Politics

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) scored a landslide victory at the Nevada caucuses on Feb. 22, defeating a field of five rivals and raising the possibility of a socialist front runner in the race to face President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Sanders won more than half the popular vote and 46 percent of the vote with 60 percent of the precincts reporting as of 2 p.m. on Feb. 23. Former vice president Joe Biden, who had led the Democratic field in national polling for over a year before plunging late last month, held a distant second place with 19.6 percent of the vote.

Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, added uncertainty to the race by defeating even the opponents who had shifted their policy proposals as far left as his own socialist agenda. Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) trailed in third and fourth place with 15.3 percent and 10.1 percent, respectively.

With the consequential Super Tuesday coming up on March 3, the results from Nevada solidify Sanders as the front runner after he won the popular votes in both New Hampshire and Iowa. In terms of delegates to be sent to the national convention, Sanders tied with Buttigieg in New Hampshire and lost by one delegate in Iowa. More than a third of all the delegates for the Democratic National Convention will be determined on Super Tuesday.

“First we won the popular vote in Iowa. Then we won the New Hampshire primary. And now we have won the Nevada caucus,” Sanders wrote on Twitter after the results were called. “Lets go forward together and win it all.”

Sanders, a self-described socialist who once honeymooned in the Soviet Union, is running on a far-left agenda. His Medicare for All and Green New Deal policies would cost American taxpayers up to $93 trillion over the course of a decade, according to estimates by the American Action Forum.

In Nevada, Sanders proved his strength with a broad coalition that included Latino voters, union members, and African Americans. The results are significant for Super Tuesday, when the biggest delegate counts are to be won in California and Texas, which are demographically similar to Nevada.

In terms of funding, Sanders holds a major advantage over all candidates except billionaire Michael Bloomberg.

Buttigieg, who shared front-runner status with Sanders until the Nevada caucuses, attacked the Vermont senator and positioned himself as the only viable choice.

“Sen. Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans,” Buttigieg told supporters.

“Sen. Sanders sees capitalism as the root of all evil. Hed go beyond reform and reorder the economy in ways most Democrats—let alone most Americans—dont support.”

Nevada proved to be a major disappointment for Biden, who is now counting on the South Carolina primary on Feb. 29 to reestablish himself before Super Tuesday. Biden was in third place in both Iowa and New Hampshire, far behind Sanders and Buttigieg.

“Were alive and coming back, and were gonna win,” Biden told supporters in Las Vegas.

Biden is counting on his support among South Carolinas black voters, who could make up as much as two-thirds of the electorate in the state.

Facing a dual threat from Sanders and Bloomberg, Biden tried out a new rallying cry in Las Vegas: “I aint a socialist. I aint a plutocrat. Im a Democrat. And Im proud of it.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who produced oRead More – Source
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Politics

A man who allegedly hacked the website of a congressional contender in Californias 25th District has ties to the Democrat who won the race, Katie Hill, according to an FBI affidavit.

Both of Hills opponents in the 2018 Democratic primary, Jess Phoenix and Bryan Caforio, complained that their websites were disrupted by cyberattacks.

The man responsible for the attacks on Caforio was Arthur Dam, according to a Feb. 19 affidavit by FBI special agent Elliott Weideman.

Dam was arrested on Feb. 21, the Department of Justice (DOJ) stated in a release.

Dams wife, Kelsey OHara, was fundraising for Hill as her campaign consultant and went on to become a program and research director in Hills congressional office in Palmdale, California.

Hill had the blessing of the Democratic establishment. Former President Barack Obama endorsed her, saying she was “running to take the values of her community to Washington.”

She won the Democratic nomination by less than 3,000 votes and went on to beat the Republican incumbent, Steve Knight, with 54 percent of the vote, outspending him more than 3-to-1.

She resigned in November amid an ethics probe after photos were leaked to the media of her having intimate relations with a former campaign staffer. Hill complained of “cyber exploitation” at the time.

Cyberattacks

As the FBI agent described, Caforios campaign website was targeted four times by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that took it down for a total of about 21 hours, including on April 28, 2018, right before a live television debate between the candidates. The website remained offline for at least the duration of the debate.

DDoS attacks overload a website with bogus traffic in order to shut it down. The agent found that the computer IP addresses linked to the attacks on Caforio were assigned to a single Amazon Web Services (AWS) account registered with the email address “preatorian_@hotmail.com.”

Dam listed the address as one of the emails on his Apple account and also as his recovery address for his Gmail account. The IP addresses used to access the AWS account were linked to OHaras and Dams home address as well as his workplace address.

The agent went as far as to collect Dams banking records and the geolocation data and browsing history from his Google account, which further corroborated Dams involvement.

“Dam was found to have conducted extensive research on both the Victim and various cyber exploits, malicious toolkits, and cyberRead More – Source
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Politics

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, a key witness in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, has signed a book deal.

Publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt confirmed that it acquired the rights to Yovanovitchs as-yet-untitled memoir.

The book will follow her career as a foreign service officer in Mogadishu, Somalia; Kyiv, Ukraine; and eventually Washington, “where, to her dismay, she found a political system beset by many of the same challenges she had spent her career combating overseas,” the publisher said in a statement.

“Yovanovitchs book will deliver pointed reflections on the issues confronting America today, and thoughts on how we can shore up our democracy.”

The company didnt disclose the terms of the contract, but two people familiar with the deal told The Associated Press that the agreement is worth seven figures. The release is expected in spring 2021, months after the elections in November.

Yovanovitch is represented by the Javelin literary agency, which counts former FBI Director James Comey and former national security adviser John Bolton among its clients.

“Ambassador Yovanovitch has had a 30-year career of public service in many locations, with many lessons to be drawn. This is about much more than just the recent controversy,” said Houghton Mifflin Senior Vice President and Publisher Bruce Nichols, in response to a question about why her book wasnt coming out this year.

Trump removed Yovanovitch from the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine in 2019. Upon her return to Washington, she was given a post of her choice by the State Department with no negative impact on compensation.

Yovanovitch testified in the impeachment inquiry about the events surrounding her return to Washington. She didnt provide any first-hand testimony related to the core allegations brought by House Democrats, who accused Trump of abusing his power and obstructing Congress. The Senate acquitted Trump of both charges on Feb. 5.

The Democrats alleged that by removing Yovanovitch, Trump paved the way for carrying out the alleged scheme of pressuring Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. The allegations are drawn from aRead More – Source
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Politics

White House national security adviser Robert OBrien said he has seen no evidence of Russia interfering in the 2020 election to help President Donald Trump, according to an interview aired on ABC on Feb. 23.

OBrien was responding to anonymously sourced media reports which claimed that the intelligence community told lawmakers in a briefing that Russia is interfering to help re-elect Trump.

“I havent seen any intelligence that Russia is doing anything to attempt to get President Trump reelected,” OBrien told ABC. “I think this is the same old story that weve heard before.”

“Weve been very tough on Russia, and weve been great on election security. So I think its a nonstory.”

OBrien is not the only one disputing the media report of the intelligence briefing. Marc Short, the chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, told Fox News in an interview aired on Feb. 23 that there is no evidence that Russia favors Trumps re-election.

“I think theres not intelligence that said the Russians are trying to help Donald Trump win [the] election,” Short told Fox. “We know that foreign governments have been trying to interfere in elections to sow chaos.”

According to The New York Times, the briefing was provided to House lawmakers, including Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) who led the House impeachment inquiry. Reports about the briefing were followed by the resignations of Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire and the number two DNI official Andrew Hallman.

OBrien said that Maguires exit had nothing to do with the intelligence briefing.

“First of all, Joe Maguire wasnt pushed out,” OBrien said. “He was serving under the Vacancy Act. He was acting, and his term, I believe, was ending March 11 or March 2, like two weeks from now.”

Election Threats Executive Shelby Pierson was reportedly the person to voice the assessment that Russia was helping Trump. Lawmakers at the briefing reportedly pressed Pierson for evidence, but she did not provide any.

Then-DNI Dan Coats created the Election Threats Executive position at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and appointed Pierson shortly before he resigned. The whistleblower who triggered the impeachment process referenced the Coats memo in his or her anonymous complaint. The ODNI has refused to release the memo, which is not classified.

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Politics

President Donald Trump on Feb. 21 announced his nomination of Roger D. Carstens as the Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs (SPEHA), according to a White House statement.

Carstens currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the Department of State, where he oversees the Bureaus work in Near Eastern Affairs, Western Hemisphere Affairs, and the Office of Security and Human Rights.

A graduate of the United States Military Academy, he has also worked overseas with international NGOs in Somalia and Jordan, where he provided humanitarian assistance and stability support to Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons.

Carstens retired from the United States Army as a Lieutenant Colonel with 20 years of service, including in the Special Forces, 1st Ranger Battalion, and as Special Assistant for Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Following the announcement, National security adviser Robert OBrien said on Twitter that the “appointment of Roger Carstens as Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs is an important signal reaffirming @realDonaldTrumps priority of bringing home as many of our wrongfully detained Americans and hostages as possible.”

“It was my honor to serve as SPEHA from May 2018 to October 2019. I know Roger will do a great job implementing the Presidents priorities and bringing our fellow citizens home.”

OBrien also thanked Hugh Dugan for his role as acting SPEHA since last October, saying, “He did great work bringing Americans home.”

Earlier this week, OBrien also responded to reports that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election in order to get President Donald Trump reelected.

He said reports that intelligence officials were briefed that the Kremlin is trying to give Trump a helping hand in his 2020 bid were a “non-story.”

“So, look, who knows what happened over at the House and the Intelligence Committee, but I havent seen any evidence that Russia is doing anything to attempt to get President Trump reelected,” he told

The Epoch Times
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Politics

Robert OBrien, the White House national security adviser, dismissed claims that the Russians are interfering in the 2020 election or are attempting to help President Donald Trumps reelection campaign.

“I havent seen any intelligence to support the reports that were leaked out of the House. But its just hard to comment on that because, again, I wasnt there,” Robert OBrien told CBS Newss “Face the Nation” on Sunday morning.

Those leaks, he noted, were released from a hearing conducted by the House Intelligence Committee, led by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “I havent seen any intelligence that would back up what Im reading in the papers,” he said.

Earlier this month, intelligence officials told bipartisan members of the Intelligence panel about alleged election interference on behalf of Russia, according to reports. Republicans asked for evidence. Those reports claimed intelligence officials then briefed the White House on election security.

“From what I understand about the report … I get this second hand, but from Republican congressmen that were in the committee, there was no intelligence behind it,” OBrien said. “I think this is the same old story that weve heard before. … Weve been very tough on Russia, and weve been great on election security. So I think its a nonstory,” he also told ABCs “This Week” on Sunday.

On Friday, after reports on the alleged interference surfaced, Trump was similarly dismissive, saying it was part of a Democratic-led plan to undermine his presidency.

Trump wrote on Twitter that it is merely “another misinformation campaign is being launched by Democrats in Congress.” He added in another post: “Be careful of Russia, Russia, Russia.”

The Kremlin said that new allegations that Russia is trying to influence the 2020 election are false.

Epoch Times Photo
Epoch Times Photo
President Donald Trump walks to board Air Force One prior to departure from Daytona Beach International Airport in Daytona Beach, Florida, on Feb. 16, 2020. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

“These are more paranoid announcements which, to our regret, will multiply as we get closer to the [U.S.] election,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

The Epoch Times
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Tech

PARIS — The sexting scandal that brought down one of President Emmanuel Macrons closest allies has prompted French lawmakers to call for a crackdown on social media.

A small group of Macrons La République En Marche (LREM) MPs will mull over a legislative initiative “in the coming months” to improve regulation, MP Bruno Bonnell told POLITICO.

LREM candidate for Paris mayor Benjamin Griveaux stepped down last week after sexually explicit content attributed to him went viral, thanks to mass sharing through social media accounts and online groups largely using pseudonyms.

Politicians from all sides of the spectrum expressed support for Griveaux, condemning social media and heavily critisizing the infringement of privacy.

“It is high time to regulate the torrents of mud that pour out on social media,” tweeted Conservative Gérard Larcher, president of the Senate.

French law has prevented full anonymity since 2004, forcing digital service providers to hold data.

LREM party members have castigated the “deviances that anonymity allows,” in Bonnells words, “like slander or defamation.”

“The next three weeks will be quite busy due to the pension reform vote but we will re-discuss [the legislative framework for regulating social media] for sure in April,” he added, referring to informal talks within LREM ranks.

Some of the partys most senior members — including President of the LREMs group at the Assembly Gilles Le Gendre, President of the Assembly Richard Ferrand, Griveaux spokesman Sylvain Maillard and former Minister of Ecological Transition François de Rugy — have made clear that they support strengthening internet regulation in interviews on national network LCI, le JDD newspaper and Europe 1 radio.

MPs have also approached the French government to discuss new proposals, one such member told POLITICO.

Politics

Trump administration will begin denying green cards to aliens who would be dependent on government welfare for extended periods from Monday after the Supreme Court lifted a state injunction on its “public charge” rule in Illinois, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Saturday.

Based on the rule, which was first introduced on Aug. 14 last year, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will determine an alien as inadmissible to the country or ineligible for permanent residency if they are likely to become a public charge at any time in the future.

At the same time, the rule will also give USCIS the authority to require a nonimmigrant who is seeking extension of nonimmigrant stay or change of nonimmigrant status to demonstrate that they have not received public benefits over a designated threshold since obtaining the nonimmigrant status they seek to extend or change.

A public charge refers to an individual who is likely to become primarily dependent on the government for subsistence through assistance such as food stamps or Medicaid. The rule, also known as the Inadmissibility on Public Charge Grounds final rule, will consider a person a public charge if they receive at least one government benefit for more than 12 months in a three-year period.

“This final rule will protect hardworking American taxpayers, safeguard welfare programs for truly needy Americans, reduce the Federal deficit, and re-establish the fundamental legal principle that newcomers to our society should be financially self-reliant and not dependent on the largess of United States taxpayers,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.

The White House announced the new timeline after the Supreme Court lifted the last obstacle to the nationwide implementation of the public charge rule on Feb. 21.

The top court justices voted 5-4 on Friday to grant the halting of an injunction issued by a lower court in Illinois against the rule, allowing the Trump administration to enforce its policy in the state while an appeal plays out in the 7th Circuit. The oral arguments for the Illinois appeals case are scheduled for Feb. 26.

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, and SoniRead More – Source
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Politics

Twitter suspended 70 pro-Michael Bloomberg accounts from its platform, the company announced late on Friday, according to multiple news reports.

A Twitter spokeswoman told The Los Angeles Times that the company was temporarily suspending some and outright banning other accounts because they violated the platforms policies against spam and manipulation.

Twitter did not immediately respond to request for comment.

“We have taken enforcement action on a group of accounts for violating our rules against platform manipulation and spam,” the Twitter spokesman told the LA Times.

The Bloomberg campaign told The Epoch Times in an email that its staffers use an app called Outvote to share the campaigns message with friends and family.

“We ask that all of our deputy field organizers identify themselves as working on behalf of the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign on their social media accounts,” Twitter campaign spokeswoman Sabrina Singh wrote in an email.

The Bloomberg campaign has hired an army of people in California to post on their social media accounts in support of Bloomberg, according to the Wall Street Journal. These employees receive $2,500 a month to carry out standard campaign duties and send out pre-approved messages on social media.

A review of several accounts by the LA Times found a number of accounts using identical text, hashtags, and images. Such behavior is in violation of Twitters manipulation and spam policy.

Bloomberg announced his candidacy on Nov. 24. The billionaire former New York City mayor has spent more than $400 million on the campaign since. He received little support in polls in December, but began to surge at the turn of the year and is currently in third place, according to an average of national polls maintained by Real Clear Politics.

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders leads the Real CleaRead More – Source
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Politics

Senator Bernie Sanders(I-Vt.) scored a resounding victory in Nevadas presidential caucuses on Saturday, cementing his status as the Democrats national front-runner amid escalating tensions over whether hes too liberal to defeat President Donald Trump.

The 78-year-old Vermont senator successfully rallied his fiercely loyal base and tapped into support from Nevadas large Latino community as the Democratic contest moved for the first time into a state with a significant minority population.

The win built on Sanders win earlier this month in the New Hampshire primary. He essentially tied for first place in the Iowa caucuses with Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who has sought to position himself as an ideological counter to Sanders unabashed progressive politics, but was fighting for a distant second place in Nevada.

The victory, while encouraging for Sanders supporters, only deepens concern among establishment-minded Democratic leaders who fear that the self-described democratic socialist is too extreme to defeat Trump. Sanders for decades has been calling for transformative policies to address inequities in politics and the economy, none bigger than his signature Medicare for All health care plan that would replace the private insurance system with a government-run universal system.

Despite establishment anxiety, moderates are struggling to unify behind a single candidate, and the vote on Saturday was again split between several centrists, including Buttigieg and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Also in the mix: Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who desperately needed a spark to revive her stalled bid; billionaire Tom Steyer, who spent more than $12 million on Nevada television, and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, who hoped to prove her strong New Hampshire finish was no fluke.

Trump weighed in on social media, continuing his weeks-long push to sow discord between Sanders and his Democratic rivals.

“Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada. Biden & the rest look weak,” Trump tweeted. “Congratulations Bernie, & dont let them take it away from you!”

Looks like Crazy Bernie is doing well in the Great State of Nevada. Biden & the rest look weak, & no way Mini Mike can restart his campaign after the worst debate performance in the history of Presidential Debates. Congratulations Bernie, & dont let them take it away from you!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2020

After the chaos of Iowas caucuses, there were concerns about Nevadas similar setup. But no major problems were in sight.

Nevada is the third contest on a 2020 election calendar marked by chaos and uncertainty after the opening votes in Iowa and New Hampshire, overwhelmingly white, rural states.

Trump Campaign Responds to Nevada Democrat Primary Results

“Media reports of unstaffed caucus sites in Nevada just prove that the national Democrat Party is in chaos and incompetent,” Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement. “Even with that mess, there is no denying that Big Government Socialism dominated again as Bernie Sanders remained the leader of the leftist pack. We are another day closer to Election Day and another day closer to re-electing President Trump.”

Some Precincts Have Trouble Reporting

Two of the four caucus precincts at a middle school in the northern Nevada city of Gardnerville had trouble getting through on the phone hotline to report reRead More – Source
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