Biden White House strategy for impeachment inquiry: Dismiss. Compartmentalize. Scold. Fundraise.
WASHINGTON (AP) — On Capitol Hill, House Republicans were all-in Wednesday on House Speaker Kevin McCarthy's announcement of an impeachment inquiry into President Joe Biden. Down Pennsylvania Avenue, the president was holding forth at the White House on the importance of bipartisanship in fighting cancer — and ignoring shouted questions about impeachment.
It was a clear sign of Biden’s broader reelection pitch: the idea that if he simply does his job and governs, Americans will see the results and reward him with four more years. Never mind all that pesky impeachment talk across town.
“Look, I’ve got a job to do," the president said later, away from the cameras, to a roomful of supporters at a reelection fundraiser in Virginia in his most extensive comments yet about the inquiry. "I get up every day — not a joke — not focusing on impeachment. I’ve got a job to do. I’ve got to deal with the issues that affect the American people every single solitary day.”
The we're-all-better-than-this attitude is central to the White House strategy for countering impeachment proceedings being launched ahead of the 2024 election by Republicans who are trying to link Biden to the business dealings of his son, Hunter. This as the GOP tries to shift attention away from Donald Trump’s own legal troubles.
The White House has been preparing for a potential impeachment essentially since Republicans won control of the House in the November elections. It has roughly two dozen staff members in the counsel's office detailed to the matter. The new chief counsel, Ed Siskel, is a former Obama administration attorney who helped craft the response to the congressional investigations into the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador.
Escaped murderer Danelo Cavalcante is captured in Pa. with the help of dogs and a heat-sensing plane
POTTSTOWN, Pa. (AP) — A murderer who brazenly escaped from a Pennsylvania jail was captured Wednesday in the woods by a team of tactical officers, bringing an end to an intensive search that terrified residents as the fugitive broke into homes for food, changed his appearance and stole a van and rifle during two weeks on the run.
Law enforcement's big break came overnight as a plane fitted with a thermal imaging camera picked up Danelo Souza Cavalcante's heat signal, allowing teams on the ground to secure the area, surround him and move in with search dogs.
“They were able to move in very quietly. They had the element of surprise,” Pennsylvania State Police Lt. Col. George Bivens said at a news conference. “Cavalcante did not realize he was surrounded until that had occurred.”
Still armed with the rifle he stole from a homeowner's garage, the fugitive tried to escape by crawling through underbrush. But a search dog subdued him, Bivens said, adding that he continued to resist as he was taken into custody after 8 a.m.
Cavalcante, 34, was bitten on the scalp and suffered a minor wound, Bivens said. A dog also latched onto his thigh, Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Clark told The Associated Press, “at which time, Cavalcante submitted."
Federal judge again declares that DACA is illegal with issue likely to be decided by Supreme Court
HOUSTON (AP) — While a federal judge on Wednesday declared illegal a revised version of a federal policy that prevents the deportation of hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, he declined to order an immediate end to the program and the protections it offers to recipients.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen agreed with Texas and eight other states suing to stop the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program. The judge’s ruling was ultimately expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, sending the program’s fate before the high court for a third time.
“While sympathetic to the predicament of DACA recipients and their families, this Court has expressed its concerns about the legality of the program for some time,” Hanen wrote in his 40-page ruling. “The solution for these deficiencies lies with the legislature, not the executive or judicial branches. Congress, for any number of reasons, has decided not to pass DACA-like legislation ... The Executive Branch cannot usurp the power bestowed on Congress by the Constitution — even to fill a void.”
Hanen’s order extended the current injunction that had been in place against DACA, which barred the government from approving any new applications, but left the program intact for existing recipients during the ongoing legal review.
Hanen also declined a request by the states to order the program's end within two years. Hanen said his order does not require the federal government to take any actions against DACA recipients, who are known as “Dreamers.”
North Korea's Kim vows full support for Moscow at a summit with Putin in Russia
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea’s Kim Jong Un vowed “full and unconditional support” for Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Wednesday as the two leaders isolated by the West held a summit that the U.S. warned could lead to a deal to supply ammunition for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
The meeting, which lasted over four hours at Russia’s spaceport in the Far East, underscores how the two countries' interests are aligning: Putin is believed to be seeking one of the few things impoverished North Korea has in abundance -– stockpiles of aging ammunition and rockets for Soviet-era weapons.
Such a request would mark a role reversal from the 1950-53 Korean War, when Moscow gave weapons to support Pyongyang’s invasion of South Korea — and in the decades that followed, when the Soviet Union sponsored North Korea.
Reporting on the meeting Thursday, North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said Kim invited Putin to visit North Korea at a “convenient time” and that Putin accepted with “pleasure and reaffirmed his will to invariably carry forward” the history of friendship between the nations.
The decision to meet at the Vostochny Cosmodrome, Russia’s most important launch center on its own soil, suggests Kim is seeking Russian help in developing military reconnaissance satellites. He has previously said that is crucial to enhancing the threat of his nuclear-capable missiles, and North Korea has repeatedly failed to put its first military spy satellite into orbit.
Rain-soaked New England hit by likely tornado amid wild weather ahead of Hurricane Lee's arrival
LEOMINSTER, Mass. (AP) — Hurricane Lee barreled north toward New England on Wednesday and threatened to unleash violent storms on the region just as communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island were dealing with tornado warnings and another day of heavy rain that opened up sinkholes and brought devastating flooding to several communities.
The National Hurricane Center issued a hurricane watch for portions of Maine. A tropical storm watch was issued for a large area of coastal New England from parts of Rhode Island to Stonington, Maine, including Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
The National Weather Service in Boston said that looking at radar data and videos it appears likely that a tornado toppled trees and knocked down power lines in Rhode Island and Connecticut on Wednesday. Rob Megnia, a meteorologist with the weather service, said they received reports of about 20 trees down in Killingly, Connecticut, and trees and power lines down in Foster, Rhode Island.
The agency said it would survey the storm damage in both states on Thursday to help determine the tornado's strength, maximum wind speed and its path.
Emergency sirens could be heard late Wednesday afternoon in parts of Providence, Rhode Island, as cellphones pinged with a tornado warning. In Lincoln, Rhode Island, photos after the storm showed at least one roof damaged, a trampoline blown into some trees and the press box at the high school stadium tipped into the bleachers.
Utah GOP Sen. Mitt Romney won't seek reelection in 2024, marking end to decadeslong political career
Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he will not run for reelection, ending a storied two-decade political career that included the 2012 Republican GOP nomination for president and a term as Massachusetts governor.
Romney, 76, said the country's many challenges call for a younger generation of leaders. He said the U.S. would be better served if the two front-runners for their parties' 2024 presidential nominations — Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican former President Donald Trump — stepped aside. Biden is 80 and Trump is 77.
“The times we’re living in redemand the next generation step up and express their point of view and to make the decisions that will shape American politics over the coming century,” Romney said in a news conference at the Capitol. He said baby boomers like him are “not the right ones to be making the decisions for tomorrow.”
He said after he leaves the Senate he plans to focus on getting more young people voting and involved in the political process.
As the GOP's 2012 nominee for the White House, Romney campaigned across America as a buttoned-up former Massachusetts governor and private equity executive. But with Trump's populist rise as the party's dominant figure, Romney's brand of Republicanism shifted from establishment to outlier. He was the only GOP member of Congress to vote to convict Trump at both of his impeachment trials.
Searchers race to recover bodies in Libyan city where 5,100 died in flooding after 2 dams collapsed
DERNA, Libya (AP) — Search teams combed streets, wrecked buildings and even the sea Wednesday to look for bodies in a coastal Libyan city where the collapse of two dams unleashed a massive flash flood that killed at least 5,100 people.
The Mediterranean city of Derna has struggled to get help after Sunday night’s deluge washed away most access roads. Aid workers who managed to reach the city described devastation in its center, with thousands still missing and tens of thousands left homeless.
“Bodies are everywhere, inside houses, in the streets, at sea. Wherever you go, you find dead men, women, and children,” Emad al-Falah, an aid worker from Benghazi, said over the phone from Derna. “Entire families were lost.”
Mediterranean storm Daniel caused deadly flooding Sunday in many towns of eastern Libya, but the worst-hit was Derna. Two dams in the mountains above the city collapsed, sending floodwaters roaring down the Wadi Derna river and through the city center, sweeping away entire city blocks.
As much as a quarter of the city has disappeared, emergency officials said.
There's no sign of widespread COVID-19 mandates in the US. Republicans are warning of them anyway
NEW YORK (AP) — As Americans fend off a late summer COVID-19 spike and prepare for a fresh vaccine rollout, Republicans are raising familiar fears that government-issued lockdowns and mask mandates are next.
It's been a favorite topic among some of the GOP's top presidential contenders. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told reporters that people are “lurching toward” COVID-19 restrictions and “there needs to be pushback.” South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott posted online that the “radical Left” seeks to bring back school closures and mandates. And former President Donald Trump urged congressional Republicans to stop the Biden administration from bringing back COVID-19 “mandates, lockdowns or restrictions of any kind.”
“The radical Democrats are trying hard to restart COVID hysteria,” Trump told supporters in Rapid City, South Dakota, during a recent campaign stop. “I wonder why. Is there an election coming up by any chance?”
While some individual schools and colleges have implemented temporary mask requirements, there is no sign that anyone in federal or state leadership is considering widespread COVID-19 restrictions, requirements or mask mandates. The administrations of several Democratic governors denied that any such moves are even under discussion. The overriding sentiment is to leave the decisions to individuals.
“No COVID-19 public health restrictions or mask requirements are being considered by the Murphy administration," said Christi Peace, spokesperson for New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.
Loudspeaker message outside NYC migrant shelter warns new arrivals they are 'not safe here'
NEW YORK (AP) — A New Yorker upset that the city has been housing homeless migrants on his block has set up a loudspeaker to deliver an unwelcoming message to his new neighbors: "Immigrants are not safe here.”
The message, recorded in six languages, blares all day from a loudspeaker on Scott Herkert's well-groomed front lawn on Staten Island, exhorting migrants to “go back” to another part of the city because the community doesn’t want them. It urges people brought to a temporary shelter inside a long-vacant Roman Catholic high school not to get off the bus. The message also claims the building has rats and cockroaches.
It is one of several ways some people have let shelter residents know they are not welcome. Hundreds of protesters have also held a large rally outside the former school, urging the city to house migrants elsewhere.
The women and families placed by the city inside the former Saint John Villa Academy have heard the message loud and clear.
“We have to close our eyes and close our ears,” said Aminetou El Alewai, a 39-year-old woman from Mauritania who moved into the shelter last week. “We are good people. We are not criminals. We came because of problems in our country.”
NFL players union renews call for grass fields after Aaron Rodgers' injury
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Skin scraped down to bloody patches. Sore bodies stinging in post-game showers. Aching shoulders, backs, hips, knees and ankles.
Add in season-ending injuries like four-time MVP Aaron Rodgers tearing his left Achilles tendon in his debut with the New York Jets on Monday night and Buffalo pass rusher Von Miller tearing his ACL, an incident that he blames on artificial turf.
Yes, NFL players prefer playing on natural grass. It's why the NFL Players Association called on the league Wednesday to switch all fields to grass in what executive director Lloyd Howell said was “the easiest decision the NFL can make.”
It's a matter of career preservation.
“I mean the NFL is already ‘Not For Long,’ right?” Carolina linebacker Shaq Thompson said. “It sucks it had to happen that way. ... Hopefully they run with it. Hopefully they blow it up and shout it out loud and everybody puts it on social media, takes a stand and does something.”
The Associated Press