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Watch: Former President Barack Obama Endorses Joe Biden for President – Praises His ‘Character and Experience’

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Full transcript:

Hi everybody. Let me start by saying the obvious – these aren’t normal times. As we all manage our way through a pandemic unlike anything we’ve seen in a century, Michelle and I hope that you and your families are safe and well. If you’ve lost somebody to this virus, or if someone in your life is sick, or if you’re one of the millions suffering economic hardship, please know that you’re in our prayers. Please know that you’re not alone. Because now’s the time for all of us to help where we can and to be there for each other, as neighbors, as coworkers, and as fellow citizens.

In fact, over the past weeks, we’ve seen plenty of examples of the kind of courage, kindness, and selflessness that we’re going to need to get through one of the most difficult times in our history. Michelle and I have been amazed at the incredible bravery of our medical professionals who are putting their lives on the line to save others. The public servants and health officials battling this disease. The workers taking risks every day to keep our economy running. And everyone who’s making their own sacrifice at home with their families, all for the greater good.

But if there’s one thing we’ve learned as a country from moments of great crisis, it’s that the spirit of looking out for one another can’t be restricted to our homes, or our workplaces, or our neighborhoods, or our houses of worship. It also has to be reflected in our national government. The kind of leadership that’s guided by knowledge and experience; honesty and humility; empathy and grace – that kind of leadership doesn’t just belong in our state capitols and mayors offices. It belongs in the White House.

And that’s why I’m so proud to endorse Joe Biden for President of the United States.

Choosing Joe to be my Vice President was one of the best decisions I ever made, and he became a close friend. And I believe Joe has all the qualities we need in a President right now.

He’s someone whose own life has taught him how to persevere; how to bounce back when you’ve been knocked down.

When Joe talks with parents who’ve lost their jobs, we hear the son of a man who once knew the pain of having to tell his children that he’d lost his.

When Joe talks about opportunity for our kids, we hear the young father who took the train home each night so he could tuck his children into bed – and we hear the influence of Jill, a life-long teacher.

When Joe talks to families who’ve lost a hero, we hear another parent of an American veteran; a kindred spirit; somebody whose faith has endured the hardest loss there is.

That’s Joe. Through all his trials, he’s never once forgotten the values or the moral fiber that his parents passed on to him, and that made him who he is. That’s what steels his faith – in God, in America, and in all of us.

That steel made him an incredible partner when I needed one the most.

Joe was there as we rebuilt from the Great Recession and rescued the American auto industry. He was the one asking what every policy would do for the middle class and everyone striving to get into the middle class. That’s why I asked him to implement the Recovery Act, which saved millions of jobs and got people back on their feet – because Joe gets stuff done.

Joe helped me manage H1N1 and prevent the Ebola epidemic from becoming the type of pandemic we’re seeing now. He helped me restore America’s standing and leadership in the world on the other threats of our time, like nuclear proliferation and climate change.

Joe has the character and the experience to guide us through one of our darkest times and heal us through a long recovery. And I know he’ll surround himself with good people – experts, scientists, military officials who actually know how to run the government and care about doing a good job running the government, and know how to work with our allies, and who will always put the American people’s interests above their own.

Now Joe will be a better candidate for having run the gauntlet of primaries and caucuses alongside one of the most impressive Democratic fields ever. Each of our candidates were talented and decent, with a track record of accomplishment, smart ideas, and serious visions for the future.

And that’s certainly true of the candidate who made it farther than any other – Bernie Sanders. Bernie’s an American original – a man who has devoted his life to giving voice to working people’s hopes, dreams, and frustrations. He and I haven’t always agreed on everything, but we’ve always shared a conviction that we have to make America a fairer, more just, more equitable society. We both know that nothing is more powerful than millions of voices calling for change. And the ideas he’s championed; the energy and enthusiasm he inspired, especially in young people, will be critical in moving America in a direction of progress and hope.

Because for the second time in twelve years, we’ll have the incredible task of rebuilding our economy. And to meet the moment, the Democratic Party will have to be bold.

You know, I could not be prouder of the incredible progress that we made together during my presidency. But if I were running today, I wouldn’t run the same race or have the same platform as I did in 2008. The world is different; there’s too much unfinished business for us to just look backwards. We have to look to the future. Bernie understands that. And Joe understands that. It’s one of the reasons that Joe already has what is the most progressive platform of any major party nominee in history. Because even before the pandemic turned the world upside down, it was already clear that we needed real structural change.

The vast inequalities created by the new economy are easier to see now, but they existed long before this pandemic hit. Health professionals, teachers, delivery drivers, grocery clerks, cleaners, the people who truly make our economy run – they’ve always been essential. And for years, too many of the people who do the essential work of this country have been underpaid, financially stressed, and given too little support. And that applies to the next generation of Americans – young people graduating into unprecedented unemployment. They’re going to need economic policies that give them faith in the future and give them relief from crushing student loan debt.

So we need to do more than just tinker around the edges with tax credits or underfunded programs. We have to go further to give everybody a great education, a lasting career, and a stable retirement.

We have to protect the gains we made with the Affordable Care Act, but it’s also time to go further. We should make plans affordable for everyone, provide everyone with a public option, expand Medicare, and finish the job so that health care isn’t just a right, but a reality for everybody.

We have to return the U.S. to the Paris Agreement, and lead the world in reducing the pollution that causes climate change. But science tells us we have to go much further – that it’s time for us to accelerate progress on bold new green initiatives that make our economy a clean energy innovator, save us money, and secure our children’s future.

Of course, Democrats may not always agree on every detail of the best way to bring about each and every one of these changes. But we do agree that they’re needed. And that only happens if we win this election.

Because one thing everybody has learned by now is that the Republicans occupying the White House and running the U.S. Senate are not interested in progress. They’re interested in power. They’ve shown themselves willing to kick millions off their health insurance and eliminate preexisting condition protections for millions more, even in the middle of this public health crisis, even as they’re willing to spend a trillion dollars on tax cuts for the wealthy. They’ve given polluters unlimited power to poison our air and our water, and denied the science of climate change just as they denied the science of pandemics. Repeatedly, they’ve disregarded American principles of rule of law, and voting rights, and transparency – basic norms that previous administrations observed regardless of party. Principles that are the bedrock of our democracy.

So our country’s future hangs on this election. And it won’t be easy. The other side has a massive war chest. The other side has a propaganda network with little regard for the truth. On the other hand, pandemics have a way of cutting through a lot of noise and spin to remind us of what is real, and what is important. This crisis has reminded us that government matters. It’s reminded us that good government matters. That facts and science matter. That the rule of law matters. That having leaders who are informed, and honest, and seek to bring people together rather than drive them apart – those kind of leaders matter.

In other words, elections matter. Right now, we need Americans of goodwill to unite in a great awakening against a politics that too often has been characterized by corruption, carelessness, self-dealing, disinformation, ignorance, and just plain meanness. And to change that, we need Americans of all political stripes to get involved in our politics and our public life like never before.

For those of us who believe in building a more just, more generous, more democratic America where everybody has a fair shot at opportunity. For those of us who believe in a government that cares about the many, and not just the few. For those of us who love this country and are willing to do our part to make sure it lives up to its highest ideals – now’s the time to fight for what we believe in.

So join us. Join Joe. Go to JoeBiden.com right now. Make a plan for how you are going to get involved. Keep taking care of yourself, and your families, and each other. Keep believing in the possibilities of a better world. And I will see you on the campaign trail as soon as I can.

Thanks.

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Ivanka’s Investment Advice Became a ‘Rotten Deal’ That Has the Trump Kids Hoping for a Bailout: Report

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According to a report from Forbes’ Dan Alexander, the children of Donald Trump are hoping that the sale of the lease of the Trump International Hotel in Washington DC, for a reported $400 million goes through because it will bail them out of a “rotten investment” first proposed by Ivanka.

Earlier in the week the Wall Street Journal reported that the lease for Trump International — which has been nothing but a money-loser for the family — might be purchased by a Miami-based investment firm known as CGI Merchant Group.

The Journal reported the lease could be going for a reported $400 million — a drop from the $500 million that was being sought two years before.

As Alexander points out there is some skepticism about that amount which could have a major bearing on how much money each of the Trump kids, Don Jr, Eric and Ivanka walk away with — and for that they can thank Ivanka.

The Forbes writer explained that the Trump International is an anomaly among Trump properties and that the suggestion the family make the investment years ago originated with Ivanka.

“For a 75-year-old billionaire, Donald Trump doesn’t seem to have passed down much of his fortune to his children … A review of documents suggests that in the Trump family, however, the heirs don’t hold ownership stakes in any of their father’s major assets, except one: The Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.,” the Forbes editor wrote. “The three eldest Trump children—Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka—all seem to have 7.5% interests in a lease on the property. Unfortunately for them, the asset has been performing poorly, losing so much money that one of Donald Trump’s holding companies has had to inject additional cash to prop up the business, according to an analysis of financial statements that the House Committee on Oversight and Reform released last week.”

According to Alexander, Ivanka made the investment suggestion while “Don Jr. worked on leasing retail spaces, and Eric helped look after the operation, but things did not go well,” adding, “Deutsche Bank provided $170 million of financing, and by August 31, 2017, the Trump Organization’s financial statements listed $193 million for building improvements, $18 million for furniture and equipment, $5 million for operating supplies and $100,000 for tenant improvements, according to the House documents. Total tally: $216 million.”

That total, the Forbes editor is key when it comes to understanding what a “rotten investment” it became.

Pointing out that the “Trump family had invested an estimated $240 million—$170 million of which came from Deutsche Bank and $70 million that seems to have come straight from the family’s pockets,” Alexander wrote. “Bad news, given that plenty of people don’t think the place is worth $240 million. After speaking with seven real estate experts, Forbes estimated last month that the property was worth $173 million. Assuming the Trumps haven’t paid any of the principal back on their loan, that means their equity amounts to just $3 million, $67 million less than the amount of cash the family apparently invested into the place before August 2020.”

That difference, he points out, means the Trump kids could walk away with little for their years of efforts — or they could be the recipients of a massive bailout.

“Some industry insiders questioned the credibility of that report, given the sky-high price. But if such a sale actually goes through, all of the financial problems that the hotel has caused for the Trumps would suddenly wash away,” he wrote. “The kids’ apparent 7.5% interests—which would be worth just $225,000 after debt at a $173 million valuation—would grow to an estimated $15 million apiece. That’s a lot of money for Eric and Don Jr., who Forbes estimated were each worth $25 million in 2019. It’s also a fair chunk of change for Ivanka, who shares a fortune estimated at $375 million with her husband, Jared Kushner, heir to a separate real estate dynasty.”

You can read more here.

 

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr and a CC license

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‘It’s Quite Glaring’: Top Lawyers Won’t Touch Trump With a ‘1000-Foot Pole’ as Legal Crises Escalate

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Donald Trump is facing intensifying legal pressure, but he’s been unable to attract the type of high-quality lawyers that would typically represent a former president in high-stakes cases.

At least four well-known attorneys have turned down repeated entreaties by Trump’s team in recent weeks, a source familiar with the discussions told CNN, leaving the twice-impeached one-term president with a small and relatively inexperienced legal team to litigate executive privilege and other constitutional issues.

“You’d want to see a top 10 national law firm with a big, experienced DC office,” said John Yoo, a University of California at Berkeley law professor and former Justice Department official for George W. Bush. “You don’t see that here. It’s quite glaring.”

Some big-name attorneys have been scared away by the ex-president’s reputation for non-payment of legal fees, according to sources close to conservative legal circles, while others are staying away because of the damage Trump’s previous lawyers have suffered to their reputations.

“It’s not a 10-foot pole,” Yoo said, “it’s a 1,000-foot pole.”

One attorney who turned Trump down is white-collar lawyer William Burck, who represented 11 Trump associates in the Robert Mueller investigation but turned down the former president three times in recent months because he had become too toxic after trying to overturn his election loss.

“I don’t even know who they are, they are just looking to get publicity,” Trump insisted in a statement. “I am using lawyers who have been with us from the beginning.”

Two former legal advisers, Patrick Philbin from the White House counsel’s office and Justin Clark from the 2020 campaign, are still involved in Trump’s legal affairs, but they might find it difficult to get paid if the former president doesn’t like the outcome in his fight over executive privilege.

“I do pay my lawyers when they do a good job,” Trump said.

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Cops Remove ‘Disorderly’ GOP US Senate Candidate Josh Mandel From School Board Meeting: Report

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Trump-loving Ohio GOP Senate candidate Josh Mandel was removed from a Butler County school board meeting after he got up and berated the board over its policies on masks and transgender students.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Mandel was invited to the meeting by school board candidate Darbi Boddy, who said she wanted him to speak on her behalf even though he didn’t even live in the district.

Although the board does allow nonresidents to address the board if a resident introduces them as their designee, Boddy apparently failed to follow proper protocols, which led the school board to ask Mandel to stop speaking.

Mandel, however, refused and continued to attack the board for forcing children to wear masks in schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.

At this point, two Butler County Sheriff’s officers escorted Mandel out of the meeting, and the Enquirer notes that board members may ask for assistance from law enforcement officials when “a disorderly person when that person’s conduct interferes with the orderly progress of the meeting.”

In an interview with the Enquirer, Mandel decried the shabby treatment he received.

“The school board was in total violation of their own rules and of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Mandel said in the interview. “They should be ashamed of themselves.”

Watch video of Mandel at the school board meeting below.

 

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