Sarah Sanders to stand down as Trump's press secretary – as it happened

Last modified: 12: 26 AM GMT+0

Trump confirms Sanders leaving to ‘go home to the Great State of Arkansas’ – follow the latest live

Kari Paul here, signing off for the day. The top events of this afternoon:

  • Biden can’t decide if he supports the Hyde Amendment and said in 2006 he does not think abortion is a right, a newly surfaced video shows.
  • A lot of Democratic candidates will be joining the first primary debate, the DNC announced today.
  • The Federal Election Commission chair Ellen Weintraub would like to remind our President and other 2020 candidates that they cannot accept help from foreign governments to beat their opponents.

That’s all! See you next time.

Federal Election Commission chair Ellen Weintraub clarified on Thursday candidates for American office are not allowed to solicit or accept help from foreign governments in connection to US campaigns after president Donald Trump stated he would welcome it.

“I would not have thought that I needed to say this,” she said in a tweet accompanying the statement.

On Wednesday, Trump told ABC News he would be open to accepting damaging information on his opponents in the 2020 election if it was offered by another country and would feel no obligation to tell the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

This comes after a report from special counsel Robert Mueller found Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election with the aim of helping Trump win.

Weintraub said any political campaign that receives an offer from a foreign government should report that offer to the FBI.

Elizabeth Warren, who is running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, renewed her calls to impeach Trump in light of these statements.

“A foreign government attacked our 2016 elections to support Trump, Trump welcomed that help, and Trump obstructed the investigation,” she said. “Now, he said he’d do it all over again. It’s time to impeach Donald Trump.”

A teen mom and her premature baby were neglected in a border patrol facility for a week, lawyers who visited an immigration processing station in McAllen, Texas said on Wednesday.

The baby was “listless” and the mother was in a wheelchair after complications from an emergency C-section, the immigration and human rights lawyers said.

“I looked at that baby and said ‘Who does this to babies?’” lawyer Hope Frye said, according to the Huffington Post. “They were being sadistically ignored.”

The incident underscored ongoing human rights concerns with immigration processing centers on the border, where minors are often separated from family members and kept in cages. Five children have died in Border Patrol custody since December.

The legal team is working to get the mother and her child released from the facility.

A federal court declared Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) raid tactics unconstitutional on Thursday.

A Los Angeles court ruled that an raid at a Van Nuys factory violated Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Enforcement officials had warrants for fewer than 10 people working there but detained more than 130 people, forcing them to undergo interrogations without attorneys. Dozens of those illegally interrogated were held without food or water for more than 18 hours, according to the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, which brought represented one of the workers interrogated in the case.

“Today’s ruling sends a powerful message: everyone has the right to be free from unlawful searches and seizures,” Ahilan Arulanantham, senior counsel at the ACLU SoCal said.

The Democratic National Convention announced on Thursday nearly 20 Democratic candidates have been invited to participate in the June 26 and 27 initial primary debates.

Here are the candidates who have been invited. Those marked by asterisks qualified through both polling and grassroots fundraising thresholds and others qualified through polling only.

Sen. Michael Bennet

Vice President Joe Biden*

Sen. Cory Booker*

Mayor Pete Buttigieg*

Sec. Julian Castro*

Mayor Bill de Blasio

Rep. John Delaney

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard*

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand*

Sen. Kamala Harris*

Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gov. Jay Inslee*

Sen. Amy Klobuchar*

Rep. Beto O’Rourke*

Rep. Tim Ryan

Sen. Bernie Sanders*

Rep. Eric Swalwell

Sen. Elizabeth Warren*

Ms. Marianne Williamson*

Mr. Andrew Yang*

The debates will take place at 9 pm ET on June 26 and 27 in Miami, Florida and will be broadcast on NBC, MSNBC, and Telemundo.

Betsy Sweet, a former Democratic gubernatorial candidate in Maine, said Thursday she will challenge Republican Susan Collins for her seat in the Senate, according to the Hill.

Sweet, who has been endorsed by progressive political group Democracy for America, will join other Democrats likely to challenge Collins including State House Speaker Sarah Gideon.

Collins is on her fourth term as a Senator in the state and is seen as a moderate, but came under fire for voting to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh despite concerns about past sexual misconduct.

“Our division isn’t between our neighbors on the left and right,” Sweet said in her announcement. “The division is between us and them – between working people and the rich and powerful elite who are lining the pockets of politicians and putting the needs of Maine families at the bottom of the list.”

Updated

A 2006 video of Joe Biden unearthed by CNN on Thursday shows the Democratic presidential candidate saying he does not view abortion as “a choice and a right.”

“I do not view abortion as a choice and a right. I think it’s always a tragedy,” Biden said in a videotaped interview with Texas Monthly. “I think it should be rare and safe,” he added. “I think we should be focusing on how to limit the number of abortions.”

The clip is the latest bit of evidence of Biden’s inconsistent record on the issue of abortion. Last week, he flip flopped on his position on the Hyde amendment, a measure that prohibits the use of federal funding for abortions. One day after saying he supported the Hyde amendment, following backlash from Democrats, he said he can no longer support the ban.

“If I believe healthcare is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s zip code,” he told an audience at the Democratic National Committee’s African American Leadership Council Summit in Atlanta on Thursday, June 6.

Kim Kardashian spoke at the White House on Thursday afternoon about criminal justice reform and announced a ride-share partnership so formerly incarcerated people can get rides to and from job interviews.

“I want to thank the president for standing behind this issue,” she said. “Seeing the compassion he has for this issue has just been really remarkable.”

Kim Kardashian West announces a ride-share partnership for formerly incarcerated people to get rides to-and-from job interviews https://t.co/0N5qjhbdMB pic.twitter.com/gd5v2bfeVX

— CBS News (@CBSNews) June 13, 2019

In June 2018, President Trump commuted the life sentence of 63-year-old Alice Marie Johnson who was convicted of cocaine trafficking in 1996.

“My whole journey with criminal justice reform started about a year ago when I came to see the President after speaking to Ivanka and Jared, who really fought for me to get here,” she said.

Kim Kardashian at the White House as Donald Trump looks on.
Kim Kardashian at the White
House as Donald Trump looks on.
Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner applaud as Kim Kardashian is introduced.
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner applaud as Kim Kardashian is introduced.
Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

Updated

Hello readers, Kari Paul in San Francisco taking over the blog this afternoon. More news soon.

Afternoon summary

  • White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders will leave the administration at the end of June. Trump tweeted he hoped she would run for governor of Arkansas, and also wrongly tweeted her tenure. She served for less than two years as press secretary, and two and a half in the administration.
  • The US Office of Special Counsel (*a watchdog agency not to be confused with special counsel Robert Mueller) said the Trump administration should remove Kellyanne Conway from office because of her repeated violations of the Hatch Act. The act works to keep certain functions of the government nonpartisan. The office called her a “repeat offender”.
  • Trump said he would accept opposition research from foreign governments. Democrats in the Senate tried to expedite a bill to require campaigns to disclose foreign contacts to law enforcement – namely the FBI – which was thwarted by Republicans.
  • Democratic 2020 candidates are hitting out against former Vice President Joe Biden, who can’t seem to stop making jokes about young women.
  • Maine expanded access to abortion rights, in the face of new restrictions from states like Alabama, Ohio and Missouri.
  • Michigan starts Flint investigations anew. The state attorney general said they would dismiss charges in the investigation of Flint’s lead-tainted water, and would re-investigate the contamination crisis which roiled the city for years.
Trump stands with Sanders in the East Room of the White House on Thursday.
Trump stands with Sanders in the East Room of the White House on Thursday. Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Updated

Here are some highlights from our past reporting on Sarah Sanders.

Sarah Sanders tweeted a doctored video of CNN reporter

Sanders eagerly placed herself at the centre of a media storm last week when she defended the White House’s decision to revoke CNN’s Jim Acosta’s press pass by claiming that in a press briefing Acosta placed “his hands on a young woman”. Of course, as everyone who watched the briefing on TV could see, what actually happened was that the female intern, encouraged by Trump, tried to grab the microphone away from Acosta when he started to ask a second question. To back up her blatant lie, Sanders retweeted a clearly doctored video, originally tweeted by conspiracist blog InfoWars, in which two seconds of tape were sped up to make it look like Acosta somehow karate chopped the female intern. “This conduct is absolutely unacceptable,” tweeted Sanders, apparently unaware that she works for a man who bragged about grabbing women by the vulva during his campaign.

Sarah Sanders admitted to lying to reporters about FBI director firing

After Trump fired James Comey, the White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders repeatedly claimed in live press briefings that the rank and file of the FBI had lost confidence in the FBI director, and that “we’ve heard from countless members of the FBI” who did not support him.

Those statements had no basis in fact, Sanders later admitted in interviews with special counsel Robert Mueller’s office.

Sarah Sanders reiterates Comey claims despite admitting to lying

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, has defended claims she repeatedly made to reporters in 2017 regarding Donald Trump’s firing of then FBI director James Comey – despite admitting to investigators for the special counsel Robert Mueller that they had no basis in fact.

Sanders admitted in statements to the special counsel that her repeated claims that the president fired Comey because the rank-and-file of the FBI had lost confidence in him as FBI director were “a slip of the tongue” and “not founded on anything”.

Rumors have swirled for months that Sanders would leave the White House. Trump did not name a replacement.

Sarah Sanders has been widely criticized for her performance as White House press secretary.
Sarah Sanders has been widely criticized for her performance as White House press secretary. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Trump’s tweet wrongly asserts Sanders’ time in the White House. She has been in the administration for two and a half – not three and a half – years. Sanders has not held a White House press briefing in 94 days, according to Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein.

also she's only been at the White House for 2.5 years ... (though I guess you get to 3.5 if you add her time on the Trump campaign) https://t.co/N1BojlhOsU

— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) June 13, 2019

White House press secretary will leave at end of June

....She is a very special person with extraordinary talents, who has done an incredible job! I hope she decides to run for Governor of Arkansas - she would be fantastic. Sarah, thank you for a job well done!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2019

The Michigan attorney general has dropped all charges in the Flint water case, opting to start a new investigation. The office said it would not respond to any media inquiries until after a “community conversation” in Flint – two weeks from now.

🚨 Michigan Attorney General’s office has dismissed ALL pending criminal cases from the #FlintWaterCrisis charges brought by @SchuetteOnDuty and his former special prosecutor. pic.twitter.com/jpYKRI21vq

— Chad Livengood (@ChadLivengood) June 13, 2019

Kim Kardashian will be at the White House criminal justice event with @realDonaldTrump at 4 p.m., per the advocacy group #cut50

— Seung Min Kim (@seungminkim) June 13, 2019

US Senator Chuck Schumer is now speaking on the FIRE bill, which would require political candidates to report contacts from foreign governments to law enforcement, and the FBI in particular.

Republicans have already blocked Democrats’ request for expediting the bill.

How minimal,” Schumer said about the request. “How minimal.”

“The things he does severely damage our democracy,” said Schumer.“It’s ok for foreign powers to interfere?” ... “Today is a new low for this Senate, for this Republican party here in the Senate, and for this democracy.”

He pledged to request the bill be expedited again, called “unanimous consent”. Without passing the bill, he said, would “encourage Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, to interfere in our elections with no recourse – shame, shame.”

Schumer called for Republicans to allow a bill requiring campaigns to report contacts from foreign governments move forward.
Schumer called for Republicans to allow a bill requiring campaigns to report contacts from foreign governments move forward. Photograph: Susan Walsh/AP

Democratic Senator Mark Warner is expected to ask for expedited hearings on a bill to require reporting of foreign contacts with campaigns. The request follows President Trump’s comments to ABC that he would accept offers of opposition research from foreign governments. You can watch live with us here.

Warner first introduced the bill in the Senate a month ago, called the Foreign Influence Reporting in Elections or FIRE Act. This is what Warner said about the bill a month ago:

Most Americans already know that if a foreign adversary reaches out about interfering in our elections, you should report that contact. But after Special Counsel Robert Mueller identified at least 140 contacts between Trump associates and Russian nationals or WikiLeaks, it’s clear that some Americans haven’t taken that responsibility seriously – in fact, the Trump campaign welcomed the help, and sought to hide that from the American people. This bill would protect the integrity of our democracy by requiring future campaigns to report attempts by foreign nationals to coordinate or collaborate during a political campaign, and by putting campaigns on notice about their obligations,” said Warner.

The House Oversight Committee has invited White House aide Kellyanne Conway to a hearing next week on her repeated violations of the Hatch Act.

JUST IN: The House Oversight Committee has announced a hearing next week with the Office of Special Counsel to review the Hatch Act allegations against Kellyanne Conway. Conway is also invited to attend.

— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) June 13, 2019

The Office of Special Counsel (a government watchdog agency, not Robert Mueller’s inquiry!) said today Conway has been a “repeat offender” violating the Hatch Act, which is meant to keep certain government functions nonpartisan.

The agency, headed by a Trump nominee, said it has “never” before had to issue multiple warnings about Hatch Act violations to an administration.

Secretary of State blames Iran for oil tanker explosion, while Iran denies responsibility

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed Iran is responsible for the an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. More from our story:

Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted. No economic sanctions entitle the Islamic Republic to attack innocent civilians disrupt global oil markets and engage in nuclear blackmail.”

Pompeo did not present evidence for his claim.

Tehran denied all responsibility and its foreign minister suggested that others could be trying to provoke a conflict between Iran and the US. The incident took place on a day Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, bluntly rejected the proposal of a resumption of US-Iranian talks, suggested by Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, on a visit to Tehran.

The US Department of Education is taking steps to investigate foreign donations to US colleges. More from the Associated Press:

Letters sent to the schools Thursday and obtained by The Associated Press accuse the schools of failing to report gifts and contracts tied to their branch campuses in Qatar. Investigators also are demanding years of records related to funding from sources in China, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Officials at Georgetown and Texas A&M haven’t immediately responded to requests for comment.

Federal law requires colleges to report gifts or contracts with any foreign source amounting to $250,000 or more in a year, but some lawmakers say the Education Department has done too little to enforce the rule.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is being criticized for frequently using a lock-up-your-daughters style joke at multiple public events, including most recently in Iowa.

Joe Biden meets a voter’s granddaughter in an Iowa coffee shop and asks her age. She says she’s 13. He addresses her brothers. “You’ve got one job here, keep the guys away from your sister.”

— Liz Goodwin (@lizcgoodwin) June 12, 2019

Biden has used the joke as a standard line since at least 2011, according to Slate, including twice to former Republican US Senator Orrin Hatch’s granddaughter at swearing-ins.

Warren has called herself a “capitalist”, in contrast to Democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. Sanders will be one of her toughest opponents to beat.

However, a surprising new poll from Axios found socialism may not be as toxic as some might expect.

Forty percent of Americans would rather live in a socialist country than a capitalist one, with a majority of younger women having this preference, according to a new poll. ...

Although 55% of women in the 18-54 age group said they would prefer living in a socialist country, “a majority of men prefer to live in a capitalist country”, Axios noted.

“It’s been a truth of American politics for decades that women are to the left of men, and I think that’s playing out in this poll,” said Felix Salmon of Axios.

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is gaining momentum “plan by plan”, our Washington DC reporter Lauren Gambino writes.

Her intense campaigning on a vast swathe of specific issues has achieved viral moments on the internet – even including one woman whom Warren advised on her love life – as well as playing well during recent television events.

At a televised town hall in Indiana this week, Warren listened intently as a woman who voted for Trump in 2016 described her disillusionment – not only with a president who failed to bring back manufacturing jobs as he said he promised but with an entire political system stymied by dysfunction.

“I feel duped,” said the voter, Renee Elliott, who was laid off from her job at the Indianapolis Carrier plant. “I don’t have a lot of faith in political candidates much anymore. They make promises. They make them and break them.”

Warren rose to her feet. “The thing is, you can’t just wave your arms,” the she said, gesturing energetically. “You’ve really got to have a plan – and I do have a plan.”

That mantra – a nod to the steady churn of policy blueprints Warren’s campaign has released – has become a rallying cry for Warren as she edges her way to the top of the crowded Democratic presidential primary field.

TIME's new cover: The leaders of these sinking countries are fighting to stop climate change. Here's what the rest of the world can learn https://t.co/lLHeaREycm pic.twitter.com/NBEzO3WLSV

— TIME (@TIME) June 13, 2019

Worth looking at the excellent pictures from this Time magazine story:

The journey to the Fijian village of Vunidogoloa is arduous. It requires a flight across the Pacific to the nation’s remote international transit hub, a 140-mile connection on a rickety 19-seat plane to a smaller island, an hourlong drive past other rural villages and finally a short walk guided by a man with a machete to reach a ghost town forced into retreat by climate change and the rising seas that come with it.

As the climate crisis emerges as a top issue for Democratic 2020 presidential nominees...

Quite the Time cover - the UN secretary general illustrating how people on Pacific islands are experiencing climate change right now pic.twitter.com/l80oFy9efK

— Oliver Milman (@olliemilman) June 13, 2019

You can read the entirety of the Office of Special Counsel’s letter about White House aide Kellyanne Conway here. Here’s a bit more about the investigation:

OSC’s career Hatch staff have long conducted thorough and impartial investigations of alleged Hatch Act violations, including by senior officials in administrations of both parties. Never has the OSC had to issue multiple reports to the president concerning Hatch Act violations by the same individual. Ms. Conway’s actions and statements stand in stark contrast to the culture of compliance promised by your White House counsel and undermine your efforts to create and enforce such as culture. Therefore OSC respectfully requests that Ms. Conway be held to the same standards as all other federal employees, and, as such you find removal from federal service to be the appropriate disciplinary action.

Interesting. The Office of Special Counsel boss who wrote the letter urging Trump to fire Kellyanne Conway is an ex-GOP staffer and Trump nominee... https://t.co/bFQzMqIysu

— Allegra Kirkland (@allegrakirkland) June 13, 2019

Kellyanne Conway has apparently refused to comment on the report, according to Eamon Javers of CNBC.

I was just standing in an office in the WH press office when Kellyanne Conway came in. I asked for her reaction to this. She pointed to the door and said “can you leave, please?” Later, I asked her again, and she said: “I have no reaction. Why would I give you a reaction?“ https://t.co/DZWKJsQLQb

— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) June 13, 2019

The White House has called the report from Office of Special Counsel “deeply flawed” and “unevenly applied”. It also blamed “liberal organizations”.

Here is more via Washington Post:

Others, of all political views, have objected to the OSC’s unclear and unevenly applied rules which have a chilling effect on free speech for all federal employees,” deputy White House press secretary Steven Groves said in a statement. “Its decisions seem to be influenced by media pressure and liberal organizations, and perhaps OSC should be mindful of its own mandate to act in a fair, impartial, nonpolitical manner, and not misinterpret or weaponize the Hatch Act.”

Updated

Kellyanne Conway has been reprimanded for violating the Hatch Act before.

In early 2018, the Office of Special Counsel released a report finding Conway violated the Hatch Act when she advocated on behalf of disgraced former US Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama.

White House advisor Kellyanne Conway has been cited by the Office of Special Counsel for violating the Hatch Amendment before.
White House advisor Kellyanne Conway has been cited by the Office of Special Counsel for violating the Hatch Amendment before. Photograph: Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Government agency: Kellyanne Conway should be removed from office

The US Office of Special Counsel has recommended White House aide Kellyanne Conway be removed from office because of repeated Hatch Act violations.

The Hatch Act requires certain government activities be nonpartisan. The 1939 law is enforced by the US Office of Special Counsel.

The agency is separate and apart from the investigative work of Special Counsel Robert Mueller who investigated Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Wow. The Office of Special Counsel finds that @KellyannePolls repeatedly violated the Hatch Act and **is recommending her removal from federal service.** pic.twitter.com/LMC258AF7g

— Alex Mallin (@alex_mallin) June 13, 2019

Maine expands abortion access amid attacks on reproductive rights

Democratic Governor Janet Mills just signed a bill requiring public and private health insurance companies to cover abortion as part of pre-natal services for women. The news follows passage of a law allowing nurse practitioners to perform abortions. Abortions are one of the safest medical procedures in the US.

In the last few years, banning insurance companies from paying for abortion has emerged as a tactic to restrict access to the procedure. Abortion costs about $600 out-of-pocket, not including other costs such as travel.

Here is more from the ACLU, which was challenging bans against insurance payments in court in Maine:

With the passage of these laws, Maine has taken huge strides to protect the safety and autonomy of all people,” said Oamshri Amarasingham, advocacy director for the ACLU of Maine. “These laws affirm that abortion is health care, and that everyone should have access to the health care they need – regardless of where they live or how much money they make.”

The ACLU has been litigating both of these issues in Maine, and applauded the actions of the legislature and the governor.

“There is no justification for discriminating against people based on their personal medical decisions,” said Zachary Heiden, legal director at the ACLU of Maine. “We are pleased that the legislative branch and executive branch agree, and we are hopeful that the judicial branch will agree as well.”

Maine Gov. Janet Mills just signed a law expanding abortion access in Maine. Just as Republicans have attacked abortion access, Democratic states have sought to expand access.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills just signed a law expanding abortion access in Maine. Just as Republicans have attacked abortion access, Democratic states have sought to expand access. Photograph: Robert F Bukaty/AP

More fallout from Trump’s ABC interview, in which he said he would accept information on opponents from foreign governments – Democratic House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Democrats would submit a bill to mandate campaign reports on foreign information.

Pelosi says Democrats will put forward legislation mandating campaigns report offers of foreign dirt. https://t.co/02jsdFu8qv

— Lauren Gambino (@laurenegambino) June 13, 2019

On those tariffs – US Senators today urged the Trump administration not to use Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications giant, as a bargaining chip in any negotiations in the trade war citing national security concerns.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Mark Warner urged the Trump administration, “In no way should Huawei be used as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations,” in a letter reported by Reuters.

In manufacturing news, the US Trade Representative’s office has denied a request from Tesla for relief from 25% tariffs with China, imposed by the Trump administration.

Here is more from Reuters:

The Trump administration has denied requests to exempt Tesla Inc’s Model 3 from 25% tariffs on its Chinese-made car computer and center screen, according to letters seen by Reuters.

The US Trade Representative’s Office denied both requests in May 29 letters, saying they both concern “a product strategically important or related to ‘Made in China 2025* or other Chinese industrial programs.”

The California-based electric vehicle manufacturer had warned that increased tariffs on the car computer it dubbed the “brains” of the Model 3 causes *economic harm to Tesla, through the increase of costs and impact to profitability.* Tesla had also urged the office to approve a request by its supplier SAS Automotive USA Inc, builder of the center display screen for the Model 3.

Tesla workers examine a Model S used for training and tool calibration at the company’s factory in Fremont, California.
Tesla workers examine a Model S used for training and tool calibration at the company’s factory in Fremont, California. Photograph: Noah Berger/Reuters

South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham has criticized President Trump for saying he would accept dirt on opponents from foreign governments.

First, I believe that it should be practice for all public officials who are contacted by a foreign government with an offer of assistance to their campaign – either directly or indirectly – to inform the FBI and reject the offer.

— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 13, 2019

However, he also went on to criticize Democrats for hiring the British former intelligence agent Christopher Steele to perform opposition research.

Although Biden is still the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination, his opponents on hot on his heels.

If Biden stumbles and Bernie keeps slowly losing support, this shows how it could become a Warren-Harris competition, which honestly is what a chunk of the cw was before announcement season (from LAT/UC Berkeley poll) pic.twitter.com/iq8XVp2fMN

— Nick Riccardi (@NickRiccardi) June 13, 2019

Helpfully, we have a graphic out today on where all the 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls stand on the most important issues.

Biden also drew criticism for his support of the Hyde amendment, a provision of federal law which bars the government from paying for abortion services. The provision primarily impacts Medicaid, a public health insurance program for the poor and disabled which covers about 17 million women of reproductive age.

Biden walked back his support of the Hyde amendment after intense criticism. Without referring to Biden’s position, California Senator and 2020 Democratic candidate Kamala Harris spoke about how opposition to the amendment to NPR Politics.

Listen, I’ll speak for myself,” Harris said. “The bottom line on the Hyde Amendment is that it is directly, in effect, targeting poor women and women who don’t have money.”

Democrats are expected to vote for a spending bill including the provision in the coming days. Removing the provision could spark a fight between the Democrat-led House and Republican-led Senate.

Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks to supporters during a campaign stop at Convivium Urban Farmstead in Dubuque, Iowa.
Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris speaks to supporters during a campaign stop at Convivium Urban Farmstead in Dubuque, Iowa. Photograph: Eileen Meslar/AP

Updated

Beto O'Rourke criticizes Biden: 'We had problems before Trump'

In some of the most pointed criticism to date, Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke criticized Joe Biden, the former vice-president and frontrunner in the campaign.

“You cannot go back to the end of the Obama administration and think that that’s good enough,” O’Rourke told NBC’s Morning Joe.

“As much of a horror show as Trump has been, his racism, the disaster of his foreign policy, his punishment of farmers and workers here in tis country – we had problems before Trump became president.”

“We cannot return to the past, we cannot simply be about beating Donald Trump.”

Other candidates have also criticized Biden as a figure of the past, including South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, who said nominating Biden would be like turning the clock “back to the 1990s”, according to NBC.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is the front runner of a crowded Democratic presidential field.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is the front runner of a crowded Democratic presidential field. Photograph: Rick Bowmer/AP

Updated

It’s been two months since Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the military took full effect, and the results have been devastating, a Guardian investigation shows.

The ban touches 15,000 personnel who could must remain completely closeted, or face disqualification if they are outed. For Emily Finnerty, a trans woman and F-18 Super Hornet fighter pilot, the damage is tangible.

Here’s more from our report today:

My children didn’t know me, I was away so much. My back’s destroyed from the G-force. I’ve had near-death experiences from aircraft failure and I’ve seen friends die. But I’ve never betrayed the trust of my country and I’ve always answered the call.”

...

She is puzzled by the vast contrast between the faith that the military has put in her over so many years, and the utter lack of faith it is showing her now. “They have invested millions in me, and I have performed my duties to an exceptional level,” she said. “Yet because I see myself as a woman, I’m somehow less worthy to serve.”

The ironies of Finnerty’s position are not lost on her. Her mission within the military, she believes, is to serve the US constitution and uphold the freedom and human rights of her fellow Americans and people around the world. Yet to do so, she must forego her own freedom and human rights.

“My fellow service members and I have tried to build a better, safer world for people, but it’s a world I can’t live in,” she said.

If you watch the House Intelligence Committee hearing along with us, check out the livestream here.

The House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Trump’s former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates and former White House National Security Advisor Michael Flynn to testify.

Here is Congressman Adam Schiff’s statement, via The Hill:

“As part of our oversight work, the House Intelligence Committee is continuing to examine the deep counterintelligence concerns raised in Special Counsel Mueller’s report, and that requires speaking directly with the fact witnesses,” said Representative Adam Schiff, Democrat of California.

“Both Michael Flynn and Rick Gates were critical witnesses for Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation, but so far have refused to cooperate fully with Congress.”

Donald Trump appears to have inadvertently misspelled the Prince of Wales in a rebuttal to his statement to ABC that he would accept information on opponents from foreign governments.

.@realDonaldTrump ‘s knowledge of porpoises (U.K.) is second to none https://t.co/hd6RbAiX8V

— Ed Pilkington (@Edpilkington) June 13, 2019

Good morning! And welcome to live coverage of US politics.

•The House intelligence committee is holding a hearing on ‘National Security Challenges of Artificial Intelligence, Manipulated Media and Deepfakes’ at 9am. It comes after a tampered video of Nancy Pelosi – a deepfake – was widely shared in May. Facebook refused to delete the video, which was manipulated to question Pelosi’s competence. They may also address anticipated Russian interference in the 2020 election.

•In other political skullduggery news, Donald Trump has said he would accept incriminating information from Russia or other adversaries on his 2020 election opponent. “It’s not an interference,” Trump told ABC. “They have information — I think I’d take it.” The president said he would call the FBI if approached only “if I thought there was something wrong.”

•With the first televised debates less than two weeks away, the Democratic 2020 race continues in earnest. In no particular order we have: Andrew Yang in New Hampshire; Seth Moulton in Massachusetts; John Hickenlooper in Washington DC and New York; Julian Castro in Arizona; Marianne Williamson and Wayne Messam in Nevada; Tulsi Gabbard in Washington DC; John Delaney on The View at 11am; and Tim Ryan on The Daily Show on Comedy Central at 11pm.

Contributors

Kari Paul in San Francisco (now) and Jessica Glenza in New York (earlier)

The GuardianTramp

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Trio drawn together for split NBC debate on 26-27 June, while Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke to meet in other group

Sam Levin in San Francisco (now) and Amanda Holpuch in New York (earlier)

15, Jun, 2019 @1:31 AM

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House panel demands White House turn over Kushner documents – as it happened
White House given deadline of Monday to comply with committee’s request after reports Trump ordered security clearance for Kushner

Gabrielle Canon in Oakland (now) and Sabrina Siddiqui and Adam Gabbatt in Washington (earlier)

02, Mar, 2019 @1:25 AM

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Mitch McConnell on Roy Moore: 'We'll oppose him in every way' – as it happened
Hard-right former judge Moore running again in Alabama against the wishes of the party, while Trump says ‘stay tuned’ on possible Iran strike

Sam Levin (now) and Jamiles Lartey (earlier)

21, Jun, 2019 @12:05 AM

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Acting attorney general falsely claims 'no family separation policy' under Trump - as it happened
Matthew Whitaker also confirmed the justice department was not tracking children separated from their parents

Julia Carrie Wong in San Francisco (now), Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington and Joanna Walters in New York (earlier)

09, Feb, 2019 @1:16 AM

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Trump campaign seizes on report that undercover FBI investigator met with aide – as it happened
Report reveals that the FBI sent an investigator posing as a research assistant to meet with a Trump aide in 2016

Sam Levin in San Francisco (now), Jessica Glenza and Erin Durkin (earlier) in New York

03, May, 2019 @12:24 AM

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Trump-Russia investigation almost complete, says acting attorney general – as it happened
Matthew Whitaker hopes for report ‘as soon as possible’ as Nancy Pelosi invites Trump to give State of the Union on 5 February

Vivian Ho in San Francisco (now) and Ben Jacobs and Lauren Gambino in Washington and Adam Gabbatt in New York (earlier)

29, Jan, 2019 @1:43 AM

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Trump-Russia: FBI had 'backup plan' to save investigation evidence –as it happened
Plan created after Comey firing to ensure information would survive firings or reassignments of top officials

Vivian Ho in Oakland (now) and Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington (earlier)

20, Feb, 2019 @1:11 AM

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US begins severe new restrictions on asylum seekers at Mexico border – as it happened
New policy effectively denies asylum to most migrants at the southern border and comes after supreme court ruling – follow live

Maanvi Singh in San Francisco (now) and Jessica Glenza and Joanna Walters in New York (earlier)

12, Sep, 2019 @10:31 PM

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Supreme court allows Trump to use $2.5bn in Pentagon funds on border wall – as it happened
White House announces an asylum deal with Guatemala three days after Trump threatened tariffs, among other sanctions, if it did not sign on

Sam Levin in Los Angeles (now) and Joan E Greve in Washington (earlier)

27, Jul, 2019 @12:40 AM