Posts tagged with "Former VP Joe Biden"

Trump orders advisers to ‘go down fighting’

November 6, 2020

As Election Day turns into election week, Donald Trump has delivered a simple message to his closest political and legal advisers as they began charting a plan to challenge results in several key states: Give them a court fight that “they’ll never forget.”

The president’s remarks, relayed by two people familiar with them, came as election results seemed trending Joe Biden’s way. And for Team Trump, it was meant as a clarion call to use every possible legal resource and bit of political organizing to help re-tip the balance of the scale, The Daily Beast reported.

Trump told his advisers that, even if Biden were to claw the presidency away from him, he wanted them to “go down fighting” harder than they ever had before, one of the sources with direct knowledge said.

Goaded by White House messaging, his base responded:

The Michigan Republican Party did not return a request for comment from The Daily Beast.

Trump’s legal team—including George W. Bush campaign veteran Mark “Thor” Hearne—asked a court in Michigan to halt absentee ballot counts because it alleged its observers had not been granted full access to the tally, and were not permitted to watch video footage of “remote and unattended dropboxes.”

It brought a similar suit in Pennsylvania, fighting to stop the tabulation on the grounds that its overseers had not been allowed within 25 feet of the counting effort.

Further, Trump’s lawyers filed to enter an ongoing Supreme Court case, hoping to convince jurists on the highest bench to overturn a state policy that would allow counties to count votes postmarked on Election Day and received as late as Friday. Jay Sekulow, a personal attorney and confidant of Trump’s, is overseeing the Supreme Court effort.

“Lawyer city,” Joe Grogan, formerly a top domestic policy adviser to President Trump, said, describing the situation on Wednesday afternoon. “It’s going to be really ugly.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

The morning after: Biden captures slim lead—but races too close to call

November 5, 2020

With the presidential election too close to call—and not all mail-in ballots yet counted nationwide—all eyes were focused on Wednesday morning, November 4, on Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, the three northern industrial states that likely will prove crucial in determining who wins the White House, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Indeed, by early Wednesday, neither candidate had the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the Oval Office. And as votes continued to trickle in, it’s possible the American people could be hours or even days away from knowing who will lead their nation.

Michigan and Wisconsin turned the lightest shade of blue on results maps later Wednesday morning, with outstanding vote still to count in those states. The same is true of Nevada. Georgia and North Carolina—states in which Trump is narrowly leading, which also have outstanding votes.

It could be several days before Pennsylvania, where Trump currently leads, finishes counting mail ballots—which are thought to significantly favor Biden.

The Biden campaign is signaling confidence that they will meet the 270 mark in the coming days, but there is simply too much uncertainty at the moment to clearly predict a winner, and the cloud of litigation hangs over the entire proceeding.

Four years after Trump became the first Republican in a generation to capture that trio of “Rust Belt” states, they again are positioned to make or break a presidential election. Trump kept several states he won in 2016 that had seemed wobbly in the final days of the campaign—including Texas, Iowa and Ohio—where the Biden camp made a play.

Trump cried foul over the election results, falsely calling the process “a major fraud on our nation.” But, the Tribune notes, there’s no evidence of foul play in the cliffhanger.

The president had vowed to take the election to the Supreme Court, and received criticism from conservative pundits after making his comments. The Biden campaign said it would fight any such efforts to stop the counting of votes.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

Poll: Few U.S. voters believe Trump, Biden are in robust good health

June 25, 2020

A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll has found that 33% of U.S. voters rate President Donald Trump’s health as poor—and 27% are not so sure that former Vice President Joe Biden is in fine fettle either.

Conversely, 30% believe that the 74-year-old incumbent POTUS is in good or excellent health; and 39% believe Biden is hale and hearty.

Last week, the Trump campaign launched a website citing “Biden’s descent into incoherence” and arguing the former vice president is in cognitive decline. Trump’s rhetoric has constantly attacked attack Biden as “sleepy.”

Yet days after the rollout of the website, Trump found himself on the defensive regarding his physical well-being, Politico reports. Footage from his June 13 graduation address at the U.S. Military Academy showed the president haltingly descending a ramp and using two hands to drink a glass of water.

Although the videos circulated among liberal circles online for a number of days, the story was largely forgotten before Trump devoted significant time to addressing the incidents during his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20.

Voters will split sharply along party lines in the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll. Fifty-seven percent of Democrats said Trump was in poor health, while 52% of Republicans said the same for Biden. Just 7% of Republicans rated Trump’s health as poor, and only 6 percent of Democrats said Biden was in poor health.

“The state of President Trump’s health is the latest issue to fall along party lines. While a plurality of Republican voters rate the president’s health as ‘excellent,’ only 3% of Democrats say the same,” said Kyle Dropp, co-founder and chief research officer at Morning Consult.

If elected, Biden would be the oldest person to assume the presidency on Inauguration Day—surpassing Trump, who is the current record-holder.

The former vice president, known for his history of gaffes, has had to combat questions about his age and health throughout his primary campaign.

Neither man has released his full health records.

The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted June 19-21, surveying 1,988 registered voters.

Research contact: @politico

Barr: U.S. Attorney’s probe not likely to focus on Obama, Biden—or ‘Obamagate’

May 20, 2020

How low will he go? Even at the behest of President Donald Trump, Attorney General Bill Barr said on Monday that he “doesn’t  expect” either to investigate—or to subpoena for testimony— former President Barack Obama or Vice President Joe Biden, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.

Barr, who to date has been all too willing to do the president’s bidding, said the former heads of state would not be scrutinized as part of an examination into the origins of a federal probe looking at whether the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia. In doing so, he crushed Trump’s Obamagate hopes—making it clear that there would be no criminal prosecution.

Last year the AG appointed John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, to review the origins of the 2016 probe into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian election interference. The investigation, according to people familiar with it, the Journal says, is proceeding on multiple fronts—examining how the initial allegations surfaced in 2016, as well as a separate 2017 U.S. intelligence report that concluded Moscow had interfered in the presidential election in part to help then-candidate Trump.

“As to President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement, based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Barr said in response to a reporter’s question during a news conference called to discuss updates to the probe of a shooting at a military base last year in Pensacola, Florida. “Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others.”

A spokesman for Obama declined to comment to the Journal. Biden didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Barr didn’t provide details on exactly what or whom Durham was investigating, but he expressed concern generally about a trend to “gin up allegations of criminality by one’s political opponents based on the flimsiest of legal theories.”

He didn’t directly address remarks made in recent weeks by President Trump and some of his conservative allies that have suggested without evidence that. Obama and Biden—who is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and Trump’s expected 2020 opponent—had engaged in criminal acts to spy on his 2016 election campaign.

Speaking at the White House Monday afternoon, the president said he was a “little surprised” by  Barr’s announcement about the former president and vice president, adding that “if it was me, I guarantee they’d be going after me.” He said he had “no doubt” that. Biden and Obama were involved in what he called the “takedown of a president.”

Still, the president called Barr an “honorable man” and said he would rely on him to “make all of those decisions.”

Research contact: @WSJ

Kushner says he ‘cannot commit’ to holding 2020 election on November 3

May 14, 2020

Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, refused on Tuesday, May 12, to rule out postponing the presidential election in November—a comment that fed directly into Democratic fears that Donald Trump might use the COVID-19 crisis to delay or de-legitimize the contest The New York Times reports.

“I’m not sure I can commit one way or the other, but right now that’s the plan,” Kushner told Time magazine in response to a question about whether the election could be postponed because of the pandemic.

The opinion of a White House staff member has no bearing on when the election is held. Even the president himself does not have the authority to unilaterally postpone Election Day, which by law takes place the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, the Times notes.

But Kushner’s comment raised alarms both because of the expansive power Trump has conferred on members of his family who serve in his administration and because it played into the worst anxieties of Trump’s detractors—that the president would begin to question the validity of the election if he feared he was going to lose.

It also plays into the fears of Bill Maher, the host of HBO’s popular live show, Real Time with Bill Maher, who has repeatedly suggested that Trump will not leave the White House if he loses the election.

And already, the president is suggesting that the election will be “rigged.”

The presumptive Democratic nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden gave voice to those concerns at a virtual fund-raiser last month. “Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow— come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” he said.

Doubts about a smooth voting process in November have increased as states have canceled or postponed presidential primary elections to avoid the spread of the virus.

What’s more, the news outlet pointed out, Kushner’s remarks undercut the president’s own publicly stated position on the issue.

“The general election will happen on November 3,” the president said last month at a news conference when asked about Biden’s comment. But he also appeared to raise the specter of election fraud, noting that “I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting.” He added, “It should be, you go to a booth and you proudly display yourself.”

Despite his victory in 2016, the Times reports, “Trump has consistently and without any evidence claimed that there was widespread voter fraud in the last presidential election.” He even briefly formed a commission to examine it, but the group never found evidence and disbanded.

On Tuesday night, Kushner sought to clarify his earlier interview. “I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of, any discussions about trying to change the date of the presidential election,” he said. A White House official said Kushner was fully aware that the date was set by federal law.

But his original remark on the election quickly drew fierce criticism from Trump critics. “Kushner’s statement reveals amazing ignorance of the Constitution and law,” William Kristol, a conservative columnist and prominent “Never Trump” Republican, wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “It reveals startling arrogance in taking for granted he gets to have some say about when the election is held. It also reveals an utter lack of understanding of his very subordinate role in our democracy.”

Research contact: @nytimes

Biden says he thinks Trump will try to delay the presidential election

April 27, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on April 23 that he believes President Donald Trump will try to delay November’s presidential election, CNN reports.

“Mark my words: I think he is gonna try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” Biden said at a virtual fundraiser, according to a pool report.

Biden has maintained the November election should not be postponed and has previously made similar comments.

However, were the president to try to switch dates on the American public, he would have to use sleight of hand: CNN has done its homework—and the cable news network says, “Trump cannot unilaterally change the date of the election in November, as it has been set into law by federal statute and Congress would have to OK such a move.”

That’s good news for Democrats, but it hasn’t stopped them from worrying that Trump will try to do so. In fact, voters had asked the previously large field of Democratic presidential candidates if they had concerns that Trump would try to delay the election.

And comedian and commentator Bill Maher has repeatedly said on his HBO show that he fears that Trump will refuse to leave office if he is defeated in November.

“Those are the incoherent, conspiracy theory ramblings of a lost candidate who is out of touch with reality,” Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said in a statement Friday. “President Trump has been clear that the election will happen on November 3rd.”

Fears over the coronavirus and its spread have increased concerns over how the election will be held safely, with new calls to expand access to voting and voting by mail. Biden said Congress needs to ensure that states have sufficient funding for expanded voting options during the pandemic.

He referenced the Wisconsin primary, which went ahead with in-person voting earlier this month after courts halted Democratic efforts to delay the primary and extend the deadline for ballots to be returned by mail. Wisconsin was the only one of 11 states with April primaries that moved forward with in-person voting, after the other 10 delayed their primaries or shifted to by-mail-only voting.

“Republicans were trying to force in-person voting no matter the health cost. We have to figure out how we are going to conduct a full and fair and safe election in November, and no one should have to risk their lives to cast a ballot,” Biden said Thursday.

“The idea you had all the governors and so many mayors — Republican and Democrat — asking the President and asking (Senate Majority Leader) Mitch McConnell, ‘We need local funding for our local support, for the things we have to do,’ ” he said. “I think it’s absolutely mindless, mindless, that they are unwilling to do it. I don’t get it. I don’t get it.”

The former vice president also accused Trump of “already trying to undermine the election with false claims of voter fraud.”

Indeed, CNN reports, in recent weeks, Trump, who opposes expanding voting-by-mail options, has made false claims about voting-by-mail being “corrupt” and “dangerous,” even while states embrace it as a safe alternative during the pandemic.

Biden referenced a report by The Washington Post  saying that the Trump Administration was considering leveraging an emergency coronavirus loan from Congress, which needs to be approved by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, to force changes at the U.S. Postal Service. The move could allow the administration to influence how much the agency charges for delivering packages and how it manages its finances, according to the Post.

What’s worse, it could affect the states’ ability to offer mail-in voting.

“Imagine threatening not to fund the post office,” Biden said. “Now what in God’s name is that about? Other than trying to let the word out that he’s going to do all he can to make it very hard for people to vote. That’s the only way he thinks he can possibly win.”

“You can be assured between (Trump) and the Russians there is going to be an attempt to interfere” in the election, Biden said.

Research contact: @CNN

CNN to host five top Democratic candidates at back-to-back town halls on April 22

April 18, 2019

Five Democratic presidential hopefuls will take questions and lay out policies, one right after the other, at CNN town halls next Monday, April 22, in New Hampshire—the state that traditionally hosts the first primary challenge of the campaign season, the cable news network has announced

Mayor Pete Buttigieg of Indiana, Senator Kamala Harris (California), Senator Amy Klobuchar (Minnesota), Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (Massachusetts) will participate in the live, internationally telecast event.

The current leader in the race—former Vice President Joe Biden, with 27% of the vote in Iowa, according to a recent Monmouth University poll—is still undeclared; and, therefore, has not been invited to the event.

The CNN town halls are being co-hosted by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College and the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School. The presidential candidates will field questions directly from students and young New Hampshire Democrats, said a CNN spokesperson, who added that the audience will be drawn from the two schools and a pool of young Democrats living in the state.

Chris Cuomo will moderate the Klobuchar (7 p.m. ET) and Sanders (9 p.m. ET) town halls, Anderson Cooper will moderate the Warren (8 p.m. ET) and Buttigieg (11 p.m. ET) town halls, and Don Lemon will moderate the Harris (10 p.m. ET) town hall.

The CNN town halls will take place on the campus of Saint Anselm College, and has been scheduled coincide with the release of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School’s new national poll of young voters.

Research contact: @CNNPolitics

Before entering 2020 race, Biden ruminates over naming Abrams as running mate

March 22, 2019

He’s an elder statesman at a time when Millennials will be a major factor in winning the popular vote. Therefore, advisers to former Vice President Joe Biden, age 76, reportedly are considering adding somebody less “seasoned” to the ticket before he announces his run for the presidency in 2020.

Indeed, Axios reported on Thursday that Biden’s aides are considering pairing him with Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams, who is only age 45 and is a dynamic rising star in the Democratic party.

Although Abrams ultimately lost to Republican Brian Kemp in the 2018 state gubernatorial race—edged out by fewer than 55,000 votes—she won support across America and has maintained a national profile since the midterm elections.

In fact, she was chosen by the party to deliver the Democratic response to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in February.

According to Axios, Biden’s staff currently is calculating the political consequences of such an announcement. Would it reassure the U.S. electorate about the vitality of the candidacy—or would it be perceived as a cynical political ploy? Could it even expose Biden to criticism that he is overlooking his fellow Democratic candidates as possible VPs?

The former vice president’s office declined to comment to Axios.

The Hill reported on March 21 that Biden and Abrams had met earlier in the month, as rumors swirled of both candidates entering the race. However, Abrams also has met with a number of other 2020 Democrats, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, (Massachusetts ), Kamala Harris (California) and Cory Booker (New Jersey).

Based on the same news story, Abrams said earlier this month that under a previous career plan, 2028 had been the earliest she would consider a run for president. She quickly added that a run in 2020 is “definitely on the table.”

Research contact: @axios