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Lawmakers rebuke Trump for attacks on Germany, NATO allies at summit

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Republican and Democratic lawmakers criticized President Donald Trump on Wednesday after he blasted European allies and called Germany "a captive of Russia" at the NATO summit in Brussels.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Cali., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the president's remarks were "an embarrassment."

"President Trump's brazen insults and denigration of one of America's most steadfast allies, Germany, is an embarrassment," Pelosi and Schumer said in a joint statement. "His behavior this morning is another profoundly disturbing signal that the President is more loyal to President Putin than to our NATO allies."

Trump, who is in Brussels as part of week-long European trip, has repeatedly said that NATO member nations have taken advantage of the U.S. by not contributing adequate sums to their defense.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Mich., said Wednesday that the 29-member international alliance was "indispensable" and pledged to bring a resolution to the floor of the House to reiterate congressional support of NATO.

"I subscribe to the view that we should not be criticizing our president while he is overseas," Ryan said, "but let me say a couple of things — NATO is indispensable, it's as important today as it ever has been."

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Trump's comments were not in America's national interest and could weaken the alliance. He also raised concerns about the signal it could send before Trump meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin next week in Helsinki.

"I'm very concerned that we have a rough meeting with NATO and then some kind of conciliatory meeting with Putin and it works against our country's national interest," he said.

Sen Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said he disagreed with the president's assertion and urged him to stop being so critical of foreign allies.

"I don't agree with that, Germany doesn't agree with that, they are strong people," he said. "I think you can be too critical of our counterparts."

Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., defended Trump for being critical of NATO, saying that American taxpayers have been carrying France and Germany "on their backs" for years.

Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., also stood by Trump's comments.

"I think it's about time that somebody in the U.S. stood up to NATO," he said. "Also, the Europeans can be sort of arrogant at times, so it's good to knock them back."

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, insisted that the president's comments, however, hurt NATO's mission and helps adversaries like Russia.

"It's so upsetting to see that Putin, whose number one goal is to divide the West, and particularly in NATO, has an American president doing his work for him," Menendez said. "Putin made a great investment in the 2016 presidential elections and it's paying off for him in Brussels today."

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Students, Alumni Urge Yale Law School’s Leadership To Denounce Brett Kavanaugh

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The school’s leadership boasted about its alumnus, Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee, in a press release.

Even though Yale Law School published a press release touting the accomplishments of Brett Kavanaugh, its alumnus and President Donald Trump’s new Supreme Court nominee, not everyone at the school is singing his praises.

As of Tuesday night, more than 200 students, staff members and alumni of Yale Law School signed an open letter calling for the institution to rescind its apparent support of Kavanaugh. 

The letter, addressed to the law school’s leadership and Dean Heather Gerken, argued that Kavanaugh, as a possible Supreme Court justice, puts American democracy in danger and called his nomination an “emergency.”

“The press release’s focus on the nominee’s professionalism, pedigree, and service to Yale Law School obscures the true stakes of his nomination and raises a disturbing question,” the letter’s authors wrote. “Is there nothing more important to Yale Law School than its proximity to power and prestige?”

The letter cited several of Kavanaugh’s past opinions, arguing that his conservative bias would place past Supreme Court rulings at risk. It also claimed Kavanaugh would act as a “rubber stamp for President Trump’s fraud and abuse,” pointing to the judge’s support for expanding presidential power.

“At a time when the President and his associates are under investigation for various serious crimes, including colluding with the Russian government and obstructing justice, Judge Kavanaugh’s extreme deference to the Executive poses a direct threat to our democracy,” the letter read.

Yale Law School published its press release about Kavanaugh on Monday, shortly after Trump announced he was nominating the Yale alumnus to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Yale Law spokeswoman Jan Conroy did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Is there nothing more important to Yale Law School than its proximity to power and prestige?Open letter to Yale Law School’s leadership

Kavanaugh has played a role in major partisan political battles, working with independent counsel Ken Starr to prosecute President Bill Clinton and with President George W. Bush’s legal team during the 2000 election recount.

The open letter to Yale Law School argued that Trump’s nomination of Kavanaugh is the president’s way of overturning Roe v. Wade and making abortions illegal.

The letter pointed to a dissent penned by Kavanaugh, in which the judge denied an undocumented teen the right to seek an abortion while in federal custody in Texas. It also highlighted another dissent written by Kavanaugh that argued the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive mandate violated the rights of religious organizations, “even though those organizations were granted an accommodation that allowed them to opt out of” contraceptive coverage.

The letter’s authors said Kavanaugh’s past opinions “give us grave concern that he will consistently prioritize the beliefs of third-parties over the oppressed,” including in cases involving abortion and contraception, and medical care for transgender patients.

The students, alumni and staff called on Yale Law School’s leadership to rescind its implied support for Kavanaugh, urging them to find the “moral courage” when there is “so little cost.”

“Perhaps you, as an institution and as individuals, will benefit less from Judge Kavanaugh’s ascendent power if you withhold your support,” the authors wrote. “But people will die if he is confirmed. We hope you agree your sacrifice would be worth it.”

Collins on Kavanaugh: 'Very difficult for anyone argue that he's not qualified' for the Supreme Court

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Tuesday that it is "very difficult for anyone to argue" that Judge Brett Kavanaugh is not qualified to serve on the Supreme Court and replace Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Collins, who will be one of the key votes toward Kavanaugh's potential confirmation, told reporters at the Capitol that while there are other factors that will play into her decision, the judge is "clearly qualified for the job."

"Certainly, when you look at the credentials that Judge Kavanaugh brings to the job, it will be very difficult for anyone to argue that he's not qualified for the job," Collins said. "He's clearly qualified for the job, but there are other issues involving judicial temperament and his ... judicial philosophy that also will play into my decision."

Collins and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, are the two top Democratic hopes to pick off Republicans based on their stance supporting the right to abortion. Along with a group of red-state Democratic senators, they are viewed as the swing votes for Kavanaugh's nomination.

In their efforts to block the nomination, Democrats are arguing that both the Affordable Care Act and abortion rights will be eviscerated if Kavanugh is confirmed to the bench.

"I've noticed they seem to have switched from a focus on Roe [v. Wade] to healthcare in an attempt to unify their caucus. The healthcare issues are very important to me," Collins said.

WASHINGTONEXAMINER.COM

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/congress/collins-on-kavanaugh-very-difficult-for-anyone-argue-that-hes-not-qualified-for-the-supreme-court

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