Parents of teen accused of killing Italian cop speaking out for first time ahead of son’s trial

In this combo photo released by Italian Carabinieri, Finnegan Lee Elder, sits in his hotel room in Rome. (Italian Carabinieri via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:42 AM PT — Saturday, February 22, 2020

The parents of one of the teenagers accused of killing an Italian police officer are speaking out. This came as the teen’s lawyer claimed “foul-play” by Italian prosecutors.

Parents of 19-year-old Finnegan Elder broke their silence Friday, just days before their son heads to trial.

Elder and a friend are facing aggravated murder and attempted extortion charges in connection with the stabbing of an officer in Rome last year.

Although the teen admitted to the stabbing, he claimed self defense and said the officers failed to identify themselves as officials and he feared for his life.

Family members of Finnegan Elder embrace as their family attorney Craig Peters, right, speaks to members of the media in front of their home in San Francisco on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)

Elder’s defense team claimed poorly translated transcripts are playing out in the prosecution’s favor. His parents said they worry their son is being mistreated by police.

“The pain is relentless,” stated the father Ethan Elder. “It’s constant, it’s when we go to sleep, it’s when we wake up, it’s when we sit together, when we’re happy, it’s when we’re sad, it’s always there.”

Elder’s trial is set to begin Feb. 26.

RELATED: N.Y. Man Arrested After Allegedly Targeting Police Officers

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Judge in Roger Stone’s case schedules phone conference ahead of sentencing date

In this Feb. 21, 2019, photo, former campaign adviser for President Donald Trump, Roger Stone, leaves federal court in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:49 PM PT — Sunday, February 16, 2020

The case of Roger Stone took a new turn just days ahead of his sentencing. On Sunday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson called for an on-the-record telephone conference for this coming Tuesday with attorneys from both sides. It’s not clear what the discussion will focus on.

This came amid speculation that President Trump could pardon Stone after the DOJ moved to alter its sentencing recommendation last week.

FILE- In this Oct. 4, 2018, file photo Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., arrives at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Meanwhile, some Republican senators said Stone is facing a disproportionately tough sentence.

“Roger Stone is pretty good at bad decisions and nobody would confuse him with Alexander Hamilton,” stated Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.). “Being, Mr. Stone’s status as a chucklehead is not a criminal act.”

The upcoming conference comes after Stone’s attorneys filed a motion for a new trial last week amid allegations of potential juror bias.

RELATED: Attorneys For Roger Stone Request New Trial

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Johnson reshuffles cabinet ahead of EU deal

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 3:47 PM PT — Thursday, February 13, 2020

Several of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet members are resigning or being let go as post-Brexit negotiations get underway. The prime minister started a major cabinet reshuffle on Thursday, as his government prepared to tackle trading terms with the EU following its departure from the bloc.

One of the most surprising resignations among senior officials was Treasury Chief Sajid Javid, who said he would not listen to orders to fire his team of aides.

Other big names leaving are Attorney General Geoffrey Cox and Northern Ireland Minister Julian Smith, who helped end the country’s political stalemate.

“I think the prime minister has to choose who’s in the cabinet, who serves,” stated Smith. “We’ve done a lot of really good stuff (and) there’s a lot more to do, but that’s up to the prime minister.”

Johnson is now appointing several new ministers to his cabinet in hopes of making a deal with the EU by the end of this year.

RELATED: Canadian Prime Minister Visits Ethiopia For African Union Summit

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Workers in India building wall ahead of President Trump’s visit

Indian workers construct a wall in front of a slum ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump’s visit, in Ahmadabad, India, Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:15 PM PT — Thursday, February 13, 2020

Construction workers in India are building a wall ahead of President Trump’s visit later this month. The president is expected to attend an event in the country in the coming weeks.

Before his arrival, workers are expected to complete a seven-foot tall wall that will reportedly conceal slum communities. However, a government official said the wall is part of an ongoing “beautification and cleanliness” project. Officials also said the wall is being built for security purposes.

Some residents are already excited about the president’s upcoming arrival.

“We are very happy that Donald Trump is coming here. We are going to give him a warm welcome by making him wear a traditional scarf, which we make here. We are also going to do prayers and he is going to attend prayers of all faiths.” – Pratimaben Vohra, local museum guide

In this Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020 photo, Sardar Patel Gujarat Stadium stands illuminated, days before it is inaugurated in Ahmadabad, India. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki)

Meanwhile, the Defense Department is transferring additional funds to the president’s U.S. border wall in an effort to increase security. On Thursday, the Pentagon said it’s moving $3.8 billion from several programs toward building the wall.

Officials said the funds are being pulled from its lower priority programs, such as the controversial F-35 fighter jet.

Democrats have denounced the wall as a “vanity project,” but immigration officials said it actually works to deter crime near the border. The Pentagon added the border wall has greatly reduced threats to U.S. national security as well.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Original Article

President Trump hosts ‘Keep America Great’ rally in N.H. ahead of primaries

Supporters gesture as they chant “Four More Years” while President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:17 PM PT — Tuesday, February 11, 2020

President Trump recently held a ‘Keep America Great’ campaign rally at the Southern New Hampshire Arena in Manchester.

The president spoke with his supporters on Monday night, just hours before polls opened for the first-in-the-nation primaries. He acknowledged his Democrat competitors are also in the state trying to rally support, but said he believes the turnout at his rally was significantly larger than any of the other candidates.

Attendees waited in long lines for a chance to see the president speak during this crucial election year, with some camping out over night. Other supporters, even those who have not traditionally voted Republican in the past, said they were inclined to attend the rally since the Democrat Party is going “too far left” on the political spectrum.

“I’ve actually always been independent, I’ve not registered either way, but lately he’s doing the job,” said New Hampshire voter Dave Dussault. “And I think that there’s a lot of the independent folks that are going to be leaning his way, particularly if the Democrats are leaning so far to the left like they seem to be in the media.”

During the rally, the president touted the booming economy and assured he plans to “keep it that way.” He went on to highlight the growth of the U.S. military’s power, improved trade agreements, increased exports of American made goods and followed-up by slamming Democrats for advocating for open borders.

President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

The president then addressed the public outrage over Nancy Pelosi’s handling of his State of the Union address last week, where she ripped up a copy of his speech live on television.

President Trump also made sure to address the global concern over the deadly coronavirus. He assured all patients with confirmed cases of the virus are recovering, quarantined and getting better. His comments come after the CDC reported coronavirus has a low public health risk in the U.S. However, health officials confirmed the 13th case of the virus in San Diego on Monday.

After the rally, President Trump traveled back to Washington, D.C. to gear up for another busy day at the White House.

RELATED: President Trump Unveils Spending Cuts, Fiscal Stimulus In 2021 Budget

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Democrat candidates make last efforts to rally voter support ahead of Tuesday’s N.H. primary

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, at a campaign event in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:23 AM PT — Monday, February 10, 2020

2020 presidential hopefuls are hoping to lock down voter support with New Hampshire’s Democrat primaries just around the corner. Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) is eyeing a comeback after seemingly falling just short of first place in the Iowa caucuses.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg appeared to take the lead at the nation’s first test of electability in a shocking upset for the Sanders campaign. He managed to pull in a record 1,800 person crowd in a campaign event Sunday, which was the largest turnout among all Democrat candidates in New Hampshire.

During a Saturday Town Hall featuring his fellow contenders, however, Buttigieg was taunted by a large group of attendees. The group was protesting his acceptance of donations from billionaires and PACs.

Buttigieg also took a hit during last week’s Democrat debate when asked about the rise in African American arrests in South Bend after he took office in 2012.

“These things are all connected, but that’s the point,” he stated. “So are all of the things that need to change in order for us to prevent violence and remove the effects a systemic racism not just from criminal justice, but from our economy, from health, from housing and from our democracy itself.”

Democratic presidential candidate former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during a campaign event, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020, in Plymouth, N.H. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Meanwhile, a new Emerson survey showed Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) polling third place in New Hampshire, which is likely due to her performance at the Friday debate.

Klobuchar took fourth behind Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) in Iowa. She attributed her rise in popularity to her message of unity and not budging to calls from the far-left to advocate for some of the controversial issues championed by progressives.

As for Klobuchar’s message to voters in New Hampshire:

“I’m the one with the receipts that can bring people with me. I think that’s why we have growing momentum in New Hampshire. And the most important thing, I’ve passed over 100 bills as a lead Democrat the U.S. Senate.”

New Hampshire voters will head to the polls Tuesday, where Sanders has recently dominated and as Buttigieg holds off on clinging to his more liberal agenda.

With President Trump’s approval numbers remaining steady, it will be up to the Democrat Party to find the nominee they believe can hold off a second victory for Republicans come November.

RELATED: Klobuchar Murder Case May Have Been Mishandled

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Bernie Sanders pulls ahead of Democrat opponents

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., walks on stage at a campaign rally Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Sioux City, Iowa. (AP Photo/John Locher)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 1:50 PM PT — Friday, January 31, 2020

Presidential candidate Joe Biden is saying Monday’s Iowa caucus will be a very tight race.

“I think it’s going to be really close, we’re neck and neck. Bernie’s up, I’m up. They’re basically a statistical tie, and we’ll see who shows up.” – Joe Biden, former Vice President of the United States

His remarks came in response to a newly released Wall Street Journal and NBC poll, which showed 27 percent of Democrat primary voters nationwide favored Sen. Bernie Sanders. Biden followed closely behind with 26 percent of the vote. Sen. Elizabeth Warren garnered 15 percent support.

The data showed Sanders has a remarkable lead among young Democrat voters, whereas Biden’s support came mainly from older Democrats. Sanders polled nearly 30 points ahead of Biden with Democrat voters under age 50 and nearly 40 points higher with those under age 35. As for Democrat voters over 50 years old, the former vice president held a strong 25 point lead.

Supporters of democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., hold up signs as Portugal. The Man performs at a campaign rally Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020, in Sioux City, Iowa. (AP Photo/John Locher)

When asked whether or not he had fallen out of touch with today’s politics, Biden said that’s not the case.

“The next president, from day one, is going to have to stand on that world stage and not have any time for on the job training,” he said, “I’m running because of the fact I have this experience, not in spite of the fact I have this experience.”

Candidate Pete Buttigieg polled at seven percent, Sen. Amy Klobuchar captured five percent and Andrew Yang drew four percent of the support. The survey was conducted across 428 registered voters earlier this month.

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McCarthy and Hoyer make fiery remarks ahead of House impeachment vote

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Key takeaways from House impeachment debate

Senate readies for January trial as full House vote looms; reaction and analysis from the 'Special Report' All-Stars.

Two of the top lawmakers from opposing parties gave their last remarks on the House floor before a historic vote Wednesday night to send two articles of impeachment against President Trump to a Senate trial.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-MD, accused Republicans of the "craven rationalization of presidential actions" and applauded his independent colleague, Justin Amash, I-MI, who says he is supporting impeachment against Trump despite laying no claim to a party.

"Party loyalty must have its limits," Hoyer said.

KEVIN MCCARTHY TORCHES HOUSE DEMS FOR 'THINNEST, FASTEST, WEAKEST IMPEACHMENT IN HISTORY'

Earlier in the day, Amash expressed his support for impeaching Trump saying "I come to this floor not as a Democrat, not as a Republican but as an American who cares deeply about the Constitution, the rule of law and the rights of the people."

Hoyer built on those statements saying, "The votes we are about to take concern the rule of law and democracy itself. Let us not forget the words of John Locke… 'Whenever law ends, tyranny begins.'"

The second-ranking lawmaker in the House drew applause from his Democratic colleagues when he pushed back on notions that impeachment efforts are a mere attempt to undo Trump's 2016 victory.

"There's been a lot of talk about the 63 million people who voted for Mr. Trump. Little talk about the 65 million people who voted for Hillary Clinton," Hoyer said as members of the House cheered.

Still, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-CA, lambasted Democrats in his closing speech saying "Because they lost to him in 2016, they’ll do anything to stop him in 2020."

McCarthy: 'My Democratic colleagues hate to hear 'Donald J. Trump is president of the United States'''Video

"That’s not America. That’s not how democratic republics behave. Elections matter. Voters matter," McCarthy said. "They want to undo the results of the last election to influence the next one."

In his final remarks before the House voted on charges that Trump abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress, McCarthy accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-CA, of "undoing a national election" and attempting to "disqualify our voice before the 2020 election."

"We know Democrats hate President Trump, his beliefs, the way he governs and even the people who voted for him. They say so, day after day. In 2016, they dismissed his supporters, calling us 'Deplorables.' Now, they are trying to disqualify our voice before the 2020 election," McCarthy said.
The bitter partisanship ahead of the vote threatens to leak into the start of a Senate trial, especially after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-KY, met with the White House to go over the strategy and optics of the inevitable proceedings.

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Democrats have decried that the GOP-led Senate will not abide by a fair trial, and Hoyer proposed the idea of delaying transmitting the articles of impeachment from the House to the Senate in an effort to stall a dismissal of the case against Trump.

“Some think it’s a good idea. And we need to talk about it,” Hoyer said early Tuesday.

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Maine Sen. Susan Collins announces reelection campaign ahead of expected Senate trial on Trump

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 18

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Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Wednesday she'll be seeking reelection, in an announcement ahead of the Senate's expected trial of President Trump.

Collins has maintained she's willing to have an open mind when considering articles of impeachment against the president. The center-leaning senator famously gave a last-minute speech in support of Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court last year ahead of the Senate's narrow vote to confirm the justice.

Although she hasn't publicly weighed in on whether or not she would vote for or against removing the president, Collins repeatedly has defended the whistleblower whose allegations of misconduct by Trump have been central to the investigation into the president's abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

ANDREW MCCARTHY: TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL– WHY IT WILL RESEMBLE A GIANT ROLL OF THE DICE

The last remaining New England Republican in Congress, Collins historically has presented herself as a moderate politician, bucking party-line stances on issues such as abortion and challenging Trump's policies, including building a wall on the southern border between the U.S. and Mexico and withdrawing troops from Syria.

In this Nov. 6, 2019, file photo, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is surrounded by reporters as she heads to vote at the Capitol in Washington. Collins officially launched her bid for a reelection Wednesday, Dec. 18, setting up an expensive and closely watched battle for the seat the moderate Republican from Maine has held for nearly 24 years. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

In this Nov. 6, 2019, file photo, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is surrounded by reporters as she heads to vote at the Capitol in Washington. Collins officially launched her bid for a reelection Wednesday, Dec. 18, setting up an expensive and closely watched battle for the seat the moderate Republican from Maine has held for nearly 24 years. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Collins detractors from the left have slammed her for supporting Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court, despite a myriad of sexual misconduct allegations against him, as well as advocating for the GOP tax cut.

"The fundamental question I had to ask myself in making my decision was this: In today's polarized political environment, is there still a role for a centrist who believes in getting things done through compromise, collegiality, and bipartisanship?" Collins said in an email, according to reports by NPR. "I have concluded that the answer to this question is 'yes' and I will, therefore, seek the honor of continuing to serve as Maine's United States senator."

Four Democrats are vying for the party’s nomination to face the 67-year-old senator, include activist Betsy Sweet, attorney Bre Kidman, former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse and Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon, who is backed by the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Collins has amassed $8.6 million for her reelection bid, the largest haul of any political candidate in Maine history.

The expensive race is projected to cost anywhere between $80 million to $100 million before the 2020 elections, making it the most expensive run the state has ever seen.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Rep. Van Drew, ahead of expected party switch, compares impeachment to how ‘third-world countries operate’

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Tempers flare on House floor as Rep. Louie Gohmert shouts at Rep. Jerry Nadler

Texas Republican Louie Gohmert returns to the podium to address House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler's 'Russian propaganda' claim.

Democratic Rep. Jeff Van Drew hasn’t officially switched parties yet, but the New Jersey congressman said he moved over to stand on the GOP side of the aisle Wednesday for the historic impeachment votes because it was “appropriate.”

The freshman Democrat opposes impeachment and is expected to jump to the Republican Party for political survival in a district President Trump carried in 2016.

“As I’ve said all along, I’m going to vote ‘no,’” Van Drew told reporters at the Capitol. “So I think they [Republicans] are all going to vote ‘no’ so it’s certainly appropriate in this case regardless of any other discussions we might be having.”

HOUSE TO VOTE ON ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST PRESIDENT TRUMP: LIVE UPDATES

Van Drew, still officially a Democrat, sat with Republicans when impeachment debate kicked off and said he was welcomed warmly. He even got a pep talk from Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who was condemned on the House floor in January for white supremacist comments.

“Jeff right now today is the loneliest man in Congress,” King told Fox News. “I’ve got sympathy and empathy for that circumstance. And I just expressed that to him. Let him know [to] follow your conscience and follow your heart in what you do today. Let it be something that fits within who you are and it’ll be OK.”

Van Drew confirmed that King had kind words for him and all the Republicans were “very, very nice.” But he denied feeling lonely: “I have a lot friends,” he told Fox News.

WITH TRUMP IMPEACHMENT VOTE IMMINENT, PRESIDENT TRAVELING TO BATTLE CREEK, MICH., TO RALLY THE FAITHFUL

News of Van Drew’s planned party switch broke over the weekend, followed by an exodus of his Democratic staff, who resigned in protest.

Van Drew and Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn, were the only Democrats to vote "no" against the launch of the impeachment inquiry on Halloween. And the pair again were the lone dissenters on an earlier vote Wednesday on the rule to kick off the impeachment debate.

“I’ve always felt this impeachment is going to do a tremendous amount of harm to the country,” Van Drew said. “It’s really going to create more division, more hardship, more hate, more civil unrest. It’s going to disfranchise thousands and thousands of people who voted.”

Van Drew doesn’t believe Trump’s conduct amounts to removal from office and compared impeachment to erasing the 2016 election vote result.

“I sometimes believe that not everyone understands the severe seriousness of impeachment. It is how an oligarchy operates. It is how third-world countries operate…the vote is what counts,” he said.

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Van Drew is among the 31 Democrats who won in districts Trump won in 2016. These swing-district Democrats are feeling the heat from an onslaught of attack ads from GOP-aligned groups, and some have acknowledged their vote for impeachment could cost them their seat.

Van Drew was coy when asked if he’d making is party switch official at the White House ceremony, saying “we’ll see.” He said an announcement will come “very shortly” but not on Wednesday.

“Today is all about impeachment,” he said.

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Trump supporters camp out in bitter cold ahead of rally

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Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 18

Fox News Flash top headlines for Dec. 18 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com

A growing crowd of Trump supporters are lining up outside in Michigan's bitterly cold weather ahead of an evening rally with President Trump that coincides with House Democrats voting to formally impeach him.

Footage from the Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek showed throngs of attendees waiting for Trump's "Merry Christmas" rally on Wednesday, but Trump's supporters reportedly started camping out as early as Monday.

“We got here about 5:30 in the morning. We’re cold. We’re very, very cold but it’s worth the wait," one woman told Fox News on Wednesday.

"It’s very cold, very cold, but we got warmers. We got hand warmers and stuff like that and so it’s worth it. It’s so worth it," another attendee said.

IMEPEACHMENT DEBATE HEATS UP ON FLOOR AS GOP OBJECTS, PELOSI SAYS TRUMP GAVE CONGRESS 'NO CHOICE'

Battle Creek city officials are reportedly expecting 10,000 attendees, which is more than the arena's capacity. The city's fire chief told a reporter that the permitted capacity is 5,400.

The Trump campaign told Fox News it expected the arena to be packed with supporters outside as well.

"I've seen a lot of rock concerts at Kellogg Arena. This is going to be the best show I've ever seen," one man said, according to Fox17.

Reporter Sarah Grimmer also posted footage a long line of Trump supporters who camped out overnight.

TRUMP APPROVAL RISES, SUPPORT FOR IMPEACHMENT DROPS IN NEW POLL

The rally is the same day that the House of Representatives debated articles of impeachment. For months, House Democrats have been pursuing an inquiry into whether Trump abused his power during a July call with Ukraine.

Trump blasted the impeachment push on Wednesday, tweeting that it as an "assault on America." Despite Washington's critical atmosphere, rally attendees told Fox News they were confident in the president and his place in the White House.

“He’s going to be stoked like the rest of us who have been here for many hours waiting for this — we got your back, president," one woman said.

IMPEACHMENT DEBATE HEATS UP ON FLOOR AS GOP OBJECTS, PELOSI SAYS TRUMP GAVE CONGRESS 'NO CHOICE'

"We’re here to support him, sir," another woman said. "You know, we're behind him 100 percent. We know that the House might obviously have favor because they have the numbers but it’s not going anywhere in the Senate."

Democrats are expected to approve impeachment along partisan lines but Senate Republicans have already indicated they wouldn't vote to remove Trump from office.

One female attendee defend Trump's conduct on the call, saying that he was trying to "look out" for Americans.

“He did what he’s supposed to do as president and that’s look out for us and make sure that when we send money to other countries it’s going to the people that it needs to go to," she said.

ROBERT RAY: SENATE MOTION TO DISMISS IMPEACHMENT CASE WOULD BE 'WELL FOUNDED'

Democrats have accused the president of trying to pressure Ukraine into helping him in the 2020 presidential election. Trump denied any wrongdoing, arguing that he was acting appropriately when he requested the eastern European nation investigate corruption concerns surrounding former Vice President Joe Biden.

Not everyone in Battle Creek is happy about Trump's visit. Protesters are expected to show up near the Sojourner Truth monument at 5 p.m. local time, according to Michigan Live. Protesters could number as high as 500 at the monument, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported. The state's Democratic Party also reportedly planned to speak outside of the event.

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Counterprotesters will also show up to defend the president. "I'll be damned if I let them ruin my president's visitation to our great city," Devon Warren, who's organizing a counterprotest, told the Battle Creek Enquirer.

"The original protesters are radical leftists that are further dividing the country, and I started the protest to deliver a good old fashioned American beat down," Warren said.

Original Article

Dems plow ahead with impeachment articles as initial vote looms

closeChairman Nadler and Ranking Member Collins deliver their opening statements at impeachment markup meetingVideo

Chairman Nadler and Ranking Member Collins deliver their opening statements at impeachment markup meeting

Representatives Nadler and Collins deliver opening remarks.

The House Judiciary Committee is poised to be the scene of another major partisan clash Thursday as lawmakers press ahead with two articles of impeachment against President Trump, ahead of an initial vote expected by day's end likely to advance the measures to the floor.

The final "markup" process began Wednesday evening, immediately breaking out into fiery disagreement. Committee Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., argued that it would be unsafe to wait until the 2020 election to remove Trump from office.

IMPEACHMENT NEEDLE NOT MOVING, MAJORITY OF VOTERS OPPOSE IMPEACHMENT

"We cannot rely on an election to solve our problems when the president threatens the very integrity of that election," Nadler claimed during Wednesday's session.

Democrats from districts that supported Trump in 2016, however, have been less enthusiastic. Recent polls have shown declining support for impeachment in key swing states, with two polls released Wednesday indicating that most Americans did not want Trump removed.

Politico reported earlier this week that the numbers were making a "small group" of moderate Democrats, who have held seats in districts where Trump won in 2016, nervous about how to vote. They instead have suggested Trump be censured, which would prevent the GOP from holding a potentially damaging Senate trial and give them political cover in the upcoming election.

The House is now composed of 431 current members, meaning Democrats would need 217 yeas to impeach Trump. There are currently 233 Democrats, so Democrats could lose only 16 of their own and still impeach the president. Among the House Democrats, 31 represent more moderate districts that Trump carried in 2016.

Freshman Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich. – who flipped a GOP district in 2018 that Trump won by seven points in 2016 – told Fox News last month that she was tentatively weighing all the evidence. On Wednesday, she confirmed that she's still undecided.

"The phones are ringing off the hook," she told CNN. "We literally can't pick up the phones fast enough — and it's people on both sides of it."

Republicans, meanwhile, have vociferously opposed the impeachment effort. The committee's ranking member, Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia, stated that Democrats have been trying to impeach Trump since he took office. He echoed the White House's argument that the impeachment was politically motivated theater, long in the works and foreshadowed openly by Democrats for months, if not years.

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He and Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., each argued that unlike previous presidents who have faced impeachment, Trump was not accused of an offense actually defined by law: neither "abuse of power" nor "obstruction of Congress" is a recognized federal or state crime. Those are the two offenses outlined in the articles of impeachment before the committee. (The separate charge of contempt of Congress, according to the DOJ's Office of Legal Counsel, exempts the president for separation-of-powers reasons.)

The markup is expected to go until Thursday afternoon. If the committee votes to approve the articles of impeachment, as expected, there will likely be an impeachment vote on the House floor in the middle of next week.

The articles center on Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to launch an investigation into his political rivals – namely, former vice president Joe Biden – while withholding aid. Democrats argue Trump wrongly used U.S. aid and the prospect of a White House meeting as leverage, but Trump denies doing so.

Fox News' Chad Pergram and Mike Emanuel contributed to this report.

Original Article