- Biden campaign says 96,926 people donated on first day
- Trump panders to NRA and vows to protect second amendment
- Sign up for the US briefing and get a new perspective
Wrapping up our Friday evening live news coverage. An updated recap of today’s political news:
• Joe Biden stopped short of apologizing to Anita Hill, in his first interview since announcing his presidential campaign. Told he had an opportunity to “apologize, say you’re sorry” for the way he handled Hill’s testimony during Clarence Thomas’ supreme court confirmation hearing, Biden equivocated. “I’m sorry she was treated the way she was treated. I wish we could have figured out a better way [to handle her testimony],” Biden said.
An email phishing attack allowed Russia to gain access to at least one Florida county’s election network in 2016, but it’s still not clear which county was compromised, the New York Times reports.
The president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections told the Times that elections supervisors across the state still have not been made aware of exactly what happened.
Big big news in this story – @marcorubio tells NYT that in fact THERE WAS AN INTRUSION in Fla by Russian hackers in 2016 – Completely contradicting @SenRickScott who attacked Sen. Bill Nelson over it. In 2018 Rubio refused to confirm or deny the issue when it flared up https://t.co/5g5rD5Vx8V
A day after a federal judge ordered the released of a Coast Guard lieutenant who had been accused of planning a white supremacist domestic terror attack, a black Congresswoman who was allegedly on his target list spoke out against the decision:
Outrage! Judge Day ordered release of a white supremacist who threatened to kill me, Speaker Pelosi, Leader Schumer, Rep. AOC, Rep. Omar, pres candidates, & journalists! 15 guns found in his home & he has ties to other neo-Nazis. Why is Barr silent? What must we do? My statement: pic.twitter.com/71EZJuxyxs
President Trump renewed his promise of loyalty to the members of the National Rifle Association at their annual meeting in Indianapolis today.
But behind the scenes, the powerful gun rights group is engaged in a kind of civil war between top leaders and the group’s longtime public relations and strategy firm, Ackerman McQueen. The infighting has made public damaging allegations of misspent funds, self-dealing, and financial mismanagement.
Yes, he lied. But no, don’t impeach.
A new poll from ABC/The Washington Post finds that 58% of respondents believe that Trump lied to the public about issues related to the Mueller investigation.
Should Congress begin impeachment proceedings against Trump? A new ABC/Washington Post poll finds clear racial divides, with support for impeachment highest among African Americans: https://t.co/QUSypieAa4 pic.twitter.com/33eoTqtGBn
Lois Beckett here, taking over our live Friday evening news coverage.
Here’s some of Trump’s speech to the NRA earlier – where he claimed that Democrats “want to take away your guns”. He also told the thousands in the crowd: “You better get out there and vote.”
Trump urged the public to vaccinate their children against measles earlier today, telling reporters: “They have to get the shots. The vaccinations are so important. This is really going around now. They have to get their shots.”
But Trump has a long track record of anti-vaxxer comments. During a Republican primary debate in 2015 Trump said he was in favor of “smaller doses [of vaccinations] over a longer period of time”. A common anti-vaxxer trope is that giving children a vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella in one go can lead to autism. This is not true.
Massive combined inoculations to small children is the cause for big increase in autism….
“Autism has become an epidemic. Twenty-five years ago, 35 years ago, you look at the statistics, not even close. It has gotten totally out of control. I am totally in favor of vaccines. But I want smaller doses over a longer period of time,” Trump said.
“Because you take a baby in – and I’ve seen it – and I’ve seen it, and I had my children taken care of over a long period of time, over a two-or three-year period of time. Same exact amount, but you take this little beautiful baby, and you pump – I mean, it looks just like it’s meant for a horse, not for a child, and we’ve had so many instances, people that work for me.”
Here’s a campaign email from Donald Trump, fundraising off the back off Joe Biden’s presidential bid.
It ticks all the usual boxes including: Obama, corrupt coastal elites and bags of cash to Iran (the Obama government did not give bags of cash to Iran).
Donald Trump has announced that the US will withdraw its support for a United Nations treaty regulating the multibillion-dollar global arms trade.
Addressing the National Rifle Association (NRA) in Indianapolis, the president said he would revoke America’s status as a signatory of the arms trade treaty regulating conventional weapons including small arms, battle tanks, combat aircraft and warships.
Beto O’Rourke is in Nevada today. It’s his second visit to the state, which votes third in the 2020 primaries. So far he doesn’t seem to be killing it:
Beto’s first Vegas area event today demonstrates the risks of a Friday campus event. Stage set up in w UNLV courtyard, but the smallish crowd fit inside the adjacent building lobby. pic.twitter.com/GGClYQz8q1
Rod Rosenstein was “taking swipes at his critics” on Thursday night, according to the Associated Press.
At a speech before a lawyers’ group, the deputy attorney general criticized former FBI director James Comey for publicly acknowledging that the agency had launched a Russia counter-intelligence investigation in March 2017.
He said that “there is not Republican justice and Democrat justice,” contrasting himself with a president who referred to the Mueller team as being compromised of “angry Democrats” and who, according to Mueller’s report, has viewed the Justice Department as a tool for punishing political adversaries.
He also made clear that the Mueller investigation had exposed a sophisticated Russian operation to meddle in American politics, something Trump has been slow to acknowledge.
Joe Biden’s campaign raised $6.3m in the first 24 hours, according to his campaign – more than either Bernie Sanders or Beto O’Rourke.
The campaign says 96,926 people donated money on the first day – which averages out at $65.
Pete ‘Mayor Pete’ Buttigieg is planning a trip to South Carolina where he will focus on outreach to African-American voters, according to the Associated Press.
Buttigieg, who has been rising in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, will hold meetings with African-American leaders in the state in early May.
A public event is planned May 5 in Charleston. The next day, Buttigieg will participate in a round-table discussion at South Carolina State University, a historically black Orangeburg school visited already by several Democratic contenders.
•Joe Biden stopped short of apologizing to Anita Hill, in his first interview since announcing his presidential campaign. Told he had an opportunity to “apologize, say you’re sorry” for the way he handled Hill’s testimony during Clarence Thomas’ supreme court confirmation hearing, Biden equivocated. “I’m sorry she was treated the way she was treated. I wish we could have figured out a better way [to handle her testimony],” Biden said.
•Donald Trump claimed the second amendment was “under assault” in a typically free form speech to the National Rifle Association. The president also suggested he was “draining the [DC} swamp”, despite having appointed more than 350 lobbyists to government positions. Trump addressed the NRA at a time when the organization is seriously ailing. Tax filings for the right-wing gun-lobbying organization show it lost nearly $64m in 2016 and 2017.
It seems someone lobbed a phone at/in the general direction of Donald Trump as he came out to address the NRA. The president was unharmed.
whoever threw that phone has terrible aim if he/she was aiming for Trump https://t.co/CsO0IjJJ2B
Trump has finished addressing the NRA event. He’s promised his characteristic “I will never, ever let you down” and has left the stage to the strains of (a version of) the Rolling Stones classic “You can’t always get what you want”.
You have to wonder: 1. Will Trump get what he needs? The definition of that will differ radically, depending on the day and who you talk to, of course.
Trump has called to the stage at the NRA event, individuals who used firearms successfully to protect their family or co-workers.
One, a mother who shot and held at gunpoint a man who broke into her home when she was alone there with her daughter, and one, a man who shot a man who was perpetrating a knife attack on co-workers at a meat-packing plant in Oklahoma.
Trump is championing, to warm applause from the gun crowd, free speech on college campuses, under penalty of confiscating federal dollars.
Free speech in this case tends to mean not being able to ban far-right leaders and white nationalist commenters from booking university venues to deliver extremist addresses – events that often descend into violent clashes between attendees of rallies that included white supremacists, Trump loyalists and militia members and counter-protesting anti-fascists.
This is a good point:
On the same day President Trump is speaking at the NRA convention, alleged Russian agent Maria Butina was sentenced to prison for infiltrating…. the NRA.
Trump, who has appointed more than 350 lobbyists to government positions, says he is “draining the swamp”.
“We are doing it faster than anyone thought possible,” Trump says.
Donald Trump is speaking at the National Rifle Association conference. He comes out to the song “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood and spends about two minutes walking about waving.
“I’m a champion for the second amendment. And so are you. It’s not going anywhere,” Trump says.
Trump: “Our nation is greater today than it has ever been. Stronger, richer… We believe in the rule of law and we will defend the constitution of the United States. There are some people running now – I don’t think they have that number one on their list.”
Trump: “We believe in freedom and liberty and the right to keep and bear arms. We know that faith and family, not government and bureaucracy are the centre of American life… In America we don’t worship government; we worship God.”
Here’s that segment from Joe Biden’s interview on The View where he decline to apologize to Anita Hill:
“Since I had publicly apologized for the way she was treated…I didn’t want to, quote, invade her space,” Joe Biden says on why he only recently called Anita Hill. “I was grateful she took my call.” https://t.co/rxCXj3uvWG pic.twitter.com/hmg3YBVOa0
Meanwhile my colleague David Smith is at the National Rifle Association, where Mike Pence is warming up the crowd ahead of a Donald Trump speech.
Here’s the vice-president on guns:
Pence: “Nowhere is this ongoing struggle for freedom more visible every day than the struggle for the second amendment. Firearms in the hands of law abiding citizens don’t threaten our families; they protect our families.”
Pence: Freedom is being threatened by “the radical left” every day. The same people “routinely denigrate the faith of millions of Americans and advocate late term abortions and even infanticide”. We will stand for the “sanctity of life”.
Pence: “The only thing green about the so-called green new deal is how much green it’s going to cost all of us if they eventually sign it into law.”
Biden is asked about Anita Hill, who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and has criticized Biden for his handling of her testimony during Thomas’ supreme court hearing.
Biden contacted Hill recently, but she has said she was not satisfied with his outreach and declined to characterize his comments as an apology.
Biden on Anita Hill, threading his way through another apology:
“I said privately and I said publicly, I am sorry she was treated the way she was treated. I wish we could have figured out a better way to get this thing done. I did everything in my power….”
Biden is asked about the women who have come forward to say his behavior made them feel uncomfortable.
“Are you prepared to apologize?” to those women, he is asked.
Joe Biden, when asked to apologize for physical interactions that made some women uncomfortable: “So I invaded your space. I’m sorry it happened. But I’m not sorry that I did anything…to be inappropriate.”
Oh boy. Biden asked again — will you apologize?
“I’m really sorry if what I did…. They took it a different way.”
People have criticized you for not representing the future, former Fox News host Abby Huntsman tells Joe Biden on The View.
Biden says his record on foreign policy and domestic policy shows he has been on the right track.
Onlookers were expecting that the all-female interview cast of The View would quiz Biden about his treatment of Anita Hill – who accused Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and has criticized Biden for his handling of her testimony.
Hill hasn’t come up so far. Instead Biden has been asked about his time in the Obama administration.
Joe Biden is on ABC’s The View – his first interview after he launched his bid for president yesterday.
The former vice-president immediately discusses the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville and Trump’s response – the president claimed there were “very fine people on both sides”. Biden has said that was a motivator in him running for president.
Breaking news: the Russian gun rights activist Maria Butina has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for failing to register as a foreign agent. She will receive credit for the nine months she has already served.
My dad turned 70 last month and I wouldn’t trust him to run a bath, but the top polling candidates to run the United States of America are 72 (Trump), 76 (Biden), and 77 (Sanders).
There’s no need to worry though, because:
“I am a young, vibrant man.” pic.twitter.com/ZP0LjpGDpx
Q: “How old is too old to be president.”
President Trump: “Well I just feel like a young man. I’m so young. I can’t believe it. I’m the youngest person — I am a young vibrant man. I look at Joe, I don’t know about him.” pic.twitter.com/AYcZtA0b5J
Earlier this morning Donald Trump was asked to explain his claim that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, VA, after Biden criticized the president on Thursday.
Not for the first time, Trump refused to condemn the people at the right-wing rally, which left a peaceful anti-white supremacy protester dead.
Trump tries to defend his Charlottesville response by praising Robert E. Lee.
He claims the ‘very fine people’ remark was about people who “felt very strongly about the monument to Robert E. Lee. A great general, whether you like it or not.”
Via Politico pic.twitter.com/01W4IwGx8y
Fetch the nuts! And the beer! Dust off the 80s megamix! More than 4,500 people are hosting house parties this weekend as part of a Bernie Sanders’s organizing effort.
“Attending an Organizing Kickoff this Saturday is one of the biggest things you can do to help elect Bernie and jumpstart this campaign. I hope you’ll give me the chance to explain why,” says an email from the Sanders campaign.
When you join a kickoff event, you’ll learn exactly how you can begin organizing right in your community. You will also get the chance to hear directly from Bernie about where this campaign is going next and why your participation is so important.
The president speaketh:
Trump just now to reporters on White House South Lawn: “If I am guilty of anything, it’s that I have been a great president.”
Trump just now: “The only thing I’m guilty of is being a great president.” pic.twitter.com/Zt4hhtaTRr
A federal judge has given the government six months to locate potentially thousands of children it separated from their families at the US-Mexico border.
Trump administration officials have said it could take as long as two years to reunite the children who were split from their parents before the government’s “zero tolerance” policy sparked uproar in 2018. But on Thursday US district judge Dana Sabraw gave a 25 October deadline.
[Sabraw] had ruled in March that the Trump administration was responsible for all of the children the government separated from their parents and not just the 2,700-plus children who remained in federal custody on June 26 when the judge ordered officials to reunite the families.
The Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy at the US-Mexico border separated scores of families from May to June 20 in an attempt to deter rising numbers of Central Americans from crossing the border with their children. Trump said the immigrants were exploiting legal loopholes to apply for asylum and win release in the United States. Under the policy, officials prosecuted adults for the crime of crossing the border and sent their children to federal shelters across the country.
•The Democratic presidential candidates are spreading themselves across the country, after presumptive top-dog Joe Biden finally entered the race. They say that in New York City you’re never more than six feet from a rat, and given there are now 20 eager Democrats trotting about, there’s a high probability that wherever you live, there’ll be a thrusting presidential hopeful in the vicinity.
•Biden is in New York, appearing on ABC’s The View at 11am, his first interview since announcing his candidacy. Elsewhere, Beto O’Rourke is in Nevada, and Cory Booker is in South Carolina. There’s a bumper package of Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Andrew Yang and Eric Swalwell in Iowa, both John Hickenlooper and Seth Moulton are in California, and Kirsten Gillibrand will be in New Hampshire.