McConnell won’t call Senate back, expects new gun legislation in September

Political News McConnell won't call Senate back, expects new gun legislation in September

kanzilyou/iStock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Thursday morning about the recent mass shootings in the U.S. and Congress’ role in finding a legislative solution to the problem, McConnell revealed in a radio interview with WHAS in Louisville on Thursday afternoon.

“The president called me this morning about this. He’s anxious to get an outcome and so am I, and I believe the Democrats will have to admit it’s better to get a result than just engage in this sort of endless point-scoring that has the tendency to occur after one of these awful, awful incidents,” McConnell said.

McConnell said he doesn’t see a point in calling the Senate back into session, despite numerous calls from Democrats to do so.

“We’d just have people scoring political points and nothing would happen,” McConnell said.

But he is on board with passing some sort of legislation in September that has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress, as well as the president’s buy-in.

“And so I’ve tasked three of my committee chairmen with talking not only to their own members (of our party) but the Democrats as well. We’re going to have these bipartisan discussions. And when we get back, hopefully, be able to come together and actually pass something. I want to make a law, not just see this kind of political sparring going on endlessly which never produces a result,” McConnell said.

It’s unclear what that legislation would look like.

The House passed two background check bills in February but the Senate has, so far, failed to act.

One of the bills would establish new background check requirements for firearm transfers between private parties. The other bill would extend the review period for the FBI to complete its background checks for gun purchases from three days to 10 days.

Congress has not passed any sweeping gun reform legislation since the 1990s. Lawmakers have tried and failed numerous times, notably after the 2012 shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, in which 20 school children were killed by a gunman.

While Congress has failed to reach a bipartisan consensus on broad gun control legislation and the House-passed background check bills wait in the Senate, some senators are working on other legislation to address the gun violence epidemic.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a top Trump ally, announced in a statement on Monday that he and Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut had reached an agreement on a federal grant program that would assist states in implementing the “red flag” law.

The state law typically permits police or family members to petition a state court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person who may present a danger to others or themselves.

Graham said he spoke to Trump on Monday morning and said he seemed “very supportive” of the idea.

Trump also spoke to another bipartisan duo on Monday — Sens. Pat Toomey, R- Penn., and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., about a separate piece of legislation that would expand background checks for unlicensed gun show dealers and online sales.

“This morning, we both separately discussed with President Trump our support for passing our bipartisan legislation to strengthen background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, and terrorists while respecting the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners and all Americans. The president showed a willingness to work with us on the issue of strengthening background checks,” Manchin said in a statement.

Toomey said in a tweet that it is “time for Congress to act.”

McConnell reiterated that he’s counting on the Republican chairmen of certain Senate committees to reach out to not only their GOP colleagues but the Democrats as well to reach some sort of consensus as to how to move forward on the issues of guns.

“…and the way you make a law (right now) is that it has to pass the House, it has to get 60 votes in the Senate, and has to be signed by President Trump,” McConnell said.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Aug 2019

Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon leaving her role

Political News Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon leaving her role

BrianPIrwin/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon is departing her role, President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday afternoon.

Gordon was told, according to ABC News sources, that she would not be named the acting director of national intelligence as the current director, Dan Coats, is leaving his post effective Aug. 15.

On Twitter, Trump said her departure would coincide with Coats’.

“Sue Gordon is a great professional with a long and distinguished career. I have gotten to know Sue over the past 2 years and have developed great respect for her,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

“A new Acting Director of National Intelligence will be named shortly,” he added.

About an hour later, Trump tweeted that Joseph Maguire, the current director of the national counterterrorism center, would be named acting director of national intelligence, effective Aug. 15.

This all comes after the president tweeted over a week ago his intention to name Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, as Coats’ replacement, but Ratcliffe quickly withdrew from consideration after reports surfaced about misrepresentations he made about his role in an anti-terrorism case while serving as U.S. Attorney in Texas.

In tweets on Friday, Trump said “our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media. Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people….”

Ratcliffe, in a statement said he did not wish for a national security and intelligence debate surrounding his confirmation, “however untrue, to become a purely political and partisan issue.”

“The country we all love deserves that it be treated as an American issue. Accordingly, I have asked the President to nominate someone other than me for this position,” Ratcliffe said in the statement.

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Posted On 08 Aug 2019

Elizabeth Warren doubles down on calling Trump a white supremacist, joining former Rep. Beto O’Rourke

Political News Elizabeth Warren doubles down on calling Trump a white supremacist, joining former Rep. Beto O'Rourke

3dfoto/iStock(DES MOINES, Iowa) — Sen. Elizabeth Warren doubled down on her description of the president as a white supremacist on Thursday, a substantial escalation in her rhetoric that comes on the heels of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, executed by an alleged shooter who sources say told authorities he was out to kill as many Mexicans as he could.

Warren said she’s calling President Donald Trump a white supremacist now specifically because “it’s just one piece of evidence after another and at some point, when he has been so embraced by the white supremacist and has not distanced himself, then he’s there.”

“He’s winked, he’s nodded, he’s danced, he’s helped, he’s given compliments, and he’s turned people against people in this country. That’s not what makes us a stronger America,” Warren told reporters after an event at a family farm in Harlan, Iowa.

Warren first said President Trump was a white supremacist after an event in Council Bluffs on Wednesday night, accusing him of driving a racial wedge in America while endorsing others who proffer supremacist ethos. The New York Times first reported Warren’s response to whether she thought Trump was a white supremacist, a label former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas used earlier that night when he was asked about it.

On Thursday, Warren expanded on why she believes Trump deserves the label, listing the president’s reaction to a white supremacy rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a woman was killed, his comments that four U.S. congresswomen of color should “go back” to the countries they came from despite most of them being born in the U.S. and reports that he described African countries as “s—hole” countries.

“He’s a man who cozies up to the white supremacists. He calls them fine fellas. He’s talked about trying to get brown people and black people out of this country. He’s talked about s—hole countries. This is what he’s done. The wink and the nod. And he can’t have it both ways. He can’t keep trying to stir this up, give aid and comfort, be embraced by the white supremacists, and then say, oh, but not me,” Warren said.

“No. He’s responsible. He’s the president of the United States,” she said.

Over the last few days, following the shooting in El Paso, Warren has been asked about white supremacy but not gone so far as to label the president directly, instead criticizing him for not disavowing it more adamantly.

“White supremacy is a domestic terrorism threat in the same way that foreign terrorism threatens our people,” Warren told CNN’s Don Lemon on Sunday. “And it is the responsibility of the president of the United States to help fight back against that. Not to wink and nod and smile at it and let it get stronger in this country.”

In the past, she’s called Trump a “thin-skinned racist bully,” but also demurred at other times in calling Trump a racist outright. Trump has repeatedly denied that he’s a racist.

The president, for his part, called for unity and healing in visits to El Paso and Dayton, two cities mourning the loss of thirty one people after two back-to-back mass shootings.

He also repeated conservative media reports focused on the Dayton shooter’s self-description as “leftist” on a Twitter account believed to be his, although law enforcement authorities have said they do not believe his political views appear to be a significant motive for the Dayton attack.

“This person supported Bernie Sanders, Antifa and Elizabeth Warren I understand — nothing to do with President Trump,” he said, speaking to reporters on the White House South Lawn, referring to two of the 2020 Democratic candidates and the left-wing, anti-fascist group.

Most of the posts on the shooter’s social media accounts indicate left-leaning politics. Two of these posts were in support of Elizabeth Warren and one also expresses support of Bernie Sanders, amid other posts that were anti-white supremacist and pro-immigration.

In response, 2020 candidates like Warren have stepped up their call-out of Trump’s speech, accelerating the way they address the rise of racial friction and violent action across the country.

Previously, many, including Warren, used strong words in talking about the president’s rhetoric, but sidestepped directly calling him a racist. Now, spurred on both by the recent spate of mass shootings and a new speed limit for the 2020 race as they all take the trail in Iowa ahead of the state fair, the directness marks a notable nuance.

On the trail Thursday, Warren also said she agreed with a description from former Vice President Joe Biden that Trump has given safe harbor to groups like the KKK and Neo-Nazis.

“I think that’s a pretty good description,” she said.

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Posted On 08 Aug 2019

Stars of ‘The Brady Bunch’ to walk the shag carpet for HGTV’s ‘A Very Brady Renovation’ premiere

Entertainment News  Stars of 'The Brady Bunch' to walk the shag carpet for HGTV's 'A Very Brady Renovation' premiere


HGTV(LOS ANGELES) — Here’s the story, of a lovely family, whose famous TV home just got rebuilt.

That story — the 2018 renovation of the world-famous North Hollywood home known as the “Brady Bunch house” — is the centerpiece of HGTV’s new series A Very Brady Renovation…and the Brady family will soon gather to celebrate.

The six Brady Bunch siblings — Barry Williams, who played Greg; Maureen “Marcia” McCormick; Christopher “Peter” Knight; Eve “Jan” Plumb, Mike “Bobby” Lookinland, and Susan “Cindy” Olsen — will walk the red shag carpet at the Garland Hotel in Los Angeles for the show’s September 5th “shag carpet” — instead of red carpet — premiere.

With them will be HGTV renovation stars like Mina Starsiak Hawk and Karen E. Laine from Good Bones, Jasmine Roth from Hidden Potential, and other celebrities yet to be announced.

As for what was done to the house, remember that only exterior shots were used on The Brady Bunch. The new series documents the top-to-bottom restoration of the home, making it so its interior and exterior perfectly matched the house you see in the TV show. 

While the actual set was only one level, with the “upstairs bedrooms” next to each other on the same floor as the living room, the renovation experts on the HGTV show made it look like the two-level home we all remember — and replicated the classic show’s interiors right down to the smallest bits of Brady bric-a-brac.

No word on whether or not the famous football that broke Marcia’s nose will be one of the items recreated on the set.

HGTV’s A Very Brady Renovation debuts September 9.              

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Aug 2019

Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe sues Bureau, DOJ over firing

Political News Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe sues Bureau, DOJ over firing

wingedwolf/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe has filed a civil suit against the Department of Justice and the FBI, arguing his March 2018 firing was unjust and politically motivated.

The suit, which also names Attorney General Bill Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray as defendants, claims that McCabe faced “unlawful retaliation for his refusal to pledge allegiance to a single man,” apparently a reference to President Donald Trump.

In his suit, McCabe argues that he was targeted as part of Trump’s “unconstitutional plan and scheme to discredit and remove DOJ and FBI employees who were deemed to be his partisan opponents because they were not politically loyal to him.”

McCabe was fired from the FBI on March 16, 2018, after the Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that McCabe misled investigators looking into how Justice Department and FBI officials handled matters associated with the 2016 presidential election.

McCabe, who briefly served as acting FBI director after James Comey was fired, has long defended his actions, insisting he did his best to relay accurate information to those investigators.

Trump has often attacked McCabe as emblematic of political bias within the FBI.

The Department of Justice and FBI declined to comment on the lawsuit.

ABC News has reached out to the White House for comment.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Aug 2019

US and Canadian military aircraft intercept 2 Russian bombers north of Alaska coast

WORLD NEWS US and Canadian military aircraft intercept 2 Russian bombers north of Alaska coast

U.S. Defense Department(WASHINGTON) — U.S. and Canadian fighter aircraft intercepted two Russian Tu-95 Bear H bombers over the Beaufort Sea north of the Alaskan and Canadian coast on Thursday, according to North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).

The bombers had entered the Alaskan and Canadian Air Defense Identification Zones (ADIZ), which extends 200 miles off the coast, but they did not cross into U.S. or Canadian sovereign airspace. It’s believed to be the fifth Russian intercept by the U.S. this year.

The two U.S. F-22 fighters and two Canadian CF-18 fighters were supported by an American E-3 Sentry, KC-135 refueling aircraft and C-130 tanker.

“NORAD’s top priority is defending Canada and the United States. NORAD operators identified and intercepted the Russian aircraft flying near our nations,” said NORAD Commander Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy in a statement on Thursday. “Whether responding to violators of restricted airspace domestically or identifying and intercepting foreign military aircraft, NORAD is on alert 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”

The ADIZ is airspace that stretches 200 miles from the coastline and is monitored in the interest of national security. U.S. territorial airspace begins 12 miles from the coastline.

Last week, two Russian aircraft entered the Alaskan ADIZ but were not intercepted by U.S. aircraft. The last intercepts occurred in May when Russian aircraft were intercepted by U.S. fighter jets two days in a row after they crossed the Alaskan ADIZ.

The May intercepts were the first to occur close to Alaska since January, when Russian bombers entered Canada’s ADIZ and were intercepted by both Canadian and U.S. aircraft.

Over the last two years, Russian missions close to Alaska have occurred two to three times a year.

“NORAD employs a layered defense network of radars, satellites, and fighter aircraft to identify aircraft and determine the appropriate response,” NORAD said in a statement. “The identification and monitoring of aircraft entering a U.S. or Canadian ADIZ demonstrates how NORAD executes its aerospace warning and aerospace control missions for the United States and Canada.”

The U.S. military also flies its aircraft off the Russian coast in international airspace.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Aug 2019

Iraqi immigrant with mental health issues, diabetes dies after Trump administration deports him

Political News Iraqi immigrant with mental health issues, diabetes dies after Trump administration deports him

Phototreat/iStock(WASHINGTON) — An Iraqi man, who was brought to the U.S. as an infant from a refugee camp in Greece, was deported to Baghdad by the Trump administration in June and died Wednesday, according to lawyers, a family friend and a congressman.

Jimmy Aldaoud, 41, suffered from mental illness and diabetes, and without regular access to insulin or proper medical care in Iraq, he died in a country that he never knew. He was deported on June 2, according to lawyers, after being detained by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE.

“I begged them. I said, ‘Please, I’ve never seen that country. I’ve never been there,” Aldaoud said in a video reportedly recorded two and a half weeks after his deportation and shared by a Michigan state representative Thursday.

“I’m here now, and I don’t understand the language, anything. I’ve been sleeping in the street. I’m diabetic, I take insulin shots. I’ve been throwing up, throwing up, sleeping in the streets, trying to find something to eat,” he said in the video.

Born in Iraq, Aldaoud and his family fled to Greece shortly afterwards and applied for refugee status in the U.S., where Aldaoud arrived when he was about 1 year old, according to lawyers.

He had a criminal history, including disorderly conduct, but “his mental health was the primary reason for his legal issues that led to his deportation,” according to Edward Bajoka, an attorney and family friend, who said Aldaoud was a paranoid schizophrenic.

Aldaoud is one of hundreds of Chaldean Iraqis — an ancient Catholic sect with roots in modern-day Iraq, that has been historically persecuted in the Middle East — who the Trump administration has moved to deport. Some, like Aldaoud, have lived in the U.S. for decades.

 “Jimmy’s death has devastated his family and us. We knew he would not survive if deported. What we don’t know is how many more people ICE will send to their deaths,” Miriam Aukerman, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s Michigan branch, told ABC News in a statement.

The ACLU was part of a 2017 lawsuit against the administration on behalf of Chaldeans and other Iraqis who have been facing deportation. In June of that year, ICE agents began arresting hundreds of Iraqis in the Detroit area who had final orders of removal because of previous criminal records.

Initially, a federal judge ruled that the group of Iraqis still had the right to appear before an immigration court and plead their case before facing deportation, in particular because they would face persecution and increased violence in Iraq. More than 300 Iraqis were able to ask an immigration court to rehear their case, with 40 or so winning relief so far, according to the ACLU.

 But last December, a higher court overruled that decision, and this past April, it closed the door to further hearings. Weeks later, Aldaoud was detained by ICE and deported.

“His deportation was essentially a death sentence,” said Rep. Andy Levin, D-Mich., whose district includes the largest Iraqi-born community in the country. “My Republican colleagues and I have repeatedly called on the executive branch to cease deportation of such vulnerable people. Now, someone has died. We cannot wait one more day for action.”

Levin and his Republican colleague John Mollenaar have introduced legislation that would give Iraqi nationals with removal orders two years of relief from deportation to have their cases heard by an immigration court.

He and other lawmakers from both parties have appealed to the Trump administration, including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to follow through on their stated commitment to protecting Christians in the Middle East by providing relief for this community.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Aug 2019

Twitter locks McConnell campaign account after it posts video of protesters threatening McConnell

Political News Twitter locks McConnell campaign account after it posts video of protesters threatening McConnell

Twitter(WASHINGTON) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s campaign blasted Twitter on Thursday after its account was locked for sharing a video of protesters making threats against McConnell outside his home.

“The users were temporarily locked out of their accounts for a Tweet that violated our violent threats policy, specifically threats involving physical safety,” a Twitter spokesperson told ABC News.

The McConnell campaign Twitter page on Tuesday posted a video showing protesters outside the Kentucky senator’s home. The video included Black Lives Matter Louisville leader Chanelle Helm cursing and stating that she wished the GOP leader had “broken his little, raggedy, wrinkled-ass neck” instead of injuring his shoulder last weekend. The video, which was originally posted by Helm, has since been removed from Twitter.

McConnell’s campaign manager Kevin Golden attacked Twitter’s decision, saying that this represents a problem with “the speech police in America today.”

“Twitter will allow the words ‘Massacre Mitch’ to trend nationally on their platform. But locks our account for posting actual threats against us,” Golden told ABC News. “We appealed and Twitter stood by their decision, saying our account will remain locked until we delete the video.”

The McConnell campaign statement is in line with previous remarks made from President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers who claim social media websites such as Twitter are biased against conservatives. Twitter has denied these accusations.

The Republican National Committee’s chief of staff, Richard Walters, tweeted Wednesday that, “The @GOP and @TeamTrump stand with the @Team_Mitch and the @NRSC. Any future ad $ either organization was planning to spend with @Twitter has been halted until they address this disgusting bias.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Posted On 08 Aug 2019

‘This Is Us’ star Milo Ventimiglia on winning Emmys, working with animals, and ‘Racing In The Rain’

Entertainment News  'This Is Us' star Milo Ventimiglia on winning Emmys, working with animals, and 'Racing In The Rain'


© 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. All rights reserved. (NEW YORK) — Based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein, the film The Art of Racing in the Rain stars This Is Us patriarch Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried and an adorable golden retriever named Enzo.

The film has Ventimiglia playing Denny, an aspiring Formula One driver, whose wise, four-legged best friend has his thoughts voiced by Oscar-winner Kevin Costner.

Speaking about hearing Costner’s voice describing Enzo’s thoughts, Milo says, “I didn’t even hear the narration when I was filming it…[But] when I heard it with Kevin’s voice, and it was all put together, I mean…it explodes.”

W.C. Fields said “never work with children or animals,” but Milo had to do both in the film. He says acting opposite Enzo was a bit frustrating, because it’s not like the dog can act back.

“It’s technical,” the actor tells ABC Radio, laughing, “I mean, I don’t get a treat at the end of every take. Nobody’s feeding me like little chicken biscuits! Nobody’s doing that!”

“I’m one of those actors, that…I need scene partners. I need something that I can draw and pull from,” he notes. “Even if a human actor is just reading their lines, but they don’t really believe it, they’re not into the scene…then it makes it that much more difficult for me.”

As for his day job, NBC’s This Is Us has earned Ventimiglia three Emmy nominations but to date, no wins. Is it important for him to reverse that trend at the upcoming Emmy Awards?

“No.” he tells us. “To be recognized by your peers…I’m grateful…If I come home with a trophy? Cool. If I don’t? Cool. I’m still showing up to work the next day… and busting my a**.” 

The Art of Racing in the Rain opens Friday.

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Posted On 08 Aug 2019