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Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld said the country is in grave peril, and he can no longer sit on the sidelines.

“Let the record reflect that I’m now in second place in the Republican primary,” he told the “Fox News Rundown” podcast Wednesday, discussing his decision to challenge Trump for the party nod in the 2020 race.

On Monday, he became the first Republican to challenge Trump in the party primaries. That makes Trump the first incumbent president since George H.W. Bush in 1992 to face a notable primary challenge.

TRUMP ALREADY AMASSING HUGE WAR CHEST FOR 2020 — CHALLENGERS BEWARE

Fiscally conservative but socially liberal, Weld is known for an unconventional, at times quirky, political style and a long history of friction with the party he now aspires to represent.

Weld, 73, said in announcing his candidacy on Monday that “it is time to return to the principles of Lincoln — equality, dignity and opportunity for all.”

“There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight.”

Weld has said that Trump’s “priorities are skewed toward promotion of himself rather than … the good of the country.”

About the daunting challenges ahead, Weld said: “It’s always uphill against an incumbent. And you know, I’m I think a poll I saw within the last few days had me at 8 percent nationally, which is where both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump were at this stage four years ago.”

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While Trump’s overall approval ratings have been poor for much of his presidency, he remains popular with Republican voters. The Republican National Committee in January issued a nonbinding resolution to declare the party’s undivided support for Trump.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics

Former Deputy Chief of Staff for George W. Bush Karl Rove said Wednesday House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s claim that “everything is at stake” in the 2020 election  was “over the top.”

Pelosi, D-Calif., told CNN Tuesday, “Everything is at stake in this election. The Constitution of the United States, with the president who is trying to usurp the power of the legislative branch of government, the environment in which we live.”

“A little bit over the top. Almost semi-hysterical,” Rove, who served as Deputy Chief of Staff for George W. Bush from 2005 until 2007, said on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday in response to Pelosi’s remarks the day before. “You know, The Constitution is at stake, the role of Congress is at stake, our very environment is at stake and it (looks) a little bit sort of unhinged.”

PELOSI SAYS DEMS UNTAINTED BY ANTI-SEMITISM SLAMS AMID OMAR-TRUMP FUED

He added, “On the other hand, it plays into the environment (in) which we find ourselves. Democrats do have a little bit of leeway in saying things are really, really bad even if they sound a little over the top.”

Rove then cited statistics saying, “If you take a look at the Real Clear Politics average of all recent polls, 37.7 percent think the country is going in the right direction and 56.1 (percent) think the country is seriously off on the wrong track.”

He added, “That’s sort of the same dynamic that people had in 2016 when they wanted change and the Democrats are trying to position themselves as the party of change for the 2020 presidential election.”

On “America’s Newsroom,” Rove, a Fox News contributor, also weighed in on Thursday’s release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s much-anticipated Russia report.

MUELLER PROBE HAS COST TAXPAYERS MORE THAN $25 MILLION, SPENDING REPORT REVEALS

Last month, Mueller submitted his almost 400-page report to the Justice Department for review by the attorney general and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In a letter to Congress, Attorney General Bill Barr relayed some of the primary findings of the report, stating the special counsel found no evidence of collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians during the 2016 presidential election.

Barr said he identified four areas of the report that he believed should be redacted, including grand jury material and information the intelligence community believes would reveal intelligence sources and methods.

“We don’t know how much is going to be redacted but let’s be clear, no matter how little the redaction is, short of no redactions at all, this is going to be the opening of the next chapter in which the Democrats on the Hill are going to say ‘you know what? We’re not going to agree that there’s no collusion and we’re certainly not going to agree there is no obstruction unless you totally give us an unredacted version of the Mueller report,” Rove said.

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“So this is merely the beginning of act two. We had act one. It lasted two years. Donald Trump was guilty of collusion with the Russians. That got blown up. Now we’re going to be turning to the obstruction issue and unless and until they (Democrats) have what they want, which is (a) totally unredacted version, you can count on the Democrats continuing to raise questions about it.”

He added, “I think the American people are getting tired of all of this and this isn’t a constructive way for the Democrats to move.”

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Former Trump adviser Jeff Ballabon praised the president for standing up to anti-Semitism after more than 70 Jewish Community leaders were invited to the White House Tuesday night.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” Wednesday, the morning after he attended the meeting, Ballabon praised Trump’s administration for fighting back against the scourge and for its pro-Israel stance.

“It’s the best of times and the worst of times right now if you are Jewish in America and around the world,” Ballabon said.

Discussing Tuesday’s meeting, he said: “It’s the best of times thanks to Donald Trump and it was a big celebration about how extraordinarily, extraordinarily pro-Israel and pro-Jewish this president has been and how he is really fighting – he’s taken more leadership in the war on anti-Semitism around the world than any leader in history.”

PELOSI SAYS DEMS UNTAINTED BY ANTI-SEMITISM SLAMS AMID OMAR-TRUMP FUED

Since taking office, President Trump withdrew the United States from the Iran deal, moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

The conservative commentator is also the founder of the “Jexodus” movement, which he said urges “the major political parties… to distance themselves from rising anti-Semitism.”

On Tuesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., defended her party amid allegations of anti-Semitism leveled against freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., saying there was “no taint” of anti-Jewish sentiment among her party.

DEMS DEFEND OMAR AFTER TRUMP RETWEETS VIDEO AGAINST HER

In an interview with CNN, Pelosi said she does not believe that Rep. Omar is anti-Semitic, and then slammed President Trump for accusing the Minnesota lawmaker of such prejudice.

“I don’t think anybody is accusing Nancy Pelosi of being anti-Semitic but the fact is, that that party is not doing a good job of condemning anti-Semitism for what it is,” Ballabon charged.

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He then offered what he believes is a possible solution saying, “I think people need to be aware of this and people need to stop excusing, including the Democrats, need to stop excusing anti-Semitism. This itself is a major problem that needs to be focused on directly. Thank god the president is.”

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Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld on Monday formally declared his candidacy for White House, setting him off on an extreme uphill climb to defeat incumbent President Donald Trump for the Republican nomination.

“It is time for patriotic men and women across our great nation to stand and plant a flag. It is time to return to the principles of Lincoln – equality, dignity, and opportunity for all. There is no greater cause on earth than to preserve what truly makes America great. I am ready to lead that fight,” said Weld in a statement as he launched his bid to try and topple Trump, who remains very popular with Republicans.

Weld, a very vocal Trump critic, also released a three-minute-long video highlighting his achievements during his two terms as governor of Massachusetts in the 1990s.

TRUMP’S UNPRECEDENTED CAMPAIGN CASH HAUL

The video also showcased clips of some of Trump’s most controversial moments, from the infamous “Access Hollywood” video of Trump using lewd language to boast of his sexual groping and kissing of women without their consent, to the president’s comments in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., where he said “there were very fine people on both sides” of the clashes between supporters and protesters of the city’s Confederate monuments.

Weld, who recently returned to the Republican Party after serving as the 2016 Libertarian Party nominee, launched a presidential exploratory committee in February.

LARA TRUMP ASKS WHY SOMEONE WOULD BE ‘DUMB ENOUGH’ TO PRIMARY CHALLENGE THE PRESIDENT

At that announcement, as he headlined the “Politics and Eggs” speaking series in New Hampshire, he called Trump “compulsive” and “irrational” and argued that “we have a president whose priorities are skewed toward promoting of himself rather than toward the good of the country.”

He also lamented the state of the GOP, arguing “the president has captured the Republican Party in Washington. Sad. But even sadder is that many Republicans exhibit all the symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome, identifying with their captor.”

After his announcement, Weld visited the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state numerous times. He’s set to return Tuesday for a two-day swing in through New Hampshire.

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another vocal Trump critic, has been mulling a GOP primary challenge against Trump. So has Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who heads to New Hampshire next week to headline “Politics and Eggs,” which is a must-stop for White House hopefuls.

The president’s re-election campaign adviser and daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, said the president’s 2020 team hasn’t been worried at all about a Republican primary challenge.

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“I don’t know why someone would be dumb enough to challenge Donald Trump,” she told Fox News recently when asked about Weld.

“I don’t know why anybody would waste their time and money on the Republican end trying to challenge the president. We’re not worried about that at all,” added Trump, who was interviewed before headlining the New Hampshire GOP’s annual fundraising gala.

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All candidates running for president in 2020 have until Monday evening to file their full first-quarter fundraising reports to the Federal Election Commission. The following are the first-quarter fundraising totals available for the 2020 presidential candidates that have been reported by either the FEC or the candidiates’ campaigns.

President Donald Trump – $30 million

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. –  $18.2 million

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif. – $12 million

Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas – $9.4 million

Pete Buttigieg, Democratic Mayor of South Bend, Ind. – $6,405,929.62

Former Rep. John Delaney, D-Md. –

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. – $6 million

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn. – $5.2 million

Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J. – $5 million

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D- NY – $3 million

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee – $2.25 million

Businessman Andrew Yang – $1.7 million

Former Housing and Urban Development Sec. Julian Castro – $1.1 million

Source: Fox News Politics

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Yoo said Friday he believes Attorney General William Barr will get to the bottom of why warrants were carried out against Donald Trump’s campaign and determine whether it was done in good faith or because of a partisan bias.

Barr told congressional lawmakers this week that he is investigating both the “genesis” and the “conduct of intelligence activities” directed at Trump’s 2016 campaign. He also raised eyebrows when he said he believed unauthorized “spying” did occur though he seemed to back off of the assertion later.

“I don’t get the whole controversy over the word ‘spying’,” Yoo, now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, told Fox News. “It is spying. If the government checked your emails or my emails without telling us it was listening to our phone calls we’d think of that as spying. The question is whether is was justified.”

SEN. KENNEDY TO DEMS: ‘LEAVE BILL BAR ALONE. LET HIM DO HIS JOB’

Yoo also weighed in on the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and the charges brought against him by the United States.

“I can’t think of a single individual who in the last 10, 15 years has done greater harm to American national security by himself,” Yoo said. “He led to, I think, the capture and perhaps death to American agents abroad, to attacks on American soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

ROD ROSENSTEIN SAYS IT’S ‘COMPLETELY BIZARRE’ TO SAY WILLIAM BARR IS ‘TRYING TO MISLEAD PEOPLE’ ON MUELLER REPORT

Yoo added that he believes the Assange saga is a “perfect case for extradition.”

Assange was arrested in London on Thursday, ending a 7-year stay in Ecuador’s embassy. Following his arrest, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Assange had been charged with conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for aiding Chelsea Manning, in the cracking of a password to a classified U.S. government computer in 2010.

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Assange had been staying up at the embassy in London since 2012, after Ecuador granted him asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden for sexual misconduct allegations.

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Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, told Fox News on Tuesday that if Democrats continue to push an anti-capitalism message they will likely lose the 2020 election.

“I think behind this ‘let’s tax the rich’ theme is an assumption that giving more money to government and politicians works,” Fiorina told America’s Newsroom. “It demonstrably doesn’t work. The government has been getting more money every year for 50 years. It’s one of the reasons people are so frustrated with politics. The problems seem to fester whether it’s immigration or healthcare or deficits.”

Fiorina says she wrote her new book “Find Your Way: Unleash Your Power and Highest Potential,” to help people who feel “helpless and powerless and frustrated by the fact that problems just fester all around them.”

TALK OF SOCIALISM ‘OFFENDS ME’, SAYS HOUSE DEMOCRAT WHO CALLS HERSELF A ‘PROUD CAPITALIST’

Fiorina added that she agrees with former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who says America has “a small crisis of capitalism” and that businesses and business leaders must do more for their employees and their communities.

“I also believe that as a conservative, that power concentrated is power abused and we have too much power concentrated in some companies,” she said. “I would also say that when government gets in and tries to fix it, that’s not always capitalism. Technology is the least regulated industry in the world… the most competitive industry in the world and it delivers incredible innovation year after year at lower and lower prices.”

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ PROMOTES ‘ANTI-CAPITALIST’ STREAMING SERVICE

Fiorina had a controversial record as CEO. During her tenure at HP between 1999 and 2005, the company struggled under her management and eventually she was fired by the board.

Fiorina, who lost her bid for the GOP nomination in an extremely crowded field, also weighed in on the crowded Democratic field vying for the presidency.

“We have become way too obsessed with politics and what goes on in Washington,” she said. “We’ve become observers…bystanders…we sort of look at all this political toxicity and the political campaign back and forth and think it’s going to fix things for us.”

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Fiorina also believes Attorney General William Barr, who testified before the House Appropriations Committee Tuesday, should make the full Mueller report public.

“Barr hasn’t been transparent enough. …In any circumstance, when people don’t know what’s going on, they assume the worst. Never the best,” she said.

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Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in an interview published Sunday she’s confident the Democrats will retain control of the House of Representatives in the 2020 elections.

What’s more, Pelosi said she’ll be able to secure the Democratic majority for another term by this coming November – a full year before voters head to the polls.

“I’m going to have our races won by this November,” Pelosi told The Washington Post. The speaker also laid out a stark warning to Republicans – calling incumbents in swing districts “vulnerable” and telling GOP challengers to “think twice” about running.

WASHINGTON POST OPINION WRITER: ‘NANCY PELOSI JUST BLEW IT ON IMPEACHMENT’

“It’s going to cost you millions of dollars, to win or lose. And if you win — say you win — you’re in the minority,” Pelosi said.

Pelosi’s comments came just months after the Democrats took control of the House, ending eight years of GOP control. The Democrats saw a net gain of 40 seats in the House.

While House Democrats have stymied many of President Trump’s plans, the party has had mixed results with its agenda since taking control due to the White House and Senate still sitting in Republican hands.

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Trump last week also vowed that the Republican Party would regain control of the House in the 2020 election.

“We’re going to take the House back. We are,” the president said during a speech at the National Republican Congressional Committee’s annual spring dinner. “I feel totally confident.”

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D.N.Y., unleashed on her Republican opponents during a marathon Instagram Live session on Wednesday night.

The freshman Democrat compared her GOP critics to “that girl in ‘The Exorcist’ that’s, like, vomiting pea soup,” and said she “pities” the role they are playing in not taking action on climate change — all while putting together some IKEA furniture in her new D.C. apartment.

“The reason Republicans hate me so much is because I confront them directly on their moral — their lack of moral grounding on so many issues and, not just that, but the reason they’re so upset and they act like that girl in ‘The Exorcist’ that’s like vomiting pea soup, that’s like them and negativity,” Ocasio-Cortez said in one clip.

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ HIT WITH FEC COMPLAINT FOR ALLEGED ‘SUBSIDY SCHEME’

“The reason that they do that is because they need to fiercely protect a paradigm and way of thinking that says short-term gains are more important, no matter how marginal than any long-term loss and any long-term cost.”

The New Yorker then replied in dire fashion to a viewer who asked how many years the planet has left.

“We have 12 years left to cut emissions by at least 50 percent, if not more, and for everyone who wants to make a joke about that, you may laugh but your grandkids will not,” she said, before continuing to compare those who oppose her calls for drastic action on climate change to those who were on the wrong side of history during the civil rights movement.

“Look back and you open history books… you see those folks who are protesting against the ability for African Americans and black Americans to have the right to vote,” she said.

CHARLES PAYNE: DEMOCRATS ARE ‘AFRAID’ OF THEIR ‘DE FACTO LEADER’ ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ

“So just know, that in the present day, there are a lot of people who hide the fact that their families and that their grandparents fought against principles of equal rights in the United States. Not 100 years ago, not 80 years ago, but in this generation’s lifetime.

“So, while a lot of people can hide that their grandparents did that in the civil rights movement, the Internet documents everything and your grandchildren will not be able to hide the fact you fought against acknowledging and taking bold action on climate change.

“People who are trying to mock and delay this moment, I mean, I just feel bad for you. I just pity you for your role in history right now.”

At another point in the video, Ocasio-Cortez appeared to accuse border agents of “trying to cage children at the border and inject them with drugs.”

“That’s not a mistake, that’s a deliberate policy to attack people based on their national origin,” she said.

AOC’s Instagram session came after Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz unveiled the “Green Real Deal” on Wednesday as a free-market counterproposal to the Green New Deal being pushed by Democrats to combat climate change.

“The question for America is pretty simple: either we want a bunch of bureaucrats in Washington telling us what we can’t do, or we empower American innovators to unlock things that we can do,” the Florida congressman said at a press conference in front of the Capitol building.

His plan, which he is putting forward in a House resolution, involves a number of planks including revisiting global trade and intellectual property policies to create “an international marketplace fair to American innovators.”

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Gaetz’s plan also aims to modernize the electric grid, which he says currently “functions as a wet blanket over American innovation.” Gaetz claims that upgrading the grid will create an “entire class of energy entrepreneurs across the country.” He also wants to “unlock federal lands” from current regulations, saying they can be “an open canvas” for renewable energy research, testing and evaluation.

Source: Fox News Politics

Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., backed President Trump’s promise that a healthcare vote will be held after the 2020 election if Republicans can win back the House to “drive costs down” on healthcare.

“The president’s doing what the president does and that is he wants to solve big problems,” Thune told “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday.

“He wants to take on healthcare and so do we. The challenge he has right now is he’s running into the political obstacle of a Democrat-controlled House whose idea for healthcare reform is a $36 trillion one-size fits all government-run plan that would take health insurance coverage away from 180 million Americans.”

KURTZ: WHY TRUMP ABANDONED HIS PLAN TO REPLACE OBAMACARE

Trump’s tweet that “the Republican Party will be known as the Party of Great Healthcare,” announcing a vote will be taken after 2020 election signaled that the president was punting the issue after it seemed it was viable politically.

As Democrats push for Medicare for all, Trump signaled Republicans will campaign on an alternative to Obamacare that will be “far less expensive and much more usable,” adding that the GOP will always support pre-existing conditions.

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The Senate Republican Whip said, in the meantime, Republicans have a bill that will reduce prescription drug prices, the “Transparent Drug Pricing Act,” introduced by Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla. last Friday.

FLORIDA SEN. RICK SCOTT SAYS DEMS ARE OUT TO RUIN HEALTH CARE, TOUTS BILL FOCUSED ON DRUG COSTS

It’s an issue that ultimately affects all Americans, Thune said, driving up health care costs.

“But to get that solution that the president’s looking for, which will offer Americans more choices, more competition, drive costs down,” Thune added, “I think it’s going to take a different composition in the House of Representatives and a bunch of people who want a $36 trillion government-run program.”

Source: Fox News Politics


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