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Political notebook

McCarthy opposes Jan. 6 commission because it would not study ‘political violence’ by the left

On Jan. 6, violent protesters gathered outside the US Capitol in Washington before entering the building.
On Jan. 6, violent protesters gathered outside the US Capitol in Washington before entering the building.Andrew Harnik/Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Representative Kevin McCarthy, the top House Republican, said Tuesday that he would oppose bipartisan legislation to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 Capitol attack, denouncing the proposed inquiry into the deadliest attack on Congress in centuries because it would not examine unrelated “political violence” associated with the left.

The announcement by McCarthy, a California Republican and the minority leader, suggested that a House vote this week to create the panel will most likely be a partisan affair, with much of the GOP opposing the effort to scrutinize the storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. It is the latest reflection of party leaders’ reluctance to grapple with the legacy of the former president’s election lies.

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McCarthy had been pushing for any outside investigation to look at violence by antifascists and Black Lives Matter protesters, rather than focus narrowly on the actions of former president Donald Trump, whose claims of election fraud drove the riot. Some Republican moderates had already begun signaling they would support the bill.

“Given the political misdirections that have marred this process, given the now duplicative and potentially counterproductive nature of this effort, and given the speaker’s shortsighted scope that does not examine interrelated forms of political violence in America, I cannot support this legislation,” McCarthy said in a statement.

In rejecting the commission, McCarthy essentially abandoned one of his key deputies, Representative John Katko of New York, in favor of shielding Trump and the party from further scrutiny. Katko had negotiated the makeup and scope of the commission with his Democratic counterpart on the Homeland Security Committee and enthusiastically endorsed it Friday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, immediately slammed Republican opposition as “cowardice.”

Katko was more conciliatory. He defended his work as “a solid, fair agreement” but said the opposition was “not something I take personally.” He predicted a “healthy” number of Republicans would still vote for it.

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“I feel a deep obligation to get the answers US Capitol Police and Americans deserve and ensure an attack on the heart of our democracy never happens again,” Katko said.

Republican leaders do not plan to formally whip their members against the creation of the commission, or a related $2 billion package to harden the Capitol’s defenses and repay debts incurred around the violence. That would free rank-and-file members who want to support the proposed 10-person panel, modeled after the commission that studied the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to vote yes.

House Democrats have the votes to pass the measure with or without Republicans. They got a boost from the White House, as well, which formally endorsed the bipartisan bill Tuesday.

But McCarthy’s opposition raised questions about the breadth of Republican support. In the Senate, Democrats need 10 Republicans to join them to create it.

New York Times

Democrat Demings to run against Rubio

Democratic Representative Val Demings, who raised her national profile as one of the House managers prosecuting former president Donald Trump’s first impeachment, plans to run for the Senate in Florida in a bid to unseat Republican Senator Marco Rubio, according to two Democrats familiar with her plans.

Demings had indicated her interest in running for statewide office in 2022, but until now had been undecided whether to run against Rubio or Republican Governor Ron DeSantis. A Demings adviser who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss her plans, said, “she is planning a Senate run with a more formal announcement coming in June.”

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Demings is now the most high-profile Democrat seeking to take on Rubio and if she wins the party primary will be a formidable opponent against the incumbent. The race will certainly receive national attention, but Rubio won’t be easy to beat. Trump won Florida in 2020, and Rubio has Trump’s full support.

Still, the former Orlando police chief turned politician has seen her star rise in her brief time in Washington, even making the shortlist of President Biden’s possible vice-presidential picks.

Washington Post

Andrew Giuliani to seek GOP nod for N.Y. governor

NEW YORK — Andrew Giuliani, the son of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, announced Tuesday he is seeking the Republican nomination for governor of New York, potentially setting up a battle with third-term incumbent Democrat Andrew Cuomo.

“Giuliani vs. Cuomo. Holy smokes. It’s Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier,” the 35-year-old said in an interview with the New York Post.

He also posted a video on Twitter that assailed Cuomo for, among other things, barring gatherings and closing businesses and schools as the coronavirus began killing thousands of New Yorkers last March.

“At the first sign of a problem, they chose to shut us down. They take away our freedoms. They quarantine healthy people,” Giuliani said.

Giuliani served as a White House aide under former president Donald Trump and has more recently been a commentator for the conservative network Newsmax. He has never run for public office.

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Andrew Giuliani first came to public attention at his father’s 1994 mayoral inauguration when, at age 7, he mimicked his father’s gestures at the podium and repeated some of his words.

Giuliani was recruited for the golf team at Duke University but sued the university in 2008, saying he had been improperly cut from the team. Duke said the cut was based on bullying behavior, which Giuliani denied. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2010.

Associated Press

Biden visits Ford truck plant

President Biden traveled to Michigan Tuesday to visit the factory where Ford will produce the first electric version of its signature F-150 pickup truck, seeking to harness the horsepower of an American icon as he continues to make the case for his $4 trillion economic agenda.

Biden’s remarks at the Ford Rouge Electric Vehicle Center centered on the hundreds of billions of dollars for domestic manufacturing, electric vehicle deployment, and research into emerging technologies like advanced batteries that are included in the first half of his two-part economic agenda.

“My name is Joe Biden,” the president said at the start of his remarks, “and I’m a car guy.”

In a state that helped deliver the White House to Biden last year, after going for Donald Trump in 2016, the president pitched the idea that a transition to electric vehicles can position the United States to beat out China in the global automotive market while creating high-paying union jobs. He did so flanked by trucks from the best-selling vehicle line in the country.

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“The future of the auto industry is electric,” Biden said. “There’s no turning back.”

“The American auto industry is at a crossroads, and the real question is whether we’ll lead or fall behind in the race to the future,” he said.

Upon arrival in Michigan, Biden huddled for several minutes with Representative Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat who has criticized Biden for siding too heavily with Israel in the ongoing conflict with Palestinians in Gaza. Biden singled her out in his remarks.

“I admire your intellect, I admire your passion and I admire your concern for so many other people,” he said. “From my heart, I pray that your grandma and family are well. I promise you that I’m going to do everything to see that they are, on the West Bank.’'

Biden made an unscheduled stop Ford’s test track, where he hopped into the new all-electric F-150 pickup truck and took a spin.

“This sucker’s quick,” Biden said after pulling up in front of reporters accompanying him.

“I’m just gonna step on it. I’ll come off at 80 miles per hour. Okay, here we go. Ready?”

Associated Press

Bidens’ tax forms show $600,000 income

President Biden released tax forms on Monday showing that he and his wife, Jill Biden, earned just over $600,000 in 2020. The release resumed a presidential tradition of disclosure broken by Donald Trump.

The Bidens paid an effective federal income tax rate of 25.9 percent after donating about 5 percent of their income to charity, the documents showed. Their total federal income tax bill was just over $157,000.

Trump declined to release his tax returns while a candidate and while president from 2017 through the start of this year, saying he was under audit. He fought efforts by prosecutors and congressional Democrats to obtain the returns. Documents obtained last year by The New York Times showed that Trump paid $750 in federal taxes in 2016, the year he won the presidency, after reporting heavy losses in his business empire to offset his income.

Previous presidents had released tax returns annually, dating back to Richard Nixon.

Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband, Douglas Emhoff, a lawyer, also released their 2020 tax forms on Monday. They earned nearly $1.7 million for the year and paid an effective federal income tax rate of 36.7 percent.

New York Times