<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - Bay Area Political News, Bay Area Politics]]>Copyright 2018https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/politics http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area https://www.nbcbayarea.comen-usFri, 23 Feb 2018 00:54:32 -0800Fri, 23 Feb 2018 00:54:32 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[More Pa. Republicans Try to Halt New District Map ]]> Thu, 22 Feb 2018 14:13:47 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Pa+Congreassional+Map+2018+compare.jpg

Less than one week after the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued a new congressional map, candidates from both parties are scrambling to make sense of entirely new, and unexpected, political races. 

Republican representatives Ryan Costello, Lou Barletta, Lloyd Smucker and others filed a complaint Thursday in U.S. District Court over the new congressional map, which was unveiled by the state supreme court Monday. 

In the latest filing, Republicans accuse the Pennsylvania Supreme Court of violating a law that gives the state legislator control over redistricting and "mandates that the General Assembly be afforded an 'adequate opportunity' to craft a substitute plan should an initial plan be stricken for any reason."

Thursday's filing points out that the new map "destroyed any incumbency advantage" Costello once held in Chester County. His new district now includes Reading and some of southern Berks County, area in which he is not necessarily known.

"It puts me in almost entirely new territory," he told the Reading Eagle.

In a separate lawsuit filed Wednesday, Republicans asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the new map and accused Democrats of partisan gerrymandering. 

House Speaker Mike Turzai and Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati said the state's highest court usurped legislative authority when it issued the new map on Monday, calling it an unprecedented decision.

"The Pennsylvania Supreme Court conspicuously seized the redistricting process and prevented any meaningful ability for the Legislature to enact a remedial map to ensure a court drawn map,'' they wrote in an electronic filing.

Meanwhile, Congressman Brendan Boyle announced via Facebook that he will seek re-election in Philadelphia’s new 2nd District, not Montgomery County’s 4th District.

“I am running for re-election in the place where I was born, raised and lived,” he said. “I know my friends, supporters, and constituents in Montgomery County who reached out to me this week and asked me to run in Montco will be disappointed with my decision.”

Democratic State Rep. Madeleine Dean also announced Thursday that she is dropping her bid for lieutenant governor and instead running for Congress in Montgomery County. She previously represented Abington and Upper Dublin.

“Pennsylvania sends 18 Congressmen and two Senators to represent us in Washington, and not one of them – not one – is a woman,” she said in a statement.

“We have a Republican-controlled Congress that isn’t doing its part to hold Donald Trump accountable – a majority that is undermining the education of our children, a woman’s right to choose, a delegation that refuses to support common sense gun safety measures.”

Dean said she made the decision after receiving encouragement from both former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and former Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.

Boyle represents the former 13th District, which comprised portions of both Philadelphia and Montgomery counties. The newly unveiled 2nd District just represents Philly while the updated 4th District is exclusively Montco.

Democrats have largely seen the recent redistricting as swinging between three to six seats. 

Gerrymandering is what caused the Pennsylvania court to issue a new map in the first place. The previous map was drawn up in 2010 along partisan lines after Republicans swept the governor’s seat and gained several seats in the legislature.

News came out Thursday that conservative super PAC, America First Action, is launching a $1 million ad-buy in support of state Rep. Rick Saconne in the former 18th District. He is running against 33-year-old Democrat and former Marine Conor Lamb. That race that will not be immediately impacted by the new map. 

Photo Credit: NBC1O
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<![CDATA[NRA Chief: It's Time 'to Harden Our Schools']]> Thu, 22 Feb 2018 13:42:40 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SAMPLE+TIMELINE.00_01_26_29.Still003.jpg

NRA Chief Wayne LaPierre gave a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference a week after the deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida, arguing it is time “to harden our schools.”

<![CDATA[Father of Killed Fla. Student Gives Emotional Plea to Trump]]> Wed, 21 Feb 2018 16:25:25 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+TRUMP+LISTENING+THUMB.jpg

Andrew Pollack, whose daughter was murdered in the Parkland school shooting, gave an emotional plea to President Donald Trump during the listening session Wednesday on public safety.

<![CDATA[Students Who Survived Fla. Shooting Rally for Gun Laws]]> Wed, 21 Feb 2018 16:27:50 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_FLORIDA_STUDENTS_PRESSERS-151925205491000002.jpg

Students from Stoneman Douglas High held a rally inside and outside the capitol building in Tallahassee, Florida, demanding stricter gun laws.

<![CDATA[Mueller Asking if Manafort Promised WH Job to Receive Loans]]> Wed, 21 Feb 2018 09:56:48 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-869474958.jpg

Federal investigators are probing whether former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort promised a Chicago banker a job in the Trump White House in return for $16 million in home loans, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told NBC News.

Manafort received three separate loans in December 2016 and January 2017 from Federal Savings Bank for homes in New York City and the Hamptons. Stephen Calk, who was announced as a member of candidate Trump's council of economic advisers in August 2016, is the president of Federal Savings Bank.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is now investigating whether there was a quid pro quo agreement between Manafort and Calk. Manafort left the Trump campaign in August 2016 after the millions he had earned working for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine drew media scrutiny. Calk did not receive a job in President Donald Trump's Cabinet.

Federal prosecutors said in court filings they have "substantial evidence" that loans made from the bank to Manafort were secured through false representations made by Manafort, including misstatements of income. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment, and a Calk spokesperson did not return multiple calls and e-mails over a period of several weeks requesting a response.

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Proposes ‘Bump Stock’ Ban]]> Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:18:41 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+TRUMP+BUMP+STOCK+BAN+THUMB.jpg

During the Public Safety Medal of Valor award ceremony, President Trump said that he has been in discussions with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on a proposal to ban “bump stocks,” devices that increase the firing rate of semi-automatic guns to match the firing rate of machine guns.

<![CDATA[White House Admits Russia Meddled in Election, Maintains There Wasn’t Collusion]]> Tue, 20 Feb 2018 14:02:25 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT_NAT_WH_BRIEFING_022018-151916323350500002.jpg

Following a series of tweets President Trump sent over the weekend in response to the Parkland, Florida, shooting and the indictment of 13 Russian nationals who tried to sow discord in the 2016 U.S. election, the White House agreed that Russia tried to meddle with the 2016 election but maintained that there was no collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

<![CDATA[Trump Pushes Insurance Sans Pre-Existing Condition Coverage]]> Tue, 20 Feb 2018 10:13:12 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/doctorpatient_1200x675.jpg

The Trump administration announced Tuesday that it is moving to expand the use of low-budget temporary insurance, which could offer customers a cut-rate alternative to plans on the Affordable Care Act's exchange, but undermine more comprehensive insurance for others, NBC News reported. 

The proposed rule, which stems from an executive order by President Donald Trump, would allow people to buy short-term plans for up to a year instead of just the three months previously allowed. Unlike the ACA's plans, they are not required to cover pre-existing conditions, cover specific treatments, or provide unlimited benefits.

The plans are normally supposed to cover a brief lapse in coverage, but the order makes it easier to rely on them as primary insurance. Health experts say they're likely to be cheaper, but they could raise premiums for patients who need comprehensive plans through Obamacare by siphoning away young and healthy customers into a separate market.

The administration predicts 100,000 to 200,000 individuals are likely to purchase short-term insurance coverage.

Photo Credit: Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Calls Assault Claim Fake News, Denies Knowing Accuser]]> Tue, 20 Feb 2018 08:43:53 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-917434382.jpg

After spending the weekend criticizing his political opponents in a tweetstorm, President Donald Trump went on the offense again Tuesday — this time denying a sexual assault claim and attacking the "fake news" that published the story.

Trump seemed to be responding to a Monday story in the Washington Post, which took another look at Rachel Crooks' allegation that Trump kissed her without her consent while she was working as a receptionist for a company based in Trump Tower in New York in 2005.

He tweeted: "A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago. Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security......

....cameras running. Another False Accusation. Why doesn’t @washingtonpost report the story of the women taking money to make up stories about me? One had her home mortgage paid off. Only @FoxNews so reported...doesn’t fit the Mainstream Media narrative."

Crooks, now 35, first told her story to the New York Times in October 2016. In her accounts, she describes meeting Trump at an elevator, where he held her hand and kissed her cheeks. Then, Crooks says, he kissed her mouth.

"It felt like a long kiss,” the Post quoted Crooks as saying. "The whole thing probably lasted two minutes, maybe less."

Crooks is one of at least 16 women who has accused Trump of sexual misconduct, ranging from harassment to forcible groping and kissing over several decades. While Trump has repeatedly denied the allegations, Crooks and two other women recently called on Congress to investigate the claims.

Crooks is currently running as a Democrat for a seat in the Ohio state legislature.

Trump's response to the Post's story comes less than a week after he insisted he is "totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind" following the resignation of his former staff secretary, Rob Porter. 

Porter resigned from his White House position on Feb. 7 after two ex-wives accused him of being physically and emotionally abusive during their marriages. Trump at first praised his former aide and the work he did in the White House, tweeting that "peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation."

One week after Porter's resignation, Trump spoke out and denounced domestic violence, saying, "it almost wouldn't even have to be said."

The president's heated tweets also come in the wake of reports that Trump had consensual affairs with a Playboy model and an adult film star while married to his current wife, Melania Trump. Both affairs are reported to have been covered up by Trump and his allies.

Trump has refrained from personally addressing either affair, but the relationships have been denied in statements from his lawyer and the White House

Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File
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<![CDATA[White House: Trump Moves to Improved Gun Background Checks]]> Mon, 19 Feb 2018 20:40:29 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/913126606-President-Donald-Trump.jpg

The White House has shown support Monday towards efforts to improve background checks for gun purchases since the gun debate was sparked after the deadly Florida high school shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead, NBC News reported.  

In a statement press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Trump was open to bipartisan legislation on background checks. 

"The President spoke to Senator Cornyn on Friday about the bipartisan bill he and Sen. Murphy introduced to improve Federal Compliance with Criminal Background check Legislation. While discussions are ongoing and revisions are being considered, the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system," Sanders said in a statement.

A senior administration official told NBC News over the weekend that while Trump supports the concept of improving the background check system, the language may end up needing to be tweaked.

Photo Credit: Mark Wilson/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Parkland Student Pens an Emotional Plea for Gun Control]]> Mon, 19 Feb 2018 07:47:33 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/parklandsurvivorletter+THUMB2.jpg

A freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is the most recent survivors of the Parkland high school shooting to speak out publicly in favor of gun control

<![CDATA['Get on the Right Side': Shooting Survivors Decry 'Inaction']]> Sun, 18 Feb 2018 12:47:41 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2018-02-18-at-2.19.45-PM.jpg

The young students who survived Wednesday's deadly massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have found themselves at the center of the country's tempestuous gun control debate — and they're not shying away.

Emma Gonzalez, David Hogg, Cameron Kasky, Alex Wind and Jaclyn Corin appeared on a slew of Sunday morning shows, including NBC's "Meet the Press" with Chuck Todd, to tell politicians not to let their 17 classmates and teachers die in vain.

"This is our opportunity to talk to President Trump, [Florida] Gov. Rick Scott and state Sen. Marco Rubio to make sure that they know we are talking directly to them and all other members of the United States government that are being funded by the NRA," said Gonzalez, a senior. "Now is the time to get on the right side of this."

Gonzalez is one of several students who spoke at a rally in Ft. Lauderdale Saturday. She railed against politicians and led a "we call B.S." chant with the hundreds of people who attended the protest against gun violence.

Hogg shared Gonzalez's anger over what he called "inaction and debate" from government officials, saying he would not feel safe returning to his Parkland, Florida, classroom "until reasonable mental health care legislation and gun control legislation is passed."

"This is the time for discussion and for all people ... to come together as Americans through love and compassion," the senior said. "So many people lost loved ones. Our community and our nation have taken too many bullets to the heart, and now is the time for us to stand up."

Hogg said the status quo is "unacceptable."

"How many more students are gonna have to die and have their blood spilled in American classrooms trying to make the world a better place, just because politicians refuse to take action?" Hogg asked.

Hogg is a news director at Stoneman Douglas and recorded video of Wednesday's rampage while he hid with other students. As bullets sprayed through the halls, Hogg interviewed his classmates and documented their fear.

Kasky, however, said he is looking forward to returning to school, to "be with the community and be around everybody supporting each other."

"One of the best things to come out of this horrible tragedy is the fact that Parkland has stayed strong, and we're not gonna let the 17 bullets we just took take us down," the junior said. "If anything we’re gonna keep running and we're gonna lead the rest of the nation behind us."

Kasky added: "The attention is on us now. People are watching."

Fla. state Sen. Lauren Book announced Sunday that about 100 Stoneman Douglas students will travel to Tallahassee and meet with senators and House members "on both sides of the aisle" and hold a press conference afterward to "share their experiences, ideas, and messages" following the shooting. 

And Trump also announced Sunday that he will host Stoneman Douglas students and teachers in a listening session Wednesday.

Photo Credit: NBC
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<![CDATA['Get Smart America': Trump Says Russia's Laughing at US]]> Sun, 18 Feb 2018 21:46:57 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/214*120/tru50AP_18024761678595.jpg

President Donald Trump continued his defensive commentary on Friday's indictments of Russians in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, saying Russia "succeeded beyond their wildest dreams" in dividing America and is now laughing at the U.S.

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Thirteen Russians and three Russian organizations were indicted Friday for allegedly interfering in the U.S. 2016 presidential elections with the intention of promoting Trump’s candidacy. Charges listed in the 37-page document include conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft, and they are the most direct allegations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election that put Trump in the White House.

Trump also asserted that he "never said Russia did not meddle in the election" and harkened back to a comment he made at a 2016 debate that the meddling "could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?"

He insisted that the "Russian 'hoax'" he repeatedly refers to "was that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia - it never did!"

The president has repeatedly expressed skepticism over the Russian election meddling. In November, he said he believed the conclusion of U.S. intelligence agencies that there had been meddling but also said he believed Russian President Vladimir Putin is sincere when he says Russia didn't interfere.

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In his rapid-fire series of tweets Sunday, Trump also thanked — and attacked — Rep. Adam Schiff, who said the Obama administration should have created a "more forceful deterrent" against adversaries wanting to launch cyber attacks on the U.S.

The House Intelligence Committee's top Democrat pointed to the Obama administration's muted response to the 2014 Sony hacking, telling NBC Friday that "others around the world watched that and determined that cyber is a cost-free intervention."

Schiff argued the Obama administration, therefore, shares some responsibility for what happened with Russia, adding, "We should have called them out much earlier."

Former President Barack Obama in late 2016 defended his administration's response to the Russian meddling, also saying he had confronted Russian President Vladimir Putin that September, telling him to "cut it out." And former Vice President Joe Biden recently said Obama didn't want to politicize the threat and that the full scope of the meddling wasn't known until after the 2016 election.

Trump analyzed Schiff's comments, tweeting Sunday, "Finally, Liddle’ Adam Schiff, the leakin’ monster of no control, is now blaming the Obama Administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 Election. He is finally right about something. Obama was President, knew of the threat, and did nothing. Thank you Adam!"

He added: "Now that Adam Schiff is starting to blame President Obama for Russian meddling in the election, he is probably doing so as yet another excuse that the Democrats, lead by their fearless leader, Crooked Hillary Clinton, lost the 2016 election. But wasn’t I a great candidate?"

Trump's response to the indictments has largely focused on himself and his election victory, which he has continued to argue was fairly achieved without the help of Russia. He has quoted political commentators — and a Facebook official — who he says also believe there is no evidence of collusion or swaying of the election.

The White House doubled down on the president's assertions, writing in all caps in a Friday statement that there was "NO COLLUSION."

Though the president and White House are correct in that collusion was not proven in the indictment Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who oversees the probe, had carefully chosen his words Friday when he said, "There is no allegation in the indictment that any American was a knowing participant in the alleged unlawful activity."

Aside from encouraging Americans to "come together" and "stop the outlandish partisan attacks," Trump has refrained from suggesting any kind of retribution for a foreign adversary infiltrating America's electoral processes. However, a top administration official took a more direct route.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster said in Germany Saturday that the evidence of Moscow's meddling is "incontrovertible," adding that "the United States will expose and act against those who use cyberspace, social media and other means to advance campaigns of disinformation, subversion and espionage."

Trump clapped back Saturday at McMaster's forceful language, once again bringing the conversation back to his 2016 win and pointing the finger at his political opponents.

"General McMaster forgot to say that the results of the 2016 election were not impacted or changed by the Russians and that the only Collusion was between Russia and Crooked H, the DNC and the Dems. Remember the Dirty Dossier, Uranium, Speeches, Emails and the Podesta Company!" the president tweeted.

Turning to a different topic Sunday, but continuing to criticize his opponents, Trump railed against law enforcement over an Obama-era payment to Iran, tweeting that he has "never gotten over the fact that Obama was able to send $1.7 Billion Dollars in CASH to Iran and nobody in Congress, the FBI or Justice called for an investigation!"

The Obama administration transferred the money to Iran in 2016, using non-U.S. currency. The administration said it was the settlement of a decades-old arbitration claim between the countries. An initial payment was delivered the same day Tehran agreed to release four American prisoners.

The Obama administration eventually acknowledged the cash was used as leverage until the Americans were allowed to leave Iran. Congressional Republicans decried the payment as ransom, which the Obama administration denied.

By late Sunday night, Trump shifted his wide-ranging Twitter critique to Oprah Winfrey, who has played down suggestions she should run for president in 2020. Trump said her appearance as an interviewer on "60 Minutes" was "biased" and "slanted." ''Hope Oprah runs so she can be exposed and defeated just like all of the others!" Trump tweeted.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: AP, File
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<![CDATA[Rubio: 'Broken' System Caused Shooting, Not Lack of Gun Ban]]> Sat, 17 Feb 2018 20:17:42 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rubio-despide-jefe-gabinete.jpg

Following the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people, parents are calling for change and are demanding that political leaders take action.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said he would be "angry" if he were a student or parent who had been personally experienced a school shooting. He sat down with NBC 6 anchor Sheli Muñiz to discuss what change will come from Wednesday’s shooting.

When Muñiz asked how the gunman was able to obtain a weapon, Rubio said, "The system is broken."

"When that background check was run, it didn’t say he had been expelled from school, it didn’t say that there had been 30 police calls, that he had these social media posts – none of that," he said.

Rubio argues that there needs to be a better vetting process.

On the other side, Florida state Sen. Gary Farmer, a Democrat, called for a ban on assault weapons at a gun reform rally Saturday. The ban was in place from 1994 until 2004.

When asked about the assault weapon ban, Rubio contested that it would be ineffective.

"They are already out there. People can buy them. They’re grandfathered in under the law,” he said.

On Friday, an online activist group placed three mobile billboards outside of his office, inspired by the movie “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

The buses read “Slaughtered in school,” “And still no gun control” and “How come, Marco Rubio?”

“I say any of the laws that they would have wanted passed would not have prevented this attack," he said. "That doesn’t mean we should not pass any laws. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pass these laws. There may be a different reason why we need these laws."

The Florida senator also said that the anti-assault weapons activists campaign ignores attempted action, like sponsoring bills for a mental health database and school safety measures. 

Rubio also denied reports he took millions from the National Rifle Association.

“It’s false. They haven’t given me $3.3 million. They may have spent $3.3 million in campaigns I was involved in, but that could very well have been going against my opponent,” he said.

When asked what action could be taken following the Parkland shooting, Rubio conceded, "If history is an indicator, maybe nothing and that would be unfortunate."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Here Are Some of the Social Media Accounts Russians Created]]> Sat, 17 Feb 2018 14:09:36 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/robertmuelleraloneindarkbackground_1200x675.jpg

Photo Credit: AP/Gerald Herbert]]>
<![CDATA[Parkland Shooting Survivor Calls 'BS' on Politicians' Gun Stance]]> Sun, 18 Feb 2018 09:09:47 -0800 https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/DIT+NAT+Emma+Gonzale+THUMB.jpg

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High senior Emma Gonzalez had a message for president Donald Trump and for other politicians on their failure to enact sensible gun laws: "BS." Gonzalez was one of several survivors to speak at a rally held outside the Federal Courthouse in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to speak out against the gun lobby.