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Tuesday
Oct232018

There's 'no room for Trump skeptics, let alone Trump critics' in Republican primaries now: Jeff Flake

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who frequently publicly disagrees with President Donald Trump, said anyone in his party who is a critic of the president is unlikely to do well in Republican primaries this election season.

“There is no room for Trump skeptics, let alone Trump critics, in Republican primaries these days,” Flake said on "The View" on Tuesday.

Flake, who is not seeking re-election, was on “The View” to celebrate the birthday of fellow Arizonan, co-host Meghan McCain.

He reflected on the heated partisanship in the country, with him and McCain sharing that they had spoken about his recollection of being at a congressional softball game in 2017 where GOP Rep. Steve Scalise was shot.

Flake said that as he "watched the bullets pitch off the gravel," he thought to himself, "Why us?"

He said he was in disbelief that a shooter would target "a group of middle-aged men playing baseball," and he decried the level of vitriol between the two parties.

"It's out of control right now," Flake said.

As for speculation that he might run for president in 2020, Flake joked that he has made visits to a very important primary state.

“I’ve been to New Hampshire a couple of times, but just for the weather,” he said.

He suggested that he thinks there should be a challenge against Trump 2020, saying, “I do hope somebody runs on the Republican side,” if for no other reason than to remind the public “what decent politicians look like.”

The Arizona senator was also asked about his vote in favor of confirming now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Flake said he believed the stories and concerns of protesters against Kavanaugh who accosted him on Capitol Hill prior to the vote.

“I felt for them,” Flake said of the two women protesters who confronted him in a Senate elevator. “You could tell that it was genuine and I just want them to know we hear them.”

“I would have liked a broader investigation that started sooner,” he said of the FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nominee, which Kavanaugh categorically denied.

But, he said of his vote in support of Kavanaugh, a “mere allegation with no corroboration” is not a reason to vote against a nominee.

“I wish I had the certitude that some of my colleagues expressed,” Flake said about the vote.

Flake also talked about his long friendship with the late Sen. John McCain, saying that his former colleague was extremely proud of his daughter.

“If John McCain could have put ‘The View’ on in the Senate cloakroom every day he would have,” Flake said.

“Nothing made him happier than to get calls from his family and to see him light up like that,” Flake said of John McCain. “I miss him horribly.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct232018

Pence backs Trump's claim that 'Middle Easterners' have infiltrated migrant caravan

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Mike Pence doubled down Tuesday on the president's assertion that "Middle Easterners" have infiltrated a caravan of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to the U.S. border.

"It's inconceivable that there are not people of Middle Eastern descent in a crowd of more than 7,000 people advancing toward our border," Pence said in a conversation with the Washington Post Tuesday morning.

Pence backed up President Donald Trump's statements that people from the Middle East, as well as MS-13 gang members, were mixed in with the thousands of migrants traveling to the nation's southern border to escape violence and poverty in their countries. Trump made the comments in a tweet Monday and repeated them during a campaign rally in Houston later that night.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct232018

Pipe-bomb-like explosive device found in George Soros' home mailbox

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A pipe-bomb-like device loaded with black powder was found at the suburban New York City home of billionaire financier George Soros, prompting the FBI to launch an investigation into who would want to harm the philanthropist and political activist, a law enforcement source told ABC News on Tuesday.

The FBI detonated the device near Soros' home in Katonah, New York, and were analyzing the parts to determine whether the bomb was built to go off, the source said.

The source emphasized that the device was no hoax.

The bomb was found about 3:45 p.m. Monday in the mailbox of Soros' home by a property caretaker for the billionaire, the source said.

"An employee of the residence opened the package, revealing what appeared to be an explosive device," said Bedford police, which sent officers to the residence, in a statement.

The caretaker placed the suspicious package in a wooded area and called the police, officials said.

No determination has been made whether the device arrived by mail or was planted in the mailbox, and there is no suspect yet.

The 88-year-old Soros was not home when the device was discovered, and no one was injured in the incident.

Bedford police said the investigation was turned over to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force.

"We are conducting an investigation at and around a residence in Bedford, New York. There is no threat to public safety, and we have no further comment at this time," the FBI New York office tweeted Monday afternoon.

Soros has become a favorite target of right-wing groups due to his support of progressive causes and Democratic candidates, but authorities have not commented on whether any specific group is being investigated.

A Hungarian immigrant who lived through the Nazi occupation during World War II, Soros launched his own hedge fund in 1970 and went on to become one of the most successful investors in U.S. history.

The discovery of the pipe bomb follows a separate and unrelated case this month in another northern New York City suburb in which the FBI found a 200-pound workable bomb, and arrested a man who allegedly built it and planned to detonate it on the National Mall in Washington on Election Day, officials said.

While no determination has been made about a motive in the Soros case, investigators said they are concerned about consequences of the nation's heightened political rhetoric.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct232018

Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor announces dementia diagnosis

Bill Clark/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman to ever serve on the highest court in the land, has been diagnosed with dementia and is battling the early stages of the disease, she announced in a public letter addressed to "friends and fellow Americans" on Tuesday morning.

O'Connor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006. She was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 when she was 51 years old.

"Some time ago, doctors diagnosed me with the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer's disease," O'Connor wrote, explaining that the condition has progressed to the point that she can no longer participate in public life.

"Since many people have asked about my current status and activities, I want to be open about these changes, and while I am still able, share some personal thoughts," she said. Her primary goal since retiring from the Supreme Court 12 years ago, she said, has been promoting civic engagement – advocating for Americans to "understand our Constitution and unique system of government, and participate actively in their communities."

She spoke of the program she wrote, iCivics, which teaches children across the country.

"I will continue living in Phoenix, Arizona, surrounded by dear friends and family. While the final chapter of my life with dementia may be trying, nothing has diminished my gratitude and deep appreciation for the countless blessings in my life," O'Connor wrote.

"As a young cowgirl from the Arizona desert, I never could have imagined that one day I would become the first woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court," she added.

This is a developing story. Check back for details.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct232018

How candidate Liuba Grechen Shirley is changing how moms can run for office

The Washington Post/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the middle of speaking to a group of voters on a chilly Long Island day, Liuba Grechen Shirley stops.

"Put your coat on baby, it's cold," she said over the microphone, after her 4-year-old daughter took off her jacket and tossed it on the ground.

Shirley continued to address the group, but she's interrupted. It's her daughter again. She sprinted through supporters to give her mother a sticker.

"Thank you, munchkin," chuckled Shirley, who's running for office in New York’s 2nd Congressional District.

With less than a month to the election, Shirley’s children are her two youngest supporters. Her daughter refers to door knocking as "trick or treating for votes" and jumps at the opportunity to tag along, she told "Good Morning America."

Her husband can typically be seen pacing the edges of events with the couple's second child in his arms.

 
Paving the way for more moms to run for office
"I'm a mom first and I'm running for office because of them," she said. But her children also caused her biggest hesitation.

When she was approached to run for office by Square One politics, an organization started by staffers for former President Obama, they asked her one important question: "What do you need to run?"

"Child care," Shirley responded. At the time, she was a full-time caregiver for her two kids, who were just 1 and 3 years old.

"I would be nursing my son, and my daughter would be playing with my hair and I'd be making phone calls," she recalled. In the first two months of her campaign, she raised $126,000 -- with no paid staff.

Child care, however, was expensive -- a cost Shirley believes keeps many mothers from considering a run for office. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average annual cost of infant child care in New York is $14,144.

The Federal Election Commission, which monitors campaign finances, prohibits using campaign funds for personal use. Shirley decided to put in a request to the FEC to create a ruling that would allow her to use campaign funds from private donors on child care.

"I can make the decision to use these campaign funds on a pizza party for my staff or on more lawn signs or on child care -- and without the child care I wouldn't be able to run for office," she said.

Hillary Clinton wrote in support of Shirley's request, as well as 24 U.S. representatives, including Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. The decision was approved in a unanimous bipartisan decision.

"This is for people who need to pick up the extra costs of child care to be able to run, because if you're not independently wealthy and you have small children you can't do it. You cannot run for office. And this rule changes that," Shirley explained.


Running to flip a red district blue again
Shirley, who has a Master of Business Administration and previously worked for the United Nations Association, is facing off against Republican incumbent Rep. Peter King in November. King, who has held the seat since 2012, hosted President Donald Trump in the district in May to discuss ways to combat violence and the MS-13 gang.

Although the district leans red, Shirley believes this election is different from previous ones. For starters, although the district voted for Trump in the 2016 election, its constituents voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

"The problem is this district was actually redrawn in 2012. We have more Democrats in this district. Peter King is out of touch with people in this district,” she said.

She admits that a lot of Democrats in her district, which includes Long Island's Suffolk County, have voted for King in the past but said it's because there wasn't a serious challenger.

"Maybe they didn't know his voting record, but they knew his name and he seems like a nice guy and so they'll vote for him," she said.

Shirley's opponents call her a socialist, a description she denies.

While King voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Shirley would like to expand upon it. She supports a plan that provides Medicare for All, often championed by former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. A pro-choice advocate, she would like to protect a woman's access to abortion care. She believes health care is a human right.

"When you knock on doors there are always four issues that people care about: It's health care, taxes, education and the environment,” she said.

Shirley supports legislation that would cut taxes on the middle class. King voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts, a measure brought forward by the GOP to rewrite the nation's tax code.

She'd also like to see campaign finance reform.

"There is a disconnect between the people who are in office and the people who live in the community. And that disconnect is there because of campaign finance issues. We need campaign finance reform. We need publicly financed elections," she said.

Shirley, who grew up in the district, has seen it change: "There are a lot of people who have to leave Long Island because they can't afford to live here; who can't find affordable housing; who can't find good paying jobs."

The Long Island home her parents bought in the 1940s has been passed down through generations. After a long day of campaigning, Shirley enters the living room skipping over rocking horses and toy firetrucks. Her daughter decorated toilet lids with colorful stickers and her fridge is covered in her children's artwork.

She admits she's not like other politicians. She said she isn't wealthy and is still paying off student loans while trying to provide for her kids. But she believes that representation is exactly what is needed.

"We need more diversity in Congress," she said. "We need to be having the important conversations and we're not going to have them until we change the dynamics at the table."Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct232018

Sen. Kamala Harris hits the campaign trail in Iowa

Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- California Sen. Kamala Harris, a potential contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, began a two-day campaign swing across Iowa on Monday, her first major visit to the state that will hold the first-in-the-nation caucuses in just over 16 months, telling voters to recognize the urgency of electing Democrats in the midterm elections that are just two weeks away.

"This is a pivotal moment, and we’ve got 15 days to get this done," Harris told a crowd at a community college in Ankeny, Iowa.

Harris also cast the midterms as a part of a broader narrative beyond Donald Trump's presidency.

"Let's also recognize," she said, "this moment at some point will pass. We will get beyond this, I promise you. We will get beyond this."

A prominent critic of the Trump administration, Harris also said she rejects the notion that someone is not a patriot if they criticize the direction of the country.

"Sometimes when we're critical about what's not working in our country ... that invites a question about one's love of country," Harris said. "I reject that, because I believe there are two different definitions of what it means to be a patriot. One, the definition that suggests you don't condone the conduct of your country whatever it does. And then the other, being the kind of patriot that I believe most of us end up being. The kind that will fight each and every day for the ideals of our country."

Attendees at Harris' campaign stops today said they view her as an effective and positive messenger for the party, and see her as a legitimate contender to lead the Democratic charge to deny President Trump a second term.

"She's my top choice because she is strong, she is smart, she is insightful," Sarah Zigtema of West Des Moines told ABC News at Harris' stop in Ankeny. "Watching her on Senate committees she asks really good questions and she gets her answers, and I appreciate that about her. Also I'd just love to see her go up against Donald Trump because I think she'd kick his butt."

Carter Winton, a tech consultant from Urbandale, Iowa, said he'd like to see Harris on a presidential ticket with someone like New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, but worries a woman of mixed race would face unfair prejudice in Donald Trump's America.

"My dream ticket would be someone like her and Cory Booker," Winton told ABC News before Harris' speech in Des Moines. "But I don't believe somebody of mixed race and a female would do very well in a general election. So as much as I would love to see her run, I don't know if that's a winning ticket.”

"She’s the type of person that doesn't really take crap," said Darrell Hagans, a 38-year-old software company worker from Des Moines who came to see Harris speak Monday night. "I think that she is a rising star in the Democratic Party. I think that she definitely has the potential, whether it's in this next election or possibly the one afterwards."

Harris is set to campaign in the central and eastern parts of the state, including stops in Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, hoping to boost the Democratic nominee in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District, Cindy Axne, and the Democratic nominee for Iowa Secretary of State, Deidre DeJear.

This is Harris' first visit to the state since 2008, when she campaigned for then-Sen. Barack Obama during her time as the district attorney of San Francisco.

"There is so much on the line this year," Harris said in a statement released by the Iowa Democratic Party last week. "We have seen how Republicans sow the seeds of hate and division throughout our country over the last two years. Now it's time to hold them accountable, at every level of government, and Iowans know that better than anyone."

Harris, first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after serving as California's Attorney General for six years, has been a prominent and fierce critic of the Trump administration during her time on Capitol Hill. She has clashed with numerous administration officials including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and recently called the confirmation hearings of then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme court a "sham and disgrace."

Aside from her high-profile role as Trump administration antagonist, Harris also recently rolled out a new tax proposal called the "LIFT Act," which aims to help U.S. families earning less than $100,000 year become eligible for a monthly tax credit of up to $500, or $6,000 a year.

While Harris has begun to make a name for herself on Capitol Hill as a forceful progressive advocate, the Democrat is still not widely known to much of the American electorate.

A recent poll from CNN had Harris polling at 9 percent, third in a field of potential Democratic 2020 contenders that included former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who campaigned across Iowa this past weekend.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct222018

Trump hugs it out with Cruz in Houston: 'It got nasty! Then it ended'

Loren Elliott/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- If the 2016 Republican presidential primary was a bare-knuckle brawl, President Donald Trump did his best to bury the hatchet in Texas on Monday night.

"It got nasty," Trump told a raucous crowd in Houston before calling Senator Ted Cruz, his onetime foe, "a man who has become a really good friend."

"Nobody has helped me more" than Cruz, Trump proclaimed, heaping praise on the Republican senator as he embarks on the home stretch of his unexpectedly competitive reelection race against upstart Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

The once icy relationship between Senator Cruz and the president has thawed considerably since the tumult of the 2016 election, when the two battled it out for the Republican nomination. Since conceding to Trump and dropping out of the race, Cruz has aligned himself firmly behind the president as a reliable vote in the Senate.

The president responded in kind, thanking Cruz for his legislative support.

"Thanks to Ted, we now have a brand new member of the United States Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh," Trump said.

Despite his best efforts on Monday, Trump's chummy relationship with Cruz may not be as iron-clad as the president suggests. Asked by ABC News over the weekend whether he considers Trump a friend or a foe, Cruz refrained from hanging his hat on the former.

"He's the president," Cruz told ABC News' Paula Faris in an interview that aired on "This Week" Sunday. "I work with the president in delivering on our promises."

The president made his presence felt in this heated race long before Air Force One touched down in the Lone Star State Monday evening, bashing O’Rourke on Twitter last week as a "total lightweight" and a "flake."

On Monday, Trump targeted O'Rourke again, calling him "a stone-cold phony."

"O'Rourke pretends to be a moderate, but he is actually a radical, open borders left winger," Trump said.

Despite O’Rourke’s national buzz as a progressive liberal over-performing in the conservative bastion of Texas, he still trails in most polls by nearly ten points. During a debate last week, the typically mild-mannered O’Rourke borrowed a nickname that Trump coined during the 2016 campaign, referring to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted.”

Departing the White House on Monday afternoon, Trump renounced that moniker and coined a new nickname for Cruz.

"He's not lyin' Ted anymore, he's beautiful Ted,” Trump told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl. "I call him 'Texas Ted.'"

O’Rourke, who represents El Paso in the House of Representatives, also pledged to vote to impeach President Trump if given the chance.

Again mentioning his "10 percent tax cuts" for the middle class in addition to the "big tax cuts you've already gotten," Trump said that he has been working with Rep. Kevin Brady for three months, and said they are "putting it in next week."

"For all middle income people 10%" the president said.

Trump also spoke at length about the migrant caravan making its way from Central America through Mexico, with its ultimate destination the United States border -- just a couple hundred miles south of Houston -- accusing aspiring migrants of committing "an assault on our country."

"In that caravan you have some very bad people," Trump said. "We can't let that happen to our country."

Trump again claimed, without evidence, that the Democrats are behind the caravan.

"Democrats had something to do with it and now they said I think we made a big mistake. Because people are seeing how bad it is," Trump said, as he called the caravan "an assault on our country."

The total number of migrants now headed to the U.S. border is estimated to be about 7,200, the United Nations said Monday.

Recognizing the potential implications of a senate defeat in a state Trump carried by nine points in 2016, the president set his sights on Cruz’s race back in August, announcing his intention "hold a major rally" in "the biggest stadium in Texas we can find."

The Trump campaign fell slightly short of that promise, initially booking an 8,000-seat arena in Houston’s suburbs. But after a “HUGE and unprecedented” response to ticket sales, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale announced a late change in venue to accommodate a larger audience, landing on Houston’s 18,000-seat basketball arena, the Toyota Center.

As Trump took the stage, Houston's Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted that approximately 3,000 people watched the rally from outside the arena.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct222018

Trump 'not satisfied' with Saudi response to Khashoggi killing, but not willing to risk arms sales

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Trump says he is "not satisfied" with Saudi Arabia's response to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, days after the country admitted the Washington Post columnist died in its consulate in Istanbul, but claimed it was part of an interrogation.

"I am not satisfied with what I've heard," Trump told reporters at the White House Monday, adding that the Saudis must hurry up their investigation after they said they may need a month: "That's a long time. There's no reason for that much. Be faster."

Seventeen days after the journalist and royal insider went missing in Turkey, Saudi Arabia admitted to culpability for Khashoggi's death on Friday. But they said it was part of an intelligence operation to convince Khashoggi to return home to the kingdom that was not authorized by senior Saudi leadership and went wrong after Khashoggi tried to leave, was put in a choke-hold, and died.

While the explanation has been dismissed by many U.S. officials and members of Congress as not credible, Trump withheld judgment on Monday until top U.S. intelligence officials could return from a trip to the region. The CIA did not return a request for comment, but there were media reports that its director Gina Haspel had traveled to Turkey on Monday.

"We have people over in Saudi Arabia now. We have top intelligence people in Turkey, and we're going to see what we have. I'll know a lot tomorrow," he said, adding he had spoken to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman again, the young leader said to be the real power behind the throne. He's suspected to be the one responsible for launching the plot against Khashoggi, although Saudi Arabia strongly denies that.

The president would not say whether he believes those denials in an interview with USA Today, but added he does still think it was "a plot gone awry."

The stiffer tone from Trump, however, was softened by his continued defense of U.S.-Saudi economic relations and his expressed desire to not mess with it.

"I don't want to lose all of that investment that's being made in our country. I don't want to lose a million jobs. I don't want to lose a $110 billion in terms of investment," he said.

During his visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017, Trump signed an agreement with the Saudis for them to purchase $110 billion of U.S. weapons, although so far only $43 billion of that has been detailed.

Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who has a close relationship with the Crown Prince, issued the same caution Monday, saying the administration was "in the fact-finding phase" still.

"We're obviously getting as many facts as we can from the different places, and then we'll determine which facts are credible, and then after that the president and the secretary of state will make a determination as to what we deem to be credible and what actions we think we should take," he said during a forum hosted by CNN.

But he too stressed being "focused on what's good for America, what are our strategic interests."

To that end, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with the Crown Prince Monday. While he canceled his participation in a major Saudi investment forum, he still flew to the capital Riyadh to discuss "combating terrorist financing, implementing Iran sanctions, Saudi economic issues and the Khashoggi investigation," according to his spokesperson Tony Sayegh.

American diplomacy came as Turkey ramped up its investigation Monday, searching a car that belongs to the Saudi consulate, but was found in an Istanbul parking lot. CNN also aired surveillance video that Turkish authorities said showed one of the key suspects dressed in Khashoggi's clothes leaving the back of the consulate shortly after he was killed. The suspect is reportedly now in Saudi custody.

It was yet another report citing anonymous Turkish authorities who have consistently leaked details of the investigation to the press to pressure Saudi Arabia and the U.S. But on Tuesday that will change as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan goes on the record with a major address before parliament.

In the first official comments from the Turkish government, Erdogan said he will reveal the details of Turkey's investigation into the plot against Khashoggi: "It will be revealed in full nakedness."

Erdogan's spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said Monday that while Turkey's "ultimate aim, duty, and responsibility is to enlighten the incident in all its parts," Saudi Arabia remains "an important country for us. It is a brotherly and friendly country... Of course, we would not want this to be harmed."

But in what could be a tease of Erdogan's speech, his political party's spokesperson was much tougher and called Saudi Arabia's operation "a brutally planned [killing] and efforts were made to cover it up. When we look at it through this frame, it's a very complicated murder."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct222018

Obama goes up against Trump in fight for Nevada Senate seat

Mark Makela/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail two weeks before the midterm elections, appearing Monday at a rally at the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus to boost Democrats up and down the ballot.

“I want this to be the capital of voting," Obama told the crowd. "I’m here just to get one thing from you -- and this is for you to vote," he said. “This November’s elections are more important than any in my lifetime and that includes when I was on the ballot.”

“The consequences of you staying home would be profoundly dangerous for our country, for this democracy,” Obama said.

He's particularly focused on Nevada's Senate race, one of the tightest in the country. Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen is challenging Republican incumbent Dean Heller, the only Republican senator up for re-election in a state that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Heller has been endorsed by President Trump, who just on Saturday stumped for him in Elko, Nevada, on the same night that Obama's vice president, Joe Biden, campaigned in the state for Rosen.

Obama held nothing back in his disdain for the policies of President Trump and congressional Republicans.

"There is only one real check on abuses of power, one real check on bad policy, it's you and your vote," Obama said to a crowd of 2,000 supporters. Speakers hit hard on the need for high voter turnout throughout the day and advertised that early voting was underway in Nevada. Nevada Democratic Party chair William McCurdy started a chant saying "You vote, we win."

Obama made the case that his administration had put the country on a track that's led to the powerful economy that President Trump takes credit for. He touted the ongoing longest streak of job growth on record, providing health care for millions of Americans, and cutting deficits during his administration.

"When you hear all this talk about economic miracles, remember who started it," Obama said. "I hope people realize there's a pattern that every time [Republicans] run things into the ground and we've got to clean it up."

Obama picked apart a number of current Republican positions including claims by Republican congressional candidates that people with pre-existing conditions would not lose their health insurance. "I know you can bet on anything here in Vegas, but you don't want to bet that Republicans are going to protect your healthcare."

Without mentioning him by name, Obama took a thinly-veiled swipe at President Trump. "Unlike some, I actually try to state facts—I believe in facts- I believe in a fact-based reality, a fact-based politics," he said. "I don’t believe in just making stuff up. I think you should say what’s true."

In her Senate campaign, Rosen has made health care the primary issue of her campaign -- an issue that was also central to Obama's presidency.

One of her supporters, Malerie Stanley, who arrived more than three hours before the rally to ensure she would get inside, said women's rights was the key issue for her in the midterms.

“What has happened in our country recently with Kavanaugh is disgusting. It’s a disgrace,” Stanley said. “People need to be heard and we’re not going to stop fighting until we’re heard.”

Another issue at the top of voters’ minds was health care. Randi Ghrist, a mother of three, worries that her children will be able to get healthcare.

“I can’t just turn a blind eye to what’s happening all around me. My children are on my insurance for now, what happens in a few years?”

Many voters said above any individual issue, ensuring a check on President Trump was what would drive them to the polls.

“I think the most important issue in this election is to put the president in check,” said Mike Blair, a Las Vegas resident. “He has such a rubber stamp in Congress, we need someone who will be a rubber stamp on him.”

Obama is the latest in a string of national surrogates who have visited Nevada in the 2018 midterm cycle and Democrats are hoping some Hollywood star power will invigorate their base. Obama was joined at the rally by "Ugly Betty" actress America Ferrera, and the hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa.

Steve Sisolak, the Democratic candidate for governor, also appeared at the rally. Sisolak, who's currently the Commission Chairman of Clark County, the county that encompasses Las Vegas, faces Republican candidate Adam Laxalt, the state's attorney general.

It's an open seat race for the seat currently held by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has reached the end of his term.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Monday
Oct222018

Judge enters $4.85 million judgment against Michael Avenatti

ABCNews.com(LOS ANGELES) -- A California judge ruled on Monday that Michael Avenatti, the outspoken attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, is in breach of a personal obligation to pay a $4.85 million debt.

The ruling, by California Superior Court Judge Dennis Landin, is just the latest development in a long-running dispute between Avenatti and Jason Frank, an attorney who once did legal work for Avenatti’s law firm, who contends that Avenatti and his law firm have repeatedly reneged on a multi-million-dollar settlement agreement approved by a bankruptcy court earlier this year.

As Judge Landin called the case from the bench on Monday morning, he asked, “Is there a Mr. Avenatti here?”

There was no response. Avenatti, who has been teasing a potential run for president in 2020, was a no-show. Earlier Monday, he tweeted that he would be in New Hampshire helping to encourage people to get out the vote.

“I’m happy with today’s judgment and look forward to collecting the money that’s been owed to me for five years,” Frank told reporters after the court ruling on Monday.

Avenatti had agreed, according to a court settlement filed in the bankruptcy case of his law firm Eagan Avenatti, to personally guarantee the payments to Frank if his law firm did not pay up.

Frank filed the suit against Avenatti in state court in May when the firm and Avenatti missed a deadline to pay the first of two installments toward the $4.85 million. Frank amended his lawsuit in July after neither the firm nor Avenatti made the second installment of $2.85 million.

Frank is also pursuing a separate federal court action which seeks to collect on a $10 million-dollar judgment against Avenatti’s law firm. At a hearing in that dispute Monday afternoon in Los Angeles, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips indicated that she was inclined to assume jurisdiction of the case from the bankruptcy court, though she opted to defer a ruling.

Frank is seeking to transfer the bankruptcy case to federal district court in order to pursue subpoenas for corporate and banking records of Avenatti’s law firm as he seeks to recover the award.

In yet another court proceeding on Monday, a judge in Orange County, California issued an order evicting the staff of Eagan Avenatti from their offices in Newport Beach, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

In court filings reviewed by ABC News in advance of the eviction proceedings, the building’s landlord had alleged that Eagan Avenatti had failed for the past four months to make rent payments for its 8,300-square-foot ocean view office space.

According to the Times, the court cancelled the lease and ordered Avenatti’s firm to vacate the space and to pay the landlord the full amount of past-due rent, amounting to more than $200,000 dollars.

Though Avenatti did not oppose Monday’s motion before Judge Landin and failed to appear at the hearing Monday, he has contended in previous court filings in that case and others that Frank is barred from recovering any money. He has asserted that Frank’s law firm is “attempting to use its judgment as a weapon to destroy” Avenatti’s business.

Reached after the court ruling, Avenatti told ABC News that “any judgment issued against me will be deducted from the over $12 million that Jason Frank owes me and my law firm Avenatti & Associates as a result of his fraud.” Avenatti has alleged that Frank improperly ended his contract with his law firm and took clients with him.

Frank’s attorney, Eric George, dismissed that allegation from Avenatti, calling it “more delusional nonsense” and vowed to “immediately start going after” Avenatti’s assets as soon as the court has officially recorded its judgment.

“At the end of the day, until he pays this judgment off, it will follow him around for decades,” George told ABC News in an interview after the court ruling.

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