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Attorney General Merrick Garland violated his pledge to avoid “politicizing” the Department of Justice (DOJ) by blasting states’ election laws in a statement honoring the one year anniversary of the death of civil rights giant Democratic Rep. John Lewis.”Since 2013, there has been a dramatic rise across the country in legislative efforts that make it harder for millions of citizens to vote. This increase accelerated after the 2020 elections,” Garland said in a Saturday morning statement. “The recent further narrowing of voting protections only underscores the need for legislative action. The Department of Justice is using all the tools at its disposal to protect the voting rights of all citizens, but that is not enough. We need Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would provide the Department with important tools to protect the right to vote and to ensure that every vote is counted.”BIDEN TARGETS STATE ELECTION BILLS IN VOTING RIGHTS SPEECH IN PHILADELPHIAGarland blasted the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, which eliminated the Voting Rights Act’s preclearance provisions, which Garland states was “one of the nation’s most effective tools for safeguarding voting rights.”Vice President Kamala Harris echoed Garland’s comments Saturday, remembering Rep. Lewis and also stating, “Today, the fight is not over. The right to vote remains under attack in states across our nation.”GEORGIA SECRETARY OF STATE DEFENDS ELECTION LAW, URGES BIDEN TO ‘STOP PLAYING POLITICAL GAMES’During his Senate confirmation hearing, Garland made a promise to keep politics out of DOJ. stating in an exchange with Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, “I’m telling you what I think an attorney general ought to do — which is to look at the facts before making a decision. I’m also telling you that I will never make a decision in the department based on politics or partisanship.”However, the country’s top law enforcement officer has come under fire from critics, who argue that DOJ’s recent decision to sue Georgia over its controversial new voting law “politicized” the department.In June, Garland directed DOJ to sue Georgia, alleging Republican state lawmakers rushed through a sweeping overhaul with an intent to deny Black voters equal access to the ballot.Georgia officials fired back, saying that the lawsuit is “blatantly political” and that Georgia’s law actually strengthens security, expands access and improves transparency in elections.In addition, Biden was strongly rebuked by the Washington Post’s fact-checker, earning “Four Pinocchios” for his false claim that the new Georgia law “ends voting hours early.” The law actually allows counties to extend early voting hours and Election Day hours were not changed. Less than a week later, the Supreme Court issued a decision in the closely watched election integrity case, Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee, upholding Arizona’s ability to enforce laws meant to keep the election process secure – including rules that outlawed ballot harvesting and allowing provisional ballots cast at the wrong precinct to be thrown out.Debates over state election integrity laws are unlikely to go away soon, as legislation in Georgia, Texas, Arizona and other states continue to grab the national spotlight.MCCONNELL CONDEMNS BIDEN FURY OVER GOP VOTING REFORM AS ‘UTTER NONSENSE’Senator Klobuchar, D-Minn., and liberal activist Stacey Abrams are expected to host a town hall-style “discussion with Georgia voters” on Sunday, before heading to Capitol Hill on Monday for a Senate committee hearing on voting rights. Georgia’s attorney general Chris Carr, who will be defending the state’s election law in court against DOJ, blasted the Democrats on twitter for lying about the state’s election law and for barring the public from attending the event.CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP A group of Texas Democratic state lawmakers made a splash this week when they skipped out of Austin and flew to Washington, D.C., in an attempt to stall a Republican-backed election integrity bill, which they claim would cause voter suppression. Vice President Harris praised the Democrats for their “bold, courageous action.”
The heated debate over Virginia’s vaccine mandate for students entering the 2021-2022 school year at public colleges and universities across the state is starting to trickle down into local politics, including the race for governor.According to an email to students obtained by Fox News, Virginia Tech’s president Tim Sands states that unvaccinated students are not welcome on campus for the Fall 2021 semester. “Although we would like to ensure that all of our students have the best experience possible, no student is required to attend Virginia Tech.” He then lists other options, including “opting out” for the duration of the pandemic or transferring to another institution with more lenient vaccination requirements.State attorney general Mark Herring issued a legal opinion in April stating that colleges have the legal authority to require vaccines for in-person attendance on public school campuses.Public school universities have started to take action on the attorney general’s guidance. WHITE HOUSE DEFENDS DOOR-TO-DOOR VACCINATION PUSH AMID BACKLASHVirginia Tech’s website states that “mandating vaccination is an important step toward easing campus restrictions and returning to in-person activities and events.””It is important that the Virginia Tech community is vaccinated and it is required that everyone who is vaccinated submit proof of vaccination.”As a result of universities implementing the attorney general’s guidance, state senator Bryce Reeves sent a letter to all of Virginia’s college and university presidents strongly encouraging them to not require proof of vaccination for students to attend in the Fall.Reeves writes that schools must accept religious belief exemptions for students and understand that many Virginians remain fearful of the vaccine. In addition, science shows COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths are at record lows throughout the state. As the state’s race for governor heats up, the two candidates are delicately weighing in on whether or not they would support the current legal guidance by the state to mandate vaccines. Macaulay Porter, a spokesperson for Republican candidate Glenn Youngkin’s campaign, told Fox News that he “believes that vaccines should be available to all Virginians but to mandate vaccines is a step too far. As governor, Glenn will not allow or support vaccine mandates.”Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe’s campaign did not respond to multiple requests for comment from Fox News. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP President Biden is set to join McAuliffe on the campaign trail in northern Virginia at the end of next week. While he hasn’t explicitly stated support for requiring vaccine mandates, the president has been supportive of widespread vaccine use, including a “door-to-door” approach.Biden’s HHS secretary Xavier Becerra recently came under fire for saying that it is “absolutely the government’s business” to know the vaccination statuses of Americans.
EXCLUSIVE: Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt is suing the Biden administration over the Department of Interior’s decision to strip the state’s ability to regulate mines, arguing it is an unlawful act of federal overreach.The lawsuit, expected to be filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, states that the Biden administration sought to “unlawfully strip Oklahoma of its jurisdiction for the regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations under Title IV and V of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA)” and impose a federal program in its place. In April, the Interior Department issued a notice of decision, stating that Oklahoma did not have the legal authority under SMCRA to continue the mining program, which it had maintained for over 30 years.OKLAHOMA BOARD OF EDUCATION APPROVES CRACKDOWN ON TEACHING CRITICAL RACE THEORYThe department cited the Supreme Court’s 2020 decision in McGirt v. Oklahoma as the basis for its decision. In McGirt, the Supreme Court legally recognized the existence of the historic Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation within the eastern part of Oklahoma for purposes of the federal Major Crimes Act. According to the Interior Department’s reasoning, because the SMCRA doesn’t allow the state to control mines on Indian land, the federal government was justified in taking over the mining program in the eastern part of the state on lands “within the exterior boundaries of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation Reservation.” Gov. Stitt strongly disputed the Interior Department’s logic in his lawsuit, saying McGirt limits the definition of “Indian country” as it applies to federal criminal law, and therefore cannot be expanded to include Oklahoma’s regulatory jurisdiction.In addition, Stitt states in the filing that Interior issued the notice of decision “without adequate explanation, justification, or sufficient evidence in the record to support the action.” He also said that the department failed to adequately address or respond to significant problems and matters raised by the state’s attorney general in an April letter.In the letter, Attorney General Mike Hunter said he advised that “no state agency comply with this ill-advised power grab by the Biden administration.” “Courts ruled a long time ago that reservation lands are not categorically exempt from state jurisdiction for all purposes. The McGirt ruling was about criminal jurisdiction, not all state regulations of industries. Further, we have supervised mines and reclamation operations in Oklahoma for decades and there is no legal basis for us to stop this practice now,” said the state’s top law enforcement officer. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe president pledged to cut U.S. emissions in half by the year 2030, moving away from fossil fuels. Biden has come under criticism from pro-miner and coal worker states, which fear that the president will not replace mining jobs with new “green jobs.”
FIRST ON FOX: GOP lawmakers from California are urging the state’s Board of Education to reject a controversial “equity in math” program currently under consideration.Rep. Young Kim and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy led the 11-member delegation in sending a letter to Dr. Linda Darling-Hammond, president of the board, Friday expressing major concerns with the proposed plan for California public schools to “phase out” the option for students to enter accelerated or advanced mathematics classes and require students to study at the same level until junior year of high school.”Imposing a one-size-fits-all model on the students of California will instead stifle creativity, free thinking, and innovation,” the lawmakers say in the letter first reviewed by Fox News.Proponents of the plan say that it will address “systemic racism in mathematics” and accelerate achievement over time by putting all students on an even playing field, especially low-income Latino and Black students. However, it has come under fire from educators, venture capitalists and science and math professionals who argue it injects racism into math for no reason and will hold students back.The GOP lawmakers argue in the letter that advancing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is “a first order concern for our nation in building the foundations of future technological advancement and innovation” and necessary to maintain the United State’s competitive edge in the world in this field.They point out that California, in particular, houses countless STEM-oriented facilities – including those in Silicon Valley, Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and other research and testing centers critical to advancing the work of the U.S. military and the commercial space industry. “If California ceases to foster the next generation of scientists and engineers, then California students may not have the skills or knowledge to obtain STEM-related higher education and enter these fields to keep our state on the cutting edge of technological advances,” the GOP lawmakers warn. Another concern raised by the GOP representatives is that the state’s proposed math curriculum overhaul comes at a time when the country’s education assessments are in decline compared to other countries. On the matter of mathematics equity, the lawmakers state that California has made great progress since 1997 in the number of students learning algebra by eighth grade or earlier. In addition, the biggest increase in success rate through 2013 are attributed to low-income and ethnic minority Latino and Black students.CALIFORNIA BACKTRACKS ON WOKE MATH CURRICULUM OVERHAUL AFTER STERN OPPOSITIONThe board decided on Wednesday to push back its consideration of the proposed framework until next year, after receiving massive opposition.The board told Fox News that the “math framework development timeline from 2019 is out of date” and said it was adjusted to “allow for completion of edits directed by the Instructional Quality Commission.”CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPThe state’s equity in math proposal comes as the nation is embroiled in a debate over critical race theory and making curriculum more “equitable.” Nearly half of U.S. states have passed laws banning CRT in public school classrooms due to concerns it is anti-American and racist.Fox News’ Emma Colton contributed to this report.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., outlined steps that the Biden administration can immediately take in order to provide Cubans access to uncensored internet, amid ongoing unrest between anti-communist protestors and supporters of the country’s regime.Cuba’s authoritarian leader Miguel Díaz-Canel has urged his supporters to brandish weapons to confront the anti-government protesters and also shut off the internet to suppress reports of the recent protests and dissent.In a letter to President Biden on Wednesday, Rubio asked the administration to immediately provide internet to Cuba using American funding and resources. LIVE UPDATES: CUBA’S CRACKDOWN DOESN’T SILENCE PROTESTERS, GOVERNMENT CONFIRMS 1 MAN DEAD”I urge the administration to immediately authorize and allocate additional funding to provide internet to Cuba using the existing capacity of innovative American firms and readily available funding sources. In addition, the administration should move to shore up democracy broadcasting, internet access and programming through the Office of Cuba Broadcasting.”Rubio said that now that pro-freedom protests have broke out, the Cuban regime has leveraged “its stranglehold on the internet to silence key voices of dissent, shut down the ability to coordinate protests, and restrict the capacity of the Cuban people to share with the world scenes of their brutal treatment at the hands of the regime.”The senator also provided a video outlining the four steps Biden could immediately take in order to help Cubans, the first being providing emergency connectivity. He pointed out that similar action was taken by the previous administration in 2017 to provide internet to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria cut off communications.Rubio also asked the president to direct Secretary of State Antony Blinken to convene a meeting of the permanent council of the Organization of American States and call for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a press conference Thursday calling on Biden to “step up” and provide internet to Cubans.The governor suggested during a Wednesday media availability that Florida-based companies should attempt to provide internet access to Cuba after the communist country shut off the internet to suppress recent protests and dissent.DESANTIS CALLS ON FLORIDA COMPANIES TO PROVIDE INTERNET TO CUBA AFTER GOVERNMENT SHUTS IT DOWN”What does the regime do when you start to see these images?” DeSantis said. “They shut down the internet. They don’t want the truth to be out, they don’t want people to be able to communicate.”Videos and pictures coming out of Cuba have been showing violent government crackdowns against anti-communist protesters in the streets. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPBiden released a statement earlier this week that said, “We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime.”The White House did not reply to Fox News’ request for comment about if the administration is taking steps to restore internet to Cubans by time of publication. Fox News’ Andrew Mark Miller contributed to this report.
A large group of pro-regime Cubans took to the streets holding large clubs as they snaked through Havana to confront critics of the country’s dictatorship. Over the weekend, mass protests broke out throughout the country as Cubans called for an end to the communist regime that has brought on a historic and crippling economic crisis. Chants of “Down with the dictatorship” rang throughout Havana’s streets. Cuba’s authoritarian leader Miguel Díaz-Canel urged his supporters to brandish weapons and confront the anti-government protesters, sanctioning acts of violence.DEMONSTRATIONS ERUPT ACROSS FLORIDA IN SUPPORT OF CUBAN PEOPLE, CALL FOR END OF COMMUNIST REGIME”The order to fight has been given – into the street, revolutionaries!” he said in an address, according to the BBC.
Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel’s government in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021. (Photo by YAMIL LAGE / AFP) (Photo by YAMIL LAGE/AFP via Getty Images)
(Yamil Lage/AFP)Pictures show pro-regime “revolutionary” supporters holding large wooden clubs as they snaked through the streets toward the anti-government protesters. CUBAN PRESIDENT URGES COUNTRY’S ‘REVOLUTIONARY’ CITIZENS TO COUNTER PROTESTERS
Thousands of Cubans participated in Sunday’s demonstrations, chanting “Down with the dictatorship,” as President Miguel Díaz-Canel urged supporters to confront the protesters.
(Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images)
Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel’s government in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021.
(Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images)
Cubans take part in a demonstration in support of Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel’s government in Arroyo Naranjo Municipality, Havana on July 12, 2021.
(Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images)CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPWhite House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned against the use of violence in a Twitter post Sunday, saying the “U.S. supports freedom of expression and assembly across Cuba, and would strongly condemn any violence or targeting of peaceful protesters who are exercising their universal rights.” In a statement Monday, President Biden said Cuban protesters were asserting their basic rights.”We stand with the Cuban people and their clarion call for freedom and relief from the tragic grip of the pandemic and from the decades of repression and economic suffering to which they have been subjected by Cuba’s authoritarian regime,” Biden said.Fox News’ Stephen Sorace contributed to this report.
EXCLUSIVE: Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt filed an amicus brief opposing Kansas City’s efforts to defund its police department, arguing it is illegal and will have “destructive and deadly” consequences for residents following last year, which recorded the highest rate of murder in the city’s history.On May 20, the City of Kansas City Council passed several ordinances that effectively defunded the Kansas City Metropolitan Police Department (KCPD), removing $42 million from the police department’s budget and moving the money into a community services fund controlled by the city manager. The brief, filed Thursday in the case Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners v. Mayor Quinton Lucas, states that the slashing of the city’s law enforcement budget would require eliminating 480 police officer positions and, as a result of diminished police presence, increase violent crime in the streets.”Kansas City’s shortsighted move to defund their police force will have lasting, destructive and deadly consequences for its residents. Last year, 176 people were murdered in Kansas City, marking the deadliest year in the city’s history,” said Schmitt in a statement to Fox News announcing the filing. “Despite this grim milestone, the City Council and mayor’s decision defunds critical patrol divisions in areas that saw roughly 80% of Kansas City’s murders last year, and will potentially eliminate approximately 480 sworn officer positions. Attempts to defund the police will deprive Kansas City residents of a needed police presence and exacerbate homicide and violent crime rates plaguing Kansas City and major cities across Missouri and the country.”PSAKI CASTS GOP AS PARTY OF ‘DEFUND THE POLICE’ AFTER SLOGAN BACKFIRES ON DEMOCRATSIn 2020, Kansas City recorded 176 homicides, exceeding the city’s previous record of 153 homicides set in 1993. The brief also cites instances of skyrocketing crime in Portland, New York and other cities that defunded their police force last year. Portland, which cut its police budget in July 2020, has seen “a more-than-sevenfold increase [in homicides] compared with the first five months of last year.” Across the country in New York City, data shows that after the city cut its law enforcement budget by $1 billion, murders increased by 28.3%.The Missouri attorney general also argues that the move to slash the KCPD’s budget is illegal under state law. “Missouri law prohibits the City Council from interfering, in any way, with the Department’s operations and specifically protects the budget from transfers back to the general revenue fund that the [Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners] does not authorize,” the brief states. Therefore, since KCPD is under the exclusive management and control of the board, the transfer of the $42 million directly violates state law “because it transfers money from a specific classification without the Board’s approval,” Schmitt writes in the brief. CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APPCalls to defund the police and for racial justice amplified last summer, following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis at the hand of former officer Derek Chauvin. However, federal and local lawmakers are now revisiting conversations about defunding police departments amid violent crime rates that have been rising since 2020.