Politics Headlines
Subscribe To This Feed

Willard/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- So the government shut down at 12:01 a.m. EST on Saturday after lawmakers unsuccessfully brokered a plan to continue government funding into next week.

But how will various branches and agencies of the federal government respond? Below, a primer of what to expect:

Some history

There have been 12 shutdowns since 1981, ranging in duration from a single day to 21 days, according to the Congressional Research Service. The last shutdown happened in 2013 and lasted 16 days.

Nearly 800,000 federal employees were out of work without pay. In addition, more than a million other working employees had their paychecks delayed. On day five of the shutdown, Congress voted to give the furloughed government employees retroactive pay.

Meanwhile, some members of Congress kept collecting their paychecks, while others voluntarily gave up their checks. According to estimates by the financial services company Standards & Poor’s, the last government shutdown cost America $24 billion, or $1.5 billion a day.

Congress still gets paid

It's the ultimate paradox. Salaries for members of the House and Senate are written into permanent law. That's why politicians get paid even in the event that congress can't agree on a bill to fund the government.

“Due to their constitutional responsibilities and a permanent appropriation for congressional pay, Members of Congress are not subject to furlough. Additionally, Article I, Section 6, of the Constitution states that Members of Congress ‘shall receive a Compensation for their Services, to be ascertained by Law, and paid out of the Treasury of the United States,’ and the 27th Amendment states, ‘No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.’”

What happens to the military?


Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan issued guidance to top Department of Defense heads, including service secretaries, under secretaries of defense, and commanders of combatant commands, on Friday that outlines how the department functions in the absence of government funds.

The department lists "excepted" activities that it considers essential services during a government shutdown. At the top of that list is national security.

U.S. military options around the world continue unaffected, including the war in Afghanistan and ongoing operations in Iraq and Syria. All active duty (and reserve components on federal active duty) continue to work during a shutdown. Civilian personnel with the Department of the Defense who are deemed essential to "excepted" activities will also continue to work. However, both groups would not be paid until after the shutdown ends.

Non-essential Department of Defense civilian employees will be furloughed. During the 2013 shutdown, 400,000 of the department's 800,000 civilian workers were furloughed without pay, though they were later repaid after the shutdown.

Government contracts that were fully funded prior to the shutdown will continue, but new contracts (including renewals or extensions) will be halted.

Additionally, families will not receive the $100,000 death benefit provided for fallen service members. That money can cover funeral costs and family travel. It also helps to bridge the sudden halt of once-regular paychecks that the deceased was receiving -- paychecks that end immediately after the individual is killed.

During the 2013 shutdown, Congress worked to mitigate the shutdown's effects on the Department of Defense by passing a bill allowing for the death benefits to continue. Another bill allowed service members and "essential" Department of Defense civilian personnel to be exempt from the pay freeze.

What happens at the Department of Justice?

Out of 114,647 employees, 95,102 are excepted from furlough, representing 83 percent of DOJ employees. Most of these exempt employees, 72,242, are necessary to protect life and property.

Criminal litigation will continue without interruption, but civil litigation will be curtailed or postponed as long as safety of human life or protection of property are not impacted. Administrative services will curtailed and maintained only to the extent needed to support operations. Training will largely be cancelled.

What happens to the special counsel's Russia investigation?

The Special Counsel’s work will continue, as it is funded through a permanent indefinite appropriation. The Special Counsel’s Office is funded with a permanent indefinite appropriation and all direct employees are excepted positions because their funding is not dependent upon an appropriations that require renewal.

The U.S. District Court in Washington, DC, would have roughly three weeks of budgetary pad, meaning they can keep the lights on and doors open.

What happens at the State Department? Passport services?

The State Department provided guidance to its employees on Friday in advance of a potential shutdown.

Starting Monday, the agency would furlough non-essential personnel and require them not to work or even use their government-issued laptops or cell phones – although they could come in for four hours to finish any required work and prepare for when the shutdown ends.

Because some U.S. missions overseas are open Sunday to Thursday, those missions would move into restricted operations starting Sunday.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said Thursday that the agency will do its best to “minimize the impact on the American people,” including passport and visa services. According to the agency’s internal guidance, “Consular operations domestically and abroad will remain 100% operational as long as there are sufficient fees to support operations” and except if housed in a different government building that is forced to close.

It’s the secretary’s office that reviews the available options and will make a decision, but they have no numbers yet on possible furloughs or anything.

 “We’re not going to get all excited about what may or may not happen. We will have contingency plans that we put in place and we will adhere to those,” she said. But one area that won’t be touched: “We will not pull back on areas of national security or staff security.”

Tillerson is scheduled to travel to Europe next week, and the agency is still working to determine whether or not he would go, with one State Department official saying they were still awaiting guidance from Office of Management and Budget. Nauert said Thursday that Tillerson will follow all the necessary regulations very carefully, but won’t make any decisions until necessary.

The Under Secretary of State for Management normally handles the contingency plans for a shutdown, but because that role is still vacant under the Trump administration, William Todd, the acting Director of Human Resources, sent out the agency’s guidance instead.

Tillerson himself was asked about a shutdown during a photo-op with the Jordanian Foreign Minister and said the agency is ready, but hoping there isn’t a shutdown.

“We’re ready if that’s what happens. We hope not. We hope not, but we’re ready.”

What happens to the Supreme Court?

In the event of a lapse of appropriations, the Supreme Court will continue to conduct its normal operations, and the Court building will be open to the public during its usual hours. The Court will rely on non-appropriated funds, as it has in the past, to maintain operations through the duration of short-term lapses of appropriations.

What happens at other agencies?


Staffing at most agencies will be cut to just a fraction of normal levels across federal government agencies.

Consumer Product Safety Commission: The number of employees goes from 550 to 22. Investigations generally come to a halt. It continues to implement the most critical of recalls.

National Transportation Safety Board: Employees go from 405 to 22. Most investigations cannot be launched or continued during shutdown. However, if a major transportation accident occurs, it will be investigated.

Department of Education: Employees go from 4,000 to 250, more than 150 of those are from the student financial aid office... so already-awarded grants and loans can continue as normal.

Department of Homeland Security: Staffing would go down from 232,860 to 201,700. There will still be normal security at airports, train stations, etc...

FEMA will retain more than 12,000 of its 15,000 employees. But in October of 2013, the agency's administrative support reportedly suffered (IT, HR, etc...)

US Postal Service: You'll still get your mail.

Department of Transportation: Air Traffic Controllers keep directing flights. FAA, FRA, FTA and other agency investigations generally come to a halt unless they pose an imminent threat.

Social Security: Will continue to issue checks.

EPA: Employees were told to go to work next week in the event of a shutdown. Administrator Scott Pruitt said in an email that the EPA has "sufficient resources" to stay open for a limited amount of time.

USDA: Meat, egg, and dairy inspections continue. Food stamps are still available but could run out of money. Food inspections of processed and imported food conducted by the FDA would be suspended.

Customer service at many of these agencies, including Medicare and Medicaid could be impacted due to furloughed employees.

What happens at Department of Health and Human Services?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would have a tough time supporting its annual seasonal influenza program, among other programs. Reduced staffing and worker furloughs might be needed.

Neither CDC nor the Office of Management and Budget would elaborate when asked by ABC News.

What happens to NASA?

NASA says critical work continues - which would need to be identified. The space station is at the top of the list since there are people living in orbit.

Mission Control would continue to operate 24/7 with a critical needs staff.

However, there would be no more astronaut’s tweets, because they can’t actually tweet on their own – someone on the ground needs to push it out for them. They would assess various missions and see how far along they are in development - first up is the GOLD launch - which measures what happens when space weather from above meets terrestrial weather from below - but its launching from French Guiana so that helps. NASA space station management will be talking about two spacewalks coming up at the end of the month - to do critical work to maintain the space station Canadian robotic arm. The spacewalks would proceed but NASA won’t be televising them so if you don’t get a direct NASA wired feed you won’t know anything (we get those feeds here at out office at Johnson Space Center).

What happens to National Parks?

In a break from previous shutdowns, the administration has said that national parks will be accessible if the government shuts down this weekend, perhaps in an attempt to avoid the striking images of veterans being turned away from war memorials that we saw during previous shutdowns. Roads, trails, and memorials will be open but parks will not collect entrance fees and will not be staffed for basic work like picking up trash, staffing visitors centers, or issuing permits. Campgrounds will be closed.

According to the National Park Service contingency plan only 3,300 employees are deemed essential out of almost 25,000, 650 of which are Park Police. If the Park thinks areas of the park are not safe without guides the area can be closed but they cannot bring on additional staff to enforce the closure. Individual parks will have their own plans to determine what areas will be open.

What happens to the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo?

In the event of a federal government shutdown Friday night, the Smithsonian museums and its National Zoo will remain open for the weekend. The museums and the National Zoo will be closed beginning Monday, Jan. 22. The Smithsonian also has two museums in New York City that will be closed – the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum and Heye Center, a branch of the National Museum of the American Indian.

The National Zoo live-animal cameras, including the panda cam, will not be broadcasting. All the animals will continue to be fed and cared for at the National Zoo. A shutdown will not affect the Zoo’s commitment to the safety of staff and the standard excellence in animal care.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The federal government has officially shut down on the one-year anniversary that Donald Trump was sworn in as president.

Senators remained huddled on the chamber floor trying to broker a short-term plan to continue government funding into next week, but no deal appeared imminent.

The White House placed the blame squarely with Democrats.

"Senate Democrats own the 'Schumer Shutdown'," press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. "This is the behavior of obstructionist losers, not legislators. When Democrats start paying our armed forces and first responders we will reopen negotiations on immigration reform."

Senate leaders took to the floor and accused the opposing party of brinkmanship.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the Democrats' actions "cynical."

"We'll continue to talk because when all the games stop all the issues are still there," he said. "Every single one of them are still there. The American people expect us to act like adults and get together to solve the problems."

In a surprise move, McConnell said he will put up for a vote a short-term funding measure to keep the government running through Feb. 8, a compromise path that Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, had been pushing earlier in the evening.

The vote is not expected to pass tonight, but the situation remains fluid. Over in the House, votes are officially ruled out for the night but leaders asked members to return later Saturday morning.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said he "reluctantly" put the border wall on the table in exchange for protections for Dreamers. He accused Trump of rejecting the deal.

Schumer also repeatedly called the shutdown the "Trump shutdown." The term began trending on social media.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Trump deserved much of the blame.

"President Trump earned an 'F' for failure in leadership," she said in a statement. "I am proud of House and Senate Democrats’ unity in insisting on a budget that supports our military and the domestic investments that keep our nation strong, and that honors our values by protecting the DREAMers."

It's been a night of frantic behind closed-doors negotiations as lawmakers held out hope for a bipartisan solution.

Senators continue to huddle on the Senate floor as Republican leaders held the vote open past midnight, locked in discussion as government funding lapsed.

As the clock approached midnight, Graham huddled with GOP leaders before joining Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Arizona, in a discussion with Schumer, D-New York, and Senate Democrats.

The vote was finally closed at 12:16 AM, with the continuing resolution failing to advance.

Late into the night, senators were still discussing a shorter plan to fund the government as the deadline drew ever closer — Schumer walked off the floor with McConnell, chatting on the sidelines — but no clear plan emerged.

Earlier in the evening, Sen. Graham floated the possibility of a three-week extension through Feb. 8. He was spotted shuffling between McConnell and Schumer's offices acting as a go-between.

The procedural vote that was held open could have happened hours earlier, but McConnell opted to force this late night vote, upping the pressure on Democrats.

Democrats are standing firm, opposing the bill over their demands that it include protections for Dreamers, who are poised to lose their legal protections come March 5.

Five Democrats have voted with Republicans to fund the government — four of them facing tough reelection battles in the coming months in states Trump handily won in the 2016 election. Those lawmakers include Sens. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and "Heidi" Heitkamp of North Dakota. Newly-elected Alabama Sen. Doug Jones also voted with that group, he is up for re-election in 2020.

Four republicans have voted down the measure, either because of their DACA concerns or military funding. Those senators include Graham of South Carolina, Flake of Arizona, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah.

Despite the apparent lack of a deal to avoid a shutdown, the mood was slightly more optimistic on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue earlier on Friday evening with negotiators hopeful that a deal would come together — if not by midnight — then sometime this weekend before nearly a million federal workers head back to work on Monday.

Missing Friday's midnight deadline triggered a technical shutdown, but not one with significant immediate impact since most federal offices are closed over the weekend.

"I think there's a deal in the next 24 hours," Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget director, said on CNN earlier in the evening.

"There's a really good chance it gets fixed" before government offices open on Monday, he later told reporters in an impromptu off camera gaggle at the White House.

President Trump, who cancelled a planned trip to Florida on Friday, engaged with lawmakers by phone and on Twitter.

When asked if Trump might go to Florida tomorrow, Mulvaney said "He's not leaving until this is finished."

"If the Senate changes anything it's going to have to back to the House. Now in theory, the Senate could deal with it before midnight and the House could in some fashion deal with it before midnight. It's more likely that if the Senate makes any changes it would take the House a while to get everybody back for the vote," Mulvaney said of timing.

Earlier in the day, Mulvaney sent a memo to the heads of federal departments and agencies with guidance to review their contingency plans and be prepared to furlough non-essential employees.

"This guidance reminds agencies of their responsibilities to plan for agency operations under such a contingency. At this time, agencies should be reviewing their plans for operations in the absence of appropriations," Mulvaney said in the memo.

The Office of Management and Budget has been working with agencies for the last week to make sure they prepared to enact their contingency plans if government funding lapsed, administration officials said.

"You're seeing across the board efforts by the administration and each of the agencies to minimize the impact of the shutdown on the American people," one White House official said on a conference call with reporters.

Agencies have been encouraged to use "carryover balances" at their disposal to continue operations as normal for as long as possible.

If lawmakers don't show progress toward a resolution soon, some federal employees will begin to receive furlough notices as soon as Saturday, though administration officials could not offer an overall number.

The military's ongoing military operations will not be impacted, though nearly 1.3 million active duty service members would not be paid until after the shutdown ends.

This is a developing story. Please check back for details.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- As a candidate, Donald Trump would often pitch himself to voters by citing his experience managing a vast business empire — saying he hires only “the best people.”

But nearly a year into his presidency, and as a potential government shutdown looms, hundreds of key posts in his administration remain vacant — raising questions about whether essential government operations have taken a hit due to the scaling back of what Trump has called a “bloated federal bureaucracy.”

Trump often blames Democrats for stalling the confirmation process, slamming them as “obstructionists.”

“Dems are taking forever to approve my people, including Ambassadors,” the president tweeted in July. “They are nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS! Want approvals.”

As of January 13, President Trump had announced a total of 559 nominations, with 301 of those nominees confirmed, according to the non-partisan Partnership for Public Service. For comparison, one year into their administrations, President Obama had announced 690 nominees with 452 confirmed and George W. Bush had named 741 with 493 confirmed.

The figures do not include judicial nominations.

“What is shocking is that there are more critical positions for which there is literally no nominee — than for which there is a confirmed person in place,” said Max Stier, president and CEO of Partnership for Public Service. “It’s like showing up on the field in the second quarter and they are missing half their offensive line. It’s a real problem.”

The Partnership for Public Service has identified 633 key government jobs needing Senate confirmation — and says of those — less than 40 percent still had no nominee.

However, a person familiar with the process says the administration has identified 353 people that the president has already approved, but not yet nominated, because they are still going through the clearance process.

“There’s a process and the process is working,” the source said, noting that everyone who needs to be nominated is in the pipeline.

While it’s true that this administration has lagged behind others, the source says the problem originated from disorganization in Trump’s presidential transition team, given that one of its key tasks is to begin the vetting process for potential nominees. The White House was forced to play a game of catch up, the source says, as the transition was about 250 jobs behind when Trump took office.

Senate delays in the confirmation process have also played a role.

On average, it has taken 72 days for the Senate to confirm a Trump administration nominee, compared to 54 days under Obama and 36 days under George W. Bush, according to the Partnership for Public Service. The Senate also sent back nearly 100 Trump nominees at year's end that the president has mostly renominated.

The White House has not made nominations to fill some key positions. For example, there is no U.S. Ambassador to South Korea at a time where there is a critical need for diplomacy in the region. There is also no IRS commissioner, which raises questions as to the successful implementation of tax reform.

In addition, many agencies remain without deputy secretaries in place.

Not having these key positions in place — especially on the eve of a government shutdown — could further impact necessary government functions, Stier said.

"In the event that Congress does not pass a CR or budget today, the administration will have to make multiple judgment calls on what government activities are essential and should continue, even without specifically appropriated resources. Not having political appointments in place could further handicap our government’s essential functions.”

At the State Department, for example, more than half of Senate-confirmed positions remain unfilled, triggering accusations Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is depleting the agency’s senior ranks.

Trump has said previously he doesn’t intend to fill many government posts — including at the State Department — because some are “totally unnecessary.”

“I’m generally not going to make a lot of the appointments that would normally be -- because you don’t need them. I mean, you look at some of these agencies, how massive they are, and it’s totally unnecessary,” Trump said in an interview with Forbes in October. “They have hundreds of thousands of people. And you look at -- so the appointments, I’ve made some great appointments.”

Stier agrees there are too many political appointees and too many positions that require Senate confirmation. But he argues that to change the current system the White House would need to make changes through legislation instead of “not using the system we have today effectively.”

When asked about the president’s comments, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders conceded the president doesn’t intend to fill all vacancies because he “came to Washington to drain the swamp.”

“There are still some positions that he is working to fill and a lot of individuals that are in the queue and going through the process – the vetting process that is very lengthy. Certainly want to fill some of the open positions but not all of them,” Sanders said. “The president came to Washington to drain the swamp and get rid of a lot of duplication and make government more efficient. And so if we can have one person do a job instead of six, then we certainly want to do that and save taxpayer dollars.”

This story is part of a week-long series examining the first year of the Trump administration.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEWARK, N.J.) -- The Department of Justice on Friday filed a motion of intent to retry the corruption case against U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., after the first trial ended in a hung jury last November.

According to documents filed with the district court in New Jersey, the Justice Department is seeking the “earliest possible date” for a retrial against Menendez, saying in the filing that "an early retrial date is in the best interests of the public."

Reacting to the news, Menendez’s office released a defiant statement, saying they fully expect the senator to be vindicated in any future trial.

“We regret that the DOJ, after spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars, and failing to prove a single allegation in a court of law, has decided to double down on an unjust prosecution,” a statement released Friday by Menendez’s office read, “Evidently, they did not hear the overwhelming voices of the New Jerseyans who served on the jury this fall. Senator Menendez fully intends to be vindicated -- again.”

A federal judge declared a mistrial in the first case against Menendez, after the jury deciding the case indicated it was deadlocked on all counts against the New Jersey Democrat.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat, was just sworn into office this week, and would be the man who would appoint a replacement for Menendez if he had to step down from him senate seat.

Murphy released a statement Friday, but would not elaborate on what he would do if Menendez stepped down.

"I support Senator Menendez, and I believe he deserves the benefit that is the basis of our entire justice system: we are all innocent until proven otherwise. I won’t speculate past that," read a statement released by Murphy's office Friday.

The charges against Menendez centered on his relationship with Florida eye doctor Solomon Melhen, a close ally of the senator.

Menendez was charged in alleged bribery scheme in which he allegedly accepted gifts from Melgen in exchange for using the power of his senate office to benefit the doctor’s financial and personal interests.

Menendez pleaded not guilty to the charges, and following the announcement of a mistrial in November, said he will not forget those that doubted he would be vindicated.

“To those who were digging my political grave so that they could jump into my seat, I know who you are and I won’t forget you,” Menendez told reporters outside a federal courthouse in New Jersey after the mistrial was declared.

Menendez is up for re-election to the U.S. Senate in 2018, and according to documents filed with the Federal Elections Commission, has raised over $2.5 million as of October 2017 to support his bid.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) --  President Donald Trump expressed his support for the pro-life "March for Life" in a speech from the White House Friday, applauding what he called an "incredible movement" and thanking those in attendance for embodying the theme of the march: "Love saves lives."

The president, who delivered his address from the Rose Garden as rallygoers at the March for Life watched on video screens just a few blocks away on the National Mall, was the first sitting president to address the gathering, which is in its 45th year.

"I want to thank every person here today and all across our country who works with such big hearts and tireless devotion to make sure that parents have the care and support they need to choose life," Trump said.

Though the president's position on the matter appeared unequivocal Friday, he faced questions during his presidential campaign about past support for a woman's right to have an abortion.

In a 1999 appearance on NBC's Meet the Press, Trump said he was "very pro-choice." Asked about his comment during an August 2015 Republican debate, the then-candidate said he had "evolved" on the issue.

"They asked me a question as to pro-life or -choice. And I said … that I hate the concept of abortion. I hate the concept of abortion," Trump said. "And then since then, I've very much evolved."

Friday's speech to the march's typically religious audience came a day after the Trump administration announced a new Department of Health and Human Services division intended to protect "conscience and religious freedom." In his remarks, the president pointed to the initiative as a key victory, saying it will defend the individual rights "doctors, nurses and other medical professionals."

While Trump did not attend last year's march, which occurred a week after his inauguration, Vice President Mike Pence spoke and the president tweeted his support for the event then.

"The #MarchForLife is so important. To all of you marching --- you have my full support!" he wrote last year.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A new ABC News/Washington Post poll finds substantially greater Republican risk in a government shutdown, with Americans by a 20-point margin saying they’re more likely to blame Donald Trump and the Republicans in Congress than the congressional Democrats if one occurs.

Forty-eight percent in the national survey say they’d blame Trump and the GOP, vs. 28 percent who’d blame the Democrats in Congress. An additional 18 percent would blame both equally.

See PDF for full results, charts and tables.

As is often the case in Washington mud fights, political independents make the difference: They’re more likely to blame the Republican side by 46-25 percent. But there’s also a broad gender gap, with comparative GOP vulnerability among independent women and even among Republican women – notable results a day before the 2018 women’s marches on Saturday.

Results among independents are similar to the 1996 and 2013 shutdowns; in both cases, the public generally – and independents in particular – blamed congressional Republicans. Those experiences send a clear warning signal: Both shutdowns were highly unpopular.

Partisan gaps also disfavor the GOP in this survey, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates: Seventy-eight percent of Democrats say they’d blame Trump and the GOP caucus for a shutdown, while fewer Republicans, 66 percent, say they’d blame the Democrats in Congress. And women are 16 points more apt than men to say they'd blame Trump and the GOP.

The political and gender gaps come together: While just 9 percent of Republican men would cast blame on their own side of the aisle, this doubles to 18 percent of Republican women. (GOP women also are 13 points less apt to say they’d blame the Democrats.) Further, 38 percent of independent men would blame the Republican side, but 55 percent of independent women say they’d do so. Democratic men and women, by contrast, are well aligned on the question.

Ideological divisions are typical, and again include gender differences, with both moderate women and conservative women more likely than their male counterparts to say they’d blame Trump and the GOP for a shutdown.

Further, there’s a split within conservative ranks. Among strongly conservative Americans, 68 percent say they would blame the Democrats in Congress, 15 percent Trump and the Republicans. Among “somewhat” conservatives, blame on the Democrats eases to 45 percent, while intention to blame Trump and the Republicans jumps sharply, to 32 percent.

The survey was conducted Monday through Thursday, just as the shutdown issue was coming to a head. While actual blame if a shutdown occurs may differ, the public’s been prescient in the past. When a shutdown loomed in March 2011, 45 percent said that if it occurred, they’d blame the Republicans in Congress, not Barack Obama. Two and a half years later, when a shutdown did occur, 53 percent blamed the GOP.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone Jan. 15-18, 2018, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,005 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 31-23-40 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, N.Y., with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt Associates of Cambridge, Massachusetts. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Pageantry and politics mix at the White House at those most festive of evenings when the president rolls out the red carpet to host a foreign head of state at the presidential mansion for an official state dinner.

But in a break with precedent, the Trump White House has yet to use the power of the Oval Office to its full social and diplomatic advantage by feting a foreign leader with the honor of a state dinner.

Almost every other president in the last century hosted at least one such affair during the first years of their presidency — the trend remaining unbroken until now in presidential history as far back as Herbert Hoover’s presidency.

The formal dinners, which are part of a larger affair of an official state visit, provide the president with a powerful opportunity to do the business of diplomacy complimented with the flourishes and flattery of hosting an allied leader to a grand social affair.

“It is an event that also showcases global power and influence,” according to the White House Historical Association. “The traditional toasts exchanged by the two leaders at the dinner offer an important and appropriate platform for the continuation of the serious dialogue that has taken place earlier in the day.”

President Barack Obama first rolled out the red carpet for India's prime minister Manmohan Singh, while President George W. Bush welcomed Mexico’s Vicente Fox and President Bill Clinton hosted South Korea’s President Kim Young-sam - all in their first years in the White House.

But even though President Trump has welcomed more than 35 heads of state and foreign dignitaries to the White House and multiple other countries have bestowed Trump with the honor of official state dinner and elaborate welcoming ceremonies — complete with honor guards, marching bands and red carpets — Trump has yet to return the favor to another foreign leader in such elaborate fashion.

“It is unprecedented and also unpresidential not to host state dinners for heads of government who visit,” said Barbara Bordine, a retired U.S. ambassador professor of diplomacy at Georgetown University. “One of the things that he's lost, on the diplomatic side, is the ability to be looked at as a good and gracious host in the way he expects to be hosted himself. It looks as if you expect others to play court to you but you won't return the favor.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says there is no ‘‘singular reason’’ why there has not yet been a state visit but teased that the administration hopes to schedule a state visit soon.

Formal state visits aside, Trump has bestowed special treatment on two visiting leaders, Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and China’s President Xi Jinping, with invitations to his Mar a Lago club in Florida, where the leaders were afforded opportunities for relaxed, extended one-on-one interactions. During Abe’s visit, the two leaders spent hours getting to know one another while hitting the links on Trump’s golf course.

 Ahead of Xi’s visit, one senior administration explained the president’s preference for hosting him at his Florida home expressly for the purpose of escaping the trapping of official Washington.

“It's a place where he feels comfortable and at home, and where he can break the ice with Xi Jinping without the formality, really, of a Washington meet-up,” the official said prior to Xi’s visit.

While Trump has demonstrated a preference for engaging with world leaders in unconventional settings, the president has also expressed disdain for at least one state dinner prior to becoming president.

Back in 2015, then-candidate Trump criticized then-President Obama for hosting China’s President Xi Jinping to a state dinner at the White House.

"I would not be throwing him a dinner. I would get him a McDonald’s hamburger and say we’ve got to get down to work because you can’t continue to devalue," Trump said of concerns over Chinese devaluing of American currency during an appearance on “The O’Reilly Factor” in August of 2015.

Even so, when Xi did come to visit Trump at Mar a Lago, the president hosted him to a formal dinner at the club. And when President Trump went to China, Xi lavished Trump with an elaborate show of diplomatic pageantry throughout his stay that included multiple red carpets, military marching bands, groups of jumping school children, and a lavish banquet dinner in the president’s honor.

The president made no secret of the fact that he was clearly impressed by the welcome and declared during the visit that Xi and he had developed “great chemistry,” saying of the elaborate visit that “they say in the history of people coming to China, there's been nothing like that.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- The House a cleared a must-pass bill Thursday night to fund the government through Feb. 16, sending the measure to the Senate as lawmakers scramble to avoid a government shutdown amid a fight over the fate of young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers.

The measure passed by a 230-197 vote, with a handful of Republicans joining Democrats in voting against the measure.

Conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus largely backed the measure, after spending much of the day in negotiations with the White House and GOP leaders over concerns about military funding levels and the larger debate between the White House and Capitol Hill over immigration reform.

The package would fund the government through mid-February, and also includes a measure to renew funds for a program, known as CHIP, providing low-income children with health insurance for six years.

Democrats largely opposed the measure over the amount of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program and the lack of progress on protecting roughly 700,000 Dreamers from deportation in March.

In the Senate, Democrats have pledged to oppose the bill unless it includes protections for recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

Last-minute negotiations were disrupted Thursday by an early morning tweet from President Trump that appeared to undermine the GOP strategy to include CHIP funding to attract Democratic votes.

Trump later spoke with House Speaker Paul Ryan, and the White House and top GOP leaders said the president did in fact support Republicans’ short-term spending package.

The measure now moves to the Senate, where the math still appears to be a challenge for Republicans, who would need Democratic votes to clear the 60-vote threshold needed to pass it.

 Senators sparred on the floor Thursday evening, but didn't get anywhere.

Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, N.Y., suggested that the Senate pass a four- or five-day clean continuing resolution in order to continue debate on DACA, which would require getting a better sense of what the president wants out of a deal.

“Maybe the Majority Leader -- we're trying to help you, Mitch -- can pin down exactly what President Trump wants,” Schumer said, looking at his Republican counterpart, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ky.

McConnell accused his Democratic colleagues of holding up government funding in order to force a deal on DACA, which he insisted has no urgency until March.

“The reason we're here right now is our friends on the other side of the aisle say, 'Solve this illegal immigration problem right now or we're going to shut the government down,'” he said.

Debate in the Senate was expected to pick back up at 11 a.m. on Friday.

A shutdown would begin just after Friday's midnight deadline -- Saturday being the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic(NEW YORK) -- Nancy Pelosi is being put to "werk."

The House Democratic Leader is a guest judge on the drag queen competition show "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" during the upcoming season, which kicks off on VH1 on Jan. 25. Pelosi has already taped her appearance.

All I can say is, you betta werk! Had a fabulous time with @RuPaul and good luck to all the queens. #DragRace," Pelosi tweeted Thursday

Pelosi is in good company: Past guest judges include Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande, and upcoming guest judges include Vanessa Hudgens, Kristin Chenoweth and Vanessa Williams. The show's permanent judges are RuPaul, Michelle Visage, Carson Kressley and Ross Mathews.

"Each week the top two queens will 'lip-sync for their legacy' for the power to send one of their peers home," VH1 explained in a press release. "Competition will be fierce as the queens shift their strategies and work extra hard to not only impress RuPaul and the judges, but to also impress each other."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Sara D. Davis/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Four U.S. service members who were removed from Vice President Mike Pence's communications team after bringing women back to their Panama hotel rooms in August have been punished.

Three Army soldiers have received General Officer Memorandums of Reprimand, Army spokeswoman Adrienne Combs told ABC News. The reprimand can impact promotions, reenlistment, or retirements, if a review board evaluates the soldier's personnel filed, she said.

Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek confirms one airman involved received "appropriate administrative action."

"Due to the Privacy Act we do not discuss personnel actions or information about individual Airmen," Stefanek said. "However, behavior of this nature is absolutely unacceptable and is completely contrary to our core values in the United States Air Force."

The news was first reported by the Washington Post.

Separately, ABC News reported that service members from the Army and Air Force had been removed from their roles at the White House amid allegations they had improper contact with foreign women while traveling with President Trump in Vietnam in November.

Combs confirmed that the Vietnam incident is still under investigation, but should be complete next week, after which time the chain of command will evaluate whether any corrective action is warranted.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Justice Department on Thursday night asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) case and resolve the dispute this term -- in an effort to move forward with the termination of the program.

An "immediate review is warranted," by the Supreme Court, reads the DOJ petition.

"The district court has entered a nationwide injunction that requires DHS to keep in place a policy of non-enforcement that no one contends is required by federal law and that DHS has determined is, in fact, unlawful and should be discontinued," the petition continues.

There is currently a nationwide injunction in place forcing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to resume accepting DACA renewal applications, which it did on Saturday.

The judge that issued the injunction, wrote "that the rescission [of DACA] was arbitrary and capricious."

“DACA covers a class of immigrants whose presence, seemingly all agree, pose the least, if any, threat and allows them to sign up for honest labor on the condition of continued good behavior,” wrote Federal District Court Judge William Alsup.

The White House called the ruling "outrageous" and said in a statement that "an issue of this magnitude must go through the normal legislative process."

The Justice Department appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which it was required to do in order to ask for a direct review at the Supreme Court.

Earlier this week, the DOJ announced it would take the rare step of seeking a review at the Supreme Court before the appeals court has issued a ruling.

The Supreme Court usually doesn't grant cases without the appeals process being completed.

Since the DACA program began in 2012 under the Obama administration, nearly 800,000 unauthorized immigrants have been granted protection at some point.

On Sept. 5, the Trump administration announced it was ending the program for young people known as Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children.

"To have a lawful system of immigration that serves the national interest. We cannot admit everyone who would like to come here,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions while announcing the end to the program.

At the time of the announcement, there were around 689,800 people were enrolled in DACA.

Since then, at least 12,710 have had their status expire.

DACA recipients who had status through March 5 of this year were allowed to re-apply for the two-year extension, but as the numbers show many young people have already begun to lose their status.

The administration has insisted that only Congress can create a permanent solution.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon told congressional investigators that the controversial June 2016 Trump Tower meeting between Trump campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising dirt on Hillary Clinton was “unpatriotic,” a private acknowledgement of comments he’s tried to publicly distance himself from, according to sources familiar with his closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee earlier this week.

Bannon, according to Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House by Michael Wolff, said the meeting attended by Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and then campaign chairman Paul Manafort was “treasonous” and “unpatriotic."

“Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad [expletive], and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately,” Bannon said, according to Wolff.

He later distanced himself from those comments, which reportedly angered President Trump, saying in a statement that the eldest Trump son “is both a patriot and a good man,” and that the “treasonous” comments were directed at Manafort.

But two sources familiar with Bannon’s congressional testimony tell ABC News that Bannon told lawmakers that the meeting was “unpatriotic,” though he admitted that his initial description of the meeting as “treasonous” was hyperbolic.

A third source familiar with Bannon’s testimony told ABC News that Bannon’s comment about the meeting to lawmakers was only a reference to Manafort, not Trump Jr. or Kushner.

Bannon only said that the meeting “displayed poor judgment” on the part of Trump Jr. and Kushner, but was “excusable because they were newcomers to political campaigns,” the source said.

Bannon, who was questioned about his comments to Wolff by lawmakers, told the committee he was speculating when he suggested to Wolff that it was likely that Trump Jr. brought the Russian lawyer and other individuals in the meeting to meet with Donald Trump in Trump Tower, according to two sources.

"The chance that Don Jr did not walk these jumos up to his father's office on the twenty-sixth floor is zero,” Bannon said, according to Wolff.

Sources familiar with Bannon's interview also told the committee that he had communicated with former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus, press secretary Sean Spicer and Mark Corallo, the former spokesman for the president’s legal team, about the Trump Tower meeting after the New York Times broke the news on the meeting in July of 2017. Bannon’s comments to the committee about these conversations were first reported by Axios.

Bannon is expected back before the committee later this month after he refused to answer questions about his time working for Trump during the transition and in the Oval Office.

Bannon did not respond to a request for comment.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

Credit: Architect of the Capitol(WASHINGTON) -- The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence publicly released the committee transcript from their seven-hour interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson last November, ABC News has learned.

The committee voted to release the transcript in a meeting Thursday morning, according to members.

This is a developing story. Please refresh for details.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(CORAOPOLIS, Pa.) -- In a sign that he is eager to involve himself in the coming 2018 midterm elections, President Donald Trump spoke Thursday in southwestern Pennsylvania in the midst of a special election that could test his support in the same working class areas that propelled him to the presidency.

Trump gave a speech at the H&K Equipment Company in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, located in the state’s vacant 18th congressional district, which was held by Republican Tim Murphy until he was forced to resign after an embarrassing scandal.

Speaking to reporters prior to his speech, Trump had kind words for State Representative Rick Saccone, a former military intelligence officer, who is taking on Democrat Conor Lamb, a former federal prosecutor and Marine Corps veteran.

"Rick is a great guy," Trump said, adding that he plans to return to the district before the March 13 special election to campaign for Saccone.

"I'll be back for Rick, and we're going to fill up a stadium and we're going to do something really special for Rick. I look forward to it," Trump said.

The visit to Pennsylvania comes as the President has said he wants to increase his engagement in the 2018 midterm cycle.

“I am going to spend probably four or five days a week helping people because we need more Republicans,” President Trump told Reuters in an interview Wednesday, “I will be very much involved with - beyond the primaries - with the election itself, very very much.”

Lamb faces an uphill battle in Pennsylvania’s 18th district, which is tucked in the state’s southwestern corner. The district voted for President Trump by nearly 20 points in the 2016 presidential election, and had been represented by Murphy since 2003.

The Democrat’s campaign released its first television advertisement Thursday, which highlights Lamb’s military and legal experience, and also re-iterates his call for new congressional leadership in both parties.

If elected, Lamb said that he will not support Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as the Democratic Leader, and his first television advertisement touts him as “the only candidate whose said that Democrats and Republicans need new leaders in Congress.”

The president’s visit comes as Republican anxiety about the 2018 midterms is only increasing, as Democrats are looking to seize on the momentum from recent victories in redder parts of the country like Alabama, where last month a Democrat was elected to the U.S. Senate for the first time in over two decades.

President Trump backed the Republican in the Alabama race, former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Judge Roy Moore, whose campaign was hampered by allegations of sexual misconduct and ultimately lost to former U.S. Attorney Doug Jones.



Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



Subscribe To This Feed

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- With his first year in office coming to a close, President Donald Trump recently asked a rally crowd in Pensacola, Florida to consider what he gave up as a businessman in order to pursue the presidency.

"Think where I would be right now if I couldn't I didn't do this," Trump said to cheers. "I would be very happy, believe me."

The line is a frequent public musing by the president, suggesting an awareness of the trade-offs inherent in stepping back from running a family business and accepting a role in government.

As president, Trump resigned as head of his business empire, turning over day to day control of his company to his two sons. But he did not fully divest from his financial holdings, breaking with precedent set by previous presidents to avoid potential conflicts of interest and drawing protests from government ethics watchdogs.

"There could be a potential upside and a potential downside [to Trump] maintaining ties with his businesses," said Kathleen Clark, who serves on the D.C. Bar Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee.

Here's what we know about how Trump's actions as president may have impacted family businesses, based on publicly available information:

The Upside

President Trump has shown that the power and influence of the nation's highest elected office can translate into increased interest in properties bearing the presidential name.

During the first year of his term, Trump visited or stayed at a Trump family-owned property a total of 109 days, by ABC News' count, including out of town stays at Trump Tower in New York, Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Trump National Golf Club in Sterling, Va., and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J.

"Trump businesses have done relatively well where he has been able to leverage the presidency on their behalf, but the properties that have not featured his presence have not benefited," Clark said.

In a statement to ABC News the Trump Organization disputed that Trump has directly influenced his businesses during his first year in office.

"President Trump resigned from the Trump Organization as previously stated. He is our president and is running the country," the statement read. "Now, Don Jr. and Eric Trump have taken the reins and are leading The Trump Organization alongside the Company’s leadership team. They are making all decisions regarding the future of assets and operations."

But critics have accused some of the Trump-owned clubs of deliberately marketing and attempting to cash in on the opportunity to rub elbows with the commander in chief.

The Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J. in early 2017 distributed a flyer advertising a potential presidential drop-by to those searching out a wedding venue, a promotion later discontinued according to the New York Times.

"If he is on-site for your big day, he will likely stop in & congratulate the happy couple," the brochure read, according to the Times. "He may take some photos with you but we ask you and your guests to be respectful of his time & privacy.”

Trump himself has even publicly promoted several of the clubs during public appearances on official U.S. government business.

"Korean golfers are some of the best on Earth," Trump said in a November speech to the South Korean National Assembly. "The Women’s U.S. Open was held this year at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., and it just happened to be won by a great Korean golfer, Sung-hyun Park."

Neither the club nor Trump organization responded to ABC News' previous request for comment when the news was first reported.

Shortly after the 2016 election, membership fees at Mar-a-Lago doubled to $200,000, several members confirmed to ABC News, not including annual dues which reportedly run as high as $14,000.

Neither the resort nor Trump organization responded to ABC News' previous request for comment when the story first broke.

The Trump property closest to the White House — the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. — has also benefited from the presidential spotlight.

The hotel has become a staple of the pro-Trump social scene in Washington and a go-to hosting ground for Republican groups. According to one FEC filing, the RNC paid the hotel $122,000 after hosting a major fundraiser there in June. Foreign dignitaries and allied groups are regularly seen in the posh lobby and bar areas -- some there for conferences in the ballrooms and meeting areas.

Overall, income from Trump properties increased to the tune of tens of millions of dollars in 2016 largely thanks to revenue generated from Trump's properties, according to a financial disclosure report released by the White House earlier this year.

President Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign paid out more than $475,000 in rent alone during the first eight months of 2017 for their headquarters based out of Trump Tower in New York. FEC disclosures also show dozens of expenditures by the campaign for lodging at the Trump hotel in D.C. with totals ranging between $200 to $1500.

After the election, President Trump's sons - Don Trump, Jr., and Eric Trump - announced plans to expand their hotel operation, citing their time on the 2016 campaign trail as a source of inspiration.

"This is real America," Eric Trump told ABC News in June. "And to be able to go in there and, you know, cater to them, as well, I think that's a beautiful thing."

In June, the Trump Organization announced plans to grow two new hotel chains, including "Scion," a 4 star chain targeting smaller markets and "American Idea," a more budget-friendly hotel group.

Both brothers dismissed the idea that the hotel chain expansion could put a further spotlight on their father's continued influence in the business and whether it amounts to making money off of politics. But six months later, there's little clarity on where the two hotel chains stand in terms of meeting their development goals.

Only one business partner for the Scion line has been announced and a planned construction of a Scion hotel in Cleveland, Mississippi has hit a standstill, according to local reports.

The Downside

Not all of President Trump's businesses have been booming in the wake of his election.

Trump’s two Scottish golf courses suffered millions in losses in 2016, according to financial disclosures made public in October from Britain’s Companies House.

The disclosures showed Trump’s Turnberry resort, a treasured property for Trump that he purchased just one year before announcing his presidential bid, lost $23 million in 2016 with revenue dropping more than 20 percent to just north of $12 million. Separately, Trump International Golf Club north of Aberdeen, opened in 2012, posted over $1.8 million in losses.

In the filings, Eric Trump acknowledged the losses for Turnberry, saying they were “due to the resort being open for six months in the current year” and that the directors believed “the resort will return to profitability in the short to medium term.”

There is no mention of whether President Trump’s unpopularity in the U.K. may be at all to blame for the shortfall, despite a flood of public rebukes of President Trump from British and Scottish political figures over his immigration rhetoric, his criticism of the U.K.’s handling of terrorism and his controversial response to the protests in Charlottesville this summer.

Some of Trump's stateside properties have seen declining interest from charities and nonprofit groups who had been regular customers of the venues for splashy fundraising events and galas.

In September, ABC News reported that at least 21 charities and organizations cancelled or moved events they had previously scheduled at the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort following the president’s response to the unrest in Charlottesville.

Trump-associated properties weren't the only ones to take a hit. Shortly after Trump took office, Nordstrom and Nieman Marcus announced they would no longer sell products from Ivanka Trump's clothing and accessory line citing sales declines during the back half of 2016.

The Unknown

The full impact of the presidency on Trump's finances and financial holdings cannot be known without greater transparency.

While the president has personally said his net worth exceeds $10 billion, a recent estimate by Forbes has suggested the president's net worth dropped significantly from $3.7 billion in 2016 to $3.1 billion in 2017, citing "a tough New York real estate market, a costly lawsuit, and an expensive presidential campaign."

President Trump remains defiant in his refusal to release his tax returns, with the White House still insisting his returns remain "under audit" but refusing to provide any evidence to back up the claim.

Without seeing the returns it is impossible to assess how the recently passed GOP tax cut bill might personally affect the president or his family members, though the White House has stood by President Trump's repeated assertions the plan would hurt him financially.

Independent analyses have contradicted the president's claim he'd suffer under the tax plan, however, pointing to how Trump and his family business would benefit from the repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax and the overall reduction of the tax rate on the wealthiest of Americans.

Also unclear is whether the Trump Organization will follow through with the president's commitment to donate to the U.S. Treasury all payments made by foreign governments to the Trump International Hotel in D.C.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Democratic ranking member on the House Oversight Committee, raised concerns in May about a pamphlet allegedly distributed to senior Trump Organization employees stating it would be "impractical" to single out foreign guests in identifying potential payments to channel to the Treasury.

In a statement to ABC News, the Trump Organization said it expects to have more information on its plan to donate foreign profits "towards the end of February 2018."

“Our fiscal year ends on December 31, 2017," the statement said. "As typical with businesses finalizing their annual financial reporting, we expect to have information available to share towards the end of February 2018.”

A new report released Tuesday by the liberal watchdog group Public Citizen documented 64 instances of trade groups, companies, religious groups, charities, foreign governments, interest groups, and political candidates staying in Trump properties or having events there during the first year of Trump's presidency.

The 'Emoluments' case against the president, a legal effort mostly spearheaded by left-leaning government watchdog groups, hit a snag just this month when a U.S. District Judge tossed out a lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution. The judge in the case ruled that Congress was instead "the appropriate body to determine" whether the president was in violation and that the plaintiffs had not proved "competitive injury" in a way the Emoluments Clause was designed to prevent.

While the group has said its exploring legal options to appeal the ruling, ethics experts point to two other lawsuits that they claim has left the emoluments issue still open for potential enforcement.

The White House declined to comment following inquiries from ABC News for this piece.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

0
comments



LOCAL NEWS

WJTN News Headlines for Jan. 19, 2018

A 74 year-old man from Jamestown man has died from apparent smoke inhalation in an overnight fire early Thursday morning blamed on a space heater...     Acting City Fire Batt...

Read More