Author: Michelle Ye Hee Lee

Koch network announces new super PAC ahead of midterms

The donor network aligned with billionaire industrialist Charles Koch launched a new super PAC on Monday, expanding its electoral power ahead of the midterm elections. Through the new super PAC, Americans for Prosperity Action, the network’s political arm will be able to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money to call on voters to elect or defeat specific candidates — as long as they do not coordinate with the campaigns. The super PAC will serve as a sister organization to Americans for Prosperity, a Koch-backed nonprofit that leads the network’s grass-roots operation in 36 states. As a social welfare nonprofit, that group faces certain restrictions on its political activity that a super PAC does not. “Americans for Prosperity has been a difference-maker supporting policy champions in tight races, and AFP Action is a new tool that will allow us to expand those efforts and make an even larger impact,” super PAC spokesman Bill Riggs said in a statement. Koch officials did not specify how much the super PAC aims to raise and spend, but the network previously announced it plans to spend as much as $400 million on policy issues and political campaigns during the 2018 cycle. [Koch group condemns ‘divisiveness’ and ‘lack of leadership’ in Washington] At a donor retreat this summer, network officials said they are more carefully assessing which candidates to support in this fall’s midterm...

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‘It’s not just marches’: Democratic candidates reap financial benefits of anti-Trump fervor

Democratic challengers sailing a wave of displeasure with Republican leaders in Washington are collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars — sometimes in a matter of days or weeks — as anti-Trump fervor is translating into hard cash for this fall’s midterm fights. In Texas, Harvard Law graduate and refu­gee activist Alex Triantaphyllis has raised nearly as much the incumbent, Rep. John Abney Culberson (R-Tex.), who is seeking his 10th term. In New Hampshire, first-time congressional candidate Maura Sullivan — a former Obama administration official who served in the Marines — has raised twice as much as the leading Republican...

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Trump spends Christmas Eve calling troops, golfing and tweeting

By Michelle Ye Hee Lee, PALM BEACH, Fla. — On Christmas Eve, President Trump observed a mix of presidential and personal traditions — including making calls to the troops, playing a round of golf at a Trump property and tweeting during down times. The day began with a familiar morning routine — a series of tweets from the president. This time, he bashed the deputy FBI director, “Fake News” and “Fake Polls.” Shortly afterward, however, Trump appeared in a cheerful mood as he greeted troops located in Kuwait, Qatar and Guantanamo Bay. In a videoconference message from his members-only club, Mar-a-Lago, he thanked service members from each of the five branches of the military and their “always underappreciated military families, the greatest people on earth.” Trump praised the readiness of sailors aboard the USS Sampson and the Coast Guard’s hurricane response in 2017, particularly in Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico. “What a job you’ve done,” he said. “The Coast Guard saved thousands and thousands of lives, almost it’s unbelievable when I look at the charts, I saw the number of lives you saved.” He also made sure to include a healthy dose of the Christmas greeting that he vowed as a candidate to “bring back.” “I just want to wish everybody a very, very merry Christmas, we say Merry Christmas, again, very, very proudly,” Trump said. “Very, very merry...

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Fact-checking the Stephen Miller-Jim Acosta exchange on immigration

We look into key claims made in an immigration debate between White House aide Stephen Miller and CNN’s Jim Acosta. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post) A reader asked us to fact-check a recent debate between CNN correspondent Jim Acosta and White House senior policy adviser Stephen Miller during the Aug. 2, 2017, White House briefing. The Fact Checker is not a media critic, and we generally do not fact-check members of the media — certainly not the opinions of individual journalists. But this contentious exchange, which went on for seven minutes, contained some assertions that are relevant to the current...

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Are President Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago similar to Obama’s travels?

Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.) answers a question during a town hall meeting. (Phelan Ebenhack/Reuters) Question: “President Obama, when he was in office, he spent $33,000 a day for his expenses. . . . Our president now, at this time, his average is $3 million a day.”Rep. Ted Yoho (R-Fla.): “It’s costing him $60,000 a day when he comes down for extra care, but Palm Beach said they’re going to put an extra tax for that. President Obama spent, what was it, $97 million in his eight years. . . . He went to Hawaii a lot. He went to...

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President Trump’s claim that illegal immigration is down 64 percent because of his administration

(Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post) “Last month, we saw a 64 percent reduction in illegal immigration on our southern border.”— President Trump, weekly address, April 7, 2017 “My administration is — just a matter of weeks, literally, a short period of time — has brought record reductions to illegal immigration. Record reductions. Down 61 percent since inauguration. General Kelly is doing a fantastic job.”— Trump, remarks at North America’s Building Trades Unions conference, April 4, 2017 “You see what’s happened: 61 percent down now in terms of illegal people coming in. Way, way down in terms of drugs pouring into...

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Tim Kaine’s claim about whether Judge Neil Gorsuch views contraception as a ‘wrongdoing of others’

(AP Photo/Josh Reynolds) “As in Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor, his own view on ‘the wrongdoing of others’ — i.e., women making their own health care choices — shows through the relatively straightforward legal issue raised by the case. … Judge Gorsuch’s appellate record makes clear that he views women making their own reproductive health decisions as a question about ‘the wrongdoing of others.’ Such a view about half of the population is jarring.”–Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), explanation of his opposition to the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, March 29, 2017 “And he has cavalierly referred to contraceptive use as...

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Sen. Bob Corker: Trump’s Scotland golf course event ‘one of his best’

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn). (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) defended presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s comments highlighting the benefits of the Brexit vote for his business, saying Trump was giving an example of how currency fluctuations after the historic decision could affect Americans. During a news conference in Scotland after the Britain’s referendum, Trump said about the plummeting value of the British pound: “Look, if the pound goes down, they’re going to do more business. When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly. And the pound has gone down, and let’s see what the impact of that has.” This comment, which referenced his golf resort, has drawn criticism from opponents and is being aired in a new attack ad by presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign. “He was giving an example, which is obvious, that when the currency fluctuates, as it does … more Americans are going to be able to travel to the U.K. more cheaply,” Corker said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “Some of their exports may go at greater value. I thought it was just demonstrating, you know, an anecdotal statement relative to its effect.” [Trump celebrates Brexit vote: ‘When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry.’] Corker, whom many top Republicans consider a contender to be Trump’s running mate, added that Trump’s Scotland event, which coincided with the Brexit vote, underscored the presumptive nominee’s identity as a businessman and political...

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