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Bernie Sanders pulls out narrow win over Buttigieg in the New Hampshire Democratic primary

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MANCHESTER, N.H. — Sen. Bernie Sanders narrowly won the New Hampshire Democratic primary by a margin of about 4,000 votes, or less than 2 percentage points, over Pete Buttigieg, according to an NBC News projection.

Sanders, I-Vt.,, had been leading in the polls, so his victory wasn’t a surprise. But he and Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, were closely bunched with the third-place candidate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., allowing all three to claim either victory or solid momentum going into the next round of voting.

At the same time, former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., were headed toward poor showings and failed to get any delegates, NBC News projected.

With 94 percent of precincts reported, Sanders had 26 percent, or 70,546 votes, Buttigieg was at 24.4 percent, or 66,219 votes, Klobuchar had 19.8 percent, or 53,662 votes, Warren had 9.3 percent, or 25,306 votes and Biden was at 8.4 percent, or 22,884 votes, according to the NBC News tally.

Candidates must meet a threshold of 15 percent in the state’s two congressional districts or statewide to win delegates. Aware of a poor showing, Biden has already left New Hampshire for South Carolina, the site of the next primary.

Sanders, Klobuchar and Buttigieg had all reached the threshold to win delegates at the congressional district and statewide level, according to NBC News. With 24 delegates at stake, Sanders and Buttigieg each had 9 and Klobuchar won 6.

Addressing a raucous crowd at his election night event, Sanders pledged to win in Nevada and South Carolina too.

“And what I can tell you, with absolute certainty, and I know I speak for every one of the Democratic candidates, is that no matter who wins — and we certainly hope it’s going to be us — we’re going to unite together,” he said. “We are going to unite together and defeat the most dangerous president in the modern history of this country.”

“The reason that we are going to win is that we are putting together an unprecedented, multi-generational, multi-racial political movement,” he added. “And this is a movement from coast to coast, which is demanding that we finally have an economy and a government that works for all of us, not wealthy campaign contributors.”

At his election night event, Buttigieg said he “admired” Sanders and added, “when I was a high school student, I respect him greatly to this day, and I congratulate him on his strong showing tonight.”

But the former mayor appeared to make some comments critical of Sanders’ platform.

“Americans want the freedom to make choices for themselves on health care or on any other issue not to have Washington decide for them, and a politics of my way or the highway is a road to re-electing Donald Trump,” Buttigieg said. “Vulnerable Americans do not have the luxury of pursuing ideological purity over an inclusive victory.”

When Buttigieg’s speech began projecting at Sanders’ election night event, the Vermont senator’s supporters began loudly booing and chanted “Wall Street Pete,” “Bernie beats Trump” and “popular vote.”

NBC News exit polls showed that 48 percent of the state’s Democratic primary voters made up their mind within the past few days — a substantial increase from 25 percent saying they did in 2016 and 38 percent in 2008. The same amount of Democratic voters, 48 percent, said Friday’s debate, in which Klobuchar’s performance was widely praised, was either the most important or an important factor in their choice.

At her primary night event, Klobuchar said her campaign has “beaten the odds every step of the way.”

“We have done it on the merits,” she said. “We have done it with ideas. And we have done it with hard work, because we are resilient and strong as the people of this great nation.”

“If you want a nominee who can stand up to Donald Trump on that debate stage, which you well know I can do, I need your votes, yes,” she said, adding, “I don’t have that big bank account. I don’t have that big name as some of the other people that are in this race. And I am not a new comer with no political record. But what I do is get things done. What I have is your back.”

Addressing supporters in Manchester, Warren said Democrats “might be headed for another one of those long primary fights that lasts for months.”

“We’re two states in, with 55 states and territories to go,” she said. “We still have 98 percent of the delegates for our nomination up for grabs, and Americans in every part of our country are going to make their voices heard.”

She added that Sanders and Buttigieg are “great people” and would be better than Trump, but “the fight between factions in our party has taken a sharp turn in recent weeks, with ads mocking other candidates and with supporters of some candidates shouting curses about other Democratic candidates.”

“These harsh tactics might work if you are willing to burn down the rest of the party in order to be the last man standing,” she said. “They might work if you don’t worry about leaving our party and our politics worse off than how you found it and they might work if you think only you have all the answers and only you are the solution to all our problems.”

Biden pledged to return to New Hampshire in the fall “to defeat Donald Trump in November.”

“So don’t go away, you’re not getting rid of us, we’re coming back and we love you,” he said from South Carolina.

Speaking to supporters in South Carolina, Biden said: “We just heard from the first two of 50 states, not all the nation, not half the nation, not a quarter of the nation, not 10 percent, two, two.”

“Where I come from, that’s the opening bell,” he added. “Not the closing bell and the fight to end Donald Trump’s presidency is just beginning, just beginning.”

On the Republican side, President Donald Trump won the GOP primary, NBC News projected. The president spent much of Tuesday night jabbing Democrats on Twitter, saying, “A lot of Democrat dropouts tonight, very low political I.Q.”

He tweeted at Warren, writing she was “having a really bad night,” adding he thinks “she is sending signals that she wants out.” Trump also took aim at former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is not participating in the early primary states, saying he was having “a very bad night.”

On Buttigieg, Trump wrote: “Bootedgeedge (Buttigieg) is doing pretty well tonight.”

“Giving Crazy Bernie a run for his money,” he continued. “Very interesting!”

Meanwhile, upstart Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang dropped out of the race Tuesday evening, sources close to the campaign said. Yang rose from obscurity to become a second-tier player in the primary and outpaced a number of prominent current and former elected officials.

“We have touched and improved millions of lives and moved this country we love so much in the right direction,” Yang told supporters in Manchester. “And while there is great work left to be done, you know I am the math guy, and it is clear tonight from the numbers that we are not going to win this race. I am not someone who wants to accept donations and support in a race that we will not win. And so tonight I am announcing I am suspending my campaign for president.”

Additionally, Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., announced he, too, is dropping out of the race following a poor showing in New Hampshire.

“I wish all those candidates well that are going beyond New Hampshire,” Bennet told supporters. “I think it’s fitting for us to end the campaign tonight, but I want to remind you of why I got in this race, why I stayed in this race and why we have to stay in this fight.”

Entering primary day, Sanders was comfortably leading in the polls, trailed by Buttigieg. Behind them was a three-way battle for third place between a surging Klobuchar, Warren and Biden.

The vote came as last week’s Iowa caucus results were being contested. Both Sanders and Buttigieg have claimed victory there.

Democratic candidates spent the day of New Hampshire’s first-in-the-nation primary talking up their candidacies and taking aim at a rival who isn’t even on the ballot here — Bloomberg, who is bypassing the early states to focus on the March 3 Super Tuesday contests.

The billionaire surged in national polls as the New Hampshire vote neared and has poured more than $100 million into advertising so far, building up a large ground game in more than 30 states, too.

“This is what I think, you know, Mike Bloomberg and anybody else has every right in the world to run for president of the United States,” Sanders said in an interview with NBC News anchor Lester Holt. “But I got a real problem with multibillionaires literally buying elections.”

The early story of the day was Biden’s decision to leave New Hampshire hours before the polls closed and head straight to South Carolina, where he enjoys an advantage with black voters in the state, though that edge over his rivals has been quickly narrowing.

“Look, the rest of the nation is out there,” Biden said at a Manchester Dunkin’ store on Tuesday. “There’s an awful lot of electoral votes to be had, and we’re going to see and I think we are going to do well in Nevada and in South Carolina, and we’ll go from there. We’ll see.”



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Hope Hicks, a former Trump aide, will return to the White House to work with Jared Kushner

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Hope Hicks, the former White House communications director and top press aide to President Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, is returning to the White House, a senior White House official told NBC News on Thursday.

“Hope won’t be part of the communications department,” the senior official said. “She will be working closely with Jared Kushner and Brian Jack in a number of strategic areas.”

Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, is a senior adviser to the president with a wide policy portfolio, and Jack is the White House political director.

Hicks’ portfolio will include the 2020 re-election campaign and her title is expected to be counselor to the president, a former White House official familiar with the decision said.

Hicks departed the White House in 2018 and took on a senior role in Fox Corporation’s communications office.

“There is no one more devoted to implementing President Trump’s agenda than Hope Hicks,” Kushner said in a statement. “We are excited to have her back on the team.”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement: “I have worked with Hope for almost six years and can say without hesitation she is one of the most talented and savvy individuals I have come across. She has always impressed me with her quiet confidence, loyalty and expertise, and I am beyond thrilled to welcome Hope back to the White House.”

Hicks did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

A former model, Hicks had no political experience prior to joining the Trump campaign. Before that, she worked for Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump.

Her 2018 resignation came one day after she testified before the House Intelligence Committee in its investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Hicks was referred to nearly 180 times in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the matter.

When she resigned, Hicks said in a statement there were “no words to adequately express my gratitude to President Trump.”



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Jessie Liu, ex-U.S. attorney who oversaw Roger Stone case, resigns from Trump administration

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The former U.S. attorney whose office oversaw the Roger Stone prosecution resigned from the Trump administration Wednesday, two days after President Donald Trump abruptly withdrew her nomination for a top job at the Treasury Department.

Jessie Liu had headed the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, D.C., which oversaw several cases that originated with former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including prosecutions of longtime Trump associate Stone and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Liu was moved from the U.S. attorney’s office after Trump nominated her to serve as the Treasury Department’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial crimes, a top position overseeing economic sanctions.

A source told NBC News earlier this week that after Liu was nominated, she told the lawyers in her office that she would stay put until she was confirmed. However, Attorney General William Barr asked her to leave around Feb. 1 to ensure continuity in the office, and she agreed.

On the day Liu left, the Justice Department submitted a softer sentencing recommendation for Flynn, who had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. The new filing said prosecutors believed probation would be an appropriate sentence for Flynn. They had previously asked that he spend up to six months behind bars.

A similar scenario played out in a more spectacular way in Stone’s this case week. After prosecutors on the case recommended a 7 to 9 year sentence for Stone on Monday, the U.S. attorney’s office abruptly changed course the next day, saying that amount of time would be “excessive” and that Stone should get a lesser sentence.

Stone’s entire prosecution team resigned from the case in protest.

The 180-degree turn came after Trump had tweeted overnight that the proposed sentence was “disgraceful!”

“This is a horrible and very unfair situation,” the president wrote in a follow-up post on Twitter. “The real crimes were on the other side, as nothing happens to them. Cannot allow this miscarriage of justice!”

Top Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec told NBC News that the decision to reverse course on the sentencing recommendation was made prior to Trump’s almost 2 a.m. tweet.

Liu was not involved in the sentencing debacle, but the president apparently hasn’t been happy with how her office handled the case initially, telling reporters in the Oval Office on Tuesday that “I thought the whole prosecution was ridiculous.”

Liu’s office also handled the criminal investigation into former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who was accused by the Justice Department’s inspector general of lying to investigators. McCabe has not been charged, despite calls by Trump for him to go to prison.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has called for the Justice Department’s inspector general to investigate what pressure Trump and Barr might have exerted behind the scenes. He said the rule of law “is just being totally perverted to Donald Trump’s own personal desires and needs and it’s a disgrace.”

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SNP FARCE: Sturgeon won't end poverty for thousands of Scots for fear of English 'RAIDS'

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NICOLA STURGEON has been accused of not “ending poverty” for thousands of Scots amid fears England will raid their stock, Ian Murray Labour MP has suggested.

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