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Trump’s influence looms over McCarthy’s race to be next House speaker



Some in Trump’s orbit have even floated the wild — but technically possible — idea that the former President should make a play for the gavel. While it’s a highly unlikely scenario, the fact it’s even being teased in some conservative circles is putting McCarthy on notice and reminding Republicans of the leverage Trump still has over the party.

Underscoring the idea that Trump has the power to make or break McCarthy’s quest for the speakership, Rep. Lauren Boebert of Colorado said Trump “matters in everything he weighs in on,” so “obviously” that applies to a speaker’s race. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said “of course” Trump would have influence over the outcome if he got involved. Rep. Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee said Trump’s voice indeed “carries weight.” And Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia said Trump’s opinion would have an impact “big time” and “100%.”

If the former President were to endorse McCarthy for speaker, it would provide a crucial boost for the California Republican’s path to power, according to interviews with over a dozen GOP lawmakers. That’s because Trump’s most loyal supporters in Congress — some of whom have voiced increasing skepticism and frustration with McCarthy in recent weeks — still take cues from the former President.

And those lawmakers could end up being decisive votes in a speaker’s race, depending on their party’s margins if the GOP flips the House. The hardline House Freedom Caucus, which has become a club for Trump’s fiercest defenders, is comprised of roughly 40 members.

Trump staying neutral in the contest would also be a boon for McCarthy, who is the clear frontrunner for the top job as he raises piles of cash and stumps for candidates across the country.

Trump's revenge tour on infrastructure vote splits Republicans in West Virginia House race

On the other hand, if Trump were to publicly or even privately come out against McCarthy — or encourage someone else to challenge him — it would almost certainly create a math problem for McCarthy, who needs 218 votes to clinch the speakership on the floor. Trump’s potential clout in the House GOP leadership elections is a stark contrast from the Senate, where Minority Leader Mitch McConnell maintains the steadfast support of his conference despite Trump repeatedly railing against the Kentucky Republican.

“Leader McCarthy is an important partner in President Trump’s effort to win back the House of Representatives with strong Republicans who will fight for his America First agenda,” Trump spokesman Taylor Budowich said in a statement.

“Kevin has his full support. But if he came out against him, it would be ugly,” GOP Rep. Mike Rogers of Alabama said.

Like Rogers, many Republicans believe Trump will ultimately stand behind McCarthy if Republicans win back the House next year — or at least stay on the sidelines. McCarthy has been one of Trump’s earliest and staunchest supporters, and having a reliable ally in charge of the House would be a huge benefit for Trump if he decides to run for president in 2024.

“I have zero doubt that Kevin will become the speaker,” said Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana, the head of the conservative Republican Study Committee. “And part of that is because he’s maintained a good rapport with President Trump.”

Threat of rebellion from McCarthy’s right flank

Still, some of Trump’s most loyal supporters in Congress are already signaling they won’t just automatically hand over their votes for speaker — a preview of the challenges to come for McCarthy in his hunt for the gavel.

“I’m going to be laying things on the table that I want to see changed over time, and then we’ll see what happens and see if anyone else is running,” Greene told reporters before the recess.

Rep. Chip Roy of Texas, who recently tangled with McCarthy during a private GOP conference meeting, has also had some strong words for the Republican leadership: “There’s a growing sense in the conference generally, not just the Freedom Caucus, that we need to fight. … We need to step on the gas.”

The threat of a rebellion from McCarthy’s right flank, which denied him the speakership once before, has led McCarthy to execute a delicate balancing act. Last week, he was facing blowback from conservatives for not punishing the 13 House Republicans who voted for a bipartisan infrastructure law.
Republicans who voted for Biden's infrastructure bill come under fire from Trump
But then McCarthy stood firmly behind Rep. Paul Gosar, an Arizona Republican who was under fire for posting a graphic video depicting violence against Democrats, which earned him widespread praise on the right. He even promised to reinstate Gosar and Greene to their committees, potentially even “better” ones, if Republicans win back the House.
And later that day, McCarthy delivered a marathon, filibuster-like speech on the House floor in opposition to Democrats’ massive social safety net bill. While it didn’t stop the measure from passing the House, it did earn McCarthy handshakes, high fives and, perhaps most importantly for McCarthy, public plaudits from Trump.

“Great job by Kevin McCarthy last night, setting a record by going over 8 hours of speaking on the House Floor in order to properly oppose Communism. We must never forget what the Democrats have done, at the highest level of evil,” Trump said in a statement. “If Mitch McConnell had fought, you would have a different Republican President right now.”

Bumps in the McCarthy-Trump relationship

Trump was livid with McCarthy in the wake of the deadly January 6 insurrection, when the California Republican was critical of Trump’s conduct and even floated the idea of censuring the then-President. But McCarthy, whom Trump once fondly dubbed “My Kevin,” has worked tirelessly since then to stay in his good graces and the pair maintains a good working relationship as they strategize behind the scenes to win back the House, according to multiple GOP lawmakers and aides familiar with their dynamics.

Trump recently headlined a House GOP fundraiser, where he had warm words for McCarthy and even referred to him as the “next speaker” at one point, according to lawmakers in attendance. McCarthy also told reporters last week that Trump called him up from the golf course last week just to catch up, emphasizing the casualness and closeness of their relationship.

The real reason Kevin McCarthy just talked for 8 hours straight

“Catching up,” McCarthy said of their conversation. “Wasn’t even campaign (related) either. I have lots of friends. I talk to lots of people.”

But the mercurial former President can also be unpredictable, and his opinions can turn on a dime. Plus, the speaker’s election would be over a year away — plenty of time to fall in and out of favor with Trump.

Rogers called Trump a “volatile, great leader,” but said that he “has his ups and downs” when it comes to relationships. Added Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina: “The former President is his own adviser. He has own take. He will voice his own take. Period.”

Some Republicans also took notice when Trump released a statement last month praising House Minority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who would be a top candidate for speaker if McCarthy can’t get to 218, for pushing back on a news story about former first lady Melania Trump. Some interpreted the statement from Trump as a message to McCarthy, who at the time was facing calls from the right to take a harder line on a number of issues, to fight harder.

And there have been other bumps in the McCarthy-Trump relationship this year. Trump was not pleased with CNN reporting that revealed McCarthy and his leadership team are quietly working to fundraise for five of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump for inciting the January 6 insurrection.

“I’m going to see who he’s funding, and if he is, I’ll stop the whole deal. I’ll stop it,” Trump told a conservative radio show.

It’s unclear whether Trump would actually get involved in a speaker’s race or endorse a candidate. Some think he would only wade in if McCarthy were to bow out for some reason. But others don’t think Trump would waste an opportunity to insert himself directly into the action.

“I think he’ll get involved in anything he can be relevant in,” DesJarlais said.


Woman passenger from UK tests Covid positive at Hyderabad airport



Hyderabad: A 35-year-old international passenger who reached the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport here on Wednesday has tested positive for Covid-19 after undergoing an RT-PCR test at the airport itself. The woman passenger had traveled from the United Kingdom, which has been categorised as an ‘At Risk Country’. 

The passenger has been admitted to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS) and samples were collected and sent for genetic sequencing. Officials said she did not have any symptoms and that her health condition was being monitored closely. 

According to officials, the woman hails from Rangareddy district and was on a visit to UK from Hyderabad. Though her close relatives tested negative, their health condition is also being monitored. 

Now you can get handpicked stories from Telangana Today on Telegram everyday. Click the link to subscribe.

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Revealed: how Sidney Powell could be disbarred for lying in court for Trump | US elections 2020



Sidney Powell, the former lawyer for Donald Trump who filed lawsuits across America for the former president, hoping to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election, has on several occasions represented to federal courts that people were co-counsel or plaintiffs in her cases without seeking their permission to do so, the Guardian has learned.

Some of these individuals say that they only found out that Powell had named them once the cases were already filed.

During this same period of time, Powell also named several other lawyers – with their permission in those instances – as co-counsel in her election-related cases, despite the fact that they played virtually no role whatsoever in bringing or litigating those cases.

Both Powell’s naming of other people as plaintiffs or co-counsel without their consent and representing that other attorneys were central to her cases when, in fact, their roles were nominal or nonexistent, constitute serious potential violations of the American Bar Association model rules for professional conduct, top legal ethicists told the Guardian.

Powell’s misrepresentations to the courts in those particular instances often aided fundraising for her nonprofit, Defending the Republic. Powell had told prospective donors that the attorneys were integral members of an “elite strike force” who had played outsized roles in her cases – when in fact they were barely involved if at all.

A couple poses for a photo in front of a Trump campaign bus at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on 2 December 2020.
A couple poses for a photo in front of a Trump campaign bus at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, on 2 December 2020. Photograph: Nathan Posner/REX/Shutterstock

Powell did not respond to multiple requests for comment via phone, email, and over social media.

The State Bar of Texas is already investigating Powell for making other allegedly false and misleading statements to federal courts by propagating increasingly implausible conspiracy theories to federal courts that Joe Biden’s election as president of the United States was illegitimate.

The Texas bar held its first closed-door hearing regarding the allegations about Powell on 4 November. Investigations by state bar associations are ordinarily conducted behind closed doors and thus largely opaque to the public.

A federal grand jury has also been separately investigating Powell, Defending the Republic, as well as a political action committee that goes by the same name, for fundraising fraud, according to records reviewed by the Guardian.

Among those who have alleged that Powell falsely named them as co-counsel is attorney Linn Wood, who brought and litigated with Powell many of her lawsuits attempting to overturn the results of the election with her, including in the hotly contested state of Michigan.

The Michigan case was a futile attempt by Powell to erase Joe Biden’s victory in that state and name Trump as the winner. On 25 August, federal district court Judge Linda Parker, of Michigan, sanctioned Powell and nine other attorneys who worked with her for having engaged in “a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process” in bringing the case in the first place. Powell’s claims of election fraud, Parker asserted, had no basis in law and were solely based on “speculation, conjecture, and unwarranted suspicion”.

Parker further concluded that the conduct of Powell, Wood, and the eight other attorneys who they worked with, warranted a “referral for investigation and possible suspension or disbarment to the appropriate disciplinary authority for each state … in which each attorney is admitted”.

Wood told the court in the Michigan case that Powell had wrongly named him as one of her co-counsel in the Michigan case. During a hearing in the case to determine whether to sanction Wood, his defense largely rested on his claim that he had not been involved in the case at all. Powell, Wood told the court, had put his name on the lawsuit without her even telling him.

A man holds a sign reading "The dead cannot vote" at a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Trump supporters attend a rally in Alpharetta, Georgia, where Sidney Powell spoke on efforts to overturn the 2020 election. Photograph: Nathan Posner/REX/Shutterstock

Wood said: “I do not specifically recall being asked about the Michigan complaint … In this case obviously my name was included. My experience or my skills apparently were never needed, so I didn’t have any involvement with it.”

Wood’s attorney, Paul Stablein, was also categorical in asserting that his client had nothing to do with the case, telling the Guardian in an interview: “He didn’t draft the complaint. He didn’t sign it. He did not authorize anyone to put his name on it.”

Powell has denied she would have ever named Wood as a co-counsel without Wood’s permission.

But other people have since come forward to say that Powell has said that they were named as plaintiffs or lawyers in her election-related cases without their permission.

In a Wisconsin voting case, a former Republican candidate for Congress, Derrick Van Orden, said he only learned after the fact that he had been named as a plaintiff in one of Powell’s cases.

“I learned through social media today that my name was included in a lawsuit without my permission,” Van Orden said in a statement he posted on Twitter, “To be clear, I am not involved in the lawsuit seeking to overturn the election in Wisconsin.”

Jason Shepherd, the Republican chairman of Georgia’s Cobb county, was similarly listed as a plaintiff in a Georgia election case without his approval.

In a 26 November 2020 statement, Shepherd said he had been talking to an associate of Powell’s prior to the case’s filing about the “Cobb GOP being a plaintiff” but said he first “needed more information to at least make sure the executive officers were in agreeing to us being a party in the suit”. The Cobb County Republican party later agreed to remain plaintiffs in the case instead of withdrawing.

Leslie Levin, a professor at the University of Connecticut Law School, said in an interview: “Misrepresentations to the court are very serious because lawyers are officers of the court. Bringing a lawsuit in someone’s name when they haven’t consented to being a party is a very serious misrepresentation and one for which a lawyer should expect to face serious discipline.”

Nora Freeman Engstrom, a law professor at Stanford University, says that Powell’s actions appear to violate Rule 3.3 of the ABA’s model rules of professional misconduct which hold that “a lawyer shall not knowingly … make a false statement of fact of law to a tribunal”.

Since election day last year, federal and state courts have dismissed more than 60 lawsuits alleging electoral fraud and irregularities by Powell, and other Trump allies.

Shortly after the election, Trump named Powell as a senior member of an “elite strike force” who would prove that Joe Biden only won the 2020 presidential race because the election was stolen from him. But Trump refused to pay her for her services. To remedy this, Powell set up a new nonprofit called Defending the Republic; its stated purpose is to “protect the integrity of elections in the United States”.

As a nonprofit, the group is allowed to raise unlimited amounts of “dark money” and donors are legally protected from the ordinary requirements to disclose their identities to the public. Powell warned supporters that for her to succeed, “millions of dollars must be raised”.

Echoing Trump’s rhetoric, Powell told prospective donors that Defending the Republic had a vast team of experienced litigators.

Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Sidney Powell speaks at a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Georgia. Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters

Among the attorneys who Powell said made up this “taskforce” were Emily Newman, who had served Trump as the White House liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services and as a senior official with the Department of Homeland Security. Newman had been a founding board member of Defending the Republic.

But facing sanctions in the Michigan case, some of the attorneys attempted to distance themselves from having played much of a meaningful role in her litigation.

Newman’s attorney told Parker, the judge, that Newman had “not played a role in the drafting of the complaint … My client was a contract lawyer working from home who spent maybe five hours on this matter. She really wasn’t involved … Her role was de minimis.”

To have standing to file her Michigan case, Powell was initially unable to find a local attorney to be co-counsel on her case but eventually attorney Gregory Rohl agreed to help out.

But when Rohl was sanctioned by Parker and referred to the Michigan attorney disciplinary board for further investigation, his defense was that he, too, was barely involved in the case. He claimed that he only received a copy of “the already prepared” 830-page initial complaint at the last minute, reviewed it for “well over an hour”, while then “making no additions, decisions or corrections” to the original.

As with Newman, Parker, found that Rohl violated ethics rules by making little, if any, effort to verify the facts of the claims in Powell’s filings.

In sanctioning Rohl, the judge wrote that “the court finds it exceedingly difficult to believe that Rohl read an 830-page complaint in just ‘well over an hour’ on the day he filed it. So, Rohl’s argument in and of itself reveals sanctionable conduct.”

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Govt to introduce important Bill, Covid situation likely to be discussed



The government on Thursday will table ‘The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill 2021’ in the Lok Sabha. A discussion on Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and its various related aspects is also likely to take place in the lower House.

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya will move the ‘The National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (Amendment) Bill’ in the Lok Sabha to amend the National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Act, 1998.

Under rule 193, a discussion on Covid-19 pandemic and various aspects related to it will likely take place. According to sources, the members may also raise their concern and ask for the government’s preparedness for the new Omicron variant. Under Rule 193, members can seek details about the new Covid variant. “Short duration discussion is likely to be held in the Lok Sabha on the Covid and its various aspects, including new Omicron variant,” sources said.

Union Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Prahlad Singh Patel, General V.K. Singh, Krishan Pal, Bhanu Pratap Verma, Rameshwar Teli and Kaushal Kishore will lay papers on the table. Reports and action reports of different standing committees will also be laid in the day.

The Lok Sabha on Wednesday passed the Assisted Reproductive Technology (Amendment) Bill 2021 (ART) by voice vote as the amendments moved by the DMK MP N.K. Prem Chandran, Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy and Shiv Sena MP Vinayak Raut were negated. The ART Bill seeks to regulate fertility clinics. All such clinics will have to be registered under the National Registry of Banks and Clinics of India.

The opposition is likely to continue to raise its voices on price rise, unemployment and extended jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF) in some states. The opposition parties are also demanding a law guaranteeing the minimum support price (MSP).

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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