June 06, 2017

Trump encouraged Russian hacking during Doral speech less than a year ago

TRUMP0728 PRESS1 CTJ

@alextdaugherty 

Over the weekend, the FBI arrested a suspected leaker for turning over classified documents that outlined the extent of Russian hacking efforts on voting systems, including an attempted hack on Florida officials, during the 2016 election. 

But less than 12 months ago President Donald Trump encouraged the Russians to hack into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's emails during a press conference at his golf resort in Doral.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said to a room full of TV cameras at Trump National Doral in July 2016. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

Since assuming the presidency, Trump has railed against "leakers" who provide anonymous information to news media outlets, arguing they undermine his ability to lead, after repeatedly promoting information from WikiLeaks during the campaign that was obtained through leaks.  

During a rollicking hour of back-and-forth round of questioning from the press in Doral, Trump flippantly promoted the idea of Russian involvement in Clinton's email server. 

“They probably have her 33,000 e-mails that she lost and deleted because you'd see some beauties there,” he said. “So let's see.”

Trump surrogates characterized his comments as a joke after the speech. 

Jason Miller, Trump's communications adviser at the time, said Trump was not calling for Russia to hack Clinton but to hand over emails to the FBI if they had them.

“To be clear, Mr. Trump did not call on, or invite, Russia or anyone else to hack Hillary Clinton’s e-mails today,” Miller said on Twitter. “Trump was clearly saying that if Russia or others have Clinton’s 33,000 illegally deleted emails, they should share them.”

But in order for Russia to have the emails, the government would have likely needed to engage in hacking if Clinton declined to hand them over on her own free will. 

The arrest of Reality Winner, a 25-year-old intelligence contractor, is the first leak case that led to an arrest under President Trump. The FBI said Monday that Winner had contact with a news outlet and the FBI announced Winner's arrest, which occurred last weekend, about an hour after national security website The Intercept published a story based on classified documents. The documents, which were partially redacted, outlined the ways in which Russian hackers attempted to obtain voting information using emails. 

A Herald/Times story from September 2016 said the FBI was investigating a "malicious act" against election supervisors throughout Florida. There is currently no evidence that Russian hacking efforts altered votes in the 2016 election. 

Barack Obama brought nine or 10 leak-related prosecutions during his eight years in office, about twice as many that were brought under every previous presidency. 

 

February 01, 2017

Invalid votes for president spike in Florida, outnumbering Trump's margin of victory here

From Gary Fineout at the Associated Press:

Beyoncé, Tim Tebow or the Norse god Thor for prez? Those were some of Florida's more unusual picks for president this past election.

And the number of Florida voters who didn't cast a vote for either Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or any other valid contender spiked in 2016, apparently in protest over the ballot choices.

A report released by state officials Wednesday showed more than 161,000 Florida voters who took part in the elections either at the polls or by mail didn't cast a valid vote for president.

The "non-valid votes" include those who wrote in such names as Mickey Mouse or Bernie Sanders and others who simply left the ballot blank. It also includes those who voted for more than one candidate.

All told, the invalid ballots outnumbered Republican Trump's margin of victory over Democrat Clinton of nearly 113,000 votes to clinch Florida's 29 electoral votes.

And the rate of invalid votes for president in 2016 — 1.69 percent overall — was more than double the rate it was in 2012 and 2008 when President Barack Obama won the state each time.

"There were some people who were very disgruntled," said Orange County Supervisor of Elections Bill Cowles, giving the read of some fellow election officials on the report.

More here.

January 17, 2017

Congressman Alcee Hastings boycotts Donald Trump's inauguration

Alcee2AP

@amysherman1

U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings will not attend Donald Trump's inauguration.

Hastings will spend the day in his district instead, spokesman Evan Polisar said. Hastings, who lives in Delray Beach, represents portions of Broward, Palm Beach and Hendry counties. Hastings rallied African-Americans to support Hillary Clinton in 2016.

The other two Democrats who represent Broward -- Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Weston and Ted Deutch of Boca Raton -- will both attend the inauguration. Wasserman Schultz will attend the Women's March on Washington Saturday and is co-hosting a breakfast before the march.

Here is Hastings' statement:

“I have decided to boycott the Inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump and remain in my Congressional district in Florida. This decision is not a protest of the results of the Electoral College, but rather, an objection to the demagoguery that continues to define the incoming administration.

“President-elect Trump has done little to prove that he is ready to lead this country. Instead, he continues to champion divisiveness. The office of the President is not endowed with unquestioned loyalty, and it is the obligation of each and every American to speak out against injustices however big or small. I cannot play a part in normalizing the countless offensive comments that he has made throughout the past year.

“It is quite simply wrong for the President-elect to use his position of power to continue to make racist, sexist, and bigoted statements, to demean those who have spent their lifetimes championing civil rights, such as Rep. John Lewis, and to ridicule religious minorities, ethnic minorities, and anyone who looks different. President-elect Trump continues to denigrate the American intelligence community, jeopardizing the security of the American people, and has clear, undeniable conflicts of interest in violation of Article 1, Section 9 of the Constitution, designed to prevent foreign influence over American elected officials. Make no mistake: these behaviors are not, nor can they ever be, considered normal.

“President-elect Trump has made it clear that when given the choice, he stands with Vladimir Putin. I choose to stand with Rep. John Lewis, and every American that expects our President to serve with compassion and humility. If the Trump administration continues to champion illegal, unconstitutional, or other ideas that put the safety of the American people at risk, it will find no harsher critic than me.”

 

December 29, 2016

PolitiFact Florida: Top 10 viewed fact-checks in 2016

Trump_pointing_miami

@amysherman1

Donald Trump’s wealth and Hillary Clinton’s record as Secretary of State were some of the contentious topics in 2016 that fueled our most clicked-on fact-checks at PolitiFact Florida.

Also fueling our Truth-O-Meter were statements by two of Florida’s Republican presidential primary opponents -- former Gov. Jeb Bush and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio-- as well as former Democratic National Committee chair U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

But it was a story about race and murder statistics that we wrote in 2015 hat drew the most clicks in 2016. Our story explained that FBI data shows that whites usually kill whites, and blacks usually kill blacks. In recent years, these statistics have repeatedly drawn interest in the aftermath of high-profile shooting deaths in which race was a factor.

Here’s a look at the most-clicked on fact-checks and articles we published in 2016 from PolitiFact Florida.

December 28, 2016

PolitiFact: The Top 10 fact-checks in 2016

TRUMP_STANDINGvegasdebatenyt

@lindaqiu

President-elect Donald Trump’s business record and Hillary Clinton’s email practices were some of the most contentious issues of the 2016 election — and some of PolitiFact’s most popular reports of the year.

In addition to our fact-checks, readers clicked on special reports and roundups. The perennial reader-favorite examining whether Ted Cruz being born in Canada had any bearing on his presidential eligibility fetched nearly a million views. Our guide to viral graphics contrasting Clinton and Bernie Sanders was a hit during the Democratic primary. And we drew tons of eyeballs for our live fact-checking and round-ups of the presidential debates.

Out of over 1,100 fact-checks related to this presidential cycle, here are the most clicked-on fact-checks of the past 12 months.

Keep reading from PolitiFact.

 

December 21, 2016

Clinton's team feared Rubio more than Trump - until it was too late

via @learyreports

It’s not news that Hillary Clinton’s campaign viewed Marco Rubio with some fear. Democratic emails apparently stolen by the Russians showed Clinton’s team was impressed with the Floridian. “He gives a good speech, and sounded more reasonable, populist than a GOP candidate …” read one email.

Now comes evidence that Clinton considered him more of a threat than Donald Trump — if the size of opposition research books mean anything.

The Trump oppo book was a mere 157 pages, while one for Ted Cruz was 201 pages. Rubio’s was 431 pages.

The details were contained in a Vanity Fair story about the “desperate, year-long hunt to find Donald Trump’s rumored Apprentice outtakes.”

While Cruz was clearly a possible contender, many in the room agreed that Rubio, with his youth and charisma, posed the most considerable challenge. And then there was Trump, who was characterized in the meeting under “the four B’s”: a bully, a bigot, a bad businessman, and—as some staffers noted—not a billionaire. (There was discussion of a fifth B, which, in typical Democratic jargon, was “blithe.”) Trump’s oppo book was slim not because Clinton staffers had missed details regarding his divorces or corporate bankruptcies. It was short because they didn’t think he had much of a chance of winning the G.O.P. nomination.

December 13, 2016

PolitiFact: Lie of the Year for 2016 is fake news

Lieofyeartrophypic

@angieholan 

Ignoring the facts has long been a staple of political speech. Every day, politicians overstate some statistic, distort their opponents’ positions, or simply tell out-and-out whoppers. Surrogates and pundits spread the spin.

Then there’s fake news, the phenomenon that is now sweeping, well, the news. Fake news is made-up stuff, masterfully manipulated to look like credible journalistic reports that are easily spread online to large audiences willing to believe the fictions and spread the word.

In 2016, the prevalence of political fact abuse – promulgated by the words of two polarizing presidential candidates and their passionate supporters – gave rise to a spreading of fake news with unprecedented impunity.

Fake news: Hillary Clinton is running a child sex ring out of a pizza shop.

Fake news: Democrats want to impose Islamic law in Florida.

Fake news: Thousands of people at a Donald Trump rally in Manhattan chanted, "We hate Muslims, we hate blacks, we want our great country back."

None of those stories – and there are so many more like them – is remotely true.

Keep reading from PolitiFact.

November 30, 2016

Analysis shows Miami voters crossed party lines to support Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen -- and Clinton

An new analysis of how Florida's congressional districts voted in November by Democratic data guru Matt Isbell shows that voters crossed party lines heavily in two Miami-Dade districts to re-elect Republican incumbents, despite overwhelmingly support for Democrat Hillary Clinton. Florida Congressional Districts Trump v Clinton

Isbell's data shows that if voters who supported Clinton had stuck with Democrats in the congressional vote, there would be 14 Repubicans in Florida's congressional delegation and 13 Democrats, instead of 16-11 split that was elected.

The principle takeaway: the partisan battleground lies in Miami but the battle grounds are already clear for 2018: newly-elected Democratic Congressman Charlie Crist better be wary, his district barely embraced Clinton; and Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart's Miami district also only narrowly gave Trump the edge. 

The crossover votes came in Miami District 26, where Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo fended off a challenge from his former rival, Democrat Joe Garcia 53 to 41 percent, with independent Jose Peixoto getting 6 percent of the vote. In Miami District 27, where Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen kept her decades long hold on an otherwise Democratic district by defeating Democrat Mark Fuhrman 55 to 45 percent. 

Here's the breakdown via Matt Isbell of @mcimaps: 

Continue reading "Analysis shows Miami voters crossed party lines to support Curbelo and Ros-Lehtinen -- and Clinton" »

November 17, 2016

Could states do end run around Electoral College system?

Ballot_boxes_and_salute

@amysherman1

After Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but Donald Trump won the electoral college,activists renewed a push to revamp the system by which the presidency is awarded.

An article posted on the progressive website The Daily Kos described the effort this way:

"Eliminating the Electoral College does not even require a constitutional amendment. An effort known as The National Popular Vote Interstate Compact is an agreement among several U.S. states and the District of Columbia to award all their respective electoral votes to whichever presidential candidate wins the overall popular vote. Once states totaling 270 electoral votes join the compact -- which only requires passing state laws -- then the next presidential election will be determined the the popular vote, not the Electoral College."

Is it possible to eliminate the Electoral College without amending the Constitution?

We wanted to get to the bottom of that claim. Little did we know we were diving into a legal nerd fest.

We aren’t going to referee all of the arguments about the practical implications and the potential pitfalls of changing how we elect the president. But we will summarize some of the key arguments. Ultimately, we found that the proposal makes sense in concept, but it’s not clear whether courts would allow the plan to go forward.

Keep reading from PolitiFact Florida.

(Photo by Shelby Lum/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

November 15, 2016

Pew: Cubans were twice as likely than other Florida Hispanics to back Trump

@PatriciaMazzei

Cuban-American voters in Florida were about twice as likely to vote for Donald Trump than other Hispanics in the nation's largest swing state, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center.

The analysis, based on National Election Pool exit-poll data from last week's election, found 54 percent of Cuban-American voters backed Clinton, compared to 41 percent who favored Hillary Clinton. In contrast, non-Cuban Hispanics split for Clinton by 71-26 percent.

According to Pew, Clinton won Florida's non-Cuban Hispanics by 45 percentage points. She lost the state's Cuban Americans by 13 points.

The polling firm Latino Decision has cautioned against relying too much on exit-poll data when it comes to Hispanic voters, noting that the numbers released last Tuesday seemed to give Trump much more Latino support than pollsters could explain. Early exit-poll data showed between 52 and 54 percent of Florida Cuban Americans backing Trump.

During the campaign, one poll of Florida Hispanics found Cuban Americans evenly divided between Trump and Clinton. But then Trump made a significant push to win them over. Cuban Americans make up nearly three-quarters of Miami-Dade's registered Republicans.

In all, 35 percent of Florida Hispanics went for Trump -- down from 39 percent for Mitt Romney in 2012, Pew found.