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The Latest National News

    Police in Oklahoma are investigating after a fatal triple shooting Saturday afternoon in Jenks. Investigators told KOKI-TV that a man and his two sons are dead after what they believe is a case of murder-suicide. Police said the children’s mother was at work at the time. The shooting happened in the Country Woods neighborhood near West 106th Street South and South Madison Street South. Officers responded to a call around 12:50 p.m. regarding a domestic incident at the home. Police said others living in the home called 911. No one else in the home was injured.
  • A Virginia mother is wanted on abduction charges after authorities say she took her four children on vacation six months ago and never brought them home. The woman alleges she is saving the children from sex trafficking by their father and grandfather. Along with four misdemeanor abduction charges, Melody Bannister, 34, of Stafford, is charged with felony violation of a court order and filing a false police report, a news release from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office said. A warrant was issued for her arrest Aug. 23, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Her children are identified as Genevieve Bannister, 13; Janelle Bannister, 12; Vivienne Bannister, 11; and Peter Bannister, 7. Genevieve is described as 5 feet, 3 inches tall and 110 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes, according to the NCMEC. Janelle is described as 5 feet, 1 inch tall and 115 pounds. Like her older sister, she has brown hair and hazel eyes. Vivienne is listed as 4 feet, 11 inches tall and weighing 95 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Peter is described as 4 feet, 1 inch tall and 90 pounds. He also brown hair and blue eyes. Bannister is described as 5 feet, 2 inches tall and 110 pounds. Like her two youngest children, she has brown hair and blue eyes. The children and their mother were last known to be traveling in a blue-green 2002 Honda Odyssey with Virginia license plate number VBH7123, Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Detective James Wright said during a segment about the case on “Live PD” on A&E. Finding Bannister and the children has become more urgent after “recent developments in the investigation have led investigators to believe the children may now be in danger,” the Sheriff’s Office’s statement said. Wright, who is lead investigator on the case, said on “Live PD” that authorities believe the missing family might be in danger due to the “clandestine nature” of the religious organization they belong to. “We’re concerned about the welfare because they are unable to take care of themselves. They don’t have any means to take care of them. Melody doesn’t have means to take care of them,” Wright told host Tom Morris Jr. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Amanda Vicinanzo said investigators believe Bannister has had help along the way from members of a religious group of which she is purportedly a member, according to the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg. The newspaper reported that the family’s pets, a white Great Pyrenees dog and white ragdoll cat, were left at one of the stops Bannister has made since leaving Virginia. “After months on the road, we had to say goodbye to our beloved pets: Our giant, bounding bundle of puppy-faced joy and our fluffy cat, whose soothing whirr often assuaged our soreness of heart,” Bannister wrote on her blog. “It is a comfort to know they are in good, loving hands, since they can no longer be in ours.” “Live PD” pointed out that Bannister has written about her religion previously, describing it as a “cult.” According to a blog she began in 2016 called Lady Adelaide’s Realm, Bannister grew up in a Quiverfull household. Followers of the Quiverfull movement believe that the men with the most children will earn the most favor from God. They shun all forms of contraception, believing that it is only God who “opens and closes the womb,” follower Kelly Swanson told NPR in 2009. The movement advocates stringent gender roles, and women are not allowed to question their husbands’ authority. They cannot work outside the home, wear pants or cut their hair. According to some of Bannister’s friends -- and a second blog the missing woman appears to have written since going on the run with her children -- the danger toward the children lies not with their mother, but in their father’s home. Bannister’s blog devoted to the allegations is subtitled “American Outlaws: The Plight of Child Sex Trafficking Victims Living Underground.” Her most recent blog post on Lady Adelaide’s Realm, dated June 28, names six men, including her father-in-law, as her children’s alleged abusers. The men are not being named because they have not been charged with a crime. ‘Will justice triumph over lawlessness this Christmas?’ A Change.org petition begging for help from Virginia and Alabama officials claims that the children’s father “conspired with (Bannister’s) father-in-law to perpetuate some of the most horrifying sexual and physical abuse imaginable upon her children.” “When local law enforcement failed to protect these children, ordering them back to live with their abuser, Melody chose to live on the wrong side of the law. What else could a truly desperate mother do?” the petition reads. Bannister has accused her husband of “deliver(ing) the children up for torture to the barn of his father.” She has accused her father-in-law of not only sexually abusing the children, but of offering them up for abuse by his friends. “The children have spoken of being given strange substances in the barn that made the world swim before their eyes and caused the taunting faces of their abusers to converge together in a dizzying blur,” Bannister wrote. She wrote on the blog that her only crimes were “believing (her) children when they disclosed a lifetime of ongoing abuse” and “reporting (it) to the Stafford, Virginia, police.” Stafford County officials said that an investigation into the allegations brought to them by Bannister in June found no evidence of abuse against the children. “A joint investigation with Stafford County law enforcement and Child Protective Services determined the allegations were unfounded,” according to the statement from the Sheriff’s Office. “Shortly after the conclusion of the investigation, Bannister left Virginia with the children on a planned vacation and never returned.” Bannister wrote on her blog that she and the children left town for a vacation June 14, the day after she reported the abuse, in part out of fear of reprisal from the accused. She said she called the Sheriff’s Office detective, Wright, a few days later to check up on the investigation. “We spoke briefly once, when he told me that he had interviewed my husband and would soon interview my father-in-law,” Bannister wrote. “After that, he stopped answering my phone calls.” She wrote that Wright and a CPS caseworker chalked the sex abuse claims up to children’s “vivid imaginations.” She described fleeing Virginia with the “rancid hot breath of child predators” on her back. “We left home with barely a week’s worth of summer clothes and are practically penniless, living off the kindness of friends who, one by one, have taken us under their wings,” Bannister wrote. She said her husband drained their joint bank account and cancelled her credit cards when she did not bring the children back to Virginia. Read Bannister’s entire, five-part blog here. Warning: It includes graphic details of alleged child sex abuse. Stafford County’s Juvenile, Domestic and Relations Court granted sole custody of the children to their father the following month, Stafford County authorities said. Their father, identified in court records as William Joseph Bannister, filed for divorce last month. “(Melody) Bannister refused to return the children and subsequently petitioned the courts in Alabama requesting custody be issued to her there,” a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said. “The courts in Alabama heard the case and also ordered Bannister to return her children to their father back in Virginia. “Bannister absconded from the state of Alabama with her four children and has not been seen since.” Bannister and the children were last seen Aug. 20 in Moulton, a small city in northwest Alabama. “We set up residence in Alabama and made it our new home, where we obtained a protective order against the man formerly known as Daddy,” Bannister wrote on her blog. “This was swiftly snatched away when the judge deferred to the Virginia ruling, which ordered me to return the children to him.” Bannister wrote that a family court hearing was held in Virginia without her presence Aug. 19, with a judge ruling in her husband’s favor. She claimed she was never served with a summons for the hearing. She and the children vanished from Alabama the next day. US marshals issue alert Aside from Alabama, potential sightings of the family have been reported in Wisconsin, Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas. The U.S. Marshals Service and the NCMEC have been involved in the case over the past few months, the Sheriff’s Office said. The Marshals Service issued an alert this week seeking help from the public in finding Bannister and the missing children. A friend of Bannister, Julie Lampkins, shared a story on Facebook about the missing family, saying it was “with a heavy heart” that she shared the link about the mother’s alleged abduction of her children. “We all have questions, but no answers,” Lampkins wrote. “Help the authorities find her and her (four) kids.” Meanwhile, Bannister is appealing for help on the state and federal levels, according to the Change.org petition. It quoted additional portions of Bannister’s blog. “The mental health and credibility of my children and me have been assessed and verified by two of the most prestigious forensic psychiatrists in the country: Dr. Michael Stone and Dr. Carole Lieberman,” Bannister wrote on her blog. “Naturally, the abusers did not take kindly to such a development and are seeking to have the reports stricken from the record. ‘Eliminate all threats’ seems to be their motto. Hence our position of living underground.” Followers on her blog wrote this week that they believed her and her children. “Many people believe you and are praying and sharing the news and asking God to vindicate and protect. Praying that true justice will be served,” Carrie Brownell wrote. A friend, identified as Lana, told Bannister she was praying for her, as well as sharing her story and contacting a list of law enforcement officers listed on the blog on Bannister’s behalf. Another friend named Rachael offered similar well wishes. “Oh Melody…my heart is so broken for you and your sweet kids,” the woman wrote. “I will be keeping you in my prayers and doing what I can. Locally.” A third friend named Petra Carden wrote that Bannister and her children have a place in her home “any time, day or night, no questions asked” if Bannister has to return to Virginia. Others who read her story offered her help in other locations throughout the country, including Alabama, where she and the children were last seen. Many people who believe Bannister’s allegations of abuse urged caution in reporting the family’s whereabouts. “If the news articles released regarding Melody Bannister’s children being in danger is all people know, they will report them when they see them and put them back in danger,” one woman wrote on Twitter. A cult? Bannister’s Facebook profile lists her as manager of a website called Recovering Daughters. The description of the site on its corresponding Facebook page states it is about “healing from Vision Forum, authoritarianism and the Quiverfull Movement.” The Recovering Daughters website is no longer available because the domain has recently expired. Vision Forum was a Texas-based ministry that promoted a patriarchal lifestyle, in which the husband rules the family, and home-schooling its children. The ministry was shut down by its board in 2013 after leader Doug Phillips admitted to an extramarital affair, the Huffington Post reported. Phillips has been a friend of and influence on Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, whose TLC show “19 Kids and Counting” focused on their beliefs against birth control and that large families are a gift from God, the news site said. The Duggars, who lost their show after their eldest son, Josh Duggar, was publicly accused of sexually molesting multiple young girls, including some of his sisters, have also been associated with the Quiverfull movement, though the Huffington Post reported in 2015 that the couple does not formally consider themselves members of the movement. The Quiverfull movement gets its name from a Bible passage: “Children are a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Hännah Ettinger, a young woman raised in the movement who had left that world behind, told Cosmopolitan in 2015 that her first big break from the religion came when her father told her she “didn’t have the spiritual discernment” to choose her own boyfriend, a man she met at her Christian college. “Later, I got utterly fed up with the churches I’d grown up in because I kept finding out that they’d protected child abusers, rapists, and men who’d beaten their wives, all in the name of redemption stories, ‘biblical’ male headship and complementarian theology,” Ettinger told the magazine. Vyckie Garrison, another former Quiverfull member, told Vice in 2016 that, with no central leader, the movement isn’t a cult, per se. It’s more of a mindset “in which each family becomes a cult unto itself with Daddy enshrined as the supreme patriarch,” Vice reported. Garrison founded a website called No Longer Quivering, which is designed to help other women in her situation escape the movement. In April 2015, the American Atheists Convention named her its 2014 Atheist of the Year. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Bannister and her children is asked to call the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-658-4400, the U.S. Marshals Service at 877-WANTED2 or the NCMEC at 800-THE-LOST.
  • Danny Aiello, a character actor known for his portrayal of a pizza shop owner in Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” has died. He was 86. His literary agent confirmed his death Friday but had no other details, The New York Times reported. Aiello made his movie debut at 40. He was nominated for an Academy Award for his role for his depiction of a white business owner in a predominantly black neighborhood. Cher, his co-star in “Moonstruck,” shared her condolences Friday on social media. “Danny was a Great Actor, but a genius comedic actor,” she wrote. “We Laughed so much making ‘Moonstruck.’” Aiello also had roles in three Woody Allen films including “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” and “Radio Days.” He also was in “Harlem Nights,” “The Godfather Part II,” and “Once Upon A Time in America.”
  • Update 10:05 a.m. ET Dec. 13, 2019: Nadler begins the hearing by saying that the committee will separate the articles of impeachment into two votes. The vote to send both articles of impeachment to the full House was 23 yes to 17 no. Here is how they voted on both articles: Democrats: Jerrold Nadler, New York - Yes Mary Scanlon, Pennsylvania - Yes Zoe Lofgren, California - Yes Sheila Jackson Lee, Texas - Yes Steve Cohen, Tennessee - Yes Henry Johnson, Georgia - Yes Theodore Deutch, Florida - Yes Karen Bass, California - Yes Cedric Richmond, Louisiana - Yes Hakeem Jeffries, New York - Yes David Cicilline, Rhode Island - Yes Eric Swalwell, California - Yes Ted Lieu, California – absent Jamie Raskin, Maryland - Yes Pramila Jayapal, Washington - Yes Val Demings, Florida - Yes J. Correa, California - Yes Sylvia Garcia, Texas - Yes Joe Neguse, Colorado - Yes Lucy McBath, Georgia - Yes Greg Stanton, Arizona - Yes Madeleine Dean, Pennsylvania - Yes Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, Florida - Yes Veronica Escobar, Texas - Yes Republicans Doug Collins, Georgia - No James Sensenbrenner, Wisconsin - No Steve Chabot, Ohio – No Louie Gohmert, Texas – No Jim Jordan, Ohio - No Ken Buck, Colorado - No John Ratcliffe, Texas - No Martha Roby, Alabama - No Matt Gaetz, Florida - No Mike Johnson, Louisiana - No Andy Biggs, Arizona - No Tom McClintock, California - No Debbie Lesko, Arizona - No Guy Reschenthaler, Pennsylvania - No Ben Cline, Virginia - No Kelly Armstrong, North Dakota - No Gregory Steube, Florida – No Update 9:59 a.m. ET Dec. 13, 2019: As the Judiciary Committee reconvenes in moments, here is what will happen: There will be two votes in the committee – a vote on each article of impeachment. The first article of impeachment addresses abuse of power and the second is obstruction of Congress. Republicans can slow down today’s proceedings, but not to the extent they did on Thursday when they introduced several amendments. There will be no opening statements. Update 8:14 a.m. ET Dec. 13, 2019: After more than 14 hours of debate on two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, abruptly adjourned the hearing, saying the historic vote would be taken on Friday morning. The decision to adjourn before voting to send the articles of impeachment to the full House for a vote next week came just shy of midnight. Republican committee members were shocked and angered at Nadler’s actions, with Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia, the committee’s ranking member, shouting as the gavel fell. 'Words cannot describe how inappropriate this was,' Collins said. He and other Republicans said the move was a complete surprise. The committee adjourned after five amendments to the articles of impeachment were introduced. Each amendment was debated and all were voted down. The committee is scheduled to reconvene at 10 a.m. for the votes on the articles. Each article will be voted on separately. Democrats have 24 members on the committee and Republicans have 17. Update 11:15 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Nadler stunned Republican members of the committee late Thursday by calling a recess to let members take time to make a “sober decision” on the matter of impeachment. Throughout the day it had seemed that the committee was headed toward a late-night vote on both articles. Ranking Member Collins strongly objected to the recess saying Nadler had not consulted with minority leadership about recessing Thursday night. Collins asked Nadler why he was ok with “blowing up everyone’s schedule.” One Republican committee member said the move smacked of “Stalinism.” Nadler said the hearing would reconvene Friday morning at 10 a.m. ET to cast the votes on the two separate articles of impeachment against Trump. Live updates will continue Friday morning to cover the votes. Update 10:35 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, told Fox’s Sean Hannity, that there is no way that Trump will be removed from office if he is impeached by the House next week. “We all know how it’s going to end. There is no chance the president is going to be removed from office,” McConnell told Hannity Thursday night. Update 9:48 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The debate has resumed. Rep. Sensenbrenner is speaking. He commends Nadler for the way he ran the hearing, then says he and the other Democrats are “dead wrong.” Update 8:59 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The amendment to remove the words “impeachment of Donald J. Trump” from the articles of impeachment is defeated 23-17 vote on party lines. Chairman Nadler has called for a 30-minute recess. Update 8:57 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: From Jamie Dupree: Update 8:52 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Ranking Member Collins and Rep. Eric Swalwell get testy after nearly 12 hours of debate. Update 7:48 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Trump is hosting a congressional holiday ball at the White House tonight. He said it was a “very exciting month in Washington, DC,” and that 'We’re going to have a fantastic year. Update 7:12 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Reschenthaler’s amendment to strike the second article of impeachment fails. The vote was 23-17 along party lines. A fifth amendment is offered by Rep. Jordan. The amendment takes the words “Donald Trump should be impeached” out of both of the articles. Update 7:06 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: CNN is reporting that the Justice Department has published on its website internal legal opinions that could help Trump block congressional requests. According to CNN, the Justice Department said the release of the opinions was connected to a recent opinion by the Office of Legal concerning former Trump White House counsel Don McGahn. Some of the opinions date back to the 1970s. Update 6:54 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The debate over the articles of impeachment has been going on for around 10 hours now. Soon, there should be a vote on the fourth suggested amendment to the articles of impeachment. Update 6:01 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Lisa Desjardins, a correspondent with PBS Newshour, is reporting that the vote whether or not to impeach Trump will likely be held on Wednesday. Update 5:58 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pennsylvania, breaks it down for you. Update 5:20 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Biggs’ amendment about an OMB report that explained the withholding of military aid to Ukraine is defeated along party lines. Another amendment has been proposed. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pennsylvania, is moving to strike (kill) the second of the two articles of impeachment. The second article alleges Trump obstructed Congress. Update 5 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, says the timing of the vote on articles of impeachment in the full House will be announced tonight. 'Today, the House Judiciary Committee is continuing its mark up of two articles of impeachment. Following Committee action on these articles, the Judiciary Committee will make a recommendation to the full House of Representatives. A path forward on the Floor will be announced following the Committee’s mark up. Update 4:16 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, D-Louisiana, compared the Republicans to Judas for their support of Trump. “Today I’m reminded of Judas — because Judas for 30 pieces of silver betrayed Jesus; for 30 positive tweets for easy reelection, the other side is willing to betray the American people … the future of our great country,” Richmond said. Update 4:12 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Gaetz suggests that Democrats who represent Republican majority districts in their states will not be coming back to serve in the House. “Rent, don’t buy, here in Washington,” Gaetz said. Update 3:39 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The committee has voted down Gaetz’s amendment to remove Joe Biden’s name from the articles of impeachment and insert Hunter Biden’s in its place. The vote was along party lines. Another Republican amendment has been proposed. The amendment from Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Arizona calls for the inclusion of a statement from the Office of Management and Budget explaining why the military aid to Ukraine was held up. Update 3:26 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: According to a Monmouth University poll released Wednesday, 45% of Americans surveyed said Trump should be impeached and removed from office, while 50% said he should not be impeached and removed. Update 3:16 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: White House counsel Pat Cipollone is meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, ahead of the expected impeachment of Trump next week, according to the Washington Post. Should Trump be impeached in the House, a trial will be held in the Senate to determine if he is guilty of wrongdoing and if he will be removed from office. White House legislative affairs director Eric Ueland accompanied Cipollone to the meeting. Update: 2:51 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: President Trump has tweeted again. Update 2:40 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The hearing has resumed. Update 1 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The hearing is in recess for members to take votes on the House floor. Update 12:12 p.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Matt Gaetz puts forth an amendment to drop former Vice President Joe Biden’s name in the articles of impeachment, leaving only Biden’s son Hunter in the document. Gaetz introduces the amendment then describes Hunter Biden’s struggle with drug addiction by reading from a New Yorker Magazine story that described a car wreck Hunter Biden was in and a description of how he allegedly asked a homeless man where he could buy crack cocaine. Update 11:58 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: A vote is called on Jordan’s amendment to strike the first article of impeachment. All the Democrats present, 23, vote no, all the Republicans present, 17, vote yes. The amendment fails. Update 11:46 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Gordon Sondland, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, has come up several times during the hearing. Republicans have slammed him as unreliable as a witness because he revised his original testimony. Jordan said that Sondland had repeatedly said during his deposition that he did not recall key facts. Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colorado, chided Democrats saying, “Ambassador Sondland is your star witness? Really? You’re basing an impeachment on Ambassador Sondland’s testimony?” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Maryland, answered Buck saying, “They don’t like him now because he clarified his testimony to say that yes, there was definitely a quid pro quo at the heart of this whole thing,” Raskin said. Update 11:30 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, indicated in her weekly press conference Thursday morning that the House will wrap up the impeachment inquiry next week. “Next week we’ll take up something” in the full House, Pelosi said, after being asked about the timetable for the impeachment inquiry. Update 11:20 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: The committee has now spent two hours debating the amendment by Jim Jordan to delete the first article of impeachment. Update 11 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: President Trump weighs-in. Update 10:20 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-California, accuses the Republicans of hypocrisy. She references former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment, asking, why “lying about a sexual affair is an abuse of presidential power but the misuse of presidential power to get a benefit doesn’t matter? “If it’s lying about sex, we could put Stormy Daniels’ case ahead of us,” she said. Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, answers Lofgren, saying Clinton was impeached because he lied to a grand jury. That, Sensenbrenner says, is something Trump has never done. Update 10 a.m. ET Dec. 12, 2019: Democrats introduced an amendment to spell out Trump's middle name. The articles of impeachment reference Donald J. Trump. Nadler introduces an amendment to change the article to read Donald John Trump, the president’s full name. Rep. Collins responds to the amendment saying it shows the “absurdity” of the whole process. The debate takes off from there with several members arguing about the articles and what has been testified to. Rep. Joe Neguse, D, Colorado, wants Republicans to “dispense with these process arguments” and 'stay true to the facts.” “I understand that we’re going to have a robust debate about the legal standards that govern the inquiry that is before us, the decision we make on these articles,” Rep. Neguse said, “but let’s stay true to the facts, and let’s dispense with these process arguments and get to the substance of why we’re here today.” Update 9:33 a.m. ET Dec. 12: Rep. Jim Jordan introduces an amendment to the articles of impeachment. The amendment is to strike the first article. He is explaining why Article One “ignores the facts.” Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, speaks in opposition to Jordan’s amendment. He lays out why the article was drafted saying, “There is direct evidence” of Trump being involved in a 'scheme to corrupt the American elections and withhold military aid” from Ukraine. Update 9:05 a.m. ET Dec. 12: The hearing has resumed and been called to order. The clerk of the Judiciary Committee is now reading the two articles of impeachment. Original story: The House Judiciary Committee is set to vote Thursday on two articles of impeachment charging President Donald Trump with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. >> Read more trending news  The vote will mark only the third time in the country’s 243-year history that Congress will consider impeachment charges against a sitting president. The charges allege Trump pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s connections with a Ukrainian energy company in exchange for military aid and a White House meeting for the newly-elected president. In a second charge, House Democrats say Trump obstructed Congress by blocking testimony from witnesses and refusing requests for documents during the impeachment inquiry that was launched in September. The decision to open the inquiry came after a whistleblower filed a complaint alleging that a phone call made by Trump to Zelensky on July 25 tied military aid and a White House meeting to personal political favors. On Tuesday, House Democratic leaders introduced the two articles of impeachment saying Trump presented a “clear and present” danger to not only the 2020 presidential election but to the nation’s security. In an unusual evening session on Wednesday, the committee began debate on the articles. The session saw the two parties argue over the charges against Trump, the Constitution’s meaning when it comes to impeachment and why the inquiry was undertaken instead of leaving Trump’s fate to the voters in next year’s election. What happens next? The committee is expected to reconvene at 9 a.m. ET Thursday. If the committee passes the resolution Thursday to send the articles of impeachment to the full House, a vote to impeach Trump will likely take place next week. It takes a simple majority vote of members of the Judiciary Committee to move the articles to the House floor for a full vote. The Democrats have a 24-17 majority in the committee. The vote is expected to fall along party lines. Follow us here for live updates on Thursday as the committee debates the articles of impeachment and moves to a vote. [Summary]
  • A Minnesota man was sentenced Wednesday to more than 24 years in prison in the death of his 13-day-old son. Michael Herkal, 33, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, nearly 16 months to the day after Apple Valley police responded to an Aug. 12, 2018, medical call for an infant not breathing, WCCO reported. The child died two days later, after doctors determined he had suffered a skull fracture and bleeding in his brain. Herkal was charged initially with felony assault and malicious punishment of a child, but three additional charges of murder were filed after authorities received the autopsy report, KARE11 reported. According to WCCO, Herkal initially told authorities his toddler pulled the newborn off the couch twice but later claimed the baby slipped from his hands and fell onto a coffee table during a diaper change. During his plea hearing, however, Herkal admitted he also shook the infant violently and slapped him, the TV station reported.
  • Seeking emergency mental health assistance could soon be as simple as dialing 988, federal regulators announced Thursday. The Federal Communications Commission formally began the process Thursday to designate 988 as a nationwide suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. “The three-digit number is really going to be a breakthrough in terms of reaching people in a crisis,” Dwight Holton, CEO of suicide prevention nonprofit Lines for Life, told USA Today. “No one is embarrassed to call 911 for a fire or an emergency. No one should be embarrassed to call 988 for a mental health emergency.' According to The Wall Street Journal, the new hotline is intended to simplify access to services available currently by dialing 1-800-273-TALK, the existing National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Once operational, dialing 988 would connect callers to the existing hotline and then route them to nearby crisis centers equipped to provide assistance. “We believe this historical and critical effort will turn the tide on reducing suicides and promote mental wellness in the United States,” said a statement from Kimberly Williams, chief executive of Vibrant Emotional Health, the nonprofit that administers the lifeline, The Journal reported. Read more here and here.
  • An emergency landing by a single-engine plane snarled traffic Thursday night on Interstate 5 in San Diego, multiple news outlets reported. Ian Gregor, public affairs manager for the Federal Aviation Administration, told KNSD the Cessna 182 made a hard landing on the southbound lanes around 7:15 p.m. Within 30 minutes authorities had re-opened two southbound lanes, KFMB reported. Carlsbad Fire Division Chief Mike Lopez told KNSD a man and a woman were on board traveling from the San Gabriel Airport in Los Angeles to McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad. According to KFMB, no injuries were reported, and the plane did not strike any motorists. “They did a pretty good job landing this thing,” Lopez told KNSD, adding, “The skill of that pilot, he did a stellar job.”
  • A Texas police sergeant has died after she was struck by a driver as he fled a traffic stop Tuesday night in Nassau Bay, authorities said. Update 4:08 p.m. EST Dec. 12: Tavores Henderson has been arrested, KTRK reported. He was taken into custody Thursday afternoon, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. Original report:  According to KTRK-TV, Nassau Bay police stopped the driver about 8:30 p.m. local time Tuesday at an apartment complex on San Sebastian Court. After learning that the suspect was wanted in connection with a domestic violence case, officers tried to arrest him, the city said in a news release. “During the arrest, the suspect fought with officers and was able to break free and re-enter the vehicle,” the release said. The man struck one of the responding officers, Sgt. Kaila Sullivan, 43, of Friendswood, as he fled the scene, officials said. The 16-year Nassau Bay police veteran later died at a Webster hospital, according to the release. Investigators have found the man’s vehicle but are still searching for the suspect, the city said. “We urge all citizens to be cautious of their surroundings and stay vigilant,” the release said. Anyone with information about the case should call the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, which is leading the investigation, at 713-274-9100. Crime Stoppers’ Fallen Hero Project is offering a reward for information leading to the location to Tavores Henderson, the man identified as the person who struck Sullivan. He faces felony murder charges, KTRK reported.
  • Virginia prison officials are under fire and the governor has suspended a state policy after a guard overstepped his authority last month and ordered an 8-year-old girl to be strip searched during a visit to her imprisoned father. The Hampton girl’s ordeal took place Nov. 24 when she accompanied her father’s girlfriend on an hourslong trip to Buckingham Correctional Center in Dillwyn, where her father is serving time. The girlfriend, Diamond Peerman, told The Virginian-Pilot that a drug-sniffing dog focused its attention on her and the girl as they entered the prison. Peerman was told she would have to be strip searched, but prison guards initially said the girl would not, Peerman told the Pilot. After consulting with a captain, however, the guards told her the girl would also have to undergo a search. Department of Corrections policy allowed guards to deny visitation to anyone who refused to be searched, the newspaper reported. Peerman said she began crying when she realized refusal to comply would mean the girl could not see her father. She told the girl she would have to be searched as well, she said. The girl asked what a strip search meant. “I told her, ‘That means you have to take all of your clothes off or you’re not going to be able to see your dad,’” Peerman said. “That’s when she started crying.” >> Read more trending news  Prison officials have admitted that the search violated state policy. The guard who ordered the search did not have the authority to do so and is subsequently facing disciplinary action, according to CNN. “The incident is deeply troubling and represents a breach in our protocol,” Lisa Kinney, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Corrections, said in a statement to CNN. “We sincerely apologize to this child and her family.” The violation of policy occurred when the captain required that Peerman sign a consent form allowing the search. Peerman said she explained to prison officials that she was not the girl’s legal guardian, but they demanded she sign the consent form anyway, the Pilot reported. DOC policy requires that a parent or legal guardian sign the consent form, CNN reported. “Our procedure states that only a parent or legal guardian can approve the strip search of a minor; in this case the adult visitor who signed the consent for the minor to be strip searched wasn’t the minor’s parent or legal guardian,” Kinney said in an email to the Pilot. “The staff member who authorized the search of the minor following a K-9 alert didn’t have the authority to do so. We take this matter very seriously and, as mentioned above, will be taking immediate disciplinary action against the person responsible.” Gov. Ralph Northam responded to the incident last week by putting a halt to the strip search of minors visiting state prisons. “I am deeply disturbed by these reports, not just as governor but as a pediatrician and a dad,” Northam wrote. “I’ve directed the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security to suspend this policy while the department conducts an immediate investigation and review of their procedures.” Virginia Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, also tweeted Friday that he is drafting legislation barring strip searches of anyone under 14 and requiring parental consent for searches of children ages 14 to 17. Northam said Monday that he hasn’t made a final judgment about the outcome for the policy, according to WTVR in Richmond. “I suspect it will be in the area that no minor will be strip-searched in Virginia,' the governor told the news station. Critics, including officials with the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia, characterized prison officials’ actions as draconian. “We would characterize that as a highly coercive policy,” Bill Farrar, director of strategic communications for ACLU of Virginia, told the Pilot. The organization said in a statement on its Facebook page that DOC officials’ apology to the girl and her family was insufficient. “No apology could undo the damage done to a child being subjected to the humiliation and trauma of unnecessary strip searches,” the statement said. “No child should ever be subjected to invasive, humiliating, traumatizing strip searches carried out by strangers in order to see their loved one in a state prison,” ACLU officials said. “Those responsible must be held accountable, and the Virginia Department of Corrections' policy must be changed to ensure this never happens again.” Martin F. Horn, executive director of the New York State Sentencing Commission and a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, agreed. “It seems to me the prison had options available to them that were less intrusive and that those would be preferable,” Horn told the newspaper. “Policy or not, there is never a circumstance where a child should be subjected to invasive, traumatizing, humiliating searches by a stranger, whether or not they’re trying to get to a loved one who is incarcerated. That should never happen.” Both Peerman and the girl were required to strip naked, bend over and cough during the search, the Pilot reported. Peerman said afterward, as a female corrections officer handed the girl back her clothes, piece by piece, she asked, “How old are you, sweetheart?” “I just looked at her and I’m like, ‘That’s not even appropriate to be asking her right now,’” Peerman said. “Why would you ask that when she’s naked?” Before they were allowed to visit the girl’s father, Peerman’s car was also searched. No contraband was found either on them or in the vehicle, but prison officials curtailed their visit with the inmate anyway. They were denied a contact visit and were only allowed to visit him through a pane of glass, Peerman told the Pilot. The girl texted her mother immediately after the visit. “Hey, Mom, am so mad. The jail had to strip me with all of my clothes off. This doesn’t make (sense),” the girl wrote in the text, provided to the Pilot by her mother. The woman is not being identified to protect her daughter’s identity. “What? Call me,” the mother wrote back. “OK,” the girl responded. “Did they make you take your pants off?” the woman asked. “Yes. All of my clothes off,” her daughter responded. “Make sure your daddy call my phone,” the mother wrote. “OK.” The woman told the Pilot her daughter was traumatized by the incident. The girl, who suffers from bipolar disorder, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, has missed school since the ordeal. “She’s a minor, she’s a girl. She was traumatized,” her mother told the newspaper. “She gets emotional, she will break down.” The woman said her daughter would no longer be visiting her father at the prison. “Her and her dad have a good relationship because she gets to go see him every weekend,' the mother told the Pilot. 'But, at the same time, she went through something that traumatized her. I’m not sending her back there.” Peerman told the newspaper that the governor’s suspension of the policy is a good thing, but that the search of her boyfriend’s daughter never should have happened. “There’s no reason for them to strip search a child,” she said.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation is offering up to $5,000 in reward money as they search for a man accused of sexually assaulting a girl in California. >> Read more trending news  According to an FBI “most wanted” poster, authorities in August issued a federal warrant for Jose Arturo Navarrete Jr., 23, alleging he fled Sacramento County to avoid prosecution for multiple child sex charges, including “four counts of lewd or lascivious act with a child under 14, three counts of sex act with a child 10 years old or younger, and four counts of oral sex with a child 10 years old or younger.” Navarrete stands 5 feet, 11 inches tall and weighs 172 pounds, the agency said in a Friday news release. The Midland, Texas, native is Hispanic and has black hair and hazel eyes, officials said. Although he was last spotted in Texas, authorities believe Navarrete also might have fled to Arizona, New Mexico or Mexico, the news release said. If you know where Navarrete is, call the FBI’s Sacramento office at 916-746-7000 or submit an anonymous tip online at tips.fbi.gov. Read more here or here.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Police in Oklahoma are investigating after a fatal triple shooting Saturday afternoon in Jenks. Investigators told KOKI-TV that a man and his two sons are dead after what they believe is a case of murder-suicide. Police said the children’s mother was at work at the time. The shooting happened in the Country Woods neighborhood near West 106th Street South and South Madison Street South. Officers responded to a call around 12:50 p.m. regarding a domestic incident at the home. Police said others living in the home called 911. No one else in the home was injured.
  • Federal prosecutors say that two men in Las Vegas have plead guilty to running one of the nation's biggest illegal TV and movie streaming services. They say 36 year old Darryl Polo and 40 year old Luis Villarino, who ran the site iStreamItAll, told the Justice Department that their service provided over 100,000 television episodes and movies to all of its subscribers all without consent from the copyright owners. That equals more than Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime put together.  They reportedly got their content from pirate and 'torrent' web sites, stored them, and then distributed them to servers in Canada for all their subscribers. Polo says he made more than $1 million running the site.  Prosecutors also say the two used their programming skills to run another similar operation called Jetflicks, which also used automated software to find, download, and distribute the content to servers in the U.S. and Canada.  Polo and Villarino face charges of money laundering and copyright infringement. They are due to be sentenced in a Virginia federal court in March.
  • A controversial plan has been unanimously approved by the Central Florida Expressway Authority to extend Osceola Parkway. The nine mile extension would connect State Road 417 to new developments with a portion cutting through Split Oak Forest, which houses a variety of endangered species. This would impact 160 out of the 1,700 acre forest, which is home to state protected animals such as sand-hill cranes, gopher tortoises, and even wild turkeys.  However, if the route through the forest would not have been chosen, an alternate route would affect nearly 20 homes just south of Split Oak in the Narcoossee area. Expressway leaders say the toll road is needed to accommodate the next 50 years worth of projected population growth in the area.  Some approvals are still needed at the state level before it goes into effect, but the plan is on its way to commissioners in Orange and Osceola counties for their approval as well.
  • A Virginia mother is wanted on abduction charges after authorities say she took her four children on vacation six months ago and never brought them home. The woman alleges she is saving the children from sex trafficking by their father and grandfather. Along with four misdemeanor abduction charges, Melody Bannister, 34, of Stafford, is charged with felony violation of a court order and filing a false police report, a news release from the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office said. A warrant was issued for her arrest Aug. 23, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. Her children are identified as Genevieve Bannister, 13; Janelle Bannister, 12; Vivienne Bannister, 11; and Peter Bannister, 7. Genevieve is described as 5 feet, 3 inches tall and 110 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes, according to the NCMEC. Janelle is described as 5 feet, 1 inch tall and 115 pounds. Like her older sister, she has brown hair and hazel eyes. Vivienne is listed as 4 feet, 11 inches tall and weighing 95 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes. Peter is described as 4 feet, 1 inch tall and 90 pounds. He also brown hair and blue eyes. Bannister is described as 5 feet, 2 inches tall and 110 pounds. Like her two youngest children, she has brown hair and blue eyes. The children and their mother were last known to be traveling in a blue-green 2002 Honda Odyssey with Virginia license plate number VBH7123, Stafford County Sheriff’s Office Detective James Wright said during a segment about the case on “Live PD” on A&E. Finding Bannister and the children has become more urgent after “recent developments in the investigation have led investigators to believe the children may now be in danger,” the Sheriff’s Office’s statement said. Wright, who is lead investigator on the case, said on “Live PD” that authorities believe the missing family might be in danger due to the “clandestine nature” of the religious organization they belong to. “We’re concerned about the welfare because they are unable to take care of themselves. They don’t have any means to take care of them. Melody doesn’t have means to take care of them,” Wright told host Tom Morris Jr. Sheriff’s Office spokesman Amanda Vicinanzo said investigators believe Bannister has had help along the way from members of a religious group of which she is purportedly a member, according to the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg. The newspaper reported that the family’s pets, a white Great Pyrenees dog and white ragdoll cat, were left at one of the stops Bannister has made since leaving Virginia. “After months on the road, we had to say goodbye to our beloved pets: Our giant, bounding bundle of puppy-faced joy and our fluffy cat, whose soothing whirr often assuaged our soreness of heart,” Bannister wrote on her blog. “It is a comfort to know they are in good, loving hands, since they can no longer be in ours.” “Live PD” pointed out that Bannister has written about her religion previously, describing it as a “cult.” According to a blog she began in 2016 called Lady Adelaide’s Realm, Bannister grew up in a Quiverfull household. Followers of the Quiverfull movement believe that the men with the most children will earn the most favor from God. They shun all forms of contraception, believing that it is only God who “opens and closes the womb,” follower Kelly Swanson told NPR in 2009. The movement advocates stringent gender roles, and women are not allowed to question their husbands’ authority. They cannot work outside the home, wear pants or cut their hair. According to some of Bannister’s friends -- and a second blog the missing woman appears to have written since going on the run with her children -- the danger toward the children lies not with their mother, but in their father’s home. Bannister’s blog devoted to the allegations is subtitled “American Outlaws: The Plight of Child Sex Trafficking Victims Living Underground.” Her most recent blog post on Lady Adelaide’s Realm, dated June 28, names six men, including her father-in-law, as her children’s alleged abusers. The men are not being named because they have not been charged with a crime. ‘Will justice triumph over lawlessness this Christmas?’ A Change.org petition begging for help from Virginia and Alabama officials claims that the children’s father “conspired with (Bannister’s) father-in-law to perpetuate some of the most horrifying sexual and physical abuse imaginable upon her children.” “When local law enforcement failed to protect these children, ordering them back to live with their abuser, Melody chose to live on the wrong side of the law. What else could a truly desperate mother do?” the petition reads. Bannister has accused her husband of “deliver(ing) the children up for torture to the barn of his father.” She has accused her father-in-law of not only sexually abusing the children, but of offering them up for abuse by his friends. “The children have spoken of being given strange substances in the barn that made the world swim before their eyes and caused the taunting faces of their abusers to converge together in a dizzying blur,” Bannister wrote. She wrote on the blog that her only crimes were “believing (her) children when they disclosed a lifetime of ongoing abuse” and “reporting (it) to the Stafford, Virginia, police.” Stafford County officials said that an investigation into the allegations brought to them by Bannister in June found no evidence of abuse against the children. “A joint investigation with Stafford County law enforcement and Child Protective Services determined the allegations were unfounded,” according to the statement from the Sheriff’s Office. “Shortly after the conclusion of the investigation, Bannister left Virginia with the children on a planned vacation and never returned.” Bannister wrote on her blog that she and the children left town for a vacation June 14, the day after she reported the abuse, in part out of fear of reprisal from the accused. She said she called the Sheriff’s Office detective, Wright, a few days later to check up on the investigation. “We spoke briefly once, when he told me that he had interviewed my husband and would soon interview my father-in-law,” Bannister wrote. “After that, he stopped answering my phone calls.” She wrote that Wright and a CPS caseworker chalked the sex abuse claims up to children’s “vivid imaginations.” She described fleeing Virginia with the “rancid hot breath of child predators” on her back. “We left home with barely a week’s worth of summer clothes and are practically penniless, living off the kindness of friends who, one by one, have taken us under their wings,” Bannister wrote. She said her husband drained their joint bank account and cancelled her credit cards when she did not bring the children back to Virginia. Read Bannister’s entire, five-part blog here. Warning: It includes graphic details of alleged child sex abuse. Stafford County’s Juvenile, Domestic and Relations Court granted sole custody of the children to their father the following month, Stafford County authorities said. Their father, identified in court records as William Joseph Bannister, filed for divorce last month. “(Melody) Bannister refused to return the children and subsequently petitioned the courts in Alabama requesting custody be issued to her there,” a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson said. “The courts in Alabama heard the case and also ordered Bannister to return her children to their father back in Virginia. “Bannister absconded from the state of Alabama with her four children and has not been seen since.” Bannister and the children were last seen Aug. 20 in Moulton, a small city in northwest Alabama. “We set up residence in Alabama and made it our new home, where we obtained a protective order against the man formerly known as Daddy,” Bannister wrote on her blog. “This was swiftly snatched away when the judge deferred to the Virginia ruling, which ordered me to return the children to him.” Bannister wrote that a family court hearing was held in Virginia without her presence Aug. 19, with a judge ruling in her husband’s favor. She claimed she was never served with a summons for the hearing. She and the children vanished from Alabama the next day. US marshals issue alert Aside from Alabama, potential sightings of the family have been reported in Wisconsin, Colorado, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Texas. The U.S. Marshals Service and the NCMEC have been involved in the case over the past few months, the Sheriff’s Office said. The Marshals Service issued an alert this week seeking help from the public in finding Bannister and the missing children. A friend of Bannister, Julie Lampkins, shared a story on Facebook about the missing family, saying it was “with a heavy heart” that she shared the link about the mother’s alleged abduction of her children. “We all have questions, but no answers,” Lampkins wrote. “Help the authorities find her and her (four) kids.” Meanwhile, Bannister is appealing for help on the state and federal levels, according to the Change.org petition. It quoted additional portions of Bannister’s blog. “The mental health and credibility of my children and me have been assessed and verified by two of the most prestigious forensic psychiatrists in the country: Dr. Michael Stone and Dr. Carole Lieberman,” Bannister wrote on her blog. “Naturally, the abusers did not take kindly to such a development and are seeking to have the reports stricken from the record. ‘Eliminate all threats’ seems to be their motto. Hence our position of living underground.” Followers on her blog wrote this week that they believed her and her children. “Many people believe you and are praying and sharing the news and asking God to vindicate and protect. Praying that true justice will be served,” Carrie Brownell wrote. A friend, identified as Lana, told Bannister she was praying for her, as well as sharing her story and contacting a list of law enforcement officers listed on the blog on Bannister’s behalf. Another friend named Rachael offered similar well wishes. “Oh Melody…my heart is so broken for you and your sweet kids,” the woman wrote. “I will be keeping you in my prayers and doing what I can. Locally.” A third friend named Petra Carden wrote that Bannister and her children have a place in her home “any time, day or night, no questions asked” if Bannister has to return to Virginia. Others who read her story offered her help in other locations throughout the country, including Alabama, where she and the children were last seen. Many people who believe Bannister’s allegations of abuse urged caution in reporting the family’s whereabouts. “If the news articles released regarding Melody Bannister’s children being in danger is all people know, they will report them when they see them and put them back in danger,” one woman wrote on Twitter. A cult? Bannister’s Facebook profile lists her as manager of a website called Recovering Daughters. The description of the site on its corresponding Facebook page states it is about “healing from Vision Forum, authoritarianism and the Quiverfull Movement.” The Recovering Daughters website is no longer available because the domain has recently expired. Vision Forum was a Texas-based ministry that promoted a patriarchal lifestyle, in which the husband rules the family, and home-schooling its children. The ministry was shut down by its board in 2013 after leader Doug Phillips admitted to an extramarital affair, the Huffington Post reported. Phillips has been a friend of and influence on Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, whose TLC show “19 Kids and Counting” focused on their beliefs against birth control and that large families are a gift from God, the news site said. The Duggars, who lost their show after their eldest son, Josh Duggar, was publicly accused of sexually molesting multiple young girls, including some of his sisters, have also been associated with the Quiverfull movement, though the Huffington Post reported in 2015 that the couple does not formally consider themselves members of the movement. The Quiverfull movement gets its name from a Bible passage: “Children are a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is His reward. As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” Hännah Ettinger, a young woman raised in the movement who had left that world behind, told Cosmopolitan in 2015 that her first big break from the religion came when her father told her she “didn’t have the spiritual discernment” to choose her own boyfriend, a man she met at her Christian college. “Later, I got utterly fed up with the churches I’d grown up in because I kept finding out that they’d protected child abusers, rapists, and men who’d beaten their wives, all in the name of redemption stories, ‘biblical’ male headship and complementarian theology,” Ettinger told the magazine. Vyckie Garrison, another former Quiverfull member, told Vice in 2016 that, with no central leader, the movement isn’t a cult, per se. It’s more of a mindset “in which each family becomes a cult unto itself with Daddy enshrined as the supreme patriarch,” Vice reported. Garrison founded a website called No Longer Quivering, which is designed to help other women in her situation escape the movement. In April 2015, the American Atheists Convention named her its 2014 Atheist of the Year. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Bannister and her children is asked to call the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office at 540-658-4400, the U.S. Marshals Service at 877-WANTED2 or the NCMEC at 800-THE-LOST.
  • Some new detours and lane closures are scheduled for our Seminole County commuters. Construction begins at 8:30 PM Friday night and will last until 6:30 Monday morning. As FDOT widens the few miles of 17-92 near Seminole state college from four to six lanes, thru traffic won't be affected. However, Northbound drivers will have to take an early detour if they need to turn left at Ronald Reagan Blvd.  Southbound drivers wishing to turn left into Parks Lincoln of Longwood are asked to make a U-turn farther down the road. Additionally, Westbound drivers on Ronald Reagan Blvd turning left on Southbound 17-92 will not have a detour, but are asked to follow channeling devices to keep traffic flowing smoothly during construction: FDOT reminds drivers to stay alert and use caution while driving, as safety doesn’t happen by accident.

Washington Insider

  • The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Friday that it will hear arguments on an effort by President Donald Trump to prevent Congress and investigators in New York from using subpoenas to access his tax, banking, and other financial records, items which the President has fought to keep from being released. Lower courts had ordered Mazar's, the President's accounting firm, and two major banks, Deutche Bank and Capital One, to turn over financial records - those orders will stay on hold until the cases are resolved before the High Court. Attorneys for the President have lost at every level in state and federal court in all three cases, making the argument that Congress does not need Mr. Trump's financial information for any legitimate legislative purpose, casting it as a fishing expedition. The subpoenas were not to sent to the President - but rather to Mazar's, Deutche Bank, and Capital One - making the case somewhat different than a simple subpoena to Mr. Trump. 'Having considered the weighty interests at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the Committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable,' a three judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals wrote earlier this year in the Mazars case.  'We affirm the district court’s judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee and against the Trump Plaintiffs,' the judges added. With the arguments in March of 2020, that timing would suggest that a final decision could be one of the biggest cases to be decided in the 2019-2020 term - possibly being saved for late June, when the Court ends its work before a summer break. That would put the results squarely into the midst of the 2020 campaign for the White House. As for why the U.S. Supreme Court intervened, a number of legal experts said the Justices could have done that as a favor to President Trump - not necessarily indicating that Mr. Trump is going to prevail. 'These cases involve the President and his tax returns, and they may have felt no choice but to take the cases and decide them on the merits given their political importance,' said Aswin Phatak, a lawyer with the Constitutional Accountability Center.