Review Category : Poltics

President Obama Kicks Off Germany Trip With Beer Ahead of G7 Summit

Photo by Goran Gajanin – Pool/Getty Images(KRUEN, Germany) — President Obama arrived in Germany on Sunday for the G-7 summit and quickly made his first public stop to share beer with the locals — all before noon.

“When I first heard Angela was hosting the G-7 in Bavaria, I was hoping that it would fall during Oktoberfest, but then again there’s never a bad day for a beer and a weisswurst,” Obama said in Kruen, Germany, prior to his beer sampling. “I can’t think of a better place to come to celebrate the enduring friendship between the German and the American people.”

The president hoisted his beer as he drank and ate pretzels and sausage with locals dressed in traditional Bavarian costumes of lederhosen and dirndl.

The president arrived in the village to the sound of alp horns playing in the scenic town. His stop in Kruen was intended as a celebration of the strong ties between the U.S. and Germany.

“This morning, as we celebrate one of the strongest alliances the world has ever known, my message to the German people is simple: We are grateful for your friendship, for your leadership,” he said. “We stand together as inseparable allies in Europe and around the world.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who led the president on a tour of the village, echoed the sentiment.

“Although it is true we sometimes have differences of opinion today from time to time, but still the United States of America is our friend, our partner and an essential partner with whom we cooperate very closely,” she said.

The president also praised the German culture and even noted one souvenir he wants to pick up while in the country — lederhosen.

“I have to admit I forgot to bring my lederhosen but I’ll see if I can buy some while I’m here,” he said.

Obama is in Germany for two-days of meetings at the G-7 summit, where leaders will discuss the global economy, trade, terrorism and climate change. There will be particular emphasis on ISIS when Obama meets with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Monday.

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine will also be on the agenda as this will be the second year in a row that G-7 leaders are meeting without Russia. The president is expected to urge his colleagues to extend economic sanctions on Russia, a conversation European allies will have later this summer.

Obama will also discuss the ongoing Iran nuclear negotiations with Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Republican Presidential Hopefuls Flock to Iowa ‘Roast and Ride’

iStock/Thinkstock(DES MOINES, Iowa) — Seven Republican presidential hopefuls are in Iowa Saturday for an unusual political event — half-motorcycle ride, half-pork roast, the full-day gathering is a chance for the candidates to start their engines in the all-important early caucus state.

The day is also shaping up to be a major moment for Sen. Joni Ernst, the freshman U.S. senator from Iowa who rode into power with a campaign ad that touted her experiencing castrating hogs. She has organized the inaugural “Roast and Ride,” which in addition to serving as a testing ground for presidential candidates, is doubling as a fundraiser for the senator’s political action committee.

Ernst, a Harley-Davidson enthusiast, is starting the day with a 39-mile motorcycle ride from Des Moines to Boone, Iowa that will take riders past Camp Dodge where Ernst serves as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. They’ll end up at the Central Iowa Expo (also the venue for the Iowa Straw Poll this August) where a pork roast and outdoor games (think cornhole and horseshoes) await.

The candidates and potential candidates on hand for the event are: Former neurosurgeon and conservative activist Ben Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. All have formally announced their presidential bids except Walker.

Only Walker and Perry plan to actually hop on a bike. Perry, who officially announced his presidential candidacy last week, is taking his own route to Boone, starting out, appropriately, in the town of Perry, Iowa. According to his campaign, the newly-minted candidate will be riding a motorcycle that belongs to Taylor Morris, a Navy explosive ordinance disposal technician from Cedar Falls, Iowa who was injured while serving in Afghanistan.

All the hopefuls will have a chance to address voters at the pork roast portion of the event later in the afternoon in what is shaping up to be Iowa’s version of presidential speed dating. Ernst has given each candidate just eight minutes to speak.

A recent Bloomberg Politics-Des Moines Register Iowa Poll gives Walker an early lead. The Wisconsin governor pulls in 17 percent support, followed by Rand Paul and Carson (10 percent each). Jeb Bush and Huckabee both garner 9 percent. Rubio and Rick Santorum each get 6 percent.

Besides delivering the Republican response to President Obama’s State of the Union address earlier this year, Ernst has kept a relatively low public profile during her freshman year in the Senate. And while the candidates who turned out for her “Roast and Ride” might be coveting her seal of approval ahead of the caucuses, which are set for early February, they are all likely out of luck. Ernst has already said she won’t be endorsing ahead of the contest.

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GOP Weekly Address: More Trade Means More American Jobs

US Congress(WASHINGTON) — In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Pat Tiberi of Ohio makes the case of congressional passage of the Trade Promotion Authority, which he argues will lead to better trade agreements, more jobs, and higher pay for America’s workers.

Tiberi says the TPA would allow the American public to have 60 days to read a trade agreement before it can even be signed, and make agreements to give companies access to one billion new customers

“If we pass TPA, we’ll be able to make agreements that give us access to billions of new customers. And our workers will be able to compete for that business on a level playing field, where we know we can outwork anyone,” Tiberi said.

Tiberi contents the legislation is appropriate for a changing world that is filled with engaging and trading like never before, and the TPA must be passed so the country is not “left behind.”

“In an economy where growth is still hard to come by, trade means new markets and new customers,” he said.

Read the full transcript of the Republican address:

Good morning. I’m Pat Tiberi, and I have the great honor of representing Ohio’s 12th Congressional District.

Today marks five months since the new Congress started. In that time, we’ve made some real progress on your priorities.

We’ve enacted the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades, provided Medicare patients with better, more stable access to their doctors, given law enforcement new tools to combat human trafficking, and approved new mental health resources to prevent veteran suicides.

We have much more to do, especially when it comes to helping middle-class workers find good jobs and better pay. That’s why we’re working hard to pass a trade reform bill called TPA.

In an economy where growth is still hard to come by, trade means new markets and new customers. Did you know that overall we have a trade surplus with the 20 nations we have a trade agreement with? Or that manufacturing jobs tied to trade pay 16 percent more? Or consider this: between 2004 and 2013, employment in Ohio declined, but trade-related jobs grew by 19 percent.

Every day, I hear from folks who say it’s trade that gets their businesses through the tough times, that allows them to make plans to hire and expand.

The problem is, the way things work right now, President Obama can negotiate trade agreements on his own and in secret. He doesn’t have to keep you or me informed.

It just doesn’t make sense. And it’s certainly not fair to American workers. Why would we allow a system to continue where there’s no transparency or accountability for the president?

This is where Trade Promotion Authority comes in.

Concerned about transparency? TPA changes the system to one where Americans have 60 days to read a trade agreement before it can even be signed.

Concerned about a bad deal? TPA makes the president follow dozens of strict objectives in his negotiations so that your priorities come first – not his. If he doesn’t fulfill those obligations, we can vote down the agreement. It’s that simple and straightforward.

Now, many have doubts about trade and how it affects jobs. I certainly understand that. My father was a steelworker who lost his job and his pension. But trade wasn’t the culprit, globalization was. Technology was. I’ve toured manufacturing companies across my district where 20 years ago, 10 people worked on the shop floor. Now there’s only one worker making the same products.

The economy is changing. China knows it, and with us on the sidelines, it is writing the rules of the global economy. They are working on agreements that exclude the United States, and undercut our labor standards. The world is engaging and trading like never before, and we must pass TPA so we will not be left behind.

If we pass TPA, we’ll be able to make agreements that give us access to one billion new customers. And our workers will be able to compete for that business on a level playing field, where we know we can outwork anyone.

Now, we’ve passed TPA in the Senate, and we’ve got an important vote coming up in the House.

You send us here to find common ground, and TPA unites Republicans and Democrats. It unites farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and small business owners. It even unites Barack Obama and Ted Cruz.

Yes, you’re going to hear the usual scare tactics as you have, but Americans are more hopeful and determined than that. We’re not a people who stand still.

Remember, American jobs, American growth, and American leadership are all at stake. So let’s get this one done.

Thank you for listening, and have a great weekend.

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Obama Keeps Immigration Fight Going in Weekly Address

Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — He hasn’t given up.

Two days after the House voted to block Obama from defending his immigration action and a day after the 5th circuit court of appeals asked for new brief for President Obama’s immigration case appeal on July 10, the president used his weekly address on Saturday to push immigration reform.

Obama reminds Americans that a bill did pass the Senate, but never moved in the House.

“Of course, we can’t just celebrate this heritage, we have to defend it – by fixing our broken immigration system,” Obama said. “Nearly two years ago, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to do that. They passed a commonsense bill to secure our border, get rid of backlogs, and give undocumented immigrants who are already living here a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, paid their taxes, and went to the back of the line. But for nearly two years, Republican leaders in the House have refused to even allow a vote on it.”

And while his immigration action might be stalled, Obama isn’t giving up.

“That’s why, in the meantime, I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make our immigration system more just and more fair,” he said. “Last fall, I took action to provide more resources for border security; focus enforcement on the real threats to our security; modernize the legal immigration system for workers, employers, and students; and bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can get right with the law. Some folks are still fighting against these actions. I’m going to keep fighting for them. Because the law is on our side. It’s the right thing to do. And it will make America stronger.”

Read the full transcript of the president’s address:

Hi everybody. One of the remarkable things about America is that nearly all of our families originally came from someplace else. We’re a nation of immigrants. It’s a source of our strength and something we all can take pride in. And this month – Immigrant Heritage Month – is a chance to share our American stories.

I think about my grandparents in Kansas – where they met and where my mom was born. Their family tree reached back to England and Ireland and elsewhere. They lived, and raised me, by basic values: working hard, giving back, and treating others the way you want to be treated.

I think of growing up in Hawaii, a place enriched by people of different backgrounds – native Hawaiian, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese and just about everything else. Growing up in that vibrant mix helped shape who I am today. And while my father was not an immigrant himself, my own life journey as an African-American – and the heritage shared by Michelle and our daughters, some of whose ancestors came here in chains – has made our family who we are.

This month, I’m inviting you to share your story, too. Just visit whitehouse.gov/NewAmericans. We want to hear how you or your family made it to America – whether you’re an immigrant yourself or your great-great-grandparents were.

Of course, we can’t just celebrate this heritage, we have to defend it – by fixing our broken immigration system. Nearly two years ago, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to do that. They passed a commonsense bill to secure our border, get rid of backlogs, and give undocumented immigrants who are already living here a pathway to citizenship if they paid a fine, paid their taxes, and went to the back of the line. But for nearly two years, Republican leaders in the House have refused to even allow a vote on it.

That’s why, in the meantime, I’m going to keep doing everything I can to make our immigration system more just and more fair. Last fall, I took action to provide more resources for border security; focus enforcement on the real threats to our security; modernize the legal immigration system for workers, employers, and students; and bring more undocumented immigrants out of the shadows so they can get right with the law. Some folks are still fighting against these actions. I’m going to keep fighting for them. Because the law is on our side. It’s the right thing to do. And it will make America stronger.

I want us to remember people like Ann Dermody from Alexandria, Virginia. She’s originally from Ireland and has lived in America legally for years. She worked hard, played by the rules and dreamed of becoming a citizen. In March, her dream came true. And before taking the oath, she wrote me a letter. “The papers we receive…will not change our different accents [or] skin tones,” Ann said. “But for that day, at least, we’ll feel like we have arrived.”

Well, to Ann and immigrants like her who have come to our shores seeking a better life – yes, you have arrived. And by sharing our stories, and staying true to our heritage as a nation of immigrants, we can keep that dream alive for generations to come.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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America’s Top Metric System Enthusiast Just Found Out About Lincoln Chafee’s Presidential Platform

Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — When Lincoln Chafee announced that he planned to run for President of the United States on a platform that, among other things, pushes the metric system, it was an immeasurable surprise to Don Hillger.

In fact, Hillger, who is the president of the U.S. Metric Association and also a meteorologist at Colorado State University, didn’t know the latest candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination at all.

Until now.

“I do not know Chafee nor his plans, but they are a pleasant surprise to us,” Hillger told ABC News in an email on Thursday. “It is bringing metric into the media and to the public like it has not been for some time.”

The former Rhode Island governor announced Wednesday he was running for president and listed a number of ways he would seek to change the country if elected.

“Let’s join the rest of the world and go metric,” Chafee said. Referring to the time he lived in Canada, he added, “It’s easy. … It doesn’t take long before 34 degrees is hot.”

Enthusiasts are quick to cite a number of reasons why the U.S. should move from inches to centimeters and pounds to kilos, including the fact that the vast majority of the world is on the metric system, also known as the “system international.”

The only other holdouts are Burma and Liberia. Supporters also argue that the system, with a neat decimal system rather than fractions, is easier and already common practice in medicine and science. In 1999, NASA admitted that it likely lost its $125 million Mars Climate Orbiter because of the confusion of two systems.

Congress has authorized a number of reports to look into the possible conversion. One study in 1968, A Metric America: A Decision Whose Time Has Come, concluded the country would and should eventually go metric for the sake of U.S. commerce, technological development and trade. In 1975, Congress passed a voluntary metric conversion bill, but stopped short of forcing the changeover. The National Institute of Standards and Technology urged the issue again in 1997, writing, “Failure to complete the change will increasingly handicap the nation’s industry and economy.”

So, how much would it cost to change every road sign and every scale across the country?

Hillger said no one really knows.

“We can say this, when other countries and companies have converted, the costs were way overestimated,” he told ABC News. “And, don’t forget, that there are costs as well, associated with not going metric: loss of market due to products not accepted by the rest of the world when they are not built to metric standards or labeled in metric.”

For the moment, Hillger does not have plans to contact Chafee, “but it might happen, being the large amount of interest in this topic right now.”

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Everything You Need to Know About Joni Ernst’s Iowa ‘Roast and Ride’

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(DES MOINE, Iowa) — Saturday is shaping up to be a major moment for Sen. Joni Ernst, the freshman U.S. senator from Iowa who rode into power with a campaign ad that touted her experiencing castrating hogs.

This weekend she will be taking a ride of a different kind, hosting her inaugural “Roast and Ride” fundraiser that will draw seven presidential candidates to the Hawkeye State.

The day will start with a 39-mile motorcycle ride from Des Moines to Boone that will take riders past Camp Dodge where Ernst serves as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. They’ll end up at the Central Iowa Expo — also the venue for the Iowa Straw Poll this August — where a pork roast and outdoor games await.

Attendees will include several candidates and potential candidates: Former neurosurgeon and conservative activist Ben Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

All the hopefuls will have a chance to address the crowd Saturday afternoon.

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Everything You Need to Know About Joni Ernst’s Iowa ‘Roast and Ride’

Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(DES MOINE, Iowa) — Saturday is shaping up to be a major moment for Sen. Joni Ernst, the freshman U.S. senator from Iowa who rode into power with a campaign ad that touted her experiencing castrating hogs.

This weekend she will be taking a ride of a different kind, hosting her inaugural “Roast and Ride” fundraiser that will draw seven presidential candidates to the Hawkeye State.

The day will start with a 39-mile motorcycle ride from Des Moines to Boone that will take riders past Camp Dodge where Ernst serves as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. They’ll end up at the Central Iowa Expo — also the venue for the Iowa Straw Poll this August — where a pork roast and outdoor games await.

Attendees will include several candidates and potential candidates: Former neurosurgeon and conservative activist Ben Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

All the hopefuls will have a chance to address the crowd Saturday afternoon.

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ABC News Exclusive: Alleged Dennis Hastert Sex Abuse Victim Is Named by Family

Jolene Reinboldt / Yorkville High School(NEW YORK) — In Steve Reinboldt’s 1970 high school yearbook, wrestling coach Dennis Hastert wrote that Steve was his “great, right hand man” as the student equipment manager of the Yorkville, Illinois wrestling team.

But Steve was also a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Hastert, Steve’s sister said Friday in an interview with ABC News. It is the first time an alleged Hastert victim has been identified by name since his indictment for lying to the FBI and violating federal banking laws to cover-up past misconduct. Hastert, due in court next week, has not responded to the allegations.

In an emotional interview, Steve Reinbodlt’s sister Jolene said she first learned of her brother’s purported years-long sexual abuse at the hands of the future Speaker of the House back in 1979 when her older brother revealed to her that he was gay and had been out of high school for eight years.

“I asked him, when was your first same sex experience. He looked at me and said, ‘It was with Dennis Hastert,’” Jolene said. “I was stunned.”

Jolene said she asked her brother why he never told anyone. “And he just turned around and kind of looked at me and said, ‘Who is ever going to believe me?’”

Jolene said that Steve told her the abuse lasted throughout Steve’s four years of high school as he served as team student manager. “Mr. Hastert had plenty of opportunities to be alone with Steve, because he was there before the meets,” she said. “He was there after everything because he did the laundry, the uniforms. So he was there by himself with him,” she added.

Her brother also spent time with Hastert as a member of an Explorers troop, which Hastert ran. Photos taken by her brother show Hastert with a group of boys on a diving trip to the Bahamas.

Reinboldt’s sister says she has no doubts about the veracity of what her brother told her 36 years ago.

“[Steve] just told me the basics. I believed him 100 percent. But he never went into any details — where it happened, or what the sexual experiences were like, anything like that,” Jolene said.

Jolene Reinboldt

Jolene said she believes the abuse ended when Steve moved away after his high school graduation in 1971. Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995. She believes Hastert’s alleged actions irrevocably changed Steve’s life for the worse.

“He took his belief in himself and his kind of right to be a normal person,” Jolene said. “Here was the mentor, the man who was, you know, basically his friend and stepped into that parental role, who was the one who was abusing him… He damaged Steve I think more than any of us will ever know.”

Her anger boiled over when she said Hastert was so “brash” as to show up at Steve’s funeral viewing.

“I was just there just trying to bite my tongue thinking that blood was coming out because I was just… So after he had gone through the line I followed him out into the parking lot of the funeral home,” Jolene said. “I said, ‘I want to know why you did what you did to my brother.’ And he just stood there and stared at me. He didn’t say, ‘What are you talking about?’ you know, [or], ‘What? I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ He just stood there and stared at me.

“Then I just continued to say, ‘I want you to know your secret didn’t die in there with my brother. And I want you to remember that I’m out here and that I know.’ And again, he just stood there and he did not say a word.” Hastert got in his car and drove away. Jolene said Hastert’s non-response “said everything.”

In the two decades after Steve’s death, Jolene said that she tried to expose Hastert, even writing to ABC News and another news organization as well as some advocacy groups in 2006 after another congressman, Rep. Mark Foley, was discovered having sexually explicit message exchanges with a male underage page.

At the time ABC News could not corroborate Jolene’s allegation and Hastert denied the claim.

So for years, Jolene watched helplessly as Hastert basked in fame and power, seated to the left of the president for years in the early 2000s for the nationally-televised State of the Union address.

“I would just watch for a while and then I would just have to get up and leave the room and just, you know, either cry or scream,” Jolene said. “I can’t believe the audacity of that man and how he thinks he will get away with it.”

She said she struggled with the decision to try and put it all behind her.

“I finally got to a point where I needed – I just had to lay it down,” she said. “And right before this last Christmas, I had – I have a couple of bins and things, boxes that have a lot of his [Steve’s] stuff in it – and I just remember sitting on the floor, packing it all up and just saying, ‘Steve, I did the best I could. And I know you’re okay.’”

Then just two weeks ago, Jolene said she got a message from the FBI. They wanted to talk about Hastert.

“That’s when I just kind of lost it and said, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe – I never thought I was going to get this phone call… I thought it was over,’” she said.

A few days after that Jolene and her husband watched on television as it was reported Hastert had been indicted on charges of bank fraud relating to large payments to someone that Hastert undertook to conceal “prior misconduct.”

“There are no words to describe what it felt like to, you know, it’s just like Stevie had done it. It’s gonna happen, we got him,” she recalls thinking when the news broke.

Sources knowledgeable of the case told ABC News Hastert was paying a man — still unidentified except as “Individual A” — hundreds of thousands of dollars to hide that Hastert had engaged in sexual misconduct with him while Hastert was the high school wrestling coach.

Jolene never asked for money from Hastert, but his sister believes that “Individual A” is familiar with what happened with her brother. She does not know who Individual A is, but she said she’s thankful that Hastert’s alleged misconduct is coming to light.

“I feel vindicated and that Steve’s vindicated, that Mr. Hastert can’t pull this wool over everybody’s eyes,” she said. “Finally the truth comes out.”

Jolene said she wanted to speak publicly on behalf of her family about her brother’s ordeal because she believes there may be other victims and she wanted them to know they’re not alone, “that when they were kids, at that point in their life when they were going through this, it wasn’t talked about like it is now.”

“But now there’s people that are going to believe them,” Jolene said. “I just think it’s really important that these kids get a chance to work through this because I think it’s going to give them a lot of relief… Please, come forward.”

Hastert is scheduled to make his first court appearance regarding the fraud charges next week.

The FBI declined to comment for this report.

Copyright © 2015, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

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Exclusive: Alleged Dennis Hastert Sex Abuse Victim Is Named by Family

Jolene Reinboldt / Yorkville High School(NEW YORK) — In Steve Reinboldt’s 1970 high school yearbook, wrestling coach Dennis Hastert wrote that Steve was his “great, right hand man” as the student equipment manager of the Yorkville, Illinois wrestling team.

But Steve was also a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of Hastert, Steve’s sister said Friday in an interview with ABC News. It is the first time an alleged Hastert victim has been identified by name since his indictment for lying to the FBI and violating federal banking laws to cover-up past misconduct. Hastert, due in court next week, has not responded to the allegations.

In an emotional interview, Steve Reinbodlt’s sister Jolene said she first learned of her brother’s purported years-long sexual abuse at the hands of the future Speaker of the House back in 1979 when her older brother revealed to her that he was gay and had been out of high school for eight years.

“I asked him, when was your first same sex experience. He looked at me and said, ‘It was with Dennis Hastert,’” Jolene said. “I was stunned.”

Jolene said she asked her brother why he never told anyone. “And he just turned around and kind of looked at me and said, ‘Who is ever going to believe me?’”

Jolene said that Steve told her the abuse lasted throughout Steve’s four years of high school as he served as team student manager. “Mr. Hastert had plenty of opportunities to be alone with Steve, because he was there before the meets,” she said. “He was there after everything because he did the laundry, the uniforms. So he was there by himself with him,” she added.

Her brother also spent time with Hastert as a member of an Explorers troop, which Hastert ran. Photos taken by her brother show Hastert with a group of boys on a diving trip to the Bahamas.

Reinboldt’s sister says she has no doubts about the veracity of what her brother told her 36 years ago.

“[Steve] just told me the basics. I believed him 100 percent. But he never went into any details — where it happened, or what the sexual experiences were like, anything like that,” Jolene said.

Jolene Reinboldt

Jolene said she believes the abuse ended when Steve moved away after his high school graduation in 1971. Reinboldt died of AIDS in 1995. She believes Hastert’s alleged actions irrevocably changed Steve’s life for the worse.

“He took his belief in himself and his kind of right to be a normal person,” Jolene said. “Here was the mentor, the man who was, you know, basically his friend and stepped into that parental role, who was the one who was abusing him… He damaged Steve I think more than any of us will ever know.”

Her anger boiled over when she said Hastert was so “brash” as to show up at Steve’s funeral viewing.

“I was just there just trying to bite my tongue thinking that blood was coming out because I was just… So after he had gone through the line I followed him out into the parking lot of the funeral home,” Jolene said. “I said, ‘I want to know why you did what you did to my brother.’ And he just stood there and stared at me. He didn’t say, ‘What are you talking about?’ you know, [or], ‘What? I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ He just stood there and stared at me.

“Then I just continued to say, ‘I want you to know your secret didn’t die in there with my brother. And I want you to remember that I’m out here and that I know.’ And again, he just stood there and he did not say a word.” Hastert got in his car and drove away. Jolene said Hastert’s non-response “said everything.”

In the two decades after Steve’s death, Jolene said that she tried to expose Hastert, even writing to ABC News and another news organization as well as some advocacy groups in 2006 after another congressman, Rep. Mark Foley, was discovered having sexually explicit message exchanges with a male underage page.

At the time ABC News could not corroborate Jolene’s allegation and Hastert denied the claim.

So for years, Jolene watched helplessly as Hastert basked in fame and power, seated to the left of the president for years in the early 2000s for the nationally-televised State of the Union address.

“I would just watch for a while and then I would just have to get up and leave the room and just, you know, either cry or scream,” Jolene said. “I can’t believe the audacity of that man and how he thinks he will get away with it.”

She said she struggled with the decision to try and put it all behind her.

“I finally got to a point where I needed – I just had to lay it down,” she said. “And right before this last Christmas, I had – I have a couple of bins and things, boxes that have a lot of his [Steve’s] stuff in it – and I just remember sitting on the floor, packing it all up and just saying, ‘Steve, I did the best I could. And I know you’re okay.’”

Then just two weeks ago, Jolene said she got a message from the FBI. They wanted to talk about Hastert.

“That’s when I just kind of lost it and said, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe – I never thought I was going to get this phone call… I thought it was over,’” she said.

A few days after that Jolene and her husband watched on television as it was reported Hastert had been indicted on charges of bank fraud relating to large payments to someone that Hastert undertook to conceal “prior misconduct.”

“There are no words to describe what it felt like to, you know, it’s just like Stevie had done it. It’s gonna happen, we got him,” she recalls thinking when the news broke.

Sources knowledgeable of the case told ABC News Hastert was paying a man — still unidentified except as “Individual A” — hundreds of thousands of dollars to hide that Hastert had engaged in sexual misconduct with him while Hastert was the high school wrestling coach.

Jolene never asked for money from Hastert, but his sister believes that “Individual A” is familiar with what happened with her brother. She does not know who Individual A is, but she said she’s thankful that Hastert’s alleged misconduct is coming to light.

“I feel vindicated and that Steve’s vindicated, that Mr. Hastert can’t pull this wool over everybody’s eyes,” she said. “Finally the truth comes out.”

Jolene said she wanted to speak publicly on behalf of her family about her brother’s ordeal because she believes there may be other victims and she wanted them to know they’re not alone, “that when they were kids, at that point in their life when they were going through this, it wasn’t talked about like it is now.”

“But now there’s people that are going to believe them,” Jolene said. “I just think it’s really important that these kids get a chance to work through this because I think it’s going to give them a lot of relief… Please, come forward.”

Hastert is scheduled to make his first court appearance regarding the fraud charges next week.

The FBI declined to comment for this report.

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Hillary Clinton Calls Out Bush, Walker, Christie, Perry For Launching ‘Crusade Against Voting Rights’

ABC News(HOUSTON) — For the first time since launching her campaign, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called out some of her likely Republican opponents –by name – accusing them for launching a “crusade against voting rights” and for “fear mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud” during an impassioned speech where she called for universal automatic voter registration for every citizen at the age of eighteen.

During Clinton’s roughly 20 minutes remarks at a historically black college in Houston, Texas, Clinton delivered one of her most forceful, policy-driven speeches yet as a presidential candidate. In a tone similar to the one used during her speech on criminal justice reform, Clinton condemned voting laws that she believes suppress voting –particularly among minorities and young people – and called out GOP lawmakers for “systemically and deliberately trying to stop millions of American citizens from voting.”

“What is happening is a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people, from one end of our country to another,” Clinton said at the Texas South University, where she was receiving an award in honor of the African-American civil rights activist Barbara Jordan. She mentioned laws that limit early voting and require people provide government-issued IDs to vote.

Name dropping Republicans for the first time, Clinton aggressively called out four of her likely Republican challengers for enacting such measures while in office that she said “undercut this fundamental American principle” of voting.

“Here in Texas, former governor Rick Perry signed a law that a federal court said was actually written with a purpose of discriminating against minority voters,” Clinton said to enthusiastic applause. “He applauded when the Voting Rights Act was gutted. And said the lost protections were out dated and unnecessary.”

“But Governor Perry is hardly alone in his crusade against voting rights,” Clinton added. “In Wisconsin, Governor Scott Walker cut back early voting and signed legislation that would make it harder for college students to vote. In New Jersey, Governor Chris Christie vetoed legislation to extend early voting. And in Florida, when Jeb Bush was governor, state authorities conducted a deeply flawed purge of voters before the presidential election in 2000.”

The Backstory

The issue of voting rights has become a point of focus for the Democratic Party since 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down a key provision of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that invalidated pre-clearance requirements.

Without the provision, which required jurisdictions in states with a history of discrimination to clear voting law changes with the federal government, states have had an easier time passing measurements that many Democrats argue make it harder for Americans –- often minorities and the elderly –- to vote.

These measures include requiring a government-issued photo ID to vote, a proof of citizenship to register and cutting back on early voting.

While Republicans say these laws help prevent voter fraud, Democrats argue it prevents a key part of their party’s constituents from getting to the polls.

On Thursday, Clinton denounced the Republican argument, accused Republicans of “fear mongering about a phantom epidemic of election fraud.”

What Clinton Wants To Do

During Clinton’s remarks in Texas on Thursday – notably, the home state of President Lyndon B. Johnson, who first signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act – Clinton also denounced the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling and condemned more recent efforts to tighten voting requirements, specifically in North Carolina, Texas, New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Florida.

She laid out a multi-pronged approach to addressing her concerns that included calling for automatic voter registration for every citizen in the United States when they turn eighteen, unless they actively choose to opt-out.

Additionally, she called for the expansion of early voting across all 50 states, including a requirement of at least 20 days of open early polling, and opportunities for weekend and evening voting. She urged for updating and modernizing the voter registration system. And she called on Congress to take “swift action to restore the Voting Rights Act” and to back President Obama’s bipartisan commission on election reform.

Clinton argued that these changes would reduce long lines at polling stations on election day and expand access to voting.

Rallying An Important Base

The issue of voting rights is one that directly affects an important bloc of Democratic voters whose support Clinton will need: African-Americans.

The crux of Democratic pushback against GOP-sponsored voting bills is that they limit access to the polls for minorities, and minority civil-rights groups like the NAACP have spoken out forcefully against state laws as attacks specifically on African-American voting rights.

Democrats Coalescing

Clinton’s decision to jump on the issue of voting rights also appears to be tied to an effort by the Democratic Party as a whole to challenge voter restrictions.

As reported by The New York Times, a nationwide legal battle has been mounted by Marc Elias, a top Democratic lawyer who represents four of the party’s national campaign committees –- as well as Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

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