AmaNews Info - Feed https://amanews.info news from around Tue, 18 Sep 2018 18:22:36 +0000 en-US https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.8 https://amanews.info/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/cropped-ama-news-logo-32x32.pngAmaNews Info – news from aroundhttps://amanews.info 32 32 132213399 Billionaires v teachers: the Koch brothers’ plan to starve public educationhttps://amanews.info/billionaires-v-teachers-the-koch-brothers-plan-to-starve-public-education/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 18:19:30 +0000 https://amanews.info/?p=3794

A small group of women have succeeded in putting a state law promoted by Betsy DeVos and billionaire donors which they see as an attack on public education on the ballot in November

American Federation for Children

Arizona has become the hotbed for an experiment rightwing activists hope will redefine Americas schools an experiment that has pitched the conservative billionaires the Koch brothers and Donald Trumps controversial education secretary, Betsy DeVos, against teachers unions, teachers and parents. Neither side is giving up without a fight.

With groups funded by the Koch brothers and DeVos nudging things along, Arizona lawmakers enacted the nations broadest school vouchers law, state-funded vouchers that are supposed to give parents more school choice and can be spent on private or religiously affiliated schools. For opponents, the system is not about choice but about further weakening the public school system. A half-dozen women who had battled for months against the legislation were angry as hell.

Embed

Convinced that the law would drain money from Arizonas underfunded public schools, these women complained that Arizonas lawmakers had ignored the public will and instead heeded the wishes of billionaires seeking to build up private schools at the expense of public schools.

We walked outside the Capitol Building, and we looked at each other, and said, What now? said one of the women, Dawn Penich-Thacker, a mother of two boys in public school and a former army public information officer. We had been fighting this for four months. We realized that theres something we can do about it. Its called a citizens referendum. We said, Lets do it.

Little did they know the challenges ahead. They would need 75,321 signatures to get their referendum on the ballot to overturn the law. They formed a group, Save Our Schools, and set out to collect the needed signatures. Opposing lobbyists sneered, saying no way could they do that.

The six women inspired a statewide movement and got hundreds of volunteers to brave Arizonas torrid summer heat to collect signatures in parks and parking lots, at baseball games and shopping malls. Their message was that billionaire outsiders were endangering public education by getting Arizonas legislature in part through campaign contributions to create an expensive voucher program.

We knew something was rotten in the state of Arizona, said Beth Lewis, a fifth-grade teacher who is president of Save Our Schools. We drew a line in the sand. We said, Were not going to let this happen. Lewis said Arizonas schools are so underfunded that some classes have 40 students and her school needs to ask a private citizen to donate money when a teacher needs a set of books for her class.

Betsy
Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, is a firm proponent of school vouchers. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

One study found that Arizona, at $7,613, is the third-lowest state in public school spending per student, while another study found that from 2008 to 2015, school funding per pupil had plunged by 24% in Arizona, after adjusting for inflation the second-biggest drop in the nation.

Upset that the vouchers law would funnel money toward private schools, Lewis said: We cant fund two different school systems. We can hardly afford one.

Save our Schools submitted 111,540 signatures to the secretary of state in August 2017, but the Koch brothers political arm, Americans for Prosperity, sued to block the referendum. A judge dismissed the lawsuit and approved the referendum for 6 November its called Proposition 305. The vote will be closely watched by people on both sides of the debate as the Kochs and DeVos hope to spread the voucher scheme and opponents look to Arizona for clues on how to stop them.

Arizonas state supreme court declared an earlier voucher law unconstitutional in 2009 because it earmarked state money for private and religious schools. Two years later, the Arizona legislature enacted a variant on vouchers, called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, that gave prepaid bank cards to parents who transferred their children from public schools to home-schooling or private or religious schools. The cards paid for tuition, tutoring, textbooks and education therapies. That 2011 law limited eligibility to children with disabilities, children of veterans, children on tribal lands and children attending schools that received D or F ratings.

An Arizona appellate court upheld those accounts, known as ESAs, ruling that they did not violate the state constitution because the money went to parents and was not preordained for private or religious schools.

But many Arizonans see the ESAs as vouchers in disguise. Its money laundering, said Penich-Thacker, who teaches English at Arizona State University. Instead of handing those tax dollars to private schools and religious schools, the government loads the money on to a debit card, hands it to individual parents, and however you use this, were looking in the other direction.

In April 2017, with Penich-Thacker, Lewis and many other champions of public schools objecting, the Arizona legislature enacted a law that expands eligibility so that any of the states 1.1 million public school students can qualify for an ESA. Some lawmakers feared it would cause a devastating exodus from Arizonas public schools, so, in a compromise, the legislature capped the number of ESAs at 30,000 students.

Kim Martinez, spokeswoman for the American Federation for Children, a school choice group founded by Betsy DeVos, defended the law. Theyre not vouchers because the money is going to the families, she said. Were trying to make it easier for families who cannot afford school choice to have access to it. What happens if low-income families cant afford private school, but their child [in public school] is failing or falling through the cracks or being bullied or, for whatever reason, theyre not doing well.

Martinez said critics are wrong to assert the laws purpose is to drain funds from and weaken public schools. Were for higher teacher pay. Were for proper school funding, and equally important is having whatever option families need, regardless of the income level of the zip code they live in, to get their kids the best education and meet their needs.

Ramona Carrasco, a supervisor at a cleaning company, said the ESAs have been a blessing, enabling her to send Byanca, her nine-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, to a private school. Byanca had gone to public school for two years, but it broke my heart when I saw her playing by herself. I couldnt take it, Carrasco said. She said Byanca is much happier and learning far more at her new school, Pleasantview Christian elementary school in Phoenix.

I think all families should have the same choice that Byanca has because we want our kids to succeed, Carrasco said.

Governor Douglas Ducey is also eager to preserve the ESA law. He told a gathering of Koch donors: I didnt run for governor to play small ball. I think this is an important idea.

Striking
Striking teacher Taylor Dutro listens at the Arizona Capitol on 1 May in Phoenix. The teachers union back Saves Our Schools effort to overturn the voucher law. Photograph: Ross D Franklin/AP

The teachers union strongly backs Save Our Schools effort to overturn the law. The Koch brothers and DeVos are trying to do everything they can to divert money that should go to the public-school system, where 90%-plus of students go, said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association. Last April, tens of thousands of Arizona teachers went on strike for six days to demand higher pay and school funding. Ducey promised them a 20% raise by 2020, but convinced that he did not put enough money into the budget to finance those raises, the teachers union got a second referendum on the ballot that would increase income taxes on richer households to raise over $600m a year for education.

The Arizona Supreme Court threw it off the ballot last Wednesday, with the union calling it a Ducey-backed low blow that cheats voters out of the opportunity to increase education funding.

Lily Eskelen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, said what has happened in Arizona is part of a scheme to undermine public education. We know exactly how the plan goes, she said. You underfund the kids who need the most. You starve the public schools. You take away the funding so they cant deliver quality services, and then when things get so bad that nobody wants to work in the schools, the voucher salesmen, the vultures, swoop in and do this nice little bait and switch. Instead of fixing the schools, they say lets make sure you have the same program as wealthy kids at private schools. But vouchers, she said, dont begin to deliver on that promise.

Americans for Prosperity argues that the Arizona law isnt draining money from public schools. Its officials note that the average ESA is about $4,500 roughly the tuition at many private schools in Arizona leaving public schools with extra money because the $4,500 is thousands of dollars less than the average those schools spend per student.

The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and the DeVos-backed American Federation of Children have pushed for vouchers in many states. They helped get an Arizona-like education savings account law passed in Nevada in 2015, but that states supreme court ruled it unconstitutional. In 2007, Utah voters voted 62% to 38% to repeal a vouchers law.

Victor Riches, president of the Goldwater Institute, a conservative thinktank in Phoenix, denied that ESAs were foisted on Arizona by outside billionaires. School choice is an issue that weve been extremely supportive of we started working on it many years ago, Riches said. Its important that parents have as many educational options as possible so they can create the best possible education for their children.

Save Our Schools notes, with dismay, that the Goldwater Institute has said it hopes to eliminate the 30,000 cap and greatly expand the ESA law. That fear has fueled the repeal effort.

We set out to do something that everybody said is impossible, Lewis said. The women on our team are very tenacious.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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Source Here: Billionaires v teachers: the Koch brothers’ plan to starve public education
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A small group of women have succeeded in putting a state law promoted by Betsy DeVos and billionaire donors which they see as an attack on public education on the ballot in November

American Federation for Children

Arizona has become the hotbed for an experiment rightwing activists hope will redefine Americas schools an experiment that has pitched the conservative billionaires the Koch brothers and Donald Trumps controversial education secretary, Betsy DeVos, against teachers unions, teachers and parents. Neither side is giving up without a fight.

With groups funded by the Koch brothers and DeVos nudging things along, Arizona lawmakers enacted the nations broadest school vouchers law, state-funded vouchers that are supposed to give parents more school choice and can be spent on private or religiously affiliated schools. For opponents, the system is not about choice but about further weakening the public school system. A half-dozen women who had battled for months against the legislation were angry as hell.

Embed

Convinced that the law would drain money from Arizonas underfunded public schools, these women complained that Arizonas lawmakers had ignored the public will and instead heeded the wishes of billionaires seeking to build up private schools at the expense of public schools.

We walked outside the Capitol Building, and we looked at each other, and said, What now? said one of the women, Dawn Penich-Thacker, a mother of two boys in public school and a former army public information officer. We had been fighting this for four months. We realized that theres something we can do about it. Its called a citizens referendum. We said, Lets do it.

Little did they know the challenges ahead. They would need 75,321 signatures to get their referendum on the ballot to overturn the law. They formed a group, Save Our Schools, and set out to collect the needed signatures. Opposing lobbyists sneered, saying no way could they do that.

The six women inspired a statewide movement and got hundreds of volunteers to brave Arizonas torrid summer heat to collect signatures in parks and parking lots, at baseball games and shopping malls. Their message was that billionaire outsiders were endangering public education by getting Arizonas legislature in part through campaign contributions to create an expensive voucher program.

We knew something was rotten in the state of Arizona, said Beth Lewis, a fifth-grade teacher who is president of Save Our Schools. We drew a line in the sand. We said, Were not going to let this happen. Lewis said Arizonas schools are so underfunded that some classes have 40 students and her school needs to ask a private citizen to donate money when a teacher needs a set of books for her class.

Betsy
Betsy DeVos, the education secretary, is a firm proponent of school vouchers. Photograph: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

One study found that Arizona, at $7,613, is the third-lowest state in public school spending per student, while another study found that from 2008 to 2015, school funding per pupil had plunged by 24% in Arizona, after adjusting for inflation the second-biggest drop in the nation.

Upset that the vouchers law would funnel money toward private schools, Lewis said: We cant fund two different school systems. We can hardly afford one.

Save our Schools submitted 111,540 signatures to the secretary of state in August 2017, but the Koch brothers political arm, Americans for Prosperity, sued to block the referendum. A judge dismissed the lawsuit and approved the referendum for 6 November its called Proposition 305. The vote will be closely watched by people on both sides of the debate as the Kochs and DeVos hope to spread the voucher scheme and opponents look to Arizona for clues on how to stop them.

Arizonas state supreme court declared an earlier voucher law unconstitutional in 2009 because it earmarked state money for private and religious schools. Two years later, the Arizona legislature enacted a variant on vouchers, called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts, that gave prepaid bank cards to parents who transferred their children from public schools to home-schooling or private or religious schools. The cards paid for tuition, tutoring, textbooks and education therapies. That 2011 law limited eligibility to children with disabilities, children of veterans, children on tribal lands and children attending schools that received D or F ratings.

An Arizona appellate court upheld those accounts, known as ESAs, ruling that they did not violate the state constitution because the money went to parents and was not preordained for private or religious schools.

But many Arizonans see the ESAs as vouchers in disguise. Its money laundering, said Penich-Thacker, who teaches English at Arizona State University. Instead of handing those tax dollars to private schools and religious schools, the government loads the money on to a debit card, hands it to individual parents, and however you use this, were looking in the other direction.

In April 2017, with Penich-Thacker, Lewis and many other champions of public schools objecting, the Arizona legislature enacted a law that expands eligibility so that any of the states 1.1 million public school students can qualify for an ESA. Some lawmakers feared it would cause a devastating exodus from Arizonas public schools, so, in a compromise, the legislature capped the number of ESAs at 30,000 students.

Kim Martinez, spokeswoman for the American Federation for Children, a school choice group founded by Betsy DeVos, defended the law. Theyre not vouchers because the money is going to the families, she said. Were trying to make it easier for families who cannot afford school choice to have access to it. What happens if low-income families cant afford private school, but their child [in public school] is failing or falling through the cracks or being bullied or, for whatever reason, theyre not doing well.

Martinez said critics are wrong to assert the laws purpose is to drain funds from and weaken public schools. Were for higher teacher pay. Were for proper school funding, and equally important is having whatever option families need, regardless of the income level of the zip code they live in, to get their kids the best education and meet their needs.

Ramona Carrasco, a supervisor at a cleaning company, said the ESAs have been a blessing, enabling her to send Byanca, her nine-year-old daughter with Down syndrome, to a private school. Byanca had gone to public school for two years, but it broke my heart when I saw her playing by herself. I couldnt take it, Carrasco said. She said Byanca is much happier and learning far more at her new school, Pleasantview Christian elementary school in Phoenix.

I think all families should have the same choice that Byanca has because we want our kids to succeed, Carrasco said.

Governor Douglas Ducey is also eager to preserve the ESA law. He told a gathering of Koch donors: I didnt run for governor to play small ball. I think this is an important idea.

Striking
Striking teacher Taylor Dutro listens at the Arizona Capitol on 1 May in Phoenix. The teachers union back Saves Our Schools effort to overturn the voucher law. Photograph: Ross D Franklin/AP

The teachers union strongly backs Save Our Schools effort to overturn the law. The Koch brothers and DeVos are trying to do everything they can to divert money that should go to the public-school system, where 90%-plus of students go, said Joe Thomas, president of the Arizona Education Association. Last April, tens of thousands of Arizona teachers went on strike for six days to demand higher pay and school funding. Ducey promised them a 20% raise by 2020, but convinced that he did not put enough money into the budget to finance those raises, the teachers union got a second referendum on the ballot that would increase income taxes on richer households to raise over $600m a year for education.

The Arizona Supreme Court threw it off the ballot last Wednesday, with the union calling it a Ducey-backed low blow that cheats voters out of the opportunity to increase education funding.

Lily Eskelen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, said what has happened in Arizona is part of a scheme to undermine public education. We know exactly how the plan goes, she said. You underfund the kids who need the most. You starve the public schools. You take away the funding so they cant deliver quality services, and then when things get so bad that nobody wants to work in the schools, the voucher salesmen, the vultures, swoop in and do this nice little bait and switch. Instead of fixing the schools, they say lets make sure you have the same program as wealthy kids at private schools. But vouchers, she said, dont begin to deliver on that promise.

Americans for Prosperity argues that the Arizona law isnt draining money from public schools. Its officials note that the average ESA is about $4,500 roughly the tuition at many private schools in Arizona leaving public schools with extra money because the $4,500 is thousands of dollars less than the average those schools spend per student.

The Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and the DeVos-backed American Federation of Children have pushed for vouchers in many states. They helped get an Arizona-like education savings account law passed in Nevada in 2015, but that states supreme court ruled it unconstitutional. In 2007, Utah voters voted 62% to 38% to repeal a vouchers law.

Victor Riches, president of the Goldwater Institute, a conservative thinktank in Phoenix, denied that ESAs were foisted on Arizona by outside billionaires. School choice is an issue that weve been extremely supportive of we started working on it many years ago, Riches said. Its important that parents have as many educational options as possible so they can create the best possible education for their children.

Save Our Schools notes, with dismay, that the Goldwater Institute has said it hopes to eliminate the 30,000 cap and greatly expand the ESA law. That fear has fueled the repeal effort.

We set out to do something that everybody said is impossible, Lewis said. The women on our team are very tenacious.

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

=>
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Source Here: Billionaires v teachers: the Koch brothers’ plan to starve public education
************************************
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3794
Donald Trump’s reckoning has arrived | Richard Wolffehttps://amanews.info/donald-trumps-reckoning-has-arrived-richard-wolffe/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 13:39:55 +0000 https://amanews.info/?p=3790

After Michael Cohens day in court, the president is now in very real legal jeopardy, writes Guardian US columnist Richard Wolffe

Campaign finance crimes

To lose one of your inner circle to criminal charges may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two on the same day looks like carelessness.

Donald Trump is nothing if not careless. His type inevitably gets like that as their escapades grow ever more preposterous. Sooner or later, their delusional sense of power and smarts ends in the kind of concrete solitude now being contemplated by Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. The laws do not apply to them until, suddenly, they do.

Of the two legal calamities befalling Trump, the plea bargain of his personal fixer is even more disastrous than the guilty verdicts slapped down on his campaign chairman. Although lets be honest: the scale of both disasters makes it a close call.

Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws by paying hush money to two women who were allegedly the mistresses of one Donald Trump. All this in the middle of the 2016 election, at the direction of the candidate, as Cohen told the court.

Never mind the facepalming deceit and hypocrisy of the candidate who claimed he was running against Crooked Hillary.

For now we need to stay focused on the very real legal jeopardy facing Crooked Donald. Campaign finance crimes of this kind are not trivial matters: under federal guidelines updated at the end of last year by Trumps own justice department, a campaign finance crime committed knowingly and willfully amounting to more than $25,000 is what they call a five-year felony.

Just one of Cohens payments, made at Trumps direction, amounted to $130,000.

Of course any normal politician would have died of embarrassment at arranging secret payments to any porn star, never mind one called Stormy Daniels. Any normal politician would have found his career and reputation shredded to the point where he would be too ashamed to stay in public life or, for that matter, any public space.

But as we all know by now, Crooked Donald is entirely abnormal, with no reputation to save, and no sense of shame.

Just seven years ago, a federal grand jury indicted former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards on six counts of breaking campaign finance laws for the exact same scenario as this sitting president: paying hush money to cover up an extramarital affair. Edwards escaped conviction after a jury was deadlocked on most of the charges, and the justice department did not seek a retrial. Edwards disappeared from public view, and his political career came to a definitive end.

Its hard to imagine Trump making the same choice. He can no more disappear from public view than you can forget your first projectile vomiting. John Edwards was vilified for betraying his inspirational, cancer-stricken wife. Yet even he had more decency and dignity than Donald Trump.

Until this point, most of the nations nattering nabobs have conjured up scenarios about impeachment.

Play Video
3:27

How to impeach a US president video

No doubt the pressure for impeachment will only build from here even without a full-blown conspiracy with a hostile foreign nation to manipulate the election. The current campaign finance crimes on display are more than enough to meet the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors.

But impeachment in a Democratic-controlled House if this years elections proceed as forecast will ultimately be followed by failure in a Senate trial, where Republicans would need to vote to kick Trump out of office. There is no plausible scenario where this Republican party would do so, even with White House tapes of Trump discussing a Russian conspiracy.

Cohens plea bargain suggests we may have sought out the wrong historical figure in the Nixon White House. Nixon was forced to resign by his party and his sense of shame: two factors that are absent today.

Instead we should be looking at Nixons first vice-president, Spiro Agnew, who was forced out of office by something much more familiar: criminal investigations into conspiracy, tax fraud and bribery, among other things. Agnew had been a corrupt public official since his days as Maryland governor, and the corruption continued into his vice-presidency. A year after his re-election, Agnew accepted a guilty plea bargain on tax evasion and resigned from office.

Until his resignation, Agnew claimed the US attorneys investigations were all lies. His lawyers claimed that a sitting vice-president couldnt be indicted. Both of those arguments collapsed. As one of Agnews lawyers recently wrote, there are no constitutional protections against indictment for either a president or a vice-president.

Would Trump resist a plea bargain more than anyone else in his inner-circle? Does he have the spinal fortitude to risk a five-year jail term and a good chunk of his personal fortune for the chance of saving his political career and the undying love of his political base?

He may decide that his base will always love him. He may decide that his freedom is as much about avoiding four more years in the White House as it is about avoiding five years in the Big House. If shame wont make him quit, perhaps a plea bargain will.

There was a time when we all covered political sex scandals because, as Matt Bai explained so well about Gary Hart, they told us something about character. Those were the old days. Now we know all about Donald Trumps character, but we still dont know all about the conspiracies to manipulate the 2016 election.

If only Trump had not run for president, his minions could have continued laundering Russian money, evading taxes and paying hush money until he tweeted off this mortal coil.

Instead, he attracted the attention of every self-respecting law enforcement and intelligence officer in the nations capital and beyond. The downfall of Pablo Escobars drug cartel began when he ran for office in Colombia, and the same might just prove to be true about the far smaller Trump enterprise.

Donald Trump has lost so much in court, he must be tired of losing. As a candidate he suggested his supporters would suffer some kind of headache from all of his endless winning. He imagined them saying Please dont win so much. This is getting terrible. How right he was.

  • Richard Wolffe is a Guardian US columnist

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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Original Post Here: Donald Trump’s reckoning has arrived | Richard Wolffe
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After Michael Cohens day in court, the president is now in very real legal jeopardy, writes Guardian US columnist Richard Wolffe

Campaign finance crimes

To lose one of your inner circle to criminal charges may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose two on the same day looks like carelessness.

Donald Trump is nothing if not careless. His type inevitably gets like that as their escapades grow ever more preposterous. Sooner or later, their delusional sense of power and smarts ends in the kind of concrete solitude now being contemplated by Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort. The laws do not apply to them until, suddenly, they do.

Of the two legal calamities befalling Trump, the plea bargain of his personal fixer is even more disastrous than the guilty verdicts slapped down on his campaign chairman. Although lets be honest: the scale of both disasters makes it a close call.

Cohen pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws by paying hush money to two women who were allegedly the mistresses of one Donald Trump. All this in the middle of the 2016 election, at the direction of the candidate, as Cohen told the court.

Never mind the facepalming deceit and hypocrisy of the candidate who claimed he was running against Crooked Hillary.

For now we need to stay focused on the very real legal jeopardy facing Crooked Donald. Campaign finance crimes of this kind are not trivial matters: under federal guidelines updated at the end of last year by Trumps own justice department, a campaign finance crime committed knowingly and willfully amounting to more than $25,000 is what they call a five-year felony.

Just one of Cohens payments, made at Trumps direction, amounted to $130,000.

Of course any normal politician would have died of embarrassment at arranging secret payments to any porn star, never mind one called Stormy Daniels. Any normal politician would have found his career and reputation shredded to the point where he would be too ashamed to stay in public life or, for that matter, any public space.

But as we all know by now, Crooked Donald is entirely abnormal, with no reputation to save, and no sense of shame.

Just seven years ago, a federal grand jury indicted former senator and presidential candidate John Edwards on six counts of breaking campaign finance laws for the exact same scenario as this sitting president: paying hush money to cover up an extramarital affair. Edwards escaped conviction after a jury was deadlocked on most of the charges, and the justice department did not seek a retrial. Edwards disappeared from public view, and his political career came to a definitive end.

Its hard to imagine Trump making the same choice. He can no more disappear from public view than you can forget your first projectile vomiting. John Edwards was vilified for betraying his inspirational, cancer-stricken wife. Yet even he had more decency and dignity than Donald Trump.

Until this point, most of the nations nattering nabobs have conjured up scenarios about impeachment.

Play Video
3:27

How to impeach a US president video

No doubt the pressure for impeachment will only build from here even without a full-blown conspiracy with a hostile foreign nation to manipulate the election. The current campaign finance crimes on display are more than enough to meet the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors.

But impeachment in a Democratic-controlled House if this years elections proceed as forecast will ultimately be followed by failure in a Senate trial, where Republicans would need to vote to kick Trump out of office. There is no plausible scenario where this Republican party would do so, even with White House tapes of Trump discussing a Russian conspiracy.

Cohens plea bargain suggests we may have sought out the wrong historical figure in the Nixon White House. Nixon was forced to resign by his party and his sense of shame: two factors that are absent today.

Instead we should be looking at Nixons first vice-president, Spiro Agnew, who was forced out of office by something much more familiar: criminal investigations into conspiracy, tax fraud and bribery, among other things. Agnew had been a corrupt public official since his days as Maryland governor, and the corruption continued into his vice-presidency. A year after his re-election, Agnew accepted a guilty plea bargain on tax evasion and resigned from office.

Until his resignation, Agnew claimed the US attorneys investigations were all lies. His lawyers claimed that a sitting vice-president couldnt be indicted. Both of those arguments collapsed. As one of Agnews lawyers recently wrote, there are no constitutional protections against indictment for either a president or a vice-president.

Would Trump resist a plea bargain more than anyone else in his inner-circle? Does he have the spinal fortitude to risk a five-year jail term and a good chunk of his personal fortune for the chance of saving his political career and the undying love of his political base?

He may decide that his base will always love him. He may decide that his freedom is as much about avoiding four more years in the White House as it is about avoiding five years in the Big House. If shame wont make him quit, perhaps a plea bargain will.

There was a time when we all covered political sex scandals because, as Matt Bai explained so well about Gary Hart, they told us something about character. Those were the old days. Now we know all about Donald Trumps character, but we still dont know all about the conspiracies to manipulate the 2016 election.

If only Trump had not run for president, his minions could have continued laundering Russian money, evading taxes and paying hush money until he tweeted off this mortal coil.

Instead, he attracted the attention of every self-respecting law enforcement and intelligence officer in the nations capital and beyond. The downfall of Pablo Escobars drug cartel began when he ran for office in Colombia, and the same might just prove to be true about the far smaller Trump enterprise.

Donald Trump has lost so much in court, he must be tired of losing. As a candidate he suggested his supporters would suffer some kind of headache from all of his endless winning. He imagined them saying Please dont win so much. This is getting terrible. How right he was.

  • Richard Wolffe is a Guardian US columnist

Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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Original Post Here: Donald Trump’s reckoning has arrived | Richard Wolffe
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3790
12 not-dumb questions about what’s next for Cohen, Manafort, Mueller and Trumphttps://amanews.info/12-not-dumb-questions-about-whats-next-for-cohen-manafort-mueller-and-trump/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 09:03:50 +0000 https://amanews.info/?p=3786 Chris Cillizza

(CNN)The events of the last 24 hours have rocked the political world.

The truth is that between one-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's conviction on eight charges of financial crimes, former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen's plea deal, President Donald Trump's tweets and the ongoing probe into Russian interference being run by Robert Mueller, there are a ton of complex moving parts here.
  • Below I've attempted to unpack and answer some of the most pressing questions.
      1. Which one is a bigger deal -- Manafort or Cohen?
      They're both big deals, but the Cohen plea deal -- especially his testimony that he negotiated payments to women alleging affairs with Trump at the candidate's direction -- is the bigger deal. Of the eight charges Cohen plead guilty to as part of the plea deal, two of them were about breaking campaign finance laws. He testified that "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" he made payments to hush former porn star Stormy Daniels about an alleged affair with Trump through a shell company named Essential Consultants LLC that he set up to disguise the transactions.
      Those transactions are a violation of campaign finance law, which limits contributions to a candidate from any single person to $2,700 per campaign. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 and urged the National Enquirer to make a similar payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal for $150,000 in exchange for their silence. That Cohen was willing to testify that he did so at the direction of Trump suggests that the President of the United States in an unindicted co-conspirator in a felony. Which is a very big deal.
      2. Why was Donald Trump's name not mentioned in the Cohen plea deal?
      The plea documents don't mention Trump by name, they only refer to an Individual-1 who by January 2017 "had become the President of the United States." CNN's Kara Scannell notes that it's Southern District of New York practice (as well as the practice of the rest of the Justice Department) not to identify individuals or entities that they don't charge with crimes.
      3. Will Trump be indicted?
      Almost certainly not.
      That's not necessarily because he hasn't done anything wrong but rather because of long-standing Justice Department protocols -- established during Watergate and affirmed during Bill Clinton's impeachment -- that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani cited this practice in an interview with CNN in May:

      Check out the latest analysis from The Point with Chris Cillizza:

      "The Justice Department memos going back to before Nixon say that you cannot indict a sitting president, you have to impeach him. Now there was a little time in which there was some dispute about that, but they acknowledged to us orally that they understand that they can't violate the Justice Department rules."
      The Justice Department's stance on indicting a sitting president has never been challenged in court -- and there are some who believe that, if it was, there's a reasonable chance such a challenge could succeed. But Mueller, at least according to Giuliani, isn't likely to go down that legally perilous road. (For much more on the legal debate about indicting a sitting president, read this.)
      4. Will Trump be impeached?
      That is a much more interesting -- and relevant -- question. Impeachment is a political process whereas indictment is a legal one. Even before what happened on Tuesday, impeachment was always more likely than indictment for Trump.
      The chances of Democrats pursuing articles of impeachment against Trump if they win back control of the House this November definitely increased on Tuesday but it's very hard to say how much. It's definitely below 50-50 at this point as even unapologetic Trump critics like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) were unwilling to use the "i word" following the Cohen and Manafort news. "What Congress needs to do right now is we need to make sure that special (counsel) Mueller is fully protected from being fired by Donald Trump," Warren told CNN's John Berman on Tuesday morning when asked whether impeachment should now be on the table.
      5. Is it smart politics for Democrats to run on impeachment this fall? Are party leaders and base activists in the same place on this?
      The second question is a lot easier to answer than the first. And the answer is "no."
      The base badly wants Trump impeached. They believe he has already committed high crimes and misdemeanors related to Russia's role in the 2016 election. Late last year 58 Democratic members of Congress supported an effort by Texas Rep. Al Green to bring articles of impeachment against Trump. But people like Warren and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California have continued to stay away from making the 2018 election about impeaching the President. On Wednesday, Pelosi said that impeachment was "not a priority" for Democrats.
      Should it be? That's the tougher question. Here's a window into Pelosi's thinking: Impeachment makes the Democratic base super passionate. That's good. But they are already beyond passionate about turning out to vote this fall to send Trump a message. So the only possible outcome of pushing impeachment is to potentially alienate voters in the middle who could be the difference between winning and losing the House. (David Axelrod, a CNN contributor and Barack Obama's longtime chief strategist, laid out the case against impeachment talk in a conversation I had with him earlier this year.)
      6. What does any of this have to do with the Russia investigation?
      On Tuesday afternoon, Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union and a prominent Trump supporter, tweeted this: "So all this legal activity strange I see no 'Russian collusion' in any breaking news. Odd."
      Which, on one level, is sort of accurate. The Manafort conviction deals with crimes committed well before he came into Trump's orbit in April 2016. It deals with financial malfeasance in Ukraine. And of the eight counts that Cohen pleaded guilty to on Tuesday, only two have any tie at all to the Trump campaign.
      Here's where Schlapp's point breaks down: Both the Cohen and Manafort convictions come directly as a result of the Mueller investigation. And, in the document establishing the Mueller special counsel probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein makes crystal clear that Mueller is "authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters."
      The other thing to keep in mind is that we simply don't know what Mueller knows -- and how Manafort and Cohen tie into what he knows. Both men were in Trump's inner circle for critical moments during the campaign. It may turn out that neither one had anything to do with Russia or the broader Russia probe. But to conclude they didn't when we still haven't seen a single word of Mueller's report is like leaving a basketball game in the second quarter and declaring that the team that was ahead when you departed "won."
      7. Where is Michael Cohen right now?
      Probably at home in New York. But definitely not in jail. CNN's Kara Scannell pointed me toward this note entered in court on Tuesday regarding Cohen's bond and whereabouts:
      "Entered as to Michael Cohen: $500,000 Personal Recognizance Bond; Co-signed by wife and 1 additional financially responsible person; Travel restricted to Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York. Southern District of Florida, Northern District of Illinois, and Washington D.C.; Passport to be surrendered to counsel - (No new applications); Surrender to law enforcement within 24 hours all firearms and ammunition."
      Cohen is set to be sentenced in December and could face as much as 65 years in prison.
      8. Where is Paul Manafort right now?
      He's in an Alexandria, Virginia, jail awaiting sentencing, according to CNN's Evan Perez. Manafort has been incarcerated since June when a judge revoked his bail and demanded that he spend his days in jail prior to his trial. (Manafort had been accused of repeatedly attempting to speak to witnesses in the case). No sentencing date has been set but Manafort faces up to 80 years in prison for the eight charges on which he was convicted.
      9. Why didn't prosecutors make Michael Cohen agree to be a cooperating witness in the Mueller probe?
      A good question, with no obvious right answer.
      But here are a few things to consider:
      • The Cohen case is being prosecuted not by the special counsel but by the Southern District of New York. While it seems unlikely that if Mueller really wanted a cooperation deal he wouldn't make that clear to SDNY, it's worth noting they are separate entities.
      • Mueller already has any and all documents considered relevant to his investigation that were seized in the FBI's raid of Cohen's home, office and hotel back in April. Given that, all he would need Cohen for is to confirm that "yes, that is my email address" or "yes that is my handwriting" as opposed to deliver a bunch of secrets on Trump or the Trump inner circle. In short: Mueller might not need Cohen's cooperation.
      • Just because there is no stated cooperation deal in the plea agreement Cohen signed doesn't mean that he can't or won't cooperate with Mueller. Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night that "Michael Cohen is committed to telling the truth. ... If asked by any authority ... he will tell the truth."
      10. Will Trump pardon Cohen or Manafort?
      I can answer that question in two tweets from Trump on Wednesday morning.
      On Cohen: "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!"
      On Manafort: "I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. 'Justice' took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break' - make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a brave man!"
      Trump does have broad and unchecked pardoning power. And he's already shown he's willing to wade into controversial situations and use it -- as he did earlier this year when he pardoned ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Lanny Davis said Wednesday morning that Cohen wasn't looking for a presidential pardon and wouldn't accept one if offered. (Narrator voice: Suuuuuuure.)
      11. What does Mueller do next?
      Keeps on keeping on. Mueller has revealed nothing about the progress of his investigation or any timeline by which he expects to wrap it up. There's no question that Manafort's conviction, which the special counsel's office prosecuted, and the Cohen plea deal, which they did not, provide momentum for Mueller.
      But all that will matter in the end is what is in the Mueller report -- and what the two parties choose to do with it. Again, it's impossible to overstate how little insight we have into what Mueller knows, what he thinks he can find out and what he's given up on. The only big domino to keep an eye on that we will know when it falls is the long-debated sitdown between Trump and the special counsel's office. Giuliani has repeatedly indicated of late that negotiations are in the final stages and that a decision will come soon.
      12. Does any of this matter?
      In the most existential sense, no. In the long run, after all, we're all dead.
      But on the less existential level, yes, it matters. What we are talking about here is a foreign government actively interfering in a presidential election for the purposes of helping one candidate and hurting another. What we are talking about is the former national security adviser admitting that he lied to the FBI and now cooperating as a witness. What we are talking about is the former campaign chairman for the President of the United States being found guilty on eight felony counts. What we are talking about here is the former fixer for the President of the United States pleading guilty to eight counts including two that directly implicate Trump in an attempted campaign finance coverup.
      Now. Asserting that yes of course, this all matters, is different than saying it will change peoples' minds or votes. It might not! Minds have been made up about Trump for a very long time. For his supporters, they will find ways to dismiss all of this -- likely blaming the "deep state" they believe is dead set on keeping Trump from "winning." For Trump opponents, the events of Tuesday will simply confirm what they already believe: That Donald Trump is not fit to be president.
      In the end, the Mueller report is still the one major piece of the puzzle that hasn't fallen into place.

    Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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    Chris Cillizza

    (CNN)The events of the last 24 hours have rocked the political world.

    The truth is that between one-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's conviction on eight charges of financial crimes, former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen's plea deal, President Donald Trump's tweets and the ongoing probe into Russian interference being run by Robert Mueller, there are a ton of complex moving parts here.
    • Below I've attempted to unpack and answer some of the most pressing questions.
        1. Which one is a bigger deal -- Manafort or Cohen?
        They're both big deals, but the Cohen plea deal -- especially his testimony that he negotiated payments to women alleging affairs with Trump at the candidate's direction -- is the bigger deal. Of the eight charges Cohen plead guilty to as part of the plea deal, two of them were about breaking campaign finance laws. He testified that "in coordination and at the direction of a candidate for federal office" he made payments to hush former porn star Stormy Daniels about an alleged affair with Trump through a shell company named Essential Consultants LLC that he set up to disguise the transactions.
        Those transactions are a violation of campaign finance law, which limits contributions to a candidate from any single person to $2,700 per campaign. Cohen paid Daniels $130,000 and urged the National Enquirer to make a similar payment to former Playboy model Karen McDougal for $150,000 in exchange for their silence. That Cohen was willing to testify that he did so at the direction of Trump suggests that the President of the United States in an unindicted co-conspirator in a felony. Which is a very big deal.
        2. Why was Donald Trump's name not mentioned in the Cohen plea deal?
        The plea documents don't mention Trump by name, they only refer to an Individual-1 who by January 2017 "had become the President of the United States." CNN's Kara Scannell notes that it's Southern District of New York practice (as well as the practice of the rest of the Justice Department) not to identify individuals or entities that they don't charge with crimes.
        3. Will Trump be indicted?
        Almost certainly not.
        That's not necessarily because he hasn't done anything wrong but rather because of long-standing Justice Department protocols -- established during Watergate and affirmed during Bill Clinton's impeachment -- that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani cited this practice in an interview with CNN in May:

        Check out the latest analysis from The Point with Chris Cillizza:

        "The Justice Department memos going back to before Nixon say that you cannot indict a sitting president, you have to impeach him. Now there was a little time in which there was some dispute about that, but they acknowledged to us orally that they understand that they can't violate the Justice Department rules."
        The Justice Department's stance on indicting a sitting president has never been challenged in court -- and there are some who believe that, if it was, there's a reasonable chance such a challenge could succeed. But Mueller, at least according to Giuliani, isn't likely to go down that legally perilous road. (For much more on the legal debate about indicting a sitting president, read this.)
        4. Will Trump be impeached?
        That is a much more interesting -- and relevant -- question. Impeachment is a political process whereas indictment is a legal one. Even before what happened on Tuesday, impeachment was always more likely than indictment for Trump.
        The chances of Democrats pursuing articles of impeachment against Trump if they win back control of the House this November definitely increased on Tuesday but it's very hard to say how much. It's definitely below 50-50 at this point as even unapologetic Trump critics like Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D) were unwilling to use the "i word" following the Cohen and Manafort news. "What Congress needs to do right now is we need to make sure that special (counsel) Mueller is fully protected from being fired by Donald Trump," Warren told CNN's John Berman on Tuesday morning when asked whether impeachment should now be on the table.
        5. Is it smart politics for Democrats to run on impeachment this fall? Are party leaders and base activists in the same place on this?
        The second question is a lot easier to answer than the first. And the answer is "no."
        The base badly wants Trump impeached. They believe he has already committed high crimes and misdemeanors related to Russia's role in the 2016 election. Late last year 58 Democratic members of Congress supported an effort by Texas Rep. Al Green to bring articles of impeachment against Trump. But people like Warren and House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi of California have continued to stay away from making the 2018 election about impeaching the President. On Wednesday, Pelosi said that impeachment was "not a priority" for Democrats.
        Should it be? That's the tougher question. Here's a window into Pelosi's thinking: Impeachment makes the Democratic base super passionate. That's good. But they are already beyond passionate about turning out to vote this fall to send Trump a message. So the only possible outcome of pushing impeachment is to potentially alienate voters in the middle who could be the difference between winning and losing the House. (David Axelrod, a CNN contributor and Barack Obama's longtime chief strategist, laid out the case against impeachment talk in a conversation I had with him earlier this year.)
        6. What does any of this have to do with the Russia investigation?
        On Tuesday afternoon, Matt Schlapp, the head of the American Conservative Union and a prominent Trump supporter, tweeted this: "So all this legal activity strange I see no 'Russian collusion' in any breaking news. Odd."
        Which, on one level, is sort of accurate. The Manafort conviction deals with crimes committed well before he came into Trump's orbit in April 2016. It deals with financial malfeasance in Ukraine. And of the eight counts that Cohen pleaded guilty to on Tuesday, only two have any tie at all to the Trump campaign.
        Here's where Schlapp's point breaks down: Both the Cohen and Manafort convictions come directly as a result of the Mueller investigation. And, in the document establishing the Mueller special counsel probe, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein makes crystal clear that Mueller is "authorized to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation of these matters."
        The other thing to keep in mind is that we simply don't know what Mueller knows -- and how Manafort and Cohen tie into what he knows. Both men were in Trump's inner circle for critical moments during the campaign. It may turn out that neither one had anything to do with Russia or the broader Russia probe. But to conclude they didn't when we still haven't seen a single word of Mueller's report is like leaving a basketball game in the second quarter and declaring that the team that was ahead when you departed "won."
        7. Where is Michael Cohen right now?
        Probably at home in New York. But definitely not in jail. CNN's Kara Scannell pointed me toward this note entered in court on Tuesday regarding Cohen's bond and whereabouts:
        "Entered as to Michael Cohen: $500,000 Personal Recognizance Bond; Co-signed by wife and 1 additional financially responsible person; Travel restricted to Southern District of New York, Eastern District of New York. Southern District of Florida, Northern District of Illinois, and Washington D.C.; Passport to be surrendered to counsel - (No new applications); Surrender to law enforcement within 24 hours all firearms and ammunition."
        Cohen is set to be sentenced in December and could face as much as 65 years in prison.
        8. Where is Paul Manafort right now?
        He's in an Alexandria, Virginia, jail awaiting sentencing, according to CNN's Evan Perez. Manafort has been incarcerated since June when a judge revoked his bail and demanded that he spend his days in jail prior to his trial. (Manafort had been accused of repeatedly attempting to speak to witnesses in the case). No sentencing date has been set but Manafort faces up to 80 years in prison for the eight charges on which he was convicted.
        9. Why didn't prosecutors make Michael Cohen agree to be a cooperating witness in the Mueller probe?
        A good question, with no obvious right answer.
        But here are a few things to consider:
        • The Cohen case is being prosecuted not by the special counsel but by the Southern District of New York. While it seems unlikely that if Mueller really wanted a cooperation deal he wouldn't make that clear to SDNY, it's worth noting they are separate entities.
        • Mueller already has any and all documents considered relevant to his investigation that were seized in the FBI's raid of Cohen's home, office and hotel back in April. Given that, all he would need Cohen for is to confirm that "yes, that is my email address" or "yes that is my handwriting" as opposed to deliver a bunch of secrets on Trump or the Trump inner circle. In short: Mueller might not need Cohen's cooperation.
        • Just because there is no stated cooperation deal in the plea agreement Cohen signed doesn't mean that he can't or won't cooperate with Mueller. Cohen lawyer Lanny Davis told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Tuesday night that "Michael Cohen is committed to telling the truth. ... If asked by any authority ... he will tell the truth."
        10. Will Trump pardon Cohen or Manafort?
        I can answer that question in two tweets from Trump on Wednesday morning.
        On Cohen: "If anyone is looking for a good lawyer, I would strongly suggest that you don't retain the services of Michael Cohen!"
        On Manafort: "I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family. 'Justice' took a 12 year old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break' - make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a brave man!"
        Trump does have broad and unchecked pardoning power. And he's already shown he's willing to wade into controversial situations and use it -- as he did earlier this year when he pardoned ex-Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Lanny Davis said Wednesday morning that Cohen wasn't looking for a presidential pardon and wouldn't accept one if offered. (Narrator voice: Suuuuuuure.)
        11. What does Mueller do next?
        Keeps on keeping on. Mueller has revealed nothing about the progress of his investigation or any timeline by which he expects to wrap it up. There's no question that Manafort's conviction, which the special counsel's office prosecuted, and the Cohen plea deal, which they did not, provide momentum for Mueller.
        But all that will matter in the end is what is in the Mueller report -- and what the two parties choose to do with it. Again, it's impossible to overstate how little insight we have into what Mueller knows, what he thinks he can find out and what he's given up on. The only big domino to keep an eye on that we will know when it falls is the long-debated sitdown between Trump and the special counsel's office. Giuliani has repeatedly indicated of late that negotiations are in the final stages and that a decision will come soon.
        12. Does any of this matter?
        In the most existential sense, no. In the long run, after all, we're all dead.
        But on the less existential level, yes, it matters. What we are talking about here is a foreign government actively interfering in a presidential election for the purposes of helping one candidate and hurting another. What we are talking about is the former national security adviser admitting that he lied to the FBI and now cooperating as a witness. What we are talking about is the former campaign chairman for the President of the United States being found guilty on eight felony counts. What we are talking about here is the former fixer for the President of the United States pleading guilty to eight counts including two that directly implicate Trump in an attempted campaign finance coverup.
        Now. Asserting that yes of course, this all matters, is different than saying it will change peoples' minds or votes. It might not! Minds have been made up about Trump for a very long time. For his supporters, they will find ways to dismiss all of this -- likely blaming the "deep state" they believe is dead set on keeping Trump from "winning." For Trump opponents, the events of Tuesday will simply confirm what they already believe: That Donald Trump is not fit to be president.
        In the end, the Mueller report is still the one major piece of the puzzle that hasn't fallen into place.

      Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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      David Pecker: Trump confidant and National Enquirer boss was given immunity in Cohen casehttps://amanews.info/david-pecker-trump-confidant-and-national-enquirer-boss-was-given-immunity-in-cohen-case/ Tue, 18 Sep 2018 04:34:22 +0000 https://amanews.info/?p=3782

      The media mogul reportedly met with prosecutors as part of the inquiry into Donald Trumps ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen

      adult film actor

      David Pecker, chief executive of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, the tabloid magazine involved in hush-money deals to women ahead of the 2016 US presidential election, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors as part of the investigation into Donald Trumps former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, it emerged on Thursday.

      Pecker met with prosecutors to describe the involvement of Cohen and Trump in payoffs to women who alleged affairs in the past with the president, the Wall Street Journal reported. Pecker, a longtime friend of Trump, was initially subpoenaed by federal investigators four months ago.

      News of the media figures help in an investigation that is likely to prove damaging to Trumps presidency came in the week that also saw Cohen turn on his former boss, as other former acolytes continue to assist the special counsels parallel Russia inquiry in Washington, further embattling the White House.

      The Enquirer, the often lurid tabloid that reportedly played a key role in shielding Trump from negative stories, has become deeply embroiled in the legal storm engulfing the White House. Experts predicted on Thursday that it could have its press protections stripped away.

      The developments came in the aftermath of Michael Cohens guilty plea on Tuesday on two counts relating to federal campaign finance violations. The charges stemmed from hush money payments to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, which were steered through the tabloid company, according to court documents emerging from the Cohen plea agreement.

      Although Cohens indictment does not name the Enquirer or its parent company, American Media Inc (AMI) they are identified as magazine 1 and corporation 1 both have previously been identified in press accounts and court records related to payments to Daniels and McDougal.

      According to prosecutors, AMI advised Cohen throughout the course of the campaign, leading to the purchase of the Daniels and McDougal stories so as to suppress them and prevent them from influencing the election.

      Prosecutors continued that Pecker, AMIs CEO, helped deal with negative stories about [Trumps] relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.

      On Thursday the Associated Press reported that, according to people familiar with the agreement, the National Enquirer kept a safe of documents related to hush money and other damaging stories it killed as part of its cozy relationship with Donald Trump. The safe was emptied prior to Trumps inauguration, according to the AP.

      Samuel Freedman, a professor of journalism at the Columbia School of Journalism in New York, told the Guardian either of those claims clearly oversteps the role of the press and the protections to report freely that it is afforded under the US constitution.

      While the first amendment gives media companies broad freedoms to communicate with candidates, they are not permitted to act outside legitimate press function, in this case, potentially coordinating with a campaign to spend money to influence an election.

      Conspiring with a political campaign to hide a damaging article, and doing so by paying in a catch-and-kill scenario, seems to me behavior that should not be protected as first amendment free speech, he told the Guardian.

      The Enquirers alleged actions, if true, go far beyond the legitimate exercise of journalistic decision-making or legitimate opinionizing.

      The
      The tabloid reportedly played a key role in shielding Donald Trump from negative stories. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

      The question is, was AMI was acting outside legitimate press function if it purchased a story with the intention of it not becoming public, Brendan Fischer, federal reform director at the Campaign Legal Center, told the Guardian. Its hard to see how that is a legitimate function of the press.

      Trevor Potter, former Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and current CLC president, told the New York Times that AMI could now be in legal jeopardy. Such activity is not like the action of a media company deciding what to cover and exercising editorial judgment, Potter said.

      Cohen says they entered into an agreement with Trump and his campaign to use corporate money to squelch information detrimental to Trumps election. That presents a serious legal problem for AMI.

      In a follow-up statement on the CLC website, Potter added: If Trump himself knowingly and willfully violated the law, or engaged in or directed a conspiracy to do so, he too could be facing criminal penalties.

      But Peckers apparent decision to corroborate Cohens account is an important loss for the president, who had long relied on Pecker as a key media ally.

      Pecker regularly flew with Trump on his plane from New York to Florida. Last summer, Pecker reportedly brought an adviser to Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to meet Trump in the Oval Office to help him expand AMIs business.

      In July 2013, Trump tweeted that Pecker should become CEO of Time magazine. Hed make it exciting and win awards!

      According to the Washington Post, the Enquirer routinely sent stories to Trump to review before publication.

      Trump aides were also reportedly a source for Enquirer smear stories, including one that exposed malpractice lawsuits against Ben Carson, who was then running against Trump for the Republican party nomination.

      The supermarket carried repeated attacks on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as carrying unusually favorable coverage of Trump and his family.

      But according to a source at AMI who spoke to Vanity Fair, Pecker and Trumps relationship soured and the friends have not spoken in roughly eight months. The National Enquirer editor, Dylan Howard, also reportedly granted immunity by federal prosecutors, is particularly angry at Trump.

      Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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      The media mogul reportedly met with prosecutors as part of the inquiry into Donald Trumps ex-lawyer, Michael Cohen

      adult film actor

      David Pecker, chief executive of the company that publishes the National Enquirer, the tabloid magazine involved in hush-money deals to women ahead of the 2016 US presidential election, was granted immunity by federal prosecutors as part of the investigation into Donald Trumps former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, it emerged on Thursday.

      Pecker met with prosecutors to describe the involvement of Cohen and Trump in payoffs to women who alleged affairs in the past with the president, the Wall Street Journal reported. Pecker, a longtime friend of Trump, was initially subpoenaed by federal investigators four months ago.

      News of the media figures help in an investigation that is likely to prove damaging to Trumps presidency came in the week that also saw Cohen turn on his former boss, as other former acolytes continue to assist the special counsels parallel Russia inquiry in Washington, further embattling the White House.

      The Enquirer, the often lurid tabloid that reportedly played a key role in shielding Trump from negative stories, has become deeply embroiled in the legal storm engulfing the White House. Experts predicted on Thursday that it could have its press protections stripped away.

      The developments came in the aftermath of Michael Cohens guilty plea on Tuesday on two counts relating to federal campaign finance violations. The charges stemmed from hush money payments to the adult film actor Stormy Daniels and ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal, which were steered through the tabloid company, according to court documents emerging from the Cohen plea agreement.

      Although Cohens indictment does not name the Enquirer or its parent company, American Media Inc (AMI) they are identified as magazine 1 and corporation 1 both have previously been identified in press accounts and court records related to payments to Daniels and McDougal.

      According to prosecutors, AMI advised Cohen throughout the course of the campaign, leading to the purchase of the Daniels and McDougal stories so as to suppress them and prevent them from influencing the election.

      Prosecutors continued that Pecker, AMIs CEO, helped deal with negative stories about [Trumps] relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.

      On Thursday the Associated Press reported that, according to people familiar with the agreement, the National Enquirer kept a safe of documents related to hush money and other damaging stories it killed as part of its cozy relationship with Donald Trump. The safe was emptied prior to Trumps inauguration, according to the AP.

      Samuel Freedman, a professor of journalism at the Columbia School of Journalism in New York, told the Guardian either of those claims clearly oversteps the role of the press and the protections to report freely that it is afforded under the US constitution.

      While the first amendment gives media companies broad freedoms to communicate with candidates, they are not permitted to act outside legitimate press function, in this case, potentially coordinating with a campaign to spend money to influence an election.

      Conspiring with a political campaign to hide a damaging article, and doing so by paying in a catch-and-kill scenario, seems to me behavior that should not be protected as first amendment free speech, he told the Guardian.

      The Enquirers alleged actions, if true, go far beyond the legitimate exercise of journalistic decision-making or legitimate opinionizing.

      The
      The tabloid reportedly played a key role in shielding Donald Trump from negative stories. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters

      The question is, was AMI was acting outside legitimate press function if it purchased a story with the intention of it not becoming public, Brendan Fischer, federal reform director at the Campaign Legal Center, told the Guardian. Its hard to see how that is a legitimate function of the press.

      Trevor Potter, former Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and current CLC president, told the New York Times that AMI could now be in legal jeopardy. Such activity is not like the action of a media company deciding what to cover and exercising editorial judgment, Potter said.

      Cohen says they entered into an agreement with Trump and his campaign to use corporate money to squelch information detrimental to Trumps election. That presents a serious legal problem for AMI.

      In a follow-up statement on the CLC website, Potter added: If Trump himself knowingly and willfully violated the law, or engaged in or directed a conspiracy to do so, he too could be facing criminal penalties.

      But Peckers apparent decision to corroborate Cohens account is an important loss for the president, who had long relied on Pecker as a key media ally.

      Pecker regularly flew with Trump on his plane from New York to Florida. Last summer, Pecker reportedly brought an adviser to Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to meet Trump in the Oval Office to help him expand AMIs business.

      In July 2013, Trump tweeted that Pecker should become CEO of Time magazine. Hed make it exciting and win awards!

      According to the Washington Post, the Enquirer routinely sent stories to Trump to review before publication.

      Trump aides were also reportedly a source for Enquirer smear stories, including one that exposed malpractice lawsuits against Ben Carson, who was then running against Trump for the Republican party nomination.

      The supermarket carried repeated attacks on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, as well as carrying unusually favorable coverage of Trump and his family.

      But according to a source at AMI who spoke to Vanity Fair, Pecker and Trumps relationship soured and the friends have not spoken in roughly eight months. The National Enquirer editor, Dylan Howard, also reportedly granted immunity by federal prosecutors, is particularly angry at Trump.

      Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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      3782
      Democrat Tom Carper Staves Off Progressive In Delaware Senate Primaryhttps://amanews.info/democrat-tom-carper-staves-off-progressive-in-delaware-senate-primary/ Mon, 17 Sep 2018 22:53:51 +0000 https://amanews.info/?p=3778

      WILMINGTON, Del. ― Incumbent Tom Carper won Delaware’s Democratic Senate nomination on Thursday, fending off an unexpectedly spirited primary challenge from a progressive that threatened his re-election quest.

      Carper’s win smooths his path to a fourth term in the Senate, where he has cultivated a record and reputation as a pro-business moderate. He defeated Kerri Evelyn Harris 65 percent to 35 percent.

      In November’s election, he is set to face Republican county councilman Rob Arlett, who won the Republican primary. Carper is a heavy favorite to triumph ― starting with his 1976 victory in a race for state treasurer, he has won 13 out of 13 statewide elections.

      After three terms in the treasurer’s office, the 71-year-old Carper went on to serve 5 terms in the U.S. House (Delaware has only one seat in the chamber) and two terms as governor before first winning his Senate seat in 2000. 

      His primary win disappoints progressive activists who rallied behind the upstart candidacy of Kerri Evelyn Harris, a 38-year-old community organizer who challenged Carper from the left. Harris, who has endured economic hardship since an injury ended her military career, received a swell of national attention and volunteers after progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset a powerful and seemingly entrenched House member in New York’s Democratic primary in late June.

      In Delaware, “the most likely outcome occurred,” said Geoffrey Skelley, an election analyst at the Universty of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that progressive energy is not significant. The fact that [Carper] had a progressive primary challenge that caused us to keep an eye on things is notable.”

      Carper, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, has been a reliable progressive vote in the Senate on social issues like LGBTQ and abortion rights. And unlike some of his more conservative Democratic colleagues, he backed such Obama administration landmark measures as the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill.

      As the ranking Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Carper also worked to secure GOP opposition to two of President Donald Trump’s appointees to top posts at the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump subsequently withdrew the candidates.

      At the same time, Carper’s ideological profile has mirrored that of other Delaware politicians who have been fiercely protective of the state’s status as a tax and regulatory haven for major corporations. It’s a bipartisan political tradition of moderation, amiability and friendliness to big business known as the “Delaware Way.”

      As a leading adherent of that approach, Carper has consistently sought to water down rules that affect the mammoth financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies based in his state. Most recently, he was one of 17 Democratic senators who joined Republicans in passing legislation rolling back a key piece of the Dodd-Frank law.

      Carper’s relatively pro-Wall Street record and history of confirming Republican cabinet and judicial nominees made him a ripe target for the Democratic Party’s restive progressive wing. A particular sore point is Carper’s 2006 vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the federal bench, which laid the groundwork for Trump to nominate him to the Supreme Court (Carper has said his past support for Kavanaugh was a mistake).

      Another point of contention over the course of the primary has been Carper’s reliance on corporate campaign cash at a time when 116 Democratic congressional nominees have pledged not to accept corporate PAC donations. Carper has received over $1.7 million from business-backed political action committees this election cycle alone.

      In an impromptu interview with HuffPost on Thursday during his visit to Bayard Middle School, a racially diverse polling station on Wilmington’s west side, Carper repeated a defense he has deployed throughout the campaign: that he has not technically received corporate money because corporations must donate to federal candidates through PACs.

      I asked whether, going forward, he would nonetheless consider voluntarily refusing corporate PAC donations. I reminded him that activist groups, like End Citizens United, had successfully secured promises from candidates across the ideological spectrum to do so.

      “Well, I never say never,” he responded, before ticking off his support for various campaign finance reform policies.

      Harris, a gay, biracial Air Force veteran, initially drew little national attention after she announced her run against Carper in February. But Ocasio-Cortez’s win ― and the New Yorker’s subsequent decision to endorse and campaign for Harris ― gave the Delaware challenger new life in her bid.

      Justice Democrats

      The Washington Post/Getty Images
      Kerri Harris, a military veteran and community activist, greets a supporter outside her campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, this July.

      Harris got help from Justice Democrats, a group of alumni from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Democratic presidential campaign who helped engineer Ocasio-Cortez’s win.

      Claire Sandberg, another veteran of the Sanders’ campaign who most recently helped lead a progressive’s spirited but failed bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Michigan, likewise came to Delaware to help Harris. Sandberg oversaw a $100,000 campaign expenditure on Harris’ behalf by Working Families Party, a progressive group that seeks to push Democrats to the left.

      And Winnie Wong, a co-founder of the People for Bernie Sanders and the national Women’s March, directed a 2-minute digital video advertisement for Harris’ campaign that went viral.

      Still, despite a modest influx of political cash after Ocasio-Cortez’s win, Harris lagged far behind Carper in fundraising. As of mid-August, she had just over $51,000 in cash on hand; Carper, who unlike Harris accepts donations from corporate political action committees, had over $1 million

      Harris and her allies banked on galvanizing a progressive slice of the electorate ― voters more racially and economically diverse than the stereotype for the state who were hungry for something more than the “Delaware Way.” If turnout remained relatively low, as it did in Ocasio-Cortez’s race, Harris saw a chance to punch above her weight with digital and field organizing and mobilize just enough voters to win.

      Delaware’s genteel political culture notwithstanding, the state has not been inoculated from the national polarization trends. In 2010, Republican Rep. Mike Castle, a moderate, unexpectedly lost a Senate primary to conservative activist Christine O’Donnell, who went on to lose to Democrat Chris Coons in what was otherwise a Republican wave year. Carper told The New York Times that he consulted Castle about the loss, and the Republican said he had simply not taken O’Donnell seriously enough.

      Carper resolved not to make the same mistake: He crisscrossed the state in his 2001 Chrysler minivan, blanketed the airwaves with advertisements and agreed to a debate with Harris that was broadcast live online, but not televised.

      At Bayard Middle School, both Carper’s and Harris’ strengths were on display.

      Shalynne Rogers-Bryant voted for Harris over Carper because she wanted a change, citing the poverty, violence and lack of resources in Wilmington. “Fresh is good,” she said.

      She was also impressed when a Harris campaign canvasser knocked on her door. Her daughter, T’Shay Brooks, who also voted for Harris, had received a call from one of Harris’ volunteers. Neither experienced similar outreach from Carper’s team.

      At the same time, some voters at the polling place knew nothing at all about Harris.

      LaTonya Allen voted for Carper because he is “familiar” and a “people person” who has “been good to the state of Delaware.” Asked for her thoughts on Harris, Allen replied, “Don’t know much about that guy.”

      In the end, Carper’s name recognition, abundant campaign cash and decision to leave little to chance overpowered Harris’ insurgent effort. The Delaware Way survived another day.

      Harris also appears to have been hurt by a higher turnout that did not break in her favor. Assuming 50,000 people would show up ― a big increase in the size of the historic midterm primary electorate ― her campaign concluded that Harris would need 26,000 votes to win. Harris ended up getting more than 29,000 votes, but the electorate grew astronomically, leaving her with only 35 percent of the count.

      Progressives can perhaps take heart that the primary nudged the incumbent to the left. He now supports a federal $15 minimum wage, which he once opposed, and the decriminalization of marijuana.

      In a rousing concession speech to over 100 supporters gathered at the Washington Street Ale House in downtown Wilmington on Thursday night, Harris thanked Carper for his civil campaign and his years of public service. Then she warned him that she and other progressives would be “watching” his conduct closely.

      “The same way he moved closer to us during this primary, we expect him to stay close to the people,” she declared to the cheering crowd. 

      Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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      WILMINGTON, Del. ― Incumbent Tom Carper won Delaware’s Democratic Senate nomination on Thursday, fending off an unexpectedly spirited primary challenge from a progressive that threatened his re-election quest.

      Carper’s win smooths his path to a fourth term in the Senate, where he has cultivated a record and reputation as a pro-business moderate. He defeated Kerri Evelyn Harris 65 percent to 35 percent.

      In November’s election, he is set to face Republican county councilman Rob Arlett, who won the Republican primary. Carper is a heavy favorite to triumph ― starting with his 1976 victory in a race for state treasurer, he has won 13 out of 13 statewide elections.

      After three terms in the treasurer’s office, the 71-year-old Carper went on to serve 5 terms in the U.S. House (Delaware has only one seat in the chamber) and two terms as governor before first winning his Senate seat in 2000. 

      His primary win disappoints progressive activists who rallied behind the upstart candidacy of Kerri Evelyn Harris, a 38-year-old community organizer who challenged Carper from the left. Harris, who has endured economic hardship since an injury ended her military career, received a swell of national attention and volunteers after progressive Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upset a powerful and seemingly entrenched House member in New York’s Democratic primary in late June.

      In Delaware, “the most likely outcome occurred,” said Geoffrey Skelley, an election analyst at the Universty of Virginia’s Center for Politics. “This doesn’t necessarily mean that progressive energy is not significant. The fact that [Carper] had a progressive primary challenge that caused us to keep an eye on things is notable.”

      Carper, who served in the Navy during the Vietnam War, has been a reliable progressive vote in the Senate on social issues like LGBTQ and abortion rights. And unlike some of his more conservative Democratic colleagues, he backed such Obama administration landmark measures as the Affordable Care Act and the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill.

      As the ranking Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Carper also worked to secure GOP opposition to two of President Donald Trump’s appointees to top posts at the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump subsequently withdrew the candidates.

      At the same time, Carper’s ideological profile has mirrored that of other Delaware politicians who have been fiercely protective of the state’s status as a tax and regulatory haven for major corporations. It’s a bipartisan political tradition of moderation, amiability and friendliness to big business known as the “Delaware Way.”

      As a leading adherent of that approach, Carper has consistently sought to water down rules that affect the mammoth financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies based in his state. Most recently, he was one of 17 Democratic senators who joined Republicans in passing legislation rolling back a key piece of the Dodd-Frank law.

      Carper’s relatively pro-Wall Street record and history of confirming Republican cabinet and judicial nominees made him a ripe target for the Democratic Party’s restive progressive wing. A particular sore point is Carper’s 2006 vote to confirm Brett Kavanaugh to the federal bench, which laid the groundwork for Trump to nominate him to the Supreme Court (Carper has said his past support for Kavanaugh was a mistake).

      Another point of contention over the course of the primary has been Carper’s reliance on corporate campaign cash at a time when 116 Democratic congressional nominees have pledged not to accept corporate PAC donations. Carper has received over $1.7 million from business-backed political action committees this election cycle alone.

      In an impromptu interview with HuffPost on Thursday during his visit to Bayard Middle School, a racially diverse polling station on Wilmington’s west side, Carper repeated a defense he has deployed throughout the campaign: that he has not technically received corporate money because corporations must donate to federal candidates through PACs.

      I asked whether, going forward, he would nonetheless consider voluntarily refusing corporate PAC donations. I reminded him that activist groups, like End Citizens United, had successfully secured promises from candidates across the ideological spectrum to do so.

      “Well, I never say never,” he responded, before ticking off his support for various campaign finance reform policies.

      Harris, a gay, biracial Air Force veteran, initially drew little national attention after she announced her run against Carper in February. But Ocasio-Cortez’s win ― and the New Yorker’s subsequent decision to endorse and campaign for Harris ― gave the Delaware challenger new life in her bid.

      Justice Democrats

      The Washington Post/Getty Images
      Kerri Harris, a military veteran and community activist, greets a supporter outside her campaign headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, this July.

      Harris got help from Justice Democrats, a group of alumni from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 Democratic presidential campaign who helped engineer Ocasio-Cortez’s win.

      Claire Sandberg, another veteran of the Sanders’ campaign who most recently helped lead a progressive’s spirited but failed bid for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in Michigan, likewise came to Delaware to help Harris. Sandberg oversaw a $100,000 campaign expenditure on Harris’ behalf by Working Families Party, a progressive group that seeks to push Democrats to the left.

      And Winnie Wong, a co-founder of the People for Bernie Sanders and the national Women’s March, directed a 2-minute digital video advertisement for Harris’ campaign that went viral.

      Still, despite a modest influx of political cash after Ocasio-Cortez’s win, Harris lagged far behind Carper in fundraising. As of mid-August, she had just over $51,000 in cash on hand; Carper, who unlike Harris accepts donations from corporate political action committees, had over $1 million

      Harris and her allies banked on galvanizing a progressive slice of the electorate ― voters more racially and economically diverse than the stereotype for the state who were hungry for something more than the “Delaware Way.” If turnout remained relatively low, as it did in Ocasio-Cortez’s race, Harris saw a chance to punch above her weight with digital and field organizing and mobilize just enough voters to win.

      Delaware’s genteel political culture notwithstanding, the state has not been inoculated from the national polarization trends. In 2010, Republican Rep. Mike Castle, a moderate, unexpectedly lost a Senate primary to conservative activist Christine O’Donnell, who went on to lose to Democrat Chris Coons in what was otherwise a Republican wave year. Carper told The New York Times that he consulted Castle about the loss, and the Republican said he had simply not taken O’Donnell seriously enough.

      Carper resolved not to make the same mistake: He crisscrossed the state in his 2001 Chrysler minivan, blanketed the airwaves with advertisements and agreed to a debate with Harris that was broadcast live online, but not televised.

      At Bayard Middle School, both Carper’s and Harris’ strengths were on display.

      Shalynne Rogers-Bryant voted for Harris over Carper because she wanted a change, citing the poverty, violence and lack of resources in Wilmington. “Fresh is good,” she said.

      She was also impressed when a Harris campaign canvasser knocked on her door. Her daughter, T’Shay Brooks, who also voted for Harris, had received a call from one of Harris’ volunteers. Neither experienced similar outreach from Carper’s team.

      At the same time, some voters at the polling place knew nothing at all about Harris.

      LaTonya Allen voted for Carper because he is “familiar” and a “people person” who has “been good to the state of Delaware.” Asked for her thoughts on Harris, Allen replied, “Don’t know much about that guy.”

      In the end, Carper’s name recognition, abundant campaign cash and decision to leave little to chance overpowered Harris’ insurgent effort. The Delaware Way survived another day.

      Harris also appears to have been hurt by a higher turnout that did not break in her favor. Assuming 50,000 people would show up ― a big increase in the size of the historic midterm primary electorate ― her campaign concluded that Harris would need 26,000 votes to win. Harris ended up getting more than 29,000 votes, but the electorate grew astronomically, leaving her with only 35 percent of the count.

      Progressives can perhaps take heart that the primary nudged the incumbent to the left. He now supports a federal $15 minimum wage, which he once opposed, and the decriminalization of marijuana.

      In a rousing concession speech to over 100 supporters gathered at the Washington Street Ale House in downtown Wilmington on Thursday night, Harris thanked Carper for his civil campaign and his years of public service. Then she warned him that she and other progressives would be “watching” his conduct closely.

      “The same way he moved closer to us during this primary, we expect him to stay close to the people,” she declared to the cheering crowd. 

      Original Article : HERE ; This post was curated & posted using : RealSpecific

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      Read Full Article Here: Democrat Tom Carper Staves Off Progressive In Delaware Senate Primary
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