Giuliani taunts prosecutors
A day after FBI agents raided his home and office, Rudy Giuliani said the prosecutors investigating him have ulterior motives: They're "a bunch of liberals" who "want to get rid of Trump." Also, they're secretly and spitefully envious of him, as Giuliani tells it.
"I've done your job longer and much better than you have. You people have any convictions like I had when I was U.S. attorney?" Giuliani said on his WABC radio show on Thursday, ticking off the names of some big-fish cases from when he ran the Manhattan-based federal prosecutors' office in the 1980s. "You haven’t had a person like me in the U.S. attorney’s office since I left — no wonder you’re jealous!"
Former President Donald Trump came to Giuliani's defense on a call-in Thursday with Fox Business, calling his former personal and election lawyer "a great patriot" and a victim of a politically biased Justice Department. "He just loves this country, and they raid his apartment," Trump said.
Trump has invariably denounced FBI tactics executing warrants on other associates of his, such as Paul Manafort, Roger Stone and another former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. Trump called the Cohen raid in 2018 a "disgraceful situation" and an "attack on our country in a true sense." That was before Cohen turned on him, becoming a "rat" in Trump's eyes.
Giuliani's son, Andrew, when asked on CNN about Cohen's prediction that Giuliani would flip on Trump, responded: "I can’t believe I’m answering something from Michael Cohen." He stammered a bit before adding, "No! I mean, he has … there is … I don’t really know how to respond to this, because it’s a theoretical." Later, Andrew Giuliani, who worked in Trump's White House, said, "If there was something illegal that happened — there’s nothing illegal that happened!"
CNN reported that federal officials anticipate a court fight over claims that material in Rudy Giuliani's seized electronic devices includes privileged material from communications with Trump while he was president. A similar battle was waged in the early stages of the Cohen case before Cohen was charged and decided to cooperate.
The federal probe is examining Giuliani's ties to Ukraine, where he sought dirt seeking to damage then-candidate Joe Biden, and whether Giuliani violated a law that governs lobbying on behalf of foreign countries or entities. The New York Times reported Thursday that Giuliani's role in the removal of the U.S. ambassador in Kyiv, Marie Yovanovitch, is at the center of the investigation. A key question is whether he was acting only on behalf of Trump or also on behalf of Ukrainians who wanted her removed for their own reasons.
Biden: It was news to me
President Joe Biden said Thursday he did not receive any advance word of the FBI raid on Giuliani.
"I learned about that last night when the rest of the world learned about it, my word," he said in an interview with NBC. If that's the case, the news was slow getting to him because reports started coming out earlier in the day.
"I made a pledge I would not interfere in any way, order or try to stop any investigation the Justice Department had," Biden said. "I’m not asking to be briefed. That’s the Justice Department’s independent judgment."
Mitch is feeling a Bern
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said after Biden's speech to Congress on Wednesday night that the president is governing like Bernie Sanders would have if the socialist Vermont senator had won the Democratic nomination and the presidency.
Calling it a "bait and switch," McConnell told The Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky: "The 'bait' was that he was going to be a moderate, a unifying force, and bring us all together. The 'switch' is that Bernie Sanders, for all practical purposes, won the debate in the Democratic Party over what it ought to look like." He called Biden's multitrillion-dollar plans were "neither designed nor intended to earn bipartisan buy-in."
McConnell, in a Fox News interview, also brushed off comments from Trump that Senate Republicans should oust McConnell as leader. While predicting GOP gains in the 2022 midterm elections, Trump said on a morning phone call with Fox Business: "Mitch McConnell has not done a great job, I think they should change Mitch McConnell."
McConnell, who broke with Trump's false stolen-election claims, said the party needs to move on from Trump, although he didn't say his name. "We're looking to the future, not the past," McConnell said.
Tax hikes tailored to go easy on suburbs
Biden's proposed tax increases have been tailored so they would not for the most part sock the kind of educated upper-middle class suburban voters who abandoned the Republican Party and helped push Democrats to recent victories, NBC News reported.
Biden’s plans include raising the corporate tax rate to 28%, changing how corporate earnings are taxed at home and abroad to boost U.S. government revenue, requiring heirs to multimillion-dollar fortunes to pay taxes on inherited stocks and nearly doubling the capital-gains tax — but only for high earners — by treating it like regular income.
Just as notable, NBC says, are those his taxes would leave out. Upper-middle class, even elite, professionals who earn their income through salaries are largely untouched. As Biden put it in his Wednesday speech: "We’re going to reward work, not just wealth." A White House official told Politico that the pinch of higher rates would generally hit incomes above around $452,700 a year for individuals and $509,300 for married couples.
"President Biden is really protecting the coastal professional class that helped elect him," Brian Riedl, a former aide to Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and now a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, told NBC. "Those in the $200,000-to-$400,000 range are going to come out ahead as winners in the redistribution from millionaires."
Turnaround at the border?
As of Wednesday, there were 954 children in CBP facilities, down from a peak of 5,767 on March 28, the official said.
The Biden administration drew criticism from Republicans and migrant advocates alike when it was caught unprepared for a migrant surge that left thousands of children who crossed the border unaccompanied languishing in Border Patrol facilities, often for longer than the 72-hour limit set by federal law.
The average time that kids are in CBP custody is now 28 hours, compared with 133 hours on March 28, the official said. As of Tuesday, more than 22,276 children have been moved to more suitable facilities run by the Department of Health and Human Services, CNN said, citing government data. The Biden administration is trying to fast-track the process for parents or guardians, many also undocumented, to collect the children while awaiting immigration proceedings and an eventual decision on their status.
Biden is pushed to expand Medicare
Some Congressional Democrats including Sanders are planning to pursue a massive expansion of Medicare as part of Biden’s new $1.8 trillion economic package, defying the White House after it opted against including a major health-care overhaul as part of its plan, The Washington Post reported.
They specifically aim to lower the eligibility age for Medicare to either 55 or 60, expand the range of health services it covers and grant the federal government new powers to negotiate prescription drug prices.
See a roundup of the latest regional pandemic developments on Long Island and beyond by Newsday's reporting staff, written by Bart Jones and Matthew Chayes. For a full list of Newsday's coronavirus stories, click here.
What else is happening:
- Biden's drive-in rally in Georgia to tout his American Jobs Plan was interrupted by protesters demanding an end to privately run immigration detention centers. Biden responded: "I agree with you. I'm working on it, man. Give me another five days."
- Biden met with Jimmy Carter, at 96, the oldest living former president, and former first lady Rosalynn Carter on Thursday in their hometown of Plains, Georgia.
- The fact-checkers had at Biden's speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night and the Republican rebuttal by Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina. The findings: Biden strayed from truth when he strayed from the script with ad-libs. Scott used numbers that lowballed the traditional portion of Biden's infrastructure package and exaggerated Trump's economic achievements.
- During Trump's Fox Business interview, host Maria Bartiromo said of the Biden administration: "They’re blaming you on everything, and they do not attribute the successes that you had to your administration." Trump agreed. "Obviously they’re very ungracious people," he said.
- China's Defense Ministry complained Thursday that activity by U.S. military ships and surveillance planes directed at China has increased significantly under Biden’s administration.