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Despite opposition from Democrats, Senate confirms Trump’s consumer watchdog pick

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The U.S. Senate voted 50-49 on Thursday to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. consumer watchdog despite opposition from Democrats and consumer groups who say she is unqualified.

Kathy Kraninger will serve as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), replacing acting chief Mick Mulvaney, after Trump signs a declaration approving her five-year term.

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The banking industry and consumer groups will be watching to see whether Kraninger, who is currently a senior official at the White House budget office, will take on Mulvaney’s mantle and continue to aggressively curtail the CFPB’s enforcement and rule-writing agenda.

Kraninger faced criticism during her nomination hearing in July about the role she played in the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that separated more than 2,000 children from their parents.

Kraninger, who works closely with Mulvaney at the Office of Management and Budget, has denied having a role in setting or developing that policy but said she attended meetings relating to its implementation.

The CFPB was formed in 2011 under Democratic President Barack Obama in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 financial crisis to protect ordinary Americans from predatory lending.

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Democrats say the agency plays a critical role in protecting consumers, but Republicans have repeatedly criticized the CFPB as heavy-handed and overreaching.

“The Senate majority has endorsed for CFPB a nominee indistinguishable from Mick Mulvaney, who has done his level best to dismantle from within an agency that once won real results for American families hurt by Wall Street and predatory lenders,” Lisa Donner, who heads the consumer advocacy group, Americans for Financial Reform, said in a statement.

Industry groups said on Thursday, however, that Kraninger’s strong managerial experience at the budget office where she manages the budget for the financial regulators made her a good fit for the agency.

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“We learned during her nomination hearing that she believes in promoting competition and appropriately tailoring regulations by taking into account both costs and benefits,” Rob Nichols, president and chief executive of the American Bankers Association, said in a statement.

“We share those views, and believe those principles will benefit consumers.”

Reporting by Katanga Johnson; Editing by Michelle Price and Peter Cooney

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Ex-AG Matt Whitaker ‘pretty much acknowledges abuse of power’ in Fox News interview

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The former acting Attorney General of the United States argued that presidential abuse of power is not a crime during a Tuesday evening appearance on Fox News.

Abuse of power is not a crime,” Matt Whitaker told Fox News personality Laura Ingraham.

Tufts University Professor Daniel Drezner was fascinated by the admission.

"Interesting that Whitaker pretty much acknowledges abuse of power but doesn’t think it’s egregious," Drezner noted.

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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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