ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
69°
Mostly Clear
H 90° L 68°
  • cloudy-day
    69°
    Current Conditions
    Mostly Clear. H 90° L 68°
  • clear-day
    90°
    Today
    Mostly Clear. H 90° L 68°
  • clear-day
    91°
    Tomorrow
    Mostly Clear. H 91° L 69°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

National Politics

    Generous benefits. No copays. No need for private policies. The 'Medicare for All' plan advocated by leading 2020 Democrats appears more lavish than what's offered in other advanced countries, compounding the cost but also potentially broadening its popular appeal. While other countries do provide coverage for all, benefits vary. Canada's plan, often cited as a model, does not cover outpatient prescription drugs and many Canadians have private insurance for medications. Many countries don't cover long-term care. But the Medicare for All plan from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders would charge no copays or deductibles for medical care, allowing only limited cost-sharing for certain prescription drugs. Sanders would cover long-term care home and community-based services. Dental, vision and hearing coverage would be included. The House version of the legislation is along similar lines. 'Medicare for All proposals would leapfrog other countries in terms of essentially eliminating private insurance and out-of-pocket costs, and providing very expansive benefits,' said Larry Levitt, a health policy expert with the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. 'It raises questions about how realis tic the proposals are.' Shifting the sprawling U.S. health care system to a government-run 'single-payer' plan is one of the top issues in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary, but the candidates are divided. Some have endorsed Sanders' call, while others want to expand coverage within the current mix of private and government insurance. Independent studies estimate Medicare for All would dramatically increase government spending, from $25 trillion to $35 trillion or more over 10 years. It stands no chance with Republicans controlling the White House and the Senate, but it is getting hearings in the Democratic-led House. Economist Sherry Glied, dean of New York University's Wagner school of public policy, says the offer of generous benefits may be needed to persuade Americans satisfied with employer coverage that they would be better off in a new government plan. 'You are going to have to be very generous if you want this to be politically appealing to lots of people,' said Glied, who was a senior health care adviser in the Obama administration. Glied says components like benefits, copayments and deductibles would all be negotiable. 'People put out talking points and then they see what Congress is willing to swallow,' said Glied. 'Who knows where it would come out in the end.' A second congressional hearing on Medicare for All is scheduled Wednesday before the House Budget Committee. Votes this year appear unlikely. The plan is a punching bag for Republicans trying to tag Democrats as 'socialists.' In a statement, Sanders' office said it's fair for the senator to compare Medicare for All to what other countries have because 'all those other countries guarantee health care as a right,' as his plan would. 'Sen. Sanders believes providing comprehensive coverage through the government to all residents is the best way to do it,' said the statement. If the legislation were to advance to votes, 'we will hear out concerns from our colleagues and work with them to get this bill passed,' the statement continued. 'But we are very clear about what we want and what this country needs. Insurance company CEOs are going to pay well before the American people are.' Two recent reports have called attention to differences among countries that cover everyone and are often held up as models for Medicare for All. A report from the Congressional Budget Office will be the focus of Wednesday's House hearing. Another report, for the nonpartisan Commonwealth Fund, was written by Glied. Among its findings: Other countries don't necessarily take the same approach as Medicare for All, using a range of strategies to cover all their residents. 'Currently, single-payer bills in the U.S. tend to share the same key goals: centralizing...the system, expanding the public benefits package and eliminating private health insurance entirely,' the Commonwealth report said. 'However, these three features are not the norm across countries that have achieved universal coverage for health care.' The report found that one group of countries — including Denmark, Britain and Germany — provide comprehensive benefits. That includes, for example, mental health. They charge low copays. Those countries are the closest to Medicare for All. A larger group — including Australia, France, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and Taiwan — offer broad benefits but there may be gaps, and cost sharing is higher. Australia charges $60 for specialist visits. The Netherlands has a $465 deductible. Dental coverage may be limited. Finally, Canada has a narrow national benefits package. It doesn't cover outpatient prescriptions, long-term care, mental health, vision and dental. But there's no cost sharing for hospital and doctors' services. Canadians rely on private insurance and provincial governments to fill the gaps. ___ Online: Commonwealth Fund interactive: https://tinyurl.com/y6j3h97c Commonwealth Fund report: https://tinyurl.com/y6tkzngp Congressional Budget Office report: https://tinyurl.com/yxd8cgww
  • As questions mount over President Donald Trump's tough talk on Iran, top national security officials are heading to Capitol Hill to brief Congress. But skeptical Democrats have asked for a second opinion. The competing closed-door sessions Tuesday, unusual and potentially polarizing, come after weeks of escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf that have raised alarms over a possible military confrontation with Iran. Lawmakers are warning the Trump administration it cannot take the country into war without approval from Congress, and the back-to-back briefings show the wariness among Democrats, and some Republicans, over the White House's sudden policy shifts in the Middle East. Trump, veering between bombast and conciliation in his quest to contain Iran, threatened Monday to meet provocations by Iran with 'great force,' but also said he's willing to negotiate. 'We'll see what happens,' Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a campaign rally. He said Iran has been 'very hostile.' 'We have no indication that anything's happened or will happened, but if it does, it will be met, obviously, with great force,' Trump said. 'We'll have no choice.' Trump said while there are no talks with Iran he still wants to hear from them, 'if they're ready.' Over the past several weeks the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier and other resources to the Persian Gulf region, and evacuated non-essential personnel from Iraq, amid unspecified threats the administration says are linked to Iran. The administration is sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and other top brass, including Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, for closed-door briefings Tuesday with both the House and Senate. But House Democrats, deeply skeptical of the information from the Trump officials — and mindful of the drumbeat of claims during the run-up to the Iraq War — invited former CIA Director John Brennan and former State Department official Wendy Sherman, who negotiated the Iran nuclear deal. Brennan, an outspoken Trump critic, does not have a formal briefing planned but is prepared to answer questions on Iran — and is willing to do the same for Republicans, said a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. The intent, the person said, is to provide information and not to be partisan. Top Democrats say Trump escalated problems by abruptly withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, a complex accord negotiated during the Obama administration to prevent the country from nuclear weapons production. Trump's allies in Congress, including GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, say the threats from Iran are real. Graham urged Trump to 'stand firm' and said he received his own briefing over the weekend from John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser. 'It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq,' Graham tweeted. 'If the Iranian threats against American personnel and interests are activated we must deliver an overwhelming military response.' But Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, an Iraq War veteran, tweeted that after having received 'the same' intelligence briefing, that was not his conclusion. 'That is not what is being said. This is total information bias to draw the conclusion he wants for himself and the media,' Gallego tweeted. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said it's important to more fully understand the situation. 'I think Iranians think that our moves are offensive, we think their moves are offensive, that's how you get into wars by mistake,' he said. Graham's reference to Iran having attacked ships appeared to be a further indication that the U.S. military has concluded that Iran was behind the reported attack May 12 on four commercial vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. At the outset of an investigation into those apparent attacks, which damaged vessels of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Norway but caused no injuries, U.S. officials had said they appeared to be carried out by Iran. A U.S. official said Monday the probe was finished and evidence still pointed at Iran, although the official did not provide details. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and so spoke on condition of anonymity. On Sunday, a rocket landed near the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone of Iraq's capital of Baghdad, days after nonessential U.S. staff were ordered to evacuate from diplomatic posts in the country. No one was reported injured. Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul told The Associated Press that the rocket was believed to have been fired from eastern Baghdad, an area home to Iran-backed Shiite militias. Defense officials said no additional Iranian threats or incidents had emerged in the days since the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier battle group arrived in the Arabian Sea late last week. Iran, meanwhile, announced that it has quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity. Iranian officials made a point to stress that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67% limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, making it usable for a power plant but far below what's needed for an atomic weapon. The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, as acknowledging that capacity had been quadrupled. He said Iran took this step because the U.S. had ended a program allowing it to exchange enriched uranium to Russia for unprocessed yellowcake uranium, as well as ending the sale of heavy water to Oman. Heavy water helps cool reactors producing plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons. Tehran long has insisted it does not seek nuclear weapons, though the West fears its program could allow it to build them. Trump's remarks reflect what has been a strategy of alternating tough talk with more conciliatory statements, which he says is aimed at keeping Iran guessing at the administration's intentions. He described his approach in a speech Friday, saying, 'It's probably a good thing because they're saying, 'Man, I don't know where these people are coming from,' right?
  • House Democrats are facing yet another brazen attempt by President Donald Trump to stonewall their investigations , this time with former White House counsel Donald McGahn defying a subpoena for his testimony on orders from the White House. A lawyer for McGahn said he would follow the president's directive and skip Tuesday's House Judiciary hearing, leaving the Democrats without yet another witness — and a growing debate within the party about how to respond. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, backed by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, is taking a step-by-step approach to the confrontations with Trump. Nadler said the committee would vote to hold McGahn in contempt, and take the issue to court. 'You face serious consequences if you do not appear,' Nadler warned McGahn in a letter on the eve of the hearing. Democrats are encouraged by an early success on that route as a federal judge ruled against Trump on Monday in a financial records dispute with Congress. But that hasn't been swift enough for some members of the Judiciary panel who feel that Pelosi should be more aggressive and launch impeachment hearings that would make it easier to get information from the administration. Such hearings would give Democrats more standing in court and could stop short of a vote to remove the president. The issue was raised in a meeting among top Democrats Monday evening, where some members confronted Pelosi about opening up the impeachment hearings, according to three people familiar with the private conversation who requested anonymity to discuss it. Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin made the case launching an impeachment inquiry would consolidate the Trump investigations as Democrats try to keep focus on their other work, according to the people. Pelosi pushed back, noting that several committees are doing investigations already and they had already been successful in one court case. But the members, several of whom have spoken publicly about the need to be more aggressive with Trump, are increasingly impatient with the careful approach. Other Democrats in the meeting siding with Raskin included Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, California Rep. Ted Lieu and freshman Colorado Rep. Joe Neguse. Just before the start of the meeting, Cicilline tweeted: 'If Don McGahn does not testify tomorrow, it will be time to begin an impeachment inquiry of @realDonaldTrump.' In the hours after the discussion, Pelosi and Nadler met privately. Shortly after emerging from that meeting, Nadler said 'it's possible' when asked about impeachment hearings. But he noted that Democrats had won a court victory without having to take that step. 'The president's continuing lawless conduct is making it harder and harder to rule out impeachment or any other enforcement action,' Nadler said. McGahn's refusal to testify is the latest of several moves to block Democratic investigations by Trump, who has said his administration will fight 'all of the subpoenas.' The Judiciary committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt earlier this month after he declined to provide an unredacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller's report. And the House intelligence committee is expected to take a vote on a separate 'enforcement action' against the Justice Department this week after Barr declined a similar request from that panel. McGahn's lawyer, William Burck, said in a letter to Nadler that McGahn is 'conscious of the duties he, as an attorney, owes to his former client' and would decline to appear. Still, Burck encouraged the committee to negotiate a compromise with the White House, saying that his client 'again finds himself facing contradictory instructions from two co-equal branches of government.' McGahn was a key figure in Mueller's investigation, describing ways in which the president sought to curtail that federal probe. Democrats have hoped to question him as a way to focus attention on Mueller's findings and further investigate whether Trump did obstruct justice. If McGahn were to defy Trump and testify before Congress, it could endanger his own career in Republican politics and put his law firm, Jones Day, in the president's crosshairs. Trump has mused about instructing Republicans to cease dealing with the firm, which is deeply intertwined in Washington with the GOP, according to one White House official and a Republican close to the White House not authorized to speak publicly about private conversations. 'This move is just the latest act of obstruction from the White House that includes its blanket refusal to cooperate with this committee,' Nadler said in a statement. 'It is also the latest example of this administration's disdain for law.' Administration officials mulled various legal options before settling on providing McGahn with a legal opinion from the Department of Justice to justify defying the subpoena. 'The immunity of the President's immediate advisers from compelled congressional testimony on matters related to their official responsibilities has long been recognized and arises from the fundamental workings of the separation of powers,' the department's opinion reads. 'Accordingly, Mr. McGahn is not legally required to appear and testify about matters related to his official duties as Counsel to the President.' A federal judge rejected a similar argument in 2008 in a dispute over a subpoena for Harriet Miers, who was White House counsel to George W. Bush. U.S. District Judge John Bates said it was an unprecedented notion that a White House official would be absolutely immune from being compelled to testify before Congress. Miers had to show up for her testimony, but still had the right to assert executive privilege in response to any specific questions posed by legislators, said the judge. But in 2014, under the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued an opinion arguing that if Congress could force the president's closest advisers to testify about matters that happened during their tenure, it would 'threaten executive branch confidentiality, which is necessary (among other things) to ensure that the President can obtain the type of sound and candid advice that is essential to the effective discharge of his constitutional duties.' ___ Associated Press writers Michael Balsamo, Jonathan Lemire, Eric Tucker and Mark Sherman contributed to this report.
  • Lilian Serrano's mother-in-law had lots of stomach problems, but she always blamed food. Doctors at a San Diego-area clinic suspected Genoveva Angeles might have cancer, but they could not say for sure because they did not have the equipment to test for it and Angeles, who had been in the country illegally for 20 years, could not afford to see a specialist and did not qualify for state assistance because of her immigration status. In September, Angeles finally learned she had gallbladder cancer. Serrano said she was in the hospital room when Angeles, in her late 60s, died about two weeks later. 'We don't know if she would have survived treatment, but she was not even able to access it,' said Serrano, chairwoman of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium. 'She never had a chance to fight cancer.' Stories like that have prompted California lawmakers to consider proposals that would make the state the first in the nation to offer government-funded health care to adult immigrants living in the country illegally. But the decision on who to cover may come down to cost. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to spend about $98 million a year to cover low-income immigrants between the ages of 19 and 25 who are living in the country illegally. The state Assembly has a bill that would cover all immigrants in California living in the country illegally over the age of 19. But Newsom has balked at that plan because of its estimated $3.4 billion price. 'There's 3.4 billion reasons why it is a challenge,' he said. The state Senate wants to cover adults ages 19 to 25, plus seniors 65 and older. That bill's sponsor, Sen. Maria Elana Durazo, scoffed at cost concerns, noting the state has a projected $21.5 billion budget surplus. 'When we have, you know, a good budget, then what's the reason for not addressing it?' she said. The Senate and Assembly will finalize their budget proposals this week before beginning negotiations with the governor. State law says a budget has to be passed by June 15 or lawmaker forfeit their pay. At stake, according to legislative staffers, are the 3 million people left in California who don't have health insurance. About 1.8 million of them are immigrants in the country illegally. Of those, about 1.26 million have incomes low enough to qualify them for the Medi-Cal program. 'Symbolically, this is quite significant. This would be establishing California as a counter to federal policies, both around health care and immigration,' said Larry Levitt, senior vice president for health reform at the Kaiser Family Foundation. If enacted, it could prompt yet another collision with the Trump administration, which has proposed a rule that could hinder immigrants' residency applications if they rely on public assistance programs such as Medicaid. The proposed rule from the Department of Homeland Security says the goal is to make sure 'foreign nationals do not become dependent on public benefits for support.' California is also considering a measure requiring everyone in the state to purchase health insurance. People who refuse would have to pay a penalty, and the money would go toward helping middle-income residents purchase private health insurance plans. 'We're going to penalize the citizens of this state that have followed the rules, but we're going to let somebody who has not followed the rules come in here and get the services for free. I just think that's wrong,' Republican state Sen. Jeff Stone said about coverage of people in the U.S. illegally. Many immigrants who are in the country illegally are already enrolled for some government-funded programs, but they only cover emergencies and pregnancies. Serrano was one of hundreds of immigrant activists who came to the Capitol on Monday for 'Immigrant Day of Action.' She and her husband spent the day meeting with lawmakers, sharing the story of Angeles. 'The conversation that I have is about the cost,' she said, describing her interactions with lawmakers. 'The conversation we want to have is about our families.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump's campaign rally in Pennsylvania (all times local): 8:45 p.m. President Donald Trump is claiming that former Vice President Joe Biden 'deserted' Pennsylvania. Trump and Biden have made Pennsylvania front and center in the efforts to win the presidency in 2020. Biden kicked off his campaign in Harrisburg and located his campaign headquarters in Philadelphia. He was born in Scranton and served as a U.S. senator from Delaware. Trump repeatedly went after Biden during a campaign rally Monday night in Montoursville. 'I guess he was born here, but he left you folks,' Trump claimed. 'He left you for another state. Remember that please. I meant to say that.' Biden has said that if the 'American people want a president to add to our division, to lead with a clenched fist, closed hand and a hard heart,' they can vote for Trump. __ 7:45 p.m. President Donald Trump is telling rallygoers in Pennsylvania that 'we have a big race tomorrow' as he campaigns for a Republican candidate seeking to fill an open congressional seat. Trump campaigned Monday in Montoursville (mahn-TOORZ'-vihl) on behalf of Republican Fred Keller, who faces Democrat Marc Friedenberg in a Tuesday special election. Trump describes Keller as a 'great gentleman, a very successful businessman.' He also stresses that Keller 'is not letting anything happen to your Second Amendment.' Keller sought to assure Trump about his prospects in Pennsylvania in 2020, saying, 'In 2016, Pennsylvania put Donald Trump over the top, and in 2020, we're going to do it again.' Republicans are attempting to recapture the House seat left open when Republican Rep. Tom Marino resigned in January. ___ 6:20 p.m. President Donald Trump is heading to Pennsylvania to campaign for a Republican congressional candidate — and himself. Trump's appearance Monday in the key battleground state comes two days after 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden held a campaign rally in Philadelphia. The president is traveling to Montoursville (mahn-TOORZ'-vihl) on behalf of Republican Fred Keller, who faces Democrat Marc Friedenberg in Tuesday's election to fill the U.S. House seat formerly held by Republican Rep. Tom Marino, who resigned in January. Voters in the heavily GOP district overwhelmingly backed Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election. Trump narrowly defeated Clinton in Pennsylvania in 2016. Biden, the former vice president and Pennsylvania native who leads his Democratic presidential rivals, is mounting a strong push in the state.
  • As questions mount over President Donald Trump's tough talk on Iran, top national security officials are heading to Capitol Hill to brief Congress. But skeptical Democrats have asked for a second opinion. The competing closed-door sessions Tuesday, unusual and potentially polarizing, come after weeks of escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf that have raised alarms over a possible military confrontation with Iran. Lawmakers are warning the Trump administration it cannot take the country into war without approval from Congress, and the back-to-back briefings show the wariness among Democrats, and some Republicans, over the White House's sudden policy shifts in the Middle East. Trump, veering between bombast and conciliation in his quest to contain Iran, threatened Monday to meet provocations by Iran with 'great force,' but also said he's willing to negotiate. 'We'll see what happens,' Trump told reporters Monday as he left the White House for a campaign rally. He said Iran has been 'very hostile.' 'We have no indication that anything's happened or will happened, but if it does, it will be met, obviously, with great force,' Trump said. 'We'll have no choice.' Trump said while there are no talks with Iran he still wants to hear from them, 'if they're ready.' Over the past several weeks the U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier and other resources to the Persian Gulf region, and evacuated non-essential personnel from Iraq, amid unspecified threats the administration says are linked to Iran. The administration is sending Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and other top brass, including Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, for closed-door briefings Tuesday with both the House and Senate. But House Democrats, deeply skeptical of the information from the Trump officials — and mindful of the drumbeat of claims during the run-up to the Iraq War — invited former CIA Director John Brennan and former State Department official Wendy Sherman, who negotiated the Iran nuclear deal. Brennan, an outspoken Trump critic, does not have a formal briefing planned but is prepared to answer questions on Iran — and is willing to do the same for Republicans, said a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss it publicly. The intent, the person said, is to provide information and not to be partisan. Top Democrats say Trump escalated problems by abruptly withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, a complex accord negotiated during the Obama administration to prevent the country from nuclear weapons production. Trump's allies in Congress, including GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, say the threats from Iran are real. Graham urged Trump to 'stand firm' and said he received his own briefing over the weekend from John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser. 'It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq,' Graham tweeted. 'If the Iranian threats against American personnel and interests are activated we must deliver an overwhelming military response.' But Democratic Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona, an Iraq War veteran, tweeted that after having received 'the same' intelligence briefing, that was not his conclusion. 'That is not what is being said. This is total information bias to draw the conclusion he wants for himself and the media,' Gallego tweeted. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said it's important to more fully understand the situation. 'I think Iranians think that our moves are offensive, we think their moves are offensive, that's how you get into wars by mistake,' he said. Graham's reference to Iran having attacked ships appeared to be a further indication that the U.S. military has concluded that Iran was behind the reported attack May 12 on four commercial vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. At the outset of an investigation into those apparent attacks, which damaged vessels of Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Norway but caused no injuries, U.S. officials had said they appeared to be carried out by Iran. A U.S. official said Monday the probe was finished and evidence still pointed at Iran, although the official did not provide details. The official was not authorized to publicly discuss the matter and so spoke on condition of anonymity. On Sunday, a rocket landed near the U.S. Embassy in the Green Zone of Iraq's capital of Baghdad, days after nonessential U.S. staff were ordered to evacuate from diplomatic posts in the country. No one was reported injured. Iraqi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasoul told The Associated Press that the rocket was believed to have been fired from eastern Baghdad, an area home to Iran-backed Shiite militias. Defense officials said no additional Iranian threats or incidents had emerged in the days since the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier battle group arrived in the Arabian Sea late last week. Iran, meanwhile, announced that it has quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity. Iranian officials made a point to stress that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67% limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, making it usable for a power plant but far below what's needed for an atomic weapon. The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, as acknowledging that capacity had been quadrupled. He said Iran took this step because the U.S. had ended a program allowing it to exchange enriched uranium to Russia for unprocessed yellowcake uranium, as well as ending the sale of heavy water to Oman. Heavy water helps cool reactors producing plutonium that can be used in nuclear weapons. Tehran long has insisted it does not seek nuclear weapons, though the West fears its program could allow it to build them. Trump's remarks reflect what has been a strategy of alternating tough talk with more conciliatory statements, which he says is aimed at keeping Iran guessing at the administration's intentions. He described his approach in a speech Friday, saying, 'It's probably a good thing because they're saying, 'Man, I don't know where these people are coming from,' right?
  • Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made an appeal Monday to black voters in the Deep South, stopping at a historically African American church and calling health care a 'human right' that he equated to the civil rights movement. Speaking before a racially diverse crowd at Mt. Zion Church AME Church in Alabama's capital, Sanders renewed his calls for extending health care coverage to all Americans and reducing student debt. 'Just as civil rights is a human right, health care is a human right,' Sanders said to loud applause. The crowd for his midday speech was about half white despite the church's deep ties to the civil rights movement. Wrapping up a four-state swing that included stops in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina, the Vermont senator is working to strengthen his support among black voters who comprise most of the Democratic primary electorate in many Southern states. Mt. Zion's old location played a key role in the 1950s' Montgomery bus boycott, and Sanders criticized what he called new threats to the right to vote — 'the bedrock of American democracy,' he said. 'What an outrage it is today. I'm not talking about 60 years ago, I'm talking about today, that you have Republican governors all over this country trying to suppress the vote,' he said. Earlier in the day, Sanders toured nearby civil rights sites and visited an impoverished area of the state where residents struggle with adequate wastewater sanitation. On Sunday, he held a rally in a park in downtown Birmingham. Sanders said full-time workers should not 'live in poverty' in the wealthiest nation in the world and noted that Alabama is one of the states with no minimum wage above the federal minimum. He said the minimum wage should be raised to $15. Sanders also touted his recently unveiled K-12 education plan, saying education should become a national priority. 'As a people, as Americans, we have got to say loudly and proudly that education is a major priority in this country,' Sanders said. In Montgomery, Sanders was greeted by a large and enthusiastic crowd that chanted 'Bernie!' with several people interrupting his speech to shout, 'We love you!' Sanders has previously talked up his days as a civil rights activist while a student at the University of Chicago. He has also visited Selma, Alabama, participating in ceremonies marking the anniversary of Bloody Sunday at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, the site of one of the most galvanizing moments in support of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Jeanise Murry, a 49-year-old African American nurse who heard Sanders speak Monday, said she likes some of the things he mentioned but is still deciding which candidate to support in 2020. 'It won't be (President Donald) Trump,' Murry said.
  • Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee on Monday said he was ready to call lawmakers back to Nashville for a special legislative session following a historic vote of no confidence in Speaker Glen Casada over a series of scandals engulfing him. However, the embattled Republican has thus far rejected mounting pressure to step aside. 'I'm disappointed in the results... .,' Casada said in a statement after the caucus vote, unprecedented in the modern era of Tennessee politics. 'However, I will work the next few months to regain the confidence of my colleagues so we can continue to build on the historic conservative accomplishments of this legislative session.' Casada has been dogged by calls to resign since it was revealed he exchanged text messages containing sexually explicit language about women with his former chief of staff several years ago, among other controversies. In brushing aside calls to step down, the embattled official has said he has changed and released an action plan designed to build trust among his peers. After an hours-long meeting that was closed to the public, Republicans cast a 45-24 secret ballot vote approving the no confidence resolution Monday afternoon, according to House GOP Majority Leader William Lamberth. 'I can't imagine a stronger stance that they could have taken today than for 45 members of this speaker's own caucus to indicate that, because of the allegations ... that they no longer have confidence in him,' Lamberth said. He said he was officially requesting the governor call a special session so lawmakers could elect a new House speaker. Lee quickly responded to that call by releasing a statement, saying Republican lawmakers 'sent a clear message, and I'm prepared to call a special session if the Speaker doesn't resign.' Lee has said that if Casada worked for his administration or his company, he would ask Casada to resign. Typically the General Assembly meets during what is called a 'regular session,' or during the first few months of the year. Yet the governor can call state lawmakers back to the Capitol as long as he issues a proclamation and outlines the issues that must be addressed in an estimated amount of time. While Tennessee has seen multiple sessions throughout its history, it's still considered a rare political move. But it remained unclear whether lawmakers have the ability to remove a speaker. The Tennessee Constitution is silent on that and legal scholars have warned that while the Legislature can expel members, it's unknown if they have the power to elect a new speaker before the end of their two-year terms. 'The speaker is elected by the General Assembly and not by the Republican caucus,' said Caucus Chairman Cameron Sexton. 'So this is a non-binding resolution, anything that the caucus did would be non-binding as far as the speaker remaining speaker.' Casada's promises haven't won over critics in the GOP-dominant House ever since the scandal erupted earlier this month, when reports emerged about misogynistic text exchanges with Casada and his former chief of staff Cade Cothren. The scandal also includes reports of possible evidence tampering with a young black activist's criminal case, Cothren admitting to using cocaine in his legislative office years before becoming Casada's top aide and accusations of Casada spying on legislative members, among other matters. Cothren ultimately resigned soon after the release of years-old racist texts and the sexually explicit messages. And last week, Republican Rep. Mike Carter accused Casada of trying to 'rig and predetermine' an ethics review regarding his controversies. Aside from Cothren's cocaine use and the text messages, Casada has largely denied the swarm of allegations facing him. After the House GOP caucus vote, state Republican Party Chairman Scott Golden joined the growing calls for Casada to step aside as speaker, saying the no-confidence resolution sends a 'clear message.' He said 'it is time for the Speaker to heed the advice of the majority of his fellow legislators and step down from his position of leadership and allow someone else to begin ... restoring the trust of all Tennesseans.' Also Monday, Republican Senate Speaker Randy McNally reiterated his call to remove Casada, adding the House Republican caucus has spoken 'clearly and distinctly.' 'I am hopeful Speaker Casada will put the legislature, the party and the state first,' McNally said. Casada took office in January. He received 47 secret ballot votes out of 73 Republicans in the 99-member chamber to become speaker-elect in November. Then the majority leader, he defeated Reps. Curtis Johnson of Clarksville and David Hawk of Greeneville.
  • President Donald Trump's former fixer, Michael Cohen, told Congress it was Trump's personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, who suggested he tell lawmakers that the negotiations for Trump Tower Moscow ended in January 2016, even though they continued for months after that. The House Intelligence Committee on Monday released two transcripts of closed-door interviews with Cohen from earlier this year, along with some exhibits from the testimony. Cohen, who is serving a three-year prison sentence, pleaded guilty last year and admitted that he misled Congress by saying he had abandoned the Trump Tower Moscow project months earlier than he actually did. During the interviews, legislators repeatedly pressed Cohen for details on his false statement to Congress and tried to nail down whether he was directly told by Trump's legal team to mislead the committee, but the transcripts provide no slam-dunk evidence. Cohen offered no direct proof that Sekulow knew the January 2016 date we false, but Cohen claims Sekulow should have known because he had access to relevant emails and other communications as part of an agreement between defense attorneys to share documents. Attorneys for Sekulow said Cohen's testimony is not credible. 'Michael Cohen's alleged statements are more of the same from him and confirm the observations of prosecutors in the Southern District of New York that Cohen's 'instinct to blame others is strong,'' Sekulow's lawyers, Jane Serene Raskin and Patrick Strawbridge, said in a statement. 'That this or any Committee would rely on the word of Michael Cohen for any purpose - much less to try and pierce the attorney-client privilege and discover confidential communications of four respected lawyers - defies logic, well-established law and common sense.' Cohen said Trump also knew the negotiations had continued far beyond January 2016 and that Sekulow had seen his testimony in advance of submission. He also claimed that Sekulow edited the statement and that both Sekulow and Trump approved it. Cohen also provided documents to the intelligence panel that showed the editing process for the statement. When asked whether Trump had read his 'false written testimony,' Cohen replied: 'Mr. Sekulow said that he spoke to the client and that, you know, the client likes it and that it's good.' In addition to the questioning about his false testimony, much of the discussion during Cohen's interviews related to pardons and whether Trump or his lawyers were dangling them in front of Cohen as the government began to investigate him. Cohen told the intelligence committee that he was discussing the possibility of a pardon with Sekulow, up until Cohen abandoned their joint-defense agreement and publicly broke from the president in mid-2018. He said Sekulow was representing him, not the president, when he brought up the idea of a pardon during a May 2017 Oval Office meeting with Trump. The discussions continued after Sekulow became Trump's lawyer and Cohen retained other counsel, Cohen said. Sekulow was 'dangling the concept of pardons' to keep people in Trump's inner circle in line, Cohen testified. 'Mr. Sekulow stated that the President loves you, don't worry, everything is going to be fine, nothing is going to happen,' Cohen testified. Cohen said he only discussed the idea of a pardon with Sekulow, not Trump or anyone at the White House, but that he believes the discussions were done with Trump's knowledge and authority. He said Sekulow had brought up the possibility of a pardon to 'shut down the inquiries and to shut the investigation down.' Cohen became a key figure in congressional investigations after turning on his former boss and cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe. Mueller's final report, released in April, examined conduct related to Cohen as one of several possible instances of obstruction of justice by the president. Cohen was also convicted in federal court in New York of campaign finance violations for his role in buying the silence of two women who alleged they had affairs with Trump, as well as other crimes. He began serving a prison sentence earlier this month. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in a statement last week that Cohen's testimony this year, along with materials in the committee's possession, raises 'serious, unresolved concerns about the obstruction of our committee's investigation that we would be negligent not to pursue.' In an apparent attempt to deflect attention away from Cohen's testimony and its implication for Trump, the top Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Doug Collins, released transcripts of interviews with former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and several other current or former Justice Department officials, including many who played key roles in the Hillary Clinton email investigation. The Intelligence committee is also seeking more information about Cohen's 2017 testimony from four lawyers for the Trump family. The lawyers who received the requests from the committee are Sekulow; Abbe Lowell, lawyer for Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, and her husband, Jared Kushner; Alan Futerfas, lawyer for Donald Trump Jr.; and Alan Garten, lawyer for the Trump Organization. ___ Associated Press writers Michael R. Sisak and Jim Mustian in New York and Eric Tucker in Washington contributed to this report.
  • President Donald Trump voiced confidence Monday in his ability to win a repeat victory in Pennsylvania in 2020 and took a fresh swipe at one of his leading Democratic rivals, telling rallygoers that native son Joe Biden had abandoned them by representing Delaware in the Senate. In fact, Biden moved to neighboring Delaware with his family when he was a boy, and later represented the state in the Senate for more than three decades. He maintained ties to Pennsylvania over the years. Trump's Pennsylvania visit, intended to boost Republican congressional candidate Fred Keller over Democrat Marc Friedenberg in a Tuesday special election for an open House seat, had as much to do with helping his own reelection prospects as it did with pushing Keller over the finish line. 'We've got to win tomorrow, Fred,' Trump told a cheering rally crowd at a hangar at Williamsport Regional Airport. Trump's visit to the key battleground state came two days after Biden held a campaign rally in Philadelphia, and the former vice president wasn't far from Trump's mind. 'He left you for another state, and he didn't take care of you,' Trump said. He also referred to the former vice president by the nickname he has coined for him: 'Sleepy Joe.' 'Sleepy Joe said that he's running to, quote, 'save the world,'' Trump said. 'Well, he was. He was going to save every country but ours.' Biden said Monday in Nashville, Tennessee, that he is running on a pledge to restore the soul of America. He has frequently talked on the campaign trail about the president's divisive rhetoric and said another four years of Trump would 'fundamentally change the character of this nation.' Trump uses his campaign rallies to disparage various Democratic candidates for president, but he has been heavily focused on Biden, suggesting he may be worried about the possibility of facing off next year against the longtime politician. The president, who spoke in the open air with Air Force One behind him, highlighted the economy's performance under his leadership and suggested those numbers make him virtually unbeatable. 'Politics is a crazy world, but when you have the best employment numbers in history, when you have the best unemployment numbers in history ... I don't know, how the hell do you lose this election, right?' Trump said. The current unemployment rate of 3.6% is actually the lowest since 1969, when it stood at 3.5%. Unemployment was even lower than that in the early 1950s, and much lower, under 2%, during three years of World War II. Keller himself offered a rousing endorsement of Trump, saying he wants to go to Congress to be a vote for the president. Keller told Trump the people of this region of Pennsylvania 'have been behind you since Day One, and, Mr. President, our support for you is as strong today as it ever was.' 'In 2016, Pennsylvania put Donald Trump over the top. And in 2020, we're going to do it again,' Keller said. Biden is making a big play for his native Pennsylvania, opening his presidential bid in Harrisburg and capping a three-week rollout with Saturday's event in Philadelphia, the city where he also established his campaign headquarters. In the fight to deny Trump reelection, no places will matter more than Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, three states the Republican president carried by razor-thin margins in 2016. Trump campaigned in Michigan and Wisconsin earlier this year. ___ Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

News

  • New cellphone video appears to show a Florida substitute teacher body slam a student while breaking up a fight between at least two students. >> Watch the news report here Witnesses told ActionNewsJax that this happened Monday at Terry Parker High School in Jacksonville. ActionNewsJax spoke exclusively with Towyhia McAffee, who says her 15-year-old son was the one tackled. “You slammed my son,” she said. “You picked him up and slammed him.” She said her son is the teen shown wearing a cast in the video. “Do you intend to make any kind of complaint?” ActionNewsJax reporter Russell Colburn asked. “Absolutely,” she said. >> Read more trending news  Last week, after at least five recent allegations of teachers hitting students came into the ActionNewsJax newsroom, Colburn sat down with superintendent Dr. Diana Greene to discuss training. “Is there ever a situation where a teacher would want to put their hands on a student?” Colburn asked. “There should never be a situation where a teacher wants to put their hands on a student, unless they are preventing they are preventing that student from hurting themselves or hurting someone else,” Greene said. Duval County Public Schools policy does state the teacher 'must act reasonably given the circumstances when they intervene.' McAffee said that didn’t happen here. “Something needs to be done about that,” she said. “That’s not right.” ActionNewsJax followed up with DCPS on this specific case for more information on the teacher and what may have led up to the fight, but officials said that because fighting is a student disciplinary situation, they won’t provide details or comment further.
  • A father in Tuscumbia, Alabama, surprised his daughter’s entire second-grade class with a field trip to her favorite place. But Jeremy Smith’s little girl wasn’t among the kids jumping and laughing at the town’s local trampoline business, Sky Zone. Jaleia Smith died in September after the family was involved in a car crash, WHNT reported. Weeks before the crash, Jaleia and her friends celebrated her 8th birthday at the same Sky Zone. >> Read more trending news  So, to remember his daughter, and to thank the school and students for everything they have done for him this year since Jaleia’s death, Jeremy Smith treated all 111-second grade students at G.W. Trenholm Primary School to a surprise field trip to the trampoline business, WHNT reported. Her friends still miss the little girl. “[We] try to have as much fun as we can, but sometimes we can’t have as much fun as we would have if she was here,” Mia Awwad told WHNT.  Jaleia’s friends have tried to keep her memory alive too over the past school year. They retired her student number and planted a tree in her memory. They also left messages to Jaleia on the chalkboard in her classroom, according to WHNT.
  • Sisters Hailey and Hannah Hagor of North Carolina spent the weekend selling lemonade to pay off their classmates’ lunch debt. >> Watch the news report here >> Fired lunch lady was 'dishonest,' didn't follow rules, food vendor says Student lunch debt at Southwood Elementary in Davidson County is up to $3,100. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  “There's one family that owes $800,” the girls’ mother, Erin Hager, said. “I don't know how many years worth that is, but it's a big deal.' >> Read more trending news  The girls also sold chili, hot dogs and chips. >> See the girls' Facebook page here More than $40,000 is owed to schools across Davidson County.
  • Maybe they just wanted to go for a joyride? Three bear cubs recently crawled into a man's car in Gatlinburg, Tennessee – and the shocking moment was caught on camera. >> Gatlinburg SkyBridge: Nation's longest pedestrian suspension bridge opens in Tennessee According to WFIE, Chad Morris of Owensboro, Kentucky, was visiting the popular tourist destination last week when he spotted the undesignated drivers taking over his vehicle. Photos show the bears peeking out the windows, which Morris had left open, and getting cozy behind the steering wheel as their mother watches from the street. >> Read more trending news  'Is this real life?' Morris captioned the pictures in a Facebook book Thursday. 'Tell me we are being punked.'  >> See the Facebook post here >> Watch a video of the moment here In a Facebook comment, Morris said the bears eventually 'climbed out and took off back down the mountain.' 'I knew as soon as they got out and went down the hill, I put my windows up and they stayed up every time I parked,' Morris told WFIE. Thankfully, Morris’ new furry friends didn’t cause too much damage, though a bear did take “a chunk out of the seat,” he said. Read more here.
  • Police in Phoenix are trying to find the woman they said left a toddler in a stroller in the middle of a shopping center parking lot Saturday. The child, who is between 1 and 2 years old and was asleep in the stroller, is in the custody of the Arizona Department of Child Safety, KTVK reported. >> Read more trending news  The little boy was discovered by a bystander. The stroller was in a parking space near a fast-food restaurant, and was partially hidden under food wrappers and what police described as “other junk,” according to KTVK. “Someone who was on their way to work was walking by a pile of really just debris and among that debris was a stroller and inside the stroller was a little moving leg,” Phoenix Police Sgt. Vince Lewis told KTVK. The boy was taken to an area hospital to be checked out. He wasn’t hurt, KTVK reported.
  • A child was injured after being struck by a Boston Police cruiser Monday night. Boston Police say just after 7 p.m., they received a call of a pedestrian struck on Shawmut Avenue in Roxbury.  The pedestrian, who police said is a 1-year-old child, was taken to the hospital with minor injuries after being hit. The child's mother tells us her daughter suffered a broken collarbone in the crash.  >> Read more trending news  No additional information was released.