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Trump administration raises legal age to buy tobacco in US to 21

Trump administration raises legal age to buy tobacco in US to 21

President Donald Trump gave his stamp of approval on Friday to raising the federal age requirement of who can legally purchase tobacco products to 21 when he signed spending bills approved by Congress this week.

This change means that in less than a year it will become illegal for anyone under 21 in the United States to purchase vape products and e-cigarettes, as well as more traditional tobacco products.

The new regulation comes amid nationwide concern about increasing nicotine use among young people and the possible health risks of electronic cigarette products.

With the president’s signature, the new age requirement will take effect in about nine months — the Food and Drug Administration has 180 days to update its regulations and they will go into effect 90 days after that.

Youth tobacco use became a point of discussion in Washington as the prevalence of e-cigarette use and vaping among teenagers seemed to skyrocket. Though the issue garnered more attention due to the hundreds of vaping-related illnesses across the country, raising the age to purchase tobacco won’t directly tackle that problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have traced the problems to illicit THC products adulterated with Vitamin E.

Tobacco use has long been a concern in the U.S. in both the health problems connected to combustible cigarettes and the addictive properties of nicotine, especially in young people. In 2018, 12.5% of middle school students reported they use a tobacco product, compared to 31% of high school students, a CDC survey found.

A CDC fact sheet also shows that more than 34 million adults in the U.S. — about 13.7% of the population — are cigarette smokers.

A bill to raise the legal age to buy tobacco — from 18 to 21 — was introduced earlier this year by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and was combined with another bipartisan bill on the issue to become part of the spending package.

Along with updating rules about how to enforce the new tobacco age, FDA is starting to evaluate applications for e-cigarette products it says are on the market illegally to determine if the agency will allow them to be sold or place restrictions on where they can be sold and how they can be marketed.

You can read the rest of Stephanie Ebbs’ article at ABCnews.com

Eddie Murphy returns to ‘Saturday Night Live’ for 1st time in 35 years

Eddie Murphy returns to ‘Saturday Night Live’ for 1st time in 35 years

Eddie Murphy made his name as a cast member on “Saturday Night Live.” On the last episode of the decade, he finally returned after 35 years.

The comedian was on 65 episodes of the show from 1980 to 1984. He also hosted the show in late 1984, but despite dozens of blockbuster films in the interim, he’d never been back.

“It’s great to be back here finally hosting ‘Saturday Night Live,'” Murphy said during his monologue. “But if you’re black this is the first episode since I left here back in 1984.”

It was almost 35 years to the day since he was last on the show: when he hosted on Dec. 15, 1984 alongside musical guest Robert Plant. Doug Flutie, who retired from football 13 years ago, also made a cameo on the episode after winning the Heisman Trophy.

The actor was joined on stage during his monologue by some of the biggest black comedians of the past three decades, including Tracy Morgan, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock and longtime current cast member Kenan Thompson.

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world — my kids love Lizzo,” Chris Rock cracked, referring to the musical guest.

He brought back “Mister Robinson’s Neighborhood,” a play on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” one of his famous sketches from his time on the

“Can you say gentrification?” he said. “White people pay a lot of money and then, ‘poof,’ all of the black people are gone!”

He met his new neighbors, who “paid $1.2 million for an apartment where my neighbor used to cook crack.”

And of course he returned as Buckwheat, now as a surprise contestant on “The Masked Singer.” He proceeded to reel off a number of hit songs with incorrect lyrics.

After the judges said they’d missed him the past 30 years, Buckwheat responded, “Just remember wherever I am, I’m doing ‘otay.'”

He also brought back Gumby (dammit!) for “Weekend Update,” but bemoaned being left for so late in the show.

“I saved this damn show from the gutter,” he shouted. “Shame on you, Lorne Michaels!”

You can read the rest of Mark Osborne’s article at ABCnews.com

Actor Kevin Costner returns to Iowa to support Buttigieg

Actor Kevin Costner returns to Iowa to support Buttigieg

“Field of Dreams” actor Kevin Costner returned to Iowa on Sunday to go to bat for Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, pitching the small-town mayor as someone worth listening to in the crowded lineup of White House hopefuls.

“Whether your road leads you to Pete, like mine has, that’s for you to judge,” Costner, a self-described independent, told more than 1,000 people in the high school gymnasium of Indianola, a town of about 16,000 people located south of Des Moines. “When Pete speaks of unity, it’s the kind of unity I’ve been waiting and hoping to hear about.”

Costner, whose 1989 film offered a mixture of baseball and fantasy amid Iowa cornfields, also noted the status of the state’s caucuses as the first voting in the selection of a Democratic nominee.

“That power, that awesome responsibility, originates here on the ground in Iowa,” said Costner, speaking in a low voice from a lectern and looking casual in jeans and a wind-breaker. “What you do with your vote is put those first seeds in the ground and see what grows next year.”

It was Buttigieg, not Costner, who brought up “Field of Dreams.” In a nod to his audience, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, didn’t quote the movie’s most famous line — “Ïf you build it, he will come”— but a more crowd-pleasing bit of dialogue: “Is this heaven? No, it’s Iowa.” The candidate thanked the star for making “Iowa as heavenly as it can be on a December day.”

Among those turning out to see the director and star of the films “Dances with Wolves” and “Open Range” and the lead in the current Paramount channel series “Yellowstone” was 76-year-old retiree Martha Cunningham. “I’d have come to see Pete. But seeing Kevin Costner, that’s extra!” she said.

You can read the rest of Thomas Beaumont’s article at ABCnews.com

In major milestone, SpaceX test fires Crew Dragon abort engines

In major milestone, SpaceX test fires Crew Dragon abort engines

In a major milestone, SpaceX engineers fired the powerful abort engines in the company’s Crew Dragon astronaut ferry ship Wednesday, carrying out an apparently successful ground test showing the problem that triggered a catastrophic explosion last April has been resolved.

This time around, the capsule’s eight Super Draco engines ignited and fired as planned, generating a combined 120,000 pounds of thrust just as they would during flight if sensors detected an impending booster malfunction. The engines shut down as planned about 5 seconds after ignition.

Witnessed from nearby Port Canaveral, a large cloud of dirty white smoke could be seen billowing up into an overcast sky at 3:08 p.m. EST. The unpiloted capsule remained firmly attached to a test stand at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station throughout the test.

Assuming no issues come up after a detailed data review, SpaceX will begin work to ready the same capsule for an in-flight abort test atop a Falcon 9 rocket as early as next month. The plan is to deliberately trigger the abort system again — this time during the period of maximum aerodynamic stress as the booster climbs through the thick lower atmosphere.

The goal is to certify the system’s ability to propel a crew to safety at any point from the launch pad to orbit and to operate as designed during worst-case scenarios.

SpaceX completed an unpiloted Crew Dragon flight to the space station earlier this year. If the upcoming in-flight abort test goes well, the California-based rocket builder will work toward a piloted test flight early next year when NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley plan to visit the International Space Station (ISS).

Boeing also is building an astronaut ferry ship for NASA, known as Starliner. The company completed a pad abort test earlier this month and plans to launch an unpiloted test flight to ISS around December 17. Like SpaceX, Boeing hopes to launch its first piloted test flight next year.

Which company’s crew will get off the ground first is not yet known. But once the piloted test flights are complete, NASA hopes to begin operational ISS crew rotation missions before the end of 2020, ending the agency’s sole reliance on Russian Soyuz spacecraft.

Wednesday’s test was a welcome step forward, coming more than six months after a crew Dragon was destroyed April 20 during a planned test of the SuperDraco abort system.

Using the same capsule that visited the station in the unpiloted test flight in March, engineers successfully tested the capsule’s 12 smaller Draco maneuvering thrusters. Computers were an instant away from firing the Super Dracos when the craft suddenly exploded.

Read the rest of William Harwood’s article at CBSnews.com

Judge blocks Michigan’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Judge blocks Michigan’s ban on flavored e-cigarettes

A Michigan judge temporarily blocked the state’s weeks-old ban on flavored e-cigarettes Tuesday, saying it may force adults to return to smoking more harmful tobacco products and has irreparably hurt vaping businesses.

Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens put the prohibition on hold until “further order of this court.” The preliminary injunction will be appealed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who ordered the creation of the emergency rules in a bid to combat the epidemic of teen vaping.

The judge said two businesses that sued showed a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of their contention that the rules are procedurally invalid, because state officials did not justify short-cutting the normal rule-making process.

“Thus, and at this stage of the litigation, defendants have undercut their own assertions of an emergency by the fact that they demurred on taking action for nearly a year, and in the case of some information even longer than that, after they were in possession of the information cited in support of the emergency declaration,” Stephens wrote.

She also said improved health outcomes for adults who switch to vaping products from combustible tobacco “could, and likely would, be lost under the emergency rules.”

Several states have banned the sale of flavored vaping products amid a rising number of vaping-related lung illnesses and an epidemic of teen e-cigarette use. As of last week, vaping-related illnesses in the U.S. had reached about 1,300 cases in 49 states and one U.S. territory, including at least 26 deaths.

Most who got sick said they vaped products containing THC, the marijuana ingredient that causes a high, but some said they vaped only nicotine.

In New York, a state appeals court this month preliminarily blocked the state from enforcing a prohibition on flavored e-cigarette sales.

The Michigan lawsuits, which were consolidated, were filed by Houghton-based 906 Vapor and A Clean Cigarette, which has 15 locations across the state.

“We are pleased today that the court saw the ban of flavored vaping products for what it truly is: an overreach of government into the lives of adults,” said Andrea Bitely, spokeswoman for the Defend MI Rights Coalition, a vaping industry group. “We are ready to work through the normal legislative process to arrive at a balanced solution that protects the rights of adults to use vaping products as an alternative to combustible cigarettes and at the same time get these products out of the children’s hands.”

Read the rest of the David Eggert’s article at ABCnews.com

Even using a 4K HDR TV, set your Xbox One to output 8-bit color depth

Even using a 4K HDR TV, set your Xbox One to output 8-bit color depth

Achieving the optimal video output settings on the Xbox One has been a topic of debate for quite some time. Controversy has raged across various internet forums regarding which settings should be enabled to ensure the highest image quality. Thanks to the use of signal capturing devices, the debate has finally been settled.

The Xbox One console should be set to output at an 8-bit color depth. This probably seems counterintuitive to those with 4K HDR TVs, whose panels support a 10-bit or higher color depth. However, it has been demonstrated that the Xbox One will still automatically output all HDR content in 10-bit or 12-bit color depth, even when the console’s video output settings are set to 8-bit. The advantage of setting the Xbox One’s color depth to 8-bit is quite simple. The console renders all non-HDR (SDR) content in 8-bit, and setting your console to output in 10-bit or 12-bit will negatively affect the image quality of SDR content due to the introduction of inherently flawed video reprocessing.

HDMI 2.0 is only capable of transmitting data at 18Gbps. This constraint does not allow the Xbox One to output full 10-bit or 12-bit 4K 60hz video in YCC 4:4:4. As such, the console is only capable of outputting 10-bit and 12-bit 4K 60hz video in YCC 4:2:0 or 4:2:2. All SDR games will render on your Xbox One in 8-bit, a signal that can be transmitted in full to an HDMI 2.0 TV at 60hz in 4K. This is one of the reasons why setting the Xbox One’s color depth to 10-bit or 12-bit will cause SDR games to lose color accuracy, a result of forcing the video to output in YCC 4:2:0 or 4:2:2.

Another video output option you’ll want to enable while playing games in HDR on your Xbox One is “allow YCC 4:2:2.” This will force your Xbox One to output 10-bit and 12-bit HDR content at YCC 4:2:2 instead of 4:2:0. Disregard Microsoft’s suggestion that you should only enable this feature if your console is having problems. However, only enable this feature while you’re playing games in HDR.

Again, the “allow YCC 4:2:2” option should only be enabled while you’re specifically playing HDR video games. Do not leave the option enabled while watching any other HDR or SDR content. Do not leave this option enabled if you’re playing a video game in SDR.

Ultra HD Blu-rays are encoded in YCC 4:2:0, and it would be best to transmit them to your television in that format. But remember, even those only using their Xbox One to watch movies should still set their color depth to 8-bit, ensuring the best video quality possible for their collection of SDR DVDs and Blu-rays.

YCC 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 refer to chroma subsampling. Basically, all you need to know about chroma subsampling is that YCC 4:2:2 is superior to 4:2:0. While YCC 4:4:4 would be ideal, the signal cannot be transmitted via HDMI 2.0 due to the limitations of the technology. The Xbox One Console renders SDR games in 8-bit RGB, not YCC, and the RGB signal does not employ chroma subsampling. HDMI 2.0 is capable of transmitting the 8-bit RGB signal in 4k at 60hz, which is exactly why you should set your Xbox One to output in an 8-bit color depth. Setting your Xbox One’s color depth to 10-bit or 12-bit won’t render SDR games in a higher color depth, it will simply force the console to output at a higher color depth by introducing additional video processing that will negatively affect the image.

Realistically, most people would never notice the difference. Then again, if you’ve already purchased a 4K HDR television and an Xbox One, why not get the most out of them? It’s also worth noting that not all games look best with HDR enabled. Some games that “support” HDR do not actually render in HDR. Red Dead Redemption 2, for example, does not properly render in HDR.

While playing games like Red Dead Redemption 2, which do not accurately render in HDR, you will need to disable HDR support in the Xbox One’s settings. Even when playing games that allow the option of disabling HDR through the in-game settings, it’s probably best to disable it via the console to prevent any conflicts between the game and the system. It’s fairly common for games to improperly render in HDR, and it’s worth researching information about each of your games to ensure they will render correctly in HDR.

Let’s explore the concept of HDR a little further. The 10 in HDR10 refers to 10-bit color. While it is possible to render SDR content above an 8-bit color depth, the Xbox One does not. The Xbox One will only render above the 8-bit color depth when outputting in HDR10 or Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision outputs in a 12-bit color depth, although few 4K TVs support this feature. Remember, your Xbox One will still automatically output HDR content properly in HDR10 or Dolby Vision when those options are enabled, even though the console’s color depth is set to 8-bit.

The Xbox One X will support HDMI 2.1, and Belkin recently released an HDMI cable capable of transmitting at 48Gbps. Unfortunately, these new cables won’t allow HDMI 2.0 televisions to receive 60hz 4K 10-bit or 12-bit YCC 4:4:4 video signals, due to the limitations of HDMI 2.0 technology. New TVs featuring HDMI 2.1 are coming soon, but it’ll likely be at least a year before the Xbox One X receives an update allowing it to transmit 10-bit and 12-bit YCC 4:4:4 4K video at 60hz and above to these new devices. Although, the Belkin 48Gbps HDMI cords are allowing Apple TV users to transmit 4K 10-bit YCC 4:2:2 video at 60hz, as the Apple TV has a strange defect that renders 18Gbps HDMI cables insufficient at transmitting the high bandwidth signal.

The above video is one of the best on YouTube at explaining these concepts. While this article currently provides the best advice for achieving optimal video quality from your Xbox One, we will update this content to reflect any future changes to the console’s settings by Microsoft. If you have any questions or comments about the information presented here, be sure to let us know in the comment section below.

Throwback Thursday: Mortal Kombat released on gaming consoles 25 years ago

Throwback Thursday: Mortal Kombat released on gaming consoles 25 years ago

Mortal Kombat completely changed the gaming world when the arcade game was released in 1992. Mortal Kombat allowed players to challenge one another to a literal death match. The fighting game featured five buttons and an eight-way directional joystick. Two buttons controlled the players kicks, two controlled punches, and one allowed the player to block.

When a player won the fight against his opponent, the winner was allowed a short amount of time to perform a secret combination of buttons that would allow the victor to kill his dazed opponent. This finishing move was referred to in the game as a fatality. Each character had their own finishing moves, and the game even featured a stage fatality that allowed the winner to use the environment to kill his opponent. Needless to say, the game was quite controversial when it was released. It was also incredibly popular in the United States.

Thanks to the popularity of the arcade game, Mortal Kombat was quickly ported to home gaming consoles. The launch of Mortal Kombat on consoles was one of the largest and most highly publicized releases in gaming history. Referred to as Mortal Monday, Mortal Kombat hit store shelves for the Sega Gensisis, Super Nintendo, Game Gear, and Game Boy on September 13th, 1993. The game’s launch was preceded by a huge wave of advertising in the form of print ads and television commercials.

Although the game launched on four separate gaming consoles on the same day, there were enormous differences between the games. The Game Boy and Game Gear versions were significantly less technologically advanced than the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis versions. The Super Nintendo version came the closest to reproducing the visual and audio achievements of the arcade game, due to the console’s technological superiority compared to Sega’s Genesis. However, the Sega Genesis version remained much more faithful to the mood of its arcade predecessor. This was due to Sega’s inclusion of game’s more controversial elements.

Nintendo was not comfortable with releasing Mortal Kombat uncensored for their console. Nintendo chose to leave the blood out of the Super Nintendo version of Mortal Kombat. The blood was replaced with sweat. Fatalities were also altered for their version of the game.

Sega, on the other hand, decided to go with a different approach. The Sega Genesis version of the game allowed users to enter a code at the beginning of the game, similar to how players  performed fatalities, that unlocked the sight of blood and uncensored the fatalities. This more faithful adaption of the game on Sega’s console was much more well received than Nintendo’s. Mortal Kombat was the deciding factor for many gamers when choosing between purchasing a Genesis or SNES, and Sega likely benefited greatly from their decision.

Gamers may also remember another feature from Sega’s version of Mortal Kombat. The code to unlock blood in the Sega version of the game is “ABACABB.” Abacab is an album from the band Genesis, who shares a name with the Sega console. This Easter egg is one of many found throughout the game.

Mortal Kombat is known in the gaming community for its early adoption of the practice of hiding secret elements in the game. The arcade version allowed users to access a hidden fight against a secret character with its own secret stage. Future Mortal Kombat titles even adopted hidden Easter eggs based on rumors about previous games.

Mortal Kombat 10, the latest title in the series, was released in 2015. Warner Brothers purchased the Mortal Kombat franchise in 2009 when they acquired Midway Games. Ed Boon, co-creator of the original Mortal Kombat, is still currently serving as creative director for the Mortal Kombat games. Although there is no official word yet on Mortal Kombat 11, we look forward to brutally finishing off our opponents in the next Mortal Kombat game.

Companies making millions charging prisoners to email

Companies making millions charging prisoners to email

Wired recently reported on a system of prison profiteering that many people may not be aware of. Several companies are making healthy profits charging prisoners, and their acquaintances, to send emails. While the practice is legal, there are several ethical concerns surrounding it.

JPay, a leader in the industry, provides prisoner communication services to prisons in 20 different states. As some prisons have instituted a ban on greeting cards, JPay is commonly presented as an alternative to those wanting to communicate their well-wishes to friends or family in prison. JPay will charge the prisoner’s friends and family to send their electronic message. They may also charge the prisoner to read the message.

States like Michigan have instituted strict guidelines regarding mailed prisoner communication. These rules restrict the color of paper the letter may be written on, and even restrict the color of ink that can be used to write it. Due to concerns that a letter may go undelivered, many are turning to services like JPay.

Electronic communications aren’t the only services being offered for-profit in our prisons. Often times, these same companies will offer a variety of other options to prisoners. Securus, JPay’s parent company, provides the phone service for Louisiana’s prisons. In Michigan, they sell tablets to prisoners. According to Wired, about 2/3 of Michigan’s prisoners are currently enrolled in that program.

While some may be disgusted by the idea of profiting off prisoners, others defend the behavior of companies like JPay. They say these businesses are simply providing a service to those who want it. While these large companies are clearly benefiting, they argue that the prisoners also benefit from using their service.

What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.

This article contains the personal opinions of the author. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Mess of Media. This disclaimer appears on all articles that feature the personal opinions of the author, as Mess of Media is an unbiased and nonpartisan source of information.


The Spaghetti Showdown: Ravioli Retriever vs Sicilian Shepherd

The Spaghetti Showdown: Ravioli Retriever vs Sicilian Shepherd

This is a main event you won’t want to miss. Two goliaths showdown in this clash of the ages. In one corner we have a Golden Retriever who is hungry for a challenge. In the other corner we have the battle hardened German Shepherd. While only one can win the spaghetti eating contest, both of these good boys won my heart.

Be sure to watch the second Spaghetti Showdown and the third Spaghetti Showdown in case you missed them!

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VA officials oppose Agent Orange claims

VA officials oppose Agent Orange claims

Veterans Affairs Officials are opposing the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2017 Congressional bill. This legislative bill extends payouts to about 90,000 Vietnam Veterans who claim effects from Agent Orange during the Vietnam War, and is estimated to cost about one billion dollars.

The VA’s Undersecretary of Benefits, Paul Lawrence has stated, “The Science is not there, and what we do depends on the science.” VA officials also believe they cannot get proper “scientific” evidence on whether a veteran has cancer or an illness from being exposed to Agent Orange or simply from old age.

Rick Weidman, Executive Director at the Vietnam Veterans of America, responded stating, “These people were exposed. How much they were exposed doesn’t make a difference. And you can’t put that all together 40 years later.”

Agent Orange was a strong herbicide used by the United States military during the Vietnam War to eliminate the harsh terrain, making it easier to navigate the harsh environment. The United States dropped millions of gallons of the herbicide from 1961-1971. The VA’s own website details the deadly side effects of exposure to Agent Orange.

The Blue Water Bill has passed the House of Representatives and is awaiting a vote at the Senate. If you or someone you know would like to make a claim with the VA, you can contact them at 1-800-827-1000.


New Jeffrey Epstein autopsy info provides more evidence pointing to homicide, Dr. Baden says

New Jeffrey Epstein autopsy info provides more evidence pointing to homicide, Dr. Baden says

The investigation into the death of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein should not have been closed within five days, forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden said Friday, explaining new evidence pointing to a homicide.

Appearing on “Fox & Friends” with host Steve Doocy, Baden said Epstein’s eyes had burst capillaries, which he said could suggest that he was killed through manual strangulation. Baden noted that during a hanging, the loop the body is hanging from usually hits under the windpipe and mandible.

“With homicidal strangulation, because of the increased pressure, there are hemorrhages in the eye,” Baden said. “There were burst capillaries in the eyes called petechiae.”

“That’s not conclusive, but that’s greater evidence of homicide than suicide,” he told Doocy.

Baden said that after a person hangs themselves, the blood “settles down to the lower legs” and there is a “maroon discoloration to the front and back of the legs.” It’s a quality which he said was not present in this case.

“They were a normal color,” he said.

“You don’t need a whole lot of people. All you need is one bad guy,” Baden stated, “That’s why they have to deal with the guards. One guard gives them the key and opens up the cell…and nobody knows it because nobody’s making rounds.”

Baden said he was frustrated that the investigation is no longer focused on the cause of Epstein’s death, but the failed security protocol in the Manhattan Correctional Center.

“It’s been five months now and we don’t even know the position of the body when it was found by the guard,” he continued.

“The EMTs are not supposed to move a dead body,’ said Baden. “He was clearly dead when they got there.”

Epstein was facing federal charges after accusations emerged that he sexually abused dozens of underage girls. He had struck a controversial plea deal in 2008 and served just over a year in prison; federal prosecutors later reopened their investigation ahead of the new charges.

Baden, who was brought in by Epstein’s family to review the medical examiner’s findings, said that Epstein’s death was “a very convenient death for a lot of people” and that a lot of things went wrong that “could have permitted a homicide.”

You can read the rest of Julia Musto’s article at FoxNews.com

Warren and Sanders accuse each other of being liars after debate: Audio

Warren and Sanders accuse each other of being liars after debate: Audio

A day after a tense, muted exchange between presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the hosts of the debate released sound from the confrontation.

Sen. Warren approached Sen. Sanders on stage after the Democratic debate in Iowa Tuesday night and told him she thought he called her “a liar on national TV,” according to audio of the contentious interaction released by CNN on Wednesday night.

Sanders first responded to Warren, who approached him after she shook hands with other candidates on stage after the debate concluded, saying that he didn’t want to have “that discussion” at the moment. Sanders then added, “you called me a liar,” before ending the conversation and walking away.

“I think you called me a liar on national TV,” Warren said when she first approached Sanders. The two did not shake hands.

“What?” Sanders said.

“I think you called me a liar on national TV,” Warren repeated.

“You know, let’s not do it right now. If you want to have that discussion, we’ll have that discussion,” Sanders told Warren.

“Anytime,” Warren said.

“You called me a liar. You told me — all right, let’s not do it now,” he said, turning away. During part of the conversation, businessman Tom Steyer stood in between them both, waiting to greet Sanders. Sanders then turned to greet Steyer as Warren turned to greet former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Asked Wednesday if they had any comment on the audio released by CNN, Warren campaign communications director Kristen Orthman responded, “We do not.”

The Sanders campaign also declined to comment.

The interaction followed a tense few days between Sanders and Warren on the campaign trail, which the candidates were asked to address on stage at the debate Tuesday night. According to Warren, in a meeting between the two prior to the campaign, Sanders told her a woman could not win the presidency — an assertion he fiercely denied both prior to and during the debate.

You can read the rest of Cheyenne Haslett, Averi Harper, Adam Kelsey, and Sasha Pezenik’s article at ABCnews.com

Articles of impeachment delivered to Senate, triggering historic trial of President Trump

Articles of impeachment delivered to Senate, triggering historic trial of President Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday formally set in motion the process of sending the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate, triggering a historic trial set to begin on Thursday.

At an “engrossment” signing ceremony for the House resolution naming the seven impeachment managers — the lawmakers who will present the House case as prosecutors at the trial — Pelosi said the House was doing its “constitutional duty.”

“Today, we will make history,” she said, “when we walk down — when the managers walk the hall, they will cross a threshold in history, delivering articles of impeachment against the president of the United States for abuse of power and obstruction of the House.”

“This president will be held accountable,” she said.

After signing the resolution, she handed out the pens she used to the managers.

Then, marking the somber nature of the occasion, the managers silently walked the articles, in two blue folders, across the Capitol from the House to the Senate, where the House clerk announced their arrival. The Senate will formally accept them on Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that the Senate would convene at noon after which the managers will read the articles aloud, Chief Justice John Roberts will be sworn in and he, in turn, will swear in senators to serve as jurors in the case.

“Let me close with this,” McConnell said. “This is a difficult time for our country. But this is precisely the kind of time for which the framers created the Senate. I am confident this body can rise above short-termism and factional fever and serve the long-term best interests of our nation.

“We can do this. And we must,” he said.

Earlier Wednesday, the House voted 228-193 to formally send the impeachment charges against President Trump to the Senate to begin the third presidential impeachment trial in American history.

The House resolution officially appoints the seven managers, named by Pelosi Wednesday morning.

In the morning, shortly after being named an impeachment manager, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler submitted the text of a resolution that spells out the managers’ duties.

During the short floor debate before the vote, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy took aim at the managers appointed by Pelosi, as they sat in front of him, listening.

“By selecting this particular batch of managers, the speaker has further proven she’s not interested in winning the minds, the hearts, or even following the Constitution,” he said, calling out Nadler, and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, specifically.

He criticized Pelosi’s comments this morning about Trump being impeached “forever,” accusing her of playing politics.

“The speaker said, ‘The President is impeached forever.’ Is this what this is all about?” he said. Pelosi pumped her fist in the air as McCarthy quoted her.

There were about 140 members of the public watching from the galleries.

When it was her turn, Pelosi, standing next to a poster showing the American flag and a quote from the Pledge of Allegiance, ended debate by denouncing Trump’s actions and defending the timing of the impeachment proceedings in the House.

“It is a fact that once somebody is impeached, they are always impeached. It cannot be erased. I know you don’t like hearing that,” Pelosi said to McCarthy.

Trump, she said, “gave us no choice” on impeachment.

“They would have liked us to send this over on Christmas Eve so they could dismiss it. Perhaps they don’t know that dismissal is a cover-up.”

President Trump, participating in a signing ceremony of an agreement between the United States and China at the White House, observed some Republicans in the audience and directed them to go vote against the resolution.

You can read the rest of Benjamin Siegel, Katherine Faulders, John Parksinson, and Stephanie Ebbs’ article at ABCnews.com

CNN blasted for ‘siding’ with Warren after Sanders denied sexism charge

CNN blasted for ‘siding’ with Warren after Sanders denied sexism charge

CNN is being accused of “media malpractice” over its handling of the disputed claim that Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., told Sen. Elizabeth Warren., D-Mass., that a woman couldn’t win the presidency during a December 2018 meeting.

The liberal news network broke the story on Monday. The network cited unnamed sources close to Warren who claimed that the Vermont senator told her that he didn’t believe she could win a presidential election because she’s a woman. Sanders denied the claim, but Warren affirmed the report.

At Tuesday night’s debate in Iowa, Sanders was asked about the dustup by CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip.

“CNN reported yesterday that- and Senator Warren confirmed in a statement– that in 2018 you told her that you did not believe that a woman can win the election. Why did you say that?” Phillip asked.

“Well, as a matter of fact, I didn’t say it,” Sanders sharply replied. “Anybody who knows me knows that it’s incomprehensible that I would think that a woman cannot be president of the United States. Go to YouTube today. There’s some video of me 30 years ago talking about how a woman could become president of the United States.”

Sanders then pointed to his attempt to “draft” Warren to run for president in 2016 and vowed to support the eventual Democratic nominee, including female candidates like Warren and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.

“Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here. You’re saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election,” Phillip followed.

“That is correct,” Sanders answered.

“Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win an election?” Phillip then asked the progressive rival, which sparked audible laughs in the auditorium and a shake of the head from Sanders.

That exchange sparked intense backlash on social media.

“Incredible. The CNN moderator asked Warren as if it were de facto true that Bernie told her a woman couldn’t be president. I cannot believe a moderator did not ask her if it was true. She just said straight up what did you think when Bernie said that to you? I’m blown away.” Daily Caller editor-in-chief Geoffrey Ingersoll reacted.

“Wait CNN just refused to listen to Bernie and just took what Warren said was the truth? progressive commentator Hasan Piker asked, later adding “what CNN is doing tonight should be criminal.”

“The kids gloves the moderators have right now is exasperating. Both candidates are, in effect, calling the other a liar. And they’re being allowed to just skate past it!” Washington Free Beacon reporter Alex Griswold exclaimed.

“Seriously it is outrageous that CNN would take Warren’s accusation as a statement of fact. Media malpractice,” The Hill TV host Saagar Enjeti declared.

Even Donald Trump Jr. went to bat for Sanders and slammed the liberal network.

“How did CNN just pretend that Bernie didn’t totally deny that he said a woman couldn’t win and pretend like it it was a fact just because Warren said so? It’s not like her entire persona isn’t built on lies… Is the fix against Bernie in again???” the president’s son questioned.

Sanders flatly denied the claim that was made in CNN’s report on Monday while Warren initially did not comment on the claim.

“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders told Fox News. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

Following the report, a video clip from 1988 surfaced of Sanders expressing his support for a woman to become president.

You can read the rest of Joseph A. Wulfsohn’s article at FoxNews.com

5 takeaways from the last Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses

5 takeaways from the last Democratic debate before the Iowa caucuses

Six Democrats clashed on the smallest debate stage yet in Iowa, only 20 days before caucusgoers across the Hawkeye state are set to cast the first votes of the primary, bringing a heightened sense of urgency to the matchup Tuesday night.

Amid visible fissures within the Democratic ranks, particularly among the top-tier, the seventh debate of the cycle showcased a field united on some fronts, but still laboring over the direction of the party — reflecting the zeal of the state of a race.

The debate, seen as a final opportunity for the contenders to offer closing arguments on why they should be the nominee, featured an all-white lineup and a hyper-focus on the party’s frontrunners, who engaged in some of the night’s tensest exchanges – ranging from the role of the commander-in-chief to health care to how to effectively take on President Trump.

Here are five key takeaways from the first Democratic primary debate of the election year:

Sanders, Warren defuse the tension

Despite the national platform and a panel of inquisitive moderators, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders both walked away from the debate Tuesday night without revealing any new information — or clarity — on the 2018 meeting they publicly clashed over on Monday.

What they did make clear, however, was a united intent to de-escalate.

“I don’t want to waste a whole lot of time on this, because this is what Donald Trump and maybe some of the media want,” Sanders said.

“Bernie is my friend, and I am not here to try to fight with Bernie,” Warren followed.

But in a thoroughly-planned moment, she then pivoted to the broader issue about gender, sexism, and whether America is ready for a woman to be president.

“Look at the men on this stage. Collectively, they have lost ten elections. The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women. Amy and me,” she said. “And the only person on this stage who has beaten an incumbent Republican anytime in the past 30 years is me.”

The fast-facts drew applause from the audience, agreement from Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, and perhaps put the rising progressive feud to rest — for now.

Democrats lean into commander-in-chief bonafides

In a direct response to President Donald Trump’s clash with Iran that brought the country to the brink of war, the debate began with a strong foreign policy focus that consumed the entire first quarter of the debate.

Though it was teased as Sanders’ main line of attack on former Vice President Joe Biden, the two candidates’ clashing over their records on the Iraq War largely came without fireworks as each candidate was asked what made them most qualified to be commander-in-chief.

“Joe and I listened to what Dick Cheney and George Bush and Rumsfeld had to say. I thought they were lying. I didn’t believe them for a moment. I took to the floor, I did everything I could to prevent that war. Joe saw it differently,” Sanders said, highlighting his dove credentials.

Biden, in response, flatly called his vote a mistake, but reminded voters of his other foreign policy credentials while serving as vice president to former President Barack Obama.

“I was asked to bring 156,000 troops home from that war, which I did. I led that effort. It was a mistake to trust that they weren’t going to go to war,” Biden said referring to the Bush administration.

The conversation then moved on to other candidates commander-in-chief pitches, and while Sanders and Biden would again tangle over their view of trade deals, their clashes ended more with a whimper than a bang.

You can read the rest of Kendall Karson, Molly Nagle, and Cheyenne Haslett’s article at ABCnews.com


Trump sides with Sanders amid dustup with Warren: ‘I don’t believe Bernie said that’

Trump sides with Sanders amid dustup with Warren: ‘I don’t believe Bernie said that’

During his rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, President Trump weighed in on the political dustup between Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and appeared to be taking Sanders’ side over a sexism-charged claim affirmed by his Senate colleague.

Trump, who earlier this week relished the rivalry between the progressive candidates, expressed his support for Sanders who was accused in a report of telling Warren that a woman couldn’t win the presidency during a December 2018 meeting ahead of the 2020 race.

“According to Elizabeth ‘Pocahontas’ Warren, who has somehow less Indian blood in her than I do and I have none… according to her, Bernie said — and I don’t believe that he said this. I don’t know him. I don’t particularly like him. He’s a nasty guy, but I don’t believe he said this,” Trump said.

“She said, right, that Bernie stated strongly that a woman can’t win for president. A woman can win for president. Fortunately…” the president smirked, alluding to his 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton. “But she said that Bernie said a woman can’t win. I don’t believe Bernie said that. I really don’t. It’s not kind of a thing he’d say.”

Sanders’ alleged remarks were first reported on Monday, according to sources close to Warren and those familiar with their meeting. Sanders offered a strong denial.

“It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win,” Sanders told Fox News. “It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

Following the report, a video clip from 1988 surfaced of Sanders expressing his support for a woman to become president.

“The real issue is not whether you’re black or white, whether you’re a woman or a man — in my view, a woman could be elected president of the United States,” Sanders said at the time while backing Jesse Jackson’s candidacy. “The real issue is whose side are you on? Are you on the side of workers and poor people or are you on the side of big money and the corporations?”

You can read the rest of Joseph A. Wulfsohn’s article at FoxNews.com

Sen. Cory Booker suspends presidential campaign

Sen. Cory Booker suspends presidential campaign

Sen. Cory Booker suspended his presidential campaign Monday, the final act of a bid for the Democratic nomination defined by a persistent struggle to catch fire with voters and donors despite his relatively high profile and long-standing presidential ambitions.

The news of the senator’s decision came weeks before the Iowa caucuses, where, despite a large field organization Booker, D-N.J., was expected to finish outside of the top tier of candidates, based on recent polling. His announcement also comes on the eve of the seventh Democratic debate which he did not qualify to participate in due to a lack of qualifying polls towards Democratic National Committee polling thresholds, according to ABC News’ analysis.

“It’s with a full heart that I share this news — I’ve made the decision to suspend my campaign for president,” Booker wrote supporters in an email, echoing the sentiment in a video. “It was a difficult decision to make, but I got in this race to win, and I’ve always said I wouldn’t continue if there was no longer a path to victory.”

He went on, “Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win — money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington. So I’ve chosen to suspend my campaign now, take care of my wonderful staff, and give you time to consider the other strong choices in the field.

Booker, 50, who has served in the U.S. Senate since 2013 following two terms as mayor of Newark, New Jersey’s most-populated city, centered his presidential campaign around an optimistic message of unity and love, aiming to counter the division and “hate” he maimed had come to characterize politics under the presidency of Donald Trump.

“I think a lot of folks are beginning to feel that the forces that are tearing us apart in this country are stronger than the forces that tie us together. I don’t believe that,” Booker said on “The View” in February 2019, during his first television interview after announcing his presidential run. “So, I’m running to restore our sense of common purpose, to focus on the common pain that we have all over this country.”

While the senator’s extensive resume — including degrees from Stanford and Yale and a Rhodes scholarship — media savvy and bipartisan achievements, including on criminal justice reform, led observers to believe he would be a formidable presidential candidate, Booker quickly found himself mired in the low single-digits in national polls of the crowded field shortly after launching his campaign.

You can read the rest of Adam Kelsey and Averi Harper’s article at ABCnews.com

Warren says Sanders disagreed about woman being able to win presidency in private meeting

Warren says Sanders disagreed about woman being able to win presidency in private meeting

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren confirmed earlier reports Monday evening that Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders disagreed with her that a woman could win in 2020 against President Donald Trump.

“Bernie and I met for more than two hours in December 2018 to discuss the 2020 election, our past work together and our shared goals,” Warren said in a statement to ABC News. “Among the topics that came up was what would happen if Democrats nominated a female candidate. I thought a woman could win; he disagreed.”

The two senators, who have been friends for nearly 20 years and have, until now, maintained a pact of non-aggression during the 2020 race, met up in late 2018 to talk before they announced their separate presidential bids.

In the statement, Warren went on to emphasize that she wanted to move on from the issue, which, on the eve of the first debate of 2020, risks underscoring a brewing friction between the two progressive Democratic contenders.

“I have no interest in discussing this private meeting any further because Bernie and I have far more in common than our differences on punditry,” Warren continued in the statement. “I’m in this race to talk about what’s broken in this country and how to fix it — and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. I know Bernie is in the race for the same reason. We have been friends and allies in this fight for a long time, and I have no doubt we will continue to work together to defeat Donald Trump and put our government on the side of the people.”

Warren’s confirmation of the conversation late Monday night came on the heels of reporting about the conversation from CNN, which described the accounts of four people familiar with the conversation.

Sanders vehemently denied CNN’s report, saying in a statement to ABC News, “It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win.

“It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened,” he added. “What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.”

The friction between the two candidates began days earlier, however, after a separate report from Politico found that the Sanders’ team allegedly circulated a script for volunteers that included talking points criticizing Warren as the candidate of the elite.

In response, Warren told reporters she felt “disappointed” and said that “Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me.”

She also warned Sanders of “factionalism” and the effect it had on splitting Democrats in 2016, when Sanders faced Hillary Clinton, who eventually became the Democratic nominee after a lengthy primary.

“Bernie knows me and has known me for a long time, he knows who I am, where I come from, what I have worked on and fought for, and the coalition and grassroots movement we’re trying to build,” she continued. “Democrats want to win in 2020, we all saw the impact of the factionalism in 2016 and we can’t have a repeat of that.”

You can read the rest of Sasha Pezenik and Cheyenne Haslett’s article at ABCnews.com

Under pressure, Iran admits it shot down jetliner by mistake

Under pressure, Iran admits it shot down jetliner by mistake

In the face of mounting evidence, Iran on Saturday acknowledged that it shot down the Ukrainian jetliner by accident, killing all 176 people aboard. The admission by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard undermined the credibility of information provided by senior officials, who for three days had adamantly dismissed allegations of a missile strike as Western propaganda.

It also raised a host of new questions, such as why Iran did not shut down its international airport or airspace on Wednesday when it was bracing for the U.S. to retaliate for a ballistic missile attack on two military bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq. No one was hurt in that attack, carried out in retaliation for the killing of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in an American airstrike in Baghdad.

Iran’s acknowledgment alters the narrative around its confrontation with the U.S. in a way that could anger the Iranian public. Iran had promised harsh revenge after Soleimani’s death, but instead of killing American soldiers, its forces downed a civilian plane in which most passengers were Iranian.

On Saturday night, hundreds gathered at universities in Tehran to protest the government’s late acknowledgement of the plane being shot down. They demanded officials involved in the missile attack be removed from their positions and tried. Police broke up the demonstrations.

President Donald Trump tweeted messages of support to Iranians who back protests of the government, saying he and his administration are behind them. In the tweets, Trump called on the Iranian government to allow human rights groups to monitor the protests and expressed support for the “brave, long-suffering people” of Iran.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the Guard’s aerospace division, said his unit accepts full responsibility for the shootdown. In an address broadcast by state TV, he said when he learned about the downing of the plane, “I wished I was dead.”

He said he raised the possibility to his superiors that his forces shot down the plane as early as Wednesday morning because “the simultaneous occurrence of the launch and crash was suspicious.”

Hajizadeh said Guard forces ringing the capital had beefed up their air defenses and were at the “highest level of readiness,” fearing that the U.S. would retaliate. He said he suggested Tehran should close its airspace but no action was taken.

He said the airline’s pilot and crew had done nothing wrong, but an officer made the “bad decision” to open fire on the plane after mistaking it for a cruise missile.

“We were prepared for an all-out conflict,” he said.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, expressed his “deep sympathy” to the families of the victims and called on the armed forces to “pursue probable shortcomings and guilt in the painful incident.”

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy thanked the U.S, Britain, Canada and others for information about the crash and their support. He said that “undoubtedly helped” push Iran to acknowledge its responsibility for the crash. Zelenskiy said the crash investigation should continue and the “perpetrators” should be brought to justice.

The Ukrainian airline criticized Iran’s decision to leave its airspace open despite the hostilities.

“It’s absolutely irresponsible,” Ukraine International Airlines vice president Ihor Sosnovskiy told reporters. “There must be protection around ordinary people. If they are shooting somewhere from somewhere, they are obliged to close the airport.”

The plane, en route to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv, was carrying 167 passengers and nine crew members from several countries, including 82 Iranians, 57 Canadians — including many Iranians with dual citizenship — and 11 Ukrainians, according to officials.

Iranians had rallied around their leaders after the killing of Soleimani, who was seen as a national icon for building up armed groups across the region that project Iranian influence and battle the Islamic State group and other perceived enemies.

Hundreds of thousands had attended funeral processions across the country in a show of support for the Islamic Republic just weeks after authorities had quashed protests ignited by a hike in gasoline prices. Iran has been in the grip of a severe economic crisis since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal and imposed crippling sanctions.

The shootdown of the plane and the lack of transparency around it, along with the restrained response to the killing of Soleimani, could reignite anger at the country’s leadership.

President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged Iran’s responsibility but blamed the downing of the plane in part on “threats and bullying” by the United States after the killing of Soleimani. He expressed condolences, calling for a full investigation and the prosecution of those responsible.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also deflected some of the blame, tweeting that “human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster.”

The jetliner, a Boeing 737, went down on the outskirts of Tehran early Wednesday shortly after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport.

The U.S. and Canada, citing intelligence, said they believed Iran shot down the aircraft with a surface-to-air missile, a conclusion supported by videos verified by The Associated Press.

“This is the right step for the Iranian government to admit responsibility, and it gives people a step toward closure with this admission,” said Payman Parseyan, a prominent Iranian-Canadian in western Canada who lost a number of friends in the crash.

You can read the rest of Nasser Karimi and Joseph Krauss’ article at ABCnews.com