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Biden, Yang feud over former VP’s absence from candidate forum

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Former Vice President Joe Biden and fellow Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang continued to trade barbs Tuesday in a feud that began with Yang blasting Biden for skipping a major Democratic event in Iowa on Sunday.

It was at that event, the Iowa Democratic Party’s Hall of Fame dinner in Cedar Rapids, where Yang criticized Biden for failing to be in attendance. Biden said he skipped the gathering to attend his granddaughter’s high school graduation.

“When I saw the program for today, I thought the same thing you all did, which is this: Joe Biden must really not like to travel,” Yang said.

Nearly 20 Democratic candidates were at the event, and Biden has come under some criticism early in the cycle for having a lighter campaign schedule than some of his Democratic rivals. In response to Yang’s remark, Biden said his family was more important than a brief speaking engagement.

“One of my competitors criticized me for not going to Iowa to talk for five minutes,” Biden said Monday, not mentioning Yang’s name. “My granddaughter was graduating. It was my daughter’s birthday. I would skip inauguration for that.”

Biden continued the back-and-forth on Tuesday during his own Iowa event.

“To me, I have to admit to you, this particular person said he would’ve been there,” Biden said. “Well I have different values than him. It’s family, family, family. I make no apologies for not showing up and speaking for five minutes. Especially when I have almost eight months to come and talk to you all. But I would not miss my granddaughter’s graduation. I think all those of you of Iowa values, you wouldn’t all either.”

Yang responded on Twitter soon after, saying that missing family obligations is “what happens when you run for President.”

Biden is the early Democratic frontrunner, while Yang is polling at around 1 percent in most surveys. However, Yang, a businessman who has never held public office, has run a surprising upstart campaign. He qualified for the initial debate by hitting both fundraising and polling requirements and faring better in the primary’s early months than some of his more notable competitors.



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Politics

Jeremy Corbyn BLUNDER: Labour leader ‘did not know’ ISIS leader ‘blew himself up’

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JEREMY CORBYN has come under more fire for suggesting ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi should have been arrested and put on trial.

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Pelosi: 'Nobody should have the right to endanger whistleblowers'

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters in her weekly briefing that she stood by the whistleblower, and that any threat to them “undermines our ability to hear truth about power.”

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First public impeachment hearing ‘corroborated evidence of bribery’

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WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Thursday that the testimony presented by two career U.S. diplomats at the first House impeachment hearing a day earlier had presented evidence of bribery committed by President Donald Trump.

“The devastating testimony corroborated evidence of bribery uncovered in the inquiry and that the president abused power and violated his oath by threatening to withhold military aid and a White House meeting in exchange for an investigation into a political rival,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference.

Asked to further elaborate on her statement regarding bribery, Pelosi said, “Well, you know we’re talking Latin around here — e pluribus unum, from anyone, quid pro quo, bribery, and that is in the Constitution, attached to the impeachment proceeding. …”

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“The bribe is to grant or withhold military assistance in return for a public statement of a fake investigation into the elections — that’s bribery,” she said.

Pelosi continued to assert that Democrats still have not made a decision about whether to pursue articles of impeachment against the president.

The speaker also said that what Trump had done in the Ukraine case “make[s] what Nixon did look almost small,” referring to the Watergate-related charges that led to the 37th president’s impeachment.

Under section 4, Article II of the Constitution, “The President, Vice President and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Pelosi’s comments come amid a Democratic shift in the language used to describe Trump’s actions with regard to Ukraine that lie at the heart of the current impeachment inquiry. Lawmakers had called the president’s moves a “quid pro quo,” but have recently shifted to a more uniform use of more widely used terms that Democrats believe may resonate more deeply with voters.

In his testimony Wednesday, acting Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor testified that a White House meeting between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the release of U.S. aid to Ukraine were conditioned on Ukraine announcing investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, as well as the 2016 presidential election.

George Kent, a senior State Department official, also testified about those investigations and the efforts by Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to smear former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and pressure Ukraine to launch those probes.

Pelosi was also asked Thursday about the whistleblower, whom Hill Republicans and Trump have called on to offer formal testimony. “Nobody should have the right to endanger whistleblowers, and that is a right that I will defend,” she said. “Any retribution or harm coming to the whistleblower undermines our ability to have truth about power.”

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