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Records Show FBI Was Probing Michael Cohen Long Before Raid

Special counsel Robert Mueller began investigating President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, for fraud in his personal business dealings and for potentially acting as an unregistered foreign agent at least nine months before FBI agents in New York raided his home and office, according to documents released Tuesday.

The series of heavily redacted search warrant applications and other documents revealed new details about the timing and depth of the probe into Cohen, who ultimately pleaded guilty to tax fraud, bank fraud, campaign finance violations and lying to Congress.

The records show the inquiry into Cohen had been going on since July 2017 — far longer than previously known— and that a big part of its focus was Cohen’s taxi businesses and misrepresentations he made to banks as part of a scheme to relieve himself of some $22 million in debt he owed on taxi medallion loans.

Prosecutors were also interested in money that was flowing into Cohen’s bank accounts from consulting contracts he’d signed after Trump won office. Some of those payments were from companies with strong foreign ties, including a Korean aerospace company and Columbus Nova, an investment management firm affiliated with Russian billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.

Cohen was ultimately not charged with failing to register as a foreign agent.

Many sections of the records dealing with the campaign-finance violations Cohen committed when he paid two women to stay silent about alleged affairs they had with Trump were redacted. A judge ordered those sections to remain secret after prosecutors said they were still investigating campaign finance violations.

Lanny Davis, an attorney for Cohen, said the release of the search warrant “furthers his interest in continuing to cooperate and providing information and the truth about Donald Trump and the Trump organization to law enforcement and Congress.”

The FBI raided Cohen’s Manhattan home and office last April, marking the first public sign of a criminal investigation that has threatened Trump’s presidency and netted Cohen a three-year prison sentence he’s scheduled to start serving in May. The agents who also scoured Cohen’s hotel room and safe deposit box, seized more than 4 million electronic and paper files in the searches, more than a dozen mobile devices and iPads, 20 external hard drives, flash drives and laptops.

Both Cohen and Trump cried foul over the raids, with Cohen’s attorney at the time calling them “completely inappropriate and unnecessary” and the president taking to Twitter to declare that “Attorney-client privilege is dead!”

A court-ordered review ultimately found only a fraction of the seized material to be privileged.

Tuesday’s release of the search warrant came nearly six weeks after U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III partially granted a request by several media organizations, including The Associated Press, that the search warrant be made public due to the high public interest in the case.

David E. McCraw, vice president and deputy general counsel for The New York Times, said he was hopeful Pauley would approve the release of additional materials in May after the government updates the judge on its investigation.

“The documents are important because they allow the public to see first hand why the investigation was initiated and how it was conducted,” McCraw said in an email.

The judge acknowledged prosecutors’ concerns that a wholesale release of the document “would jeopardize an ongoing investigation and prejudice the privacy rights of uncharged third parties,” a ruling that revealed prosecutors are still investigating the campaign-finance violations.

The judge ordered prosecutors to redact Cohen’s personal information and details in the warrant that refer to ongoing investigations and several third-parties who have cooperated with the inquiry. But he authorized the release of details in the warrant that relate to Cohen’s tax evasion and false statements to financial institutions charges, along with Cohen’s conduct that did not result in criminal charges.

“At this stage, wholesale disclosure of the materials would reveal the scope and direction of the Government’s ongoing investigation,” Pauley wrote in a ruling last month.

Cohen pleaded guilty over the summer to failing to report more than $4 million in income to the IRS, making false statements to financial institutions and campaign-finance violations stemming from the hush-money payments he arranged for porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal. Cohen implicated Trump in his guilty plea, saying the president directed him to make the payments during his 2016 campaign.

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Trump Calls Aide’s Husband ‘A Total Loser’

U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday called the husband of one of his top aides, Kellyanne Conway, “a total loser” after lawyer and Trump critic George Conway suggested that Trump is increasingly mentally impaired.

George Conway is without qualifications in psychology.

But on Sunday, as Trump vented his wrath at a variety of targets in a hail of Twitter comments, Conway cited the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to claim that the president embodies “a grandiose sense of self-importance,” is “pre-occupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance” and shows signs of “irritability and aggressiveness.”

“His condition is getting worse,” said Conway, a Republican attorney who was considered for the job of solicitor general by the Trump administration but withdrew from consideration.

His wife, a fixture on U.S. news shows defending Trump and by now accustomed to her husband’s months of taunts against the president, dismissed his armchair assessment of Trump’s mental stability.

“No, I don’t share those concerns,” she said Monday.

But the feud between George Conway and the president escalated Tuesday when Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, said on Twitter that Trump “turned down Mr. Kellyanne Conway for a job he desperately wanted. He barely worked @TheJusticeDept and was either fired/quit, didn’t want the scrutiny?”

He added, “Now he hurts his wife because he is jealous of her success,” claiming that Trump “doesn’t even know him!” The couple, however, has attended black tie events together at the White House.

Trump retweeted Parscale’s disparaging assessment of George Conway, saying, “A total loser!”

Within minutes of Trump’s comment, George Conway replied, “Congratulations! You just guaranteed that millions of more people are going to learn about narcissistic personality disorder and malignant narcissism! Great job!”

The president’s doctor, after examining Trump last month, said he is healthy although overweight.

“I am happy to announce the president of the United States is in very good health and I anticipate he will remain so for the duration of his presidency, and beyond,” White House doctor Sean Conley said.

George Conway helped co-found Checks and Balances, a group of conservative and libertarian lawyers who have attacked Trump for the way he has handled legal and political situations during his 26-month presidency.

After earlier attacks on him, Trump called him “Mr. Kellyanne Conway” and said, “He’s just trying to get publicity for himself.”

But Trump’s assessment of his key aide’s spouse was once decidedly more favorable.

The Washington Post published a 2006 letter, a decade before Trump ran for the presidency, in which Trump, then a real estate mogul, praised George Conway for his work representing him in a dispute with tenants at his Trump World Tower condominium in New York.

“I want to thank you for your wonderful assistance in ridding Trump World Tower of some very bad people,” Trump wrote Conway. “What I was most impressed with was how quickly you were able to comprehend a very bad situation.”

Conway, 55, and Kellyanne Conway, 52, married in 2001 and have four children together.

Conway told one interviewer last year that he knows his wife does not appreciate his barbed comments about her boss, the president.

“But I’ve told her, I don’t like the administration, so it’s even,” he said.




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Sen. Warren Tests 2020 Message With Black Voters in US South

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren was walking down a street in the town of Cleveland in the rural Mississippi Delta on Monday when she stopped to examine a small home’s sagging roof.

“You can be sure there’s a lot of love in these homes. They just can’t afford (to fix) it,” state Senator Willie Simmons told Warren during the Democratic presidential candidate’s three-day campaign swing through Mississippi, Tennessee and Alabama.

Affordable housing is a chief concern for the senator from Massachusetts, who recently reintroduced a $500 billion housing plan she says will create millions of housing units and reduce rental costs by 10 percent.

But the trip to the deep South, the first extended tour of the region by any of the more than dozen Democrats vying for the party’s 2020 White House nomination, also gave Warren an opportunity to try to set herself apart from the crowded and diverse field.

During meetings with housing advocates in Memphis, Tennessee, and walking tours of small Mississippi towns, Warren, who is white, tested and tailored her central message of combating income inequality to black voters, a critical Democratic voting bloc.

The trip outside the mostly white early voting states of Iowa and New Hampshire that are drawing much of the early 2020 campaign focus signaled that Warren, 69, intends to make a play for support in other states that also could prove important to securing the nomination.

“I’m running to be president of all the people, and it’s important to go around the country and have a chance to talk with people face to face,” Warren told reporters after a town hall that drew about 500 people to a high school in Memphis.

Democrats will have to look beyond the traditional early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina for opportunities to pick up voters next year if an obvious front-runner does not immediately emerge.

Alabama and Tennessee are among the states holding their 2020 nominating primaries on the March 3 “Super Tuesday” following South Carolina’s contest. Mississippi is set to host its primary in mid-March. All three states have sizeable black populations.

Being first to those states will not guarantee votes. But it could win local endorsements and help recruit volunteers for Warren, who lags in national 2020 Democratic presidential opinion polls behind Senators Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris.

“Warren’s biggest advantage in making this trip is that she will likely have the attention of a critical mass of African-American Democratic primary voters in a cycle where the black vote will drive the nomination process,” said Democratic strategist Joel Payne, who managed African-American advertising for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

‘Visiting helps’

Clinton beat Sanders in the 2016 Democratic presidential nominating race in large part because his insurgent campaign failed to gain traction with black voters and flamed out when the contest moved to the South from the early voting states.

In the general election, Clinton’s loss to Republican Donald Trump was partly due to the fact that the black turnout rate declined for the first time in 20 years, according to the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.

African-American turnout in 2016 dropped 7 points from four years earlier, when Barack Obama, the first black U.S. president, was re-elected.

During her trip, Warren touted how her housing plan was aimed at closing the wealth and housing gap between white and black Americans. Her proposal would give first-time homebuyers who live in low-income, formerly segregated areas grants to use for down payments.

It is specifically tailored to benefit black families whose relatives faced discriminatory housing policies in the years leading up to the U.S. civil rights era.

Many residents said they appreciated Warren taking the time to come and focus on their issues. On Tuesday, she planned to tour historic sites in Selma, Alabama, where the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” march marked a turning point in the civil rights movement.

“Visiting helps. It lets the people down here know that somebody in Washington does care about them,” said the Rev. Alice Crenshaw, 75, whose church marked the start of Warren’s walking tour in Cleveland.

The tour of Cleveland on Monday ended at Senator’s Place, the restaurant owned by Simmons, the Mississippi Democratic state senator. Simmons has not endorsed Warren, but like others she spent time with during the campaign swing, he seemed warm to her candidacy.

Sandra Miller-Foster, 68, arrived at Senator’s Place knowing there would be a special visitor but not who. She liked what she heard from Warren.

Asked to assess the Democratic field, which includes two black U.S. senators vying for the nomination, she said policy, not race, would earn her support.

“All people want is a decent job, to own their own home and be able to send their kids to school. We’ve got to know what you’ll do for Mississippi,” Miller-Foster said.


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Bush Calls Immigration ‘Blessing’ and ‘Strength’

Former U.S. president George W. Bush on Monday called immigration a “blessing and a strength,” as lawmakers tussled with Donald Trump over border wall funding.

The Republican, who has largely stayed out of the spotlight after leaving office in 2009, did not explicitly criticize Trump or the border wall policy.

Speaking at a naturalization ceremony for 51 new American citizens at the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas, the nation’s 43th president called for reform of “outdated and ineffective” immigration laws.

He also emphasized: “Borders are not arbitrary and they need to be respected.”

“Amid all the complications of policy, may we never forget that immigration is a blessing and a strength,” Bush said in prepared remarks.

“I hope those responsible in Washington can dial down the rhetoric, put politics aside and modernize our immigration laws soon.”

Bush’s remarks came as Congress and the White House were gearing up for a court fight over Trump’s declarations of an emergency to fund construction of a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Congress had refused to appropriate money for the project — a central promise of the Republican’s 2016 election campaign.

In an embarrassing rebuke to Trump, some fellow Republicans joined Democrats in voting to terminate his declaration of an emergency. Trump vetoed the legislation Friday.

Opponents, who accuse Trump of executive overreach and hyping the problem on the border, could now fight the emergency measure in court.



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Warren Calls for Scrapping US Electoral College in 2020 TV Town Hall

Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of more than a dozen Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination, on Monday called for the scrapping of the electoral college, the method used to elect U.S. presidents.

It was the first time Warren has explicitly called to eliminate the system established by the U.S. constitution, in which each state is allotted a set number of “electors” based on the combined total of the state’s representation in Congress.

Warren was participating in a televised CNN town hall in Jackson, Mississippi, when she was asked how, if elected, she would expand access to voting, including for those convicted of felonies.

Warren, 69, said there should be an amendment to the U.S. Constitution guaranteeing all citizens the right to vote, and called for the repeal of laws that make it more difficult to cast ballots.

She then lamented that White House candidates do not spend much time in places like Mississippi, which is conservative, and therefore not considered a swing state in U.S. presidential elections.

“Well, my view is that every vote matters. And the way we can make that happen is that we can have national voting. And that means get rid of the electoral college and everybody counts,” Warren said, eliciting some of the most enthusiastic applause of the night.

The electoral college has 538 electors and 270 are needed to win the presidency. Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election but Republican Donald Trump won the electoral college.

Representative Steve Cohen of Tennessee introduced a constitutional amendment this year to eliminate the electoral college, but it has not been brought up for a vote in the House, which is controlled by Democrats.

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White House Proposes Caps on Student Loan Borrowing

The Trump administration on Monday proposed new limits on federal student loans taken out by parents and graduate students as part of a broader proposal to curb the cost of college. 


White House officials included the plan in a list of suggested changes to the Higher Education Act, a sweeping federal law that governs student lending. The legislation is getting its first overhaul from Congress in more than a decade. 


Ivanka Trump, the daughter and adviser of President Donald Trump, unveiled the plan at a meeting of the National Council for the American Worker, an advisory group that Ivanka Trump helps lead. 


“We need to modernize our higher education system to make it more affordable, flexible and outcomes-oriented, so all Americans, young and old, can learn the skills they need to secure and retain good-paying jobs,” Ivanka Trump said on a call with reporters. 


A primary goal of the proposal is to curb the growth of college tuition rates and reduce the nation’s student debt load, which has reached nearly $1.5 trillion and has more than tripled since 2003. 


The White House’s proposed solution is to cap federal loan programs available to students’ parents and to graduate students. The plan doesn’t propose specific limits, but officials suggested it could vary based on academic program. 

​Colleges’ fault?


Underpinning that idea is a belief that colleges are largely responsible for the nation’s education debt woes. The White House says easy access to federal aid has led colleges to drive up prices, adding that they are “unable or unwilling” to make education more affordable. 


Colleges often argue they have been forced to raise tuition to make up for reduced funding from their states. Many Democrats have echoed that position, with some calling for greater government support for schools. 


Borrower advocates said they welcome attention to the topic but don’t think the White House plan will help. Federal loans for students’ parents and graduate students total about $25 billion a year, compared with $151 billion in total federal student loans. 


James Kvaal, president of the nonprofit Institute for College Access & Success, said the plan takes the wrong approach, adding that there’s “no evidence” the availability of federal loans has led to higher college costs. 


“The solution is to invest more in Pell scholarships for low-income students, to work with states to make public colleges and universities more affordable,” said Kvaal, who is also a former policy adviser to President Barack Obama. 


White House officials say they also want to simplify the loan repayment process, a goal shared with Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., who chairs the Senate committee overseeing education and is leading the push to update the Higher Education Act. 


Lamar said it is “helpful” to have the White House’s perspective as he works with Democrats on the overhaul. 


“I share the administration’s goals to make a college education worth it and to make it simpler to apply for federal student aid and pay back student loans,” he said. 

Proposed change in debt erasure


Several items on the White House’s wish list were also included in the Education Department’s budget proposal for next year, including the elimination of public service loan forgiveness, a program that can erase debt for certain borrowers after 120 months of repayment. 

Instead, the White House says all federal borrowers should get undergraduate debt wiped clean after 180 months of repayment.  

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos praised the White House plan as “an important road map for working with Congress to rethink higher education and pass meaningful reforms.” She added that legislation to simplify lending “should be passed immediately.” 


The White House is also asking Congress to make federal Pell grants available to be used in short-term certificate programs, and to take other steps intended to help workers gain skills outside traditional colleges and universities. 


“The higher education system has been slow to adapt to the changing nature of work,” the White House said. “Millions of jobs remain unfilled in part due to a lack of Americans with appropriate skills.” 


Congress is still in the early stages of its work to reauthorize the Higher Education Act. Alexander has made it his mission to update the legislation before he retires in two years. The law, originally signed in 1965, received its last major update in 2008. 

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Judge to Release Info on FBI Raid of Trump’s Former Lawyer

A judge has directed prosecutors to publicly release documents related to the search warrant that authorized last year’s FBI raids on the home and office of President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen.

U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III said redacted versions of the documents should be released Tuesday.

Media organizations had requested access to the records.

Pauley sentenced Cohen to prison in December for crimes including lying to Congress and paying two women to stay silent about affairs they claimed to have had with Trump.

Cohen is scheduled to report to prison in May.

Pauley had ruled early that some parts of the search warrant documents can remain secret because making them public could jeopardize ongoing investigations.

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Trump Assails News Accounts Linking Him to New Zealand Massacre

President Donald Trump complained Monday that the U.S. national news media “is working overtime to blame me for the horrible attack in New Zealand.”

He said on Twitter, “They will have to work very hard to prove that one. So Ridiculous!”

Trump apparently was incensed that major U.S. news outlets reported that Brent Harris Tarrant, the Australian white supremacist accused in the massacre of 50 Muslim worshippers at two mosques in Christchurch, said in a manifesto he released Friday shortly before the attacks that he viewed Trump as “a symbol of renewed white identity and common purpose,” even though he did not support his policies.

Asked Friday after the attacks whether he sees an increase in white nationalism, Trump said, “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems, I guess.”

Trump said he had not seen the manifesto.

The president has condemned the attack and voiced support for New Zealand.But he has not commented on Tarrant’s apparent motive for allegedly carrying out the attacks — his avowed racism and hatred for immigrants and Muslims.

The White House on Sunday rejected any attempt to link Trump to Tarrant.

“The president is not a white supremacist,” acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told “Fox News Sunday.” “I’m not sure how many times we have to say that. Let’s take what happened in New Zealand for what it is: a terrible evil tragic act.”

Trump’s dismissal that white nationalism is on the rise renewed criticism that he has not voiced strong enough condemnation of white nationalists.

Trump was widely attacked in the aftermath of a deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017 when he equated white supremacists with counter-protesters, saying “both sides” were to blame and that there were “fine people” on both sides of the protest.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, one of numerous Democrats seeking the party’s presidential nomination to oppose Trump in the 2020 election, said on Twitter after the New Zealand attack, “Time and time again, this president has embraced and emboldened white supremacists and instead of condemning racist terrorists, he covers for them. This isn’t normal or acceptable.”

Mulvaney, in the Fox News interview, said, “I don’t think it’s fair to cast this person (Tarrant) as a supporter of Donald Trump any more than it is to look at his eco-terrorist passages in that manifesto and align him with (Democratic House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi or Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.”

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a Democratic congresswoman from New York.

“This was a disturbed individual, an evil person,” Mulvaney said.

Scott Brown, U.S. ambassador to New Zealand, told CNN that he gave no credence to Tarrant’s comments about Trump in the manifesto, saying the accused gunman “is rotten to the core.” Brown said he hopes Tarrant is convicted “as quickly as he can be,” and “lock him up and throw away the key.”

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Democrats See Health Care as Winning Issue in 2020 US Election

Health care in America is again expected to be a deeply divisive issue in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, with Democrats pressing for more government involvement through the concept of “Medicare for All,” and Republicans warning of increased taxes and looming socialism.

Health care advocates believe that growing public support for protecting and expanding health care programs will help Democrats in 2020, just as the party’s focus on this issue helped it win control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 election.

“Health care is a winning issue for Democrats. So, I think any way that they focus on health care and solutions is going to be beneficial to them,” said Anne Shoup, with the advocacy group Protect Our Care.

Republicans, meanwhile, have been on the defensive of late, unable to agree on a conservative health care alternative to both bring down costs and ensure access to those in need.

Congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump failed in their effort to repeal and replace the Obama administration’s signature health care program, but over time have reduced its coverage benefits.

“Everyone wants to have health care for the sick. No one’s trying to deny the sick health care. I think that’s an important thing to clarify. What’s important is how we achieve that,” said Meridian Paulton, a conservative health policy analyst with The Heritage Foundation.

‘Medicare for All’

The rising cost of health care continues to be a major concern in the U.S., where a typical family with no serious afflictions can spend over $8,000 a year, or 11 percent of their income on health insurance and basic medical care, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation that studies national health issues.

The crowded field of Democratic presidential candidates all endorse health care as a right, and favor a range of plans to achieve or work toward universal health care coverage and bring down costs. 

The most expansive proposal is Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare For All plan, a government takeover of the $2.5 trillion private health care industry that Sanders first proposed during his failed 2016 presidential election bid.

“The goal of a rational health care system is not to make insurance companies billions in profits,” Sanders, an independent seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said at a recent rally in Iowa. “So, we say to the health insurance industry, ‘Yes, we will pass a Medicare for All single-payer program.” 

Sanders’ proposal would basically expand government-funded Medicare coverage plans for senior citizens to provide free health care for everyone in the country, funded by higher taxes. 

Other Democratic candidates who support this single-payer approach that would ban private insurance plans include California Sen. Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. 

More moderate Democratic hopefuls such as Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and former Vice President Joe Biden, who reportedly is close to launching his campaign for president, endorse more incremental and pragmatic measures to expand health care that might stand a better chance of passing in a divided Congress.

The dilemma Democrats face in the 2020 campaign is whether to nominate a progressive candidate advocating for a complete health care overhaul — which could alienate moderates in the general election — or support a more moderate candidate who may not generate enthusiasm among the liberal base calling for transformational change.


Trump, who is seeking a second term, has criticized Democratic health care proposals as socialism that will stifle individual choice and private enterprise competition.

“Democrat lawmakers are now embracing socialism. They want to replace individual rights with total government domination,” the president contends.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump repeatedly promised not to cut social assistance programs. But in this year’s budget, he has proposed reducing millions of dollars in funding for both Medicare health insurance for seniors, and Medicaid that provides medical assistance to the poor and disabled.

Democratic options

A recent public opinion poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that 56 percent of Americans favor Medicare For All, and even broader support for incremental improvements to the current system in place. 

However, public approval for expanding health care drops significantly when confronted with the possibility of doubling taxes to pay for it, and the economic disruption of eliminating the private insurance industry.

“They have to believe that what they’d be getting, what would be substituting for what they have now, would be at least as good or attractive to them. And that the increase in the spending on the public side, that would be worth it to them,” said Linda Blumberg, an economist with the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute, a Washington think tank.. 

An incremental alternative that is gaining wider support among the American public, Blumberg says, is a government “public option” coverage plan to compete against private insurance companies.

Shifting support

The Affordable Care Act of 2010 increased access to health insurance by expanding Medicaid and providing insurance subsidies to working class families, while keeping in place the private sector health care and insurance industries. 

The ACA, also known as Obamacare, was criticized for not containing the rising cost of health care, driven in part by a lack of competition in some markets, and by the role of for-profit insurance companies that charge excessive administrative fees.

Tea Party groups, limited government activists opposed to what they viewed as an increasing government takeover of the private health care industry, organized widespread Obamacare protests that helped the Republican Party win control of Congress in 2011 and to elect Trump in 2016.

However, Republican efforts in the last two years to repeal Obamacare failed, in large part because opponents did not have a clear alternative, and because the public favored keeping many elements of the ACA, particularly the prohibition against denying anyone health insurance because of pre-existing conditions such as a long-standing illness or pregnancy.

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Democrats See Health Care as Winning Issue in 2020 U.S. Election

Health care in America is again expected to be a deeply divisive issue in the 2020 U.S. presidential election with Democrats pressing for more government involvement, and Republicans warning of increased taxes and what they see as creeping socialism. But Brian Padden reports there are also competing proposals among Democratic candidates that advocate either transformational change to energize the progressive base or incremental progress to attract moderate support.

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