In a rare display of bipartisanship, PresidentTrumpsigned legislation Thursday to reduce ocean waste dumped by other countries, and to authorize more money for coastal cleanup in the U.S.
Mr. Trumpsaid in a White House ceremony that the Save Our Seas Act will help to stop other nations “from making our oceans their landfills.”
“We’re being inundated by debris from other countries,”Mr. Trumpsaid. “We will be responding and very strongly.”
Among the lawmakers attending the event in the Oval Office was Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Rhode Island Democrat and a frequent critic of the administration. The president shook his hand during the bill signing.
“See, we can shake hands,”Mr. Trumptold reporters.
The legislation reauthorizes and amends the Marine Debris Act to promote international action to reduce marine debris. It’s aimed at boosting the federal government’s domestic and international response to ocean waste, and allows the federal government to declare “severe marine debris events” and to authorize additional funds to states for cleanup.
The president said previous administrations “did absolutely nothing to take on the foreign countries responsible” for ocean dumping.
On Thursday, a federal judge ordered further investigation into officials’ handling of Hillary Clinton’s private email server during her four-year tenure as secretary of state. Her use of an unapproved, unsecured private email server, he said in the blistering ruling, is “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”
ruling revolves around a Freedom of Information Act suit brought by a
conservative government watchdog. Judicial Watch, U.S. District Court
Judge Royce Lamberth ruled Thursday, should be given access to documents
and be permitted to acquire additional testimony about Clinton’s use of
a private server and officials’ failure to be transparent about
information searches related to it.
Judge Lamberth’s opinion, published by Politico,
begins by quoting former President Barack Obama, who, on his first full
day in office, waxed eloquent about the importance of transparency in
government and declared his administration’s commitment to FOIA: “In our
democracy, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which encourages
accountability through transparency, is the most prominent expression of
a profound national commitment to ensuring an open government. … All
agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure to renew
their commitment to the principles embodied in FOIA, and to usher in a
new era of open government. The presumption of disclosure should be
applied to all decisions involving FOIA.”
“But in this case, faced with one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency, his State and Justice Departments fell far short,” Lamberth wrote. “So far short that the Court questions, even now, whether they are acting in good faith. Did Hillary Clinton use her private email as Secretary of State to thwart this lofty goal? Was the State Department’s attempt to settle this FOIA case in 2014 an effort to avoid searching–and disclosing the existence of–Clinton’s missing emails? And has State ever adequately searched for records in this case?”
When Judicial Watch filed its FOIA suit in July 2014 over the State
Department’s false talking points on the Benghazi attack, the judge
notes, officials knew that Clinton’s private emails were missing from
its records. “State played this card close to its chest,” he wrote. “At
best, State’s attempts to pass-off its deficient search as legally
adequate during settlement negotiations was negligence born out of
incompetence. At worst, career employees in the State and Justice
Departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA
and hoodwink this court.”
notes that Lamberth, a Ronald Reagan-appointee and a judge who
“sparred” at times with the Clinton administration, is critical not only
of the past administration but of the Trump administration for failing
to adequately follow through on this crucial case.
“To preserve the Department’s integrity, and to reassure the American people their government remains committed to transparency and the rule of law, this suspicion cannot be allowed to fester,” he said. To this end, he ordered that both sides discuss a discovery process and report back to him in 10 days to nail down a plan for further fact-finding.
At the heart of the issue is the suspicion that State and Justice
Department officials were attempting to protect Clinton and the
administration by deliberately resisting FOIA searches in her private
server, thus attempting to conceal damning information, like Clinton’s
admission to Chelsea that she knew the Benghazi attack was a terrorist
operation while the administration publicly described it as spontaneous
riot in response to a YouTube video offensive to Muslims.
historic court ruling raises concerns about the Hillary Clinton email
scandal and government corruption that millions of Americans share,”
said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton in a statement. “Judicial Watch
looks forward to conducting careful discovery into the Clinton email
issue and we hope the Justice Department and State Department recognize
Judge Lamberth’s criticism and help, rather than obstruct, this
For the second time in less than a month, California’s chief elections officer has refused to hand over data to President Trump’s voter fraud commission, arguing on Wednesday that the inquiry is still part of an “illegitimate” exercise.
“I still have the same concerns,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “I can’t in good conscience risk the privacy of voters in California with this commission.”
TAR HEEL, N.C. —
The Democratic chairman of the state elections board in North Carolina
resigned Saturday, saying he did not want his partisan views to
undermine a widening investigation into alleged election fraud in the
9th Congressional District race.
chairman of the nine-member State Board of Elections and Ethics
Enforcement, said in a statement to the board obtained by The Washington
Post that he was stepping away to allow the investigation to continue
“free of attempts at distraction and obstruction so that the truth can
Penry has fielded criticism from North Carolina Republican officials, who have pointed to his Twitter posts — which include a number of tweets highly critical of President Trump — as evidence that the board’s investigation is partisan and baseless.
“The investigation of criminal conduct and absentee
voting fraud in the 2018 Republican primary and 2018 general election in
congressional District 9 is a matter of vital importance to our
democracy,” Penry wrote in the statement. “I will not allow myself to be
used as an instrument of distraction in this investigation.”
decision came after the nine-member elections board — which includes
four Democrats, four Republicans and one unaffiliated voter — agreed
unanimously Tuesday to delay certification of the results in the 9th
District election amid allegations of an effort to fill in or discard
the absentee ballots of Democratic voters.
Republican Mark Harris, who beat incumbent Rep. Robert Pittenger in the primary, leads Democrat Dan McCready in the race by only 905 votes, according to unofficial returns.
On Friday, the state board voted 7 to 2 to
continue investigating the fraud allegations, leaving open the
possibility that a new election could be called. The Associated Press
announced it was revoking its projection that Harris won the seat in
southeastern North Carolina.
The inquiry further roiled a state already divided over issues of voting rights, voter suppression and fraud.
a statement Friday, Harris accused the election board of a lack of
transparency and called for the results to be immediately certified.
“Make no mistake, I support any efforts to investigate allegations of irregularities and/or voter fraud, as long as it is fair and focuses on all political parties,” Harris said. “But to date, there is absolutely no public evidence that there are enough ballots in question to affect the outcome of this race. Accordingly, the Board should act immediately to certify the race while continuing to conduct their investigation. Anything else is a disservice to the people of the Ninth District.”
The Congressional race in North Carolina’s 9th district, where Republican Mark Harris is leading Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes, has drawn national attention because ofhighly unusual patternsin mail-in absentee ballots.
In Bladen County, for example, only 19% of mail-in absentee ballots were requested by Republicans, but Harris won 61% of the mail-in absentee ballot vote. In every other county, including Republican strongholds like Union County, McCready won the mail-in absentee vote.
So what happened?
The envelopes of the absentee ballots are a rich source of information because they re