Trump slams groping allegations as false, politically motivated

Published: Thursday, October 13, 2016 @ 1:46 PM
Updated: Thursday, October 13, 2016 @ 2:47 PM


            In this Sept. 24, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a rally in Roanoke, Va. Countless former Democrats in Ohio's blue-collar Mahoning Valley are transferring their adoration for late U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., D-Ohio, to Trump, while those who knew Traficant say similarities between him and Trump end at the populist bravado and outsized hair. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
In this Sept. 24, 2016, file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures during a rally in Roanoke, Va. Countless former Democrats in Ohio's blue-collar Mahoning Valley are transferring their adoration for late U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr., D-Ohio, to Trump, while those who knew Traficant say similarities between him and Trump end at the populist bravado and outsized hair. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Thursday slammed recent reports that he sexually assaulted multiple women over the years, telling a crowd gathered in Florida that the allegations are false and questioning the timing of the reports.

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He blamed the allegations on rival Hillary Clinton and the agendas of The New York Times and other news outlets. The Times on Thursday published a report on a pair of women, one who said Trump groped her on an airplane in the 1980s and another who said Trump kissed her inappropriately in 2005.

"These attacks are orchestrated by the Clintons and their media allies," Trump said. "The only thing Hillary Clinton has going for herself is the press. Without the press she is absolutely zero."

>> Related: Donald Trump sexual assault allegations: 5 things to know

He slammed another report published by People Magazine in which writer Natasha Stoynoff claimed she was pushed against a wall and forcibly kissed by Trump while interviewing him and his wife, Melania, for a story in 2005 on the couple's first wedding anniversary.

Trump questioned the timing of her report, reminding the crowd that he was popular through his show "The Apprentice" at the time the alleged attack happened.

>> Related: Multiple women make sexual assault accusations against Donald Trump

"I was one of the biggest stars on television, on 'The Apprentice,' and it would have been one of the biggest stories of the year," he said. "You take a look, look at her, look at her words – you tell me what you think. I don't think so."

He promised to unveil evidence proving the allegations false "at the appropriate time." He did not elaborate on the evidence or when the appropriate time to release it would be.

Trump has faced heavy criticism over his alleged treatment of women since video and audio captured on a hot microphone in 2005 was obtained by The Washington Post and published on Friday.

>> Related: Does Trump's 'locker room banter' describe sexual assault?

In the video, Trump and "Access Hollywood" host Billy Bush can be heard ogling actress Arianne Zucker's legs and talking about how the GOP presidential nominee's celebrity status allowed him to make sexual advances toward women.

"I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her," Trump says in the video while watching Zucker walk up to an "Access Hollywood" bus. "You know, I'm automatically attracted to beautiful women — I just start kissing them. It's like a magnet. Just kiss. I don't even wait. And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab them by the (expletive). You can do anything."

>> Related: 'Days of Our Lives' star Arianne Zucker on lewd Donald Trump tape: 'I choose to stand tall'

The comments have been widely criticized as describing sexual assault.

Trump has dismissed the recording and said his comments were little more than "locker room banter."

Deported Fairfield mother from Mexico wins appeals ruling

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 6:11 PM

Maribel Trujillo Diaz may be able to return to the US while the case moves forward.

A Mexican mother of four once living in Fairfield who was deported nine months ago won an appeal on Wednesday , a decision indicating the immigration court that sent her back to Mexico “abused its discretion” and must reconsider her case.

A three-judge panel from the Sixth U.S. Court of Appeals found that the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that Maribel Trujillo Diaz failed to demonstrate a case for asylum under the Immigration and Nationality Act “because she failed to show that she would be singled out individually for persecution based on her family membership.”

That immigration appeals court must now reconsider the matter, obeying the Sixth Circuit’s guidance.

RELATED: Maribel’s case: What options do immigrants have to become legal?

The decision is by no means a complete victory meaning she can return to the country, according to one of her lawyers, Kathleen Kersh. It does mean there will be more hearings, and the possibility of a return — if not permanently, perhaps while the legal battles continue. Her family continues to live here.

“They found that the BIA had abused its discretion when it did not sufficiently consider the evidence that we gave in support of our motion to reopen Maribel’s asylum case,” Kersh said.

Trujillo and her supporters had argued she originally fled Mexico because drug cartels targeted her family.

Kersh told this media outlet in April that Trujillo’s asylum request was made after her brother was kidnapped and threatened by a cartel in Mexico, but she had lost that case.

FIRST REPORT: Mexican woman with work permit detained by ICE near her Fairfield home

Kersh in April — before the BIA’s ruling — said Trujillo’s father had more recently been kidnapped, which Kersh felt made her asylum case “much stronger.”

“We have recently found some information out from her father that her father had been kidnapped, so there are new facts that came to light in the asylum case that really change things — it makes it much stronger,” she said in April.

When told about Wednesday’s decision, Trujillo was “really happy and excited,” Kersh said.

“She is living in fear every day, and I think she feels vindicated in a way, that somebody is finally recognizing that, and she has really good reasons for her fear of living in Mexico, because of some of the dangers that her family specifically faces,” Kersh said.

“This is indeed good news, but far from a victory,” said the Rev. Father Pucke, who was her pastor at St. Julie Billiart Church, which advocated for her to stay, as did the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

It still is possible her evidence will be considered but that she will be denied the ability to return to this country.

She was deported April 19 back to Mexico.

Trump to stump for Pennsylvania GOP candidate amid Republican election year worries

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 5:16 PM

Making his first foray on to the campaign trail in 2018, President Donald Trump goes to southwestern Pennsylvania on Thursday to stump for a GOP candidate running for Congress, as Republicans have encountered some troubling signs in this mid-term election year, struggling with an election playing field that seems tilted against their party.

In stops near Pittsburgh, Mr. Trump will help Pennsylvania state Rep. Rick Saccone, who is trying to win a March 13 special election for Congress, in a U.S. House district that voted for for the President by 19 points in November 2016.

 

The campaign trip comes two days after the latest evidence of a voting surge for Democrats, as they flipped a state legislative seat in Wisconsin, in a district that voted for President Trump by 17 points in 2016.

“That sound you hear is a tsunami alert,” said election handicapper Stu Rothenberg, who like many in Washington, sees the possibility of a wave election in 2018 for the Democrats.

The Wisconsin outcome was not ignored by the state’s Governor, Scott Walker, who is up for re-election this year.

In a fundraising email sent to supporters on Wednesday night, Governor Walker’s subject line was, “SHOCKING LOSS.”

“Wisconsin conservatives just received a much-needed WAKE UP CALL,” the missive began.

“Typically we’ve held this seat,” said House Speaker and Wisconsin native Paul Ryan to reporters. “Yeah, I think we should pay attention to it.”

“We all have to work,” said Rep. Steve Stivers (R-OH), who finds himself under great pressure as the head of the campaign arm of House Republicans.

But the shift hasn’t just been in Wisconsin, as Democrats have seen their vote share increase across the board, in red states like Oklahoma and South Dakota, red districts in Georgia and South Carolina, and then in a big upset win in December in Alabama, where Doug Jones won a U.S. Senate seat.

“These results continue the trend we saw in 2017,” said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez. “Voters are flat-out rejecting the Trump-GOP agenda.”

Whether that’s the case is not yet clear – but the numbers do show what Democrats have been able to do in race after race – get more of their own people out to vote, and attract more Independents as well.

In 2017, while Republicans were able to win a series of special elections for the U.S. House, the margins were much closer than normal – and that has campaign experts wondering if Democrats can maintain that momentum into November of 2018.

“I don’t think people have fully priced in how much *worse* things could get for House Republicans in the next 300 days,” tweeted Dave Wasserman, an expert on House elections for the Cook Political Report.

So far in 2018, all of the news about retiring lawmakers in Congress has come from the GOP side, as 31 House Republicans won’t be back next January, compared to 14 Democrats.

That turnover – before even one vote has been cast in a Congressional primary – is higher than normal, and even higher than the number of Democrats who left in 1994 – when the GOP had a huge mid-term victory, and took control of both houses of Congress.

All of that is getting noticed by those who have been in politics, like ex-Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), who now does talk radio.

The game plan for the GOP in 2018 is straightforward at this point – President Trump and Republican lawmakers are doing all they can to highlight the tax cuts enacted into law late last year, and how that’s going to help working Americans right away.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump will stop at H&K Equipment near Pittsburgh, a company that White House officials say is going to benefit from the new tax plan.

“2017 was the best year in company history, which they credit to the President’s pro-jobs, pro-worker, pro-growth economic agenda,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

“Thanks to the passage of the Trump tax cuts, H&K will now be able to expense 100 percent of the investments they make in new equipment in the same year they buy it,” Sanders added.

On Capitol Hill, it’s also a daily drumbeat for GOP lawmakers, as they tout the tax cuts at every opportunity – like this speech on the Seante floor from Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA).

While the polls have shown weak numbers for Congressional Republicans in recent months, some of the new data indicates an uptick in public support for the tax cuts, and GOP lawmakers believe that can only help as more people see more money in their paychecks.

“Had the other side gotten in, the market would have gone down fifty percent,” the President told an audience at the White House on Tuesday, as he is ready to make the case repeatedly this year that his election over Hillary Clinton was key to more economic growth and jobs.

“You know what we’ve done in our tax bill, and you know how successful it’s been,” Mr. Trump added.

He’ll make that case again Thursday in Pennsylvania, as Republicans try to make sure 2018 isn’t remembered for an election tide that swept them out of the Congress.

 

Cordray say Trump administration trying to ease payday lending rules

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 6:29 PM


            Democrat Richard Cordray brought his campaign for governor to the Old Courthouse in Dayton in December. LYNN HULSEY/STAFF
Democrat Richard Cordray brought his campaign for governor to the Old Courthouse in Dayton in December. LYNN HULSEY/STAFF

Richard Cordray may be campaigning for the governor of Ohio, but he still has strong feelings about his former role as the nation’s top consumer watchdog.

In a series of tweets, Cordray lambasted his replacement at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for deciding to reconsider a rule aimed at protecting consumers from abusive payday lending practices.

Cordray had helped craft the rules when he headed the agency and it was one of his last measures before stepping down in November. The bureau confirmed it would reconsider the rules in a statement Tuesday.

“Truly shameful action by the interim pseudo-leaders of the CFPB, announcing their plans to reconsider the payday lending rule just adopted in November,” Cordray tweeted. “Never mind many thousands of people stuck in debt traps all over the country. Consumers be damned!”

RELATED: Cordray brings governor campaign to Dayton

The rules would require lenders to determine whether a borrower could afford to repay a loan with full interest within 30 days. The rules would also limit the number of loans lenders could make to a borrower. That and other provisions outraged the payday lending industry, which argued such regulations could drive them out of business. The rules were scheduled to go into effect in August 2019, though Tuesday marked a compliance deadline.

Cordray, who was appointed by President Barack Obama, was replaced by White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who is serving as acting director of the consumer watchdog agency. Mulvaney has been a critic of the rules.

Critics argue that the loans help those who do not have access to other credit and banking products, such as some low income Americans.

RELATED: DeWine, Husted join forces

But Cordray and other proponents say the rules are needed to protect consumers against predatory loans, some carrying interest of up to 391 percent. Payday loans, they argue, trap people in an unpayable cycle of debt.

The White House referred questions about the rule to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB did not immediately respond to questions.

Dennis Shaul, CEO of the Community Financial Services Association of America, a trade association that represents payday lenders, said the organization was “pleased” that the agency will take a new look at the payday lending rule.

“The bureau’s rule was crafted on a pre-determined, partisan agenda that failed to demonstrate consumer harm from small-dollar loans, ignored unbiased research and data, and relied on flawed information to support its rulemaking,” he said.

RELATED: Whaley drops out, backs Cordray

Cordray acknowledged that the announcement appears to be limited to pushing back the compliance deadline under the new rule, which was to have become effective on Tuesday. But he also argued that the administration had a more sweeping goal in mind.

In a series of tweets, Cordray called for the religious community to oppose the Trump administration’s decision, quoting the Bible to argue that repealing the rule would hurt the poor. And he referred to those who would repeal the rules as “zealots and toadies.”

“Congress could pursue a… vote to overturn” the rule, he tweeted, “but it seems they don’t have the guts. Instead, hire new bureaucrats to shred years of analysis and kill it off stealthily.”

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Sen. Sherrod Brown, a backer of the new rule and the ranking Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee, also lined up in opposition to any repeal.

“Rather than focus on keeping the government open, the Trump administration’s top budget expert is busy unraveling important consumer protections for payday borrowers,” the Ohio Democrat said.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, “is reviewing this issue and awaiting CFPB’s final decision,” his spokeswoman, Emily Benavides, said.

Miscellaneous Congress: From Catty Whacks to Pimientos to Surfboard Camera Mounts and Hair-Slides

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 6:26 AM

My father taught me a great lesson many years ago about the Congress, to always be on the lookout for bills that were labeled “technical corrections” or “miscellaneous,” because there was a good chance you might find something interesting – if you took the time to dig into the bill.

So, when the “Miscellaneous Tariff Bill Act of 2018,” popped up on the House schedule for this week, and was approved Tuesday on a unanimous vote, I had to take a look.

My curiosity was quickly rewarded, as the second section of the bill was about tariff schedule changes for “Frozen, Boiled Glutinous Corn.”

And while it might not be on the front page of your local newspaper, this is a bill that is brimming with stories, fully supported by business groups in the United States.

First, let’s go over what this legislation is all about.

“A Miscellaneous Tariff Bill (MTB) is a law that temporarily reduces or suspends the import tariffs paid on particular products imported into the United States,” the Commerce Department explains.

In other words, companies in the U.S. ask the feds to reduce the tariff on certain imported items, to help cut their production costs, theoretically making those businesses more competitive.

And for many lawmakers, it’s a boost to companies back home.

“For businesses in my home state of Washington, the MTB will provide nearly $16 million in cost savings, which they can instead use to invest in their employees and their products,” said Rep. Dave Reichert (R-WA).

“We have worked hard to deliver on this reform that will lead to millions of dollars being reinvested in North Carolina,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-NC).

One note – this is the first time a tariff bill has been put together under a new process established in 2016 – it used to be that the Congress was totally in charge of figuring out what items should have a tariff or duty changed.

But now, those requests from businesses go to the U.S. International Trade Commission, which then submits a package of recommendations to the Congress.

A variety of companies made 3,168 petitions to the feds to reduce tariffs on everything from Isosceles triangle wire, to golf drivers with a loft of 9.5 degrees, electric oil popcorn poppers, resin cement, tweezers, cat playgrounds made of wood, camera surfboard mounts, life jackets for pets, and much, much more.

The companies making these requests include well known ones like Specialized Bicycle, Cleveland golf, Whirlpool, PetSmart, Honeywell, and many more you’ve never heard about.

The final bill includes 1,661 tariff reductions, starting with the “Frozen, Boiled Glutinous Corn” and ending with “Vacuum Steel Lined Coffee Servers With Sight Gauge” and “Tripod Camera Mounts.”

The measure weighs in at 505 pages.

And finally, as the headline advertised, what’s a Catty Whack? That’s Section 1450 of the bill, described this way:

“Electromechanical ‘hide and seek’ toys, designed for use by cats or dogs, each with an electrically powered fast-moving feather wand that changes direction randomly; such wand mechanism positioned in a round enclosure of plastics, designed to allow the wand to shoot out; such toys each containing a carpeted scratching area on top.”

The bill now goes to the Senate.