DNC Statement on Donald Trump’s CPAC Speech

27 Feb

Tonight, Donald Trump took the stage for the final night of CPAC. DNC spokesperson Adonna Biel released the following statement:

“Tonight, Donald Trump put the priorities of the Republican Party on full display. After spending four years selling out Ukraine, the defeated former president took the stage at CPAC to double down on his shameless praise for Putin as innocent Ukrainians shelter from bombs and missiles at the hands of Russia. This has been the theme of the Republican Party all week, making clear that their party is beholden to a defeated former president who lost them the White House, House, and Senate.”

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FACT CHECK: Donald Trump Withheld Ukraine Aid

27 Feb

Instead of owning up to his cozy relationship with Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump is leaving out that he withheld military aid in an attempt to extort Ukraine for political gain. 

Donald Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine – an ally of the United States – in order to advance his personal political agenda. 

Washington Post: “Trump ordered hold on military aid days before calling Ukrainian president, officials say”

NBC News: “Trump administration violated the law by withholding Ukraine aid, Government Accountability Office says”

Politico: “Trump holds up Ukraine military aid meant to confront Russia”

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Security Council Calls for Emergency Session of General Assembly on Ukraine Crisis, Adopting Resolution 2623 (2022) by 11 Votes in Favour, 1 Against, 3 Abstentions

27 Feb

The Security Council, at its fourth meeting on the situation in Ukraine in the last week, called an emergency special session of the General Assembly in the next 24 hours at which the world body can decide whether to use armed force, when necessary, to maintain or restore international peace and security.

DNC Slams Donald Trump Before He Takes The Stage At CPAC

27 Feb

“Let’s not forget – Donald Trump takes the stage tonight days after he praised Vladimir Putin as ‘smart’ and a ‘genius’ as Putin launches his unprovoked war on the Ukrainian people,” said DNC spokesperson Ammar Moussa. “Trump’s love for his favorite dictator has permeated through his party as most Republicans failed to condemn Putin from the CPAC stage. No matter what Trump says, Americans know Trump as a Putin puppet who repeatedly sided with the authoritarian over America and our allies, and the Republican Party enabled him every step of the way.”

Though it’s been nearly 72 hours since Russia began its unlawful invasion of Ukraine, the defeated former president has yet to condemn Putin’s actions. 

CBS News: “All of the living former U.S. presidents, with the exception of former President Trump, have issued formal statements condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.” 

CBS News: “As Russia began its full-scale invasion later Wednesday, Trump told Fox News that ‘This all happened because of a rigged election.’ At a Mar-a-Lago fundraiser Wednesday evening, he continued his praise of Putin, calling him ‘pretty smart’ in ‘taking over a country for $2 worth of sanctions.’”

In fact, while Ukrainian civilians endure Russian bombs and missiles, Trump’s only response has been to offer effusive praise for Putin, who he described as “savvy,” and a “genius.”

New York Times: “Trump, again cozying up to Putin, praises Russian aggression as ‘genius.’”

Washington Post: “‘Genius,’ ‘Savvy’: Trump reacts to Putin’s moves on Ukraine exactly as you’d expect”

NBC News: “‘I said, How smart is that? And he’s gonna go in and be a peacekeeper. … We could use that on our southern border,’ the former president said, describing Putin as ‘a guy who’s very savvy’ and whom he knows ‘very, very well.’”

But honestly, we’re not surprised. Donald Trump spent his presidency selling out Ukraine, our allies across the globe, and his own intelligence agencies to enable Putin and advance his personal political agenda.

ABC News: “Donald Trump said that the people of Russia-annexed Crimea appear to want to remain under Russia’s control –- and that a President Trump would ‘look at’ whether the U.S. would recognize Russian control of the territory”

New York Times: “Once elected, Mr. Trump broke with decades of American precedent and repeatedly showed unusual deference toward Russia and expressed admiration for Mr. Putin, among other strongman leaders.”

CNN: “Trump sides with Putin over US intelligence”

Washington Post: “Trump ordered hold on military aid days before calling Ukrainian president, officials say”

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DNC Launches New Ad Campaign Blasting Rick Scott And Republicans’ Plan To Raise Taxes For Half Of Americans

26 Feb

Ahead of Senator Rick Scott’s speech at CPAC today, the Democratic National Committee today launched a digital ad campaign blasting Senator Scott and Republicans’ agenda to raise income taxes on over half of the American people while doing nothing to lower costs for families. 

“Rick Scott and the Republican Party have made their agenda crystal clear: they want to raise taxes on over half of Americans – including seniors and retirees – without offering a single proposal to lower costs for hardworking families,” said DNC spokesperson Allyson Bayless. “This is the Republican Party’s official platform, and the DNC will use every resource at our disposal to make sure voters know exactly what Republicans stand for.”

See below for sample ads from the campaign:

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What They Are Saying:Ketanji Brown Jackson is Immensely Qualified.

26 Feb

Despite the Republican Party’s desperate attempts to smear Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson’s historic appointment to the Supreme Court, legal experts, lawmakers, and organization leaders are all saying the same thing: Ketanji Brown Jackson is immensely qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court. 

Judge Jackson has more judicial experience than four sitting justices had COMBINED when confirmed. Don’t let anyone tell you she’s not qualified:

Joyce Vance, MSNBC Legal Analyst: “Judge Jackson is highly qualified, and we should expect no less.”

Steven Lubet, Williams Memorial Professor at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law: “Though some Republicans objected to Biden’s stated commitment to name a Black woman to the court, derailing her nomination on this account seems an unlikely hill for them to try to climb. On any metric, Jackson is supremely qualified for the Supreme Court and more than ready for a return appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

Senator Chuck Schumer: “With her exceptional qualifications and record of evenhandedness, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson will be a justice who will uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of all Americans, including the voiceless and vulnerable.”

NAACP President Derrick Johnson: “President Biden has met this moment with an extraordinarily qualified nominee, who has stellar credentials and an impeccable background.”

Donna Brazile: “There were lots of exceptionally qualified capable women to choose from, but Biden’s selection of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson demonstrates that there’s no need for America’s highest court to be off limits to Black women anymore.”

Bishop Leah Daughtry, Co-Convenor, Power Rising: “We applaud President Biden and Vice President Harris on their selection of this exceptionally qualified, deeply experienced jurist. Her voice will help to ensure that our justice system reflects the diversity of all of us.”

Representative Frederica Wilson: “To have a Black woman and then to have a Black woman who, you know, is eminently qualified, who has stood the test of time.”

Professor Amy Wildermuth, dean of the University of Pittsburgh Law School: “This is a highly, highly qualified individual, and I personally am just delighted that she’s been nominated.”

Fatima Goss Graves, President, National Women Law Center: “Judge Jackson is an eminently qualified public servant with distinguished experience as a federal judge, and her historic nomination promises an end to the erasure of Black women from our most sacred legal institutions.” 

Jocelyn Frye, President, National Partnership for Women and Families: “President Biden has taken our nation a giant step closer to realizing the vision of equal justice under the law in putting forward a nominee in Judge Jackson who is both eminently qualified and the first Black woman nominated to the nation’s highest court.” 

Sheila Katz, Chief Executive Officer, National Council of Jewish Women: “Based on National Council of Jewish Women’s criteria of determining whether nominees are fair, independent, and qualified for lifetime tenure on the federal court, including the Supreme Court, NCJW is thrilled to support Judge Jackson’s nomination to the highest court of the land.”

Laphonza Butler, President, EMILY’s List: “One of the nation’s best legal minds, she is unquestionably qualified to serve, will bring a unique understanding of our judicial system, and will undoubtedly build a strong legacy on the court.”

Carlos Moore, President, National Bar Association: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is exceptionally qualified to serve on our nation’s highest court, and represents all the tenets of excellence, ethics, and intellect that are  needed on the SCOTUS bench.”

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer: “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson is an exceptionally qualified candidate for the Supreme Court.”

Georgia Senator Raphael Warnock: “I applaud the historic nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court. Georgians want a nominee who is fair, qualified, and has a proven record of protecting Americans’ constitutional rights and freedoms.” 

New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen: “Through her background in public service and experience as a federal public defender and on the DC Circuit, Jackson is eminently qualified to serve on the highest bench in the land.”

Former Attorney General Eric Holder: “There is absolutely no reason why this eminently qualified woman should not be swiftly confirmed. Ignore the partisan noise.”

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DNC Statement on Marjorie Taylor Greene Speaking at a White Nationalist Conference

26 Feb
After Marjorie Taylor Greene spoke at a white nationalist conference, following a year full of anti-Semitic and violent comments from her, DNC spokesperson Ammar Moussa released the following statement:

“Does Marjorie Taylor Greene know no shame? We know the answer is no, but what about Kevin McCarthy? Time and time again he has shown he will do anything for power – even if it means elevating the likes of Marjorie Taylor Greene. In any other world, Greene speaking at a white supremacist conference where attendees have defended Vladimir Putin and praised Adolf Hitler would warrant expulsion from the caucus, to say nothing of her advocacy for violence and consistent anti-Semitism is disgusting. Quite simply, the longer Kevin McCarthy gives Marjorie Taylor Greene an unfettered platform and promises to elevate her – the more complicit he is.”
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Additional Military Assistance for Ukraine

26 Feb

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

Ukraine is a sovereign, democratic, and peace-loving nation. The United States and Ukraine have been partners since Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union more than 30 years ago. After Russia invaded and partially occupied Ukraine in 2014, the United States intensified efforts to help Ukraine deter further Russian aggression, and, if needed, to defend itself from additional attacks. Last fall, as the present threat against Ukraine from Russia developed, under authority delegated by the President, I authorized the Department of Defense to provide $60 million in immediate military assistance to Ukraine. In December, as that threat materialized, I authorized a further drawdown worth $200 million. Today, as Ukraine fights with courage and pride against Russia’s brutal and unprovoked assault, I have authorized, pursuant to a delegation by the President, an unprecedented third Presidential Drawdown of up to $350 million for immediate support to Ukraine’s defense. This brings the total security assistance the United States has committed to Ukraine over the past year to more than $1 billion.

This package will include further lethal defensive assistance to help Ukraine address the armored, airborne, and other threats it is now facing. It is another clear signal that the United States stands with the people of Ukraine as they defend their sovereign, courageous, and proud nation.

ICYMI: Washington Post: Opinion: Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court is historic and sound

26 Feb
**ICYMI**
Key Point: “Judge Jackson by all accounts possesses the qualities essential in a Supreme Court justice: a devotion to the rule of law; a commitment to judicial independence; an ability and willingness to collaborate with colleagues whose views and philosophies differ from her own. … The court’s integrity would be further enhanced if senators approached the confirmation process not as a partisan battle but as the constitutional duty it is.”

Washington Post: Opinion: Ketanji Brown Jackson’s nomination to the Supreme Court is historic and sound
By Editorial Board
February 25, 2022


President Biden’s nomination of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the Supreme Court is historic, fulfilling his campaign pledge to appoint a Black woman. As he said in January, the move is “long overdue.”

[…]

 One hundred eight White men have been elevated to the court, many of them with credentials less impressive than those possessed by the contenders under consideration this time around.

Judge Jackson by all accounts possesses the qualities essential in a Supreme Court justice: a devotion to the rule of law; a commitment to judicial independence; an ability and willingness to collaborate with colleagues whose views and philosophies differ from her own. She also appears to be a keen and careful legal thinker. A graduate of Harvard and Harvard Law School, she was an editor of the law review, and went on to clerk for Justice Stephen G. Breyer, whom Mr. Biden has chosen her to replace. She put in eight years as a trial judge before ascending to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in 2021. And compellingly, she would bring even more diversity to the court as the first public defender on the modern court — an especially proud legacy for a president who has proclaimed his devotion to criminal justice reform.

Senate Republicans should judge her on the basis of her career and character, and refrain from obstructive maneuvering designed to deprive the nominee of a fair hearing. This may seem like a fantasy considering the poisoned state of the Supreme Court confirmation process. Yet the signs so far are somewhat encouraging. 

[…]

That the Supreme Court could now look a little more like America is worth celebrating, not least for how it might help preserve the public trust in the institution, which has taken a beating in the eyes of the country. The court’s integrity would be further enhanced if senators approached the confirmation process not as a partisan battle but as the constitutional duty it is.

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Additional General License Involving Afghanistan or Governing Institutions in Afghanistan

25 Feb

Antony J. Blinken, Secretary of State

The United States took action today to facilitate a broad range of commercial activity in Afghanistan that will benefit the Afghan people.

General License 20 and related updated FAQs  and new FAQs  clarify that financial institutions, nongovernmental organizations, international organizations, and private sector companies can engage in wide-ranging transactions and activities in Afghanistan while complying with U.S. sanctions.  The affected sectors include personal and commercial banking, infrastructure development and maintenance, commercial trade, safety and maintenance operations for transportation systems, and telecommunications and information transactions.

To be clear, sanctions on the Taliban remain in place.  Today’s action facilitates private companies and aid organizations working with Afghan governing institutions and paying customs, duties, fees, and taxes, including institutions that are headed by sanctioned individuals.

We stand with the people of Afghanistan as they work to rebuild their economy.