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Democrats blast Trump for not seeking congressional approval for Syria strike

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement that the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons attack was a “brutally inhumane war crime that demands a strong, smart and calculated response.” However, she said Trump must present a more comprehensive strategy on Syria to Congress and seek lawmakers’ approval.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., tweeted that it was the same as when Trump struck Syria last year without congressional approval.

“What changed? Zero,” Swalwell tweeted. “They’re still using chemical weapons. This is the result of a failure to have a strategy and engage Middle East countries to solve this problem.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said, “A pinpointed, limited action to punish and hopefully deter Assad from doing this again is appropriate, but the administration has to be careful about not getting us into a greater and more involved war in Syria.”

The president announced in an address to the nation from the White House that U.S. airstrikes, in tandem with the United Kingdom and France, were underway in Syria, in response to an alleged chemical attack near Damascus last weekend.

At a later Pentagon briefing, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that the president had the authority to launch the strikes under Article II of the Constitution because Mattis said Trump was defending U.S. interests.

Key Republicans on Capitol Hill said Friday night that they supported Trump’s decision.

“The United States has taken decisive action in coordination with our allies,” said Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who said at his weekly news conference Thursday that he believed that Trump had authority to act against Syria with any new congressional approval. “We are united in our resolve that Assad’s barbaric use of chemical weapons cannot go unanswered. His regime’s unconscionable brutality against innocent civilians cannot be tolerated.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said he supports “both the action and the objective.”

“I applaud the president for taking military action against the Assad regime for its latest use of chemical weapons, and for signaling his resolve to do so again if these heinous attacks continue,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Of note was Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who faces a tough re-election fight against Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott, and who backed Trump’s response to Syria, tweeting, “I support the attack because Assad must be held accountable for the use of chemical weapons.”

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'You're state funded!' Gavin Williamson in angry warning at 'crazy' universities

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GAVIN WILLIAMSON today launched into a passionate rant against snowflake universities refusing to provide a platform to certain political figures.

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Battleground voters not buying Trump’s tough talk on China, new poll shows

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WASHINGTON — With President Donald Trump casting himself as the only candidate strong enough to take on China, voters in key battleground states don’t share his view of Beijing as an urgent threat to the U.S., a new poll finds. Just 1 in 5 call standing up to China a top security issue influencing their votes.

Terrorism — long top of mind in the years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 — has faded as a predominant concern. It has been usurped by worry about global pandemics, according to a survey by Democratic pollster Geoff Garin of voters in 12 states most likely to determine control of the White House and the Senate.

In March, just 25 percent of likely voters said they prioritized protecting the U.S. from pandemics, but the number has almost doubled, jumping to 45 percent, according to the survey. Only 29 percent in the battleground states listed terrorism as a top concern as they decide their votes in the election, including just 41 percent of Republicans.

“The fact that terrorism’s been replaced in this way, at least for this election, by keeping Americans safe from pandemics is a very significant development,” said Garin, who conducted the poll for National Security Action, an advocacy group that opposes Trump.

Traditionally, national security has taken a back seat to the economy, health care and other closer-to-home issues as top issues driving voters’ decisions.

This year, the usual lines between foreign and domestic policy are blurrier, with a deadly virus spreading without regard to borders and disrupting the global supply chain. Americans’ confidence in the integrity of their democracy, shaken once by Russian meddling in 2016, is again in question, as U.S. spy agencies warn that several countries are actively seeking to interfere this year.

Covid-19 and the election’s integrity are among the topics Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will be grilled about when they meet in Cleveland for the first presidential debate Tuesday.

In the poll, 6 in 10 voters said Trump has made America less respected globally, while half say his leadership has made the U.S. less safe and increased the likelihood of a war. But Biden fares about the same on those questions, with 49 percent saying he would make America more respected as president and 46 percent saying he would make the U.S. safer.

Still, the findings suggest that Trump’s campaign may face difficultly framing the choice and stakes in the election in the way Trump has presented them. In Trump’s telling, fault for the pandemic lies squarely with a malevolent China, which he says would “own” America and its jobs if Biden were elected.

Trump has insisted that China — not Russia — poses the biggest threat to the election while rebranding the coronavirus as the “China virus” to shift blame. At the same time, the president and his allies have sought to paint Biden as too weak to stand up to China, pointing to his record on trade policies and his son’s business dealings in the country.

“Joe Biden’s agenda is made in China. My agenda is made in the USA,” Trump told a crowd of thousands at his rally this month in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, one of the battleground states included in the poll.

But the survey found that most voters, asked about their preferred approaches to China, favor a middle ground that’s neither confrontational nor acquiescent. Sixty percent agree that the U.S. should “maintain a constructive relationship with China and resolve our differences diplomatically.” That’s compared to 40 percent who said the U.S. should be “aggressive in confronting China on trade and security issues, even at the risk of a more hostile relationship.”

“What people know about Trump and China is the trade war, but they don’t view that as a success,” Garin said in an interview.

Still, voters in battleground states split largely along partisan lines over China, with a majority of Republicans favoring the aggressive approach and a majority of Democrats favoring the “constructive” one.

Voters were about evenly split on some of Trump’s other national security policies, with 50 percent saying Trump’s increased military spending is a fairly or very convincing reason to re-elect him and the same percentage saying that of his trade deals. Asked about his handling of the coronavirus, 59 percent disapproved, including 71 percent of voters who listed Covid-19 as their top issue.

Overall, the poll finds Biden with a 5-point lead over Trump, besting him by 49 percent to 44 percent in the battleground states — similar to the advantage Biden has had in other recent polls in the battleground states.

Consistent with other recent polls, Trump makes up for some of Biden’s 13-point edge among women by carrying 50 percent of men, compared to just 46 percent of men who said they’re voting for Biden.

The online poll of 1,228 likely voters was conducted Sept. 4-11. It included voters in three states that are fiercely contested in the presidential race — Florida, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — as well as voters in nine states that are battlegrounds for both the White House and the race for control of the Senate: Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire and North Carolina. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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Labour Party's Andy Burnham proposes 9PM ban on alcohol sales to stop COVID-19 spread

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THE LABOUR PARTY’s Andy Burnham suggested the sale of alcohol could be banned after 9PM to avoid crowds rushing to off-licences and supermarkets once pubs have shut down.

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