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Friday
May272016

Donald Trump Backs Down from Debate with Bernie Sanders

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump backed down from much-hyped hypothetical debate he wanted to have with Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Trump, who has now secured enough delegates to clinch the Republican nomination, said that "now that I am the presumptive nominee, it seems inappropriate that I would debate the second place finisher," he said in a statement released Friday. Both Trump and Sanders said they wanted the debate to happen.

Trump reiterated his claim that "the Democratic nominating process is totally rigged" and said that "Crooked Hillary Clinton and Deborah Wasserman Schultz will not allow Bernie Sanders to win," he added, referring to the party chair.

Neither Clinton or Sanders have enough delegates to win at this point.

The prospect of a debate originated from a question Sanders submitted to Jimmy Kimmel ahead of Trump's appearance on the late night talkshow Wednesday. At a press conference in North Dakota on Thursday, Trump was asked about it and said that money from the event should be raised "for maybe women's health issues or something."

Now, Trump is stepping back and taking the more traditional approach of waiting for the Democrats to nominate a candidate.

"I will wait to debate the first place finisher in the Democratic Party, probably Crooked Hillary Clinton, or whoever it may be," he said in the statement.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

Police Separate Pro-Trump and Anti-Trump Groups in San Diego

Alex Stone/ABC News(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) -- Police in riot gear were called in to separate Donald Trump protesters and supporters Friday afternoon after they clashed outside a rally for the presumptive Republican nominee in San Diego, California.

According to San Diego Police, several arrests were made.

The roughly 1,000 demonstrators were gathered on both sides of the street outside the San Diego Convention Center.

Some protesters holding Mexican flags and flags from other countries yelled, "Dump Donald Trump."

Trump supporters chanted, "You can't vote," and, "Build that wall!"

A helicopter loudspeaker and ground loudspeakers repeatedly made announcements that unlawful assembly was declared, and anyone in the area would be arrested if they stayed.

Riot police pushed protesters out of the area by firing pepper spray balls at the crowd.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

Onetime Bill Clinton Investigator Ken Starr Has Kind Words for Him 

Constitution Center(PHILADELPHIA) -- Ken Starr was perceived as one of Bill Clinton's most notable critics during the controversial investigations of the 1990s, but the former president seems to have left a favorable impression.

Starr made somewhat unexpectedly flattering comments about Clinton recently, before news broke that Starr himself was demoted from his role as president of Baylor University to that of chancellor amid concerns about the school's handling of sexual assault allegations.

"President Clinton was, and perhaps still is, the most gifted politician of the baby-boomer generation," Starr said at an event at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia earlier this month.

Starr, 69, who investigated members of the Clinton administration as an independent counsel, praised Clinton's "remarkable gifts," specifically highlighting his "genuine empathy."

"I've spent a lot of time in the great state of Arkansas and, leave aside the unpleasantness, his genuine empathy for human beings is absolutely clear. It is powerful, it is palpable and the folks in Arkansas really understood that," Starr said.

The panel discussion focused on the presidency and the Constitution, with Starr and other participants comparing different aspects of various administrations.

In talking about post-presidential careers, Starr praised Clinton for his charitable work, and talked about how former presidents’ work after leaving the White House can become a "redemptive" process.

"President Carter set a very high standard, which President Clinton clearly continues to follow," Starr said.

The subjects of some of Starr’s investigations -- including former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the suicide of former deputy White House counsel Vince Foster -- have resurfaced in this year's presidential campaign.

Donald Trump released a campaign video on Instagram that included an audio clip of Lewinsky and he has spoken about unsubstantiated conspiracy theories surrounding Foster's death.

Starr led one of multiple investigations into Foster's death and issued a 114-page report in 1997 confirming the outcome of the earlier findings, which ruled the death a suicide.

Starr's investigation of Monica Lewinsky grew out of his initial probe into the Whitewater real estate controversy.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

Greensboro Police Pull Out of RNC, Cleveland Cries Foul

Greensboro Police Department(GREENSBORO, N.C.) -- The Greensboro Police Department in North Carolina has rescinded its offer to send 50 police officers to Cleveland in July to help secure the Republican National Convention, citing a lack of workers' compensation insurance provided by the city for visiting officers, as well as staffing challenges and a failure of logistics and planning for the large-scale event.

Lt. Brian James, Greensboro deputy chief of police, told ABC News that police administrators in other jurisdictions have also expressed a lack of confidence in Cleveland and its preparedness for the upcoming event. He said some departments are declining to send officers while others are still “on the fence.”

“Police work is dangerous by nature. But of course in any situation, we try to plan and prepare as best we can,” James said. “Of course, we will be officers working out of jurisdiction, so we are totally reliant on the Cleveland Police Department for direction. We didn’t have enough information at this time to send our officers there, so we decided we are not going to send them.”

Cleveland's mayor's office released a statement of its own this afternoon, saying they've asked hundreds of agencies to help out, and that none have expressed any concerns.

“Despite rumors, the Division of Police will be prepared and is on track with its planning goals. Plans concerning outside agency support are still being drafted. No outside agencies have expressed preparedness concerns directly to the Division of Police or to the City of Cleveland," the statement reads. It goes on to say that members of the police have received extensive training and instruction on the use of force, crowd management, free speech, freedom of assembly, due process, and reasonable search and seizure. Some officers will also be assigned body cameras.

But Greensboro police might not be the only ones bowing out. Dan Ball, assistant director of media relation's in Cleveland's mayor's office, had confirmed that the Cincinnati Police Department had pulled its officers from the event because of a scheduling conflict. Ball later told ABC News that the police department had not in fact been asked to attend. The Cincinnati Police Department has not returned ABC News' request for comment.

Ball said police departments pull out for various reasons and disputes claims that Cleveland is ill-prepared to host the RNC.

“It’s not true. I don’t understand the motivation. There’s even processes in place to rescind your offer, you call and explain, but you don’t go straight to the media,” Ball said. “I don’t understand the motivation to do that.”

Cleveland's Chief of Police Calvin D. Williams is weighing in, too.

“Cleveland Division of Police is working closely with our law enforcement partners on the federal, state, and local levels to ensure we are prepared for the convention,” Williams said. “We remain on schedule in the planning process, and to reiterate, we will be prepared.”

Cleveland has 1,200 police officers and the Cleveland Police Department is hoping to secure more from other jurisdictions to patrol the city when the convention begins on July 18. Ball says 5,000 officers is a "good estimate" but would not give a final number that they are aiming for because of security concerns. An estimated 50,000 people will attend the convention, according to Cleveland officials.

The RNC has not returned ABC News' request for comment.

James expressed concern over workers' compensation insurance to his boss, arguing that officers would not be compensated for any medical bills if they were injured during patrol in Cleveland.

“In 2012, we assisted the City of Charlotte with the Democratic National Convention and workers' compensation insurance was provided to our officers working this event,” James wrote in a memo. But the lack of insurance this time around for officers in Cleveland “will cause the city of Greensboro to assume responsibility for any reported injuries of our officers serving in their normal capacity but outside of our jurisdiction.”

He was also wary about sending officers because it would leave Greensboro in a “vulnerable” position due to 30 vacancies in its patrol division.

“While we always make a concerted effort to assist our law enforcement partners, we have a responsibility to ensure that we are sending our officers to an event that is well planned and that we do not leave ourselves in a vulnerable situation here at home while we send our officers to assist in another jurisdiction,” he said.

James said his boss, Greensboro Police Chief Wayne Scott, agreed with his concerns and informed Cleveland police of the decision.

Thousands are expected to converge on Cleveland for the political convention, including high-profile politicians, celebrities and protesters. The presence of likely Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has already raised security concerns, as his political rallies are often fraught with riots, protests, and sometimes violence.

In December, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) announced that Cleveland would receive a $50 million grant in security funding for the convention.

“Ensuring the safety of convention goers and the Cleveland community is a critical component of the convention planning process,” Portman said during the announcement.

James said police are aware that political conventions can breed civilian unrest -- as was the case in 2012 -- but that this time around, his officers received “no clear direction” in terms of particular patrolling assignments.

“People are exercising their first amendment rights, but at the same time you have to have a plan in place,” James said. “Any political convention is going to be pretty heavily protested from all sides and political views.”

Despite Greensboro's decision to pull out – and potentially other police departments as well – James did not say Cleveland would be unsafe for those attending the convention.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

Donald Trump Encourages Marco Rubio to Run for Re-Election

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump is making peace with former rival and presidential candidate Marco Rubio, encouraging him to run for re-election for his Florida senate seat.

Trump expressed his support on Twitter Thursday, saying: “Poll data shows that @marcorubio does by far the best in holding onto his Senate seat in Florida. Important to keep the MAJORITY. Run Marco!"

However, the junior senator from Florida has said repeatedly he has no plans on running for re-election.

Trump’s support came just hours after Rubio announced he would attend the GOP convention in July. Rubio told CNN that he would release his 165 delegates to vote for Trump at the convention.

"I want to be helpful. I don't want to be harmful, because I don't want Hillary Clinton to be president," Rubio said in a clip of an interview that’s set to air in full Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

The Florida senator, who was once part of the #NeverTrump movement, has still not formally endorsed Trump, but insists he would be “honored” to help defeat Clinton.

“I don't want Hillary Clinton to be president. If there's something I can do to help that from happening, and it's helpful to the cause, I'd most certainly be honored to be considered for that,” Rubio said.

Rubio took to Twitter Friday to say he will not be voting for Clinton in November.

With less than a month left to meet the filing deadline, Rubio expressed uncertainty after he leaves the Senate in January 2017, and did not shut down the possibility of returning to elected office.

"I can tell you I enjoy public service. If there's an opportunity to serve again in a way that I feel passionate about, I'll most certainly think I would explore it," Rubio said. "But I don't know where I'm going to be in two years. I don't know what my life will look like then."

Republicans are deeply concerned about losing Rubio's Senate seat to a Democrat.

Republican officials expressed confidence in the field of five GOP candidates to replace Rubio in Florida, though none have emerged as a clear favorite in the August primary.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

'Pharma Bro' Martin Shkreli Endorses Donald Trump for President

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Controversial former pharmaceutical executive Martin Shkreli will support Donald Trump for president in a matchup against likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, according to a tweet sent out Thursday night.

 

 

The "Pharma Bro," criticized by members of Congress for his behavior during a February congressional hearing on drug prices, had previously supported Sen. Bernie Sanders for president and claimed to have contributed to his campaign.

 

 

Shrekli, the former CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, famously hiked the price of Daraprim, an anti-parasitic drug used to treat infections, by 5,000 percent overnight. He was arrested in December on multiple securities and wire fraud charges related to an alleged defrauding of pharmaceutical company Retrophin Inc.

He is due back in court on June 6 and could face additional charges.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

Bernie Sanders Supporters to File Emergency Injunction Against Calif. Primary

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Attorneys representing a group of Bernie Sanders supporters informed San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera Thursday night that they plan to file an "emergency request" with U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup in the city Friday "for a preliminary injunction" in California's June 7 presidential primary," Herrera's office said.

"I think it's unfortunate -- and selfish, frankly -- that these plaintiffs would inject confusion and uncertainty into an election that has been underway for weeks," Herrera said in a statement Thursday night. "San Francisco's Department of Elections and its employees have been doing an exemplary job, and I'm equally confident that our co-defendants are also meeting or exceeding their legal duties. This lawsuit is without merit, and there is no basis for an emergency injunction. I intend to fight it aggressively."

Voting by mail began in California May 9.

A news release from the Office of the City Attorney, noted, "San Francisco, Alameda County, and state elections officials were sued last week by an unincorporated association of Sanders backers called the 'Voting Rights Defense Project,' who together with the American Independence Party and two San Francisco voters leveled an array of allegations in their May 20 civil complaint that Herrera calls wholly baseless."

The release continued, "The activists are seeking sweeping injunctive relief in their suit, including provisions to force 58 counties to segregate ballots already cast by unaffiliated voters; to allow "re-votes" by those voters for presidential primary candidates; and to extend the state's voter registration deadline -- which passed on May 23 for eligibility to vote in the June 7 primary -- until election day itself."

Two lawyers for the group -- William M. Simpich and Stephen R. Jaffe -- did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Sanders has not issued a statement on the matter.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

What to Watch at the Libertarian Convention

iStock/Thinkstock(ORLANDO, Fla.) — While Donald Trump indulges in fries and a big Mac to celebrate beating 16 Republican candidates and effectively winning his party’s nomination, another party is huddling to plan a new threat.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the Libertarian Party will be holding its convention in Orlando to put forth its presidential and vice presidential candidates. The party has largely been ignored in previous cycles, but party leaders are hoping that this year might be different.

Libertarians are trying to appeal to voters disenchanted with the prospect of a Trump or Hillary Clinton presidency. The party is banking on the fact that Trump and Clinton have the highest unfavorability ratings of any candidate -- on either side of the aisle -- in recent history.

“We are seeing record interest in the party,” the national Libertarian Party’s political director, Carla Howell, recently told Politico Magazine. “Membership has spiked; it has gone up about 30 percent in the last few months. We’re also seeing record media interest."

What is the Libertarian Party?


"Libertarian” is defined as “a person who upholds the principles of individual liberty especially of thought and action," according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary.

The Libertarian Party tends to be fiscally conservative and socially liberal. It vehemently opposes any government intervention in citizens’ private and business decisions (the party’s current front-runner, for instance, supports abortion rights and legalizing drugs).

“Essentially, we believe all Americans should be free to live their lives and pursue their interests as they see fit as long as they do no harm to another. In a nutshell, we are advocates for a smaller government, lower taxes and more freedom,” the party says on its website.

The Orlando convention will be themed “Legalize Freedom.”

The party was first formed 45 years ago. Prominent Libertarians include Rand Paul and his father Ron Paul, who both ran as Republican presidential candidates, as well as David Koch, the billionaire political activist (Koch ran as Libertarian vice president in 1980).

How Have They Done In The Past?


In 2012, Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson earned almost 1.3 million votes – the most votes a Libertarian nominee has ever garnered. Still, it only amounted for 0.99 percent of the total popular vote, and the party was far from winning any electoral votes.

The party reached more than 1 percent of the popular vote just once in its history when Ed Clark headlined the Libertarian ticket in 1980.

Alaska has been the best state for Libertarians in the past, according to an analysis from the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics. Libertarians also average over 1 percent of support in Montana, Arizona and Wyoming.

Could They Do Better This Year?


Some Libertarians hope that this could be a breakthrough year for the party, usually reduced to a footnote in the overarching narrative of the general election.

Libertarians want their eventual nominee to receive at least 15 percent support in national polls so that he or she can debate the presumptive GOP and Democratic nominees.

A Fox News poll in mid-May shows Johnson garnering 10 percent support in a race against Trump and Clinton. A Monmouth poll in March showed Johnson hitting 11 percent support.

That might be enough for the Libertarian Party to become a spoiler.

The party has also been working hard to ensure its candidate is listed on every state’s ballot — so far, the party has made it to 32 states and is confident it can reach its goal.

Who’s Running For Their Nomination?


There are a total of 12 candidates running to win the Libertarian Party’s nomination.

Former two-term New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson is currently expected to clinch the nomination (Johnson was also the nominee in 2012).

Other viable candidates include millionaire software entrepreneur John McAfee, who fled Belize after he was cited as a “person of interest” in the murder of his neighbor, and Austin Peterson, former Fox Business producer and Libertarian activist.

Johnson recently announced he would want former Republican Massachusetts Gov. William Weld as his vice president. Weld might help make a Libertarian ticket more attractive to Democrats — in 1997, Bill Clinton nominated him as ambassador to Mexico (the nomination was eventually blocked). He also wound up supporting President Obama in 2008, though he has since said he regretted it.

Weld has been very outspoken in his criticism of Trump.

“I can hear the glass crunching on Kristallnacht in the ghettos of Warsaw and Vienna when I hear that, honest,” he told The New York Times, blasting Trump’s policy to round up and deport undocumented immigrants.

The party's convention will feature a vice presidential and presidential debate. Presidential candidates have already debated each other three times.

Party operatives have shot down speculation that a dark horse candidate like Mitt Romney might try to win the party’s nomination. It is possible, but highly unlikely, they’ve said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

The Democratic Party's Coming Collision on Israel

ABC News(WASHINGTON) — The Democratic primary may be over after California votes on June 7, but loyalists to Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders appear to be on a collision course over what the Democratic Party stands for — especially on the issue of Israel.

On this week’s “Powerhouse Politics” podcast, ABC News’ Chief White House correspondent Jonathan Karl and Political Director Rick Klein talked to two members of the Democratic Party’s important Platform Drafting Committee tasked with writing a unified platform but divided in their choice of candidates: Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Clinton ally, and Sanders supporter James Zogby.

Zogby, the president of the Arab American Institute and a pro-Palestinian activist, says the party is in need of more “balanced” and even-handed platform language on Israel and Palestine to move toward what he sees as an emerging consensus.

“There needs to be a recognition that there are two wings of this Democratic Party and we need both wings to fly,” he continued, “and that is the approach that we will hopefully take as a committee.”

Zogby said he’s seen an “evolving Hillary Clinton” on the issue since her time as first lady, when she called for a Palestinian state.

“[There was] Hillary Clinton as first lady, then there was a Hillary Clinton as senator; now we’re talking about Hillary Clinton as president,” he said. “I see an evolving Hillary Clinton and I would like to see a Hillary Clinton that reflects this new consensus that is emerging.”

While Zogby is readying for battle in advocating changes to the platform language on Israel, Gutierrez said there should be a way to achieve language that strongly supports Israel while also being more inclusive of the aspirations of the Palestinian people.

“We have to maintain a very close relationship with our dear friend and ally Israel, but does that mean we cannot be more inclusive? Does that mean we cannot be more reflective of the goals and ambitions of the Palestinian people?” Gutierrez asked rhetorically. “I don’t think one thing negates the other.”

In what was perhaps a direct shot at Zogby, Gutierrez went on to say that the platform’s final language will not be about “the values of activists” but of the Democratic Party as a whole.

“I’m going to look for a Democratic Party consensus that reflects, not the values of activists that are all of a sudden put on a committee but of the people,” he said.

Gutierrez also scoffed at the notion that Clinton supporters are somehow less progressive than Sanders’ supporters.

“It’s almost as though, well, if you are with Bernie Sanders you must be progressive and for change, and all the rest of us are just some, I don’t know, sellouts to Wall Street and to the establishment. That’s just not the case,” he said.

Gutierrez also sought to make the case that Clinton already has all but clinched the nomination.

“Let’s be clear, she has the nomination,” the Illinois Democrat told ABC News.

“Hillary Clinton is now 80 delegates away from wrapping it up,” he said. “There is no political scientist or anybody that has any credibility that doesn’t believe that Hillary Clinton is not going to have the number of delegates required to become the nominee.”

But Zogby has a different take, arguing that the race is far from over and that much work remains to be done to unify the party.

“Sen. Sanders has about 50 percent of the Democratic votes to date, Sec. Clinton has about 50 percent of the Democratic votes to date," Zogby said.

Gutierrez, a Latino and immigrant rights activist, went on to accuse Sanders of not supporting immigrants.

“In 2007, Hillary Clinton voted for comprehensive immigration reform when Bernie Sanders turned his back on immigrants and went to brag about it on Lou Dobbs' program,” he said. “That’s why people are for her, that’s why Latinos have supported her across this country and why I expect her to be triumphant in California.”

While the two Democratic campaigns may locked in a battle over issues, Zogby said the divisions that do exist pale in comparison to what he called an existential crisis in the Republican Party with Trump at the helm.

“I don’t think there is anything near the divisions on the Democratic side that currently exist on the Republican side, their crisis is existential,” Zogby said.

Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
May272016

Sanders Tells Kimmel of a Trump Debate: 'You Made It Possible for Us to Have a Very Interesting Debate'

ABC (LOS ANGELES) — During his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Thursday night, Bernie Sanders remained amenable to debating Donald Trump -- a proposition raised by the presumptive Republican presidential nominee during his visit to the late-night talk show the previous evening.

"You made it possible for us to have a very interesting debate about two guys who look at the world very, very differently," Sanders told Kimmel.

"Oh boy, do you guys look at it differently," Kimmel said, laughing.

Kimmel told Sanders his goal is to bring the two men together. "I don't build walls, I build bridges," he said, making an obvious nod to Trump's campaign promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

And Kimmel's vested interest? "I feel like I should be the moderator of this debate, right?"

On Wednesday's program, Trump said he would welcome a debate with the Vermont senator. "If I debated him we would have such high ratings,” Trump told Kimmel. "If he paid a sum to charity I would love to do that."

Shortly after the show aired, Sanders took to Twitter, writing, "Game on. I look forward to debating Donald Trump in California before the June 7 primary."

Sanders followed up Thursday afternoon with another tweet, writing, "I am delighted that @realDonaldTrump has agreed to debate. Let’s do it in the biggest stadium possible."

As for having both Sanders and Trump on the show, Kimmel told Sanders, "I’m interviewing all the candidates so I can decide which one of them will be my running mate. Usually, I know vice presidents do it the other way around, but I’m not 'usually' and this is how I do it. I will say, if there’s anyone who knows the importance of having a good, solid No. 2, it’s Bernie Sanders."

Kimmel introduced the Democratic presidential hopeful as the "most popular 74-year-old in the United States" and the "biggest name to come out of Burlington since the coat factory."

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