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23 августа, 10:37

Who’s winning and losing the 2020 money chase

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Follow the money in the 2020 Democratic presidential race with the latest FEC data on each candidate.

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23 августа, 10:37

Where the candidates stand on more than 50 issues

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The most comprehensive guide anywhere to the issues shaping the 2020 Democratic presidential primary.

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23 августа, 10:37

2020 presidential endorsements: Our latest list

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Follow the latest presidential candidate endorsements by members of Congress and state governors.

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23 августа, 10:37

Democratic primary polls: Who is ahead in the 2020 race?

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Follow the latest election polls on the race for the 2020 Democratic primary nomination.

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23 августа, 02:28

Rick Gates says he told Vin Weber and Tony Podesta that Ukraine controlled think tank

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Rick Gates, President Donald Trump’s former deputy campaign chairman, testified on Thursday that he personally told two lobbyists hired by Paul Manafort that a think tank they were representing was actually a front for the government of Ukraine.During questioning at the ongoing trial of Greg Craig, the former Obama White House counsel, Gates said the lobbyists, Tony Podesta and former Rep. Vin Weber (R-Minn.), knew that the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine was controlled by Ukraine. Such ties would have required Podesta, Weber and their lobbying firms to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act and disclose contracts and payments related to the work.“Did you lie to Mr. Podesta himself?” asked Fernando Campoamor-Sanchez, a lawyer for the government.“I did not,” Gates replied.“Did you lie to Mr. Weber himself?” the prosecutor inquired.“I did not,” Gates said.“Did you tell them who the client actually was?” Campoamor-Sanchez asked.“Yes,” Gates said.“And who was the client?” the prosecutor asked.“The government of Ukraine,” Gates replied.Gates’ testimony is the latest indication that Mercury Public Affairs and the Podesta Group knew they were working for the Ukrainian government, even though their ostensible client was the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.Some staffers from Mercury and the Podesta Group “understood that they were receiving direction from [Manafort and Ukrainian President Viktor] Yanukovych, not the Centre,” according to a statement of facts laid out by special counsel Robert Mueller that Manafort — the former Trump campaign chairman and Gates’ boss — acknowledged as true as part of his plea deal with the government.Manafort, Gates and Mercury and Podesta Group staffers “referred to the client in ways that made clear they knew it was Ukraine, for instance noting that the ‘client’ had an Embassy in Washington D.C.,” according to the statement. Tony Podesta, identified as “the head of Company B” in the court filing, “told his team to think the President of Ukraine ‘is the client.’”Gates also told Mercury that it would be “representing the Government of Ukraine” in Washington, according to a Feb. 21, 2012, email obtained by Mueller and mentioned in a court filing related to Gates’ guilty pleas last year to conspiracy and false-statement charges.Mercury and the Podesta Group registered to lobby for the think tank at the time but failed to register as foreign agents, which is required by law for lobbying done on behalf of foreign governments or political parties. Both firms retroactively registered for the work in 2017, once Manafort was under investigation and years after the work had concluded.Mercury has said it didn’t register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act on the advice of its lawyers. Gates admitted to lying to Mercury’s law firm as part of the plea deal he struck with Mueller last year.Bob Trout, a lawyer for Weber, said Gates’ testimony on Thursday wasn’t accurate.“By his own description, Rick Gates is a serial liar and a convicted liar at that,” Trout said in a statement to POLITICO. “He has admitted to lying to Mr. Weber and Mr. Weber’s lawyer when the lawyer was assessing whether FARA registration was required, and the lawyer then recommended that FARA registration was not required. During Vin Weber’s work for the ECFMU, Rick Gates never told Mr. Weber that the real client was the government of Ukraine.”Trout didn’t address whether Gates had told Weber the client would be the Ukrainian government before the work began. But he said the “only client Mr. Weber ever thought he was working for was the ECFMU.”Mercury has said it didn’t register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act on the advice of their lawyers. Gates admitted to lying to Mercury’s law firm as part of the plea deal he struck with Mueller.The Podesta Group collapsed in 2017 after Manafort was arrested and charged with various crimes, including failing to register as a foreign agent. Tony Podesta didn’t respond to a request for comment.Mueller decided that potential wrongdoing by Mercury and the Podesta Group was beyond his remit and referred the investigation to prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who haven’t brought charges yet.Neither Weber nor Tony Podesta is on the government’s witness list for the current trial, where Craig is charged with misleading the Justice Department about his dealings with the media in connection with a 2012 report on the prosecution of former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko of Ukraine.But a former Mercury staffer, Lucy-Claire Saunders, testified briefly at the trial on Wednesday.“At some point, we started to realize that it was not what it seemed,” Saunders, who left Mercury in 2015, said of the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine.“We were told it was a nonprofit or nongovernmental organization,” she said. “Later, we came to believe that potentially it was funded by businessmen in Ukraine with close relationships to the government.”Asked who told her the group was a nonprofit, Saunders said it was Gates.Campoamor-Sanchez’s questioning of Gates seemed to be aimed a clearing up comments he’d made earlier in the day suggesting that Mercury and Podesta might have been in the dark about who was behind the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine. Gates had told one of Craig’s lawyers, Paula Junghans, that the think tank was connected to a high-ranking figure in Ukraine’s government.“He served a role in the government,” Gates, a prosecution witness, said during cross-examination. “It was not a direct arm of the entire government.”Gates did not name the man behind the think tank, but the filing about Gates’ plea deal names him as Andriy Klyuyev, Ukraine’s first vice prime minister.The group “was associated with the Ukrainian government. It was not an independent nonprofit organization, right?” Junghans asked.“Yes, that’s correct,” Gates said.Junghans also asked whether Gates had misled Mercury and Podesta about the think tank.“You lied to them?” she said.“I did,” Gates said.Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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23 августа, 02:14

Fact check: Did Bernie just backtrack on Medicare for All?

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Critics pounced on a tweak Sanders made this week to his signature plan, but they're being misleading.

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23 августа, 01:39

Hickenlooper goes from David to Goliath

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The former Colorado governor didn't catch on in the presidential race, but he's a front-runner — with familiar flaws — for the Senate.

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23 августа, 00:40

Nadler asks House committees probing Trump to share docs for its impeachment investigation

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House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler on Thursday asked four House panels investigating President Donald Trump to share documents and other information to aid his committee’s investigation into whether to file articles of impeachment against the president.In a letter to the chairs of four key investigative committees, Nadler (D-N.Y.) asked for “documents and testimony, depositions, and/or interview transcripts” that might be relevant to the Judiciary Committee’s ongoing impeachment probe.The letter — addressed to the leaders of the House Intelligence, Financial Services, Oversight and Reform, and Foreign Affairs panels — also references the Judiciary panel’s recent pronouncement in various court filings that it is considering whether articles of impeachment are warranted, a decision that came without a formal vote of the House or the committee itself.Together, all five committees have launched investigations, interviewed witnesses and subpoenaed documents relating to the president’s conduct, foreign business ties, presidential campaign, hush-money payments and personal finances. The Intelligence Committee also has dozens of transcripts from its 2017-18 investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election that may become relevant to the Judiciary Committee probe.Nadler’s request comes one day after Trump’s attorneys argued that two of the committees — Intelligence and Financial Services — may not invoke the possibility of impeachment in order to gain access to Trump's personal financial information held by Deutsche Bank and Capital One. Trump’s lawyers called impeachment “a non-legislative power that the Committees do not and cannot invoke here (because, among other reasons, they have no jurisdiction over it under the House Rules).”The Judiciary Committee’s move request appears to directly answer that claim: All documents gathered by other committees investigating Trump might become relevant to its impeachment probe. That also bolsters House General Counsel Douglas Letter’s effort to link the Intelligence and Financial Services Committees’ demands to the ongoing impeachment inquiry.“In fact, the House Committee on the Judiciary is investigating whether to recommend articles of impeachment against President Trump,” Letter wrote. He issued a similar filing in a separate lawsuit on behalf of the Oversight Committee, which is seeking Trump’s financial records through his accounting firm, Mazars.The president’s attorneys say those panels have no right to obtain Trump’s financial documents because only the Judiciary Committee has jurisdiction over impeachment. Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, too, argue that the panel hasn’t formally invoked impeachment since there hasn’t been an official vote of the committee or the House, a precedent that has been adhered to in all prior presidential impeachment probes.Nadler’s letter references the Judiciary Committee’s intention to work with the Intelligence Committee to review sensitive grand jury information relating to counterintelligence. Nadler said his request to the other committees “would build on that sharing agreement and would similarly allow for sensitive or confidential information to be received.”In the past, formal impeachment inquiries have transformed the Judiciary Committee into the clearinghouse for all potentially damaging information about the president, but under Nadler’s proposed arrangement, all five committees would continue their parallel investigations and share information only as it becomes pertinent — a prospect that would dramatically broaden efforts to unearth impeachment-related information to dozens of additional members of the House, including powerful lawmakers like Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff and Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters. Waters has long called for Trump’s removal from office.Speaker Nancy Pelosi has so far resisted growing calls among her colleagues to open a formal impeachment inquiry, though she has signed off on the legal strategy that references the House’s ongoing impeachment investigation. As of Thursday, 135 Democrats — well over half of Pelosi’s caucus — have indicated they would vote to open an inquiry, a number that has grown steadily since former special counsel Robert Mueller testified on Capitol Hill last month and confirmed allegations of obstruction of justice against Trump.Though Pelosi tasked six committees with investigating aspects of Trump’s business and personal activities, Nadler’s letter notably omits the Ways and Means Committee, which is seeking Trump’s federal tax returns and is suing the Treasury Department and IRS to obtain them.Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine

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23 августа, 00:27

Trump’s Greenland Gambit Might Be Crazy—But It Could Also Be the Future

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President Donald Trump’s much-mocked desire to buy Greenland, which was rebuffed by the Danish government to his great displeasure, might be the closest he has come to acknowledging the gravity of global warming—though hardly the sort of acknowledgment one might hope for. According to the Wall Street Journal article that first broke the news about Greenland, Trump’s interest was piqued when advisers spoke of the island’s “abundant resources and geopolitical importance.” The reason those resources—including reserves of coal and uranium—are available for exploitation is because of Greenland’s rapidly melting ice sheet. Its geopolitical importance has been greatly increased by the melting of Arctic Ocean ice, which has made new shipping routes accessible and opened up a new theater of strategic competition for the United States, Canada, Russia, the Nordic countries and, increasingly, China.Trump probably doesn’t realize it, but he’s not the first president in recent years to look at the coming impact of climate change and decide to buy land. And with dislocated populations and scarcer resources looming on the horizon, he might not be the last.In 2014, the pacific island nation of Kiribati purchased 7.7 square miles of land of the Fijian island of Vanua Levu for a little less than $9 million. A nation of 33 low-lying atolls, Kiribati is one of the countries that’s most vulnerable to sea level rise. According to the government’s climate action plan, submitted to the 2015 U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris, a substantial portion of Kirbati’s capital island, Tarawa, where nearly half of its 110,000 people live, could be inundated by 2050. Smaller outlying islands could disappear even sooner. Then-President Anote Tong described the Fiji purchase as an insurance policy, telling the media, “We would hope not to put everyone on [this] one piece of land, but if it became absolutely necessary, yes, we could do it.” At the Paris summit, Tong thanked the government of Fiji for opening the doors to his people.The purchase made international headlines, with Kiribati described as the first country to purchase land abroad specifically for relocation because of climate change. But it was a little more complicated than that. For one thing, since the purchase, there’s been little in the way of preparation for any mass relocation of Kirbati’s population. The administration that followed Tong’s is mostly dismissive of his plan. The government’s story on what the land was intended for also changed several times—sometimes it was described as for relocation, sometimes for agriculture to provide food security for Kiribati. The land itself consists of steep hills and mangrove swamps, not particularly suitable for either habitation or agriculture. It’s also already home to several hundred Solomon Islanders who have lived there since the 19th century. When I interviewed Tong at his home in Tarawa in 2016 for my book, Invisible Countries, he told me, “It’s a statement to the international community that our situation is serious. But, apart from that, it’s a damn good investment.” If all goes well, he told me in language that would likely make sense to the current, real estate-minded U.S. president, “in 50 years we can sell the land.”Looking ahead, Kiribati might offer a model for other countries. Food security in an increasingly crowded world could be another factor that drives governments to purchase land abroad. This is arguably already happening. Chinese state-run firms have been accused of a new “land grab,” having gobbled up agricultural land in Africa and Latin America. In 2008, the South Korean company Daewoo Logistics negotiated a lease on 3.2 million acres of farmland in Madagascar, nearly half the island’s arable land. The deal was highly controversial and contributed to the protests that led to the overthrow of Madagascar’s government in 2009.But these deals and the Kiribati purchase differ in an important way from Trump’s Greenland gambit: They did not actually involve the transfer of sovereignty from one country to another. The land in Fiji is still the territory of Fiji, even if the government of Kiribati owns it. The small population that lives on the land didn’t suddenly become citizens of Kiribati overnight. It’s more akin to the sovereign wealth funds of countries like Norway or Qatar gobbling up New York real estate. You don’t need a passport to visit these buildings in Manhattan.The actual purchase of sovereign territory was once relatively common. Blockbuster deals like the Louisiana Purchase, the Alaska Purchase and the Adams-Onís treaty, through which Florida was acquired, were key to America’s early territorial expansion. Today, this is almost unheard of. (One possible exception: In 2011, Tajikistan agreed to cede 386 square miles of territory to China under a deal, the terms of which were not publicized at the time.)Why has the market for territory gotten so tight? In large part, it’s because the world’s landmass is now dominated not by large colonial empires, but by nation-states that zealously guard the territory they control. Moreover, thanks to prevailing notions like nationalism and popular sovereignty, the people who live within those nation-states expect to have some say in the matter of what country they live in. Germany learned this the hard way after 1871, when, after its victory in the Franco-Prussian war, it demanded payment from France in the form of real estate, as countless victorious powers had done since time immemorial. But even though the French government agreed to transfer the provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, the people who lived there refused to accept that they were now Germans, and France nursed a grudge until it won the provinces back in World War I. Times had changed, and, as historian Martin Van Creveld has written, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck came to view the annexation as the worst mistake of his career.A century and a half later, Trump too wants to take over a territory whose people don’t believe their sovereignty is something to be traded like poker chips between leaders hundreds of miles away; Greenland, though part of Denmark, is a semi-autonomous territory with its own government managing its domestic affairs. This isn’t the first time Trump has expressed some premodern ideas about territorial conquest—he has on several occasions argued that the United States should have “kept the oil” after invading Iraq—but he’s going to have a hard time finding negotiating partners for his expansionist dreams. Still, just because Trump’s Greenland purchase is a nonstarter, doesn’t mean our notions of territorial control won’t get a little more fluid in the future, particularly as climate change physically reshapes the planet. Perhaps some countries will be forced to pick up and move. There’s historical precedent for this. In his book, Vanished Kingdoms, the British historian Norman Davies identifies 15 different locations called “Burgundy,” dating back to the 5th century and occupying locations from the west bank of the Rhine to what is now Switzerland to the Netherlands. These countries more closely resembled family-run holding companies than a modern nation-state. But relocation is a pretty alien concept in a world where countries are first and foremost thought of as particular pieces of land.The predicament of Kiribati and other low-lying island states has also prompted some environmental law scholars to propose ideas like “ex-situ nationhood,” under which governments would maintain some level of political sovereignty and a role in international institutions, even after territory they used to represent becomes uninhabitable. These might end up looking less like currently existing states than entities like the Sovereign Order of Malta (not to be confused with the country of Malta)—a religious order dating back to the Middle Ages that is recognized as politically sovereign by 106 countries and enjoys observer status at the United Nations, despite controlling no territory and having no citizens. The scenario might seem far-fetched, but traditional notions of sovereignty and citizenship might no longer hold up in a world of growing migrant populations and statelessness.It probably wasn’t what he had in mind, but Trump’s Arctic dreams could point toward an era in which both the countries of the world and the physical land they sit on are a lot less fixed than they are now. Article originally published on POLITICO Magazine