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Media deem Trump the nominee, despite Haley tying him to Putin

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Media deem Trump the nominee, despite Haley tying him to Putin

Nikki Haley is campaigning hard, making the television rounds and ramping up her rhetoric against Donald Trump.

She is fighting on her home turf – South Carolina, the state that knows her best – and yet the media are acting in many ways as if the campaign is over.

That’s largely because the state’s former governor trails Trump by 22 to 36 percentage points, according to the last several South Carolina polls.

RON DESANTIS ACCUSES NIKKI HALEY OF APPEALING TO ‘LIBERAL’ T-SHIRT WEARERS: ‘SHE’S POISONED THE WELL’

Haley is not only way behind Trump, she’s not closing the gap in a way that makes it a competitive contest on Saturday.

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And if she loses by more than 20, the pundits will view that as the final nail in her political coffin.

Republican presidential candidate former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks during Fox News’ “Democracy 2024: South Carolina Town Hall” on Feb. 18 in Columbia, South Carolina, ahead of its Republican primary on Feb. 24.  (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Beyond that, I can’t think of a single state that Haley can win outright. She says she’ll continue at least through Super Tuesday, but the former president may have mathematically clinched the nomination by then, or shortly afterward.

This is not a knock on Haley (though contemporaries say she burned some bridges in South Carolina). The former U.N. ambassador managed to be the last woman standing, well after Pence, DeSantis, Scott, Christie and the others dropped out. But it’s instructive to look at how she’s campaigning, and why Trump – despite his four indictments and $355 million civil fraud penalty – seems unstoppable.

In a Sunday interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Haley increasingly tried to tie Trump to Vladimir Putin’s murderous tactics in the wake of the Arctic prison killing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny:

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“When you hear Donald Trump say in South Carolina a week ago that he would encourage Putin to invade our allies if they weren’t pulling their weight, that’s bone-chilling, because all he did in that one moment was empower Putin. And all he did in that moment was, he sided with a guy that kills his political opponents, he sided with a thug that arrests American journalists and holds them hostage, and he sided with a guy who wanted to make a point to the Russian people, don’t challenge me in the next election or this will happen to you too.”

TRUMP’S NATO COMMENTS TRIGGER FIERCE MEDIA AND EUROPEAN OPPOSITION: HOW SERIOUS IS HE?

What’s more, Haley told Jonathan Karl, “it’s actually pretty amazing that he – not only after making those comments that he would encourage Putin to invade NATO, but the fact that he won’t acknowledge anything with Navalny. Either he sides with Putin and thinks it’s cool that Putin killed one of his political opponents, or he just doesn’t think it’s that big of a deal.” 

Trump had said he wouldn’t protect any NATO country that didn’t spend 2% of its funds on defense, and in that case he would encourage Putin and Russia to “do whatever they hell they wanted.” He has made no mention of Navalny’s death, which President Biden quickly blamed on Putin.

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Haley reminded viewers that if Ukraine falls, Poland or the Baltics could be next.

Aerial footage shows blasts on Ukrainian coke plant

Aerial footage shows blasts on Ukrainian coke plant. (Reuters)

Now think about this. If a candidate not named Trump had made comments interpreted as potentially blowing up the Atlantic alliance – drawing condemnation from top European leaders – and stayed silent when Russia’s dictator had the opposition leader killed, after a previous poisoning attempt, wouldn’t there be a political uproar?

But since it is Trump, who as president had a friendly relationship with Putin, there has been scant criticism from Republicans. If Trump believes it, most of the party falls into line.

It harkens back to his old 2016 line about shooting someone on Fifth Avenue. Just as the Senate seemed on the verge of passing a bipartisan border bill that included aid to Ukraine and Israel, Trump torpedoed the measure by coming out against it.

DEMOCRATS WIN SEAT, REPUBLICANS WIN IMPEACHMENT, TWO PRESIDENTS CLASH OVER NATO

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And in a FOX town hall Sunday night, Haley, who often says her ex-boss was a good president at the time, offered a more negative assessment:

“There were things that he did wrong,” Haley told John Roberts. “His press conference in Helsinki, when he went and was trying to buddy up with Putin, I called him out for that. I explained that deeply in my book…how he was completely wrong. Because every time he was in the same room with him, he got weak in the knees. We can’t have a president that gets weak in the knees with Putin.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman told him of Alexey Navalny’s death during a meeting with workers at the AO Konar plant on Feb. 16 in Chelyabinsk, Russia. (Contributor/Getty Images)

About 20 minutes after Haley used the “weak in the knees” line yesterday on “Fox & Friends,” saying Trump has “yet to say anything about Navalny’s death,” the ex-president responded on Truth Social: 

“The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country. It is a slow, steady progression, with CROOKED, Radical Left Politicians, Prosecutors, and Judges leading us down a path to destruction.” You might have noticed the pivot, and the failure to mention Putin at all. 

All this, in a nutshell, is why the press are far more interested in the veepstakes chatter surrounding Trump than in Haley’s dogged campaigning.

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What most of the media and other critics fail to understand is that Trump represents the majority of his party. He has remade the GOP in his own image. Most leaders, with the notable exception of the strongly pro-Ukraine Mitch McConnell, follow their leader, as do rank-and-file members afraid of a Donald-backed primary challenger.

Speaker Mike Johnson admitted he consulted with Trump before declaring the border compromise DOA. Marco Rubio, who two months ago helped pass a law barring any president from withdrawing from NATO, said he had no problem with Trump’s remarks about the alliance.

There are even lines that Haley won’t cross. Asked repeatedly on ABC whether she still plans to endorse Trump if he wins, as she said at the campaign’s outset, Haley kept deflecting the question.

A decade ago, Haley’s pro-military and anti-Russia views would have been a comfortable fit for the Republican Party, but that party no longer exists.

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Chip Roy raises alarms about George Soros' purchase of radio giant Audacy

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Chip Roy raises alarms about George Soros' purchase of radio giant Audacy

FIRST ON FOX: Rep. Chip Roy is accusing liberal billionaire George Soros of trying to fast-track his acquisition of a major radio company through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

“I write today regarding Soros Fund Management’s acquisition of over $400 million in debt held by Audacy — the second-largest broadcast radio station owner in the country. Of particular concern, the Soros groups are asking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to approve a change in ownership in Audacy without the FCC running its normal, statutorily required process,” Roy said in a letter.

“This transaction, which affects radio stations that reach millions of listeners across the U.S., including in Texas’ 21st congressional district, should — at minimum — be subject to rigorous FCC oversight to ensure U.S. radio stations are not subject to undue influence.”

GEORGE SOROS’ SON BECOMES KINGMAKER WITH TOP DEMS AS HE MAKES MULTIPLE WH VISITS, MEETS WITH LAWMAKERS

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Rep. Chip Roy, left, is calling national attention to George Soros’ hedge fund acquiring a large stake in a radio company. (Getty Images)

Soros’ investment firm became the largest shareholder of Audacy last month, which owns local radio stations across the country. Audacy filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. 

Soros Fund Management was involved in a similar corporate restructure last year when it was one of the companies that acquired Vice Media after its bankruptcy filing last year.

Now, however, Roy raised alarm over Audacy also requesting that federal officials grant it a temporary exemption to existing FCC rules that forbid foreign company ownership of U.S. radio stations to exceed a 25% share, which would normally slow down the approval process.

ALEX SOROS’ ACCESS TO BIDEN’S WHITE HOUSE CONTINUES AS HE’S NOW VISITED AT LEAST 20 TIMES, RECORDS SHOW

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The Audacy radio logo

Audacy is the second-largest radio network in the U.S. after iHeartRadio. (Getty Images)

“But instead of going through the usual petition for declaratory ruling process, which would enable the FCC to review and assess those foreign ownership interests as part of its transaction review, the Soros group has asked the FCC to waive that process and put it off until sometime down the road — indicating that those foreign stakeholders will be given ‘special warrants’ in the meantime,” Roy wrote.

“The Soros group says that skipping the foreign ownership review at this time will enable the FCC to expedite its approval of the Soros applications and thus allow them to more quickly realize their ownership interests in, and take the reins at, these hundreds of local radio stations across the country.”

Audacy’s restructuring deal, which includes Soros’ firm and others, has been approved by the courts and is now awaiting its final hurdle — FCC approval, according to Inside Radio.

PROGRESSIVE MONEY MAN ALEX SOROS HUDDLES WITH DEM CANDIDATES AS 2024 CAMPAIGN HEATS UP

Roy told Fox News Digital that he heard from constituents who “reached out and raised issues and concerns about the extent to which it’s very clear that Soros is, you know, making a move in the radio world.”

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“I wanted to pose those questions to…understand what’s happening with the FCC on this, and raise the awareness publicly of the extent to which Soros’ people may be using — either the rules to their advantage, or frankly, the rules are getting abused to fast-track getting in there and grab that debt as a backdoor way to try to acquire a significant amount of ownership over local radio,” he said.

Fox News Digital reached out to Audacy, the FCC and a Soros representative for comment.

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Inside an Arizona abortion clinic: Uncertainty looms and optimism reigns

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Inside an Arizona abortion clinic: Uncertainty looms and optimism reigns

When Anna first read about the Arizona Supreme Court reinstating an 1864 law banning all abortions except when a mother’s life is at risk, she sent the article to her partner with an angry text.

“I was like, ‘God, this makes me so mad,’” she said.

She also decided to take a pregnancy test, just in case. Her period was a few days late, which she figured was because of her new birth control pills.

“I just want to make sure before anything goes into effect,” said Anna, 24, who declined to give her last name. “Thank God I did.”

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Days later, she found herself at Camelback Family Planning, discussing her options for an abortion.

The April 9 ruling set off a political hurricane, with both President Biden and former President Trump weighing in and Arizona’s Legislature devolving into chaos over whether to repeal the ban before it goes into effect June 8. But at a Phoenix abortion clinic, in the eye of the debate, it has been business as usual.

On Wednesday, Dr. Barbara Zipkin breezed into an examination room carrying Scooter, her emotional support dog. Although she lives in Sherman Oaks, Zipkin flies to Arizona most weeks, staying at her sister’s house while working three to five days at the Camelback clinic.

With her support dog Scooter staying in his bed, Dr. Barbara Zipkin rushes to an exam room at Camelback Family Planning on April 18, 2024, in Phoenix. The clinic will have to cease performing abortions on June 8 if the 1864 law banning abortions isn’t delayed of overturned.

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The doctor, who said she is “somewhere between 40 and death,” recalls the moment in 1973 when Roe vs. Wade took effect: She was on a plane returning to medical school, and she thought, “This is what I’m going to do.” She worked for years as an OB-GYN in Los Angeles, specializing in genetics and performing a lot of second trimester abortions.

“But there are enough providers in L.A.,” she said. “Arizona is unique.”

In the exam room, Zipkin walked Anna through her options — a medication abortion, which the patient had previously experienced with a difficult recovery, or a surgical procedure. Then Zipkin recited a state-mandated “silly consent” form, adding her own caveats to each point.

“Consent says the state of Arizona wants you to believe that there are alternatives to abortion. Well, that’s all well and good, but it’s not really true, because when you’re in this position, you really only have two options. One is carry it and the other is don’t carry it,” Zipkin said. “Adoption and all that — that comes after. You’re either carrying this or you’re not, and it still affects you.”

Anna said she’d always paid attention to the national conversation around abortion, as a woman and especially as an Arizonan. Anna said she had started taking birth control pills within a week of getting pregnant. As a 24-year-old who lives with roommates, she doesn’t consider herself financially able to care for a child.

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Zipkin performs an ultrasound on a patient.

Dr. Barbara Zipkin performs an ultrasound on a 25-year-old patient who didn’t want her name or face shown at Camelback Family Planning on April 18. The patient thought the Arizona 1864 law banning abortion had already taken effect and was planning on going to California for an abortion but she learned that the clinic in Phoenix was still open and performing abortions. “It makes me sad to think that women in the future may not be to have the choice to come here if that law goes into effect,” she said.

“It’s just not the situation I want for myself, or my children in the future. I want a two-parent household in a stable home, or a stable situation,” Anna said. “I just don’t know that I’m in that right now.”

After her 10-minute consultation with Zipkin, Anna scheduled an appointment for the following week, when she would decide whether to have a medication or surgical abortion.

After answering Anna’s questions, Zipkin offered her last bit of guidance: “Before I forget, because I have the attention span of a gnat — vote!”

Abortion is likely to top voters’ concerns in Arizona, where state legislators have yet to vote on a proposed bill repealing the ban.

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In the sunny plaza between the two state Capitol chambers, protesters on both sides of the debate milled about Wednesday, some wearing bright orange T-shirts in support of Arizona for Abortion Access, and others in shirts depicting baby’s feet and proclaiming “Choose life.”

Uncertainty at the clinic

Back at the Camelback clinic, staff members gathered in the break room, decorated with posters and handmade thank you cards, including one with a uterus drawn in place of a “Y.” They discussed what could happen after June 8, and the clinic’s founder, Dr. Gabrielle Goodrick, sought to provide clarity.

1 A Thank You card hangs on the refrigerator in the beak room at Camelback Family Planning on April 17, 2024

2 A Thank You cards hang on a cupboard at Camelback Family Planning on April 18, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona.

3 Information on a no-cost abortion clinic in San Francisco hangs on the glass at the

1. A Thank You card hangs on the refrigerator in the beak room at Camelback Family Planning on April 17, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. The clinic will have to cease performing abortions on June 8 if the 1864 law banning abortions isn’t delayed or overturned. 2. A Thank You cards hang on a cupboard at Camelback Family Planning on April 18, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. The clinic will have to cease performing abortions on June 8 if the 1864 law banning abortions isn’t delayed or overturned. 3. Information on a no-cost abortion clinic in San Francisco hangs on the glass at the reception area at Camelback Family Planning on April 18, 2024 in Phoenix, Arizona. The clinic will have to cease performing abortions on June 8 if the 1864 law banning abortions isn’t delayed or overturned.

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She’s hopeful that a constitutional amendment guaranteeing abortion access will be on the November ballot — activists with Arizona for Abortion Access say they have gathered enough signatures.

“People were pretty nervous and stressed that they’re not going to have a job until November,” Goodrick said.

For a clinic rocked by Supreme Court decisions, it has become adept at weathering changes, Goodrick said. A ruling comes down, the staff adjusts its routines and schedules and continues to provide abortions with new limitations, which sometimes includes referring patients to clinics in California or Nevada.

The constant fluctuations have had their toll, though. The clinic, which Goodrick opened in 1999, usually averages about 350 patients a month. That total dropped in 2022 amid patient confusion over what would happen in the wake of Roe vs. Wade being overturned. Her small staff of 12 shrank to six, Goodrick said, as workers grew tired “from the stress of just not knowing.”

The doctor and her staff had just gotten into the swing of their new routine when the state Supreme Court ruling came down.

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 Dr. Barbara Zipkin, right, consults with a co-worker over ultrasound results at Camelback Family

Dr. Barbara Zipkin, right, consults with a co-worker over ultrasound results at Camelback Family Planning . The clinic will have to cease performing abortions on June 8 if enforcement of the 1864 law banning abortions isn’t delayed or overturned.

“The patients are more anxious,” Goodrick said. “It causes what the Republicans want, which is mayhem.”

But this time, she hopes, will be different.

“We just have to get to Nov. 25,” Goodrick said, referring to the date that a constitutional amendment, if approved, would take effect.

Confident that the political fight will turn in her favor, Goodrick has opened the clinic’s doors to media from around the globe, who’ve descended on Arizona to chronicle the latest front in a nationwide battle over abortion.

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Nurses wearing “abortion is healthcare” T-shirts moved deftly around the journalists, whom they’ve grown accustomed to filling their workplace recently. On their lunch break, the staff crowded into the break room, bickering over Supreme Court justices.

“Which one’s worse — [Clarence] Thomas or [Samuel] Alito?” one asked.

Sitting at a folding table laden with snacks, Dr. Jessica Holmes peered at the clinic’s schedule on her laptop.

Nurses carry charts to exam rooms past thank you cards tacked to cupboards and artwork of a uterus hanging on a clothesline.

Nurses carry charts to exam rooms past thank you cards tacked to cupboards and artwork of a uterus hanging on a clothesline at Camelback Family Planning.

“Are you doing through June, or only the first eight days?” Holmes asked.

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“No, we’ll go through June,” Goodrick answered briskly.

Opposing forces of optimism

Standing on the sidewalk a few yards from the clinic door, antiabortion activists were similarly optimistic about the future of Arizona’s abortion law.

“We accept it as a victory and we’re very excited,” said Matt Engelthaler, 49, who has protested abortions since he was a teenager, when he first joined his parents to pray outside clinics. “But we also realize that changing laws isn’t what’s gonna do anything, it’s just changing hearts. That’s what we pray for.”

Engelthaler fingered rosary beads as he held a sign that said, “Choose life.” A Catholic, he said he prayed the rosary “for the moms, dads and the babies,” and another prayer for the abortion clinic workers, “that they can understand the travesty of what they’re doing and turn away from it.”

A passing car honked, and the driver stuck his middle finger in the air at the protesters.

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“People just don’t know how to do the peace sign correctly,” Engelthaler said with a laugh.

A few minutes later, another car honked and the driver gave a thumbs up.

By the clinic door, three volunteers wearing bright, rainbow-colored vests escorted patients from their cars into the clinic, blocking their view of the sidewalk protesters with large, rainbow umbrellas. Michael Buble played on a nearby speaker, ready to drown out any protester’s megaphone.

“When they go loud, we go louder,” said one escort, who declined to give her name. She said her group of volunteers would continue serving at the clinic until they’re told to stop.

One of the patients, a 26-year-old from Phoenix, said the escorts’ music lifted her spirits on an otherwise bleak day. She took Scooter into her arms and, stroking the dog’s back, told the doctor that she found out she was pregnant two days after the state Supreme Court decision.

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A patient strokes support dog Scooter in an exam room

A 26-year-old patient from Phoenix strokes support dog Scooter in an exam room as Dr. Barbara Zipkin discusses her options for an abortion. The patient found out she was pregnant two days after the Arizona Supreme Court reinstated an 1864 law banning abortion.

“It has just been draining, in that sense of like, wow — this would happen this week,” the patient said.

She said that as Christians, her family vehemently opposes abortion and would support her if she decided to have a baby. The woman said she and her partner decided to keep the abortion private.

“It’s definitely confusing and emotional, considering, like, my upbringing,” she said. But referring to the escorts outside who welcomed her, she added, “it’s also encouraging, in a sense, because you do feel this community.”

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How the Senate Voted on Foreign Aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

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How the Senate Voted on Foreign Aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan

The Senate on Tuesday passed the long-stalled $95.3 billion package of aid to Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, along with legislation that could lead to a ban on TikTok, clearing the measure and sending it to President Biden for his signature.

Answer Democrats Republicans Independents Total Bar chart of total votes
0 0 0 0
0 0 0 0

Note: Three senators did not vote.

The overwhelming vote reflected broad bipartisan support for the measure, which passed the House on Saturday by wide margins after a tortured journey through Congress that was met with right-wing resistance.

The measure includes $60.8 billion for Ukraine; $26.4 billion for Israel and humanitarian aid for civilians in conflict zones, including Gaza; and $8.1 billion for the Indo-Pacific region. It also would impose a new round of sanctions on Iran, and require the sale of TikTok by its Chinese owner or ban the app in the United States.

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The measure had been stalled for months on Capitol Hill, where right-wing Republicans opposed to the aid for Ukraine pressured Speaker Mike Johnson not to allow it to be considered unless their demands for a severe border enforcement bill were met.

But when Republicans, egged on by former President Donald J. Trump, rejected linking it to a bipartisan border deal, the Senate passed the foreign assistance package on its own in February and pressured the House to do the same.

It took Mr. Johnson two additional months to figure out a way to steer around his right flank and do so. He used a convoluted maneuver in which the House cast separate votes to push through the pieces of the package and sent them to the Senate as one bill.

The TikTok provision was included as part of an effort to sweeten the deal for conservatives. Lawmakers have repeatedly cited the potential for Beijing to gain access to U.S. user data or to use the app for propaganda, including ahead of this year’s presidential election.

How Every Senator Voted

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