Donald Trump

Cohen, Cooper sign onto lawsuit attacking Trump’s foreign business dealings

Tennessee’s two Democratic congressmen, Reps. Steve Cohen of Memphis and Jim Cooper of Nashville, are among about 200 members of Congress signing on as plaintiffs in a federal court lawsuit that contends President Donald Trump’s foreign business dealings may violate a provision of the Constitution.

Quote from a Cooper press release:

“The Constitution says our president should be free from all foreign influence,” Rep. Cooper said. “Since President Trump shows no sign of changing, Congress must ask the courts to enforce the Constitution he has sworn to uphold.”

Quote from a Cohen press release:

“The Constitution’s Foreign Emoluments Clause is a vital protection against foreign governments’ corrupting influence.” said Congressman Cohen. “The American people should have total confidence that the President is serving their interest, not his own financial enrichment.  President Trump’s refusal to disclose information to Congress or seek Congress’s authorization for accepting profits from foreign governments stemming from his sprawling foreign financial interests is a brazen violation of the Constitution and a danger to our democracy.”

The full Cohen press release is HERE; the full Cooper press release HERE.

TN independent college president backs away from Trump administration job

Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association, has withdrawn from consideration for  the job of assistant secretary for postsecondary education in the U.S. Department of Education, according to Inside Higher Education.

It’s the second time in recent weeks that a candidate for a high-profile role at the department has said “no thanks” to the department deep in the vetting process. And it underscores the slow progress since January in making key political hires to round out Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’s team.

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Commission Trump wants to abolish announces $15.7M in grants to help coal miners losing jobs

The Appalachian Regional Commission, which would be abolished under President Trump’s proposed federal budget for the coming year, announced almost $16 million in grants intended to help communities losing jobs in the coal industry in seven states, including Tennessee.
The only Tennessee grant is $500,000 for Knoxville-based LaunchTN for its Entrepreneurial Education and Workforce Development project. The Tennessee startup support initiative will target the coal-impacted counties of Anderson, Campbell, Claiborne, Cumberland, Fentress, Grundy, Marion, Morgan, Scott and Sequatchie. A list of the projects is HERE. The ARC press release is below.
 

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Trump picks DA Dunavant as U.S. Attorney General for West TN

Michael Dunavant, who has been a state district attorney since 2006, has been nominated by President Donald Trump as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Tennessee

Dunavant, of Covingon, now serves as DA for Tennessee’s 25th Judicial District,  which covers Fayette, Hardeman, Lauderdale, McNairy and Tipton counties.

Some info on Dunavant from a Jackson Sun report in 2014, when he was running for a new eight-year term as DA (he won with 20,931 votes to 10,748 for challenger D.J. Norton of McNairy County):

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Cohen seeks investigation into whether funds raised for St. Jude were diverted to Trump charities

U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen has asked U.S.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions to investigate whether some of the money the Eric Trump Foundation’s charity golf tournament raised for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital went instead to other charities favored by President Donald Trump, reports Michael Collins.

“The report suggests that donors may have been misled, the event may have been used as a pass through to convert charitable donations to the Donald J. Trump Foundation into revenue for Donald Trump’s private businesses, and the event may have been used as a vehicle to profit Donald Trump’s private businesses,” Cohen said. “I urge you to investigate to determine whether federal laws have been violated.” (Text of Cohen’s letter is HERE.)

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TN Senate majority leader vetted for appointment as federal judge

State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris is being vetted for potential appointment as a federal judge, reports the Times Free Press, citing two “Republican sources” at the state capitol who were contacted by the FBI as part of the customary background check that proceeds such by appointments. Besides that, two “law enforcement chiefs” who know Norris  have apparently been contacted by agents as well.

There’s previously been talk that Norris might be nominated by President Donald Trump for one of two current vacancies on the U.S. District Court bench in West Tennessee – those vacated by Judge Hardy Mays in 2015 and by Judge Daniel  Green earlier this year. They retired – or “took senior status,” as the judicial saying goes.

Norris has for months been saying he’s interested joining the field of candidates running for the 2018 Republican gubernatorial nomination. But he’s made no announcement – and the TFP says he did not return phone calls asking about his vetting for a federal judgeship.

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TN politician commentary on Comey (‘Big distraction,’ says Haslam)

A roundup of some comments on former FBI Director James Comey’s testimony before a congressional committee Thursday:

From Gov. Bill Haslam and former Gov. Don Sundquist, via WBIR TV:

“To me, the big issue, to me, is all of this ends up being such a big distraction,” Haslam said. “Forget your politics, which side you are on, Democrat or Republican, the unfortunate reality of this is you have something like this going on around you, you are not very effective at delivering good government.”

Haslam said from what he knows now, he does not think President Trump obstructed justice. Former governor Don Sundquist agreed.

“I learned that [President Donald] Trump is not a candidate for prosecution,” Sundquist said. “Comey, I think, is distressed over the fact he was fired. He was embarrassed, and a president has the right to name their own person.”

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Duncan bashes Washington Post reporter in House floor speech

Republican U.S. Rep. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., who earlier this year said President Donald Trump was wrong in declaring the press an “enemy of the people,” on Tuesday delivered a brief House floor speech denouncing The Washington Post and its White House bureau chief, Philip Rucker.

Duncan singled out a Tuesday article by Rucker bearing the headline “Trump reacts to London terror by stoking fear and renewing feud with mayor.

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Slatery joins 16 attorneys general in complaining to Trump about fed regulatory overreach

News release from attorney general’s office

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III is joining a coalition of 16 state attorneys general in asking President Trump to lead a regulatory reform effort to protect individual rights from regulatory overreach. In a signed letter to President Trump, the coalition, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, says reforms are necessary to bring the current federal regulatory process under the rule of law.

“Federal agencies were created to administer the law. In too many instances they have tried to make law, to legislate, through guidance letters and the like. When steps like these are taken, the voice of the people through their elected representatives is not heard,” General Slatery said. “And that is a problem, a constitutional problem, which we want the Administration and Congress to address.”

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Haslam differs with Trump, Beavers on highway funding

Gov. Bill Haslam, who toured the state Monday for ceremonial signings of his “IMPROVE Act,” declared along way that he’s not too keen on President Trump’s infrastructure plans — or on state Sen. Mae Beavers declaring she’ll push to repeal of the IMPROVE fuel tax hikes if elected to succeed him as governor.

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ABOUT THIS BLOG

Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.

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