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Factbox: Big Democratic field taking shape for 2020 U.S. presidential race

Former Vice President Biden speaks at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ (IBEW) conference in Washington
Former Vice President Joe Biden, who is mulling a 2020 presidential candidacy, speaks at the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ (IBEW) construction and maintenance conference in Washington, U.S., April 5, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

April 22, 2019

(Reuters) – The largest Democratic field in the modern U.S. political era is lining up to seek the party’s 2020 presidential nomination – and it is expected to keep growing.

The diverse group vying to challenge President Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee, includes six U.S. senators. A record six women are running, as well as black, Hispanic and openly gay candidates who would make history if one of them becomes the party’s nominee.

Here are the Democrats who have launched campaigns or are expected to pursue a presidential bid, listed in order of their RealClearPolitics national polling average for those who register in opinion surveys.


The leader in polls of Democratic presidential contenders is not even a candidate yet. But Biden, who served eight years as vice president under President Barack Obama and 36 years in the U.S. Senate, looks poised to join the 2020 race. At 76, he would be the second oldest candidate in the Democratic nominating contests, after Senator Bernie Sanders. Biden would be a key figure in the Democratic debate over whether a liberal political newcomer or a centrist veteran is needed to win back the White House. Liberal activists criticise his Senate record, including his authorship of the 1994 crime act that led to increased incarceration rates, and his ties to the financial industry, which is prominent in his home state of Delaware. Biden, who relishes his “Middle-Class Joe” nickname and touts his working-class roots, made unsuccessful bids for the nomination in 1988 and 2008. Biden, recently the subject of allegations of unwanted physical contact with women, in a video pledged to be “more mindful” of respecting “personal space,” an attempt to tamp down the controversy.


The senator from Vermont lost the Democratic nomination in 2016 to Hillary Clinton but has jumped in for a second try. In the 2020 race, Sanders, 77, will have to fight to stand out in a packed field of progressives touting issues he brought into the Democratic Party mainstream four years ago. His proposals include free tuition at public colleges, a $15 minimum wage and universal healthcare. He benefits from strong name recognition and a robust network of small-dollar donors, helping him to raise $5.9 million during his first day in the contest. Sanders, whose father was a Jewish immigrant from Poland, has shown a more personal side in this campaign, highlighting his struggles while growing up in a working-class family. He also has tried to reach out to black and Hispanic leaders after having trouble winning over minority voters in 2016.


The former three-term Texas congressman jumped into the race on March 14 – and has been jumping on to store countertops ever since to deliver his optimistic message to voters in early primary states. O’Rourke, 46, gained fame last year for his record fundraising and ability to draw crowds ahead of his unexpectedly narrow loss in the U.S. Senate race against Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. O’Rourke announced a $6.1 million fundraising haul for the first 24 hours of his campaign, besting his Democratic opponents. But with progressive policies and diversity at the forefront of the party’s nominating battle, O’Rourke will face a challenge as a wealthy white man who is more moderate on several key issues than many of his competitors.


The first-term senator from California would make history as the first black woman to gain the nomination. Harris, 54, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, announced her candidacy on the holiday honoring slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. She has made a quick impact in a Democratic race that will be heavily influenced by women and minority voters. She raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours of her campaign and drew record ratings on a CNN televised town hall. She supports a middle-class tax credit, Medicare for All healthcare funding reform, the Green New Deal and the legalization of marijuana. Her track record as San Francisco’s district attorney and California’s attorney general has drawn scrutiny in a Democratic Party that has shifted in recent years on criminal justice issues.


The 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is emerging from underdog status as he begins to build momentum with young voters. A Harvard University graduate and Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford, he speaks seven languages and served in Afghanistan with the U.S. Navy Reserve. He touts himself as representing a new generation of leadership needed to combat Trump. Buttigieg would be the first openly gay presidential nominee of a major American political party.


The 69-year-old senator from Massachusetts is a leader of the party’s liberals and a fierce Wall Street critic who was instrumental in creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She has focused her presidential campaign on her populist economic message, promising to fight what she calls a rigged economic system that favors the wealthy. She also has proposed eliminating the Electoral College, vowed to break up Amazon, Google and Facebook if elected, and sworn off political fundraising events to collect cash for her bid. Warren apologized earlier this year to the Cherokee Nation for taking a DNA test to prove her claims to Native American ancestry, an assertion that has prompted Trump to mockingly refer to her as “Pocahontas.”


Booker, 49, a senator from New Jersey and former mayor of Newark, gained national prominence in the fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination. Booker, who is black, has made U.S. race relations and racial disparities a focus of his campaign, noting the impact of discrimination on his family. He embraces progressive positions on Medicare coverage for every American, the Green New Deal and other key issues, and touts his style of positivity over attacks. Booker eats a vegan diet and recently confirmed rumors he is dating actress Rosario Dawson.


The third-term senator from Minnesota was the first moderate in the Democratic field vying to challenge Trump. Klobuchar, 58, gained national attention in 2018 when she sparred with Brett Kavanaugh during Senate hearings for his Supreme Court nomination. On the campaign trail, the former prosecutor and corporate attorney supports an alternative to traditional Medicare healthcare funding and is taking a hard stance against rising prescription drug prices. Klobuchar’s campaign reported raising more than $1 million in its first 48 hours. Her campaign announcement came amid news reports that staff in her Senate office were asked to do menial tasks, making it difficult to hire high-level campaign strategists.


The secretary of housing and urban development under President Barack Obama would be the first Hispanic to win a major U.S. party’s presidential nomination. Castro, 44, whose grandmother was immigrated to Texas from Mexico, has used his family’s personal story to criticize Trump’s border policies. Castro advocates for a universal pre-kindergarten program, supports Medicare for All and cites his experience to push for affordable housing. He announced his bid in his hometown of San Antonio, where he once served as mayor and a city councilman. His twin brother, Joaquin Castro, is a Democratic congressman from Texas.


The entrepreneur and former tech executive is focusing his campaign on an ambitious universal income plan. Yang, 44, wants to guarantee all American citizens between the ages of 18 and 64 a $1,000 check every month. The son of immigrants from Taiwan, Yang also is pushing for Medicare for All and proposing a new form of capitalism that is “human-centered.” He lives in New York.


Gillibrand, known as a moderate when she served as a congresswoman from upstate New York, has refashioned herself into a staunch progressive, calling for strict gun laws and supporting the Green New Deal. The senator for New York, who is 52, has led efforts to address sexual assault in the military and on college campuses, and she pushed for Congress to improve its own handling of sexual misconduct allegations. On the campaign trail, she has made fiery denunciations of Trump. She released her tax returns for the years 2007 through 2018, offering the most comprehensive look to date at the finances of a 2020 White House candidate, and has called on her rivals to do the same.


The 67-year-old former Colorado governor has positioned himself as a centrist and an experienced officeholder with business experience. He is the only Democratic presidential candidate so far to oppose the Green New Deal plan to tackle climate change, saying it would give the government too much power in investment decisions. During his two terms in office, Colorado’s economy soared and the Western state expanded healthcare, passed a gun control law and legalized marijuana. The former geologist and brew pub owner is among the many candidates who have refused to take corporate money. He previously served as mayor of Denver.


The Washington state governor has made fighting climate change the central issue of his campaign. As governor, Inslee, 68, has moved to put a moratorium on capital punishment and fully implement the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare, and accompanying expansion of Medicaid health coverage for the poor. He has not settled on a position on Medicare for All but does support the Green New Deal backed by progressives. Inslee spent 15 years in Congress before being elected governor in 2012.


The former U.S. representative from Maryland became the first Democrat to enter the 2020 race, declaring his candidacy in July 2017. Delaney, 55, plans to focus on advancing only bipartisan bills during the first 100 days of his presidency if elected. He’s also pushing for a universal healthcare system, raising the federal minimum wage and passing gun safety legislation. 


The Samoan-American congresswoman from Hawaii and Iraq war veteran is the first Hindu to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. After working for her father’s anti-gay advocacy group and drafting relevant legislation, she was forced to apologize for her past views on same-sex marriage. Gabbard, 37, has been against U.S. intervention in Syria and slammed Trump for standing by Saudi Arabia after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. She endorsed Bernie Sanders during his 2016 presidential campaign.


The moderate nine-term congressman from a working-class district in the battleground state of Ohio has touted his appeal to the blue-collar voters who fled to Trump in 2016. He says Trump has turned his back on those voters and failed to live up his promise to revitalize the manufacturing industry. Ryan, 45, pledges to create jobs in new technologies and to focus on public education and access to affordable healthcare. He first gained national attention when he unsuccessfully tried to unseat Nancy Pelosi as the House Democratic leader in 2016, arguing it was time for new leadership. A former college football player, he also has written books on meditation and healthy eating.


An Iraq War veteran and member of Congress, Seth Moulton, 40, was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014 when he defeated a fellow Democrat in the primary election. Moulton served in the Marines from 2001 to 2008. He became a vocal critic of the Iraq War in which he served, saying no more troops should be deployed to the country. He has advocated stricter gun laws, saying military-style weapons should not be owned by civilians. Moulton supports the legalization of marijuana and told Boston public radio station WGBH in 2016 that he had smoked pot while in college. After Democrats took control of the House of Representatives in 2018, Moulton helped organize opposition to Representative Nancy Pelosi’s bid to again become speaker.


The 66-year-old New York Times best-selling author, motivational speaker and Texas native believes her spirituality-focused campaign can heal America. A 1992 interview on Oprah Winfrey’s show propelled Williamson to make a name for herself as a “spiritual guide” for Hollywood and a self-help expert. She is calling for $100 billion in reparations for slavery over 10 years, gun control, education reform and equal rights for lesbian and gay communities. In 2014, she made an unsuccessful bid for a House seat in California as an independent.


Messam, 44, defeated a 16-year incumbent in 2015 to become the first black mayor of in the Miami suburb of Miramar. He was re-elected in March. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he played on Florida State University’s 1993 national championship football team, and then started a construction business with his wife. He has pledged to focus on reducing gun violence, mitigating climate change and reducing student loan debt and the cost of healthcare.

(Reporting by Arlene Washington and Ginger Gibson; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Source: OANN

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Cain On Withdrawal From Fed Consideration: Not a Good ‘Trade-Off’

Herman Cain, the businessman, radio host and columnist President Donald Trump wanted on the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank, said Monday he decided the personal and professional cost was too high.

In an opinion piece for the Western Journal, Cain wrote he was well through an arduous vetting process when he realized he’d be giving up “too much influence to get a little bit of policy impact.”

“It was an honor to be considered,” Cain wrote. “Under different circumstances, I would like to have served. I realize not everyone was a fan of my prospective nomination, and that’s OK. I was prepared to make the case for myself and I was prepared to live with the outcome.”

“But look: I’m 73 years old and at this stage of my life, I’m doing all the things I want to do,” he continued. “I can go where I want and say what I want and work with the team I’ve enjoyed working with for years now. It’s remarkable how we’ve all stayed together and we all enjoy each other still, and I get a lot of joy out of that at this stage of my life.”

“It’s still fun and I do think it’s making a difference,” he added.

The decision wasn’t easy.

Cain wrote that he not only liked “the idea of serving on the Fed,” but was “convinced I could make a positive difference advocating for better growth and monetary policies”

“As recently as last Monday I had told President Trump I was all in, and on Friday I was making plans to come to Washington and visit with the senators who were skeptical of my qualifications,” he added.

He wrote even after publishing an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal that explained his stand on the issues the Fed deals with, “I was prepared to defend these beliefs in meetings with senators and in confirmation hearings.”

“But the cost of doing this started weighing on me over the weekend,” Cain wrote. “I also started wondering if I’d be giving up too much influence to get a little bit of policy impact. With my current media activities, I can reach close to 4 million people a month with the ideas I believe in. If I gave that up for one seat on the Fed board, would that be a good trade-off?”

The answer was “no.”

And he jokingly warned not to believe everything written about him.

“Anything you hear about a reason other than what I’ve laid out here is (OK, I’ll go ahead and say it) fake news,” he wrote. “They don’t have a source. They don’t have inside information. Only you do, because I just gave it to you.”

Related Stories:

Source: NewsMax Politics

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NHL to purchase carbon offsets to counter playoff air travel

FILE PHOTO: NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Tampa Bay Lightning at Columbus Blue Jackets
FILE PHOTO: Apr 14, 2019; Columbus, OH, USA; A view of the Stanley Cup Playoffs logo on a hat in the team store prior to game three of the first round of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs between the the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Columbus Blue Jackets at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo

April 22, 2019

By Rory Carroll

(Reuters) – The National Hockey League said on Monday it would purchase carbon credits to offset airline emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

For the first round of the playoffs, which has the highest number of teams traveling and is currently underway, the NHL will offset more than 465 metric tons of carbon emissions, equivalent to taking 99 cars off the road for one year.

The league will purchase the offsets from Portland, Oregon-based Bonneville Environmental Foundation, which operates offset projects that capture or cut greenhouse gases emitted from animal waste, landfills and fossil fuel use.

The announcement, which coincides with Earth Day, is part of the NHL’s efforts to address climate change.

Last season the NHL published its second Sustainability Report, which examined its commitment to ensure all levels of hockey — from the frozen ponds it was invented on to professional arenas — thrive for future generations.

The report estimated that in the coming decades the average length of the skating season may shrink by one third in eastern Canada and by 20 percent in western Canada.

In response the league has ramped up efforts at its arenas to cut carbon emissions, reduce waste and conserve water, among other initiatives.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Pritha Sarkar)

Source: OANN

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T-Mobile, Sprint lobby regulators to win U.S. approval for tie-up

FILE PHOTO: A smartphones with Sprint logo are seen in front of a screen projection of T-mobile logo, in this picture illustration
FILE PHOTO: A smartphones with Sprint logo are seen in front of a screen projection of T-mobile logo, in this picture illustration taken April 30, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

April 22, 2019

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senior executives at T-Mobile US Inc and Sprint Corp made the case to U.S. officials in Washington last week that they should approve a planned tie-up between the two wireless companies, arguing a combined firm would have incentives to “aggressively lower prices.”

T-Mobile US Chief Executive John Legere, Sprint executive chairman Marcelo Claure, T-Mobile US chief operating officer Michael Sievert, and other senior executives met with Federal Communications Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel on Thursday, according to a federal filing on Monday.

In a presentation made public on Monday, the firms said they would “focus on taking share from Verizon and AT&T through lower prices.”

If completed, the $26 billion merger would create a carrier with 127 million customers that would be a formidable competitor to the No.1 and No.2 wireless players, Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T, respectively.

A group of eight Democratic senators and independent Senator Bernie Sanders in February urged the Justice Department and FCC to reject the deal, saying monthly bills for consumers could rise as much as 10 percent. Consumer advocates warn the deal will reduce the number of national wireless carriers to three from four.

Sources told Reuters last week that the Justice Department had concerns about the merger in its current structure.

A person briefed on the matter confirmed Legere met on Thursday with the head of the Justice Department’s antitrust division, Makan Delrahim, as the government’s review nears a conclusion. A decision is likely by early June, people briefed on the matter said.

The Justice Department declined comment.

T-Mobile has said the combined company would be better and faster at building 5G, the next generation of wireless, to compete with AT&T and Verizon.

In its presentation to Rosenworcel, T-Mobile cited Verizon’s decision to charge $10 extra per month for 5G service. “This won’t happen when new T-Mobile introduces 5G,” the presentation said.

The agreement to combine the carriers, struck in April 2018, was approved by both companies’ shareholders in October and has received national security clearance, but still needs approval from the Justice Department and FCC. A number of state attorneys general are also reviewing the deal.

To win support for the deal, T-Mobile had said it would not increase prices for three years and has pledged to use some spectrum for wireless broadband in rural areas. The firms say the combined entity would add 11,000 additional employees by 2024 compared to the standalone firms.

(Reporting by David Shepardson, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)

Source: OANN

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Moderate earthquake shakes Mexico, no damage reported

People stand outside a building after an earth quake in Mexico City
People stand outside a building after an earth quake in Mexico City, Mexico April 22, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

April 22, 2019

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – A moderate earthquake shook buildings in Mexico City on Monday, sending people running into the street for safety, but authorities said there were no initial reports of damages.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said the 5.4 magnitude quake struck on the border of the southern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero, about 100 miles (160 km) southeast of the beach resort of Acapulco, at a depth of 13 miles (21.6 km).

The head of Mexico’s civil protection agency, David Leon, told local television there were no initial reports of damage or injuries. The head of the agency’s Mexico City division, Myriam Urzua, said shaking was felt in several areas of the capital.

In parts of Mexico City, people ran out into the streets when they felt the shaking. Mexico’s national seismological service originally registered the temblor at 5.7 magnitude.

(Reporting by Miguel Angel Gutierrez, Sharay Angulo, Daina Beth Solomon and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Source: OANN

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North Korea confirms leader Kim Jong Un to visit Russia for summit with Putin: KCNA

A combination of file photos North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Russia's President Vladimir Putin
A combination of file photos shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attending a wreath laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, Vietnam March 2, 2019 and Russia's President Vladimir Putin looking on during a joint news conference with South African President Jacob Zuma after their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei residence in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Krasnodar region, Russia, May 16, 2013. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/Pool/Maxim Shipenkov/Pool

April 22, 2019

SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will visit Russia for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, North Korean state media confirmed.

State media Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the visit will happen “soon,” but did not elaborate the time or the venue.

Putin and Kim are on track to meet by the end of April, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

(Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Source: OANN

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House Judiciary chairman subpoenas ex-White House counsel Don McGahn

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., on Monday subpoenaed former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify publicly next month following last week's release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report on the Russia investigation.

Nadler described McGahn, who stepped down as White House counsel in October 2018, as "a critical witness to many of the alleged instances of obstruction of justice and other misconduct described in the Special Counsel's report."

"The Special Counsel's report, even in redacted form, outlines substantial evidence that President Trump engaged in obstruction and other abuses," Nadler said. "It now falls to Congress to determine for itself the full scope of the misconduct and to decide what steps to take in the exercise of our duties of oversight, legislation and constitutional accountability."

Nadler added that he has requested McGhan to appear before the committee on May 21 and has set a May 7 deadline for him to provide documents related to the Mueller investigation.

"His [McGahn's] testimony will help shed further light on the President's attacks on the rule of law, and his attempts to cover up those actions by lying to the American people and requesting others do the same," Nadler said.


The committee's ranking member, Rep. Doug Collins, R-Ga., slammed Nadler's move. "For the second time in four days, the chairman has issued a subpoena prematurely and contrary to his pledge not 'to issue a subpoena every time we have a disagreement with the administration.' Don McGahn sat for more than 30 hours of interviews with the special counsel’s investigation, and the chairman has answered that with a stunning 36-item subpoena. Instead of looking at material that Attorney General [William] Barr has already made available, Democrats prefer to demand additional materials they know are subject to constitutional and common-law privileges and cannot be produced."

On Friday, Nadler subpoenaed the Justice Department for the full, unredacted Mueller report. On Sunday, he told NBC's "Meet the Press" that he intended to call McGahn to testify.

A redacted version of the report, which was made public April 18, said that Trump told McGahn in June 2017 to inform Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that Mueller had to be fired "based on purported conflicts of interest, but McGahn had refused, saying he would quit instead." The report added that Trump and McGahn spoke about the matter on Feb. 6, 2018, days after The New York Times reported on Trump's demand.


According to the report: "The President asked McGahn, 'Did I say the word "fire"?' McGahn responded, 'What you said is, "Call Rod [Rosenstein], tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can't be the Special Counsel."' The President responded, 'I never said that.'"

Later in the conversation, according to the report, Trump asked McGahn if he would correct the Times article "and McGhan said no."

Fox News' Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

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Former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos told “Fox and Friends” Friday morning that he was “shocked” Robert Mueller accurately described why he was “illicitly targeted” and reiterated the report’s findings that there was no collusion.

“I was actually really impressed and quite frankly shocked that Bob Mueller told the truth about why I was illicitly targeted and it really had nothing to do with Russia. It had to do with my ties to Israel,” Papadopoulos said.

“I was actually really impressed and quite frankly shocked that Bob Mueller told the truth about why I was illicitly targeted and it really had nothing to do with Russia. It had to do with my ties to Israel.”

— George Papadopoulos


“Now, this is why this is really important. Because if I was targeted for my ties to Israel, and I had all these various spies approaching me while I was just joining the campaign and they were discussing Israel with me,” he continued. “

“I think that’s very disturbing and probably is going to reveal quite frankly how this entire investigation started.”

Papadopoulos went on to respond to mainstream media outlets and media figures such as CNN’s Jim Acosta who pointed to his case, for which he was sentenced to 12 days in prison for making false statements to federal prosecutors, as the evidence that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

“There was no collusion and of course I wasn’t colluding because I have never met a Russian official in my entire life. Let alone on the campaign or the transition team,” Papadopoulos said.

“There was no collusion and of course I wasn’t colluding because I have never met a Russian official in my entire life. Let alone on the campaign or the transition team.”

— George Papadopoulos

“Quite comically the guy at the epicenter of this fake collusion story Joseph Mifsud was outed yesterday by the Italians living next to the U.S. Embassy for the last year,” he added, referring to Maltese Professor Joseph Mifsud who Papadopoulos claimed told him in an April 2016 meeting that the Russians had “dirt” that could damage Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.


It has long been suggested – in court documents filed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, by Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the media – that Mifsud was connected to Russian intelligence, though others insist that he more closely associated with Western governments and their intelligence agencies, a view shared by Papadopoulos.

“Quite frankly, I don’t think anybody is buying that this guy was some Russian intermediary or Russian spy trying to collude with me. Quite frankly, even people like Rudy Giuliani are going public and stating that he was probably part of some sort of setup,” he said.


“That’s why my case is so fascinating and important moving forward, like I stated because there was targeting of me for my ties to Israel which attracted all of these spies and two who was running these guys and where did it come from?

“Was it the Obama administration? Was it the head of the U.K. Government? We’ll have to find out.”

Source: Fox News Politics

FILE PHOTO: Richard Liu, founder and CEO of, leaves Great Hall of the People after NPC session in Beijing
FILE PHOTO: Richard Liu, founder and chief executive officer of e-commerce company, leaves the Great Hall of the People after the opening session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) in Beijing, China March 5, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

April 17, 2019

By Koh Gui Qing and Lawrence Delevingne

(Reuters) – A University of Minnesota student who said she was raped last August by Richard Liu, the chief executive officer of China’s e-commerce retailer Inc, filed a civil lawsuit against him in a Minneapolis court on Tuesday, nearly four months after prosecutors declined to press criminal charges.

Liu, through his lawyers, maintained his innocence throughout the law enforcement investigation, which ended in December.

The lawsuit filed in Hennepin County court seeks undisclosed damages and names Richard Liu and as defendants. It also identifies the student for the first time as Liu Jingyao, a Chinese woman who is not related to the executive.

“Defendant Liu was physically larger in size and significantly stronger than the plaintiff and used his superior size and strength to subdue and rape her,” the court document said.

Richard Liu’s attorney, Jill Brisbois, said in a written statement on Tuesday that she had not yet reviewed the complaint, but “based on the Hennepin County attorney’s declination to charge a case against our client and our belief in his innocence, we feel strongly that this suit is without merit and will vigorously defend against it.”

Peter Walsh, an attorney for at Hogan Lovells, said in a written statement while they were not prepared to comment at this time, they will vigorously defend against “these meritless claims against the company.”

The student first accused Richard Liu of rape in August when he was visiting the University of Minnesota to attend a doctor of business administration program directed at executives from China.

Liu, 46, who started as a humble electronics stall and expanded it into an e-commerce company with 2018 net revenues of $67 billion, was arrested on Aug. 31, but released without charge about 17 hours later.

He soon returned to China and continued his executive role, as prosecutors in Minnesota investigated the rape allegation to determine if criminal charges were warranted.

In December, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman announced he was not charging Richard Liu as there were “profound evidentiary problems which would have made it highly unlikely that any criminal charge could be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Richard Liu said subsequently on Chinese social media that while he had broken no law, he felt “utter self-admonishment and regret” for the “enormous pain” his “actions on that day” caused his family, especially his wife, internet celebrity Zhang Zetian.

Also known as Liu Qiangdong, he would have faced up to 30 years in prison under Minnesota law if convicted of first-degree criminal sexual misconduct.

Reuters previously reported details of what happened while Richard Liu was in Minneapolis for a week-long residency program at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, including a description of the alleged attack and the events around it given by the then-anonymous student.

“We are proud of the incredible courage our client has shown revealing her name for all the world to see, so that justice may be done,” Florin Roebig, P.A., one of the law firms representing Liu Jingyao, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Florin Roebig declined to comment on the amount they were seeking in damages, but the court filing showed it was more than the $50,000 threshold required.

Spokesmen for the University of Minnesota and the Hennepin County Attorney declined to comment on the lawsuit.


The lawsuit accused Richard Liu and of a total of six counts of false imprisonment, civil assault and battery, as well as sexual assault or battery. is “vicariously liable” for Richard Liu’s behavior because his alleged actions happened while he was “seemingly” at work-related activities, the court document said. The assault and battery also began in the presence of two other employees, Vivian Yang Han and Alice Zhang Yujia, the court filing said.

Yang, when reached on her cellphone for comment, hung up. Zhang did not respond to a request for comment.

“Those employees were not only present but helped facilitate” Richard Liu’s alleged assault of the student, according to the lawsuit.

“The offensive contact caused the plaintiff physical and emotional injuries,” the court filing said. “It also caused her to withdraw from all classes during the fall 2018 semester at the University of Minnesota and to seek professional counseling, care and treatment.”

The lawsuit said that when police visited the student’s apartment after being alerted to the rape allegation, Richard Liu tried to intimidate her from cooperating with law enforcement, according to an officer’s body camera footage. The lawsuit said Liu was “staring down” at her while being removed from her apartment, angrily saying “‘What the hell?’”

(Reporting by Koh Gui Qing and Lawrence Delevingne in New York; editing by Grant McCool and G Crosse)

Source: OANN

A new poll in the state that holds the first primary in the race for the White House shows Sen. Bernie Sanders of neighboring Vermont leading in the battle for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The University of New Hampshire Granite State Poll also shows former Vice President Joe Biden a distant second, with South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg surging to third. And the survey, released Monday, puts Republican President Trump far ahead of his declared or potential primary rivals in New Hampshire’s GOP presidential primary, which will be held next February.


According to the poll, 30 percent of likely Democratic primary voters in the Granite State say they’d back Sanders, the independent from Vermont who’s making his second straight run for the White House. Sanders crushed eventual nominee Hillary Clinton in the state’s 2016 Democratic primary. Biden, who’s expected to launch his White House bid this week, is at 18 percent, with Buttigieg at 15 percent.

Sanders held a 26-22 percent edge over Biden in UNH’s previous poll, which was conducted in February. Buttigieg stood at just 1 percent in that survey.


“While Biden continues to garner the second most support among likely Democratic Primary voters, his share of support has fallen considerably since early 2018, while support for Sanders has remained largely steady as he has lead the field over the past year,” explained UNH pollster Andrew Smith.

The UNH survey differs from a Saint Anselm College Survey Center poll released two weeks ago. That survey indicated Biden on top, at 23 percent, with Sanders at 16 percent and Buttigieg in third at 11 percent.


Sen. Elizabeth Warren of neighboring Massachusetts stood at 5 percent in the new UNH survey.

“Warren, while still among the top five Democratic candidates, continues to experience far less support than she enjoyed in 2017 and 2018,” Smith pointed out.

Sen. Kamala Harris of California registered at 4 percent, with Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas at 3 percent, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, and New York entrepreneur Andrew Yang at 2 percent.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Reps. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Eric Swalwell of California, and Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam registered at 1 percent, with everyone else in the large field of Democratic presidential contenders at less than 1 percent.

Biden and Sanders have topped nearly every single national and early primary and caucus state poll in recent months. Name recognition is a likely contributing factor, as early polling in an election cycle is often heavily influenced by name ID.

Fifty-one percent of likely Democratic primary voters said they would like to see Biden run, with 36 percent saying they hoped the former vice president wouldn’t launch a presidential bid.

Thirty percent said Sanders is the Democratic candidate with the best chance to defeat the president in the 2020 general election, with 25 percent indicating Biden had the best shot of topping Trump.

In the GOP primary race, the poll indicates Trump enjoys 76 percent support among likely Republican primary voters, with former Ohio Gov. John Kasich at 10 percent. Kasich, a vocal critic of the president who came in second to Trump in the 2016 New Hampshire primary, is mulling a 2020 bid.


Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, who last week launched his primary challenge run against the president and immediately came to New Hampshire to campaign, stands at 5 percent support. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who’s mulling a primary challenge, stands at 1 percent. Hogan comes to New Hampshire on Tuesday to headline ‘Politics and Eggs,’ a must stop for White House hopefuls.

The Granite State Poll was conducted April 10-18 by the University of New Hampshire, with 549 randomly selected Granite State adults interviewed by live telephone operators. The survey’s sampling error for the 241 likely Democratic primary voters was plus or minus 6.3 percentage points.

Source: Fox News Politics

Democratic leaders in Congress said on Thursday they would seek President Donald Trump’s support in coming weeks for legislation to invest up to $2 trillion to rebuild U.S. infrastructure, including roads, bridges and schools.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said at separate news conferences they would try to revive an effort that sputtered early in Trump’s presidency for major investments in aging public works.

The White House said Trump had spoken recently with Pelosi and “agreed to meet soon to discuss working together on infrastructure,” White House spokesman Judd Deere said.

Democrats have been seeking a much larger investment than Trump and fellow Republicans in Congress have suggested.

“Has to be at least $1 trillion, I’d like it to be closer to $2 trillion,” Pelosi told reporters at a House Democratic meeting in Leesburg, Virginia. She said there would be discussions on how such an amount could be financed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, told reporters later on Thursday that the financing issue was a major obstacle.

“I’m all for taking it (infrastructure legislation) up once the president and Democrats, everybody says: ‘OK, here’s how we’re going to pay for it.’ As soon as that magically appears, I think we have a way forward,” McConnell said.

Schumer, speaking to reporters outside the U.S. Senate, said a meeting would occur within the next several weeks.

“The bottom line is this: If they’re not going to put real money and have real labor and environmental protections, we’re not going to get anywhere,” Schumer warned.

Past bipartisan efforts by Democrats and Trump have brought mixed results. A criminal justice bill was enacted, but an immigration reform effort was a dismal failure, as were border security talks.

“The president calls people and says: ‘Why don’t we do something?’ but then he’s unwilling to really do anything beyond his hard-right base and nothing gets done,” Schumer complained.

But as Republicans and Democrats gear up for the 2020 presidential and congressional elections, they could be eager to show voters accomplishments.

Last month, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao urged Congress to act promptly.

Deere said: “The president wants a bipartisan infrastructure package that rebuilds crumbling infrastructure, invests in the projects and industries of tomorrow, and promotes permitting efficiency.”

Pelosi was dismissive of Trump’s plan unveiled in February 2017 designed to encourage spending on improvements by states, localities and private investors. Trump had asked Congress to authorize $200 billion over 10 years to spur a projected $1.5 trillion in projects, but it had no new direct federal spending and never got a vote in Congress.

“We have to put aside any negative attitudes. We are going there with a positive attitude: How much do you want to invest? How do we prioritize, because we want to do school construction, we want to do public housing, there are other things too,” Pelosi said.

Source: NewsMax America

Former independent counsel Ken Starr said Wednesday there are legitimate concerns over whether the report of special counsel Robert Mueller has been written “in a fair and balanced way.”

In remarks on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom,” Starr noted “so many questions have been raised” about the alleged bias of the Mueller investigative team ahead of the release of their full report Thursday.

“They’ve had the opportunity — without any kind of check or balance — to write whatever they want to write,” Starr said. “And that I think legitimately raises concern of fairness and balance.”

Star said the frustration after the release will also be “we don’t have it all” because of legally necessary redactions — and readers’ tendencies will be for “cherry picking.”

“It is inevitable . . . a lot of interpretation and extrapolation,” he said, adding: “It would be good if we could call a national timeout and actually review what we have and then come to a more sober judgment. But politics is politics.”

Source: NewsMax Politics

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