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Lindsey Graham Defends Trump Firing Impeachment Witnesses

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday defended President Donald Trump’s decision to fire two key witnesses from the House’s impeachment inquiry against criticism from Democrats and some of his GOP lawmakers.

Graham, one of Trump’s loudest supporters in Congress, told CBS’ “Face The Nation” that the president was “justified” in ousting Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council, where he served as an expert on Ukrainian affairs.

“I think his reassignment was justified,” Graham said. “I don’t think he could be effective at the NSC.”

After being subpoenaed by Congress, Vindman, a decorated Iraq War veteran, testified that he believed Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden were “improper.” He said he expressed his concerns to senior officials.

Vindman’s testimony drew outrage from Trump, who attacked his credibility and ultimately dismissed him from his NSC position on Friday, just two days after the impeachment trial ended in an acquittal for the president.

Graham said he supports “military people telling the truth when asked,” and then accused intelligence officials of acting on a “political agenda.”

He also claimed members of Congress were forbidden from asking Vindman about his connection to the alleged whistleblower who filed a complaint about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine officials last summer.

But host Margaret Brennan noted that Vindman was, in fact, asked about the whistleblower during his House testimony and that he denied knowing the person’s identity.

What’s more, Brennan continued, Vindman’s twin brother, Lt. Col. Yevgeny Vindman was also dismissed from his job at the White House on Friday, where he had served as a lawyer for the NSC. He had no connection to the impeachment case, Brennan added.

Graham did not address Yevgeny Vindman’s ouster. He instead attacked Alexander Vindman’s reputation and attempted to steer the conversation to a discussion about the FBI’s investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign.

“Is this retaliation?” Brennan asked, putting the focus back on Trump’s controversial firings. “Because the president has tweeted basically saying that Vindman was forced out not because of any kind of policy issue, not because of anything else, except for what he said was listening in on his phone calls ―”

Graham, failing to directly respond to the question, said Republicans are “not going to be intimidated against asking questions to the whistleblower.”

“Should Gordon Sondland have been fired as well?” Brennan asked, referring to the U.S. ambassador to the European Union who testified before the House impeachment proceedings and was also dismissed by Trump fired Friday.

Sondland, a businessman who donated $1 million to Trump’s inaugural committee, was appointed by the president to the ambassadorship in 2018 despite having zero diplomatic experience. He testified during the impeachment inquiry that Trump engaged in a “quid pro quo” by conditioning U.S. aid to Ukraine on officials from the European country opening the the president’s requested investigations.

″He’s a political appointee,” Graham said of Sondland. “He serves at the pleasure of the president.”

“Of course, but it was retaliation?” Brennan pressed

″We’re not going to live in a world where the Department of Justice, the CIA and the FBI can cut corners and go after Trump and nobody gives a damn,” he said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) condemned Vindman’s dismissal on Friday as a “brazen act of retaliation.”

“President Trump is impeached forever,” Pelosi said in a statement. “The shameful firing of Col. Vindman was a clear and brazen act of retaliation that showcases the President’s fear of the truth. … History will remember Lt. Col. Vindman as an American hero.”

Some Republican senators, including Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Thom Tillis of North Carolina, urged Trump not to fire Sondland, The New York Times reported. The senators reportedly told the White House that it would be best to avoid political backlash by letting Sondland leave on his own terms. He was apparently preparing to make an exit after the impeachment trial wrapped up anyway. When State Department officials told him he had to resign on Friday, Sondland reportedly said no. So Trump fired him.

The Vindman brothers remain in the military and will be reassigned.

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Two days after his acquittal, Trump ousts two star impeachment witnesses

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s administration on Friday ousted the two witnesses who provided the most damaging testimony during his impeachment investigation: Army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Gordon Sondland.

Two days after Trump was acquitted by the Republican-controlled Senate on charges of trying to pressure Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Vindman — the top Ukraine expert at the White House’s National Security Council — was escorted out of the building, according to his lawyer.

“Vindman was asked to leave for telling the truth,” said his lawyer, David Pressman.

Hours later, Sondland said he had been fired from his post as U.S ambassador to the European Union.

The two men served as star witnesses during the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives’ impeachment investigation last year.

Vindman’s twin brother Yevgeny, who worked as a lawyer at the NSC, also was escorted out of the White House, according to Michael Volkov, who represented Vindman when he testified in the impeachment inquiry.

Trump has said he is still upset with Democrats and government officials involved in the impeachment investigation, even after he was acquitted on Wednesday.

“I’m not happy with him. You think I’m supposed to be happy with him?” he said of Vindman on Friday.

An NSC spokesman declined to comment.

Vindman, a decorated combat veteran, testified in November that he “couldn’t believe what I was hearing” when he listened in on a July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenskiy that became the focus of the inquiry.

FILE PHOTO: Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, director for European Affairs at the National Security Council, arrives to testify before a House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 19, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Trump asked Zelenskiy to launch investigations into both Democratic rival Joe Biden and a discredited theory that Ukraine, not Russia, colluded with Democrats to harm Trump in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Sondland, a wealthy Republican donor and Oregon hotelier who served as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, testified that he was following Trump’s orders when he pushed Ukrainian officials to carry out investigations sought by the president.

“I am grateful to President Trump for having given me the opportunity to serve,” he said.

The White House and State Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Sondland’s removal.

“This is as clear a case of retribution as I’ve seen during my 27 years in the Senate,” said Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Biden’s campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination suffered a serious setback when he came in fourth place at the Democrats’ first state contest in Iowa this week.

Slideshow (3 Images)

Vindman’s two-year stint at the White House had been due to end in July. An Army spokesperson said both brothers had been reassigned to the Army, but declined to give further information “out of respect for their privacy.”

Another senior White House aide who testified over impeachment, Jennifer Williams, left this week for a post at the U.S. military’s Central Command, according to Bloomberg News.

Vindman downplayed concerns that he would suffer payback for speaking out when he testified to Congress. “I will be fine for telling the truth,” he said.

Additional reporting by Jeff Mason, Steve Holland, David Morgan, Mark Hosenball, Idrees Ali and Ted Hesson; Editing by Andy Sullivan and Daniel Wallis

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Was a Teenaged Pete Buttigieg Arrested for Killing Dogs?

When former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination during the 2008 election cycle, one of the many items of political gossip which were floated online held that Huckabee’s teenaged son had killed a dog while working as a counselors at a Boy Scout camp.

In February 2020, the same form of rumor was floated about Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Only this latter version upped the ante by holding that it was a 16-year-old Buttigieg himself (not a child of his) who had been arrested for slaying “at least five dogs” (not a single animal).

This rumor was circulated in the form of a purported image of an August 30, 1998, South Bend newspaper article reporting on the teenaged Buttigieg’s arrest:

Both the claim that Buttigieg had been arrested for killing dogs and the newspaper clipping that allegedly documented the claim were complete fabrications, however — the latter created through the use of the The Newspaper Clipping Generator, a utility which allows users to produce images of news snippets similar to the one seen above:

Make a newspaper clipping with your own headline and story. Surprise friends and colleagues, send a birthday greeting or give your next blog post a special look.

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Joe Biden Is Trashing Pete Buttigieg Now

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Joe Biden has had enough of Pete Buttigieg’s malarky and, folks, he’s about to show that young whippersnapper a thing or two about running for president.

In a series of post-debate appearances, a meandering press conference and a withering new attack ad, Biden struck back at the South Bend upstart’s call for a new generation of leadership and wrapped himself in the legacy of former President Barack Obama.

It’s all part of the former vice president’s new, and somewhat uncomfortable, campaign trail look: Scrappy underdog.

“I have never been very comfortable attacking somebody else. I don’t think we need a circular firing squad,” Biden told reporters Saturday at his Manchester campaign office. “When you get attacked, you’ve gotta respond. I’ve kept my mouth shut for a long time. I haven’t responded at all — at all.”

But the days of the Rose Garden strategy are done. Biden can no longer act like he’s already the Democratic nominee or refuse to deign to answer opponents’ attacks when those attacks are actually working and his path to the nomination is uncertain.

Going negative

Now, Biden, whose candidacy is premised on trying to unify the Democratic Party, is going negative. He’s all but given up on winning New Hampshire, so with little left to lose here, he’s testing new lines of attack and defense, in something of an open-mic-night campaign in the Granite State.

His staff repeatedly tried to cut a Q and A with reporters short, but Biden kept ignoring them to take another, clearly indignant that the campaign narrative has turned against him. Gripping a microphone, he paced in front of a semicircle of reporters, often leaning in for emphasis and imploring them, “Come on, guys, let’s get real.”

READ: The ACLU is coming for Biden and Klobuchar in New Hampshire

Iowa meant nothing because the state party screwed up the results, he argued. There hasn’t even been a real debate yet, just a stage crowded with 15-second sound bites. Don’t forget, he’s still the national frontrunner.

“Come on, man, this guy’s not a Barack Obama.”

“Come on, man, this guy’s not a Barack Obama,” Biden said of Buttigieg. “We want to compare records. It’s easy to do. I get it. He’s a good guy. He was a great mayor. But guess what? He wasn’t there.”

The new ad condescendingly contrasts Biden’s vice presidency with Buttigieg’s mayoral duties, like fixing sidewalks, installing LED lights to illuminate a river and firing the city’s first black police chief. It has racked up more than 4 million views in its one day online.

At a New Hampshire Democratic Party dinner at a college basketball arena Saturday night Buttigieg answered the ad, saying, “Now I know some are asking, ‘What business does the South Bend mayor have seeking the highest office in the land?’”

“The city you’re the mayor of isn’t even the biggest city in the country, it’s more like, Manchester, New Hampshire,” he said, to cheers in the arena. “To which I say that is very much the point, because Americans in small rural towns, in industrial communities and, yes, in pockets of our country’s biggest cities are tired of being reduced to a punch line by Washington politicians.”

Surging Buttigieg

Buttigieg has surged in New Hampshire, with recent polling showing him second behind Sen. Bernie Sanders. Biden, by contrast, is polling fourth or fifth behind Sanders, Buttigieg, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and, in one poll, even Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

Biden and his staff, however, are encouraging the public to look past the results in overwhelmingly white Iowa and New Hampshire and take the first four primaries in their totality, banking hard the idea that Biden will have a firewall of black support in South Carolina.

New Hampshire “tracks pretty good for Pete Buttigieg given its demographic makeup,” said Biden spokeswoman Symone Sanders, after the Friday night debate. “I’d like to remind you all that the Democratic nominee since 1992 has been the person who was able to garner a substantial amount of votes from the African American community.”

Implying, then, that attacking Biden is attacking Obama makes sense, tactically. Obama is still the most popular figure in the Democratic Party, but especially so among African American voters.

“He’s talking about how, you know, the reason why we have Trump is because of the recent past,” Biden told supporters in Manchester before sending them out to knock doors. “My impression was I thought Barack Obama was president in the recent past.”

The negative tone may be a hard adjustment for the campaign. Thumbtacked on the wall of the campaign headquarters were instructions for door-knockers, including, “Don’t speak negatively about anyone else.”

And what Biden hasn’t explicitly answered is the subtext of Buttigieg’s attacks. The appeals to turn the page to a new generation of leadership aren’t really, of course, bashing Obama. They’re slyly reminding voters that Biden is old and may have lost a step.

So really, Biden’s tonal shift this week may be more important than anything he or his campaign actually says. He’s often been subdued and solemn on the campaign trail. Now, he’s projecting passion and outrage about what has happened to the country.

The problem is Biden will have to keep that up consistently.

Millie LaFontaine, a retired physician from Concord, N.H., said when she was leaving to see Biden speak in Manchester, her son asked which Biden she was expecting to get. She’s trying to decide between Biden, Buttiegieg and Klobuchar.

“I was pleased, that was a good thing in my mind, that he kind of pulled himself together a little bit more than I’ve seen him other times,” she said. “I was very happy to see him, I won’t say feisty, but determined and bold and pointing out his strengths, which are considerable.”

Biden’s campaign has been anchored by loss and ability to commiserate with those who are grieving. In a new line he’s road testing in New Hampshire, Biden brought that theme full circle, to big cheers from each crowd he’s delivered it to.

“You know, I’ve lost a lot in my lifetime, like many of you have. Car accident took away my wife and daughter, lost my son Beau, like many of you have done,” he mused. “But I’ll be damned if I’m going to stand by and lose my country too.”

He’ll have to make sure he doesn’t lose his campaign first.

Cover: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during the 100 Club Dinner at SNHIU on February 08, 2020 in Manchester, New Hampshire. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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Is Elizabeth Warren Running a Hostile Workplace?

Democratic 2020 U.S. Elizabeth Warren speaks at a campaign town hall meeting in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, January 26, 2020. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

A (reluctant) word in defense of Elizabeth Warren.

A story in Politico details the departure of a “half-dozen women of color” from Elizabeth Warren’s campaign apparatus in Nevada. The article’s implication seems to be that Warren’s campaign, at least in its Nevada outpost, is inhospitable to minority staffers.

I’m willing to believe that Elizabeth Warren is running a subversive racist operation, but the allegations contained in the piece do little to substantiate the claim. In fact, nothing in the piece gives any indication that the departed staffers’ “frustrations” had to do with anything more than the workaday miseries of spending a great deal of time with Elizabeth Warren supporters.

Of the six former staffers who departed, three were interviewed by Politico. None named a specific, falsifiable instance of the campaign’s hostility toward minorities. One woman cryptically said that she “filed a complaint with HR” about the “culture” at the campaign. (She does not reveal the substance of the complaint.) When HR responded, the staffer said it left her “feeling as though I needed to make myself smaller or change who I was to fit into the office culture.” One might lament the interviewee’s inability to adapt to the “office culture,” or her unwillingness to “make herself smaller.” Both, in any case, sound like the interviewee’s problem, not Warren’s or the campaign’s.

Another woman said that she “felt like a problem — like I was there to literally bring color into the space but not the knowledge and voice that comes with it.” What this means is unclear. What “space” is she referring to? The office? How does she know she was “there to literally bring color” into said space and was not hired for, say, her credentials? In lieu of a specific, falsifiable claim of abuse, this again seems more like banal campus-speak (“space,” “voice,” etc.) than a serious accusation of racial bigotry.

Elizabeth Warren is running for president. She is running a campaign with hundreds of employees in an operation that runs across municipal and state lines. A significant number of her employees — if their decision to work on the good senator’s presidential campaign is any indication — are probably difficult to work with. That doesn’t (necessarily!) make them, or the campaign, racist.

If you want to claim Elizabeth Warren is a racist for peddling fake-Indian ancestry for much of her professional career, you ought to do so; you’d be on firm foundation. To use the departure of these six women as evidence to that effect, however, is to do a disservice to that argument.

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Hah-Hah! Liar Adam Schiff Banished from Sunday Talk Shows After His Latest Coup Attempt Failure

Hah-Hah! Liar Adam Schiff Banished from Sunday Talk Shows After His Latest Coup Attempt Failure

President Trump had a FANTASTIC WEEK!

It was sooo good that Trump officials were excluded from the Sunday morning talk shows this week.

Meanwhile, Adam Schiff and loser Democrats had another rotten week.
Their latest coup attempt failed and President Trump is kicking ass for the American people.

It was so bad that this week Shifty Adam Schiff could not book himself a spot on the Sunday Talk Shows.
Go home, Adam.

The AP reported:

Guest lineups for the Sunday news shows:

ABC’s “This Week” — Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg.

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NBC’s “Meet the Press” — Buttigieg; Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

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CBS’ “Face the Nation” — Buttigieg, Sanders; Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai.

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CNN’s “State of the Union” — Buttigieg, Sanders; Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez.

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“Fox News Sunday” — Buttigieg.

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DNC chairman Tom Perez says he won’t step down after chaotic Iowa caucuses but expects review of state’s first-in-nation status

“Absolutely not,” Perez told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of The Union” when asked if he has considered resigning. “Jake, look at the last three years. My job when I came in was to rebuild our infrastructure, to win elections. When you do that, sometimes you have to make tough decisions.”

He continued, “We have been winning. This is what it’s about. I think it’s really important for people to take a broader step back right now.”

Democrats have criticized a cascading series of problems in Iowa — including difficulties getting through on the phone to report results after precinct officials had trouble with the app — that led the state Democratic Party to hold off on releasing results on Monday night, and some have gone as far as to call for Perez to resign. Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard was one to call for him to step down, telling WMUR News 9 on Sunday, “Ultimately this is a failure of leadership, and I think the DNC chair Tom Perez should resign.”
Confusion in the caucuses left Democratic candidates Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg each claiming victory in Iowa, with Buttigieg holding a slim lead over Sanders in the caucuses with 100% precincts reporting. The former South Bend, Indiana, mayor leads the Vermont senator by one-tenth of one percentage point in the all-important state delegate equivalent count.

The presidential campaigns for Buttigieg, Sanders and Elizabeth Warren submitted their respective evidence of inconsistencies from the caucuses count to the Iowa Democratic Party.

The Iowa Democratic Party announced on Saturday that it was reviewing reports of irregularities from 95 precincts — 5% of the total 1,765 precincts in the state. The party said in a statement that they had already initiated the process and that the possible corrections will be made public by noon Central (1 p.m. ET) Monday — before the party officially allocates how many delegates the campaigns will get from Iowa.

Perez has called for a recanvass of the results and on Sunday said there will “absolutely” be a future conversation about the state’s status as the first stop in the Democratic nominating process.

“Well, that’s the conversation that will absolutely happen after this election cycle, and after the last election cycle we had a conversation about two really important things: Super delegate reform and the primary caucus issue that we’re discussing now,” he said. “And that’s going to happen again.”

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CNN’s Brian Stelter Criticizes ‘Lefties Who Hate Rush’ Limbaugh Over ‘Revolting’ Cancer Diagnosis Comments

CNN host Brian Stelter railed against “revolting” comments directed against Rush Limbaugh after the radio talk personality recently announced having advanced lung cancer, saying it’s indicative of “strain of contempt” among Democrats and liberals.

Limbaugh, the longtime conservative and controversial talk radio host, told his audience last Monday about his diagnosis. President Donald Trump awarded Limbaugh with the Presidential Medal of Freedom at his State of the Union address Tuesday, prompting angry rebuke from critics saying Limbaugh’s past is littered with sexist and racist right-wing remarks.

Stelter’s Reliable Sources panel on Sunday addressed the cynical and often pernicious opinions espoused on social media platforms like Twitter in a country that is so widely divided along partisan lines. Stelter said he wishes people could offer Limbaugh their “best wishes” before arguing about his long history of controversial comments.

“Some of the comments I’m seeing on social media from lefties who hate Rush, saying they hope the cancer takes him away as fast as possible — it’s revolting to me,” Stelter said. “As much as we talk about Trump and misinformation, there is a strain of contempt on the left that also worries me. Why can’t people just say, ‘We hope that Rush gets better quickly?'”

Stelter’s own February 3 tweet reporting on Limbaugh’s cancer diagnosis was littered with comments that cheered on the cancer and reveled in hopes that the radio personality “goes to hell.”

“Christmas in February! And it’s his own fault for smoking all those cigars. He will suffer, terribly. I am as happy as a person can be!” read one top comment to Stelter’s tweet.

“He, literally, has encouraged rightwing politicians to harm people, deprive healthcare, imprison innocent children and let people die. Lives will be saved when he is gone,” reads another top reply.

Appalled followers and even fellow Limbaugh critics rebuked the comments declaring the cancer diagnosis “couldn’t have happened to a better person.”

“The responses to this tweet illustrate the pure evil lurking on the far left right now. If you disagree with them, many of them literally not only want you dead, they’ll celebrate your suffering. Really vile. Send up lots of prayers for Rush Limbaugh to counteract this evil,” replied filmmaker Robby Starbuck.

Stelter’s panel discussed whether the anonymous nastiness expressed toward Limbaugh is simply a symptom of a social media disconnect between people.

“I think this highlights a larger problem with Twitter and what we elevate on Twitter and who is on Twitter,” replied Sarah Isgur, staff writer at The Dispatch. “We think of that as some type of reality when in fact it’s not.”

CNN media analyst Bill Carter flipped the scenario around, asking: “If Hillary Clinton announced tomorrow that she had terminal cancer, don’t you think the same thing would happen on the right?”


CNN host Brian Stelter railed against “revolting” comments directed against Rush Limbaugh after he announced having advanced stage lung cancer last week, saying it’s indicative of “strain of contempt” among Democrats and liberals.
Screenshot: CNN Reliable Sources | Twitter

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Amy Schumer, Susan Rice and Others Defend Gayle King Following Interview Backlash Over Kobe Bryant Question

Several celebrities and journalists have jumped to the defense of CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King in the wake of the controversy surrounding her recent interview with WNBA star Lisa Leslie regarding the late basketball great Kobe Bryant.

King–who has been met with sharp criticism for bringing up the sexual assault allegations brought against Bryant in an interview with his friend Leslie–has said that she is “mortified” about the backlash.

In 2003, Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman in Colorado. The case was dismissed after the woman refused to testify in court, but the allegations nevertheless impacted Bryant’s reputation.

Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash in California on January 26 along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and several other people.

Recently King conducted an interview with Leslie, a former WNBA champion, in which King referenced the assault charges and asked if they marred Bryant’s legacy.

“It’s not complicated for me at all,” said Leslie in the interview. “I just have never seen him as being the kind of person that would do something violating to a woman or be aggressive in that way, that’s just not the person I know.”

“I think the media should be more respectful at this time. It’s like, if you had questions about it, you’ve had many years to ask him that,” Leslie also said. “I don’t think it’s something that we should keep hanging over his legacy.”

CBS News shared a clip of the interview on its Twitter account on February 4. The clip contained only the reference about Bryant’s sexual assault allegations, although the full interview was longer.

King received widespread criticism for bringing up the assault allegations concerning a beloved celebrity. Rapper Snoop Dogg even shared a video on Instagram in which he criticized King for mentioning the incident and called her several slurs.

“Respect the family and back off b—-, before we come get you,” the artist said in his video.

However, other public figures have come out in King’s defense.

Susan Rice, the former United States ambassador to the United Nations and the former National Security Advisor under the Obama administration, addressed the controversy. On Friday evening, she retweeted a copy of Snoop Dogg’s video, called it “despicable” and addressed the rapper directly.

“This is despicable,” Rice wrote. “Gayle King is one of the most principled, fair and tough journalists alive. Snoop, back the **** off. You come for@GayleKing, you come against an army. You will lose, and it won’t be pretty.”

Comedian Amy Schumer also defended King. She shared a smiling photo of the host on her Instagram account Saturday, and including a caption in which she defended the journalist.

“I stand fiercely with @gayleking one of the most beloved journalists, mothers and friends of our time,” Schumer wrote in the photo’s caption. “However you feel about her interview, her receiving serious death threats is disgustingly unfair and unacceptable. Shame on you CBS for putting her in this position. #standwithgayle.”

Actress and writer Amber Tamblyn also reacted to Snoop Dogg’s comments about King, tweeting: “Wow. This is terrible. Shame on you, Snoop. A dog head b–ch? Really? To Gayle King, one of our most beloved women and journalists? You just lost a fan and I hope you lose a lot more for this.”

On Friday, the Twitter account of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna shared a video clip of Oprah Winfrey discussing how the events were affecting her friend King.

When asked about the “vitriol” leveled against King, Winfrey said: “Anybody can criticize anything, but the misogynist vitriol, and the attacking to the point where it is dangerous to be in the streets alone because… it’s not just the people who are attacking, it’s the other people who take that message and feel like they can do whatever they want to because of it.”

Winfrey also said that King had not slept in the past two days, and that the two of them were in constant contact over the phone through King’s ordeal.

Twitter

Actress Rose McGowan shared an apology Bryant had made to the women he allegedly assaulted, in which he reiterated that he truly thought their interaction was consensual. She called for those criticizing King to be as understanding as Bryant was.

“You want to know why Kobe Bryant is a hero? He apologized to a hurt young woman,” she wrote. Snoop & others it’s time to stop terrorizing @gayleking& @feliciasonmez[.] Truth hurts. Death hurts. Grow the f— up. Kobe stopped hurting women, so can you.”

Yashar Ali, a journalist with bylines in The Huffington Post and New York magazine, wrote that Snoop Dogg’s video was “disgusting.”

“Seeing very few people defending Gayle…I know that if she were a white anchor she would have much more support,” Ali wrote in a tweet Friday afternoon.

Rikki Klieman, a lawyer and legal analyst for CBS News, retweeted a quote from a news story in which CBS News president Susan Szirinsky said that the news organization fully supported King’s reporting.

“If someone with as much integrity as @GayleKing cannot ask a question, then we are all lost,” Klieman wrote.


Gayle King attends the 14th Annual L’Oréal Paris Women Of Worth Awards at The Pierre on December 04, 2019 in New York City.
Kevin Mazur/Getty

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Joe Biden’s scorching ad against Pete Buttigieg serves a purpose (opinion)

The ad highlights the important domestic and international issues Biden has dealt with in his career, like helping pass the Affordable Care Act and negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, and contrasts those with Buttigieg’s initiatives in South Bend like the crisis of lost pets.

The attack ad signals a new phase of the primary contest where candidates need to move voters, both for them and against their opponents, in order to survive in the race. Biden, who came in a distant fourth in Iowa, knows how difficult it is to win if he can’t slow the Buttigieg momentum now.

There are two important questions the aggressive ad raises: Will it work for Biden and is it political suicide for Democrats to be training their guns on each other instead of President Donald Trump?

First Biden. Slowing Buttigieg’s momentum is critical, but the real question is whether going negative could result in damage to Biden’s standing with voters. The advertisement is unlikely to help Biden in the short term because it is so off brand.

Biden genuinely doesn’t like to go after fellow Democrats — it’s just not in his nature.

The former vice president has tried to keep the focus on Trump, and as the perceived frontrunner, has avoided hand-to-hand combat with other candidates, with the exception of responding to attacks on his record. The message to avoid the “circular firing squad” has been a consistent one since he launched his campaign and was delivered as recently as in Friday’s debate and Saturday on the stump. There is some cognitive dissonance between the Biden on the stump and the advertisement on the air. And that rarely works in campaigns.

The attack ad also comes a week too late. The campaign had to have seen the momentum Buttigieg was building in Iowa. Waiting until a rival wins, or co-wins, the first campaign test makes the negative attack seem desperate, rather than strategic. If Biden had launched the attack before the Iowa caucuses, before he severely underperformed, the ad would have had much more impact. He might have slowed the Buttigieg momentum and looked less desperate than he does today.

On the positive side for Biden, his overall strategy is to survive until the candidates get to South Carolina. Iowa and New Hampshire are two of the least racially diverse states in the country. Biden has a long history of working with and appealing to the African American community. Buttigieg does not — a point Biden’s ad hammers home by referencing the mayor’s controversial demotion of the African American police chief of South Bend.
The more important question for Democrats is does this new phase of negative campaigning doom them to the circular firing squad that Biden and Barack Obama have been warning against and make it more likely Donald Trump wins a second term?
After fiasco, Iowa results matter less

The answer to that question is no. The nomination process is a sophisticated vetting process that each party hopes produces the strongest candidate. The ability to throw an effective punch and the ability to take one is an essential part of taking the case to Trump in the fall.

Democrats want to know whether Biden has the ability to be aggressive and put his opponents on the defensive. Just as important, they want to know that Buttigieg can take that punch and neutralize whatever negatives his lack of experience on the national stage bring. The issue is especially important, given Trump’s performance as President and his noted lack of experience in any type of governing prior to taking office.

Pressure rises on Dems to stand out in the debate
Buttigieg responded directly to Biden on Sunday morning on Jake Tapper’s “State of the Union,” arguing that he had a unique set of experiences as a Midwestern mayor and military veteran. His task going forward will be to convince Democrats around the country that his lack of DC experience and his roots in the Midwest are a net positive in taking on the President.

He needs to mitigate the risk of nominating a political novice for the most powerful job in the world. In my view, he has more to do to accomplish that, but now, before we pick a nominee, is the time to do it.

Simply put, we need to play out all the political battles in the nomination process and test our candidates so that we do nominate the best candidate and there are no big surprises in the general election. In 2016, many Democrats lauded Bernie Sanders for not attacking Hillary Clinton about her emails and instead telling a debate moderator, Americans “are sick and tired of hearing about [her] damn emails.”

In retrospect, getting the email server debate out on the table and letting voters decide if it was an important issue would probably have been better for Democrats than ignoring it. My guess is Democrats voting in the primaries wouldn’t have cared much, but the issue would have been fully explored and not as ripe as it was for Trump in the fall campaign.

Tuesday night’s New Hampshire primary will give us a window, but not a complete picture of the effectiveness of Biden’s ad. We’ll have to wait until Nevada or South Carolina for a fuller judgment. But for the party, as hard as it may be to watch, this is the kind of back-and-forth that will produce the best candidate to take on Donald Trump.