US Federal Appeals Court Rules Against Political Ad Law

A Maryland law approved by state legislators to prevent foreign interference in local elections is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment, a federal appeals court has ruled.

A three-judge panel of the Richmond, Virginia-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that the law targets political expression and compels certain speech, and affirmed a lower court’s ruling to strike down the law.

Circuit Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III wrote that the changing nature of elections and novel technological challenges have made it harder for states to manage elections. But, he wrote, the legislation approved by Maryland’s General Assembly in 2018 went too far.

“Despite its admirable goals, the Act reveals a host of First Amendment infirmities: a legislative scheme with layer upon layer of expressive burdens, ultimately bereft of any coherent connection to an offsetting state interest of sufficient import,” Wilkinson wrote in the ruling released Friday.

The law’s sweeping scope sparked a First Amendment outcry from more than a half dozen newspapers, including The Washington Post and The Baltimore Sun.

Newspapers’ arguments

The newspapers and the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association argued in a lawsuit the the statute violates the First Amendment because it requires them to collect and self-publish information about the sponsors of online political ads. It also requires them to keep records of the ads for inspection by the state Board of Elections.

“In the end, each banner feature of the Act — the fact that it is content-based, targets political expression, and compels certain speech — poses a real risk of either chilling speech or manipulating the marketplace of ideas,” Wilkinson wrote.

In January, U.S. District Judge Paul Grimm ruled that parts of the law appeared to encroach on the First Amendment and granted a preliminary injunction to prevent the state from enforcing those provisions.

One provision required online platforms to create a database identifying the purchasers of online political ads and how much they spend. The law, written to catch ads in smaller state and local elections, applied to digital platforms with 100,000 or more monthly visitors.

That made the threshold in the Maryland law very broad when compared to a similar law in New York, which applies to digital platforms with at last 70 million monthly visitors.

The newspapers contended the law amounted to the government telling the press what to publish, which violates the First Amendment. They also argued the law wouldn’t prevent the kind of foreign interference seen during the 2016 election, when free postings on social media — not paid political ads on newspaper websites — were the primary means used to try to sow discord in the U.S. electorate.

More than a dozen news organizations and press advocacy groups, including The Associated Press, filed legal briefs supporting the newspapers’ challenge.

State arguments

The state argued that the law does not infringe on the newspapers’ right to exercise their editorial control and judgment.

“These modest burdens do not outweigh the State’s important interests in electoral transparency, deterring corruption, enforcing the substantive requirements of the campaign finance laws, and protecting against foreign meddling in the State’s elections,” Assistant Attorney General Andrea Trento wrote in a legal brief.

Raquel Coombs, a spokeswoman for Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, wrote in an email Monday that the attorney general’s office was reviewing the decision.
 

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Trump Relies on Strong US Economy in Reelection Bid

As 2019 draws to a close, the U.S. economy is posting strong numbers, capping a remarkable 11-year streak of expansion. President Donald Trump argues that’s why he deserves to win reelection in 2020. But as VOA’s Ardita Dunellari explains, there are dangers ahead that could rattle both the economy and the president’s reelection message.

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House Judiciary Committee to Hear Evidence as Impeachment Vote Nears

Democratic and Republican lawyers are set to present evidence Monday to members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee as the panel moves toward a possible vote this week on articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.

The hearing is scheduled to include presentations from lawyers from both the Judiciary Committee and the House Intelligence Committee.

Watch the hearing live

The White House will not be participating.  White House Counsel Pat Cipollone criticized the impeachment inquiry unfolding in the Democrat-majority House of Representatives as “completely baseless” and called potential impeachment articles “a reckless abuse of power.”

Trump posted Tweets Sunday labeling the process a “witch hunt,” a “hoax,” and lacking due process, while also sharing numerous posts from others saying he was being treated unfairly.

Democrats say the evidence against the president is clear.

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Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told CNN that Trump would be found guilty in “three minutes flat” if he were facing charges before a criminal court jury that he abused his office by soliciting Ukraine to investigate one of his chief 2020 Democratic presidential challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Nadler said if Trump “had any exculpatory evidence,” he would be making it known rather than rejecting participation in the hearings.

It is not clear how many articles of impeachment Democrats plan to bring against Trump, but Nadler said the Judiciary Committee could vote on them by the end of the week.

The issue would then move to the full House of Representatives where its Democratic majority would be widely expected to approve them, as early as the Christmas recess, sending the impeachment process to the Republican-led Senate for a trial in January.  Two-thirds of the Senate would need to vote to convict Trump and remove him from office, which remains unlikely given the support he retains among members of his party.

There is some division among Democrats about whether to limit impeachment articles to allegations Trump abused his power by asking a foreign government for help in a U.S. election and obstruction for White House refusal to turn over key documents and allow key Trump aides to testify in the investigation, or to expand to include allegations Trump sought to obstruct special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Trump could be the third U.S. president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in the mid-19th century and Bill Clinton two decades ago, although both were acquitted in Senate trials and remained in office. Former President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 in the face of certain impeachment in the Watergate political corruption scandal and cover-up.

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Biden Campaign Attacks Trump Policy on Saudi Arabia, North Korea

Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign launched new attacks on Donald Trump on Sunday, advocating a reevaluation of U.S.-Saudi relations and calling North Korea’s apparent weapons test a “rebuke” to the U.S. president in a statement to Reuters.

The statement comes as Trump faces pressure to examine his administration’s approach to Riyadh after law enforcement officials said a Saudi Arabian Air Force lieutenant killed three people at a U.S. Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, before being fatally shot.

The man was on the base as part of a Navy training program designed to foster links with foreign allies.

Authorities said they believe the man acted alone. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Trump on Sunday the kingdom would aid an investigation into the shooting, the Saudi state news agency reported.

Still, the incident put a spotlight on the Trump administration’s warm ties with the Saudis as fallout continues from the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year at a Saudi consulate in Turkey, as well as Saudi involvement in the war in Yemen and tensions with Middle East rival Iran.

In a statement emailed to Reuters, Biden campaign spokesman TJ Ducklo said the Trump administration has written Saudi’s kingdom “a blank check to act with impunity around the world.”

Biden would “reevaluate our relationship with Saudi Arabia to ensure it is fully aligned with American values and priorities” if he beats Trump in a November 2020 election, Ducklo said. Biden believes the investigation into the Florida shooting should run its course, the spokesman added.

Ducklo also said a test at North Korea’s Sohae rocket-testing ground after Trump called U.S.-North Korean relations “very good” were a “clear rebuke to Trump” and showed that “Trump’s made-for-TV summits have achieved little, while North Korea continues to advance its dangerous capabilities.”

He added that Biden, as president, “won’t be sending Kim Jong Un any love letters,” a reference to an exchange of personal correspondence between Trump and Kim since their first summit in Singapore in June 2018, when the North Korean leader pledged to dismantle the missile installation where its latest test took place.

Trump’s reelection campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Sunday.

The former vice president has been highlighting his foreign policy credentials as he battles rivals for his Democratic party’s presidential nomination but also as he looks ahead to an election fight against Trump. In a widely viewed video posted online on Wednesday, Biden characterized the sitting president as a joke among world leaders.

Trump’s presidential campaign was based partly on the argument that other countries were taking advantage of the United States due to diplomacy Biden advocated when he was Barack Obama’s vice president.
 

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Elizabeth Warren Discloses Details of Past Legal Work, Showing $2M in Compensation

Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren released information on Sunday about her past legal work, showing nearly $2 million in compensation from dozens of clients, as a dispute intensified with her rival Pete Buttigieg over transparency.

Warren, a leading candidate among the 15 Democrats vying for the party’s nomination to take on President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election, had already put out 11 years of tax returns in April and called on other candidates to follow suit.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has said in recent days that Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, should release older tax documents detailing her corporate legal work.

In return, Warren has called on Buttigieg to allow media coverage of his private donor events and to disclose information about his past work at the consultancy company McKinsey. Warren does not hold big-ticket fundraisers and has focused her campaign on combating Washington corruption and corporate greed.

Democratic presidential candidate South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaks during the Iowa Farmers Union Presidential Forum, Dec. 6, 2019, in Grinnell, Iowa.

Buttigieg’s campaign said on Saturday it was working on making the details of his employment at McKinsey “fully transparent” and called on Warren to match that by releasing her tax returns covering her corporate legal work.

On Sunday, in a 15-page document, Warren’s campaign provided examples of her legal work, some of which dated back to 1985, in capacities including as a counsel, consultant and expert witness, giving information about the cases and how much she was compensated.

The document included dozens of cases, some of which Warren took on a pro-bono basis and was not compensated for. In some cases, she worked with a group of consultants. The document showed a total of nearly $2 million in compensation.

A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll on Thursday showed that support for Warren dropped nationally to its lowest level in four months, as she came under attack over her proposal to extend government-paid healthcare to all Americans, deemed too costly by her rivals for the nomination.

Warren, 70, is still among the leaders in opinion polls in Iowa, which kicks off the Democratic nominating contests on Feb. 3, and in other early voting states. Buttigieg, 37, who had campaign stops this weekend in Iowa, has surged into the lead in recent opinion polls there.

 

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Nadler: ‘Rock Solid Case’ for Trump’s Impeachment

The leader of the House of Representatives committee weighing articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump contended Sunday that there is a “rock solid case” against the U.S. leader.

Congressman Jerrold Nadler declared on CNN that Trump would be found guilty in “three minutes flat” if he were facing charges before a criminal court jury that he abused his office by soliciting Ukraine to investigate one of his chief 2020 Democratic presidential challengers, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Nadler said if Trump “had any exculpatory evidence,” he would be making it known rather than rejecting participation, as the White House has, before the Democratic-controlled House Judiciary Committee’s consideration of impeachment allegations against the Republican president.

Nadler said the Judiciary panel, after a hearing Monday on evidence already collected by the House Intelligence Committee on Trump and his aides’ interactions with Ukraine, could possibly vote on the articles of impeachment by the end of the week. The full House then could be on track to impeach Trump before it recesses for its annual Christmas holiday break in two weeks, setting the stage for a January trial in the Republican-majority Senate, although Trump’s conviction and removal from office remains unlikely.

But Nadler declined to speculate on how many articles of impeachment will be brought against Trump and their content.

There is a division among the majority House Democrats advancing the impeachment case against Trump on whether to limit the allegations to abuse of power (asking a foreign government for help in a U.S. election) and obstruction of Congress (for refusing to turn over key documents related to Ukraine and to allow key Trump aides to testify) or to also include allegations that Trump sought to obstruct special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy speaks in Kyiv, Dec. 4, 2019.

Some more moderate Democratic lawmakers who won seats in the current session of Congress by capturing districts that Trump won in the 2016 presidential election have sought to limit the articles of impeachment to Ukraine, centered on his July 25 telephone request to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “to do us a favor,” to investigate Biden, his son Hunter Biden’s work for a Ukrainian natural gas company and whether Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election Trump won, not Russia, as the U.S. intelligence community concluded.

More vocal Trump opponents among House Democrats say they want to include allegations related to Trump’s actions during the Mueller investigation.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told the CBS “Face the Nation” show on Sunday that he thinks it is best to focus the impeachment charges on Ukraine.

“It’s always been my strategy … to charge those that there is the strongest and most overwhelming evidence and not try to charge everything, even if you could charge other things,” Schiff said.

Trump’s request to Zelenskiy for the Biden investigations came at a time he was temporarily withholding $391 million in military assistance from Kyiv it wanted to help fight pro-Russian separatists in the eastern part of the country, although Trump in September released the aid without Zelenskiy announcing any investigations.

Twenty years ago, when a Democratic president, Bill Clinton, was facing impeachment for lying about an affair he had with a White House intern, Nadler said the impeachment case against Clinton would lack legitimacy if it was almost entirely supported by Republicans and few Democrats, as was the case.

No current Republicans have supported the impeachment effort against Trump. Asked whether he was comfortable with such a Democrats’-only impeachment vote against Trump, Nadler said of Republicans, “It’s up to them to decide whether they want to be patriots or partisans.”

Trump has almost daily vented his wrath against the impeachment effort, even as his legal team has rejected Nadler’s invitation for it to participate in the Judiciary Committee’s hearings this week.

Trump said Sunday on Twitter, “Less than 48 hours before start of the Impeachment Hearing Hoax, on Monday, the No Due Process, Do Nothing Democrats are, believe it or not, changing the Impeachment Guidelines because the facts are not on their side. When you can’t win the game, change the rules!” It was not immediately clear what rules Trump was referring to.

Less than 48 hours before start of the Impeachment Hearing Hoax, on Monday, the No Due Process, Do Nothing Democrats are, believe it or not, changing the Impeachment Guidelines because the facts are not on their side. When you can’t win the game, change the rules!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 8, 2019

One of Trump’s most vocal Republican supporters in the House, Congressman Mark Meadows, noted in another CNN interview that Trump’s request to Zelenskiy for the Biden investigations made no mention of a reciprocal deal for the military assistance Kyiv wanted.

“It’s appropriate to make sure nothing was done wrong in Ukraine,” Meadows said of Trump’s call for investigating Biden and his son. He said that “to give [Biden] a free pass, that’s just not appropriate.”

Trump could be the third U.S. president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in the mid-19th century and Clinton two decades ago, although both were acquitted in Senate trials and remained in office. Former President Richard M. Nixon resigned in 1974 in the face of certain impeachment in the Watergate political corruption scandal and cover-up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Biden Calls Sanders’ Pitch to Leverage Israel Aid ‘Bizarre’

OELWEIN, IOWA – Joe Biden said Saturday that it is “bizarre” for Bernie Sanders to propose withholding U.S. military aid from Israel if the government there doesn’t moderate its treatment of Palestinians.

The remarks highlight a nuanced but significant distinction between the Democratic presidential contenders. Biden and Sanders support a “two-state solution” for Israel and the Palestinians, and both men have criticized political leaders on each side of the long-standing conflict. But Biden’s take, offered during a question-and-answer session with Iowa voters, hewed a more traditional U.S. establishment line by reaffirming a financial commitment to Israel regardless of its actions toward Palestinians.

The former vice president, while casting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “counterproductive” and “extreme right” leader and accused Palestinian leaders of fomenting'' the conflict andbaiting everyone who is Jewish,” while suggesting that some on the U.S. political left give the Palestinian Authority a pass'' when criticizing Israeli leadership.<br /><br />
"In terms of Bernie and others who talk about dealing with Zionism, I strongly support Israel as an independent Jewish state,'' Biden said in rural northeastern Iowa. He added,
The idea that I’d withdraw military aid, as others have suggested, from Israel, is bizarre. I would not do that. It’s like saying to France, Because you don't agree with us, we're going to kick you out of NATO.''<br /><br />
Sanders, a Vermont senator, elevated the matter in late October when he said the U.S. should ``leverage'' its billions of dollars in annual Israeli aid. ``My solution is to say to Israel:
You get $3.8 billion every year. If you want military aid, you’re going to have to fundamentally change your relationship to the people of Gaza.’ In fact, I think it is fair to say that some of that should go right now into humanitarian aid.”

Netanyahu said Thursday, despite warnings from the International Criminal Court, that he has the full right'' to annex the Jordan Valley altogether if it chooses, and he said he discussed annexation this week in a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.<br /><br />
The Palestinians seek all the West Bank, captured by Israel in 1967, as the heartland of their hoped-for state. The Jordan Valley comprises about a quarter of the West Bank and is one of the few open areas that could be redeveloped by the Palestinians. Israel counters that the area is vital to its security. President Donald Trump's administration aligns closely with Netanyahu, already recognizing Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights. Democrats, especially in the party's progressive flank, have become increasingly critical of Netanyahu and the long-standing U.S. alliance with the Jerusalem government.<br /><br />
Biden on Saturday called it
a serious mistake, a fundamental mistake for the occupation of the West Bank now to become annexed property,” and he chided Netanyahu for a lurch to the extreme right'' as a means "to keep control.''<br /><br />
But Biden had perhaps even harsher words for the Palestinian Authority, seemingly blaming them for a failure to reach new peace accords
and get 98% of what they wanted” when President Barack Obama was in office with Biden as his top lieutenant.

“They continued to insist on baiting everyone who is Jewish, saying they would not sign a deal with a Jewish state, will not recognize one even if we have an independent nation,” Biden said.

Biden said that, as president, he’d continue to push Israel to accept a Palestinian state, but added that he’s “tired of everybody giving the Palestinian Authority a pass … as if they’re not continuing to foment all of this.”

 

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In Florida, Trump Says He’s Israel’s Best Pal in White House

President Donald Trump said Saturday that Israel has never had a better friend in the White House than him because, unlike his predecessors, “I kept my promises.”

Trump energized an audience that numbered in the hundreds at the Israeli American Council National Summit in Florida by recounting his record on issues of importance to Jews, including an extensive riff on his promise to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and relocate the U.S. Embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Trump said his predecessors only paid lip service to the issue.

“They never had any intention of doing it, in my opinion,” Trump said. “But unlike other presidents, I kept my promises.”

Trump also highlighted his decision to reverse more than a half-century of U.S. policy in the Middle East by recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the strategic highlands on the border with Syria.

Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in the 1967 Mideast war but its sovereignty over the territory had not been recognized by the international community.

In his speech, the president also claimed there are some Jewish people in America who don’t love Israel enough.

“We have to get the people of our country, of this country, to love Israel more, I have to tell you that. We have to do it. We have to get them to love Israel more,” Trump said, to some applause. “Because you have Jewish people that are great people – they don’t love Israel enough.”

Aaron Keyak, the former head of the National Jewish Democratic Council, denounced Trump’s remarks as anti-Semitic.

“Trump’s insistence on using anti-Semitic tropes when addressing Jewish audiences is dangerous and should concern every member of the Jewish community – even Jewish Republicans,” Keyak said.

Trump has been accused of trafficking in anti-Semitic stereotypes before, including in August, when he said American Jews who vote for Democrats show “either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty.” A number of Jewish groups noted at the time that accusations of disloyalty have long been made against Jews.

The Israeli American Council is financially backed by one of Trump’s top supporters, the husband-and-wife duo of Miriam and Sheldon Adelson, a Las Vegas casino magnate.

Both Adelsons appeared on stage to introduce Trump, with Miriam Adelson asserting that Trump “has already gone down in the annals of Jewish history, and that is before he’s even completed his first term in office.”

The Adelsons donated $30 million to Trump’s campaign in the final months of the 2016 race. They followed up by donating $100 million to the Republican Party for the 2018 congressional elections.

Trump’s entourage at the event included Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, along with Republican Reps. Jim Jordan and Michael Waltz, whom he described as “two warriors” defending him against “oppression” in the impeachment inquiry.

Trump criticized Israel’s sworn enemy, Iran, saying he withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal with other world powers because Tehran must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon.

But Trump voiced support for Iranian citizens who have been protesting a decision by their government to withdraw fuel subsidies, which sent prices skyrocketing.

Trump said he believes thousands of Iranians have been killed in the protests and that thousands more have been arrested.

“America will always stand with the Iranian people in their righteous struggle for freedom,” he said.

The president introduced his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who has played a leading role in helping the administration craft its Mideast peace plan.

A self-described deal-maker, Trump said he had long been told that achieving peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be the hardest deal of all.

But “if Jared Kushner can’t do it, it can’t be done,” Trump said.

The White House has said its Mideast peace plan is complete and had promised to release it after Israeli elections in September. The long-delayed plan remains under wraps, and Israel appears headed for its third round of elections this year.

The plan also is facing rejection by Palestinian officials, who object to the pro-Israel leanings of the Trump administration.

During his speech, Trump also name-dropped Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., criticizing her for supporting the “BDS” movement against Israel: boycott, divest and sanction. In August, at Trump’s urging, Israel denied Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., entry to the country over their support for the BDS movement. Omar and Tlaib are the first two Muslim women elected to Congress and outspoken critics of Israel over its treatment of Palestinians.

“My administration strongly opposes this despicable rhetoric,” Trump said. “As long as I am your president, it makes no difference. It’s not happening.”

Before addressing the Israeli American Council summit, Trump spoke at the Florida Republican Party’s Statesman’s Dinner in nearby Aventura. The state GOP closed the event to media coverage.
 

 

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Bloomberg: His News Reporters Need to Accept Restrictions

Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg says employees at his news organization need to accept restrictions with their paycheck, including the ban on investigating their boss.

Bloomberg, billionaire founder of Bloomberg News, was asked in a CBS News interview about rules put in place when he announced his candidacy: The organization’s reporters are not allowed to probe him and his finances, or any of his Democratic rivals.

Bloomberg News says the restriction does not apply to President Donald Trump as the government’s leader. That prompted Trump’s campaign to say it would not allow Bloomberg reporters to cover its events.

“We just have to learn to live with some things,” Bloomberg told CBS. His reporters “get a paycheck. But with your paycheck comes some restrictions and responsibilities.”

He said that people have said to him, “‘how can you investigate yourself?’ And I said, Ï don’t think you can.”’ He noted that Bloomberg News subscribers also get access to campaign news from The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.

With his comments, the former New York mayor “puts the journalists who work for him in an extremely uncomfortable, tenuous position,” said Lynne Adrine, a Washington-based journalism professor for Syracuse University.

 As the owner of Bloomberg News, which started in 1990, Bloomberg has the right to do as he wants, she said.

“Yet, I don’t think that’s the take-away journalism consumers need at this time,” Adrine said.

Bloomberg reporter Mark Niquette is covering Bloomberg’s campaign. On Friday, he posted a story about remarks Bloomberg made in the CBS interview, including about the news organization’s policy.

Earlier this week, he wrote about Bloomberg’s campaign stop in Mississippi, where the candidate talked about his apology for New York City’s stop-and-frisk policing tactics when he was mayor.

The Bloomberg company had no comment Friday on what the candidate said.

Kathleen Culver, a professor of journalism ethics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, said she’s concerned about the extent to which Bloomberg reporters feel intimidated about their boss’ remarks.

Culver said she understands Bloomberg’s reluctance to step fully away from the company he created, but he might want to look at ways to completely disassociate himself with Bloomberg News at this time.

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Doctor’s Report Says Elizabeth Warren ‘In Excellent Health’

Elizabeth Warren “is in excellent health,” according to a doctor’s report released by the Massachusetts senator on Friday, becoming the first in a trio of top Democratic presidential candidates over 70 to make their medical records public.
                   
Warren’s last physical was in January and was conducted by Dr. Beverly Woo, who said she has served as the candidate’s primary care physician since 1999. Woo, from Boston, wrote in a one-page letter dated this week that Warren’s “only medical condition” is an underactive thyroid gland, which is easily treated by medication, the only kind she takes.
                   
The senator , 70, is up to date on some important protective health steps: She had her annual flu shot in October, and a routine mammogram in January found no sign of trouble. At 5 feet, 8 inches, she weighs 129 pounds, exercises regularly and follows a healthy diet, the doctor wrote. She has never smoked, misused drugs or had a problem with alcohol.
                   
Woo said Warren’s January checkup found no red flags. In fact, her blood pressure was lower than is usual for someone her age 115 over 57, and her heart rate was 70, levels that are seen in people who exercise regularly.
                   
“If I were seeing a 70-year-old woman in my clinic with these vital signs, physical exam and lab values, I would tell her that she is quite healthy for her age,” said Dr. Brian Antono, a family medicine specialist at Georgetown University School of Medicine who reviewed the health information released by Warren’s campaign.
                   
Warren underwent a long list of blood tests at that physical, and none signaled any underlying diseases. Importantly, they indicate she’s at low risk of heart disease and stroke. Her blood sugar was normal. Her cholesterol was in the healthy zone, with a total cholesterol of 193 and level of the so-called “bad” subtype, or LDL, at 88. Her level of HDL, or “good” cholesterol, was an unusually high 95. In contrast to the other cholesterol types where a lower number is better, an HDL higher than 60 is considered protective, and Antono said the thyroid condition Warren has sometimes bumps up that number.
                   
“Her normal cholesterol levels combined with the rest of her `puzzle pieces’ – normal blood pressure, normal blood sugar and non-smoker status – are all positive contributors to an overall reassuring heart health,” Antono said.
                   
The senator frequently jogs onto stage at her rallies and says she keeps healthy by walking frequently while talking on the phone or listening to audiobooks, with the goal of doing 7 miles (11 kilometers) daily. “But I don’t always hit it,” she says.
                   
Warren is among her party’s primary front-runners along with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, 78, and former Vice President Joe Biden, 77. Also in the top tier is Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, who is 37.
                   
Sanders had a heart attack while campaigning in Las Vegas on Oct. 1 and has brushed off complaints his campaign wasn’t fully forthcoming about the extent of his health scare until he was subsequently released from the hospital. But he has promised to release full medical records by the end of the year. Biden says he’ll make his health records public before the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 3.
                   
A Pew Research Center poll from May found that about half of Democrats said it would be best for a president to be in their 50s. Another quarter said it would be best for a president to be in their 40s, and 16% preferred a president in their 60s. Just 3% said someone in their 70s would be best, and 6% said the same of a president in their 30s.
                   
Donald Trump, now 73, became the oldest newly inaugurated first-term president in January 2017. He has been criticized for releasing only cursory details on his health while running for the White House.
                   
His doctor, Harold Bornstein, wrote in December 2015 that Trump would “unequivocally” be the healthiest president in history and deemed the celebrity businessman’s condition “astonishingly excellent.’” Bornstein later said he wrote the note in five minutes while a limo sent by the candidate waited outside his office.
                   
Last month, on a Saturday, Trump visited Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, a stop that wasn’t listed on the president’s schedule and came just nine months after his last physical. Trump later said he went through a “very routine physical” and blamed the media for sparking unfounded fears that the visit meant he was ill.
                   
Figuring out how fit the septuagenarians or any candidates really are can be tricky. No law requires them to disclose their medical records, though doctor’s notes and the records from a most-recent physical, like Warren released, do provide snippets and important clues.
                   
Biden had a brush with death in 1988, requiring surgery to repair two brain aneurysms, weak bulges in arteries, one of them leaking. Medical records released in 2008 during Biden’s vice presidential campaign showed he’d made a full recovery, with no trouble since.

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