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GOP, Dem senators confront Neera Tanden over ‘vicious’ personal attacks

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Senators from both sides of the aisle confronted President Joe Biden‘s pick for director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Neera Tanden, at a Wednesday Senate Budget Committee hearing over past statements and personal attacks she has made on social media. This is the second day of her confirmation hearings.

Notably, the committee’s chair, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), at one point during the hearing brought up Tanden’s “vicious” personal attacks against Republicans and progressives. She herself once referred to the Vermont independent as “crazy.”

“I think most of us understand that it’s important that we debate the issues and try to minimize the level of personal and vicious attacks that seem to be so prevalent all over this country today,” Sanders said before noting that Republicans had sent him a letter expressing their concern about her past attacks.

“But of course your attacks were not just made against Republicans,” Sanders said. “There were vicious attacks made against progressives, people who I have worked with, me personally. So as you come before this committee to assume a very important role in the United States government, at a time when we need serious work on serious issues and not personal attacks on anybody, whether they’re on the left or the right, can you reflect a little bit about some of the decisions and the personal statements that you have made in recent years?”

Tanden, who used to run the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) think tank, replied that she now realized the hurt that her comments have caused and that she feels “badly” about it.

“And I really regret it and I recognize it’s really important for me to demonstrate that I can work with others and I look forward to taking that burden and I apologize to people on either the left or right who were hurt by what I’ve said,” she added.

However, the Vermont senator said the point is not about whether people were hurt by her words, but rather the actual words.

“It’s not a question of being hurt, we’re all big boys,” Sanders said. “But it’s important that we make the attacks expressing our differences on policy, that we don’t need to make personal attacks no matter what views somebody may hold.”

One moment that also grabbed attention was when Republican Sen. John Kennedy (La.) accused Tanden of calling the Vermont independent “everything but an ignorant s—,” when talking about the cornucopia of tweets she had deleted.

Tanden interjected, saying: “That is not true, Senator.”

Cutting in for a second, ranking member Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) joked: “I wouldn’t have said ‘ignorant.'”

Kennedy then repeatedly pressed Tanden about if she meant what she said in her controversial tweets, but she wouldn’t directly answer his of “did you mean them,” saying “I feel badly about them” at one point during the exchange.

Graham during the hearing also confronted her about her previous statements, saying they make her a divisive nominee.

“Her scorn was not limited to Republicans,” the South Carolina Republican said, before reading aloud one of Tanden’s tweets that said: “Russia did a lot more to help Bernie than the DNC’s random internal e-mails did to help Hillary.”

“The point I’m trying to make here is that in a time of unity, we’re picking somebody with those sharp elbows, and there’s going to be a consequence for that, hopefully on our side,” Graham added.

Also during the hearing, Sanders brought up concerns about major corporate donations Tanden solicited while serving as the head of CAP, such as from large tech companies and banks. Tanden vowed that those relationships would not affect her decision-making if confirmed as director of the OMB.

You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.

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Hunter Biden Indicted on Federal Gun Charges Amidst Special Counsel Investigation

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In a significant development, Hunter Biden, the son of President Joe Biden, was indicted on Thursday on federal gun charges as part of Special Counsel David Weiss’ ongoing investigation. The indictment alleges that Hunter Biden made false statements during the purchase of a firearm, among other charges.

The charges against Hunter Biden include:

• Making a false statement in the purchase of a firearm

• Making a false statement related to information required to be kept by a federal firearms licensed dealer

•Possession of a firearm by a person who is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance

According to the indictment, the alleged incident occurred on or about October 12, 2018, in the District of Delaware. Hunter Biden is accused of knowingly making a false and fictitious written statement during the acquisition of a Colt Cobra 38SPL Revolver. According to reports from Fox News, the statement, submitted on Form 4473, falsely certified that he was not an unlawful user of, and addicted to, any stimulant, narcotic drug, or controlled substance.

Furthermore, the indictment further states that between October 12, 2018, and October 23, 2018, in the District of Delaware, Hunter Biden knowingly possessed the same firearm despite being an unlawful user of and addicted to controlled substances. This marks the first set of charges brought by Special Counsel David Weiss against Hunter Biden since being granted special counsel status.

The investigation came to public attention when it was reported by Fox News in 2021 that police had responded to an incident in 2018 involving a gun owned by Hunter Biden.

Reports state that, Hallie Biden, the widow of President Biden’s late son, Beau, who was in a relationship with Hunter at the time, discarded the gun. Hunter’s gun was thrown away in a dumpster near a market, located close to a school. It was subsequently revealed that Hunter Biden had purchased a gun earlier that same month.

Hunter Biden’s legal troubles do not end with the gun charges. Earlier in July, an original plea agreement collapsed, which would have seen him plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax counts for willful failure to pay federal income tax, thus avoiding jail time on a felony gun charge. Instead, he pleaded not guilty to two misdemeanor tax charges and one felony gun charge.

Attorney General Merrick Garland appointed David Weiss as special counsel to oversee the Hunter Biden investigation and related matters. The White House has declined to comment on these developments, which continue to draw significant public and media attention.

Follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC for more!

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