Posts tagged with "ABC News"

Repudiate or remove? 70% of Americans say Trump’s demands to Ukraine were ‘wrong’

November 19, 2019

A majority of Americans think they have Donald Trump’s number—and that’s not good news for the president. An overwhelming 70% of Americans believe that he was “wrong” to ask a foreign leader to investigate his political rival, an ABC News/Ipsos poll conducted November 16-17 has found.

A slim majority of Americans,(51%) believe Trump’s actions were both wrong and he should be impeached and removed from office. But only 21% of Americans say they are following the hearings very closely.

In addition to the 51%, another 19% think that Trump’s actions were wrong, but that, at worst, he should either be impeached by the House and not removed from office. The survey also finds that 25% of Americans think that Trump did nothing wrong.

Still,about one-third (32%) say they made up their minds about impeaching the president before the news broke about Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in which Trump urged his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.

The poll asked Americans how closely they were following the first week of public impeachment hearings in the House, their assessments of Trump’s actions; and whether those actions warranted impeachment and removal from office. The survey also asked Americans when they decided on the matter.

ABC News notes that House Democrats are investigating whether the administration withheld nearly $400 million in aid and promised a White House summit between the two leaders in exchange for an investigation into the president’s political rival, Biden, and his son, for his place on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.

Overall, the poll found, 58% of Americans say they are following the hearings very closely or somewhat closely (21% and 37%, respectively); and 21% say they made up their minds about impeachment after the first week of public hearings. Among those who said this, 60% think that Trump should be impeached and removed from office.

Of those following the House impeachment hearings very closely, 67% think Trump’s actions were wrong and he should be impeached and removed from office.

Among Democrats, 41% say they made up their minds about impeachment before Trump’s actions related to Ukraine became public. And 41% of those who support Trump’s impeachment and removal from office say they made up their minds before the matter came to light.

The unfolding political drama between congressional Democrats and the White House reveals a polarized populace, with Democrats more united in their belief that Trump should be impeached and convicted than Republicans are in their belief that the president has committed no wrongdoing: 85% and 65%, respectively.

Research contact: @ABCNews

Animal house: Dog lover prepares to break ground on sanctuary for pit bulls

November 7, 2019

An animal advocate who lives in Paulding County, Georgia, is demonstrating his dedication to a dog breed that is often misunderstood. Jason Flatt told ABC News Atlanta affiliate WSB-TV that he plans to create a one-of-a kind sanctuary for pit bulls and pit bull mixes

Flatt already pulls pit bulls out of local shelters—where 80% to 85% are ignored or shunned by potential adoptive families, he says—and cares for them with a small team at his home, which is filled with kennels for the pups.

Most of the dogs, Flatt told the news outlet, have experienced “some sort of trauma,” and need tender, loving care to restore their spirits and health.

Flatt said he is working to change the narrative of the breed, which is known as being aggressive or used as fighting dogs.

“Everybody assumes these dogs are like these baby-killing monsters,” Flatt told WSB-TV. “Pit bulls have a problem —a big problem. In every major city, every

At his new facility, Flatt aims for every dog to have a 40-foot run made of concrete and grass. The sanctuary also will feature areas for rehabilitation and indoor play, as well as a full-time veterinarian, he said.

His goal is to raise enough money to break ground in the next few years, he said.

“We don’t give up on dogs,” he said. “We never have.”

Flatt and his team will work to find every dog the right home. Those that don’t find their forever home will continue to live with him on the property.

“Every one of them has a story,” he said. “The stories don’t matter. It’s the ending—the endings that we look to change.”

Research contact: @ABC

FEC chair states unconditionally that accepting ‘oppo research’ from a foreign national is illegal

October 7, 2019

We told him so: Federal Election Commission (FEC) Chair Ellen Weintraub on October 4 stated unconditionally that accepting any kind of “opposition research” from a foreign national or government is illegal under U.S. elections law.

In an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Weintraub again refuted President Donald Trump’s position that there is nothing wrong with listening to foreign intelligence about his 2020 political opponents.

As far back as June 16, in an exclusive interview with ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos, the president reacted to a question about whether he would accept information from foreigners—such as China or Russia—for his reelection campaign, or choose to hand it over to the FBI, by saying, “I think maybe you do both.”

He added at the time, “I think you might want to listen; there isn’t anything wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent.’—oh, I think I’d want to hear it.”

And this week, he called on China publicly to provide that information.

“The law is pretty clear,” Weintraub said to co-host Willie Geist. “It is absolutely illegal for anyone to solicit, accept or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with any election in the United States.”

“I don’t want to comment on the specifics,” Weinstein added of Trump’s call for Biden to be investigated by foreign governments, including Ukraine, the UK, and China. “I’m just here to explain the law. That’s part of my job, and I think this is a moment in America where it’s really important that the American people understand what the law is.”

According to a report by The Hill, the FEC chief has weighed in on social media in the past on statements made by Trump, including earlier this year when Trump talked to ABC.

“Is this thing on?” Weintraub tweeted at the time.

Research contact: @thehill

Shooting down a bad idea: Hoodies with bullet holes spark viral backlash

September 19, 2019

A New York City-based clothing company has introduced school shooting hoodies that have bullet holes in them and feature the names of four schools at which major mass shooting have occurred—among them, Sandy Hook, Columbine, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, and Virginia Tech, ABC News reports.

The new fashion line was shown by the brand Bstroy during New York Fashion Week—and instantly generated fierce criticism on social media and in fashion blogs.

Bstroy, a self-described “neo-native” post-apocalypse streetwear brand, according to Paper Magazine, has been slammed with comments—of all types—after showcasing its Spring 2020 menswear collection, called “Samsara,” in a series of posts on Instagram.

“Under what scenario could somebody think this was a good idea? This has me so upset. If any of my followers no [sic] anybody involved with this clothing line, please ask them to stop it immediately,” tweeted Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter Jaime was killed on February 14, 2018, by Nikolas Cruz in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas

A memorial page for Vicki Soto, one of the teachers killed in the December 14,2012, Sandy Hook shooting responded directly to the Instagram post of the Sandy Hook hoodie saying “As a Sandy Hook family, what you are doing here is absolutely disgusting, hurtful, wrong and disrespectful. You’ll never know what our family went through after Vicki died protecting her students. Our pain is not to be used for your fashion.”

“This is disgusting,” actress Alyssa Milano simply tweeted, according to ABC.

The network news outlet reported that one of the company’s founders, Brick Owens, responded to the critics by releasing a statement on Instagram. “Sometimes life can be painfully ironic,” the statement read. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you consider to be a safe, controlled environment, like school. We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential. It is this push and pull that creates the circular motion that is the cycle of life. Nirvana is the goal we hope to reach through meditation and healthy practices that counter our destructive habits. Samsara is the cycle we must transcend to reach Nirvana.”

We are making violent statements,” the other founder of Bstroy, Dieter “Du” Grams told The New York Times in a profile that was published last week. “That’s for you to know who we are, so we can have a voice in the market. But eventually that voice will say things that everyone can wear.”

ABC noted, “While the vast majority of responses to the clothing line were negative, there were some who thought the company was doing their best to bring awareness to the issue of gun violence in America.”

“I hope all the people in the comments that are upset, are upset enough to talk to their elected officials about serious gun control measures,” said Instagram user @magnetic_poles.

Bstory has not immediately responded to ABC News’ request for comment on Wednesday morning.

Research contact: @ABC

‘Putting the brakes’ on hot car deaths

September 9, 2019

By the 2025 model year, nearly all new vehicles sold in the United States will provide electronic audible and visual reminders on the dashboard for drivers to check rear seats before they turn off the ignition, so they don’t leave children behind, ABC News reports.

Indeed, according to the network news outlet, already 20 automakers representing 98% of new vehicles sold have agreed to install such alerts in an effort to stop heatstroke deaths.

So far this year 37 children have died nationwide after being left alone in cars during hot weather. The advocacy group Kids and Cars says a record 53 children were killed last year.

“Automakers have been exploring ways to address this safety issue, and this commitment underscores how such innovations and increased awareness can help children right now,” David Schwietert, Interim CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, a trade group that includes a dozen large car companies, told ABC News. Members of the Association of Global Automakers, a group of manufacturers based outside the United States, also are taking part.

Automakers say the voluntary agreement will get the alerts installed faster than a government regulation, which takes four to eight years.

Only Tesla didn’t agree to the reminders. The car company has not responded to requests for comment.

Several automakers already are offering the feature. General Motors, for instance, has a reminder on all of its four-door sedans, trucks and SUVs starting with the 2019 model year. Hyundai has pledged to make a similar system standard on its vehicles by 2022.

The auto alliance says the agreement is a minimum and doesn’t preclude automakers from coming up with more sophisticated solutions.

ABC News reports that the U.S. House is considering a bill that would require such alerts.

Research contact: @ABC

‘Go back where you came from’: Trump to severely ill children who traveled to USA for treatment

September 3, 2019

The Trump Administration has begun denying pleas from non-citizens who wish to extend their time in the United States in order to continue receiving treatment for severe medical conditions from which they suffer. Letters issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and obtained by ABC News, tell those applying for medical relief that agency offices, “no longer consider deferred action requests,” except for members of the military.

Among those affected will be Serena Badia, according to ABC, a teenage girl from Spain who has undergone heart surgery five times. Three of those procedures were back in her home country, where doctors told her she wouldn’t live past age 12.

According to the network, Serena came to America. with her mother and sister, hoping doctors here would be able to help where the Spanish surgeons failed. Serena, now age 14, has been treated here for over a year as U.S. doctors attempt to rebuild her pulmonary artery. But her treatment here now is in jeopardy after immigration authorities told her family they have 33 days to leave the U.S. or risk not being able to return.

“If they don’t let us come back to the United States, then I won’t be able to get treated,” the adolescent patient told ABC News. “We don’t know what to do because we don’t want to be illegal here.”

 “Yes, it’s very scary,” she added.

Former Vice President and 2020 candidate Joe Biden weighed in at a campaign stop on August 29, criticizing President Trump for “targeting” children with severe illnesses.

“We are running out of words to condemn the inhumanity of this administration,” Biden said in a statement. “There is no possible national security justification for further traumatizing sick kids at their most vulnerable.”

A 16-year-old with cystic fibrosis, a 13-year-old with muscular dystrophy and a 4-year-old girl with cerebral palsy are also among the children whose families received

“People are terrified and confused,” the lawyer for the young patients, Anthony Marino told ABC News. “I don’t know how people react to their government telling them to disconnect from lifesaving health care.”

USCIS, the agency in charge of legal immigration and processing visas, told ABC News that “this does not mean the end of deferred action” but rather that any requests must be submitted to a different agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is the department in charge of deportations.

But the customs enforcement agency wasn’t aware of the policy change until reports surfaced in the press, according to an ICE official. The agency doesn’t have a process to accept the medical deferment applications that were previously reviewed by USCIS, the official told the network news organization.

“What we do next is probably sue them,” Marino said. “We’re certainly keeping that option open.”

Research contact: @ABC

Xi ‘one-ups’ Trump, announcing $75B in tariffs on U.S. goods as president heads to G7 Summit

August 26, 2019

Gotcha!  Just as President Donald Trump was preparing to meet with the leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, to discuss the global economy and his trade wars, China on Friday announced it would impose tariffs on $75 billion worth of U.S. imports, ABC News reported.

The move came in retaliation for duty hikes that the United States already has pledged to slap on Chinese imports starting next month.

What’s more, the announcement also came just before Jerome Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve gave a speech investors and analysts planned to scrutinize for signs of how the central bank would address worries of a slowing economy—as well as the president’s often mixed signals on payroll tax cuts.

According to ABC News, Powell implied in his speech that Trump’s trade altercations were among the factors precipitating a possible global economic slowdown— and he said they have made it more difficult for the Fed to set policies on interest rates.

Powell did not offer any clear signal on further cuts to interest rates, though, during his widely watched remarks in Jackson Hole, Wyo., according to the Associated Press.

Just after Powell spoke, Trump again blasted the Fed—saying in a tweet that it “As usual, the Fed did NOTHING.”

“My only question,” Trump tweeted moments later, “is, who is our bigger enemy, Jay Powell or Chairman Xi [of China]?”

China said that it would impose its new penalties on two batches of goods, on September 1 and December 15, according to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua. It said 5,078 American products would see duty hikes of 5% or 10% first; and that the later tariffs would hit “American-made vehicles and auto parts” with tariffs of 5% or 25%.

Those dates match with 10% tariff the Trump administration said would go into effect on $300 billion worth of imports from China.

Trump on Friday morning argued in a tweet that the economy was “strong and good, whereas the rest of the world is not doing so well.”

According to ABC News, the president has made the economy a central message of his campaign, and has accused the news media and Democrats of wanting a recession in order to tank his reelection chances.

Research contact: @ABC

A good hair day: New York City enforces right of blacks to style tresses ‘naturally’

February 20, 2019

In the 1960s and 1970s, many black men and women stopped straightening their hair and adopted the “Afro” look—which today we refer to as what it is: “natural hair.”

But up until this week, no municipality in the nation has enforced the right of people of color to enjoy their own hair texture and natural beauty.

Now all that has changed. In February, the Big Apple became the first city in the nation to “protect the rights of  New Yorkers [under the New York City Human Rights Law] to maintain natural hair or hairstyles that are closely associated with their racial, ethnic, or cultural identities”

Specifically, the New York City Commission of Human Rights said this month, “For black people, this includes the right to maintain natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”

And that includes on the job, in competitive sports, and in “public places like libraries, gyms, schools, and nightclubs”—where, the Commission rules, “Black people [cannot be forced] to change their natural hair as a requirement to be admitted in or retain affiliation with those settings.”

“Policies that limit the ability to wear natural hair or hairstyles associated with black people aren’t about ‘neatness’ or ‘professionalism;’ they are about limiting the way black people move through workplaces, public spaces, and other settings,” New York City Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis said in a statement.

New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray also spoke out about the guidance, saying in a statement, “Bias against the curly textured hair of people of African descent is as old as this country and a form of race-based discrimination.”

I a report about the human rights guidance, Good Morning America/ABC News noted that it comes “just two months after controversy erupted when a New Jersey high school wrestler was told to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match. The student’s attorney asked the state’s Division of Civil Rights (DCR) last month to further investigate the “unrelenting fixation on the hair of a 16-year-old young man.”

According to the network news report, New York’s Commission on Human Rights said it is currently investigating seven natural hairstyle discrimination cases that include black people being forced to wear their braided hair up or being fired for wearing their natural hair down.

The commission will be the city agency responsible for enforcing the new legal guidance. Employers found in violation of the guidelines can be fined up to $250,000 and be forced by the commission to make policy changes and rehiresaccording to The New York Times, which reported the guidance before its public release.

Cheers of applause for the new protections for natural hair circulated on social media with the hashtags #freethehair and #YourHairYourRightNYC.

Research contact: @GMA

Senator Kamala Harris slams Supremes on transgender ruling

January 23, 2019

Following her announcement on ABC-TV’s Good Morning America on January 21 that she will make a run for the U.S. presidency; early on Tuesday, Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) castigated the Supreme Court for allowing the Trump administration to temporarily enforce its restrictions on transgender military personnel.

Transgender military members have the courage to serve our country and deserve to do so. We have to fight back to reverse this,” Harris tweeted at 10:45 a.m.

Her tweet came shortly after the high court said it would allow the White House to briefly enforce a ban on transgender service members—until the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in California hears a case to determine its legality, The Hill reported.

The case was considered by the Supreme Court after Solicitor General Noel Francisco leapfrogged the usual legal process in November—bypassing the regional court in the belief that the higher court would rule in favor of the White House.

Francisco implored the justices to immediately take the case and issue a ruling this term, according to the political news outlet—arguing that the lower court’s decision blocked a policy that’s “necessary to place the Department of Defense in the strongest position to protect the American people.”

He said that the Department of Defense review found that continuing to allow transgender people who have transitioned or seek to transition to serve in the military poses a threat to military effectiveness and readiness.

However, in a blow to Francisco and the administration, the Supreme Court declined to hear arguments on the case’s legality. The justices prefer the appeals courts to have considered a case before they weigh in, and even then are selective, The Hill said. It takes four justices to agree to hear a case, and often they only agree to step in if the appeals courts are deeply divided on an issue.

It takes five justices to agree to stay a lower court ruling. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, of the court’s liberal wing, said they would have denied the application, according to the news outlet.

Trump announced the ban on transgender service members on March 23, stating that transgender applicants are “disqualified from military service except under limited circumstances.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said at the time that the decision was based upon “extensive study by senior uniformed and civilian leaders, including combat veterans

In her announcement on January 21, Senator Harris stated, “My entire career has been focused on keeping people safe. When I look at this moment in time, I know the American people deserve to have someone who is going to fight for them … and put them in front of self-interest.”

Research contact: @jabowden4

Deputy AG Rosenstein to depart DOJ following wrap-up of Russia probe

January 10, 2019

With a new AG pick expected to face confirmation hearings starting next week, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—who has been riding herd on the Russia probe (and taking the heat for it) since Jeff Sessions recused himself back in 2017—is planning to step down, NBC News reports.

Rosenstein long had intended to serve just about two years as the Justice Department’s number-two official, contacts in the know told the network news outlet. They assert that this is his own plan—and that he is not being forced out by the White House, although there certainly is no love lost there.

After demanding and receiving Sessions’ resignation in November , President Donald Trump nominated William Barr, who planned to be at the Capitol this week for a round of courtesy calls with senators ahead of his confirmation process, which starts on January 15.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders commented to Fox News: “I don’t think there’s any willingness by the president or the White House to push him out …. My guess is he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him.”

Rosenstein’s intentions were first reported by ABC News. He did not respond to questions on Wednesday morning.

ABC News also reported on January 9 that the president’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, said he doesn’t think that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is on a “witch hunt,” doesn’t think he should be fired and is committed to making sure that Mueller finishes his investigation, according to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina).

Research contact: @PeteWilliamsNBC

Clarification: Late on January 9, NBC News reported that “a source close to Rosestein [had] said he intends to stay on until Mueller’s investigative and prosecutorial work id done. The source said that would mean Rosenstein would remain until early March.”