White House indicates Trump to veto disapproval of emergency
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — President Donald Trump is prepared to issue the first veto of his term if Congress votes to disapprove his declaration of a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border, a top White House adviser said on Sunday.
White House senior adviser Stephen Miller told “Fox News Sunday” that “the president is going to protect his national emergency declaration.” Asked if that meant Trump was ready to veto a resolution of disapproval, Miller added, “He’s going to protect his national emergency declaration, guaranteed.”
The West Wing is digging in for fights on multiple fronts as the president’s effort to go around Congress to fund his long-promised border wall faces bipartisan criticism and multiple legal challenges. After lawmakers in both parties blocked his requests for billions of dollars to fulfill his signature campaign pledge, Trump’s declared national emergency Friday shifts billions of federal dollars earmarked for military construction to the border.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra told ABC’s “This Week” that his state would sue “imminently” to block the order, after the American Civil Liberties Union and the nonprofit watchdog group Public Citizen announced Friday they were taking legal action.
Democrats are planning to introduce a resolution disapproving of the declaration once Congress returns to session and it is likely to pass both chambers. Several Republican senators are already indicating they would vote against Trump — though there do not yet appear to be enough votes to override a veto by the president.
Chicago police seek follow-up interview with Jussie Smollett
CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago police said Sunday they’re still seeking a follow-up interview with Jussie Smollett after receiving new information that “shifted” their investigation of a reported attack on the “Empire” actor.
The trajectory of the investigation “shifted” after detectives questioned two brothers about the attack and released them late Friday without charges, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Saturday. He said police also reached out to Smollett’s attorney to request another interview with him.
Guglielmi said Sunday the interview had not yet been conducted. He declined to comment on published reports that police believe Smollett staged the assault or that a grand jury may hear evidence in the case. The reports cited unnamed police sources.
“We’re not confirming, denying or commenting on anything until we can talk to him and we can corroborate some information that we’ve gotten,” he said.
Smollett, who is black and gay, has said he was physically attacked last month by two masked men shouting racial and anti-gay slurs and “This is MAGA country!” He said they looped a rope around his neck before running away as he was returning home from an early morning stop at a Subway restaurant in downtown Chicago. He said they also poured some kind of chemical on him.
UK lawmakers slam Facebook, recommend stiffer regulation
NEW YORK (AP) — British lawmakers issued a scathing report Monday that accused Facebook of intentionally violating privacy and anti-competition laws in the U.K., and called for greater oversight of social media companies.
The report on fake news and disinformation on social media sites followed an 18-month investigation. The parliamentary committee that prepared the report says social media sites should have to follow a mandatory code of ethics overseen by an independent regulator to better control harmful or illegal content.
The report called out Facebook in particular, saying that the site’s structure seems to be designed to “conceal knowledge of and responsibility for specific decisions.”
“It is evident that Facebook intentionally and knowingly violated both data privacy and anti-competition laws,” the report states. It also accuses CEO Mark Zuckerberg of showing contempt for the U.K. Parliament by declining numerous invitations to appear before the committee.
Facebook did not immediately respond to an email request for comment.
Ex-FBI official: ‘Crime may have been committed’ by Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an interview that aired Sunday that a “crime may have been committed” when President Donald Trump fired the head of the FBI and tried to publicly undermine an investigation into his campaign’s ties to Russia.
McCabe also said in the interview with “60 Minutes” that the FBI had good reason to open a counterintelligence investigation into whether Trump was in league with Russia, and therefore a possible national security threat, following the May 2017 firing of then-FBI Director James Comey.
“And the idea is, if the president committed obstruction of justice, fired the director of the of the FBI to negatively impact or to shut down our investigation of Russia’s malign activity and possibly in support of his campaign, as a counterintelligence investigator you have to ask yourself, “Why would a president of the United States do that?” McCabe said.
He added: “So all those same sorts of facts cause us to wonder is there an inappropriate relationship, a connection between this president and our most fearsome enemy, the government of Russia?”
Asked whether Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was onboard with the obstruction and counterintelligence investigations, McCabe replied, “Absolutely.”
Aurora shooter’s permit was revoked but gun wasn’t seized
AURORA, Ill. (AP) — An initial background check failed to detect a felony conviction that should have barred the man who killed five co-workers and wounded six other people at a suburban Chicago manufacturing plant from buying the gun.
Months later, a second background check of Gary Martin found his 1995 aggravated assault conviction in Mississippi involving the stabbing of an ex-girlfriend. But it prompted only a letter stating his gun permit had been revoked and ordering him to turn over his firearm to police — raising questions about the state’s enforcement to ensure those who lose their permits also turn over their weapons.
A vigil for the victims , including a university student on his first day as an intern and a longtime plant manager, was held Sunday outside the Henry Pratt Co. in Aurora, about 40 miles (65 kilometers) west of Chicago. More than 1,500 people braved snow and freezing drizzle to attend.
Martin, 45, was killed in a shootout with officers Friday, ending his deadly rampage at the plant. His state gun license permit was revoked in 2014, Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman said.
But he never gave up the .40-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun he used in the attack. Investigators are still trying to determine what exactly law enforcement agencies did after that letter was sent, Ziman said.
‘Carer-feeder’: Gillibrand plays up motherhood in 2020 race
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kirsten Gillibrand had a flurry of pots on the stove and steak, haddock, peas, steamed vegetables and rice on the menu.
She had a cable news appearance coming up in a few hours, but for now, her 10-year-old son entertained the family goldendoodle, Maple, a few feet away.
The New York senator was game to talk about motherhood, leadership, her policies and her pursuit of the nation’s highest office, she told a reporter. But first she needed to save dinner.
“I need to focus, because I’m about to burn the fish,” she said. “I’ve reached my point of capacity.”
As she cranks up her presidential campaign, Gillibrand isn’t trying to hide her working-mom juggle — she’s running on it. More than any other contender in a field crowded with women, the mom of two is using her dual roles of mother and candidate to pitch herself to Democratic voters.
Warren highlights her work on economic crisis in Vegas stop
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Democrat Elizabeth Warren used her first visit to Nevada as a presidential candidate to describe a squeeze on working families and a political system that she says fails to protect homeowners, including the residents of Las Vegas who were pummeled by the mortgage crisis a decade ago.
The Massachusetts senator spoke about her work as a consumer activist and her role overseeing the bailout of banks and insurers a decade ago, a job that brought her to the city to hear from residents struggling to keep their homes.
Warren said her own family almost lost their home when she was growing up and recalled one man she met in her Las Vegas visit a decade earlier who was one of millions around the country losing his home.
“You better believe one reason that I am in this fight is we can never let this happen again. Never,” Warren told about 500 people at a botanical garden and event center northeast of the Las Vegas Strip.
Warren, fresh off a Saturday swing through South Carolina and Georgia, was bundled up in a puffy coat for the unusually chilly Las Vegas weather as she appeared on an outdoor stage with an American flag backdrop and a faux sandstone formation.
‘Taking their last breath’: IS hides among Syrian civilians
BAGHOUZ, Syria (AP) — From a self-proclaimed caliphate that once spread across much of Syria and Iraq, the Islamic State group has been knocked back to a speck of land on the countries’ shared border. In that tiny patch on the banks of the Euphrates River, hundreds of militants are hiding among civilians under the shadow of a small hill — encircled by forces waiting to declare the territorial defeat of the extremist group.
A spokesman for the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighting the militants said Sunday that the group is preventing civilians from leaving the area, closing a corridor from which nearly 40,000 residents have managed to escape since December.
“They are taking their last breath,” said Dino, an SDF fighter deployed at a base near the front line in the village of Baghouz, about 2 kilometers (1¼ miles) from the militants’ last spot.
An Associated Press team visited the base Sunday, escorted by the SDF, driving past mostly one-story rural houses that were destroyed, a reminder of the cost of the battle. Occasional airstrikes and artillery rounds by the U.S.-led coalition supporting the SDF, meant to clear land mines for the advance, could be seen in the distance.
The road to the base passes through a number of villages and towns from which IS were uprooted in recent weeks.
School board in Virginia may end transgender bathroom ban
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — For nearly four years, Gavin Grimm has been suing his former school district after it banned him from using the boys bathrooms in high school.
Along the way, he’s became a national face for transgender rights. His case almost went to the U.S. Supreme Court. He graduated and moved to California but kept fighting.
The school board in Virginia may finally be giving in, although not in court. It will hold a public hearing Tuesday to discuss the possibility of allowing transgender students to use restrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
“I have fought this legal battle for the past four years because I want to make sure that other transgender students do not have to go through the same pain and humiliation that I did,” he said.
The Gloucester County School Board’s meeting comes just months before a trial is set to begin over its current bathroom rules.
Denny Hamlin cruises to 2nd Daytona 500 victory in 4 years
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Denny Hamlin came to the Daytona 500 determined to honor his late car owner with a victory.
He delivered with a storybook tribute for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Hamlin won NASCAR’s biggest race for the second time in four years Sunday, leading JGR in a 1-2-3 sweep of the podium in overtime. The race and the season have been dedicated to J.D. Gibbs, Joe Gibbs’ eldest son who died last month after battling a degenerative neurological disease.
J.D. Gibbs helped his father start the race team, ran it while Joe Gibbs was coaching the Washington Redskins, was a tire changer on the team’s first Daytona 500 victory and the one who discovered Hamlin during a test session at Hickory Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Hamlin was hired to drive the No. 11 — the number J.D. Gibbs used when he played football — and J.D. Gibbs’ name is on the Toyota.
When Hamlin stopped his car along the frontstretch to collect the checkered flag, he immediately credited J.D. Gibbs.
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