Van Jones: Clinton Smeared Gabbard ‘With No Facts’

Former Obama administration adviser Van Jones accused Hillary Clinton of smearing presidential hopeful Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) “with no facts.”

Clinton accused Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran, of acting as a “Russian asset” on Friday. Jones dismissed Clinton’s criticism as a “complete smear” that spread “disinformation.”

“She’s playing a very dangerous game,” he told CNN. “Hillary Clinton, if you’re concerned about disinformation, what the Russians do is they spread disinformation, they get us divided against each other. That is what just happened, just throw out some information, disinformation, smear somebody.”

The failed 2016 Democratic nominee accused Gabbard and 2016 candidate Jill Stein of working with the Russians to get President Donald Trump reelected in 2020. Jones said Clinton is likely speaking out against Gabbard because the congresswoman broke with Democratic leadership in the 2016 election and endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) over Clinton.

“It’s been payback hell ever since,” Jones said.

Gabbard responded to the attacks by calling on Clinton to “join the race directly.”

“It’s now clear that this primary is between you and me,” Gabbard tweeted. “Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”

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Continetti: Mattis’s Resignation Gave the ‘Green Light’ to Turkey

Washington Free Beacon founding editor Matthew Continetti on Friday said that former secretary of defense James Mattis’s resignation gave Turkey the “green light” for its offensive against the Kurds in Syria.

Continetti told MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily that the firing demonstrated that the White House does not view America’s presence in the Middle East as an asset, leaving Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan free to “call the United States’s bluff.”

“The sense that the president’s heart is not in staying in Syria, and of course he’s said that multiple times,” Continetti said on MSNBC’s Meet the Press Daily. “That probably led Erdoğan to say, ‘you know what? I can call the United States’s bluff in Syria,’ and he did.”

Continetti noted that Mattis resigned in December 2018 over Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria, a move that drew criticism from both Republicans and Democrats. U.S. servicemen vacated Syria in early October, leaving the region undefended against Turkish forces and the terrorist group ISIS.

Mattis, a vocal opponent of Trump’s Syria policy, leveled criticism at the president on Thursday. The retired general joked that Trump’s taunt that he was “overrated” made Mattis the “Meryl Streep of generals,” in reference to another person Trump has called overrated.

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Sasse Slams San Francisco’s Travel Ban for Pro-Life States

Senator Ben Sasse (R., Neb.) on Friday condemned San Francisco’s travel-ban ordinance meant to cut city-funded travel and company contracts with 22 pro-life states. 

“Progressive cancel culture is dumb,” Sasse said in a statement. “Most Nebraskans, like a whole bunch of Californians, are pro-life and want to reflect our pro-science, pro-woman, pro-baby beliefs with common-sense laws. Folks in San Francisco are free to disagree, but it’s childish to try to shut down a big cultural debate.” 

The ordinance prohibits “City-funded travel to states that have enacted laws that prohibit abortion prior to the viability of the fetus, and to prohibit City contracting with companies headquartered in states that have enacted such laws, or where work on the contract would be performed in such states.” Nearly half the states in the country, including Texas, Massachusetts, and Florida, would be subject to the ban.

Sasse said that, unlike the San Francisco government, pro-life individuals are willing to listen to people with opposing views. 

“Pro-lifers aren’t out to silence the other side — we believe in persuasion,” he said. “San Francisco progressives can throw a tantrum — Nebraskans will continue to act like grownups.” 

According to a 2014 Pew Research Center study, 38 percent of Californians think abortion should be illegal in most or all cases.

San Francisco has a history of imposing progressive restrictions connected to conservative politics. In September, the city branded the National Rifle Association as a “domestic terrorist organization,” arguing the gun-rights group incites “gun owners to acts of violence.”

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Maine Columnist Suggests Collins Deserves Death Threats

A Maine newspaper columnist suggested Friday that Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) deserved the death threats she has received during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Portland Press-Herald scribe Bill Nemitz wrote that Collins should figure out why she’s bothering voters so much.

He quoted a statement from Collins’s spokeswoman Annie Clark, who told the PPH that “over the past two years Senator Collins has endured death threats, threatening mailings, been confronted by people at her home late at night, been harassed in airports, at stores, when eating out, and in parking lots. She has protesters regularly at home, at her offices, and at events. She is ridiculed regularly online by people who mock her intellect, integrity, and physical characteristics.”

“Maybe it’s just me, but if I was experiencing all of those things, I’d start wondering what the heck I’m doing to tick so many people off,” Nemitz wrote.

Collins has in the past discussed the threatening voicemails and messages she received during the fight over Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. Rep. Eric Swalwell (D., Calif.), who launched a short-lived bid for president this year, mocked her concerns, tweeting, “Boo hoo hoo.”

A Maine woman was also arrested last year for mailing powder and a threatening note to Collins.

Collins, a moderate Republican, ultimately voted to confirm Kavanaugh. She also drew criticism from the left for voting for the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the GOP’s tax reform bill, in 2017.

Nemitz’s column was written in response to Collins’s handling of a recent airport encounter with Erik Mercer, a social worker who has donated more than $16,000 to Democrats and progressive groups.

Mercer confronted Collins about his issues with President Donald Trump. Incensed that Collins had, according to him, called him “rude” after their conversation ended, Mercer took out a full-page ad for $7,200 in the Maine Sunday Telegram. In the ad, he castigated her for ignoring his questions and not having a “thoughtful discussion across ideological lines.” He also complained she was evasive when he asked about her vote to confirm Kavanaugh, and what her views were on the impeachment proceedings against Trump.

The ad went viral, and Mercer launched a GoFundMe page to pay for it. He received enough donations to place another full-page ad, to Nemitz’s apparent delight.

“Mercer’s second full-pager will run Sunday,” Nemitz wrote. “It will include a growing list of folks from far and wide who want their names to appear alongside Mercer’s. Like the man said, that’s democracy.”

Collins is one of the top Democratic targets for defeat in 2020, when she will seek a fifth term in office. Maine has not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, and Collins is currently the lone Republican senator from a New England state.

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April Ryan No Longer Moderating Buttigieg Campaign Event

CNN political analyst April Ryan will no longer be moderating a campaign event on Saturday for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, backing out after she learned the event would be a fundraiser.

Ryan, who serves as White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks, was initially slated to moderate a “grassroots fundraiser event” in Washington, D.C, where tickets would cost as much as $500. But, she said in a Friday tweet, the campaign “was not clear that the venue would be a fundraiser.”

“We’ll be rescheduling the interview to a more appropriate time/place,” Ryan tweeted. “Looking forward to asking him the tough questions the AURN audience wants answers to.”

Prior to the tweet, a Buttigieg campaign spokesperson confirmed to the Hill that Ryan would not be paid for her time moderating the campaign event. Last month, Ryan thanked Buttigieg for inviting her to be his guest at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner in Washington, D.C.

“Thank you @PeteButtigieg for inviting me to be your guest at the CBC Dinner. The last time I was invited to the dinner by a presidential candidate was @barackobama. You know what happened after that!” she tweeted.

Ryan has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump and has used her antagonistic interactions with both former White House press secretaries Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders to land her role with CNN and as the basis of a book, published last year.

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Turkey Plans Presence Across Northeast Syria, Erdogan Says

Smoke rises from a building near the Syrian town of Ras al-Ain as seen from the Turkish border town of Ceylanpinar

By Orhan Coskun

ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkey will set up a dozen observation posts across northeast Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, insisting that a planned “safe zone” will extend much further than U.S. officials said was covered under a fragile ceasefire deal.

Less than 24 hours after he agreed the five-day truce to allow Kurdish forces time to pull back from Turkey’s crossborder assault, Erdogan underlined Ankara’s continued ambition to establish a presence along 300 miles of territory inside Syria.

On the border itself shelling could be heard near the Syrian town of Ras al Ain on Friday morning despite Thursday’s deal, and a spokesman for the Kurdish-led forces said Turkey was violating the ceasefire, hitting civilian targets in the town.

But Reuters journalists at the border said the bombardment subsided around mid-morning and a U.S. official said most of the fighting had stopped, although it would “take time for things to completely quiet down”.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he had spoken with Erdogan who told him there had been some “minor” sniper and mortar fire in northeastern Syria despite the truce, but that it had been quickly eliminated.

“He very much wants the ceasefire, or pause, to work,” Trump said in a post on Twitter. “Likewise, the Kurds want it, and the ultimate solution, to happen.”

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs described the situation at “reportedly calm in most areas, with the exception of Ras al-Ain, where shelling and gunfire continued to be reported earlier today,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.

The truce, announced by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence after talks in Ankara with Erdogan, sets out a five-day pause to let the Kurdish-led SDF militia pull out of the Turkish “safe zone”.

The deal was aimed at easing a crisis that saw Trump order a hasty and unexpected U.S. retreat, which his critics say amounted to abandoning loyal Kurdish allies that fought for years alongside U.S. troops against Islamic State.

Turkey’s offensive created a new humanitarian crisis in Syria with 200,000 civilians taking flight, according to Red Cross estimates. It also prompted a security alert over thousands of Islamic State fighters held in Kurdish jails.

Trump has praised Thursday’s deal, saying it would save “millions of lives”. Turkey cast it as a victory in its campaign to control territory more than 30 km (around 20 miles) deep into Syria and drive out Kurdish fighters from the YPG, the SDF’s main Kurdish component.

“As of now, the 120-hour period is on. In this 120-hour period, the terrorist organization, the YPG, will leave the area we identified as a safe zone,” Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers in Istanbul. The safe zone would be 32 km deep, and run “440 km from the very west to the east”, he said.

But the U.S. special envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, said the accord covered a smaller area where Turkish forces and their Syrian rebel allies were fighting, between two border towns of Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, just 120 km away.

Speaking to journalists later on Friday, Erdogan said Turkey plans to set up 12 observation posts in northeast Syria. A map of the region showed the planned posts stretching from the Iraq border in the east to the Euphrates river 300 miles to the west.

RUSSIA, IRAN FILL VACUUM

With the United States pulling its entire 1,000-strong contingent from northern Syria, the extent of Turkey’s ambitions is likely to be determined by Russia and Iran, filling the vacuum created by the U.S. retreat.

The government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, backed by Moscow and Tehran, has already taken up positions in territory formerly protected by Washington, invited by the Kurds.

Jeffrey acknowledged that Turkey was now negotiating with Moscow and Damascus over control of areas that Washington was vacating and were not covered by the U.S.-Turkish truce pact.

“As you know we have a very convoluted situation now with Russian, Syrian army, Turkish, American, SDF and some Daesh (Islamic State) elements all floating around in a very wild way,” Jeffrey said.

“Now, the Turks have their own discussions going on with the Russians and the Syrians in other areas of the northeast and in Manbij to the west of the Euphrates. Whether they incorporate that later into a Turkish-controlled safe zone, it was not discussed in any detail.”

LIFTING SANCTIONS?

The joint U.S.-Turkish statement released after Thursday’s talks said Washington and Ankara would cooperate on handling Islamic State fighters and family members held in prisons and camps – an important international concern.

Pence said U.S. sanctions imposed on Tuesday would be lifted once the ceasefire became permanent.

In Washington, U.S. senators who have criticized the Trump administration for failing to prevent the Turkish assault in the first place said they would press ahead with legislation to impose sanctions against Turkey, a NATO ally.

The Turkish assault began after Trump moved U.S. troops out of the way following an Oct. 6 phone call with Erdogan.

Turkey says the “safe zone” would make room to settle up to 2 million Syrian war refugees – roughly half the number it is currently hosting – and would push back the YPG militia, which Ankara deems a terrorist group due to its links to Kurdish insurgents in southeast Turkey.

(Additional reporting by Daren Butler and Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul, Steve Holland and Tim Ahmann in Washington, Michelle Nichols at the United Nations; Writing by Jonathan Spicer and Dominic Evans; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

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Hillary Clinton: Trump ‘Grooming’ Russian ‘Favorite’ Gabbard

President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign is preparing Russian “favorite” Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) to run as a third-party candidate, Hillary Clinton said in an interview with the “Campaign HQ” podcast. 

“I’m not making any predictions but I think they’ve got their eye on somebody who is currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate,” Clinton told podcast host David Plouffe. “She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”

Clinton argued the Trump campaign will turn to Gabbard if 2016 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, whom Clinton also associated with Russia, does not run. 

“That’s assuming Jill Stein will give it up which she might not, because she’s also a Russian asset,” Clinton said. “She’s a Russian asset, I mean totally.”

Plouffe had asked Clinton what she thought the Trump campaign’s strategy may be. She said its strategy would consist of two parts: dark-web videos and the propping up of a third-party candidate. 

The former secretary of state attributed her loss in part to voters seeing “flashing videos” of her on the “dark web” doing “horrible things.”

“I think it’s going to be the same as 2016,” Clinton said. “Don’t vote for the other guy. You don’t like me. Don’t vote for the other guy, because the other guy is going to do X, Y, and Z. Or the other guy did such terrible things. I’m going to show you in these flashing videos that appear and then disappear and they’re on the dark web and nobody can find them, but you’re going to see them and you’re going to see that person doing these horrible things.”

Gabbard has been attacked for her apparent defense of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and for receiving a disproportionate amount of coverage on Russian news outlet RT despite being a low-tier candidate, according to the New York Times.

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Warren Facebook Ad Attacking Facebook for Running False Ads Is False

Elizabeth Warren

An ad the Elizabeth Warren campaign ran on Facebook attacking the social media platform for accepting false campaign ads from politicians was, in turn, false.

The Democratic presidential candidate has long butted heads with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and promises to break up the social media giant if elected. Most recently, Warren has been critical of Facebook’s policy to not fact-check ads run by politicians.

The Oct. 10 Warren ad opens with an intentional falsehood for rhetorical effect: “Breaking news: Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook just endorsed Donald Trump for re-election.”

“You’re probably shocked, and you might be thinking, ‘How could this possibly be true?’ Well, it’s not. (Sorry),” the ad continues. “But what Zuckerberg *has* done is given Donald Trump free rein to lie on his platform—and then to pay Facebook gobs of money to push out their lies to American voters.”

But in the part of the ad that intended to be factual, the Warren campaign claims, “If Trump tries to lie in a TV ad, most networks will refuse to air it. But Facebook just cashes Trump’s checks.”

As the fact-checker PolitiFact noted, that is not true. Broadcasters are legally obligated under the Federal Communications Act of 1934 to run any candidate’s ad, regardless of whether they think the content is true or not. “The same law does not apply to cable networks, but those networks also generally aim to run such ads, experts told us,” PolitiFact said.

Ultimately PolitiFact gave Warren a “Mostly False,” as she was correct in saying that Facebook would run a Trump ad that it believed to contain a lie.

“But overall, it’s inaccurate to say that ‘most networks’ will refuse to air an ad by Trump with a lie in it,” the fact-checker said. “We could find no evidence that most networks reject false candidate ads.”

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Romney: Syria Withdrawal ‘a Bloodstain in the Annals of American History’

Mitt Romney

Sen. Mitt Romney (R., Utah) offered a stinging rebuke of the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw American forces from Syria, telling his colleagues on the Senate floor that the move is “a bloodstain in the annals of American history.”

Romney has emerged as one of President Donald Trump’s fiercest Republican critics in the Senate. His speech on the Senate floor Thursday came just after Vice President Mike Pence and a team of U.S. diplomats announced that they had negotiated a temporary ceasefire in northeast Syria, where Turkish forces have been waging a bloody offensive against America’s Kurdish allies and civilians.

Romney, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised the administration’s efforts to negotiate a ceasefire, but said “it is far from a victory” for the president.

“The announcement today is being portrayed as a victory,” he said. “It is far from a victory. Serious questions remain about how the decision was reached to precipitously withdraw from Syria, and why that decision was reached. Given the initial details of the ceasefire agreement, the administration must also explain what America’s future role will be in the region, what happens now to the Kurds, and why Turkey will face no apparent consequences.”

“Further, the ceasefire does not change the fact that America has abandoned an ally,” Romney said. “Adding insult to dishonor, the administration speaks cavalierly, even flippantly—even as our ally has suffered death and casualty, their homes have been burned, and their families have been torn apart.”

Romney reminded his colleagues in the Senate that thousands of Kurds sacrificed their lives to help the American offensive to wipe out ISIS.

“We know the truth about our Kurd allies,” he said. “They lost 11,000 combatants in our joint effort to defeat ISIS. We dropped bombs from the air and provided intelligence and logistics behind the lines. The Kurds lost thousands of lives. Eighty-six brave Americans also lost their lives so tragically.”

The Trump administration, Romney said, has tarnished America’s reputation by abandoning its Kurdish allies.

“The decision to abandon the Kurds violates one of our most sacred duties. It strikes at American honor,” Romney said. “What we have done to the Kurds will stand as a bloodstain in the annals of American history.”

Romney went on to demand that the Trump administration explain to lawmakers why it went ahead with the troop withdrawal knowing Turkey would view it as a green light to move in military forces.

“We once abandoned a red line. Now, we abandoned an ally,” Romney said. “Mr. President, we need answers. What has happened in Syria should not happen again and we, the Senate, must take action to make sure that it does not.”

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MSNBC Hosts Can’t Decide How To Butcher Armstrong’s Moon Landing Quote

MSNBC hosts Chris Jansing and Ayman Mohyeldin on Friday couldn’t decide whether the first all-female spacewalk was good for “womenkind” or “humankind.”

The morning show hosts welcomed a historic all-female spacewalk by bickering over how best to mangle Neil Armstrong’s famous words about landing on the moon.

“This is the first all-female spacewalk: NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch out of the station to replace a power controller. They’ve been out there since just after 7:30 this morning, so two and a half hours,” Jansing said. “They’re going to be there another hour or so. As one congresswoman put it this morning, one giant leap for womankind.”

Jansing expressed her enthusiasm by saying this opportunity was “very exciting” and that the network doesn’t report good news like this often. She then handed off the show to Mohyeldin, who was filling in for host Craig Melvin.

“I share that sentiment that it is one small step for man, but one giant leap for womankind, but also humankind to see something like that,” Mohyeldin said.

“One small step for man?” Jansing asked, appearing confused.

“Kind? Isn’t the original — or did I,” Mohyeldin said before Jansing interjected.

Jansing said the all-female spacewalk was “one small step for” before pausing and waiting for Mohyeldin to finish the sentence.

“Womankind and humankind,” Mohyeldin said.

The spacewalk was Koch’s fourth and Meier’s first, according to CNN.

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