Hillary Clinton hasn’t announced a 2020 run for the White House but remarks she delivered in Houston may have sounded like a campaign speech to some listeners.
“Just look at what’s happened in the last 24 hours,” she said. “The president and his cronies have been running around spreading a doctored video of Nancy Pelosi. Now, it is sexist trash. But it is also a sign that Trump is running scared.”
The former secretary of state, U.S. senator and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee made the remarks at a gathering of the Harris County Democratic Party.
Her speech seemed aimed at motivating Houston-area Democrats to get out the vote for the party’s candidates in 2020.
“We have to remind Americans we are the party that can deliver for them,” Clinton said. “But we also are the party that will stand up and protect the Constitution and address what is a very real constitutional crisis that this president has put us in.”
Earlier this month, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., declared the U.S. was in a “constitutional crisis,” after Attorney General William Barr declined to testify before his panel after being subpoenaed.
Nadler claimed the Trump administration was “stonewalling” efforts by congressional Democrats to continue probes into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, even though Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the investigation he led for two years claimed no evidence of collusion existed.
The next day after Nadler spoke, Pelosi said she agreed with him that the nation was in a constitutional crisis.
President Trump, meanwhile, has maintained that the Russia investigations still underway in Congress should end because of Mueller’s findings, and claimed that the Democrats’ continued focus on Russia was designed to motivate their voters in 2020 – and was perhaps proof that the party had not yet recovered from Trump’s defeat of Clinton in 2016.
Some political observers have suggested that Clinton could make a third bid for the presidency in 2020 if none of the more than 20 Democrats currently in the running emerges as a clear threat to deny Trump a second term.
A recent Fox News Poll shows former Vice President Joe Biden leading the Democratic field with support from 35 percent of respondents, followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders at 17 percent and the rest of the pack in single digits.
But a Biden nomination would carry some baggage heading into a general election: The former U.S. senator from Delaware is known for gaffes during public appearances and recently drew criticism for his history of placing his hands on women and girls. In addition, his son Hunter Biden has drawn scrutiny over business dealings in China, Ukraine and Romania.
A sudden loss of confidence in Biden among Democratic voters, coupled with the failure of any of the other Democrats to fill the void, could motivate Clinton – who attracted nearly 66 million votes in 2016 – to make another run at the White House, some argue.
Clinton made headlines in March when she told a New York-area news station that she would not seek the presidency in 2020.
“Aw-shucks,” President Trump responded in a Twitter message, “does that mean I won’t get to run against her again? She will be sorely missed!”
But just a day later, “someone close to Clinton” told the New York Times that Clinton didn’t intend for her comments to “close the door on running.”
“She has told her team she is waiting at least to see the Mueller report,” the Times reported, citing the same source.
But has Clinton’s chance to win the presidency come and gone? A joint speaking tour with her husband, former President Bill Clinton, resulted in plunging ticket prices in several cities. In December, deals on tickets were being offered on Groupon.
Last week, Newsweek magazine featured the Clintons on its cover with the headline, “Clintons in Exile: What’s it like when you’re no longer the world’s most powerful couple?”
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“They have no agenda but hate. No ‘accomplishments’ but hurting people. No motivation but cruelty. Disgusting, outrageous, and pathetic,” she tweeted on Saturday.
She was commenting on an article about the HHS rule, which would reverse the Obama-era decision to protect “gender identity” under federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination in health care.
Gillibrand, a 2020 contender, added to the many progressive voices denouncing the Trump administration’s decision. It was the latest in a series of policies that interpreted sex discrimination protections as only applying to biological attributes rather than self-described identity.
HHS has pushed back on the idea that its decision would result in discrimination. “I don’t want to see that happen,” Roger Severino, director of the Office of Civil Rights, reportedly said.
“Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” he also said, noting that he intended to “fully enforce” laws against discrimination.
Gillibrand’s comments received a wave of criticism on Twitter:
Gillibrand, an outspoken critic of the president’s, has also joined other 2020 candidates in condemning abortion regulations as well as immigration practices under the administration.
According to RealClearPolitics’ polling average, she fell behind a long list of other candidates vying for the Democratic nomination — grabbing just 0.7 percent of support.
Trump, meanwhile, enjoyed the strong support of the Republican National Committee and touted the economic milestones reached under his administration. Those included substantial GDP growth, record-low unemployment among the general population and within minority segments, and rapid manufacturing growth.
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President Trump expressed his confidence in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday, indicating that the strongman’s rogue nation may have tried to send him a “signal” with a new editorial critical of former Vice President Joe Biden.
“I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe [Biden] a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” he tweeted on Saturday.
He was referring to an editorial, published on Tuesday, that lobbed a series of insults at Biden, the 2020 contender leading in the race to challenge Trump for the presidency. The editorial, posted by the Korean Central News Agency, called Biden “self-praising” and suggested it was laughable for Biden to consider himself the most popular presidential candidate.
“He is self-praising himself as being the most popular presidential candidate. This is enough to make a cat laugh,” the piece read.
Trump’s tweet came at a time when National Security Adviser John Bolton has been unequivocal in saying that recent North Korean missile launches violated U.N. Security Council resolutions. “U.N. Security Council resolutions prohibit North Korea from firing any ballistic missiles,” he said. “In terms of violating U.N. Security Council resolutions, there is no doubt about that.”
Kim and Trump met during a historic summit in 2018, following an aggressive pressure campaign at the beginning of Trump’s presidency. Another summit in February ended with Trump walking away after North Korea demanded the U.S. lift all of its sanctions on it,
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Bradford Betz contributed to this report.
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President Trump is expected to nominate former Virginia attorney general Kenneth Cuccinelli to oversee the nation’s immigration system as the next director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, according to media reports.
Cuccinelli — an immigration hardliner — would replace Lee Francis Cissna, who is resigning after pressure from the White House, the New York Times reported. He officially steps down June 1. Trump has long-regarded the country’s immigration system as broken and in need of restructuring.
Cissna had support from a number of groups opposed to illegal immigration, but not from White House officials.
While Cuccinelli has Trump’s support, getting confirmed to the post could be a problem. The Times reports that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said his chances were close to zero.
McConnell previously said he opposed Cuccinelli to head the Department of Homeland Security after Kirstjen Nielsen was fired last month.
“I’ve not spoken to him about any of them. I have expressed my, shall I say, lack of enthusiasm for one of them … Ken Cuccinelli,” McConnell told reporters in April.
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Facebook has released a statement amid concerns about its decision not to remove an altered video that went viral — one concocted to make it seem that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., was slurring her words.
Although the social media giant triggered a backlash by not taking down the vid, it said it did reduce the content’s distribution and add a disclaimer notifying users that the video was “false.”
“We remove things from Facebook that violate our Community standards, and we don’t have a policy that stipulates that the information you post on Facebook must be true,’ the company said Friday, according to ABC7 News.
By Saturday, the video had more than 28,000 comments, nearly 50,000 shares, and at least 2.6 million views. It was posted on Wednesday. Underneath the video’s caption, a long list of articles, from labeled fact-checkers, criticized the video.
It showed Pelosi making controversial comments about Trump’s alleged behavior during an infrastructure meeting that was cut short earlier this week.
The platform clarified that it didn’t think all content deserved to be distributed but allowed some content as forms of expression.
“There’s a tension here; we work hard to find the right balance between encouraging free expression and promoting a safe and authentic community, and we believe that reducing the distribution of inauthentic content strikes that balance,” it said.
“But just because something is allowed to be on Facebook doesn’t mean it should get distribution. In other words, we allow people to post it as a form of expression, but we’re not going to show it at the top of News Feed.” The platform also outlined how it combated misleading content.
“We fight the spread of false news on Facebook in a number of ways, namely by removing content that violates our Community Standards, like fake accounts; reducing the distribution of content that does not directly violate Community Standards, but still undermines the authenticity of the platform, by demoting it in News Feed; and empowering people to decide for themselves what to read, trust, and share by informing them with more context in-product and promoting news literacy,” it said.
The controversy erupted amid already-growing scrutiny surrounding Facebook and other social media companies and the way they handled content on their platform. Facebook and Twitter specifically took heat for apparent bias against conservatives as well as allowing content promoted by Russians during the 2016 election.
Monika Bickert, Facebook’s vice president for product policy and counterterrorism, said on CNN that her company “dramatically” reduced the video’s distribution and told users the video was false.
“We have acted … anybody who is seeing this video in News Feed, anyone who is going to share it with somebody else, anybody who has shared it in the past — they are being alerted that this video is false,” she said.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper pressed Bickert on why she decided to keep the video on the platform.
“We think it’s important for people to make their own informed choice about what to believe. Our job is to make sure that we are getting them accurate information and that’s why we work with more than 50 fact-checking organizations around the world,” she told Cooper.
She added that the company would remove misinformation related to on-going riots or some kind of threat to physical violence.
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Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats says the nation’s spy agencies will provide the Justice Department all appropriate information for its review of intelligence activities related to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
President Donald Trump claims his campaign was the victim of “spying” and has given Attorney General William Barr full authority to publicly disclose still-secret information collected during the investigation.
Some former intelligence officials and Democrats worry that Barr will cherry-pick intelligence to paint a misleading picture about the roots of the probe.
In a statement released Friday, Coats said he’s confident that Barr will work with “long-established standards to protect highly sensitive, classified information that, if publicly released,” would put U.S. national security at risk.
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President Trump on Saturday ripped into what he described as an “activist Obama appointed judge” after a federal judge blocked the administration’s plan to reallocate money to building a wall on the southern border with Mexico.
“Another activist Obama appointed judge has just ruled against us on a section of the Southern Wall that is already under construction,” he said. “This is a ruling against Border Security and in favor of crime, drugs and human trafficking.”
Trump went on to say that the administration is asking for “an expedited appeal.”
U.S District Court Judge Haywood Gilliam’s ruling late Friday temporarily prevents the administration from using reallocated funds for two wall-related projects in Arizona and Texas by diverting money that Congress has not approved.
Trump declared a national emergency in February and is using that declaration to redirect funding from the Pentagon, after Congress did not agree to the president’s demand for more than $5 billion in wall funding.
“Congress’s ‘absolute’ control over federal expenditures — even when that control may frustrate the desires of the executive branch regarding initiatives it views as important — is not a bug in our constitutional system. It is a feature of that system, and an essential one,” Gilliam, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, wrote in his opinion.
“In short, the position that when Congress declines the executive’s request to appropriate funds, the executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds ‘without Congress’ does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” he said.
Gilliam’s ruling does not stop the Trump administration from using other sources to fund the wall, and he rejected a request by California and 19 other states to prevent the diversion of $600 million in Treasury funds to the wall.
Trump’s declaration of a national emergency, coming after a 35-day government shutdown, was controversial on both sides of the aisle. A resolution disapproving of the declaration passed both chambers of Congress, but was vetoed at the president’s desk. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called it a “power grab by a disappointed president” in a statement.
Congress had OK’d $1.4 billion for border security, but it wasn’t close to the $5 billion Trump requested.
The White House eyed an additional $8 billion in existing funding that could be moved for the wall, $3.5 billion of which could be shifted over from the Defense Department’s military construction budget via the emergency declaration.
Trump predicted a difficult legal fight when he declared the national emergency, saying he believed it would end up in the Supreme Court.
“We will have a national emergency, and we will then be sued,” Trump said, adding that the federal appeals courts could well rule against his administration. “Then we’ll end up in the Supreme Court, and hopefully we’ll get a fair shake, and we’ll win at the Supreme Court — just like the [travel] ban.”
The case is one of a number of lawsuits the administration is facing over the declaration. On Thursday, a judge in Washington heard arguments on a lawsuit from the House of Representatives that claims it violates the Constitution.
The judge was considering whether the House can sue the president instead of resolving a dispute through the political process.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano, Brooke Singman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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President Trump on Saturday started his four-day visit to Japan by declaring that Tokyo has a “substantial” trade advantage over the U.S. — and that he hopes a future trade agreement will rebalance the situation.
Trump, speaking to businessmen at the U.S. ambassador’s residence, hailed the U.S.-Japanese relationship. He said that the countries are “working together to promote mutually beneficial investment.” and that they are working on a bilateral trade deal.
“I would say that Japan has had a substantial edge for many, many years but that’s OK,” he said. “Maybe that’s why you like me so much.
“But we’ll get it a little bit more fair,” he added. “I think we’ll do that.”
Trump has made rebalancing trading relationships, particularly with China and the European Union, a priority of his administration. He has threatened Japan with tariffs on automobiles and auto parts if Japan does not give ground to the U.S. in talks.
In his speech, he said that he hopes the deal will address the imbalance by removing barriers to U.S. exports and ensuring “fairness and reciprocity” in the U.S.-Japanese relationship. He struck an optimistic note about negotiations, though, and said that “we’re getting close.”
“Just last week, U.S. beef exports gained full access to Japan and to the markets in Japan for the first time since the year 2000,” he said. “We welcome your support for these efforts and we hope to have several further announcements soon and some very big ones over the next few months.”
As part of that push, he told business leaders that there’s “never been a better time to invest and do business in the United States.”
“Last year for the first time in a decade the United States was ranked the most competitive economy anywhere in the world,” he said, before taking a swipe at the Federal Reserve. “During that year our economy grew. At three percent. And if the Fed didn’t raise interest rates frankly it would have been much higher than 3 percent.“
He went on to tout his administration’s efforts to cut red tape and the strength of U.S. labor markets as he sought to sell the U.S. to potential investors. He told the audience that the U.S.-Japanese relationship “has never been more powerful, never been closer.”
“If you join in seizing the incredible opportunities now before us in terms of investments in the United States, I think you’re going to see a tremendous return on your investments,” he said.
Trump will become the first head of state to meet Emperor Naruhito on Monday. He will also play golf and attend a sumo wrestling championship match during his visit.
Also on the table is North Korea. National Security Adviser John Bolton said that Trump will talk with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about “making sure the integrity of the Security Council resolutions are maintained.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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“Members run and take positions. It’s a personal position, and they have to stake out their own personal position, just as I have,” McCarthy said, according to Vice News on Thursday.
His comments came as he pushed back against Alabama’s restrictive abortion law that excluded exceptions for rape and incest.
McCarthy’s position reflected the personal view of his party’s chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, who told CNN that she would include those exceptions in abortion legislation. McDaniel, however, also said that her party had a broad tent and allowed states like Alabama to craft their own legislation even if it didn’t stricly adhere to her position.
State-level abortion initiatives — in particular, Alabama’s and New York’s — have put politicians in both parties in tough spots as they faced questions about aspects of the procedure that were seen as the most difficult to defend.
According to Vice, the Republican Study Committee (RSC), a prominent conservative caucus, circulated a “messaging guidance” email that blamed the media for creating division in the GOP and directed members to use talking points that supported Alabama’s law.
“While some Republicans may disagree with the timing and/or particular legal strategies being implemented with the various state measures, it is critical our members speak with clarity and conviction about the broader issue of the sanctity and inherent value of every single human life,” the email read.
Claiming that “every single human life has inestimable dignity and inherent value,” it argued that rape and incest didn’t justify abortions.
“Committing a second violent act with abortion to a woman who has already been victimized by an act of rape or incest could phyiscally or psychologically wound her further,” the guidance also argued.
When the president tweeted on the issue, however, he said he supported exceptions for rape, incest, and protecting the mother’s life.
“As most people know, and for those who would like to know, I am strongly Pro-Life, with three exceptions – Rape, Incest, and protecting the Life of the mother – the same position taken by [former President] Ronald Reagan,” Trump said.
His tweet reflected a vigorously pro-life agenda and Supreme Court nominees who could overturn longstanding precedent on the issue.
Groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have sued over many state laws, including Alabama’s, setting up legal challenges for the court to consider. While it’s unclear how the Supreme Court will rule on the issue, pro-choice advocates have been adamant about politicians defending abortion access.
But Democrats, like Republicans, seemed to face differences within their own party. Just after Louisiana’s Democratic governor signaled he would sign his state’s “heartbeat” legislation, the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus called for “strong primaries” against pro-life Democrats.
While Democratic leaders have indicated it was possible to be pro-life and a Democrat, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., previously made clear that his party was pro-choice.
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While recalling that raid during an interview on “Fox & Friends,” McRaven said he treated the raid like “any other mission.” “What I told the guys was, ‘look, it is going to be easy to get overcome by the moment but just do your job.'”
He told Pete Hegseth that the raid felt different given that if former Al Qaeda leader Usama Bin Laden was in that Pakistani compound, his troops would be taking part in a “historic moment in terms of bringing justice to all those people that were killed in 9/11.”
When Hegseth asked what kept the admiral going, he said the young men and women of the military.
“If you spend time around the young men and women of the military, you can’t help but be inspired by their courage, their heroism, their sacrifice … all you got to do is spend a little time with them and you’ll get the energy to do the job.”
McRaven was promoting his book, “Sea Stories,” which recounted details from his life of service. He received attention for his book “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World.”
After Hegseth asked about raising good kids, McRaven praised milennials as the “next greatest generation.”
“I’m probably the biggest fan of the milennials you’ll ever meet and I think that surprises people,” he said. “I hear this that the milennials are pampered and they’re soft and they’re entitled. I’m quick to tell people, ‘then you never saw them in a firefight in Afghanistan’ or ‘you never saw them in a classroom in the University of Texas system trying to improve their life and the lives of their families.”
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