Politics – News Net Daily https://newsnetdaily.com an integrated news site covering all the news from all over the world, with a new vision that covers all the news as it happens from our different sources. Sat, 05 Sep 2020 13:05:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5 In North Carolina telerally, Trump again suggests voting in person after mailing ballot https://newsnetdaily.com/in-north-carolina-telerally-trump-again-suggests-voting-in-person-after-mailing-ballot/ Sat, 05 Sep 2020 13:05:24 +0000 https://newsnetdaily.com/in-north-carolina-telerally-trump-again-suggests-voting-in-person-after-mailing-ballot/ Politics – washingtonpost

On Friday night Trump encouraged people to vote in-person even if their mail-in ballots are on the way, portraying the system as untrustworthy and saying, “They’ll lose your vote.”

“So if it hasn’t been counted, if it doesn’t show up, go and vote and then if your mail-in ballot arrives after you vote — which it shouldn’t, but possibly it could, perhaps — that ballot will not be used or counted in that your vote has already been cast and tabulated,” Trump said.

“This way you’re guaranteed to have your vote counted,” he said. “So send it in and then see and then vote and let’s see what happens.”

The president and many of his supporters have opposed mail-in voting’s expansion even amid the pandemic. Trump has repeatedly warned without evidence that the shift will lead to mass fraud and has also suggested it will hurt Republicans’ chances by leading more Democrats to cast ballots.

The Trump campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night, nor did the Republican National Committee, which along with conservative groups has sought to limit the expansion of mail-in ballots this fall.

Trump’s earlier advice to vote twice, given Wednesday at a White House event, prompted the North Carolina State Board of Elections to underscore in a statement that casting two votes or attempting to do so is a felony and that soliciting someone to double-vote is also illegal.

The board’s executive director said people should not show up at polling places to check their ballots were received, listing other ways to inquire about the status of one’s vote and saying that going in-person “would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading covid-19.”

The board did not respond to an inquiry Friday night.

Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting have left election officials as well as social media platforms rushing to combat misinformation. The president’s remarks Friday echoed Thursday tweets that Twitter flagged as violating its rules on “civic and election integrity,” specifically for “encouraging people to potentially vote twice.”

Trump also reiterated his warnings about “unsolicited ballots” in the call with supporters in North Carolina, despite the fact that the state does not send mail-in ballots or applications unsolicited.

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The things Americans are most worried about are things they prefer Biden to deal with https://newsnetdaily.com/the-things-americans-are-most-worried-about-are-things-they-prefer-biden-to-deal-with/ Sat, 05 Sep 2020 10:35:20 +0000 https://newsnetdaily.com/the-things-americans-are-most-worried-about-are-things-they-prefer-biden-to-deal-with/ Politics – washingtonpost

One of the main problems Trump faces at the moment is that the issues about which Americans feel the most urgency are the ones for which they prefer Biden to be president.

Gallup regularly asks Americans what they identify as the most important problem facing the country. There are some constants, like the economy, but it ebbs and flows month over month as issues emerge and then fade from prominence.

The pattern looks like this. Don’t worry about what the colors represent; we’ll get to the important ones in a minute.

For example, one important problem is general concern about the economy. Unsurprisingly, there were a lot of people at the beginning of Barack Obama’s presidency who identified the economy as the most important problem the United States was facing. After all, this was when the effects of the recession were still causing massive layoffs.

As the years passed, concern about the economy faded, as shown by the narrowing of the section on the graph. By 2015, about 13 percent of the country viewed the economy as the most important problem on average. That swelled to 15 percent in 2016, as the presidential election was underway, but then it all but evaporated. (Partisanship plays a role here, as it does everywhere.)

Notice that unemployment trailed general economic concerns a bit. For most of Obama’s first term, though, it was a significant concern.

You may have noticed something remarkable about these numbers: even as unemployment has spiked and the economy stalled this year, that hasn’t been identified as a significant problem in the view of the American public.

Why not? Because, instead, the concern is focused on the pandemic, which spurred that economic difficulty. Gallup has a general category for disease that includes concerns about the coronavirus (as it included concern about the Ebola virus, which accelerated just in time for the 2014 midterm elections).

Again, this is not a strong suit for Trump. In poll after poll, including our own, Biden has an advantage in dealing with the issue.

Our poll, released before the conventions, did show that Americans generally thought Trump would be better at dealing with crime. But crime simply isn’t something that most Americans see as a significant problem.

The line gets a bit thicker there at the bottom as Trump and his allies have focused on it. But it’s simply not something most Americans are prioritizing. And, for what it’s worth, post-convention polling suggests that Trump’s focus on the subject hasn’t done much to aid his campaign.

In 2016, Trump had much better luck at steering the conversation to subjects where he fared well. He focused heavily on immigration, for example, making the border a central part of his campaign rhetoric. To a large extent, he was parlaying concern that arose in mid-2014 when the number of unaccompanied children arriving at the border spiked after an increase in crime in Central America.

During his presidency, he kept a focus on immigration, both in attempting to throw out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program Obama had instituted and, of course, in pushing to get a wall built on the border. With the advent of the pandemic, though, immigration has faded as an issue of concern.

Trump likewise gained a lot of political capital from his hard-line position on terrorism as a candidate. That was made easier by several terrorist incidents in the United States and internationally, and by the existence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

An extended campaign targeting the Islamic State, though, limited its reach, culminating in the collapse of the caliphate last year. Terrorist incidents have since declined.

In 2016, about 3 in 10 voters identified terrorism and immigration as the most important issues facing the country. Trump won about two-thirds of those votes.

Other issues that were a focus of Trump’s presidency have similarly faded. Health care was a focal point of Republican politics for years after the passage of the Affordable Care Act early in Obama’s presidency. Once it went into effect (and after the Obama administration had resolved problems plaguing the program’s website), concern about health care faded.

It swelled again in 2017, when Trump and congressional Republicans tried to repeal the law, but then-Sen. John McCain’s no vote on a Senate bill ended that effort — and kicked off a period in which health care faded as a commonly cited problem.

One thing that replaced it was concern about race relations. Until the summer of 2014, race relations were not generally identified as an important problem for Americans. The deaths of several Black men while in police custody that year, though, prompted the start of the Black Lives Matter movement and began a new national conversation on race.

Trump worked that conversation into his 2016 campaign, too. When five police officers were killed by a man claiming to support Black Lives Matter that July, Trump seized on the incident as a way to talk about how tumultuous the country was under Obama’s leadership.

During his presidency, race has been a constant undercurrent. At times, it has become a significant focal point, as it did after the death of an anti-racism protester in Charlottesville in 2017, and as it has recently, following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Again, this is an area where Americans have more confidence in Biden’s approach than Trump’s. But perhaps the most worrisome for Trump among the problems Americans identify is one that always lands in the upper tier of concerns.

Americans continually believe that the government itself is an important problem.

In 2016, Trump was able to capitalize on dislike of politicians. But notice what happened from 2016 to 2017: Concern about government and politicians ballooned. Some of that isn’t a function of Trump becoming president. But it’s easy to assume that most of it is.

That, more than anything, is the factor driving this election. It is heavily a referendum on Trump, with his base enthusiastic about voting for him. But polling also repeatedly shows that voting against Trump is a central part of Biden’s support.

In Gallup’s most recent poll, 35 percent of Americans identified the pandemic as the biggest problem facing the country. Another 22 percent identified politicians. Many, presumably, had one particular politician in mind.

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Biden and Trump square off on the economy, a preview of their fall battle. https://newsnetdaily.com/biden-and-trump-square-off-on-the-economy-a-preview-of-their-fall-battle/ Sat, 05 Sep 2020 08:05:24 +0000 https://newsnetdaily.com/biden-and-trump-square-off-on-the-economy-a-preview-of-their-fall-battle/ Politics – washingtonpost

The two vastly different takes on the same economy previewed the arguments both men will make in the final phase of the election campaign on a topic that typically ranks top of mind for voters but that has been eclipsed this year by the coronavirus pandemic. Biden said Friday that he will spend the next three weeks contrasting his economic plans with Trump’s, while the president has predicted more positive economic data in the future and a full recovery next year.

The economy has been the most potent vehicle for Trump as his standing has weakened in recent months, with voters nationally and in swing states consistently saying they trust the president more than his challenger on the economy. But Biden and those close to his campaign believe there is room for the Democratic nominee to shine on the issue, particularly if Trump’s exuberant proclamations about jobs ring hollow compared with voters’ own lives.

“Talk to a lot of real working people,” Biden said Friday, speaking at a community center just a few miles from his home. “Ask them, do they feel like they’re being left behind? Ask them how they feel about the economy coming back.”

“We all know it didn’t have to be this bad,” Biden said.

Trump offered less nuance. “Great Jobs Numbers!” he said on social media Friday morning. He bragged that the 8.4 percent unemployment rate in the August jobs report was “much better than expected” and boasted that the rate had dropped below 10 percent “faster and deeper than thought possible.”

Many of the new positions are temporary government jobs, spurred by a boom in hiring by the Census Bureau. Other areas showing recovery included retail, which added nearly 250,000 jobs; leisure and hospitality, which brought about 174,000 jobs back, mostly in restaurants, bars and other food establishments; and education and health services, which gained about 147,000 jobs.

At a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Thursday, Trump repeated his prediction that the government would announce “great” growth in the third quarter on Oct. 29, just days before the election.

“I’m putting myself on the line, but I know what is going to happen,” Trump said. “The numbers are going to be great.”

He continued in that vein Friday evening at a White House news conference, during which he repeatedly attacked Biden.

“You see what’s going on. It’s been pretty amazing,” Trump said.

“Our country is doing so well,” he said. “We’re starting to do so well.”

Yet there is ample evidence that Americans are hurting. Roughly 14 million people remain out of work. Last month, about 40 percent of renters were facing the prospect of being kicked out of their homes for failure to pay rent. About 29 million people are drawing some form of unemployment assistance, according to jobless benefit data released Thursday.

Permanent job losses continue to rise at an alarming rate, reaching more than 2 million, while thousands of small businesses are at risk of closing for good without additional help. Certain parts of the economy — particularly hospitality and real estate — have been badly damaged.

“Are you kidding? It’s only elites who think this economy is a joy for people,” said Stanley Greenberg, a top Democratic pollster who specializes in economic messaging. In focus groups with rural Trump voters, he said, he’s found that they don’t connect at all with the president’s message.

“When Trump says how well the economy is, they say, ‘Not where I am,’ ” Greenberg said.

He said Biden “is utterly aligned with where working people are and where the country is in terms of what a struggle the economy is.”

But Biden has not yet convinced voters that he would be better positioned to handle the economy as president.

In crucial Pennsylvania, 52 percent of likely voters said Trump would do a better job handling the economy, while 45 percent preferred Biden, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. In Florida, Trump led Biden by 13 percentage points on handling the economy, the same survey found. And a recent Fox News poll showed that the president held an eight-point advantage on the economy among likely voters in North Carolina, a state won by Trump in 2016 that Biden wants to pick up in November.

In his address Friday, Biden sought repeatedly to tie the president’s mishandling of the coronavirus to the nation’s economic problems, reflecting a core theme of his campaign and a topic on which his polling numbers are generally far better than Trump’s.

“We can’t deal with an economic crisis until you beat the pandemic,” Biden said. “It didn’t have to be this bad to begin with if the president just did his job.”

He argued that the prospect of a “K-shaped” recovery, in which those on the top thrive while those on the bottom see their prospects worsen, is a metaphor for the entire Trump presidency.

“At the root of this is the fact that Trump has mismanaged the covid crisis,” Biden said. “That’s why it’s a K-shaped pandemic.”

Biden also shifted his focus a bit to highlight the struggles of White working-class voters and police officers, two groups that have not been a recent emphasis of his campaign. It appeared to be a response to some Biden supporters who have expressed concerns that the former vice president is paying too much attention to Black voters and leaving an opening for Trump to cement ties with law enforcement.

“White working-class communities are being hit hard as well,” Biden said, using a phrase that his campaign largely avoids.

At another point, he said: “We lost more cops this year to covid than on patrol. It’s a reminder how an already dangerous job of law enforcement has gotten much more dangerous because of Trump’s mismanagement.”

Regarding his own economic plans, Biden pledged if elected to bring leaders from both parties together to work out a deal to help Americans, and he said in broad outlines that Americans should be given more support during the pandemic. Water and electricity, he said, should not be shut off.

Speaking of rising evictions, he suggested that Trump’s recent order to halt them was insufficient.

“He’s not giving them any support to pay rent when it comes due,” Biden said.

The Democratic nominee plans to travel to Michigan next week, and in a preview of his message there he made a point Friday of highlighting the more than 700,000 manufacturing jobs that have been lost during Trump’s presidency.

“Donald Trump may be the only president in modern history to leave office with fewer jobs than when he took office,” Biden said.

But Trump’s advisers have expressed optimism that he can pin the economic fallout from the virus on China and that voters will see him marshaling a speedy recovery. They’ve been particularly encouraged by parts of the economy that have rebounded quickly, pointing to the housing, automobile and manufacturing sectors. Consumer spending has also remained robust.

“Economic momentum is a huge asset to Trump in terms of his campaign message, which is that he’s the better candidate to lead us out of this economic crisis,” said Stephen Moore, an outside economic adviser to the White House.

“Trump can win the election if people are feeling more confident about the direction of the economy. The question is if we can keep this positive trend going for the next two months.”

Even Democratic economists conceded that the economy has improved and predicted that the trajectory could continue upward — relatively speaking.

“The unemployment rate has moved quickly from historically horrible to merely bad,” said Jason Furman, a former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama. “From one perspective, that is an impressive rapid improvement, faster than I would have expected. From another perspective, that is still bad.”

He said there were some warning signs that the pace of improvement would not continue, since the number of people reporting permanent job losses, instead of pandemic-related furloughs, has been increasing.

“The easy phase of the recovery is getting people back to work in their jobs,” he said. “The harder phase is people finding new jobs.”

Furman also said Trump would probably have more positive data coming before the election.

“Digging your way partway up can look like fast growth,” Furman said.

Scott Clement, Jeff Stein and Michael Scherer contributed to this report.

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Charges dropped against man who was prosecuted six times for murder https://newsnetdaily.com/charges-dropped-against-man-who-was-prosecuted-six-times-for-murder/ Sat, 05 Sep 2020 06:50:20 +0000 https://newsnetdaily.com/charges-dropped-against-man-who-was-prosecuted-six-times-for-murder/ Politics – washingtonpost

Flowers, who is Black, spent nearly 23 years in prison for a quadruple murder in the town of Winona in 1996. He has maintained his innocence.

“Today, I am finally free from the injustice that left me locked in a box for nearly twenty three years,” Flowers said in a statement released through his attorneys. “I’ve been asked if I ever thought this day would come. I have been blessed with a family that never gave up on me and with them by my side, I knew it would.”

The dismissal comes at a time of heightened sensitivity over racial inequality in the criminal justice system, and one of his lawyers alluded to that after the court’s action Friday.

“Today’s dismissal, along with the Supreme Court decision in Curtis Flowers’s appeal last year, vindicates one innocent Black American, a gentleman of immense character,” said lawyer Henderson Hill. He said it was part of a movement for “racial equity to replace white supremacy as our justice system’s organizing principle.”

A White local district attorney, Doug Evans, had attempted to convict Flowers in a prosecutorial pursuit that may be without parallel.

Two trials — the only ones with more than one African American on the panel — resulted in hung juries. Three convictions were overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court for prosecutorial misconduct and improper maneuvering by Evans to keep African Americans off the jury.

But the state supreme court said Evans had offered race-neutral reasons in the most recent trial, in 2010, when the prosecutor struck five of six Black potential jurors. Flowers was convicted of the murders in a furniture store of Bertha Tardy, 59, Carmen Rigby, 45, Robert Golden, 42, and 16-year-old Derrick “Bo Bo” Stewart, and sentenced to death.

But the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-to-2 decision by Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh, disagreed.

“The state’s relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals strongly suggests that the state wanted to try Flowers before a jury with as few black jurors as possible, and ideally before an all-white jury,” Kavanaugh wrote, adding: “We cannot ignore that history.”

After that, Evans gave up the case. Flowers was released from prison on bond, and Fitch took over the prosecution.

Her office said the case was too weak to continue. “As the evidence stands today, there is no key prosecution witness . . . who is alive and available and has not had multiple, conflicting statements in the record,” her office said in a filing.

Fitch declined further comment.

“As a general rule, General Fitch intends to refrain from seeking media coverage on individual prosecutions in an effort to de-sensationalize this very serious process for the individuals involved,” said spokesperson Colby Jordan. “The families here deserve that respect.”

Much of the evidence against Flowers, who was 26 at the time of the killings, has been disputed in recent years, including witness recantations. His case received national attention because of the reporting of American Public Media in its podcast series “In the Dark.”

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Trump, Biden clash over military support after president?s alleged disparagement of fallen troops https://newsnetdaily.com/trump-biden-clash-over-military-support-after-presidents-alleged-disparagement-of-fallen-troops/ Sat, 05 Sep 2020 02:00:23 +0000 https://newsnetdaily.com/trump-biden-clash-over-military-support-after-presidents-alleged-disparagement-of-fallen-troops/ Politics – washingtonpost

“Who the heck does he think he is?” said Biden, whose late son Beau served in Iraq with the Delaware National Guard. “How would you feel if you had a kid in Afghanistan right now? How would you feel if you lost a son or daughter, husband, wife? How would you feel, for real? But you know in your heart, you know in your gut: It’s deplorable.”

The White House mobilized rapidly in hopes of preventing the debate from becoming “a major election issue,” one senior official said. More than 10 current and former senior aides — including national security adviser Robert O’Brien and senior adviser Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law — vehemently denied the Atlantic’s account of the president’s trip to France in 2018.

The magazine, citing four anonymous sources, reported late Thursday that Trump had called off a trip to Aisne-Marne American Cemetery, resting site of American and other troops who died in World War I, because he did not want rain to mess up his hair and he believed it was not important to honor the fallen service members.

But Trump’s aides offered personal testimonies of the president’s concern for the well-being of troops during tactical military operations and his personal attention to wounded veterans during trips to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and Dover Air Force Base.

“It’s a hoax … just like Russia, Russia, Russia,” Trump said of the magazine’s account at a Friday news conference, comparing it to the special counsel’s investigation into his 2016 campaign’s contacts with Russian operatives. “There is nobody who feels more strongly about our soldiers, our wounded warriors, our soldiers that died in war, than I do.”

The issue has escalated quickly as Biden and his surrogates have sought to undermine a key pillar of Trump’s reelection message — his projection of toughness and patriotism. Trump has boasted of a deep well of mutual admiration and support from military troops and families, while attempting to paint Biden as weak and unable to stand up to foreign leaders. Biden’s campaign seized on the fallout of the Atlantic report to sketch the picture of a president who has a history of mistreating troops and veterans in service of his own political gain.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany disclosed an email from a military officer on the day Trump had been scheduled to visit Belleau Wood stating that bad weather had grounded Marine One, as Trump aides had stated at the time.

Aides said they elected not to have the president take a lengthy motorcade due to the challenging logistics, an account backed up by former national security adviser John Bolton in his recent memoir.

McEnany slammed the Atlantic’s reporting as “conspiracy-laden propaganda” peddled by “liberal activists” that was based on “four cowardly anonymous sources that probably do not even exist.”

Trump said the Secret Service is preparing a report documenting how the trip to the cemetery was canceled due to logistical complications.

“I said nope, ‘I want to go. I insist on going,’” Trump said he told Secret Service officials. “It would have taken us forever. The Paris police said, ‘Please, you can’t do this.’ They’d have to shut down parts of Paris. It was an impossible situation.”

Still, the White House found itself on defensive footing as more potentially damaging allegations emerged about Trump’s views of the military, including on Fox News, the cable network that Trump has relied on for favorable coverage. One Fox correspondent reported that Trump had told aides — while planning for an Independence Day celebration on the National Mall last year — that the inclusion of wounded veterans was “not a good look” and that “Americans don’t like that.”

One former senior administration official told The Washington Post that John F. Kelly, a retired Marine general who was serving as Trump’s chief of staff during the trip to France, grew frustrated on a regular basis with Trump’s lack of basic knowledge about the military and its operations.

A second former official said Trump would occasionally speak disparagingly of the military, angering Kelly and Jim Mattis, another retired general who served as defense secretary. That former official said Trump often praised top military officials and liked surrounding himself with commanders in uniforms. But the president also would complain that the military leaders were myopic and did not understand the business world he had come from, including the importance of profits and losses.

The president would occasionally say that people who served in Vietnam should have been smarter to avoid it, said the second former official.

“He would tire of all the great commendations that people who had fought and served got,” said the second official.

Both former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive private conversations. Kelly declined to comment.

At the Friday news conference, Trump ripped into Kelly, deriding him as unable to meet the demands of his White House job. “He was a tough guy,” Trump said. “By the time he was done, he got eaten up. He was unable to function.”

White House aides reached out to former officials and others on the Belleau Wood trip to deny the story, one person familiar with the matter said, and aides are fearful that former military officials will continue to dribble out negative details until the election.

Trump on Friday also reversed a move by the Pentagon to kill funding for Stars and Stripes, the venerable military newspaper. “The president was already facing blowback from the military and it didn’t make sense to do this,” one senior administration official said.

O’Brien, who served as the State Department’s top hostage negotiator before taking over the National Security Council last year, said Trump showed acute sensitivity to the care for service members and their families. He said the president would ask if U.S. troops could be kept out of some military operations, and he cited Trump’s push to increase funding for the military as an example of his willingness to provide the Pentagon “every tool necessary.”

“I can’t believe a word of what’s in the Atlantic article,” O’Brien said, “because I’ve had 2½ years working side-by-side with the president. I’ve never seen anything like that.”

But Biden did not limit his criticism to Trump’s purported remarks in France. Rather, he laid out a litany of examples to build a case that the president’s professed admiration for the Armed Forces is based on political expediency.

Biden cited Trump’s disparagement of the late senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who was held captive during the Vietnam War, as a “loser”; his description of concussion-like symptoms of U.S. troops in Iraq after a missile attack by Iran in January as “not very serious”; his decision not to confront Russian President Vladimir Putin over U.S. intelligence reports that Moscow had bribed Taliban forces to kill American troops; and the efforts by military leaders to drape a flag over the name of the USS McCain battleship in Japan ahead of Trump’s trip there last year.

“I just think it is sick. It is deplorable — so un-American, so unpatriotic,” Biden said.

Biden’s campaign also arranged a conference call for reporters with Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Rep. Conor Lamb (D-Pa.), both military veterans, as well as Khizr Khan, the father of an American service member killed in the Iraq War in 2004, who has been critical of Trump.

“I’d take my wheelchair and titanium legs over Donald Trump’s supposed bone spurs any day,” said Duckworth, who lost both legs during a rocket attack by Iraqi insurgents in 2004. She was referring to the medical diagnosis that reportedly led to a young Trump gaining a medical deferment from service in Vietnam in 1968.

In districts across the country, Democratic congressional candidates seized on Trump’s comments and chided Republican opponents for refusing to stand up to the president. Nearly every Senate Democratic challenger — including many who served in the military — tweeted about the Atlantic report.

“As the mother of a son in the Army, this hit close to home — these reports are deeply alarming,” wrote Theresa Greenfield, who is challenging Sen. Joni Ernst (R) for her Iowa seat.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee issued a statement that “not a single Senate Republican has spoken out about Trump’s vile attacks against veterans and service members.”

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), who was appointed to McCain’s seat after he died in 2018 and faces a challenging race, came closest — praising McCain without explicitly mentioning Trump.

“Senator McSally has no interest in moderating a fight between The Atlantic and the president over anonymously sourced accusations that have been debunked on the record,” a campaign spokeswoman said.

Michael Scherer in Washington and Annie Linskey in Wilmington, Del., contributed to this report.

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White House plans to bar federal agencies from race-related training sessions it calls ‘Un-American’ https://newsnetdaily.com/white-house-plans-to-bar-federal-agencies-from-race-related-training-sessions-it-calls-un-american/ Sat, 05 Sep 2020 00:45:21 +0000 https://newsnetdaily.com/white-house-plans-to-bar-federal-agencies-from-race-related-training-sessions-it-calls-un-american/ Politics – washingtonpost

The memo was released on Friday.

It also tells all federal agencies to identify all methods possible to cancel contracts that involve teaching that America is an “inherently racist or evil country.”

“The President has directed me to ensure that federal agencies cease and desist from using taxpayer dollars to fund these divisive, un-American propaganda training sessions,“ the memo states.

Vought writes in the memo that “it has come to the President’s attention that Executive Branch agencies have spent millions of taxpayer dollars to date ‘training’ government workers to believe divisive, anti-American propaganda.”

He then refers to a press report that says federal employees “have been required to attend trainings where they are told that ‘virtually all White people contribute to racism’ or where they are required to say that they ‘benefit from racism.’”

It could not immediately be learned what training sessions Vought was referring to in the memo.

The memo later says that “the President, and his Administration, are fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals in the United States.”

The memo comes after Trump has put himself at the center of an intense national debates about race, politics tactics, the Civil War, and the Confederate flag. Democrats have long taken aim at Trump’s comments about race, including his false assertion that President Obama was not born in the United States.

And this year, after numerous Black Lives Matter protests occurred around the country following incidents when certain police officers killed or shot Black Americans, Trump has sharply criticized social justice protesters and called for law enforcement to crack down hard.

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The November election season has officially started, as North Carolina begins sending out mail ballots https://newsnetdaily.com/the-november-election-season-has-officially-started-as-north-carolina-begins-sending-out-mail-ballots/ Fri, 04 Sep 2020 23:30:20 +0000 https://newsnetdaily.com/the-november-election-season-has-officially-started-as-north-carolina-begins-sending-out-mail-ballots/ Politics – washingtonpost

The early start, coupled with the record-setting number of people expected to vote by mail in many states, means that an unusually large number of voters could cast their ballots long before Election Day on Nov. 3. In North Carolina, where any eligible voter can request an absentee ballot, voters can return their ballots as early as next week.

“It’s not Election Day. It’s election months — plural,” said Michael Bitzer, political science professor at Catawba College in North Carolina.

Voting in North Carolina garnered attention this week after President Trump suggested to voters that they should try casting ballots more than once to test the integrity of the voting system in the presidential battleground state.

Trump and other Republicans have repeatedly sought to undermine trust in the mail-in voting system this year, incorrectly claiming that it is particularly vulnerable to widespread fraud. Problems with mail delivery, partially caused by changes enacted by a postmaster general who is an ally of Trump’s, have deepened worries about the Postal Service and led many voters to request their ballots early.

Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, issued a statement this week emphasizing that voting twice in an election is a Class 1 felony, and that voting twice or soliciting someone else to do so is also a violation of North Carolina law.

The state’s absentee ballots are rigorously tracked to avoid mistakes or fraud, voting advocates say. They are logged as soon as they are requested by the voter, mailed out by election officials and returned to the election office, Bitzer said. The state also uses a ballot-tracking service that makes it easy to check their status.

Voters can also drop off their absentee ballots in person at a county board of elections office by Election Day.

As of early afternoon Friday, the state had mailed out more than 536,000 of the 653,261 absentee ballots requested by voters. At this point in 2016, by comparison, some 38,000 absentee ballots had been requested.

The state has seen a shift in the demographics of those seeking to use absentee ballots, Bitzer said. In 2016, a plurality of those who requested and cast such ballots were Republican, at 40 percent. Thirty-one percent were Democrats, and the rest were unaffiliated with a party. But this year, more than half of the requests are from registered Democrats, he said.

A higher proportion of Black voters have requested absentee ballots this year compared with the 2016 election, Bitzer said, citing state elections data.

“It’s just an exponential increase [of absentee ballot requests] that we have never seen before in the state,” he said. “I would attribute that to voter engagement, voter enthusiasm” in addition to the coronavirus pandemic.

Voters have until Oct. 27 to request an absentee ballot, but election officials are urging them to request one as early as possible.

“We are encouraging people to get their requests in as soon as possible, because there is such an overwhelming demand for absentee ballots this year,” said Patrick Gannon, spokesman for the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

The number of absentee ballots requested for the election dwarfs the absentee turnout in 2016. That year, 4 percent of the state’s registered voters had voted by mail. As of Friday morning, 9 percent of the state’s roughly 7 million registered voters had already requested mail-in ballots, Gannon said.

Elise Viebeck contributed to this report.

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Serbia and Kosovo sign breakthrough economic accord https://newsnetdaily.com/serbia-and-kosovo-sign-breakthrough-economic-accord/ Fri, 04 Sep 2020 22:15:22 +0000 https://newsnetdaily.com/serbia-and-kosovo-sign-breakthrough-economic-accord/ Politics – washingtonpost

“It’s a first step,” said Richard Grenell, Trump’s former ambassador to Germany who has been the main go-between for a two-year effort to break a diplomatic impasse.

The deal will encompass freer transit, including by rail and road, Grenell said, and clear away other barriers to commerce.

Serbia does not officially acknowledge Kosovo’s independence, which was midwifed by the George W. Bush administration nine years after NATO conducted a nearly three-month airstrike campaign against Serbia. The country had waged a bloody crackdown against the ethnic Albanian minority population in Kosovo.

“We’ve been working on this for almost from the beginning of the administration. And you had some deep-seated feelings and there was a lot of fighting, and now there’s a lot of love,” Trump said during a ceremony in the Oval Office, where he was flanked by the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo.

He predicted a “tremendous relationship” between those two countries, and he announced that majority-Muslim Kosovo and Israel have agreed to diplomatic ties. The announcement follows a U.S.-brokered agreement in August to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti met with U.S. officials over two days to produce the economic document. The two were friendly during the joint appearance with Trump, but only Hoti expressed a wish to work toward full normalization.

Most Western nations have recognized Kosovo’s independence. Serbia is backed by its allies Russia and China in refusing to do so. The agreement Friday puts a one-year freeze on consideration of the recognition issue as part of the U.S.-led dialogue, but a European one will continue.

“What we wanted to do with this agreement is to create some breathing space,” national security adviser Robert C. O’Brien told reporters.

Hoti’s participation followed a war crimes indictment against President Hashim Thaci, in June. Thaci had sought out Grenell in secret in 2018 and had been the main figure negotiating with the U.S. team. Trump wrote to Thaci and Vucic in December 2018, dangling a potential Rose Garden peace ceremony if they could resolve their differences.

Thaci cannot freely travel internationally because of the indictment, which alleges he participated in atrocities as a Kosovo Liberation Army commander during the 1998-1999 armed conflict between Serbia and ethnic Albanian separatists in Kosovo. He denies he broke any international law.

The fighting in Kosovo left more than 10,000 dead, most of them ethnic Albanians.

“I salute the signing of agreement b/w #Kosovo & #Serbia, today in Washington,” Thaci wrote on Twitter. “Kosovo now will continue working on economic dev., jobs, and further domestic & int’l consolidation.”

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Marjorie Taylor Greene posts photo holding gun next to images of AOC, Omar, Tlaib https://newsnetdaily.com/marjorie-taylor-greene-posts-photo-holding-gun-next-to-images-of-aoc-omar-tlaib/ Fri, 04 Sep 2020 21:00:21 +0000 https://newsnetdaily.com/marjorie-taylor-greene-posts-photo-holding-gun-next-to-images-of-aoc-omar-tlaib/ Politics – washingtonpost

Before it was removed, the caption under the gun-toting Greene read: “Squad’s worst nightmare.”

“Hate America leftists want to take this country down,” Greene wrote. “Our country is on the line. America needs fighters who speak the truth. We need strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists who want to rip our country apart. Americans must take our country back. SAVE AMERICA. STOP SOCIALISM. DEFEAT THE DEMOCRATS!”

Greene, in a separate post, said she was raffling off an AR-15 firearm.

She did not respond to a request for comment.

House Republican leaders had no immediate comment on the post, an apparent call-to-arms as Trump has spoken out against lawlessness and warned that a Joe Biden presidency would plunge the nation into violence and chaos.

Omar, however, called on Facebook to remove the post immediately.

“Posting a photo with an assault rifle next to the faces of three women of color is not advertising. It’s incitement,” Omar wrote on Twitter. “There are already death threats in response to this post. Facebook should remove this violent provocation.”

Tlaib also weighed in on Twitter, writing: “It’s dangerous in a time of rising political violence openly encouraged by this fascist President that a soon-to-be member of Congress thinks a post threatening women’s lives is acceptable. Take it down. P.S. Imagine it was me w/ a rifle. The post would have been down in seconds.”

It was unclear whether U.S. Capitol Police, tasked with ensuring the safety of members of Congress, would investigate. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on Republicans on Twitter to “immediately condemn this dangerous threat of violence against Democratic Congresswomen.”

Greene has already created problems for Republicans. As an adherent of the QAnon conspiracy, she backs the baseless theory that Trump is battling a cabal of “deep state” saboteurs who worship Satan and traffic children for sex. The FBI has labeled the group a domestic terrorist threat.

Greene won a Republican primary runoff in Georgia’s 14th Congressional District last month. Her victory, in a northwestern swath of the state that has favored Republicans by wide margins, sets her up to become QAnon’s first devotee in Congress.

Greene has been caught on camera calling Black voters “slaves” to the Democratic Party and likening the election of Muslim lawmakers to an “Islamic invasion” of the U.S. government.

The day after the runoff, Trump hailed Greene as a “future Republican Star,” tweeting that she is “strong on everything and never gives up — a real WINNER!” He did not endorse in the runoff.

Last week, Greene attended Trump’s White House speech in which he accepted the GOP nomination.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has said he would seat Greene if she is elected to Congress, but the post drastically escalates the challenge for GOP leaders as many rank-and-file members worry about how to respond to her.

House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and Conference Chairwoman Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) distanced themselves from Greene after the discovery of videos of her making racist, anti-Semitic and Islamophobic comments.

A group of Republicans had tried to convince McCarthy to support her primary opponent to ensure she was not seated, but McCarthy refused and in an apparent peace accord reached out to her before her victory.

Traditionally, members who engage in unethical behavior are censured. Last year, McCarthy removed Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) from a committee for a string of racist comments.

In a recent interview, Rep. Tom Reed (R-N.Y.), the centrist leader of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus, voiced his own concern about what such rhetoric would mean for the institution. He said he hopes candidates like Greene change their language — if not their views as well — when they are elected to the House.

“I’ve watched these candidates who have sort of embraced that hard-right rhetoric and I would encourage them to look at the rhetoric. You are a member of the House and those extreme positions are very troublesome positions,” he said. “If you believe in those positions, there’s no place in the Republican Party, that I believe in, for those.”

Greene’s posts, however, suggests she currently has no intention of muting herself.

Former Rep. Charles W. Boustany Jr. (R-La.) said he has been “deeply concerned” by the actions of some of the incoming GOP candidates — and that some of his former colleagues appear to be “cowed into silence” instead of pushing back on the direction of the party. It’s up to House GOP leadership, he said, to set candidates using these type of rhetoric on track — otherwise, “the party is headed for a really bad place and permanent minority status,” he said.

“I’m deeply concerned at the extent to which the president has fomented these kinds of divisions within our party and has fomented some of the more violent extremist type of activity out there, and I think that’s wrong,” Boustany said. “So, in my view, I hope these trends reverse, but I don’t see them reversing without very principled and strong leadership emerging from those who have the responsibility to step forward and say enough is enough.” 

Several lawmakers of color say they are starting to fear for their safety amid an apparent call to arms by some on the right. Earlier this week, Facebook removed two posts by Rep. Clay Higgins (R-La.) in which the ex-police officer wrote of protesters, “One way ticket fellas. Have your affairs in order. Me? . . . I wouldn’t even spill my beer. I’d drop any 10 of you where you stand.”

“I don’t mind when people have political or ideological differences with me and my other colleagues who are Black and Brown . . . but when people begin to question my humanity based on my race, it becomes increasingly difficult to work with them,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II (D-Mo.) said in an interview before Greene’s post.

The move to incite militias, he added, is even more worrisome: “If this is tolerated we’re going to go downhill.”

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Bowser: D.C. had no intention of proposing removal of major federal monuments https://newsnetdaily.com/bowser-d-c-had-no-intention-of-proposing-removal-of-major-federal-monuments/ Fri, 04 Sep 2020 19:45:21 +0000 https://newsnetdaily.com/bowser-d-c-had-no-intention-of-proposing-removal-of-major-federal-monuments/ Politics – washingtonpost

Republicans in Congress and other Bowser critics quickly denounced the document, focusing on the suggestion about monuments — prompting Bowser, a moderate Democrat, to remove that page from the report.

Asked Friday about the controversial timing and rollout of the report, Bowser cited the need to learn more about people’s unease with “questionable” monuments in the city. In June, amid nationwide racial justice demonstrations and calls to remove monuments of historical figures with racist legacies, protesters in the District toppled and burned a statue of Confederate Gen. Albert Pike.

“I thought it was a good idea to understand the full breadth of issues of concern, people of concern or markers of concern in the District,” Bowser said at a news conference. “It was not our intention to do anything with the federal monuments and memorials.”

The report recommended renaming dozens of public schools, government buildings and parks in the city named after figures with ties to slavery and oppression, including former U.S. presidents.

But Bowser said Friday that critics had run with a misleading narrative — that her committee wanted well-known federal monuments in the city to be significantly changed — causing her to ask the group to refocus its recommendations on local sites in D.C.

Congressional backlash around the committee’s report continued Friday. Republican Reps. James Comer (Ky.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) said the working group’s recommendations were “absurd,” and in a letter called on Bowser to provide them with documents and communications related to the proposals.

“D.C.’s radical city leaders want to cancel some of nation’s Founding Fathers and erase history,” Comer, the ranking Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, said in a statement.

The Republican leaders said they were perturbed by the initial report’s suggestion to remove or contextualize federal monuments — even though these structures are no longer included in Bowser’s committee’s recommendations.

“There are a lot of different and heated positions on this. No two people tend to think the same thing when you talk about this, and I think the diversity of views was reflected in the working group’s initial report,” Bowser said. “I understand, however, that people will intentionally misonconstrue things, and that is why the report was adjusted so the federal portion was removed.”

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