Iowa’s Grassley will seek an eighth term in the Senate.


Daily Political Briefing

Sept. 24, 2021, 8:51 a.m. ET

Sept. 24, 2021, 8:51 a.m. ET

ImageSenator Chuck Grassley, first elected to public office as a state legislator in 1958, said that he has been encouraged to run by Iowans as he toured the state in recent months.
Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican in the Senate, announced Friday on Twitter that he would seek an eighth term, relieving Republicans worried about a bitter primary fight that could put the seat at risk.

Mr. Grassley, who turned 88 last week and would be 95 at the end of his term, sought to emphasize his fitness in disclosing his plans that will draw attention because of his age. A tweet showed an alarm clock turning to 4 a.m. and Mr. Grassley jogging in the early morning darkness.

“It’s 4 a.m. in Iowa so I’m running,” said Mr. Grassley, a habitual jogger. “I do that 6 days a week.”

In a separate release, Mr. Grassley, first elected to public office as a state legislator in 1958, said that he has been encouraged to run by Iowans as he toured the state in recent months.

“I’m working as hard as ever for the people of Iowa and there’s more work to do,” he said in a statement. “In a time of crisis and polarization, Iowa needs strong, effective leadership.”

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican and minority leader, had joined his colleagues in encouraging Mr. Grassley to run to head off a primary fight to succeed him. A bitter Republican primary could have provided an opening for Democrats to pick up a seat in what will be an intense battle next year for the Senate majority. Former Democratic Representative Abby Finkenauer, 32, who lost her re-election bid last year, has already announced she would seek the seat held by Mr. Grassley.

Elected to the Senate in 1980 when Ronald Reagan won the presidency, Mr. Grassley has used his seniority to preside as chairman of both the Senate Finance Committee and the Judiciary Committee, where he was instrumental in advancing President Donald J. Trump’s nominees to the Supreme Court and also blocking President Barack Obama’s nomination of Merrick B. Garland. He easily won re-election in 2016 even though Democrats aggressively sought to topple him because of his refusal to take up the Garland nomination.

Mr. Grassley was known for bipartisanship earlier in his career but became increasingly conservative as his state also shifted ideologically to the right. During the Obama presidency, Mr. Grassley engaged in negotiations with Democrats over the health care law but pulled out under a Republican backlash to his work with Democrats. He was a leading proponent of a criminal justice overhaul crafted with Democrats and signed into law by Mr. Trump.

As the senior Senate Republican, Mr. Grassley was third in line to succession of the president when Republicans held the Senate majority, following the vice president and speaker of the House. He would not be the oldest Republican senator ever if he served his full eighth term. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina was 100 when he left the Senate in 2002.

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

The federal government could run out of cash and start missing payments on things as diverse as Social Security and military pay sometime between Oct. 15 and Nov. 4, according to a new analysis from the Bipartisan Policy Center.

That analysis, released on Friday as Congress is debating whether to lift America’s borrowing cap, showed a narrower window during which the United States could default on its debt if the limit on what the United States can borrow is not raised.

Republicans and Democrats in Congress have shown no signs of progress at breaking a stalemate over raising or suspending the debt limit — which restricts the government’s ability to borrow money to pay its bills. The congressional dysfunction leaves the United States potentially less than a month away from what economists warn would be a catastrophic economic shock.

“New data demonstrate that Congress has only weeks to address the debt limit,” Shai Akabas, director of economic policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said in a statement. “If they don’t, the U.S. government risks missing or delaying critical bills that will come due in mid-October that millions of Americans rely on, from military paychecks and retirement benefits to advanced child tax credit payments.”

The United States officially hit its statutory debt limit in late July, but the Treasury Department has been using “extraordinary measures” to curb or delay investments and stave off a default. Predicting the true deadline is harder this year because government payments related to the pandemic have reduced clarity about when certain taxes will be collected and when federal money is flowing out the door.

If Congress fails to act, the United States will be in uncharted territory.

In its analysis, the policy center said that if the true deadline for breaching the debt limit was Oct. 15, the earliest end of its projected range, the Treasury Department would be about $265 billion short of paying all its bills through mid-November. About 40 percent of the money that is owed would go unpaid.

“Realistically, on a day-to-day basis, fulfilling all payments for important and popular programs would quickly become impossible,” the report said, pointing to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and military active-duty pay.

The Treasury Department has said it has no official contingency plan if the debt limit is breached. However, in previous standoffs, Treasury officials have contemplated what they would do.

The Bipartisan Policy Center notes that the Treasury could try to prioritize payments, which essentially means paying some bills and not others. It could also choose to delay all bills and then make payments once enough revenue had been received to cover the payments due for an entire day.

However, either of these situations would present legal and logistical problems and probably shake up the markets as the Treasury Department struggled to pick winners and losers.

“The reality would inevitably be chaotic,” the report said.

Credit…Jim Huylebroek for The New York Times

At the United Nations’ annual gathering of world leaders this week, President Biden and Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke ambitiously about international cooperation and a new diplomatic approach for a post-Trump America.

Mr. Biden’s U.N. speech on Tuesday depicted an America whose withdrawal from Afghanistan had turned a page on 20 years of war after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Now, he said, the United States is embarking on a new era of cooperative diplomacy to solve global challenges, including climate change, the pandemic and rising authoritarianism.

The comments offered a grand homage to internationalism and a stark contrast to Mr. Trump’s undiplomatic bluster. But the speech also came amid growing complaints that some of Mr. Biden’s signature policy moves carried echoes of Mr. Trump’s approach.

French officials openly likened the Biden administration to Mr. Trump’s in the recent failure to warn them of a strategic deal with Britain and Australia that they said muscled them out of a submarine contract, though Mr. Biden soothed the strained relations to some extent in a call with President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday. Mr. Blinken met in New York with his French counterpart on Thursday.

The flare-up with Paris might have been dismissed as an isolated episode but for its echoes of complaints by some NATO allies that Mr. Biden had withdrawn from Afghanistan without fully consulting them or alerting them to Washington’s timeline. Mr. Trump was notorious for surprising longtime allies with impulsive or unilateral actions.

In a fiery address to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, President Ebrahim Raisi of Iran suggested that there was little difference between Mr. Biden and his predecessor, invoking their respective foreign policy slogans: “The world doesn’t care about ‘America First’ or ‘America Is Back.’”

Loren DeJonge Schulman, who worked at the National Security Counsel and the Pentagon during the Obama administration, dismissed such parallels.

“It’s absurd on its face for allies, partners or anyone to think that there is any continuity between Trump and Biden in terms of how they view allies, negotiate internationally or approach national security,” she said. “It’s a talking point, and it’s a laughable one.”

But even some of Mr. Biden’s allies admit what his foes assert: that global concerns about whether Mr. Trump, or someone like him, might succeed Mr. Biden and reverse his efforts are valid.

In response to the ambitious targets Mr. Biden offered in his address to reduce global carbon emissions, an editorial in Beijing’s hard-line Global Times newspaper raised an all-too-familiar point for Biden officials: “If the next U.S. administration is again a Republican one, the promises Biden made will be very likely rescinded.”

The Iranians made the same point about Mr. Biden’s potential return to the 2015 nuclear deal that Mr. Trump abruptly exited.

Credit…Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Eight and a half hours after former President Donald J. Trump made a public demand for Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas to back legislation to create a “forensic audit of the 2020 election,” the Texas secretary of state’s office announced a “comprehensive forensic audit” of the results from four of the state’s largest counties.

The quick response by state officials in Texas, which Mr. Trump carried last year by more than five percentage points, was the latest example of the former president’s enduring influence over the Republican Party, particularly when it comes to his efforts to undermine public confidence in the legitimacy of his loss last year to President Biden.

“Governor Abbott, we need a ‘Forensic Audit of the 2020 Election,’” Mr. Trump said in a midday open letter to Mr. Abbott. “Texans know voting fraud occurred in some of their counties.”

Texas is currently without a secretary of state, after the May retirement of Ruth Ruggero Hughs. Mr. Abbott, a Republican, has yet to appoint a successor.

Nevertheless, the office released a two-sentence statement late Thursday stating that it would examine ballots from the 2020 election in Collin, Dallas, Harris and Tarrant Counties. The news release called those counties the “two largest Democrat counties and two largest Republican counties” in the state, but of the four, only Collin County backed Mr. Trump against Mr. Biden in the 2020 election. The statement said the audit process had already begun.

Since Arizona Republicans began a review of more than 2 million ballots in Maricopa County, Trump-aligned Republicans across the country have sought to replicate the effort. In Wisconsin, a former State Supreme Court justice is investigating the election results and said Monday that an audit of ballots is possible. Pennsylvania Republicans last week sought driver’s license data and Social Security numbers for every voter in the state as part of an inquiry into the 2020 election there.

The various reviews have not uncovered any significant evidence of fraud or impropriety in the vote counting. But they have created a new kind of security risk as third parties gain access to voting equipment and raised questions about the use of public resources to investigate Republican conspiracy theories.

To date, there have been no serious allegations that the Texas election was flawed.

Texas Democrats called the audit the latest attempt by Mr. Abbott and the state’s Republicans to cater to Mr. Trump.

“This is all an organized effort to overturn the will of the people in an effort to fuel the ‘Big Lie’ and stroke Trump’s ego,” said Gilberto Hinojosa, the chairman of the Texas Democratic Party.

Credit…Paul Ratje/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Biden administration has deported more than 2,000 Haitians since last week, a nearly even mix of single adults and families, out of the more than 12,000 that have been apprehended in a small Texas town by border officials, according to internal accounts.

Another 3,900 Haitians are in government custody and will be deported or put into removal proceedings, the Department of Homeland Security said in a statement Thursday night.

Nearly 4,000 of the migrants have been released with instructions to report to immigration officials, and thousands more are in the process of being interviewed, according to an official familiar with the information who was not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said during a news briefing on Thursday that officials had intended to rapidly turn away all of the single Haitian adults and migrant families who arrived since last week after crossing the Rio Grande into Del Rio, Texas.

But some migrant families, she said, have been allowed to stay, including some families with young children, because some authorities in Mexico would not accept migrant families with young, vulnerable children. Limited shelter capacity in Mexico has also hindered the administration from turning away some families, she said.

The Department of Homeland Security said about two-thirds of the Haitian migrants that had arrived were traveling in family groups. The department did not immediately respond to questions about who has been deported.

The agency said that as of Thursday, about 4,000 migrants were still waiting under a bridge in Del Rio, where at one point, 15,000 migrants were crammed together in squalid conditions, raising concerns of a potential humanitarian crisis.

The Biden administration’s response to the spike in migrants has drawn condemnations from immigration and human rights advocates, as well as members of the president’s own party. The senior U.S. envoy for Haiti policy resigned on Thursday over what he called the administration’s “inhumane, counterproductive decision” to send Haitian migrants back to a country that has been racked this summer by deadly natural disasters and political turmoil.

Images of Border Patrol agents on horseback pushing back Haitian migrants crossing the Rio Grande has sparked outrage, including by President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris. The agents in question are under investigation for possibly mistreating migrants, and the horse patrol in Del Rio has been temporarily suspended, the Homeland Security Department said.

“Many of these vulnerable Haitian families have braved unforgiving terrain to reach our southern border and lawfully seek asylum,” Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, the president and chief executive of the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, a refugee-resettlement agency, said in a statement on Thursday. “Returning them home, or to third countries with no infrastructure to support them, is as dangerous as it is unconscionable. To do so without so much as an interview or court hearing is downright un-American.”

Ms. Psaki said the president was working to develop a “humane” immigration system, “but we’ve also reiterated that it is our objective to continue to implement what is law, and what our laws are and that includes border restrictions.”

Zolan Kanno-Youngs contributed reporting.

Credit…Stefani Reynolds for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol subpoenaed four of President Donald J. Trump’s closest advisers on Thursday, ramping up its scrutiny of what the former president was doing before and during the deadly riot.

The subpoenas, the first the panel has issued, seek information from Mark Meadows, the former White House chief of staff; Dan Scavino Jr., who was a deputy chief of staff; Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former adviser; and Kash Patel, the former Pentagon chief of staff.

The committee is demanding that the four men turn over documents by Oct. 7 and submit to depositions the following week.

“The select committee is investigating the facts, circumstances and causes of the Jan. 6 attack, and issues relating to the peaceful transfer of power, in order to identify and evaluate lessons learned and to recommend to the House and its relevant committees corrective laws, policies, procedures, rules or regulations,” Representative Bennie Thompson, Democrat of Mississippi and chairman of the committee, wrote in a statement announcing the subpoenas.

In letters transmitting the orders, the committee said it was seeking information about Mr. Trump’s actions in the run-up to and during the riot. Mr. Bannon reportedly communicated with Mr. Trump on Dec. 30 and urged him to focus his efforts on Jan. 6, the committee said. He also was present at a meeting at the Willard Hotel the day before the violence, when plans were discussed to try to overturn the results of the election the next day, the committee stated. He was quoted as saying, “All hell is going to break loose tomorrow.”

Mr. Meadows was involved in the planning of efforts to subvert the results of the election, the committee asserted. In Mr. Trump’s final weeks in office, he repeatedly pushed the Justice Department to investigate unfounded conspiracy theories about the 2020 presidential election, according to emails provided to Congress, portions of which were reviewed by The New York Times.

Mr. Meadows was also in communication with organizers of the rally on Jan. 6 that preceded the violence, including Amy Kremer of Women for America First, the committee said.

Mr. Scavino was in contact with Mr. Trump and others who planned the rallies that preceded the violence of Jan. 6, and met with Mr. Trump on Jan. 5 to discuss how to persuade members of Congress not to certify the election for President Biden, the committee said.

Mr. Scavino promoted the Jan. 6 March for Trump on Twitter, encouraging people to “be a part of history.” Records indicate that Mr. Scavino was tweeting messages from the White House on Jan. 6, according to the panel.

Mr. Patel was serving as chief of staff to acting Secretary of Defense Christopher C. Miller during the attack, after Mr. Trump appointed him to replace Mark T. Esper as the top Pentagon official. According to documents provided by the Defense Department and published accounts, Mr. Patel was involved in discussions among senior Pentagon officials before and during the attack regarding security at the Capitol. Mr. Patel also was reportedly in constant contact with Mr. Meadows the day of the assault, the committee said.

The committee said it was scrutinizing reporting that the former president attempted to install Mr. Patel as deputy director of the C.I.A. in early December, a plan abandoned after Gina Haspel, the director at the time, threatened to resign.

“I am disappointed, but not surprised, that the committee tried to subpoena me through the press and violated longstanding protocol — which I upheld as a congressional staffer — by resorting to compulsory process before seeking my voluntary cooperation,” Mr. Patel said in a statement. “I will continue to tell the truth to the American people about the events of Jan. 6.”

Mr. Bannon, Mr. Meadows and Mr. Scavino did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The subpoenas come as the committee has demanded detailed records about Mr. Trump’s every movement and meeting on the day of the assault, in requests to federal agencies that suggested it was focusing on any involvement the former president might have had in the attack’s planning or execution.

Their swift issuance indicates that the panel is moving aggressively on its investigation, without pausing to negotiate with key witnesses who could furnish important information.

“Quick subpoenas like this are a sign they’re not messing around,” Elliot Williams, a legal analyst, wrote on Twitter.

The panel is scrutinizing what led to the violence that engulfed the Capitol as supporters of Mr. Trump stormed the building, brutalizing police officers and delaying for hours the official counting of electoral votes to formalize Mr. Biden’s victory. Little is known about what the former president was doing as he watched the mayhem unfold, or in the days leading up to it.

The committee sent record preservation demands last month to 35 technology companies, according to several people familiar with the documents who spoke about their contents on the condition of anonymity. Among hundreds of people whose records the committee is seeking to preserve are about a dozen House Republicans, including Representative Kevin McCarthy, the minority leader, who has threatened to retaliate against any company that complies.

On Thursday, Mr. McCarthy again criticized the committee, calling its work “more about politics than anything else.”

“There’s only two questions that this committee should actually be looked upon: Why was the Capitol left so ill-prepared, and how can we make sure this never happens again?” he said. “But that’s not what they’re focused on.”





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