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Democratic Senator Brown says he will not enter 2020 White House race

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Democratic Senator Brown says he will not enter 2020 White House race

FILE PHOTO: Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) questions Jerome Powell on his nomination to become chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve during a hearing before the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee in Washington, U.S., November 28, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio said on Thursday he would not enter the 2020 U.S. presidential race, but would work to help the party recapture the White House and battle Republican President Donald Trump’s “phony populism.”

Brown, who has just wrapped up a month-long tour of four early voting states as he explored a presidential bid, said he was confident the growing field of Democratic White House contenders would keep up his fight for workers and his message about “the dignity of work.”

“We’ve seen candidates begin taking up the dignity of work fight, and we have seen voters across the country demanding it,” Brown said in a statement. “It is how we beat Trump, and it is how we should govern.”

Brown, a liberal with strong ties to the labor movement, had not registered significant support in most opinion polls of a growing Democratic field that includes better-known fellow senators such as Kamala Harris of California, Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

His decision not to run is certain to increase speculation that former Vice President Joe Biden, another Democrat with a history of appealing to working-class voters, is likely to enter the race. Former Congressman Beto O’Rourke of Texas is also expected to announce a decision soon.

Three other possible Democratic contenders – former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon – also announced this week that they would not run.

Reporting by John Whitesides; editing by Mohammad Zargham and Jonathan Oatis

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Democrats’ calls to revamp Electoral College, Supreme Court reveal panic: Lara Trump

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Democrats' calls to revamp Electoral College, Supreme Court reveal panic: Lara Trump

President Trump’s senior campaign adviser and daughter-in-law Lara Trump blasted Democrats on Tuesday, including Democratic presidential contenders, after they called for changing the Electoral College and revamping the Supreme Court.

“I think it’s very clear that people are still upset on the left that their chosen candidate did not win in 2016.  They want to find any way they can to beat Donald Trump because I think they know it’s going to be incredibly hard, almost impossible to beat this president in the 2020 election,” Lara Trump said.

Her comments came after one 2020 contender, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., called for ending the Electoral College.

“My view is that every vote matters. And the way we can make that happen is we can have national voting, and that means get rid of the Electoral College,” Warren said in Mississippi Monday.

Trump said talk of changing the Supreme Court is another sign of panic among Democrats.

“I think that it’s pretty clear that these folks are very upset that this president has had two Supreme Court placements now,” Trump said in response to various Democratic candidates calling for changes to how Supreme Court justices are selected.

“And quite likely if he gets a second term he will get a third.  So, I think you’re seeing … panic mode now on the Democrat side.”

“I think we need to fix the Supreme Court. I think they stole a Supreme Court seat,” Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., said on MSNBC Monday. He appeared to be referring to President Barack Obama’s late-term nomination of Merrick Garland for a Supreme Court seat, a nomination that did not get a confirmation hearing from a Senate then led by a GOP majority.

TRUMP FIRES BACK AT DEMS COURT PACKING PUSH

I think you’re seeing … panic mode now on the Democrat side.

— Lara Trump

Trump believes many of the candidates looking to secure the Democratic nomination are too far left with their platforms to beat President Trump in the general election.

“I really think when you look at the field these people are generally very, very far-left,” Trump told co-host Sandra Smith. “You look at people who are running in some cases on an almost socialist or fully socialist platform, that is not something I think the average person can get behind.”

Trump also addressed her father-in-law’s disapproval rating with women, saying she didn’t trust the polling and that many women are afraid to admit they support or voted for the president.

“They might not like all his tweets, they might not like everything he does, but at the end of the day I think they know he’s going to keep this country safe and prosperous,” Trump said.

SOMEONE IN THE STATE DEPARTMENT LIKELY INVOLVED IN THE BID TO TAKE DOWN TRUMP: HERRIDGE

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U.S. judge rebuts Trump on transgender troop limits

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U.S. judge rebuts Trump on transgender troop limits

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A federal judge on Tuesday contradicted the Trump administration’s “incorrect” claim that no legal blocks remain for it to enforce a contentious policy to restrict many transgender individuals from the U.S. armed forces starting on April 12.

FILE PHOTO – Members of the Army march up 5th Avenue during the Veterans Day Parade in New York November 11, 2012. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

In a three-page notice, U.S. Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly said an injunction that she issued against the policy in 2017 remains in place.

“Defendants were incorrect in claiming that there was no longer an impediment to the military’s implementation” of the transgender policy, the judge wrote.

A spokeswoman for Pentagon said it was consulting with the U.S. Justice Department, which declined to comment.

Three other injunctions issued by judges in separate cases have already been lifted, in part by a Jan. 22 U.S. Supreme Court decision and subsequent action by a federal judge in Maryland.

That prompted the U.S. Defense Department to sign a memo on March 12 that would enforce its service limitations on transgender people, effective one month later.

Kollar-Kotelly’s injunction, however, had been set aside by a three-judge panel of the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Jan. 4. The panel said it would hold off on issuing a “mandate” to finalize the higher court’s decision until it resolves any request by the plaintiffs who challenged the transgender policy as a violation of the U.S. Constitution to rehear their appeal.

“The Trump administration cannot circumvent the judicial process just to fast track its baseless, unfair ban on transgender servicemembers,” said attorney Jennifer Levi of the anti-discrimination group GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, who represents the plaintiffs.

President Donald Trump in 2017 announced a plan to ban transgender people from the military, reversing Democratic former President Barack Obama’s policy of allowing transgender troops to serve openly and get medical transition care.

In March 2018, Trump backed a revised policy from then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. It banned, in some circumstances, transgender people with gender dysphoria, or distress due to internal conflict between physical gender and gender identity.

The Mattis policy also banned transgender people who seek or have undergone gender transition steps.

Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Richard Chang

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Judges lean toward Trump in hotel ’emoluments’ case

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Judges lean toward Trump in hotel 'emoluments' case

(Reuters) – A three-judge U.S. appeals court panel signaled sympathy toward President Donald Trump on Tuesday in his appeal in a Democratic-backed lawsuit that accuses him of violating anti-corruption provisions of the U.S. Constitution with his Washington hotel.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. flags fly over the Trump International Hotel in Washington, U.S., August 3, 2018. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

The judges on the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals indicated they may dismiss the lawsuit filed against the Republican president in June 2017 by the Democratic attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Maryland-based U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte last year allowed the lawsuit to proceed, a ruling that Trump appealed to the 4th Circuit. All three of the judges who heard the appeal were appointed by Republican presidents. Trump’s lawyers told the appeals court that Messitte, a Democratic appointee, should have dismissed the case.

The judges raised concerns about Messitte’s findings on the Constitution’s “emoluments” clauses, which prohibit a president from accepting gifts from foreign countries and U.S. states without congressional approval.

Trump opened the Trump International Hotel, just blocks from the White House, shortly before he was elected in 2016. Unlike past presidents, he has retained ownership of numerous business interests, including the hotel, while serving as president.

Since his election, the hotel has become a favored lodging and event space for some foreign and state officials visiting the U.S. capital. The lawsuit alleges that, in failing to disengage from the hotel, Trump has made himself vulnerable to inducements by foreign governments seeking to curry favor, violating the Constitution.

The Trump Organization, the president’s company now run by his sons, has pledged to donate to the U.S. Treasury profits that its hotels make from foreign governments. The company has reported making such donations, while also saying it is “impractical” to require customers representing foreign countries to identify themselves.

In his ruling, Messitte embraced a broad definition of emoluments. Messitte said the provision encompasses any “profit, gain or advantage” received “directly or indirectly” from a foreign government, U.S. state government or federal agency.

The appeals court judges indicated that Messitte’s definition was too broad. Judge Dennis Shedd said Messitte’s definition could deter from public service “anybody who has grown something successfully or has business interests.”

Judge Paul Niemeyer said requiring the president to divest his financial interest in the hotel would not remove the Trump name from it, and foreign officials would still use it.

The attorneys generals said in a joint statement they “will keep fighting to stop the president’s daily violations of our nation’s original anti-corruption laws, because Americans should never have to wonder if the president is working on their behalf or in his personal financial interest.”

Reporting by Jan Wolfe; Editing by Kevin Drawbaugh and Will Dunham

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