<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Connecticut Political News, NY and CT Politics, and More]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usTue, 17 Oct 2017 07:46:27 -0400Tue, 17 Oct 2017 07:46:27 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Trump Joked That Pence Wants to 'Hang' Gays: Report]]> Mon, 16 Oct 2017 21:42:38 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/pence-trump-whispering-EM.jpg

In a profile of Vice President Mike Pence published Monday in The New Yorker, Jane Mayer reported on a meeting among an unnamed legal scholar, President Donald Trump and Pence in which Trump joked that Pence "wants to hang" gay people. 

Mayer also cited two sources who told her Trump routinely enjoys needling the conservative former Indiana governor about his views on abortion and homosexuality, NBC News reported. During the meeting with the legal scholar, Mayer reported Trump "belittled Pence's determination to overturn Roe v. Wade" after the scholar said many states would likely legalize abortion if the Supreme Court were to rule against it.

When the conversation shifted to gay rights, Trump allegedly motioned to Pence and joked, "Don't ask that guy — he wants to hang them all!"

A request for comment from the White House was not immediately returned.

Photo Credit: Evan Vucci/AP (File)]]>
<![CDATA[Trump, McConnell Discuss Legislative Priorities, GOP Unity]]> Mon, 16 Oct 2017 17:27:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Trump161016_MP4-150818725928600002.jpg
President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stood together Monday as a show of solidarity during an impromptu question-and-answer session with reporters. 
The two have publicly feuded in recent weeks, but now, as they're trying to advance the GOP agenda, they say they're closer than ever. 
<![CDATA[Ahead of White Nationalist Speech, Fla. Gov Declares Emergency]]> Tue, 17 Oct 2017 06:34:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-831454884.jpg

Ahead of a speech by a white nationalist leader at the University of Florida, Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency to direct resources to ensure Gainesville's safety.

Scott signed the Law Enforcement Coordination executive order following a request from Alachua County Sheriff Sadie Darnell in anticipation of the Thursday event.

The order allows Darnell to quickly "coordinate resources from other state, county and municipal law enforcement agencies," Scott's office said in a statement, adding the governor will maintain in constant communication with security officials to ensure "every request to the state is quickly granted to keep the public safe."

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes Spencer as: "one of the country’s most successful young white nationalist leaders – a suit-and-tie version of the white supremacists of old, a kind of professional racist in khakis."

The SPLC points to a 2014 column Spencer wrote for the National Policy Institute — the white nationalist think tank he led at the time — in which he wrote that "immigration is a kind of proxy war — and maybe a last stand — for White Americans, who are undergoing a painful recognition that, unless dramatic action is taken, their grandchildren will live in a country that is alien and hostile."

UF officials reluctantly granted Spencer permission to speak.

However, UF President Kent Fuchs has urged his students to "avoid the event" and to "not let the message of hate and racism go unchallenged."

Protests challenging Spencer's rhetoric are scheduled for Thursday.

Scott said violence by any side will not be tolerated.

“We live in a country where everyone has the right to voice their opinion; however, we have zero tolerance for violence, and public safety is always our number one priority," Scott said in a statement.

"I have been in constant contact with Sheriff Darnell, who has requested this Executive Order to ensure that county and local law enforcement have every needed resource," he continued. "This executive order is an additional step to ensure that the University of Florida and the entire community is prepared so everyone can stay safe.”

Photo Credit: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Says He Understands Bannon's War on GOP Establishment]]> Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:05:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_17289583762038.jpg

President Donald Trump said Monday he can "understand fully" why his "friend" and former chief White House strategist Steve Bannon has declared war on the Republican establishment.

"I can understand where Steve Bannon is coming from," Trump said. Praising his former adviser's commitment "to getting things done," he added, "I know how he feels," NBC News reported.

Trump's comments came just an hour before the president was scheduled to have lunch with McConnell.

But after their lunch, Trump said that while Bannon is doing what he "thinks is the right thing," he will try to talk Bannon out of seeking primaries against some Senate Republicans.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Evan Vucci]]>
<![CDATA[As Trump Deregulates, Chicken Lobby Would Speed Inspections]]> Mon, 16 Oct 2017 12:03:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/chickenfarm_1200x675.jpg

While President Donald Trump unravels many of the policies put in place during the Obama administration, the poultry industry has been lobbying hard to speed up poultry inspection lines, NBC News reported.

The Obama administration rejected the idea to speed up the process, capping it at 140 birds per minute, after warnings that doing so could increase food contamination and endanger workers.

Most poultry plant employees use sharp tools to eviscerate animals with foreceful, repetitive motions at high speeds, becoming exposed to toxic chemicals used to kill bacteria. "Even at existing line speeds, it's extremely unsafe," said Debbie Berkowitz, a senior fellow at the research and advocacy group National Employment Law Project.

One congressional Republican pushing to change the rules, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., asked the secretary of agriculture for the increase, citing a wish to be competitive with other countries.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Amb. Haley: US Wants to Stay in, Improve Iran Deal]]> Sun, 15 Oct 2017 10:19:03 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nikkihaleyfeuerherd.jpg

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Sunday said it's the administration's hope that America stays with the Iran nuclear deal if Congress takes action to keep it together, NBC News reported.

“I think right now you are going to see us stay in the deal,” she said during an interview on NBC's “Meet The Press."

"What we hope is that we can improve the situation," she added. "And that's the goal. So I think right now, we're in the deal to see how we can make it better. And that's the goal. It's not that we're getting out of the deal. We're just trying to make the situation better so that the American people feel safer."

On Friday, President Trump declined to certify that Iran was in compliance of the 2015 agreement, and threatened to terminate it if Congress does not strengthen it.

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Ex-Campaign Manager Had $60M Relationship With Russian Oligarch]]> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 19:03:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/manafort-gaze.jpg

Former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort has much stronger financial ties to a Russian oligarch than have been previously reported.

An NBC News investigation reveals that $26 million changed hands in the form of loan between a company linked to Manafort and the oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, a Russian billionaire with close ties to the Kremlin.

The loan brings the total of their known business dealings to around $60 million over the past decade, according to financial documents filed in Cyprus and the Cayman Islands.

Manafort was forced to resign from the Trump campaign in August 2016, following allegations of improper financial dealings, charges he has repeatedly denied. He has become a central figure in the FBI investigation seeking to determine if there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia leading up to the election.

Photo Credit: Mary Altaffer/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Fact Check: Trump Muddles Economic Indicators]]> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 14:57:09 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/trump01AP_17284785256439.jpg

In a news interview and a speech in Pennsylvania, President Donald Trump misleadingly suggested that rising stock value could reduce the national debt. One budget expert told us that notion was “just silly.”

In an interview with Sean Hannity of Fox News, Trump noted that the country’s debt rose by $10 trillion under President Barack Obama and that since he took office, stock values have increased by $5.2 trillion. So, he said, “maybe in a sense we’re reducing debt.”

Trump on Fox News, Oct. 11: The country — we took it over and owed over 20 trillion. As you know the last eight years, they borrowed more than it did in the whole history of our country. So they borrowed more than $10 trillion, right? And yet, we picked up 5.2 trillion just in the stock market. Possibly picked up the whole thing in terms of the first nine months, in terms of value. So you could say, in one sense, we’re really increasing values. And maybe in a sense we’re reducing debt. But we’re very honored by it. And we’re very, very happy with what’s happening on Wall Street.

Trump made similar comments during a speech on tax reform in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, that same day.

Trump in Harrisburg, Oct. 11: And very proudly, just in the stock market alone, we have increased our economic worth by $5.2 trillion dollars. That’s right since Election Day — $5.2 trillion.

Think about that. That’s a quarter of the $20 trillion that we owe. So we’ve already — but listen to this because we’ve doubled — in the last eight years of the previous administration, the debt doubled, so that in eight years our debt — literally hundreds of years of debt — doubled in eight years to $20 trillion.

But since the election on November 8th, I’ve increased the value of your U.S. assets by more than the $20 trillion that we currently owe. You haven’t heard those numbers.

Trump is right that the federal debt increased under Obama.

Total public debt outstanding rose from $10.6 trillion to $19.9 trillion, an increase of $9.3 trillion. That includes all the money that the government owes to itself, including the Social Security trust funds. Under Obama, the federal debt held by the public grew from $6.3 trillion to $14.4 trillion, an $8.1 trillion increase, or a little more than 128 percent over Obama’s eight years.

The debt continues to rise under Trump. The debt held by the public is now at $14.7 trillion, and the total debt is at $20.4 trillion.

It’s also true that the stock market has been making steady gains.

Since Trump took office, the Dow Jones Industrial Average has climbed 15.9 percent to 22,872 at the close on Oct. 11. Trump takes credit for the rise in the stock market dating back to his election last November — and an argument can be made for a “Trump Rally” that many attribute at least partly to investor optimism that the president-elect would, once in office, cut taxes and regulation as promised. The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock average rose nearly 6 percent between Election Day and Obama’s last day in office.

The White House said Trump arrived at the $5.2 trillion figure by looking at the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index. (A single point in the Wilshire 5000 represents about $1.15 billion in index market value, and the Wilshire index grew by 4,439 between Nov. 8, 2016, and Oct. 12. That translates to $5.1 trillion growth in market value since Election Day.)

But Trump’s suggestion that stock value somehow reduces the national debt is misleading.

“It’s nonsense,” Marc Goldwein, senior policy director at the Committee for a Responsible Federal Government, told us.

“There is no relationship between the national debt and the value of the stock market, which is the total value of a selection of stocks owned by individuals and being held abroad,” Goldwein said. “It’s just silly. They are totally different economic indicators.”

Those sentiments were echoed by political economist Greg Valliere of Horizon Investments to CNNMoney.

“The stock market’s gains have virtually nothing to do with the size of the national debt, which continues to rise because government spending far exceeds government receipts,” Valliere said. “A higher stock market encourages consumers and companies to spend more, which helps the overall economy. But it’s absurd to contend that the national debt has fallen because of this.”

Indeed, if Trump’s premise were accurate, the debt would have fallen significantly under Obama — because the rise in stock market value didn’t start with Trump’s election.

The S&P 500 index more than doubled — rising by 166 percent — under Obama. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 138 percent. And yet, as we said earlier, debt soared under Obama.

The White House referred us to an Oct. 12 interview that White House Legislative Director Marc Short gave to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Short was asked whether a booming stock market would reduce the national debt, as the president suggested. He said it would, because a “booming stock market means that people are continuing to pay more taxes and dividends, so there are additional resources coming in to the Treasury.”

Short added that the country needs to “address its spending habit” but that “the booming stock market does help generate more revenue that can help pay down the debt.”

High stock values can be an indicator of faster economic growth, Goldwein of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget told us, but not always.

And higher stock value should translate to moderately higher revenues from capital gains taxes and retirement account withdrawals, he said, but those increased revenues would never be equivalent to the debt. For starters, only 20 to 25 cents of every dollar from capital gains is taxed, Goldwein said. And, it is only taxed when the stocks are sold, not when they are held. So the amount of tax revenue the government gets from that is a tiny fraction of the overall value of stocks.

In its own fact-check of Trump’s comments, the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget notes: “Last year, capital gains taxes accounted for only 4 percent of total federal revenue – even a record jump in capital gains next year would only reduce further borrowing by about $50 billion, which is less than a tenth of what we are projected to borrow next year.”

And, Goldwein said, those increased revenues are already accounted for in the Congressional Budget Office’s deficit projections.

The CBO reported that the federal government ran a budget deficit of $668 billion in fiscal year 2017, which ended Sept. 30. That was about $25 billion less than the CBO projected in June, “largely because outlays were less than CBO anticipated.”

A CBO analysis of Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 estimated that while Trump proposed significant spending cuts, the cumulative deficit over the 2018 to 2027 period would total $6.8 trillion (even as the deficits would decline as a percentage of GDP from 3.6 percent in 2017 to 2.6 percent at the end of the period).

In other words, the debt under Trump’s proposed budget would not be as high as projected under current law, but it would still grow. (We should note that Congress has not yet passed a spending plan for fiscal 2018.)

That Trump budget plan includes $1.9 trillion less in spending on health care in anticipation of a repeal and replace of the Affordable Care Act — which hasn’t happened yet.

The president’s budget also assumes deficit neutral tax reform, which the Trump administration and Republican leaders are not proposing. An analysis by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, for example, concluded the latest iteration of the tax plan would add $2.2 trillion to the debt.

White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney told CNN, “If we simply look at this as being deficit-neutral [tax plan], you’re never going to get the type of tax reform and tax reductions that you need to get to sustain 3 percent economic growth.”

Trump is right that the stock market has been soaring — a trend that began several years ago, but that has been even more pronounced since Trump’s election. But those stock gains are not reducing the ever-growing national debt. At best, the additional tax revenues may contribute to slowing the debt’s growth.

FactCheck.org is a non-partisan non-profit organization that will hold candidates and key figures accountable during the 2016 presidential campaign. FactCheck.org will check facts of speeches, advertisements and more for NBC. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Says Iran Deal Not in US National Security Interests]]> Fri, 13 Oct 2017 23:44:20 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TRUMP_IRAN_FULL-150791777527500002.jpg

"We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran's nuclear breakout," President Donald Trump said on Friday, Oct. 13, 2017.

<![CDATA[Esty Introduces Bill to Limit High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines]]> Thu, 12 Oct 2017 15:35:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Elizabeth+Esty+GettyImages-163570097.jpg

U.S. Representative Elizabeth Esty introduced legislation this afternoon that would limit high-capacity ammunition magazines in the wake of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

The bill, called the Keep Americans Safe Act, would prohibit the transfer, import or possession of magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

The National Rifle Association last week released a statement saying it was open to new rules on rapid fire accessories, such as bump stocks.

On an ABC News podcast, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said the NRA’s statement was significant and that they have shown a willingness to budge on gun laws.

"Congresswoman Esty and others seek to impose Connecticut type laws on the rest of the country. These are the very same lawmakers who change on a dime when it comes to pro-gun legislation,” Scott Wilson Sr. president of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said in a statement. “Case in point; H.R.38 (The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act). When such bills are introduced, claims then shift to 'state's rights' in opposition. To me, the swing back seems somewhat hypocritical."

The NRA did say that banning guns from law-abiding Americans won’t prevent future attacks.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[President Trump Summarizes His Tax Plan in Under a Minute]]> Wed, 11 Oct 2017 19:07:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_TRUMP_TAX_PLAN_101117-150776285160400002.jpg

President Donald Trump delivered a speech to lay out his tax plan on Oct. 11, 2017, in Pennsylvania.

<![CDATA[President Trump Gets Big Reaction After He Says 'Huge']]> Wed, 11 Oct 2017 19:15:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/DIT_TRUMP_HUGE_SOCIAL-150776205514900002.jpg

President Trump received a big reaction after using one of his Trump-isms at a speech in Pennsylvania.

<![CDATA[Harvey Weinstein's Biggest Political Contributions]]> Wed, 11 Oct 2017 15:33:25 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/200*120/weinstein2.jpg

Harvey Weinstein, the Hollywood producer at the center of a sexual abuse scandal, has been a big political contributor in recent years. These are his largest contributions since 1997.

<![CDATA[Murphy Not Considering Run for President]]> Wed, 11 Oct 2017 12:03:45 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-857208630.jpg

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy says he will not consider a run for president in 2020, according to an interview on CBS News.

"I am not running for president. I am running for re-election to the Senate," the Connecticut Democrat said in an interview with CBS News Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett and Political Director Steve Chaggaris on "The Takeout" podcast. He said he will focus his energies on a 2018 run for re-election.

Murphy has been an outspoken critic of the Trump Administration, challenging everything from the president’s pick for Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State to the administration’s stance on immigration and crackdown on undocumented immigrants to the Afghanistan strategy to the plans to eliminate the Affordable Care Act. 

Murphy and other Connecticut elected officials have been fighting for stricter gun control laws in the years since the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School and Murphy again called on Congress to act after 59 people were killed and more than 500 others were wounded at a country music festival in Las Vegas. 

He is also a champion for affordable health care, job creation, and education. He currently sits on the Foreign Relations Committee, the Senate Appropriations Committee, the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee and the Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Firm Behind Trump-Russia Dossier Subpoenaed by House Panel ]]> Tue, 10 Oct 2017 20:36:07 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/nunesAP_17087487476001.jpg

Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, issued subpoenas to a U.S. firm involved in the Donald Trump dossier without consulting the Democrats on the committee, three people familiar with the matter told NBC News.

A source close to Fusion GPS, a firm co-founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson, confirmed to NBC News that its partners had received subpoenas from the committee. And a Democratic congressional source told NBC News the subpoenas were issued unilaterally by the Republicans "despite good faith engagement thus far by the witnesses on the potential terms for voluntary cooperation."

Committee rules specifically give the chairman the authority to issue subpoenas. According to the rules, he does not need approval from minority Democrats to do so.

A spokesman for Nunes did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Photo Credit: AP]]>