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Former Vice President Biden speaks at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ (IBEW) conference in Washington
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is mulling a 2020 presidential candidacy, speaks at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ (IBEW) construction and maintenance conference in Washington, U.S., April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

April 22, 2019

(Reuters) – The largest Democratic field in the modern U.S. political era is lining up to seek the party’s 2020 presidential nomination – and it is expected to keep growing.

The diverse group vying to challenge President Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee, includes six U.S. senators. A record six women are running, as well as black, Hispanic and openly gay candidates who would make history if one of them becomes the party’s nominee.

Here are the Democrats who have launched campaigns or are expected to pursue a presidential bid, listed in order of their RealClearPolitics national polling average for those who register in opinion surveys.

JOE BIDEN

The leader in polls of Democratic presidential contenders is not even a candidate yet. But Biden, who served eight years as vice president under President Barack Obama and 36 years in the U.S. Senate, looks poised to join the 2020 race. At 76, he would be the second oldest candidate in the Democratic nominating contests, after Senator Bernie Sanders. Biden would be a key figure in the Democratic debate over whether a liberal political newcomer or a centrist veteran is needed to win back the White House. Liberal activists criticise his Senate record, including his authorship of the 1994 crime act that led to increased incarceration rates, and his ties to the financial industry, which is prominent in his home state of Delaware. Biden, who relishes his “Middle-Class Joe” nickname and touts his working-class roots, made unsuccessful bids for the nomination in 1988 and 2008. Biden, recently the subject of allegations of unwanted physical contact with women, in a video pledged to be “more mindful” of respecting “personal space,” an attempt to tamp down the controversy.

BERNIE SANDERS

The senator from Vermont lost the Democratic nomination in 2016 to Hillary Clinton but has jumped in for a second try. In the 2020 race, Sanders, 77, will have to fight to stand out in a packed field of progressives touting issues he brought into the Democratic Party mainstream four years ago. His proposals include free tuition at public colleges, a $15 minimum wage and universal healthcare. He benefits from strong name recognition and a robust network of small-dollar donors, helping him to raise $5.9 million during his first day in the contest. Sanders, whose father was a Jewish immigrant from Poland, has shown a more personal side in this campaign, highlighting his struggles while growing up in a working-class family. He also has tried to reach out to black and Hispanic leaders after having trouble winning over minority voters in 2016.

BETO O’ROURKE

The former three-term Texas congressman jumped into the race on March 14 – and has been jumping on to store countertops ever since to deliver his optimistic message to voters in early primary states. O’Rourke, 46, gained fame last year for his record fundraising and ability to draw crowds ahead of his unexpectedly narrow loss in the U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. O’Rourke announced a $6.1 million fundraising haul for the first 24 hours of his campaign, besting his Democratic opponents. But with progressive policies and diversity at the forefront of the party’s nominating battle, O’Rourke will face a challenge as a wealthy white man who is more moderate on several key issues than many of his competitors.

KAMALA HARRIS 

The first-term senator from California would make history as the first black woman to gain the nomination. Harris, 54, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, announced her candidacy on the holiday honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. She has made a quick impact in a Democratic race that will be heavily influenced by women and minority voters. She raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours of her campaign and drew record ratings on a CNN televised town hall. She supports a middle-class tax credit, Medicare for All healthcare funding reform, the Green New Deal and the legalization of marijuana. Her track record as San Francisco’s district attorney and California’s attorney general has drawn scrutiny in a Democratic Party that has shifted in recent years on criminal justice issues.

PETE BUTTIGIEG 

The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is emerging from underdog status as he begins to build momentum with young voters. A Harvard University graduate and Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, he speaks seven languages and served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy Reserve. He touts himself as representing a new generation of leadership needed to combat Trump. Buttigieg would be the first openly gay presidential nominee of a major American political party.

ELIZABETH WARREN

The 69-year-old senator from Massachusetts is a leader of the party’s liberals and a fierce Wall Street critic who was instrumental in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has focused her presidential campaign on her populist economic message, promising to fight what she calls a rigged economic system that favors the wealthy. She also has proposed eliminating the Electoral College, vowed to break up Amazon, Google and Facebook if elected, and sworn off political fundraising events to collect cash for her bid. Warren apologized earlier this year to the Cherokee Nation for taking a DNA test to prove her claims to Native American ancestry, an assertion that has prompted Trump to mockingly refer to her as “Pocahontas.”

CORY BOOKER

Booker, 49, a senator from New Jersey and former mayor of Newark, gained national prominence in the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. Booker, who is black, has made U.S. race relations and racial disparities a focus of his campaign, noting the impact of discrimination on his family. He embraces progressive positions on Medicare coverage for every American, the Green New Deal and other key issues, and touts his style of positivity over attacks. Booker eats a vegan diet and recently confirmed rumors he is dating actress Rosario Dawson.

AMY KLOBUCHAR

The third-term senator from Minnesota was the first moderate in the Democratic field vying to challenge Trump. Klobuchar, 58, gained national attention in 2018 when she sparred with Brett Kavanaugh during Senate hearings for his Supreme Court nomination. On the campaign trail, the former prosecutor and corporate attorney supports an alternative to traditional Medicare healthcare funding and is taking a hard stance against rising prescription drug prices. Klobuchar’s campaign reported raising more than $1 million in its first 48 hours. Her campaign announcement came amid news reports that staff in her Senate office were asked to do menial tasks, making it difficult to hire high-level campaign strategists.

JULIAN CASTRO

The secretary of housing and urban development under President Barack Obama would be the first Hispanic to win a major U.S. party’s presidential nomination. Castro, 44, whose grandmother was immigrated to Texas from Mexico, has used his family’s personal story to criticize Trump’s border policies. Castro advocates for a universal pre-kindergarten program, supports Medicare for All and cites his experience to push for affordable housing. He announced his bid in his hometown of San Antonio, where he once served as mayor and a city councilman. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic congressman from Texas.

ANDREW YANG

The entrepreneur and former tech executive is focusing his campaign on an ambitious universal income plan. Yang, 44, wants to guarantee all American citizens between the ages of 18 and 64 a $1,000 check every month. The son of immigrants from Taiwan, Yang also is pushing for Medicare for All and proposing a new form of capitalism that is “human-centered.” He lives in New York.

KIRSTEN GILLIBRAND 

Gillibrand, known as a moderate when she served as a congresswoman from upstate New York, has refashioned herself into a staunch progressive, calling for strict gun laws and supporting the Green New Deal. The senator for New York, who is 52, has led efforts to address sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, and she pushed for Congress to improve its own handling of sexual misconduct allegations. On the campaign trail, she has made fiery denunciations of Trump. She released her tax returns for the years 2007 through 2018, offering the most comprehensive look to date at the finances of a 2020 White House candidate, and has called on her rivals to do the same.

JOHN HICKENLOOPER 

The 67-year-old former Colorado governor has positioned himself as a centrist and an experienced officeholder with business experience. He is the only Democratic presidential candidate so far to oppose the Green New Deal plan to tackle climate change, saying it would give the government too much power in investment decisions. During his two terms in office, Colorado’s economy soared and the Western state expanded healthcare, passed a gun control law and legalized marijuana. The former geologist and brew pub owner is among the many candidates who have refused to take corporate money. He previously served as mayor of Denver.

JAY INSLEE 

The Washington state governor has made fighting climate change the central issue of his campaign. As governor, Inslee, 68, has moved to put a moratorium on capital punishment and fully implement the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, and accompanying expansion of Medicaid health coverage for the poor. He has not settled on a position on Medicare for All but does support the Green New Deal backed by progressives. Inslee spent 15 years in Congress before being elected governor in 2012.

JOHN DELANEY

The former U.S. representative from Maryland became the first Democrat to enter the 2020 race, declaring his candidacy in July 2017. Delaney, 55, plans to focus on advancing only bipartisan bills during the first 100 days of his presidency if elected. He’s also pushing for a universal healthcare system, raising the federal minimum wage and passing gun safety legislation. 

TULSI GABBARD 

The Samoan-American congresswoman from Hawaii and Iraq war veteran is the first Hindu to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. After working for her father’s anti-gay advocacy group and drafting relevant legislation, she was forced to apologize for her past views on same-sex marriage. Gabbard, 37, has been against U.S. intervention in Syria and slammed Trump for standing by Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. She endorsed Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign.

TIM RYAN

The moderate nine-term congressman from a working-class district in the battleground state of Ohio has touted his appeal to the blue-collar voters who fled to Trump in 2016. He says Trump has turned his back on those voters and failed to live up his promise to revitalize the manufacturing industry. Ryan, 45, pledges to create jobs in new technologies and to focus on public education and access to affordable healthcare. He first gained national attention when he unsuccessfully tried to unseat Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic leader in 2016, arguing it was time for new leadership. A former college football player, he also has written books on meditation and healthy eating.

SETH MOULTON

An Iraq War veteran and member of Congress, Seth Moulton, 40, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014 when he defeated a fellow Democrat in the primary election. Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. He became a vocal critic of the Iraq War in which he served, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country. He has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians. Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told Boston public radio station WGBH in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college. After Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton helped organize opposition to Representative Nancy Pelosi’s bid to again become speaker.

MARIANNE WILLIAMSON

The 66-year-old New York Times best-selling author, motivational speaker and Texas native believes her spirituality-focused campaign can heal America. A 1992 interview on Oprah Winfrey’s show propelled Williamson to make a name for herself as a “spiritual guide” for Hollywood and a self-help expert. She is calling for $100 billion in reparations for slavery over 10 years, gun control, education reform and equal rights for lesbian and gay communities. In 2014, she made an unsuccessful bid for a House seat in California as an independent.

WAYNE MESSAM

Messam, 44, defeated a 16-year incumbent in 2015 to become the first black mayor of in the Miami suburb of Miramar. He was re-elected in March. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he played on Florida State University’s 1993 national championship football team, and then started a construction business with his wife. He has pledged to focus on reducing gun violence, mitigating climate change and reducing student loan debt and the cost of healthcare.

(Reporting by Arlene Washington and Ginger Gibson; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: White House Counsel McGahn listens during the confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: White House Counsel Don McGahn listens during the confirmation hearing for U.S. Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Chris Wattie/File Photo

April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler on Monday subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify before the panel in its investigation of possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

In a statement, Nadler said the committee had asked for documents from McGahn by May 7 and for him to testify on May 21. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report said Trump asked McGahn to fire Mueller.

“Mr. McGahn is a critical witness to many of the alleged instances of obstruction of justice and other misconduct described in the Mueller report,” Nadler said.

An attorney for McGahn was not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Eric Beech and David Morgan; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stands during a meeting with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) stands during a meeting with European Parliament President Antonio Tajani on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 27, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. House Democrats’ views vary on how to proceed after last week’s release of a redacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Monday.

In a letter to fellow Democratic lawmakers, Pelosi said it is “important to know that the facts regarding holding the president accountable can be gained outside of impeachment hearings.” She added that President Donald Trump engaged in highly unethical and unscrupulous behavior “whether currently indictable or not”.

Top congressional Democrats have left the door open to pursuing the impeachment of Trump, a Republican, but have also said they would first need to complete their own probe into whether he obstructed justice in Mueller’s investigation.

“While our views range from proceeding to investigate the findings of the Mueller report or proceeding directly to impeachment, we all firmly agree that we should proceed down a path of finding the truth,” Pelosi said in her letter.

“As we proceed to uncover the truth and present additional needed reforms to protect our democracy, we must show the American people we are proceeding free from passion or prejudice, strictly on the presentation of fact,” she wrote.

House Democrats will discuss their next steps in a conference call later Monday.

Pelosi and some other Democratic party leaders have been wary of impeachment just 18 months before the November 2020 presidential election, although prominent liberals have demanded the start of proceedings to remove Trump from office since the release of a redacted version of Mueller’s report on Thursday.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, whose panel would spearhead any impeachment proceedings, said Sunday that Democrats would press ahead with investigations of Trump in Congress and “see where the facts lead us.”

The redacted version of Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election outlined multiple instances where Trump tried to thwart the probe. While it stopped short of concluding Trump had committed a crime, it did not exonerate him. Mueller also noted that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law.

(Reporting by Susan Cornwell in Washington; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and James Dalgleish)

Source: OANN

A person in an Easter Bunny costume looks on as U.S. President Trump attends the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington
A person in an Easter Bunny costume looks on as U.S. President Donald Trump attends the 2019 White House Easter Egg Roll in Washington, U.S., April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

April 22, 2019

By David Alexander and Alexandra Alper

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump dismissed questions from reporters on Monday about his staff’s willingness to carry out his orders and the chances of impeachment proceedings in the U.S. Congress, days after the Mueller report highlighted both issues.

The 448-page report from U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. election revealed staff and associates sometimes ignored requests from Trump to deliver messages to third parties, including one to fire Mueller.

“Nobody disobeys me,” Republican Trump said when asked if he was worried about his orders not being followed. He made the remark at the White House during an annual Easter celebration.

Mueller’s report said that the 22-month investigation did not establish that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russians during the 2016 election campaign, but Mueller did find “multiple acts by the president that were capable of exerting undue influence over law enforcement investigations.”

Asked whether he was concerned about the threat of impeachment on allegations of obstruction of justice as some Democrats have called for, Trump said, “Not even a little bit.”

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, on Friday said Congress should begin the process of removing Trump from office. Other Democratic leaders have played down talk of impeachment, just 18 months before the 2020 election.

Republicans have stood by Trump and while an impeachment effort might succeed in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives, it was unlikely to do so in the Republican-led Senate.

Trump, speaking from the White House balcony on Monday, returned to favorite topics of his by touting the strong United States economy and saying his administration was rebuilding the military “to a level never seen before.”

“Our country is doing fantastically well, probably the best it has ever done economically,” he said.

(Reporting by David Alexander; Writing by Caroline Stauffer; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Grant McCool)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Donald Trump travels to Mar-a-Lago
U.S. President Donald Trump boards Air Force One as they travel to Florida for Easter weekend, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago

April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday sued to block a subpoena issued by the Democratic chairman of the U.S. House Oversight Committee that sought information about his and his businesses’ finances.

“Chairman Cummings’ subpoena is invalid and unenforceable because it has no legitimate legislative purpose,” lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization said in court filing.

(Reporting by Makini Brice; Editing by Tim Ahmann)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to supporters in Memphis
FILE PHOTO: Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) speaks to supporters in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S. March 17, 2019. REUTERS/Karen Pulfer Focht/File Photo

April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2020 presidential election, wants to cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt and make college cheaper for students going forward.

Warren, in a post on the website Medium, proposed canceling $50,000 in student loan debt for anyone with annual household income under $100,000, which her campaign said would amount to 42 million Americans. It would also cancel some debt for those with household incomes between $100,000 and $250,000.

Warren, who has long advocated in Congress for providing debt relief to students, called student loan debt a “crisis.” She said canceling debt for millions of people would help close the nation’s racial and wealth gap, and also proposed making all two-year and four-year public colleges free.

“The first step in addressing this crisis is to deal head-on with the outstanding debt that is weighing down millions of families and should never have been required in the first place,” Warren wrote.

Warren is competing in a crowded field of more than 20 Democrats vying for their party’s 2020 nomination and has sought to distinguish herself by offering numerous, expansive policy proposals.

Anticipating Republican criticism that her proposal would be too expensive, Warren said her debt cancellation plan and universal free college could be paid for through an “Ultra-Millionaire Tax,” which would impose a 2 percent annual tax on families with $50 million or more in wealth.

Education has been a topic on the campaign trail for some of Warren’s rivals as well.

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, another contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, released a plan last month that would use $315 billion in federal money over 10 years to give the average teacher a $13,500 raise, or about a 23 percent salary increase.

(Reporting By Yasmeen Abutaleb; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton speaks at a Merrimack County Democrats Summer Social in Bow
U.S. Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) speaks at a Merrimack County Democrats Summer Social at the Swett home in Bow, New Hampshire, U.S., July 28, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

April 22, 2019

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Seth Moulton, an Iraq War veteran and Democratic congressman from Massachusetts, entered the 2020 presidential nomination contest on Monday, swelling the ranks of declared contenders to almost 20, according to an NBC news report.

He enters the race as an underdog, with little national name recognition and a shorter track record than some of his opponents who have spent years in the U.S. Senate or as state governors.

But Moulton, 40, has already built a political career driven by challenging the party’s establishment.

First elected to Congress in 2014, he won the seat after mounting a primary challenge against John Tierney, a fellow Democrat who had held the seat for 18 years.

After Democrats took control of the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton led an unsuccessful effort to remove Nancy Pelosi as the party’s leader in the chamber.

“Tough conversations make us stronger, not weaker, and we need to keep having them if we’re going to deliver on the change that we’ve promised the American people,” Moulton said in a statement announcing the end of his opposition to Pelosi.

Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. During his 2014 congressional bid, he became a vocal critic of the Iraq War in which he served, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country.

He also has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians.

Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told Boston public radio station WGBH in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college.

He graduated from Harvard University with an undergraduate degree in physics in 2001 and returned to receive a master’s degree in business and public policy in 2011.

(For a graphic of the 2020 presidential candidates, see: https://tmsnrt.rs/2Ff62ZC)

(Reporting by Ginger Gibson; Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)

Source: OANN

U.S. President Donald Trump travels to Mar-a-Lago
U.S. President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One as they travel to Florida for Easter weekend, at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, U.S., April 18, 2019. REUTERS/Al Drago

April 21, 2019

By Sarah N. Lynch and Yasmeen Abutaleb

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top congressional Democrats left the door open on Sunday to pursue the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump, but said they would first need to complete their own investigations into whether he obstructed justice in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Democratic Party leaders have played down impeachment talk ahead of the 2020 presidential election, although prominent members of the party’s progressive wing, including White House candidate Senator Elizabeth Warren, have called for the start of proceedings since the release of Mueller’s report on Thursday.

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Democrats would press ahead on multiple investigations of Trump in Congress and would “go where the evidence leads.”

“Obstruction of justice, if proven, would be impeachable,” Nadler said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

A redacted version of Mueller’s long-awaited report, the product of a 22-month investigation, built a broad case that Trump had committed obstruction of justice but stopped short of concluding he had committed a crime, although it did not exonerate him.

Mueller noted that Congress has the power to address whether Trump violated the law, and Democrats said it would be a matter of discussion in the coming weeks.

“That’s going to be a very consequential decision and one I’m going to reserve judgment on until we have a chance to fully deliberate on it,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on “Fox News Sunday.”

(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch and Yasmeen Abutaleb; Additional reporting by John Whitesides and Tim Ahmann; Writing by John Whitesides; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO - U.S. Representative Haley Stevens speaks with constituents at a town hall meeting in Livonia
FILE PHOTO – U.S. Representative Haley Stevens speaks with constituents at a town hall meeting in Livonia, Michigan, U.S. April 18, 2019.. REUTERS/Steve Friess

April 20, 2019

By Joseph Ax

(Reuters) – Vulnerable House Democrats, mindful of President Donald Trump’s continued strength among Republican voters, are using caution in how they respond to the special counsel’s report, which detailed Trump’s efforts to thwart the investigation into Russian efforts to help him win the White House.

More than 30 Democratic representatives, many of whom are in their first term, represent districts that supported Trump in 2016. The party’s chances of keeping control of the U.S. House of Representatives likely hinge its ability to defend those seats.

In the report released on Thursday, Special Counsel Robert Mueller said Trump may have obstructed justice and portrayed a president bent on stopping the probe into Russian meddling. But Mueller stopped short of concluding that a crime was committed, leaving it to Congress to make its own determination.

That is putting pressure on congressional Democrats to decide whether to pursue impeachment charges against Trump, whose continued popularity with his Republican base could weigh heavily on Democratic lawmakers in swing districts.

Those incumbent Democrats may have to strike a delicate balance on the campaign trail next year. Too much bashing of the president could turn off voters more interested in kitchen-table issues and motivate Trump sympathizers to rally around him.

Hours after Mueller’s findings were released, Abby Spanberger, a Democratic congresswoman from Virginia, held a town hall that saw virtually no discussion of the report. She knocked off a Republican incumbent last year in a district that favored Trump by more than 6 percentage points in 2016.

The 39-year-old representative told reporters before the event that she was more interested in preventing Russia from attacking the electoral process than in “re-litigating” the 2016 presidential contest.

“Regardless of what actions the president did or didn’t take … understanding in far greater detail the aggression of a foreign adversary nation against our election’s infrastructure should ideally help us avoid such circumstances in the future,” she said.

Other Democrats facing reelection in swing districts also reacted cautiously, saying they would reserve judgment until after reading the voluminous report, or emphasizing the threat of Russian interference rather than Trump’s behavior.

“If the conclusion remains that there is no further criminal wrongdoing, I think we should, as a country, move on and ensure that Russia cannot interfere again,” said Ben McAdams, a freshman Utah Democrat in a Republican-leaning district.

INTERNAL DEBATE

The 448-page report’s release has sparked an internal debate within the Democratic Party on how to move forward.

Party leaders played down talk of impeachment, even as they said they would pursue a full, unredacted copy of the report and bring Mueller himself to Capitol Hill to testify under oath. At the same time, some liberal members of the caucus, including Representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez of New York, expressed support for starting an impeachment inquiry.

U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos, the Illinois Democrat who chairs the party’s House campaign arm, set the tone for her most endangered colleagues on Thursday. In a statement, she said she would read the report carefully, then pivoted to other issues.

“As we review this report, I also remain committed to continuing my efforts to bring down the cost of health care, invest in our infrastructure and clean up the mess in Washington,” Bustos said.

Haley Stevens, a Michigan Democrat who won her first term last fall in a district that voted for Trump in 2016, told Reuters many Democrats were elected because “voters want checks and balances and a return to good government and government we can trust.”

Still, speaking after a town hall on Thursday evening, the 35-year-old emphasized that most voters going into 2020 are more concerned about issues such as health care, education and infrastructure.

One of her constituents, Joy Marie Zug, said she voted for Trump in 2016 after having supported Democratic President Barack Obama. Zug says she has since soured on Trump due to his “lies.”

The 46-year-old adult education administrator said Democrats should consider impeachment, based on the mountain of evidence in the Mueller report. But in a reflection of the difficulty of the strategic choice facing Democrats, she also said they should avoid making it a top campaign issue.

“I don’t think this is something they need to run on,” she said. “I just wish this wasn’t the end.”

WEIGHING PRIORITIES

Democrats looking to 2020 must also weigh whether voters’ views on the Russia probe are even susceptible to persuasion, given the country’s deep partisan divides.

A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted on Thursday and Friday after the report came out found 50 percent of Americans agreed that Trump or someone from his campaign worked with Russia during the campaign, and 58 percent of respondents said they believed Trump tried to stop investigations into the campaign’s conduct.

Those figures, which split heavily along party lines, were fairly similar to previous polls.

One senior Democratic strategist involved in shaping the campaign message for 2020 House candidates, who asked for anonymity when discussing the party’s internal thinking, said the party’s own research showed the Russia probe was not particularly resonant for voters.

Still, he said Mueller’s findings would create the background “mood music” when Democrats talk in broad terms about corruption and government accountability.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Steve Friess in Livonia, Michigan; Gary Robertson in Henrico, Virginia; Susan Cornwell in Washington; and Chris Kahn in New York; Editing by Frank McGurty and Marla Dickerson)

Source: OANN

FILE PHOTO: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) walks to his office on the opening day of the 116th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington
FILE PHOTO: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) walks to his office on the opening day of the 116th Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 3, 2019. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

April 19, 2019

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Friday he was “sickened” by the dishonesty of U.S. President Donald Trump and people around him as portrayed in a report on Russia’s attempts to influence the 2016 election.

Romney, now a U.S. senator from Utah and an off-and-on Trump critic, was responding to the report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who described how Trump sought to disrupt the probe into ties between his presidential campaign and Russia.

Mueller did not establish that Trump’s campaign team colluded with Moscow and he did not charge the president with obstructing justice, but the report provided extensive details of Trump’s efforts to thwart the probe.

Romney said it was “good news” that there had been insufficient evidence to charge Trump with conspiring with a foreign adversary or obstructing justice, which he said could have triggered a constitutional crisis.

“Even so, I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President,” Romney said in a statement posted on Twitter.

“I am also appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia – including information that had been illegally obtained; that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement; and that the campaign chairman was actively promoting Russian interests in Ukraine,” he added.

Romney was sharply critical of Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign before being considered briefly as a candidate for secretary of state in Trump’s administration.

His sharp statement on Friday breaks with the position of other Republicans and the White House, which has declared the report a victory for the president.

Trump has repeatedly dubbed the investigation a “witch hunt” and insisted he did not engage in collusion or obstruction.

Trump remains popular with most Republicans but a potential challenge from someone such as Romney in the Republican primary process next year could complicate Trump’s bid to win a second term in 2020.

Romney lost the 2012 presidential election to Democratic candidate Barack Obama.

Congressional Democrats on Friday took legal action to get hold of all of Mueller’s evidence from his inquiry.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; editing by Diane Craft)

Source: OANN


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