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Sanders, Biden prepare for long slog to US Democratic nomination

And then there were three. After a frenzied four days that completely upended the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, the remaining primary voters in the United States were on Wednesday left with three viable choices (down from more than 25 one year ago) for the candidate they want to face President Donald Trump in…

Sanders, Biden prepare for long slog to US Democratic nomination

And then there were three.
After a frenzied four days that completely upended the campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, the remaining primary voters in the United States were on Wednesday left with three viable choices (down from more than 25 one year ago) for the candidate they want to face President Donald Trump in the November general election – Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren.
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Super Tuesday: Biden wins 10 states, Sanders takes California

Michael Bloomberg exits Democratic race, endorses Joe Biden

Who are the US voters behind Joe Biden’s comeback?

After an abysmal showing on Super Tuesday, in which he managed to carry only the US territory of American Samoa, billionaire Michael Bloomberg exited the race and endorsed Biden on Wednesday morning, saying it was clear that remaining in the race would make his ultimate goal of defeating Trump more difficult.
Elizabeth Warren huddled with advisers on Wednesday to determine if there was a reason to stay in the race after her wipe-out on Tuesday. She did not win a single state and finished in third place, after Biden and Sanders, in her own home state of Massachusetts.
Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, who won a delegate in the caucuses in American Samoa, is technically still in the race but currently polling at about 1 percent nationally.
While Biden won 10 of the 14 Super Tuesday states, including delegate-rich Texas and a broad swath of the South, Sanders demonstrated his strength by winning California, the nation’s biggest state.

Sighs of relief
Establishment Democrats were breathing a sigh of relief on Wednesday.
“What we faced a week ago was the moderate-progressive movement or base in Virginia splitting four ways” among Democratic contenders, said Congressman Don Beyer, a Virginia Democrat who supports Biden. “I’m really encouraged by it, and I feel much more optimistic now about being able to keep the House, take back the Senate and win the presidency.”
Sanders and his supporters showed no signs of surrender, insisting that he can energise enough young voters to drive the party to a victory in the general election.
“The American people have got to understand that this is a conflict about ideas, about a record, about a vision of how we go forward,” he said at a news conference in his hometown of Burlington, Vermont, on Wednesday.
Congresswoman Primila Jayapal, a Democrat who co-chairs the House progressive caucus and who has endorsed Sanders, said that as the race narrows to a two-person contest, Sanders will do more to reach out to black, Latino and older voters.
“For Bernie Sanders, he is going to have to figure out how to reach out to older voters and to black voters to build the kind of coalition that is now required in a two-person race, because it’s a very different race,” Jayapal said.
The Sanders campaign sees Biden a vulnerable with a number of key constituencies, Jayapal said. “Biden is not winning any Latino voters so he is going to have some challenges,” she told reporters at the US Capitol.
Echoes of 2016
The Sanders-Biden race as it is now unfolding has echoes of Sanders’ face-off in 2016 against Hillary Clinton, another moderate candidate who was deemed a safer choice until her stunning loss to Trump in the general election. Unfortunately for Sanders, his path to victory in 2020 is riddled with the same stumbling blocks that tripped him up in 2016.
For one thing, the calendar of primaries ahead – Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Idaho, and Washington on March 10th, and Florida, Illinois and Ohio on March 17th – is dominated by states that Sanders, with a few exceptions, lost to Hillary in 2016.
Another Achilles heel for Sanders in 2016, his lack of support among black voters, was apparent in Tuesday’s results as well. Biden swept the Southern states where African-American voters make up a big chunk of the Demcratic base, garnering as much as 72 percent of the black vote in Alabama and 60 percent in Virginia, according to exit polls.
The bright spot for Sanders was the Latino vote, which he handily carried in places where it matters. In California, Sanders won 49 percent of Latino voters to Biden’s 19 percent, and in Texas he won 39 percent compared with Biden’s 26 percent.
The revolution on which Sanders has hung his candidacy, however, one that promised a surge of passionate young voters, didn’t materialize Tuesday. The turnout was there, especially in Virginia which saw record numbers at the polls, but the votes were for Biden, not Sanders.
According to exit polls conducted by Edison Research, not a single state saw an increase in young voters’ share of the electorate on Tuesday.

Joe Biden addresses supporters as his wife Jill looks on at his Super Tuesday night rally in Los Angeles, California [Mike Blake/Reuters] 

Ukraine makes a comeback
Biden is far from running away with the race, though, and has his own baggage that will weigh him down if he wins the nomination.
At 77 years old, he is hardly the picture of youthful exuberance (Sanders is 78) and is prone to frequent gaffes at which Trump frequently pokes fun. When Biden took the stage in Los Angeles on Tuesday night to celebrate, in fact, the first thing he did was accidentally confuse his wife and sister.
Then, there is Ukraine. All-but-ignored by Trump and the Republicans when Biden was foundering, questions about his dealings, along with those of his son, Hunter, in that country have already resurfaced. On Wednesday, Republicans in the US Senate announced a new phase of their investigation into the matter, which was litigated at length during the impeachment trial of the president in January.
A remaining wildcard in the race is whether Bloomberg, who spent more than half a billion dollars of his own money on his run, will turn his massive campaign operation towards the Democrats’ larger goal of defeating Trump in November.
Biden’s deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said Biden is “thrilled” to have Bloomberg’s support. But she said conversations about what Bloomberg’s endorsement means in practice are ongoing.
To secure the nomination, Sanders or Biden will need to claim 1,991 delegates, a majority of the 3,979 pledged delegates available this primary season.
Votes were still being counted Wednesday, but by most tallies, Biden had racked up 566 delegates, Sanders 501 and Warren 61. The numbers are expected to shift as new states report their numbers.
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Hunter Biden Burisma payments detailed in Treasury Department reports

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden flatly denied at Tuesday night’s debate that his lawyer son took huge sums of money from corrupt oligarchs and Chinese communists during his vice presidency, but Treasury Department reports show that Hunter Biden did receive the money. President Trump chose to make an issue of Hunter Biden’s cash haul…

Hunter Biden Burisma payments detailed in Treasury Department reports

Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden flatly denied at Tuesday night’s debate that his lawyer son took huge sums of money from corrupt oligarchs and Chinese communists during his vice presidency, but Treasury Department reports show that Hunter Biden did receive the money.

President Trump chose to make an issue of Hunter Biden’s cash haul from Russia, Ukraine and China with the implication that unsavory figures were trying to buy Vice President Biden and the Obama administration.

“When somebody gets 3½ million dollars from the mayor of Moscow,” Mr. Trump said.

“That’s is not true. That report is totally false,” Mr. Biden said.

A Senate Republican report by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee says Mr. Trump is right, though it was not Moscow’s mayor, but his wife, whom the U.S. suspects of corruption in attaining billionaire status.

Hunter Biden received a single wire transfer of $3.5 million from Elena Baturina. The Senate report said she became a billionaire through illegal construction contracts awarded by her husband, since deceased.

This is based on Treasury Department reports received by committee Chairman Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican.

The Senate narrative is not specific, but the types of transaction records match the description of confidential suspicious activity reports that the Treasury issues when it suspects illegal activity.

The Senate report says, “On Feb. 14, 2014, Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) bank account for a ‘Consultancy Agreement.’ Rosemont Seneca Thornton is an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.”

Russia invaded Crimea in Ukraine the month Ms. Baturina sent the money.

“Why did he get it?” Mr. Trump asked.

“That report was written for political reasons,” Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Trump asserted, “Once you became vice president, he made a fortune in Ukraine, in China, in Moscow and various other places.”

Mr. Biden responded, “That is not true.”

According to the senators’ Treasury records, it is true.

In April 2014, President Obama made Mr. Biden the point man in Ukraine, after the Russian invasion, to persuade leaders to rid the country of rampant corruption.

The next month, Hunter Biden showed up on the board of directors of the energy company Burisma Holdings, which the State Department considers corrupt, as it does its oligarch owner, Mykola Zlochevsky. Hunter Biden’s business partner, Devon Archer, already had secured a spot.

Over the years, Burisma paid the two more than $4 million. Treasury records show that 48 wire transfers from May 2014 to February 2016 totaled $3.4 million. The money went to Rosemont Seneca Bohai, a shell company run by Mr. Archer in partnership with a Chinese investment fund.

In 2014 and 2015, Burisma sent $700,000 directly to Hunter Biden. After Mr. Archer was arrested on fraud charges, Burisma sent Hunter Biden another $752,000.

On China, Vice President Biden promoted closer ties to the communist regime on many fronts. He traveled to China in 2013 on Air Force Two and took along Hunter, who met with Chinese businessmen.

“China ate your lunch, Joe,” Mr. Trump said Tuesday night. “And no wonder your son goes in and he takes out billions of dollars. He takes out billions of dollars to manage. He makes millions of dollars.”

Mr. Biden said, “None of that is true.”

The Bidens have adamantly denied reports that Hunter Biden’s investment firm received a $1 billion infusion.

But the Senate report documents extensive ties between Hunter Biden and various Chinese entities that produced millions of dollars in wire transfers.

In one example, China’s CEFC Infrastructure Investment wired $5 million to HudsonWest LLC, a New York company jointly owned by Hunter Biden and Chinese interests. HudsonWest then sent $4.7 million to Hunter Biden’s law firm. The next year, another $1 million was delivered.

Hunter Biden sent 20 wire transfers totaling $1.3 million to Vice President Biden’s brother James for consulting services. Treasury flagged the transfers as potentially criminal, the Senate report said.

When the bank contacted James Biden’s wife, Sara, to learn details, she refused to cooperate, the Senate report said.

“Hunter Biden has extensive connections to Chinese businesses and Chinese foreign nationals that are linked to the Communist government,” the Senate report said. “Those contacts bore financial fruit when his father was vice president and after he left office.”

The Senate report also said Hunter Biden sent money to Ukrainian and Russian women. The Treasury reports said the transactions are linked to “what appears to be an Eastern European prostitution or human trafficking ring.”

Mr. Johnson, the Senate homeland security panel chairman, wrote in a FoxNews.com column Tuesday that liberal news media have ignored his report showing disturbing ties between the Biden family and corrupt people.

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Joe Biden: Trump ‘looks down on us’

Joseph R. Biden leaned into his recent populist messaging Wednesday as he kicked off a train tour of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, saying President Trump looks down on Americans who might be struggling. “I think it’s more than ignoring us,” Mr. Biden said in Cleveland. “I look at things from [a] Scranton perspective —…

Joe Biden: Trump ‘looks down on us’

Joseph R. Biden leaned into his recent populist messaging Wednesday as he kicked off a train tour of eastern Ohio and western Pennsylvania, saying President Trump looks down on Americans who might be struggling.

“I think it’s more than ignoring us,” Mr. Biden said in Cleveland. “I look at things from [a] Scranton perspective — he looks at it from Park Avenue. I think he basically looks down on us.”

Mr. Biden spoke the day after his first debate with Mr. Trump that was dominated by name-calling and interruptions.

“The question is does he see you where you are and where you want to be? Does he care? Has he tried to walk in your shoes to understand what’s going on in your life?” Mr. Biden said. “Or does he just ignore you and all the folks all over America who are in a similar situation?”

Mr. Trump said Wednesday that Mr. Biden flopped the previous night and that the former vice president’s performance probably cost him support from the far left.

“Second Amendment is DEAD if Biden gets in! Is that what you want from a leader? He will destroy our Country! VOTE NOW USA,” the president said on Twitter.

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Joe Biden blasts Green New Deal after defending it

The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it. During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.” But a moment later, he said:…

Joe Biden blasts Green New Deal after defending it

The Green New Deal was back on the front burner Tuesday after Democratic presidential nominee Joseph R. Biden said that he doesn’t support the ambitious climate plan, immediately both before and after defending it.

During the presidential debate, Mr. Biden said, “The Green New Deal is not my plan.”

But a moment later, he said: “The Green New Deal will pay for itself as we move forward. You’re not going to build plants that in fact are great polluting plants.”

Moderator Chris Wallace interrupted, saying, “You support the Green New Deal?”

Mr. Biden replied: “No, I don’t support the Green New Deal.”

President Trump jumped in with, “Oh, you don’t? Well, that’s a big statement,” predicting that Mr. Biden had just lost “the radical left.”

Mr. Biden explained, “I support the Biden plan that I put forward, which is different than what [Mr. Trump] calls the radical Green New Deal.”

The exchange deflated environmentalists on social media who champion the Green New Deal, although Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the New York Democrat who sponsored the House resolution, insisted that, “This isn’t news.”

“Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force — so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet,” tweeted Ms. Ocasio-Cortez. “Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real.”

In 60 seconds Joe Biden said he doesn’t support the Green New Deal… then he DID support the Green New Deal.
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) September 30, 2020

This isn’t news, Kellyanne.Our differences are exactly why I joined Biden’s Climate Unity Task Force – so we could set aside our differences & figure out an aggressive climate plan to address the planetary crisis at our feet.Trump doesn’t even believe climate change is real. https://t.co/Bj8SMD9Syf
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 30, 2020

Mr. Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris, is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal resolution in the Senate, the companion to the measure introduced by Ms. Ocasio-Cortez in the House.

The Biden campaign website says, “Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” although Mr. Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan is less ambitious than Ms. Ocasio-Cortez’s plan.

Mr. Biden’s plan calls for limiting but not abolishing hydraulic fracturing; replacing fossil fuels on the electrical grid by 2035, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

— Guy Benson (@guypbenson) September 30, 2020

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