Posts tagged with "Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire)"

Biden pushes South Carolina as first primary state, elevates Georgia and Michigan

December 5, 2022

President Joe Biden has asked leaders of the Democratic National Committee to make South Carolina the nation’s first primary state, followed by New Hampshire and Nevada a week later; and to hold subsequent weekly primaries in Georgia and Michigan, according to Democrats briefed on the plans, reports The Washington Post.

The tectonic decision to remake his party’s presidential nominating calendar for 2024 came as a shock to party officials and state leaders who had been lobbying hard in recent weeks to gain a place in the early calendar, which historically attracts millions of dollars in candidate spending and attention. While many in the party had long anticipated changes, the specific order Biden proposed had generated little if any chatter in Democratic circles. Much of the talk among Democrats had not focused much on either South Carolina going first or Georgia joining the early mix.

The proposal is likely to win approval from the Democratic officials, given the support from the leader of the party. By breaking with decades of tradition, Biden’s move is meant to signal his party’s commitment to elevating more variety—demographic, geographic, and economic—in the early nominating process. Iowa, a largely White state that historically held the nation’s first Democratic caucus and experienced embarrassing problems tabulating results in 2020, would have no early role in the Biden plan.

“We must ensure that voters of color have a voice in choosing our nominee much earlier in the process and throughout the entire early window,” Biden wrote in a letter to members of the Rules and Bylaws Committee that was delivered on Thursday evening, December 1, as members planned to meet for dinner. “As I said in February 2020, you cannot be the Democratic nominee and win a general election unless you have overwhelming support from voters of color—and that includes Black, Brown, and Asian American & Pacific Islander voters.”

The new calendar would run through states that were pivotal to Biden’s victory in the 2020 nominating fight and general election, suggesting he is serious about following through on his public statements about intending to seek reelection. In the Thursday letter, Biden told fellow Democrats that he did not want to bind the party to the same calendar in 2028.

“The Rules and Bylaws Committee should review the calendar every four years, to ensure that it continues to reflect the values and diversity of our party and our country,” he wrote.

The plan is expected to face resistance from some of the affected states. Democrats in New Hampshire said Thursday night that they would not abide by Biden’s wishes. New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, a Republican, has also said he would follow state law and hold his state’s primary a week before any other.

“The DNC did not give New Hampshire the first-in-the-nation primary and it is not theirs to take away,” New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley said in a statement. “This news is obviously disappointing, but we will be holding our primary first. We have survived past attempts over the decades and we will survive this.”

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) called the Biden recommendation “tremendously disappointing.” Senator Maggie Hassan (D-New Hampshire) said in a statement that it was “deeply misguided.”

Iowa Democrats also signaled resistance to the plan. “This is merely a recommendation,” said Scott Brennan, Iowa’s representative on the Rules and Bylaws Committee. “We’re going to stand up for Iowa’s place in the process.”

“This is a principled decision. Fundamentally, he felt that this was an opportunity,” said one Biden adviser, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to more openly describe the president’s decision to prioritize states with more diverse electorates. “He has done it with the Supreme Court. He has done it with his Cabinet and his administration. He just felt it was very important.”

The Michigan delegation greeted the news as a success. “This president knows that any road to the White House has to go through the heartland of America,” said Representative Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan), who had helped to lead her state’s bid. “To me this has been a 30-year quest,” she said, referring to her work with the late Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) to get the state on the early calendar.

South Carolina Democrats also welcomed the news. “It appears as though President Biden is not only transforming our country,” Trav Robertson, chair of the South Carolina Democratic Party, wrote in a text message. “He’s transforming the way in which we nominate presidents. He is going to have a lasting impact on America.”

“I got into politics because of civil rights and the possibility to change our imperfect union into something better,” Biden wrote on Thursday. “For 50 years, the first month of our presidential nominating process has been a treasured part of our democratic process, but it is time to update the process for the 21st century.”

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Is the POTUS ‘obstructing justice’ by demanding declassification of Mueller probe documents?

September 19, 2018

The POTUS is treading a thin line, between obstruction of justice and presidential privilege.

On September 17, President Donald Trump directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice to immediately declassify portions of the June 2017 FISA court application regarding former Trump campaign adviser Carter W.Page, according to a report by the Huffington Post.

The president also demanded the public release of text messages exchanged by former FBI employees Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. Trump’s defenders on Capitol Hill and in the conservative media have routinely used the Strzok-Page text messages to undermine the Mueller probe and suggest that the FBI is biased against Trump, the news outlet said.

In immediate response to the order, Representative Adam Schiff (D-California-28th District), ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, sent out a tweet at 8:08 p.m. on September 17, remarking: “President Trump has intervened again in a pending investigation by ordering the selective disclosure of classified materials he believes to be helpful to his defense. The DOJ and FBI have previously informed me that release of some of this information would cross a ‘red line.’”

In a statement picked up by MSN, Schiff characterized the president’s order as “a clear abuse of power,” suggesting that Trump  “has decided to intervene in a pending law enforcement investigation by ordering the selective release of materials he believes are helpful to his defense team and thinks will advance a false narrative.”

Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia-11th District) also came out against the release of documents, tweeting shortly after 8 p.m. on September 17, “More obstruction from the President.”

And Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) tweeted on September 18,”The President is trying to undermine an active investigation through reckless declassification. We need an independent DOJ to do everything possible to protect sources and methods.”

The FBI previously had released a heavily redacted version of the Page FISA application in July. Trump also ordered the public release of texts messages sent by former FBI Director James Comey, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, as well as Justice Department official Bruce Ohr. The president also ordered the release of notes on meetings with Ohr, who relayed information to the FBI collected by former British spy Christopher Steele about Trump’s relationship with Russia.

According to the Huffington Post, a Justice Department spokesperson said late on September 17 that the DOJ and FBI were “already working with the Director of National Intelligence to comply with the President’s order.”

The president’s order, the spokesperson said, triggered “a declassification review process that is conducted by various agencies within the intelligence community, in conjunction with the White House Counsel, to seek to ensure the safety of America’s national security interests.”

Research contact: ryan.reilly@huffingtonpost.com