McCarthy Encourages Cheney Ouster

Credit…Pool photo by Melina Mara

The first time defenders of Donald J. Trump came for Representative Liz Cheney, for the offense of having voted to impeach him, fellow Republicans closed ranks to save her leadership post, with Representative Kevin McCarthy boasting that their “big tent” party had enough room for both the former president and a stalwart critic.

Evidently, not anymore.

Just three months after she beat back a no-confidence vote by lopsided margins, Ms. Cheney of Wyoming, the No. 3 House Republican, is facing a far more potent challenge that appears increasingly likely to end in her ouster from leadership, with Mr. McCarthy himself encouraging the effort to replace her.

Her transgression, colleagues say: Ms. Cheney’s continued public criticism of Mr. Trump, her denunciation of his lies about a stolen election and her demands that the G.O.P. tell the truth about how his supporters assaulted democracy during the Jan. 6 riot.

The turnabout reflects anew the passion with which Republicans have embraced Mr. Trump and the voters who revere him, and how willing many in the party are to perpetuate — or at least tolerate — falsehoods about the 2020 election that he has continued to spread.

The latest test for Ms. Cheney could come as soon as next week, when a growing group of Republicans is planning a fresh bid to dethrone her, boosted by Mr. McCarthy. Many of her colleagues are now so confident that it will succeed that they are openly discussing who will replace Ms. Cheney.

The tensions escalated on Tuesday, when Mr. McCarthy went on Mr. Trump’s favorite news program, “Fox and Friends,” to question whether Ms. Cheney could effectively carry out her role as the party’s top messenger. (Beforehand, he told a Fox reporter, “I’ve had it with her,” and “I’ve lost confidence,” according to a report in Axios that cited a leaked recording of the exchange.)

“I have heard from members concerned about her ability to carry out the job as conference chair, to carry out the message,” Mr. McCarthy said during the portion of the interview that aired. “We all need to be working as one, if we’re able to win the majority.”

With one-time allies closing in, Ms. Cheney, known for her steely temperament, has only dug in harder. Minutes after Mr. McCarthy’s TV hit, she sent back her own barbed reply through a spokesman, effectively suggesting that the minority leader and Republicans moving against her were complicit in Mr. Trump’s dissembling.

“This is about whether the Republican Party is going to perpetuate lies about the 2020 election and attempt to whitewash what happened on Jan 6,” Jeremy Adler, the spokesman, said. “Liz will not do that. That is the issue.”

Bracing for a confrontation, Republicans have begun floating names of women who could replace Ms. Cheney in her post. Several of them are bullish about Representative Elise Stefanik of New York, an outspoken rising star within the party who has toiled to recruit more Republican women. She has been privately reaching out to colleagues to gauge support, according to two people familiar with the effort.

Also cited as a possibility was Representative Jackie Walorski of Indiana, who as the top Republican on the Ethics Committee earlier this year successfully balanced the job of condemning Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s past conspiratorial statements while arguing she should not be kicked off her committees.




Terrorism Threats ‘Keep Me Up at Night,’ Garland Tells Lawmakers

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland testified to Congress that the Justice Department would continue to put resources into combating foreign terror and domestic extremism through resources from Congress.

We never want to take our eyes off of what happened on 9/11, and the risks that the country continues to face from a foreign origin, terrorist attacks on the homeland. Likewise, we have a growing fear of domestic violent extremism and domestic terrorism. And both of those keep me up at night. Every morning, virtually every morning, I get a briefing from the F.B.I. and both at one or the other or both areas. The lethality of weapons available to these kind of terrorists, both foreign and domestic, has increased — the consequence of the internet and encryption means that they can send information and make plans much more swiftly and in greater secrecy than could have been done before. So we have an emerging and accelerating threat and the department is putting its resources into defending the country with respect to both.

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Attorney General Merrick B. Garland testified to Congress that the Justice Department would continue to put resources into combating foreign terror and domestic extremism through resources from Congress.CreditCredit…Pool photo by Andrew Harnik

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland told lawmakers on Tuesday that the Justice Department needs more money for Biden administration priorities including combating domestic extremism, racial inequality, environmental degradation and gender violence.

In his first congressional hearing since his confirmation, Mr. Garland appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee that oversees the Justice Department to discuss his $35.2 billion budget request for the fiscal year that begins in October. That’s an 11 percent increase from the previous year.

The budget request reflects a commitment to ensure “the civil rights and the civil liberties” of Americans, Mr. Garland said in his opening remarks.

The request also showed that Mr. Garland prioritized efforts to fight domestic terrorism and protect civil rights over the department’s focus during the Trump administration on street crime and gangs.

President Biden stressed the need to address domestic extremism after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, ordering top national security officials to conduct a review of how the federal government prevents such attacks. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said on Tuesday the administration had completed the review and would issue recommendations to agencies in “weeks not months.”

The budget would increase funding to fight domestic terrorism, boost the budget for the department’s Civil Rights division and increase financing for programs related to the Violence Against Women’s Act. There would also be additional funding for community-oriented policing, programs that address systemic inequities in policing and programs to combat gun violence.

Republicans on the committee said that they were concerned about any decision to de-emphasize the federal fight against violent crime and drug addiction in favor of efforts to curb gun violence.

And as the United States struggles to handle the rising number of migrants trying to enter the country along the southern border, Mr. Garland is seeking a 21 percent increase in funding to the nation’s immigration courts.

Representative Charlie Crist, Democrat of Florida, greeting supporters in St. Petersburg, Fla., in November.
Credit…Peter Foley/EPA, via Shutterstock

MIAMI — Representative Charlie Crist, Democrat of Florida, entered the race for governor on Tuesday, becoming the first challenger to Ron DeSantis, a Republican who raised his profile during the pandemic and is now one of the best-known governors in the country and a leading contender for his party’s presidential nomination in 2024.

“Every step of the way, this governor has been more focused on his personal political fortune than the struggle of everyday Floridians,” Mr. Crist said under the blazing sun in St. Petersburg. “That’s just not right. Just like our former president, he always takes credit but never takes responsibility.”

Earlier, in a video posted on Twitter, Mr. Crist said: “Today, Florida has a governor that’s only focused on his future, not yours.”

Mr. Crist has a long political history in Florida and is widely known throughout the state. He served as governor as a Republican from 2007 to 2011 before running unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate as an independent, losing to Marco Rubio. After switching parties, he later lost a Democratic bid for governor in 2014 against the incumbent, Rick Scott.

But Mr. Crist’s experience is unlikely to deter other Democratic candidates. His clout has been diminished by years of electoral failures and by a party that is increasingly open to a wider range of more diverse public figures to be its standard bearers. Two women, Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and Representative Val Demings of Orlando, are considering their own Democratic runs for the governor’s mansion.

Indeed, the field could soon get quite crowded. Ms. Fried scheduled a news conference in the State Capitol for the same time as Mr. Crist’s announcement. “As the only statewide elected Democrat, it makes absolute sense for me to be running for governor,’’ she said, but added that she would not make an announcement on Tuesday.

Ms. Demings released a video of her own on Tuesday that, while not declaring a candidacy, highlighted her career as Orlando police chief, impeachment manager in Congress and a shortlisted vice-presidential pick for President Biden.

Similar jockeying — though not quite as intense — is underway among Democrats looking to go up against Mr. Rubio, who also faces re-election next year

Adding to an already busy election season, Mr. DeSantis announced on Tuesday a special election to replace Rep. Alcee Hastings, the long-serving Democrat representing Florida’s 20th Congressional District who died last month. The primary for that race will be held Nov. 2, Mr. DeSantis said, with the winner in the Democratic primary widely expected to prevail in the general election scheduled for Jan. 11.

When reporters in Tallahassee, the state capital, asked Mr. DeSantis about Mr. Crist’s announcement on Tuesday, the governor mocked Mr. Crist’s party-switching.

“Which party is he going to run under, do we know for sure?” he said.

“I implore them, from my political interest: Run on closing schools,” Mr. DeSantis said on Tuesday about Democrats. “Run on locking people down. Run on closing businesses.” He added: “I would love to have that debate.”

In advance of Mr. Crist’s announcement, Mr. DeSantis held an official event on Monday at Mr. Crist’s favorite seafood restaurant in St. Petersburg, touting the wins he racked up during the annual legislative session that concluded last week — a session that he and Republicans in control of the Legislature used to champion policies that will appeal to Florida’s increasingly conservative electorate.

Republican lawmakers approved restrictions on mail voting, penalties on social media companies that remove users for troubling posts, anti-protest policies, a ban on transgender athletes in girls’ and women’s sports, and a ban on “vaccine passports” — all fodder for Mr. DeSantis to deploy in a re-election campaign.

On Monday, Mr. DeSantis signed a bill and an executive order doing away with most of Florida’s remaining pandemic restrictions, contrasting his administration’s aversion for mandates to the restrictions in states led by Democrats.

Mr. Crist was withering in his criticism of the governor on Tuesday.

“Gov. DeSantis’s vision of Florida is clear: If you want to vote, he won’t help you,” Mr. Crist said. “If you’re working, he won’t support you. If you’re a woman, he will not empower you. If you’re an immigrant, he won’t accept you. If you’re facing discrimination, he won’t respect you. If you’re sick, he won’t care for you.”

Police cars outside the C.I.A. headquarters after an intruder was shot by an F.B.I. agent on Monday in Langley, Va. The man died of his injuries, the F.B.I. said on Tuesday.
Credit…Olivier Douliery/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A man who was shot by an F.B.I. agent after a standoff outside the C.I.A. headquarters on Monday has died from his wounds, a bureau spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

F.B.I. officials have released few details about the shooting other than to say the man stepped out of his vehicle with a weapon outside the C.I.A.’s heavily fortified headquarters in Langley, Va., and was “engaged by law enforcement officers” at about 6 p.m.

The man’s name and age, and reason for driving to the agency, have not been disclosed.

It remains unclear whether any agents or officers were also injured during the incident.

“The FBI reviews every shooting incident involving an F.B.I. special agent,” said Samantha Shero, a public affairs officer for the F.B.I.’s Washington Field Office, in an email. “The review will carefully examine the circumstances of the shooting and collect all relevant evidence from the scene. As the review remains ongoing, we cannot provide any additional details at this time.”

The C.I.A. provided minimal information on the incident on Monday, saying only that the campus, located in a suburb of Washington, D.C., was secure. A C.I.A. spokesperson referred inquiries to the F.B.I.

The sprawling campus, bristling with checkpoints and surveillance equipment, has served the agency since 1961 and is closed to the general public.

The shooting follows a tumultuous and deadly period for law enforcement around the nation’s capital.

On April 2, Noah Green, 25, plowed his car into a checkpoint outside the U.S. Capitol building. He was shot and killed after charging from the vehicle with a knife. One of the officers struck by the car, William Evans, 41, later died of his injuries.

That attack came just three months after another police officer succumbed to his injuries after a mob attacked the building on Jan. 6.

The shooting near the C.I.A. campus is not the first incident of violence around the headquarters, named for President George H.W. Bush, who served as the agency’s director from 1976 to 1977.

In 1993, a Pakistani man shot and killed two C.I.A. employees stopped in traffic outside the headquarters. After evading prosecution for years, the man, Mir Aimal Kasi, who also wounded three others, was convicted and later executed by lethal injection.

Items being removed from a home during an eviction in the unincorporated community of Galloway, west of Columbus, Ohio, in March.
Credit…Stephen Zenner/Getty Images

The Biden administration is stepping up pressure on the nation’s biggest residential landlords following reports that apartment building owners were seeking to evict tens of thousands of renters despite federal freezes on evictions implemented during the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, officials with the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Board sent out a letter to dozens of debt collectors and major landlords who collectively house more than two million people, including the The Carlyle Group, Morgan Stanley, Eaton Vance, LaSalle Investment Management, Angelo Gordon & Co, and AEW Capital Management.

In it, they urged the owners to comply with two eviction moratoria and other federal tenant protections, or face regulatory action.

“With millions of families nationwide at risk of eviction, it’s vital that landlords and the debt collectors who work on their behalf understand and abide by their obligations,” Rebecca Kelly Slaughter, the acting F.T.C. chairwoman, wrote in the letter. “We are continuing to monitor this area and will act as needed to protect renters.”

The action was spurred by a report from a nonprofit watchdog group in late April, showing that large multistate landlords, their collection agents and corporate subsidiaries filed 57,000 legal eviction petitions around the country since a federal moratorium took effect in September 2020.

The group, the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, found that filings by private equity firms and other corporations accounted for the majority of eviction cases filed in many areas. In DeKalb County, Ga., near Atlanta, large landlords were responsible for more than 80 percent of eviction actions over the past six months, they reported.

The administration has yet to institute legal action based on the report, “but will continue monitoring eviction practices to evaluate whether further action is appropriate,” the two officials wrote in the letter.

The freeze, enacted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is set to expire on June 30, but some state governments are considering new extensions to avoid a possible wave of displacement after the moratorium expires. The Department of Housing and Urban Development has a similar freeze in place for renters in federally subsidized housing.

The federal freeze is intended to cover most evictions caused by a tenant’s inability to pay, but does not cover instances where a renter violates the terms of the lease, such as damaging property or disturbing other tenants — although landlords sometimes use such complaints as a pretext to evict renters who cannot pay on time.

Congress has passed billions in emergency rental assistance to keep tenants from falling behind, and many owners, even those who supported the initial moratorium, have been pressing for an end to the freeze.

“With these funds now being disbursed, vaccines being widely available and the economy opening back up, it is becomingly increasingly clear that short-term, emergency policies like the nationwide eviction moratorium should be allowed to expire,” said a spokesman for the National Multifamily Housing Council, a trade association of apartment building owners.

Since President Biden took office, the C.F.P.B. enacted a new rule requiring debt collectors, which are often linked to law firms retained by big companies, to give tenants written notice of their rights under the moratorium and prohibiting them “from misrepresenting tenants’ eligibility for eviction protection.”

Protesters at the State Capitol in Austin, Texas, demonstrated against Republicans’ proposed bills to restrict voting in the state.
Credit…Eric Gay/Associated Press

Two broad coalitions of companies and executives released letters on Tuesday calling for expanded voting access in Texas, wading into the debate over Republican legislators’ proposed new restrictions on balloting after weeks of relative silence.

One letter came from a group of large corporations, including Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Unilever, Salesforce, Patagonia and Sodexo, as well as local companies and chambers of commerce, and represents the first major coordinated effort among businesses in Texas to take action against the voting proposals.

The letter, under the banner of a new group called Fair Elections Texas, stops short of criticizing the two voting bills that are now advancing through the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature, but opposes “any changes that would restrict eligible voters’ access to the ballot.”

A separate letter, organized by a breakway faction of 100 executives from the Greater Houston Partnership, and also released on Tuesday , goes further. It directly criticizes the proposed legislation and equates the efforts with “voter suppression.”

Together, the letters signify a sudden shift in how the business community approaches the voting bills in Texas.

Corporations across the country find themselves at the center of a swirling partisan debate over voting rights. With Republicans in almost every state advancing legislation that would make it harder for some people to vote, companies are under pressure from both sides. Democratic activists, along with many mainstream business leaders, are calling on corporations to oppose the new laws. At the same time, a growing chorus of senior Republicans is telling corporate America to keep quiet.

Bee Nguyen, 39, a state representative who is the child of Vietnamese refugees, at a rally against anti-Asian violence in Atlanta in March. She is the first major Democratic candidate to challenge the incumbent secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger.
Credit…Erik S Lesser/EPA, via Shutterstock

A Georgia state representative, Bee Nguyen, the daughter of Vietnamese refugees who has helped lead the fight against Republican-backed bills that restrict voting rights in the state, became the first major Democratic candidate to enter the race for Georgia’s secretary of state on Tuesday.

Next year’s election was already shaping up to be a tense and dramatic fight: the incumbent, Brad Raffensperger — who enraged former President Donald J. Trump for refusing to overturn the state’s election results — is facing a primary challenge from a Trump-endorsed fellow Republican, Representative Jody Hice.

In an interview this week, Ms. Nguyen, 39, said that Mr. Raffensperger deserved credit for standing up to Mr. Trump and rejecting his false claims of voter fraud after the November election. But she also noted that since then, Mr. Raffensperger had largely supported the voting rights law passed by the Legislature in March and continued to consider himself a Trump supporter after the former president promulgated his false claims of voter fraud in the Georgia election.

Mr. Trump lost Georgia by around 12,000 votes. After the election, he made personal entreaties to both Mr. Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, asking the two Republicans to intervene and help overturn the results. When they declined, Mr. Trump vowed revenge.

In late March, the former president endorsed Mr. Hice, a pastor and former radio talk-show host from Georgia’s 10th Congressional district. “Unlike the current Georgia Secretary of State, Jody leads out front with integrity,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

Ms. Nguyen, a supporter of abortion rights and critic of what she has called Georgia’s “lax” gun laws, could struggle to connect with more conservative voters beyond her liberal district in metropolitan Atlanta. She first won the seat in December 2017 in a special election to replace another Democrat, Stacey Abrams, the former state House minority leader who left her position to make her ultimately unsuccessful challenge to Mr. Kemp in 2018.

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