OBAMACARE RALLIES AROUND THE COUNTRY

Stephanie Keith/REUTERS

THE HUFFINGTON POST

Bernie Sanders and other Senate Democrats addressed a crowd of thousands in Warren, Michigan.

Supporters of the Affordable Care Act gathered to protest the health care law’s repeal in rallies across the country on Sunday.

The demonstrations were in response to an appeal by Democratic leaders in Congress for a day of action against ACA repeal, the defunding of Planned Parenthood and other policies promoted by the incoming Donald Trump administration.

Perhaps the highest-profile gathering was a rally at Macomb County Community College in Warren, Michigan, that drew thousands of people. Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and several other members of Congress addressed the large crowd that had waited in long lines in below-freezing weather to attend the event. Many who have received health insurance thanks to the ACA shared their emotional stories as well.

COREY R. WILLIAMS/AP | People wait for the start of a health care rally in Warren, Michigan, north of Detroit, on Sunday.

“So our job today is to defend the Affordable Care Act. Our job tomorrow is to create a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system,” he exhorted the crowd.

There were some 70 similar rallies across the country, according to Sanders. Photos on social media show significant crowds in Portland, Maine; Richmond, Virginia; Tampa, Florida; Boston, New York City and many other metropolises.

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FBI, Dems bicker over investigation of hacked servers

FBI, Dems bicker over investigation of hacked servers

© Victoria Sarno Jordan

THE HILL

The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the FBI are fighting over reports that claim the bureau did not conduct an independent analysis of the party’s hacked servers.

The DNC told Buzzfeed in a statement published Wednesday that the FBI never requested access to its servers after they were breached.

But a senior law enforcement official disputed that characterization on Thursday.

“The FBI repeatedly stressed to DNC officials the necessity of obtaining direct access to servers and data, only to be rebuffed until well after the initial compromise had been mitigated,” the official said.

“This left the FBI no choice but to rely upon a third party for information. These actions caused significant delays and inhibited the FBI from addressing the intrusion earlier.”

But a former FBI official told The Hill it’s not unusual for the bureau to bypass a direct examination of a hacked server.

“In nine out of 10 cases, we don’t need access, we don’t ask for access, we don’t get access. That’s the normal [procedure],” Leo Taddeo, a former special agent in charge of the cyber division of the FBI’s New York office, told The Hill.

“It’s extraordinarily rare for the FBI to get access to the victim’s infrastructure because we could mess it up,” he added. “We usually ask for the logs and images, and 99 out of a hundred times, that’s sufficient.”

Asking for direct access to a server wouldn’t be necessary, Taddeo said, “unless there was a reason to think the victim was going to alter the evidence in some way.”

The Hill has reached out to the DNC for comment but did not receive a response before this story was published.

DNC deputy communications director Eric Walker told BuzzFeed that, “The DNC had several meetings with representatives of the FBI’s Cyber Division and its Washington (D.C.) Field Office, the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices,” but added, “the FBI never requested access to the DNC’s computer servers.”

And according to Buzzfeed, no U.S. intelligence agency has done an independent forensics analysis on the servers.

Instead, the bureau relied on analysis done by the third-party security firm CrowdStrike, which investigated the breach for the DNC.

“Crowdstrike is pretty good. There’s no reason to believe that anything that they have concluded is not accurate,” an intelligence official told BuzzFeed.

The dispute comes against the backdrop of fierce Democratic outrage over the FBI’s role in the 2016 election.

Many — include outgoing Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) — have explicitly blamed FBI Director James B. Comey for Hillary Clinton‘s surprise loss in November.

Eleven days before Election Day, Comey sent a letter to lawmakers telling them investigators had uncovered new emails that could be “potentially pertinent” to the bureau’s previously completed probe of Clinton’s private email server.

The announcement exploded in the final days of the election — and a subsequent missive from Comey saying the new emails had turned up no new evidence did little to quell the storm.

The spat has also highlighted a simmering dispute about whether the FBI dropped the ball in investigating the breach.

When the bureau first contacted the DNC about a nation-state breach of its systems, the tech-support contractor who fielded the call was unsure if the special agent was actually from the FBI, or was a prankster. For weeks, the agent continued to call the committee, but did not receive a response.

CrowdStrike President Shawn Henry, who is also a former head of the FBI’s cyber division, told The New York Times he was shocked the FBI didn’t send an agent to the DNC’s offices directly.

“We are not talking about an office that is in the middle of the woods of Montana,” Henry said. “We are talking about an office that is half a mile from the FBI office that is getting the notification.”

But the statement of the law enforcement official who spoke to the The Hill casts the DNC as recalcitrant and difficult to work with throughout the investigation.

At the time of the first FBI contact, the DNC was dealing with fallout from evidence that Sen. Bernie Sanders‘ (I-Vt.) campaign had improperly accessed Clinton’s campaign data, which may have colored its response.

Security experts say it’s common for lawyers for private organizations to turn down requests from law enforcement for access to servers. Comey has publicly bemoaned that fact, wishing aloud that companies would trust the FBI more.

Companies or private organizations might turn down the FBI over concerns about leaks to the media, or information that might come out in court. IT staff also worry about the FBI possibly damage a company’s systems.

A source with experience in both FBI cyber investigations and private sector forensics said over the past five years or so, it’s become common to let well-established companies handle forensics — even after the FBI comes in.

Forensic procedure involves documentation, allowing the FBI to focus on other aspects of the work. In issues with sensitive information, such as those involving email breaches of high-profile victims, the FBI occasionally prefers not to ever have data that could be mishandled.

Controversy continues to surround the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia was behind the cyberattack on the DNC and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s personal email account.

The Obama administration has characterized the hacks as an attempt to interfere in the U.S. election, and officials have said they are “100 percent certain” that Russia is the culprit.

But President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly rejected that assessment, characterizing it as an attempt by the Obama administration to undermine his presidency.

In a series of tweets this week, Trump accused intelligence officials of delaying a briefing until Friday in order to build a case against Russia — an allegation denied by other officials.

He also appeared to side with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who released emails believed to have been hacked by Russia, over U.S. intelligence agencies. Trump noted in a tweet that Assange has said the emails did not come from Russia, while repeating that anyone could have hacked the DNC.

“Somebody hacked the DNC but why did they not have ‘hacking defense’ like the RNC has and why have they not responded to the terrible things they did and said (like giving the questions to the debate to H). A total double standard! Media, as usual, gave them a pass.” Trump tweeted Wednesday.

The White House has been under fierce pressure to provide a public account of the intelligence community’s assessment.

It delivered its final, classified assessment to President Obama on Thursday, which intelligence officials say will be released in an unclassified form to the public early next week.

Security experts widely derided a joint Homeland Security-FBI report released last week that purported to give technical indicators linking Russia to the breaches, calling it overly broad and “a mess.”

CrowdStrike has gone much further in its published forensics analysis and its evidence is strong, outside experts say, because Russia is widely known to conduct the kind of “active measures” the administration has accused it of using in this case.

Joe Uchill contributed.

Democrats Need To Rebrand Their Economic Message

Democrats Need To Rebrand Their Economic Message

Chuck Schumer (D)

WASHINGTON — A brawl is about to break out among Democrats on Capitol Hill, and when it’s done, Democrats will say they’re going to be OK. They’re wrong.

They’ll return next year to face one of the biggest Republican majorities in the House of Representatives since the 1920s. They’ll have 48 out of the 100 Senate seats, but they have to defend 25 of those seats in two years. They lost the White House in a year when they were strongly favored to win.

And they still face a daunting challenge crafting, let alone communicating, an economic message. It’s widely agreed that the party was unable to find a vigorous, meaningful way of telling working-class voters it understood their concerns.

Those voters “see the party as wanting to advance everyone but them,” said Will Marshall, the president of the Progressive Policy Institute, a centrist group with Democratic leanings.

“We celebrate every time a barrier falls, but what Trump voters hear is ‘Nobody cares about me.’ You have to talk to these voters in a more emphatic way.”

Part of that strategy means getting away from a big-spending, liberal image. “A more centrist perspective is going to position them better,” said James Pfiffner, Virginia-based author of a dozen books on American government and politics.

That’s not what you’re going to hear starting Tuesday, as Congress returns to write a federal budget and House Democrats vote on whether to retain Nancy Pelosi as their leader or turn to Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio.

Republicans will have at least 238 seats in the House next year, while Democrats should have 194, a net gain of six seats. Three races are undecided, and all lean Republican.

Ryan’s challenge to Pelosi is the first time since she became the top House Democrat 14 years ago that she’s faced opposition.

Ryan reflects concern that the party’s dismal showing in the congressional and presidential elections is a loud, stark reminder it’s not bold or inclusive enough.

Ryan, said Rep. Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., “wants more voices in the conversation so that we can work together to craft our message and forge a winning strategy.”

That makes sense to many liberals, who cheered Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and his Democratic presidential campaign pledges to shake up the political system.

“The Democratic Party needs to project that we’ll really challenge power and the system, and not just have good policies within the system,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal activist group that’s not endorsing anyone.

Democrats have to remember, he said, “the main thing people are looking for is backbone in the Democratic Party.”

Pelosi, a wily political survivor, is seen as winning easily with accolades from unions and liberals.

Once that vote, scheduled for Wednesday, is done, Democrats will be talking big.

“Democrats don’t have a debate about seniors, diversity or women’s issues,” said Rep. Ann Kuster, D-N.H., who represents a swing district. While Democrats are unified over the role of government, “Republicans are about to go to war over deficits versus tax cuts,” she said.

“We’re not on life support. The party could be stronger, but it’s still strong,” said Dan Glickman, a former Wichita, Kan.-area congressman and secretary of agriculture in the Clinton administration.

Democrats offer several ways their congressional positions are solid:

—Popular vote. “We won the most votes,” said Bob Mulholland, a veteran California Democratic strategist. Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has 47.9 percent of the vote to President-elect Donald Trump’s 46.7 percent. His popular vote is the lowest for a White House winner since Bill Clinton 24 years ago.

—Demographics. Democrats running in House races won 67 percent of the Latino vote, 89 percent of the African-American vote and 56 percent of voters under 30, according to network exit polls. The Latino and young-voter percentages were up slightly from 2014, while the African-American number was about the same.

—History. Republicans won control of the House two years after Clinton won his first term. Democrats won control six years after George W. Bush won his first term, and Republicans regained control two years after Barack Obama’s 2008 victory. The GOP had a net gain of 64 House seats in 2010.

—Opposition. The party out of power doesn’t get the blame for governing if things go awry. Republicans have prospered from attacking President Obama’s economic and health care agendas. Now Democrats are in a position to be the critics and rail against the new president. They already are.

“He talked about being a populist. He talked about taking on special interests,” said Sanders. “Yet the initial indications that we are seeing is that not much of what he talked about … has much to do with where he is today.”

But the old problem remains: Democrats aren’t convincing enough working-class people that the party’s on their side.

“We needed to let the American people know what we believe,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democrats’ new leader in the Senate.

He cites the example of student debt as a missed opportunity. Sanders got overwhelming support from under-35 Democrats as he argued to make tuition free at public colleges and universities. Clinton and most congressional candidates argued for a modified version.

That confused people, perhaps contributing to the poorer Democratic showing among younger voters, he suggested.

The biggest danger for congressional Democrats is that Trump is successful and fashions a new Republican era, much as Ronald Reagan did through most of the 1980s.

“If his policy falters, they may regain seats in the midterms,” Robert Borosage, the president of the liberal Institute for America’s Future, said of the Democrats. “Yet they can win battles and still lose the war.”

The growing smear campaign against Keith Ellison

CREDIT: AP Photo/Molly Riley

THINK PROGRESS

Ellison is the first Muslim elected to Congress , and now he’s being painted as a ‘radical’ with ‘ties to the Nation of Islam.’

With the Democrats in disarray following President-Elect Donald Trump’s surprise victory, the horse-race for the next Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair is tense, messy, and potentially crowded. Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison is one of the favorites — and conservatives are already trying to tear him down with false equivalencies and smear tactics.

One common thread to the complaints: Ellison’s religion. Ellison is the first Muslim ever elected to Congress, as well as the first Black congressman from Minnesota.

This tactic is hardly new. When Ellison was first seeking national office, Minnesota Republicans used his faith to attack him, alleging ties to the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan. Blatant Islamophobia erupted when, because he is Muslim, he requested to be sworn in on the Quran instead of the Bible.

At the time, Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode (R), who endorsed Trump in 2015, wrote a letter to his constituents claiming that “if American citizens don’t wake up and adopt the Virgil Goode position on immigration there will likely be many more Muslims elected to office and demanding the use of the Quran.” (Goode endorsed Trump for President in Breitbart last year).

Ellison ultimately used a Quran owned by Thomas Jefferson. President Obama cited his swearing in an example of America’s religious tolerance in a 2009 speech in Cairo.

When the controversy first erupted in 2006, Ellison denied that he was ever a member of the Nation of Islam. He clarified that, while he had never joined the group, he had organized a Minnesota delegation to the 1995 Million Man March, at which the Nation’s leader Farrakhan spoke.

Ellison also apologized at the time for some positive articles he had written as a student in the late 1980s about Farrakhan, saying he hadn’t “adequately scrutinized the positions” of the movement’s leaders. He said then that he believed “they were and are anti-Semitic.”

Now, the same allegations are being floated on the right as a pre-emptive argument against his bid for DNC chair.

TruthRevolt, a conservative site founded by former Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro and David Horowitz, branded Ellison a “Muslim Brotherhood Shill” and a “radical.” On Fox News, pundit Pete Hegseth called Ellison a “radical congressman.”

Fox News also published an article which painstakingly lays out the allegations against Ellison, titled “Who is Keith Ellison? Left-wing congressman with past ties to Nation of Islam wants DNC job.”

And in Commentary Magazine, Ellison was described as an example of the left’s “embrace of radicalism,” part of the democrats “big bet on fanaticism,” and “a former disciple of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam.”

“Though he had since denounced Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism, Ellison has kept the torch of antipathy for Israel burning,” Noah Rothman writes.

In another article in Commentary, Editor John Podhoretz positions Ellison as the balance to Steve Bannon, Trump’s new Chief Strategist. Bannon was formerly the head of Breitbart and turned it into a “the platform the the alt-right.”

In the article, Podhoretz details some of the objections against Bannon, most notably his association with anti-Semitism.

“With Bannon in a senior role at the White House and the possible appointment of the radical congressman Keith Ellison as head of the Democratic National Committee, we could be seeing our political system devolving to its extremes,” he writes.

Ellison has been a Congressman from Minnesota since 2007, and is the co-chair of House’s progressive caucus. In his official bio, he says his priorities in Congress are “ building prosperity for working families, promoting peace, pursuing environmental sustainability, and advancing civil and human rights.”

In his official announcement on Monday, Ellison staked his case for DNC chair on advocacy for the working class:

“Democrats win when we harness the power of everyday people and fight for the issues they care about. It is not enough for Democrats to ask for voters’ support every two years. We must be with them through every lost paycheck, every tuition hike, and every time they are the victim of a hate crime. When voters know what Democrats stand for, we can improve the lives of all Americans.”

Ellison has been endorsed by outgoing Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (NV), incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Bernie Gives Us Hope, Promises To Protect Minorities Under Trump Administration

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 23: Democratic presidential candidate U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, (I-VT) speaks during a news conference December 23, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Sanders, who is seeking the nomination from the Democratic Party talked about police reform and preventing people of color from being victimized by police officers across the country. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Checks and balances | The system of checks and balances is used to keep the government from getting too powerful in one branch. For example, the Executive Branch can veto bills from the Legislative Branch, but the Legislative Branch can override the veto.

ADDICTING INFO

The unthinkable has happened, and we are now all forced to live under a Donald Trump administration for the next four years. This is especially terrifying to minorities, since the man that was just declared our next president is a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic bigot, and his vice president-elect, Indiana Governor Mike Pence, is just as bad — only much more quietly. Well, there is one person in the United States Senate who won’t stand for any of that bigotry when it comes to lawmaking: Bernie Sanders.

While Bernie has promised to work with a Trump administration where they can find common ground, he has already warned Trump that there will be no funny business on his watch when it comes to going after minorities. Bernie tweeted:

This isn’t the first time since Trump’s victory that Bernie has warned him against aggressively attacking the rights of minorities, either. On Wednesday, he said:

“To the degree that Mr. Trump is serious about pursuing policies that improve the lives of working families in this country, I and other progressives are prepared to work with him,” the Vermont senator said in a statement released Wednesday.”

“To the degree that he pursues racist, sexist, xenophobic and anti-environment policies, we will vigorously oppose him.”

This is reassuring, because while the situation is certainly dismal, there are Democrats and Independents in the Senate who still have enough seats to block the Republicans and a Trump Administration from appointing anti-LGBTQ, anti-women, anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant justices to the Supreme Court. While this might, optics wise, looks like Democrats offering retribution for the GOP’s refusal to give President Obama’s appointee, Merrick Garland, a hearing and a vote, indeed it is not. It is a way to keep Republicans from stripping the basic human rights from groups of Americans they hate.

Thank you, Bernie, for having our back. Let’s hope that you and Senate Democrats are successful in protecting us for the next four years as we live out this literal nightmare.

Shannon Barber

Could President Hillary heal a divided nation?

Getty

THE HILL

If she wins the White House, Hillary Clinton will face the daunting task of healing the national divisions exposed by a vicious campaign season.

Whether Clinton could knit the nation back together is an open question. Her supporters say she will do what she can, but that the GOP will have to play its part. Opponents argue that she is uniquely ill equipped for the task.

The former secretary of State has been a polarizing figure for decades. She is the most unpopular nominee of modern times, with the sole exception of her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump. To many conservatives, she represents everything that is wrong with liberal politics.

Yet Clinton has sought to make overt appeals to Republican voters. Invited to deliver a closing statement at the third and final presidential debate last week, she said that she was “reaching out to all Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — because we need everybody to help make our country what it should be.”

If Clinton wins, said former Republican Sen. Judd Gregg (N.H.), “for the first time in our history, we will have a president who more than half the people don’t trust and don’t like. That means that, rather than having the historic honeymoon period — being given the benefit of the doubt for a time — she won’t have that, unless she creates it.”

Gregg, who is also a columnist for The Hill, served in the Senate at the same time as Clinton. He acknowledged that during her time representing New York “she aggressively crossed the aisle,” going out of her way to seek areas where bipartisan progress was possible.

But, he added, “since she left the Senate her positions have hardened, and she has moved very far left” — in part to rebut the challenge from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during this year’s Democratic primary.

Many liberals, however, either don’t believe Clinton has moved to the left or doubt her sincerity in doing so. While all politicians are subject to pressures from both left and right, Clinton may have an unusually small amount of leeway.

Tad Devine, who served as a senior advisor to Sanders during the primary, said that he believed some progressives “will wait to see what her agenda is. If she pursues the agenda that was outlined in the Democratic platform, she will convert them into supporters. And, if she doesn’t, she will have to deal with a less-than-unified party, like President Carter in 1980.”

The parallel with Carter is ominous for Clinton. Democratic discontent with Carter fueled a primary challenge at the end of his first term from then-Sen. Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts. Although Kennedy’s bid had its share of missteps and ultimately fizzled, his candidacy weakened Carter before his eventual defeat by Ronald Reagan in the general election that fall.

Gregg suggested one possible way of threading the needle between competing political pressures.

A President-elect Clinton could convene a meeting with the leaders of the Senate and House before even taking office, he said, and outline issues on which bipartisan agreement ought to be possible: infrastructure and reform of the Veterans Administration being two examples. This would not require Clinton to forsake her campaign pledges, he said. Instead, she could simply run them along “a parallel track.”

But others are dubious that such an approach would work, especially with a Republican Party that may still be shell-shocked from the turbulent Trump candidacy.

While some Republican leaders in Washington, including Speaker Paul Ryan (Wis.), have made no secret of their differences with Trump, they have to be mindful of the power his supporters wield within the party.

A new poll from Bloomberg last week asked Republican voters whether Trump or Ryan better represented their own views. Fifty-one percent chose Trump, while only 33 percent favored Ryan.

It seems inconceivable that the Trumpian forces would accept GOP leaders cutting deals with Clinton on any issue of significance.

“I don’t think his people are going anywhere,” said Joe Trippi, a Democratic strategist who was the campaign manager of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean’s 2004 presidential bid.

“Whether he gets 38 percent, 40 percent, or whatever, that is a pretty rock-solid group of people. If he loses, they are not going to decide it’s time to stay home and not be involved with politics. How does their party deal with all that? How it comes back together is more important than anything Hillary tries.”

There are some things Clinton can do right now to ameliorate these problems. Even in the closing days of the campaign, a more positive tone in her advertising could give voters a better sense of what she stands for, experts say. Clinton’s most memorable ads so far have been attacks on Trump.

Clinton could also focus on running up the score on Nov. 8. A thumping win could give her greater leverage in any negotiations with Capitol Hill Republicans — especially if she brought a significant number of Democrats into Congress on her coattails.

Even so, however, she will almost inevitably face critics who say her victory was a national repudiation of Trump, rather than a positive endorsement of her.

“There’s where the non-Trump Republicans will be: ‘We made a mistake, the media was too light on him,’ ” Princeton University history professor Julian Zelizer predicted.

“It won’t be because she is a great candidate or there is some mandate for what she stands for. And many people — not just Republicans — will believe that argument, given how explosive Trump has been. It’s a plausible argument to many people.”

The political polarization of the United States had been underway for years before battle was joined between Clinton and Trump, fueled by forces like talk radio and the growth of social media.

The widening fissures have begun to affect the basic geography of American life.

In a 2014 Pew Research Center report, a full 50 percent of people with “consistently conservative” beliefs said it was important for them “to live in a place where most people share my political views.” Thirty-five percent of people with “consistently liberal” views said the same thing.

Another Pew report this summer found that the number of partisans who hold a “very unfavorable” opinion of the opposing party continues to rise. Fifty-eight percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Democrats now feel that way — figures roughly three times as high as they were in 1994.

Findings like that underline the sheer scale of the challenges Clinton will face, even if she storms to victory on Election Day.

“The country is really at war many ways, rhetorically at least,” Devine said.

Niall Stanage

Sanders tweet causes drug company to lose $400M in a day

Greg Nash

Good for Bernie!  Someone needs to call out those greedy pharmaceutical companies. (ks)

THE HILL

A tweet posted to Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (D-Vt.) Twitter account on Friday afternoon caused the stock of a pharmaceutical company to crash, costing the company millions of dollars.

Sanders told his 2.6 million followers that Ariad Pharmaceuticals Inc. had raised the price of its leukemia drug “to almost $199,000 a year.”

“Drug corporations’ greed is unbelievable,” the Vermont senator tweeted.

Shortly after the tweet, Ariad’s stock lost 15 percent of its value — or $387 million dollars — its biggest intraday decline in over a year, according to Bloomberg.

The drug mentioned in Sanders tweet, Iclusig, helps to treat a rare form of leukemia, and has indeed seen its price raised four times this year alone, to $16,000 for a 30-day pack.

Hillary Clinton had a similar effect on the drug company Mylan, which saw its shares plummet after she accused it of “price gouging” consumers who buy its EpiPen allergy shot.

Neetzan Zimmerman

Bernie Sanders Goes After Trump’s Tax Scam, Trump PISSED (TWEETS)

Bernie Sanders Goes After Trump’s Tax Scam, Trump PISSED (TWEETS)

 Drew Angerer and David McNew / Getty Images

ADDICTING INFO

Just because Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is no longer in the presidential race does not mean he’s stopped going after Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Since his campaign ended, Sanders has been a major supporter of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, and has been urging his massive following to get behind the former Secretary of State. But that’s not all he’s doing to save America from Trump – Sanders recently announced his plan to introduce legislation that will make it impossible for Trump continue to take advantage of tax loopholes.

Trump’s taxes have been a major topic throughout this entire campaign, as the business mogul continues to hold them hostage from the American people. However, the truth has been coming out little by little. Recent reports have stated that in 1995, Trump claimed a loss of almost one billion dollars on his tax returns, which may have enabled him to use legal tax loopholes to avoid paying federal income tax for 18 years! On Tuesday, Sanders said he would put an end to this:

“Special tax breaks and loopholes in a corrupt tax code enable billionaires and powerful corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes while sticking the burden on the middle class. It’s time to create a tax system which is fair and which asks the wealthy and powerful to start paying their fair share of taxes.

I will be introducing comprehensive legislation at the beginning of the next session of Congress to do just that.”

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Sanders believes his legislation will take care of the following loopholes that have been taken advantage of by people like Trump:

  • Exemption for real estate from passive loss rules. (Section 469)
  • Exemption for real estate from at-risk rules. (Section 465)
  • Like-kind exchanges. (Section 1031)
  • Debt and Depreciation.

For Trump, who bragged about how “smart” he was for not paying any taxes during the first presidential debate last week, this will be devastating.

By Vera

Warren to go on attack for Clinton

Getty Images

THE HILL

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is relishing her role as one of Hillary Clinton’s most effective attack dogs against Donald Trump.

Warren’s criticism of Trump in tweets and speeches has gotten under the Republican presidential nominee’s skin, provoking angry outbursts from the billionaire businessman.

She’s has shown a talent for irking Trump — mainly on Twitter — and moving him off message, which is something Trump’s GOP primary foes struggled to do.

Scott Ferson, a Boston-based Democratic strategist who voted for Clinton in the primary, said Warren’s attacks were effective because she knows where to aim and has the credibility to back it up.

“She knows how to hit Trump where he lives,” said Ferson. “I would have hated to be Elizabeth Warren’s younger brother.”

The liberal stalwart homed in on Trump’s business background and derogatory comments about women, labeling him a con artist who’s bilked his way into striking distance of the White House.

Soon after Trump announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate, Warren tweeted that the duo was a perfect match: “Two small, insecure, weak men who use hate & fear to divide our country & our people.”

Trump changed the subject and countered that Warren was a “fraud” who lied about having Native American ancestry. Warren shot back with comments about the lawsuits he faces over Trump University while defending her own credentials.

“It might blow your mind that a woman worked hard & earned a good job on her own,” she tweeted, “but it’s not the 1800s. It happens.”

Warren also joined a chorus of Democrats calling for Trump to publicly release his tax returns, implying that the real estate mogul is hiding a bombshell.

“Maybe he’s just a lousy businessman who doesn’t want you to find out he’s worth a whole lot less than he claims. We really can’t know for sure,” Warren said in a video for progressive nonprofit MoveOn.org.

And when Warren campaigned with Clinton for the first time, on June 27, she used the stage to knock Trump’s ethics.

“What kind of a man roots for people to lose their jobs, lose their homes, lose their life savings? I’ll tell you what kind of a man: a small, insecure money-grubber who fights for no one other than himself,” she said. “What kind of a man? A nasty man who will never become president of the United States.”

Democratic strategist Craig Varoga said Warren “expresses well thought-out plans in pithy sound bites.”

Trump has trouble with people attacking him, “especially a well-educated, forceful woman,” Varoga added.

Warren, a former law professor, has spent her career advocating for and proposing economic policies aimed at reining in Wall Street and big corporations and helping the middle class and the poor.

Her authenticity and credibility on economic issues could help energize people who backed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) during the Democratic primary and persuade undecided voters to vote for Clinton.

“She’s uniquely suited to talk about economic solutions to the problems that both Trump and Sanders have identified and talked about so far,” such as bad trade deals and the struggles of the middle class, Varoga said.

Warren targeted Trump even before endorsing Clinton, and she continued as the presumptive nominee deliberated about choosing a running mate.

But Warren is unlikely to stop attacking Trump and pushing her economic message just because she won’t be the vice presidential nominee, say allies on the left.

“She’s motivated by a policy agenda she believes in,” said Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “She’s not motivated by a desire to audition for a title.”

Ferson agreed, noting Warren’s past tension with Clinton gives her no reason to stick her neck out.

“She is really, really afraid of what Donald Trump will do if he becomes president,” said Ferson. “Elizabeth Warren has no reason from a personal standpoint to help Hillary Clinton.”

Warren energizes progressives and Democrats as a whole because “she is fearlessly willing to speak truth to power,” said Neil Sroka, communications director at Democracy for America. His group and MoveOn had partnered on the “Run Warren Run” campaign from December 2014 to June 2015 to encourage the senator to run for president.

Warren’s comments resonate with progressives and people across the political spectrum because she has a plain, easy-to-understand way of speaking and “her integrity is self-evident,” said MoveOn Communications Director Nick Berning.

She can also appeal to undecided voters who may be attracted to Trump’s economic message because she provides more substance, experts said.

Warren’s progressive credentials give Clinton a much-needed bridge to the left wing of her party.

Though Warren criticized Clinton’s economic stances long before she joined the Senate in 2013 and held out on an endorsement in 2016 until the former first lady had clinched the nomination, she’s insisted Clinton is the best person to fight for middle- and working-class families.

“For 25 years … the right wing has been throwing everything they possibly can at her. What she’s done is she gets back up, and she gets back in the fight,” Warren told MSNBC upon endorsing Clinton on June 9.

“You also have to be willing to throw a punch, and there are a lot of things people say about Hillary Clinton, but nobody says she doesn’t know how to throw a punch,” she said.

Warren is the “best person to raise money, excite the base and maximize turnout for the base,” said Ferson. “There’s no one who provides that excitement in the way that Elizabeth Warren does.”

By Naomi Jagoda and Sylvan Lane

Sanders: ‘We Have Got To Do Everything We Can’ To Elect Clinton

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(AP Photo / Bill Clark)

TPM LIVEWIRE

“We have got to do everything that we can to defeat Donald Trump and elect Hillary Clinton,”Sanders said Thursday to a Bloomberg reporter for a PBS program. “I don’t honestly know how we would survive four years of a Donald Trump [presidency].”

Sanders has before said he would fight for the nomination up to the Democratic National Convention later this month. But when asked Wednesday night on MSNBC if he was “not denying” the report that there were talks of a potential endorsement, Sanders replied, “that’s correct.”

Clinton was declared the party’s presumptive nominee at the beginning of June.