AOC rips Trump, defends socialism in Spanish-language interview: ‘If president thinks I’m crazy, that’s a good thing’

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If President Trump thinks she's crazy, "I think that's a good thing," U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Sunday in an interview for Spanish-language television.

Speaking with "Noticias Telemundo” in Las Vegas, where the freshman congresswoman hosted a Spanish-language town hall for Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez also claimed Trump is "afraid of women" — most notably "strong" and "Latina" women.

“If the president thinks that I’m crazy, I think that’s a good thing because I think it would be a problem if he said he agrees with my ideas because he has many problems,” Ocasio-Cortez told Noticias Telemundo’s Correspondent Guadalupe Venegas. “He’s racist, he’s anti-immigrant, but more than just that — his administration is corrupt. I think he’s afraid of women – of strong women, of Latina women. The values of the president are very backward.”

“If the president thinks that I’m crazy, I think that’s a good thing because I think it would be a problem if he said he agrees with my ideas because he has many problems.”

— U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.


In October, Trump called Ocasio-Cortez a “Wack Job” on Twitter, to which she retorted "Better than being a criminal who betrays our country.” The social media spat came as the White House refused to comply with the impeachment inquiry by the Democrat-led House.

Ocasio-Cortez admitted Trump never explicitly told her he fears Latina women, but she claimed he’s demonstrated his fears in Twitter messages and in his State of the Union address back in February.

When asked about concerns that she and Sanders endorse socialism, Ocasio-Cortez sought to make a distinction between what’s viewed as socialism in the United States and in other countries. Venegas referenced Venezuela – where socialist policies, implemented by dictators Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro, have forced more than 4 million people to flee an economic and humanitarian crisis in the country since the end of 2015, according to figures released by the UN Refugee Agency.

“When the president or other people want to say this, the first I say is look at the politics, the proposals because we’re not advocating for complete control of the economy. We’re talking about basic human economic rights – education, health care, a worthy salary,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Here in the United States, those values are called 'socialism.' And for me, that’s a commentary on the present moment in the United States. Things that are human rights are called socialism. It’s very different what we’re seeing here and in other countries.”

Ocasio-Cortez said she supports Sanders because “he understands that this isn’t a campaign about a person. It’s a campaign about our movement for working families in the United States.” She said she’ll ultimately support whichever candidate receives the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination because “we have to get this president out of office.”

“It’s not good for a country as diverse as the United States to have such an intolerant president,” she added.


Ocasio-Cortez hosted an event in Las Vegas called “Unidos Con Bernie Reunión Política con Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez” on Sunday. Nevada will host the third Democratic nominating contest in February following a primary in New Hampshire and a caucus in Iowa early next year. Sanders is dispatching Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed him for the White House in October, to appeal to Nevada’s large Latino electorate and position himself ahead of his progressive rival, Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Original Article

Pelosi, days after impeaching president, invites Trump to deliver State of the Union address

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Impeachment stalls as Nancy Pelosi pushes proceedings into the new year

Sen. Chuck Schumer says he and Nancy Pelosi are on the same page as the two top Democrats in Congress try to put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; chief congressional correspondent Mike Emanuel reports from Capitol Hill.

House Speaker Nancy Pelsoi Friday formally invited President Trump to give his 2020 State of the Union address before the U.S. House, just two days after the majority of Congress voted to impeach him.

In a letter to Trump, Pelosi cited the constitutional obligation to invite the president to speak “from time to time.”

“In the spirit of respecting our Constitution, I invite you to deliver your State of the Union address before a Joint Session of Congress on Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 in the Chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives," Pelosi wrote.


The White House on Friday released a statement saying, "President Donald J. Trump has accepted the Speaker’s invitation to deliver the State of the Union Address on February 4, 2020."

The Feb. 4 address could come in the midst of a Senate trial if Pelosi sends over the two articles of impeachment House Democrats approved Wednesday. And Trump’s speech would happen at the height of the 2020 election campaign, with the Iowa caucuses scheduled a day prior.

During the 1999 State of the Union address given by then-President Bill Clinton, he did not mention the then-occurring impeachment trial in the Senate. Several Republican House members boycotted the 77-minute speech to show their displeasure with Clinton. Some Democrats, including Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California and Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, joined Republicans in urging Clinton to delay the address.

It wasn’t impeachment, but there was high-drama for Trump's last State of the Union. His planned January address before the newly-elected Democratic House majority was delayed because a record-long government shutdown that had Trump and Pelosi in a political standoff.


Once the government reopened, Trump gave his speech on Feb. 5, 2019, at Pelosi's invitation.

Fox News' Jon Decker contributed to this report.

Original Article

Warren, 70, replies she’d be ‘youngest woman’ president when debate talk turns to age

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Pundits say Warren slipping

Medicare plan finally draws spotlight.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., seemed to turn a potentially troublesome fact to her advantage during Thursday night's Democratic primary debate in Los Angeles, when the conversation turned to the ages of the candidates.

“Senator Warren, you would be the oldest president ever inaugurated," moderator Tim Alberta of Politico magazine noted. "I’d like you to weigh in as well."

“I’d also be the youngest woman ever inaugurated,” Warren answered, drawing applause from the audience at Loyola Marymount University.


The age topic has been a touchy one for several of the 2020 Democrats, with septuagenarians Bernie Sanders (78), Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg (both 77) and Warren (70) competing for the party's nomination against younger rivals Tom Steyer (62), Amy Klobuchar (59), Cory Booker (50), Andrew Yang (44), Tulsi Gabbard (38) and Pete Buttigieg (37).

Of the younger group, only Buttigieg has managed to rank among the top-tier contenders, meaning that President Trump (73) could very likely face a fellow septuagenarian in the general election next November.

During her response, Warren also said she has posed for more than 100,000 selfies on the campaign trail so far – asserting it proves she has been connecting with average Americans. The comment appeared to be a subtle dig at rivals Biden and Buttigieg, who reportedly charge hefty sums to pose for photos.

Warren also addressed recent comments made by former President Obama, who said women were “indisputably better” leaders than men. Warren said she thought Obama was speaking about power in America.

Democratic presidential candidates spar, face impeachment questions on debate stageVideo

"I believe he’s talking about women and people of color and trans people and people whose voices just so often get shoved out,” Warren said. “For me, the best way to understand that is to look how people are running their campaigns in 2020.”

“I made the decisions, when I decided to run, not to do business as usual, and now I’m crowding in on 100,000 selfies. That’s 100,000 hugs and handshakes and stories. Stories from people who are struggling with student loan debt. Stories from people who can’t pay their medical bills. Stories from people who can’t find child care.

Democratic presidential candidates weigh in on Trump impeachment ahead of debateVideo

“Most of the people on this stage run a traditional campaign. And that means going back and forth from coast to coast to rich people and people who can put up 5,000 bucks or more in order to have a picture taken, in order to have a conversation. And in order maybe to be considered an ambassador … ”

Warren has repeatedly called out Biden and Buttigieg for accepting money from super PACs and billionaires, while her own campaign, as well as that of fellow progressive Sanders, claims to be grass-roots funded.


In the most pointed exchange, Warren zeroed in on Buttigieg's recent private meeting with wealthy donors inside a California “wine cave."

Buttigieg, whose recent surge has been attributed in part to his fundraising success, said Democrats shouldn’t go against Trump with “with one hand tied behind our back." Trump’s reelection campaign has reportedly accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

House to vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump: live updates

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The House of Representatives on Wednesday will vote on two articles of impeachment against President Trump in what is expected to be a mostly party-line vote on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power. The debate will begin at 9 a.m. ET.

Follow our live blog below. Mobile users click here.

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With Trump impeachment vote imminent, president traveling to Battle Creek, Mich., to rally the faithful

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Trump sends six-page letter to Pelosi condemning impeachment inquiry

Democrats take final step toward impeachment; former independent counsel Ken Starr weighs in.

President Trump on Wednesday will be far away from Capitol Hill — and the Washington establishment he has long criticized as an iredeemable "swamp" — as the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives prepares to impeach him in a likely party-line vote on charges of obstruction of Congress and abuse of power.

Instead, the president will be on friendly turf in downtown Battle Creek, Mich., hosting a rally that may rank among his most defiant — a marked contrast from the approach of former President Bill Clinton, who mostly stayed under the radar during his own impeachment proceedings in 1998.

There will be unusually tight security near the Capitol building in Washington on Wednesday, Fox News was told, and some of those measures were visible Tuesday night. House Democrats will convene to adopt the rules for the impeachment debate shortly after 9 a.m. ET, followed by six hours of debate evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. Some members will be afforded only one minute to speak, and no amendments to the impeachment resolutions will be permitted.


The final vote sequence will likely begin well into the evening hours, with one vote held on each article of impeachment, Fox News was told.

Stage is set

The stage was set late Tuesday night by the House Rules Committee, which approved the procedures for Wednesday's impeachment proceedings in a 9-4 party-line vote after a marathon day of contentious hearings.

Wednesday "promises to be a long day," Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., told reporters.

It will likely end with Trump becoming just the third U.S. president ever to be impeached — a history-making development that Trump has said reflects far worse on congressional Democrats than it does on him.

Rep. McClintock says Pelosi is taking Red Queen's approach to impeachment: Sentence first, verdict afterwardVideo

In a blistering, no-holds-barred six-page letter Tuesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Trump lambasted the Democrats' impeachment inquiry as an "open war on American Democracy," writing that Pelosi has violated her oath of office and "cheapened the importance of the very ugly word, impeachment!"

"Everyone, you included, knows what is really happening," Trump said. "Your chosen candidate lost the election in 2016, in an Electoral College landslide (306-227), and you and your party have never recovered from this defeat. So you have spent three straight years attempting to overturn the will of the American people and nullify their votes. You view democracy as your enemy!"

Conceding the House vote, Trump said he wanted to set his words down “for the purpose of history.”

"You are the ones interfering in America's elections," Trump wrote. "You are the ones subverting America's Democracy. You are the ones Obstructing Justice. You are the ones bringing pain and suffering to our Republic for your own selfish personal, political, and partisan gain."


A letter from President Trump to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seen Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Washington. (Associated Press)

A letter from President Trump to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is seen Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Washington. (Associated Press)

Trump specifically hammered Pelosi for daring "to invoke the Founding Fathers in pursuit of this election-nullification scheme," and "even worse," for "offending Americans of faith by continually saying 'I pray for the President,' when you know this statement is not true, unless it is meant in a negative sense."

'A terrible thing'

"It is a terrible thing you are doing," Trump added, "but you will have to live with it, not I!"

Concerning the obstruction-of-Congress impeachment count, Trump attacked Democrats for "trying to impeach the duly elected President of the United States for asserting Constitutionally based privileges that have been asserted on a bipartisan basis by administrations of both political parties throughout our nation's history."


And, regarding the abuse-of-power charge, Trump noted that it was former Vice President Joe Biden who had "bragged" on video about having Ukraine's allegedly corrupt prosecutor fired by threatening to withhold $1 billion in critical U.S. aid. But, House Republicans have been barred by Democrats from calling witnesses that would help them make the case that Trump's concerns about Ukraine corruption were legitimate.

"More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch trials," Trump wrote, observing that even Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has repeatedly said at the United Nations that he felt no pressure from the White House to conduct political investigations in exchange for military aid.

"More due process was afforded to those accused in the Salem Witch trials."

— President Trump, to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

The president argued that Democrats were trying to distract Americans from the strong economy and historically low unemployment numbers, and pointed out that Democrats have openly called for impeachment since the day he took office.

Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, Trump noted, announced that "We're going to impeach the motherf—er" all the way back in January — long before Trump's mentioned Biden's possible corruption in a phone call with Zelensky.

Democrats' persistent but unsubstantiated allegations that the Trump campaign had conspired with Russians to influence the 2016 election, the president observed, ultimately "dissolved into dust," but not before the nation had to endure years of "turmoil and torment." (Also on Tuesday, in a highly unusual public statement, the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court slammed the FBI for its misleading warrant applications to surveil a former Trump aide during the Russia probe, and demanded immediate corrective action.)

But Pelosi, who warned earlier this year that impeachment would need to be bipartisan, called Trump's letter "ridiculous." She reaffirmed that Democrats would go ahead with impeachment, even though they lack any Republican support in the House.

“Very sadly, the facts have made clear that the President abused his power for his own personal, political benefit and that he obstructed Congress,” Pelosi wrote to colleagues. “In America, no one is above the law.”

One by one this week, centrist Democratic lawmakers, including many first-term freshmen who built the House majority and could risk their reelection in districts where the president is popular, announced they would follow Pelosi's lead and vote to impeach.


Polls have shown that Trump is now leading his top Democratic rivals, and that impeachment is actually helping Trump in key battleground states that might decide the 2020 election.

Nationally, a Fox News poll this week found that 50 percent of respondents want Trump impeached and removed from office, even as Trump's job approval ticked up.

Voters' frustrations

Voters in swing districts have increasingly voiced their frustrations at heated town halls as their representatives have said they will support impeachment. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., who represents a district Trump won in 2016, pointedly ignored protesters as she backed impeachment at an event this week.

For her part, Rep. Abby Finkenauer, D-Iowa, referred to the oath she took in January as she was sworn into office as guiding her decision. She announced support for both articles of impeachment to “honor my duty to defend our Constitution and democracy from abuse of power at the highest levels.”

One new Democratic congressman, Jared Golden of Maine, said he would vote to impeach on abuse of power but not obstruction, in an apparent effort to appease both sides on the issue.

And a freshman Democrat, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey, is indicating he will switch parties to become a Republican after opposing impeachment. Earlier this year, Michigan conservative Rep. Justin Amash left the GOP when he favored impeachment. Amash is now an independent.

A crowd gathers on Federal Plaza for a protest against President Trump on the eve of a scheduled vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on the two articles of impeachment against the president, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Chicago. (Associated Press)

A crowd gathers on Federal Plaza for a protest against President Trump on the eve of a scheduled vote by the U.S. House of Representatives on the two articles of impeachment against the president, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019, in Chicago. (Associated Press)

After Trump's likely impeachment by a majority vote in the House, attention will soon shift to the Senate, which, under the Constitution, is required to hold a trial on the charges. That trial is expected to begin in January, and a two-thirds vote would be needed to convict Trump and remove him from office.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has embraced the partisan nature of impeachment, dropping pretenses of fairness — such as those adopted by Democrats, which he has characterized as superficial and transparently phony, even as they refused GOP witness requests, called numerous hearsay witnesses, and introduced articles of impeachment that do not track any criminal statute.

“I'm not an impartial juror,” McConnell declared, saying that Democrats' procedures in the House were exclusively one-sided. The Republican-majority chamber is all but sure to acquit the president.


'A political decision'

“Impeachment is a political decision,” McConnell said. "The House made a partisan political decision to impeach. I would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the Senate. I’m not impartial about this at all.''

McConnell struck back Tuesday at his Democratic counterpart's calls for an in-depth impeachment trial featuring multiple new witnesses, dismissing the push as a "fishing expedition" that would set a "nightmarish precedent."

"The Senate is meant to act as judge and jury, to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it,” he said on the Senate floor.

"The Senate is meant to act as judge and jury, to hear a trial, not to re-run the entire fact-finding investigation because angry partisans rushed sloppily through it.”

— Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., left, and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, dismisses the impeachment process against President Trump, saying, "I'm not an impartial juror. This is a political process," as he meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (Associated Press)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., joined by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., left, and Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, dismisses the impeachment process against President Trump, saying, "I'm not an impartial juror. This is a political process," as he meets with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 17, 2019. (Associated Press)

In a Sunday letter, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer had called for the chamber to subpoena new documents and call witnesses who had been blocked by the White House during the impeachment inquiry on the House side.

McConnell claimed that such investigative steps, though, were part of the House role — not a mission for the Senate. He warned that entertaining Schumer’s proposal to do House lawmakers’ “homework” could invite a string of future “dubious” and “frivolous” impeachment inquiries.

He stressed the fact-finding mission should have been completed during the impeachment inquiry led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. McConnell accused the House of doing a rush job, and said Schumer is now looking "to make Chairman Schiff's sloppy work more persuasive."

Even after voting to impeach Trump, the House still would need to vote formally to send the impeachment articles to the Senate. In 1998, the House approved the resolution to send the articles to the Senate about 10 minutes after the House voted to impeach then-President Bill Clinton. But, Democrats might delay sending the articles to the GOP-held Senate this time around, in a bid to influence the proceedings there.


Such an unprecedented move, however, would likely only further inflame Republicans and moderates who have already looked with skepticism on the impeachment proceedings.

"The allegations against the President are incredibly, incredibly serious," Virginia Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger, who flipped a GOP seat in 2018, told constituents this week.

A constituent quickly retorted: "They're incredible bulls–t."

Fox News' Chad Pergram, Adam Shaw, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Anti-Trump Republicans launch PAC to defeat him, as president’s campaign mocks ‘pathetic little club’

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Impeachment polling trending in Trump's favor: Juan Williams

Juan Williams weighs in on new national impeachment polling and discusses if democrats should have gone for censure rather than impeachment

A group of prominent anti-Trump Republicans launched a new super PAC on Tuesday aimed at preventing the GOP incumbent’s 2020 re-election and even defeating some of the president’s top congressional allies at the ballot box next November.

“We are Republicans and we want Trump defeated,” is the title of an op-ed in the New York Times announcing the launch of the group, which is called the Lincoln Project.


“Over these next 11 months, our efforts will be dedicated to defeating President Trump and Trumpism at the ballot box and to elect those patriots who will hold the line. We do not undertake this task lightly, nor from ideological preference,” the GOP strategists behind the effort said.

The president’s re-election campaign quickly fired back, with communications director Tim Murtaugh calling the Lincoln Project a “pathetic little club of irrelevant and faux ‘Republicans,’ who are upset that they’ve lost all of their power and influence inside the Republican Party.”

The ringleaders of the group – which includes vocal anti-Trump critic attorney George Conway, husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway – said in their op-ed that they've been “broadly conservative … in our politics and outlooks. Our many policy differences with national Democrats remain, but our shared fidelity to the Constitution dictates a common effort.”

George Conway's partners in the new anti-Trump effort include Steve Schmidt, a Republican strategist who worked for then-President George W. Bush, Sen. John McCain and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger; GOP strategist John Weaver, who worked for then-President George H.W. Bush, McCain, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich; and Republican media consultant Rick Wilson, author of “Everything Trump Touches Dies” who frequently tears into Trump on Twitter and during cable appearances.

Murtaugh, in returning fire, described the super PAC’s leaders as “establishment charlatans, who for years enriched themselves off the backs of the conservative movement, were the very swamp he was referring too. Calling any of these people ‘conservative’ or even referring to them as ‘Republicans’ at this point is an insult to conservatives and Republicans everywhere.”


Pointing to a likely record-high turnout in the 2020 general election, the Lincoln Project’s leaders said that their “efforts are aimed at persuading enough disaffected conservatives, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents in swing states and districts to help ensure a victory in the Electoral College, and congressional majorities that don’t enable or abet Mr. Trump’s violations of the Constitution, even if that means Democratic control of the Senate and an expanded Democratic majority in the House.”

They argue that the president “has neither the moral compass nor the temperament to serve” and say that Trump’s “actions are possible only with the craven acquiescence of congressional Republicans.”

The group told Fox News about five hours after the launch of their op-ed and website that “we have raised a significant amount of money since the op-ed went live this morning.” Former New Hampshire GOP chair Jennifer Horn, who’s serving as an adviser with the Lincoln Project, said that “we’re going to use all the resources that we have available to us to go out to go after President Trump and to also target in particular some of the Senate seats.”

Among those GOP-controlled Senate seats she listed were Arizona, Colorado, and Maine. She said that depending on the fundraising, the group would go up with digital, cable, and broadcast TV ads.

“It’s easy to figure out who our audience is,” Horn shared. “Likeminded disaffected Republicans – independents who are persuadable and lean right.”

Horn said that the group’s energies won’t be directed toward helping either of two remaining long-shot shot presidential primary challengers taking on Trump, who is on the cusp of facing a full House impeachment vote but is likely to be acquitted in the Senate.

One of those two challengers is former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who in April declared his bid for the GOP presidential nomination.

Hours after the announcement of the Lincoln Project, Weld told Fox News he shares the same goal as the group.

“It’s the same message. It’s that the president has misbehaved and deserves to be removed,” Weld said.

Original Article

President Trump: ‘The impeachment hoax is the greatest con job in the history of American politics’

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Paraguay’s President Mario Abdo Benitez in the Oval Office of the White House, Friday, Dec. 13, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:32 AM PT — Monday, December 16, 2019

President Trump is urging Americans to read the transcripts of his calls with his Ukrainian counterpart, while also slamming the Democrats’ impeachment push. In a tweet Monday, the president called the inquiry “the greatest con job in the history of American politics.”

This comes as the House Judiciary Committee officially released its impeachment report against the president. The more than 600 page document was uploaded online and released to the House on Monday. It lays out everything from the constitutional grounds for impeachment to the committee’s findings and justifications behind their push to move forward.

READ THE FULL REPORT: Impeachment of Donald J. Trump — Report of the Committee on the Judiciary House of Representatives

The document stops short of calling for President Trump’s impeachment, however, it does ask members to determine whether the president abused his power with evidence broken down into four overarching parts. Congress will review the report ahead of Wednesday’s scheduled vote on the House floor.

RELATED: Sen. Graham Invites Rudy Giuliani To Testify About Ukraine Trip With OAN

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Trump administration sanctions Nicaraguan president’s son for alleged corruption, money laundering

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The son of Nicaragua's President Daniel Ortega faced financial sanctions from the White House on Thursday, after the Trump administration reprimanded him for alleged corruption and money laundering.

Rafael Ortega incurred the wrath of the U.S. government officials after committing human rights violations and acts of financial deception, according to a statement from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"This new action furthers the United States’ unwavering commitment to use all economic and diplomatic tools to hold the government of Daniel Ortega accountable for acts of corruption and unconscionable human rights violations, and to support the Nicaraguan people’s struggle for a return to democracy," Pompeo said in a statement.

Pompeo cited an executive order from President Trump as the foundation for freezing Rafael Ortega's assets and accused him of working in secret to launder ill-gotten gains through seemingly legitimate enterprises.

"Rafael Ortega is a key money manager for the Ortega family, working alongside the previously sanctioned Vice President of Nicaragua and First Lady Rosario Murillo," Pompeo continued.


"Rafael Ortega uses at least two companies under his control, Inversiones Zanzibar, S.A and Servicio De Proteccion Y Vigilancia, S.A., to generate profits, launder money, and gain preferential access to markets for the Ortega regime. He uses Inversiones Zanzibar to obscure the transfer of profits from Distribuidor Nicaraguense de Petroleo, also designated today, and as a front company to procure fuel stations in an attempt to obscure DNP’s ownership of such fuel stations," he said.

The State Department also alleged that Ortega granted non-competitive government contracts to his cronies in an effort to reward political allies and stifle healthy competition.

"The United States urges the Ortega regime to resume dialogue with the opposition and restore democracy in the country, thereby fulfilling its obligations under the Inter-American Democratic Charter," Pompeo said.

"Nicaragua’s painful political crisis can only be resolved through free and fair elections that credibly reflect the will of the Nicaraguan people and with full respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms," he added.


In July 2018, Daniel Ortega rejected calls for an early election in response to the country's political unrest. His tenure has been rocked by protests and accusations of dictatorial corruption. His current term is up in 2021.

Original Article

Tom Ridge says Trump’s Ukraine call left him ‘disappointed and troubled,’ says he won’t back president in 2020

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President Trump abused the power of his office by asking the leader of Ukraine to investigate Democrat Joe Biden, the nation’s first homeland security secretary said Tuesday.

Tom Ridge, who led the Department of Homeland Security from its creation in 2003 until February 2005, made the remarks in Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania capital, just a short distance from where Trump addressed a rally in Hershey later in the day.


“I am disappointed and troubled by the very fact that my president – and he is my president – would ask a foreign leader of a troubled country who’s been besieged by an enemy of the United States, to do him a political favor,” Ridge said at a renewable energy event sponsored by the Pennsylvania Conservative Energy Forum, reported. “As far as I’m concerned, it is abuse of power.”

Ridge, now 74, was a Republican governor of Pennsylvania from 1995 until 2001, when he resigned soon after taking the job of homeland security adviser to former President George W. Bush soon after the terror attacks of Sept. 11. The adviser job eventually evolved into the Cabinet-level position it remains today.

Tom Ridge was the inaugural secretary of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush. (Associated Press)

Tom Ridge was the inaugural secretary of Homeland Security under former President George W. Bush. (Associated Press)

He made it clear that he won’t support Trump in 2020 and has said previously that he didn’t support Trump in 2016. He said his 2020 choice will be whichever candidate can bring “experience and demeanor and global perspective” to the job, when Republican or Democrat.

But he won’t publicly endorse a Democrat, he added.

“I’m going to wait and see what the Democrats do before I make my final decision,” he told PennLive. “People know how I feel about Trump so obviously I will be looking for an alternative. If not, as I’ve said to folks before, I wrote in the names of two Republican governors before because I love govs.”

Ridge added that he thinks Trump’s handling of foreign policy has allowed other countries to assert their own agendas, particularly Russia.


Russian President Vladimir Putin “has got to be one of the happiest world leaders,” Ridge said.

“Even in his wildest imagination he never imagined when he played in our election in 2016, and he’s playing with it in 2019 and 2020, that he would have four years of incredible political destabilization because of what he did and he’ll keep doing it.”

Original Article

Pierce Bush, grandson of George H.W. Bush, launches congressional bid in Texas

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A grandson of the late President George H.W. Bush launched a congressional bid Monday in Texas, while aligning himself with President Trump to jump into a crowded Republican field for the suburban Houston seat.

Pierce Bush, currently the CEO of the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Texas affiliate, told reporters he planned to talk up his nonprofit work, not his family name, in his bid to replace retiring GOP Rep. Pete Olson, NPR reported.

Bush, 33, is set to join one of the most crowded congressional races in the 2020 election. At least 14 other Republicans have been vying for Olson’s seat, which Democrats nearly flipped in 2018 and were targeting again.


“This is not about my family. This is about the families of the 22nd Congressional District,” Bush said.

Former President George H. W. Bush leaving the field with the help of Pierce Bush, left, his grandson, before the a college football game in Houston, in 2009. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel, File)

Former President George H. W. Bush leaving the field with the help of Pierce Bush, left, his grandson, before the a college football game in Houston, in 2009. (AP Photo/Dave Einsel, File)

In his announcement video, he said the nation has been on the “brink of losing a generation to an idea that socialism and free stuff are the answers for their future.”

In an interview with The Associated Press, Bush, who has not lived in the district he was hoping to represent, backed Trump’s policies.

“When you look at the alternative first of all, how can you be anything but a supporter of the president’s policies?” he said. “I look forward to being a partner in Washington, and speaking of course with my own voice, but supporting the president’s agenda.”

One of his GOP rivals, former Border Patrol agent Greg Hill, said he had “strong doubts about any candidate who would try to parachute into our district and buy this seat.”

Bush, whose father is Texas businessman Neil Bush, didn’t mention Trump in his announcement. The president has had a fraught history with the Bush family at best.

In the book “The Last Republicans,” the 41st president said of Trump, “I don’t like him,” before famously calling him a “blowhard.” He also said he voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.


Trump mocked former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush during the 2016 presidential campaign, calling him “low energy.” During a visit to Texas earlier this year, he introduced George P. Bush, a Texas land commissioner, as “the only Bush that likes me.”

While discussing Trump, Pierce Bush criticized the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry against the president, calling it “an attack-at-all-costs politics.”

Original Article

John Kerry endorses Biden for president, says Trump has ‘broken apart’ country

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Former Secretary of State John Kerry announced on Thursday that he is endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden in his 2020 White House bid.

Kerry, who was the Democratic presidential nominee in 2004, losing to President George W. Bush, said in a tweet that he was endorsing Biden because the former vice president can “put back together the country and the world that Donald Trump has broken apart.”

“I’m not endorsing Joe because I’ve known him for so long, “Kerry tweeted. “But because I know him so well: he'll be ready on day one to put back together the country and the world that Donald Trump has broken apart.”


Kerry, who worked with Biden during their time in the Senate and in the Obama administration, is arguably the most high-profile Democrat to lend an endorsement to the former vice president. The nod comes as Biden has regained the lead in a number of national polls.

The former secretary of state will join Biden in Iowa on Friday as part of a week-long bus tour of the early voting state. Kerry will also accompany Biden to New Hampshire, and said he plans to campaign for him in the coming weeks and months. Despite holding a sizeable lead in the national polls, Biden trails far behind South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the polls in both Iowa and New Hampshire.

Joe Biden signals no hard feelings toward Kamala Harris; Cory Booker laments lack of diversity in 2020 fieldVideo

While the Kerry’s endorsement of Biden made headlines, Buttigieg on Thursday picked up the endorsement of a number of former Obama administration staffers, including from the former president's body man, or personal assistant, Reggie Love.

"A lot of what is said about Pete echoes what critics said about presidential candidate Barack Obama – too young, too different, maybe another time – but I believe there is never a better time to fight for change than right now," said Love, who served as Obama’s special assistant and aide from 2007 to 2011, in a statement.


Buttigieg also nabbed the endorsement of Linda Douglass, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Austan Goolsbee, and the former communications director for the White House Office of Health Reform.

Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden look to make gains in key statesVideo

Obama himself has yet to endorse a candidate for the 2020 Democratic nomination, but Biden told Politico earlier this week that he was not worried about getting the backing of his former boss.

“[E]veryone knows I’m close with him,” he said. “I don’t need an Obama endorsement.”

Original Article

Inside President Trump’s secret trip to Afghanistan

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Incredible security measures behind President Trump's Thanksgiving trip to Afghanistan

The White House did not inform the president of Afghanistan of President Trump's visit until a few hours before the president landed at Bagram Airbase; Kristin Fisher reports from West Palm Beach, Florida.

Meet on top of a parking garage. Pack warm. Pack light.

Those were my only instructions as I head out on top secret Thanksgiving trip with the President of the United States.

“Are you Kristin?” said a man on top of the parking garage who looked like he was in the Secret Service, but wouldn’t confirm it. Once we were rolling to Joint Base Andrews, he hit me with the bomb that I knew was coming. “In a few minutes, I’m going to need to take all of your cell phones, iWatch, iPad, MiFi, anything that can transmit a signal.”


I had prepared for this moment. I’d written down about a dozen phone numbers in a notebook that I never use. I scribbled out the names of people and places I might encounter without access to Google for a spell check. I printed out pages and pages of articles that might be relevant for wherever we were going. And yet, I still felt like I was giving away an organ as I said goodbye to my three cell phones. “Maybe a digital detox will be good for me!” I quipped, but didn’t mean it. I was really thinking about all the content-that-could-have-been for my Instagram feed.

I was still compulsively checking my pockets for my ghost phones by the time I boarded an aircraft that I can’t disclose and shook hands with people that I cannot name (not because I don’t want to name them, but because most of them wouldn’t tell me their names). Someone asked me if I’d brought food. No. Someone else asked if I brought ear protection. Definitely no. Someone else told me that if I need to use the bathroom, use the aircraft’s built-in bathroom and not the moderately fancy port-a-potty that had been brought in for the VIPs we were picking up. Noted.

After a two-hour flight to an undisclosed airport in Florida, I was instructed to move up to the cockpit. “The boss is coming.” The move was meant to give the President and the handful of senior advisers traveling with him some privacy from the only member of the press on the plane. But shortly after boarding, President Trump climbed into the cockpit and said, “Where’s the press?” We shook hands and he asked if I was going “all the way.” Yes but, all the way… where?

Suddenly, there was a pesky dividing wall between us. The President was taking a seat behind the pilot, while I was getting strapped into a seat facing the opposite direction with no way to see or hear the commander in chief. I strained my neck as far the restraints would let me, to the point one crew member told me, “Don’t worry, we’ll let you look out the window after takeoff when the President leaves.” Wait, he’s staying in the cockpit for takeoff? The crew member nodded like he too couldn’t believe it.

I later learned that the crew had no idea who they would be transporting that day until mere hours before the flight. Imagine being that pilot. You wake up one morning having no idea that a few hours later the President of the United States will be sitting behind you, watching your every move as you help him secretly escape from Mar-a-Lago?

When we landed back at Joint Base Andrews, I learned I wasn’t the only one going through communication withdrawls. The highly-wired West Wing staffers were too.

Dan Scavino, the White House’s director of social media, seemed particularly jittery. As for the tweeter-in-chief, the White House scheduled pre-planned tweets to be sent from the President’s twitter account during the many hours that he was in the dark.

I scoured the tarmac for the bright lights that usually shine on Air Force One before departure, but didn’t see any. After a short drive, we pulled up to a large hanger with Air Force One hidden inside. I’d never been on the plane before and I was trying to savor the moment, but the rest of the White House press corps was already on board and they were peppering me with questions about the secret flight from Florida before I even found my seat. They’re a feisty bunch and one of the best parts of every trip are getting to know the other journalists that cover this beat.

We all had fears that the embargo would be broken before we were allowed to report on the trip. We all wanted to know when we were going to get our cell phones back. And most of all, we all wanted to know where we were going.

Trump says US will resume peace talks with Taliban during surprise Afghanistan visitVideo

A few hours after the plane took off in total darkness with windows drawn and lights off, the White House Press Secretary, Stephanie Grisham, came to the back of the plane to brief us. “We’re going to Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan.” This would be President Trump’s second trip to a conflict zone, his first to Afghanistan. The highly clandestine nature of this trip underscored just how dangerous the country remains, eighteen years after the U.S. war in Afghanistan began.

After a thirteen hour flight, we descended in total darkness – lights off, windows drawn – and touched down on a pitch black tarmac. As I stepped off the plane, I tried to take a second to soak it in. This is a country I’ve always wanted to come to. When I first met my future mother-in-law ten years ago, I told her, much to my future husband’s horror, that my dream was to be a war correspondent in Afghanistan. Dreams change, but the desire to visit this country has not. I’d only be getting about three hours on the ground at night due to security concerns, but I was thrilled to be here. I spotted two surveillance blimps in the sky above Air Force One. I smelled the wood (and garbage) that often burns on base. And then, we were off.

It was quite possibly the fastest three and a half hours of my life. The thirteen reporters and photographers on the trip were raced from place to place. First, to a dining facility decked out in Thanksgiving decorations to watch President Trump serve turkey to the troops; then, a hastily arranged bilateral meeting with the President of Afghanistan, who had only been informed of this trip a few hours earlier due to, once again, security concerns. At this point, the trip went from being mostly a holiday story about turkey and troops, to – in the words of another reporter – “We’re going to get some real news on this trip!”


With microphones on and shutters snapping, President Trump said, “The Taliban wants to make a deal and we are meeting with them, and we are saying there has to be a ceasefire.” It was another one of those hard to hear, did-he-just-say-that moments? I followed up by asking him if this meant that the United States has officially restarted negotiations with the Taliban after he’d called the peace talks “dead” in September. The President nodded and said, “We are talking with the Taliban.”

Trump back in US after surprise Thanksgiving trip to AfghanistanVideo

We were still scrambling to jot down all of the newsiest bits as we were handed back our cell phones and rushed to our final stop: a massive hanger filled with hundreds of troops waiting to hear President Trump deliver a Thanksgiving address. This was also the stop where the embargo would be lifted and we would be filing our reports to let the world know what President Trump had really been up to. Everything I had been writing on my laptop, and all of the video we had been shooting, hinged on our ability to connect to whatever internet the White House advance team had set up for us. There have been problems on past trips, but this time the White House went all out to establish a full filing center. And yet… when the “Go! Go! The embargo’s been lifted” moment came, I couldn’t access my email to hit send. Gmail deemed me to be suspicious and locked me out of my account.

Time slowed. My pulse quickened. Every expletive in the world was begging to be shouted. My boss’s back in DC and I had discussed at length this very moment. Our plan was to use my personal email because my work email required a cell phone to connect, and we weren’t supposed to get our cell phones back until after… Wait! My cell phones! After more than 24 hours without them, I’d almost forgotten that they were back in my pocket. The ghosts glowed to life and I hit send.

At the same time, my crew, Craig Savage and Ed Lewis, two of the most experienced photographers in the business, were beginning to feed their footage and all the cable networks were taking it live. We were supposed to have a full 30 minutes to feed, but we’d already been on the ground in Afghanistan longer than the Secret Service would like. “You’ve got 7 minutes!” Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere shouted to the press. 7 minutes?! This was my only window to shoot a standup, that hey-look-at-me-I’m-on-the-ground-in-Afghanistan moment, but we still had over 30 minutes of video left to feed. The standup was dead.


Deere, who was spending his birthday dealing with our constant demands for more time, more access, more internet, had warned us that when he said go, we had to stop our fingers and feeds and move. Air Force One was not going to wait for us. I still begged for more time. “How much time do you need?” asked Deere. As much time as you can give me. “You’ve got 2 minutes.” 2 minutes?! We fed as much as we could, promised to feed more as soon as possible, grabbed our gear, and ran to the plane.

We were still trying to feed as Air Force One took off. I was standing in the middle of the aisle, shouting over the engines to my desk back in DC, and marveling that no one had told me to buckle up. Sweating through my silk shirt and dusting sawdust from somewhere off my pants, I took a second to smile at the coolest Thanksgiving Day I’ll ever have.

Original Article

Progressives decry fake ICE university – turns out it was created under President Obama

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2020 hopeful Michael Bloomberg slams Trump for immigration policies

Reaction and analysis from Young Americans for Liberty analyst Kristin Tate.

Progressives unleashed on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Wednesday over reports that the agency arrested 90 foreign-born students who had enrolled in a fake university, but someone forgot to tell them that the sting operation predates their favorite target, President Trump.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and others reacted to news of the arrests by accusing ICE of entrapping students and implying that the tactic was new under the Trump administration. As it turns out, former President Obama's administration not only founded the fake university, it engaged in a similar operation in New Jersey in 2016.

"Earlier this year, Congress rushed to approve BILLIONS more $ for ICE + CBP," Ocasio-Cortez tweeted. "I saw members voting YES w/o even a summary of the bill. Nobody cared then how we’d pay for it. Now ICE is setting up fake universities to trap students. Yet were [sic] called radical for opposing it."

"This is cruel and appalling," Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., tweeted. Actress and activist Alyssa Milano similarly seemed shocked by the news.


In total, 250 students have been arrested in connection to the fake University of Farmington. When the university and associated arrests were reported on in January of 2019, federal prosecutors alleged the students had knowingly enrolled in the fake school in order to maintain their student visa status.

“Each of the foreign citizens who ‘enrolled’ and made ‘tuition’ payments to the University knew that they would not attend any actual classes, earn credits, or make academic progress toward an actual degree in a particular field of study,” the indictments read, according to The New York Times.


The Detroit News reported that Homeland Security agents started posing as university officials in 2017, but the university initially opened in 2015 as part of "Paper Chase" — an undercover operation geared toward exposing recruiters engaging in immigration fraud.

Federal officials reportedly also arrested 21 people on visa fraud, using the fraudulent University of Northern New Jersey in 2016.

The vast majority (80 percent) of the arrests in Michigan resulted in "voluntary departure" from the United States, according to the Detroit Free Press. The remaining students either received an order for removal, contested their removal, or filed for relief.

While many progressive complaints didn't specifically blame the Trump administration, the incident highlighted how Trump has repeatedly been attacked for tactics used or supported by his predecessor. Ocasio-Cortez has also clarified that she opposed Obama's immigration policies.


One of Democrats' primary complaints about Trump is that he put "kids in cages" — a reference to the detention of undocumented minors attempting to cross the border.

Jeh Johnson, a former Homeland Security secretary under Obama, said the Trump administration hadn't invented the detention tactic.

Johnson said that chain-link fences or "cages" weren't ideal but were one of the ways authorities dealt with a mass immigrants that had to be transferred to Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours. "During that 72 hour period, when you have something that is a multiple — like four times of what you're accustomed to in the existing infrastructure, you've got to find places quickly to put kids," he said before suggesting the alternative was putting them on "the streets."

And when House Democrats held a hearing on migrant detention, they brandished an Obama-era photo of fenced-in migrants.



Most recently, several media organizations were forced to make retractions after falsely attributing an Obama-era migrant child-detention statistic to President Trump.

Manfred Nowak, an expert from the U.N. Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, claimed that 100,000 migrant children were detained by the Trump administration and indicated that it was the "world's highest rate" of detained children. The following day, however, Nowak acknowledged that the cited number was from 2015, under President Obama.

Fox News' Brian Flood contributed to this report.

Original Article

Super PAC supporting Cory Booker for president shuts down

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A super PAC formed to support Sen. Cory Booker's presidential campaign announced Wednesday that it would cease operations.

Steve Phillips, a San Francisco lawyer and founder of Dream United, indicated in a news release that the super PAC had struggled to raise money. Booker, D-N.J., has publicly disavowed support from super PACs, which aren't required to disclose their donors publicly.

"We remain firm in our belief that Senator Cory Booker is uniquely qualified to unite and heal Americans across this country at this critical point in our history," a statement on Dream United's website read. "Respecting the Senator’s publicly-stated sentiments about SuperPACs, Dream United will cease operations effective immediately."

Phillips, a Stanford University classmate of Booker, said in his statement that it became clear while trying to fundraise "that the donor community is strictly adhering to Senator Booker’s publicly articulated wishes that he does not welcome independent support."


The group raised a little over $1.1 million during the first six months of the year, far short of Phillips' stated goal of $10 million. Politico reported in July that almost all of those funds were contributed by Phillips' wife, Susan Sandler. The couple have previously helped raise money for high-profile black candidates, including former President Barack Obama and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

Booker's campaign has struggled to gain traction. A Fox News poll of Democratic primary voters nationwide published earlier this month showed Booker with 2 percent support, 29 percentage points behind front-runner Joe Biden.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article

Obama’s Biden dig latest sign ex-president’s inner circle has doubts about his veep

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Obama reportedly said Biden 'doesn't really have' bond with voters

Fox News contributor Karl Rove and 'The Five' co-host Juan Williams weigh in.

Joe Biden, from the very outset of his 2020 bid, has sought to leverage his history with old running mate President Barack Obama to propel him to the Democratic presidential nomination — the problem is, this does not appear to be a plan shared by the former president or his closest advisers.

First, there was the persistent criticism of Biden's campaign from Obama's inner circle. Then, there were the lingering questions over why "44" has not simply endorsed his former vice president. Now come reports that Obama has made discouraging — even derisive — comments about his candidacy.


"[Y]ou know who really doesn’t have it? Joe Biden," Obama said about a connection with voters, according to a recent Politico Magazine report. That remark reportedly was made to one of Biden's Democratic primary opponents.

An August New York Times report also cited a source who claimed that before Biden officially entered the 2020 race, Obama told him, “You don’t have to do this, Joe, you really don’t.”

That article came after Obama's former top strategist David Axelrod had harsh words for the former vice president. Axelrod warned that Biden “has sort of played into the caricature” of being mentally weak that President Trump has played on in the past. This, after Axelrod had questioned Biden's "steadiness" regarding an abortion policy flip-flop.

Axelrod also has described Biden as “confused” and suggested he looked like “part of the past rather than the future,” after a heated exchange during a June debate between Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

The dismissive commentary from one of the chief architects of Obama's history-making 2008 presidential run is not helpful for a candidate who has latched his campaign to the Obama legacy — routinely defending ObamaCare in the face of primary rivals vowing to pursue "Medicare-for-all," and reminding voters of their bond. (In the category of kidding/not kidding, Biden once posted matching friendship bracelets on Twitter wishing the former commander-in-chief a happy Best Friends Day. Obama responded with a classy, "Back atcha Joe," along with a GIF of him calling Biden the "best VP America has ever had.")

Obama may think Biden was a great VP — but that doesn't mean he sees him as president.

Karl Rove, former deputy chief of staff for President George W. Bush and current Fox News contributor, pointed to signals from Obama's aides.

“The Obama team is everywhere across the field and you don’t get the sense that there’s a lot of love and enthusiasm for Joe Biden as a candidate,” Rove said Tuesday. “Maybe it’s because they don’t think he can get it across the line, maybe it’s because they don’t agree with him, or maybe it’s because they dealt with him in the Obama administration and while they have a great deal of affection for him don’t think he has what it takes to be a presidential candidate and a victor.”


Obama has yet to endorse any candidate in the race, but Biden has said that it was his decision not to seek an endorsement from the former president.

At the same time, the mixed messages from Obama World do not seem to be hurting Biden at the moment.

A new CNN poll released Wednesday has Biden leading the pack with 28 percent, well ahead of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with 17 percent, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., with 14 percent, and South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 11 percent.

And a newly released Quinnipiac University poll of Democratic-leaning voters had Biden in first place with 24 percent, and way ahead of the other candidates on the question of who would have the best chance of defeating Trump.

Original Article

President Trump, first lady pay respects to Army officers killed in Afghanistan crash

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President Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid their respects Thursday evening to two U.S. Army officers who were killed this week in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

The president and first lady traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, where they watched as flag-draped coffins containing the bodies of Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, 33, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami Jr., 25, were removed from a military aircraft.

The Trumps and a small group of aides and military personnel bowed their heads in prayer, then saluted or held a hand over their heart as a U.S. Army carry team transported the coffins.


Trump has described witnessing the transfer of remains of fallen military personnel as “the toughest thing I have to do” as president.

Both Knadle, of Tarrant, Texas, and Fuchigami Jr., of Keaau, Hawaii, died Wednesday when their helicopter crashed as they provided air cover for ground troops in Logar Province in eastern Afghanistan. Both were assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami died Wednesday in Logar Province, Afghanistan, when their helicopter crashed while providing security for troops on the ground. (U.S. Army)

Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kirk T. Fuchigami died Wednesday in Logar Province, Afghanistan, when their helicopter crashed while providing security for troops on the ground. (U.S. Army)

The crash brought this year’s U.S. death toll in Afghanistan to 19, excluding three noncombat deaths, The Associated Press reported. More than 2,400 Americans have died in Afghanistan since military operations began there in 2001.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for shooting down the helicopter, but the U.S. military has dismissed that as a false claim. The crash remains under investigation.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump watch as a U.S. Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, of Tarrant, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (Associated Press)

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump watch as a U.S. Army carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Chief Warrant Officer 2 David C. Knadle, of Tarrant, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. (Associated Press)

Those accompanying the president and first lady included Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien, Deputy Defense Secretary David Norquist, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, Army Sgt. Major Michael Grinston and actor Jon Voight, who came at Trump’s invitation after being honored at a White House ceremony earlier in the day.


The trip to Dover was the president’s second this year and third overall since taking office. In January, Trump paid his respects to four Americans who were killed by a suicide bombing in Syria, and in February 2017, shortly after taking office, Trump attended a transfer service for a Navy SEAL who was killed during a raid against al-Qaeda in Yemen.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Original Article

Holmes’ claim that Sondland told Trump the Ukraine president ‘loves your a–‘ sparks GOP lawmaker’s rebuke

closeRep. Turner tells Holmes he 'embarrassed' Zelensky by disclosing the 'Zelensky loves your a--' remarkVideo

Rep. Turner tells Holmes he 'embarrassed' Zelensky by disclosing the 'Zelensky loves your a–' remark

Republican Rep. Mike Turner lectures impeachment witness David Holmes on disclosing a remark Amb. Gordon Sondland made to President Trump on Zelensky: 'That information had nothing whatsoever to do with the subject manner of any of these hearings.'

Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, blasted State Department official David Holmes, accusing him of embarrassing Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday by revealing that Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told President Trump that Zelensky "loves your a–."

Turner confronted Holmes about his testimony that he overheard a phone conversation between Sondland and Trump a day after the controversial July 25 phone call at the center of the impeachment inquiry into alleged quid pro quo dealings between Trump and Ukraine.

Holmes said Trump was talking loud enough over the phone that he could hear the president say, "So, he's gonna do the investigation?" referring to Zelensky opening up an investigation into the Ukraine business dealings of 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter.


Holmes then said he heard Sondland reply, "He's gonna do it," and tell the president that Zelensky "loves your a–" and would do "anything you ask him to."

Turner did not ask any questions to Holmes or Fiona Hill, a former top National Security Council who also appeared for testimony on the fifth day of public impeachment inquiry hearings, but instead lambasted the diplomat for his account of what he heard.

"Mr. Holmes, that information had nothing whatsoever to do with the subject matter of any of these hearings. It was anecdotal, it was extraneous. Your statements that your interests are protecting Ukraine are very dubious when you embarrass President Zelensky by making those statements you didn’t have to make," Turner said.


"Who cares that Ambassador Sondland said that? And, you didn't embarrass Ambassador Sondland, you embarrassed Zelensky, because you know that he got asked that question in his own country, and people are hearing that statement as if it's true, and it’s totally dubious of you to do that," he added.

Holmes did not respond, and Turner yielded back his time.

Original Article

Adam Schiff closes public hearing with animated speech: ‘This president believes he is above the law’

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Adam Schiff calls out attacks, smears on impeachment witnesses

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff delivers closing statement at public hearing of House impeachment inquiry.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff closed the fifth day of public hearings in House Democrats' impeachment inquiry with a fiery speech, saying among other things that President Trump considers himself "above the law” and “beyond accountability.”

“In my view there is nothing more dangerous than an unethical president who believes they are above the law,” Schiff, D-Calif., said, referring to the claim that Trump pushed Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and withheld military aid as an incentive.

“We are better than that,” Schiff concluded as he struck a gavel in dramatic fashion.


Schiff also slammed Republican arguments, saying it was "clear to everyone" that aid was withheld from Ukraine on the condition of opening investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

Furthermore, he said Republicans' chracterization of testimony in the impeachment hearings as "hearsay" is "absurd."

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., with committee staffer Daniel Noble.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., with committee staffer Daniel Noble. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

"That would be like saying you can't rely on the testimony of the burglars during Watergate because it's only hearsay,” he said. “Or you can’t consider the fact that they tried to break in because they got caught. They actually didn’t get what they came for so no harm no foul. That’s absurd.”

Schiff’s remarks came as Democrats and Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee made their closing arguments to wrap up the final impeachment hearing of the week. It may, in fact, have been the final hearing in the Houe impeachment inquiry before the matter is turned over to the chamber's Judiciary Committee.


In his 20-minute speech, Schiff laid out what the committee has learned over the course of seven hearings on President Trump’s conduct with Ukraine, including details about the smear campaign against a “dedicated public servant,” former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and Trump's desire to have Ukraine investigate Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma Holdings and the Bidens.(Hunter had a seat on the company's board.)

“He [Trump] has to smear and destroy those who get in his way and someone fighting corruption in Ukraine was getting in his way so she’s [Yovanovitch is] gone,” Schiff said Thursday.

He said Democrats will have to examine “what is our duty” as they decide on next steps.

California Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the panel, called the hearings “a show trial” and said they had a pre-determined verdict.

Trump, who calls Schiff “the most dishonest man in politics,” has repeatedly blasted the lawmaker.

On Wednesday, Trump called Schiff as a "corrupt politician," telling reporters the congressman "stands up and he tells lies all day long. .. We have no due process."

On Thursday, the president directly attacked the congressman on Twitter. "No pressure on Ukraine," he said, referring to allegations of a quid pro quo. "Great corruption & dishonesty by Schiff on the other side!"

Schiff has accused Trump of engaging in a quid pro quo in pushing for Ukraine to investigate Burisma, the Bidens, and allegations that Ukraine, and not Russia, had attempted to meddle in American elections in 2016.

Schiff said Trump's actions were a "conditioning of official acts for something of great value to the president. These political investigations — it goes right to the heart of the issue of bribery as well as other potential high crimes or misdemeanors."

A statement from Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director, released Thursday said, “Adam Schiff has turned the House Intelligence Committee into an arm of the Democratic National Committee, and despite that has managed to produce no evidence at all that President Trump did anything wrong.”


In Thursday’s hearing, the committee heard testimony from former White House national security adviser Fiona Hill and David Holmes, the political counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

Fox News’ Sam Dorman, Alex Pappas, Charles Creitz and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Original Article