POLITICAL NEWS UPDATED


Power Up: Trump's attacks on Omar are a test for Democrats


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 12:25 - [CET]
Pelosi asked Capitol Police to make sure the congresswoman is safe.
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Brexit: Crockery records Parliamentary 'dog's dinner'


Reported to us by: BBC POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 12:22 - [CET]
Harriet Coles is making political tableware to mark some of the key Brexit moments.
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Growth of Germany's foreign population slows in 2018


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 12:14 - [CET]

BERLIN (AP) - The number of foreigners living in Germany increased by 2.7% last year, a slower rate than in previous years although there was a marked increase in the number of non-European Union citizens with work permits.

The Federal Statistical Office said Monday that nearly 10.92 million people with ...

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Shamima Begum: IS bride 'given legal aid' for citizenship fight


Reported to us by: BBC POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 12:13 - [CET]
Shamima Begum, who ran away to Syria aged 15, will get financial help to fight her citizenship case.
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POLITICO Playbook: What to expect when you’re expecting the Mueller report


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:49 - [CET]
And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's trade team gears up for USMCA talks.
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Danish police detain 23 after provocateur sparks violence


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:47 - [CET]

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) - Danish police say 23 people have been detained for violence after a far-right provocateur tossed a copy of the Quran in the air in an immigrant neighborhood in Copenhagen.

Copenhagen police said Monday the detainees were suspected of being behind dozens of arson fires of cars ...

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Brexit: Jeremy Hunt says 'absolute priority' to avoid European polls


Reported to us by: BBC POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:46 - [CET]
Jeremy Hunt suggests the Tories' pact with the DUP could be "rebuilt" to help get Brexit "over the line".
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Sudan's military attempts to break up sit-in, activists say


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:34 - [CET]

CAIRO (AP) - The Sudanese military attempted to break up an anti-government sit-in Monday outside its headquarters in the capital, Khartoum, but backed off, organizers behind the protests said. Later in the day, the African Union gave Sudan's transitional military council 15 days to hand over power to a "civilian-led ...

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Mia Farrow pursues anti-hunger work in South Sudan visit


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:16 - [CET]

JUBA, South Sudan (AP) - Mia Farrow will never forget the day she watched a baby die in her mother's arms.

"It was a little girl staring at her mother and finally she just stopped breathing. I just moved away and listened to the mother's cry," the actress and human ...

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Unsuccessful abortions focus of bill in N. Carolina Senate


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:12 - [CET]

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - The abortion debate is intensifying in North Carolina over a Republican measure supporters say will ensure doctors care properly for live babies delivered in unsuccessful abortions.

Abortion-rights activists argue the proposal slated for state Senate floor debate late Monday is unnecessary for a non-existent problem and ...

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On Tax Day, Trump tax cuts remain deeply unpopular


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:04 - [CET]


President Donald Trump boasted in Michigan last month that he signed into law “massive tax cuts, the biggest in the history of our country.”

As Americans rush Monday to finish up their own taxes, their judgment on Trump’s beloved tax cut bill is pretty clear: Most really don’t like it.

Multiple polls show a majority of Americans don’t think they got a tax cut at all — even though independent analyses show they did. And only around a third of the country approves of the legislation itself, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, passed by Congress at the end of 2017.

So as Trump moves closer to full-time reelection mode later this year, he will have to battle a stark reality: While his personal rating on the economy remains high, his signature legislative achievement is widely viewed as a political dud, one that has drawn special anger in places with high state and local taxes and pricey housing markets where deductions were limited to reduce the overall cost of the tax plan.

White House officials are clearly aware of their vulnerability on the issue and officials are dubbing this “Tax Cut Week,” sending the president out to tout the impact of the legislation starting in Minnesota on Monday.

The president still enjoys his highest marks on the performance of the economy overall. But the widespread unpopularity of the tax-cut legislation has offered Democrats running for president a giant opportunity to roast the president as showering benefits on corporate America while doing far less for average citizens he promised to help.


“I think the two major developments on tax attitudes are that Republicans have lost the edge they once had as the party best able to handle taxes,” said Karlyn Bowman, who analyzes polling data at the American Enterprise Institute. “And Democrats seem to be making headway by hammering away at the rich not paying enough.”

One reason many Americans don't feel the tax cut: The most dramatic benefit was aimed at slashing the corporate tax rate. And many Democrats want to undo much of that cut.

Just last week, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), one of over a dozen Democrats running for president, took direct aim at Trump’s tax cut bill by proposing a plan to add a 7 percent tax on corporate profits reported to investors over $100 million. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wants to help fund “Medicare for All” by rolling back some of Trump’s tax cuts. Multiple other Democratic candidates have suggested junking some or all of the Trump tax cuts to fund priorities from health and child care to infrastructure and universal savings accounts.

Polling data suggest Democrats have fertile ground to rip into Trump’s tax cuts.

A recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that just 17 percent of Americans believe their own taxes will go down as a result of the bill. A CBS News poll found that 40 percent said they saw no change from the tax bill. And more said it drove their taxes up (32 percent) than lowered their tax bill (25 percent.)

The bill itself has been unpopular from the start and remains so.

A Pew Research Center survey conducted last month found that 36 percent of Americans approve of the tax-cut law while 49 percent disapprove. Even the number of Republicans who strongly approve of the law dipped in the latest Pew survey.

White House officials’ response to the unpopularity of the tax cut is basically: Who cares?

They say slashing rates on corporations paved the way for stronger growth in 2018 and higher wages and will continue to do so in 2019, though many economists dispute the assertion that this year will be anywhere near as good as last. And they say Trump’s overall approval rating on the economy — 58 percent according to a recent Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service “Battleground Poll” — will overcome general voter antipathy to the tax-cut bill.


“There is a general principle that when the economy is strong, the incumbent tends to win,” said Kevin Hassett, chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. “And the sentiment indicators that matter are all looking great. People see the health of the economy clearly and their sentiment about it is super high.”

Republican strategists say Trump and the rest of the GOP would be in much better shape for 2020 if they could improve public perception of the tax cut and get people to believe in its role in fostering faster growth. Trump could still win with people disliking his tax legislation, they say, but he’s making it harder for himself.

“We had the same problem after the 2001 to 2003 tax bills,” said Tony Fratto of Hamilton Place Strategies who worked in the George W. Bush White House. “I do think the corporate tax structure is a huge improvement for U.S. firms, but that’s not always going to be apparent in the earliest years. They should bring forward firms and even individual families and have them tell their stories about how the new tax law is helping them.”

Republicans also have a case to make that antipathy to the tax-cut bill is not entirely fair. Tax preparation firm H&R Block said last week that that clients’ overall tax liability dropped nearly 25 percent in for 2018. But refunds were largely flat because the federal government changed withholding tables to direct the savings to Americans immediately.

That was no accident, according to Gary Cohn, Trump’s first National Economic Council director, who helped design the tax cuts with Republicans on Capitol Hill.

“There was a conscious decision made to get the withholding tables more accurate and therefore give consumers access to their money in real time, week to week, as they got their paychecks,” Cohn said, “not to have a deferred savings account that they wouldn’t get to touch until April.”

For the moment, even though the tax legislation remains unpopular, it appears that Trump could be running for reelection in a still-strong economy — though one that is losing some altitude. Fears of an imminent recession that spiked early this year have eased with a return to strong jobs numbers, a delay in the U.K.’s potentially messy departure from the European Union and better numbers out of China.


The Federal Reserve’s decision to stop its campaign of rate hikes — following repeated attacks by Trump to do exactly that — could also prolong the current expansion, which is set to become the longest in history this summer. The National Association for Business Economics in its most recent outlook predicted growth would slow to 2.4 percent this year but pegged the odds of recession by next year at just 35 percent.

Still, Democrats see an opportunity to re-run a playbook that helped them retake the House in 2018 by suggesting that while Trump ran as a populist focused on improving the lot of average workers, his tax policy actually tilted heavily to the wealthy and corporations.

“In 2018, the GOP’s tax giveaway to big corporations and the wealthy was an anchor that weighed down Republican candidates all over the country,” said Andrew Bates, a spokesman for Democratic super PAC American Bridge 21st Century. “Now it’s Donald Trump’s turn.”

Democrats are also hammering away at the impact the tax cut bill has had on the federal deficit. The monthly deficit hit an all-time high of $234 billion in February following a 20 percent drop in corporate tax revenue in the wake of the tax cut bill. The deficit for the first half of the year hit $691 billion, according to the Treasury Department, and is likely to reach $1.1 trillion by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.

That’s given Democrats a chance to both attack the impact of Trump’s tax cuts and his promises to reduce and even eliminate the federal debt.

“The decisions around tax cuts for the wealthiest — those have real consequences,” Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg said in a recent interview. “We know enough. We know too much. We’re not going to fall for the idea that these pay for themselves because they never have. That means somebody will pay for them, and it turns out that somebody is us.”


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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MIA from Beto’s campaign: Big policy ideas


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:02 - [CET]


Kamala Harris has her $315 billion proposal to raise teacher pay. Amy Klobuchar has a seven-point infrastructure investment plan. Elizabeth Warren is swimming in white papers on subjects ranging from tech company mergers to taxes and housing.

Beto O’Rourke’s most distinctive policy position? To be determined. There’s no signature issue yet, no single policy proposal sparking his campaign. Convening crowds — and listening to them — is the central thrust of his early presidential bid. And one month into the race, even some of O’Rourke’s supporters are starting to worry about persistent criticism that the charismatic Texan is missing big policy ideas of his own.

“Many of your critics often believe that you’re not clear or firm on your policy positions,” a caucus-goer told O’Rourke at a town hall-style meeting in Iowa recently. “What should we, as supporters and caucus-ers, say to rebut these claims?”

It’s not that O’Rourke doesn’t have positions. He does, and in the month since announcing his presidential campaign, he has expressed many of them with specificity. He has robust ideas about immigration, including a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. He has lauded the Green New Deal and called for a new Voting Rights Act. He was an early champion of legalizing marijuana — and co-wrote a book about it. He wants universal pre-K education, and he has touted a bill by Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) to dramatically expand Medicare coverage while maintaining a role for private health insurance.

Campaigning in South Carolina on Saturday, O’Rourke was endorsed by state Rep. Marvin Pendarvis, who said he was proud to support a politician who is “looking at how we can ensure that all Americans have a quality of life that is necessary in the form of health care and affordable housing and a quality education.”


But none of those positions are unique to O’Rourke. And with his relatively meager legislative record — and a belief that he can transcend ideological lanes within the Democratic Party — even O'Rourke appears unclear about where he fits on the policy spectrum.

When a Republican voter told O’Rourke after a campaign event recently that he came off “a little bit more centrist” than she expected and asked, “Is that true?” O’Rourke replied, “That’s a great question.”

Then O’Rourke, who only weeks earlier had proclaimed that the nation’s “extraordinary, unprecedented concentration of wealth and power and privilege must be broken apart,” told the woman, “I guess it’s probably for you and voters to decide.”

“All I can do is share the things that I believe in and the way in which I want to campaign,” O’Rourke said. “And then where you want to affix me on the political spectrum is up to you.”

Unlike some of his lower-profile competitors, O’Rourke has not been compelled to release policy papers to draw media attention or donor interest. And the experience of the nation’s last Democratic president, Barack Obama, suggests O’Rourke has ample time to build a policy portfolio.


Like O’Rourke, Obama was beset early in the 2008 presidential primary by complaints that he was light on policy. David Axelrod, a former top adviser to Obama, recalled one health care forum with Hillary Clinton in early 2007 in which Obama looked “sorely wanting.”

“I remember him coming back and saying, ‘I did not look like a president up there. She looked like president up there,’” Axelrod said. “There were times when he acknowledged, ‘I’m not where I need to be or want to be.’ But he then pushed himself to dig more deeply, to have more conversations, to develop his thoughts on things where he thought there were gaps … By the time the campaign hit full swing, he was in a much better place.”

In any campaign, Axelrod said, “There is this tension in a campaign between the desire of the media and the political community to judge everything in the moment, and the reality of a campaign, which evolves and gives candidates time to evolve with it … I think that in a marathon, it is risky to draw too many conclusions at the two-mile mark.”

Like Obama, a first-term senator when he ran for president, O’Rourke has relatively little Washington experience. But that is not the only obstacle O’Rourke will encounter in his effort to assemble a cohesive policy platform. The former three-term congressman was criticized during his Texas Senate run last year for appearing too progressive. Then it was progressive Democrats’ turn, faulting him in the early stages of the presidential campaign for more moderate elements of his record, including on climate change.

O’Rourke has acknowledged that he might reconsider some votes he took related to the issue. Asked which ones, O’Rourke told reporters in Iowa recently, “I’ll try to get you a more complete answer in the future, because I would need to take a look at those votes. I don’t have them all memorized.”

“But I think the point that I was trying to make is that we have very limited time within which to act,” he said. “It’s something that I feel that I’m just really fully appreciating now.”

Following the exchange, Andrew Feldman, a Democratic strategist in Washington, said, “Beto is going to, at a point, have to put out actual policy proposals and continue to explain how he has evolved on his issues.”

“He definitely has real energy behind him,” Feldman said. “But ultimately with that energy comes increased scrutiny and he’s going to have to put forth a policy agenda at some point.”


O’Rourke has at times appeared confounded by criticism that he is glossing over policy. When an MSNBC correspondent relayed to O’Rourke recently that some students he spoke with found O’Rourke “wishy-washy” on climate change, police violence and other issues, O’Rourke said, “Hmm,” then paused.

“Let me try again,” he said. “On climate, rejoin the Paris climate agreement, Day One. On climate, reinstitute the Clean Power Plan. Make sure that we have higher standards for vehicle emissions for this country. Invest in wind and solar and other renewable energies that are also producing the highest growth and jobs in this country. Free ourselves from a dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions. Help to convene the world around this problem, because even if the United States did everything within its power, China has three to four times the number of coal-fired plants than we do. So we need to exert global leadership, once again return to being the indispensable nation.”

Then, turning to police use of force, O'Rourke called for “tying federal funds to full reporting on use of force and against whom force is used” and “invoking the civil rights laws of the United States to transcend local and state jurisdictions to make sure the full weight and power and accountability of the federal government comes into play to ensure that we protect the lives of those in our lives and in our communities.”

He said, “So those, I hope, are some specific answers on some specific questions.”

At other times, however, O’Rourke has deliberately positioned himself less as a proponent of policy ideas than as a synthesizer of them.

“I’m going to make the rare admission for a politician that I don’t have a good answer to your question,” O’Rourke said at a recent campaign stop, when asked what he would do to help in-home child care providers.

Directing an aide to collect the questioner’s telephone number, O’Rourke said, “Let me learn from you, and not try to pretend that I have the answer.”

The exchange was reminiscent of O'Rourke's first day as a presidential candidate, when he told a crowd, "I am all ears right now. There's no sense in campaigning if you already know every single answer, if you're not willing to listen to those whom you wish to serve."

Earlier this month, O’Rourke’s campaign publicized a pledge by O’Rourke, if elected, to sign an executive order requiring his Cabinet secretaries to hold monthly town hall meetings — effectively codifying his commitment to listen to and learn from his constituents. The proposal was in keeping with O’Rourke’s grueling schedule of campaign appearances across the country, after holding more than 100 town hall meetings in his Texas congressional district while in the House.

O’Rourke’s willingness to volunteer his own gaps in knowledge is rare for a politician and endearing to his supporters. And it has benefited him politically in previous campaigns.

Russell Autry, a pollster who worked for O’Rourke during his time on the city council in El Paso, Texas, said, “When he started this [presidential] campaign, he was pretty clear what he wanted to do first of all was listen and meet as many people as possible. That was part of his strategy when he first ran for city council in El Paso and when he first ran for Congress.”

“He wants to have a dialogue, and he wants to engage with real, live citizens, taxpayers, voters, and hear what they have to say. And I think he’s good at it,” Autry said. “This is what Beto does. He does his homework and he tries to engage people. And when it comes time for there to be meat on the bones in terms of public policy, I think you’re going to start seeing that.”


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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The Insiders’ Guide To the Mueller Report


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 11:00 - [CET]

The 400-page Mueller report, expected to land this week, is the most anticipated political read since Ken Starr, Monica Lewinsky and the stained blue dress—and potentially even juicier. But how do you wring that juice out of a behemoth of a legal document, full of redactions, at the speed of social media?

That’s what the tribes of American politics are gearing up to do this week.

From the moment it drops, the scramble will be on—to defend the president, to plan new lines of attack, or to put this whole big crazy story into the wider context of American history. So much material released all at once raises the question of how to dig in on something so dense, with so much buildup, where the feeding frenzy will be instant among the cable TV chattering classes and Twitter piranhas.

The capital has already evolved one model for processing a big tell-all book: "the Washington read,” where you scan the index (assuming there is one) to find everything it says about you, your boss and your enemies and then fake like you’ve read the rest. But this time that won’t be enough. The goods might not come easily. They might be buried in an obscure subsection. And there’s way more at stake than in the typical gossipy memoir.

The report by special counsel Robert Mueller could be the biggest oppo dump in history. It could be a fizzle. Although Mueller didn’t find enough evidence to charge President Donald Trump for conspiring with Russia to win the White House, and Attorney General William Barr has concluded that it doesn’t show Trump obstructed justice, the report itself is expected to be rich with details uncovered by the sweeping 22-month investigation.

We already know something about the way the report will look, courtesy of Barr. The attorney general last week told Congress that the document will be color-coded to explain why lawyers for Mueller and DOJ have redacted some of the most sensitive material. But he promised that, for all the gaps, the report won't end up looking totally like Swiss cheese. "You will get more than the gist," Barr told a Senate appropriations subcommittee.

To help navigate this once-in-a-generation moment, POLITICO asked dozens of people who have been tuned in since the 2016 presidential election—Trump officials, Republicans and Democrats, former prosecutors, academics, historians and even the Russians—how they plan to read this two-years-in-the-making document when it shows up in their inbox. Here's what some of them said.

The President’s Defenders

Nobody has more at stake than Trump and his inner circle of family members, aides, loyalists and defenders. They’ve already seen some of their former colleagues face criminal charges and jail time from the Mueller probe. With the report’s arrival, they know that any page could still contain a ticking bomb, one that could open the door to more legal scrutiny or kneecap the president politically as he mounts his reelection campaign. But the document might also have exculpatory material that would help Trump push back with his narrative that the whole probe has been a “witch hunt.”

Above all, Team Trump will need to respond. So inside the president’s world, the attention will be focused on digesting the material, and quickly.

Jay Sekulow, Trump's media-savvy personal lawyer, said he'll have a team of five to six people in place, each assigned a key sections to read in parallel. The goal is preparing the quickest possible response to blast out to reporters—as well as to brief him and Rudy Giuliani as they fan out to talk more at length in media interviews. If it were just one analyst reading, he said, “we'd be talking to you the next day"—far too late for crisis management.

Like everyone outside the Barr and Mueller inner circles, Sekulow said he’s still in the dark about how the special counsel report will be structured. He doesn't know if there will be executive summaries, a section featuring conclusions or if it will even come in an easily searchable PDF document. But he said he’s taking comfort in knowing Barr, a Trump appointee, has already read the report and decided nothing in it rose to the level of prosecution. "At the end of the day, it's like waiting for the jury verdict, except you know what the jury verdict is already," he said.

For others in Trumpworld, especially those pulled into the investigation quagmire themselves, the report means other things. Ty Cobb, who served for a year as the lead White House lawyer handling Mueller matters, downplayed his interest in its revelations, saying he was familiar with most of the facts and would mainly be reading to see how the lawyers did their jobs. “The results of their hard work will be of interest to the extent they can be deduced,” he wrote in an email.

Michael Caputo, a longtime Trump associate and early 2016 campaign adviser, wasn’t so blasé about it and said he has a reading strategy in place: He’ll start first with the executive summary—assuming there is one—to see how it matches with Barr’s “CliffsNotes” version of the memo, issued last month. Then he plans to go to the collusion section, since that was the main issue he found himself questioned on, before turning to the portion dealing with obstruction.

Caputo’s version of "the Washington read” will be to scan the index for specific top Trump aides he knows and who have been central to the entire investigation, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, longtime Trump associate Roger Stone and former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

“I'll also read the George Papadopoulos section just to see how much it differs from his book, ‘Deep State Target,’” he said of the Trump campaign adviser who served two weeks in prison last year for lying to the FBI. “And I'll probably poke around looking for traces of myself, but I don't expect to see my name much at all.”

Caputo said he’ll read every word. “I mean, they took the time to read all of my emails and texts, so it's the least I can do,” he said.

The oppo file

For Democratic operatives and Trump’s other political rivals, the Mueller report still hangs in that seductive space between fantasy hit job and grave disappointment. In the first version, it contains long-awaited insights into how and why Russia helped Trump—with or without his collaboration—to beat Hillary Clinton en route to the White House. And it could also offer the details they need to start beating the impeachment drum louder—which means the kinds of “high crimes and misdemeanors” that might not amount to legally prosecutable offenses but would warrant Congress seeking the president’s removal from office.

What are they looking for, specifically? “I am most interested in reading if anyone inside the campaign reported to the FBI or others any contact with Russian officials or individuals who promised to provide dirt,” said Donna Brazile, who took over as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee in July 2016 after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz resigned after the public release of her hacked emails.

In terms of tactics, several Democrats said they planned to handle the deluge of information with the quintessential 2019 reading experience: using two or even three screens. Former Obama White House speechwriter David Litt will have Twitter open while he’s making his way through the report, watching in particular for posts from several of the more prominent legal and analytical voices who have narrated the story’s plot twists as it evolved: Ken White (@popehat), Mimi Rocah (@Mimirocah1), Renato Mariotti (@Renato_Mariotti), Marcy Wheeler (@emptywheel), Neal Katyal (@neal_katyal) “for the definitive word on special-counsel regs” and Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight “to think through the political implications.” “Basically I'm assembling my own panel, except there's no yelling, thoughtful argument, and zero chance of Kellyanne Conway showing up,” Litt said.

Similarly, Ann Lewis, a former Clinton White House communications director, said she would begin by reading “carefully from the beginning.”

“But, candidly, I recognize that some very smart people will have begun highlighting what they find most important—so I will probably read with the full text on one computer and another open to tweets and summaries,” she added.

One open question for political insiders is how much to rely on news coverage. Don Goldberg, a former Clinton White House communications aide who handled investigations for that scandal-plagued Democratic administration, plans to read the news first: “I think reporters who have been covering this from the start will be far more attuned to what's important and how it relates to other court filings, reporter articles, congressional activities, etc., and also be more sensitive to what's new. That will be my shortcut, and I may read through it in full after I digest POLITICO's coverage.”

On the opposite side is Julian Epstein, a former House Judiciary Committee chief counsel for Democrats during the Clinton impeachment saga, who has found the media coverage so far more of a red herring than a useful guide to what matters. “Given how badly the pundits and chattering class misread the Mueller investigation, despite clear signs that caution was warranted,” he said, “I can’t imagine anyone will be able to meaningfully add to the debate without carefully reading the entire report with all its nuances—cover to cover, starting with Page 1.”

And then there’s Joe Lockhart, the former Clinton White House press secretary whose ideal strategy for the Mueller report rollout turns it into more of a This Town tailgate party. “I plan to take my lawn chair and a cooler of beer and read at the end of Ken Starr’s driveway,” he wrote in an email.

Legal insiders

The Mueller probe has created something of a cottage industry for the former prosecutors, defense attorneys and anyone else who previously worked on a high-profile government investigation. Some have even landed jobs paying five or six figures as cable TV pundits. The professional class isn’t just fascinated by one of the highest-profile inquiries in America in decades, it’s also possibly the most informed audience about how it works, and thus uniquely attuned to what to look for.

Julie Myers Wood worked as a prosecutor on Ken Starr’s investigation of Bill Clinton and has a clear strategy for where to start—one that involves setting aside the summaries in favor of the potentially meatiest chapters. “The obstruction section and Mueller's decision not to decide on obstruction are the areas I'm most interested in reading first,” she wrote in an email. “Knowing the Mueller team, the summaries are likely excellent, but I want to digest the specific facts myself.”

Joyce Vance, a former Obama-era U.S. attorney from the Northern District of Alabama who has become a frequent MSNBC guest discussing the Mueller probe, said she’ll read the report “like any other case file, front to back, with a notepad next to me to make notes about key pieces of evidence, omissions and questions.”

Prosecutors look to see if the evidence is sufficient to establish if there’s been a specific statutory violation that can be proved in court beyond a reasonable doubt, and Vance said she’ll be looking for Mueller’s assessment for why he chose not to file charges against Trump on obstruction. “It seems likely he took that approach because he believed that decision was for Congress,” she said, referring to the prospect that the special counsel intended to hand over his evidence and findings for impeachment proceedings. “I’ll be interested in whether the report confirms that.”

Patrick Cotter, a former federal prosecutor who previously worked with Mueller attorney Andrew Weissmann, said he’ll be looking for the executive summaries that Mueller’s prosecutors were reportedly frustrated about not making it into Barr’s initial readout.

The Chicago-based attorney has a couple other pro tips. First, read it on paper. “I will first print it in hard copy, so I can highlight important bits and so I can make comments in the margins; also because I am of an age when serious reading requires that it be on paper,” he said.

And Cotter already has a game plan for how he’ll get through it all. “If it comes out during the day, I will then get an Earl Grey tea and a sleeve of Girl Scout Thin Mints, turn off my phone, ask my assistant to head off any calls and close my door,” he said. “If it comes out after 5:00 p.m., I will get a large Irish whiskey, neat.”

Academics

Mueller’s finished product will have a very different meaning for the experts who study this sort of thing. If media coverage is the first draft of history, they’ll be writing the second draft—but they’re also prepped to offer real-time commentary.

Douglas Brinkley, a presidential historian at Rice University who has written books about everyone from Rosa Parks to Ronald Reagan, said that in his experience the “only way” to process something like Mueller’s report is from beginning to end “quickly, very quickly.”

“Cherry-picking information causes confusion,” he said. Brinkley was one of the National Book Award judges who nominated “The 9/11 Commission Report,” a 585-page government document, for the nonfiction prize in 2004; it was a finalist, but didn’t win. Mueller’s effort, he hopes, will be similarly produced and “written for public understanding, not legal scholars.”

Jennifer Mercieca, a Texas A&M University communications professor writing a book about Trump's 2016 campaign and demagoguery, said she will be reading the Mueller report cover to cover, “looking for juicy bits”—and especially for answers to some lingering questions she has. She’s closely studied the two indictments the special counsel filed in 2018 that named some two dozen Russian officials, companies, hackers and computer programmers as responsible for much of the online mayhem that rattled the last White House race—and is eager to find out why one set of charges made no direct connection to Trump while the other did just that.

“As I read the report, I'll be looking to see if there is more information about that distinction, which I think is really important to understanding what (if anything) happened between the Trump campaign and Russia,” she said.


Allan Lichtman, an American University professor who wrote a book making the case for Trump’s impeachment, said he’d be looking to read Mueller’s findings in full to see the context behind the sentence fragments that Barr used in his initial readout to Congress and which the president has used to claim “total EXONERATION.” Lichtman’s goal: to assess whether the attorney general “deliberately covered up damaging information about the president and his associates.”

“Words matter for the historian,” he said. “Even responsible journalists have misleadingly said that the Mueller report clears the president of collusion, when even the fragments cited in the William Barr ‘Summary’ do not use the word collusion but consider only whether the campaign ‘conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.’ ”

The Russians

Unless its intelligence is better than we think, there’s one other party profoundly interested in what the Mueller report reveals. And the message it wants Americans to hear is: Nothing to see here.

Asked how it planned to read the Mueller report, the Russian Embassy in Washington, D.C., replied through a spokesman with a link to its Facebook page, on which one finds a statement from President Vladimir Putin given during an international conference last week in which he denied collusion between Trump and Russia.

We "knew a mountain was being made out of a molehill, so to speak,” Putin said, “because we knew how it would end beforehand.”


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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‘This is endangering lives. It has to stop’: Rep. Ilhan Omar says death threats spiked after Trump tweet


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 10:49 - [CET]
Omar said many threats were "directly referencing" Trump's tweet, which included imagery of the twin towers burning to slam the Democrat's characterization of 9/11.
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A guide to Democratic talking points not far off the mark


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 09:00 - [CET]
Democrats running for president have lots of facts and figures about the state of working Americans. Here's their evidence.
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No-fault evictions to be banned in England


Reported to us by: BBC POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 08:24 - [CET]
A major shake-up of the rental sector in England is intended to give tenants long-term security.
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Unions pushing for pocketbook proposals from 2020 Democrats


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 06:52 - [CET]

LAS VEGAS (AP) - Ardently liberal, pro-labor and anti-corporate cash, the field of Democrats running for president may look like a union activist's dream. But some key labor leaders are starting to worry about the topics dominating the 2020 conversation.

The candidates are spending too much time talking about esoteric ...

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Omar Reports Rise in Death Threats After Trump Tweet


Reported to us by: US Politics - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 06:52 - [CET]
U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar says she has experienced an increase in death threats in the days since President Donald Trump posted a video critical of her comments about the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. In a statement late Sunday, Omar said many of those threatening her life directly referenced Trump's post. She also cited a rise in violence and acts of hate by right wing extremists in the United States and elsewhere in the world, saying "we can no longer ignore that they are being encouraged" by Trump. "Violent rhetoric and all forms of hate speech have no place in our society, much less from our country's commander in chief," she wrote. "We are all Americans. This is endangering lives. It has to stop." Earlier in the day, the White House denied Trump is inciting violence and Islamophobia. "Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told Fox News Sunday. "But the president should be calling out the congresswoman for not only one time but a history of anti-Semitic comments," she added, accusing Omar's fellow Democrats of "looking the other way." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the memories of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York and Washington are "sacred ground and any discussion of it must be done with reverence." Pelosi called Trump's video "disrespectful and dangerous" and said it must be removed. ​Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler said on CNN Sunday he had no problem with Omar's comments. "I have had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not with that one," he said. In an emotional speech last month to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Omar spoke out against discrimination against and suspicions of Muslims. "CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties ... for far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I'm tired of it and every single Muslim in the country should be tired of it," she said. Trump's Friday tweet included Omar's brief line "somebody did something" followed by more than 40 seconds of September 11 terrorist attack news footage and a large graphic repeating the words "somebody did something."  Other Omar critics have focused solely on that one single line, accusing her of trivializing the inhumanity of September 11 but not mentioning the rest of her speech. Some Democrats accuse Trump of stirring up the same kind of Islamophobia that Omar was decrying. Nadler said Trump has "no moral authority" for talking about September 11. He accuses Trump of "stealing" a $150,000 grant meant for small-business owners to rebuild their destroyed businesses after the attack and using that money for his own real estate holding.  Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders noted that then-President George W. Bush, a Republican, went to a mosque after 9/11 to assure Muslim Americans that they are not criminals and terrorists. 
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AP FACT CHECK: Trump camp suggests AG found illegal spying


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 06:14 - [CET]

WASHINGTON (AP) - With release of the special counsel's fuller report looming, President Donald Trump and his campaign are twisting the words of his attorney general and the facts of the Russia investigation.

His 2020 campaign is telling supporters in fundraising pitches that Attorney General William Barr had revealed illegal ...

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Ilhan Omar faces surge in death threats since Trump tweet


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 04:53 - [CET]

WASHINGTON — Rep. Ilhan Omar says she's faced increased death threats since President Donald Trump spread around a video that purports to show her being dismissive of the 2001 terrorist attacks. "This is endangering lives," she said, accusing Trump of fomenting right-wing extremism. "It has to stop."

Her statement late ...

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Trump’s reelection bid to report $30 million raised in first quarter


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 04:18 - [CET]
The president’s fundraising far outpaces each of the top Democratic contenders who seek to oust him from office.
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Right to food 'should be enshrined in Scots Law'


Reported to us by: BBC POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 04:18 - [CET]
The Scottish Human Rights Commission believes the move "would help tackle health inequalities".
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Trump campaign raises $30 million in first quarter


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 03:51 - [CET]

President Donald Trump's reelection campaign raised $30 million during the first three months of the year, getting off to a fast fundraising start while his potential Democratic rivals stockpile cash for a long and expensive primary ahead.

The Trump campaign ended the first quarter with $40.8 million in its bank account, it said on Sunday — a sum that shows Trump is beginning to stockpile serious money for the eventual 2020 general election. Trump filed campaign finance paperwork to run for reelection earlier than any other president, and he has been raising and spending money through his campaign committee since soon after he took office in 2017. The fundraising figures were first reported by the Associated Press.

Trump's $30 million far outstripped the leading Democratic presidential contenders — reflecting the advantage of a largely undivided party supporting Trump and the small- and large-dollar money machines already whirring to boost his campaign. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) raised $18.2 million in the first quarter in his bid for the Democratic nomination, his campaign said, while Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) announced raising $12 million.

Trump's first-quarter haul was an uptick from the $21 million that the president raised during the final quarter of 2018.


The Republican National Committee also brought in $45.8 million in the first quarter, according to the Trump campaign, bringing its cash reserves close to $41 million.

The increased fundraising pace is coming with increased spending by the Trump campaign. Filings earlier this year showed that Trump had 16 people on his campaign payroll in late 2018 — a number that is expected to increase rapidly this year as the campaign builds its infrastructure for 2020. Trump, the RNC and joint fundraising committees feeding the two entities have also spent big on digital advertising this year to attract new donors on Facebook and Google, according to advertising disclosures from both platforms.


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Pompeo visits Venezuelan migrants in Colombia


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 03:28 - [CET]

CUCUTA, Colombia — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Venezuelan migrants in Colombia on Sunday as he wrapped up a four-nation tour of South America aimed at pressuring Venezuela’s socialist president, Nicolas Maduro.

Pompeo went to a migrant center in the border town of Cucuta with Colombian President Ivan Duque. Not far away, Venezuelan security forces with riot gear stood in the middle of the Simon Bolivar international bridge separating the two countries.

The migrant center has been the first stop for some 3.4 million Venezuelans who have fled hyperinflation, severe shortages of food and medicine, and political upheaval in their homeland.

Pompeo described a “very moving” encounter with a Venezuelan mother named Geraldine who crossed into Colombia and was torn about abandoning her country even as she had to scavenge for diapers, medicine and other basic goods she could no longer find in Venezuela.

Mimicking President Ronald Reagan’s famous “Tear down this wall” speech in Berlin at the end of the Cold War, Pompeo urged Maduro to lift a military blockade preventing the entry of tons of humanitarian aid that has sat for months on Venezuela’s borders with Colombia, Brazil and the Dutch Caribbean.

“Mr. Maduro, open these bridges, open these borders. You can end this today,” Pompeo said. “I hope you will care now when you see the horror, when you see the tragedy, to change your ways and to leave your country.”


The U.S. was the first of more than now 50 nations that in January recognized Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó when he declared himself his country’s interim president. The opposition, with the support of the U.S. and the other countries, Maduro’s re-election last year to be illegitimate because leading critics were barred from running.

But significant popular support for Guaidó at home hasn’t loosened Maduro’s grip on power, and the embattled leader continues to enjoy the support of the armed forces, the traditional arbiter of political disputes in Venezuela.

Authorities in Venezuela have accused Washington of plotting Maduro’s overthrow and even blamed it for a failure of the electrical grid last month that left much of the country without power for days. On Sunday, a top official ridiculed Pompeo’s visit to the border.

“Confirmed: Washington and Bogota ratify Cucuta as the regular stage for their most decadent and cheap spectacles,” Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said in a message on Twitter. “In the meantime, the abandoned people of Cucuta continue to live off the Venezuelan economy.”

The U.S. has provided almost $275 million in aid to Colombia, Peru and other South American allies to absorb the flood of migrants from Venezuela.

When pressed by a reporter on whether the generosity shown Venezuelans fleeing Maduro is in conflict with the Trump administration’s hostile policies toward migrants on the southern U.S. border, Pompeo called the comparison “ludicrous.”

“People are starving because Nicolas Maduro is denying food that is sitting here. This is horrific. There is nothing else like this,” Pompeo said while flying back to Washington.


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Sarah Sanders: Members of Congress not smart enough to review Trump's tax returns


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 03:20 - [CET]

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders would not say Sunday whether President Trump will order the Internal Revenue Service not to release his tax returns to House Democrats as they renew their efforts to force the disclosure.

"The president has been clear since the beginning — as long as his ...

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Yemen American Merchants boycott New York Post


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 03:17 - [CET]

NEW YORK — Yemeni-Americans are criticizing the New York Post over its front page last week that featured a photograph of the burning World Trade Center and a quote from Democratic Muslim Rep. Ilhan Omar that some say was dismissive of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

On Sunday, The New ...

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Bernie Sanders accuses Trump of betraying GM workers


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 03:07 - [CET]

PITTSBURGH — Sen. Bernie Sanders on Sunday accused President Donald Trump of betraying the working people who put him in office and challenged him to deny federal contracts to General Motors until the company reopens shuttered plants.

"The biggest lie was that he was going to stand up for working ...

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Bob Kerrey, Democrat, sees 'delusion' in party


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 03:02 - [CET]

Former Democratic Sen. Bob Kerrey says President Trump would be right to pardon anyone ensnared in the special counsel's Russia investigation if it turns out there was no conspiracy to undermine the 2016 election.

What's more, Mr. Kerrey, a Medal of Honor recipient and former presidential candidate, said his party ...

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Trump Campaign to Report it Raised $30 Million


Reported to us by: US Politics - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 02:41 - [CET]
President Donald Trump's reelection campaign is set to report that it raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, edging out his top two Democratic rivals combined, according to figures it provided to The Associated Press. The haul brings the campaign's cash on hand to $40.8 million, an unprecedented war chest for an incumbent president this early in a campaign. The Trump campaign said nearly 99% of its donations were of $200 or less, with an average donation of $34.26. Trump's fundraising ability was matched by the Republican National Committee, which brought in $45.8 million in the first quarter -- its best non-election year total. Combined, the pro-Trump effort is reporting $82 million in the bank, with $40.8 million belonging to the campaign alone. Trump formally launched his reelection effort just hours after taking office in 2017, earlier than any incumbent has in prior years. By contrast, former President Barack Obama launched his 2012 effort in April 2011 and had under $2 million on hand at this point in the campaign. Obama went on to raise more than $720 million for his reelection. Trump's reelection effort has set a $1 billion target for 2020. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement that Trump "is in a vastly stronger position at this point than any previous incumbent president running for re-election, and only continues to build momentum.'' Trump's fundraising with the RNC is divided between two entities: Trump Victory, the joint account used for high-dollar gifts, and the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, the low-dollar digital fundraising operation known internally as "T-Magic.'' The campaign is set to launch a traditional "bundling'' program -- which it lacked in 2016 -- in the coming weeks. Bundlers are mid-tier donors who bring in contributions from their associates. Together, the Trump entities have raised a combined $165.5 million since 2017. Trump is benefiting from the advantages of incumbency, like universal name recognition and his unrivaled position atop the Republican Party. Among Democrats, dollars are divided across a candidate field of well more than a dozen, while the Democratic National Committee remains in debt and has suffered from being dramatically outraised by the RNC in recent months. Bernie Sanders topped the Democratic field in the first quarter, raising slightly more than $18 million, followed by Kamala Harris with $12 million and Beto O'Rourke with $9.4 million. Trump is reporting a haul of $30.3 million. Republicans have trailed Democrats in online fundraising ever since the medium was invented roughly two decades ago. But Trump has closed the gap, driving small-dollar donors who make recurring donations to the GOP like the party has never seen before. According to RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, Trump's campaign has already had eight seven-figure fundraising days this year, and has taken in money from more than 1 million new online donors since Trump's inauguration -- including 100,000 this year. The Republican committee said it is planning on spending $30 million on maintaining and growing Trump's email list alone, recently expanded its headquarters space to an annex in Virginia and will soon invest in developing an app. In 2015, Trump swore off outside money, declaring in his opening speech: "I'm using my own money. I'm not using the lobbyists'. I'm not using donors'. I don't care. I'm really rich.'' He quickly reversed course on high-dollar donations after he won the GOP nomination, bowing to the financial pressures of running a general election campaign, and he'd already raised millions online through the sale of merchandise like his signature red Make America Great Again hats. Trump gave or loaned $66 million to his 2016 campaign, but has yet to spend any of his own cash for his reelection effort. Aides don't expect that to change.
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Democrats' first 100 days show little progress


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 02:30 - [CET]

Democrats stormed into control of the House on promises to raise wages, lower the cost of health care and improve how Congress works, saying they were siphoning power from Washington elites and giving it back to the people.

At the 100-day mark, they have barely made a dent.

They have ...

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Donald Trump's idea to dump migrants in sanctuaries raises legal questions


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 01:20 - [CET]

The border debate has once again been upended by President Trump's exploration of a plan to take illegal immigrants nabbed at the U.S.-Mexico border and ship them to sanctuary cities for release.

In the abstract, the idea could have relieved some of the pressure on border communities overwhelmed by the ...

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Donald Trump re-election campaign raises $30 millions


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 01:03 - [CET]

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump's re-election campaign is set to report that it raised more than $30 million in the first quarter of 2019, edging out his top two Democratic rivals combined, according ...

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Democrats take aim at Miller as questions persist about ‘sanctuary city’ targeting


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 00:50 - [CET]
Two key House Democrats say that Miller should testify before their congressional panels.
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Pompeo: Venezuelan People Won't Tolerate Maduro Much Longer


Reported to us by: US Politics - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 00:47 - [CET]
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he does not think the Venezuelan people will tolerate the Maduro regime much longer. "The devastation wrought by Nicolas Maruro, the tragedy of the humanitarian situation there bought out solely by Maduro making the choice to bring in the Cubans, to allow Russians to intervene in the country -- those are things that are destroying the lives of young people in Venezuela," Pompeo told Peru's El Comercio newspaper Sunday. Pompeo was on the last day of a four-nation tour of South America, where the economic and political calamity in Venezuela was among the top concerns during talks in Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia. "This is not something that has happened in the last weeks or months. This is devastation wrought by the Cubans, the Russians and Maduro over the last years. ... I'm very hopeful that it'll come to its conclusion quickly," he said. Watch: Pompeo Spoke to VOA About Venezuela, Iran, and Nicaragua: Pompeo again said all options are on the table when it comes to U.S. involvement in Venezuela. But the Trump administration has not said under what circumstances it would use military action. The U.S. has already imposed a number of sanctions against some Venezuelan officials and the country's oil sector. Pompeo's stop in Colombia will include a visit to the border city of Cucuta, which is separated from Venezuela by a bridge. Tons of U.S. food, medicine and other relief supplies are sitting in warehouses in Cucuta, waiting to be delivered. Maduro has refused to let U.S. aid into the country, calling it the vanguard of a U.S. invasion. Pompeo said the Trump administration wants to be deeply engaged in Central and South America, noting that great democracies, free market economies and transparency have not always flourished in the region. "There were many communist countries in Latin America for many years, but that's the great thing that's changed. This idea of the totalitarian Orwellian state of communism is being rejected by the people of South America. It's glorious," the secretary said. But while Pompeo said the U.S. welcomes Chinese private enterprises bringing goods and services to Latin America, competing with what the U.S. has to offer, he said Latin countries must be aware that Chinese companies may come instead for "malign activities." "State-owned enterprises, companies deeply connected to the Chinese government that want to put infrastructure, telecommunications infrastructure inside of your country ... we want to make sure everyone has their eyes wide open," Pompeo said. The United States has accused Chinese computer and telecommunications firms, including Huawei, of installing spyware in its products – charges the companies deny. Pompeo told the Peruvian newspaper that if the country uses Chinese technology, its information would be "in the hands of President Xi (Jinping) and the People's Liberation Army."
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'Mayor Pete' Formally Announces Presidential Bid


Reported to us by: US Politics - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 00:45 - [CET]
Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has formally declared his candidacy for president in the 2020 election, joining a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls. Buttigieg was virtually unknown on the national political landscape few months ago but is now surging in recent polls. VOA's Esha Sarai has more.
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Inside the Beltway: Fox News, CNN and the town hall wars


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 00:43 - [CET]

The prime-time public town hall has been a broadcast staple during election years, a showcase for earnest talk, policy declarations, chummy common sense and a nice warm layer of homespun wisdom. The nation is about to get a town hall blitz, as the format expands from its modest roots to ...

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Hillary Clinton allies fed FBI Donald Trump-Russia stories


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 00:27 - [CET]

Hillary Clinton loyalists fed the FBI's upper echelon an assortment of anti-Donald Trump criminal accusations during the 2016 campaign and his presidency, according to a string of interview transcripts released in recent weeks.

James A. Baker, former FBI general counsel who participated on the receiving end, testified that the situation ...

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White House Denies Trump Stirring Up Violence With Anti-Omar Tweet


Reported to us by: US Politics - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 00:26 - [CET]
The White House denies President Donald Trump is inciting violence and Islamophobia for a tweet critical of Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar and her seemingly dismissive comment about the September 11 attacks. "Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told Fox News Sunday. "But the president should be calling out the congresswoman for not only one time but a history of anti-Semitic comments," she added, accusing Omar's fellow Democrats of "looking the other way." But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the memories of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attack on New York and Washington are "sacred ground and any discussion of it must be done with reverence." Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler said on CNN Sunday he had no problem with Omar's comments. "I have had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not with that one," he said. In an emotional speech last month to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Omar spoke out against discrimination against and suspicions of Muslims. "CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something, that all of us were starting to lose access to our civil liberties ... for far too long we have lived with the discomfort of being a second-class citizen and, frankly, I'm tired of it and every single Muslim in the country should be tired of it," she said. Trump's Friday tweet included Omar's brief line "somebody did something" followed by more than 40 seconds of September 11 terrorist attack news footage and a large graphic repeating the words "somebody did something." Other Omar critics have focused solely on that one single line, accusing her of trivializing the inhumanity of September 11 but not mentioning the rest of her speech. Some Democrats accuse Trump of stirring up the same kind of Islamophobia that Omar was decrying. Nadler sais Trump has "no moral authority" for talking about September 11. He accuses Trump of "stealing" a $150,000 grant meant for small-business owners to rebuild their destroyed businesses after the attack and using that money for his own real estate holding. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders noted that then-President George W. Bush, a Republican, went to a mosque after 9/11 to assure Muslim Americans that they are not criminals and terrorists.
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The Trailer: What we learned about Sanders 2020 this weekend


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 00:15 - [CET]
In this edition: Bernie in the Rust Belt, re-fighting 2016 for fun and profit, new campaign fundraising totals, and a fight over think tanks.
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Gillibrand raises $3 million in first quarter


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Mon, 04/15/2019 - 00:09 - [CET]

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has raised $3 million since launching her presidential bid, her campaign said Sunday, a sum that puts the New York Democrat near the bottom of Democrats’ fundraising leaderboard after the first quarter.

But Gillibrand still has a hefty sum in her campaign account — over $10 million, more than a number of her opponents — thanks to a big transfer of leftover funds from her 2018 Senate reelection campaign. Gillibrand’s spokeswoman didn’t disclose the number of donors that contributed to her bid, as some other campaigns in the grassroots-obsessed Democratic primary have so far.

In a memo shared with supporters, Gillibrand's campaign argued that her lower haul is due, in part, to backlash from “establishment donors” who are punishing Gillibrand for calling on former Minnesota Sen. Al Franken to resign following several sexual harassment allegations in 2017.

“There’s no question that the first quarter was adversely impacted by certain establishment donors — and many online — who continue to punish Kirsten for standing up for her values and for women,” the memo reads. “Kirsten is committed to fighting for a Democratic Party that values women and does not sacrifice women for political convenience or power.”

Gillibrand, who has struggled to break out of the 2020 field in polling, fell behind all of her Senate colleagues in fundraising despite getting into the race earlier than any of her colleagues save Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Sen. Bernie Sanders led the group with over $18 million by March 31, followed by Sen. Kamala Harris with $12 million, Warren took in over $6 million and Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker both raised about $5 million.

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who formally launched his presidential run this weekend, raised more than $7 million over the same period.

Gillibrand has regularly addressed her handling of Franken’s resignation during her campaign, from questions posed at small meet-and-greets in Iowa to her MSNBC town hall last month, when she said, “If there are a few powerful Democratic donors who are angry,” then “that’s on them.”

She has also used it as a hook to draw in other donors online: In one Facebook ad from March, Gillibrand said that “Democratic megadonors are blacklisting” her “because I refused to stay silent” and urged supporters to contribute “to get me to the debates.”

Gillibrand, who has put her gender at the center of her campaign, has cultivated a following amongst other women. Nearly two-thirds of her donors during the first quarter were women, and the majority of the donors had never given to Gillibrand before, according to Gillibrand’s spokeswoman.


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Pelosi Calls on Trump to Take Down his Tweet of Omar Video


Reported to us by: US Politics - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 23:48 - [CET]
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she has taken steps to ensure the safety of Rep. Ilhan Omar after President Donald Trump’s retweet of a video that purports to show the Minnesota Democrat being dismissive of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The California Democrat also called on Trump to take down the video. Soon after her public request, the video was no longer pinned atop Trump’s Twitter feed, but it was not deleted. Pelosi was among Democrats who had criticized Trump over the tweet, with some accusing him of trying to incite violence against the Muslim lawmaker. An upstate New York man recently was charged with making death threats against her. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended Trump earlier Sunday, saying the president has a duty to highlight Omar’s history of making comments that others deem anti-Semitic or otherwise offensive and that he wished no “ill will” upon the first-term lawmaker. Pelosi issued a statement while traveling in London saying she had spoken with congressional authorities “to ensure that Capitol Police are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman Omar, her family and her staff.” Pelosi said officials will continue to monitor and assess threats against Omar, and called on Trump to discourage such behavior. “The President’s words weigh a ton, and his hateful and inflammatory rhetoric creates real danger,” Pelosi said. “President Trump must take down his disrespectful and dangerous video.” The video in Trump’s tweet on Friday included a snippet from a recent speech Omar gave to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, in which she described the 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center as “some people did something,” along with news footage of the hijacked airplanes hitting the Twin Towers. Trump captioned his tweet with: “WE WILL NEVER FORGET!” Critics accuse Omar of being flippant in describing the perpetrators of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people. She later sought to defend herself by tweeting a quote from President George W. Bush, in which the Republican president referred to the attackers as “people” just days after 9/11. Neither Trump’s tweet nor the video included Omar’s full quote or the context of her comments, which were about Muslims feeling that their civil liberties had eroded after the attacks. The tweet was posted atop Trump’s Twitter feed for much of Sunday, with more than 9 million views. It remained lower in the feed after Pelosi requested that the video be pulled. Sanders questioned why Democrats weren’t following Trump’s example and calling out Omar, too. Democrats who criticized the president over the tweet defended Omar, with some noting their past disagreements with her. “Certainly the president is wishing no ill will and certainly not violence towards anyone, but the president is absolutely and should be calling out the congresswoman for her — not only one time — but history of anti-Semitic comments,” Sanders said. “The bigger question is why aren’t Democrats doing the same thing? It’s absolutely abhorrent the comments that she continues to make and has made and they look the other way.” Omar repeatedly has pushed fellow Democrats into uncomfortable territory with comments about Israel and the strength of the Jewish state’s influence in Washington. She apologized for suggesting that lawmakers support Israel for pay and said she isn’t criticizing Jews. But she refused to take back a tweet in which she suggested American supporters of Israel “pledge allegiance” to a foreign country. Rep. Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat who represents Manhattan’s financial district, which was targeted on 9/11, said he had no issues with Omar’s characterization of the attack. “I have had some problems with some of her other remarks, but not — but not with that one,” he said. Sanders commented on “Fox News Sunday” and ABC’s “This Week.” Nadler appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union.
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Eric Swalwell Democratic 2020 campaign officially launches


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 23:41 - [CET]

Eric Swalwell officially kicks off campaign for Democratic 2020 presidential nomination.

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Pete Buttigieg says he can beat Donald Trump in 2020


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 23:28 - [CET]
Buttigieg’s challenge: translating goodwill among Democrats who are eager to cheer a confident, youthful voice from the Midwest into a sustained national campaign.
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White House messaging falls in line with Trump's sanctuary cities proposal


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 22:49 - [CET]

President Donald Trump’s proposal to release detained undocumented immigrants into so-called sanctuary cities, categorically dismissed by the administration days ago, inched closer to reality on Sunday, with White House officials confirming that the controversial plan was back under consideration and urging immediate action in response to a surge of Central American migrants at the southern border.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration was “looking to see if there are options that make” Trump’s proposal legally viable, and described it as “an option on the table” among other immigration enforcement measures.

“Certainly this wouldn’t be our first choice, because ideally we wouldn’t be dealing with the massive influx of illegal immigrants coming across the border,” Sanders told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week.”

“The president likes the idea, and Democrats have said they want these individuals into their communities,” she said. “So let’s see if it works and everybody gets a win out of it.”

Sanders’ acknowledgment that administration officials are revisiting the proposal follows denials from The White House and Department of Homeland Security to The Washington Post late last week that the idea was still under discussion.


But Trump on Friday contradicted his top aides and agency personnel by revealing that he was “strongly looking at” the plan, which Sanders on Sunday contended would “spread out” the “burden” of undocumented immigrants across the U.S.

“We don’t want to put all of the burden on one or two border communities, and Democrats have stated time and time again they support open borders, they support sanctuary cities,” Sanders said.

“So let’s spread out some of that burden and let’s put it in some of those other locations, if that’s what they want to see happen and are refusing to actually help fix the problem,” she added.

Sanders’ statement about sharing the “burden” of undocumented immigrants recalled the March 1964 proposal of Sen. Richard Russell (D-Ga.) to relocate African-Americans so that so much of the population was not concentrated in the Deep South. In arguing against integration in his region of the United States, Russell said: “It is only fair and right that the Negro population be spread more evenly over all sections of the nation.”

The president on Saturday evening dug in on his policy suggestion, writing on Twitter that the U.S. government had the “absolute legal right” to transport apprehended migrants to jurisdictions that limit local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement agents. It is not clear that is the case.

“We hereby demand that they be taken care of at the highest level, especially by the State of California, which is well known or its poor management & high taxes!” Trump wrote online.


Administration officials proposed the plan last November and again in February, according to The Post, as a form of political retaliation against the president’s opponents. Democratic bastions including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco were among the targets.

While overall arrests remain below the high levels of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s, the number of family members intercepted at the southwest border soared in March, according to preliminary statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Protection — presenting the administration with what officials argue are unique challenges.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Sunday that the onus lay with Pelosi’s caucus in the House to legislate a solution to “both a security crisis and a humanitarian crisis” at the U.S.-Mexico border, adding that “we’ve done a great deal of work” in Trump’s executive branch.

“We have an unserious Congress that is not coming to the table,” Conway told host Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“And the Republicans failed to do their job when they were in charge, no doubt. The Democrats now are failing to come together in the House," she said.


But Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Sunday that little progress could be made on any immigration compromise with the White House given the number of high-level vacancies at DHS that resulted from the president’s purge of several department officials last week.

“We’re kind of in a rudderless situation,” Thompson said on ABC.

“The individuals tasked with the responsibility of carrying forth the administration’s policy, they’re just not soundly in place for this to occur,” he added.

Kirstjen Nielsen resigned as homeland security secretary last Sunday, following the White House’s unexpected decision to pull its nomination of Ronald Vitiello to become director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Claire Grady, the acting Homeland Security Department deputy secretary, also departed the administration on Tuesday — another casualty of an administration exodus engineered in part by Stephen Miller, the White House adviser who is the president’s top aide on matters of immigration.

It was Miller, too, who was responsible for engendering Trump’s proposal on sanctuary cities, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, asserted on Sunday.

“We heard several weeks ago from whistle-blowers that Steve Miller came up with this before we heard about it from any other source,” Nadler told host Jake Tapper on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

“Probably Steve Miller, who seems to be the boss of everybody on immigration, ought to come before Congress and explain some of these policies,” Nadler said.


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Pete Buttigieg Democratic 2020 campaign officially launches


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 22:39 - [CET]

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Pete Buttigieg, the little-known Indiana mayor who has risen to prominence in the early stages of the 2020 Democratic presidential race, made his official campaign entrance Sunday by claiming the mantle of a youthful generation ready to reshape the country.

"I recognize the audacity of doing ...

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Bishop asks Nicaraguans to 'fight for freedom' in speech


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 22:32 - [CET]

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) - The auxiliary bishop of Nicaragua's capital, a vocal critic of the government of President Daniel Ortega, urged Nicaraguans to "fight for freedom" Sunday, in a final message before being transferred to Rome at the request of Pope Francis.

Silvio Báez drew parallels between the trials of ...

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Buttigieg Formally Announces 2020 Presidential Run


Reported to us by: US Politics - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 21:28 - [CET]
Kathleen Struck, Esha Sarai contributed to this report. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has become the latest Democrat to formally enter the crowded field of presidential candidates seeking to unseat Donald Trump in the 2020 election. The 37-year-old, who announced a presidential exploratory committee in January, made it official at a rally in South Bend on Sunday. The Harvard and Oxford graduate and Afghanistan war veteran has gone from being virtually unknown on the national political landscape to surging in recent polls, placing third behind behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.  The son of an immigrant from Malta, Buttigieg attended Harvard College around the same time as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. He received a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University, spent seven months in Afghanistan in the U.S. Navy Reserves as an intelligence analyst and driver and worked as a consultant for McKinsey & Company. Reportedly he speaks seven languages, some of them fluently, including Spanish and Norwegian. And in 2011, he was elected mayor of his hometown, South Bend, population 100,000. Buttigieg would be America's first openly gay president. His husband, Chastain, has also won over many American voters. "As for my husband, you know I'm pretty biased, because I love him, but it's pretty great to see that the rest of America is falling in love with him too," Buttigieg said at a recent appearance in New Hampshire. The South Bend mayor has raised more than $7 million so far and assured himself a spot in the Democratic presidential debates that begin in June. Analysts say it remains to be seen if Buttigieg can maintain his recent momentum. "Sometimes candidates have a few weeks or few months of stardom and then another 'it candidate' replaces them," Leah Askarinam, a reporter and political analyst for Inside Elections, told VOA. "So I think we know he's viable. I don't think we know at this point that he's going to be a star in the field." At least 18 Democrats are in the run to become the party's nominee to face off against President Donald Trump in next year's election.
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Rising Buttigieg formally launches presidential campaign


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 21:28 - [CET]

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Already surging in early primary polls, Democrat Pete Buttigieg officially kicked off his presidential bid on Sunday, starting a new phase of the campaign as one of the main candidates to watch just three months after he launched an exploratory committee to little fanfare.

The South Bend mayor cast his hometown as an American comeback story and called President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan dishonest before a crowd of supporters packed into the Studebaker 84 Building, a recently repurposed former car assembly plant, on a rainy Sunday afternoon in his hometown.

“It’s time to walk away from the politics of the past, and toward something totally different,” Buttigieg said. “So that’s why I’m here today, joining you to make a little news. My name is Pete Buttigieg. They call me Mayor Pete. I am a proud son of South Bend, Indiana. And I am running for President of the United States.”

Buttigieg’s campaign re-launch comes amid a surge of news placing the mayor of 102,000-person South Bend in the upper echelons of the Democratic presidential primary. He raised $7 million in the first quarter — fourth among candidates who have announced their fundraising so far — largely from a swell of small-dollar donors. Buttigieg, who is openly gay, has gained notice for his criticism of Vice President Mike Pence, the former Indiana governor and opponent of same-sex marriage.

And recent surveys of Democrats in early 2020 states like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina show Buttigieg jumping into the pack vying for third place behind the early polling front-runners, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

But Buttigieg faces a tough climb to the Democratic presidential nomination: No one has ever jumped from a city hall to the White House, and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani won only a single delegate in 2008 despite spending much of the preceding year leading Republican primary polls. Miramar, Fla. Mayor Wayne Messam has also joined Buttigieg in the 2020 Democratic primary, and current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio may jump in as well.

In a bid to maintain the momentum — and avoid becoming the latest in a line of long-shot presidential candidates who faded after a brief moment of prominence — Buttigieg has moved to expand his campaign team at his South Bend headquarters and in the early primary states, as well as in a small outpost in Chicago, where a handful of staffers are based to take advantage of talent and fundraising potential in the city.

Buttigieg is scheduled to headline a fundraiser in Chicago on April 23. (He will also travel to Iowa later this week.)


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Nancy Pelosi urges Trump to take down 9-11 video


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 21:24 - [CET]

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi called Sunday for President Trump to take down a video he tweeted shaming Rep. Ilhan Omar over her controversial remarks about September 11, saying the tweet has put the freshman congresswoman's life in danger.

The president's tweet shows the Twin Towers falling while audio ...

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Pelosi asks Capitol Police to step up security for Omar after Trump’s 9/11 tweet


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 21:20 - [CET]
In a statement Sunday, the House speaker called on President Trump to take down the video, saying his inflammatory rhetoric may put lawmakers in danger.
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Jerrold Nadler wants to review Mueller report for 'very bad deeds'


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 21:08 - [CET]

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler wants to see Special Counsel Robert Mueller's full report and the underlying evidence to evaluate whether there is proof of "very bad deeds" committed by President Trump.

"We should see and judge for ourselves and that is for Congress to judge if the president ...

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Trump Sends Mixed Signals on Migrant Crisis at US-Mexico Border


Reported to us by: US Politics - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 21:07 - [CET]
Washington continues to emit a cacophony of signals in response to a historic surge of migrant arrivals at America's southern border with Mexico. VOA's Michael Bowman reports, President Donald Trump has floated a variety of proposals, from closing the border to transferring migrants to urban Democratic strongholds, as record numbers of Central Americans trek northwards.
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Pelosi: U.S. Capitol Police working to ‘safeguard’ Omar after Trump 9/11 tweet


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 21:04 - [CET]

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Sunday that the U.S. Capitol Police and the House sergeant-at-arms “are conducting a security assessment to safeguard Congresswoman [Ilhan] Omar, her family and her staff” following a tweet by President Donald Trump.

Trump on Friday shared an edited video of Omar superimposed over images of the 9/11 terror attacks. “We will never forget,” the president wrote on Twitter. Trump’s tweet followed widely criticized remarks by the Minnesota Democrat that seemed to play down the attack.


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Release of Mueller Russia Report on 2016 US Election Appears Imminent


Reported to us by: US Politics - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 20:39 - [CET]
Release appears imminent of a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's nearly 400-page report on Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, but sparring over Mueller's conclusions is already rampant. Washington is expecting that Attorney General William Barr could disclose the report on Monday or Tuesday, much-awaited details from Mueller's 22-month investigation of Donald Trump campaign contacts with Russia and whether Trump, as president, obstructed justice by trying to thwart the probe. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News Sunday, "I don't think it is going to be damaging to the president." Congressman Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee that is probing the election, told CNN on Sunday that Barr should release the full report and underlying investigatory evidence to his panel, but Barr has balked. "To deny the Judiciary Committee and the Congress the knowledge of what's in parts of the Mueller report is not proper," Nadler said. No one other than Barr and key officials in the Justice Department, Mueller and his team of prosecutors appear to know what the report says about the extent of Trump campaign links with Russia during his 2016 campaign or whether he took any actions as the U.S. leader aimed at inhibiting the investigation. Barr released a four-page summary of the Mueller conclusions three weeks ago, saying the prosecutor had concluded that Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia to help him win but had reached no conclusion whether Trump obstructed justice. But with Mueller not reaching a decision on the obstruction issue, Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein decided no obstruction charges against Trump were warranted. Nadler said that even though Barr concluded no obstruction charges should be brought against Trump, his decision should not go without review. Nadler noted that Barr, before he became the country's top law enforcement official, wrote that Trump could not obstruct justice because the president "is the boss of the Justice Department and could order it around to institute an investigation, to eliminate an investigation or could not be questioned about that." "In other words, (Barr) thinks as a matter of law a president can't obstruct justice, which is a very wild theory to which most people do not agree," Nadler said. "The fact of the matter is we should see and judge for ourselves and Congress should judge whether the president obstructed justice or not, and the public ultimately." Nadler said it "may be that Mueller decided not to prosecute obstruction of justice for various reasons that there wasn't proof beyond a reasonable doubt on some things. But there still may have been proof of some very bad deeds and very bad motives. And we need to see them and the public needs to see them." Since the release of Barr's summary, Trump has claimed "total exoneration, no collusion, no obstruction." Trump for months derided Mueller's investigation, but said he believes Mueller acted honorably in clearing him of colluding with Russia. Opposition Democrats like Nadler have launched new investigations of Trump, a Republican, but the president is objecting. On Twitter, Trump said Saturday, "Why should Radical Left Democrats in Congress have a right to retry and examine the $35,000,000 (two years in the making) No Collusion Mueller Report, when the crime committed was by Crooked Hillary, the DNC and Dirty Cops? Attorney General Barr will make the decision!" He was referring to Hillary Clinton, his 2016 opponent, and the Democratic National Committee, which supported her candidacy. Barr has said he will release as much of the Mueller report as possible, while excluding material Mueller included from secret grand jury testimony and confidential U.S. intelligence sources.
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Sen. Gillibrand raises $3 million in first quarter


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 20:13 - [CET]
In a memo to supporters, the New York Democrat’s campaign suggested that her lackluster fundraising was due to donors who “continue to punish” her for calling on Sen. Al Franken to resign.
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Mexico deports 204 migrants back to Honduras


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 19:42 - [CET]

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexican immigration officials have sent 204 migrants back to Honduras.

The National Migration Institute said Sunday that the migrants' stay in Mexico was "irregular" and that they were flown from the southeastern Mexican state of Veracruz to San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The institute said most of ...

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Can Bernie Sanders really win over Trump voters?


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 19:31 - [CET]
“Crazy Bernie” and “a pathological liar” circle each other warily, each seeing an advantage in the other as an antagonist.
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Libby Schaaf, Oakland mayor, calls Donald Trump's bluff on sanctuary cities threat


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 19:13 - [CET]

The mayor of Oakland told President Trump that, contrary to his claims about sanctuary cities, her city would welcome any illegal immigrants without exception.

Mr. Trump noted in a tweet that Mayor Libby Schaaf had denounced as an "abuse of power and public resources" an idea he was publicly toying ...

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Sarah Sanders: Ilhan Omar 9/11 remarks 'disgraceful and unbefitting of a member of Congress'


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 18:55 - [CET]

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Sunday the president is doing a "good thing" by calling out Rep. Ilhan Omar's belittling comment about the September 11th terrorist attack that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said the president incited violence by tweeting a video of ...

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Inslee criticizes Trump’s ‘bombastic chaos’ on immigration


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 18:50 - [CET]

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, on Sunday criticized Trump’s threat to send undocumented immigrants to sanctuary cities to get back at his political rivals.

“This is yet another act of bombastic chaos that simply is not going to work for this ineffective president for several reasons,” Inslee said on “Meet the Press” on NBC. “No. 1, look you can't threaten somebody with something they're not afraid of. And we're not afraid of diversity in the state of Washington. We relish it.“

Trump’s plan, which he tweeted Friday after it was first reported by the Washington Post, involves releasing undocumented immigrants into sanctuary cities, including in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district in San Francisco. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday the plan would shift “some of that burden to places who constantly claim to want to have open borders and want to have an open city.”

As president, Inslee said he would increase funding to help detention centers and speed up the asylum process.


“You don't get rid of judges, as [Trump] has suggested,” Inslee said.

“We need more processing facilities to help these folks. And yes while they're waiting for their asylum hearings we're welcoming to the state of Washington because we have found these folks frequently become pillars of our community.”


Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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Swalwell says Second Amendment allows for gun control


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 18:45 - [CET]

Democratic presidential candidate Eric Swalwell said Sunday that the Second Amendment shouldn’t be repealed, but that it does allow for some guns to be controlled.

“The greatest threat to the Second Amendment is doing nothing,” the California congressman said on CNN’s “State of the Union”. “And the Second Amendment is not an absolute right. Just like free speech, you can't shout fire in a theater or lie about the products you are selling, you can't own a bazooka, you can't own a tank, you can't own rocket-propelled grenades.“

“So we should put some limits in place,” Swalwell said. “And I think the American people are with me. I'm no longer intimidated by the NRA. The moms and the kids, they're behind us on this issue. And I think it just takes leadership in Washington.”

Swalwell last year proposed a ban on “possession of military-style semiautomatic assault weapons.” The government would offer to buy those guns to get them out of circulation.

Under Swalwell’s plan, people who don’t agree to sell back their military-style weapons could face jail time. But, he said: “I also offer an alternative, which would be to keep them at a hunting club or a shooting range,“ Swalwell said. “And the reason I have proposed this is because these weapons are so devastating.“


Swalwell said his plan would allow gun owners to continue to have pistols, rifles and shotguns. His proposal would also add background checks and fund violence prevention programs in cities, he said.

The congressman did not specify whether he would urge Congress to pass a law or seek executive action on his own.


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NRA has history of advising gun-rights groups outside US


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 18:28 - [CET]

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Recent revelations that National Rifle Association representatives met with Australian politicians to discuss talking points after a mass shooting isn't the first time the NRA has exerted its influence on gun debates outside the U.S.

The lobbying group has sought sway at the United Nations to ...

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Swalwell: Trump ‘acts on Russia’s behalf’


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 18:12 - [CET]

Democratic presidential candidate Eric Swalwell said Sunday that President Donald Trump “acts on Russia’s behalf,” despite Attorney General Bill Barr’s conclusion that the president’s team did not conspire with the foreign adversary.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” the California congressman was asked whether it was irresponsible to say that Trump is an agent of Russia.

He certainly acts on Russia's behalf,“ Swalwell said. “And it's a claim from someone who also worked as a prosecutor for seven years and had the responsibility of looking at evidence and putting it before a jury.“

“He also acts like Russia's leader,” Swalwell continued. “He attacks our free press. He acts in such a lawless way, and what we're seeing most recently, telling a Customs and Border official that he would pardon him if he broke the law. And he puts his family in charge and in positions of power.“


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Trump has ‘no moral authority’ to talk about 9/11, Nadler says


Reported to us by: POLITICO TOP PICKS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 17:51 - [CET]

President Donald Trump has “no moral authority“ to talk about 9/11, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said Sunday.

“He stole $150,000 from some small businessperson who could have used it to help rehabilitate himself. And that's why we appropriated it, why I got Congress to appropriate that money,” Nadler said on “State of the Union” on CNN. “To use it for his own small business of 40 Wall Street, he has no moral authority to be talking about 9/11 at all.”

Nadler was referencing how Trump‘s company accepted post-9/11 funding for a building that had not sustained no damage. Trump said the building qualified because his company had suffered economic losses in the aftermath of the terrorist attack. The funding came from the Empire State Development Corp., New York’s economic development agency, and was intended for small businesses.

Trump targeted Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) last week for comments she made about discrimination of Muslim Americans after 9/11. Conservative pundits latched on to one portion of Omar’s comments — in which she referred to the attacks by saying that “somebody did something“ — to argue that Omar was minimizing tremendous human loss. Trump responded by tweeting a graphic video of the Twin Towers collapsing juxtaposed with Omar’s comment, earning criticism from Democrats for targeting a Muslim woman.


Nadler said he didn’t have a problem with Omar’s remarks.

“She characterized it only in passing,” Nadler said. “She was talking about discrimination against Muslim Americans. And she just said that, after that happened, it was used as an excuse for lots of discrimination and for withdrawal of civil liberties.“

“9/11 occurred in my district. I'm very familiar with it,” Nadler added. “I know a lot — I know people, a lot of people, who suffered from it.“


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Sarah Sanders: Donald Trump 'absolutely' calling out Ilhan Omar -- and Democrats should be, too


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 17:49 - [CET]

WASHINGTON — The White House says President Donald Trump isn't trying to incite violence against Rep. Ilhan Omar, but rather is highlighting what critics of the Minnesota Democrat say is her history of anti-Semitic and other comments.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders adds Sunday that Trump wishes no "ill will" toward ...

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Activists say university must do more to address slavery


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 17:49 - [CET]

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) - Civil rights leaders say the University of Georgia needs to do more to recognize the school's history with slavery.

The Athens Banner-Herald reports that representatives of several activist groups recently delivered a letter outlining their concerns to University of Georgia President Jere Morehead's office.

The university ...

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Congress is not ‘smart enough’ to examine Trump’s tax returns, Sarah Sanders says


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 17:42 - [CET]
“My guess is most of them don't do their own taxes,” the White House press secretary said.
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Student sues Horry County, says public record fees excessive


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON TIMES POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 17:33 - [CET]

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) - A Cornell University student is suing a South Carolina county, saying officials are violating the state's Freedom of Information Act by charging excessive fees.

Emily Christianson's lawsuit against Horry County says she requested warrants, indictments and sentencing documents in about 200 criminal cases.

Christianson says a ...

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Trump claimed Oakland’s mayor doesn’t want released immigrants. Her response: We welcome all.


Reported to us by: WASHINGTON POST POLITICS - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 17:22 - [CET]
Libby Schaaf, the mayor of Oakland, had called the White House's reported plan to relocate undocumented migrants to sanctuary cities "an outrageous abuse of power and public resources."
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White House Looking at Sending Migrants to Sanctuary Cities


Reported to us by: US Politics - Sun, 04/14/2019 - 17:19 - [CET]
The White House on Sunday, echoing President Donald Trump, said sending undocumented migrants to sanctuary U.S. cities that have protected them from deportation remains a possibility even though government agencies have said it would be impractical and there is no money allocated to do it. "We certainly are looking at all options as long as [opposition] Democrats refuse to acknowledge the crisis at the border," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told the "Fox News Sunday" show. Trump said late Saturday on Twitter, "Democrats must change the Immigration Laws FAST. If not, Sanctuary Cities must immediately ACT to take care of the Illegal Immigrants - and this includes Gang Members, Drug Dealers, Human Traffickers, and Criminals of all shapes, sizes and kinds. CHANGE THE LAWS NOW!" Hundreds of U.S. cities, along with California, the country's most populous state, have declared themselves as havens for migrants who have illegally crossed the southern U.S. border with Mexico, refusing the help U.S. immigration officials to track down the immigrants so they can be deported. U.S. border authorities apprehended more than 100,000 undocumented migrants, mostly from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, at the border in March, nearly twice that in the same month in 2018. "So let's push some of them into their own communities," Sanders said of newly arriving migrant families. The U.S. now houses thousands of migrants at the border, but is running out of beds and instead is releasing new arrivals into the U.S. on their promise to appear at asylum hearings that might not occur for two years. The Department of Homeland Security has said that Congress has not appropriated any money to transport the migrants from the border to far-flung sanctuary cities across the U.S., while the Immigration and Custom Enforcement agency has called it an "unnecessary operational burden." Sanders said, "Nobody thinks this is the ideal solution," sending migrants to sanctuary cities. But she said mayors of cities "who want this ... should be looking to help" Trump resolve the crisis at the border. She accused Congress of wanting to spend "all of its time investigating the president" rather than dealing with the immigration turmoil at the border. Trump tweeted, "So interesting to see the Mayor of Oakland and other Sanctuary Cities NOT WANT our currently 'detained immigrants' after release due to the ridiculous court ordered 20 day rule. If they don’t want to serve our Nation by taking care of them, why should other cities & towns?" Trump was referring to a court ruling prohibiting the U.S. from detaining migrant minors, those under 18 years old, for more than 20 days, before being required to release them to relatives in the U.S. or other care givers. A key Republican lawmaker, Sen. Lindsey Graham, told another Fox News show, "Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo," that after the current two-week congressional recess ends, he would introduce legislation that would authorize the detention of children beyond 20 days, "toughen up our asylum standards," and allow migrant children to be returned to Central American countries, which is not now allowed once they have entered the United States. "We're never going to change this with troops and walls at the border," Graham said of the U.S. immigration crisis. "Doing what we're doing is not working." He added, "If you get one foot into the United States," migrants can seek asylum. "The word is out that if you come with a minor, you're never going to get deported. We need to change that narrative. We need troops at the border. We need a law. But these [U.S.] laws are insane."                  
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