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Republicans accuse Biden of weaponizing DOJ after Trump special counsel appointment

Source image: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/republicans-accuse-biden-weaponizing-doj-trump-special-counsel-appointment

Republicans criticized Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday after the Justice Department announced it was appointing former DOJ official Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee investigations into former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents and Jan. 6.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., called the timing of the special counsel’s appointment problematic given that Trump had just announced his third run for the White House. 

Three “days ago, Trump announced and now [there is] a special counsel,” said Cruz. “This is Trump derangement syndrome but this time with a gun and badge.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., similarly said that the DOJ appeared to be more “politicized and weaponized” than at any point in American history. 

TRUMP SAYS HE ‘WON’T PARTAKE’ IN SPECIAL COUNSEL INVESTIGATION, SLAMS AS ‘WORST POLITICIZATION OF JUSTICE’

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed former Justice Department official Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee investigations into former President Donald Trump's alleged mishandling of classified documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.

Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday appointed former Justice Department official Jack Smith as special counsel to oversee investigations into former President Donald Trump’s alleged mishandling of classified documents and efforts to overturn the 2020 election.
(AP/Susan Walsh)

Some, like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., even said that Republicans should use their newly won control of the U.S. House of Representatives to cut off funding for the investigation next Congress.  

TRUMP TARGETED: A LOOK AT THE INVESTIGATIONS INVOLVING THE FORMER PRESIDENT; FROM RUSSIA TO MAR-A-LAGO

“Republicans will need to refuse to appropriate any funding to Merrick Garland’s Special Counsel and defund any part of the DOJ acting on behalf of the Democrat party as a taxpayer-funded campaign arm for the Democrat’s 2024 presidential nominee,” said Greene. 

Former Justice Department official Jack Smith was appointed Friday to be special counsel looking into two major Trump investigations.

Former Justice Department official Jack Smith was appointed Friday to be special counsel looking into two major Trump investigations.
(Justice Department)

Republican Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, seen as a potential 2024 contender, said the special counsel appointment is “not good news” for the country.

The House Judiciary Committee Republicans tweeted from their account Friday, casting doubt on Smith’s ability to remain impartial in his conduct of the investigation.

“Jack Smith and his buddies have been politicizing Washington for AGES. And he’s who AG Garland picked to be the special counsel to ‘investigate’ President Trump? Come on,” the tweet states.

Some Democrats defended the decision, saying that the unprecedented nature of Trump being a candidate for president mandated the need for a special counsel. 

Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a statement that he is “confident” that Smith will follow the law and pursue justice in his investigation.

“By appointing well-respected career prosecutor Jack Smith as special counsel, Attorney General Garland has demonstrated his commitment to avoiding even the appearance of politicization at the Justice Department,” said Durbin. “I am confident that Special Counsel Smith will pursue justice in these investigations without fear or favor, following the facts and the law wherever they lead.”

The White House has also pushed back on the GOP criticism, saying Biden was unaware of Garland’s decision to appoint a special counsel.

“We were not aware. As you know, the Department of Justice makes decisions about its criminal investigation independently. We are not involved… I would refer you to the Department of Justice on any questions on this. But again, we were not given advance notice. We were not aware of this investigation,” White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday during a briefing.

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Smith, a former assistant U.S. attorney and chief to the DOJ’s public integrity section, will oversee the investigation into Trump’s retention of classified documents after leaving the White House and whether the former president obstructed the federal government’s investigation into the matter. 

Smith is also tasked with overseeing the investigation into whether Trump or other officials and entities interfered with the peaceful transfer of power following the 2020 presidential election, including the certification of the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6, 2021. 

Three "days ago, Trump announced and now [there is] a special counsel," said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex. "This is Trump derangement syndrome but this time with a gun and badge."

Three “days ago, Trump announced and now [there is] a special counsel,” said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex. “This is Trump derangement syndrome but this time with a gun and badge.”
(AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

“It is in the public interest to appoint a special prosecutor to independently manage an investigation and prosecution based on recent developments, including [Trump’s] announcement that he is a candidate for president in the next election and the sitting president’s stated intention to be a candidate as well,” said Garland.

Source: https://www.foxnews.com/politics/republicans-accuse-biden-weaponizing-doj-trump-special-counsel-appointment

Politics

Hot mic catches President Biden telling Cuban lawmaker he has to talk to him ‘about Cuba’

A hot mic after the State of the Union Tuesday evening caught President Biden telling Sen. Bob Menendez that he has to talk to him “about Cuba.”

Menendez, D-N.J., is a Cuban lawmaker and serves as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, an influential committee for initiating legislative proposals in the chamber. 

“Bob, I gotta talk to you about Cuba,” Biden said to the senator. 

The moment was caught on C-SPAN cameras as Biden spoke with Menendez and Rep. Adam Schiff, who House Speaker Kevin McCarthy blocked from joining the House Intelligence Committee. 

BIDEN BOOED DURING STATE OF THE UNION FOR CLAIMING GOP WANTS TO CUT SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE

President Biden takes photographs with members of Congress after speaking during a State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. 

President Biden takes photographs with members of Congress after speaking during a State of the Union address at the US Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.  (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Menendez is heard replying, “Okay.”

The lawmaker seemed confused by the president’s comment.

“I’m serious,” added Biden. 

BIDEN APPEARS TO GO OFF SCRIPT TO SAY US NEEDS OIL, GAS DRILLING

Menendez, the son of two Cuban migrants, has spent much of his time working in the House of Representatives and later the U.S. Senate on immigration and national security issues.

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on January 26, 2023, in Washington, D.C. 

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez, D-N.J., in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill on January 26, 2023, in Washington, D.C.  (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Rep.-elect Robert Menendez Jr., D-N.J., and his father Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol, on Tuesday, January 3, 2023. 

Rep.-elect Robert Menendez Jr., D-N.J., and his father Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., on the House floor of the U.S. Capitol, on Tuesday, January 3, 2023.  (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

He is also credited with helping push through the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which went into effect under former President Barack Obama.

Menendez is currently prioritizing his efforts on “competing with China, confronting the global pandemic, and restoring the United States’ place as a leader around the globe,” according to his official government website.

President Biden exits after delivering the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. 

President Biden exits after delivering the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.  (Jacquelyn Martin/AP/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

President Biden, center, speaks during a State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. 

President Biden, center, speaks during a State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023.  (Nathan Howard/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

President Biden addressed competition with China during Tuesday evening’s address, saying he welcomed competition but would act swiftly to push back on any action that threatens U.S. sovereignty. 

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“But make no mistake about it: as we made clear last week, if China’s threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country. And we did,” said Biden, referencing the Chinese spy balloon that was shot down by the U.S. military last week.

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Politics

Georgia Senate votes to block COVID-19 vaccine requirements at schools, government agencies

The Georgia Senate approved a measure Tuesday to prohibit schools and most state and local government agencies from mandating the coronavirus vaccine.

The legislation, Georgia State Senate Bill 1, passed the state Senate 31-21. The bill would not apply to healthcare providers subject to federal requirements that employees must be vaccinated to continue receiving federal payments.

A one-year ban on vaccine requirements was enacted last year, and this bill would make that measure permanent.

“We have lived for a year under the previous version of this law,” said Republican state Sen. Greg Dolezal, the bill’s main sponsor. “That law is set to sunset this summer so we just removed the sunset and said that we’re never going to have a day in Georgia where governments refuse services to its constituents based on whether or not they have received a COVID-19 vaccine.”

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PUSHES BACK ON GOP EFFORT TO END VACCINE REQUIREMENT FOR INTERNATIONAL AIR TRAVELERS

The Georgia Senate approved a measure Tuesday to prohibit schools and most state and local government agencies from mandating the coronavirus vaccine.

The Georgia Senate approved a measure Tuesday to prohibit schools and most state and local government agencies from mandating the coronavirus vaccine. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Dolezal said he does not believe the government should “discriminate against citizens” based on their vaccination status.

The current one-year ban passed in 2022 is set to expire on June 30.

“We know that there’s been a movement building in America to demonize vaccinations and do it in the name of individual rights,” Democrat Sen. Nan Orrock said, adding that lawmakers who voted for the new bill are “fundamentally signing on to the anti-vaccination movement” and tying the government’s hands should COVID-19 worsen again.

The bill bans state agencies, local governments, schools and colleges from requiring proof of vaccination.

The bill would not apply to healthcare providers subject to federal requirements that employees must be vaccinated to continue receiving federal payments.

The bill would not apply to healthcare providers subject to federal requirements that employees must be vaccinated to continue receiving federal payments. (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

“When we throw bills up on the floor and take votes on them in the General Assembly that result in further undermining the public’s faith in vaccines and in public health measures, I think that poses a danger to all of us in the long run,” Orrock said. “It is not wise.”

Republican Sen. Ben Watson, a medical doctor, said a mandate is not needed since the virus has become less severe.

“The science certainly has evolved, the disease certainly has evolved,” Watson said.

COVID-19’S LASTING IMPACT: ‘LESS ATTRACTIVE’ PEOPLE WEAR MASKS MORE OFTEN THAN OTHERS, STUDY FINDS

A one-year ban on vaccine requirements was enacted last year, and this bill would make that measure permanent.

A one-year ban on vaccine requirements was enacted last year, and this bill would make that measure permanent. (iStock)

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Democrats, meanwhile, claim COVID-19 is less lethal thanks to vaccines and other public safety measures, and that there is no guarantee the virus will remain that way.

The bill now heads to the state House for consideration. 

Dolezal has said he plans to introduce a separate bill to make the current five-year ban on school mask mandates permanent.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Biden’s State of the Union touted economic success, but are Americans better off?

President Biden touted his economic accomplishments during his State of the Union address, but Americans across the country shared divided views on how their finances have fared two years into his term.

“If I didn’t work in a restaurant, I don’t think I’d be able to afford to eat,” Romello, a Washington state resident, told Fox News. “I’m dipping into my savings now.”

The cost of living is “crazy expensive” and rent is “mind-blowing,” he said. 

But Michael, of Nashville, said his financial situation has improved.

I make more money than I did three years ago,” he said. 

AMERICANS SHARE HOW THEIR FINANCIAL SITUATION HAS CHANGED UNDER BIDEN’S PRESIDENCY:

WATCH MORE FOX NEWS DIGITAL ORIGINALS HERE

A recent Fox News poll reported that 61% of registered voters disapproved of Biden’s handling of the economy. Additionally, 45% of respondents said economic conditions are “poor” while 35% answered “only fair.”

“We’re building an economy where no one’s left behind,” Biden said Tuesday during his State of the Union address. “Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back because of the choices we made in the last several years.”

Laura of Bellingham, Washington, doesn’t feel she’s in a better position than before Biden took office.

“Definitely worse off, but I still sit in a role of privilege,” she told Fox News. “So I’m fortunate enough to have weathered the storm without it being fully damaging to my family.” 

BIDEN’S IRS PLANS TO CRACK DOWN ON WAITERS’ TIPS

Laura said she is worse off financially under President Biden.

Laura said she is worse off financially under President Biden. (Fox News Digital / Hannah Ray Lambert)

But Rich, a D.C. resident, said: “If you look at it closely, the jobs are way up, inflation is down, corporate earnings are way up, wages are up.” 

“So, yes, all in all, I think the economy is doing better, although most people apparently do not think so,” he continued.

U.S. employers added 517,000 jobs in January, and the unemployment rate dropped to 3.4% — the lowest since 1969, according to the Department of Labor. But some economists warned that labor participation rates are still below pre-pandemic levels, though others say the report shows promise for sectors hit hard by the pandemic.

FOX NEWS POLL: STATE OF THE UNION IS DYSFUNCTION, DISSATISFACTION AND DISAPPROVAL

Joe Biden speaks about the progress of the administration's economic agenda.

Joe Biden speaks about the progress of the administration’s economic agenda. (ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, some Americans told Fox News they’re preparing for harder times ahead.

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“I’m being a little bit smarter and more frugal,” Pola, of Austin, said. “Especially for somebody like me in the service industry, you definitely have a little bit tougher of a time making your money.”

And a Nashville man said: “Things are more expensive, and I think it’s just digging us into a deeper hole.”

To watch the full responses, click here

Hannah Ray Lambert reported from Bellingham, Washington; Megan Myers from Washington, D.C.; Gabrielle Reyes from Austin; and Teny Sahakian from Nashville.

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