Will Candidates Break With Party Leadership To Debate Before Vital New Hampshire Primary?
NBC News is reportedly teaming up with the New Hampshire Union Leader to hold an unsanctioned Democratic presidential debate in violation of the DNC’s rules. The debate, as Buzzfeed’s Evan McMorris-SantoroÂ first reported, citing “two sources familiar with the discussions,”Â would be February 4. It would be moderated by MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and NBC News’ Chuck Todd, and air on MSNBC. Which, if any, of the Democratic candidates will be willing to “jump ship,” and what the repercussions would be from the Democratic National Committee, are unknown.
Ever since the DNC first announced the 2016 campaign season debate schedule, which consists of only six debates, in comparisonÂ to the GOP’s 12 debates, a great many voters and even at east one of the candidates have complained. The DNC has also been accused of scheduling the debates at times least convenient for most viewers, including the Saturday night before Christmas, and on a long holiday weekend opposite the NFL playoffs.
The timing is critical, coming three days after the nation’s first primary, the Iowa caucuses, and just four days before the New Hampshire primary February 9.
Buzzfeed notes “growing frustration among campaign officials, voters and the press about the Democratic calendar, which put many of the debates outside traditional primetime. On Jan. 16, theÂ New York TimesÂ cited anonymous Hilary Clinton aides lamenting not asking for more debates. Her supporters feel she has done well against Sanders head-to-head. Sanders and Oâ€™Malley aides have said they want more debates for months.”
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Trump Calls on FDA to Fast-Track Coronavirus Vaccine Approvals
President Donald Trump on Wednesday publicly called on the Food and Drug Administration to fast-track approvals of coronavirus vaccines after a fourth American drug company’s COVID-19 vaccine entered the final clinical trials stage. The call came just one day after the U.S. saw its 200,000 coronavirus death.
“Big news,” Trump tweeted. “Numerous great companies are seeing fantastic results. @FDA must move quickly!”
Trump then retweeted other tweets praising the Johnson & Johnson drug trial.
Many see Trump’s actions as inappropriate pressure on what is supposed to be an independent, non-partisan federal agency, and some see them as dangerous.
A Washington Post reporter noted the FDA on Tuesday said it was raising the bar on coronavirus vaccine approvals.
WaPo yesterday: “FDA poised to announce tougher standards for a covid-19 vaccine that make it unlikely one will be cleared by Election Day”https://t.co/2FfzadGUhe
Trump today: “FDA must move quickly!” https://t.co/vlt6JdwNjY
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) September 23, 2020
But Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday issued a draconian order hamstringing the FDA and requiring all moves to be approved by him.
Here’s former Obama Under Secretary of State Richard Stengel, issuing a warning:
The meaning of this ‘power grab’ is not murky but clear. At Trump’s behest, Azar will over-rule FDA scientists to approve emergency use of a vaccine before the election even if it’s unsafe, risking even more lives for one goal: Trump’s re-election. #VOTE https://t.co/4ij6DmrYqm
— Richard Stengel (@stengel) September 21, 2020
GOP Senator’s Hyped Report on Biden and Ukraine Is a Dud With ‘Minimal, if Any, Evidence’: Reporter
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has been hyping up a report that purportedly implicates Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden in corrupt activities in Ukraine.
But according to Politico’s Kyle Cheney, Johnson’s report is not going to be nearly as explosive as Republicans hoped, and he describes it as “an 87-page rehash of previously known allegations (with minimal, if any, evidence), news articles and impeachment testimony.”
In fact, the report leads off with impeachment testimony from State Department official George Kent, who said it was “awkward” to have Biden working on Ukraine-related issues while he was serving as vice president even as his son, Hunter Biden, had taken a job on the board of a Ukrainian energy company.
However, Kent also testified that Biden’s work in Ukraine was part of official American foreign policy and was not about serving his personal interests.
Additionally, Cheney reports that “ten of the interim report’s 87 pages are dedicated to countering Democratic attacks and pushing back on reporting that [Johnson was] fueling narratives that dovetailed with a Russian disinformation effort.”
Image via Shutterstock
Pence Suggests Unnamed Trump SCOTUS Nominee Should Skip Committee and Just Be Confirmed Before ‘Election Issues’ Arise
Vice President Mike Pence is in full campaign mode now, making the rounds on news channels and holding re-election rallies. On Tuesday the Indiana Republican told Fox News Business’ Lou Dobbs that perhaps President Donald Trump’s yet-to-be-named Supreme Court nominee should just skip the usual Judiciary Committee hearings and get confirmed by the U.S. Senate immediately.
Pence said the nominee should get a committee hearing, but only “if needs be.”
He might have been thinking that since Chairman Lindsey Graham has already said there are enough votes to confirm, even though no one knows who the nominee is, why take up valuable time when the outcome has, for the first time in U.S. history, been preordained without even a facade of interest in vetting.
Insisting that Trump has “a duty” under “the Constitution to appoint a new justice to the Supreme Court,” Vice President Pence said, “we respect the role of the Senate to advise and consent but President Trump truly believes that the Senate should move thoroughly thoughtfully and quickly and and move to consideration a hearing, if needs be and ultimately to a floor vote because we you know we have, we have major issues in the country today.”
What are the major Supreme Court issues?
“You know, Lou with all of the talk about universal unsolicited mail and validating where we see states around the country that are now, extending the deadline,” Pence said, referring to President Trump’s lie that voting by mail will make the election “rigged.”
“There is a possibility that election issues may come before the Supreme Court in the days following the election and all the more reason why we should have nine justices on the Supreme Court to, to be able to resolve any issues that may arise then or on any other matters.”
In other words, Trump wants a justice on the nation’s top court prepared to hand him the election.
Mike Pence urges the Senate to confirm SCOTUS nominee quickly, with “a hearing if needs be,” because there may be litigation following the election pic.twitter.com/FHjqfxu8iC
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) September 22, 2020
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