2020 elections

Taddeo talks Russian campaign hack on 60 MINUTES

unnamed Florida State Sen. Annette Taddeo will star in a 60 MINUTES segment Sunday night to discuss the Russian hack of national Democrats’ data that involved her  congressional campaign.

The Miami Democrat’s “campaign strategy and other sensitive data” was stolen from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) in 2016.

According to the Department of Justice, “those files were hacked and dumped by Russian military intelligence units,” a press release from 60 MINUTES reads.

Taddeo lost her congressional bid, but was elected to the state Senate in a brutal special election in 2017.

Here’s the rest of the release:

Taddeo speaks to Bill Whitaker for a report that explains in detail how the Russians stole the critical information and disseminated it to undermine political candidates in 2016.  It will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Nov. 24 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

Taddeo says she was on her way to a live television debate with her opponent when she learned of the hack.  “My opponent Joe Garcia, showed up at that debate with a printout of all the documents,” she tells Whitaker.   “We’ve seen a lot [in Southern Florida.] But this was a foreign government. This was so much bigger,” says Taddeo, who says she lost to her opponent by about 700 votes.  “You know, I’ve been told by a lot of people, ‘You should stop talking about this. It’s really not good for you politically to remind people that you lost.’  But I refuse to stop talking about it. Because, again, if it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone. And it didn’t happen to me: It happened to our democracy,” Taddeo says.

Whitaker also interviews John Demers, the assistant attorney general who runs the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, which inherited the Russian hacking case from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. There is no doubt in his mind the Russians executed the hack and strategically disseminated the documents through the online persona Guccifer 2.0. The agents behind Guccifer 2.0  then gave the data to political operatives and local journalists, and it eventually found its way to mainstream media.  “So Guccifer 2.0 is a fictional online persona,” says Demers.  “It’s all an effort on the Russian side to hide their involvement.”

Robert Anderson, who played leading roles in the FBI’s counterintelligence and cyber security divisions, tracked Russian intelligence operatives for years.  He warns in an interview with Whitaker that the Russians will be back for the 2020 election. “The thing that you need to worry about with Russia and every one of their intelligence services is they will learn from these operations…They will analyze everything they did right or wrong. And when they attack again, they will not come at you the same way,” he says.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz seeks power of the purse

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U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a South Florida Democrat, wants to be the head of the House budget committee, a powerful post now held by New York Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who is retiring next year.

Wasserman Schultz, a former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee who once served in the Florida Legislature, sent a letter to her colleagues seeking their support for her bid.

“As we experience one of the most consequential periods in our democracy, I am increasingly reminded of the very important power that rests solely with the Congress, a co-equal branch of government,” Wasserman Schultz wrote in the letter distributed to the media yesterday by her office.

The Broward County Democrat wrote that she wants to ensure the House Appropriations Committee has “strong and strategic leadership” that will make the committee process “more inclusive, accessible and even more transparent for all members.”

Wasserman Schultz notes that she’s served on budget subcommittees for 11 of her 14 years in Congress, including her current stint as the first woman to head the combined Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Subcommittee.

As chairwoman of the sub, she said she’s worked to ensure vets have “the resources and support” they’ve earned.

“I also have led the fight to protect these vital resources against President Trump’s unconstitutional raid on our military and their families to pay for the border wall boondoggle.”

 

Trump baby to prez: Welcome home!

Screenshot_2019-11-20 Click here to support Baby Trump in Florida organized by Craig Smith

Florida Democrats are unrolling a tongue-in-cheek “welcome mat” with a notorious prop to greet President Donald Trump at his “homecoming” rally in Broward County next week.

Trump in late September became a full-time #FloridaMan, after he and First Lady Melania Trump officially “relocated” to the Sunshine State, where the president had already planted a “Winter White House” flag on his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach.

The “Keep America Great” rally will take place Tuesday at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, according to an announcement issued by the president’s campaign earlier this month.

The Florida Democratic Party, meanwhile, has launched a gofoundme account to raise moolah to bring the notorious balloon to Miami to meet the prez.

As of 10 a.m. this morning, the Dems were about $1,000 short of their $3,700 goal.

Here’s a few of the comments from some of the folks who’ve thrown down:

One donor gave $10, “just to annoy the crap out of Trump.”

Another $10 contributor said “Trump must be defeated – and humiliated in the process is fine too.”

This from a $25 donor: “I love Florida!”

And someone gave $5 because “I used to live in Broward.”

 

Rick Scott: ‘The weather’s not bad, either’

Florida U.S. Sen. Rick Scott put on his Sunshine State cheerleader outfit to promote President Donald Trump’s “relocation” to Florida.

Scott, who served for two terms as Florida governor prior to his election to the U.S. Senate a year ago, chastised Orlando Sentinel guest columnist Bob Morris, who poked fun at Trump for his move.

Scott said he found it “interesting” that a Florida paper would publish a guest columnist who mocked “his own state just to make a political point.”

(We thought that’s what op-ed writers do, but nevermind.)

“The partisanship has driven everyone crazy. But I refuse to let our extreme, negative and partisan culture interfere with the truth,” Scott wrote in a letter to the editor.

More from Scott’s missive to the editor:

The truth is, Florida is the best state in the nation — to live, to work, and to raise a family. It’s ridiculous that someone would try to diminish the fact that our state has low taxes, as if that wouldn’t be motivation for a family to move here. Anyone who would argue otherwise has clearly never had to struggle to support a family.

I’m glad the president is choosing to make Florida home, just like I’m glad every time a family or business chooses Florida. So let’s stop making everything about politics and just take a minute to appreciate what a great state Florida truly is.

The weather’s not bad either.

Make America Shop Again! (Christmas edition)

Red-hot Republicans searching for something special to put under the Christmas tree next month?

President Donald’s got ya.

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“The official Donald J. Trump store offers unique, one-of-a-kind gifts. Show someone you care, all while supporting our Make America Great Again movement!” the website coaxes.

Items available include the cutesy KAG (Keep America Great) Santa hat, pictured below, selling for a mere $30:

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Or for those who want something to hang on the tree instead of their heads and have a little more dosh to spend, there’s this $60 ornament:

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There’s also a wood Trump/Pence 2020 semi-truck ($35) or a Trump/Pence wooden mini train set ($40).

But for those who have their own gifts in mind, never fear. You can wrap them up in paper bearing the campaign logo:

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We’ll happily give equal time to the Dems, if you let us know of holiday merch being hawked on the blue side of the political line.

— By Dara Kam, with special thanks to Jim Turner for this post.

Pam Bondi: Jared Kushner ‘one of the smartest human beings I’ve ever met’

Appearing on Fox & Friends this morning, former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi expounded on her new role advocating for President Donald Trump as impeachment proceedings against him heat up, saying she’ll not only be handling not only the media, but “legal issues and just lots of stuff.”

https://video.foxnews.com/v/6101434412001/

“We’re all of course big fans of the president,” Bondi said, when asked about her and former Treasury spokesman Tony Sayegh being tapped by the White House as impeachment-related aides. Impeachment hearings begin next week.

Bondi, joined the D.C. office of Tallahassee-based lobbying powerhouse Ballard Partners after she left office in January, was an early Trump adopter, backing him during the 2016 primary and cheerleading for him during the presidential campaign.

Since going to D.C., sources tell us, Bondi, a lawyer, is a frequent visitor to the White House, and has a close relationship with the president.

The Wall Street Journal’s Michael C. Bender, a former Florida Capitol Press Corps reporter, wrote yesterday that Bondi and Sayegh were enlisted to help with Trump’s efforts to battle the impeachment efforts.

The duo “would potentially be coming in to help out with, not only comms, but with special projects and legal issues and just lots of stuff with the White House,” Bondi told Fox & Friends this morning. “They’re so crazy busy and they’re all doing such great work.”

The Fox gang was in St. Pete, following last night’s award of the conservative news channel’s “Patriot Awards.”

Bondi said she’d be part of a “huge team” helping make Trump’s case, not that they’re necessary.

“The president, frankly, is his best spokesperson,” she said.

—By Dara Kam and Jim Turner.

 

It’s official: Bondi tapped as top Trump impeachment aide

Pam-Bondi-BW-1000px-v5-75p-1Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who was long-rumored to be joining the White House or FOX News before she left office in January, is going to help President Donald Trump fight House impeachment efforts, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

Instead of going back to her old haunt, FOX, or signing up as one of the president’s official cheerleaders, Bondi went to work for Ballard Partners after leaving office in January.

Lately, it’s been rumored that Bondi — who worked for the state attorney in Tampa and was a FOX News regular before her election as AG — would lead Trump’s impeachment efforts.

That was confirmed by Wall Street Journal reporter Michael C. Bender, a former Tampa Bay Times reporter in Tallahassee, in a tweet today.

Bender, who also worked for The Palm Beach Post, tweeted that Bondi and former Treasury spokesman Tony Sayegh were being added as White House impeachment related aides.

“Adding Sayegh & Bondi is both an acknowledgment Trump needs help coordinating a response to the House probe, & a compromise between competing factions in the White House where rivalries opened during a two week-long process deliberation over which adviser to bring inside,” Bender tweeted.

Bondi “had the backing of Stephanie Grisham and Mick Mulvaney and is also close to POTUS, but her work as a lobbyist presented snarls to tangle for her and the White House,” Bender tweeted.

Truth or Dara has been told by insiders that Bondi — and Panhandle Congressman Matt Gaetz — are regular visitors to the White House.

The move comes with House Democrats set to hold public hearings next week with key witnesses in the impeachment proceedings.

— By Jim Turner.