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Latest from Jamie Dupree

    A few days after backing off on his campaign pledge to get rid of the Export-Import Bank, President Donald Trump on Friday sent mixed signals about the future of the agency, by nominating a former GOP Congressman to run the bank’s operations, who has said it engages in corporate welfare. Former Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), who lost his 2016 bid for re-election, would be the new President of the Export-Import Bank, which helps foreign companies get the financing they need to buy U.S. products and exports. During his final two years in Congress, Garrett made no bones about wanting to scrap all federal support for the Ex-Im Bank, labeling it “taxpayer funded welfare” for big corporations. I opposed the House's vote to reauthorize the corporate welfare program known as the Ex-Im Bank. #CronyCapitalism https://t.co/pSbg0RMrdu — Scott Garrett (@RepGarrett) October 27, 2015 Mr. Trump’s selection of Garrett as the new head of the bank raised immediate questions in Washington about the bank’s future, as a number of Republicans who are still in Congress believe the bank is a waste of taxpayer dollars. “Yikes,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) about the news of Garrett’s selection. #ExIm corporate welfare bank is the symbol of D.C. cronyism. It steals from taxpayers to subsidize big corporations. #EndExIm #DrainTheSwamp — Justin Amash (@justinamash) April 14, 2017 Along with the nomination of Garrett, President Trump named another former Congressman, ex-Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) to the Export-Import Bank board. Both nominations must still gain Senate approval.
  • Months after joining other Republicans in praising leaks about Democrats from the internet site Wikileaks, CIA Director Mike Pompeo blasted the group in a Washington, D.C. speech as a “hostile intelligence service,” charging that the overriding aim of Wikileaks is to help Russia and others in further anti-American goals. “It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia,” Pompeo said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “WikiLeaks walks like a hostile intelligence service and talks like a hostile intelligence service,” the CIA Director added, saying Wikileaks, “overwhelmingly focuses on the United States, while seeking support from anti-democratic countries and organizations.” It was a marked turnaround for the CIA Director, as back when Pompeo was a GOP Congressman from Kansas during the 2016 elections, he joined many others in Donald Trump’s campaign, including the President, in praising the leaks of Democratic emails by Wikileaks. “BUSTED: 19,252 Emails from DNC Leaked from Wikileaks,” Pompeo tweeted – though that tweet has since been deleted. But – Wikileaks was happy to send out the original, just in case you couldn’t find it. Tweet sent by CIA Director Mike Pompeo on 24 July 2016 https://t.co/sTMHw2nvOG pic.twitter.com/Qd0mYRl5QF — WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) April 13, 2017 The U.S. Intelligence Community has long made clear that it believes there are distinct ties between Russian Intelligence and Wikileaks, though no formal evidence on the release of Democratic Party emails has been made public. “They didn’t deal directly with WikiLeaks,” FBI Director James Comey said in Congressional testimony last month, as he told the House Intelligence Community that there was “some kind of cutout,” an intermediary that the U.S. believes delivered the emails to Wikileaks for release.
  • While Republicans have vowed for years to balance the federal budget, there are few signs that President Donald Trump or GOP lawmakers will make significant headway to cut into the current $20 trillion federal debt, as a top White House aide said Wednesday that Mr. Trump’s campaign talk of getting rid of the debt was “hyperbole.” “It’s fairly safe to assume that was hyperbole,” said White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, who told CNBC in an interview that the President was not going to focus on major changes in mandatory spending as a way to balance the budget, “because the public’s not ready for it yet.” A look at the most recent budget reports show the growth in spending at the federal level is not being driven by regular programs that Congress deals with on a yearly basis, the so-called “discretionary spending” programs, which fund everything from the Pentagon to Congress, and various Executive Branch departments. Instead, the major cost drivers are what they have been for years – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and other entitlement programs. “Outlays for the first six months of fiscal year 2017 totaled $1,996 billion, CBO estimates —$ 61 billion (or 3 percent) more than they were during the same period last year,” read a recent report from the Congressional Budget office. Here’s how the CBO summarized why the deficit is going up in 2017: Also starting to go up more, the interest on the national debt – as interest rates increase, that figure will continue to increase – so far, spending on interest for the public debt is up $28 billion compared to a year ago. In the first six months of the 2017 fiscal year, the CBO estimated the federal budget deficit was $522 billion, up $63 billion from a year ago. In recent years, GOP plans to balance the budget have often not accomplished that goal for eight to ten years – President Trump’s first budget outline did not envision any decrease in the deficit for the 2018 budget, leaving it around $480 billion. “Turns out neither party cares,” said Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE). Turns out neither party cares https://t.co/xTLbZBRmeX — Ben Sasse (@BenSasse) April 13, 2017 Republicans have yet to put their budget plans on the table for 2018 in the Congress. Federal budget procedures require Congress to approve the spending blueprint known as the “budget resolution” by April 15 – but that plan has yet to be unveiled by Republicans for 2018.
  • One of the ideas to spur new economic growth that President Donald Trump has talked about repeatedly is his idea of forging a $1 trillion infrastructure package to build new roads, bridges, sewer systems and more around the country – but the White House so far has not produced any details of such a plan, and Republicans in the Congress don’t have anything on the table yet, either. The President will meet with a group of CEO’s at the White House on Tuesday on the issue – it’s something he has highlighted repeatedly since taking the oath of office, even though it has a price tag that makes Republicans in the Congress somewhat queasy. “We’re talking about a very major infrastructure bill of a trillion dollars — perhaps even more,” Mr. Trump said last week. The idea was front and center in 2016 on the campaign trail, and played a role in his first address to Congress in late February. Trump's going heavy on his infrastructure promises today, both at in this address and his morning town hall with CEO's — Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) April 4, 2017 But at this point, White House spokesman Sean Spicer has only said the Trump Administration is in the “beginning phases” of putting together an infrastructure plan – which means there is no legislative text ready for action in the Congress. The big question is, how much money do the feds fork over, and how big should the effort be – as a number of Republican lawmakers have been cool to the idea of spending billions on roads and bridges. And even when you ask Republicans in the halls of Congress about the development of those plans, you get the feeling that a bill won’t on the floor of the House or Senate any time soon. “What about infrastructure?” Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the chairman of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee said to reporters, when asked about it last week. “Any sense of when that might happen?” one reporter asked. “Well, it’s a little early for me to say,” Hatch replied, giving no hint that any decision had been made by top Republicans on how to fund a Trump highway plan. Yesterday, I wrote about how the Congress is not in session enough in D.C. to get its work done on time. The problem with the Trump infrastructure plan is that nothing has been proposed, beyond the idea of a $1 trillion dollar, public-private partnership to build new roads and bridges. And as several lawmakers told me last week, you can’t vote on an idea.
  • As lawmakers in Congress scatter back to their districts and around the world over an extended Easter break, a look at the calendar makes clear that if Republicans are going to make dramatic advances on the legislative agenda of President Donald Trump, the current Congressional work schedule might need to change, to ensure that Congress is in session and voting more often. It’s easy to beat up on Congress about their legislative schedule; weeks that feature votes on the floor of the House and Senate from Monday through Friday are rare. Congress makes sure to take a lengthy summer break even when a lot of annual work is unfinished. This past week, Republicans repeatedly said the House might come back into session over the Easter break if a deal was reached on a GOP health care bill. Congress needs 2 weeks off for Easter , for what coloring eggs, we have a lot of work to do….how is that Health Care Coming Along ? — Deplorable Rob (@robertmaturosr1) April 9, 2017 But the chances of striking a deal are much reduced when you are spread out around the country. The House left town on Thursday for a 19 day break. They are back in session April 25. The Senate left town Friday for a 17 day break. Senators return to session on April 24. Having watched Congress up close since I was a Page in the House of Representatives in 1980, what has become painfully evident about the House and Senate, is that their usual work schedule isn’t doing the trick. Just 4 times in 40 years that Congress finished its budget work on time (by October 1): 1996, 1994, 1988 & 1976 — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) September 22, 2016 As I reminded people with that old tweet, the last time lawmakers finished their budget work on time – by October 1 – was over 20 years ago, in 1996. That might be an indication that something needs to change. Certainly, lawmakers like to go home to take the pulse of the voters back home, and their schedules are aligned to take advantage of that each week. The Senate typically has a first vote on Monday evening, and a final vote by Thursday afternoon; this past week was one of the rare weeks where roll call votes occurred in the Senate on both a Monday and a Friday. The House usually works Monday-Thursday or Tuesday-Friday; here is their legislative schedule for the next six months, with the planned days in session in black: Lawmakers bristle when reporters mention the recess, as some members make sure you know they aren’t just playing golf and watching game shows while they are at home. “Follow me someday, and I’ll show you a 14, 16 hour day; it’s not a recess,” said Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) to reporters as the House got ready to leave on a 19 day Easter break. Murphy is right – many lawmakers are doing a lot of events back home, and talking to their constituents. But – when they aren’t in Washington, the legislative business of the country pretty much goes on hold. Budget expires April 28 Congress will be home April 8-22 so they have ~4 days to avoid government shutdown. lol. America. — Shaena Montanari (@DrShaena) April 3, 2017 A prime example of that comes up later this month – when Congress returns the week of April 24, they will have just a few days to extend a stopgap budget, which runs out on April 28. That full budget should have been approved by October 1 of 2016, as in last year – but because of the elections, lawmakers really didn’t try to pass the dozen annual spending bills, and instead approved what is known as a “Continuing Resolution” to fund the government. As for the 2018 budget, the Congress is already well behind schedule on that as week. Lawmakers are supposed to approve a spending blueprint known as the “budget resolution” by April 15 of each year. But in 2017, that budget resolution has not even been formulated, let alone voted on, as the failure to meet that April 15 deadline has become commonplace, and entirely bipartisan. In the past 30 years, the April 15 deadline for the budget resolution has been met by Congress four times. http://t.co/fAglR1bzsW — Matt Blunt (@MattBlunt) July 21, 2014 Think of it this way – if your assignment at work from your boss was to get the budget done by October 1, you would probably screw around early in the year, but then you would stay at work as long as needed to get the budget done by October 1. Or, there might be consequences. If you had failed to get that budget done on time in 36 of the last 40 years – that doesn’t sound like a plan that is producing results. Again – I must emphasize – that record of budget failure is a bipartisan one. The Republicans are no better than the Democrats on the annual appropriations bills, just like the Democrats are no better than the Republicans. As it turns out, legislating is difficult. https://t.co/kwpDZKXIiy — Andrew Taylor (@APAndrewTaylor) April 4, 2017 And unless Congress decides to scrap its August recess and work a lot more hours on the floors of the House and Senate in May, June and July, 2017 will go down as yet another year that the budget work doesn’t get done on time. That might not sound important to many of you, but when that work doesn’t get done, it also slows the other work of Congress – and this year, that could further bog down the legislative agenda of President Donald Trump, which already encountering moving slowly out of the gate. My advice to members of Congress is simple – just the put the bills on the floor. Don’t be afraid of tough votes. Work late on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Have votes five days a week. Week after week after week. And I’ll be there to cover it.
  • Twitter on Friday dropped a one day old lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, after the feds gave up a legal effort to force the social media giant to reveal who was behind a Twitter account that has often been critical of the Trump Administration on immigration policy. The dispute arose in mid-March, when the U.S. Customs and Border Protection service served a legal summons on Twitter, “demanding that Twitter provide them records that would unmask, or likely lead to unmasking, the identity of the person(s)responsible for the @ALT_USCIS account.” Twitter argued in a lawsuit filed Thursday that such a move was well outside the legal responsibility of Customs and Border Protection, especially since there had been no evidence presented of any criminal activities associated with that account. A day after that lawsuit was filed by Twitter, the CBP dropped its legal request. We want to thank @twitter and @aclu for standing up for the right of free anonymous speech. Thank you resistance for standing up for us. https://t.co/6PdwZIJ2xP — ALT🛂 Immigration (@ALT_uscis) April 7, 2017 The matter did not go unnoticed on Capitol Hill, as Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a letter to the acting head of the CBP, labeling the move a “disturbing threat to free speech.” “I request that you conduct an internal review into why and how CBP issued the summons and report on the results of that review,” Wyden wrote in his letter. The Oregon Democrat said he feared that the feds were trying to find out if this Twitter account was being run by a current employee of the Department of Homeland Security, “in order to take retaliatory action or otherwise squelch the exercise of First Amendment” rights. This account is one of a number of social media accounts that have sprung up since President Trump took office; they often make negative and/or mocking comments about changes being made inside certain agencies by the Trump Administration, and the President himself. It’s not clear if any of them are run by actual federal employees, or are just part of a broader effort to push back against Mr. Trump. Twitter’s argument is simple – unless they are accused of a crime, there is no reason the federal government should be able to force the release of material that would identify those who run the accounts. we recommend @BadHombreNPS @AltMtRainier @altUSEPA @Vets_Vs_Trump @AltHVNP @AltStateDpt @AltForestServ @AltDptEducation @AltDIA @alt_labor — ALT🛂 Immigration (@ALT_uscis) April 7, 2017 It was not immediately clear why this arm of the Department of Homeland Security asked for this information – when the request was made on March 14, the agency tried to force Twitter to produce “user names, account login, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and I.P. addresses” of those behind @ALT_USCIS. BREAKING: Trump administration backs down from unconstitutional push to unmask @ALT_uscis. Big victory for free speech and right to dissent. — ACLU National (@ACLU) April 7, 2017
  • Brushing aside the opposition of Democrats, Republicans in the Senate confirmed Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, delivering the first legislative victory for President Donald Trump, and filling a vacancy on the court that had been open for over a year since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. The vote was 54-45. “He has sterling credentials, an excellent record, and an ideal judicial temperament,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who muscled Gorsuch through the Senate with a Thursday “nuclear option” rules change, that mirrored one made by Democrats in 2013 on non-Supreme Court nominations. “Confirming Judge Gorsuch is one of the most important things we will do for future generations of Americans,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). Today, the #Senate will confirm Judge #Gorsuch to #SCOTUS. — Leader McConnell (@SenateMajLdr) April 7, 2017 “Judge Gorsuch is a world class jurist,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). “I think he’ll be a great addition to the court,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said of Gorsuch. “He is there to interpret the law, not to be an activist for his own personal opinion,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). For Democrats, the outcome gave them heartburn on multiple levels, as they expressed frustration over the refusal of Republicans to vote on President Obama’s nominee from 2016, and then watched as the GOP changed the rules to get rid of the 60 vote threshold for Supreme Court nominees. “I believe it will make this body a more partisan place,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY). But this was not a day for the Democrats, as Republicans celebrated the first real victory in Congress for President Trump, who has seen lawmakers unable to forge a deal on health care reform, while other major agenda items like tax reform, infrastructure plans and more have not bolted from the starting gate.
  • President Donald Trump’s first major use of military force drew support and opposition in both political parties in Congress, as key lawmakers backed the barrage of cruise missiles, intended to punish Syria for its chemical weapons attack earlier this week that killed dozens of civilians. “This action in Syria was appropriate and just,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan. “After six years of inaction by the Obama Administration, I am glad to see that President Trump is willing to stand up for these innocent victims and stop those responsible for this violence,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA). “No world leader can get away with gassing innocent children to death,” said Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), a frequent critic of President Trump. “This was long overdue.” Trump: “Tonight, I ordered a targeted military strike on the airfield in Syria” https://t.co/Pa8m83vbrJ https://t.co/yUXS36asUR — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 7, 2017 There were also some Democrats who gave the President their full support, echoing their GOP counterparts on the need to send a strong message to the Assad regime in Damascus. “I hope this teaches Assad not to use chemical weapons again,” said Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL). I support the admin’s strike on the air base that launched the chemical attack. I hope this teaches Assad not to use chemical weapons again. — Bill Nelson (@SenBillNelson) April 7, 2017 Most Democrats though found fault with the Trump attacks. “This is an act of war,” fumed Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), who demanded a full Congressional debate on the action. “What is the strategy here? What is our end goal?” asked Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-AZ). “This is not how you conduct a military strike.” “That feeling when a President governs in a manner entirely opposite to what he promised,” said Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI). On that point, during his campaign for President, Mr. Trump flashed two competing visions at times for the role of the United States in the world – one was, “America First” – an almost isolationistic argument, that the U.S. should stay out of foreign entanglements, and use money for improvements at home, not on wars overseas. The other Trump argument was a much more direct and forceful appeal, that the U.S. was playing patty cake on the world stage too often, and it was time to bomb the living daylights out of anyone who was in our way. .@marcorubio on US military strike into Syria: 'This is not just some symbolic measure, it is a strategic objective' https://t.co/J4QCmwgnQF — Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) April 7, 2017 Meanwhile, the more libertarian wing of the Republican Party was not pleased that Mr. Trump had chosen the option of military action to deal with Assad. “The President needs Congressional authorization for military action as required by the Constitution,” said Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). One lawmaker, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), went back and pulled out an old tweet by Mr. Trump from 2013, when he was criticizing President Obama about possibly using military force in Syria, as Massie labeled these strikes a “big mistake.” #bigmistake pic.twitter.com/u3xFXrTR6m — Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) April 7, 2017
  • Under fire for his review of intelligence documents at the White House that paralyzed the work of his panel, the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee announced on Thursday that he would step aside as the leader of a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections, appointing a team of three other GOP lawmakers to lead that investigation. In a written statement, Nunes decried ethics charges leveled against him by “leftwing activist groups,” saying charges of wrongdoing were “entirely false and politically motivated.” “I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence Committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation while the House Ethics Committee looks into this matter,” Nunes said. In his own statement, Speaker Paul Ryan endorsed the move, and the decision to have Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) lead the investigation. “I am confident that he will oversee a professional investigation into Russia’s actions and follow the facts wherever they lead,” Ryan said. Democrats said Nunes made the right choice,” “Good,” was the simple tweet from Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-CT). “An important step in the right direction,” said Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who like other Democrats have called for an independent probe. “Nunes showed he was incapable of overseeing an independent investigation,” Nadler added.
  • Republicans in the House will head home on Thursday morning for an over two week Easter break without a deal on a GOP health care bill, as lawmakers acknowledged their inability to forge an agreement may foreshadow more difficulties later this year on big pieces of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda. “It just doesn’t bode well for tax reform,” said Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), as the top ally of President Trump in the Congress blasted more conservative members of the House Freedom Caucus, and openly wondered whether that same group would find a way not to support a Trump tax reform bill. “The Freedom Caucus is going to pull the same stunt they always pull,” Collins said, accusing conservatives of routinely ‘moving the goalposts’ and rarely rallying behind GOP leaders in Congress on policy. While Collins was taking aim at the Freedom Caucus, the head of that group was counseling patience, expecting more talks in the weeks ahead. “This is a marathon, not a sprint,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC). But while Meadows stayed away from name-calling, outside conservative groups were more than happy to take shots at more moderate Republicans and their umbrella organization, the Tuesday Group. 'The Tuesday Group clearly wants to keep Obamacare in place,' Heritage's @MikeNeedham tells reporters on call. — Lauren Fox (@FoxReports) April 5, 2017 Conservatives & Trump ready to pass repeal. But Ryan & a few moderates are holding out to keep #Obamacare expensive insurance regulations — CFG + CFG Action (@club4growth) April 5, 2017 As for the Speaker, he was also trying to take a long view. “We have been encouraging people to talk to each other,” said Speaker Paul Ryan, who said he wants GOP members to keep looking for ways to come to an agreement. “We can keep working for weeks,” Ryan told a group from his home state of Wisconsin, as he said there was “breathing room” in the Congressional schedule for such efforts. The House leaves on Thursday for an extended Easter break, as lawmakers won’t be back in Washington for legislative sessions until April 24. After that, there are two more break weeks in May, before a busy schedule in the month of June.
  • Jamie Dupree

    Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.

    A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989. Politics and the Congress are in Jamie’s family, as both of his parents were staffers for members of Congress. He was also a page and intern in the House of Representatives. Jamie has covered 11 national political conventions, with his first being the 1988 Democratic Convention in Atlanta. His political travels have had him on the presidential campaign trail every four years since 1992, chasing candidates throughout the primary calendar.

    He is heard on Cox Radio stations around the country: WSB-AM Atlanta, WDBO-AM Orlando; WOKV-AM/FM Jacksonville; WHIO-AM/FM Dayton, Ohio; and KRMG-AM Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    Jamie and his wife Emily live just outside the Beltway with their three children. Some may know Jamie from his other on-air hobby, as he is a licensed amateur radio operator. When not at work or playing with his kids, you can often find him with a golf club in his hands.

    Follow Jamie on Google+

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • North Korea conducted large-scale artillery exercises on Tuesday to coincide with the 85th anniversary of its army’s foundation, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported. >> Read more trending news  Citing an unidentified South Korean government source, Yonhap reported that there were signs North Korea's military was carrying out large-scale, live-fire drills in areas around the east coast city of Wonsan. South Korea's defense ministry could not immediately confirm the report, according to Reuters. North Korea warned that the United States will have to choose between political and military surrender, according to the Yonhap report. 'If the U.S. and warmongers run amok with a reckless preemptive strike, we will stage the most brutal punishment of a preemptive attack in the sky and land as well as at sea and from underwater without any warning or prior notice,' according to Rodong Sinmun, spokesman of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.
  • Arkansas completed the first double execution in the country in 17 years Monday night, as the state executed death row inmate Marcel Williams, KARK reported. >> Read more trending news Williams was executed at 10:33 p.m. by lethal injection on the same gurney where fellow inmate Jack Jones died at 7:20 p.m. It was Arkansas’ first double execution since Sept. 8, 1999, according to the Department of Corrections, and the first in the United States since two men were put to death by the state of Texas in 2000. Williams was the third Arkansas inmate put to death in the past week. Ledell Lee was executed by lethal injection on April 20. Williams had labored breathing, and then grimaced slightly before losing consciousness, according to an Associated Press reporter who witnessed the execution.  Jones’ execution was close to its scheduled time, beginning at 7 p.m. Williams was supposed to follow at 8:15, but the execution was postponed after District Judge Kristine Baker issued a temporary stay as questions arose about whether Jones’ execution was humane or not, KARK reported. The stay was lifted about an hour later and Williams, who had been on death row for more than 20 years, was put to death. Jones also had been on death row for more than two decades, KARK reported. Gov. Asa Hutchinson originally scheduled four double executions over an 11-day period, which would have been the most by a state in such a short span since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death penalty in 1976. Arkansas said the executions needed to be carried out before its supply of one lethal injection drug expires on April 30, the Los Angeles Times reported. Williams was sentenced to death for the 1994 murder of Stacey Errickson. On Nov. 20, 1994, Errickson, then 23, was forced into a car at gunpoint by Williams. He drove her to several ATMs to make 18 different transactions, then raped her, strangled her in an abandoned storage shed, and buried her body in a shallow grave, KARK reported. Two days later, Williams kidnapped and raped two other women within 12 hours. In 1996, Jones was convicted and sentenced to death for the June 6, 1995, rape and murder of Mary Phillips. Phillips was strangled to death with a coffee pot cord while her 11-year-old daughter Lacey was tied to a chair. Lacey Phillips regained consciousness as police photographers took pictures of the crime scene, CNN reported.
  • Hours after a U.S. Senator accused the Trump Administration of using taxpayer dollars to promote President Donald Trump’s private club in Florida, the State Department pulled down a story written by government employees about the resort, what some ethics experts said was nothing more than an advertisement for Mr. Trump’s personal business interests. “Use of public office for private gain pure and simple,” said Richard Painter, a former White House ethics attorney for President George W. Bush. “Realtor.com — not the State Department– should help President Trump sell club memberships for $200,000,” Painter added on Twitter. At issue was a post done by an internal unit at the State Department about the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, lavishing praise on its history, much like a vacation brochure. Trump's not treating @StateDept websites like brochures anymore, but that doesn't come close to fixing his flagrant conflicts of interest. — Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) April 25, 2017 “I am curious,” tweeted Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). “Why are taxpayer dollars promoting the President’s private country club?” The State Department was silent about the post, but after it began to ricochet around social media – and in the political arena – the story was removed from the “Share America” platform, which can be used by diplomatic posts around the world to highlight American items of interest. “The intention of the article was to inform the public about where the President has been hosting world leaders,” a statement read on the Share America website, which is run by the State Department. “We regret any misperception and have removed the post.” “One Trump emolument down. Soon to follow: many more,” said Trump critic and ethics expert Norm Eisen. Yes, I am curious @StateDept. Why are taxpayer $$ promoting the President's private country club? pic.twitter.com/IlPhUlvMwa — Ron Wyden (@RonWyden) April 24, 2017
  •   It’s the beginning of snake season in Texas and authorities are warning people to watch out for the reptiles as they emerge from hibernation. >> Read more trending news The Laguna Vista Police Department posted the warning on its Facebook page after a close call between a giant rattler and a group of hikers on a local trail.  Police posted photos of the massive snake and another photo showing a fearless cat staring down a big rattler. Rattlesnakes emerge from hibernation in Texas in March or April, according to the police post. They favor temperatures that remain 60 degrees Fahrenheit or above, and are most active when temperatures reach 80 to 90 degrees.
  • The people who run Orlando International Airport are tired of apologizing for problems with the Automated People Movers, now calling out the manufacturer to rescue their reputation. Three times in the last five days, the new tram stopped working, forcing hundreds of passengers to take a bus or walk to their gates. Some flights had to be delayed, but yesterday 56 passengers missed flights, according to Executive Director Phil Brown.  The tram was down for 53 minutes on Monday, but no passengers missed their flights, he said. He told reporters today that the airport operations has verbally contacted Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, to make this a priority. “This afternoon we sent them a letter notifying them... We expect them to salvage their reputation,” said Brown. He also said he wants Mitsubishi to repay those passengers affected and a third party will be employed to receive those claims. Details to come. Monday’s shutdown was due to human error, he said, involving a contractor for Mitsubishi.