Hypocrites

Tom Cotton attacks relief payments to prisoners but backed them under Trump

Republican senator condemns Democrats for giving money to ‘murderers and rapists’ and cites Boston Marathon bomber

Tom Cotton is a rightwing hardliner

.politics
POLITICS PRESS GROUP

Senator Tom Cotton has repeatedly attacked Democrats who voted for the Covid-19 relief bill for giving money to “murderers and rapists” in prison, citing Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted in the Boston Marathon bombing. The Arkansas Republican has neglected to mention, however, that during Donald Trump’s presidency he twice voted for Covid bills that provided payments for prisoners.

Prisoners’ advocates say payments are warranted, as many will be released into a situation where the pandemic has ravaged the US economy, leading to high unemployment and many families struggling to pay for basic necessities.

Payments also decrease the burden on prisoners’ families, who often have to provide for them after they are released.

“Providing stimulus funds to incarcerated people helps protect the health and wellbeing of those behind bars and provides relief to their loved ones at home,” the Prison Policy Initiative said last year.

The $1.9tn American Rescue Plan passed the Senate on Saturday. It is expected to pass the House of Representatives this week before being signed by Joe Biden.

Like the rest of his party in Congress, Cotton voted no. Though analysts predict Republicans will be targeted in election ads for opposing relief, Cotton has tweeted that Democrats will “pay the price at the polls” for voting for the huge aid package, which includes prisoners among those eligible for $1,400 payments, based on income levels.

“Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the Boston Bomber, murdered three people and terrorized a city,” he tweeted. “He’ll be getting a $1,400 stimulus check as part of the Democrats’ ‘Covid relief’ bill.”

The current legislation also includes a child tax credit that Biden has said will cut child poverty in half.

But Cotton, a rightwing hardliner also known for his desire that the US military be used to crush anti-racism protests, also opined: “How will sending stimulus checks to murderers and rapists in prison help solve the pandemic?”

Appearing on Fox News, he said Democrats were “crazy” and “radical” to allow checks to be sent to prisoners.

Critics were quick to point out that Cotton was among the Republicans who twice voted for Covid relief bills that provided money for prisoners.

The Cares Act, passed in March last year, provided $1,200 per person depending on income, including prisoners. A further bill in December handed out another $600 to people, prisoners among them, struggling with the impact of the pandemic. Almost every Republican, including Cotton, voted for both.

The Trump administration did try after the first relief bill to prevent prisoners getting checks but the move was blocked by a judge because the text of the legislation did not bar incarcerated people from getting the money.

Read more

Jeff Sessions claims he’s clueless about his DOJ’s snooping on Congress

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is telling associates he had no idea his Justice Department seized phone records of two top Democratic congressional critics of then-President Donald Trump. In the hours since The New York Times broke the news on Thursday that prosecutors subpoenaed Apple metadata from Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA), former Attorney General Sessions has privately told people that he wasn’t aware of, nor was he briefed on, the reported data seizures while he led the Trump DOJ. This week’s revelations were a surprise to him, according to a source familiar with the matter, and another person close to Sessions.

Watchdog investigates seizure of Democrats’ phone data

The US justice department’s internal watchdog launched an investigation on Friday after revelations that former president Donald Trump’s administration secretly seized phone data from at least two House Democrats as part of an aggressive leaks inquiry related to the Russia investigation into Trump’s conduct.

Trump feared Democrats would replace Biden with Michelle Obama, book claims

Donald Trump called Joe Biden a “mental retard” during the 2020 election, a new book says, but was reluctant to attack him too strongly for fear the Democrats would replace him with Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Biden went on to beat Trump by more than 7m in the popular vote and by 306-232 in the electoral college, a result Trump deemed a landslide when it was in his favor against Clinton in 2016.

Intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters

The deadly insurrection at the US Capitol was “planned in plain sight” but intelligence failures left police officers exposed to a violent mob of Trump supporters, a Senate investigation has found. The Capitol police intelligence division had been gathering online data since December about plots to storm the building on 6 January, including messages such as: “Bring guns. It’s now or never.” But a combination of bad communications, poor planning, faulty equipment and lack of leadership meant the warnings went unheeded, allowing the insurrectionists to overrun the Capitol and disrupt certification of Joe Biden’s election victory. Five people died.