Democrats Embrace Expanded Government Health Care in Midterm Election 

Democratic campaign promises of Medicare for All are resonating with many American voters who cite the rising cost of health care as a top issue in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections, despite concerns over possible tax increases to fund a universal health care program.

During the Obama presidency, Republicans successfully ran against the perceived threat of a government takeover of the health care industry to gain control of Congress.

But a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll shows 58 percent voter support for keeping former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), and that 8 in 10 likely voters from each major party want to protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer.

​Democrats on offense

Many Democrats running for office this year, like New York congressional candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are advocating for nationalized health care legislation that was proposed in the Senate by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who lost the 2016 Democratic nomination for president to Hillary Clinton. Sander’s plan would expand Medicare, a government funded health care program for senior citizens, to cover all Americans.

Others Democratic contenders like Rep. Beto O’Rourke, a Democratic candidate for Senate in conservative-leaning Texas, are calling for increased federal regulation to hold down health care costs but are not calling for a complete government health care takeover.

“The thing that is common among these different reforms is the structure of a government administered insurance plan that really controls or limits, to some respect, the payment rates that are paid to health care providers,” said Linda Blumberg, an Institute Fellow in the Health Policy Center at the Urban Institute.

​Republicans on defense

Republicans are on the defensive after failing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which was enacted in 2010. Many are now claiming to support tenants of the ACA legislation that require insurance companies to provide coverage to patients with pre-existing conditions.

However, Blumberg says, it is disingenuous of many Republicans to make these claims while also supporting policies in the past that would separate the sick and elderly into separate “risk pools” with very high insurance rates that few could afford while charging lower coverage rates to younger, healthier people.

Four states will also vote on Medicaid expansion ballot initiatives offered under Obamacare that would extend health coverage for the poor, with 90 percent of funding coming from the federal government. The conservative governor of Idaho, C.L. Otter, has come out in favor of expanding Medicaid in his state despite concerns the costs to the state would greatly increase over time. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have voted to expand the ACA Medicaid coverage, while other states with Republican governors or legislatures have declined to take advantage of the program until now.

Opponents of government intervention in private industry argue that public support for universal health care will decrease significantly when confronted with the prospect of increased payroll taxes, the rationing of coverage, and bureaucratic delays that would likely result from a national health insurance plan.

“This is what happens when you have the government controlling health care costs, because now it is a singular consolidated entity making decisions on behalf of 300 million Americans,” said Meridian Paulton, a domestic policy studies researcher at The Heritage Foundation.

​Regulation versus competition

Conservatives continue to argue that promoting increased free market competition and innovation will work best to improve coverage and contain costs. However, the lack of health providers in many rural areas can limit competition.

President Donald Trump has attacked Democratic health proposals as socialism that would strip away funding from seniors who have paid Medicare taxes all of their working lives.

“Democrats support a socialist takeover of health care that would totally obliterate Medicare. Republicans want to protect Medicare for our great seniors who have earned it and who have paid for it all their lives,” Trump said.

Opinion polls show Democrats having a good chance to gain a majority of seats in the House of Representative in next Tuesday’s election, but not likely to take control of the Senate.

In a divided Congress, Democrats are not expected to have the votes to pass major health care legislation such as Medicare For All, but the election momentum could increase support for a compromised approach that regulates costs but also fosters private sector competition and innovation.

“We look at industrialized nations all over the world, many of them doing a mix of private and public insurance but making sure that there is a floor of care in coverage for everybody in the country, and those countries still take advantage of innovation,” Blumberg said.

Democrats Embrace Expanded Government Health Care in US Election

Democratic campaign promises of Medicare for All are resonating with some American voters who cite the rising cost of health care as a top issue in the upcoming U.S. midterm elections. That’s despite concerns over possible tax increases to fund a universal health care program. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Cambodian-American Newcomer Challenges Veteran California Representative 

In a sprawling California congressional district that includes some of the nation’s richest farmland and part of one of its poorest cities, a first-time candidate, a Cambodian-American woman, is taking on a well-entrenched Democrat, a white man.

Neither reflects the 16th District’s majority, the 58 percent of residents who identify as Hispanic or Latino. Slightly more than 25 percent identify as white, like Rep. Jim Costa, the Democratic incumbent, and only 8.6 percent are Asian, like Elizabeth Heng, the Republican challenger. Blacks and others make up the remaining chunk of voters.

Republican Heng, 33, a graduate of Fresno public schools, Stanford and Yale universities, aims to flip the district, long dependably Democratic. 

“I truly believe that we need new voices with fresh perspective to fight for our community,” said Heng in an interview with VOA Khmer. Although this is her first run for an elected position, Heng is the first Cambodian-American to make it through a primary and run for Congress.

Costa, 66, has represented the district since 2013. He began his political career in 1978 in the California State Assembly, moved up to the State Senate, and from 2005 to 2013, served in the U.S. House of Representative for California’s 20th District, part of which moved into the 16th when district borders changed.

The Costa-Heng race, one he’s likely to win, drew national attention the first week in August after Facebook and Twitter yanked a campaign ad from Heng, who was a registered Democrat before turning right.

The ad showed footage of genocide in Cambodia during the Pol Pot regime, which caused the deaths of at least 1.7 million people. Heng said her slogan “Great things can come from great adversary,” referred to her parents’ flight from Cambodia to the United States via Thailand to become successful small business owners in California.

Heng tweeted: “@facebook rejected my video because it was ‘too shocking’ for their platform, referring to the scenes of horrific events my parents survived in Cambodia.”

She also tweeted a copy of the notice she received from Facebook which states, “we don’t allow ads that contain shocking disrespectful or sensational content, including ads that depict violence or threats of violence” and asked “Facebook, do you think it’s right to censor history?”

Conservative outlets including the National Review, chimed in, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, from California’s 23rd Congressional District tweeted support and The San Francisco Chronicle reported conservatives were “irate” at Facebook with many claiming what happened to Heng was the latest example of tech companies trying to censor the right of center.

Facebook restored the ad within days, Twitter reinstated it by midmonth, and the race in California’s 16th returned to key issues such as jobs, water and immigration. And, in the crucial final weeks before the midterm vote, the Fresno Chamber of Commerce, the Merced Sun-Star and the Fresno Bee endorsed Costa, who despite repeated requests, did not speak to VOA for this story.

The 16th Congressional District has one of the lowest median household incomes, $43,839, in California, where the median household income is $63,783 according to 2010 U.S. Census data.

“So I believe it’s important for us to invest in areas such as vocational training and career technical training and trade skills,” Heng said. “So, we can provide our community and many people who are struggling in our community with the skillsets that they need to get to the next level, breaking out of this vicious cycle of poverty.”

Welding, electrical and plumbing skills for jobs in construction, and the computer training needed by the tech industry are what people need to get ahead, she said.

Growing up in Fresno

Heng grew up in Fresno. Her parents, mother Siv Khoeu and father Chieu Heng, arrived the U.S. in 1983 after living almost four years under the Khmer Rouge. They began their working lives in the United States as a construction worker and seamstress before saving enough money to buy a Fresno grocery store where Heng worked after classes throughout elementary, middle, and high school.

Heng, valedictorian of Fresno’s Sunnyside High School Class of 2003, attended Stanford University, where she served as student body president during her senior year. Heng, who majored in political science and American politics, told the school newspaper, the Stanford Review, in 2007 that she wanted to work on a presidential campaign and was interested in a career in politics.

After graduating from Stanford, she returned to Fresno where she opened cell phone stores with her brothers. It was when she was managing some 75 employees that she says she realized “how government regulations impacted businesses negatively,” she told the National Review in an interview published before her campaign ad controversy.

Time in D.C.

Fed up, she packed her bags and headed to Washington, where she eventually landed a job with the House Foreign Affairs Committee headed by California Republican, Ed Royce.

She recalls that was where she learned how U.S. foreign aid is distributed worldwide and how, during a visit to Cambodia, she was inspired to do more for the community.

“I realized how different my life could have turned out had my parents not sought refuge in the United States,” Heng told VOA. “And that was a perfect example of why I continue to dedicate my life to service and politics and empowering and holding to the fundamentals of what make this country, the United States, great, but also to use that to great work around the world including places like Cambodia.”

She decided to run for office when she returned to Fresno in 2017. As of Sept. 30, Costa has beaten Heng in the race for campaign contributions, $1,148,149 to $312,732, according to Federal Election Commission reports. The 16th District favored Democrat Hillary Clinton over Trump in the 2016 presidential election by a margin of 21.3 points. Of California’s 53 House seats, Democrats hold 39.

Part of Heng’s effort to flip the district focuses on a get-out-the-vote campaign, so she knocks on a lot of doors. 

“We’re doing this every single day to turn people out to vote,” she said. “It’s so important for our community to get involved and so they can be a part of the process.”

Immigration a key issue

Heng, who has made immigration one of her key areas, repeated the Republican line that the current U.S. immigration policy is broken and says that she would work to protect the border and enhance security measure to “prevent criminals and terrorists” from entering the country, but encourage legal immigration, according to her website.

“Immigration is one of the top priorities in my campaign because as you’ve seen in the national media that something that we consistently talk about,” Heng told VOA. “I would love nothing more [than] to be on the forefront of immigration reform and getting that right for our country.”

Sophal Ear, associate professor at Occidental Community College in Los Angeles is a leading authority on Cambodia and the Cambodian diaspora. He said he hopes Heng uses the Cambodian-American narrative in a “meaningful way” and not “simply as a steppingstone for power.”

“Her family’s refugee story of struggle is not just something she ought to exploit for political gain as a Republican candidate,” he said. “She can’t just take that and serve President Trump’s agenda. She ought to remember that to whom much is given, much is expected.”

However, Heng told VOA she would not be “a rubber stamp” for any political party. “I know how Washington D.C. works,” she said. “I know how to hit the ground running to move legislative policy that works.”

Oprah Jumps Into Contentious Georgia Race, Endorses Democrat Abrams

Oprah Winfrey plans to lend her star power to Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams’ quest to become the United States’ first black woman governor at a couple of appearances in the state on Thursday.

After a brief flirtation earlier this year with a run for the White House in 2020, the media mogul, who has long associated herself with Democratic Party causes, has instead thrown her influence into a race that has become a flash point for accusations of voter suppression.

Abrams’ Republican rival, Brian Kemp, serves as Georgia secretary of state, a role in which he oversees state elections.

Earlier this month, a coalition of state civil rights groups sued Kemp, accusing him of trying to depress minority voter turnout to improve his chances of winning. On Monday, former U.S. President and former Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter asked Kemp to step down as secretary of state since he was running for governor.

Abrams’ campaign said she would appear with Winfrey in Cobb and DeKalb counties for a discussion on “the critical value of women in leadership and what is at stake for our communities in the election.”

Winfrey, 64, stole the show at January’s Golden Globes awards ceremony with a speech against sexual harassment and assault. It sparked an online campaign to persuade her to run against Republican U.S. President Donald Trump in the next election cycle.

“It’s not something that interests me,” Winfrey told InStyle magazine in January. “I met with someone the other day who said that they would help me with a campaign. That’s not for me.”

Winfrey could not be reached for immediate comment on Wednesday.

Midterm Campaign Heads for Possible Split Decision 

In the final days of the U.S. congressional midterm campaign, here are some key questions and races to keep in mind:

Battle for the House

Can Democrats gain the 23 seats they need to reclaim a majority in the House of Representatives?

According to RealClear Politics, the average Democratic advantage on the generic ballot is 49 to 42 percent, though other polls show a wider gap in favor of Democrats.

​Another key indicator is the president’s approval rating. RealClear shows President Donald Trump’s average at 44 percent approve, 52 percent disapprove. When presidents have an approval rating below 50 percent, history shows they lose on average 30 or more House seats.

Also in recent days, the Democrats are pouring more fundraising into House races that previously were thought to be more securely in the Republican column. In other words, Democrats are expanding the battlefield in the final days of the campaign, a sign taken by some analysts that the number of winnable House seats for Democrats is on the rise.

The politics-tracking website FiveThirtyEight says Democrats have an 85 percent chance of winning back the House majority.

Battle for the Senate 

The battle for the Senate looks different. Can the Republicans not only hold their narrow Senate majority but expand it?

At the moment, Republicans seem cautiously optimistic because most of the hotly contested Senate races involve incumbent Democrats trying to fend off Republican challengers in states that went strongly for Trump in 2016.

Democrats look to have a good chance of winning an open Senate seat in Arizona brought about by the retirement of Republican Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic.

But Democrats are desperately trying to hold off Republican challengers in Missouri and Indiana and are still hopeful about what may be a long-shot challenge to incumbent Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in Texas.

FiveThirtyEight says Republicans have an 85 percent likelihood of holding on to their Senate majority.

Watch the Sunshine State

If you watch one state on election night, Nov. 6, you might consider Florida. The governor’s race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis is getting a lot of attention, including from Trump.

There is also a high-stakes Senate race in Florida between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and the state’s current Republican governor, Rick Scott.

What happens in Florida will have a lot to say about where the voters are at in 2018, and it could have important implications looking ahead to the next presidential election in 2020.

Trump narrowly carried Florida in 2016 and will likely need a repeat performance if he expects to win re-election two years from now.

Sources: US Senate Panel Probes Former Trump Aide Bannon

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee is pursuing a wide-ranging investigation into former White House adviser Steve Bannon’s activities during the 2016 presidential campaign, three sources familiar with the inquiry told Reuters.

The committee is looking into what Bannon might know about any contacts during the campaign between Moscow and two advisers to the campaign, George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, they said.

Papadopoulos, a consultant, initially advised the presidential campaign of Republican hopeful Ben Carson before joining the Trump campaign. Page is also a consultant, who had business contacts in Russia.

On September 7, Papadopoulos was sentenced to 14 days in prison.

He had pleaded guilty last year to lying to FBI agents about the timing and significance of his contacts with Russians, including a professor who told him the Russians had “dirt” on Trump’s Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton.

No charges have been filed against Page.

The panel also will examine Bannon’s role with Cambridge Analytica, a former data analysis company that the Trump campaign hired to help identify and target messages to potentially sympathetic voters, the sources said.

The Senate committee is working with Bannon’s advisers to set a date for him to be interviewed by staff investigators in late November, two of the sources said.

Neither Bannon nor his spokesperson immediately responded to requests for comment.

Bannon recently met for the second time with investigators working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating allegations of Russian interference on Trump’s behalf in the 2016 presidential election, one of the sources said.

Russia has denied interfering in the election and Trump denies any collusion, frequently describing the Mueller investigation as a political witch hunt.

The Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Bannon was questioned last week by Mueller’s team. The newspaper said the interview focused on Trump supporter Roger Stone. In emails to Reuters, Stone has said he did not know about or have access to WikiLeaks materials related to Democrats.

In the run-up to the 2016 election, WikiLeaks published hundreds of emails hacked from the Democratic Party and the personal account of top Hillary Clinton campaign adviser John Podesta.

One of the sources familiar with the Bannon-related Senate panel investigations said Mueller’s team does not consider Bannon to be a potential subject of their investigation.

Bannon served as a vice president of Cambridge Analytica from June 2014 to August 2016, at which point he joined Trump’s presidential campaign as a senior strategist.

Sources said the Senate Intelligence committee has sought to interview other witnesses about the role played by Cambridge Analytica and affiliated companies in the 2016 election.

Republicans Focus on Defending Senate in Campaign’s Last Week 

Republican campaigns took a defensive approach a week before elections to determine control of the U.S. Congress, with the party spending more to try to hold on to previously secure House seats and President Donald Trump preparing a six-day trip focused on Senate races. 

The National Republican Congressional Committee on Tuesday launched a wave of ads targeting 14 House of Representatives races, including defenses of eight incumbents and four currently Republican-held seats whose current officeholders are not running in the Nov. 6 elections. 

Trump’s planned blitz of Senate battleground states, including Florida, Missouri and Tennessee, follows an NBC/Marist opinion poll showing the Democratic U.S. Senate candidate in Arizona taking a 6 percentage-point lead and a Quinnipiac University Poll showing Democrat Beto O’Rourke pulling closer to Republican Senator Ted Cruz in Texas. 

A Reuters analysis of a trio of political forecasting groups showed the picture in the House brightening for Democrats. 

Of 65 races seen as competitive or leaning against the incumbent party, the odds of a Democratic victory had increased in 48 as of Tuesday in the eyes of at least one of the three of political forecasting groups — Cook Political Report, Inside Elections and the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics — according to the Reuters analysis. 

Democrats would need a net gain of 23 seats in the House and two in the Senate to take majorities away from Trump’s fellow Republicans, which would put them in position to oppose the president’s legislative agenda. Opinion polls and political forecasters generally show Democrats having a strong chance of winning a House majority, with Republicans expected to keep control of the Senate. 

Early voting 

Early voting has surged nationwide, with eight states already recording more ballots cast ahead of Election Day than in all of 2014, the last midterm congressional election cycle, according to University of Florida researchers. 

“Many voters are looking for someone who will be a check and not just a rubber stamp,” said Mike Levin, Democratic candidate in California’s 49th congressional district, which encompasses a wealthy suburban stretch between Los Angeles and San Diego. 

Republican Darrell Issa currently represents the district but is not seeking re-election. 

Until recently solidly Republican, the district has been trending Democratic in recent elections. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney won it by 6 percentage points in 2012, but Democrat Hillary Clinton won it by 7 percentage points in 2016, a swing of 13 percentage points. This year, opinion polls give Levin an edge over his Republican rival, Diane Harkey. 

“We talk a lot about the need to have a check on this administration,” Levin said in an interview at a campaign office in San Clemente. 

The seat is among more than 40 that were held by Republicans who are not running for re-election, the highest number since at least 1930. 

Safer districts

Republicans are focusing their efforts on conservative districts Trump won by double-digit margins in 2016, particularly in rural areas. That has allowed Democrats to gain ground in more racially diverse urban and suburban districts like the one Issa represents. 

In conservative areas where Trump remains popular, from upstate New York to southern Illinois, several Republican incumbents said they saw the odds as moving in their favor. 

They said their chances have been boosted by the bruising debate around Trump Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who was narrowly confirmed by the Senate after denying a sexual assault allegation. 

Anger over his contentious, protest-marred confirmation hearings and sympathy among conservatives toward Kavanaugh have boosted the enthusiasm of the Republican base, particularly in rural areas, candidates and strategists said. 

2018 US Midterm Elections Could Bring Gridlock

President Donald Trump has warned that if Democrats regain political power in the midterm elections, the U.S. economy would essentially implode. 

Democrats, he insists, would push tax hikes and environmental restrictions that stifle growth. Undocumented immigrants would steal jobs and unleash a crime wave that would halt commerce. Health insurance would devolve into a socialist program offering shoddy care at unsustainable cost. 

“At stake in this election,” Trump declared at a rally in Houston, “is whether we continue the extraordinary prosperity that we’ve all achieved or whether we let the radical Democrat mob take a giant wrecking ball and destroy our country and our economy.” 

Almost no private economist agrees with Trump’s portrait of a financial apocalypse. 

If Democrats win control of the House in next week’s congressional elections, their legislative priorities wouldn’t likely much alter a $20 trillion economy. For one thing, Trump would remain able to block Democratic initiatives — just as they could stop his plans for more tax cuts and a 5 percent cut to Cabinet department budgets. 

What instead would likely result is continued gridlock — perhaps even more entrenched than what exists now in Washington. Arrayed against a stout Republican majority in the Senate, a Democratic House majority couldn’t do much to reorder the economy, which typically hinges more on the willingness of consumers and businesses to spend and on the state of the global economy than on government policy priorities. 

“It’s probably not that much of a change,” Beth Ann Bovino, chief U.S. economist at S&P Global, said of the likely outcome. “While you might see further gridlock if the Democrats take the House, that doesn’t mean it would tip the boat and slow growth.” 

Many polls and analyses suggest — though hardly assure — that the Democrats could regain a majority in the House if their voters turn out in sufficient numbers in key races. If so, Trump would have to contend with a divided government instead of one with Republicans in complete control. Yet depending on voter turnout, it’s also possible that the Republicans could maintain their hold on both the House and the Senate. 

Analysts at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley foresee a divided government as most probable. So do their peers at Oxford Economics and Keefe Bruyette & Woods. 

“The most likely political consequences would be an increase in investigations and uncertainty surrounding fiscal deadlines,” Goldman Sachs concluded in a client note. 

Oxford Economics’ senior economist, Nancy Vanden Houten, has suggested that the Republicans’ legislative agenda would stall if they lost the House. 

“A Democrat-controlled House would, in our view, be a line of defense against further tax cuts, reduced entitlement spending and efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” she said. 

The economy has enjoyed an acceleration in growth this year — to a gain estimated to be 3 percent after deficit-funded tax cuts. Unemployment is at a 49-year low of 3.7 percent, and employers continue to post a record number of job openings. The economic expansion is already the second longest on record. 

But annual growth is widely expected to dip back to its long-term average of near 2 percent by 2020. It’s even possible that the economy could slip into a recession within a few years as growth inevitably stalls — for reasons unrelated to who controls the White House or Congress. A global slowdown could, for example, spill over into the United States. Or higher interest rates, spurred by the Federal Reserve, might depress economic activity. 

Trump would still have plenty of discretion on some key economic issues. His trade war with China and his drive to reduce regulations are two of them. The president has managed to pursue those priorities without Congress’ involvement, though his updated trade agreement with Canada and Mexico would need congressional approval. 

“Trade stuff is being done administratively; regulatory stuff is being done administratively,” said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, president of the right-of-center American Action Forum. “There’s just not that much on the table legislatively.” 

In an appearance this month at Harvard University, the House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi, outlined her agenda should her party regain the chamber’s majority and she the speakership. 

Within the first 100 days, Pelosi said, she would seek to reduce the influence of large campaign donors and groups that aren’t legally required to disclose their funding sources. She would also push for infrastructure funding — to rebuild roadways, rail stations or airports, for example — and seek protections for undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children, among other priorities. 

Any such initiatives, though, could be blocked by a Republican Senate, or by Trump. 

Budget and deficit issues will also surface after the election. Congress will most likely need to raise the government’s debt limit and approve spending packages before October 2019. And mandatory government spending caps are set to kick in for the 2020 fiscal year after having been suspended for two years. Those spending limits could dampen economic growth. 

Lewis Alexander, chief U.S. economist at Nomura, said Republicans might renew their focus on reducing the national debt, after having approved tax cuts last year that swelled annual budget deficits by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. 

Alexander noted that shrinking the deficit has historically become a higher priority when competing parties have controlled the White House and Congress. If the government seeks to pare the deficit, it could possibly slow the economy, which in the past year has been fueled in part by government spending. 

It’s likely Trump would blame Democrats if growth falters, just as he might absorb criticism for his economic stewardship as Democratic presidential campaigns accelerate into a higher gear. 

The hostile rhetoric makes it unlikely that Democrats and Republicans would join to pass any meaningful legislation for the economy, such as for infrastructure rebuilding.  

“The way parties are talking about it right now, I don’t think anybody is dying to cooperate,” said Michael Madowitz, chief economist at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. 

Still, if Democrats regain the House, the president might feel pressure to produce some tangible legislative results ahead of his own quest for re-election in 2020. 

“Trump is the wild card here,” said Jason Rosenstock, a financial industry lobbyist with Thorn Run Partners. “He may want to be seen as a deal-cutter going into the 2020 election.” 

FBI Looking into Apparent Effort to Smear Special Counsel Mueller

The FBI is investigating an anonymous woman’s claim that she was offered $20,000 to accuse Special Counsel Robert Mueller of sexual assault.

Mueller is investigating allegations that President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to meddle in the 2016 election. He is also looking into whether Trump attempted to obstruct the probe.

In a rare public statement, Mueller spokesman Peter Carr said Tuesday “when we learned last week of the allegations that women were offered money to make false claims about the special counsel, we immediacy referred the matter to the FBI for investigation.”

Carr offered no details of the case which may be an effort to discredit Mueller as the investigation continues.

News outlets say an unknown woman contacted them by email, claiming someone offered her cash to say Mueller sexually assaulted her in the 1970s when they worked together at the FBI.

The woman says the person who contacted her claimed to work for Republican activist and right-wing radio talk show host Jack Burkman.

Burkman calls himself “the victim of a hoax” and that he did not pay anyone.

But he said last week on Facebook and in tweets that he would “reveal the first of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s sex assault victims. I applaud the courage and dignity and grace and strength of my client.”

Cambodia Genocide Survivors Overcome Fear, Get Involved Politically

During every election season, as many American citizens prepare to go to the polls, one group of immigrants has traditionally chosen not to get involved. The Cambodian community in the U.S. has been fearful of the government because of its past, but this midterm election is different. The largest Cambodian community in the U.S. is taking political action. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee has their story from Long Beach, California.

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