ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
73°
Sunny
H 84° L 65°
  • cloudy-day
    73°
    Current Conditions
    Sunny. H 84° L 65°
  • clear-day
    80°
    Afternoon
    Sunny. H 84° L 65°
  • clear-day
    81°
    Evening
    Sunny. H 85° L 61°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest top stories

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest traffic report

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

The latest forecast

00:00 | 00:00

    Are flowers and a card enough? On Melania Trump's 48th birthday, President Donald Trump worried Thursday that his gift might not be sufficient. Trump got an interview with 'Fox & Friends' going by giving a shout-out to the first lady: 'So, happy birthday to Melania,' he said. Asked what he had gotten his wife, Trump said: 'I better not get into that because I may get in trouble. Maybe I didn't get her so much.' Justifying that, he added, 'You know, I'm very busy.' He later offered that he had gotten Mrs. Trump 'a beautiful card and some beautiful flowers' and added that she's a wonderful wife. The president isn't the only one who's been busy. The first lady planned Tuesday's state dinner for the president of France. Last weekend, she attended the Houston funeral of former first lady Barbara Bush. And she and the president recently hosted the Japanese prime minister and his wife at the Trumps' Florida estate for a two-day visit. Mrs. Trump's office said she'll spend her birthday with family.
  • The Latest on Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt and his appearances on Capitol Hill (all times local): 4:45 p.m. The Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general is taking issue with Administrator Scott Pruitt invoking an internal review of security threats to justify spending taxpayer money on first-class airfare. In a statement issued while Pruitt was still testifying Thursday before a House subcommittee, Arthur Elkins said that he never signed off on the document. Pruitt had earlier read from the August 2017 summary of threats, including a tweet from a man saying he planned to shoot him. Elkins said that summary was prepared by Assistant Inspector General for Investigations Patrick Sullivan and 'leaked without authorization.' The New York Times reported earlier this month that Sullivan was recently spotted out drinking beers with Pruitt security chief Pasquale 'Nino' Perrotta. The inspector general has previously described the two as 'professional colleagues and friendly.' ___ 4:05 p.m. Democrats representing coastal states are pressing Environmental Protection agency chief Scott Pruitt over his statements casting doubt whether man-made carbon emissions are the primary cause of climate change. Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine recounted Thursday at a hearing how fishermen are worried about the future as warmer water pushes lobsters farther north. Rep. Derek Kilmer invited Pruitt to visit Native American tribes in his home district in Washington state, where fisheries are under threat. Sea level rise there is inundating villages. Pruitt is a fervent advocate for expanding production of fossil fuels. He has said that man is responsible for some warming but that the science is unsettled as to how much. Pingree said Pruitt is making excuses for doing nothing to regulate carbon emissions while the world is in danger. ___ 3:30 p.m. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is denying involvement in the decision for him to fly in first-class airline seats at taxpayer expense. Pruitt said Thursday during a hearing Thursday before a House subcommittee that his security team and staff decided he should use premium-class airfare following an internal review of threats against him. Pruitt said that he flew in coach last year before the change was made and that he recently decided to stop flying in premium seats because he felt 'from an optics and perception standpoint, it was creating a distraction.' EPA special agent Pasquale 'Nino' Perrotta played a central role in the switch to first-class seats shortly after taking over Pruitt's security detail last spring. The Associated Press reported that Perrotta typically sat next to Pruitt on the plane. ___ 3:05 p.m. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has read aloud from two written threats against him, including a tweet about a plan to shoot him. Pruitt sought to rebut questions Thursday at a hearing about whether the level of security threats against him warranted expensive security precautions. Those include flying in first class and expansion of his personal security team to provide around-the-clock protection, including during family vacations. Pruitt read a 2017 tweet that said: 'Pruitt, I'm going to find you and put a bullet between your eyes. Don't think I'm joking, I'm planning this.' An investigation by EPA's Office of Inspector General determined that the person who wrote the tweet 'is currently believed to be living in India.' Pruitt is testifying at two back-to-back hearings before House subcommittees Thursday. ___ 11:45 a.m. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt says he was unaware his security chief moonlighted as an investigator for a tabloid news company with close ties to President Donald Trump. Pruitt says the consulting work by EPA special agent Pasquale 'Nino' Perrotta is under review. Perrotta leads Pruitt's 20-member, full-time security detail. The New York Times and The Associated Press reported Monday that Perrota worked as a private investigator for National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. during the 2016 election. AP's report cited a person with knowledge of Perrotta's work for AMI CEO David Pecker. The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. AMI spokesman Jon Hammond has disputed how AP's source characterized Perrotta's role. Perrotta has not responded to requests for comment. ___ 10:55 a.m. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt concedes he did have some knowledge of big pay raises awarded to two close aides. At a hearing, Democrat Rep. Paul Tonko of New York pressed Pruitt on whether he knew about the raises for 30-year-old senior legal counsel Sarah Greenwalt and 26-year-old scheduling director Millian Hupp. In a Fox News interview on April 4, Pruitt insisted he didn't approve the raises and didn't know who did. Documents later showed EPA chief of staff Ryan Jackson signed off on the raises and indicated he had Pruitt's consent. Pruitt said Thursday he actually delegated authority to Jackson to give the raises but didn't know the exact amounts. Greenwalt received raises of more than $66,000, bringing her salary to $164,200. Hupp saw her salary jump to $114,590, after raises of more than $48,000. ___ 10:25 a.m. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt is testifying in potentially make-or-break hearings on Capitol Hill, where he will face questions about spending and ethics scandals that have triggered bipartisan calls for his ouster. Pruitt read a prepared statement about his agency's fiscal year 2019 budget priorities to begin the first of two back-to-back hearings before House subcommittees. The public grilling comes amid erosion in support for Pruitt among fellow Republicans after a monthlong swarm of negative headlines about outsized security spending, first-class flights and a sweetheart condo lease. President Donald Trump has continued to stand by his EPA chief. But behind closed doors, White House officials concede Pruitt's job is in jeopardy. A growing list of Republican lawmakers has joined Democrats in calling for new investigations into Pruitt's actions.
  • President Donald Trump praised Kanye West on Thursday for having 'good taste' for supporting the president. Trump said in an interview with 'Fox & Friends' that he knew the rapper 'a little bit' and always got along with him, and said West has noticed the low unemployment rate for black Americans. 'He sees that stuff and he's smart and he says, 'You know what, Trump is doing a much better job than the Democrats did,'' the president said. West recently offered his support for Trump in a series of tweets, saying they both share 'dragon energy.' That caused a backlash among other public figures who oppose the president. In a tweet Thursday, West wrote that while hate is a similar emotion to love, 'hate is not the answer.' He also tweeted a link to a TMZ.com story about himself with a headline that described West as 'the opposite of erratic.' The story noted that West is releasing a new album in the coming months. Trump's re-election campaign quickly moved to raise money off the attention, applauding 'free thinker' West in a text message to supporters and encouraging them to buy red 'Make America Great Again' hats. 'Group think is a mandate in today's society and when a free thinker like Kanye West speaks truth, they attack him,' read the text. 'We support Kanye speaking his mind, even if sometimes we do not agree on the issues.' West has toyed with running for president himself and on Wednesday tweeted a poster of his face emblazoned with the slogan 'Keep America Great' and '#Kanye2024.' He has recorded several best-selling albums and produced a buzzy fashion line and has the undeniable talent for attracting attention. He's also been linked to several previous presidents — Barack Obama called him 'a jackass' in 2009 for storming the stage at an MTV awards show to interrupt Taylor Swift. In 2005, during a telethon to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, West criticized the White House's response to the storm by famously charging that 'George W. Bush doesn't care about black people.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump and the special counsel's Russia probe (all times local): 8:45 p.m. President Donald Trump insists he 'won't be involved' in any attempt to interfere with the investigation into Russian election meddling — unless he changes his mind. Meanwhile, a Senate panel has moved to safeguard special counsel Robert Mueller from any attempt to fire him. The GOP-led Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Mueller-protection measure just hours after Trump blasted the Justice Department, which oversees the special counsel's investigation. Trump said in a telephone interview with 'Fox & Friends' that he is 'very disappointed in my Justice Department. But because of the fact that it's going on, and I think you'll understand this, I have decided that I won't be involved.' But he added, 'I may change my mind at some point, because what's going on is a disgrace.' __ 11:50 a.m. The Senate Judiciary Committee has passed a bill to protect special counsel Robert Mueller's job. Now all eyes are on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has said he won't let the bill onto the Senate floor. The vote was 14-7 with four Republicans in favor. Republicans have split as President Donald Trump repeatedly criticized Mueller's Russia investigation. The measure would give any special counsel a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of his or her firing. It also would put into law existing Justice Department regulations that a special counsel can be fired only for good cause. Many Republicans argue that it is unconstitutional or unnecessary. Republicans and Democrats on the panel have said Trump shouldn't try to remove Mueller. ___ 10:38 a.m. President Donald Trump is saying he did spend the night in Moscow during a 2013 trip to Russia. And he is accusing former FBI director James Comey of lying about their conversations about the trip, which plays a key role in the Steele dossier. Trump told 'Fox & Friends' Thursday that 'of course I stayed there' when he attended the Miss Universe pageant, which he owned, held in Russia that year. The president insists he 'never said' he left Moscow without spending the night. Comey says in his new book that Trump told him on more than one occasion he did not sleep in Russia. Unverified information in the dossier says Trump consorted with prostitutes overnight on that trip. Trump has denied the claim. ___ 8:49 a.m. President Donald Trump said he 'won't be involved' in the special counsel investigation into Russian election meddling Thursday, but added he may change his mind. Trump said in a phone interview Thursday with 'Fox & Friends' that special counsel Robert Mueller's probe 'is a disgrace.' Trump criticized federal agents for exercising search warrants on his lawyer Michael Cohen and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort. 'I am very disappointed in my Justice Department. But because of the fact that it's going on, and I think you'll understand this, I have decided that I won't be involved,' Trump said. 'I may change my mind at some point, because what's going on is a disgrace.' Trump's comments come as the Senate Judiciary Committee is poised to vote Thursday on a bill to protect Mueller's job.
  • President Donald Trump said Thursday that personal attorney Michael Cohen handles very little of his legal work, but did represent him in the 'crazy Stormy Daniels deal,' a rare presidential public reference to the porn star who claims she had sex with the president in 2006. Prosecutors in New York quickly claimed Trump's early-morning comments buttress their arguments that not much of the material that the FBI seized from Cohen's home, office and hotel should be protected by attorney-client privilege. Within two hours of Trump's interview, the prosecutors submitted papers in court citing Trump's comments. Trump's remarks prompted fresh questions about his relationship with Cohen in the tangle of legal dealings involving the president, his legal fixer and the porn star. And they served as just the latest demonstration of the potential legal risks for Trump when he makes off-the-cuff statements about the case in interviews and on Twitter. In a call-in interview with 'Fox & Friends,' Trump spoke about his relationship with Cohen, saying the lawyer handles 'a tiny, tiny little fraction' of his legal work, then added: 'like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal he represented me. And, you know, from what I see he did absolutely nothing wrong. There were no campaign funds going into this which would have been a problem.' Cohen paid Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford, $130,000 days before the 2016 election in exchange for her silence about an alleged sexual encounter with Trump. He now faces a series of legal actions, including an effort from Daniels to invalidate the nondisclosure deal. There's also a criminal investigation of Cohen in New York, which prompted the recent FBI raid. Trump has previously denied any knowledge of the payment. The White House has consistently denied the affair. While Trump may have increased the chances that his communications with Cohen on the subject of Daniels are subject to attorney-client privilege by acknowledging that he was being represented by Cohen on the matter, he may also have undermined arguments that large quantities of other seized materials are subject to the privilege by claiming Cohen handled little of his legal work. Either way, said trial attorney Joseph Cammarata, he would be better off speaking less. 'The more you say, the more you have an opportunity to be cross-examined on it,' said Cammarata, who represented Paula Jones in her sexual harassment suit against President Bill Clinton. 'You can't get hurt by words you don't speak.' Judge Kimba Wood said Thursday that she was appointing a former Manhattan federal judge to help determine what materials seized in the FBI raids are subject to attorney-client privilege. The judge noted that the government and Cohen's lawyers agreed that a 'special master' was the best way to determine which materials should or shouldn't be off-limits to federal investigators. Michael Avenatti, Daniels' attorney, asked the court for permission to be part of the case to determine if there are any materials showing that Daniels' previous lawyer, who negotiated her confidentiality agreement, violated attorney-client privilege in communications with Cohen. The judge gave prosecutors time to review the motion after Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas McKay told her that so far there was 'really no evidence' that Cohen received privileged information about Daniels. Trump's comment that Cohen represented him in the Daniels matter seemed potentially at odds with his past denial of knowledge about the payment. Avenatti tweeted that Trump and Cohen 'previously represented to the American people that Mr. Cohen acted on his own and Mr. Trump knew nothing about the agreement with my client, the $130k payment, etc. As I predicted, that has now been shown to be completely false.' Trump's anger over the case has increased in recent weeks as the legal pressure on Cohen mounts. While the president is said to be increasingly worried about the materials seized in the raid and whether Cohen would consider cooperating with prosecutors, he insisted Thursday that the probe was related to Cohen's business and said 'I've been told I'm not involved.' Avenatti told the AP on Thursday, 'This is going to add considerable momentum to our effort to depose the president and place him under oath in an effort to discover which version of the facts is accurate.' Cohen is also dealing with a civil case filed by Daniels, who is seeking to invalidate the confidentiality agreement she signed before the election. He said Wednesday that he would assert his constitutional right against self-incrimination in that case. Daniels is also suing Cohen, alleging defamation. ___ Associated Press writer Larry Neumeister in New York contributed to this report.
  • The only two black members of the Arizona Legislature were formally chastised for speaking out against a Republican lawmaker's published column, which included a racial slur and they say derided black activists while attempting to discredit leaders of a teacher group protesting for better pay. Rep. Maria Syms wrote in a column published in the Arizona Republic that the two best-known leaders of the #RedforEd movement are 'political operatives' who are radicalizing Arizona youth. She called Noah Karvelis' classroom 'exotic' and said he prides himself on teaching students music from the hip hop artist Kendrick Lamar. Syms included a lyric from the Pulitzer Prize-winning artist that included a derogatory term for African-Americans. Democratic Rep. Reginald Bolding, who is black, said he was offended by the language she used. 'This article attempts to discredit this teacher because he may have introduced lyrics in the classroom written by a black entertainer,' Bolding said. 'This article attempts to discredit this teacher because he 'takes inspiration' from a black civil rights activist. This article attempts to discredit this teacher because he 'admires' a professor that taught at a historically black college for women. 'The more I read the more I was disappointed that it appears to be OK to use a racial slur about black people in the article,' Bolding continued. 'Let me be crystal clear: It's not acceptable to us a racial slur even if that slur is used as a quote.' Majority Republicans voted to formally rebuke Bolding as well as the only other black member of the Legislature, Democratic Rep. Geraldine Peten, when she began speaking on the same subject. The fight was at least the third this year where Democrats were shut down over what Republicans called violations of House rules of decorum and debate. Speaker J.D. Mesnard was incensed over what he saw as violations. 'I don't know why it's so hard to follow the rules,' Mesnard said. 'It doesn't matter whether you are white or black or brown on whatever the color the color of your skin is, you follow the House rules.' Syms defended the article and thanked fellow Republicans who came to her defense. 'I think the one thing that we can agree on is that these terms are terribly offensive,' Syms said. 'If anyone would read the article they would know that those words were used in the article to expose the offensive nature of language used by the leader of #RedforEd in the classroom. Every person in the state of Arizona should be offended by these racially offensive words that are being used in our classrooms right now.' Karvelis said it was 'ridiculous' that his hip-hop lesson plans were being brought up and that he never used the racial slur in class. 'It's just a distraction,' he added. Tens of thousands of Arizona teachers who have organized under the grass-roots Arizona Educators United group that Karvelis helped organize are set to strike starting Thursday. They're seeking a 20 percent teacher pay raise, competitive pay for support staff, annual salary increases, school funding boosts to 2008 levels and no new tax cuts until per-pupil funding reaches the national average. Gov. Doug Ducey is offering a 20 percent pay raise but has mainly ignored the other demands. Republican leaders of the Arizona House and Senate say they won't bend to teacher demands for more than raises.
  • Trump-West 2020? In a moment that seemed to encapsulate 2018's social media-driven blurring of celebrity and politics, President Donald Trump tweeted his thanks to rap superstar Kanye West on Wednesday for his recent and perhaps unexpected online support. 'Thank you Kanye, very cool!' the president posted in response to the tweets from West, who called the president 'my brother.' West, the enigmatic hip hop provocateur, posted a series of tweets in support of the president, whom he visited at Trump Tower in December 2016 during the presidential transition. 'You don't have to agree with trump but the mob can't make me not love him. We are both dragon energy,' West wrote Wednesday. 'He is my brother. I love everyone. I don't agree with everything anyone does. That's what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought.' Later, West posted a photo of himself wearing one of Trump's signature red campaign 'Make America Great Again' hats and showcased that the president had signed it. 'MAGA!' Trump responded in another tweet, using the acronym for his slogan. West noted that his wife, reality star Kim Kardashian West, wanted him to clarify that he was not in lockstep with all the Republican president's positions. 'My wife just called me and she wanted me to make this clear to everyone,' West wrote. 'I don't agree with everything Trump does. I don't agree 100% with anyone but myself.' West lent an air of celebrity to Trump, who has not been nearly as popular among movie and music stars as his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama. He complained about struggling to lure big-name talent to his Inauguration and made a point of calling Roseanne Barr, a rare Trump supporter in Hollywood, for the recent success of her sitcom. Trump has also consistently been supported by a small percentage of black voters. West has recorded several best-selling albums and produced a buzzy fashion line and has the undeniable talent for attracting attention. He's also been linked to several previous presidents, including when Obama called him 'a jackass' in 2009 for storming the stage at an MTV awards show to interrupt Taylor Swift. And in 2005, during a telethon to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina, West criticized the White House's response to the storm by famously charging that 'George W. Bush doesn't care about black people.' There was quick backlash to West on Twitter on Wednesday. 'Kanye doesn't care about black people,' tweeted comedian Akilah Hughes. But others were quick to embrace West. Eric Trump, one of the president's sons, tweeted three American flags next to West's declaration of dragon energy. His brother Donald Trump Jr. appropriated Hillary Clinton's slogan, '#ImWithHer,' when he retweeted a Kardashian West post in which she denounced the media for calling the rap superstar erratic. And InfoWars host Alex Jones, a conspiracy theory promoter, invited West onto his show. West has toyed with running for president himself and on Wednesday tweeted a poster of his face emblazoned with the slogan 'Keep America Great' and '#Kanye2024.' Coincidentally or not, West also tweeted earlier this week that he has a new album coming out this summer. ___ Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire
  • Even with Republican lawmakers' patience running short, President Donald Trump's environmental chief appears to be in no mood to apologize as he faces Congress for the first time since a deluge of ethics allegations has consumed his tenure. Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt will make no reference to ethics issues or complaints about lavish spending on travel and security that have dogged him in recent months, according to an opening statement for an appearance before a House energy panel Thursday. Pruitt is likely to face sharp questions about his spending decisions, and his answers could prove crucial in determining whether he stays atop EPA, lawmakers say. Republicans have largely stood behind Pruitt, saying they are encouraged by his efforts to ease federal regulations on manufacturing, mining and other industries. But as allegations against Pruitt keep surfacing, even his allies increasingly are raising doubts about his job security. Sens. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., and John Thune, R-S.D., said Pruitt faces 'serious questions' about his use of taxpayer money. 'I want to make sure taxpayers are getting value for their dollars, make sure money is being spent appropriately. So there continue to be serious questions,' said Barrasso, chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. While Trump has previously backed Pruitt, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders appeared noncommittal Wednesday. 'We're evaluating these concerns, and we expect the EPA administrator to answer for them,' she said. The shift represented growing frustration that Pruitt's problems were becoming the Republican Party's problems in a campaign season where the GOP is already facing headwinds. Pruitt's spending pattern is out of step both with Trump's promise to bring corporate efficiency and penny-pinching to government and with the rules many lawmakers must follow. While some have praised Pruitt's refusal to back down, casting him as a fighter against a bias liberal media, others said it was time for him to explain himself. 'Frankly, I think Scott Pruitt's done a great job of reinstating sanity in the rulemaking and the regulating process at EPA,' House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., said. Pruitt's political mentor, GOP Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, called recent allegations about Pruitt 'concerning.' Inhofe said he generally has been pleased with the performance of Pruitt — a former Oklahoma attorney general — in rolling back regulations and 'restoring the EPA to its proper size and scope.' But, he said, 'These latest reports are new to me. While I have no reason to believe they are true, they are concerning and I think we should hear directly from Administrator Pruitt about them.' Administration officials said Pruitt has declined White House help in preparing for Thursday's hearings, to be held by subcommittees of the House Energy and Commerce and Appropriations panels. Other Cabinet members — including Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke — accepted White House help in similar situations. While administration officials have cheered Pruitt's actions to roll back environmental regulations, many have grown weary of the mounting allegations against him. Former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler was recently confirmed as Pruitt's deputy, and some Republicans say privately that Wheeler, a former EPA and Inhofe staffer, could continue the agency's deregulatory agenda without the drama that surrounds Pruitt. 'Obviously, Scott Pruitt has got some serious questions to answer,' said Thune, the third-ranking Republican in the Senate. Those questions include Pruitt's use of shell companies in Oklahoma real estate deals and spending taxpayer money for such personal perks as first-class airline seats. The AP and other news media reported this week that EPA's security chief worked on the side as a private investigator for the owner of a tabloid news company with close ties to Trump. Pruitt also is likely to face questions about reports that he lived in a bargain-priced condominium linked to a lobbyist whose firm's clients have business before EPA. Pruitt's opening statement for his appearance before the House energy panel makes no reference to ethics issues. Released before the hearing, the statement promotes prior accomplishments and outlines budget priorities. EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said the hearings were an opportunity to reiterate Pruitt's accomplishments, including repeal of President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule, 'providing regulatory certainty, and declaring a war on lead — all while returning to Reagan-era staffing levels.' In the past, Pruitt has often sought to deflect questions about missteps by blaming subordinates. Asked about his frequent use of premium-class airfare, Pruitt said in February, 'I'm not involved in any of those decisions.' He said his security chief made the decision for him to fly in first class after an unpleasant interaction with another traveler raised safety concerns. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said Pruitt's behavior has hurt Trump's credibility and the Republican Party. 'I don't mean to be too harsh, but you can't just go around acting like a big shot, and you can't go around ... disrespecting taxpayer dollars,' Kennedy said. 'It shouldn't be tolerated. That's part of the swamp that we're trying to clean up.' ___ Associated Press writers Ken Thomas, Zeke Miller and Michael Biesecker contributed to this story.
  • The security chief for the head of the Environmental Protection Agency worked on the side as a private investigator for the owner of a tabloid news company with close ties to President Donald Trump. EPA special agent Pasquale 'Nino' Perrotta performed regular work for National Enquirer publisher American Media Inc. during the 2016 election, according to a person with knowledge of the company's internal workings. But unlike another private investigator hired by the Enquirer, Perrotta didn't work on such newsroom projects as tracking down sources. Instead, the person told The Associated Press, Perrotta was engaged to discreetly handle investigative work at the direction of AMI's chairman and CEO, David Pecker. The person was not authorized to speak publicly about the company's operations and spoke on condition of anonymity. The New York Times first reported Perrotta's link to AMI. AMI spokesman Jon Hammond on Wednesday disputed how AP's source characterized Perrotta's role, but Hammond did not immediately respond to questions about what Perrotta did for the company. In addition to his government job, Perrotta is the top executive at Sequoia Security Group, a Maryland-based security firm. The person with knowledge of the situation did not know whether Perrotta was paid for his work for AMI and Pecker through Sequoia or another business entity. A former Secret Service agent, Perrotta has worked at EPA for more than a decade. He was tapped by EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt last year to lead his 20-member, full-time personal protective detail. Perrotta was promoted after his predecessor was reassigned for refusing to acquiesce to the administrator's demands for VIP treatment, including using the emergency lights on a government vehicle to speed through Washington traffic to make airline flights and dinner reservations. Perrotta did not respond to messages seeking comment. EPA's press office also did not respond to requests for comment about the security chief's side business. A spokeswoman for President Barack Obama's EPA chief, Gina McCarthy, said she was unaware Perrotta had been moonlighting for AMI in 2016. AP reported this month that Perrotta oversaw a rapid expansion of Pruitt's security team and the taxpayer-funded precautions used to ensure Pruitt's safety, including the use of first-class airline seats after a fellow traveler cursed at Pruitt in an airport. Perrotta also spearheaded the purchase of a $43,000 soundproof booth for Pruitt's office to help ensure that Pruitt's telephone calls could not be overheard by others. The Government Accountability Office has found that the spending on the privacy booth violated federal purchasing laws. Democratic lawmakers released a letter questioning whether Perrotta was improperly operating an outside consulting firm without proper approval from EPA ethics officials. Under Pecker, American Media became one of the earliest and most fervent backers of Trump's political career, providing breathless coverage as far back as 2011 to Trump's promotion of the false theory that Obama might not be a U.S. citizen. During the 2016 campaign, Pecker's flagship National Enquirer was in close contact with Trump's personal attorney Michael Cohen while it attacked Trump's Republican opponents from its perch in supermarket checkout aisles. It printed thin allegations about Texas GOP Sen. Ted Cruz's personal life and alleged that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton was in declining physical and mental health. AMI also helped Trump in a far less public fashion. The company paid $150,000 to a former Playboy Playmate, Karen McDougal, for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump during his marriage to Melania Trump, and $30,000 to a former Trump doorman peddling another story about Trump. AMI has denied the payments were hush money, though Pecker noted in a New Yorker interview last year that the contract with McDougal prevented her from 'bashing Trump.' Records show Perrotta received clearance in March 2013 for limited nongovernment consulting work but was required to get updated approval if his job duties changed. Perrotta received a significant promotion and pay raise last year. According to the letter approving his work outside the agency, Perrotta told EPA ethics officials he expected to be 'self-employed' to provide consulting to two to three clients for approximately three hours to six hours per week on issues related to cybersecurity and 'denial of service insurance.' The 2013 approval, which was in effect for a five-year period that expired last month, also barred Perrotta from using his government position to advance his personal interests. AP reported in December that EPA paid $3,000 to contractor Edwin Steinmetz Associates last year to search Pruitt's office for secret listening devices. Steinmetz is also listed as a vice president at Perrotta's security firm. Emails obtained by congressional Democrats showed that Perrotta played a role in the decision to conduct the bug sweep, the contract for which the lawmakers allege he improperly steered to Steinmetz. The Democrats' letter was signed by Sens. Tom Carper of Delaware and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who serve on a committee with oversight of EPA. They asked an agency ethics official to re-examine whether Perrotta's outside employment violates agency rules. ___ Follow AP investigative reporters Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck and Jeff Horwitz at http://twitter.com/JeffHorwitz
  • There were no celebrity guests, Hollywood entertainers or superstar chefs. But as she stepped out of the background to host her first state dinner, Melania Trump sought to sparkle in her moment in the spotlight. After ditching her trademark dark sunglasses for a white skirt suit and hat earlier Tuesday, the first lady appeared in a Chanel gown to greet President Emmanuel Macron of France and his wife, Brigitte, as they arrived for the first state dinner of Trump's administration. It was a big moment in fashion — and public life — for the former model, who has kept a relatively low profile since Trump took office, and one that played out as her husband is shadowed by a legal threat from a porn actress who says she was paid to keep quiet about a sexual encounter with Trump, which he denies. With the opulent affair, Mrs. Trump seemed to be aiming to make a statement, stressing her personal involvement in picking the menu and gold-trimmed table settings. In a nod to France, she wore a black Chantilly lace Chanel haute couture gown, hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins, according to her spokeswoman. Her French counterpart wore Louis Vuitton. On Wednesday, Trump praised the 'spectacular job' he said his wife did on the event. 'Every detail was done to perfection,' he tweeted. 'The State Dining Room never looked more beautiful, and Washington is abuzz over what an incredible job Melania did.' In his dinner toast Tuesday night, Trump declared his wife 'America's absolutely incredible first lady.' In the toast, the president also hailed the bonds between the United States and France, saying: 'May our friendship grow even deeper, may our kinship grow even stronger and may our sacred liberty never die.' With 123 attendees, the event was smaller and more intimate than President Barack Obama's dinners. Among those attending were Vice President Mike Pence, Chief Justice John Roberts, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and two Winter Olympians, who flashed their gold medals on their way into the pre-dinner reception. Guests at Trump's table included Apple CEO Tim Cook and CIA Director Mike Pompeo, the president's nominee for secretary of state, as well as Macron and his wife. In his toast, Macron talked about the countries' 'unbreakable friendship' and referenced both his and Trump's rapid political ascents, saying: 'On both sides of the ocean some two years ago, very few would have bet on us being here together today.' While Ivanka Trump, a senior White House adviser and the president's elder daughter, and Louise Linton, the wife of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, wowed in designer gowns, there were no surprise celebrity guests, in contrast with past years. Asked what she was looking forward to, Linton said: 'Everything French!' The White House stressed that Mrs. Trump, who planned her 2005 wedding, had a hand in every aspect of the social denouement of Macron's visit. She released a brief video showing her working on the details with her staff, including the menu and the table settings. The guests, seated at round candle-lit tables decorated with bouquets of white flowers, dined on rack of lamb and nectarine tart served on a mix of china settings from the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. After-dinner entertainment was courtesy of the Washington National Opera. Trump's Cabinet was well-represented at the dinner. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were there, along with Mnuchin and Trump's new national security adviser, John Bolton, and new top economic adviser Larry Kudlow. Others were absent, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has been under scrutiny over ethical questions. And while it was an evening of celebration, Trump aides couldn't fully escape questions about the tumult within the administration, with many dodging questions about his pick to head the Department of Veterans Affairs, who is facing questions about improper workplace behavior. Earlier Tuesday, Mrs. Trump wore a stylish belted suit with a broad-brimmed chapeau for her public appearances, including on a brief outing to the National Gallery of Art with Mrs. Macron to view an exhibit of works by French painter Paul Cezanne. The hat stayed put as she returned to the White House and took her front-row seat in the East Room for the president's joint news conference with Macron. It bobbed up and down across the bottom of television screens as she entered the room and again as she rose to leave, spawning many a Twitter meme. The hat was designed by Herve Pierre and the skirt suit was by Michael Kors. ___ State Dinner guest list: https://bit.ly/2vK8lkz ___ Follow Darlene Superville at http://www.twitter.com/dsuperville and Catherine Lucey at http://www.twitter.com/catherine_lucey

The Latest News Headlines

  • Clay County Sheriff Darryl Daniels is kicking off an initiative to rid the county of graffiti. The effort will include assistance from Home Depot, the Department of Transportation and members of the Clay County Sheriff’s Office Community Affairs Unit. The campaign will kick off Friday morning, April 26, at 10 am near the overpass located next to Oakleaf Athletic Association, 3979 Plantation Oaks Blvd. “When graffiti appears, the sooner you can remove it, the less likely any more graffiti in that area is going to take place,” says Sgt. Keith Smith, spokesman for the Clay County Sheriff’s Office. Smith says only about ten percent of graffiti comes from gangs or gang-related activity. Most of the rest comes from what are known as taggers, who just want to leave their mark. He says if graffiti is not cleaned up, marked areas can become breeding grounds for criminal activity. Home Depot is providing paint for some projects. The Department of Transportation is providing access to overpasses, often tagged with graffiti. Residents will be offered help getting resources to rid graffiti from their property. Smith says anyone who wants to help rid Clay County of graffiti, or needs help ridding their property of it, can call Lt. Gary Cross of the Community Affairs Unit at (904) 264-6512.   
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars think that investing hundreds of millions of dollars overseas will help strengthen the team’s stability on the First Coast.  Jaguars owner Shad Khan is working to purchase London’s Wembley Stadium, offering more than $800 million for the deal. Jags President Mark Lamping says the proposal would allow The Football Association- which currently owns the Stadium- to also retain future revenue from club seats, valued at more than $400 million over time. Lamping says they’re now working on due diligence over the condition of the venue, and expect the deal could close in a matter of around eight weeks.  The deal was presented to the FA Thursday, but Lamping says it’s the culmination of more than a year of strategic conversations. He says, with FA ownership, they always ran the risk that the Stadium would be sold to another party that either had no interest in partnering with the NFL, or could not be as flexible in the scheduling.  “In every respect, the Jaguars’ standing in London would be improved and dramatically enhanced if we are fortunate to be approved as the new owner and steward of Wembley Stadium, and that’s good news for the Jaguars and all of Jacksonville,” says a statement from Khan.  Speaking to the media at the Jags’ Draft Party late Thursday, Khan said he sees the challenges that Jacksonville has as an NFL market, and looks for ways to work around that. “We want to be proactive, do something about it, and be at the cutting edge of a franchise that can win games and have a great experience,” he says. This falls in line with a business update delivered by Lamping during the team’s “State of the Franchise” last week. Lamping says Jacksonville is small, compared to other NFL markets, so they’re always looking for more revenue opportunities to supplement what they bring in locally. The team has long said it intends to continue to strengthen its foothold in the London series, because of the potential that market has to bring in revenue.  TEN THINGS TO KNOW: Jacksonville Jaguars “State of the Franchise” “This is very consistent with the strategy that we’ve been successfully implementing over the course of the past several years, trying to find those opportunities that can result in new revenue streams that flow back to Jacksonville,” Lamping said Thursday.  “For the Jaguars, it would deliver another – and very significant – asset and local revenue source that would further strengthen our investment in London, which as everyone knows is crucial to the Jaguars’ continued sustainability in Jacksonville,” says a statement from Khan.  Lamping says the purchase of Wembley would give them access to additional revenue in the venue- like concessions- while also stopping the “sizable” annual payment the team makes to play there. Additionally, Lamping says Khan would stand to make money off other non-NFL games hosted in the Stadium each year, including English National League matches.  “Those games are the most valuable content at Wembley each and every year,” he says.  Khan sought to make it clear to the London fan base of the Jaguars and Fulham FC, which he also owns, that he will continue investing in them, as he also seeks to honor Wembley Stadium.  “As important, Wembley Stadium would return to private ownership and The Football Association would be able to focus on its core mission of developing players with the best player developers and facilities anywhere in the game, thanks in part to the vast financial benefit that would result from the transaction. I trust many if not most of you are also supporters of the England national teams, so I hope you welcome the potential of this becoming a reality. Always know Wembley would be home to the England national teams, and that we would strive every day of the year to be the best possible steward for a venue that is iconic and beloved here and throughout the world,” says a statement Khan made to Fulham FC supporters.  Following the announcement, critics immediately started questioning whether this is a step toward the team moving to London outright- something that national media outlets often speculate, but that the Jags ownership has continually denied. Khan says he doesn’t understand the speculation, adding that he has business deals around the country. He says the international ties for the Jags gives them international exposure, recognition, and sponsors, adding that the Jags even have full time staff in London to help handle those matters, and this deal would add more security to that operation. Lamping says he understands that fans could be concerned, because they have long had to deal with these types of rumors.  “We view our London game as supplemental to what we do here in Jacksonville. You know, Jacksonville drives the Jaguars, not London,” he says.  He says Khan plans to continue investing in London and Jacksonville alike, and none of that changes with this new deal.  “We would ask that fans continue to judge us on our actions, not based on what their worst fears might be,” he says.  During the “State of the Franchise”, the Jags unveiled a new $2.5 billion redevelopment proposal for the Sports Complex, which includes upgrading the marina, new high-end hotels, office and residential space, and more.  The first phase of that is envisioned as the redevelopment of the “Lot J” parking lot, adding new multi-use buildings, a live arena, and a nearby parking garage to offset the loss of spaces. This is while the team continues to negotiate with the City over the redevelopment of the Jacksonville Shipyards. While it’s unclear right now how much the team will ask the City for as part of that proposal, Lamping made it clear it’s envisioned as a public/private partnership. He says- no matter how much wealth an investor has- they’re always looking at making the right business decision, and if a plan makes financial sense to the City, it’s natural they should be a partner.  “That public investment is limited only to the level necessary to make the project possible, and that’s the approach we’re taking,” Lamping says.  Another important element for Khan is that the team historically plays well at Wembley Stadium. “We have the energy, we have the fans there, we have a full stadium there,” he says. Khan says they saw some of that at the tail end of last year’s successful season, but they want to make sure they can secure that overseas as well. The Jags have a deal to play a game in London each of the next few seasons, and Khan hopes the League sees the impact that has on the team and continues the agreement moving forward. The NFL UK says this proposed deal is a sign of Khan’s continued commitment to the UK market and his vision to grow the League. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry says the team made him aware of their interest, and he sees this as a good move for the City, including building Jacksonville’s brand internationally. Let us know on Facebook what you think about the deal:
  • A jury in Pennsylvania on Thursday found comedian Bill Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. >> Read more trending news
  • After Jacksonville’s Mayor says he will not put forward any plan to privatize JEA, the utility is looking at moving forward with what they’re calling “bold” plans. “We need to be bold, we need to be innovative, and we need to become the utility of the future for Jacksonville,” says JEA’s Interim CEO Aaron Zahn.  WOKV first told you earlier Thursday that Mayor Lenny Curry took a position “unequivocally” against moving forward with privatization plan. He believes his office would have to initiate such a plan, and said he would not be doing that. While Curry says he has previously supported studying the idea, he believes he has the information needed to inform a decision, and the process has become too political.  This all comes just a short time after Zahn took over as interim CEO, and he immediately said that he would seek to halt the privatization talks. He says there have been a lot of questions that surfaced through the last few months on this topic.  “It’s demonstrated that JEA really needs to evaluate our path forward, and we need to step up,” he says.  Zahn went before the City’s Council Special Committee on the future of JEA Thursday to outline the vision. That committee was previously the Special Committee on the potential sale of JEA, but changed its name and charge following the Mayor’s declaration.  First, Zahn says JEA is refocusing on its core business. He’s then listening to stakeholders, while developing a “partnership framework” for JEA, the Board, leadership, employees, and more. From there, Zahn says they can update JEA’s strategic plan and move forward.  'We're gunna start coming up with bold ideas, and were gunna have bold safety, bold service, bold commitment to growth, and start bringing you these ideas in a way where we can generate economic development, new jobs, continue to drive a fiscally responsible asset, and ultimately have the integrity to demonstrate the corporate governance that we've spoken so much about. And to present- with clarity- the strategy and expectations that I think you, as shareholders, expect from us,” he says.  He says they have the resources, talent, and ideas, so now it’s about putting everything together.  While Zahn looks at the broader vision, JEA has created a new position that focuses on the short-term goals as well. Zahn floated the idea of creating something like a Chief Operating Officer, when he was being considered for the interim CEO position. The other candidate for the interim job- JEA’s Chief Financial Officer Melissa Dykes- has now stepped in as President/COO, and another person is serving as interim CFO.  Dykes says she has two short-term goals- preserving and improving JEA’s safety record, and ensuring the organization is prepared for storm season. She says they have already kicked off their storm preparedness exercise, and they will brief the JEA Board over their next two meetings to ensure everyone is aware of the lessons learned from the prior two storm seasons.  Council members urged JEA to consider septic tank replacement as a high priority in their strategic vision, with some also wanting serious consideration for undergrounding electric lines.  Zahn says JEA is in the process of searching for a permanent CEO. Zahn has previously said he would be interested in that position, if his skills and vision matched what the utility is looking for.  The Council’s Special Committee, meanwhile, shows no sign of stopping their probe, with members previously saying the process has started and they now want to get all of their questions answered.
  • In a turbulent Thursday, President Donald Trump raised new questions about how he might deal with the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, admitted that Michael Cohen was his lawyer in legal dealings with porn star Stormy Daniels, watched as his Cabinet saw a day of success, verbal scrapes, and setbacks, and then saw a Senate panel approve a bill designed to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller. A day after his personal lawyer notified a federal court that he would exercise his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination in a lawsuit brought by Daniels, the President did an interview by telephone on his favorite morning television program, “Fox and Friends” – but that only created more news. Instead of just being a Fox News bullhorn for his views on a number of different subjects – Mr. Trump in the interview instead stirred new interest in how he will treat the Russia probe, and the legal questions surrounding a $130,000 pre-election payment in 2016 to an adult film star. Even for reporters – it was a busy day. Let’s run down some of the headlines. 1. Trump raises personal intervention in Russia probe. In an interview on his favorite morning television program, “Fox and Friends,” the President vented more of his frustration about the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and seemed to raise the possibility that he might take some action in the future. “You look at the corruption at the top of the FBI, it’s a disgrace,” the President said. “And our Justice Department – which I try and stay away from – but at some point, I won’t,” Mr. Trump said, making a statement which was interpreted by some as a threat to intervene in the case. In a heated rant on 'Fox & Friends,' Trump complained about the Justice Department's Russia investigation, calling it a 'disgrace' and suggested that he may do something about it at some point https://t.co/5003tNuOcj pic.twitter.com/xb79p9hMF1 — BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) April 26, 2018 2. From Fox News to court documents in two hours. Not only were fans of the President watching as he joined “Fox and Friends” by telephone from the White House, but federal prosecutors from the Southern District of New York were listening, too. And two hours later, comments by the President were already in a footnote of a new submission to a federal judge who is dealing with evidence seized in an FBI raid on the President’s longtime lawyer, Michael Cohen. While Cohen had said that many of the documents and computer records seized by the feds were involved in legal work that he did for the President, radio host Sean Hannity, and one other person, Mr. Trump had a different view, saying Cohen does a “tiny, tiny little fraction” of his legal work. 3. Trump interview opens new questions on Cohen, Stormy Daniels. As the story has slowly played out over a $130,000 payment made to porn star Stormy Daniels – what she said was hush money from President Trump before the 2016 elections – Mr. Trump has said little about it, telling reporters aboard Air Force One in recent weeks that he knew nothing about the payment made to Daniels by Michael Cohen. But on “Fox and Friends,” the answer was different, as Mr. Trump clearly acknowledged that he was a party to the legal settlement. “He represents me like with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me,” the President said. “From what I see, he did nothing wrong.” That prompted a Fox News host to ask, “Then why is he taking the Fifth?” Trump on Michael Cohen: “He represents me with this crazy Stormy Daniels deal, he represented me.” Trump has previously said he was unaware of Cohen’s efforts in Oct. 2016 to pay Stormy Daniels to remain silent about their alleged sexual encounter. — Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) April 26, 2018 4. White House doctor, Trump’s VA nominee, withdraws. Even before getting on the phone with “Fox and Friends,” there was already big news for the White House, as the day began with what many on Capitol Hill had been expecting, with White House physician Ronny Jackson announcing that he would drop his bid to be Veterans Secretary, amid growing reports of embarrassing personal stories. “He’s a great man, and he got treated very, very unfairly,” President Donald Trump told reporters, as he met with children of White House reporters just outside the Oval Office. For the President, the episode seemed to be an unforced political error, as he’s made veterans issues one of his main causes since entering office. President Trump on Dr. Ronny Jackson: 'He's a great man and he got treated very, very unfairly. He got treated really unfairly and he's a hell of a man.' #TakeYourChildToWorkDay pic.twitter.com/A93nWUpoDV — CSPAN (@cspan) April 26, 2018 5. Senators demand better vetting on next VA nominee. As the VA search resumed, members of both parties made clear they want the White House to look for someone with more experience, worried that the President’s first pick was done on a whim. “The best possible person that we can get,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), the Chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, when asked who the President should select. “I want to find the best person available that we can get,” Isakson told reporters. “The President put a guy out there who was not qualified,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH). “This was so bungled.” “I feel like they put the President in a bit of a difficult situation,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA).  “Maybe the vetting could have been done better.”  For now, the VA will keep its acting director, as the President must find a new nominee.  He fired the last VA Secretary, David Shulkin, in late March. MORE: Sen. Tester: 'My sleeves are rolled up and ready to work with Chairman Isakson to vet and confirm a Secretary who is fit to run the VA.” Tester also urges Congress 'to continue its investigation into the White House Medical Unit.' https://t.co/PY9QkvdZkG pic.twitter.com/iTg8SnXLtP — Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) April 26, 2018 6. Pompeo wins Senate approval as Secretary of State. As the White House tried to pick up the pieces surrounding the President’s failed VA pick, officials were able to celebrate a 57-42 vote in the Senate to confirm CIA chief Mike Pompeo as the next Secretary of State, giving the President a top diplomat who clearly seems more in line with Mr. Trump’s world view. Six Democrats – Donnelly (Indiana), Heitkamp (North Dakota), Jones (Alabama), Manchin (West Virginia), McCaskill (Missouri), and Nelson (Florida), joined with all Republicans, and one independent (King of Maine) in voting for Pompeo as the 70th Secretary of State. “He has the qualifications and experience necessary to successfully fulfill his role,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH).   In the midst of all of the other controversy involving the President and the White House on this Thursday, the Pompeo vote was a big win, as was later Senate approval of the President’s choice for Ambassador to Germany,  Richard Grenell. Pompeo starts with a bang: moments after he's sworn in, State Department announces he's going to Belgium (for NATO summit), Saudi Arabia, Israel and Jordan. Belgium was known, Middle East stops are new. — Nicholas Wadhams (@nwadhams) April 26, 2018 7. Pruitt dukes it out with lawmakers in contentious hearing. After weeks of stories about ethics issues involving his stewardship at the EPA, Administrator Scott Pruitt spent much of Thursday in the proverbial ‘hot seat’ in Congress, defending his work at the EPA, and warding off the verbal barbs of Democrats. “You are unfit to hold public office,” one said. “You seem unable to take responsibility for your actions,” added another. “In any other administration, Republican or Democrat, you would be long gone by now,” said one more Democrat.  While Pruitt sternly defended his decisions, he seemed to change his story on the exact reasons that he needed a $43,000 secure phone booth for his office, and altered his explanation of raises which were engineered for some of his top aides, as he left Democrats looking for deeper explanations on a variety of fronts. While Pruitt seemed to survive the theater of Thursday’s hearings, it wasn’t clear if he had inadvertently opened other lines of questions about some of his actions. “I was not aware of the amount,” EPA chief Scott Pruitt says when asked whether he knew about the pay raises for agency aides https://t.co/T3o3gVZHwM https://t.co/ABUclh2o2X — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) April 26, 2018 8. The first real push back on Russia from Congress. There has been talk for months from Republicans about how they could dissuade President Trump from threats to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller – but on Thursday – there was finally legislative action, as the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bipartisan bill which would allow the Judicial Branch to review the firing of someone like Mueller. The plan was supported by four Republicans, all the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. “While I do not believe President Trump intends to remove Special Counsel Mueller, I believe this legislation has enduring value for future special counsel investigations,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he will not schedule this bill for a vote – but it still represented the first real warning shot by the GOP Congress to the President on the Russia probe – and Mueller.   Look for Democrats to start making a lot of public calls for a vote on this bill, as they try to convince the President to leave Mueller alone. Four Republicans who voted for the special counsel bill: Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona. — Manu Raju (@mkraju) April 26, 2018 9. Diamond and Silk make their case to Congress. Almost any other day, the appearance on Capitol Hill of Diamond and Silk, a pair of black women who have become darlings of conservative politicians, would have made for big news – but instead it was merely a footnote in a day of fast-paced political events. At a House hearing that looked at political bias on the internet, the two social media personalities made the case that Facebook and YouTube had – on purpose – reduced their ability to make money by ‘monetizing’ videos on those social media platforms, simply because of their political views and support for President Trump. Any other day, this would have been playing live on the cable channels, and would have dominated social media. But on this Thursday, there was too much to digest. So, to paraphrase John Stewart’s line from the Daily Show, here’s your five minutes of Zen. Watching this video is also a good test, as one might expect that people on both sides will find reasons to like what they see and hear, no matter your personal political bias. 10. My kids don’t know how big their Thursday was. All of my kids have come to work with me over the years at the Capitol; this time I brought my two younger boys. They were tuckered out by mid-afternoon as I dragged them up and down the stairs, chasing lawmakers, doing interviews, checking the traps, and seeing old friends all around Capitol Hill. In the midst of all of the news, all the partisan bickering, all of the political drama, it’s important to remind people that those who work on Capitol Hill are good souls. My parents started work in the halls of Congress in the late 1950’s, and I’m still here almost 60 years later. We had just walked into the Capitol on Thursday when we ran into Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). It was just steps from where I remember – as a 12 year old – meeting Sen. Sam Ervin (D-NC). Maybe they’ll stick around Capitol Hill, maybe not. But it’s great to have them here. I just wish there had been a little less news. Take Your Kids to Work day starts fast for the Dupree boys with Sen Roy Blunt R-MO pic.twitter.com/MXak70XSpT — Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) April 26, 2018  

The Latest News Videos