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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

    With the announcement by former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday morning that he was joining the Democratic race for the White House, there are now twenty major candidates in the Democratic primary - a roster which could still grow in the weeks ahead - as the field is already larger than the 17 candidates Republicans put forward to start the 2016 campaign. 'If the total hits 31, the party can open a Baskin-Robbins and name a flavor for each candidate,' joked political expert Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia on Twitter. 'You can’t fit all the Democratic primary candidates in one tweet,' mused GOP political strategist Frank Luntz. Like the GOP four years ago, the Democratic Party must grapple with how best to hold debates - in 2016, Republicans at times divided the GOP field into two different sessions on the same night. Democrats will do it differently, holding two nights of debates in order to deal with the crowded field. The first debate will take place on June 26 and June 27 in Miami, hosted by NBC News. A second debate will be held in Detroit on July 30-31, run by CNN. In order to qualify for the debate stage in Miami, the Democratic candidates have two options - either register above one percent in certain polls selected by the Democratic National Committee, or raise money from at least 65,000 different people spread over at least 20 states. Some candidates, like Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), and former HUD Secretary Julian Castro have been struggling to reach the 65,000 mark. Looking back four years ago at how Republicans handled such an unwieldy field, it's more than likely that some of the Democrats now in the race will be winnowed out before the first votes are cast in the Iowa Caucuses, set for Monday February 3, 2020 - that's just nine months from next Friday. The New Hampshire Primary follows the next week on Tuesday February 11, 2020. Get used to it - the next election for President is not really very far away.
  • Directly challenging the findings of the Mueller Report and the testimony of a former top aide, President Donald Trump on Thursday flatly denied that he ordered ex-White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller in 2017, just weeks after Mueller had been appointed to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections. 'As has been incorrectly reported by the Fake News Media, I never told then White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire Robert Mueller,' President Trump wrote on Twitter. The President's comments on Thursday were part of another series of social media volleys against the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, as Mr. Trump again proclaimed his exoneration by the Mueller Report, while at the same time disputing some of the evidence and conclusions. On Twitter, the President said, 'the end result was No Collusion, No Obstruction.' But the details of the Mueller Report paint a starkly different picture on the question of whether the President sought to fire Special Counsel Mueller, as Mr. Trump's claims run directly counter to the testimony of McGahn and other aides and advisers. McGahn, who reportedly spoke with investigators for 30 hours about the Russia investigation, testified that the President called him on June 17, 2017 - about a month after Mueller had been named as Special Counsel - and pressed for Mueller to be ousted, an order that McGahn repeatedly ignored. 'McGahn recalled the President telling him 'Mueller has to go' and 'Call me back when you do it,'' the Mueller report described on page 300. 'McGahn is a credible witness with no motive to lie or exaggerate given the position he held in the White House,' Mueller concluded, saying there was 'substantial evidence' that President Trump 'in fact directed McGahn to call (Rod) Rosenstein to have the Special Counsel removed.' The Mueller Report also says that after news reports surfaced in 2018 that the President had ordered the firing of Mueller, McGahn was asked to publicly dispute those reports - and McGahn refused. 'McGahn told (White House aide Rob) Porter that the President had been insistent on firing the Special Counsel,' as McGahn testified that he told Porter the media reports were true. McGahn testified that President Trump had talked of  'knocking out Mueller' as early as a May 23, 2017 telephone call, just days after Mueller had been named as the Special Counsel. The report says the President discussed firing Mueller with a number of people - not just McGahn - including former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, as well as White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and top aide Steve Bannon. 'You gotta do this,' McGahn quoted the President as saying, as footnotes in the Mueller Report refer not only to McGahn's own notes and phone logs, but also calls listed in the 'President's Daily Diary.' The President's tweets came as the White House is reportedly raising objections to possible testimony before Congress by McGahn - the House Judiciary Committee has already sent McGahn a subpoena for a May 21 appearance. Democrats said the basic question is simple - either McGahn or the President is telling the truth - but not both of them. 'Trump now claims that White House Counsel Don McGahn lied under oath to the Special Counsel,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), as Democrats immediately questioned the President's claim about McGahn. 'And if you aren't lying, then why are you preventing Don McGahn from testifying?' tweeted Rep. Ted Lieu (D-VA).
  • As President Donald Trump on Wednesday once more called for Congress to change America's laws dealing with illegal immigration, threatening again to close part of the Mexican border, and vowing to send more armed soldiers to help stop illegal immigrants trying to enter the United States, there was no evidence that Republicans in the Senate - or Democrats in the House - were ready to launch any legislative drive to help deal with the tide of migrants. In a speech at an opioids conference in Atlanta on Tuesday, the President again appealed for action to change what he said were 'horrible, obsolete, weak, pathetic, immigration laws.' 'And that's why I've declared a national emergency, which is exactly what it is,' Mr. Trump added. 'Our facilities are at full capacity,' Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan said earlier this week, as he echoed the President's call for lawmakers to help deal with those coming across the border illegally. 'Congress must act with additional authorities, resources & tools in order to accomplish our humanitarian & security mission,' the new DHS chief tweeted. Earlier this week, the President's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, said he was putting the final touches on an immigration package to be presented to his father in coming days. But there was no indication of whether that plan would be presented to Congress for action, of it would serve as only a partial guide for lawmakers on the politically sensitive subject. “We desperately need some immigration legislation,' Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Fox News earlier this month.  'It is finally time for us to step up and not only solve the crisis at the border, but do some changes to immigration laws that are sensible,' the Kentucky Republican added, saying it's time to end 'years of gridlock' on immigration matters. At this point though in the halls of the Congress, there is no indication that lawmakers will be voting on any immigration plan anytime soon. For obvious reasons, Democrats aren't interested in taking the lead for the President on immigration legislation, pointing back to early 2018, when a bipartisan Senate group seemingly reached an immigration deal which was acceptable to President Trump - only to watch him quickly tack away. 'The President put forth his criteria. He had the Senate Republicans and Democrats come together, proposed something to him and then he walked away from it,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Back in February 2018, the President's preferred immigration plan garnered only 39 votes, with 13 GOP Senators refusing to support Mr. Trump's nearly $100 billion package. That plan featured money to build a border wall, an end to chain migration, stopping a visa lottery, and a number of other immigration law changes desired by the President. But it won the votes of only three Democrats, mainly because it did not do enough to help younger illegal immigrant 'Dreamers' in the country under the DACA program. The House and Senate are currently out on a two week break for Easter; immigration legislation is not on the agenda in either legislative body at this point.
  • Aggravated by the efforts of House Democrats to continue to ask questions about the Russia investigation, President Donald Trump on Wednesday said his administration would not cooperate with those hearings in Congress, as Mr. Trump said a subpoena for testimony by his former White House Counsel was 'ridiculous,' calling on Democrats to move past Russia and on to domestic issues. 'We're fighting all the subpoenas,' the President said, casting the investigative efforts in Congress about Russia and the Mueller Report as nothing more than a political gambit by Democrats to damage his re-election chances. 'Look, these aren't impartial people,' he told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House. 'The Democrats are trying to win 2020.' Before leaving for events in Atlanta, the President again complained that Democrats were still focusing on the Russia probe, even after the release of a redacted version of the Mueller Report. 'I thought after two years, we would be finished with it,' Mr. Trump added, again declaring that the Mueller investigation found nothing. 'No collusion, no obstruction,' he said. Mr. Trump's comments came after a blitz of posts on Twitter Tuesday morning in which he denounced efforts by Democrats to further investigate Russian interference in the 2016 elections, again arguing that only Democrats deserved scrutiny. The President's Wednesday comments echoed remarks he made in an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday night, in which he said his administration won't help Democrats with what he charged were 'partisan' hearings. On Tuesday, a former White House official defied a subpoena from a House committee to testify about security clearances granted to the President's son-in-law and other officials - despite red flags in their background checks. Tuesday also brought a second missed deadline to turn over seven years of Mr. Trump's tax returns, as the Secretary of Treasury said a final decision on the request would be made by May 6. “The president just made it clear that he is trying to stifle our investigation into his prior conduct,” said Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). Several hours after President Trump said he would be fighting 'all the subpoenas,' more evidence of that surfaced, as Democrats said a top Justice Department official had been ordered not to show up for a scheduled bipartisan deposition on Thursday before a House panel. “Both President Trump and Attorney General Barr are now openly ordering federal employees to ignore congressional subpoenas and simply not show up,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), the head of the House Oversight Committee. In this case, Principal Deputy Attorney General John Gore was slated to come in for questions concerning the controversy over adding a citizenship question to the 2020 Census - an issue which has nothing to do with the Russia investigation. “The subpoena that was issued to Mr. Gore was adopted by our Committee on a bipartisan basis,” Cummings said in a written statement.  “Neither the White House nor the Department of Justice has asserted any privilege that would relieve Mr. Gore of his legal duty to comply.” Republicans argued Democrats were making something out of nothing. “Chairman Cummings is trying to insert the Committee into ongoing litigation,” said a GOP spokesman for the Oversight Committee, noting Gore had already appeared twice before the panel.  Still, it would be the second time this week that a Trump Administration official had ignored a subpoena - on Tuesday, a former White House security official who now works at the Pentagon, refused to honor a subpoena for testimony on questions about security clearance approvals for senior White House officials.
  • A growing investigative dispute between Democrats in Congress and President Donald Trump deepened on several fronts Tuesday, with the Trump Administration questioning the basic ability of Congress to conduct oversight of the Executive Branch, as one former security aide defied a subpoena for Congressional testimony from a House committee, and the President made clear he's had enough of Democrats seeking more information about the Russia investigation. 'Article I grants Congress no express power to investigate,' said Secretary Steven Mnuchin in a letter to the House Ways and Means Committee, in which for a second time this month, the Trump Administration refused to turn over the President's tax returns, requested by Democrats under a specific section of the Internal Revenue Code. Meanwhile, a former security clearance official at the White House, Carl Kline, refused to show up for questions from the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday morning, as Democrats said the White House had ordered Kline - now working at the Pentagon - not to cooperate with a probe of why certain officials were given security clearances, after initially being rejected. Kline's refusal to testify drew a sharp rebuke from Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who said his panel was getting nowhere with the White House on a number of investigations, as the Trump Administration game plan seemed to evolving into one in which all subpoenas and requests for information are challenged or parried. 'To date, the White House has refused to produce a single piece of paper or a single witness in any of the Committee’s investigations this entire year,' Cummings said, threatening to hold Kline in contempt. As if those battles weren't enough, President Trump himself made clear in an interview with the Washington Post on Tuesday that he doesn't want to see his aides testifying on Capitol Hill in contentious hearings, especially about he Russia investigation. That came amid questions over how the White House might try to block testimony by former White House Counsel Donald McGahn, who has been served with a subpoena to testify before the House Judiciary Committee about his comments in the Mueller Report. 'There is a reason Trump was okay letting McGahn speak to Mueller but is doing everything to block him from testifying in front of Congress,' said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) of the President. 'He understands the power of television.'  Democrats made clear they had no intentions of backing away from additional hearings about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. 'The Mueller report includes the results of the criminal probe, but not the findings of the counterintelligence investigation,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), who chairs the House Intelligence Committee. Staying away from television cameras on Tuesday, the President took to Twitter to jab at Democrats over their push to hold more hearings to explore questions in the 448 page Mueller Report. 'You mean the Stock Market hit an all-time record high today and they’re actually talking impeachment!?' the President tweeted, adding his summary: 'NO COLLUSION.
  • For the second time this month, the Trump Administration and the Internal Revenue Service did not comply with a deadline set by Democrats in Congress to turn over seven years of President Donald Trump's personal and business tax returns, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin now says a final decision will be given to Congress by May 6, ignoring a Tuesday 5 pm deadline set by Democrats in Congress. 'Due to the serious constitutional questions raised by this request and the serious consequences that a resolution of those questions could have for taxpayer privacy,' Mnuchin wrote, as he added that he expects to give Congress 'a final decision by May 6, after receiving the Justice Department's legal conclusions.' It was the second time that the Treasury Secretary had asked for more time from Democrats, as Mnuchin again labeled the request for President Trump's tax returns 'unprecedented.' The ten page letter certainly gave off the feeling that Mnuchin was in no mood to ship the President's tax returns to Democrats in the House, as the Secretary directly questioned whether lawmakers should have the power to see Mr. Trump's tax returns. 'Congress's investigative power is not unlimited,' Mnuchin wrote in a section he titled, 'Constitutional Limits.' 'Article I grants Congress no express power to investigate.' Well before the 5 pm EDT deadline, White House officials had made clear that the President would not force the IRS to comply with the request from Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee. 'The President is pretty clear - once he's out of audit, he'll think about doing it,' said White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley during an appearance on Fox News, as Gidley denounced the Democratic push for Mr. Trump's tax returns as 'ridiculous tactics.' 'Everyone knows he's a very successful billionaire,' Gidley added. Earlier this month, Secretary Mnuchin said more time was needed to evaluate the request, without specifically rejecting the demand for the President's tax information under Section 6103(f) of the Internal Revenue Code. Democrats argued there was no issue about what should be done. 'They do not have a choice,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who said the language under §6103(f) is clear.  'The President is not above the law, and the law is clear that once requested his returns must be furnished,' Beyer said. But the contention by the President and White House officials that Mr. Trump cannot release his tax returns until an audit is completed was knocked down multiple times by the IRS Commissioner in recent testimony before Congress. At this point, it seems the only route for this dispute is in the courts over the following section on the tax code: 'Upon written request from the chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives, the chairman of the Committee on Finance of the Senate, or the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation, the Secretary shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure,' §6103(f) states.
  • The Chairman of the House Oversight Committee threatened Tuesday to hold the former head of personnel security at the White House in contempt of Congress, after Carl Kline refused to honor a subpoena for his testimony on Capitol Hill, as Democrats press to find out why Kline approved a top secret clearance for the President's son-in-law, despite security questions raised by a whistle blower. 'The White House and Mr. Kline now stand in open defiance of a duly authorized congressional subpoena with no assertion of any privilege of any kind by President Trump,' said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) in a statement.  'Based on these actions, it appears that the President believes that the Constitution does not apply to his White House,' Cummings added. Kline - who now works at the Pentagon - was scheduled for a 9 am deposition behind closed doors, but his attorney made clear that Kline would not appear. Democrats want testimony from Kline to explore the accusations of Tricia Newbold, a whistle blower from inside the White House, who accused supervisors of allowing top security clearances to go to Jared Kushner and others, even though they had been rejected because of red flags found in background checks. In testimony to the Oversight Committee, which was released on April 1, Newbold told investigators she was going public because of her concerns that the security clearance process had become politicized inside the Trump White House. “I want it known that this is a systematic, it’s an office issue, and we’re not a political office, but these decisions were being continuously overrode,” Newbold told Democrats on the Oversight Committee. Newbold also claims that Kline retaliated against her for raising concerns about why certain security clearance objections had been overruled during the Trump Administration. Even if Democrats were to find Kline in contempt of Congress, it would not guarantee any punishment, as the Justice Department is not required to prosecute such cases. But the dispute is emblematic of the broader tussle involving Democrats the Trump White House. 'To date, the White House has refused to produce a single piece of paper or a single witness in any of the Committee’s investigations this entire year,' Rep. Cummings complained.
  • Monday brought yet another annual warning from the trustees in charge of America's major government retirement programs that action is needed by Congress to alter the financial trajectory of Social Security and Medicare, otherwise those programs will face a financial shortfall which could require dramatic cuts in benefits in the future. 'Medicare still faces a substantial financial shortfall that will need to be addressed with further legislation,' the Medicare trustees wrote in their annual report. 'The Trustees recommend that lawmakers address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely way in order to phase in necessary changes,' the Social Security report states. The bottom line is not new - neither Medicare nor Social Security has enough money to indefinitely keep paying current benefits to the millions of Americans who use those two programs. 'Social Security will pay out more than it takes in next year and every year going forward,' said Michael Peterson, head of the Peterson Foundation, a federal budget watchdog group. 'That’s the definition of unsustainable.' 'Medicare will go insolvent in 2026, Social Security in 2035,' said Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX). 'Refusing to address this will cause automatic cuts to these programs.' If Social Security were to reach that point of insolvency - and Congress did nothing about it - then the latest estimate is that benefits would be paid out at only 77 percent, a 23 percent reduction. Medicare and Social Security are not dealt with on a yearly basis by the Congress in terms of the budget - as they are on automatic pilot, unless lawmakers proactively take action to change the amount paid out in benefits, or brought in from revenues. 'Implementing changes sooner rather than later would allow more generations to share in the needed revenue increases or reductions in scheduled benefits,' the Social Security report noted. Like many fiscal situations within the federal budget, there are three fairly basic ways to deal with Medicare and Social Security: 1) Reduce the amount spent by the programs in terms of benefits. 2) Increase the amount of tax revenues brought in for the programs. 3) A combination of 1) and 2). One option which has drawn some attention in recent years on the Social Security side is forcing more wealthy income earners to pay a larger share of payroll taxes into the system, in order to help bring in more revenues. Currently, the Social Security payroll tax ends once an individual earns $132,9000 in 2019 - that amount is indexed, and creeps up each year. One plan would have it phase out at the current level, and then kick back in at a higher level of income, like $500,000 or $1 million, in order to bring in more revenues.. But votes on matters like expanding the payroll tax to bring in more resources to pay benefits - or raising the retirement age, slowing the yearly increase in Social Security benefits, or making some Medicare recipients pay more for health care - those type of proposals are considered politically toxic by many, too easily demagogued by both parties. “This report highlights the need for serious-minded legislators to partner with the Administration on commonsense, bipartisan reforms that will lower costs and eliminate fraud and abuse, preserving the program for future generations,” the White House said in a statement. But while politicians on all sides say the right things, there has not been a serious legislative effort on the matter in years. 'Why wait to until drastic changes are needed to avert insolvency in these programs?' asked Shai Akabas of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. 'The time for action is now.
  • President Donald Trump on Monday said he would not go ahead with his plan to nominate former GOP Presidential candidate Herman Cain for the Federal Reserve Board, saying the former pizza executive and talk radio show host had asked not to be officially nominated. 'My friend Herman Cain, a truly wonderful man, has asked me not to nominate him for a seat on the Federal Reserve Board,' Mr. Trump said in a lunch time tweet. 'I will respect his wishes.' Cain's choice for the Federal Reserve Board had already run into trouble from Republicans in the Senate, who were less than impressed with the choice. Four GOP Senators had already indicated they would vote against Cain, which would have been enough to sink his selection. In the end, President Trump never made that nomination official. Democrats in Congress said the choice of Cain deserved to be stopped before it was made, as they quickly took aim at Stephen Moore, who has also been under consideration for a spot on the Federal Reserve Board. 'Now do Stephen Moore,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). 'Herman Cain is not qualified to serve on the @federalreserve,' tweeted Rep. Jennifer Wexton. However, neither is his other nominee, Stephen Moore, and his nomination should also be withdrawn. Earlier this month, GOP Senators had reacted warily when President Trump said he would nominate Cain. “I doubt that will be a nomination,” said Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who was proven correct.
  • As reporters, politicians, legal experts, and members of both political parties spent the weekend going over the impact of the 448 page redacted version of the Mueller Report, it was obvious from the political and legal reactions that the fight over what Russia did in the 2016 elections - and how the Trump Campaign and President Donald Trump dealt with that - was not going to be ending anytime soon. 'There’s nothing wrong with taking information from Russians,” President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani told CNN's 'State of the Union' on Sunday, as Republicans continue to press the case that the Mueller Report absolves the President of any and all wrongdoing. 'We need to go back and look at how this fake “Russia Collusion” narrative started,' said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), as Republicans looked to move on from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and to focus on investigating the investigators. Meanwhile, Democrats were mulling over their own options, which certainly seem to include more hearings in Congress on what was revealed by the Mueller Report, tugging the story in the exact opposite direction. Democrats pointed to comments from Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), who said the Mueller Report showed a 'pervasiveness of dishonesty' inside the Trump White House. Here's some things which may get some attention in the weeks and months ahead: 1. GOP still wants answers on the Steele Dossier. If you were looking for the Special Counsel's office to detail how the Steele Dossier had factored into the Russia investigation, there was precious little in the Mueller Report. The dossier was directly mentioned 14 times, but there was no mention of it contributing anything directly to the findings of the report. The Special Counsel report says nothing about the dossier as the reason for starting a counter-intelligence investigation, instead making clear that it was information from Trump Campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos which was the genesis. 'On July 31, 2016, based on the foreign government rep01ting, the FBI opened an investigation into potential coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign,' the report states on page 14. But the Mueller Report does not address one key question - was the Steele Dossier just another effort by Moscow to disrupt the 2016 elections? This is where Republicans say they want answers - they can hold hearings in the U.S. Senate, if they wish. 2. Michael Cohen again demands retraction over Prague story. One item in the Steele Dossier which has often caused a media furor is over the assertion that President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen went to the Czech Republic on some sort of mission for the President during the 2016 campaign. Cohen has always denied it, and repeated that in testimony before Congress earlier this year. 'Have you ever been to Prague?' Cohen was asked. 'I've never been to Prague,' Cohen responded without missing a beat. 'I've never been to the Czech Republic.' The Mueller Report was clear that Cohen was believed over Steele. 'Cohen had never traveled to Prague and was not concerned about those allegations, which he believed were provably false,' the report says on page 351. On Friday, Cohen again said he was still waiting for a retraction by McClatchy Newspapers. 3. Why did Donald Trump Jr. not answer questions from Mueller? While President Trump's son has steadfastly defended his father throughout the Mueller investigation, and testified to the Congress about the Russia probe, the Special Counsel report notes that Trump Jr. did not directly aid the Mueller investigation, specifically on the infamous Trump Tower meeting. 'The Office spoke to every participant except Veselnitskaya (a Russian lawyer) and Trump, Jr., the latter of whom declined to be interviewed by the Office' - then, the next two sentences are redacted, with the explanation on page 125 that grand jury information is responsible for the redacation. In a later discussion of how President Trump handled publicity about the Trump Tower meeting, there is a redaction which involves Trump Jr. on grand jury grounds - does it indicate again that Trump Jr. did not answer questions? It's not clear because of the blacked out material - but the President's son never seemingly answered questions from Mueller's team or a federal grand jury. 4. A Trump tweet that was redacted in the Mueller Report. This seems sort of crazy, but it's true. On page 363 of the report, Mueller discusses President Trump denouncing Michael Cohen, when his former personal attorney had moved to plead guilty and cooperate with the feds. 'He lied for this outcome and should, in my opinion serve a full and complete sentence,' the President tweeted. Then there is a section which is blacked out under, 'Harm to Ongoing Matter.' But if you look at the footnote, it refers to a tweet by Mr. Trump, at 10:48 am on December 3, 2018. It's not hard to figure out which tweet that was, as it was one in which the President talks about Roger Stone not flipping and cooperating with the feds. I'm not a lawyer, so it makes no sense to me that printing that tweet could interfere with an ongoing case, but that's one of the redactions made by the Justice Department. 5. When will Robert Mueller talk in public? Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have already sent a letter to Special Counsel Robert Mueller asking him to testify before Congress on his report. Last week, the Attorney General said he would have no opposition to Mueller testifying. Mueller operated in a much different way than previous high-profile independent prosecutors - go back to Watergate and you will see news conferences by Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski; Ken Starr spoke to the press during the Whitewater investigation. But Robert Mueller has been totally silent, ignoring questions on his few visits to Capitol Hill, doing no interviews and saying nothing in public. An effort to get some remarks from him on Sunday after church netted only a 'no comment' - which is pretty much the most we have heard from Mueller during his almost 22 months as Special Counsel.

The Latest News Headlines

  • With the seventh pick of the 2019 NFL draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars have selected linebacker Josh Allen, from the University of Kentucky. The Jags are labeling him as a Defensive End. Team leadership says they didn’t think Allen was going to drop low enough to be available to them, and he was too good to pass up. Allen says he knows he will be that player they expect. Allen says when he got the call tonight from Jacksonville, he was excited. He joked that he had to contain that in the moment, but only because he was holding his 1-year-old son who was watching a movie at the time. Asked about what excites him about the Jags specifically, Allen says it’s clear. “They go after the quarterback. That’s all I need to hear,” he says. He says he loves to sack. During Allen’s four years at Kentucky, he did not miss a game and started 35 of the 51 he played in. During that college career, he totaled 224 tackles, 41 tackles for a loss, 31.5 sacks, and 11 forced fumbles, according to the Jags. In 2018, he was awarded both SEC Defensive Player of the Year and as the recipient of the Bronko Nagurski Award, which recognizes the nation’s top defensive player. Allen says he’s ready to work and prove himself to his peers, especially players like Jalen Ramsey who he admired through his college career. He says he thinks he can help make something special in Jacksonville. The team goes in to the draft having already addressed in the off-season what was arguably their biggest need- a quarterback. They acquired Nick Foles as a free agent, signing him to a four-year deal. Just hours before the draft today they continued to boost defense as well, by exercising the fifth-year option on Ramsey. Allen is now another weapon they’re adding to defense. 2019 NFL DRAFT: Where and when to watch The Jags have seven picks in this draft, including two selections in the third round.  Let us know if you like the pick from the Jags, and what else you want to see them do in the draft by downloading the free News 104.5 app and recording yourself in the “Open Mic” feature! Allen’s new teammates have been quick to voice their support:
  • There's a new incentive to turn people in who are committing crimes against children in Northeast Florida. First Coast Crime Stoppers and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office rolled out a plan today that could mean an extra $1,000 reward depending on the crime and how it involves children. That money is on top of the $3,000 reward money for crimes that don't involve children.  'The board will decide how much we give extra based on the severity of the crime,' says Wyllie Hodges, executive director at First Coast Crime Stoppers.  He says the new concept goes into effect today because April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, but the extra reward money will be offered permanently.  Hodges says anyone who calls his organization remains completely anonymous, which is important because many crimes against children are committed by someone in the family or home.  'You could easily tell on something going on in your own household without anyone ever knowing who made the complaint or who made the accusation,' Hodges says.  He says he's personally noticed more crimes committed on children in recent years. The reward money is for anything involving victims up to 17 years old, and it's for crimes of all kinds.  Call 866-845-TIPS (8477) or go to www.FCCrimestoppers.com to report a crime. You can also use the P3 Tips app.
  • Nine explosions hit multiple churches, hotels and other locations in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people and injuring hundreds more, according to The Associated Press and other media outlets. >> Read more trending news  The victims included at least four Americans, State Department officials said Monday. Here are the latest updates:  Update 6 p.m. EDT April 25: Sri Lanka lowered the death toll from the Easter suicide bombings by nearly one-third, to 253, as authorities hunted urgently for a least five more suspects and braced for the possibility of more attacks in the coming days. In rolling back the number of dead from 359, a top Health Ministry official, Dr. Anil Jasinghe, said in a statement that the blasts had damaged some bodies beyond recognition, making accurate identification difficult. Update 7:20 a.m. EDT April 24: Sri Lanka officials said 60 people have been arrested in connection with Sunday’s bombings, according to The Associated Press. A police spokesman said nine suicide bombers carried out the attacks, apparently contradicting government officials’ previous statement that seven bombers were involved, the AP reported. Ruwan Wijewardene, Sri Lanka’s junior defense minister, described the attackers as educated people from upper- and middle-class households,  the AP reported. Although authorities previously said the terror group National Towheed Jamaar was behind the attacks, Wijewardene said Wednesday that the perpetrators had split off from that group and another one called JMI, the AP reported. He did not say what the acronym stands for.  Wijewardene also amended his earlier statement that the bombings were in retaliation for the deadly mass shootings at New Zealand mosques last month, saying Wednesday that the Christchurch attacks may have been a motivation but no evidence has confirmed the link, the AP reported. Read more here. Update 11:30 p.m. EDT April 23: Police said the death toll in the Easter attacks has risen to 359 and more suspects have been arrested. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara also said Wednesday morning that 18 suspects were arrested overnight, raising the total detained to 58.  The prime minister warned on Tuesday that several suspects armed with explosives were still at large. Update 1 p.m. EDT April 23: Sunday’s bombings claimed the lives of 45 children, officials with the United Nation’s Children’s Fund said Tuesday in a statement. “Many children have lost one or both parents, and countless children have witnessed shocking and senseless violence,” UNICEF officials said. More than 320 people were killed and 500 injured in the bombings. Update 7:11 a.m. EDT April 23: The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the deadly Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, the Guardian and the Washington Post are reporting. The group, which has lost all the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria, has made a series of unsupported claims of responsibility. Update 5:55 a.m. EDT April 23: Sri Lankan officials said the death toll from Sunday’s bombings has risen to 321, the Guardian and the Washington Post reported Tuesday. The news came as Sri Lankan Defense Minister Ruwan Wijewardene said the attacks were “carried out in retaliation” for the deadly mosque shootings in New Zealand last month, according to The Associated Press. So far, at least 40 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks, authorities said. Meanwhile, the country observed a day of mourning, including a three-minute moment of silence Tuesday morning. Mass burials also were held in Negombo, the Guardian reported. Officials have declared a state of emergency in Sri Lanka, giving military officials “enhanced war-time powers,” the AP reported. Authorities also are facing criticism amid reports that a top police official sent a letter April 11 to four security agencies warning that terror group National Towheed Jamaar was planning suicide bombings at churches, the AP reported. Update 9:45 p.m. EDT April 22: Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, issued a statement in response to the bombings.  “Today as a nation we mourn the senseless loss of innocent lives this past Easter Sunday. I would like to thank the military and police forces, the medical personnel and all those who have worked bravely and tirelessly without concern for their own safety, to ensure the safety and security of our citizens. It is imperative  that we remain unified as Sri Lankans in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.” A three-minute moment of silence for the victims of the explosions will be held at 8:30 a.m. local time, according to BBC reporter Azzam Ameen. Update 8 p.m. EDT April 22: The two Australians who officials said had been killed in the explosions have been identified by a family member. Sudesh Kolonne told Australian Broadcasting Corp. his wife, Manik Suriaaratchi, and their 1-year-old daughter Alexendria were killed in an attack in Negombo, which is north of Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo. Kolonne said he was outside when the explosion happened. “I heard a huge noise and I jumped into the church and I saw that my wife and my daughter were on the floor,” he said. “I just saw my daughter on the floor and I tried to lift her up, (but) she was already dead. And (then) exactly the same… next my wife is there.” Kolonne said he and his family moved from Melbourne to Sri Lanka in 2014 when his wife started a consultancy business.  “I don’t know what to do,” he said. “We used to go to that church every Sunday. We never expected this.” Update 4:50 p.m. EDT April 22: A spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed to The AP that the agency is providing assistance with the investigation into the bombings. She would not provide specifics. Update 3:50 p.m. EDT April 22: In an email to parents, officials at Sidwell Friends, a private school in the Washington-area, confirmed one of their students was killed in Sunday’s bombings, The Washington Post reported. School officials identified the student as Kieran Shafritz de Zoysa, a fifth-grade boy who had been on leave in Sri Lanka for the last year, according to the Post. “Kieran was passionate about learning, he adored his friends, and he was incredibly excited about returning to Sidwell Friends this coming school year,” school officials said in the letter. “We are beyond sorry not to get the opportunity to welcome Kieran to the Middle School.” State Department officials said earlier Monday that at least four Americans were among the nearly 300 people killed in Sunday’s attacks. Officials with the English education management company Pearson confirmed that one of the company’s Denver-based employees had also been killed in the bombings. Update 3 p.m. EDT April 22: Officials with the U.S. State Department confirmed Monday that at least four Americans were among the nearly 300 people killed in Sunday’s bombings in Sri Lanka. The department said that in addition to those killed, several others were seriously injured. Officials gave no details about the identities of the victims, citing privacy concerns. Earlier Monday, officials with the English education management company Pearson confirmed that one of the company’s Denver-based employees had been killed in the bombings. Pearson CEO John Fallon said Dieter Kowalski died shortly after arriving at his hotel in Sri Lanka for a business trip. Update 2:10 p.m. EDT April 22: President Donald Trump said he spoke Monday to Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe after a series of bomb attacks in the country. In a tweet, Trump said he told Wickremesinghe “the United States stands by him and his country in the fight against terrorism.” “(I) also expressed condolences on behalf of myself and the People of the United States,” Trump wrote. Earlier Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed the government would provide “all possible assistance” to help in the investigation. Update 1:50 p.m. EDT April 22: Sri Lankan President Maithrpala Sirisena declared April 23 a national day of mourning in a statement obtained Monday by The Associated Press. In the statement, Sirisena said he planned to meet with foreign diplomats to seek international assistance. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier Monday that the U.S. would provide “all possible assistance” to help in the investigation. Officials said nearly 40 foreign tourists from 11 countries were killed in Sunday’s attacks on churches and hotels in Sri Lanka.  Update 11:20 a.m. EDT April 22: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday mourned the victims of Sunday’s bomb attacks in Sri Lanka and promised the government would provide “all possible assistance” to Americans and Sri Lankans alike. Related: Sri Lanka attacks: Who are the National Thowheed Jamath? “We urge that any evil-doers be brought to justice expeditiously and America is prepared to support that,” he Pompeo said. “We also stand with the millions of Sri Lankas who support the freedom of their fellow citizens to worship as they please.” Pompeo confirmed that Americans were among those killed in Sunday’s attack, though he didn’t specify the number of American victims. “It’s heartbreaking that a country which has strived so hard for peace in recent years has been targeted by these terrorists,” he said. Related: Sri Lanka attack: Danish billionaire loses three of his four children in bombings Update 9:50 am. EDT April 22: A Denver man has been identified as one of the nearly 300 people killed Sunday in bombings in Sri Lanka, his employer confirmed Monday. Dieter Kowalski worked as senior leader of the operation technical services team for Pearson, an education management company. Though the company is based in England, Kowalski worked in Pearson’s Denver office, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported.  “Colleagues who knew Dieter well talk about how much fun he was to be around, how big-hearted and full-spirited he was,” Pearson CEO John Fallon said in a statement shared with company employees and posted Monday on LinkedIn. “They tell of a man to whom we could give our ugliest and most challenging of engineering problems, knowing full well that he would jump straight in and help us figure it out. Dieter, they tell me, was never happier than cheer-leading for our customers and our company and inspiring people in the best way he knew how – by helping them to fix things and doing it with joy, happiness and grace.” Fallon said Kowalski died shortly after arriving at his hotel Sunday for a business trip. Update 7:55 a.m. EDT April 22: Three children of Anders Holch Povlsen, who owns Bestseller clothing, were killed in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. The 46-year-old Danish billionaire, who is also the largest shareholder in ASOS, and his family were on vacation in Sri Lanka, the AP reported. Authorities said 39 foreigners were among the 290 people killed in Sunday’s attacks.  Meanwhile, a vehicle parked near St. Anthony’s Shrine, one of the churches that was bombed Sunday, exploded Monday as police tried to defuse three bombs inside, according to the AP. At least 87 bomb detonators have been found in Colombo, officials said. Police have detained at least 24 suspects in connection with Sunday’s bombings. Update 5:15 a.m. EDT April 22:  Government officials said the National Thowheed, a Sri Lankan militant group, was responsible for Sunday’s deadly attacks, the Guardian is reporting. However, a government spokesman said an “international network” helped the attackers. Seven suicide bombers caused six of the nine explosions Sunday, a forensic analyst told The Associated Press. Authorities also said a second Chinese citizen and two Australian citizens were among those killed in Sunday’s attacks. So far, the dead include citizens of the United States, India, Britain, China, Australia, Japan and Portugal, the AP reported. Meanwhile, a Sri Lanka military official said crews defused a homemade pipe bomb discovered late Sunday on a road to the airport outside Colombo, the AP reported. Update 12:10 a.m. EDT April 22: The death toll in the bombings has increased to 290 and more than 500 people have been wounded, according to police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekara. Among those killed are five Indians, who were identified in tweets from India’s external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka, The AP reported. China and Portugal also said they lost citizens, and the U.S. said “several” Americans were also killed in the bombings. The AP reported Sri Lankan officials said they would examine reports that intelligence failed to heed or detect warnings of a possible suicide attack.  “Some intelligence officers were aware of this incidence,” Telecommunications Minister Harin Fernando said in a tweet, according to The AP. “Therefore there was a delay in action. Serious action needs to be taken as to why this warning was ignored.”  Update 9:50 p.m. EDT April 21: Japan has confirmed at least one citizen death and four injuries from the bombings. The country has issued a safety warning to Japanese people in the country, telling them to avoid mosques, churches and public places like clubs, malls and government offices, The AP reported. Foreign Minister Taro Kono expressed solidarity with Sri Lanka and sent his condolences to victims of the explosions. He also said Japan was committed to “combating terrorism.” Update 5:40 p.m. EDT April 21: The Associated Press reported that, according to internet censorship monitoring group NetBlocks, social media has been blocked across the country after the attacks. Most services, including YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook have been temporarily blacked out to curb false information spread, according to Sri Lankan officials. According to NetBlocks, such blackouts are usually ineffective. Related: Sri Lanka explosions: Sri Lanka shuts down social media in wake of Easter attacks “We are aware of the government’s statement regarding the temporary blocking of social media platforms,” Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, said in a statement to The AP. “People rely on our services to communicate with their loved ones and we are committed to maintaining our services and helping the community and the country during this tragic time.” Update 3:28 p.m. EDT April 21: Police have 13 suspects in custody, impounded a vehicle they believed was used by suspects and located a safe house used by the attackers.  Related: Photos: Easter Sunday blasts at Sri Lanka churches, hotels kill dozens No one has claimed responsibility for what Sri Lankan officials have described as a terrorist attack by religious extremists. Update 9:28 a.m. EDT April 21: Police have so far arrested three people in connection to the blasts, The Guardian reported. A motive for the bombings is still unclear, investigators said.  Update 8:46 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 207 people were killed and 450 hurt in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. Officials said eight blasts targeted three churches, three hotels, a guesthouse and an area near a Dematagoda overpass, the AP reported. Authorities reportedly have arrested seven people in connection with the incidents. Update 8:07 a.m. EDT April 21: Sri Lankan officials say at least 190 people, including at least 27 foreigners and two police officers, were killed in Sunday’s attacks, The Associated Press is reporting. Seven people have been arrested in connection with the eight explosions, which rocked at least three churches and three hotels, as well as a guesthouse, officials said. Update 7:35 a.m. EDT April 21: President Donald Trump tweeted condolences to the Sri Lankan people Sunday morning. “The United States offers heartfelt condolences to the great people of Sri Lanka,” Trump tweeted. “We stand ready to help!” Update 7:19 a.m. EDT April 21: Hours after explosions at Sri Lankan churches and hotels left dozens dead and hundreds more injured, Pope Francis prayed for the victims during his annual Easter message at the Vatican. Related: Sri Lanka explosions: Pope denounces attacks during Easter blessing “I wish to express my heartfelt closeness to the Christian community (of Sri Lanka), wounded as it was gathered in prayer, and to all the victims of such cruel violence,” Francis told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square, according to Vatican News. He later added: “I entrust to the Lord all those who have tragically perished, and I pray for the injured and all those who suffer as a result of this tragic event.” Every year after leading Easter Mass, the pope delivers an “Urbi et Orbi” (“to the city and the world”) message, which addresses global issues and conflicts. Update 5:32 a.m. EDT April 21: Two more blasts have been reported in Sri Lanka. A seventh explosion hit a hotel in Dehiwala, and an eighth blast was reported in the capital, Agence France-Presse is reporting. Update 4:20 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 156 people were killed in blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The dead include 35 foreigners, officials said. Update 3:34 a.m. EDT April 21: At least 137 people were killed in blasts at three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka, Agence France-Presse is reporting. The dead include 45 people in Colombo, 67 in Negombo and 25 in Batticaloa, officials said. At least nine of the people killed were foreigners, the news agency reported. More than 500 people were hurt in the explosions, according to The Associated Press. Original report:  Explosions hit three churches and three hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing dozens of people and injuring nearly 300 more, news outlets are reporting. According to The Associated Press, blasts occurred Sunday morning at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo and a church in Batticaloa. Explosions also rocked the Kingsbury, Cinnamon Grand and Shangri La hotels in Colombo, the BBC reported. The Agence France-Presse news agency said 52 people died in the blasts. At least 283 people were taken to the hospital, the AP reported. Suicide bombers may have caused at least two of the church blasts, a security official told the AP.  The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • Florida is on the verge of creating a new school voucher program that's a priority for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis after the Senate passed a bill Thursday expanding existing programs that allow students to go to private schools at taxpayer expense. The bill would create the 'Family Empowerment Scholarship' and make it available to lower-income families. The first year of the program would allow up to 18,000 students to switch from public to private schools at state expense. It would cost $130 million. It was hailed by Republicans who say it gives parents more options to educate their children. Senate Education Committee Chairman Manny Diaz said the bill will remove obstacles for parents trying to make sure their children get the best education possible. 'Every parent knows what's best for their individual child, and at no point should we turn over that responsibility to the government,' said Diaz, a Republican. The bill passed on a 23-17 vote with Republicans in favor and Democrats opposed. Democratic Sen. Bill Montford, a former Leon County school superintendent, said Florida built one of the most accountable school systems in the country under Republican Gov. Jeb Bush, and the bill would strip public schools of money and send students to schools that aren't held to the same standards. 'What are we doing?' Montford said. 'We're allowing them to take public funds to go to schools where the standards are not as high, or maybe don't have any standards. And worse than that, we don't even know what those standards are. Why are we supporting allowing parents to take their children to schools that don't fit the accountability system that we all are so proud of? Why are we doing that?' Republicans disputed that the program would hurt public schools, saying the bill also gives school districts money to recruit and retain teachers, as well as money targeted to help struggling schools provide tutorial programs and extended school days, among other things. 'Public schools are not going to go away simply because someone chooses another setting for their child,' Diaz said. 'This bill provides incredible flexibility for our public schools.' Florida already has other voucher programs, including a tax break for businesses that provide private school scholarships for poor students. Other programs provide vouchers for special-needs students, disabled students and students who are bullied. A similar education bill is awaiting a House vote.
  • National Teacher Appreciation Week is just around the corner, May 6-10, and many businesses have announced deals and freebies for the country’s educators. >> Read more trending news This year, companies are offering discounts up to 25 percent on such items as books, supplies, apparel and car rentals. Note: Some of the deals listed may not be available at all locations. Check with local retailers. Also, deals require that you verify you are an educator or, in some cases, a retired educator. Teacher Appreciation Day restaurant deals have not yet been released. Check back here for an update on those and other deals as they become available. >>Need some last-minute Teacher Appreciation Week ideas? Click here for some help. Apparel discountsAnn Taylor LOFT: Teachers get 15% off all full-priced items.Belk: Teachers can get up to 20% off select purchases at Belk every Tuesday. Exclusions apply.Banana Republic: Get 15% off full-priced in-store purchases.Bonobos: Teachers are eligible for a 20% discount from Bonobos. You must verify your ID through SheerID. Restrictions apply.Bunion Bootie: Teachers get 10% off their order. Must verify through SheerID.Champion: Get a 10% discount if you are an active or retired teacher. Identification must be verified through TeacherID.Christopher and Banks: Teachers receive 10% off select in-store purchases.Cole Haan: Get a 15% discount on select orders to teachers. For online orders, register with your .edu email account to receive discount. For in-store purchases, present a valid ID.Crocs: Crocs offers discounts on select shoes for teachers.DC Shoes: Teachers receive a 15% discount on select online orders when they verify through SheerID.DiscountGlasses.com: Get 30% off with the promo code HEARTTEACHERS. The discount is valid May 6-10.DiscountContactLenses.com Get 15% off with the promo code HEARTTEACHERS. The discount is valid May 6-10.Dooney & Bourke: Teachers can get 15% off their online Dooney & Bourke order when they verify using SheerID.Dressbarn: Get a 15% discount on in-store purchases when you sign up for the Dressbarn loyalty program. Present a valid educator’s ID during checkout.Hanes: Hanes offers a 10% discount to current and retired teachers who verify their identity through TeacherID.J.Crew: Get a 15% discount on in-store purchases when you present proper ID at checkout. Exclusions apply.JustMySize: JustMySize offers a 10% discount to current and retired teachers. Identification must be verified through TeacherID.Karen Kane: Karen Kane offers 20% off online purchases to teachers. School affiliation must be verified.Madewell: Madewell offers 15% off in-store purchases. Present a valid teacher ID at checkout.OneHanesPlace: Get a 10% teacher discount if you are a current or retired teacher who can verify your identity through TeacherID.Quicksilver: Get a 15% discount from Quicksilver by verifying teacher status through SheerID. Exclusions apply. Reebok: Teachers can get a 20% discount from Reebok when they verify their status using ID.me.Roxy: Teachers save 15% with a SheerID. South Moon Under: South Moon Under offers a 10% discount on in-store and online purchases.Tommy John: Teachers receive 20% off select items when they verify their eligibility through SheerID.Toms: Teachers who verify with SheerID save 10% on their order at Toms. Book discountsBarnes & Noble: Barnes & Noble offers a 25% discount on in-store purchases plus 10% off cafe treats for teachers.Bookmans: Get a 20% discount on all purchases when teachers sign up for the Project: Educate program.First Book: Get up to 50% off retail book prices.Half Price Books: Teachers who sign up for an Educator Discount Card get a 10% discount year-round.Quail Ridge Books: Quail Ridge Books offers 10% off personal purchases, 21% off books purchased for classroom purposes and 30% off New York Times best-selling hardcover books.Thrift Books: Thrift Books offers a 15% discount on all used class book sets. Use the promo code APPLE. Exclusions apply. Craft discountsA.C. Moore: Sign up for the Loyalty Program to get savings and rewards when purchasing crafting materials.Jo-Ann Fabric: Get a 15% discount on in-store and online orders. Teachers must have a valid ID.Michaels: Michaels offers a 15% discount on in-store purchases for teachers who present a valid ID.Printastic: Printastic offers teachers discounts on signs and banners.Strictly for Kids Store: Strictly For Kids offers discounted learning tools. Home discounts E-Z UP: Teachers can get up to 30% off E-Z UP Instant Shelter products. Overstock.com: Overstock.com offers free Club O Gold memberships to teachers. Verify eligibility through TeacherID. Supplies and classroom materials discountsAcademic Superstore: Teachers can get discounts on school supplies all year. Valid ID is required.Apple Store for Education: Get discounted rates on Mac, iPad and other Apple accessories.AT&T: Get discounts on monthly phone service plans through AT&T’s Signature Discount Program. Container Store: Use the Organized Teacher Discount Program to get discounts through Dec. 31, 2019.Curious Chef: If you teach cooking, Curious Chef offers educator discounts on bulk kitchen products. Restrictions apply, and you must verify the program.CoolFrames.com: Get $20 off purchases over $200. Verification through ID.me. is required.Dick Blick Art Supplies: Dick Blick offers discounts and free lesson plans to U.S. teachers.Discount School Supply: Get discounted teaching tools and school supplies.Dollar Days: Dollar Days offers wholesale discounted prices on classroom supplies. For additional discounts, call 877-837-9569 or email sales@dollardays.com.Dramatists Play Service: Order 20 or more copies of a play and Dramatists Play Service will give you a 10% educator discount.GelPro: GelPro offers educators a 25% discount on all online orders. Verify using SheerID.Home Depot: Public school teachers can apply for a tax-free exemption on classroom purchases at Home Depot.Izzit: Get one free educational DVD every year school year at Izzit.K12 School Supplies: Get a 30% to 80% discount on closeout and clearance school supplies for educators.Kiwi Crate: Buy 10 items or more and get a discount from Kiwi Crate.LakeShore Learning: LakeShore Learning offers U.S. teachers 15% off in-store purchases after joining the LakeShore Learning Teacher’s Club.Naked Binder: Naked Binder offers discounts on nontoxic, environmentally safe products. Contact Naked Binder for details.Oriental Trading: Oriental Trading offers reduced pricing on select teaching supplies and stationery.PBS: PBS offers teachers free access to digital curriculum-based resources through PBS Learning Media.Pencils.com: Get 10% off all orders with valid teacher identification.Silhouette: Get discounts on the Silhouette cutting machine and its products by sending your account address, school name and location, and teaching certificate to education@silhouetteamerica.com.Speed Stacks: Teachers can sign up to receive one free Speed Stack set for educational purposes. Restrictions apply.Squiggle Park: Squiggle Park offers discounts on educational resources, printouts and teaching plans.Yoobi: Yoobi donates Classroom Packs through the Kids In Need Foundation’s network of Teacher Resource Centers. The packs include pencils, crayons, folders and other items. Travel discountsAqua Aston Hotels & Resorts: Teachers get a discount at Aqua Aston Hotels. Use promo code GOV.Bally’s Atlantic City: Get a 10% discount off your stay. Identification must be verified through ID.me.Bally’s Las Vegas: Bally’s Las Vegas offers teachers 10% off their stay using ID.me.Caesar’s Palace: Teachers get 10% off at Caesar’s Palace. Identification must be verified through ID.me.Cheeca Lodge & Spa: Get 10% off the Cheeca Lodge & Spa in Florida if you are a teacher with a valid ID. Available online.Contiki: Get up to $75 off trips that last for several days or more with a valid ID. Restrictions apply.Cromwell: Get a 10% discount at properties in the U.S. Identification must be verified through ID.me.Enclave Hotel and Suites: The Enclave Hotel and Suites offers an exclusive 25% educator discount.Flamingo: Flamingo offers a 10% discount for teachers. Identification must be verified through ID.me.Grande Shores: Teachers can get a discounted room rate at Grande Shores Ocean Resort with valid proof of employment.Hampton Inn & Suites: Get a discount with a valid educators ID. Available in participating locations only.Harrah’s Resort: Get a 10% discount with identification through TeacherID.Hawk’s Cay Resort: Get a 15% discount on accommodations as part of a Teacher Appreciation special package.Howard Johnson Hotels: Teachers are eligible for government employee rates at participating Howard Johnson hotels.Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa: Lake Buena Vista Resort Village & Spa offers discounts to teachers. LINQ: The LINQ offers a 10% discount to teachers. You must verify your identity through TeacherID.Mermaid Cottages: Mermaid Cottages offers a 5% discount to teachers who use the code “Educator” when booking a reservation.MSC Cruises: MSC offers public school teachers with valid ID up to 10% off staterooms at MSC Cruises. Restrictions apply.Planet Hollywood Resort: Planet Hollywood Resort offers teachers a 10% discount once identification is verified through ID.me.Stay Sky Suites: Stay Sky Suites Orlando offers teachers a discount with a valid educator identification.Swan and Dolphin Resort, Walt Disney World: The Swan and Dolphin Resort at Walt Disney World offers teachers special teacher room rates with a valid teacher identification. Make your reservation online or call 1-888-828-8850.Tradewinds Resort: Tradewinds Resort offers a 10% discount to U.S. teachers with valid teacher identification.VacationsToGo: VacationsToGo.com offers limited-time vacation cruise line deals to certain regions to retired and active teachers. Valid educator ID is required.Wyndham Hotel Group: Wyndham Hotel Group offers special discounted rates to public school teachers. Book online or call 1-800-407-9832.  Vehicle rental discountsAlamo Car Rental: Alamo Car Rental offers a $25 car rental discount to members of the American Federation of Teachers.Budget Truck Rental: Use TEACH to get a 20% truck rental discount on local moves and a 15% discount on one-way moves.E-Z Rent-A-Car: E-Z Rent-A-Car offers a 10% discount to teachers with valid ID. Use the promo code 827B9.National Car Rental: U.S. teachers can apply for government employee discounts. A valid ID is required.Sixt Rent a Car: Sixt Rent a Car offers teachers a 5% discount on prepaid car rentals. Restrictions apply.

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