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GOP ‘Freedom Caucus’ backs Florida Rep. Webster before House Speaker vote

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A small but outspoken group of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday threw their support behind Representative Daniel Webster as their choice to become speaker, replacing the retiring John Boehner.

Representatives John Fleming and Jim Jordan told reporters that the House “Freedom Caucus” members cast their votes for Webster, a Florida Republican. The move could complicate efforts by front-runner House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to win the speakership.

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But Fleming added that Wednesday’s decision by the group is an endorsement that does not necessarily bind them to stick with Webster when the full House votes on Oct. 29.

On Thursday, all 247 House Republicans are scheduled to meet behind closed doors and vote on who they want to nominate for speaker.

Ultimately, it is up to the full House – Republicans who control the chamber and minority Democrats – to vote for Boehner’s replacement at the end of this month.

Given that all Democrats are expected to vote for their party leader – former Speaker Nancy Pelosi – Republicans will mostly have to stick together to anoint the next speaker. If too many were to splinter and back candidates other than the nominee, there could be a deadlock, requiring additional ballots and a potentially damaging fight for Republicans.

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McCarthy is seen as the front-runner in the race.

The Freedom Caucus is comprised of conservatives sympathetic to the small-government Tea Party movement. They effectively pressured Boehner to announce his retirement recently by fighting a series of internal party battles with him during his speakership. Boehner is set to leave Congress on Oct. 30.

There are an estimated 40 members of the Freedom Caucus.

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(Reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Sandra Maler)


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2020 Election

‘Abuse of power is not a crime’: Former acting AG Matt Whitaker makes a brazen claim on Fox News

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Former acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told a Fox News audience that it is not a crime for President Donald Trump to abuse the power of his office.

Whitaker made the comments while complaining about "global elitists" during an interview with Laura Ingraham.

"What evidence of a crime do you have?" Whitaker asked, despite Trump, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and defense lawyer Rudy Giuliani all admitting Trump sought foreign election interference to help his struggling re-election campaign.

"Abuse of power is not a crime," the nation's former top law enforcement office argued.

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2020 Election

Joe Biden apologizes for ‘partisan lynching’ comments about Bill Clinton’s impeachment

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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday apologized for comments he made saying impeachment could be viewed as a "partisan lynching."

The comments from a 1998 interview were reported after Biden said it was "abhorrent" and "despicable" for President Donald Trump to refer to impeachment as a lynching.

"Even if the President should be impeached, history is going to question whether or not this was just a partisan lynching or whether or not it was something that in fact met the standard, the very high bar, that was set by the founders as to what constituted an impeachable offense," Biden said in 1998.

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CNN

‘Reality is hard to ignore’: CNN’s Chris Cuomo clashes with GOP congressman over Ukraine testimony

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On Tuesday's edition of CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time," anchor Chris Cuomo traded barbs with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), who tried to claim there was no evidence Trump committed any wrongdoing in Ukraine — and was repeatedly smacked down.

"What this was was an opening statement with no cross-examination," said Mullin. "What I was told by my Republican colleagues, John Radcliffe tore this apart piece by piece in less than two minutes. We don't know this because it's not open and transparent."

"This is the investigation, though. Just to make it clear for the audience," said Cuomo. "You don't usually get, as a defendant, a team in there to help new an investigation. But Republicans are there and you asked him to take the job as a lifelong Republican."

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