African-Americans Thinking About Voting For Trump ‘Ain’t Black’ – Joe Biden

In this file photo taken on May 18, 2019, former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the kick off of his presidential election campaign in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dominick Reuter / AFP
In this file photo taken on May 18, 2019, former US Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the kick off of his presidential election campaign in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dominick Reuter / AFP

 

White House hopeful Joe Biden told an African-American radio host Friday that he “ain’t black” if he was unsure who to support in November’s election, igniting controversy and accusations of racism from President Donald Trump’s camp.

Biden, the Democratic Party’s presumptive presidential nominee, also appeared on a morning television show to discuss his economic plan, including a call to end Trump’s $2 trillion tax cut for corporations and the wealthy and use such funds to “invest in the middle class.”

But all the attention fell on the comments he made during a spirited and sometimes contentious interview with popular syndicated radio personality Charlamagne Tha God, who pressed him about his record on race issues.

Biden — Barack Obama’s vice president for eight years — strongly defended his ties to the African-American community, at one point saying he has “overwhelming support” from black leaders and voters.

Charlamagne, whose real name is Lenard McKelvey, said he hoped Biden could return to his show because “it’s a long way until November (and) we’ve got more questions.”

“You’ve got more questions?” Biden replied from a studio in his Delaware home, where he is riding out the coronavirus crisis.

“Well I tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

Biden’s comments, which aired early Friday on New York-based syndicated radio show The Breakfast Club, quickly sparked reaction from Team Trump.

Donald Trump Jr accused Biden of a “disgusting & dehumanizing racist mentality.”

Senator Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the Senate, and a Trump supporter, also had choice words.

“It’s sadly par for the course for Democrats to take the black community for granted and brow beat those that don’t agree,” Scott tweeted.

‘Good bloodlines’

Trump himself has made several comments that have been criticized as racially insensitive or racist.

He raised eyebrows on Thursday during a tour of a Ford automobile plant in Michigan when he praised the company’s founder, Henry Ford, as a man with “good bloodlines.”

Ford was famously anti-Semitic and promoted a belief of genetic superiority of the white race.

In a newspaper he owned, he published several tracts declaring there was a vast Jewish conspiracy.

The head of the Anti-Defamation League called on Trump to apologize for his remarks.

Meanwhile, Trump campaign advisor Katrina Pierson hastily arranged a press call Friday to slam Biden’s “racially demeaning” comments.

“White liberal elitists” telling communities of color what to think about policies or which candidate to support “is the definition of white privilege,” said Pierson, who is biracial.

Charlamagne, in his 18-minute interview, challenged Biden on that issue, saying he is concerned that “Democrats take black voters for granted.”

Biden, 77, countered that he had earned black votes by working in black communities for decades.

He pointed out that in South Carolina, where he won February’s Democratic primary and turned his lagging campaign around, “I won a larger share of the black vote than anybody had — including Barack.”

Biden also noted that institutional racism was “still prevalent in our society” and pointed to how African-Americans were dying of the coronavirus at higher rates than whites.

“Those essential workers, a disproportionate amount of them are African-Americans. And they’re breaking their necks, risking their lives, losing their lives,” Biden said.

Biden has repeatedly said he would have a diverse cabinet, and he has committed to naming a female running mate.

When Charlamagne highlighted the pressure to pick a black vice president, Biden said “I guarantee you, there are multiple black women who are being considered.”

A senior Biden advisor, Symone Sanders, said the candidate’s “you ain’t black” comments were made “in jest.”

“Let’s be clear about what the VP was saying,” she tweeted.

“He was making the distinction that he would put his record with the African-American community up against Trump’s any day. Period.”

Zuckerberg ‘Confident’ Facebook Can Stop US Election Interference

In this file photo taken on October 23, 2019 Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before the House Financial Services Committee on "An Examination of Facebook and Its Impact on the Financial Services and Housing Sectors" in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC. Nicholas Kamm / AFP
In this file photo taken on October 23, 2019 Facebook Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Nicholas Kamm / AFP.

 

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said Thursday he was “pretty confident” his company could help prevent attempts to influence the political outcome of the US presidential election later this year.

Zuckerberg told the BBC in an interview that the social network was better prepared to counter online misinformation campaigns but admitted Facebook was “behind” during the 2016 election which Donald Trump won.

“Countries are going to continue to try and interfere and we are going to see issues like that but we have learnt a lot since 2016 and I feel pretty confident that we are going to be able to protect the integrity of the upcoming elections,” he said.

Zuckerberg described preventing electoral interference as a “little bit of an arms race” against countries such as Russia, Iran and China.

“We don’t want other governments to try and interfere in elections, so regardless of how effective that is I view it as our job to work with everyone we can to stop that from happening,” he added.

Facebook has been accused of helping Trump win through misinformation that was posted by foreign governments online.

In testimony to the US Senate in October 2017, Facebook said Russia-backed content reached as many as 126 million Americans on its platform during and after the 2016 vote.

It said it believed there were 120 fake Russian-backed pages which created 80,000 posts around the time of the campaign between Trump and former secretary of state Hillary Clinton.

Quizzed about Facebook’s approach to misinformation during the current coronavirus pandemic, he said the company would remove content that would result in “immediate harm” to any user.

Facebook took down a claim by Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro that scientists had “proved” there was a cure for coronavirus.

“That is obviously not true and so we took it down. It doesn’t matter who says it,” Zuckerberg said.

AFP

Democrats Worry As Sanders Wins In Nevada

FILES) In this file photo taken on February 22, 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders gestures as he speaks during a rally at the Abraham Chavez Theater on February 22, 2020 in El Paso, Texas.  Paul Ratje / AFP

 

Bernie Sanders’ landslide victory in Nevada’s Democratic nominating contest has scattered his moderate challengers and injected his White House campaign with a fresh burst of momentum as he drives into the next crucial battlegrounds.

With his strong result Saturday, the Vermont senator demonstrated an ability to broaden a coalition beyond the narrow limits of leftist voters, undercutting the argument from several moderates that he would not be able to bridge the divide between progressives and centrists.

“He showed last night that he can energize our core base,” Howard Dean, a former presidential aspirant himself and former head of the Democratic National Committee, told CNN.

By early Sunday, Sanders was comfortably ahead in Nevada with 60 percent of precincts reporting.

The 78-year-old senator was leading the Democratic pack with 46 percent of the vote, followed far behind by former vice president Joe Biden at 19.6 percent and Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, at 15.3 percent.

Senators Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar trailed at, respectively, 10.1 percent and 4.8 percent.

 ‘Incredibly impressive’ 

Sanders was quick to claim victory, saying his “multi-generational, multi-racial coalition” was “going to sweep this country.”

Dean said the senator’s result in a state far more typical of America’s demographic variety than the two earlier-voting states was “incredibly impressive.”

But he quickly added that a more definitive result will come only after voters in 14 states cast ballots on March 3, or “Super Tuesday.”

Before that comes South Carolina, which votes on February 29.

Biden’s once-strong prospects had faded sharply for weeks, but he said Saturday that he felt “really good” about his second-place showing in Nevada and shouldn’t be counted out.

His team is banking on a strong showing in South Carolina, where Biden has enjoyed support among a majority-black Democratic electorate.

But after Sanders came in virtually tied for first in Iowa and then won last week in New Hampshire, his undeniable victory in Nevada places him squarely in the driver’s seat, at least for now.

He leads national polls by an 11 point margin over Biden and by 13 points over Mike Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who skipped the early voting states to focus on Super Tuesday.

Some Democrats worry 

Sanders’s progressive policies, including universal health care, higher taxes on the wealthy and an increase in the minimum wage, have struck a chord with millions of Americans.

But they have raised alarm among some Democrats that he will make an easy target for President Donald Trump as a radical leftist, and that if he heads the Democratic ticket in November the party could face sweeping losses.

Trump on Saturday issued a sarcastic-sounding congratulations on Twitter to the man he calls “Crazy Bernie.”

Asked if the Democrats’ majority in the House of Representatives might be threatened if Sanders turned out to be Trump’s rival in November, one powerful South Carolina Democrat said that it might.

It “would be a real burden for us in these states or congressional districts that we have to do well in,” said James Clyburn, the House Democratic whip.

“In those districts, it’s going to be tough to hold onto these jobs if you have to make the case for accepting a self-proclaimed Democratic socialist.”

Buttigieg, while congratulating Sanders on his Nevada victory, offered a stern warning against picking someone who he said sees “capitalism as the root of all evil” to go up against the populist president.

Pressure seems certain to grow on some of the lower-polling Democratic moderates to withdraw to allow others to coalesce around a centrist who might fare better against Trump.

Republican campaign advisor Mark McKinnon, speaking on CNN, predicted that the lower polling candidates will be flushed out of the race after Super Tuesday.

But the centrist alternatives face steep challenges, he added: Bloomberg performed notably poorly in Wednesday’s Democratic debate, and “Biden does not have the resources.”

Progressive candidate Elizabeth Warren, speaking late Saturday in Washington state, which votes March 10, vowed to stay in the race despite a third straight mediocre showing.

She renewed her attacks on Bloomberg, accusing him of trying to “buy this election.”

Bloomberg, co-founder of the Bloomberg LP media company, has plowed a record $438 million of personal funds into his campaign.

McKinnon said, meantime, that if Sanders compiled a large enough lead after Super Tuesday it would make it hard for other Democrats to oppose his nomination at the national convention in July, even if he has not won a clear majority of delegates.

“There’s something going on here that defies the conventional wisdom,” he said: a 78-year-old man attracting highly energized young voters.

Sanders, he said, “is creating a passion among voters.”

US Election: Sanders, Buttigieg Face Attack In Democratic Debate

 

Democratic presidential candidates former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) participate in the Democratic presidential primary debate in the Sullivan Arena at St. Anselm College on February 07, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire. AFP

 

White House hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg — riding neck-and-neck in the polls ahead of the next Democratic primary contest — come under sustained attack on the debate stage from rivals seeking to challenge Donald Trump in November.

Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Indiana who at 38 is a fresh face on the national stage, defended himself against charges of inexperience and, in a dig at Sanders, urged Americans to elevate a nominee who will “leave the politics of the past in the past.”

The 78-year-old leftist Sanders, eyeing the moderate Buttigieg as his possible chief adversary, aimed his own shots at his far younger rival in the Manchester, New Hampshire debate — casting him as the candidate of Wall Street.

“I don’t have 40 billionaires, Pete, contributing to my campaign,” Sanders said.

Buttigieg and Sanders finished atop the pack earlier this week in Iowa’s chaotic caucuses, and both hope to renew the performance Tuesday in New Hampshire, as the Democratic Party seeks to pick a challenger to Trump in November.

But Sanders, a veteran senator calling for “political revolution,” was in the firing line from several rivals, including former vice president and fellow septuagenarian Joe Biden who branded his policies too radical to unite Americans.

The 77-year-old Biden, fighting to keep his White House hopes alive after finishing an unnerving fourth in Iowa, insisted liberal policies like Sanders’s flagship universal health care plan would be too divisive, expensive and difficult to get through Congress.

“How much is it going to cost?” Biden asked about Sanders’s Medicare for All bill which estimates the project would cost tens of trillions of dollars.

“Who do you think is going get that passed” in Congress?

Biden performed more aggressively than in previous showings, seizing a chance to argue that today’s global tensions required an experienced statesman to guide the nation out of a dark period.

Despite the Iowa setback he also made plain he still views himself as best placed to mount a centrist challenge to the Republican Trump, who this week survived an impeachment trial that did little to dent his electoral support.

A national unknown one year ago, Buttigieg has run an ambitious campaign that resonated with voters who appreciate his articulate explanations of policy.

But rivals including Senator Amy Klobuchar argued Buttigieg is an untested novice on the world stage.

“We have a newcomer in the White House, and look where it got us,” she said in a gibe at both Buttigieg and Trump.

Buttigieg draws on his experience as a military veteran to cast himself as a credible commander-in-chief.

And he advanced his central argument for generational change as the best way to take on the nation’s tests.

“The biggest risk we could take at a time like this would be to go up against the fundamentally new challenge by trying to fall back on the familiar,” Buttigieg said.

 ‘Trump’s worst nightmare’ 

Also on stage in New Hampshire were Senator Elizabeth Warren, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and billionaire activist Tom Steyer.

Klobuchar, a pragmatist from Minnesota, put in a forceful performance as she voiced her opposition to Sanders and Warren, arguing their liberal plans would only divide voters.

“Truthfully, Donald Trump’s worst nightmare is a candidate that will bring people in from the middle,” she said.

While Biden held his own, he acknowledged he was fighting an uphill battle in the first two voting states.

“I took the hit in Iowa and I’ll probably take it here,” he said, in apparent recognition that Sanders is likely to win New Hampshire, which borders his home state of Vermont.

Democratic tensions have simmered as the party struggles to decide whether to take incremental progressive steps or a more radical turn as proposed by self-declared democratic socialist Sanders.

At one point candidates were asked whether they would be concerned should a democratic socialist win the nomination. Klobuchar and others raised their hands.

As the seven debaters clashed, another candidate loomed in the background.

Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg chose to ignore the early nominating contests and has spent heavily on advertising, hoping to make a splash on “Super Tuesday” on March 3, when 14 states vote.

Warren, who calls for an end to the “corruption” of Washington, lashed out against Bloomberg — but also Buttigieg — who has raised large sums from wealthy donors.

“I don’t think anyone ought to be able to buy their way into a nomination or being president,” she said.

“I don’t think any billionaire ought to be able to do it and I don’t think people who suck up to billionaires in order to fund their campaigns ought to be able to do it.”

After New Hampshire, the candidates turn to Nevada on February 22, South Carolina on February 29 and then Super Tuesday.

AFP

US Elections: Sanders Claims Victory In Iowa

Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters as they wait for results to come in at his caucus night watch party on February 3, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. Kerem Yucel / AFP
Democratic presidential candidate Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders speaks to supporters as they wait for results to come in at his caucus night watch party on February 3, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa.
Kerem Yucel / AFP

 

Senator Bernie Sanders claimed victory in the Iowa caucuses on Monday, citing internal campaign data that placed him ahead of Pete Buttigieg after a major delay to the release of official results.

The first vote of the US election season, Iowa’s caucuses kick off the Democratic primary that will determine who challenges Donald Trump in November.

Data released by the Sanders campaign, which said it represents results from nearly 40 percent of precincts in Iowa, shows the leftist senator garnering 28.62 percent of the vote, followed by moderate Buttigieg on 25.71 percent.

“We recognize that this does not replace the full data from the Iowa Democratic Party, but we believe firmly that our supporters worked too hard for too long to have the results of that work delayed,” Sanders advisor Jeff Weaver said.

The data collected by Sanders campaign volunteers showed progressive Senator Elizabeth Warren in third place, with 18.42 percent of the vote, with former vice president Joe Biden slipping to fourth place on 15.08 percent.

The only other candidate polling above 10 percent was Amy Klobuchar, on 10.93.

Monday’s contest turned sour after major hiccups in the reporting process prevented the release of official results.

 

AFP

Debate Exposes Divides Among Democrats Despite United Front On Trump

Democratic presidential hopefuls (L-R) Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders speak during the fifth Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta, Georgia on November 20, 2019. SAUL LOEB / AFP

 

 

Divides between Democrats vying to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 election were laid bare in a combative debate Wednesday, as the campaign’s rising star Pete Buttigieg acknowledged he faced challenges in attracting black voters.

Buttigieg, the contest’s youngest candidate who occupies the same moderate lane as frontrunner Joe Biden, offered a unifying message as a way to bring Democrats and Republicans toward a broad political middle.

Democrats can seize a majority on issues like immigration and guns “if we can galvanize, not polarize that majority,” Buttigieg told the debate in Georgia.

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But after an opening phase dominated by talk of impeachment of Trump, participants in the fifth Democratic debate locked horns over the costly universal health care program supported by liberal senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

“I believe that commanding people to accept that option, whether we wait three years as Senator Warren has proposed or whether you do it right out of the gate is not the right approach to unify the American people around a very, very big transformation that we now have an opportunity to deliver,” Buttigieg said.

Former vice president Biden also took aim at the trillion-dollar reform, saying it would be wiser to build on existing Obamacare and provide a public option.

“The fact is that right now the vast majority of Democrats do not support Medicare for All,” Biden said.

Biden is the face of the Democratic Party establishment and is the current frontrunner. He turned 77 on Wednesday and appeared to stumble over his words on several occasions, including during his opening remarks.

Buttigieg, the military veteran mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who at 37 is less than half Biden’s age, sought to paint himself as a young outsider who should be elected commander-in-chief despite his slender resume.

“I get it’s not traditional establishment Washington experience, but I would argue we need something very different right now,” Buttigieg, mayor of a small city in Indiana, told his rivals.

But when pressed by Senator Kamala Harris, the only black woman in the race, about his low polling among African-American voters, Buttigieg acknowledged he had yet to convince one of the party’s most important constituencies.

“I welcome the challenge of connecting with black voters in America who don’t yet know me,” said Buttigieg, the first major openly-gay US presidential candidate.

“While I do not have the experience of ever having been discriminated against because of the color of my skin, I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country.”

Biden leads in national polling, followed by Warren and Sanders.

But Buttigieg has cracked into the top tier in the past month, and now tops the polls in Iowa which stages the first nomination contest in February.

Warren was the candidate to watch last month but her campaign has plateaued.

She has made headway by pledging to end a system that she described during the debate as working “better for… the rich and well-connected, and worse and worse for everyone else.

“I’m tired of freeloading billionaires,” she said.

As the 10 qualifying candidates rumbled in their nationally televised showdown, dominating the political discourse is the high-stakes impeachment hearings into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

Democrats accuse Trump of conditioning military aid and a White House meeting on Kiev’s announcing investigations of Biden and his son Hunter, who worked with a Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president.

But some candidates warned that obsessing over the president could sabotage Democrats’ efforts.

“We cannot simply be consumed by Donald Trump,” Sanders said. “Because if we are, you know what? We’re going to lose the election.”

– Trump ‘punked’ –

With attention directed at Capitol Hill, the debate run-up has been low-key.

But candidates lept at the chance to critique Trump’s foreign policy on North Korea and Saudi Arabia.

Harris landed a sharp blow, saying Trump “got punked” by North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un.

One of the most heated exchanges came when Buttigieg ridiculed long-shot candidate Tulsi Gabbard for meeting “a murderous dictator” like Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad as the mild-mannered mayor snapped back at criticism over recent comments on Mexico.

There were lighter moments too. Senator Cory Booker, known for his moral calls to action, used humor to upbraid Biden for recently saying he opposed legalizing marijuana nationally.

“I thought you might have been high when you said it,” said Booker, who went on to declare that America’s war on drugs has been “a war on black and brown people.”

Senator Amy Klobuchar, entrepreneur Andrew Yang and investor-turned-activist Tom Steyer rounded out the contenders.

The field may soon expand to include billionaire businessman and former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg who has recently filed ballot paperwork in two states.

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.

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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