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Iowa entrance polls show MAGA fans turned out for caucus: Live updates

Donald Trump holds commanding lead over challengers Nikki Haley, Ron DeSantis and Vivek Ramaswamy

Oliver O'Connell,Ariana Baio
Tuesday 27 February 2024 20:45
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Trump cancels events in Iowa ahead of caucus as temperatures drop

The 2024 Republican candidates are eagerly awaiting the results of the Iowa caucuses on Monday – though if polling tells us anything, it’s that Donald Trump has a predictable commanding lead over the other candidates.

In a survey, conducted by The Des Moines Register, NBC News and Medicom, 48 per cent of potential voters said the former president was their first choice of Republican presidential candidates.

Former UN ambassador Nikki Haley was behind Mr Trump with 20 per cent support followed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis with 16 per cent.

Vivek Ramaswamy had just 8 per cent while only 5 per cent of potential voters said they were still unsure.

Of the survey respondents more than half said they had their minds made up regarding who they would cast their vote for.

But for the 32 per cent who could still be persuaded to support a candidate, the presidential candidates are fighting hard to convince them to join their teams.

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Does TSA still run if the government shuts down?

During federal shutdowns, government employees are told not to report for work and placed on furlough – although, since 2019, they are now paid retroactively when the impasse comes to an end, rather than forced to lose out on wages altogether.

What does that mean for the TSA and other public safety bodies?

Does TSA still run if the government shuts down?

Jobs considered essential for public safety are exempt from furlough rules

Oliver O'Connell27 February 2024 20:45
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Biden skewers Trump’s ‘old ideas’ as he defends own age

President Joe Biden made a surprise appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers on Monday and was faced with questions about his age, Gaza, all the way to the Taylor Swift conspiracy theory.

Seth Meyers donned a suit and tie as he welcomed the president, who was also a guest on the first-ever episode of the show, along with Amy Poehler, who also came back and introduced Mr Biden.

Meyers put forward a question to the 81-year-old president about his age, asking him how he can address many voter concerns over his seniority.

Amelia Neath reports:

Biden skewers Trump’s ‘old ideas’ as he defends own age on Seth Meyers show

“It’s about how old your ideas are. Look, I mean, this is a guy who wants to take us back”

Oliver O'Connell27 February 2024 20:00
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Why people are voting ‘uncommitted’ in Michigan’s Democrat primary

Democratic organisers in Michigan are urging residents to consider entering an “uncommitted” vote in Tuesday’s primary in response to the White House’s handling of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

The movement, coordinated by groups including Listen To Michigan, says that their pleas for the Biden administration to do more to end the devastation in Gaza has “fallen on deaf ears”.

“Frustrated with the lack of response, we are now turning to a more traditional method of democratic expression: our voting power,” the group’s website reads.

Here’s what you need to know:

Why people are voting ‘uncommitted’ over Biden in Michigan’s primary

Organisers say that the movement is a response to the Biden adminstration’s lack of action in the ongoing conflict in the Middle East

Mike Bedigan27 February 2024 19:30
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Media accused of complacency over ‘moderate’ Nikki Haley

The Daily Show guest host Desi Lydic has called out the characterisation of Nikki Haley as a “moderate” Republican, arguing that she has long been a conservative through and through.

“When you actually take a look at her policies, they aren’t that different from Trump,” the comedian said of Ms Haley on Thursday.

“When it comes down to it, there’s only one real difference between Nikki Haley and Donald Trump that’s getting her this label,” she added.

Martha McHardy has the story:

Daily Show host attacks media complacency over ‘moderate’ Nikki Haley

‘When you actually take a look at her policies, they aren’t that different from Trump,’ Desi Lydic said on ‘The Daily Show’

Oliver O'Connell27 February 2024 19:15
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White House readout of Biden and Harris’s meeting with congressional leadership

Today, President Biden and Vice President Harris met with Leader Schumer, Leader McConnell, Speaker Johnson, and Leader Jeffries in the Oval Office about the urgency of keeping the government open and passing the bipartisan national security supplemental. The President made clear that Congress must take swift action to fund the government and prevent a shutdown. A shutdown is unacceptable and would cause needless damage to hardworking families, our economy, and our national security. He emphasized that the only path forward is through bipartisan funding bills that deliver for the American people and are free of any extreme policies. The President also emphasized the urgent need for Congress to continue standing with Ukraine as it defends itself every day against Russia’s brutal invasion. He discussed how Ukraine has lost ground on the battlefield in recent weeks and is being forced to ration ammunition and supplies due to Congressional inaction. He underscored the importance of the bipartisan national security supplemental, which passed the Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support and would pass in the House if it was brought to a vote. He made clear that in addition to arming Ukraine and investing in America’s defense industrial base, the bill would help Israel defend itself against Hamas, and provide more humanitarian aid for those impacted by conflicts around the world, including Palestinian civilians who are experiencing dire humanitarian conditions.

Oliver O'Connell27 February 2024 18:53
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Speaker Johnson says White House meeting was ‘frank and honest'

Speaking to reporters, Speaker Mike Johnson called the White House meeting “frank and honest”, adding that he also had a “one-on-one” meeting with Joe Biden in which he pressed the president on the need for a plan for the southern border.

“The first priority of the country is our border and making it secure,” he said.

Mr Johnson also said that the “House is actively pressing all the options” on Ukraine, adding it will get done in a “timely” but did not offer specifics.

He expressed optimism that they will agree to a plan to fund the government and avert a shutdown.

Oliver O'Connell27 February 2024 18:25
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Watch: Schumer speaks to media after ‘intense’ White House meeting

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says the Big Four meeting was “one of the most intense” he’s ever been in because of how everyone impressed on House Speaker Mike Johnson the urgency of doing Ukraine aid now.

“This is an existential moment for the free world… we can’t say we won’t do Ukraine until we do border.”

Oliver O'Connell27 February 2024 18:20
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Ryan Binkley suspends presidential campaign

Who?

Here’s what we wrote in our guide to the candidates:

Pastor and businessman Ryan Binkley announced his entrance into the 2024 race on 9 May 2023 – another long-shot contender to challenge Mr Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination.

“We have to be unified,” Mr Binkley, 55, said at one event.

“We have to be in this place, because if we’re in a time of uncertainty, what it’s going to take is faith in God and faith in each other to get us through, and it’s not time for us to back down. It’s time for us to believe.”

Mr Binkley has said he is “absolutely” confident that he could take on Mr Trump, despite having little name recognition and no experience holding elected office.

Today, he dropped out of the race, posting this message to his supporters:

Today, I am suspending my campaign for the Presidency of the United States of America and offering my endorsement and unwavering support for President Trump. I would like to thank my family, friends, campaign team, 80,000 plus financial supporters, and the hundreds of volunteers who helped share my vision. Without your efforts, prayers, love, and generosity, none of this would have been possible.

When I began this journey, it was with a message in my heart that our country needs to awaken to the fact that the unsustainable deficit spending and debt path we are on will undoubtedly lead us to a generational economic disruption. I believe that we can get off that path and begin a journey to balance the federal budget by transforming and demonopolizing the healthcare system which has been bankrupting our nation. I also felt deeply that as bad as the U.S. fiscal and monetary policy is, the political corruption and cultural divide in our country is an even greater threat. Throughout my campaign, I have seen our party struggle to find a place for a new vision while weighing the corrupt allegations and indictments against President Trump. He will need everyone’s support, and he will have mine moving forward.

While it is time for me to go back to my family, business, and church and care for the responsibilities I have been given, I remain steadfast in my commitment to my plans for the economy, border security, and healthcare. I look forward to considering other ways I can make an impact and promote my policy positions. Thank you again for being with us on this journey. Let’s continue to pray for our nation, and our leaders. When we look to each other for wisdom and strength, our future can be better than we can imagine. I look forward to seeing what tomorrow holds.

Mr Binkley “loaned himself more than $10m and only earned just more than 2,000 votes across the four early-state nominating contests,” according to Politico.

Oliver O'Connell27 February 2024 18:11
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Meanwhile, over in California...

The former FBI informant Alexander Smirnov, who has been charged with lying about Joe and Hunter Biden, has been ordered by a California judge to stay in jail.

The 43-year-old appeared in a federal court in Los Angeles on Monday after being transported to the Golden State from Las Vegas, Nevada.

“There is nothing garden variety about this case,” Judge Otis Wright said on Monday, the AP reported. “I have not changed my mind. The man will be remanded pending trial.”

His court hearing comes after he was arrested twice within a week, being detained by US Marshals on Thursday morning at his lawyer’s office in Las Vegas.

Gustaf Kilander reports:

Ex-FBI informant charged with lying about Biden ordered to stay in jail pre-trial

Alexander Smirnov claimed without evidence in June 2020 that the Bidens took millions in bribes from Ukrainian energy company executives

Oliver O'Connell27 February 2024 18:07
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More cold water poured on GOP’s Biden impeachment case

Andrew Feinberg reports for The Independent:

A convicted felon and notorious fraudster interviewed by House investigators as part of the Republican-led impeachment probe into President Joe Biden has become the latest in a growing string of witnesses to pour cold water on claims of corruption.

Last week, the probe shifted its’ focus from Washington to Federal Prison Camp Montgomery in Alabama, where House investigators travelled to interview Jason Galanis, known there as Inmate 80739-198.

There, as The Independent previously reported, they sought to question him about business activities he had participated in with fellow convicted criminal Devon Archer – a former business partner of Mr Biden’s son, Hunter Biden.

A source familiar with the outcome of the transcribed interview told The Independent that the jailhouse interview turned up nothing in the way of incriminating evidence or testimony linking the president to his son’s activities.

Specifically, the source said that Galanis said under oath that Mr Biden never held any role with any business entity connected to his son.

Shucks.

Continue reading...

Notorious crime family member pours cold water on GOP’s Biden impeachment probe

EXCLUSIVE: Convicted felon Jason Galanis is the latest in a string of witnesses to have no evidence connecting Joe Biden with his son’s business activities

Oliver O'Connell27 February 2024 17:45

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