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Trump wades deeper into abortion politics as midterms loom – The Denver Post

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has long been an unlikely sweetheart for conservative and evangelical voters. Now, in the lead-up to the midterm elections, the thrice-married former Democrat who used to describe himself as “very pro-choice” is offering catnip to conservative voters with a new administration push to strip funding from Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics.

The initiative, announced last week, has arrived just in time for Trump to highlight it Tuesday night when he speaks at the Susan B. Anthony List’s annual “Campaign for Life Gala.” It is aimed at resurrecting parts of a Reagan-era mandate banning federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, or sharing space with abortion providers.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, says the move “will help tremendously” in the midterm elections.

It’s also the latest evidence that as he frets over the Russia investigation and prepares for a planned summit with North Korea, Trump has also been focused on fulfilling campaign promises and tending to issues that galvanize his base: holding a series of events to rail against the dangers of illegal immigration, pulling out of the Iran-nuclear deal and wading anew into the fight over abortion rights.

Trump is far from a natural fit for conservative voters. He recently admitted to reimbursing his lawyer for paying pay hush money to a porn star who claimed she had sex with Trump (a charge that he denies). And Trump has bragged about groping women without their permission. During the campaign, he sometimes had trouble articulating his views on abortion, at one point suggesting women should be punished for having abortions. His campaign later walked back the statement, saying that if abortion were ever outlawed, he believed that doctors who perform them should be punished.

Nonetheless, white evangelical voters overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016, and that support has only grown. A PRRI survey released last month found white evangelical support for Trump at an all-time high, with 75 percent of those polled holding a favorable view of the president and just 22 percent holding an unfavorable view. Support for Trump within the general population in the poll stood at just 42 percent.

Religious groups like the Catholic Medical Association approve of a series of actions Trump has taken, beginning with his appointment of judges who oppose abortion rights, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Trump’s reinstatement of the global “gag rule” that bars federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion referrals.

Trump has also surrounded himself with staffers with deep ties to conservative groups, including counselor Kellyanne Conway and Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp.

Ralph Reed, chairman of the private Faith & Freedom Coalition, also pointed to the president’s dismantling of the Iran nuclear deal and his decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as steps that have played especially well with evangelical voters. But he said the president’s actions on abortion hold special sway, in part because of Trump’s early struggle with the issue.

“On a policy level, I see it as a series of promises made and promises kept. And in this case, a pro-life promise made and pro-life promise kept. And I would argue those are the most important promises to keep because he was someone who was believed, accurately or otherwise, as a recent arrival to conservatism and someone who had an ideologically mixed past,” Reed said.

Reed added that as president, “Trump has done everything that he can to keep faith with the faith-based voters that provided him with his margin of victory in 2016.”

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Denver weather forecast calls for afternoon isolated hail, rain and thunderstorms – The Denver Post

Another round of spring thunderstorms and rain Tuesday afternoon in Denver could generate small wind and strong winds gusting up to 21 mph, according to forecasters.

There’s a 10 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. in Denver, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder. It will be mostly sunny Tuesday with a high near 81 degrees.

“Scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop over the mountains and foothills today with brief heavy rain, small hail and gusty winds with the stronger storms,” the weather service says.

There will also be a few storms on the plains. The strongest will be further north near the Wyoming border where there is a slight chance for severe storms, the weather service says.

On Wednesday there is a 10 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3 p.m. The high temperature will be about 83 degrees.

Sunshine will prevail from Thursday to Memorial Day on Monday, with temperatures rising to the mid-to-upper 80s.

The high temperature on Memorial Day is expected to be 83 degrees.



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Trump wades deeper into abortion politics as midterms loom

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump has long been an unlikely sweetheart for conservative and evangelical voters. Now, in the lead-up to the midterm elections, the thrice-married former Democrat who used to describe himself as “very pro-choice” is offering catnip to conservative voters with a new administration push to strip funding from Planned Parenthood and other family planning clinics.

The initiative, announced last week, has arrived just in time for Trump to highlight it Tuesday night when he speaks at the Susan B. Anthony List’s annual “Campaign for Life Gala.” It is aimed at resurrecting parts of a Reagan-era mandate banning federally funded family planning clinics from referring women for abortions, or sharing space with abortion providers.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, says the move “will help tremendously” in the midterm elections.

It’s also the latest evidence that as he frets over the Russia investigation and prepares for a planned summit with North Korea, Trump has also been focused on fulfilling campaign promises and tending to issues that galvanize his base: holding a series of events to rail against the dangers of illegal immigration, pulling out of the Iran-nuclear deal and wading anew into the fight over abortion rights.

Trump is far from a natural fit for conservative voters. He recently admitted to reimbursing his lawyer for paying pay hush money to a porn star who claimed she had sex with Trump (a charge that he denies). And Trump has bragged about groping women without their permission. During the campaign, he sometimes had trouble articulating his views on abortion, at one point suggesting women should be punished for having abortions. His campaign later walked back the statement, saying that if abortion were ever outlawed, he believed that doctors who perform them should be punished.

Nonetheless, white evangelical voters overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016, and that support has only grown. A PRRI survey released last month found white evangelical support for Trump at an all-time high, with 75 percent of those polled holding a favorable view of the president and just 22 percent holding an unfavorable view. Support for Trump within the general population in the poll stood at just 42 percent.

Religious groups like the Catholic Medical Association approve of a series of actions Trump has taken, beginning with his appointment of judges who oppose abortion rights, including Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, and Trump’s reinstatement of the global “gag rule” that bars federal funding for nongovernmental organizations that provide abortion referrals.

Trump has also surrounded himself with staffers with deep ties to conservative groups, including counselor Kellyanne Conway and Director of Strategic Communications Mercedes Schlapp.

Ralph Reed, chairman of the private Faith & Freedom Coalition, also pointed to the president’s dismantling of the Iran nuclear deal and his decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as steps that have played especially well with evangelical voters. But he said the president’s actions on abortion hold special sway, in part because of Trump’s early struggle with the issue.

“On a policy level, I see it as a series of promises made and promises kept. And in this case, a pro-life promise made and pro-life promise kept. And I would argue those are the most important promises to keep because he was someone who was believed, accurately or otherwise, as a recent arrival to conservatism and someone who had an ideologically mixed past,” Reed said.

Reed added that as president, “Trump has done everything that he can to keep faith with the faith-based voters that provided him with his margin of victory in 2016.”

When it comes to the midterms, Reed said, “I expect Donald Trump to be rewarded for these efforts by a similarly historic turnout among evangelical and other pro-life voters.”

Dannenfelser, whose group works to elect candidates who want to reduce and ultimately end abortion, is planning to raise and spend $25 million this cycle, up from the $18 million the group spent in the lead-up to the 2016 elections.

She said the president’s latest move would play especially well with voters in states like Missouri, where Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley is challenging Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, one of the Senate’s most vulnerable incumbents, as well as in Indiana and North Dakota, where Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer is challenging Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

“He has proved himself refreshingly predictable,” Dannenfelser said of Trump’s record on abortion issues.

The other side, meanwhile, is preparing for a potential legal fight against Trump’s latest action and aiming to build support for candidates who support abortion rights.

“We have to fight back in the best way we know how,” the group Emily’s List wrote in a fundraising email, “electing pro-choice Democratic women who will always protect reproductive freedom.”

___

Associated Press writer Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar contributed to this report.

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CM Yogi Adityanath Orders Closure of Tanneries in Kanpur for Allahabad Kumbh 2019

Orders have been issued to ensure that Ganga is not polluted in any form from Garhmukteshwar to Kashi. The CM’s order means that all the 264 tanneries in Kanpur will be closed during the period of the Kumbh.

CM Yogi Adityanath Orders Closure of Tanneries in Kanpur for Allahabad Kumbh 2019
Yogi Adityanath (Image: News18 Creative)
Lucknow: Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath has ordered closure of all the tanneries in Kanpur from December 15, 2018 to March 15, 2019 in order to keep the river Ganga clean during the Kumbh in Allahabad.

Orders have also been issued to ensure that Ganga is not polluted in any form from Garhmukteshwar to Kashi. The CM’s order means that all the 264 tanneries in Kanpur will be closed during the period of the Kumbh.

Taj Alam, president of UP Leather Industries Association, said that this was the first time that tanneries have been asked to close during Kumbh. “Previously, during Kumbhs tanneries were told to shut the wet operations four to five days before every shahi snan. Shutting down for three months would result in losses. What about the people who are employed in the tanneries and what happens to export orders?” said Alam.

He said the leather industry in Kanpur exports goods of around Rs 6,000 crore while the domestic industry also amounts to nearly the same figure. “On one hand Centre asks us to increase our exports but on the other hand the state government orders to shut down tanneries for three months,” he added.

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U.S. Releases Commemorative Coin Ahead of Trump-Kim Summit

A commemorative coin featuring President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been minted to mark a U.S.-North Korea summit next month, even as the meeting itself has been thrown into question.

The coin, which was struck by the White House Communications Agency (WHCA), bears Trump and Kim’s profiles and opposing U.S. and North Korean flags under the heading “Peace Talks,” Agence France-Presse reports. The coin also describes Kim Jong Un as “Supreme Leader.” The opposite face depicts Air Force One flying over the White House and the presidential seal with the title “Visit of the President.”

The WHCA has minted dozens of souvenir coins as gifts to visiting foreign dignitaries and military veterans, and are for sale in the White House gift shop. Deputy White House spokesperson Raj Shah said in a statement that the administration “did not have any input into the design and manufacture of the coin,” according to AFP.

But this coin’s release awkwardly followed North Korea’s threat last week to cancel the historic talks, scheduled for July 12 in Singapore, saying that the country had no interest in “one-sided” negotiations to force Pyongyang to relinquish its nuclear weapons. Trump sought to defuse those tensions last week, promising that Kim would remain in power should the talks go ahead.

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Deep in the Honduran Rain Forest, an Ecological SWAT Team Explores a Lost World

A little more than three years ago, I joined a team of archeologists on an expedition to La Mosquitia, a remote mountain wilderness in eastern Honduras. For centuries, the region had been rumored to contain a lost city, known as the City of the Monkey God or the White City, and now, thanks to a combination of luck and modern technology, an ancient settlement had been found. Although it was probably not the lost city of legend, it was a very real place, built by a mysterious civilization that flourished long before Columbus arrived in the Americas. Hidden in a densely forested valley, it had never been explored. We helicoptered in, set up a base camp, and spent the next nine days slowly uncovering the city’s remains—large plazas, geometric mounds, irrigation systems, extensive terracing. At the base of a small pyramid, we discovered a cache of ceremonial stone sculptures that, when excavated, in 2016 and 2017, amounted to almost five hundred pieces. Many of them are now on display at a newly opened museum and archeological laboratory, Centro de Investigación Ciudad Blanca, near Catacamas, the closest large city to the ruins.

The valley held other surprises. When we arrived, we found that the animals there appeared never to have seen people before. Spider monkeys gathered in the trees above us, hanging by their tails, screeching their displeasure, shaking branches and bombarding us with flowers. Large cats prowled through our camp at night, purring and cracking branches. A tapir and peccaries wandered about, seemingly unafraid, and the area was overrun with venomous snakes. Here was a pristine ecosystem, as obscure to human knowledge as the lost city itself.

When the discovery of this apparently forgotten world was first reported, Conservation International, one of the world’s leading environmental organizations, sent a team of twelve biologists into the valley to do a “rapid assessment” of its ecology. Most of the biologists were from Honduras or Nicaragua, and many had done research in the Mosquitia region before. The expedition’s leader, Trond Larsen, described it as an “ecological SWAT team.” The group’s goal, he explained, was “to quickly assess as much of the area’s biodiversity as we could in a ten-day blitz.”

Using the old base camp as a reference point, Larsen and his colleagues cut four miles of trail in each of the four cardinal directions. As they slashed their way through the jungle with machetes, wading rivers and climbing slippery mountains, they documented, photographed, and collected specimens of the local flora and fauna. Along streams and animal trails, they also set up twenty-two motion-activated camera traps, which took ten-second videos or series of pictures when creatures passed by.

“Our team was astounded,” Larsen told me. The ecology of the valley was indeed pristine, showing little evidence of human entry for a very long time, perhaps centuries. Species that are rare and even thought extinct outside the valley were found in abundance inside, including varieties of butterflies, birds, bats, snakes, and big mammals, as well as critically endangered plants. The spider monkeys showed an unusual color pattern, suggesting that they might belong to a new subspecies.

The biologists were particularly surprised by the density of cats in the valley—jaguars, pumas, ocelots, jaguarundis, and margays. They saw signs of them everywhere. One night, Larsen decided to take a quick hike upstream from base camp to look for glass frogs. He reached a point where the river narrowed in a canyon and was joined by a stream. “I turned around to take a piss,” he recalled. “I looked up and saw these eyes crossing the stream. They paused when they saw me and slowly started moving toward me.” Because Larsen’s headlamp was running out of power, at first he could see only the glowing eyes. As the animal crept closer, the feeble circle of light illuminated the golden, muscled form of a puma. “It came forward very low on its haunches,” he said. “It was maybe about eight feet away when it stopped.” It crouched, as if ready to pounce. “It was obviously curious, but there may also have been some concept in its mind of, Is this something I could eat?” Larsen said.

As the two apex predators—human and cat—took each other’s measure, it seemed to Larsen that time was suspended. Then the puma turned and disappeared into the night. Only afterward did Larsen feel his hair begin to stand up with fear. He flashed the light about, looking for the shine of the cat’s eyes, feeling very alone and concerned that the puma might be waiting in ambush. He walked “rather briskly” back to camp, nervously probing the forest with his light beam. When he arrived and the adrenaline rush subsided, he realized that his zipper was still open.

The camera traps collected images for six months. Last September, a Honduran biologist named Manfredo Turcios Casco returned to the valley to retrieve the cameras for Conservation International. He nearly perished in the effort. The rivers were swollen from torrential rains, and Turcios was swept away several times trying to cross them, losing some of his gear in the process. He was assaulted by disease-bearing insects, including sand flies carrying leishmaniasis. He battled an eye infection and went without food for two days when the helicopter was delayed by bad weather. “When you are alone there, it is like someone or something is watching you,” he told me. “You can feel eyes, or a force, following you. There is like a guardian in that place. That is very scary.” Even so, it was an inspiring experience. “This is the most incredible record of species I’ve ever seen,” he said. While collecting the camera traps, he and the Honduran Special Forces soldier with him, a Miskito Indian from the region, spied a most unusual animal that neither had seen before. It “had the head of a giant rodent,” Turcios recalled, “with a hairy tail” and was about two and a half feet long. With the help of an artist, Turcios worked up a drawing of the mysterious creature immediately after his return. Whether the animal is a mammal unknown to science (something almost unheard of), a variant or mutant, or a species outside its normal range, are all open questions.

Turcios was able to recover nineteen of the twenty-two camera traps, containing fourteen thousand photographs and video clips. They are currently being reviewed by biologists at Conservation International. The organization shared a selection of these images with The New Yorker, most published with this article for the first time.

C.I.’s goal was to gather biological information about the valley to help the Honduran government make decisions about its protection, and to justify the benefits of conservation. Illegal clear-cuts for cattle grazing reach within ten miles of the valley’s entrance. Now, with the area established as an “extraordinary, globally significant ecological and cultural treasure,” Larsen said, there’s a chance to halt the deforestation. After the discovery of the lost city, the President of Honduras, Juan Orlando Hernández, took steps to protect the valley. “C.I. can help the government accomplish that,” Virgilio Paredes, the Honduran official who coördinated the expeditions, told me. “We need international support.”

Conservation International’s rapid-assessment survey was a coöperative effort among the following individuals and entities: Steve Elkins; Bill and Laurie Benenson; Conservation International; the Wildlife Conservation Society; President Juan Orlando Hernández, of Honduras; Virgilio Paredes Trapero, the former manager of the Honduran Institute of Anthropology and History; and Ramón Espinoza, the former director of the Honduran Institute of Science and Technology. Major funding was provided by the Francis and Benjamin Benenson Foundation and the government of Honduras.

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A Georgia candidate seeks to make history — and a comeback strategy for national Democrats

The raging debate over the future of the Democratic Party will be on vivid display in this Southern state on Tuesday.

Stacey Abrams, vying to become the country’s first black female governor, has surrounded herself with leaders representing women, labor, the LGBT community and other causes on the left — predicting at a rally over the weekend that a rising coalition of minorities and liberal whites “is going to turn the state of Georgia, and the nation, blue again.”

Stacey Evans, also seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, has embraced a different view. She stood in a neighborhood cafe in another part of the city a short time after the Abrams rally to say that her rival wanted “to huddle in a corner with folks who already identify as Democrats.”

“Getting Democrats out to vote alone is not going to win this election,” Evans, who is white, told a small gathering of voters.

Whoever wins the nationally watched Georgia primary on Tuesday will make history as the first female gubernatorial nominee from a major party in Georgia. Either candidate will probably face stiff odds in the November general election against the Republican nominee in this reliably conservative state.

Nonetheless, the contrasting approaches of Abrams, 44, a former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, and Evans, 40, also a former state legislator, reflect a broader dilemma confronting Democrats nationwide as they struggle to forge a winning strategy in states and congressional districts that embraced Donald Trump two years ago.

Many party leaders have argued that Democratic candidates will succeed in these places only if they appeal to working-class white voters and others who were drawn to Trump. But others, including several potential Democratic presidential candidates, have said that Democrats’ path to victory relies on igniting a newly muscular coalition of African Americans, Hispanics, Asian Americans, young people and others on the left — many of whom did not vote in 2016.

Advocates of the liberal coalition strategy have seized on Abrams’s candidacy as a potentially powerful example. Two would-be 2020 White House contenders, Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala D. Harris of California, have visited the state in recent months to campaign for Abrams. Last week, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) endorsed her, and over the weekend, Valerie Jarrett, former senior adviser to President Barack Obama, introduced her at the get-out-the-vote rally.

Supporters of Abrams’s approach point to last year’s upset win by Democrat Doug Jones in the Senate race in neighboring Alabama, which was fueled in part by high turnout among that state’s large African American electorate, to say that similar black turnout in Georgia could make a difference in November. African Americans make up nearly one-fourth of the electorate in Alabama, compared with about 30 percent in Georgia.

“This state is so much more diverse than most people think, and Democratic voters have great numbers here,” Booker said during a recent visit to Georgia. “I think this is going to be one of the states that’s going to wake up the party as well as the nation about what’s possible when you have great candidates like Stacey Abrams and engaged electorates.”

Liberal groups have dispatched volunteers into the state to help Abrams and have organized text-message campaigns and distributed fliers via mail and in person to targeted voters.

After Saturday’s rally, Abrams told reporters that pro-abortion-rights groups Emily’s List and NARAL, the pro-gay-rights group Georgia Equality and the Georgia AFL-CIO “have come together to help push our vision for what the electorate can look like.”

Abrams has been working on building this coalition since 2014, when she launched a voter outreach campaign called the New Georgia Project. The group’s mission is to engage an estimated 700,000 unregistered Georgia voters of color. She no longer has an official role with the group but said it had turned in more than 200,000 new voter registration forms to state elections officials. The website for the New Georgia Project says that during the 2014 election cycle, it was able to add roughly 69,000 new voters to the rolls.

Evans has accused Abrams of overstating the impact of her work at the voter group. “When you look at the turnout, even in this primary, only 5,000 new voters showed up to early-vote,” Evans said in an interview after her Saturday campaign stop. “So where are these voters that she was worked to motivate to educate and to get out to vote?”

While Georgia has grown more diverse and many Democrats have long predicted it would emerge as a presidential battleground, recent history suggests that the party remains an underdog here.

Trump won the state by roughly five percentage points. Four years ago, two Democrats failed to win statewide races despite their ties to former political giants. Jason Carter, grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, and Michelle Nunn, daughter of the former long-serving senator Sam Nunn, each lost by about eight points.

Tuesday’s primary elections will also determine the Republican nominee who will face Abrams or Evans in November. With GOP Gov. Nathan Deal leaving office after two terms, five Republicans, all white men, are vying for the party’s nomination in a contest that has been fought largely over who would be stronger on protecting the Second Amendment and combating illegal immigration.

Evans and Abrams have jousted at times over a more local matter — a popular state-run college scholarship program that was scaled back several years ago during the nationwide economic downturn. Evans has criticized Abrams for cutting a deal with Republicans that “gutted” the program. Abrams has said she compromised to save the program from being eliminated.

Evans has the support of several black state lawmakers who have had political clashes with Abrams over the scholarship program and other issues. A common thread on social media among some black Evans supporters is that they don’t believe white voters will back a black candidate for governor.

But the heart of the Abrams-Evans divide largely has come down to a question of their competing visions for the future of the party.

Liberal leaders, including Abrams, point to past election results to say that there were enough untapped Democratic voters to win those races.

Evans, in Saturday’s interview, disagreed. She said Carter and Nunn lost not because they ignored Democratic voters but because they ran on a message that was “very middle of the road” and failed to convince swing voters.

Abrams “says we need to stop spending time in the suburbs talking to swing voters,” Evans said. “I don’t think you can win in a state like Georgia being so exclusionary. I don’t want to demonize anyone for their past choices. If you feel like you made a mistake and want to come vote for a Democrat . . . I think there’s plenty of room for folks to come back.”

Abrams’s campaign manager, Lauren Groh-Wargo, said Evans is misrepresenting their strategy.

“We’re not building a coalition to the exclusion of anybody, but to win in November, we have to inspire and invest in a historic Democratic mobilization that includes diverse communities, while running a campaign that brings in disaffected and moderate and anti-Trump voters along the way,” she said.

If Abrams wins Tuesday, she will have done so in part because of the successful courtship of first-time voters such as Emma White. The high school senior, who is Asian American, said she was moved to register a few months ago after hearing Abrams speak at a church and is excited about the prospect of a black woman as governor.

White voted early on Friday, then tweeted at Abrams: “Thrilled to officially say I voted in my first election!”

When Abrams tweeted back, “Honored to have earned your first vote,” White screamed — much to the surprise of her fellow debate team members, who were holding a practice at the time.

“People looked at me like, ‘Are you okay?’ I’m like, ‘No, I’m not okay, I’m excited!”

Robert Costa contributed to this report.

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In messaging shift, Democrats are now the ones promising to ‘drain the swamp’

Democrats are now employing a familiar rallying cry that helped define President Trump’s presidential campaign, a combative messaging shift ahead of what analysts say will be a bruising midterm election season.

Expect to hear Democrats urging voters to “drain the swamp” this time around, observers say, because their internal polling has shown that the electorate is increasingly concerned about weeding out corruption in Washington a year and a half after Trump’s win.

“President Trump has embraced the most egregious establishment Republican norms and appointed the most conflict-of-interest-ridden Cabinet in my lifetime,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, told reporters Monday.

He added: “The swamp has never been more foul, or more fetid, than under this president.” 

The move is a shift for Democrats, who last summer emphasized their positive plans to improve the economy, instead of taking shots at Trump and supposed cronyism in the White House, The Hill reported.

CAVUTO TO TRUMP: HOW CAN YOU DRAIN THE SWAMP IF YOU KEEP MUDDYING THE WATERS?

Last year’s “Better Deal” program is out, replaced by a new “Better Deal for Our Democracy” slogan that’s meant to emphasize the party’s pledge to reduce the influence of lobbyists and implement stricter campaign finance laws.

And Democrats are widely expected to focus not just on the ongoing probe into key members of President Trump’s campaign staff, but also on the alleged misdeeds of top administration officials, including EPA chief Scott Pruit, former HHS secretary Tom Price, and HUD head Ben Carson.

“Instead of delivering on his promise to ‘drain the swamp,’ President Trump has become the swamp,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, said Monday. “We want Republicans and their corrupt, big donor-driven agenda to get out of the way. It has given the American people a raw deal.”

“President Trump has become the swamp.”

– House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

OPINION: HERE’S HOW TRUMP SHOULD DRAIN THE SWAMP

The new messaging is something of a return to form for Pelosi, who famously vowed in 2006 to “drain the swamp” just prior to becoming the first female speaker of the House in history. The midterm elections that year ended more than a decade of GOP control of the House.

Democrats aren’t the only ones accusing President Trump of abandoning his campaign pledge. Earlier this month, Fox News’ Neil Cavuto acknowledged that some media coverage of the White House has been unfair, but excoriated Trump for contributing to the problem.

“Let me be clear, Mr. President,” Cavuto said. “How can you drain the swamp if you’re the one who keeps muddying the waters?

“You didn’t know about the $130,000 payment to a porn star, until you did,” he added. “Said you knew nothing about how your former lawyer handled this, until you acknowledged today that you were the guy behind the retainer payment that took care of this. You insist that money from the campaign or campaign contributions played no role in this transaction. Of that you’re sure. The thing is, not even 24 hours ago, sir, you couldn’t recall any of this.”

Gregg Re is an editor for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter @gregg_re.



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Politics Podcast: A Year Of Mueller

It’s been just over a year since special counsel Robert Mueller began investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast team takes stock of what he’s uncovered during that time and looks ahead to what could come next. The crew also weighs in on the debate within the Democratic Party over the role of superdelegates in its presidential nominating process.

You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen.

The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast publishes Monday evenings, with occasional special episodes throughout the week. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.



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Students safer in school than out despite shootings, statistics show

President Obama’s education secretary urged parents Monday to pull their kids out of school in order to demand better safety — but statistics show it’s actually far safer for those kids to be in class than out of it.

The incoming president of the National Rifle Association, meanwhile, said educators should take a look at the prevalence of Ritalin use among shooters — though experts said they didn’t know of a link between the attention deficit disorder drug and shooting sprees.

The suggestions came as both gun-control activists and Second Amendment supporters searched anew for solutions in the wake of last week’s shooting spree in Santa Fe, Texas, which left eight students and two faculty dead.

Arne Duncan, who was education secretary from 2009 to 2015, acknowledged it was perhaps a “radical” idea for an educator to tell parents to take their kids out of school, but he said school safety has deteriorated so badly that non-traditional steps are needed to shift the debate.

Mr. Duncan suggested that parents could try pulling their kids from school for a day or two after Labor Day and then gauge the response from lawmakers, ahead of November’s elections.

“Do we to just keep letting innocent children be killed, or do we want to do something to keep them safe?” he said on Twitter. “If we choose the latter, we must think radically, because everything we have done so far has failed.”

But if safety is the goal, keeping kids in school is likely safer than the boycott he’s proposing. The National Center for Education Statistics found less than 2 percent of homicides involving school-aged children occurred at school during the 2014-2015 school year.

And between 1992 and 2015 the total was less than 3 percent, the NCES found.

Children spend more than 13 percent of their time at school.

Education and teachers’ groups distanced themselves from Mr. Duncan’s suggestion, while gun-rights groups mocked him.

Chris Cox, executive director of the National Rifle Association’s legislative-lobbying arm, said Mr. Duncan “should focus on serious solutions and not ridiculous statements just to get quoted on the evening news.”

“The point is to make kids safe while they are being educated not give them an excuse to skip school,” Mr. Cox said. “Sadly, we have too many politicians focused on exploiting tragedies to push a political agenda that would not make schools any safer.”

Erich Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, also said Mr. Duncan’s call is wrong-headed.

“If anything, Arne Duncan should be arguing that kids ought to stay home until we start protecting them in the same way we protect our congressmen and our president – with guns,” he said. “Maybe if we forced Congress to work in the same gun-free environment that our children are educated in, then we would see immediate change.”

Nicole Hockley, a member of the group Sandy Hook Promise who lost her son Dylan in the 2012 Newtown school shooting, acknowledged the safety threats aren’t confined to the country’s public schools.

“What are we doing when they’re walking down the street? What are we doing when they’re going to the mall or to the movie theater?” she said on ABC’s “This Week” program. “This isn’t just about school shootings. This is about shootings everywhere.”

She said the boycott Mr. Duncan is calling for is “one option.”

“I can certainly understand a parent’s fear for sending their child to school every day, given how often these things are happening,” Ms. Hockley said. “If we want to have parents pull their kids out of school until we have better solutions in place, that is an option.”

As gun control groups were demanding school safety, retired Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North, the next president of the NRA, suggested boys have been “drugged in many cases,” leading to violent outbursts.

In a weekend interview with “Fox News Sunday” he also blamed a “culture of violence” that bleeds through to young minds.

“All you need to do is turn on the TV, go to a movie. If you look at what has happened to the young people, many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten,” Mr. North said.

But psychologists say there isn’t a clear connection between mass shooters and such attention-deficit medication.

“There’s really no evidence whatsoever that links treatment for ADHD with Ritalin and drugs like that with violence, let alone gun violence,” said George DuPaul, a psychologist at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pa.

If anything, Mr. DuPaul said, children being treated tend to be less aggressive.

“Certainly, there is some concern in the scientific and clinical community about the potential overreliance on these drugs, but it’s a real stretch to go from that concern to connecting these kinds of drugs to these kinds of acts,” he told the Associated Press.

Peter Langman, a psychologist who keeps an online catalogue of information on recent school shooters, found that the “overwhelming majority” of the shooters he looked at for a recent study were not medicated or going through withdrawal at the time of their attacks.

“The belief that psychiatric medications cause school shootings is not supported at either the societal or the individual level,” he wrote.

The gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety also said that if the problem is a “culture of violence,” Mr. North himself is part of it, since he promoted and consulted on “Call of Duty: Black Ops II,” a 2012 first-person shooter video game.

“The American people know who bears the most blame for gun violence: the NRA apologists who are always pointing their fingers at everyone else,” said John Feinblatt, president of the group.

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