WASHINGTON (The Hill) — A new NBC News poll shows President Biden’s job approval rating has dipped to another low, with just 39 percent of Americans approving of the job he’s doing and 56 percent disapproving.
Americans are dinging the president on inflation, the economy and border security, as they have been for much of his presidency. Only 37 percent of Americans view Biden in a positive light, according to the poll, which shows his favorability rating hovers around the same percentage currently as former President Trump’s.
Biden appears to have lost ground once again after making some gains. Earlier this month, 42 percent of Americans approved of Biden’s job in a Washington Post-ABC News poll, which was up 5 percentage points from a previous poll in February.
In the NBC News poll, 59 percent of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the coronavirus, where the president has consistently earned the best marks.
But only 33 percent of Americans approve of his handling of the economy, and only 23 percent approve of his handling of inflation and the cost of living, two issues that are likely to be among the most important at the ballot box in November.
Gas prices have surged to record highs this year, topping an average national price of $4.47 per gallon, while prices at grocery stores have also seen steep increases. Last week, reports of a shortage of baby formula triggered another round of anguish among American families.
About 41 percent of Americans say they are “somewhat satisfied” with their current financial situation, according to the poll, with 16 percent saying they are very dissatisfied with their financial situation.
Americans rank cost of living, the economy, voting rights and abortion in that order as the top four issues facing the nation.
The poll was conducted from May 5 to May 7 and then May 9 to May 10 among 1,000 respondents. The margin of error is 3 percentage points.
The Hill’s Brad Dress contributed to the contents of this report.
MISSION, TX (The Western Journal)– A new video revealed illegal immigrants moving easily across the southern border from Mexico into the U.S. on Monday morning as Border Patrol agents are reportedly being pulled from the field to assist with paperwork.
“This morning, a group of illegal immigrant runners passed by us and disappeared into a nearby cotton field here in Mission, TX,” Fox News correspondent Bill Melugin reported from the Rio Grande Valley.
“There were no Border Patrol agents around. Many agents in the RGV have been pulled from field patrol to help w/ processing & paperwork,” he added.
Melugin also retweeted his interview on Monday on “Mornings with Maria” on Fox Business on the issue.
“Border Patrol agents at the Del Rio Sector are overwhelmed by high numbers of migrants. The 245 miles is only patrolled by 12 agents.@BillFOXLA is covering the story in Mission, Texas with wild video from just this morning,” the program tweeted.
Melugin commented, “We had a group of runners come zipping across right in front of us. It was a group of maybe six to 10 illegal immigrants who very clearly did not want to be caught by law enforcement.”
He added, “They ran right in front of us. They took off into a cotton field right by us and disappeared. There were no Border Patrol agents anywhere near us.”
The Washington Post reported earlier this month, “The number of migrants detained along the Mexico border crossed a new threshold last month, exceeding 200,000 for the first time in 21 years, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection enforcement data released Thursday.”
The Post added, “Among the 212,672 migrants taken into U.S. custody in July were 82,966 family members and 18,962 unaccompanied teenagers and children — an all-time high.”
Three weeks ago, Border Patrol apprehended a record 834 unaccompanied children along the nation’s southern border in a single day.
“Biden’s open border policy is a disaster,” Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton tweeted at the time.
In addition to the 834 unaccompanied migrant children, 2,784 children were in the custody of Customs and Border Protection and 591 transferred out of CBP custody.
A total of 14,523 migrant children were in the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, while 612 children were discharged from HHS care.
The updated statistics also noted the 30-day average of unaccompanied children apprehended and placed into CBP custody had reached 512 children per day.
WASHINGTON — As President Joe Biden pushes for another round of stimulus payments for most Americans, calls are escalating to target the aid solely to low- and moderate-income families, and new data suggests that it would provide the most needed and effective boost for the economy.
Families earning under about $75,000 typically spend the money quickly, according to a new analysis of how Americans are using the $600 payments this month, a study by Opportunity Insights, a nonprofit research organization. Families earning above that threshold typically save the stimulus payment, which provides little help to the overall economy and signals that the money was not as urgently needed.
Lawmakers from both major political parties lobbied the White House over the weekend for a less costly relief package that would only send stimulus payments to the most needy. Under Biden’s proposal, most U.S. households would receive $1,400 payments.
“Targeting the stimulus payments to lower-income households would both better support the households most in need and provide a large boost to the economy in the short run,” said John Friedman, an economics professor at Brown University and co-director of Opportunity Insights. “These checks are really impactful for lower-income households.”
Friedman, Harvard University economics professor Raj Chetty and economist Michael Stepner analyzed credit and debit card data and found a clear rise in spending for families and individuals who earn less than about $50,000 after the stimulus payments started to widely hit bank accounts on Jan. 4. Spending barely moved for families and individuals earning more than $78,000.
The price tag to send another round of checks to couples earning more than $75,000 and singles earning more than $50,000 would be $200 billion, yet the researchers estimate that this group would spend $14 billion of that money — about 7%.
The initial round of $1,200 stimulus checks in the spring saw some increase in spending across all income levels, Friedman and Chetty say, but this second stimulus is revealing a wide gap. That’s probably because the recession is largely over for the rich, while poorer households are still deep in it. The Federal Reserve says unemployment for low-wage workers is still about 20% — a near depression-like state.
“We’re seeing a pretty similar effect in how low-income households spent the stimulus in the first and second rounds and a smaller spending impact for high-income households,” Friedman said. “Low-income household have suffered by far the biggest economic shock. They need the help the most.”
Their findings are backed up by other surveys and analyses of how people used their first stimulus payments. The U.S. Census found households with incomes between $75,000 and $100,000 “were more likely to use their stimulus payments to pay off debt or to add to savings, compared to households overall.” Nearly 88% of households with less than $25,000 intended to spend the stimulus.
Andrew Rafner, 32, has been unemployed since mid-March after working at a comic book shop in Los Angeles. He and his girlfriend have struggled to pay bills at times. The stimulus check he just received was a lifeline for food and rent.
“It’s been nice to go to grocery store and not really have to worry about what to eat,” Rafner said.
Netspend, a prepaid debit card company, said it processed more than $850 million stimulus payments in January for about 900,000 customers. Prepaid debit card users tend to be lower income, and Netspend confirmed that most of the money has been spent quickly for basic necessities such as food and gas.
“For the first and second round of individual stimulus payments, Netspend saw its customers spend funds quickly,” said Netspend spokesman Adam Dawes. “Consistent with the first round of individual stimulus payments, these customers are using their funds to make purchases at grocery stores, restaurants, pharmacies and gas stations.”
Some lawmakers and economists have suggested that the stimulus checks are a waste of money and that the government would be better off focusing aid on unemployed. But many workers who have been able to return to jobs say they are struggling to get the hours and pay they once did.
Betty Laribo is a nurse’s aide in Morgantown, W.Va. Before the pandemic hit, she was working “per diem” and had no trouble getting booked as many days as she wanted at health-care facilities that needed extra help. Now she says she’s lucky to get a day’s work every two weeks.
As a single mom of four kids who are all in virtual schooling, Laribo is doing what she can to get by. She had fallen three months behind on her car payment and was worried about losing it until her stimulus payment arrived Friday.
“I paid my rent, my car payment and got groceries for the house and a few fun things for my kids,” said Laribo, a military veteran. “A lot of us are still working, but our hours have been so drastically affected by COVID that we might as well be unemployed.”
Laribo said it’s frustrating that people earning as much as $75,000 a year were receiving the same stimulus payment that she was.
Eligibility details for a proposed third round of payments have not been worked out, but individuals earning up to $87,000 a year and married couples earning up to $174,000 a year received at least some money in the second round of stimulus payments that Congress passed over the holidays. About 160 million households probably will get a payment.
Some people who received a payment in January have posted on social media that they did not need the money and are donating it to charity.
“Stimulus checks arrived, time for a big food bank donation,” tweeted one woman last week.
But data indicates that most people who did not need the money right away are saving the stimulus payment or using it to pay off student loan, credit card or mortgage debt.
Heather Long of the Washington Post contributed to the contents of this report.
SAN FRANCISCO — Conservative radio talk show host Michael Savage on Wednesday told Newsmax TV that he doesn’t buy the official story surrounding billionaire business tycoon Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged suicide and believes the accused pedophile to have been murdered.
Epstein, who was being held in a federal facility awaiting trial on mulitiple counts of child sex crimes was found dead in his cell on August 10.
“He was killed,” Savage told “Newsmax Now” host John Bachman, describing Epstein’s death as a scene straight out of “The Godfather” movie. “You have to be blind not to see he was executed,” Savage said. “The whole thing is absurd. And it was done in plain sight. Right in front of our eyes.”
Savage’s comments follow revelations by Epstein’s former cellmate, Nicholas Tartaglione, that he has been pressured by security guards at the jail to remain silent on the issue.
“The clear message Mr. Tartaglione has received is that if he conveys information about the facility or about [Epstein’s] recent suicide, there will be a price to pay,” Tartaglione’s lawyer, Bruce Barket, said Wednesday in a released statement. “Whether or not the investigators into the suicide chose to interview Mr. Tartaglione about the attempted suicide to which he was witness or about how the facility is run and the conditions under which the inmates are forced to live, the correction officers know he has information potentially very damaging to the very people now charged with guarding him or their coworkers.”
The coroner who performed the autopsy on Epstein shortly after his death found that Epstein had sustained numerous broken neck bones. The injuries, said the coroner, was more consistent with a victim of homicide than suicide.
“Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple,” the Washington Post reported. “Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensic experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation,” experts said.
It was reported shortly before Epstein’s death that he had communicated a desire to cooperate with federal officials and “name names” of other high profile individuals who had participated in the sexual abuse of children.
Attorney General Barr has called for a formal investigation into Epstein’s death.
WASHINGTON– President Donald Trump on Wednesday came out swinging against the mainstream media, which he claimed had “never” been so dishonest.
In a barrage of Tweets cheering on Covington Catholic student Nick Sandmann for filing a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against The Washington Post, the president slammed the publication and called his other nemesis, The New York Times, “a true enemy of the people.”
“The Washington Post ignored basic journalistic standards because it wanted to advance its well-known and easily documented biased agenda against President Donald J. Trump.” Covington student suing WAPO. Go get them Nick. Fake News!” the president wrote in the first tweet, quoting a political pundit’s analysis of the case.
“The New York Times reporting is false. They are a true ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!” Trump added in response to a Times report that Trump had orchestrated an effort to place a top ally in charge of an investigation into his former attorney, Michael Cohen.
“The Press has never been more dishonest than it is today,” the president continued. “Stories are written that have absolutely no basis in fact. The writers don’t even call asking for verification. They are totally out of control. Sadly, I kept many of them in business. In six years, they all go BUST!”
The president’s tweets are just the latest in his ongoing attacks upon the mainstream media, which he often refers to as “fake news.”
Last month, he accused various media organizations of becoming “crazed lunatics who have given up on the TRUTH.”
Washington, D.C. (Fox News) — Liberal lawmakers and pundits, emboldened by bipartisan outrage over President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, have kicked up calls to pursue impeachment — indicating the issue could fast become the next litmus test for Democratic candidates.
The discussion follows the recent political frenzy over calls to “abolish” Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). That effort briefly served as a similar litmus test in the wake of Trump’s zero-tolerance immigration policy, which led to family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border.
The GOP-controlled House countered on Wednesday with a vote on a resolution expressing support for ICE, effectively daring Democrats to go on the record with opposition to the agency. The measure passed, with a total of 133 Democratic representatives voting “present” — amounting to a procedural refusal to take a position despite weeks of heated anti-ICE rhetoric from party leaders.
But where abolishing ICE fizzled for now as a progressive cause, the impeachment controversy could have sturdier legs. At the least, it has forced Democratic leaders to confront and carefully manage pressure from the base.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., on Tuesday charged that Trump’s remarks in Helsinki, Finland, were “nothing short of treason” and marked a “dark day” in American history.
Hoyer characterized impeachment, though, as a “distraction,” while still keeping the door open for the process in the future. “There will be time enough to deal with other issues and oversight of the president’s performance when we take back control of the House of Representatives,” he said.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., a member of the House Judiciary Committee, toed the same line on Monday.
“I think that’s premature at this point — we should do all we can to make sure that he’s held accountable, that we conduct the investigations the Republicans have been unwilling to do,” Swalwell said in an interview with The Hill.
“If impeachment is the case,” he added, “it’s because we found impenetrable evidence that we take to the American people and will be accepted by both Republicans and Democrats.”
Elsewhere, the calls are getting louder.
Obama-era CIA Director John Brennan all but endorsed impeachment when he tweeted that “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors'” and was “nothing short of treasonous.”
Ron Fein, with Free Speech for People, wrote in The Washington Post that while Trump’s conduct might not rise to the level of treason, “it might still be impeachment-worthy regardless.”
In perhaps the most dramatic sign that the impeachment fight may go mainstream, Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke — he is running to unseat GOP Sen. Ted Cruz in November in the deep-red, pro-Trump state — has both advocated impeaching Trump and downplayed the Democratic consequences of such an effort.
“Impeachment, much like an indictment, shows that there is enough there for the case to proceed,” O’Rourke said this week, “and at this point there is certainly enough there for the case to proceed.”
Trump and his team have sought to manage and clean up after the Russia summit controversy. Trump sparked the biggest backlash for seeming to suggest he had accepted Putin’s denial of U.S. election meddling. But he later said he backed the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions, insisting he’d misspoken during a joint press conference with the Russian leader.
For her part, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that the Helsinki summit would increase calls for impeachment “perhaps in the country” — but added that in Congress, “we want to stay focused on honoring our oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution and our country.”
The momentum in some quarters suggests, though, that trying to remove Trump from office is no longer an effort relegated to the far-left fringes of the party.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., for example, has long advocated for Trump’s impeachment, telling the California Democratic Party’s annual convention in San Diego in Februrary that “it’s time to get ready for impeachment.”
Waters, who came under fire last month for openly advocating that anti-Trump protesters confront administration officials in public, had struggled to take the impeachment talk mainstream.
However, there are signs that the impeachment litmus test — like the ICE wedge before it — might ultimately falter, as fractures in the party prevent a unified and effective front from forming.
Rep. Linda Sánchez, D-Calif., vice chairperson of the House Democratic Caucus, warned that discussing impeachment is still premature.
“We don’t know all the facts yet,” Sanchez told Politico this week. “And until the time that we do, we can’t make a decision on whether or not impeachment is warranted.”
Freshman Rep. Jacky Rosen, who is seeking Republican Dean Heller’s seat in the Senate in November, has treaded carefully on the subject, saying she wants to see where Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian political meddling ends up.
Rosen issued a statement after the Helsinki summit calling Trump’s performance “embarrassing” but stopping short of calling for his removal.
In what could be a replay of the “abolish ICE” battle, Republicans have already shown a willingness to use that kind of measured, “wait-and-see” approach against Democrats who buck firebrands’ calls for more decisive action.
“Being afraid of losing an election is no excuse for Jacky Rosen to hide where she stands on impeachment,” Heller campaign spokesman Keith Schipper said in a statement last month, pre-summit. “If she supports impeaching President Trump, she needs to say it.”
Fox News’ Chad Pergram contributed to this report.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration on Wednesday announced plans to target illegal immigrants who are receiving public benefits.
According to a report published by The Washington Post, a new proposal would penalize illegal immigrants who accept public benefits and could be used to deny them legal residency.
If approved, the proposal may impact DACA recipients who were granted temporary residency under the Obama administration, preventing them from obtaining full legal staus.
“The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer by ensuring that foreign nationals seeking to enter or remain in the U.S. are self-sufficient,” DHS spokeswoman Katie Waldman told the Post in a statement. “DHS will consider whether the alien being a dependent or having dependents … makes it more or less likely that the alien will become a public charge.”
The president’s plan, which has been in the works for months, is in stark contrast to current guidelines, which have been in place since 1999 and specifically bar authorities from considering the receipt of benefits in deciding a person’s eligibility to immigrate to the United States or stay in the country.
“Non-citizens who receive public benefits are not self-sufficient and are relying on the U.S. government and state and local entities for resources instead of their families, sponsors or private organizations,” the Trump administration argued last month. “An alien’s receipt of public benefits comes at taxpayer expense and availability of public benefits may provide an incentive for aliens to immigrate to the United States.”
“The administration is committed to enforcing existing immigration law, which is clearly intended to protect the American taxpayer,” Tyler Houlton, a DHS spokesman said in February. “Any potential changes to the rule would be in keeping with the letter and spirit of the law – as well as the reasonable expectations of the American people for the government to be good stewards of taxpayer funds.”
Critics of the plan claim the proposal is cruel and forces illegal immigrants to choose between obtaining benefits and becoming legal citizens.
“It’s striking that the administration seems to be considering a version that goes even further, and they’re actively considering whether to use this rule to create new grounds for deporting legal immigrants,” Mark Greenberg, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, told the Post.
In addition to cash benefits, the proposal includes other taxpayer-funded benefits including the Earned Income Tax Credit, health insurance subsidies and food stamps.
The proposal is awaiting final approval from DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. If enacted, it would take full approval by the end of the year.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The long-awaited release of government files relating to the assassination of 35th president John F. Kennedy have been delayed yet again as President Donald Trump awaits arrival of the official forms needed to release the documents.
Trump, who announced plans last Saturday to release the files, said he would make the documents public “subject to the release of further information”.
By law, the once-classified documents are required to be released on Oct. 26, 2017, the 25th anniversary of the the signing of the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act. But the order to do so requires the president’s signature.
“There’s a mad scramble going on in the executive branch to get this done,” one official told NBC News (https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/jfk-assassination-files/release-jfk-assassination-file-delayed-deadline-looms-n814691).
Attorney Mark S. Zaid said on social media that the Archives hadn’t yet been given the green light to release the documents as of Thursday afternoon.
“#NARA has NOT been given green light to post any #JFK #assassination records yet,” Zaid tweeted.
Technically, President Trump could block the release of certain documents if they are deemed to be “an identifiable harm to the military defense, intelligence operations, law enforcement or conduct of foreign relations” and if “the identifiable harm is of such gravity that it outweighs the public interest in disclosure,” according to the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992.
Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who used himself as a human shield to protect President Kennedy and first lady Jacqueline Kennedy after the first shots rang out in Dallas, said on Thursday that he hoped the document release would provide the country with long-awaited answers.
“I’m hoping that within that material — and there’s lots of it — there will be some indication as to the motive, the reason why he (Lee Harvey Oswald) did what he did,” Hill told MSNBC.
Hill said he still blames himself for not reacting faster when the shots rang out.
“Deep down I still have that sense of guilt that I should have been able to get there quicker, and I didn’t,” he said. “I was the only one who had a chance to do anything.”
Lee Harvey Oswald, who officials claim acted alone in the murder of John F. Kennedy, was shot and killed two days later by Dallas club owner Jack Ruby.
Ruby later claimed that he acted on orders of people who were “higher up” and was found dead in his jail cell from what officials at the time claimed was complications stemming from cancer.
A 2013 poll conducted on the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination showed that 62% of respondents asked said they did not believe the government’s official story surrounding the murder (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2013/11/20/poll-62-percent-believe-broader-plot-killed-kennedy/?utm_term=.f660a657e520).
Further, a House Select Committee on Assassinations Final Report (https://www.maryferrell.org/showDoc.html?docId=800) found that there was a “probable conspiracy” to murder JFK, based on the evidence examined.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump came out swinging against former Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton on Wednesday over recent revelations that
her campaign helped to fund a vicious anti-Trump dossier during the height of the 2016 presidential election.
Calling the dossier a “disgrace” the president said the tables had turned on Democrats over what he referred to as the “Russia hoax.”
“They’re embarrassed by it, but I think it’s a disgrace,” Trump told a sea of waiting reporters, before heading to Texas for a briefing on Hurricane Harvey recovery efforts.
The quickly discredited report about the president was released just weeks prior to the November election and claimed that Trump had been filmed with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel.
The funding behind the effort was revealed on Tuesday after documents published by CNN revealed that political consulting firm Fusion GPS was retained last year by Marc E. Elias, an attorney representing the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign (http://cdn.cnn.com/cnn/2017/images/10/25/fusion.perkins.coie.pdf). The documents had been obtained as part of the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
The Washinton Post, who was first to report the connection between the dossier and the Clinton campaign (https://www.washingtonpost.com/amphtml/world/national-security/clinton-campaign-dnc-paid-for-research-that-led-to-russia-dossier/2017/10/24/226fabf0-b8e4-11e7-a908-a3470754bbb9_story.html) revealed that a former British intelligence officer helped to orchestrate the scandal.
“Marc E. Elias, a lawyer representing the Clinton campaign and the DNC, retained Fusion GPS, a Washington firm, to conduct the research,” said the WaPo report. “After that, Fusion GPS hired dossier author Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with ties to the FBI and the U.S. intelligence community, according to those people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”
“The whole Russia thing … this was the Democrats coming up with an excuse for losing the election,” Trump said. “They lost it and they lost it very badly. And they didn’t know what to say, so they made up the whole Russia hoax.”
“Now it’s turning out that the hoax is turned around, and you look at what’s happened with Russia and the uranium deal and the fake dossier, and it’s all turned around,” he added, referencing recent revelations on the Obama administration’s 2010 approval of a Canadian mining company’s sale to a Russian firm that gave them substantial control of U.S. uranium reserves.
“I think the uranium sale to Russia and the way it was done, so underhanded with tremendous amounts of money being passed, I actually think that’s Watergate, modern age,” Trump said.
Hillary Clinton has officially denied any wrongdoing.