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Published: Sunday, February 04, 2018 @ 1:56 PM
Updated: Tuesday, February 06, 2018 @ 1:00 PM
Cincinnati — UPDATE: After President Donald Trump called Democrats “treasonous” for not applauding him during his State of the Union speech, U.S. Senator Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said he “would not have used the words.”
Portman, who attended the event, said in a statement on Tuesday that he shared “the disappointment that Democrats at the State of the Union speech did not respond favorably to excellent unemployment numbers.”
“Good economic news should be celebrated by everyone, and it is a sign of the partisan division in our country these days,” Portman said. ”But we have to be careful about the language we use so we don’t create even more partisanship.”
In a speech in which he touted tax cuts he said have already brought new prosperity to the country, President Donald Trump on Monday took dead aim at Democrats, who he called “treasonous” for not applauding him when he talked about the nation’s economic recovery during his State of the Union address.
“They were like death and un-American. Somebody says ‘treasonous.’ Trump said, “Can we call that treason? Why not?”
“They certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much,” he added.
Trump rarely hesitates to criticize the opposite party, but his use of words like treason stood out.
David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, called Trump’s words “hate-filled.”
“(His) divisive politics are what’s truly un-American,” Pepper said.
Trump spoke to a friendly audience that included workers, elected officials and others at Sheffer Corp., a Blue Ash manufacturer of hydraulic and custom cylinders
“Your taxes are going way down and right now for the first time in a long time…factories are coming back, everything’s coming back,” said Trump. “They all want to be where the action is. America is once again open for business.”
He made no mention of the Dow Jones Industrial average, which has struggled in recent days and plunged more than 1,000 points Monday.
The speech had elements of the campaign trail, with Trump taking aim at his 2016 Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and U.S. Sen. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York.
“Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, they want to raise your taxes. They don’t want to give it to the military,” said Trump, urging people to vote against Democrats in the 2018 mid-term elections.
He called Pelosi “our secret weapon.”
“I hope they don’t change her,” Trump said.
A Democratic National Committee official said Republicans will use tax cuts as “an excuse to slash funding for Social Security, education, Medicare and Medicaid, opioid treatment, and other critical programs families rely on.”
“Today in Cincinnati, Donald Trump will falsely claim his massive corporate tax breaks are benefiting working Ohioans. This couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Mandy McClure, Democratic National Committee Midwest regional press secretary. “In reality, the Trump tax is a complete rip-off for the 1.6 million Ohioans who will see their taxes go up over the next decade, while corporations win big.”
The visit came on a week when Congress faces another deadline for shutting down the federal government. Immigration is one of the sticking points between the two parties, and Trump accused Democrats of not wanting border security. He added: “We’re building a wall.”
As the president spoke, First Lady Melania Trump visited Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The First Lady spoke to doctors who treat babies born to opioid-addicted mothers.
During his speech the president said the nation will “prevail” in its battle against the opioid addiction crisis.
“We have to stop drugs from pouring across our border,” he said.
Press lining up to get video and pictures of President @realDonaldTrump on #AirForceOne landing in Cincinnati. I've seen it before and it is magnificent to see that plane land and take off. https://t.co/iErRo9cyzC pic.twitter.com/8BwIZvBBwr— Lynn Hulsey (@LynnHulseyDDN) February 5, 2018
U.S. Rep. Jim Rennaci, R-Wadsworth, accompanied Trump to Ohio on Air Force One, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and they joined U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, on the tour of Sheffer.
Several reporters shouted questions but Trump did not answer as he spoke to company employees about equipment and tools.
Fellow elected Republicans in the audience included Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who is running for governor; and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, who is running for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. The White House did not provide a crowd estimate.
Renacci, who left the race for governor to run in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate against Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, has said he entered the race because Trump asked him too. Trump called Renacci “a terrific guy and a friend of mine from day one.”
He did not offer an outright endorsement, but at one point said of Renacci: “We want to get Jim in.’
Of Renacci’s possible opponent in November, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, Trump said, “Senator Brown voted against us” on the tax cut. “Just remember that — he voted against you.”
Trump applauded Sheffer employees for their grit, pride and determination “to do the job right” and he brought several business leaders and two employees up to talk about the tax cuts
Matt Schron, general manager Cleveland-based Jergens Inc., said the tax cut allows his company to spend more money on employees and its facility and to hire more people.
Air Force One landed at Lunken Airport around 1:30 p.m.
Portman was waiting to meet the Trumps at the airport. Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who has been highly critcial of Trump since he ran against him for president, was not at the airport.
Staff writer Jack Torry contributed to this report.
President Trump starts his speech on tax cut law, "Oh, I love the people of Ohio" pic.twitter.com/FL8IeaZ5hg— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) February 5, 2018
Other stories by Lynn Hulsey
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Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 12:39 PM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 2:53 PM
— Rick Gates, a former aide in President Donald Trump's campaign, pleaded guilty to making false statements and conspiring against the United States on Friday, making him the fifth person to enter a guilty plea in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
JUST IN: Ex-Trump campaign aide Gates pleads guilty to U.S. special counsel's charges on conspiracy, lying pic.twitter.com/lcUiDIkovJ— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) February 23, 2018
READ MORE: Paul Manafort, Rick Gates face new charges: report | Mueller investigation: Lawyer pleads guilty to lying to investigators in Russia probe| Who is Rick Gates and why was he indicted by Robert Mueller? | Who is Paul Manafort, the man indicted in Robert Mueller’s Russian investigation? | What are Paul Manafort and Rick Gates charged with? | MORE
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 9:55 AM
Former Trump Campaign aide Rick Gates pleaded guilty in a Washington, D.C. federal court on Friday to a pair of charges brought by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, becoming the third person from the President’s 2016 campaign to accept a plea bargain with investigators, who are probing Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
For weeks, news reports had said that Gates was under pressure to agree to cooperate with prosecutors, as he was the one-time right hand man to former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort. The feds say both men engaged in extensive efforts to avoid reporting millions of dollars in income from political work done for a pro-Russian leaders in Ukraine.
In new documents filed earlier in the day, the feds again set out a highly detailed and extensive series of financial transactions by Manafort, Gates – and several unnamed conspirators – to funnel “millions of dollars in payments” into foreign companies and bank accounts around the world.
Along with pleading guilty to charges of defrauding the United States by conspiring to avoid taxes on millions of dollars in payments , Gates acknowledged in this plea bargain to lying to investigators – just three weeks ago.
One additional note – on that day that Gates lied to investigators, February 1, his original attorney filed a motion with a federal judge to immediately withdraw as Gates’ lawyer.
The reason wasn’t known – as the details were filed under seal, and kept secret.
Gates is the fifth person to publicly plead guilty to a charge in the Mueller investigation; none of the allegations leveled by the feds against either Manafort or Gates have centered on Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
Gates also becomes the third member of the Trump Campaign to plead guilty in this probe, joining foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.
The plea bargain would seem to ratchet up the pressure on Manafort, as the two men have worked together for many years in the private sector as political consultants and lobbyists, and then for Mr. Trump in 2016.
Gates was originally indicted along with Manafort in late October 2017 on a 12-count indictment covering money laundering, false statements, and not registering as a foreign agent.
A superseding indictment was filed Thursday afternoon against Manafort and Gates, 32 criminal counts which featured charges of income tax evasion, bank fraud, and conspiracy.
In the latest indictment, the feds charge that Manafort and Gates made “tens of millions” of dollars from their work with a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine, and then “engaged in a scheme to hide income from United States authorities.”
The plea bargain by Gates comes a week after a federal grand jury indicted a group of Russians, as the feds set out the details of a well-financed operation that used social media to mainly support the candidacy of President Trump, and raise questions about the bid of Democratic Party nominee Hillary Clinton.
This was the reaction from Manafort to the Gates plea.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 12:06 PM
Updated: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 12:06 PM
WASHINGTON — The national conversation may be centered on guns and immigration, but on Friday, a bipartisan group of governors that includes Ohio Gov. John Kasich tried to focus the nation’s attention, once again, on health care.
The group, which also includes Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado and independent Bill Walker of Alaska, in D.C. for a meeting of the National Governors Association, released a six–page blueprint for improving the nation’s health care a document that a Kasich aide described as the best of the ideas that Democrats and Republicans have agreed upon.
They argue that while much of the nation has argued about coverage, they’ve avoided a very crucial conversation about cost. Increased flexibility and reforms that drive the cost down, they say, will have to be implemented in order to avoid either a single-payer system or a two-tiered system in which the wealthy get great benefits and the poor scrape by.
“We cannot afford to lose sight of” the urgency around health care,” said Hickenlooper.
Added Kasich, “We’re all looking for ways to do what: Continue to provide great health care but at lower prices.”
The plan released includes guiding principles that have often been repeated during the health care debate: provide flexibility, encourage innovation, improve the regulatory environment, for example, but includes no legislative language, nor specificity on costs. Instead, it seems to be a “reboot” of a prior conversation, an attempt to steer the nation’s attention back to health care.
Among the steps the governors call for is to restore the cost sharing reduction payments that are given to insurers in order to keep premiums low; encourage consumers to sign up for coverage; and ensuring that Americans contribute “to their health care consistent with their financial capacity.”
“Please get going,” Kasich said at one point, appearing to address lawmakers whose efforts to reform health care have stalled. “Because if you don’t, a lot of your people are going to get the shaft and not the kind of health care that they ought to have.”
One thing the governors appeared to endorse was the idea of being able to tailor Medicaid coverage to their states. Ohio has an aging population, while Colorado’s is younger. Alaska, whose governor Bill Walker also attended the press conference, has tribal issues that might necessitate different requirements than Ohio’s population, for example.
For his part, Kasich appeared to put an additional onus on businesses, saying they’ll need to help drive the debate by convincing insurance companies to give them a better deal for coverage.
“It has to be the businesses in this country who say they’ve had enough, and frankly, maybe they do, but I don’t think enough,” he said, adding that “great quality at a lower price…has to be demanded by the private sector in America.”
Kasich said he supported a requirement that some Medicaid recipients work, acknowledging “a sense out there” that some receive the federal benefits while others work hard and receive less. “Work requirements are fine with me,” he said. “It just has to be thought of in a way that’s going to work and be practical.” And Hickenlooper said he’s not opposed as long as the government considers those who aren’t healthy enough to work or those who are healthy, but must take care of a child or an elderly family member.
Published: Friday, February 23, 2018 @ 6:19 AM
In a speech to a large gathering of conservative political activists outside Washington, D.C., President Donald Trump on Friday said he is committed to forcing security changes in America’s schools, which he says will cut down on the threat of mass school shootings, like the one last week in Parkland, Florida that killed 17 people.
“We will act, we will do something,” the President said in a speech to the Conservative Political Action Conference. “We will act.”
Mr. Trump on Friday again repeated his support for his call to allow certain teachers and administrators to carry a concealed weapon in school, all to form a line of defense.
“Why do we protect our airports and banks, but not our schools?” the President said.
“Our schools are essentially gun-free zones and that makes them very dangerous places,” Mr. Trump added.
Both at the speech, and earlier in the day at the White House, Mr. Trump said he was disappointed in the reaction of an armed deputy, who was stationed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, but did not confront the gunman who was shooting inside.
“When it came time to get in there and do something, he didn’t have the courage or something happened. But he certainly did a poor job,” the President told reporters before boarding Marine One.
At CPAC, the President also expressed his support for more efforts to put mental health information into the current instant background check system for gun buyers, and said it’s time for police and authorities to do more about people who have mental health issues.
“We will really have to strengthen up background checks,” the President said. “We have to do that.”
Several times, Mr. Trump seemed to be publicly cajoling the National Rifle Association to accept his plans on guns and school security, as the President reminded his audience that he was a staunch defender of the Second Amendment.
“Let’s get it done right,” the President said of action on a variety of fronts to deal with school shootings. “We really owe it to our country.”
The President on Friday did not mention his call to raise the minimum purchase age for a gun like an AR-15 from 18 years old to 21 years old – that proposal has already drawn some concern from Republicans in the Congress, and reports of resistance inside the NRA as well.
Also in his CPAC speech, Mr. Trump ran through a familiar list of achievements during his first term in office, talking up a major package of tax cuts, the end of dozens of regulations, and the confirmation of conservative federal judges.
“Don’t get complacent,” the President urged the crowd, telling them a victory for Democrats in the Congress in the 2018 mid-term elections would endanger a number of his accomplishments.
“They will take away those massive tax cuts, and they will take away your Second Amendment,” the President said of Democrats.
“We’ve got seven years to go,” Mr. Trump said to cheers. “We’re finally rebuilding our nation.”
There was also a lighter moment, as President Trump noted that the big video boards in the convention hall might show something he tries to avoid.