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Trump Attacks President Maduro at Miami Rally, Calls on Military to Defect

Feb 19, 2019

President Trump held a rally in Miami, Florida, Monday, where he addressed members of the local Venezuelan community, reinforcing his support for opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaidó, and calling for the military to defect from the leadership of sitting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

President Donald Trump: “If you choose this path, you have the opportunity to help forge a safe and prosperous future for all of the people of Venezuela. Or you can choose the second path, continuing to support Maduro. If you choose this path, you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything.”

Trump also renewed attacks on socialism, saying it had “ravaged” Venezuela and that it “will never happen to us.”

President Maduro Fires Back at Trump Attacks on Socialism

Feb 19, 2019

Venezuelan President Maduro responded to Trump’s remarks in a televised address.

President Nicolás Maduro: “Today Donald Trump was in Miami with a tired rhetoric, questioning the right of our country to adopt the ideas of human, Christian socialism, our socialism, just like a Nazi-style speech to prohibit ideologies.”

This comes as a new book out today by former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe reveals Trump privately discussed going to war with Venezuela in 2017. McCabe writes, “Then the president talked about Venezuela. That’s the country we should be going to war with, he said. They have all that oil and they’re right on our back door.”

Daily Beast: U.S. Considering Extending TPS to Venezuelans

Feb 19, 2019

Meanwhile, The Daily Beast is reporting that State Department officials are considering extending temporary protected status, or TPS, to Venezuelans residing in the U.S. to protect them from deportation. TPS holders from Sudan, El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, Honduras and Nepal are currently suing the Trump administration over its attempt to revoke their immigration status. We’ll have more on the situation in Venezuela after headlines.

Senator Bernie Sanders Announces 2020 Presidential Bid

Feb 19, 2019

After months of speculation, Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders announced he will run in the 2020 presidential election. This is Senator Sanders speaking to John Dickerson on ”CBS This Morning.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “I am going to run for president. That’s correct.”

John Dickerson: “What’s going to be different this time?”

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “We’re going to win. We are going to also launch what I think is unprecedented in modern American history, and that is a grassroots movement, John, to lay the groundwork for transforming the economic and political life of this country. That’s what’s different.”

Senator Sanders sought the nomination in 2016 but lost out to Hillary Clinton. Sanders has long been one of the most progressive voices in U.S. politics and promised to rein in corporate and Wall Street greed, while implementing social welfare programs like Medicare for all and free public college. In a 2015 presidential debate, Sanders declared climate change to be the greatest threat to national security. The Sanders campaign was credited for pushing Clinton’s rhetoric and policy positions further to the left.

Despite the Democratic Party establishment heavily favoring Clinton, Sanders carried primary races or caucuses in 23 out of 57 contests. Many accused Democrats of rigging the primary against Sanders, pointing to the Democratic National Committee’s apparent coordination and joint fundraising with the Clinton campaign. Leaked emails from the DNC also revealed tactics to paint Sanders in an unfavorable light.

Sanders joins a crowded field of Democratic hopefuls, including fellow Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris, as well as Congressmember Tulsi Gabbard, who endorsed Sanders in 2016.

Sen. Warren to Unveil Universal Child Care Plan

Feb 19, 2019

Massachusetts senator and 2020 presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren is set to unveil a universal child care plan today that would guarantee child care for all U.S. families and be paid for by a tax on the ultra-wealthy. Her plan would cover the full cost of child care for families who earn less than 200 percent of the poverty line limit, and would limit child care expenses to 7 percent of household income for all other families.

West Virginia Teachers Launch Strike

Feb 19, 2019

In West Virginia, teachers are launching a statewide strike today over an education reform bill that Republicans are trying to pass in the state Legislature. The bill would legalize charter schools, which are currently not allowed in the state. Teachers’ unions say they were not consulted in the drafting of the legislation and that it is a retaliation for last year’s historic strike, which was credited with launching a wave of teacher walkouts in other red states. The action comes nearly one year after the 9-day strike led to a 5 percent raise for all state workers.

Meanwhile, teachers in Oakland, California, have announced they are planning to go on strike starting Thursday to demand fair wages, smaller class sizes and more resources for their students.

16 States Sue over Trump’s Nat’l Emergency Declaration

Feb 19, 2019

A coalition of 16 states have filed a federal lawsuit challenging President Trump’s national emergency declaration, claiming it is unconstitutional. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra filed the suit on behalf of the group Monday. He says Trump’s move violates Congress’s power to control the budget and is a misuse of public money.

Also on Monday, President’s Day, protesters took to the streets around the country to denounce Trump’s emergency declaration. This is Diallo Brooks of People for the American Way speaking at a rally in Washington, D.C.

Diallo Brooks: “And we will fight at every turn for justice for everyone, no matter what you look like or where you come from. We will fight, and we will stand up, and we will make our voices heard. Thank you.”

Mexican Migrant Dies While in Border Patrol Custody

Feb 19, 2019

A Mexican national has died while in the custody of Border Patrol in Texas Monday. The unidentified 45-year-old sought medical attention twice before his death and was diagnosed with cirrhosis of the liver and congestive heart failure, although the cause of death is still unknown. He is the third known migrant to die in recent months while in government custody. In December last year, two Guatemalan children died in the care of Border Patrol agents in New Mexico, sparking outrage and calls to overhaul the agency’s response to sick migrants.

Transgender Salvadoran Woman Killed After Deportation from U.S.

Feb 19, 2019

A transgender woman who was deported from the U.S. has been found murdered in El Salvador. Aurora, better known as Camila, was reported missing in late January and was recently identified at a San Salvador hospital after a local trans advocacy group set out to find her. Camila reportedly fled to the U.S. after receiving threats in her home country, but was deported because immigration officials did not believe her. She is the second transgender woman to be killed in El Salvador this month.

Syria: Bomb Attacks Kill 15 in Idlib

Feb 19, 2019

In Syria, twin bomb attacks in the northwestern city of Idlib killed at least 15 people Monday, including four children, according to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. The attacks come as Syrian government fighters say just a few hundred fighters remain in the last Islamic State stronghold of Baghouz, in the east of the country, where they are hiding out among around 1,000 villagers. On Monday, the International Rescue Committee said over 60 people have died in recent weeks due to exhaustion and malnutrition after leaving the area. The majority of deaths were of young children.

UAE Buys $1.6 Billion in Arms from Raytheon

Feb 19, 2019

The United Arab Emirates has agreed to purchase $1.6 billion worth of Patriot missile launchers from U.S. arms company Raytheon. The deal comes as public outcry mounts over the U.S.-backed, Saudi- and UAE-led war on Yemen. Recent reports by Amnesty International and CNN have revealed weapons are being used to buy the loyalties of various militias or tribes and gain influence in Yemen’s political landscape. Last week, the House of Representatives approved a bill to end U.S. support for the war on Yemen, which has sparked the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in a half-century.

Yemen: Warring Parties Agree to Start Hodeidah Withdrawal

Feb 19, 2019

In Yemen, warring factions have agreed to the first phase of a planned withdrawal from the port city of Hodeidah after a round of U.N.-led talks over the weekend. The U.N. hailed the “important progress” made during the talks, which came two months after a fragile ceasefire deal was reached in December, but warring parties failed to meet the original deadline.

Kashmir: 9 Killed in Gunfight as India-Pakistan Tensions Mount

Feb 19, 2019

Nine people, including a civilian, were killed in a gunfight in Pulwama in the contested region of Kashmir Monday. Four Indian soldiers and one policeman were also killed, alongside what police say were three suspected Jaish-e-Mohammed militants. Last week, a car bomb in the Indian-administered region killed as many as 46 Indian soldiers—the deadliest attack on Indian forces in Kashmir since the late 1980s. Jaish-e-Mohammed claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, and India has accused Pakistan of being directly involved in plotting the bombing. Pakistan denies the claim. Both India and Pakistan have recalled top diplomatic officials following the attack.

GOP Election Fraud Revealed in North Carolina Congressional Race

Feb 19, 2019

At a hearing over possible election fraud in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District midterm race, an election official said a Republican operative orchestrated a “coordinated, unlawful and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme” to help Republican Mark Harris win the election. The still-uncalled race pits Republican Mark Harris against Democrat Dan McCready. Harris initially appeared to be the narrow winner, but the race was never certified, after evidence emerged of possible election fraud. Investigators found that longtime conservative operative Leslie McCrae Dowless hired workers to illegally collect absentee ballots and in some cases fill them in favor of Republican candidates. Dowless was reportedly paid by a group called Red Dome—a company hired by the Harris campaign to organize a get-out-the-vote campaign ahead of last year’s midterms. The hearing, which will resume today, could result in North Carolina’s election board deciding that a new election should be held in the 9th District.

Iowa Will Not Appeal Ruling on “Fetal Heartbeat” Law

Feb 19, 2019

In Iowa, Republican Governor Kim Reynolds has said she will not appeal a court’s ruling last month blocking a highly restrictive so-called fetal heartbeat law. The Iowa law would have banned abortions once a fetal heartbeat can be detected—something that typically happens just six weeks into a pregnancy and before many women even realize they’re pregnant. The law was widely seen as an attempt to challenge the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling at the Supreme Court.

Portland Police Under Fire over Friendly Texts with Far-Right Leader

Feb 19, 2019

In Oregon, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler is calling for an independent investigation after newly revealed friendly text messages between a Portland police officer and the leader of a white supremacist group provoked backlash last week. On Thursday, Willamette Week reported that Portland police officer Jeff Niiya exchanged hundreds of messages with Joey Gibson, leader of the far-right group Patriot Prayer, including sharing information on upcoming protests organized by leftist, anti-fascist groups. Some have defended the friendly tone of the exchanges, saying it is a common police tactic, but others point to a track record in Portland of failing to hold far-right groups accountable while targeting anti-fascist protesters. Last August, Portland police found a group of Patriot Prayer members on a rooftop with a cache of guns right before a major white supremacist rally. No arrests were made of Patriot Prayer members—and Portland police instead fired rubber bullets at anti-fascist protesters at the march.

Justice Ginsburg Returns to SCOTUS After Cancer Surgery

Feb 19, 2019

And Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is expected to return to the court today, after taking time to recover from her December lung cancer surgery. Eighty-five-year-old Justice Ginsburg is a now three-time cancer survivor. She resumed work in early January, reading transcripts and ruling on cases from home. On Friday, she met with the other justices for the Supreme Court’s weekly conference.

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