HC Wake-Up Call: Senate Has Votes to Block Trump's Wall Move, House Dems to Confront Omar's Israel Comments & Stone May Have Broken His Gag Order

Good morning, Her Campus! With a break-neck news cycle, there is no possible way for you to stay on top of every story that comes across your feeds—we’re all only human, after all.

But, life comes at you fast. So grab a cup of coffee and settle in for this quick and dirty guide to stories you might’ve been sleeping on (like, literally. It’s early.)

McConnell Says the Senate Has Enough Votes to Block President Trump’s Emergency Declaration

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he expects his chamber has enough votes to pass a resolution to nullify President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration, but that an effort to override a presidential veto would fail in the House.

“I think what is clear in the Senate is that there will be enough votes to pass the resolution of disapproval, which will then be vetoed by the president and then in all likelihood the veto will be upheld in the House,” McConnell told reporters Monday.

According to the New York Post, McConnell said the vote would happen before lawmakers go on a one-week recess on March 15th.

McConnell’s remarks come after his fellow Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul became the latest Republican lawmaker to announce he can’t go along with Trump’s emergency declaration. Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina have already announced they would defy Trump’s declaration. Assuming that all 47 Democrats and their independent allies go against the president, those four votes would give opponents of Trump’s declaration the votes needed to block it.

Paul told reporters Monday that based on conversations with colleagues, there are “at least 10” Republican senators prepared to vote in favor of a disapproval resolution, the Associated Press reports.

According to the Bowling Green Daily News, at GOP dinner this past weekend in Kentucky, Paul said, “I can’t vote to give the president the power to spend money that hasn’t been appropriated by Congress.”

“We may want more money for border security, but Congress didn’t authorize it. If we take away those checks and balances, it’s a dangerous thing,” Paul added.

McConnell said he supports Trump’s declaration, but had hoped Trump would not resort to using it, saying he advised the president against making the declaration since it could set a precedent for future Democratic presidents to make such a declaration to push their own political agendas.

“That’s one reason I argued, obviously without success to the president, that he not take this route,” McConnell said.

Trump declared a national emergency last month in a maneuver that would allow him to siphon funds from the military construction budget to erect a wall on the southern border.

The declaration came after Congress refused to give Trump the $5.7 billion he requested for a southern border wall — appropriating only $1.375 billion.

House Dems to Take Floor Action to Confront Omar’s Israel Comments

House Democrats are considering a vote on a new resolution condemning anti-Semitism in response to recent comments from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) that fellow Democrats and Jewish group say play on anti-Semitic tropes.

Pelosi and other senior Democrats have drafted a resolution to address the controversy which mainly played out over the weekend following a clash between Omar and Jewish lawmakers, Politico reports.

The four-page resolution, which began circulating to members on Monday night, largely details the history and recent rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S., but does not name Omar.

During a “progressive town hall” last Wednesday at Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C., Omar said, “I want to talk about the political influence in this country that says it is OK to push for allegiance to a foreign country.”

The statement sparked outrage from senior Democrats and Jewish groups.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-NY), who is Jewish, called Omar’s statement “a vile anti-Semitic slur.”

In a tweet Saturday, House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) called on Omar to apologize because “lawmakers must be able to debate w/o prejudice or bigotry.”

But Omar pushed back against her colleagues who said she should apologize, saying she “should not be expected to have allegiance/pledge support to a foreign country in order to serve my country in Congress or serve on committee. The people of the 5th elected me to serve their interest. I am sure we agree on that!”

“I have not mischaracterized our relationship with Israel, I have questioned it and that has been clear from my end,” she added.

GOP lawmakers, however, have called on Pelosi and her leadership team to remove Omar from her House Foreign Affairs Committee seat.

The announcement of floor action Monday came after mounting backlash from groups, including the Anti-Defamation League, which wrote a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for a House resolution to reject what the organization called Omar’s “latest slur.”

“Accusing Jews of having allegiance to a foreign government has long been a vile anti-Semitic slur that has been used to harass, marginalize, and persecute the Jewish people for centuries,” the group’s CEO, Jonathan Greenblatt, wrote.

According to a senior Democratic aide, Democratic staffers began working on the resolution before the letter, Politico reports.

The House voted 424-0 last month on a Republican motion to condemn anti-Semitism following controversy over Omar’s tweets in which she suggested lawmakers support Israel because of Jewish lobbying influence and money, NPR reports. Omar later apologized for the tweets.

Roger Stone May Have Broken His Gag Order

Roger Stone, a longtime Trump ally, had a gag order imposed on him two weeks ago by a federal judge, preventing him from publicly talking about his case. However, Stone may have just violated the gag order with an Instagram post.

Stone, who awaits trial on a charges in special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, posted “Roger Rabbit”-style photo on Instagram story Sunday, The Huffington Post reports. The illustration included a photo of Stone and the text “Who Framed Roger Stone,” a nod to the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit, suggesting that he may have been framed.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed a gag order on Stone after he posted a picture of her with crosshairs in the corner by her head on Instagram. Stone apologized and called the post “an egregious mistake,” saying it was “just a stupid lack of judgment.”

According to Buzzfeed News, Stone is also in trouble over a upcoming release of a book about the Mueller investigation.

Stone’s lawyers filed a sealed document Friday notifying Jackson that the book would be released soon and that part of it might violate the gag order she imposed on Stone had he written it after the gag order was put into effect. His lawyers contend he submitted the section at issue to his publisher in January, thus making it not in violation of her order.

On Friday, Jackson ordered Stone’s lawyers to explain why they hadn’t notified her of the book sooner, and on Monday, the lawyer filed a response, saying they hadn’t brought it up at the February 21st hearing because, at that point, there wasn’t any significant limit on Stone’s speech.

Stone, who served as an adviser to the Trump campaign, has been charged with witness tampering, obstruction of justice and lying to Congress in Mueller’s investigation.

What to look forward to…

Happy Mardi Gras!