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Trump faced with GOP Senate rebellion over emergency declaration putting approval in doubt

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Some Republicans in the Senate are angry that President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to get his wall built while circumventing Congress — and may vote against it with Democrats.

“He is usurping congressional authority,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), a longtime member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told the New York Times. “If the president can reallocate for his purposes billions of dollars in federal funding that Congress has approved for specific purposes and have been signed into law, that has the potential to render the appropriations process meaningless.”

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The report noted that “several” other Republicans are privately in line with Collins’ rebuke — and they have enough numbers to possibly create a majority with Democrats if they vote to disapprove the president’s emergency declaration.

GOP Senate leadership aides say there may be as many as 10 potential Republican defectors and as the report noted, four would be enough to create a pass a majority resolution to rebuke Trump’s decision.

Nevertheless, the members’ criticism is “well short of the sort of partywide revolt necessary to override a veto,” the Times noted.

Conservative Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) stopped short of saying he’d vote to rebuke Trump while noting in an interview with Times that he’s uncomfortable with the declaration.

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“We have relinquished power voluntarily because we don’t want to make judgment calls that make people angry, so we leave it to the executive,” Lee said. “It’s almost as if Congress doesn’t want to go through the difficult task of lawmaking.”

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he worried about the precedent such a declaration, with its circumventing of Congress, would set.

“It is inconsistent with the U.S. Constitution because, after the American Revolution against a king, our founders chose not to create a chief executive with the power to tax the people and spend their money any way he chooses,” Alexander told the Times.

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As Sen. Collins sees it, challenging Trump’s declaration is “a fundamental constitutional responsibility of Congress.

“We should be opposing this strongly,” the Maine Republican said.

 

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Ex-DHS head Kirstjen Nielsen leaves Atlantic Ideas Festival stage after outrage from grassroots movement

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Grassroots outrage apparently led Kirstjen Nielson, the former head of the Department of Homeland Security, to bow out of the Atlantic Ideas Festival Friday—but it's unlikely to represent more than a Phyrric victory over the mainstreaming of the President Donald Trump administration.

Critics pointed to Nielsen's oversight of the department's acceleration of Trump's war on immigrants, including the administration's family separation policy.

"No one from Trump's administration should get a soft landing to sanitize their actions while supporting and pushing forward a white nationalist, fascist agenda," advocacy group CREDO Action said in a statement.

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Trump’s new argument: He’s immune from all criminal investigation in new tax return lawsuit

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Lawyers for President Trump argue that the president is immune from all criminal investigations in a new federal lawsuit seeking to block New York prosecutors from obtaining his tax returns.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Trump sued his longtime accounting firm Mazars USA and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance on Thursday, after Vance's office subpoenaed the firm to demand eight years of the president’s personal and corporate tax returns.

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HBO’s ‘Real Time’ panel provides roadmap for Democrats to get DNI’s Ukraine report and speed-up impeachment

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During the "Overtime" segment of HBO's "Real Time," Bill Maher and his guests took up the problems the Democrats are having acquiring Donald Trump'stax returns as well as other documents they need if they are going to impeach the president.

Responding to a question over whether the state of New York will indict the president, the conversation turned to prosecutors seeking Trump's taxes.

According to presidential historian Tim Naftali, there is precedent allowing the acquisition.

"Is it really that hard to get somebody's frigging, f*cking taxes? " host Bill Maher asked.

"Actually, there is a precedent," Naftali explained. "If the House started on the impeachment hearings, they could act on the precedent of 1974, where Nixon's taxes were turned over to the impeachment committee. So there is a precedent, but they have to make the decision that they are having an impeachment inquiry."

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