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Danish PM says Trump’s idea of selling Greenland to U.S. is absurd

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Greenland is not for sale and the idea of selling it to the United States is absurd, Denmark’s prime minister said on Sunday after an economic adviser to President Donald Trump confirmed the U.S. interest in buying the world’s largest island. FILE PHOTO: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks during a news…

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Danish PM says Trump’s idea of selling Greenland to U.S. is absurd

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – Greenland is not for sale and the idea of selling it to the United States is absurd, Denmark’s prime minister said on Sunday after an economic adviser to President Donald Trump confirmed the U.S. interest in buying the world’s largest island. FILE PHOTO: Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen speaks during a news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke“Greenland is not for sale. Greenland is not Danish. Greenland belongs to Greenland. I strongly hope that this is not meant seriously,” Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen told the newspaper Sermitsiaq during a visit to Greenland. Trump confirmed to reporters on Sunday that he had recently discussed the possibility, though he said such a move was not an immediate priority. “The concept came up and …strategically it’s interesting,” Trump told reporters from the tarmac in Morristown, New Jersey, as he prepared to board Air Force One. “It is not No.1 on the burner; I can tell you that.” Trump is due to visit Copenhagen early next month, when the Arctic will be on the agenda in meetings with Frederiksen and Prime Minister Kim Kielsen of Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Sunday initially confirmed media reports earlier in the week that Trump had privately discussed with his advisers the idea of buying Greenland. “I don’t want to predict an outcome. I’m just saying the president, who knows a thing or two about buying real estate, wants to take a look at a Greenland purchase,” Kudlow told Fox News. Kudlow said the situation was “developing” and noted that U.S. President Harry Truman also had wanted to buy Greenland. “And Denmark owns Greenland, Denmark is an ally, Greenland is a strategic place, up there. And they’ve got a lot of valuable minerals,” Kudlow added. A defense treaty between Denmark and the United States dating back to 1951 gives the U.S. military rights over the Thule Air Base in northern Greenland. Greenland, located between the North Atlantic and Arctic oceans, is dependent on Danish economic support. It handles its own domestic affairs while Copenhagen looks after defense and foreign policy. “It’s an absurd discussion, and Kim Kielsen has of course made it clear that Greenland is not for sale. That’s where the conversation ends,” Frederiksen told the Danish broadcaster DR. On Friday, Greenland’s foreign minister, Ane Lone Bagger, had told Reuters: “We are open for business, but we’re not for sale.” Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; additional reporting by Sarah N. Lynch in Washington, D.C.; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Kevin Liffey
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How Trump picked Amy Coney Barrett over Barbara Lagoa for the Supreme Court

(CNN)It was only a week ago President Donald Trump appeared practically “giddy” about a particular candidate to fill the newly vacant seat on the Supreme Court that had been held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for more than 27 years, people familiar with the matter said.The potential pick was not the woman Trump nominated on…

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How Trump picked Amy Coney Barrett over Barbara Lagoa for the Supreme Court

(CNN)It was only a week ago President Donald Trump appeared practically “giddy” about a particular candidate to fill the newly vacant seat on the Supreme Court that had been held by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg for more than 27 years, people familiar with the matter said.The potential pick was not the woman Trump nominated on Saturday night, though by the end of the week he was enthusiastically telling friends his choice of Amy Coney Barrett had the potential to salvage his political career.Instead, his imagination seemed temporarily stoked by Barbara Lagoa, the Florida-born judge who sits on the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals. In a phone call to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the hours after Ginsburg’s death was announced, Lagoa was one of a few names Trump floated as his potential pick, according to people familiar with the call. Jetting back to Washington from a rally in Minnesota on the night Ginsburg died, Trump quizzed aides whether Lagoa had to potential to secure him Florida’s 29 electoral votes, people familiar with the conversations said.Egged on by members of his political team and allies in the state, Trump appeared captivated in conversations last weekend by the prospect of nominating a woman whose biography — daughter of Cuban exiles with roots in a community that could prove critical to his re-election — so obviously aligned with his political prerogatives.Yet within a day or so, Trump’s newfound excitement for Lagoa had diminished so dramatically that she never received a formal sit-down with the President — her chances dashed by the intersection of an impossibly fraught timeline that left little room for error, intense pressure from some of his advisers to make a safe selection and a religious right galvanized by Barrett, the woman Trump ultimately selected for the seat.”I looked and I studied, and you are very eminently qualified for this job,” Trump told Barrett in the Rose Garden on Saturday. “You are going to be fantastic.”This account is based on interviews with nearly a dozen sources, including White House officials, conservative allies and people close to the process, many who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly about Trump’s selection process. Coming two months before an election that polls currently show him losing, this year’s Supreme Court vacancy has the potential both to reshape that race and to significantly alter the ideological tilt of the high court for years. Over the course of two days this week, Trump’s decision seemed cemented when he met with Barrett for hours at the White House, including lengthy one-on-one sessions without any aides present. Unlike their interview two years ago for an earlier Supreme Court vacancy, when officials walked away believing she had failed to impress a President drawn to big personalities with Ivy League degrees, this time Trump and Barrett appeared to gel personally, people who spoke to the President afterward said.So convinced did Trump seem in his selection that aides scheduled no formal interviews with any other potential candidates — including Lagoa.Still, the evening before announcing Barrett as his Supreme Court pick, Trump was continuing to poll his supporters during a fundraiser at his hotel in Washington about whom he should nominate to the vacant seat, according a person who heard Trump’s remarks. At least one suggested Lagoa.”Let her know she’s going to have her chance,” Trump replied, the person said.The narrow window for confirmation before the November 3 vote has allowed little room for error in a highly orchestrated nominee selection and rollout — and has already generated outcry from Trump’s opponents, who insist the seat should be filled by whomever wins this year’s election.An eleventh-hour lifelineThe ferocity of emotion surrounding the vacancy was on vibrant display Thursday when Trump visited the court to pay respects to Ginsburg, who was lying in repose. Trump has appeared highly cognizant of Ginsburg’s legacy, and even instructed aides to set up the Rose Garden on Saturday in a fashion that mimicked Bill Clinton’s nomination announcement in 1993.Standing alongside his wife before Ginsburg’s flag-draped coffin, a crowd of onlookers booed loudly before erupting into chants of “vote him out” and “honor her wish” — a reference to Ginsburg’s reported desire to be replaced by whomever wins in November.There was never much question Trump would put forward a nominee and that the GOP-held Senate would hold a vote, even though Republicans refused to consider President Barack Obama’s nominee to fill a Supreme Court vacancy in the months before the 2016 election.Returning from northern Minnesota last Friday following news of Ginsburg’s death, Trump conferred in his onboard office with top aides, including Stephen Miller, Hope Hicks, Bill Stepien and Dan Scavino, about potential nominees and what each might mean for his political future.As televisions set to Fox News reported on Ginsburg’s death, Trump helped approve a statement marking the death of the liberal icon and women’s rights champion. But he also began formulating a plan to replace her. Ninety minutes after the court announced Ginsburg’s death — and 40 minutes after Trump learned the news, which aides didn’t tell him while he was speaking at a campaign rally — McConnell said in a statement that Trump’s nominee would get a vote. Passed over in 2018, Barrett had long been viewed as the likely choice should Ginsburg retire or pass away, a scenario White House aides began viewing as increasingly likely as her health deteriorated this spring and summer.Though Trump recently released a list of names he would consider for the court, a more serious shortlist of candidates for Ginsburg’s seat had been circulating in the White House for months. Barrett had always been considered the top choice — particularly because Trump had led many of her allies to believe he wanted to nominate her to replace Ginsburg should she retire or pass away.So when they learned last week that Lagoa’s name was circulating with a new ferocity, Barrett’s supporters became fearful the President’s mercurial tendency to swing wildly on personnel decisions could jeopardize not only their favorite pick but the ability to fill the seat before the November election. A campaign to ensure Barrett was the pick ensued in the coming days and culminated with the President never meeting another candidate in person.For some of Trump’s aides and allies on Capitol Hill, the effort meant streamlining the process by attempting to circumvent Trump’s tendency to flood the zone with new names and block any media-fueled whiplash between candidates.’She’s Hispanic and highly respected’Barrett was a favorite of several inside the White House, including White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Vice President Mike Pence, who, like Barrett, has a close connection to Indiana. Chief of staff Mark Meadows initially advocated for Allison Jones Rushing, a 38-year-old judge who sits on the Fourth Circuit in North Carolina. Yet she was seen by most as too young, and Meadows quickly shifted his support to Barrett once it became clear others were uniting behind her.Yet for a time, the President seemed smitten with the idea of nominating Lagoa — a prospect that Trump’s campaign advisers told him would prove smart politics as it was becoming clear Florida would again play an outsized role in the election. Lagoa and her supporters hoped a presidential interview was in the making and Trump was headed to an event with Latino supporters near the end of the week.White House officials began making plans for the President to meet with Lagoa in person, but that idea was eventually scrapped as other officials began to coalesce around Barrett as the pick. Those backing Barrett feared if Trump met with other candidates, he could change his mind and possibly throw uncertainty into the mix — something they had little time for given the narrowing confirmation timeline.Those pushing for Barrett also felt there were too many unknowns about Lagoa’s record. The bulk of her career has been spent on state courts and she had few big opinions on the constitutional issues that now circle the court, those people argued, concluding there was no time to flesh out her record, scour media accounts, speeches or early writings.In public, Trump attempted to build suspense around his pick, praising Lagoa even though sources said he had cooled on her privately early on.”She’s an extraordinary person,” he said last Saturday. “I’ve heard incredible things about her. I don’t know her. She’s Hispanic and highly respected in Miami. Highly respected.”By then, questions had already begun to arise inside the White House about Lagoa’s ties to the Bush family, given Jeb Bush had put her on a state appellate court. Decades later, conservatives are still stung that President George H.W. Bush squandered a coveted Supreme Court seat by placing David Souter, who was relatively unknown, on the bench. Souter went on to become a consistent liberal vote until he retired in 2009. Trump himself is also highly skeptical of the Bush family, who he has openly insulted as failed politicians, though George W. Bush did advocate for Kavanaugh during his confirmation battle in 2018.Once Trump realized Lagoa’s ties to Jeb Bush — a former opponent he still privately complains about — he quickly reversed course. Those who had been advocating for her realized the chances of her selection were slim.Though the process raised her national profile, the ultimate decision was a disappointment for Lagoa’s supporters, who believe she would have wowed the President had they met in person. She had already testified before Congress that she shared the same conservative judicial philosophy that was championed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia, revered by conservatives and frequently mentioned by Trump himself.To supporters of Lagoa following along in the press, the veiled criticism of her was also disheartening. She had the support of conservative Gov. Ron DeSantis, a close Trump ally, and had twice been vetted for the lower courts. A feminist icon of their ownWith Lagoa apparently out of the running, a scramble began on Capitol Hill and inside the White House to execute a plan hatched earlier in Trump’s tenure that would see Ginsburg replaced by Barrett, her ideological opposite. Republicans like former White House counsel Don McGahn knew it would be critical to replace a feminist icon with one of their own, according to sources familiar with his thinking.Barrett had invigorated and emboldened conservatives after her confirmation hearing for the Seventh Circuit. At the hearing, top-ranked Democratic member Sen. Dianne Feinstein had pressed her on her writing about faith and the law. In a tense exchange between Barrett and Feinstein, the Democratic senator sharply questioned whether the judicial nominee could separate her Catholic views from her legal opinions.”The conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein pointedly said. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for years in this county.”Before long there were T-shirts with the words “the dogma lives loudly” imprinted upon them. Cipollone and Meadows took joint roles leading the selection process. One person who played less of a role this time around was Leonard Leo, the executive vice president of the Federalist Society who shaped Trump’s initial list of potential Supreme Court candidates. Leo was kept further from the process this time around for primarily two reasons, a source said: Trump blames him for advising him to hire former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and officials believed Leo took too much public credit for the last two Supreme Court picks.As Trump went through his list before ultimately selecting Kavanaugh in 2018, he also met with Barrett, who had been vetted by White House attorneys as senators familiarized themselves with her record. Trump was not impressed by Barrett after meeting with her in 2018, officials familiar with the session said. Barrett, according to a source familiar with the matter, was also distracted by a contact lens issue.But Trump’s opinion of Barrett changed after meeting with her for several hours in the Oval Office on Monday and Tuesday. Barrett also met separately with Cipollone and Pence. People who spoke to Trump afterward she he described her as “brilliant” and said he seemed taken with her personally.By the time Barrett had returned to Indiana, Trump seemed settled in his choice, though publicly sought to extend the dramatics of his choice into the weekend by refusing to say whether he’d made his selection.Barrett, meanwhile, appeared intent on grasping to the final glimmers of a normal life before what is expected to be a highly contentious confirmation battle that, if successful, will lead to a lifetime appointment as a Supreme Court justice.On Friday, as word emerged in Washington that Trump had made his selection, Barrett was spotted piloting her Honda minivan into her driveway in South Bend, Indiana, climbing out with a reusable Whole Foods grocery bag and greeting two of her children with hugs.CNN’s Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.
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Democrats say Barrett’s nomination is all about the future of Obamacare

(CNN)Democrats on Saturday night launched their case against federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, saying support for her confirmation was equivalent to a vote to end the Affordable Care Act.In a rush of statements following Barrett’s Rose Garden introduction, top Democrats put the fate of the law — and its…

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Democrats say Barrett’s nomination is all about the future of Obamacare

(CNN)Democrats on Saturday night launched their case against federal Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, saying support for her confirmation was equivalent to a vote to end the Affordable Care Act.In a rush of statements following Barrett’s Rose Garden introduction, top Democrats put the fate of the law — and its popular protections for patients with pre-existing conditions — front and center. They also made frequent reference to the coronavirus pandemic, and the chaos that could arise from stripping health insurance options from millions of Americans in its midst.From the Democratic presidential ticket on down, criticism of Barrett repeatedly circled back to what has been a political winner for the party: health care — and the backlash to Republican efforts to dismantle the ACA, former President Barack Obama’s signature policy achievement. “President Trump has been trying to throw out the Affordable Care Act for four years. Republicans have been trying to end it for a decade. Twice, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law as constitutional,” Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Obama’s vice president, said in a statement. “But even now, in the midst of a global health pandemic, the Trump Administration is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the entire law, including its protections for people with pre-existing conditions.”Biden made specific reference to some of the lingering tolls of the illness, including scarring of the lungs and heart damage, describing those complications as “the next deniable pre-existing condition.”Democrats have been weighing a number of options in how they plan to frame their opposition to Barrett’s nomination. Her writings on abortion rights, and the expectation among most liberals and many conservatives that she would side with a decision to undermine or overturn Roe v. Wade, were also cited by a number of Democrats on Saturday and in the run-up the White House ceremony.Republicans’ decision to move forward with the nomination, in defiance of the logic of their blockade of Obama’s pick, Merrick Garland, in 2016, has been woven into Democrats’ initial argument against Barrett.Zeroing in on health careCalifornia Sen. Kamala Harris, Biden’s running mate and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will hold Barrett’s confirmation hearings, made only one passing mention of the nominee in her own statement. “Republicans are desperate to get Judge Barrett confirmed before the Supreme Court takes up this case in November and millions of Americans will suffer for their power play,” she said.Harris took aim at Trump, too, saying the President had effectively created a “litmus test” for his Supreme Court nominees: “Destroy the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with preexisting conditions and overturn our right to make our own health care decisions.”That message was echoed in the words of the Senate’s top-ranking Democrats: Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin and Washington Sen. Patty Murray.Schumer was the most direct, drawing a straight line between Barrett’s confirmation and the fate of the ACA.”The American people should make no mistake—a vote by any Senator for Judge Amy Coney Barrett is a vote to strike down the Affordable Care Act and eliminate protections for millions of Americans with pre-existing conditions,” Schumer said.Murray echoed Schumer in a series of tweets.”President Trump has told us repeatedly what he wants in a justice: a jurist who above anything else is committed to gutting health care through the courts and ending safe, legal abortion in the United States of America,” Murray tweeted. “Make no mistake, a vote to confirm a Supreme Court nominee who meets President Trump’s tests is a vote to take away people’s health care and vital rights.”Durbin tied the health care argument to Democratic complaints of Republican hypocrisy over the timing of the process, which GOP leaders hope to wrap before Election Day.”It is clear why Republicans have reversed their position from 2016 about giving the American people ‘a voice’ in filling an election year vacancy,” Durbin said in a statement. “They want another vote on the Supreme Court for their lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act — eliminating health insurance for millions, ending protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and raising costs for millions more — in the middle of a pandemic.”The health care-centered argument bridged ideological factions within the party. The campaign of New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sent an email to supporters with the subject line, “Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will be the end of the Affordable Care Act.”Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, in a series of tweets, called the nomination “illegitimate” and described GOP efforts to push through her nomination as the capper on a “a decades-long assault on our judiciary by billionaires and giant corporations to tilt the courts for the rich and powerful.”But Warren, too, returned to health care, writing, “We know Trump will pick a Supreme Court nominee who will deliver the death blow to the Affordable Care Act and rip health care away from millions of people during a deadly pandemic. We know it because he’s already in Court demanding this.”The two Democratic senators from the crucial swing state of Nevada also highlighted the Affordable Care Act in their reactions to Trump’s announcement.Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, said she was “certain,” based on her study of Barrett ahead of her 2017 confirmation to the federal bench, that the nominee “would be the deciding vote that rips away protections for preexisting conditions for over one million Nevadans, and millions of Americans.””Not only does Judge Barrett support the President’s plan to dismantle our nation’s health care law and eliminate reproductive freedoms,” said Sen. Jacky Rosen, “but the rush to confirm her nomination clearly violates the precedent that Senate Republicans set just four years ago for filling a Supreme Court vacancy.”Avoiding Barrett’s faith Democrats have been careful, though, not to make mention of Barrett’s faith, worried that their opposition could be used as fodder for Republican claims of anti-Catholic bias. Still, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — earlier on Saturday — tweeted a video clip suggesting just that.”Today the assault may be on Catholicism,” Rubio wrote. “But tomorrow, no religion will be safe from the same attacks And then the message will be clear, if you want to serve in public office, especially on the highest court in the land, only those willing to hide or deny their faith need apply.” In his comments to camera, Rubio referenced the now infamous line of questioning from California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who said of Barrett at her 2017 hearing, “the dogma lives loudly within you.”That comment roiled Catholic conservatives and led Republicans to accuse Democrats of imposing “religious tests” on judicial nominees. Democrats, this time out, appear determined to steer clear of the headlines that followed.
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Coronavirus: Madrid at serious risk without tougher rules, minister warns

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Coronavirus: Madrid at serious risk without tougher rules, minister warns

Publishedduration1 hour agoimage copyrightEPAimage captionSpain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa called for tougher measures in Madrid to curb the virusThe Spanish government has urged authorities in Madrid to tighten coronavirus restrictions across the city, warning of a “serious risk” to residents if they do not.Madrid extended restrictions in Covid-19 hotspots on Friday but rejected calls for a city-wide lockdown.On Saturday Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa said current restrictions did not go far enough.He said it was “time to act with determination” to control the pandemic.”There is a serious risk for inhabitants, for the neighbouring regions,” Mr Illa said, calling on the capital’s regional authorities to “put the health of citizens first” and impose a partial lockdown on the entire city. Spain’s regions are in charge of healthcare and so the central government does not have the power to impose the restrictions it prefers.Madrid is again at the epicentre of Spain’s coronavirus outbreak, as it was during the first peak earlier this year. The country recorded a further 12,272 cases on Friday, bringing the official total to 716,481, the highest infection tally in western Europe.Spain and many other countries in the northern hemisphere have seen a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in recent weeks.The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a stark warning about the resurgence of the virus in Europe and elsewhere as winter approaches.European countries were seeing “worrying increases of the disease”, with “a small uptick in deaths in older people” that will inevitably increase, Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies team, said on Friday.Dr Ryan questioned whether European countries had “really exhausted all the tools” at their disposal to prevent a second round of national lockdowns.”Lockdowns are almost a last resort – and to think that we’re back in last-resort territory in September, that’s a pretty sobering thought,” Dr Ryan told reporters at the WHO’s headquarters in Geneva.Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic have all reported sharp rises in new cases, mirroring the trend seen across EuropeDutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has issued a particularly gloomy warning about a second wave in the Netherlands, saying the “figures look downright terrible”Plans to close all bars and restaurants in the southern French city of Marseille have been pushed back until Sunday evening, after protests In the UK, police said they were shutting down a protest against coronavirus restrictions in London’s Trafalgar Square because crowds had “not complied” with social distancing rulesHow bad is the situation in Madrid?The Madrid region accounts for about a third of all Spain’s cases and deaths. In recent weeks, coronavirus cases have been rising sharply, putting pressure on the health system as hospital admissions increase.As of Friday, the Madrid region had the highest incidence rate of Covid-19 in Spain, with a cumulative 746.2 new cases per 100,000 people over the past 14 days, according to the El Pais newspaper. Spain overall has a rate of about 320, according to the European CDC.With the situation worsening, the Spanish government and regional authorities in Madrid disagree on what action is required.Madrid’s regional government has chosen not to put the entire city and the surrounding areas under lockdown, but on Friday said it would extend restrictions on movement to another eight districts, affecting about a million people.Restrictions have now been imposed on 45 areas in some of Madrid’s poorer districts, leaving residents there feeling abandoned, stigmatised and worried about the loss of income, Reuters news agency reports.image copyrightEPAimage captionProtests against coronavirus restrictions have been staged in Madrid this weekFrom Monday, residents in these areas will only be able to leave their zone to go to work, school or to seek medical care. Social gatherings within each zone will be limited to six, public parks will be shut and commercial businesses will need to close by 22:00.However, the Spanish government has argued that these restrictions are not sufficient, recommending an end to all unnecessary movement across the city, among other measures.Mr Illa called on regional officials to put political considerations aside and act on the science.”I want to repeat the call for the measures [in Madrid] to be reviewed, to listen to the science. To leave politics in the background. To put the health of citizens first,” Mr Illa said.You might also be interested in:media captionA cold, flu or coronavirus – which one do I have?
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