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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump issued a strong warning to Iran Sunday, tweeting that military engagement with the United States would mean "the official end of Iran."

If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019

Trump's threat comes amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran.

The New York Times reported last week that the administration was considering sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacked "American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons." Trump denied the report, but added he would "send a hell of a lot more troops than that" if it happened.

When asked by a reporter on Thursday whether or not the U.S. was going to war with Iran, President Trump replied, "I hope not."

Earlier this month, the United States deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to "clear indications" Iran or its proxies were planning an attack on U.S. forces in the region, U.S. officials told ABC News. The Pentagon announced on May 10 it was sending a Patriot anti-missile battery to the area as well as a further deterrent. On Wednesday, the State Department ordered all non-emergency personnel at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. consulate in Erbil, Iraq, to leave.

In an interview that aired earlier on Sunday, Gen. David Petraeus, the retired four-star general who led troops into battle during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, told ABC's "This Week" Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz that he believes Trump doesn't want to go to war with Iran.

"It’s pretty clear that [Trump] doesn't want to go to war with Iran.," Petraeus said. "He’s not after regime change."

This is not the first time the president has issued a public warning to the Islamic Republic.


— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018

On Tuesday, Pentagon officials are expected to brief Congress about the intelligence that generated the deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and B-52's to deter Iran.

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Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., a 2020 presidential candidate and Iraq war veteran, released his "National Service Education Guarantee" plan Sunday to encourage young Americans to serve their country -- in the military, in AmeriCorps, in FEMA Corps or, in what he would create if elected, the "Federal Green Corps” tasked with combating climate change and helping the environment.

"[This is] the kind of forward-looking policy that I think we need to meet the challenges of a changing world, to address climate change, to bring broadband to rural communities and to say to America we need a common mission," Moulton told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on ABC's "This Week."

The Marine veteran described his plan as an investment in the future, saying "If you invest in America then America will invest in you." he said.

Modeled on the G.I. Bill, the plan would establish an education benefit for those who serve and would expand the president’s cabinet by creating a secretary position for the lead administrator of a renamed and restructured National and Community Service Administration.

Many of the 2020 presidential candidates have released education policies, with some focusing on free college tuition. But Moulton's pitch emphasizes public service and allocates money for those who serve towards education and job-training benefits, including an option for vocational schools.

Different than the selective service, Moulton said on “This Week” that the call to serve would not be mandatory.

"I’m asking all 33 million young Americans to consider serving their country … not to make it a requirement, but an expectation," he said.

Moulton said this would be the "largest call to national service since World War II."

The plan comes at a time where public service is not widely popular among Americans. There are 75,000 people currently serve with AmeriCorps and 1.3 million are active duty military personnel, which makes up roughly 0.4% of the entire U.S. population.

"It’s time for the generation that fought in Iraq and Afghanistan to take over for the generation that sent us there," Moulton told Stephanopoulos.

In a field of 23 Democratic candidates, Moulton said he has found a void his campaign could fill by focusing on public service and national security.

"I'm the only one who's really been talking about national security and taking on President Donald Trump in his job as commander in chief, and I do that with the experience of having served on the ground in combat," he said Sunday.

The three-term congressman serves on the House Armed Services Committee and has long been an advocate for fellow veterans: he created the Serve America PAC to support Democratic veterans running for office. This past year, 40 Republicans lost their seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and, of the 40 newly-elected Democrats, 21 of them were backed by the Serve America PAC.

Moulton said he doubts Trump’s ability to lead, calling the president a "weak commander in chief" who "dodged his own generation’s war" by using his father’s connections. He also criticized Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, who served in President George W. Bush’s administration, claiming Bolton is "pushing America into Iran" like he "pushed America into Iraq" under Bush.

Pointing to his seven years in the U.S. Marine Corps, Moulton said it has "given[him] a firsthand perspective on what it takes to make America safe and strong."

Describing his time in combat, Moulton told “This Week,” "In fact, I fought Iranians on the ground in Iraq in 2004. It was bloody. We won. And if necessary, I will fight Iran again. But right now, war is not necessary."

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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who has made foreign policy a central part of her campaign, said President Donald Trump is "setting the stage for a war in Iran."

"He is leading us down this dangerous path towards a war in Iran," Gabbard told ABC News' Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” Sunday.

On Wednesday, Gabbard told ABC News that she believed actions coming from Trump and national security adviser John Bolton, "are dangerously escalating us closer and closer towards a devastating war with Iran."

On “This Week,” Gabbard, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, went further, telling Stephanopoulos, "I think what we’re seeing, unfortunately, is what looks a lot like people in the Trump administration trying to create a pretext or an excuse for us to go to war against Iran."

She warned that a war in Iran "would actually undermine our national security, cost us countless American lives, cost civilian lives across the region, exacerbate the refugee crisis in Europe and it would actually make us less safe by strengthening terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda."

Also on Wednesday, as tensions continued to build, the U.S. State Department ordered all non-emergency government employees to leave the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. Consulate in Erbil.

"We heard conflicting stories coming from the British commander who is the co-commander of the fight against ISIS and al-Qaeda there in Iraq and Syria saying, hey, he hadn’t seen an escalation of tensions or threats coming from these Iraqi -- or these Shia militias serving in Iraq," she said.

Stephanopoulos asked Gabbard about the withdrawal from the diplomatic posts, which she responded were not the result of the White House's claims of increased tension in the Middle East.

The 2020 candidate, an Iraq war veteran who also serves as a major in the Hawaii National Guard, has made clear her stance against military involvement in foreign nations.

Gabbard told Stephanopoulos, "I've also seen and experienced the cost of war firsthand. And I'm committed -- as commander in chief -- to end these wasteful regime change wars."

While Gabbard has called the president out for his rhetoric and policies, she has also adopted some of Trump’s key phrases such as "fake news."

When asked on “This Week” about a Daily Beast article that claimed her campaign received donations from "Putin Apologists," Gabbard refuted the claim and described the piece to ABC News as a "whole lot of fake news."

Stephanopoulos asked Gabbard, "many Democrats have been tougher on Vladimir Putin than President Trump. Do you think Democrats are taking too hard a line?"

She responded, "I think that the escalation of tensions that we’ve seen between the United States and nuclear-armed countries like Russia and China -- and you’re right -- it has come from this administration, it’s also come from some Democrats and Republicans in Congress."

“It has brought us to this very dangerous point where nuclear strategists point out that we are at a greater risk of nuclear war now than ever before in history and we’ve got to understand what the consequences of that are,” she added.

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Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is expected to draw a crowd of thousands on Sunday afternoon in her home state of California at a rally at Los Angeles Southwest College. It’s there that Harris hopes to connect with one group in particular: black voters.

The school is located in the heart of South Los Angeles, and has one of the highest percentages of black students out of all the city's community colleges. Harris’ scheduled speech there is part of her broader attempt to appeal to black voters in a state that awards more than 400 Democratic delegates during the presidential primary.

African American voters are critical to gaining traction in the presidential primary, and the largely Democratic group is expected to make up 12.5% of the electorate in 2020, according to the Pew Research Center. In South Carolina, the first state to hold a primary in the South, African Americans make up nearly 30 percent of the population.

"Black voters will play a disproportionate role with helping select the Democratic Party nominee for president,” Andra Gillespie, associate professor of political science at Emory University, told ABC News in April. She added that African Americans are the most “loyal Democratic voting bloc in the United States."

Part of the voting process for many black voters will be deciding if a candidate’s policies will benefit the community. Many black progressives have raised concern about Harris’ previous positions on issues like criminal justice and financial reform.

As California’s former attorney general, Harris had a record of backing tough penalties for the parents of truant kids -- a position she later said she regretted -- and opposing federal oversight of California's prisons.

Critics of Harris say her decisions as a long-time prosecutor do not align with the progressive values of the party.

While Harris personally opposes the death penalty, she defended it as California's attorney general in 2014. She also won a $25 billion settlement for California homeowners hit by the foreclosure crisis, but drew criticism when she did not prosecute Steven Mnuchin's OneWest Bank for foreclosure violations in 2013.

To help counter some of these criticisms, Harris has focused on appealing directly to black voters, appearing on "The Breakfast Club," a morning radio show, lunching with Rev. Al Sharpton and speaking to the nation's largest NAACP chapter in Detroit.

In South Carolina, the senator spoke to over 3,000 black women at a sorority event for Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc., a historic African American organization which she joined as a college student at Howard University.

Historically black colleges and universities, such as Howard, have been at the center of Harris’ campaign. She chose the campus to host a press conference shortly after announcing her bid for president.

"Howard University is one of the most important aspects of my life. And it is where I first ran for my first elected office," Harris told reporters.

Aimee Allison, founder of She the People, a political organization for women of color, told ABC News that candidates who can successfully reach out to the black community and black women voters will be much more competitive.

"The campaign trail is littered with people who recognize too late who the most valuable voters in the coalition are,” Allison said.

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, hoping to emerge from the lower echelon of a crowded Democratic presidential primary field, appeared on ABC's "This Week" on Sunday to push his centrist message focused on reviving the American middle class.

"I'm running for president because Donald Trump has been fueling this national crisis of division, of taking our country backwards. And the answer is not socialism," Hickenlooper, drawing an implicit contrast with some of his Democratic rivals, told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopolous.

"I've spent my whole life bringing people together and getting big progressive things done," Hicklenlooper said, touting his record as Colorado's chief executive. "We've achieved almost universal health care coverage. And we beat the NRA with tough, tough gun laws. I think the real challenge here is how do we get that nonsense that's taken over Washington and replace it with common sense?"

Hickenlooper, who is set to deliver a major foreign policy speech in Chicago on Monday, decried Trump's foreign policy as "isolationist and reckless," but also took swipes at some in his own party who he says "would have the United States withdraw from global engagement."

"That makes us less safe. The only way to full security is through constant engagement. And by reviving U.S. leadership, we actually make our country safer. But we also make it more prosperous," Hickenlooper argued.

He has said his major foreign policy credentials include overseeing Colorado's six military bases and forging economic relationships with countries like Israel.

Pressed on his decision to forgo a run for the U.S. Senate in 2020 and instead run for president, Hickenlooper threw cold water on the idea that he would re-consider a Senate run if his presidential bid did not pan out.

"I'd be a difficult candidate as a senator. I've spent my whole life putting teams together both as an entrepreneur in the private sector, but also as a mayor and as a governor. And by building those teams, we've been able to bring people together and do the big progressive things that people said couldn't be done," Hickenlooper said. "That's the only way we're going to ... be able to bring some common sense to Washington."

Hickenlooper has grounded his campaign in the same pragmatic approach that defined his political career, from his unlikely election as mayor of Denver through his two successful terms as Colorado's governor, and he has actively pushed back on the priorities of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

He is betting his problem-solver persona will ultimately be rewarded by Democratic voters.

Hickenlooper recently penned an op-ed in the Washington Post entitled "The Green New Deal sets us up for failure. We need a better approach," and followed up by the release of an economic plan rooted in his belief in a more just form of capitalism.

Thus far his campaign has struggled to break through in a Democratic field that has swelled to 23 candidates.

While he has qualified for the first Democratic primary debates based on polling, he has not met the Democratic National Committee's 65,000 individual donor threshold, making him one of a handful of candidates who could find himself left out of the crucial first debates.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Gen. David Petraeus, the retired four-star general who led troops into battle during the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, said he doesn't see parallels between the lead-up to that war and the current escalating tensions between the United States and Iran.

In an interview with ABC's "This Week" Co-Anchor Martha Raddatz, the former CIA director said he doesn't believe President Donald Trump wants to start another war in the Middle East.

"It’s pretty clear that [Trump] doesn't want to go to war with Iran. He’s not after regime change," he said in the interview, which aired Sunday morning.

Citing Secretary of State of Mike Pompeo, Petraeus added that the president's goals with Iran are more targeted.

"He's after what Secretary Pompeo has announced as the objective, which is regime behavior change," he said.

Raddatz noted that White House national security adviser John Bolton has previously advocated for regime change to end the Ayatollah's reign in the country.

"Do you think that's still being whispered in the president's ear?" she asked.

"Not after what the president said to the press the other day, certainly, if it was ever said," Petraeus said, noting that Bolton may be "a hard-liner," but on this issue, Trump "clearly is not."

At an event in the Roosevelt Room on May 9, Trump said he got "very good advice from" Bolton, but he was the one who makes the decisions in this White House.

"John is very good ... he has strong views on things, but that's OK. I actually temper John, which is pretty amazing, right?" the president said. "I have John Bolton and I have other people that are a little more dovish than him. And, ultimately, I make the decision."

Earlier this month, the United States deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in response to "clear indications" Iran or its proxies were planning on attack on U.S. forces in the region, U.S. officials told ABC News. The Pentagon announced on May 10 it was sending a Patriot anti-missile battery to the area as well as further deterrence.

On Wednesday, the State Department ordered all non-emergency personnel at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the U.S. consulate in Erbil, Iraq, to leave.

Petraeus said that response was appropriate.

"This is both an effort to shore up deterrents, and also to shore up our defenses," he said in the interview.

Raddatz pressed on why this response was needed now, especially evacuating the embassy and consulate, when activity like this has happened before.

"I think this is a different situation. It's a different Iraq. It's not as hard as it was in those days," Petraeus said on "This Week."

The president has dismissed a New York Times story that reported the administration was reviewing a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the region if Iran attacked U.S. forces.

Even though Trump labeled the report "fake news," he also said that if that happened, he'd "send a hell of a lot more troops than that."

Petraeus said the president was "right in his assessment" that more troops would be needed. The White House denied the report, but Petraeus defended planning for such an attack.

"I think it's absolutely right that they should be examining a variety of different options. It’d be actually derelict if they did not actually prepare for whatever could come," he told Raddatz. "Iran is a country that has a population that is three times the size of Iraq when we invaded it, and a landmass that is three to four times the size of Iraq as well.

"And I think any thoughts about invading Iran -- again, rightly, the president has shelled those, I think -- that would be an enormous undertaking," he added. "And he's right in his assessment, we would need heck of a lot more troops than that, were we ever do something like that."

Lawmakers have been frustrated that the administration has not yet briefed them on the intelligence on the threat from Iran, with some questioning its validity. They compared it to the flawed intelligence asserting Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, which cleared the way for the United States to go to war in 2003.

"In Iraq there was a real momentum to go to war with Iraq, and there was intelligence, however flawed it turned out to be, that was generally assumed to be credible by the policymakers," Petraeus said. "There was an almost an article of faith that Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction of some kind and means to deliver them. I just don't see this at all similar to that."

The former chief commander of U.S. Central Command reminded Raddatz that he has "absolute enmity for" the Iranian regime, as it was responsible for hundreds of American soldiers' deaths "when I was privileged to command the surge." But he expressed hope for back-channel communications or meetings between the administration and Iran.

"President Trump has been quite clear about this. He would welcome communication, and apparently would be willing to sit down, himself," he said.

Still, when asked if it was wise to have a meeting with Iranian leaders, Petraeus added that "diplomatic preparation would be needed."

He said that with the recent activities, Iran may be trying to "stay below the threshold" that would prompt a military response.

"If exceeded, we would have to do something," he said in the interview. "And we would do something, presumably, more than they did to us."

"Do you think Iran will come to the negotiating table or cave in because of this maximum pressure campaign?" Raddatz asked.

"They are going to have to make a decision," he responded. "Can they try some kind of proxy activities? Can they make life difficult for us? They can, but they're going to be have to be very careful not to overplay their hand and result in some kind of response that is quite punitive.

"And I think this is where having President Trump in the White House, frankly, has to give them some degree of pause," he added. "Over the previous administration’s eight years, gradually they could get a sense of where the edges are and all the rest of this. I'm not quite so sure that with this White House, that there might not be a fairly substantial response to something that the Iranians might think is just a proxy activity that stays below what they think the threshold is, after which we would respond."

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Justin Amash has become the first congressional Republican to call for the president's impeachment based on special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

The self-identifying libertarian Republican and frequent Trump critic shared his "principal conclusions" on Saturday, including his assertion that "President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct" in a Twitter thread on Saturday after reading the full redacted report.


Here are my principal conclusions:
1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report.
2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct.
3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances.
4. Few members of Congress have read the report.

— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019


The special counsel did not establish that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia. He also provided no conclusion on the matter of possible obstruction of justice, choosing instead to leave that decision for Congress.

Amash said that the 448-page report "identifies multiple examples" of the president's conduct "satisfying all the elements of obstruction of justice."

President Trump responded in a tweet Sunday, saying he was "never a fan" of Amash.

"A total lightweight who opposes me and some our great Republican ideas and policies just for the sake of getting his name out there through controversy," he tweeted.

The president went on to call Amash a "loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!"

....he would see that it was nevertheless strong on NO COLLUSION and, ultimately, NO OBSTRUCTION...Anyway, how do you Obstruct when there is no crime and, in fact, the crimes were committed by the other side? Justin is a loser who sadly plays right into our opponents hands!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019

The chairwoman of the Republican National Committee said Amash was "parroting the Democrats' talking points on Russia."

"The only people still fixated on the Russia collusion hoax are political foes of President Trump hoping to defeat him in 2020 by any desperate means possible," said the chairwoman, Ronna McDaniel, said in a statement. "Voters in Amash’s district strongly support this President, and would rather their Congressman work to support the President's policies that have brought jobs, increased wages and made life better for Americans."

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has stopped short of calling for impeachment but left the door open to the prospect, though Democratic leaders are reluctant to launch a divisive effort that would likely end with the president’s acquittal in the GOP-led Senate.

In his lengthy post, Amash stated that partisanship is getting in the way of our system's checks and balances.

"When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the Rule of Law—the foundation of liberty—crumbles," he said.


Our system of checks and balances relies on each branch’s jealously guarding its powers and upholding its duties under our Constitution. When loyalty to a political party or to an individual trumps loyalty to the Constitution, the Rule of Law—the foundation of liberty—crumbles.

— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019


Amash has frequently been one of the few Republicans willing to call out Trump when he feels the president has crossed the line.

Amash was one of 13 Republicans to vote with Democrats against Trump’s national emergency to fund the border wall. Amash also took a different approach than his fellow Republicans in his questioning of former Trump attorney Michael Cohen. He asked Cohen softer, open questions instead of trying to delegitimize Cohen’s testimony and criticize Democrats.

Another one of Amash's primary conclusions from the redacted report was that Attorney General Bill Barr "deliberately misrepresented" Mueller's findings.

"It is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings," Amash wrote.


In comparing Barr’s principal conclusions, congressional testimony, and other statements to Mueller’s report, it is clear that Barr intended to mislead the public about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s analysis and findings.

— Justin Amash (@justinamash) May 18, 2019


Attorney General Barr said he had determined that a case for obstruction was not warranted. In his statement to lawmakers, Barr underscored that the report stated that “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

Amash has said as recently as last month that he hasn't ruled out seeking the Libertarian nomination for presidency in 2020.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) --  President Donald Trump broke his silence on the increasing trend of states passing restrictive abortion bans late Saturday, denouncing bills like the one that passed last week in Alabama.

Trump said he is "strongly Pro-Life," but said he does favor allowing women to get abortions in the case of rape, incest or the health of the mother.

The bill passed by the Alabama legislature and signed by Gov. Kay Ivey on Wednesday contains no exemption for rape or incest, though it does allow abortions if the mother's life is threatened.

....for Life in 2020. If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019

Trump went on to say his position was the same one taken by former President Ronald Reagan, still a bastion of Republican values 30 years after leaving office.

The president pointed to his nomination of pro-life judges -- including Supreme Court Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch -- as a reason to reelect him in 2020.

"We have come very far in the last two years with 105 wonderful new Federal Judges (many more to come), two great new Supreme Court Justices, the Mexico City Policy, and a whole new & positive attitude about the Right to Life," he wrote. "The Radical Left, with late term abortion (and worse), is imploding on this issue. We must stick together and Win for Life in 2020. If we are foolish and do not stay UNITED as one, all of our hard fought gains for Life can, and will, rapidly disappear!"

Alabama's law is expected to quickly be challenged in court and possibly even appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. That would set up a battle over Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 federal ruling that allowed women to be able to choose to have an abortion.

Georgia, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio and Kentucky have all passed so-called "heartbeat" abortion bills, outlawing the practice after as early as six weeks into pregnancy.

The most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll on abortion, released on Aug. 29, 2018, showed that 66% of respondents wanted the Supreme Court to keep access to abortions the same as it is now, or easier. The poll showed 30% wanted to make it harder.

Vice President Mike Pence said Saturday he was proud of the Trump administration for standing “without apology” for the “sanctity of human life” while speaking to graduating students at Taylor University in his home state of Indiana.

"I couldn’t be more proud to be part of an administration that stood strong on the timeless values that have made this nation great, stood without apology for the sanctity of human life," Pence said.

Trump has made late-term abortions a rallying point -- literally -- as he ramps up for the 2020 campaign. He discussed the issue at his 2019 State of the Union address, criticizing Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a former pediatric neurologist, for saying a fetus could be aborted late in pregnancy if it was "non-viable."

On May 8, at a rally in Panama City Beach, Florida, he again brought up the topic.

"Democrats are aggressively pushing late-term abortion, allowing for children to be ripped from their mother's womb right up until the moment of birth," Trump said

Most Democratic candidates have come out strongly in favor of a woman's right to choose in recent days.

"A woman's right to control her own body is basic constitutional right," Sen. Bernie Sanders said while campaigning in South Carolina on Saturday. "I think it is beyond belief to me that and again in the year 2019. People are trying to take that very basic, right away."

Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke called it "literally a life or death issue in the United States of America right now" in an interview Friday on MSNBC, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren released an abortion policy on Friday, writing, "Congress should pass new federal laws that protect access to reproductive care from right-wing ideologues in the states."

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Ethan Miller/Getty Images(IOWA CITY, IA) -- During a town hall in Iowa City, Mayor Pete Buttigieg went beyond his normal campaign talking points to give an 11-year-old advice on how to deal with bullying. In a swipe at President Trump, Mayor Pete said it also matters that “we have a president that doesn’t show that type of behavior.”

Buttigieg drew 11-year-old Rebecca Johanns' question from a fishbowl. Johanns later told ABC News that she has been bullied and wanted to hear from the mayor about how to handle it.

Buttigieg opened up about his own experiences with bullying in front of 600 voters inside a packed Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon.

“I had experiences with bullying when I was growing up,” Buttigieg said. “The hard part is you really want to pop the balloon and take out all the air of that bully."

“You have control over whether that bully turns you into the best part of yourself or the worst part of yourself," he said.

Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who would be the country's first openly gay president if he won, said some bullies are a product of bullying themselves.

“The person who’s bullying you probably has something a little broken in them," he added. They want to get a response out of you."

"When you show that it doesn’t get to you... they’re going to follow your lead,” he said.

The president is known to bestow unflattering nicknames and hurl insults at his adversaries, whether at campaign rallies or from his Twitter account.

Johanns said she handles bullies by walking away and notices that there are people who just stand around and watch as its happening.

She told ABC News she will try to follow the mayor's advice from now on.

“I like how he was so sincere and sympathetic," Johanns said. "It was so meaningful.“

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Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden made his pitch to unite the country in Philadelphia on Saturday, for the third and final phase of his presidential campaign roll out.

Biden held his first campaign rally in Eakin’s Oval near the famous "Rocky steps" of the Philadelphia Art Museum on Saturday afternoon.

The rally, which was announced the same day Biden officially entered the race in April, was intended to focus on his vision “for unifying America with respected leadership on the world stage -- and dignified leadership at home,” according to a press release from the campaign.

The event was seen as an unofficial bookend to the campaign launch.

Biden made the case for uniting America, rather than enduring another four years of what he described as the divisive leadership of the current president, referring to him early in the speech as the "divider-in-chief."

“I believe America is always better just best when America is acted as one America,” Biden said. “One America. One America maybe a simple notion, but it doesn't it doesn't make it any less profound. This nation needs to come together. It has to come together, folks. We started this campaign, and when we did, I said I was running for three reasons. The first is to restore the soul of the nation, the essence of who we are. The second is rebuild the backbone of this nation, and the third to unite this nation. One America.”

Biden defended this bipartisan approach to politics, pointing to his record of reaching consensus on big issues like the economic recovery.

“Now some of these same people are saying, you know, Biden just doesn't get it,” he continued. “You can't work with Republicans anymore. That's not the way it works anymore. Well folks, I'm gonna say something outrageous. I know how to make government work. Not, not because I've talked or tweeted about it, but because I've done it. I've worked across the aisle to reach consensus.”

“I did it when I was a senator. It's what I did is your vice president work with Barack Obama. It’s what I will do as your President, “ Biden said to cheers.

But Biden said he wouldn’t be afraid to go toe-to toe-with Republicans if that’s what it takes, as was the case with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“I know there are times there's only a bare knuckle fight will do," he said. "I know we have to take on Republicans to do what's right, without any help from them. That's what it took to pass the Affordable Care Act. That was a tough fight. And it was a big, a big deal. “

Throughout the speech, Biden directly took on President Trump, most notably on Trump on taking credit for the strong economy.

“I know President Trump likes to take credit for the economy and economic growth, and the low unemployment numbers, but just look at the facts, not the alternative facts. President Trump inherited an economy from Obama Biden administration, that was given to him, just like he inherited everything else in his life. Just like, just like everything else he's been given in his life, he's in the process of squandering that is well.”

“The single most important thing we have to accomplish is defeat Donald Trump.”

Biden spoke to a number of policy proposals he will take on in the campaign, reiterating his support for free community college, strengthening the ACA and providing a public option like Medicare, and building ‘a new green infrastructure.’

The former vice president also spoke out about his view on climate change, after coming under fire from progressive Democrats like Alexandria Orcasio-Cortez for reportedly considering a ‘middle ground’ climate change policy.

“Let's stop fighting and start fixing. And we can only do it together. We're gonna deal with the existential crisis posed by climate change. There's not much time left. We need a clean energy revolution. We need it now. We have to start now.”

But Biden said above all, defeating Trump was the first step on his climate policy:

“If you want to know what the first and most important plank in my climate proposal is: beat Trump.”

Following chants of "defeat Trump," Biden asked the crowd "are we a nation that rips kids away from their parents?" The crowd responded, "We don't....Trump does!"

Working the rope line after his speech, Biden told ABC News Stephanie Ramos he would work to restore direct aid to three Latin American countries known collectively as the "Northern Triangle" -- El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala -- that Trump cut in March.

"Is there a crisis at the border?" Ramos asked the former vice president.

"No, I think the crisis at the border is the way they're treating people who are seeking asylum," he told ABC News. "There should be a process for them I tried to set it up and the idea that this guy is cutting 740 million dollars that I provided for those three Latin American countries to better their circumstances.... is wrong. "

During his remarks, Biden also made a pledge to not speak ill of another Democrat during his campaign.

"Our politics has become so mean, so petty, so negative," Biden said. "It is ripping this country apart at the seams."

The rally was much larger than Biden’s previous events in early voting states like Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. A campaign official told ABC News that a crowd of 2,000 was expected at the event.

The campaign has placed a heavy focus on Philadelphia as the "birthplace of American democracy," and the rally location was chosen for that reason. But even in celebrating Philadelphia, the veteran U.S. Senator could not eschew his beloved state of Delaware.

“Everyone knows Jill's a Philadelphia girl," Biden told the crowd. "She loves this city. I do too. But to paraphrase the poet James Joyce, I have to say this folks because I’m near my state, when I die, Delaware will be written on my heart.”

Biden promised the crowd that he would outwork the other 22 candidates vying for the Democratic Nomination

“This campaign is just getting started, I promise you this," Biden vowed. "No one -- no one's gonna work longer, no one's gonna campaign harder to win your hearts your trust and your support, then the son of Katherine Eugene Finnegan from Scranton, Pennsylvania: Joseph R Biden Jr of Delaware.”

The campaign announced Thursday Philadelphia would also be home to their headquarters.

“Philadelphia is a thriving city and a testament to the American spirit, built by the ingenuity and tenacity of ordinary people who did extraordinary things. Its storied history and celebrated diversity will serve as an inspiration for Team Biden, and is the ideal setting to continue our fight for the soul of this nation,” Biden’s campaign manager Greg Shultz said in a press release announcing the headquarters.

Both Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, were born in the key swing state that will be vital for any Democrat taking on Trump to win in 2020, and a Quinnipiac poll out this week indicates Biden has strong appeal among Democrats in the Keystone State. Biden took the top spot in the poll, with 39% of Democratic voters in Pennsylvania naming the former vice president as their preferred candidate.

The poll also found Biden beat Trump in a head-to-head in a match-up in the state, 53% to 42%.

Since announcing his presidential run on April 25, Biden has focused his message on why he decided to run -- his view that the country is in a battle for the soul of America, and restoring the middle class as the backbone of the economy.

A campaign official told ABC News that following the rally Saturday, the campaign will shift to a new phase -- focusing on Biden’s policy proposals, and what he will do as president.

The rollouts will give “specifics of the policies that Vice President Biden has believed in and has fought for his entire career and will make the centerpiece of a Biden White House,” according to the official.

The former vice president plans to travel to Tennessee, Florida and Texas in the coming weeks -- three states Trump won in 2016. Biden’s full schedule for those trips has yet to be announced.

Since getting into the race, Biden has taken the top spot all polls of the Democratic field, according to FiveThirtyEight’s poll tracker.

Biden has maintained he will "not speak ill of a fellow Democrat," but his frontrunner status has put a target on his back from his fellow Democrats. Biden has faced criticism from his opponents on issues from criminal justice reform, to climate change -- a sign of what could come in the Democratic debates next month.

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Shannon Finney/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Speaking at a commencement ceremony in his home state of Indiana, Vice President Mike Pence said he was proud of the Trump administration for standing “without a apology” for the “sanctity of human life,” but avoided any mention of the controversial anti-abortion measures approved in several states in recent weeks.

“I couldn’t be more proud to be part of an administration that stood strong on the timeless values that have made this nation great, stood without apology for the sanctity of human life,” Pence told graduating students at Taylor University.

While the vice president has expressed similar sentiments before, his comments on Saturday come as outrage builds among the Democratic field of 2020 presidential candidates over a new Alabama law that would make it a felony to perform an abortion and carry a sentence of up to 99 years in prison.

The vice president did not directly address the measure, which was signed into law by Alabama's governor but will have to survive legal challenges before it takes effect, or similarly restrictive bills approved in Georgia and Missouri.

The speech closely resembled remarks Pence has made in commencement addresses at various university’s during this graduation season.

For the most part, Pence's address at Taylor discussed what the vice president described as the difficulties in being a devout Christian in today’s society.

"You know, throughout most of our American history [it] has been pretty easy to call yourself a Christian. But things are different now," he said. "Lately it's become acceptable, even fashionable, to malign traditional Christian beliefs. So as you prepare to leave this place, and build your life on the Christ centered world engaging foundation poured here at Taylor University – be prepared to stand up,"

The choice of Pence as Taylor's commencement speaker stirred up a heated debate on campus of the Christian college.

Following the announcement, the Taylor faculty voted 61-49 to express their disagreement with the university's decision.

A petition circulated by students and alumni that protested Pence's visit to the campus got 8,000 signatures online.

“Inviting Vice President Pence to Taylor University and giving him a coveted platform for his political views makes our alumni, faculty, staff and current students complicit in the Trump-Pence Administration's policies, which we believe are not consistent with the Christian ethic of love we hold dear,” the petition said.

Minutes before Pence was introduced on Saturday, dozens of graduates and faculty walked out of the graduation ceremony.

At the close of his speech, the vice president received a standing ovation, according to the school’s student newspaper.

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Mark Makela/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- One day after the 65th anniversary of the landmark Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision, Sen. Bernie Sanders is calling for a temporary halt to public funding directed toward nonprofit charter school expansion and an outright ban on for-profit charter institutions.

Under his plan, financial disbursements could be restored after schools are audited to probe the impact of their growth, but no public money will be directed toward new schools.

The proposal is a significant break from a signature Trump administration education policy that some critics say disproportionately impacts minority school districts.

The timing of Sanders' roll out also seeks to draw a connection between charter schools -- which receive government funding but function independently from traditional public schools -- and the racial re-segregation of the nation's schools. He will make the announcement in Orangeburg, South Carolina, a city that is home to two historically black universities within a state where African Americans made up 60% of Democratic voters in the 2016 primary.

Sanders' plan also sets baselines for per-student spending nationwide and a salary floor for teachers of $60,000, and are part of a larger set of policies Sanders, I-Vt., will announce Saturday. It comes as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has recently doubled-down on the current administration's willingness to "rethink the definition of public education," telling a convention of education writers earlier this month that "charter schools are public schools" and that "every place a student learns is ultimately of benefit to the public."

DeVos' husband, Dick, founded West Michigan Aviation Academy, a public charter school in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the secretary has highlighted the institution as an example of what she sees as a model for how such institutions can help students "contribute in significant ways to our 21st-century economy.”

President Donald Trump's 2020 fiscal year budget includes $500 million in charter school grants, a $60 million increase from 2019 -- though the entire Education Department's budget was cut by $7.1 billion -- and a 50% increase from the $333 million investment the government made at the start of his tenure in the White House.

At its national convention in 2016, the NAACP passed a resolution, cited in the Sanders plan, seeking that charter school expansion be halted, noting that they "increasingly [target] low-income areas and communities of color," violate student rights via the use of "punitive and exclusionary discipline" and lack financial accountability, among other issues.

A 2017 Associated Press analysis found that "charters are vastly over-represented among schools where minorities study in the most extreme racial isolation" while the nation's public education system has become more segregated overall over the past 30 years, according to a recently released report by researchers at Penn State University and the University of California, Los Angeles.

The latter study found that in southern states such as South Carolina, "the percentage of black students attending intensely segregated schools has increased by 12 percentage points, more than any other region."

Other Democratic presidential candidates have called for increased oversight of charter schools and have been critical of DeVos' efforts to expand school choice.

Sanders is one of several candidates, including Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who have released plans to increase teacher pay and reform public education as a whole.

However, one of Sanders' progressive opponents was quick to defend charter schools. Tech entrepreneur and philanthropist Andrew Yang took to Twitter and said charter schools shouldn't be attacked as a whole.

"Castigating all public schools or all charter schools does educators a massive disservice by calling into question the work they do with our kids every day," Yang wrote. "We should be looking to make all of their jobs easier by putting resources into both schools and households."

From coast-to-coast, teachers have been striking over the past few years calling for higher wages and an increase in funding to public schools -- some of the efforts proving victorious in cities like Denver where they negotiated an 11.7% raise for next year. Sanders’ plan would set the starting salary for teachers at $60,000 and would allow states to offer more based on geographic cost of living.

The plan also targets students who suffer from food insecurity by providing free breakfast, lunch and snacks through school meal programs and by expanding EBT plans when school is out for summer.

Last week, Castro rolled out his own educational reform plan which included a $150 billion investment in school technology and modernization. Castro also called for a federal tax credit to boost teacher pay of up to $10,000, targeted to those at low-income schools.

On Friday, Sanders penned an op-ed in The Asheville (N.C.) Citizen-Times ahead of a rally in the city, slamming the state’s low public education funding rates and citing the "61 percent increase in the number of schools segregated by race and income."

"This is Robin Hood in reverse, and it is happening on the national level too,” Sanders wrote. "After giving huge tax cuts for the very rich, President Trump is proposing to cut after-school programs that serve 34,000 North Carolina students and is proposing to eliminate funding for the major grant program for teacher development.”

North Carolina legislators have grappled over school funding in recent months. While Gov. Roy Cooper has advocated for more public-school funding, he has faced some opposition from Republicans as they’ve streamlined tax cuts for corporations.

Sanders' education plan comes on top of his much-publicized proposal to make all public colleges tuition-free -- an idea that was one of the centerpieces of his 2016 run and has since been endorsed by a number of other Democratic primary candidates. The senator's 2015 "College for All Act" called for the federal government to cover two-thirds of the $70 billion in tuition costs, offset by imposing a "speculation fee" targeting Wall Street investors.

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Scott Olson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg fired back at President Donald Trump’s recent comment about being "absolutely fine" with the mayor's gay marriage, sarcastically saying "that’s nice" while pointing out the administration’s poor record on LGBT citizens.

Buttigieg was on the campaign trail in Des Moines, Iowa, Friday evening at an event labeled as a book club discussion about "Shortest Way Home," which he released earlier this year.

But it was his comments on the Trump administration's record on LGBT rights that might spark the most interest.

"Even though they’re paying lip service to the idea of -- like the president was asked about my marriage, so he could have the opportunity to say he’s fine with it," Buttigieg said. "That’s nice."

Trump was asked in a Fox News interview on Thursday about Buttigieg appearing on stage at campaign events with his husband, Chasten.

"I think it's absolutely fine, I do," Trump responded. "I think it's great. I think that's something that perhaps some people will have a problem with; I have no problem with it whatsoever."

Buttigieg attacked the current administration on its actions against gay and transgender Americans, though. He pointed to a story reported in The Daily Beast earlier this week exposing that the adopted children of LGBT parents are now considered being born out of wedlock, even if biologically related, and the U.S. citizenship of the parents no longer grants the child the same citizenship.

"We find out this week that they changed the State Department guidance -- I don’t know if you saw this," Buttigieg told the audience Friday night. "So if you are, for example, in an international adoption scenario, and you’re a same-sex couple, as far as the United States government is concerned, you have a child born out of wedlock. Think about what that means. It means you are not a citizen of the same country as your own child at the time that they are born. And that’s discrimination."

During the campaign, Trump repeatedly told crowds he would be a friend to LGBT citizens. He tweeted in July 2016, "Thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs." He offered no clarification on how this was true.

"Every policy turn we’ve seen out of this administration has been hostile to LGBTQ people," Buttigieg said.

The candidate earlier sparred with Vice President Mike Pence on religion and sexuality. Pence told CNN in April he is "a Bible-believing Christian" and "I draw my truth from God’s word."

Buttigieg rebutted the former Indiana governor on "Ellen," saying, "I’m not interested in feuding with the vice president, but if he wanted to clear this up, he could come out today and say he’s changed his mind that it shouldn’t be legal to discriminate against anybody in this country for who they are."

The 37-year-old, who came out as gay in 2015 and married Chasten in June 2018, also was critical on Friday of Trump's transgender military policy. The president announced suddenly via tweet in 2017 that transgender individuals would not be allowed to serve in the U.S. military. Two years later, in April, the policy went into place that largely disallows people from serving in the military unless they adhere to the sex they are assigned at birth.

Buttigieg will continue on his two-day trip in Iowa on Saturday with events in Iowa City and Dubuque.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Democrats have waited for weeks to hear from special counsel Robert Mueller since the release of his report – and they’re going to have to keep waiting.

On Friday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., told ABC News it was unlikely that Mueller would appear before his panel by the end of next week, when the House wraps up its legislative business for the month ahead of the week-long Memorial Day recess.

Initially, the committee had hoped to hear from Mueller this past Wednesday, May 15, but that tentative hearing date came and went without an agreement.

The special counsel's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the discussions with the House Judiciary Committee.

Ongoing discussions between Democrats, the special counsel’s office and the Justice Department are centered on the timing, nature and scope of Mueller’s testimony, according to people familiar with the discussions.

The White House’s recent assertion of executive privilege over the entire report and underlying materials also looms over negotiations, and could impact Mueller’s potential testimony.

While Attorney General Bill Barr has said he has no objections to Mueller testifying -- most recently in an interview with the Wall Street Journal this week – Democrats have accused the Justice Department of slow-walking the discussions.

One complicating factor in the negotiations, according to people familiar with the talks, is Mueller’s unwillingness to enter the political fray over his findings.

President Donald Trump’s initial objection to Mueller testifying stalled discussions at first, as the special counsel sought clarification on the White House’s position on his appearance. But Trump has since said that he would let Barr decide whether Mueller would appear.

The House Intelligence Committee, led by Democratic chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is also working to schedule a subsequent hearing with Mueller that could include public and closed-door classified sessions.

“I feel very confident saying Mueller’s going to testify,” Schiff told ABC News. “There’s no way that he cannot, and the public won’t stand for it. I think the Justice Department knows they’re on the poorest of ground in trying to prevent his testimony.”

The talks have also taken place as Democrats and the Justice Department spar over access to the Mueller report and the special counsel’s underlying materials. The department has not complied with subpoenas from both panels interested in hearing from Mueller, which could prompt Democrats to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.

Democrats could eventually seek to compel Mueller’s testimony with a subpoena, but are hoping to avoid doing to bring the special counsel to Capitol Hill voluntarily.

The special counsel found no evidence of coordination between Trump and his campaign and the Kremlin to influence the 2016 presidential election. While his report examined a number of episodes of potential obstruction of justice, Mueller did not make a determination on whether Trump obstructed justice.

Some Democrats have said Mueller’s testimony is essential to help clarify elements of his report – both for the country, and for lawmakers contemplating potential impeachment proceedings over his conclusions.

“He needs to be pressed on the issue of obstruction,” Rep. Brian Higgins, D-N.Y., told ABC News. “Mueller didn’t do us any good and I think a lot more pressure should be brought to bear on him for being I think deliberately opaque.”

While they wait to hear from Mueller, Democrats are battling with the administration over information and documents, including President Trump’s tax returns and the full Mueller report, in more than a dozen investigations – with many of the fights expected to head to court.

Without Mueller, Democrats are left with few tools to try and tell the story of his findings, and are resorting to other strategies: On Thursday, more than two-dozen Democrats spent 12 hours reading Mueller’s public report aloud in a Capitol hearing room, in an effort to draw attention to the report.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump on Friday pushed back against reports of conflict between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton amid tensions between the United States and Iran -- calling sourcing cited by reporters "bull----"

“Mike Pompeo is doing a great job. Bolton is doing a great job. They make it sound like it’s a conflict," the president said in a speech to the National Association of Realtors.

The president took issue with the "confidential sources" cited in news articles.

“They say confidential sources. You ever notice they don’t write the names of the people anymore. Everything is 'a source says' ... The person doesn’t exist, the person is not alive. It’s bull----," the president said.

Ahead of his remarks, Trump, on Twitter, described reporting about his administration handling of Iran as "fraudulent.”

"At least Iran doesn’t know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!" Trump said in a tweet.

The president repeated his complaint during his speech.

“They put out so many false messages and Iran is totally confused. I don’t know that might be a good thing,” Trump said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to Trump’s tweet, arguing “it is apparently the U.S. that “doesn’t know what to think.” We in Iran have actually known what to think for millennia -- and about the U.S., since 1953.”

President Trump’s statements come a year after he withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, despite concerns from U.S. allies. It also follows a the State Department earlier this week ordering all non-emergency government employees to leave the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and U.S. Consulate in Erbil amid tensions with Iran.

U.S. officials told ABC News there were "clear indications" Iran through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or forces it backs, was preparing for a possible attack against U.S. forces.

Still, the president has expressed he would be open to receiving a call from the Iranian officials – a request reportedly shut down by the regime.

"With Iran, I'd like to see them call me," the president stated last week. He called out former Secretary of State John Kerry, accusing him of speaking to Iranian leaders and "telling them what to do."

"What they should be doing is calling me up, sitting down. We can make a deal, fair deal. We just don't want them to have nuclear weapons, not too much to ask," the president said.

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