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  • Barr: Mueller not involved in ‘witch hunt’ over Russia probe

    Confirmation hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday for President Trump’s choice for the post of U.S. Attorney General became quickly consumed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe of the investigation into Russian interference, as nominee William Barr broke with a prime accusation of the President about the Mueller investigation.

    “I don’t believe Mr. Mueller would be involved in a witch hunt,” Barr said, who was pressed immediately by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to investigate what Republicans say was wrongdoing within the FBI and Justice Department with regards to President Trump.

    Barr’s statement was notable – since President Trump has repeatedly [More]

  • Coast Guard misses paychecks as partial shutdown reaches Day 25

    The bitter political dispute over funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall extended its reach on Tuesday, with over 40,000 members of the Coast Guard not being paid as scheduled, joining 800,000 federal workers who missed a paycheck last week, as there were no indications of any break in the impasse, which was spurred by a funding lapse for part of the federal government that started before Christmas.

    “We must re-open the government immediately,” said Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), as Democrats – and some Republicans – highlighted the stories of federal workers from back home who are being financially squeezed by [More]

  • House Democrats launch sweeping probe of prescription drug prices

    With the first of a series of hearings set for later this month, Democrats on a key House committee on Monday sent letters to a dozen major pharmaceutical companies, demanding documents and information on how those drug giants set their prices, questioning why the cost of big name drugs have gone up at more than four times the rate of inflation over the last 12 years.

    “The Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating the actions of drug companies in raising prescription drug prices in the United States, as well as the effects of these actions on federal and state budgets [More]

  • President Trump on border wall: “I will never, ever back down”

    President Donald Trump used a speech before a convention of farmers in New Orleans on Monday to make an extended defense of his call for funding for a border wall, a dispute which has spurred a partial government shutdown, making clear he will not accept anything less from Congress than full funding for his wall along the border with Mexico.

    “We’re going to have a wall, we’re going to have a barrier, we’re going to have something that’s going to be very strong,” the President said to cheers at the 100th gathering of the American Farm Bureau.

    “When it comes to keeping [More]

  • Trump heads to see farmers with shutdown in fourth week

    With no solution in sight to a partial government shutdown which has denied scheduled paychecks to some 800,000 federal workers, and forced hundreds of thousands of those same employees to continue working without pay, President Donald Trump flies to New Orleans on Monday to address an agricultural group which is a very familiar with some of the impacts from the shuttering of certain federal agencies since the weekend before Christmas.

    “Even though he’s not directly trying to hurt our farmers, this shutdown is going to hurt our farmers,” said American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall at the 100th American Farm Bureau [More]

  • Border wall fight didn’t really start until after GOP lost House

    While President Donald Trump has repeatedly made clear his desire to build hundreds of miles of wall along the Mexican border since early in his campaign for President, the GOP Congress never really came close to approving billions of dollars for the wall, though there were certainly opportunities for Republicans at several points to win as much as $25 billion for the border while the GOP was in charge of Congress in 2017 and 2018 – but those efforts failed as most GOP lawmakers backed away from possible bipartisan immigration compromises.

    As Republicans worked on two years of spending bills during [More]

  • House sends bill to Trump guaranteeing back pay for federal workers

    Even as the White House and Congressional Democrats were locked in continuing standoff about funding for border security, the House on Friday overwhelmingly voted to send a bill to President Donald Trump which would insure that federal workers are paid all of the money they would normally receive in salary – whenever a partial government shutdown finally ends.

    On the twenty-first day of this shutdown dispute over money for the President’s border wall, the House voted 411-7 in favor of the retroactive pay bill, which had been approved a day earlier by the Senate on a voice vote.

    The action also came [More]

  • Federal workers miss paycheck as partial shutdown hits 21 days

    With no agreement between Congress and the President in the ongoing dispute over funding for a border wall, hundreds of thousands of federal workers will not receive their scheduled paychecks on Friday, even though over 400,000 have had to continue working for the government, as the partial government shutdown reached 21 days.

    “Let’s stop this shutdown now,” NASA engineer Steve Ching said to cheers at a rally near the White House, as federal workers rallied in Washington, D.C. on Thursday.

    “We’re all wondering, how long will our families able to hold out,” Ching said, as workers from a variety of shuttered federal [More]

  • House Democrats set February 7 hearing with Michael Cohen

    A week after taking control of the U.S. House for the 116th Congress, Democrats have set their first hearing with a key figure in investigations of President Donald Trump, as a House panel will hear from Mr. Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who plead guilty last year to violating campaign finance laws in 2016 by making hush money payments to two women at the direction of the President.

    “I thank Michael Cohen for agreeing to testify before the Oversight Committee voluntarily,” Chairman Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) said in a written statement, as he noted the Special Counsel investigation which has [More]

  • GOP sticks with Trump on border, but apprehensive on emergency declaration

    As President Donald Trump and top Democrats in Congress pointed the finger of blame at each other on the twentieth day of a partial government shutdown, there were no signs on Capitol Hill that GOP lawmakers would abandon the President’s drive for money to build a border wall, though Republican lawmakers publicly expressed concerns about the idea of the President declaring a national emergency, in order to shift money around in the federal budget to build the wall.

    “Our side is holding strong,” said Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who along with other conservative Republicans had pressed the President for months to [More]

News

  • The White House says Ivanka Trump will take part in the nomination process for a new head of the World Bank. The senior adviser was asked to participate by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin because she has worked with World Bank leaders on a variety of projects. The White House said she is not a contender for the post. Jim Yong Kim, the current president of the World Bank, announced last week that he is resigning. With Kim's exit, President Donald Trump will have the opportunity to nominate his own choice to fill the position. The leaders at the 189-nation World Bank have all been Americans. But other countries have complained about this pattern. Kim's permanent successor will be decided by the World Bank's board of directors.
  • President Donald Trump's pick to become the next attorney general said Tuesday that he would 'not go after' marijuana companies in states where cannabis is legal, even though he personally believes the drug should be outlawed. In his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, William Barr said he would not use limited government resources to target cannabis businesses that are complying with state laws. Businesses in the marijuana industry relied on Obama-era guidance that kept federal authorities from cracking down on the pot trade in states where the drug is legal, but those guidelines were rescinded by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions last year. Pointing to the growing marijuana industry and investments in cannabis companies, Barr said he didn't want to 'upset settled expectations.' 'To the extent that people are complying with the state laws, distribution and production and so forth, we're not going to go after that,' Barr said. Despite his affirmation that he would not target cannabis businesses, Barr said he would personally support a federal law that 'prohibits marijuana everywhere.' The largely hands-off approach to marijuana enforcement set forth during former President Barack Obama's administration allowed the marijuana industry to flourish into a sophisticated, multimillion-dollar market that helps fund some state government programs. Days after California's broad marijuana legalization went into effect, Sessions rescinded the Justice Department's guidance — known as the Cole Memo — and decried it as allowing a 'safe harbor' for marijuana by allowing states to flout federal law. Since the guidance was rescinded, there has been concern about the future of the growing cannabis industry. Despite medical and so-called recreational cannabis legalization in dozens of states, federal law prohibits the possession and sale of marijuana. But Barr said the current system is 'untenable' and 'almost like a backdoor nullification of federal law.' He called for members of Congress to come up with a way to handle marijuana enforcement across the U.S. 'I think it's incumbent on the Congress to make a decision as to whether we are going to have a federal system,' he said. 'Because this is breeding disrespect for the federal law.' ___ Michael Balsamo is a member of AP's marijuana beat team. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 . Find complete AP marijuana coverage here: www.apnews.com/tag/LegalMarijuana
  • The partial government shutdown continues and many federal workers haven't been paid in weeks, so a local church stepped in to help its members who have been impacted. Church members at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church were able to raise enough money to give fellow members affected by the government shutdown nearly $300 each in cash. Pastor Jamal Bryant, who joined the church in December, said he felt he and his congregation had a responsibility to help those in need. He said 30 people went to the altar Sunday seeking aide. [READ MORE: Jamal Bryant named as new senior pastor of New Birth] “When the government shuts down is when the church needs to be wide open,” Bryant said. Channel 2's Tom Jones has the full interview with Pastor Bryant on Channel 2 Action News at 6 p.m. TRENDING STORIES: Police: Officer attacked with own Taser after dangerous suspect resists arrest Former Kasim Reed aide collapses in court as judge sentences her to prison Passengers arrive hours early at Atlanta airport after massive security lines
  • Before the boy died and went into a secret grave by the family dog pen, Elwyn “JR” Crocker Jr.’s dad complained about the 13-year-old to police in Georgia. The father claimed JR stole, fought when told to take a bath and was a “bully,” which was why he was homeschooled, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. Cpl. Kurtis Smith took the boy aside and asked what was wrong, according to an incident report. JR acknowledged he did get angry a lot. He was upset mostly because he didn’t have many friends. The Rincon police officer advised JR to listen to his family, everything would be fine. Two and a half years later, this past Dec. 20, Effingham County Sheriff’s deputies found JR and his sister Mary Crocker, who was about two years younger, buried behind their trailer, some 30 miles from Savannah. They arrested every member of the family who lived there, including Elwyn Crocker Sr., the father who turned 50 on Christmas and until recently played Santa at a nearby Walmart. The suspects, who authorities say don’t have attorneys yet, remain jailed on charges of child cruelty and concealing deaths. The cause of death for the children could remain unknown for weeks or months as medical examiners perform tests on the remains. The officer’s 2015 encounter with JR was just one of many times when authorities and other got close to the family without realizing something would go terribly wrong, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found. Interviews with those who know the family, as well as public records obtained by the AJC, show the children endured a tumultuous home life from an early age. Police were summoned multiple times, responding to fights between the adults around them. Child welfare agencies in South Carolina and Georgia investigated. There were strange punishments — especially for JR. Some witness accounts of mistreatment for one reason or another went unreported to authorities. Viewed together, the information paints an unsettling picture of how isolation and a hesitancy by authorities and neighbors to intervene more forcefully left the kids vulnerable. Then there was one big alleged lie, a statement that could have changed the course of the children’s lives. A picture, a reality There is a picture on Facebook of the family, taken in 2010: Crocker and his wife, Candice Crocker, beaming, crammed onto a loveseat with the man’s three kids, Mary, JR and James, the youngest, who suffers from cerebral palsy. They’re dressed like they just came from church and they look happy. But family portraits don’t tell all. Two years before, the father was in South Carolina with a different woman. Rebecca Grantham Self gave birth to James on Nov. 1, 2007. (JR and Mary share a mother, who couldn’t be reached for comment.) Self lived with Crocker and all three kids in the little town of South Congaree, southwest of Columbia. In Self’s telling, things were mostly fine until April 27, 2008. On that afternoon, she dialed 911 and told police Crocker had just flown into a rage after she woke him while feeding the baby, according to an incident report. He accused her of feeding James the wrong food, snatched the bottle and grabbed her by the throat, pressing her back against a window while she was still holding the infant, Self told an officer. Crocker had allegedly left a large red mark and a scratch on James’ head. The baby was taken to the hospital to get checked out. Sgt. Joshua Shumpert called the South Carolina Department of Social Services. A worker came and took the baby from the tearful mother. DSS declined to comment, but records provided to the AJC by Self suggest the agency believed her accusations against Crocker, at least before her alleged lie. ‘Ruined credibility’ The next day, Crocker told a police investigator that he and Self had been in a “verbal” fight and a “physical struggle for the bottle,” which resulted in the marks on the baby. He wasn’t charged and JR and Mary apparently remained in his custody. Nine days later, Self showed up at the police department with an awful-looking black eye, claiming Crocker had punched her. Shumpert, the same cop who’d called DSS, remembers feeling concern — then suspicion. He got Self a wet cloth and asked her to wipe her eye. The blackness came off — it was makeup, Shumpert said. “It ruined her credibility,” Shumpert, who is now the police chief, told the AJC recently. Crocker was never charged with grabbing Self by the throat or hurting the baby. Shumpert said he isn’t sure why, because he wasn’t involved in the investigation and couldn’t locate investigative records, but he suspected the “black eye” could’ve had something to do with it. Self was also later convicted of assaulting Crocker, court records show. She maintains today that she actually had been punched by Crocker and was angry that police hadn’t charged Crocker with hurting the baby. DSS later gave the father custody of the baby. Fights and long silence Crocker soon moved to Georgia with his new wife, Candice Crocker, who is 17 years younger. The Division of Family and Children Services investigated the family around 2012 but the agency has not yet commented or released any records on the case. At some point, the Crockers ended up in Rincon, on 9th Street, where the two dozen or so trailers in the Brother’s Keeper mobile home park are planted. Former neighbor Marvin Gills said he knew them well. Gills told the AJC he thought Elwyn and Candice Crocker were OK people. The kids were great. JR, a professional wrestling fan, would come roughhouse with Gills and help him work in the yard. Mary would spend the night with Gills’ daughter Daniella. After beginning home school at the start of the 2018-19 year, Mary still walked Daniella to the bus stop. Gills said the family’s home life took a turn when Candice Crocker’s mother, Kim Wright, and brother, Mark Wright II, started coming around more. Daniella said she saw Kim Wright hit Mary “upside the head.” James was forced to sleep in bathtubs and closets because he’d been “bad.” One day, Daniella saw strange purple marks on Mary’s hands. Mary said it was from swimming, Daniella said. On 9th Street, the most significant times police were called was when Elwyn Crocker complained about his son and when Kim Wright called about Elwyn Crocker. She said her son-in-law had busted her lip on June 7, 2016, after the family had agitated him by waking him up, according to an incident report. She told the responding officer she didn’t put up with the man’s “nonsense” like the rest of the family. It was the same officer who’d told JR to listen to his family a year earlier. Kim Wright said she didn’t want to press charges. The cop told them to try and get along. Later, the Crockers moved in with Kim Wright, her son and her boyfriend in her double-wide on Rosebud Place, outside the city of Guyton. The last known sighting of JR was two years ago, Mary in October. Both were 14 when last seen. Deputies found them in the dirt on Dec. 20 after someone called 911 concerned about Mary. In Rincon, the Gills family was brokenhearted by the news and reports that Mary always seemed scared on Rosebud Place. “The sad thing is, people around there never saw her smile,” he said. On 9th Street, she’d smiled often. This story was written by Joshua Sharpe for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
  • The Georgia Department of Transportation will start a project to replace a 50-year-old bridge in Gwinnett County on Monday. Channel 2's Berndt Petersen is in northeast Gwinnett, where crews will begin work to replace the overpass on Spout Springs Road over I-85.  Some residents in NE Gwinnett say rebab of this bridge will give them headaches 5pm pic.twitter.com/V3aQWhKC6N — Berndt Petersen (@BPetersenWSB) January 15, 2019 Residents are concerned about delays for drivers -- but also for emergency vehicles and schools.  We're talking to parents, who say they have been warned buses will run late, for Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m. TRENDING STORIES: Missing South Georgia children found buried endured violent chaos at home Newlywed charged with bride's murder outside Popeye's Three children die after being found locked in chest freezer, police say
  • A pet missing for 9 years was reunited with its family after being rescued from a slick canal. The Press-Enterprise reported that animal control officers responded to a call Monday afternoon about a dog stuck in a canal in Riverside, California, according to Riverside County Department of Animal Services spokesman John Welsh. >> Read more trending news  Welsh said Officer Denise Westbrook was the first to respond.  “After locating the dog, Westbrook asked for assistance and officers Mary Salazar and Mike Cox responded,” Walsh said. “Lt. James Huffman arrived shortly thereafter and the four officers were able to lead the dog to a location with shorter banks.” Officers were ale to get a loop around the dog and bring it to safety. >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  According to KCBS, the dog was reunited with the family because it had a microchip with their information on it.  “We’re excited that it all worked out,” Huffman said.