Posts tagged with "NBC News"

Trump says he doesn’t know whether he could work with Mitch McConnell, if re-elected

February 22, 2024

Former President Donald Trump said on Tuesday, February 20, that he was uncertain if he could work with former ally turned political foe Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, if he were to be re-elected, reports NBC News.

“He’ll probably end up endorsing me. I don’t know that I can work with him,” Trump said during a town hall on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Tuesday. “He gave away trillions of dollars that he didn’t have to, trillions of dollars. He made it very easy for the Democrats.”

The relationship between the two Republican leaders soured after McConnell denounced Trump’s role in the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot—calling it a “disgraceful dereliction of duty.”

Trump has escalated attacks on McConnell since leaving office, and most recently helped tank the sweeping bipartisan border deal that McConnell supported.

McConnell has not endorsed Trump’s bid for re-election, even as many of his Senate colleagues have—although he said he would support whomever the GOP nominee is and has acknowledged that appears almost certain to be Trump.

NBC News has reached out to McConnell’s office for comment.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Target unveils new items costing $10 or less—and some under $1

February 20, 2024

As consumers continue to struggle with inflation, Target is unveiling a low-price, in-house brand it’s calling dealworthy, reports NBC News.

Target’s dealworthy products will start at less than $1, with most items coming in under $10, the company says. The retailer is marketing some 400 items under the label, including apparel and accessories, essentials and beauty, electronics, and home goods.

As an example, Target said some electronics-related items, such as phone cases, would be priced 50% lower than any other brands sold at Target.

The first dealworthy products already have started arriving in stores and on Target.com. Additional products will be introduced throughout 2024 and early 2025—including power cords, underwear, socks, laundry detergent, dish soap and more

Target is the latest major brand to recognize that consumers are balking at higher prices.

“We know that value is top of mind for consumers, and dealworthy, backed by our owned-brand promise, will not only appeal to our current guests but position us to attract even more new shoppers to Target,” said EVP Rick Gomez.

As with other Target-owned brand items, customers can return dealworthy products within one year with a receipt for an exchange or a refund.

Other retailers launching lower-cost in-house brands include Hanes, which recently unveiled “M,” a women’s shapewear line priced as low as $5.50; which compares with signature brand Maidenform’s prices of $40 to $55. And as of August, supermarket chain Kroger’s Smart Way brand, unveiled in 2022, has become the fastest-growing private consumer label on the market.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Democrat Tom Suozzi wins New York special election to replace George Santos

February 14, 2024

Former Democratic Representative Tom Suozzi is heading back to Congress after winning the special election in New York’s 3rd District to replace former GOP Representative George Santos, reports NBC News.

Suozzi’s victory on Tuesday, February 13, over Republican Mazi Pilip cuts Republicans’ already razor-thin House majority by one seat, making legislating even more difficult moving forward. And it could provide a guide for Democrats competing in similar competitive districts this fall, especially when it comes to navigating their political vulnerability on immigration and border security. Another factor in the win was Pilip’s outspoken antipathy about abortion.

The Democrat may seek to be sworn into Congress as early as Thursday, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking. If not, he may have to wait until the end of the month after the House takes an extended recess for President’s Day.

At his victory party Tuesday night, Suozzi thanked a long list of supporters and aides, and ran through some of the attacks he faced in the hard-fought contest.

“Despite all the lies about Tom Suozzi and the Squad, about Tom Suozzi being the godfather of the migrant crisis, about ‘Sanctuary Suozzi’— despite the dirty tricks, despite the vaunted Nassau County Republican machine: We won,” he said to applause.

Suozzi’s speech was initially interrupted by protesters who accused him of supporting “genocide” in Gaza. One of them walked onstage to shout down Suozzi while holding what appeared to be a Palestinian flag, but he was removed.

Suozzi may have been helped by a winter storm that walloped the New York City area on Tuesday, as Democrats built up an advantage in early votes. But his victory also came amid some built-in advantages in name ID and fundraising as the district’s former congressman and as Democrats outspent Republicans on the airwaves.

“He has the values that I have—to get things done but to take into consideration the people who are in need. And he represents the majority of the middle class,” said Jeanne DeChiaro, who voted for Suozzi in Syosset and said her biggest issues were abortion, immigration, the economy and “the ability to be bipartisan.”

Linda Karpe, a Suozzi voter, said the roads on Long Island were “horrible” on her way to the voting booth and “the cars were swerving all around the place.”

“I think my son wants my inheritance, because he told me ‘it would be OK to drive, Mom,’” Karpe joked. “It was really bad.”

Although President Joe Biden won the Long Island-based district by 8 percentage points, according to calculations from Daily Kos Elections, Republicans have made gains in the area since then. In 2022, Santos won this open seat by 8 points, but he was expelled from Congress in December following his indictment on federal charges; as well as a damning Ethics Committee report that alleged he broke multiple federal laws and misused campaign funds. (Santos has pleaded not guilty and is set to go to trial in September.)

The result is a blow to the Nassau County GOP, which has been energized by a string of victories in recent years amid a backlash to Democratic-run New York City and Albany. Before Santos was ousted, Republicans represented every congressional district on Long Island.

Suozzi did not run for re-election last year, instead making an unsuccessful run for governor in a bitter primary race against Democratic Governor Kathy Hochul. Suozzi met with Hochul before his nomination for Tuesday’s contest; he apologized, and Hochul pressed him about his path to victory and his support for abortion rights, according to a source familiar with the meeting.

Suozzi and Pilip could face off again in November. Both have committed to run for the full term. But the district’s lines could change in an ongoing redistricting process. The state’s redistricting commission has until February 28 to draw a new congressional map; and the state GOP has vowed to challenge it if the party views it as a partisan gerrymander.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Startup news site ‘The Messenger’ shutters less than a year after its launch

February 2, 2024

The Messenger—a startup digital news website that launched in May 2023—is shutting down following reports that it was running out of money, an executive at the outlet who has been briefed on the matter told NBC News on Wednesday, January 31.

The Messenger’s website was a blank white screen with only the words, “The Messenger,” in black text with an email address by Wednesday evening. No articles, current or past, appeared there.

The Messenger launched nearly nine months ago with Jimmy Finkelstein—who previously owned The Hollywood Reporter and The Hill—at the helm. It promised to provide “thorough, objective, non-partisan, and timely news coverage” in a time of bias and misinformation.

An email that was sent to staff members signed by Finkelstein, which was seen by NBC News, said it was a “painfully hard decision” to shut down “effective immediately.”

“Over the past few weeks, literally until earlier today, we exhausted every option available and have endeavored to raise sufficient capital to reach profitability,” the email said. “Unfortunately, we have been unable to do so, which is why we haven’t shared the news with you until now.”

“This is truly the last thing I wanted and I am deeply sorry.”

The email included an attached “Frequently Asked Questions” document telling employees that there would be Laid-off employees would be no severance and that the last paycheck would be on January 31. Laid-off employees also would be eligible for COBRA health coverage beginning Thursday. no severance and that the last paycheck would be on January 31.

Jordan Hoffman, a film critic at The Messenger, wrote on X that the last message he saw before he was kicked out of the company Slack account was from a colleague wondering about health insurance coverage for a coming operation.

All I know is that, if I were to launch a media start-up, I’d be sure to rent an entire floor of a downtown Manhattan skyscraper that was 9/10ths empty all day … and then fail to tell my employees they were laid off until they read about it in The New York Times,” Hoffman wrote in another post.

Semafor reported this month that The Messenger‘s board was considering shutting down the website as the outlet was set to run out of money by the end of January. A spokesperson denied the claim to Semafor, saying additional funding had already been secured.

A day before staff members were informed that they were now without jobs, the New York Post reported that Finkelstein was working to secure deals to inject new revenue into The Messenger to keep the site going.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Supreme Court allows Border Patrol to remove razor wire that Texas installed at Mexico border

January 24, 2024

On Monday, January 22, a closely divided Supreme Court allowed Border Patrol agents to cut through or move razor wire that Texas previously had installed on the U.S.-Mexico border as part of the state’s effort to prevent illegal border crossings, reports NBC News.

The court, on a 5-4 vote, granted an emergency request filed by the Biden Administration, which had argued that Texas was preventing agents from carrying out their duties.

The brief order noted that four conservative members of the nine-justice court would have rejected the government’s request. They were Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, and Brett Kavanaugh.

The Biden Administration says the wire prevents agents from reaching migrants who have already crossed over the border into the United States.

Texas Governor Gregg Abbott (R), installed the razor wire near the Rio Grande at Eagle Pass as part of an operation to address illegal immigration that has brought the state into conflict with the Biden Administration.

A White House spokesperson on Monday said: “Texas’ political stunts, like placing razor wire near the border, simply make it harder and more dangerous for frontline personnel to do their jobs. Ultimately, we need adequate resources and policy changes to address our broken immigration system.”

Texas sued after Border Patrol agents cut through some of the razor wire—claiming the agents had trespassed and damaged state property.

A federal judge ruled for the Biden Administration, but the New Orleans-based Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last month reversed that decision, saying agents could not cut or move the wire unless there was a medical emergency.

Abbott’s immigration enforcement plan, called Operation Lone Star, includes busing thousands of migrants to Democratic-led cities and arresting migrants on trespassing charges. The state previously placed buoys in the Rio Grande to prevent crossings, prompting the Biden Administration to sue. The barrier remains in place while litigation continues.

Even while the Biden Administration’s application was pending at the Supreme Court, the standoff intensified.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton rebuffed a Biden Administration request that the state back off its takeover of a public park at Eagle Pass. That followed an incident in which three people drowned trying to cross the Rio Grande. The Department of Homeland Security said Border Patrol agents were “physically barred” from entering the area in responding to the incident.

“It is impossible to say what might have happened if Border Patrol had had its former access to the area—including through its surveillance trucks that assisted in monitoring the area,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in a court filing on behalf of the Biden Administration.

The Department of Homeland Security welcomed the high court’s order: “Enforcement of immigration law is a federal responsibility,” a DHS spokesperson said in a statement. “Rather than helping to reduce irregular migration, the State of Texas has only made it harder for frontline personnel to do their jobs and to apply consequences under the law.”

Paxton, in a statement posted to X, said that the Supreme Court’s order “allows Biden to continue his illegal effort to aid the foreign invasion of America.

“The destruction of Texas’s border barriers will not help enforce the law of keep American citizens safe,” he added. “This fight is not over, and I look forward to defending our state’s sovereignty.”

Research contact: @NBCNews

No Labels engages Chris Christie allies about a potential third-party run

January 15, 2024

No Labels—the political organization seeking to put together a bipartisan, third-party presidential ticket in 2024—has actively engaged with allies of Chris Christie about his potential interest in joining the group’s ticket, reports NBC News.

On Wednesday, January 10—just days before the Iowa caucuses—the former New Jersey governor made the stunning announcement that he would exit the race for the Republican presidential nomination despite having defiantly resisted suggestions to drop out.

Now, NBC News has learned that No Labels has made overtures to Christie through donors and allies, according to three sources familiar with the conversations. It is not clear if Christie has authorized any conversations to take place on his behalf.

These conversations all happened before Christie dropped out Wednesday, and some of them occurred in recent weeks, according to one of the sources.

Several Christie allies and donors who spoke to NBC News said they are skeptical that he would be interested in any offer to run as a third-party candidate.

Neither the governor nor anyone on the campaign has had conversations with No Labels,” Christie campaign manager Maria Comella said after he announced the suspension of his campaign. Asked if Christie would entertain the idea, Comella said she had not talked about it with him but added that Christie was clear in his speech that he was “not going away.”

A spokesperson for No Labels told NBC News that it is not speculating on potential candidates for the ticket and, instead, continues to focus on meeting the signature threshold requirements for ballot access in states across the country for that would-be ticket.

“We’re focused on ballot work, and we won’t be providing commentary on the respective candidates or primary results,” Maryanne Martini, the spokesperson for No Labels, said.

A source familiar with the engagement noted that Christie has widespread name recognition, a track record and has shown a willingness to take on former President Donald Trump.

“[No Labels will] have to have somebody who is not afraid to kick a little a–,” the person said.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Chris Christie drops out of the 2024 presidential race

January 12, 2024

Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced on Wednesday, January 10, that he is getting out of the 2024 presidential campaign—as his main competition for moderate votes in the New Hampshire primary, Nikki Haley, gains on Donald Trump in the state, reports NBC News.

“It’s clear to me tonight that there isn’t a path for me to win the nomination,” Christie told voters at an evening event. “Which is why I’m suspending my campaign for president of the United States.”

“I want to promise you this,” he continued. “I’m going to make sure that in no way do I enable Donald Trump to ever be president of the United States again. And that’s more important than my own personal ambition.”

Christie is not expected to make any endorsement now, said a source familiar with the campaign, who speculated that he may want to wait until after the Iowa caucuses on Monday, January 15, before he makes any announcement to amplify its effect.

A Christie fundraiser said she heard from Christie, himself, that he would be dropping out: “I am very saddened by this. I wanted him to stay in. He did not have discussions with Nikki about this,” the person said.

The decision removes the most high-profile and consistent critic of Trump still in the Republican primary campaign. Christie weathered boos and catcalls at GOP debates when he stuck to his message against the former president.

But Christie’s departure also may boost Haley, who has also selectively criticized Trump and who has been fighting for a similar group of moderate voters in New Hampshire. Haley and Christie have both overperformed among self-described independents in polls ahead of New Hampshire’s January 23 open primary.

Christie had been resisting calls to drop out and make room for Haley to grow her support further in recent days—arguing that she was damaging her candidacy by pandering to different audiences and by refusing to rule out becoming Trump’s running mate.

Christie was caught on a hot mic apparently talking about Haley before his event Wednesday evening, saying: “She’s going to get smoked—you and I both know it. She’s not up to this.” The Christie campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the remark.

It became clear that some anti-Trump Republican primary voters were having trouble sticking with Christie as Haley emerged as the main threat to Trump in New Hampshire.

“My heart wants to vote for Governor Christie, but my brain tells me to vote for Nikki Haley,” New Hampshire Republican Greg Leach, 49,  said Tuesday after having attended a Christie town hall. He said his decision is based on current polling numbers. He said he views Haley as being “within close striking distance of Trump.”

“I want to vote for Christie, but I feel like right now my vote would be wasted and, in a sense, a vote for Trump,” Leach said.

Christie focused most of the effort behind his take-on-Trump strategy in New Hampshire, figuring that more conservative Iowa would not be as receptive to his message among the early-voting states. He did not set foot in Iowa during his campaign.

On town hall stages and during debates, Christie repeatedly spoke out about why he believes it would be dangerous for Trump to be president again—and called out other candidates for not doing the same.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Appeals court judges are skeptical of Trump’s immunity appeal in election interference case

January 10, 2024

On Tuesday, January 9, federal appeals court judges questioned former President Donald Trump’s broad claim of immunity from prosecution for his efforts to overturn the 2020 election, which resulted in a chain of events that culminated in the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, reports NBC News.

The all-woman three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said nothing to suggest they would embrace Trump’s immunity argument, although they raised several options on how they could rule.

The court could issue a ruling that decisively resolves the immunity question, allowing the trial to move quickly forward, or alight on a more narrow ruling that could leave some issues unresolved. They also could simply rule that Trump had no right to bring an appeal at this stage of the litigation.

Trump arrived at the federal courthouse in Washington, D.C., a few minutes before oral arguments began at 9:30 a.m. and sat at his lawyers’ table. He was mostly muted during his lawyers’ presentation, but grew flustered at points when the prosecution’s lawyer was speaking. He could be seen passing notes to his lawyers on a yellow legal pad.

Special Counsel Jack Smith also was present at the hearing, which lasted for a little over an hour.

The case is one of four criminal prosecutions Trump faces as he fights on multiple legal fronts while remaining the presumptive front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination.

With Trump running for office again, whether the Washington trial originally scheduled for March can take place ahead of the election continues to hang in the balance. Smith has asked the court to move quickly—a bid to keep the trial on schedule.

The appeals court is hearing the case on an expedited schedule, so a ruling could come quickly, possibly in time to allow Trump’s trial to begin as scheduled.

Judge Florence Pan immediately peppered Trump’s lawyer with hypothetical situations in which, under Trump’s theory, presidents could not be prosecuted.

Could a president, she asked, be prosecuted for selling pardons or military secrets, or by ordering the assassination of a political opponent?

“I understand your position to be that a president is immune from criminal prosecution for any official act that he takes as president even if that action is taken for an unlawful or unconstitutional purpose, is that correct?” Pan said.

Trump’s lawyer, D. John Sauer responded that such a prosecution can only take place if the president is impeached and convicted by the Senate first.

The position taken by prosecutors “would authorize for example, the indictment of President Biden in the Western District of Texas after he leaves office for mismanaging the border allegedly,” Sauer added.

Judge Karen Henderson cited another part of the Constitution—a provision that outlines that the president has a duty to ensure that laws are faithfully executed.

“I think it’s paradoxical to say that his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed allows him to violate criminal law,” she said.

Later in the argument, Henderson expressed concern that a ruling saying the president does not have immunity would lead to politically-driven prosecutions of future presidents.

“How do we write an opinion that would stop the flood gates?’ she said.

The Justice Department has previously acknowledged that “criminal liability would be unavoidably political,” she added.

The Trump investigation “doesn’t reflect that we are going to see a sea change of vindictive tit for tat prosecutions in the future,” said James Pearce, the lawyer arguing on behalf of Smith.

“Never before have there been allegations that a sitting president has with private individuals and using the levers of power sought to fundamentally subvert the Democratic Republic and the electoral system,” he added.

Trump on Monday suggested that if the court does not rule in his favor and he wins the presidential election, he would have President Joe Biden indicted.

Whatever happens, the losing party is likely to immediately appeal to the Supreme Court. The justices would then face a decision on whether to take up the case and issue their own ruling, potentially also on a fast-tracked basis.

Trump’s appeal arises from the four-count indictment in Washington including charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and conspiracy to obstruct an official proceeding. Trump has pleaded not guilty.

U.S. District Court Judge Tanya Chutkan in December denied Trump’s attempt to dismiss the indictment on presidential immunity and other constitutional grounds. The case is on hold while the appeals process plays out.

Research contact: @NBCNews

FDA to allow Florida to import prescription drugs in bulk from Canada

January 8, 2024

The Food and Drug Administration said on Friday, January 8, that it will allow Florida to buy prescription drugs directly from wholesalers in Canada—a move that is intended to lower the cost of prescription drugs for residents in the state, reports NBC News.

Prescription drugs are often much cheaper outside the United States, and some states—including Florida, Vermont and Colorado—have urged the federal government to allow them to import drugs from other countries.

The FDA already permits individuals to buy prescription drugs from Canada under certain circumstances.

The push to allow states to do so has been in the works for years. In 2019, the Trump Administration announced preliminary plans to import drugs from Canada, asking states to come up with proposals on how to do so safely. In 2021, President Joe Biden issued an executive order directing the agencies to work with states on the importation plans.

The FDA’s new policy will allow Florida to purchase prescription drugs in bulk. The medications will be made available to its residents through various state-run health care programs, such as Medicaid.

Meredith Freed, a senior policy analyst with KFF’s Program on Medicare Policy, said it’s unclear when Florida will begin importing the drugs.

Florida must meet certain requirements, such as testing the drugs to ensure they are not counterfeit and relabeling the drugs to be consistent with FDA-approved labeling, Freed said.

The state will also be required to submit a quarterly report to the FDA that includes information about the imported drugs, cost savings, and any potential safety and quality issues under the new policy, according to the agency.

The plan is only authorized for two years from the date the agency is told about the first drug importation shipment, according to the FDA. The agency has the authority to extend the authorization for an additional two years at a time.

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration has previously estimated that Canadian drug imports will save the state $150 million annually if enacted.

Stephen Ubl, the president and CEO of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the drug industry’s trade group, called the FDA’s decision “reckless.”

“Ensuring patients have access to needed medicines is critical, but the importation of unapproved medicines, whether from Canada or elsewhere in the world, poses a serious danger to public health,” said Ubl, who has previously issued statements opposing the importation plan. (To be eligible for importation, the FDA has said that the prescription drugs must be approved by regulatory authorities in Canada.)

Friday’s move comes as the federal government continues to negotiate with major drug companies on the cost of the ten costliest drugs in the United States as part of a provision in the Inflation Reduction Act. The negotiated prices won’t go into effect until 2026.

An analysis published Thursday from the Commonwealth Fund, a research group that studies health care issues, found that the U.S. prices for the ten drugs were three to eight times higher compared to other countries of similar size and wealth.

Research contact: @NBCNews

Pink Stanley Quencher Starbucks cup release sparks mayhem at Target stores

January 6, 2024

The release of a limited-edition pink version of the viral 40-ounce Stanley Quencher drinking cup designed with Starbucks led to chaos at multiple Target locations nationwide on Wednesday, January 3, reports NBC News.

Social media clips show customers in a frenzy as they tried to snatch up the products, which were released as part of the rollout of Starbucks’ new winter menu. The cups retail for $49.95 and were being sold exclusively from Starbucks stores at Target locations.

A Starbucks spokesperson said in an email that there had been an “enthusiastic” response to the product—and that they will not be restocked once they’re sold out.

A spokesperson for the privately owned Stanley did not respond to a request for comment.

Stanley Quenchers have soared in popularity in recent years, thanks to a total rethink of the product, which was first released in 2016. In particular, the appointment of Terence Riley, who helped lead the revival of footwear maker Crocs, as Stanley president in 2020 led to the company deciding to release Quenchers in new color palettes geared toward women.

That made them especially popular among Instagram users, resulting in supercharged sales. According to figures shared with CNBC, Stanley’s annual sales for 2023 are projected to top $750 million.

Research contact: @NBCNews