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House GOP claims oversight of state investigations about Exxon and climate change

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A Republican-led congressional committee sought on Friday to assert oversight over inquiries that about 20 states are making into Exxon Mobil and climate change, reiterating demands to know more about state attorneys general’s consultations with environmental groups.

In a letter, some 17 members of Congress and ranking members of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee said they have broad jurisdiction that allows them to review investigations carried out by states. The committee was pushing back against state officials who have said they are not subject to federal oversight.

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The standoff is the latest in a high-stakes battle between the world’s largest publicly traded oil company and a coalition of state attorneys general who have said they would go after Exxon in a bid to force congressional action to tackle climate change.

About 20 state officials jointly said in March they would participate in inquiries into whether Exxon executives misled the public by contradicting research from company scientists that spelled out the threats of climate change.

Prior to that March announcement, some state officials met with a range of prominent environmental and investment groups that oppose fossil fuels.

The House committee has complained the inquiries risk stifling free speech and scientific inquiry, and that state officials were coordinating with special interest groups.

The House committee demanded for the second time since May that state officials hand over all records of communications between their offices and outside groups.

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“Congress has a responsibility to investigate whether such investigations are having a chilling effect on the free flow of scientific inquiry and debate regarding climate change,” the letter said.

“People should be troubled by any attempt by members of Congress to silence or undercut basic investigatory authority by a state attorney general’s office,” said Cyndi Roy Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. “Our office will not be intimidated by oil industry-backed members of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Exxon, for its part, has said it has acknowledged the reality of climate change for years and communicated this to investors.

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On Wednesday, Exxon asked a federal court to throw out a subpoena that would force it to hand over decades of documents on climate change to Healey’s office.

(Reporting By Terry Wade and Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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MSNBC’s Maya Wiley reveals she is exploring a bid to run for mayor of New York City

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Civil rights activist and prominent MSNBC analyst Maya Wiley revealed on MSNBC on Thursday that she is considering a campaign for mayor of New York City.

Wiley also serves as the senior vice president for social justice at The New School and the Henry Cohen Professor of Urban Policy and Management at the Milano School of Policy, Management, and Environment.

"There have been reports in multiple outlets about some people discussing whether or not you might run for mayor of new york," MSNBC chief legal analyst Ari Melber noted. "Not as friend of Maya, but as a journalist, do you have any comment on that? Are you considering running for mayor?"

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GOP Senate candidate suspended football player for one game — for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl: report

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On Thursday, in an op-ed, the conservative Washington Examiner reported on an incident from Alabama Republican Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville's career as a football coach for Auburn University in 1999.

"When Clifton Robinson, the short but quick receiver from Naples, Florida, returned to the Auburn University football team in August 1999 after pleading guilty to contributing to the delinquency of a minor to avoid going to trial after being charged with the second-degree rape of a 15-year-old girl, first-year head coach Tommy Tuberville pledged to figure out the right punishment for him," wrote Siraj Hashmi. "'Clifton is back on the team,' Tuberville said. 'He and I will sit down today, and I'll tell him that we do things right around here, so he can expect there will be some punishment. What it is, I don't know yet.' That punishment ended up being a mere one-game suspension from the team's Sept. 4 season opener against Appalachian State. Auburn won 22-15."

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Arizona Republican attacks Fauci and Birx for ‘undermining’ Trump with COVID-19 facts

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COVID-19 hospitalizations in Arizona set a record on Thursday, but one of the state's Republican representatives in Congress went to Fox News to urge the end of President Donald Trump's Coronavirus Task Force.

"I think that Birx and Fauci have gone well past their, their -- they've expired, their time of usefulness has expired," Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) said.

"What they do, is when the president comes out and makes a policy -- because he is the president, he is the policymaker. When they come and make these statements that they make, they engender panic and hysteria and undermine what the president's doing. That's what I think's critical," they argued.

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