Mnuchin, The White House Intervene To Secure Opportunity Zone Tax Breaks... To Benefit Wealthy Allies
On Friday, Trump again tried to tout his tax law’s opportunity zone tax break as a boon to low-income and minority communities. In reality, the tax break has only amounted to another handout to wealthy investors, and the Trump administration has even directly intervened to ensure bigger tax breaks for their friends and donors.
Mnuchin personally intervened to secure an opportunity zone tax break for a wealthy investor, fraudster and longtime friend.
New York Times: “Last year, after pressure from Mr. Milken’s business partner and other landowners, the Treasury Department ignored its own guidelines on how to select opportunity zones and made the area eligible for the tax break, according to people involved in the discussions and records reviewed by The Times. The unusual decision was made at the personal instruction of Mr. Mnuchin, according to internal Treasury Department emails. It came shortly after he had spent time with Mr. Milken at an event his institute hosted.”
The White House intervened to help a major inaugural donor win a lucrative opportunity zone tax break.
ProPublica: “In February 2018, as the selection process was underway, a top Michigan economic development official asked her colleague to call Quicken’s executive vice president for government affairs about opportunity zones. ‘They worked with the White House on it and want to be sure we are coordinated,’ wrote the official, Christine Roeder, in an email with the subject line ‘Quicken.’ The exact role of the White House is not clear. But less than two weeks after the email was written, the Trump administration revised its list of census tracts that were eligible for the tax break. New to the list? One of the downtown Detroit tracts dominated by Gilbert that had not previously been included. And the area made the cut even though it did not meet the poverty requirements of the program.”
ProPublica: “In the last few years, Gilbert, the 57-year-old founder of Quicken Loans and owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers, has also grown close to the Trump family. Quicken gave $750,000 to Trump’s inaugural fund. Gilbert has built a relationship with Ivanka Trump, who appeared at one of his Detroit buildings in 2017 for a panel discussion with him. And, last year, he watched the midterm election returns at the White House with President Donald Trump himself, who has called Gilbert ‘a great friend.’”
Some of the biggest beneficiaries of Trump’s opportunity zone tax break meant for low-income communities have included his family and advisers.
New York Times: “Among the early beneficiaries of the tax incentive are billionaire financiers like Leon Cooperman and business magnates like Sidney Kohl — and Mr. Trump’s family members and advisers. Former Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey; Richard LeFrak, a New York real estate titan who is close to the president; Anthony Scaramucci, a former White House aide who recently had a falling out with Mr. Trump; and the family of Jared Kushner, Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, all are looking to profit from what is shaping up to be a once-in-a-generation bonanza for elite investors.”
Opportunity zone tax breaks across the country have benefitted wealthy developers while failing to help low-income residents.
Arizona Republic: “An Arizona Republic analysis of opportunity zones in Maricopa County found that while some of the areas could use help, others are thriving and likely would draw developers without the tax break. The costs and benefits of the program will be tough to track. Investors and builders aren’t required to publicly disclose whether they take the tax break. Mark Stapp, a real estate expert and director of the Masters of Real Estate Development program at ASU, questions whether what he calls an ‘ill-defined’ program will benefit the areas that need it most. ‘It has a big public cost with the taxes not collected, and no real requirement for public good,’ Stapp said.”
WNYC: “The new law has a provision meant to spur investment into underdeveloped areas, called ‘opportunity zones.’ The idea is to grant lucrative tax breaks to encourage new investment in poor areas around the country, carefully selected by each state’s governor. But Port Covington, an ambitious development geared to millennials to feature offices, a hotel, apartments, and shopping, is not in a census tract that is poor.”
Pew Trusts: “But change is coming to Elyria-Swansea in the form of a hotel and conference center, high-end office space and ‘luxury, urban-style residences.’ Investors in all three real estate projects could enjoy a hefty federal tax break for investing in a low-income neighborhood — even though it’s not clear whether such projects will help current low-income residents, or whether they’re the leading edge of gentrification that will eventually push longtime residents out.”
Another Bad Week For Americans With Carson Leading HUD
This week, Ben Carson defended illegally delaying federal housing funding for Puerto Rico and complained about “political correctness” when given a chance to apologize for his past transphobic comments. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is making it harder for families to fight discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. In short, it was a very bad week for Americans with Ben Carson leading HUD.
Ben Carson and HUD officials defended missing a legally required deadline to provide Puerto Rico federal housing funds allocated by Congress after Hurricane Maria.
NBC News: “The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Ben Carson, defended his agency for knowingly missing a legally required deadline that would have kicked off a monthslong process to help Puerto Rico get billions in federal housing funds Congress allocated after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. Carson justified HUD’s actions after Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., asked him ‘where in federal law is HUD empowered to withhold money that was supposed to go to Puerto Rico’ during a congressional hearing on Tuesday.”
New reports show that the administration’s proposal to roll back disparate impact claims will make it hader to fight housing discrimination under the Fair Housing Act.
The Guardian: “The Trump administration has proposed a shift in rules that would make it ‘nearly impossible’ for Americans to sue for housing discrimination caused by algorithms, according to tech scholars and civil rights groups. Absolving companies of wrongdoing when algorithms are involved could have a major effect on the housing market, which often relies on automation – in the form of background checks, credit score analysis, and analyzing an applicant’s history – to decide whether to rent or sell someone a home. The new ruling would raise the bar for legal challenges against housing discrimination, making cases brought against landlords and lenders less likely to succeed.”
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “The rule would dramatically change the standards by which a person or entity, including the federal government, can sue to end discriminatory housing practices through what is known as a ‘disparate impact’ claim, thereby weakening the Fair Housing Act (FHA), a Civil-Rights-Era federal law protecting people who have historically experienced racism and discrimination that limit their housing options.”
When asked to address past transphobic comments, Ben Carson refused to apologize and responded by saying that political correctness would “destroy our nation.”
CNN: “Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said Tuesday that political correctness is ‘going to destroy our nation,’ when pressed by a Democratic lawmaker to apologize for comments he reportedly made at a meeting in September. At a House Financial Services Committee hearing on housing policy, Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton of Virginia said she wanted to give Carson a chance to apologize for comments made during a meeting last month with department staff in which he expressed concern about ‘big, hairy men’ attempting to enter women’s homeless shelters.”
La administración de Trump comenzará el envío de solicitantes de asilo a Guatemala
Tan pronto como esta semana, la administración del Presidente Donald Trump comenzará el envío de solicitantes de asilo a Guatemala como parte de su convenio que designa a Guatemala como un ‘tercer país seguro’. Esto es otro ejemplo de cómo esta administración trata cruelmente a las personas que intentan solicitar asilo.
Aunque la administración intente decir que esto es un procedimiento más seguro, la realidad es que no lo es y pudiese terminar forzando hasta más solicitantes de asilo hacia el norte.
Telemundo: “Sin embargo, muchos críticos aseguran que no es realista esperar que los gobiernos de la región puedan brindarles seguridad a los migrantes cuando ellos mismos están luchando contra la criminalidad y la pobreza.”
Univision: “Los acuerdos han sido duramente criticados al considerar que esos tres países no pueden brindar seguridad a los migrantes que ya de por sí vienen huyendo de contextos de violencia y pobreza extrema. Las cifras de homicidios ubican a sus capitales como algunas de las más peligrosas de la región.”
Foreign Policy: “Trump puede intentar, de manera temporera, evitar que los solicitantes de asilo lleguen a la frontera, su estrategia terminará intensificando la inseguridad, la pobreza y la inestabilidad que continuará llevando a los inmigrantes hacia el norte.”
El convenio acordado fue el resultado de amenazas de sanciones económicas de parte de Trump.
Univision: “Justo cuando Morales le dio el visto bueno, lo hizo argumentando que era una medida para evitar las sanciones económicas anunciadas por Trump si se rompía la negociación entre ambos países. La firma se dio luego de una escalada de amenazas de Trump con castigos como la prohibición de viajes a los guatemaltecos, la aplicación de un impuesto a las remesas y la imposición de una tasa de aranceles a todos los productos guatemaltecos exportados a Estados Unidos.”
The Washington Post: “El Presidente Trump suspendió la asistencia a Guatemala, Honduras y El Salvador esta primavera, en el medio de un aumento histórico en la cantidad de familias de esos países que viajaban hacia la frontera en grupos y caravanas. Él anunció que parte de la asistencia se restauraría este mes cuando los tres países acordaron aceptar a solicitantes de asilo.”
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DNC on Trump Holding G7 at His Doral Golf Course
In response to Trump holding next year’s G7 summit at his Doral property, DNC Deputy War Room Director Daniel Wessel released the following statement:
“Trump’s Doral property has been hemorrhaging money. Its profitability is down 69 percent in two years. But Trump, the president with the most conflicts of interest in our nation’s history, has found a way out - by hosting the G7 at his failing property.
“Trump still has not divested himself from his business empire and stands to gain a fortune from his self-dealing. It’s obvious that ‘America First’ is a euphemism for ‘Trump First,’ and Americans deserve so much better.”
Mulvaney Admits To Trump’s Bottomless Corruption
At his White House presser, Mulvaney just admitted to a quid pro quo, revealed that Trump is using his presidency to prop up his failing Doral property, and so much more.
Mulvaney undercut Trump’s GOP defenders and admitted there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine to withhold military aid in order to get Ukraine to investigate a debunked conspiracy theory.
CNBC’s John Harwood: “ultimate defense by Trump and GOP allies has been ‘no quid pro quo’ Mulvaney just conceded from WH podium that there WAS a quid pro quo - delaying Ukraine military aid for investigation of DNC server that investigation is an attempt to absolve Russia for its 2016 interference.”
New York Times: “Mick Mulvaney, the acting White House chief of staff, said the U.S. froze aid partly to pressure Ukraine to investigate Democrats. He undercut President Trump's denials of a quid pro quo.”
Mulvaney said the withholding of Ukraine aid was based in part on making sure Ukraine was cracking down on corruption -- which Trump has made clear is code for investigating his political opponents.
Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey: “He adds there were three factors: Corruption in the country. Whether or not other countries were doing enough to help Ukraine. Whether or not they were cooperating with Durham's review of investigation.”
Trump: “We had a great conversation. The conversation I had was largely congratulatory. It was largely corruption -- all of the corruption taking place. It was largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like Vice President Biden and his son, creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”
Mulvaney said there was no problem with the quid pro quo he openly admitted to because politics influences Trump’s foreign policy “all the time.”
CNN’s Josh Campbell: “After @jonkarl points out the White House's explanation for its dealings with Ukraine was quid-pro-quo, the chief of staff replies: ‘We do that all that time with foreign policy.’ To those concerned about political influence in foreign policy, he says, ‘Get over it.’”
Mulvaney conceded there were “plenty of other good places” to hold the 2020 G-7 Summit, but they chose to hold it at Trump’s struggling Doral property -- at Trump’s direction.
Mick Mulvaney: “There’s plenty of other good places in this country to hold a large event. There’s no question about it.”
Washington Post: “At Doral, which Trump has listed in federal disclosures as his biggest moneymaker hotel, room rates, banquets, golf and overall revenue were all down since 2015. In two years, the resort’s net operating income — a key figure, representing the amount left over after expenses are paid — had fallen by 69 percent.”
Mulvaney said he was not concerned about the message the White House was sending to the rest of the world by endorsing self-dealing.
ABC: “Asked if the White House was concerned the choice of Doral as the location for the next G7 would send a bad message about ‘self dealing’ to the rest of the world, Mick Mulvaney says, ‘No.’”
Mulvaney claimed Trump wouldn’t profit, but the G-7 Summit will fill his Doral property at a time it’s usually empty and use the presidency to boost Trump’s brand.
Washington Post’s Fahrenthold: “Mulvaney claimed Trump wouldn’t profit from the G-7 Summit, but The summit will be held in June, when Miami is hot and Doral is usually empty. In 2017, only 38% of Doral's rooms were occupied in June. Only August (31%) was slower. Now -- b/c @realDonaldTrump has awarded the summit to himself -- it will be full.”
Washington Post: “For the Trump Organization, the event would bring guests to fill unfilled rooms, as well as a glut of global publicity.”
At a summit of the world’s biggest economies to be held in South Florida, the White House won’t discuss one of the globe’s most pressing issues: climate change.
Newsday’s Lauda Figueroa Hernandez: “Mulvaney, asked if Climate Change will be a topic at G-7 given its location in South Florida which has grappled with flooding, massive hurricanes. Mulvaney: No.”
Manufacturing And Other Metrics White House Uses To Argue A Strong Economy Decline
The White House has repeatedly pointed to retail sales and housing data as evidence the economy remains strong despite other indicators signaling a downturn, but reports over the last two days have shown those measures falling too. While they try to claim that Trump is helping the manufacturing industry, two new data points out today show the sector struggling.
MANUFACTURING DECLINED AGAIN: U.S. manufacturing production fell in September for the second time in three months, despite the White House claiming that manufacturing was “starting to boom again.”
Wall Street Journal: “U.S. manufacturing production fell in September for the second time in three months, suggesting trade frictions and slowing global growth are denting a key segment of the U.S. economy. Manufacturing output, the biggest component of industrial production, fell 0.5% in September from a month earlier, the Federal Reserve said Thursday.”
Larry Kudlow: “Housing, manufacturing starting to boom again in July and August. The president mentioned that in his presser yesterday. It looks like the U.S. economy is in a turning zone back up. And our policies of tax cuts and deregulation and lowering trade barriers and energy are working.”
RETAIL SALES FELL: Retail sales, which the White House has repeatedly cited as evidence of the economy remaining strong under Trump, fell suddenly last month for the first time in seven months.
Bloomberg: “U.S. retail sales unexpectedly posted the first decline in seven months, suggesting consumers are starting to become shaky as the main pillar of economic growth and potentially bolstering the case for a third straight Federal Reserve interest-rate cut.”
CEA Chair Tomas Philipson: “In an email on Thursday, the acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Tomas Philipson, said, ‘The U.S. economic outlook remains strong despite slowing global growth.’ He cited the strength of the services sector, which makes up the bulk of the American economy, and strong consumer spending powered by increased wage and productivity growth.”
Larry Kudlow: “I sure don’t see a recession. We had some blockbuster retail sales, consumer numbers towards the backend of last week, really blockbuster numbers.”
HOUSING STARTS FELL BY NEARLY 10% last month, after the White House pointed to housing data as a sign the economy would pick back up.
Reuters: “Housing starts declined 9.4% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.256 million units last month as construction in the volatile multi-family housing segment dropped, the Commerce Department said on Thursday.”
Larry Kudlow: “Consumers are doing very well. There is a very strong movement up in housing because of low interest rates. Starts, sales, pending sales. That may be a leading indicator that the whole economy is picking up steam.”
Larry Kudlow: “‘It’s like the entire media is trying to push us into recession,’ said Larry Kudlow, Trump’s top economic adviser. ‘If you look at the housing data the numbers are much better. I don’t think impeachment, even if they do vote, will have any impact on the economy at all. It doesn’t have anything to do with it.’”
FACTORY ACTIVITY FELL IN PENNSYLVANIA: While White House officials claimed “manufacturing is coming back” in Pennsylvania, a new report shows factory activity fell in Pennsylvania and the mid-Atlantic.
MarketWatch: “Philly Fed Manufacturing Index Stumbles In October”
Peter Navarro in Pennsylvania: “This is no longer the Rust Belt. It’s the Trump hub of prosperity, and it’s because manufacturing is coming back.”
Peter Navarro in Pennsylvania: “What President Trump is doing is rebuilding that manufacturing and defense industrial base.”
Trump Promised To Save Their Plant -- Now It’s Closed For Good
Trump promised workers at the General Motors facility in Lordstown, Ohio that he’d save their plant -- but now it’s closed for good.
Trump promised workers at the GM Lordstown plant that he’d save their plant and bring back manufacturing jobs.
CNN: “In 2017, Trump went to Youngstown, 15 miles down the road from the Lordstown plant, and promised residents that manufacturing jobs would be returning to the region, telling the crowd: ‘Don't move. Don't sell your house.’”
But the GM Lordstown plant is now closed for good, and workers are devastated from Trump’s broken promise.
“He lied. He told everybody it’s all coming back. It’s not. It’s harder and harder to find a job.” - GM Lordstown worker
“He said don't sell your house, and look, now I got to sell my house that I just built three years ago.” - GM Lordstown worker
“So many people left the community with the thought in their mind that, you know what? Our union's strong and our union's going to get us back to work in Lordstown one day. To hear this news that we might not get another General Motors product, it's just devastating.” - GM Lordstown worker
“I’m looking for something that says we’re not losing jobs to Mexico. I see nothing… It’s a very good experience working there. But it’s not home.” - GM Lordstown worker forced to transfer
“I left my home and everything there in Lordstown.” - GM Lordstown worker
“That totally went against us in Lordstown.” When unions face off with the Trump administration, “it seems everything they do is something that favors business.” - GM Lordstown union leader
Trump’s Failed Deal Gave Turkey Everything It Wanted
Trump is claiming credit for a “ceasefire” agreement to clean up the disastrous situation he created, but the reality is that it’s not a ceasefire at all. Instead, Trump gave Turkey everything it wanted, attacks on our allies continue, and Trump’s fake deal only codified what Turkey has already done.
The Trump administration announced a “ceasefire” agreement that gave Turkey everything they wanted and validated Turkey’s annexation of Kurdish land.
New York Times: “The cease-fire agreement reached with Turkey by Vice President Mike Pence amounts to a near-total victory for Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who gains territory, pays little in penalties and appears to have outmaneuvered President Trump.”
CNN: “‘This is essentially the US validating what Turkey did and allowing them to annex a portion of Syria and displace the Kurdish population,’ the senior US official said. ‘This is what Turkey wanted and what POTUS green lighted.’”
After Pence announced the “ceasefire,” Turkey said it was “not a ceasefire” and shelling of civilian areas in the region have continued.
Mike Pence: “I’m proud to report, thanks to the strong leadership of President Donald Trump and the strong relationship between President Erdoğan and Turkey and the United States of America, that today, the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria.”
Turkish Foreign Minister: “This is not a cease-fire.”
Associated Press: “Fighting continued Friday morning in a northeast Syrian border town at the center of the fight between Turkey and Kurdish forces, despite a U.S.-brokered cease-fire that went into effect overnight. Shelling and gunfire could be heard in and around Ras al-Ayn as smoke billowed from locations near the border with Turkey and the Turkish town of Ceylanpinar.”
Trump continues to defend and praise Erdogan while downplaying the violence in Syria. He touted Erdogan for doing “the right thing,” compared the slaughtering of our allies that he enabled to a schoolyard fight, and defended Turkey’s actions, saying they “had to have it cleaned out.”
Trump on Erdogan: “He’s a friend of mine and I’m glad we didn’t have a problem because frankly, he’s a hell of a leader. And he’s a tough man. He’s a strong man. And he did the right thing and I really appreciate it and I will appreciate it in the future.’”
Trump: “This was a great thing for the Kurds. This was a great thing for Turkey. This is great for everybody.”
Washington Post: “Addressing supporters at a campaign rally here in Texas, Trump likened the warring in Syria to a schoolyard squabble… ‘Like two kids in a lot, you’ve got to let them fight and then you pull them apart,’ Trump said. He marveled at the fighting, saying ‘it was pretty vicious,’ and adding, ‘It was nasty. … It’s not fun having bullets going all over the place.’”
Independent: “‘They had to have it cleaned out,’ Mr Trump said of Turkey’s offensive to expel Kurdish fighters and their families from the area. Ankara launched its incursion against the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) a week ago, days after the Republican announced he was withdrawing American troops from the area. The SDF had been US allies in the fight against Isis.”
Meanwhile, ISIS is preparing further attacks after Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from northern Syria and abandonment of our Kurdish allies.
Washington Post: “The Islamic State is racing to capitalize on the deteriorating security situation in northern Syria, stepping up attacks on prisons as well as on the now-weakened Kurdish militia that served as the vanguard in the U.S.-led war against the group’s self-proclaimed caliphate, intelligence officials and terrorism experts say...Turkey’s week-old incursion into northeast Syria is already proving to be a propaganda windfall for the extremist group.”
Trump Claims Farmers Are Happy With Him, Farmers Say That's ‘B.S.’
Last week, Trump claimed “now it's really working out” for farmers who have it “nice and easy” because of his policies -- it’s not. Farmers know that the Trump administration is not helping them, and as one farmer said, “it’s time for them to put their money where their mouth is.”
Farmers across the country see through Trump’s lies and broken promises:
“We’ve been promised a lot of things throughout these negotiations and not all of them have come to fruition.” - Missouri soybean farmer
“We get this new story that we’re going to have this great deal as we had back in the spring, and then the Chinese went home, and a week later, it went away. Then we didn’t have negotiations for several months, so once bitten, twice shy.” - Missouri soybean farmer
“I’d probably be lying if I said some of us aren’t scratching our heads every once in a while. I sometimes wonder if [Trump]he didn’t bite off a little more than he could chew.” - Kansas farmer
“It is rather disheartening to hear the administration talking about small businesses being the backbone of rural America... farmers are small businesses. Talk is cheap, now it is time for them to put their money where their mouth is.” - Retired Wisconsin dairy farmer
“For him to say that he’s helping farmers is really B.S. too, because the amount of money we get back is between 20 and 23 percent of what we are losing.” - Wisconsin farmers union president
On Trump’s visit to Pennsylvania…
NBC News: Massive Pennsylvania factory layoff foreshadows Trump 2020 troubles
By Ben Popken
A manufacturing recession may already be under way in vulnerable swing states, challenging President Donald Trump’s campaign promise to deliver blue collar jobs to his base.
Out of the 21 states with manufacturing job losses so far this year, some of those experiencing the greatest percentage declines are states where Trump won by less than 5 percentage points. In Pennsylvania, the manufacturing sector lost 8,100 jobs. In North Carolina, it was 7,700 from that sector; and Wisconsin lost 6,500 jobs.
The closure of Wood-Mode, a 77-year-old family-owned factory among the farmland of rural Kreamer, Pennsylvania, was responsible for over 900 of the manufacturing jobs lost in that state this year, one of the most by a single company.
Wood-Mode was known for making the the “Cadillac” of custom cabinets. Full kitchen sets could sell for over $100,000. Even dealers who were burned by the shutdown spoke glowingly of the unparalleled craftmanship and finish.
But there had been signs over the years Wood-Mode was having difficulty, including cost-cutting moves, layoffs, and difficulty paying bills and obtaining materials.
Cabinet lines can be had at hardware chains for a few thousand dollars. Cheap Chinese imports nipped at the bottom of the industry’s pricing ladder. And though the machinery was kept in good condition, some equipment was older, and took more steps or time than newer equipment would. Facing these and other headwinds, in 2017 Wood-Mode restructured its debt and accessed millions in new liquidity.
It wasn’t enough, but no one expected what came next.
Employees who had worked there for decades were given minutes to leave. Partially completed cabinets were left on the floor of the 1.3 million square foot facility.
“They came out and told us shut everything off. Turn off the radio… 'As of right now, you’re all laid off indefinitely,'" said Michele Sanders, 41, who had worked at the company for two decades immediately after graduating high school, no college degree required.
“We had about 10 minutes to get our stuff and get out,” said Sanders, a mother of two. Employees drifted out into the parking lot in a daze, under the eye of local law enforcement. “I was in my car with tears flowing out of my eyes. We were all in shock,” she said.
The number of job postings for the largest manufacturing occupations have fallen nationwide over the past year, according to the site’s data. Want ads for production managers are down 72 percent; machine operators, 64 percent; and assembly line workers, 32 percent.
The manufacturing declines come in spite of, or in some ways, accelerated by, Trump’s protectionist measures and bruising trade war.
Trump Just Gave ISIS ‘Its Biggest Win In More Than Four Years’
Trump continues to claim credit for single-handedly defeating ISIS, but his reckless and chaotic decision to withdraw from Syria was a big win for ISIS and greatly improved its prospects. After inheriting a successful anti-ISIS campaign, Trump is risking the reversal of hard-fought gains by the U.S. and our allies.
TRUMP, YESTERDAY: “ISIS was all over the place … It was me…who captured them. I’m the one who did the capturing. I’m the one who knows more about it than you people or the fake pundits.”
TRUMP, ALSO YESTERDAY: “When I took over ISIS was all over the place. You know that better than anybody, two and a half years ago. I went in and when I started I got rid of that whole thing. All those prisoners, all that -- those are my -- they were captured under Trump.”
EXPERTS, TODAY: “There is no question that ISIS is one of the big winners in what is happening in Syria.”
DNC on Bill Taylor’s Testimony
In response to acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor’s testimony, DNC Deputy War Room Director Daniel Wessel released the following statement:
“Today, Bill Taylor - Trump’s own top diplomat to Ukraine - made it clear that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo. Republicans have no more excuses. The Trump administration chose Bill Taylor for this position. Taylor served a previous Republican president. And yet, today he testified that the president extorted a foreign country in order to sway an election. Trump must be held accountable.”
All The Ways Bill Taylor Was Told Trump Sought A Quid Pro Quo
Bill Taylor - Trump’s own top diplomat to Ukraine - made it clear in his testimony today that Trump engaged in a quid pro quo.
TRUMP INSISTED ON AN ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE INVESTIGATIONS: Trump himself pressed for the Ukrainian president to make a public announcement of investigations into Trump’s political rival and a conspiracy theory about the 2016 election.
“According to Mr. Morrison, President Trump told Ambassador Sondland that he was not asking for a ‘quid pro quo.’ But President Trump did insist that President Zelenskyy go to a microphone and say he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and that President Zelenskyy should want to do this himself. Mr. Morrison said that he told Ambassador Bolton and the NSC lawyers of this phone call between President Trump and Ambassador Sandland.”
“EVERYTHING” WAS DEPENDENT ON THE INVESTIGATIONS: Sondland said that “everything” was dependent on Ukraine publicly announcing the investigations that Trump wanted.
“Amb. Sondland also told me that he now recognized that he had made a mistake by earlier telling the Ukrainian officials to whom he spoke that a White House meeting with President Zelenskyy was dependent on a public announcement of investigations — in fact, Amb. Sondland said, ‘everything’ was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance.’”
OR ELSE, U.S. AND UKRAINE WOULD REACH A “STALEMATE”: Ambassador Sondland told Ukraine’s president that if Zelensky failed to make the public announcement requested by Trump, the U.S and Ukraine would be at a “stalemate.”
“Ambassador Sondland said that he had talked to President Zelenskyy and Mr. Yermak and told them that, although this was not a quid pro quo, if President Zelenskyy did not ‘clear things up’ in public, we would be at a ‘stalemate.’ I understood a ‘stalemate’ to mean that Ukraine would not receive the much-needed military assistance. Ambassador Sondland said that this conversation concluded with President Zelenskky agreeing to make a public statement in an interview with CNN.”
UKRAINE NEEDED TO MAKE CLEAR IT WASN’T STANDING IN THE WAY OF THE INVESTIGATIONS: Ambassador Sondland told Taylor that the Ukrainian president needed to make it clear to Trump that he would not stand in the way of the “investigations” that were requested by Trump.
“On June 27, Ambassador Sondland told me during a phone conversation that President Zelenskyy needed to make clear to President Trump that he, President Zelenskyy, was not standing in the way of ‘investigations.’
Azar’s Advice To Americans, After Trump Guts Their Health Care: ‘Keep Calm And Carry On’
Trump is fighting in court to throw millions of Americans off their health insurance and to remove the ACA’s preexisting condition protections. How should Americans react after Trump takes away their health care? Secretary Azar’s suggested respond: “Keep calm and carry on.”
Alex Azar: Americans should “keep calm and carry on” if Trump succeeds in his lawsuit to take away their health care.
Alex Azar: “Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in an interview Friday that because the ruling is likely to be stayed, there is no reason for concern now. ‘Our message is to keep calm and carry on,’ he said.”
Seema Verma refused to answer whether the Trump administration has a replacement plan in place if their lawsuit to strike down the ACA succeeds.
Politico’s Adam Cancryn: “House Democrats getting their first (and likely last) shot this year to ask Seema Verma anything: 1st Dem: where's the ACA contingency plan (Verma dodges) 2nd Dem: 5-minute speech concluding with where's the plan (Verma doesn't answer) 3rd Dem: where's the plan (Verma dodges).”
Meanwhile the Republican Study Committee developed a proposal to weaken preexisting condition protections that would also lead to coverage losses.
Politico: “The new plan developed by the Republican Study Committee is laden with old ideas that the GOP has tried and repeatedly failed to sell to voters – and some of its own members.”
Fierce Healthcare: “However, it takes out provisions that ensure patients with pre-existing conditions get affordable coverage such as requirements that prevent plans from charging sicker people higher premiums than healthy customers.”
The Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia is proud to announce our endorsement of the following 2019 Democratic Candidates for the Virginia State Senate and the Virginia House of Delegates. We have attached flyers identifying all of the candidates of color running for state office.
Please note we have also made endorsements of several Local Candidates and Constitutional Offices. Check with your candidates.
We know that a Democratic majority in the House of Delegates was lost by a coin toss. We need to make a decisive Democratic showing at the polls this year. VOTE! NOVEMBER 5!
Thanks & Regards……….?
Chair, Democratic Black Caucus of Virginia
October 18, 2019
October 18, 2019
Yesterday, I woke up to the tragic news that my friend and mentor Elijah Cummings is no longer with us. I have been fearing this moment for some time, and I hoped that Elijah would follow in the footsteps of his namesake. Elijah, the prophet of the Old Testament, was a miracle worker, and I prayed that a miracle would restore my friend to good health.
But now my heart is broken. Elijah Cummings was the moral compass of Maryland politics. He was the conscience of Congress. And he reminded us regularly that the test of a man is not how much he helps himself, but how much he helps those less fortunate.
Elijah passed that test with flying colors. Wherever he went, his North Star was helping people, especially those in the shadows. And his legacy runs deep -- from the neighborhoods of Baltimore to the halls of the House.
I woke up yesterday with a mix of grief and gratitude. Grief for what we've lost; gratitude for all he gave us. Elijah Cummings was one of a kind. He was a man of great conscience and character. A man who never faltered in the face of injustice, who never backed down from fighting for what was right. He leaves us with a broken heart but a better world.
Here's my tribute to an American hero. I hope you'll give it a read.
Dear DNC Member,
We wanted you to be the first to know that today we are announcing that the sixth Democratic presidential primary debate will be held on Thursday, December 19th in Los Angeles, CA at the University of California, Los Angeles in partnership with PBS News Hour and Politico.
Please find below the qualification criteria for the debate.
As always, if you have any questions please let us know.
Democratic National Committee
QUALIFICATION CRITERIA FOR THE DECEMBER DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY DEBATE
To qualify for the December debate, candidates must meet one of two polling requirements (“Polling Threshold”) and the unique donor requirement (“Grassroots Fundraising Threshold”) as detailed below.
- Polling Threshold. To meet the Polling Threshold for the December Debate, candidates must meet either the “Four-Poll Threshold” or the “Early State Polling Threshold” as described below:
- Four-Poll Threshold. Receive 4% or more support in at least four polls (which may be national polls, or single-state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and/or Nevada) meeting the Qualifying Poll Criteria described below. To meet the Four-Poll Threshold, each one of a candidate’s four qualifying polls must be sponsored by different Qualifying Poll Sponsors, or if by the same Qualifying Poll Sponsor, must be in different geographical areas.
- Early State Polling Threshold. Receive 6% or more support in two single-state polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and/or Nevada that meet the Qualifying Poll Criteria described below. To meet the Early State Polling Threshold, any candidate’s two qualifying polls may be in the same or different geographical areas and from the same or different Qualifying Poll Sponsors.
For a poll to be counted towards the Four-Poll Threshold or Early State Polling Threshold, it must meet each of the four requirements described below (“Qualifying Poll Criteria”):
- Each poll must be sponsored by one of the following 16 entities or pairs of entities (“Qualifying Poll Sponsors”): Associated Press; ABC News/Washington Post; CBS News/YouGov; CNN; Des Moines Register; Fox News; Monmouth University; National Public Radio; NBC News/Wall Street Journal; NBC News/Marist; New York Times; Quinnipiac University; University of New Hampshire; USA Today/Suffolk University; Winthrop University. For individual entities that are included only in Qualifying Poll Sponsor pairs but are not listed individually, independent polling by such individual entities or polling conducted in new partnerships with such individual entities shall not meet the Qualifying Poll Criteria. The DNC reserves the right to add a Nevada-specific poll sponsor to this list in the near future.
- Each poll must be publicly released between October 16, 2019 and 11:59 P.M. on December 12, 2019.
- Each poll’s candidate support question must have been conducted by reading or presenting a list of Democratic presidential primary candidates to respondents. Poll questions using an open-ended or un-aided question to gauge presidential primary support will not count.
- Each polling result must be the top-line number listed in the original public release from the approved Qualifying Poll Sponsor, whether or not it is a rounded or weighted number.
- Grassroots Fundraising Threshold. To meet the Grassroots Fundraising Threshold, candidates must submit a certification, executed by the candidate’s campaign Treasurer, by 11 A.M. on December 13, 2019, demonstrating that the campaign has received donations from at least (1) 200,00 unique donors; and (2) a minimum of 800 unique donors per state in at least 20 U.S. states, U.S. territories, or the District of Columbia. Qualifying donations must be received by 11:59 P.M. on December 12, 2019. An acceptable certification must provide or attach adequate verifiable evidence to show that the fundraising threshold has been reached and may include verification from ActBlue or NGP VAN regarding the campaign’s fundraising.
I received this document during the DNC Black Caucus Meeting.