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Holocaust survivor slams Trump’s ‘Heil Hitler’ salute: ‘He’s asking them to swear allegiance to him’

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A Holocaust survivor and longtime watchdog of right-wing extremist groups said Donald Trump is playing a dangerous game by leading followers in a Nazi-style pledge.

Abraham Foxman, the former director of the Anti-Defamation League, harshly criticized the Republican presidential candidate for asking supporters to raise their right hands in salute and promise to vote for him in the Florida primary election, reported the Times of Israel.

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“As a Jew who survived the Holocaust, to see an audience of thousands of people raising their hands in what looks like the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute is about as offensive, obnoxious and disgusting as anything I thought I would ever witness in the United States of America,” said Foxman, who was born in Poland in 1940 and was saved from the Nazis by his Catholic nanny.

He told the newspaper that the gesture’s symbolism was obvious and troubling.

“It is a fascist gesture,” Foxman said. “He is smart enough — he always tells us how smart he is — to know the images that this evokes. Instead of asking his audience to pledge allegiance to the United States of America, which in itself would be a little bizarre, he’s asking them to swear allegiance to him.”

The Nazi Party adopted the stiff-armed salute to signal obedience to leader Adolph Hitler, and it’s still used today by right-wing extremists.

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“We’ve seen this sort of thing at rallies of neo-Nazis. We’ve seen it at rallies of white supremacists. But to see it at a rally for a legitimate candidate for the presidency of the United States is outrageous,” Foxman said.

Trump also warned supporters who took the pledge that “bad things” would happen to them if they broke their sworn pledge to vote for him — and Foxman was particularly disturbed by that.

“This is so over the top for a man who really doesn’t come out of the underground,” Foxman said. “He is a man of the world. Even though he proclaims he doesn’t know who David Duke was, or the other white supremacists, we know very well that he knows. So he’s playing to an image.”

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Trump continues to lead the GOP presidential field despite — or possibly because of — a steady stream of outrageous and controversial remarks, and Foxman warned that this might have dangerously emboldened the real estate tycoon and reality TV star.

“I think he was intoxicated with all the things that he’s already got away with, and it led him to this,” Foxman said. “This is the summit of his own intoxication with what he perceives as his leadership quality.”

Trump’s underlying message of violence is “increasingly appealing” to his supporters, Foxman said, and threatens to “break all the taboos of civil behavior.”

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“When he said, ‘I can walk down the street on Fifth Avenue and kill somebody and my supporters will not desert me,’ he knows exactly what buttons he’s pushing,” Foxman said. “Or when that guy interrupted his speech. People in that situation may think internally, ‘Oh, I want to punch him in the mouth.’ But you don’t say it, you don’t say it, because it’s not civilized. But he said it and it was applauded.”

Foxman, who led the ADL from 1987 until his retirement last year, said Saturday’s rally was an unprecedented moment in American political history.

“You can find some authoritarian, semi-fascist tinges in Southern politics during the segregationist era,” he said. “But there’s never been anything like this, and nothing on this scale.”

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2020 Election

‘I don’t care’: Watch Kamala Harris shut down Chris Hayes for asking a dumb question about Trump

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Sen. Kamala Harris shut down MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes during a post-debate interview on Tuesday evening.

Hayes questioned Harris about her call for Twitter to follow their terms of service and kick President Donald Trump off of the platform.

"Do you think he puts people’s lives in danger when he targets them in tweets?" Hayes asked.

"Absolutely," Harris replied.

"Do you think he knows that?" Hayes asked.

"Does it matter?" Harris replied.

"The fact is he did it. The fact is that he is irresponsible, he is erratic," she explained. "He is like a 2-year-old with a machine gun."

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2020 Election

Democrats blast Trump and demand his impeachment at CNN debate

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Democratic White House hopefuls united in searing condemnation of Donald Trump during their fourth debate Tuesday, saying the president has broken the law, abused his power, and deserves to be impeached.

From the opening moments, most of the dozen candidates on stage launched fierce broadsides against Trump over the Ukrainian scandal at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

"The impeachment must go forward," said Senator Elizabeth Warren, who is neck and neck with former vice president Joe Biden at the head of the 2020 nominations race.

"Impeachment is the way that we establish that this man will not be permitted to break the law over and over without consequences," she thundered.

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2020 Election

Here are 3 winners and 4 losers from the CNN/NYT Democratic presidential primary debate

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Twelve Democrats took to the stage Tuesday night for yet another debate in the party's 2020 president primary hosted by CNN and the New York Times.

After only ten candidates qualified for the previous debate, an additional two — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and wealthy donor and former hedge fund manager Tom Steyer — made it to the stage this round for an even more crowded event.

The candidates discussed a range of important policy issues, but since the format was a debate, and they're all competing for the same nomination, it is ultimately most critical who won and who lost the night. Here are three winners and four losers — necessarily a subjective assessment, of course — from the debate:

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