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Planned Parenthood hits back at conservative states for trying to block funding

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Planned Parenthood, the women’s healthcare group under attack recently by U.S. anti-abortion activists, hit back on Wednesday, criticizing some states for trying to block funding for the organization.

Shortly before making a speech at Georgetown University, Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards told reporters that a letter sent on Tuesday to state Medicaid agencies makes clear that efforts to defund her group are illegal.

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Federal Medicaid Director Vikki Wachino sent the letter to Medicaid agencies in all 50 U.S. states, warning them against cutting off funds to Planned Parenthood.

Wachino’s letter did not name Planned Parenthood directly, but said state Medicaid funds for healthcare providers may only be restricted if the provider cannot perform covered medical services or bill for services appropriately.

It added that states may not defund family planning providers solely because they offer a “full range” of legal gynecological and obstetric care, including abortions.

The letter made it “abundantly clear that recent efforts to prevent patients who rely on Medicaid from coming to Planned Parenthood or other providers for essential preventative services are illegal,” Richards said on a conference call.

Medicaid is a U.S. government healthcare program for the poor of all ages; Medicare is for the elderly and disabled.

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Funding for Planned Parenthood has been under fire since mid-2015. That was when anti-abortion activists began releasing covertly filmed videos purporting to show officials from the group trying to negotiate prices for aborted fetal tissue.

Under federal law, donated human fetal tissue may be used for research, but profiting from its sale is prohibited.

Planned Parenthood denied the accusations and called the probe politically motivated.

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Marissa Padilla, spokeswoman for the Department of Health & Human Services, said the letter responded to “recent actions by some states to terminate agreements with providers and restrict individuals from receiving their care.”

Planned Parenthood officials said at least 24 states have moved to restrict access to care at the group’s clinics through Medicaid and other public funding programs since mid-2015.

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Federal officials had previously contacted individual states to warn about restricting beneficiaries’ access to care, though this was the first time they reached out to them all collectively.

Two weeks ago, California law enforcement agents raided the home of the head of the anti-abortion group that produced the videos and seized computers and video footage.

(Reporting by Megan Cassella; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Alan Crosby)

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‘No sound basis’: Georgetown law professor explains why Alan Dershowitz will crumble under Senate questioning

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Georgetown law professor John Mikhail suggested on Sunday that the portion of President Donald Trump's defense which is being covered by Alan Dershowitz to fail because it has "no sound basis" in history and law.

"There is no sound basis for Alan Dershowitz to claim that abuse of power is not an impeachable offense. In addition to being at odds with common sense, this claim is contradicted by a clear and consistent body of historical evidence," Mikhail stated.

The law professor cited the impeachment of Warren Hastings in the 1780s.

"Some of the best evidence comes from the case of Warren Hastings, which informed the drafting Art. II, Sec 4," Mikhail wrote. "The fact that he was not guilty of treason, but still deserved to be impeached, was a major reason 'other high crimes and misdemeanors' was added to the Constitution."

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Ex-White House aide describes Trump’s abusive tantrums when he doesn’t get his way: ‘Not normal at all’

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Appearing on MSNBC on Sunday afternoon, former Donald Trump advisor Omarosa Manigault Newman backed up assertions in the book " A Very Stable Genius" that the president is prone to tantrums when he doesn't get his way and becomes abusive to staffers and cabinet members alike.

Speaking with host Alex Witt, Omarosa -- who wrote an insider's account of life in the White House after she was unceremoniously fired -- said there was little in the new book that surprised her.

Digging into her Oval Office days, the former adviser and longtime Trump associate described the president's "zero to 200" screaming jags when displeased.

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Ex-Bush aide admits GOP would have removed Obama if he did ‘one tenth of what Trump has done’

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A former strategist for former President George W. Bush accused Republican lawmakers of hypocrisy on Sunday for for failing to honestly consider the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Matthew Dowd, a campaign strategist-turned-media-analyst, made the remarks in a tweet on Sunday.

"Deep in their hearts the Republicans in Congress know that if Obama had done one tenth of what President Trump has done they would have voted to impeach and convict him," Dowd wrote. "And Fox News would have been cheering them on. And Trump would have been pushing for it from the sidelines."

Deep in their hearts The republicans in Congress know that if Obama had done one tenth of what president trump has done they would have voted to impeach and convict him. And Fox News would have been cheering them on. And trump would have been pushing for it from the sidelines.

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