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Story 1: United States Military Special Operators Force Suicide of ISIS Leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi — Videos –

See the source image

President Trump Announces ISIS Leader Killed in US Military Raid

President Donald Trump announces the death of Islamic State Leader al-Baghdadi

Trump confirms death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

Mike Pompeo goes inside the mission that killed al-Baghdadi

‘It was a brilliantly executed operation’: Defense secretary on al-Baghdadi raid | ABC News

‘He died like a dog’ Trump addresses the nation and says ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died ‘whimpering and crying and screaming’

  • Donald Trump announced Sunday morning that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead 
  • U.S.-led forces descended on al-Baghdadi’s lair in Idlib, Syria overnight 
  • The president said al-Baghdadi ‘died like a dog’ after being run down a dead-end tunnel and cornered
  • Baghdadi detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children
  • Eleven children were cleared from the lair
  • Baghdadi’s two wives were killed during the operation without their suicide vests being detonated
  • Trump teased Saturday night that he would be making a ‘major statement’ 
  • Al-Baghdadi issued a chilling call to arms in 2014 declaring an Islamic ‘caliphate’ 
  • Under his leadership, smaller-scale higher-frequency attacks became the norm 
  • Trump says he does not regret pulling U.S. forces from northern Syria 

 

Donald Trump announced Sunday morning that ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi ‘died like a dog’ as the result of a U.S. Special Ops forces raid on his hideout in northwest Syria.

‘Last night the United State brought the world’s number one terrorist leader to justice. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is dead,’ Trump said from the Diplomatic Reception Room, where just a week earlier he announced a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds.

‘He was the founder and leader of ISIS, the most ruthless and violent terror organization anywhere in the world,’ he continued as he described the events of the raid.

Al-Baghdadi, the president confirmed, detonated his suicide vest, killing himself and three children, during an overnight targeted attack in Syria’s Idlib province.

The president touted the operation and al-Baghdadi’s death as ‘bigger than bin Laden.’ Osama bin Laden, founder of Al-Qaeda and the terrorist leader behind the September 11 terrorist attacks, was killed in 2011 during a Navy SEALs operation during Barack Obama’s presidency.

‘This is the biggest there is. This is the worst ever. Osama bin Laden was big, but Osama bin Laden became big with the World Trade Center. This is a man who built a whole, as he would like to call it, a country,’ Trump said, referencing al-Baghdadi’s creation of the Islamic State.

Donald Trump addressed the nation Sunday morning, confirming that the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He said he had watched and monitored the whole operation Saturday night

Donald Trump addressed the nation Sunday morning, confirming that the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He said he had watched and monitored the whole operation Saturday night

Meeting in the situation room Saturday night (from left to right): National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark Milley and Brig. General Marcus Evans

Meeting in the situation room Saturday night (from left to right): National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, Vice President Mike Pence, Trump, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark Milley and Brig. General Marcus Evans

Trump also referred to al-Baghdadi and those who followed him as ‘losers,’ and lauded that no U.S. personnel were lost during the raid. He did say, however, that one ‘talented canine’ was injured.

‘I got to watch much of it. No personnel were lost in the operation, while a large number of Baghdadi’s fighters and companions were killed with him,’ Trump said during his rare Sunday morning remarks.

‘He died after running into a dead-end tunnel, whimpering and crying and screaming all the way,’ Trump continued, adding that Baghdadi drug three of his children with him. ‘They were led to certain death.’

‘He reached the end of the tunnel as our dogs chased him down. He ignited his vest, killing himself and the three children. His body was mutilated by the blast. the tunnel had caved in on it, in addition. But test results gave certain, immediate and totally positive identification. It was him. The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him,’ he detailed.

he White House confirmed that Trump watched and listened to the operations unfold in the Situation room Saturday night – Sunday morning Syria time – with National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Army General Mark Milley and Brig. General Marcus Evans.

The president said, while claiming he’s been looking for Baghdadi ever since assuming office, that he’s potentially the only one better at ‘using the internet’ than ISIS forces.

‘A couple of weeks ago they were able to scope him out,’ Trump said of the U.S. intelligence community.

‘You know, these people are very smart, they are not into the use of cell phones any more. They’re very technically brilliant,’ the president said in reference to those working for ISIS.

‘You know, they use the internet better than almost anybody in the world, perhaps other than Donald Trump,’ he continued. ‘But they use the internet incredibly well and what they’ve done with the internet through recruiting and everything – and that is why he died like a dog, he died like a coward. He was whimpering, screaming and crying, and frankly I think it’s something that should be brought out so that his followers and all of these young kids that want to leave various countries – including the United States – they should see how he died. He didn’t die a hero, he died a coward – crying, whimpering, and screaming and bringing three kids with him to die. Certain death.’

The president teased Saturday night, ‘Something very big has just happened!’ and the White House also announced that night that the president would be ‘making a major statement’ Sunday morning from the White House.

Trump said he does not regret his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria, which opened the way for Turkey to invade and target Kurdish forces.

Caliphate leader: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi detonated his own suicide vest during the targeted raid on his lair in Syria's Idlib province and killed three of his children in the blast. He is shown in a still from a video released in April, having not been seen since he spoke at the Grand Mosque in Mosul in 2014

Caliphate leader: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi detonated his own suicide vest during the targeted raid on his lair in Syria’s Idlib province and killed three of his children in the blast. He is shown in a still from a video released in April, having not been seen since he spoke at the Grand Mosque in Mosul in 2014

Syrians ride a motorcycle past a burnt vehicle near the site where a helicopter gunfire reportedly killed nine people near the northwestern Syrian village of Barisha

Syrians ride a motorcycle past a burnt vehicle near the site where a helicopter gunfire reportedly killed nine people near the northwestern Syrian village of Barisha

Al-Baghdadi arrived at the area of the raid 48 hours beforehand, Turkish officials said – and the CIA assisted in locating him.

Information is now emerging over how the U.S. was able to track down Baghdadi, including details of his whereabouts from two inside informants.

A senior Iraqi intelligence official told the Associated Press that a few months ago an Iraqi aide to al-Baghdadi was killed in western Iraq by a U.S. airstrike, and his wife was arrested and handed over to Iraqi authorities.

The official indicated that the wife ended up being a key source of information on al-Baghdadi’s whereabouts. The Iraqis who had her in custody were ultimately able to pass along to the U.S. coordinates on al-Baghdadi through information they learned from the aide’s wife.

A second Iraqi security official said al-Baghdadi’s brother-in-law was recently arrested by the Iraqis and also gave information on Baghdadi’s whereabouts

The ISIS leader’s two wives, who were both wearing explosive devices that never detonated, were taken down. Several of his children were taken from the lair and are still alive. Several others were killed in the attack.

Trump said more people were killed than captured, but confirmed there are some in U.S. custody.

Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) confirmed on Sunday they had worked with the U.S. on a ‘successful’ operation against Islamic State.

‘Our strong and effective operations once again confirm our strength and determination to go after (Islamic State),’ the head of the SDF’s media office said.

The Syrian Democratic Forces is an alliance in the Syrian Civil War made up of primarily Kurdish, Arab and Assyrian/Syriac militias.

SDF General Commander Mazloum Abdi took partial credit for taking down al-Baghdadi, but also thanked the president and U.S. Army in its efforts, which he said have been under way for almost half-a-year.

‘For five months there has been joint intel cooperation on the ground and accurate monitoring, until we achieved a joint operation to kill Abu Bakir al-Baghdadi. Thanks to everybody who participate in this great mission,’ Abdi tweeted, tagging Donald Trump’s Twitter account.

Al-Baghdadi, the leader of the so-called Islamic caliphate, blew himself up during the targeted attack on his lair in Syria's Idlib province in the early hours of Sunday morning. His lair was in a village known for smuggling, and he arrived there 48 hours before the raid

The ISIS leader has been among U.S. and Europe’s force’s most wanted figures since his chilling call to arms in 2014, which saw a shift away from the mass casualty attacks carried out by al-Qaeda in favor of smaller-scale acts of violence.

Shifting away from the airline hijackings and other mass-casualty attacks that came to define al-Qaeda, al-Baghdadi encouraged smaller-scale acts of violence that would be harder for law enforcement to prepare for and prevent.

He encouraged jihadists who could not travel to the caliphate to instead kill where they were using whatever weapon they had at their disposal, resulting in a series of devastating attacks in the UK and Europe.

His words inspired more than 140 terrorist attacks in 29 countries other than Iraq and Syria, resulting in the deaths of at least 2,043 people, CNN reports.

Since 2016, the State Department has offered a reward of up to $25 million for information or intelligence that could lead to Baghdadi’s capture or death.

Al-Baghdadi led ISIS for the last five years, presiding over its ascendancy as it cultivated a barbaric reputation for beheadings and horrific executions.

These recordings, often noted for their high production values, were distributed online along with the ISIS propaganda magazine Dabiq.

He remained among the few ISIS commanders still at large despite multiple claims in recent years about his death and even as his so-called caliphate dramatically shrank, with many supporters who joined the cause either imprisoned or jailed.

A picture taken on October 27, 2019 shows a burnt vehicle at the site where a helicopter gunfire killed nine people near the northwestern Syrian village of Barisha in the province of Idlib near the border with Turkey

A picture taken on October 27, 2019 shows a burnt vehicle at the site where a helicopter gunfire killed nine people near the northwestern Syrian village of Barisha in the province of Idlib near the border with Turkey

Trump teased, without explanation on Saturday that 'Something very big has just happened!' and the White House confirmed the president would be addressing the nation on Sunday morning

Trump teased, without explanation on Saturday that ‘Something very big has just happened!’ and the White House confirmed the president would be addressing the nation on Sunday morning

With a £19.5 million ($25m) bounty on his head, al-Baghdadi had been far less visible in recent years, releasing only sporadic audio recordings, including one just last month in which he called on members of the extremist group to do all they could to free ISIS detainees and women held in jails and camps.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported an attack carried out by a squadron of eight helicopters accompanied by a warplane.

The attacks were on positions where ISIS  operatives were believed to be hiding in the Barisha area north of Idlib city, after midnight on Saturday-Sunday.

It said the helicopters targeted ISIS positions with heavy strikes for about 120 minutes, during which jihadists targeted the helicopters with heavy weapons.

The Syrian Observatory documented the death of nine people as a result of the coalition helicopter attack, adding that the death toll is likely to rise due to the presence of a large number of wounded.

The strike came amid concerns that a recent American pullback from northeastern Syria could infuse new strength into the militant group, which had lost vast stretches of territory it had once controlled.

The purported audio was his first public statement since last April, when he appeared in a video for the first time in five years.

Reports suggest that al-Baghdadi, the elusive militant who has been the subject of an international manhunt for years, had been killed in Idlib, Syria

Reports suggest that al-Baghdadi, the elusive militant who has been the subject of an international manhunt for years, had been killed in Idlib, Syria

In 2014, he was a black-robed figure delivering a sermon from the pulpit of Mosul’s Great Mosque of al-Nuri, his only known public appearance.

He urged Muslims around the world to swear allegiance to the caliphate and obey him as its leader.

‘It is a burden to accept this responsibility to be in charge of you,’ he said in the video.

‘I am not better than you or more virtuous than you. If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me. And obey me as far as I obey God.’

The death of such a high-value U.S. target comes amid a difficult political backdrop for Trump, who has been frustrated heavy media focus on the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry, which he calls a bipartisan smear.

He has also faced withering criticism from both Republicans and Democrats alike for his U.S. troop withdrawal from northeastern Syria, which permitted Turkey to attack America’s Kurdish allies.

The rise and fall of the Islamic State

The Islamic State group erupted from the chaos of Syria and Iraq’s conflicts, declaring itself a ‘caliphate’ after conquering a giant stretch of territory.

Its territorial rule, which at its height in 2014 stretched across nearly a third of both Syria and Iraq, ended in March with a last stand by several hundred of its militants at a tiny Syrian village on the banks of the Euphrates near the border with Iraq.

But the militants have maintained a presence in both countries, and their shadowy leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had continued releasing messages urging them to keep up the fight.

Here are the key moments in the rise and fall of the Islamic State group:

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi - who was also known as Caliph Ibrahim - released a propaganda video in 2014 where he addressed Muslim worshipers at a mosque in Mosul

April 2013 – Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announces the merger of his group with al-Qaeda’s franchise in Syria, forming the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

January 2014 – Al-Baghdadi’s forces overrun the city of Fallujah in Iraq’s western Anbar province and parts of the nearby provincial capital of Ramadi. In Syria, they seize sole control of the city of Raqqa after driving out rival Syrian rebel factions, and it becomes their de facto capital.

February 2014 – Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri disavows al-Baghdadi after the Iraqi militant ignores his demands that IS leave Syria.

June 2014 – IS captures Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, and pushes south as Iraqi forces crumble, eventually capturing Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit and reaching the outskirts of Baghdad. When they threaten Shiite holy sites, Iraq’s top Shiite cleric issues a call to arms, and masses of volunteers, largely backed and armed by Iran, join militias.

June 29, 2014 – The group renames itself the Islamic State and declares the establishment of a self-styled ‘caliphate’ in its territories in Iraq and Syria. Al-Baghdadi is declared the caliph.

July 4, 2014 – Al-Baghdadi makes his first public appearance, delivering a Friday sermon in Mosul’s historic al-Nuri Mosque. He urges Muslims around the world to swear allegiance to the caliphate and obey him as its leader.

August 2014 – IS captures the town of Sinjar west of Mosul and begins a systematic slaughter of the tiny Yazidi religious community. Women and girls are kidnapped as sex slaves; hundreds remain missing to this day.

August 8, 2014 – The U.S. launches its campaign of airstrikes against IS in Iraq.

September 22, 2014 – The U.S.-led coalition begins an aerial campaign against IS in Syria.

January, 2015 – Iraqi Kurdish fighters, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, drive IS out of several towns north of Mosul. In Syria, Kurdish fighters backed by U.S. airstrikes repel an IS onslaught on the town of Kobani on the border with Turkey, the first significant defeat for IS.

April 1, 2015 – U.S.-backed Iraqi forces retake Tikrit, their first major victory against IS.

May 20, 2015 – IS captures the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra, where the extremists later destroy archaeological treasures.

February 9, 2016 – Iraqi forces recapture Ramadi after months of fighting and at enormous cost, with thousands of buildings destroyed. Almost the entire population fled the city.

June 26, 2016 – Fallujah is declared liberated by Iraqi forces after a five-week battle.

July 3, 2016 – IS sets off a gigantic suicide truck bomb outside a Baghdad shopping mall, killing almost 300 people, the deadliest attack in Iraq since the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

October 17, 2016 – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announces the start of the operation to liberate Mosul.

Iraqi Army soldiers celebrate as they hold an IS flag, which they captured during a raid on a village outside Mosul in November 2016

Iraqi Army soldiers celebrate as they hold an IS flag, which they captured during a raid on a village outside Mosul in November 2016

November 5, 2016 – The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces launch Operation Euphrates Wrath, the first of five operations aiming to retake Raqqa, starting with an encircling of the city.

January 24, 2017 – Al-Abadi announces eastern Mosul has been ‘fully liberated’.

May 10, 2017 – SDF captures the strategic Tabqa dam after weeks of battles and a major airlift operation that brought SDF fighters and their U.S. advisers to the area. The fall of the dam facilitated the push on Raqqa, about 25 miles away.

June 6, 2017 – SDF fighters begin an attack on Raqqa from three sides, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes.

June 18, 2017 – Iraqi forces launch battle for Mosul’s Old City, the last IS stronghold there.

June 21, 2017 – IS destroys Mosul’s iconic al-Nuri Mosque and its 12th century leaning minaret as Iraqi forces close in.

July 10, 2017 – Iraqi PM declares victory over IS in Mosul and end of the extremists’ caliphate in Iraq.

October 17, 2017 – SDF takes full control of Raqqa after months of heavy bombardment that devastates the city.

September – December, 2017 – Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air power and Iranian forces, recapture IS territory on the western bank of the Euphrates River, seizing the cities of Deir el-Zour, Mayadin and Boukamal on the border with Iraq.

Isis lost its hold over Mosul in July 2017 but the city suffered severe bombing

Isis lost its hold over Mosul in July 2017 but the city suffered severe bombing

August 23, 2018 – IS leader al-Baghdadi resurfaces in his first purported audio recording in almost a year; he urges followers to ‘persevere’ and continue fighting.

September 10, 2018 – SDF launches a ground offensive, backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes, to take the last territory held by IS in Syria’s eastern province of Deir el-Zour.

March 23, 2019 – SDF declares the complete capture of Baghouz and the end of the Islamic State group’s territorial ‘caliphate’.

October 27, 2019 – President Donald Trump announced that al-Baghdadi was killed during a US. Special Ops forces raid on his hideout in northwest Syria. Trump said the ‘violent terror leader’ died after running into a dead-end tunnel, and detonating his suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children.

  – Source: Associated Press

Story 2: Delusional Democrats Still Pushing Impeachment Despite No Evidence of High Crimes and Misdemeanors — Videos —

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Varney: Dems still pushing impeachment despite al-Baghdadi triumph

Trump blasts Adam Schiff: ‘He’s a corrupt politician’

Trump calls impeachment inquiry a ‘lynching’

 

Story 3: Joe Biden The Marathon Man For President — Videos

JOE BIDEN LEAD IS FADING: Could Pete Buttigieg Win the 2020 Democratic Nomination?

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Joe Biden in Danger of Humiliating Loss in Iowa, Top Democrats Warn

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Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden In Statistical Dead Heat In Iowa: Poll | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Joe Biden Adds To Lead And Warren Surges In New NBC Poll Of 2020 Democrats | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

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UPDATED DATA 10/28/2019

POLITICAL INTELLIGENCE
The State of the Democratic Primary

On a daily basis, Morning Consult is surveying over 5,000 registered voters across the United States on the 2020 presidential election. Every Monday, we’ll update this page with the latest survey data, offering an in-depth guide to how the race for the Democratic nomination is shaping up.

 

To receive an early look at this report, and other key 2020 data, sign up here.

Who’s Leading Now

The figures are broken out among Democratic primary voters nationwide and in early primary states, which includes just voters who live in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina or Nevada. The latest results are based on 15,431 survey interviews conducted between Oct. 21-27, 2019.

1
Joe Biden Former Vice President
32%
2
Bernie Sanders U.S. Senator
20%
Elizabeth Warren U.S. Senator
20%
4
Pete Buttigieg Mayor
7%
5
Kamala Harris U.S. Senator
6%
6
Andrew Yang Business Person
3%
7
Cory Booker U.S. Senator
2%
Tulsi Gabbard U.S. Representative
2%
Amy Klobuchar U.S. Senator
2%
2%
1%
1%
1%
1%
1%
0%
1%
SEE MORE CANDIDATES

Tracking The Field Over Time

Hover over or click each line to track how support for candidates has changed week to week.

Select Options
All
None
 Andrew Yang
 Amy Klobuchar
 Bernie Sanders
 Beto O’Rourke
 Bill de Blasio
 Cory Booker
 Elizabeth Warren
 Joe Biden
 John Delaney
 Julian Castro
 Kamala Harris
 Marianne Williamson
 Michael Bennet
 Pete Buttigieg
 Steve Bullock
 Tulsi Gabbard
 Tom Steyer
 Tim Ryan
AMONG DEMOCRATIC VOTERSJan-13-201917-Feb24-Mar28-Apr2-Jun7-Jul11-Aug15-Sep20-Oct0%10%20%30%40%

Second Choices: Where Voters Could Migrate

After voters registered their first choice, they were asked a follow-up about whom they would choose as a second option. The results below show where the supporters for a selection of leading candidates could go next. Hover over or click cards to see more.

BIDEN SUPPORTERS
Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Senator
BIDEN SUPPORTERS
Second Choice Selections

Elizabeth Warren

28%

Bernie Sanders

26%

Pete Buttigieg

9%
WARREN SUPPORTERS
Bernie Sanders
U.S. Senator
WARREN SUPPORTERS
Second Choice Selections

Bernie Sanders

28%

Joe Biden

25%

Pete Buttigieg

14%
SANDERS SUPPORTERS
Joe Biden
Former Vice President
SANDERS SUPPORTERS
Second Choice Selections

Joe Biden

30%

Elizabeth Warren

28%

Kamala Harris

6%
BUTTIGIEG SUPPORTERS
Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Senator
BUTTIGIEG SUPPORTERS
Second Choice Selections

Elizabeth Warren

28%

Joe Biden

20%

Bernie Sanders

11%
HARRIS SUPPORTERS
Elizabeth Warren
U.S. Senator
HARRIS SUPPORTERS
Second Choice Selections

Elizabeth Warren

25%

Joe Biden

22%

Bernie Sanders

14%

Tracking Name Recognition and Favorability

Respondents were asked whether they had a favorable impression of each of the following, and also had the option of saying they hadn’t heard of that person or had no opinion about them.

 Favorable
 Heard Of, No Opinion
 Never Heard Of
 Unfavorable
Bernie Sanders U.S. Senator
76%6%1%17%
Joe Biden Former Vice President
74%7%1%19%
Elizabeth Warren U.S. Senator
68%11%6%15%
Kamala Harris U.S. Senator
55%15%11%19%
Beto O’Rourke Former U.S. Representative
45%20%17%18%
Cory Booker U.S. Senator
47%19%18%16%
Julian Castro Former Secretary, HUD
34%27%19%19%
Pete Buttigieg Mayor
48%18%21%13%
Andrew Yang Business Person
40%23%23%14%
Amy Klobuchar U.S. Senator
34%23%27%16%
John Delaney Former U.S. Representative
18%37%31%14%
Tim Ryan U.S. Representative
21%32%31%16%
Tulsi Gabbard U.S. Representative
21%23%33%23%
Michael Bennet U.S. Senator
20%33%35%12%
Tom Steyer Business Person
26%24%36%14%
Marianne Williamson Activist & Author
17%24%37%22%
Steve Bullock Governor
18%32%39%12%

Methodology

About Morning Consult Political Intelligence

On a daily basis, Morning Consult surveys over 5,000 registered voters across the United States. Along with 2020 presidential election data, Political Intelligence tracks the approval ratings for all governorssenators, House members, the president, and more at the national, state and congressional district level.

Each week, we will release a report with the most important findings on the 2020 election. Sign up to receive that report in your inbox here.

Results from the most recent update

This page was last updated on October 28, 2019.

Our Democratic primary results are reported using 15,431 interviews with registered voters who indicated they may vote in the Democratic primary or caucus in their state. For those who say don’t know or no opinion, they are asked to pick a candidate they are leaning toward. Results are reported among first choice and those who lean toward a candidate. The interviews were collected October 21-27, 2019, and have a margin of error of +/- 1%. The “Early Primary State Voters” demographic consists of 611 voters in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, and has a margin of error of +/- 4%.

In the case of a tie, candidates are ordered alphabetically by last name.

https://morningconsult.com/2020-democratic-primary-2/

 

The Zombie Campaign

Joe Biden is the least formidable front-runner ever. Will it matter?

Vice President Joe Biden at a campaign rally in Philadelphia on May 18, 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Inevitably, he arrives late, by SUV or van. The former vice-president is thin and, yes, he’s old. He dresses neatly and always in blue. Staff envelop him. There’s the body man, the advance man, the videographer, the photographer, the digital director, the traveling chief of staff, the traveling press secretary, the local press secretary, the adviser, the other adviser, the adviser’s adviser, the surrogate, the other surrogate, and the bodyguard.

The looming presence of the last guy, Jim, is especially important for optics. Jim is tall and official-looking. He greets the world chest-first, his hands resting in a dignified clasp, his expression even, his mouth unmoving. Most people assume that he’s a Secret Service agent. Which he was.

But ex-VPs don’t get security for life the way ex-presidents do. Most people don’t know that, not even the politically savvy types who attend these sorts of things. And that’s all for the best, because Jim — or whatever local guy they’ve got filling in for him in Iowa or New Hampshire or Nevada or wherever else — is a necessary component of the vibe they’re trying to generate here, the Big Presidential Energy, if you will, that powers this production.

And it is a production. This is true even when the event is small, which it often is, because the stakes never are — Joe Biden speaking off the cuff is something the entire campaign seems focused on preventing at all costs. Inside the community center or union hall or college auditorium, the stage is crafted just so. The red and blue letters — each roughly the size of a 9-year-old — spell IOWA 4 BIDEN. The American flag is stretched taut and stapled to the plywood. The lawn sign is stapled to the lectern. The delicate panes of teleprompter glass angle to meet his hopeful gaze, so that he may absorb the programmed speech as he peers out at his audience, which usually skews quite old and white, unless he’s in South Carolina.

This first part — the reading of the speech — he almost always gets right. Even when he makes changes, rearranging the order of the words, skipping over a few, adding others, how could he not get it right? He’s been delivering some version of it for more than 40 years and living it for longer. He could deliver it in his sleep, if he ever sleeps. It’s like my father always said: Joey, a job is about more than just a paycheck. It’s about your dignity. It’s about being able to look your child in the eye and say, “It’s gonna be okay …” There is an undercurrent of shame that pulses throughout, this idea that the unequalness of our society is embarrassing for those who have access to less, rather than embarrassing for those who have more than anyone could need.

Folks … Not a joke! He’s always saying something rather solemn, about cancer or immigration, and then adding, “Not a joke!” as if anyone thought it might be. I’m being serious here … Come on … The bottom line is … I’m not kidding around … The fact of the matter is … Barack and me … Folks … Folks … Folks … folks … folks … folks … folks … folks … folks … folks … FOLKS … folks … FoLkS … fOlKs … F. O. L. K. S. …

And this next part — the greeting of the voters — he gets right, too. In this context, he possesses an almost mystical quality that, for whatever reason, does not come across when filtered through the kaleidoscope of newsprint or television. It’s the way he focuses his eyes, which are as blue as the seas, except for (yikes) that time the left eye filled with blood on CNN a few weeks back.

He is swarmed. Women reach out to him, linking their arms in his. He bows his head and lifts their hands to his mouth for a kiss and, later, when you ask them if that makes them uncomfortable, they look at you like you have three heads. This is the best day of their lives. Are you insane? There are men, too, who embrace him, wrapping their hands around his neck. He calls every male-presenting human he encounters “man.” I watched him call a baby “man.” As in, Hey! How­areya, man?! He is as skilled a selfie-taker as any influencer, and in the span of 30 or 40 minutes, he snaps hundreds, leaning his body against the rope that separates him from the crowd, straining it one, two, three feet forward. He really does connect with every living being this way, talking about their jobs or their health care as he listens, sometimes crying with them, whispering in their ears, taking their phone numbers and promising to call them. He does, in fact, do that. Everybody is Joe Biden’s long-lost friend. Every baby is Joe Biden’s long-lost child. A little girl in Iowa City called him her uncle Joe. On the Fourth of July in the town of Independence, he took off, running through the parade like a dingo with somebody’s newborn. As hard as it might be to believe that anything in this realm could not be bullshit, it’s simply true that this isn’t.

His own loss is staggering in its scale and cruelty: Neilia, his wife, and Naomi, his infant daughter, killed in a car crash. Beau, his oldest son, who survived that crash with his brother, Hunter, killed decades later by brain cancer. And it’s as though in that loss he’s gained access to an otherwise imperceptible wavelength on which he communicates in this way, with the eyes and the hands.

“I don’t know how to describe it, but sometimes some people would walk up with a lot of emotion in their face, and without even hearing their story, he could connect with them,” John Flynn, who served as Biden’s senior adviser in the White House, said. “He would know it was either one thing or another, and he would just know how to approach them and to get them to gently open up if they wanted to. And if they didn’t want to, he just said, ‘Hey, I’m with you, and I’m there for you. I feel your pain.’ ”

Chris Coons was an intern for Biden in the Senate and is now a United States senator from Delaware himself. He told me about Loretta Wootten, a former colleague who in January went into a coma after a car crash that killed her husband. “I went to visit Loretta when she regained consciousness, and she looks at me, and she says, ‘Does Joe know I’m here?’ That’s her first sentence. I said, ‘I don’t know. I mean, he’s running for president.’ And, she says, ‘I just would love to hear from him.’ The next time I see him, I say, ‘Do you remember Loretta Wootten?’ and he smiles and he says, ‘Of course.’ I said, ‘Well, Loretta’s husband was just killed in a car accident, and she’s in recovery.’ And he gets this look, and he turned to someone and said, ‘Get me a piece of paper.’ And he writes out this page-long, heartfelt message to her, hands it to me, and says, ‘Please get this to her.’ When I delivered that to her, she wept with joy.”

I have witnessed this kind of connection at nearly all of the countless events I’ve attended in a half-dozen states in the six months since Biden announced his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. If he ever does sleep, surely Joe Biden dreams as he proselytizes, of an unbroken America, its ideals and reputation restored, where everybody is folks and folks have everything they need and maybe some of what they want, where the field is just even enough that nobody is ashamed of their own place on it, and where the president isn’t an idiot but where you can easily deal with the idiots by kicking the shit out of them out back in a parking lot or something. Crucially, in this dream, Joe Biden is the president.

A campaign event in New Hampshire in October. Photo: M. Scott Brauer

The pitch goes like this: Joe Biden ought to be the nominee because he’s electable, a meaningless concept if recent history is any guide, and presidential, that wonderful word — the thing Donald Trump could never be even though he literally is president — despite the fact that Biden, who appears by almost any measure to be a good man, a man whose lone sin in life is ego (and does that even count anymore?), has spent a half-century grasping for this position and watching it slip through his fingers.

To anyone paying attention — the army of political professionals more wired to observe shortcomings than are those likely to actually vote for him or for anyone else — it looks, unmistakably, like it’s happening again. His vulnerabilities are close to the surface. There’s the basic fact of his oldness and the concerns, explicit or implicit, about his ability to stay agile and alive for four more years. This was true of Biden, who is 76, even more than it was true of Bernie Sanders, who is the oldest candidate at 78, up until Sanders had a heart attack while campaigning in Nevada earlier this month. (It’s not true at all of Elizabeth Warren, who is 70 but seems a decade younger. And it’s not exactly true of Trump, who is 73 and really just seems crazy, not old.)

But it’s not just his age itself. It’s his tendency to misspeak, his inartful debating style, and — most of all — his status as a creature from another time in the Democratic Party, when the politics of race and crime and gender were unrecognizably different. It’s not just that the Joe Biden of yesteryear sometimes peeks out from behind the No. 1 Obama Stan costume. It’s that the Joe Biden of today is expected to hold his former self accountable to the new standards set by a culture that’s prepared to reject him. And though he’s the party Establishment’s obvious exemplar, he can’t seem to raise any money — spending more in the last quarter than he brought in and moving into the homestretch with less than $9 million in the bank (roughly a third of what Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders has on hand). For political reporters, marveling every day at just how well this isn’t going, watching Biden can feel like being at the rodeo. You’re there because on some level you know you might see someone get killed.

Yet Biden is still the front-runner. Volatile and potentially worthless as they may be, it’s what the polls say. Biden leads the field on average by a handful of percentage points, though his lead has trended steadily downward, from a high of 33 in May to 20 in June to 11, and then to 9.9, and 6.6, and 5.4, according to RealClearPolitics. In the whole campaign, there has only been one day — October 8 — when he slipped to second place, an average of 0.2 points behind Warren. He’s also the front-runner in South Carolina, Nevada, California, Texas, North Carolina, and Florida. “There is this sense of hanging on. And perhaps he can. But that’s generally not the way the physics of these things work,” former Obama adviser David Axelrod told me. “Generally, you’re either moving up or moving down. Warren is clearly moving up. There’s no sign that he is.”

Biden is aware that it’s not going well. But it’s not apparent that he knows how to fix it. Recently, according to his staff, his anxieties have manifested more visibly. If he begins to question something small, he spirals, eventually questioning everything. Should he be saying this in his speech? Wait, should he be giving this speech at all? Should he even be focusing on this group? Is this even the right position? He freaks out over minor stuff on the trail that staffers don’t believe he should be concerning himself with and yet is unable to make strategic adjustments. But the staff concern themselves with unimportant matters, too, running what they think is a general-election campaign when they need to be running a primary. Inside the campaign, the Biden brain trust seems to exist more to comfort the candidate than to compel him, and strategy meetings inevitably devolve into meandering, ruminative roundtables that feel purposeless except to fill time in the day. Nobody will tell the candidate in plain terms what they think he needs to change. Not that Biden really listens anyway.

Some on the campaign still believe he can win, in part because they believe he should win. But even to them, the path to a collapse seems clear: Biden loses in Iowa and New Hampshire, where his leads have been steadily declining for months and where, recently, Elizabeth Warren has overtaken him, and then, as a result, loses his sheer aura of electability, too. But inside the campaign, they reportedly see another path, though it might not seem, at first, an optimistic one: Okay, so he loses Iowa and then New Hampshire, but so what? Because he is who he is and represents what he represents — the embodiment of both the white-working-class model of the electorate and the glow of the Obama years — he can weather the losses and march to victory through Super Tuesday and beyond. “Their theory is a long, twilight struggle where they accumulate delegates everywhere as minority voters start playing a larger role,” Axelrod said. “But in reality, it’s tough to be a winner when you keep losing or at least appear to be.”

Biden would obviously like you to think about his age as experience, but another way of thinking about experience is as a record. He’s got a long one. When he was elected to the Senate, Pete Buttigieg was still a decade away from birth. There’s a lot of material, then, for Biden’s critics to work with. All sorts of stuff that doesn’t age well, or doesn’t quite compute, in this season of absolutism: Anita Hill and allegations that he violated the personal space of several women, controversy over his crusade against busing as a desegregation measure and his eagerness to work with segregationist lawmakers. Last week, after Biden attacked Trump for calling his impeachment a “lynching,” video emerged of Biden calling Bill Clinton’s impeachment the same thing. If it was relevant to American political life at any point since Richard Nixon was president, Biden probably said something about it, but it’s new to many younger voters and activists and talking heads now.

Many of them treat Biden’s talking as yet another symptom of his age, but Biden has always been like this. “His major defect is that he goes on and on and on,” Orrin Hatch told the Washington Post in 1986, when Biden was 43. To say he overcame his childhood stutter would be a bad joke, like one of those I BEAT ANOREXIA T-shirts they sell on the Jersey boardwalk in size XXXL.

In Des Moines, in August, he told a crowd, “Poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids.” Realizing what he’d done, he tried to correct himself. “Wealthy kids,” he said, “black kids, Asian kids. No, I really mean it, but think how we think about it.” Two weeks later, in Keene, New Hampshire, he said, “I love this place. Look, what’s not to like about Vermont in terms of the beauty of it? And what a neat town. This is sort of a scenic, beautiful town.” (When he returned to New Hampshire the following month, a protester held a sign that read WELCOME TO VERMONT, JOE.) And so on.

Biden is cocooned by family, longtime advisers, and former White House staff. His wife Jill, Val, Mike Donilon, Ted Kaufman, Bruce Reed, Annie Tomasini, Tony Blinken, Steve Ricchetti, Ron Klain. But beyond that small circle, veterans are harder to find on his campaign. Biden is chronically slow to make decisions, and his late entry into the race, which came months after many of his competitors, was an additional challenge to staffing the campaign. Many working at Biden headquarters in Philadelphia have no experience on a presidential campaign, and some have never worked on any campaign at all; even those closest to the candidate address him, deferentially, as “sir.”

“Some of these folks who have never worked on a presidential before are like, ‘Okay, I’m working for the former vice-president!’ They don’t really feel like it’s slipping,” one senior campaign adviser told me. “There’s such reverence for getting to work for the vice-president that I think, for some of those folks, there’s a mentality of How could we possibly lose? He’s who he is. I don’t think they see that that’s not all it’s gonna take.” (Yes, even Biden’s staff say “folks” the way others say “like” or “um.”)

For many of these staffers, the campaign feels like it should be a coronation. Joe Biden 2020 isn’t a labor of love or ideology. It’s about the proper order of things. It’s about who’s entitled to what. It’s the vehicle by which the Democratic Party Establishment arrives once more to power, the displaced Obama and Clinton professionals reinstalled at the levers. If the Republic is spared in the process — which everybody genuinely wants, sure! — that’s a plus. And it’s great branding. When it comes to the enthusiasm voters wear on their sleeves for Warren or Sanders, the Biden campaign strikes a cool, dismissive pose, as if it could be believed that a candidate for president weren’t preoccupied with such metrics.

The activist wing of the party is a lost cause to Biden just as he’s a lost cause to them. When they show up at his speeches to confront him or protest in support of the Green New Deal, something I’ve witnessed twice in New Hampshire, he attempts to formulate what he surely believes is a respectful response, and yet they don’t think it’s enough, because nothing that he says could be enough because of who he is. Can you blame anyone under the age of 30 for their cynicism, for their hostility?

“Internally, there was always this idea that there would be some point when he wasn’t No. 1,” one senior campaign adviser swears. “To some extent, people were prepped for that. There isn’t a culture inside the campaign right now like, This is a done deal and we’ve lost. The culture is, This is getting real. People are still reacting to that. The question is: Does this now change our strategy and our culture? That’s where we are right now, figuring out what this new stature means.”

Where they are, if you’re keeping track, is slumped. And it’s a strange dynamic — the most qualified candidate in the race, surrounded by entitled staff who don’t understand that they have to fight for the nomination, or even the presidency, but without a real case to make beyond a Democratic succession that would amount to an Obama restoration. “He has no center,” as one person close to the Biden family put it. “He’s literally only a politician. That’s who he is. That’s all he is. Biden is fundamentally a toadie. He’s just political. He needs to kiss ass? He’ll kiss ass.”

“They have him in the candidate-protection program,” Axelrod says. “I don’t know if you can do that. I don’t know if you can get through a whole campaign that way. Either he can hack it or he can’t hack it. If you’re worried the candidate can hurt himself talking to a reporter, that’s a bad sign.” (Biden declined to be interviewed for this story.)

For his part, Biden is consumed with his endorsements, another sign of his perhaps outdated political instincts; getting insiders to declare their support meant something when powerful political machines controlled the primary process, but it has much less relevance to presidential politics today. And the only endorsement that could matter hasn’t materialized. President Barack Obama has remained silent on the 2020 primary even as he saw it fit to involve himself in Canadian affairs, endorsing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. A senior White House official, reflecting on Biden’s weakness, told me Biden should have never even entered the race without knowing he’d have the former president’s support.

Of course, that was always less of a sure thing than it might have seemed. In 2016, Obama went all-in for Hillary, even as his vice-president contemplated a run. In the early stages of this race, he didn’t just avoid aligning himself with Biden but gestured toward other candidates, including unlikely contender Deval Patrick, the former governor of Massachusetts, possibly to discourage his former veep from running.

And then there’s Hunter Biden himself, who was going to become an issue one way or another. The 49-year-old son of privilege and tragedy, he has had struggles with addiction and run-ins with the law that have been well-documented. The campaign did its best to control the subject, cooperating with a tell-all interview over the summer in which Hunter candidly discussed his drug use and his relationship with his brother’s widow. This is sometimes how flacks think they’ll get ahead of a story: You neuter the shock value by delivering the shock yourself. But when your son is a central character in an impeachment saga likely to preoccupy all of Washington and political news for six months, it’s a hard thing to get ahead of, especially when you don’t really seem to want to engage.

“It’s sort of bewildering,” Axelrod says. “I guess I understand it from a familial, psychological sense. It would just be so much better if he stated the obvious: Even Hunter has said he exercised poor judgment. He won’t even say what his kid said. It’s an obvious question as to why the rules that he’s going to apply in the future didn’t apply in the past. All this was foreseeable … You can’t say, ‘He did nothing wrong,’ and, ‘He’ll never do it again.’ Those things don’t go together. Biden can be stubborn. I think his stubbornness is showing here.” All of that said, Axelrod added, “what Trump is doing is loathsome and outrageous because there’s no evidence that Biden did anything wrong or that Hunter did anything wrong.”

In a certain sense, impeachment creates for Biden what he wanted all along: a direct competition with Trump. Looked at it one way, it’s a story about how the president of the United States was so worried about his formidable opponent that he risked his entire presidency, and even broke the law, to try to stop him. But in other ways, it’s exactly what Biden hoped to avoid: a focus on his most troubled child, the last remaining member of his first family, and the privilege his political and celebrity status affords. Even if he didn’t do anything “wrong,” Trump is right that there’s a swamp, though he doesn’t realize he’s its ugliest creature, and impeachment is a daily reminder that Biden swims there, too. Who could withstand an entire year of character assassination by the president, who is aided by a political media that projects his every statement to the world?

Former vice-president Joe Biden.
Photo: Mark Peterson/Redux/Mark Peterson/Redux

At the Iowa State Fair in August, as candidates took to the stage to deliver their stump speeches and answer questions from the Des Moines Register, I stood off to the side with a few members of the press. We craned our necks downward to squint at a zoomed-in photo of the side of Joe Biden’s head. There, just behind the ear, is where you can supposedly observe the scar from a face-lift, one of many cosmetic procedures Biden is rumored to have had.

The dramatic change to Biden’s appearance is a matter of preoccupation for Biden-watchers. In the timeline of images from throughout his career, you can observe as he grows older and then younger and then older but somehow more elegant and alert. His hair is white now but thicker than it was in the 1980s. He’s thinner, but his cheeks are fuller than they were in 2008. To be honest with you, he looks good. He’s almost 77!

This is also a minor obsession of the White House, as you can probably imagine. Privately, Trump has marveled at the “work” Biden has had done and the fact that, in his opinion, he doesn’t look any better for it. Those who know him say the president is against plastic surgery (by which I assume they don’t mean breast implants) and, especially, bad plastic surgery, and he considers it an all-too-common tragedy when someone has their face inexpertly altered.

A senior White House official who regularly discusses the campaign with Trump was describing how his view of Biden has evolved since the winter. It was then, before Biden declared, that the campaign began conducting polling and sharing the results with Trump himself. The internal numbers were as bad as the external. Biden destroyed Trump. The president’s anxieties only grew as Biden became a more popular topic on cable news. “It was easy to get caught up,” this official said. “The president saw that it’s easier to picture Joe Biden up on the debate stage than some of the others.”

Over time, as Biden formally waded into the race, and the president saw the reality of the candidate as opposed to the idea of Vice-President Joe Biden, he grew less concerned, according to the senior White House official. Biden was no longer “the guy he was worried about.” And one of the reasons was, in Trumpian fashion, “his look.” Though the official adds a few more items to the list as well: “His cadence. His inability to speak. His small crowds.”

Trump has also commented on Biden’s wardrobe choices, wondering why he’d wear Ralph Lauren polo shirts on the campaign trail that show off his graying chest hair and skinny arms. (Trump himself wears polo shirts almost exclusively while golfing).

Inside the White House and the reelection campaign, the true believers know how to decode Trump’s bitchy nicknames for his competitors. As iconic as “Crooked Hillary” and “Lyin’ Ted” may be, his crowning achievement remains “Low Energy,” his characterization of Jeb Bush. “Sleepy Joe” is considered Trump’s attempt at a 2020 remake of “Low Energy,” and it’s all about emphasizing Biden’s age.

In September, somebody had the bright idea to stage an afternoon event under the open sky at the Indian Creek Nature Center in sunny Cedar Rapids. It was the day after news of the whistle-blower broke, but Biden stuck to the event’s topic, climate change, addressing all the usual themes. Then faces began turning upward to the birds overhead. Somebody from Showtime’s The Circus told me the birds were bald eagles, but at the time I thought they looked like hawks, which, I guess, is a sort of glass-half-empty or -half-full dilemma. Eventually, word of the alleged bald eagles made its way to Biden, and with a look of optimism, he turned his face to the sky. He grew emotional. He said that at the Lake House, Beau used to sit by the water and watch the bald eagles fly overhead. The night Beau died, in 2015, Biden said he watched an eagle take off from the lake, circle in the sky, and then fly away. He hadn’t seen another bald eagle since that night, he said, until now. Looking at the bird, he said, “Maybe that’s my Beau.”

Biden wrote a book about his grief, and about his son, called Promise Me, Dad. Therein, he tells a similar story, but with a different bird. That night, he wrote, “Jill spotted a white egret at the far edge of the water.” She told her husband that, as he lay dying, she whispered to Beau to go to the dock, “his happy place,” with his brother. “We watched the egret for twenty minutes, until it finally took flight,” Biden wrote. “The two of us sat in silence as the egret circled overhead repeatedly, slowly gaining altitude, until it finally headed away to the south, beneath the clouds, and gradually disappeared from sight. ‘It’s a sign from God,’ Jill said. ‘Beau being at the lake one last time, and heading for heaven.’ ”

Anne Kearns is an 84-year-old grandmother of 16 and retired professor. For 58 years, she has lived in the modest blue house with black shutters on North Washington Avenue in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where Joe Biden lived during the first decade of his life.

“He calls this ‘the Homestead,’ ” she told me last Sunday. We were sitting in the living room, surrounded by framed photos of her large family and one photo of Biden, propped up on the TV stand. For most of his career, Biden was among the least-wealthy members of Congress, an attractive bullet point that he continues to note even after amassing a fortune in his post–White House life. He often claims that “they” call him “Middle-Class Joe.” (As far as I can tell, he is the only person who calls himself this.) But he’s always had a weakness for grand old houses, even before he could really afford them, and an odd habit of referring to his properties by nicknames: North Star (for the Delaware village in which it was located), the Station (his once-bustling home in Wilmington), and the Lake House (self-explanatory). What does Anne call the Homestead in which she lives? “Well, nothing,” she said, laughing.

You could tell the story of Biden’s astonishingly long political career through Anne and through this house.

She first learned there was an interesting man who had once lived here in 1972, when she saw Biden’s ads on TV. At the time, he was running for the U.S. Senate against Cale Boggs, a powerful Republican who had won seven consecutive elections in Delaware, climbing from Congress to the governor’s mansion and ultimately to the Senate. Boggs was 63, and Biden, who at 29 wouldn’t even be eligible to serve in the office he was seeking until two weeks after Election Day, used his seniority against him. “We need some new thinking,” read one of Biden’s advertisements. “He understands what’s happening today,” read another. “My husband said to me — he watched him all the time on TV — and he’d say, ‘Ah, he’s going to be something someday,’ ” Anne said.

In 1988, when Biden was running for president the first time, reporters and authors began knocking on Anne’s door. A boy who lived down the street brought her a signed photo Biden had addressed to her, thanking her for her cooperation in this strange endeavor.

By her count, Biden himself has visited the Homestead six times over the years, once privately with his late mother, who refused to get out of the car despite Anne assuring her that the visit was not a disturbance, and other trips with the media and even Hillary Clinton.

“He came another time with Terry Moran from Nightline, and they walked across the street. At that time, I had a leg done, and so my niece was sitting where you are” — she gestured to my chair — “and she said, ‘I think that’s Joe Biden coming.’ I thought, No, he was here two weeks ago. My nephew stood up, and he said, ‘Anne, it is Joe Biden.’ They had left a message on my phone and I didn’t hear it.”

In 2008, the Obama-Biden campaign staged a formal event here with 400 people plus Secret Service sweeping through and rows of seating set up next door for reporters. Biden went upstairs to his old bedroom and signed the wall. Anne keeps photos from that day in an album underneath the television, and in them, Biden can be seen writing in black Sharpie, I AM HOME — JOE BIDEN 9 * 1 * 08. By then, Biden had served in the Senate for 25 years and run for president twice — once disastrously, ending in a plagiarism scandal, and once unremarkably, ending in a vice-presidential campaign.

The whole neighborhood, Anne said, took pride in him, supported him. Even the old lady across the street, whose sons told her she wasn’t allowed to speak to reporters or let them into the house anymore, still loves Joe Biden.

Age isn’t just a weakness for Biden. There are a lot of old people in America, and many of them really like the former vice-president. They don’t see a doddering, out-of-touch, exhausted man, as the 20- and 30- and 40-somethings who cover the campaign and dominate social media do. They look at him and see, well, a statesman from the popular recent administration who has moved to the left as the party has, if not quite as much as his younger rivals. These are the people that really vote in elections, and, to them, that all seems pretty good. “I worry when I read that he is even with somebody. I just read a piece this morning that he’s even with the Warren lady,” Anne said.

“I really think he’d be wonderful in getting us back with the people that are overseas. I think he’s wonderful dealing with people. I would definitely support him. I think he knows what’s going on with all those people … He’s a wonderful man. He really is wonderful, and he cares about people.”

A few days after I left the Homestead, Biden gave a speech at the Scranton Cultural Center. At the last minute, he decided to make an unplanned stop on North Washington Avenue. As photographers snapped away from the sidewalk, Anne answered the door. Biden wrapped her in a hug.

http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/10/joe-biden-2020-campaign.html

CNN Poll: Biden’s lead in Democratic primary hits widest margin since April

WASHINGTON (CNN) Former Vice President Joe Biden’s lead in the race for the Democratic nomination for president has rebounded, and now stands at its widest margin since April, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS.

Biden has the support of 34% of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters, his best showing in CNN polling since just after his campaign’s formal launch on April 25.
Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont are about even for second, with 19% and 16%, respectively. Behind them, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Kamala Harris of California each have 6% support, with Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke each at 3%.
Biden’s rise comes largely from a consolidation of support among his core backers, and doesn’t appear to harm any individual opponent. Warren and Sanders hold about even with their standing in the last CNN poll in September, and no other candidate has seen a shift of more than 2 points in that time.
But Biden has seen big spikes in support among moderate and conservative Democrats (43% support him now, up from 29% in the September poll), racial and ethnic minorities (from 28% among all nonwhites in September to 42% now) and older voters (up 13 points since September among those 45 and older) that outpace those among younger potential Democratic voters (up 5 points among those younger than 45).
The gains come as Biden’s time as vice president is put under the spotlight by President Donald Trump and his allies. Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry by the House of Representatives over allegations that he pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, as well as the 2016 US election in return for releasing hundreds of millions in congressionally mandated defense funding meant for Ukraine. Hunter Biden was on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company while Biden was vice president. There is no evidence that either Biden did anything wrong in Ukraine.
The poll suggests that although Biden’s October debate performance did not blow away the audience (15% who watched or followed news about it said he had done the best job in the debate, well behind Warren’s 28% — but better than most on the stage), the arguments he made on health care, foreign policy and the economy may have boosted his standing with the potential Democratic electorate.
Asked which candidate would best handle a range of top issues, Biden leads the way on four of the six issues tested in the poll. He holds a massive edge over the field on foreign policy (56% say he would handle it best, well ahead of Sanders at 13% and Warren at 11%), and tops the next closest candidate by nearly 20 points on the economy (38% Biden, 19% Sanders, 16% Warren). Biden also outpaces the rest of the field as most trusted on immigration (29% Biden, 16% each Warren and Sanders) and gun policy (27% vs. 13% Sanders and 11% Warren, with O’Rourke close at 9%).
Biden doesn’t hold a significant edge on the critical issue of health care (31% Biden, 28% Sanders, 17% Warren) but he’s surged 13 points on the issue since June, when he lagged behind Sanders. Neither Sanders’ nor Warren’s numbers on the issue have moved significantly in that time.
And Biden now runs even with Sanders at 26% as best able to handle the climate crisis. Warren is at 18% on that issue. The results mark increases for Biden and Sanders, who were each at 19% on handling the climate in June.
The former vice president’s advantages on the issues come as he emphasizes an approach that appears to align with the preferences of most potential Democratic voters. A 53% majority say they want the nominee to advocate policies that have a good chance of becoming law, even if the changes aren’t as big, vs. 42% who prefer advocating big changes even if they have less of a chance of becoming law.
Among those voters who prefer an approach that prioritizes policies with a better chance of becoming law, 38% support Biden for the Democratic nomination, 17% Warren and just 8% Sanders. On the other side, it’s nearly a three-way split, with 27% behind Biden, 24% Sanders and 21% Warren.
About 1 in 5 potential Democratic voters say they watched last week’s debate among 12 Democratic candidates, and those who watched it came away with a different assessment than those who mainly followed news about the debate. Overall, among everyone who either watched or followed news coverage on the debate, 28% say Warren had the best night, 15% Biden, 13% Sanders, 11% Buttigieg, 4% Klobuchar and 2% Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, with the rest at 1% or less. Among those who say they watched it, though, Warren remains on top at 29%, but 21% say Buttigieg had the best night, then 13% Biden, 11% Sanders, 10% Klobuchar and 4% Booker, with everyone else at 1% or less
.
And those who watched the debate seem to have more favorable views of the lesser-known candidates who were seen as having good nights than do those who followed coverage. Among debate watchers, 74% have a favorable view of Buttigieg, vs. 54% among those who followed news instead. Booker’s favorability rating is 80% among those who watched, vs. 55% among those who followed coverage, and Klobuchar’s favorability stands at 56% among watchers vs. 36% among those who followed news.
Warren tops the list of candidates who potential Democratic voters say they want to hear more about: 31% name her, 24% Buttigieg, 23% Harris, 18% Booker, 17% Sanders, 16% Biden, 13% Klobuchar, 11% O’Rourke and 10% businessman Andrew Yang.
Majorities of potential Democratic voters say they would at least be satisfied with any of the top three becoming the party’s nominee, with about 4 in 10 saying they’d be enthusiastic about Biden (43%), Warren (41%) or Sanders (39%). Fewer would feel as excited should Buttigieg become the party’s nominee (27% enthusiastic).
Registered voters generally give Biden, Warren, Sanders and Buttigieg large advantages over President Donald Trump in hypothetical general election matchups. Biden leads the President by 10 points, 53% to 43%, with Sanders up 9 (52% to 43%) and Warren up 8 (52% to 44%). Buttigieg holds a 6-point edge, 50% to 44%.
The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS from October 17 through 20 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer, including 424 registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. For results among potential Democratic voters, it is plus or minus 5.8 points.
OVERVIEW
The study was conducted for CNN via telephone by SSRS, an independent research company. Interviews were
conducted from October 17-20, 2019 among a sample of 1,003 respondents. The landline total respondents were
352 and there were 651 cell phone respondents. The margin of sampling error for total respondents is +/- 3.7 at
the 95% confidence level. The design effect is 1.47.More information about SSRS can be obtained by visiting
http://www.ssrs.com. Question text noted in parentheses was rotated or randomized. Unless otherwise noted, results
beginning with the March 31-April 2, 2006 survey and ending with the April 22-25, 2017 survey are from surveys
conducted by ORC International. Results before March 31, 2006 are from surveys conducted by Gallup.
NOTE ABOUT CROSSTABS
Interviews were conducted among a representative sample of the adult population, age 18 or older, of the United
States. Members of demographic groups not shown in the published crosstabs are represented in the results for
each question in the poll. Crosstabs on the pages that follow only include results for subgroups with a minimum
n=125 unweighted cases. Results for subgroups with fewer than n=125 unweighted cases are not displayed and
instead are denoted with “SN” because samples of that size carry larger margins of sampling error and can be too
small to be projectable with confidence to their true values in the population.

2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries

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2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries


← 2016
2024 →

1,885 of 3,769[a] pledged delegate votes needed to win the presidential nomination at the convention‘s first ballot.[1]
(2,268 of all 4,535[b] delegate votes needed to win any subsequent ballots at a contested convention)[1]


Previous Democratic nominee
Hillary Clinton

The 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and caucuses will be a series of electoral contests organized by the Democratic Party to select the approximately 3,769[a] pledged delegates to the Democratic National Convention. Those delegates shall, by pledged votes, elect the Democratic nominee for president of the United States in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.[2] The elections are scheduled to take place from February to June 2020 in all fifty U.S. states, the District of Columbia, five U.S. territories, and Democrats Abroad.

Independently of the result of primaries and caucuses, the Democratic Party will—from its group of party leaders and elected officials—also appoint 765[b] unpledged delegates (superdelegates) to participate in its national convention. In contrast to all previous election cycles, superdelegates will no longer have the right to cast decisive votes at the convention’s first ballot for the presidential nomination (limiting their voting rights to either non-decisive votes on the first ballot or decisive votes for subsequent ballots on a contested convention).[2][3][4]

The field of major Democratic presidential candidates in the 2020 election peaked at more than two dozen. As of October 24, 2019, 18 major candidates are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020. The October 15, 2019 Democratic presidential debate in Westerville, Ohio featured 12 candidates, setting a record for the highest number of candidates in one presidential debate.

Contents

Background[edit]

After Hillary Clinton‘s loss in the previous election, many felt the Democratic Party lacked a clear leader.[5] There remained divisions in the party following the 2016 primaries which pitted Clinton against Bernie Sanders.[6][7] Between the 2016 election and the 2018 midterm elections, Senate Democrats have generally shifted to the political left in relation to college tuition, healthcare, and immigration.[8][9] The 2018 elections saw the Democratic Party regain the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years, picking up seats in both urban and suburban districts.[10][11]

Soon after the 2016 general election, the division between Clinton and Sanders supporters was highlighted in the 2017 Democratic National Committee chairmanship election between Tom Perez and Keith Ellison.[12] Perez was narrowly elected chairman and subsequently appointed Ellison as the Deputy Chair, a largely ceremonial role.[8][9]

The 2020 field of Democratic presidential candidates peaked at more than two dozen candidates. According to Politifact, this field is believed to be the largest field of presidential candidates for any American political party since 1972;[c] it exceeds the field of 17 major candidates that sought the Republican presidential nomination in 2016.[14] In May 2019, CBS News referred to the field of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates as “the largest and most diverse Democratic primary field in modern history”.[15] As of October 24, 2019, 18 major candidates are seeking the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.[16] The October 15, 2019 Democratic presidential debate in Westerville, Ohio featured 12 candidates, setting a record for the highest number of candidates in one presidential debate.[17][18]

Reforms since 2016[edit]

On August 25, 2018, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) members passed reforms to the Democratic Party’s primary process in order to increase participation[19] and ensure transparency.[20] State parties are encouraged to use a government-run primary whenever available and increase the accessibility of their primary through same-day or automatic registration and same-day party switching. Caucuses are required to have absentee voting, or to otherwise allow those who cannot participate in person to be included.[19]

The new reforms also regulate how the Democratic National Convention shall handle the outcome of primaries and caucuses for three potential scenarios:[2][4]

  1. If a single candidate wins at least 2,268 pledged delegates: Superdelegates will be allowed to vote at first ballot, as their influence can not overturn the majority of pledged delegates.
  2. If a single candidate wins 1,886–2,267 pledged delegates: Superdelegates will be barred from voting at first ballot, which solely will be decided by the will of pledged delegates.
  3. If no candidate wins more than 1,885 pledged delegates: This will result in a contested convention, where superdelegates are barred from voting at the first formal ballot, but regain their right to vote for their preferred presidential nominee for all subsequent ballots needed until the delegates reach a majority.

The reforms mandate that superdelegates refrain from voting on the first presidential nominating ballot, unless a candidate via the outcome of primaries and caucuses already has gained enough votes (more than 50% of all delegate votes) among only the elected pledged delegates. The prohibition for superdelegates to vote at the first ballot for the last two mentioned scenarios, does not preclude superdelegates from publicly endorsing a candidate of their choosing before the convention.[4]

In a contested convention where no majority of minimum 1,886 pledged delegate votes is found for a single candidate in the first ballot, all superdelegates will then regain their right to vote on any subsequent ballot necessary in order for a presidential candidate to be nominated (raising the majority needed for such to 2,267 votes).[2][4]

Candidates[edit]

Major candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential primaries have either: (a) served as Vice President, a member of the cabinet, a U.S. Senator, a U.S. Representative, or a Governor, (b) been included in a minimum of five independent national polls, or (c) received substantial media coverage.[21][22][23][24][25][26]

More than 250 candidates who did not meet the above-referenced criteria to be deemed major candidates also filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in the Democratic Party primary.[27]

Current candidates[edit]

The following list of current candidates includes major candidates that have filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in the 2020 Democratic primary, have officially announced their respective candidacies, and have not withdrawn their candidacies. As of October 24, 2019, the total number of current candidates is 18.

Name Born Experience Home state Campaign
Announcement date
Ref.
Michael Bennet by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Michael Bennet
November 28, 1964
(age 54)
New Delhi, India
U.S. senator from Colorado (2009–present) Flag of Colorado.svg
Colorado
Michael Bennet 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign


Campaign: May 2, 2019
FEC filing[28]

[29]

Joe Biden
November 20, 1942
(age 76)
Scranton, Pennsylvania
Vice President of the United States (2009–2017)
U.S. senator from Delaware (1973–2009)
Candidate for President in 1988 and 2008
Flag of Delaware.svg
Delaware
Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign


Campaign: April 25, 2019
FEC filing[30]

[31]
Cory Booker by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Cory Booker
April 27, 1969
(age 50)
Washington, D.C.
U.S. senator from New Jersey (2013–present)
Mayor of NewarkNew Jersey (2006–2013)
Flag of New Jersey.svg
New Jersey
Cory Booker 2020 Logo.svg
Campaign


Campaign: February 1, 2019
FEC filing[32]

[33]
Steve Bullock by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Steve Bullock
April 11, 1966
(age 53)
Missoula, Montana
Governor of Montana (2013–present)
Attorney General of Montana (2009–2013)
Flag of Montana.svg
Montana
Steve Bullock 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign


Campaign: May 14, 2019
FEC filing[34]

[35][36]
Pete Buttigieg by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Pete Buttigieg
January 19, 1982
(age 37)
South Bend, Indiana
Mayor of South BendIndiana (2012–present) Flag of Indiana.svg
Indiana
Pete for America logo (Strato Blue).svg
Campaign


Exploratory committee: January 23, 2019
Campaign: April 14, 2019
FEC filing[37]

[38]
Julian Castro 2019 crop.jpg
Julián Castro
September 16, 1974
(age 45)
San Antonio, Texas
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (2014–2017)
Mayor of San AntonioTexas (2009–2014)
Flag of Texas.svg
Texas
Julian Castro 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign


Exploratory committee:
December 12, 2018
Campaign: January 12, 2019
FEC filing[39]

[40]
John Delaney 2019 crop.jpg
John Delaney
April 16, 1963
(age 56)
Wood-Ridge, New Jersey
U.S. representative from MD-06 (2013–2019) Flag of Maryland.svg
Maryland
John Delaney 2020 logo.svg
Campaign


Campaign: July 28, 2017
FEC filing[41]

[42]
Tulsi Gabbard August 2019.jpg
Tulsi Gabbard
April 12, 1981
(age 38)
Leloaloa, American Samoa
U.S. representative from HI-02 (2013–present) Flag of Hawaii.svg
Hawaii
Tulsi Gabbard 2020 presidential campaign logo black.svg
Campaign


Campaign: January 11, 2019
FEC filing[43]

[44]
Kamala Harris April 2019.jpg
Kamala Harris
October 20, 1964
(age 55)
Oakland, California
U.S. senator from California (2017–present)
Attorney General of California (2011–2017)
Flag of California.svg
California
Kamala Harris 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign


Campaign: January 21, 2019
FEC filing[45]

[46]
Amy Klobuchar 2019 (cropped).jpg
Amy Klobuchar
May 25, 1960
(age 59)
Plymouth, Minnesota
U.S. senator from Minnesota (2007–present) Flag of Minnesota.svg
Minnesota
Amy Klobuchar 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign


Campaign: February 10, 2019
FEC filing[47]

[48]
Wayne Messam by Marc Nozell (cropped).jpg
Wayne Messam
June 7, 1974
(age 45)
South Bay, Florida
Mayor of MiramarFlorida (2015–present) Flag of Florida.svg
Florida
Wayne Messam 2020 presidential campaign logo.png
Campaign


Exploratory committee:
March 13, 2019
Campaign: March 28, 2019
FEC filing[49]

[50]
Beto O'Rourke April 2019.jpg
Beto O’Rourke
September 26, 1972
(age 47)
El Paso, Texas
U.S. representative from TX-16 (2013–2019) Flag of Texas.svg
Texas
Beto O'Rourke 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign


Campaign: March 14, 2019
FEC filing[51]

[52]
Bernie Sanders July 2019 (cropped).jpg
Bernie Sanders
September 8, 1941
(age 78)
Brooklyn, New York
U.S. senator from Vermont (2007–present)
U.S. representative from VT-AL (1991–2007)
Mayor of Burlington, Vermont (1981–1989)
Candidate for President in 2016
Flag of Vermont.svg
Vermont
Bernie Sanders 2020 logo.svg
Campaign


Campaign: February 19, 2019
FEC filing[53]

[54]
Joe Sestak (48641414726) (cropped).jpg
Joe Sestak
December 12, 1951
(age 67)
Secane, Pennsylvania
U.S. representative from PA-07 (2007–2011) Flag of Pennsylvania.svg
Pennsylvania
Campaign


Campaign: June 22, 2019
FEC filing[55]

[56]
Tom Steyer by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Tom Steyer
June 27, 1957
(age 62)
Manhattan, New York
Hedge fund manager
Founder of Farallon Capital
Flag of California.svg
California
Tom Steyer 2020 logo (black text).svg
Campaign


Campaign: July 9, 2019
FEC filing[57]

[58]
Elizabeth Warren by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Elizabeth Warren
June 22, 1949
(age 70)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
U.S. senator from Massachusetts (2013–present)
Special Advisor for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2010–2011)
Flag of Massachusetts.svg
Massachusetts
Elizabeth Warren 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign


Exploratory committee:
December 31, 2018
Campaign: February 9, 2019
FEC filing[59]

[60]
Marianne Williamson (48541662667) (cropped).jpg
Marianne Williamson
July 8, 1952
(age 67)
Houston, Texas
Author
Founder of Project Angel Food
Independent candidate for U.S. House from CA-33 in 2014
Flag of California.svg
California
Marianne Williamson 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign


Exploratory committee:
November 15, 2018
Campaign: January 28, 2019
FEC filing[61]

[62]
Andrew Yang by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Andrew Yang
January 13, 1975
(age 44)
Schenectady, New York
Entrepreneur
Founder of Venture for America
Flag of New York.svg
New York
Andrew Yang 2020 logo.png
Campaign


Campaign: November 6, 2017
FEC filing[63]

[64]

Beside these major candidates, more than 250 other candidates who did not meet the above-referenced criteria to be deemed major candidates also filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in the Democratic Party primary.[65] Other notable candidates who have not suspended their respective campaigns include:

Candidates who withdrew from the race before the 2020 primaries[edit]

The candidates in this section were major candidates who withdrew or suspended their campaigns before the 2020 Democratic primary elections began.

Candidate Born Experience State Campaign
announced
Campaign
suspended
Article Ref.
MAJ Richard Ojeda.jpg
Richard Ojeda
September 25, 1970
(age 48)
Rochester, Minnesota
West Virginia state senator from WV-SD07 (2016–2019) Flag of West Virginia.svg
West Virginia
November 11, 2018 January 25, 2019 Campaign
FEC filing[77]
[78][79]
Eric Swalwell (48016282941) (cropped).jpg
Eric Swalwell
November 16, 1980
(age 38)
Sac City, Iowa
U.S. representative from CA-15 (2013–present) Flag of California.svg
California
April 8, 2019 July 8, 2019
(running for re-election)
Eric Swalwell 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign
FEC filing[80]
[81][82]

Mike Gravel
May 13, 1930
(age 89)
Springfield, Massachusetts
U.S. senator from Alaska (1969–1981)
Candidate for President in 2008
Flag of California.svg
California
April 2, 2019
Exploratory committee: March 19, 2019–
April 1, 2019
August 6, 2019
(co-endorsed Sanders and Gabbard)[83]
Gravel Mg web logo line two color.svg
Campaign
FEC filing[84]
[85][83]
John Hickenlooper by Gage Skidmore.jpg
John Hickenlooper
February 7, 1952
(age 67)
Narberth, Pennsylvania
Governor of Colorado (2011–2019)
Mayor of DenverColorado (2003–2011)
Flag of Colorado.svg
Colorado
March 4, 2019 August 15, 2019
(running for U.S. Senate)[86]
John Hickenlooper 2020 presidential campaign logo.png
Campaign
FEC filing[87]
[88][89]
Jay Inslee by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Jay Inslee
February 9, 1951
(age 68)
Seattle, Washington
Governor of Washington (2013–present)
U.S. representative from WA-01 (1999–2012)
Flag of Washington.svg
Washington
March 1, 2019 August 21, 2019
(running for re-election)[90]
Jay Inslee 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign
FEC filing[91]
[92][93]
Seth Moulton August 2019.jpg
Seth Moulton
October 24, 1978
(age 41)
Salem, Massachusetts
U.S. representative from MA-06 (2015–present) Flag of Massachusetts.svg
Massachusetts
April 22, 2019 August 23, 2019
(running for re-election)[94]

Campaign
FEC filing[95]
[96][97]
Kirsten Gillibrand August 2019.jpg
Kirsten Gillibrand
December 9, 1966
(age 52)
Albany, New York
U.S. senator from New York (2009–present)
U.S. representative from NY-20 (2007–2009)
Flag of New York.svg
New York
March 17, 2019
Exploratory committee: January 15, 2019–
March 16, 2019
August 28, 2019 Gillibrand 2020 logo.png
Campaign
FEC filing[98]
[99][100]
Bill de Blasio by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Bill de Blasio
May 8, 1961
(age 58)
Manhattan, New York
Mayor of New York CityNew York (2014–present) Flag of New York.svg
New York
May 16, 2019 September 20, 2019 Bill de Blasio 2020 presidential campaign logo.svg
Campaign
FEC filing[101]
[102][103]
Tim Ryan (48639153698) (cropped).jpg
Tim Ryan
July 16, 1973
(age 46)
Niles, Ohio
U.S. representative from OH-13 (2013–present)
U.S. representative from OH-17 (2003–2013)
Flag of Ohio.svg
Ohio
April 4, 2019 October 24, 2019
(running for re-election)[104]
Timryan2020.png
Campaign
FEC filing[105]
[106][107]

The following notable individuals who did not meet the criteria to become major candidates have terminated their respective campaigns:

Potential major candidates[edit]

The persons listed in this section have, as of October 22, 2019, reportedly considered presidential bids within the past six months and would be major candidates.

Declined to be candidates[edit]

These individuals have been the subject of presidential speculation, but have publicly denied or recanted interest in running for president.

Political positions of candidates[edit]

Debates[edit]

In December 2018, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced the preliminary schedule for 12 official DNC-sanctioned debates, set to begin in June 2019, with six debates in 2019 and the remaining six during the first four months of 2020. Candidates are allowed to participate in forums featuring multiple other candidates as long as only one candidate appears on stage at a time; if candidates participate in any unsanctioned debate with other presidential candidates, they will lose their invitation to the next DNC-sanctioned debate.[192][193]

If any debates will be scheduled to take place with a location in the first four primary/caucus states (IowaNew HampshireNevada, and South Carolina), the DNC has decided such debates, at the earliest, will be held in 2020.[192] The DNC also announced that it would not partner with Fox News as a media sponsor for any debates.[194][195] Fox News had last held a Democratic debate in 2003.[196] All media sponsors selected to host a debate will as a new rule be required to appoint at least one female moderator for each debate, to ensure there will not be a gender skewed treatment of the candidates and debate topics.[197]

Debate schedule
Debate Date Time
(ET)
Viewers Location Sponsor(s) Moderator(s) Ref(s)
1A Jun. 26, 2019 9–11 pm ~24.3 million
(15.3m live TV; 9m streaming)
Arsht Center,
Miami, Florida
NBC News
MSNBC
Telemundo
Jose Diaz-Balart
Savannah Guthrie
Lester Holt
Rachel Maddow
Chuck Todd
[198][199]
[200][201]
1B Jun. 27, 2019 9–11 pm ~27.1 million
(18.1m live TV; 9m streaming)
2A Jul. 30, 2019 8–10:30 pm ~11.5 million
(8.7m live TV; 2.8m streaming)
Fox Theatre,
Detroit, Michigan
CNN Dana Bash
Don Lemon
Jake Tapper
[202][203][204][205]
2B Jul. 31, 2019 8–10:30 pm ~13.8 million
(10.7m live TV; 3.1m streaming)
3 Sep. 12, 2019 8–11 pm 14.04 million live TV Health and Physical Education Arena,
Texas Southern University,
Houston, Texas
ABC News
Univision
Linsey Davis
David Muir
Jorge Ramos
George Stephanopoulos
[206][207][208]
4 Oct. 15, 2019 8–11 pm 8.34 million live TV Rike Physical Education Center,
Otterbein University,
Westerville, Ohio
CNN
The New York Times
Erin Burnett
Anderson Cooper
Marc Lacey
[209][210][211][212][213]
5 Nov. 20, 2019 9–11 pm TBA Tyler Perry Studios,
AtlantaGeorgia
MSNBC
The Washington Post
Rachel Maddow
Andrea Mitchell
Ashley Parker
Kristen Welker
[214][215][216]
6 Dec. 19, 2019 TBA University of California, Los Angeles,
Los Angeles, California
Politico
PBS
TBA [217]
7 Jan.–Apr. 2020 TBA
8
9
10
11
12

Primary election polling[edit]

The following graph depicts the evolution of the standing of each candidate in the poll aggregators since December 2018.

Source of poll aggregation Date
updated
Dates
polled
Joe
Biden
Elizabeth
Warren
Bernie
Sanders
Pete
Buttigieg
Kamala
Harris
Andrew
Yang
Beto
O’Rourke
Amy
Klobuchar
Cory
Booker
Others Undecided[e]
270 to Win Oct 29, 2019 Oct 22 – 28, 2019[f] 27.6% 21.8% 18.2% 7.4% 5.4% 2.6% 2.0% 2.0% 1.8% 4.8%[g] 6.4%
RealClear Politics Oct 29, 2019 Oct 17 – 27, 2019 27.5% 21.7% 17.7% 7.2% 5.3% 2.5% 2.2% 2.0% 1.8% 4.8%[h] 7.3%
The Economist Oct 25, 2019 [i] 25.0% 24.3% 15.1% 6.6% 5.3% 2.8% 1.9% 2.1% 1.3% 3.8%[j] 11.8%
Average 26.7% 22.6% 17.0% 7.1% 5.3% 2.6% 2.0% 2.0% 1.6% 4.6%[k] 8.5%

Timeline[edit]

Overview[edit]

Active
campaign
Exploratory
committee
Withdrawn
candidate
Midterm
elections
Debate
Iowa
caucuses
Super
Tuesday
Democratic
convention
Richard Ojeda 2020 presidential campaign Eric Swalwell 2020 presidential campaign Mike Gravel 2020 presidential campaign John Hickenlooper 2020 presidential campaign Jay Inslee 2020 presidential campaign Seth Moulton 2020 presidential campaign Kirsten Gillibrand 2020 presidential campaign Bill de Blasio 2020 presidential campaign Tim Ryan 2020 presidential campaign Andrew Yang 2020 presidential campaign Marianne Williamson 2020 presidential campaign Elizabeth Warren 2020 presidential campaign Tom Steyer 2020 presidential campaign Joe Sestak 2020 presidential campaign Bernie Sanders 2020 presidential campaign Beto O'Rourke 2020 presidential campaign Wayne Messam 2020 presidential campaign Amy Klobuchar 2020 presidential campaign Kamala Harris 2020 presidential campaign Tulsi Gabbard 2020 presidential campaign John Delaney 2020 presidential campaign Julián Castro 2020 presidential campaign Pete Buttigieg 2020 presidential campaign Steve Bullock 2020 presidential campaign Cory Booker 2020 presidential campaign Joe Biden 2020 presidential campaign Michael Bennet 2020 presidential campaign

2017[edit]

John Delaney was the first major candidate to announce his campaign, two and a half years before the 2020 Iowa caucus.

In the weeks following the election of Donald Trump in the 2016 election, media speculation regarding potential candidates for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries began to circulate. As the Senate began confirmation hearings for members of the cabinet, speculation centered on the prospects of the “hell-no caucus”, six senators who went on to vote against the majority of Trump’s nominees. According to Politico, the members of the “hell-no caucus” were Cory BookerKamala HarrisKirsten GillibrandBernie SandersJeff Merkley, and Elizabeth Warren.[218][219] Other speculation centered on then-Vice-President Joe Biden making a third presidential bid following failed attempts in 1988 and 2008. Biden had previously served as U.S. senator from Delaware (1973–2009).[220]

2018[edit]

Entrepreneur Andrew Yang was the second major Democratic candidate to announce his campaign.

In August 2018, Democratic Party officials and television networks began discussions as to the nature and scheduling of the following year’s debates and the nomination process.[223] Changes were made to the role of superdelegates, deciding to only allow them to vote on the first ballot if the nomination is uncontested.[224] The Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced the preliminary schedule for the 12 official DNC-sanctioned debates, set to begin in June 2019, with six debates in 2019 and the remaining six during the first four months of 2020.

On November 6, 2018, the 2018 midterm elections were held. The election was widely characterized as a “blue wave” election. Mass canvassing, voter registration drives and deep engagement techniques drove turnout high. Despite this, eventual presidential candidates U.S. Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas and State Senator Richard Ojeda of West Virginia both lost their respective races.[225]

August

  • August 25: The Democratic Party began planning debates[223] and eliminated first ballot decisive votes for superdelegates.[224]

November

December

2019

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard announced her candidacy on January 11, 2019.

Sen. Kamala Harris launched her bid on January 21, 2019.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren launched her bid on February 9, 2019

Sen. Bernie Sanders launched his second campaign on February 19, 2019.

Rep. Beto O’Rourke launched his bid on March 14, 2019.

Mayor Pete Buttigieg launched his campaign on April 14, 2019.

Former Vice President Joe Biden launched his third campaign on April 25, 2019.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

  • September 4: A Climate Crisis Town Hall was held by CNN at New York City, New York.[301]
  • September 7: New Hampshire state convention: 19 candidates were in attendance and addressed the delegates.[302]
  • September 8: The Asian American Pacific Islanders Progressive Democratic Presidential Forum was held at Orange County, California by AAPI Victory Fund and by Asian Americans Rising.[303][304]
  • September 12: The third official debate took place in Houston, Texas at Texas Southern University,[305] aired on ABC and Univision.[306]
  • September 19–20: A Climate Forum was held in Washington, D.C. by MSNBCGeorgetown University, and Our Daily Planet.[307]
  • September 20: Bill de Blasio dropped out of the race.[103]
  • September 21: The Iowa People’s Presidential Forum was held in Des Moines, Iowa by Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement Action Fund and People’s Action.[308]

October

November

December

Primary and caucus calendar

Democratic primary and caucus calendar by currently scheduled date
February
March 3 (Super Tuesday)
March 10
March 17
March 24
April 4–7
April 28
May
June
No scheduled 2020 date

The following primary and caucus dates have been scheduled by state statutes or state party decisions, but are subject to change pending legislation, state party delegate selection plans, or the decisions of state secretaries of state:[324]

The 57 states, districts, territories, or other constituencies with elections of pledged delegates to decide the Democratic presidential nominee, currently plan to hold the first major determining step for these elections via 50 primaries[l] and seven caucuses (Iowa, Nevada, Wyoming, and four territories).[324] The number of states holding caucuses decreased from 14 in the 2016 nomination process to only three in 2020.[330][331]

National convention

The 2020 Democratic National Convention is scheduled to take place in MilwaukeeWisconsin on July 13–16, 2020.[332][333][334]

In addition to Milwaukee, the DNC also considered bids from three other cities: HoustonTexas;[335] Miami Beach, Florida;[336] and DenverColorado. Denver, though, was immediately withdrawn from consideration by representatives for the city, who cited scheduling conflicts.[337]

Endorsements

Campaign finance

This is an overview of the money being raised and spent by each campaign for the entire period running from January 1, 2017 to September 30, 2019, as it was reported to the Federal Election Commission (FEC). Total raised are the sum of all individual contributions (large and small), loans from the candidate, and transfers from other campaign committees. The last column, Cash On Hand (COH), has been calculated by subtracting the “spent” amount from the “raised” amount, thereby showing the remaining cash each campaign had available for its future spending as of September 30, 2019. In total the candidates have raised $476,284,606.

 Withdrawn candidate
Candidate Campaign committee (January 1, 2017 to September 30, 2019)
Total raised Ind. contrib. ≤$200
donations
(as % of
ind.contrib)
Debt Spent COH
Bennet[338] $5,622,066 $4,910,561 34.12% $0 $3,758,466 $1,863,600
Biden[339] $37,785,261 $37,634,586 35.09% $0 $28,797,633 $8,987,628
Booker[340] $18,494,485 $15,513,702 27.82% $704,999 $14,270,696 $4,223,789
Bullock[341] $4,372,420 $4,359,670 32.59% $0 $3,006,276 $1,366,144
Buttigieg[342] $51,549,046 $51,462,291 47.48% $0 $28,170,528 $23,378,518
Castro[343] $7,625,531 $7,596,670 65.70% $0 $6,593,158 $672,333
Delaney[344] $27,198,228 $2,428,051 12.87% $10,593,250 $26,672,210 $548,061
Gabbard[345] $9,095,133 $6,543,517 64.43% $0 $6,596,642 $2,138,491
Harris[346] $36,940,238 $35,505,962 40.07% $991,069 $26,397,546 $10,542,692
Klobuchar[347] $17,516,388 $13,908,190 39.81% $0 $13,836,795 $3,679,592
Messam[348] $93,818 $93,818 29.76% $0 $62,666 $31,146
O’Rourke[349] $18,184,975 $17,483,014 51.94% $10,825 $15,122,336 $3,347,455
Sanders[350] $74,373,436 $61,456,335 69.64% $0 $40,639,360 $33,734,560
Sestak[351] $374,196 $366,293 23.12% $0 $169,634 $204,561
Steyer[352] $49,645,132 $2,047,433 72.41% $0 $47,021,989 $2,623,142
Warren[353] $60,339,647 $49,788,337 64.20% $0 $34,622,273 $25,717,674
Williamson[354] $6,125,025 $6,120,438 62.62% $48,921 $5,401,293 $723,732
Yang[355] $15,207,803 $15,140,993 66.25% $0 $8,840,508 $6,357,361
de Blasio[356] $1,417,610 $1,417,571 10.01% $0 $1,374,237 $43,374
Gillibrand[357] $15,919,261 $6,278,791 31.52% $0 $14,364,212 $1,555,049
Gravel[358] $330,059 $330,059 97.58% $0 $229,180 $100,879
Hickenlooper[359] $3,508,448 $3,385,459 16.63% $75,000 $3,500,980 $7,468
Inslee[360] $6,922,717 $6,911,292 50.00% $0 $6,631,300 $291,417
Moulton[361] $2,246,778 $1,497,325 22.87% $182,328 $2,187,344 $59,433
Ojeda[362] $119,478 $77,476 62.91% $44,373 $117,476 $2,002
Ryan[363] $1,315,130 $1,261,140 33.76% $28,225 $1,156,781 $158,349
Swalwell[364] $2,602,439 $892,373 38.14% $10,398 $2,593,289 $9,150

See also

Notes

  1. Jump up to:ab The overall number of pledged delegates is subject to change as possible penalty/bonus delegates (awarded for each states scheduled election date and potential regional clustering) are not yet included.[1]
  2. Jump up to:ab The number of extra unpledged delegates (superdelegates), who after the first ballot at a contested convention participates in any subsequently needed nominating ballots (together with the 3,769 pledged delegates), was expected to be 765 as of August 2019, but the exact number of superdelegates is still subject to change due to possible deaths, resignations, accessions, or potential election as a pledged delegete.[1]
  3. ^ Prior to the electoral reforms that took effect starting with the 1972 presidential elections, the Democrats used elite-run state conventions to choose convention delegates in two-thirds of the states, and candidates for the presidential nominee could be elected at the national convention of the party without needing to participate in any prior statewide election events.[13] Twenty-nine Democratic candidates announced their presidential candidacies prior to the 1924 Democratic National Convention,[14] and a record of 58 candidates received delegate votes during the 103 nominating ballots at that 17-day-long convention. In the post-reform era, over three-quarters of the states used primary elections to choose delegates, and over 80% of convention delegates were selected in those primaries.[13] For more information, see McGovern–Fraser Commission.
  4. Jump up to:abcd This individual is not a member of the Democratic Party, but has been the subject of speculation or expressed interest in running under this party.
  5. ^ Calculated by taking the difference of 100% and all other candidates combined
  6. ^ 270 to Win reports the date each poll was released, not the dates each poll was administered.
  7. ^ Gabbard with 2.0%; Steyer with 1.0%; Bennet and Castro with 0.6%; Williamson with 0.4%; Delaney with 0.2%; Bullock, Messam and Sestak with 0.0%
  8. ^ Gabbard with 1.5%; Steyer with 1.0%; Bennet and Castro with 0.7%; Ryan with 0.6%; Williamson with 0.3%; Bullock with 0.0%
  9. ^ The Economist aggregates polls with a trendline regression of polls rather than a strict average of recent polls.
  10. ^ Gabbard with 1.2%; Castro with 0.7%; Williamson and Steyer with 0.5%; Bennet with 0.4%; Delaney with 0.3%; Bullock with 0.2%; Messam and Sestak with 0.0%
  11. ^ Gabbard with 1.6%; Steyer with 0.8%; Castro with 0.7%; Bennet with 0.6%; Williamson with 0.4%; Delaney and Ryan with 0.2%; Bullock with 0.1%; Messam and Sestak with 0.0%
  12. ^ 5 out of 50 primaries are not state-run but party-run. “North Dakota Firehouse caucuses” is the official name of their event, but it’s held as a party-run primary and not a caucus in 2020. Democrats Abroad likewise conduct their election as a party-run primary, with their pledged delegates allocated at later conventions solely on basis of the proportional result of their party-run primary. The last three states with party-run primaries are Alaska, Kansas and Hawaii.[329][330]

References …

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2020_Democratic_Party_presidential_primaries

 

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Kurdistan Workers’ Party

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Kurdistan Workers’ Party
Partiya Karkerên Kurdistanê (PKK)
Leader Cemîl Bayik and Besê Hozat [tr]
Founded 1978; 41 years ago
Headquarters Qandil Mountains
Paramilitary wing People’s Defence Forces(HPG)
Free Women’s Units (YJA-STAR)
Ideology Kurdish nationalism[1]
Communalism
Democratic confederalism[2]
Libertarian socialism[3]
Jineology
Anti-capitalism
National affiliation Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement (HBDH)
International affiliation Kurdistan Communities Union(KCK)
Website
www.pkkonline.org
People’s Defence Forces
Hêzên Parastina Gel (HPG)
Leader(s)
Foundation 1984[8]
Dates of operation 1984–present
Motives Cultural & political rights for the Kurdish population in Turkey.[9]
Active region(s) Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran
Ideology Libertarian socialism
Democratic confederalism
Communalism[10]
Notable attacks 1984 PKK attacks
May 24, 1993 PKK ambush
2011 Hakkâri attack
Status Ongoing war with Turkey, after ceasefire ended.[11][12]
Size Over 32,800 active fighters (2015 Turkish claim)[13]
Website www.hezenparastin.com
Free Women’s Units
Yekîneyên Jinên Azad ên Star (YJA-STAR)
Foundation 2004
Dates of operation 2004–present[14]
Active region(s) Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran
Ideology Libertarian socialism
Democratic confederalism
Socialism
Communalism[10]
Status Ongoing war with Turkey, after ceasefire ended.[11][12][15]
Website www.yja-star.com/ku/

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK (KurdishPartiya Karkerên Kurdistanê‎, TurkishKürdistan İşçi Partisi [a]) is a Kurdish militant and political organization based in Turkey and Iraq, broadly considered as a terrorist group. Since 1984 the PKK has been involved in an armed conflict with the Turkish state (with cease-fires in 1999–2004 and 2013–2015), with the initial aim of achieving an independent Kurdish state. The PKK has in March 2016 vowed to overthrow the Turkish “fascist AKP” government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, through the ‘Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement‘.[16] For different reasons, the PKK has been designated as “terrorist” organization by Turkey,[17] the United States, the European Union, and Japan.[18]

The PKK was founded in 1978 in the village of Fis (near Lice) by a group of Kurdish students led by Abdullah Öcalan[19] and 1979 it made its existence known to the public.[20] The PKK’s ideology was originally a fusion of revolutionary socialism and Kurdish nationalism, seeking the foundation of an independent Communist state in the region, which was to be known as Kurdistan. The initial reasons given by the PKK for this were the oppression of Kurds in Turkey and capitalism.[21][22] By then, the use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned in Kurdish-inhabited areas.[23] The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan“, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government.[failed verification][24] Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life.[25] Many who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested, imprisoned, tortured or killed.[26] The PKK was then formed, as part of a growing discontent over the suppression of Turkey’s ethnic Kurds, in an effort to establish linguistic, cultural, and political rights for Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish minority.[27]

Since the PKK’s foundation, it has been involved in armed clashes with Turkish security forces. The full-scale insurgency, however, did not begin until 15 August 1984, when the PKK announced a Kurdish uprising. Since the conflict began, more than 40,000 have died, most of whom were Kurdish civilians through Turkish military actions.[28]

In 1999, PKK leader Öcalan was captured and imprisoned.[29] In May 2007, former members of the PKK helped form the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella organisation of Kurds from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. In 2013, the PKK declared a ceasefire agreement and began slowly withdrawing its fighters to the Kurdistan Region of northern Iraq as part of the solution process between the Turkish state and the Kurdish minority.

Since July 2015, when the ceasefire broke down,[30] violent actions inside Turkey from the government against the PKK and vice versa kept occurring, supplemented with Turkish military action in 2018 against PKK fighters in Iraq, and both in January 2018 and October 2019 against Kurdish political groups (PYD) and forces (YPG and YPJ) in Syria which according to Turkey and some observers[31] are strongly tied to the PKK (see ‘clashing’ details in: Kurdish–Turkish conflict (1978–present)#2015–present).

Contents

History

PKK supporters at 2003 march opposing the Iraq War, London

In the early 1970s, the organization’s core group was made up largely of students led by Abdullah Öcalan (“Apo“) in Ankara. By then, the use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned in Kurdish-inhabited areas.[23] In an attempt to deny their existence, the Turkish government categorized Kurds as “Mountain Turks” until 1991.[23][32][33][34] The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan“, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government.[24] Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life.[25] Many who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned.[26] The PKK was then formed, as part of a growing discontent over the suppression of Turkey’s ethnic Kurds, in an effort to establish linguistic, cultural, and political rights for Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish minority.[27] The group focused to the large oppressed Kurdish population in south-east Turkey. A meeting on 25 November 1978, in a tea house near Diyarbakır is considered the founding meeting.[35] On 27 November 1978, the group adopted the name Kurdistan Workers’ Party. Espousing a Marxist ideology, the group took part in violent conflicts with right-wing entities as a part of the political chaos in Turkey at the time. The group tried to assassinate the Kurdish tribal leader Mehmet Celal Bucak in 1979. According to the PKK sources, he was exploiting the peasants, and collaborated with Turkey in oppressing the Kurds. It is believed that this marked a period of intense urban warfare among other political elements.

Turkish sources claimed that the 1980 Turkish coup d’état pushed the organization to another stage, with members being executed, doing jail time, being subject to capital punishment, or fleeing to Syria. On 10 November 1980, it was claimed that the PKK bombed the Turkish Consulate in Strasbourg, France in a joint operation with the Armenian radical group ASALA, which they claimed as the beginning of a “fruitful collaboration.”[36] The PKK didn’t take responsibility despite a numerous of accusations.

Starting in 1984, the PKK transformed into a paramilitary group, using training camps in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and France. At the same time, some of its members started to get training by the members of the Palestine Liberation Organization who themselves were trained by Soviet personnel in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley in Syrian-controlled camps. According to the U. S. government reports, the PKK received significant support by Syria, which allowed it to maintain headquarters in Damascus, as well as by Iran, Iraq, and Libya. It later began to launch attacks and bombings against Turkish governmental installations, the military, and various institutions of the state. The organization focused on attacks against Turkish military targets in Turkey, although civilian targets were also hit. The group started to gain publicity after committing political killings and massacres.[37][38][39][40]

From the mid-1990s, the organization began to lose the upper hand in its operations as a consequence of a change of tactics by Turkey and Syria’s steady abandonment of support for the group. The group also had lost its support from Saddam Hussein.[41] At the same time, the government started to use more violent methods to counter Kurdish militants. From 1996 to 1999, the organization began to use suicide bombers, VBIED and ambush attacks against military and police bases. The role of suicide bombers, especially female ones were encouraged and mythologised by giving them the status of a “goddess of freedom”, and shown as role models for other women after their death. On 30 July 1996, Zeynep Kınacı, a female PKK fighter, carried out the organization’s first suicide attack, killing 8 soldiers and injuring 29 others. The attacks against the civilians, especially the Kurdish citizens who refused to cooperate with them were also reported at the same years. On 20 January 1999, a report published by HRW, stated that the PKK was believed to have been responsible for more than 768 executions. The organization had also reportedly committed 25 massacres, killing more than 300 people. More than hundred victims were children and women.[42][42][43][44][45]

The Kurdish–Turkish conflict was in its peak in the 1990s until the leader of the organization, Abdullah Öcalan, was captured, prosecuted and sentenced to death, but this was later commuted to life imprisonment as part of the government’s seeking European Union membership.[46] In the late 1990s, Turkey increased the pressure and the undeclared war between Turkey and Syria ended open Syrian support.[47][48]

The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for human rights abuses during the conflict.[49][50] Some judgements are related to executions of Kurdish civilians,[51] torturing,[52] forced displacements,[53]destroyed villages,[54][55][56] arbitrary arrests,[57] murdered and disappeared Kurdish journalists, activists and politicians.[58][59][60] As a result of increasing Kurdish population and activism, the Turkish parliament began a controlled process of dismantling some anti-Kurdish legislation, using the term “normalization” or “rapprochement,” depending on the sides of the issue. It partially relaxed the bans on broadcasting and publishing in the Kurdish language, although significant barriers remain.[61] At the same time, the PKK was blacklisted in many countries. On 2 April 2004, the Council of the European Union added the PKK to its list of terrorist organizations. Later that year, the US Treasury moved to freeze assets of branches of the organization. The PKK went through a series of changes, and in 2003 it ended the unilateral truce declared when Öcalan was captured.[62]

On 20 March 2016, the PKK announced the establishment of Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement, a coalition of MaoistsMarxists-Leninists, Apoists, Communists and Hoxhaistswhich aim to attain “democracy and a free future” for “peoples against Imperialism, Capitalism, Chauvinism, Fascism and Racism”, by working towards the overthrow of the ruling AKP government, who they deem collaborative fascist.[63]

Ideology, aims

The organization originated in the 1970s from the radical left and drew its membership from other existing leftist groups, mainly Dev-Genç.[64]:127 During the 1980s, the movement included and cooperated with other ethnic groups, including ethnic Turks, who were following the radical left.[64]:127[64]:129 The organization initially presented itself as part of the worldwide communist revolution. Its aims and objectives have evolved over time towards the goal of national autonomy,[65] and democratic confederalism.[66][67][68]

Around 1995, the PKK ostensibly changed its aim from independence to a demand for equal rights and Kurdish autonomy within the Turkish state,[69][70][71] though all the while hardly suspending their military attacks on the Turkish state except for ceasefires in 1999–2004 and 2013–2015. In 1995, Öcalan said: “We are not insisting on a separate state under any condition. What we are calling for very openly is a state model where a people’s basic economic, cultural, social, and political rights are guaranteed”.[70]

Whilst this shift in the mid-nineties has been interpreted as one from a call for independence to an autonomous republic,[72] some scholars have concluded that the PKK still maintains independence as the ultimate goal, but through society-building rather than state-building.[73][74]

Nevertheless, the PKK has in March 2016 also vowed to overthrow the Turkish government of Erdoğan, through the ‘Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement‘.[75]

The organization has adapted the new Democratic confederalist views of its arrested leader, which aim to replace the United NationsCapitalism and Nation State with the Democratic Federalism which is described as a “system of popularly elected administrative councils, allowing local communities to exercise autonomous control over their assets, while linking to other communities via a network of confederal councils.[76]

Followers of Öcalan and members of the PKK are known, after his diminutive name, as Apocu (Apo-ites) under his movement, Apoculuk (Apoism).[77]

Organization

The PKK has multiple heads in various countries, such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, Russia and West European countries.[78] However, Abdullah Öcalan was the unchallenged leader of the organization. After the capture of Öcalan, authorities induced him to publicly plead for a ceasefire.[79] Though serving life imprisonment, Öcalan is still considered the honorary leader and figurehead of the organization.[80]

Murat Karayılan led the organization from 1999 to 2013. In 2013 Cemil Bayik and Besê Hozat assumed as the first joint leadership.[81] Cemil Bayik, beside Abdullah Öcalan, Kesire Yildirim Öcalan and Haki Karer was one of the core leaders. The organization appointed “Doctor Bahoz,” the nom de guerre of Fehman Huseyin, a Syrian Kurd, in charge of the movement’s military operations signifying the long-standing solidarity among Kurds from all parts of Kurdistan.[82]

Wings[

Umbrella organization

In 1985, the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (KurdishEniye Rizgariye Navata Kurdistan‎, ERNK) was established by the PKK as its popular front wing, with the role of both creating propaganda for the party, and as an umbrella organization for PKK organizations in different segments of the Kurdish population, such as the peasantry, workers, youth, and women. It was dissolved in 1999, after the capture of Abdullah Öcalan.[83][84]

Armed wing

The PKK has an armed wing, originally formed in 1984 as the Kurdistan Freedom Brigades (KurdishHazen Rizgariya Kurdistan‎, HRK),[85] renamed to the People’s Liberation Army of Kurdistan (KurdishArteshen Rizgariya Gelli Kurdistan‎, ARGK) in 1986,[83] and again renamed to the People’s Defense Forces (KurdishHêzên Parastina Gel‎, HPG) in 1999.[86]

Women’s armed wing

The Free Women’s Units of Star (KurdishYekîneyên Jinên Azad ên Star‎,[87] YJA-STAR) was established in 2004 as the women’s armed wing of the PKK, emphasizing the issue of women’s liberation.[14]

Training camps

The first training camps were established in 1982 in Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and also in Beqaa Valley with the support of the Syrian government.[88][89] After the Iran-Iraq war and the Kurdish civil war, the PKK moved all its camps to Northern Iraq in 1998. The PKK had also completely moved to Qandil Mountains from Beqaa Valley, under intensive pressure, after Syria expelled Öcalan and shut down all camps established in the region.[89] At the time, Northern Iraq was experiencing a vacuum of control after the Gulf War-related Operation Provide Comfort. Instead of a single training camp which could be easily destroyed, the organization created many small camps. During this period the organization set up a fully functioning enclave with training camps, storage facilities, and reconnaissance and communications centers.

In 2007, the organization was believed to have camps strung out through the mountains that straddle the border between Turkey and Iraq, including in Sinaht, Haftanin, Kanimasi and Zap.[90] The organization developed two types of camps. The mountain camps, located in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, are used as forward bases from which militants carry out attacks against Turkish military bases. The units deployed there are highly mobile and the camps have only minimal infrastructure.[90] The other permanent camps, in the Qandil Mountains of Iraq, have more developed infrastructure—including a field hospital, electricity generators and a large proportion of the PKK’s lethal and non-lethal supplies.[90] The organization is also using the Qandil mountain camps for its political activities.

It was claimed in 2004 that there was another political training camp in Belgium, evidence that the organization had used training camps in Europe for political and ideological training.[91]

Political representation

The organization had sympathizer parties in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey beginning in the early 1990s. The establishment of direct links to the organization has been a question. In sequence HEP/DEP/HADEP/DEHAP/DTP and the BDP, which later changed its name to Democratic Regions Party (DBP) on 11 July 2014,[92] as well as the HDP have been accused of sympathizing with the PKK, since they have refused to brand it as a terrorist group.

Political organizations established in Turkey are banned from propagating or supporting separatism. Several political parties supporting Kurdish rights have been allegedly banned on this pretext. The constitutional court claimed to find direct links between the HEP/DEP/HADEP and the PKK. In 2008 the DTP-party was prosecuted by the constitutional court. It is reported that Turkey has used the PKK as an excuse to close Kurdish political parties.

Turkish-Kurdish politician and conspiracist Abdülmelik Fırat had claimed the Democratic Society Party (DTP) was founded by the PKK, and that 80 percent of Kurds do not vote for this party.[93] Senior DTP leaders maintain that they support a unified Turkey within a democratic framework. Aysel Tuğluk published an article in Radikal in May 2007 as the co-president of DTP, to prove that claim.[94]

Several parliamentarians and other elected representatives have been jailed for speaking in Kurdish, carrying Kurdish colors or otherwise allegedly “promoting separatism”, most famous among them being Leyla Zana.[95] The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Turkey for arresting and executing Kurdish writers, journalists and politicians in numerous occasions. Between 1990 and 2006 Turkey was condemned to pay 33 million euros in damages in 567 cases. The majority of the cases were related to events that took place in southeastern Anatolia[96] Politicians of the HDP are often accused and prosecuted for being members of the PKK.[97] In Iraq the political party Tevgera Azadî is said to have close to the PKK.[98]

Alleged links with Turkish intelligence

During the controversial Ergenekon trials in Turkey, allegations have been made that the PKK is linked to elements of the Turkish intelligence community.

Şamil Tayyar, author and member of the ruling AK Party, claimed that Öcalan was released in 1972 after just three months’ detention on the initiative of the National Intelligence Organization (Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı, MİT), and that his 1979 escape to Syria was aided by elements in MİT.[99] Öcalan has admitted making use of money given by the MIT to the PKK, which he says was provided as part of MIT efforts to control him.[100]

Former police special forces member Ayhan Çarkın alleged that the state, using the clandestine Ergenekon network, colluded with militant groups such as the PKK, Dev-Sol and Turkish Hezbollah, with the goal of profiting from the war.[101]

A witness to the trials testified that General Levent Ersöz, former head of JITEM, had frequent contact with PKK commander Cemîl Bayik.[102]

According to official figures, it was claimed that nearly 2000 PKK members became itirafçı (“confessors”) after their arrest. Some were persuaded or coerced to play an active role in the conflict, particularly under the direction of the Turkish Gendarmerie‘s unofficial JİTEMunit.[citation needed]

Activities

During its establishment in the mid-1970s, amid violent clashes country-wide, the organization used classic violent methods, such as the alleged failed assassination of Mehmet Celal Bucak as a propaganda-of-the-deed.[64] After the 1980 military coup, the organization developed into a paramilitary organization using resources it acquired in Syria, Russia, Europe and Beqaa Valley in part of ex-Syrian-controlled Lebanon. After 1984, PKK began also to use the Maoist theory of people’s war.[103][104]

The PKK has faced condemnation by some countries for executing civilians, using suicide bombers,[105][106] Child Soldiers[107] and involvement in drug trafficking.[108]

Political activity 1978–1984

In the first phase (1978–1984), the PKK tried to gain the support of the Kurdish population. It attacked the machinery of government and distributed propaganda in the region. PKK tactics were based on ambushsabotage, riots, protests, and demonstrations against the Turkish government. During these years, the PKK also fought a turf war against other radical Islamist Kurdish and Turkish organisations in Turkey. Turkish newspapers claimed that the PKK effectively used the prison force to gain appeal among the population which PKK has denied.[109][110] In the whole Turkey, this period was characterized by violent clashes which culminated in the 1980 military coup.

During this time, the organization argued that its violent actions against the government forces were explained by the need to defend Kurds in the context of what it considered as the massive cultural suppression of Kurdish identity (including the 1983 Turkish Language Act Ban) and cultural rights carried out by other governments of the region.[111] Turkey also used violent and oppressive methods against its Kurdish citizens to stop them supporting the PKK.

Armed rebellion 1984–1999

In the second phase (1984–1999), which followed the return of civilian rule in 1983, escalating attacks were made on the government’s military and vital institutions all over the country. The objective was to destabilize the Turkish authority through a long, low-intensity confrontation. In addition to skirmishing with Turkish military and police forces and local village guards, the PKK has conducted bomb attacks on government and police installations.[112] Kidnapping and assassination against government and military officials and Kurdish tribal leaders who were named as puppets of the state were performed as well. Widespread sabotages were continued from the first stage. Turkish sources had also claimed that the PKK carried out kidnappings of tourists, primarily in Istanbul, but also at different resorts. However, the PKK had in its history arrested 4 tourists and released them all after warning them to not enter the war zone. The vast majority of PKK’s actions have taken place mainly in Turkey against the Turkish military, although it has on occasions co-operated with other Kurdish nationalist paramilitary groups in neighboring states, such as Iraq and Iran.[113] The PKK has also attacked Turkish diplomatic and commercial facilities across Western Europe in the late 1980s. In effect, the Turkish state has led a series of counter-insurgency operations against the PKK, accompanied by political measures, starting with an explicit denunciation of separatism in the 1982 Constitution, and including proclamation of the state of emergency in various PKK-controlled territories starting in 1983 (when the military relinquished political control to the civilians). This series of administrative reforms against terrorism included in 1985 the creation of village guard system by the then prime minister Turgut Özal. Öcalan, in presence of PUK leader Jalal Talabani declared a unilateral cease fire in 1993, and said the PKK did not want to separate from Turkey, but Turkey did not respond to it.[114] Turkey was involved in serious human rights violations during the 1990s. The ECHR has condemned Turkey for executions of Kurdish civilians, torturing, forced displacements and massive arrests.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, in an effort to win increased support from the Kurdish peasantry, the PKK altered its leftist secular ideology to better accommodate and accept Islamic beliefs. The group also abandoned its previous strategy of attacking Kurdish and Turkish civilians who were against them, focusing instead on government and military targets.[115] In its campaign, the organization has been accused of carrying out atrocities against both Turkish and Kurdish civilians and its actions have been criticised by human rights groups such as Amnesty International[116] and Human Rights Watch[117][citation needed]. Similar actions of the Turkish state have also been criticized by these same groups.

Cease fire 1999–2004

The third phase (1999–2012), after the capture of Öcalan, PKK reorganized itself and new leaders were chosen by its members. The PKK wasn’t active between 2000 and 2003. The organization made radical changes to survive, such as changing its ideology and setting new goals. At the same time, the PKK continued to recruit new members and sustain its fighting force.

According to Turkish sources, in April 2002 at its 8th Party Congress, the PKK changed its name to the Kurdistan Freedom and Democracy Congress (KADEK) and proclaimed a commitment to nonviolent activities in support of Kurdish rights. A PKK/KADEK spokesman stated that its armed wing, The People’s Defense Force, would not disband or surrender its weapons for reasons of self-defense. This statement by the PKK/KADEK avowing it would not lay down its arms underscores that the organization maintained its capability to carry out armed operations. PKK/KADEK established a new ruling council in April, its membership virtually identical to the PKK’s Presidential Council. The PKK/KADEK did not conduct an armed attack in 2002; however, the group periodically issued veiled threats that it will resume violence if the conditions of its imprisoned leader are not improved and its forces are attacked by Turkish military, and it continued its military training like before.

In November 2003, another congress was held which lead to renaming itself as the People’s Congress of Kurdistan or Kongra-Gel (KGK). The stated purpose of the organizational change was to leave behind nationalistic and state-building goals, in favor of creating a political structure to work within the existing nation-states.[118] Through further internal conflict during this period, it is claimed that 1500 militants left the organization,[118] along with many of the leading reformists, including Nizamettin Taş and Abdullah Öcalan‘s younger brother Osman Öcalan[119]

Second insurgency 2004–2012

Kongra-Gel called off the cease-fire at the start of June 2004, saying Turkish security forces had refused to respect the truce. Turkish security forces were increasingly involved in clashes with Kurdish separatist fighters. Ankara claimed that about 2,000 Kurdish fighters had crossed into Turkey from hideouts in mountainous northern Iraq in early June 2004.

While the fight against the Turkish security forces between 2004 and 2010 continued, the PKK and its ancillary organizations continued to enjoy substantial support among the Kurds of Turkey. In 2005, the original name of the organization PKK was restored, while the Kongra-Gel became the legislature of the Koma Komalên Kurdistan.[120][121] Turkey’s struggle against the Kongra-Gel/PKK was marked by increased clashes across Turkey in 2005. In the Southeast, Turkish security forces were active in the struggle against the Kongra-Gel/PKK. There were bombings and attempted bombings in resort areas in western Turkey and Istanbul, some of which resulted in civilian casualties. A radical Kurdish separatist group calling itself the Kurdish Freedom Hawks (TAK) claimed responsibility for many of these attacks. The TAK is a rival to PKK that since 2006 repeatedly damaged the PKK’s efforts to negotiate cease-fires and unlike the PKK, is seeking to establish independent Kurdistan.[122] In 2006 alone, the PKK claimed over 500 victims. In October 2006, the PKK allegedly declared a unilateral cease-fire that slowed the intensity and pace of its attacks, but attacks continued in response to Turkish security forces significant counterinsurgency operations, especially in the southeast. On 21 October 2011 Iranian foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced Iran would co-operate with Turkey in some military operations against the PKK.[123]

2012 was the most violent year in the armed conflict between the Turkish State and PKK since 1999. At least 541 individuals lost their lives as a result of the clashes including 316 militants and 282 soldiers. In contrast, 152 individuals lost their lives in 2009 until the Turkish government initiated negotiations with the PKK leadership.[124] The failure of this negotiations contributed to violence that were particularly intensified in 2012. The PKK encouraged by the rising power of the Syrian Kurds increased its attacks in the same year.

During the Syrian Civil War, the Kurds in Syria have established control over their own region with the help of the Turkish Kurdistan Workers’ Party as well as with support from the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil, under President Masoud Barzani.[125]

2013–15 Peace process

Demonstration in Paris for slain PKK workers

In late 2012, the Turkish government began secret talks with Öcalan for a ceasefire.[126] To facilitate talks, government officials transmitted letters between Öcalan in jail to PKK leaders in northern Iraq.[127] On 21 March 2013, a ceasefire was announced.[128] On 25 April, it was announced that the PKK would leave Turkey. Commander Murat Karayılan remarked “As part of ongoing preparations, the withdrawal will begin on May 8, 2013. Our forces will use their right to retaliate in the event of an attack, operation or bombing against our withdrawing guerrilla forces and the withdrawal will immediately stop.”[129] The semi-autonomous Kurdish region of Iraq welcomed the idea of refugees from its northern neighbor.[130] The BDP held meetings across the region to explain the pending withdrawal to concerned citizens. “The 8th of May is a day we both anticipate and fear,” explained party leader Pinar Yilmaz. “We don’t trust the government at all. Many people here are afraid that once the guerrillas are gone, the Turkish military will crack down on us again.”[128]

The withdrawal began as planned with groups of fighters crossing the border from southeastern Turkey to northern Iraq.[126] Iraqi leadership in Baghdad, however, declared that it would not accept armed groups into its territory. “The Iraqi government welcomes any political and peaceful settlement”, read an official statement. “[But] it does not accept the entry of armed groups to its territories that can be used to harm Iraq’s security and stability.”[130] The prospect of armed Kurdish forces in northern Iraq threatens to increase tensions between the region and Baghdad who are already at odds over certain oil producing territory. PKK spokesman Ahmet Deniz sought to ease concerns stating the plan would boost democracy. “The [peace] process is not aimed against anyone,” he said “and there is no need for concerns that the struggle will take on another format and pose a threat to others.”[130]

It is estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 PKK fighters resided in Turkey at the time.[citation needed] The withdrawal process was expected to take several months even if Iraq does not intervene to try to stop it.[130] On 14 May 2013, the first groups of 13 male and female fighters entered Iraq’s Heror area near the Metina mountain after leaving Turkey. They carried with them Kalashnikov assault rifles, light machine guns and rocket-propelled grenade launchers before a welcoming ceremony.[131]

Kurdish PKK guerilla, 23 March 2014

On 29 July 2013, the PKK issued an ultimatum in saying that the peace deal would fail if reforms were not begun to be implemented within a month.[132] In October, Cemil Bayik warned that unless Turkey resumed the peace process, the PKK would resume operations to defend itself against it. He also accused Turkey of waging a proxy war against Kurds during the Syrian Civil War by supporting other extremist rebels who were fighting them.[133]

Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani backed the initiative saying, alongside Erdogan: “This is a historic visit for me … We all know it would have been impossible to speak here 15 or 20 years ago. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has taken a very brave step towards peace. I want my Kurdish and Turkish brothers to support the peace process.”[134]

2014 action against Islamic State and renewed tensions in Turkey

The PKK engaged the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) forces in Syria in mid-July 2014[135] as part of the Syrian Civil War. In August the PKK engaged IS in Northern Iraq and pressured the Government of Turkey to take a stand against IS.[136][137] PKK forces helped tens of thousands of Yazidis escape an encircled Mount Sinjar.[138] In September 2014, during the Siege of Kobanî, the PKK, receiving direct U.S. military support,[139] engaged with Islamic State forces in Syria who were attacking Kurdish city Kobane, which resulted in conflicts with Turks on the border and an end to a cease-fire that had been in place over a year.[140] The PKK accused Turkey of supporting ISIS. The PKK participated in many offensives against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.[141]

A number of Turkish Kurds rallied in large-scale street protests, demanding that the government in Ankara take more forceful action to combat IS and to enable Kurdish militants already engaged against IS to more freely move and resupply. These protests included a PKK call for its supporters to turn out.[142] Clashes between police and protesters killed at least 31 people. The Turkish government continued to restrict PKK-associated fighters’ movement across its borders, arresting 260 People’s Protection Units fighters who were moving back into Turkey. On 14 October, Turkish Air Force fighter-bombers attacked PKK positions in the vicinity of Daglica, Hakkari Province.[143]

Turkish military statements claimed that the bombings were in response to PKK attacks on a Turkish military outpost in the area. The Firat news agency, which Al Jazeera describes as “close to the PKK”, claimed that Turkish forces had been shelling the PKK positions for days beforehand and that the PKK action had itself been retaliation for those artillery strikes.[144] The PKK had already reported several Turkish attacks against their troops months before Turkish bombing started.

Percentage of the popular vote won by the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the 2015 Turkish general election. “The HDP’s elections results, which are a proxy indicator of popular support for the PKK, show that the group has followers throughout the country.”[145]

July 2015–present: Renewed insurgency

PKK and Peshmerga fighters, 11 August 2015

PKK Sniper

In the months before the parliamentary election of 2015, as the “Kurdish-focused” HDP’s likelihood of crossing the 10% threshold for entry into the government seemed more likely, Erdogan gave speeches and made comments that repudiated the settlement process and the existence of a Kurdish problem and refusing to recognize the HDP as having any role to play despite their long participation as intermediaries.[146] These announcements increased distrust of the government’s good faith among Kurdish leaders. In July 2015, Turkey finally became involved in the war against ISIL. While they were doing so, they decided to bomb PKK targets in Iraq.[147] The bombings came a few days after PKK was suspected of assassinating two Turkish police officers in CeylanpınarŞanlıurfa, accused by the PKK of having links with ISIS after the 2015 Suruç bombing.[148][149] The PKK has blamed Turkey for breaking the truce by bombing the PKK in 2014 and 2015 continuously.

In August 2015, the PKK announced that they would accept another ceasefire with Turkey only under US guarantees.[150] PKK announced a one-sided ceasefire in October 2015 near election time, but the government refused.[citation needed] The leadership of Iraqi Kurdistan has condemned the Turkish air strikes in its autonomous region in the north of Iraq.[151]

The number of casualties since 23 July was claimed by Turkish government to be 150 Turkish officers and over 2,000 Kurdish rebels killed (by September).[152] In December 2015, Turkish military operation in southeastern Turkey has killed hundreds of civilians, displaced hundreds of thousands and caused massive destruction in residential areas.[153][154]

In March 2016, the PKK helped to launch the Peoples’ United Revolutionary Movement with nine other Kurdish and Turkish revolutionary leftist, socialist and communist groups (including the TKP/MLTHKP-C/MLSPBMKPTKEP/LTİKB [defrtrzh]DKPDK and MLKP) with the aim of overthrowing the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.[63]

Tactics

The areas in which the group operates are generally mountainous rural areas and dense urban areas. The mountainous terrain offers an advantage to members of the PKK by allowing them to hide in a network of caves.[citation needed]

Recruiting[

PKK female fighters

Since its foundation, the PKK has recruited new fighters mainly from Turkey, but also from Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Western countries using various recruitment methods, such as using nationalist propaganda and its gender equality ideology. At its establishment, it included a small number of female fighters but over time, however, the number increased significantly and by the early 1990s, 30 percent of its 17,000 armed fighting forces were women.[155] In much of rural Turkey, where male-dominated tribal structures, and conservative Muslim norms were commonplace, the organization increased its number of members through the recruitment of women from different social structures and environments, also from families that migrated to several European countries after 1960 as guest workers.[155] It was reported by a Turkish university that 88% of the subjects initially believed that equality was a key objective, and that they joined the organization based on this claim.[156] In 2007, approximately 1,100 of 4,500–5,000 total members were women.[155]

In its early stages, the PKK recruited young women by kidnapping them. This forced families whose children were already a member of the organization to cooperate and thus turning them into accomplices, which increased the number of women joining the group, according to the publication, published by the Jamestown Foundation.[155][157][158]

The organization is also actively recruiting child soldiers and it has been accused of abducting more than 2,000 children by Turkish Security Forces. The independent reports by the Human Rights Watch (HRW), the United Nations(UN) and the Amnesty International have confirmed the recruitment and use of child soldiers by the organization and its armed wings since the 1990s.[107][159][160][161]

According to the TEPAV think-tank which did research on the identities of 1,362 PKK fighters who lost their lives between 2001 and 2011, 42% of the recruits were under 18, with over a quarter of these being under 15 years of age at the time of recruiting. The organization is also believed to have used the children in the drug trade.[162]

On 22 December 2016, a report published by Human Rights Watch (HRW) stated that the HPG, the armed wing of the PKK, and the YBS, a Yazidi militia affiliated with the PKK, had actively recruited child soldiers since the 2015. The report stated that more than 29 cases had been documented, and some recruited children were under 15 when they had been recruited, which is a war crime under international law.[159]

Weapons

In July 2007, the weapons captured between 1984 and 2007 from the PKK operatives and their origins published by the Turkish General Staff indicates that the operatives erased some of the serial numbers from their weapons. The total number of weapons and the origins for traceable ones were:[163]

 
The choice and origin of the traceable weapons (July 2007)[163]
Type Quantity Sources
AK-47 Kalashnikovs 4,500 71.6% from the USSR, 14.7% from China, 3.6% from Hungary, 3.6% from Bulgaria
Rifles[nb 1] 5,713 of (959 traceable) 45.2% from Russia, 13.2% from United Kingdom, and 9.4% from United States.
Rocket launchers 1,610 (313 traceable) 85% from Russia, 5.4% from Iraq, and 2.5% from China in origin.
Pistols 2,885 (2,208 traceable) 21.9% from Czechoslovakia, 20.2% from Spain, 19.8% from Italy
Grenades 3,490 (136 traceable) 72% from Russia, 19.8% from United States, 8% from Germany,
Land mines 11,568 (8,015 traceable) 60.8% from Italy, 28.3% from Russia, 6.2% from Germany

Turkish authorities claimed that four members of the organization, who handed themselves over to authorities after escaping from camps in northern Iraq, claimed they had seen two U.S. armored vehicles deliver weapons, which was widely reported and further stoked suspicions about U.S. policy in Iraq.[164] The US envoy denied these claims.[165] The arms were claimed to be part of the Blackwater Worldwide arms smuggling allegations. The probe of organization’s weapons and the investigation of Blackwater employees were connected.[166] The PKK also denied these claims.

Resources

Funding

Parties and concerts are organized by branch groups.[167] Additionally, it is believed that the PKK earns money through the sale of various publications, as well as receiving revenues from legitimate businesses owned by the organization, and from Kurdish-owned businesses in Turkey, Russia, Iraq, Iran and Western Europe.[168][169] Besides affiliate organizations, it is claimed that there are sympathizer organizations such as the Confederation of Kurdish Associations in Europe and the International Kurdish Businessmen Union which constantly exchanges information and perform legitimate or semi-legitimate commercial activities and donations.[citation needed]

According to the European Police Office (EUROPOL), the organization collects money from its members, using labels like ‘donations’ and ‘membership fees’ which are seen as a fact extortion and illegal taxation by the authorities. There are also indications that the organization is actively involving in money laundering, illicit drugs and human trafficking, as well as illegal immigration inside and outside the EU for funding and running its activities.[170]

Drug trafficking

PKK’s involvement in drug trafficking has been documented since the 1990s.[171] A report by Interpol published in 1992 states that the PKK, along with nearly 178 Kurdish organizations were suspected of illegal drug trade involvement. The British National Criminal Intelligence Service determined that the PKK obtained $75 million from drug smuggling in Europe in 1993 alone.[172] Members of the PKK have been designated narcotics traffickers by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.[173] The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic security agency, echoed this finding in its 2011 Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution, stating that despite the U.S Department of Treasury designation, there was “no evidence that the organizational structures of the PKK are directly involved in drug trafficking”.[174]

On 14 October 2009, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) targeted the senior leadership of the PKK, designating Murat Karayılan, the head of the PKK, and high-ranking members Ali Riza Altun and Zübeyir Aydar as foreign narcotics traffickers at the request of Turkey.[173] On 20 April 2011, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced the designation of PKK founders Cemîl Bayik and Duran Kalkan and other high-ranking members as Specially Designated Narcotics Traffickers (SDNT) pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act). Pursuant to the Kingpin Act, the designation freezes any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction and prohibits U.S. persons from conducting financial or commercial transactions with these individuals.[175]

According to research conducted by journalist Aliza Marcus, the PKK accepted the support of smugglers in the region. Aliza Marcus claimed that some of those Kurdish smugglers who were involved in the drugs trade, either because they truly believed in the PKK—or because they thought it a good business practice (avoid conflicts)—frequently donated money to the PKK rebels. She also claimed that there were reports of PKK supporters in Europe who used their positions and contacts to trade in drugs—and then handed some of the profits to the PKK. And when PKK activists needed more money, they had no qualms about approaching Kurds who trafficked in narcotics. However, according to Aliza Marcus, it does not seem that the PKK, as an organization, directly produced or traded in narcotics.[176]

Following the SDF capture of Raqqa, YPJ and YPG troops raised a large banner of Abdullah Öcalan in the city centre.[177]

In 2018, the state-run new agency AA claimed that the PKK has successfully kept its drug production and trafficking activities underground, both across the globe and within Turkey, and that the security forces had carried out more than 414 drug trafficking operations against the organization since the 1980. The Turkish authorities have also claimed that the organization gains 1,5 billion USD yearly from drug trafficking.[178][179]

The report, published by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), stated that the instability in Iraq has helped the PKK to develop and use Iraq as a transhipment point for Afghan heroin. The PKK was reported to collect taxes per kilogram of heroin trafficked to Turkey from the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iraq borders, with potential profits reaching US$200 million annually.[180]

The EUROPOL which has monitored the organization’s activities inside the EU has also reported the organization’s involvement in the trafficking of drugs and human beings to raise funds for its terrorist activities inside and outside the EU.[170]

On 1 January 2012, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) announced the designation of Moldovan-based individuals Zeyneddin Geleri, Cerkez Akbulut, and Omer Boztepe as specially designated narcotics traffickers for drug trafficking on behalf of the PKK in Europe. According to the OFAC, Zeynedding Geleri was identified as a high-ranking member of the PKK while two others were activists. The OFAC stated that the drug trafficking is still one of the organization’s criminal activities it uses to obtain weapons and materials.[181]

Human resources

In 2008, according to information provided by the Intelligence Resource Program of the Federation of American Scientists the strength of the organization in terms of human resources consists of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 militants of whom 3,000 to 3,500 are located in northern Iraq.[182] With the new wave of fighting from 2015 onwards, observers noted that active support for the PKK had become a “mass phenomenon” in majority ethnic Kurdish cities in the Southeast of the Republic of Turkey, with large numbers of local youth joining PKK-affiliated local militant groups.[183]

International support

At the height of its campaign, the organization received support from many countries. According to Turkey, countries the PKK has previously/currently received support from include: Greece,[184][185] Iran,[186] Iraq,[187] Russia[188] and Syria.[186] The level of support given has changed throughout this period. Official Turkish sources also allege cooperation between the PKK and the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA).[189]

Greece
According to Ali Külebi, president of an Ankara-based nationalist think tank TUSAM, “It is obvious that the PKK is supported by Greece, considering the PKK’s historical development with major support from Greece.” Külebi alleged in 2007 that PKK militants received training at a base in Lavrion, near Athens.[190] Retired Greek L.T. General Dimitris Matafias and retired Greek Navy Admiral Antonis Naxakis had visited the organization’s Mahsun Korkmaz base camp in Lebanon’s Beqaa Valley in October 1988 along with parliamentarians from the center-left PASOK.[191] At the time it was reported that the general had assumed responsibility for training. Greeks also dispatched arms through the Republic of Cyprus.[191] In December 1993, Greek foreign affairs minister Theodoros Pangalos was quoted as saying “we must be supportive of the Kurdish people to be free”.[192] Greece declined to join Germany and France and the eleven other members at the EU to ban the organization.[192] During his trial, Öcalan admitted, as quoted in Hürriyet, that “Greece has for years supported the PKK movement. They even gave us arms and rockets. Greek officers gave guerrilla training and explosives training to our militants” at a camp in Lavrion, Greece.[193]
Syria
From early 1979 to 1999, Syria had provided valuable safe havens to PKK in the region of Beqaa Valley. However, after the undeclared war between Turkey and Syria, Syria placed restrictions on PKK activity on its soil such as not allowing the PKK to establish camps and other facilities for training and shelter or to have commercial activities on its territory. Syria recognized the PKK as a terrorist organization in 1998.[194] Turkey was expecting positive developments in its cooperation with Syria in the long term, but even during the course of 2005, there were PKK operatives of Syrian nationality operating in Turkey.[167][195]
Iran
Iran provided PKK with supplies in the form of weapons and funds. However, Iran later listed the PKK as a terrorist organization after Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan used Iran’s supply of resources to the PKK on its own soil.[citation needed]
Armenia
Turkish and Azeri sources have alleged in 2007 that PKK maintains camps in the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh Republic.[196] Armenia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Arman Kirakosyan called these allegations “sheer nonsense” in 2008.[197] In May 2008 a commentary in the right-wing newspaper Yeni Şafak claimed that the PKK’s leadership, “perhaps feeling insecure in northern Iraq, was mulling a move to Nagorno-Karabakh.” In response, Armenia’s Foreign Ministry press spokesman Vladimir Karapetian stated, “The unsubstantiated rumors about the intentions on the side of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to move to Nagorno-Karabakh and controlled territories cannot be called anything less than another provocation.”[198]
Republic of Cyprus
Support of the Republic of Cyprus was alleged when Abdullah Öcalan was caught with a Cypriot passport under the name of Mavros Lazaros, a nationalist reporter.
Soviet Union and Russia
Former KGBFSB officer Alexander Litvinenko alleges that PKK’s leader Abdullah Öcalan was trained by KGBFSB.[199] As of 2008, Russia is still not among the states that list PKK as a terrorist group despite intense Turkish pressure.
United Kingdom
MED TV broadcast for five years in the UK, until its license was revoked by the regulators the Independent Television Commission (ITC) in 1999. The PKK has been listed as a terrorist organization since 29 March 2001. In 2008, the United Kingdom detained members of the PKK and seized the assets of the PKK’s representative in Britain, Selman Bozkur, alias “Dr. Hüseyin”. His assets remain frozen.[200]
Support of various European states
The Dutch police had allegedly raided the ‘PKK paramilitary camp’ in the Dutch village of Liempde and arrested 29 people in November 2004, but all were soon released.[201] Denmark allows Kurdish satellite television stations (such as ROJ-TV), which Turkey claims has links with the PKK, to operate in Denmark and broadcast into Turkey.[202]
Various PKK leaders, including Hidir Yalcin, Riza Altun, Zubeyir Aydar, and Ali Haydar Kaytan all lived in Europe and moved freely. The free movement was achieved by strong ties with influential persons. Danielle Mitterrand, the wife of the former President of FranceFrançois Mitterrand, had active connections during the 1990s with elements of the organization’s leadership that forced a downgrade in relationships between the two states.[203] After harboring him for some time, Austria arranged a flight to Iraq for Ali Rıza Altun, a suspected key figure with an Interpol arrest warrant on his name.. Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gül summoned the Austrian ambassador and condemned Austria’s action.[204] On 30 September 1995, while Öcalan was in Syria, Damascus initiated contact with high-ranking German CDU MP Heinrich Lummer and German intelligence officials.
The Chief of the Turkish General Staff during 2007, General Yaşar Büyükanıt, stated that even though the international struggle had been discussed on every platform and even though organizations such as the UN, NATO, and EU made statements of serious commitment, to this day the necessary measures had not been taken.[205] According to Büyükanıt; “this conduct on one side has encouraged the terrorists, on the other side it assisted in widening their activities.[205] 
Sedat Laçiner, of the Turkish think tank ISRO, says that US support of the PKK undermines the US War on Terror.[206] Seymour Hersh claimed that the U.S. supported PEJAK, the Iranian branch of the PKK.[207] The head of the PKK’s militant arm, Murat Karayılan, claimed that Iran attempted to recruit the PKK to attack coalition forces, adding that Kurdish guerrillas had launched a clandestine war in north-western Iran, ambushing Iranian troops.[208]

Designation as a terrorist group

The PKK has been placed on Turkey’s terrorist list, as well as a number of allied governments and organizations.[17]

The European Union — which Turkey aspires to join — in 2011 renewed its official listing of the PKK as group or entity subject to “specific [EU] measures to combat terrorism” under its Common Foreign and Security Policy.[209] First designated as such in 2002, the PKK was ordered to be removed from the EU terror list on 3 April 2008 by the European Court of First Instance on the grounds that the EU had failed to give a proper justification for listing it in the first place.[210] However, EU officials dismissed the ruling, stating that the PKK would remain on the list regardless of the legal decision.[211]

The PKK is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the US State Department;[212] in 2018, the United States offered a $12 million reward for information on three PKK leaders.[213]

The PKK is also a Proscribed Organisation in the United Kingdom under the Terrorism Act 2000;[214] the British Prime Minister Theresa May used the phrase “Kurdish terrorism” in 2018, in a certain context.[215]

France prosecutes Kurdish-French activists and bans organizations connected to the PKK on terrorism-related charges,[216] having listed the group as a terrorist organization since 1993.[217] However, French courts often refuse to extradite captured individuals accused of PKK connections to Turkey due to technicalities in French law, frustrating Turkish authorities[failed verification].[218]

The following other individual countries have listed or otherwise labelled the PKK in an official capacity as a terrorist organization:

Australia,[219][220] Austria,[221] Azerbaijan,[222] Canada,[223] Czech Republic,[224] Germany,[225] Iran,[226] Japan,[227] Kazakhstan,[228] Kyrgyzstan,[229] New Zealand,[230] Spain,[231] Syria.[194]

States etc. not designating them as terrorist group

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg explained at a 2019 press conference that “NATO does not have a public list where we list different organisations as terrorist organisations. Some other national organisations have that kind of list, for instance the UN or . . . and EU, but NATO does not have that kind of public list, where we list terrorist organisations.”[232] Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952, and fields the group’s second-largest armed contingent.

The PKK has never been designated as a terrorist organization by the UN.

Russia has long ignored Turkish pressure to ban the PKK,[233] and the group is also not included in the official terror blacklist of China (PRC), Brazil, Switzerland, India and Egypt.[234][235]

The government of Switzerland has rejected Turkish demands to blacklist the PKK,[236] though it has taken its own measures to monitor and restrict the group’s activities on Swiss soil, including banning the collection of funds for the group in November 2008.[237]Switzerland considers only those organizations as terrorist organizations which are in the terrorist list of the United Nations.[238]

Flags

Party flags

Flag of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) (1978–1995)[239]
Flag of the PKK (1995–2000)[239]
Flag of the PKK (2000-2002)
Flag of the KADEK (2002–2003)[239]
Flag of the Kongra-Gel (KGK) (2003–present)[239][240]
Flag of the PKK (2005–present)[241]

Flags of wings

Flag of the People’s Defense Forces (HPG, Formerly HRK and ARGK)[242][243]
Flag of the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK) (1985-2000)[239][244]
Former flag of the Free Women’s Units of Star (YJA-STAR)[242]
Current flag of the YJA-STAR[245]

See also

Related and/or associated organizations

Notes

  1. ^ also rendered as Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, such as on the group’s official website

References…

Further reading

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurdistan_Workers%27_Party

 

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The Five 10/18/19 | The Five Fox News October 18, 2019

State Dept. finds nearly 600 violations in Clinton’s email scandal

‘You can’t control me’: Defiant Tulsi Gabbard says Hillary has ‘the blood of thousands on her hands’ and calls her the ‘queen of warmongers’ after 2016 loser accused her of being a Russian asset ready to run as an independent candidate

  • Tulsi Gabbard bashed Hillary Clinton during an appearance on Tucker Carlson Tonight on Friday
  • She said the former Secretary of State is waging a smear campaign against her because ‘she knows she can’t control me’
  • It comes on the heels of Clinton claiming the Russians were ‘grooming’ a Democratic presidential contender to be a third-party spoiler candidate 
  • ‘They’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,’ Clinton said 
  • In response, Gabbard tweeted that Clinton was ‘the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption’
  • On her appearance on Tucker Carlson, Gabbard also insisted that Clinton has blood on her hands for ‘championing’ the Iraq War
  • Clinton did not mention Gabbard by name but the Hawaii representative has been accused of being a ‘Russian asset’
  • Gabbard, in Tuesday’s debate, said that allegation was ‘completely despicable’

Story 4: Trump Dazzles Dallas — Videos

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FULL TRUMP RALLY: President Trump holds campaign rally in Dallas, Texas

Trump holds a campaign rally in Dallas, Texas

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The Pronk Pops Show 1343, October 17, 2019, Story 1: United States Negotiates A 5 Day Cease Fire With Turkey and 20 Mile Buffer Zone — Videos — Story 2: Senate Fails To Override Trump’s Veto  of Legislation Approved by the Senate and House of Representatives to Kill His Border Emergency — Videos — Story 3: Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Resigns End Of Year — Going Home To Texas — Videos

Posted on October 24, 2019. Filed under: 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, Afghanistan, American History, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Budgetary Policy, Business, Cartoons, Central Intelligence Agency, Clinton Obama Democrat Criminal Conspiracy, Communications, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Deep State, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Economics, Education, Elections, Empires, Employment, Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Fiscal Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Speech, Genocide, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, History, House of Representatives, Human, Human Behavior, Illegal Immigration, Immigration, Impeachment, Independence, Iraq, Islamic Republic of Iran, Islamic State, Killing, Labor Economics, Law, Legal Immigration, Life, Lying, Media, Medicare, Mental Illness, Middle East, Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Military Spending, Monetary Policy, National Interest, Natural Gas, News, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, President Trump, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Rule of Law, Scandals, Senate, Social Security, Spying, Subornation of perjury, Success, Surveillance and Spying On American People, Surveillance/Spying, Syria, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Trade Policy, Treason, Turkey, Unemployment, United States Constitution, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Welfare Spending, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Story 1: United States Negotiates A 5 Day Cease Fire With Turkey and 20 Mile Buffer Zone — Videos

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Trump touts ‘incredible’ ceasefire deal with Turkey

Mike Pence: Turkey Will Hold Ceasefire in Syria for 120 Hours – FULL ANNOUNCEMENT

Vice President Pence announces Syria ceasefire

Turkey agrees to Syria ceasefire: Vice President Mike Pence l ABC News

Ceasefire Reportedly Reached Between Turkey And Syria

Trump on ceasefire in Syria: It is a great day for civilization

The Five’ reacts to Trump and Pelosi trading ‘meltdown’ insults

Donald Trump hails five-day ceasefire deal in Syria as ‘a great day for civilization’ and boasts of ‘incredible outcome’ claiming ‘great leader’ Erdogan and the Kurds are happy – but Turkey hits back that they have only agreed to a PAUSE

  • Vice President Mike Pence announced the United States and Turkey have reached a deal to suspend Ankara’s operations in northern Syria for five days
  • ‘It’s really a great day for civilization,’ Trump said of the agreement 
  • Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spent more than four hours meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in order to get a deal
  • Ceasefire will reportedly last for 120 hours to allow a withdrawal 
  • Turkey will also get a 20 mile buffer on its border that Kurds much avoid 
  • Kurds were not part of the negotiations but Pence said they signed on 
  • ‘They couldn’t get it without a little rough love,’ Trump said of the agreement. ‘This is an incredible outcome’
  • But Turkish officials downplayed agreement and said it’s ‘not a ceasefire’ 

Donald Trump on Thursday hailed an agreement between the United States and Turkey for a five-day cease fire in Syria as a ‘great day for civilization’ as Turkish officials down played the outcome of the deal. 

‘A great day for the Kurds. It’s really a great day for civilization. It’s a great day for civilization,’ Trump said.

Vice President Mike Pence announced the United States and Turkey reached a deal to suspend Ankara’s operations in northern Syria for five days to allow Kurds time to withdraw to a ‘safe zone’ as part of a cease-fire agreement.

‘The United States and Turkey have agreed to a cease-fire in Syria,’ Pence announced at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara after protracted negotiations with the Turkish government.

The deal establishes a 20-mile buffer zone on the Turkish border that Kurds would have to avoid – a move that essentially gives Turkey a portion of Syria to control.

Trump praised his team’s work and touted his own role in the matter.

‘They couldn’t get it without a little rough love,’ Trump said in Texas after the deal was announced. The president had threatened Erdogan about the deal, saying he would destroy the Turkish economy with sanctions if he didn’t sign on. ‘This is an incredible outcome.’

But Turkish officials down played the agreement, saying they agreed to suspend operations to let the Kurds withdraw and emphasized it was ‘not a ceasefire.’

‘We will suspend the Peace Spring operation for 120 hours for the PKK/YPG to withdraw. This is not a ceasefire,’ Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said.

Vice President Mike Pence announced the United States and Turkey have reached a deal to suspend Ankara's operations in northern Syria for five day

President Donald Trump said the deal would not have gotten done without 'tough love'

Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters gesture as they stand at a back of a truck in the border town of Tal Abyad, Syria

Turkey-backed Syrian rebel fighters gesture as they stand at a back of a truck in the border town of Tal Abyad, Syria

Trump infuriated members of both political parties – including some of his strongest Republican allies – when he announced earlier this month he was withdrawing U.S. troops from Northern Syria.

He was accused of abandoning the Kurds, who are U.S. allies in the region, and ceding control of the area to Russia.

A week of criticism from Capitol Hill compounded on Wednesday into a White House meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers where Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of having a ‘serious meltdown’ when talking about the issue.

But the president gloried in the agreement on Thursday, calling Erdogan a ‘hell of a leader.’

Vice President Pence outlined the details of the agreement, saying Turkey agreed five-day cease fire in order to let Kurds get out of the ‘safe zone’ and Turkey will have a buffer zone around its border that the Kurds will avoid.

‘Once that is completed, Turkey has agreed to a permanent ceasefire,’ the vice president said.

And he said that Kurdish fighters would honor the deal even as the Kurdish were not part of the negotiations.

‘We have repeated assurances from them that they will be going out,’ he said.

The deal includes a Kurdish withdrawal from a security zone roughly 20 miles south of the Turkish border, which Pence said the Kurds will comply with.

‘Our administration has already been in contact with Syria defense forces and we’ve already begun to facilitate their safe withdrawal from the nearly 20-mile-wide safe zone area south of the Turkish border in Syria,’ Pence noted.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (3rd R), National Security Adviser Robert C. O'Brien (2nd R) and the American Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey (not pictured)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (3rd R), National Security Adviser Robert C. O’Brien (2nd R) and the American Ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey (not pictured)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the agreement was 'not a cease fire'

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the agreement was ‘not a cease fire’

Smoke and fire in the town of Ras al-Ain in Syria as Turkish forces gain ground there

Smoke and fire in the town of Ras al-Ain in Syria as Turkish forces gain ground there

‘We recognize the importance and value of a safe zone to create a buffer between Syria proper and the Kurdish population and the Turkish border,’ he said.

Additionally, the U.S. agreed to lift the economic sanctions it imposed on Turkey after the country sent troops into northern Syria once American forces had withdrawn.

The withdrawal of U.S. troops resulted in the Turkish military going ahead with a planned invasion into northeastern Syria, where Kurdish fighters had helped American forces in fighting what was left of ISIS.

‘The United States will not impose any further sanctions on Turkey,’ Pence announced.

And once a permanent cease fire is in effect, the president has agreed to withdraw the economic sanctions that were imposed this last Monday,’ he added.

But the agreement, however, gives Turkey what it wanted with its military incursion Additionally, the country is under no obligation to withdraw its troops under the agreement.

And the sanctions relief means the country will suffer no economic penalty from its military operation.

Trump, however, argued the deal will save lives and praised Turkey for signing it.

‘They’re not going to have to kill millions of people, and millions of people aren’t going to have to kill them,’ he said.

The president acknowledged the opposition to his decision to withdraw U.S. troops , including criticism he faced in his party from Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and his longtime ally Sen. Lindsey Graham.

‘This outcome is something they’ve been trying to get for ten years, everybody, and they couldn’t get it. Other administrations, and they never would have been able to get it unless you went somewhat unconventional. I guess I’m an unconventional person. I took a lot of heat from a lot of people even some of the people in my own party, but they were there, in the end they were there. They’re all there. Look, this is about the nation. This isn’t about Republicans or Democrats. This is about our nation,’ Trump said.

He claimed the Kurds were very happy with the outcome.

‘They were incredibly happy with this solution. This is a solution that really – well it saved their lives, frankly. It saved their lives,’ he said.

But not all Republicans celebrated the president’s deal.

In a scathing speech on the Senate floor, GOP Sen. Mitt Romney slammed the agreement, saying ‘the cease-fire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally, adding insult to dishonor.’

‘The administration speaks cavalierly, even flippantly, even as our ally has suffered death and casualty. Their homes have been burned and their families have been torn apart,’ he added.

‘What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history,’ he said.

Republican Senator Mitt Romney slammed Trump's deal with Turkey as a 'bloodstain' on America

Republican Senator Mitt Romney slammed Trump’s deal with Turkey as a ‘bloodstain’ on America

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives Vice President Mike Pence at Presidential Complex in Ankara

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan receives Vice President Mike Pence at Presidential Complex in Ankara

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he wants 'something even stronger' than the House resolution condemning Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria as Republicans have opposed the president's move

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Thursday he wants ‘something even stronger’ than the House resolution condemning Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Syria as Republicans have opposed the president’s move

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally, called for even greater sanctions on Turkey

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a staunch Trump ally, called for even greater sanctions on Turkey

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters drive down a street in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad

Turkish-backed Syrian fighters drive down a street in the Syrian border town of Tal Abyad

There were fears among some Trump administration officials that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence would not be able to get a deal with Turkey

There were fears among some Trump administration officials that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence would not be able to get a deal with Turkey

Graham said in a statement on Thursday he had a phone call with Trump, who spoke to him from Air Force One as he was in route to Dallas, Texas, after the deal was done.

‘Sounds like we may have made real progress regarding a cease-fire and hopefully sustainable solutions to prevent the reemergence of ISIS, the abandonment of our ally, the Kurds, and other strategic interests of the United States, like the containment of Iran,’ Graham said.

‘I stand ready to continue working with the President to build upon this breakthrough. I also stand ready to work in a bipartisan fashion to ensure this incursion by Turkey into northeastern Syria ends, hopefully, in a win-win fashion,’ he said. ‘Turkey has legitimate national security concerns within Syria but they cannot be met by invasion and force of arms.’

But there are still signs of dissension among the Republican ranks.

McConnell said Thursday he wants ‘something even stronger’ in the Senate than a House’s resolution that condemned Trump’s decision to with draw U.S. troops from Syria.

‘I believe it’s important that we make a strong forward-looking strategic statement. For that reason my preference would be for something even stronger than the resolution that the House passed yesterday which has some serious weaknesses,’ McConnell said from the Senate floor.

But nothing was raining on Trump’s parade.

Following the news of the deal, Trump tweeted: ‘Great news out of Turkey. News Conference shortly with @VP and @SecPompeo . Thank you to @RTErdogan . Millions of lives will be saved!’

Vice President Mike Pence met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara Thursday for more than four hours

Vice President Mike Pence met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan at the Presidential Palace in Ankara Thursday for more than four hours

President Trump tweeted the deal was 'great news'

President Trump tweeted the deal was ‘great news’

A Syrian woman and a girl, who were displaced by the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria, wait to receive a tent and other aid supplies at the Bardarash refugee camp, north of Mosul, Iraq

A Syrian woman and a girl, who were displaced by the Turkish military operation in northeastern Syria, wait to receive a tent and other aid supplies at the Bardarash refugee camp, north of Mosul, Iraq

The president went on to tweet: ‘This deal could NEVER have been made 3 days ago. There needed to be some ‘tough’ love in order to get it done. Great for everybody. Proud of all!’

He added that millions of lives will be saved.

‘This is a great day for civilization. I am proud of the United States for sticking by me in following a necessary, but somewhat unconventional, path. People have been trying to make this ‘Deal’ for many years. Millions of lives will be saved. Congratulations to ALL!,’ the president wrote.

The vice president touched down in Ankara earlier Thursday alongside Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien as they tried to stop the Syrian civil war descending into a bloody new phase.

His mission came a day after the White House released a letter Trump sent to Erdogan, urging him to make a deal.

‘You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering people,’ Trump wrote, adding: ‘Don’t be a tough guy. Don’t be a fool! I will call you later.’

The outlook for any deal had appeared bleak after Erdogan briefly toyed with the idea of refusing to meet with Pence at all.

He later relented, but repeatedly insisted he will not stop his assault on the Kurds – America’s former allies in Syria – until he has driven them away from his border.

Trump praised Erdogan for signing on to the agreement.

‘He’s a hell of a leader. And he’s a tough man. He’s a strong man. And he did the right thing, and I really appreciate it, and I will appreciate it in the future,’ he said Thursday.

He said – with the deal in place – Erdogan will likely make his visit to the White House next month.

‘That would be very much open. I would say, yeah, he would come. He did a terrific thing. He’s a leader. He had to make a decision. A lot of people wouldn’t have made that decision because they don’t know. They ultimately would have made it, but what he did was very smart and it was great for the people of Turkey, and they’re lucky it was him making the decision, I will tell you that,’ he said.

Trump told reporters during a press conference Wednesday that he hadn’t given Erdogan ‘a green light’ to invade northern Syria, and claimed releasing ‘a very powerful letter’ would dispel misconceptions about the impact of his troop withdrawal from Syria days.

‘If anybody saw the letter, which can be released very easily if you’d like – I could certainly release it,’ he said.

‘But I wrote a letter right after that conversation – a very powerful letter. There was never given a green light.’

Vice President Mike Pence carries details of the agreement as he prepares to announce the deal

Vice President Mike Pence carries details of the agreement as he prepares to announce the deal

Syrian National Army (SNA) members hang a Syrian National Army flag as they continue operations against the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey regards as a terror group, within Turkey's Operation Peace Spring

Syrian National Army (SNA) members hang a Syrian National Army flag as they continue operations against the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, and the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Turkey regards as a terror group, within Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring

Correspondence: The letter reveals how Trump asked Erdogan not to invade northern Syria

 

The letter appears to support the president’s contention that he didn’t give Erdogan his approval for the military campaign.

‘Let’s work out a good deal!’ he wrote. ‘You don’t want to be responsible for slaughtering thousands of people, and I don’t want to be responsible for destroying the Turkish economy—and I will.’

The president pledged during the 2016 campaign to disentangle America’s military from what he called ‘forever wars’ – longstanding conflicts that the Pentagon has stabilized, often with thousands, or tens of thousands, of servicemen and women.

He used that pledge to justify his withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.

Trump’s allies in his own party, including Lindsey Graham, turned on him with that decision.

Graham, who has been a Trump ally in fending off the Russia probe, blasted the president for abandoning Kurdish allies in Syria in an interview with the Christian Broadcast Network, where evangelical leaders have been voicing concern about the risk to minorities including Christians in the region.

‘I will do anything I can to help him, but I will also become President Trump’s worst nightmare,’ Graham vowed. ‘I will not sit along the sidelines and watch a good ally, the Kurds, be slaughtered by Turkey.’

Graham cautioned: ‘This is a defining moment for President Trump. He needs to up his game.’

Trump responded by claiming the Kurds are not ‘angels.’

‘Syria has a relationship with the Kurds – who by the way are not angels,’ Trump told reporters at the White House Wednesday.

‘Who is an angel? There aren’t too many around. But Syria has a relationship with the Kurds. So they’ll come in for their border. And they’ll fight,’ Trump said.

Graham on Thursday called for stricter sanctions against Turkey and introduced legislation that would target Turkish officials, end U.S. military cooperation with the NATO ally and mandate sanctions over Turkey’s purchase of a Russian S-400 missile defense system

‘Congress is going to speak with a very firm, singular voice, that we will impose sanctions in the strongest measure possible against this Turkish outrage that will lead to the re-emergence of ISIS, the destruction of an ally, the Kurds and eventually benefit to Iran to the detriment of Israel,’ he said during a press conference on Capitol Hill.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voted Wednesday to condemn the president’s troop-withdrawal decision, where 129 Republicans joined Democrats to condemn Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria in a 354 to 60 vote.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said hours later that they walked out of a meeting with Trump at the White House when he berated them for their views on Syria.

Pelosi said she witnessed a ‘meltdown,’ with Trump telling her some ISIS fighters were communists, and ‘that must make you happy.’

The White House said in a statement that ‘[t]he President was measured, factual and decisive, while Speaker Pelosi’s decision to walk out was baffling, but not surprising.’

The statement claimed Pelosi ‘chose to storm out and get in front of the cameras to whine.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7585159/US-Turkey-agree-deal-five-day-ceasefire.html

 

Vice President Pence said Oct. 17 the United States and Turkey had agreed to a five-day cease-fire in northern Syria to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw. (The Washington Post)
Oct. 17, 2019 at 2:33 p.m. CDT

ISTANBUL — Turkey agreed Thursday to a cease-fire that would suspend its march into Syria and temporarily halt a week of vicious fighting with Kurdish forces, while allowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government to carve out a long-coveted buffer zone far beyond its borders.

The agreement, announced by Vice President Pence after hours of negotiations, appeared to hand Turkey’s leader most of what he sought when his military launched an assault on northeastern Syria just over a week ago: the expulsion of Syrian Kurdish militias from the border and the removal of a U.S. threat to impose sanctions on Turkey’s vulnerable economy.

Pence said Turkey had agreed to pause its offensive for five days while the United States helped facilitate the withdrawal of ­Kurdish-led forces, called the ­Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), from a large swath of territory stretching from Turkey’s border nearly 20 miles south into Syria. After the completion of the Kurdish withdrawal, Turkey’s military operation, which began Oct. 9, would be “halted entirely,” Pence said.

The White House agreed to refrain from imposing any new economic sanctions on Turkey and to withdraw sanctions that were imposed earlier this week once “a permanent cease-fire was in effect,” Pence said.

Mapping out Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria
Here’s where chaos unfolded in northern Syria as Turkey launched an invasion following President Trump’s Oct. 6 decision to withdraw U.S. troops from the area. (Joyce Lee, William Neff/The Washington Post)

Pence, who negotiated with the Turkish leader at the presidential palace in Ankara, portrayed the agreement as a hard-won victory and credited President Trump’s leadership and Turkey’s friendship for its success. The deal delivered Erdogan concessions he had been unable to win during years of negotiations with the United States and vindicated, in some way, his decision to pursue military action instead.

“It’s a great day for the United States, it’s a great day for Turkey,” Trump told reporters in Texas after Pence’s announcement. “A great day for the Kurds, it’s a great day for civilization,” he added.

Mazloum Kobane Abdi, the commander of the SDF, said in an interview on a Kurdish television channel that “we accepted this agreement, and we will do whatever it takes to make it work.” But the text of the agreement was “just the beginning,” he said, adding that “the Turkish occupation will not continue.”
Pence, Pompeo meet with Turkish president
Vice President Pence met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara Oct.17 to persuade him to case the military offensive on northeast Syria. (The Washington Post)

Pence’s whirlwind trip to Turkey came just a week after the start of a military operation that had prompted a hasty withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, led to dire warnings about the resurgence of the Islamic State militant group and abruptly caused a humanitarian crisis. Tens of thousands of people were uprooted from their homes. Dozens were killed in battles, on both sides of the border.

The Trump administration was criticized, even by some of its Republican allies, for abandoning the Syrian Kurdish militias, which partnered with the U.S. military to fight the Islamic State. Trump’s erratic statements about the conflict seemed to make matters worse: On Wednesday, he distanced himself from the conflict altogether, saying the fight between Turkey and the Kurds was “over land that has nothing to do with us.”

As Pence met with Erdogan on Thursday, the two men refused to smile, even a little, as their meeting got underway, as if to communicate failure before their negotiation had begun.

But afterward, a Turkish official briefed by participants in the talks said the Turkish side was surprised and relieved at how easy the negotiations were. “We got everything we wanted,” said the official, an adviser to the Foreign Ministry who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive diplomacy.

Irritated by White House threats over the past week, Erdogan had prepared for a confrontational meeting, but the mood softened when it became clear the U.S. officials were asking only for what the Turks regarded as token concessions. In return for a brief pause in fighting, there would be no U.S. sanctions and no requirement for a Turkish withdrawal.

The request for a temporary cease-fire seemed to be “face-saving, for the U.S. side,” the official said. “It was as easy a negotiation as we’ve ever had,” the official said.

The agreement — aimed at separating hardened foes in a volatile area of Syria — faces obvious obstacles. The text raised a variety of pressing questions, including whether the combatants would honor their commitments.

But while it averted, at least temporarily, the most serious dispute between Turkey and the United States in years, the agreement faced immediate criticism, including from U.S. lawmakers who earlier in the day had introduced sanctions legislation on their own.

Trump’s actions in Syria had infuriated Capitol Hill, where Democrats and Republicans in the House voted earlier this week in large numbers to rebuke the White House for the troop withdrawal. On Thursday, some of Trump’s most vocal critics on Syria met the news of the cease-fire with open skepticism.

In a floor speech, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) pressed the administration to explain the United States’ future role in the region, the fate of the Kurds and why, in Romney’s view, Turkey will face no consequences after its incursion into Syria

“The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory. It is far from a victory,” Romney said. “Serious questions remain about how the decision was reached precipitously to withdraw from Syria and why that decision was reached.”

Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), a co-sponsor of the bipartisan legislation introduced by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), called the agreement “a capitulation to Turkey at the expense of our Kurdish allies.”

“The agreement lets Turkey off the hook for slaughtering innocent civilians and the Kurdish troops who fought alongside American soldiers against ISIS,” an acronym for the Islamic State, Hassan said in a statement. “Moreover, it does nothing to recapture the hundreds of ISIS soldiers who have already escaped from Kurdish-held prisons.”

Spokesmen for Graham and Van Hollen said they would continue to press the sanctions legislation.

Robert Malley, who served as a senior White House official during the Obama administration and is now president of the International Crisis Group, described the agreement as “a capitulation dressed up as a win.”

He said the Trump administration’s announcement validated the Turkish objective in Syria, “putting a gloss on it and claiming it was a deal reached through negotiations.” Malley said the terms appeared so ambiguous that they made possible renewed violence between Turkey and the Kurds.

The cease-fire agreement does not mention any Turkish withdrawal from Syria, where Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies have moved about 20 miles across the border over a broad width of territory. Although it says a “safe zone” will be established, the agreement also notes that Turkey’s military will take the lead in patrolling it.

Turkey has described the offensive as a counterterrorism operation directed at militants affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has fought an insurgency inside Turkey for decades.

Just weeks before the incursion, Turkey and the United States had agreed after months of negotiations to jointly patrol a zone that would extend no farther than 8.6 miles into Syria. Turkey’s unhappiness with that agreement, both in terms of the amount of Syrian territory it covered and the extent of Turkish control, was one precipitating factor in the decision to invade.

The deal reached Thursday also does not address Turkish-backed Syrian militias, which have been the vanguard of the invasion. U.S. officials consider those fighters to be extremists, and they have been held responsible by international human rights organizations for numerous violations since they entered Syria, including the extrajudicial killing of Kurdish fighters and civilians. It remained unclear whether Turkey had agreed to withdraw those militias or would be able to do so.

International law prohibits returning refugees to their native land without their permission, and it allows the initial return only of those who originally came from that area. U.S. officials have said that those who have fled over the years from the border region, both Kurds and non-Kurds, amount only to several hundred thousand.

DeYoung and Kim reported from Washington. Sarah Dadouch and Asser Khatab in Beirut and Colby Itkowitz, Missy Ryan, Joby Warrick and Carol Morello in Washington contributed to this report.

 

Story 2: Senate Fails To Override Trump’s Veto  of Legislation Approved by the Senate and House of Representatives to Kill His Border Emergency — Videos

See the source image

The Senate Fails to Overcome Trump’s Veto on Border Wall

Senate won’t override Trump’s declaration veto

Trump uses veto power to kill bill that would block his border wall emergency

 

Senate Fails to Override Trump’s Veto, Keeping Border Emergency in Place

The vote fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override President Trump’s veto, allowing him to continue circumventing Congress to fund the border wall.

Credit…Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Thursday failed to overturn President Trump’s veto of a resolution that would have terminated the national emergency he declared at the southwestern border. The defeat allows Mr. Trump to continue to defy Congress and divert federal funds to the construction of a border wall, his signature campaign promise.

The override attempt, the second such effort this year, failed when it fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to nullify a veto. But the 53-to-36 vote reflected concern among lawmakers in both parties about protecting Congress’s power to allocate federal funds and opposition to Mr. Trump’s plans to transfer billions of dollars in military construction money to build the border barrier.

Ten Republicans joined Democrats in supporting the measure.

Mr. Trump issued the veto Tuesday night, exactly seven months after using his first presidential veto to turn back a nearly identical resolution. Under the law, Congress can vote on such legislation every six months, and Democrats have used every opportunity to force Republicans to go on the record and choose whether to break with Mr. Trump, defending their prerogatives as legislators, or side with him.

The president declared the national emergency in February, after Democrats and Republicans in Congress rejected his efforts to secure $5 billion for the border wall, including during a 35-day government shutdown in which he repeatedly refused to accept any funding measure that failed to fund the edifice. The declaration, which Democrats have challenged in court, was Mr. Trump’s attempt to unilaterally seize money to pay for it anyway.

The failed attempt to overcome Mr. Trump’s veto comes as lawmakers are grappling with how to designate funds for the administration’s immigration policies, including whether to devote more money to the border wall and replace the funds originally intended for military construction.

Government funds for all agencies will now run out on Nov. 21 after a short-term spending bill passed last month expires and lawmakers are eager to avoid another government shutdown over Mr. Trump’s wall.

But the Senate has yet to approve any of the dozen necessary spending bills, which will need to be reconciled with the House’s versions before Mr. Trump can sign the bills into law.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said on Thursday that the Senate would vote on at least one package of appropriations bills next week.

“Congress has fallen badly behind schedule on appropriations,” Mr. McConnell said. “We need to get moving. The country is watching. It’s time to make progress.”

Lawmakers are eager to advance the bills.

“I’m hoping we can move forward,” Senator Richard C. Shelby, Republican of Alabama and the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told reporters.

Some of the more contentious bills, including the measure that would fund the Department of Homeland Security, likely face a more contentious path to the president’s desk. Senate Republicans have included $5 billion for Mr. Trump’s wall in that bill while Democrats in both chambers have vowed to vote against any money for the wall.

While White House officials struck a budget agreement with congressional leadership earlier this year, it only set an outline for overall funding levels for military and domestic spending. In recent weeks, both chambers have exchanged offers on how to broadly divide the money among legislation dealing with domestic programs before hammering out the specifics of each of the bills.

Republicans have also objected to efforts from their Democratic counterparts to limit the president’s ability to again transfer money allocated to other agencies to the border wall, arguing that such language would be a violation of the budget agreement.

“I don’t want to say November 21 is a long time, but lots of stuff can happen between now and then,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito, Republican of West Virginia, who leads the Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Homeland Security.

“My bill’s the problem,” she added.

If lawmakers do not resolve the 12 spending bills before Thanksgiving, when the stopgap spending bill expires, a lapse in funding or efforts to pass another short term spending bill could potentially collide with an impeachment trial, which leaders believe could unfold in December.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/17/us/politics/senate-veto-override-border.html

 

U.S. Senate fails to override Trump veto of bill to end border emergency

WASHINGTON, Oct 17 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration, which he says allows him to redirect federal funds to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall, will stay in effect after the U.S. Senate on Thursday failed to override his veto of legislation terminating the executive action.

The Senate voted 53-36 on whether to override the veto that Trump issued on Tuesday of legislation approved by the Senate and House of Representatives to kill his controversial border emergency.

That was well below the two-thirds majority needed in the 100-member chamber to overturn a presidential veto.

This marked the second time since February, when Trump issued the emergency declaration, that Congress failed to override his veto.

Ten Senate Republicans joined with 43 Senate Democrats in the failed veto override attempt.

Trump made the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a central promise of his 2016 presidential campaign to stop the flow of people without immigration documents from coming into the United States.

At the time he insisted that Mexico would pay for the wall, an idea the Mexican government never embraced.

Having failed to build the wall at Mexico’s expense, Trump waged several failed attempts to get the U.S. Congress to provide money for what would cost taxpayers an estimated $25 billion or more for a wall.

As a result, he used his executive powers to shift money from the military budget, including appropriated funds for housing, schools and childcare for soldiers and their families.

Democrats have maintained that the action is illegal as Congress has the constitutional authority to decide how federal funds are spent.

Most Democrats and many Republicans in Congress argue that there are more effective, less expensive ways of controlling the southern border, where large numbers of immigrants from troubled Central American countries and elsewhere arrive each year.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-7586279/U-S-Senate-fails-override-Trump-veto-bill-end-border-emergency.html

 

Story 3: Secretary of Energy Rick Perry Resigns End Of Year — Going Home Texas — Videos

Energy Secretary Rick Perry resigns

Rick Perry announces plans to resign as energy secretary

Sec. Rick Perry Explains ‘Expansive Relationship’ With Ukraine: ‘God as My Witness Not Once Was Biden

“The Coolest Job I’ve Ever Had” – Secretary of Energy Rick Perry

“My dear DOE family, I’ve said many times that I have the coolest job in the world and a big reason for that has been you, the men and women, who serve alongside me at one of the most innovative places on earth, the Department of Energy. You know, from my first day on the job in March of 2017, you welcomed me with open arms even though you probably didn’t know what to expect from this born-and-bred Texan who had just arrived in Washington, D.C.
But since that time, you and I have worked diligently to advance our DOE mission. And the great thing is, we succeeded and we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible each and every day. You know, some people wake up every day, and they wonder if they’re making a difference. The men and women who work at this Department do not have to worry about that – you are literally changing the world.
So, it’s with profound emotion and gratitude that I am announcing my resignation effective later this year as your Energy Secretary.
There is much work to be done in these upcoming weeks, and I remain fully committed to accomplishing the goals that I set out to accomplish at the beginning of my tenure. And then, I will return to my favorite place in the world, Texas, but I’ll treasure the memories of what we’ve accomplished together.
During my time here at DOE, we pursued a truly “all-of-the-above” strategy. We deployed all of our fuels from renewables to fossil fuels to nuclear energy. We led the world in producing oil and gas and in reducing energy-related carbon emissions at the same time. We achieved the magnificent goal of energy independence. We became a net exporter of natural gas for the first time in more than 60 years, offering freedom to our friends and allies from energy coercion by some powerful adversaries out there. And we’re ready to export our energy technology to deliver electricity to more than one billion human beings mired in energy poverty. We strengthened our national security by bolstering our nuclear security. We cleaned up numerous sites as we tackled America’s post-Cold War environmental legacy. We stood up our CESER office to deal with threats to the reliable delivery of electricity. We created an office of Artificial Intelligence to coordinate the amazing work that we’re doing in this game-changing arena.
I’ve been blown away by the amazing work done at what I call the Nation’s crown jewels, our 17 National Labs. I’ve had the opportunity to visit all of them. In my travels abroad, people everywhere wanted to know about this Department, because our footprint and impact is global. And that is a testament to each and every one of you today.
I thank President Trump for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. I am so glad that I said “yes.” And I thank all of you my colleagues, my friends, my family for making that opportunity a grand success. May God bless you as you continue to pursue DOE’s great calling and mission. And may God continue to bless this great Country of America.” – Secretary of Energy Rick Perry

US Energy Secretary Rick Perry on why he decided to step down

Watch CNBC’s full interview with outgoing US Energy Secretary Rick Perry

Energy Secretary Rick Perry to resign amid impeachment inquiry

Rick Perry TRASHES Trump Over Ukraine Call

Rick Perry says he did push Ukraine talks on Trump

Trump says Energy Secretary Rick Perry asked him to call Ukrainian president

Finding Rick Perry: The Missing Secretary Of Energy

Ukraine’s natural gas issues are hard to resolve amid tensions with Russia

Russia Imposes Natural Gas Hike on Ukraine

Apr 2, 2014

Rick Perry QUITS as Energy Secretary 24 hours after revealing Donald Trump told him to talk to Rudy Giuliani about ‘corruption’ in Ukraine

  • Rick Perry will be stepping down from his position as Trump’s Energy secretary
  • He sent a written notification to the president of his impending departure while Donald Trump was traveling on Air Force One Thursday 
  • Just 10 days ago, Perry denied that he would be departing the administration in the near future 
  • Perry said Trump told him this past spring to ‘talk to Rudy’ Giuliani about his concerns regarding Ukrainian corruption 
  • Perry, who has acted as a liaison between Trump and his new Ukrainian counterpart, was attempting to facilitate a meeting between the two 
  • Trump wouldn’t agree to the sit down until Giuliani’s concerns were addressed
  • Perry said Joe Biden was never brought up during  his talks with Giuliani 

He sent a written notification to the president as Trump was traveling aboard Air Force One, two people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Trump confirmed Perry’s departure and said he was planning to announce the move at his rally Thursday night in Dallas, Texas.

‘We already have his replacement. Rick has done a fantastic job. But it was time,’ Trump told reporters in Texas, adding that his departure would come ‘at the end of the year.’

The president said that he has already has picked Perry’s replacement and will be announcing the new Energy secretary shortly.

‘We have the man that we’re going – in this case it’s a man – that we’re going to be putting in Rick’s place. We’ll be announcing it very shortly,’ he said.

Trump said he wasn’t surprised by Perry’s departure as the Energy secretary had informed him months ago that he was planning to leave the administration to pursue something else.

‘I knew six months ago. He told me at the end of the year he’d like to go and he’s got some ideas about doing something else. He’s a terrific guy,’ Trump lauded Perry.

‘Rick and I have been talking for six months. In fact I thought he might go a bit sooner. But he’s got some very big plans. He’s going to be very successful. We have his successor we’ll announce it pretty soon,’ he continued.

Rick Perry said Donald Trump told him to ‘talk to Rudy’ Giuliani about his concerns regarding Ukrainian corruption before he would agree to a sit down with his new counterpart

 The news come just 10 days after Perry, who has been with Trump since March 2017, denied that he was planning to resign his position in the immediate future.

Trump denied that Perry’s replacement would be Texas Governor Greg Abbott or Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy.

Perry has found himself at the center of the Ukraine scandal engulfing the presidency after he became one of the top liaisons between Trump and his new Ukrainian counterpart.

The former Texas governor announced earlier this month he was staying with the administration despite the controversy, although he did not rule out leaving at a later date.

‘They’ve been writing the story for at least nine months now,’ he said at the time of the media and his rumored departure. ‘One of these days they will probably get it right, but it’s not today, it’s not tomorrow, it’s not next month,’ Perry said while traveling in Lithuania.

Politico had reported last week that he was planning to resign at the end of November, citing three anonymous sources.

His departure will add to the extensive and ever-growing list of Trump administration officials who have left the White House.

Perry revealed in an interview published Wednesday night that he was directed by Trump to approach Rudy Giuliani to address the president’s concerns about corruption in Ukraine.

He told The Wall Street Journal that he contacted Giuliani in the spring to help clear the way for a meeting between the president and his newly elected Ukrainian counterpart.

Although Perry admitted that during his phone call earlier this year Giuliani outlined several potential instances of interference by Ukraine in the 2016 presidential elections, he said the president’s personal attorney never brought up Joe Biden or his family.

He also said he didn’t hear Trump, any of his appointees or the Ukrainian government ever mention probing the former vice president and his son, Hunter Biden’s business dealings there.

‘As I recall the conversation, he said, ‘Look, the president is really concerned that there are people in Ukraine that tried to beat him during this presidential election,’ Perry said. ”He thinks they’re corrupt and…that there are still people over there engaged that are absolutely corrupt.”

Perry said Giuliani didn’t make any explicit demands on the call.

‘Rudy didn’t say they gotta do X, Y and Z,’ Perry continued in his interview. ‘He just said, ‘You want to know why he ain’t comfortable about letting this guy come in? Here’s the reason.’

The House opened an impeachment inquiry into the president following revelations of a July 25 phone call where Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on his political rival.

Democrats allege the president set a quid pro quo in freezing millions in military aid in exchange for the Ukrainian regime’s investigation into the Bidens.

Perry’s talks and coordination with Giuliani show the widespread reach of the president’s attorney’s involvement in foreign policy. Giuliani is currently being investigation for potential foreign lobbying violations.

Giuliani confirmed his call with Perry and said he was telling the president’s energy secretary to be careful in dealing with Zelensky, who took office in May.

‘Everything I said there I probably said on television 50 times,’ Giuliani told the Journal.

The former New York City Republican mayor has accused Ukraine, under then-President Petro Poroshenko, of interfering in the U.S. elections on Hillary Clinton’s behalf.

Since Zelensky was elected, U.S. officials have been attempting to facilitate a meeting between and his new Ukrainian counterpart.

Perry and Giuliani’s call followed a White House meeting, which included Perry and then-U.S. envoy for Ukraine negotiations Kurt Volker, who resigned last month after revelations of Trump’s call with Zelensky.

In the meeting, Trump’s advisers urged him to meet with Zelensky, but people familiar with the matter said the president told them they needed to resolve Giuliani’s concerns before he would agree to the meeting.

‘Visit with Rudy,’ Perry said the president told him at the time.

Perry has been one of the administration’s top liaisons with the new Ukrainian president, which has put him under intense scrutiny as the president faces impeachment proceedings into whether he abused his power as president to dig up dirt on Biden.

Trump claims his call with Zelensky this summer was ‘perfect,’ and insists it was an attempt to help weed out corruption from the European nation. He also claims he has a duty, as president, to stop corruption, including from the Bidens.

Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney, is being investigated in relation to his role in U.S.-Ukraine relations – especially his claims of corruption and election interference by the previous administration there
Hunter Biden accepted a board position with Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2014 – while his father was still serving as Obama’s vice president. He reportedly was paid $50,000 per month in his post at Burisma.

The attorney and lobbyist stepped down from Burisma’s board earlier this year and also announced over the weekend he was leaving his position on the board of a Chinese-backed equity firm where he made millions.

Perry said Trump has dismissed his requests to meet with Zelensky in an effort to show U.S. support for the new administration – which Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who is leading the impeachment inquiry, said is another potential of a quid pro quo.

Schiff said if Trump were to set an investigation into the Bidens as a condition for meeting with Zelensky, it could be another instance of him using his presidency to attempt to better his chances in 2020.

Perry revealed that Giuliani was also in contact with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Volker and U.S. ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.

Perry to Resign as Energy Secretary

Rick Perry, the former governor of Texas who has become enmeshed in the Ukraine scandal, said he would resign as secretary of energy.

Rick Perry, the energy secretary, on Thursday in Fort Worth.
CreditCreditAnna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Rick Perry, the energy secretary who has drawn scrutiny for his role in the controversy surrounding President Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine officials to investigate the son of a political rival, told the president on Thursday that he would resign from the cabinet.

The Perry resignation had been anticipated for several weeks, even before the news emerged of his involvement in efforts to pressure the new president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate a company that had worked with Hunter Biden, the younger son of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

In the ensuing weeks, Mr. Perry has been drawn deeper into the questions around the pressure campaign on Mr. Zelensky, which has spurred an impeachment inquiry that threatens to engulf Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Mr. Perry told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published on Wednesday night that he was in contact with Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani about Ukraine-related matters at the direction of Mr. Trump.

Mr. Perry has been instrumental in supporting what President Trump has called a policy of American “energy dominance,” which includes increasing the exports of United States fossil fuels to Ukraine and elsewhere.

As energy secretary, Mr. Perry oversaw a sharp increase in the production of fossil fuels, particularly liquefied natural gas, and promoted it with a patriotic fervor — even dubbing the fossil fuel “freedom gas” and likening its export to Europe to the United States efforts to liberate the continent during World War II.

“The United States is again delivering a form of freedom to the European continent,” Mr. Perry told reporters in Brussels in May, according to Euractiv.com. “And rather than in the form of young American soldiers,” Mr. Perry said, “it’s in the form of liquefied natural gas.”

Mr. Perry also led a failed effort to engineer a federal bailout for struggling coal and nuclear power plants. Though the plan ultimately ran afoul of White House advisers, Mr. Perry has continued to maintain that the government still has the option of keeping aging plants operating, even as he asserted that incentives might be a better path forward.

A former Texas governor, Mr. Perry also avoided many of the personal scandals that had bested his counterparts at other agencies. In part because of that, those who know Mr. Perry have said at various points throughout the administration Mr. Trump has considered his energy secretary to fill other cabinet vacancies, including secretary of veterans affairs.

Mr. Trump also considered Mr. Perry, 69, to become his chief of staff after John F. Kelly resigned, and more recently to take over the Department of Homeland Security after Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation, according to two people close to Mr. Perry.

Maggie Haberman is a White House correspondent. She joined The Times in 2015 as a campaign correspondent and was part of a team that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2018 for reporting on Donald Trump’s advisers and their connections to Russia. Previously, she worked at Politico, The New York Post and The New York Daily News. @maggieNYT

Lisa Friedman reports on climate and environmental policy in Washington. A former editor at Climatewire, she has covered nine international climate talks. @LFFriedman

A Guide to Impeachment

    • What Impeachment Is: Impeachment is charging a holder of public office with misconduct. Here are answers to seven key questions about the process.
    • What the Accusation Is: President Trump is accused of breaking the law by pressuring the president of Ukraine to look into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a potential Democratic opponent in the 2020 election. A second person, this one with “firsthand knowledge” of Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine, came forward and is now protected as a whistle-blower.
    • What Was Said: The White House released a reconstructed transcript of Mr. Trump’s call to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine.
    • A Visual Timeline: Here are the key figures and dates as Mr. Trump and his allies pressured Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.
    • Why Now: A whistle-blower complaint filed in August said that White House officials believed they had witnessed Mr. Trump abuse his power for political gain. Here are 8 takeaways from the complaint.
    • How Trump Responds: The president said the impeachment battle would be “a positive” for his re-election campaign. Mr. Trump has repeatedly referred to the whistle-blower as “crooked” and condemned the news media reporting on the complaint. At the beginning of October, Mr. Trump publicly called on China to examine Mr. Biden as well.

om/2019/10/17/us/politics/rick-perry-energy-secretary-resigns.htmlhttps://www.nytimes.c

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1341, October 15, 2019, Story 1: Senator Mitch McConnell on Unfair Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry and Syria — Videos — Story 2: The Search of Leakers in Trump Administration — Videos — Story 3: Democrats Goal of Replacing Your Employer Provided Health Care Cover With Higher Taxes for Medicare For All — Socialized Medicine — Videos — Story 4: President Trump Congratulates The St.Louis Blues For Winning The Stanley Cup — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 1341 October 15, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1340 October 14, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1339 October 11, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1338 October 10, 2019

Pronk Pops Show 1337 October 9, 2019