Conyers admits settlement after report on sexual conduct with ex-staffers – but denies allegations

Hours after outright denying an explosive report on alleged sexual harassment, powerful Democratic lawmaker John Conyers admitted Tuesday that he settled a complaint with an ex-staffer — who reportedly said she was fired for rebuffing his advances.

Rep. Conyers, D-Mich., initially had told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he hadn’t settled any such harassment complaints. The AP also reported that Conyers answered the door at his Detroit home and said he knew nothing about claims of inappropriate touching, all of which were made in an extensive BuzzFeed article.

Conyers’ office issued a detailed clarification Tuesday afternoon, acknowledging the complaint was real, though the lawmaker adamantly denied the underlying claims.

“The Associated Press made an unannounced visit to the home of Congressman Conyers this morning,” a spokesperson for Conyers said Tuesday. “Congressman Conyers was under the impression the reporter was speaking of recent allegations of which he was unaware of and denied.”

Conyers said he has been a “fierce advocate for equality in the workplace” and supports the rights of his employees, but noted that it was “important to recognize that the mere making of an allegation does not mean it is true.”

“In this case, I expressly and vehemently denied the allegations made against me and continue to do so,” Conyers said, adding that his office resolved the allegations. “That should not be lost in the narrative. The resolution was not for millions of dollars, but rather for an amount that equated to a reasonable severance payment.”

Conyers added that he would “fully cooperate with an investigation,” once the House determines the “extent” they will look at “these issues.”

The allegations against Conyers amounted to yet another bombshell rocking Capitol Hill.

In documents obtained by BuzzFeed News, several former staff members reportedly accused Conyers of requesting sexual favors, rubbing their hands sexually and rubbing their legs and backs.

Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in the U.S. House, discusses immigration reform before a group of students, faculty and others at California State University, Sacramento, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017, in Sacramento, Calif. Earlier she was shouted down by young immigrants at an event in San Francisco where she was trying to drum up support for legislation the would grant legal status to young immigrants. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said she did not have any knowledge of the Conyers’ settlement.  (AP)

The woman who complained about her firing reportedly claimed she was dismissed because she did not “succumb to [his] sexual advances.” She reportedly believed she had no other option than to remain quiet and take the settlement in 2015.

TOP CALIFORNIA DEM STEPPING DOWN AMID NEW SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS

“I was basically blackballed. There was nowhere I could go,” she told Buzzfeed News.

Her identity remains anonymous reportedly due to fears of retribution.

FILE - In this July 12, 2017 file photo, Senate Judiciary Committee member Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn. arrives on Capitol Hill in Washington. Franken apologized Thursday after a Los Angeles radio anchor accused him of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour and of posing for a photo with his hands on her breasts as she slept.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has now been accused by two women of groping them without consent.  (AP)

Conyers, 88, the longest-serving House member, has served in the House for decades. He was active in the civil-rights movement and helped found the Congressional Black Caucus; he’s now the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., called the report “extremely troubling” in a statement released Tuesday. He noted he already had directed “the Committee on House Administration to conduct a full review of all policies and procedures related to workplace harassment and discrimination.”

Fox News has not independently confirmed the allegations.

According to BuzzFeed News, the Congressional Office of Compliance did not confirm or deny dealing with the case.

“Pursuant to the Congressional Accountability Act, the OOC cannot comment on whether matters have or have not been filed with the office,” Laura Cech, publications and outreach manager at the Office of Compliance, told BuzzFeed.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said she was not aware of the reported settlement involving Conyers.

“No,” Pelosi told Fox News in a statement. “The current process includes the signing of non-disclosure agreements by the parties involved.”

TAXPAYER PIGGY BANK LETS CONGRESS SETTLE SEX HARASSMENT CLAIMS IN SECRET

Pelosi pointed to new legislation put forth by Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier which the Democratic leader said would provide “much-needed transparency on these agreements” and make “other critical reforms.”

“I strongly support her efforts,” Pelosi said.

The report said the woman who settled with Conyers ended up with a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a roughly $27,000 settlement — which reportedly came from Conyers’ office budget as opposed to a massive fund that has been used to settle hundreds of cases with federal employees.

Chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party Brandon Dillon said in a statement Tuesday that the allegations against Conyers are “incredibly serious and disheartening to learn,” but also said that media reports of the case also “point to other troubling allegations of misconduct, including the potential misuse of congressional resources.”

“That is why we are calling for a full investigation by the House Ethics Committee into all of the allegations against Mr. Conyers, and we urge the Speaker to order a full-scale inquiry into the abuse of authority that has pervaded the halls of power in Washington, along with state capitols across the country, for far too long,” Dillon said.

The revelations about Conyers’ alleged conduct are just the latest in a series of allegations shaking the halls of Capitol Hill in recent days.

AL FRANKEN HIT WITH GROPING ALLEGATION FROM SECOND WOMAN

Last week, a TV and Radio broadcast host based in California, LeeAnn Tweeden, accused Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., of groping and kissing her without her consent. On Monday, a second woman, Lindsay Menz, accused Franken of groping her in 2010 while they took a photo together.

And Senate Republican candidate Roy Moore in Alabama is battling multiple allegations. The woman whose account started the controversy spoke Monday to NBC’s “Today” show, and said she was “absolutely not” paid to go public.

Leigh Corfman claims Moore had sexual contact with her when she was 14 and he was in his 30’s. Moore has denied the allegations against him.

Fox News’ Mike Emanuel contributed to this report. 

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Courtesy: Fox News

Newt Gingrich: Hillary Clinton’s been getting away with unethical, illegal behavior for 40 years

The never-ending saga of Clinton corruption continues to unfold, with the latest chapter being written by former Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile.

In an excerpt from her new book, Brazile finally begins to reveal to the American people what actually happened behind closed doors during the 2016 Clinton presidential campaign and uncovers new details about even more collusive activity.

Brazile describes how the Clintons covertly took over operations at the Democratic National Committee four months after Hillary announced her presidential candidacy, nearly a year before she became the party’s 2016 nominee.

According to Brazile, Hillary exploited the cash-strapped party. She agreed to pay off financial debts left by Obama’s 2012 campaign, but the cash came with a catch.

Brazile wrote that a fundraising agreement signed in August 2015 dictated that “in exchange for raising money and investing in the DNC, Hillary would control the party’s finances, strategy, and all the money raised. Her campaign had the right of refusal of who would be the party communications director, and it would make final decisions on all the other staff. The DNC also was required to consult with the campaign about all other staffing, budgeting, data, analytics, and mailings.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan weighed in on the significance of this latest Clinton scandal on Fox News Sunday, remarking, “We’ve all said that the Clintons thought they lived above the rules, but this takes the cake. I mean, this is pretty amazing. For them to basically be running the DNC in a primary – to see such a deck stacked is really pretty jaw-dropping to me. No wonder the Democrats are ticked off, I would be too.”

Of course, Speaker Ryan is correct that this degree of clear corruption on behalf of the Clintons is ethically wrong and always on the edge of breaking the law. However, having watched the Clintons for nearly their entire political careers, the Brazile revelations did not surprise me. Hillary Clinton has been getting away with unethical, and often illegal, behavior since she first entered public life.

I was a freshman member of Congress when Hillary began her career of breaking the rules for personal enrichment and power. When the Clintons ran for President in 1992 all this began to come out.

Hillary Clinton’s first major act of corruption dates back almost 40 years, when she miraculously turned $1,000 into nearly $100,000 in 10 months during her first attempt at trading commodities – mainly cattle futures.

A month before Bill Clinton was elected governor of Arkansas in November 1978, Hillary Clinton decided to try her hand at commodities trading, which is an incredibly volatile market. As a total novice, on October 11, 1978, she opened an account with $1,000, made a short sale of 10 live-cattle contracts, then bought them back the next day – pocketing an extra $5,300.

Throughout her stint as an untrained commodities trading savant, a slew of regulatory rules were apparently ignored (or violated) on her behalf. She made a “mockery of the profession” and cashed in after earning a net profit of nearly 10,000 percent in less than a year.

This level of success is nearly unheard of, even for expert commodities traders. Typically, 80 to 95 percent of commodities traders lose money. In fact, in 1994, the Journal of Economics and Finance published a study by economists from Auburn University and the University of North Florida which concluded the odds for Hillary’s level of success during the period she was trading “were – at best – 1 in 31 trillion.”

Let’s be blunt – there’s no way Hillary could have achieved that level of success in commodities trading without breaking the law. But she got away with it – like the Clintons always do.

The history of this corrupt, illegal behavior explains a lot of Hillary’s contempt for free enterprise. When she invested, it was a rigged game she was guaranteed to win. She equates her corrupt behavior with all free enterprise.

Of course, cattle futures were just the beginning. Getting away with one act of corruption led to many more: the Whitewater land deal, Benghazi, Hillary’s illegal private email server, the Uranium One sale, and now the DNC-Clinton collusion scandal.

So, the next time a Clinton scandal breaks (and there will be a next time), we should certainly be outraged, but we shouldn’t be surprised. We should also demand that the Congress and the Justice Department hold them accountable.

Newt Gingrich is a Fox News contributor. A Republican, he was speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999. Follow him on Twitter @NewtGingrich. His latest book is “Understanding Trump.”

Courtesy: Fox News

GOP tax bill: No changes to 401(k), doubles deductions for middle class, limits state and local tax

House Republicans on Thursday unveiled their long-awaited tax bill which preserves the popular 401K retirement account, lowers rates for many individual households but trims deductions for state and local taxes.

A summary of the plan, which was made available to reporters ahead of its public release, would also reduce the cap on the popular deduction to interest on mortgages to $500,000 for newly purchased homes. The current cap is $1 million.

The plan also limits the deductibility of local property taxes to $10,000 while eliminating the deduction for state income taxes. Republicans in high-tax states such as New York and New Jersey had come out strongly against it.

“I view the elimination of the deduction as a geographic redistribution of wealth, picking winners and losers,” New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin said. “I don’t want my home state to be a loser, and that really shouldn’t come as any surprise.”

Called the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the GOP plan would also leave the top individual tax rate at 39.6 percent.

The child tax credit will rise to $1,600 from $1,000, though the $4,050 per child exemption would be repealed.

The legislation is the first major revamp of the U.S. tax code in three decades and has been a top legislative and political priority of Republicans.

“This is the beginning of the end of this horrible tax code in America,” Rep. Kevin Brady told Fox News.

House Speaker Paul Ryan touted the plan as a break for the middle class.

“It is for the families who are out there living paycheck to paycheck who just keep getting squeezed,” he said.

President Trump called the legislation “another important step toward providing massive tax relief for the American people” and added, “We are just getting started, and there is much work left to do.”

The rollout was delayed a day as Republicans were still hammering out specifics.

Lawmakers had been at odds and scrambling to bridge deep divides over contribution limits to 401(k) retirement accounts and the possible elimination of a tax break for state and local taxes.

Potential changes to the plans created an uproar after rumors surfaced that Republicans were considering a plan to slash pretax donation limits from $18,000 for most people to as low as $2,400.

Trump is expected to meet with House Republicans at the White House Thursday afternoon. Markups to the bill could come as early as Monday.

The House Ways and Means Committee plans to consider the bill next week.

“This is our opportunity to make tax reform a reality and deliver the most transformational tax cuts in a generation,” Brady said on Thursday.

House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., said Thursday that this bill “for every member, this could be the most significant bill they make a decision on in congress.”

Trump has recently said he’d like to see the bill become law by Christmas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Courtesy: Fox News

House paves way for Trump tax reform plan by passing $4T budget

The House of Representatives on Thursday narrowly approved a $4 trillion budget that paves the way for Republicans on Capitol Hill to begin focusing on tax reform.

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The vote was 216-212, with 20 Republicans, including conservatives unhappy about deficits and debt, opposing it. Republicans could lose only 22 votes for it to pass.

“Big news – Budget just passed!” President Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

The Senate passed the measure last week and the House endorsed it without changes.

“Tax reform will help reignite the American dream,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters after the vote. “It will help bring us back to a place of confidence, freedom, happiness and a stronger, healthier economy. And this budget that the House just passed, 20 minutes ago, brings us closer to making that dream a reality.”

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas announced that the text of the tax bill will be released Nov. 1.

“By passing this budget today, House Republicans just provided the legislative runway for pro-growth tax reform,” Brady said. “Our successful vote will allow us to move forward quickly on delivering the first overhaul of America’s tax code in more than three decades.”

Brady also said the Ways and Means Committee will consider the legislation in a committee markup beginning Nov. 6. A markup session is where the committee goes through the bill line by line and revamps the package before advancing it to the floor.

The tax bill is the top item on the GOP agenda and would be Trump’s first major win in Congress.

The goal is a full rewrite of the inefficient, loophole-laden tax code in hopes of lower rates for corporations and other businesses and a spurt of economic growth.

Brady told reporters on Wednesday morning that he’s still looking at curtailing tax-free deposits in 401(k) retirement accounts, a move that could raise revenue in the near term as retirement savings shift to Roth-style accounts that are funded with after-tax earnings.

Trump says he opposes curbing 401(k) donations, however, which tossed a monkey wrench into the process.

Key decisions about tax brackets, including a new bracket for high-income earners, remain up in the air. Outcomes on other provisions are unsettled as well, lending a sense of chaos as GOP leaders rush to fulfill a goal of passing the measure through the House before Thanksgiving.

Republicans view passage of the tax measure as a career-defining dream, and its importance has only grown in the wake of the party’s debacle on health care.

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

Courtesy: Fox News

Trump’s DACA demands met with outrage from ‘Chuck and Nancy’

President Trump’s political dalliance with “Chuck and Nancy” already is running into problems, as the top congressional Democrats balk at the president’s new terms for a deal to help the roughly 800,000 young illegal immigrants known as ‘Dreamers.’

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“This proposal fails to represent any attempt at compromise,” House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement, after the administration announced the demands Sunday night.

The friction comes roughly three weeks after Pelosi and Schumer left a White House dinner with Trump saying they’d agreed to a framework deal to help the young illegal immigrants, as Trump moves to end their protections under the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA).

The Trump administration outlined an extensive list of conditions late Sunday.

“The administration can’t be serious about compromise,” Pelosi, of California, and Schumer, of New York, also said in their Sunday night statement. “We told the president at our meeting that we were open to reasonable border security measures … but this list goes so far beyond what is reasonable.”

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, on Monday questioned what Schumer thinks is “reasonable.”

“You have people who are losing loved ones because they are killed by an illegal immigrant,” Conway said on “Fox & Friends.” “What’s reasonable is to stop the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs over the border. I’d like to know what Chuck Schumer thinks is reasonable.”

Trump Schumer Pelosi FBN

President Trump’s dealings with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer are running into complications over his new DACA deal terms.  (AP)

Trump in recent weeks has turned to Schumer and Pelosi amid frustration with Senate Republicans, after they repeatedly failed to repeal and replace ObamaCare, denying him a major legislative victory and the ability to fulfill a top campaign promise.

Trump left the earlier meeting touting his efforts with “Chuck and Nancy” but was not specific about whether wall funding was a necessity.

The administration’s requirements announced Sunday include additional crackdowns on “sanctuary cities” that protect illegal immigrants; reducing the number of incoming refugees; 10,000 more Customs and Border Patrol agents; and new initiatives curbing the number of unaccompanied immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally as children.

“Over the last several decades, respect for the rule of law has broken down and immigration enforcement has been sacrificed for the sake of political expediency,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said after the announcement. “This plan will work.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan’s spokesman Doug Andres said the GOP-controlled chamber’s immigration working group would review the roughly 70-point White House list, then consult with the entire Republican caucus and the administration.

The White House plan is considered a starting point for congressional negotiations.

While the plan is already being embraced by Capitol Hill’s most conservative members, including a number of immigration hawks, backlash is growing among Democrats.

“It is immoral for the president to use the lives of these young people as bargaining chips in his quest to impose his cruel, anti-immigrant and un-American agenda on our nation,” said New Mexico Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

The House Freedom Caucus, the chamber’s most conservative wing, is backing the plan.

“We applaud the administration’s leadership on principles that will be critical to any immigration policy changes,” said caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C. “We look forward to the administration’s insistence on these principles in any deal that is signed into law.”

In dismantling DACA, the administration has argued it was forced to act because federal courts were ready to rule the program was unconstitutional, which would have put the Dreamers’ future in jeopardy.

Trump, in announcing the end of DACA, gave Congress six months to find a legislative alternative.

The White House on Sunday night also asked to limit family-based green cards to spouses and the minor children of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, in addition to creating a point-based system.

And it called for boosting fees at border crossings, making it easier to deport gang members and unaccompanied children, and overhauling the asylum system.

Conway also said Monday that the White House requests are the result of collaborations with such agencies as the departments of Justice, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol.

Fox News’ Jennifer Bowman, Mike Emanuel, Jason Donner, Jake Gibson, Serafin Gomez, Chad Pergram and Joseph Weber and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Courtesy: Fox News

Trump slams McConnell, Ryan, Clapper, the ‘Fake News’ in series of tweets

Brooke Singman

President Trump took aim at the “Fake News,” slammed congressional Republican leaders and called out former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in a rapid-fire Twitter-storm early Thursday.

The president had been relatively quiet on Twitter this week after returning to Washington from his 17-day “working vacation” at his property in Bedminster, N.J. But he returned to the platform Thursday, in part to respond to criticism in the media over his Phoenix rally speech.

In a cryptic dig at Clapper, he wrote: “James Clapper, who famously got caught lying to Congress, is now an authority on Donald Trump. Will he show you his beautiful letter to me?”

Clapper, now a CNN analyst, had gone on the network after Trump’s Tuesday night rally to question the president’s “fitness” for office. Trump’s Twitter reference to “lying” referred to Clapper’s 2013 apology for telling Congress the NSA doesn’t gather data on millions of Americans. It’s unclear what letter Trump was referring to.

While going after the Obama-era official, Trump also called out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan — despite the White House earlier attempting to ease tensions with McConnell by saying the two “remain united” on many legislative items.

“The only problem I have with Mitch McConnell is that, after hearing Repeal & Replace for 7 years, he failed!That should NEVER have happened!” Trump tweeted, referring to health care legislation.

He also wrote: “I requested that Mitch M & Paul R tie the Debt Ceiling legislation into the popular V.A. Bill (which just passed) for easy approval. They … didn’t do it so now we have a big deal with Dems holding them up (as usual) on Debt Ceiling approval. Could have been so easy –now a mess!”

It’s unclear whether that strategy would have worked for a debt ceiling increase. Some Republicans in the House would have balked at not having a clear path to cutting spending attached, leaving GOP leaders looking for Democratic votes.

While going after Democrats, Trump seemed Thursday to once again put pressure on McConnell and Ryan.

The feud between McConnell and Trump began when McConnell criticized the president for having “excessive expectations” about the legislative process, after Congress failed to deliver the votes on a plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare ahead of their August recess. Trump repeatedly said he was “very disappointed in Mitch,” and reportedly had a “profane shouting match” over the phone on Aug. 9.

TRUMP, MCCONNELL PORTRAY THEMSELVES AS ‘UNITED’ AFTER RIFT

This week, the two have attempted to make up publicly.

“President Donald J. Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell remain united on many shared priorities, including middle class tax relief, strengthening the military, constructing a southern border wall, and other important issues,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Wednesday.

McConnell also insisted that he and Trump were “committed” to working together.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, and we are committed to advancing our shared agenda together and anyone who suggests otherwise is clearly not part of the conversation,” McConnell said Wednesday.

McConnell and Trump are set to speak for the first time since the call during the first week in September when Congress returns to Capitol Hill.

This week, the president also warned that he would “close down” the federal government if lawmakers do not pass a spending bill to pay for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

“I don’t think a government shutdown is necessary, and I don’t think most people want to see a government shutdown, ourselves included,” Ryan said Wednesday in response to the president’s warning, saying that the House already approved some funding for the wall but stressed that “more time” would be needed to implement the plan.

RYAN TAMPS DOWN ON TRUMP’S TALK OF GOV’T SHUTDOWN IF NO BORDER WALL 

But Trump’s tweets continued Thursday morning, trashing “Fake News.”

“The Fake News is now complaining about my different types of back to back speeches. Well, there was Afghanistan (somber), the big Rally…(enthusiastic, dynamic and fun) and the American Legion – V.A. (respectful and strong). To bad the Dems have no one who can change tones!”

Fox News’ John Roberts and Chad Pergram contributed to this report. 

Brooke Singman is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @brookefoxnews.

Courtesy, Fox News

Trump unloads on GOP leaders, Clapper and media in typo-riddled Twitter rant

 Dylan Stableford 4 hours ago
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