Roberts, Trump spar in extraordinary scrap over judges
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Chief Justice John Roberts clashed Wednesday in an extraordinary public dispute over the independence of America’s judiciary, with Roberts bluntly rebuking the president for denouncing a judge who rejected his migrant asylum policy as an “Obama judge.”
There’s no such thing, Roberts declared in a strongly worded statement contradicting Trump and defending judicial independence. Never silent for long, Trump defended his own comment, tweeting defiantly, “Sorry Justice Roberts.”
The pre-Thanksgiving dustup was the first time that Roberts, the Republican-appointed leader of the federal judiciary, has offered even a hint of criticism of Trump, who has several times blasted federal judges who have ruled against him.
Before now, it has been highly unusual for a president to single out judges for personal criticism. And a chief justice’s challenge to a president’s comments is downright unprecedented in modern times.
It seemed a fight that Trump would relish but one that Roberts has taken pains to avoid. But with Roberts’ court feeling the heat over the president’s appointment of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Roberts and several of his colleagues have gone out of their way to rebut perceptions of the court as a political institution divided between five conservative Republicans and four liberal Democrats.
Facing criticism, Trump says he’ll visit troops in war zone
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump frequently credits himself with accomplishing more for the military and veterans than any other president in recent memory. But he has yet to embark on what has long been a traditional presidential pilgrimage important to the military: a visit to troops deployed in a war zone.
As he departed Tuesday for Florida to spend the Thanksgiving holiday at his private club in Palm Beach, Trump said he’d soon correct the oversight.
“I’m going to a war zone,” he said in response to a reporter’s question about his support for the troops. He did not say when he would be making the trip or where he would be going. An official said a White House team recently returned from beginning to plan for a visit.
The White House said Wednesday night that Trump would be participating in “a Thanksgiving teleconference with members of the military” Thursday morning.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday that visiting a war zone is a decision for the president, while adding that there have been times in the past when he has advised against visits to “certain locations” to avoid security risks to the president and the troops.
Inside Trump’s refusal to testify in the Mueller probe
WASHINGTON (AP) — The date had been picked, the location too, and the plan was penciled in: President Donald Trump would be whisked from the White House to Camp David on a quiet winter Saturday to answer questions from special counsel Robert Mueller’s team.
But as the Jan. 27, 2018, date neared and Mueller provided the topics he wanted to discuss, Trump’s lawyers balked. Attorney John Dowd then fired off a searing letter disputing Mueller’s authority to question the president. The interview was off.
Nearly a year later, Trump has still not spoken directly to Mueller’s team — and may never. Through private letters, tense meetings and considerable public posturing, the president’s lawyers have engaged in a tangled, tortured back-and-forth with the special counsel to prevent the president from sitting down for a face-to-face with enormous political and legal consequences.
The prolonged negotiation speaks to the high stakes for Trump, Mueller’s investigation of his campaign and the presidency. Any questioning of a president in a criminal investigation tests the limit of executive authority. Putting this president on the record also tests his ability to stick to the facts and risks a constitutional showdown.
The process took a significant step forward this week when Trump’s lawyers handed over the president’s written answers to some of Mueller’s questions. The arrangement was a hard-fought compromise. Trump answered only questions about Russian interference in the 2016 election and not questions about whether he has tried to obstruct the broader investigation into potential coordination between Russia and his presidential campaign. It’s unclear whether Mueller intends to push for more — either in writing or in person.
A life of adventure, religion for American killed in India
SEATTLE (AP) — John Allen Chau spent summers alone in a California cabin as a wilderness emergency responder, led backpacking expeditions in the Northwest’s Cascade Mountains, almost lost his leg to a rattlesnake bite, and coached soccer for poor children in Iraq and South Africa.
But kayaking to a remote Indian island, home to a tribe known for attacking outsiders with bows and arrows, proved an adventure too far for the avid outdoorsman and Christian missionary. Police said Wednesday that he had been killed , and authorities were working with anthropologists to try to recover his body from North Sentinel, in the Andaman Islands.
“Words cannot express the sadness we have experienced about this report,” his family said in a statement posted on his Instagram account. “He loved God, life, helping those in need, and had nothing but love for the Sentinelese people.”
Visits to the island are heavily restricted, which Chau knew, authorities said. Police arrested seven fishermen accused of helping him reach it, and Chau’s family pleaded for their release, saying he acted “on his own free will.”
Chau, 26, was from southwestern Washington state, where he attended Vancouver Christian High School. He went on to graduate from Oral Roberts University, a Christian college in Oklahoma, in 2014, with a degree in health and exercise science. While there, he worked with the university’s missions and outreach department.
‘A case of misdirected adventure’: Tribesmen kill American
NEW DELHI (AP) — The first time American John Allen Chau visited the isolated island in the seas between India and Southeast Asia, he came bearing gifts that included a football and fish.
He interacted with some of the tribesmen — who survive by hunting, fishing and collecting wild plants and are known for attacking anyone who comes near with bows and arrows and spears — until they became angry and shot an arrow at him.
It struck a book Chau was carrying, which an acquaintance said was a Bible. The 26-year-old adventurer and Christian missionary then swam back to a boat of fishermen that was waiting at a safe distance.
That night, he wrote about his adventures and left his notes with the fishermen. He returned to North Sentinel Island the next day, on Nov. 16.
What happened then isn’t known, but on the morning of the following day, the fishermen watched from the boat as tribesmen dragged Chau’s body along the beach and buried his remains.
Northern California rain hampers life for wildfire survivors
CHICO, Calif. (AP) — Amy Sheppard packs her belongings into a plastic garbage bag as rain drips around her, readying to move on from a field by a Walmart where thousands of evacuees had taken refuge from a deadly Northern California wildfire.
Sheppard, 38, her sister and niece, who is 1, are looking to move into a dry hotel after camping in the field for four days. They lost their home in Magalia and the jewelry-maker tears up as she thinks about what’s next.
“This rain is making it so hard,” she said.
Rain falling Wednesday in some areas of Northern California could help crews fighting a deadly wildfire. But it could also raise the risk of flash floods, complicate efforts to recover remains and make life even more difficult for people like Sheppard who have nowhere to go.
Heavier rain is expected later in the day in the Paradise burn area, which is about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of San Francisco, where the Camp Fire has killed at least 83 people, including two victims who were found Wednesday in burned homes. The blaze also destroyed more than 13,000 homes.
4 in New Jersey mansion fire killed by ‘homicidal violence’
COLTS NECK, N.J. (AP) — A family of four whose remains were found at the burned-down ruins of their New Jersey mansion was slain before the home was set ablaze, authorities said Wednesday, hours after the mansion owner’s brother was arrested on suspicion of arson at his own house.
Prosecutors sought to reassure the public that a random killer was not on the loose in the affluent community of Colts Neck, which is also home to some celebrities.
“We believe that this family in some form or fashion was targeted,” Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher Gramiccioni said.
Paul Caneiro, 51, was charged with setting fire to his home Tuesday in Ocean Township. Less than eight hours later, the fire that destroyed his brother’s home was reported about 80 miles (129 kilometers) away in Colts Neck, authorities said.
Gramiccioni said he could neither confirm nor deny that Paul Caniero was a suspect in the slayings.
Investors seek stability as they bail out of tech stocks
NEW YORK (AP) — Goodbye iPhones and Facebook feed. Hello power plants and bleach.
Since stocks began tumbling two months ago, investors haven’t abandoned the market. At least, not all of it. In recent weeks, as they’ve pulled money out of funds that invest in go-go technology companies, they’ve also been buying utilities, companies that make everyday necessities for consumers and other stocks that tend to have smaller swings in price than the rest of the market.
It’s part of a big shift in investor behavior as fears about rising interest rates, a global trade war and slowing economic growth around the world have roiled markets. The S&P 500 plunged a combined 3.4 percent Monday and Tuesday, with technology stocks again suffering particularly sharp losses, and the index has lost 9.6 percent since setting its record on Sept. 20.
Technology stocks’ fall marks a big turnaround from earlier this year, and from much of the bull market that began nearly a decade ago. After leading the market higher on the backs of their strong profit growth, Facebook and other big-name tech companies have recently stumbled on concerns that increased government regulation will dent their profits, on top of all the other concerns dragging on the rest of the market.
Apple has slumped particularly hard on fears that its newest crop of iPhones isn’t as popular as expected after phone-part suppliers gave discouraging forecasts. Apple has plunged 19.7 percent since the S&P 500 set its record two months ago, nearly double the loss of the index. Amazon, the third-most valuable U.S. company after Apple and Microsoft, has fallen 21.3 percent over the same time, during which it gave a forecast for revenue growth this holiday season that fell short of Wall Street’s high expectations.
After synagogue shooting, fresh thoughts on giving thanks
PITTSBURGH (AP) — David Feldstein knew seven of the 11 people killed in the synagogue. For Augie Siriano, they all were friends. Rabbi Jeffrey Myers was leading Shabbat services when the gunshots rang out.
Barely three weeks after the Tree of Life massacre — believed to be the deadliest attack on Jews in U.S. history — they and their fellow Pittsburghers are preparing to mark a holiday built around gratitude. But in the neighborhood of Squirrel Hill, they aren’t shying away from celebrating Thanksgiving. They’re welcoming it.
“It’s really a perfect time that Thanksgiving is falling right now,” Myers says. The holiday, he says, is about family — and spending time with loved ones is needed at a time like this.
And in the concentric circles of grief and healing around him — Tree of Life, Squirrel Hill and the city of Pittsburgh itself — the sentiment is similar.
“(With) Thanksgiving coming so closely on the heels of the shooting, people feel the need to be around family more,” says Dan Iddings, owner of Classic Lines, a bookstore about a half-mile from the synagogue. He will celebrate Thanksgiving with about 20 family and friends, and he expects it to be “a very family- and community-centered Thanksgiving, more so than in the past few years.”
Romaine calm: Lettuce warning looms over Thanksgiving dinner
NEW YORK (AP) — Avoid all romaine lettuce, but don’t worry about your turkey.
With two food poisoning outbreaks making headlines before Thanksgiving, the messages about what’s safe to eat can be hard to keep straight. Here’s what you should know before you sit down for dinner.
WHAT LETTUCE OUTBREAK?
On Tuesday, U.S. health officials issued an unusually broad warning against all types of romaine lettuce amid an E. coli outbreak. They asked restaurants and grocers to stop selling it, people to stop eating it and everyone to throw it all out.
Thirty-two illnesses in 11 states have been linked to romaine. Canada also was affected, with 18 illnesses in Ontario and Quebec. No deaths have been reported.
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