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Meet the 2020 candidate giving away money, in ‘universal basic income’ pitch



Meet the 2020 candidate giving away money, in 'universal basic income' pitch

Several Democratic presidential candidates are pitching government-backed health care, child care and education in their 2020 platforms.

Andrew Yang is going a step further — pushing a plan for “universal basic income.” And to demonstrate what he’s talking about, the entrepreneur from New York City and uber-longshot for the Democratic presidential nomination is personally giving away money to families in Iowa and New Hampshire, the states that vote first and second in the presidential caucus and primary calendar.


“It would help people improve their health, nutrition, pay off some debts and bills that have been hanging over them, reduce their stress levels,” Yang told Fox News in an interview, describing what he’s dubbed a “freedom dividend.”

The grand plan would involve the government giving $12,000 a year to each adult American — the kind of guaranteed income scheme that’s been tested recently in Finland, as well as California.

The plan, like his candidacy, is a longshot. But, thematically, it dovetails with such sweeping government aid ideas as those contained in the newly unveiled Green New Deal and other proposals on Capitol Hill.

Yang said his plan would be paid for by a value-added tax, known as a VAT. He’s estimated a 10 percent VAT would raise some $700-800 billion. And to publicize the push, Yang is giving $1,000 per month this year out of his own pocket to a family in Iowa and New Hampshire.


Giving money to potential voters in two crucial early voting states could raise some eyebrows, legally speaking. But Yang said he checked with the Federal Election Commission before going ahead with his plan.

“I talked to the FEC and they said as long as it’s my personal funds, and it’s a personal gift with no strings attached, they have no issues,” he said.

He added that he’s “optimistic” the families receiving his personal cash payments this year “will come out for me, but I have no expectations and certainly no obligations.”

The New Hampshire recipients, the Fassi family from Goffstown, were selected out of a pool of dozens of Granite State applicants. They started receiving the monthly $1,000 payments in January. The campaign says a family in Iowa will be chosen soon through a similar contest.

Experts at the Campaign Legal Center – a nonpartisan organization that works to reduce the influence of money in politics – told Fox News that the distribution of personal funds is not something that campaign finance laws cover.

They added that they didn’t believe what Yang was doing would be unlawful, since the money being given away came with no strings attached, and should not be considered a form of bribery.

Yang was the CEO of the test-prep education company Manhattan GMAT. In 2011, he launched Venture for America, a New York City-headquartered organization that trains entrepreneurs.

Yang argued that automation is increasingly displacing the country’s workforce and that a cash payment will be needed for people to afford to live through the automation evolution.

“People see what’s happening in their communities. People see that stores are closing. Thirty percent of Americans malls are going to close in the next four years and working in retail is still the most common job in the economy. So you don’t need robots walking the streets of New Hampshire to understand that our economy’s evolving in unprecedented ways,” he said.

And he claimed that his message is resonating in Iowa and New Hampshire with some people who voted for Donald Trump in 2016.

“A lot of Trump voters have come up to me and said ‘I voted for Donald Trump and I’m going to vote for you because you’re not a Washington insider.’ Someone actually said to me ‘you’re what I thought I was getting when I voted for Donald Trump,’” he explained.

Speaking to a small gathering of activists and voters at a café in Somersworth, Yang joked that if the president had a nickname for him, it could be “comrade Yang.”

Politically, Yang’s proposal is one of many that Republicans would be eager to trash as modern-day socialism. After last week’s unveiling of the Green New Deal, the Republican National Committee panned it as a “socialist wish list” that would cost trillions and kill jobs.

But Yang claimed that what he’s proposing is “very, very different from socialism when the government actually nationalizes the means of production.”

Yang declared his candidacy for the White House nearly a year ago, though has been overshadowed by an already-crowded field of senators and other famous politicians. Yet he argued the big field offers a silver lining:


“Because every time someone comes in, people look around and see who’s in the field. People are still looking for options. And the bigger the field, the more fragmented it is, the better it is for us.”


Huckabee lashes out at Trump critic Romney: ‘Makes me sick’ you could have been POTUS




Huckabee lashes out at Trump critic Romney: ‘Makes me sick’ you could have been POTUS

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee lashed out at Sen. Mitt Romney after the Utah Republican said he was “sickened” by the level of dishonesty from President Trump’s administration in response to Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Know what makes me sick, Mitt? Not how disingenuous you were to take @realDonaldTrump $$ and then 4 yrs later jealously trash him & then love him again when you begged to be Sec of State, but makes me sick that you got GOP nomination and could have been @POTUS,” Huckabee tweeted Friday.

Earlier in the day, Romney tweeted that it was good news that there was insufficient evidence to charge Trump with collusion or obstruction of justice. The former GOP 2012 presidential candidate then blasted Trump and his campaign for having contacts with Russians.

“I am sickened at the extent and pervasiveness of dishonesty and misdirection by individuals in the highest office of the land, including the President,” Romney posted.

“I am appalled that, among other things, fellow citizens working in a campaign for president welcomed help from Russia — including information that had been illegally obtained; that none of them acted to inform American law enforcement,” he wrote.

Mueller’s long-awaited report was released Thursday morning and contains nearly 900 redactions. It showed investigators found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. No conclusion was reached on whether Trump’s actions amounted to obstruction.


Huckabee ran against Romney for the 2008 GOP presidential nomination and is the father of White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

Romney and Trump’s contentious relationship has been well documented, with both men having exchanged congratulations and insults over the years.

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CNN wanted accusations against Trump to be true, White House spokesman says




CNN wanted accusations against Trump to be true, White House spokesman says

White House principal deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley struck back at CNN host Anderson Cooper on Friday, a day after having a contentious interview with the journalist, saying he would not be lectured by a member of the mainstream media who has been “lying” about President Trump.

“First of all, I’m not going to take a lecture on truth-telling from anybody in the mainstream media who has been lying about this president for the last two years, telling the American people that Donald Trump committed treason which is a crime punishable by death as you well know,” Gidley told “Ingraham Angle” host Laura Ingraham.


On Thursday, Cooper and Gidley went back and forth over the release of the long-awaited Mueller report.

The report showed investigators did not find evidence of collusion between the 2016 Trump presidential campaign and Russia but did lay out an array of actions taken by the president that were examined as part of the investigation’s obstruction inquiry.

At one point during the interview Cooper asked Gidley if the president lied.

“No, i’m not aware of him lying. He hasn’t lied to me,” Gidley responded.

“I feel bad that you’re scared to say that your boss lied,” Cooper later added.

Gidley accused CNN of wanting accusations of collusion between the president and Russia to be true.


“The point is, for me to sit there with CNN and listen to them, who they wanted this to be true so badly. So many in the media did, and I understand why they don’t drop it,” Gidley said.

“Because if they did, they would be admitting the fact that the last two years of their life was a complete and total waste.”

Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.

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DOJ calls Nadler subpoena for full Mueller report ‘premature and unnecessary’




Gingrich suggests Nadler’s push to further probe Mueller report is an attempt to save his job in the House

The Department of Justice responded Friday to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s request for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s full and unredacted report, dismissing the request as both “premature and unnecessary.”

DOJ spokesperson Kerri Kupec said in a statement that Attorney General Bill Barr provided Mueller’s report on Thursday with only “minimal redactions” and, “in the interest of transparency,” the department had provided certain members of Congress, including Nadler, with a report that had “even fewer redactions.”


“In light of this, Congressman Nadler’s subpoena is premature and unnecessary. The Department will continue to work with Congress to accommodate its legitimate requests consistent with the law and long-recognized executive branch interests,” Kupec continued.

Nadler said in a statement early Friday that he subpoenaed the DOJ for the “full version” of the Mueller report and “underlying evidence,” requiring the department to comply by May 1.

“My committee needs and is entitled to the full version of the report and the underlying evidence consistent with past practice,” Nadler’s statement read. “The redactions appear to be significant. We have so far seen none of the actual evidence that the special counsel developed to make this case.”

Prior to the release of the long-awaited report, Nadler also made a request that Mueller himself provide testimony “as soon as possible” before his committee to explain his findings in the nearly 400-page report.


“It is clear Congress and the American people must hear from Special Counsel Robert Mueller in person to better understand his findings.”

While there was no immediate response from Mueller, Barr said at a press conference prior to Nadler’s request that he would be open to providing testimony on the report.

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