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    Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says 'there will be no talks with the U.S. at any level' — remarks apparently meant to end all speculation about a U.S.-Iran meeting at the U.N. later this month. Iranian state TV on Tuesday quotes Khamenei as saying this is the position of the entire leadership of the country and that 'all officials in the Islamic Republic unanimously believe' this. There has been speculation about a possible meeting between President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, during the upcoming U.N. General Assembly this month in New York. Tensions roiling the Persian Gulf have escalated following a weekend attack on major oil sites in Saudi Arabia that U.S. alleged Iran was responsible for. Iran denies the charge.
  • Officials in Japan appear wary over the prospects for a trade deal with the U.S. after President Donald Trump said he was prepared to sign a pact soon. Japan's chief government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, said Tuesday that the two sides are still finalizing details after reaching a basic agreement in late August on trade in farm products, digital trade and other industries. Trump's notice to Congress, released by the White House, did not mention tariffs on autos and parts, long a sticking point between the two countries. Suga said Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are considering signing a deal in late September when they attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York. He and other officials said a formal agreement has not yet been reached.
  • First, Sam Darnold. Then, Trevor Siemian. Well, now what? That's the question Adam Gase and the struggling and short-handed New York Jets are faced with at the quarterback spot just two games into the season. 'Obviously, it always causes a problem when a quarterback changes,' running back Le'Veon Bell said after a 23-3 loss to Cleveland on Monday night. 'But it wasn't how the quarterback played. We just didn't execute enough for us to get a win today.' Luke Falk, the Jets' No. 3 quarterback, was promoted a few hours before the game — and found himself on the field as the only healthy player at the position after Siemian went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter. 'Yeah, it's been a weird week,' Falk said. 'A week ago, I was on the practice squad and then tonight I'm standing in front of you guys after playing in a game.' It certainly was an unexpected development, and sent the Jets into quite a quarterback quandary. New York will likely be in the market to sign another passer or two this week as it prepares to play at New England next Sunday. 'We might have to,' Gase said, 'because we're down to one.' Darnold was diagnosed with mononucleosis last week and will likely miss several more games while recovering. That was the reason Siemian got the start against the Browns. But, his Jets debut ended painfully. Siemian threw a long incomplete pass to Ryan Griffin, but Cleveland's Myles Garrett slammed into him and fell on top of him — and the Browns defensive end was penalized for roughing the passer. Siemian stayed down for several minutes as trainers attended to him on the field. The quarterback was able to get up under his own power, but very gingerly and with a limp. He was officially ruled out for the rest of the game when the second half began and was scheduled to have an MRI on Tuesday morning. Siemian was seen on crutches and his left foot in a walking boot in the locker room after the game. Falk replaced Siemian with 7:58 left in the first half and helped the Jets get their first points on a 46-yard field goal by Sam Ficken, the team's fourth kicker since July. Siemian finished 3 of 6 for 3 yards, while Falk was 20 of 25 for 198 yards in his NFL debut as the Jets lost their seventh straight at home, dating to last season. 'When we look at it, we're going to have to look at all of our guys and see who's doing their job and who is not,' Gase said of his offense. 'Do we have to move pieces around? Do we have to change some things up? 'I thought Luke did a really good job tonight. He started off kind of slow. I was just trying to ease him into the game a little bit. He was on the practice squad yesterday.' New York rolled up just 262 total yards, went 2 for 14 on third downs and made it into the red zone just once. That was when Falk led the Jets on their longest drive of the night — 60 yards — but Bell could only get 1 yard on a fourth-and-2 pass, turning the ball over on downs at the Browns 11. On the next play, Baker Mayfield hit Odell Beckham Jr. with a slant pass, and the receiver outran the Jets' defenders all the way to the end zone for an 89-yard TD that put Cleveland up 23-3 with 3:32 remaining in the third quarter. 'Luke played well,' Bell said. 'The quarterback situation wasn't the problem. It's guys getting on the details. ... We were hurting ourselves, that's it.' That meant too many penalties — 12 for 89 yards — too many drops, not enough blocks and too few plays made. The Jets also allowed four sacks, and eight quarterback hits. 'We have to take a hard look at this,' Gase said, 'and figure out what's going on.' NOTES: CB Trumaine Johnson was replaced in the starting lineup by Nate Hairston, a move Gase simply said was 'just our decision.' Johnson entered the season as the Jets' top player at the position, and said he was 'in and out' all week with the first-team defense during practice, so he was surprised he didn't play until late in the game. 'Of course I was upset,' Johnson said. 'But it's not about me. I was supporting my guys out there today.' Gase said Johnson's benching was not disciplinary. ... LB Jordan Jenkins left with a calf injury, but he doesn't believe it's serious. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL
  • President Donald Trump is making a rare visit to California, a Democratic stronghold where he is expected to rake in millions of dollars during a series of fundraisers for his reelection effort that are almost certain to be met with jeering protests. Trump has routinely mocked California over its liberal culture, policies and politics. His visit Tuesday and Wednesday signals that despite the state's decidedly leftward swing in recent years there are still plenty of wealthy Republicans who support him. 'There's not been a president in living history that is as unpopular in the state of California as Trump,' said Mike Madrid, a GOP political consultant who is an outspoken Trump critic. 'But our money spends the same as everyone else's.' Trump continues to rake in gobs of cash more than a year out from the November 2020 contest, with his campaign and the Republican National Committee pulling in over $210 million since the start of 2019, Federal Election Commission records show. That's more than all the current Democrats seeking to replace him raised combined during that period. The California events, which will be spread across two days in in the Bay Area, Los Angeles and San Diego, are expected to bring in an additional $15 million, according to a Republican official familiar with the plans who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters. California was an incubator for the modern conservative movement that swept the state's former governor, Ronald Reagan, into the White House in 1980. But demographic changes and an influx of new residents have helped drastically rework the political contours of the country's most populated state, with the former GOP stronghold of Orange County now home to more registered Democrats than Republicans. For Republicans, who have been resigned to political irrelevance at the state level, a donation to Trump can amount to its own form of protest. 'By showing up to a fundraiser deep in the belly of the beast, one is saying: 'I don't care what the liberal politicians are saying and I want to show my support for him publicly,'' said California's Republican National Committeewoman Harmeet Dhillon, who is an ardent Trump supporter. She added: 'I sold $100,000 worth of (tickets), and I could have sold another $100,000 more.' California has long been a key fundraising hotbed for politicians of both parties, which have relied on the entertainment industry and wealthy industry heads to finance their political ambitions. But under Trump, the run-of-the-mill fundraising trip has taken on a complicating dimension due to his harsh criticism of everything from the state's immigration laws to its forest management practices, which he blamed for fatal wildfires. Earlier this month Trump lashed out at 'Will and Grace' TV star Debra Messing after she tweeted that attendees of the Trump's California fundraisers should be outed publicly. 'I have not forgotten that when it was announced that I was going to do The Apprentice, and when it then became a big hit, helping NBC's failed lineup greatly, @DebraMessing came up to me at an Upfront & profusely thanked me, even calling me 'Sir.' How times have changed!' Trump tweeted. In August, he took aim at the state's massive film industry, calling Hollywood 'very dangerous for our country.' 'Hollywood is really terrible. You talk about racist — Hollywood is racist,' he said. That's contributed to heightened security concerns surrounding the trip. Trump has also complained about the extent of homelessness in California. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is expected to follow Trump to California, if one day behind him, on visits to San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. A senior HUD official said Carson will speak on a range of issues, including increasing the supply of affordable housing and incentivizing investment in distressed communities while protecting vulnerable neighbors. Already, the Backbone Campaign, a Washington state-based progressive group, said on Facebook that it planned to fly a large 'Baby Trump' balloon in the Bay Area when Trump is scheduled to be there on Tuesday. In an unusual move, Trump campaign officials — not his top donors — have been listed as sponsors of the event. Dhillon said there were concerns that Antifa, an anti-fascist group, could stir violent protests. 'For every person coming to this event, there would probably be 10 more,' she said. Trump began his three-day trip to the West at a rally in New Mexico, which he hopes to win next year despite losing by about 8 percentage points in 2016. Trump referred to California a couple of times in his speech, and not in a good way. The president noted that his administration is at odds with the state over fuel efficiency standards for automobiles. He long has made clear he wants to end California's clout in setting mileage standards, and Monday night he said he wants heavier cars because they're safer and cheaper, even if they are less fuel efficient. 'California wants you to do the other cars and we don't,' Trump said. 'We will end up in big litigation and I am fighting for you,' he told the crowd. He also joked about moving part of the border wall in San Diego to where it would be more appreciated. 'I would love to take that sucker down and move it right now to New Mexico,' he said to rousing cheers. ___ Slodysko reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this report.
  • The Jeffrey Epstein case has brought national attention to victims' rights, from prosecutors shunning Epstein's accusers more than a decade ago to the same women speaking about their suffering at an extraordinary court hearing last month. If there was a silver lining to the saga, attorneys for the women said, it was the emphasis on the victims that permeated the most recent proceedings— a night-and-day difference from their treatment the first time Epstein found himself under federal investigation. That enthusiasm was dampened Monday when a federal judge in Florida denied Epstein's accusers compensation from the U.S. Justice Department, even after ruling that prosecutors violated their rights by failing to consult them about the 2008 plea deal they reached with Epstein. Lawyers for the women are weighing an appeal, worried not only about precedent but the thousands of hours for which they were denied attorneys' fees after 11 years of litigation. Despite those setbacks, several advocates said the Epstein case bolstered the national victims' rights movement, an effort that has gained momentum in recent years as more and more states pass measures guaranteeing victims a voice in criminal proceedings. U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra echoed that sentiment in his ruling Monday, saying Epstein's accusers could take solace 'in the fact that this litigation has brought national attention to the Crime Victims' Rights Act and the importance of victims in the criminal justice system.' 'It has also resulted in the United States Department of Justice acknowledging its shortcomings in dealing with crime victims, and its promise to better train its prosecutors regarding the rights of victims under the CVRA in the future,' Marra wrote. Some observers said the Epstein case could have a lasting impact on the treatment of victims at a time when the #MeToo movement has brought a greater focus to restorative justice. Even after Epstein killed himself in his jail cell last month, U.S. District Judge Richard Berman invited his accusers to read impact statements before he dismissed the indictment, an opportunity their attorneys said would hasten their healing process. 'It was a red-letter day for the victims' rights movement,' Paul Cassell, a former federal judge who represents some of Epstein's accusers, told The Associated Press. 'It's likely to change the trajectory of some of the lives that were harmed by Epstein and put these events in the rearview mirror.' Jennifer Freeman, a longtime attorney for child sex abuse victims, likened the hearing to the 2018 sentencing in Michigan of disgraced former sports doctor Larry Nassar, in which 156 women read victim-impact statements over seven days. 'This is part of a seismic shift in our culture and our legal system,' Freeman said. 'It's an enormous step forward.' Not everyone applauded Berman's approach. Bruce Green, a former federal prosecutor in Manhattan, faulted the judge for what he described as a 'rare if not unprecedented use of the courtroom' that had more of a dramatic than legal function. 'While many people assume that Epstein is guilty of the crimes alleged in the indictment and worse, our courts and constitution require that we presume him innocent until proven otherwise,' Green wrote in an article he co-authored for the New York Law Journal. The victims' rights movement aims to 'restore the balance' between the rights of victims and the accused in the criminal justice system. Voters in Pennsylvania will decide in November whether to follow Florida, California and eight other states in adopting Marsy's Law, a victims' bill of rights named after a California college student who was stalked and killed in 1983 by an ex-boyfriend. The law was passed but later overturned in Montana and Kentucky. It has met resistance from groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, which warns that a proposed national Victims' Rights Amendment would curtail due process. 'Identifying victims and allowing their interests to be heard before a jury returns a verdict contaminates the deliberation process and runs counter to the idea that all Americans are 'innocent until proven guilty,'' the ACLU says on its website. In the Epstein case, prosecutors faced withering criticism over a once-secret plea deal that shielded Epstein— and others accused of helping him recruit underage girls— from federal charges and allowed him to spend just 13 months in jail after pleading guilty to state charges. Alexander Acosta, who oversaw the deal as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida, resigned his post as labor secretary this summer amid renewed scrutiny of the agreement. Epstein accuser Michelle Licata said in a statement filed in federal court that Epstein's initial case 'ended without me knowing what was going on.' 'I was treated like I did not matter,' she said. This time around, she thanked prosecutors in New York for taking an entirely different approach after charging Epstein in July with conspiracy and sex trafficking. Attorney General William Barr said after Epstein's death that his victims 'deserve justice,' vowing to prosecute any co-conspirators. 'I was allowed to be a part of the process this time,' Licata said in the statement. 'It means more to me than you can ever know.' __ Associated Press writer Maryclaire Dale contributed reporting from Philadelphia.
  • A short walk from police headquarters in the heart of downtown Los Angeles, a cluster of bustling shops are openly selling packaging and hardware that can be used to produce counterfeit marijuana vapes that have infected California's cannabis market. Bootleggers eager to profit off unsuspecting consumers are mimicking popular, legal vape brands, pairing replica packaging churned out in Chinese factories with untested, possibly dangerous cannabis oil produced in the state's vast underground market. The result: Authentic-looking vape cartridges sold by unlicensed dispensaries and delivery services, along with rogue websites. The deceptive rip-offs on the street could be linked to an emerging public health crisis. Hundreds of people across the U.S. have been sickened, mainly by vaping cannabis oil, and six deaths have been reported. Public health officials aren't sure what's causing the lung issues, vomiting and other symptoms, but in California they say most patients reported purchasing vapes from pop-up shops or other illegal sellers that are a pipeline for counterfeit products. The problem has gotten so pervasive that a major legal brand, Kingpen, is investing millions of dollars to redesign its packaging and product security, The Associated Press has learned. The distributor for another major brand, Heavy Hitters, devotes a section of its website to report phonies and has hired a former federal prosecutor, Priya Sopori, to help the company deal with counterfeiting. 'The danger presented by counterfeit products is just a natural result of not having the money, the resources or the people power to enforce licensing,' Sopori said. 'Someone is buying this packaging, buying these cartridges and filling them with whatever. It's being sold as our brand.' ___ VAPES: A HEALTHIER OPTION? As marijuana has gone mainstream, versions of e-cigarettes that vaporize high-inducing cannabis oil are one of the hottest-selling items, popular for those who don't want the smoke that comes from lighting up a joint. In addition to quickly delivering a high, there's a perception not supported by science that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking. In California's legal market, the world's largest, the state requires cannabis oil to be tested before being placed on the shelf for sale. For example, safety checks are made for the presence of 66 pesticides, mercury, lead and other heavy metals, and 21 solvents that could be used in the extraction process, when oil is pulled from cannabis. But it can be hard for consumers to tell whether a product they're buying is made by a legitimate company. The phony packaging is convincing to the untrained eye, some even carrying bogus labels that appear to carry state-required test results. Most consumers probably wouldn't know the difference — until they vape it. The taste and THC level could be significantly different from the authentic product. To add to the confusion, consumers can have trouble distinguishing legal dispensaries from unlicensed shops, which in Los Angeles sometimes operate in the same neighborhoods and appear indistinguishable. 'My biggest fear of counterfeiting is people are getting an unsafe product, and illegal product, and think it's coming from our company, a legal company,' says Bryce Berryessa, a board member of the California Cannabis Manufacturers Association whose company, Skunk Feather, produces concentrates and vape cartridges. In another warning of consumer risk related to vaping, an Associated Press investigation Monday found that some operators are substituting illegal synthetic marijuana in vapes marketed as natural CBD, a chemical in cannabis that doesn't cause a high and promises mainly unproven health claims. ___ A SOPHISTICATED EFFORT In storefronts along Los Angeles' Boyd Street, a narrow commercial strip that has become a de facto bazaar for all things cannabis, there are displays of fake packaging and ready-to-fill vape cartridges for sale for popular brands including Heavy Hitters and Kingpen. At one shop, the knock-off Heavy Hitter packages were selling for $225 for 100 empty cartridges and boxes; the Kingpen sets sell for $200. Counterfeit packaging and vape cartridges can also be easily found with a few mouse clicks on Alibaba, China's largest online commerce company, and other websites. Once purchased, a counterfeiter would add cannabis oil that is widely available in the illicit market — one recent online ad was selling oil for $6 a gram when purchased by the liter. It's not clear who's behind all the different sales, and California law enforcement agencies have been overmatched by the widespread illegal market. In LA, the police department's chief focus is shuttering an estimated 200 illegal dispensaries across the city, not pursuing the source of fake vapes that might be for sale inside them, Los Angeles Police Department spokesman Josh Rubenstein said. Thus far, the state's illegal market has been operating largely unchecked, providing a ready market for fakes. One recent study estimated that consumers are spending roughly $3 in the state's underground pot economy for every $1 in the legal one. Last week, state regulators raided two unlicensed shops selling bogus marijuana vapes in Southern California, seizing nearly $3 million in products. And in Wisconsin, authorities uncovered a 10-man operation that manufactured thousands of counterfeit vaping cartridges every day for almost two years loaded with oil containing THC, the high-producing ingredient in marijuana. A likely link between copycat vapes and the stores that sell them was illustrated on Aug. 28. An illegal shop padlocked by police in Los Angeles had a display case prominently displaying Kingpen vapes. The company said it had no relationship with the shop, which was selling vapes at bargain-basement prices, meaning they were almost certainly fakes. Kingpen has taken matters into its own hands, suing Chinese companies that produce fake packaging, sending scores of cease-and-desist letters to businesses that sell them and filing complaints with the state, only to see nothing change. 'There is no feedback. There is no action,' said Danny Corral, Kingpen manufacturer Loudpack's vice president of sales. Others have gone so far as to hire private investigators to locate illicit suppliers, but find dead ends. That's led many in the industry to believe the counterfeit operations are an organized, sophisticated practice. 'We have every reason to believe that the same criminal gangs and cartels that dominate the global pharmaceutical counterfeit drug trade will similarly wrestle control of California's cannabis counterfeit drug trade,' says a report compiled by Mammoth Distribution and submitted to state regulators. The company distributes Heavy Hitters. TAKING MATTERS INTO THEIR OWN HANDS With counterfeits leaching into California's illegal vape market, the threat for licensed companies is not just millions in lost revenue. They worry their highly valued brands could be forever tainted if people get a mouthful of foul-tasting vapor, or even become sick, from a bogus product carrying their name. To fight off rampant counterfeiting, the parent company of Kingpen is preparing to shelve millions of dollars in packaging and hardware, then spend millions more launching a redesigned product. Loudpack is partnering with a technology company and this month plans to roll out an anti-counterfeiting program that will allow customers to verify the authenticity of Kingpen products purchased from licensed dispensaries in the state. The rectangular paper box will be gone, replaced with a square, metal container. The company's logo remains, a rendering of a bearded, bloodshot-eyed king, but his face is partially obscured, like he is peering around a corner. There is also a unique code so consumers can validate the product. In a statement, the company said it hopes the makeover will give consumers 'peace of mind in knowing that any Kingpen product purchased legally is in fact authentic.
  • The World Bank and a Chinese Cabinet agency have urged Beijing to roll back plans for government-led technology development that are fueling a tariff war with Washington. The appeal Tuesday comes in a report on technology industries as 'new drivers' for China's economy that was commissioned three years ago, before the trade war erupted. It urges Beijing to open markets and reduce subsidies and government involvement in technology industries that it says might hamper development instead of promoting it. The report makes no mention of the trade war, but Washington, Europe, Japan and other trading partners cite the same policies as violations of Beijing's free-trade commitments.
  • As they investigate President Donald Trump, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee will hold their first official hearing in what they are calling an impeachment investigation. Corey Lewandowski, Trump's outspoken former campaign manager, is scheduled to appear Tuesday to discuss former special counsel Robert Mueller's report. But it's unlikely that Democrats will get much new information. A devoted friend and supporter of the president, Lewandowski isn't expected to elaborate much beyond what he told Mueller's investigators last year. Mueller himself testified this summer, with no bombshells. Two other witnesses who were subpoenaed alongside Lewandowski — former White House aides Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter — won't show up at all, on orders from the White House. The hearing underscores what has been a central dilemma for House Democrats all year — they have promised to investigate Trump, aggressively, and many of their base supporters want them to move quickly to try and remove him from office. But the White House has blocked their oversight requests at most every turn, declining to provide new documents or allow former aides to testify. The Republican Senate is certain to rebuff any House efforts to bring charges against the president. And moderate Democrats in their own caucus have expressed nervousness that the impeachment push could crowd out their other accomplishments. Still, the Judiciary panel is moving ahead, approving rules for impeachment hearings last week. Among those guidelines is allowing staff to question witnesses, as will happen for the first time with Lewandowski. Lewandowski was a central figure in Mueller's report, which said Trump could not be exonerated on obstruction of justice charges. Mueller's investigators detailed two episodes in which Trump asked Lewandowski to direct then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit Mueller's investigation. Trump said that if Sessions would not meet with Lewandowski, then Lewandowski should tell Sessions he was fired. Lewandowski never delivered the message but asked Dearborn — a former Sessions aide — to do it. Dearborn said he was uncomfortable with the request and also declined to deliver it, according to the report. Porter, a former staff secretary in the White House, took frequent notes during his time there that were detailed throughout the report. He resigned last year after public allegations of domestic violence by his two ex-wives. In letters to the committee on Monday, the White House said that Dearborn and Porter were 'absolutely immune' from testifying. White House counsel Pat Cipollone wrote that the Justice Department had advised, and Trump had directed, them not to attend 'because of the constitutional immunity that protects senior advisers to the president from compelled congressional testimony.' In a separate letter, Cipollone said that Lewandowski, who never worked in the White House, should not reveal private conversations with Trump beyond what is in Mueller's report. He wrote that his conversations with Trump 'are protected from disclosure by long-settled principles protecting executive branch confidentiality interests.' Democrats say the White House's rationale isn't legally sound. In a statement, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said the White House's position is 'a shocking and dangerous assertion of executive privilege and absolute immunity.' He added: 'The President would have us believe that he can willfully engage in criminal activity and prevent witnesses from testifying before Congress — even if they did not actually work for him or his administration.' In an effort to try and pry documents and testimony from the Trump administration, the Judiciary panel has filed two lawsuits — one against former White House counsel Donald McGahn, who also defied a subpoena earlier this year on Trump's orders. But the lawsuits could take months to resolve and Nadler has said he wants to make a decision by the end of the year on whether to recommend articles of impeachment against Trump. Nadler, D-N.Y., made his own views clear in an interview Monday with a New York radio station, saying that in his personal opinion 'impeachment is imperative' in order to 'vindicate the Constitution.' But he also acknowledged that it won't be easy, echoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi by saying they will have to have greater consensus than they do now in order to vote on impeachment. He said the hearings will decide whether American people get there or not. 'No. 1, you don't want to tear the country apart,' if the public sentiment isn't there, Nadler said. 'No. 2, you need 218 votes on the House floor.' One of the main reasons that the votes aren't there yet is because moderates in the caucus — many of whom are freshmen who handed Democrats the majority in the 2018 election — are worried it will distract from other accomplishments. A group of those freshmen met with Nadler last week to express concerns. 'There's far too much work left to be done and we are in danger of losing the trust of the American people if we choose partisan warfare over improving the lives of hardworking families,' wrote New York Rep. Max Rose, a Democratic freshman, in a Friday op-ed in the Staten Island Advance newspaper.
  • The good news is that it doesn't look like a bitterly polarized Washington will stumble into another government shutdown. But as Democrats controlling the House unveil a stopgap, government-wide spending bill to keep the lights on and pay the troops, there's scant evidence that power sharing in the Capitol will produce further legislative accomplishments anytime soon. The measure that is set for a vote this week would keep the government running through Nov. 21 and buy time for action and negotiations on $1.4 trillion in annual appropriations bills. Some items can't wait and will be included, like accelerated funding for the 2020 census and $20 million to combat Ebola in Africa. President Donald Trump also appears likely to win authority to continue bailout payments to farmers harmed by his aggressive trade policies against China. Since the temporary spending bill is the only must-do legislation on the immediate horizon, lawmakers are using it as a locomotive to haul other priorities into law. That bundle of provisions, negotiated behind closed doors, offers plenty of evidence of Capitol Hill's chronic dysfunction. It's not just that the Democratic-controlled House and GOP-held Senate can't agree on big issues like infrastructure, guns and health care. They also can't agree on lower-tier items that typically pass by wide margins, such as short-term extensions of the federal flood insurance program and the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance export deals important to large manufacturers such as The Boeing Co. The House and Senate banking committees are responsible for legislation to reauthorize both the Export-Import Bank and the flood insurance program, which is particularly important to the real estate sector in coastal areas, but there's been no progress. Meanwhile, a bundle of health care-related provisions, such as Medicaid payment rates for hospitals that serve mainly lower-income communities, is catching a ride on the temporary spending bill, according to a spokesman for House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. Democrats aren't trying to use the bill as a way to take on Trump controversies like cutting military base projects to pay for his U.S.-Mexico border wall. But they're not granting Trump any favors, either, denying provisions as the flexibility to build new border wall segments. An early draft of the stopgap measure, circulated by Lowey, did not include Trump's request for maintain funding for the farm bailout, but talks Monday appeared headed toward a bipartisan compromise that would allow the Agriculture Department to keep issuing checks to farmers. The bailout started last year after China retaliated against Trump's tariffs on Chinese exports by reducing purchases of U.S. crops. The developments have caused widespread discontent in farm country that's already beset by lower crop prices and vanishing profits. The House is slated to pass the stopgap spending measure this week and the Senate is expected to follow in time to meet the Sept. 30 deadline to avert a government shutdown. The effort comes nine months after Trump started a 35-day partial government shutdown when lawmakers rebuffed his border wall demands. The $1.4 trillion in annual appropriations bills are off to a late and not particularly promising start despite a bipartisan budget and debt deal passed in July. The House has passed 10 of the 12 annual bills, but at spending levels higher than permitted under the budget deal. The Senate is roiled by battles over Trump's $5 billion border wall request and his moves to tap military base construction projects to pay for it. Democrats complained that Senate Republicans are giving too much funding to Trump's cherished wall project at the expense of health and education projects. Senate Democrats are threatening to filibuster an upcoming vote on a huge, almost $700 billion defense funding bill to protest preliminary funding decisions of Trump's GOP allies in the Senate. 'Our Democratic colleagues would rather provoke a partisan feud with the president,' said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. 'They'd rather have a fight with the president than stick to the agreement that we all made.' Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer responded that Trump's wall funding plan 'is what Democrats oppose. That's what Leader McConnell calls staging a political fight.
  • Purdue Pharma gets its day in court Tuesday after the OxyContin maker filed for bankruptcy and negotiated a potential multi-billion dollar settlement to resolve thousands of lawsuits. An initial hearing will be held in federal court in White Plains, New York, for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. Purdue filed for bankruptcy protection late Sunday, the first step in a plan it says would provide $10 billion to $12 billion to help reimburse state and local governments and clean up the damage done by powerful prescription painkillers and illegal opioids, including heroin. These drugs have been blamed for more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S. in the past two decades. Two dozen states have signed on to the settlement plan along with key lawyers who represent many of the 2,000-plus local governments suing Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue Pharma. But other states have come out strongly against it. ___ WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THIS INITIAL COURT APPEARANCE? These generally focus on housekeeping and ensuring that the company can keep paying the bills as an ongoing operation during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. According to the court docket, Judge Robert Drain will hear motions on authorizing payments of wages to employees, critical vendors, utilities and other key parties. Fordham Law Professor Richard Squire said Drain will likely hear from lawyers objecting to the filing and describing it as a 'bad faith claim.' Drain may table those arguments for another day. ___ WHAT KEY ISSUES WILL THE JUDGE DECIDE? Drain will eventually decide whether to approve or reject the settlement or seek modifications. This is hardly a standard bankruptcy case. Because so many states objected to the settlement, it could complicate the process. Members of the Sackler family, which owns Purdue, are still trying to get more states to sign on. Drain will preside over whether the suits against the Sacklers in state courts will be able to move forward, and what will happen to the company itself. Under the tentative settlement deal, it would continue to operate, but with profits used to pay for the settlement. Another alternative? Drain could order the company to be sold. A single large settlement often is seen as the best way to resolve cases like these, bankruptcy attorney Jerry Reisman said. He noted that it would essentially put money in a giant pot to be divided fairly, and it would cut the costs of bringing separate cases through different courts. 'Everybody shares in some orderly manner,' he said. Without a big settlement, all the claimants could wind up in a race to litigate in the other courts and get a judgment before the company runs out of money. ___ WHO IS JUDGE DRAIN? Drain is a former bankruptcy attorney with a Columbia University law degree. He serves as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York. He has presided over some high-profile Chapter 11 cases involving companies like Hostess Brands and Sears. In the latter, Drain earlier this year gave hedge fund mogul Eddie Lampert a second chance to revive the iconic brand and save 45,000 jobs. ___ HOW LONG WILL THE BANKRUPTCY PROCESS TAKE? A complicated case like this could take up to a year but legal experts believe the parties involved want a fast settlement. The longer a company remains in bankruptcy, the more is spent attorney fees and other costs. But a modification to the initial settlement to satisfy more cases could delay the case. Purdue has said that finalizing the settlement could take at least six months. ___ Murphy reported from Indianapolis. ___ AP Reporter Geoff Mulvihill in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, contributed to this report.