Speaking at the She The People Presidential Forum in Houston, the presidential hopeful was asked if he would pledge to having a woman running mate – something he has shied away from commiting to in the past.
“I will have a woman running mate,” Booker said. “To me it’s really clear that we do that.”
Booker previously suggested that “if I have it my way,” he would pick a woman to run alongside him.
“I am very confident that this election, we will make history, because no matter what, I’m looking you in the eye and saying this, there will be a woman on the ticket. I don’t know if it’s in the vice president’s position or the president’s position,” Booker said last month at a campaign event in New Hampshire.
Booker’s announcement could give him a more competitive edge in the crowded field of Democratic contenders, which includes a number of female candidates.
Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., also recently announced that he would be choosing a female running mate, saying he thinks the next president should run with someone who can speak to a different “experience” then he can as a “white man.”’
“I’ve pledged that I would ask a woman to serve as Vice President,” he said Tuesday. “ I would put forward a diverse candidate and I would put forward policies that would make sure that inherent bias that exists or discrimination that exists in communities would be eliminated.”
Among the female Democratic presidential candidates are Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Kamala Harris of California, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.
Booker’s appearance Wednesday marked the first-ever presidential candidate forum focused on women of color. The other candidates to appear included Harris, Warren, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke and Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Fox News’ Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
Dr. Marc Siegel, a medical school professor at New York University, Wednesday praised the progress made against the opioid epidemic since President Donald Trump declared the issue a national public health emergency in 2017.
“Prescribing of opioids … is down 25 percent over a year period,” Siegel said during an appearance on “Outnumbered Overtime.” He also is a Fox News contributor. “That’s huge because that’s the engine in a way that’s driving this.”
He also touted the 3.5 percent decrease in deaths due to opioids. “That’s huge,” Siegel told host Melissa Francis, “because it’s the number one cause of accidental death in the United States.”
Siegel’s comments came just before the president and First Lady Melania Trump spoke at a drug abuse summit in Atlanta, Georgia on Wednesday.
Siegel argued that beyond prescription rates, a culture of loneliness and separation fueled the opioid epidemic. “It’s a culture of loneliness, of separation, of a community health problem … unemployment.”
The Health and Human Services Department also said it excluded 2,000 indiviudals from federal health programs due to their involvement with opioid diversion and abuse.
At the event on Wednesday, the president touted his administration’s progress on the issue. “My administration is deploying every resource at our disposal to empower you, to support you and to fight right by your side,” he also said.
“We will not solve this epidemic overnight but we will stop. … We will never stop until our job is done.”
Source: Fox News National
Isaiah Joel Peoples, of Sunnyvale, Calif., was identified as the suspect by the Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety (DPS) on Twitter.
Peoples was allegedly behind the wheel of a black 2010 Toyota Corolla that rammed into the group and he is suspected of possibly doing so “intentionally,” officials said following the incident.
It occurred around 6:40 p.m. on Tuesday as the driver was heading west on El Camino Real towards the city of Mountain View, DPS said. After striking the group, the car continued for a few more yards before slamming into a tree near a shopping center.
Following this, Peoples was taken into custody.
“We don’t know the motive behind this,” Sunnyvale Department of Public Safety Capt. Jim Choi told Fox 2. “The driver might have intentionally ran into the group of people at the sidewalk. There was no attempt to break or steer away.”
The individuals struck by the vehicle were taken to the hospital, though their conditions were not made available.
Fox News’ Travis Fedschun and Brie Stimson contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News National
Former interim Democratic National Committee chairwoman Donna Brazile, a Fox News contributor, said she thinks former Vice President Joe Biden “is a proven leader,” and has what it takes to “go the distance” in the 2020 presidential race.
Brazile made her comments on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday, the day before Biden is expected to declare his candidacy for president.
The announcement would end months of speculation as the 76-year-old Biden mulled making what would be a third White House bid. Despite the recent #MeToo controversy complicating his would-be campaign, the former vice president has remained at the top of most public opinion polls.
Biden’s potential political campaign hit a bump recently after several women complained publicly about the prospective 2020 Democratic candidate, accusing him of touching them inappropriately at events.
“With 20 candidates I’m not sure that it’s time to pick number one. But he is number one in the polls. That’s because, of course, he was vice president for eight years. He’s been a public servant. He is a proven leader,” said Brazile.
She added, “The race to the White House is about delegates and the question is, will he have enough, what I like to say, enough miles to go the distance? I do believe he will go the distance and that’s because voters know him, they appreciate his leadership. But what’s his vision? That’s what this generation of Democrats will be asking him. Where do you want to take us?”
Brazile also weighed in on congressional Democrats pushing to keep investigating President Trump despite Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapping up his Russia investigation with no new indictments.
When asked if it is a good strategy for Democrats to continue to push, Brazile answered, “Absolutely,” adding, “No one is above the law. In fact, Democrats will be running on protecting our democracy.”
She added, “Democrats can walk and chew gum at the same time. You have Democrats out there talking about everything from jobs and the economy and infrastructure, they’re running for president, they’re running to replace Donald Trump in 2020. But you have Capitol Hill Democrats. That’s part of their responsibility in our system of government. So yes, we could do both.”
“No one is above the law. I think the president should comply with the request from the United States House of Representatives,” said Brazile.
She added, “This is important for the health of our democracy and the future of the United States of America. This is not partisan.”
Source: Fox News Politics
Michael Cohen, former attorney for President Donald Trump, apparently reneged on his admissions for some of his alleged crimes, indicating that he only pleaded guilty to avoid dragging his wife through a prolonged legal battle.
The revelations came from a recorded March 25 phone call he had with actor and Cohen’s close friend Tom Arnold, the audio of which The Wall Street Journal obtained and published Wednesday. Although Cohen reportedly stood by his plea on campaign finance violations, which implicated the president over his alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels, he appeared to reverse admissions related to tax evasion and a charge related to a home equity line of credit (HELOC).
“There is no tax evasion,” Cohen said. “And the HELOC? I have an 18 percent loan-to-value on my home. How could there be a HELOC issue?” Cohen portrayed himself as a victim — noting how he lost his insurance, business, and law license — and lamented the lack of support he received after coming forward to law enforcement.
“I shouldn’t be alone anymore. I mean, after over a hundred hours of testimony, right, including seven-and-a-half hours of being beaten up on national television,” he said.
He also described his dedication to his wife, Laura Shusterman, and his intent to help her avoid legal trouble. “I love this woman. I am not going to let her get dragged into the mud of this crap,” he said before noting he wasn’t expecting the three-year sentence he received.
Cohen’s name made its way back into the news in April when Special Counsel Robert Mueller released his report on the Russia investigation. Mueller’s report made 14 criminal referrals, which included Cohen, who admitted to paying Daniels hush money just before the 2016 presidential election.
While Trump has denied wrongdoing related to that payment and another to Karen McDougal, Cohen stood by his guilty plea. “They had me on campaign finance,” he said in the call with Arnold.
During his call, Cohen appeared to describe the conflict he faced in turning on the president, whom he had served for a decade. “I needed to get the truth out there, and (it’s) very hard when you spend 10 years taking care of somebody and their family,” Cohen told Arnold.
“And look, I always knew, you know, who he was and what he was and so on, but it didn’t really matter because it’s — he’s a small microcosm of New York real estate. It’s very different when you start looking to seeing what’s happening now in the country,” he said.
Former mayor Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s new attorney, labeled Cohen’s walkback “poetic justice.”
“Since Cohen began composing for the Angry Democrats he has demonstrably lied under oath in his guilty plea and his testimony to Elijah ‘I’ll throw the book at you’ Cummings,” Giuliani said in another tweet. “Report ignores all of this and provides no facts to evaluate Cohen’s credibility. One of many deceptions,” he said in an apparent dig at the Journal.
Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, told Fox News: “Nothing said by Mr. Cohen to Tom Arnold contradicts Mr. Cohen’s previous defense attorney, Guy Petrillo, in his sentencing memorandum to the presiding federal U.S. District Court Judge William H. Pauley III back in December. I would also add the important words used by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and others, in describing Michael Cohen’s cooperation and testimony as ‘credible’ addressing the ‘core’ issues involved in his investigation.”
The White House did not respond for a request for comment.
Fox News’ Tamara Gitt contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
President Trump on Wednesday touted his administration’s success in combating the opioid epidemic in the United States, while acknowledging that there is still more work to do.
Speaking at the Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit in Atlanta, the president’s remarks noted the steps his administration has taken to battle the epidemic, but also veered into his frequent critique of drugs coming over the U.S.’s southern border into the country.
“We will not solve this epidemic overnight,” Trump said to an audience of elected leaders and health and law enforcement officials gathered in the Georgia capital. “But we will never stop until the job is done.”
Trump added: “We will succeed and we’re making tremendous progress.”
The president has declared opioids a national health emergency, while First Lady Melania Trump, who also spoke at the conference, focuses on the issue in her national “Be Best” child welfare campaign.
“I’m proud of this administration’s historic progress,” the first lady said before introducing her husband.
Opioid abuse claimed a record nearly 48,000 American lives in 2017. An estimated 2 million people are addicted to the drugs, which include both legal prescription pain medications and illegal drugs like heroin.
There have been signs of progress.The number of prescriptions for opioid painkillers filled in the U.S. fell substantially in 2017. Still, it’s unclear whether the opioid problem is on the decline.
Kellyanne Conway, one of Trump’s top advisers, said at a White House gaggle Wednesday that Twitter and Google have helped the administration combat the opioid and drug crisis. So far, the administration has helped collect 3.7 million pounds of unused and expired medications — enough to fill seven Air Force One planes, she said.
The next “National Prescription Drug Take Back Day” is Saturday.
Conway said she met Tuesday with drug enforcement and officials from Google, which is helping the administration by displaying links to about 5,500 locations where people can drop off unused and expired pills.
Trump also hit Mexico for allowing heroin and other opioids to come into the country, and promised that his much-touted border wall will help stem the flow of drugs into the U.S.
“Heroin alone kills 300 Americans, 90 percent of which enter the Southern Border,” Trump said.
While it’s true that the vast majority of heroin in the U.S. comes from Mexico, virtually all of it makes its way into the country through legal ports of entry and not by traffickers sneaking it across the border unnoticed.
“A small percentage of all heroin seized by CBP along the land border was between Ports of Entry (POEs),” the Drug Enforcement Administration said in a 2018 report.
There is also contention over Trump’s claims of progress in combating the opioid epidemic.
Keith Humphreys, a drug policy adviser in the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations who now is at Stanford University, said some states are making progress in combating opioids abuse, but not because of Trump’s actions. Humphreys cited Rhode Island and Vermont as examples. He also said some states have regressed.
Humphreys said the president’s declaration of opioids addiction as a public health emergency in 2017 failed to translate into significant concrete action. Members of Congress, he said, “figured out they were going to have to do it themselves and they did.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Source: Fox News Politics
The body of missing Illinois five-year-old Andrew “AJ” Freund has been found buried in a shallow grave near his home and both his parents are being charged with his murder, police said Wednesday.
The boy, who lived in Crystal Lake, a suburb of Chicago, was found dead in a remote area of Woodstock, Illinois, a few miles from his house. AJ’s parents reported him missing last Thursday, but investigators reportedly soon concluded that there was no evidence that he had been abducted or wandered off.
AJ’s parents said the last time they saw him was when they put him to bed on Wednesday evening.
Jim Black, the Chief of the Crystal Lake Police Department, said in a press conference Wednesday afternoon that both AJ’s parents, JoAnn Cunningham and Andrew Freund Sr., have been charged in connection with the boy’s death. Both are facing five counts of first-degree murder, and additional charges of aggravated battery, domestic battery, and failure to report a child’s death.
His cause of death was not immediately released.
Black said police met with both of AJ’s parents after information was uncovered through forensic investigation of cell phone communications, and that both parents then provided information that led them to AJ’s body. They later found the boy wrapped in a plastic sheet and buried in a shallow grave.
Black spoke directly to AJ’s family, saying that he hoped they would know that the “killers had been brought to justice.”
To AJ, he said: “we know you are at peace, playing in Heaven’s playground, and are happy you no longer have to suffer.”
Local news outlets observed evidence being removed from the boy’s house on Wednesday, including a dirty shovel, two brown bags, a plastic storage bin, and a small mattress, presumed to be AJ’s. Animal Control officials were also seen at the home removing the family dog.
Sources also told ABC 7 that AJ’s mother was spotted entering the Crystal Lake Police Department around 6 a.m. on Wednesday, and spent several hours there. Both her lawyer and the McHenry County state’s attorney later left the police station.
After news of the boy’s disappearance spread nationwide, more evidence was revealed about his home life, including that the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services had been active in AJ’s life since his birth. He reportedly resided with another person from 2015 to 2018.
AJ’s mother and father also have a three-year-old son who was living at their Crystal Lake home until AJ’s disappearance. He has since been placed with another family.
In March and December of 2018, the department was called to AJ’s home after reports of abuse and neglect, which were ultimately decided to be unfounded, a department spokesperson said last week. In December, however, an officer reported that the house was “cluttered, dirty and in disrepair.” Another officer wrote that in the room where AJ and his brother slept, “the window was open and the smell of feces was overwhelming.”
An officer also reportedly commented on a large bruise on one of the children’s hips, for which Cunningham allegedly blamed the family dog.
Cunningham previously denied any involvement with AJ’s death, and her lawyer said that she “doesn’t know what happened to AJ, and had nothing to do with the disappearance of AJ,” adding that she was “worried sick” and “devastated.”
Source: Fox News National
The Michigan Court of Appeals, in a 2-to-1 decision, reversed the conviction of 35-year-old Keante Kiya, over prosecutorial misconduct, reported Michigan Live, citing court records.
The appellate court found that prosecutors repeatedly used improper labels, such as “dealer of death” and “selling that poison,” during their opening and closing arguments. This language affected the jury’s decision to convict Kiya, the outlet reported, referring to the court’s written decision.
“Given the pervasive nature of the comments, we conclude that (the comments) affected the outcome of the trial,” the court wrote.
Kiya was originally convicted on Aug. 30, 2017, of one felony count of delivery of less than 50 grams of a controlled substance after selling heroin to an undercover cop in 2015, according to court records obtained by Michigan Live. He was sentenced to eight to 40 years in prison.
The Jackson County Prosecutors Office now has to weigh the option of either retrying the case or appealing to the Michigan Supreme Court.
Source: Fox News National
Dan Caldwell, the executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, said on “America’s Newsroom” Wednesday that while many Americans get quality health care from the Department of Veterans Affairs system, those who served in the military and wish to join private networks should have that choice.
He said that New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez “is really off base” with her contention at a Town Hall last week that the veterans health care system is efficient and “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
“In many cases, yes, the V.A. is performing well, it is giving veterans high-quality care, but in other cases they aren’t,” Caldwell said. “Just because some veterans are getting good care isn’t an excuse not to fix the V.A. for the veterans who aren’t getting good care. And that’s why we support giving veterans a choice, so if a veteran wants to access care in the community because he or she feels they aren’t getting good care in the V.A., they can do that. And that’s what President Trump supports — not privatizing the V.A., not dismantling the V.A.”
The V.A. Mission Act, which Congress passed in June and President Trump signed into law, allows veterans the option of using their benefits at a network of private health care providers.
“Through legislation like the V.A. Mission Act, they’re trying to put the veteran at the center of the V.A., not the bureaucracy,” Caldwell said. “Giving veterans a choice will force the private sector and the V.A. to compete for veterans, this will give veterans the power to choose.”
The department was plagued by scandal during the Obama administration — including secret wait lists, systemic neglect and veterans dying while waiting to see a doctor.
Caldwell credited Trump, Congress and V.A. Secretary Robert Wilkie for getting the measure passed. Wilkie is the fourth secretary to lead the VA in the past four years, while the VA’s $200 billion budget has doubled in the past decade.
“If implemented properly, it will fix a lot of the long-term systemic problems in the V.A.,” he said, adding “You’re seeing more people like Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez inside and outside trying to stop the implementation of the bill and keep veterans trapped in many cases in failing V.A. hospitals. And that’s not just wrong, that’s immoral.”
President Trump on Wednesday took aim at Ocasio-Cortez’s V.A. remarks, tweeting: “Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is correct, the VA is not broken, it is doing great. But that is only because of the Trump Administration. We got Veterans Choice & Accountability passed.”
Ocasio-Cortez said at the Town Hall: “They are trying to fix it. But who are they trying to fix it for, is the question we’ve got to ask. And this is who they’re trying to fix it for. They’re trying to fix the V.A. for insurance companies. They’re trying to fix it for insurance corporations, and ultimately they’re trying to fix the V.A. for the for-profit health care industry that does not put people or veterans first.”
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
Source: Fox News Politics
The incident happened around 8:30 a.m. in Anaehoomalu Bay near Waikoloa on Hawaii island as Kimberly Bishop and her husband, Kim, were out on the water.
“The water was really clear so I could see in front of me,” Bishop told KHON. “There was nothing in front of me. We could see all the way down.”
But her morning on the water quickly turned into anything but peaceful when something bumped her kayak.
“Something came from behind knocked over the kayak and bit my leg,” Bishop told KHON.
Bishop then began to yell to her husband, who was about 100 feet away.
“The first thing that I knew I heard her yell ‘shark, shark’ and I turned and she was in the water…I saw the fins in the water and I immediately paddled as fast as I could to get over to her,” he told KHON.
Her husband was about to get the 65-year-old back into her kayak and yelled out to some nearby people on a canoe for help. Bishop was eventually brought back to shore, and airlifted to a hospital, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.
Officials from the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources told KHON that Bishop may have been attacked by a 5-foot-long blacktip reef shark. The incident caused shark warning signs to be posted warning beachgoers to look out.
“The blacktip reef shark prefers shallow, inshore areas where it is less vulnerable to larger species of sharks in the open ocean,” according to the Maui Ocean Center, which notes that “very few incidents” involving blacktip reef sharks have been reported.
Authorities are still investigating to determine what kind of shark bit Bishop. The couple, who live in California but have a home in Waikoloa, said the incident was frightening but not keeping them out of the water.
“Sharks live in the water,” she told KHON. “It’s their home and we understand that. I will go kayaking again.”
Source: Fox News National