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US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee accused in lawsuit of retaliation against staffer

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A new lawsuit has a Houston congresswoman in hot water.

A former staffer for U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Houston Democrat, identified as “Jane Doe” says in the suit that she was fired as retaliation for suing the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation over an alleged 2015 rape. Buzzfeed first reported on the matter on Wednesday evening.

Doe alleged that while she was an intern for another member of Congress in 2015, she took part in the foundation’s internship program and was raped by the intern coordinator, Damien Jones.

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Three years later, she was then employed in Jackson Lee’s office. The congresswoman at the time was — and still is — the chairwoman of the foundation’s board of directors. In March 2018, Doe informed the congresswoman’s chief of staff, Glenn Rushing, of her intent to pursue litigation against the foundation. Several weeks later, Rushing and Jackson Lee fired Doe, citing budgetary reasons, the lawsuit says.

Doe is now suing Jackson Lee’s office and the foundation for $75,000.

“We are deeply concerned about the welfare of all our interns and fellows, including ‘Jane Doe’, the former CBCF intern who recently filed suit,” the foundation said in a statement on Thursday. “It is CBCF’s position that the Foundation did not have the purview to terminate Ms. Doe from a staff position in a congressional office, and therefore, did not take such action. We have and will remain supportive of Ms. Doe, and will fully cooperate with all legal proceedings.”

Jones, the man who Doe alleged raped her, did not respond to Buzzfeed’s request for comment.

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On Thursday morning, Jackson Lee declined to comment to The Texas Tribune while near the U.S. House floor. She referred to a statement from her office, which was released Thursday afternoon.

“The Office adamantly denies the allegations that it retaliated against, or otherwise improperly treated, the plaintiff. It is against office policy to discuss specific details about internal personnel matters,” the statement said.

It went on to point out that a piece of legislation Jackson Lee backed in 1995, known as the Congress Accountability Act, made Doe’s legal pursuit possible.

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“The plaintiff chose federal court and she has every right to utilize this process and pursue a claim through the CAA,” said the statement. “Although the Congresswoman is eager to respond substantively, she will do so only at the appropriate time, as the court docket dictates. The Congresswoman is confident that, once all of the facts come to light, her Office will be exonerated of any retaliatory or otherwise improper conduct and this matter will be put to rest.”

The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation is a nonprofit offshoot of the powerful Congressional Black Caucus. The foundation issues reports and offers fellowships and scholarships to develop political leadership talent among young African-Americans.

Jones went on to work for the U.S. Senate campaign of former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke. O’Rourke’s spokesman issued a statement to Buzzfeed on the matter: ““The Beto for Texas campaign was absolutely not aware of these allegations until today and no longer has a relationship with Damien Jones.”

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Mississippi: African American voters sue over election law rooted in the state’s racist past

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A lawsuit over a Mississippi election law, if successful, will change the way that state elects its governor.

Four African Americans filed the federal civil rights lawsuit in May 2019, charging that the way their state elects its statewide officials violates the Voting Rights Act, the 14th Amendment and the principle of “one-person, one-vote.”

To win election, a candidate for governor of Mississippi has to win an outright majority of the popular vote – and win a majority of the state’s 122 House districts.

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Fox & Friends pushes lies and distortions about intel whistleblower: ‘Almost as if they heard a rumor’

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"Fox & Friends" co-host Steve Doocy pushed inaccurate claims about a whistleblower complaint filed by an intelligence official against President Donald Trump.

The Fox News broadcaster downplayed the complaint, which reportedly involved Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine's president to dig up dirt against Joe Biden, and falsely claimed that Congress had no authority to investigate.

"In this country, you know, we've heard a lot over the last couple of years about how the Democrats would like to impeach the president of the United States," Doocy said, and co-host Brian Kilmeade feigned shock.

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‘Your presence has always been a calamity’: Iranian president demands US get out of Persian Gulf

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"The farther you go from our region and our nations, the more security would come for our region."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that the only way to move toward lasting peace in the Middle East is for the United States and other Western powers to immediately leave the Persian Gulf, a call that comes days after the Trump administration announced the deployment of more troops to Saudi Arabia.

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