WASHINGTON (Washington Times) — Sen. Rand Paul on Thursday blocked the Senate’s attempt to fast-track President Biden’s $40 billion military and humanitarian aid package for Ukraine over concerns there is insufficient oversight and transparency into how the money is being spent.
Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer, New York Democrat, and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican, both hoped for a swift final passage of the bill, after the House overwhelmingly approved the aid 368-57 on Tuesday.
But Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, blocked Mr. McConnell’s request for unanimous consent on the measure Thursday afternoon without the addition of language into the bill that would create a special inspector general to oversee the disbursal of aid to Ukraine.
The move was met with vitriol from both the Democrat and Republican leaders anxious to get the aid out the door. Mr. Paul’s objection will push the Senate’s final vote on the measure into next week.
“He is simply saying my way or the highway,” Mr. Schumer said. “When you have a proposal to amend a bill, you can’t just come to the floor and demand it by fiat. You have to convince other members to back it first. That is how the Senate works.”
WASHINGTON (National Review) — Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Monday said Hunter Biden’s recovered laptop and emails, which purportedly show Joe Biden had involvement in his son’s foreign business dealings, are “not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.”
Ratcliffe’s comments, which refute claims made by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff that the emails are a smear attempt coming “from the Kremlin,” came during an appearance on FOX Business.
“It’s funny that some of the people who complain the most about intelligence being politicized are the ones politicizing the intelligence,” Ratcliffe said. “Unfortunately, it is Adam Schiff who said the intelligence community believes the Hunter Biden laptop and emails on it are part of a Russian disinformation campaign.”
He continued: “Let me be clear: the intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that. And we have shared no intelligence with Adam Schiff, or any member of Congress.”
A New York Post report last week details emails which suggest Hunter Biden may have made an introduction between his father, then- Vice President Joe Biden, and a Ukrainian adviser to Burisma Holdings in 2015.
The documents were reportedly recovered from a laptop computer that was dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019 but never retrieved. The authenticity of the emails has not been confirmed.
“We know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” Schiff said of the emails on CNN. “That’s been clear for well over a year now that they’ve been pushing this false narrative about this vice president and his son.”
Ratcliffe said the claims of Russian disinformation are “simply not true.”
“Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe said. “This is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.”
He said the laptop is “in the jurisdiction of the FBI” and the Bureau’s investigation “is not centered around Russian disinformation and the intelligence community is not playing any role with respect to that.”
Brittany Bernstein of the National Review contributed to the contents of this report.
WASHINGTON (Newsmax) — In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV’s Greg Kelly, President Donald Trump tore into Joe and Hunter Biden after an in-depth report linked the pair to officials in Ukraine, including at energy company Burisma Holdings.
Trump’s interview will air in full at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday and repeats at 10 p.m. ET on Newsmax TV’s “Greg Kelly Reports.”
Kelly, host of “Greg Kelly Reports,” kicked off the interview by asking Trump about a series of New York Post stories published Wednesday that detailed the Biden-Ukraine connection.
The newspaper reported that Hunter Biden introduced his father, who at the time was vice president, to a top official at Burisma in 2015.
“They’re crooks, they’ve always been crooks. They’re grifters and crooks, and this is what we’re running against,” Trump said. “And it’s a disgrace. It’s a disgrace. Nobody could believe it. It’s turned out to be much worse.
“I give credit to the New York Post, and the mainstream media will try not to pick it up, even though it’s a major scandal. It’s a very sad thing when you look at that. Everywhere he goes, his son goes right behind him and grabs money.”
Hunter Biden landed a lucrative job on the board of Burisma and was paid up to $50,000 a month while his father was in office. Joe Biden is now the Democratic Party’s presidential nominee for next month’s election.
It’s been alleged that the elder Biden played a role in snuffing out an investigation into Burisma’s business dealings when Hunter was on the board.
The Post said it got ahold of emails that were obtained after someone dropped off a laptop with a Beau Biden Foundation sticker at a computer repair shop in Delaware in April 2019. The owner never picked up the computer, and the shop owner eventually contacted the FBI about what he found on it — but not before he made his own copy of the hard drive, which contained emails between Hunter Biden and officials in Ukraine, along with explicit photos and videos.
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Monday said President Donald Trump’s alleged tax debts were not only an issue of public concern but a “matter of national security,”
Responding to a New York Times report which detailed the president’s financial records over the past two decades, Pelosi, (D)-Calif., called the revelations a matter of “grave concern.”
“This president appears to have over $400 million in debt, $420 million whatever it is,” Pelosi told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “To whom? Different countries? What is the leverage they have? So for me, this is a national security question.”
“We take an oath to protect and defend, Pelosi continued. This president is commander in chief. He has exposure to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, to whom? The public has a right to know.”
The Times report suggested that the president has paid no income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years, primarily due to financial losses, and that the president is facing a decades long Internal Revenue Service audit over a $72.9 million tax refund he received that could wind up costing him more than $100 million.
Pelosi went on to question whether any of the debts in question were tied to Russia.
“The question is what does Putin have on the president politically, personally, financially in every way that the president would try to undermine our commitment to NATO, give away the store to Russia and Syria, try to cast blame on Ukraine for interfering in our elections when he knows full well with the consensus from the intelligence community that it is Russia. The list goes on and on. The annexation in the Crimea, and the rest of that that the president just turns away from,” Pelosi said. “So, he says he likes Putin and Putin likes him. Well, what’s the connection? We’ll see.”
In a series of tweets, the president defended himself and his financial records, referring to the New York Times report as “fake news.”
WASHINGTON– A federal judge on Monday challenged President Donald Trump’s decision to commute the prison sentence ofRoger Stone.
Stone, a long time ally of Trump, was convicted as part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016 presidential election. Stone was convicted of multiple charges, including making false statements, witness tampering and obstruction of justice. The 67-year-old received notice Friday evening that his 40-month prison sentence was commuted by Trump, just days before he was scheduled to report to prison.
U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson — who presided over Stone’s trial last year, issued order that a copy of Trump’s executive order commuting Stone be provided to her no later than Tuesday.
She also asked for clarification as to the scope of the clemency, including whether Trump’s order was specific to Stone’s prison sentence or also includes the two-year period of supervised release that was ordered as part of his sentence.