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By: John Nichols of Madison.com

Gov. Scott Walker and his cronies have worked hard to tip the balance against competitive elections in Wisconsin — with extreme gerrymandering, restrictive voter ID requirements, schemes to limit early voting, and an assault on the independence and integrity of the former Government Accountability Board.

Walker has emerged as a national leader in the corporate-sponsored push to upend practices and procedures that are designed to make voting easy. This has put the governor and many of his closest allies — including House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville — at odds with Wisconsin’s historic commitment to high-turnout elections.

Walker’s approach represents a break with the values of not just his Democratic critics but the Republicans who still believe they are members of “the party of Lincoln.”

It is important to recognize this detail of history as the National Commission for Voter Justice holds its regional hearing in Milwaukee. This commission, on which I am proud to serve as a national co-chair, will take testimony from Wisconsinites when it gathers Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Milwaukee Bar Association office.

While debates over voter suppression have in recent years tended to divide along partisan lines, the National Commission for Voter Justice has sought from its inception last year to get beyond the petty partisanship that so frequently interrupts the progress of an American experiment that must bend always toward democracy. The commission uses the term “voter justice” because it is not just focused on assaults on voting rights but also on the promise of reforms — such as automatic voter registration and voting by mail — that might move every state toward high-turnout elections.

Democrats such as Oregon Gov. Kate Brown get credit these days for having taken the lead on voter empowerment, as do members of the Green and Libertarian parties. Republicans like Walker are justly criticized for seeking to undermine turnout and enthusiasm.

But there have always been — and there still are — Republicans who reject schemes to game the system. Former state Senate Majority Leader Dale Schultz broke with the Republican caucus in 2014 on voting rights issues, telling Wisconsin radio hosts Mike Crute and Dominic Salvia: “I am not willing to defend them anymore. I’m just not and I’m embarrassed by this.”

“It’s just sad when a political party has so lost faith in its ideas that it’s pouring all of its energy into election mechanics,” explained Schultz, who did not seek re-election that year. “We should be pitching as political parties our ideas for improving things in the future rather than mucking around in the mechanics and making it more confrontational at the voting sites and trying to suppress the vote.”

Schultz has continued to speak out on voting rights issues and he is not alone among Wisconsin Republicans. Walker’s GOP primary challenger this year, Sun Prairie businessman Robert Meyer, said: “We're all stewards of the Great American Experiment and we need to do everything we can to make our government as representative and participative as it can possibly be.”

The official biography of one of Wisconsin’s senior Republicans, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, proudly declares: “Throughout his tenure in Congress, Jim has fought to protect the gains made during the civil rights movement. As Judiciary Committee chairman, he introduced the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), the Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, and Coretta Scott King Voting Rights Act Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 2006. After approximately 20 hearings, the measure passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. However, the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of this law. After, Jim introduced the Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2014, a bipartisan, bicameral modernization of the original 1965 law that ensures Americans’ most sacred right is protected.”

Sensenbrenner continues to advocate for the revitalization of the Voting Rights Act — along with Congressional Black Caucus members such as Milwaukee Congresswoman Gwen Moore and Georgia Congressman John Lewis.

Sensenbrenner does not have many Republican co-sponsors for his legislation. But he is undaunted. “Ensuring that every eligible voter can cast a ballot without fear, deterrence and prejudice is a basic American right,” he explained several years ago. “I would rather lose my job than suppress votes to keep it.”

Those are the words of an old-school Wisconsin Republican, a member of the party of Abraham Lincoln and Robert M. La Follette and Dwight Eisenhower and the Republican platform writers (such as Wisconsin Congressman Mel Laird) of 50 years ago, who declared: “We must attack the root causes of poverty and eradicate racism, hatred and violence. We must give all citizens the opportunity to influence and shape the events of our time.” To that end, the Republican Party’s 1968 platform announced: “The strengthening of citizen influence on government requires a number of improvements in political areas. For instance, we propose to reform the Electoral College system, establish a nationwide, uniform voting period for presidential elections, and recommend that the states remove unreasonable requirements, residence and otherwise, for voting in presidential elections.”

The Republicans who made those commitments stood on the right side of history. It is tragic that politicians like Scott Walker and Paul Ryan have pulled the party away from its moorings. But their abuses cannot be allowed to define the future of the Republican Party or the United States.

This country must unite, across lines of partisanship and ideology, in support of voting rights, voter justice and the high-turnout elections that are the essential underpinning of government of, by and for the people.

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) issued the following statement:

Rep. Sensenbrenner: “The U.S. Intelligence Community is right — Russia tried to meddle in our 2016 elections. Unfortunately, this isn’t unprecedented as Russia has been attempting to interfere with our nation’s elections since the Cold War. What is clear is Vladimir Putin is not our friend and any diplomacy involving Russia must acknowledge that fact. I am confident, however, that the Department of Homeland Security is working diligently to secure our upcoming midterm elections.”

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) announced his co-sponsorship of a resolution supporting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. The resolution was introduced by Congressman Clay Higgins (LA-03), a veteran and former law enforcement officer.

Rep. Sensenbrenner: “The brave men and women who serve at Immigration and Customs Enforcement should be lauded for their difficult work and supported by all. It is unconscionable that members of the political left continue to denigrate these hard-working individuals who risk their lives to keep us safe and enforce our laws.”

You can read the full text of the resolution here.

By: Alana Abramson, Nash Jenkins, Abby Vesoulis, and Abigail Simon of TIME

Beneath the partisan posturing and fiery monologues, a House hearing Thursday on FBI agent Peter Strzok’s conduct delved into some key factual questions.

In a hearing jointly conducted by the Oversight and Judiciary committees, Republican lawmakers sharply questioned the embattled agent who oversaw the Hillary Clinton email server investigation as well as the beginning of the investigation into Russian meddling in the election, while Democrats defended him and criticized their GOP colleagues.

It was the first chance that Strzok has had to publicly respond to criticism of his work, both from the Justice Department’s inspector general, who looked into texts that Strzok sent to a colleague he was having an affair with, and from President Donald Trump, who has attempted to use those texts to discredit the Russia investigation.

The hearing became particularly heated at points, with Republicans threatening to hold Strzok in contempt for refusing to answer a question about the ongoing investigation due to FBI policy; Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert criticizing Strzok in starkly personal terms, wondering “how many times did you look innocently into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about” his affair; and Strzok arguing that he sent one controversial text because he was upset by Trump’s “unconscionable and disgusting and cruel” treatment of the parents of fallen soldier Humayun Khan.

But there were also several moments in the hearing in which Strzok and lawmakers discussed substantive questions about the two key investigations into Clinton and Trump.

Here’s a closer look at three moments in the hearing that mattered.

How Clinton’s use of a private server went from ‘negligent’ to ‘careless’

Republican Rep. James Sensenbrenner grilled Strzok about how the wording of a statement criticizing Clinton for her use of a private email server was changed before it was issued.

What we know: In July 2016, Strzok, who was leading the F.B.I.’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, rephrased his description of Clinton’s decisions from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless” in a draft of a statement to be issued publicly by James Comey, who then headed the F.B.I.

How Strzok responded: He argued that the revision was introduced by the F.B.I.’s internal legal counsel, who noted that the phrase “gross negligence” carried a specific legal meaning and would carry legal implications.

Key moment: Sensenbrenner asked Strzok to confirm that the revision to the draft was made on Strzok’s computer on June 6; Strzok said he “believe[d] it to be true.”

“Why was the change made?” Sensenbrenner asked.

“My recollection is — and I’m not an attorney — that attorneys within the F.B.I. raised concern that the use of ‘gross negligence’ triggered a very specific legal meaning.”

“Yeah — criminal!” Sensenbrenner said. He then asked if the change was “Hillary’s ‘get out of jail free card.’”

“Absolutely not, sir,” Strzok replied. He then expounded on the F.B.I.’s desire to avoid using a term with specific legal implications.

“With regard to that decision, there was concern within the perspective of a legal definition of that term that people would draw an inference based on that use that it was necessarily talking a specific subset of a statute,” he said.

“That rates four Pinnochios,” Sensenbrenner replied.

Why he was removed from Mueller’s investigation

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy questioned Strzok about his removal from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling, which occurred after the inspector general began looking into his texts.

What we know: Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team last summer after an internal investigation uncovered his text exchanges with Page, which criticized then-candidate Trump. Peter Carr, a spokesperson for the special counsel’s office, said “immediately upon learning of the allegations, the Special Counsel’s Office removed Peter Strzok from the investigation.” Although people speculated about why Strzok was dismissed, Mueller’s team never publicly gave an official reason. Strzok was then abruptly reassigned to a position at the FBI’s human resources division.

How did Strzok respond: Strzok claimed that, to his knowledge, he was removed from the probe for reasons related to public perception — presumably to maintain trust in the integrity of Mueller’s team — rather than any concern about bias on his part.

Key Moment: Gowdy asked Strzok to explain the timing behind his dismissal from the investigation team. “No wonder Bob Mueller kicked you off of the investigation, Agent Strzok. My question is, if you were kicked off when he read the texts, shouldn’t you have been kicked off when you wrote them?”

“No, not at all,” Strzok responded. Gowdy questioned why he was kicked off, and Strzok explained that he was removed “based on the understanding of those texts and the perception that they might create…”

Strzok testified that the meeting was short, somewhere around 15 minutes.

When further questioned by Gowdy, he reiterated that “it is not my understanding that he kicked me off because of any bias. That it was done based on the appearance. If you want to represent what you said accurately, I’m happy to answer that question. But I don’t appreciate what was originally said being changed.”

Gowdy responded, “I don’t give a damn what you appreciate, Agent Strzok. I don’t appreciate having an FBI Agent with an unprecedented level of animus working on two major investigations during 2016.”

What Strzok meant when he said Trump wouldn’t become president

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy questioned Strzok over perhaps the most controversial text that he sent Page, in which he said that Trump would not become president because “we’ll stop it.”

What we know: In the summer of 2016, Page sent a text to Strzok, writing “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok responded, No. No he won’t. We’ll stop it.” The inspector general’s report reviewing Clinton’s email investigation found that the texts damaged the FBI’s reputation for impartiality, but ultimately concluded there was no evidence that this affected the investigations.

Speaking publicly about the text during the hearing, Strzok explained that it was sent the night that Trump disparaged Khizr Khan, a Gold Star father who lost his son in Iraq, and that it was “off the cuff” comment sent late at night that he didn’t even recall. He gave an impassioned defense, arguing that his beliefs never impeded the investigation into Russian meddling because his FBI colleagues wouldn’t have allowed it.

Key moment: Strzok gave a long explanation for the text:

“Sir, I think it’s important, when you look at those texts that you understand the context in which they were made and the things that were going on across America.

“In terms of the texts that — we will stop it, you need to understand that that was written late at night, off the cuff, and it was in response to a series of events that included then candidate Trump insulting the immigrant family of a fallen war hero.

“And my presumption based on that horrible, disgusting behavior, that the American population would not elect somebody demonstrating that behavior to be President of the United States.

“It was in no way, unequivocally, any suggestion that me, the FBI, would take any action, whatsoever, to improperly impact the electoral process for any candidate. So, I — I take great offense and I take great disagreement to your assertion of what that was or wasn’t. As to the 100 million to one, that was clearly a statement made in jest and using hyperbole.

“I, of course, recognize that millions of Americans were likely to vote for candidate Trump. I acknowledge that is absolutely their right. That is what makes our democracy such a vibrant process that it is.

“But to suggest, somehow, that we can parse down the words of shorthand textual conversation like they’re some contract for a car is — is, simply, not consistent with my or most people’s use of text messaging.”

By: Ed Morrissey of Hot Air

It took the House of Representatives sixteen months to pass HR 1689, the Private Property Rights Protection Act, which finally happened yesterday by acclamation. It took Congress thirteen years to act on this issue [note: for at least the fourth time — see correction below] after the execrable Kelo v City of New London Supreme Court decision, which held that eminent domain could be used to seize property from one private owner to another in the name of “economic development.” Rep. James Sensenbrenner, who authorized the PPRPA, celebrated the belated victory yesterday in a story that no major media outlet covered:

SEE ALSO: Breaking: Pastor Andrew Brunson moved from prison to house arrest in Turkey

Today, the House unanimously passed Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner’s (WI-05) Private Property Rights Protection Act (H.R. 1689).

The bill addresses the controversial Supreme Court decision in the 2005 case Kelo v. City of New London, which expanded the eminent domain power granted by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution. In Kelo, the Court ruled that “economic development” can be justified as a “public use” under the Constitution’s Takings Clause.

To combat this expansion of power, H.R. 1689 would make any state or locality that uses the economic development justification for eminent domain ineligible from receiving federal economic development funds for two years. This creates a major incentive for governments to respect the private property rights of its citizens.

Additionally, the legislation bars the federal government from exercising eminent domain powers for the purposes of economic development.

Amazingly, not one major media outlet picked up on this, not even to note that it took thirteen years for Congress to address the issue. It might not have gone far even now had it not been for renewed interest in the case from the recent independent film Little Pink House, starring Catherine Keener as Susette Kelo and Jeanne Tripplehorn and produced by Ted Balaker, formerly of Reason.

It’s tough to understand the indifference. The House vote didn’t have much drama to it, but the issue directly aims at the relationship we have with government and the nature of private property, a core right recognized in the Constitution. Kelo perverted that relationship, putting everyone’s property rights hostage to politicians who want to hand off spoils to bigger entities. The case prompted some states to step in and redefine eminent domain to prevent another New London abuse, but despite four attempts by the House to correct this injustice, the Senate has remained obstinate.

Sensenbrenner’s bill will move to the Senate, but it doesn’t have much time to succeed. The legislative calendar will start backing up very soon with budget bills, the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation, and potential action to amplify sanctions on Russia and Iran. If the PPRPA doesn’t pass by the end of this year and get signed into law, the House will have to start over from scratch in the next session — where a potential change of leadership might spell an end to those efforts. Those interested in imposing onerous consequences for cities and states taking away private property to hand it off to other private parties need to contact their senators immediately to get action on Sensenbrenner’s bill.

On top of that, there is a question as to whether Donald Trump will actually sign it into law. Trump has declared himself a fan of eminent domain for the purpose of economic development, which isn’t too surprising given the nature of his business empire. The House vote would be strong enough to override a veto, so the Senate vote had better be almost as strong. Trump might not like to see the new limitation put on his desk, but he’d be careful about vetoing it and looking foolish with a successful override.

Little Pink House has just become available on DVD and digital download. Perhaps renewed interest in the film will prompt renewed interest in the Senate’s inaction over the last thirteen years, and push the Senate into immediate action. Let’s hope so, anyway.

Correction, 7/25: Our friends at the Institute for Justice, which represented Susette Kelo, corrected me this morning on a key point:

“On November 3, 2005, widespread condemnation of the Kelo decision led 157 Democrats to join 218 of their Republican colleagues in the House to pass the Private Property Rights Protection Act, by a 376 to 38 vote margin (H.R. 4128, 109th Cong.): http://clerk.house.gov/evs/2005/roll568.xml In subsequent Congresses, the legislation has passed the House by voice vote (in the 112th Congress) and by a vote of 353-65 (in the 113th Congress). The Senate has failed to act at all on it each time.”

The House has done its job repeatedly. It’s time for the Senate to do its job.

I have corrected two other sentences to make clear that the Senate is the obstacle in this process. Thanks to our friends at IJ for the information.

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) released the following statement after President Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court:

Rep. Sensenbrenner: “Judge Kavanaugh is an excellent choice for the United States Supreme Court. Throughout his impressive career, he has consistently demonstrated his commitment to upholding the Constitution as our Founders intended. I have full confidence that, when confirmed by the Senate, Judge Kavanaugh will continue to serve our nation honorably.”

By: Meg Jones of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Wisconsin's governor, congressional delegation and U.S. Senate candidates reacted Monday night to President Donald Trump's decision to replace Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy with Brett Kavanaugh.

Here's what they said in statements or on social media.

Gov. Scott Walker said in a statement: "Brett Kavanaugh is an excellent nominee to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. I believe he fits the criteria I look for in judicial candidates which is: a man or woman of integrity, a person who has a solid understanding of the law, and a person who understands that the role of the judiciary is to uphold the Constitution regardless of one’s personal or political beliefs."

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.): “People need an independent justice who will not overturn the law of the land on women’s health, health care for people with pre-existing conditions, and the constitutional rights and freedoms of all Americans. The stakes are very high for the American people and these are the things that I will be looking for as I review the nomination.”

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.): “A Supreme Court justice ought to be a judge, not a super legislator – applying the Constitution as written, not altering it to reach a result. President Trump nominated a person who fit that description in Justice Neil Gorsuch last year, and to my understanding Judge Brett Kavanaugh fits it as well. I look forward to meeting with Judge Kavanaugh and the Senate moving expeditiously through the confirmation process.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville): "Judge Kavanaugh will bring extensive experience to the Supreme Court; his long career exemplifies public service and, in particular, dedication to religious liberty. He has shown that constitutional principles are the ultimate guide for his opinions. I look forward to Judge Kavanaugh's swift confirmation in the Senate. This is an excellent choice."

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls): “Judge Kavanaugh is an excellent choice for the United States Supreme Court. Throughout his impressive career, he has consistently demonstrated his commitment to upholding the Constitution as our Founders intended. I have full confidence that, when confirmed by the Senate, Judge Kavanaugh will continue to serve our nation honorably.”

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee): "Unsurprised @realDonaldTrump picks radical inexperienced SCOTUS nominee that believes Trump’s above the law. Kavanaugh should not be confirmed under any circumstances."

Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wausau): "@POTUS is right: 'the rule of law is a cornerstone of our freedom.' He first found a Supreme Court Justice in Neil who believes just that, and Judge Brett Kavanaugh shows thus far that he holds that same sacred view. I urge @SenRonJohnson, @senatorbaldwin, and the rest of the Senate to support his nomination so that we can ensure that the Constitution remains the foundation of truth for the Supreme Court."

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay): “Judge Kavanaugh is an outstanding pick for the United States Supreme Court. He is a highly respected jurist who holds the right judicial philosophy of stating what the law is, and not what he thinks it should be. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to set aside partisan politics and get to work confirming Judge Kavanaugh to our nation’s highest court.” 

Leah Vukmir, who is seeking the Republican nomination to challenge Sen. Tammy Baldwin in the November election, tweeted: "I've said it before: The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and @POTUS's #SCOTUSPick, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has the track record to become a strong constitutionalist justice." 

Kevin Nicholson, a Republican who is also running for U.S. Senate, tweeted: "Liberal obstructionists like Tammy Baldwin will try to stop the confirmation of @realDonaldTrump's #SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh. One of many reasons Wisconsin needs to #SendInTheMarine. We need an even stronger majority in the Senate."

Washington, D.C.Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) was named by Speaker Paul Ryan to serve as an outside conferee to negotiate compromises between the House and Senate versions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2019. As a conferee, Congressman Sensenbrenner will represent the House Judiciary Committee in negotiations where the two chambers will reconcile differences between the two versions of the legislation.

Rep. Sensenbrenner: “We must ensure the brave men and women in our military have adequate funding to accomplish their missions as safely and efficiently as possible. I’m honored to be chosen to serve on this conference committee, and I look forward to producing legislation that meets the needs of our military and spends the taxpayer dollars wisely.”

Procedural Background:

Often, when the House and Senate pass similar versions of significant legislation, such as the National Defense Authorization Act, the two chambers will convene a conference committee where representatives from each chamber will negotiate a single bill. After the conference committee produces a final bill, known as a “conference report,” both chambers will consider that legislation. Should both chambers both pass the conference report, it will head to the President’s desk. 

By: Dr. Tim Westlake, Opinion Contributor to The Hill

As Congress moves swiftly to address the opioid epidemic, it is vitally important the most meaningful and impactful solutions are enacted, including the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act, or SOFA. In testimony last month before the House Judiciary Committee, I urged Congress to consider this critical piece of legislation to halt the spread of fentanyl-related substances. Let me explain.

In my role on the Wisconsin Medical Examining and Controlled Substance Boards, and as an emergency room physician on the front lines of the opioid battlefield for the past two decades, I have witnessed more tragedy than I care to recall. Countless hours have been spent working to identify and implement best practices. One strategy, for physicians to prescribe more judiciously, is already happening in the Badger State -- not with top down mandates, but through education and partnerships with the medical community. The goal is to stem not only the supply of legal, but also illicit, opioids. By far, the deadliest threat in the opioid war is posed by fentanyl-related substances. In fact, deaths from fentanyl-related substances now surpass heroin deaths.

Because so little can kill so many -- a lethal dose of fentanyl is 2mg and one teaspoon is enough to kill 2,000 people -- fentanyl variants are classifiable as weapons of mass destruction. The “bad guys” use loopholes in the existing scheduling laws to create new legal fentanyl variants. These untested chemicals are then produced abroad, mostly in China, and trafficked legally into the U.S. to enter the opioid supply.

As prescription opioid reforms take hold and the medical community returns to more judicious prescribing practices, the market for counterfeit pills will continue to explode. Most illicit opioid users have no idea what they are consuming. With the advent of counterfeit pill production, they believe they’re ingesting a “safe” trade-name manufactured pill, when actually it is a fentanyl-related counterfeit substance. These can be transported legally into the U.S. and even bought online and delivered in the mail. These pills can be alarmingly stronger than what they are purported to be -- up to hundreds of times stronger. The singer Prince died from counterfeit Vicodin pills that were actually fentanyl.

In Wisconsin, we saw this coming and worked closely with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to get in front of it. We created and enacted scheduling statutes now being modeled nationally. The SOFA Act controls, by structure, all likely bioactive chemical modifications of the fentanyl molecule. This novel, catch-all legislative language allows us to schedule proactively and not wait for loved ones to die before we can schedule each newly modified fentanyl variant. Essentially, it unplugs the entire fentanyl machine.

The legislation is specific by design: it targets only the likely bioactive modifications of the fentanyl molecule itself; no other opioids or drugs are included. As well, research would not be impeded. The current research approval process would not change and the DEA has streamlined the registration process.

The week after Wisconsin enacted SOFA, the DEA published identical language in the Federal Register as the method of federal temporary scheduling. Chemists around the world must be paying attention. Since the announcement of the intent to schedule using SOFA seven months ago, no new fentanyl-related substances have been found by the DEA. In contrast, during the prior two years, DEA uncovered 17 new fentanyls, representing hundreds of deaths. SOFA is already saving lives, but the language needs to be written into federal law to achieve the best permanent scheduling solution. Thanks to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), Wisconsin’s solution is now under consideration as model legislation for the nation.

With the many well-intentioned opioid bills being considered in Washington, it would be a tragedy to leave the fentanyl-related substances loophole open. It’s why I am writing today. I urge Congress to include SOFA in the solutions it enacts in the coming weeks to minimize the scourge of opioids and stop the spread of what are really chemical weapons.

Dr. Tim Westlake is a full-time Emergency Physician; Medical Director of the Oconomowoc Memorial Emergency Department; Vice Chairman of the Wisconsin State Medical Examining Board, where he serves as Chairman of the Licensing and Controlled Substance Committees; member of the Wisconsin State Controlled Substances Board and of the Governor’s Taskforce on Opioid Abuse. 

By: Marco Green of Lancashire Independent News

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson Inc with higher taxes and said their business would suffer in a public backlash over its decision to move production for European customers overseas.

The US President launched a Twitter tirade against Harley-Davidson in which he also suggested that tariffs on the EU's vehicle exports are imminent, raising fears of a further tariff escalation.

Trump warned the iconic American brand that any shift in production "will be the beginning of the end". "The Aura will be gone and they will be taxed like never before!"

Harley-Davidson said that shifting targeted production from the U.S.to global facilities could take at least nine to 18 months to be completed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the Trump administration plans to impose curbs on Chinese investment in American technology companies and high-tech exports to China.

Trump offered no clarity later in the day when he was asked about tariffs during a White House photo-op with Congress members.

"Harley-Davidson is using that as an excuse and I don't like that because I've been very good to Harley-Davidson and they used it as an excuse", he said in response. "And I think the people who ride Harleys aren't happy with Harley-Davidson and I wouldn't be either".

"To address the substantial cost of this tariff burden long-term, Harley-Davidson will be implementing a plan to shift production of motorcycles for European Union destinations from the USA to its worldwide facilities to avoid the tariff burden", the company said in an official filing to the United States market regulator.

Trump first responded angrily to the Harley announcement on Monday, saying he has fought hard for the 115-year-old company and was surprised by its plans, which he described as waving the "White Flag". The EU's trade chief said last week that it was "left with no other choice" after Mr. Trump imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on imported aluminum from the EU on June 1.

The Milwaukee-based company made a decision to build the Thailand plant past year after Trump pulled out from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would have lowered import tariffs on its bikes in some of the fastest-growing motorcycle markets in Asia.

"Harley must know that they won't be able to sell back into US without paying a big tax!" In January, it said it would consolidate its Kansas City, Missouri, plant into its York, Pennsylvania, facility. "Taxes just a Harley excuse - be patient!" "Shows how unbalanced & unfair trade is, but we will fix it...."

He said: "We are finishing our study of Tariffs on cars from the European Union in that they have long taken advantage of the USA in the form of Trade Barriers and Tariffs". "Companies are now coming back to America".

More potential pitfalls for Harley-Davidson and other US manufacturers could be on the way. "Europe is a critical market for Harley-Davidson".

"It's unfortunate that such a strong Wisconsin company like Harley-Davidson has to bear the brunt of this trade dispute", Sensenbrenner said.