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Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

    The U.S. economy was humming last month, as the Labor Department reported Friday that 266,000 jobs were created in the month of November, with the nation's unemployment rate ticking down again to the historically low level of 3.5 percent, as job growth in 2018 is now almost equal to last year's levels. Not only were 266 thousand jobs added in November, but the latest jobs report also revised growth upwards in both September and October, adding another 41,000 jobs. Monthly average job growth in 2019 stands at just under 180,000 jobs per month, compared to 182,000 in 2018, and 195,000 in 2017. While some of the November job gains were attributed to workers ending a strike against General Motors, the November job gains were the second largest of 2019, trailing only the 312,000 jobs created in January. GOP lawmakers in Congress hailed the new numbers. While the jobs report indicated stronger than expected growth, the overall numbers in terms of U.S. economic output have shown a slower pace of growth in recent months than earlier in 2019. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product was at 3.1 percent in the first quarter of 2019, but dropped to 2.0 percent in the second quarter. The current estimate is for a 2.1 percent growth rate in the third quarter of 2019. President Trump has repeatedly blamed slowing growth on the head of the Federal Reserve - whom he nominated for the post - arguing the Fed should have cut interest rates more to spur economic activity in the U.S.
  • Invoking the concerns of the Founding Fathers about foreign interference in U.S. elections, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she was authorizing the House Judiciary Committee to draw up impeachment articles against President Donald Trump, possibly paving the way for a full House vote on impeachment by Christmas. 'In America, no one is above the law,' the Speaker said in a statement to reporters outside her office in the U.S. Capitol. A day after a closed door meeting with fellow Democrats, the Speaker said Congress could not close its eyes to the evidence gathered so far about the President's actions related to Ukraine. 'The facts are uncontested. The President abused his power for his own personal political benefit,' Pelosi said, as Democrats charge Mr. Trump withheld military aid for Ukraine in an effort to force the government to announce investigations into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, as well as a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - had hacked Democrats in the 2016 campaign. At the White House, the reaction was one of condemnation. 'They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country,' President Trump tweeted about Democrats shortly before the Speaker's announcement.  'But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy. Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business,' Mr. Trump added. The White House Press Secretary echoed the President's sentiments on Twitter. Democrats quickly showed their support for the Speaker's decision. “The president abused his power,” said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL).  “The president jeopardized our national security.    The president on multiple occasions obstructed justice.” While Pelosi did not set out a timeline for action, top Democrats have talked about action in the next week by the House Judiciary Committee, followed by a vote in the full House later this month. 21 years ago, Republicans faced a similar time crunch before the holidays, and ended up voting to impeach President Clinton on the Saturday before Christmas. It could be this Congress is heading for an impeachment vote holiday repeat.
  • As the focus of work in Congress on the impeachment of President Donald Trump shifted to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, a panel of constitutional experts became the proxies for both parties in this impeachment fight, with the two sides using the testimony to buttress their points for and against the impeachment effort. 'President Trump has committed impeachable high crimes and misdemeanors,' said Harvard law professor Noah Feldman. 'If we are to keep faith with the Constitution and our Republic, President Trump must be held to account,' said Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan. 'If what we're talking about is not impeachable, then nothing is impeachable,' added University of North Carolina law professor Michael Gerhardt. While Democrats focused their questions on their three witnesses, Republicans gravitated to their sole invitee, George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley. 'If you rush this impeachment, you're going to leave half the country behind,' Turley warned, comparing the Trump impeachment to that of President Andrew Johnson after the Civil War. 'This is the narrowest impeachment in history,' Turley added, urging Democrats to take extra time to bolster the investigative record related to President Trump. At one point, Turley questions about possible impeachment charges centering on abuse of power by President Trump on Democrats. 'It is an abuse power,' Turley said. 'It's your abuse of power.' While Turley said he was no supporter of President Trump, his testimony against impeachment drew interest - because he had testified 21 years ago for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. 'In my view, President Clinton's conduct demands an open and deliberative review under the conditions created for that purpose by the Framers,' Turley testified in November of 1998. 'Allegations of criminal acts in office by a president are perhaps the greatest threat to the perceived legitimacy of government,' Turley told the same House Judiciary Committee twenty one years ago before the Clinton impeachment. In the hearing, GOP lawmakers belittled today's proceedings. 'What a waste,' said Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH). 'This is not an impeachment, this is a simple railroad job,' argued Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA). At the start of the hearing, Republicans forced a series of procedural votes which slowed proceedings, as they demanded testimony from the original Intelligence Community whistleblower who raised questions about the President's actions regarding Ukraine, and demanded the right to question Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the head of the House Intelligence Committee. With Christmas just three weeks away, it was not immediately clear when the Judiciary Committee would move to draw up actual articles of impeachment against the President, or when those votes would take place. 'What are we doing for the next two weeks?' asked Rep. Collins with an aggravated tone. 'I have no idea!' It was a similar situation in December of 1998, when there was talk from GOP leaders - exactly 21 years ago - of not voting on impeachment until the next year. Ultimately, the House Judiciary Committee, and the House, worked through two weekends, holding an impeachment vote in the full House on the Saturday before Christmas.
  • Phone records obtained by the House Intelligence Committee and made public in a new impeachment report from Democrats show President Donald Trump's personal lawyer speaking to the White House and figures in the Ukraine investigation at key times in 2019, and also reveal contacts between Giuliani a mystery phone number labeled only as '-1' in call records. 'Certainly the phone records show there was considerable coordination among the parties, including the White House,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff did not reveal how the call records were obtained, though the legal 'Bates' identifiers used in the report might indicate Giuliani's cell phone records were obtained with a subpoena. It was not immediately clear who the '-1' calls were with - but the New York Times reported that a similar number was found in cell phone records introduced as evidence in the trial of Roger Stone. 'We can't confirm yet who that '-1' number belongs to, but certainly there were indications in the trial of Roger Stone that when he was communicating with the President it would show up in phone records as a 'dash-one' number,' Schiff told CNN's Anderson Cooper in an interview Tuesday evening. The new report from Democrats also had phone records from Giuliani associate Lev Parnas, who helped Giuliani along with Igor Fruman in Ukraine. Parnas and Fruman were arrested in early October and charged with illegally funneling foreign money into U.S. elections. The phone records contained in the new impeachment report also showed Giuliani contacts with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, as well as phone calls between Nunes and Parnas. 'Devin Nunes, you should have recused yourself at the outset' of the impeachment hearings,' tweeted Joseph Bondy, the lawyer for Parnas, who was arrested as he and another Giuliani associate, Igor Fruman, were leaving the country on a flight to Austria. While Nunes refused comment to reporters, he told Sean Hannity on Fox News that he didn't really remember calls with Parnas, saying it was 'possible' they had spoken. Ironically, the revelation of the Nunes-Parnas phone calls came as Nunes filed a $435 million defamation lawsuit against CNN, in which he said, 'Parnas was a renowned liar, a fraudster, a hustler, an opportunist with delusions of grandeur.
  • With two months until the Iowa Caucuses, the Democratic race for President continued to shrink in size, as Sen. Kamala Harris of California gave up her bid for the White House, unable to hang on to momentum from the first two debates earlier this year, as she slid from the top tier to struggling to raise enough money to stay in the race. “To my supporters, it is with deep regret - but also with deep gratitude - that I am suspending my campaign today,” Harris said in a statement. Early on, Harris attracted a lot of attention in the first two Democratic debates, as she zeroed in on the early favorite, former Vice President Joe Biden, focusing on how Biden dealt with racial issues during his years in the U.S. Senate. “I do not believe you are a racist,” Harris said, as she launched a well planned attack against Biden which provided her with an early boost. But she could never sustain that momentum. “I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Harris wrote in an email to supporters, announcing her decision. “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue,” Harris said. “I don't know anyone who thought Harris would be dropping out & Biden would be at 50% with black voters in December, after that debate moment in late June... but here we are,” tweeted political analyst Harry Enten. Harris kept up her jabs at Biden in the second debate - and saw her poll numbers bubble up soon after - but that support faded away over the past four months. Recent national polls had Harris under 5 percent.  She had dropped to the same levels in Iowa, and was even lower in New Hampshire. The poll slide came as fundraising suffered as well. The decision by Harris comes just over two weeks before the next Democratic debate on December 19 in Los Angeles - which will be in her home state of California. At this point, these are the Democrats who will be on stage for the December debate: Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Sanders, Steyer, and Warren.
  • A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that Congressional committees in the U.S. House are operating well within their legislative powers to subpoena the financial records of President Donald Trump and his family businesses, dealing another legal setback to the President's effort to block Deutsche Bank and Capitol One from turning over those records. 'The Committees’ interests in pursuing their constitutional legislative function is a far more significant public interest than whatever public interest inheres in avoiding the risk of a Chief Executive’s distraction arising from disclosure of documents reflecting his private financial transactions,' the Second Circuit Court of Appeals panel wrote in the decision. Like similar cases dealing with efforts by Congress and prosecutors in New York City to subpoena the President's tax returns from his accounting firm, Mazar's, this decision extended a legal losing streak for Mr. Trump. Two cases over subpoenas for the President's tax returns have already reached the U.S. Supreme Court - and this case involving Deutsche Bank and Capital One could follow as well. Mr. Trump's legal fight over his tax returns could be reviewed by the Justices in coming days. On November 25, the court temporarily delayed an order to Mazar's to abide by a subpoena from Congress for the President's tax returns. The Justices must decide whether to hear the case, or allowing the lower court order to go into effect.
  • After denying for over a year that he and his wife had illegally spent over $250,000 in campaign money for personal expenses like vacations, dinners, school tuition, and a variety of household uses, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) told a California television station on Monday that he will change his plea to 'guilty' in a Tuesday hearing before a federal judge in California. “It’s important not to have a public trial for three reasons, and those three reasons are my kids,” Hunter said in an interview with KUSI-TV., as the Congressman says he will plead guilty to one count of misusing campaign funds. Tuesday's court hearing was originally set as a 'status' hearing on the corruption case, but in a docket posting on Monday, that suddenly had become a 'Change of Plea Hearing' for the California Republican. Back in June, the GOP Congressman's wife, Margaret Hunter, had changed her plea to 'guilty,' turning up the heat even more on the Republican Congressman from San Diego, who had long claimed a federal investigation into his campaign contributions was politically motivated. 'We are seeing this with President Trump, we are seeing this with my case,' Hunter said, as he denounced the Justice Department investigation. 'This is the new Department of Justice - this is the Democrats' arm of law enforcement,' Hunter told reporters when he was arraigned, alleging political bias against a Republican by President Trump's Administration. 'The investigation of Congressman Hunter by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California began shortly after his public endorsement of candidate Trump,' Hunter's lawyers wrote in one of a series of evidence challenges, alleging that two prosecutors involved in the case were supporters of Hillary Clinton. But the facts of the case never bore out Hunter's claim - instead it showed how Hunter had used campaign money 'to carry out a series of intimate relationships' with a series of women who were not his wife. + Individual 14 - a lobbyist,  + Individual 15 - a staffer who worked in the office of a member of the House leadership,  + Individual 16 - a staffer in his Congressional office,  + Individual 17 - a lobbyist,  + Individual 18 - a lobbyist. The evidence produced by federal investigators included a lengthy tally of how campaign money was spent on dinners, vacations, school tuition for Hunter's children, concerts, and a variety of personal items. Hunter originally plead 'not guilty' back on August 23, 2018, when he was met by protesters outside the courthouse, who chanted, 'Lock him up!' Hunter would be the second early supporter in Congress of President Trump to plead guilty to major criminal charges - Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) resigned from Congress in September just before pleading guilty over insider trading allegations.
  • With Democrats in Congress returning from a Thanksgiving break ready to continue their push on a historic impeachment investigation, President Donald Trump on Monday once more blasted the work of House Democrats, saying impeachment undermines him during his foreign travel. 'For them to be doing this, and saying this, and putting an impeachment on the table,' the President told reporters as he left the White House for a NATO summit in England, 'it's an absolute disgrace what they're doing to our country.' The President's criticism of Democrats for scheduling an impeachment hearing on Wednesday - which White House lawyers refused to attend - was echoed by other Republicans and top Administration officials, part of a broader effort to push back against Democrats in the House. 'I regret that they've chosen to hold these hearings at the same time as the President and our entire national security team will be traveling to Europe,' Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told 'Fox and Friends,' as Pompeo accused Democrats of trying to 'distract' the President at the NATO Summit in London. The criticism from the President came a day after the White House Counsel sent a scorching letter to House Democrats, refusing their invitation to send legal representatives to a Wednesday impeachment hearing, where constitutional scholars will testify about impeachment. It's thought that hearing is just a prelude to work by the House Judiciary Committee to draft, debate, and vote on actual articles of impeachment against President Trump. The House Judiciary Committee has also set a deadline for this Friday for the White House to determine if it will send lawyers to participate in that process. Democrats say they're convinced the answer will be 'no.' 'The President and GOP allies demanded testimony, then refused to read it,' said Rep. Don Beyer. 'They said Trump lawyers must be at hearings, then refused to send them.' 'The only constant is that they can’t defend Trump’s abuses of power,' Beyer added on Twitter. During a visit to a climate change gathering in Madrid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about the impeachment proceedings against the President - but at a news conference, she refused to comment. Impeachment proceedings will resume on Tuesday evening, when the House Intelligence Committee is expected to vote to approve a report on the Ukraine investigation, sending that to the House Judiciary Committee. That panel will then begin its impeachment work on Wednesday morning.
  • Returning to Capitol Hill from a Thanksgiving break, House Democrats are showing no signs of backing away from their efforts to impeach President Donald Trump, with plans this week to release a new report on the Ukraine investigation and hold the first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, a process which could ultimately lead to a historic vote before Christmas to impeach President Trump. After wrapping up five public days of impeachment hearings in November, House Democrats spent the last ten days releasing more testimony about the Ukraine investigation, and writing a report on the findings. Here is some of what we learned over the Thanksgiving break, and some of what to expect in the days and weeks ahead: 1. Democrats to forge ahead on impeachment. Since the end of public impeachment hearings, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee have been writing a report to summarize the findings from the panel's Ukraine investigation.  That report - based on information from a series of closed door depositions and public impeachment hearings on President Trump's actions regarding Ukraine - is expected to be voted on by the Intelligence panel in a Tuesday evening meeting. On Wednesday, the focus shifts to the House Judiciary Committee, which will hold its first impeachment hearing with a group of constitutional scholars. In other words, Democrats are not wondering what they should do on impeachment. 2. Will Trump legal team join in impeachment hearings? As House Democrats signaled last week that they were ready to push ahead with impeachment efforts, they also gave the White House until this Friday to decide whether to join the proceedings. In letter, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) set the December 6 deadline for an answer.  Republicans have complained about the inability of the President's lawyers to be involved in the process, but on Sunday night, the President's White House Counsel told Democrats they would not join in a hearing set for Wednesday.  It's a scathing five page letter. 3. Two White House budget officials quit over Ukraine aid delay. In a deposition released to the public just before Thanksgiving, there were some new nuggets from the impeachment testimony of career OMB official Mark Sandy. Sandy - who was the only OMB employee not to defy a subpoena for testimony - confirmed that he knew of two different White House budget staffers who had quit their jobs over the delay in Ukraine military aid. This wasn't a policy dispute. It was partly over concern that the White House was breaking the law by not spending money approved by the Congress for Ukraine. It's very interesting to note that in a city which is renowned for leaks to the press, the news of these Ukraine-related resignations at the White House never became public, until now. 4. Testimony reveals more pieces to Ukraine puzzle. The Sandy testimony also brought out more evidence of how important July 25, 2019 has become in the Ukraine investigation. That morning, President Trump spoke by phone with the leader of Ukraine, and asked the President of Ukraine to announce investigations into the Bidens and the debunked conspiracy theory about Ukraine interfering in the 2016 U.S. elections. We also now know from the impeachment testimony that a few hours after that phone call, Ukraine government officials were already sending emails to counterparts at the Pentagon and State Department, worried the Trump Administration was delaying military aid for Ukraine. And Sandy confirmed in his testimony that on the evening of July 25, the White House officially put the aid money on hold, two weeks after basically deciding that would be the decision. 'Things seem to keep coming back to July 25th,' said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL). 5. Have you read any impeachment transcripts? Here is a link to all 17 of the impeachment deposition transcripts released by the House Intelligence Committee. There are three tweets in this thread with all of the links. Don't tell anyone you didn't have a chance to read some of the evidence for yourself. 6. Republicans still want to hear from the whistleblower. In the five days of public hearings before the House Intelligence Committee, GOP lawmakers repeatedly demanded to hear from the person who first raised red flags through the chain of command about the delay in Ukraine aid. So far, Democrats have stiff-armed those Republican requests. But don't look for the GOP to be silent about the matter in coming weeks. 7. Republicans also want testimony by Rep. Schiff. GOP lawmakers also are likely to keep up a steady drumbeat of jabs at Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. While Republicans charge that Schiff met with the unidentified whistleblower, and that he knows the identify of that person, Schiff has publicly denied that. For GOP lawmakers and the President, Schiff has become their impeachment pinata - and one would expect that to continue as this effort from Democrats continues in the House. 8. Trump echoes GOP broadsides on impeachment. Over the Thanksgiving break President Trump joined Republicans in Congress in continuing to belittle the impeachment investigation from Democrats in Congress. 'Schiff’s impeachment hearings wasting time when Congress must do real work,' the President tweeted.  'Trump did nothing impeachable,' he added in another post. 'Sen. Tim Scott Says Trump 'Innocent,' 'No Way' Senate Convicts,' was another Twitter missive from Mr. Trump. And as the impeachment proceedings continue, one should not expect the President to be silent. 9. The impeachment schedule was similar 21 years ago. Rewind to December of 1998. The story I wrote on this day said, 'The White House and Democrats are demanding that GOP leaders bring impeachment proceedings to a quick finish.' That sort of sounds familiar. Back then, it was Republicans pursuing a historic impeachment vote against President Bill Clinton. The partisan battle resumed after a Thanksgiving break, and raged until the Saturday before Christmas, when the House approved two articles of impeachment against Mr. Clinton. Given the calendar, an impeachment vote in 2019 against President Trump - by the Saturday before Christmas - would be a possibility this time as well.
  • The five days of historic impeachment hearings held by the House Intelligence Committee this month clearly demonstrated the sharp partisan divide over the question of whether President Donald Trump tried to use the reward of a White House meeting or the threat of withholding military aid to push the government of Ukraine to announce investigations which could benefit Mr. Trump politically. As Democrats headed home for the Thanksgiving break, the final plans were still being worked out by lawmakers on what's next - which could culminate in a House vote just before Christmas on actual articles of impeachment against the President, leading to a trial before the full Senate at some point next year. Regardless of whether you think the impeachment investigation is a sham, or should proceed to a vote in the full House, it was an interesting time to be in the room with a view of the proceedings. Here's some of what I saw from my vantage point in room 1100 of the Longworth House Office Building. 1. Trump becomes part of the hearings in real time. Obviously, the impeachment hearings are about the President. While no one would expect any testimony by a President in this situation, Mr. Trump was able to use the social media tool of Twitter to impact the hearings in real time, sending out tweets ridiculing the diplomatic work of his former Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch. Democrats swiftly took those remarks and read them to Yovanovitch to get her reaction. As a reporter, it was a remarkable moment to sit in the room and see something happen outside - in real time - and have that become the major part of the story, upending whatever plans GOP lawmakers may have had that day to deal with the Ambassador's testimony. 2. GOP jawbones over real time news headlines. Just as the President electronically elbowed his way into the hearings in real time on Twitter - right along with the social media power exercised by the White House - the other change which was evident from these impeachment hearings was Republican lawmakers trying to fight the way news of the testimony was being reported in real time. When Kurt Volker testified, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) relayed a headline from The Daily Mail - a British newspaper which for some reason gets an out sized amount of attention from American media outlets - with Turner arguing the headline was false, with which Volker agreed. During testimony from Gordon Sondland, Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) complained that media reports were citing 'blockbuster testimony' from Sondland about 'quid pro quo and new evidence.' While Ratcliffe groused about that description, it was all over the internet as he spoke - and was the blaring morning headline in newspapers all over America the next day. 3. The Trump witnesses who may never talk. One of the main GOP complaints about the evidence provided by the impeachment hearing witnesses was a lack of firsthand accounts related to actions by President Trump. The main reason for that is pretty simple - those people with the largest amount of firsthand evidence are refusing to testify. Energy Secretary Rick Perry. The acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. Officials in the White House budget office. And then there is Rudy Giuliani, the former Mayor of New York, who led the charge for President Trump with back channel efforts in Ukraine. Giuliani has defied subpoenas as well, and has made clear he won't testify before Congress. Their lack of public questioning raises big questions about what lawmakers can do in the investigation - if the key players refuse to cooperate.  Those refusals were especially interesting in the light of some of Giuliani's real time tweets about the impeachment hearings. 4. Kurt Volker proves it is a small world. One of the key players in the Ukraine story is Kurt Volker, who worked as a special U.S. envoy to Ukraine under President Trump. The name was instantly familiar to me, as over thirty years ago, I met Volker when he was going to graduate school in Washington, D.C., starting his trek into the diplomatic world. After a few years of fun in our twenties with a group of common friends, Volker headed overseas for the State Department. Before his public testimony, the last time I had seen Volker was at the U.S. Embassy in London, in November of 1988, just a month before I got my current job covering Congress. One can only imagine how much all of us would have laughed if we had predicted then, that almost 31 years later to the day, he would be testifying before impeachment hearings of an American President, with me watching and reporting from inside the same room. You can't make this stuff up. 5. A Return to Gucci Gulch. The House Intelligence Committee doesn't really have a public hearing room it calls home - because it works in secret for the most part, so the panel used the historic hearing room of the House Ways and Means Committee. It's extremely familiar to me, because I worked for the committee as an intern in the summer of 1982, which featured long hours as lawmakers forged agreement on a major tax bill, the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act. The hallways outside are known as 'Gucci Gulch,' for the well-heeled tax lobbyists who plied the hallways in the 1980's, when the Ways and Means Committee churned out a series of major tax measures, culminating in the tax reforms of 1986. Don't be surprised if you see more impeachment action in that room - which still seems jarring to me. 6. Working inside the impeachment hearings. For those who don't know, I'm a radio reporter. But because of a mystery ailment, I have lost the ability to speak properly. I am still on the radio because of a computer generated voice created from my audio archives. So, I'm the only person who is 'broadcasting' from inside the impeachment hearing room. I have the hearing audio in my left ear from my tape recorder. I have a second earplug in my right ear from my laptop, where I am creating my text-to-speech stories, and going through audio from the hearing. Plus I'm tweeting and updating my blog. Over and over. Hour after hour. And then I have to be ready to post a full blog story once the hearing ends - right away - so I'm writing that at the same time. It's fun stuff. One ironic note is that, if I were still able to speak, I would have been back in my broadcast booths in the Capitol for the most part to file my stories - not in the hearing room. 7. The still photographers. Among the busiest people in the hearings were the legion of photographers who send out pictures for major newspapers across America and the world. The major papers like the New York Times and the Washington Post have multiple people at these hearings, with remote cameras which wirelessly send pictures to their phones and computers, editors who are determining which photos are filed, as they juggle who gets assigned to what task. As a one-man band in radio, it is always fun to watch how others do their work. You will see a picture below which is standard for a number of the photographers, as they have used Velcro to attach a variety of gadgets, for power, the internet, and more, to their laptops. When the hearing is in recess, the photographers also leave their cameras - their very expensive cameras - sitting on the floor, to stake their claim to a spot for a money-shot photo. 8. C-SPAN does the basics for every TV network. When I arrived on Capitol Hill as a reporter in 1986, C-SPAN was still a relative newcomer to Congress. At that time, the major TV networks frowned on the cable TV creation, with little cooperation. At big hearings, C-SPAN would set up their own microphones and cameras, and so would the networks. Things were so regimented that I remember network TV technicians pulling my cable out of the audio box at a hearing, because I was a lowly independent radio reporter. So, C-SPAN became my friend and ally on Capitol Hill, and at events around the country. But over the years, things have changed, as the networks relaxed their union rules and mellowed. C-SPAN is now regularly in charge of televising major events, as their cameras fed the televised coverage to every network, whether it was Fox News, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or anything else. All of official proceedings at the hearings was filmed by C-SPAN. A tip of the cap to them. 9. What was it like inside? The questions I got asked the most by friends, readers, and listeners were along the lines of: What was it like to be in there? Was the room tense? Who was the best witness? I have to say I find those hard to answer, simply because I am doing so much work while the hearing is going on in front of me.  If I had to pick the biggest day of impeachment testimony - I would say that was Gordon Sondland. To me, the room felt on edge at times, especially as Republicans jabbed at him. What was my view of the proceedings? Well, unfortunately, there was a giant TV screen sitting in front me. But I could still see the witnesses, and it was a treat to be on hand.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Victor W. Gonzalez is a U.S. Army veteran who spent 24 years serving his country.  Gonzalez was born in the mountains of Cayey, Puerto Rico.  As general manager for Crowley Solutions, he was honored to hear his company would team up with Wreaths Across America so wreaths can be placed on the headstones of fallen soldiers in Puerto Rico.  “What a great way to commemorate that and, you know, actually validate their service by having an event like this,” Gonzalez said.  Every December Wreaths Across America delivers wreaths to the graves of fallen soldiers at national cemeteries across the country, but in the past they’ve always had difficulties sending wreaths to the island.  That’s why Crowley Maritime Corporation is stepping in to provide a service that would typically cost them $17,000 at no cost.  “They mentioned that Puerto Rico was the biggest challenge to get the wreaths there because they were using air freight, which is a lot more expensive, and we thought we could completely help with that, absolutely,” Parker Harrison, the senior vice president of Crowley said.  The wreaths will leave Friday in temperature controlled containers and be loaded up on the ship El Coqui bound for San Juan.  'Basically what the eagle represents in the United States, a coqui represents to Puerto Rico. Once you land and it's sunset, there's no doubt you're in Puerto Rico because you will hear the coqui all over,' Gonzalez said.  Crowley is helping to ship a total of 6,500 wreaths that will make their to the island by Monday.  Once there, they’ll be placed on graves at the Puerto Rico National Cemetery on Dec. 14 as part of Wreaths Across America’s Mission.  'It’s the meaning that they’re not forgotten,' Gonzalez said.  In addition, Crowley is also donating $30,000 to help the organization bring wreaths to fallen heroes buried at national cemeteries across the U.S. and overseas.
  • The mother of a 5-year-old Illinois boy beaten and forced into a cold shower for soiling himself in April has admitted to her role in his murder, a case that garnered national attention and has led to a federal lawsuit against two social workers tasked with protecting him. JoAnn Cunningham, 36, of Crystal Lake, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of murder in the death of Andrew “AJ” Freund Jr., according to a statement from the McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office. She faces between 20 and 60 years in prison. “Pursuant to truth-in-sentencing guidelines, defendant Cunningham will not be eligible for parole and must serve 100% of her sentence,” State’s Attorney Patrick D. Kenneally said in the statement. >> Read more trending news  A status conference in Cunningham’s sentencing is set for Jan. 30, court records show. As part of her plea deal, the remaining 19 charges against her have been dismissed. AJ’s father, attorney Andrew Freund Sr., 60, faces 21 charges, including multiple counts of first-degree murder. Freund, who has pleaded not guilty, is being held in the McHenry County Jail in lieu of $5 million. >> Related story: AJ Freund’s parents killed him for soiling himself, hiding it, court documents allege Cunningham and Freund were arrested April 25, a week after Freund called 911 and told dispatchers his son had vanished from their home overnight. Cunningham was pregnant at the time with the couple’s third child. She gave birth in June to a daughter, who CBS Chicago reported she named Gracie Faith. Cunningham spent two days in the hospital with the newborn before the child was placed in state custody, the news station said. Authorities looking for AJ following the April 18 missing persons report soon focused their attention on the Freund-Cunningham home at 94 Dole Ave. in Crystal Lake, a city of 40,000 people about 45 miles northwest of Chicago. According to court records, K-9 units found no sign of the boy’s scent outside of the home. No Amber Alert was issued because there was no evidence AJ had been abducted, police officials said. Listen to the 911 call placed by Andrew Freund Sr. below, courtesy of the Chicago Tribune. A criminal complaint in the case indicates AJ died April 15, three days before his parents reported him missing. Cunningham and Freund “forced (AJ) to remain in a cold shower for an extended period of time and/or struck him on or about his body” multiple times, causing his death, the complaint against Cunningham states. >> Related story: AJ Freund’s parents indicted in 5-year-old’s beating, cold shower death An affidavit for a search warrant filed April 29, and later published by the Northwest Herald, details AJ’s horrific death. Editor’s note: The following description of AJ Freund’s life and death are graphic and may be difficult for some readers. ‘Maybe Mommy didn’t mean to hurt me’ The affidavit, written by Detective Edwin Maldonado of the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office, details the investigation that began when Crystal Lake police officers went to the Freund-Cunningham home, which Maldonado described as being in a “hoarder-like condition.” Bags of refuse filled the basement, as well as other portions of the house and the detached garage. Photos from around the time of AJ’s birth in 2013, obtained by ABC7 in Chicago, show the dirty and cluttered condition of the home. AJ spent almost the first two years of his life in foster care because he was born with opiates in his system, police said. Read the criminal complaint against JoAnn Cunningham below. Cunningham Criminal Complaint by National Content Desk on Scribd The news station also obtained reports of 17 visits to the house by social workers over the five years of AJ’s life. The reports document horrid living conditions, concerns over the welfare of AJ and his then-4-year-old brother, Parker, and alleged drug use by the parents. Caseworkers from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services were last called to the family’s home in December 2018, after police were called about a possible burglary there. The responding officer noted deplorable living conditions inside the home, including dog feces and urine all over the house, broken and jagged flooring in the kitchen, a ceiling peeling from water damage and several broken windows. She also noted a suspicious bruise on AJ’s hip and temporarily removed him and Parker from the home. Police reports said AJ and his mother both said the bruise was caused by the family’s dog, Lucy, but a DCFS timeline of its involvement in AJ’s life indicates that AJ told a different story to an emergency room doctor when his mother was not around. “Maybe someone hit me with a belt,” AJ told the doctor, according to the DCFS report. “Maybe Mommy didn’t mean to hurt me.” The doctor could not definitively determine the cause of the bruise, despite AJ’s statements, and the case was closed a month later. Read the DCFS timeline of AJ Freund’s life and death below. AJ Freund DCFS Timeline by National Content Desk on Scribd Maldonado wrote in the affidavit that a check of the Crystal Lake Police Department’s database showed numerous previous calls to the family’s home, mainly for welfare checks and domestic violence complaints. Both Freund and Cunningham are admitted former drug abusers. DCFS workers came under fire after AJ’s death for their handling of his case. Acting DCFS Director Marc Smith told legislators in the aftermath of the boy’s slaying that two caseworkers were suspended as the agency conducted an internal investigation. Sources told CBS Chicago in October that the agency was planning to fire the two caseworkers, as well as their supervisor. The estate of AJ Freund filed a federal lawsuit on the boy’s behalf Oct. 16 against one of the caseworkers, Carlos Acosta, and the supervisor, Andrew R. Polovin. The suit alleges the DCFS caseworkers “conducted sham investigations and filed reports which included falsified findings intended to justify their determinations that the allegations of abuse were ‘unfounded.’” It accuses Polovin of failing to act as a fail-safe, instead ignoring the “patent deficiencies and obvious prevarications” in the investigators’ reports and blessing their findings that AJ and his brother were in no danger. Read the federal lawsuit filed in October by the estate of 5-year-old AJ Freund below. Federal Lawsuit in AJ Freun... by National Content Desk on Scribd ‘AJ fell down the stairs and had a lot of owies’ Multiple law enforcement agencies began searching for AJ after he was reported missing, but his parents became the focus of the investigation after it was determined AJ likely did not leave the house on foot, authorities said. A forensic search of Freund’s cellphone, conducted with his permission, found that someone had Googled “child CPR” on April 15, the night AJ was slain, the affidavit said. Freund’s cellphone also held a photo of a shopping list, which included duct tape, plastic gloves, bleach and air freshener. Investigators found inside the house a pair of men’s Nike shoes with “dripping wet mud” on the soles. They also found a bag of laundry that smelled strongly of bleach and four empty bleach bottles in garbage bags and cans around the property. A laptop and a roll of duct tape were found in an upstairs closet, the affidavit said. During interviews with investigators on April 18, Freund told them he discovered his son was missing when he returned home around 8:30 a.m. from an early morning doctor’s appointment in Elgin, about 15 miles south of Crystal Lake. Police confirmed Freund’s appointment, but the receptionist who checked him out shared an odd comment he allegedly made. “The lawyer in me thinks I need a paper trail,” she quoted Freund as saying when she offered him a receipt of his payment, Maldonado wrote. When he was initially asked about the shopping list found on his phone, Freund listed the items he bought, but left off the gloves and duct tape. He ultimately admitted he bought those items, but claimed the gloves were for cleaning and his wife used duct tape to hang photos, the affidavit said. When the topic of the “child CPR” search came up, Freund said his wife -- who was, at the time, seven months pregnant -- may have Googled the topic because of the impending arrival of the baby. When detectives asked why she would need that information after already raising two young sons, Freund had no answer, the affidavit said. The topic of the interview then turned to discipline. “During the interview, Drew explained that AJ’s mother believed AJ had oppositional defiant disorder, ODD,” the document stated. “Drew explained AJ thinks of himself as the leader of the home and therefore, he is defiant to his parents, lies, disobeys and thinks things should go his way.” Freund admitted that he and Cunningham sometimes locked AJ in his room at night. Detectives asked Freund about a time when AJ had to be punished in that way. Freund told them about a time AJ was locked in his room for five hours after doing a poor job washing dishes and stacking them improperly. He claimed AJ lied about who stacked the dishes and needed to be punished, the affidavit said. Investigators interviewed Parker Freund on April 19, Maldonado wrote. Parker had been placed in DCFS custody after AJ was reported missing. The little boy told interviewers that his mother told him AJ “fell down the stairs and had a lot of owies” while Parker was asleep. According to the affidavit, Parker also told authorities he was told by his parents not to talk about AJ. A chilling video, a tragic end The next day, Freund was again brought in for questioning, the affidavit said. The topic of the duct tape again was brought up, and Freund said duct tape could be used for a lot of things. One thing he mentioned was taping a Rubbermaid tote shut. Maldonado wrote that he had seen several Rubbermaid totes in the family’s basement, including at least two big enough to hold the body of a 5-year-old child. Neither contained a body, however, and neither had duct tape on them, the investigator wrote. Further forensic analysis of both Freund’s cellphone and Cunningham’s phone found text messages and other items that had been deleted. Included in those deleted texts were messages Cunningham sent to a friend complaining about AJ’s behavior, which she attributed to the oppositional defiant disorder she believed he had, Maldonado wrote. The entirety of the exchanges was found on the friend’s phone, the court document said. Investigators also obtained from Apple a chilling two-minute video that had been deleted from Cunningham’s phone. The timestamp on the video was March 4, more than a month before AJ died. “AJ is seen laying on a bare mattress in a crib in a room I recognized to be his bedroom from 94 Dole Ave.,” Maldonado wrote in the affidavit. “In the video, a female with a voice consistent with JoAnn’s is holding the phone and videotaping. She is berating AJ for urinating on his bed. “AJ is seen to (be) naked except for some small bandages around both wrists and circling his hips. AJ is seen to be holding an ice pack to his face and when he removes it, he is seen to have deep red bruising around his eyes, and yellowish-greenish bruising around his neck and upper chest.” Maldonado wrote that it did not appear that AJ received medical treatment for the beating he seemed to have suffered. It was when he was confronted with the video from Cunningham’s cellphone that Freund admitted their son was dead, the detective wrote. According to the affidavit, Freund told detectives the injuries seen in the video were caused by his wife. He also told them he believed his son died April 15 after being forced into a cold shower for a prolonged period of time. “Drew explained he wanted JoAnn to stop with the hard physical beatings and do some less violent form of punishment,” Maldonado wrote. “Drew said cold showers was decided (upon).” Freund then told investigators AJ had soiled his underwear the night of April 15 and lied about it, so he was forced into a cold shower for about 20 minutes. He said he helped his son out of the shower afterward and put him to bed. AJ was “cold, wet and naked” when he was put to bed, the affidavit said. “Drew said JoAnn got up and checked on AJ and that was when she got Drew and she used Drew’s phone to search for child CPR,” the document said. Freund said he realized at that time that his son had died. He took AJ’s body down to the basement, where he stored it in a Rubbermaid tote for the next two days, the affidavit read. On the night of April 17 -- the night the couple initially claimed they’d put AJ to bed after “brushing teeth, washing hands and saying prayers” -- Freund wrapped his son’s body in several trash bags, placed him in the trunk of his car and drove him to a wooded area near Woodstock, about 8 miles from home. There, he dug a shallow grave, placed AJ’s body in it, covered him with straw and left, the affidavit said. Freund led investigators to where he buried his son, Maldonado wrote. The boy’s body was recovered April 24. Freund is awaiting trial, which is slated to take place sometime next year, CNN reported. Kenneally, the prosecutor, told the network it was not yet clear if Cunningham would testify in her husband’s case. Illinois state records show Freund, who was admitted to the state bar in 1984, was suspended from practicing in July, following his arrest and indictment in his son’s death.
  • A suspect died Friday morning after opening fire at Florida’s Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing at least three people and injuring seven others. >> Read more trending news  Authorities said the shooting was reported just before 7 a.m. local time in a classroom building at NAS Pensacola. Responding deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office exchanged gunfire with the suspected shooter, killing him, officials said. Update 2:25 p.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities declined to confirm the identity of the person who shot several people Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people before being shot and killed by deputies. “I think there’s obviously going to be a lot of questions about this indivdual being a foreign national, being a part of the Saudi Air Force and then to be here training on our soil and to do this,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday morning at a news conference. “The FBI is working with (the Department of Defense), they’re working with (the Florida Department of Law Enforcement), they’re working with Escambia County sheriff’s to answer those questions.” DeSantis said he spoke earlier Friday with President Donald Trump. “One of the things that I talked to the president about is given that this was a foreign national in the employ of a foreign service ... obviously the government of Saudi Arabia needs to make things better for the victims,' DeSantis said. 'I think that they, they are going to owe a debt here, given that this was one of their individuals.” Authorities confirmed at a news conference that the suspect used a handgun in Friday’s shooting. Capt. Tim Kinsella, commanding officer of NAS Pensacola, said the suspect was at NAS Pensacola for aviation training. Earlier in the day, deputies said the suspect opened fire just before 7 a.m. local time in a classroom building at NAS Pensacola. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 1:45 p.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities in Pensacola are expected to provide an update Friday afternoon on the investigation into the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola that left four people dead. Update 1:20 p.m. EST Dec. 6: President Donald Trump said Friday afternoon that he’s spoken to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and received a full briefing on the deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families during this difficult time,” Trump said. “We are continuing to monitor the situation as the investigation is ongoing.” Update 12:50 p.m. EST Dec. 6: An official told The Associated Press that the person who opened fire Friday at Naval Air Station Pensacola, killing three people and wounding several others before being shot and killed by authorities, was an aviation student from Saudi Arabia. Authorities are investigating to determine whether the shooting was terrorism-related, according to the AP. Military from around the globe attend the Naval Air Station in Pensacola. Authorities are expected to hold a news conference at 12:30 p.m. local time Friday to update the public on the investigation. Update 11:50 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities expect to hold a news conference at 12 p.m. local time Friday to provide more updates on the shooting that left four people dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 11:05 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities said a total of 11 people were injured or killed in Friday morning’s shooting, including the suspected shooter. The injured included two responding deputies with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff David Morgan said Friday at a news conference. One deputy was shot in the arm and the other was shot in the knee, Morgan said. They were both expected to survive. Morgan described walking through the scene left by Friday’s attack as being similar to “being in a movie.” “You just don’t expect this to happen here at home,” he said. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 10:45 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials are holding a news conference to update the public on Friday morning’s deadly shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Update 10:25 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Vice President Mike Pence said he’s monitoring the situation in Florida after a shooting left two victims and a suspect dead at Naval Air Station Pensacola. “Praying for the victims & their families,” Pence wrote Friday morning in a Twitter post. “We commend the first responders for their swift action in taking down the shooter & getting those on base to safety.”  Update 10:20 a.m. EST Dec. 6: White House officials said President Donald Trump has been briefed on the deadly shooting reported Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 10:15 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with Naval Air Station Pensacola said the base will closed for the day Friday after a shooting left three people dead earlier in the day. Authorities said at least three people, including the suspected shooter, were killed in the incident. Reports indicated at least eight other people were wounded in the shooting. The incident happened two days after authorities said a U.S. sailor shot and killed two civilian employees before turning the gun on himself at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard. One other person was injured in that shooting. Naval Air Station Pensacola employs more than 16,000 military and 7,400 civilian personnel, according to officials. Update 10:10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said his office has been in “close contact with all the relevant officials & closely monitoring events” after a shooter opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola on Friday morning, killing two people. Authorities said the shooter also died. “Please pray for everyone impacted by this horrible situation,” Rubio said in a Twitter post. Update 10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: A spokesman at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital told CNN that hospital officials expected to get three patients who had been injured in Friday morning’s shooting, down from the six expected earlier in the day. Hospital spokesman Mike Burke told the news network most victims were taken to Baptist Hospital because of its proximity to the base. Kathy Bowers, a spokeswoman for Baptist Hospital, earlier told the Pensacola News Journal that the hospital had received five patients wounded in Friday’s shooting. Update 9:45 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with the U.S. Navy have confirmed that a second person has died after a shooter opened fire Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola.  Update 9:35 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials told the Pensacola News Journal two people were confirmed dead after Friday morning’s shooting, in addition to the shooter. Naval officials previously said at least one person had been killed. Update 9:20 a.m. EST Dec. 6: At least 11 people were hospitalized in the immediate aftermath of Friday’s deadly shooting, according to The Associated Press. Ascension Sacred Heart spokesman Mike Burke told the AP six people were taken to the hospital after a shooter opened fire at Naval Air Station Pensacola early Friday. The Pensacola News Journal previously reported five other people were taken to Baptist Hospital with injuries. Naval officials said at least one victim was killed in Friday’s shooting. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 9:10 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Officials with the U.S. Navy said at least one person died Friday morning in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. Authorities said the suspected shooter was also dead Friday morning. Update 9 a.m. EST Dec. 6: An official with Baptist Hospital told the Pensacola News Journal five patients were taken to the hospital after Friday morning’s reported shooting. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 8:55 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Authorities with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office said a suspected shooter was dead Friday morning at Naval Air Station Pensacola. Original report: Authorities are responding Friday morning to reports of shots fired at Naval Air Station Pensacola, according to base officials. Authorities at NAS Pensacola said both gates to the base were closed Friday morning as authorities investigated. Officials with the U.S. Navy said the base was on lockdown around 7:45 a.m. local time. A spokeswoman for ECSO told the Pensacola News Journal deputies were working to “take down” what was described as an active shooter around 7:30 a.m. local time. Officials with the Escambia County Sheriff’s Office told WEAR-TV injuries were reported. Details on the number of people wounded and the extent of their injuries was not immediately available. The Associated Press contributed to this report. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • Nearly a year to the day after a DUI crash killed a bailiff with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and seriously injured a JSO officer, the woman behind the wheel has been sentenced. A judge sentenced Kim Johnston to 15 years in state prison for driving under the influence causing death and five years for driving under the influence causing seriously bodily injury, though the sentences will run concurrently. Restitution was also ordered, though the exact amount will be determined at a later hearing.  WOKV first told you back in December 2018 about the crash that killed JSO bailiff Cathy Adams and seriously injured her husband, William 'Jack' Adams (pictured below). Police say Johnston was driving under the influence on I-95 when she hit the Adams' SUV, causing it to hit a guardrail and flip over. Johnston's blood alcohol level was 0.127, according to investigators. The Adams’ two kids were in the vehicle, but survived with only minor injuries. Johnston pleaded no contest back in October 2019 and was adjudicated guilty. Before the plea agreement, Johnston had been facing a maximum of 20 years and a minimum of 4 years.
  • Authorities in Connecticut are searching for a toddler missing since authorities found the girl’s mother dead Monday evening. >> Read more trending news  Authorities issued an Amber Alert on Wednesday for Venessa Morales, 1. Police believe she may be in danger. Here are the latest updates: Update 11:40 a.m. EST Dec. 6: Ansonia police have identified the woman found slain Monday as Christine Marie Holloway, 43, the mother of Venessa Morales, 1. Officials with the FBI and several police agencies continue to search for Venessa, who was reported missing when authorities found her mother. “We are not looking to arrest or start criminal proceedings against whoever has Venessa. We just want to know where she is and that she is safe and well,” Ansonia police Lt. Patrick Lynch said Friday. “She is a 1-year-old child who is wholly dependent on others for their care and well-being, and we know locating Venessa would bring a sense of relief to her family.” Venessa’s aunt Anna, who was identified only by her first name on Thursday, pleaded for Venessa’s return in a brief, emotional statement from the family. “Anyone with any information on her whereabouts, we beg of you to please contact Ansonia Police Department or call the FBI tip line, 203-503-5555,” Anna said. “We desperately need anyone that might be with baby Venessa to keep her safe, unharmed and get her back to us quickly.” Authorities continue to investigate. Update 12:45 p.m. EST Dec. 5: The search for Venessa Morales, 1, has shifted to Hamden, a town about 10 miles east of Ansonia, according to the Connecticut Post. The newspaper and WTNH reported authorities were focused on a donation bin on State Street. Police said family members last saw Venessa on Friday, according to WFSB. Authorities were reviewing a report Thursday from a witness who claimed to have seen Venessa with an unidentified man Saturday, WTNH reported. Authorities continue to investigate. Update 1:50 a.m. EST Dec. 5: Authorities on Wednesday issued an Amber Alert for 1-year-old Venessa Morales of Ansonia. If you know where she may be, call Ansonia police at 203-735-1885 or the Federal Bureau of Investigation at 1-800-225-5324. Original report: According to the Connecticut Post, Ansonia police discovered the body of the woman, whose name has not been released, while conducting a welfare check at the pair’s Myrtle Avenue home about 7:30 p.m. Monday. Investigators believe the death was a homicide, the newspaper reported. Officers could not find Venessa. In a Tuesday news release, the Ansonia Police Department said the girl, who hasn’t been seen since Friday, “may be endangered.” Authorities said Venessa has brown hair and eyes, stands 2 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 17 pounds. WFSB-TV reported Tuesday that Venessa’s father, who did not live with the mother and daughter but sometimes stayed with them, has been cooperative. Officials have not released his name. Police, who have teamed up with investigators from state and federal agencies, have not yet named any suspects, the Post reported. Read more here or here.

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