Politics Headlines

Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(NEW DELHI, India) -- President Donald Trump on Tuesday played down concerns about the coronavirus in the U.S., saying the situation was "under control" and was a "problem that's going to go away."

"We have very few people with it," Trump told reporters at a news conference in New Delhi, adding that he was not totally caught up on the latest details because of his trip to India but that "the people are getting better, they're all getting better," referring to patients in the U.S.

"I think that whole situation will start working out. Lot of talent, lot of brain power is being put behind it," he said.

Trump's comments came as the administration is asking Congress for emergency funding to deal with crisis -- $1.25 billion in new funding and another $1.25 billion shifted from funding, some designated to deal with the Ebola virus.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was expected to detail the supplemental budget request at a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing Tuesday morning.

If approved, the funds would be earmarked for accelerated vaccine development, to support preparedness and response activities, and for the procurement of equipment and supplies, according to the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Democrats immediately attacked the administration response, with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer calling it "too little, too late."

"That President Trump is trying to steal funds dedicated to fight Ebola is indicative of his towering incompetence and further proof that he and his administration aren’t taking the Coronavirus crisis as seriously as they need to be," he said on Twitter. "We’ve seen no sign that President Trump has any plan or urgency to deal with the spread of the Coronavirus. We need real leadership, and we need it fast."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the request was "long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency" and said the House would put forward its own emergency funding measure.

"Two and a half billion dollars, we're putting in. I see that Chuck Schumer criticized it; he thought it should be more. And if I gave more, he'd say it should be less. Automatic, you know, with these characters. They are just not good for our country," Trump responded at his news conference.

Senators who were given a closed-door briefing on the coronavirus situation Tuesday morning gave sharply different accounts, depending on their party.

Republicans came out supporting the president's line, with GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee noting there were only 14 cases in the U.S., which he called "remarkable."

Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut called making the briefing "classified" was "inexplicable" and that if the American people had heard what senators were told, there would be "outrage" and "uproar."

At an earlier event in India Tuesday, reacting to Monday's stock market drop amid fears of the spreading coronavirus, Trump said it was “pretty bad” and a “very serious thing” but expressed confidence that “it’s going to work out fine” and that the virus will “go away.”

“I see the [market] futures are up today, fairly substantially, but that’s a very serious thing but we think we are in very good shape in the United States,” Trump said during remarks with a group of Indian business leaders in reacting to the stock drop.

“It looks like they're getting it under control, more and more, they're getting more and more under control. So I think that's a problem that's going to go away,” Trump said.

Relating to the business leaders in the room, the president compared the virus to an outside factor that can impact a business.

“We lost almost 1000 points yesterday on the market and that's something you know things like that happen where, and you have it in your business all the time had nothing to do with you it’s an outside source that nobody would have every predicted if you go back six months or three months ago nobody would have ever predicted,” Trump said.

“But let's see I think it's going to be under control and I think I can speak for our country for our country is under control… And so, let's see how it all works out but I think it's going to work out fine,” he continued.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The last debate may have been a pile on for former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, but with a decisive victory in Nevada under his belt, Sen. Bernie Sanders has solidified his front-runner status in the Democratic primary and his competitors have sharpened their attacks on the Vermont senator, questioning his electability in the lead-up to Tuesday night's debate in South Carolina.

"I'd like whomever the Democrat is to beat Donald Trump. I'd vote for Mickey Mouse over Donald Trump," former Vice President Joe Biden, who finished second in Nevada, said on MSNBC Sunday. "I don't think (Sanders) can beat Donald Trump, and ... get a Democratic Senate and keep a Democratic House."

The following seven candidates vying to take on the president will face off in the debate, in podium order from left to right: Bloomberg, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sanders, Biden, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and businessman Tom Steyer.

The debate, which is being hosted by CBS News and the Congressional Black Caucus Institute, in partnership with Twitter, runs from 8 p.m. to 10:15 p.m. (EST).

And while the knives may be out and aimed at Sanders, this debate is not just the last opportunity these candidates have to differentiate themselves on a national stage before the South Carolina primary, it's also the last chance to do so before 14 states and one territory vote on Super Tuesday, when a third of all pledged delegates will be up for grabs.

Both Buttigieg and Klobuchar have questioned Sanders' ability to bring a big enough coalition of voters together to beat Trump in the general election, with Buttigieg saying Sanders' brand of politics is "my way or the highway."

But the two candidates are sure to face questions about their own electability and ability to appeal to a diverse electorate, given about 60% of South Carolina Democratic primary voters were black in the 2016 election, according to ABC News exit poll results.

In Nevada, Buttigieg and Klobuchar were only supported by 2% and 3%, respectively, of black caucusgoers, according to entrance poll results, compared to 39% who supported Biden and 27% who supported Sanders.

Bloomberg also has something to prove. In the last debate, while he took on Sanders, the billionaire struggled to take the heat from his rivals, even admitting on MSNBC Sunday, "It wasn't my best night."

He hasn't campaigned or been on the ballots in the early voting states, including the upcoming primary in South Carolina, so the debates are his chance to prove that he's the best candidate to take on Trump in the general election as he's claimed in many of his hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of television ads.

His campaign rescheduled a Monday CNN town hall so that he could prepare for the debate.

"The country can't afford to let Bernie Sanders skate by another debate without a focus on his extreme record," spokeswoman Galia Slayen said in a statement provided to ABC News.

With Sanders' two clean wins, and lead in the delegate race, Bloomberg may be spared from attacks on his extreme wealth and record on women and race as the moderates on stage pivot to take on the Democratic front-runner, who doesn't even identify as a Democrat in the Senate.

Even Warren, the only other candidate in the race to support a government-run health care system, sought to differentiate herself from her liberal comrade when asked by a supporter at an event in Denver about how people can benefit from democratic socialism.

"I appreciate the question, but you've got the wrong person to ask about this," Warren said Sunday. "I'm not a democratic socialist. I believe in the markets."

While Warren's had less-than-stellar results out of the first contests of the cycle, her campaign raised more than $5 million in the 24 hours following the Las Vegas debate -- when Warren didn't hold back, taking on several of her competitors. Another fundraising night like that would be welcome for the campaign, which spent more than twice the amount it raised in January, ending that month with $2.3 million in cash on hand, according to the latest Federal Election Commission filing.

Having failed to qualify for the last debate in Las Vegas, a strong showing from Steyer could put him on the path to scoring delegates -- and momentum -- in Saturday's primary, his last opportunity to do so before Super Tuesday after a lackluster finish in Nevada.

The billionaire has spent more than $22 million on radio and television ad buys in South Carolina, according to ad data analysis from CMAG, and his investment has paid off, according to polling. In October, Winthrop University's poll had Steyer at just 2% support among Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. Less than a week ago, he was at 15% among the same group, trailing only Biden and Sanders.

While Steyer has made gains in the Palmetto State, Biden -- who's hoping for a resounding win on Saturday -- has remained confident the billionaire wouldn't spoil his victory. He told ABC News on Monday that he can win the state "by plenty."

And in North Charleston on Sunday, Biden was asked by a reporter how much of the vote Steyer would "take" from him this weekend.

"I think the same amount he took in Nevada. Nothing," Biden quipped. Steyer finished in fifth place.

Unlike Nevada, there's no early voting in South Carolina, so this debate is timed to potentially sway voters. A strong showing at the Gaillard Center could bolster the former vice president as he tries to smash the narrative that he's lost his standing in the southern state where he once overwhelmingly led in polls.

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Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(NEW DELHI, India) -- Reacting to Harvey Weinstein's conviction on criminal sexual assault and third-degree rape charges, President Donald Trump hailed a New York jury's decision as a "great victory" for women and sought to tie the disgraced movie mogul to prominent Democrats.

"I think from the standpoint of women it was a great thing, it was a great victory and sends a very strong message," Trump said during a wide-ranging news conference Tuesday in New Delhi, India, when asked what the result means for women who may be afraid to come forward with their own experiences with sexual assault or harassment.

The president attempted to tie the 67-year-old Weinstein to Democrats while simultaneously distancing himself from the now jailed sex offender, saying he was "never a fan" of Weinstein and claiming prominent Democrats -- specifically Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton -- "loved him."

"The people who liked him were the Democrats," Trump said. "He gave tremendous money to the Democrats."

The question now, Trump said, is whether the Democrats give the money back?

"So I was never a fan of Harvey Weinstein as you know. In fact, he said he was going to work hard to defeat me in the election," Trump said. "How did that work out, by the way? I'm trying to figure that out. He was a person I didn't like."

Trump said he has been too busy traveling and taking meetings to follow the trial closely.

Weinstein was found guilty of criminal sexual assault and of rape in the third degree in a New York court. He was found not guilty of the more serious charges of predatory sexual assault and of rape in the first degree.

The judge in the case remanded Weinstein into custody without bail against his attorneys' request.

His lawyers said they will appeal the conviction, claiming there were "extremely troubling" issues with the trial.

The outcome of the trial is seen as a landmark moment in the #MeToo movement, which was spurred into mainstream awareness after allegations against Weinstein were first reported in October 2017 by The New York Times and The New Yorker.

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DNY59/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- Roger Stone makes a bid for a new trial Tuesday in a Washington, D.C. courtroom, just days after the judge in his case sentenced him to 40 months in prison amid speculation about a possible pardon from President Donald Trump.

On Feb. 14, in a last-ditch effort for a new trial ahead of his Feb. 20 sentencing for lying to Congress and witness tampering, Stone's attorneys filed a sealed motion for a new trial citing alleged jury misconduct.

Stone, 67, was convicted of misleading congressional investigators on several key elements of their probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, including communications he had with the Trump campaign about the WikiLeaks dissemination of damaging documents stolen from Democrats.

While details of both the request for a new trial and the Justice Department's subsequent opposition to the defense motion are mostly unknown because they're under seal, Trump has claimed the jury was "totally tainted" and has called the jury forewoman "anti-Trump."

Now, federal Judge Amy Berman Jackson is holding a closed hearing on Stone's motion for a new trial, but the first half hour will be open to the public before the closed portion begins.

In a conference call with Stone, his defense team and two Justice Department prosecutors last week, Jackson said that she has decided not to delay Stone's sentencing considering the defense's latest bid for a new trial. But, Jackson said on the call, "I will ensure that the execution of sentence and the deadline for the filing of a notice of appeal will be deferred to ensure that the defendant has had the benefit of the ruling on the motion before filing any notice of appeal."

Stone's sentencing went on as planned last Thursday. Besides the 40-month prison term, Stone was sentenced to 24 months probation and fined $20,000. Stone remains free pending a decision on his motion for a new trial.

In the lead up to Jackson's call for a hearing on the matter, Stone's attorneys late Friday filed a motion for Judge Jackson to be dismissed from Stone's case and overseeing the bid for a new trial, citing Jackson's statements during Stone's sentencing a day earlier, which Stone's lawyers alleged indicated "an inability to reserve judgment on an issue which has yet been heard.”

In extended remarks before handing down Stone's sentence, responding to attacks on her, the Justice Department and the jury, Jackson had said, "The jurors who served with integrity under difficult circumstances cared."

Judge Jackson denied Stone's motion for her dismissal in court papers filed Sunday evening, pointing to the docket as evidence she's taken seriously every motion Stone has made since his Jan. 2019 arrest.

“[T]he pleading appears to be nothing more than an attempt to use the court's docket to disseminate a statement for public consumption that had the words ‘judge' and ‘biased' in it,” Jackson wrote.

Earlier this month, unsealed court documents revealed that Judge Jackson denied a previous sealed motion for a new trial filed by Stone's defense team involving a post-trial objection to one of the jurors. The individual disclosed during the jury selection process that they had a legal background and had worked for the IRS.

Trump last week addressed the sentencing of Stone, his longtime friend who briefly served as a campaign adviser in 2015, saying that what happened to him is "unbelievable" but stopping short of saying whether he would issue a pardon.

"I'm following this very closely and I want to see it play out to its fullest because Roger has a very good chance of exoneration in my opinion," Trump said.

He went on to express his grievances with the forewoman of the jury, who came under scrutiny for social media posts she allegedly published prior to serving on Stone's jury. The activity was publicly reported just days before Stone's attorneys filed their most recent sealed motion for a new trial citing juror misconduct. The content was later removed.

Trump said the jury forewoman was an "anti-Trump person totally."

"It's my strong opinion that the forewoman of the jury, the woman who was in charge of the jury was totally tainted," he added.

According to the terms of Stone's sentencing, he is to voluntarily turn himself in to authorities to begin his prison term within two weeks of Judge Jackson's ruling on his bid for a new trial.

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baona/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- The influential pro-Israel lobbying group American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is criticizing 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders after he decided to skip the organization’s annual policy conference in March, calling it a platform for "leaders who express bigotry."

"The Israeli people have the right to live in peace and security. So do the Palestinian people," Sanders, I-Vt., said on Twitter Sunday in his announcement that he would not attend the conference.

"I remain concerned about the platform AIPAC provides for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights. For that reason I will not attend their conference. As president, I will support the rights of both Israelis and Palestinians and do everything possible to bring peace and security to the region," Sanders tweeted.

AIPAC replied to Sanders’ remarks in a statement on Twitter, saying, "Senator Sanders never attended our conference and that is evident from his outrageous comment."

"In fact, many of his own Senate and House Democratic colleagues and leaders speak from our platform to the over 18,000 Americans from widely diverse backgrounds — Democrats, Republicans, Jews, Christians, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, progressives, Veterans, students, members of the LGBTQ community — who participate in the conference to proclaim their support for the U.S.-Israel relationship," the organization said in their statement.

"By engaging in such an odious attack on this mainstream, bipartisan American political event, Senator Sanders is insulting his very own colleagues and the millions of Americans who stand with Israel. Truly shameful," the pro-Israel group added.

Sanders -- who is the son of polish immigrants and the only Jewish presidential candidate -- also skipped the group’s annual event in 2019.

Sanders' move to boycott the event follows his fellow democratic presidential candidate -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- after she announced she’s skipping the conference in early February.

Warren, D-Mass., also did not attend the AIPAC conference in 2019.

In response to Sanders and Warren’s announcements, Halie Soifer, executive director of the Jewish Democratic Council of America, said "Candidates should be judged on their positions, not on whether they attend any particular conference. JDCA will support the Democratic nominee - whomever that may be - in November, and strongly opposes the use of Israel as a political wedge issue."

"Jewish voters overwhelmingly oppose Donald Trump and will vote against him in November, regardless of who is the Democratic nominee for president," Soifer said in a statement.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- It's been only three days since Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders scored an emphatic win in Nevada, solidifying his front-runner status for the top of the Democratic ticket over his rivals, but Sanders' apparent defense of parts of Fidel Castro's dictatorial reign in Cuba is roiling the big-tent party filled with anxiety over embracing him.

In a CBS 60 Minutes interview that aired Sunday night, Sanders was asked about his remarks on communism in the 1980s, when he contended that Cubans did not seek to overthrow the late communist leader because he "totally transformed the society." The self-described democratic socialist on Sunday, once again, pointed to social programs implemented by the dictator as a silver lining within his authoritarian government.

"We're very opposed to the authoritarian nature of Cuba, but you know, it's unfair to simply say everything is bad," he said. "You know? When Fidel Castro came into office, you know what he did? He had a massive literacy program. Is that a bad thing? Even though Fidel Castro did it?"

But responses to Sanders' comments already seem to be a preview of some of the searing attacks his competitors will likely unleash on him Tuesday night when the top seven candidates are expected to square off in another Democratic debate in Charleston, South Carolina.

"After four years of looking on in horror as Trump cozied up to dictators, we need a president who will be extremely clear in standing against regimes that violate human rights abroad. We can't risk nominating someone who doesn't recognize this," former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg tweeted.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg tweeted, "Fidel Castro left a dark legacy of forced labor camps, religious repression, widespread poverty, firing squads, and the murder of thousands of his own people. But sure, Bernie, let's talk about his literacy program."

Former Vice President Joe Biden's campaign echoed the other contenders, but went further.

"Make no mistake: Bernie Sanders' comments on Fidel Castro are a part of a larger pattern throughout his life to embrace autocratic leaders and governments across the globe," Biden's senior adviser Cristóbal Alex said in a statement. "His admiration for elements of Castro's dictatorship or at least willingness to look past Cuba’s human rights violations is not just dangerous, it is deeply offensive to the many people in Florida, New Jersey, and across the country that have fled political persecution and sought refuge in the United States. Bernie’s comments indicate he either fails to understand the pain and suffering that Fidel Castro, Nicolas Maduro, and Daniel Ortega have caused to so many people, including Americans now living here, or worse, that his ideology blinds him to the realities of life in these countries."

"We already have one president who praises dictators and their mob-like tendencies; we don’t need another one. As president, Joe Biden will stand up on the global stage against tyrants and fight for freedom and democracy," he added.

But the senator's campaign defended his comments by comparing Sanders to former President Barack Obama -- claiming that Sanders decries aspects of Castro's regime while lauding advances in others, such as education.

"Sen. Sanders has clearly and consistently criticized Fidel Castro's authoritarianism and condemned his human rights abuses, and he's simply echoing President Obama's acknowledgment that Cuba made progress, especially in education," said Sanders communication director Mike Casca, in a reference to Obama's 2016 remarks in Havana, when the president acknowledged the differences over "democracy and human rights," but added, "Cuba has made as a nation, its enormous achievements in education and in health care."

Obama's comments came during a historic visit to the island nation, marking the first time in nearly 90 years a sitting U.S. president visited Cuba, as his administration sought to restore diplomatic ties between the two countries. The trip occurred at the end of his second term, not in the middle of a heated primary race.

Sanders' comments could give the other presidential hopefuls -- eager to puncture his ascendant run after back-to-back wins in New Hampshire and Nevada -- ammunition to cast his platform as too liberal for a full Democratic ticket, just days before Saturday's South Carolina primary. It's the last of the early state contests before Super Tuesday brings the presidential contest onto a national map all at once.

The backlash against Sanders' remark was not only swift among the 2020 Democrats but also among a bipartisan slate of Florida lawmakers, a state that is home to the highest concentration of Cuban Americans in the country.

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-Fla., excoriated Sanders for his comments on Castro. She is the first South American immigrant in Congress who represents a district that covers parts of Florida's southernmost tip, plus the Florida Keys, and encompasses "thousands" of Florida's Cuban population.

"I find Senator Bernie Sanders' comments on Castro's Cuba absolutely unacceptable," she wrote in a tweet. "The Castro regime murdered and jailed dissidents, and caused unspeakable harm to too many South Florida families. To this day, it remains an authoritarian regime that oppresses its people, subverts the free press, and stifles a free society."

Two other members of Florida's congressional delegation, Stephanie Murphy of the 7th Congressional District, which sits in the middle of the state, and Donna E. Shalala of south Florida's 27th Congressional District, condemned Sanders and signaled that he is out of touch with their constituents.

"@SenSanders comments on Fidel Castro are ill-informed & insulting to thousands of Floridians. Castro was a murderous dictator who oppressed his own people. His 'literacy program' wasn't altruistic; it was a cynical effort to spread his dangerous philosophy & consolidate power," Murphy tweeted.

"I'm hoping that in the future, Senator Sanders will take time to speak to some of my constituents before he decides to sing the praises of a murderous tyrant like Fidel Castro," Shalala said.

Despite Sanders winning 51% of the Latino bloc in Nevada, Shalala's and Murphy's responses both underscore the notion that Latino voters do not vote as a monolith and highlights the fear among a number of more moderate Democrats that a Sanders nomination could ultimately cripple the party down ballot.

Sanders' remarks are a flashpoint for the ongoing difficulties he presents to down-ballot candidates within his own party, who will have to grapple with his more liberal positions, such as "Medicare for All," while seeking re-election on potentially a different agenda.

House Majority Whip James Clyburn told ABC's This Week that if the Democrats nominate a socialist, it "would be a real burden for us in these states or congressional districts that we have to do well in."

"If you look at how well we did the last time, and look at the congressional districts, these were not liberal or what you might call progressive districts. These are basically moderate and conservative districts that we did well in, and in those districts, it's going to be tough to hold onto these jobs if you have to make the case for accepting a self-proclaimed democratic socialist," he added.

Freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., whose district is hosting the 10th debate on Tuesday, told the Post and Courier, "South Carolinians don't want socialism. ... We want to know how you are going to get things done and how you are going to pay for them. Bernie's proposals to raise taxes on almost everyone is not something the Lowcountry wants and not something I'd ever support."

Earlier this month, Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., the first House Democrat to endorse Buttigieg, sounded off on Democrats' apprehension to Sanders, telling ABC News, "They're terrified. ...Very few people see Bernie as electable."

But some Democrats remain confident in their down-ticket chances, regardless of the nominee, arguing that it is too early to know the Sanders effect on House members, who will likely run on their own brands.

On Monday, a Democratic strategist who works with House Democrats told ABC News, "I think we'll probably see more distancing if Sanders is the nominee for obvious reasons," before adding that on the whole, the most vulnerable members in the House are going to "have to define themselves."

But the strategist added, "It remains to be seen if he is the nominee if that upsets that 2018 model," which was rooted in defending the Affordable Care Act, protecting pre-existing conditions and running against Trump, and delivered House Democrats the majority.

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Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead(AHMEDABAD, India) -- President Donald Trump on Monday, greeted by an enthusiastic crowd estimated at more than 100,000 at the world's largest cricket stadium in India, said the country gives hope to all of humanity.

"Namaste! Namaste," Trump told the cheering crowd at the "Namaste Trump" or "Welcome Trump" event in Ahmedabad. "And hello to India. This is such a great honor," he said, as he began a two-day whirlwind visit.

"The first lady and I have just traveled 8000 miles around the globe to deliver a message to every citizen across this station: America loves India, America respects, India, and America will always be faithful and loyal friend to the Indian people," he said, claiming there were 125,000 there to greet him, although the stadium is said to hold only 110,000.

Trump highlighted his friendship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi saying that his life "underscores the limitless promise of this great nation."

"Everybody loves him, but I will tell you this. He is very tough," Trump said.

The president said that this visit to India is in "the spirit of fondness and goodwill to expand our cherish partnership of incredible power and potential."

Trade Deal

Trump teased a potential trade deal with India saying that he and Modi will be making a "very major, among the biggest ever made, trade deals."

"We are in the early stages of discussion for an incredible trade agreement to reduce barriers of investment between the United States and India," Trump said. "And I am optimistic that working together the Prime Minister and I can reach a fantastic deal that's good, and even great for both of our countries. Except he's a very tough negotiator."


The president touted India's economic and infrastructure gains under Modi, sighting the expansion of internet, electricity, cooking fuel and sanitation.

When speaking on the poverty rate in India, Trump said that the potential for India is "absolutely incredible."

"India will soon be the home of the biggest middle class anywhere in the world. And within less than 10 years extreme poverty in your country is projected to completely disappear," Trump said.

"India's rise as a prosperous and independent nation is an example to every nation all over the world," Trump went on to say. "And one of the most outstanding achievements of our century. It is all the more inspiring, because you have done it as a democratic country. You have done it as a peaceful country, you have done it as a tolerant country, and you have done it as a great free country."

Trump also took the opportunity to boast on the economy in the United States saying that "our economy is booming like never before. Our people are prospering and spirits are soaring."

Trump praises 'unity' in India

The president praised “unity” in India even as Modi’s government has rounded up thousands of Muslims in Kashmir and passed a sweeping new citizenship law favoring every South Asian faith other than Islam saying that the country has "always stood strong as one great Indian nation."

"India's a country that proudly embraces freedom, liberty, individual rights, the rule of law and the dignity of every human being," Trump said. "Your nation has always been admired around the Earth as the place where millions upon millions of Hindus and Muslims and Sikhs and Jains, Buddhists Christians and Jews worship side by side in harmony."

"Your unity is an inspiration to the world in America," he added.

Terrorism and Immigration

Trump said that he believes the United States should be India's "premier defense partner" when it comes to the threat of terrorism.

"The United States and India are also firmly united in our ironclad resolve to defend our citizens from the threat of radical Islamic terrorism," Trump said which got loud cheers from the crowd.

"For this reason, since take it office by administration is working in a very positive way with Pakistan to crack down on the terrorist organizations and militants that operate on the Pakistani border," Trump said to the roaring crowd.

Trump ended his day with a sunset tour of the historic Taj Mahal, spending 15 minutes inside and posing for photos with his wife.

“It’s truly incredible," he said, according to pool reports.

"Very romantic. I think one of you guys will win a Pulitzer for this," he said to photographers after strolling hand in hand along the water.

He then traveled to New Delhi for a second day of meetings with Modi.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump arrived in India on Monday for a two-day visit as the U.S. and the world's largest democracy look to smooth over simmering trade tensions and reaffirm their close bond in the face of China's growing influence in Asia.

The trip marks Trump's first visit to India as president and makes him the fourth consecutive American leader to make the passage to India.

Here are five things to watch:

You've got a friend in me

Trump's visit to India will be a symbolic display of friendship between the United States and India, and will include a heavy dose of pomp and ceremony. The president will be welcomed to India with a mega rally, visit to the Taj Mahal, and be honored with a state dinner.

"In some ways, American presidents, go to India to feel loved," said Tanvi Madan, an expert on India at the Brookings Institution.

When the president arrives, he is expected to address more than 100,000 people alongside India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a welcome rally that's been dubbed "Namaste Trump," which translates to "Greetings Trump." Tens of thousands more are expected to line the streets of the presidential motorcade route.

Before leaving on Sunday, Trump told reporters at the White House that he heard it was going to be a big event.

"Some people say the biggest event they've ever had in India," he said. "That's what the prime minister told me."

Modi is in a sense returning the favor after Trump hosted him for a "Howdy Modi" rally in Houston last year before an audience of some 50,000 people, many of them Indian American. During the Houston rally, Trump declared Modi "one of America's greatest, most-devoted and most-loyal friends."

While Trump appears to enjoy a level of popularity in India relative to some other close U.S. allies, Madan noted that it's the norm for all U.S. presidents -- popular or not -- to get elaborate and boisterous welcomes in India.

"Even President (George W.) Bush, who was not considered to be very popular around the world. He went to India towards the end of his administration. He was getting criticized by U.S. allies in other places. His popularity rating was very high, and it really ratings very high in India, and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, then kind of hugged him and told him that you know all of India, loves you," Madan said.

Trade deal and other agreements

Trump has long teased a trade deal with India, but so far, such an agreement has remained elusive. Days before heading to India, the president appeared to moderate expectations around the potential for a trade truce.

"We can have a trade deal with India, but I'm really saving the big deal for later on. We're doing a very big trade deal with India. We'll have it. I don't know if it'll be done before the election, but we'll have a very big deal with India," Trump told reporters on Feb. 18.

Trade tensions between the two close trading partners first cropped up when the U.S. imposed higher duties on aluminum and steel imports and later removed India's beneficiary trading designation. India, in retaliation, has imposed tariffs on some U.S. products.

Despite speculation in recent weeks that a deal could come together, a senior Trump administration official said Friday "we're not quite there yet" as the U.S. seeks certain concessions from India in exchange for reinstating India's preferential designation, among other issues. The official said the ball is in India's court.

"What we see is an increase in barriers, not a decrease, this will certainly come up among the leaders," the official said. "Whether or not there will be an announcement on a trade package is, really, wholly dependent upon what the Indians are prepared to do."

Still, the official described the trading relationship as "critically important" and said the two sides continue to engage in trade talks. But perhaps the clearest indication of where negotiations stand, two of the president's top officials on trade -- U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin -- are not part of the presidential delegation on the trip.

Rick Rossow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies floated the possibility that the two leaders could still announce broad principles of an agreement as a demonstration of progress even as a final deal continues to be worked out.

"I suspect that, ultimately, with this much high-level attention, you'll see something come out of this, even if it's language which notes that, you know, some T's have to be crossed at a later date, and some I's have to be dotted," said Rossow.


The president has repeatedly expressed his eagerness to serve as a mediator in the volatile, decades-long conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, pointing to past experience that he said he has arbitrating "some pretty big ones -- from friends."

"I would be willing to help if both wanted. If both Pakistan, let's say, and India wanted me to do that, I am ready, willing and able," Trump said during a bilateral meeting with Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan in September.

While Pakistan is eager to accept the president's entry into the matter to internationalize negotiations, India has rebuffed the offer and wants to keep Kashmir as a bilateral issue.

Asked whether Trump will again seek to insert himself in the conflict on this trip, a senior official didn't offer a direct response.

"I think what you'll hear from the president is very much encouraging a reduction in tensions between India and Pakistan, encouraging the two countries to engage in bilateral dialogue with each other to resolve their differences," the official said, without addressing whether the president continues to see a role for himself in facilitating any such dialogue.

Bruce Riedel of the Brookings Institution said the administration has "no practical plan for mediating between India and Pakistan on Kashmir" and notes that past presidential offers to mediate have fallen flat.

"In 1999, President (Bill) Clinton, briefly, flirted with the idea of mediation, and the Indians shut it down almost immediately," Riedel said.

Though there's no predicting whether Trump will refrain from commenting on the conflict, Rossow of CSIS said the Indians would certainly prefer he didn't.

"You never exactly know what the president, if he's speaking off the cuff, may bring up. A number of times he's talked about trying to intervene in the Kashmir dispute. And that certainly is something that India wouldn't want to see on the public stage during his visit there," Reidel said.

Countering China

The word "China" likely won't appear in any official statements or agreements during the trip, but countering the rise of an ascendant China has been -- and continues to be -- a cornerstone objective in strengthening the U.S.-Indian strategic alliance.

"I don't suspect (China) will be brought up publicly that visibly. I think it will be discussed behind the scenes for sure," said Rossow, who notes that there are shared concerns across a range of issues, from trade to military cooperation. "So, it drives a lot of what's happening, but a lot of times it's not so visible above the water -- more so behind the scenes."

Madan anticipates that the U.S. and India will announce some defense cooperation deals in conjunction with the visit, as it relates to Indian purchases of U.S. military aircraft and equipment.

"So while you might not hear the word China mentioned, you will hear allusions to it constantly throughout remarks, and some of the deals you will see, I think you will see some defense deals around the visit, and perhaps, put into some of the joint statements and President Trump will no doubt, take credit for them," Madan said.

India's citizenship law

Just as serious discussion about China is not expected to play out in full view, so too is any discussion of India's controversial new citizenship law expected to remain behind closed doors.

The new law provides a fast-track to citizenship for migrants from certain bordering nations who have fled religious persecution; but it excludes Muslims. The law has been decried by critics as an affront on religious tolerance and has sparked fierce protests within India over the last couple of months.

Asked if the president plans to speak out against the law during his visit, a senior Trump administration official said the president will focus on shared U.S.-Indian values in his public remarks but will almost certainly raise concern with Modi behind closed doors.

"Certainly in private, he will raise these issues, particularly the religious freedom issue, which is extremely important to this administration," the official said. "This is something that is important to the president and I'm sure it will come up."

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Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian(WASHINGTON) -- After a week of reports that President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders are being pumped up by Russia through a misinformation campaign on social media, the president said he has "not been briefed at all" about Russian interference in the Democratic presidential primary.

"I read where Russia's helping Bernie Sanders. Nobody said it to me at all. Nobody briefed me about that at all," Trump said as he departed the White House on Sunday morning for his two-day trip to India. "I have not been briefed on that at all. Nobody told me about it."

National security adviser Robert O'Brien separately told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on This Week that he hadn't seen any intelligence that Russia was doing anything to attempt to get Trump elected. He said it amounted to "a non-story."

"I think it's the same old story we've heard before," O'Brien said, adding, "Our message to the Russians is stay out of the U.S. elections. We've been very tough on Russia and we've been great on election security."

ABC News correspondent David Wright asked Trump on Sunday whether he believes Russia is trying to interfere to help Sanders, but the president deflected the question to the Democratic front-runner.

"You'll have to ask Bernie Sanders that. I mean he'd know better than me. I have not been briefed to that effect, but you'll have to ask Bernie Sanders about that," Trump said.

Pressed whether he is concerned about Russian interference, Trump did not seize the opportunity to again urge Russian President Vladimir Putin not to meddle in the upcoming election.

"I think what it could be is, you know, the Democrats are treating Bernie Sanders very unfairly and it sounds to me like a leak from (Rep.) Adam Schiff because they don't want Bernie Sanders to represent them," Trump said. "It sounds like it's '16 all over again for Bernie Sanders. And he won. He had a great victory yesterday but you know what's happening. You can see the handwriting on the wall. And I watched last time with respect to him, and they might have tried to do it with me, but I was able to catch him. That'll be a terrible thing if that were the case."

The president claimed that Democrats "leaked" the intelligence community's discovery that Russia is working to help him and said Schiff, the House intelligence chairman, should be investigated.

"They ought to investigate Adam Schiff for leaking that information. He should not be leaking information out of intelligence. They ought to investigate Adam Schiff," Trump said.

The president repeatedly offered congratulations to Sanders, calling his victory in the Nevada caucus on Saturday "a great win."

"I think it was a great win for Bernie Sanders. We'll see how it all turns out. They've got a lot of winning to do. I hope they treat him fairly," Trump said. "Frankly, I don't care who I run against. I just hope they treat him fairly. I hope it's not going to be a rigged deal because there's a lot of bad things going on."

"But I congratulate Bernie Sanders, and if it's going to be him, he certainly has a substantial lead. We'll see what happens," he continued.

Trump said he thinks Sanders will be the Democratic nominee unless the party's establishment "cheat" the Vermont senator from the nomination.

"I think so, unless they cheat him out of it. I think so. I think Bernie is looking more and more like he'll be the nominee, unless they cheat him out of it," he repeated. "A lot of people thought he was going to be the nominee last time and that didn't work out. I think they're watching it very closely. I would imagine so."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- A day after Sen. Bernie Sanders' resounding victory in the Nevada caucuses, Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said his state's electorate could be uncomfortable with voting for someone who calls himself a socialist.

"I do believe it will be an extra burden for us to have to carry. This is South Carolina, and South Carolinians are pretty leery about that title socialist," he said on ABC's This Week Sunday.

Talking to ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos from South Carolina, the site of the next Democratic primary contest, Clyburn said that if the Democrats nominate a socialist, it "would be a real burden for us in these states or congressional districts that we have to do well in."

"If you look at how well we did the last time, and look at the congressional districts, these were not liberal or what you might call progressive districts. These are basically moderate and conservative districts that we did well in, and in those districts, it's going to be tough to hold onto these jobs if you have to make the case for accepting a self-proclaimed democratic socialist," he added.

Sanders has been undefeated since virtually tying with former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucuses.

The House majority whip told Stephanopoulos that he would uphold his previous pledge to withhold endorsing a candidate in the 2020 Democratic field until after the South Carolina debate on Tuesday night.

"I'm going to honor this debate. I don't want to distract from it all," he said. "On Wednesday morning, I will let my choice be known. I have been asked about it by too many people, and I think I would be dishonorable if I did not tell people exactly what I feel."

Former Vice President Joe Biden told MSNBC Wednesday that he thought he would get Clyburn's support.

Although Biden has consistently led in South Carolina polls, his lead has narrowed in recent weeks. A poll released Friday showed Sanders trailing the vice president by only five points.

"It is not make or break. It all depends upon how it comes out," Clyburn said of Biden's chances in South Carolina.

"I think make or break is probably the following Tuesday -- Super Tuesday," he added.

Despite Sanders' previous victories in early Democratic contests, the House majority whip told Stephanopoulos that the Vermont senator's winning streak might not continue past Saturday.

"We are going to let people know how we feel about these candidates, and it may not line up with Nevada or New Hampshire or Iowa," he said.

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George Frey/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  Still under fire for his response to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's questions at Wednesday's Democratic debate about non-disclosure agreements, Mike Bloomberg said on Friday he would release some NDA signatories from their agreements.

Bloomberg has identified three non-disclosure agreements from past 30 years "to address complaints about comments they said I had made," his campaign said in a statement, adding that these women should reach out to Bloomberg LP if they'd like to be released from their NDAs.

Bloomberg also announced plans to review company and campaign policies, and said his company will no longer "offer confidentiality agreements to resolve claims of sexual harassment or misconduct going forward."

ABC News has spoken with several women who expressed interest in telling their stories but feared retribution from the company, including significant financial losses for violating the terms of their deals.

"None of [the women] accused me of doing anything, other than, maybe, they didn't like a joke I told," Bloomberg said during the Democratic Debate earlier this week.

As previously reported, one confidential settlement agreement negotiated by Bloomberg's company and obtained by ABC News reveals that the plaintiff was asked to agree not to "in any way disparage" Bloomberg's company. If asked about the agreement, the person was advised to say that "the parties reached an amicable resolution of this dispute ... but should not comment further on their settlement."

Donna Clancy, an attorney for three former employees who have sued both Bloomberg and his firm, said if the women were to break their NDAs, the "terms and conditions say that they would suffer the consequences."

It's unclear whether any of Clancy's clients are among the women mentioned on Friday.

Clancy also told ABC News that Bloomberg could have simply announced he was lifting any obligation under NDAs signed by his company with women who had complained.

"But he's not saying, 'Go ahead.' He's controlling the process," Clancy added. "Who is going to call his company?"

Clancy said Bloomberg's statement is carefully worded and does not clarify whether the women will be required to return money to the company as a condition of being released from the secrecy agreements. She said it also does not address the many women she alleges have complaints about the office culture at Bloomberg's firm.

"All NDAs should be released," she said.

Bloomberg's campaign didn't immediately respond to additional questions from ABC News pertaining to details about the NDAs.

Two of his 2020 presidential campaign rivals --Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former Vice President Joe Biden-- said the move doesn't go far enough.

Warren, who has repeatedly pushed Bloomberg to lift the NDAs, said on Friday that his decision to release some of the women who’ve accused him of sexual harassment from nondisclosure agreements is “just not good enough” and that he needs to do a “blanket release” so that all women can “step up and tell their side of the story in terms of what Michael Bloomberg has done.”

“We can’t have a leader of our party who selectively decides who gets to tell about their history with him,” Warren told reporters, speaking outside Tacos El Gordo in Las Vegas.

She read a contract onstage at the CNN town hall on Thursday night that she wrote and which said Bloomberg could sign to release all the men and women at his company from NDAs related to sexual harassment, discrimination or comments made by him.

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danielfela/iStock(LAS VEGAS) -- President Donald Trump took the stage in Las Vegas on Friday on the eve of the Nevada caucuses, where he predicted a repeat of the chaos in Iowa.

"You know, they say they’re gonna have a lot of problems tomorrow," Trump said regarding the Nevada caucuses. "I hate to tell you this. I don’t know. Have you heard? I hear their computers are all messed up, just like they were in Iowa. They're not going to be able to count their vote."

Amid the Friday rally, Trump also falsely blamed the "do-nothing Democrats" for "trying to start a rumor" about election interference, though the briefing he was discussing came from his own intelligence community regarding Russian efforts to help his reelection chances.

"I think they’re starting another one. Did you see that? I see these phonies, these -- the do-nothing Democrats," he said. "They said today that [Russia's President Vladimir] 'Putin wants to be sure that Trump gets elected.' Here we go again."

He added, "Did you see it? A story. Aren’t people bored?"

Trump also repeated an idea he’s floated before -- that Russia would rather see a Sen. Bernie Sanders victory.

"Wouldn’t he rather have Bernie who honeymooned in Moscow?" He told the crowd. "These people are crazy."

The event at the Las Vegas Convention Center is his third and final consecutive campaign rally this week -- but beyond a raspy voice, you wouldn’t know it.

He packed arenas in Phoenix on Wednesday and Colorado on Thursday -- making it the biggest campaign blitz for the president this election cycle.

"The most valuable commodity we have as a campaign is the president’s time," Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign's communications director, told ABC News. "If President Trump holds a rally in a state it’s because he thinks it can make a difference in winning in November."

The president -- with impeachment in the rear view, a strong economy, good poll numbers and a Democratic primary currently fluctuating between chaos and verbal food fights -- appeared as joyful and buoyant as ever to rail against his rivals and run down a list of grievances that spanned the Academy Awards to the executives of Comcast.

The timing of the Las Vegas rally on the day before the first-in-the-west caucuses continues the president's ongoing efforts to insert himself into the news cycle as the Democratic party works to pick who will face him in November.

But Nevada, like Colorado, is a state the president lost to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election cycle. His reelection team plans to invest in flipping the vote in Trump's favor in November.

So far, the president and his team view their counter-programming efforts as a big success -- with Trump grabbing headlines from local papers to national coverage with each disruptive stop in Iowa and New Hampshire, refusing to seed any ground to the other side.

"If it serves as a little counter-programming of the Democrats and highlights their ongoing train wreck, so much the better," Murtaugh told ABC News.

During the rally, Trump also said that he’s "trying to get fairness for a certain person who has been treated very unfairly."

While he didn't name him, he was likely talking of longtime friend and former campaign adviser Roger Stone -- who was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison on Thursday for lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.

At one point, Trump even talked glowingly for an extended period of time about his 13-year-old son Barron -- saying "I have a son at home, he's 13, he's a genius with computers."

The president plans to keep up his quick pace, dropping in the night before next week’s South Carolina primary, and then again in North Carolina the following week ahead of Super Tuesday.

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DKart/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The kind of edited video posted to Twitter by Mike Bloomberg on Thursday soon will be labeled "Manipulated Media" according to the social media company.

Video from Tuesday's Democratic debate was altered to paint Bloomberg's Democratic rivals in a bad light. Twitter confirmed that under new rules regarding manipulated media, which the company is putting into effect March 5, additional information would be added to give viewers context for what they're seeing.

The Twitter video featured a clip of the former New York City mayor saying, "I'm the only one here that's ever started a business. Is that fair?" On the night of the debate, there was a slight pause as he looked across the stage, and then continued to speak about his record. However, the edited video featured a 20-second clip of stitched-together shots showing the candidates hesitating and looking confused while crickets chirped in the background.

Twitter announced the new rules in early February. They pertain to synthetic content such as deep fakes, manipulated media or genuine photos or videos shared in a misleading manner. Twitter said Bloomberg's video would likely fall under manipulated video and require labeling. The policy does allow for tweets to be removed, but only if they're likely to have an impact on public safety or cause serious harm.

"It's tongue-in-cheek. There were obviously no crickets on the debate stage," spokeswoman Galia Slayen said on Thursday in a statement to ABC News.

Of course, Bloomberg is not the first politician to tweet an edited video. On Friday morning, the president retweeted a video, posted by his social media manager, Dan Scavino, that features a manipulated clip of Bloomberg speaking about Donald Trump. The video shows a recurring loop of an old interview with Bloomberg in which he says, "I know Donald Trump, he's a great guy."

Scavino also posted a separate video Thursday showing Trump holding a small boy at a rally, with Bloomberg's face superimposed on the child's body. This video would likely get similar labeling from Twitter. It's worth noting, however, that Twitter said the new policies won't be applied retroactively.

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed that new Bloomberg video, with the crickets, does not violate its policy on manipulated media.

The video in the tweet below shows what the labeling may look like. Blue text saying "Manipulated Media" will appear under the video and users will then be able to click a drop-down arrow for more context.

Separately, screenshots were leaked on Thursday that show labeling that Twitter is exploring for other forms of disinformation.

Twitter emphasized that although these are genuine screenshots, they are for a longer-term misinformation project separate from the labeling policy that will be implemented next month.

"We're exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for Tweets on Twitter," a company spokesperson told ABC News in a statement. "This is a design mock-up for one option that would involve community feedback."

According to Twitter, these designs are in the very early stages and there is not yet a specific timeline on when the new labeling or the final outputs from that project will debut.

Both Facebook and Twitter received widespread criticism in May 2019 for declining to remove an altered video of Nancy Pelosi that had been slowed down to make it appear she was slurring her words.

Earlier this month, Pelosi complained about another edited video tweeted by Trump that showed the House speaker tearing up the president's State of the Union script as Trump was lauding honorees in the gallery. Pelosi did tear up the script, but it was after Trump had finished speaking. Neither Twitter nor Facebook agreed to remove the video, as Pelosi requested.

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ABC(NEW YORK) -- Former Democratic Rep. Katie Hill joined the hosts of ABC's "The View" on Friday, opening up about the scandal that led to her resignation from Congress, saying she still hasn't "fully recovered from it."

"It was an incredibly difficult thing to reconcile, to recover from -- and I would not say that I have fully recovered from it," Hill told the hosts. "But finding a way to move forward is something that is really important to me."

The former California lawmaker joined the hosts only four months after the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation against her for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a male congressional staffer -- an allegation she again denied to ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview Thursday on "Good Morning America."

The alleged relationship would have been in violation of House rules. Following the #MeToo movement, Congress adopted a rule in February 2018 that barred relationships between members and any subordinates.

She has also acknowledged and apologized for having a sexual relationship with a female campaign staffer when she was running for Congress. While having this relationship wasn't against any congressional rules, she told the hosts "it was wrong."

"A relationship formed that shouldn't have formed," she said. "And I am very well aware of that. And I - I believe I have taken full accountability by stepping down."

The scandal that further sensationalized Hill's political career came when nude photos of her were leaked on a conservative website without her consent. She told the hosts she didn't even know they were taken.

Hill has repeatedly blamed conservative operatives and her estranged husband for leaking these photos in order to hurt her, an act that would be against California's Penal Code 647(j)(4), which outlaws distributing intimate images that would knowingly cause harm.

Her accusations aren't unfounded. Some of the authors of the original articles, which published these intimate photos, were former campaign advisors to Steve Knight, the former congressman who Hill beat in her 2018 run for Congress.

"I also, honestly, didn't think that my husband would do that," Hill said. "If not for me, than for the other person involved. So, yeah, he did."

Heslep's lawyers told ABC News that he is asking for privacy during this moment.

"Ms. Hill has made no allegations of abuse in her petition for dissolution," Heslep's lawyers told ABC News following the accusations. "Mr. Heslep denies any allegations of abuse or wrongdoing outright. The parties are currently in the process of negotiating an amicable settlement."

When asked by the hosts how she felt in the aftermath of the scandal, Hill said it was a difficult thing to go through.

"It is very difficult to describe," she said, later adding "you feel like something has been fundamentally ripped away that you'll never get back."

As one of the first openly bisexual members of Congress, Hill believes that her sexuality was sensationalized when the news broke.

"There's still a lot that people don't understand about bisexuality," Hill told the hosts, saying she even had to explain the term to LGBTQ allies.

In the past, Hill has called the intimate photos an act of "revenge porn," so host Sunny Hostin asked why her husband would even want revenge.

"I had tried to leave in October [of 2018]," she said. "Our relationship had gotten increasingly toxic. I was afraid for my safety, and I left in October of -- right before the election. And you know how bad it has to be for me to, like, plan an exit right before the election."

She told the hosts that her estranged husband had a melt down after she left, and that he then told her -- and many others -- that if she left for good he would "ruin" her. She ended up moving back in with Heslep, explaining to the hosts that she did this because she "couldn't risk it." Hill said she ultimately knew she couldn't stay with him forever.

"When I finally did [leave], he made good on his promise," Hill said.

Less than a week after the House committee opened the investigation and the nude photos were circulated, Hill resigned.

"This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but I believe it is the best thing for my constituents, my community, and our country," she tweeted following her resignation.

Hill told the hosts she stepped down because she realized the impact she was having on her colleagues.

"I did not want to be a distraction during the time we were coming up on -- on the impeachment inquiry vote," she said.

At the time, the House was hoping to pass an impeachment inquiry resolution into President Donald Trump. One of Hill's last actions as a member of Congress was voting in favor of that resolution.

Before Hill gave her final speech on the House floor, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters "Hill's decision to resign is her decision," calling what happened to Hill "cyber exploitation." Pelosi said she didn't want Hill to resign, even calling Hill an "outstanding young public servant."

While Hill understood Pelosi's position, she ultimately couldn't follow the Speaker's suggestion. Telling the hosts that while in the past members of Congress would ride it out and let "the voters decide," she didn't want to be "used as a tool." She was afraid that other freshman Democrats from swing districts would have to defend or condemn her actions, and she didn't want to put them in that position.

As the former vice chair of the House Oversight Committee, she was considered a rising star as a leader among the freshman Democrats. Now her seat, representing California's 25th District, is being fought over by at least 15 candidates.

But Hill said she has started a new chapter of her life. On Thursday, she launched a group -- called HER Time -- supporting female candidates running for political office.

"I need to make sure that my experience doesn't deter other young women from running for office – that, that something positive has to come out of this," she said. "And so I started a PAC."

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As the 2020 Democratic primary field enters an ever-more competitive phase of the historic presidential election, most candidates are facing a major cash crunch-- except for Sen. Bernie Sanders and the two billionaire contenders, the latest campaign disclosures show.

Leading up to what resulted in a chaotic first party contest in Iowa, most of the major Democratic presidential candidates saw red during January fundraising. This is indeed the spending season -- but as the candidates like to remind us, the voting has barely begun. The race is on, not just for delegates, but for cash.

Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg in particular were treading a dangerous line with a high burn rate, spending more than twice what they brought in last month.

According to new fundraising records filed to the Federal Election Commission Thursday night, Warren was the second biggest fundraiser in the Democratic field after Sanders, bringing in $10.4 million in January. But the Massachusetts senator spent also $22.4 million that month and entered February with just $2.3 million in the bank, lowest of the major remaining candidates. Similarly, the Buttigieg campaign brought in just $6.2 million in January but spent more than $14 million, ending the month with just $6.6 million in hand.

The Warren campaign also took out a $3 million line of credit in January and tapped $400,000 of it, the new FEC record shows. The campaign explained to ABC News that the campaign secured the loan "in case it was necessary for cash flow purposes" ahead of the Iowa caucuses but that "it ultimately wasn't necessary."

Former Vice President Joe Biden also brought in a relatively modest $8.9 million and spent $10.6 million in January, ending the month with $7.1 million on hand, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar raised $5.5 million and spent $7.6 million last month and had $2.9 million cash on hand.

Meanwhile, Sanders continued to not only lead the pack in fundraising but also break his own past fundraising record. He raked in a massive $25 million in just the month of January, more than any other Democratic presidential candidate raised in a quarter in 2019. Sanders' January haul is also was his quarterly record last year before he broke the record by raising more than $34 million in the last three months of 2019.

Sanders entered the primary voting season with a comfortable $16.8 million in the bank, topping all of his non-billionaire rivals, a reminder of why Sanders is the only candidate who seems competitive everywhere on Super Tuesday.

But former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is smashing ad spending records using his own money, is also rapidly rising to the national attention. The billionaire candidate just in January invested a staggering $263.6 million of his own money in his campaign and the campaign used $220.6 million of that in the same month.

From when he launched his campaign in late November through the end of January, Bloomberg has already spent $464 million of his own money for his presidential run.

Billionaire Tom Steyer also poured $53 million of his own money into his campaign last month but his relatively smaller cash power hasn't given him the same boost that Bloomberg's money has for the 11th-hour candidate.

But campaigns say they're seeing major boost in fundraising in the past few weeks. The Warren campaign said it raised more than $17 million in just the first 20 days of February, and the Klobuchar campaign on Sunday said it raised $12 million since ABC News' debate in New Hampshire earlier this month.

The Democratic presidential hopefuls have also since picked up support from big-money super PACs. Two new super PACs have popped up in past week in support of Klobuchar and Warren, giving them boost ahead of the upcoming Nevada caucuses and Super Tuesday primaries.

Pro-Biden super PAC Unite the Country and pro-Buttigieg group VoteVets have also continued to engage in an aggressive ad campaign in support of the two.

But as the Democratic Party prepares for the fast-approaching convention and the general election, one of the keys to Democrats' victory in November is competing with President Donald Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee's massive fundraising prowess. In January alone, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and their joint fundraising vehicles together raised a total of $60.6 million in January, with more than $200 million cash on hand, according to the campaign.

The Democratic National Committee and its joint fundraising committee Democratic Grassroots Victory Fund raised $15 million in January, a DNC spokesperson told ABC News. About $10.8 million of that went to the DNC, the committee's latest FEC filing shows.

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