Thursday, June 28, 2018

SHOCK: Rep. Joe Crowley defeated in Democratic primary upset by newcomer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

In the photo: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Rep. Joe Crowley, the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus who was thought by some to be a future Speaker of the House, suffered a shocking primary defeat in New York's 14th House District Tuesday.

With 88 percent of precincts reporting, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- who has never held elected office -- led Crowley by more than 3,600 votes.

Ocasio-Cortez, a Bernie Sanders supporter who has called for the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), had gained the endorsement of several left-wing groups, including MoveOn and the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).

"We have built power. We have organized," Ocasio-Cortez said on Twitter as the polls closed. "What we have built is permanent. No. Matter. What."

Soon after The Associated Press called the race, the New York City branch of the DSA tweeted congratulations to Ocasio-Cortez, saying that her victory proved "that working class people are hungry for a voice in politics."

In a statement, Crowley congratulated Ocasio-Cortez on her victory and said he looked forward to supporting her against Republican Anthony Pappas in November.

"The Trump administration is a threat to everything we stand for here in Queens and the Bronx, and if we don't win back the House this November, we will lose the nation we love," Crowley said. "This is why we must come together. We will only be able to stop Donald Trump and the Republican Congress by working together, as a united Democratic Party."

The National Republican Campaign Committee celebrated the defeat of "poor Joe Crowley."

"House Democrats, hoping for a post-Pelsoi era, are now left leaderless," NRCC spokesman Matt Gorman said. "The only person happier tonight than Nancy Pelosi is the NRCC."

President Trump also reveled in the downfall of the man he called "Big Trump Hater Congressman Joe Crowley."

"That is a big one that nobody saw happening," Trump said of Crowley's defeat. "Perhaps he should have been nicer, and more respectful, to his President!"

Crowley, the fourth-ranked House Democrat and a ten-term incumbent, was viewed by many observers as the one person a broad enough support base to potentially succeed House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi or House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer. 

His defeat leaves a large gap in the House Democratic leadership and ensures that Pelosi and Hoyer will be able to remain in their posts, if they choose to do so.

In a statement, Pelosi described Crowley as "an unwavering champion for America’s working families for almost two decades" who "brought principled, unifying and forward-looking leadership to the historic challenges of the Trump Administration" as the Democratic caucus chair.

"I salute Chairman Crowley for a formidable legacy of achievement for the people of New York," Pelosi concluded. "I congratulate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on her victory."

Fox News' Chad Pergram and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Justice Anthony Kennedy announces retirement, giving Trump 2nd Supreme Court pick

Justice Anthony Kennedy announced Wednesday that he is retiring, giving President Trump a critical opportunity to move the Supreme Court more solidly to the right in what promises to be an epic confirmation fight.

The 81-year-old senior associate justice informed the White House in a letter of his intention to step down from the high court after 30 years, effective July 31. Rumors of another vacancy have reverberated across Washington for months; the decision comes a year after Kennedy's former law clerk Neil Gorsuch took over the seat occupied by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. 

Trump, reacting to the opportunity to select a second high court pick, called Kennedy a "great justice" and said he'd begin the search for a replacement immediately.

“Hopefully, we’re going to pick somebody who will be as outstanding,” Trump said.

On the Senate floor, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed the chamber would vote “this fall” on Kennedy’s successor.

Arguably the most powerful member of the Supreme Court, Kennedy's moderate-conservative views often left him the "swing" -- or deciding -- vote in hot-button cases ranging from abortion to gay rights to political campaign spending.

A Supreme Court vacancy will likely become a key issue in a midterm congressional election year, when control of the Senate is at stake.

That body will consider Trump's latest high court nominee, requiring only a simple majority for confirmation. GOP leaders changed the rules when Gorsuch was being considered, to get rid of the 60-vote procedural filibuster threshold.

But Democrats are expected to try and transform the court opening into a broader political referendum on Trump's leadership, and the future of social issues like immigration, gun rights and race.
Republicans, for their part, hope Kennedy's replacement helps them in the November elections. Still, McConnell indicated he hopes for a vote in the fall.

Without Kennedy, the court will be split between four liberal justices who were appointed by Democratic presidents and four conservatives who were named by Republicans. Trump's nominee is likely to give the conservatives a solid majority and will face a Senate process in which Republicans hold the slimmest majority, but Democrats can't delay confirmation.

Kennedy was nominated to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1987 and sworn in the following year.

While often voting with the court’s conservative bloc, he has been a key swing vote in a number of cases and occasionally sided with the court’s liberal wing, particularly on issues such as gay rights and abortion. Most notably, he wrote the 2015 ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, which found that a ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.

His retirement had been rumored in recent years, with several of his former clerks having said they thought he was considering stepping down.

While it is not clear whom Trump will nominate, the eventual nominee is likely to face resistance from Senate Democrats -- who are still bristling from Senate Republicans’ blockade of Obama-pick Merrick Garland in 2016 and would balk at the possibility of Trump hardening the conservative bloc on the court.

Kennedy’s retirement comes after both Gorsuch and Kennedy were key votes in two controversial decisions this week -- upholding Trump's 'travel ban' and ruling against union's 'fair share' fees.

Both decisions were 5-4.

Fox News' Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.


President Trump will meet next month with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, White House announces

Fox News Alert

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ambassador John Bolton

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet on July 16 in Helsinki, Finland, the White House announced on Thursday.