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National Politics

    Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign plans to ask for a partial recount of the Iowa caucus results after the state Democratic Party releases the results of its recanvass. Sanders campaign senior adviser Jeff Weaver told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday that the campaign has had a representative in contact with the Iowa Democratic Party throughout the recanvass process. 'Based on what we understand to be the results, we intend to ask for a recount,' he said. The campaign expects that the already slim margin separating Sanders from Pete Buttigieg for the lead in Iowa will remain small enough that a recount would make a difference in the outcome. The caucuses were roiled by significant issues in collecting and reporting data from individual precincts on caucus night. There were also errors in the complicated mathematical equations used to calculate the results in individual caucus sites that became evident as the party began to release caucus data throughout the week. The AP reviewed the last reported results of the Iowa caucuses and decided that it remains unable to declare a winner based on the available information. The results, the AP says, may not be fully accurate and are still subject to potential revision. In a recanvass, the Iowa Democratic Party would only update their reported results; they would not correct errors in the math, and party officials have said publicly that the only opportunity to correct the math would be a recount. In a recount, party officials use the preference cards that caucusgoers filled out outlining their first and second choices in the room on caucus night and rerun all the math in each individual precinct. The Iowa Democratic Party states in its Recount and Recanvass manual that 'only evidence suggesting errors that would change the allocation of one or more National Delegates will be considered an adequate justification for a recount.' That means the errors must be significant enough to change the outcome of the overall caucus. Iowa awards 41 national delegates in its caucuses. As it stands, Buttigieg has 13 and Sanders has 12. Trailing behind are Elizabeth Warren with eight, Joe Biden with six and Amy Klobuchar with one. The 41st and final delegate from Iowa will go to the overall winner. The caucus won’t formally come to an end until the recount is completed. In its recanvass request, the Sanders campaign outlined 25 precincts and three satellite caucuses where it believes correcting faulty math could swing the delegate allocation in Sanders’ favor and deliver him, not Buttigieg, that final delegate. ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”
  • Some were big names who grabbed national headlines while others were lesser known but also faced serious charges and prison. A look at who was granted clemency Tuesday by President Donald Trump and an overview of their criminal cases: PARDONS Edward DeBartolo, Jr. was the owner of the San Francisco 49ers when the team won five Super Bowls in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to failing to report a felony when he paid $400,000 to Louisiana Gov. Edwin Edwards in exchange for a riverboat gambling license. DeBartolo served probation for his offense, but the crime effectively ended his time as an NFL owner. Michael Milken was a well-known figure on Wall Street as the head of the junk bonds department at the now-defunct firm Drexel Burnham Lambert. He served two year s in prison in the early 1990s after pleading guilty to violating U.S. securities laws. Ari Friedler, the CEO of Virginia-based Symplicity Corp., pleaded guilty to hacking his competitors' computers in 2014. He served two months in prison. Bernard Kerik, once New York City's police commissioner, served three years in prison for tax fraud and for making false statements after lying to the George W. Bush White House while being interviewed to serve as Homeland Security secretary. Paul Pogue, founder of a Texas construction company, was given three years' probation after pleading guilty to filing false income tax statements. David Safavian, once a high-ranking official at the General Services Administration, was convicted of making false statements and of obstructing an investigation tied to the probe into the activities of disgraced Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Angela Stanton, a best-selling author and television personality, was sentenced to six months of home confinement for her part in a stolen vehicle ring. COMMUTATIONS Rod Blagojevich, the former Illinois governor, spent more than eight years in prison for his failed attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat that was made vacant after Barack Obama's 2008 election sent him to the White House. Blagojevich, after he was impeached and removed from office, appeared on NBC's 'The Apprentice,' a reality TV show hosted by Trump. Tynice Nichole Hall served nearly 14 years of an 18-year sentence for allowing her Lubbock, Texas, apartment to be used as a stash house. Crystal Munoz was convicted in 2007 of conspiring to distribute more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana and later sentenced to nearly 20 years in prison. Munoz claimed in court filings that her only role was drawing a map others allegedly used in moving marijuana from Mexico to Texas. She said her lawyer failed to adequately defend her at trial. Judith Negron had served eight years of a 35-year sentence in a Florida prison for health care fraud, conspiracy and money laundering.
  • Mike Bloomberg would sell the financial data and media company he created in the 1980s — which bears his name and made him a multibillionaire — if he is elected U.S. president, a top adviser said Tuesday. Bloomberg would put Bloomberg LP into a blind trust, and the trustee would then sell the company, adviser Tim O'Brien said. Proceeds from the sale would go to Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable giving arm that funds causes from climate change to public health and grants for American cities. The only restriction Bloomberg would put on the sale is that it not be sold to a foreign buyer or a private equity company, O'Brien said. Bloomberg, a Democrat, is currently chief executive of the company. “We want to be 180 degrees apart from Donald Trump around financial conflicts of interest,” O'Brien told The Associated Press. “We think it's one of the biggest stains on the presidency, and Trump's record is his refusal to disengage himself in his own financial interests. And we want to be very transparent and clean and clear with voters about where Mike is on these things.” Indeed, as one of the world's wealthiest people, Bloomberg would have an extraordinarily complicated financial picture to untangle if he wins the presidency. His commitment to selling the company stands in stark contrast to the Republican Trump, who refused to fully divest from his business, instead putting his assets in a trust controlled by his two adult sons and a senior company executive. He has continued to make money from his properties. Bloomberg said in 2018, when he was considering a presidential run, that he would consider selling his business if elected. The company is not currently for sale. He retained ownership in the company when he served as New York City mayor from 2002 to 2013, but gave up his title of chief executive. O'Brien's comment comes amid increasing scrutiny of Bloomberg's wealth and business holdings from his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination. He'll face them on the debate stage for the first time on Wednesday in Las Vegas. If he won the White House, the exact timeline for a sale isn't clear, O'Brien said. There's also been no decision on what would happen to Bloomberg Philanthropies. Bloomberg created his own company in 1981, after he was fired from the investment bank Salomon Brothers with a $10 million severance payment. His new venture created the Bloomberg Terminal, a dedicated computer with proprietary software that allowed Wall Street traders, buyers and sellers to see financial transaction data in real time. The terminal quickly became a must-have product around the financial world and has been used by entities including the World Bank and the Federal Reserve Bank. Bloomberg then grew the business to include a financial news arm, which has morphed into a major news wire service. The outlet has faced criticism for allowing its reporters to cover the campaign but blocking them from reporting in-depth investigations into Bloomberg or his Democratic rivals. Newsroom leaders didn't impose similar restrictions on reporting regarding Trump. Bloomberg has also faced renewed scrutiny over lawsuits filed by women at his company alleging discrimination or hostile treatment. Bloomberg has said he won't release women from any nondisclosure agreements they've signed with the company. Bloomberg entered the presidential race in November and has been steadily climbing in national polls, buoyed by $400 million in advertising. Worth an estimated $60 billion, he is entirely self-funding his campaign. ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”
  • President Donald Trump says that India Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expecting to turn out massive crowds for the president when he visits next week. Trump will be in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat to attend an event called “Namaste Trump,” which translates to “Greetings, Trump,” at a cricket stadium. Trump pivoted on a question about trade with India to say how much he likes Modi, adding that the prime minister expects some 7 million people to turn out for him between the airport and the cricket stadium. “The stadium I understand is sort of semi under construction, but it’s going to be the largest stadium in the world, so it’s going to be very exciting,” Trump told reporters. In preparation for Trump’s visit, a half-kilometer (1,640-foot) brick wall has been hastily erected, with critics saying it was built to block the view of a slum area inhabited by more than 2,000 people. Senior government official Bijal Patel said the wall was built “for security reasons” and not to conceal the slum. As for trade, Trump played down expectations for any major breakthroughs next week, saying, “I’m really saving the big deal for later on. I don’t know if it will be done before the election, but we’ll have a very big deal with India.” Trade tensions between the two countries have escalated since the Trump administration levied tariffs on steel and aluminum from India. India responded with higher tariffs on agricultural goods and restrictions on U.S. medical devices, prompting the U.S. to retaliate by removing India from a decades-old preferential trade program. The U.S. runs a trade deficit with India of about $25 billion, according to the U.S. Trade Representative. India has relatively high tariff rates, especially in agriculture, and the Trump administration has been critical of that deficit, accusing India of unfair trading practices.
  • Hoisting the spoils of victories in California’s hard-fought water wars, President Donald Trump is directing more of the state’s precious water to wealthy farmers and other agriculture interests when he visits their Republican Central Valley stronghold Wednesday. Changes by the Trump administration are altering how federal authorities decide who gets water, and how much, in California, the U.S. state with the biggest population and economy and most lucrative farm output. Climate change promises to only worsen the state's droughts and water shortages, raising the stakes. Campaigning in the Central Valley farm hub of Fresno in 2016, Trump pledged then he’d be “opening up the water” for farmers. Candidate Trump denounced “insane” environmental rules meant to ensure that enough fresh water stayed in rivers and the San Francisco Bay to sustain more than a dozen endangered fish and other native species, which are struggling as agriculture and development diverts more water and land from wildlife. Visiting Bakersfield in the Central Valley on Wednesday, Trump is expected to ceremoniously sign his administration’s reworking of those environmental rules. Environmental advocates and the state say the changes will allow federal authorities to pump more water from California's wetter north southward to its biggest cities and farms. The Trump administration, Republican lawmakers, and farm and water agencies say the changes will allow for more flexibility in water deliveries. In California's heavily engineered water system, giant state and federal water projects made up of hundreds of miles of pipes, canals, pumps and dams, carry runoff from rain and Sierra Nevada snow melt from north to south — and serve as field of battle for lawsuits and regional political fights over competing demands for water. Environmental groups say the changes will speed the disappearance of endangered winter-run salmon and other native fish, and make life tougher for whales and other creatures in the San Francisco Bay and Pacific Ocean. After an initial study by federal scientists found the rule changes would harm salmon and whales, the Trump administration ordered a new round of review, California news organizations reported last year. The overall effort “ensured the highest quality' of evaluation of the rule changes, Paul Souza, Pacific Southwest director for the Fish and Wildlife Service, which is under the Interior Department, said in a statement Tuesday. “We strongly disagree that the proposal will reduce protections for endangered species,' Souza said. Beyond operational changes in the federal Central Valley Project water system, the administration's changes allow for more habitat restoration, upgrades in fish hatcheries and the water system itself, monitoring of species and other improvements, Souza said. Careers of California politicians can rise and fall on water issues. It's often rancorous, as when Republican Rep. Devin Nunes in 2017 celebrated passage of a House resolution weakening environmental protections by tweeting a photo of cupcakes decorated with Delta smelt, a Northern California fish nearing extinction. Trump mocked environmental limits on water deliveries in California in his 2016 campaign visit, saying they were all about “a certain kind of 3-inch fish,' the smelt. Conservation groups have promised new rounds of water lawsuits to try to block the redone environmental rules. “The species really are in much worse shape” than in earlier years, Doug Obegi with the Natural Resources Defense Council said. “We are at the point where we may watch them wink out ... potentially in the next few years.” Another big change alarming conservation groups and some water agencies outside of Southern California is the pending award of a permanent federal contract from the Bureau of Reclamation to Westlands Water District, a Central Valley-based water agency that is the nation's largest irrigation water district. The Bureau of Reclamation is under the Interior Department, led by Secretary David Bernhardt, who was a lobbyist of Westlands Water District in Washington through 2016. Trump nominated Bernhardt to join the Interior Department, initially as deputy secretary, the next year. The then-Republican-led Congress in 2016 approved legislation allowing California water agencies to pay to make their federal water contracts permanent. Westlands has jumped toward the front of the line, closing its public comment period last month. Interior officials said Westlands still owes around $200 million from the initial cost of nearly a half-billion dollars. Conservation groups and some Northern California water agencies fear Westlands' permanent contract — and political power — will help it claim a bigger share of water when drought and over-demand reduce supplies, said Patricia Schifferle, an California water-law expert and activist. In December, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration said it planned to sue the Trump administration over their proposed new rules, saying they do not do enough to protect endangered species. That lawsuit still has not been filed. Wade Crowfoot, secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, said state officials are still negotiating with the Trump administration about whether they would change the proposed rules to address the state’s environmental concerns. “From our perspective, if we can resolve our concerns and ensure adequate protection of these endangered species, then we think it would be important to do so and we could avoid probably years of litigation,” Crowfoot said. —- Beam contributed from Sacramento.
  • President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he's ready to use his “big voice” to bolster Republicans' 2020 campaign hopes as he headed west for a four-day visit mixing policy and politics. Trump's trip will be packed with big-dollar fundraisers, a trio of campaign rallies meant to energize his base and a sprinkle of official presidential events where he can showcase administration actions and offset some of his travel costs. The trip to California, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado is an unusually long domestic trip for Trump, who prefers to sleep in his own bed but is stepping up his political travel now that his impeachment trial is over. He was expected to raise $14 million at two California campaign fundraisers, according to a Republican official familiar with the planning of the events. That money will be split among his campaign, the Republican National Committee and 22 Republican state parties. Trump will spend the nights in Las Vegas, just as Democrats have descended on the state ahead of a debate there Wednesday and Nevada’s Democratic caucuses on Saturday. The rallies will take him to two states with vulnerable Republican senators — Cory Gardner of Colorado and Martha McSally of Arizona. Both stood by Trump during the Senate's impeachment trial. Trump also announced that he will soon head to South Carolina to campaign, likely the day before Democrats in the state hold their primary on Feb. 29. “Look — we have a big voice, and we might as well use it,” Trump told reporters before departing Washington. In Los Angeles on Tuesday, Trump is also set to meet with the Los Angeles Olympic committee “for an update on their efforts to prepare for the 2028 Summer Olympic Games,” the White House said. He is scheduled to attend a campaign fundraiser in Beverly Hills before continuing to Las Vegas, where he is expected to stay at his private hotel just off the Las Vegas Strip. On Wednesday, Trump will fly to Rancho Mirage, California, to billionaire Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison's estate, which includes a private golf club, where his campaign is hosting a golf outing and fundraiser. Ellison previously hosted President Barack Obama at the course, which, like others in the arid Coachella Valley, has faced scrutiny for high water usage. Trump will then visit Bakersfield, California, the hometown of House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, “to speak with hardworking farmers in the Central Valley about efforts to dramatically improve the supply and delivery of water in California and other Western states,” the White House said. Trump will then hold a rally in Phoenix before returning to Las Vegas. On Thursday, Trump will speak at the Hope for Prisoners Graduation Ceremony held at the Las Vegas police headquarters, the White House said, adding that the president intends to focus on efforts 'to provide previously incarcerated Americans with second chances.' He will hold another rally in Colorado Springs, Colorado, before flying back to Las Vegas. He will hold a final rally in Las Vegas on Friday. The trip comes as he is stepping up his campaign activity before the November election and as pro-Trump groups raised a combined $60 million in January, shattering fundraising records. As he made his way to Los Angeles, Trump used Twitter to poke at the city's mayor, Eric Garcetti, for publishing a video last week assuring undocumented immigrants that the city police force does not coordinate with federal immigration enforcement. “The Mayor’s efforts to shield illegal aliens endangers the lives of the public and law enforcement who have to go into the field to apprehend those released,” Trump tweeted. “He shouldn’t be urging illegals to beat the system, he should be urging them to safely turn themselves in!” Before departing, Trump also could not help but tweak his Democratic presidential rivals, and he feigned concern that Democratic front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders is getting a raw deal from party leaders. The Democratic National Committee announced earlier Tuesday — following a change of debate qualification rules — that former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg has qualified for Wednesday's debate in Nevada. The billionaire is self-financing his campaign and has faced criticism from Sanders and other Democratic rivals that he's attempting to buy the party's nomination. “Always be careful what you wish for, and I'm not wishing for anything,” said Trump, who insists he doesn't have a preferred Democrat he'd like to face in November. “Whoever it is, I'll be very happy.” Not long after his comment, Trump on Twitter belittled Bloomberg, accused him of breaking campaign laws by buying support of Democratic politicians with campaign contributions, and puffing that he wound't mind facing the former mayor in November. “Mini Mike. No, I would rather run against you!” Trump posted.
  • In a party that’s shifted leftward on abortion rights, Democratic presidential hopefuls are offering different approaches to a central challenge: how to talk to voters without a clear home in the polarizing debate over the government’s role in the decision to end a pregnancy. While Bernie Sanders said this month that “being pro-choice is an absolutely essential part of being a Democrat,” his presidential primary opponent Amy Klobuchar took a more open stance last week in saying that anti-abortion Democrats “are part of our party.” Klobuchar's perfect voting score from major abortion-rights groups makes her an unlikely ally, but some abortion opponents nonetheless lauded the Minnesota senator for extending a hand to those on the other side of an issue that’s especially important for Catholics and other devout voters. The praise for Klobuchar suggests that Democrats who have heeded rising worry within their base about GOP-backed abortion limits by pitching significant new abortion-rights policies may risk alienating religious voters who are otherwise open to supporting their party over President Donald Trump. Voters in that group looking for an appeal to “common ground” on abortion, as former President Barack Obama put it during his 2008 campaign, have heard few of those statements during the current Democratic primary. “Plenty of pro-life Catholics are looking for an alternative to voting for President Trump,” said Kim Daniels, associate director of Georgetown University’s Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life. “We wish the Democratic Party would offer us an alternative instead of doubling down on support for abortion throughout pregnancy, taxpayer funding and the like.” Klobuchar has underscored her abortion-rights support, and she's signed onto legislation that would limit states' efforts to constrain abortion access, such as the multiple state-level anti-abortion laws that passed last year. But Daniels described Klobuchar's rhetorical openness to working with abortion opponents as “an important step,” and she’s not alone. Chris Crawford, a pro-life activist who tweeted about Klobuchar’s welcoming response to him during a recent event in New Hampshire, said that “I don’t like” the senator’s abortion record or positions, “but I do like the work she’s doing on adoptions.” “And if she’s serious about putting together an agenda that can provide for mothers ... that would make a big difference for me and other voters I know,” added the Catholic Crawford, who said he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 but has not yet decided who he's supporting in 2020. Religion is not the only factor motivating potential Democratic voters who favor some degree of abortion limits -- Democrats for Life executive director Kristen Day pointed out in an interview that atheists are part of her coalition. But abortion restriction is still a priority for a sizable number of Catholics, even as Pope Francis orients the church toward a more expansive definition of the term “pro-life,' pressing President Donald Trump on some of his immigration policies. An AP-NORC poll taken in December found that 45% of Catholics backed significant restrictions that would make abortion illegal except in cases of rape, incest, or threats to a mother’s life. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults, 17% said that abortion should be illegal in most or all cases, a number that rises to 25% among self-identified conservative or moderate Democrats, according to a Pew Research Center survey last year. The abortion debate is set to return to the political forefront next month, when the Supreme Court hears arguments in a high-profile challenge to a Louisiana state law, authored by an anti-abortion Democratic lawmaker, which requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. A final decision is anticipated by June. Charles Camosy, an associate professor of theology at Fordham University who recently left the board of Democrats for Life in frustration over what he saw as the party's absolutist approach to abortion, asserted that “something is missing” when the same blanket “pro-choice” terminology can be used to apply to both Klobuchar and Sanders. A Democratic candidate willing to focus on common ground could have “a golden opportunity to meet pro-lifers, or at least religious people who are mildly pro-choice,” Camosy said. However, Klobuchar’s comments left some abortion-rights and anti-abortion activists cold. The anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List tweeted that the Minnesota senator is “still extreme & out-of-touch,” pointing to her record of abortion-rights votes, and Ilyse Hogue, president of the abortion-rights group NARAL Pro-Choice America, warned Klobuchar against “giving credence to right-wing red herrings.” Hogue said in an interview that under the umbrella of abortion-rights advocacy, she sees room for shared values of “compassion and freedom” as well as different feelings about the decision to terminate a pregnancy. “Where we are in common service together,” Hogue said, is that “none of us ever want anyone to feel like they have to terminate a pregnancy because they will not get the support they need to parent.” Hogue also underscored the sharp contrast between Democrats and the GOP, where Trump has embraced anti-abortion policies and burnished his standing with religious conservatives as a result. That distance between the parties has grown in recent years, with fewer anti-abortion Democrats serving in Congress and two straight Democratic platforms adopting stronger language on abortion rights. Indeed, Sanders described abortion-rights support as “essential” this month but took flak from some abortion-rights advocates in 2017 for backing an anti-abortion Catholic candidate for mayor of Omaha, Nebraska. Anti-abortion Democrats are not wholly extinct, with the Catholic Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards winning reelection last year, but two such members of Congress are facing primary challenges from the left. In this year’s Democratic presidential primary, Klobuchar’s inclusive language marked a rare instance of daylight between candidates in an abortion debate that's already put pressure on her rivals. When pressed on abortion by executive director Day of Democrats for Life during a Fox News town hall last month, former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg said that “I support the position of my party that this kind of medical care needs to be available to everyone.” Joe Biden, a Catholic who last year reversed his stance to back unrestricted federal funding for abortions, was denied communion by one South Carolina priest last fall in response to the former vice president’s support for abortion rights. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for her part, said at November's debate that safeguarding abortion rights is “fundamentally what we do and what we stand for as a Democratic Party' and demurred when pressed about whether an abortion opponent like Bel Edwards would be welcome. Like those Democrats, Klobuchar supports codifying the abortion-rights protections of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision into law. And for some anti-abortion voters, inclusive language like Klobuchar's may not be enough to overcome that substantive Democratic alignment. Klobuchar’s handling of the issue is “going to make her look much more moderate” and could break through with potentially persuadable Catholic voters, said Robert George, a Princeton University professor and past GOP appointee to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. But that advantage can be “undercut” by Klobuchar's abortion-rights votes, George added, which Trump's campaign would seek to do. __ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through the Religion News Foundation. The AP is solely responsible for this content.
  • He’s not competing in a primary in the state, but President Donald Trump is planning to make an appearance in South Carolina just before Democrats hold their primary election there. Trump told reporters on Tuesday on the tarmac at Joint Base Andrews that he would hold an event in the state next week, “probably the day before” the state's Feb. 29 primary, and that details were still being worked out. Trump had previously said that he would likely travel to the state but would be working around a scheduled trip to India. State party officials didn't confirm any details for a visit. “We are always excited to welcome the president back to the Palmetto State,' said Joe Jackson, a spokesman for the South Carolina GOP. “South Carolina went big for President Trump in 2016 and with record-breaking results will do so again in 2020.” Trump has held events in early voting states across the country this year, including Iowa and New Hampshire. He will be in Nevada on Friday, a day ahead of that state's caucuses. “Look — we have a big voice, and we might as well use it,” Trump said. Trump won't be appearing on ballots during South Carolina's presidential primary. Last year, state Republican Party officials opted not to hold a GOP presidential primary, citing cost-saving measures. Support for the president is high in South Carolina, where both legislative chambers,all statewide officesand seven of the state’s nine congressional seats are held by Republicans.Gov. Henry McMaster has been an ally since early 2016, when as lieutenant governor he was the first statewide-elected official to endorse Trump. Last week, Vice President Mike Pence visited South Carolina for a speech and awards dinner at The Citadel military college. He also appeared at a luncheon, which raised $1.5 million for Trump's reelection bid. ___ Meg Kinnard can be reached at http://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”
  • President Donald Trump said Tuesday he knows the identity of the author known as “Anonymous,” the senior administration official who wrote an inside-the-White House account that painted the president as inept and dangerous. Trump’s claim comes as speculation has grown inside Washington about the identity of the official who penned the book “A Warning” as well as an eviscerating 2018 essay in The New York Times about the president’s “misguided impulses” “I know who it is,” Trump told reporters. “I can’t tell you that. ..We won’t get into it.” In the book, published by the Hachette Book Group in November, the writer claims senior administration officials considered resigning as a group in 2018 in a “midnight self-massacre,” but ultimately decided such an act would do more harm than good. Ahead of the book’s publication, the Justice Department sent a letter to Hachette and the writer’s literary agency, raising questions over whether any confidentiality agreement had been violated and asking for information that could help reveal the author’s identity. Hachette responded by saying it would provide no additional information beyond calling the author a “current or former senior official.” Trump has pointed to the book to make the case that some in his administration, including Obama holdovers, are working to undermine his agenda. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham has dismissed the author as a “coward” and the content of the person’s writings as “nothing but lies.” Trump did not say what if any steps he plans to take against the writer. “People know it’s a fraud,” Trump added. __ This has been corrected to show that the essay was in 2018, not last year.
  • President Donald Trump signaled Tuesday via Twitter that he opposes efforts to block the sale of jet engines to China. Trump's tweets appeared intended to thwart a proposal from within his own administration to limit exports of engines jointly produced by General Electric and a French company. “We don’t want to make it impossible to do business with us,’’ the president tweeted. “That will only mean that orders will go to someplace else. As an example, I want China to buy our jet engines, the best in the World....’’ Trump’s tweets followed a report in The Wall Street Journal that his administration was weighing a ban on shipments to China of a jet engine produced jointly by GE and the French company Safran SA. The Commerce Department declined to comment.The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. GE noted it has provided products and services globally for decades. 'We aggressively protect and defend our intellectual property and work closely with the U.S. government to fulfill our responsibilities and shared security and economic interests,” the Boston-based company said. China is using the engines to develop its own airliner, Comac C919, to compete with Boeing and Airbus. According to the Journal, U.S. officials worry that Beijing could reverse-engineer the engine and enter the jet engine market. Another goal of the U.S. proposal reportedly is to slow development of the Comac airliner. The episode marks the latest example of the administration’s often-chaotic approach to policy-making, with the president publicly and unexpectedly weighing in on ongoing deliberations, leaving businesses confused over where U.S. policy is headed. “Uncertainty is death to trade,’’ Kevin Wolf, a former Commerce Department official who is now a partner at the Akin Gump law firm, said at a conference Tuesday on U.S. export controls, where the president's tweets caused a stir. ___ AP Airlines Writer David Koenig in Dallas contributed to this report.

News

  • A California man is accused of entering a home, where the residents said he was making scrambled eggs and eating flan while not wearing pants, authorities said. Carl Cimino, 61, of Desert Hot Springs, was booked into the Riverside County Jail on a charge of residential burglary Tuesday morning, according to arrest records. According to police, three people woke up at their home around 7:30 a.m. and heard banging and yelling in the kitchen. They found Cimino making scrambled eggs with bologna and ranch dressing and eating flan, The Desert Sun reported. According to deputies, Cimino was not wearing pants and refused to leave the residence, the newspaper reported. Deputies finally were able to remove Cimino after using a police service dog, according to the arrest report. Cimino was placed on a gurney and removed from the home by paramedics, according to The Desert Sun. According to jail records, Cimino was free on bail after being arrested Jan. 23 on a drug-related accusation, the newspaper reported. The home’s residents said they were not hurt and there was no damage. They believe Cimino entered the home through an unlocked door, according to The Desert Sun.
  • Nearly all the employees at Orlando’s religious theme park, Holy Land Experience, will lose their jobs this spring. A document sent to the city of Orlando on Monday shows that the theme park will lay off all its staff involved in its stage shows. The move comes after the park announced it will be “shifting the focus of the park away from entertainment and theatrical productions to focus on the Biblical Museum.” Park officials said the layoffs will take effect April 18. In total, according to the Federal Worker Adjustment & Retraining Notification document sent to the city of Orlando, 118 jobs will be eliminated. The restructuring comes as a result of a “corporate wide ministry reorganization,” according to documents filed with the city.
  • A man with a metal detector made an explosive discovery when he found a live mortar from World War II Monday. Police said the munition was a remnant from when the area was used as a training ground during the war. The bomb squad determined the mortar was too unstable to be moved so it was detonated near where it was found. “The blast was heard from a distance, which caused alarm for many residents,” Lebanon police said on social media. “We appreciate everyone’s concerns and phone calls.” Authorities searched the area for more mortars before deeming it safe.
  • Ja’net DuBois, who played feisty neighbor Willona Woods on the 1970s television series “Good Times,” was found dead in her home Tuesday morning, according to a report. She was 74. The actress’ family told TMZ that DuBois died in her sleep at her Glendale, California, home. DuBois played the Evans family’s neighbor on “Good Times,” and also sang the theme song to 1970s sitcom “The Jeffersons,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. DuBois composed and sang “Movin’ On Up” for the show. DuBois won two Emmys Awards for her voice-over work on “The PJs.” She also appeared in movies including “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka,” “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle” and “Tropic Thunder,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. DuBois also worked on Broadway, performing in productions including “Golden Boy” and “A Raisin in the Sun.” TV Land, which has aired reruns of “Good Times,” tweeted a tribute to the actress, writing that DuBois “would be missed.”
  • A Florida woman died after a deer that went airborne Monday after being hit by a truck struck her vehicle. The passenger in the car, Edna Morgan Griffin, 81, died in the accident. The driver, Katharine Mills Comerford, 58, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, WDHN reported. Jessie Alton Barnes, 47, hit the deer while driving a 2018 Dodge Ram. The deer flew through the air before crashing through Comerford’s 2010 Ford Escape. Investigators said the deer crashed through the front windshield, striking both Comerford and Griffin before flying through the back window, WDHN reported. No one else was injured.
  • A Texas woman admitted to robbing Sonic Drive-In carhops at two locations; during one of the robberies, her two children were inside the car, authorities said. Monica Michelle Logan, 21, is accused of robbing two employees at two separate Sonic locations in Converse, according to arrest affidavits. Logan’s 8-month-old and 1-year-old children were in the car during one robbery, KSAT reported. Logan was charged with robbery, aggravated robbery, and two counts of endangering a child, according to Bexar County jail records. Her bail was set at $55,000.According to an arrest affidavit, the first robbery occurred Wednesday. The carhop told police she was delivering a drink to Logan, when Logan said she had a gun pointed at her and demanded the money inside her apron, KSAT reported. On Thursday, Converse police were called to a different Sonic, the television station reported. That carhop told police Logan demanded money after ordering an 80-cent drive, according to the arrest affidavit According to the affidavit, Logan told the employee, “If you look down I have a gun. I want the money inside of your apron. If not, I’m going to shoot you,” KSAT reported. The employee told police Logan had two children in the back seat of her car, according to the affidavit. Converse police tracked down the license plate and discovered the vehicle belonged to Logan, the television station reported. Logan later admitted to the robberies and said the children were in the vehicle, according to KSAT.