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News Source: theweek.com
Report: Mitch McConnell Found To Be The Direct Descendant Of 2 Slave Owners
discovery mcconnell

Report: Mitch McConnell Found To Be The Direct Descendant Of 2 Slave Owners

Census records from the mid-1800s show that two great-great-grandfathers of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) were slave owners, NBC News reports.

The discovery comes after McConnell stated last month that he does not believe the government should pay reparations to the descendants of slaves. "I don't think reparations for something that happened 150 years ago, when none of us currently living are responsible, is a good idea," he said. "We've tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war, by passing landmark civil rights legislation. We've elected an African American president."

McConnell's great-great-grandfathers, James McConnell and Richard Daley, lived in Limestone County, Alabama, and between the two, owned at least 14 slaves, NBC News reports. Slavery experts are not calling on the descendants of slave owners to pay reparations, but say their families did benefit from slave labor. "Smaller farms and plantations still benefited enormously from the unpaid labor of enslaved people, which likely helped them build multigenerational wealth," Chuck Collins, a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, told NBC News.

NBC News said it called and emailed McConnell's office, asking if he knew his great-great-grandfathers were slave owners, but received no response. McConnell, who grew up in Alabama, has said his parents were opposed to segregation.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday declared that the extradition bill that sparked several protests is "dead."

Lam did not say she was officially withdrawing the bill, and now there are questions as to whether it will be reintroduced sometime in the future, CNBC reports. Under the bill, people arrested in Hong Kong would face the possibility of being extradited to mainland China. Since British rule ended and Hong Kong was returned to China in 1997, there has been a "one country, two systems" policy, with Hong Kong having its own justice system and China's courts ruled by the Communist Party.

Protesters said they were concerned by the creeping influence of Beijing, and took to the streets for several protests. Last week, a group of demonstrators entered the Legislative Council building and had control of it for several hours, destroying paintings and smashing glass doors. Lam said the government plans on prosecuting protesters who broke the law during the demonstrations, and she asked that "in the future, if anyone in Hong Kong has any different views — especially those about the Hong Kong government's policies — please continue to uphold the value of expressing it in a peaceful and orderly manner."

Just hours before the regulation was set to go into effect, a federal judge ruled on Monday that the Trump administration does not have the legal authority to require pharmaceutical companies to disclose drug prices in television ads.

The rule was announced in May by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who said if drugmakers had to list their prices on television, they would keep them as low as possible to avoid embarrassment. Instead, Merck & Co., Eli Lilly and Co., and Amgen Inc. argued that by being forced to state the prices, their right to free speech was being violated.

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., said in a 27-page ruling that the "policy very well could be an effective tool in halting the rising cost of prescription drugs. But no matter how vexing the problem of spiraling drug costs may be, HHS cannot do more than what Congress has authorized. The responsibility rests with Congress to act in the first instance." An HHS spokeswoman told The Associated Press the administration "will be working with the Department of Justice on next steps related to the litigation."

With a former coal lobbyist standing on one side and a former oil lobbyist on the other, President Trump on Monday touted his record on the environment, praising his policies that experts say will actually cause more pollution and hasten the worst effects of climate change.

Trump, who has rolled back or severely curtailed more than 80 environmental regulations and removed the United States from the Paris climate change accord, gave his speech, titled "America's Environmental Leadership," on the advice of consultants to his re-election campaign, The New York Times reports. One senior White House official said internal polling shows millennials and suburban women do not like his environmental record, and the speech was an attempt to show moderates "he's being responsible."

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler, once a lobbyist for the coal industry, and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, a former oil lobbyist, have both come under fire for some of their proposals — the EPA last month finalized a plan to replace an Obama-era rule on coal pollution with one that keeps plants open longer, while Bernhardt wants to drill more in public lands and waters.

Trump was quick to tout that greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. have dropped about 10 percent over the last few years, but he did not mention that it is primarily due to an increase in the use of natural gas or that under his policies, which promote the use of more coal, emissions are expected to go back up. "It is an utter farce for the president to talk about America's environmental leadership, when he has been a champion of the polluters," presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told the Times. When it comes to environmental stewardship, "Trump is seen around the world as a Darth Vader-like figure."

Congressional Democrats have issued 37 subpoenas to the Trump Organization and other Trump business enterprises as part of their lawsuit accusing President Trump of profiting from foreign governments in violation of the Constitution.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) released a statement Monday saying the subpoenas seek "information about foreign government payments accepted by six Trump properties, as well as trademarks granted to Trump businesses by foreign governments." They are asking for responses by July 29.

Last year, Democrats sued Trump, saying that under the Constitution's emoluments clause, Congress has to agree to all foreign payments made to his businesses. Trump has tried to block the lawsuit, but in June, a judge said Democrats can start collecting evidence in discovery. Justice Department attorneys on Monday asked an appeals court to overrule that decision, in an attempt to stop the subpoenas. Trump, the Justice Department wrote, is "likely to suffer irreparable injury" due to "intrusive discovery into his personal finances based on the public office he holds."

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) has ended his presidential campaign, announcing on Monday afternoon that because his "polling and fundraising numbers weren't what we had hoped for," he can "no longer see a path forward to the nomination."

Swalwell, who announced his presidential bid in April, said in a statement he promised his constituents, supporters, and family that he would "always be honest about our chances," and while he's disappointed in this outcome, he believes he helped shape the discussion on gun violence.

"I entered this race determined to elevate the issue of gun violence, and at the debate, three top-tier candidates embraced my idea to ban and buy back every single assault weapon in America," Swalwell said. "Putting this idea and this larger issue of gun violence front and center in the Democratic policy discussion is an accomplishment, dedicated to the students, moms, and other activists who tirelessly demand action to save American lives."

Unsurprisingly, leaked comments from the United Kingdom's ambassador to the United States, Kim Darroch, calling President Trump "inept" and "incompetent" did not sit well with Trump.

It took the commander-in-chief a little while to respond to the news, which broke on Saturday evening, but he eventually got around to firing back at Darroch on Monday afternoon over Twitter. Essentially, Trump said that the White House will ignore Darroch until Prime Minister Theresa May's resignation goes into effect and a new government takes over in London.

It's unclear if the sentiment that Darroch is not well-liked in the U.S. is actually true. Senior Trump officials, including White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser Stephen Miller, and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, have all been Darroch's private dinner guests, while national security adviser John Bolton meets with Darroch frequently, The Washington Post reports.

He also apparently played a role in orchestrating Trump's state visit to the U.K. last month, which Trump remains enthusiastic about.

One other word that Darroch used to describe Trump in the cables was widely noted: "insecure."

Attorney General William Barr still doesn't see the point of Robert Mueller's congressional testimony.

Ahead of the former special counsel's hearing before Congress next week, Barr told The Associated Press he is "not sure what purpose is served by dragging [Mueller] up there and trying to grill him." And if Mueller decides he "doesn't want to subject himself" to that testimony, he'll have the full support of the Department of Justice, Barr continued.

Barr became President Trump's attorney general during Mueller's two-year-long investigation into the Trump 2016 campaign, which ended with Mueller not concluding whether Trump had obstructed justice during the investigation and Barr declining to press charges for obstruction. Barr later appeared for a Senate hearing regarding the probe but skipped out on his House hearing, while Mueller previously declined to give a congressional hearing. Yet in response to a Democratic subpoena, Mueller agreed late last month to one joint hearing.

Democrats pushing for Mueller's testimony despite his reluctance is just their attempt to create a "public spectacle," Barr told AP in a Monday interview. "I don't think Mueller should be treated that way or subject himself to that, if he doesn't want to," Barr continued. He also said that his separate probe into the origins of the Mueller probe is "essential" and ongoing, while he characterized his 30-year friendship with Mueller as "fine."

When asked previously about the possibility of Mueller testifying, Barr repeatedly said he was not opposed to it. Trump, meanwhile, has flipped from railing against a potential Mueller testimony to saying he'd let Barr "make a decision on that." Read more from Barr's interview at The Associated Press.