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‘Childish’ Republicans have been skipping intel hearings since impeachment: report

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Republicans have been skipping House Intelligence Committee hearings for months, and Democrats think they know why.

GOP lawmakers have skipped all but one of the panel’s public and private meetings since Congress went into a coronavirus lockdown in early March, and Democrats accused them of a partisan boycott, reported Politico.

“It seems almost counterproductive on their part,” said committee chair Adam Schiff (D-CA). “It seems rather childish, but I hope that they will reconsider.”

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Republicans insist they’re concerned about cybersecurity during virtual meetings, two of which have been held on Cisco Webex, the same platform other congressional panels have used, or Microsoft Teams, which offers encryption.

“These things get hacked — why are we putting ourselves at that risk?” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), who sits on the committee. “You border on classified information and maybe sometimes even spill into it. It’s just not the way to conduct business, and there is no reason for it.”

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the GOP ranking member, repeatedly refused to comment on the absences.

The only Republican to attend a hearing in months was when then-Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) took part in an April 28 roundtable, a week before the Senate heard his nomination as President Donald Trump’s director of national intelligence.

Republicans complained that Democrats won’t hold in-person hearings, but Democrats say the GOP minority has been skipping hearings since February — before the coronavirus shutdowns but after the impeachment saga.

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“They have their grievances, right?” said committee member Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT). “The whole thing is absurd, but they haven’t even really negotiated.”

A senior committee official said the conferencing platforms are less of a hacking risk than lawmakers using House email or Gmail account from their home computers, and the committee plans to meet in person by the end of July to work on an annual budget bill.

The committee will also wrap up its probe of national security threats posed by China, and the panel will review the intelligence community’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

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2020 Election

Kris Kobach ridiculed after losing comeback bid in Kansas: ‘Adios amigo’

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Former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the projected loser of the state's Republican primary for the U.S. Senate, the Associated Press reported Tuesday.

Kobach, a longtime crusader against immigration, headed up President Donald Trump's so-called "voter fraud commission" before it was disbanded after failing to identify any widespread instances of fraud.

Kobach unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018.

Here's some of what people were saying about Kobach's defeat:

https://twitter.com/LokayFOX5/status/1290832478865952768

https://twitter.com/davematt88/status/1290831071462875136

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2020 Election

Maddow reveals the ‘shocking sign’ the White House may be betting Trump is going to lose in 2020

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow returned from vacation to host the Tuesday evening edition of her MSNBC show.

Maddow noted, "in 91 days we all get to decide if the guy who's currently in charge of how we're responding to this epidemic should stay in the job for four more years or if Democratic candidate Joe Biden would do better at this."

"It's honestly hard to know what it will be like for a president to stand for re-election with 200,000 dead Americans as a key metric from his first term, while he asks for a second term, but we're going to talk tonight about how some of that is going to work and some of what we can see coming down the pike," she explained. "And a lot of it is very worrying, in terms of the institutions of our democracy and what we count on to keep us a constitutional republic."

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Trump may break with ‘presidential norms’ and give GOP convention speech from the White House lawn: report

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On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported that Republicans are exploring the possibility of President Donald Trump giving his presidential re-nomination speech from the South Lawn of the White House.

"The decision to stage the most high-profile political event of Trump’s reelection campaign at the national seat of presidential power would be just the latest break by Trump in presidential norms, which have historically drawn clear lines between official business of the president and campaign events," reported Michael Scherer and Josh Dawsey. "People involved in the planning said that no final decision had been made on the location of the Republican convention’s celebratory events. Trump abandoned plans to hold the full convention in Charlotte, and later Jacksonville, Fla., over concerns that large crowds could spread the novel coronavirus."

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