Tech billionaire Mark Cuban for president? Well, he's not ruling it out

Published: Monday, March 13, 2017 @ 3:45 PM
Updated: Monday, March 13, 2017 @ 3:45 PM


            Mark Cuban during a SXSW panel with Adam Lyons on Sunday March 12, 2017. (Ricardo Brazziell/American-Statesman)
Mark Cuban during a SXSW panel with Adam Lyons on Sunday March 12, 2017. (Ricardo Brazziell/American-Statesman)

Will Texas billionaire Mark Cuban run for president?

During a talk at South by Southwest, the judge of the reality show "Shark Tank" didn't rule out a 2020 race for the White House.

"I've got a lot of time to decide, and we'll see what happens," he told the crowd.

>> Read more trending stories

Cuban's topic was government and tech disruption, and he spent plenty of time taking on President Donald Trump and his policies. 

"Disruptors are everything," Cuban said. "Having a unique idea and taking it through fruition is always hard. Now that we don't have an administration that's particularly tech literate, it's going to be a little more difficult."

Cuban compared Trump to the narcissistic movie character Zoolander played by Ben Stiller, and accused the president of not being tech savvy.

"He doesn't use Google," Cuban said. "Just think if your president was willing to take time to learn how to use a search engine."

Cuban, who called himself a libertarian, spoke on a panel alongside Adam Lyons, co-founder of car insurance marketplace The Zebra, which is based in Austin. Lyons landed Cuban as an investor in the company after cold emailing him a one paragraph pitch.

Cuban said that in most cases less regulation is good, but in areas such as health care and the environment, government action is needed.

"My position has evolved," he said. "In health care, those types of regulations are good. In the past I wouldn't have said that. But when we think our citizenry deserves something and it becomes a right, my preference would be to amend the constitution so health care is a right."

Trump accusers call for congressional investigation into alleged sexual misconduct

Published: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 1:39 PM
Updated: Monday, December 11, 2017 @ 3:19 PM

Accusers of Trump Sexual Misconduct Call for Congressional Investigation

Update 3:15 p.m. Dec. 11: White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied the allegations levied against President Donald Trump in a news briefing Monday, telling reporters that the president has “addressed these accusations directly and denied all of these allegations.”

"The American people knew this and voted for the president, and we feel like we're ready to move forward," she said. "This took place long before he was elected to be president and the people of this country had a decisive election."

Original report: At least four women who have accused President Donald Trump of sexual harassment called on Monday for a congressional investigation into Trump’s behavior, pointing to recent investigations announced into lawmakers accused of sexual misconduct.

>> Read more trending news

Rachel Crooks, Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Lisa Boyne were among the more than a dozen women who accused Trump of sexual harassment in the run-up to last year’s election.

“They’ve investigated other Congress members, so I think it only stands fair that (Trump) be investigated as well,” Holvey said Monday at a news conference. “I think also a nonpartisan investigation is very important, not just for him but for anybody that has allegations against them. This isn’t a partisan issue. This is how women are treated every day.”

In a statement, White House officials dismissed the accusations as false and politically motivated.

>> Related: Who is accusing Trump of sexual misconduct? 

Leeds said she was motivated to speak out again in the wake of recent allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

“In some areas, the accusations of sexual aggression were being taken seriously. People were being held accountable. Except for our president,” Leeds said. “In fact, his staff made a big point of calling us all liars.”

Earlier on Monday, Crooks, Leeds and Holvey appeared on “Megyn Kelly Today” to share their stories.

Leeds said she shared her story because she "wanted people to know what kind of person he is.” Holvey said his election despite the allegations against him made Trump’s inauguration day particularly difficult.

“It was like the entire country said, ‘Meh, we don’t care that he’s like this,’” she said.

Holvey, a former Miss USA contestant, told CNN last year that Trump inspected each woman during an event in New York City in the month before the contest. 

"He would step in front of each girl and look you over from head to toe like we were just meat; we were just sexual objects; that we were not people," Holvey told CNN. "You know when a gross guy at the bar is checking you out? It's that feeling."

Crooks told The New York Times that she shook hands when she met Trump while working for a firm in Manhattan's Trump Tower in 2005. Crooks, then 22, said he wouldn't let go of her hand, kissed her cheeks, then kissed her "directly on the mouth."

>> Related: Rep. John Conyers announces retirement in wake of sexual harassment allegations

"It was so inappropriate," she told the Times. "I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that."

Leeds told The New York Times that Trump put his hands up her skirt after meeting her on a plane in the early 1980s.

"He was like an octopus," she said. "His hands were everywhere."

Boyne told The Huffington Post that Trump made models walk on a table during a dinner in New York in 1996.

She told the news site Trump “stuck his head right underneath their skirts” and made crude comments about their underwear and genitalia.

In a statement released Monday, White House officials called the accusations false.

“The American people voiced their judgment by delivering a decisive victory (last year),” the statement said. “The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them.”

Crooks called the White House statement “laughable.” 

“I think, if they were willing to investigate Sen. (Al) Franken, I think it’s only fair that they do the same for Trump,” Crooks said.

>> Related: Al Franken will resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct

Franken announced last week that he plans to resign in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him by several women. The Minnesota Democrat was accused of groping women as they posed for photos with him and forcibly kissing at least two women.

He is one of three lawmakers who have announced their intention to leave office in weeks amid sexual misconduct scandals.

Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress, submitted his resignation last week after he was accused of sexually harassing several women who worked for him. Conyers, D-Michigan, denied the allegations but said he decided to retire because of health concerns. The 88-year-old congressman was hospitalized in Michigan earlier this month.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, said last week that he plans to resign from his seat by the end of January after the House Ethics Committee announced it was investigating allegations of sexual harassment levied against him by his former employees.

Lawmakers call for investigation into Trump sexual misconduct allegations

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 4:21 PM

Congresswomen Call For Probe Into Trump Accusations

More than 100 Democratic lawmakers are calling on the House Oversight Committee to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct levied against President Donald Trump, a group of female U.S. representatives said at a news conference Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news

More than a dozen women have accused the president of forced kissing, unwanted groping and making inappropriate sexual comments since 2015, when Trump announced his plan to run for office. The allegations span decades.

The president has repeatedly denied the claims.

The chair of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Florida, said Tuesday that “the time is right to get the truth” about the allegations. She said a letter requesting a congressional investigation had garnered more than 100 signatures from Democratic lawmakers by Tuesday afternoon.

>> Related: Who is accusing Trump of sexual misconduct?

“The #MeToo movement has arrived,” Frankel said. “Sexual abuse will not be tolerated, whether it’s by a Hollywood producer, the chef of a restaurant, a member of Congress or the president of the United States.”

The letter, sent to the chair and vice chair of the House Oversight Committee, said that the president has made statements that have appeared to give credence to the allegations against him.

U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel (D-FL) (4th L) speaks as she holds a news conference with other Democratic Congress members, including Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) (3rd L) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) (7th L), December 12, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. House Democrats call on "investigating President Trump for sexual misconduct." (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

“The President has boasted in public and in crude terms that he feels at liberty to perpetrate such conduct against women,” the letter said, referencing a 2005 video from “Access Hollywood” in which Trump could be heard making crude comments about women. 

“Subsequently, Mr. Trump apologized and called it ‘locker room talk.’ He has since called all his accusers liars.”

>> Related: Melania Trump defends husband's lewd comments about women as 'boy talk'

Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Michigan, the vice president of the Democratic Women’s Working Group, said Tuesday that Americans “deserve to have a thorough investigation that will reveal the facts.”

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed the call for an investigation as unnecessary and unwanted by the American people.

“The president has answered these questions,” she said Tuesday at a news briefing. “He has spoken to these accusations and denied and pushed that they are all false and fabricated accusations. Frankly, I think if Congress wants to spend time investigating things they should prob focus on some of the thins that the American people would really like to investigate, like how to secure our borders, how to defeat ISIS (or) how to pass tax reform that actually impacts them.”

Four of Trump’s accusers on Monday called on Congress to investigate Trump’s behavior. Rachel Crooks, Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey and Lisa Boyne first accused Trump of sexual harassment in the run-up to last year’s election.

“They’ve investigated other Congress members, so I think it only stands fair that (Trump) be investigated as well,” Holvey said Monday at a news conference. “I think also a nonpartisan investigation is very important, not just for him but for anybody that has allegations against them. This isn’t a partisan issue. This is how women are treated every day.”

The pressure to investigate Trump’s actions has grown as the “#MeToo” movement has encouraged more women to speak out about their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. Earlier this month, three lawmakers announced their intention to resign or retire amid sexual harassment scandals.

>> Related: Trump accusers call for congressional investigation into alleged sexual misconduct

Sen. Al Franken, D-Minnesota, announced last week that he plans to resign in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him by several women. He was accused of groping women as they posed for photos with him and forcibly kissing at least two people.

Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress, submitted his resignation last week after he was accused of sexually harassing several women who worked for him. Conyers, D-Michigan, denied the allegations but said he decided to retire because of health concerns. The 88-year-old congressman was hospitalized in Michigan earlier this month.

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, said last week that he plans to resign from his seat by the end of January after the House Ethics Committee announced it was investigating allegations of sexual harassment levied against him by his former employees.

Democrat Doug Jones wins Alabama Senate race, AP reports

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 4:28 PM
Updated: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 11:45 PM

Doug Jones wins Alabama Senate race

In a stunning victory aided by scandal, Democrat Doug Jones won Alabama's special Senate election on Tuesday, beating back history, an embattled Republican opponent and President Donald Trump, who urgently endorsed GOP rebel Roy Moore despite a litany of sexual misconduct allegations.

It was the first Democratic Senate victory in a quarter-century in Alabama, one of the reddest of red states, and proved anew that party loyalty is anything but sure in the age of Trump. The Republican loss was a major embarrassment for the president and a fresh wound for the nation's already divided GOP.

"We have shown not just around the state of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way — that we can be unified," Jones declared as supporters in a Birmingham ballroom cheered, danced and cried tears of joy. He added, "This entire race has been about dignity and respect."

LIVE UPDATES ON ALABAMA ELECTION

Moore is not conceding to Jones, telling campaign supporters "it's not over."

"It's going to take some time," the candidate says during a brief appearance before supporters.

Campaign chairman Bill Armistead says that because the vote is close and approaching the state's recount requirement, "we do not have a final decision on the outcome."

Alabama state law calls for a recount if the margin of victory is less than one-half of one percentage point. With all precincts reporting, Jones leads by 1.5 percentage points — three times what's required to trigger a recount.

If the secretary of state determines there were more write-in votes than the difference between Jones and Moore, the state's counties would be required to tally those votes. It's not clear how that would help Moore, who ended the night trailing Jones by more than 20,000 votes.

Trump reacts

From the White House, Trump graciously tweeted his congratulations to Jones "on a hard-fought victory" — but added pointedly that "the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends!"

Jones takes over the seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The term expires in January of 2021.

RELATED: Washington Insider Jamie Dupree reports on Alabama election

The victory by Jones, a former U.S. attorney best known for prosecuting two Ku Klux Klansmen responsible for Birmingham's infamous 1963 church bombing, narrows the GOP advantage in the U.S. Senate to 51-49. That imperils already-uncertain Republican tax, budget and health proposals and injects tremendous energy into the Democratic Party's early push to reclaim House and Senate majorities in 2018.

Still, many Washington Republicans viewed the defeat of Moore as perhaps the best outcome for the party nationally despite the short-term sting. The fiery Christian conservative's positions have alienated women, racial minorities, gays and Muslims — in addition to the multiple allegations that he was guilty of sexual misconduct with teens, one only 14, when he was in his 30s.

"Tonight's results are clear — the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate," said Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, who leads the national GOP's Senate campaign arm and called on Moore to quit the race weeks ago.

Republicans turn on Moore

A number of Republicans declined to support him, including Alabama's long-serving Sen. Richard Shelby. But Trump lent his name and the national GOP's resources to Moore's campaign in recent days.

RELATED: Republican Alabama Sen. Shelby says he  ‘can’t vote’ for Moore

Had Moore won, the GOP would have been saddled with a colleague accused of sordid conduct as Republicans nationwide struggle with Trump's historically low popularity. Senate leaders had promised that Moore would have faced an immediate ethics investigation.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have expressed hopes of scheduling a vote on their tax legislation before Jones is sworn in, but lawmakers are still struggling to devise a compromise bill to bridge the divide between the House and Senate legislation that can win majority support in both chambers.

The Republican loss also gives Democrats a clearer path to a Senate majority in 2018 — albeit a narrow one — in an election cycle where Democrats are far more optimistic about seizing control of the House of Representatives.

Ultimately, Tuesday's contest came down to which side better motivated its supporters to vote. Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill said turnout likely would not exceed 25 percent of registered voters.

Jones successfully fought to cobble together an unlikely coalition of African-Americans, liberal whites and moderate Republicans.

At his election night headquarters, stunned supporters erupted in celebration as news of his victory was announced. Many danced to the song "Happy." Some cried.

"I honestly did not know that this was even an option. I didn't think that we could elect a Democrat," said 26-year-old campaign volunteer Jess Eddington, her eyes red from tears of joy. "I am so proud we did."

On the ground in Alabama on Tuesday, voters made clear that the election was about opposing Moore as well as supporting Jones, who was largely unknown before the campaign.

Teresa Brown, a 53-year-old administrative assistant, said she preferred Jones, in part, because he would be better positioned to work across party lines. "We don't need a pedophile in there," Brown added.

RELATED: Who is Doug Jones?

Mary Multrie, 69, who works in a children's hospital, said she never liked Moore. "He talks about God, but you don't see God in his actions."

Moore, who largely avoided public events in the final weeks of the race and spent far less money on advertising than his opponent, bet big — and lost — on the state's traditional Republican leanings and the strength of his passionate evangelical Christian supporters.

He sidestepped questions about sexual misconduct as he arrived at his polling place on horseback.

Democrats were not supposed to have a chance in Alabama, one of the most Republican-leaning states in the nation. Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton here by nearly 28 points just 13 months ago. Yet Moore had political baggage that repelled some moderate Republicans even before allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced.

Virtually the entire Republican establishment, Trump included, supported Moore's primary opponent, Sen. Luther Strange in September. Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was one of the only early high-profile Moore backers.

Moore was once removed from his position as state Supreme Court chief justice after he refused to remove a boulder-sized Ten Commandments monument at the state court building. A second time, he was permanently suspended for urging state probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Said Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Pere: "The people of Alabama sent a loud and clear message to Donald Trump and the Republican Party: You can't call yourself the party of family values as long as you're willing to accept vile men like Roy Moore as members."

What You Need To Know: Doug Jones

Doug Jones spins upset over Roy Moore in US Senate race in Alabama

Published: Tuesday, December 12, 2017 @ 11:01 PM

Democrats in Alabama and Washington, D.C. celebrated an upset on Tuesday night, as Doug Jones won a narrow victory for U.S. Senate over controversial Republican nominee Roy Moore, giving Democrats their first big election victory since Donald Trump became President, and cutting the GOP majority in the Senate to a narrow one seat advantage.

“Congratulations Senator-elect Doug Jones!” said Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) on Twitter. “I look forward to working with you.”

A big turnout by African-American voters seemed to be one key to the Jones victory in the Yellowhammer State, along with a lower than expected turnout in rural counties of Alabama, where Moore was strongest.

Here is what the win for Democrats will mean on Capitol Hill:

1. The Senate majority shrinks to 51-49 for the GOP. As if it wasn’t hard enough for Republican leaders to keep their troops in line in the Senate, now they will have one less vote to play with, as when Doug Jones in sworn in, the GOP margin will be only one vote. Already, Vice President Mike Pence has been called on several times to cast tie-breaking votes – but before, the GOP could lose two Senators and still prevail. Now that will be down to one in 2018. That gives Democrats even more leverage on the budget and other matters where 60 votes are needed for action.

2. But Jones won’t be sworn into the Senate immediately. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters on Tuesday that no matter who won in Alabama, that victor would not be arriving the next day to take his seat in the Senate – instead, that will wait until early January 2018. “Sen. Strange is going to be here through the end of this session,” McConnell told reporters. That’s sure to bring some calls from Democrats to delay action on a GOP tax reform bill until Jones is seated in 2018 – when the GOP majority would only be a single vote, and not two. Democrats quickly started making that case on Tuesday night.

3. Did GOP Senators dodge a Roy Moore bullet? If Roy Moore had won, the questions for GOP Senators would have been endless. Up until now, it was all hypothetical. How would they react to Moore being a Senator? His views on gays, lesbians, Muslims and more. Now, they don’t have to deal with any of that. They don’t have to deal with Moore becoming a spectacle. They don’t have to deal with an Ethics Committee investigation. They don’t have to deal with people calling for him to resign. They don’t have to deal with any controversy created by Moore. But they do have to deal with the battle within the Republican Party on where it goes next.

4. Did Democrats win? Or did Republicans lose? This is first Senate seat Democrats have won in the Deep South in many years, and it may not have been because of the quality of their candidate, but more so because of the controversial nature of the Republican nominee, in Roy Moore. Still, a win is a win, as Democrats won’t be the party that’s fighting among themselves – rather that will be left to the GOP, who found a candidate that couldn’t make it past a general election in a state that went to Donald Trump by 28 percent just over a year ago. Look for the GOP Establishment to go after Steve Bannon for this election loss.

5. Was the difference Richard Shelby and the write-in vote? The senior Senator from Alabama, Republican Richard Shelby, made very clear in recent days that he had voted for a write-in candidate, and not Roy Moore. Did others follow his lead, and register their protest against Moore that way? The numbers show that about 22,000 voters wrote in another name – that’s more than the Jones victory margin. Richard Shelby was the last Democrat to win a U.S. Senate seat in Alabama in 1992 – he switched parties in 1994. And in 2017, his decision may have paved the way for Doug Jones to win.