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Bipartisan slaps for Trump over his wall, Mueller and Saudi war

Sen. Susan Collins, center, of Maine is one

Sen. Susan Collins, center, of Maine is one of a dozen Republicans who voted with Democrats to approve the Senate resolution Thursday, rejecting President Trump's national emergency declaration to divert funds to build a border wall. Credit: Bloomberg News/Al Drago

Days of defiance

The GOP-run Senate on Thursday delivered its second thumbs-down in two days on a major Trump administration policy move, by voting to overturn his declaration of a national "emergency" to divert billions to a vaguely defined border wall.

Twelve Republicans joined all Democrats to approve the resolution, which Trump is expected to veto, for a 59-41 approval. Newsday's Tom Brune describes the clash. Trump's veto is expected to stand, with the resolution unlikely to attract the two-thirds of both congressional houses to override. On Wednesday, the Senate voted 54-46 to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

House of pain for POTUS

The Democratic-run House of Representatives stuck its own needles in a Trump effigy. Its members voted 420-0 to make public any final report in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of Russian election interference.

Symbolically, the nonbinding resolution pushes Attorney General William Barr into releasing the information once available. Sponsors said it sprang from the president's attacks on the investigation and a need to assure transparency.

Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan) meantime told CNN he took an old email to ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen from an attorney with ties to Trump's legal team as an attempt to dangle a presidential pardon. "Sleep well tonight, you have friends in high places," said the email from attorney Robert Costello.

Also, Democrats on the House Committee on Government Oversight and Reform grilled Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on the controversial decision to include a citizenship question in the 2020 census.

Summer's case is not un-presidented

A New York State appeals court on Thursday ruled that Trump is not immune from state court lawsuits, Newsday's John Riley reports. The state Appellate Division's First Department in Manhattan ruled 3-2 to clear the way for former “Apprentice” contestant Summer Zervos to sue based on her claim that Trump groped her and then defamed her by calling her a liar.

“The current sitting President attempts to shield himself from consequences for his alleged unofficial misconduct by relying upon the constitutional protection of the Presidency,” the panel wrote. “We reject defendant President Trump’s argument.”

An offer you can't understand

Trump this week took a tough-guy pose that critics saw as a crude threat. But what it really meant was left to the imagination. The president told allies at Breitbart News: "You know, the left plays a tougher game, it’s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher.

"OK? I can tell you, I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump — I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad."

Even more unintelligible was his response to a reporter from Ireland who asked if it is cruel to enforce family-separation policies at the border:

"No, I don’t think they’re cruel. I think they’re the opposite of cruel,” Trump said. “They become cruel because they’re so ridiculous, and it hurts people... It actually does the reverse of what they’re supposed to be doing."

New York for O'Rourke?

Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-Garden City) got herself a splash of local and national attention by becoming the first member of Congress to endorse Texas ex-Rep. Beto O'Rourke in his new campaign for president

“This moment of peril produces perhaps the greatest moment of promise for this country and for everyone inside it," he said as he went off to Iowa for a three-day tour. His near-miss challenge last year to incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won wide notice. He's been a New York City denizen, having graduated from Columbia College in 1995 with a major in English literature. He's also a one-time punk rocker who founded a small web and software company.

What else is happening:

  • Trump's charitable foundation became part of his presidential campaign in 2016, New York State Attorney General Letitia James charged in a court document filed Thursday that elaborates on the state's pending allegations in a lawsuit.
  • Trump adviser Roger Stone is due to begin trial Nov. 5 on federal charges that stem from his allegedly lying to the House Intelligence Committee about his conversations involving WikiLeaks.
  • Former VP Joe Biden met with Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams in Washington to discuss their political plans.
  • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Thursday he'd try to keep Trump’s tax returns from Congress.
  • Ex-Trump aide Gary Cohn said Trump is "desperate" for a trade deal with China, Axios reports.
  • Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho) is caught in the crossfire between the White House and the Senate over Saudi policies, CNN reports.

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