President Trump took aim at FOX News at his campaign rally in Montoursville, Penn. Monday night.
“What’s going on with FOX? What’s going on there? They’re putting more Democrats on than you have Republicans. Something strange is going on at FOX! Something very strange. Did you see this guy last night? I did want to watch, you’ve always got to watch the competition if you call it that. And he was knocking the hell out of FOX and FOX is putting him on. Somebody is going to have to have to explain the whole FOX deal to me,” Trump said.
“Most of the agencies of the federal government that ingest data are very concerned about interference in the process of taking the 2020 census,” said John Abowd, chief scientist at the U.S. Census Bureau. “We are very concerned about this and very concerned about developing appropriate defenses,” he told a Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta conference in Amelia Island, Fla.
- 43% of Americans say socialism would be a good thing for the country
- 51% believe socialism would be a bad thing for the country
- Americans split on viewing economy as free market or government controlled
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Americans today are more closely divided than they were earlier in the last century when asked whether some form of socialism would be a good or bad thing for the country. While 51% of U.S. adults say socialism would be a bad thing for the country, 43% believe it would be a good thing. Those results contrast with a 1942 Roper/Fortune survey that found 40% describing socialism as a bad thing, 25% a good thing and 34% not having an opinion.
More Americans Now See Socialism as a Good Thing for the Country
Would some form of socialism be a good thing or a bad thing for the country as a whole?
|Net “good thing”||-15||-8||+7|
|Note: 1942 data gathered by Roper Center for Public Opinion Research|
The Roper/Fortune survey is one of the oldest trend questions measuring attitudes on socialism in the U.S. Gallup’s update of the question in an April 17-30 survey finds Americans more likely to have an opinion on the matter now, as well as a smaller gap in the percentage calling socialism a bad thing vs. a good thing.
Previous Gallup research shows that Americans’ definition of socialism has changed over the years, with nearly one in four now associating the concept with social equality and 17% associating it with the more classical definition of having some degree of government control over the means of production. A majority of Democrats have said they view socialism positively in Gallup polling since 2010, including 57% in the most recent measure in 2018.
Outlook on Socialism Around the World
The April 17-30 survey also updates another historical question on socialism. Gallup first asked Americans in 1949 about their outlook on the spread of democracy over the next 50 years. At that time, seven in 10 Americans (72%) predicted that most countries in the world would have a democratic government. It’s important to note that in much of the political rhetoric of the time, the terms democracy and capitalism were more intimately intertwined than they are today, perhaps synonymous to many.
Americans’ Views on Future of Democracy and Socialism Globally
During the next 50 years, do you think most of the nations of the world will have a democratic government, a communist government or a socialist government?
The current update on this question finds a marked increase in the percentage saying that most countries during the next 50 years will have a socialist government (29%). It is unclear whether this is due to the flourishing of democracies — particularly in Europe and Latin America — led by what are often described as social democrats, or whether a fundamental shift is taking place among some Americans in their views of socialism.
Government vs. Free Market
In the same April survey, Gallup asked Americans whether they would prefer mostly free market or government control over several economic and societal activities. Americans are most likely to prefer free market control in the areas of technological innovation and the distribution of wealth. Majorities also want the free market to drive the economy overall, wages, higher education and healthcare.
Preference for the government to serve as the primarily responsible actor only garners majority support for protecting online consumer privacy and the environment.
Majority Want Free Market to Lead on Many Fronts
Would you prefer to have the free market or the government be primarily responsible for what happens in each of the following areas?
|Free market||Government||Net “free market”|
|The distribution of wealth||68||28||+40|
|The economy overall||62||33||+29|
|Protecting consumers’ privacy online||40||57||-17|
|GALLUP, April 17-30, 2019|
Notably, more Americans favor free market than government control over healthcare and higher education, two areas in which Democratic politicians have made proposals to greatly expand government involvement. But at least four in 10 Americans appear sympathetic to policies that would increase the government’s role in those areas.
While there is ample support for a market-driven approach to many of the issues cited above, Americans are divided on how they describe the current state of the U.S. economy. When asked whether they think the U.S. economy leans more toward free market control or toward government control, 40% say it leans more toward government control while fewer say it leans toward free market control (34%). One in four describe it as an equal mix.
Americans’ views on socialism are complex. While some recent data can easily lend to overstated conclusions, there are marked changes in Americans’ views of socialism when taking a longer, more historical look at the data. However, exactly what Americans mean by the term is nuanced and multifaceted. While half of Americans consider socialism as bad for the country, nearly two-thirds say that the U.S. economy is more influenced by the government than the free market, or that it reflects an equal mix of the two.
Additionally, while a majority of Democrats view socialism positively, that is not a major change in the eight years Gallup has tracked this metric. The major shift over this time has been the reduced rate of Democrats who now view capitalism positively (47%).
These data alone make it hard to generalize a simplistic conclusion about Americans’ opinions of, and willingness to entertain, socialism. But there are a few clear takeaways. About four in 10 Americans are accepting of some form of socialism or socialist policies, and Democrats currently have a more positive view of socialism than capitalism. In addition, the April survey found that 47% of Americans say they would vote for a socialist candidate for president. While that figure represents nearly half of the U.S. adult population, even higher percentages say they would vote for an atheist (58%) or Muslim (60%) presidential candidate.
However, when they are asked what role they would like to see the government play in certain areas of society, Americans continue to endorse the free market.
Shifting attitudes about socialism, capitalism, and the current economic and political systems in America — as well as what alternatives many see as solutions for current shortcomings — will continue to be a major focus for Gallup.
Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.
President Donald Trump voiced confidence Monday in his ability to win Pennsylvania in 2020 and took a new swipe at one of his leading Democratic rivals, telling rallygoers in the state that native son Joe Biden had abandoned them by representing Delaware in the Senate.
The president’s visit to Pennsylvania, intended to boost Republican congressional candidate Fred Keller’s prospects over Democrat Marc Friedenberg in a Tuesday special election for an open seat, had as much to do with helping his own chance for reelection as it did with pushing Keller over the finish line.
“We’ve got to win tomorrow, Fred,” Trump told a cheering rally crowd at a private hangar at Williamsport Regional Airport.
Trump’s visit to the key battleground state also came two days after Biden held a campaign rally in Philadelphia, and the former vice president wasn’t far from Trump’s mind.
The president accused Biden, who was born in Pennsylvania and has long ties there, of deserting his state by representing Delaware in the Senate. Biden moved to neighboring Delaware with his family as a boy.
“He left you for another state, and he didn’t take care of you,” Trump said.
He also referred to the former vice president by the nickname he had coined for him: “Sleepy Joe.”
“Sleepy Joe said that he’s running to, quote, ‘save the world,'” Trump said. “Well, he was. He was going to save every country but ours.”
Biden said Monday in Nashville, Tennessee, that he was running on a pledge to restore the soul of the country. He has frequently talked on the campaign trail about the president’s divisive rhetoric and said another four years of Trump would “fundamentally change the character of this nation.”
Trump, who spoke in the open air with Air Force One behind him, highlighted the economy’s performance under his leadership and suggested those numbers would make him virtually unbeatable.
“Politics is a crazy world, but when you have the best employment numbers in history, when you have the best unemployment numbers in history … I don’t know, how the hell do you lose this election, right?” Trump said. The current unemployment rate of 3.6% is actually the lowest since 1969, when it stood at 3.5%. Unemployment was even lower than that in the early 1950s, and much lower, under 2%, during three years of World War II.
Keller himself offered a rousing endorsement of Trump, saying he wants to go to Congress to be a vote for Trump. Keller told Trump the people of this region of Pennsylvania “have been behind you since Day One, and, Mr. President, our support for you is as strong today as it ever was.”
“In 2016, Pennsylvania put Donald Trump over the top. And in 2020, we’re going to do it again,” Keller said.
Trump uses his campaign rallies to disparage various Democratic candidates for president, but he has been heavily focused on Biden, suggesting he may be worried about the possibility of facing off next year against the longtime politician.
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FILE PHOTO – U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the National Association of Realtors’ Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo in Washington, U.S., May 17, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
May 20, 2019
By Jan Wolfe
(Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Monday ruled in favor of a U.S. House of Representatives committee seeking President Donald Trump’s financial records from his accounting firm, dealing an early setback to the Trump administration in its legal battle with Congress.
U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington also denied a request by Trump to stay his decision pending an appeal.
Last Tuesday Mehta heard oral arguments on whether Mazars LLP must comply with a House of Representatives Oversight Committee subpoena.
Mehta said in Monday’s ruling that the committee “has shown that it is not engaged in a pure fishing expedition for the President’s financial records” and that the Mazars documents might assist Congress in passing laws and performing other core functions.
It was the first time a federal court had waded into the tussle about how far Congress can go in probing Trump and his business affairs.
A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Trump is refusing to cooperate with a series of investigations on issues ranging from his tax returns and policy decisions to his Washington hotel and his children’s security clearances.
The standoff deepened on Monday when Trump told former White House counsel Don McGahn to defy a subpoena to testify about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation before a different congressional committee.
Trump’s lawyers argued that Congress is on a quest to “turn up something that Democrats can use as a political tool against the president now and in the 2020 election.”
Mehta’s ruling will almost certainly be appealed to a higher court.
The House Oversight Committee claims sweeping investigative power and says it needs Trump’s financial records to examine whether he has conflicts of interest or broke the law by not disentangling himself from his business holdings, as previous presidents did.
Lawyers for Trump and the Trump Organization, his company, last month filed a lawsuit to block the committee’s subpoena, saying it exceeded Congress’ constitutional limits.
Mehta was appointed in 2014 by Democratic former President Barack Obama, who was often investigated by Republicans in Congress during his two terms in office.
Mazars has avoided taking sides in the dispute and said it will “comply with all legal obligations.”
(Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Writing by Jan Wolfe and Howard Goller; Editing by Dan Grebler and Grant McCool)
FILE PHOTO – White House Counsel Don McGahn listens during U.S. Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
May 20, 2019
By Sarah N. Lynch, David Morgan and Steve Holland
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday told former White House counsel Don McGahn to defy a subpoena to testify about the Russia investigation before a congressional committee, deepening a fight between the administration and Democratic lawmakers.
In a letter to the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s Democratic Chairman Jerrold Nadler, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said that McGahn should not appear due to both “constitutional immunity” and “in order to protect the prerogatives of the Office of the Presidency.”
The committee is investigating whether Trump illegally obstructed the probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
McGahn figured prominently in a report by Special Counsel Robert Mueller about the Russia probe and whether Trump committed obstruction of justice.
The report cites McGahn as saying that Trump called him several times in June 2017 to tell him to direct the Justice Department to remove Mueller because of conflicts of interest.
McGahn did not carry out Trump’s order, the report said. Later, when news articles about the incident surfaced, McGahn told Mueller’s investigators that Trump tried to get him to dispute the accuracy of the reports. McGahn again refused.
Many Democratic lawmakers, as well as many former prosecutors not involved in the investigation, have said that the alleged order by the president to fire Mueller and attempt to coerce McGahn to lie about it could amount to committing the crime of obstruction.
Trump has denied asking McGahn to have Mueller removed.
House Democrats have sought McGahn’s cooperation as part of their investigation of possible corruption and obstruction of justice by Trump. Trump denies wrongdoing.
Congressional aides said on Monday that the committee has not yet been formally notified by McGahn and his attorney about whether he will attend the proceedings, though Nadler intends to still go ahead with the hearing regardless.
An attorney for McGahn could not be reached for comment. It was not immediately clear whether McGahn could still appear in front of the panel, but decline to answer questions. McGahn might be held in contempt of Congress if he refuses to testify.
Mueller’s report described numerous links between Trump’s 2016 campaign and various Russians but did not find sufficient evidence to establish there was a criminal conspiracy with Moscow.
The report also described numerous attempts by Trump to impede Mueller’s investigation, but stopped short of declaring the president had committed a crime.
Attorney General William Barr determined after reviewing Mueller’s findings that there was insufficient evidence to bring criminal obstruction charges against the president.
Nadler’s committee has been locked in multiple battles with the Trump administration over access to information contained in the Mueller report.
Trump said following the release of the Mueller report in March that it showed he was exonerated of colluding with Russia and obstruction justice.
But since then he has hardened his administration’s position of defying the legal demands of Democrats in Congress who want more information on the Russia investigation and Trump’s taxes and business dealings.
Earlier this month, the committee voted to hold Barr in contempt after he defied a subpoena seeking an unredacted copy of the Mueller report and its underlying investigative materials.
Nadler also issued a subpoena last month compelling McGahn to testify on Tuesday, and he has previously said he would hold the attorney in contempt if he did not show up.
Congressional aides said Tuesday’s hearing date for McGahn would enable Democrats to mark up a contempt citation against him as early as Thursday.
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, meanwhile, issued an opinion on Monday that gave legal cover to the decision to block McGahn from testifying.
In it, Justice Department Assistant Attorney General Steven Engel wrote that, “Congress may not constitutionally compel the President’s senior advisers to testify about their official duties.”
(Reporting by Steve Holland, Sarah N. Lynch, David Morgan and Tim Ahmann; writing by Mohammad Zargham; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Alistair Bell)
In a rural pocket of New Mexico, Sheriff Ian Fletcher is fighting back against new state firearm laws he calls unconstitutional, decrying “out-of-state gun control groups” in a column the local Catron Courier newspaper published this spring.
“These measures make it harder for law-abiding New Mexicans to exercise their Second Amendment rights, waste scarce law enforcement resources, and do nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” the column said.
Fletcher’s missive is part of a campaign among representatives of at least 75 cities and counties nationwide that call themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries, opposing enforcement of gun background checks and emergency protection orders.
The only problem: He didn’t write the column; a lobbyist with the National Rifle Association did.
Fletcher says the letter was passed to him by a sheriff’s association and that he’s not “the NRA’s puppet.”
“I didn’t have any direct contact with the NRA, but the letter was probably a little more articulate than I might have been,” Fletcher, who is depicted with an AR-15 on the county’s official website said. “It wasn’t a cut and paste job. I read it and agreed.”
The nation’s firearm debate is playing out in these rural counties, where sheriffs hold broad policing authority, as well as in Denver’s suburbs, where a Republican sheriff is facing recall for backing new laws.
Three flashpoints came in recent days. On one side are groups like the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence, which exposed the NRA-written columns Monday, and the Giffords Law Center, which released a new analysis of the firearm suicide rates in Second Amendment sanctuaries. On the other are gun rights groups, like those that organized a protest against the new laws at Colorado’s capital Saturday that drew hundreds waving “Don’t tread on me” flags and signs that read “We the people will not give up our guns.”
Colorado passed a so-called “red flag law” in May, becoming the 15th state in addition to Washington, D.C. to do so. Similar legislation is pending in 20 other states.
The proposal failed in New Mexico. The laws allow family, roommates or law enforcement to petition the court for a temporary order to seize firearms from someone deemed to pose a significant danger to themselves or others. An emergency 14-day order can be issued for imminent risk, and a yearlong prohibition of firearm possession can be ordered.
Brady staff suspected the NRA was backing sheriff opposition to the new laws and requested thousands of internal emails using public records laws. The other two papers Brady identified through the emails were the Silver City Daily Press and Deming Headlight, a USA TODAY Network property.
Kris Brown, Brady’s president, said the NRA and the sheriff’s associations were “tied at the hip, going so far as to let the gun lobby essentially run the sheriff’s campaign against these laws in secret.”
Generally, newspaper editors attempt to verify the provenance of letters to ensure their accuracy before publication. The Courier’s editor said she wasn’t surprised to learn that Fletcher’s column was written by the gun rights group.
“It doesn’t really matter because he agrees with those sentiments,” Shannon Donnelly said. “Because it’s in our opinion section I don’t have a problem with him having it ghostwritten.”
The Headlight, which ran an identical piece by Luna County Sheriff Kelly Gannaway, added an editor’s note after learning that the column was written by the NRA and encouraged guest writers to submit original content.
NRA officials defended sending around the sample letters to the editor.
“This is a distraction being pitched to reporters by the Michael Bloomberg-financed gun control lobby in response to the public’s strong opposition to their extreme gun control measures,” said Catherine Mortensen, an NRA spokeswoman. “They are trying to draw attention away from the fact that the New York-style gun control they are pushing on New Mexicans will make law-abiding citizens less safe and won’t do anything to deter criminals.”
Report ties opposition to suicide rates
Opposition to new laws comes from counties with some of the highest firearm suicide rates in the nation, according to the report by Giffords, a gun violence prevention group named for former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, severely injured during a mass shooting in Arizona in 2011.
The analysis focused on counties in Colorado, Illinois, New Mexico and Washington that have directed their sheriffs to ignore new state laws if they deem them unconstitutional. County resolutions there include language referencing “tyrants throughout history” and say that there is no “persuasive evidence that ‘gun control’ laws actually reduce crime.”
“There’s irony that the folks most resistant to these life-saving laws are in areas with constituents are at the highest risk.”,” said Adam Skaggs, chief counsel at Giffords.
The report points to places like Custer County, Colorado, where the firearm suicide rate is 32 per 100,000 – four times the state’s average according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In February, the county’s board of commissioners passed a resolution that said the state’s new red flag law is: “in direct conflict with provisions of due process, as outlined in the 4th Amendment, and contradict the right to bear arms.”
Firearms account for more than half of the state’s suicides, according to the Colorado Health Institute.
Colorado’s law kicked off a wave of resolutions and recall efforts of legislators and sheriffs supporting it. A state gun rights group already has challenged the law in court.
Another group, “Rally for our Rights,” has targeted recalls of Tom Sullivan, the Democratic lawmaker who backed the state’s red flag law and Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, a Republican who supported it.
The debate is intensely personal at times. Sullivan’s son, Alex, was killed in the Aurora theater shooting in 2012 and Spurlock’s deputy, Zack Parrish, was killed in a 2017 shooting, responding to a man with long-standing mental health problems. The new Colorado law is named after him.
In statements to USA TODAY, Sullivan vowed to fight the recall and said he “won’t be bullied by the gun lobby,” and Spurlock said the effort would fail because “the Douglas County citizens support him wholeheartedly.”
Robert Wareham, an attorney in Spurlock’s county, is leading the recall effort and said the law authorizes no-knock warrants to seize firearms that could be abused by spiteful family members. He discounted its impact on suicides.
“People are going to commit suicide whether they have a gun or another method,” Wareham said. “The suicide problem in Douglas County is tough, with affluent, educated white men taking their lives –but that’s a mental health issue and the firearm just expediates a method. Taking guns away won’t solve this.”
Decades of research indicate firearms are the most lethal means of suicide nationwide and the best target for new policy, said Matt Miller, an epidemiologist at Northeastern University.
“The hypothesis that if guns aren’t available someone will find an equally lethal way to take their life seems reasonable, but it falls flat when you look at the data,” Miller said.
Suicide rates nationwide, gun and non-gun, vary from one state to another four-fold – much more fluctuation than any other cause of death.
And that variation, Miller said, is driven almost exclusively by gun suicides. In homes with at least one gun, the risk for suicide is three to four times that of homes with no firearms. Gun suicides are about 90% likely to end in death, Miller added, compared to about 5% or fewer deaths related to pills or cutting.
“Gun owners aren’t more suicidal and don’t have higher rates of mental illness or suicide attempts,” he said, “but they have much higher rates of death if they do attempt.”
Legal fight, jail on horizon
Naming counties “sanctuaries” references sheriffs in left-leaning counties that have resisted enforcement of federal immigration policy. But those local efforts seek to sidestep federal law, while the firearm laws come from state statutes.
Attorneys general in Washington, New Mexico and Colorado have signaled that sheriffs who refuse to enforce the state law will encounter legal headaches.
In Washington, Attorney General Bob Ferguson issued a sternly worded letter that individual chiefs, sheriffs and towns could be held liable if someone illegally obtained a gun and used it to do harm.
In Colorado, newly-elected Attorney General Phil Weiser said sheriffs unwilling to enforce the law should resign.
He pointed to Indiana, with a similar population, which processes about 100 “extreme risk protection orders” to temporary seize firearms – so many counties would issue about one every three years. Last year about 1,700 orders to temporarily seize firearms were issued by judges around the country, according to data from the Associated Press.
“Counties passing these resolutions word them in a way that’s symbolic: instructing sheriffs not to enforce an unconstitutional law – and I agree, but this law is not unconstitutional,” Weiser told USA TODAY. “People get into law enforcement with a commitment to serve and save lives and I predict once this moves from the abstract to concrete cases with real people, it’s going to look a lot different to them.”
In Weld County, the opposition from Sheriff Steve Reams stems from the search and seizure provisions in the state’s new law – and less from broader Second Amendment concerns. He said the law threatens the wide discretionary berth afforded to law enforcement to prioritize laws, something he can sidestep by opting not to have any of his deputies ever petition for a red flag order.
“There’s no other order where we’re to go out and confiscate firearms with a search warrant,” Reams said. “And at that first issuance, the defendant isn’t there to defend themselves in court — it’s an entirely new body of law and it’s troublesome.”
In addition to passively ignoring the law, he said he’s prepared to fight the law either in court, or from a jail cell.
“If a judge said go confiscate these guns and that person wasn’t afforded due process I could not abide,” he said, “and if a judge ordered me to jail for violating the order, that’s the punishment I’d be willing to face.”
President Donald Trump looks at military conflict as “the last possible option” Rep. Lee Zeldin said Monday, and he believes the president’s often-strong words are meant as a deterrent and to show he’s willing to use force if it’s necessary against nations like Iran and North Korea.
“Just like the situation in 2017 with North Koreans…whether Iran or anybody else, if you attack the United States, you will be met with ‘fire and fury,'” the New York Republican told Fox News’ Harris Faulkner on “Outnumbered Overtime.”
Zeldin, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said that when Trump briefs House members on Tuesday about the Iran situation, it will be vital to learn more about a rocket that landed within a mile of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad Sunday, and about any other threats or intelligence that exists that may require action.
Zeldin said he’s had several conversations with Trump on foreign policy and Iran, North Korea and more, and noted that Trump will often bring in lawmakers from either party to hear information he uses to inform his decisions.
Also on Monday, Zeldin defended Trump against critics that he may be relying too much on the opinion of National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has often spoken out against Iran.
“At the end of the day, President Trump is commander-in-chief and he makes the decision. Ambassador Bolton respects that.”
Zeldin added, though, that it will be “fantastic” to have Bolton in Tuesday’s briefings.
“He is someone, off the top of his head if he needed to, he could write a 2,500-page encyclopedia about Iran.”
President Donald Trump sent out another tweet regarding the rising tensions with Iran, saying that the news media has been publishing false information.
“The Fake News put out a typically false statement, without any knowledge that the United States was trying to set up a negotiation with Iran,” the president wrote. “This is a false report.”
Trump continued with the tweet, stating that “Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready. In the meantime, their economy continues to collapse – very sad for the Iranian people!”
It is unclear as to what news report the president is complaining about.
The Los Angeles Times ran a headline on Sunday, “Trump’s plaintive but welcome message to Iran: Can we talk?” for an article by longtime columnist Doyle McManus.
In the column, McManus suggested that Trump’s “tough talk and menacing warships” fits a familiar pattern for him where his end game is to force negotiations.
McManus wrote, “For Trump, the solution is simple: direct negotiations with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, much like the two summits he has held with North Korea’s Kim.”
However, it is uncertain if Trump was referring to this, a similar report, or something else entirely.