Warren Overtakes Biden In New 2020 US Election Poll

Democratic presidential candidate Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren speaks at an LGBTQ presidential forum at Coe Colleges Sinclair Auditorium on September 20, 2019 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Scott Olson/Getty Images/AFP

 

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has surged past former vice president Joe Biden in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, according to a poll published on Wednesday.

Warren was the choice of 27 percent of the Democratic and Democratic-leaning independent voters surveyed nationwide in the Quinnipiac University poll, while 25 percent opted for Biden.

Biden has been the frontrunner in the crowded Democratic field seeking the right to face Donald Trump in November 2020, but Warren has been surging lately and drawing large crowds to her campaign rallies.

Quinnipiac said that although the findings were within the margin of error, it was the first time since March that Warren had topped Biden in one of its polls.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was in third place with 16 percent followed by Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, with seven percent and California Senator Kamala Harris with three percent.

In an August national poll by Quinnipiac, Biden was at 32 percent, Warren at 19 percent and Sanders at 15 percent.

“After trailing Biden by double digits since March in the race for the Democratic nomination, Warren catches Biden,” said Quinnipiac University polling analyst Tim Malloy.

“We now have a race with two candidates at the top of the field, and they’re leaving the rest of the pack behind.”

Two recent polls had Warren overtaking Biden in Iowa and New Hampshire, the states which vote first to choose a Democratic nominee.

A Des Moines Register/CNN poll had Warren with 22 percent of the vote among likely participants in the Iowa caucuses, compared to 20 percent for Biden and 11 percent for Sanders.

A Monmouth University poll in New Hampshire had Warren leading Biden by two points in the state — 27 percent to 25 percent — and Sanders coming in third at 12 percent.

Warren leads in California poll 

Warren has also leapfrogged Biden in California, which sends the most delegates to the Democratic National Convention, according to a poll conducted for the Los Angeles Times by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies.

Warren is the first choice of 29 percent of likely Democratic voters in California, followed by Biden with 20 percent and Sanders with 19 percent, according to the poll.

The Massachusetts senator has vied with Sanders for the progressive vote with bold ideas on health care and education, while Biden has campaigned as an experienced moderate who has the best chance of defeating Trump.

The Warren campaign announced on Tuesday that it was spending at least $10 million on digital and television advertising in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, and hiring new state directors and organizers.

The Quinnipiac survey, which was conducted before the Democratic-led House of Representatives opened an impeachment inquiry into Trump on Tuesday, also looked at the Republican president’s job approval.

Forty percent of those polled said they approve of Trump’s handling of the presidency while 55 percent said they disapprove.

Thirty-seven percent of the registered voters surveyed said Trump should be impeached while 57 percent said he should not.

The poll of 1,337 registered voters was conducted September 19-23 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.

The survey of 561 Democratic or Democratic-leaning independent voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

AFP

Facebook Tightens Rules For Political Adverts Ahead Of US Elections

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual F8 summit at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California on May 1, 2018.  JOSH EDELSON / AFP

 

Facebook said Wednesday it would tighten its rules for political ad spending ahead of the 2020 US elections, notably by requiring more information about who is paying for campaign messages.

The move is the latest by Facebook to crack down on efforts to deceive or manipulate users after the social network admitted lapses in the 2016 election.

While Facebook has already begun requiring political advertisers to provide identification to confirm who they are and where they are located, the new policy requires more information to show they are registered with the US government.

This new verification can be done by submitting a tax identification number or proof that the group is registered with the Federal Election Commission.

“People should know who is trying to influence their vote and advertisers shouldn’t be able to cover up who is paying for ads,” a Facebook blog post said.

The new steps call for “strengthening the authorization process for US advertisers, showing people more information about each advertiser and updating our list of social issues” for advertisers.

Facebook said organizations that fail to submit the verification will see their ads “paused” by mid-October.

Smaller businesses or local politicians unable to meet the new requirements may still be able to place ads on Facebook by providing a verifiable phone number and mailing address or personal information, but the ads will not be tagged as being from a “confirmed organization.”

Facebook said it planned to make improvements to its “ad library” to more easily track and compare spending of US presidential candidates.

It also said it would prohibit ads “that expressly discourage people in the US from voting,” in response to recent civil rights audit.

Account holders for national candidates will be required to use two-factor authentication and verify their location “so that we can confirm these pages are using real accounts and are located in the US,” Facebook said.

AFP

Americans Await Bombshell Mueller Report

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, special counsel on the Russia investigation, leaves following a meeting with members of the US Senate Judiciary Committee at the US Capitol in Washington. 
SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

Nearly four weeks after President Donald Trump declared himself completely exonerated, Americans will on Thursday get a chance to see the evidence themselves with the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Widespread doubt and suspicion has remained in the air despite Attorney General Bill Barr’s March 24 statement that the Mueller investigation found no criminal collusion by Trump’s 2016 campaign with Russia, and insufficient evidence of obstruction of justice.

The details of the 400-page report — which could come out with heavy redactions — could determine whether Democrats in Congress pursue impeachment of the president.

READ ALSO: United Airlines To Receive New 737 MAX Planes In 2019

They could also have an impact on Trump’s chances for re-election in 2020.

Barr and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversaw the 22-month Mueller investigation, plan a press conference at 9:30 AM (1330 GMT) Thursday morning to discuss the report.

But the report will not be given to Congress until between 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler told a news conference, saying Barr “appears to be waging a media campaign on behalf of President Trump.”

Since Barr’s brief summary of the findings on March 24, Trump has alternately heralded a victory over his opponents and blasted the investigation as illegitimate and an “attempted coup” against his government.

The report was a “complete and total exoneration,” Trump declared after Barr gave his summary.

Then on Monday, he lashed out at the investigation, which since the beginning he has labelled an illegal “witch hunt.”

“The Mueller Report, which was written by 18 Angry Democrats who also happen to be Trump Haters (and Clinton Supporters), should have focused on the people who SPIED on my 2016 Campaign, and others who fabricated the whole Russia Hoax.”

“Since there was no Collusion, why was there an Investigation in the first place! Answer – Dirty Cops, Dems and Crooked Hillary!”

– Trump poised to fight back –

The White House appeared poised Thursday to fight back.

According to news reports, Trump’s team has spoken with Justice Department officials in recent days on what the report says in order to prepare their response.

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told reporters that he is preparing a detailed “counter report” focusing on the obstruction allegations.

And Trump told local Washington radio station WMAL that he might hold a press conference as well.

“This should never happen to a president or to this country again, what took place,” he said of the investigation.

“You’ll see a lot of very strong things come out tomorrow. Attorney General Barr is going to be giving a press conference. Maybe I’ll do one after that; we’ll see,” he said.

– Democrats demand unredacted report-

The report will focus on the primary target of the investigation: the extent of Russia’s efforts to meddle in the 2016 presidential election and tilt it in Trump’s favor.

Much of that story has already been told by Mueller in court filings, in which he charged 26 Russians and three Russian companies with conspiracy.

The report should also summarize the already-known charges brought against six former Trump aides, and explain why none of them, or anyone else, was charged in the conspiracy that involved Russians.

And it will likely have information on the most potent allegations against Trump on obstruction of justice.

Despite Trump’s claim that he was exonerated by Mueller, Barr’s summary revealed that, on the obstruction of justice allegation, Mueller in fact declined to reach a conclusion on the evidence.

And newspaper reports cited an unnamed member of Mueller’s team as saying Barr, in saying the obstruction evidence was “not sufficient” to charge a crime, downplayed the evidence.

The report’s release nevertheless will not clear the air of doubts.

Barr warned ahead of time that he will have to sanitize it of major parts — testimony given to grand juries that Mueller convened for the investigation, information from intelligence sources, and information related to ongoing investigations, information on people not charged.

Because of that, Congress has demanded Barr hand over the unredacted version to make sure his edits aren’t protecting Trump.

Nadler is poised to subpoena the entire Mueller report and various congressional bodies are angling to have Barr testify, and possibly Mueller after that.

Russia Investigation ‘Disgrace To Our Nation,’ Says Trump

US President Donald Trump delivers a speech during a visit at the American Cemetery of Suresnes, outside Paris, on November 11, 2018 as part of Veterans Day and the commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the 11 November 1918 armistice, ending World War I.
Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump on Thursday launched a fresh attack on the Russia investigation, branding it a “disgrace to our Nation” a week after he fired his attorney general, raising questions about the probe’s future.

“They have found no collusion and have gone absolutely nuts. They are screaming and shouting at people, horribly threatening them to come up with the answers they want,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“They are a disgrace to our Nation and don’t care how many lives (they) ruin.”

The president has frequently lashed out at the probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US elections and whether there was collusion by the Trump campaign.

But his latest missive takes on new significance in the wake of his appointment of Matthew Whitaker, a past public critic of the probe, as acting attorney general replacing the sacked Jeff Sessions.

The move puts Whitaker, Sessions’ former chief of staff, in charge of overseeing the Mueller probe.

On Wednesday, Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a critic of the president, and Democratic Senator Chris Coons attempted to introduced a measure to protect Mueller, but it was blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer has said that if Whitaker refuses to recuse himself from the probe, as Sessions had done, Democrats will seek to attach legislation protecting Mueller to a must-pass spending bill that will be up for consideration in the coming weeks.

AFP

Trump To Hold Post-Election Press Conference

US Warns Voters To Look For Russian Fake News
People watch as US President Donald Trump speaks at a Make America Great Again rally in Cleveland, Ohio on November 5, 2018. Jim WATSON / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump will speak to reporters Wednesday in his first public remarks since his fellow Republicans strengthened their hold on the Senate and lost their House majority to Democrats.

Trump “will hold a press conference today at 11:30 am (1630 GMT) at the White House in the East Room,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Twitter. Earlier, the president hailed the Republican victories as a “tremendous success.”

AFP

Dead Man Wins Election In US

Dennis Hof.                                                                                                                    Source: @ElectHOF

 

A colourful brothel owner and former reality TV star who died last month nonetheless posthumously won a seat in the Nevada state legislature.

He may be dead, but Dennis Hof scored 69.02 per cent in Tuesday’s vote against Democratic candidate Lesia Romanov, at 30.98 per cent, to win the assembly seat representing rural southern Nye County, official records showed.

A Republican will be tapped to serve in his place.

Hof, 72, was found dead at the Love Ranch, one of his legal brothels in Crystal, Nevada, on October 16 after celebrating his birthday with a party attended by porn star Ron Jeremy and other guests.

He was believed to have died in his sleep.

Hof, who starred in the HBO reality television show “Cathouse” about the prostitutes working at one of his establishments, was running as a Donald Trump-style Republican.

The author of “The Art of the Pimp,” his autobiography, Hof called himself the “Trump of Pahrump” after the Nevada city where he owned two other brothels.

Brothels operate legally in seven rural Nevada counties.

Former NBA star Lamar Odom was once famously found unconscious at the Love Ranch after a four-day stay.

AFP

Pence Paints China As Enemy In US Election

Mike Pence Reaffirms US Commitment To NATO

 

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday accused China of military aggression, commercial theft and rising human rights violations as he cast the Asian power as a villain bent on interfering in upcoming US elections.

In a blistering speech that expands on complaints aired by President Donald Trump at the United Nations last week, Pence accused China of waging an “unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion” ahead of critical congressional elections on November 6.

“To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working; China wants a different American president,” Pence said at the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington think tank.

“There can be no doubt — China is meddling in America’s democracy.”

The administration’s offensive on China comes as a cloud hangs over Trump with an investigation into whether his campaign colluded with Russia to swing the 2016 presidential election in the Republican real estate tycoon’s favor.

Just hours before Pence spoke, the US Justice Department indicted seven Russian intelligence agents as part of a joint crackdown with Britain and The Netherlands on alleged hacking by Moscow, including against the Democratic Party, Trump’s domestic rivals.

But Pence said: “As a senior career member of our intelligence community told me just this week, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country.”

Rising disputes 

Pence’s sharply worded address comes days before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to visit China on a trip focused on nuclear diplomacy with North Korea — an area in which the United States still seeks Beijing’s cooperation.

China has maintained a calm tone as US language escalates. China’s ambassador to the US Cui Tiankai, in an interview with National Public Radio aired shortly before Pence’s address, said there was a “much larger need for cooperation” than competition with Washington.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have plummeted in recent weeks with Trump placing $250 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods, in part over charges that Beijing forces US companies to hand over technological know-how.

Larry Kudlow, the director of the White House’s National Economic Council, separately said that the United States was speaking to the European Union and Japan about taking joint action against China.

Speaking before the Economic Club of Washington, Kudlow — with echoes of the Iraq war — spoke of a “trade coalition of the willing to confront China.”

Pence lashed out at China for focusing its retaliatory tariffs on states vital to the Republicans’ electoral chances.

He also slammed Beijing for placing a multi-page advertisement extolling the virtues of US-China trade in the Des Moines Register, the highest-circulation newspaper in Iowa, a swing state whose longtime governor Terry Branstad is Trump’s ambassador to Beijing.

Such paid supplements by foreign governments are commonplace in US newspapers, but Pence complained that the United States was not allowed to print similar advertisements in China’s state-controlled press.

Hailing Taiwan as a model 

Touching a particularly sensitive issue for China, Pence attacked Beijing for coaxing three more Latin American nations to switch recognition from Taiwan.

“These actions threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait — and the United States of America condemns them,” Pence said.

The democratic, self-governing island is home to nationalists who fled in 1949 after losing China’s civil war and has waged an increasingly lonely campaign for diplomatic recognition as the Republic of China.

Pence made clear that the United States still adhered to its four-decade policy of recognizing only Beijing but added to applause: “Let me also say that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people.”

Pence also accused Beijing of showing its “aggression” when a Chinese navy vessel recently sailed in the dispute-ridden South China Sea near the USS Decatur destroyer, which according to US officials had to make a quick detour to avoid a collision.

“Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand,” Pence said.

“We will not be intimidated; we will not stand down.”

The vice president, a favorite of conservative US Christians, also criticized China on human rights, voicing disappointment that rising prosperity has not led to reforms.

China “has taken a sharp U-turn toward control and oppression,” Pence said, adding: “A new wave of persecution is crashing down on Chinese Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims.”

AFP

Trump Campaigns In Florida, Claims ‘Most Popular’ Title

US President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall in Tampa, Florida, on July 31, 2018. SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

US President Donald Trump campaigned in the battleground state of Florida Tuesday, hoping to energize Republicans facing a stiff test in November polls.

With tight US Senate and state gubernatorial elections coming up, Trump offered impassioned voters in Tampa the greatest hits of his administration and a plea to get out to vote and “win big.”

Among key ballots, this November 6 is a close contest between Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Bill Nelson for a US Senate seat that is crucial for Republicans to win if they want to keep control of Congress.

A RealClear Politics poll average has Scott ahead by just over one per cent in a toss-up race.

Trump endorsed Scott and Ron DeSantis for the key governor’s race.

But Trump spent most of the speech that lasted more than an hour hailing his own record and lapping up the adulation of the thousands-strong crowd of mostly white, middle-aged Americans.

He claimed credit for more people celebrating Christmas, hailed support from “blacks for Trump” and stated that he is the leading figure in the 160-plus-year history of his party.

“The most popular person in the history of the Republican Party is Trump, can you believe it?” he asked, to rapturous applause.

“This may be the greatest movement in the history of our country,” he said. “To keep it going, we need to elect more Republicans.”

AFP

Trump’s Aide Suspected Of ‘Conspiring’ With Russia

US President Donald Trump waves after he announced his Supreme Court nomination in the East Room of the White House on July 9, 2018 in Washington, DC. MANDEL NGAN / AFP

 

The FBI believed that a former campaign advisor to Donald Trump was “collaborating” with Russia as it worked to influence the 2016 presidential election, top-secret documents released to US news organizations have revealed.

The US president hit back Sunday, portraying the wiretapping of his ex-aide as part of a partisan and “illegal” conspiracy because the FBI partly relied on information provided by Democrat-funded research in seeking its warrant.

The October 2016 application to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court named Carter Page, a former foreign policy advisor to the Trump campaign, according to the documents published late Saturday by The New York Times.

The newspaper, along with USA Today and others, filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuits to obtain the material, which the Justice Department released but with many details redacted.

“The FBI believes Page has been the subject of targeted recruitment by the Russian government,” the initial FBI application says before it is blacked out and continues: “undermine and influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election in violation of US criminal law.”

“The FBI believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government,” the document adds lower down.

The release of the documents comes just over a week after Special Counsel Robert Mueller, probing possible collusion between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers, accusing them of hacking Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton’s campaign to steal documents, which were then publicly released.

It also caps a week dominated by Trump’s extraordinary inaugural summit with Vladimir Putin, at which he seemed to take at face value the Russian leader’s denial of election meddling, dismissing the findings of his own intelligence chiefs.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Trump said the release confirmed the surveillance of his campaign was a “Witch Hunt” because some of the information that led to the wiretapping was provided by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, who was hired on behalf of the Clinton campaign in 2016.

But Trump’s tweets did not address the fact that the FISA application revealed its sourcing at length and was approved by a judge, before being renewed three more times by three other judges.

 ‘Candidate #1’ 

The surveillance of Page became in February the subject of intense rivalry between lawmakers from Trump’s Republican Party and their Democratic counterparts.

The former released a memo claiming Democratic-funded research prompted the FBI to spy on Page and that the agency was not sufficiently candid with the court about its sourcing.

Trump defied his own FBI director and the Justice Department to declassify the four-page Republican document, which was based on the much larger secret court application record which has now been released.

A counter-memo subsequently made public by the Democrats had argued the surveillance request “was based on compelling evidence and probable cause.”

Writing on the Lawfare blog, David Kris, who has served as a prosecutor under the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations, argued the Republican memo now stood exposed as dishonest.

“Now we can see that the footnote disclosing Steele’s possible bias takes up more than a full page in the applications, so there is literally no way the FISA Court could have missed it,” he said. “The FBI gave the court enough information to evaluate Steele’s credibility.”

In the documents released Saturday, the FBI cited a source which, it said, had a history of providing reliable information regardless of the source’s reasons for conducting research into Trump’s ties to Russia.

Trump is not named in the document but identified only as “Candidate #1.”

Advisor to Kremlin 

The FBI, in its initial application the month before Trump won the election, said it “believes that the Russian Government’s efforts are being coordinated with Page and perhaps other individuals associated with Candidate #1’s campaign.”

It added that “Page has established relationships with Russian Government officials, including Russian intelligence officers.”

Page has not been charged. Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Page denied the allegations. “I’ve never been an agent of the foreign power in any — by any stretch of the imagination.”

He added: “To call me an advisor, I think is way over the top,” before host Jake Tapper interjected to cite a 2013 letter written by Page in which he called himself “an informal advisor to the staff of the Kremlin.”

AFP

Russia Election Meddling Probe May End In September

Giuliani, a lawyer to US President Donald Trump, says the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign will end by September 1. 
Robyn BECK / AFP

 

Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, says the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign could end by September 1.

Giuliani said the office of Robert Mueller — the special counsel who is leading the investigation — plans to end the investigation by then and had shared the timeline some two weeks ago, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Fox News quoted Giuliani as saying that Mueller told Trump’s legal team the investigation could be over by September 1, although the timeline was contingent upon the special counsel interviewing the president by mid-July.

Giuliani said he wants the investigation over by that time so it does not affect Republicans’ chances in congressional mid-term elections in November, Fox reported.

“You don’t want another repeat of the 2016 election where you get contrary reports at the end and you don’t know how it affected the election,” Giuliani told the Times.

Former FBI director James Comey — fired by Trump last year — announced that the bureau would reopen an investigation into Hillary Clinton’s misuse of a private email server just 11 days before the 2016 presidential vote, a move that may have helped cost her the election.

Trump, who has repeatedly described the investigation as a “witch hunt,” views it as a stain on his presidency and wants it over.

His former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, his first national security advisor Michael Flynn and an assortment of campaign aides have all been caught in Mueller’s investigation, variously pleading guilty, cutting a plea deal or fighting the case in court.

But a year after the probe began, the big questions remain unanswered: Did Trump’s campaign collude with the Kremlin to skew the 2016 election? What did the president know and when did he know it? Did he obstruct justice? Can a sitting president be indicted?

AFP

Trump: Putin Told Me ‘He Didn’t Meddle’ In US Election

US president Donald Trump on Saturday said Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin told him that “he didn’t meddle” in US elections that propelled the billionaire former reality star to the White House.

Trump’s relationship with Moscow has stalked the first year of his presidency, with key former aides under a US investigation for alleged collaboration with the Kremlin.

Trump’s former campaign Chairman Paul Manafort and an associate are under house arrest on charges including conspiracy to launder money, linked to the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into allegations that the campaign colluded with Russia.

The US leader had “two or three” brief conversations with Putin on the margins of the APEC summit in the Vietnamese city of Danang, Trump told reporters on Air Force One on the way to a state visit in Hanoi.

“He (Putin) said he didn’t meddle. He said he didn’t meddle. I asked him again,” he said.

“You can only ask so many times… He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election.”

Trump explained that Putin reiterates his denial “every time” the pair meet, adding his counterpart seems “very insulted” by the persistent allegations.

But he would not be drawn on whether he believes the Russian strongman.

Social media giants Twitter and Facebook have said paid for and free content with Russian links carrying divisive election-related messages spun across their platforms ahead of the crunch poll.

AFP

I’m Not Running In 2020 Presidential Election – Biden

Former United States Vice President Joe Biden has ruled himself out of contention for the 2020 US presidential Elections.

“I’m not running,” he said in reference to the 2020 presidential election.

Biden was speaking at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California on Wednesday, when he was asked if his recent trip to New Hampshire might be the start to building up campaign momentum.

Instead Biden, who was in the state on Sunday, told moderator Michael Milken that he was only there to raise support for the Democratic Party.

Biden also spoke at length about his youth and time as a young lawyer and senator in the early 1970s. He praised his mother, Catherine Eugenia Finnegan, for her role in building his character and supporting him as a child.

Reuters