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Saturday
Jun152019

Man arrested for trespassing into Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's New York office

Alex Wong/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An unidentified man trespassed into Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's district office in Queens on Saturday, sprayed a fire extinguisher and then hid in a closet until police were able to detain him, according to New York's ABC7.

Police were alerted to the incident by building security, and the man is in police custody, the station reported, citing the New York Police Department.

There was no one at the office at the time.

Ocasio-Cortez was in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. She is due to appear on This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Sunday morning.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jun152019

DACA recipients closely watching 2020 candidates for clues to their future

Twitter/@ewarren(LOS ANGELES) -- Justino Mora was an all-star teenager: the co-captain of his track and field team, a youth altar boy at his Los Angeles church and in the top 5% of his graduating class.

But his ambitions had limitations. Mora crossed over to the U.S. from Mexico when he was 11 years old. Even though he was accepted into Cal Poly and University of California, Berkeley, because he is an undocumented immigrant, he didn't qualify for state financial aid.

"It changed my view of the American Dream," he said. "We're told if we do our best, that all these doors of opportunity will open up. For me that wasn't the case."

He is one of more than 700,000 children brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents who were given protected status under former President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) executive order.

Mora, an immigrant rights activist, is now looking to see how Democratic presidential candidates will think about the future of young people in the same plight.

California Sen. Kamala Harris is the most recent candidate to release a proposal addressing the group this week detailing how she would use executive action to help Dreamers reach citizenship. Her proposal is aimed at breaking the barriers Dreamers often face when trying to apply for citizenship. The policy plan teases out whether an applicant is considered to have entered the country lawfully or unlawfully, has maintained lawful status and whether he or she accepted authorized employment.

Julia Gelatt, a senior policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute said Harris' proposal gets at critical hurdles Dreamers face.

"Right now there are a lot of unauthorized immigrants and Dreamers who might have a family member or employer who would wish to sponsor them for a green card. But under the current law, they face barriers," Gelatt said. "She’s trying to remove some of those barriers so they can find legal status."

Harris held an immigration policy roundtable Friday with Dreamers, including Astrid Silva at the University of Nevada immigration clinic in Las Vegas. Nevada is home to roughly 13,000 Dreamers.

Harris said she would implement her executive order for Dreamers on her first day in office, and also said with her history of fighting against attempts to undo DACA in the past, she is prepared to fight for it again in the courtroom if her executive order was taken to court. She also made it clear that undocumented youth wouldn't be the only people she'd be fighting for, and extending the "ceiling and floor" when it came to a path to citizenship for all ages was a priority.

Former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro is another 2020 candidate with a solution for Dreamers and was the first candidate with a proposal on immigration. Unlike Harris, who intends to use executive authority, he hopes to use the legislative progress to fight for DACA and Temporary Protected Status, people from select countries are offered temporary protections because their home regions are exceptionally violent or were damaged by natural disasters. His goal is to help Dreamers and those under Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Enforced Departure achieve citizenship through the Dream and Promise Act of 2019.

Gelatt says, "It seems like they have the same plan A but Harris is thinking ahead to what she might to if Congress doesn’t open that path." She called Harris' proposal a "pessimistic" because it bypasses Congress but later added, "It’s probably quite realistic for Harris to think even with a new Congress striking a deal for protections could remain very difficult."

Former Texas Beto O'Rourke also released a proposal two weeks ago stating that as a part of his first 100 days in office, he would create an "earned pathway to citizenship" for 11 million people including Dreamers and those under Temporary Protected Status through a series of executive and legislative actions.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee's immigration policy while focusing on climate migration features a sweeping overhaul of the immigration system and focuses on a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and expedited eligibility for Dreamers.

Many other candidates haven't rolled out proposals but many have been vocal on the fate of DACA recipients.

Amy Klobuchar was one of the senators on the bipartisan group of senators who negotiated on behalf of their cause with Trump, a decision that got a lot of pushback from immigrant rights groups. She said on "This Week" she would be willing to go along with some wall funding in turn for protections for Dreamers.

Most other candidates have addressed the Dreamer issue without supporting any aspect of Trump's long-desired border wall in exchange.

Cory Booker told NPR, "I will do everything I can to ensure that DACA children, that Dreamers, who are Americans in every way except for a piece of paper."

In his first CNN Town Hall, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said Dreamers were "not U.S. citizens, but in many cases, this is the only country they can even remember because they came to this country through no choice of their own. And so I think it's one of the reasons why there's a broad U.S. consensus that we need to find a way to protect Dreamers."

Former Maryland Rep. John Delaney in the past called Trump's decision to end DACA "cruel, heartless and mean-spirited" and as a congressman, co-sponsored the DREAM Act in 2017. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock was one of eleven governors to sign a letter urging Congress to protect Dreamers.

Mora calls a majority of these plans a bare minimum.

"My biggest concern is that a lot of concern is going to DACA recipients where there should be more focus on inhumane actions of the U.S. government," he said. "What are we going to do about ice? Politicians should be talking about abolishing it."

While Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders states on his website that he voted against creating the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, he says he now wants to completely reshape it and has also laid out a plan to expand DACA and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents. He told Telemundo he would act on immigration in the first 100 days on his administration.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been vocal about abolishing ICE, while also calling for completely rebuilding the immigration system and supporting a pathway to citizenship and protection for DACA recipients and TPS.

Meanwhile, as Mora remains in limbo, always aware his current DACA status may not be renewed, he said he's more curious on how many politicians feel about the current state of immigration in the country.

"My question is how do those elected officials feel that their decisions are resulting in babies not seeing their parents one more day? Do they feel ashamed? Do they feel ashamed about living in the best country in the world, but in reality, we have people in detentions, people getting killed by ICE willful negligence?"

He says their actions are more important than his feelings when it comes to this issue.

"I made the decision a long time ago to live my life to the fullest and not see the government to my pursuit of happiness."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Saturday
Jun152019

New York City set to become 1st city to fund abortion services

iStock Photo/deberarr(NEW YORK) -- Tucked away in a $92.5 billion budget, agreed to with a handshake deal between Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson on Friday, was an agreement to make New York City the first city in the country to fund abortion services.

The New York Abortion Access Fund will provide $250,000 from the budget to help low-income citizens access abortion services.

The funding was championed by the council's Women's Caucus, led by co-chairs Margaret Chin and Carlina Rivera.

"Before Roe v Wade, NYC was a haven for women who wanted the freedom to choose," Rivera wrote on Twitter. "It's time for our City to be that beacon for the country once again."

The council is required to vote on the budget before July 1, but passage is expected as a formality.

Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court ruling that protects a woman's right to choose whether or not to have an abortion, has come under assault more than ever in recent months. Multiple states have instituted severely restrictive bans on abortion, often only allowing them when the mother's life is at risk.

Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky and Mississippi are among the states to pass some of the most restrictive bans, often labeled "heartbeat" bans, for not allowing the procedure after a fetal heartbeat is detected.

In all, 17 bans have been signed in 10 states in 2019 -- but every type of ban is facing a legal challenge, and none of the laws have been enacted.

Many conservative politicians and activists hope those legal challenges will be appealed up to the Supreme Court, where recent Donald Trump appointees Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch have tipped the power, 5-4, in favor of conservative judges.

Other states, including New York, have gone in the opposite direction -- passing protections for a woman's right to choose whether to have an abortion.

New York City is the first municipality to actually provide funding for those in need, though.

"This was an initiative coming out of the council, but I certainly support it," De Blasio said at a press conference Friday. "We understand that there are women who need help and are having trouble getting the help they need. And the city had an opportunity here to step up."

De Blasio is currently running for the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. He has been an outspoken advocate for abortion access and supports the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which doesn't allow federal funding for abortion services.

"I am proud that we are doing this," Johnson said Friday. "This is to help low-income women in New York City who have faced barriers to access to health care, get the care that they need and that they deserve.

"And what typically happens when abortion care is restricted across the country, wealthier women still can get abortions because they can fly to places and drive across state lines to get abortions. But what happens is low-income women, predominately women of color, are the ones that are locked out of the health care system and aren’t able to have abortion access."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun142019

President Trump hits Joe Biden on policy flips: ‘He has recalibrated on everything’ 

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump continued his war of words with former Vice President Joe Biden in an exclusive interview with ABC News, hitting the Democratic presidential frontrunner for reversing some long-held views such as his position on a measure that bans federal funding for abortions.

“He has recalibrated on everything… Everything he’s said he’s taken back two weeks later because he’s getting slammed by the left. And he stuck with this stuff. He’s really stuck with this,” Trump told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday during an exclusive interview.

Biden recently announced he no longer supported the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding from being used to pay for abortions except for cases in which there was a threat to the patient's life, rape or incest. The law largely affects patients who are on Medicaid, meaning low-income patients have to pay for an abortion out-of-pocket.

The former vice president reversed his stance just one day after his campaign said his position on the amendment had not changed – and after being heavily criticized by several of his 2020 opponents.

Trump’s comments came the same day Biden turned up the heat on his attacks of Trump while both were in Iowa. In his remarks throughout the state, Biden called the president an “existential threat to America,” and “a genuine threat to our core values.” Trump’s comments were on Tuesday, the same day that Biden said the president presents an “existential threat to America.”

As the 2020 race heats up, President Trump has kept his focus on Biden, whom Trump has called “the weakest mentally.”

“He wanted to be the tough guy. He’s not a tough guy, he’s a weak guy,” Trump told Stephanopoulos in their interview.

Early internal polling data from the Trump campaign conducted in March and recently obtained exclusively by ABC News shows that the president trailed Biden in three key states that he won in 2016: Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida.

Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale said those numbers are “ancient,” saying “Since then, we have seen huge swings in the President’s favor.”

Still, Biden and Trump’s attacks show no signs of slowing down. In a video released Friday, Biden slammed Trump for his admission during his interview with Stephanopoulos that he would accept information on an opponent from a foreign entity.

“Donald Trump doesn’t think it matters if candidates for presidency accept damaging information on their opponents from foreign governments. I believe he’s dead wrong.”

Tune in Sunday at 8 p.m. for an hour-long ABC News special, only on ABC — including "ABC News Live," the 24/7 streaming news channel available on abcnews.com, Roku, Hulu, Amazon Fire TV and Apple TV.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun142019

'Daily Show's' Presidential Twitter Library launches in DC in time for Trump's 73rd birthday 

Win McNamee/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- "Covfefe," the word that had the country in a social media uproar when President Donald Trump tweeted it in 2017, was on display Friday along with many of his other tweets just in time for the commander in chief's 73rd birthday.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah presented Washington D.C. with its first “Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library” in celebration of the president’s big day.

The Twitter library launch marks the seventh one that the show has hosted in the country — making stops in Austin, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and New York City.

Desi Lydic, a Daily Show correspondent, told ABC News the show team began to wonder what the president's library would look like if he had one, and the rest was history.

“We started realizing he doesn’t have a lot of paper documents, but he does have a lot of tweets,” Lydic said. “So, we decided to come up with a presidential Twitter library with President Trump’s most poetic and important tweets.”

Lydic’s favorite Trump tweet?

“Probably covfefe,” she told ABC News. “I don’t know if it was misspelled...but it got us all talking so maybe that was its intent.”

The showroom is filled with Trump's past tweets about the birther movement, Russia, special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling and nicknames for his most beloved colleagues.

“I think my favorite part is the Trump vs. Trump exhibit where we can see the president battling himself on Twitter through his own contradictory tweets,” said Ronny Chieng, a Daily Show correspondent.

In that exhibit, two digital displays show different contradictory tweets from Trump. On one screen, a tweet from April 2013 said, "The Time Magazine list of the 100 Most Influential People is a joke and stunt of a magazine that will, like Newsweek, soon be dead. Bad list!"

On the other side, a 2016 tweet about Time said, "Thank you to Time Magazine and Financial Times for naming me 'Person of the Year' — a great honor!

“The stats have actually showed that he’s slowed down recently — all the more reason to have a presidential Twitter library to kind of bring awareness back to his Twitter feed and make it great again,” Chieng said.

The president is still far from putting his Twitter fingers away any time soon, Chieng said, adding, “I’ll think he’ll continue using Twitter because it’s one of his most effective tools.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun142019

After Trump’s controversial comments, Congress fights over foreign influence measures

iStock/Luka Banda(WASHINGTON) -- In the wake of President Donald Trump’s comments to ABC News that he would be open to foreign offers of political dirt on his 2020 rivals before maybe contacting the FBI, Democrats on Capitol Hill used the controversial remarks to renew their push for legislation targeting foreign assistance in American campaigns – a push that’s already run up against some Republican opposition.

In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said representatives would take up legislation that would require candidates to contact the FBI if contacted by a foreign government offering political dirt during a campaign. That measure appeared to have Republican support, as Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who largely otherwise defended Trump's remarks to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, said Republicans would "gladly vote for this."

But a similar measure in the Senate on Thursday hit a partisan wall after Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., attempted to have the bill passed immediately and unanimously.

Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., blocked the measure, saying on the Senate floor that the reporting requirements in the legislation were “over broad.” In a statement later, Blackburn went further, saying that Democrats were trying to rush the legislation through Congress “without giving it a chance for the careful consideration and debate needed to address such an important issue” and calling Warner’s unanimous consent proposal a “blatant political stunt.”

Trump Friday revised his comments about foreign assistance, telling “Fox and Friends” that he would likely look at the material offered, but also report it to the Department of Justice or the FBI.

The back-and-forth over Trump’s original comments came amid a larger campaign by House Democrats to respond to special counsel Robert Mueller's findings about Russian influence in the 2016 election and the Trump campaign’s response to those efforts.

Both the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees held hearings this week on elements of the Mueller report featuring legal and counterintelligence experts.

House Democratic leaders are currently reviewing other legislative proposals that could receive votes on the floor before the chamber's August recess, potentially including pieces of HR 1, Democrats' massive election security anti-corruption package passed earlier this year -- which Republicans also have complained is also overly broad.

Another proposal would clarify election regulations surrounding foreign nationals involvement in elections. Under current rules, foreigners are prohibited from making financial contributions to American campaigns or donating any other "thing of value," according to the Federal Election Commission.

"Whether or not you can establish monetary value, they have implied value, and those should be banned," Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., said of opposition research.

Outside the political gamesmanship on Capitol Hill, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other U.S. agencies are racing to shore up America’s defenses ahead of a 2020 presidential race in which U.S. officials suspect Russia could make a return to attack America’s political process, potentially with other adversary actors as well.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun142019

What you should know about the 1939 law Kellyanne Conway is accused of violating

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump rushed to the defense of one of his top political advisers on Friday, after a federal watchdog accused White House counselor Kellyanne Conway of violating a law that bars some government employees of engaging in political activity while acting in their official capacities.

In an unprecedented move, the Office of Special Counsel described Conway as a "repeat offender" of the Hatch Act and recommended she be removed from federal service.

"It looks to me like they’re trying to take away her right of free speech," Trump said in an interview with Fox and Friends Friday. "No, I’m not going to fire her.”

It's not the first time a Trump Administration official has been found to have run afoul of the 1939 law, but the most recent dramatic feud has left many with questions as to what exactly the Hatch Act is, whether it conflicts with First Amendment rights to free speech, and why those close to the president are able to allegedly violate it with no apparent consequences.

What is the Hatch Act?

The Hatch Act was originally passed in 1939 following allegations that employees of a New Deal agency dubbed the Works Progress Administration had used their official positions to benefit the Democratic Party. The act sought to outlaw bribery and coercion of voters by public officials and placed restrictions on federal employees from engaging in certain political activities.

It has been significantly amended in the decades since, and has withstood several challenges in front of the Supreme Court regarding concerns it overly restricts employees' free speech rights.

Under the current version of the law, federal employees in the executive branch are prohibited from using their official positions "for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election," according to the OSC. In past decades, the Hatch Act has been in the headlines in cases where top officials in the Trump, Obama and Bush administrations have been found to have advocated for a particular party or candidate while acting or being identified by their official titles.

The law generally doesn't prohibit employees from acts such as placing campaign slogans or signage on their personal property, or expressing their political opinions at work as long as that isn't done for the express purpose of engaging in campaign-related activity on behalf of a particular candidate or cause.

Federal employees deemed "further restricted employees" are held to different standards under the act, however, and generally face more stringent conditions regarding their abilities to engage in political activity like attending campaign events or conventions, or handing out fliers at polling places, for instance.

Can you be punished for violating the Hatch Act?

Yes. According to the OSC, all civilian employees serving in the executive branch of government -- with the exception of the President and Vice President, are subject to scrutiny under the Hatch Act.

Federal employees found in violation of the Hatch Act by the independent Merit Systems Protection Board can face punishment such as removal from federal service, a point reinforced in Special Counsel Henry Kerner's letter to Trump regarding Conway's alleged violations.

"If Ms. Conway were any other federal employee, her multiple violations of the law would almost certainly result in removal from her federal position by the Merit Systems Protection Board," said Kerner, who previously served under former Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz on the House Oversight Committee and was appointed to the position by Trump in 2017. "Ms. Conway's violations, if left unpunished, send a message to all federal employees that they need not abide by the Hatch Act's restrictions."

However, presidential appointees who are a part of the Executive Office of the President aren't subject to the same accountability as other executive branch employees and can't be punished or removed in the same fashion as the rest of the executive branch workforce.

In the case of close advisers to the president, as in Conway's case, or even Cabinet officials, the final determination on how to handle Hatch Act violations is left in the hands of the President.

President Barack Obama similarly didn't discipline his former HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in 2012 when she was found in violation of the Hatch Act, or his HUD Secretary Julian Castro, who was found in violation of the Hatch Act for a 2016 interview in which he praised Hillary Clinton.

However, both of those officials released statements apologizing following the OSC's investigations -- while Conway has remained defiant and not apologized or even acknowledged her alleged violations, according to the OSC.

What is Kellyanne Conway accused of doing?

In his 17-page report to the president, Kerner chronicles what he describes as multiple blatant violations of the Hatch Act by Conway in TV appearances and activity on her Twitter account, @KellyannePolls.

The report followed a separate determination by the OSC in March of 2018 that Conway had violated the act when she advocated against Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones' candidacy in his race against Republican Roy Moore.

But that report did not sway Conway from changing her tune in multiple TV interviews this year, in which she attacked other Democratic candidates including Sen. Cory Booker, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke and former Vice President Joe Biden.

One of the political tweets from Conway flagged by the OSC displayed a collection of pictures showing the faces of several female Democratic senators watching the president's State of the Union Speech, that was captioned with "He's got this. #2020I'mWithHim."

"By engaging in political activity while speaking in her official capacity, Ms. Conway used her official authority or influence for the purpose of affecting the result of an election in violation of the Hatch Act," the OSC report reads. "The sheer number of occurrences underscores the egregious nature of her violations."

Kerner notes that Conway was recently confronted by a reporter in one instance where she engaged in political speech, to which Conway shot back sarcastically, "Let me know when the jail sentence starts."

Isn't Conway just engaging in First Amendment-protected speech?

President Trump is far from the first person to question whether the Hatch Act puts a muzzle on what most Americans would consider First Amendment-protected speech.

In his letter responding to Kerner's report on Conway, White House counsel Pat Cipollone argued the "OSC's overbroad and unsupported interpretation of the Hatch Act risks violating Ms. Conway's First Amendment rights and chills the free speech of all government employees."

But proponents of the law argue that it does a public service in separating the official functions of the U.S. government from the partisan battles seen in elections.

For instance, a majority opinion issued in a Supreme Court challenge to the Hatch Act in 1947 upheld the law on the basis that political activity could disrupt the very ability for government agencies to function, saying free speech had to be weighed against “the requirements of orderly administration of administrative personnel."

Separately, advocates argue that allowing federal employees to mix their official duties with political advocacy risks corruption, and officials being able to wield their government titles in a way that elevates their voice over the common citizen.

That thinking appears to be reflected in Kerner's report, in which he admonishes Conway as a "repeat offender," and makes the case that if she isn't subject to discipline it could diminish the OSC's ability to enforce the act entirely.

"Ms. Conway's conduct undermines public confidence in the Executive branch and compromises the civil service system that the Hatch Act was intended to protect," Kerner wrote.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun142019

President Trump’s internal polling data from March showed him far behind Joe Biden in key battleground states 

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Data from President Donald Trump's first internal reelection campaign poll conducted in March, obtained exclusively by ABC News, showed him losing a matchup by wide margins to former Vice President Joe Biden in key battleground states.

Trump has repeatedly denied that such data exists.

The polling data, revealed for the first time by ABC News, showed a double-digit lead for Biden in Pennsylvania 55-39 and Wisconsin 51-41 and had Biden leading by seven points in Florida. In Texas, a Republican stronghold, the numbers showed the president only leading by two points.

ABC News did not obtain the poll’s early matchups against other candidates.

The New York Times was first to report the existence of the internal polls.

When presented by ABC News with these numbers, the Trump campaign confirmed the data saying in a statement that the numbers were old and that they have seen huge swings in Trump’s favor.

“These leaked numbers are ancient, in campaign terms, from months-old polling that began in March before two major events had occurred: the release of the summary of the Mueller report exonerating the President, and the beginning of the Democrat candidates defining themselves with their far-left policy message,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale told ABC News in a statement. “Since then, we have seen huge swings in the President’s favor across the 17 states we have polled, based on the policies now espoused by the Democrats. For example, the plan to provide free health care to illegal immigrants results in an 18-point swing toward President Trump.”

Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election was released on March 24. While the Trump campaign’s full poll, which canvassed 17 states, was already in the field, it was well underway for four additional days after the release of Barr’s letter to the public.

The poll was conducted from March 15 through March 28.

The Trump campaign did not provide the results of the full 17 state poll, matchups against other candidates nor any updated polling figures.

Mueller's report did not find a conspiracy between Trump's campaign and the Russian government. The special counsel did not reach a conclusion about whether the president obstructed justice, and specifically did not exonerate him on that front.

Earlier in the week, the Trump campaign referenced “new data” that they claimed showed the president has a “lead in every state” they polled, according to a statement provided to ABC News by Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh.

The campaign is claiming the new poll “tested the issues the Democrat field is running on” and produced a more favorable result for the president in head to head match-ups against 2020 Democrats when tied to issues like providing free healthcare to illegal immigrants.

Early polls are often subject to change, but it’s notable that the new poll the campaign is now touting tested “issues” tied to 2020 opponents— meaning the Democratic candidates were politically defined by the campaign.

“The President is correct that we have no current polls against defined Democrats – at all – that show him losing in any of the states we have tested. For example, the President leads in Florida by 8 points. He holds leads in all other states we have polled,” Parscale’s statement said. “Again, these months-old numbers are meaningless because they are pre-Mueller and pre-Democrat messaging, and should not be given any weight when discussing the current state of the race.”

In the recent days the president has continued to lash out against reports that his campaign’s internal polling showed him trailing in key battleground states, slamming the numbers as “phony polling information.” Trump has called his internal poll numbers “unbelievable” and that he was “the strongest I’ve ever been.”

Speaking with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on Tuesday during an exclusive interview, the president said his internal polling showed that he is “winning everywhere."

When Stephanopoulos mentioned reports of polls commissioned by the Trump campaign that showed Biden ahead of him in key states, the president said “those polls don't exist.”

"Nobody showed you those polls because those polls don't exist, George. Those polls don't exist. I'm losing in 15 out of 17 states? Those polls don't exist," Trump said.

"I just was given a meeting with my pollster who I frankly don't even believe in pollsters if you want to know the truth, you just run a campaign and whatever it is, it is, but I just had a meeting with somebody that's a pollster and I'm winning everywhere, so I don't know what you're talking about."

A day later, the president took to Twitter and again claimed internal polling showing him behind in battleground states didn’t exist.

“The Fake (Corrupt) News Media said they had a leak into polling done by my campaign which, by the way and despite the phony and never ending Witch Hunt, are the best numbers WE have ever had. They reported Fake numbers that they made up & don’t even exist,” the president tweeted.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun142019

Trump now says 'of course' he would report 'incorrect' dirt from foreign adversary to FBI

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to try to walk back comments in an ABC News interview about his willingness to accept dirt on political rivals from a foreign adversary, telling Fox News that he would notify the FBI or the attorney general if the information was “incorrect or badly stated.”

“Of course you have to look at it because if you don't look at it you won't know it's bad,” Trump said on "Fox and Friends" Friday morning. "But, of course, you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that."

In an interview that aired Wednesday, ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos asked the president if he would accept dirt from Russia or China if it were offered to him or turn it over to the FBI.

The president responded, "I think maybe you do both."

"I think you might want to listen, there isn't anything wrong with listening," Trump continued. "If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent' -- oh, I think I'd want to hear it."

Trump’s comments were met with outrage by many on Capitol Hill, including close allies from his own party like Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Graham said the president’s response was “not the right answer.”

“If a foreign government comes to you as a public official, and offers to help your campaign giving you anything of value, whether it be money or information on your opponent, the right answer is no,” he said.

In his "Fox and Friends" interview, the president claimed that he has had “a lot of support” for his comments.

“Yeah, I've had a lot of support. I don't think anybody would present me with anything because they know how much I love the country,” Trump said Friday.

He then again conflated diplomacy with accepting dirt from opponents.

“One thing that's different with the president is I had dinner with the queen, I met with the prime minister of the UK, I was with the head of France, I was with the head of all the nations and I constantly am talking to them,” Trump said. “The president of France, am I suppose to report him to the FBI?”

Federal Election Commission chairwoman Ellen Weintraud released a statement on Thursday evening to underscore that foreign assistance is illegal in U.S. elections.

“Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election,“ wrote Weintraub, a Democrat, in a statement. “This is not a novel concept.“

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Friday
Jun142019

2020 Democratic candidates set to clash as NBC officially sets debate lineups 

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- NBC News on Friday announced the lineups for the first Democratic primary debates, officially setting the stage for the first direct clash between the crowded field of candidates vying for the party's presidential nomination.

The first debate, hosted by NBC News, MSNBC, and Telemundo, will take place over two nights on June 26 and 27. The committee confirmed to ABC News in May that the final 20 candidates will be divided into two groups based on polling averages and then randomly assigned to a debate stage – to prevent the higher polling candidates all appearing on the same night.

Here are the candidates that will take the stage on night one (June 26): Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, former Maryland Congressman John Delaney, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

Here are the candidates that will take the stage on night two (June 27): former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, California Sen. Kamala Harris, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, California Rep. Eric Swalwell, spiritual author Marianne Williamson, entrepreneur Andrew Yang

There are three declared candidates that did not meet the DNC's qualification standards for the first debate: Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, Massachusetts Congressman Seth Moulton, Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam.

A first chance to go head-to-head

The first debates of the nearly two-year long primary season will give candidates a chance to confront each other head on and come as candidates are beginning to draw sharp contrasts between each other on both substance and style.

Earlier this week former O'Rourke took aim at Biden, the early front-runner in the race questioning whether or not Biden is the candidate that can galvanize voters and reflects the shifting dynamics in today's Democratic Party.

"We've got to be bigger. You've got to ask yourself where Joe Biden is on the issues that are most important to you," O'Rourke said in an interview on MSNBC Thursday morning, "Did he support the war in Iraq that forever destabilized the Middle East? Did he really believe that women of lower incomes should be able to make their own decisions about their own body, to be able to afford health care in order to do that?"

The same day, Hickenlooper, who calls himself a "pragmatic" progressive, decried Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders' argument that Democratic Socialism is the most effective way to pass a progressive policy agenda.

"The urgency now is even greater than before. Democrats must say loudly and clearly that we are not socialists. If we do not, we will end up helping to re-elect the worst President in our country’s history," Hickenlooper argued during a speech at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., "'Socialism' is the most efficient attack line Republicans can use against Democrats as long as Trump is at the top of the ticket."

Now, Hickenoooper and Sanders will appear on the same stage later this month, a chance to hash out the argument over socialism directly.

The first debates will also give candidates their first opportunity to pitch their wide array of policy prescriptions to the major issues like climate change, healthcare, foreign policy, immigration and criminal justice reform, that have been percolating in the Democratic primary so far.

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