BIG MISTAKE BY TRUMP?
President Donald Trump has weighed in, in what will be one of the most contentious Republican congressional primary race.
The person the president is backing endorsed and voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 cycle and even suggested Trump drop out of the race.
This race has already gotten ugly as Cuban exile and restauranteur Irina Vilarino has dug in and is going after her opponent, regardless of Trump’s support for him.
Can you guess who this guy is? READ MORE
Miami-Dade Commissioner Esteban “Stevie” Bovo, who is running for the mayor position, just announced the first series of endorsements for his campaign.
Hialeah Gardens Mayor Yoiset de la Cruz, Miami Lakes Mayor Manny Cid, and Miami Commissioner Manolo Reyes
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FUMBLE!!!! >>>> “Trump makes unexpected, questionable congressional endorsement,” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – President Donald Trump has decided to enter the Republican primary race in Florida’s 26th district on Thursday and endorsed Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez over restauranteur Irina Vilarino, who has been pushing the America First Agenda since before entering the race.
The news of the endorsement has caught everyone off guard, stunning Republican politics because Gimenez endorsed and voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election over then-candidates Donald Trump.
Trump tweeted the “complete and total Endorsement” of Gimenez Thursday night, but Vilarino didn’t seem moved by the endorsement.
“Gabbard Hits Clinton With Defamation Lawsuit” by Floridian Press’s Daniel Molina – Since announcing her run for the Presidency, Hawaiian Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D) has faced more contention that support within the Democratic party. Recently, the veteran has increased her criticism of Hillary Clinton (D), and this week she released a statement regarding a defamation lawsuit aimed against the former Secretary of State and Presidential candidate. In the statement, Gabbard asserts, “I love our country.” She details her time served in the military, reminding that she enlisted “in the Army National Guard after the attack on our country on 9/11.” Since then, she has “served as a soldier now for 17 years.” Then, the controversial Presidential candidate takes aim at Clinton, arguing that “despite my lifetime of service to our country, Hillary Clinton has essentially tried to portray me as a traitor to our country.” This, is a political attack that fellow Democrats have also taken against the Hawaiian Rep., criticizing her for being “Russian bought.” She continues by declaring that “if Hillary Clinton and her allies can successfully destroy my reputation – even though I’m a war veteran and a sitting member of Congress – then they can do it to anybody.” Moreover, she noted that “that’s exactly the message that Hillary and her powerful elite friends want to send to you.” In an act of defense, Gabbard is fighting back, saying that she “will not allow this blatant effort to intimidate me or other patriotic Americans into silence” to “go unchallenged.”
Berry politics— Congressional candidate Kat Cammack has announced that she has received the support of Brittany H. Lee, the Florida Blueberry Growers Association’s executive director.
“Hours after launching run for Congress, Miami-Dade mayor wins Trump’s endorsement” by Miami Herald’s David Smiley, Douglas Hanks, and Alex Daugherty – Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced his run for Congress Thursday in a Twitter post that led with gratitude for President Donald Trump, and hours later the president returned the favor with his endorsement of Gimenez to take on freshman Democratic Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell in what’s expected to be one of the most expensive and hard-fought races in the country. “Carlos will win big, very exciting,” read the message posted on Trump’s Twitter account at 9:52 p.m. “Great for Florida, great for USA! He has my complete and total Endorsement!” The unequivocal praise from Trump deflates one potential liability for Gimenez as he heads into a GOP primary against two lesser-known Republicans. Gimenez broke with Trump in the 2016 election and announced plans to vote for Hillary Clinton, statements that had already been fueling attacks saying that the mayor wasn’t loyal enough to Trump to win the nomination. The late-night tweet capped a congressional campaign launch that the two-term mayor centered on Trump, including leading the welcoming party at Miami International Airport for the president’s trip to a Republican event at his Doral golf resort.
“Florida AG Ashley Moody adds her name to letter urging Senate to reject Trump’s impeachment” by Sun Sentinel’s Skyler Swisher – Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has signed onto a letter urging the Senate to reject the impeachment charges against President Donald Trump, calling it a “purely partisan attack” that establishes a “dangerous historical precedent.” Moody joined 20 other attorneys general from states that Trump won in 2016, writing that the “impeachment proceeding threatens all future elections and establishes a dangerous historical precedent.” “This partisan political effort undermines the democratic process, both now and in the future,” the letter sent to senators on Wednesday reads. “The House unilaterally rewrites the constitution, without the people’s consent to amend it. It weaponizes a process that should only be initiated in exceedingly rare circumstances and never for partisan purposes.” House Democrats maintain that Trump obstructed Congress and abused his power by enlisting Ukraine, a foreign power, in a plot to corrupt the 2020 election. Moody, a Republican, took office in January 2019. She succeeds Pam Bondi, who is now serving on Trump’s impeachment defense team.
“‘Pillowcase Rapist,’ Who Terrorized Florida in the 1980s, Has Been Caught, Officials Say” by New York Times’s Michael Levenson – For years, he terrorized South Florida, sneaking into women’s homes, attacking them with a sharp object and then raping them while he covered their faces or his own with a cloth. Dubbed the “Pillowcase Rapist,” he was suspected of sexually assaulting 45 women in the 1980s, and was the subject of an extensive manhunt. The police assigned 50 investigators to the case, distributed fliers with sketches of his likeness, and even commissioned a sculptor to create a bust of his head. The police chased more than 1,000 leads, but the trail went cold, and a task force dedicated to catching the rapist was disbanded in 1987. On Thursday, more than three decades later, the police said they had at last tracked down a suspect. Law enforcement officials said the suspect, Robert Eugene Koehler, a 60-year-old registered sex offender, was arrested Saturday at his home in Palm Bay, Fla., about a one-hour drive from Orlando. He was charged with two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon stemming from a rape that the authorities say he committed on Dec. 28, 1983, when a 25-year-old woman was stabbed with a sharp object and raped in her home in Miami-Dade County. Katherine Fernandez Rundle, the Miami-Dade state attorney, said at a news conference on Thursday that a DNA sample taken from Mr. Koehler had linked him to 24 other sexual assaults from that era. The key break in the case came last year, Ms. Rundle said, when Mr. Koehler’s son was arrested on a felony domestic violence charge, requiring him to submit a DNA sample to a criminal database. That sample, she said, provided a close familial match with samples collected from the rapist in the 1980s. “This familial contact was the breaking point for us,” she said. “It was just what we needed to be able to piece this all together.” Laura Adams, a county prosecutor, said that when the police searched Mr. Koehler’s home, they found several safes stashed with women’s jewelry and a metal nail file wrapped in a protective covering. She said investigators believe Mr. Koehler may have kept the items as souvenirs from his crimes.
“Florida bill requiring parental consent for teen abortions heads to Senate floor” by WTSP – A proposed bill that would require teen girls to get consent before having an abortion cleared the Rules Committee in the Florida Senate Wednesday. The bill’s sponsor Kelli Stargel is a Republican representative from Lakeland. Her and other supporters of the bill say parents should be involved in minor’s decisions about abortions. After Wednesday’s 9-7 vote, SB 404 will head to the Senate floor. The House version of the bill (HB 265) is also ready to be considered by the entire House. In 1989, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a law that required teens to get parental consent for an abortion because it violates a person’s right to privacy granted in the state’s Constitution. In other states, bills are being passed to loosen such abortion laws. But in Florida, where the legislature leans conservative, that’s unlikely.
“Florida Supreme Court judges back away from death penalty ruling” by News Service of Florida – The Florida Supreme Court said Thursday that unanimous jury recommendations are not necessary before death sentences can be imposed, as justices backed away from a 2016 decision that revamped the state’s capital-punishment system. The 4-1 ruling offered a clear picture of how much the Supreme Court has changed since last January, when a conservative majority took control after the retirements of longtime justices Barbara Pariente, R. Fred Lewis and Peggy Quince. Thursday’s majority opinion said the court “got it wrong” in 2016 when it required changes such as unanimous jury recommendations on death sentences. The 2016 ruling came as judges, lawyers and state leaders tried to move forward after the U.S. Supreme Court had found Florida’s death-penalty system unconstitutional. “Last, lest there be any doubt, we hold that our state Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment … does not require a unanimous jury recommendation — or any jury recommendation — before a death sentence can be imposed,” said Thursday’s majority opinion shared by Chief Justice Charles Canady and justices Ricky Polston, Alan Lawson and Carlos Muniz. “The text of our Constitution requires us to construe the state cruel and unusual punishment provision in conformity with decisions of the (U.S.) Supreme Court interpreting the (U.S. Constitution’s) Eighth Amendment. Binding Supreme Court precedent … holds that the Eighth Amendment does not require a jury’s favorable recommendation before a death penalty can be imposed.”
“Dem impeachment witness Vindman unloads on Blackburn as Dems wrap 3rd day of Trump’s trial” by Fox News’s Gregg Re – As the third day of the ongoing impeachment trial of President Trump wrapped up in the Senate chamber, most of the drama was elsewhere — with one witness for the Democrats accusing a Republican senator of “defamation” and “slander” after she questioned his patriotism and implicated him in a scheme to take down Trump from inside the White House. The off-field spat began Thursday evening on Twitter, when Tennessee GOP Sen. Marsha Blackburn quoted the commanding officer of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman as saying that Vindman was a “political activist in uniform.” Vindman, a National Security Council official, testified during House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry last year that Trump’s Ukraine dealings left him in a state of “shock,” and Democrats were quoting from Vindman’s remarks during the Senate trial on Thursday. Vindman has denied knowing the identity of the whistleblower who flagged Trump’s fateful July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president — a claim that Republicans have questioned, because under cross-examination, Vindman apparently admitted to leaking the contents of Trump’s call to the whistleblower. At the time, California Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, presiding over the House impeachment inquiry, shut down GOP attempts to press Vindman as to whom he had leaked information about Trump’s call, saying it would potentially reveal the whistleblower’s identity.
“As March for Life kicks off, pro-life women are fighting to redefine female ’empowerment’” by Fox News’s Sam Dorman – In 2019, the nation reeled from polarization over abortion bans and the future of the Supreme Court. Pro-choice advocates warned that powerful men threatened women’s freedom by moving to block abortion access while remaining insensitive to the reality of unintended pregnancy. But the pro-life movement today is fighting back against that narrative through leaders like Lila Rose of Live Action, Catherine Glenn Foster of Americans United for Life (AUL), and Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List. Those women are just a few of the more than 30 female leaders, writers and activists who argued — in interviews with Fox News — that abortion is a detriment to, rather than an instrument of, women’s empowerment. Nearly every pro-life organization in the United States has a woman at the top. On Friday, one of those women — March for Life President Jeanne Mancini — is expected to lead about 100,000 activists in Washington in challenging the prevailing narrative advanced by groups like Planned Parenthood. This year’s March for Life theme is “Life Empowers: Pro-Life is Pro-Woman,” as the movement works to reclaim the mantle of feminism. Mancini chose that in honor of the Centennial of Women’s Suffrage, the hallmark of an early feminist movement that pro-lifers allege was “hijacked” by the sexual revolution.
“Trump’s Senate impeachment trial: GOP leadership tries to avoid defections on possible witness vote” by Fox News’s Marisa Schultz and Hillary Vaughn – Senate GOP leaders are trying to avoid defections in an anticipated vote next week on whether or not to allow for new witnesses in President Trump’s impeachment trial and remain in close talks with those potential swing votes, according to Republican aides. Allowing new witnesses would bring a wild-card factor to the trial, lengthen the process and potentially set up a protracted court fight over executive privilege. GOP leaders are actively reaching out to Republican senators who could potentially defect — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Lamar Alexander of Tennesse and Mitt Romney of Utah — and are trying to keep them in the fold, according to two GOP aides. With all eyes on these potential swing votes, Collins was overhead Thursday evening raising concerns about the access of press. After the trial recessed for the dinner break, Collins and Murkowski had an animated conversation on the Senate floor and Collins pointed up at the reporters above her in the balcony. The Maine Republican was overheard saying she didn’t want the journalists overlooking from the front row and thought it should be emptied. Collins continued to look up at reporters, and Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., and Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., joined the huddle. Reporters covering the historic trial are only allowed to bring pens and paper in the gallery, and typical tools of the trade — phones, cameras, computers and even smartwatches — are all banned. As the trial continued into the night, Democrats re-upped their demands for new witnesses and documents to be entered into evidence, charging that the trial would be a “cover-up” without them. They need the help of four GOP senators to win the necessary majority vote.
“U.S. to impose visa restrictions for pregnant women” by Associated Press – The Trump administration is coming out with new visa restrictions aimed at restricting “birth tourism,” in which women travel to the U.S. to give birth so their children can have a coveted U.S. passport. The State Department planned to publicize the rules Thursday, according to two officials with knowledge of the plans who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. The rules would make it more difficult for pregnant women to travel on tourist visas. In one draft of the regulations, they would have to clear an additional hurdle before obtaining the visas — convincing a consular officer that they have another legitimate reason to come to the U.S. The Trump administration has been restricting all forms of immigration, but the president has been particularly plagued by the issue of birthright citizenship — anyone born in the U.S. is considered a citizen, under the Constitution. He has railed against the practice and threatened to end it, but scholars and members of his administration have said it’s not so easy to do. Regulating tourist visas for pregnant women is one way to get at the issue, but it raises questions about how officers would determine whether a woman is pregnant to begin with, and whether a woman could get turned away by border officers who suspect she may be just by looking at her. Consular officers right now aren’t told to ask during visa interviews whether a woman is pregnant or intends to become so. But they would have to determine whether a visa applicant would be coming to the U.S. primarily to give birth.
“Two of 4 warrants letting FBI spy on ex-Trump aide Carter Page were not valid, says DOJ” by NBC’s Ken Dilanian – The Justice Department has concluded that two of the four court orders allowing the FBI to conduct secret national security surveillance on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page were not valid because the government made “material misstatements” in obtaining them, according to a newly declassified judicial order. The disclosure by James Boasberg, the top judge on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, underscores the extent to which the FBI bungled its handling of a highly sensitive case, a failure that is continuing to have serious policy and political repercussions. The order says the department told the court it now believes it did not have probable cause to believe that Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, which was required to obtain the surveillance. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The FBI declined to comment. In December, a scathing report by the Justice Department’s inspector general found that the FBI’s applications to spy on Page were rife with “factual misstatements and omissions,” and in the weeks since, the FISA court has demanded an accounting from the Justice Department on how that happened and what is being done about it. Politically, the scandal has energized President Donald Trump and his allies on the right who long insisted that the Russia investigation was a bogus exercise. On the policy front, the exposure of FBI wrongdoing has created a momentum for change in the way the bureau obtains authorization to conduct national security surveillance. The inspector general, Michael Horowitz, found no evidence that political bias played a role in the opening of the Russia probe, which failed to establish that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. But he also said he found no satisfactory alternative explanation when it came to the lies and omissions that led a court to wrongly authorize spying on Page, who was not charged with a crime.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump – Cryin’ Chuck never had what it takes, and never will!
Rep. Val Demings @RepValDemings –The second article of impeachment was for obstruction of Congress: covering up witnesses and documents from the American people. This morning the President not only confessed to it, he bragged about it: “Honestly, we have all the material. They don’t have the material.”
Rick Scott @SenRickScott -Today’s commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz is a stark and solemn reminder of what evil and hatred can lead to. As one nation we must always stand together against anti-Semitism and hatred..
House spent over 9 hours presenting evidence & witnesses in support of Abuse of Power charges. They have a little under 8 hours left & will wrap up presentation tomorrow. President’s lawyers begin defense Saturday.
Debbie Wasserman Schultz @DWStweets –Utah (UTAH!) is now the 19th state to ban homophobic ‘conversion therapy,’ but @TheFLGOP is trying to expand it in FL. FL must follow UT & ban this form of torture, which causes depression & suicidal ideation. Human rights shouldn’t be a political issue.
Matt Gaetz @mattgaetz – Gov. Desantis clearly prefers to work with his colleagues, not against them. It is admirable. It is also clear that the Galvano gun control isn’t going to become law and #Everify should.
Rep. Michael Waltz @RepMichaelWaltz – Our service dogs do more than just serve, they support our first responders and military both in the field and at home. Happy retirement to two of our very loyal and brave Flagler County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Officers Marko and Tag!
Rep. Ted Deutch @RepTedDeutch – This is a deeply troubling case. Our community is not immune to the national trend of rising anti-Semitism. My heart goes out to the student facing such hatred in the classroom. We need to stand united against all forms of hatred in our community.
“Dozens arrested as ATV and dirt bike riders take to South Florida streets,” by the Sun-Sentinel’s Andrew Boryga – An ATV rider does a wheelie while riding in Miami during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend in 2018. Year after year, riders of similar vehicles descend on South Florida with the stated aim of advocating for civil rights and gun violence. However, the weekend tends to end with scores of arrests and gun confiscations as it did this year.
Some call it “Bikes up, Guns down.” Others say “Wheels up, Guns down.”
Both monikers, which refer to hundreds of brash riders of off-road vehicles and bikes on South Florida streets during the Martin Luther King Jr. day weekend ― supposedly in support of civil rights and reducing gun violence — failed to live up to their name yet again this year in South Florida.
According to figures from the Miami-Dade Police Department, between Saturday, Jan. 18 and Monday at 8 p.m. there were at least two guns recovered from riders of ATVs, dirt bikes and other vehicles that popped wheelies and zipped in and out of roads across the county.
The reckless riding resulted in 34 impounded vehicles, 28 arrests and 41 traffic citations in Miami-Dade.
Before the weekend, South Florida police agencies warned that they would be out in full force to round up careless riders that tend to wreak havoc on South Florida streets during the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend and break multiple traffic laws along the way.
A few days ago, Broward Sheriff Gregory Tony said his agency would be sending a “clear and strong message” to those who decide to violate the laws on the roads over the weekend.
Other police agencies across South Florida made similar announcements, as they tend to make year after year during this time.