McConnell worked behind the scenes with Biden to keep 'irrational' Trump from creating more chaos: Woodward book
According to an excerpt from a new blockbuster book on the finals days of the Donald Trump presidency, the soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) worked behind the scenes with now President Joe Biden to make sure the outgoing president didn't create more chaos after losing re-election.
In "Peril," the new book from Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, they report that McConnell expected Trump to lose and had been complaining to aides that "There were so many Maalox moments during the four years" under Trump and things did not get any better after the election, reports Business Insider.
With that in mind, McConnell was worried about hanging on to the two Georgia U.S. Senate seats that were headed to run-off, and so he reached out through Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) to plead with Biden to avoid calling Trump at all costs.
"McConnell worried Trump might react negatively and upend the upcoming, hotly contested runoff Senate elections in Georgia," the book states according to Business Insider. "He also said he did not want Biden, a serial telephone user, to call him. Any call from Biden was sure to infuriate Trump and set off unwanted calls from him, asking if he believed Biden had won the presidency."
The report adds, "To keep things under wraps, McConnell reached out to GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas to speak privately with Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware, a Biden confidant, about a 'back channel' for the then-majority leader to have a level of communication with the president-elect. Cornyn said that the senators were 'in a delicate situation' since Trump may have assumed that the men were 'cutting a deal behind his back to cut him out,' which would make him 'even more irrational.'"
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All of us should be able to agree on this, whether we find abortions abominable or support a woman's right to end her pregnancy:
The enforcement mechanism created by Texas lawmakers is un-American. It farms out enforcement of a state's laws to vigilantes and bounty hunters.
Iowans who followed news of the new law and the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision last week to let it go into effect, at least for now, can be forgiven if they missed details about this enforcement mechanism. Lawmakers took the enforcement power away from government and gave it to ordinary citizens, the John Q. Publics, or to activist organizations with a strong motivation to track down women suspected of ending their pregnancies by abortion.
The lawmakers' motive was not distrust of government officials or Texas law enforcement agencies. Instead, the motive was to make it impossible for defenders of abortion to sue state officials in federal court to stop them from enforcing the law.
If state officials can't be stopped, who would opponents sue — all 29 million individual people living in Texas?
Americans who support the 50-year quest to rid the United States of Roe v. Wade should be very uneasy about where this type of vigilante justice might be used next.
Maybe supporters of strong gun rights should be uneasy, or maybe those who believe climate change is a cooked-up concern should be worried, or maybe those who think the views of clean-water activists are overblown should be uneasy. These people likely would be troubled if the vigilante approach to justice were used in these types of cases.
That's what makes this moment a game-changer in United States history. Until now, people who sue another person or business must have been directly harmed by the defendant's actions. But the Texas law strips away the need for someone to have “standing" to bring such a lawsuit.
The law empowers any person to sue anyone who assists a woman seeking an abortion from about six weeks on after she misses a menstrual period. The targets of these lawsuits could be the doctor, or the clinic that offers abortions, or employees of these facilities, or the person who drives the woman to the clinic, or the pastor who offers sympathy and counsel.
If John Q. Public wins, the losing party is ordered to pay John's attorney fees, along with a $10,000 bounty for bringing the lawbreaker to justice. But if John Q. Public loses, the target of the lawsuit still is out the attorney fees he or she paid to fight the case and has no recourse against the person bringing the lawsuit.
The underlying strategy is to make it so expensive for those providing abortions, or assisting providers, that doctors and clinics stop performing the procedure. Already, officials in a half-dozen other states have begun talking about adopting the Texas strategy. Don't be surprised if Iowa lawmakers do this, too.
If the U.S. Supreme Court allows this “enforcement" mechanism to stand, do we really believe it will only be used to fight abortions? Think about where this might lead in other states — especially states with Democratic majorities in their legislatures and governors who are Democrats.
We should not be surprised if those states adopt the citizen vigilante and bounty hunter strategy to make it prohibitively expensive for gun sellers to continue selling those legal products.
We should not be surprised if some states decide to target owners of livestock confinement facilities and fertilizer retailers and bring them to their knees financially for fouling that state's rivers and streams.
We should not be surprised if some states go after owners of coal-burning power plants and gasoline retailers with a flood of citizen lawsuits for contributing to the pollution that fuels climate change.
Texas lawmakers have given a green light to state-sanctioned harassment and intimidation, all because lawmakers want to accomplish something the courts have blocked them from doing before, ending abortions in that state.
“Even those opposed to abortion should be alarmed by this law, which could draw a road map for states and localities looking to dismantle constitutional rights with impunity," two civil liberties lawyers, Julia Kaye and Marc Hearron, wrote in a recent Washington Post column.
“S.B. 8 should shock anyone, in any state, who cares about any fundamental right. The Texas Legislature has set fire to basic principles of constitutional governance, and its attack must be quickly extinguished."
Iowa Capital Dispatch is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Iowa Capital Dispatch maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Kathie Obradovich for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Iowa Capital Dispatch on Facebook and Twitter.
This week, the Florida Democratic Party released a YouTube video entitled “My Body, My Choice," featuring Florida Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book, who represents part of Broward County in the Senate. She said in the video that “any attempt to do what has been done in Texas is a complete, all out assault on women's rights."
“And we will do everything in our power to stop this from happening," said Book.
The Texas law targets abortions at the point when doctors detect a “fetal heartbeat" at roughly six weeks' gestational age. But that's a highly contested point. Under the new law, private citizens are also allowed to sue people involved in providing abortion access to women, offering $10,000 for a successful suit.
Gov. Ron DeSantis, who has been vocal in the past about legislation that restricts abortions, had expressed interest in the Texas bill during a press conference but didn't necessarily pledge to support it.
Meanwhile, a DeSantis spokeswoman said the Republican governor has expressed concerns about the portion of the law dealing with lawsuits, according to a report from The Hill.
“Gov. DeSantis doesn't want to turn private citizens against each other," said spokeswoman Christina Pushaw, as reported by The Hill.
Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: email@example.com. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.
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