Trump lashes out at Biden as ‘the weakest mentally’ as both travel to Iowa

Political News Trump lashes out at Biden as 'the weakest mentally' as both travel to Iowa

Scott Eisen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden traded blows throughout Tuesday in Iowa, as voters at dueling events in the critical caucus state heard Trump call Biden “the weakest mentally” after Biden’s campaign put out his prepared remarks that called Trump “an existential threat to America.”

The president ripped into the former vice president while addressing reporters before leaving for a renewable energy event in the afternoon and later a GOP fundraiser in Iowa, where Biden was campaigning.

Asked which Democratic candidate he’d most like to run against, Trump answered, “I’d rather run against Biden. I think he’s the weakest mentally. He’s the weakest up here. The others have much more energy.”

But on Tuesday night, Trump’s remarks at the Iowa GOP fundraiser, just hours after he ripped Biden, offered a stark contrast. Trump didn’t even mention the former vice president during his nearly hour-long remarks, nor did he directly go after any 2020 Democratic rivals.

Trump had two Iowa stops Tuesday: a visit to a renewable energy facility in Council Bluffs and at a Republican fundraiser in West Des Moines.

Biden, however, trekked to eastern Iowa, on the heels of a weekend visit by most of the Democratic field, which Biden skipped. There, the former vice president held three community stops, in Ottumwa, Mt. Pleasant and Davenport.

While the two didn’t cross paths in the crucial caucus state, their visits brought heightened awareness to a split-screen view between the president and one of his potential 2020 challengers.

Polls showed a tight race in a hypothetical match-up between Trump and Biden, which makes Iowa an important swing state.

Biden takes on Trump

Biden’s swing through eastern Iowa on Tuesday and Wednesday marks his second trip to the crucial state since announcing his presidential run in April, making his pitch to voters during three events.

One thing is abundantly clear about Biden’s message this time around: He’s taking on Trump, head on.

“It wasn’t planned this way, but … President Trump is in Iowa today,” Biden said during his stop in Ottumwa. “I hope his presence here will be a clarifying event.”

Biden’s remarks marked some of his most pointed attacks of the president, mentioning his name dozens of times and hitting Trump for his tariff policy and the impact it has on Iowa farmers and manufacturers.

“Trump doesn’t get the basics. He thinks his tariffs are being paid by China. Any beginning econ student at Iowa or Iowa State could tell you that the American people are paying his tariffs,” Biden said in Davenport.

Biden also hit Trump for his denial of climate change.

“[S]till, Trump denies climate change. What did he tell Piers Morgan in that interview? ‘Well the weather goes both ways,'” the former vice president said. “It reminds me of when he tweeted in the winter that since it was cold outside there was no climate warming. Or how about when he said the way to deal with California’s fires was to rake the leaves? It would be funny if it wasn’t so serious.”

“I believe,” Biden continued, “Trump is an existential threat to America” and a “genuine threat to our core values.”

“I’ve said many times that we can overcome four years of Trump, but if we give him eight years in the White House he will forever and fundamentally alter the character of this nation,” Biden said Tuesday night.

Biden has attempted to take on Trump from the start of his candidacy, calling out the current administration in his announcement video and at his campaign’s kickoff rally in Philadelphia, calling the president the “divider-in-chief.”

But while Biden has been eager to take on the president in his campaign, he didn’t take the bait on Trump’s attacks Tuesday morning.

When asked by reporters about the president’s comments about Biden’s mental fitness, the former vice president brushed it off.

“I’m not going to stoop down to where he is,” Biden said after his afternoon event in Mount Pleasant.

Biden has also largely stayed away from taking the bait from his 2020 rivals. He didn’t attend the Iowa Hall of Fame dinner Sunday night alongside 19 other 2020 candidates, staying instead in Washington to celebrate his granddaughter’s high school graduation with former President Barack Obama.

“[M]y granddaughter was graduating from high school. And her best friend is Sasha Obama,” Biden explained. “So Barack and I and Jill and, and the whole family, we got together afterwards to have a little light lunch and dinner for the families that all these girls grew up together with.”

While in Iowa last weekend, Biden’s opponents mostly refrained from calling the former vice president out by name, instead making veiled swipes at him for his “middle ground” policies and calls for a “return to normal.”

Biden addressed those comments in Iowa: “[I]t’s clear that Trump is shredding what we believe in most. I believe we have to restore those basic values. I gather some people think that’s a return to the past. I don’t see it that way. I see it as embracing the enduring values that have made America, America. I don’t think that’s taking us into the past. For me, it’s the only way America is going to have a future.”

A new CNN/Des Moines Register poll showed Biden still leading the crowded Democratic field in Iowa, with 24 percent of likely Democratic caucus voters naming him their top choice.

But in the new poll, Biden failed to add to his lead from a statewide poll in March before he officially entered the 2020 race.

The last time Biden ran for president, in 2008, Iowa provided the final blow to the Delaware senator’s campaign. Biden dropped out of the race one day after the Iowa caucus after failing to receive 1 percent of the vote.

Biden would re-enter the race a few months later, joining former President Barack Obama — who won the Iowa caucus that year — as his running mate.

Trump to talk farm policy

In Council Bluffs, Trump is expected to tout his plan to allow year-round sales of gasoline mixed with 15% ethanol, as well as his administration’s farm policies. Later that day, he will attend a private fundraiser hosted by the Iowa GOP.

“We’ve got more demand than we do seats,” Jeff Kaufman, Iowa’s GOP chair told ABC News.

The state’s Republican party, which is expecting about 800 people to attend, scrambled to prepare with seven-days notice and advertised the dinner as “intimate.”

“I know Joe Biden is coming at the same time, but you know what? He’s going to be drowned out,” Kaufman said. “Poor Uncle Joe, I hope he finds a dinner somewhere where he can talk to three or four people.”

Iowa, known for its first-in-the-nation caucus, will still hold a GOP caucus in 2020 — giving Republican voters an opportunity to vote against the president.

“I don’t really expect [the president] is going to have any competition in Iowa but we still have to have our caucuses,” Kaufman said.

Kaufman said the caucus is a way for the Republican state party to build their infrastructure, especially as they gear up for a statewide Senate race and four competitive Congressional seats.

“People have asked me if he doesn’t have any competition why have the caucus? And I say, well, 2024. We have [to be] ready in 2024 when there will be competition and we can’t take a cycle off,” he said.

But the state GOP did not hold a caucus for the last three Republican incumbents.

For Republicans, the winner of the Iowa caucuses has only clinched the presidency, since 1980, just once: George W. Bush in 2000. Trump placed second, behind Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in 2016.

It’s set to be busy week for the Republican Party, with not only a stop from the president but also former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, who will also be in town for a fundraiser for Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa.

“I’ll take Nikki Haley and the president of the United States any day over 27 of these left-wing Democrats,” said Kaufman, who will emcee Ernst’s event later in the week.

Ernst has cautioned against some of the president’s decisions, most recently his strategy of threatening tariffs on Mexico. Still Kaufman said the party is strong and united.

“She is able to voice her concerns. She is able to disagree with this president and he listens and he still respects her. No, we’re not a monolithic machine here where we all say the same thing … we actually can disagree and can debate,” he said.

A reversal and a rejoice

The former vice president will have to get past his 22 other opponents before facing off with the current president but Biden’s recent shift to the left on an anti-abortion measure has raised questions on Biden’s primary strategy, and have the Trump campaign ready to pounce.

In recent days, the Biden campaign has been on the defensive after the former vice president said he no longer supported the Hyde Amendment, which bans the use of federal funds for abortions except in cases of rape, incest or where the mother’s life is at risk. The switch came just one day after his campaign said he did support the measure.

Biden’s initial support drew a wave of criticism from his 2020 opponents, because it largely affects patients who are on Medicaid, meaning low-income patients have to pay for an abortion out-of-pocket

The reversal marked a leftward shift for Biden, who has been viewed as a moderate candidate and has campaigned on his ability to work across the aisle. The shift also raised questions about Biden’s ability to withstand attacks from progressive challengers and grassroots movements.

And following his reversal, the Trump campaign — bolstered by pro-Trump groups — also piled on the criticisms, dinging the Democrat for what appeared to be a critical shift to the left.

“He’s just not very good at this. Joe Biden is an existential threat to Joe Biden,” Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s campaign communications director, told ABC News in a statement.

America First Action Super PAC and America Rising PAC, both major pro-Trump groups, flooded Twitter with messages calling out Biden’s reversal just minutes after news broke regarding his new comments.

A senior adviser for the Biden campaign told ABC News that the political pressure from other 2020 candidates did not have an impact on Biden’s decision, saying, “there were spirited discussions about the Hyde Amendment over the last couple of weeks” but that ultimately the decision came to a head last week and Biden decided to address it in Atlanta.

The former vice president’s reversal on the Hyde Amendment is exactly the kind of shift to the left that the Trump campaign and these pro-Trump groups have been waiting for, according to conversations with those groups. Many who are working to re-elect the president have been betting that Biden would need to limp further and further toward progressive policies just to escape the primary, and the former vice president’s reversal on the Hyde amendment is the best example of that so far.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Jun 2019

Man suspected of shooting Red Sox icon David Ortiz charged with ‘attempted homicide,’ attorney says

Sports News Man suspected of shooting Red Sox icon David Ortiz charged with 'attempted homicide,' attorney says

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images(BOSTON) — A suspect in the shooting of retired Red Sox icon David Ortiz has been charged with “attempted homicide” and “criminal association” in connection to the shooting, according to his attorney.

Eddy Feliz Garcia, who allegedly confessed to playing a role in the shooting, insists that he did not shoot Ortiz, his attorney, Bunel Ramirez Meran, said on Tuesday night. Meran declared that Garcia was innocent.

Garcia apparently tried to flee the nightclub after the shooting, but onlookers immediately stopped and attacked him before he was turned over to police and taken to a hospital for treatment. He was later taken into police custody.

Garcia later reportedly confessed to being involved in the shooting, according to Frank Félix Duran, a spokesman for the Dominican Republic National Police. Duran declined to elaborate on what the suspect told the police, or if he was the man seen in the video pulling the trigger.

Garcia’s attorney said that his client is accused of being the motorcycle driver who carried the actual shooter. Meran noted that in the Dominican Republic, there is no legal distinction between being the author or the accomplice to a crime.

Ortiz underwent a second surgery at a Boston hospital for injuries suffered when he was shot in the back Sunday night at a bar in the Dominican Republic in what appeared to be a targeted ambush attack, the former baseball player’s wife said in a statement Tuesday.

“David arrived at Massachusetts General Hospital last night and underwent a successful second surgery. He is stable, awake, and resting comfortably this morning in the ICU where he is expected to remain for the next several days,” Ortiz’s wife, Tiffany Ortiz, said in a statement.

Ortiz, 43, had been airlifted to Boston Monday night on a medical air ambulance chartered by the Red Sox. He first underwent surgery at a hospital in the Dominican Republic, where “Big Papi” was born and raised.

Tiffany Ortiz thanked the Red Sox owner, John Henry, and his wife, Linda, and the team’s management for rallying around her husband. She also expressed appreciation to Dr. Larry Ronan and his staff at Massachusetts General for caring for Ortiz.

“Lastly, I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love that we have received during this incredible difficult time,” her statement reads. “We ask for privacy as David works towards recovery.”

Ortiz took his first steps since the shooting on Tuesday, Leo Lopez, his close friend and aide, told ABC News.

Shortly after he was shot, Ortiz was taken to Abel Gonzalez Center for Advanced Medicine in Santo Domingo, where he underwent his first surgery. Ortiz’s father told reporters the bullet entered his son’s back and exited through his abdomen.

Dr. Abel Gonzalez, who performed the surgery, said part of Ortiz’s intestines and liver were removed.

The shooting unfolded Sunday night at the Dial Bar and Lounge, a nightclub in Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic.

Security camera footage acquired by ABC News shows the gunman coming up behind Ortiz and opening fire at close range. The footage shows people scattering after gunfire erupted and Ortiz, who had been sitting at the outdoor bar, appear to grab his side and then collapse.

Jhoel López, a TV host in the Dominican Republic, was speaking to Ortiz at the bar when the shooting broke out and was also injured, according to The Associated Press. Lopez suffered non-life threatening injuries when he was struck in the leg, apparently by the same bullet that hit Ortiz.

On Monday night at Boston’s Fenway Park, the Red Sox and the team’s fans made it clear that their beloved “Big Papi” was in their thoughts and prayers.

Prior to the start of the Red Sox game, a moment of reflection was held for Ortiz, a 10-time All-Star and a member of three Red Sox World Series championship teams. A message reading “We send our love to David Ortiz” was flashed on one of the ballpark’s scoreboards.

Fans held up letters spelling out Ortiz’s name, and many showed up at the game wearing his No. 34 jersey.

“They talk about superheroes without capes and he’s a superhero without a cape,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora, a former teammate of Ortiz’s in Boston, said during a pregame news conference.

Another one of Ortiz’s former Red Sox teammates, Hall of Fame pitcher Pedro Martinez, who also hails from the Dominican Republic, broke down in tears while talking about Ortiz on Monday night during a broadcast on the MLB Network.

“I don’t have enough words to describe who David is, what David means to baseball,” Martinez said on air. “But I’m so disappointed to know that someone like David, who saved so many lives, can have someone after his life. And I’m sorry. I’m sorry. But it hurts me. It hurts me.

“I just can’t take it,” Martinez added. “I’m here sitting with you guys and I’m trying to have fun, but my heart is with David, with his family, with everybody that cares about David. Because just one coward out there that wanted to do that to someone that didn’t deserve it.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Jun 2019

Off-duty Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy shot in head at Jack in the Box, suspect arrested

U.S. NEWS Off-duty Los Angeles sheriff's deputy shot in head at Jack in the Box, suspect arrested

Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department(LOS ANGELES) — A suspect has been arrested after an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was shot in the head in a fast food restaurant, authorities said.

Deputy Joseph Gilbert Solano, who is now in grave condition and on life support at a nearby hospital, was in a Jack in the Box in Alhambra at about 5:45 p.m. on Monday when he was “tragically and senselessly shot in the head,” Los Angeles Sheriff Alex Villanueva said.

Solano, a 13-year veteran, “needs our prayers,” the sheriff told reporters Monday night.

 Solano, who was in civilian clothes at the time of the attack, was waiting for his food when he was shot once in the back of the head, police said.

After authorities blasted out descriptions of the suspect and his car, a 2012 Kia Sorento, on Tuesday morning, police in Long Beach, California, saw a car matching that description, officials said.

The suspect, now identified as 30-year-old Rhett Mckenzie Nelson, was located in the car and taken into custody after a felony traffic stop, police said.

Nelson, from St. George, Utah, is believed to have shot and killed another man an hour before shooting Solano, police said.

When police took Nelson into custody, a revolver was found inside the vehicle, along with items Nelson was described as wearing during the shooting, including a hat and maroon shirt, police said

Nelson was reported as a missing person in Utah and his family was concerned for his whereabouts, officials said, noting fliers were posted about Nelson’s disappearance on social media.

The suspect’s father, according to police, contacted authorities after Nelson called him on Wednesday and allegedly admitted involvement in both shootings, police said.

The shooting was caught on video, sheriff’s officials told ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV.

But the video doesn’t include audio, “so we don’t know if there were words exchanged,” Capt. Kent Wegner said.

“There doesn’t appear to be an overt motive,” Wenger told KABC-TV.

Villanueva had tweeted Monday night, “Our #LASD family continues to persevere in the wake of the senseless shooting of our deputy.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Jun 2019

Questions abound after Kevin Durant appears to injure Achilles tendon in comeback game against Raptors

Sports News Questions abound after Kevin Durant appears to injure Achilles tendon in comeback game against Raptors

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images(TORONTO) — With the Golden State Warriors facing possible elimination in Game 5 against the Toronto Raptors, the night began as a perfect comeback for Kevin Durant, the team’s star forward.

Before he took the court at the NBA Finals on Monday night, he hadn’t played since May 8, after he’d injured his right calf in a Western Conference semifinals game against the Houston Rockets.

But in the second quarter, after scoring 11 points for the Warriors, Durant appeared to injure his right Achilles tendon.

He was helped off the court by teammate Andre Iguodala as well as staff. Even famed Raptors fan and rapper Drake was seen patting Durant on the back as he made his way to the locker room.

“He gave us what he had. He sacrificed his body and we know how it turned out,” said teammate Steph Curry after the game.

In the end, the Warriors were able to hold the Raptors off from their first title win in franchise history, 106-105.

But, there are now questions about whether the Warriors, hoping to win their third straight NBA title, might have brought Durant back from his calf injury too soon — and cost him what could potentially be the entire 2019-2020 season.

Warriors general manager Bob Myers, who got choked up at times during a news conference after the game, said that Durant had gone through four weeks with the medical team.

“He was cleared to play tonight. That was a collaborative decision. I don’t believe there’s anyone to blame. … But if you have to, you can blame me. I run our basketball operations department,” Myers said.

In a post to his Instagram stories on Monday night, Durant remained optimistic, saying: “I’m hurting deep in the soul right now I can’t lie but seeing my brothers get this win was like taking a shot of tequila, I got a new life lol. #dubs.”

And in a separate tweet from her own account, Durant’s mother told fans on Twitter that “This too shall pass.”

The final series has not been without its share of drama.

On Thursday, NBA officials banned a Golden State Warriors minority owner after video showed him shoving a player on the sidelines during the game.

Mark Stevens, a venture capitalist, was sitting courtside during Game 3 of the NBA Finals in Oakland, California, when Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry dove into the sidelines to keep the ball from going out of bounds.

As Lowry struggled to regain his balance, video showed Stevens giving him a shove to the left shoulder. Stevens was fined $500,000 and banned from attending games as well as Warriors team activities activities for a year, the NBA and Warriors teams officials said in a joint statement last Wednesday.

Both teams face off again in Game 6 on Thursday in Oakland, California. It’s a game so anticipated, that floor seats are going for more than $100,000.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Jun 2019

Trump repeatedly flashes piece of paper he claims is part of secret Mexico deal

Political News Trump repeatedly flashes piece of paper he claims is part of secret Mexico deal

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump continued to insist Tuesday that there is a secret component of his migration deal with Mexico, even flashing a piece of paper to reporters that he claimed spelled out the undisclosed portion.

“In here is the agreement,” Trump said, pulling the paper from a coat pocket and repeatedly holding it up as he spoke to reporters. “Right here is the agreement, it’s very simple. In here is everything you want to talk about, it’s right here,” he said, without opening it up.

“This is one page. This is one page of a very long and very good agreement for both Mexico and the United States,” Trump said.

“Without the tariffs, we would have had nothing,” the president said.

“Two weeks ago, I’ll tell you what we had: We had nothing. And the reason we had nothing is because Mexico felt that they didn’t have to give us anything. I don’t blame them. But this is actually ultimately going to be good for Mexico, too. And it’s good for the relationship of Mexico with us,” he continued.

Trump said he couldn’t show reporters what was on the paper. “I would love to do it, but you will freeze action it. You will stop it. You will analyze it, every single letter. You’ll see. But in here is the agreement.”

The president said that it’s his “option” as to whether the undisclosed agreement will go into effect.

“It’s not Mexico’s, but it will go into effect when Mexico tells me it’s okay to release,” Trump said, adding that first Mexico has to ratify whatever agreement they’ve made. “It goes into effect at my option.”

Washington Post photographer Jabin Botsford captured and tweeted a photo of the piece of paper, a portion of which can be read to say “the Government of Mexico will take all necessary steps under domestic law to bring the agreement into force with a view to ensuring that the agreement will enter into force within 45 days.”

Despite the president’s insistence that there is a secret deal, the Mexican government has denied that there are any undisclosed parts of the U.S.- Mexico deal.

“Outside of what I have just explained, there is no agreement,” Mexico’s Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Monday.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Jun 2019

Russia drops charges against journalist after widespread outcry

WORLD NEWS Russia drops charges against journalist after widespread outcry

Rattankun Thongbun/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Russian police announced on Tuesday they are dropping charges against the investigative journalist Ivan Golunov, an extraordinary reversal by authorities in the face of a popular outcry over his arrest on drug charges last week.

The abrupt turnaround by Russian authorities came amid mounting protests over Golunov’s detention, which has been widely criticized by his supporters, including an exceptional show of solidarity by the country’s journalists and even pro-Kremlin commentators.

The decision to drop the case came a day before a large protest was planned to take place in Moscow.

Golunov, a prominent reporter for the popular independent news site, Meduza, who has written on corruption and shady business practices among officials and organized crime, was arrested last Friday in Moscow. Police claimed they had found bags of the drug mephedrone on Golunov’s person and during a subsequent search of his home, and charged him with intention to distribute, an offense that carries a potential 10 to 20 year prison sentence.

The case, though, quickly seemed to unravel. Golunov accused the police of planting the drugs on him and then beating him up during questioning, and police later admitted that photos they had made public, which suggested Golunov had a drug lab at his home, were misleading.

On Tuesday, authorities seemed to yield to the criticism. Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, announced in a video statement that the case against Golunov was being closed after analysis found no sign he had committed a crime. Golunov would be released from house arrest on Tuesday, he said.

Kolokoltsev also said that he was firing the Moscow police chief who was overseeing Golunov’s case, as well as the head of the city’s narcotics division. The officers who had arrested Golunov had been suspended and would be investigated, he said.

The Investigative Committee, Russia’s equivalent of the FBI, also announced it would examine the circumstances around Golunov’s arrest.

It was a remarkable retreat for Russian law enforcement in the face of popular pressure. In a country where the acquittal rate in courts is less than 1%, instances of high profile cases being closed are essentially unheard of and, even in ordinary cases, charges are rarely dropped.

“I’m happy, I’m crying. We understand completely that this happened thanks to the efforts of hundreds and thousands of people. Huge gratitude to all of them,” Galina Timchenko, the general director of Meduza, told the liberal channel, TV Rain. “We all together have done the unbelievable: stopped the criminal prosecution of an innocent person.”

The scale and breadth of the criticisms in support of an independent journalist have been almost unheard of in today’s Russia. The country’s three leading independent newspapers on Tuesday ran identical front pages in support of Golunov. Over two dozen state media journalists signed a letter calling for him to be freed. Celebrities, including those normally who remain outside politics, posted messages in support.

In Moscow and other cities, hundreds of protesters have taken part in demonstrations all week calling for Golunov’s release.

Initially the Kremlin had suggested it favored the prosecution, pointing to the discredited photos as proof there may be grounds for the case. But as criticism mounted, there were signs that the Kremlin was changing course, and prominant pro-government anchors started to criticize the police’s handling of the case.

President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary on Monday set the tone, saying that “mistakes” are sometimes made—an admission almost never heard from top Russian officials.

Most Russian observers believe the Kremlin had no direct stake in Golunov’s arrest, which most suspected had been brought about by mid-level officials or others involved in regional rackets that he most frequently wrote about. The prominent anti-corruption campaigner, Alexey Navalny on Tuesday published a report in which he claimed an FSB officer involved in a corrupt attempt to take over a funeral business had targeted Golunov for investigating it.

But the case struck a nerve in Russia as emblematic of the lawlessness and corruption in the country’s law enforcement and officials that has flourished under Putin. The case’s closure was celebrated by many as evidence that Russia’s civil society has the strength to force a response from authorities and as a victory over official unaccountability.

The celebration even came from inside government. On Facebook, Russia’s normally aggressive foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova wrote that it was “the best day” and that she was “moved to tears.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Jun 2019

AG Barr to ask Trump to invoke privilege over census materials if Dems move forward with contempt

Political News AG Barr to ask Trump to invoke privilege over census materials if Dems move forward with contempt

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Justice said in a letter Tuesday that Attorney General William Barr will request that President Donald Trump invoke executive privilege over materials related to the House Oversight Committee’s census investigation if the committee moves forward with a planned Wednesday vote to hold Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in contempt of Congress.

This is the latest escalation in the battle between the Justice Department and House Democrats investigating Ross’ move to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census, a move which Democrats claim was intended to intimidate immigrants and minorities, and depress the party’s representation across the country.

House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings has accused both the DOJ and Commerce Department of stonewalling his investigation by withholding documents and preventing witnesses requested by the committee from testifying on the issue.

But in the letter on Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd said that the committee has refused to engage with the department over a “limited subset” of the requested documents that might be privileged information.

“The Committee has failed to abide by the constitutionally mandated accommodation process by declining to negotiate over the scope of the subpoenaed materials or to recognize legitimate executive branch interest, as well as by its premature decision to schedule a contempt vote,” Boyd said in the letter.

Boyd also addressed criticism from the committee on the DOJ blocking testimony from John Gore, principal deputy assistant attorney general for the civil rights division. The department contends that Barr had only instructed Gore not to testify after the committee declined the department’s request to have counsel accompany him in his transcribed interview.

In a statement announcing the contempt vote, Cummings said Barr and Ross’ unwillingness to cooperate is part of a broader effort by the Trump Administration to dodge oversight from the legislative branch.

“The Trump Administration has demonstrated repeatedly that it is willing to disregard the Constitution, defy decades of clear precedent and invent frivolous new arguments to delay and obstruct Congress’ oversight authority, and Attorney General Barr and Secretary Ross are complicit in this cover-up,” Cummings said.

The Oversight Committee contempt vote on Wednesday comes just days after Barr reached a separate agreement with House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler regarding his request for underlying documents related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

Nadler similarly had his committee vote to hold Barr in contempt early last month for withholding those documents, which led Barr to request that Trump invoke executive privilege over the materials the committee requested.

However, Nadler announced on Monday that he was suspending any potential move to hold Barr in criminal contempt.

House Democrats did move forward on a separate resolution Tuesday allowing committee heads to go to court to seek the enforcement of subpoenas, which could speed up their plans to sue the administration for defying subpoenas related to the census, the president’s tax returns and other issues.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Jun 2019

Government to use Army post in Oklahoma as emergency shelter for migrant kids

Political News Government to use Army post in Oklahoma as emergency shelter for migrant kids

mj0007/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Facing an unprecedented surge of refugees at the U.S.-Mexico border, the Trump administration will open an emergency shelter at the Army’s Fort Sill in Oklahoma for migrant children traveling without their parents.

The military post — about 90 miles southwest from Oklahoma City and better known as the home of the Army’s artillery branch and training — will receive as many as 1,400 minors as early as next month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday.

The use a military base isn’t unprecedented. In 2014, the agency used installations in Texas, Oklahoma and California to house 7,000 unaccompanied migrant children after other shelters hit capacity. But officials say the latest influx of families and children arriving at the southern border has taxed the program once again and forced some 2,000 kids to wait at Border Patrol stations beyond the 72-hour limit before they are transferred to a children’s shelter.

Last week, HHS announced it planned to turn an apartment complex, once used by oil field workers in south Texas called “The Studios” at Carrizo Springs, Texas, into an emergency shelter for 1,600 children.

The new emergency shelters come amid record-high levels of asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border, including some 11,000 kids who arrived at the border in the month of May without their parents. These “unaccompanied alien children,” or UACs, are typically older children or teens, but can sometimes include younger children traveling as part of a group, who travel in the hopes of meeting up with parents and other relatives already inside the U.S. The kids often spend several weeks or even months in temporary shelters before they can be placed with a sponsor.

There are currently some 13,350 minors in HHS custody.

The agency’s program also has come under severe financial strain in recent weeks, as Congress has yet to fulfill the Trump administration’s request for $2.9 billion in emergency money to pay for the shelters. As a result of the influx and lack of money, HHS said last week it was canceling education and recreational services for the kids. The program is expected to run out of money later this month, unless Congress approves the money.

Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan has urged Congress to act on the spending request, noting the 2,000 kids waiting at Border Patrol stations. HHS has said previously that shelter capacity was tight but not maxed out and that no child would be turned away if transported to its shelters.

On Tuesday, HHS spokeswoman Evelyn Stauffer confirmed that capacity for the program in recent days has topped 90 percent, and at one point went as high as 97 percent. The number fluctuates by the day as kids are placed with sponsors and are moved out of the program while others are processed upon arrival. One particular problem, she said, has been that certain shelters might have space but aren’t a good fit for the age or gender of the child in need. Some shelters are designated for teen boys, for example, whereas others are better equipped to care for younger children.

Democrats have criticized the facilities, which are often not subject to state child welfare licensing requirements because they are temporary emergency shelters. One such shelter, tent-like facilities in Tornillo, Texas, shuttered amid political pressure and protests. Many of those kids were shuttled to Homestead, Florida.

All children sent to Carrizo Springs and Fort Sill will reside in “hard-sided” facilities. Tent-like structures will only be used for support operations if necessary. Fort Sill will rely on existing infrastructure to house the children, officials said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Jun 2019

Academy announces Oscar dates through 2022

Entertainment News  Academy announces Oscar dates through 2022


AMPAS(LOS ANGELES) — Get that screenplay or headshot ready: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC today announced the dates for the Oscars telecasts through the year 2022.

Coming earlier in the year than usual, the 92nd Oscars will air Sunday, February 9, 2020; seeing as it’s 2019, the very early Oscar race is already taking shape. 

However, the movies that will eventually win Academy Awards in all categories in 2021 and 2022 have yet to be shot — and in all likelihood, aren’t even written yet. So here’s hoping, hopefuls.

In case you want to get started on that pre-awards-season cleanse, the 93rd Oscars Sunday will be held on February 28, 2021, and the 94th Oscars will be seen on Sunday, February 27, 2022.

The Oscars ceremony is broadcast live at 5 p.m. PST/8 p.m. EST on ABC and globally in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide. 

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Jun 2019

US Women’s National Team routs Thailand in opening World Cup game

Sports News US Women's National Team routs Thailand in opening World Cup game

Alex Caparros – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT) began their run in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup with a 13-0 win over Thailand on Tuesday.

They stepped onto the field in France as defending World Cup champions after their 2015 win in Canada, but are joined by many of their international competitors in a crusade for gender equity.

On the field

The U.S.’s first game came on the fifth day of the tournament, after many other nations have already begun competition in the Group Phase of the tournament — where teams are split into six groups to play round-robin style.

The U.S. is in Group F, which also includes Thailand, Chile and Sweden. The teams with the best records in the Group Phase go on to the Knockout Phase, starting June 22, which is a single-elimination round to find the champion.

After Tuesday’s win over Thailand, the USWNT’s second match will be at 12 p.m. ET, Sunday, June 16, at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris against Chile, who they beat twice in the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s Championship, securing themselves a place at this World Cup.

Off the field

Off the field, the USWNT made headlines in March when players sued the United States Soccer Federation (USSF) — the sport’s governing body — for gender discrimination, including unequal pay and resources.

The suit named the 28 members of the 2015 World Cup team as plaintiffs, including stars Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd, who are all back to compete in this year’s World Cup.

“We feel a responsibility not only to stand up for what we know we deserve as athletes, but also for what we know is right – on behalf of our teammates, future teammates, fellow women athletes, and women all around the world,” Rapinoe said in a statement at the time.

Last month, USSF hit back at the lawsuit, denying the allegations in a response. The group said “U.S. Soccer’s challenged pay practices are not based on sex” and that pay differences were based on “differences in the aggregate revenue generated by the different teams” as well as other factors, according to their response.

“We look forward to a trial next year after the World Cup,” the players said in a statement after the USSF’s response was filed.

Household names

In their lawsuit, the players cited that the U.S. Men’s National Team players get paid more, even though they are less successful. While the U.S. women are entering this World Cup as defending champions, the U.S. men did not qualify for last year’s FIFA World Cup.

The women’s team is more successful on the field, and their profile is also growing. The 2015 Women’s World Cup final between the U.S. and Japan became the most-watched soccer match in U.S. history, per US Soccer.

In a more cultural show of their growing profile, Morgan scored a cover on this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, while Rapinoe, Abby Dahlkemper and Crystal Dunn were also photographed in the issue. In doing so, Rapinoe became the first openly gay woman to pose for the Swimsuit issue.

Meanwhile, as the tournament was about to start, several players launched a new company, re-inc, and dropped a T-shirt with it, as reported by The New York Times. USWNT forward Christen Press is the chief executive, former USWNT defender Meghan Klingenberg is president, USWNT forward Tobin Heath is chief innovation officer and Rapinoe is the chief branding officer.

“We are four World Cup champions whose time on the USWNT has taught us how to fight,” the re-inc website reads. “For greatness. For our identities. For our own value.”

On the field, the players are wearing new kits made by Nike. Nike, in keeping with its ad campaigns around breaking boundaries and pushing for equality, has debuted new ads featuring players like Morgan and Mallory Pugh.

After Sunday’s match against Chile, the USWNT compete against Sweden on June 20 at 3 p.m. EST. Each match will be airing on Fox and Telemundo.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 11 Jun 2019