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Republicans are running against Hillary Clinton (Again.)

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WASHINGTON — Republicans are running attack ads blasting Hillary Clinton as an out-of-touch elitist. Fox News prime time is blanketed with reports about Clinton investigations. Trump 2020 campaign rallies in key presidential swing states feature “lock her up!” chants.

If you follow campaign news, it may seem like the 2016 campaign never ended. And in at least one way for some Republicans, it hasn’t: The GOP has gone negative on Clinton for more than 25 years — and they don’t think her absence from the ballot is reason enough to stop now.

So far, at least three Republican candidates or groups have released ads over the past week slamming Clinton, in what amounts to an early midterms election-year beta test of her continued utility in firing up the conservative base.

A new spot for Rep. Evan Jenkins, one of the Republicans challenging Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin in West Virginia, opens with recent comments Clinton made at a conference halfway around the world. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, she said last month in Mumbai, India, was all about looking “backwards,” while she won big cities and other places that are “optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward.”

It was a line guaranteed to strike a sour note in West Virginia, which voted for Trump over Clinton by more than 40 points.

 Hillary Clinton smiles as she accepts the nomination at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 28, 2016. Lucy Nicholson / Reuters file

“It’s Hillary who’s got it backwards,” Jenkins says in the ad as undated images of urban riots flash on screen. “The big cities she won are the places flooding our state with heroin — where lawlessness, looting and liberalism rule.”

In Missouri, Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley, who is running against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, is airing an ad that shows a long clip of Clinton’s “backwards” comments before concluding, “This is what Claire McCaskill and her ‘president’ think of you.”

And a new digital ad from the National Republican Senatorial Committee opens by telling viewers Clinton “called you deplorable,” adding that “Florida won’t forget” Sen. Bill Nelson’s 2016 endorsement of her White House bid. It’s one of several state-specific spots being released by the GOP’s Senate campaign arm that ties vulnerable Senate Democratic incumbents to their party’s most recent presidential nominee.

Rick Wilson, a Florida-based Republican strategist and ad-maker, said the GOP’s strategic bet is that shifting the focus back to Clinton “lets Republicans and Donald Trump pretend like the 2016 campaign is still going on.”

“If I were advising Hillary Clinton,” he added, “I would raise a gigantic sh** ton of money for people and stay out of the news.”

Whatever Clinton does, that’s unlikely to happen in at least one corner of the media: Conservative news outlets have never stopped covering her with election-year intensity.

Some 17 months after Election Day 2016, Fox News is still devotes roughly equal time to Trump and Clinton, according to an analysis by the liberal media watchdog Media Matters — despite the fact that one is now a private citizen, and the other president of the United States.

Red-state Democrats run for cover

Democratic campaign officials say the GOP’s throw-back message reflects the lack of an effective new one in what promises to be a tough year for Republicans.

But candidates on the receiving end of the Clinton attacks aren’t dismissing their potential potency. Some are laying low, avoiding the issue entirely: Of half a dozen red state Senate Democrats asked to comment for this story, only one responded for the record.

That lawmaker, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., a Trump-state Democrat facing a bumpy road to re-election, replied NBC’s question about what he thought Clinton’s 2018 role should be with a statement that didn’t mention her and said the midterms weren’t about “rehashing the tired political arguments of past elections.”

Nelson, who’s expected to face Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott in November, avoided giving the Tampa Bay Times a direct response about whether he would campaign with Clinton. “I’m not going to answer that,” he told the paper. “Obviously when she was a candidate, I campaigned with her. That’s like you asking me, ‘would I campaign with Robert Redford’…We’ll take that up when we get there.”

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Biden will allow Jan. 6 investigators access to Trump records, White House says

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President Joe Biden will not shield Donald Trump’s records from the congressional committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol by invoking executive privilege, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

Asked about Trump’s assertion that he would fight subpoenas from the Jan. 6 Select Committee by invoking the presidential power, Psaki said that decision ultimately lies with Biden.

“The president has already concluded that it would not be appropriate to assert executive privilege” in this case, Psaki said.

“We take this matter incredibly seriously,” she added.

While sitting presidents have traditionally used the power to shield certain information and records from the public at the request of their predecessors, Psaki said what happened during the Capitol riot deserves transparency.

“We have been working closely with the congressional committee and others as they get to the bottom of what happened on Jan. 6th, an incredibly dark day in our democracy,” Psaki said at the daily briefing.

Her comments came one day after the committee subpoenaed and set a date for sworn depositions for several top Trump allies — former White House strategist Steve Bannon, former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, former social media director Dan Scavino and Kashyap Patel, who was chief of staff to Trump’s defense secretary.

Trump said in a statement Thursday that, “We will fight the subpoenas on executive privilege and other grounds, for the good of our country.” He also referred to the fact-finding panel as the “‘Unselect Committee’ of highly partisan politicians.”

Biden’s stance should make the panel’s path easier, but Trump could still file a legal challenge the committee’s push to get his records from the National Archives.

The panel’s document request to the National Archives is 10 pages long and seeks “documents and communications within the White House on January 6, 2021” related to Trump’s advisers and family members. It also asks for his specific movements on that day and communications, if any, from the White House Situation Room.

To date, over 600 people have been charged criminally for the Jan. 6 riot.

The Associated Press contributed.

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State pension chaos as people left stranded on NO income

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STATE pensions have been thrown into chaos by a backlog at the Department for Work and Pensions .

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Migrants have been cleared from under Del Rio bridge, Mayorkas says

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WASHINGTON — The thousands of mostly Haitian migrants who had been encamped underneath a bridge in Del Rio, Texas, have been removed and either deported to Haiti or placed in immigration proceedings, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas said Friday.

“Today, we have no migrants remaining in the camp under the International Bridge,” he said. “Migrants continue to be expelled and under the CDC’s Title 42 authority. Title 42 is a public health authority and not an immigration policy, and it is important to note that Title 42 is applicable, and has been applicable, to all irregular migration.”

Workers clear debris from the site of a makeshift border migrant camp along the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, on Sept. 24, 2021.Adrees Latif / Reuters

Of the approximately 15,000 migrants who arrived at the border in recent days, Mayorkas said, 2,000 were returned to Haiti on 17 flights under the policy called Title 42 which was invoked at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic that allows the administration to swiftly expel migrants. An additional 12,400 will remain in the country and have their asylum cases heard by a judge because of exemptions in that policy, which include those who have an “acute vulnerability,” like needing urgent medical care, or because of “operational capacity,” Mayorkas said.

“That means they go before an immigration judge in immigration court,” he said. “If they make a claim that they have a basis under law to remain in the United States, then the judge will hear and adjudicate that claim. If the judge determines that the claim is not valid, the individual will be removed.”

The Biden administration has been criticized for sending Haitian migrants, many who have been in Central American and South American countries for several years, back to Haiti when that country is dealing with a humanitarian crisis following a recent earthquake and a hurricane. The official response led the U.S. special envoy for Haiti, Daniel Foote, to resign Thursday over what he called the administration’s “inhumane” treatment of Haitian migrants.

Migrants walk through a makeshift border camp along the International Bridge in Del Rio, Texas, early on Sept. 24, 2021.Adrees Latif / Reuters

Mayorkas said nearly 30,000 migrants have been encountered by immigration officials since Sept. 9, with the highest number reaching approximately 15,000 at one point. He said 8,000 of those migrants returned to Mexico on their own.

Of the more than 12,000 not expelled to Haiti and placed into immigration proceedings, he said some of them are in detention while others are placed in “alternatives to detention.”

“We remain in touch with them. We monitor them, to ensure their appearance in court at the designated time of appearance,” Mayorkas said.

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