SRN - Political News

By Jarrett Renshaw

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, the leading Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate in the state, will skip his election night party on Tuesday as he recovers in a hospital from a stroke suffered during the final days of the campaign.

Fetterman’s Pittsburgh rally will proceed without him “as he will remain in the hospital resting and recovering,” his campaign said in a statement on Monday. His wife, Gisele Fetterman, and other guests, will make remarks in his absence, it said.

Pennsylvania offers Democrats one of their best chances of picking up a Senate seat currently held by a Republican – the retiring Patrick Toomey – as they seek to retain their razor-thin majority in the chamber in the Nov. 8 midterm elections. Fetterman’s health scare has shaken his campaign and the party.

Fetterman, who will face centrist U.S. Representative Conor Lamb and two other Democrats on Tuesday, said in a statement issued on Sunday from Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital that he suffered the stroke on Friday.

Fetterman, 52, has surged in opinion polls ahead of Tuesday’s primary, surprising political observers who had predicted a close contest with Lamb.

Fetterman said he had not been feeling well but ignored his symptoms until his wife insisted he go to a hospital. Fetterman said in his statement on Sunday that he was “feeling much better” and suffered no cognitive damage.

“I’m well on my way to a full recovery,” Fetterman said. “They’re keeping me here for now for observation, but I should be out of here sometime soon.”

The Democratic nominee will face a Republican opponent who also is set to be chosen on Tuesday. The Republican primary is a close race pitting Mehmet Oz, a television wellness celebrity backed by former President Donald Trump, against David McCormick, a wealthy former hedge fund CEO, and Kathy Barnette, a conservative commentator.

(Reporting by Jarrett Renshaw; Editing by Will Dunham and Scott Malone)

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Karine Jean-Pierre held her first briefing as the new White House press secretary on Monday, crediting “barrier-breaking people” who came before her for making it possible for a Black, gay, immigrant woman like herself to rise to one of the most high-profile jobs in American government.

“I stand on their shoulders. If it were not for generations of barrier-breaking people before me, I would not be here,” Jean-Pierre said. “But I benefit from their sacrifices. I have learned from their excellence and I am forever grateful to them.”

President Joe Biden entrusted Jean-Pierre, 47, and the daughter of Haitian immigrants, with the responsibility of being his chief spokesperson earlier this month. Jen Psaki, who had held the job since the start of the administration, stepped down last Friday.

Jean-Pierre is the first Black woman and openly LGBTQ person to serve as White House press secretary. She had been the principal deputy press secretary and led the briefing on several occasions, making history in May 2021 when she first subbed for Psaki.

She also held regular off-camera “gaggles” with the much smaller group of reporters who travel aboard Air Force One with the president.

Jean-Pierre takes over as the White House faces an uphill battle to help Democrats hold onto the House and Senate in November’s midterm elections, and as the administration struggles to address the public’s concerns about rising consumer prices and the state of the economy.

She also steps up as Biden faces a daunting array of foreign policy challenges, including Russia’s war against Ukraine and North Korea’s escalating nuclear testing program. Biden is set to visit South Korea and Japan later this week, followed by stops in Europe in June.

Jean-Pierre opened Monday’s briefing by sharing brief biographies of the 10 Black people who were killed Saturday during a racially motivated shooting at a Buffalo, New York, supermarket. She will accompany Biden when he visits the city on Tuesday.

“Representation does matter,” Jean-Pierre said as she credited Biden with building a diverse administration, starting with Kamala Harris as the first woman and person of Black and Indian descent to be elected vice president.

She sought to shift attention away from herself, saying the White House and the press briefing room belong to the American people and that she works “for them.”

“It’s not about me. It’s about them,” she said, before pledging to continue to work to make sure the White House press team she now leads meets Biden’s expectations of providing the public with “truth, honesty and transparency.”

Jean-Pierre also spoke Monday of her “tremendous respect” for the work of the journalists seated in the briefing room and waiting to pepper her with questions.

“The press plays a vital role in our democracy and we need a strong and independent press now more than ever,” she said. “We might not see eye to eye here in this room all the time, which is OK. That give and take is so incredibly healthy and it’s a part of our democracy and I look forward to engaging with all of you on that.”

Psaki weighed in on Twitter.

“Proud to know you @PressSec,” she tweeted, using Jean-Pierre’s new Twitter handle. “Representation matters. Great job on day one. Rooting for you from home.”

Jean-Pierre worked on Biden’s presidential campaign before following him to the White House. Before the campaign, she was the chief public affairs officer of the progressive group MoveOn and a political analyst for NBC and MSNBC. She also worked on political affairs in President Barack Obama’s White House and on his reelection campaign, as well as numerous other Democratic political campaigns.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Election Commission has decided not to take action against former President Donald Trump after commissioners deadlocked over whether his campaign broke the law by masking how it was spending cash during the 2020 campaign.

In a letter on Monday, the FEC notified the Campaign Legal Center of the outcome. The nonprofit group first brought the complaint against Trump in 2020, alleging his campaign was “laundering” hundreds of millions in spending from mandatory public disclosure by routing payments through companies that were tied to his former campaign manager, Brad Parscale.

The practice has long been considered against the law. But in recent years, the FEC, which is evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, has frequently deadlocked on major decisions such at this one.

That has effectively set a series of new precedents that have slowly whittled away at the law governing how money can be used in national politics. Still unclear is what sort of legal rationale was used to justify the decision.

Adav Noti, a former FEC attorney who is now the Campaign Legal Center’s vice president and legal director, said the commission won’t release its legal reasoning for several weeks. He said filing an appeal would hinge on more details.

“It depends on what’s in the case file,” Noti said. “All we have is notification of the deadlock.”

In a similar case in March, the FEC found probable cause that Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee had violated campaign law by misreporting spending on research that eventually became the infamous Steele dossier.

In that case, the Clinton campaign and DNC agreed to pay $113,000 to settle without conceding they violated the law in order to avoid further legal costs.

During the 2020 campaign, most of the payments by Trump’s campaign committees were made to American Made Media Consultants, which has received at least $780 million between 2018 and 2021, according to FEC records. The other firm, Parscale Strategy, collected at least $32 million during that period, the records show.

The campaign said that American Made Media Consultants was formed to purchase advertising directly — and save money by not relying on a go-between. But the company instead acted as a clearinghouse for spending while still using third-party vendors, which it was ostensibly created to avoid, the complaint states.

In at least two cases, outside firms owned by Trump’s digital director Gary Coby appeared to have been the firm tapped to make purchases or develop digital communication products, though there is no record of payments made to Coby in Trump’s campaign finance disclosures, according to the complaint.

Meanwhile, Parscale Strategy was used to pay the salaries of some Trump reelection officials, including Lara Trump, the wife of Trump’s son Eric, and Kimberly Guilfoyle, the fiancee of Trump’s eldest son, Don Jr., the complaint stated.

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