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Monday
Feb182019

Deputy attorney general plans to leave Justice Department in mid-March: Official

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has told colleagues he plans to leave the Justice Department in mid-March, according to a Justice Department official familiar with the matter.

Jeff Rosen, the current deputy at Transportation, is newly-confirmed Attorney General William Barr's top pick to become deputy attorney general, according to the official.

An announcement officially nominating a new deputy attorney general could come as early as this week, the official said.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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Monday
Feb182019

16 states sue President Donald Trump over emergency declaration for border wall

Mario Tama/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sixteen states, including California, New Jersey and Nevada, sued President Donald Trump on Monday over his emergency declaration to open up funding for a border wall.

The lawsuit, which named the states of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Virginia as plaintiffs, seeks to block what it called the Trump Administration’s "unauthorized construction of the border wall, and any illegal diversion of Congressionally-appropriated funds."

“Today, on Presidents Day, we take President Trump to court to block his misuse of presidential power. We’re suing President Trump to stop him from unilaterally robbing taxpayer funds lawfully set aside by Congress for the people of our states," California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. "For most of us, the Office of the Presidency is not a place for theatre.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom lambasted the president earlier this week when the White House

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Monday
Feb182019

Progressives unite to fight Trump's national emergency

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency on Friday, progressive organizers across the U.S. scrambled together in a show of solidarity to protest against Trump in the backdrop of President’s Day.

Reggie Hubbard, a congressional liaison and Washington, D.C., strategist for Move On said progressives have decided to come together "to show this is not how the way that we conduct the government."

On Monday, the group held over 250 events with 30,000 people registered to attend rallies in efforts to "protest to fight Trump’s fake crisis and racist deportation forces," Hubbard said. The group held events across the U.S. with local leaders and members of Congress including Reps. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., Rashida Talib, D-M.I., and Ayanna Pressley, D-M.A., in their respective districts. The events were planned in only two days, Hubbard said.

The national emergency declaration has ignited progressives who said they see splinters within the Republican Party. The largest splinter, according to progressives, is the Republicans inability to pass legislative funding to support the president’s campaign promise of a border wall along the southern U.S. border.

"This fake national emergency is splintering the Republican party, that is good news," Elizabeth Beavers, associate policy director of Indivisible, told a crowd of several hundred outside of the White House on Monday. "It is the first emergency you can plan three weeks in advance."

Center for American Progress President Neera Tandden took a jab at Republicans, declaring conservative commentator and author Ann Coulter "controls our laws more than Congress right now."

Earlier in the year, Trump publicly unfollowed Coulter on Twitter after she criticized his lack of action on the border wall.

Following his Rose Garden declaration, Coulter said in an radio interview that "the only national emergency is that our president is an idiot."

Trump attempted to establish distance between himself and Coulter on Friday, telling reporters "I don’t know her. I hardly know her. I haven’t spoken to her in any way over a year but the press loves saying 'Ann Coulter.'"

A number of rally participants said they were suing or planning to sue the Trump Administration’s attempt to use the national emergency to build the wall.

During Trump’s Rose Garden remarks announcing the National Emergency on Friday, the president said bluntly that he expected his decision to play out in court. "Look, I expect to be sued. I shouldn't be sued. Very rarely do you get sued when you do a national emergency."

Several organizers have announced they plan on calling on Congress to act, including Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin.

"Starting tomorrow we're gonna be in the halls of congress. We are going to demand that the Congress people pass legislation that says no to the National Emergency. We're going to support the ACLU and Public Citizen and other groups that are suing the administration over the fake emergency." Benjamin said.

Code Pink and other groups are planning organizing meetings as soon as this week.

"This is something that is bringing together a lot of different organizations that care about different issues," Benjamin added.

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Monday
Feb182019

Ex-FBI official: I had an obligation to investigate Trump

Pete Marovich/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The former deputy director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe – who took an oath to protect the U.S. homeland – said he had a professional obligation to open up criminal investigations targeting President Donald Trump.

"If we failed to open an investigation under [the] circumstances, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs," McCabe told CBS News' "60 Minutes" in a much-anticipated interview Sunday night, citing concerns "about a national security threat."

McCabe, a lifelong Republican who spent two decades fighting terrorism and crime for the FBI, was specifically referring to Trump’s actions surrounding James Comey’s firing as FBI director in May 2017.

Monday morning, Trump dismissed McCabe's comments as a bunch of "lies" from a "disgraced" official.

In the interview with CBS News, McCabe described Trump as a president who was almost "gleeful" over Comey’s axing, who repeatedly attacked the FBI’s investigation of possible ties between Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russian operatives, and who asked Comey in a private meeting "to discontinue the investigation of Mike Flynn," Trump’s national security adviser who lied to FBI agents about his contacts with the Russian government.

Trump even allegedly asked Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein "to include Russia in [a] memo" justifying the FBI director’s removal, but Rosenstein didn’t do that, according to McCabe.

"Put together, these circumstances were articulable facts that indicated that a crime may have been committed," McCabe said. "The president may have been engaged in obstruction of justice in the firing of Jim Comey."

As the acting FBI director after Comey's departure, McCabe said he also wanted to know whether Trump may have been acting in coordination with Russia, who McCabe called "our most formidable adversary on the world stage."

All of Trump’s actions made McCabe and others at the FBI wonder: "Is there an inappropriate relationship, a connection between this president and our most fearsome enemy, the government of Russia?" McCabe recalled.

The president’s moves concerned federal law enforcement officials so much that Rosenstein allegedly "offered to wear a wire into the White House," according to McCabe.

"He said, 'I never get searched when I go into the White House. I could easily wear a recording device. They wouldn’t know it was there,'" McCabe added.

Justice Department officials close to Rosenstein have suggested any mention of a wire was in jest, but McCabe insisted in his interview Sunday night that Rosenstein "was absolutely serious."

Spokespeople for Rosenstein have repeatedly stated that he never approved use of a wire and never took any steps to make it happen.

Regardless, the FBI’s general counsel killed the idea as soon as it was presented to him, according to McCabe.

"I think the general counsel had a heart attack," McCabe recalled. "And when he got up off the floor, he said, 'That’s a bridge too far. We’re not there yet.'"

Nevertheless, McCabe said he opened up the investigations targeting Trump after Comey’s firing "to put the Russia case on absolutely solid ground in an indelible fashion, [so] that were I removed quickly or reassigned or fired, the case could not be closed or vanish in the night without a trace."

In the interview, McCabe recounted how, during one "frenzied chaotic conversation" after Comey’s firing, Rosenstein "threw out" the possibility of using the 25th Amendment to oust Trump from office.

"[He] discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other cabinet officials might support such an effort," according to McCabe.

In a statement, a Justice Department spokesman insisted "there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment," and Rosenstein was not "in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment."

Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, are currently deciding whether to bring charges against McCabe for allegedly misleading federal investigators about his role in leaking information to a reporter.

After a report from the Justice Department’s inspector general last year detailed McCabe’s alleged falsehoods, McCabe was fired from the FBI, just days before he was set to retire.

In the interview with CBS News, McCabe maintained that he did not intentionally mislead anyone.

"There's absolutely no reason for anyone and certainly not for me to misrepresent what happened. So no. Did I ever intentionally mislead the people I spoke to? I did not. I had no reason to. And I did not," McCabe said.

In a Twitter post on Monday, however, Trump said McCabe was "fired for lying, and now his story gets even more deranged."

"He and Rod Rosenstein ... look like they were planning a very illegal act, and got caught," Trump added.

The new chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has said he will investigate whether McCabe and others were planning a "bureaucratic coup."

McCabe’s interview with CBS News was the start of a weeks-long media tour for McCabe, who is promoting his new book, "The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.

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Monday
Feb182019

Investigator details alleged North Carolina election fraud scheme

DNY59/iStock(RALEIGH, N.C.) -- The evidentiary hearing into possible election fraud in the 2018 general election in North Carolina's 9th Congressional District officially got underway Monday, and the lead investigator with the State Board of Election claims the evidence they plan to present will show a "coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme," took place in the 2018 general election.

"We believe that the evidence...will show that a coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme operated during the 2018 general election in Bladen and Robeson counties," North Carolina Board of Elections executive director Kim Strach said in her opening statement.

For the first time publicly since the allegations of election fraud became known, Strach went into detail about the alleged scheme run by Leslie McCrae Dowless, the man at the center of the investigation into whether or not Republican Mark Harris' 905-vote victory last year over Democrat Dan McCready was legitimate and not tainted by election fraud.

"McCrae Dowless hired workers that he paid cash to collect absentee requests, to collect absentee ballots and to falsify absentee ballot witness certifications. McCrae Dowless paid generally $150 per 50 absentee ballot requests and $125 per 50 absentee ballots collected," Strach said.

"There were also actions we identified that were actions taken to hide this conduct from the Board of Elections and from the greater public. And that small batches of these ballots when they were collected were taken to the post office, limiting the number that would be received by the Board of Elections. There were efforts to ensure that ballots were mailed at a post office that was geographically close to the voter, and ensure witnesses signed and dated the same date as the voters signature they had signed the return envelope," Strach said

"There were also efforts to ensure that same color ink as the witness was used, so that if a witness had signed in a different colored ink, tracing sometimes over that with an ink pen that would be similar to that of the voter was used," she added.

Strach also said that incomplete or blank absentee ballots were voted in the home of McCrae Dowless.

Lisa Britt, a witness called by the Board of Elections, said she was paid to collect absentee ballots and deliver them to Dowless.

"I took the signed, sealed ballot," Britt said in describing her involvement in the operation. "That ballot was turned back in with the other ballots I had collected that day" to Dowless.

When asked last year by ABC News' Steve Osunsami about his role in the alleged scheme, Dowless offered a no comment.

"At this time I have no comment and you can contact my attorney," Dowless, who worked as a campaign consultant for Harris during the 2018 election, told Osunsami in December 2018 outside of his home in Bladenboro, North Carolina.

Dowless has not said anything publicly about the claims against him in recent months. An attorney for Dowless told Charlotte ABC affiliate WSOC reporter Joe Bruno on Monday that they maintain Dowless did not break any laws during the 2018 election.

Strach claimed that there have also been efforts to obstruct the board's investigation into the alleged election fraud and the testimony at Monday's hearing.

Strach showed documentation at Monday's hearing that the investigator said proves the Red Dome Group, a political consulting firm employed by Harris during the 2018 election, paid Dowless over $200,000 for various services throughout the campaign.

The Red Dome Group has not responded to ABC News' requests for comment.

Harris has maintained he was unaware of any alleged illegal activity by Dowless during the election and says he has cooperated with the board's investigation.

"Although I was absolutely unaware of any wrongdoing, that will not prevent me from cooperating with this investigation," Harris said in a video posted on Twitter last December, "However if this investigation finds proof of illegal activity on either side to such a level that it could have changed the outcome of the election, then I would wholeheartedly support a new election to ensure all voters have confidence in the results."

While Harris was present in the hearing room Monday, McCready was not, but will be represented in the hearing by his attorneys.

The North Carolina Board of Elections has the authority to call for a new election under two circumstances, which were laid out at today's hearing by the board's chairman Bob Cordle.

"One is when enough ineligible voters voted or eligible voters were prevented from voting for some other reason 'sufficient in number to change the outcome of the election,'" Cordle said, "The second way is when 'irregularities or improprieties occurred to such an event that they taint they taint the result of the entire election and cast doubt on its fairness.'"

The U.S. House of Representatives, specifically the House Administration Committee, also has the power to call for a new election under certain circumstances.

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Monday
Feb182019

Woman who called Michelle Obama an 'ape in heels' pleads guilty to FEMA fraud

danielfela/iStock(CHARLESTON, W. Va.) -- The West Virginia woman who grabbed national headlines in 2016 for calling Michelle Obama an "ape" has pleaded guilty to embezzling thousands of dollars in federal disaster relief.

Pamela Taylor, 57, admitted to authorities last week that she falsely registered for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster benefits after a deadly 1,000-year flood event in Clay County, West Virginia, in June 2016. Taylor had claimed that her primary residence was damaged by the floodwaters and that she was forced to stay in a rental property.

But Taylor's home was actually not damaged and she still lived there. She received more than $18,000 in FEMA benefits after submitting the fraudulent application, according to a press release from the United States Attorney's Office for the Southern District of West Virginia.

"The flood was a natural disaster. Stealing from FEMA is a man-made disaster," U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart said in a statement last Wednesday. "FEMA dollars are critical but limited. Stealing critical FEMA dollars is a crime –- literally and figuratively. Taylor’s fraud scheme diverted disaster benefits from our most desperate and vulnerable, those most in need of help."

During her plea agreement hearing last Tuesday, Taylor agreed to pay restitution of $18,149.04. She is scheduled to be sentenced on May 30. She faces up to 30 years behind bars and a fine of up to $500,000.

"Taking advantage of federal funds intended for disaster relief misappropriates taxpayer dollars, reduces monies available to true victims and erodes public confidence in relief programs," Mark Tasky, special agent-in-charge of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General, said in a statement last Wednesday. "The defendant knowingly submitted a fraudulent application for disaster relief, in order to enrich herself and divert critical funds away from true disaster victims."

An attorney for Taylor did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment Monday.

Taylor was placed on leave from her position as director of the Clay County Development Corporation in November 2016 after posting a controversial comment about then-first lady Michelle Obama on social media.

"It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House. I'm tired of seeing a Ape in heels," Taylor wrote on Facebook after Election Day.

Clay County Mayor Beverly Whaling liked Taylor's Facebook post and commented, "Just made my day Pam."

Both women apologized publicly, and Whaling subsequently submitted a letter announcing her resignation, according to ABC affiliate WCHS in Charleston, W. Va.

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Monday
Feb182019

Lawmakers launch new probe into 'complex web' of alleged ties between NRA, Russians

Matt Anderson/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A pair of House Democrats are launching a new probe of what they called the “complex web of relationships” between members of the National Rifle Association and Russian individuals with close ties to the Kremlin.

In a letter members said they were sending to NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre, a copy of which was shared with ABC News, Rep. Ted Lieu of California and Rep. Kathleen Rice of New York expressed concern about the NRA’s attempts to distance itself from any formal involvement in a now infamous trip to Moscow undertaken by a group of its high-ranking members.

While the NRA’s outside counsel William Brewer told The New York Times that LaPierre “was opposed to the trip” and even prohibited staff members from joining the delegation out of concern that it would be perceived as officially sanctioned, internal NRA emails and photos posted on social media reviewed by ABC News appear to show the organization was significantly involved in planning it.

Lieu, a member of the House Committee on the Judiciary, and Rice, a member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, suggest that the discrepancy might be evidence of a broader deception and requested a full accounting of any communications, meetings and monetary transactions between the NRA officials and Russia-linked individuals.

“We are disturbed by the lack of transparency the NRA has demonstrated surrounding the December 2015 trip to Moscow,” wrote Lieu and Rice on Feb. 15. “Furthermore, we are concerned that this extends to other allegations that have been made against the organization as it relates to Russia.”

Citing what they called the NRA’s “unusually close relationship” with the Trump campaign, as well as its record spending in support of then-candidate Donald Trump, Lieu and Rice ultimately questioned whether the Kremlin might have used the NRA to funnel foreign money into the U.S. election system.

“How much money did the NRA receive from Russia or Russia-linked individuals or entities during the 2016 election cycle?” the lawmakers asked. “Did the NRA use any of that money in their 2016 election campaign contributions?”

It’s not the first time the NRA will have faced questions about its election spending. After initially telling ABC News the organization had received a single contribution of less than $1,000 from one Russian individual, the NRA later disclosed two dozen additional contributions from Russian donors totaling approximately $2,512.85.

A similar probe is already underway in the Senate, but the Democrats hold the majority in the House, meaning their requests for documents or interviews can be compelled by subpoena -- an authority controlled by the party in power.

Brewer, the NRA’s outside counsel, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in response to previous questions, he pointed ABC News to the statement issued to the Times, which highlighted LaPierre’s concern back in 2015 that the group traveling to Moscow "not be viewed as representing the NRA."

“When he became aware of the details of the trip, Wayne was personally opposed to it," Brewer told ABC News through a spokesman. The spokesman also noted that the group’s president at the time, Allan Cors, opted not to attend at LaPierre’s suggestion, and the NRA declined to send staff to Moscow with the group, as they had typically done on officially sponsored travel.

The December 2015 trip, which involved meetings with senior Kremlin officials, has attracted increased scrutiny in the wake of the arrest and guilty plea to conspiracy charges of gun rights activist and alleged Russian agent Maria Butina, who was involved in planning the trip. Her alleged efforts to infiltrate the NRA as part of a covert influence operation in the United States have come to light in court filings by U.S. prosecutors.

Dozens of pages of email correspondence between August 2015 and November 2016, shared with ABC News by a source who asked not to be identified, detail Butina’s efforts to organize the summit, which brought high-ranking NRA members and powerful Russian nationals together in Moscow in December 2015, a trip championed by Butina’s fledgling gun-rights group “Right to Bear Arms.”

The American delegation met with Butina and the man described by U.S. officials as her Russian handler, Alexander Torshin, a wealthy politician who at the time was deputy governor of the Russian Central Bank; Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s then-deputy prime minister who was sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in 2014; and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, a powerful member of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle.

This latest probe follows the investigation launched by Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat and the ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, who is reportedly preparing a detailed report on the trip. Wyden has already publicly disputed the NRA’s attempt to downplay its involvement in organizing the excursion.

“It’s not credible for the NRA to claim that they played no official role in the 2015 Moscow trip,” Wyden told ABC News.

Internal emails obtained by ABC News show that an NRA employee, Nicholas Perrine, worked directly with Butina to coordinate travel arrangements for the trip’s attendees. A 2016 wedding announcement in Politico identified Perrine as a special assistant to the president of the NRA.

A source familiar with the arrangements told ABC News that the NRA ultimately did pay some travel-related expenses and assisted with coordinating some aspects of the trip, “an accommodation to the members who made the trip of their own accord.”

An attorney for Butina, who is in jail as she continues to cooperate with investigators under the terms of her plea agreement, declined to comment.

Wyden has declined to discuss the specific information his office has obtained to date but pledged to continue his probe, citing what he characterized as the NRA’s changing positions on Russia-related matters.

“Certainly that has caused many of my colleagues to want additional information on these issues,” Wyden told ABC News. “And our investigation is going to continue.”

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Sunday
Feb172019

Tulsi Gabbard is the first Hindu member of Congress and a 2020 candidate

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the first American Samoan and Hindu member of Congress, formally launched her campaign for president on Jan. 24.

Gabbard, 37, who kicked off her campaign with an official announcement in Honolulu, Hawaii on Feb. 2 made her 2020 plans known in a video she posted to Twitter.

“We are being torn apart, with divisions that seem too deep to heal,” Gabbard wrote. “But when we are united in the spirit of love, there is no challenge we cannot overcome.”

Gabbard faced backlash from the Republican National Committee (RNC) within minutes of her informal announcement. The RNC put out a “cheat sheet” on Gabbard calling her “Assad’s mouthpiece in Washington,” referring to a controversial meeting she had in 2017 with the Syrian leader. Gabbard stood by the meeting telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that leaders in the U.S. must meet with foreign leaders “if we are serious about the pursuit of peace and securing our country.”

Internally, Gabbard's campaign got off to a rocky start with her campaign manager reportedly leaving, according to Politico shortly after a campaign rally in her home state.

Gabbard told CNN’s Van Jones in an interview on Jan. 12 she will be running on criminal justice reform, healthcare for all Americans, and enacting policy to combat climate change. However, the Iraq War veteran, says her primary focus will be “war and peace.”

Here’s everything you need to know:

Name: Tulsi Gabbard

Party: Democrat

Date of Birth: April 12, 1981

Age: 37

Born: Leloaloa, American Samoa

Education: She earned a degree in international business from Hawaii Pacific University in 2009.

What she does now: U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district since 2013 and she's a major in the Hawaii Army National Guard.

What she used to do: She was a member of the Honolulu City Council from 2010-2012 and served on the staff of U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka. She also served as a member of the Hawaii state House of Representatives from 2002-2004.

Key life/career moments:

Gabbard was just 21 when she was elected to the Hawaii State Legislature in 2002. She was the youngest person ever elected in the state.

She was also the first state official to voluntarily step down from public office to serve in a war zone when she volunteered to deploy with her fellow soldiers in 2004 while in the Hawaii Army National Guard, according to her official website.

In 2007, Gabbard graduated from the Accelerated Officer Candidate School at the Alabama Military Academy. She was the first woman to finish as the distinguished honor graduate in the academy's history, according to her website. In the same year, Gabbard was commissioned as a second lieutenant.

What you might not know about her:

Gabbard is the first Hindu member of Congress.

When she was elected to the House of Representatives in 2012, she was one of the first two female combat veterans to ever serve in the U.S. Congress.

Gabbard served two tours of duty in the Middle East.

She served as a specialist in a field medical unit with a 29th Support Battalion medical company during her 12-month deployment in Iraq in 2005.

Gabbard was one of “the first women to set foot inside a Kuwait military facility” and “the first woman to ever be awarded and honored by the Kuwait National Guard for her work in their training and readiness program,” according to her official website.

Also according to her website, Gabbard co-founded an environmental non-profit called Healthy Hawai’i Coalition, which focused on educating children about protecting Hawaii’s environment, when she was a teenager.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Feb172019

Who is Elizabeth Warren? Everything you need to know about the senator from Massachusetts

Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., formally threw her hat in the ring on Feb. 9 to run against President Donald Trump in his 2020 reelection bid.

Warren, 69, launched her campaign in Lawrence, Massachusetts in front of a crowd of about 3,500 people, according to campaign staff. She called for an end to corruption and economic equality.

“This is the fight of our lives,” Warren said. “The fight to build an America where dreams are possible, an America that works for everyone. I am in that fight all the way.”

Warren’s announcement elicited a response from Trump within hours.

“Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate,” Trump tweeted. “Or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore?”

In 2018, Warren received backlash for publishing the results of a DNA test in an attempt to prove her Native American ancestry. The Cherokee Nation released a statement soon after that Warren’s DNA test “dishonor[ed] legitimate tribal governments and their citizens, whose ancestors are well documented and whose heritage is proven.”

Warren has expressed regret on multiple occasions for her decision to take a DNA test, including a personal apology to the Cherokee Nation, according to the tribe. She even faced new fallout the week before her announcement after a Washington Post report that she had identified herself as "American Indian" on an 1986 registration card for the State Bar of Texas.

Trump frequently plays on this controversy and often refers to Warren as "Pocahantas." Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, released a statement before Warren made her official announcement to run for president calling her a “fraud.”

"Elizabeth Warren has already been exposed as a fraud by the Native Americans she impersonated and disrespected to advance her professional career, and the people of Massachusetts she deceived to get elected,” the statement read.

Warren fired back on stage, calling Trump’s administration “the most corrupt in living memory.”

Here’s everything you need to know about the 2020 hopeful:

Name: Elizabeth Warren

Party: Democrat

Date of Birth: June 22, 1949

Age: 69

What she does now: U.S. senator from Massachusetts. Elected in 2012. Serves on the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, the Special Committee on Aging and the Committee on Armed Services.

What she used to do: Warren attended George Washington University, but ultimately graduated from the University of Houston in 1970. She worked as a special education teacher. In 1976 she graduated from the Rutgers School of Law. She went on to work as a law professor more than 30 years, eventually at Harvard University.

Hometown: Born in Oklahoma City.

Family Tree: Elizabeth Warren was born in 1949 to Pauline and Donald Herring. Warren has two children -- Amelia and Alexander -- with her first husband, Jim Warren. Today, Warren lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts with her husband, Bruce Mann, and their golden retriever, Bailey. Mann is a professor at Harvard University. They have three grandchildren.

Key life/career moments: During the 2008 financial crisis, Warren served as Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program. She was also at the forefront of the movement to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

In 2016, Warren received attention for her interaction with Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf during a hearing about allegations that bank employees created accounts without customers' authorization. Warren told Stumpf: "You should resign... You should give back the money that you gained while this scam was going on, and you should be criminally investigated by the [Department of Justice] and the [Securities and Exchange Commission]."

In 2017, Warren read a 1986 letter in which Coretta Scott King criticized Jeff Sessions. Warren was formally silenced by a vote prompted by her Republican colleagues. Warren later read the letter in a Facebook Live video, which currently has 13 million views.

In December, Warren became the first woman to launch a presidential exploratory committee for the 2020 race.

What you might not know about her: She was written about by fellow 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris in a 2017 piece for TIME. She was also Massachusetts' first female U.S. senator.

What she has said about 2020: According to the New York Times, in December she told reporters: "I don’t think we ought to be running campaigns that are funded by billionaires, whether it goes through super PACs or their own money that they’re spending ... Democrats are the party of the people."

At an event in Iowa on Jan. 4 Warren said: "I’m in this fight because I am grateful. My daddy ended up as a janitor and I had a chance to become a public school teacher, a college professor, and a united states senator. I am grateful to America down to my toes. I am grateful, but I am also determined."

In November, before her exploratory committee had been announced, Warren said, "The world changed in 2016, it changed again in 2018 and I believe it will change again in 2020."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Sunday
Feb172019

Amy Klobuchar, the 1st female senator from Minnesota, now a 2020 Democratic hopeful

Stephen Maturen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., formally entered the race for the Democratic presidential nomination on Feb. 10 in a snow-covered Minneapolis, on the banks of the Mississippi River.

"I’m running for every parent who wants a better world for their kids," Klobuchar said in front of an estimated crowd of 9,000 people. "I’m running for every student who wants a good education. For every senior who wants affordable prescription drugs. For every worker, farmer, dreamer, builder. For every American. I’m running for you."

Klobuchar opted for an outdoor rally at Boom Island Park, near the site of the 2007 Interstate 35W bridge collapse, and told supporters, "I don’t have a political machine. I don’t come from money. But what I do have is this: I have grit."

In her announcement, she outlined an agenda including universal health care, a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizen's United Supreme Court decision, rejoining the international climate agreement, gun control legislation and advocating for criminal justice reform.

Within hours of her speech, Klobuchar sparred with President Donald Trump on Twitter over climate change. Trump mocked the senator's snow-covered announcement on Twitter, calling her a "Snowman(woman)" and writing that it was "bad timing" that she talked "proudly of fighting global warming while standing in a virtual blizzard of snow."

Klobuchar turned the jab into an opportunity to bring up her stance on environmental issues.

"Science is on my side, @realDonaldTrump," she wrote. "Looking forward to debating you about climate change (and many other issues)."

The former prosecutor rose to prominence in her time in the Senate as a key Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee. During the hearing to confirm now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Klobuchar challenged the judge on his beer drinking during a hearing about an accusation of sexual misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford. In a contentious moment during the second hearing, Kavanaugh turned the questioning on Klobuchar and asked if she ever blacked out from drinking. He later apologized for the question.

Klobuchar told ABC's The View that she believed Kavanuagh's behavior wasn't "dignified."

Her announcement came on the heels of a recent report by the Huffington Post claiming three people have withdrawn from consideration to lead Klobuchar’s campaign because of an alleged history of mistreating her staff.

Following her campaign announcement, the senator responded to reports of mistreating her staff following her speech, admitting she can be tough.

"I can be tough and yes, I can push people, I know that. But in the end, there are so many great stories of our staff that have been with me for years and have gone on to do incredible things," she said.

With her announcement, she became the fifth woman currently serving in Congress to confirm a 2020 bid.

Here's everything you need to know:

Name: Amy Klobuchar

Party: Democrat

Date of Birth: May 25, 1960

Age: 58

Hometown: Plymouth, Minnesota

Early life: Klobuchar has "always embraced the values she learned growing up in Minnesota," according to her official biography. Her father, Jim Klobuchar, was a newspaperman, and her mother, Rose Klobuchar, was an elementary school teacher. Her grandfather was an iron ore miner in northern Minnesota.

Klobuchar attended public schools in Plymouth and was the valedictorian of her high school. She completed her undergraduate degree at Yale University where she graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1982. She earned her law degree in 1985 from the University of Chicago, where she also finished Magna Cum Laude.

What she does now:

Klobuchar is the senior U.S. senator from Minnesota. She was first elected as a Democrat to the Senate in 2006, re-elected in 2012 and again in 2018. Her current term ends Jan. 3, 2025. She serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, the Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee and the Joint Economic Committee. She also serves as ranking member of the Rules and Administration Committee. In the Democratic party, she serves as chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee.

What She Used To Do:

Prior to serving in the Senate, Klobuchar practiced law in Minnesota. She was a partner at two law firms before being elected Hennepin County attorney in 1999. Most notably, she helped pass Minnesota’s first felony DWI law and worked with the Innocence Project to put in place measures to protect against false convictions.

What you may not know about her:

She is the first woman elected to the U.S. Senate from the state of Minnesota. Shortly into her tenure as a senator, an eight-lane bridge in Minneapolis collapsed in Aug. 2007, killing 13 people. In only thirteen months after the Interstate 35W bridge collapse, the structure was rebuilt with full funding secured by Klobuchar.

In 2016, Medill News Service ranked her as the senator who sponsored or co-sponsored the most bills that were enacted into law.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Klobuchar has voted with Trump almost a third of the time.

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