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The Pronk Pops Show 1406, March 4, 2020, Story 1: President Trump Wins All 14 States and Over 740 Delegates On Super Tuesday and Has Total Delegates of 859 With 1,276 Delegates Needed To Win Republican Nomination for President — Americans Love A Winner — Videos — Story 2: Democrats Deeply Divided — Democratic Establishment Candidate Creepy Sleepy Dopey Joey Biden vs. Radical Extremist Democratic Socialist (REDS) Bernie Sanders — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers vs. Trump The Winner — Americans Love A Winner — Videos — Story 3: Containing Circulating COVID-19 Communist Chinese Cough Crisis  Chaos — Do Not Touch Your Face and Wash Your Hands to Prevent Droplet Spreading and Infecting — Videos — Story 4: Federal Reserve Cuts Target Federal Fund Rate By 50 Basis Points or .5% To 1.00% to 1.25% — Return of Easy Monetary Policy — Bubble Blowing — Is Quantitative Easing or Money Printing Next? — Absolutely — Videos– Story 5: United States Stock Market Corrected for Bubble Prices —  Stock Market Prices Surge

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Story 1: President Trump Wins All 14 States and Over 740 Delegates On Super Tuesday and Has Total Delegates of 859 With 1,276 Delegates Needed To Win Republican Nomination for President — Americans Love A Winner — Videos

Patton (1/5) Movie CLIP – Americans Love a Winner (1970) HD

President Trump delivers remarks at CPAC

President Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

President Donald Trump Sweeps Super Tuesday

The president picked up hundreds of delegates in an unsurprising victory in more than a dozen states.

Story 2: Democrats Deeply Divided — Democratic Establishment Candidate Creepy Sleepy Dopey Joey Biden vs. Radical Extremist Democratic Socialist (REDS) Bernie Sanders — Lying Lunatic Leftist Losers vs. Trump The Winner — Americans Love A Winner — Videos

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Super Tuesday results show clear two-man race for Democratic nomination

Rubio on Biden vs. Sanders: It’s either old Obama policies or Marxism

Trump calls Warren ‘selfish’ for staying in 2020 race

Mike Bloomberg drops out of the 2020 race

Gowdy: Biden only looks moderate because he is next to Bernie

NOT A JOKE: Biden Has Dementia?! | Louder with Crowder

 

Mike Bloomberg QUITS 2020 race after disastrous Super Tuesday saying winning is ‘impossible’ after spending $1 BILLION for just 44 delegates – and immediately endorses Joe Biden, while Elizabeth Warren ‘assesses her path forward’

  • Mike Bloomberg and  Elizabeth Warren are the dramatic losers on Super Tuesday
  • Bloomberg quit at 10.11am having spent $1 billion to only win 44 delegates
  • Warren came in third in her own state of Massachusetts and came in third in nearby Maine too; aides said she was ‘assessing the path forward’
  • Dramatic count in Texas ends with Joe Biden winning the state – securing a sensational comeback from the political dead after he joked: ‘They don’t call it Super Tuesday for nothing.’ 
  • Bernie Sanders seized a victory in California in the last act of a dramatic Super Tuesday which saw Joe Biden win state after state in landslides across the nation – only for his rival to take the biggest prize of all 
  • Biden started Super Tuesday off strong, sweeping a swath of the south after first winning Virginia then picking up North Carolina, Alabama, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Minnesota, Arkansas, Massachusetts and Texas
  • Sanders currently has four states under his belt: California, Vermont, Utah and Colorado 
  • Both Sanders and Biden claimed victory, and both said they will take the nomination 
  • The path to the nomination in Milwaukee now runs through a mini-Super Tuesday on March 10, when Missouri, Michigan, Washington and Mississippi vote

Mike Bloomberg dramatically quit the presidential race Wednesday morning after a disastrous Super Tuesday and immediately backed Joe Biden.

The billionaire gained just 44 delegates by 10.11am, the time he announced his departure – but ran up a bill of $1 billion.

He immediately and whole-heartedly backed Biden, the night’s big winner, hinting that his vast fortune is now at the former vice-president’s disposal.

‘I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it,’ he said.

‘I’ve known Joe for a very long time. I know his decency, his honesty, and his commitment to the issues that are so important to our country – including gun safety, health care, climate change, and good jobs.

‘Today I am glad to endorse him – and I will work to make him the next President of the United States.’

Democrats are also urging Elizabeth Warren to drop out after further pulling votes from frontrunners Biden and Bernie Sanders without winning any states – including her home of Massachusetts.

She was reported by NBC News to he holding talks with aides about ‘the path forward,’ suggesting that she too is on the brink.

And in yet another blow to Warren early Wednesday morning, Biden was declared winner in Maine, the last of the 14 Super Tuesday states to declare – and Warren did not even get the 15 per cent threshold to pick up delegates there.

In the White House Donald Trump took time out of the coronavirus crisis to send a string of mocking tweets about his richer would-be rival and notably about Bloomberg’s campaign aide Tim O’Brien. Trump had tried and failed to sue O’Brien for libel for writing in 2006 that he was not a real billionaire.

Bloomberg had been a late bloomer to the race.

Seeing the relative weakness of frontrunner Biden, and after first saying he would not run for the White House in 2020 the billionaire decided to jump in after all around Thanksgiving.

Out: Mike Bloomberg quit the race hours after a drubbing, saying: 'After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists.'

Out: Mike Bloomberg quit the race hours after a drubbing, saying: ‘After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists.’

Still not out: Elizabeth Warren - who lost her home state of Massachusetts to both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders Tuesday night

 

 

 

I’M ALL IN FOR JOE – HOW BLOOMBERG QUIT

This is Bloomberg’s statement as he left the race  

Three months ago, I entered the race for President to defeat Donald Trump. 

Today, I am leaving the race for the same reason: to defeat Donald Trump – because it is clear to me that staying in would make achieving that goal more difficult.

I’m a believer in using data to inform decisions. After yesterday’s results, the delegate math has become virtually impossible – and a viable path to the nomination no longer exists. 

But I remain clear-eyed about my overriding objective: victory in November. 

Not for me, but for our country. And so while I will not be the nominee, I will not walk away from the most important political fight of my life. 

I’ve always believed that defeating Donald Trump starts with uniting behind the candidate with the best shot to do it. 

After yesterday’s vote, it is clear that candidate is my friend and a great American, Joe Biden. 

I’ve known Joe for a very long time. I know his decency, his honesty, and his commitment to the issues that are so important to our country – including gun safety, health care, climate change, and good jobs. 

I’ve had the chance to work with Joe on those issues over the years, and Joe has fought for working people his whole life. 

Today I am glad to endorse him – and I will work to make him the next President of the United States. 

Like another former New York City Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, who ran for the White House in 2008, Bloomberg decided to skip the first states that held primaries – Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

But a change in the Democratic National Committee rules allowed for Bloomberg to still make the Las Vegas debate stage last month.

It was the first time for American voters to see Bloomberg the candidate outside the flurry of television ads his hundreds of millions had bought.

And while the expectation was for Sanders, a democratic socialist, to push back on Bloomberg being there, within the first 10 minutes Warren brought up some of the alleged sexist behavior from the ex-mayor’s past.

‘I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: A billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.’ And no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg,’ Warren said. ‘Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women, and of supporting racist policies like redlining and stop and frisk.’

Warren’s debate performance was the beginning of the end.

The results of the single-biggest primary contest night essentially narrowed the field to a two-horse race with Biden edging Sanders.

On Super Tuesday, 14 states and the U.S. territory of American Samoa voted, and Bloomberg only walked away with a win in Samoa – where six delegates were up for grabs.

Every other state was won by either the former vice president or senator from Vermont.

The scale of Biden’s comeback is not in doubt – and neither is Sanders’ ability to keep going, possibly even to the convention in Milwaukee in July.

Biden began by winning state after state, and appeared to stumble when California went to Sanders just after the polls closed there at 8pm – 11pm Eastern.

For the two frontrunners, Sanders’ win in California initially threatened to upend the narrative of the night being a sensational comeback for Biden.

However, the state may yet deliver the kind of resounding win or delegate haul for Sanders that had been forecast.

Sanders had a strong lead, with 87 per cent of the vote in, Biden was running nearly 9 points ahead, and the Vermont senator had garnered over a million votes. In California, Bloomberg also slipped below the 15 per cent threshold he would need to hit in order to collect delegates.

There was a dramatic race playing out through the night in Texas, the night’s second biggest prize. Biden opened up a lead over Sanders early Wednesday morning.

By the time the race was called around 2 am, he was leading Sanders by 50,000 votes, with 89 per cent reporting. Biden was at 33 percent, Sanders was at 30 per cent, and Bloomberg was at 15 per cent – just enough to earn delegates.

As votes continued to come in Wednesday morning, Bloomberg had slipped below that 15 per cent.

There were long lines in Harris County, home to Houston, where Biden was running up strong margins. As in southern states, Biden was running up big margins with the state’s African American voters, but Sanders heavily targeted Latino voters in the state. Biden’s margin, however was bigger.

Some voters were online for six hours, in a state that had pared back polling locations. Biden cleaned up among those who decided who to back late – winning the group 49 to 20 per cent in the state.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called it ‘astounding,’ noting that Biden didn’t spend ‘a penny’ there, speaking on CNN.

Biden staged a dramatic rally in Dallas Monday where he secured endorsements from former presidential rivals Amy Klobuchar and Beto O’Rourke. Earlier Monday, Pete Buttigieg had also endorsed the former vice president.

O’Rourke later took Biden out to a Whataburger, a regional chain, for a milkshake.

Across the map there were signs of Biden’s sudden revival.

Biden dealt a humiliating blow to Warren in her home state of Massachusetts – snagging at least 28 delegates out of the state and beating her in her backyard. She vowed to stay in the race all the way to the conventions even as more centrist candidates flocked to 77-year-old former vice president.

He also denied the prize to Sanders, who hails from a neighboring state.

Bloomberg was born there, and had actor Michael Douglas stumping for him in Boston.

But the region where he dominated was the south, with wins stretching from Virginia to Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. Biden scored a surprise win in Minnesota.

Warren, hosting a rally in downtown Detroit, called herself ‘the woman who’s going to beat Donald Trump.’

The final details of delegate distribution were yet to be determined as the night wore on. But Biden’s overwhelming performance, and the collapse of Bloomberg and Warren, immediately reset the race, with the prospect that Sanders and his political ‘revolution’ would be up against a long slog against the Demoratic establishment-backed candidate as he was against Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Biden rushed to win after win early in the night, with Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama falling in rapid succession.

He took Minnesota without spending a dime on advertising and despite being third in the polls until Amy Klobuchar dropped out on Sunday. She endorsed Biden on Monday.

‘Prediction has been a terrible business and pundits have gotten it wrong over and over,’ she said. ‘Here’s my advice. Cast a vote that will make you proud.’

Then Sanders took some western wins in Utah and Colorado and snared the biggest state of all.

Bernie Sanders seized a victory in California in the last act of a dramatic Super Tuesday which saw Joe Biden win state after state in landslides across the nation – only for his rival to take the biggest prize of all

Bernie Sanders seized a victory in California in the last act of a dramatic Super Tuesday which saw Joe Biden win state after state in landslides across the nation – only for his rival to take the biggest prize of all

Biden rushed to win after win early in the night, with Virginia, North Carolina and Alabama falling in rapid succession. He took Minnesota without spending a dime on advertising and despite being third in the polls until Amy Klobuchar dropped out on Sunday

As Biden raced to a series of state victories, Mike Bloomberg's campaign said he plans to 'reassess' whether he should stay in the race tomorrow. His aides said his campaign chiefs were considering their next move. Dropping out would hand a huge victory to Biden and also the potential for Bloomberg's almost unlimited resources to be thrown behind him immediately

s Biden raced to a series of state victories, Mike Bloomberg’s campaign said he plans to ‘reassess’ whether he should stay in the race tomorrow. His aides said his campaign chiefs were considering their next move. Dropping out would hand a huge victory to Biden and also the potential for Bloomberg’s almost unlimited resources to be thrown behind him immediately

TRUMP ROASTS HIS RIVALS AND TOASTS HIS OWN SUCCESS

Donald Trump skewered his critics while toasting his own successes on Twitter as results rolled in from Super Tuesday ballots across the country.

The President reserved most of his ire for ‘Mini’ Mike Bloomberg and Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, who both had poor showings in the polls.

Hitting out at fellow New York billionaire Bloomberg, Trump branded him ‘the biggest loser of the night, by far’.

‘His ‘political’ consultants took him for a ride,’ Trump tweeted.

‘$700 million washed down the drain, and he got nothing for it but the nickname Mini Mike, and the complete destruction of his reputation. Way to go Mike!’

Trump also took aim at Warren after she failed to win her home state of Massachusetts, landing her a distant third in the delegate stakes.

‘Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, other than Mini Mike, was the loser of the night. She didn’t even come close to winning her home state of Massachusetts,’ he wrote.

While Trump made sure to put down his rivals, he donated most of his energy to cheering his own successes – albeit while facing token opposition.

As each win rolled in he tweeted out a message of thanks to his supporters, while vowing to retake the presidency in November.

In Los Angeles, before California was called for Sanders, Biden took to the stage and cast himself the victor, regardless if Sanders took both California and Texas.

First, he mixed up his wife Jill and sister Valerie, a characteristic gaffe which has clearly done nothing to put off Democratic voters.

Biden declared: ‘It’s a great night and it seems to be getting even better. They don’t call it Super Tuesday for nothing!’

The former vice president recalled how just days ago the suggestion was that Super Tuesday would mark the end of his campaign.

‘Well it may be over for the other guy,’ Biden said, a clear shot at Sanders.

Energized, coherent and not put off even by two militant vegan protesters who ran onto the stage to protest against the dairy industry, he painted himself as the one Democrat who can take on Trump.

‘A lifelong Democrat, an Obama-Biden Democrat,’ he said to cheers – a pointed way to contrast himself to Sanders, who is an independent senator.

Jill Biden was captured in a photograph grabbing the protester by the arm and grimacing.  Symone Sanders, Sanders’ former press secretary who’s not a top Biden adviser, had rushed across the stage to pull a protester off.

It was a return in part to the early days of the race, when Biden held a strong polling lead before the first states voted and caucused. With Sanders on the rise days ago and party leaders warning the democratic socialist could seize the nomination Tuesday, forces coalesced around Biden in South Carolina.

A key factor was the endorsement there of James C. Clyburn, the state’s most senior African American elected official.

In Vermont, Sanders pinned his hopes on California, pivoting to a victory speech and a string of attacks on Biden.

‘Tonight I tell you with absolute confidence we are going to win the Democratic nomination,’ he said.

The path to the nomination in Milwaukee now runs through a mini-Super Tuesday on March 10, when Missouri, Michigan, Washington and Mississippi vote.

Sanders had appeared to be ahead in Michigan but Biden’s upset in Minnesota is likely to weigh heavily there, and the combined demographic of African-Americans and disaffected blue collar voters could play to Biden’s strengths.

The following Tuesday, March 17, offers another selection of massive delegate counts when Florida, Illinois and Ohio all vote, along with Arizona.

The following week, March 24, sees Georgia vote, which Biden’s southern firewall should make a surefire victory.

For Sanders, the loss of momentum from a rocky Super Tuesday could be critical.

In 2016 he stayed in by rallying his base and railing against an ‘establishment’ determined not to give him the nomination and to install an ‘inevitable’ candidate in Hillary Clinton.

That may be more difficult as he faces in Biden an opponent whose comeback narrative offers him some of the advantages of the underdog, and whose narrative of empathy and standing up for those who were left behind overlaps with Sanders’ more radical rhetoric.

The string of endorsements Biden has garnered in the last few days from centrist party figures, including three of his former rivals, have been crucial in driving momentum.

In Los Angeles, before California was called for Sanders', Biden took to the stage and cast himself the victor, regardless if Sanders took California and Texas

Energized, coherent and not put off even by two militant vegan protesters (pictured) who ran onto the stage to protest against the dairy industry, Biden painted himself as the one Democrat who can take on Trump

Energized, coherent and not put off even by two militant vegan protesters (pictured) who ran onto the stage to protest against the dairy industry, Biden painted himself as the one Democrat who can take on Trump

Biden's early lead caused a dramatic shift and left Sanders, until last week the frontrunner, clinging to the hope of doing well in California before polls closed in the nation's most populous state. Shortly after polls in California closed, he was named the winner

Biden's campaign had suggested that the key to Super Tuesday was to minimize Sanders' lead and a Virginia victory appeared to put them on the path to that goal. The sign of momentum for the former vice president came as he saw a boost in last-minute opinion polls despite having trailed Sanders in recent weeks

WARREN LOSES HER HOME STATE

Elizabeth Warren’s campaign for president fell flat on Super Tuesday as she was unable to win even her home state of Massachusetts.

Warren lost to both Joe Biden – whose South Carolina win Saturday night restored his frontrunner status – and Bernie Sanders, who represents neighboring state Vermont. Warren was in third place with 22 per cent of the vote with 70 per cent of the votes counted.

‘Predictions are a terrible business. Pundits have gotten it wrong over and over,’ Warren told the Michigan crowd. ‘Cast a vote that will make you proud. Vote from your heart. And vote for the person who you think will make the best president of the United States.’

During her final rally in California Monday night, Warren dismissed the surging Biden as a same-old, same-old Washington politician.

Sanders supporters cheer as they hear election results during a party held at Central Machine Works Brewery in Austin, Texas

Sanders supporters cheer as they hear election results during a watch party held at Central Machine Works Brewery in Austin, Texas - a state he eventually lost to Biden

Supporters of Bernie Sanders look over Super Tuesday election results at a campaign center in Denver, Colorado

Supporters of Democratic Presidential hopeful Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren attend a rally in Detroit

Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii, remains in the race though has only campaigned sporadically. She did make a pitch to voters in American Samoa, where she was born, to vote for her Tuesday

Tulsi Gabbard, a congresswoman from Hawaii, remains in the race though has only campaigned sporadically. She did make a pitch to voters in American Samoa, where she was born, to vote for her Tuesday

People wait to vote during the presidential primary in Santa Monica, California on Super Tuesday

People wait to vote during the presidential primary in Santa Monica, California on Super Tuesday

Voters cast their ballots in the Democratic presidential primary election at a polling place in Armstrong Elementary School o in Herndon, Virginia

Rochelle Marks, 77, votes at a polling station on Super Tuesday in Beverly Hills, California

People line up to vote at a polling station on Super Tuesday in Beverly Hills, California

Students at the University of Vermont Franklin fill out voter registration forms at a polling place on Super Tuesday in Burlington, Vermont. At the close of the polls on Tuesday night, Sanders won his home state

Students at the University of Vermont Franklin fill out voter registration forms at a polling place on Super Tuesday in Burlington, Vermont. At the close of the polls on Tuesday night, Sanders won his home state

Voters cast their ballots at a polling location inside an elementary school in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Those included former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, Rep. Veronica Escobar of Texas, Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois, Rep. Don Beyer of Virginia, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, former Sen. Barbara Boxer of California and Rep. Jennifer Wexton of Virginia, among others.

Now Biden will have Bloomberg out of his way in order to capture more moderate voters – and Bloomberg’s commitment to help him remove Trump from office.

President Trump, for his part, touted his string of Republican primary victories Tuesday night, tweeting his thanks after state after state was called in his favor.

The president only had token competition – former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld – in the Super Tuesday contests and one state, Virginia, canceled its GOP primary as Trump, like most incumbent presidents, is easily expected to win his party’s nomination.

Trump has played armchair pundit on Twitter as he’s watched the shake-up on the Democratic side.

‘Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren, other than Mini Mike, was the loser of the night. She didn’t even come close to winning her home state of Massachusetts. Well, now she can just sit back with her husband and have a nice cold beer!’ Trump tweeted early Wednesday.

The president relished the news that Bloomberg had bowed out.

‘Mini Mike Bloomberg just “quit” the race for President. I could have told him long ago that he didn’t have what it takes, and he would have saved himself a billion dollars, the real cost,’ Trump wrote. ‘Now he will pour money into Sleepy Joe’s campaign, hoping to save face.’

‘It won’t work!’ Trump said.

Biden talks with actor and comedian Keegan-Michael Key as he campaigns before his evening rally on Super Tuesday in LA

Meanwhile Bernie Sanders, who was earning frontrunner status, spoke to thousands at his rallies in Super Tuesday states including one Monday night in Minneapolis. With Amy Klobuchar out, her state is up for grabs

On Monday night at a really in Los Angeles Warren pitched herself as the candidate who could split the difference between Biden and Sanders. 'Voters deserve a choice of someone with unshakeable values who can also get things done and bring all kinds of Democrats along with her,' she argued

Voters from 14 states head to the polls on 'Super Tuesday,' with about a third of Democratic delegates at stake in a single day

WHO ARE THE 4 DEMOCRATS RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT IN 2020?

 

JOE BIDEN

Age on Inauguration Day 2021: 78

Entered race: April 25, 2019

Career: No current role. A University of Delaware and Syracuse Law graduate, he was first elected to Newcastle City Council in 1969, then won upset election to Senate in 1972, aged 29. Was talked out of quitting before being sworn in when his wife and daughter died in a car crash and served total of six terms. Chaired Judiciary Committee’s notorious Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. Ran for president in 1988, pulled out after plagiarism scandal, ran again in 2008, withdrew after placing fifth in the Iowa Caucuses. Tapped by Obama as his running mate and served two terms as vice president. Contemplated third run in 2016 but decided against it after his son died of brain cancer.

Family: Eldest of four siblings born to Joe Biden Sr. and Catherine Finnegan. First wife Neilia Hunter and their one-year-old daughter Naomi died in car crash which their two sons, Joseph ‘Beau’ and Robert Hunter survived. Married Jill Jacobs in 1976, with whom he has daughter Ashley. Beau died of brain cancer in 2015. Hunter’s marriage to Kathleen Buhle, with whom he has three children, ended in 2016 when it emerged Hunter was in a relationship with Beau’s widow Hallie, mother of their two children. Hunter admitted cocaine use; his estranged wife accused him of blowing their savings on drugs and prostitutes

Religion: Catholic

Views on key issues: Ultra-moderate who will emphasize bipartisan record. Will come under fire over record, having voted: to stop desegregation bussing in 1975; to overturn Roe v Wade in 1981; for now controversial 1994 Violent Crime Act; for 2003 Iraq War; and for banking deregulation. Says he is ‘most progressive’ Democrat. New positions include free college, tax reform, $15 minimum wage. No public position yet on Green New Deal and healthcare. Pro-gun control. Has already apologized to women who say he touched them inappropriately

Would make history as: Oldest person elected president

Slogan: Our Best Days Still Lie Ahead

 

TULSI GABBARD

Age on Inauguration Day: 39

Entered race: Still to formally file any papers but said she would run on January 11 2019

Career: Currently Hawaii congresswoman. Born on American Samoa, a territory. Raised largely in Hawaii, she co-founded an environmental non-profit with her father as a teenager and was elected to the State Legislature aged 21, its youngest member in history. Enlisted in the National Guard and served two tours, one in Iraq 2004-2006, then as an officer in Kuwait in 2009. Ran for Honolulu City Council in 2011, and House of Representatives in 2012

Family: Married to her second husband, Abraham Williams, a cinematographer since 2015. First marriage to childhood sweetheart Eduardo Tamayo in 2002 ended in 2006. Father Mike Gabbard is a Democratic Hawaii state senator, mother Carol Porter runs a non-profit.

Religion: Hindu

Views on key issues: Has apologized for anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage views; wants marijuana federally legalized; opposed to most U.S. foreign interventions; backs $15 minimum wage and universal health care; was the second elected Democrat to meet Trump after his 2016 victory

Would make history as: First female, Hindu and Samoan-American president; youngest president ever

Slogan: Lead with Love 

 

BERNIE SANDERS

Age on Inauguration Day: 79

Entered race: Sources said on January 25, 2019, that he would form exploratory committee. Officially announced February 19

Career: Currently Vermont senator. Student civil rights and anti-Vietnam activist who moved to Vermont and worked as a carpenter and radical film-maker. Serial failed political candidate in the 1970s, he ran as a socialist for mayor of Burlington in 1980 and served two terms ending in 1989, and win a seat in Congress as an independent in 1990. Ran for Senate in 2006 elections as an independent with Democratic endorsement and won third term in 2018. Challenged Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination in 2016 but lost. Campaign has since been hit by allegations of sexual harassment  – for which he has apologized – and criticized for its ‘Bernie bro’ culture

Family: Born to a Jewish immigrant father and the daughter of Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York. First marriage to college sweetheart Deborah Shiling Messing in 1964 ended in divorce in 1966; had son Levi in 1969 with then girlfriend Susan Cambell Mott. Married Jone O’Meara in 1988 and considers her three children, all adults, his own. The couple have seven grandchildren. His older brother Larry is a former Green Party councilor in Oxfordshire, England. 

Religion: Secular Jewish 

Views on key issues: Openly socialist and standard bearer for the Democratic party’s left-turn. Wants federal $15 minimum wage; banks broken up; union membership encouraged; free college tuition; universal health care; re-distributive taxation; he opposed Iraq War and also U.S. leading the fight against ISIS and wants troops largely out of Afghanistan and the Middle East

Would make history as: Oldest person elected president; first Jewish president

Slogan: Not me. Us.

ELIZABETH WARREN

Age on Inauguration Day: 71

Entered race:  Set up exploratory committee December 31, 2018

Career: Currently Massachusetts senator. Law lecturer and academic who became an expert on bankruptcy law and tenured Harvard professor. Ran for Senate and won in 2012, defeating sitting Republican Scott Brown, held it in 2018 60% to 36%. Was short-listed to be Hillary’s running mate and campaigned hard for her in 2016

Family: Twice-married mother of two and grandmother of three. First husband and father of her children was her high-school sweetheart. Second husband Bruce Mann is Harvard law professor. Daughter Amelia Tyagi and son Alex Warren have both been involved in her campaigns. Has controversially claimed Native American roots; DNA test suggested she is as little as 1,064th Native American

Religion: Raised Methodist, now described as Christian with no fixed church

Views on key issues: Was a registered Republican who voted for the party but registered as a Democrat in 1996. Pro: higher taxes on rich; banking regulation; Dream Act path to citizenship for ‘dreamers’; abortion and gay rights; campaign finance restrictions; and expansion of public provision of healthcare – although still to spell out exactly how that would happen. Against: U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Syria; liberalization of gambling

Would make history as: First female president 

Slogan: Warren Has A Plan For That

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8074295/Democrats-tell-Mike-Bloomberg-Elizabeth-Warren-quit-Joe-Bidens-dramatic-comeback.html

 

Story 3: Containing Circulating COVID-19 Communist Chinese Cough Crisis  Chaos — Do Not Touch Your Face and Wash Your Hands to Prevent Droplet Spreading and Infecting You and Others — Videos

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“For most people a mask may actually risk catching the disease rather than preventing it” If you’re thinking about wearing a mask to protect yourself from the coronavirus, you may want to think again. One of the UK’s most senior health officials, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Jenny Harries, has explained the best way of protecting yourself while going about your day to day routine. She’s also given detail answers to questions about the government’s plans to rely on the NHS if an epidemic happens. ► The UK is preparing for a potential epidemic – but will it be ready in time?:

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Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

What’s New

You can also keep up with CDC updates on Coronavirus Disease 2019 by signing up for email updatessyndicating available content, and subscribing to Coronavirus Disease 2019 RSS Feed.

 

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/whats-new-all.html

 

10 Things to Know About CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 + TOP 3 SOURCES to Follow—For

Family & Friends

These are the 10 things you MUST KNOW about CORONAVIRUS COVID-19 to keep your family safe. The video also explains why you should take this outbreak seriously and where to go for CREDIBLE INFORMATION to help you stay ahead of the news curve.

1) Coronavirus Covid-19 is not the flu, it’s not SARS, and it’s not MERS. It’s a completely new virus.

2) Coronavirus Covid-19 is 20x deadlier than the flu.

3) Although 81% of people experience mild symptoms, Coronavirus Covid-19 has a high complication rate.

4) If you contract the virus and you’re older, your chances of dying are higher. But young people in their 20’s and 30’s have died too, so don’t be complacent.

5) Coronavirus Covid-19 can have a very long incubation period, and it spreads asymptomatically.

6) Coronavirus Covid-19 spreads via droplets in the air and AEROSOL!

7) The R0 factor of this virus is incredibly high.

8) There have been reports out of Asia of people getting Covid-19 again, so recovering once does not guarantee immunity afterward.

9) In the United States, we are in the early part of the curve, where it looks like nothing much is happening.

10) Vaccines are not yet available and probably won’t be for 6-18 months, no matter what you read in the headlines.

*****3 TO FOLLOW***** Chris Martenson, Peak Prosperity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QVQC1…

Dr. Roger Seheult, MedCram: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quDYb…

Dr. John Campbell, Retired: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cmIRM…

*****SOURCES***** Lessons from the Coronavirus outbreak in China 2019: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama…

Age of Coronavirus deaths: https://www.worldometers.info/coronav…

Outbreak country charts: https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitica…

Why some Covid-19 cases are worse than others: https://www.the-scientist.com/news-op…

Too early to compare Coronavirus to Flu: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/w…

Covid-19 Coronavirus reinfection in Japan raises questions:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/202… #coronavirus #covid19

 

 

WHO says coronavirus death rate is 3.4% globally, higher than previously thought

  • World health officials say the mortality rate for COVID-19 is 3.4% globally, higher than previous estimates of about 2%.
  • “Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva.

World health officials said Tuesday the mortality rate for COVID-19 is 3.4% globally, higher than previous estimates of about 2%.

“Globally, about 3.4% of reported COVID-19 cases have died,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. In comparison, seasonal flu generally kills far fewer than 1% of those infected, he said.

The World Health Organization had said last week that the mortality rate of COVID-19 can differ, ranging from 0.7% to up to 4%, depending on the quality of the health-care system where it’s treated. Early in the outbreak, scientists had concluded the death rate was around 2.3%.

During a press briefing Monday, WHO officials said they don’t know how COVID-19 behaves, saying it’s not like influenza. They added that while much is known about the seasonal flu, such as how it’s transmitted and what treatments work to suppress the disease, that same information is still in question when it comes to the coronavirus.

“This is a unique virus, with unique features. This virus is not influenza,” Tedros said Monday. “We are in uncharted territory.”

Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program, said Monday that the coronavirus isn’t transmitting the same exact way as the flu and health officials have been given a “glimmer, a chink of light” that the virus could be contained. 

“Here we have a disease for which we have no vaccine, no treatment, we don’t fully understand transmission, we don’t fully understand case mortality, but what we have been genuinely heartened by is that unlike influenza, where countries have fought back, where they’ve put in place strong measures, we’ve remarkably seen that the virus is suppressed,” Ryan said.

Do face masks work? Medical experts explain how to protect yourself from coronavirus

KEY POINTS
  • Epidemiologists and infectious disease experts have been at pains to emphasize against an unwarranted scramble for face masks in recent weeks.
  • South Korea, Italy and Iran have all recorded sharp upticks in cases of the coronavirus in recent days, with many other countries imposing travel restrictions on virus-hit areas worldwide.
  • Infections have now been reported in every continent except Antarctica.

GP: CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS - 106419119 200203 EU

This photo taken on February 28, 2020 shows workers producing face masks at a factory in Handan in China’s northern Hebei province.
STR | AFP via Getty Images

Medical experts have urged people to stop panic buying face masks, warning that such equipment is not an effective way to protect yourself from the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The advice comes at a time of intensifying concern about COVID-19, which has killed more than 3,000 people worldwide since late last year.

The outbreak was first identified in Hubei province, China, where over 90% of the deaths have been reported. More recently, the virus has been spreading at a faster rate outside China than inside the country.

VIDEO02:38
Face mask shortage sparks global race to fulfill orders

The WHO has declared the outbreak a global health emergency, with almost 60 countries reporting cases of the coronavirus.

Epidemiologists and infectious disease experts have been at pains to emphasize against an unwarranted scramble for face masks in recent weeks, particularly because such hoarding behavior elevates the prospect of an equipment shortage for medical workers.

“Seriously people — STOP BUYING MASKS!” U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said via Twitter over the weekend.

“They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!”

U.S. Surgeon General

@Surgeon_General

Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!

They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching , but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!
http://bit.ly/37Ay6Cm 

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China.

cdc.gov

47.8K people are talking about this

The warning from America’s top doctor is consistent with medical advice from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has said there is no evidence to support wearing face masks.

Instead, Adams said “the best way to protect yourself and your community is with everyday preventative actions, like staying home when you are sick and washing hands with soap and water, to help slow the spread of the respiratory illness.”

‘Not a lot of evidence’ to support wearing face masks

It has been suggested wearing face masks could be useful if you’re sick in order to prevent you from sneezing or coughing into somebody’s face, David Heymann, who led WHO’s infectious disease unit at the time of the SARS epidemic in 2002-2003, said at a Chatham House press briefing last month.

But, “a mask that is used to stop getting an infection is sometimes not very effective because people take it off to eat, many times they are worn improperly (and) if they get wet and somebody sneezes on that mask it could pass through.

So, there is really not a lot of evidence (to support wearing masks).”

GP: THAILAND-CHINA-HEALTH-VIRUS 200204 EU
Children with face masks wash their hands before prayer at Erawan shrine, a popular spritual landmark in Bangkok on January 27, 2020.
MLADEN ANTONOV | AFP via Getty Images

“One of the most important ways of stopping respiratory outbreaks such as this is washing hands,” Heymann continued.

That’s because “if you touch a patient, if you shake hands, if you touch a door that has a droplet on it — which could theoretically happen — then you touch your face (or) your mouth and you become infected.”

“So, handwashing is the most important. And second is, people who are suspected as being patients, be very careful when you are dealing with them. Avoid face-to-face contact and wash hands when you’re treating,” Heymann said.

“It is very important that people understand that they can prevent themselves from being infected if they follow a few simple measures,” he added.

‘Don’t touch your face’

South Korea, Italy and Iran have all recorded sharp upticks in cases of the coronavirus in recent days, with many other countries imposing travel restrictions on virus-hit areas worldwide.

Infections have now been reported in every continent except Antarctica.

Emily Landon, medical director for infection control at the University of Chicago Medical Center, told CNBC late last week that face masks were “not a great choice” for everyday use.

“First of all, there are multiple different kind of face masks. There is the surgical mask that people wear that doesn’t really seal up very well. That’s super good if you put it on the patient who’s sick because that will contain their secretions and protect everyone around them.”

“However, if you are the one who wants to protect yourself, those N95 masks … are much better,” Landon said.

Face masks should be worn by people who show symptoms: University of Chicago Medical Director
“You need to be fit-tested in order to know exactly which size you should be wearing, you have to be trained on how to wear it properly and they can get pretty uncomfortable, so they are not a great choice for just going out in the public,” she continued.

“Keeping your hands clean so that you don’t touch your face no matter what things you are touching with your hands is a really important piece of preventing infection in hospitals, in schools and everywhere you go.”

“Soap and water works really well. It can dry your hands out a little bit more but when you do it, you want to do it right. That means getting your hands wet with warm water, cleaning them, getting all of the surfaces with soap for 20 seconds — that’s a full time through ‘Happy Birthday’ — and then also rinsing them off afterwards,” Landon said.

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/02/coronavirus-do-face-masks-work-and-how-to-stop-it-from-spreading.html?recirc=taboolainternal

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Dow soars more than 1,100 points as market rallies off Biden win, UnitedHealth pops 10%

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/03/dow-futures-show-300-point-pop-as-early-super-tuesday-results-favor.html

 

 

Trump Job Approval Relapses Amid Coronavirus Threat: IBD/TIPP Poll

Impeachment couldn’t stop President Donald Trump’s job approval from rising, but the coronavirus might. As Americans’ near-term view of the economy soured in February, amid worry over the coronavirus and a Dow Jones correction, Trump’s job approval rating relapsed.

President Trump Job Approval

Just 41% of Americans approve of how President Trump is handling his job, while 54% disapprove, the March IBD/TIPP Poll finds. That negative 13-point differential has nearly doubled in the past month. In late January, Trump’s job approval registered 44% and disapproval 51%.

Now just 37% of independents give Trump positive reviews, while 57% disapprove. That’s down from 39%-53% in late January.

Trump Job Approval Slumps With Economic Outlook

The drop in Trump’s job approval coincides with a sudden shift in the economic outlook. The U.S. economic outlook just suffered its biggest one-month drop since October 2013 amid spread of the coronavirus, the March IBD/TIPP Poll finds.

The six-month economic outlook index fell to a modestly pessimistic 47.8 from a strongly optimistic 57. Readings above the neutral 50 level reflect optimism.

Trump continues to get positive ratings for his handling of the economy, with 47% approving and 35% disapproving. Still, that’s a big comedown from late January. Back then, 53% of Americans rated his handling of the U.S. economy as good or excellent, while just 28% give him a negative rating.

Trump Slips In Matchups Vs. Democrats

Joe Biden leads Trump 49% to 46%, the March IBD/TIPP Poll finds, after Trump had cut the margin to 49%-48% in late January.

Sanders now leads Trump 49% to 47%, having trailed 47%-49% a month earlier. Warren leads Trump 48% to 46%, a reversal of her 46%-50% deficit.

Still, a narrow popular vote edge would not necessarily translate into an Electoral College victory for Democrats.

Trump leads all Democrats among self-described investors, with a four-point lead over Biden. He leads Sanders by seven points.

The IBD/TIPP Poll reflects responses from 908 adults contacted via mobile phones and landlines from Feb. 20-29 and carries a 3.3-point margin of error.

Please follow Jed Graham on Twitter at @IBD_JGraham for coverage of economic policy and financial markets.

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https://www.investors.com/politics/trump-job-approval-relapses-amid-coronavirus-threat-ibd-tipp-poll/

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The Pronk Pops Show 1393, February 6, 2020, Story 1: President Trump Speaks At National Prayer Breakfast — Slams Pelosi and Romney For Using Their Faith To Justify Their Actions — Faith Based Adoption — Videos — Story 2: President Trump Acquitted Forever By Senate Takes A Well Deserved Victory Lap Over Failed Coup Attempts By Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — Nobody Including Democrats Are Above The Law — American People Demanding The Indictments of The Conspirators — The Trump Way — Videos — Story 3: DNC Chair Demands Iowa Recheck The Vote Count and Bernie Sanders Won By More Than 8,000 — Videos

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Story 2: President Trump Acquitted Forever By Senate Takes A Well Deserved Victory Lap Over Failed Coup Attempts By Clinton Obama Democratic Criminal Conspiracy — Nobody Including Democrats Are Above The Law — American People Demanding The Indictments of The Conspirators — The Trump Way — Videos —

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President Trump Delivers Remarks

President Trump delivers remarks at White House | USA TODAY

‘The Five’ on Trump taking marathon victory lap after his acquittal

 

This linguist studied the way Trump speaks for two years. Here’s what she found.

Keiser Report: Canceling Debt to Avoid Economic Crisis (E1320)

Ep. 1548 David Stockman on Impeachment, the Democrats, the Fed, and More

 

Triumphant Trump lashes out ‘horrible person’ Pelosi and attacks ‘dirty cops’ in wild post-acquittal speech as he slams ‘Mueller top scum’ Russia probe and ‘evil’ impeachment as ‘all bulls**t’

  • President Trump gathered his political allies in the White House’s East Room Thursday to celebrate being acquitted on impeachment charges
  • Trump held up a copy of the Washington Post that said ‘Trump Acquitted’ in large font, saying it’s the ‘only good headline I’ve ever had in the Washington Post’ 
  • At the top of his speech, Trump called out the ‘leakers and liars’ and then name-dropped former FBI Director James Comey 
  • He bad-mouthed a number of individuals including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, GOP Sen. Mitt Romney and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff 
  • He again went after FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, while also slamming Hunter Biden and former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe
  • Then Trump went around the room and complimented the Republicans who supported him, giving brief remarks about each one 
  • Trump spoke for more than an hour and didn’t use a teleprompter, though used swear words more than once 
  • ‘This is a day of celebration because we went through hell,’ Trump told the crowd, who gave him a standing ovation 

President Trump celebrated his Senate acquittal on Thursday with a freewheeling speech at the White House where he blasted the ‘vicious and mean’ Democrats, attacked ‘evil and dirty’ cops, thanked his ‘very good friends’ for their support and apologized to his family for what he put them through.

‘This is a day of celebration because we went through hell,’ he told a packed room of about 200 supporters in the East Room of the White House.

The president spoke – without the use of a teleprompter – for a little more than hour that veered back and forth between thanking his allies and blasting his enemies.

He began his remarks with his favorite hit term on the investigations into him and his presidency: ‘witch hunt.’

‘We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was a leakers and lawyers. This should never happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it,’ he said.

And he ended with an apology to his family, including young son Barron.

‘I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people,’ he said. ‘And Ivanka is here, my sons, my whole family. And that includes Barron. He’s up there, he’s a young boy.’

Ivanka left her seat in the audience to come up to the podium and hug her father after his apology. First lady Melania Trump did the same.

‘I just want to thank my family for sticking through it. This was not part of the deal,’ the president said.

Trump also name-dropped those he blamed for impeaching him, re-upping his litany of attacks against the same people he has blamed since the first investigation of his presidency started.

Former FBI Director James Comey was the first opponent who came up.

‘Had I not fired James Comey – who was a disaster, by the way – it’s possible I may not have even been standing here right now,’ Trump said. ‘When I fired that sleazebag, all hell broke out,’ he later added.

He blamed the top FBI officials for his problems. ‘It was the top scum, and the FBI people don’t like the top scum,’ he said.

The president also had choice words for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, Sen. Mitt Romney, Hunter Biden, former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe – and the FBI lovers, Peter Strzok and Lisa Page.

SCROLL DOWN TO READ TRUMP’S FREEWHEELING SPEECH IN FULL 

President Trump hoisted up a copy of the Washington Post in the East Room Thursday, marveling at the paper's good headline

President Trump hugs his daughter Ivanka Trump at his victory speech in the White House's East Room Thursday

President Trump hugs his daughter Ivanka Trump at his victory speech in the White House’s East Room Thursday

First lady Melania Trump (left) kisses President Trump (right) at the end of his speech Thursday in the East Room

First lady Melania Trump (left) kisses President Trump (right) at the end of his speech Thursday in the East Room

The president, showing off the 'Trump acquitted' headline, said he might even frame this copy of the Washington Post

President Trump addressed a crowd of allies at the White House Thursday after being acquitted by the U.S. Senate

President Trump was surrounded by his political allies at the White House Thursday as he took a victory lap on being acquitted on impeachment charges by the GOP-led Senate

President Trump went around the room and complimented his political allies, while describing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as 'vicious' and 'horrible' x

President Trump (left) had first lady Melania Trump (right) come onstage at the conclusion of his hour-long, free-wheeling speech where he talked about impeachment

Ivanka Trump (right) listens to her father President Trump (left) speak a day after the conclusion of the Senate's impeachment trial

Comey’s May 2017 firing led to the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller who took over the Russian interference probe.

The president referred to the Russia probe as ‘all bulls***’ to the East Room crowd.

That investigation wasn’t directly related to why Trump was impeached – over a scheme to hold up around $400 million in military aid to Ukraine in order to pressure the president to announce investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden.

Trump attacked the former vice president’s son for his work on the board of a Ukrainian gas company and for a Chinese hedge fund. He also reiterated his argument his July 25 phone call with newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was perfect.

‘He’s a new president, seems like a very nice person, by the way. His whole thing was corruption. He’s going to stop corruption. We have a treaty, a signed treaty that we will work together to root out corruption in Ukraine. I probably have a legal obligation … to report corruption. They don’t even think a corrupt way son who made no money, that got thrown out of the military, that had no money at all, is working for $3 million upfront, $83,000 a month. And that’s only Ukraine. Then goes to China, picks up $1.5 billion. Then goes to Romania, I hear, and many other countries. They think that’s okay. Because, if it is, Ivanka in the audience? Boy, my kids could make a fortune,’ he said.

The East Room was filled with the president’s Republican Congressional and political allies. Lawmakers like Doug Collins, Jim Jordan, Elise Stefanik and Matt Gaetz, who all vocally defended the president during the House impeachment investigation. GOP senators who voted to acquit him were there too, including Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee and, of course, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Trump had personalized shout outs for many of them:

  • Mitch McConnell: ‘Great guy. Great guy. He’s a tough guy to read. I’m good at reading people. A tough guy to read.’
  • Jim Jordan: ‘When I first got to know Jim I said, “Huh, never wears a jacket. What the hell is going on?” He’s obviously very proud of his body. And they say where he works out with the congressmen, senators, they say when Jim works out, even though he’s not as young as he was, when he works out, the machine starts burning.’
  • Steve Scalise: ‘He got whacked, my Steve. Right? I went to the hospital with our great first lady that night. Right, honey? We saw a man who was not going to make it. He was not going to make it. The doctor — I told him, his wife, I said, “She loves you.” “Why did you say that?” Because she was devastated. A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn.’ 
  • Elise Stefanik: ‘I didn’t realize, when she opens that mouth, you were killing them, Elise! You were killing them!’
  • John Ratcliffe: ‘If we were doing a remake of “Perry Mason,” the man I get — there is nobody in Hollywood like this.’ 
  • Matt Gaetz: ‘Sometimes controversial, but actually he’s not controversial. He’s solid as a rock and a friend of mine.’ 

The president’s impeachment legal team came in the room before Trump and was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience and shouts of ‘Bravo!’ 

Trump, too, was greeted by a crowd on its feet.

He held up a copy of the Washington Post in triumph as his supporters cheered him on.

‘It was the only good headline I’ve ever had in the Washington Post,’ Trump said, showing off a newspaper with the words ‘Trump acquitted’ in large typeface across the front. Trump said he might even frame it.

President Trump and Melania Trump leaving after his remarks

IN THE AUDIENCE: Reps. Doug Collins (center) and Elise Stefanik (right) were invited to attend Thursday's White House address by President Trump. Both lawmakers defended him during the impeachement saga

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell arrives at President Trump's East Room address Thursday

During the speech, the president praised certain Republican lawmakers who defended him, including Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York

Rep. Matt Gaetz is seen entering the Whtie House's East Room Thursday prior to President Trump addressing the nation on his impeachment acquittal

Rep. Matt Gaetz stands as he is acknowledged by President Trump during a speech that lasted longer than an hour

Rep. Matt Gaetz stands as he is acknowledged by President Trump during a speech that lasted longer than an hour

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham (center) greets Rep. Matt Gaetz (left) in the White House's East Room on Thursday

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee who loudly defended President Trump during the impeachment hearings, wore a 'Quit, Mitt' button to the White House Thursday

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway chats with White House guests before President Trump appeared in the East Room Thursday

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is photographed in the East Room before the president delivered remarks

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney is photographed in the East Room before the president delivered remarks

Republican political allies filed the White House's audience Thursday including (from left) Rep. Mark Meadows, Sen. Bill Cassidy, Sen. Mike Lee, Sen. Chuck Grassley and Rep. Devin Nunes. Nunes is Rep. Adam Schiff's GOP counterpart in the House Intelligence Committee

First daughter and White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump reacts to her father's speech in the White House's East Room Thursday

Attendees of President Trump's East Room speech included (from left) second lady Karen Pence, Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General Bill Barr

Attendees of President Trump’s East Room speech included (from left) second lady Karen Pence, Vice President Mike Pence, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Attorney General Bill Barr

 

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham previewed the president's remarks on Fox News Channel Thursday morning

He had nicer things to say about those in the room.

TRUMP SHOUT OUTS

The president offered his thanks to many people during his remarks:

Melania Trump

Ivanka Trump

His sons and specifically Barron

Attorneys Pat Cipollone and Jay Sekulow

Sen. Tim Scott

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

Rep. Jim Jordan

Rep. Elise Stefanik

Rep. Mark Meadows

Rep. Doug Collins

Sen. Kelly Loeffler

Sen. Josh Hawley

Sen. Chuck Grassley

Rep. Louie Gohmert

Sen. Mike Braun

Sen. Bill Cassidy

Sen. John Barasso

Sen. Mike Lee

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy

Sen. Kelly Armstrong

Rep. Jim Banks

Rep. Andy Biggs

Abraham Lincoln

Rep. Matt Gaetz

Rep. Debbie Lesko

Gov. Ron DeSantis

Rep. Mike Johnson

Rep. Devin Nunes

Rep. John Ratliffe

Rep. Steve Scalise

Matt Schlapp

Rep. Bradley Byrne

Rep. Scott Perry

Lee, a Republican senator from Utah, got some attention from the president, in part because Lee’s counterpart, Sen. Mitt Romney, had voted alongside Democrats on voting in support of one article of impeachment.

Trump told Lee to deliver a message to the people of Utah: ‘Tell them I’m sorry about Mitt Romney.’

‘We can say, by far, Mike Lee is the most popular senator in the state,’ Trump said.

Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Republican member of the House Judiciary Committee who also loudly backed the president during impeachment hearings, was spotted wearing a ‘quit Mitt’ button to the White House event.

Trump complimented another Judiciary Committee member, Rep. John Ratcliffe, for being straight out of Central Casting.

‘If we’re doing a remake of Perry Mason,’ he said, nodding at Ratcliffe. ‘There’s nobody in Hollywood like this.’

The president also suggested that Rep. Steve Scalise became more attractive after recovering from a gun shot wound.

‘You weren’t that good looking,’ Trump said. ‘You look good now.’

The president also talked of Scalise’s wife’s devotion to the Louisiana Republican, as Trump had met her when her husband was in the emergency room.

‘A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn,’ Trump remarked.

Trump also made colorful comments about Rep. Jim Jordan, another prominent defender.

‘When I first got to know Jim I said, heh, he never wears a jacket, he’s obviously very proud of his body,’ the president said.

Jordan was a collegiate wrestling champion and later a college-level coach.

The Ohio Republican did wear a jacket to Trump’s speech Thursday.

Trump also asked lawmakers to stand up if they had something to say.

That prompted retiring Rep. Mark Meadows, a North Carolina Republican, to briefly stand and say, ‘This reflection today is a small reflection of the support you have.’

‘We got your back,’ Meadows said.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham told a Fox News Channel audience Thursday what to expect from his remarks – that the president had previewed himself when he slammed Pelosi and Romney at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning.

‘He is going to be honest,’ Grisham told Fox News, ‘going to speak with honesty and with humility and he and the family went through a lot. I think he’s also going to talk about just how horribly he was treated and, you know, that maybe people should pay for that.’

PEOPLE DONALD TRUMP CRITICIZED

The president also criticized many people in his speech:

Sen. Mitt Romney

Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Rep. Adam Schiff

Rep. Jerry Nadler

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Former FBI director James Comey

Former Sen. Claire McCaskill

Hunter Biden

Lisa Page

Peter Strzok

Andrew McCabe

Christopher Steele

Bob Mueller

Sen. Chuck Schumer

Hillary Clinton

‘People should be held accountable,’ she added.

The president went after Pelosi and Romney for using their faith to justify their actions in the impeachment process during his remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast.

And, in his remarks later that day in the East Wing, he stood by what he said at the breakfast.

‘I had Nancy Pelosi sitting four seats away and I’m saying things that a lot of people wouldn’t have said, but I meant everything. I meant every word of it,’ he said.

At the breakfast, the president did not mention the two by name but his meaning was clear.

‘I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong. Nor do I like people who say I pray for you when they know that’s not so. So many people have been hurt, and we can’t let that go on. I will be discussing that a little bit later at the White House,’ he said.

Romney was the lone Republican to find Trump guilty on one article of impeachment: abuse of power. He said in his remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday that it was his faith – Romney is a devout Mormon – that led him to that decision.

Pelosi, a devout Catholic, has repeatedly said she prays for the president. She was seated at the head table during Trump’s remarks and shook her head at one point during them. She pursed her lips a few times as he spoke. The speaker launched the impeachment inquiry into the president in September.

Back at the White House, Trump had no problem uttering Pelosi’s name. He called her a ‘vicious horrible person’ and said that Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and one of the Democrats’ House impeachment managers, was a ‘horrible person.’

‘She may pray, but she prays for the opposite,’ Trump said of the speaker.

At the prayer breakfast, the president admitted he was having trouble liking his political enemies now that his impeachment trial is over.

‘We are grateful to the people of this room for the lovely show to religion, not one religion, but many religions. They are brave, they are brilliant, they are fighters, they like people and sometimes they hate people. I’m sorry. I apologize. I am trying to learn. Not easy. It’s not easy. When they impeach you for nothing, and you’re supposed to like them, it’s not easy, folks. I do my best,’ he said.

Donald Trump slammed Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney for using their faith to justify their actions in the impeachment trial and inquiry

Donald Trump slammed Nancy Pelosi and Mitt Romney for using their faith to justify their actions in the impeachment trial and inquiry

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the opposite of the head table from President Trump

Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the opposite of the head table from President Trump

Speaker Pelosi sat grimed during President Trump's remarks

Speaker Pelosi sat grimed during President Trump’s remarks

President Trump addressed impeachment at the top of his remarks

Trump was acquitted on both articles of impeachment by the Senate on Wednesday, bringing to a close the fourth month, contentious process that led to a new level of bitter relations between the White House and congressional Democrats.

Harvard professor Arthur Brooks, in his key note address at the breakfast, urged those present not to hold political enemies in contempt, but to do as Jesus preached and ‘love your enemies.

‘I don’t know if I agree with you,’ Trump said to Brooks when it was his turn to speak. And then he proceeded to launch his attacks on Pelosi and Romney.

The president addressed the impeachment inquiry at the top of his remarks and, earlier, had triumphantly held up newspaper headlines announcing his acquittal. The audience cheered his move.

‘My family, our great country and your president has been put through a terrible ordeal by some very dishonest and corrupt people. They have done everything possible to destroy us and by so doing, very badly hurt our nation,’ Trump said.

‘They know what they are doing is wrong but they put themselves far ahead of our great country. Weeks ago and again yesterday, courageous Republican politicians and leaders had the wisdom, fortitude, and strength to do what everyone knows was right,’ he added.

The president and the speaker were meeting for the first time since the impeachment verdict at the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday morning.

Trump walked to the head table to applause and held up the front pages of USA Today and The Washington Post with their oversized headlines proclaiming his acquittal by the Senate.

‘Acquitted’ read USA Today. ‘Trump Acquitted’ was the Washington Post’s headline.

Pelosi stood and clapped as President Trump entered the room. She simply looked on as he displayed the newspapers declaring him acquitted.

President Trump waved around a USA Today headline proclaiming his acquittal on impeachment

President Trump waved around a USA Today headline proclaiming his acquittal on impeachment

He also waved the Washington Post front page

Speaker Pelosi spoke before President Trump at the breakfast

Speaker Pelosi led a prayer for the poor

Both the president and the speaker were seated at the head table but on opposite sides of the podium.

They did not interact.

Trump shook hands with his side of the head table when he entered the 68th Annual National Prayer Breakfast and did not walk over to the other side of the podium, where the vice president and the speaker were seated.

Pelosi spoke first, leading a prayer for the poor. The president head bowed during her prayer. He did not applaud when she was done.

Vice President Mike Pence, when he arrived ahead of the president, shook hands with the speaker and sat a few chairs down from her.

Several members of Congress and members of the president’s Cabinet attended the annual breakfast.

‘The lord works in mysterious ways. I do not think he could have picked a better day to bring us all together,’ House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy said in his prayer.

The president thanked McCarthy and the breakfast hosts in his opening remarks.

Mitt Romney cited his faith as the reason for his guilty vote on Trump

‘Had failed presidential candidate @MittRomney devoted the same energy and anger to defeating a faltering Barack Obama as he sanctimoniously does to me, he could have won the election,’ the president tweeted.

Romney cited his faith as one of the reasons for his guilty vote. He voted to acquit the president on the second charge: obstruction of Congress.

‘The allegations made in the articles of impeachment are very serious. As a senator juror, I swore an oath before god to exercise impartial justice. I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am. I take an oath before god as enormously consequential. I knew from the outset that being tasked with judging the president, the leader of my own party would be the most difficult decision I have ever faced,’ Romney said.

And the Republican senator from Utah acknowledged he expected to feel the president’s wrath for his decision.

‘I’m aware that there are people in my party and in my state who will strenuously disapprove of my decision, and in some quarters I will be vehemently denounced. I’m sure to hear abuse from the president and his supporters. Does anyone seriously believe that I would consent to these consequences other than from an inescapable conviction that my oath before god demanded it of me?,’ he said.

It was also the first time Trump and Pelosi met since Tuesday’s State of the Union address when Trump refused to shake her hand at its beginning and she ripped up the text of his remarks at its conclusion.

After the president finished giving his annual address Tuesday night, Pelosi stood up and ripped the pages in half, dropping them on her desk.

The extraordinary clash between the two started when with Trump snubbed Pelosi’s outstretched hand after he came into the House chamber.

Trump handed Pelosi a copy of his speech when he reached the speaker’s dais – the same place she presided over his impeachment vote two months ago – but simply turned away as the Speaker took her copy of his speech, then stood in front of a chamber which echoed with cries of ‘four more years’ from Republicans – and where Democrats sat stone-faced.

Pelosi was visibly taken aback after Trump turned away from her offer.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ripped apart her copy of President Trump's State of the Union address after he finished speaking on Tuesday night

Earlier, Trump delivered an astonishing snub to Nancy Pelosi as he started his State of the Union speech Tuesday, ignoring her as she offered him a handshake

Earlier, Trump delivered an astonishing snub to Nancy Pelosi as he started his State of the Union speech Tuesday, ignoring her as she offered him a handshake

After the Senate acquitted the president on Wednesday, Pelosi said after the vote that the president remains a ‘threat’ that the House will continue to combat through its lawsuits against the administration and with the public.

‘Sadly, because of the Republican Senate’s betrayal of the Constitution, the President remains an ongoing threat to American democracy, with his insistence that he is above the law and that he can corrupt the elections if he wants to. The House will continue to protect and defend the checks and balances in the Constitution that safeguard our Republic, both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion,’ she said in a statement.

DONALD TRUMP REMARKS ON IMPEACHMENT ACQUITTAL

Well, thank you very much.

Thank you. Thank you.

Wow.

Well, thank you very much, everybody. Wow. We’ve all been through a lot together. And we probably deserved that hand for all of us, because it’s been a very unfair situation. I invited some of our very good friends, and we have limited room, but everybody wanted to come. Kept it down to a minimum. Believe it or not, this is a minimum. But a tremendous thing was done over the last number of months. Really, if you go back to it, over the last number of years. We had the witch hunt, it started from the day we came down the elevator. Myself and our future first lady, who is with us right now.

Thank you, Melania.

And it never really stopped. We’ve been going through this now for over three years. It was evil, it was corrupt, it was dirty cops. It was a leakers and lawyers. This should never happen to another president, ever. I don’t know that other presidents would have been able to take it. Some people said no, they wouldn’t have. But I can tell you, at a minimum, you have to focus on this because it can get away very quickly, no matter who you have with you. It can get away very quickly. It was a disgrace. Had I not fired James Comey, who was a disaster, by the way, it’s possible I wouldn’t even be standing here right now. We caught him in the act. Dirty cops. Bad people. If this happened to President Obama, a lot of people would have been in jail for a long time already. Many, many years. I want to start by thanking some of — I call them friends because, you know, you develop friendships and relationships when you are in battle and in war, much more so than, “Gee, let’s have a normal situation.” With all we’ve gone through, I think we’ve done more than any president in any administration. Really, I say, for the most part, Republican congressmen and congresswomen and Republican senators — we’ve done more than any administration in the first few years. You look at all the things we’ve done. I watched this morning as they tried to take credit for the stock market.

Think of that. Let me tell you, if we didn’t win, the stock market would have crashed. The market was going up a lot before the election because it was looking like we had a good chance to win. It went up tremendously from the time we won the election to the time we took office, which was November 8th until January 20th. That’s our credit, that’s all our credit. Leading up to that point was our credit, because there was hope. One of the reasons the stock market has gone up so much in the last few days is people think we are doing so well. They liked the state of the union speech.

It really is, it’s a true honor. Making the state of the union speech, I was with some people who have been around. They’ve been all over the world. One of them is a highly sophisticated person. They said, “You know, no matter where you go in the world, it doesn’t make any difference. There is nothing like what I witnessed tonight. The beauty, the majesty of the chamber. The power of the United States. The power of the people in this room.” Really, amazing. I don’t think there’s anything like that anywhere in the world. You can go to any other country, any other location, any other place. It’s the beauty of everything. It’s what it represents, and how it represents our country. I want to start by introducing some of the people that are here. I know some are going to be left out, but they work so hard. And this is really not a news conference, it’s not a speech. It’s not anything, it’s just — we are sort of — it’s a celebration. Because we have something that just worked out. I mean, it worked out. We went through hell unfairly, did nothing wrong.

Did nothing wrong. I’ve done things wrong in my life, I will admit.

Not purposely, but I’ve done things wrong. This is what the end result is.

So… [holds up front page of The Washington Post] You can take that home. Honey, maybe we’ll frame it. The only good headline I’ve ever had on “The Washington post.”

But every paper is the same. Does anybody have those papers does anybody have them? They are like that. So I appreciate that. But some of the people here have been incredible warriors. They are warriors. There’s nothing from a legal standpoint — this is a political thing. Every time I say, “This is unfair, let’s go to court,” they say, “Sir, you can’t go to court, this is politics.” We were treated unbelievably unfairly. You have to understand, we first went through “Russia, Russia, Russia.” It was all bullshit.

We then went through the Mueller report. And they should have come back one day later. They didn’t, they came back two years later after lives were ruined. After people went bankrupt. After people lost all their money. People went to Washington to help other people. Bright eyed and bushy tail, they say they came, one or two or three people in particular. But many people, we had a rough campaign.

It was nasty. One of the nastiest, they say. They say Andrew Jackson was always the nastiest campaign. They actually said we topped it. It was nasty both in the primaries and in the election. But you see, we thought after the election it would stop. But it didn’t stop, it just started. Tremendous corruption. Tremendous corruption. So, we had a campaign — little did we know we were running against some very, very bad and evil people with fake dossiers, with all of these horrible, dirty cops that took these dossiers and did bad things. They knew all about it. The FISA courts, should be ashamed of themselves. It’s a very tough thing. And we ended up winning on the “Russia, Russia, Russia.” It should have taken the one day, it took years. Then Bob Mueller testified. That didn’t work out so well for the oversight.

But they should have said that first week, because it came out. Is that right, Jim Jordan? They knew the first two days, actually. Is that right? They knew we were totally innocent. But they kept it going, mark. The kept it going forever. Because they wanted to inflict political pain on somebody that — I had just won an election, a lot of people were surprised. We had polls that said we were going to win. We have the “Los Angeles times” were going to win. But it was going to be close. We did win. It was one of the greatest wins of all time. And they said, “Okay, he won.” I wrote this down because that was where a thing called an insurance policy — to me, when I saw the insurance policy, and that was done long before the election.

It was done when we thought Hillary Clinton was going to win. By the way, Hillary Clinton and the DNC paid for millions. Millions of dollars, the fake dossier. Now Christopher Steele admits that it’s a fake. Because he got sued by rich people. I should have sued him, too. But when you are president, people don’t like suing. I want to thank my legal team, by the way.

Not for that advice, but for other.

Pat, Jay, you guys, stand up.

Great job. Right at the beginning, they said, “Sir, you have nothing to worry about. All of the facts on your side.” I said, “You don’t understand, that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter.” And that was really true. They made up facts. A corrupt politician named Adam Schiff made up my statement to the Ukrainian president. He brought it out of thin air, just made it up. They say he’s a screenwriter, a failed screenwriter. Unfortunately he went into politics after that.

Remember, he said the statement? “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” I didn’t say that. Fortunately for all of us here today and for our country, we had transcripts. We had transcribers, professional transcribers. Then they said, “Oh, well, maybe the transcription is not correct.” But Lieutenant Colonel Vindman and his twin brother, right? We had some people, really amazing. But we did everything. We said, “What’s wrong with that,” they didn’t at this word or that word. It didn’t matter. “At it.

They’re probably wrong, but added ” now everybody agrees they were perfectly accurate. Tim Scott — I don’t know if Tim is here, but he said, “Are –” he was the first want to call me. “Sir, I read the transcript. You did nothing wrong.” And, Mitch, he stayed there right from the beginning. He never changed. Mitch Mcconnell, I want to tell you. You did a fantastic job.

Somebody said, “You know, Mitch is quiet.” I said, “He’s not quiet. He’s not quite.”

He doesn’t want people to know him. And they said, “Is Mitch smart?” And I said, “Well, let’s put it this way. For many, many years, a lot of very smart — bad, in many cases, sometimes good — people have been trying to take his place. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve never even heard the subject come up, because they’ve been wiped out so fast.”

This guy is great and I appreciate Mitch. He has also given us 191, now. 191 federal judges. Two supreme court judges. Up to 191. Great guy. Great guy. He’s a tough guy to read. I’m good at reading people. A tough guy to read. I told him – my wife would say, “How do you do with Mitch?” And I’d say, “Uh, I don’t know.”

That’s what makes them good, when you can read somebody. Fantastic job. He understood right from the beginning this was crooked politics. This was crooked politics. How about all these people? They are running for office. They are saying the worst things about me, like eight senators on the democratic side. Most of them got wiped out. They got 1% or less. Most of them got less. They decided to go home. “Let’s go back to California. Let’s go back to –” wherever they came from. “Go back to New York.” How about that? Our New York Senator, Gillibrand. “Let’s go back to New York.” After they get nothing. Then they take an oath that they will be fair, that they will be reasonable come all the different things. They are not fair. But here’s the beauty, we have four left. They are saying the most horrendous things about me. It’s okay, it’s politics. And then they are supposed to vote! On me! They are trying to replace me, and then they are supposed to be voting. So I think — I mean, I think it’s incredible. So, Mitch, I want to thank you very much. Incredible. We have some of your folks here, they are incredible people. They’ve been great from the beginning. Again, you are out of session, unfortunately. I only told these folks, “Let’s do this today.” We did a prayer breakfast this morning. I thought that was really good. In fact, it was so good, it wiped us out. By the time we finished, this will wipe that one outcome of those statements.

I had Nancy Pelosi sitting four seats away and I’m saying things that a lot of people wouldn’t have said, but I meant everything.

I meant every word of it. We have some of the folks that are going to be leaving right after this. They work hard, and they did work hard. Though Bill Cassidy, senator, stand up, Bill. What a guy.

Great man. When I need to know about health insurance and pre-existing conditions and individual mandates, I called Bill.

Or I call Barrasso. Those two guys, they know more than anybody. A man who just became a senator. He’s a little bit like me. We have a couple of them. Very successful guy in business, and he said, “What the hell? I’ll run for the senate,” from Indiana. And he ran. I saw him on television, destroying his opponent in a debate. I said, “This guy could win.” I got behind him, and Mike Braun, you have done some great job. Thank you very much.

Tough! A man who got James Comey to choke. And he was just talking in his regular voice. He’s the roughest man — she’s actually an unbelievable — and I appreciate the letter you sent me today. I just got it. He’s got this voice that scares people.

You know, people from Iowa can be very tough. We are doing very well in Iowa, but I tell you, Chuck Grassley. “You tell me, what did you say,” he wasn’t being rough, that’s just the way he talked.

That’s when — I think that’s when Comey announced he was leaking, lying and everything else. He choked! Because he never heard anybody talk like that. I wish you got angry, you could have gotten the whole ball game. He would have said, “I give up!” Chuck Grassley is an incredible guy.

And a man who — you know, he was running against a tough, smart campaigner. We learned how good she was, right? She was a great campaigner. In fact, by the end of the campaign, I thought she was more for me than you were, Josh.

I was worried. She was saying the greatest things about me. You know I’m talking about I went to a great place, Missouri. And I said, “Who do you have to beat her?” And they said, “Well, we have four people.” I said, “Let me see them.” Can you imagine can make I’m interviewing people for the United States senate, this is what I do. Where have I gone? But I love it. We get great people. The first when I met with Josh Hawley. After about 10 minutes and said to the people, “Don’t show me anybody else, this is the guy.” He was the attorney general, ditto phenomenal job in the state. Highly respected. And Claire Mccaskill. The theory was you couldn’t beat her. Great campaign-the art. Remember last campaign, she was always going be taken up. People say, “How did that happen chemicals go it didn’t happen with him. I’m putting this in the archives is 1 of the best ads I’ve ever made. She tried to convince people we are best friends, but Josh ended up winning by five or six points. You are unbelievable, you were tough, and you are something. One of the greatest supporters of the impeachment hoax with Josh Hawley. He was incensed, actually. He was incensed at what they were doing and what they were doing. I had some who said, “I wish you didn’t make a call,” and that’s okay. If they need that. It’s incorrect. It’s totally incorrect. And you have some who used religion as a crutch. They never used it before… An article written today, “Never heard him use it before.” But today, it’s one of those things. It’s a failed presidential candidate, so things can happen when you fail so badly running for president.

But Josh Hawley, I want to thank you. You were right from the beginning. Man, did I make a good choice. Thank you, Josh. Tremendous future. A man who is brilliant, and who actually was deceived, to an extent. Comes from a great state, Utah, where my poll numbers have gone through the roof. And one of the senators’ poll numbers — not this one — went down big.

You saw that, Mike? Mike Lee is a brilliant guy. He’s difficult.

Whenever — we do sign a lot of legislation, it’s big and it’s powerful, but it sort of — everybody has to approve it. I see 99 to one. 99 to one. I say, “Don’t tell me who’s the one.”

“Is it Mike?” “Yes.”

And he always has a good reason for it, too come by the way but he is, he’s incredible. Right at the beginning, he knew we were right, Mike. I appreciate it very much. Fantastic. Say hello to the people of Utah, and tell them I’m sorry about Mitt Romney. I’m sorry. Okay?

We can say that Mike Lee is by far the most popular senator from the state. But you’ve done a fantastic job, Mike. In many ways. In many ways. A young woman who I didn’t know at all, but she has been so supportive. And I’ve had great support from other people in that state. She has been so supportive, and she has been downright nasty and mean about the unfairness to the president. Kelly Loeffler, I appreciate it very much. Thank you.

She started very early on. We have — I don’t know if we have other senators here, but we’ve got a hell of a lot of congressmen. I will go over them quickly. They’ve also been — it helped when we won, 197 to nothing. That’s got to be a first, Kevin, right? Is that, like, a first? Republicans have this image. I say Democrats are lousy politicians because they have lousy policy. Open borders, sanctuary cities. They have horrible policy. Who the hell can — oh, the new policy is raise taxes. They want to raise taxes. All my life, I wasn’t in politics, but I would say if you are a politician you say you want to lower taxes. They want to raise taxes. They have open borders, sanctuary cities, Reeser and Brady’s taxes, get rid of everybody’s health care, 180 million people in the United States — and they are really happy. And we are going to give you health care the cost more money if the country could make in 30 years if it does really well. That’s one year. I always said, they are. They do two things. They are vicious and mean. Vicious. These people are vicious. Adam Schiff is a vicious, horrible person. Nancy Pelosi is a horrible person. And she wanted to impeach a long time ago. When she said, “I pray for the president, I prefer the president.” She doesn’t pray. She may pray, but pray for the opposite.

They don’t pray at all. They do vicious — they stick to give it prehistorically. I’m not talking about now. They stick together like glue. That’s how they impeached, because they had whatever the numbers — 220 people. So they don’t lose anybody. They will be able to impeach anybody. You could be George Washington, you could have just won the war, and they would say, “Let’s get him out of office.

“They stuck together and they are vicious as hell. And they will probably come back for more, but they may not, because the Republican party’s poll numbers, Mitch, have now gone up more than any time, I think, since 2004 or 2005. You know what happened then. But in normal times, decades, you would call it — that was an unusual time. It was for a very short period. The Republican party’s poll numbers — and Donald Trump’s poll numbers of the highest I’ve ever had.

It’s no way to get your poll numbers up. Because from my family’s standpoint, it’s been very unfair for my family. It’s been very unfair to the country. Think of it. A phone call. A very good phone call. I know bad phone calls. This is a phone call where Merritt don’t like many people

— I think Mike Pompeo was probably on the call. Many people were on the call. They even have “Apprenti come” bring up a favorite word of my current apprentice. They have apprenti on this call. There many people. In the case of Ukraine, he’s a new president, seems like a very nice person, by the way. His whole thing was corruption. He’s going to stop corruption. We have a treaty, a signed treaty that we will work together to root out corruption in Ukraine. I probably have a legal obligation, Mr. Attorney, to report corruption. They don’t even think a corrupt way son who made no money, that got thrown out of the military, that had no money at all, is working for $3 million upfront, $83,000 a month. And that’s only Ukraine.

Then goes to China, picks up $1.5 billion. Then goes to Romania, I hear, and many other countries. They think that’s okay. Because, if it is, Ivanka in the audience? Boy, my kids could make a fortune.

It’s corrupt. But it’s not even that, it’s just general corruption. The other thing is mentioned in the call. Something I’ve told Mike Pence, our great vice president. I would tell him all the time, and I told him when he went on the trip. Because he was over there. He never mentioned anything about this, when you hide your meeting. It’s a terrible thing. I told Mike, I said, “Mike, we are giving them money, and you are always torn about that because we have our country to build. We have our cities to build and our roads to fix. But we are giving the money. Tell me, why isn’t Germany paying money? Why isn’t Frantz? Why isn’t the United Kingdom paying money? What aren’t they paying money? Why are we paying money? Is that the correct statement to find out what the hell is going on.” I told that all my people come on B. Asked that question. Why isn’t Germany paying? Why is the United States always the sucker?” Because we are a bunch of suckers. But that’s turning around fast. But it makes it harder when stuff like this happens. Because you want to focus, and you want to focus perfectly. Think we could have done, if the same energy was put into infrastructure, prescription drug prices. Think of what we could have done. And I’m now talking both sides. Think of what we could have done if we had the same genus. Because it’s genius. I will say, it’s genius on the other side. Maybe even more so, because they took nothing and brought me to a final vote of impeachment.

That’s a very ugly word to me. It’s a very dark word, very ugly. They took nothing. They took that phone call that was a totally appropriate call — I call it a perfect call, because it was — and they brought me to the final stages of impeachment. But now we have that gorgeous word. I never thought a word would sound so good. It’s called, “Total acquittal.” Total acquittal.

So, I want to come if I could real fast , just introduce a few of the people. I have to start with Kevin. Man, did you do a job. Lucky you are there. It wouldn’t have worked out. If you don’t have the right people, I tell you, Kevin McCarthy has done an incredible job. He loves his job, he loves his country. I’ll tell you what, Mitch and Kevin, they love what they do. Mitch wouldn’t even tell you he liked it.

Mitch, do you like it? “I don’t know.”

He’s the greatest poker player, right? And Kevin would say, “I love it.” Right? And I will say, you are going to be Speake of the house because of this impeachment hoax. And I’m going to work hard on it.

I’m going to try to get out to those trump areas that we won by a lot. You know, in ’18, we didn’t win back. We just won two seats in North Carolina. Two wonderful seats in North Carolina that were not supposed to be won. But I went and I made speeches, and we had rallies, and we did a great job and we won. We took two seats, nobody writes about that.

If we had lost them they would have been the biggest stories of the year. We are going to go, we are going to do a job, and we are going to enact a lot of seats. People are very angry that Nancy Pelosi and all of these guys — Nadler, I’ve known and much of my life. He has fought me in New York for 25 years. I always beat him. I had to beat him another time, and I will probably have to beat him again. If they find I happened to walk across the street and maybe go against the light or something, “Let’s impeach him!”

So I’ll probably have to do it again, because these people have gone stone cold crazy. But I’ve beaten him all my life and I will beat him again if I have to.

But what they are doing is very unfair. Very unfair. So, Kevin McCarthy has been great. So, a few names, right? If you want, you can raise and I will say, “Great, love to have you, wonderful.” But we will do the best we can. I have Mike evident but my cabin is different, I appoint them. I didn’t see all of them helping so much. They were running there, various bureaucracies. My cabinet is great and they are all here, but today is the day to celebrate these great warriors. They are great warriors, they really fought hard with us. Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota. Kelly, thank you, great job.

Jim Banks of Indiana. Jim, thank you, great job.

Andy Biggs. Where is Andy? Boy, oh, boy, Andy.

There’s a guy. He’s tough. I hear we are doing well in Arizona, huh? Going good, yeah? I saw a poll that was very good. For me. I think Martha is going to do — we have some states that are going to be not easy, but Arizona has been great and we are stopping illegal aliens from coming in.

We are putting up walls. New Mexico, too, the state that’s never been in play for Republicans, is totally in play. Nevada is really looking good. We are doing well. We are going to have a great — there is more spirit. I will say this, there is more spirit now for the Republican Party, by far, than the Democrats. Mike pence just got back from a place, a beautiful place that Chuck Grassley knows well. Iowa. And he was talking about this fiasco, the Democrats — they can’t count some simple votes, and yet they want to take over your health care system. Think of that. We also had an election out there, we got 98% of the vote. Have two people running, you know. I guess to consider them nonpeople, but they are running. One of them was the governor. One was a congressman. They are running. We’ve got 98% of the vote, and everybody from the media was saying, “Who are those crowds over there?” They expected to be competitive for everybody’s running because they want to enact. And it was Trump. Right, Mark Meadows? It was Trump. This was the trump crowd. Actually, a lot of my guys went there. They went to Iowa, and a lot of friends went there. They say the spirit for the Republican party right now is stronger, I think, than it’s ever been in the history of our country.

I think it’s stronger than it’s ever been. And that includes honest Abe Lincoln. A lot of people forget, Abe Lincoln — I wish you were here, I give him one hell of an introduction.

But he was a Republican. Abe Lincoln, honest Abe. Bradley Byrne, Alabama. What a great place.

Thank you, Bradley. A man who has been an unbelievable friend of mine and spokesman, and somebody who I really like.

And I know, Kelly, you are going to end up liking him a lot. Something’s going to happen that’s very good, I don’t know. I haven’t figured out yet. But Doug Collins. Where is he?

You have been so great. Thank you very much. Thank you very much. Thank you. Really, an amazing job. A young man who is born with a great gene, because I know his father and how great a politician he was. He’s from Florida. Sometimes controversial, but actually he’s not controversial. He’s solid as a rock and a friend of mine, Matt Gaetz. Thank you, Matt.

Great job. All right. This guy. So, he is the NCAA wrestling champion when he was in college a couple years ago. That’s a big deal. That means in all of college, you are a champ. You the best. His record was ridiculous, nobody could beat him. I see it, every time I see it. When I first get to know him, Jim Jordan, when I first got to know Jim I said, “Huh, never wears a jacket. What the hell is going on?”

He’s obviously very proud of his body.

And they say where he works out with the congressmen, senators, they say when Jim works out, even though he’s not as young as he was, when he works out, the machine starts burning. It’s a different form of a workout event us, right, sonny? There he is, look at that guy. One day and looking, he looks tough. I’m looking at those years. And I say, “Those years have something going on there.” I said, “Did you ever wrestle?” “I did.” He doesn’t talk, but I checked. This guy was a champion top wrestler.

When I had the top — I had all of the teams. By the way, your super bowl champions are coming. I think next week, or soon. Very soon. Every one of them want to be here. The coach loves us. The coach is great. Andy Reid.

Every one of them want to be here. People love it. But we had all of the NCAA championship teams here. They had the golf, the basketball, they had every team here. And one of the teams was wrestling. The wrestling team. Was that Penn state? And Penn state won the title, they have a great team. I walked up with Jim, and it’s like I didn’t exist.

Those wrestlers, they grabbed him, they love Jim Jordan, and we love you, too. Because you are some warrior.

A woman who became — we have a couple of women that became stars. You two. I always like the name, Lesko.” I so that face, I had the cards, seven opponents. You have no idea how much the public appreciates how smart, how sharp you are. This, I can’t tell. They just said, “You know, she’s really good, she’s really talented.” I said, “Let’s go.” We worked with her, she won her race. Tough race. It’s no longer tough. What she does out there is incredible. Arizona loves her. But you are so incredible, representing — I don’t see me, representing our country and getting us out of this impeachment hoax. We did was incredible. So, Debbie, please stand up. Debbie Lesko.

A man who I became very friendly with. I don’t know why. You ever have it where — I’ll ask the media. Certain people call, you take the calls. Other people call, if they don’t have information, they won’t take anybody’s call. Both are people call, and this is a guy who — he’s just a very special guy. His wife, I actually like better than him, to be honest.

Because he doesn’t know that I know that he didn’t actually support me right from the beginning, but she did.

And on my worst day — right? On my worst day, my worst, I won’t tell you why it’s my worst day, she got a bus, got many of the buses, and women all over well, Mark was sort of semi-supporting another candidate. Which he ended up leaving very quickly. I don’t think he had a choice, because of your wife. So thank her. Mark Meadows is an extra ordinary guy. The only problem is I guess he’s announcing that she would only win by 40 points, but he is announcing that he is not running this time. You have somebody good to run? Is somebody going to win your district by at least 20 points, please? Okay. But he’s a tremendously talented man. Not just as a politician, as a human being is incredible. And during these horrible times

— the way he worked, and Jim, and all of you guys, the way they worked was so — it was like their life was at stake. So many. Ron DeSantis is another one. He worked so hard. He called me, he said, “Sir, I would like to run for governor.” I said, “Governor? I don’t want you to run. I like you –” “No, I want to run for governor.” I said, “Well, if I have to. How can I support you, you are at three.” He had no money. Somebody else had $22 million in cash. I said, “If it’s important, I’ll do it.” These and great warrior. By the way, he ran, I endorsed him, his numbers went through the roof. The men who he beat, who was expected to win back easily, called me after the race. He said, “You endorsed him and it was like a nuclear bomb went off. There was nothing I could do.” He never even spent his money, he saved it. But Ron DeSantis is another one. And now he’s the governor of Florida. By the way, he’s a great governor. He is a very popular governor. His numbers are in the 70s, and he’s done a great job. But, mark, I want to thank you very much.

Fantastic job, thank you very much. Mark Meadows.

And Mike Johnson of Louisiana. Where’s Mike? Central casting, what a job. You can represent me any time. You can represent me anytime. Thank you. What a job you’ve done. Thank you, Mike. And a man nobody’s ever heard of except the other side. He’s the other side’s worst nightmare. This guy goes down into dungeons and basements, he will find a document no matter what. He’s the most legitimate human being, he’s the hardest worker. He’s unbelievable. He took tremendous abuse. The media, and the other side, the bad ones, the leakers, the liars, the dirty cops they, they want to destroy him. They tried, but he wouldn’t let it happen. In a certain way, he was the first one. Wouldn’t you say? This was the first guide. Came out of nowhere. He’s saying, “These people are corrupt.” He is still saying it. He was unbelievable. Devin Nunes. Unbelievable.

That’s so true, Devin. He would come in and say — I didn’t even know them. I just heard there was this congressman who just kept going into a basement come into files. He knew something was wrong. You felt it, right? Now we know a lot more than we knew then, right? You never thought it was as bad as it is, and hopefully we are going to take care of things, because we can never, ever allow this to happen again.

Scott Perry of Pennsylvania. Scott, thank you. Thank you, Scott. Really great. I’m doing very well over there, by the way. Just so you — a man who is — central casting, if I’m going to pick Perry mason, I’m going to do a remake of “Perry mason.” Other than Bill Barr, I would pick the sky. But I would pick Barr first. John Ratcliffe. If we were doing a remake of “Perry mason,” the man I get — there is nobody in Hollywood like this. John Ratcliff.

Such a great lawyer. Incredible guy, incredible talent. Just a great lawyer. We appreciate it. He gets on that screen and everybody says, “I agree.” The other side folds up so fast, we’ll probably be using a lot of you in the next year. We’ve been fantastic, John. We appreciate it. Thank you very much. I meant it was braver than me and braver than all of us in this room. He got whacked. He got whacked, my Steve. Right? I went to the hospital with our great first lady that night. Right, honey? We saw a man who was not going to make it. He was not going to make it. The doctor — I told him, his wife, I said, “She loves you.” “Why did you say that?” Because she was devastated. A lot of wives wouldn’t give a damn.

I would say, “How is he doing?” ?” She couldn’t even talk, she was inconsolable. “Not good.” “I’m going home now.”

She was a total mess. She was really devastated. It really looked like he had a 20, 25% chance — I think you set a record for blood loss. And Steve Scalise, actually — honestly, I think you’re a better looking, more handsome now. You weren’t that good looking, you look good now

He looks better now, can you believe it? I don’t know what the hell that is.

Better now.

What a guy. And he was practicing for the baseball game against the Democrats, right? And this whack job started shooting. Hurt Roger. I don’t know if Roger is here. Heard a heard a number of people. Steve was the second baseman. He went down, and it was terrible. I mean, I saw the whole thing, and it was terrible. Fortunately, you had to cope brave policeman with you because of your high position in congress. You had to policeman and they were amazing. A man and woman. They came in, they didn’t have rifles. They were supposedly against a pretty good sharpshooter with rifles, good equipment. All they had was a gun. They started coming in from the outfield, shooting. They are so far away, that a handgun is not preferred. This guy has a rifle, he’s hitting people, and he was going to move up, and there was no out. If he had been able to move up, there was no way to get out. The entrance was a single entrance way on the other side where he was. So everyone went into the dugout, ran into the dugout. But Steve was really hit badly in the stomach. With a bullet that rips you apart. It was supposed to do that, it rips you apart. These two people came, charging forward. Boom, boom, boom. And one of them — you know who? One of them, him, got the shooter. Hit him. And then got him.

Killed him. From long distance. It was amazing. If you didn’t have those two people, you could imagine. Right? You could imagine what would happen. Melania and I went to the hospital that night, and he was in such bad shape. He’s been working ever since, so hard. Six months ago, they had a baseball game at the national — I’m watching. It’s on television. It’s just. It’s a game, you want to win it. Right? Steve is second base. The poor guy can’t even walk. Do you remember Bobby Richardson for the New York Yankees? He was known for range, Louis. He had the greatest range. If the ball at the shortstop, Bobby Richardson is the second baseman. Bobby Richardson would feel the ball. If it went to first base, he was sure which first base and paint had unbelievable range. This was not Steve Scalise.

Steve had no range.

1 foot, and he has to fall down. Right? He was trying to get better. I don’t know who the hell put you on the field.

And this is a true story. The game starts, and the first pitch, Steve is standing there at second base and the guy is really in bad shape. And I said, “This is terrible.” A ground ball, shot, is hit to second. And Steve, I didn’t have time to think through much, but I said, “This is not good. That ball is going toward him.” And this guy stopped that ball, caught the ball. He’s now laying down. He throws the ball to first base, he gets them out. I said — it’s the most incredible thing. I’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen anything like it.

Right? And he gets him out, and they then took him out of the game. Which was a very wise thing.

Because you could ever do that again in a million years.

But you aren’t going to let that all go through — I don’t care if it was hit by the greatest of all time. Right? That ball is not going through you, because you are a warrior. Steve is fantastic. You are fantastic. You and Liz, Kevin, what a group. I mean, what a group. I got lucky. Because you need the right people. I fired the wrong people, it may be a different story. Maybe we’d be celebrating something else. But I really want to thank you. Steve Scalise. And Elise, you — I just read this story. Most incredible, what’s going on with you, Elise. I even said — I was up campaigning, helping. I thought, “She looks good, she looks like good talent.” But I didn’t realize, when she opens that mouth, you were killing them, Elise! You were killing them!

Elise, and there’s a big story in “The New York Post.” I love “The New York Post.” They treat me well. There aren’t many of you do, but today they are treating you well. I even had a great headline. “New York Times,” “Washington post.” I had all these great headlines. Maybe we should just send it right there. We had a great story yesterday in the post that people from all over the country are contributing to her campaign. They were so enthralled with the way you handled yourself. What you said, the way you said it. I’ll always be your friend. It’s really an amazing story. What a great future you have. What a great future, thank you.

The first lady agrees, by the way. The first lady agrees. And Michael turner, you can represent me any time. Where is Michael? Where is he? You can represent me. How good were you?

There’s another “Perry mason” type, I think.

What do you think, John? Michael, you are fantastic, and we appreciate it. Brad Wenstrup. Where is Brad?

Brad. Great, great job. It’s a big day. All the lawyers stayed behind. Lee Zeldin, how good are you?

How good are you? Man. And Louis, your name — they didn’t give me your name. If I didn’t announce Louie — whoever the hill made this list, I’ve got to get rid of them. If I wouldn’t have announced Louie, it might have been the end of the presidency. Louie, you have been so great. So tough and so smart. I got it. But Louie has been amazing. He’s a tough guy, a smart guy. He’s streetwise like crazy. We love Texas. We are with you all the way, Louie. We are with you all the way. Thank you very much.

So that’s the story. We have a great group of warriors, and there are others left. I guess, probably — I’m sure I didn’t mention a few. I apologize if that’s the case. How is CPAC doing, good? Stand up, will you? He’s the one who said, “You should run.”

Right? Matt said — it’s like five years ago, six years ago. I made a speech, and then they do some kind of a straw poll. Who made the best speech? And he said I made the best speech, out of all these professionals — I hate to say this, with all these professional politicians, they voted that by far the best speech was trump. He calls me and said, “We should run for politics.” I said, what do I know about politics,” we learned quickly at our country has ever done better than it’s doing right now.

But thank you, Matt.

So that’s the story. Even treated very unfairly. Fortunately we have great men and women that came to our defense. If we didn’t, this would have been a horrific incident for our country. When you have Lisa and Peter, the lovers, the FBI lovers.

I want to believe the path you threw out for deputy director Andrew McCabe. That’s the office. There’s no way he gets elected, meaning me. “There’s no way he gets elected.” This is Peter to Lisa. He’s probably trying to impress her, for obvious reasons.

“There’s no way he gets elected. But I’m afraid we can’t take the risk.” Think of this. In other words, if I get elected, they can’t — they, two lowlifes, they can’t take the risk. Think of it. That’s where it came up. The greatest word of all, “Insurance policy.” But he says, “I’m afraid we can’t take the risk. She may lose.” “It’s like an insurance policy, in the unlikely event you die before your 40. In other words, if I won, they were going to do exactly what they did to us. They were going to try and overthrow the government of the United States. A duly elected president. If I didn’t fire James Comey, we would have never found this stuff. Because when I fired that sleazebag, all hell broke out. They were ratting on each other, they were running for the hills. Let’s see what happens. Let’s see what happens. It’s in the hands of some very talented people. We are going to have to see what happens.

But I can tell you, in my opinion, these are the crooked-est, most dishonest, dirtiest people, I’ve seen. They said — this is Strzok — “God, who were he should win, 100 million to one.” This is about me. This is an agent from the FBI. Look how they let her off. 33,000 emails, deleted. Nothing happens to her. Nothing happens. It’s unbelievable. But think of that read “God, Hillary should win.” These guys are investigating Hillary. They go to work for Mueller, the two of them. And when Mueller found out that everybody knew that they were 100% this way, he let them go. But they deleted all of their emails and text messages. So when we got the phone, they were all deleted. Could you imagine the treasure trove? Of the illegally deleted so they left, Bob Mueller, he had to look but he didn’t have a lot of other things. Always had to look. Mr. G-man. I love the FBI and the FBI loves me, 100%. It was the top scum, and the FBI people don’t like the top scum. So think of that, 100 million, he’s investigating me. And then, “God, trump is a loathsome human being, isn’t he?” These are the people looking at me. I’m really not a bad person. And Page said , “Yes, he’s awful.” How would you like to have that? This is the good stuff. This stuff, there’s stuff 100 times worse than that. These are all dirty people. And now I just heard that they are suing the United States of America. Because they were interfered with.

Just not going to let it happen “We cannot let this happen to our country.

So, I’m going to leave now. I don’t know if any of you have anything to say. You could say it, but this is sort of a day of celebration, because we went through hell. I’m sure that Pelosi and Crying Chuck — the only time I ever saw him cry was when it was appropriate. I’ve known them for a long time. Crying Chuck. I’m sure they will try and cook up other things that go through the state of New York. Other places. They will do whatever they can. Instead of wanting to heal our country and fix our country, all they want to do, in my opinion, it’s almost like they want to destroy our country. We can’t let it happen. Jim Jordan, did you want to say something cannot go ahead. Mark Meadows? Huh? My?

[Mark Meadows comment: I just want to say that this reflection today is a small reflection of the kind of support you have all across the country.]

This was a highly partisan situation. Pelosi said — I copied it down exactly. Before the impeachment. She wanted to impeach from day one, by the way. Don’t let it fool you. “No, impeachment is a very serious thing.” I said, “She wants to impeach, watch.” “The impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there is something so compelling and so overwhelming and bipartisan.” Bipartisan? It was 170 to nothing. The one failed presidential candidate, and I call that half of the vote because he actually voted for us on the other one.

But we had one failed presidential candidate. That’s the only half of what we lost. So, we had almost 53 to nothing. We had 197 to nothing. And the only one that voted against was a guy that can’t stand the fact that he ran one of the worst campaigns in the history of the presidency. But she said, “It has to be something so compelling and so overwhelming and bipartisan.” “I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.” She was right about that. “And it’s just not worth it.” That was Nancy Pelosi a year ago. I think it’s a shame. I think it’s a shame. As I said, if we can put this genius to work on roads and highways and bridges and all of the things we can do, prescription drugs. You know, we had — secretary Azar is here, and I want to thank you for this — we had the first time in 51 years where drug prices actually came down last year. First time in 51 years. We can do working with both parties in congress would be unbelievable. It would be unbelievable. All we can do. I know Chuck Grassley is working very hard on it, and Mitch is working very hard on it. We can do is incredible. What we can do just generally. We’ve done so much without it. We rebuilt our military, we’ve cut regulations at a level that nobody thought possible. We will always protect our second amendment, we all know that. I just want to tell you that it’s an honor to be with you all.

I want to apologize to my family for having them have to go through a phony, rotten deal by some very evil and sick people. And Ivanka is here, my sons, my whole family. And that includes Barron. He’s up there, he’s a young boy. Stand up, honey. Ivanka, thank you, honey.

I just want to thank my family for sticking through it. This was not part of the deal. I was going to run for president, and if I won, I was going to do a great job. I didn’t know I was going to run and then when I got in I was going to have to run again and again and again. Every week, I had to run again. That wasn’t the deal, but they stuck with me. I’m so glad I did it, because we are making progress and doing things for our great people that everybody said couldn’t be done. Our country is thriving, our country is just respected again. And it’s an honor to be with the people in this room. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7974859/Trump-goes-leakers-liars-acquitted.html

Story 3: DNC Chair Demands Iowa Recheck The Vote Count and Bernie Sanders Won By More Than 8,000 — Videos

DNC chair calls for Iowa to recanvass caucus vote, says ‘enough is enough’

The results of Monday’s Iowa caucuses were delayed after there were problems with a smartphone app.
Image: Tom Perez

Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, speaks on stage ahead of the fourth Democratic primary debate at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, on Oct. 15, 2019. Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images file.Saul Loeb / AFP via Getty Images file

By Phil Helsel

Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez is calling on Iowa Democratic officials to immediately recanvass Monday’s caucus vote after days of uncertainty and growing concerns about “inconsistencies” found in the data.

“Enough is enough,” Perez said in a tweet. “In light of the problems that have emerged in the implementation of the delegate selection plan and in order to assure public confidence in the results, I am calling on the Iowa Democratic Party to immediately begin a recanvass.”

A recanvass is essentially a double-checking of the vote. Iowa officials would have to hand -audit the caucus worksheets and reporting forms to ensure that they were correctly calculated and reported.

In a statement released later Thursday, Iowa Democratic Party Chair Troy Price did not address the request from Perez and instead said that the party would take on a recanvass if any of the presidential campaigns request it.

“We owe it to the thousands of Iowa Democratic volunteers and caucusgoers to remain focused on collecting and reviewing incoming results,” Price said, noting that officials “identified inconsistencies in the data and used our redundant paper records to promptly correct those errors. This is an ongoing process in close coordination with precinct chairs, and we are working diligently to report the final 54 precincts to get as close to final reporting as possible.”

As of Thursday morning, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg was clinging to the narrowest of leads in Iowa over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., with 97 percent of the caucus vote released.

Buttigieg was at 26.2 percent and Sanders had 26 percent, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., running behind the pair of leaders at 18.2 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden had 15.8 percent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., at 12.2 percent and other candidates were in low single digits.

Sanders told reporters Thursday that he is not concerned about the DNC’s call for a recanvassing.

“We won an 8-person election by some 6,000 votes,” Sanders said. “That is not going to change.”

Klobuchar told NBC News on Thursday that she supported the process.

“You have to make sure that every single vote was counted,” she said. “Sometimes in caucuses things can be close.”

Iowa Democratic caucus results are not actual votes cast. The percentages, based on partial returns of the estimated number of state convention delegates won by each candidate through the caucus process, are known as state delegate equivalents, or SDEs.

The totals were put out by the Iowa Democratic Party over the past two days after chaos over the caucuses Monday night. More data may be released Thursday.

NBC News has not called a winner in the first-in-the-nation contest.

In addition to the estimates of convention delegates, the Iowa Democratic Party also released two other numbers:

In voters’ initial candidate preference at the caucuses, Sanders had 24.7 percent, or 42,672 votes, and Buttigieg took 21.3 percent, or 36,718 votes.

In voters’ reallocated preference, Sanders had 26.5 percent, or 44,753 votes, and Buttigieg had 25 percent, or 42,235 votes. The reallocated preference is the raw tally taken after the caucus process known as realignment. If a caucusgoer’s initial candidate preference did not receive enough support to meet the precinct location’s viability threshold (15 percent in most caucus locations), the caucusgoer is allowed to shift his or her support — or realign — to another candidate who did attain viability.

Results from the contest were delayed by what organizers said was a problem with a smartphone app. Final tallies had been expected that evening, but instead, partial results were released Tuesday and the remainder Wednesday.

Nevada’s Democratic Party, which had planned to use the app for its Feb. 22 caucus, said a day after the fiasco in Iowa that it would not use the app after all. The state’s Democratic Party said Tuesday that it had previously developed backup plans for its reporting systems and was in the process of “evaluating the best path forward.”

Cybersecurity experts who examined a public version of the smartphone app told NBC News it contained technical and design flaws and appeared to have been rushed into use.

Caucusgoers gathered Monday at nearly 1,700 sites across Iowa to tally support for their preferred candidates. As the delay stretched on into Tuesday, candidates came out to give speeches that sounded a lot like declarations of victory despite no numbers to support or refute them.

The state has 41 pledged delegates up for grabs, and the high-stakes contest traditionally plays a major role in determining who is a legitimate contender in the race.

Even with only a little more than 90 percent reporting in Iowa, Buttigieg on Wednesday night continued to tout the caucus as a win, telling a New York fundraiser that “we remain in the lead.”

“There is just no question that Monday in Iowa represents an astonishing victory for our vision, for our candidacy and for this country,” the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor said according to a pool report.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2020-election/buttigieg-sanders-neck-neck-iowa-nearly-all-votes-reported-n1131261

Story 4: Americans Satifaction With Life Highest in Forty Years and With Economy Highest in 20 Years — Gallup Poll — Videos

New High of 90% of Americans Satisfied With Personal Life

New High of 90% of Americans Satisfied With Personal Life

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Americans’ satisfaction with personal life highest in four-decade trend
  • Two in three Americans say they are very satisfied, also a new high
  • High-income households, Republicans, married adults the most satisfied

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Nine in 10 Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in their personal life, a new high in Gallup’s four-decade trend. The latest figure bests the previous high of 88% recorded in 2003.

Line graph. Americans’ satisfaction with their personal lives, 1979-2020.

These results are from Gallup’s Mood of the Nation poll, conducted Jan. 2-15, which also recorded a 20-year high in Americans’ confidence in the U.S. economy. The percentage of Americans who report being satisfied with their personal life is similar to the 86% who said in December that they were very or fairly happy — though the happiness figure, while high, is on the low end of what Gallup has measured historically for that question.

Despite some variation, solid majorities of Americans have reported being satisfied with their personal life over the past few decades, with an average of 83% satisfied since 1979. The historical low of 73% was recorded in July 1979, as the effects of that year’s oil crisis took a toll on U.S. motorists. During that poll’s fielding dates, then-President Jimmy Carter delivered his “malaise speech,” which was interpreted by some as placing blame on Americans themselves for the rough economic spot the country was in.

2019 survey on 10 aspects of Americans’ lives found that they are most satisfied with their family life, their education and the way they spend their leisure time — and least satisfied with the amount of leisure time they have, their household income and their job.

Two in Three ‘Very’ Satisfied With Direction of Personal Life

Gallup has asked a follow-up question since 2001 to measure the extent to which Americans are satisfied or dissatisfied with their personal life. The 65% of U.S. adults who are currently “very satisfied” marks a new high in the two-decade trend.

The more nuanced satisfaction ratings reveal that the relatively small four-percentage-point drop in personal satisfaction from 2007 to 2008 — as the global economic crisis unfolded — obscured greater movement (12 points) in the percentage “very” versus “somewhat” satisfied.

Line graph. Americans’ level of satisfaction with their personal life, 2001-2020.

Income, Political Party, Marital Status the Biggest Factors in Satisfaction

Household income, political party affiliation and marital status are associated with the largest subgroup differences in Americans’ satisfaction with their personal life.

Roughly 95% of Americans who live in high-income households, who identify as Republicans and who are married say they are satisfied with their personal life — and about three in four among each of these groups are very satisfied.

Meanwhile, adults in low-income households are the least likely to say they are satisfied with their life, followed by Democrats and unmarried adults. Among each of these groups, small majorities report being very satisfied. Low-income Americans hold the distinction of having the lowest percentage very satisfied.

Smaller differences in personal satisfaction are seen by race and gender. Whites are a bit more likely than nonwhites to say they are satisfied (92% vs. 86%, respectively) or very satisfied (67% vs. 59%) with their personal life. And men report slightly higher levels of satisfaction than do women.

U.S. Satisfaction With Personal Life, by Subgroup
Ranked by % Satisfied
Satisfied Very satisfied
% %
$100,000+ 96 76
Republicans 93 80
Married 93 74
College graduate only 93 71
Men 92 67
Postgraduate 92 66
Age 18-34 92 62
$40,000-<$100,000 92 66
Whites 92 67
Age 55+ 90 67
Have children under 18 90 68
Have no children under 18 89 64
Some college 89 63
Independents 89 60
Age 35-54 87 63
High school or less 87 62
Women 87 63
Nonwhites 86 59
Unmarried 86 56
Democrats 86 56
<$40,000 80 54
GALLUP, JAN. 2-15, 2020

Bottom Line

It’s likely no coincidence that Americans’ heightened satisfaction with their personal life comes as confidence in the U.S. economy and their personal finances are also at long-term or record highs. That two in three Americans are very satisfied is reflective of this upbeat moment in time, and whether these sentiments carry through the coming decade will be something to watch.

The vast majority of Americans in all major demographic and political subgroups are content with the way their lives are going, but the additional question on how satisfied they are provides more insight. Some groups — wealthier households, Republicans, married people — report especially high levels of satisfaction, while lower-income Americans, Democrats and those who are unmarried report more tepid satisfaction.

View complete question responses and trends.

https://news.gallup.com/poll/284285/new-high-americans-satisfied-personal-life.aspx

 

 

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Story 1: Senator Mitch McConnell on Unfair Behind Closed Doors Single Party Impeachment Inquiry and Syria — Videos —

Senator Mitch McConnell: Democrats Are ‘Throwing Fairness And Precedent To The Wind’ | NBC News

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

Trump was ‘absolutely right’ to take troops out of Syria: Rand Paul

Democrats, Republicans unite on Trump’s decision on Syria

Senate Needs to Make a Strong, Strategic Statement on Syria

McConnell splits with Trump on Syria pullout

 

Mitch McConnell rebukes Donald Trump over Turkish invasion of Kurdish-held Syria, saying troop pullout gives Iran a chance to reach Israel’s doorstep and contending worthwhile intervention does NOT make the U.S. world’s policeman

  • McConnell once again expressed his ‘grave concern’ about the situation in Syria  
  • Said the door is ‘wide open’ for resurgence of ISIS
  • Said policy could put Iran on Israel’s ‘door-step’
  • Said standing up for U.S. interests does not make nation the ‘evil empire’
  • Trump has repeatedly complained the nation should not be world’s policeman 
  • At the same time, he blasted House Democrats on impeachment

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell directly confronted President Trump‘s complaint that U.S. troop deployment’s make it the ‘world’s policeman’ and expressed his ‘grave concern’ about Trump’s policy moves in Syria.

McConnell issued the rebuke without directly blaming President Trump for the latest calamity in the region – although he said Trump’s policy threatens to put Iran on Israel’s door-step and fuel a ‘humanitarian catastrophe.’

Following Turkey’s incursion into Syria in territory that had been controlled by U.S.-allied members of the Kurdish minority, McConnell warned that the ‘door is wide open for resurgence of the Islamic State.’

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took on President Trump's contention that having forces remain in Syria was akin to being the 'world's policeman'

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took on President Trump’s contention that having forces remain in Syria was akin to being the ‘world’s policeman’

In a Senate floor speech, McConnell said the situation created a power vacuum that could fuel the meddling influence of Russia, and ‘leaving northeastern Syria wide open Iran to extend reach unimpeded all the way from tehran to the door step of our friends in Israel.

He also confronted the view, espoused directly by President Trump, that the U.S. should pull out of the region rather serving as the ‘world’s policeman.’

I want to make something clear, the United States has taken the fight to Syria and Afghanistan because that is where our enemies are, that’s why we’re there. Fighting terrorists, exercising leadership and troubled regions and advancing U.S. interests around the world does not make us an evil empire or the world’s policeman,’ McConnell said.

This picture taken on October 15, 2019 shows a missile fired by Turkish forces towards the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa on the first week of Turkey's military operation against Kurdish forces

This picture taken on October 15, 2019 shows a missile fired by Turkish forces towards the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain, from the Turkish side of the border at Ceylanpinar district in Sanliurfa on the first week of Turkey’s military operation against Kurdish forces

McConnell shared his 'grave concern' about the situation in Syria

McConnell shared his ‘grave concern’ about the situation in Syria

‘When it looked like President Trump would withdraw from Syria at beginning of the year, 70 senators joined in warning of the risk of precipitously withdrawing from Syria or Afghanistan,’ McConnell noted in his floor speech

McConnell had also warned of his ‘grave concern’ in a written statement Monday that did not mention Trump by name. But in his floor speech Tuesday, he included such a reference.

‘When it looked like President Trump would withdraw from Syria at beginning of the year, 70 senators joined in warning of the risk of precipitously withdrawing from Syria or Afghanistan,’ McConnell noted.

But even as he challenged the president on a policy that has resulted in the release of ISIS prisoners, led to attacks against key regional allies, and even led to shelling by Turkish forces toward a U.S. troop-held position, he defended the president on impeachment by attacking Democrats.

‘House Democrats are finally indulging in their impeachment obsession. Full steam ahead,’ McConnell warned. ‘I don’t think many of us were expecting to witness a clinic in terms of fairness or due process. But even by their own partisan standards, House Democrats have already found new ways to lower the bar,’ he complained.

McConnell has said he was required by Senate rules to hold a trial should the House impeach Trump.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7577029/Mitch-McConnell-rebukes-Donald-Trump-Turkish-invasion-Kurdish-held-Syria.html

Trump’s Syria Mess

He resorts to sanctions as the harm from withdrawal builds.

Syrians fleeing Turskih advance arrive to the town of Tal Tamr in north Syria, Oct. 14. PHOTO: BADERKHAN AHMAD/ASSOCIATED PRESS

What a fiasco. Foreign-policy blunders often take months or years to reveal their damaging consequences, but the harm from President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces from northern Syria is playing out almost in real time.

Critics said Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would invade northern Syria despite Mr. Trump’s public warnings, and the Turkish strongman did. Critics said our Kurdish allies would strike a deal with Syria’s Bashar Assad to defend themselves, and the Kurds have. Critics said Islamic State prisoners held by the Kurds would be released and scatter to wage jihad again, and they are.

The mess compounded Monday when Mr. Trump authorized sanctions against several Turkish officials and agencies who are “contributing to Turkey’s destabilizing actions in northeast Syria.” The sanctions include financial measures and barring entry to the U.S. Mr. Trump also said he’s ending trade talks with Turkey and raising steel tariffs to 50%.

Mr. Trump now finds himself back in an economic and diplomatic brawl with Turkey that he said he wanted to avoid. Wouldn’t it have been easier simply to tell Mr. Erdogan, on that famous phone call two Sundays ago, that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate a Turkish invasion against the Kurds and would use air power to stop it? Mr. Erdogan would have had to back down and continue negotiating a Syrian safe zone with the Kurds and the U.S.

Mr. Trump is also making matters worse with his unserious justifications. “After defeating 100% of the ISIS Caliphate, I largely moved our troops out of Syria. Let Syria and Assad protect the Kurds and fight Turkey for their own land,” he tweeted Monday. “Anyone who wants to assist Syria in protecting the Kurds is good with me, whether it is Russia, China, or Napoleon Bonaparte. I hope they all do great, we are 7,000 miles away!”

We suppose the Napoleon line was a joke, but the world is laughing at an American President. Mr. Trump was able to project an image of strength in his early days as he prosecuted the war against ISIS and used force to impose a cost on Mr. Assad for using chemical weapons. But that image has faded as he has indulged his inner Rand Paul and claims at every opportunity that the main goal of his foreign policy is to put an end to “endless wars.”

This is simple-minded isolationism, and it’s a message to the world’s rogues that a U.S. President has little interest in engaging on behalf of American allies or interests. Friends like Israel and Saudi Arabia are quietly dismayed, while Iran, Russia and Hezbollah can’t believe Mr. Trump has so glibly abandoned U.S. commitments and military partners.

By now it’s not unreasonable to conclude that Mr. Trump’s foreign policy can be distilled into two tactics—sanctions and tariffs. Mr. Trump wields them willy-nilly against friend and foe alike as substitutes for diplomacy and the credible threat of military force.

Mr. Trump won’t like to hear it, but the Syrian mess is hurting him at home too. Republicans who have stood by him through the Russia fight and more are questioning his judgment as Commander in Chief in an increasingly dangerous world. With impeachment looming, he can’t afford to alienate more friends.

Opinion: Trump's Foreign Policy Needs to Change Course

Opinion: Trump’s Foreign Policy Needs to Change Course
As Turkey advances into Syria, foreign powers will increasingly act on the belief that the American executive is both politically weak and intellectually unfocused. Image: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Imageshttps://www.wsj.com/articles/trumps-syria-mess-11571095091

TRUMP’S CHAOTIC SYRIA EXIT PUTS ANTI-WAR 2020 DEMOCRATS IN A DELICATE SPOT

THE PENTAGON announced on Monday that the U.S. was pulling all of its troops out of northeastern Syria at President Donald Trump’s direction, completing a withdrawal he had started by Twitter declaration a week earlier. The move further clears the way for a full-on invasion by Turkey, whose soldiers have already been accused of executing noncombatants. In the chaos, hundreds of Islamic State detainees have reportedly escaped.

Trump defended his decision in a series of early-morning tweets on Monday. “The same people who got us into the Middle East mess are the people who most want to stay there!” he wrote. “Never ending wars will end!”

Trump’s abandonment of eastern Syria and the U.S. military’s Kurdish allies has put progressive Democrats — many of whom also favor withdrawing from overseas military operations — in a delicate spot. Over the past week, they have been trying to thread the needle between condemning Trump for recklessly abandoning an ally and emphasizing that withdrawing U.S. troops should be an eventual policy goal.

Trump’s decision has showcased what a worst-case scenario for expedited military withdrawal could look like, making it harder for progressive Democratic presidential candidates like Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to press their cases against “endless wars” on the campaign trail. The question of how progressives can go about drawing down U.S. military commitments without repeating Trump’s calamitous actions would be an obvious pick for Tuesday night’s Democratic debate.

So far, the Democratic candidates have been critical of Trump but light on specifics about what they would do differently. Last week, Sanders condemned Trump’s withdrawal from Syria, telling reporters that “as somebody who does not want to see American troops bogged down in countries all over the world — you don’t turn your back on allies who have fought and died alongside American troops. You just don’t do that.” But when George Stephanopoulos asked Sunday morning on ABC for Sanders to explain the difference between his and Trump’s approaches, Sanders responded simply that Trump “lies. I don’t.”

Warren’s response was similarly vague. She tweeted that “Trump recklessly betrayed our Kurdish partners” and that “we should bring our troops home, but we need to do so in a way that respects our security.”

Ro Khanna, a Democratic representative from California and co-chair of Sanders’s 2020 campaign, told The Intercept that progressives urgently need to make the case for a “doctrine of responsible withdrawal.”

“I don’t believe that withdrawal from a progressive perspective means a moral indifference to the lives of the places that we leave,” Khanna said in a phone interview. “It’s not an ‘America First’ approach that says our interests and our American lives are the only things that have moral worth. Rather, our withdrawal is based on an understanding of the limitations of American power to shape and restructure societies. It emphasizes the need for effective diplomacy and understands our moral obligations in these places.”

The U.S. should not have withdrawn troops without negotiating a deal that would have kept Turkey from invading Syria, backed by a threat to withhold future arms sales and economic assistance, Khanna told The Intercept. “We could have used all those points of leverage to get their commitment that they wouldn’t slaughter the Kurds.”

Another key difference between Trump’s approach and that of progressives is their level of trust for civil service expertise, Khanna said. “What this shows is that it’s not enough to have a president with certain instincts. Foreign policy requires great expertise. You need a progressive president who understands the importance of military restraint, but who also has the ability to put together an extraordinary foreign policy team to implement the goals that they may have.”

Far from admiring Trump’s approach to Syria, many anti-interventionists and foreign policy experts in D.C. view it as a blueprint for how not to withdraw from a conflict, according to Adam Wunische, a researcher with the Quincy Institute, a new pro-diplomacy, noninterventionist, and nonpartisan think tank.

“What we should have been doing from the very beginning is once we achieved the limited objective of destroying ISIS territory, they should have immediately begun contemplating what kind of peace or settlement could come afterwards,” Wunische told The Intercept. “To my knowledge, the U.S. is one of the only actors that can effectively talk to both the Turks and the Kurds. So they should have been trying to find an acceptable political arrangement for all the parties involved that doesn’t involve an endless, ill-defined military presence for the U.S.”

The Quincy Institute is working on a report outlining a possible plan for U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan that would avoid the type of disorder on display in northeastern Syria, Wunische said, though the timing of the report remains unclear.

Throughout the 2020 Democratic primary campaign, a number of candidates have railed against “endless wars.” But in a conversation that has been defined by intricate domestic policy proposals and detailed outlines of how to structure a wealth tax, candidates have said little about the rest of the world and even less about how they would wind down overseas conflicts.

Sanders, for example, has called for a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan “as expeditiously as possible.” Warren has said “it’s long past time to bring our troops home, and I would begin to do so immediately.” Joe Biden has said he would bring “American combat troops in Afghanistan home during my first term,” but left the door open for a “residual U.S. military presence” that would be “focused on counterterrorism operations.” When asked during a July debate whether he would withdraw from Afghanistan during the first year of his presidency, Pete Buttigieg, the South Bend mayor and Navy Reserve veteran who spent seven months in Afghanistan, answered emphatically in the affirmative.

But aside from seeking a diplomatic solution, candidates have said very little about their policies for ending the war. And as in Syria, stakes for U.S. allies in Afghanistan are high.

A January study by the Rand Corporation found that a “precipitous U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan” would have far-reaching consequences. The legitimacy for the U.S.-backed Kabul government would plummet, the report argued, and the Taliban would extend its control and influence. People all across the country would turn to regional militias and rival warlords for basic security.

“I don’t think that anyone, whether they promise it or not, is going to get out of Afghanistan in a week,” said Wuinsche. “What we need to focus on is, what is the political solution that we think is possible, and how do we get there? That requires marshaling all of these different tools of foreign policy, not just the military.”

Kate Kizer, policy director for the D.C.-based advocacy group Win Without War, stressed that one of the most revealing differences between progressives and Trump is how they would treat a conflict’s refugees. Under Trump, the U.S. has accepted historically low numbers of refugees and closed the door on future Syrian immigrants applying for Temporary Protected Status.

“One of the cruelest parts of Trump’s policy is the fact that, in addition to fueling more bloodshed with this decision, he’s also banning any types of civilians who would be fleeing from the conflict,” Kizer said. “In a situation like Syria and even Afghanistan, there’s a way to responsibly withdraw and then there’s a way to cut and run, which is what Trump has shown he has a predilection for. But I’m not sitting here saying that any type of military withdraw will necessarily be bloodless.”

https://theintercept.com/2019/10/15/syria-troop-withdrawal-trump-democrats/

Story 2: The Search of Leakers in Trump Administration — Videos

RUST NO ONE

Trump Suspects a Spiteful John Bolton Is Behind Some of the Ukraine Leaks

Trump fears the leaks are now coming from the people he chose to serve him—and that only increases the paranoia currently infecting the West Wing.

Photo Illustration by Lyne Lucien/The Daily Beast/Getty

At a critical juncture in his presidency, facing a rapidly unfolding impeachment inquiry by House Democrats, Donald Trump is feeling besieged by snitches.

In recent weeks, numerous leaks have appeared in the pages of The Washington PostThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal, and other major papers and news outlets detailing the president’s attempts to enlist foreign leaders to help dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and also aid Trump’s quest to discredit Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s concluded investigation. And as is his MO, the media-obsessed president has been fixated on not just the identity of the whistleblower behind the internal complaint that brought this scandal to the fore, but also on who, exactly, has been namelessly feeding intel to the press.

In the course of casual conversations with advisers and friends, President Trump has privately raised suspicions that a spiteful John Bolton, his notoriously hawkish former national security adviser, could be one of the sources behind the flood of leaks against him, three people familiar with the comments said. At one point, one of those sources recalled, Trump guessed that Bolton was behind one of the anonymous accounts that listed the former national security adviser as one of the top officials most disturbed by the Ukraine-related efforts of Trump and Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal attorney who remains at the center of activities that spurred the impeachment inquiry.

“[Trump] was clearly implying [it, saying] something to the effect of, ‘Oh, gee, I wonder who the source on that could be,’” this source said, referring to the president’s speculation. Bolton, for his part, told The Daily Beast last month that allegations that he was a leaker in Trump’s midst are “flatly incorrect.”

The former national security adviser—who departed the administration last month on awfulmutually bitter terms—is working on a book about his time serving Trump, and has “a lot to dish,” one knowledgeable source noted.

Neither Bolton nor White House spokespeople provided comment for this story. Matt Schlapp, an influential conservative activist with close ties to the White House, said his assumption was that the leaks were coming from “career folks inside who hate Trump” and that the president and his campaign had “14 months of this” to come. As for Bolton, Schlapp said, “He’s smarter than that, although he does aggressively defend himself.”

Indeed, Bolton’s name surfaced Monday before House impeachment inquiry committees, when Hill reportedly testified that he told her to alert the chief lawyer for the National Security Council that Giuliani was working with Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, on an operation with legal implications, the Times reported late Monday. “I am not part of whatever drug deal Rudy and Mulvaney are cooking up,” Bolton told Hill to tell White House lawyers, according to sources familiar with the testimony.

“I have not spoken to John about [his comments, as conveyed by Hill],” Giuliani told The Daily Beast on Tuesday morning. “John is a longtime friend. I have no idea why John is doing this. My best guess is that he’s confused and bought into a false media narrative without bothering to call me about it.”

Regarding Bolton’s reported comment about Mulvaney being involved in this figurative Ukraine “drug deal,” the former New York City mayor insisted that “Mick wasn’t involved in this. I don’t recall having any lengthy conversation with him about this subject… I don’t recall ever having a lengthy conversation [about Ukraine] with John, either.”

Trump has felt under siege from within before, including at various flashpoints of his presidency. For instance, near the end of the Mueller probe, the president became so distrustful and resentful toward Don McGahn, his own White House counsel at the time, he started asking those close to him, “Is [Don] wearing a wire?”

But the current sense that he has been undermined by people whom he brought into his orbit has come at a critical juncture and colored some of the decisions he has made since the whistleblower complaint became public.  The president has openly declared that the whistleblower committed an act of treason. He has attempted to stop prominent advisers—including Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a man who donated $1 million to the Trump inauguration—from testifying to Congress, only to apparently fail. On Monday, Fiona Hill, Trump’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, was on Capitol Hill, where she reportedly told lawmakers that Sondland and Giuliani circumventedthe standard national-security process on high-profile Ukraine matters. The president has struggled to add to his current legal team, and appeared to begin putting some distance between himself and Giuliani last week.

And when outside allies began to talk about constructing a war room to help with impeachment, Trump shot down the concept, in part out of a sense that he couldn’t rely on them to get the message out right. One top White House aide subsequently labeled the idea an exercise by “outside peeps trying to self-aggrandize.”

The impression left on Republicans is one of a president increasingly driven by paranoia and a desire for insularity—and not, necessarily, to his own benefit.

“There is a certain level of frustration that all the sudden the president says something, then Rudy does, and it is not always consistent. There is a frustration that not everybody knows what they should be doing. It is not that they can’t defend the president it is a frustration that they don’t know exactly how they are supposed to defend the president,” said John Brabender, a longtime GOP consultant. “From the president’s perspective, this whole thing is a witch hunt and is outrageous and, therefore, it shouldn’t even need explanation…But with that said, you can’t just be angry. You need a unified communications team.”

According to those who’ve known the president, the sense that a good chunk of the government has never fully accepted his presidency and has actively worked to undermine it has animated much of his activity over the past few weeks. And though they believe he has a point, they also wonder if it is making him functionally incapable of taking the advice of some advisers: to simply ignore impeachment and apply his attention to other facets of governance.

Trump, they add, is preternaturally incapable of ignoring press about him and lingers particularly on leaks that depict atmospherics of his inner sanctum, the West Wing, and his internal well-being.

“In my experience, what he despises is somebody writing that Donald Trump feels under siege and his emotions are this and his thinking is this,” said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide. “He hates people saying what he is thinking… And one of his most frequent tricks in terms of talking about himself on background [as an anonymous source] is him having the reporter say [he is] someone ‘familiar with the president’s thinking.’”

Nunberg said he had yet to see a blind quote in any recent report that would lead him to believe that Trump is cold-calling reporters. But the president is certainly working the fourth estate. Democratic aides were left shaking their heads last week when they received an email from the White House with the subject line, “Article from President Trump” and a PDF attachment of a Kimberly Strassel Wall Street Journal column.

“He’s apparently so anxious about GOP support in the Senate, he’s taken to sending WSJ columns against the House inquiry,” said a Senate source.

Still, for all of Trump’s grousing and preoccupation with who is and isn’t stabbing him in the back, loyalty has always been a one-way street for this president. Last week, after the news broke that Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman, two Soviet-born businessmen tied to Giuliani, were arrested on charges of violating campaign-finance law, a reporter at the White House asked Trump if the former New York mayor was still his personal attorney. The president responded that he didn’t know.

Though the president would later tweet out his support for Giuliani over the weekend, Trump has a long track record for being loyal to and supportive of a longtime associate, friend, or staffer—up until the moment he’s not. Perhaps the quintessential example of this is that of one of the president’s former attorneys, Michael Cohen, who famously turned on Trump after becoming convinced that the president had abandoned him while he was in the crosshairs of federal prosecutors.

Asked by The Daily Beast last week if the president told him that he still had his lawyer’s back—an attorney who further earned the president’s trust by defending Trump during the Mueller investigation—Giuliani let out a big belly-laugh and responded, “There’s nothing, [no knife], in my back.”

“My back feels very comfortable right now,” he added.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-suspects-a-spiteful-john-bolton-is-behind-ukraine-leaks

Story 3: Democrats Goal of Replacing Your Employer Provided Health Care Cover With Higher Taxes for Medicare For All — Socialized Medicine — Videos —

 

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Story 4: President Trump Congratulates The St.Louis Blues For Winning The Stanley Cup — Videos —

Trump welcomes the Stanley Cup Champions to WH

President Trump Welcomes the St. Louis Blues Stanley Cup Champions

Trump welcomes 2019 Stanley Cup champions to White House

Trump welcomes the St. Louis Blues to the White House

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The Pronk Pops Show 1326, September 24, 2019, Story 1: President Trump Address To The United Nations — One of The Greatest Presidential Speeches in U.S. History — Videos — Story 2: Democrats Want To Impeach Trump For Winning In 2016 — If Democrats Impeach Trump The American People Will Elect Trump in 2020 in A Landslide Victory and Republicans Will Have Total Control of Congress — Creepy Sleepy Dopey Joe Biden Done Over Corruption of Hunter Biden Payoff Bribes In Ukraine and Communist China — Call The Impeachment Vote — Doubly Desperate Democrats — Drop Out Biden — Going, Going, Gone! — Videos —

Posted on September 30, 2019. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Afghanistan, Applications, Bank Fraud, Banking System, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Bribes, British Pound, Budgetary Policy, Business, Canada, Cartoons, China, Climate, Climate Change, Coal, College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Cuba, Culture, Currencies, Defense Spending, Disasters, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Donald Trump, Drugs, Economics, Education, Egypt, Empires, Employment, Energy, Environment, Euro, European Union, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Free Trade, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Spending, Hardware, Health, House of Representatives, Illegal Drugs, Impeachment, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Joe Biden, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Legal Drugs, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), Mexico, Monetary Policy, Natural Gas, Netherlands, Nuclear, Nutrition, Oil, Public Relations, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Senate, Servers, Social Networking, Software, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, Treason, U.S. Dollar, United States of America, Venezuela, Yemen | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: President Trump Address To The United Nations — One of The Greatest Presidential Speeches in U.S. History — Videos —

WATCH AGAIN: Donald Trump addresses United Nations General Assembly

Watch Highlights From President Donald Trump’s U.N. Speech | NBC News Now

James Risen: I Wrote About the Bidens and Ukraine in 2015. The Right-Wing Media Twisted My Reporting

Watch Highlights From President Donald Trump’s U.N. Speech | NBC News Now

Donald Trump uses UN address to warn social media giants against ‘blacklisting’ conservatives and tells the world to be ‘skeptical’ of anyone who wants control over free speech

  • Utilizing his platform at the United Nations General Assembly, Donald Trump put social media giants on blast 
  • He warned against ‘silencing’ and ‘blacklisting’ political opinions that are unpopular in Silicon Valley – where most social media sites are headquartered
  • The president has often voiced his disdain over social media platforms silencing conservative voices
  • He warned the global audience at UNGA that social media is threatening free speech, even in ‘free nations’
  • Last week, Trump met with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the Oval Office
  • He has also previously met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey 

Donald Trump put America’s social media giants on notice during a United Nationsaddress on Tuesday that the U.S. government will push back against online tech giants ‘silencing, coercing, canceling or blacklisting’ political opinions that don’t rate high in Silicon Valley.

‘A small number of social media platforms are acquiring immense power over what we can see and over what we are allowed to say,’ Trump told foreign leaders.

He said he is aggressively cracking down on the biggest platforms that play political favorites online, and encouraging other nations to follow suit.

‘A free society cannot allow social media giants to silence the voices of the people,’ he said, ‘and a free people must never, ever be enlisted in the cause of silencing, coercing, canceling or blacklisting their own neighbors.’

Trump warns against social media giants limiting free speech
Donald Trump blasted U.S. social media platforms during his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday. 'A free society cannot allow social media giants to silence the voices of the people,' he asserted

Donald Trump blasted U.S. social media platforms during his remarks at the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday. ‘A free society cannot allow social media giants to silence the voices of the people,’ he asserted

He told the room full of foreign leaders and a global audience that even 'free nations' are experiencing challenges to liberty and free speech from social media

He told the room full of foreign leaders and a global audience that even ‘free nations’ are experiencing challenges to liberty and free speech from social media

‘My administration has made clear to social media companies that we will uphold the right of free speech,’ he declared.

The president often complains about anti-conservative bias at Twitter, Facebook and Google.

He met last week with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. A White House official said the topic of ‘bias came up.’ Trump has also sat down for a talk with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

The president on Tuesday raised social media in the context of condemning oppressive nations that control what their population can read, see and hear, and whose technological advances have the potential to limit freedom of speech.

Trump met last week with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (right) in the Oval Office. A White House official said the topic of 'bias came up' during their meeting

Trump met last week with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg (right) in the Oval Office. A White House official said the topic of ‘bias came up’ during their meeting

‘A permanent political class is openly disdainful, dismissive and defiant of the will of the people,’ he continued. ‘A faceless bureaucracy operates in secret and weakens democratic rule. Media and academic institutions push flat-out assaults on our histories, traditions and values.’

‘Freedom and democracy must be constantly guarded and protected abroad, and from within,’ he said.

‘We must always be skeptical about those who want conformity and control. Even in free nations we see alarming signs and new challenges to liberty.’

Zuckerberg capped off a day of meetings in Washington, D.C. on Friday with a sit-down with Trump.

‘Nice meeting with Mark Zuckerberg of @facebook in the Oval Office today,’ the president wrote on Twitter, adding a picture of him with the Facebook CEO.

 

Story 2: Democrats Want To Impeach Trump For Winning The 2016 — If Democrats Impeach Trump The American People Will Elect Trump in 2020 in A Landslide Victory and Republicans Will Have Total Control of Congress — Creepy Sleepy Dopey Joe Biden Done Over Corruption of Hunter Biden Payoff Bribes In Ukraine and Communist China — Call The Impeachment Vote — Doubly Desperate Democrats — Drop Out Biden — Going, Going, Gone! — Videos

Biden sidesteps questions about son’s foreign work

Jun 20, 2019

Speaker Pelosi Launches Probe To Impeach Trump For First Time | The Beat With Ari Melber | MSNBC

Trump: Joe Biden and His Son Are Corrupt

Nunes: Biden admitted he did the very thing Trump is accused of doing

Biden made Ukraine fire top prosecutor investigating son’s firm – report

Explaining Trump And Giuliani’s Allegations Against Joe Biden And His Son | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

Napolitano: Trump’s admitted contact with Ukraine is a crime

Rudy Giuliani’s Actions Under Scrutiny In Trump’s Call With Ukrainian President | Hardball | MSNBC

BIDEN UKRAINE SCANDAL EXPLAINED: Unethical plan by Joe to help son Hunter profit

President Donald Trump Admits Discussing Joe Biden With Ukrainian Leader | Velshi & Ruhle | MSNBC

The Five’ reacts to Trump and Biden’s whistleblower feud

White House reacts to Congress’ Trump impeachment inquiry

Giuliani: Democrats stepped into more than they realize

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Gowdy on whistleblower: Here’s why ‘anonymous sources’ shouldn’t count

Graham challenges whistleblower to appear before Senate Judiciary

Joe Biden is becoming an ‘impossible candidate’: Kennedy

•Sep 3, 2019

WSJ: Trump repeatedly asked Ukraine president to probe Biden’s son

 

Joe Biden, His Son and the Case Against a Ukrainian Oligarch

Hunter Biden at a campaign event in 2008. He sits on the board of one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies.
CreditCreditOzier Muhammad/The New York Times

When Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.traveled to Kiev , Ukraine, on Sunday for a series of meetings with the country’s leaders, one of the issues on his agenda was to encourage a more aggressive fight against Ukraine’s rampant corruption and stronger efforts to rein in the power of its oligarchs.

But the credibility of the vice president’s anticorruption message may have been undermined by the association of his son, Hunter Biden, with one of Ukraine’s largest natural gas companies, Burisma Holdings, and with its owner, Mykola Zlochevsky, who was Ukraine’s ecology minister under former President Viktor F. Yanukovych before he was forced into exile.

Hunter Biden, 45, a former Washington lobbyist, joined the Burisma board in April 2014. That month, as part of an investigation into money laundering, British officials froze London bank accounts containing $23 million that allegedly belonged to Mr. Zlochevsky.

Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, an independent government agency, specifically forbade Mr. Zlochevksy, as well as Burisma Holdings, the company’s chief legal officer and another company owned by Mr. Zlochevsky, to have any access to the accounts.

But after Ukrainian prosecutors refused to provide documents needed in the investigation, a British court in January ordered the Serious Fraud Office to unfreeze the assets. The refusal by the Ukrainian prosecutor general’s office to cooperate was the target of a stinging attack by the American ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, who called out Burisma’s owner by name in a speech in September.

“In the case of former Ecology Minister Mykola Zlochevsky, the U.K. authorities had seized $23 million in illicit assets that belonged to the Ukrainian people,” Mr. Pyatt said. Officials at the prosecutor general’s office, he added, were asked by the United Kingdom “to send documents supporting the seizure. Instead they sent letters to Zlochevsky’s attorneys attesting that there was no case against him. As a result, the money was freed by the U.K. court, and shortly thereafter the money was moved to Cyprus.”

Mr. Pyatt went on to call for an investigation into “the misconduct” of the prosecutors who wrote the letters. In his speech, the ambassador did not mention Hunter Biden’s connection to Burisma.

But Edward C. Chow, who follows Ukrainian policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the involvement of the vice president’s son with Mr. Zlochevsky’s firm undermined the Obama administration’s anticorruption message in Ukraine.

“Now you look at the Hunter Biden situation, and on the one hand you can credit the father for sending the anticorruption message,” Mr. Chow said. “But I think unfortunately it sends the message that a lot of foreign countries want to believe about America, that we are hypocritical about these issues.”

Speaking during a visit to Ukraine, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. urged the country to weed corruption out of its system.CreditCreditMikhail Palinchak/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service

“Hunter Biden is a private citizen and a lawyer,” she said. “The vice president does not endorse any particular company and has no involvement with this company. The vice president has pushed aggressively for years, both publicly with groups like the U.S.-Ukraine Business Forum and privately in meetings with Ukrainian leaders, for Ukraine to make every effort to investigate and prosecute corruption in accordance with the rule of law. It will once again be a key focus during his trip this week.”

Ryan F. Toohey, a Burisma spokesman, said that Hunter Biden would not comment for this article.

It is not known how Mr. Biden came to the attention of the company. Announcing his appointment to the board, Alan Apter, a former Morgan Stanley investment banker who is chairman of Burisma, said, “The company’s strategy is aimed at the strongest concentration of professional staff and the introduction of best corporate practices, and we’re delighted that Mr. Biden is joining us to help us achieve these goals.”

Joining the board at the same time was one of Mr. Biden’s American business partners, Devon Archer. Both are involved with Rosemont Seneca Partners, an American investment firm with offices in Washington.

Mr. Biden is the younger of the vice president’s two sons. His brother, Beau, died of brain cancer in May. In the past, Hunter Biden attracted an unusual level of scrutiny and even controversy. In 2014, he was discharged from the Navy Reserve after testing positive for cocaine use. He received a commission as an ensign in 2013, and he served as a public affairs officer.

Before his father was vice president, Mr. Biden also briefly served as president of a hedge fund group, Paradigm Companies, in which he was involved with one of his uncles, James Biden, the vice president’s brother. That deal went sour amid lawsuits in 2007 and 2008 involving the Bidens and an erstwhile business partner. Mr. Biden, a graduate of Georgetown University and Yale Law School, also worked as a lobbyist before his father became vice president.

Burisma does not disclose the compensation of its board members because it is a privately held company, Mr. Toohey said Monday, but he added that the amount was “not out of the ordinary” for similar corporate board positions.

Asked about the British investigation, which is continuing, Mr. Toohey said, “Not only was the case dismissed and the company vindicated by the outcome, but it speaks volumes that all his legal costs were recouped.”

In response to Mr. Pyatt’s criticism of the Ukrainian handling of Mr. Zlochevsky’s case, Mr. Toohey said that “strong corporate governance and transparency are priorities shared both by the United States and the leadership of Burisma. Burisma is working to bring the energy sector into the modern era, which is critical for a free and strong Ukraine.”

Vice President Biden has played a leading role in American policy toward Ukraine as Washington seeks to counter Russian intervention in Eastern Ukraine. This week’s visit was his fifth trip to Ukraine as vice president.

Ms. Bedingfield said Hunter Biden had never traveled to Ukraine with his father. She also said that Ukrainian officials had never mentioned Hunter Biden’s role with Burisma to the vice president during any of his visits.

“I’ve got to believe that somebody in the vice president’s office has done some due diligence on this,” said Steven Pifer, who was the American ambassador to Ukraine from 1998 to 2000. “I should say that I hope that has happened. I would hope that they have done some kind of check, because I think the vice president has done a very good job of sending the anticorruption message in Ukraine, and you would hate to see something like this undercut that message.”

 

 

Let’s get real: Democrats were first to enlist Ukraine in US elections

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The Pronk Pops Show 1323, September 19, 2019, Story 1: Zuckerberg Meets President Trump and Senators — Regulating Big Tech Data Cartel: Internet Regulation, Data Privacy, Bias, Censorship, Filtering, Shadow Banning, Cryptocurrency, Control — Breakup The Big Tech Data Cartel or Threat of Changing Big Tech Platforms to Publishers — Internet Bill of Rights — Videos –Story 2: Department of Justice Charges Health Care Fraud Against 58 Individuals — Pill Mills — Videos —

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Story 1: Zuckerberg Meets President Trump and Senators — Regulating Big Tech Data Cartel: Internet Regulation, Data Privacy, Bias, Censorship, Filtering, Shadow Banning, Cryptocurrency, Control — Breakup The Big Tech Data Cartel or Threat of Changing Big Tech Platforms to Publishers — Internet Bill of Rights — Videos —

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Zuckerberg meets Trump, senators; nixes breaking up Facebook

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg held private meetings with US lawmakers in Washington to discuss technology regulations and social media issues, including concerns about the social network's operations

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg held private meetings with US lawmakers in Washington to discuss technology regulations and social media issues, including concerns about the social network’s operations

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg met Thursday with US President Donald Trump and members of Congress on a political reconnaissance mission to Washington, where he rejected calls to break up the world’s biggest social network.

Zuckerberg’s visit comes as Facebook faces a myriad of regulatory and legal questions surrounding issues like competition, digital privacy, censorship and transparency in political advertising.

A Facebook spokesman said discussions were focusing in part on future internet regulation.

Senate Democrat Mark Warner, one of the lawmakers who has taken the lead in Washington on digital security, signalled they gave Zuckerberg an earful.

The visit, including a Wednesday night private dinner with Warner and other lawmakers, comes after his stormy appearance last year before Congress, where he was grilled on Facebook’s data protection and privacy missteps.

Senator Josh Hawley, a Republican freshman and one of the more outspoken critics of Facebook, said he had a “frank conversation” with Zuckerberg but remains concerned.

“Challenged him to do two things to show FB is serious about bias, privacy & competition. 1) Sell WhatsApp & Instagram 2) Submit to independent, third-party audit on censorship,” Hawley tweeted.

“He said no to both.”

Trump late Thursday posted a picture on Facebook and Twitter showing him shaking hands with Zuckerberg, but didn’t share details of their conversation.

“Nice meeting with Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook in the Oval Office today,” the president wrote.

Federal and state anti-trust enforcers are looking into potential anti-competitive actions by Facebook, and members of Congress are debating national privacy legislation.

The messaging product WhatsApp and picture-sharing giant Instagram are part of Facebook’s broad family of services that has made it a global online behemoth, but have also exposed the company to concerns about competition, data harvesting and sprawling digital control.

Warner said he was not prepared to call for Facebook’s dismantlement.

“I’m not yet with some of my friends who want to go straight to break up,” he told Fox Business Network.

“I am concerned. These are global companies, and I don’t want to transfer the leadership to Chinese companies,” he added.

“But I do think we need a lot more transparency. We need to have privacy rights protected. We need to increase competition with things like data portability and interoperability.”

Two months ago, the US Federal Trade Commission hit Facebook with a record $5 billion fine for data protection violations in a wide-ranging settlement that calls for revamping privacy controls and oversight at the social network.

Earlier Wednesday, executives from Facebook, Google and Twitter appeared before a Senate panel to answer questions on “digital responsibility” in the face of online violence and extremism.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/reuters/article-7484185/Saudi-led-coalition-launches-military-operation-north-Hodeidah-Yemen.html

Hawley Introduces Bill to Make Big Tech Embrace Free Speech

By Corinne Weaver | June 19, 2019 10:49 AM EDT

Republicans in the Senate plan on striking a blow for online free speech — by eradicating censorship of conservatives online.

Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) introduced a new bill June 19, meant to tackle the problem of tech monopolies and their consistent censorship of conservatives and conservative ideology. The bill, called the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act, looks to remove the immunity enjoyed by Big Tech companies from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The bill would target companies with more than 30 million monthly users, such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and YouTube.

Hawley wrote that the companies could earn their immunity back through a series of third-party external audits that provided “convincing evidence that their algorithms and content-removal practices are politically neutral.”

The legislation would exclude smaller companies. Hawley’s bill is more interested in going after the “tech monopolies” that present a greater threat through censorship. He stated in his press release:

There’s a growing list of evidence that shows big tech companies making editorial decisions to censor viewpoints they disagree with. Even worse, the entire process is shrouded in secrecy because these companies refuse to make their protocols public. This legislation simply states that if the tech giants want to keep their government-granted immunity, they must bring transparency and accountability to their editorial processes and prove that they don’t discriminate.”

In the bill itself, all acts of business were permitted except for those that favored or were biased against a specific ideology, political candidates, or political opinions.

The Free Speech Alliance, a coalition of more than 50 conservative organizations led by the Media Research Center, urged that tech companies “mirror the First Amendment.” This bill, if passed, would require Big Tech to do just that.

So far, major critics have gone after Hawley on Twitter. Americans for Prosperity called the bill “misguided legislation.” The group argued that the bill will prevent innovative startups from succeeding, even though it is clearly aimed at companies larger than 30 million monthly users.

Executive editor of Vox’s tech magazine, The Verge, Dieter Bohn, wrote that Hawley “doesn’t understand section 230.”

https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/2019/06/19/hawley-introduces-bill-make-big-tech-embrace-free-speech

 

Mark Zuckerberg’s Call to Regulate Facebook, Explained

Here’s why the Facebook chief executive invited Congress to regulate his company in a post on Saturday.

Facebook's chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, at Senate hearings last year. With the expectation that personal data handling and content restrictions are coming, Facebook tries in an op-ed piece to set the playing field.
CreditCreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

Facebook has faced months of scrutiny for a litany of ills, from spreading misinformation to not properly protecting its users’ data to allowing foreign meddling in elections.

Many at the Silicon Valley company now expect lawmakers and regulators to act to contain it — so the social network is trying to set its own terms for what any regulations should look like.

That helps explain why Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, wrote an opinion piece for The Washington Post on Saturday laying out a case for how he believes his company should be treated.

In his post, Mr. Zuckerberg discussed four policy areas — harmful content, election integrity, privacy and data portability — which he said the government should focus attention on.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/30/technology/mark-zuckerberg-facebook-regulation-explained.html

What Would Regulating Facebook Look Like?

In an interview with WIRED, Mark Zuckerberg seemed to accept the idea of some US regulation. Other countries could provide the blueprint.

In an interview with WIRED Mark Zuckberg seemed to accept the idea of some US regulation. Other countries could provide...
In an interview with WIRED, Mark Zuckberg seemed to accept the idea of some US regulation. Other countries could provide the blueprint .PHUC PHAM The drumbeat to regulate Big Tech began pounding long before the Cambridge Analytica scandal rocked Facebook—six long years ago, the Obama administration pushed a “Privacy Bill of Rights” that, like most other legislative attempts to safeguard your data online, went nowhere. But this time, as they say, feels different. Thanks to repeated lapses from not just Facebook but all corners of Silicon Valley, some sort of regulation seems not only plausible but imminent.

US politicians have called for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to appear in person before Congress. Some tech-focused legislation is currently wending its way through the Capitol’s corridors. And regulators in other countries have already clamped down on tech.

‘I think what tends to work well is transparency, which I think is an area where we need to do a lot better and are working on.’

FACEBOOK CEO MARK ZUCKERBERG

In an interview with WIRED editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson Wednesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckberg seemed if not outright welcoming toward regulation, at least accepting of it. “There are some really nuanced questions though about how to regulate, which I think are extremely interesting intellectually,” says Zuckerberg, who points to the bipartisan Honest Ads Act, cosponsored by senators Mark Warner, Amy Klobuchar, and John McCain, as an example of the sort of bill his company can get behind.

The Honest Ads Act, legislation that calls for increased transparency behind who pays for political ads online, makes for a convenient example, though, in part because Facebook has already implemented many of its provisions. The bill, introduced last October, also appears to have languished, making it a non-substantive threat. Meanwhile, critics say it wouldn’t have stopped Russian propagandists from flooding Facebook in the first place.

Besides, even the Honest Ads Act’s sponsors have noted that it addresses a very small piece of a very large problem. And it does nothing to address the data privacy concerns that rightly create so much angst among anyone with any sort of presence online. Which is to say, everyone. For that, the US would need something much bigger.

“We do not have an omnibus privacy legislation at the federal level,” says David Vladeck, former director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We don’t have a statute that recognizes generally that privacy is a right that’s secured by federal law. And that puts us at the opposite end of the spectrum from some of the other major economies in the world.”

It’s not that living in the US puts you totally in the privacy hinterlands. The FTC has a modicum of authority, and has used it when companies grossly overreach—as it did against Facebook in 2011, when the company failed to keep its promises regarding how it treated their data. Facebook had made user information public, even if they’d previously had more restrictive privacy settings, and allowed third-party developers to mine the data not just of the Facebook users who downloaded their apps, but of all of those peoples’ friends. (If that sounds familiar, well, it’s precisely what allowed the Cambridge Analytica fiasco.)

Even then, though, Facebook got off with a scolding. It had to sign a consent decree, essentially a promise that it wouldn’t stray again. That’s gone unchecked until this week, when the FTC reportedly opened an investigation into the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and could fine Facebook up to $40,000 per violation—with 50 million people impacted, the potential fine hypothetically stretches into the trillions.

But the threat of retroactive fines clearly hasn’t done the trick. The FTC, meanwhile, can only work with the legislative tools it’s given. So what would it look like if Congress gave it better tools? Other countries might offer something like an outline, if not an outright blueprint.

In Finland, officials feel that their strong public education system and a coordinated government response have been enough to stave off Russia’s propaganda; Sri Lanka banned Facebook, WhatsApp, and Instagram entirely. Which is to say, it’s a wide gamut.

On the data privacy front, the most recent high-profile model comes from the European Union, where General Data Protection Regulation becomes the law of the land on May 25. GDPR focuses on ensuring that people who use online services know not only exactly what data those companies will take, but how they put it to use.

Zuckerberg, at least, seems supportive of those levels of transparency—although they’re also, since GDPR’s passage, an inevitability. “I think what tends to work well is transparency, which I think is an area where we need to do a lot better and are working on,” Zuckerberg tells WIRED. “I think guidelines are much better than dictating specific processes.”

‘We do not have an omnibus privacy legislation at the federal level.’

DAVID VLADECK FORMER BUREAU OF CONSUMER PROTECTION DIRECTOR

Rough guidelines also seem like a more plausible approach in the US due to both precedent and practicality. The EU approach to privacy law has long been highly detailed and prescriptive, says Vladeck, which sounds good in theory but can create issues in practice. “The implementation of it, in my view, is going to be ineffective, because it places an enormous regulatory burden on some parties, and worse, it places an enormous regulatory burden on the data protection authorities that need to enforce it,” says Vladeck. “I don’t think we could simply take the European regulation and simply adopt it in the United States. But I think there are a lot of elements in it that could provide guidance.”

One danger of an overly prescribed law is that technological solutions can outpace those mandates. Zuckerberg points to Germany, where hate speech laws require Facebook and other companies to remove offending posts within 24 hours. “The German model—you have to handle hate speech in this way—in some ways that’s actually backfired,” Zuckerberg says. “Because now we are handling hate speech in Germany in a specific way, for Germany, and our processes for the rest of the world have far surpassed our ability to handle that. But we’re still doing it in Germany the way that it’s mandated that we do it there. So I think guidelines are probably going to be a lot better.”

Zuckerberg also raises the question of the use of artificial intelligence in weeding out unwelcome uploads. “Now that companies increasingly over the next five to 10 years as AI tools get better and better will be able to proactively determine what might be offensive content or violate some rules, what therefore is the responsibility and legal responsibility of companies to do that,” Zuckerberg says.

Here, too, Facebook’s getting out ahead of any potential legal requirements; it already scans for nudity and terrorist content, and remains hard at work at AI that can spot what Zuckerberg calls “really nuanced hate speech and bullying.”

Eventually, though, Silicon Valley may run out of ways to appease regulators. By now there have been too many data breaches, too much negligence, whether by Facebook, Equifax, or the government itself. “I do think increasingly that there’s a sense that we need it,” says Vladeck.

At the very least, when regulation does come, Facebook has an open invite to help inform what happens, albeit in gruff terms. “Mr. Zuckerberg needs to testify before the Senate and answer some tough questions about Russian activity on the platform, and the way his company protects—or doesn’t—its users’ data,” said Senator Mark Warner in a email to WIRED Wednesday.

And if it doesn’t pitch in, Congress has a model for privacy protection waiting for it, at least philosophically, just an ocean away.

Facebook’s World

https://www.wired.com/story/what-would-regulating-facebook-look-like/

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act

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Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 (a common name for Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996) is a landmark piece of Internet legislation in the United States, codified at 47 U.S.C. § 230. Section 230(c)(1) provides immunity from liability for providers and users of an “interactive computer service” who publish information provided by third-party users:

No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

Section 230 was developed in response to a pair of lawsuits against Internet service providers in the early 1990s that had different interpretations of whether the services providers should be treated as publishers or distributors of content created by its users. It was also pushed by the tech industry and other experts that language in the proposed CDA making providers responsible for indecent content posted by users that could extend to other types of questionable free speech. After passage of the Telecommunications Act, the CDA was challenged in courts and ruled by the Supreme Court in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union (1997) to be partially unconstitutional, leaving the Section 230 provisions in place. Since then, several legal challenges have validated the constitutionality of Section 230. Section 230 protects are not limitless, requiring providers to remove criminal material such as copyright infringement; more recently, Section 230 was amended by the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act in 2018 to require the removal of material violating federal and state sex trafficking laws.

Passed at a time where Internet use was just starting to take off, Section 230 has frequently been referred as a key law that has allowed the Internet to flourish, often referred to as “The Twenty-Six Words That Created the Internet”.

Contents

History

Prior to the Internet, case law was clear that a liability line was drawn between publishers of content and distributors of content; publishers would be expected to have awareness of material it was publishing and thus should be held liable for any illegal content it published, while distributors would likely not be aware and thus would be immune. This was established in Smith v. California (1959), where the Supreme Court ruled that putting liability on the provider (a book store in this case) would have “a collateral effect of inhibiting the freedom of expression, by making the individual the more reluctant to exercise it.”[1]

In the early 1990s, the Internet became more widely adopted and created means for users to engage in forums and other user-generated content. While this helped to expand the use of the Internet, it also resulted in a number of legal cases putting service providers at fault for the content generated by its users. This concern was raised by legal challenges against CompuServe and Prodigy, early service providers at this time.[2] CompuServe stated they would not attempt to regulate what users posted on their services, while Prodigy had employed a team of moderators to validate content. Both faced legal challenges related to content posted by their users. In Cubby, Inc. v. CompuServe Inc., CompuServe was found not be at fault as, by its stance as allowing all content to go unmoderated, it was a distributor and thus not liable for libelous content posted by users. However, Stratton Oakmont, Inc. v. Prodigy Services Co. found that as Prodigy had taken an editorial role with regard to customer content, it was a publisher and legally responsible for libel committed by customers.[3][a]

Chris Cox
Ron Wyden
Chris Cox (left) and Ron Wyden, the framers of Section 230

Service providers made their Congresspersons aware of these cases, believing that if upheld across the nation, it would stifle the growth of the Internet. United States Representative Christopher Cox (R-CA) had read an article about the two cases and felt the decisions were backwards. “It struck me that if that rule was going to take hold then the internet would become the Wild West and nobody would have any incentive to keep the internet civil”, Cox stated.[4]

At the time, Congress was preparing the Communications Decency Act (CDA), part of the omnibus Telecommunications Act of 1996, which was designed to make knowingly sending indecent or obscene material to minors a criminal offense. A version of the CDA had passed through the Senate pushed by Senator J. James Exon.[5] A grassroots effort in the tech industry reacted to try to convince the House of Representatives to challenge Exon’s bill. Based on the Stratton Oakmont decision, Congress recognized that by requiring service providers to block indecent content would make them be treated as publishers in context of the First Amendment and thus become liable for other illegal content such as libel, not set out in the existing CDA.[2] Cox and fellow Representative Ron Wyden (D-OR) wrote the House bill’s section 509, titled the Internet Freedom and Family Empowerment Act, designed to override the decision from Stratton Oakmont, so that services providers could moderate content as necessary and did not have to act as a wholly neutral conduit. The new Act was added the section while the CDA was in conference within the House.

The overall Telecommunications Act, with both Exon’s CDA and Cox/Wyden’s provision, passed both Houses by near-unanimous votes and signed into law by President Bill Clinton by February 1996.[6] Cox/Wyden’s section was codified as Section 230 in Title 47 of the US Code. The anti-indecency portion of the CDA was immediately challenged on passage, resulting in the Supreme Court 1997 case, Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union, that ruled all of the anti-indecency sections of the CDA were unconstitutional, but left Section 230.[7]

One of the first legal challenges to Section 230 was the 1997 case Zeran v. America Online, Inc., in which a Federal court affirmed that the purpose of Section 230 as passed by Congress was “to remove the disincentives to self-regulation created by the Stratton Oakmont decision”.[8] Under that court’s holding, computer service providers who regulated the dissemination of offensive material on their services risked subjecting themselves to liability, because such regulation cast the service provider in the role of a publisher. Fearing that the specter of liability would therefore deter service providers from blocking and screening offensive material, Congress enacted § 230’s broad immunity “to remove disincentives for the development and utilization of blocking and filtering technologies that empower parents to restrict their children’s access to objectionable or inappropriate online material.”[8] In addition, Zeran notes “the amount of information communicated via interactive computer services is . . . staggering. The specter of tort liability in an area of such prolific speech would have an obviously chilling effect. It would be impossible for service providers to screen each of their millions of postings for possible problems. Faced with potential liability for each message republished by their services, interactive computer service providers might choose to severely restrict the number and type of messages posted. Congress considered the weight of the speech interests implicated and chose to immunize service providers to avoid any such restrictive effect.”[8]

Application and limits

In analyzing the availability of the immunity offered by Section 230, courts generally apply a three-prong test. A defendant must satisfy each of the three prongs to gain the benefit of the immunity:[9]

  1. The defendant must be a “provider or user” of an “interactive computer service.”
  2. The cause of action asserted by the plaintiff must treat the defendant as the “publisher or speaker” of the harmful information at issue.
  3. The information must be “provided by another information content provider,” i.e., the defendant must not be the “information content provider” of the harmful information at issue.

Section 230 immunity is not unlimited. The statute specifically excepts federal criminal liability and intellectual property claims.[10] However, state criminal laws have been held preempted in cases such as Backpage.com, LLC v. McKenna[11] and Voicenet Commc’ns, Inc. v. Corbett[12] (agreeing “[T]he plain language of the CDA provides … immunity from inconsistent state criminal laws.”).

As of mid-2016, courts have issued conflicting decisions regarding the scope of the intellectual property exclusion set forth in 47 U.S.C. § 230(e)(2). For example, in Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill, LLC,[13] the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the exception for intellectual property law applies only to federal intellectual property claims such as copyright infringement, trademark infringement, and patents, reversing a district court ruling that the exception applies to state-law right of publicity claims.[14] The 9th Circuit’s decision in Perfect 10 conflicts with conclusions from other courts including Doe v. Friendfinder. The Friendfinder court specifically discussed and rejected the lower court’s reading of “intellectual property law” in CCBill and held that the immunity does not reach state right of publicity claims.[15]

Additionally, with the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, services provides must comply with additional requirements for copyright infringement to maintain “safe harbor” protections from liability, as defined in the DMCA’s Title II, Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act.[16]

Controversies

The first major challenge to Section 230 was in Zeran v. AOL, a 1997 case decided at the Fourth Circuit. The case involved a person that sued America Online (AOL) for failing to remove, in a timely manner, libelous ads posted by AOL users that inappropriately connected his home phone number to the Oklahoma City bombing. The court found for AOL and upheld the constitutionality of Section 230, stating that Section 230 “creates a federal immunity to any cause of action that would make service providers liable for information originating with a third-party user of the service.”[17] This rule, cementing Section 230’s liability protections, has been considered one of the most important case laws affecting the growth of the Internet, allowing websites to be able to incorporate user-generated content without fear of prosecution.[18] However, at the same time, this has led to Section 230 being used as a shield for some website owners as courts have ruled Section 230 provides complete immunity for ISPs with regard to the torts committed by their users over their systems.[19]

Sex trafficking

Around 2001, a University of Pennsylvania paper warned that “online sexual victimization of American children appears to have reached epidemic proportions” due to the allowances granted by Section 230.[20] Over the next decade, advocates against such exploitation such as the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children pressured major websites to block or remove content related to sex trafficking, leading to sites like FacebookMySpace, and Craigslist to pull such content. Because mainstream sites were blocking this content, those that engaged or profited from trafficking started to use more obscure sites, leading to the creation of sites like Backpage. In addition to removing these from the public eye, these new sites worked to obscure what trafficking was going on and who was behind it, limiting ability for law enforcement to take action.[20] Backpage and similar sites quickly came under numerous lawsuits from victims of the sex traffickers and exploiters for enabling this crime, but the court continually found in favor of Backpage due to Section 230,[21] and the Supreme Court let stand a Circuit Court decision in favor of Backpage due to Section 230 in January 2017.[22]

Due to numerous complaints from constituents, Congress began an investigation into Backpage and similar sites in January 2017, finding Backpage complicit in aiding and profiting from illegal sex trafficking.[23] Subsequently, Congress introduced the FOSTA-SESTA bills: the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) in the House of Representatives by Ann Wagner in April 2017, and the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) U.S. Senate bill introduced by Rob Portman in August 2017. Combined, the FOSTA-SESTA bills modified Section 230 to exempt services providers from Section 230 immunity when dealing with civil or criminal crimes related to sex trafficking,[24] which removes section 230 safe harbors for services that knowingly facilitate or support sex trafficking.[25] The bill passed both Houses and was signed into law by President Donald Trump on April 11, 2018.[26][27]

The bills were criticized by pro-free speech and pro-Internet groups as a “disguised internet censorship bill” that weakens the section 230 safe harbors, places unnecessary burdens on Internet companies and intermediaries that handle user-generated content or communications with service providers required to proactively take action against sex trafficking activities, and requires a “team of lawyers” to evaluate all possible scenarios under state and federal law (which may be financially unfeasible for smaller companies).[28][29][30][31][32] Critics also argued that FOSTA-SESTA did not distinguish between consensual, legal sex offerings from non-consensual ones, and argued it would cause websites otherwise engaged in legal offerings of sex work would be threatened with liability charges.[23] Online sex workers argued that the bill would harm their safety, as the platforms they utilize for offering and discussing sexual services in a legal manner (as an alternative to street prostitution) had begun to reduce their services or shut down entirely due to the threat of liability under the bill.[33][34]

Social media

Many social media sites, notably Facebook and Twitter, came under scrutiny as a result of the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections, where it was alleged that Russian agents used the sites to spread propaganda and fake news to swing the election in favor of Donald Trump. These platforms also were criticized for not taking action against users that used the social media outlets for harassment and hate speech against others. Shortly after the passage of FOSTA-SESTA acts, some in Congress recognized that additional changes could be made to Section 230 to require service providers to deal with these bad actors, beyond what Section 230 already provided to them.[35] During 2019, there have been renewed calls for changes in Section 230 to address what are seen as growing problems across social media and the protections given to tech companies.

Platform neutrality

Some politicians, including Republican senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, have accused major social networks of displaying a bias against conservative perspectives when moderating content (such as Twitter suspensions).[36][36][37][38] In a Fox News op-ed, Cruz argued that section 230 should only apply to providers that are politically “neutral”, suggesting that a provider “should be considered to be a [liable] ‘publisher or speaker’ of user content if they pick and choose what gets published or spoke.”[39] Section 230 does not contain any requirements that moderation decisions be neutral.[39] Hawley alleged that section 230 safe harbors were a “sweetheart deal between big tech and big government”.[40][41]

In December 2018, Republican house representative Louie Gohmert introduced the Biased Algorithm Deterrence Act (H.R.492), which would remove all section 230 protections for any provider that used filters or any other type of algorithms to display user content when otherwise not directed by a user.[42][43]

In June 2019, Hawley introduced the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act (S. 1914), that would remove section 230 protections from companies whose services have more than 30 million active monthly users in the U.S. and more than 300 million worldwide, or have over $500 million in annual global revenue, unless they receive a certification from the majority of the Federal Trade Commission that they do not moderate against any political viewpoint, and have not done so in the past 2 years.[44][45]

There has been criticism—and support—of the proposed bill from various points on the political spectrum. A poll of more than 1,000 voters gave Senator Hawley’s bill a net favorability rating of 29 points among Republicans (53% favor, 24% oppose) and 26 points among Democrats (46% favor, 20% oppose).[46] Some Republicans feared that by adding FTC oversight, the bill would continue to fuel fears of a big government with excessive oversight powers.[47] Democrat Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated support for the same approach Hawley has taken.[48] The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Graham, has also indicated support for the same approach Hawley has taken, saying “he is considering legislation that would require companies to uphold ‘best business practices’ to maintain their liability shield, subject to periodic review by federal regulators.” [49]

Legal experts have criticized the Republicans’ push to make Section 230 encompass platform neutrality. Wyden stated in response to potential law changes that “Section 230 is not about neutrality. Period. Full stop. 230 is all about letting private companies make their own decisions to leave up some content and take other content down.”[50] Law professor Jeff Kosseff, who has written extensively on Section 230, has stated that the Republican intentions are based on a “fundamental misunderstanding” of Section 230’s purpose, as platform neutrality was not one of the considerations made at the time of passage.[51] Kosseff stated that political neutrality was not the intent of Section 230 according to the framers, but rather making sure providers had the ability to make content-removal judgement without fear of liability.[2] There have been concerns that any attempt to weaken Section 230 could actually cause an increase in censorship when services lose their liability.[41][52]

Hate speech

In the wake of the 2019 shootings in Christchurch, New ZealandEl Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio, the impact on Section 230 and liability towards online hate speech has been raised. In both the Christchurch and El Paso shootings, the perpetrator posted hate speech manifestos to 8chan, a moderated imageboard known to be favorable for the posting of extreme views. Concerned politicians and citizens raised calls at large tech companies for the need for hate speech to be removed from the Internet; however, hate speech is generally protected speech under the First Amendment, and Section 230 removes the liability for these tech companies to moderate such content as long as it is not illegal. This has given the appearance that tech companies do not need to be proactive against hateful content, thus allowing the hate content to fester online and lead to such incidents.[53][5]

Notable articles on this concerns were published after the El Paso shooting by The New York Times,[53] The Wall Street Journal,[54] and Bloomberg Businessweek,[5] among other outlets, but which were criticized by legal experts including Mike GodwinMark Lemley, and David Kaye, as the articles implied that hate speech was protected by Section 230, when it is in fact protected by the First Amendment. In the case of The New York Times, the paper issued a correction to affirm that the First Amendment protected hate speech, and not Section 230.[55][56][57]

Members of Congress have indicated they may pass a law that changes how Section 230 would apply to hate speed as to make tech companies liable for this. Wyden, now a Senator, stated that he intended for Section 230 to be both “a sword and a shield” for Internet companies, the “sword” allowing them to remove content they deem inappropriate for their service, and the shield to help keep offensive content their from sites without liability. However, Wyden argued that become tech companies have not been willing to use the sword to remove content, it is necessary to take away that shield.[53][5] Some have compared Section 230 to the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, a law that grants gun manufacturers immunity from certain types of lawsuits when their weapons are used in criminal acts. According to law professor Mary Anne Franks, “They have not only let a lot of bad stuff happen on their platforms, but they’ve actually decided to profit off of people’s bad behavior.”[5] Representative Beto O’Rourke has stated his intent for his 2020 presidential campaign to introduce sweeping changes to Section 230 to make Internet companies liable for not being proactive in taking down hate speech.[58]

Terrorism-related content

In the aftermath of the Backpage trial and subsequent passage of FOSTA-SESTA, others have found that Section 230 appears to protect tech companies from content that is otherwise illegal under United States law. Professor Danielle Citron and journalist Benjamin Wittes found that as late as 2018, several groups deemed as terrorist organizations by the United States had been able to maintain social media accounts on services run by American companies, despite federal laws that make providing material support to terrorist groups subject to civil and criminal charges.[59] However, case law from the Second Circuit has ruled that under Section 230, technology companies are not liable for civil claims based on terrorism-related content.[60]

Case law

Defamatory information

Immunity was upheld against claims that AOL unreasonably delayed in removing defamatory messages posted by third party, failed to post retractions, and failed to screen for similar postings.

  • Blumenthal v. Drudge, 992 F. Supp. 44, 49-53 (D.D.C. 1998).[62]

The court upheld AOL’s immunity from liability for defamation. AOL’s agreement with the contractor allowing AOL to modify or remove such content did not make AOL the “information content provider” because the content was created by an independent contractor. The Court noted that Congress made a policy choice by “providing immunity even where the interactive service provider has an active, even aggressive role in making available content prepared by others.”

The court upheld immunity for an Internet dating service provider from liability stemming from third party’s submission of a false profile. The plaintiff, Carafano, claimed the false profile defamed her, but because the content was created by a third party, the website was immune, even though it had provided multiple choice selections to aid profile creation.

  • Batzel v. Smith, 333 F.3d 1018 (9th Cir. 2003).[64]

Immunity was upheld for a website operator for distributing an email to a listserv where the plaintiff claimed the email was defamatory. Though there was a question as to whether the information provider intended to send the email to the listserv, the Court decided that for determining the liability of the service provider, “the focus should be not on the information provider’s intentions or knowledge when transmitting content but, instead, on the service provider’s or user’s reasonable perception of those intentions or knowledge.” The Court found immunity proper “under circumstances in which a reasonable person in the position of the service provider or user would conclude that the information was provided for publication on the Internet or other ‘interactive computer service’.”

  • Green v. AOL, 318 F.3d 465 (3rd Cir. 2003).[65]

The court upheld immunity for AOL against allegations of negligence. Green claimed AOL failed to adequately police its services and allowed third parties to defame him and inflict intentional emotional distress. The court rejected these arguments because holding AOL negligent in promulgating harmful content would be equivalent to holding AOL “liable for decisions relating to the monitoring, screening, and deletion of content from its network — actions quintessentially related to a publisher’s role.”

Immunity was upheld for an individual internet user from liability for republication of defamatory statements on a listserv. The court found the defendant to be a “user of interactive computer services” and thus immune from liability for posting information passed to her by the author.

  • MCW, Inc. v. badbusinessbureau.com(RipOff Report/Ed Magedson/XCENTRIC Ventures LLC) 2004 WL 833595, No. Civ.A.3:02-CV-2727-G (N.D. Tex. April 19, 2004).[67]

The court rejected the defendant’s motion to dismiss on the grounds of Section 230 immunity, ruling that the plaintiff’s allegations that the defendants wrote disparaging report titles and headings, and themselves wrote disparaging editorial messages about the plaintiff, rendered them information content providers. The Web site, http://www.badbusinessbureau.com, allows users to upload “reports” containing complaints about businesses they have dealt with.

  • Hy Cite Corp. v. badbusinessbureau.com (RipOff Report/Ed Magedson/XCENTRIC Ventures LLC), 418 F. Supp. 2d 1142 (D. Ariz. 2005).[68]

The court rejected immunity and found the defendant was an “information content provider” under Section 230 using much of the same reasoning as the MCW case.

False information

  • Gentry v. eBay, Inc., 99 Cal. App. 4th 816, 830 (2002).[69]

eBay‘s immunity was upheld for claims based on forged autograph sports items purchased on the auction site.

  • Ben Ezra, Weinstein & Co. v. America Online, 206 F.3d 980, 984-985 (10th Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 531 U.S. 824 (2000).[70]

Immunity for AOL was upheld against liability for a user’s posting of incorrect stock information.

Immunity was upheld against claims of fraud and money laundering. Google was not responsible for misleading advertising created by third parties who bought space on Google’s pages. The court found the creative pleading of money laundering did not cause the case to fall into the crime exception to Section 230 immunity.

Immunity for Orbitz and CheapTickets was upheld for claims based on fraudulent ticket listings entered by third parties on ticket resale marketplaces.

  • Herrick v. Grindr, 18-396

The Second Circuit upheld immunity for the Grindr dating app for LGBT persons under Section 230 in regards to the misuse of false profiles created in the names of a real person. The plaintiff had broken up with a boyfriend, who later went onto Grindr to create multiple false profiles that presented the real-life identity and address of the plaintiff and as being available for sexual encounters, as well as having illegal drugs for sale. The plaintiff reported that over a thousand men had come to his house for sex and drugs, based on the communications with the fake profile, and he began to fear for his safety. He sued Grindr for not taking actions to block the false profiles after multiple requests. Grindr asserted Section 230 did not make them liable for the actions of the ex-boyfriend. This was agreed by the district court and the Second Circuit.[73][74]

Sexually explicit content and minors

  • Doe v. America Online, 783 So. 2d 1010, 1013-1017 (Fl. 2001),[75] cert. denied, 122 S.Ct. 208 (2000).

The court upheld immunity against state claims of negligence based on “chat room marketing” of obscene photographs of minor by a third party.

  • Kathleen R. v. City of Livermore, 87 Cal. App. 4th 684, 692 (2001).[76]

The California Court of Appeal upheld the immunity of a city from claims of waste of public funds, nuisance, premises liability, and denial of substantive due process. The plaintiff’s child downloaded pornography from a public library’s computers, which did not restrict access to minors. The court found the library was not responsible for the content of the internet and explicitly found that section 230(c)(1) immunity covers governmental entities and taxpayer causes of action.

The court upheld immunity for a social networking site from negligence and gross negligence liability for failing to institute safety measures to protect minors and failure to institute policies relating to age verification. The Does’ daughter had lied about her age and communicated over MySpace with a man who later sexually assaulted her. In the court’s view, the Does’ allegations were “merely another way of claiming that MySpace was liable for publishing the communications.”

The court upheld immunity for Craigslist against a county sheriff’s claims that its “erotic services” section constituted a public nuisance because it caused or induced prostitution.

  • Backpage.com v. McKenna, et al., CASE NO. C12-954-RSM[79]
  • Backpage.com LLC v Cooper, Case #: 12-cv-00654[SS1][80]
  • Backpage.com LLC v Hoffman et al., Civil Action No. 13-cv-03952 (DMC) (JAD)[81]

The court upheld immunity for Backpage in contesting a Washington state law (SB6251)[82] that would have made providers of third-party content online liable for any crimes related to a minor in Washington state.[83] The states of Tennessee and New Jersey later passed similar legislation. Backpage argued that the laws violated Section 230, the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, and the First and Fifth Amendments.[82] In all three cases the courts granted Backpage permanent injunctive relief and awarded them attorney’s fees.[80][84][85][86][87]

The court ruled in favor of Backpage after Sheriff Tom Dart of Cook County IL, a frequent critic of Backpage and its adult postings section, sent a letter on his official stationary to Visa and MasterCard demanding that these firms “immediately cease and desist” allowing the use of their credit cards to purchase ads on Backpage. Within two days both companies withdrew their services from Backpage.[89] Backpage filed a lawsuit asking for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction against Dart granting Backpage relief and return to the status quo prior to Dart sending the letter. Backpage alleged that Dart’s actions were unconstitutional, violating the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the US Constitution as well as Section 230 of the CDA. Backpage asked for Dart to retract his “cease and desist” letters.[90] After initially being denied the injunctive relief by a lower court,[91][92] the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals reversed that decision and directed that a permanent injunction be issued enjoining Dart and his office from taking any actions “to coerce or threaten credit card companies…with sanctions intended to ban credit card or other financial services from being provided to Backpage.com.”[93] The court cited section 230 as part of its decision.

Discriminatory housing ads

The court upheld immunity for Craigslist against Fair Housing Act claims based on discriminatory statements in postings on the classifieds website by third party users.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected immunity for the Roommates.com roommate matching service for claims brought under the federal Fair Housing Act[96] and California housing discrimination laws.[97] The court concluded that the manner in which the service elicited information from users concerning their roommate preferences (by having dropdowns specifying gender, presence of children, and sexual orientation), and the manner in which it utilized that information in generating roommate matches (by eliminating profiles that did not match user specifications), the matching service created or developed the information claimed to violate the FHA, and thus was responsible for it as an “information content provider.” The court upheld immunity for the descriptions posted by users in the “Additional Comments” section because these were entirely created by users.

Threats

  • Delfino v. Agilent Technologies, 145 Cal. App. 4th 790 (2006), cert denied, 128 S. Ct. 98 (2007).

A California Appellate Court unanimously upheld immunity from state tort claims arising from an employee’s use of the employer’s e-mail system to send threatening messages. The court concluded that an employer that provides Internet access to its employees qualifies as a “provider . . . of an interactive service.”

Failure to warn

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected immunity for claims of negligence under California law. Doe filed a complaint against Internet Brands which alleged a “failure to warn” her of a known rape scheme, despite her relationship to them as a ModelMayhem.com member. They also had requisite knowledge to avoid future victimization of ModelMayhem.com users by warning users of online sexual predators. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that the Communications Decency Act did not bar the claim and remanded the case to the district court for further proceedings.

In February 2015, the Ninth Circuit panel set aside its 2014 opinion and set the case for reargument. In May 2016, the panel again held that Doe’s case could proceed.[98][99]

Terrorism

  • Force v. Facebook, Inc., No. 18-397 (2d Cir. July 31, 2019)

The Second Circuit upheld immunity in civil claims for service providers for hosting terrorism-related content created by users. Families, friends, and associates of several killed in Hamas-attacks filed suit against Facebook under the United State’s Anti-Terrorism Act, asserting that since Hamas members used Facebook to coordinate activities, Facebook was liable for its content. While previous rules at federal District and Circuit level have generally ruled against such cases, this decision in the Second Circuit was first to assert that Section 230’s safe harbor provisions do apply even to acts related to terrorism that may be posted by users of service providers, thus dismissing the suit against Facebook. The Second Circuit ruled that the various algorithms Facebook uses to recommend content remains as part of the role of the distributor of the content and not the publisher, since these automated tools were essentially neutral.[60]

Similar legislation in other countries]

European Union

Directive 2000/31/EC[100] establishes a safe haven regime for hosting providers:

  • Article 14 establishes that hosting providers are not responsible for the content they host as long as (1) the acts in question are neutral intermediary acts of a mere technical, automatic and passive capacity; (2) they are not informed of its illegal character, and (3) they act promptly to remove or disable access to the material when informed of it.
  • Article 15 precludes member states from imposing general obligations to monitor hosted content for potential illegal activities.

The updated Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market (Directive 2019/790) Article 17 makes providers liable if they fail to take “effective and proportionate measures” to prevent users from uploading certain copyright violations and do not response immediately to takedown requests.[101]

Australia

In Dow Jones & Company Inc v Gutnick,[102] the High Court of Australia treated defamatory material on a server outside Australia as having been published in Australia when it is downloaded or read by someone in Australia.

Gorton v Australian Broadcasting Commission & Anor (1973) 1 ACTR 6

Under the Defamation Act 2005 (NSW),[103] s 32, a defence to defamation is that the defendant neither knew, nor ought reasonably to have known of the defamation, and the lack of knowledge was not due to the defendant’s negligence.

New Zealandcause of the material CompuServe’s network was carrying into Germany. He was convicted and sentenced to two years probation on May 28, 1998.[104][105] He was cleared on appeal on November 17, 1999.[106][107]

The Oberlandesgericht (OLG) Cologne, an appellate court, found that an online auctioneer does not have an active duty to check for counterfeit goods (Az 6 U 12/01).[108]

In one example, the first-instance district court of Hamburg issued a temporary restraining order requiring message board operator Universal Boards to review all comments before they can be posted to prevent the publication of messages inciting others to download harmful files. The court reasoned that “the publishing house must be held liable for spreading such material in the forum, regardless of whether it was aware of the content.”[109]

United Kingdom

Also see: Defamation Act 2013.

The laws of libel and defamation will treat a disseminator of information as having “published” material posted by a user, and the onus will then be on a defendant to prove that it did not know the publication was defamatory and was not negligent in failing to know: Goldsmith v Sperrings Ltd (1977) 2 All ER 566; Vizetelly v Mudie’s Select Library Ltd (1900) 2 QB 170; Emmens v Pottle & Ors (1885) 16 QBD 354.

In an action against a website operator, on a statement posted on the website, it is a defence to show that it was not the operator who posted the statement on the website. The defence is defeated if it was not possible for the claimant to identify the person who posted the statement, or the claimant gave the operator a notice of complaint and the operator failed to respond in accordance with regulations.

Notes

  1. ^ The details of the Stratton Oakmont case would later serve as the basis for the book and its film The Wolf of Wall Street

References …

External links

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section_230_of_the_Communications_Decency_Act

 

United States antitrust law

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“The Bosses of the Senate”, a cartoon by Joseph Keppler depicting corporate interests—from steel, copper, oil, iron, sugar, tin, and coal to paper bags, envelopes, and salt—as giant money bags looming over the tiny senators at their desks in the Chamber of the United States Senate.[1]

In the United States, antitrust law is a collection of federal and state government laws that regulates the conduct and organization of business corporations, generally to promote competition for the benefit of consumers. (The concept is called competition law in other English-speaking countries.) The main statutes are the Sherman Act of 1890, the Clayton Act of 1914 and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914. These Acts serve three major functions. First, Section 1 of the Sherman Act prohibits price-fixing and the operation of cartels, and prohibits other collusive practices that unreasonably restrain trade. Second, Section 7 of the Clayton Act restricts the mergers and acquisitions of organizations that would likely substantially lessen competition. Third, Section 2 of the Sherman Act prohibits the abuse of monopoly power.[2]

The Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, state governments and private parties who are sufficiently affected may all bring actions in the courts to enforce the antitrust laws. The scope of antitrust laws, and the degree to which they should interfere in an enterprise’s freedom to conduct business, or to protect smaller businesses, communities and consumers, are strongly debated. One view, mostly closely associated with the “Chicago School of economics” suggests that antitrust laws should focus solely on the benefits to consumers and overall efficiency, while a broad range of legal and economic theory sees the role of antitrust laws as also controlling economic power in the public interest.[3]

Contents

History

Although “trust” has a specific legal meaning (where one person holds property for the benefit of another), in the late 19th century the word was commonly used to denote big business, because that legal instrument was frequently used to effect a combination of companies.[4] Large manufacturing conglomerates emerged in great numbers in the 1880s and 1890s, and were perceived to have excessive economic power.[5] The Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 began a shift towards federal rather than state regulation of big business.[6] It was followed by the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 and the Federal Trade Commission Act of 1914, the Robinson–Patman Act of 1936, and the Celler–Kefauver Act of 1950.

In the 1880s, hundreds of small short-line railroads were being bought up and consolidated into giant systems. (Separate laws and policies emerged regarding railroads and financial concerns such as banks and insurance companies.) People for strong antitrust laws argued that, in order for the American economy to be successful, it would require free competition and the opportunity for individual Americans to build their own businesses. As Senator John Sherman put it, “If we will not endure a king as a political power we should not endure a king over the production, transportation, and sale of any of the necessaries of life.” Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act almost unanimously in 1890, and it remains the core of antitrust policy. The Act prohibits agreements in restraint of trade and abuse of monopoly power. It gives the Justice Department the mandate to go to federal court for orders to stop illegal behavior or to impose remedies.[7][original research?]

Public officials during the Progressive Era put passing and enforcing strong antitrust high on their agenda. President Theodore Roosevelt sued 45 companies under the Sherman Act, while William Howard Taft sued 75. In 1902, Roosevelt stopped the formation of the Northern Securities Company, which threatened to monopolize transportation in the Northwest (see Northern Securities Co. v. United States).

Standard Oil (Refinery No. 1 in ClevelandOhio, pictured) was a major company broken up under United States antitrust laws.

One of the better-known trusts was the Standard Oil CompanyJohn D. Rockefeller in the 1870s and 1880s had used economic threats against competitors and secret rebate deals with railroads to build what was called a monopoly in the oil business, though some minor competitors remained in business. In 1911 the Supreme Court agreed that in recent years (1900–1904) Standard had violated the Sherman Act (see Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States). It broke the monopoly into three dozen separate companies that competed with one another, including Standard Oil of New Jersey (later known as Exxon and now ExxonMobil), Standard Oil of Indiana (Amoco), Standard Oil Company of New York (Mobil, again, later merged with Exxon to form ExxonMobil), of California (Chevron), and so on. In approving the breakup the Supreme Court added the “rule of reason”: not all big companies, and not all monopolies, are evil; and the courts (not the executive branch) are to make that decision. To be harmful, a trust had to somehow damage the economic environment of its competitors.[citation needed]

United States Steel Corporation, which was much larger than Standard Oil, won its antitrust suit in 1920 despite never having delivered the benefits to consumers that Standard Oil did.[citation needed] In fact, it lobbied for tariff protection that reduced competition, and so contending that it was one of the “good trusts” that benefited the economy is somewhat doubtful.[citation needed] Likewise International Harvester survived its court test, while other monopolies were broken up in tobacco, meatpacking, and bathtub fixtures. Over the years hundreds of executives of competing companies who met together illegally to fix prices went to federal prison.[citation needed]

In 1914 Congress passed the Clayton Act, which prohibited specific business actions (such as price discrimination and tying) if they substantially lessened competition. At the same time Congress established the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), whose legal and business experts could force business to agree to “consent decrees“, which provided an alternative mechanism to police antitrust.[citation needed]

American hostility to big business began to decrease after the Progressive Era.[citation needed] For example, Ford Motor Company dominated auto manufacturing, built millions of cheap cars that put America on wheels, and at the same time lowered prices, raised wages, and promoted manufacturing efficiency. Welfare capitalism made large companies an attractive place to work; new career paths opened up in middle management; local suppliers discovered that big corporations were big purchasers.[citation needed] Talk of trust busting faded away. Under the leadership of Herbert Hoover, the government in the 1920s promoted business cooperation, fostered the creation of self-policing trade associations, and made the FTC an ally of “respectable business”.[citation needed]

The printing equipment company ATF explicitly states in its 1923 manual that its goal is to ‘discourage unhealthy competition’ in the printing industry.

During the New Deal, attempts were made to stop cutthroat competition. The National Industrial Recovery Act (NIRA) was a short-lived program in 1933–35 designed to strengthen trade associations, and raise prices, profits and wages at the same time. The Robinson-Patman Act of 1936 sought to protect local retailers against the onslaught of the more efficient chain stores, by making it illegal to discount prices. To control big business, the New Deal policymakers preferred federal and state regulation —controlling the rates and telephone services provided by AT&T, for example— and by building up countervailing power in the form of labor unions.[citation needed]

The antitrust environment of the 70’s was dominated by the case United States v. IBM, which was filed by the U.S. Justice Department in 1969. IBM at the time dominated the computer market through alleged bundling of software and hardware as well as sabotage at the sales level and false product announcements. It was one of the largest and certainly the lengthiest antitrust case the DoJ brought against a company. In 1982, the Reagan administration dismissed the case, and the costs and wasted resources were heavily criticized. However, contemporary economists argue that the legal pressure on IBM during that period allowed for the development of an independent software and personal computer industry with major importance for the national economy.[8]

In 1982 the Reagan administration used the Sherman Act to break up AT&T into one long-distance company and seven regional “Baby Bells“, arguing that competition should replace monopoly for the benefit of consumers and the economy as a whole. The pace of business takeovers quickened in the 1990s, but whenever one large corporation sought to acquire another, it first had to obtain the approval of either the FTC or the Justice Department. Often the government demanded that certain subsidiaries be sold so that the new company would not monopolize a particular geographical market.[citation needed]

In 1999 a coalition of 19 states and the federal Justice Department sued Microsoft.[9] A highly publicized trial found that Microsoft had strong-armed many companies in an attempt to prevent competition from the Netscape browser.[10] In 2000, the trial court ordered Microsoft to split in two, preventing it from future misbehavior.[11][9] The Court of Appeals affirmed in part and reversed in part. In addition, it removed the judge from the case for discussing the case with the media while it was still pending.[12] With the case in front of a new judge, Microsoft and the government settled, with the government dropping the case in return for Microsoft agreeing to cease many of the practices the government challenged.[13] In his defense, CEO Bill Gates argued that Microsoft always worked on behalf of the consumer and that splitting the company would diminish efficiency and slow the pace of software development.[citation needed]

Cartels and collusion

Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal. Every person who shall make any contract or engage in any combination or conspiracy hereby declared to be illegal shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

Sherman Act 1890 §1

Preventing collusion and cartels that act in restraint of trade is an essential task of antitrust law. It reflects the view that each business has a duty to act independently on the market, and so earn its profits solely by providing better priced and quality products than its competitors. The Sherman Act §1 prohibits “[e]very contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce.”[14] This targets two or more distinct enterprises acting together in a way that harms third parties. It does not capture the decisions of a single enterprise, or a single economic entity, even though the form of an entity may be two or more separate legal persons or companies. In Copperweld Corp. v. Independence Tube Corp.[15] it was held an agreement between a parent company and a wholly owned subsidiary could not be subject to antitrust law, because the decision took place within a single economic entity.[16] This reflects the view that if the enterprise (as an economic entity) has not acquired a monopoly position, or has significant market power, then no harm is done. The same rationale has been extended to joint ventures, where corporate shareholders make a decision through a new company they form. In Texaco Inc. v. Dagher[17] the Supreme Court held unanimously that a price set by a joint venture between Texaco and Shell Oil did not count as making an unlawful agreement. Thus the law draws a “basic distinction between concerted and independent action”.[18] Multi-firm conduct tends to be seen as more likely than single-firm conduct to have an unambiguously negative effect and “is judged more sternly”.[19] Generally the law identifies four main categories of agreement. First, some agreements such as price fixing or sharing markets are automatically unlawful, or illegal per se. Second, because the law does not seek to prohibit every kind of agreement that hinders freedom of contract, it developed a “rule of reason” where a practice might restrict trade in a way that is seen as positive or beneficial for consumers or society. Third, significant problems of proof and identification of wrongdoing arise where businesses make no overt contact, or simply share information, but appear to act in concert. Tacit collusion, particularly in concentrated markets with a small number of competitors or oligopolists, have led to significant controversy over whether or not antitrust authorities should intervene. Fourth, vertical agreements between a business and a supplier or purchaser “up” or “downstream” raise concerns about the exercise of market power, however they are generally subject to a more relaxed standard under the “rule of reason”.

Restrictive practices

Some practices are deemed by the courts to be so obviously detrimental that they are categorized as being automatically unlawful, or illegal per se. The simplest and central case of this is price fixing. This involves an agreement by businesses to set the price or consideration of a good or service which they buy or sell from others at a specific level. If the agreement is durable, the general term for these businesses is a cartel. It is irrelevant whether or not the businesses succeed in increasing their profits, or whether together they reach the level of having market power as might a monopoly. Such collusion is illegal per se.

Bid rigging is a form of price fixing and market allocation that involves an agreement in which one party of a group of bidders will be designated to win the bid. Geographic market allocation is an agreement between competitors not to compete within each other’s geographic territories.

  • Addyston Pipe and Steel Co. v. United States[20] pipe manufacturers had agreed among themselves to designate one lowest bidder for government contracts. This was held to be an unlawful restraint of trade contrary to the Sherman Act. However, following the reasoning of Justice Taft in the Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court held that implicit in the Sherman Act §1 there was a rule of reason, so that not every agreement which restrained the freedom of contract of the parties would count as an anti-competitive violation.
  • Hartford Fire Insurance Co. v. California, 113 S.Ct. 2891 (1993) 5 to 4, a group of reinsurance companies acting in London were successfully sued by California for conspiring to make U.S. insurance companies abandon policies beneficial to consumers, but costly to reinsure. The Sherman Act was held to have extraterritorial application, to agreements outside U.S. territory.
Group boycotts of competitors, customers or distributors

Rule of reason

If an antitrust claim does not fall within a per se illegal category, the plaintiff must show the conduct causes harm in “restraint of trade” under the Sherman Act §1 according to “the facts peculiar to the business to which the restraint is applied”.[21] This essentially means that unless a plaintiff can point to a clear precedent, to which the situation is analogous, proof of an anti-competitive effect is more difficult. The reason for this is that the courts have endeavoured to draw a line between practices that restrain trade in a “good” compared to a “bad” way. In the first case, United States v. Trans-Missouri Freight Association,[22] the Supreme Court found that railroad companies had acted unlawfully by setting up an organisation to fix transport prices. The railroads had protested that their intention was to keep prices low, not high. The court found that this was not true, but stated that not every “restraint of trade” in a literal sense could be unlawful. Just as under the common law, the restraint of trade had to be “unreasonable”. In Chicago Board of Trade v. United States the Supreme Court found a “good” restraint of trade.[23] The Chicago Board of Trade had a rule that commodities traders were not allowed to privately agree to sell or buy after the market’s closing time (and then finalise the deals when it opened the next day). The reason for the Board of Trade having this rule was to ensure that all traders had an equal chance to trade at a transparent market price. It plainly restricted trading, but the Chicago Board of Trade argued this was beneficial. Brandeis J., giving judgment for a unanimous Supreme Court, held the rule to be pro-competitive, and comply with the rule of reason. It did not violate the Sherman Act §1. As he put it,

Every agreement concerning trade, every regulation of trade, restrains. To bind, to restrain, is of their very essence. The true test of legality is whether the restraint imposed is such as merely regulates and perhaps thereby promotes competition or whether it is such as may suppress or even destroy competition. To