Bernie Sanders’ staffers unionize in first for presidential campaign


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Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 campaign announced Friday it will be the first major presidential campaign to have a unionized workforce, as party activists push Democratic candidates to mirror their progressive platforms within their own campaigns.

“Bernie Sanders is the most pro-union candidate in the field, he’ll be the most pro-union president in the White House and we’re honored that his campaign will be the first to have a unionized workforce,” Sanders’ campaign manager Faiz Shakir said in a statement.

Over the past week, a majority of the staff’s bargaining unit employees designated United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 to represent them. The campaign stayed neutral during organizing efforts and voluntarily recognized the union once a majority of staffers signed union cards, according to both the campaign and the union.

UFCW Local 400 President Mark P. Federici said in a statement he expects the decision will mean pay parity and Continue reading “Bernie Sanders’ staffers unionize in first for presidential campaign”

Former Fox News reporter’s lawyer: ‘We’ll comply’ with House request for documents about Trump and Stormy Daniels


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The House Oversight Committee on Thursday formally requested documents from Diana Falzone, a former Fox News correspondent who reportedly was working on a story about a possible affair involving Donald Trump before the 2016 presidential election but allegedly was told to lay off because the network wanted Trump to win.

Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), is asking that Falzone turn over to his panel any documents “relating to women alleging extramarital affairs with Donald Trump, payments by the President or anyone on his behalf to silence them, or any potential campaign finance violation.”

Falzone reportedly had details on Trump’s alleged extramarital affair with adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and the National Enquirer’s role in keeping Daniels quiet more than a year before the news broke. She has been prevented from speaking publicly about those claims because of a nondisclosure agreement tied to her departure from Fox News.

Nancy Erika Continue reading “Former Fox News reporter’s lawyer: ‘We’ll comply’ with House request for documents about Trump and Stormy Daniels”

Saudi Arabia appoints first female ambassador to the U.S.


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Saudi Arabia on Saturday named Princess Reema bint Bandar as its new ambassador to the U.S., a move that comes as relations between the two countries continue to be tested over the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

Reema’s appointment — the first time the Kingdom has named a woman as its top diplomat in Washington — comes amid tensions between the U.S. and its strategic ally in the Middle East over whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing in October last year.

The Trump administration has sought to move on from the controversy, but multiple Senate Republicans are pressing the president and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over what they deem to be a lackluster response to a legal requirement that the administration file a report to determine who was responsible for the murder.

Prince Khalid bin Salman, the previous ambassador to the Continue reading “Saudi Arabia appoints first female ambassador to the U.S.”

Trump taps Kelly Knight Craft as U.N. ambassador


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President Donald Trump on Friday night announced he will nominate current Ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft as his next United Nations ambassador.

"Kelly has done an outstanding job representing our Nation and I have no doubt that, under her leadership, our Country will be represented at the highest level," Trump wrote on Twitter.

The announcement came about an hour after the president met face-to-face with Craft along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton in the Oval Office to finalize the nomination, according to a source familiar with the conversation.

If confirmed, Craft would fill a vacancy left after Nikki Haley resigned from the post last year and State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert withdrew from consideration over the weekend.

Though the president was considering a number of potential nominees, including the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, and former Michigan Senate candidate John Continue reading “Trump taps Kelly Knight Craft as U.N. ambassador”

Trump taps Jeffrey Byard as new FEMA head


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President Donald Trump announced Friday night that he would nominate Jeffrey Byard to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency, after FEMA head Brock Long abruptly resigned earlier this week.

Currently FEMA’s associate Administrator for Response and Recovery, Byard is the agency’s "senior-most executive over disaster response, recovery, logistics, and field operations," according to a White House statement. Before joining FEMA in September 2017, he served in multiple positions in the Alabama Emergency Management Agency, including as executive operations officer.

Byard led Alabama’s large-scale state evacuation during Hurricane Gustav in 2008 and handled the state’s response and recovery operations for the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill. In 2011, he dealt with one of the country’s largest and costliest tornado outbreaks when the so-called Super Outbreak hit Alabama and also pummeled neighboring Tennessee, Georgia and Mississippi.

Byard’s tenure in Alabama overlapped former administrator Long, who served as head of Alabama’s state Continue reading “Trump taps Jeffrey Byard as new FEMA head”

Matt Schlapp: ’Mueller will be gone soon’


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Matt Schlapp, a conservative activist and commentator, said on Thursday that now that William Barr was becoming attorney general, special counsel Robert Mueller’s days were numbered, a striking statement from someone whose wife works in the White House and one that runs counter to Barr’s own words during his contentious confirmation process.

“Tomorrow will be the first day that President Trump will have a fully operational confirmed Attorney General,” Schlapp wrote on Twitter. “Let that sink in. Mueller will be gone soon.”

Schlapp, president of the American Conservative Union, which hosts the annual Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, is an ally of President Donald Trump. His wife, Mercedes Schlapp, works in the White House as a strategic communications adviser. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Schlapps made headlines in April 2018 when they walked out of the White House Correspondents’ Association’s Continue reading “Matt Schlapp: ’Mueller will be gone soon’”

Booker: ‘I’ll be looking to women first’ for a potential VP


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Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) stressed the diversity of the Democratic presidential field Tuesday night, adding that while he does not want to "box himself in" so far away from Election Day, he would be "looking at women first" as a running mate should he become his party’s presidential nominee.

"We have such a great field of leaders, I think you’ll rarely see a Democratic ticket anymore without gender diversity, race diversity," Booker told MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. "It’s something we should have. I’m not going to box myself in, but should I come to it, you know I’ll be looking to women first."

Booker himself was reportedly near the top of Hillary Clinton’s short list for a running mate in 2016. He characterized the growing list of announced Democratic presidential candidates, which includes four of his Senate colleagues already, as a "abundance of riches" for the party.

Continue reading “Booker: ‘I’ll be looking to women first’ for a potential VP”

Saudi official denies kingdom was involved in leak of Bezos’ private texts


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A top Saudi Arabian official on Friday denied the kingdom was involved in the leak of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ private text messages and photos to the National Enquirer tabloid.

"Absolutely not," Adel Al-Jubeir, Saudi’s minister of state for foreign affairs, when asked by "Face the Nation" moderator Margaret Brennan about potential Saudi involvement, in an interview to be broadcast Sunday. "This sounds to me like a soap opera. I’ve been watching it on television and reading about it in the paper. This is something between the two parties. We have nothing to do with it."

In an extraordinary public statement posted to Medium on Thursday, Bezos said an investigation he directed into how the Enquirer obtained private messages he exchanged with Lauren Sanchez, with whom he was reported to be having an affair, had angered David Pecker, CEO of American Media, Inc., which owns the Enquirer, in Continue reading “Saudi official denies kingdom was involved in leak of Bezos’ private texts”

Trump’s physician says POTUS is ‘in very good health’ after annual medical exam


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Donald Trump’s personal physician said the president is “in very good health” and predicted he would remain so beyond his time in office, in a brief statement released after an annual physical examination Friday.

“While the reports and recommendations are being finalized, I am happy to announce that the President of the United States is in very good health,” U.S. Navy Cmdr. Sean P. Conley said in a statement released by the White House, “and I anticipate he will remain so for the duration his Presidency, and beyond.”

Trump went to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday for his second physical while in office. According to Conley’s statement, the appointment lasted four hours and Conley supervised the evaluation with more than 11 board-certified specialists.

Beyond that description and Conley’s broad statement about Trump’s health, no further details on what tests were administered and or opinions rendered Continue reading “Trump’s physician says POTUS is ‘in very good health’ after annual medical exam”

Leaders, lawmakers pay tribute to John Dingell


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John Dingell’s friends and former colleagues and presidents on Thursday paid tribute to the longest serving member of Congress as a leader who had an extraordinary record of legislative achievement — with a work ethic and sense of humor to match.

“Today, we have lost a beloved pillar of the Congress and one of the greatest legislators in American history," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said of Dingell, who died Thursday at 92, in a statement. "John Dingell leaves a towering legacy of unshakable strength, boundless energy and transformative leadership."

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Dingell left "a lasting impression with everyone he met."

Fellow Michiganders remembered Dingell, who first came to Capitol Hill as a page when his father, John Dingell Sr., was elected to Congress, as a gritty, determined lawmaker who found a way to forge deals with Republicans.

"The Congressman’s grit, humility and Continue reading “Leaders, lawmakers pay tribute to John Dingell”

Amazon’s Bezos accuses National Enquirer of ‘extortion and blackmail’


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Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon and the world’s richest man, accused the National Enquirer on Thursday of “extortion and blackmail” by trying to get him to end a personal investigation into how his private text messages and photos leaked and were splashed across the tabloid.

Bezos said the Enquirer made it certain that if he did not end the investigation, it would publish a nude photograph of him, along with more embarrassing images.

“I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing,” Bezos wrote on the site Medium, in a lengthy post titled “No thank you, Mr. Pecker” — referring to David Pecker, the CEO of American Media Inc., which owns the National Enquirer. “Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.”

Bezos’ public clash Continue reading “Amazon’s Bezos accuses National Enquirer of ‘extortion and blackmail’”

President invites sixth-grader who is bullied for having last name Trump to SOTU


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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have invited 13 Americans to join them for the State of the Union address on Tuesday, including a Delaware sixth-grader who shares the first couple’s last name and says the similarity has led to bullying.

“When the teacher is like, ‘Joshua Trump, are you here?’ I’ll go, ‘Yes,’ and almost everybody will laugh, besides my friends,” Joshua told “Inside Edition” in an interview, before his invitation was announced.

Joshua’s parents tried to briefly home-school their child and then enrolled him in another school, but the bullying continued. The abuse was so bad, “Inside Edition” reported, that teachers decided to not use Joshua’s last name at all. He is now considering changing his name.

The White House, in a news release on Monday, says Joshua likes science, art and history. His hero and best friend is his uncle Cody, who serves Continue reading “President invites sixth-grader who is bullied for having last name Trump to SOTU”

Ocasio-Cortez invites woman who confronted senator over Kavanaugh confirmation to State of the Union


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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) announced on Monday that she had invited the woman behind the viral confrontation with then-Sen. Jeff Flake over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to be her State of the Union guest on Tuesday.

“This @AnaMariaArchil2, the NY-14 shero that will be accompanying me to the State of the Union tomorrow,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter, quoting a tweet with the video of Ana Maria Archila’s encounter in September. “She wasn’t planning on leaping into that elevator ahead of the Kavanaugh vote, but after hearing the stories of survivors across the country, she went in.”

Members of Congress often try to send a message about a particular policy with whom they invite as their guest to the State of the Union. Presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan in 1982, often invite guests to sit with the first lady and reference them during particular passages in Continue reading “Ocasio-Cortez invites woman who confronted senator over Kavanaugh confirmation to State of the Union”

Trump: Booker has ‘no chance’ in 2020


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On the day Sen. Cory Booker declared he was running in 2020, President Donald Trump said the New Jersey Democrat has "no chance" of taking the White House.

"I say no chance," Trump said of Booker’s shot at the presidency in an interview with CBS News "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan, recorded Friday and to be broadcast in full on Sunday.

When pressed on his analysis, Trump responded: "Because I know him. He has no chance."

Booker officially announced his presidential campaign on Friday morning and then later spoke to reporters outside of his home in Newark.

When asked about Trump, Booker declined to call the president a racist and emphasized his campaign will not be about "who I’m against or what I’m against."

"I don’t know the heart of anybody,” Booker said when asked if Trump was a racist. “I’ll leave that to the Lord.”

Continue reading “Trump: Booker has ‘no chance’ in 2020”

Virginia governor apologizes for racist yearbook photo


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Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam on Friday apologized after admitting he is one of two people in a decades-old yearbook photo wearing blackface and Ku Klux Klan robes during his time in medical school.

"Earlier today, a website published a photograph of me from my 1984 medical school yearbook in a costume that is clearly racist and offensive," Northam said in statement. "I am deeply sorry for the decision I made to appear as I did in this photo and for the hurt that decision caused then and now."

Northam added that it will "take time and serious effort to heal the damage this conduct has caused."

The Virginia Republican Party has called on the governor to resign. Northam’s statement does not address which of the two men he is in photo on his half-page in the 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook.

The news of the yearbook photos Continue reading “Virginia governor apologizes for racist yearbook photo”

Trump touts report Don Jr. did not call him about Trump Tower meeting


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President Donald Trump welcomed a report Thursday that said his son, Donald Trump Jr., did not talk with him on a blocked phone number before and after a meeting at Trump Tower between top campaign officials and Russians linked to the Kremlin.

"Just out: The big deal, very mysterious Don jr telephone calls, after the innocent Trump Tower meeting, that the media & Dems said were made to his father (me), were just conclusively found NOT to be made to me," the president wrote on Twitter. "They were made to friends & business associates of Don. Really sad!"

CNN reported Thursday that three sources "with knowledge of the matter" told the network that records provided to the Senate Intelligence Community show the calls were between Trump Jr. and business associates.

Democrats, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who both sit on committees Continue reading “Trump touts report Don Jr. did not call him about Trump Tower meeting”

Trump on 2020 Dems: Harris had ‘best opening act’


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President Donald Trump on Thursday weighed in on the field of 2020 Democratic challengers, proclaiming that Sen. Kamala Harris had the best campaign rollout while continuing to needle Sen. Elizabeth Warren about her claimed Native American heritage.

"I would say the best opening so far would be Kamala Harris,” Trump told the New York Times about the California Democrat. “I would say in terms of the opening act, I would say, would be her.”

Harris formally announced her campaign last Sunday in a raucous rally in Oakland, Calif., to a crowd of more than 20,000 people. She raised $1.5 million in the first 24 hours of entering the field.

But Trump was not as kind to other Democrats, saying that others were "very flat," without naming names.

The president has long needled Warren over her past identification as Native American, using the derogatory term "Pocahontas" to refer Continue reading “Trump on 2020 Dems: Harris had ‘best opening act’”

Trump calls immigration spending talks a ‘waste of time’


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The group of congressional lawmakers tasked with coming up with a bipartisan immigration spending deal has met only once, but President Donald Trump on Thursday declared that any further deliberations were a “waste of time” while strongly hinting that he was ready to take executive action to ensure that his border wall with Mexico is built.

“I think [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly by doing what’s she doing and, ultimately, I think I’ve set the table very nicely,” Trump said during a wide-ranging interview with The New York Times that was published Thursday night.

Pelosi earlier Thursday maintained her repeated and explicit refusal to provide the $5.7 billion Trump has requested for a border wall — or, for that matter, any funding. The speaker’s statement comes as a bipartisan group of lawmakers from both houses has been tasked with coming up with a compromise Continue reading “Trump calls immigration spending talks a ‘waste of time’”

Trump says he never asked Roger Stone about WikiLeaks


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President Donald Trump on Thursday denied that he ever had communication with his longtime associate Roger Stone about WikiLeaks or ever directed anyone on his campaign to contact Stone about the anti-secrecy organization.

The emphatic statement, in an interview with The New York Times, came almost a week after Stone was indicted on multiple felony charges, some of which are related to his truthfulness concerning matters about WikiLeaks.

“No, I didn’t. I never did,” Trump told The Times when asked whether he’d spoken with Stone about WikiLeaks.

When pressed by Times reporters on the matter, Trump also denied ever directing anyone to contact Stone about WikiLeaks. “Never did,” the president said.

On Jan. 25, Stone was indicted on seven charges related to allegedly lying to Congress and efforts to intimidate another witness in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, Randy Credico, who was in contact with WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange in Continue reading “Trump says he never asked Roger Stone about WikiLeaks”

Schumer urges Coats to stage intelligence intervention with Trump


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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer swiped at President Donald Trump on Wednesday evening, urging America’s top intelligence official to stage an intervention and educate the commander in chief about how important it is for him to back the U.S. intelligence community.

"I believe it is incumbent on you, Director Wray and Director Haspel to insist on an immediate meeting with the President to educate him about the facts and raw intelligence underlying the Intelligence Community assessments …," Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to Dan Coats, the U.S. director of national intelligence.

Coats, who served with Schumer in the Senate, publicly undercut Trump’s statements on Tuesday during a Senate Intelligence Community hearing where he spoke about ISIS’ strength, North Korea nuclear weapons program and the Iran nuclear deal in vastly different terms than Trump does.

Coats was joined by FBI Director Chris Wray and CIA Director Continue reading “Schumer urges Coats to stage intelligence intervention with Trump”