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Pelosi: 'Don't Ask' compromise 'respectful' of review

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U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she thinks the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” compromise is “respectful” of the Pentagon review process underway while at the same time providing a path where gay, lesbian, bisexual service members can serve openly in the U.S. military.

In a response to a reporter’s question during her weekly press conference, Pelosi quoted congressional testimony from Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen in which he said repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is “the right thing to do.” Pelosi said she shares that belief.

She added the compromise legislation unveiled earlier this week, which wouldn’t end the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” statute until after the Pentagon study is complete at the end of the year, was a compromise “worked out with the White House.”

“It doesn’t repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'” she said. “It defers to when that report comes forth and then we repeal it.”

The amendment to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” introduced by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Pa.), is poised to come to the House floor this week when lawmakers take up the fiscal year 2011 defense authorization bill.

The repeal measure, Pelosi said, is “respectful” of the Pentagon working group, which she said is “speaking at all levels of the military across the country in anticipation of how we should move forward.”

“This is about national security and morale of our troops, unit cohesion, all of those things,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi added she thinks she has support for a successful vote, although it wasn’t immediately clear whether she was referring to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” amendment or the defense budget legislation as a whole.

The transcript of the exchange follows:

Q: On repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” are you satisfied with the compromise that was developed with the White House about this and a lot of the members … are saying this could be a very tough vote for them in vulnerable conservative districts. There’s a possibility of Ike Skelton even not supporting final passage of this bill if this repeal amendment is in there.

Do you have the votes? Do you worry about making your members taking another tough vote this election year?

Pelosi: I want to just quote Adm. Mullen because I was so inspired by his remarks: “Allowing gays and lesbians to serve in the military is the right thing to do. We have in place a policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me, personally, it comes down to integrity — theirs as individuals, ours as an institution.”

It is the right thing to do. And the legislation — the compromise that was worked out with the White House is respectful of the fact that there is a review going on speaking at all levels to the military across the country in anticipation about how we should move forward. … This is about national security and morale of our troops, unit cohesion, all of those things.

This amendment today is respectful of that. It doesn’t repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It defers to when that report comes forth and then we repeal it.

Q: Do you have the votes?

Pelosi: Oh, I think the voters are there.

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FBI, SEC launch investigations into alleged George Santos GoFundMe scam

Embattled N.Y. congressman stepped down from committees on Tuesday

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Congressman George Santos (R-N.Y.) (Screen shot via YouTube)

Republican U.S. Rep. George Santos (N.Y.) faces yet another law enforcement probe, this time over allegations the congressman ran a GoFundMe scam in 2016 by crowdsourcing for a U.S. Navy veteran and his cancer-stricken service dog before absconding with the money.

Politico reported on Wednesday that the veteran, Richard Osthoff, furbished text messages to FBI agents who were working on behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, which is reportedly conducting a parallel investigation into Santos’ campaign finances.

The news comes a day after Santos resigned from his two committee assignments following a meeting with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Monday.

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) announced on Twitter Wednesday that he filed a complaint against Santos with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission “for violating federal securities law.”

Torres wrote that his GOP colleague “illegally operated as a broker without a license, raising funds from unsuspecting investors for Harbor City Capitol, a 17 million dollar Ponzi scheme.”

Last month, Torres and fellow U.S. Rep. Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) filed an FEC complaint against Santos over his alleged violations of campaign finance laws. And over the weekend, the Justice Department reportedly asked the FEC to yield to federal prosecutors — likely a sign that the campaign finance issues are the subject of a criminal probe.

Santos reportedly faces investigations by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James. He has been embroiled in controversy since his arrival to Washington following revelations that nearly every part of his biography and identity were complete fabrications.

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Trump pledges to weaponize fed’l gov’t against trans Americans if reelected

Former president’s anti-trans proposals range from healthcare to education

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President Donald Trump (Washington Blade file photo by Lee Whitman)

Former President Donald Trump promised to weaponize the might of the federal government against transgender Americans if voters send him back to the White House next year.

He detailed the plans in a video shared on the platform Rumble, which is popular among conservative and far-right users.

Some would restore policies enacted during his administration by executive orders that were overturned by President Joe Biden, while other proposals were more extreme or would face an unclear path to implementation because they would require acts of Congress.

Trump began by inveighing against guideline-directed medical care for the treatment of gender dysphoria in minors — practices that are approved by every major mainstream American and international scientific and medical institution with relevant clinical expertise.

“I will sign a new executive order instructing every federal agency to cease all programs that promote the concept of sex and gender transition at any age,” Trump said, promising also to urge Congress to ban certain procedures for minors nationwide.

“I will declare that any hospital or healthcare provider that participates in the chemical or physical mutilation of minor youth will no longer meet federal health and safety standards for Medicaid and Medicare and will be terminated from the program immediately,” the former president said, referring again to healthcare interventions whose safety and efficacy has been demonstrated in hundreds of peer reviewed studies in scientific and medical journals.

Trump also said he would create a private right of action allowing for lawsuits against doctors and healthcare providers for administering or facilitating access to treatments for trans and gender non-conforming youth.

“The Department of Justice will investigate big pharma and the big hospital networks to determine whether they have deliberately covered up horrific long term side effects of sex transitions in order to get rich at the expense of vulnerable patients,” Trump said.

The former president then looked beyond healthcare, promising to erase trans people from schools and refuse to recognize them by the U.S. government.

“My Department of Education will inform states and school districts that if any teacher or school official suggests to a child that they could be trapped in the wrong body, they will be faced with severe consequences including potential civil rights violations for sex discrimination and the elimination of federal funding,” Trump said.

As part of credentialing for America’s teachers, messages promoting “the nuclear family” and child-rearing by “mothers and fathers” would be required, Trump said, adding that he would ask Congress to “pass a bill establishing that the only genders recognized by the United States government are male and female and they are assigned at birth.”

“The bill will also make clear,” Trump said, “that Title IX prohibits men from participating in women’s sports and we will protect the rights of parents from being forced to allow their minor child to assume a gender which is new and an identity without the parents’ consent.”

Trump concluded his message with the false assertion that gender dysphoria “was never heard of in all of human history” until “the radical left invented it just a few years ago.”

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George Santos to step down from committee assignments

Embattled gay Republican under pressure to resign

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Rep. George Santos (R-N.Y.) Screen shot via YouTube)

Republican Rep. George Santos (N.Y.) told House GOP colleagues on Tuesday that he will step down from his two committee assignments pending the resolution of investigations and possible law enforcement activity over his alleged financial crimes and violations of campaign finance laws.

Santos, who was appointed to the House Small Business and Science, Space and Technology Committees, neither of which are considered high profile, announced his recusal during a closed-door session following his meeting on Monday with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).

Today’s news marks the first sign that the many scandals with which Santos has been enveloped since his arrival to Washington may have fractured his relationships with and support from House Republican leadership.

Over the weekend, the Justice Department reportedly asked the Federal Election Commission to yield to the federal prosecutors probing Santos’ campaign finance activity, a likely signal that a criminal investigation is underway.

Santos is also the subject of a complaint filed to the House Ethics Committee as well as parallel investigations conducted by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office and the office of New York Attorney General Letitia James.

The congressman has faced calls to resign, including from members of his own party, since it was revealed last month that he had fabricated virtually every part of his identity and biography.

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