Republicans say Trump should apologize : FBI confirms Trump lied about Obama ‘wire tapping’ charge

presobamaandtrumpinovaloffice-2

Then President Obama meets with President-elect Trump in preparation for transition.

 

By Hazel Trice Edney
(TriceEdneyWire) – FBI Director James B. Comey has essentially confirmed what Democrats, Republicans and much of the general public already knew. That is that President Donald B. Trump lied on former President Barack Obama when he claimed, in a March 4 tweet, that Obama ordered a wiretap of Trump Tower during Trump’s campaign for the presidency.
“With respect to the president’s tweets, I have no information that supports those tweets…We have looked carefully inside the FBI,” Comey testified during a House Intelligence Committee Monday.
Comey said the U. S. Department of Justice, headed by Trump appointee Attorney General Jeff Sessions, asked him to state that the Justice Department also knows nothing of any such wiretaps.
In four consecutive tweets on March 4, Trump falsely accused former President Obama of the wiretapping:

The first tweet at 6:35 am: “Terrible! Just found out that Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!”
The second tweet at 6:49 am: “Is it legal for a sitting President to be “wire tapping” a race for president prior to an election? Turned down by court earlier. A NEW LOW!”
The third tweet at 6:52 am: “I’d bet a good lawyer could make a great case out of the fact that President Obama was tapping my phones in October, just prior to Election!”
The third tweet at 7:02 am: “How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

The false statements are not unusual for Trump – especially when it comes to President Obama. For nearly his entire presidency, Trump falsely claimed he was not born in the U. S. Even after Obama presented his birth certificate proving he was born in Hawaii, Trump still persisted. In other untruths, Trump also claimed to have seen thousands of Muslims celebrating the terrorist attacks on Sept. l1, 2001; and he claimed that millions of people voted illegally in the 2017 presidential election.
But the latest accusation against Obama was particularly egregious because Trump – with no clear reason – falsely accused his predecessor of a high crime. It was also odd given that Obama and Trump appeared to have gotten along so well during the transition period with Trump calling Obama a “very good man”.
Obama immediately responded to the false accusation through a statement from his spokesman Kevin Lewis.
“A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” Lewis said in a statement. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen…Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”
Civil rights leaders have been oddly silent on the Trump accusation against Obama. It will likely be brought up as members of the Congressional Black Caucus meets with the president March 22. But Republicans, interviewed by CNN leading up to Comey’s statement, said Trump clearly owes Obama an apology.
“I would retract the words if I were in his shoes. I think he should retract those words. To me I would apologize. I think it would be appropriate to do so,” said Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.)
“It never hurts to say you’re sorry. I think that goes for this situation,” says Rep. Bill Hurd (R-Texas).
“Unless you can produce some pretty compelling proof, then I think President Obama is owed an apology in that regard,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.).
But the Trump administration says it will not apologize. White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Monday that the President will not apologize. He said, “This is still ongoing.”

Peaceful exchange of power takes place as Trump prepares to take oath of office by shaking Obama’s hand.

inaughandtohand.jpgPresident Obama shakes hands with President Trump on stage at inauguration. Roy Lewis/Trice Edney News Wire

 

 

               (TriceEdneyWire.com) – President Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States Jan. 20, during a peaceful exchange of powers with America’s first Black President Barack Obama. Trump assured a unified America despite never apologizing for leading one of the most hate-filled campaigns in recent history.

“We, the citizens of America, are now joined in a great national effort to rebuild our country and to restore its promise for all of our people. Together, we will determine the course of America and the world for years to come,” Trump told the crowd. The Bible tells us, ‘How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.’ We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity. When America is united, America is totally unstoppable.”

The speech was met with applause and chants of “Trump! Trump! Trump!” by the vastly White audience – a reversal from the two inaugurations of eight and four years ago, when throngs of Black people packed in to witness the historic inaugurations of President Obama. The Trump inauguration, though well attended with crowds stretching from the steps of the U. S. Capitol back to the Washington Monument, did not draw as many people as the Obama inauguration, based on close observations of the crowd by this reporter and Black press photographers who attended all three ceremonies.

More than 60 Democratic members of Congress decided to skip the inauguration; including Black Caucus members U. S. Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Barbara Lee (D-Calif.). Lewis contends he does not see Trump as a legitimate president given the involvement of Russian email hacking in order to help him get elected, according to confirmation by intelligence agencies. Lee and others refused to attend because of protest for Trump’s vitriolic conduct during the election.

Still President Obama had promised a “peaceful exchange of powers”, a tenet of American democracy. Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, were also in attendance with their wives. Former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who battled Trump vigorously to win the presidency, smiled a lot and appeared stately during the procession and ceremony.

“Every four years, we gather on these steps to carry out the orderly and peaceful transfer of power, and we are grateful to President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama for their gracious aid throughout this transition. They have been magnificent,” Trump said. He repeated promised to “make America first” in his proposed national and international policies, legislations and executive orders. He also promised to uplift “inner cities”, a well-known euphemism for the Black community.

“Americans want great schools for their children, safe neighborhoods for their families, and good jobs for themselves. These are the just and reasonable demands of a righteous public,” Trump said. “But for too many of our citizens, a different reality exists: Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system, flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. We are one nation – and their pain is our pain.  Their dreams are our dreams; and their success will be our success.  We share one heart, one home, and one glorious destiny.”

Trump’s words are lofty, but his actions have not matched what he has said. So far, he has nominated an all-White cabinet; except Dr. Ben Carson who will head the Department of Housing and Urban Development. He has also appointed former White supremacist advocate Steve Bannon as a top advisor and nominated former Klan sympathizer Sen. Jeff Sessions as attorney general. He has appointed Omarosa Manigault to assist him with public liaison, but it remains to be seen what will come from a meeting she and other aids had with Black organizational representatives.

Meanwhile on Saturday, the day after the inauguration, more than a million women packed the streets of Washington and other major cities around the U. S. making demands on a string of key issues important to women, Blacks and other minorities. Civil rights leaders have taken a wait and see posture while putting pressure on the Trump administration through protest.

Led by Rev. Al Sharpton, they started that pressure during a march one week before the inauguration. On Inauguration Day, National Urban League President/CEO Marc Morial emailed a statement essentially promising to continue marching to correct social ills that were prevalent 50 years ago.
“My own predecessor as head of the National Urban League, the legendary Whitney M. Young, was one of the organizers of that march and delivered his own stirring speech that day. He spoke of the need for Black Americans to do “some more marching:” …from dangerous ghettos to safe, unrestricted neighborhoods…from poverty wages to skilled, family-sustaining jobs…from the cemeteries of early graves to health centers from overcrowded, inadequate classrooms to fully-equipped, professionally staffed and integrated schools,” wrote Morial. “And there we were, marching for those same things a half-century later, marching under the motto, “We shall not be moved.”

President Obama and Hillary Clinton are making their first joint campaign appearance

 By: The Associated Press

 

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama

Eight years after Hillary Clinton helped unite Democrats behind Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, he’s returning the favor. Obama and Clinton will make their first joint appearance of the 2016 campaign Tuesday in North Carolina, a state Democrats are eager to pull back into their win column in November. Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump will hold his own event in the political battleground a few hours later. The Democratic duo’s rally in Charlotte cements a new phase in their storied political relationship. They were bitter rivals in the 2008 Democratic primary but became colleagues when Clinton joined Obama’s Cabinet as secretary of state. Now, they’re co-dependents as Clinton seeks the White House once again.
Her chances of winning hinge on rallying Obama’s coalition to her cause. Obama’s legacy depends on her success. Aides to both say the foe-to-friend story will be at the center of the Obama-Clinton show Tuesday. In his remarks, the president will act as a character witness for his former adviser, who is struggling to convince voters of her trustworthiness and honesty. There is no better politician to testify on her behalf, many Democrats believe, than the man who once counted himself among the Clinton skeptics but came around to be one of her biggest boosters.
“I think that he can be very helpful, particularly with Democratic voters and some independent voters who have doubts,” said David Axelrod, the chief architect of Obama’s 2008 race for the Democratic nomination against Clinton. “He can do that by sharing his own experience. They were rivals, they had their differences; that gives him some additional standing.”
The Clinton campaign also is hoping that Obama’s presence at her side serves as a reminder of another, more popular chapter in Clinton’s career. For four years, Obama trusted her to circle the globe representing his foreign policy. She sat at his side in the Situation Room. She was the good soldier, putting aside her political ego to join the administration of the man who defeated her. During her tenure at the State Department she was viewed favorably by most Americans.
“As someone who was a former rival and came to put a lot of faith in her, we believe the president’s support for her is particularly meaningful to voters,” said Clinton campaign adviser Jennifer Palmieri.
The White House confirmed Monday that Clinton and Obama will travel to the event together on Air Force One. Clinton’s Republican presidential rival objected to the travel plan. “Why is President Obama allowed to use Air Force One on the campaign trail with Crooked Hillary?” Donald Trump tweeted. “Who pays?”
Presidents make all their airplane flights on Air Force One, no matter the purpose of the trip. Political committees are required to contribute to the cost of a president’s campaign-related travel, though a portion of such costs is borne by taxpayers, too. “As is the standard practice, the campaign will cover its portion of the costs,” Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill said.
Obama makes his first campaign appearance with Clinton during a wave of popularity unlike anything he’s experienced since his first term. Clinton aides say they’re confident they could deploy him in any battleground state, though they believe he’ll be particularly effective in rallying young people, as well as black and Hispanic voters, and will be instrumental in voter registration efforts.
In a series of remarks in recent weeks, the president has proven himself to be one of the Democrats’ most effective critics of Trump. From his perch at the White House and on the world stage, Obama has regularly found ways to blast Trump’s message and mock his style. The mix of high-minded concern and sharp-elbowed sarcasm is widely viewed as an effective, tweetable model for other Democrats.
Still, Obama won’t spend the next four months as the “Trump-troller in chief,” as one official put it. Obama plans to take a largely positive message on the road as his campaigning picks up later this summer. That’s in part because he’s campaigning for the continuation of his agenda — as well as Clinton’s. On health care, immigration, financial reform and the environment, Clinton is largely promising a continuation or acceleration of Obama’s policies.
Obama and Clinton originally planned to make their first campaign appearance together in Wisconsin, a Democratic-leaning state where Clinton struggled in her primary fight with Bernie Sanders. Campaign aides viewed the rally as a way to forge Democratic unity after the bruising primary and consolidate the party’s voters in a state Clinton needs to carry in November.
But the June 15 rally was postponed due to the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. By the time the campaign and White House got around to rescheduling, Clinton aides said the landscape had shifted — they are now far less worried about bringing along Bernie Sanders voters and more interested in using the president to rally voters in one of the most divided general election battlegrounds.

Obama: Court ruling won’t end immigration debate

By: Gregory Korte, USA TODAY

President Obama

 

WASHINGTON — President Obama all but conceded defeat on immigration Thursday following a Supreme Court decision that kept his executive actions on hold, saying it’s unlikely he’ll be able to accomplish his goal of giving millions of immigrants semi-legal status by the end of his presidency.

Obama called the Supreme Court’s deadlock a setback that “takes us further from the country we aspire to be.” But he also predicted that an overhaul the immigration system would come eventually.”Congress isn’t able to ignore America forever,” he said.

Obama spoke following the Supreme Court’s 4-4 deadlock in a closely watched case that considered whether the president has the power to delay deportations of millions of immigrants who don’t have the legal authority to be in the United States.

The unusual Supreme Court tie vote — caused by the vacancy created by Senate Republicans’ refusal to confirm a replacement for the late Justice Antonin Scalia — means that a lower court ruling stands. That decision held that states have standing to sue the federal government over the executive actions, and put important parts of Obama’s immigration plan on hold.

The Obama administration has deployed more border agents to the southern border, and Obama said he’s cut illegal border crossings to their lowest levels since 1970s. But he lamented that success on that front did not break the logjam in Congress over an immigration reform package.

“It is heartbreaking for millions of immigrants who made their lives here, who raised families here,” Obama said.

Obama promised that little would change for most immigrants, saying his administration would continue to consider long-term unauthorized immigrants a low priority for deportation. “What is unaffected by today’s ruling, or lack of a ruling, are the enforcement priorities we put in place,” he said. “As long as you have not committed a crime, our limited law enforcement resources are not focused on you.”

But the decision means that immigrant families will not be eligible for get work authorizations and government benefits. Obama said he’s not considering any more executive actions on the issue before the end of his presidency.

Obama also used the occasion to once again call on the Republican- controlled Senate to confirm his nominee for a vacancy to the Supreme Court, which would provide for a more definitive — and likely Obama-friendly — decision.

“The court’s inability to reach a decision in this case is a very clear reminder of why it’s so important for the Supreme Court to have a full bench.”

Obama did praise a separate decision upholding affirmative action in college admissions. “We are not a country that guarantees equal outcomes, but we do strive to provide an equal shot to everyone, and that;s what the Supreme Court upheld today,” Obama said.

 

Supreme Court rules for Black Georgia death row inmate

By Lawrence Hurley

 

scotus-elites_2

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday effectively overturned a Black man’s 1987 conviction for murdering a white woman, rebuking Georgia prosecutors for unlawfully excluding Black potential jurors in picking an all-white jury that condemned him to death.

635881246232894643-AP-Supreme-Court-All-White-Jury

Timothy Foster

The 7-1 ruling handed a major victory to Timothy Foster, who is 48 now and was 18 at the time of the 1986 killing of Queen Madge White, a 79-year-old retired schoolteacher, in Rome, Georgia. Prosecutors, however, still could seek a new trial.
Black convicts make up a disproportionately high percentage of death row inmates in the United States. Opponents of capital punishment assert that the American criminal justice system discriminates against Black defendants. During jury selection, all four Black members of the pool of potential jurors were “struck” by prosecutors, meaning they were removed from consideration. Prosecutors gave reasons not related to race for their decisions to exclude them.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who wrote the ruling, said prosecution notes introduced into evidence that shed light on the jury selection “plainly belie the state’s claim that it exercised its strikes in a ‘color blind’ manner. The sheer number of references to race in that file is arresting.”
The notes showed that the prosecution marked the names of the black prospective jurors with a “B,” highlighted them in green and circled the word “Black” next to the race question on juror questionnaires.
The prosecution gave reasons for excluding potential Black jurors including that they “did not make enough eye contact” during questioning and were “bewildered,” “hostile,” “defensive,” “nervous” and “impudent.”
Roberts said prosecutors “were motivated in substantial part by race” when two of the potential jurors were excluded. Two such strikes based on race “are two more than the Constitution allows,” Roberts added.
The Supreme Court ruled in 1986, the same year as this murder, that it is unconstitutional to take race into account when excluding potential jurors.
Prosecutors said Foster broke into the elderly woman’s home in the middle of the night, broke White’s jaw, sexually assaulted her, beat and strangled her, and stole items from her house. Foster later confessed to killing White, according to court papers.
At the time of the trial, Foster’s legal arguments regarding jury selection failed. But in 2006 his lawyers obtained access to the prosecution’s jury selection notes, which showed that the race of the Black potential jurors was highlighted, indicating “an explicit reliance on race,” according to Foster’s attorneys.
According to court documents filed by Foster’s lawyers, the lead prosecutor said of his exclusion of the potential black jurors: “All I have to do is have a race-neutral reason, and all of these reasons that I have given the court are racially neutral.”
Foster’s lawyer, Stephen Bright of the Southern Center for Human Rights, said the legal challenge would not have succeeded without the notes. “This discrimination became apparent only because we obtained the prosecution’s notes which revealed their intent to discriminate. Usually that does not happen. The practice of discriminating in striking juries continues in courtrooms across the country,” Bright said.
The Supreme Court’s ruling threw out a Georgia Supreme Court decision rejecting Foster’s claim about prosecutorial misconduct in jury selection, meaning a state court will now reverse his conviction.
The sole dissenter in the ruling was the court’s only Black justice, Clarence Thomas. Thomas said the case should have been sent back to state courts to determine whether Foster’s claim could proceed.

President Barack Obama signed a bill Friday that modernizes the terms used for minorities.

By: Madison Park, CNN

President Barack Obama

(CNN) The federal government will no longer use the terms “Negro” and “Oriental” after President Barack Obama signed a bill into law. The official terms will be African-American and Asian-American. Welcome to 2016.
In a rare show of bipartisan support, the measure H.R.4238, passed unanimously in the House of Representatives and the Senate earlier this year. Obama signed it into law Friday. The measure updates the terms the U.S. federal government uses to describe minorities, including American Indian to Native American and “Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” to Hispanic.
Here’s what the bill states: Office Of Minority Economic Impact.—Section 211(f)(1) of the Department of Energy Organization Act (42 U.S.C. 7141(f)(1)) is amended by striking “a Negro, Puerto Rican, American Indian, Eskimo, Oriental, or Aleut or is a Spanish speaking individual of Spanish descent” and inserting “Asian American, Native Hawaiian, a Pacific Islander, African American, Hispanic, Puerto Rican, Native American, or an Alaska Native”.
“The term ‘Oriental’ has no place in federal law and at long last this insulting and outdated term will be gone for good,” said Rep. Grace Meng of New York, who sponsored the bill.
Meng, a Democrat from Queens, encountered the term while doing legislative research and had sought to eliminate its usage from government terminology.
“Many Americans may not be aware that the word ‘Oriental’ is derogatory. But it is an insulting term that needed to be removed from the books, and I am extremely pleased that my legislation to do that is now the law of the land,” she said in a statement.
Meng had similarly pushed a law that eliminated the use of the word when she served in the New York Legislature in 2009.
The H.R. 4328 bill had 76 cosponsors, including all 51 members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. One of the original cosponsors included Rep. Ed Royce, a California Republican.
“Our country is a rich tapestry of cultural backgrounds, and Americans of all backgrounds deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” he said in a statement.

Obama to make historic visit to Hiroshima

By David Nakamura, Washington Post

images

President Obama will make a historic trip to Hiroshima, Japan, on May 27, becoming the first sitting U.S. president to visit the site of the world’s first atomic bombing.
The White House formally announced the visit last week after weeks of speculation that Obama would stop in the city after attending the Group of 7 economic summit in Ise-Shima. The president is expected to deliver a speech on nonproliferation of nuclear weapons. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will join Obama on the visit, where the president will “highlight his continued commitment to pursuing the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons,” the White House said in a statement.
Obama aides say there will be no presidential apology for the U.S. decision to drop the atomic bomb on Aug. 6, 1945, which killed an estimated 140,000 people in Hiroshima. Three days later, a second atomic bomb killed up to 80,000 people in Nagasaki.
“He will not revisit the decision to use the atomic bomb at the end of World War II,” White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said in a blog post. “Instead, he will offer a forward-looking vision focused on our shared future.”
Critics, including many conservative news outlets, have called a visit unnecessary and framed a potential trip by Obama as an apology for an act that helped bring the war started by Japan to a quicker end, saving lives of U.S. service members.
But the White House believed the time was right, in Obama’s final year, to make a grand symbolic statement toward the president’s disarmament goals that he announced during his first year in office. Though Obama has made only modest progress in that effort, aides said the trip would allow the president to focus international attention on the issue at a time when presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has suggested Japan and South Korea develop their own nuclear weapon arsenals in the face of threats from North Korea.
Rhodes emphasized that Obama will pay homage to U.S. service members who fought in World War II: “Their cause was just, and we owe them a tremendous debt of gratitude. ” He added that “the visit will also symbolize how far the United States and Japan have come in building a deep and abiding alliance based on mutual interests, shared values, and an enduring spirit of friendship between our peoples.”
Kevin Martin, president of Peace Action, which advocates for the abolition of nuclear weapons, said that Obama must take concrete steps toward that goal.”It’s not enough to repeat the words Obama has said several times since his historic Prague speech [in 2009] calling for the abolishment of nuclear weapons,” Martin said. “Obama must announce actions he will take in the his remaining months as president that will actually bring the world closer to being free of nuclear weapons.”
The president, Martin said, “will look insincere if his words espouse ridding the world of nuclear weapons while at the same time his administration continues its plan to spend a trillion dollars over thirty years to upgrade nuclear weapons.”
Obama also will make his first visit to Vietnam, visiting Hanoi on May 24 and Ho Chi Minh City on May 25, the White House said.