BEDFORD, N.H. – John Delaney’s not your typical 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.
With many of his rivals for the nomination running to the left, the former congressman from Maryland is carving out a more moderate path and taking aim at two top wish-list items for the progressive base — the Green New Deal and “Medicare-for-all.”
And he’s not the only one. While every other Senate Democrat running for president has signed onto the Green New Deal, potential presidential candidate and Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown defended his decision not to on Tuesday: “I don’t need to co-sponsor every bill that others think they need to co-sponsor to show my progressive politics.”
Speaking at a breakfast sponsored by the Christian Science Monitor, Brown also said he views expanding Medicare to Americans age 50 and older as a more workable step than moving directly to single-payer health care.
Delaney was even more pointed while speaking Tuesday morning at “Politics and Eggs,” a must stop in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire. Delaney called for a “sense of common purpose and unity” and described himself as centrist, “which I don’t think is a dirty word.”
The longshot for the nomination who launched his White House bid in July of 2017 – just six months into Donald Trump’s presidency – highlighted his own push to combat climate change, touting his bill to implement a carbon tax.
But he took aim at the Green New Deal, the sweeping proposal that aims to transform the country’s economy to fight climate change — while enacting a host of new health care and welfare programs.
“I don’t actually think the Green New Deal is the right way to go,” he spotlighted. “I certainly support the fact that it’s put a lot of attention on this incredibly important issue but I don’t support the notion of making it harder to get something done on climate change.”
“If we want to actually make a difference on climate change, we have to do something right away and it’s got to be big. And there are some things that we can do that are big right away,” he told reporters. “So let’s not do things to make that it harder. If you actually tie climate change to universal healthcare, then you’re making it five times harder to do anything on climate change.”
Delaney’s stance puts him squarely at odds with many of his White House rivals. Seven senators either running for the Democratic presidential nomination or seriously weighing bids have signed on as co-sponsors to the Green New Deal, which was announced last week by freshman progressive rising star Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and veteran Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts.
On health care, Delaney called for fixing the Affordable Care Act, better known as ObamaCare, and said if elected he would “roll out a plan for universal care, which would make health care a right.”
But he criticized “Medicare-for-all,” pointing to the “bill that currently exists in the United States Senate, which I do not think is good policy.”
“I think we should use Medicare as a model without Medicare-for-all,” he added.
Delaney, who spotlighted that he “was ranked third most bipartisan of the Congress” during his three terms on Capitol Hill, said “I’m running basically a fundamentally different race” than his Democratic rivals. “My campaign is about solving problems, focusing on the future and bringing the country together. So I’m a unifier, not a divider, a problem solver, not a goalpost mover.”
Asked by Fox News if many of the other Democratic White House hopefuls are too far to the left, Delaney said: “I think I’m the only one running as a problem solver. And I think there are two ways to seek the presidency. You can try to divide and create some goals that are unrealistic. I think that’s’ wrong … or you can actually try to unify the country.”
Delaney also briefly slammed President Trump, saying: “I think our current president is the divider in chief in many ways. I think he wakes every day and tries to divide the country. But I don’t even blame him because I think he’s punctuation of decades of terrible politics.”
He warned of chilling political future, saying the country’s “potentially looking at a world where every political disagreement in the future could be met with violent protests outside the Capitol.”
And he called for presidents to go to the floor of the House of Representatives every three months to answer questions from members of Congress live on national TV.
The 55-year-old Delaney was raised in northern New Jersey by working-class parents. He found success as a banking entrepreneur and is worth nearly $90 million, which made him one of the wealthiest members of the U.S. House during his three terms in Congress.
Delaney’s appearance at “Politics and Eggs” came during a jam-packed three-day swing through New Hampshire, his 14th trip to the state since launching his campaign for president.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
McCabe says ‘it’s possible’ Trump’s a Russian asset
McCabe has said in the past that the FBI had a good reason to open up a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was working with Russia and a possible national security threat.
The former official was on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” when he was asked if he believes Trump may still be a Russian asset. He said he’s “anxious” to see the conclusion of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation.
He was also asked if he believes Trump is fit to serve and said it is not up to him to make the determination.
Gowdy challenges McCabe’s claim congressional leaders didn’t object to Russia counterintelligence probe
Former congressman and Fox News contributor Trey Gowdy disputed former acting FBI director Andrew McCabe’s claim Tuesday that congressional leaders didn’t object to the bureau’s counterintelligence investigation over President Trump’s Russia ties.
“The reason he’s doing it this way is that [Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif.] and [former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis.] are not allowed to discuss anything that’s said in a ‘Gang of Eight’ meeting and McCabe knows that,” Gowdy said on “The Story with Martha MacCallum.” “So he can level the accusation and Devin and Paul cannot refute him.” Nunes chaired the House Intelligence Committee from 2015-19.
McCabe, in an appearance on NBC’s “Today” show Tuesday morning, said no members of the “Gang of Eight,” a bipartisan group of House and Senate leaders, including Nunes and Ryan, objected to the investigation.
“I told Congress what we had done,” McCabe told Savannah Guthrie.
“Did anyone object?” Guthrie asked.
“That’s the important part here, Savannah,” McCabe replied. “No one objected. Not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds and not based on the facts.”
Gowdy, formerly a member of the House Judiciary Committee, said he believed McCabe wasn’t telling the truth and that Nunes and Ryan did not know about a second investigation.
“There were three investigations into a duly elected president. The Peter Strzok one from July of 2016 and then McCabe started a counterintelligence [probe] and if he’s telling the truth, started a criminal probe into the president of the United States,” Gowdy told Martha MacCallum.
“I listened to Devin and Paul quiz the [Justice Department] and the FBI for hours on multiple occasions about the one counterintelligence investigation, we all knew about it. I find it stunning that they would know about a second one and not say a single solitary word.”
Gowdy also addressed former FBI Director James Comey’s May 2017 firing and McCabe’s belief that the president was trying to shut down the Russia investigation.
“If thinking that Jim Comey is not a good FBI director is tantamount to being an agent of Russia then just list all the people that are agents of Russia. [Senate Minority Leader] Chuck Schumer, [House Speaker] Nancy Pelosi, [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein…,” Gowdy said.
Fox News’ Martha MacCallum contributed to this report.
Trump, Giuliani deny president tried obstructing Michael Cohen investigation
President Trump’s attorney, Rudolph Giuliani, denied a New York Times report that Trump asked then-Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker whether U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, a presidential ally, could be put in charge of the investigation into alleged wrongdoing by Trump’s onetime personal attorney Michael Cohen.
“The president said today he had no such conversation with the acting AG, and I believe Mr. Whitaker issued a statement to the same effect,” Giuliani said in a statement late Tuesday. “The rest of the piece is just a regurgitation of previously refuted obstruction theories. They all fail as obstruction because as [Harvard Law] Professor [Alan] Dershowitz’s recent book and many other authorities make clear, all of the alleged actions were within the president’s sole discretion under Article II of the U.S. Constitution.”
The Times report said that Whitaker told Trump that he could not put Berman in charge of the Cohen investigation because he had already recused himself from that matter. The paper claimed that Trump “soured” on Whitaker and “complained about his inability to pull levers at the Justice Department that could make the president’s many legal problems go away.”
Trump denied the story at the White House Tuesday afternoon, referring to the Times report as “more fake news” and saying that he had a “very good” relationship with Whitaker, who was replaced last week by William Barr.
“I have a lot of respect for Mr. Whitaker. I think he’s done a great job,” Trump said. He said Whitaker was “a very fine man, and he should be given a lot of thanks by our nation.”
Justice Department spokesperson Kerri Kupec referred to testimony Whitaker gave to the House Judiciary Committee earlier this month.
“Under oath to the House Judiciary Committee, then-Acting Attorney General Whitaker stated that ‘at no time has the White House asked for nor have I provided any promises or commitments concerning the special counsel’s investigation or any other investigation,'” Kupec said. “Mr. Whitaker stands by his testimony.”
Berman was named acting U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York in January 2018 by the AG at that time, Jeff Sessions. Berman was appointed to the position indefinitely by the panel’s judges three months later.
Prosecutors in the Southern District say Trump directed Cohen to make illegal hush-money payments to two women — adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal — in order to keep them quiet about alleged sexual encounters with them dating back more than a decade and coming soon after he’d married his current wife, Melania. Cohen is scheduled to report to prison next month to begin a three-year sentence after pleading guilty this past August to campaign finance and other violations.
Cohen is also scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on Feb. 28. His attorney, Lanny Davis, has said that Cohen also plans to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee and the House Oversight Committee before the end of this month. In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying under oath to the Senate Intelligence Committee as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
Fox News’ John Roberts and Jake Gibson contributed to this report.
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