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The Latest News about Government and Politics

    Elizabeth Warren was paid nearly $2 million for legal work stretching back three decades, her campaign disclosed Sunday night, amid calls from a top Democratic presidential rival that the Massachusetts senator should be more forthcoming about what she earned from past corporate clients. In May, Warren released a list of close to 60 cases she worked on as an attorney going back to the 1980s. Fifteen pages of new data now shows what she was paid in nearly 40 of those — about $1.9 million. The list includes “all the income she earned from each case that we have been able to determine from public records, Elizabeth’s personal records, and other sources,” Warren spokeswoman Kristen Orthman said. “If Democrats are going to defeat Donald Trump, or whoever the Republican Party might replace him with, we must nominate a candidate who can create the most robust possible contrast against Republicans on conflicts of interest and corruption issues,” Orthman said in a statement. “Elizabeth does not sell access to her time — no closed door big dollar fundraisers, no bundling program, no perks or promises to any wealthy donor.” The new information comes against the backdrop of an escalating feud between Warren and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. Last week, Warren decried the mayor’s attending of closed-door fundraisers, saying, “I think that Mayor Pete should open up the doors so that anyone can come in and report on what’s being said.” She added, “No one should be left to wonder what kind of promises are being made to the people that then pony up big bucks to be in the room.” Buttigieg and his campaign shot back that Warren should release more of her past tax returns, shedding additional light on what she earned as an attorney for rich and powerful firms — setting the stage for Sunday’s disclosure. Warren had previously released 11 years of tax returns. The pair have also clashed over Buttigieg’s past work for powerful consulting firm McKinsey & Co. from 2007 to 2010. Buttigieg on Friday released a summary of the work he did — but he has not heeded Warren’s calls to make public a full client list, citing a nondisclosure agreement he signed with McKinsey. Warren’s campaign said Sunday’s disclosure provides more information on her business income than releasing additional, past tax returns would because her tax documents don’t fully itemize earnings the same way the details it released do. A steady rise in the polls throughout the summer landed Warren among the Democratic primary front-runners, but polling in recent weeks has suggested her support is plateauing or beginning to slip. At the same time, Buttigieg has seen his polling numbers improve enough to become a front-runner himself, with the lead-off Iowa caucuses now less than two months away. Among the clients for whom Warren consulted were the attorneys for Rabobank, a Dutch financial institution that became a creditor in the Enron bankruptcy; former directors of Getty Oil, who were involved in Texaco’s bankruptcy; and women whose allegations of harm from silicone breast implants produced by Dow Corning were imperiled when the company filed for bankruptcy. The cases listed involve Warren serving as a consultant, mediator or expert witness in addition to those in which she served as counsel. Her largest disclosed payday was nearly $187,000 for a case originally filed in 1995. Her campaign said Warren “represented a well-known chain of department stores to make sure that it could stay alive and pay its creditors. Elizabeth succeeded, and the company continued to employ people across its many stores.” Warren taught at Harvard Law School before being elected to the Senate in 2012.
  • Elizabeth Warren said Sunday she believes Americans are ready for a presidential ticket with two women at the top, rejecting concerns from some Democrats that a woman can't beat President Donald Trump. 'Sure, why not?' the Democratic presidential candidate told The Associated Press in an interview ahead of a town hall campaign event in Charleston. “I think (voters) would support a lot of different combinations.” In the aftermath of Hillary Clinton's 2016 defeat, some Democrats have expressed hesitation about nominating another woman to take on Trump in 2020. But Warren argued that women notched historic wins during the 2018 midterms, suggesting voters are worried less about gender than the message candidates are offering. Her comments come less than a week after California Sen. Kamala Harris abruptly dropped out of the race, prompting debate about whether a party that says it values diversity is shortchanging candidates of color and women. Other than Warren, the Democratic top tier is currently all male. They are also all white. Warren has said she'd consider tapping Harris as a running mate. She also told the AP she would be “open” to asking former Vice President Joe Biden to reprise his old job. “Look, it would be presumptuous of me to be talking about individuals, but I'm open to getting this right because that's what we want to do,' Warren said. 'We want to build a Democratic ticket and a stronger Democratic Party that's ready to get out there and compete at the national level, at the state level, at the local level.” Her openness to teaming with Biden is notable because the two candidates represent distinctly different visions of the Democratic Party's future. Warren has embraced calls for systemic reforms to the nation's economy and health care. Biden has urged more pragmatic approaches and has specifically rejected Warren's $20 trillion plan to transition the U.S. to a single-payer health care system as unworkable. Biden has the advantage in South Carolina, where he's leading in the polls because of his deep ties to the black community. He told the AP in October that Warren “doesn’t affect my strategy, period' in the state. But her trip to South Carolina on Sunday suggests she won't cede the state to Biden. She has upped her efforts to appeal to black voters, especially women. She delivered a well-received speech at a historically black college in Atlanta last month and a group of more than 100 black female activists endorsed her candidacy. In the interview and the town hall that followed, Warren went after her billionaire opponents, particularly former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. She has decried his multimillion-dollar ad spending as a way to try to buy the election, especially considering his decision not to compete in early-voting states, including South Carolina. “The problem with the billionaires is that there's just no limit on how much they can spend. They can reach in their pockets and just spend and spend and spend,' Warren told the AP. “That means they get to buy a bigger share of democracy than anyone else, and that's a real problem.” But Warren said the problem extends to candidates willing to hold big-dollar fundraisers in lieu of relying on a small-dollar donor base, referring to recent criticism she levied against fellow Democratic hopeful Pete Buttigieg. “If the only way we're going to get a Democratic candidate is that you've either got to be a billionaire, or go suck up to the billionaires, then buckle up, because it means we're going to have a government that just keeps working better for the billionaires and not for everyone else,' Warren said. Regardless of who emerges from the crowded Democratic field, Warren said the party will have to find ways to attract Republicans who are disenchanted by Trump's presidency. “We're going to need as many Democrats as we can to build up our turnout, and we're also going to need some Republicans to help us, some Republican women, some Republican men, who are turned off by how Donald Trump behaves,” Warren said. “I think we've got a path to victory, and I think the energy and enthusiasm of women is really what's going to carry us across the finish line with a good margin.' She said women will “not only help us win the White House but, just as has been happening, help us win up and down the ticket.” ___ Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP
  • The Senate’s top Democrat said Sunday that congressional leaders have reached a “real breakthrough” deal to give 12 weeks of paid parental leave to millions of federal workers as part of the annual defense policy bill. Sen. Charles Schumer said the agreement over the National Defense Authorization Act was reached late Friday night and a vote is expected later this week. The establishment of President Donald Trump’s proposed Space Force is also included in the bill. Trump administration officials have said Space Force is urgently needed to preserve U.S. dominance in space. A proposal from the Pentagon released earlier this year suggested the service would have about 15,000 personnel and begin in 2020. Space Force would reside within the Air Force, similar to how the Marine Corps exists within the Navy. The must-pass bill includes a provision that would allow more than 2 million federal government workers to take paid leave to care for a new baby or for an adopted child. Parental leave was a priority for high-ranking Democrats, including Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The provision is a victory for federal workers, who would face benefit cuts under the Trump administration’s budget submission. Under the current federal law, civilian workers are eligible for 12 weeks of unpaid leave. “It’s a real breakthrough for families,” Schumer said, adding that Democrats hope the move will encourage more private employers to offer similar parental leave benefits. “Not only does it mean that federal employees will get what they’re entitled to, the federal government is a pacesetter,” Schumer added. “If you work for a private company, this means the pressure on your employer will be much greater to give you parental leave as well when the blessed event of a child comes around, or god forbid your child is really sick and needs serious care.” Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and adviser, said Friday that such a provision would “mark a HUGE step forward towards making paid leave a reality for all Americans.
  • Fighting to be in the next Democratic presidential debate, Cory Booker concluded a nearly 800-mile, 12-county tour of Iowa on Sunday by criticizing the Democratic party for allowing “elites' and “money' to control who gets on stage and urging voters to offer his name when pollsters call. “Iowa never lets elites decide,' he told a crowd at his campaign office in Cedar Rapids on Sunday. “Let's let Iowa have another comeback story.” Just six candidates are qualified for the Dec. 19 debate, and Booker is not one of them. He's met the threshold of donors required to qualify but he has yet to hit the polling qualifications — either 4% support in at least four polls or 6% support in two early-state polls. The deadline is Thursday, and he's yet to hit the mark on a single poll. Booker said such measurements benefit candidates who can afford to air television ads and do not reflect the feelings of Iowa voters. Over his four-day trip, Booker frequently received standing ovations at events ranging from town halls to forums with Teamsters union members and farmers. He brought several voters close to tears, shared corny jokes and gleefully posed for photos with voters, sometimes alongside his girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson. “I'm a little upset with the (Democratic National Committee) right now because they seem to be trying to make the decisions for you,” he told a Sunday afternoon crowd gathered in a Dubuque bar. Booker also noted the New Hampshire Democratic Party voted this weekend to send the DNC a statement urging the party to revisit the qualifying standards for the debate to ensure greater diversity and give voters “the greatest opportunity' to hear from the candidates. Xochitl Hinojosa, a spokeswoman for the DNC, called the party's debate rules “inclusive' and said no candidate who has gone on to be the party's nominee has polled lower than 4% at this point in past primaries. “While we are legally required to have objective criteria for each debate, our qualifying criteria has stayed extremely low throughout this entire process,' she said in an emailed statement. “We’ve never seen a political party take this many steps to be inclusive.' As Booker seeks momentum, he's sharing a message focused far more on emotion and values than on policy and purity tests. He said his policy chops compare to any of his rivals, but it will take a leader who can help Americans see and care for each other to make progress on thorny issues like gun control and climate change. “We've lost elections with the person who had the best 15-point policy plans,” he said. “Underneath this has got to be the gut, it's got to be the heart, it's got to be who's going to to represent that spirit, who's going to get folks up and recognize that democracy is not a spectator sport.' It was a message that resonated with Renee Meyer, a former elementary school art teacher from Dubuque. “He just moves you; he wants you to rise to a higher calling and I think we all need that,' Meyer, 63, said. It was her second time seeing Booker speak. She hopes to see him on the December debate stage, but she also likes Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Sunil Malapati, a 47-year-old college chemistry teacher, said he was leaning toward caucusing for Booker but Sunday's event “more or less sealed the deal.” “There's a certain authenticity you can't fake,' he said. About 10% of people who attend one of Booker's Iowa events typically commit to caucus for him that day, said Iowa campaign spokeswoman Tess Seger. During this four-day trip, the campaign “exceeded or even doubled” that amount at every stop, she said. Booker has just four more days to see enthusiasm reflected in the polls. If he's not on stage, he has committed to campaigning in Iowa that day. Warren, Buttigieg, former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Bernie Sanders and Amy Klobuchar, and businessman Tom Steyer will also be onstage. It could be the party's first debate of the presidential cycle featuring all white candidates.
  • In his rise to the top tier of the Democratic race for president, Pete Buttigieg has impressed voters with his unflappable demeanor. But that moderate bearing is being tested as his opponents challenge him to reveal more about his two years working for an international consulting company. How Buttigieg handles the heat will be another measure of the durability of his improbable run, now that the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is seen as a serious threat to front-running candidates, especially in Iowa. To date, the more intense inspection — much of it invited publicly by rival Elizabeth Warren — doesn't appear to be slowing Buttigieg's progress in Iowa, where he's attracting large, excited crowds. But with more than eight weeks until Iowans march to their caucuses, there is still time for a drumbeat to begin. “The more heat there is, I welcome that,' Buttigieg told reporters in Waterloo Friday. “We’re talking about the American presidency and you should be able to show you can handle tough decisions, tough questions.' In the face of new questions about transparency — most notably about his three years with international consulting firm McKinsey & Co. — the South Bend, Indiana, mayor says he is taking steps to provide transparency, though stopping short of revealing the clients he's legally bound to keep confidential. The new questions about Buttigieg's role at McKinsey, including some time spent working in wartime Iraq and Afghanistan, come after his November rise to the top of Democratic preference polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, where voting for the 2020 presidential nomination begins. After shying away for months from criticizing her rivals by name, Warren, a Massachusetts senator who shot to the top of Iowa polls last summer, has called on Buttigieg to release the names of his McKinsey clients, disclose his campaign's most influential donors and open his fundraisers to the news media. Now fighting to catch Buttigieg in Iowa and New Hampshire, Warren has begun mentioning him by name in the context of her campaign's central theme: ending corporate influence in public policy, especially in light of President Donald Trump's refusal to release his income tax records. “We've got a chance as Democrats to say we're going to do this a different way and that different way does not involve going behind closed doors with millionaires and billionaires,” Warren told reporters in New Hampshire Saturday. The Buttigieg campaign released the names of about two dozen fundraising bundlers for the first quarter in April, but hasn’t since then. Buttigieg has said he would consider naming more and opening fundraising events to public but declined to give a timeline for a decision. He has released tax information, and given a timeline for his work at McKinsey, describing projects he worked on without naming corporate clients. But Buttigieg declined to declined to say whether he would break the agreement should the firm deny his request to release him. “Well, then they’re putting me in a difficult position,” he said Saturday. It's a first look at how the Cinderella campaign of this onetime asterisk in the Democratic field is responding to his increasing time under the microscope. The questions appeared to have no impact on Buttigieg's weekend campaign events, which drew large and excited crowds across Democrat-rich eastern Iowa. Cathy Ondler of Cedar Rapids, who stood among 1,000 people at tiny Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa, to see Buttigieg Saturday, said he spent little time at McKinsey when he was just out of college, though she was familiar with the questions. “I don't think he has anything to hide,” the 44-year-old finance director for a nonprofit group said. Ondler is considering supporting Buttigieg or Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Former state Rep. Nate Willems, a 40-year-old labor lawyer and former state representative from Mount Vernon, doesn't expect to support Buttigieg, but said, “He's getting picked apart on Twitter, not among everyday Iowa Democrats.” Still, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot put Buttigieg on the spot Friday, urging him to break the non-disclosure agreement to send a message in the age of Trump. “Shouldn't you break that NDA so that you have the moral authority and the high ground against somebody like Trump, who hides behind the lack of transparency to justify everything that he's doing?' the Chicago mayor asked Buttigieg during a one-on-one question session at a conference in Waterloo. “I’m going to give them a chance to do the right thing,” he replied. __ Associated Press writer Hunter Woodall in Rochester, New Hampshire, contributed to this report.
  • It’s whispered in NATO meeting rooms and celebrated in China’s halls of power. It’s lamented in the capital cities of key U.S. allies and welcomed in the Kremlin. Three years into Donald Trump’s presidency, America’s global influence is waning. In interviews with The Associated Press, diplomats, foreign officials and scholars from numerous countries describe a changing world order in which the United States has less of a central role. And in many ways, that’s just fine with the White House. Trump campaigned on an ''America First'' foreign policy and says a strong United States will mean a stronger world. “The future doesn’t belong to globalists,” Trump told the U.N. General Assembly in September. “The future belongs to patriots.” Trump insists he’s abandoning globalism for bilateral ties more beneficial to the U.S.. But there’s little sign of that. Instead, once-close allies — France, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Mexico, Turkey, Germany and more — have quietly edged away from Washington over the past three years. Sometimes it’s not so quiet. In a Buckingham Palace reception room during the recent NATO summit, a TV camera caught a cluster of European leaders grinning as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appeared to mock Trump. “You just watched his team’s jaws drop to the floor,” Trudeau said, apparently speaking about his meeting with Trump, talking to a group that included the leaders of France, Britain and the Netherlands. Trudeau quickly tried to walk back his words, telling reporters that he and Trump have a “good and constructive relationship.” But the footage brought into the open the increasing divide between the United States and its allies. This is a major change. For generations, America saw itself as the center of the world. For better or worse, most of the rest of the world has regarded the U.S. as its colossus — respecting it, fearing it, turning to it for answers. “We are America,” said Madeleine Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration. “We are the indispensable nation.” To be sure, America is still a global superpower. But now, the country's waning influence is profoundly redrawing the geopolitical map, opening the way for Washington’s two most powerful foes — Russia and China — to extend their reach into many countries where they had long been seen with suspicion. Because those longtime friends of Washington? Many are now looking elsewhere for alliances. Very often, they look to China or Russia. In Islamabad, for example, where the U.S. was once seen as the only game in town, Pakistan's government now gets military aid and training from Russia and billions of dollars in investment and loans from China. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte is nurturing closer ties to Beijing despite his nervousness over its expansionism in the South China Sea. In Egypt, long one of America’s closest Middle Eastern allies, Cairo now lets Russian military planes use its bases and the two countries recently held joint air force exercises. In Ukraine, which has looked to U.S. military aid for years to try to keep an expansionist Russia in check, Trump’s questionable loyalty is seen as creating a dangerous vacuum. “Once the U.S. role in Europe weakens, Russia’s influence inevitably grows,” Vadim Karasev, head of the Kyiv-based Institute of Global Strategies said. Or there’s France, whose friendship with America goes back to the days of George Washington. Perhaps more than any other Western leader, French President Emmanuel Macron has made clear that Europe should look to Beijing, not Washington, when it comes to addressing global issues from trade wars to Iran’s nuclear ambitions. Macron’s recent trip to China was choreographed in part to convey that the European Union has little faith in Washington anymore. Europe is on “the edge of a precipice,” Macron told The Economist magazine in a recent interview. “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” he said, a reference to the announced U.S. withdrawal from northern Syria. Perhaps no U.S. ally is more worried than the Kurds, America’s longtime battlefield allies. They bore the brunt of the combat as the Islamic State group was driven from the territory it held across a swath of Iraq and Syria. “Betrayal process is officially complete,” a Kurdish official said in a WhatsApp message sent to journalists after Trump's defense secretary announced U.S. troops would fully withdraw from northeastern Syria. That pullout paved the way for a Turkish offensive against Kurdish fighters and signaled to the world that U.S. may no longer be as reliable as it once was. The Kurds weren’t taken completely by surprise. Kurdish officials had been holding back -channel talks with Syria and Russia for more than a year before the announcement. The Kurds feared they would be abandoned by Washington. China has been delighted by what it sees as the voluntary abdication of U.S. leadership, particularly on free trade and climate change. Trump’s pullout from the planned Trans-Pacific Partnership, for example, opened the way for Beijing to push ahead with its own alternative free-trade agreement. Meanwhile, China has gone from being a climate change curmudgeon to sometimes reaping praise as a global leader on the issue. The White House's National Security Council did not respond to requests for comment about this story. Trump insists he is not pulling the U.S. off the world stage. He cites partnerships with other nations to fight terrorism and his administration highlights a recent high-profile raid in Syria that killed the leader of the Islamic State group. Trump has successfully coaxed NATO allies to spend billions more on their own defense to lessen the burden on the U.S. He complains that America should not be the world's policeman or its piggy bank, and needs to get out of what he calls ''endless wars.'' Some former administration officials have cited Trump's business background to describe him as having a 'transactional'' approach to foreign policy. He has pulled out of multilateral agreements, such as the Iran nuclear deal, yet he needs international support to pressure Tehran for its regional aggression and nuclear program. He gets credit for opening dialogues with the Afghan Taliban and North Korea, although efforts to end America's longest war and get Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons have so far been unsuccessful. He also has set about negotiating bilateral trade agreements with many countries because he says deals made by previous administrations were unfair to the U.S. He had success with South Korea, yet has not yet sealed a deal with China. In some ways, Washington’s declining influence is simply a reflection of history: America is no longer the singular economic and military giant that overshadowed nearly every other nation. In 1945, America had the world’s only nuclear weapons and produced roughly half the world’s gross domestic product. Today, the U.S. has perhaps 15 percent of global GDP and even North Korea has nuclear weapons. Other countries have grown immensely. China, once a poverty-battered behemoth, has become a financial giant and an emerging superpower. Countries from Brazil to India to South Korea have become serious regional powers. But if history plays a role, the diplomatic shifts of the Trump years are more about a White House unapologetically focused on the U.S. Globalism was once one of Washington's few unifying themes. Now, it's an insult in the capital, and the U.S. gets more attention for rejecting multilateral agreements, from Trump pulling out of the Asia-Pacific deal to his rejection of the Paris climate accords. The president has hosted only two state dinners and has repeatedly sought to slash the State Department budget. Trump insists talk of American decline is nonsense. “The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to belittle my VERY successful trip to London for NATO,” Trump tweeted after the summit, adding that there was “only deep respect” for the United States. America still has enormous power. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey done across 25 countries found that only 25 percent of people believed the U.S. plays a less important role now than it did a decade ago. Another of the survey's findings: People in nearly every country said they preferred a world order led by the United States. ___ Associated Press writers Kathy Gannon in Islamabad, Maggie Hyde in Cairo, Zeina Karam and Sarah El Deeb in Beirut, Yuras Karmanau in Kyiv, Ukraine, Sylvie Corbet in Paris, Jim Gomez in Manila, Philippines, and Deb Riechmann in Washington, contributed to this report.
  • A top Republican ally of President Donald Trump went a step further than the White House on Sunday by calling for Saudi Arabia to be suspended from an American military training program after a student pilot from the kingdom shot and killed three sailors at a U.S. naval base in Florida. Trump had called for the program to be reviewed but Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said he wanted more. “We need to suspend the Saudi program until we find out what happened here,' he said, adding that he likes the idea of training foreign pilots and helping them understand how the U.S. system works. “But there's something really bad here,” Graham said. “We need to slow this program down and reevaluate.” Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., whose district includes the base in Pensacola, said Friday's shooting “has to inform our ongoing relationship with Saudi Arabia.' Gaetz, who, like Graham, is an outspoken defender of Trump during the impeachment inquiry being led by House Democrats, declined to criticize the president when asked whether Trump has been tough enough with Saudi Arabia. He said he and Trump have been communicating regularly, and appeared to also call for the program's suspension. “We should not be taking new incoming Saudi students until we're absolutely confident in our vetting process,” Gaetz said. The U.S. has long had a robust training program for Saudis, providing assistance in the U.S. and in the kingdom. Currently, more than 850 Saudis are in the United States for various training activities. They are among more than 5,000 foreign students from 153 countries in the U.S. going through military training. The FBI has identified Friday's shooter as Mohammed Alshamrani, 21. Investigators said he was a 2nd Lt. in the Royal Saudi Air Force and a student naval flight officer of Naval Aviation Schools Command. Alshamrani opened fire inside a classroom at the naval base, killing three people and wounding two sheriff's deputies before one of the officers killed him, authorities said. Eight other people were also wounded. The FBI announced Sunday that it was working on the presumption that the shooting was an act of terrorism, a point echoed hours earlier by Robert O'Brien, Trump's national security adviser. The FBI was also interviewing acquaintances and following up on a visit by Alshamrani to New York City, including Rockefeller Center, in the run-up to Friday. Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker faulted Trump for taking what he said is a “transactional' approach to U.S. relations with the Saudi kingdom focused on financial interests and not moral values. Booker, a New Jersey senator, said the relationship is 'unacceptable'' and promised to change it if he is elected president next year. Trump has appeared more interested in promises by the Saudis to spend billions buying American weapons than in in holding the kingdom accountable for human rights violations, including the killing in 2018 of Washington Post writer Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey. Khashoggi was a critic of Saudi Arabia. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that knowledge of Khashoggi's killing reached the highest levels of the monarchy, but Trump declined last year to penalize Saudia Arabia over the slaying. Trump told an interviewer this year that Saudi Arabia buys a lot of American products and “that means something to me.” He argued that if he refuses to sell to the Saudis, they will turn around and buy weapons from U.S. rivals such as China and Russia. Gaetz and Booker were interviewed on ABC's “This Week,'' Graham appeared on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures' and O'Brien spoke on CBS' “Face the Nation.” ___ Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
  • Speeding toward impeachment, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Sunday he expects a committee vote soon on charges against President Donald Trump that will focus on abuse of power on Ukraine in a bid to get an unfair advantage in U.S. elections and obstruction in the congressional inquiry. “We’ll bring articles of impeachment presumably before the committee at some point later in the week,' said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. Last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., instructed the committee to write articles of impeachment — formal charges — against Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading Democratic rival. If the committee approves articles by Friday that would set up a final impeachment vote in the days before Christmas. “There's a sense of urgency, because he will do anything — judging from his past conduct — that he can to get interference and to rig the next election,” Nadler said. House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy criticized Democrats for their timeline, which he said was unfairly aimed at preventing the nation's voters from making their own choices in the 2020 election. “Two-thirds of those Democrats have already voted for impeachment before they heard anything,” said McCarthy, R-Calif. “If they do not impeach him, they cannot beat him at the polls.” Democrats have been working through the weekend as articles are being drafted and committee members prepare for a hearing Monday to hear evidence from the House Intelligence Committee, which investigated Trump’s dealings with Ukraine. Democrats say Trump abused his power in the July 25 phone call when he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a favor in investigating Democrats and engaged in bribery by withholding nearly $400 million in military aide that Ukraine depends on to counter Russian aggression. “There is overwhelming evidence that the president sought to coerce Ukraine into interfering in our election, essentially sought to cheat in our next election,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, the Intelligence Committee chairman. “That is an ongoing threat to the country, and one that simply can't wait,” said Schiff, D-Calif. Trump and his aides have made clear that they now see his impeachment in the House as inevitable and have shifted their focus to the Republican-controlled Senate, where Trump allies remain confident Democrats will not have the votes to convict and remove Trump from office. A vote to convict requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate, where Republicans hold 53 of 100 seats. It is unlikely that any Republican senators would cross party lines and vote to remove Trump from office. White House counsel Pat Cipollone informed the Judiciary Committee late Friday that the administration would not be participating in upcoming House hearings. He said the proceedings were “completely baseless.” “Impeachment Hearing Hoax,” Trump tweeted Sunday. Nadler, in two television interviews, declined to say ultimately how many articles of impeachment Democrats will present but said they will involve “certainly abuse of power” and likely “obstruction of Congress.” He said final decisions will come after Monday’s hearing following discussions with House leadership and the Democratic caucus. Nadler pointed to a “pattern” of conduct by Trump in seeking foreign interference in elections but would not commit to including the evidence of obstruction of justice in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation as part of the articles of impeachment. In his report, Mueller said he could not determine that Trump's campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia in the 2016 election. But Mueller said he could not exonerate Trump of obstructing justice in the probe and left it for Congress to determine. “The central allegation is that the president put himself above his country several times, that he sought foreign interference in our elections several times, both for 2016 and 2020, that he sought to cover it up all the time,” Nadler said. “We have a very rock-solid case. I think the case we have if presented to a jury would be a guilty verdict in about three minutes flat,' he said. Trump said over the weekend that his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani wants to take the information gathered from Giuliani's investigations and a recent trip to Ukraine to the U.S. attorney general and to Congress. But a House GOP ally called Giuliani's trip “weird,' coming as House investigators review allegations that Giuliani improperly worked on behalf of Trump to pressure Ukraine to pursue investigations into Biden and Biden's son, as well as a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. “It is weird that he's over there,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., describing it as “odd having him over there at this time.” Schiff said he had “little idea'' what Trump was talking about regarding Giuliani, ”except that the president is only too happy to have his personal attorney continue to seek foreign interference in the next election.'' Nadler spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union,' McCarthy was on Fox News Channel's “Sunday Morning Futures,” Gaetz spoke on ABC's “This Week,” and Schiff appeared on CBS' “Face the Nation.” ___ Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.
  • Actress Sally Field, singer Linda Ronstadt and the disco-funk band Earth Wind and Fire awaited their turn in the spotlight Sunday night as part of the latest group of recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievements in the arts. Also in this year's class are conductor Michael Tilson Thomas and long-running children’s TV show “Sesame Street.” Once again, the attendance of President Donald Trump had been an open question until the White House said Friday that neither he nor first lady Melania Trump would attend. Trump skipped the past two celebrations; in 2017, after multiple recipients threatened to boycott the event if he attended. The Kennedy Center's president, Deborah Rutter, said in an interview earlier this year that “they are always invited.” Field, 72, was a television star at age 19 and went on to forge a distinguished career that included two Academy Awards and three Emmys. She starred last year in a Netflix miniseries called “Maniac.” “Sesame Street” debuted in 1969 and remains a force in children’s educational television. The show now airs new episodes on HBO, and they are rebroadcast months later on the show’s original home, PBS. The co-founders of “Sesame Street,” Joan Ganz Cooney and Lloyd Morrisett, will accept the award on behalf of the show. Hours before the ceremony, the Sesame Workshop announced that Caroll Spinney, who gave Big Bird his warmth and Oscar the Grouch his growl for nearly 50 years on “Sesame Street,” died Sunday at the age of 85 at his home in Connecticut. Ronstadt was one of the faces of American music in the 1970s and 1980s, landing on the cover of Time magazine in 1977. In 2011, she announced her retirement from singing, citing the advancing effects of Parkinson’s disease. Tilson Thomas, who has served as music director of the San Francisco Symphony for the past 24 years, has become particularly renowned for his interpretations of the entire works of Gustav Mahler. Earth, Wind and Fire was originally formed in Chicago by lead singer Maurice White. The group drew elements from rhythm and blues, funk, and disco in a flashy crowd-pleasing mix that spawned eight No. 1 hits. Songs such as “September” and “Shining Star” remain in heavy rotation for both radio station programmers and wedding DJs. Each recipient was to be honored with a personalized presentation that in the past has in included surprise guests. Last year, Cher was shocked to find her friend Cyndi Lauper walking onstage to deliver a tribute; Lauper had said she would be out of town. The event will be broadcast on CBS on Dec. 15.
  • Of all the many Democrats running for president, Andrew Yang is having the most fun. Unburdened by expectations and unbothered by political convention, the tech entrepreneur has spent months cruising around the country, mixing his dark warnings about America's new tech economy with doses of humor and unscripted bluntness. He has crowd-surfed, skateboarded and made memorable quips at nationally televised debates. At a new office opening in New Hampshire, he sprayed whipped cream from an aerosol can into the mouths of hyped-up supporters. Later this month in Las Vegas, he'll raise money for his campaign at a high-roller poker tournament featuring World Series of Poker champions. The formula has made him one of this 2020 campaign's phenomenons. His outsider bid is fueled by policy, personality and technology. It's outlasted the White House campaigns this year of some governors and senators, and seems to be following the advice of a former state party chairman who said voters can tell whether candidates are enjoying themselves. Yang's campaign may not have him on track to winning the nomination, but it may be delivering sober warnings to conventional Democrats about the kinds of voters they're leaving behind. “You can tell if someone's like gritting their teeth or if they're genuinely happy to be there and want to talk to you,' Yang said between events at two Chicago universities this past week, including a rally that drew about 1,500 people. The former state chairman's guidance, he said, has ``made it easier for me to lean into just how I would naturally be as a person.' “I think if people dig into my campaign they see it's a very, very serious message,” Yang said. “We are going through the greatest economic transformation in our country's history and we need to rewrite the rules of this economy to work for us. So people, I believe, are savvy enough to know that you can have a very, very serious message and actually enjoy yourself while you're delivering it.” Yang is on the bubble to qualify for this month’s debate after appearing in the first five. He has hovered in the low single digits in polling along with several candidates who trail former Vice President Joe Biden, Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana. But what started out as overwhelmingly online fan base of predominantly male techie types has broadened its appeal. After initially self-funding, Yang raised $10 million in the third quarter. That's more than most rivals, and he said that ``we are going to beat that by a mile” in the final three months of this year. His supporters, known as the Yang Gang, often say the other Democrats in the race to take on President Donald Trump aren't speaking to them or their fears. Many of these backers are young people who say they don’t feel aligned with either party. Several who attended the Chicago events said they supported Sanders in 2016 but grew disillusioned after he didn’t win the nomination. Many supported third-party candidates or just stayed home that Election Day, when Hillary Clinton led the ticket. And if Yang isn’t the party’s nominee, they may do so again in 2020. “A lot of people aren't trusting the mainstream political candidates and pundits on TV. Yang is kind of like a breath of fresh air,” said Ethan Daniels, 23, who supported Sanders in 2016 but voted for Libertarian Gary Johnson in the general election. “I think that's the reason why Trump won the election because a lot of people are kind of getting tired of the staleness of these politicians who come through, and then nothing in their life changes.” Daniels finished college with degrees in sociology and criminal justice but is still looking for a job in his field. He said he first learned about Yang on a podcast hosted by comedian and former TV host Joe Rogan; that interview has more than 4.5 million views on YouTube. Daniels likes what Yang has to say about artificial intelligence, universal basic income and video game addiction, topics he says other Democrats “don’t want to talk about.” Daniels was among the supporters at Thursday's rally wearing blue caps and other items with MATH — for ``Make America Think Harder'' — on them. It's Yang's twist on Trump's “Make America Great Again' slogan. Yang says it’s aimed at getting people to blame job losses across the Rust Belt on the changing economy, rather than immigrants. He argues Americans just need to “think harder” about solutions. Yang's parents are Taiwanese immigrants. He says he was a “nerdy Asian kid” who skipped a grade in school and was especially scrawny. He was called racial epithets and got in a lot of fights, “which I generally lost.” After college at Brown University and law school at Columbia Yang worked in the tech industry before starting a nonprofit that provided money to entrepreneurs. As he became focused on the toll of automation, he decided the best and necessary policy solution was a universal basic income. He decided that the fastest way to promote the ideas was “to run for president and win.'' The “Freedom Dividends” that are now the signature policy of his campaign would provide every adult $1,000 per month, no strings attached, through a new tax on the companies benefiting most from automation. Yang says the money would give people breathing room to pay off debt, care for a sick family member or buy things, and would improve Americans’ mental health by alleviating financial stress. His campaign has been trying it out, giving the $1,000 monthly checks to about a dozen people, That plan, announced during a debate this fall, led to questions about whether he was trying to pay for votes. Joy McKinney, a Republican and evangelical, said she carefully researched universal basic income and Yang’s other policies before joining the “Yang Gang.” The 50-year-old financial planner didn’t vote in 2016 because she didn't like either Trump or Clinton. But she's been moved to tears by videos of the people receiving those first $1,000 checks. “Can you imagine a U.S. where everybody matters?” McKinney said. That’s what’s compelling to me.” Presidential campaigns have long been a stage for new personalities or novel ideas that may catch on for a time. The 2012 cycle had Herman Cain and his “9-9-9'' tax plan. The 1992 campaign had Ross Perot and his debt charts. Still, Yang's durability has caught many people by surprise. That may be a product of Yang's tech and marketing savvy, said presidential historian Mike Purdy. “I think for most people he's still an aberration,” he said. But Yang said he sees the race in terms of odds. His odds of winning, he says, are better than the odds he had of getting this far. “We've already done the hard part,” he said. ___ Associated Press writers Hunter Woodall in Manchester, New Hampshire, Emily Swanson in Washington and Michelle L. Price in Las Vegas contributed to this report. ___ The story has been corrected to reflect that it was a former state party chairman, not a state party chairman, who gave advice about voters able to tell whether candidates are enjoying themselves.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Police in Titusville, Florida, said a man was arrested after a 9-year-old girl was accidentally shot Saturday afternoon. >> Read more trending news  Police said Titusville resident Dustin Adkins, 34, was arrested and is now facing charges including aggravated child neglect with great bodily harm and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Adkins is on probation for manslaughter involving the shooting death of a child, police said. The shooting occurred as four young juveniles were with an adult relative target shooting in the woods near State Road 407 and I-95, authorities said. Police said that at some point, the adult left the children unsupervised, and the 9-year-old girl was shot by a sibling accidentally while the sibling was shooting at a target. 'It is outrageous that this adult provided firearms and ammunition to these young children,' said Deputy Chief Todd Hutchinson. 'Especially given his past arrest and conviction.' Police said the family transported the child to the hospital. The child was critically injured and is in stable condition, officers said. After a lengthy search, officers found several firearms on a trail hidden under a disposed tire in the wooded area, officials said. No other details were made available.
  • An Arkansas officer was killed in a shooting outside the Fayetteville Police Department on Saturday night, authorities said. >> Read more trending news  Update, 11:22 a.m. EST Dec. 8: Fayetteville police Chief Mike Reynolds identified the officer who was shot and killed outside the Fayetteville Police Department on Saturday night and also identified the shooter, KFSM reported. Reynolds said Officer Stephen Carr was alone in the parking lot waiting for his partner when the suspect, London T. Phillips, 35, approached and fatally shot him, the television station reported. Original story: According to a Fayetteville police news release, the shooting occurred just after 9:40 p.m. in the parking lot behind the police station. Officers in the building heard gunfire and rushed outside to find their colleague down and the suspected shooter fleeing, the release said. Police then chased the suspect, who exchanged fire with officers in a nearby alley, KTHV reported. The suspect was shot, authorities said. The officer and suspect both died from their injuries, according to the news release. Officials have not released the name of the slain officer or suspected shooter. No further information was immediately available. Read more here or here.
  • A suspect died Friday morning after opening fire at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing at least three people and injuring seven others. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said the shooting was reported just before 7 a.m. local time in a classroom building at NAS Pensacola. Responding deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office exchanged gunfire with the suspected shooter, killing him, officials said. Here are the latest updates: Update 3:42 p.m. EST Dec. 8: Officials are still trying to determine whether Ahmed Mohammed al-Shamrani acted alone or was part of a terrorist group Friday when he opened fire at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, The Washington Post reported. Rachel Rojas, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Jacksonville division, said at a news conference that the agency’s main goal is to determine whether the Saudi air force lieutenant worked as “part of a larger network,” the newspaper reported. Rojas said Shamrani’s weapon, a 9mm Glock, was purchased legally, but she did not describe how Shamrani obtained it and brought it onto the base, according to the Post. Update 10:38 p.m. EST Dec. 7: The third victim of the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting was identified as Cameron Scott Walters, 21, of Richmond Hill Georgia. “The Sailors that lost their lives in the line of duty and showed exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil,” Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer at the installation, said in a release. 'When confronted, they didn’t run from danger; they ran towards it and saved lives. If not for their actions, and the actions of the Naval Security Force that were the first responders on the scene, this incident could have been far worse.” Update 9:58 p.m. EST Dec. 7: Two of the three victims in the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola were identified. Mohammed “Mo” Haitham, of St. Petersburg, Florida, was killed as he tried to stop the shooter, The Tampa Bay Times reported. Haitham, 19, joined the Navy after graduating high school last year. He was assigned to flight crew training and was expected to graduate later this month. “He said he was going to get his flight jacket for Christmas,” his mother, Evelyn Brady, who also served in the Navy, told the Times. Update 3:08 p.m. EST Dec. 7: Authorities said Mohammed Saeed Ashamrani, the Saudi student who fatally shot three people at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola hosted a dinner party earlier in the week, and he and three other people watched videos of mass shootings, The Associated Press reported Saturday. The official was briefed by federal investigators, according to the AP. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Florida, whose district includes the Pensacola area, tweeted he received condolences from Saudi Ambassador Reema Al-Saud, WEAR-TV reported. Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 7: Family members identified one of the victims fatally shot at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, the Pensacola News Journal reported Saturday. Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who reported to Pensacola two weeks ago, was one of the three people killed during Friday’s shooting, the newspaper reported. Watson’s brother, Adam Johnson, confirmed the death in a Facebook post, the News Journal reported “Joshua Kaleb Watson saved countless lives today with his own,” Adam Johnson wrote Friday night. ”After being shot multiple times he made it outside and told the first response team where the shooter was and those details were invaluable. 'He died a hero and we are beyond proud but there is a hole in our hearts that can never be filled.” Watson’s father, Benjamin Watson, told the News Journal his son was the officer on deck at the time of the shooting. Joshua Watson was shot at least five times, his father told the newspaper. Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 7: Family members identified one of the victims fatally shot at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, the Pensacola News Journal reported Saturday. Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, a recent graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who reported to Pensacola two weeks ago, was one of the three people killed during Friday’s shooting, the newspaper reported. Watson’s brother, Adam Johnson, confirmed the death in a Facebook post, the News Journal reported. Update 9:30 p.m. EST Dec. 6: The shooter has been identified as Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani according to WKRG. He is one of hundreds of international military members who are receiving training there. In a news conference Friday night, the FBI declined to comment on his possible motivations. “There are many reports circulating, but the FBI deals only in facts,” said Rachel L. Rojas, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the Jacksonville Field Office. “This is still very much an active and ongoing investigation.” Update 2:25 p.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities declined to confirm the identity of the person who shot several people Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people before being shot and killed by deputies. “I think there’s obviously going to be a lot of questions about this indivdual being a foreign national, being a part of the Saudi Air Force and then to be here training on our soil and to do this,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday morning at a news conference. “The FBI is working with (the Department of Defense), they’re working with (the Florida Department of Law Enforcement), they’re working with Escambia County sheriff’s to answer those questions.” DeSantis said he spoke earlier Friday with President Donald Trump. “One of the things that I talked to the president about is given that this was a foreign national in the employ of a foreign service ... obviously the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for the victims,' DeSantis said. 'I think that they, they are going to owe a debt here, given that this was one of their individuals.” Authorities confirmed at a news conference that the suspect used a handgun in Friday’s shooting. Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer of NAS Pensacola, said the suspect was at NAS Pensacola for aviation training. Earlier in the day, deputies said the suspect opened fire just before 7 a.m. local time in a classroom building at NAS Pensacola. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 1:45 p.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities in Pensacola are expected to provide an update Friday afternoon on the investigation into the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that left four people dead. Update 1:20 p.m. EST Dec. 6: President Donald Trump said Friday afternoon that he’s spoken to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and received a full briefing on the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time,” Trump said. “We are continuing to monitor the situation as the investigation is ongoing.” Update 12:50 p.m. EST Dec. 6: An official told The Associated Press that the person who opened fire Friday at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people and wounding several others before being shot and killed by authorities, was an aviation student from Saudi Arabia. Authorities are investigating to determine whether the shooting was terrorism-related, according to the AP. Military from around the globe attend the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Authorities are expected to hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. local time Friday to update the public on the investigation. Update 11:50 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities expect to hold a news conference at 12 p.m. local time Friday to provide more updates on the shooting that left four people dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities said a total of 11 people were injured or killed in Friday morning’s shooting, including the suspected shooter. The injured included two responding deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff David Morgan said Friday at a news conference. One deputy was shot in the arm and the other was shot in the knee, Morgan said. They were both expected to survive. Morgan described walking through the scene left by Friday’s attack as being similar to “being in a movie.” “You just don’t expect this to happen here at home,” he said. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 10:45 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials are holding a news conference to update the public on Friday morning’s deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Update 10:25 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Vice President Mike Pence said he’s monitoring the situation in Florida after a shooting left two victims and a suspect dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola. “Praying for the victims & their families,” Pence wrote Friday morning in a Twitter post. “We commend the first responders for their swift action in taking down the shooter & getting those on base to safety.”  Update 10:20 a.m. EST Dec. 6: White House officials said President Donald Trump has been briefed on the deadly shooting reported Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 10:15 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with Naval Air Station Pensacola said the base will closed for the day Friday after a shooting left three people dead earlier in the day. Authorities said at least three people, including the suspected shooter, were killed in the incident. Reports indicated at least eight other people were wounded in the shooting. The incident happened two days after authorities said a U.S. sailor shot and killed two civilian employees before turning the gun on himself at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. One other person was injured in that shooting. Naval Air Station Pensacola employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to officials. Update 10:10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said his office has been in “close contact with all the relevant officials & closely monitoring events” after a shooter opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday morning, killing two people. Authorities said the shooter also died. “Please pray for everyone impacted by this horrible situation,” Rubio said in a Twitter post. Update 10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: A spokesman at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital told CNN that hospital officials expected to get three patients who had been injured in Friday morning’s shooting, down from the six expected earlier in the day. Hospital spokesman Mike Burke told the news network most victims were taken to Baptist Hospital because of its proximity to the base. Kathy Bowers, a spokeswoman for Baptist Hospital, earlier told the Pensacola News Journal that the hospital had received five patients wounded in Friday’s shooting. Update 9:45 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with the U.S. Navy have confirmed that a second person has died after a shooter opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 9:35 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials told the Pensacola News Journal two people were confirmed dead after Friday morning’s shooting, in addition to the shooter. Naval officials previously said at least one person had been killed. Update 9:20 a.m. EST Dec. 6: At least 11 people were hospitalized in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s deadly shooting, according to The Associated Press. Ascension Sacred Heart spokesman Mike Burke told the AP six people were taken to the hospital after a shooter opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola early Friday. The Pensacola News Journal previously reported five other people were taken to Baptist Hospital with injuries. Naval officials said at least one victim was killed in Friday’s shooting. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 9:10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with the U.S. Navy said at least one person died Friday morning in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. Authorities said the suspected shooter was also dead Friday morning. Update 9 a.m. EST Dec. 6: An official with Baptist Hospital told the Pensacola News Journal five patients were taken to the hospital after Friday morning’s reported shooting. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 8:55 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said a suspected shooter was dead Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Original report: Authorities are responding Friday morning to reports of shots fired at Naval Air Station Pensacola, according to base officials. Authorities at NAS Pensacola said both gates to the base were closed Friday morning as authorities investigated. Officials with the U.S. Navy said the base was on lockdown around 7:45 a.m. local time. A spokeswoman for ECSO told the Pensacola News Journal deputies were working to “take down” what was described as an active shooter around 7:30 a.m. local time. Officials with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office told WEAR-TV injuries were reported. Details on the number of people wounded and the extent of their injuries was not immediately available. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Bill Nye the Science Guy has now been given the go ahead by a judge with his lawsuit against The Walt Disney Company. According to AV Club, the complaint stems from when his show was produced by Buena Vista Television. The agreement reportedly entitled Nye to 16.5% of the net profits from sales and distribution of the show. Back in April 2008, he received a payment of $585,123, but then it was retracted by Disney three months later, with them claiming it was an accounting error, and they asked for a payment back of $496,111 and that he would not get any more money until he paid that back.  In the complaint, Nye says he hired an auditor to review Buena Vista's records, which he claims Disney dodged until May of 2016, which showed that he was owed more than $9 million in under-reported royalty payments.  After making certain changes to his complaint, the judge ruled that he may proceed with his $28 million lawsuit, which not only covers what he is owed, but also includes legal fees and damages. In a statement from Nye's legal team, they told Fox Business that 'it is our hope that this case, which Disney has fought so hard to stall, will finally shine some light upon the improper accounting practices that Disney utilizes to unjustly deprive profit participants, like our clients, of their fair share of revenues from the programming that they work so hard to create.'  While Disney has sold a select amount of episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy to Netflix( which has since been removed in May of this year), the show cannot be found on Disney+.
  • Despite it being a week since a 73 year old Sanford man has been missing, his family and members of the community are not giving up. Police in Sanford say Robert Ford left his home on November 29th on the 300 block of Fern Drive and has not been back since. They say Ford is a Navy veteran who suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and is on medication for depression.  While police continue their search, his daughter has put up flyers around the community and has even set up a Facebook page so that volunteers can help look for him.  Ford is 5 feet, 7 inches weighing 160 pounds and was last seen wearing a dark colored shirt and a jacket. Police say he may act confused and might not know his own name. Anyone who knows where he is is asked to contact the Sanford Police Department at 407-688-5070.

Washington Insider

  • Even as Democrats press ahead with a historic effort to impeach President Donald Trump in the House, lawmakers in both parties are on the cusp of possibly producing series of major, bipartisan legislative deals, covering everything from a crackdown on surprise medical bills to a compromise establishing the President's plan for a 'Space Force' at the Pentagon in exchange for a big benefits change for federal workers. The calendar doesn't offer much time for action in either the House or Senate, as lawmakers hope to leave town by the weekend before Christmas - which would give the House and Senate until around December 20-23. Here are some of the big issues which might get resolved in Congress at the same time as Democrats force a vote on impeachment. 1. Lawmakers cut deal on surprise medical bills. Sunday brought news that a group of key lawmakers - in both parties from the House and Senate - had reached agreement on a plan to rein surprise bills which consumers often face, especially after emergency care. Backers stressed the bipartisan nature of the agreement. 'The legislation includes proposals from 80 Senators, 46 Democrats and 34 Republicans,' said Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) in a Sunday statement. That does not necessarily mean this deal gets voted on in the next two weeks. 2. New minimum age to buy tobacco products. The deal on the issue of surprise medical bills also has some other items involved in it, including a provision which would raise the minimum age to buy tobacco products to 21 years. The idea of raising the legal age for buying cigarettes and tobacco has been supported in recent months by the Senate's top Republican - Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - but it's not clear if McConnell would rush such a bill to the Senate floor over the next two weeks. 3. 'Space Force' might be ready for launch. Lawmakers in both parties were trying to finalize a major defense policy bill early this week, and the details are expected to finally give President Trump his plan to set up a 'Space Force' inside the Pentagon. The plan - which has been resisted by lawmakers in both parties - would not set up a brand new branch of the military, as sought by President Trump. Instead, the Space Force would operate out of the Air Force, sort of like the Marines are considered part of the Navy. Critics argued a plan to set up a separate new branch of the military would have been too expensive, and would create an unnecessary new bureaucracy. 4. Paid family leave benefit for federal workers? The President won't get his Space Force for nothing in this major defense policy bill, as reportedly the deal with the White House will give around 2.7 million federal workers a new benefit - paid family leave. The plan would reportedly include up to 12 weeks of such leave for federal civilian workers. While no final bill language has been released, a tweet from over the weekend by President Trump's daughter shows this exchange could well be part of the defense bill. Stay tuned. 5. USMCA trade deal still a late year possibility. With a flurry of late negotiations involving U.S., Mexican, and Canadian trade officials, it's still possible that the final touches could be put on a new trade deal among the three nations, and have it voted on by the House and Senate. The White House has been quietly working with Mexico and Canada in recent weeks to work out tweaks to the agreement, mainly dealing with labor and environmental enforcement, trade dispute resolution, and issues dealing with some medical drugs. While the President and his allies keep saying the plan has been sent to Congress already for a vote - that is simply not true. 6. Government funding plan remains in limbo. While there were seemingly agreement on surprise medical billing, the Space Force, and more, lawmakers still have not finalized a giant package of bills to fund the operations of the federal government for 2020. The current temporary funding bill runs out on December 20. While there is obviously the threat of a government shutdown, lawmakers in both parties hope they can either reach a deal now - or extend that temporary spending plan into the New Year. So, this could also be part of a late rush of big legislation.