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Brie Stimson

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced Thursday she was removing herself as a candidate to be former Vice President Joe Biden’s vice presidential pick.

Klobuchar told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell she called Biden Wednesday evening with her decision, saying she believes “this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.”

Biden pledged earlier this year to pick a woman to be his running mate as is currently considering about a half dozen candidates, including several women of color.

“After what I’ve seen in my state and what I’ve seen across the country, this is a historic moment and America must seize on this moment,” she said. “There are so many incredibly qualified women. But if you want to heal this nation right now — my party, yes, but our nation — this sure is a hell of a way to do it. And that’s just what I think after being through this in my state.”

The police custody death of George Floyd last month, a black man who died after a white officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis, had already complicated Klobuchar’s case to be Biden’s pick as her record as a Minnesota prosecutor came under new scrutiny. Her record of not bringing charges against officers involved in alleged cases of police brutality against black men espeically became a liability, according to The New York Times.

Klobuchar dropped out of the Democratic primary shortly before Super Tuesday and immediately endorsed Biden.

With Klobuchar out of the running for VP, Biden is still reportedly considering Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris, former national security adviser Susan Rice, Florida Rep. Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

He said he plans to announce his running mate by August 1.

Shortly after Klobuchar made her announcement Biden reacted on Twitter.

“Amy — from the moment you announced you were running for president in a snowstorm, it wasn’t hard to see you had the grit and determination to do anything you set your mind to,” Biden said. “You know how to get things done. With your help, we’re going to beat Donald Trump.”

Author: Brie Stimson

Source: Fox News: Amy Klobuchar withdraws from Biden VP selection to make room for ‘woman of color’: report

The White House plans to cancel visas for thousands of Chinese graduate students affiliated with Chinese universities tied to the People’s Liberation Army, according to a report.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed the plan with President Trump during a meeting Tuesday, The New York Times reported, citing officials with knowledge of the discussions.

The plan to cancel visas comes as the Trump administration is seeking to punish China after Beijing moved to impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong, which was condemned by Pompeo this week. Canceling visas was already being discussed by the administration before Beijing’s move in the territory.

The visa cancellations could affect at least 3,000 of the approximately 360,000 Chinese students studying in the U.S.

Chinese students make up the largest percentage of international students in the U.S. and American universities, which rely on their tuition, are expected to oppose the administration’s move, according to The Times.

The F.B.I. and the Justice Department have warned universities about the potential of Chinese spies among the student population – especially in the sciences – but schools have been leery of targeting students due to their nationality and have said security protocols are in place, The Times reported.

“In China, much more of society is government-controlled or government-affiliated,” Frank Wu, a law professor and the incoming president of Queens College at the City University of New York, told The Times. “You can’t function there or have partners from there if you aren’t comfortable with how the system is set up.”

“Targeting only some potential professors, scholars, students and visitors from China is a lower level of stereotyping than banning all, but it is still selective, based on national origin,” he added.

The cancellations would not be aimed at punishing the students, who would likely not be accused of any wrongdoing, but rather at the Chinese military universities with ties to the People’s Liberation Army.

The U.S. believes those universities often train students in spying techniques and encourage intelligence gathering while in the United States.

Other U.S. officials believe Chinese students living in the U.S. could potentially be targeted by American intelligence agencies to spy for the U.S.

The administration has not specified which Chinese or U.S. universities would be affected.

The State Department declined to comment to The Times.

Tensions have risen between Washington and Beijing in the last few months over trade, technology and allegations of Beijing’s mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic that began last year.

Author: Brie Stimson

Source: Fox News: US to cancel visas for thousands of Chinese grad students with ties to Chinese military schools: report

The Texas Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a lack of immunity to the coronavirus does not qualify as a disability under state law for requesting a mail-in ballot.

The all Republican-court agreed with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who had filed a petition to order local officials to follow state laws regarding mail-in ballots after a Court of Appeals ruled to allow anyone in Travis County to request a ballot, according to FOX 7 in Austin.

President Trump, who has repeatedly claimed that mail-in voting is associated with widespread voter fraud, tweeted after the ruling.

“Big win in Texas on the dangerous Mail In Voting Scam!” the president wrote.

The ruling was a loss for the Texas Democratic Party and voter rights groups, which had sought expanding mail-in voting during the pandemic.

To receive a mail-in ballot in Texas, voters must either claim a disability, be over 65, in jail, or away from their home county during the election, according to the Texas Tribune.

“We agree with the State that a voter’s lack of immunity to COVID-19, without more, is not a ‘disability’ as defined by the Election Code,” the court’s ruling said, adding that voters must determine if they meet the definition of “disability” and “election officials have no responsibility to question or investigate a ballot application that is valid on its face,” FOX 7 reported.

Voters citing a disability when requesting a ballot are not required to to specify.

“The question before us is not whether voting by mail is better policy or worse, but what the Legislature has enacted. It is purely a question of law,” the ruling said, according to the Dallas Morning News. “Our authority and responsibility are to interpret the statutory text and give effect to the Legislature’s intent.”

Having the virus, however, could entitle a voter to a mail-in ballot.

Paxton, in a statement said he applauded the court “for ruling that certain election officials’ definition of ‘disability’ does not trump that of the Legislature, which has determined that widespread mail-in balloting carries unacceptable risks of corruption and fraud.”

“Election officials have a duty to reject mail-in ballot applications from voters who are not entitled to vote by mail. In-person voting is the surest way to maintain the integrity of our elections, prevent voter fraud and guarantee that every voter is who they claim to be,” he said, according to FOX 7.

Author: Brie Stimson

Source: Fox News: Trump claims ‘Big win’ after Texas court rules lack of coronavirus immunity not valid for mail-in ballot

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