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HeadlinesFebruary 19, 2020

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Trump Falsely Claims He Is “Chief Law Enforcement Officer” of U.S.

Feb 19, 2020

President Trump falsely called himself the “chief law enforcement officer” of the United States Tuesday. This is Trump speaking about the Justice Department’s abrupt decision to withdraw an earlier sentencing recommendation for Trump’s close friend and former campaign adviser Roger Stone, who was found guilty of seven counts of lying to Congress.

President Donald Trump: “Just so you understand, I chose not to be involved. I’m allowed to be totally involved. I’m actually, I guess, the chief law enforcement officer of the country. But I’ve chosen not to be involved.”

Trump’s statement is not correct: The attorney general is the United States’ top law enforcement officer, not the president. Trump’s false claim comes as more than 2,000 former Justice Department officials have now called on Attorney General William Barr to resign, after he intervened in Stone’s sentencing. Four federal prosecutors withdrew from the case, and one resigned from his job, over Barr’s actions. The Federal Judges Association is holding an emergency meeting today amid the growing concerns about Trump’s intervention in the Stone case and the Justice Department overall. Roger Stone will be sentenced on Thursday, despite Trump demanding a new trial.

Trump Issues Clemency to White-Collar Criminals and Political Allies

Feb 19, 2020

President Trump issued a wave of pardons and commutations Tuesday to a group of his political allies, circumventing the normal Justice Department process. Among the 11 people granted clemency Tuesday were former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, who had been jailed for attempting to sell Barack Obama’s U.S. Senate seat; former New York Police Commissioner Bernie Kerik, who was convicted of tax fraud and lying to officials; and investment banker Mike Milken, who was convicted of securities fraud and conspiracy and was best known as the “junk bond king.” The clemency comes amid speculation Trump might also try to pardon his longtime friend and former campaign adviser Roger Stone.

Democratic Presidential Candidates to Take Debate Stage in Nevada

Feb 19, 2020

Six Democratic presidential candidates will debate tonight in Nevada, only days before the state’s caucus Saturday. Tonight’s debate is the first time the former New York City mayor, billionaire Michael Bloomberg, will be on stage, although he is not on the ballot in Nevada. Heading into tonight’s debate, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has surged to a large lead in a new national Washington Post-ABC News poll, which now shows Sanders with 32% support, followed by former Vice President Joe Biden, who has only 16% support. Sanders has also doubled his support among black voters and is overwhelmingly the preferred candidate of voters under 50 years old. A separate poll by the Public Policy Institute of California shows Sanders with a considerable lead in California, with particularly favorable support among Latino voters. This is Sanders speaking in Reno, Nevada, Tuesday.

Sen. Bernie Sanders: “We’re going to win this election, not because we are buying the airwaves, as Mr. Bloomberg is. We’re going to win this election because we are putting together the strongest grassroots movement that this country has ever seen.”

Resurfaced Video Shows Bloomberg Calling for Cuts to Medicare and Social Security

Feb 19, 2020

Tonight’s debate comes as a newly resurfaced video shows Bloomberg calling for cuts to Medicare and Social Security in an interview with CBS while he was New York City mayor.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg: “There is a ways to slowly decrease the benefits or raise the eligibility age for Medicare and for Social Security. There’s a ways to have more copay on Medicaid, which will do two things. One, the users of the service will pay a little more. But, two, they’ll be — they’ll think twice before they use services, so the services they use will be those that are really needed and not stuff that would be nice to have.”

The resurfaced video comes as a new study published in The Lancet finds that Medicare for All will save Americans more than $450 billion and prevent 68,000 deaths every year. We’ll have more on the Lancet study and Saturday’s Nevada caucus after headlines.

Death Toll from Coronavirus Surpasses 2,000 People

Feb 19, 2020

In China, the death toll from the coronavirus has surpassed 2,000 people, with more than 75,000 people infected worldwide. Among the latest victims in China was the director of Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan, who died after contracting the coronavirus. About 800 passengers of the quarantined cruise ship, the Diamond Princess, were allowed to disembark to Japan today. Thousands more remain trapped on the cruise ship, where over 600 people have tested positive for the virus.

Afghanistan: Ashraf Ghani Declared Winner of Presidential Election

Feb 19, 2020

In Afghanistan, President Ashraf Ghani has been declared the winner of last year’s presidential election, after the results were delayed for five months. But Ghani’s main opponent, Abdullah Abdullah, has also declared himself the winner and says he will form a parallel government. The political chaos comes amid breakthroughs in the peace negotiations between the U.S. and the Taliban, with a peace plan expected to be announced in the coming days.

U.N.: 22 Killed, Including 14 Children, in Massacre in Cameroon

Feb 19, 2020

In Cameroon, the United Nations says at least 22 people were killed, including 14 children, in a massacre Friday in the Anglophone region of the country. An opposition party has blamed the killings on the army, which the army denied. The massacre comes amid a conflict between the Cameroon army and English-speaking separatist fighters, which has killed thousands of people and has forced more than half a million civilians to flee their homes.

Somali Broadcast Journalist Abdiwali Ali Hassan Assassinated

Feb 19, 2020

Somali broadcast journalist Abdiwali Ali Hassan was shot and killed by gunmen near his home outside Somalia’s capital, Mogadishu, earlier this week. He was a freelance correspondent for the London-based Universal TV and local Radio Kulmiye. No group has claimed responsibility for his assassination.

North Carolina Court Temporarily Blocks Discriminatory Voter ID Laws

Feb 19, 2020

In North Carolina, an appeals court has temporarily blocked the state from using its voter identification law in elections, after ruling the policy was enacted by the Republican-controlled state Legislature in 2018 specifically to discriminate against African-American voters. The ruling is the latest battle against discriminatory voter ID laws in North Carolina. An earlier version of the state’s voter ID laws was thrown out after a federal judge said the law targeted African Americans “with almost surgical precision.”

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