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Trump dictated doctor’s note saying he was ‘astonishingly’ healthy, doctor says

Harold Bornstein tells CNN Trump wrote publicized letter saying he would be ‘healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency’

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Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Trump dictated note saying he was ‘astonishingly’ healthy, doctor says” was written by Tom McCarthy, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 2nd May 2018 12.48 UTC

A 2015 doctor’s note describing Donald Trump’s health as “astonishingly excellent” was dictated by Trump himself, according to the doctor who signed the note.

Trump made public the letter from Dr Harold Bornstein on the eve of the presidential primary contests to allay concerns about his fitness. Two days before the letter was released, Trump tweeted: “As a presidential candidate, I have instructed my long-time doctor to issue, within two weeks, a full medical report – it will show perfection.”

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The letter said Trump had shed 15lbs in the previous 12 months, said “his cardiovascular status is excellent” and concluded: “If elected, Mr Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”

Bornstein, described in the note as Trump’s physician “since 1980”, told CNN on Tuesday that he did not write the letter. “He dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter,” Bornstein said.

The White House did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Earlier on Tuesday, Bornstein said the longtime Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller and two other men had conducted a “raid” on his offices for Trump’s medical records in February 2017, two days after Bornstein told a newspaper that he had for years prescribed Propecia, a hair growth medicine, for Trump.

Bornstein told NBC News that he was not given a form authorising him to release Trump’s records, and that Schiller, along with Trump Organisation lawyer Alan Garten, took the originals and copies of Trump’s charts and lab reports, including records filed under pseudonyms. The raid left him “raped, frightened and sad”, Bornstein said.

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, defended the move. Asked about Bornstein’s characterisation of it as a “raid”, she replied: “No, that is not my understanding.”

Sanders added: “It would be standard procedure for a newly elected president’s records to be in possession by the White House medical unit. And that was what was taking place, is those records were being transferred over to the White House medical unit as requested.”

Bornstein said he was speaking out now after seeing reports that Ronny Jackson, allegedly known as “the candy man” for loosely prescribing pain medications as White House doctor, will not return to his post as Trump’s personal physician after his nomination to run veterans affairs became mired in scandal and collapsed.

Trump in the past has pretended to be his own spokesman and was said by people who were there to have dictated onboard Air Force One a statement issued by Donald Trump Jr to explain why he met with Russian operatives at Trump Tower in June 2016. They “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children”, Trump Jr’s statement said.

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Politics

Judges Declare Ohio’s Congressional Map Unconstitutional

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CINCINNATI (AP) — A panel of federal judges ruled Friday that Ohio’s congressional districts were unconstitutionally drawn by the Republicans for their political advantage, and it ordered a new map for the 2020 elections.


The ruling, if it stands, could prove an important victory for the Democrats, who are hoping redrawn boundaries will not only help them pick up House seats but also energize voters and boost turnout in this longtime battleground state, helping them defeat President Donald Trump. Republican officials said they would appeal.

The panel unanimously declared the current map an “unconstitutional partisan gerrymander,” saying the GOP-controlled Ohio Legislature put the Democrats at a disadvantage by packing lots of them into four districts and scattering the rest across the remaining 12.

“Democratic candidates must run a significantly longer distance to get to the same finish line,” the judges wrote in a 301-page ruling.

The Republicans hold a 12-4 advantage in Ohio’s congressional delegation under the current map, which went into effect for the 2012 elections.

The Supreme Court is already considering a gerrymandering case that could lead to a major decision on how far politicians can go in drawing districts. It involves challenges to congressional maps in North Carolina, drawn by Republicans, and Maryland, created by Democrats.

Republican Attorney General Dave Yost said he will seek to stay the court order while appealing to the U.S. Supreme Court. He also said Ohioans have already approved mapmaking reforms that will be in effect for redistricting after the 2020 census.

He called the opinion “a fundamentally political act that has no basis whatsoever in the Constitution.”

Some Democrats have said that after years of lopsided congressional races, newly competitive districts could generate voter excitement in a state that Trump won in 2016 after Barack Obama carried it twice. And that, in turn, could influence the White House race.

“That could very well change the turnout for the presidential race,” said Ohio Democratic Party chairman David Pepper said. “It’s a bad day for Republicans in Washington, and it’s a bad day for Donald Trump.”

The Republican Party state chairwoman called the challenge to the map “a partisan political ploy.”

“When Democrats can’t win at the ballot box, they try to change the rules,” Jane Timken said.

The judges — two nominated by Democratic presidents, one by a Republican — ordered a proposed new map by June 14. They heard arguments in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati in March.

Voters’ rights and Democratic groups had sued Ohio Republican officials, saying redistricting after the 2010 census yielded a map that has produced an impenetrable GOP advantage. Among the examples cited was Cincinnati, a Democrat-dominated city split into two districts, both held by Republicans.

Another example was Ohio’s 9th Congressional District, which stretches in a long skinny line along Lake Erie and has been dubbed “the Snake on the Lake.” The judges described it as “a bizarre, elongated sliver of a district that severed numerous counties.”

Attorneys for the Republicans said the map was drawn with bipartisan support. Before it took effect, the GOP held a 13-5 advantage in Ohio’s congressional delegation. (Each party later lost one seat when the state’s representation in Congress was reduced because of population shifts.)

“This is called democracy in action,” said GOP attorney Phil Strach, adding that both parties supported “incumbency protection” — or making it more likely an incumbent will win — because that benefits all Ohioans by giving their delegation more clout in Washington.

In a case similar to Ohio’s, a three-judge panel ruled last week that Michigan’s congressional and legislative maps were unconstitutionally gerrymandered, and ordered the state Legislature to redraw some districts for 2020. The judges wrote that the GOP created districts in 2011 with the goal of ensuring “durable majorities” for Republicans. Republicans have appealed that ruling.

The lawsuit challenging Ohio’s map called it “one of the most egregious gerrymanders in recent history,” one that has reliably done its job by allowing the GOP to capture 75% of the seats by winning a little more than half the state’s votes.

The longest-serving woman in House history was among the plaintiffs’ witnesses. Nineteen-term Rep. Marcy Kaptur of Toledo said her district, the elongated 9th, was “hacked apart,” forcing her into a Democratic primary with veteran Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Cleveland in 2012. She won, knocking him out of Congress.

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Politics

Political Newcomer Lori Lightfoot Becomes Chicago’s First Black Female, Openly Gay Mayor

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In this March 24, 2019 photo, Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot participates in a candidate forum sponsored by One Chicago For All Alliance at Daley College in Chicago. Lightfoot and Toni Preckwinkle, left, are competing to make history by becoming the city's first black, female mayor. On issues their positions are similar. But their resumes are not, and that may make all the difference when voters pick a new mayor on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Teresa Crawford)

CHICAGO (AP) — Political newcomer Lori Lightfoot has been elected Chicago mayor, becoming the first black female — and openly gay — leader of the city.


Lightfoot on Tuesday defeated Toni Preckwinkle, a former school teacher who served in the City Council for 19 years before becoming Cook County Board president in 2011.

The 56-year-old Lightfoot is a former federal prosecutor who campaigned on ridding Chicago’s government of corruption. She also said she wanted to help low-income and working-class people she believes have been “left behind and ignored” by Chicago’s political ruling class.

Lightfoot and Preckwinkle were the top two vote-getters in the February general election that saw 14 vie to succeed Mayor Rahm Emanuel. He decided against running for a third term.

Lightfoot will be sworn in May 20.

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Election 2018

GOP Candidate in Disputed U.S. House Race Not Running Again

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Raleigh, N.C. (AP) — The Republican candidate whose narrow lead in a North Carolina congressional race was thrown out because of suspicions of ballot fraud announced Tuesday he will not run in the newly ordered do-over election, saying he needs surgery late next month.

The withdrawal of Mark Harris, a candidate hobbled by links to alleged ballot fraud, could help Republicans in their effort to keep the competitive seat in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District.

Harris announced his decision in a statement that focused on his health problems. He did not mention the alleged ballot fraud scandal.

Harris had led Democrat Dan McCready by just 905 votes after November’s election, but the outcome was never certified. State election officials grew concerned about reports that an operative working for Harris was illegally tampering with absentee ballots.

Harris last week stopped a special state elections board hearing by declaring he couldn’t continue to testify. He cited health problems caused by a blood infection that required hospitalization and led to two strokes. He also said he agreed that a new election should be called, despite his previous calls to be declared the winner.

Shortly after Harris spoke last week, the elections board ordered a new contest . A date for the new election has not been announced.

On Tuesday, Harris encouraged his supporters to rally around Stony Rushing, a commissioner in Union County. The local official from the Charlotte suburbs would “stand firm on so many of the issues that concern us, including the issue of life, our national security, and religious freedom,” Harris said.

Rushing, a firing range owner and licensed gun seller, has been a county commissioner off and on for more than eight years, first taking office in 2002. He didn’t return a phone call to his shooting range seeking comment on Tuesday.

Only one other GOP candidate — former state Sen. Tommy Tucker of Union County — has publicly expressed interest in running for the seat. In a phone interview, Tucker said he’s “95 percent sure” that he plans to run for the seat. He said he had no idea how Harris’ near-endorsement of Rushing would affect the campaign.

Former U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger, whom Harris defeated in last May’s primary, told The Associated Press in an interview that it was “good for the country and the party” that Harris wasn’t running. When asked why, he said simply: “I think it’s just obvious.”

Pittenger again closed the door on seeking his old job, saying he’s involved in a series of conferences on counter-terrorism and security issues.

Former Gov. Pat McCrory said Monday he wouldn’t seek the seat. He was previously mayor of Charlotte, a part of which is in the congressional district.

McCready has been assembling a new campaign staff and raising money to run again in the district that stretches from Charlotte through several counties to the east along the South Carolina border. His campaign finance report showed McCready raised $487,000 during the final five weeks of 2018. His campaign sent out a campaign fundraising plea late Thursday, citing the state elections board’s decision.

McCready formally announced his intention to run Friday before several dozen supporters at a brewery in Waxhaw, near Charlotte.

“Folks, there’s a lot of people that have had their confidence shaken in recent weeks because of the fraud conducted by Mark Harris’s campaign,” McCready said. “There’s a lot of people right now in North Carolina that are disillusioned in our electoral process.”

He told the crowd that he and his team were going to “knock on every door” in the district to earn votes and to reassure constituents that he’s the type of politician who will do the right thing.

“We’re going to talk to people about doing what’s right instead of what’s wrong,” he said.

Harris struggled during testimony last week over why he prepared for his primary election last year by seeking out and signing up Bladen County political operative Leslie McCrae Dowless, a convicted felon who had been accused of ballot fraud in the 2016 elections. The state elections board turned over evidence of his actions in 2017 to federal prosecutors, who took no action.

According to testimony and other findings detailed at the hearing, Dowless conducted an illegal “ballot harvesting” operation: He and his assistants gathered up absentee ballots from voters by offering to put them in the mail.

Dowless’ workers in rural Bladen County testified that they were directed to collect blank or incomplete ballots, forge signatures on them and even fill in votes for local candidates.

It is generally against the law in North Carolina for anyone other than the voter or a family member to handle someone’s completed ballot.

No criminal charges have been filed in the case . Dowless declined to testify last week after the elections board refused to grant him immunity from prosecution based on what he might say.

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