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‘Unconscionable’: As Puerto Rico suffers earthquake aftermath, AOC, Sanders, and Velazquez demand Trump end illegal hold on relief funds

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“Postponing the disbursement of this vital assistance any longer—in the face of the humanitarian needs of Puerto Rico—is simply shameful,” the lawmakers said in a joint letter.

In an effort to put a stop to what they argue is the “illegal” and “unconscionable” withholding of necessary and vital aid to the people of Puerto Rico, New York Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nydia Velázquez joined with Sen. Bernie Sanders on Monday in demanding President Donald Trump immediately transfer already approved federal disaster assistance to address the island territory’s “urgent humanitarian needs” following  recent earthquakes and aftershocks.

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In a letter (pdf) sent to the Trump administration, the lawmakers cited a nation still reeling from the destruction left by Hurricane Maria over two years ago and said there was no excuse to deny Puerto Ricans the help they so desperately need. The letter called on Trump to immediately approve a major disaster declaration submitted by the Puerto Rican government on January 12; to release aid money previously approved by Congress for humanitarian relief; and to direct FEMA to undertake an urgent response to the ongoing disaster.

“Let us be clear: Postponing the disbursement of this vital assistance any longer—in the face of the humanitarian needs of Puerto Rico—is simply shameful,” the letter states.

The new letter follows a similar effort last week by House Democrats who urged Trump to release more than $18 billion in aid that was approved for the island following the 2017 devastation caused by Maria.

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“We call upon the White House to stop its unlawful withholding of funds from Puerto Rico,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at a press conference Thursday. “There are needs that need to be met, there has been a disaster designated, but the ongoing withholding of funds appropriated by Congress to Puerto Rico is illegal.”

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“The hurricane devastated the island and today, tens of thousands of people are still living under tarp roofs,” Velázquez, Ocasio-Cortez, and Sanders wrote in their new letter to Trump. “In recent days, the quakes have cost millions in damages, destroyed hundreds of homes, caused widespread electricity blackouts, and forced residents to resort to sleeping in roofless shelters due to the fear of being buried in their own homes by another earthquake.”

Highlighting the effort of the lawmakers on social media, Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz of Puerto Rico’s capital city San Juan—who serves as national co-chair for Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign—said, “Sanders has been consistent in making sure the people of Puerto Rico are treated with dignity. In fact, Bernie Sanders has been consistent in making sure ALL people are treated with dignity.

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Lev Parnas spins wild tales of Trumpian corruption — and we know most of them are true

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Following the rules of an anachronistic 18th-century ritual, the House managers walked in formation to the Senate to deliver the articles of impeachment on Thursday. The sergeant at arms informed the senators that if they speak during the trial they could be imprisoned, and then the chief justice arrived in his robes accompanied by four senators. He then administered the constitutionally prescribed oath to deliver impartial justice to the assembled senators, after which, one by one, they signed their names to a book. The only thing missing was the white wigs.

This article was originally published at Salon

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‘Trump corrupts’: Conservative columnist stunned by GOP ‘meltdown’ amid new evidence of president’s guilt

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Conservative Matt Lewis has written a new column for The Daily Beast in which he documents how Republican senators are "melting down" amid damning new evidence showing that President Donald Trump tried to extort Ukraine to investigate his political opponents.

In particular, he points to Sen. Martha McSally's (R-AZ) on-air tirade against CNN reporter Manu Raju on Thursday as evidence that GOP senators are coming unglued as they face pressure to acquit the president even as more proof emerges that shows he deserves to be convicted.

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‘Jealous’ Trump mocked as a ‘self-loathing manbaby with crippling insecurities’ after latest Bloomberg rant

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President Donald Trump started off the day by lobbing an attack on Mike Bloomberg, and other social media users suspected he was jealous of the billionaire's wealth.

The former New York City mayor has been spending millions on TV ads in his bid for the Democratic nomination, and the president grumbled about him on Twitter.

"Mini Mike Bloomberg doesn’t get on the Democrat Debate Stage because he doesn’t want to - he is a terrible debater and speaker," Trump tweeted. "If he did, he would go down in the polls even more (if that is possible!)."

Mini Mike Bloomberg doesn’t get on the Democrat Debate Stage because he doesn’t want to - he is a terrible debater and speaker. If he did, he would go down in the polls even more (if that is possible!).

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