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O’Rourke, Trump duel over wall, immigration in possible 2020 preview

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O'Rourke, Trump duel over wall, immigration in possible 2020 preview

EL PASO, Texas (Reuters) – Potential White House hopeful Beto O’Rourke accused Donald Trump of fear-mongering on Monday and the Republican president mocked the Democrat as a “young man who lost” in dueling rallies that could preview the tenor of the 2020 election campaign.

Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic former Texas congressman, addresses supporters before an anti-Trump march in El Paso, Texas, U.S., February 11, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

O’Rourke, who narrowly lost his 2018 bid for a U.S. Senate seat, accused Trump of stoking “false fear” about immigrants and telling “lies” about his hometown El Paso, which Trump said was a dangerous place before it had a border fence.

“We stand for America and we stand against a wall,” O’Rourke told a crowd of several thousand supporters, many waving “Beto 2020” signs and wearing “Immigrants Make America Great” baseball caps. “Walls do not save lives, they end lives.”

Two hundred yards away in El Paso County Coliseum, Trump told his supporters that O’Rourke had “little going for himself, although he’s got a great first name.”

“We are all challenged by a young man who lost an election to (Republican Senator) Ted Cruz,” said Trump.

He said that O’Rourke’s rally was smaller than his, and that was a bad sign: “That may be the end of his presidential bid.”

Reuters could not verify Trump’s claim that 35,000 people attended his rally, with about 10,000 inside. The city’s fire department allowed only the capacity 6,500 inside, the El Paso Times reported. Police estimated between 10,000 and 15,000 attended the O’Rourke march and rally, the newspaper said.

As the two men spoke, U.S. congressional negotiators said they had reached a tentative deal to try to avert another partial government shutdown. Aides said it did not contain the $5.7 billion Trump wanted for his wall that triggered the shutdown last month.

Trump made clear on Monday he would not drop the demand for a border wall that delights his followers, first made in his campaign in the 2016 election. Giant banners at his rally read “Finish The Wall.”

National polls show the wall is not popular with the majority of voters. A Reuters/IPSOS survey found 43 percent of the U.S. public supported additional border fencing.

Trump said he had heard about a possible deal in Washington before he took the stage, but added: “Just so you know – we’re building the wall anyway. Maybe progress has been made – maybe not.”

“BUILD THE WALL”

It was Trump’s first direct clash with a potential 2020 rival, albeit on separate stages.

O’Rourke relished the prime-time national platform, sometimes breaking into Spanish, in what sounded like a campaign speech. He decried the Trump administration’s separation of immigrant children from their parents at the border.

He said Dreamers – undocumented people brought to the United States by their parents when they were children – should be given citizenship, and their parents a pathway to citizenship.

“With a president who describes Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals, we have a chance to tell him and the country that immigrants commit crime at a lower rate than Americans who are born in this country,” he said to shouts of “Beto, Beto.”

Trump was pressing his case on immigration in the Democratic bastion of El Paso county, where the population is over 80 percent Hispanic.

“I will never sign a bill that forces the mass release of violent criminals into our country,” he said, referring to a Democratic proposal in the Washington talks to lower the cap on detentions of criminal aliens by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Slideshow (19 Images)

Under Monday’s tentative agreement, the cap would likely stay around the same as in previous years, a congressional aide said.

Although O’Rourke’s full-throated denunciation of the president sounded like he planned to run against Trump, the two-time congressman declined to discuss a potential bid when asked by reporters on a conference call on Monday.

O’Rourke told Oprah Winfrey last week he would make a final decision about running for president by the end of the month.

Reporting by Tim Reid in El Paso, additional reporting by Steve Holland and Tim Ahmann in Washington; Writing by Andrew Hay; Editing by Colleen Jenkins, Bill Tarrant and Sonya Hepinstall

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Mark Levin blasts Mueller report as ‘impeachment’ manual for House Dems and media

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Mark Levin blasts Mueller report as ‘impeachment’ manual for House Dems and media

The Mueller report is a 400-page, $35 million op-ed that amounts to an “impeachment report” for the liberal media and House Democrats, argued Mark Levin on his Sunday program, “Life, Liberty & Levin.” ‘

The Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s nearly two-year investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election found “no collusion” between President Trump and Russia. The Department of Justice released a redacted version of the report in two volumes on Thursday.

Levin called the result a “pathetic joke of a report” that established nothing the general public didn’t already know and its findings didn’t warrant a “special investigation.”

TULSI GABBARD: MUELLER REPORT FOUND ‘NO COLLUSION TOOK PLACE,’ DEMS SHOULDN’T PUSH TO IMPEACH TRUMP

“There’s no collusion, says the Special Counsel. That takes one sentence. It doesn’t take 200 damn pages. It doesn’t take $35 million dollars,” Levin said, referring to Vol. 2 of the report.

Despite the Democrats warning of a “Saturday Night Massacre” like President Nixon during Watergate, President Trump never asserted executive privilege to prevent documents or people around him from talking to Mueller. He was an open book,” Levin argued.

But after the report found no evidence of collusion, the Democrats, who had been discussing impeachment since the day after Trump was elected, pivoted to pinning obstruction of justice charges on the president, Levin said.

“This is an abuse of power by a prosecutor. This is the only prosecutor in the entire country who writes a report under justice department regulations, a report that is only supposed to go to the Attorney General, who then makes decisions about whether to release any of it. Or all of it, because there’s no requirement for this to be released at all,” Levin said.

CONWAY QUESTIONS WHY MUELLER LEFT OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE QUESTION UNANSWERED IN REPORT

The Mueller report is, essentially, Levin argued, “an impeachment report” that was written for the “media and the “Democrats in the House of Representatives.”

“They wrote it for CNN, they wrote it for MSNBC. They wrote it for Nadler and Schiff and all the other reprobates. They wrote the report for them,” Levin said.

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Levin said the investigation “runs completely contrary to a civilized society” and a “constitutional system,” yet there is not a single Democrat member of the House of Representatives or “so-called news person” at any major outlet that appears to be concerned.

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Washington state could become first state to allow human composting

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Washington state could become first state to allow human composting

Washington state lawmakers on Friday passed a bill that would allow residents take part in “natural organic reduction” of human remains, citing in part research that said careful composted human remains could be safe for use in a household garden, reports said.

The Seattle Times reported that Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee’s office on Friday said he did not review the final legislation. Inslee– who is running for president— has been active on Twitter since the state Senate and House of Representative passed bill 5001, but did not mention the bill in any posts. The bill reportedly passed easily and had bipartisan support.

The report pointed out that the measure has been several years in the making. There was a trial that involved six backers who agreed to organic reduction. The results were positive and “the soil smelled like soil and nothing else,” the report said.

Troy Hottle, a fellow at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, told the paper that the method is as “close to the natural process of decomposition [as] you’d assume a body would undergo before we had an industrialized society.”

An NBC News report last year said the procedure could cost $5,500.

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“People from all over the state who wrote to me are very excited about the prospect of becoming a tree or having a different alternative for themselves,” Democratic state Sen. Jamie Pedersen told NBC.

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Ben Carson explains benefits of investing in ‘Opportunity Zones’ for areas facing economic challenges

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Ben Carson explains benefits of investing in 'Opportunity Zones' for areas facing economic challenges

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson spoke on “The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton” in an interview that aired Sunday about proposed new regulations aimed at making it easier for investors to take advantage of tax breaks for investing in “Opportunity Zones” in low-income areas.

“Policies have been pretty much aimed at putting people into programs,” Carson said, and now the Trump administration is trying to get poor Americans “out of the programs and self-sufficient.”

President Trump said last week that 8,700 neighborhoods across all 50 states and U.S. territories have received the Opportunity Zone designation and would be eligible for the federal tax incentives he’s proposed.

“The entire island of Puerto Rico is an opportunity zone,” Carson said.

“We are very concerned about the rural areas, too,” he added.

Trump’s proposed regulations were issued by the Treasury Department. They sought to clear up questions that were keeping some investors from using the incentives.

AOC IMPERSONATOR, 8, TAKES ON GREEN NEW DEAL, SOCIALISM IN VIRAL VIDEO

The program was included in the $1.5 trillion tax cut legislation that Trump pushed through Congress in 2017.

The new Opportunity Zones were set up to enable private investors to re-invest profits into designated areas.

“They are going to invest that money somewhere,” Carson said.

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He noted private investors would do what they do because they “want to be successful.”

As White House officials have explained, investors in Opportunity Zones could get tax benefits by deferring their capital gains taxes invested in the zones until 2026. They also could receive discounts of up to 15 percent on capital-gains profits invested in the zones and would pay no capital-gains taxes on investments in the zones held for at least 10 years.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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