Only one-third of Americans would vote for President Donald Trump if he runs for reelection in 2020, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday.

A scant 18 percent of people surveyed said they would “definitely” support Trump if he runs in 2020. Another 18 percent said they would “probably” vote for him, while 38 percent said they would vote for someone else.

While 2020 is still a small dot on the political horizon, and it’s unclear who will emerge as the democratic nominee or if Trump will face a primary challenge, a full 38 percent of respondents says they will be voting for someone other than Trump.

Nearly one year into his first year in office, Trump’s approval ratings are at historic lows. No previous president since Dwight Eisenhower has had approval ratings lower than 49 percent in December of their first year in office.

Trump has a 35 percent approval rating, per a CNN poll released on Tuesday.

The NBC/WSJ poll also found that one-third of Americans say that the country is better off than it was when Trump assumed office, while 45 percent believe it is in worse shape than a year ago.

—New York Daily News


Sen. Al Franken sets date for resignation: Jan. 2

U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., plans to resign from Congress on Jan. 2, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, who Gov. Mark Dayton appointed to replace Franken, will be sworn in the next day.

Franken announced his resignation earlier in December after several women made allegations of unwanted sexual advances or touching and after more than two dozen Democratic Senators called for him to step down.

On social media, Franken said Wednesday: “I’m taking to the Senate floor to give the first of what will be a series of final speeches, this one focused on my work to improve education on behalf of Minnesotans and all Americans.”

—Minneapolis Star-Tribune


After recount for Virginia legislature seat, judges rule it’s a tie; it could be decided by coin flip

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — The election in the Virginia 94th House of Delegates District is now a tie, after a three-judge panel ruled that a ballot that was rejected in Tuesday’s recount should be counted as a vote for Del. David Yancey, R-Newport News.

The judges deliberated for several hours behind closed doors over whether they should look at the ballot, whether anyone could be sure which ballot it was and finally what the markings on it really meant.

In the end, they ruled: yes, yes and Yancey.

That ruling on the previously uncounted ballot means Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds’ one vote lead — and the possibility of an evenly divided House of Delegates ending 17 years of GOP control — has faded, for now.

The next step is for the count to be certified by the State Board of Elections, and then lawyers for both parties have to figure out how to move forward, Yancey and campaign manager Johnny Alvarado said.

A lawyer for Simonds and the Democrats would not comment on what’s next or whether they’ll appeal.

State election says when an election is tied, the winner will be chosen by lot. The code does not say how this is to be done, but in some of the handful of town and county elections that ended in ties, the winner was selected by a coin flip.

—Newport News Daily Press


Judge declares mistrial in case of Nevada rancher’s standoff with federal government

LAS VEGAS — A federal judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the case involving Cliven Bundy and two of his sons after she found that prosecutors “willfully” failed to turn over evidence related to an armed standoff three years ago.

U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro pointed to several violations of the Brady rule — which requires prosecutors to disclose evidence that could be favorable to a defendant. She then called in jurors and dismissed them.

“It was not possible to go forward with the case,” Navarro told the jurors.

The ruling marked yet another setback for federal prosecutors, who have struggled to obtain convictions against the Bundy family and its supporters. The cases have become a rallying point for those who believe the federal government has overstepped its authority by controlling public lands operated by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.

A spokeswoman with the U.S. attorney’s office said it had no comment on Navarro’s decision.

Prosecutors have the opportunity to retry the case, and the judge told both sides to submit briefs by Dec. 29. Navarro told the packed courtroom she would also rule on whether it would be a mistrial with prejudice. That decision would effectively end the possibility of a new trial for Bundy, sons Ammon and Ryan and supporter Ryan Payne.

The federal government alleged that Bundy and his two sons escalated tensions after refusing court orders to remove cattle from public lands — ultimately leading to an armed standoff with federal law enforcement officials in April 2014 outside Bunkerville, Nev.

—Los Angeles Times


Trump threatens to cut aid to opponents in UN vote over Jerusalem

NEW YORK — President Donald Trump has threatened to cut funds to countries who vote against the United States in a forthcoming U.N. vote on the status of Jerusalem.

“They take hundreds of millions of dollars and even billions of dollars, and then they vote against us,” Trump said at the White House.

“We’re watching those votes. Let them vote against us, we’ll save a lot,” he said.

Supporters of the resolution earlier hit out at U.S. statements applying pressure on countries who did not side with the U.S. The Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki warned Washington that it was committing a “grave mistake.”

The U.S. this week vetoed a resolution in the U.N. Security Council, or UNSC, condemning any moves to change the status of Jerusalem, after Trump’s declaration earlier in the month that the U.S. would recognize the city as Israel’s capital.

Turkey and Yemen then pushed for a rare emergency session of the U.N. General Assembly to vote on the resolution.

In the 193-member assembly, no country has veto power, and the resolution is more likely to be approved. Such General Assembly resolutions generally have less weight than UNSC resolutions however.

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley posted on Twitter: “The US will be taking names” of those who vote against her country.

In a more detailed letter to diplomats seen by dpa, Haley said that “the president’s announcement (on the status of Jerusalem) did not prejudge final status negotiations in any way” and asked countries to “respect our decision about our own embassy.”

“To be clear, we are not asking that other countries move their embassies to Jerusalem, though we think it would be appropriate,” Haley wrote.



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