pg-rail-tall__head’).length > 0 &&CNN.contentModel.pageType === ‘article’) {playerInstance = FAVE.player.getInstance(containerId);mobilePinnedView = new CNN.MobilePinnedView({element: jQuery(containerClassId),enabled: false,transition: CNN.MobileWebFloatingPlayer.transition,onPin: function () {playerInstance.hideUI();},onUnpin: function () {playerInstance.showUI();},onPlayerClick: function () {if (mobilePinnedView) {playerInstance.enterFullscreen();playerInstance.showUI();}},onDismiss: function() {CNN.Videx.mobile.pinnedPlayer.disable();playerInstance.pause();}});/* Storing pinned view on CNN.Videx.mobile.pinnedPlayer So that all players can see the single pinned player */CNN.Videx = CNN.Videx || {};CNN.Videx.mobile = CNN.Videx.mobile || {};CNN.Videx.mobile.pinnedPlayer = mobilePinnedView;}if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (jQuery(containerClassId).parents(‘.js-pg-rail-tall__head’).length) {videoPinner = new CNN.VideoPinner(containerClassId);videoPinner.init();} else {CNN.VideoPlayer.hideThumbnail(containerId);}}},onContentEntryLoad: function(containerId, playerId, contentid, isQueue) {CNN.VideoPlayer.showSpinner(containerId);},onContentPause: function (containerId, playerId, videoId, paused) {if (mobilePinnedView) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleMobilePinnedPlayerStates(containerId, paused);}},onContentMetadata: function (containerId, playerId, metadata, contentId, duration, width, height) {var endSlateLen = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0).length;CNN.VideoSourceUtils.updateSource(containerId, metadata);if (endSlateLen > 0) {videoEndSlateImpl.fetchAndShowRecommendedVideos(metadata);}},onAdPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, token, mode, id, duration, blockId, adType) {/* Dismissing the pinnedPlayer if another video players plays an Ad */CNN.VideoPlayer.dismissMobilePinnedPlayer(containerId);clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onAdPause: function (containerId, playerId, token, mode, id, duration, blockId, adType, instance, isAdPause) {if (mobilePinnedView) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleMobilePinnedPlayerStates(containerId, isAdPause);}},onTrackingFullscreen: function (containerId, PlayerId, dataObj) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleFullscreenChange(containerId, dataObj);if (mobilePinnedView &&typeof dataObj === ‘object’ &&FAVE.Utils.os === ‘iOS’ && !dataObj.fullscreen) {jQuery(document).scrollTop(mobilePinnedView.getScrollPosition());playerInstance.hideUI();}},onContentPlay: function (containerId, cvpId, event) {var playerInstance,prevVideoId;if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreEpicAds’);}clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);videoPinner.animateDown();}}},onContentReplayRequest: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(true);var $endSlate = jQuery(document.getElementById(containerId)).parent().find(‘.js-video__end-slate’).eq(0);if ($endSlate.length > 0) {$endSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–active’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’);}}}},onContentBegin: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (mobilePinnedView) {mobilePinnedView.enable();}/* Dismissing the pinnedPlayer if another video players plays a video. */CNN.VideoPlayer.dismissMobilePinnedPlayer(containerId);CNN.VideoPlayer.mutePlayer(containerId);if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘removeEpicAds’);}CNN.VideoPlayer.hideSpinner(containerId);clearTimeout(moveToNextTimeout);CNN.VideoSourceUtils.clearSource(containerId);jQuery(document).triggerVideoContentStarted();},onContentComplete: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (CNN.companion && typeof CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout === ‘function’) {CNN.companion.updateCompanionLayout(‘restoreFreewheel’);}navigateToNextVideo(contentId, containerId);},onContentEnd: function (containerId, cvpId, contentId) {if (Modernizr && !Modernizr.phone && !Modernizr.mobile && !Modernizr.tablet) {if (typeof videoPinner !== ‘undefined’ && videoPinner !== null) {videoPinner.setIsPlaying(false);}}},onCVPVisibilityChange: function (containerId, cvpId, visible) {CNN.VideoPlayer.handleAdOnCVPVisibilityChange(containerId, visible);}};if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length 0) {configObj.adsection = window.ssid;}CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;CNN.VideoPlayer.getLibrary(configObj, callbackObj, isLivePlayer);});CNN.INJECTOR.scriptComplete(‘videodemanddust’);



Source link

Sessions announces religious land-use initiative




Washington
CNN
—  

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced an initiative on Wednesday aimed at boosting the Justice Department’s role protecting religious institutions from cumbersome zoning rules.

“Under the laws of this country, government cannot discriminate against people based on their religion – not in law enforcement, not in grant-making, not in hiring and not in local zoning laws,” Sessions said in a statement announcing the Place to Worship Initiative.

The announcement said the Justice Department would expand awareness of a 2000 law to shield religious institutions from overly restrictive zoning regulations and would provide “additional training and resources for federal prosecutors,” with an inaugural community outreach event in New Jersey later this month.

The planned event in New Jersey would come after the Justice Department also announced on Wednesday it was bringing a complaint under that 2000 law against the New Jersey borough Woodcliff Lake and Woodcliff Lake’s zoning board of adjustment. Politico reported last year that the Justice Department had opened a probe into potential religious discrimination in Woodcliff Lake regarding an Orthodox Jewish group.

The initiative announced on Wednesday marked another step by Sessions to steer the power of the department toward religious organizations and individuals. Last fall, Sessions announced sweeping guidance on religious liberty protections, and the Justice Department under his leadership took the side of a cake shop owner who cited religion when refusing to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the baker earlier this month.



Source link

Donald Trump's fake-it-until-you-make-it strategy on North Korea





CNN
—  

Donald Trump has ended the nuclear threat from North Korea!

According to Donald Trump, that is.

“Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office,” Trump tweeted. “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!” He followed that one up with this: “Before taking office people were assuming that we were going to War with North Korea. President Obama said that North Korea was our biggest and most dangerous problem. No longer – sleep well tonight!”“

Sounds good! Problem solved! Nailed it! 10 out of 10!

Wait, what’s that you say? There are no concrete promises about North Korea’s de-nuclearization plans in the future? And North Korea has reneged on two past agreements – in 1994 and 2005 – not dissimilar to this one?

Hmmm.

Actually, not “hmmm.”

This fake-it-until-you-make-it strategy is pure Trump. And not just in politics: It’s a defining element of his life.

There’s a moment in the 2016 “Frontline” documentary on Trump and Hillary Clinton – a must-watch if you haven’t already – in which a former associate of Trump is describing how the real estate magnate handled bad news and bad deals. Paraphrasing, the associate said: “He’ll just declare victory and move on. It’s what he does.”

That approach to life is how Trump has weathered – and even prospered! – amid three bankruptcies and as many marriages. He acts like he won, like he knew this was happening all along, like he meant it to happen. He creates a reality that may, but often does not, comport with actual reality, and then sells that created reality as hard as he possibly can.

The narrative Trump is always selling – regardless of whether he is flacking some deal he made as a private citizen or talking up the Singapore summit – is of total victory. And not just that, but victory that others couldn’t achieve. Historic victories. The biggest. Record-setting.

Trump’s “Art of the Deal” is a testament to this idea. And this quote from that book really stands out:

“The final key to the way I promote is bravado. I play to people’s fantasies. People may not always think big themselves, but they can still get very excited by those who do. That’s why a little hyperbole never hurts. People want to believe that something is the biggest and the greatest and the most spectacular. I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration, and a very effective form of promotion.”

Trump himself even acknowledged his own tendencies toward exaggeration and, well, faking it, during his Singapore summit press conference.

“I mean, I may stand before you in six months and say, ‘Hey, I was wrong,’” Trump said in response to his boasting about the effectiveness of the deal in its initial aftermath. Then he added: “I don’t know that I’ll ever admit that, but I’ll find some kind of an excuse.”

CORRECT!

It is possible that Trump’s boasting that he has ended the North Korean nuclear threat ends up being right? Sure! After all, there are negotiations ongoing – and Trump has made clear that denuclearization is the only option if North Korea wants to live peaceably and join the world community.

Does Trump know something we don’t know about the chances of that denuclearization happening? And does that superior knowledge inform his tweets? Almost certainly not. In fact, if past is prologue, then definitely not. The boasting, the exaggeration, the faking it is all part and parcel of what Trump views as a self-created reality. If he talks about how the North Korean nuclear threat has disappeared, he sets that as a narrative. And once that narrative sets in, even the North Koreans will struggle to dispute it.

Of course, Trump is facing a unique foil in the case of Kim. Because like Trump, Kim has made a brand out of serial exaggeration and outlandish claims. (Reports in North Korea have Kim learning to drive by age 3.) If anything, Kim is more well-versed in wishing “facts” about himself and his existence into life than even Trump. Rarely has Trump dealt with someone who not only plays his exaggeration game, but may be even better at it.



Source link

Pompeo says North Korea understands there will be 'in-depth verification'




Washington
CNN
—  

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters traveling with him in Seoul that he was “confident” North Korea understood there will be in-depth verification of the dismantling of its nuclear program.

Pompeo also pushed back on criticism that the joint statement issued after the Tuesday summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to include the terms “verifiable” and “irreversible” – two conditions Pompeo and other US officials have repeatedly said are necessary for any deal.

Questioned about the absence of those terms, Pompeo told a reporter “you’re just wrong about that” and said it was understood “in the minds of everyone concerned.”

And he rejected widespread criticism of Trump’s announcement that the US is suspending military exercises with South Korea and Japan – a long-sought North Korean and Chinese goal that took the Seoul, Tokyo, US military officials and lawmakers by surprise.

“A lot has been made of the fact that the word ‘verifiable’ didn’t appear in the agreement,” Pompeo said of the joint statement. “Let me assure you that ‘complete’ encompasses ‘verifiable’ in the minds of everyone concerned. One can’t completely denuclearize without validating, authenticating – you pick the word. The President is committed to that.”

“It’s in the statement. It’s in the statement,” Pompeo insisted as he briefed reporters in Seoul. “You’re just wrong about that.”

The joint statement says that “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Asked how “verifiable” and “irreversible” appeared in the statement, given that the words aren’t there, Pompeo said, “I suppose you could argue semantics, but let me assure you that it’s in the document.”

And then he added that, “I find that question insulting and ridiculous and frankly ludicrous,” adding that “one ought not play games with serious matters like this.”

Speaking of the North Koreans, Pompeo said he was “confident they understand that there will be in-depth verification.”

The top US diplomat was in South Korea to brief officials on the summit before traveling to China, where he will offer further briefings on the summit and regional issues with leaders there.

Pompeo defended Trump’s cancellation of military exercises, saying the commitment is they will be suspended as long as there are “productive, good-faith negotiations” ongoing.

Critics decried the move as offering up front a major concession. The military exercises are central to the security of US allies and crucial to maintaining the readiness and interoperability of forces. And the retreat of US military power in Asia is a long-held goal of Beijing, which is becoming increasingly assertive in the region.

Pompeo said the President he made clear the suspension would only last while good-faith talks were ongoing.

“He made very clear that the condition precedent for the exercises not to proceed was a productive, good-faith negotiations being ongoing and at the point it’s concluded that they’re not, the President’s commitment to not have those joint exercises take place will no longer be in effect,” Pompeo said.

It’s about “setting the right conditions for moving forward with those talks,” he said, declining to comment on why the President called them “provocative” – a term North Korea uses – or whether he or Trump consulted with US Forces Korea, the Pentagon, or the South Koreans on whether and how to take the step.

Pompeo also said he was very confident that “sometime in the next week or so we will begin the engagement” with North Korea, though he didn’t know the timing or how meetings would be structured. While the President is in charge, Pompeo said he will be the one “driving this process forward.”

Pompeo noted that “not all of that work” between the two negotiating teams “appeared in the final document,” but there were “lots of other places where there were understandings reached. We couldn’t reduce them to writing” and that this is where the teams will begin their work.

While he wouldn’t go into specific timelines, he said “absolutely” the administration wants major steps in the next two years. “Yes, we’re hopeful that we can achieve [major nuclear disarmament] in the next, what is it, two and a half years.”

“The modalities are beginning to develop,” Pompeo said, but said, “there will be a great deal of work to do.”

After Trump claimed yesterday that North Korea has destroyed test sites, Pompeo said, “I can only answer that we do have a reasonably good understanding of what took place there, but I don’t want to get into the intelligence assessment.”

He added that the US has spent “a reasonable amount of time developing our understanding of what took place there,” but added that “it’s always the case that our strong preference would be to have experts on the ground when these types of things take place. We can gain a much more thorough understanding of what actually occurred and what may not have.”



Source link

Biden escapes his White House 'gilded cage' at a faster pace than Trump



Sixty-nine of those 108 days away from Washington were spent at his home in Wilmington, spread over 23 visits; seven days at his Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, beach house over two visits; and 32 days at Camp David over 10 visits.

Typically, his chopper commute from the White House to his Wilmington home takes less than an hour, and a White House official noted that many of the partial days included Biden departing the White House at the conclusion of a normal workday on a Friday or returning to Washington before the start of a workday on a Monday.

That puts Biden ahead of the pace set by former President Donald Trump, who had spent less time at his Florida and New Jersey getaways at the same point in his presidency than Biden has spent in Delaware.

Comparing Biden and his predecessors

While most presidents have prioritized taking time away from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, this is the most time a president has spent away from the White House on personal travel at this point in the presidency in recent history.

By comparison, Trump had spent all or part of 61 days at either his Mar-a-Lago or Bedminster properties in Florida and New Jersey, respectively, during the same period of time, plus all or part of nine days over four visits to Camp David. Trump also visited other Trump-branded properties, including his Virginia golf club and Trump Tower in New York, nearly 100 times at this point in his time in office.

At the same point in his presidency, then-President Barack Obama, who had school-age children during his term, had taken three vacation trips spanning all or part of 15 days, according to presidential record-keeper and CBS News veteran Mark Knoller, including a visit to his home of Chicago, a trip to Yellowstone National Park in Montana with his family and a weeklong escape to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Obama had spent all or part of 25 days at Camp David over ten visits at this point, Knoller said.

And then-President George W. Bush, per Knoller’s records, had taken seven trips to Crawford, Texas, spending 27 full or partial days at his family’s Prairie Chapel Ranch in the first months of his presidency, and 19 visits to Camp David over 57 full or partial days, for a total of 84 full or partial days in Texas or at Camp David.

Other presidents have also made it a point to escape the confines of the White House: George H. W. Bush spent time in Kennebunkport, Maine, during his presidency; Lyndon Johnson also traveled to his Texas ranch; Franklin Roosevelt frequented Warm Springs, Georgia; Ronald Reagan visited his “Western White House” in Goleta, California; Richard Nixon went to La Casa Pacifica in California; John F. Kennedy got away to Hyannis Port, Massachusetts; and Harry Truman spent a portion of his presidency in Key West, Florida, while the White House was under renovation.

A ‘gilded cage’

The Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the work habits of white-collar workers, with many Americans adopting more flexible schedules and eschewing commuting five days per week to instead work from home. The White House doubles as the President’s workplace and home, but Biden can work remotely with secure communications equipment and facilities anywhere he travels, and does so.

“Presidents of the United States are constantly on the job, regardless of their location; whether they’re on a state visit overseas or just 100 miles from the White House for a short trip to Wilmington,” White House spokesman Andrew Bates told CNN.

Bates added, “Wherever he is, the President spends every day working to defeat the pandemic, to ensure our economy delivers for the middle class — not just those at the top — and to protect our national security. Also, as all Americans can agree, it’s important for leaders to avoid becoming ensconced in Washington, DC.”

In the post-presidency, former presidents have frequently lamented the restrictions of home life at the White House, with Truman calling it “the great white jail” and Michelle Obama referring to it as “a really nice prison,” making it not unusual for a president to seek respite at more familiar digs.

“Even in the residence on the second and third floors, the president and his family are rarely alone. They can often hear the chanting of protestors in Lafayette Park across the street. During the Vietnam War, Luci and Lynda Bird Johnson could hear it from their bedrooms,” said Kate Andersen Brower, a CNN contributor and author of “Team of Five: The Presidents Club in the Age of Trump.”

Brower added, “There’s a sense of claustrophobia that comes with the territory. People are coming in and out for tours (in pre-Covid times) and reporters work not far from the Oval Office.”

Biden has expressed similar sentiments himself since taking office.
“I said when I was running, I wanted to be President not to live in the White House but to be able to make the decisions about the future of the country,” Biden said four weeks into his presidency at a CNN Town Hall.

He continued, “And so living in the White House, as you’ve heard other presidents who have been extremely flattered to live there, has — it’s a little like a gilded cage in terms of being able to walk outside and do things.”

Pressed on Biden’s predilection for getting out of town, White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended her boss.

“Because it’s his home. You like going home, right? So does the President. He’s human, too,” Psaki told reporters at an August briefing.

And in early March as Covid-19 cases remained high and the vaccination program was ramping up, Psaki was asked whether Biden should be doing more to set an example about personal travel during the pandemic.

“Well, the President lives in Wilmington. It’s his home. That’s where he’s lived for many, many years. And as you know, as any President of the United States does, he takes a private airplane called Air Force One to travel there. That is, of course, a unique — unique from most Americans, but I think most Americans would also see that as a unique circumstance,” she said.

Getting away from Washington

While in Wilmington, Biden spends time with his family, including the first lady and his grandchildren, but he also uses his home as a workplace.

“Even the president is affected by the new pandemic white-collar lifestyle of working from home, wherever that may be,” Brower said.

She added, “The Oval Office no longer refers to just the physical space, it’s really become wherever the president is. And that’s the case for many people who have the luxury of working remotely.”

Both at or away from the West Wing, Biden, a White House official told CNN, is “constantly strategizing with staff, being briefed on the economy and national security, speaking with lawmakers to advance his legislative agenda, and more.” Modern technology, the official added, makes it “easier than ever” for a president to do the job fully from anywhere, with many staffers working remotely at the start of the administration.

Biden typically attends mass on Saturday or Sunday while in town, and he’s played about a dozen rounds of golf at the nearby Fieldstone Golf Club. He stopped by a local coffee shop, Brew Ha Ha! earlier this month with his granddaughters.

Earlier this month, he and the first lady traveled to his sister’s nearby home for a “small family wedding” of his nephew, Cuffe Owens, to Meghan O’Toole King, a former cast member of the Real Housewives of Orange County. He’s also spent some time in the area on more mundane tasks, like seeing a doctor for a follow-up visit after a foot injury.

Biden has received virtual briefings from his team while away from the White House, per his public schedule, and always travels with senior staff for both domestic policy and national security, White House Communications Agency military personnel, and other aides, the White House official said.

Biden, the official added, is “in frequent touch with a wide spectrum of other staff to continue making progress on all the issues he works on during the week.”

The cost of escape

No matter how near or far, there are always taxpayer resources incurred when a president travels.

“There is a significant level of taxpayer expense any time the president departs the White House grounds, whether that’s just for a local stop in Washington, DC, or an overnight in Delaware,” said Jonathan Wackrow, a former US Secret Service agent and CNN law enforcement analyst.

Those expenses include travel and lodging for Secret Service as agents, officers, and technical professionals descend to the President’s destination. There is secure communications infrastructure installed by military personnel. Local law enforcement and other public safety entities, including the fire department and emergency medical services (EMS), are deployed when a president visits. There are also transportation considerations, Wackrow said, including Marine One and its support structure, fuel, mechanical considerations and aircraft security.

Whoever is in office, and wherever they are going, Wackrow says, “There is a massive bubble that moves with the president. The reason why it’s so large is because you can’t have any interruption in his ability to respond to a moment of crisis — it has to equal that of all the resources in Washington.”

Biden’s trips to Camp David, which is a permanent military installation, are less resource-intensive, however, because the presidential retreat is heavily fortified and supported by the military.

“The infrastructure is built in — Camp David has the built in SCIFs, it has the built-in presidential emergency command centers, it has all of the resources that you typically would bring in temporarily, they’re permanently built in at Camp David,” Wackrow said.

CNN’s Kate Bennett contributed to this report.



Source link

January 6 defendant spoke at far-right rally attended by Proud Boys, despite court order against associating with the group



Pictures posted online and a video obtained by CNN from an attendee show Micajah Jackson near a group of Proud Boys, spouting conspiracies about January 6. This raises questions of whether he violated the conditions of his pre-trial release, or at the least gave fresh material to prosecutors that they could use against him in court, as they have in other Capitol riot cases.

One picture, posted by Jackson on Twitter, shows him posing with a Republican congressional candidate who praised the Proud Boys in attendance during his speech that day. A man in Proud Boys attire, not with the pair, stands in the background behind them at the event. A video obtained by CNN from AZ Right Wing Watch, a Twitter account that monitors the far-right in the state, shows Jackson talking to the candidate, Arizona state Rep. Walt Blackman, near a small crowd that includes at least four men in Proud Boys attire.

Jackson’s attorney told CNN that Jackson had no knowledge the Proud Boys would be attending and that he is complying with the terms of his release. She added that the Justice Department is aware of his participation in the rally, but hasn’t flagged it to the judge or tried to revoke his bail.

At the rally, Jackson baselessly claimed that the government “weaponized the FBI, the Capitol police, DC police, Antifa, BLM, and Democratic activists to set up a coup against patriotic Americans like myself and hundreds and thousands of others that are still being persecuted,” comparing it to “KGB stuff.” Leaning into the false-flag conspiracy, Jackson called on the Justice Department to “prosecute every Congress member that was part of this set-up coup against us.”

Jackson was charged with four misdemeanors that the Justice Department has used against hundreds of other rioters who aren’t accused of attacking police or destroying property — including entering a restricted building and unlawfully protesting at the US Capitol. He has pleaded not guilty.

Court order to avoid Proud Boys

FBI agents arrested Jackson on May 18. As is common in Capitol riot cases where the defendant isn’t accused of violence, a federal judge released Jackson before trial. She ordered that he “not associate with any known members of the Proud Boys organization.” The order was signed by Judge Robin M. Meriweather on March 27, months before the Arizona rally.

Jackson’s presence at the rally with the Proud Boys could create legal problems for him.

If federal prosecutors believe he knowingly violated the release conditions, they could ask a judge to revoke his bail. In other Capitol riot cases, the Justice Department has quickly flagged potential bail violations to judges, including one rioter who was sent back to jail in part because he watched far-right conspiracy videos online. Other judges deal with violations with warnings.

A spokesperson for the US Attorney’s Office in DC declined to comment about Jackson’s case.

Maria Jacob, a public defender who represents Jackson, told CNN in a statement that Jackson didn’t directly associate with any Proud Boys, and therefore is complying with the release order.

“Mr. Jackson did not have any contact with any members of the Proud Boys at the Justice for J6 rally and had no knowledge that any of its members would attend. The government is aware of the allegations and to date has filed no suggestion of a violation or request for action,” she said.

There’s no indication Jackson took pictures with any Proud Boys or knew they’d be at the rally. If he is convicted, prosecutors could bring up this incident at sentencing — in similar cases, prosecutors have advocated for harsher punishments by citing rioters’ incendiary rhetoric and nonchalance toward court orders.

The next hearing in Jackson’s case is scheduled for Wednesday in DC District Court.

‘Self-serving’ denials

Jackson is one of a few dozen Capitol riot defendants with ties to the Proud Boys, according to CNN’s latest tally. He’s also a veteran who served as a lance corporal in the Marine Corps, according to Pentagon records, making him one of several dozen veterans facing charges.

Prosecutors say Jackson marched to the Capitol with a group of Proud Boys and was with them when they breached the first barricades outside the building. Prosecutors say photos show Jackson in a group led by Proud Boys organizer Joe Biggs, another veteran who is also facing charges for the riot.
In an interview with the FBI, Jackson claimed he wasn’t affiliated with the Proud Boys and said he never met any members before January 6, according to court filings. He also said he doesn’t support their ideology, which is often described as far-right with White nationalist sympathies. Investigators cast doubt on Jackson’s denials and called them “self-serving” in court filings.

In addition to denying that he is tied to the Proud Boys, he complained at last month’s Phoenix rally about people who label others as White supremacists, and compared liberals to Nazis.

“If you went against the Nazi party — what they’re doing, calling everyone a White supremacist, is the same exact thing that Hitler did with the Jews,” Jackson said at the event.



Source link

The week in 15 headlines



Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

And that was the week in 15 headlines.



Source link

Biden's looming European high-wire act



Biden, a devout Catholic, will meet Pope Francis on October 29. The two leaders will “discuss working together on efforts grounded in respect for fundamental human dignity, including ending the COVID-19 pandemic, tackling the climate crisis, and caring for the poor,” according to the White House.
At the top of the October 30-31 agenda: Biden will seek to smooth things over with the French amid the worst diplomatic spat between the two nations in years. He plans to meet with French President Emmanuel Macron to reaffirm the US’ commitment to working with France on a range of global issues. (France recently recalled its ambassador to the US in response to the newly announced national security partnership between the US, United Kingdom and Australia).
  • Biden is also dispatching Vice President Kamala Harris to Paris in November to continue to work to patch the relationship, according to the White House.
  • Trump left the November 2020 G20 summit on a sour note: Trump railed against the Paris climate accord and touted American oil and natural gas production during a virtual session focused on safeguarding the environment on the final day of the Group of 20 summit.
  • This isn’t Biden’s first time with G20 leaders. Earlier this month, Biden convened a virtual G20 summit with leaders to specifically discuss the situation in Afghanistan.

After that: Glasgow, for the COP26 Climate Summit

The pressure here is even higher. “In every meeting, it’s about this issue, all leading up to Glasgow,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Wednesday at a recent climate rally outside the US Capitol

In Glasgow on November 1 and 2, the discord between Biden’s proposals and the current hold-up in Congress could potentially embarrassingly play out on the international stage. 

The Point: Biden will finish October with a packed, high-pressure travel schedule across Europe.



Source link

White House further postpones disclosure of JFK assassination documents, citing Covid



President Joe Biden issued a memo that said the national archivist recommended he “‘direct two public releases of the information that has ultimately ‘been determined to be appropriate for release to the public.'” The first will be an “interim release” later this year, with a second, “more comprehensive release in late 2022,” the memo said.

The memo said that the Covid-19 pandemic has slowed down the process of reviewing whether redactions continue to meet the “statutory standard.”

Kennedy’s assassination prompted a whirlwind of questions from the public and researchers, plenty of conspiracy theories and reflexive secrecy from the government.

Over the years, millions of documents have become public, offering researchers an opportunity to pore over not only records related to the Kennedy assassination, but also a variety of other topics, from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and slaying to pivotal moments in the Cold War.
In 2018, former President Donald Trump extended the deadline for the public release of the assassination files to 2021, citing “identifiable harm to national security, law enforcement, or foreign affairs.” Trump’s move came on the deadline he previously imposed in 2017 for the full release of the files — barring national security and privacy concerns — after the 25-year-in-the-making deadline imposed by the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act, signed by President George H.W. Bush, came to pass.

Trump’s 2018 memorandum accompanied a release of about 19,000 documents by the National Archives in compliance with the records law and Trump’s order the previous year. Many of the documents released then contained redactions, and they joined the massive trove of assassination records that already have been made public.

The records’ further release has been highly anticipated, with Biden’s memo stating that they “shall be withheld from full public disclosure until December 15, 2022.”

The national archivist also noted to the administration that “making these decisions is a matter that requires a professional, scholarly, and orderly process; not decisions or releases made in haste.”



Source link