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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 7)

Bloomberg campaign office in Utah vandalized, one day after pointing finger at Bernie supporters for similar incident

Michael Bloomberg‘s campaign headquarters in Utah was vandalized Friday night, just a day after his Tennessee office was defaced and Bloomberg’s team pointed the finger at the rhetoric from White House rival Bernie Sanders in that incident.

Windows were shattered at the Salt Lake City campaign office and multiple rocks were found inside, Communications Director Catherine Sant Mar told Fox 13 (KSTU-TV) in Salt Lake City.

Westlake Legal Group Bloomberg-Office-Vandalized-Eric-Brown-KSTU Bloomberg campaign office in Utah vandalized, one day after pointing finger at Bernie supporters for similar incident Marisa Schultz Kelly Phares fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7c924874-4b98-50ec-b94d-80c3f7aa3c24

Windows were shattered at the Salt Lake City campaign office and multiple rocks were found inside (Fox13)

“We are disheartened by the vandalism at our Salt Lake City headquarters,” the Bloomberg campaign said in a statement. “We know that emotions can run high in politics but we also know that even when we disagree, Utahns find common ground in civil discourse.”

Utah heads to the polls March 3  — Super Tuesday — to cast votes for the Democratic primary. Bloomberg has skipped the traditional early states and has staked his presidential hopes on picking up delegates in the Super Tuesday contests.

“We strongly condemn this act of vandalism but we are laser-focused on Super Tuesday and will continue to share Mike’s message about unifying our country with Utah voters,” the Bloomberg statement said, declining to point fingers.

The Salt Lake City destruction comes a day after Bloomberg’s Knoxville, Tenn. office was vandalized and his campaign then raised the possibility of it being connected to Sanders’ supporters. Bloomberg’s team provided a photo that shows the spray-painted words “F—k Bloomberg” and “oligarch” on the outside of the Tennessee building.

BERNIE SANDERS: 5 THINGS TO KNOW

“This latest incident at our Knoxville campaign office is exactly what we’ve been warning about,” Bloomberg campaign manager Kevin Sheekey said in a statement Friday. “We don’t know who is responsible for this vandalism, but we do know it echoes language from the Sanders campaign and its supporters.”

Sheekey called on Sanders to “immediately condemn these attacks and for his campaign to end the Trump-like rhetoric that is clearly encouraging his supporters to engage in behavior that has no place in our politics.”

The Sanders campaign declined to comment on Friday.

MICHAEL BLOOMBERG: 5 THINGS TO KNOW

Bloomberg’s campaign argued the graffiti in Knoxville is the latest in a pattern of vandalism it has seen across the country. It referenced recent incidents in Toledo, Ohio; Youngstown, Ohio; and Ann Arbor, Mich.

“Over the past week, we’ve seen similar attacks against Mike Bloomberg 2020 offices in multiple states,” Sheekey said. “Fortunately, no one has been injured. But this needs to end before someone gets hurt.”

Fox News’ Alex Pappas contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Bloomberg-Office-Vandalized-Eric-Brown-KSTU Bloomberg campaign office in Utah vandalized, one day after pointing finger at Bernie supporters for similar incident Marisa Schultz Kelly Phares fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7c924874-4b98-50ec-b94d-80c3f7aa3c24   Westlake Legal Group Bloomberg-Office-Vandalized-Eric-Brown-KSTU Bloomberg campaign office in Utah vandalized, one day after pointing finger at Bernie supporters for similar incident Marisa Schultz Kelly Phares fox-news/us/us-regions/west/utah fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/michael-bloomberg fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox news fnc/politics fnc article 7c924874-4b98-50ec-b94d-80c3f7aa3c24

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Trump’s Efforts to Remove the Disloyal Heightens Unease Across His Administration

Westlake Legal Group 22dc-chaosSUB-facebookJumbo Trump’s Efforts to Remove the Disloyal Heightens Unease Across His Administration White House Office of Presidential Personnel United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Rood, John C. Office of the Director of National Intelligence O'Brien, Robert C (1952- ) National Security Council McEntee, John Maguire, Joseph (1952- ) Justice Department Appointments and Executive Changes

WASHINGTON — In some of the most critical corners of the Trump administration, officials show up for work now never entirely sure who will be there by the end of the evening — themselves included.

Even for an administration that has been a revolving door since Day 1, this has become a season of turmoil. At a moment when first-term presidents are typically seeking a stable team to focus on their re-election, President Trump has embarked on a systematic attempt to sweep out officials perceived to be disloyal.

The headquarters of the nation’s intelligence apparatus roiled with the ouster of the acting director Joseph Maguire and his replacement by a sharp partisan amid a dispute over Russian election interference. The Justice Department remained on edge with whispers of further resignations, including perhaps even that of Attorney General William P. Barr, after the president’s intervention in a case involving one of his friends. Witnesses from the impeachment inquiry into Mr. Trump have been summarily dismissed. Dozens of policy experts have been cleared out of the National Security Council staff as part of a restructuring that will mean fewer career professionals in range of the president. A deputy national security adviser dogged by innuendo about disloyalty was exiled to the Energy Department. A Trump appointee’s nomination for a top Treasury Department post was pulled. The No. 3 official at the Defense Department was shown the door.

And Johnny McEntee, a 29-year-old loyalist just installed to take over the Office of Presidential Personnel and reporting directly to Mr. Trump, has ordered a freeze on all political appointments across the government. He also convened a meeting to instruct departments to search for people not devoted to the president so they can be removed, according to people briefed about the session, and informed colleagues that he planned to tell cabinet secretaries that the White House would be choosing their deputies from now on.

“Trump appears to be launching the biggest assault on the nation’s civil service system since the 1883 Pendleton Act ended the spoils system,” said Paul C. Light, a New York University professor who has studied presidential personnel.

But career professionals are not the only ones in the cross hairs. Also facing scrutiny are Republican political appointees considered insufficiently committed to the president or suspected of not aggressively advancing his agenda.

Allies of the president say he should be free to make personnel changes, even if it amounts to shedding people who are not seen as loyal to Mr. Trump.

“It is not unusual at all that these types of assessments are done and thereafter changes are made,” said Bradley A. Blakeman, a Republican strategist and former White House official under President George W. Bush.

Nonetheless, the tumult and anxiety come at a time when the Trump administration confronts enormous challenges, including the coronavirus outbreak, Iranian and North Korean nuclear development and Russian determination to play a role again in America’s next election. Democrats, for example, have questioned whether specific cuts at the National Security Council have hurt the nation’s ability to respond if there were a severe coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

Mr. Trump has long been obsessed with loyalty, a view only exacerbated by his impeachment and the various investigations over the last three years that have convinced him that he is surrounded by a deep-state enemy within that is leaking, lying and sabotaging his presidency.

He has also been frustrated by the decision-making process of government, aggravated at competing centers of power that have shaped the modern presidency but have, in his view, hindered his ability to enact policies.

With a more loyal team in place, he hopes to make more progress on initiatives that have been slow-walked by institutional inertia or resistance like tougher rules on trade and immigration. But it could mean less dissent and less open debate with surviving officials fearing the loss of their jobs if they are seen as stepping out of line.

From the beginning, his administration has been a turnstile of people who fall in and out of favor with the president. Including those with “acting” designations, he is on his third chief of staff, his fourth national security adviser, his fourth defense secretary, his fifth secretary of homeland security, his sixth deputy national security adviser and his seventh communications director.

According to data compiled by Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, turnover among what she calls Mr. Trump’s “A team,” meaning his senior staff, has hit 82 percent, more in three years than any of the previous five presidents saw in their first four years. Moreover, the Trump administration has been notable for a high level of serial turnover, with 38 percent of the top positions replaced more than once.

“Many key departments and White House entities have been hollowed out,” Ms. Tenpas said. The president has thus been left with acting officials in many key areas. “He seems completely unbothered,” she said. “He claims that actings give him flexibility, but fails to see that temporary leaders cannot advance his policies nearly as well as a Senate-confirmed appointee who has the stature and all the powers to do so.”

While some of the reliance on acting officials owes to a dysfunctional Senate confirmation process, Mr. Trump seems to prefer to keep senior advisers on edge as to whether they will keep their job. Mick Mulvaney, his acting White House chief of staff, a position that does not require Senate confirmation, is finishing his 14th month with an “acting” in front of his title for no reason that has ever been publicly articulated and he may be forced out without ever having been granted the full title.

Mr. Mulvaney has shrugged it off, saying that anyone who works for Mr. Trump is by definition an acting official who could be dismissed at any time. But the president’s refusal to bestow the full title strikes many as a form of ritual humiliation depriving him of stature, influence or job security.

Just a few days ago, Mr. Mulvaney seemed to speak out in a way that caused many to wonder whether he may leave soon, voluntarily or not. During session with the Oxford Union in England, he said that the United States was “desperate” for more immigrants and that Republicans seemed to stop caring about rising deficits when Mr. Trump took office. He added that “I disagree with the president every single day” but did not talk about it publicly.

The newest power center at the White House is Mr. McEntee, a former assistant to the president who was fired by the previous chief of staff, John Kelly, but has been brought back as presidential personnel director. Mr. McEntee has made clear that his mission is to establish a more loyal team around the president. His meeting last Thursday with cabinet liaisons in which he called for rooting out disloyal officials was first reported by Axios.

The ousters have extended beyond impeachment witnesses like Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman and Ambassador Gordon D. Sondland. John C. Rood, who was removed as under secretary of defense for policy, did not speak out publicly but had written internal emails skeptical of the freeze on security aid to Ukraine that was at the center of the impeachment inquiry.

In National Security Council staff meetings, however, Mr. Rood was a constant voice of skepticism over the administration’s troop reductions in Syria, its pending peace deal with the Taliban and other issues. With Mr. McEntee’s arrival, that dissenting voice was no longer welcome, said a person familiar with the matter.

Supporters of Jessie K. Liu, a Trump backer who served as the United States attorney in Washington, suspect her nomination for under secretary of Treasury was pulled because of dissatisfaction with her prosecution of Roger J. Stone Jr., the president’s adviser convicted of obstruction and witness intimidation to protect Mr. Trump.

Victoria Coates, a deputy national security adviser, was dispatched to the Energy Department despite denials that she was the anonymous official who wrote an op-ed and book critical of the administration.

Mr. Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence who angered the president by allowing intelligence officials to tell House lawmakers that Russia was already intervening in the 2020 election on Mr. Trump’s behalf, was replaced by Richard Grenell, the ambassador to Germany and a vocal conservative with no background in intelligence.

One of Mr. Grenell’s first moves was to push out Andrew P. Hallman, the popular principal executive, who had been acting as the top deputy. Arriving with Mr. Grenell was Kashyap Patel, a senior National Security Council staff member and former key aide to Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California and a former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Mr. Patel has been viewed warily by intelligence officers especially since news reports that his mandate was to clean house. Some top civil servants told colleagues they were contemplating quitting or feared being fired.

But Mr. Grenell also began a charm offensive with senior officials and his initial meetings have put some at ease while making others think they should give the new boss a chance. It is also not clear who placed Mr. Patel in the office, with one official saying it was not Mr. Grenell’s idea.

Some allies of the administration cautioned against overanalyzing the developments in the intelligence office. Mr. Maguire was scheduled to leave next month anyway under a vacancies law, although administration officials had been looking for ways to extend him, and Mr. Grenell is only temporary while the president comes up with a nominee to send to the Senate. “The O.D.N.I., I think, is less than meets the eye,” said James Jay Carafano, a national security scholar at the Heritage Foundation, using the initials for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Even so, it has added to the wave of concern across the administration, even among Trump appointees. And that may be part of the point. Convinced that so many officials in government have been working against him, Mr. Trump does not mind if they are more than a little unsettled.

Maggie Haberman contributed reporting from New York, and Julian E. Barnes from Washington.

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Liz Hurley sizzles in white, hot pink bikinis during island getaway

Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Hurley1 Liz Hurley sizzles in white, hot pink bikinis during island getaway Melissa Roberto fox-news/person/elizabeth-hurley fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox-news/auto/style fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 65b20d87-5887-562c-95ba-ecd8f21db7e9

Another day, another bikini!

Elizabeth Hurley wasted no time modeling off her bathing suit collection while vacationing in the Maldives for a luxurious tropical getaway.

The 54-year-old British actress shared not one but two different looks while having some fun in paradise.

ELIZABETH HURLEY SHARES PHOTOS IN SHEER DRESS, STUNS FANS: ‘FALLEN UNDER HER SPELL’

Hurley posed in a white strapless bikini top with matching triangle bottoms on Friday for her millions of Instagram followers. The “Runaways” actress held onto a tree for support while surrounded by lush greenery.

“Hello, from the glorious Maldives #chevalblancrandheli @elizabethhurleybeach,” Hurley captioned the photo.

But the actress didn’t stop there. It appeared Hurley had a similar agenda for the following day, as she showed off her svelte figure in a hot pink two-piece.

5 OF 2019’S MOST TALKED-ABOUT OUTFITS: FROM KIM KARDASHIAN’S MET GALA GOWN TO BROOKS NADER’S SHEER DRESS

“Hi this is Elizabeth. This weekend there is 20 percent off all my favorite things on our website, including this bikini,” Hurley informed her six million followers with a beach hat in her hand.

“Hot pink bikini,” she added. “Check it out!”

ELIZABETH HURLEY, 54, CLAIMS SHE’S ‘MUCH TOO OLD’ TO WEAR A BIKINI TO THE BEACH

Hurley’s post comes just weeks after the actress said that she’s “much too old” to wear a bikini to the beach. “The Royals” star revealed her new stance on the My Wardrobe Malfunction podcast with Susannah Constantine on  Feb. 6.

“Most people are fine lying down, but when they stand up they want to cover up, including me,” Hurley said. “I like to cover up a lot.”

“I certainly wouldn’t walk around a public beach parading in a bikini anymore. I’m much too old. But, privately, of course,” she added.

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Hurley revealed her secrets to keeping a fit figure to Closer Weekly last year.

“I think we have to watch what we eat,” she explained. “We all know that. Everybody tells us that, but we have to watch what we eat. I eat meat and fish, but I also eat a lot of vegetables, and I’ve really been trying in the last year that 50 percent of the foods I eat are vegetables. It’s not easy but I’m trying — and I think it really makes a difference actually.”

Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Hurley1 Liz Hurley sizzles in white, hot pink bikinis during island getaway Melissa Roberto fox-news/person/elizabeth-hurley fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox-news/auto/style fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 65b20d87-5887-562c-95ba-ecd8f21db7e9   Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Hurley1 Liz Hurley sizzles in white, hot pink bikinis during island getaway Melissa Roberto fox-news/person/elizabeth-hurley fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox-news/auto/style fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 65b20d87-5887-562c-95ba-ecd8f21db7e9

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Digital Edits, a Paid Army: Bloomberg Is ‘Destroying Norms’ on Social Media

Westlake Legal Group 00bloombergmedia-facebookJumbo Digital Edits, a Paid Army: Bloomberg Is ‘Destroying Norms’ on Social Media twitter Social Media Presidential Election of 2020 Political Advertising Instagram Inc Google Inc Facebook Inc Bloomberg, Michael R

SAN FRANCISCO — In the first few months of his presidential campaign, Michael R. Bloomberg has been as aggressive on social media as President Trump was four years ago. But with a lot more money to spend.

Mr. Bloomberg has hired popular online personalities to create videos and images promoting his candidacy on social media. He is hiring 500 people — at $2,500 a month — to spend 20 to 30 hours a week recruiting their friends and family to write supportive posts. And his campaign has posted on Twitter and Instagram a flattering, digitally altered video of his debate performance last week in Las Vegas.

Through his money and his willingness to experiment, the billionaire former mayor of New York has poked holes in the already slapdash rules for political campaigns on social media. His digitally savvy campaign for the Democratic nomination has shown that if a candidate is willing to push against the boundaries of what social media companies will and won’t allow, the companies won’t be quick to push back.

“The Bloomberg campaign is destroying norms that we will never get back,” said Emerson Brooking, a resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, which studies disinformation. The campaign, he said, has “revealed the vulnerabilities that still exist in our social media platforms even after major reforms.”

On Friday, Twitter announced that it was suspending 70 pro-Bloomberg accounts for violating its policies on “platform manipulation and spam.” The accounts were part a coordinated effort by people paid by the Bloomberg campaign to post tweets in his favor.

Twitter’s rules state, in part, “You can’t artificially amplify or disrupt conversations through the use of multiple accounts,” including “coordinating with or compensating others” to tweet a certain message.

In response to Twitter’s move, the Bloomberg campaign issued a statement on Friday evening. “We ask that all of our deputy field organizers identify themselves as working on behalf of the Mike Bloomberg 2020 campaign on their social media accounts,” it said. The statement added that the tweets shared by its staff and volunteers with their networks went through Outvote, a voter engagement app, and were “not intended to mislead anyone.”

Social media companies have been under pressure since the 2016 presidential election. Over the last year or so, they have publicized a stream of new rules aimed at disinformation and manipulation. Facebook, Google and Twitter have created teams that look for and remove disinformation. They have started working with fact checkers to distinguish and label false content. And they have created policies explaining what they will allow in political advertisements.

Most social media companies have special rules that place elected officials and political candidates in a protected category of speech. Politicians are allowed much more flexibility to say whatever they want online. But the companies have had a hard time defining what is a political statement and what crosses the line into deception.

When Mr. Trump posted an altered video of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Facebook and Twitter refused to take the video down. A 30-second video ad on Facebook in October falsely accused former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. of blackmailing Ukrainian officials to stop an investigation of his son.

Mr. Bloomberg, a latecomer to the race, has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into it. As the owner of Bloomberg L.P., he has the money and the resources to vastly outspend his rivals.

Mr. Bloomberg has reassigned his employees and recruited other workers from Silicon Valley with salaries nearly double what other campaigns have offered their staffs. The roughly $400 million he has spent has made him omnipresent in ads across Facebook and Instagram, as well as on more traditional forms of media such as television and radio.

His campaign’s sophisticated understanding of how to generate online buzz has shown how uneven social media’s new political speech rules can be.

Mr. Bloomberg’s lackluster performance in the Las Vegas debate — three days before Saturday’s Democratic caucuses in Nevada — was startling even to his supporters. But soon after, his campaign’s digital team edited the debate into digestible bites on social media that made Mr. Bloomberg appear as though he had done better. On Thursday morning, a video was posted to his Twitter account.

“I’m the only one here, I think, that’s ever started a business. Is that fair?” Mr. Bloomberg said in the clip, showing him up on the debate stage. The video then cut to reactions from the other candidates, who appeared speechless. Crickets chirped in the background as the silence stretched on for 20 seconds.

In reality, Mr. Bloomberg had paused for about a second before moving on.

“It’s tongue in cheek,” Galia Slayen, a Bloomberg campaign spokeswoman, said of the video, which was viewed nearly two million times within hours. “There were obviously no crickets on the stage.”

Was the video against the rules?

Referring to new guidance on manipulated videos, Twitter said it would most likely label the video as misleading. That is, it would if the rule, which goes into effect in March, were already in effect. The company said it would not label Mr. Bloomberg’s video retroactively.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, said it would not remove the video. The company has recently altered its policy on manipulated media to state that Facebook will remove videos that have been edited “in ways that aren’t apparent to an average person and would likely mislead someone into thinking that a subject of the video said words that they did not actually say.”

The companies are less certain of how they will handle Mr. Bloomberg’s hiring of 500 “deputy digital organizers” to recruit and train their friends. (All 500 haven’t been hired yet.) His campaign has said it is paying people to use their own social media accounts to publish content of their choosing to mobilize voters for Mr. Bloomberg.

“We are meeting voters everywhere on any platform that they consume their news. One of the most effective ways of reaching voters is by activating their friends and network to encourage them to support Mike for president,” said Sabrina Singh, a spokeswoman for the Bloomberg campaign.

The Bloomberg team said the people they hired were ordinary Americans, and would not include so-called social media influencers, or individuals with large social media followings. The campaign said the digital organizers would not add disclosures to every post, but they would be directed to clearly identify in their social media profiles that they were affiliated with the Bloomberg campaign.

“We recommend campaign employees make the relationship clear on their accounts,” said Liz Bourgeois, a spokeswoman for Facebook. But if Mr. Bloomberg’s employees do not make clear on their accounts that the campaign paid them, Facebook has no easy way to identify them, she said.

Facebook has also made it clear that influencers who post content in support of Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign must clearly label themselves as being sponsored. The company also is exploring ways in which it can identify and catalog sponsored political content.

Google, which owns YouTube, did not respond to a request for comment on how it plans to handle paid influencers as well as digital organizers working for the Bloomberg campaign.

Mr. Brooking and other social media experts said they believed that until the companies saw themselves as media organizations — not neutral internet platforms — they would continue to struggle with how to police their platforms.

“We would not tolerate a falsified, unattributed political ad on CNN. We would not tolerate a paid campaign staffer masquerading as an objective analyst on NBC,” Mr. Brooking said. “We should not tolerate these behaviors on Twitter and Facebook today.”

Sheera Frenkel reported from San Francisco, and Davey Alba from New York.

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Trump, Schiff spar ahead of Nevada caucuses over claim Russians trying to help Bernie Sanders

Westlake Legal Group trump_schiff Trump, Schiff spar ahead of Nevada caucuses over claim Russians trying to help Bernie Sanders fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc article Alex Pappas 45bb5a9e-3510-5547-bee0-4baef7c1b55b

President Trump and Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff tangled on Twitter ahead of the Nevada caucuses on Saturday over the reports U.S. officials believe Russia is attempting to interfere in the Democratic presidential primary by helping Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

The back-and-forth also follows the president’s recent dismissal of reports that the U.S. intelligence community believes Russia wants Trump to win re-election. He has portrayed those reports as nothing more than evidence of a continued vendetta from Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee chairman who played a starring role in the impeachment effort against him.

BERNIE SANDERS DISAVOWS REPORTED RUSSIAN EFFORTS TO HELP HIS CAMPAIGN

“Democrats in the Great State of Nevada (Which, because of the Economy, Jobs, the Military & Vets, I will win in November), be careful of Russia, Russia, Russia,” the president tweeted Saturday. “According to Corrupt politician Adam ‘Shifty’ Schiff, they are pushing for Crazy Bernie Sanders to win. Vote!”

Responding on Twitter, Schiff of California accused Trump of not adequately standing up against foreign election interference.

“Mr. President, I didn’t say that,” Schiff said. “But if you wish to quote me, quote this: ‘The only thing Americans despise more than foreign actors trying to affect the vote is a president unwilling to do anything to stop it.’ Americans decide American elections.”

On Friday, the Washington Post reported that U.S. officials have determined Moscow is attempting to interfere in the Democratic primary race on Sanders’ behalf. Sanders responded by disavowing the alleged Russian efforts.

“I don’t care, frankly, who [Russian President Vladimir] Putin wants to be president,” Sanders said in a statement. “My message to Putin is clear: stay out of American elections, and as president I will make sure that you do.”

According to the Post, officials have told the Sanders campaign that Russia is working to boost the socialist as part of an effort to meddle in the Democratic presidential primary. The story, citing people familiar with the matter, said Trump and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have also been informed of the Russian attempts.

NEVADA DEMS HOPE TO AVOID CAUCUS CHAOS: HERE’S HOW THE PROCESS IS SUPPOSED TO WORK

On Thursday, The New York Times reported that intelligence officials told lawmakers in a classified briefing last week that Russia is meddling with the hope of getting Trump reelected. But Trump has pushed back against the reports, claiming Democrats were pushing a “misinformation campaign” in the hope of politically damaging him.

On Friday, Trump’s campaign spokesman, Tim Murtaugh, tweeted: “We condemn and reject foreign interference in American elections in any form.”

Sanders, though, accused the Trump administration of not standing against Russia’s efforts.

“Unlike Donald Trump, I do not consider Vladimir Putin a good friend,” Sanders said. “He is an autocratic thug who is attempting to destroy democracy and crush dissent in Russia.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that the newest allegations are “paranoid reports that, unfortunately, there will be more and more of as we get closer to the elections [in the U.S.]. Of course, they have nothing to do with the truth.”

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U.S. intelligence agencies say Russia interfered in the 2016 election through social media campaigns and by stealing and distributing emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Intelligence officials say Russia was trying to boost Trump’s campaign and show chaos within the American political process.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group trump_schiff Trump, Schiff spar ahead of Nevada caucuses over claim Russians trying to help Bernie Sanders fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc article Alex Pappas 45bb5a9e-3510-5547-bee0-4baef7c1b55b   Westlake Legal Group trump_schiff Trump, Schiff spar ahead of Nevada caucuses over claim Russians trying to help Bernie Sanders fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox news fnc/politics fnc article Alex Pappas 45bb5a9e-3510-5547-bee0-4baef7c1b55b

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Justice Sotomayor warns the Supreme Court is doing special favors for the Trump administration

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TODAY: Nevada Votes In Big Test For Democratic Candidates

Westlake Legal Group 5e5169dc2600000405b5f8a9 TODAY: Nevada Votes In Big Test For Democratic Candidates

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Just past the roulette wheel and slot machines, the smoky bars and blinking lights, Nevada Democrats are preparing to weigh in on their party’s presidential nomination fight.

Seven casino-resorts on the Las Vegas Strip stand among 200 caucus locations statewide that will host the presidential caucuses on Saturday, the third contest in a 2020 primary season that has so far been marred by chaos and uncertainty in overwhelmingly white, rural states. The exercise of democracy inside urban temples of excess is just one element that distinguishes the first presidential contest in the West, which will, more importantly, test the candidates’ strength with black and brown voters for the first time in 2020.

“Nevada represents an opportunity for these candidates to demonstrate their appeal to a larger swath of our country,” said state Attorney General Aaron Ford, a Democrat who is not endorsing a candidate in the crowded field.

Nevada’s population, which aligns more with the U.S. as a whole than the opening elections in Iowa and New Hampshire, is 29% Latino, 10% black and 9% Asian American and Pacific Islander.

The vote comes at a critical moment for the Democratic Party as self-described democratic socialist Bernie Sanders emerges as the clear front-runner and a half dozen more moderate candidates savage one another for the chance to emerge as the preferred alternative to Sanders. The ultimate winner will represent Democrats on the ballot against President Donald Trump in November.

Yet on the eve of the caucuses, questions lingered about Nevada Democrats’ ability to report election results quickly as new concerns surfaced about foreign interference in the 2020 contest.

Campaigning in California, Sanders confirmed reports that he had been briefed by U.S. officials about a month ago that Russia was trying to help his campaign as part of Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the election.

“It was not clear what role they were going to play,” Sanders said. “We were told that Russia, maybe other countries, are going to get involved in this campaign.”

He added: “Here’s the message to Russia: Stay out of American elections.”

Despite the distraction, Sanders enters Saturday increasingly confident, backed by strong support from Latinos and rank-and-file union workers who have warmed to his fiery calls to transform the nation’s economy and political system to help the working class.

In a fiery speech the night before the caucuses, Sanders lumped the “Democratic establishment” in with the corporate and Republican establishment, saying they can’t stop him. He said the establishment was “getting worried” about a multiracial coalition that wants higher wages and health care.

The outlook was dire for virtually everyone else.

Long before voting began, there was skepticism about Pete Buttigieg’s ability to win over a more diverse set of voters after strong finishes in overwhelmingly white Iowa and New Hampshire. It was the opposite for Joe Biden, who struggled in Iowa and New Hampshire but looked to Nevada’s voters of color to prove he still has a viable path to the nomination.

The two women left in the race, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, were fighting for momentum, hoping to benefit from a sudden surge of outside money from newly created super PACs. Billionaire Tom Steyer has invested more than $12 million of his own money on television advertising in Nevada, according to data obtained by The Associated Press, which details the extent to which several candidates have gone all-in ahead of Saturday’s contest.

The pro-Warren Persist super PAC, created in recent days, is spending more money in Nevada this week than any other campaign or allied outside group. Persist, which hasn’t yet disclosed any donors and cannot legally coordinate with Warren’s campaign, has invested $902,000 this week in Nevada television on her behalf, according to spending data obtained by The AP. That’s more than Klobuchar’s and Biden’s campaigns have spent over the entire year.

New York billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who dominated the political conversation this week after a poor debate-stage debut, won’t be on the ballot. He’s betting everything on a series of delegate-rich states that begin voting next month.

“I think right now predicting who’s going to win here in Nevada would be a wild guess,” former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said in an interview. “And if I were a gambler, which I’m not, I wouldn’t be betting on who’s gonna win here in Nevada.”

The political world, meanwhile, hoped there would be a winner at all.

Saturday’s caucuses are the first since technical glitches and human errors plagued Iowa’s kickoff caucuses. Nearly three weeks later, state Democratic officials have yet to post final results.

Nevada Democrats have projected confidence in their process, although Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez this week refused to commit to releasing the full results on the day of the vote. He said a number of factors, including early voting and potentially high turnout, could affect the tabulation and timing of results. In addition, Nevada, like Iowa, reports three sets of data from the multistage caucus process.

“We’re going to do our best to release results as soon as possible, but our North Star, again, is accuracy,” Perez told The Associated Press this week.

One potential complication: Early voting.

The state party has added to its responsibilities by offering early voting – something Iowa did not attempt. Nevada voters have been eager to partake, given the alternative is to spend significantly more time voting at a chaotic caucus site.

The party said nearly 75,000 Democrats cast early ballots, and a majority were first-time caucus-goers. In 2016, a total of 84,000 Nevada voters participated in the Democratic caucuses.

A small, but significant number of the ballots cast early were disqualified.

Of the more than 36,000 ballots that were cast through Monday, 1,124 ballots were voided largely because voters forgot to sign them, according to the state party, which did not release the final numbers. Party officials said they were reaching out to these voters and encouraging them to caucus in person on Saturday.

Campaigning in Las Vegas on the eve of the caucuses, Trump sought to raise doubts about the process.

“I hear their computers are all messed up just like they were in Iowa. They’re not going to be able to count their vote,” Trump charged. “They’re going to tell you about health care. They’re going to tell you about our military and jet fighters and the missiles and rockets, but they can’t count votes.”

Amid such concerns, Nevada Democrats tried to stay focused on the candidates and the issues they represent.

Reid, who at 80 years old remains one of the most powerful Democrats in the state, predicted that Sanders’ signature health care policy, “Medicare for All,: could not win support in Congress. Yet he said he thinks the fiery Vermont senator could bring Democrats together.

“I have no doubt that if Bernie Sanders is the nominee, the party will unite behind him and beat Trump,” Reid said. ___

Peoples reported from Washington. AP writers Christina A. Cassidy in Atlanta and Nicholas Riccardi contributed.

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Dick Van Dyke Urges Fellow Way-Past-Boomers To Vote For Bernie Sanders

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Joe Biden can’t remember what son’s job was, thinks he was U.S. Attorney General

Westlake Legal Group bidensonsreuters Joe Biden can't remember what son's job was, thinks he was U.S. Attorney General Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/south-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/economy/jobs fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/philadelphia fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/polls fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc cd285e60-f425-5259-98d0-c933a71b04f3 article

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden could not remember what his late son Beau Biden did for working during a CNN town hall event on Thursday.

Biden falsely claimed that his son was “Attorney General of the United States.”

He was half right. Beau was the Attorney General of Delaware.

SANDERS AIMS FOR NEVADA CAUCUS WIN TO KEEP MOMENTUM GOING — BUT OTHER DEMS NOT GIVING UP

The question posed by CNN moderator Anderson Cooper was: “How will you restore the barriers between the Department of Justice and the Oval Office?”

“Never direct the Justice Department as to who they should or should not indict and under what circumstances they should or should not,” the former vice president told the town hall’s live audience. “That is an independent judgment to be made.”

CHRIS STIREWALT SAYS BLOOMBERG, BUTTIGIEG HAVE ‘HOOVERED UP’ BIDEN’S SUPPORT AHEAD OF NEVADA CAUCUSES

“My son — the one who — my deceased son, was the Attorney General of the United States,” he continued, “and before that, he was a federal prosecutor in one of the largest offices in the country in Philadelphia.”

“And I’ll tell you what, he wouldn’t even talk to me about anything he was doing — his father — and he shouldn’t have, and I didn’t have any control over either one of those things,” added Biden.

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Biden will face a key test this month as Nevada voters head to caucus sites on Saturday and the South Carolina primary looms in the not-too-distant future.

On Friday, a newly released NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed frontrunner Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., gaining ground with black voters nationally — voters Biden will need if he wants to stay in the game come this summer.

Westlake Legal Group bidensonsreuters Joe Biden can't remember what son's job was, thinks he was U.S. Attorney General Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/south-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/economy/jobs fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/philadelphia fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/polls fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc cd285e60-f425-5259-98d0-c933a71b04f3 article   Westlake Legal Group bidensonsreuters Joe Biden can't remember what son's job was, thinks he was U.S. Attorney General Julia Musto fox-news/us/us-regions/west/nevada fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/south-carolina fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/delaware fox-news/us/economy/jobs fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/philadelphia fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/elections/polls fox-news/politics/elections fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/politics fox-news/person/joe-biden fox-news/person/bernie-sanders fox-news/media fox news fnc/politics fnc cd285e60-f425-5259-98d0-c933a71b04f3 article

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Dick Van Dyke Urges Fellow Way-Past-Boomers To Vote For Bernie Sanders

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