SEARCH

Wednesday
Oct162019

Trump on Turkey going into Syria: 'It's not our border'

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Wednesday again tried to distance himself and the U.S. from the unfolding fighting and humanitarian crisis in northeastern Syria, telling reporters in the Oval Office, "It's not our border."

Asked a White House photo-op with Italy's president, “Are you okay -- are you okay with Erdoğan saying that he is not going to do a ceasefire?” -- referring to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's response to U.S. efforts to broker a stop to the conflict -- Trump, after a lengthy discourse about why the U.S. should not be involved in the fighting, then said, “So, if Russia wants to get involved with the -- with Syria, that's really up to them. They have a problem with Turkey, they have a problem at a border. It's not our border. We shouldn't be losing lives over it.”

The comment comes amid a torrent of criticism, including among Republicans, of Trump's decision to pull back U.S. troops ahead of a Turkish operation against U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces and now to withdraw nearly all American forces from the war-torn country.

Instead, Trump has called for a ceasefire and peace settlement, dispatching Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien to Ankara to meet Turkish officials.

But Erdogan made clear again Wednesday he has no interest in "sitting at a table with a terrorist organization... We're not looking for a mediator or anything, we don't need it," he told Turkish Parliament in a speech.

Erdogan declined to meet with O'Brien, who arrived Wednesday in Ankara and met with Turkey's foreign minister. On Thursday, Erdogan will meet with Pence and Pompeo, who depart from Washington Wednesday, according to Erdogan's communications director.

Despite Erdogan's comments, Trump denied that Erdogan didn't want a ceasefire, saying while seated next to Italian President Sergio Mattarella, "We're trying to get Turkey to do the right thing. We want to get wars stopped."

Turkey launched an offensive against the Syrian Kurdish forces that the U.S. armed and fought alongside against ISIS, but that Turkey considers a terrorist organization. U.S. officials have denied that the administration has abandoned those Kurdish forces, saying the decision to move troops was "tactical" -- or what Trump called "strategically brilliant" Wednesday.

While a senior administration official told reporters Tuesday that the U.S. still supports Syrian Kurdish forces and does not consider them terrorists, Trump badmouthed them Wednesday, saying, "They're not angels."

"It is time for us to go home," the president said. While Russian and Syrian forces loyal to dictator Bashar al Assad moved into towns and bases once held by U.S. troops, Trump dismissed concern over it: "If Russia wants to get involved in Syria, that's really up to them."

At a later news conference, Trump again defended his decision to abruptly withdraw U.S. military forces from northeastern Syria, insisting he wasn't surprised and didn’t give Turkey “a green light” to launch a military operation, calling a reporter's suggestion he did “so deceptive.”

“When you make a statement like that, it's so deceptive. Just the opposite of a green light,” Trump said. “First of all, we had virtually no soldiers there. They were mostly gone, just a tiny little group. They would have been in harm's way. You have a massive army on the other side of the border. I didn't give them a green light. And If anybody saw the letter, and i can certainly release it, I wrote a letter right after that conversation, a very powerful letter. They've been fighting for many, many years. When you ask a question like that, it's very deceptive.”

The president was to meet with congressional leaders later Wednesday on the Syria situation -- many of them, including prominent Republicans -- angry about his handling of the situation.

“It's too late for this kind of conversation. I mean I'm happy that they're talking," Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said of the Pompeo-Pence mission.

"But my goodness, the lack of preparation and thinking about how we could have transitioned to a setting where we can protect the Kurds and also hopefully meet Turkey’s needs and interests — that's something we should have considered a long time ago before we pulled our troops out,” he said Wednesday.

“But now, to go over and say let's talk to Erdogan is like, 'Hey guys, you let the horses out of the barn. This is, this is too late to be talking about locking the barn door,” he added.

GOP Sen. Marco Rubio echoed Romney’s exasperation.

“Frankly, I don’t know what we can do at this point to reverse some of the long-term damage,” Rubio said.

Rubio said he fears Erdogan is planning an ethnic cleansing of the Kurds. “This is a really problematic situation that’s unfolding.”

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham also blasted Erdogan for saying sanctions don’t matter and that he will refuse any ceasefire.

“We’re going to sanction that hell out of Turkey. We're going to break their economy until they leave Syria. This is a defining moment of Trump's presidency. If we abandon the Kurds, it will be to our shame and our national security detriment and Trump will own the reemergence of ISIS,” Graham said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct162019

4th defendant in federal case involving Rudy Giuliani clients arrested

Rawf8/iStock(NEW YORK) -- A fourth defendant in the federal campaign finance case involving two associates of Rudy Giuliani, the president's personal attorney, was arrested in New York on Wednesday.

David Correia, an American businessman, was taken into custody at New York's John F. Kennedy Airport. Correia is one of four men charged in an indictment, which also targeted Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, a pair of Ukrainian businessmen with extensive business ties to Giuliani.

Last week, ABC News reported the business relationship between Giuliani and the men charged in the alleged campaign finance scheme is a subject of the ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by federal authorities in New York, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

Andrey Kakushkin, a Ukrainian-born business associate of Correia's, was taken into custody last week in California. Parnas and Fruman were arrested last week at Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia, just outside Washington, as they attempted to leave the country with "one-way tickets," U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Geoffrey Berman said.

With Correia's arrest, all four defendants are in custody.

The indictment, which was filed on Oct. 10 in the Southern District of New York, alleges the defendants "conspired to circumvent the federal law against foreign influence by engaging in a scheme to funnel foreign money to candidates."

Court documents describe how the four defendants allegedly funneled "$1-2 million" from a Russian donor into the U.S. political system between June 2018 and April of this year.

Correia and Kakushkin are expected to appear in a New York federal courthouse on Thursday for an initial appearance. None of the defendants have entered a plea.

Authorities said last week the investigation is ongoing.

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


Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct162019

Chelsea Clinton debunks rumors of running for New York Rep. Nita Lowey's seat in Congress

Heidi Gutman/Walt Disney Television(NEW YORK) -- Author and global health advocate Chelsea Clinton appeared as a guest co-host on The View Wednesday following the fourth 2020 Democratic debate, saying the rumors about her potential run for Congress are not true, at least not right now.

"I'm not considering running for Congresswoman [Nita] Lowey's seat," she said. "[But] I understand why people are asking."

As The Guardian reported in August 2018, Clinton has long expressed an interest in following in her parents' famous footsteps. She told reporters in 2018 that a future in politics would be a "definitely maybe."

“If my city councilor were to retire, if my congresswoman were to retire, my senators, and I thought that I could make a positive impact, then I think I would really have to ask my answer to that question [of whether to run for office]," Clinton said at the Edinburgh film festival, according to The Guardian.

Lowey, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee, announced Oct. 10 she would not seek reelection.

Clinton said she's more focused on her family than jumping into the politics.

When co-host Whoopi Goldberg asked if she would ever consider it, Clinton replied, "I don't know, but right now the answer is no."

She emphasized that people shouldn't make assumptions based on her last name.

On Oct. 1, Chelsea Clinton and her mother, Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and Democratic presidential candidate, appeared on the show as guests to discuss their new book, The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience.

While on the show earlier this month, Chelsea gave her analysis on the current state of politics, expressing frustration with President Donald Trump in the midst of an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats. The inquiry, sparked by a phone call between the president and Ukraine's leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy and a whistleblower complaint, has taken many twists and turns, including a growing list of State Department employees subpoenaed by lawmakers to give depositions on the Hill.

Chelsea Clinton said the president and his politics are "a scam."

“I do believe he's the greatest scam in American political history,” she said. "I think his whole life has been a scam, and unfortunately, people are suffering every day because his scam thus far has succeed at the highest levels."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct162019

Five key takeaways from the fourth Democratic debate

liveslow/iStock(WESTERVILLE, Ohio) -- The fourth Democratic primary debate in Westerville, Ohio, featured a number of tense exchanges and again highlighted the major policy rifts that continue to divide the field with less than four months to go until the first votes are cast.

While there was relatively little disagreement on the issue continuing to dominate Washington -- the impeachment of President Donald Trump -- the debate, hosted by CNN and The New York Times, featured pitched exchanges on health care, taxes, foreign policy and the candidates' governing philosophies.

Here are five key takeaways from Tuesday night's fourth Democratic debate:

Democrats (mostly) united on impeachment


The Democratic field presented a mostly unified front Tuesday night on the issue of impeachment, with almost every candidate voicing strong support for the House's decision to move forward with the inquiry.

"This is about Donald Trump. But understand, it's about the next president and the next president and the next president and the future of this country. The impeachment must go forward," said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

"In my judgment, Trump is the most corrupt president in the history of the country," argued Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

"They have no choice but to move," former Vice President Joe Biden, who was a consistent skeptic of impeachment before coming out in support of the inquiry last week, said of House Democrats in agreement.

But while the field was united, some lamented that the discussion draws attention away from a robust discussion of the issues that matter most to voters.

"The fact is, Donald Trump -- when we are talking about him -- we are losing," said businessman Andrew Yang. He said he still supports impeachment.

"If impeachment is driven by these hyper-partisan interests, it will only further divide an already terribly divided country," said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, one of the most reluctant supporters of impeachment.

Warren faces the scrutiny of a front-runner, Biden gets support amid attacks

Trump may have been the target of the most ire from the Democratic field Tuesday night, but Warren was likely a close second.

On health care, taxes and jobs, Warren fended off a spate of attacks from more moderate candidates like South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Even former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke went after Warren, labeling her as "punitive" against certain segments of the American public.

"I'm really shocked at the notion that anyone thinks I'm punitive. Look, I don't have a beef with billionaires. My problem is, you made a fortune in America, you had a great idea, you got out there and worked for it, good for you, but you built that fortune in America, I guarantee you built it in part using workers all of us helped pay to educate," Warren said, defending her plan to institute a wealth tax.

"You are making Republican talking points right now in this room by coming out for a plan that's going to do that," Klobuchar said of Warren's support for Medicare for All, a plan the Minnesotan says will kick nearly 150 million people off their health insurance plans.

Along with her consistent rise in both national and early state polls, Warren is expected to face increased scrutiny on both her record and slate of ambitious policy goals. Tuesday night may mark the beginning of that phenomenon.

Biden, who came into the debate as a central figure in the impeachment probe, was spared any attacks from his Democratic rivals and in fact got a boost of support from Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., who said any attacks only benefit Trump.

"We are literally using Donald Trump's lies and the second issue we cover on this stage is elevating a lie and attacking a statesman. That was so offensive ... the only person sitting at home that was enjoying that was Donald Trump," Booker said.

Democrats rumble on health care again

The divide between progressive and moderate Democratic candidates was on full display early at Tuesday's debate, when leading progressive candidates Warren and Sanders took on a barrage of questions from more moderate rivals over their push for a "Medicare for All" overhaul of the American health care system.

Warren, specifically, was peppered with questions from moderates and declined to answer questions over her continued reluctance to detail how she'll pay for her Medicare for All plan and whether or not taxes will be raised on the middle class -- an issue Buttiegeg raised in a heated moment early in the debate.

"Well, we heard it tonight. A yes or no question that didn't get a yes or no answer," Buttiegeg said, taking on Warren. "Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything, except this."

Warren fired back, taking a shot at the mayor's own health care plan.

"Whenever someone hears the term 'Medicare For All Who Want It,' understand what that really means. It's Medicare For All who can afford it," she said.

Sanders, the author of the Medicare for All bill Warren and other senators on the debate stage supported, also jumped in to defend his bill, arguing, "Well, as somebody who wrote the damn bill, as I said, let's be clear: Under the Medicare For All bill that I wrote, premiums are gone. Co-payments are gone. Deductibles are gone. All out-of-pocket expenses are gone. We're going to do better than the Canadians do."

And as Warren continued to dodge questions regarding how she plans to specifically pay for her health care plan, moderate candidate Klobuchar, also took a shot at the progressive stalwart.

"At least Bernie's being honest here and saying how he's gonna pay for this and that taxes are going to go up," Klobuchar said. "And I'm sorry Elizabeth, but you've not said that, and I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we're gonna send the invoice."

Mayor Pete comes out swinging

The South Bend, Indiana, mayor has begun to shed his non-confrontational style in recent weeks, and Tuesday night he continued that aggressive strategy.

Buttigieg confronted Warren early over her health care plan, and later had one of the most intense showdowns of the night with O'Rourke over their gun control policies.

"I don't need lessons from you on courage -- political or personal," Buttigieg snapped in response to O'Rourke, after the former Texas congressman accused him of listening to "the polls and the consultants and the focus groups."

While he has maintained his position near the top of the pack in fundraising and secured his spot on the next debate stage in November, Buttigieg has struggled to join the ranks of Biden, Warren and Sanders at the top of most public polls.

Tuesday also afforded Buttigieg an opportunity to elevate his voice in the foreign policy arena amid Trump's controversial decision to remove U.S. troops from northern Syria.

He sparred with Gabbard, the only other veteran on the stage, who he said was "dead wrong" that the U.S. needs to withdraw from the area and accused Trump of degrading U.S. leadership on the global stage.

"This president has betrayed American values; our credibility has been tattered. I will restore U.S. credibility before it is finally too late," Buttigieg said.

Sanders rebounds after heart attack

Two weeks after suffering a heart attack and having two stents placed in a blocked coronary artery -- and with questions swirling around his campaign's future -- Sanders rebounded at Tuesday night's debate, delivering a lively and boisterous performance that his supporters have known to expect from the progressive leader.

Sanders was lively, pointed and -- at times -- even jovial, joking with candidates on the stage.

And in one big moment, the Vermont senator amid a flurry of attacks from more moderate rivals, railed in quintessential Sanders' fashion, offering a resounding and passionate defense of his plan to completely rethink the American health care system through a Medicare for All plan.

"The issue is whether the Democratic party has the guts to stand up to the health care industry which made $100 billion in profit. Whether we have the guts to stand up to the corrupt price fixing pharmaceutical industry, which is charging us the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs," Sanders said, raising his voice. "And if we don't have the guts to do that, if all we can do is take their money, we should be ashamed of ourselves."

Later in the debate, Sanders -- who would be the oldest person to hold the office in history -- was asked about his health and emphatically, again, reiterated that he's ready to carry on, even teasing his upcoming New York City rally this weekend.

"We're going to have a special guest at that event, and we are going to be mounting a vigorous campaign all over this country," Sanders said, before thanking people across the country for supporting him amid the health scare. "I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I'm so happy to be back here with you this evening," he added, in a touching moment for a candidate so often reluctant to talk about his personal life.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct162019

Pompeo’s former senior adviser to appear before impeachment committees Wednesday

State Department(WASHINGTON) -- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s former senior adviser is scheduled to appear Wednesday before three House committees leading the impeachment probe of President Donald Trump.

Michael McKinley, a veteran diplomat who served as U.S. ambassador to Brazil, Afghanistan, Colombia and Peru, is the sixth witness called by the House Intelligence, Oversight and Foreign Affairs committees as they investigate Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani’s effort to pressure Ukraine to open corruption investigations for Trump’s political benefit.

It was unclear Wednesday morning if McKinley would show up. The State Department has ordered active officials not to appear before the committees, but two other former U.S officials have not been blocked from testifying: special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker, who resigned after it was revealed how he facilitated Giuliani’s effort, and Fiona Hill, the senior Russia official on Trump’s National Security Council who departed days before Trump’s controversial call with Ukraine’s new president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Two current State Department officials were subpoenaed and complied, defying their order not to appear: former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, whose portfolio includes Ukraine and other Eastern European countries. Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, will comply with a subpoena and testify Thursday after not showing up last Tuesday.

McKinley stepped down as Pompeo’s senior adviser Friday after serving as a key conduit to the Foreign Service, the U.S. diplomatic corps. In a farewell note to colleagues, McKinley said it was time to move on after 37 years, but his resignation comes amid anger and frustration over Pompeo’s role in the Ukraine controversy.

As a close adviser, McKinley traveled often with Pompeo during Pompeo's year and a half as Secretary of State, returning to Washington from Brasilia just weeks after Pompeo was sworn in. His guidance was important to Pompeo who worked to restore trust among career diplomats after his predecessor Rex Tillerson was seen as destroying their ranks with budget cuts, a costly, unpopular department redesign, and a freeze on hiring family members to work at missions overseas.

But it’s unclear how much McKinley knew about Giuliani’s efforts and how they were aided by Sondland and Volker; the department’s attempts to dispel a smear campaign against Yovanovitch by Giuliani, his associates, and corrupt Ukrainian politicians; or the hold on $392 million of security assistance to Ukraine from the State Department and Pentagon.

McKinkey is not included in internal emails given to Congress by the State Department inspector general and obtained by ABC News, where officials like Kent are seen countering a “fake news driven smear” campaign against Yovanovitch. But other senior advisers to Pompeo are included, including Under Secretary for Political Affairs David Hale, another well-respected ambassador and the department’s highest-ranking career Foreign Service officer, as well as State Department counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl, a West Point classmate and longtime friend of Pompeo.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct162019

Giuliani asked Trump to extradite cleric wanted by Turkish president, source says

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In early 2017, Rudy Giuliani urged President Donald Trump to extradite a Turkish cleric living in exile in the United States, a former senior level administration official with direct knowledge confirmed to ABC News.

Giuliani repeatedly urged Trump that the U.S. government should eject Fethullah Gulen from the country, a top priority of the Turkish president.

The former senior official told ABC News that White House officials stepped in and stopped any action from ever happening.

Aides told Giuliani he should tell the Turkish government that if they wanted this individual extradited they should directly contact the United States Department of Justice, which would evaluate the request, according to the source.

The Washington Post was first to report the story.

Gulen, a Muslim cleric, has been living in exile in Pennsylvania.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has long accused Gulen of plotting a coup in 2016 against him, a charge that he denies. Bringing Gulen back to Turkey for punishment has been a top goal of Erdogan.

In a text exchange with The Post Tuesday afternoon, Giuliani declined to discuss whether he advocated for Gulen’s extradition, writing: “can’t comment on it that would be complete attorney client privilege but sounds wacky.”

When told that multiple people described those conversations to The Post, Giuliani responded “Bull,” and then liked the question with a thumbs-up emoji.

Metin Topuz, a Turkish translator for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, is currently under trial in Turkey for alleged connections to Gulen's supposed coup attempt.

Two ex-business associates of Michael Flynn, Trump's former campaign adviser, were charged by the government with acting as foreign agents in a plot centered on smearing the Turkish cleric.

U.S. Department of Justice attorneys alleged in December 2018 that the two business associates, Bijan Rafiekian and Kamil Ekim Alptekin, "sought to discredit and delegitimize the Turkish citizen in the eyes of politicians and the public, and ultimately to secure the Turkish citizen’s extradition."

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in December 2017 in connection with Robert Mueller's investigation into meddling in the 2016 campaign, and is scheduled for sentencing in December.

Diplomatic relations between Turkey and the U.S. are currently highly strained over the former's decision to invade Syria and pursue Kurdish forces previously allied with America in the fight against the Islamic State. Trump issued a decision to pull troops out of northern Syria after a call with Erdogan last week, opening the door for the invasion.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct162019

Five moments Elizabeth Warren fended off attacks at fourth Democratic debate

3dfoto/iStock(WESTERVILLE, Ohio) -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren entered Tuesday night's debate as the front-runner for the first time, and her rivals challenged that newfound status throughout the night.

She fended off attacks from most of the remaining 2020 Democrats on hot-button topics including health care, automation and jobs, and taxes on the wealthy.

The fourth Democratic debate, at Otterbein University in Ohio, was the first time Warren faced the other contenders after leading a major poll.

In a Quinnipiac poll released last week, Warren led the field with 29% support among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. Former Vice President Joe Biden trailed her by 3 points.

The poll also did head-to-head matchups for the top three Democrats against President Donald Trump, with 49% of self-identified registered voters saying they'd vote for Warren over Trump, compared with 41% who said they'd reelect the president.

These are the five attacks from Warren's rivals that generated the biggest fireworks Tuesday evening:

1. Warren accused of being 'evasive' on raising taxes to pay for health plan

Candidates first grilled Warren on how she would will pay for her proposed health care plan.

"I have made clear… costs will go up for the wealthy and for big corporations, and for hard-working middle-class families, costs will go down," Warren said.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg doubled down on his criticism that Warren has been "evasive" on how the middle class would pay for "Medicare for All."

"Well, we heard it tonight. A yes or no question that didn't get a yes or no answer," he said. "This is why people here in the Midwest are so frustrated with Washington in general. ... Your signature, senator, is to have a plan for everything, except this. No plan has been laid out to explain how a multi-trillion dollar hole in this Medicare for All plan that Senator Warren is putting forward."

Warren hit back by saying that Buttigieg's proposed plan is "Medicare for All who can afford it."

"Costs are going to go up for the wealthy, they're going to go up for big corporations. They will not go up for middle class families, and I will not sign a bill into law that raises their costs," she insisted.

"I don't think the American people are wrong when they say that what they want is a choice," Buttigieg responded. "And the choice of Medicare for all who want it, which is affordable for everyone, because we make sure that the subsidies are in place, allows you to get that health care."

Sen. Bernie Sanders, who also supports Medicare for All, said, "I do think it is appropriate to acknowledge that taxes will go up. They're gonna go up significantly for the wealthy, and for virtually everybody the tax increase they pay will be substantially less than what they were paying for premiums and out-of-pocket expenses."

"At least that's a straightforward answer. But there's a better way," Buttigieg said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar echoed Buttigieg's praise of Sanders' directness.

"I'm sorry Elizabeth, but you've not said that, and I think we owe it to the American people to tell them where we're gonna send the invoice," Klobuchar said. "I believe the best and boldest idea here is to not trash Obamacare but to do exactly what Barack Obama wanted to do from the beginning, and that's have a public option that would bring down the cost of the premium and expand the number of people covered and take on pharmaceutical companies."

Even Donald Trump's team weighed in on the discussion.

"Unable to be honest about raising taxes to pay for her healthcare plan. So obvious that she's dodging and not doing it well," Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's communications director, told ABC News.

2. Warren's comment on automating jobs

Warren was also confronted with her statement that automation threatening jobs is "a good story, except it's not really true."

"The data shows that we have had a lot of problems with losing jobs, but the principle reason has been bad trade policy," Warren explained. "The principle reason has been a bunch of corporations, giant multinational corporations, who have been calling the shots on trade, giant multinational corporations that have no loyalty to America. ... They are loyal only to their own bottom line."

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang challenged her comment.

"Senator Warren, I have been talking to Americans around the country about automation. And they are smart. They see what's happening around them. Their main street stores are closing. They see a self-serve kiosk in every McDonalds, every grocery store, every CVS ...[There are] 3.5 million truck drivers in this country," Yang said. "And my friends in California, are piloting self-driving trucks. What is that going to mean for the 3.5 million truckers or 7 million Americans who work in truck stops, motels and diners that rely upon the truckers getting out and having a meal? Saying this is a rules problem is ignoring the reality that Americans see around us every single day."

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard agreed with Yang, saying the fear of automation taking jobs away is "fear that's well-founded."

"As people look to this automation revolution, they look to uncertainty," she added. "They don't know how this is gonna affect their jobs and their everyday lives."

3. A proposed wealth tax

Klobuchar attacked Warren a second time over proposed taxes.

Warren responded to a question about whether a wealth tax would "demonize" the wealthy, saying that "an entire generation of Americans" should be put before the billionaires benefiting from paying less.

Klobuchar, asked if she believed a wealth tax was the solution, said it "could work" but said she wanted "to give a reality check, here, to Elizabeth."

"No one on this stage wants to protect billionaires. Not even the billionaire wants to protect billionaires. We have different approaches. Your idea is not the only idea," Klobuchar said to applause, referencing Tom Steyer's response that he agrees with Sanders' belief that billionaires shouldn't exist.

Warren defended her position, arguing that Klobuchar was dreaming "small," a response she has given before when attacked by a more moderate candidate on stage, and that income tax increases for the wealthy, which Klobuchar argues for, don't do enough.

"Taxing income is not going to get you where you need to be the way taxing wealth does, that the rich are not like you and me. The really-really billionaires are making their money off their accumulated wealth, and it just keeps growing," Warren responded. "We need a wealth tax in order to make investments in the next generation."

Yang and former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke piled on with criticisms of Warren's idea for a wealth tax.

"Senator Warren is 100% right that we're in the midst of the most winner-take-all economy in history. And a wealth tax makes a lot of sense in principle," Yang said. "The problem is that it's been tried in Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, and all those countries ended up repealing it, because it had massive implementation problems and did not generate the revenue that they projected."

O'Rourke accused Warrren of being "focused on being punitive or pitting some part of the country against the other, instead of lifting people up and making sure that this country comes together around those solutions."

"Senator Warren said show me your budget, show me your tax plans and you'll show me your values," he added. "She has yet to describe her tax plan. ... Under my administration, if you make less than $250,000 a year as a family, you will not see a tax increase."

Warren responded that she was "shocked at the notion that anyone thinks I'm punitive."

"Look, I don't have a beef with billionaires," she said. "All I'm saying is, you make it to the top, then pitch in 2 cents so every other kid in America has a chance to make it. That's what this is about."

4. Breaking up big tech

Yang and California Sen. Kamala Harris each took aim at Warren's proposal to break up big technology companies like Facebook and Amazon.

"As usual, senator Warren is 100% right in diagnosing the problem. There are absolutely excesses in technology and, in some cases, having them divest their business is the right move," Yang said. "But we also have to be realistic that competition doesn't solve all of the problems. It's not like any of us wants to use the fourth best navigation app. That would be like cruel and unusual punishment. There is a reason why no one is using Bing today. Sorry, Microsoft, it's true."

"I'm not willing to give up and let a handful of monopolists dominate our economy and our democracy. It's time to fight back," Warren responded. "Look, you get to be the umpire in the baseball game, or you get to have a team, but you don't get to do both at the same time. We need to enforce our antitrust laws, break up these giant companies that are dominating big tech, big pharma, big oil, all of them."

Harris called out Warren after the California senator called on Twitter to suspend Trump's account.

"Senator Warren, I just want to say that I was surprised to hear that you did not agree with me that, on this subject of what should be the rules around corporate responsibility for these big tech companies, when I called on Twitter to suspend Donald Trump's account, that you did not agree," Harris said. "I would urge you to join me because here we have Donald Trump, who has 65 million Twitter followers and is using that platform, as the president of the United States, to openly intimidate witnesses, to threaten witnesses, to obstruct justice."

Warren responded, "I don't just want to push Donald Trump off Twitter. I want to push him out of the White House. That's our job."

Harris pressed Warren to join her in saying that Trump's account should be "shut down." Warren responded, "No."

"You can't say you're for corporate responsibility if it doesn't apply to everyone," Harris said.

5. Biden points finger at Warren: 'I got votes for that bill'

Warren was brought into a scuffle between Biden and Sanders after the contenders were asked about significant policy differences.

"I think their vision is attracting a lot of people, and I think a lot of what they have to say is really important," Biden said. "I'm the only one on this stage that has gotten anything really big done."

Sanders was the first to challenge the former vice president.

"Joe, you talked about working with Republicans and getting things done," Sanders said. "But you know what you also got done, and I say this as a good friend -- you got the disastrous war in Iraq done. You got a bankruptcy bill which is hurting middle class families all over this country. You got trade agreements like NAFTA and PNTR with China done, which have cost us 4 million jobs."

Warren pointed to legislation she worked on following the financial crash of 2008.

"I had an idea for a consumer agency that would keep giant banks from cheating people," Warren said. "All of the Washington insiders and strategic geniuses said, Don't even try because you will never get it passed. And sure enough, the big banks fought us. The Republicans fought us, some of the Democrats fought us. But we got that agency passed into law. It has now forced big banks to return more than $12 billion directly to people they cheated."

Biden interjected, saying he was the one to go "on the floor and got you votes," pointing at her.

"I got votes for that bill. I convinced people to vote for it, so let's get those things straight too," he said.

Warren quipped: "I am deeply grateful to President Obama, who fought so hard to make sure that agency was passed into law, and I am deeply grateful to every single person who fought for it and who helped pass it into law."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct162019

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to endorse Bernie Sanders

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign announced Tuesday night that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the progressive firebrand whose 2018 New York Democratic congressional primary victory kickstarted a wave of liberal successes across the country, plans to endorse Sanders' presidential campaign.

Two senior sources with the Sanders team told reporters at the close of Tuesday's Democratic presidential debate that Ocasio-Cortez would accompany Sanders at his campaign rally in New York on Saturday.

The event, being dubbed by the Sanders campaign as a "Bernie's Back Rally," is scheduled at a park adjoining the East River, just miles from the congresswoman's Queens district.

The news comes as Sanders seeks to reinvigorate his campaign in the aftermath of a heart attack and slipping poll numbers.

The support of Ocasio-Cortez, who worked as an organizer for Sanders' 2016 campaign, is a win for him over Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., whom the representative also was believed to be considering for an endorsement, as the pair jockeys for position within the progressive flank of the Democratic presidential field.

Sanders also was endorsed by Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., late Tuesday evening. Omar, a fellow liberal and close friend of Ocasio-Cortez's, at times has attracted the ire of President Donald Trump, who in responding to some of her comments helped made her a household name.

"I have had the opportunity to work with Bernie Sanders up close on major policy initiatives," Omar said in a statement, referencing the pair's work on canceling student debt and expanding school meals. "I have seen the values that motivate him -- and his commitment to building a movement that represents marginalized communities across this country."

"Ilhan is a leader of strength and courage," Sanders said in a statement of his own. "She will not back down from a fight with billionaires and the world’s most powerful corporations to transform our country so it works for all of us. I’m proud of what we’ve done in Congress, and together we will build a multiracial working class coalition to win the White House."

Sanders' New York event will be his first major rally after suffering a heart attack while campaigning in Nevada two weeks ago. In the interim, the senator has fielded questions about the viability of his campaign, as the health issue cropped up at a time during which he has slid to third place, behind Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden, in most national and early-state polls.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Wednesday
Oct162019

Elizabeth Warren gets most speaking time at Democratic debate

PhonlamaiPhoto/iStock(WESTERVILLE, Ohio) -- Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren led Tuesday night's Democratic debate in terms of speaking time, fielding harsh criticism from rivals and making her onstage debut as the presumed front-runner.

Warren, who now leads a number of national and early-state polls, spoke for 22:32 through the three-hour debate. She took more heat from her counterparts than anyone else, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who previously had been put under the spotlight by fellow candidates.

Biden had the second-highest speaking time, at 17:30. He finished the night by closing the gap on Warren after the first hour, when it was estimated she spoke for nearly twice as long -- 10:50 to Biden's 5:21.

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar ranked third overall, at 13:53.

Businessman Tom Steyer spoke the least, clocking in at 7:20.

The rest of the candidates' speaking times are as follows:

• Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders: 13:20

• South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg: 13:04

• Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke: 13:02

• California Sen. Kamala Harris: 12:24

• New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker: 11:19

• Entrepreneur Andrew Yang: 8:54

• Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro: 8:39

• Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard: 8:09

The speaking-time estimations are calculated using multiple stopwatches.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Tuesday
Oct152019

State Dept official details White House meeting, shuffling of Ukraine portfolio in closed-door deposition

Kiyoshi Tanno/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- A senior State Department official told lawmakers Tuesday that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney organized a White House meeting at which Energy Secretary Rick Perry, US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and U.S. envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker were put in charge of Ukraine policy, according to a lawmaker present for the closed-door deposition.

 The move circumvented established policy-making channels in the executive branch and undermined US policy to promote the rule of law in Ukraine, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent told Congress, according to Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Virginia.

"Sondland, Volker and Rick Perry declared themselves the three people now responsible for Ukraine policy," Connolly, D-Virginia, told reporters after attending part of the deposition for Kent, whose portfolio includes Ukraine.

"They called themselves 'the three amigos,'" said Connolly, a member of the Oversight Committee. "Volker called them that."

Connolly said the meeting organized by Mulvaney took place on May 23, just days after US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch -- who testified before lawmakers last week -- was prematurely recalled from her post.

Kent testified that there had been a "parallel process that he felt was undermining 28 years of US policy in promoting rule of law in Ukraine," Connolly said. "And it was wrong. And he used that word: wrong."

The House investigation centers on whether the president and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani were conducting a shadow foreign policy to get Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter's business dealings in the country, as well as into the unfounded theory that Ukrainian officials interfered in the 2016 election to support Hillary Clinton.

Kent was the fourth U.S. official to comply with a request for a deposition by the three House committees that are leading an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, in another crack in the White House stonewall strategy painting the probe as illegitimate and unfair.

Kent, who testified for roughly ten hours, was subpoenaed after the State Department directed him not to appear for his scheduled deposition, according to an official working on the impeachment inquiry

Last week, the State Department likewise said Sondland and Yovanovitch should not testify. Yovanovitch, who served under Republican and Democrat administrations and was named ambassador to Bulgaria by George W. Bush, defied the department's orders and testified for nine hours on Friday.

Sondland is now scheduled to testify on Thursday.

Two former U.S. officials have also testified. One was the former special envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker. The other was Fiona Hill, Trump's top Russia adviser on the National Security Council, who departed the administration in July, days before Trump's controversial call with Ukraine's new president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

At the time of the call with Zelenskiy, the administration was withholding a formal meeting between the two presidents and nearly $400 million in security assistance, although Ukraine was not yet aware of the latter.

Like Yovanovitch, Kent is a career foreign service officer. As the Deputy Assistant Secretary, he has overseen policy and communications for U.S. missions in several eastern European countries: Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. He's previously served as the deputy chief of mission in Kiev, Ukraine, and the senior anti-corruption coordinator for Europe -- roles that have made him battle-hardened in the fights against corruption and disinformation.

 Kent was also a key witness in Trump's firing of Yovanovitch over uncorroborated reports that she badmouthed him and shielded Biden and other Democrats from investigation in Ukraine. In emails that were turned over by the State Department inspector general to Congress, Kent is the one warning senior leadership of efforts to take down Yovanovitch by accusing her of corruption and obstruction -- allegations that have been spread in conservative media.

"Based on what I heard and what I had summarized for me before I got there, he was pretty detailed in talking about some of the shady characters [Rudy] Giuliani was dependent on for misinformation, disinformation," Connolly said.

In one email to acting Assistant Secretary for Europe Philip Reeker and State Department counselor Ulrich Brechbuhl, Kent said there is a "fake news driven smear" against Yovanovitch.

One of the chief allegations against Yovanovitch, made by Giuliani and others, is that she protected Biden and other Democrats by giving Ukraine's prosecutor-general a list of people he could not prosecute. At the time, the State Department called the allegation an "outright fabrication" that "does not correspond to reality."

In the emails, obtained by ABC News, Kent calls it “complete poppycock.”

Kent also noted that the names are not spelled in the standard style of an American diplomat. "This is a classic disinfo play," he adds.

Despite the effort to debunk these allegations, Yovanovitch was recalled from her post in Kyiv in May, just months after she was told she would be asked to stay for an additional year, according to her testimony Friday.

After Kent left the Capitol, Republicans criticized Democrats' handling of the investigation. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said if he had subpoena power, "I would love to subpoena Joe Biden."

Copyright © 2019, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 3007 Next 10 Entries »






ABC News Radio