Texan Gohmert 1 of 5 House Republicans voting against resolution affirming peaceful transition of power

WASHINGTON — Texas U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert is standing by his Tuesday vote as one of only five Republicans opposing a House resolution to affirm the chamber’s support for a peaceful transfer of power after President Trump last week declined to commit to it if he loses reelection.

The Republican-controlled Senate passed a nearly identical resolution by unanimous consent last Thursday, but Gohmert said he couldn’t support the legislation because it “singles out” Trump in the presidential race against Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

“This bill on which I voted ‘No’ is nothing more than a means to attack President Trump, though he has made clear he will support a peaceful transition to the legally winning party after the election,” Gohmert said in a statement Wednesday morning.

The resolution does not mention either presidential candidate by name and affirms the House’s commitment that there will be “no disruptions by the President or any person in power to overturn the will of the people of the United States” following the Nov. 3 election. During the floor debate Tuesday evening, Gohmert said he supports a peaceful transition and unsuccessfully sought to amend the bill to include “or any candidate or anyone acting on a candidate’s behalf.”

Reps. Matt Gaetz, of Florida, Clay Higgins, of Louisiana, Steve King, of Iowa, and Thomas Massie, of Kentucky, joined the Tyler Republican in voting against the resolution. The measure was adopted in a bipartisan 397-5 vote.

“I know my colleagues on the other side have their own suspicions about what the motive is behind this and want to project onto it something that’s not in the language. But this was passed by 100 senators last week,” said Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif. and the author of the resolution.

The votes from the House and the Senate came after Trump said he would “see what happens” when asked at a press conference last Wednesday if he would commit to a peaceful transition of power following the election. Trump reaffirmed that position during the first presidential debate Tuesday, claiming the election will be “a fraud like you’ve never seen.”

Without evidence, Trump has claimed for months that the rise in mail-in voting due to the coronavirus pandemic will defraud the election in favor of Biden.

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump said last week.

Lawmakers in both parties have countered Trump’s remarks in the days since.

“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th. There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

When asked about the controversy during a news conference last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters, “we want a peaceful transfer of power. It’s very sad that you even have to ask that question.”

Due to the pandemic, results are unlikely to be clear for weeks following Election Day as

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House votes to kill Rep. Gohmert resolution to ban Democratic Party

Gohmert reintroduced the privileged resolution last week, forcing a swift procedural vote in the House that mostly fell along party lines.

The resolution also would have directed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to remove “any item that names, symbolizes, or mentions any political organization or party that has ever held a public position that supported slavery or the Confederacy, from any area within the House.”

Gohmert introduced the resolution in July shortly after the House voted to remove the statues of Confederate leaders and replace a bust of Roger B. Taney, the U.S. chief justice who wrote the Supreme Court decision that said people of African descent are not U.S. citizens.

The vote was 305 to 113 for the bill to replace the bust of Taney, which sits outside the old Supreme Court chamber on the first floor of the Capitol, with one of Thurgood Marshall, the first Black member of the Supreme Court.

That vote came amid a broader push by Democrats to remove statues, portraits and other art in the Capitol honoring Confederate leaders and other controversial figures, at a time of national reckoning over systemic racism after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Gohmert’s resolution cited Democratic Party platforms in the 1800s and the filibuster by some in the party against the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which a Democratic president, Lyndon B. Johnson, signed into law.

“A great portion of the history of the Democratic Party is filled with racism and hatred,” Gohmert said in July. “Since people are demanding we rid ourselves of the entities, symbols, and reminders of the repugnant aspects of our past, then the time has come for Democrats to acknowledge their party’s loathsome and bigoted past, and consider changing their party name to something that isn’t so blatantly and offensively tied to slavery, Jim Crow, discrimination, and the Ku Klux Klan.”

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House to vote on resolution affirming peaceful transition of power

The House is slated to vote next week on a resolution that would reaffirm the chamber’s support for a peaceful transfer of power after President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on’ Trump ‘no longer angry’ at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE this week declined to commit to it if he loses reelection.

The vote will come after the Senate passed a similar resolution on Thursday by unanimous consent to affirm a hallmark of American democracy.

The House version is listed under a series of bills set to receive floor votes next week under an expedited process that requires a two-thirds supermajority for passage, indicating that it is expected to receive bipartisan support. A spokesperson for House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money: Anxious Democrats push for vote on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi, Mnuchin ready to restart talks | Weekly jobless claims increase | Senate treads close to shutdown deadline Vulnerable Democrats tell Pelosi COVID-19 compromise ‘essential’ Anxious Democrats amp up pressure for vote on COVID-19 aid MORE (D-Md.), who controls the schedule, confirmed Friday it will be on the floor next week.

The resolution, authored by Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellSwalwell calls for creation of presidential crimes commission to investigate Trump when he leaves office ‘This already exists’: Democrats seize on potential Trump executive order on preexisting conditions Swalwell: Barr has taken Michael Cohen’s job as Trump’s fixer MORE (D-Calif.), does not explicitly mention Trump’s comments this week.

Instead, the two page resolution states that the House “reaffirms its commitment to the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called for in the Constitution of the United States” and “intends that there should be no disruptions by the President or any person in power to overturn the will of the people of the United States.”

Trump on Wednesday said that he would have to “see what happens” when asked if he would commit to a peaceful transition of power and tried to sow doubt, without evidence, about the reliability of voting by mail.

“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a very peaceful — there won’t be a transfer, frankly. There will be a continuation,” Trump said. “The ballots are out of control. You know it, and you know who knows it better than anyone else? The Democrats know it better than anyone else.”

Trump has repeatedly declined to say if he will accept the election results if he loses the election to Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenPelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on’ Hillicon Valley: Subpoenas for Facebook, Google and Twitter on the cards | Wray rebuffs mail-in voting conspiracies | Reps. raise mass surveillance concerns Fox News poll: Biden ahead of Trump in Nevada, Pennsylvania and Ohio MORE.

When asked during an interview with Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris)

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House passes continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown

The House has passed a continuing resolution that includes nearly $8 billion more for nutrition assistance programs. The continuing resolution passed 359-57-1 Tuesday night, with only Republicans and libertarian Representative Justin Amash opposing it and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voting present.

The resolution funds the government until December 11, avoiding a possible shutdown at the end of September. It also renews provisions of public health and transportation programs that were set to expire on November 30. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced an agreement between House Democrats, Republicans and the Trump administration late Tuesday. 

“We have reached an agreement with Republicans on the CR to add nearly $8 billion in desperately needed nutrition assistance for hungry schoolchildren and families,” Pelosi said in a statement. “We also increase accountability in the Commodity Credit Corporation, preventing funds for farmers from being misused for a Big Oil bailout.”

Democrats, Pelosi said, have renewed the “expiring lifeline of pandemic EBT for a full year.” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has been leading negotiations for the administration. 

The resolution now heads to the Senate where it’s expected to pass, now that a big sticking point — farm aid — has been included. 

Kimberly Brown contributed to this report

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House Democrats’ resolution condemns harassment of Asian Americans

House Democrats passed a resolution Thursday condemning the harassment of Asian Americans and directly blamed President Trump amid reports of an uptick in such incidents nationwide.

The resolution, which passed 243-164 with 14 Republicans joining Democrats, is tangled in the larger debate around how the U.S. should address China’s role in the global pandemic.

Rep. Grace Meng, the resolution’s sponsor, said in a tweet that Mr. Trump’s use of the terms “China virus” and “Kung Flu” were making scapegoats of Asian Americans.

“This is wrong & dangerous,” she wrote. “Passing [the resolution] sends a unified message that such bigotry, hatred and xenophobia will not be tolerated.”

Ms. Meng, New York Democrat, voted for her bill via proxy.

The resolution doesn’t carry the weight of law but does express consensus of the House.

“Sadly this bigotry is being fueled by some in Washington, and you would think, I thought this would be almost unanimous consent to condemn violence against Asian Americans. Even from the White House itself, which uses dangerous, false and offensive terms to describe the coronavirus,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said on the floor.

Republican leaders denounced the resolution, accusing Democrats of pushing it through to score political points and shying away from penalizing China.

“Did the virus start in China? Yes. Did it start in Wuhan, China? Yes. Did China lie to the United States about the severity and origins of this virus? Yes,” said Rep. Jim Jordan, Ohio Republican.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise deflected criticism of Mr. Trump by highlighting the fact that the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing in February titled “The Wuhan Coronavirus.”

They said the vote wasted time that could’ve been spent working on stalled coronavirus relief to get aid out to the American public.

Mr. Trump has doubled down on blaming China while insisting that the blame is not directed at Asian Americans.

While Democrats made it clear the resolution was aimed at Mr. Trump, the text didn’t name the president and called on all officials to condemn “any and all anti-Asian sentiment in any form.”

It also requests federal law enforcement to aid state and local efforts to collect data on harassment and hate crimes against Asian Americans.

The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council and Chinese for Affirmative Action launched a website in March where people can report such incidents.

Stop AAPI Hate, a coalition of groups tracking these reports, found that more than 2,500 incidents — ranging from physical attacks to verbal accosts to discrimination — have been submitted as of August. The vast majority of these anecdotal reports show Asian Americans being blamed for spreading the virus.

Data from Pew Research gathered in July found that Asian Americans were the most likely — compared to White, Black and Hispanic Americans — to report negative reactions from others because of their ethnicity since the outbreak began. Nearly 40% of Americans said it was more common to direct racist views at Asian

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House passes resolution to denounce Covid-19 racism toward Asian Americans

The House passed a resolution Thursday to denounce the racism toward Asian Americans that has risen as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The measure demands the condemnation of all forms of racism and scapegoating and calls on public officials to denounce any anti-Asian sentiment. While the legislation won heavy Democratic support, it also got some Republican backing, passing 243-164. Rep. Grace Meng, D-N.Y., the resolution’s main sponsor, said the vote showed that “the House said, ‘Enough.'”

“For months, Asian Americans in my home state of New York and in communities throughout the nation have been verbally and physically attacked, spat on and shunned,” Meng said. “Enough of the demeaning usages of ‘Chinese virus,’ ‘Wuhan virus’ and ‘Kung-flu,’ especially from our nation’s leaders, such as President Trump, GOP leader McCarthy and others. Enough of the scapegoating. Enough of using the Asian American community to stoke people’s fears about Covid-19.”

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is the House minority leader.

Meng added: “The House made clear that we reject this xenophobia and violence, and I thank all who joined me in standing up to bigotry and ugliness against Asian Americans. Everybody deserves to feel safe in the country we call home.”

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The legislation, which was introduced in March, also calls for authorities to investigate and collect data about coronavirus-related hate crimes, which have continued to rise since the pandemic began. The reporting forum Stop AAPI Hate received 2,583 reports of anti-Asian discrimination nationwide over about five months. New York City alone reported more than 248 incidents of harassment and discrimination related to Covid-19 from February to April, with over 40 percent identified as anti-Asian incidents.

Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, said it was important for the nation’s leaders to send a clear message rejecting bigotry. She said the legislation likely passed because of the “dire nature” of the anti-Asian sentiment across the country.

But the support for an Asian American-centered issue also, in part, speaks to the importance of representation among legislators, Chu said. She said there is a record number of Asian American and Pacific Islander members of Congress, about 20.

“It is significant that it was able to be passed on, but it is also a result of the fact that we do have more representation in Congress,” Chu said. “We were able to educate our fellow members of Congress about what was going on to the Asian community with regard to these Covid-19 hate crimes and incidents.”

Chu said the support the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus got from other congressional caucuses, including those representing Black, Latino and Native American lawmakers, was fundamental in pushing back against pandemic-related racism.

Full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak

Chu said she suspects that those who voted against the measure did not want to put blame on President Donald Trump for anti-Asian American racism.

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House readies contempt resolution as Pompeo defies subpoenas

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Foreign Affairs Committee is moving to hold Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in contempt after he has repeatedly rejected the committee’s subpoenas for records related to Ukraine that the department has turned over to the Republican-led Senate.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., said Friday that the panel will prepare a contempt resolution because of what he called Pompeo’s “unprecedented record of obstruction and defiance of the House’s constitutional oversight authority.” The House has asked for the same documents that the State Department has turned over for a Senate investigation into Democrat Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, and his activities in Ukraine, but Pompeo has refused to provide them.

In a letter to Engel this week, the department said Pompeo would turn over the documents if the House panel was investigating, like the Senate, “identical or very similar corruption issues involving Ukraine and corrupt influence related to U.S. foreign policy.” Democrats have said they believe that investigation by the Senate Homeland and Governmental Affairs Committee is a politically motivated, election-year probe that is aiding Russia’s attempts to sow chaos in American democracy and spreading Russian disinformation.

The department reiterated that position Friday after Engel said he would pursue contempt, saying in a statement that they would provide the materials “with the only condition being that he send a letter explaining what foreign policy issue he is investigating that requires these documents.”

The committee’s contempt resolution will also cite Pompeo’s refusal to comply with a subpoena issued during the House impeachment inquiry last year. The House impeached President Donald Trump in December — and the Senate acquitted him in February — for his pressure on Ukraine to investigate Hunter Biden as Joe Biden was running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump. The president and his associates asked Ukraine for the probes as he was withholding military aid to the country.

“Mr. Pompeo is demanding that the committee do essentially the same thing Russia is doing, according the Office of the Director of National Intelligence: ‘spreading claims about corruption’ in order to ‘interfere in the American presidential election,’” Engel said. “In other words, Pompeo will give the committee what we were seeking if we join in a smear of the president’s political rival. Sound familiar?”

The contempt resolution is the latest — and likely futile — attempt by the Democrat-led House to pressure Trump’s administration into complying with requests for testimony and information on a wide range of issues. While congressional subpoenas are legally binding, officials who have rebuffed Congress have faced little consequence for defying them, while Trump has fired or demoted federal employees who have complied with requests individually.

Contempt itself is largely a symbolic gesture that has generally been used to embarrass officials who refuse congressional requests, and Democratic attempts to legally fight the administration’s refusals have been drawn out in lengthy court battles.

The State Department has also defied subpoenas in the committee’s investigation of Trump’s firing of

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Kosovar and Serbian Leaders Seek a Resolution During Talks at the White House

Here is today’s Foreign Policy brief: Kosovar and Serbian leaders meet in Washington for talks, Russia prepares for military exercises in the eastern Mediterranean, and French President Emmanuel Macron meets with Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara.

We’re taking a break Monday for Labor Day, but we’ll be back on Tuesday. As always, we welcome your feedback at [email protected].


Talks Represent a Step Forward, but There Is Little Prospect for a Resolution 

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti will meet at the White House today for the second day of talks aimed at resolving bilateral tensions. The meeting will be hosted by U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien and Richard Grenell, the U.S. special envoy for Serbia and Kosovo peace negotiations. It is unclear if President Donald Trump will participate.

On Thursday, Grenell tweeted that “the people of Kosovo and Serbia deserve economic normalization and the chance to create a vibrant economy,” which comports with the White House’s stated intention of “flipping the script” of the dialogue and prioritizing economic issues over political ones. Vucic will also reportedly seek to build an economic relationship with Kosovo during the meeting.

Recognition is paramount. But Kosovo has different priorities. The breakaway republic is not recognized diplomatically by Serbia, from whom it declared independence in 2008 after fighting a brutal war for independence in the late 1990s. In a Q&A with Foreign Policy on the eve of the current round of talks, Hoti said that “the main issue remains a final settlement, a peace agreement between the two countries that will solve once and forever the open issue between the two countries, which is mutual recognition.”

Withstanding the pressure. The European Union, which has so far led talks between the two sides, insists that mutual recognition is a necessary precondition for both countries to enter the bloc, but Vucic has resisted calls for recognition of Kosovo. In a Q&A with Foreign Policy in March, he warned that “the vast majority of people in Serbia … would prefer a frozen conflict [with Kosovo] to any single solution.”

Electioneering. Some observers believe that Trump is hoping the talks will help boost his foreign-policy credentials in the months leading up the November presidential election. In recent weeks, the administration has also brokered a historic peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and successfully pressured the Afghan government to release the last Taliban prisoners needed to begin talks with the group.

 

What We’re Following Today

Russia turns up the heat in the eastern Mediterranean. Turkey announced late Wednesday evening that Russian forces will conduct live-fire exercises in the eastern Mediterranean amid a deepening crisis with Greece. Greek government spokesman Stelios Petsas said the Russian exercises would be “monitored by all the countries in the region, as well as our NATO allies and European Union partners.”

It is unclear why Turkey announced the exercises on Russia’s behalf, but the two countries have sought to strengthen their ties in recent years, so

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