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Report: Political ‘Vendetta’ Shows De Blasio, Cuomo Violating ‘All Rules of Political Decorum’

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo have had a falling out in recent years, and the political feud that has ensued between the two Democrats and former friends has reached a historic level. The ongoing fight between the two men has become "so nasty, petty and prolonged that even in the cutthroat politics of New York, few can remember ever seeing anything quite like it," according to the New York Times. De Blasio and Cuomo famously represent progressive and pragmatic wings of the Democratic Party, respectively, but that is just one factor that has contributed to their mutual disdain. "All rules of political decorum are out the window with these two," communications strategist Andrew Kirtzman said. "The Cuomo people genuinely feel that de Blasio is incompetent and the de Blasio people genuinely feel that Cuomo is pernicious." The relationship between them has worsened since Cynthia Nixon, an actress and friend of de Blasio, announced her plans to run as a Democrat and challenge Cuomo in the race for governor. Cuomo thinks she received support to run from de Blasio’s "hidden hand." "Cuomo has seethed about what he believes is Mr. de Blasio’s hidden hand in her run, and has signaled to allies that he intends to punish the mayor for it, even against the counsel of his advisers," the Times reported. Cuomo in June took to criticizing de Blasio in the press with thinly veiled anonymous comments in which he has mocked the mayor as "Mr. Progressive." De Blasio fired back with his own insult. "If someone disagrees with him openly, some kind of revenge or vendetta follows," de Blasio said. Cuomo took issue with de Blasio describing the relationship between the two men of Italian descent as a "vendetta," since that word carries mafia connotations. But in a quote to multiple news outlets about Nixon’s candidacy, a Cuomo insider used the same word to attack de Blasio. "This distraction is clearly an outgrowth of the mayor’s vendetta against the governor," the insider said. The two camps point to different inciting incidents to explain how the former friends saw their relationship deteriorate into its current state. According to someone close to de Blasio, Cuomo’s lack of support for the mayor when New York City policemen turned their back on him in 2014 showed that Cuomo could not be trusted to be a friend or even a responsible leader. Cuomo considers De Blasio’s insistence on an infeasible tax hike to be the cause of their rift. In that 2014 episode, de Blasio publicly demanded tax increases be approved by the state government despite Cuomo previously informing him that it would be impossible given Republicans’ control of the State Senate. Cuomo felt disrespected when de Blasio rallied union workers for the tax increase on millionaires, which never passed, although the state provided the funding for prekindergarten that de Blasio was asking for. Now, the two leaders regularly snipe at one another through pointed statements to the press and behind-the-scenes squabbling. "I believe in action. I believe in results. I believe in making a difference in people’s lives," Cuomo said this year when asked about de Blasio. "I don’t believe it’s about giving speeches about values." The governor has exerted his authority over the city with increasing particularity, which has rankled de Blasio and heightened tensions between state and city authorities. That involves using budget measures to control aspects of how the city runs, putting state police in the city to ensure Cuomo’s involvement in the event of a terror attack, and slapping state monitors on city facilities. All this shows Cuomo is "obsessed with hurting New York City" and de Blasio, according to the mayor’s office. "The mayor can’t place a monitor on the governor’s decrepit state prisons, or his failing upstate jobs programs, or on the water supply in Hoosick Falls," de Blasio’s press secretary Eric Phillips said. "New York’s governance structure makes this an uneven fight that would only get worse if you give in to a governor this obsessed with hurting New York City and a fellow Democrat." Other public officials have complained their conflict hurts New Yorkers, which is an opinion most Quinnipiac poll respondents agreed with. "I don’t think it’s helpful for the city," City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (D.) said. "At the same time, you deal with the cards that you’re dealt." "I would just say that it’s a little overwhelming," Johnson added. "I didn’t expect to be drawn into this." The post Report: Political ‘Vendetta’ Shows De Blasio, Cuomo Violating ‘All Rules of Political Decorum’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Kamala Harris Flip Flops on Receiving Corporate Donations

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) flipped flopped this month on whether she would receive corporate donations, saying most recently she would not accept checks from corporations' political action committees. During a town hall in Sacramento, California on April 5, Harris said "it depends" in response to a question about whether she would commit to turning down corporate campaign donations. "I appreciate the reasons you're asking [the question]," Harris told the audience member who asked the question. "That's why we have rules that require that any donation that anyone receives needs to be disclosed, so that you can do an assessment and the voters can do an assessment and look at where the contributions come from and make your decisions about whether those contributions have influenced the way that people act and the way that people vote," Harris said. "So I'm an open book there. Feel free to look at it and then draw your own conclusions about what has motivated me and what hasn't." Her answer received criticism from other liberals who believe donations from corporations and corporate PACs should be banned. Monday morning, Harris appeared on the controversial radio show, "The Breakfast Club," where she changed her answer. Harris said such donations have an unfair influence on politics. "So I’ve actually made a decision since I had that conversation that I’m not gonna accept corporate PAC checks," Harris said. "I'm just, I'm not." Many have speculated Harris may attempt a run for president in 2020 after rising to fame during her 2016 Senate campaign where she espoused many far-left views. The post Kamala Harris Flip Flops on Receiving Corporate Donations appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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White House on Pompeo Vote: Democrats Must Decide If They ‘Love This Country More Than They Hate This President’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that Democrats standing in the way of Mike Pompeo's confirmation as secretary of state would need to "decide whether they love this country more than they hate" President Donald Trump. Pompeo is facing a down-to-the-wire confirmation vote to be the next leader of the State Department despite being easily confirmed last year as CIA Director. "We certainly hope that some members will change their minds. Look, at some point, Democrats have to decide whether they love this country more than they hate this president," Sanders said on "Fox and Friends." "They have to decide that they want to put the safety and the security and the diplomacy of our country ahead of their own political games, and we're very hopeful that they will." Pompeo got the votes of 14 Democrats and left-leaning independent Sen. Angus King (I., Maine.) last year to lead the CIA, but some Democrats who supported him previously have turned against him, citing reasons ranging from his conservative social views to claiming he has a "disdain for diplomacy." Past secretaries of state have been confirmed with strong bipartisan support. President Barack Obama's two secretaries of state, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, got a combined five "nay" votes during their two confirmations. Sanders also said opposing Pompeo had national security implications, as he has already met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un ahead of a planned Trump-Kim summit over North Korea's rogue nuclear program. "To stop that would be incredibly dangerous and damaging for our country and for the world," Sanders said. Trump tweeted about the vote on Monday, saying, "Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans!" Hard to believe Obstructionists May vote against Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State. The Dems will not approve hundreds of good people, including the Ambassador to Germany. They are maxing out the time on approval process for all, never happened before. Need more Republicans! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2018 The post White House on Pompeo Vote: Democrats Must Decide If They ‘Love This Country More Than They Hate This President’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Sanders Rips ‘Conservative Democrats’ Who Attacked His Remarks About Obama

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) blasted "conservative Democrats" who take him out of context while defending remarks he made about former President Barack Obama that some viewed as dismissive of his legacy. Speaking earlier this month, Sanders said the business model of the Democratic Party had been a "failure," and Democrats had failed to see that because "there was a charismatic individual named Barack Obama, who won the presidency in 2008 and 2012." He took heat from black Democrats who felt he was dismissing the achievements of the first African-American president. However, MSNBC host Al Sharpton, who interviewed Sanders at the National Action Network conference, said Sanders actually praised Obama with the remarks. "What really bothers me is—look, I don't have to explain politics to you. You know it as well as anybody," Sanders said. "We have conservative Democrats who will take anything that I say and try to take it out of context. What I said is … if you look at what's happened to the Democratic Party over the last 10 years, the Democratic Party has lost about 1,000 legislative seats." Sanders said roughly half the country lived in states controlled by "right-wing extremists." "That is not a business model of success for the Democratic Party," he said. "What I said is sometimes we forget about that, because you had an extraordinary president, an extraordinary candidate … They forget about what was happening at the grassroots level." Sanders went on tell Sharpton it was a "disgrace that the Democratic Party is not a 50-state party." "How do you concede states like Mississippi or South Carolina or Idaho … or Kansas? You can't be a strong national party unless you exist in 50 states," he said. The post Sanders Rips ‘Conservative Democrats’ Who Attacked His Remarks About Obama appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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‘USA Today’ and ‘New York Daily News’ Editorial Boards: Confirm Pompeo

The editorial boards of the New York Daily News and USA Today endorsed Mike Pompeo's confirmation as secretary of state just as senators gear up to vote on the president’s nominee. USA Today’s editorial board has been outspoken in its opposition to President Donald Trump, and the Daily News’ board is known for being consistently on the left. Both, however, found reasons to support Pompeo's confirmation, owing to his qualifications and the need for the State Department to have capable leadership. "Unless a nominee has clear ethical or competency failings, presidents should be accorded wide latitude to select top aides whom they trust and agree with," USA Today’s board wrote. "Pompeo passes that test and merits approval." The USA Today board registered its concerns about Pompeo’s hawkish views, his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal, and his agreement to pull out of the Paris Climate Accords. The editors said a successful attempt by members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to reject Pompeo in a vote Monday would, nevertheless, only be a "Pyrrhic, short-term victory." Pompeo "would be branded the only secretary of State ever rejected by the committee," USA Today’s board wrote. "Regardless of what the committee does, however, his fate will almost certainly reach the Senate floor for approval." The board commended Pompeo for being willing to negotiate on the Iran deal and overcoming his "discomfort" with gay marriage to support LGBTQ rights around the world. "Pompeo is far from the worst of Trump's picks and, if he is confirmed and lives up to his confirmation hearing pledges, he has the potential to be one of the better ones," the board concluded. The Daily News board took an even harsher tone toward some of Pompeo’s views. The board expressed worry about Pompeo "heightening tensions" with Muslims over a "history of inflammatory statements about Islam," but it concluded he is a "solid-enough selection." "Pompeo would not be our choice to be America’s top diplomat, but unlike other patently unqualified Trump Cabinet picks, he is a solid-enough selection who deserves Senate consent," the board wrote. The Daily News board also wrote Pompeo could do a better job leading the department than former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson: In hearings, Pompeo committed to rebuilding a State Department where experienced staff fled in droves and morale hit rock bottom during the feckless leadership of Tillerson. Pompeo also has solid knowledge of the world, the discipline to oversee complex diplomacy and — a double-edged sword, we admit — the trust of a President who seems to believe in almost no one. That’ll have to do. Confirm him. The post ‘USA Today’ and ‘New York Daily News’ Editorial Boards: Confirm Pompeo appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Clyburn: If Democrats Don’t Win House in 2018, Leadership Should All Be Replaced

House Assistant Minority Leader James Clyburn (D., S.C.) said his party's entire House leadership team should be replaced if the Democrats fail to recapture the majority in this November's midterms. "If we’re still in the minority, all of us have got to go," he told Politico after the annual fish fry he holds in Columbia, South Carolina on Friday. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) has faced some calls from within her caucus to step aside but has said such a move would thrust House Democrats into chaos. Politico reports: With a younger class of Democrats clamoring to break into leadership, Clyburn, 77, appeared at the fish fry alongside Rep. Tim Ryan, the Ohio Democrat who challenged Pelosi unsuccessfully for her leadership position in 2016. Clyburn, the assistant minority leader and the highest ranking African-American in Congress, referred repeatedly to Ryan as a "good friend" and a favorite drinking partner in Washington. A glass of Jack Daniel's in hand at the fish fry, a mainstay on the Democratic Party circuit, Clyburn said he did not take Ryan’s leadership challenge personally, adding, "I understand exactly what he was saying." Clyburn said the party would undertake a "real assessment" of current leadership following the elections, regardless of the Democrats' success. Ryan told Politico his view that Democrats would be better served off without Pelosi as House Leader remained the same. Pelosi has heard some grumblings from within the ranks following the Democrats' disappointment in 2016, but as of last month, she remained confident in her hold on power. "I am a master legislator, I am a shrewd politician and I have a following in the country that, apart from a presidential candidate, nobody else can claim," she said in March. The post Clyburn: If Democrats Don’t Win House in 2018, Leadership Should All Be Replaced appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Before McCabe’s Criminal Referral by Inspector General, Media Praised His Integrity

The Justice Department Inspector General last week recommended a criminal investigation into former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe over whether he lied to officials about leaks regarding the Clinton Foundation investigation. Media figures across the dial praised his integrity and career in public service in the months leading up to his firing in March, in large part due to President Donald Trump's sharply critical remarks about him while he was still with the administration. However, a scathing IG report about McCabe's alleged misconduct was released earlier this month, charging that McCabe repeatedly made misleading statements about leaks over the Clinton Foundation investigation, NBC News reported: The report says McCabe authorized the discussion of the FBI’s investigation into the Clinton Foundation with a reporter from The Wall Street Journal in an effort to "rebut a narrative" about McCabe’s impartiality in the investigation. The reporter had previously written about McCabe’s wife, who took campaign donations from Hillary Clinton’s close political ally Terry McAuliffe for her run in a state election in Virginia. The IG found that while McCabe was authorized to release such information to news reporters, he did so to "advance his personal interest" and "violated" the FBI’s and the DOJ’s media policy, and therefore his actions "constituted misconduct." The report found that McCabe also contradicted his previous statements. During an interview under oath on Nov. 29, 2017, McCabe finally acknowledged that he had authorized the disclosure to the Journal. He then denied having said that he had not authorized the disclosure. The government watchdog found this contradiction to be in violation of the FBI’s offense code. The post Before McCabe’s Criminal Referral by Inspector General, Media Praised His Integrity appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Schumer Too Busy to Meet With Pro-Israel Group About Rising Anti-Semitism on Campus

Senator Chuck Schumer's office said the Democratic minority leader is too busy to meet with pro-Israel activists who support the nomination of Ken Marcus to lead the Department of Education's office of civil rights. Emails obtained by the Washington Free Beacon reveal that much like Democratic senators who have stonewalled Marcus's nomination, Schumer's office has delayed meeting with members of the grassroots organization Stop BDS on Campus. Marcus's nomination to be assistant secretary for civil rights has lingered in the Senate for six months. Marcus is the founder and president of the Louis D. Brandeis Center for Human Rights Under Law, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing civil rights of the Jewish people. Marcus's nomination has been stonewalled amid reports that anti-Semitism has risen by 94 percent in U.S. schools. Last week, 51 student groups at New York University pledged to boycott Israel. Marcus did not clear the Senate HELP committee until February, after resistance from Democrats. While weighing his nomination, a senior Democratic staffer to Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.) on the committee said, "We don't care about anti-Semitism in this office." Anti-Israel groups also adamantly oppose his nomination. Naomi Friedman, the founder of Stop BDS, has attempted to meet with Schumer about the urgency of Marcus's nomination for months, to no avail. Schumer's office pushed back against the notion the minority leader is stonewalling the Marcus nomination. "Senator Schumer has spoken out forcefully against BDS on numerous occasions. He has said publicly, as recently as this week, that BDS is, in fact, a form of anti-Semitism," said Justin Goodman, a spokesman for Sen. Schumer. "He also carefully reviews all nominees based on their qualifications and views across a wide range of issues." Stop BDS, which fights against the boycott, divestment, and sanctions of Israel movement, began calling Sen. Schumer's office on Dec. 21, over six weeks after Marcus was nominated. The next month, Stop BDS reached out to schedule a meeting on Jan. 26. After hearing nothing, Friedman's mother was able to speak to Schumer at an Ohio fundraiser and asked for the contact information of the key staffer in charge of the Marcus nomination. He gave information for Nick Kutryb, the finance director of his super PAC Friends of Schumer. Friedman did not hear from Schumer's office until weeks later, when she received a call from Mike Iannelli, a special assistant in Schumer's New York office. On Feb. 8, Iannelli promised to put the group in contact with the key staffer in charge of the nomination by the end of the week. Iannelli called the next week to assure Friedman that Schumer "opposes BDS and anti-Semitism, and that he will arrange for a meeting with a key staffer." Friedman never again heard from Iannelli but was able to obtain emails of other Schumer staffers the next month. A meeting was finally held with Steve Barton, Schumer's director of intergovernmental relations, on March 14. During the meeting, Friedman and a dozen New York constituents provided Barton with personal accounts of anti-Semitism they have witnessed, how Marcus had intervened in these situations, and why they believe it is critical to confirm his nomination. Barton emailed Friedman on March 16, thanking her for the meeting. "I really appreciate hearing your group's concerns directly—and I hope that you all found it a useful dialogue, too," he said. "I appreciate the time and commitment that you all have put into this matter." Barton asked for additional information Friedman had on her work against BDS and any other information related to Marcus's nomination. "I have conveyed your concerns and arguments directly to our most senior staff and our Israel and nominations teams," Barton said. "I will also touch base with our scheduling team to discuss the feasibility of a meeting with Sen. Schumer." More than a month later, a meeting with Schumer has yet to happen. Barton now says Schumer is too busy. Friedman sent Barton a 20-page report documenting the rise of anti-Semitism on campus and its correlation to anti-Zionist student groups. The report noted 99 percent of all schools with a chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine or similar anti-Israel group experienced "at least one anti-Semitic incident." The report featured testimonies from Democratic constituents of Schumer, who urged the minority leader to move forward on Marcus's nomination to "protect the Jewish people and the civil rights of students on university campuses." "It could be that Democrats take their Jewish constituents for granted," said Betty Berenson of Scarsdale, New York. "The Jewish community votes for Democrats at approximately 80 percent, and they could think that we are not at risk in our support for Democrat candidates. This assumption does not take into consideration that our commitment to Israel and to fighting attacks against the Jewish state, is far greater than our commitment to the Democrat party." "You said that we must ‘stand firm against the BDS movement' and recognize that it is based in anti-Semitism," Berenson told Schumer. "We are giving you the chance to act on your values." Friedman urged Schumer to act on Marcus's nomination in a follow up email to Barton on March 26. "While the Democratic Party may have political reasons to delay or prevent the confirmation of Trump nominees, we strongly believe that Senator Schumer would choose to leave a legacy of standing against the intensifying hatred that threatens the American-Jewish community and weakens its relationship to the Democratic Party," she said. Friedman received no response until she sent a follow-up email on April 13, asking whether Schumer was stonewalling the Marcus nomination. "Our [New York] activists are becoming increasingly concerned that you have not responded to our request to arrange a meeting with Senator Schumer," Friedman said in an email to Barton, Iannelli, and Kutryb. "As you likely know, conservative media has reported that the Democrats are stonewalling the Marcus nomination." "Our own experience is beginning to confirm that claim," she said. Friedman noted Stop BDS has been trying to meet with Schumer since late January, back when the New York Times reported Marcus was "near confirmation." "It is hard to believe that Senator Schumer would deliberately choose to strengthen the hand of anti-Semitic groups, but at this point this is de facto what he is doing," Friedman said. "If you feel this is not his or your intent, please do let us know." Barton replied two days later, saying it has "been a busy time in the office." "I'm still working with our scheduling team to see if a meeting might be possible," he said. "The calendar has been pretty full lately with all that's happening in Washington, but I am continuing to raise the request/question. I'll let you know as soon as I have an update." Schumer introduced a bill dealing with marijuana use on Friday. Barton said he wanted to "assure" Friedman that Schumer had seen her report as well as the senior staff in charge of Marcus's nomination. "Thank you for taking the time to carefully compile that information—it's a really great, helpful resource," he said. "As I hoped to make clear on our call, Sen. Schumer takes BDS extremely seriously and uses every opportunity to speak out against it," Barton added. "It's certainly not his intent to bolster an anti-Semitic group—and I think his public record reflects an abiding commitment to the Jewish community in New York, America, and across the world." Barton ended the email thanking Friedman for her patience. Monday marks the 175th day since Marcus was nominated. The post Schumer Too Busy to Meet With Pro-Israel Group About Rising Anti-Semitism on Campus appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Bloomberg Doesn’t Rule Out Presidential Run: ‘I Think It Would Be a Great Challenge’

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg didn't rule out a White House bid in 2020, saying Sunday the odds were "not very high" but adding it would be a "great challenge." Bloomberg, a left-leaning independent who served three terms in the mayorship, has also been a Democrat and a Republican. He spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2016 on behalf of Hillary Clinton, and he's a vocal advocate for addressing climate change and passing stricter gun control laws. "Face The Nation" host Margaret Brennan asked him if any candidate in either party embodied the leadership he would support in 2020, but he said it was too far out to know. "I bet you 25 cents the candidate that gets the nomination isn't even mentioned today," Bloomberg said. Brennan asked him what the odds were he would seek the White House. "Not very high," he said. "Not very high, but not zero," Brennan said. "If God said ‘I'd appoint you,' I think it would be a great challenge, and you'd have to think long and hard. Are you physically able to do it? Do you think you can attract the right people?" he said. At the moment, Bloomberg said, he was not running for president, reeling off his focuses on public education, jobs programs, defense issues around the world and building alliances. "I think I can as a private citizen help in some of those things, and that's what I want to do with my life," he said. "It also sounds like a platform," Brennan said. The post Bloomberg Doesn’t Rule Out Presidential Run: ‘I Think It Would Be a Great Challenge’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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Collins: Comey Shouldn’t Be Cashing In On Book Amidst Russia Investigation

Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) attacked former FBI Director James Comey for the timing of his new book on Sunday, saying she couldn't imagine why he'd try to "cash in" in the midst of the Russia investigation. Comey has been promoting A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership this month, which includes recounting his interactions with President Donald Trump before being fired last year and his handling of the Hillary Clinton of the email investigation. "What do you make of James Comey … What advice you would give a future FBI director?" "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd asked Collins. "Well, if I were advising a future FBI Director I would say two things. One, always follow the Department of Justice's protocol and guidelines, which unfortunately James Comey did not do in the Hillary Clinton investigation," Collins said. She also criticized Comey for leaking FBI work documents knowing they would go to the press. "Second would be don't write a book in the middle of an investigation," Collins said. Todd asked her whether she thought the book could be disruptive to the Robert Mueller Russia probe. "That's what worries me," Collins said. "I cannot imagine why an FBI director would seek to essentially cash in on a book when the investigation's very much alive. He should have waited to do his memoir." The post Collins: Comey Shouldn’t Be Cashing In On Book Amidst Russia Investigation appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

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