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Crowd cheers as Bernie Sanders joins Verizon workers’ picket line in Brooklyn

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Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders paid an impromptu visit to a Verizon workers’ picket line in Brooklyn on Wednesday after being endorsed by New York City transit workers as he tried to wrest a bit of union support from rival Hillary Clinton.

The Brooklyn-born Sanders addressed an enthusiastic crowd of striking workers from Verizon Communications Inc as “brothers and sisters” and thanked them for their courage in standing up to what he characterized as corporate greed.

It was a scene tailor-made for the U.S. senator from Vermont, who has focused on income inequality in his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination. Sanders is trying to catch up with Clinton, the front-runner, in Tuesday’s primary in New York, a state both candidates have called home.

Workers cheered as Sanders criticized the mammoth communications company for wanting to take away health benefits, outsource jobs and avoid federal income taxes, calling it “just another major American corporation trying to destroy the lives of working Americans.”

“Today you are standing up not just for justice for Verizon workers, you’re standing up for millions of Americans … and you’re telling corporate America that they cannot have it all,” Sanders said.

Nearly 40,000 Verizon employees walked off the job on Wednesday in one of the largest U.S. strikes in recent years after contract talks hit an impasse.

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While Sanders whipped up the crowd of hundreds in Brooklyn, Clinton’s campaign issued a statement criticizing Verizon for wanting to outsource more jobs and urging the company to go back to the bargaining table.

“To preserve and grow America’s middle class, we need to protect good wages and benefits, including retirement security,” Clinton said. “And we should be doing all we can to keep good-paying jobs with real job security in New York.”

Earlier, Clinton won the backing of a local unit, representing more than 27,000 area workers, of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, one of the unions involved in the Verizon strike.

Sanders has championed the rights of working-class Americans, including a proposed $15 federal minimum wage, in daily campaign speeches targeting corporate greed.

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Yet Clinton has racked up support from unions representing the majority of organized labor, a crucial base of support for the Democratic Party.

They include influential unions such as the AFSCME, a public employees union with 1.6 million members, and the Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, which has about 2 million members in a variety of professions.

In what was widely viewed as a win for Sanders, the AFL-CIO, the country’s largest labor union federation, in February declined to endorse a candidate in the Democratic primary.

(Additional reporting by Brian Snyder; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Elections 2016

Conservative Ben Shapiro tweeted something many found offensive — so now he’s calling his critics ‘garbage’

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Right wing "thought leader" Ben Shapiro appeared today to say not using the "N" word is nearly impossible as he defended conservative, pro-gun teen Kyle Kashuv, one of the Parkland survivors who just had his acceptance to Harvard rescinded over his racist remarks, which included repeated use of the "N" word.

To be clear, Shapiro denies that's what he meant.

Here is Shapiro on Twitter, in what many took as him appearing to call not using the "N" word – in Kashuv's case, repeatedly, over and over and over again, "an insane, cruel standard no one can possibly meet."

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2020 Election

Obsessed Trump: ‘Only fake polls show us behind’ Democrats. Fox News: 5 Dems would beat him

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President Donald Trump is obsessed with polls – but not facts – and increasingly so. He just fired his internal pollsters after leaked internal poll numbers show devastating lossesfor Trump in key battleground states.

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CNN

If Trump really believed he was falsely accused ‘that is not a corrupt motive’ for removing the special counsel: Bill Barr

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Attorney General William Barr told Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that if President Donald Trump really and truly thought he was being falsely accused of collaborating with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election, that it was "not a corrupt motive" for firing Robert Mueller, a stunning statement from the nation's highest law enforcement officer.

"As a matter of law, I think the department's position would be that the president can direct the termination or the replacement of a special counsel," said Barr. "And as a matter of law, the obstruction statute does not reach that conduct."

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