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    Senate rival accuses Dr Oz of killing over 300 dogs as medical researcher

    Senate rival accuses Dr Oz of killing over 300 dogs as medical researcherRepublican condemned by John Fetterman as ‘puppy killer’ after reports allege Oz oversaw animal deaths between 1989 and 2010 An already over-the-top and acrimonious US Senate race in Pennsylvania has escalated after John Fetterman – the Democratic candidate – accused his Republican opponent, the celebrity physician Dr Oz, of having killed more than 300 dogs.Biden apologizes after mistakenly calling on late congresswomanRead moreCalling his rival “sick” and a “puppy killer”, Fetterman cited reporting published on Monday alleging that Mehmet Oz oversaw numerous animal deaths while conducting medical research at Columbia University.“[A] review of 75 studies published by Mehmet Oz between 1989 and 2010 reveals the Republican Senate candidate’s research killed over 300 dogs and inflicted significant suffering on them and the other animals used in experiments,” Jezebel, the publication that broke the story, wrote.The research also harmed pigs, rabbits and small rodents, according to Jezebel.Oz’s political staff have denied the allegation. When asked about it by Newsweek, a spokesperson for the Oz campaign said: “Only the idiots at Newsweek believe what they read at Jezebel.”A veterinarian who worked with Columbia, Catherine Dell’Orto, previously accused Oz’s research team of violating the Animal Welfare Act. Among other allegations, she said that the team was euthanizing dogs without sedation using expired drugs and, in other cases, failing to euthanize dogs who were suffering.Dell’Orto said that Oz did not personally euthanize the dogs but that his research methods contributed to their mistreatment and benefited from their exploitation.Oz and Fetterman have been locked in a highly negative and unusually personal political race marked by frequent Twitter sparring and meme warfare. Fetterman, the lieutenant governor, has painted Oz as a rich and out-of-touch non-Pennsylvanian, while Oz has accused Fetterman – who had a stroke earlier this year and reportedly has trouble talking – of hiding from public appearances.Earlier in his campaign, Fetterman had a strong edge over Oz, but polls have shown that advantage shrinking, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The race is now tight, and Fetterman’s campaign has wasted no time in making hay with the latest Oz controversy.“BREAKING: Dr Oz is a puppy killer,” Fetterman tweeted on Monday. Later he posted a picture with his two dogs and wrote: “Hugging them extra tight tonight.”TopicsUS politicsPennsylvaniaRepublicansDemocratsUS SenatenewsReuse this content More

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    Herschel Walker: anti-abortion Senate nominee denies media report he paid for abortion in 2009

    Herschel Walker: anti-abortion Senate nominee denies media report he paid for abortion in 2009Republican candidate for US Senate in Georgia who has vehemently opposed abortion rights denies a media report he paid for an abortion for an anonymous former girlfriend in 2009, describing it as ‘a flat out lie’ A Republican nominee for the US Senate, who strongly opposes abortion rights, has denied a Daily Beast report that he paid for an abortion for a former girlfriend in 2009. Herschel Walker, a former American football player who is running for the US Senate in Georgia, called the accusation a “flat-out lie” and says he will sue the news outlet for defamation.The Daily Beast published claims from a woman who says Walker paid for her abortion when they were dating. The woman, who was not named, claimed the allegation was supported by a receipt showing a $575 payment for the procedure, along with a get-well card, purportedly from Walker.According to The Daily Beast, her bank deposit records show the image of a $700 personal check, purportedly from Walker, dated five days after the abortion receipt.The woman claimed in The Daily Beast report that Walker encouraged her to end the pregnancy, saying that the time wasn’t right for a baby.In a statement, Walker said he would file a lawsuit against the news outlet.“This is a flat-out lie and I deny this in the strongest terms possible,” he wrote.Matt Fuller, the politics editor for The Daily Beast, tweeted in response: “I can tell you we stand behind every word and feel very solid about the story.”The allegation against Walker is the latest in a series of stories about the former football star’s past that have rocked the first-time candidate’s campaign in one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. Earlier this year, Walker acknowledged reports that he had three children that he had not previously talked about publicly.As a Senate hopeful, Walker has supported a national ban on abortions with no exceptions for cases involving rape, incest or a woman’s health being at risk.“I’m for life,” Walker has said repeatedly as he campaigns. When asked about whether he’d allow for any exceptions, he has said there are “no excuses” for the procedure.Walker has sidestepped many questions about his earlier support for a national abortion ban, instead trying to turn the issue against his Democratic rival, Senator Raphael Warnock, who supports abortion rights. Walker often characterises abortion as “a woman killing her baby” and says he doesn’t understand how Warnock, a Baptist pastor, can support the procedure being legal.Senator Warnock was dismissive when told of The Daily Beast story and when asked whether it might affect the outcome in Georgia. “I’ll let the pundits decide,” he said.On Monday night, Walker appeared on Fox News where he was asked if he recalled sending a $700 check to a girlfriend.“Well, I sent money to a lot of people,” he said. “I give money to people all the time because I’m always helping people. I believe in being generous. God has blessed me. I want to bless others.”TopicsUS midterm elections 2022Roe v WadeGeorgiaAbortionUS politicsRepublicansnewsReuse this content More

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    Biden pledges support to hurricane-hit Puerto Rico: ‘All of America is with you’ – as it happened

    That’s it for the US politics blog today! Here’s a rundown of everything that happened:
    Biden spoke in Ponce, Puerto Rico this afternoon, pledging future support for the island as it still deals with the impact of Hurricane Fiona. Biden also announced $60mn in federal funding that will come from the bipartisan infrastructure bill that passed last year.
    The White House did not confirm if Biden will be meeting with Florida governor Ron DeSantis, given the frayed relationship between the two politicians. Biden is scheduled to visit Florida on Wednesday to assess damage the state sustained from Hurricane Ian, but partisan tensions have been mounting as Republicans face backlash for previously downvoting federal assistance for states dealing with natural disasters.
    A jury heard arguments in seditious conspiracy charges against the founder of the far-right group Oath Keepers and four of its associates. The trial is the most serious case so far stemming from the 6 January capitol attack.
    The Supreme court started its new term today, hearing arguments about a case dealing with social media companies being held financially responsible for terrorism and enforcement of the Clean Water Act. Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson sat on the bench for the first time, the first Black woman to serve on the highest court.
    That’s it for today; thank you for reading! Biden just wrapped up remarks in Puerto Rico, where he discussed past failures to support the island during previous natural disasters and future initiatives to ensure proper storm preparation.Biden acknowledged previous shortcomings in aiding Puerto Rico during intense storms, including Hurricane Maria: “You haven’t gotten the help in a timely way,” said Biden.”You haven’t gotten the help in a timely way,” @POTUS, in Ponce, says of #PuertoRico and disasters in recent years. pic.twitter.com/T4NCjjD9TG— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) October 3, 2022
    Biden added: “We came here in person to show that we’re with you. All of America is with you.”“I’m committed to this island,” said Biden, adding that he is “confident” the US can meet asks from governor Pedro Pierluisi for the US to extend the disaster declaration in Puerto Rico, cover 100% of the cost to move debris, and provide other federal assistance.Biden noted that more has to be done to help prepare Puerto Rico for future storms, announcing the $60mn that the island will receive in federal funding from the bipartisan infrastructure bill passed last year.“We have to ensure when the next hurricane hits Puerto Rico, we are ready,” said Biden.Biden added: “We are not leaving here as long as I am president until everything – I mean this sincerely – until every single thing we can do is done.””We are not leaving here as long as I am president until everything – I mean this sincerely – until every single thing we can do is done,” Biden says in Puerto Rico.— Joey Garrison (@joeygarrison) October 3, 2022
    Biden’s remarks are just beginning. Stay tuned for updates! Here’s video of the Bidens greeting Puerto Rico officials after landing in Ponce, where Biden is set to speak shortly.Wheels down in Ponce, Puerto Rico pic.twitter.com/lP2bDSgkEg— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) October 3, 2022
    Puerto Rico governor Pedro Pierluisi was on the ground to greet Biden and shared a message of welcome via Twitter.It’s my honor to welcome @POTUS and @FLOTUS to our island. The people of Puerto Rico are grateful for your steadfast support and appreciate your visit and continuous commitment to rebuild for a brighter future. pic.twitter.com/kHWY9RrDi1— Gobernador Pierluisi (@GovPierluisi) October 3, 2022
    Joe Biden’s remarks in Puerto Rico were set to begin shortly, but Biden and first lady Jill Biden have just touched down.While we wait, here’s information on how Hurricane Fiona initially impacted the island, from the Guardian’s Nina Lakhani:.css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}Most of Puerto Rico was still without power or safe drinking water on Monday, with remnants of a category 1 hurricane that struck there a day earlier forecast to bring more heavy rain and life-threatening flooding.
    Hundreds of people are trapped in emergency shelters across the Caribbean island, with major roads underwater and reports of numerous collapsed bridges. Crops have been washed away while flash floods, landslides and fallen trees have blocked roads, swept away vehicles and caused widespread damage to infrastructure.
    Two-thirds of the island’s almost 800,000 homes and businesses have no water after Hurricane Fiona caused a total blackout on Sunday and swollen rivers contaminated the filtration system. The storm was causing havoc in the Dominican Republic by early Monday.
    Lights went out across Puerto Rico just after 1pm on Sunday, leaving only those households and businesses with rooftop solar or functioning generators with power. Critically ill patients had to be moved from the island’s main cancer hospital in the capital, San Juan, after the backup generator failed due to voltage fluctuations – an issue that has led to regular blackouts over the past year.Read the full article here.Puerto Rico battles blackout and lack of safe water in wake of Hurricane FionaRead moreHere’s a recap of what’s happened so far today in the world of US politics:
    Biden and first lady Jill Biden are en-route to Puerto Rico, where he will survey damage sustained by Hurricane Fiona and announce $60mn in federal funding for the island’s storm preparations. He is scheduled to give remarks there at 2:30pm eastern time.
    Partisan tensions are boiling, with Hurricane Ian recovery efforts underway. Republicans are accused of withholding relief money that could help states dealing with similar natural disasters in the future following the current crisis in Florida.
    The White House did not confirm if Biden will be meeting with Florida governor Ron DeSantis, given the frayed relationship between the two politicians. Biden is scheduled to visit Florida on Wednesday to assess damage the state sustained from Hurricane Ian.
    A jury heard opening arguments in seditious conspiracy charges against the founder of the far-right group Oath Keepers, the most serious case so far stemming from the 6 January capitol attack.
    The Supreme court started its new term today, with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson sitting on the bench for the first time, the first Black woman to serve on the court.
    While speaking on Air Force One, Jean-Pierre spoke on Biden’s upcoming trip to Florida to survey damage sustained from Hurricane Ian.Jean-Pierre declined to say if Biden will be joined by Florida governor Ron DeSantis, adding that she does not have a readout of what the trip will entail.WH press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre declines to say if Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis will join Biden during his visit to the state Wednesday to survey hurricane damage.— Jennifer Shutt (@JenniferShutt) October 3, 2022
    Jean-Pierre also added that the focus of the coming visit will be on “the people of Florida”, with Jean-Pierre not mentioning if Biden will speak to DeSantis about using government funds to fly migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, a move Biden has criticized.Last week, Biden said that he and the governor have spoken multiple times, not ruling out if he will meet with DeSantis or not.“I’ll meet with anybody who’s around. The answer is: Yes, if he wants to meet”, said Biden, reported NPR.White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre is now speaking with reporters aboard Air Force One as Biden and first lady Jill Biden make their way to Ponce, Puerto Rico.Listen along here. Updates from the briefing coming soon!As Puerto Rico prepares for Joe Biden’s visit this afternoon, a grassroots collective known as Queremos Sol (we want sun) has published an open letter (in Spanish) in the La Perla online daily urging the president to not waste federal taxpayer dollars on rebuilding the storm vulnerable fossil fuel dependent grid. “As you know, the absence of electricity after Hurricane Maria caused thousands of deaths. Now, two weeks after Hurricane Fiona, several deaths related to the lack of electricity have been documented. To a large extent, these deaths could have been prevented.“There is an urgent need to transform the electrical system to one that provides service resilient, renewable and affordable electricity.The Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) is poised to spend historic amounts of taxpayer funds [$14bn] to rebuild the same vulnerable, imported fossil fuel-dependent, centralized electrical system that has so many times failed the Puerto Rican population and, now more, under the operation of LUMA Energy….. [Instead Fema] must prioritize distributed renewable energy projects, such as battery-powered rooftop solar systems on homes, businesses and institutions in Puerto Rico, starting with the poorest and most marginalized communities.”After category 1 Fiona caused a total blackout over the island, around 40,000 homes and businesses with rooftop solar panels – folks with high incomes or access to credit – kept the lights on. Today, more than two weeks later, around 300,000 people, around 10% of the population, are without power, and some have been warned it could take weeks to resort. Water supplies, which rely on power, remain unstable in some neighbourhoods. The letter from Queremos Sol, which includes health experts, scientists, activists, ordinary residents and attorneys like Ruth Santiago, who will meet Biden this afternoon, continues: “It is foreseeable that rebuilding the same network, as proposed by LUMA, will perpetuate the vicious cycle of destruction and reconstruction, as well as the loss of life. The plan to rebuild the network of the last century is not in line with his administration’s policies on environmental and climate justice. …Using disaster recovery funds already allocated to provide universal access to resilient renewable energy would save lives and put Puerto Rico on a path to viability.”Read more here As recovery from Hurricane Ian is underway in Florida, Republicans are catching flack for rejecting natural disaster relief given the devastation from the storm in their home state. More recently, Republican senator Marco Rubio has vowed to reject any federal relief bill for Hurricane Ian if it has “pork”, reported Politico. “Sure. I will fight against it having pork in it. That’s the key. We shouldn’t have that in there, because it undermines the ability to come back and do this in the future”, said Rubi on Sunday while speaking on CNN’s “State of the Union”. Rubio, like all Florida Republicans, rejected a stop-gap spending bill that would give federal funding to states dealing with natural disasters. Democrats have accused Republicans of holding out on critical assistance, though the funding would not have gone towards recovery from Hurricane Ian. “Not one Florida Republican in Congress who was present, voted to put the interests of those suffering from tragedy above their own political fortunes,” said Democratic representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, reported Politico.Florida Democratic Party chair Manny Diaz said “this is a level of callous indifference and political indifference that boggles the mind.”Here is more information on the Oath Keepers, including their history and their membership base: .css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}The Oath Keepers, founded in 2009 by Stewart Rhodes, is a loosely organized conspiracy theory-fueled group that recruits current and former military, police and first responders. It asks its members to vow to defend the constitution “against all enemies, foreign and domestic”, promotes the belief that the federal government is out to strip citizens of their civil liberties and paints its followers as defenders against tyranny.
    More than two dozen people associated with the Oath Keepers – including Rhodes – have been charged in connection with the January 6 attack. Rhodes and four other Oath Keeper members or associates are heading to trial this month on seditious conspiracy charges for what prosecutors have described as a weeks-long plot to keep the then president, Donald Trump, in power. Rhodes and the other Oath Keepers say that they are innocent and that there was no plan to attack the Capitol.
    The Oath Keepers has grown quickly along with the wider anti-government movement and used the tools of the internet to spread their message during Barack Obama’s presidency, said Rachel Carroll Rivas, interim deputy director of research with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. But since January 6 and Rhodes’s arrest, the group has struggled to keep members, she said.
    Read the full article here. Oath Keepers membership rolls feature police, military and elected officialsRead moreA jury has begun hearing opening arguments on seditious conspiracy charges against the founder of the far-right group Oath Keepers and of its four associates .The case is highest-profile prosecution to stem from the 6 January capitol attack and is the most serious case to reach trial so far, reported the Associated Press.Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes and four members are accused of assembling an “armed rebellion” to stop the transfer of power between former president Donald Trump and Joe Biden after the results of the 2020 presidential election, said prosecutor Jeffrey Nestler, who delivered opening remarks in a Washington DC federal court today.“Their goal was to stop by whatever means necessary the lawful transfer of presidential power, including by taking up arms against the United States government,” said Nestler. “They concocted a plan for armed rebellion to shatter a bedrock of American democracy.”Defense attorneys for Rhodes will also have a chance to speak to jury members, a group that was decided last week after days of questioning on their feelings regarding Trump, the insurrection, and other matters.Oath Keepers to stand trial on charges of seditious conspiracyRead moreA bit behind schedule, Biden and first lady Jill Biden are departing for Ponce, Puerto Rico on Air Force One. While leaving, Biden spoke to reporters about the purpose of the trip: “I’m heading to Puerto Rico because they haven’t been taken very good care of. And they’re trying like hell to catch up from the last hurricane, I want to see the state of affairs today and make sure we push everything we can.”BIDEN: “I’m heading to Puerto Rico because they haven’t been taken very good care of. And they’re trying like hell to catch up from the last hurricane, I want to see the state of affairs today and make sure we push everything we can.” pic.twitter.com/7reEBiqDoY— JM Rieger (@RiegerReport) October 3, 2022
    Biden is scheduled to give his remarks in Puerto Rico at 2:30pm eastern time. More updates coming from the Supreme court, including Jackson’s first questions while serving on the bench.Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s first question in Sackett v. EPA is about whether Congress really intended for wetlands to be “touching,” not just “adjacent,” in order to be protected under the Clean Water Act.— Maxine Joselow (@maxinejoselow) October 3, 2022
    Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s first questions from the bench, grilling a lawyer trying to gut the Clean Water Act. When he says a provision of the law is “unenlightening,” KBJ responds dryly: “Let me try to bring some enlightenment to it.” pic.twitter.com/1Tyllv0lJr— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) October 3, 2022
    Listen to the oral arguments here.Here’s more context on cases the Supreme court will hear and their impact on democracy, from the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington: .css-knbk2a{height:1em;width:1.5em;margin-right:3px;vertical-align:baseline;fill:#C70000;}On Monday, the nine justices of the US supreme court will take their seats at the start of a new judicial year, even as the shock waves of the panel’s previous seismic term continue to reverberate across America.
    In their first full term that ended in June, the court’s new six-to-three hard-right supermajority astounded the nation by tearing up decades of settled law. They eviscerated the right to an abortion, loosened America’s already lax gun laws, erected roadblocks to combating the climate crisis, and awarded religious groups greater say in public life.
    The fallout of the spate of extreme rightwing rulings has shaken public confidence in the political neutrality of the court. A Gallup poll this week found that fewer than half of US adults trust it – a drop of 20 points in just two years and the lowest rating since Gallup began recording the trend in 1972.
    Justices have begun to respond to the pressure by sparring openly in public. The Wall Street Journal reported that in recent speeches the liberal justice Elena Kagan has accused her conservative peers of damaging the credibility of the court by embracing Republican causes.Read the full article here. US supreme court to decide cases with ‘monumental’ impact on democracyRead moreThe Supreme Court’s new term begins today, with oral arguments set to begin at 10am.During today’s session, the court will hear arguments on holding social media companies financially responsible for terrorist attacks, reports the Associated Press. Relatives of people killed in terrorist attacks in France and Turkey had sued several social media companies including Twitter, and Facebook, accusing the companies of spreading terrorist messaging and radicalizing new recruits.Tomorrow, the court will hear arguments concerning a challenge to the Voting Rights Act, the historic legislation that prohibits racial discrimination in voting rules.Across the next, several months, the court will hear other cases centered on affirmative action, enforcement of the Clear Water Act, and other issues.Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the first Black woman to sit on the Supreme Court, will be sitting on the bench for today’s oral arguments.Jackson was celebrated during a ceremony at the court on Friday, attended by Biden, Kamala Harris, and other state officials.Biden and first lady Jill Biden will be leaving the White House at 10:10am this morning for Puerto Rico, where Biden will examine damage the island sustained during Hurricane Fiona and announce $60mn in federal funding for future storm preparation.Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), will also be on the trip.A White House official said more about the trip’s agenda to CNN: “They will meet with families and community leaders impacted by Hurricane Fiona, participate in a community service project to help pack bags with food and other essential items, and thank the Federal and local officials working around the clock to help the people of Puerto Rico recover and rebuild…The President will also receive a briefing on ongoing recovery efforts.”At least 25 people were killed when Hurricane Fiona made landfall on the island last month, reported Puerto Rico’s health department.The natural disaster caused an island-wide blackout, with hundreds of thousands still without power.Biden will then visit Florida on Wednesday.Biden mentioned Fiona and Hurricane Ian, which touched down on Florida last week, during a speech he gave at the Congressional Black Caucus awards dinner on Saturday, reported NBC News.“Our hearts … are heavy, the devastating hurricanes, storms in Puerto Rico, Florida, and South Carolina. And we owe Puerto Rico a hell of a lot more than they’ve already gotten,” said Biden, referring to Hurricane Ian’s impact on South Carolina.Good morning US politics blog readers!Following several tropical storms that happened last month, the extent of damage from those natural disasters is still being accounted.Today, Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will visit Puerto Rico to survey damage the island sustained during Hurricane Fiona. Two weeks ago, flooding and landslides caused by the storm knocked out power across the island and affected water supplies, leaving millions in the dark and without clean water. Hundreds of thousands remain without power.Once there, Biden will announce $60m in infrastructure funding for Puerto Rico from the bipartisan infrastructure law that was passed last year.Meanwhile, millions of Floridians are struggling to recover after Hurricane Ian made landfall last week, as Ian’s death toll surpasses 80.Partisan tensions are boiling over handling of the storm, with Republican officials facing criticism for voting down disaster relief aid in a short-term spending bill, reports Politico.Florida governor DeSantis is facing mounting criticism for millions he spent in the weeks leading up to Ian on “political stunts”, privately charted planes that flew migrants from Texas to the affluent Martha’s Vineyard community. More

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    US supreme court rejects MyPillow chief’s bid to dodge $1.3bn lawsuit

    US supreme court rejects MyPillow chief’s bid to dodge $1.3bn lawsuitDominion Voting Systems accuses Mike Lindell, a prominent Trump supporter, of promoting baseless voter fraud claims The defamation lawsuit that voting machine company Dominion is pursuing against the MyPillow chief executive, Mike Lindell, can proceed after the US supreme court rejected the prominent Donald Trump supporter’s appeal aiming to block the case.Dominion Voting Systems in February 2021 filed a $1.3bn lawsuit accusing Lindell of promoting the debunked conspiracy theory that the company’s machines manipulated vote counts in favor of Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election that ousted Trump from the Oval Office.Ex-US army medic allegedly lured migrants on to flights to Martha’s VineyardRead moreLindell had been appealing an August 2021 ruling by federal court judge Carl Nichols, who refused to dismiss the lawsuit at the MyPillow leader’s request. An appellate court in Washington DC later decided the case was not ready for review. And in its first day back from its summer break, the US supreme court decided it would not take up Lindell’s appeal for consideration, clearing the way for the lawsuit against Lindell to progress.Nichols wrote in the ruling that Dominion “has adequately alleged that Lindell made his claims knowing that they were false or with reckless disregard for the truth” and therefore had grounds to file a defamation lawsuit.Dominion also alleges that Lindell participated in a defamatory marketing campaign against the company in efforts to sell more pillows by telling audiences to purchase MyPillow products after making his claims of election fraud and providing promotional codes related to those theories.Dominion and Smartmatic, which has also sued Lindell, have demanded damages from several Trump allies and rightwing news networks that spread conspiracy theories about the companies’ vote tallying machines being compromised to Biden’s benefit.In September, Lindell said that FBI investigators seized his cellphone in connection with an alleged election security breach in Colorado.Lindell said he was in the drive-through lane of a Hardee’s fast-food restaurant when agents surrounded him and took his phone.TopicsUS politicsUS supreme courtDonald TrumpUS elections 2020Law (US)newsReuse this content More

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    Stacey Abrams helped swing Georgia for the Democrats. So why is she trailing?

    She’s Georgia’s great blue hope. Can Stacey Abrams win her crucial race? Georgia in focus: Despite being hailed as architect of Georgia’s political transformation, Abrams is still an underdog in her rematch with Governor Brian Kemp for reasons that make Democrats nervousStacey Abrams was a high school senior the first time she was invited to the Georgia governor’s mansion. It was for a ceremony honoring the state’s class valedictorians, and Abrams was her school’s top academic achiever. At the time, her family did not own a car, so Abrams and her parents rode the bus from their working-class suburb to the stately mansion in downtown Atlanta.When they arrived, Abrams recalls a guard emerging from the security booth. Eyeing the bus, he told them: “This is a private event. You don’t belong here.” Never mind that her invitation was tucked into her mother’s handbag or that her name was second on the list of invitees.Ginni Thomas still believes Trump’s false claim the 2020 election was stolenRead moreA terse exchange ensued between her father and the guard, who grudgingly checked the guest list and let them in.“The thing of it is,” Abrams said at a recent campaign stop in Atlanta, “I don’t remember meeting the governor of Georgia. I don’t remember meeting my fellow valedictorians from 180 school districts … All I remember is a man standing in front of the most powerful place in Georgia, looking at me, telling me I don’t belong.”But the story doesn’t have to end there, Abrams tells supporters as she campaigns to become the first Black female governor in American history. With their help this November, she promises, they will “open those gates wide” and “win the future for Georgia”.Four years ago, Abrams came within a hair of it. She lost the Georgia governorship to Republican Brian Kemp by fewer than 55,000 votes, in a race dominated by allegations of voter suppression, which Kemp, then the secretary of state overseeing the election, denied.In her near-miss, national Democrats saw a promising leader – and the potential to reclaim the southern state that had long ago slipped away. Successive Democratic wins in the years that followed validated her work expanding the electorate, a decade-long project aimed at mobilizing the disillusioned and the marginalized.Abrams was even considered a potential running mate for Joe Biden in 2020, a prospect she welcomed. But she always kept her sights on the governor’s mansion, declining pleas to run for the Senate. Now, her second chance has arrived.Yet Abrams, hailed by Democrats as the architect of Georgia’s political transformation, enters the final weeks of her rematch with Kemp an underdog.Polls consistently show the 48-year-old Democrat trailing Kemp, now a relatively popular governor with the advantage of incumbency. The latest Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) poll found that the governor had significantly expanded his lead over Abrams, 50% to 42%. And while Abrams has stronger support among her base than Kemp, according to a Monmouth University survey, it concluded that her path to victory was “much narrower”.But Abrams is refusing to be counted out. A Yale-educated tax attorney, she says she trusts her math better than the polls. In the fast-growing and diversifying battleground state, she notes that as many as 1.6 million new voters have been added to the rolls since 2018, many times Kemp’s margin of victory that year.“Every success I’ve ever had in politics has been about building the electorate I need – building the electorate we should have, which is an electorate that’s much more reflective of the state,” Abrams said during an interview at a coffee shop in Atlanta.Georgia is nearly evenly divided between the parties, and in many ways, Abrams and Kemp embody the dueling factions of the state’s polarized electorate. Abrams, a former state house minority leader and prominent voting rights advocate, is working to mobilize Black, Latino and Asian American voters along with young people in Atlanta and its sprawling suburbs. While Kemp, a staunch conservative who easily defeated a Trump-backed primary challenge earlier this year, draws overwhelming support from white voters in the rural and exurban parts of the state.“This is 100% the battle of the bases,” said Nsé Ufot, leader of the New Georgia Project, a group founded by Abrams to register and engage young people and voters of color. “And it’s 100% going to be determined by who shows up to vote and whose votes get counted.”Canvassers with the New Georgia Project are pounding the pavement to register and turn out voters this cycle. Their goal is to knock on at least 2m doors by election day. Though some Democrats have expressed doubts about Abrams’ expansion strategy, Ufot said it has already proven effective by paving the way for Biden’s victory in 2020 and the election of two Democratic senators in 2021, which delivered the party control of the chamber.“Now is the time to double down, not to second guess ourselves,” she said.Despite a deeply loyal base, surveys suggest Abrams has become a more polarizing figure since her last campaign. Supporters say it is not surprising, after four years of being vilified by conservatives as a far-left extremist who views the governorship only as a stepping stone to the presidency.But it may be making it harder for Abrams to attract the vanishingly thin slice of independent and moderate Republican voters whose discomfort with Trump pushed them toward Democrats in recent elections. A Marist Poll found that 11% of Georgians who voted for Biden in 2020 plan to back Kemp for governor, while just 5% of Trump voters favor Abrams.“If Abrams looks to be more than a contender and she wants to win,” said Andra Gillespie, a political scientist at Emory University in Atlanta, “she really is going to have to shake the tree and find a few more Democratic voters.”Meanwhile, Trump loyalists who were once wary of Kemp have largely aligned behind him, persuaded by his conservative record and their fear of an Abrams victory.“We definitely cannot have a Stacey Abrams governorship in Georgia,” said Salleigh Grubbs, chair of the Cobb County Republican party, which censured Kemp in 2021. “That’s a very scary proposition.”Kemp’s refusal to overturn Biden’s victory in Georgia during the turbulent weeks after the 2020 election infuriated Trump. In the months that followed, he made Kemp the target of a vengeance campaign, even once musing that Abrams would make a better governor.But since Kemp’s strong primary showing, Trump has mostly stayed away from the governor’s race. And Republican allies say Kemp’s independence will probably help him win back disaffected suburban voters.Abrams is vocal in her view that Kemp deserves no credit for withstanding pressure to subvert a free and fair election.“While I’m glad that he didn’t commit treason, that is not a reason to lionize him,” she said in the interview. “He simply did not do one thing and he has used that to cloak every other bad behavior.”Kemp, Abrams argues, has been relatively silent on Trump’s efforts to overturn the election, even as the former president’s stolen-election myth continues to resonate deeply with conservatives in the state. He also backed an overhaul of the state’s voting laws that critics said was rooted in Trump’s groundless claims of widespread fraud.“Kemp is a Maga Republican who has done everything in his power to align himself with not only Trump’s values but Trump’s behavior,” she added. “He has just done it in a more subtle way.”In Georgia, like elsewhere, Democrats face a challenging political environment. Voters have soured on the president amid widespread economic malaise and anxiety about the rising cost of living.With the economy top of mind for voters, Kemp has sought to tie Abrams to Biden and warned that her economic plans would deepen inflation. At the same time, he is campaigning as a steward of Georgia’s bustling economy, which includes record-low unemployment and a record $21.2bn in state-tracked business investments.According to the AJC poll, Georgians were significantly more pessimistic about the direction of the country than the direction of their state. On the campaign trail, Kemp attributes the rosier outlook to his decision to reopen businesses after they closed during the earliest months of the pandemic. He also approved of popular policies that boosted teacher pay, provided tax rebates to families and suspended the state’s gas tax.“The courage that we have seen from Governor Brian Kemp has been extraordinary,” said Nikki Haley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina, during a campaign appearance with Kemp at a burger joint in Atlanta. “First state in the country to open up after Covid – he was vilified for it, and it turns out that he’s the one that saved the economy, saved our businesses … and allowed people to get back to work.”Abrams has sought to paint a starkly different picture of the economy under Kemp, one in which the wealthiest have profited while the poor have been left behind. At the center of her economic agenda is a plan to fully expand Medicaid, which she argues is critical to stopping a wave of hospital closures across the state, including a major trauma center in Atlanta that has become a flashpoint in the campaign.But it is a brewing national backlash to the supreme court decision overturning the federal right to an abortion that Abrams and Democrats believe could change the tide. In ads and on the campaign trail, Abrams has lashed Kemp for signing a 2019 law that bans abortion as early as six weeks in Georgia, before many women know they are pregnant. The law was allowed to take effect in the aftermath of the high court’s ruling.According to recent polling, most voters in Georgia disagree with the supreme court decision in Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization and more than half say the state’s abortion laws are too strict.“The No 1 issue that people talk about when I’m on the campaign trail is abortion rights,” said Nabilah Islam, the Democratic nominee for a competitive state senate seat in Gwinnett county.Islam, who has put abortion access at the center of her campaign, pointed to the rise in voter registration among women since the Dobbs decision. “There’s a feeling of helplessness,” she said, “but also hope because people are so angry that they’re organizing at levels unseen before.”Abrams is also working to shore up her base. Black voters are the cornerstone of the Democrats coalition in Georgia. While they still overwhelmingly prefer Democrats, there are some signs the party is struggling to motivate Black voters at the levels needed to win in Georgia.The trend is particularly pronounced among Black men, who have edged toward Republicans in recent years. In several polls, Kemp has notably improved his standing among Black voters from 2018.Ron DeSantis changes with the wind as Hurricane Ian prompts flip-flop on aidRead moreAbrams says she is taking no vote for granted. As part of her campaign’s outreach to Black men, she has hosted a series of conversations called “Stacey and the Fellas” to discuss how her initiatives on issues like healthcare and housing will benefit their communities.At one such event over the summer, she was blunt: “If Black men vote for me, I will win Georgia.”Andrekay Askew is among the roughly one in 10 Black voters who remain undecided in the state. The 27-year-old said he is skeptical of Democrats’ economic policies but was open to learning more about Abrams’s platform.Ultimately, he said, his decision would be guided by: “Who is better with the money?”Listening from the porch, his mother shook her head in disagreement. Laqua Askew, who works in special education, is a lifelong Democrat who voted for Abrams in 2018 and plans to do so again this year. She is worried about a lack of public school funding, as well as gun violence and crime, all of which she said takes a heavy toll on the low-income students she works with.“Kemp had the opportunity to make a change but he hasn’t,” she said. “We’ve got to try something else.”In a state as closely divided as Georgia, much could still change before election day. Kemp and Abrams will face off in a public debate that could help sway the critical few undecided voters. And if neither candidate wins a majority of the vote, the contest proceeds to a runoff election.Speaking at the AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic last month, Abrams asked supporters to spend the final weeks of the campaign focused on the “unfinished business” before them.“I can’t get this job if you all don’t show up,” she said. “I can get this job if you all do what you did in 2018.”
    Joan E Greve contributed to this report from Atlanta.
    TopicsUS midterm elections 2022AtlantaGeorgiaStacey AbramsUS politicsDemocratsnewsReuse this content More

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    Capitol attack officer Fanone hits out at ‘weasel’ McCarthy in startling interview

    Capitol attack officer Fanone hits out at ‘weasel’ McCarthy in startling interviewMichael Fanone makes candid and profane remarks about Republicans in Rolling Stone interview as he promotes memoir In an extraordinarily candid and profane interview with Rolling Stone, Michael Fanone – the former Washington police officer who was seriously hurt at the US Capitol during the January 6 attack – called the Republican House leader, potentially the next speaker, a “fucking weasel bitch”.Oath Keepers to stand trial on charges of seditious conspiracyRead moreFanone said past Republican giants would be unimpressed with Kevin McCarthy.“I think at night, when the lights are turned off, Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan have some pretty choice words to say about the fact that they have to hang on Kevin McCarthy’s wall,” Fanone said.“They did some fucking above-average things. And they’ve got to adorn the wall of this fucking weasel bitch named Kevin McCarthy, with his fake fucking spray-on tan, whose fucking claim to fame, at least in my eyes, is the fact that he amassed a collection of Donald Trump’s favorite-flavored Starburst, put them in a Mason jar, and presented them to fucking Donald Trump.“What the fuck, dude?”Fanone’s remarks came as he promoted his memoir, Hold the Line, which will be published next week.The title refers to Fanone’s actions on 6 January 2021, when he, a DC Metropolitan officer, answered calls from Capitol police and rushed to confront Trump supporters storming Congress in an attempt to stop certification of the outgoing president’s defeat to Joe Biden in the 2020 election.Fanone suffered a heart attack and a traumatic brain injury. He has since left the police and emerged, with other officers, as a key witness in hearings held by the House January 6 committee. The riot has been linked to nine deaths, including suicides among law enforcement officers. More than 900 rioters have been charged, some with seditious conspiracy.In his Rolling Stone interview, Fanone also had harsh words for far-right Republicans including Marjorie Taylor Greene (“Put her in the tinfoil-hat brigade”) and Josh Hawley.Of Hawley, the Missouri senator, Fanone said: “He comes down there, flashes the sign of solidarity, [and] riles up this fucking crowd.”Hawley was famously pictured raising a fist to protesters – a picture he has used for fundraising purposes.Fanone continued: “I would’ve had more respect for him if he said, ‘Charge,’ and fucking rushed the first fucking group of police officers that he could possibly fucking find. But he didn’t. He ran like a bitch as fast as he fucking could to the closest safe room in the fucking Capitol building.”Josh Hawley, senator who ran from Capitol mob, mocked by home paperRead moreAmong other startling footage from the Capitol on January 6, the House committee has shown security video in which Hawley is seen running through the Capitol as the mob breaks in.Fanone, now an analyst for CNN, said his new mission in life was to “wag[e] a one-man war against Donald Trump and the fucking people that refuse to accept reality”.Of Republicans under McCarthy and as high in the party as Trump who have sought to downplay the Capitol attack, he said: “You call [January 6] a ‘tourist day’, You say it was ‘hugs and kisses’. I’m going to be that fucking inconvenient motherfucker that pops his head up every time you say some stupid shit like that.”He also said he does not want to be thought of as an American hero, in part because “Motherfuckers think [former vice-president] Mike Pence is a goddamn hero” for resisting Trump’s scheme to stay in power, and “don’t lump me in with that fucking pathetic coward”.Discussing his work for CNN, Fanone described how he has had to moderate his language on air – and how he “did get in a lot of trouble for saying I thought history was going to shit on Mike Pence’s head”.“They thought that it was inciteful language,” Fanone also remarked. “I said, ‘Listen’ – this is an actual conversation I had – ‘if a person named History takes a shit on Mike Pence’s head, I will apologise for having incited that behavior. But until a person named History literally takes a shit on Mike Pence’s head, I’m not saying shit, nor do I regret what I said, because history is going to shit on Mike Pence’s head.’”He added: “History is going to be busy.”Fanone said he thought most of those who physically attacked the Capitol might eventually be brought to account but doubted that those who incited the riot, from Trump down, would face the consequences of their actions.Congressman Jamie Raskin: ‘I’ll never forget the terrible sound of them trying to barrel into the chamber’Read more“To me,” he said, “every last one of them should have been charged with sedition. These guys love 1776” – the year of the American revolution – “so much. They should be damned glad we’re not in 1776 because I’m pretty sure they would all end up on the fucking business end of a musket or the gallows.”Fanone did have kind words for one congressman: Jamie Raskin of Maryland, a Democrat on the January 6 committee. But Fanone said the professor of constitutional law, being a “super-intellectual type”, was “not designed for what lies ahead” in a divided America.Fanone also said he was publishing his memoir because he was going “broke” after resigning his job.“I’m pretty sure that’s why people do things like this,” he said. “I said the things that I said for free and fucking destroyed my career, made my job untenable, and then tried to make hard lemonade out of lemons.”TopicsBooksUS Capitol attackUS policingUS politicsPolitics booksRepublicansUS CongressnewsReuse this content More

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    Petraeus: US would destroy Russia’s troops if Putin uses nuclear weapons in Ukraine

    Petraeus: US would destroy Russia’s troops if Putin uses nuclear weapons in UkraineFormer CIA director and retired army general says Moscow’s leader is ‘desperate’ and ‘battlefield reality he faces is irreversible’ The US and its allies would destroy Russia’s troops and equipment in Ukraine – as well as sink its Black sea fleet – if Russian president Vladimir Putin uses nuclear weapons in the country, former CIA director and retired four-star army general David Petraeus warned on Sunday. Petreaus said that he had not spoken to national security adviser Jake Sullivan on the likely US response to nuclear escalation from Russia, which administration officials have said has been repeatedly communicated to Moscow.He told ABC News: “Just to give you a hypothetical, we would respond by leading a Nato – a collective – effort that would take out every Russian conventional force that we can see and identify on the battlefield in Ukraine and also in Crimea and every ship in the Black sea.”The warning comes days after Putin expressed views that many have interpreted as a threat of a larger war between Russia and the west.Asked if the use of nuclear weapons by Russia in Ukraine would bring America and Nato into the war, Petreaus said that it would not be a situation triggering the alliance’s Article 5, which calls for a collective defense. That is because Ukraine is not part of Nato – nonetheless, a “US and Nato response” would be in order, Petreaus said.Petreaus acknowledged that the likelihood that radiation would extend to Nato countries under the Article 5 umbrella could perhaps be construed as an attack on a Nato member.“Perhaps you can make that case,” he said. “The other case is that this is so horrific that there has to be a response – it cannot go unanswered.”Yet, Petreaus added, “You don’t want to, again, get into a nuclear escalation here. But you have to show that this cannot be accepted in any way.”Nonetheless, with pressure mounting on Putin after Ukrainian gains in the east of the country under last week’s annexation declaration and resistance to mobilization efforts within Russia mounting, Petreaus said Moscow’s leader was “desperate”.“The battlefield reality he faces is, I think, irreversible,” he said. “No amount of shambolic mobilization, which is the only way to describe it; no amount of annexation; no amount of even veiled nuclear threats can actually get him out of this particular situation.“At some point there’s going to have to be recognition of that. At some point there’s going to have to be some kind of beginning of negotiations, as [Ukrainian] President [Volodymyr] Zelenskiy has said, will be the ultimate end.”But, Petreaus warned, “It can still get worse for Putin and for Russia. And even the use of tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield won’t change this at all.” Still, he added, “You have to take the threat seriously.”Senator Marco Rubio, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee told CNN that Putin was down to two choices: established defensive lines or withdraw and lose territory.Rubio said he believed it “quite possible” that Putin could strike distribution points where US and allied supplies are entering Ukraine, including inside Poland. The senator acknowledged the nuclear threat, but he said most worries about “a Russian attack inside Nato territory, for example, aiming at the airport in Poland or some other distribution point”.“Nato will have to respond to it,” he said. “How it will respond, I think a lot of it will depend on the nature of the attack and the scale and scope of it.”But as a senator privy to Pentagon briefings, Rubio resisted being drawn on whether he’d seen evidence that Russia is preparing to use nuclear weapons against Ukraine.“Certainly, the risk is probably higher today than it was a month ago,” Rubio said, predicting that Russia would probably take an intermediate step.“He may strike one of these logistical points. And that logistical point may not be inside … Ukraine. To me, that is the area that I focus on the most, because it has a tactical aspect to it. And I think he probably views it as less escalatory. Nato may not.”TopicsUkraineUS politicsRussiaEuropeVladimir PutinnewsReuse this content More

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    Confidence Man review: Maggie Haberman takes down Trump

    Confidence Man review: Maggie Haberman takes down Trump The New York Times reporter presents a forensic account of the damage he has done to AmericaMaggie Haberman, the New York Times’ Trump whisperer, delivers. Her latest book is much more than 600 pages of context, scoop and drama. It is a political epic, tracing Donald Trump’s journey from the streets of Queens to Manhattan’s Upper East Side, from the White House to Mar-a-Lago, his Elba. There, the 45th president holds court – and broods and plots his return.Kushner camping tale one of many bizarre scenes in latest Trump bookRead moreHaberman gives Trump and those close to him plenty of voice – and rope. The result is a cacophonous symphony. Confidence Man informs and entertains but is simultaneously absolutely not funny. Trumpworld presents a reptilian tableau – reality TV does Lord of the Flies.For just one example, Mark Meadows, Trump’s last White House chief of staff, is depicted as erratic and detestable. Then there’s the family. Haberman reports how, after the 2016 election, Melania Trump won a renegotiated pre-nuptial agreement. Haberman also describes Trump repeatedly dumping on his son-in-law, Jared Kushner. If only he looked like Tom Brady and spoke in a deeper register. If only Ivanka had not converted to Judaism.The abuse gets absurd – even a kind of baroque. According to Haberman, at one 2020 campaign strategy meeting Trump implied Kushner might be brutally attacked, even raped, if he ever went camping: “Can you imagine Jared and his skinny ass camping? It’d be like something out of Deliverance.”The reader, however, should not weep for Jared. In Haberman’s telling, he is the kid who was born on third base and mistakes his good fortune with hitting a triple. For his part, Kushner is shown trashing Steve Bannon, the far-right ideologue who was campaign chair and chief White House strategist but was forced out within months.Haberman catches Kushner gleefully asking a White House visitor: “Did you see I cut Bannon’s balls off?”To quote Peter Navarro, like Bannon now a former Trump official under indictment, “nepotism and excrement roll downhill”.As it happens, Bannon’s testicles grew back. Like Charlie Kushner, Jared’s father, he received a Trump pardon. Bannon also helped propagate the big lie that Trump won the election, stoking the Capitol attack.These days, Bannon awaits sentencing, convicted of contempt of Congress. He also faces felony fraud charges arising from an alleged border-wall charity scam. In Trump’s universe, there is always a grift.For Confidence Man, Haberman interviewed Trump three times. He confesses that he is drawn to her, like a moth to a flame.“I love being with her,” he says. “She’s like my psychiatrist”.The daughter of Clyde Haberman, a legendary New York Times reporter, is not flattered or amused. She sees through her subject.“The reality is that he treats everyone like they are his psychiatrists,” Haberman writes. “All present a chance for him to vent or test reactions or gauge how his statements are playing or discover how he is feeling.”Also, Trump and Haberman have not always had a rapport. When he was president, she would interview him and he would attack her. In April 2018, Trump tweeted that Haberman was a Clinton “flunkie” he didn’t know or speak with, a “third-rate reporter” at that. He called her “Maggot Haberman” and even contemplated obtaining her phone records to identify her sources.Trump is 76 but he remains the envious boy from a New York outer borough, face pressed against the Midtown glass. Haberman is not the only Manhattan reporter he has courted and attacked. In 2018, he threatened Michael Wolff for writing Fire and Fury, the Trump book that started it all. Later, he welcomed Wolff to Mar-a-Lago.Haberman vividly captures Trump’s lack of couth. For just one example, according to Haberman the president chose to enrich his first meeting with a foreign leader, Theresa May, by asking the British prime minister to “imagine if some animals with tattoos raped your daughter and she got pregnant”.Each of Trump’s three supreme court justices voted to overturn Roe v Wade. One might wonder how the young woman in Trump’s hypothetical would feel about that.Haberman also pierces Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns. All that talk about an “audit” was a simple dodge, birthed on a campaign plane.In the run-up to Super Tuesday, the crucial day of primaries in March 2016, aides confronted Trump about his taxes. The candidate, Haberman writes, “thought for a second about how to ‘get myself out of this’, as he said. He leaned back, before snapping up to a sudden thought.01:13“‘Well, you know my taxes are under audit. I always get audited … So what I mean is, well I could just say, ‘I’ll release them when I’m no longer under audit. ‘Cause I’ll never not be under audit.’”These days, the Trump Organization faces criminal tax fraud charges. Together with Ivanka, Don Jr and Eric, his children from his first marriage, Trump is also being sued for fraud by Letitia James, the New York attorney general.As a younger reporter, Haberman did two stints at the New York Post, Rupert Murdoch’s flagship US tabloid. Murdoch’s succession plans – it’s Lachlan, he told Trump – appear in Confidence Man. So does Tucker Carlson, the headline-making Fox News host and kindred spirit to Vladimir Putin.Trump made up audit excuse for not releasing tax returns on the fly, new book saysRead moreAccording to Haberman, Carlson met Kushner and demanded Trump commute Roger Stone’s conviction for perjury.“What happened to Roger Stone should never happen to anyone in this country of any political party,” Carlson reportedly thundered, threatening to go public.Stone has since emerged as a central figure in the January 6 insurrection. Apparently, he has a thing for violence. For some Republicans, a commitment to “law and order” is elastic.When it comes to the attempt to overturn the election and the Capitol attack it fueled, Trump’s fate rests with prosecutors in Washington DC and Fulton county, Georgia.That old campaign chant from 2016, “Lock her up”? It carries its own irony.
    Confidence Man: The Making of Donald Trump and the Breaking of America is published in the US by Penguin Random House
    TopicsBooksDonald TrumpTrump administrationUS politicsRepublicansUS elections 2016US elections 2020reviewsReuse this content More