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Westlake Legal Group > United States Politics and Government

Here Are the Republicans Who Voted to Condemn as Racist Trump’s Remarks (and Other Things to Know)

Westlake Legal Group 16DC-VOTETAKEAWAYS-facebookJumbo Here Are the Republicans Who Voted to Condemn as Racist Trump’s Remarks (and Other Things to Know) United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Republican Party House of Representatives discrimination

WASHINGTON — The House, in a stunning rebuke of a sitting president, voted on Tuesday to “strongly condemn” President Trump’s suggestion that four freshman Democratic women of color “go home” — a Twitter broadside described in a Democratic resolution as “racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans.”

The extraordinary vote came after an afternoon of vitriolic debate that erupted into a floor fight over remarks by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which were “taken down” — ruled out of order by her No. 2 Democrat, Representative Steny H. Hoyer.

Here are six takeaways:

Only four Republicans — Representatives Will Hurd of Texas, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Fred Upton of Michigan, Susan W. Brooks of Indiana — broke with their party to vote against Mr. Trump. They were joined by Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, a Trump critic who recently abandoned the Republican Party to become an independent. Each had his or her reasons.

Mr. Hurd, a former C.I.A. agent and the only black Republican in the House, barely hung onto his seat. Mr. Fitzpatrick squeaked past his Democratic opponent last year and often votes with Democrats. (He has also signed a congressional pledge to civility.) Mr. Upton, a centrist and House veteran who also advocates civility, is retiring, and thus not beholden to Mr. Trump.

“If we’re going to bring civility back to the center of our politics, we must speak out against inflammatory rhetoric from anyone in any party anytime it happens,” Mr. Upton wrote Tuesday on Twitter.

Ms. Brooks is retiring, too. She is one of the few Republicans to criticize Mr. Trump’s “go home” remarks, which she said were “inappropriate and do not reflect American values.”

Mr. Amash, though, is in a class by himself. He was the only Republican to say Mr. Trump’s conduct reached the threshold of impeachment — until, that is, he left the party. Now he is the lone independent in the House.

Official rebukes of the president by Congress are exceedingly rare — and difficult to track because the language of House and Senate resolutions varies.

Beyond the two presidents who were impeached — Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, neither of whom was removed from office — there have been only four congressional votes to approve resolutions aimed at censuring or condemning a president, according to a 2018 report by the Congressional Research Service. The most recent involved President William Howard Taft, who was accused in 1912 of trying to influence a disputed Senate election. But the resolution that stated he “ought to be severely condemned” was eventually watered down, and that phrase was struck from the final version. Three years earlier, in 1909, the House voted to reprimand President Theodore Roosevelt, who had aroused lawmakers’ ire with remarks in his annual message to Congress.

The decision to take down Ms. Pelosi’s words was historic, as well. However, a vote to strike her comments from the record failed along party lines. The last speaker who had his words taken down is believed to be Tip O’Neill, the legendary Democrat from Massachusetts. (A 1990 analysis of such episodes by the Congressional Research Service does not appear to have been updated.) That happened in 1984, when Representative Newt Gingrich, the firebrand Georgia Republican (and future speaker), baited Mr. O’Neill into attacking him.

Before the fracas over Mr. Trump’s tweets, the four Democratic congresswomen — Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — were on the outs with Ms. Pelosi. (It should be noted that three of the four, who are known collectively as the Squad, were born in this country.)

After they crossed Ms. Pelosi by voting against a border aid package, she put the Squad in its place, telling the New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd that despite “their public whatever and their Twitter world,” they “didn’t have any following” where it mattered: on the House floor. “They’re four people,” Ms. Pelosi said, “and that’s how many votes they got.”

That created a predictable furor, prompting a spate of “Democrats in disarray” coverage about liberals who defended the women, and centrists defending Ms. Pelosi. But Mr. Trump’s Twitter attacks have united Democrats against a common enemy: the president.

Tuesday’s debate gave liberal Democrats, who are itching to move ahead with impeachment proceedings against Mr. Trump, an opportunity to blow off some steam. Representative Pramila Jayapal of Washington, who oversees the House Progressive Caucus and was born in India, was particularly animated. “Yes, I am a proud naturalized citizen born in India, a proud patriot,” she thundered on the House floor. “It’s not the first time I’ve heard, ‘go back to your country,’ but it’s the first time I heard it from the White House!”

But the condemnation resolution is unlikely to serve as a substitute for impeachment. As soon as the vote was over, the Democrats’ leading advocate of impeachment — Representative Al Green of Texas — took to the House floor to call, once again, for Mr. Trump to be impeached.

One reason Ms. Pelosi does not want to push ahead with impeachment proceedings is that doing so could jeopardize the so-called majority makers — centrist Democrats who are running for re-election in districts carried by Mr. Trump in 2016. While Democrats voted unanimously in favor of the condemnation resolution, it will be worth watching how the vote goes over in these Democrats’ home districts.

Even before Tuesday’s vote, the House Republicans’ campaign arm was preparing news releases calling those centrist Democrats “deranged,” which they later blasted into reporter’s email inboxes.

For all of the hellfire and brimstone surrounding it, the resolution itself is symbolic. Then again, in politics, symbolism matters. When the history of the 116th Congress is written, Democrats will be recorded as having condemned a United States president for the first time in more than 100 years.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Sets the 2020 Tone: Like 2016, Only This Time ‘the Squad’ Is Here

WASHINGTON — With three days of attacks on four liberal, minority freshman congresswomen, President Trump and the Republicans have sent the clearest signal yet that their approach to 2020 will be a racially divisive reprise of the strategy that helped Mr. Trump narrowly capture the White House in 2016.

It is the kind of fight that the president relishes. He has told aides, in fact, that he is pleased with the Democratic reaction to his attacks, boasting that he is “marrying” the House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party to the four congresswomen known as “the Squad.”

His efforts to stoke similar cultural and racial resentments during the 2018 midterm elections with fears of marauding immigrant caravans backfired as his party lost control of the House. But he is undeterred heading into his re-election campaign, betting that he can cast the entire Democratic Party as radical and un-American.

“He’s framing the election as a clash of civilizations,” said Charlie Sykes, a conservative writer who is critical of Mr. Trump. The argument Mr. Trump is making is both strategic and cynical, he said. “They’re coming for you. They hate you. They despise America. They are not you.”

“And if you look at the Electoral College map,” Mr. Sykes added, “the places that will play are the places Donald Trump will need to win the election.”

While the Democrats were voting Tuesday to condemn the president’s attacks against the four women as racist, Trump campaign officials, by contrast, were trying to cast Monday as a landmark day for the Democratic Party — the day that the progressive “Squad” became the de facto leaders of their party.

The four freshman, female members of Congress — Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan — hold no formal leadership positions in their party, and none have been on the national political stage for much longer than a year. Yet Republicans, led by Mr. Trump and buttressed by his allies in the conservative media, have spent months seizing on and distorting their more inflammatory statements.

Aides to Mr. Trump’s campaign conceded that the president’s tweets about the four women on Sunday were not helpful, were difficult to defend and caught them off guard. They would have preferred he had not tweeted that the four women, all racial and ethnic minorities, should “go back” to their own countries.

But they said that his instincts were what guided his campaign in 2016, when his attacks on immigrants resonated with alienated white voters in key states. They believe there is political value in having “the Squad” as the new face of their political opponents when Mr. Trump is tracing a path to re-election that runs through Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where the four women are unpopular.

Brad Parscale, the Trump campaign manager, has been telling people that it is very hard to persuade voters in the current hyperpartisan political landscape.

Mr. Trump’s re-election strategy, instead, is to solidify his base and increase turnout. A major component of that is to portray his opponents as not merely disliking him and his policies, but also disliking America itself.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158003625_3029d1dd-70d2-4f4f-b4ed-58bbf91dd188-articleLarge Trump Sets the 2020 Tone: Like 2016, Only This Time ‘the Squad’ Is Here United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J tlaib, rashida Race and Ethnicity Pressley, Ayanna Presidential Election of 2020 Omar, Ilhan Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria Minorities

During a news conference on Monday, Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez denounced Mr. Trump’s comments.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

The strategy is reminiscent of how President Richard M. Nixon and the Republican Party tried to frame their fight with Democrats during the 1972 elections around questions of patriotism and loyalty. Nixon supporters took to using the slogan “America: Love It or Leave It” to cast the Democrats and the growing opposition to the Vietnam War as anti-American — not merely anti-Nixon or anti-Republican.

Pat Buchanan, the populist, conservative former presidential candidate who served as an aide to Nixon, said that by elevating the four, Mr. Trump is trying to set the terms of his re-election fight.

“Rather than let Democrats in the primaries choose his adversary, Trump is seeking to make the selection himself,” Mr. Buchanan said. And if the election is seen as a choice between Democrats like Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and Ms. Omar, Mr. Buchanan added, “Trump wins.”

Mr. Buchanan said he envisioned a scenario in which the battle for the Democratic nomination becomes, in part, a referendum on these four women. “The Democratic candidates will be forced to choose in the coming debates as to whether to back the four,” he said, “or put distance between themselves and the four.”

Only four Republicans and one independent broke and voted with the Democrats to condemn the president’s language in the House vote Tuesday, a stark reminder of just how far the party has come from the period when its leaders believed their political future depended on being a big tent, welcoming to Latino and African-American voters.

Instead, a range of party leaders were pushing messages of patriotism. Some attempted to sidestep the racial implications, while others seemed less concerned about the potential blowback.

“Forget these four,” said Kellyanne Conway, the counselor to the president, in an interview with Fox News on Tuesday. “They represent a dark underbelly of people in this country,” she added. “We are sick and tired of people denigrating that American flag, the American military, veterans and America.”

Others were jumping on the bandwagon, but seeking to reframe and soften the message. Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, effectively offered Mr. Trump a tutorial in how to go on the offensive without inviting a backlash.

“Our opposition to our socialist colleagues has absolutely nothing to do with their gender, with their religion or with their race,” Ms. Cheney told reporters Tuesday. “It has to do with the content of their policies.”

The election is still more than 15 months away, and eventually the Democrats will have a standard-bearer to define the party in opposition to Mr. Trump. Still, some Democrats worry that criticism of the four congresswomen will resonate with a segment of their voters and independents, who may prove just as uneasy with the policies, and some of the rhetoric, of “the Squad” as they are with Mr. Trump’s own bombast.

The Democrats who fared the best in the midterms were those who played down Mr. Trump while highlighting issues like protecting the health insurance of people with pre-existing conditions. And many of the strategists who are rallying behind former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. believe the party can’t count on increasing turnout among young people and minorities, and needs to lure back voters it lost to Mr. Trump.

In research published in a journal in February, Carlos Algara and Isaac Hale found that among white voters, high levels of racial resentment — measured by asking people whether they agree with statements such as “I am angry that racism exists” — were a better indicator of how someone would vote than party affiliation or ideological beliefs.

Trump campaign officials have expressed confidence in the state of the race. Mr. Trump’s favorability rating is about 46 percent.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

They found that there was still a sizable number of white Democrats who harbor relatively high levels of racial resentment, and that is helping Republicans across the board.

Mr. Algara, a political scientist at the University of California, Davis, said that a forthcoming analysis of the 2018 midterm elections found that even without Mr. Trump on the ballot, white Democrats with high levels of racial resentment were likely to vote for Republican candidates.

“The president and the Republican National Committee know that if you prime racial resentment attitudes among Democrats, you’re more likely to win their votes,” he said. “It’s a very effective strategy.”

But many Democrats believe that Mr. Trump has repelled so many voters who gave him the benefit of the doubt in 2016 that he is only digging himself into a deeper hole. “He’s risking everything on a strategy of recreating his exact 2016 coalition, but things have changed,” said Nick Gourevitch, a pollster with the Global Strategy Group, a Democratic firm.

There are Trump supporters who agree that the president’s rhetoric could backfire, and wish he hadn’t gone down this road.

“I think a more successful strategy would be to focus on the growth in the economy and policies and go after moderates and independents,” Anthony Scaramucci, who briefly served as White House communications director, said on CNN on Tuesday.

He added that he found the comments reprehensible and was surprised that more Republicans were not speaking out. He said he found that “astonishing.”

And some Republicans believe that the president is squandering an opportunity to capitalize on what had been a smoldering fight between Ms. Pelosi and the first-term lawmakers and was simply uniting the party.

“It got in the way of a nice little meltdown the Democrats were enjoying and totally unified them,” said David Kochel, an Iowa-based Republican strategist. “I’m just concerned that he took the focus off a really interesting food fight between Pelosi and the Squad.”

On Michael Savage’s radio program on Monday, a caller named Susan dialed in to defend the president’s actions. “He’s said worse things than that, and he’s not a racist,” she said.

Mr. Savage, who was one of the earliest hosts in conservative radio to endorse Mr. Trump but has been more skeptical of late, questioned his caller’s blind faith and also expressed concern that the entire episode was unifying the Democrats.

“I’m starting to get very worried about the true believers out there,” Mr. Savage said, adding that he thought the president needed to stop being so impulsive.

“I think he needs to stop tweeting at 3 in the morning when he’s having a low-blood-sugar attack. He has set our entire cause back.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘I Don’t Trust You Guys’: Lawmakers Unite to Take Aim at Big Tech

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers leveled stinging criticism and sharp questions at Big Tech executives on Tuesday, attacking Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google for their market power, their perceived bias as gatekeepers of communication and Facebook’s ambitions to reshape the financial industry.

The criticisms came at three hearings on Capitol Hill that showcased Washington’s widening range of concerns with Silicon Valley. Lawmakers from both parties, including Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas who oversees a subcommittee on the Constitution, and Representative David N. Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island who leads a subcommittee on antitrust law, took aim at the businesses.

The executives acknowledged that technology had changed, and sometimes hurt, companies in industries like retailing, advertising, music and movies. But their companies, they said, have opened new opportunities to millions of entrepreneurs and small businesses. They insisted they faced competitors at every turn — entrenched big companies, ascendant start-ups and each other.

And consumers, they said, are big winners, benefiting from convenience, lower prices and new products and services.

But their celebration of the virtues of Big Tech did not carry the day. Some lawmakers were sympathetic, but this was not their stage. Most were decidedly unconvinced, even disdainful.

“Facebook has said, ‘Just trust us,’” Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said at a hearing focused on the social media company’s cryptocurrency efforts. “And every time Americans trust you, they seem to get burned.”

The hearing performances were a telling moment, showing the rising force of the backlash against the tech giants. Not long ago revered as treasures of American capitalism, they are now targets of political attacks from both parties, growing public criticism and regulatory scrutiny. President Trump has also turned up the volume of his critique of tech companies in recent weeks.

The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission recently decided to divide responsibility for potential antitrust investigations. The Justice Department is taking Google and Apple, while the F.T.C. has Facebook and Amazon. Last week, the F.T.C. voted to fine Facebook about $5 billion for mishandling users’ personal information, by far the agency’s largest fine against a tech company.

The House Judiciary Committee has opened a bipartisan inquiry into the power and practices of major technology companies. The subcommittee announced the investigation last month and planned to request documents from the companies and hear testimony from confidential witnesses, who may fear retribution from the tech giants.

It has also started holding hearings, including one on Tuesday afternoon that was focused on how Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google altered innovation and entrepreneurial activity. The practices under scrutiny included acquiring upstart competitors and favoring their own offerings on the digital marketplaces they operate.

Lawmakers appeared to be zeroing in on the areas that concern them the most. In one exchange, Mr. Cicilline addressed whether the tech companies’ marketplaces — for goods, software apps and online ads — gave them an unfair advantage over rivals who rely on those marketplaces to distribute their own products or services. He pointed to Amazon’s many lines of private label products, which compete for sales on the company’s site with similar products from other brands.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158036511_e41e8ad6-e46a-4065-a5ca-219245717125-articleLarge ‘I Don’t Trust You Guys’: Lawmakers Unite to Take Aim at Big Tech United States Politics and Government Privacy Law and Legislation Innovation House Committee on the Judiciary Google Inc Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet Apple Inc Antitrust Laws and Competition Issues Amazon.com Inc

Representative David N. Cicilline addressed whether tech companies’ marketplaces gave them an unfair advantage.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

“Doesn’t that create a conflict of interest?” Mr. Cicilline asked Nate Sutton, Amazon’s associate general counsel.

“I respectfully disagree,” replied Mr. Sutton, who said that many big brick-and-mortar retailers offer private label brands.

Amazon’s control of products on its site, Mr. Cicilline said, is different and stronger than that of a traditional retailer that offers some private-label merchandise.

At one point, Mr. Cicilline pointedly told Mr. Sutton, “I may remind you, sir. You are under oath.”

Isn’t it the case, Mr. Cicilline pressed, that the best sale for Amazon is the sale of an Amazon-branded product, and that Amazon uses the vast amount of data it collects to favor its own offerings?

“No, that is not true,” Mr. Sutton replied.

Representative Joe Neguse, a Colorado Democrat, focused on Facebook.

He pointed out that not only is Facebook the world’s largest social network, but that those ranked third, fourth and sixth — WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram — are Facebook properties.

Owning the four of the top six players in a market, Mr. Neguse said, spoke for itself. “We have a word for that,” he said. “It is called monopoly.”

Earlier in the day, in the hearing about Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra, lawmakers grilled David Marcus, a top executive.

The company has a bold goal with the project: to offer an alternative financial system that makes it possible to send money around the world with few fees. But the company has run into bipartisan resistance from Washington, including the White House.

The initiative is far from the first effort of its kind. The best-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is in wide circulation, and it introduced the idea of digital currencies that are free from government control.

But the Libra effort has put a spotlight on cryptocurrencies and amplified the voices of critics who say the technology has little value beyond speculative investing and illegal transactions, like online drug sales. Last week, the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome H. Powell, said Libra raised “serious concerns” around “money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.” Mr. Trump and the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, have also criticized Libra and other cryptocurrencies in the past week.

Lawmakers questioned David Marcus, a top Facebook executive, about the company’s cryptocurrency project, Libra.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Senator Martha McSally, Republican of Arizona, said, “I don’t trust you guys.”

Mr. Marcus, a former PayPal executive, was handpicked by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, to lead the Libra effort.

Mr. Marcus, adopting a conciliatory tone, said the company would do its best to fight fraud and earn back the trust of the more than two billion people who use Facebook’s services regularly.

“We’ve made mistakes in the past,” Mr. Marcus said. “We have been working, and are working hard to get better.”

Google was at the center of the day’s third hearing, about censorship in search, held by a Senate subcommittee.

Republican lawmakers used the hearing to air often-repeated but largely unproven claims that Google tilts search results to bias against conservative viewpoints. Democrats called the hearing a charade and raised concerns about Google’s inability to effectively police the content on YouTube.

The Republicans took turns battering Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president for government affairs and public policy. Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, delivered the most pointed attacks. He said it was hard to believe Google’s executives when they say that censoring search results would go against the company’s mission and ideology, considering that the search giant had been working on plans to re-enter China with a censored search engine.

“Clearly, our trust and patience in your company and your monopoly has run out,” said Mr. Hawley, who has been a vocal critic of Google.

Mr. Bhatia responded by saying that Google had abandoned plans to restart its search engine in China.

Mr. Cruz, the chairman of the subcommittee, said Congress needed to rethink the legal immunity for internet companies, established in 1996, that protects them from liability for content posted by users. The law, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, has allowed platforms like Google’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to grow rapidly without concern of being held liable for content on those services.

Even before the hearing that focused on Google, the president applied his own brand of pressure with an early morning tweet. He said that his administration “will investigate” remarks from the billionaire investor Peter Thiel, who said that Google had been infiltrated by the Chinese intelligence. Mr. Thiel also accused the technology giant of treason for refusing to work with the Pentagon on a future artificial intelligence project while agreeing to work with the Chinese military. He provided no evidence for his allegations.

A Google spokeswoman said in a statement that the company had not worked with the Chinese military and that it had cooperated with the American government in many areas such as cybersecurity, recruiting and health care.

When asked whether Chinese intelligence had infiltrated the company’s management, software or private data during the hearing, Mr. Bhatia said: “Absolutely not.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘I Don’t Trust You Guys’: Lawmakers Unite to Take Aim at Big Tech

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers leveled stinging criticism and sharp questions at Big Tech executives on Tuesday, attacking Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google for their market power, their perceived bias as gatekeepers of communication and Facebook’s ambitions to reshape the financial industry.

The criticisms came at three hearings on Capitol Hill that showcased Washington’s widening range of concerns with Silicon Valley. Lawmakers from both parties, including Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas who oversees a subcommittee on the Constitution, and Representative David N. Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island who leads a subcommittee on antitrust law, took aim at the businesses.

The executives acknowledged that technology had changed, and sometimes hurt, companies in industries like retailing, advertising, music and movies. But their companies, they said, have opened new opportunities to millions of entrepreneurs and small businesses. They insisted they faced competitors at every turn — entrenched big companies, ascendant start-ups and each other.

And consumers, they said, are big winners, benefiting from convenience, lower prices and new products and services.

But their celebration of the virtues of Big Tech did not carry the day. Some lawmakers were sympathetic, but this was not their stage. Most were decidedly unconvinced, even disdainful.

“Facebook has said, ‘Just trust us,’” Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said at a hearing focused on the social media company’s cryptocurrency efforts. “And every time Americans trust you, they seem to get burned.”

The hearing performances were a telling moment, showing the rising force of the backlash against the tech giants. Not long ago revered as treasures of American capitalism, they are now targets of political attacks from both parties, growing public criticism and regulatory scrutiny. President Trump has also turned up the volume of his critique of tech companies in recent weeks.

The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission recently decided to divide responsibility for potential antitrust investigations. The Justice Department is taking Google and Apple, while the F.T.C. has Facebook and Amazon. Last week, the F.T.C. voted to fine Facebook about $5 billion for mishandling users’ personal information, by far the agency’s largest fine against a tech company.

The House Judiciary Committee has opened a bipartisan inquiry into the power and practices of major technology companies. The subcommittee announced the investigation last month and planned to request documents from the companies and hear testimony from confidential witnesses, who may fear retribution from the tech giants.

It has also started holding hearings, including one on Tuesday afternoon that was focused on how Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google altered innovation and entrepreneurial activity. The practices under scrutiny included acquiring upstart competitors and favoring their own offerings on the digital marketplaces they operate.

Lawmakers appeared to be zeroing in on the areas that concern them the most. In one exchange, Mr. Cicilline addressed whether the tech companies’ marketplaces — for goods, software apps and online ads — gave them an unfair advantage over rivals who rely on those marketplaces to distribute their own products or services. He pointed to Amazon’s many lines of private label products, which compete for sales on the company’s site with similar products from other brands.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_158036511_e41e8ad6-e46a-4065-a5ca-219245717125-articleLarge ‘I Don’t Trust You Guys’: Lawmakers Unite to Take Aim at Big Tech United States Politics and Government Privacy Law and Legislation Innovation House Committee on the Judiciary Google Inc Facebook Inc Computers and the Internet Apple Inc Antitrust Laws and Competition Issues Amazon.com Inc

Representative David N. Cicilline addressed whether tech companies’ marketplaces gave them an unfair advantage.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

“Doesn’t that create a conflict of interest?” Mr. Cicilline asked Nate Sutton, Amazon’s associate general counsel.

“I respectfully disagree,” replied Mr. Sutton, who said that many big brick-and-mortar retailers offer private label brands.

Amazon’s control of products on its site, Mr. Cicilline said, is different and stronger than that of a traditional retailer that offers some private-label merchandise.

At one point, Mr. Cicilline pointedly told Mr. Sutton, “I may remind you, sir. You are under oath.”

Isn’t it the case, Mr. Cicilline pressed, that the best sale for Amazon is the sale of an Amazon-branded product, and that Amazon uses the vast amount of data it collects to favor its own offerings?

“No, that is not true,” Mr. Sutton replied.

Representative Joe Neguse, a Colorado Democrat, focused on Facebook.

He pointed out that not only is Facebook the world’s largest social network, but that those ranked third, fourth and sixth — WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Instagram — are Facebook properties.

Owning the four of the top six players in a market, Mr. Neguse said, spoke for itself. “We have a word for that,” he said. “It is called monopoly.”

Earlier in the day, in the hearing about Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra, lawmakers grilled David Marcus, a top executive.

The company has a bold goal with the project: to offer an alternative financial system that makes it possible to send money around the world with few fees. But the company has run into bipartisan resistance from Washington, including the White House.

The initiative is far from the first effort of its kind. The best-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is in wide circulation, and it introduced the idea of digital currencies that are free from government control.

But the Libra effort has put a spotlight on cryptocurrencies and amplified the voices of critics who say the technology has little value beyond speculative investing and illegal transactions, like online drug sales. Last week, the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome H. Powell, said Libra raised “serious concerns” around “money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.” Mr. Trump and the treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, have also criticized Libra and other cryptocurrencies in the past week.

Lawmakers questioned David Marcus, a top Facebook executive, about the company’s cryptocurrency project, Libra.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Senator Martha McSally, Republican of Arizona, said, “I don’t trust you guys.”

Mr. Marcus, a former PayPal executive, was handpicked by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, to lead the Libra effort.

Mr. Marcus, adopting a conciliatory tone, said the company would do its best to fight fraud and earn back the trust of the more than two billion people who use Facebook’s services regularly.

“We’ve made mistakes in the past,” Mr. Marcus said. “We have been working, and are working hard to get better.”

Google was at the center of the day’s third hearing, about censorship in search, held by a Senate subcommittee.

Republican lawmakers used the hearing to air often-repeated but largely unproven claims that Google tilts search results to bias against conservative viewpoints. Democrats called the hearing a charade and raised concerns about Google’s inability to effectively police the content on YouTube.

The Republicans took turns battering Karan Bhatia, Google’s vice president for government affairs and public policy. Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, delivered the most pointed attacks. He said it was hard to believe Google’s executives when they say that censoring search results would go against the company’s mission and ideology, considering that the search giant had been working on plans to re-enter China with a censored search engine.

“Clearly, our trust and patience in your company and your monopoly has run out,” said Mr. Hawley, who has been a vocal critic of Google.

Mr. Bhatia responded by saying that Google had abandoned plans to restart its search engine in China.

Mr. Cruz, the chairman of the subcommittee, said Congress needed to rethink the legal immunity for internet companies, established in 1996, that protects them from liability for content posted by users. The law, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, has allowed platforms like Google’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to grow rapidly without concern of being held liable for content on those services.

Even before the hearing that focused on Google, the president applied his own brand of pressure with an early morning tweet. He said that his administration “will investigate” remarks from the billionaire investor Peter Thiel, who said that Google had been infiltrated by the Chinese intelligence. Mr. Thiel also accused the technology giant of treason for refusing to work with the Pentagon on a future artificial intelligence project while agreeing to work with the Chinese military. He provided no evidence for his allegations.

A Google spokeswoman said in a statement that the company had not worked with the Chinese military and that it had cooperated with the American government in many areas such as cybersecurity, recruiting and health care.

When asked whether Chinese intelligence had infiltrated the company’s management, software or private data during the hearing, Mr. Bhatia said: “Absolutely not.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Read the House Resolution Condemning ‘Trump’s Racist Comments Directed at Members of Congress’

Westlake Legal Group 16dc-resolutiontext-facebookJumbo Read the House Resolution Condemning ‘Trump’s Racist Comments Directed at Members of Congress’ United States Politics and Government Race and Ethnicity House of Representatives

The House of Representatives voted Tuesday on a resolution condemning recent remarks by President Trump as “racist comments that have legitimized increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color.”

Mr. Trump had attacked four congresswomen of color — Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts — saying they could “go back” to the countries from which they came, though all but one were born in the United States.

Mr. Trump defended himself. “Those Tweets were NOT Racist,” he tweeted. “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body! The so-called vote to be taken is a Democrat con game. Republicans should not show ‘weakness’ and fall into their trap.”

[Read the latest coverage on the vote.]

The following is the text of the resolution, as released by Congress.

_________________________

Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 15, 2019

Mr. Malinowski (for himself, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Mr. García of Illinois, Mr. Carbajal, Ms. Omar, Mr. Krishnamoorthi, Ms. Mucarsel-Powell, Mrs. Torres of California, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Tlaib, Ms. Pressley, Mr. Raskin, Ms. Jackson Lee, and Mr. Espaillat) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

RESOLUTION

Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.

Whereas the Founders conceived America as a haven of refuge for people fleeing from religious and political persecution, and Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison all emphasized that the Nation gained as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their families;

Whereas the Declaration of Independence defined America as a covenant based on equality, the unalienable Rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and government by the consent of the people;

Whereas Benjamin Franklin said at the Constitutional convention, “When foreigners after looking about for some other Country in which they can obtain more happiness, give a preference to ours, it is a proof of attachment which ought to excite our confidence and affection”;

Whereas President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists”;

Whereas immigration of people from all over the Earth has defined every stage of American history and propelled our social, economic, political, scientific, cultural, artistic, and technological progress as a people, and all Americans, except for the descendants of Native people and enslaved African Americans, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants;

Whereas the commitment to immigration and asylum has been not a partisan cause but a powerful national value that has infused the work of many Presidents;

Whereas American patriotism is defined not by race or ethnicity but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion, and democracy and by service to our communities and struggle for the common good;

Whereas President John F. Kennedy, whose family came to the United States from Ireland, stated in his 1958 book “A Nation of Immigrants” that “The contribution of immigrants can be seen in every aspect of our national life. We see it in religion, in politics, in business, in the arts, in education, even in athletics and entertainment. There is no part of our nation that has not been touched by our immigrant background. Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”;

Whereas President Ronald Reagan in his last speech as President conveyed “An observation about a country which I love”;

Whereas as President Reagan observed, the torch of Lady Liberty symbolizes our freedom and represents our heritage, the compact with our parents, our grandparents, and our ancestors, and it is the Statue of Liberty and its values that give us our great and special place in the world;

Whereas other countries may seek to compete with us, but in one vital area, as “a beacon of freedom and opportunity that draws the people of the world, no country on Earth comes close”;

Whereas it is the great life force of “each generation of new Americans that guarantees that America’s triumph shall continue unsurpassed” through the 21st century and beyond and is part of the “magical, intoxicating power of America”;

Whereas this is “one of the most important sources of America’s greatness: we lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people — our strength — from every country and every corner of the world, and by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation”;

Whereas “thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we’re a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge”, always leading the world to the next frontier;

Whereas this openness is vital to our future as a Nation, and “if we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost”; and

Whereas President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) believes that immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger, and that those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations;

(2) is committed to keeping America open to those lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from violence and oppression, and those who are willing to work hard to live the American Dream, no matter their race, ethnicity, faith, or country of origin; and

(3) strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.

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Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda

Congressional Republicans, members of their staffs and conservative activists regularly flew first class to Saipan, an island just north of Guam in the Pacific Ocean. They slept at the beachfront Hyatt Regency, and dined on fresh Japanese cuisine.

The junkets in the late 1990s were organized by Patrick Pizzella. The Northern Mariana Islands, a commonwealth of the United States, had hired him to ensure that Congress did not impose federal minimum wage and immigration laws in a place where some workers earned less than $1 an hour.

Mr. Pizzella, a genial lobbyist and government official who has spent years advocating the interests of businesses, is set to become the top Trump administration official protecting workers’ rights when he takes over as acting labor secretary this week. He will fill the vacancy left when Alex Acosta resigned amid criticism of a plea deal he approved in 2008 with Jeffrey Epstein, the financier who has been accused of sex trafficking.

A longtime free-market evangelist, Mr. Pizzella, 65, has built a four-decade career in the conservative Republican mold, fighting regulation and organized labor.

His appointment is far more consequential than those of the many acting secretaries who have served in President Trump’s patchwork cabinet. The man he succeeds, Mr. Acosta, spent two years battling other White House officials who demanded that he push through a sweeping anti-union agenda and coordinate his actions with the president’s political team.

Mr. Pizzella, who is close to many of the conservatives allied with Mr. Trump’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, and on Vice President Mike Pence’s staff, is expected to be a significantly more cooperative partner in those efforts, according to administration and industry officials.

“Pat will be great — he is a movement conservative,” said Marc Short, Mr. Pence’s chief of staff and a friend of Mr. Pizzella’s for two decades. “I think it’s fair to say that while he will be focused on issues of workplace safety, he will also work to ensure that the workplace is not overly burdened with regulations.”

When he filled the lone Republican slot at the Federal Labor Relations Authority during the Obama administration, Mr. Pizzella compared union representatives to the mob-connected bosses from the Marlon Brando film “On the Waterfront.” He cheered a federal-court decision that struck down potential restrictions on investigating unions. As a Labor Department official during President George W. Bush’s administration in 2008, he bemoaned the “staggering costs” of paid work time that government employees used to conduct union business, which is authorized by labor law and union contracts.

Mr. Trump has sent mixed messages about his stance on organized labor. He has courted construction and law enforcement unions while taking a harder line against most government employees. But the conservatives who run his West Wing policy shop are less ambivalent, pushing hard to undermine unions’ ability to bargain collectively, raise dues and exert political power.

Those ambitions suffered when Mr. Trump’s first choice for labor secretary, the fast food executive Andrew Puzder, withdrew his nomination early in 2017 amid controversy over domestic abuse allegations. The administration turned instead to Mr. Acosta, a relatively moderate former prosecutor, who essentially inherited Mr. Pizzella as a deputy secretary already slated to work for Mr. Puzder.

Soon after Mr. Acosta took office, his aides were presented with a detailed to-do list by James Sherk, who coordinates labor policy for the White House’s Domestic Policy Council and joined the administration from the conservative Heritage Foundation.

The list, which was provided to The New York Times by a person who had obtained it from a former Trump administration official, included proposals to weaken collective bargaining rights and protections for workers on federally funded construction projects. The list also included a proposal that would have forced male actors in pornographic films to wear condoms.

Mr. Acosta rejected outright or dragged his feet on many of the plans, including the condom regulation, according to a person close to him and administration officials.

“We’re the Department of Labor, we’re not the Department of Commerce,” the secretary complained privately last year, the person close to him recalled.

Mr. Sherk gained a powerful new ally when Mr. Trump named Mr. Mulvaney acting chief of staff in January. Still, Mr. Acosta insisted that pursuing such a hard-line agenda would alienate the president’s blue-collar union supporters and make it more difficult to garner labor support for a new version of the North American Free Trade Agreement that is awaiting a vote by the Democratic-controlled House, according to a current administration official with direct knowledge of the situation.

Mr. Acosta also resisted efforts to involve the Labor Department in broader political fights. In April, the White House sent Mr. Acosta’s office a request from Kellyanne Conway, a counselor to the president, and other White House officials asking him to write an opinion column saying that a so-called Medicare-for-all proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont would hurt employers and workers, according to a copy of the request viewed by The Times.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_157767363_9ad5d9aa-f086-4f43-bfdf-b07ce9904ba8-articleLarge Trump’s New Top Labor Official Is Expected to Advance an Anti-Labor Agenda United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Pizzella, Patrick Organized Labor Labor Department (US) Labor and Jobs Conservatism (US Politics) Appointments and Executive Changes

Alex Acosta, the secretary of labor, defended a plea deal he reached with Jeffrey Epstein in 2008 during a news conference last week.CreditErik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock

Mr. Acosta refused after his legal advisers determined that the request raised “red flags” related to the Hatch Act, a federal law that prohibits the use of government resources for political activity, according to memos provided by a former administration official.

“It should be expected that the White House and cabinet agencies, including the Department of Labor, would have frequent conversations around potential policy ideas particularly as it relates to the president’s priority of deregulation,” said Judd Deere, a White House spokesman.

White House officials have good reason to expect more cooperation from Mr. Pizzella.

As an undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina, he wrote columns for the school newspaper, including one in 1972 in which he criticized Senator George McGovern, the recently defeated Democratic presidential nominee, for sending his daughter to an upscale suburban school near Washington.

“The hypocrisy continues as McGovern expresses the opinion that he represents the working man,” Mr. Pizzella wrote. “That’s similar to Hitler saying he represented the Jewish people in Germany during the 1930s.”

After college, Mr. Pizzella went on to work for Ronald Reagan in the 1976 Republican primaries, according to a 2001 profile in The New Republic. He subsequently held a series of government appointments, building a formidable list of conservative contacts.

In the mid-1990s, Mr. Pizzella joined the lobbying arm of the law firm Preston Gates, where Jack Abramoff, who was later convicted of defrauding clients, had set up a growing lobbying practice. One of the firm’s biggest clients in the late 1990s was the Northern Mariana Islands, which was exempt from federal minimum wage and immigration laws but could sell products under a “Made in the U.S.A.” label.

Large textile manufacturers set up production on the islands. Migrant workers, typically from China and the Philippines, worked long hours for low pay and lived in squalid, crowded dormitories. A 1997 federal government report concluded that nearly the entire private-sector labor force of the commonwealth consisted of “essentially indentured alien workers.”

The report said that foreign women were often coerced into prostitution, and that those who refused were sometimes raped or tortured.

It was Mr. Pizzella’s job to present a kinder, gentler image of the commonwealth to Republicans in Congress and their staffs, who controlled the House and Senate at the time. Allen Stayman, an Interior Department official involved in investigating conditions on the islands, said Mr. Pizzella “was in charge of showing the Potemkin village.”

One person on a trip to the commonwealth organized by Mr. Pizzella recalled meetings with senior officials of the local government in which the officials discussed their interest in making the commonwealth a laboratory for conservative policies like school vouchers. Mr. Pizzella also showed visitors factories and dormitories that were crowded but clean.

The lobbying efforts were effective. Legislation that would have applied the minimum wage and immigration laws to the commonwealth went nowhere in the House in the 1990s. At his 2017 confirmation hearings to become deputy labor secretary, Mr. Pizzella dismissed the reported abuses as “allegations” and said his job was strictly to lobby against the minimum wage.

Mr. Pizzella joined Mr. Bush’s administration in 2001, serving for nearly eight years as an assistant labor secretary for administration and management, but the Obama era gave him an even higher profile. As conservatives mobilized against Democratic policies, Mr. Pizzella joined the Conservative Action Project, which worked to establish alliances between socially and fiscally conservative organizations.

Mr. Pizzella convened meetings where conservative groups coordinated campaigns against Mr. Obama’s health care, climate change and labor policies, said Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, one such organization.

Among other things, Mr. Pizzella spread the word about bus tours meant to build opposition to the Affordable Care Act. “We would say: ‘Hey, Pat, we’re doing these bus tours in these states on these days. Could you let the rest of the movement know?’” Mr. Phillips recalled. “And they would.”

In 2013, Mr. Pizzella was nominated by the Obama administration to be the only Republican on the three-member Federal Labor Relations Authority, which adjudicates disputes between federal workers and the agencies that employ them.

In several cases, Mr. Pizzella used cutting language to describe employees and identified them by name in his opinions, breaking with the agency’s traditional approach of withholding names. The naming and disparaging of workers risked exposing them to harassment, said Carol Waller Pope, the agency’s chairwoman for most of Mr. Pizzella’s tenure. (The authority typically named only the union bringing the grievance.)

“It could discourage people from using the process to resolve disputes — that was our mission,” Ms. Pope said. “I viewed it as having an effect.”

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Trump’s Policies, Not His Heckling, May Force Fed to Cut Rates

Westlake Legal Group 16DC-FED-facebookJumbo Trump’s Policies, Not His Heckling, May Force Fed to Cut Rates United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Customs (Tariff) Banking and Financial Institutions

WASHINGTON — President Trump lacks official power to make the Federal Reserve cut interest rates, but he may have found a way to force its hand: stoking economic uncertainty.

The Fed’s chair, Jerome H. Powell, has signaled that he and his colleagues could cut interest rates at their upcoming meeting as inflation remains stubbornly low and risks, including Mr. Trump’s trade war with China, threaten economic growth. Mr. Powell, speaking in Paris on Tuesday, reiterated that the Fed would act as appropriate to sustain the economic expansion.

Mr. Trump continues to keep the Fed — and the world — on policy tenterhooks, saying at the White House on Tuesday that there was a long way to go to reach a trade deal with China and suggesting he could still impose tariffs on more Chinese goods. The president, speaking during a meeting of his cabinet, also took a swipe at the Fed, saying, “We would have done even better had we had a Federal Reserve that didn’t raise interest rates so quickly.”

Mr. Trump said China was under no such pressure from its central bank, noting that President Xi Jinping was “his own Fed.”

“They’re pumping money into their system, and they’re lowering rates very substantially,” he said.

The White House’s assault on the central bank, underway for about a year now, is unlikely to directly influence Fed policy. But by roiling trade tensions, Mr. Trump is continuing to throw uncertainty into a global economy that is already struggling with weakened demand from China and a slowdown in manufacturing.

That, rather than his badgering, could force the Fed’s hand, helping to lock in a rate cut at its meeting on July 30 and 31.

Uncertainties about the economic outlook “have increased, however, particularly regarding trade developments and global growth,” Mr. Powell said in prepared remarks delivered in France, also emphasizing risks including the debt ceiling.

“We are carefully monitoring these developments and assessing their implications for the U.S. economic outlook and inflation, and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” he said.

An interest-rate cut now could seem unusual, because unemployment is at a nearly 50-year low, growth is holding up and the stock market has recently touched record highs. While Mr. Trump regularly celebrates that economic progress, his trade policies could crimp the expansion.

The Trump administration has already placed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and is threatening to impose them on another $300 billion of goods — practically all remaining imports from China — if the country does not meet America’s demands. Mr. Trump has also threatened auto tariffs on Europe and Japan, a move that would hit German carmakers particularly hard.

Cutting rates could provide an economic backstop and signal that central bankers are ready and willing to act should geopolitical risks escalate or persist, causing economic data to further sour. Because policy works at a lag, moving early and pre-emptively could offer perks.

“Trade uncertainties have helped to contribute to global growth deceleration,” Robert S. Kaplan, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said in Washington on Tuesday, noting that many large American companies do business overseas and will suffer as a result. “We are not immune to spillovers from decelerating global growth.”

Mr. Kaplan has not made up his mind over whether a rate cut is needed, though he is “open” to discussing one. He said that if the Fed made a move, it should be “tactical” and “limited.”

Charles L. Evans, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said at a CNBC event on Tuesday that “on the basis of inflation alone, I could feel confident in arguing for a couple of rate cuts before the end of the year.”

The accumulating risks come as inflation is already well below the Fed’s 2 percent goal. The central bank aims for low but steady price gains, which guard against economy-harming deflation and give companies headroom to raise wages.

Fed officials have “raised concerns about a more prolonged shortfall in inflation below our 2 percent target,” Mr. Powell said on Tuesday.

Investors fully expect the Fed to cut rates at their July meeting, based on pricing in federal funds futures markets. The central bank’s pre-meeting quiet period starts Saturday, so their chances to change that perception are increasingly limited.

Mr. Powell also addressed the importance of shoring up trust in central banks at a time when “our audience has become more varied, more attuned to our actions and less trusting of public institutions.”

He said such trends meant that central bankers “must speak to Main Street, as well as Wall Street, in ways we have not in the past, and Main Street is listening and engaged.”

In Washington, his colleague Mr. Kaplan underlined the importance of central bank independence, saying that it allows monetary policymakers to ensure low unemployment and stable prices in the longer term — preventing short-term thinking that sacrifices comfort down the road for stronger growth today.

“A sign of a successful economy has been an independent central bank,” Mr. Kaplan said. “Independence has to be earned: It means you have to be susceptible to transparency, oversight.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump’s Policies, Not His Heckling, May Force Fed to Cut Rates

Westlake Legal Group 16DC-FED-facebookJumbo Trump’s Policies, Not His Heckling, May Force Fed to Cut Rates United States Politics and Government United States Economy Trump, Donald J International Trade and World Market Interest Rates Inflation (Economics) Federal Reserve System Customs (Tariff) Banking and Financial Institutions

WASHINGTON — President Trump lacks official power to make the Federal Reserve cut interest rates, but he may have found a way to force its hand: stoking economic uncertainty.

The Fed’s chair, Jerome H. Powell, has signaled that he and his colleagues could cut interest rates at their upcoming meeting as inflation remains stubbornly low and risks, including Mr. Trump’s trade war with China, threaten economic growth. Mr. Powell, speaking in Paris on Tuesday, reiterated that the Fed would act as appropriate to sustain the economic expansion.

Mr. Trump continues to keep the Fed — and the world — on policy tenterhooks, saying at the White House on Tuesday that there was a long way to go to reach a trade deal with China and suggesting he could still impose tariffs on more Chinese goods. The president, speaking during a meeting of his cabinet, also took a swipe at the Fed, saying, “We would have done even better had we had a Federal Reserve that didn’t raise interest rates so quickly.”

Mr. Trump said China was under no such pressure from its central bank, noting that President Xi Jinping was “his own Fed.”

“They’re pumping money into their system, and they’re lowering rates very substantially,” he said.

The White House’s assault on the central bank, underway for about a year now, is unlikely to directly influence Fed policy. But by roiling trade tensions, Mr. Trump is continuing to throw uncertainty into a global economy that is already struggling with weakened demand from China and a slowdown in manufacturing.

That, rather than his badgering, could force the Fed’s hand, helping to lock in a rate cut at its meeting on July 30 and 31.

Uncertainties about the economic outlook “have increased, however, particularly regarding trade developments and global growth,” Mr. Powell said in prepared remarks delivered in France, also emphasizing risks including the debt ceiling.

“We are carefully monitoring these developments and assessing their implications for the U.S. economic outlook and inflation, and will act as appropriate to sustain the expansion,” he said.

An interest-rate cut now could seem unusual, because unemployment is at a nearly 50-year low, growth is holding up and the stock market has recently touched record highs. While Mr. Trump regularly celebrates that economic progress, his trade policies could crimp the expansion.

The Trump administration has already placed tariffs on $250 billion of Chinese goods, and is threatening to impose them on another $300 billion of goods — practically all remaining imports from China — if the country does not meet America’s demands. Mr. Trump has also threatened auto tariffs on Europe and Japan, a move that would hit German carmakers particularly hard.

Cutting rates could provide an economic backstop and signal that central bankers are ready and willing to act should geopolitical risks escalate or persist, causing economic data to further sour. Because policy works at a lag, moving early and pre-emptively could offer perks.

“Trade uncertainties have helped to contribute to global growth deceleration,” Robert S. Kaplan, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said in Washington on Tuesday, noting that many large American companies do business overseas and will suffer as a result. “We are not immune to spillovers from decelerating global growth.”

Mr. Kaplan has not made up his mind over whether a rate cut is needed, though he is “open” to discussing one. He said that if the Fed made a move, it should be “tactical” and “limited.”

Charles L. Evans, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, said at a CNBC event on Tuesday that “on the basis of inflation alone, I could feel confident in arguing for a couple of rate cuts before the end of the year.”

The accumulating risks come as inflation is already well below the Fed’s 2 percent goal. The central bank aims for low but steady price gains, which guard against economy-harming deflation and give companies headroom to raise wages.

Fed officials have “raised concerns about a more prolonged shortfall in inflation below our 2 percent target,” Mr. Powell said on Tuesday.

Investors fully expect the Fed to cut rates at their July meeting, based on pricing in federal funds futures markets. The central bank’s pre-meeting quiet period starts Saturday, so their chances to change that perception are increasingly limited.

Mr. Powell also addressed the importance of shoring up trust in central banks at a time when “our audience has become more varied, more attuned to our actions and less trusting of public institutions.”

He said such trends meant that central bankers “must speak to Main Street, as well as Wall Street, in ways we have not in the past, and Main Street is listening and engaged.”

In Washington, his colleague Mr. Kaplan underlined the importance of central bank independence, saying that it allows monetary policymakers to ensure low unemployment and stable prices in the longer term — preventing short-term thinking that sacrifices comfort down the road for stronger growth today.

“A sign of a successful economy has been an independent central bank,” Mr. Kaplan said. “Independence has to be earned: It means you have to be susceptible to transparency, oversight.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

5% of Congress Was Born Abroad. Those Members Show What It Means to Be American.

WASHINGTON — When President Trump suggested foreign-born Americans should “go back” to the countries they were born in, he may not have realized that his entreaty could clear out five percent of Congress.

In all, 29 members of the House and Senate were born abroad, about half of them to parents serving in the military or working overseas. Republicans like Representatives Mark Meadows of North Carolina, born in an Army hospital in France, and David Rouzer, also of North Carolina and born in an Army hospital in West Germany, mostly stood by the president, who aimed his remarks at four progressive House Democratic women of color, only one of whom was born outside the United States.

“No, I don’t think it’s racist,” Mr. Rouzer said.

But to others, Mr. Trump’s words — which he repeated on Tuesday — hit home in a deeply personal way. Their feelings will be reflected in the resolution the House takes up Tuesday condemning Mr. Trump. Immigrant Democrats will lead the effort on the House floor.

“I first took the oath to support and defend the Constitution when I was 10 years old,” said Representative Tom Malinowski, who was born in Poland and came here when he was six, after his mother met an American journalist. “That’s meant a lot to me all my life.”

Mr. Trump’s “go back” remarks have long been a thread through the fabric of the United States, a nation founded by people who came from somewhere else. In every era, in every generation, and particularly in times of economic anxiety, notions of “the other” have seeped into the American psyche. But no modern president — not even Franklin D. Roosevelt, who ordered the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II — has made such aggressive use of his platform to whip up a fervor about foreigners.

That is making even some Republicans uncomfortable.

Representative Daniel Crenshaw, a freshman Republican from Texas, expressed unease with Mr. Trump’s comments. The former Navy SEAL was born to American parents in Scotland, where his father worked in the oil industry, and also spent part of his childhood in Ecuador and Colombia.

“I don’t agree with the president’s remarks, but that doesn’t mean I accept the rhetoric we hear repeatedly from this group of lawmakers either,” he said in an emailed statement. “As someone who sacrificed for our country and buried too many friends, I find the constantly negative, anti-American comments concerning and tiresome.”

There are 14 members of Congress — all Democrats, 13 in the House and one in the Senate — who became citizens after emigrating to the United States, either through naturalization or a parent’s citizenship. They come from countries like India, Peru, Mexico, Guatemala, Vietnam and Taiwan.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_152075637_77ee2f96-5862-49a4-a56e-aff20b11507c-articleLarge 5% of Congress Was Born Abroad. Those Members Show What It Means to Be American. United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J tlaib, rashida Race and Ethnicity Omar, Ilhan Ocasio-Cortez, Alexandria Immigration and Emigration Citizenship and Naturalization

Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina, who was born in an Army hospital in France, said President Trump is “not racist.”CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

Senator Mazie K. Hirono, Democrat of Hawaii, is a naturalized citizen, born in Japan; her mother came to this country fleeing an abusive husband, she said. Representative Jesús “Chuy” García, is a naturalized citizen from Mexico. Representative Adriano Espaillat, Democrat of New York, is a naturalized citizen, born in the Dominican Republic.

“I dream American. I wake up American. I have dinner as an American,” Mr. Espaillat said. “I am a Yankee fan and I love this country. It’s given me a great number of opportunities, including to be a member of Congress. For him to downgrade or even not take into consideration the kind of opportunities that this country gives these folks from all over the world, I think is sad and tragic.”

Far from making them less American, many foreign-born members of Congress said their experiences as children abroad made them far more appreciative of the freedom and opportunity in America than others who have spent little time in countries that lack such gifts.

“I grew up in Latin America at a time when most of the countries were under military dictatorship and soldiers were on corners with machine guns,” said Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut, who was born in Peru. “I think having spent the first 10 years of my life in environments like that has given me an unbelievable appreciation for the freedoms and liberties that we have here.” He said Mr. Trump “just shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the United States.”

Some white lawmakers born abroad saw a distinctly racial tinge to Mr. Trump’s singling out of women of color.

“My father got back from the Vietnam War, went to graduate school, and when he and my mom were young newlyweds, got a job outside of Dublin on a cattle feed lot,” said Representative Sean Casten, Democrat of Illinois. “They went over there, lived there for four years, I was born halfway through. No one ever called me an anchor baby.”

One of the 29, Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, was born in Canada to an American mother and Cuban father, and is thus considered a “natural born citizen” — a status Mr. Trump questioned during the 2016 Republican presidential primaries, when he suggested that Mr. Cruz “could be tied up in court for two years” if he became the party’s nominee.

At the time, Mr. Cruz brushed it off, saying on Twitter that Mr. Trump had “jumped the shark.” On Monday, many of his Republican colleagues were searching for just the right words to describe what Mr. Trump had said; Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, the Senate’s only black Republican, settled on “racially offensive.”

Mr. Cruz was not searching for words. He was zipping toward the senators-only elevator, head down, to avoid questions about it. “I have a longstanding policy that I don’t comment on tweets,” he said, moments before the elevator doors closed.

Mr. Cruz, of course, was not the first politician to have his citizenship questioned by Mr. Trump. Long before he ran for president, Mr. Trump stoked the so-called birther movement to pressure President Barack Obama to prove that he was actually born in the United States and not in Kenya, the birthplace of his father.

“This is the agenda of white nationalists, whether it is happening in chat rooms, or it is happening on national TV, and now it’s reached the White House garden,” said Representative Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, of Mr. Trump’s tweets.CreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

This time, Mr. Trump’s comments were directed at the group of Democratic freshmen known on Capitol Hill as “the Squad”: Representatives Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts. All have been deeply critical of him. On Tuesday, he misleadingly suggested they have extremely low poll numbers — an apparent reference to a recent survey of white voters with two years or less of college education, a key component of the president’s base.

Get a list of the HORRIBLE things they have said,” Mr. Trump shouted on Twitter.

Only one of the four, Ms. Omar, was born overseas; she fled war-torn Somalia with her family and spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya before coming to the United States with her family when she was 12. In an interview in December, she told of how she fended off bullies in school who stuck gum on her scarf, knocked her down stairs and jumped her when she changed clothes for gym class.

On Monday, Ms. Omar fought back. “He’s launching a blatantly racist attack on four duly elected members of the United States House of Representatives, all of whom are women of color,” she said. “This is the agenda of white nationalists, whether it is happening in chat rooms, or it is happening on national TV, and now it’s reached the White House garden.”

Mr. Meadows, one of the president’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, pushed back, saying the real fight was over the president’s policies on the border, which Ms. Omar and the others vociferously oppose.

“He’s not racist,” Mr. Meadows said. “I probably talk to him more than anybody else, and he’s certainly not a racist.”

Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi, Democrat of Illinois, came to the United States when he was three months old. His father moved to Buffalo to study engineering, and his family lived in public housing and on food stamps before they moved to Peoria, Ill., to start, as Mr. Krishnamoorthi put it, “the golden period in our lives.”

“People lifted you up and embraced you, and that’s America, that will always color my image of America,” he said, reflecting on his childhood. But he said racist heckles and taunts grew more prominent as he became an adult, during road rage situations in traffic and the like.

“I’m an ethnic, religious and a racial minority, and I’m an immigrant,” he said. “When the president says what he says, it hits home in a bigger way.”

Other immigrant lawmakers — at least the Democrats — said Mr. Trump is assailing the very idea of what it means to be an American, among them Representative Raul Ruiz, a doctor and California Democrat who was born in Mexico and is the first Latino to earn three graduate degrees from Harvard University.

“Being American is not defined by color of skin or eyes or hair or any accent,” he said. “Being American is defined by our ideas, by our diversity and by the land that we call home.”

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Facebook Cryptocurrency Plans Have a Problem: Facebook’s Reputation

Westlake Legal Group 16libra-facebookJumbo Facebook Cryptocurrency Plans Have a Problem: Facebook’s Reputation Zuckerberg, Mark E Virtual Currency United States Politics and Government United States Trump, Donald J Stocks and Bonds Social Media Senate Committee on Banking Securities and Exchange Commission Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Powell, Jerome H PayPal Money Laundering Mnuchin, Steven T Marcus, David A Libra (Currency) House Financial Services Committee Federal Trade Commission Federal Reserve System Facebook Inc E-Commerce Consumer Protection Computers and the Internet Brown, Sherrod Bitcoin (Currency) Banking and Financial Institutions

Lawmakers made it clear at a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Tuesday that they believe the biggest roadblock to Facebook’s plan to enter the world of cryptocurrency and global finance is the company’s reputation.

Facebook’s cryptocurrency project, Libra, has been in the works for more than a year. It has an ambitious goal: to offer an alternative financial system that makes it possible to send money around the world with few fees.

But almost immediately, the company has run into resistance from Washington.

“Facebook is dangerous,” Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, said at the hearing. “Facebook has said ‘just trust us.’ And every time Americans trust you, they seem to get burned.”

The initiative is far from the first effort of its kind. The best-known cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, is in wide circulation, and it introduced the idea of digital currencies that are free from government control.

But the Libra effort has put a spotlight on cryptocurrencies and amplified the voices of critics who say the technology has little value beyond speculative investing and illegal transactions, like online drug sales.

When Facebook announced Libra in June, it also faced immediate skepticism from people who are wary of the power the social media company has already accumulated. Within days, regulators in Washington were calling for hearings on Facebook’s plans.

That concern was obvious on Tuesday when members of the committee questioned David Marcus, who leads the company’s cryptocurrency initiative, for more than two hours. Mr. Marcus was asked about a range of Facebook controversies, from lax protection of the private information of its users to Russian disinformation on Facebook’s platforms to claims that is tries to muzzle conservative viewpoints.

“Why in the world should Facebook of all companies do this?” asked Senator Brian Schatz, a Democrat from Hawaii. “Maybe before you do a new thing you should make sure you have your own shop fixed.”

Mr. Marcus, adopting a conciliatory tone, said the company would do its best to fight fraud and to earn back the trust of the more than two billion people who use Facebook’s services regularly.

“We’ve made mistakes in the past,” Mr. Marcus said. “We have been working, and are working hard to get better.”

The Senate session was the first in a day of Capitol Hill hearings involving the technology industry. House lawmakers were set to question multiple tech executives at an afternoon hearing focused on competition issues as part of a broad antitrust inquiry. And Google executives were scheduled to face questions at another hearing on the subject of whether the company censors conservative voices.

Facebook officials will also have to answer more questions about the company’s cryptocurrency plans in a House Financial Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.

Some lawmakers and regulators — most notably at the Securities and Exchange Commission — have been raising concerns about the legality and usefulness of cryptocurrencies for some time.

The involvement of Facebook, which has faced an onslaught of controversy over the last two years and is expected to pay a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, has put a charge into those discussions.

Last week, the chair of the Federal Reserve, Jerome H. Powell, said Libra raised “serious concerns” around “money laundering, consumer protection and financial stability.”

“I just think it cannot go forward without there being broad satisfaction with the way the company has addressed money laundering” and other issues, Mr. Powell said as he testified before the House Financial Services Committee. Central bankers from Britain, China, France, Singapore and the European Central Bank have all voiced similar concerns.

President Trump also criticized Libra and Bitcoin, writing on Twitter last week that the digital tokens were “highly volatile and based on thin air.”

And at a news conference on Monday afternoon, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also raised questions about Libra and other cryptocurrencies. Facebook has “a lot of work to do before we get to the point where we’re comfortable with it,” Mr. Mnuchin told reporters.

The issue provides a rare instance when the Trump administration is lining up with Democrats rather than other Republicans. While Democrats on the Senate Banking Committee lashed into Facebook, several Republicans on the committee voiced support for Facebook and its new initiative.

“I just think we should be exploring this and considering the benefits as well as the risks,” said Patrick Toomey, a Republican from Pennsylvania. “To announce in advance that we have to strangle this baby in the crib seems wildly premature.”

But not all Republicans on the committee were so positive.

Martha McSally, a Republican from Arizona, said “I don’t trust you guys.”

And Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, worried that conservatives would not be treated fairly in the Libra system, echoing a frequent Republican talking point about the liberal bias of tech companies.

Mr. Marcus, a former PayPal executive, was handpicked by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, to lead the Libra effort.

Facebook’s role in the project will be run through a subsidiary company called Calibra, led by Mr. Marcus and other top Facebook employees. If the Libra digital token become popular, Calibra could build a business around offering customer financial services, including loans and other actions traditionally offered by the banking industry.

A separate entity called the Libra Association, whose proposed board would include more than a dozen partners in the tech and financial industries, would manage the cryptocurrency system once it is up and running, which Facebook is hoping to do next year.

Mr. Brown asked if there was any amount of opposition that would convince Facebook to scrap Libra.

“Is there anything that elected leaders can say that will convince you and Facebook that it should not launch this currency?” he said.

Mr. Marcus said that the company would not move ahead with the project until the concerns of regulators are answered.

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