Apr 26, 2018

Partisan squabbling takes over Diamond and Silk hearing

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Pro-Trump online personalities Diamond and Silk repeatedly clashed with lawmakers at a Thursday hearing and claimed that they had not received money from the Trump campaign, despite campaign finance records that show otherwise.

The big picture: The hearing became a tug-of-war between Democrats concerned about Russian election interference and Republicans who wanted to debate ideologically driven censorship on Facebook.

What they're saying:

  • Lynnette Hardaway, or Diamond, said Facebook "slowly" diminished the reach of the pair's page, "thus silencing our conservative voices." Facebook, however, has said that the pair was mistakenly sent an email labeling their content as "unsafe" and that the company has tried to work with them.
  • The pair pushed back on Democrat Rep. Hank Johnson when he questioned whether they'd made "a ton of money" on Facebook — and if they'd make more as a result of the hearing. "I hope everybody on Facebook can follow us," said Rochelle Richardson, or Silk.
  • It got more contentious from there. “We are African American women," said Hardaway. "If illegal aliens can come over here and build businesses, why can’t we? And we were born on this soil."

Hardaway said multiple times that the pair had not been paid by the Trump campaign. That's contradicted by a Federal Election Commission report filed by the Trump campaign, which says the pair received more than $1,200 for "field consulting."

  • When pressed on the discrepancy, Richardson claimed the money was a refund for some travel.

Republicans defended the premise of the hearing, which Democrats derided. "This is a stupid and ridiculous hearing," said Rep. Ted Lieu.

Go deeper

Mass shooting in Milwaukee: What we know

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett in 2012. Photo: John Gress/Corbis via Getty Images

Six people died in a shooting at the Molson Coors Brewing Company in Milwaukee on Wednesday, including the gunman, Mayor Tom Barrett told reporters at a Wednesday evening press conference with local police.

Details: All of the victims worked at the brewery complex, as did the shooter who died of "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound," police confirmed in a statement late Wednesday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 53 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus updates: South Korea case count tops 2,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

33 people in California have tested positive for the coronavirus, and health officials are monitoring 8,400 people who have recently returned from "points of concern," Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Syria's darkest chapter

Family room without a family, in Idlib. Photo: Muhammed Said/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The worst humanitarian crisis of Syria’s brutal civil war is colliding today with what could be the war’s most dangerous geopolitical showdown, after at least 29 Turkish troops were killed in an airstrike.

The big picture: The fighting is taking place in Idlib in northwest Syria, where a ferocious Syrian and Russian offensive has displaced 1 million civilians and infuriated Turkey, which borders the region.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - World