July 22, 2019

Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang paused from pushing his central campaign message — universal basic income — on Monday and turned his attention toward military veterans.

Yang on Monday unveiled a policy proposal focused on improving veteran services. He's only the second candidate to release a plan focused specifically on veterans so far, after Marine Corps veteran Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), and he's the first among those who have qualified for the debate stage, per Politico.

The plan would allow veterans to forego required civilian training for certain jobs, like emergency medical technicians. For example, under Yang's proposal the training a former military medic received during their service time would qualify them to become a EMT without having to undergo any further training or licensing. Yang thinks that the current re-training requirements are disrespectful toward veterans, as well as expensive and "wasteful."

Yang's proposal would revamp the longstanding G.I. Bill by allowing veterans to receive in-state tuition from any public institution, regardless of how long they've held residency in a state, because "military service provides protection to all 50 states." He would also introduce a "reverse bootcamp", which would help veterans transition to civilian life, and he would provide federal waivers for veterans so they can receive controlled substance treatments, such as medical marijuana, for pain management and post traumatic stress disorder.

The 2020 candidate was reportedly inspired to draw up the proposal after meeting with members of Common Defense, a veterans group that opposes President Trump. Read the full plan here. Tim O'Donnell

12:28 a.m.

Retired Chief Special Operator Edward Gallagher, the Navy SEAL who was accused and acquitted of several war crimes, has posted a video on Facebook and Instagram attacking his former platoon members who testified against him during his court-martial.

In the video, posted Monday, Gallagher called the men "cowards" and highlighted their "names, photos, and — for those still on active duty — their duty status and current units," the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. While covering Gallagher's case, the Union-Tribune reported the names of some of his platoon mates, but did not publish their photos.

Gallagher was acquitted on several charges, including murdering a captured 17-year-old Islamic State suspect, but was found guilty on one charge related to posing for photos with the militant's corpse, resulting in his demotion. President Trump intervened in the case multiple times, saying Gallagher was being treated "very unfairly," and in November he overruled the SEAL commander and Navy Secretary and ordered Gallagher's rank restored. Gallagher now routinely appears on conservative programs and has appeared alongside Trump at political fundraisers.

SEALs have been the targets of terrorist groups, and publicizing their names and photos endangers them and the Navy's mission, former SEALs told the Union-Tribune. David Shaw, a former petty officer 1st class, defended the men. "Each and every one of the guys who came forward were performers of the highest caliber and people of the highest reputations within the platoon," he said. "[One] was selected to serve at the most premier institution at Naval Special Warfare, and that tells you everything you need to know about his performance and speaks volumes about his character." Catherine Garcia

January 28, 2020

Not a few people rolled their eyes when Bill Clinton's impeachment nemesis Ken Starr lectured the Senate about the evils of impeachment in President Trump's impeachment trial Monday, but The Late Show turned it into a song. This homage to the 5th Dimension's groovy hit version of the Hair song "The Age of Aquarius" isn't about expanding our minds with peace and understanding, exactly, but as Stephen Colbert and his writers discovered, Kenneth Starr rhymes beautifully with William Barr. Watch below. Peter Weber

January 28, 2020

President Trump mostly avoided talking about his impeachment during a Tuesday night rally in Wildwood, New Jersey, focusing instead on slamming Democrats and praising the GOP's newest lawmaker.

Speaking to a capacity crowd of 7,000, Trump claimed he has been busy "creating jobs" and "killing terrorists" while "congressional Democrats are obsessed with demented hoaxes, crazy witch hunts and deranged partisan crusades." He commended Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) for leaving the Democratic Party in December, calling him "brave" and "principled" for defying "the left-wing fanatics in his own party."

He also accused Democrats of trying to take away health care and criticized the Green New Deal, a proposal to tackle climate change and guarantee jobs in clean energy industries. The resolution would force Americans to "close your factories, get rid of your cows," he said, incorrectly. "You don't have too many cows in Wildwood, but if you do, they're gone." Catherine Garcia

January 28, 2020

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said the quiet part out loud on Monday when she told reporters she was "really interested" in seeing how Iowa voters react to President Trump's impeachment lawyers attacking former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter.

"Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening," Ernst said. "And I'm really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, these Democratic caucusgoers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?"

While meeting with Iowa voters on Tuesday, Biden said Ernst "spilled the beans. She just came out and flat said it. You know, the whole impeachment trial for Trump is just a political hit job to try to smear me, because he is scared to death to run against me, and he has good reason to be concerned."

Ernst is up for re-election this year, and with her Biden comments, she has invited "Democratic activists to look at her," Sue Dvorsky, a former chairwoman of the Iowa Democratic Party, told The New York Times. Brian Bruening, chairman of the Clayton County Democrats, said the Trump legal team's arguments had "zero effect on actual caucus voters. I don't know any Joe Biden supporter whose support of Biden has lessened because of any of the impeachment issues." Catherine Garcia

January 28, 2020

In response to the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak, Starbucks has closed more than 2,000 stores in China.

The flu-like virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, and there are more than 4,500 confirmed cases; at least 130 people have died. Starbucks is the world's largest coffee chain, and China is the company's biggest growth market, making up 10 percent of its global revenue, Reuters reports. There are 4,292 Starbucks locations in China, and the stores that are staying open have revised operating hours.

The company does expect this to temporarily affect its finances. Due to its strong quarterly earnings, Starbucks had planned on giving an update on its 2020 financial forecast, but that has been delayed because of the outbreak, Reuters says. Catherine Garcia

January 28, 2020

On Sunday, the Israeli government will vote on annexing Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and parts of the Jordan Valley.

This could cover up to 30 percent of the West Bank, the area Palestinians want for their own independent state.

Standing alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump on Tuesday unveiled his Middle East peace plan, which calls for Israel to control a unified Jerusalem and a new Palestinian state including outer portions of East Jerusalem. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said he rejected the "nonsense" proposal and "will not kneel down." Catherine Garcia

January 28, 2020

During a meeting of Republican senators on Tuesday afternoon, GOP leaders announced that they do not yet have enough votes to stop witnesses from being called at President Trump's impeachment trial, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) did not share any numbers, but did acknowledge the votes aren't where he needs them to be, people with knowledge of the meeting said. The senators will vote later this week on whether to allow witnesses in the trial, and a new Quinnipiac poll shows 75 percent of voters want to hear witness testimony. Four Republicans and all 47 Democrats would provide enough votes to approve witnesses for the trial.

Trump's lawyers finished their opening arguments on Tuesday, declaring the trial should end "as quickly as possible" without any witnesses. On Sunday, The New York Times reported that in his forthcoming book, former National Security Adviser John Bolton contradicts the defense argument that Trump did not engage in a quid pro quo with Ukraine. The White House blocked Bolton from testifying during the House impeachment inquiry. Catherine Garcia

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