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Retired astronaut Mark Kelly announces 2020 Senate bid for McCain seat

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Retired astronaut Mark Kelly announces 2020 Senate bid for McCain seat

Retired astronaut Mark Kelly announced Tuesday that he will run for the late Sen. John McCain’s Arizona Senate seat in 2020 to finish the term.

Kelly, who came into the national spotlight when his wife, former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in a failed assassination attempt, will seek to take on Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who was appointed to McCain’s seat last year after she was narrowly defeated by now-Sen. Kyrsten Sinema for former Sen. Jeff Flake’s seat.

2020 SENATE RACES

“My next mission… #FullSpeedAhead #ForArizona,” Kelly tweeted, sharing a campaign video.

“I care about people. I care about the state of Arizona. I care about this nation,” Kelly said in a video posted to his Twitter account Tuesday. “So because of that, I’ve decided I’m launching a campaign for the United States Senate.”

The video, which runs more than four minutes, gives a detailed account of Kelly’s experience as a former Navy pilot, an astronaut, and being Gifford’s husband.

“The thing I have to do for my wife is to be able to think clearly and make good decisions…You gotta move ahead and try to make a difference in the world,” Kelly said. “What I learned from my wife is how you use policy to improve people’s lives.”

Kelly listed “affordable health care,” job growth, the economy, and climate change as major issues that Arizonans will face in the coming years.

REP. MARTHA MCSALLY APPOINTED BY ARIZONA GOVERNOR TO SENATE SEAT HELD BY JOHN MCCAIN

“Solving some of the hardest problems requires one thing—and that’s teamwork,” he said. “Partisanship and polarization and gerrymandering and corporate money have ruined our politics and it’s divided us.”

He added: “We’ve seen this retreat from science and data and facts and if we don’t take these issues seriously, we can’t solve these problems.”

The video concludes with Kelly and Giffords on the couch, speaking together.

“So please join us. Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead,” they say.

Kelly and Giffords have for years pushed Congress to enact gun control measures with little success. They shifted their focus to state legislatures in recent years, helping to strengthen background checks and domestic violence protections, among other modest protections.

If Kelly becomes the Democratic nominee, he will be up against McSally—also a veteran, having served in the Air Force as a pilot. The 2020 election will decide who finishes the last two years of McCain’s term. The winner would have to run again for a full six-year term in 2022.

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Rep. Ruben Gallego of Phoenix is also considering a Senate run, which would likely set up a tough fight for the Democratic nomination.

Former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods, a lifelong Republican who became a Democrat and a fierce critic of Trump, announced last week that he won’t run, saying he didn’t want to fight in a contested Democratic primary.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rush Limbaugh to Republicans: This is Trump’s party, ‘get on board’

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Rush Limbaugh to Republicans: This is Trump's party, 'get on board'

Conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh didn’t mince words while addressing multiple issues Tuesday on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” but his strongest hits were aimed at Republicans who had yet to fully jump on the President Trump bandwagon.

“Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, we are not in politics. We are media titans, but we are not in politics. It is the party of Donald Trump right now, and the Republicans that don’t realize that had better get on board,” Limbaugh said, reacting to a New York Times op-ed by Joe Lockhart, a press secretary to then-President Bill Clinton.

ERIC SWALWELL: NO APOLOGY NECESSARY FOR SURVEILLING TRUMP CAMPAIGN

“Republicans today are the party of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson — a coalition that, in the face of every demographic trend in America, will mean the long-term realignment of the federal government behind the Democrats,” Lockhart wrote Monday.

Limbaugh said Lockhart’s words were an example of frustration within the Democrats.

“They haven’t been able to ‘defeat me’ in 30 years. They can’t defeat Trump. They haven’t been able to stop him, and I think they are frustrated. They have thrown every weapon they have in their arsenal at Donald Trump, and nothing’s worked. Things they’ve used over the years that have been readily available to get rid and take out any Republican they want, they have bounced off of Trump,” Limbaugh told Martha MacCallum.

Limbaugh criticized the Republican party for not fully standing behind Trump and celebrating his “victory” when the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released. He also noted that Trump wasn’t just taking on the Democratis but was battling the Washington establishment — including Republicans.

“Where’s the Republican party with the celebratory emails to their voters? Even fund-raising, or just celebrating the victory, where are they? You don’t hear them. The reason is, Martha, because this is a battle not between two parties, this is a battle between the Washington establishment and the deep state, I call them the administrative state, and outsiders and Americans who feel disenfranchised or unattached,” Limbaugh said.

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Limbaugh also went after Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, for saying he was “sickened” by the president’s actions as documented in the Mueller report.

“There is no reason not to get behind him unless you don’t like his voters, and that is where I think the key to understanding this is,” Limbaugh said.

Fox News’ Martha MacCallum contributed to this report.

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Democrats to press star witness of Mueller report to repeat performance in Congress

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Democrats to press star witness of Mueller report to repeat performance in Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Donald McGahn, the former White House counsel described in the Mueller report as repeatedly standing up to President Donald Trump, could become a star witness again if congressional Democrats get their way in their investigation of whether Trump used his office to obstruct justice.

FILE PHOTO: White House Counsel Don McGahn sits behind U.S. President Donald Trump as the president holds a cabinet meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S. June 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Since the April 18 release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and any ties to Republican Trump’s campaign, Democrats have seen McGahn as someone who could be as important as Mueller himself, according to a source familiar with the matter.

But the Democrats are likely to face Trump’s resistance. The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that the White House planned to oppose a subpoena by the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee for McGahn to testify.

Mueller’s 448-page partially blacked out report portrayed McGahn as one of the few figures in Trump’s orbit to challenge him when he tried to shut down the investigation that has clouded his more than two years in the White House.

“Mr. McGahn has been touted as a man of integrity and he is a major witness in the Mueller report,” said Sheila Jackson Lee, a member of the judiciary committee.

The White House did not immediately comment on the Washington Post report, which said Trump will claim executive privilege, a legal doctrine allowing the president to withhold information about internal executive branch deliberations from other branches of government.

McGahn’s attorney, William Burck, did not respond to requests for comment.

Democrats are particularly interested in hearing McGahn describe in his own words and in Congress an account in the Mueller report in which McGahn refused Trump’s instructions.

In June 2017 Trump called McGahn to say he should tell Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to remove the special counsel because he had conflicts of interest, the report said.

Trump also failed to get McGahn to dispute media reports that the president tried to fire Mueller, the report said.

“That, in itself, could be an obstruction of justice, as Mr. McGahn would be able to testify – that he was asked to do it and then asked not to tell anyone what he’d been asked to do,” Lee said.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who has subpoenaed the U.S. Department of Justice to provide the unredacted Mueller report and underlying evidence, issued a subpoena on Monday for McGahn to provide the committee with documents by May 7 and testify on May 21.

But it was not clear that McGahn would comply, especially if the White House asserts executive privilege. Nor could Democrats predict how much the former White House counsel would be willing to discuss, even if he does testify.

On Tuesday evening, Nadler said, “The moment for the White House to assert some privilege to prevent this testimony from being heard has long since passed.”

The House of Representatives has the sole power under the U.S. Constitution to impeach the president, and any effort would be led by the judiciary panel.

Mueller’s report concluded that there was not enough evidence to establish that Trump’s campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with Moscow. However, the report outlined multiple instances where Trump tried to thwart Mueller’s probe.

Mueller stopped short of concluding whether Trump could be prosecuted for obstruction of justice, a criminal charge that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

But such a high standard would not apply to Democrats if they decided to bring impeachment proceedings.

In the days following the Mueller report’s release, McGahn came under attack from Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph Giuliani who called into question the veracity of his statements to Mueller’s team of prosecutors.

“I would ask which of the three versions is McGahn standing by. There are three versions he gives of that account,” Giuliani told CNN over the weekend. “I’m telling you, he’s confused.”

A prominent elections lawyer, McGahn served as Trump’s campaign counsel before being named White House counsel in November 2016.

He played a pivotal role in helping Trump reshape the federal judiciary in a conservative direction and roll back regulations on a range of industries.

Reporting by David Morgan, Karen Freifeld and Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Noeleen Walder and Grant McCool

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Kamala Harris calls for third gender option on federal IDs

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Harris joins Elizabeth Warren’s call for impeachment

HANOVER, N.H. – Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris says she supports putting a third gender option on federal identification cards.

The Democrat from California backed the idea when asked about it during a town hall Tuesday in the first-in-the-nation presidential primary state of New Hampshire.

“It’s a simple point. There needs to be another category. And I’m open to the idea of doing that. And I think that it’s a good idea,” Harris told Fox News and New Hampshire’s Concord Monitor during an interview later in the day.

HARRIS JOINS WARREN IN CALLING FOR IMPEACHMENT PROCESS TO BEGIN

Harris, a former California attorney general and San Francisco district attorney, has long fought for LGBTQ rights, including refusing to defend a ban on same-sex marriages.

Harris joins 2020 Democratic nomination rival Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York in pushing for a third option on IDs. Four states – California, Oregon, Washington, and New Jersey – have embraced nonbinary IDs – as has New York City.

HARRIS PLEDGES EXECUTIVE ACTION ON GUNS

One day after unveiling her plan to implement stricter background checks on gun sales with or without action from Congress, Harris highlighted her plan at town halls at Keene State College and Dartmouth College.

“One very reasonable approach is that we need to have background checks,” Harris told Fox News, as she vowed to take action as president if Congress failed to act

Harris said that if a bill from Congress did not make it to her desk, she would unilaterally mandate background checks for customers purchasing firearms from any dealers who sell more than five guns a year.

Dealers who violate the law, she said, would have their licenses revoked. The other executive orders would prohibit fugitives from purchasing a firearm or weapon, as well as closing the loophole allowing some domestic abusers to purchase firearms if the victim is an unwedded partner.

Harris pointed to a lack of congressional action after mass shootings across the country the past decade.

“There’s so many examples of absolute tragedies and yet Congress has not acted. So, my point is this – when elected, I’ll give Congress the opportunity, but if they don’t act, I’ll act. And, I believe that is reflective of where the American public is. They want reasonable gun safety laws,” she stressed.

Asked how such a move would be received in a state such as New Hampshire, where the rights of gun owners are well guarded, Harris explained she believed “most people understand – gun owner or not gun owners – that we need reasonable gun safety laws in our country. That’s what this is targeted at.”

She continued, “I’m very clear in my mind – I think most people are – that it’s a false choice to suggest that you’re either in favor of the Second Amendment or you want to take everyone’s guns away.”

Harris is now calling on the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives to launch impeachment proceedings following the release last week of the report by Special Counsel Robert Muller on the Russia investigation.

“I believe the process should begin. Where it ends up, I don’t know, but there’s no question that the Mueller report, what we know of it, has outlined facts that leads one to reasonably believe that obstruction occurred,” Harris said.

Asked if such a move would bolster President Trump’s claims that impeachment would be a purely political move by Democrats, which could potentially help his re-election effort, Harris said, “I don’t know what his playbook is.”

LATEST 2020 POLLS IN CRUCIAL PRIMARY STATE

Harris’s return to New Hampshire marked her second visit to the crucial early voting state since she launched her presidential campaign last January. It comes as South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg – a one-time 2020 long-shot – has surged over the past month and soared above Harris in many public opinion polls – including two of the most recent in New Hampshire.

Asked if she was concerned, Harris said, “the only polls that matter are on Election Day. Period.”

Harris was interviewed before the town hall at Dartmouth. She spoke and took questions from a capacity crowd of more than 400. Minutes earlier, the senator went outside to a speak with an overflow crowd of a couple hundred.

Harris stopped in Claremont on her way from Keene to Hanover. The brief visit included a stop at the Uptown Bakery, where the candidate chatted with employees and customers and bought donuts and pastries for her staff.

BUTTIGIEG TO TAKE PART IN FOX NEWS TOWN HALL IN NH MAY 19

Claremont is the location of next month’s Fox News town hall with Buttigieg.

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