“Let My People Vote”
The Florida Rights Restoration held a rally on the steps of the old Florida Capitol in Tallahassee with some 300 alleged felons participating, of which many have already regained their right to vote after Amendment 4 passed during the 2018 mid-term elections.
The rally was dubbed “Our Vote, Our Voice, Our Time” with many, if not most of the predominantly black attendees wearing “Let my people vote” t-shirts.
Floridians continue to wait to see if and when the Florida Supreme Court rules on whether to uphold Gov. Ron DeSantis’ play to requiring felons to first pay any outstanding fees or fines stemming from their incarceration before they are allowed to vote.
The group’s focus on Tuesday was to target the clemency process.
AG Commissioner Nikki Fried has taken the lead and is pressing DeSantis to address Clemency at the next Clemency Board meeting on April 8. READ MORE
While all the commotion was going on outside, DeSantis had a full day of taking photo ops with several folks including Gators Football head coach Dan Mullen. DeSantis appears ready to chomp down on the voter demands made to him.
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“DeSantis pressed to restore voting rights for felons” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – The Florida Rights Restoration held a rally on the steps of the old Florida Capitol in Tallahassee with some 300 alleged felons participating, of which many have already regained their right to vote after Amendment 4 passed during the 2018 mid-term elections. The rally was dubbed “Our Vote, Our Voice, Our Time” with many, if not most of the predominantly black attendees wearing “Let my people vote” t-shirts. Floridians continue to wait to see if and when the Florida Supreme Court rules on whether to uphold Gov. Ron DeSantis’ play to require felons to pay any outstanding fees or fines stemming from their incarceration before they are allowed to vote. “We do not have to solely rely on the implementation of Amendment 4 to expand democracy in this great state. We do not have to rely on the implementation of Amendment 4 to expand opportunities for jobs that will stimulate our economy, which would allow us to carry our fair share of the tax burden. Right? Then that would allow us to create safer communities,” said FRRC Executive Director Desmond Meade. The group’s focus on Tuesday was to target the clemency process. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only Democrat holding statewide office, used her position on the Clemency board to press Gov. DeSantis to restore voting rights for felons she says have “paid their debt to society” by adopting rules submitted by the FRRC. “For 14 months, I’ve called for new Clemency Board rules that, just like these, will swiftly restore rights for Floridians,” stated Fried “This could have been done in our first week, and the delay has been a missed opportunity by the Cabinet. These draft rules from the Florida Rights Restoration Coalition will eliminate the current backlog of Restoration of Civil Rights applicants, and prevent a future backlog.”
“Biden: ‘DACA students are more American than most Americans are’” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Former Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign rally in Reno, Nevada said that illegal immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are “more American” than most U.S. citizens. “Once again, legalize all the DACA students. These DACA students are more American than most Americans are,” Biden said Monday evening. “No, I’m serious. Think about it. They come along when they’re eight-years-old and their mom says they’re crossing the … they don’t know where they’re from. They’ve never been (to their native country). They’ve been good, decent citizens and they’re great additions. By the way … you know our Social Security system is still solvent? Because of immigration. They didn’t cost us anything, they’re paying for it … and there’s a reason why it’s moving.” The Democrat presidential hopeful made the same claim in January while speaking at a campaign event in Iowa. These kids have come, they’ve done well, most of these kids there’s a lot of them, and they’re not just Hispanic, they’re Asian-Pacific Islanders as well. and they in fact have done very well,” Biden said at a campaign rally in Ames, Iowa. “In many cases, they’re more American than most Americans because they have done well in school. They believe the basic principles that we all share. I think they should, in fact, put on a path to citizenship.” Biden unveiled his immigration plan in December, a plan that is considered largely moderate compared to his progressive contenders. The plan calls for an overhaul of the Trump administration’s agenda that includes ending Migrant Protection Protocols, a program that mandates asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their cases are processed in the U.S. immigration court system. He also said he would reinstate DACA, abolish for-profit detention centers, and increasing the refugee cap current limit from 18,000 to 125,000.
“Trump Accuses ‘Mini Mike’ Bloomberg of ‘Illegally Buying’ Democratic Nomination” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – President Trump accused billionaire Mike Bloomberg in a tweet of trying to “illegally” buy the Democratic nomination, claiming he is using his wealth as a “payoff” in buying support from his endorsers. “What Mini Mike is doing is nothing less than a large scale illegal campaign contribution. He is ‘spreading’ money all over the place, only to have recipients of his cash payments, many former opponents, happily joining or supporting his campaign. Isn’t that called a payoff?” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “Mini is illegally buying the Democrat Nomination,” Trump added, repeating his claim on how the Democratic Party is trying to take the election away from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) again. “They are taking it away from Bernie again. Mini Mike, Major Party Nominations are not for sale! Good luck in the debate tomorrow night and remember, no standing on boxes!” Trump’s tweet remarks come as earlier he spoke with reporters before boarding Air Force One for his four-day west coast swing. He was asked if he had any advice for Bloomberg as he makes his first debate appearance on Wednesday. “No, he doesn’t need that kind of advice. He’s been doing it for a long time,” Trump answered. “It just seems unfair what’s happening to Bernie Sanders, to be honest with you. I watched it happen four years ago. And always be careful what you wish for, and I’m not wishing for anything. Whoever it is, I’ll be very happy.”
“Florida GOP calls on Nikki Fried to denounce Bloomberg over farmer remarks” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – First, it was the sexual harassment allegations made against him, now a video of Mayor Mike Bloomberg dismissing farmers has come to the surface. Sounding much like a billionaire, elitist know-it-all, Bloomberg told a group of Oxford University students and alumni back in 2016 that he could “teach anybody to be a farmer.” “I could teach anybody, even people in this room, no offense intended, to be a farmer. It’s a process. You dig a hole, put a seed in, put dirt on top, add water, up comes the corn,” said Bloomberg in the most dismissive of way. Now the Florida GOP wants Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried to denounce Bloomberg’s “insulting” past remarks of farmers. “Commissioner Fried, we understand that you are the only Democrat in Florida to hold statewide office, but don’t you think you need to show some leadership by pushing back on Bloomberg’s ignorant remarks,” question Florida Republican Party Chairman Joe Gruters. Gruters continued: “Florida growers and ranchers supply the U.S. and the world with fresh produce. In fact, the Sunshine State ranks second in the nation for vegetable production and is responsible for 63 percent of the nation’s total citrus production. The list goes on and on, which is why we are shocked and dismayed that Commissioner Nikki Fried has not condemned Bloomberg’s remarks.
“U.S. Bipartisan Effort To Fight Boko Haram Continues” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – The terrorist group Boko Haram continues its efforts to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria and central Africa. In response, the United States and regional allies like Cameroon have been pushing back against the group’s advances. This week, Florida Rep. Frederica Wilson (D) shared a picture of Congressional Democrats on Twitter, holding up signs in solidarity and asking to #BringBack our girls. In her tweet, she expressed that “112 Chibok girls have been denied their freedom for more than 5 years.” In turn, she asserted that “we will not allow them to be forgotten or give up hope that they will soon be reunited with their families.” The extent of the pushback is not only to fight back against the religious extremism that Boko Haram espouses, but it has also translated to international terror. This month, Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) also doubled down on the fact that the United States must assist regional allies like Cameroon, expressing that “it is critical that the U.S. remain engaged in Cameroon and the region to combat terrorist organizations like Boko Haram and counter outside malign actors like China and Russia while also pressing Cameroon to respect human rights and the rule of law.” As it stands, Cameroon currently hosts an active U.S. military drone base along with taking part in U.S. coordinated anti-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts.
“Trump Administration Sanctions Russian Oil Firm for Venezuelan Support” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Today, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control announced that it would be sanctioning a Russian Oil Firm, Rosneft Trading S.A., which is a Swiss-incorporated, Russian-controlled oil brokerage firm, for supporting the Maduro Regime in Venezuela. In addition, the Office of Foreign Assets Control also designated the chairman of the board of directors and president of the oil firm, Didier Casimiro, for acting on behalf and purporting to act on behalf of, directly or indirectly, the firm. In a statement, Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) praised the Treasury Department, expressing that “Nicolas Maduro is not the legitimate leader of Venezuela.” Maduro “is a thug and a dictator who is perpetrating a genocide on his people and profiting off their suffering.” Because of that, he commended the Treasury Department for “taking action against foreign entities that prop up the corrupt Maduro regime.” He added that “the quickest way to end his brutal regime is to cut off the supply of money and this is an important step in that direction.” However, the former Governor of Florida noted that “we must remain vigilant,” saying that “the United States and all freedom-loving nations around the world need to do everything in our power to isolate Maduro in Venezuela.” Freshman Florida Rep Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) also released a statement after having asked the Trump administration to do more regarding the Maduro Regime and its support from other countries.
“Presidential candidates set up shop in Central Florida” by Click Orlando’s Lauren Cervantes – A number of presidential candidates have opened offices in Central Florida, showing that despite the focus on Nevada this week, presidential candidates are already looking ahead to Florida. “We are a grassroots group that came together and decided to pull our money and our time,” said Laura Hoffman, manager of a grassroots office for Sen. Bernie Sanders in Orlando. Hoffman said they’ve opened up an office for Sanders, and while she said they aren’t affiliated with his official campaign, she said they are working closely with Sander’s team. She adds that they were up and running on Saturday, ahead of the deadline to register for the March 17 primary. “We wanted to make sure that we got the word out for the voter registration before the deadline,” Hoffman said. Florida is 28 days away from the primary, and the cutoff to register is midnight Wednesday. Florida is a closed primary election state, meaning voters have to declare a political party in order to cast their vote. While the Democratic candidates are focusing on Nevada ahead of the caucuses this Saturday, that hasn’t stopped some from laying the groundwork in Central Florida. In the downtown, former New York City mayor, Mike Bloomberg, opened up an office on Orange Avenue. Over on South Rio Grande Avenue, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has her Florida headquarters office. President Donald Trump launched his re-election campaign in downtown Orlando, showing how important Florida is for both republicans and democrats trying to win the White House this November.
“Are election-year politics at work in Florida school vouchers? | Randy Schultz” by Sun Sentinel’s Randy Schultz – It should be simple. A newspaper reports that private schools using public money discriminate against certain children and adults. The state legislature tells those schools that they can’t take state money. iRght? Not in Florida, home of the voucher school industrial/political complex. The Orlando Sentinel reported a month ago that 156 private schools that accept vouchers — formally known as Florida Tax Credit Scholarships — have policies hostile to gay and lesbian students. Eighty-three don’t admit LGBTQ students or would expel them if their orientation became known. Yet Tallahassee is not shaming those schools and praising the Sentinel. Tallahassee is shaming those who contend that public money can’t subsidize discrimination. In a Sun Sentinel op-ed, state Sen. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, hit back against the reporting. He also criticized companies that withdrew their support — through diverted tax payments — for the voucher program. Their actions, Diaz argued, only hurt poor and minority students whose parents use the vouchers. Every $1 million that a company withdraws from the program, Diaz said, keeps 150 students from using the vouchers.
Diaz is an expert at talking past the main point when it comes to education. For years, he has sponsored legislation that benefits the charter school industry, in which he works. Obvious conflict of interest? Not to him. No one, though, can dispute the reporting. Almost one-fifth of the roughly 106,000 voucher students attend schools that discriminate. Those students accept roughly $130 million worth of vouchers.
“Trump Budget Plan Calls for $250M for Florida Everglades” by Associated Press – Out here in western Palm Beach County, Lake Okeechobee meets vestiges of the Florida Everglades and, more significantly, a vast sugar growing area that encompasses hundreds of square miles. Over the years, the Everglades has shrunk into a corner of the state and the sugar region has grown, with detrimental effects on both water quality and the health of the huge swamp. In his new budget, President Donald Trump has proposed $250 million for a variety of Everglades restoration projects, many of which have been on the drawing board for decades. Florida is critical for Trump’sreelection bid and the state’s voters are well aware of the major environmental problems facing it, including climate change and water quality issues. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a Republican who has become a staunch Trump ally, said the boost in funding will keep many projects on track after years of fits and starts. Some involve construction of reservoirs to act as filters that would keep out harmful nutrients and pollutants; others would deal with the quality and quantity of water flowing south through Everglades NationalPark intoFlorida Bay. This not only helps the unique ecosystem of the Everglades — home to rare species like the Florida panther and the ghost orchid — but also the drinking waterthat millions of South Florida residents rely upon. “None of this will happen overnight, but with our recent progress, we’re finally on a path to completion within our lifetimes, and I will not let us slide back into complacency,” Rubio, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, wrote in a recent opinion piece in the Tampa Bay Times. “The restoration of our Everglades is too important to leave unfinished.” The president’s total budget of $4.8 trillion must be approved by Congress, which often makes numerous changes to any president’s spending plan. Still, despite the increase in proposed funding — $50 million over the previous year, many Democrats and environmental groups say the Trump administration wants to cut so many other key programs at the Environmental Protection Agency, Interior Department and elsewhere that the Everglades money amounts to window dressing.
“Nursing home appeal rejected in Irma case” by News Service of Florida – A South Florida appeals court has turned down arguments that the state improperly revoked the license of a Broward County nursing home where residents died after Hurricane Irma in 2017. A panel of the 4th District Court of Appeal last week rejected arguments by The Rehabilitation Center at Hollywood Hills. The one-page order did not explain the court’s reasons. Attorneys for the nursing home asked the court to find that an administrative law judge made a series of errors in recommending that the facility lose its license. Hurricane Irma knocked out the facility’s air conditioning, with authorities attributing as many as 12 resident deaths to sweltering conditions in the building. But attorneys for the Agency for Health Care Administration contended in a brief that the nursing home’s “abject failure to meet its obligations as a licensed facility and the tragic consequences justify AHCA’ s decision to revoke its license.” Hurricane Irma made landfall Sept. 10, 2017 in Monroe and Collier counties and caused damage through much of the state. The nursing home lost power to its air-conditioning system, which was out until Sept. 13, when residents were evacuated. The deaths drew national attention and led the state to move quickly to shut down the facility and, ultimately, revoke its license. Administrative Law Judge Mary Li Creasy in 2018 issued a recommended order supporting the revocation. While authorities have attributed as many as 12 deaths to conditions at the facility, Creasy wrote that “clear and convincing evidence” was presented during the case that nine of the 12 residents “suffered greatly from the exposure to unsafe heat in the facility.” Following Creasy’s recommendation, the Agency for Health Care Administration in January 2019 issued a final order to revoke the license.
“Matt Caldwell to hold fundraiser in bid for Lee County property appraiser” by The Capitolist’s Jordan Kirkland – Matt Caldwell is kicking off his bid for Lee County property appraiser, holding a fundraiser on February 20 in Fort Myers. The former state representative formally entered the race for Lee County property appraiser earlier this month. Ken Wilkinson, who currently holds the seat, is retiring after four decades of service. The position is responsible for keeping track of property values and issuing official valuations of real estate used to calculate tax bills. Caldwell made the announcement over the weekend on Twitter. “Excited to have the unanimous support of the Lee County Constitutionals in our bid for Property Appraiser. Please join us on Feb 20th!” The fundraiser is set to start at 5:30 p.m. The venue is Suncoast Beverage, located at 2996 Hanson Street. For more information and to RSVP, please contact [email protected]. In an interview with News-Press, Caldwell discussed the office, citing the importance of influencing policy statewide and easing the burden on taxpayers. Caldwell, who served four terms in the state House of Representatives, is back in the political arena after running for a statewide office in 2018. Caldwell won the Republican nomination for Agriculture Commissioner but would go on to lose the November election by one of the slimmest margins — being edged out by Nikki Fried by less than a percent of the ballots cast. Caldwell currently works as a real estate appraiser with Maxwell, Hendry & Simmons, a firm located in Fort Myers.
“Trump Accuses ‘Mini Mike’ Bloomberg of ‘Illegally Buying’ Democratic Nomination” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – President Trump accused billionaire Mike Bloomberg in a tweet of trying to “illegally” buy the Democratic nomination, claiming he is using his wealth as a “payoff” in buying support from his endorsers. “What Mini Mike is doing is nothing less than a large scale illegal campaign contribution. He is ‘spreading’ money all over the place, only to have recipients of his cash payments, many former opponents, happily joining or supporting his campaign. Isn’t that called a payoff?” Trump tweeted Tuesday afternoon. “Mini is illegally buying the Democrat Nomination,” Trump added, repeating his claim on how the Democratic Party is trying to take the election away from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) again. “They are taking it away from Bernie again. Mini Mike, Major Party Nominations are not for sale! Good luck in the debate tomorrow night and remember, no standing on boxes!” Trump’s tweet remarks come as earlier he spoke with reporters before boarding Air Force One for his four-day west coast swing. He was asked if he had any advice for Bloomberg as he makes his first debate appearance on Wednesday. “No, he doesn’t need that kind of advice. He’s been doing it for a long time,” Trump answered. “It just seems unfair what’s happening to Bernie Sanders, to be honest with you. I watched it happen four years ago. And always be careful what you wish for, and I’m not wishing for anything. Whoever it is, I’ll be very happy.” He added, “But it seems that Bernie Sanders and that whole big section of the Democratic Party — or, as I call it, the ‘Democrat Party,’ which is really the correct name — it seems they’re being taken advantage of like they were four years ago, to me.”
“Biden: ‘DACA students are more American than most Americans are’” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – Former Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign rally in Reno, Nevada said that illegal immigrants in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are “more American” than most U.S. citizens. “Once again, legalize all the DACA students. These DACA students are more American than most Americans are,” Biden said Monday evening. “No, I’m serious. Think about it. They come along when they’re eight-years-old and their mom says they’re crossing the … they don’t know where they’re from. They’ve never been (to their native country). They’ve been good, decent citizens and they’re great additions. By the way … you know our Social Security system is still solvent? Because of immigration. They didn’t cost us anything, they’re paying for it … and there’s a reason why it’s moving.” The Democrat presidential hopeful made the same claim in January while speaking at a campaign event in Iowa. These kids have come, they’ve done well, most of these kids there’s a lot of them, and they’re not just Hispanic, they’re Asian-Pacific Islanders as well. and they in fact have done very well,” Biden said at a campaign rally in Ames, Iowa. “In many cases, they’re more American than most Americans because they have done well in school. They believe the basic principles that we all share. I think they should, in fact, put on a path to citizenship.” Biden unveiled his immigration plan in December, a plan that is considered largely moderate compared to his progressive contenders. The plan calls for an overhaul of the Trump administration’s agenda that includes ending Migrant Protection Protocols, a program that mandates asylum seekers wait in Mexico while their cases are processed in the U.S. immigration court system. He also said he would reinstate DACA, abolish for-profit detention centers, and increasing the refugee cap current limit from 18,000 to 125,000.
“Bloomberg Qualifies for Wednesday Las Vegas Debate” by Hispolitica’s Mona Salama – Billionaire Michael Bloomberg has qualified to join Wednesday Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas. The former New York City mayor met the Democratic National Committee (DNC) threshold after the release of a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll early Wednesday morning. The new national survey shows Bloomberg at 19 percent, trailing behind the frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who garnished 31 percent of support. Former Vice President Joe Biden is in third place with 15 percent support, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) trailed in fourth place at 17 percent. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) came in fifth place with 9 percent support and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg rounded out the top six at 8 percent support. To qualify, a candidate needed to have won at least one delegate in Iowa and New Hampshire, or having four national polls showing the candidate with 10% or more. Bloomberg previously cracked 10% in polls from Quinnipiac University, Monmouth University and Fox News. As of Monday, Bloomberg only needed a state or national-level poll showing him over 10 percent to qualify for the forum. Bloomberg’s campaign has said he will participate in the debate if he qualifies. “Mike is looking forward to joining the other Democratic candidates on stage and making the case for why he’s the best candidate to defeat Donald Trump and unite the country,” Bloomberg’s campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, said in a statement. “The opportunity to discuss his workable and achievable plans for the challenges facing this country is an important part of the campaign process.”
“Bloomberg under fire for referring to transgender women as ‘some guy wearing a dress,’ using ‘it’ pronoun” by Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn – Surging 2020 Democratic candidate Michael Bloomberg is under fire for remarks he made about transgender people last year. In March 2019, the former New York City mayor participated in a forum conducted by the Bermuda Business Development Agency, where he discussed how the political “establishment” has been losing worldwide and pointed to the election of President Trump as well as Brexit. He warned Democrats running for president at the time to not focus on issues that aren’t being talked about by the majority of Americans. “If your conversation during a presidential election is about some guy wearing a dress and whether he, she, or it can go to the locker room with their daughter, that’s not a winning formula with most people,” Bloomberg said. “They care about health care, they care about education, they care about safety and all of those kinds of things. And some of these social issues … we’re focusing on a lot of things that have little relevance to people who are trying to live in a world that is changing because of technology, communications and things like that.” He continued, “So you can understand where somebody like Trump comes from. You can understand — if you look at the Democratic Party, they are so far left that two years ago, there was nobody on their side that would take these positions and today, virtually all of the candidates for president in the Democratic Party have been so progressive — I don’t know what progressive means, but they are in a place where some of the American public is. And it remains to be seen if the majority of the electorate is.”
“Buttigieg maintains narrow lead over Sanders in Iowa after recanvass” by CNN’s Dan Merica, Adam Levy and Jennifer Agiesta – The recanvass of more than 100 Iowa caucus precincts has ended, the state’s Democratic Party said on Tuesday, resulting in former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s lead over Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders tightening to a fraction of a standard delegate equivalent. Buttigieg now leads Sanders in Iowa by less than a hundredth of a percentage point — 26.188% for Buttigieg and 26.184% for Sanders. Sanders continues to lead the final round of the popular vote count, with 45,831 votes to Buttigieg’s 43,273. The tightening does not, however, impact the national delegate count, which awarded Buttigieg 14 national delegates out of Iowa, compared to Sanders’ 12 delegates, according to the state party. The Iowa Democratic Party had to correct the counts for 26 precincts where “misapplication of the rules affected delegate allocation” and three precincts where “the reported final alignment did not match what was on the math worksheet,” according to the state party. The party also announced that representative from Buttigieg, Sanders and Warren’s campaign were on site during the recanvass. With the recanvass complete, the campaigns have 24 hours to respond to those results with evidence that the outcome of the national delegate allocation could be impacted, according to state party rules. Sanders’ campaign responded to the new results by saying they will formally request a recount of several precincts. A Buttigieg spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the recanvass being completed. The Iowa caucuses descended into chaos earlier this month, leaving the results of the caucus still in question weeks after Iowans gathered to express their presidential preference. A faulty app that was supposed to streamline the caucus process, an overwhelmed call-center meant to act as a backup to the app and poor communication between the party and the campaigns marred the caucus process and left Democrats with no results the night of voting.
“Barr has told those close to Trump he is considering quitting over the president’s tweets about Justice Dept. investigations” by the Washington Post’s Matt Zapotosky, Josh Dawsey, John Wagner and Rachel Weiner – Attorney General William P. Barr has told people close to President Trump — both inside and outside the White House — that he is considering quitting over Trump’s tweets about Justice Department investigations, three administration officials said, foreshadowing a possible confrontation between the president and his attorney general over the independence of the Justice Department. So far, Trump has defied Barr’s requests, both public and private, to keep quiet on matters of federal law enforcement. It was not immediately clear Tuesday whether Barr had made his posture known directly to Trump. The administration officials said Barr seemed to be sharing his position with advisers in hopes the president would get the message that he should stop weighing in publicly on the Justice Department’s ongoing criminal investigations. “He has his limits,” said one person familiar with Barr’s thinking, speaking on the condition of anonymity, like others, to discuss internal deliberations. Late last week, Barr publicly warned the president in a remarkable interview with ABC News that his tweets about Justice Department cases “make it impossible for me to do my job.” Trump, White House officials said, is not entirely receptive to calls to change his behavior, and he has told those around him he is not going to stop tweeting about the Justice Department. They said Trump considers highlighting what he sees as misconduct at the FBI and Justice Department as a good political message. The standoff between Trump and Barr intensified Tuesday when Trump declared in a string of early morning tweets that he might sue those involved in the special counsel investigation into his 2016 campaign and suggested that Roger Stone, his friend convicted of lying to Congress in that probe, deserved a new trial.
Hours later, a Justice Department official said prosecutors had filed a sealed motion in court arguing the opposite and that they had Barr’s personal approval to do so.
“Bloomberg proposes broad changes to criminal justice system amid scrutiny of his past comments on race and policing” by CNN’s Abby Phillip – Michael Bloomberg unveiled a suite of proposals on Tuesday aimed at addressing racial disparities in the criminal justice system, reducing the prison population and investing in reintegration initiatives. The policy rollout, which comes as the former New York mayor faces intense and renewed criticism for his past comments defending the implementation of “stop and frisk,” aims to cut the prison population in half by 2030, soften some federal drug and sentencing laws and fund community engagement and rehabilitation programs. The policy plan puts Bloomberg in line with his Democratic primary rivals, most of whom released their plans months ago and included many of the same proposals. But its release, just one day before Bloomberg is set to take the debate stage for the first time in Nevada, comes as he is on the defense over his past comments on race and policing. For the second time in the last year, Bloomberg apologized in a speech in Houston last week for his years of implementing defending “stop and frisk.” This latest apology came in the wake of the release of an audio recording from 2015, in which Bloomberg explicitly linked the targeting of minority youths with the controversial policing tactic that allowed officers to detain a person on any type of vague suspicion, search that individual without a warrant and arrest the person if any kind of illegal substance or weapon was found. The tactic drew widespread condemnation from minority communities in New York as discriminatory and ultimately ineffective.
“Political Lobbying on Steel Tariffs” by WSJ’s Editorial Board – How’s this for swampy? A company seeks an exclusion from President Trump’s 25% steel tariffs. While it is awaiting the Commerce Department’s judgment, concerned U.S. Representatives get into a tug of war, trying to pull political strings in both directions. Ten Members of the House wrote Mr. Trump directly this month, suggesting he reject a tariff petition from Allegheny Technologies Inc., or ATI. “On behalf of our constituents,” they say, “we respectfully urge you to stand strong in defense of American industry and prioritize the thousands of hard-working Americans in the domestic stainless industry.” Fourteen Members of the House, pulling the opposite way, wrote Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in December. If the request is denied, they say, “ATI will be forced to close or scale back operations, which could lead to lost jobs, economic hardship for our constituents, and significant harm to our defense supply chain.” (As for that last part, they say ATI also produces “titanium for the Abrams tank armor.”) What a sorry example of how tariffs have become another opportunity for government intervention based on political power, not business necessity. The 14 free traders mainly come from Pennsylvania, where ATI is headquartered. The 10 protectionists are from Alabama, Ohio and Kentucky, home to other steel makers. One side cites “7,200 ATI jobs across the country.” The other points to “more than 5,000 American jobs directly supported by the domestic stainless steel industry.” The argument, like a fractal, looks no different if you zoom in. ATI wants a tariff exclusion for 150,000 tons of 60-inch stainless-steel slab from Indonesia, to be processed by workers in Pennsylvania. This product “is not reasonably available” domestically, the company’s petition argues, in part since each of the three U.S. producers is “a direct competitor.” Those companies, naturally, object. “AK Steel has ample capacity to make all of the requested stainless slabs,” its filing says. “ATI has essentially admitted that it simply doesn’t want to pay domestic pricing nor does it want to pay Section 232 tariffs, in order to increase its profitability.”
“Chris Murphy says Zelensky promised to steer clear of Giuliani” by POLITICO’s Andrew Desiderio – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told a trio of U.S. senators last week that he would continue to steer clear of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, according to one of the senators. “Zelensky clearly doesn’t really want to talk about this, and I don’t blame him,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) wrote in a Medium post detailing his meeting in Kyiv on Friday with Zelensky and two Republican senators, Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and John Barrasso of Wyoming. Murphy asked Zelensky whether he was “still feeling pressure” to aid Giuliani’s push for investigations targeting Trump’s political rivals, noting Giuliani’s efforts in Ukraine have not abated. “But he tells us that, though Giuliani has long wanted a meeting with him, he has always stayed clear of Giuliani and intends to keep it that way,” Murphy wrote. Murphy’s account of the meeting comes two weeks after the Senate acquitted Trump on charges that he solicited foreign interference in the 2020 presidential election by dispatching Giuliani to Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, among other political adversaries. The inquiry revealed, in part, that Giuliani sought a meeting with Zelensky last year with Trump’s knowledge and consent. The objective of the Friday sit-down in Kyiv, according to Murphy, was to “send a signal that there is no distance between” Democrats and Republicans when it comes to U.S. support for Ukraine, a beleaguered ally that continues to fight Russian incursions to its east. Several lawmakers have expressed concern that the impeachment saga was further fraying the U.S.-Ukraine relationship and undermining U.S. interests in the region.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump – I hope the Federal Judges Association will discuss the tremendous FISA Court abuse that has taken place with respect to the Mueller Investigation Scam, including the forging of documents and knowingly using the fake and totally discredited Dossier before the Court. Thank you!
1) Political supporters
2) Wealthy individuals
3) Contestants on his TV show
And worse abuses are almost surely to come
Amid the threat of the #Coronavirus, we must be cautious of products imported from China. Thank you to the hard working CBP men, women & animals!
Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell @RepDMP –Thank you to @Habitat_org for giving my team a tour of the incredible work being done in #SoFla to provide homes for families in need. The volunteers who make this possible have my admiration & support. Expanding acces to affordable housing must remain a top priority for #FL26!
Mario Diaz-Balart @MarioDB – I applaud the Trump Administration for standing with the #Venezuelan people by sanctioning those who support tyranny while helping to preserve Venezuela’s natural resources for those to whom it truly belongs – the Venezuelan people.
Lauren Book @Book4Senate Thank you @lorialhadeff for fighting to pass #AlyssasLaw in Florida. Let’s follow in the footsteps of New Jersey and protect our schools with emergency panic buttons. “Time = life.”