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Former President Barack Obama took some veiled shots at President Donald Trump Thursday night, warning against the "politics of division and distraction" in his first day back on the campaign trail since Trump's victory last November. "We have folks who are deliberately trying to get folks angry, to demonize people with different ideas, to get the base all riled up because it provides a short-term tactical advantage," Obama said at a rally for Virginia Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D), less than thee weeks until Virginia's off-year gubernatorial election. Obama never said Trump's name during his mostly positive... [Read More]
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TPM's Cam Joseph reports from the Obama rally for Ralph Northam in the Virginia governor's race. [Read More]
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Protesters drowned out white nationalist Richard Spencer's remarks on Thursday at the University of Florida, chanting, "Fuck you, Spencer!" and "Nazis are not welcome here!" "Fuck you, Spencer!" members of the crowd chanted as he took the stage, and later drowned out his remarks by shouting, "Go home, Spencer!" "Well, I'm not going home!" Spencer replied from the stage, and accused protesters of "ganging up like some mob." Audience members chanted, "It's your fault!" as Spencer talked about Heather Heyer, a woman who died when a driver rammed his car into counter-protesters at a violent white... [Read More]
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In an impromptu appearance at a White House press briefing Thursday, White House chief of staff John Kelly defended President Donald Trump and attacked Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), who he said "listened in" to the President's call to a grieving military wife. Read the White House's transcript of the full briefing below: MS. SANDERS: Catch you off guard when we're on time. Good afternoon. As you all saw, earlier today the President met with the Governor of Puerto Rico this morning to discuss the ongoing hurricane recovery efforts. The administration is working tirelessly to help our fellow... [Read More]
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly defended President Donald Trump and harshly criticized a Democratic congresswoman on Thursday, in a lengthy and emotional statement from the White House Briefing Room podium that included a mention of his son, who died when he stepped on a landmine in Afghanistan in 2010. Kelly said he was "stunned" that Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) listened in on Trump's call to the widow of a fallen soldier earlier this week. Both Wilson and Sgt. La David Johnson's childhood guardian said that when Trump called to offer his condolences to Johnson's widow, he had said that Johnson "knew what he... [Read More]
We'll have reports on specifics shortly. But Chief of Staff John Kelly just spoke during the White House press briefing about the entire military bereavement phone call controversy. It was volcanic. He mercilessly attacked Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, both for her comments a couple days ago and for an earlier incident (which frankly seemed like a cheap shot). Kelly took basically complete responsibility for everything President Trump had done, what he had said, how he handled the phone calls to the families of the four who died in Niger. Read More →... [Read More]
During an interview with Fox News radio this week, President Donald Trump invoked his chief of staff's dead son in his continuing effort to deflect criticism for not calling all the soldiers who have died while he was President. But Chief of Staff John Kelly said Thursday he told Trump that former President Barack Obama had not called his family when his son was killed in Afghanistan in 2010 not as "criticism," but to give him counsel about how to handle offering condolences to the families of fallen soldiers when he first took the job. "He asked me about previous presidents and... [Read More]
This is an uncomfortable topic. But when I came into the office this morning, CNN was interviewing the parents of Army Specialist Etienne Murphy about their son. It was a shattering interview. It's the kind of thing that makes you wonder whether it isn't exploitative for networks to put these families on camera at all. It seemed important to Etienne's mother to read a statement she'd written about her experience. And if you're going to do such interviews, the CNN host handled the interview with great sympathy and tact. The Murphys, like other families, had never received a call... [Read More]
President Donald Trump on Thursday gave the federal government's hurricane response in Puerto Rico "a 10 out of 10." Answering reporters' questions in the Oval Office for more than 30 minutes alongside the island's governor, Ricardo Rosselló, Trump repeated the phrase often, and even attempted to draw similar praise from the governor. "Did the United States, did our government, when we came in, did we do a great job? Military? First responders? FEMA? Did we do a great job?" Trump asked the governor. "You responded immediately, sir," Rosselló said, failing to match Trump's self-congratulatory tone. The governor listed a series of obstacles that he... [Read More]
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders is scheduled to give an on-camera press briefing at 3 p.m. ET on Thursday. Watch live below:... [Read More]
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Democratic senators on Thursday announced legislation co-sponsored by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that would require major social media platforms to label political ads in much the same way they're disclosed on television and radio. The bill, The Honest Ads Act, comes in response to growing evidence that Russia exploited a number of social media platforms to interfere with the 2016 election and exacerbate divisions in U.S. political discourse. A companion bill, sponsored by Reps. Derek Kilmer (D-WA) and Mike Coffman (R-CO), is being introduced in the House. Read More →... [Read More]
Longtime Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran is back at work in Washington after a health setback and facing questions about whether he's up for the rigors of his job. Entering the Capitol on Thursday for a vote, Cochran was asked about his fitness to continue serving. Frail and speaking softly, he told reporters that "it's up for the people to decide" as aides ushered him into a Senate elevator. Cochran, who turns 80 in December, returned on Tuesday after weeks away from Washington and his powerful chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee. The panel's work has been delayed in... [Read More]
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Since President Trump moved last week to cut off cost-sharing reduction payments to health insurance companies, Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) have been furiously whipping votes on their respective sides of the aisle on a bipartisan bill to restore that funding and stabilize Obamacare's vulnerable individual market. On Thursday, they took to the Senate floor to announce that they have secured 24 co-sponsors: 12 Democrats and 12 Republicans. If all Democrats back the proposal, which they are expected to do, this gives the bill a filibuster-proof supermajority. Read More →... [Read More]
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White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway on Thursday claimed that the outcry about President Donald Trump's reported remarks to the widow of a U.S. soldier killed in Niger was the result of "haters" being "negative." "Everybody knows that this President is very sorry for this family's loss, as he is every other family's loss. I've seen it firsthand," Conway told Fox News. "And it's just the haters being presumptively negative, as they always are." She said Trump was "very sad" for Sgt. La David T. Johnson's family but claimed outrage about his remarks was driven by "people of... [Read More]
Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) told reporters on Wednesday that the Trump administration has not given Congress enough information on the deadly attack on U.S. soldiers earlier this month in Niger. Asked if the administration was being upfront with him about the attack, McCain replied, "No," according to CNN. But when asked if he would launch a probe into the matter as chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, McCain said that he would first like all the information Congress "deserves and needs" before deciding whether to move forward with an investigation. "That's why we're called the... [Read More]
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The governor of Puerto Rico on Thursday said that residents of the island "need equal treatment" as those of Texas and Florida when it comes to the federal government's disaster response. Speaking to reporters before a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló said, "We're all in this together: U.S. citizens in Texas. U.S. citizens in Florida. U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We need equal treatment. We need all of the resources so that we can get out of the emergency, and of course, the resources to rebuild stronger than ever."... [Read More]
Four longtime Democratic National Committee officials have been removed from their posts under the leadership of the committee's chairman Tom Perez. The four who were ousted either supported candidates other than Perez for campaign chairman, ran against him or supported former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), NBC News reported Thursday evening. The ousted officials include Ray Buckley, the New Hampshire Democratic chairman who ran against Perez for chairman; as well as Alice Germond, a former party secretary; and Barbra Casbar Siperstein, the first transgender member of the DNC. Both Germond and Casbar Siperstein supported Rep.... [Read More]
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Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 19, 2017 Trump described the dossier as "discredited and Fake," suggesting that the FBI and Democrats may have colluded to surface false and damaging information about him. The President also claimed that the firm that put together the dossier invoked their Fifth Amendment rights; however, the firm, Fusion GPS, has not refused outright to discuss its work on the dossier with Congress. Fusion GPS' founder has already met with the Senate Judiciary Committee and reportedly spoke with investigators on special counsel Robert Mueller's probe. Trump is likely ref... [Read More]
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While the storm and anguish of President Trump's latest controversy rolls over the news, we've learned a lot more about the Russian influence operation supporting Donald Trump's candidacy last year. Over recent weeks we had already found out about those few hundreds of accounts on Facebook and something in the range of $100,000 in paid advertising on the Facebook platform. Then there was a comparable series of findings on Twitter. More is in the process of emerging from Google and the various platforms it controls. But over recent days, as the information keeps coming, the very repetitiveness of the... [Read More]
A bipartisan group of governors on Wednesday night sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to pass legislation to stabilize Obamacare's individual health market. "We urge Congress to quickly pass legislation to stabilize our private health insurance markets and make quality health insurance more available and affordable," the governors wrote in the letter. The governors support the agreement reached by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) to restore the subsidies to insurers cut off by the Trump administration this month. They called for the government to fund the cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments... [Read More]
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