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Trump administration urges judges to toss Planned Parenthood lawsuits against ‘abstinence-only’ programs

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The U.S. government is urging federal judges to dismiss two lawsuits by Planned Parenthood affiliates over its efforts to impose what they called an “abstinence-only-until-marriage” focus in its Teen Pregnancy Protection Program.

In court filings this week, government lawyers representing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said Planned Parenthood lacked standing to sue because it chose not to apply for grants from the program.

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They also said its new criteria for awarding grants were “reasonable,” and consistent with Congressional intent and HHS’ past practices.

Planned Parenthood on Thursday had no immediate comment on the filings, which were made in the federal courts in Manhattan and in Spokane, Washington.

The organization provides abortions and other health services to women.

HHS in May changed its criteria for awarding grants under the teen pregnancy prevention program, which Planned Parenthood said has since its 2010 creation served more than 1 million young people and helped lower the teen birth rate by 41 percent.

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In seeking an injunction against awarding grants under the new criteria, Planned Parenthood said research has shown an abstinence-only focus on teen pregnancy is ineffective.

It also said the administration’s approach “stigmatizes” teens for having sex and restricts their ability to make informed health choices, and that the changes might be a precursor to ending the program altogether.

The government countered that the changes did not favor “sexual risk avoidance” programs over “sexual risk reduction” programs, and that the public interest would not be served if grants were halted to recipients able to put them to “good use.”

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The cases cover Planned Parenthood affiliates in New York City, Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska and Washington.

The cases are Planned Parenthood of New York City Inc v U.S. Department of Health and Human Services et al, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 18-05680; and Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho et al v U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Washington, No. 18-00207.


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Dem lawmaker encourages acting-DNI to ignore White House and deliver the whistleblower report directly to Congress

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Appearing on CNN on Friday morning to discuss an alarming whistleblower report on Donald Trump's actions that the president's administration is withholding from Congress, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) encouraged the acting Director of National Intelligence to hand the report over and ignore the administration.

Speaking with CNN host Jim Sciutto, Swalwell made a direct appeal to acting-DNI head Joseph Maguire.

"This is an opportunity for Republicans and Democrats to unite and say, we don't want this in our democracy," Swalwell explained. "You know, that's why I wrote the Protecting Our Democracy Act, to, you know, have a bipartisan commission look at this."

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‘Time for a new special counsel’: Ex-DOJ inspector general calls for formal probe of Trump-Ukraine calls

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A veteran law enforcement official called for a new special counsel investigation of President Donald Trump's communications with the Ukrainian president.

An intelligence official filed a whistleblower complaint against the president, and speculation has begun to focus the report concerns Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for U.S. aid -- and former Justice Department official Michael Bromwich called for a formal probe.

"Time for a new Special Counsel," Bromwich tweeted.

Bromwich -- inspector general for the Department of Justice from 1994-1999, former assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York and associate counsel in the Office of Independent Counsel for Iran-Contra -- was responding to a summation of the allegations against Trump.

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Defiant Trump tells reporters ‘it doesn’t matter what I discussed’ with Ukrainian PM — then smears Joe Biden

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A defiant President Donald Trump said on Friday that whatever he told Ukraine's prime minister about seeking dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden wasn't important.

As reported by CNN's Jim Acosta, the president told reporters in the Oval Office that "it doesn’t matter what I discussed" recently with Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk, and then pivoted to attacking Biden.

"Someone ought to look into Joe Biden," the president said.

In Oval, Trump tells reporters when asked about Ukraine and whistleblower “it doesn’t matter what i discussed” and adds “someone ought to look into Joe Biden” (per WH pool).

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