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European Council President Donald Tusk says there’s a ‘special place in hell’ for Brexiteers

Donald Tusk has blasted pro-Brexit campaigners, saying there was a “special place in hell” reserved for them for leaving the bloc “without a plan”.

The President of the European Council Wednesday insisted that the European Union wouldn’t compromise on safety in Northern Ireland.

The top Eurocrat caused uproar with his explosive comments, just as leaders are looking for a compromise deal to ensure that Brexit happens on time and as planned.

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MPs reacted with fury and accused him of deliberately pushing Britain towards No Deal.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, left, shakes hands with European Council President Donald Tusk after making a joint statement following their meeting at the Europa building in Brussels, Wednesday, Feb. 6.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, left, shakes hands with European Council President Donald Tusk after making a joint statement following their meeting at the Europa building in Brussels, Wednesday, Feb. 6. (AP)

Tusk told journalists at a press conference: “I’ve been wondering what that special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan of how to carry it out safely.”

QUEEN ELIZABETH, ROYAL FAMILY TO BE EVACUATED IF BREXIT UNREST BREAKS OUT IN LONDON, REPORTS SAY

There are just 50 days to go until Britain leaves the E.U. and “our most important task is to prevent a No Deal scenario”, he stressed.

But he said they would make “no new offer” to the U.K. to help get Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal through the House of Commons, despite MPs clearly rejecting it last month over the Northern Irish border plan.

UK PARLIAMENT SHOOTS DOWN TO DELAY BREXIT, SAYS IT COULD BACK MAY’S DEAL WITH CHANGES

The “top priority” for the bloc was to “maintain the peace process in accordance with the Good Friday Agreement”, Tusk said.

“We will not gamble with peace or put a sell-by date on the resolution. This is why we insist on the backstop,” he added.

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This article originally appeared in The Sun. For more from The Sun, click here.

Happy birthday, President Ronald Reagan — Your legacy is with us, even today

It has been 30 years since Ronald Reagan left the White House and nearly 15 since he died. As a second generation reaches adulthood since his time in Washington, it is important to remember what he meant to our country and how we still benefit.

It was not yet “morning in America” when Reagan took office. His predecessor, Jimmy Carter, talked of a national malaise. The Iranians held American hostages, and OPEC had us over a barrel. Our economy was sclerotic, and America’s foes doubted our national will – our determination to stand up for our interests and principles around the world.

Then came Reagan, a man of sunny disposition, can-do attitude and unshakeable belief in the goodness, ingenuity and determination of the American people.

RONALD REAGAN SHOWED US HOW TO DEAL WITH TODAY’S POLITICAL DEMONIZATION

His legacy is with us, even today. Communism is all but on the ash heap of history. Its last embers are dying in Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

Growth and prosperity have returned – thanks to the current administration’s Reaganesque tax cuts and deregulation.

Once again, America is pursuing – and achieving – “peace through strength,” rebuilding our worn out military and dealing with ISIS just as the Gipper would have done.

Reagan faced no shortage of detractors in his day. Many on the left sought to dismiss him as nothing more than “a B movie actor,” an intellectual lightweight.

But those who knew the man knew that was not the case at all.

Shortly before the 1988 election, Burton Yale Pines, then the senior vice president of The Heritage Foundation, wrote what he thought would be Reagan’s top legacies. His list proved prophetic. Reagan fulfilled all these predictions:

  • He restored the federal system (though some of his efforts to devolve power to the states were overturned by later administrations).
  • He launched “privatization” of government – a practice that’s still saving taxpayers billions of dollars annually.
  • He appointed judges who respected the Constitution – just as President Trump is doing today.
  • He strengthened a military that been allowed to atrophy and decay – again, an area where Trump has had to follow Reagan’s example.
  • He knew how to deal with the Russians. He proclaimed the Reagan Doctrine – that American would come to the aid of freedom fighters to throw off Soviet tyranny – and ended the Brezhnev Doctrine, which claimed that all socialist countries would fight any effort to introduce capitalism to on their turf.

Just as notably, he started the Strategic Defense Initiative, which promised to make nuclear weapons obsolete. We still don’t have a comprehensive missile defense, but Reagan’s initiative wound up making the USSR obsolete. And our continuing advances in missile defense may yet convince the North Korean regime to abandon its nuclear missile program.

But Reagan’s legacy extended beyond policy matters. He challenged us to believe in ourselves, not government, to meet our challenges. He talked to Americans about the values we all hold dear – faith and family, work and community, peace and freedom. He urged them to aspire, to be creative and heroic and forward-thinking.

And he gave voice to a healthy skepticism about the notion that Washington can solve all the nation’s problems. 

“The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.” Reagan said that in 1986, and it’s still being talked about.

A liberal Washington Post columnist recently complained that America’s “core problem is a dogmatic antigovernment attitude, reflected in Reagan’s quip. … This makes it impossible for us to have a constructive debate about what government is for, what tasks it should take on and what good it actually does.”

Actually, without Reagan, there might be no debate at all.

And without Reagan, the Soviet Union – in all its menacing malevolence – might yet exist. It was he who correctly assessed its economic and social vulnerabilities and saw a chance to end its reign of terror and tyranny.

Without Reagan, the notion that cutting taxes can lead to more growth, more prosperity and even more government revenue – the notion guiding our current economic resurgence – might never have been attempted.

Without Reagan, America’s place in the world – as the pre-eminent superpower no nation dares take on in a conventional war – might not be secure.

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As Pines noted in his essay, the 1970s was not a good time for America. Many doubted we could recover.

Ronald Reagan changed all that with commonsense policies, his unshakable faith in American ideals and the American people, and with boundless optimism. His legacy still lives, and America and the world are the richer for it.

Gillibrand tweets State of the Union eye roll to raise campaign cash, as 2020 Dems pile on president

Several Democrats running for the White House quickly criticized President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night — and used it to raise campaign cash.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York spotlighted her displeasure with the address, tweeting out C-SPAN video of her eye roll reaction GIF and asking for campaign donations.

STATE OF THE UNION: TRUMP DECRIES ‘RIDICULOUS’ INVESTIGATIONS, ‘REVENGE’ POLITICS IN UNITY APPEAL 

“Agree? Chip in $ 5 so we can put an end to this,” she tweeted.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who’s expected to formally announce her candidacy on Saturday, also made a fundraising pitch.

“We heard plenty of things in tonight’s #SOTU that made my blood boil,” she wrote on Twitter. “But it’s not enough for us to just get angry at @realDonaldTrump (again). We have to fight for the change we want to see. This is our moment – chip in now.”

One presidential contender didn’t even wait for the president’s speech to end attack Trump’s words.

“Instead of using $ 5 billion toward a useless border wall or giving America’s top 1% more tax breaks, imagine how much of our country’s crumbling infrastructure we could rebuild,” wrote Sen. Kamala Harris of California, via her campaign digital team, which took over her Twitter feed as she attended the State of the Union address.

TRUMP CALLS FOR BORDER WALL

“Just a reminder that this State of the Union Address was originally pushed back because Trump shut down the government for 35 days — the longest shutdown in U.S. history. And in fewer than 10 days, there’s a chance he will shut it down again over his vanity project,” added Harris, who announced her 2020 presidential campaign last month.

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who declared his candidacy last week, questioned the president’s push for bipartisanship.

“It takes more than a nod to unity at the top of a speech to bring our country together. Our president has spent the last 2 years trying to drive us apart. Actions speak louder than words,” Booker wrote moments after Trump’s address ended.

Former San Antonio mayor Julian Castro, who served as Housing and Urban Development secretary under President Barack Obama, live-tweeted as he watched Trump’s address.

Castro, who was a guest on the late-night program “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” argued that “the President offers a false choice: security or compassion for immigrants. We can have both. Invest in personnel, technology and secure ports of entry AND forge a path to earned citizenship for the millions of law-abiding undocumented immigrants already here.”

Unlike most of her rivals for the nomination, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii did briefly agree with the president when it came to prison and sentencing reform, tweeting: “Yes – passage of #firststepact was a major bipartisan milestone for prison reform.”

But she added, “There is much more to be done to reform our broken criminal justice system.”

And Gabbard slammed Trump’s tax cuts, saying they’ve “been a failure – tax giveaways to corporations, adding $ 1.5 trillion to the national debt and not translating to relief for working Americans or benefiting small business.”

Former Vice President Joe Biden, who’s mulling whether to launch a 2020 White House bid, took aim at the president as he complimented 2018 Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacy Abrams, who gave the Democratic Party’s response to the State of the Union address.

“Abrams achieved in a matter of minutes something Donald Trump failed to do in over an hour — to embrace and give voice to the spirit and core values that make America great,” Biden wrote on Twitter.

Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, highlighted an issue the president didn’t mention in his address.

“How can a president of the United States give a State of the Union speech and not mention climate change?” he asked on Twitter.

The progressive and populist senator from Vermont, who battled eventual nominee Hillary Clinton during the 2016 primaries and who’s weighing another White House run, disagreed with Trump’s rosy take on economic conditions:

“Despite what President Trump says, it is not ‘a hot economy’ when 43 percent of households can’t afford to pay for housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone without going into debt. That is not a hot economy.”

Former President of Costa Rice and Nobel Prize winner Óscar Arias Sánchez accused of sexual assault

Óscar Arias Sánchez, former president of Costa Rica and Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been accused of sexual assault.

The shocking claims against one of the most prominent figures in Costa Rica have been levied by psychiatrist and anti-nuclear activist Dr. Alexandra Arce von Herold, who sat with federal prosecutors for nearly three hours to file a criminal complaint on Monday, the New York Times reports.

Von Herold claims that Arias, now 78, assaulted her in his home in 2014 while she was there to discuss an important upcoming event in Vienna related to her activism in nuclear disarmament. While there, she alleges he approached her from behind, touched her breasts, put his hands up her skirt and penetrated her vaginally with his fingers.

“I just froze, and I didn’t know what to do,” she said in an interview. “I was so much in shock. That had never happened to me before.”

DEATH, DOGS AND A MISSING $ 190 MILLION: THE STRANGE CASE OF CRYPTO EXCHANGE QUADRIGACX

Arias was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987 for designing a plan to end civil war in Costa Rica, which aimed for “free elections, safeguards for human rights, and an end to foreign interference in the countries’ internal affairs,” according to their website. He served two terms as President of Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990 and 2006 to 2010. Today, he reportedly continues his activism through a foundation promoting peace and democracy.

Through his lawyer, Rodolfo Brenes, Arias issued a short statement proclaiming his innocence.

“I deny categorically the accusations made against me,” he said. “I have never acted in a way that disrespected the will of any woman.”

At the moment, Arias is facing unrelated allegations of criminal malfeasance for his connection with the approval of a gold mining project by a Canadian company in 2008 before the necessary environmental analyses had been conducted.

JUSSIE SMOLLETT ATTACK INVESTIGATORS WITHHOLDING SOME INFORMATION UNTIL THEY HAVE ‘ALL THEIR DUCKS IN A ROW’

Von Herold, who is the daughter of a legislator with Arias’s party, reportedly visited his home many times with her mother before returning to discuss the event in Vienna. She claims to have told at least 15 people about the alleged assault, including her boyfriend, mother, father and brother. In an interview, her brother said that for a week after his sister told him about the incident, “it was like she had PTSD,” he said. “She didn’t feel safe.”

At one point last year, she reportedly wrote lengthy posts on Facebook and Instagram detailing her allegations against Arias, but later deleted them at the suggestion of a Costa Rican journalist who warned her that they might have “negative repercussions.”

Leveraging such a severe claim against a man of Arias’ legacy was incomprehensible before the wave of the #MeToo movement spread through the United States, Von Herald said. After watching the allegations against prominent American figures like Bill Cosby and Harvey Weinstein unfold, she says she was finally motivated to come forward with her story when she watched gymnasts testify against Olympic team doctor Larry Nassar.

“All the other women, that did, that helped me,” she said. “So I thought maybe, maybe, I can help other people too.”

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She remains fearful of the response from Arias and the rest of her country, but said that she knew other young woman working around Arias were at risk.

“It’s the right thing to do,” she said, “even if it destroys me.”

Ex-WH staffer Cliff Sims: Leaks of Trump’s schedule ‘disgraceful,’ either serve the president or quit

The former White House staffer who raised the ire of President Donald Trump recently by writing a tell-all book about his time in the administration surprisingly sided with the president Monday in blasting a recent White House leak.

Chris Sims, author of the book “Team of Vipers,” said on the “Todd Starnes Show” that the leak of Trump’s private schedules was “disgraceful.”

“I mean, imagine working in a place where you can’t know if everything, like everything, you say may end up in the press. Everything you do may end up in the press, every kind of internal conversation about me, or whatever it is. You can’t trust anybody and that’s kind of the atmosphere in there,” Sims told Todd Starnes.

He added, “This one in particular, I think, is particularly disgraceful because it was purposefully done in a way that would portray the president as not working hard. There are a lot of legitimate criticisms of Donald Trump. That’s not one of them.”

PREVIEWING TRUMP’S STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

Last Tuesday, Trump tweeted that Sims was “a gofer,” “a mess” and “a low level staffer that I hardly knew.”

Sims also weighed in on accusations the president is racist.

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“I say that there’s nothing that I experienced in my personal time with him over two years when I thought that he was racist,” Sims told Starnes. “I do think that there are times where he’s missed some opportunities to lead on the race issue and to, you know, bring racial healing and reconciliation in a way that only the president can with that kind of bully-pulpit microphone that he has. But, I never saw a single thing behind closed doors that gave me any reason to believe that, that he’s racist.”

This past Sunday on NBC News’ “Meet the Press,” Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said “we have a president who is racist,” citing Trump’s response to the 2017 attack in Charlottesville, Va., among other things. Brown was asked for his thoughts in light of Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, apologizing but refusing to step down over a racist photo in a 1984 yearbook.

The next Obama: How the former president looms over the 2020 race

Will Democrats find another Obama?

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Washington (CNN)They’ve studied the highs and lows of his campaign. They’ve hired some of his former team, elevating young aides who cut their teeth on his race. They’ve sought advice from him directly, hoping to absorb lessons from the last senator who won an unlikely bid for the presidency.

Every ambitious Democrat eyeing the White House wants to be the next Barack Obama.
The 44th president looms in the background over the early stages of the party’s primary fight, with his candidacy providing a road map for a swelling field of candidates. He has met with most of them — even a few who have yet to announce — offering guidance from someone who has walked in their shoes.
    He plans to stay on the sidelines in the Democratic primary contest, telling friends he believes “the torch should be passed.” But he has taken calls and meetings from any prospective candidate who asked, eager to discuss challenges facing the country and what it’s like to run for — and serve in — the Oval Office.
    It’s been 12 years since Obama formally announced his candidacy, standing before a cheering crowd at the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois, where Abraham Lincoln began his political career. The 45-year-old junior senator was a rising star, but a long-shot presidential candidate.
    “I recognize that there is a certain presumptuousness in this, a certain audacity to this announcement,” Obama declared. “I know that I haven’t spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington, but I’ve been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change.”
    Victory was hardly preordained for the young senator, particularly with Hillary Clinton and other more experienced candidates in that campaign. But Obama’s ultimate success is one explanation for the large and diverse field of 2020 candidates: Strike while the iron is hot; there’s little upside to waiting.
    To be sure, the parallels between the campaigns of 2008 and 2020 have their limits.
    The party has shifted to the left, partly in response to a dissatisfaction among liberals at the record of the Obama administration. And the Democratic nominee will likely face President Donald Trump, rather than run for an open seat as Obama did in the waning years of the Bush administration, during the height of opposition to the Iraq War.
    Yet the basic lessons of that contest still apply today: Capitalizing on the highs is often the easy part, while weathering the lows — and rising above them — poses the biggest test for any candidate.

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    “Presidential races are gauntlets, and in a rough way they are supposed to be, where you simulate the kinds of pressures that people will face if they become president,” said David Axelrod, an architect of the Obama campaign. “People get a chance to judge you in those moments, and we certainly had those moments.”
    How candidates grow over the course of a campaign and recover from their mistakes may be the most important test for them. Early conventional wisdom holds little currency, particularly in this unwieldy and wide-open Democratic nominating fight.
    A poor performance in the first primary debate in South Carolina in April 2007 didn’t doom Obama’s candidacy, but it taught him that he had to work harder. He spent the next day explaining his lackluster performance, saying: “I was a little bit nervous. Not so much because it was my first presidential debate, but because we had a 60-second time limit on our answers and my wife says it takes me 60 seconds to clear my throat.”
    In fact, Obama struggled for months before finding his voice. But he also benefited from being underestimated by nearly all of his rivals, which is another telling lesson for the 2020 campaign.
    The historic nature of his candidacy and a muscular fundraising operation kept him alive as he found his own footing, which will not be a luxury afforded to all the candidates in this crowded primary lineup.
    “I did not know how he would handle the pressures of the race. We don’t know that now about any of these candidates,” said Axelrod, who is now a CNN contributor. “Some of them are going to surprise us on the upside; some of them will surprise us on the downside.”
    In the early handicapping of the Democratic field, Obama may have unique insight. He has held conversations — some stretching more than an hour — with most of the candidates.
    While aides to Obama declined to discuss specifics of the calls, two potential candidates who have spoken to the former president told CNN they found the conversations helpful, particularly about ideas for how to win back voters who supported Obama in 2008 and 2012 but turned to Trump in 2016.
    “President Obama wants to help Democrats win, and that is why he has been happy to speak privately with candidates and potential candidates seeking his guidance on the best way to lead the country,” said Katie Hill, the president’s communications director.
    “President Obama’s private counsel to candidates largely mirrors his public pronouncements that the most successful candidates will always show up, be present and make their case even in areas or in front of audiences they may not necessarily win, express views and positions that reflect their genuine beliefs and share a positive vision for the country true to their own personal story,” Hill added.
    Obama’s pledge to not endorse a candidate in the primary could be complicated by whether his former vice president, Joe Biden, decides to join the race. Biden and Obama have not had a detailed conversation about his plans, two people familiar with the matter say, but are expected to speak about it before Biden makes a decision in the coming weeks.
    Axelrod, who also served in the White House for the first two years of the Obama administration, described their relationship as “exceptionally close.”
    “Whether that would encourage President Obama to intervene in the race, I don’t know. I doubt it,” Axelrod said. “I think he’s going to allow the candidates to make their own case. He believes in the process and believes the best candidate will emerge from that process.”
      Axelrod said Obama will be watching, along with the rest of the Democratic Party, to see who grows as a candidate and emerges as the strongest contender.
      “He doesn’t believe anyone should try and dictate who that nominate should be,” Axelrod said. “In 2008, we entered as a long-shot candidate and the people of Iowa propelled Barack Obama forward. He’s going to look to see who emerges from that process and from the process in other states, rather than trying to tip the scales in favor of any candidate.”

      President Trump’s State of the Union guests to include bullied student Josh Trump, Alice Johnson

      President Donald Trump on Monday unveiled who he’s invited as guests to attend his second State of the Union address.

      The White House invited 13 people to attend the address Tuesday night on Capitol Hill. The invitees come from many different backgrounds, including a young boy who shares the same last name as the president.

      DEMOCRATS TROLL TRUMP WITH STATE OF THE UNION GUESTS

      Josh Trump, a sixth grader in Wilmington, Delaware, is scheduled to attend the address. The 11-year-old has been bullied at school because of his name, his mother has said.

      “They curse at him, they call him an idiot, they call him stupid,” Megan Trump told WPVI in December. “He said he hates himself, and he hates his last name, and he feels sad all the time.”

      Josh Trump, 11, has been bullied for having the same last name as President Trump.

      Josh Trump, 11, has been bullied for having the same last name as President Trump. (White House)

      The boy’s school acknowledged the bullying was an issue, and changed his name in their school system to his father’s name.

      ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT LINKED TO NEVADA KILLING SPREE WAS FROM EL SALVADOR, ACCORDING TO ICE

      Also among Trump’s guests are relatives of a Nevada couple who was killed — allegedly at the hands of an illegal immigrant who was employed as a landscaper at their home in Reno.

      Gerald David, 81, and Sharon David, 80, were killed on Jan. 16. Wilber Ernesto Martinez-Guzman, 19, of El Salvador, was charged last week in their deaths. Martinez-Guzman is also accused of killing Connie Koontz and Sophia Renken days earlier.

      The Davids’ relatives — Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong and Madison Armstrong — were invited to the president’s address.

      Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong and Madison Armstrong -- relatives of Gerald and Sharon David -- are scheduled to attend the State of the Union as Trump's guests.

      Debra Bissell, Heather Armstrong and Madison Armstrong — relatives of Gerald and Sharon David — are scheduled to attend the State of the Union as Trump’s guests. (White House)

      Trump tweeted about the Nevadans’ deaths after it was reported Martinez-Guzman was in the U.S. illegally, and said their murders prove the need for “a powerful wall.”

      ALICE JOHNSON: PRESIDENT TRUMP FREED ME FROM PRISON — I’M GLAD HE WANTS TO GIVE OTHER NONVIOLENT OFFENDERS THEIR FREEDOM

      Alice Johnson, the woman whose life sentence was commuted by Trump in June, is also among those set to attend.

      The 63-year-old woman’s sentence was reversed after reality TV star Kim Kardashian West took up her case and met with Trump at the White House to plead for clemency.

      Johnson promised to Fox News in June that she’d “make [Trump] proud” after he gave her a “second chance at life.”

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      “Thank you so much, President Trump, for taking the time to look at my case and to really look at me,” she said.

      Trump’s address is scheduled for Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET.

      The Associated Press contributed to this report.

      Adam Schiff, in New Hampshire, calls Trump a ‘deeply unethical president’

      BEDFORD, N.H. — House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff on Monday vowed to do everything possible to make sure Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian ties to President Trump’s 2016 campaign is made public.

      And the Democratic congressman from California slammed Trump as a “deeply unethical president.”

      MIKE BLOOMBERG, MULLING 2020 BID, VISITS NEW HAMPSHIRE AND SAYS TRUMP IS ‘FAILING AT GOVERNING’

      But Schiff, speaking in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, said “I’m not running” when asked if he was mulling a 2020 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

      Schiff traveled to New Hampshire the day after the airing of a CBS News interview in which the president would not commit to making Mueller’s report public.

      “I don’t know,” Trump said. “It depends. I have no idea what it’s going to say.”

      Federal law doesn’t require the Justice Department to release a report, and Mueller has not weighed in on the issue.

      For nearly two years, the special counsel has been investigating Russian tampering with the 2016 presidential election and whether Moscow colluded with the Trump campaign.

      House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff on Monday slammed Trump as a “deeply unethical president" during a speech in New Hampshire. (Paul Steinhauser/Fox News)

      House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff on Monday slammed Trump as a “deeply unethical president” during a speech in New Hampshire. (Paul Steinhauser/Fox News)

      Schiff said during a speech in Bedford that if “the Justice Department or the administration somehow tries to block publication of the report,” he would push to make it public.

      “This is too big to be buried. This is of too great of consequence to the country to be swept under the rug,” he added. “We are going to use every capability we have to make sure that the public gets to see the product of Mr. Mueller’s work.”

      Schiff also highlighted the president’s latest feud with his intelligence chiefs.

      CORY BOOKER JUMPS INTO 2020 WHITE HOUSE RACE

      He warned that “we are less safe because we have a president making decisions based on a fiction, based on a world that is imagining, not the world that as we see it and as we know it.”

      Last week, after reading media reports about testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Trump said “the intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naïve” when it comes to Iran and North Korea.

      Schiff claimed “the president disagrees with our intelligence experts and not because of division with the intelligence community or other sources of intelligence that the president may have, but because it just doesn’t fit with what he wants to tell us.”

      Schiff argued the president’s criticism could lead to a drying up of vital information that the intelligence agencies depend on.

      And he said that Trump is playing directly into Russian leader Vladimir Putin’s hands.

      “There’s also a risk in a president who ignores or disputes and denigrates the professionals within our intelligence community and that is it invites our enemies and our adversaries to do the same. What could be better for Vladimir Putin than a president of the United States who says ‘I don’t particularly believe our intelligence agencies. I don’t believe them when they tell me Russia interfered in our democracy.’”

      He told reporters later that “normally in a circumstance like this the president of the United States would be pushing back against the rise of authoritarianism, but this president is making common cause with the autocrats.”

      And he charged that “the most acute threat to our democracy right now comes from an administration that believes that you’re the enemy of the people. That doesn’t revere the First Amendment. That belittles the independence of our judges and denigrates the Justice Department and undermines the work of the FBI and tells friends and foes alike that our intelligence agencies can’t be trusted.”

      Schiff was speaking at “Politics and Eggs,” a speaking series that over the past two decades has become a must-stop for White House hopefuls.

      But the 10-term Democratic congressman made clear he wasn’t running, adding that “in terms of who is running and who is best positioned to defeat Trump, I think we have a lot of extraordinary candidates.”

      And he stressed that “I want these issues to be on the agenda for our candidates. I want them talking about the threat to our democracy, the threat to human rights, I want them to be defending our institutions.”

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      The Republican National Committee on Monday took aim at Schiff and his criticism of the president.

      “Rep. Adam Schiff is just another out-of-touch California Democrat looking to shove his brand of resistance on Granite Staters,” RNC spokesperson Mandi Merritt said.

      After his speech, Schiff mingled with local politicians at Manchester’s Puritan Backroom restaurant, another frequent stop for presidential contenders. Later, he headlined a house party with the Bedford Democrats.

      Asked by Fox News why he put together a New Hampshire itinerary that had the look and feel of a presidential campaign visit if he wasn’t running, Schiff said, “I’m part of a small but occasionally influential group who do speak in New Hampshire who are not running for president.”

      “Most of the speaking I’ve had over the last couple of years has been focused on trying to sound the alarm on the issues I talked about today, as well as helping shape the Democratic Party agenda and helping my House colleagues. I’ll be doing a lot of that as my day job permits,” he added.

      Most Democrats say anybody but Trump, while Republicans rally around the President

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      Washington (CNN)Most Democrats would rather have a candidate for the 2020 race who can beat President Donald Trump — even if they don’t agree with that candidate on the issues — over a candidate with whom they agree completely but who would have a hard time defeating the President, according to a Monmouth University poll released Monday.

      Republicans, meanwhile, strongly prefer Trump over other possible competitors. Around half said they’d want Trump to run unopposed for the Republican nomination. Even more Republicans prefer the current President in hypothetical matchups with potential contenders like former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (73% Trump, 14% Kasich) and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (66% Trump, 21% Cruz). Even among those Republicans who said they wanted to see Trump with primary competition, a plurality still support the President in hypothetical matchups, beating Cruz by 43% to 37% and Kasich by 47% to 33%.
      The poll was conducted a week and a half ago, before CNN hosted California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris for a town hall in Iowa and before Sen. Cory Booker, D-New Jersey, had officially declared as a candidate.
      Among the 19 possible Democratic candidates in the upcoming 2020 Democratic primary tested in the poll, former Vice President Joe Biden comes out on top with 29% support among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (16%), and Harris (11%). Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren (8%) and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke (7%) are the only other candidates to top 5% support in the poll.
        Biden, Sanders, and Warren all have the highest favorability as more Democrats know who they are than other candidates. Eight-in-10 Democrats and leaning voters have a favorable opinion of Biden, 68% of Sanders, and 57% of Warren. Fewer people know who Harris is than the top three candidates, but 46% have a favorable opinion of her. Booker (44% favorable) and former O’Rourke (41% favorable) have similar ratings.
        When asked who would they would be least likely to support, Sanders received the highest number of Democrats. While only 10% said he’s the candidate they would be least likely to support, that’s still the only candidate in the double digits, followed by 5% who reported they were least likely to vote for Biden, Warren and Harris, respectively.
          Only 38% of registered voters overall said Trump should be re-elected and 57% wanted someone else to be in office. Seventy-nine percent of Republicans want Trump to serve a second term while 94% of Democrats want someone new, and a majority of independents (55%) agree.
          The Monmouth University poll was conducted by telephone from January 25 to 27, 2019 with 735 registered voters in the United States, which has a +/- 3.6 percentage point sampling margin of error. The results in this release based on 335 registered Republicans and leaning Republican voters have a margin of error of +/- 5.4 percentage points. The results in this release based on 313 registered Democrats and leaning Democratic voters have a margin of error of +/- 5.5 percentage points.

          Trump and the State of the Union: America is angry and divided. Our president needs to bring us together

          America is the greatest country on Earth. The oldest surviving federation in the world. Our motto is E Pluribus Unum – Latin for “out of many, one.”

          Our Pledge of Allegiance includes the phrase “one nation under God, indivisible.” Stop and think about the meaning of those words we’ve all recited so many times.

          In 1776, when the Continental Congress named our country the United States of America, it replaced the name United Colonies. The word “united” has always been part of us and what has made us great.

          STEVE HILTON: MR. TRUMP, GIVE WORKING AMERICANS YOUR BRAND OF POSITIVE POPULISM AT THE STATE OF THE UNION

          Unfortunately, today the state of our union is divided. As President Trump prepares to deliver his second State of the Union address Tuesday night, we are a nation divided by race, religion, gender, income, party, and … President Trump.

          From the day he rode down the escalator in Trump Tower to announce his candidacy for president, Donald Trump has used words to divide the country and claim that our best days were behind us.

          Trump’s words of anger and condemnation have continued unabated almost every day since, and he has left our country angry and divided.

          An administration official who previewed the president’s speech said Trump’s goal is bringing our country together. That was the same goal claimed by the president last year when he promised bipartisanship to pass a $ 1.5 trillion infrastructure plan.

          The infrastructure plan never won congressional approval. And President Trump’s divide-and-conquer (or at least try to conquer) politics have never stopped.

          A divided America not only hurts us but also provides opportunities to our enemies who wish us harm. Why any leader, let alone one in the White House, would divide us and give hope to our enemies should alarm every American.

          If the goal of the State of the Union speech is bringing our country together, then the president should not focus on immigration as the main theme. The majority of Americans oppose a border wall and support immigration. But the president’s base – about one-third of the country – supports his position.

          In an excerpt released from the president’s speech, he will say: “We can bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the extraordinary promise of America’s future. The decision is ours to make.”

          Simply saying it doesn’t make it so. We have witnessed President Trump in the last few weeks alone shutting down the government, ratcheting up his anti-immigration rhetoric, and rejecting any congressional compromise that doesn’t include the border wall that the majority of Americans and many in Congress oppose.

          Finally, the president has hinted that he will announce his intention to declare a national emergency to build a wall on our southern border during his State of the Union speech. But if he truly wants to unite the country he should announce Tuesday night that he is going to sign legislation funding the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year – ensuring that there won’t be another shutdown.

          That announcement should be followed by one more stating that the president won’t declare a national emergency to build the wall.

          Instead, President Trump should convene a bipartisan congressional committee. The committee should work with experts it selects to develop a strategy to protect our borders while allowing those seeking asylum and other immigrants to be processed with their families intact.

          These simple steps would be a step in the right direction to bring our country and Congress together.

          Unfortunately, I don’t expect President Trump to do this. Instead, he will likely use his State of the Union speech to try to unify his base instead of the entire country … again.

          Trump is right about one thing in his speech: The decision is ours to make. For almost 243 years we have made the decision to become a more perfect union.

          What makes our country great is our constant journey to become better. To work hard and work together, to welcome those who seek America as their home, to believe in fairness, play by the rules, treat our neighbors as we wish to be treated, and lift everyone up rather than putting anyone down.

          We are not perfect. But when we heed our democratic principles and reject demagoguery, we make America great. And every day we can do better.

          In a well-known statement about slavery, Abraham Lincoln warned in 1858: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

          Yet, more than 40 years earlier, during the War of 1812, first lady Abigail Adams wrote a letter to Mercy Otis Warren and said: “A house divided upon itself – and upon that foundation do our enemies build their hopes of subduing us.”

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          A divided America not only hurts us but also provides opportunities to our enemies who wish us harm. Why any leader, let alone one in the White House, would divide us and give hope to our enemies should alarm every American.

          The United States of America is stronger than any one person and better than any person who seeks to divide us. That is the true state of our union. It has been true since we declared our independence from Britain and it will be true for countless years to come because the decision is ours to make.

          CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM MARY ANNE MARSH