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Local Politics

    Local groups are planning to take to the streets to protest President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration aimed at securing funds for a wall along the border with Mexico.  On Monday — Presidents Day — protesters will stage a demonstration outside the Atlanta field office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Ted Turner Drive.  The protest is part of a national movement organized by MoveOn to push back against Trump’s emergency declaration. Trump made the announcement Friday after signing a spending bill passed by Congress, which did not include as much money as the president wanted for the border wall. The president acknowledged that he will almost certainly face a legal challenge to the declaration, while experts pointed out that Trump’s move is unprecedented.  MoveOn called the move “an illegal power grab from an unhinged man to push his racist, dangerous policies.” Primarily organized by the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice, the Atlanta protest is set to take place at the ICE offices because ICE “would be charged with patrolling this ridiculous wall,” GAFSJ Executive Director Janel Green told AJC.com. Green said she expects at least 200 people to attend. A coalition of nearly a dozen other community organizations is joining the noon rally. 
  • Local groups are planning to take to the streets to protest President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration aimed at securing funds for a wall along the border with Mexico.  On Monday — Presidents Day — protesters will stage a demonstration outside the Atlanta field office of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Ted Turner Drive.  The protest is part of a national movement organized by MoveOn to push back against Trump’s emergency declaration. Trump made the announcement Friday after signing a spending bill passed by Congress, which did not include as much money as the president wanted for the border wall. The president acknowledged that he will almost certainly face a legal challenge to the declaration, while experts pointed out that Trump’s move is unprecedented.  MoveOn called the move “an illegal power grab from an unhinged man to push his racist, dangerous policies.” Primarily organized by the Georgia Alliance for Social Justice, the Atlanta protest is set to take place at the ICE offices because ICE “would be charged with patrolling this ridiculous wall,” GAFSJ Executive Director Janel Green told AJC.com. Green said she expects at least 200 people to attend. A coalition of nearly a dozen other community organizations is joining the noon rally.  
  • Georgia has yet to set a date for its 2020 presidential primary, but that didn’t deter U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren from making Gwinnett County one of her first campaign stops in her bid for the White House. Gwinnett has transformed from a Republican stronghold to a Democratic-leaning county in past elections, going for Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams by 14 percentage points in the 2018 governor’s race and for Hillary Clinton by six in the 2016 presidential race. READ | Abrams puts support behind Gwinnett MARTA expansion The Massachusetts Democrat recognizes the county’s potential for her party, she told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution before taking the stage. “Gwinnett is the future, not just of Georgia, but of America,” Warren said. “This is a place where Democrats need to get out and make the case for what we are fighting for, and to enlist people from all around this county and around this state to make this a country that works, not just for a thin slice at the top, a country that works for everybody.” Warren was greeted by an enthusiastic crowd of about 1,100, filling the Central Gwinnett High School gymnasium. She used her time in Lawrenceville to introduce herself to the crowd, telling formative stories from her life that have shaped her political principles. The audience responded enthusiastically to Warren’s comments on implementing anti-corruption measures, raising the minimum wage and implementing a “Medicare for All” universal health care system. One protester was removed from the crowd, and others sported pro-Donald Trump and anti-abortion hats and signs outside the event. Ray Noblit, 66, made the four-hour trip to Lawrenceville from Cookeville, Tennessee, with his wife and daughter to see Warren. The family of three is undecided, but interested in Warren’s policies. Ann Austin, Noblit’s wife, is a fan of Warren’s work with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Noblit agreed, saying Warren’s focus is squarely on average citizens. “She represesnts the common people, not Wall Street,” Noblit said. Carrie Weston, of Marietta, waited outside Central Gwinnett High School for half an hour before doors opened Saturday. The 55-year-old has been waiting for Warren to run “for years.” “She can take on Trump,” Weston said, wearing a Warren 2020 sweatshirt. “She’s not scared. She doesn’t back down. There is no ‘no’ in her. She stands her ground.” Bailey Beebout, 17, of Grayson, brought his mom to see Warren at Central Gwinnett. Beebout has been interested in politics since he was 6 years old, when he was in the voting booth as his mother cast a vote in the 2008 presidential election. He’s excited he’ll finally be able to get into the voting booth on his own and wants to see every candidate who visits Georgia. Gwinnett County and other suburban metro Atlanta counties have increasingly voted Democratic in recent elections, leading many to speculate whether Georgia could become a swing state in the general election. Because of the 2018 governor’s race, decided by 1.2 percentage points, Weston thinks Georgia can’t be ignored. “Georgia is turning purple and I believe a lot of candidates realize that,” Weston said. “After Stacey Abrams, there’s no pushing us to the end of your tour.” Staff writer Michael Kanell contributed to this article. Like AJC on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter
  • Former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams publicly put her support behind Gwinnett County’s MARTA referendum at a Monday night stop in Duluth on her statewide “thank you” tour. Abrams, a Democrat and former state house minority leader, has been touring the state with her new voting rights group Fair Fight Georgia after a close loss to now-Gov. Brian Kemp in the 2018 election. While she won Gwinnett County by 14 percentage points, Kemp won by a razor-thin statewide margin. She cited issues including malfunctioning machines and hours-long lines at Snellville’s Annistown Elementary School in Nov. 2018 as examples of alleged voter suppression that occurred in Gwinnett County. The county’s election processes were challenged by Democrats including 7th Congressional District candidate Carolyn Bourdeaux, who lost to incumbent U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall by fewer than 500 votes. Since his win, Woodall has announced he will not run again and Bourdeaux has said she will run again for the seat in 2020. RELATED | How the Georgia race for governor came down to the wire MORE | Carolyn Bourdeaux to seek 7th District seat after razor-thin loss Bourdeaux’s campaign challenged the county’s rejection of more than 3,000 absentee and provisional ballots over issues concerning signatures and incorrect birthdates. A judge later ruled that the county had to accept some of those ballots. As Gwinnett’s March 19 transit referendum approaches, Fair Fight Georgia will be engaged with county elections officials in order to “make sure everyone gets a fair vote,” Abrams said after a speech in a Duluth hotel ballroom. “We can get MARTA in Gwinnett County if we can have a fair election in Gwinnett County,” Abrams said. The referendum would use a 1 percent sales tax to bring MARTA service into Gwinnett County. That would extend heavy rail into Norcross and expand bus service across the county. Abrams said the expansion of MARTA into Gwinnett is necessary to provide economic and educational opportunities for young and low-income county residents. “We can’t talk about economic opportunities if people in Gwinnett can’t get to college,” Abrams said in her address to a crowd of 400. “Economic mobility requires actual mobility.” Abrams is the most prominent Democrat to come out in support of Gwinnett’s transit referendum. Because of ethics rules regarding referenda, many elected officials have been reticent to voice their opinion on the issue. As Abrams spoke Monday night, many in the crowd implored her to run for the U.S. Senate in 2020. She insisted that she has not yet made up her mind, but will come to a decision about the race at some point in March. Shannon Bryan, 41, of Lawrenceville, was hopeful Abrams would step back into the political ring. “I hope she beats the socks off David Perdue,” Bryan said. Like Gwinnett County News on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and InstagramStay up to the minute with breaking news on Channel 2 Action News This Morning
  • The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has joined other newspapers in dropping a syndicated cartoon after a Sunday strip contained a profane message to President Donald Trump. Kevin Riley, editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said Wiley Miller’s comic, “Non Sequitur,” will be replaced starting in Tuesday’s newspaper. “Obviously, this does not meet our standards,” Riley said. “We apologize to all of our readers, and we’ve personally reached out to every single subscriber who’s contacted us.” He said that the comic was removed from Sunday’s upcoming edition, even though the comics section had already been printed. Riley added that Miller’s work will never again appear in The AJC. “We were dismayed and disappointed when we learned of what had happened,” Riley said. “One of our first steps was to remove the comic from our ePaper, and like some other newspapers around the country, we immediately canceled the comic.” Miller says the profane message about Trump was an accident. But as of Monday afternoon, three other newspapers had dropped the cartoon, said John Glynn, spokesman for Andrews McMeel Syndication, which distributes the comic to more than 700 newspapers. Glynn said that Miller’s status with the company hasn’t changed. Miller said in a statement through the syndicate Monday that the language was included by error. “I now remember that I was particularly aggravated that day about something the president had done or said, and so I lashed out in a rather sophomoric manner as instant therapy. It was NOT intended for public consumption, and I meant to white it out before submitting it, but forgot to. Had I intended to make a statement to be understood by the readers, I would have done so in a more subtle, sophisticated manner.” But that sentiment doesn’t exactly square with Miller’s tweet Sunday afternoon saying “some of my sharp-eyed readers have spotted a little Easter egg” and goading others to find it by linking to the cartoon. When asked to explain the discrepancy, Miller said through the syndicate spokesman that he knew it was too late. The syndicate released a public apology Monday: “We are sorry we missed the language in our editing process. If we had discovered it, we would not have distributed the cartoon without it being removed. We apologize to Non Sequitur’s clients and readers for our oversight.” The company described Non Sequitur on its website as “Wiley Miller’s wry look at the absurdities of modern life,” adding that the cartoon is “a hit with millions of fans” since starting in 1992. Wiley won the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award in 2013, putting him among other winners “Garfield” inventor Jim Davis and “Peanuts” creator Charles Schulz. Although he is a native of California, where he was an editorial cartoonist for two newspapers, Miller’s location on Twitter is listed as Chattahoochee Hills, which is in southern Fulton County. The AJC reported that Miller lived in Georgia in 2016, when he held an $85-a-plate dinner at Serenbe to “discuss political cartoons and how this medium is used to make a statement especially in this year’s crazy election.”
  • A state assemblyman is proposing a referendum to split New York into two states, WGRB reported. >> Read more trending news  Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, floated the idea of a nonbinding referendum in a Jan. 29 letter to Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. 'Spending is the issue, mandates are the issue, fees and philosophies of government are the issues and I think we're very very different, upstate New York and Western New York in particular,' Hawley told WIVB.  If Hawley’s referendum passes, it would go before voters in New York. He said the referendum was in response to legislation proposed by the “radical left wing” in New York City, which has included measures about gun control and controversial abortion measures. “It has become abundantly clear in recent years that the New York City voting bloc has forgotten upstate and is imposing their radical left-wing agenda on all of us, whether we like it or not,” Hawley told WRGB. “And that is deeply troubling.” Hawley’s proposed question for the ballot would read, “Should New York be divided into two states?” the television station reported. 'I think it's something we ought to ask folks about,” Hawley told WIVB. “Many of these propositions that are pushed on us from New York City have nothing to do with the rest of the state of New York.
  • State Rep. David Wilkerson has become the first Democrat in recent memory to chair the Cobb County legislative delegation. Wilkerson’s unanimous election came a week after a dramatic rift among Democrats delayed officer elections and threatened party unity. Democrats narrowly seized the majority from Republicans on the delegation after 2018’s suburban ‘blue wave.’ “We worked that out,” Wilkerson said, referring to a walk-out by House Democrats at the previous meeting after fellow Democrat and State Sen. Michael Rhett appeared to challenge Wilkerson for the top position. Wilkerson struck a conciliatory tone Friday, saying that constituents may not see a lot of changes now that Democrats have taken control of leadership positions. State Rep. Michael Smith was elected vice chair and State Rep. Teri Anulewicz became secretary. “We’ve always worked together as a delegation,” Wilkerson said.  He did promise a “very thorough transit discussion,” as well as efforts to address concerns over voting access in Cobb. 
  • A former DeKalb County commissioner faces more questions from a federal grand jury about her time in office, Channel 2 Action News is reporting. “The new subpoena demands campaign and banking records for former commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton going back to 2012,” Richard Belcher reported. Sutton’s attorney confirmed to Channel 2 that she had recently be served with papers. He said state and federal authorities were targeting Sutton, who was also subpoenaed in 2017, because she filed a lawsuit challenging the makeup of the DeKalb County Board of Ethics. The Georgia Supreme Court sided with Sutton last year, and the Ethics Board has been dormant ever since. The Georgia Senate recently approved a bill that would change how board members are appointed and allow them to get back to work. Sutton has not been charged with any crime, but the latest subpoena suggests she is still under investigation, Belcher said. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution could not reach Sutton for comment. In 2014, an AJC investigation found that Sutton paid her then-boyfriend $34,000 in public dollars, most of it for political advice during her first two years in office. That same year, the Ethics Board investigated complaints that Sutton had used her county purchasing card for personal expenses. While that investigation was pending, DeKalb voters in 2015 approved changes to the Ethics Code that allowed private groups to appoint members to the Ethics Board. Sutton filed a lawsuit saying those changes were unconstitutional, and the investigation of her actions was put on hold. Barnes left office in 2017.
  • The landlord of three troubled South Cobb apartment complexes is facing up to $85,000 in fines and potential jail time over what residents call “uninhabitable” conditions. Cobb spokesperson Ross Cavitt confirmed the landlord, Kerrison Chin, had racked up 85 county citations and has a history of being uncooperative with code enforcement. A Cobb Magistrate Court hearing is scheduled for March 7. Chin could not be reached for comment. His attorney, Carter Clayton, said he could not comment but confirmed that his client resides in Canada. The three complexes—Kingsley Village, Parkview and Hunters Grove Apartments—are all located near Riverside Parkway, not far from Six Flags amusement part. Residents who gathered for a press conference Thursday described leaks, mold, rodents as well as broken flooring and appliances they said the management refused to replace. Monica DeLancy, founder of the Riverside Renters Association, an advocacy group for tenants in the community near Six Flags, and a parent resource specialist with Cobb County Schools, said the apartments kept coming up in discussions with the community about unsafe housing. She was particularly frustrated that the magistrate court had twice rescheduled Chin’s hearing after residents made an effort to show up for it. “The same court, when the tenants go in there for eviction, they’re only given seven days to either have the money or move out,” DeLancy said. “They’re not given continuation. They’re not given time to review their case. But code violators get a reset.” Nandi Jackson, 25, said she is a disabled Navy veteran and a resident of Kingsley Village who pays $900 a month in rent. She said she lived without a working shower for more than a month and that her sink leaks every time she or her neighbors flush the toilet. Jackson said the property manager has ignored a court order to move her to a better unit, and threatened her with eviction when she refused to pay rent because of the problems. “This is depressing,” she said. “Every day I wake up I cannot believe I live here.” Jackson said she is saving to buy a house and can’t afford to break her lease, which would cost $1,800. Several other residents said they depend on federal assistance, which the building manager told them was paid late this year. The residents blame the partial government shutdown. Now, they are being assessed for late fees they cannot afford. One resident, who declined to give her name because she is receiving homelessness assistance, called the building “nasty” and “uninhabitable.” She said the government agencies and non-profits that subsidize housing aren’t doing enough to pressure landlords over living conditions. “These programs that exist are paying slumlords with no questions,” she said. “My stove hasn’t worked in a week.”
  • A mixed-use development south metro leaders hope could become a retail and residential destination for the area around Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport could break ground this summer. Airport City, a 320-acre development in College Park that will include offices, single family homes, greenspace and coffee shops, is close to an agreement with its first developer, said Shannon James, chairman of Aerotropolis Atlanta Alliance, who made the announcement Thursday at a meeting of the Atlanta Airport Chamber. He did not disclose the developer.  College Park is in the final stages of contract negotiations with a residential developer for homes at the project, he said.  “You’re getting exclusive information,” he told the audience at the Georgia International Conference Center. If all goes well, construction could begin third quarter of this year, he said. The Alliance, a business group focusing on promoting development around Hartsfield, has joined forces with South Fulton and Clayton counties, cities in the two counties and a raft of business groups to boost economic development south of Interstate 20. Leaders from the different bodies argue that growth in north metro Atlanta has hit its ceiling. They are trying to lure developers who could bring housing and retail on the south side of the city. “The southside of Fulton County is the future of the metropolitan area,” Fulton Commission Chairman Robb Pitts told the group.

News

  • A marriage proposal in a room filled with swine may not seem ideal, but a Texas man was perfectly willing to hog the attention away from the pigs Sunday morning. >> Read more trending news  Will Hussey made his “pig-posal” to Kate Jimerson at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, KSAT reported. Hussey’s marriage proposal came four years after they met at the show’s swine barn, the television station reported. Jimerson thought her family was at the Stock Show to watch her younger sister compete in the barrow show, but Hussey surprised her. 'He got down on one knee and said, 'This is where I met you four years ago. I knew then I wanted to marry you.'” Jimerson told KSAT. “So then he asked me and I started crying.” 'The Stock Show already holds a special place for both of us, so why not make it something we can tell our kids about someday,' Hussey told the television station. The couple has not set a wedding date, but they already have next year’s Stock Show on their calendar, KSAT reported.
  • When he made the announcement he was declaring a national emergency, President Donald Trump said he expected to be sued over the move. So far, a handful of activists and even state attorneys general have said they are looking at taking the president to court or have filed a lawsuit already.  Take a look at the lawsuits that are currently pending or will soon be filed. Public Citizen Public Citizen is an advocacy group that filed a suit Friday after the president’s Rose Garden announcement. The group is filing on behalf of three Texas landowners and an environmental group to block the emergency decree. The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., The Washington Post reported. >>Read: Can Congress repeal the national emergency declaration? Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington hasn’t filed suit directly on Trump but instead is suing the Justice Department, claiming documents were not provided, including legal opinions and communications, related to Trump’s decision, USA Today reported. The group is using a Freedom of Information Act request submitted concerning the proposed border barrier. Center for Biological Diversity Center for Biological Diversity is an environmental group. It claims the president did not identify a legal authority to declare the emergency. The group said the wall will block wildlife from its natural habitat “and could result in the extirpation of jaguars, ocelots and other endangered species within the United States,” according to the Post. >>Read: Trump signs funding bill to avoid government shutdown, declares emergency to build border wall American Civil Liberties Union The ACLU has not yet filed but is preparing a suit that says that Trump can’t redirect the money paid by taxpayers unless it is for construction that directly supports the military, the Post reported. ACLU officials said the suit will be filed early this week, saying, “There is no emergency. Members of Congress from both parties, security experts, and Americans who live at the border have all said so. What the president is doing is yet another illegal and dangerous power grab in the service of his anti-immigrant agenda.” The group called the declaration an “abuse of power” and says it “violates the constitutional checks and balances that protect us.” >>Read the latest from our Washington Insider Jamie Dupree The ACLU is using the president’s own words against him from when he said, “I didn’t need to do this, but I’d rather do it much faster.” >> Read more trending news  California attorney general Xavier Becerra, the attorney general of California, will be joined by New Mexico, Oregon, Minnesota, New Jersey, Hawaii and Connecticut in trying to stop the emergency declaration from proceeding. >>Read: National emergency likely to be blocked by courts, DOJ tells White House: reports “We’re confident there are at least 8 billion ways that we can prove harm. And once we are all clear, all the different states are clear, what pots of money that taxpayers sent to D.C. he’s going to raid, which Congress dedicated to different types of services -- whether it’s emergency response services or whether it’s fires or mudslides in California or maybe tornadoes and floods in other parts of the country or whether it’s our military men and women and their families who live on military installations that might -- that might have money taken away from them, or whether it’s money taken away from drug interdiction efforts in places like California, a number of states, and certainly Americans, will be harmed. And we’re all going to be prepared,” Becerra said on ABC News’ “This Week.”  >>Read: Trump's border wall: What is a national emergency? A spokesperson for the attorney general of Colorado, Phil Weiser, said his state will also be joining the suit, KDVR reported. The spokesperson said Weiser decided that the state will be hurt if money is transferred from military installations to the wall, according to KDVR.
  • From a court watcher’s perspective it’s apparent to most that the upcoming trial of Ryan Duke, charged with the 2005 murder of South Georgia high school teacher Tara Grinstead is sure to be nothing short of a spectacle of epic proportions. We got a preview of things to come during - of all things - a bond hearing where Duke asked, for the first time in two years, to be released on bond. It wasn’t the denial of bond, nor the fact that Duke asked for bond that is particularly noteworthy. It’s what the bond hearing devolved into that raised eyebrows. Despite losing the motion, the defense unexpectedly was able to depose the lead GBI investigator on a wide range of topics in a dress rehearsal for what promises to be a most controversial trial.  To start, let’s have a look at what a bond hearing is supposed to be.  It’s uncommon for bond to be set in murder cases but it’s not unheard of. Courts are supposed to consider the following factors in making bond decisions and the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that he:  Poses no significant risk of fleeing from the jurisdiction of the court or failing to appear in court when required;  Poses no significant threat or danger to any person, to the community, or to any property in the community;  Poses no significant risk of committing any felony pending trial; and  Poses no significant risk of intimidating witnesses or otherwise obstructing the administration of justice.  Probable cause is not an issue and of course neither is guilt or innocence. A bond hearing is not a trial.  The Duke bond hearing started out as most bond hearings do. The defense called Duke’s brother to testify regarding each of the factors set out above. But then it started a downward spiral into the surreal when the prosecutor called the lead GBI case agent as a witness - presumably as a rebuttal to the defense. A state’s witness, such as an investigator, can occasionally testify - to a point - about “what happened” because that’s relevant - to a point - for the court to determine whether the person poses a danger to the community. But in this case, the testimony was literally all over the place and went into minute detail about many things that have never been heard before. The “bond hearing” was effectively transformed into a deposition - a legal luxury not normally available to a criminal defendant in Georgia.  So just what did we learn from this “bond” hearing? We learned that DNA from the bodily fluid of a police officer was mixed with the victim’s blood on some bedding and that “touch DNA” from Grinstead and Duke (along with DNA from at least two other people) was on a latex glove found outside her residence. “Touch DNA” has its own share of problems in terms of reliability and we can safely expect the defense to explore those problems at trial. Some of that other unidentified DNA from the glove could have come from Bo Dukes - the person accused of helping cover up the murder - and who the defense claims is the actual killer.  We learned there were many investigative steps that could have been taken to verify statements made by both Duke and Dukes. The defense will argue that these follow up steps point to a biased investigation. This could have a huge impact in a trial where the defense will claim that the defendants confession was a false confession.  We learned the GBI, in a breach of protocol and constitutional law, interviewed / talked with Duke twice after he had a lawyer. These interviews were undocumented in the GBI case file. They were not recorded. The DA apparently was unaware at the time that this tactic was being employed by the GBI until the defense raised it with them. The agent didn’t even sign in at the jail. We can only speculate as to why not.  On top of all this, an abundance of otherwise inadmissible evidence consisting of hearsay and innuendo managed to come out publicly at a bond hearing. Most of this wouldn’t have seen the light of day at a trial. As the prosecution correctly pointed out “hearsay” may be admissible at a bond hearing, but it still has to be reliable evidence - not a regurgitation of all the salacious rumors from 2005. And it must be relevant to the issue of bond. It may turn out that the DA made a great tactical mistake by calling their lead case agent to testify and turn this bond hearing into an evidentiary free-for-all with no apparent boundaries. At a minimum it was surely heartbreaking for friends and family of the victim to have to re-live all the pain of the last 13 years by having old wounds reopened in such painful detail.  I’ve previously written about why the venue for this trial really needs to be changed. Now more than ever the jury pool is really tainted - as if it weren’t already. Philip Holloway, WSB legal analyst, is a criminal lawyer who heads his own firm in Cobb County, Georgia. A former prosecutor and adjunct professor of criminal justice, he is former president of the Cobb County Bar Association's criminal law section. Follow him on Twitter: @PhilHollowayEsq The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 
  • Police in Kansas City, Kansas, arrested a man Sunday suspected of carjacking a vehicle, stealing the driver’s phone and taking off with two children in the car, the The Kansas City Star reported. >> Read more trending news  Police said a woman was making a delivery in the area when the suspect, armed with a rifle, took the vehicle, WDAF reported.  The woman ran to a store to call police, the Star reported. “It was as bad as you would think if someone had your kids,” the store manager, Robert Edwards, told the newspaper. “She was as stressed as you would imagine. I’m glad she got the kids back.” The two children, 4 and 7, had been taken out of the car and were found by a neighbor, who called police the Star reported. The children were not injured and were returned to their mother, the newspaper reported. According to Kansas City police, the suspect returned to the scene, leaving the original vehicle and then stole a second car at gunpoint, WDAF reported. Police were able to catch the suspect, who was driving a blue SUV, and returned it to its owner, the Star reported.
  • At the same time President Donald Trump was making a Rose Garden announcement Friday declaring a national emergency to fund a wall along the country’s southern border, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced they would fight Trump’s declaration “using every remedy available.” >> Read more trending news Pelosi and Schumer did not lay out specific remedies they might employ to stop the president from diverting funds from other projects to use to construct a border wall, but several Democrats members of Congress have promised a joint resolution of disapproval aimed at repealing the declaration and stopping Trump’s plans. Would Congress be successful in passing a resolution that would hamper the president’s bid to fund border security by declaring a national emergency? It’s possible, but not likely. >>Trump's border wall: What is a national emergency? Here’s a look at what could happen. A resolution of disapprovalCongress could approve a resolution that contests the status of the national emergency Trump has declared. They can do so under the National Emergencies Act of 1976. The resolution, if passed, would stop the plan to divert money from other government programs to build the border wall. The resolution could pass with a simple majority vote in the House and Senate – 218 votes in the House and 51 in the Senate. There is a Democrat majority in the House where a resolution could easily pass. There are 48 Democrat members of the Senate. Democrats would need four Republicans to vote with them to pass a joint resolution. Reps. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-New York, have said they will introduce a bill in the House to block the declaration. By Friday afternoon, Castro told The Washington Post he had gathered more than 60 co-sponsors for the resolution. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, told ABC's “This Week” that she believes the Senate has enough votes for such a resolution. 'I think we do,' she said. 'Now, whether we have enough for an override and veto, that's a different story. But frankly, I think there's enough people in the Senate who are concerned that what he's doing is robbing from the military and the DOD to go build this wall.' If a resolution should pass both chambers of Congress, it would go to the president’s desk for a signature. The president would almost certainly veto the resolution, marking the first time in his term he has used the veto power. If he does veto the resolution, it would go back to Congress where it would require a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate to override the veto. In the House, 290 votes would be needed. In the Senate, the number would be 67. A lawsuit – or several of them The president has broad powers under the National Emergencies Act, so until the provisions of Trump’s declaration are made public, it’s unclear what someone could sue him over concerning the declaration. But sued he will be -- some suits are already in the works  -- and here is where those suits could come from: Congress: It’s likely that House Democrats would sue on grounds that the president overreached his powers by bypassing the power Congress has to control funding for government programs and projects. However, Democrats in Congress would have to first establish that they have the right to sue the White House, and that can be difficult since the president was given the authority to declare a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act in 1976. The House could challenge Trump's definition of an emergency, but the definition in the National Emergency Act is vague, leaving what is a national emergency pretty much up to the president. Activist groups: The American Civil Liberties Union said on Friday it plans to sue the president over what they call his “unconstitutional power grab that hurts American communities.” Landowners: Those who own land along the area where the president has proposed a border wall could file suit over the seizure of their property if that happens. However, the government is generally allowed to buy up private property for public use – such as when privately-held land is taken to make room for a freeway. The practice is called eminent domain. It is often an uphill fight for landowners. States: California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has promised that he will file a suit against the White House claiming that his state will be harmed if Trump diverts funds from other projects to build a wall. He said that four other states, New Mexico, Oregon, Hawaii and Minnesota will join his state in the pending lawsuit.Nevada’s attorney general has also threatened a suit.
  • A man has been targeting dessert shops in a Texas town, committing four robberies -- two in the same business, KHOU reported. >> Read more trending news  The Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt shop in Cypress was robbed Jan. 15, the television station reported. Surveillance cameras caught a bald man with a goatee, who walked up to the cash register, yanked it open and took the money, KHOU reported. 'I saw him and I saw what he was doing,' store manager Debra Santos told the television station. 'You just don't know people now a days. I didn't know if he had a gun or a weapon.' On Feb. 14, the bald bandit struck again, robbing a different Orange Leaf in Cypress, KHOU reported. Later that day, the man robbed Shipley’s Donuts in Cypress. The manager chased the thief, but the man sped away in a white car, the television station reported. On Feb. 16, the thief returned to the Orange Leaf he had robbed a month earlier, taking the store’s second cash register, according to KHOU.  'He said, ‘I'm sorry I have to do this,’ and he ripped the cables and took off again,' Santos told the television station. Santos said she hopes the thief’s robbery pattern will trip him up. 'I hope they catch him soon,' Santos told KHOU. 'He seems to be repetitive, so hopefully he'll have a break in his pattern and they'll catch him.