News Digest – April 15, 2017

Here’s your weekly news digest.

Syria

Senator Cardin blasted the Trump administration for the lack of a “coherent policy” on how to deal with Syria.  Then he had this sick burn for Sean “I-can’t-believe-he-really-said-that” Spicer, following the White House press secretary’s bizarre remarks comparing Bashar al-Assad and Adolf Hitler.

Congressman Cummings (MD-7) calls on Trump to to immediately rescind his ban on Syrian refugees and to share his strategy regarding the civil war in Syria with Congress and with the American people.

Congressman Ruppersberger (MD-2) issues statement on Syria

Customers Not Cargo Act

Responding to Sunday’s incident on a United Airlines jet, Senator Van Hollen is drafting a bill that would prohibit airlines from forcibly removing passengers after they have boarded a flight.

Federal oversight of local police

Senator Van Hollen joined three other Democratic senators in asking the DOJ to disclose any pending agreements with local police departments that have not been finalized.  As reported earlier, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered a review of federal agreements with dozens of law enforcement agencies, suggesting a retreat on consent decrees like the one a federal judge just approved for Baltimore.

Van Hollen’s campaign fined

Senator Van Hollen’s 2016 campaign has agreed to pay a fine and return about $3,300 in contributions over a dispute with Emily’s List, the women’s group that backed former Rep. Donna Edward’s bid for the seat that Senator Van Hollen now holds.

PolitiFact: Senator Cardin’s filibuster remarks “half true”

The fact-checking website PolitiFact said that Senator Cardin was speaking a half truth when he remarked, “We’ve seen more filibusters on judicial nominees by the Republicans under President Obama than we saw in the whole history of the United States Senate.”

Investigation into Trump’s transition

U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) confirmed that it will examine Trump’s presidential transition team in response to request from Senators Warren and Congressman Cummings (MD-7) last November.  Four key areas of inquiry are: what laws, entities and provisions guide the presidential transition, what General Services Administration processes guide money management and how the transition team fundraised and spent, what conflict-of-interest guidance the Trump team received, and what the Trump transition knew about norms for communications with foreign governments.  Another article is here.

First family’s security needs strain Secret Service, with quote from Congressman Cummings (MD-7).

Odds and ends

Congressman Sarbanes (MD-3) issues statement on federal hiring freeze being lifted.

Congressman Cummings (MD-7) writes op-ed on restoring public confidence in the police.

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