On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

cloudy-day
46°
Clear
H 55° L 37°
  • cloudy-day
    46°
    Current Conditions
    Clear. H 55° L 37°
  • clear-night
    48°
    Evening
    Clear. H 55° L 37°
  • clear-night
    38°
    Morning
    Clear. H 50° L 35°
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

    President Donald Trump’s legal advocates for his Senate impeachment trial will include a pair of well-known attorneys who have vigorously defended Trump on television and played roles in some of the most consequential legal dramas in recent history. Among those assisting White House counsel Pat Cipollone and longtime Trump attorney Jay Sekulow on the defense will be Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated former President Bill Clinton. Former Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz also will play a role. A look at who's who: PAT CIPOLLONE The current White House counsel, Cipollone is an unassuming and private figure who built a career around complex litigation. While he doesn’t have extensive trial experience, he has worked on numerous high-profile cases, including the lawsuit against credit reporting company Equifax after a massive data breach. He also defended the University of Virginia student who claimed she was the victim of a gang rape at a fraternity house and was featured in a 2014 Rolling Stone article that was later retracted. In the White House, he has forcefully defended Trump's right to executive privilege and argued that congressional investigators have no right to question White House staffers about their conversations with the president. JAY SEKULOW Well known in conservative circles, Sekulow is one of the president's personal lawyers, having represented him during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. The host of a radio and TV talk show, Sekulow has extensive media experience. He has argued before the Supreme Court on at least a dozen occasions, including landmark cases on religious liberty. As chief counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice, Sekulow has also represented Trump in his fight to prevent the release of his tax returns. ALAN DERSHOWITZ A constitutional law expert and former Harvard professor, Dershowitz was part of O.J. Simpson's legal “dream team.' He voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016 but has nonetheless been a vocal public defender of Trump, writing a book titled “The Case Against Impeaching Trump.' Dershowitz said he will present oral arguments outlining the constitutional arguments against Trump's impeachment to “defend the integrity of the Constitution and to prevent the creation of a dangerous constitutional precedent.” He said he would not be a full-fledged member of the Trump legal team. Dershowitz has defended a number of controversial clients including Jeffrey Epstein, the multimillionaire who killed himself in jail last summer while awaiting trial on charges that he sexually abused multiple underage girls. One of Epstein’s accusers has also accused Dershowitz of participating in her abuse. Dershowitz has vehemently denied the accusation. KEN STARR Best known for his 1990s role as the independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton, Starr became a household name with his report on Clinton's extramarital relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. That led to Clinton's impeachment over 20 years ago. A former U.S. solicitor general and federal circuit court judge, Starr has been a regular guest on Fox News, defending Trump on his favored network. But he and Trump haven't always been on the same page. “I think that Ken Starr is a lunatic. I really think that Ken Starr is a disaster,” Trump said in an interview with NBC's “Today” in 1999. Starr was removed as president of Baylor University and then resigned as chancellor of the school in the wake of a review critical of the university’s handling of sexual assault allegations against football players. Starr was also involved in the representation of Epstein. ROBERT RAY A former federal prosecutor, Ray took over the Office of the Independent Counsel after Starr and is known for the lengthy report he wrote on the Clinton-Lewinsky affair. He now focuses on white-collar criminal defense matters and has appeared frequently on Fox News, defending the president. PAM BONDI The former attorney general of Florida and a longtime Trump supporter, Bondi joined the White House communications team late last year on a temporary basis to help shape the administration's defense strategy. After stepping down from her Florida position in January, she worked as a lobbyist for Ballard Partners, representing clients including General Motors, the commissioner of Major League Baseball and a Christian anti-human-trafficking advocacy group. She also registered as a foreign agent for the government of Qatar and as a lobbyist for a Kuwaiti firm, according to Justice Department foreign agent filings and congressional lobbying documents. JANE RASKIN The former federal attorney handled organized crime and racketeering cases and now has a legal practice with her husband in Florida. In the 1980s, she was a trial attorney with the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section’s Boston Strike Force, and her cases included the nine-month trial and conviction of the underboss of the New England Mafia. She also served as counsel to the assistant attorney general of the Justice Department's Criminal Division in Washington and as first assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Massachusetts. She and her husband, Martin Raskin, later formed a law firm based in Coral Gables, Florida. The two worked with Sekulow and Rudy Giuliani during the Mueller investigation. ERIC D. HERSCHMANN He is a partner at Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP, a law firm that has represented Trump in numerous cases over the last 15 years. Herschmann served various roles at the Southern Union Company, a natural gas utility, including as senior executive vice president, president and chief operating officer. According to his law firm's website, he aided in the sale of the company in 2012 for more than $10 billion. He also previously worked as a senior litigation counsel and as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton has advice for Democratic voters faced with an unsettled field of presidential contenders: pick a winner. “This is an election that will have such profound impact, so take your vote seriously,” Clinton said. “And for Democratic voters, try to vote for the person you think is most likely to win. Because at the end of the day, that is what will matter — and not just in the popular vote, but the electoral college.” Voters must act thoughtfully “because Lord knows what will happen if we don’t retire the current incumbent and his henchmen, as (House Speaker) Nancy Pelosi so well described them,” the former first lady said. Clinton, who won a majority of votes in the 2016 election but lost to GOP candidate Donald Trump in the electoral tally, made her comments Friday during a Q&A session with TV critics about a new Hulu documentary on her life and career, “Hillary.” The session largely focused on the documentary directed and produced by Nanette Burstein and ended before any questions about President Trump’s impeachment trial were asked. Former President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 in connection with his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He was not convicted in the Senate trial. “Hillary,” which includes what’s described as previously unseen footage from the 2016 campaign as part of an “intimate portrait” of Clinton, debuts March 6 on the Hulu streaming service. What started out as a campaign documentary became something more expansive, said the former secretary of state for President Barack Obama. Clinton recalled Burstein telling her it was a “bigger story” that needed to be told, one that was part of the arc of 'women’s history and advancement, choices that are made. I’m not running for anything, I’m not in office, so I said, ‘Sure, why don’t we give it a try.’ And off we went.” The filmmaker said a main goal was to help people see 'this is a historical figure who is incredibly polarizing and why. When you actually get to know her and really understand the intimate moments of her life ... you realize how misguided we can be in the way we understand history and media.” Clinton was asked what she took away from the film’s depiction of her journey. “One was the recognition that I have been often, in my view, mischaracterized or misperceived, and I have to bear a lot of the responsibility for that. Whatever the combination of reasons might be, I certainly didn’t do a good enough job to break through the perceptions that were out there,” she said.
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday broke nearly 72 hours of silence over alleged surveillance and threats to the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, saying he believed the allegations would prove to be wrong but that he had an obligation to evaluate and investigate the matter. In interviews with conservative radio hosts, Pompeo said he had no knowledge of the allegations until earlier this week when congressional Democrats released documents from an associate of President Donald Trump's personal attorney suggesting that Marie Yovanovitch was being watched. He also said he did not know and had never met Lev Parnas, the associate of Rudy Giuliani who made the claims. Pompeo, who was traveling in California when the documents were released, had been harshly criticized by lawmakers and current and former diplomats for not addressing the matter. The documents provided by Parnas suggested there may have been a threat to Yovanovitch shortly before she was abruptly recalled last spring. “We will do everything we need to do to evaluate whether there was something that took place there,” he said in a radio interview with Tony Katz, an Indianapolis-based broadcaster. 'I suspect that much of what’s been reported will ultimately prove wrong, but our obligation, my obligation as secretary of state, is to make sure that we evaluate, investigate. Any time there is someone who posits that there may have been a risk to one of our officers, we’ll obviously do that.” “It is always the case at the Department of State that we do everything we can to ensure that our officers, not only our ambassadors but our entire team, has the security level that’s appropriate,' Pompeo said. “We do our best to make sure that no harm will come to anyone, whether that was what was going on in our embassy in Baghdad last week or the work that was going on in Kyiv up and through the spring of last year when Ambassador Yovanovitch was there, and in our embassy in Kyiv even today,” he said. Pompeo made similar but less specific comments to conservative commentator Hugh Hewitt. Until he spoke, the State Department had declined repeated requests to offer any public defense of Yovanovitch, drawing fire from many. House Democrats on Friday evening released a new batch of messages from Parnas that added to the questions about the ambassador's security. In them, an unidentified individual with a Belgian country code appears to describe Yovanovitch's movements. “Nothing has changed she is still not moving checked today again,” the individual wrote in one message, later adding, “it's confirmed we have a person inside.” In another message the person wrote, “She had visitors.” The ouster of Yovanovitch as ambassador is central to the impeachment inquiry into Trump, who faces a charge that he abused his presidential power by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden, using military aid to the country as leverage. Trump says the inquiry is a “hoax.” At the time, Trump’s allies were trying to have Yovanovitch, who was seen as a roadblock to a Biden investigation, removed from her post. She was recalled in late May ahead of the end of her tour. Yovanovitch returned to Washington after being told in a late-night phone call to get on the next plane home for her own safety by the director general of the Foreign Service, according to witness testimony in the impeachment inquiry. The nature of any possible threat was not specified and remains unclear, although the Parnas documents suggest the surveillance was a prelude to some kind of action.
  • President Donald Trump has assembled a made-for-TV legal team for his Senate trial that includes household names like Ken Starr, the prosecutor whose investigation two decades ago resulted in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said he will deliver constitutional arguments meant to shield Trump from allegations that he abused his power. The additions Friday bring experience in the politics of impeachment as well as constitutional law to the team, which faced a busy weekend of deadlines for legal briefs before opening arguments begin Tuesday even as more evidence rolled in. The two new Trump attorneys are already nationally known both for their involvement in some of the more consequential legal dramas of recent American history and for their regular appearances on Fox News, the president's preferred television network. Dershowitz is a constitutional expert whose expansive views of presidential powers echo those of Trump. Starr is a veteran of partisan battles in Washington, having led the investigation into Clinton's affair with a White House intern that brought about the president's impeachment by the House. Clinton was acquitted at his Senate trial, the same outcome Trump is expecting from the Republican-led chamber. Still, the lead roles for Trump's defense will be played by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and Trump personal lawyer Jay Sekulow, who also represented Trump during special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation. Democrats released more documents late Friday from Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, with photos, text and audio, as they make their case against the president over his actions toward Ukraine. There are some signs of tension involving the president's outside legal team and lawyers within the White House. Some White House officials bristled that the announcement was not coordinated with them. The White House waited until late Friday night to confirm the full roster of the president's lawyers. Hours after Dershowitz announced his involvement with the team in a series of tweets Friday, he played down his role by saying he would be present for only an hour or so to make constitutional arguments. “I'm not a full-fledged member of the defense team,' he told 'The Dan Abrams Show' on SiriusXM. He has long been a critic of “the overuse of impeachment,' he said, and would have made the same case for a President Hillary Clinton. A legal brief laying out the contours of the Trump defense, due at noon Monday, was still being drafted, with White House attorneys and the outside legal team grappling over how political the document should be. Those inside the administration have echoed warnings from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that the pleadings must be sensitive to the Senate's more staid traditions and leave the sharper rhetoric to Twitter and cable news. White House lawyers were successful in keeping Trump from adding House Republicans to the team, but they also advised him against tapping Dershowitz, according to two people who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal discussions. They're concerned because of the professor's association with Jeffrey Epstein, the millionaire who killed himself in jail last summer while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges. A Fox News host said on the air that Starr would be parting ways with the network as a result of his role on the legal team. Other members of Trump's legal defense include Pam Bondi, the former Florida attorney general; Jane Raskin, who was part of the president's legal team during Mueller's investigation; Robert Ray, who was part of the Whitewater investigation of the Clintons; and Eric D. Herschmann of the Kasowitz Benson Torres legal firm, which has represented Trump in numerous cases over the last 15 years. Giuliani told The Associated Press that the president has assembled a “top-notch” defense team and he was not disappointed not to be included. Giuliani, who many in the White House blame for leading Trump down the path to impeachment by fueling Ukraine conspiracies, had previously expressed interest in being on the legal team. But he said Friday his focus would be on being a potential witness, though there is no certainty that he would be called. “I will be getting ready to testify,” he said. Trump was impeached by the House last month on charges of abuse of power and obstructing Congress, stemming from his pressure on Ukraine to investigate Democratic rivals as he was withholding security aid, and his efforts to block the ensuing congressional probe. Senators were sworn in as jurors Thursday by Chief Justice John Roberts. The president insists he did nothing wrong, and he complains about his treatment daily, sometimes distracting from unrelated events. On Friday, as Trump welcomed the championship Louisiana State University football team to the Oval Office for photos, he said the space had seen “a lot of presidents, some good, some not so good. But you got a good one now, even though they’re trying to impeach the son of a bitch. Can you believe that?” While the president speaks dismissively of the case, new revelations are mounting about his actions toward Ukraine. The Government Accountability Office said Thursday that the White House violated federal law in withholding the security assistance to Ukraine, which shares a border with hostile Russia. Democrats deep into their own preparations released more information from the trove Parnas has turned over to prosecutors linking the president to the shadow foreign policy being run by Giuliani. Friday's release included multiple photos of the Soviet-born Florida businessman, including several with Giuliani and some with Trump and Trump's son, Don Jr. It also included messages between Parnas and a staff member for Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., a Trump ally. The GAO report and Parnas documents have applied fresh pressure to senators to call more witnesses for the trial, a main source of contention that is still to be resolved. The White House has instructed officials not to comply with subpoenas from Congress requesting witnesses or other information. Views on it all are decidedly mixed in the Senate, reflective of the nation at the start of this election year. “I’ll be honest, a lot of us do see it as a political exercise,” Republican Joni Ernst of Iowa told reporters on a conference call. “The whole process has really been odd or unusual or bizarre.' Others spoke of the seriousness of the moment. “Totally somber,” tweeted Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut. He sits next to Elizabeth Warren, one of four senators running for the Democratic nomination to challenge Trump in the fall, and said they agreed their “overwhelming emotion was sadness.” All said they will be listening closely to all arguments. As she filed for re-election Friday in West Virginia, GOP Sen. Shelley Moore Capito told reporters, “I think it's been a very politicized process to this point and the president hasn't had a chance to present his side.' Starr, besides his 1990s role as independent counsel, is a former U.S. solicitor general and federal circuit court judge. More recently, he was removed as president of Baylor University and then resigned as chancellor of the school in the wake of a review critical of the university's handling of sexual assault allegations against football players. Starr said his resignation was the result of the university's board of regents seeking to place the school under new leadership following the scandal, not because he was accused of hiding or failing to act on information. Dershowitz’s reputation has been damaged in recent years by his association with Epstein. One of Epstein’s alleged victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, has accused Dershowitz of participating in her abuse. Dershowitz has denied it and has been battling in court for years with Giuffre and her lawyers. He recently wrote a book, “Guilt by Accusation,” rejecting her allegations. Giuffre and Dershowitz are also suing each other for defamation, each saying the other is lying. _____ Associated Press writers David Caruso in New York, David Pitt in Iowa, Anthony Izaguirre in West Virginia, Sean Murphy in Oklahoma and Lisa Mascaro in Washington contributed to this report.
  • Rep. Ayanna Pressley, whose hair twists have been an inspiration to young girls and part of her personal identity and political brand, said Thursday that she has gone bald due to the auto immune condition called alopecia. The freshman Massachusetts' Democrat made a touching video for The Root, the African American-focused website, in which she revealed her bald head and said she felt compelled to go public due to the impact her Senegalese twists had on supporters. Senegalese twists are a protective hairstyle worn by black women, much like braided hairstyles. Her style was noteworthy in how Afrocentric it was. In many corporations, black women are expected to wear their hair straightened (though their hair tends to be more coily) and the legacy of black women wearing their hair close to or in its natural state is fraught and intertwined with the legacy of racism. She called her hair story “both personal and political” as she embraced her twists, but noticed back in the fall that her hair was falling out. The hair loss progressed in chunks until the night before the Dec. 18 House vote on impeachment articles against President Donald Trump, when she said she lost the last of it. “I didn't have the luxury of mourning what felt like the loss of a limb,” Pressley said. “It was a moment of transformation not of my choosing.” She donned a wig, explained her vote from the podium on the House floor, then fled to a bathroom stall. “I felt naked, exposed, vulnerable. I felt embarrassed. I felt ashamed. I felt betrayed,” Pressley said. “And then I also felt that I was participating in a cultural betrayal because of all the little girls who write me letters, come up to me, take selfies with me. Hashtag twist nation.” Pressley kept her hair loss a secret, revealing her condition only to close friends and family, but she knew she would go public when she felt ready. 'I felt like I owed all those little girls an explanation,' she said. “My husband says I don't, that everything isn't political. The reality is I'm black, I'm a black woman, and I'm a black woman in politics, and everything I do is political.” Alopecia areata is a common autoimmune skin disease, causing hair loss on the scalp, face and sometimes on other areas of the body, according to the website of the National Alopecia Areata Foundation. The National Institutes of Health says nearly 2% of Americans have the disease. Debra Hare-Bey, a master braider and cosmetologist in Brooklyn, told The Associated Press that Pressley's twist styles were a powerful message in the black community, and alopecia is a persistent problem. “We've been discriminated against on the basis of our hair. It's a very prideful thing to be able to wear your hair in its natural state and not have someone discriminate against you,” she said. Hare-Bey pointed to a movement co-founded by Dove, called the CROWN Coalition (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair), with the National Urban League, Color Of Change and the Western Center on Law and Poverty. The mission is to push for anti-hair discrimination legislation on the state level. The coalition sponsored The CROWN Act, which has been signed into law in California, the first state to make hair discrimination illegal. The bill has recently passed both the New York Senate and the Assembly and has also been introduced in New Jersey. The bills, according to the coalition's website, ensure that traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and hairstyle, are protected from discrimination in the workplace and in K-12 public and charter schools. Pressley, meanwhile, said she's still trying to find her way forward in her alopecia journey and went public to free herself from the secret. She joked about her nicknames for her wigs, including one she dubbed “FLOTUS, because it feels very Michelle Obama to me.” “I am making peace with alopecia,' she said. 'I have not arrived there. ... but I'm making progress every day.”
  • President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate promises to be one of the most heavily scrutinized events in American political history. But the journalists covering the trial are warning that restrictions on media access will cripple their ability to do their job. “The proposed restrictions exceed those put in place during the State of the Union, Inauguration Day or even during the Clinton impeachment trial 20 years ago,” Sarah Wire, a Los Angeles Times reporter who heads the Standing Committee of Correspondents, wrote Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. A preliminary security plan would greatly limit the movement of credentialed media members. Journalists would be restricted to a designated area and could only speak to senators who approached them. Under normal conditions, credentialed journalists can informally approach lawmakers in the hallways or on the way to the elevator or the Senate subway. “That’s the bread and butter of what we do here. That’s where you get that extra nugget of information,” Wire said in an interview with The Associated Press. Members of the press corps are also asking for a waiver of the traditional ban on laptops and cellphones, which would enable them to file breaking news updates from gallery seats inside the Senate chamber, but that request has apparently been rejected. The security plan would also place a magnetometer at the door of the gallery seats to scan journalists as they enter and prevent them from bringing in electronics. Between the magnetometer and the constant need for journalists to leave and reenter the chamber in order to file stories, Wire wrote on Twitter that “the Senate trial will have a soundtrack of “beep, beep, beep” as 90+ reporters walk in and out all day.” Members of the press corps met last week with representatives from the office of the Senate Sergeant at Arms, seeking clarification on how the proposed restrictions would actually enhance security. Wire said the meeting ended inconclusively and that the journalists' requests have been largely ignored. “Right now we're just getting silence,” she said. Sen. Roy Blunt, the chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, said the changes are necessary to keep the emotional and intense impeachment proceedings running smoothly. Blunt, R-Mo., told reporters on Tuesday that keeping senators from being mobbed in the hallways was “a legitimate concern” and that legislators need to be able to handle their historic duties “without having to fight their way onto an elevator.” But the plan has also drawn criticism from senators from both parties. “I’m a staunch believer in the First Amendment and I think this is wrong,” said Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, a member of the Senate rules committee, in an interview with CBS News after participating in Tuesday's presidential debate. “I don’t know why, at this very important moment where you would want to allow the people to see it, they’re deciding to pull back access. I have my own theories, of course, and they’re not good ones.” Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., called the restrictions “a huge mistake” and said they seemed designed to shield senators from having to deal with crowds of journalists in the hallways. “There is an effort to limit the press,” Kennedy told The Associated Press. 'Senators are grown women and grown men. If they don’t want to make a comment they know how to say, ‘No comment.’” Efforts to contact the Capitol Police and the Senate Sergeant at Arms for comment were unsuccessful. ___ Associated Press reporter Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.
  • CNN is drawing fire from Bernie Sanders supporters for a debate moderator's question that appeared to dismiss his denial of a story that he had told rival Elizabeth Warren that a woman couldn't win the presidential election. The issue, first raised in a story reported by CNN earlier this week, became a part of CNN's coverage Tuesday of a debate between Democratic presidential candidates co-sponsored with the Des Moines Register. Sanders was pressed by CNN political correspondent Abby Phillip, one of the debate moderators, who asked him: “I want to be clear here. You're saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?” “That is correct,” he replied. She then turned to Warren and asked, “What did you think when Senator Sanders told you that a woman could not win an election?” There was some laughter from the audience, and Sanders shook his head. It was an odd moment: Phillip, a veteran of the Washington Post, ABC News and Politico, was appearing to dismiss Sanders' denial or imply that it was not believable. The fact that CNN broke the initial story about the alleged conversation between the candidates, first based on anonymous sourcing but then confirmed by Warren, added another layer of intrigue. It provoked anger among Sanders supporters on Twitter, one of whom wrote that fellow fans of the Vermont senator should tweet to CNN “and let them know just how bad and unreasonable” its work on the debate had been. The Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank, wrote Wednesday that it was a stunning moment — “stunning it its ineptness, and stunning in its unprofessionalism.” Phillip's question to Warren “was tantamount to calling Sanders a liar, and that certainly should not be a moderator's job, especially when Philip had the opportunity to ask Warren directly if Sanders ever told her that,' Poynter said. 'If Warren said yes, then and only then should Phillip have asked what Warren thought.” CNN on Wednesday would not comment publicly on the question. Warren went on to make one of her most-quoted statements of the night, noting that she and fellow candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar had won all of their elections while the men on stage hadn't.
  • Elizabeth Warren made a forceful case for a female president and stood behind her accusation suggesting sexism by progressive rival Bernie Sanders in a Democratic debate that raised gender as a key issue in the sprint to Iowa’s presidential caucuses. Sanders vehemently denied Warren's accusation, which threatened to split the Democratic Party’s left flank -- as well as the senators' longtime liberal alliance -- at a critical moment less than three weeks before voting begins. “Look at the men on this stage. Collectively they have lost 10 elections,” Warren exclaimed on Tuesday night. 'The only people on this stage who have won every single election that they’ve been in are the women.” An incredulous Sanders responded: “Does anybody in their right mind think a woman can’t be elected president?” he asked. “Of course a woman can win.' There was a final moment of tension between Sanders and Warren after the debate ended. Having shaken the hands of her other competitors, Warren was shown in video declining to shake Sanders' extended hand. With the Democratic field tightly bunched among four leading candidates, the debate offered an opportunity for separation. But none of the six candidates on stage had the kind of moment likely to reshape the race in the final weeks before voting starts. Instead, the debate was generally marked by a focus on weighty issues of foreign policy, climate change and how to provide health care for all Americans. Even when disputes emerged, most candidates quickly pivoted to note their larger differences with President Donald Trump. For his part, Trump spent Tuesday night campaigning in Wisconsin, a state that is critical to his reelection effort. He tried to encourage the feud between Sanders and Warren from afar. “She said that Bernie stated strongly that a woman can’t win,' Trump said. “I don’t believe that Bernie said that, I really don’t. It’s not the kind of thing Bernie would say.' Despite such prodding, the debate stage drama was far from the explosion some Democrats feared. Candidates moved with ease through a variety of topics, disagreeing with each other but generally avoiding personal attacks. Sanders did step up his attacks on former Vice President Joe Biden over his past support of the Iraq War and broad free-trade agreements. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who was mired in the middle of the pack, seized on Warren's shifting positions on health care. Billionaire Tom Steyer acknowledged making money from investments in the fossil fuel industry, but highlighted his decade-long fight to combat climate change, an issue that came up repeatedly throughout the night. Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, sometimes struggled for attention in a debate that often featured points of conflict between his rivals. Perhaps his strongest moment came when he described how, as a military veteran who is vocal about his faith, he could stand up to Trump in a general election. “I'm ready to take on Donald Trump because when he gets to the tough talk and the chest thumping, he'll have to stand next to an American war veteran and explain how he pretended bone spurs made him ineligible to serve,' Buttigieg said. “And if a guy like Donald Trump keeps trying to use religion to somehow recruit Christianity into the GOP, I will be standing there not afraid to talk about a different way to answer the call of faith and insist that God does not belong to a political party.' Questions surrounding war and foreign policy dominated early on. Sanders drew a sharp contrast with Biden by noting his own opposition to a 2002 measure authorizing military action against Iraq. Sanders called the Iraq invasion “the worst foreign policy blunder in the modern history of this country.' “I did everything I could to prevent that war,” Sanders said. “Joe saw it differently.' Biden acknowledged that his 2002 vote to authorize military action was “a mistake,” but highlighted his role in the Obama administration helping to draw down the U.S. military presence in the region. Several candidates condemned Trump's recent move to kill Iran's top general and his decision to keep U.S. troops in the region. “We have to get combat troops out,” declared Warren, who also called for reducing the military budget. Others, including Buttigieg, Biden and Klobuchar, said they favored maintaining a small military presence in the Middle East. “I bring a different perspective,' said Buttigeg. 'We can continue to remain engaged without having an endless commitment to ground troops.” The debate featured just six candidates, the fewest of any such forum this cycle after escalating party rules prevented other candidates from participating. For the first time, not a single candidate of color appeared on stage. Every candidate was white, and four were men. That was a stark contrast from the earlier days of the 2020 contest, which featured the most diverse field of candidates in history. The party is trying to navigate broader debates over how to reflect and embrace the crucial role women and minority voters will play in 2020. To defeat Trump this fall, Democrats need to ensure black, Latino and suburban voters are excited to vote for them against the Republican president. The debate marked one of the final moments the senators in the race will participate in a campaign-related event before returning to Washington to sit as jurors in Trump's impeachment trial. Those proceedings are likely to begin by the end of the week, making it difficult for senators running for president to spend time with voters Iowa in the contest’s final days. “Some things are more important than politics,” Warren said. “I will be there because it is my responsibility.” ___ Peoples and Superville reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Bill Barrow in Des Moines contributed to this report. ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”
  • On a recent swing through Iowa, Andrew Yang was moving through his stump speech, a string of stories and statistics that can sound like an economics seminar. There was talk of flawed indicators and his signature plan to give a monthly check to every American. He warned about a dark and near future where America's highways are filled with trucks driven by robots. One crossed the U.S. last month with a trailer full of butter. “Google it,' he said. But with the first votes of the Democratic primary due to be cast within weeks, a woman inside a crammed coffee shop had a more immediate concern for the 44-year-old entrepreneur who has become one of the surprise survivors of the long contest: What if we go to caucus for you on Feb. 3, she asked, and you don’t have enough support to win delegates? Why should we waste our votes? After months of running on unconventional campaign strategies, cool branding and novel ideas, Yang has arrived at a new point in the 2020 campaign — one governed by the conventional rules of election and where the idea that matters most is your strategy for winning. The candidate powered by the online buzz is now trying to make it on the real, and often uncool, campaign trail through Iowa and New Hampshire. While other second-tier candidates in the race are planning to use money and advertising to make an end-run around those early voting states, Yang says he's largely sticking to the traditional path. His campaign staff has grown from about 30 people last summer to over 300, most in early voting states, and he's hired some well-known political hands, including the ad team from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 campaign. He's paid for it all with strong online fundraising, raising more than $16 million in the final quarter of last year. That's more than all but the top four candidates in the race, including two senators and a former vice president. And the candidate who loves to talk about number crunching, data, and his plan to use a Power Point during his State of the Union address, assured the woman in Davenport that she didn't need to worry. “We have done the math,” he said, a nod to his campaign slogan Make America Think Harder, abbreviated on hats and pins as just MATH. But major challenges remain for a campaign that has compared itself to a startup and that saw most of its early success online, with supporters who were mostly young and male. Yang did not meet Democratic National Committee polling requirements to participate in next Tuesday’s debate, the first time he’s failed to make the stage this election cycle. A Des Moines Register/CNN poll released Friday showed him with 5% support in Iowa, well behind the front- runners: former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Yang and his supporters complain that his campaign hasn't received as much media coverage as it deserves, a grievance aired enough to make #mediablackout trend on Twitter. This week a cable news station included him in a graphic showing recent fundraising totals — but mistakenly used a photo of Geoff Yang, founder of a Silicon Valley venture capital firm, rather than the candidate. Andrew Yang said he raised enough money last quarter to reach voters in the final weeks before voting starts and continues to see strong fundraising numbers. He’s also getting some help from celebrity endorsements, including comedian Dave Chappelle, who will perform at a fundraiser in South Carolina, and Donald Glover, an actor and musician who performs music as Childish Gambino and recently joined Yang’s campaign as a creative consultant. “Americans are very smart and they recognize the truth when they hear it … and their contributions have given us a chance to make this case to the American people out there, all through the primary season,” Yang said after a stop in Tipton, Iowa, a rural community in a county that supported Republican Donald Trump in 2016. Yang said his goal in Iowa is to surprise people by being “on the leader board,” though he wouldn’t say what place he needs to finish in. He said there are “a lot of natural strengths” for his campaign in New Hampshire, where there are a large number of Libertarians, along with former Trump voters and progressives, whom he considers his voters. A strong showing there, Yang believes, will help propel him through the other early voting states, Nevada and New Hampshire, and into the Super Tuesday contests on March 3. “We'll be here the whole spring,” he said. Yang’s core message has focused on the changing economy and millions of jobs lost to automation and artificial intelligence, particularly in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, where voters were swayed by Trump’s promises to bring back American jobs. He says companies like Amazon, Google and Facebook that make money off automation and data should be taxed more to pay for his so-called freedom dividend, the $1,000 monthly payment Yang would give to Americans 18 and older. Iowa Democratic strategist Jeff Link said he’s been impressed with the way Yang has been able to share his point of view on the changing economy, make it real for voters and talk about it in an approachable way. But Link said there are many undecided Iowa voters who will be making up their minds in the coming weeks, and while having millions in a campaign fund is helpful, not qualifying for the debate stage is “a big deal.” “The No. 1 thing for voters is who is the candidate most likely to beat Trump,” Link said. “It’s hard to argue you’re the best candidate if you can’t make the debate.” Jerry Stoefen, who was a union plumber for 42 years and farms outside Tipton, attended Yang’s event there and said he was glad to see someone talking about the loss of manufacturing jobs. The 62-year-old said he has narrowed his choices to Yang, Sanders and Buttigieg. Stoefen said he believes Yang’s idea of giving $1,000 a month to people could work. But he said it might be a little too out there for many in his farming community. “They think it’s just the craziest idea they ever heard,” he said. “They really do.” Allison Ambrose, 57, an accounting professor from Davenport, called Yang a “breath of fresh air” but is also considering Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “He knows the solutions to the problems we don’t even know we have,” Ambrose said, though she also has her concerns. “Maybe because he's so different, and his lack of experience and his youth, that I'm not sure how electable he is.” Yang isn't the first nontraditional candidate to make a White House bid, and few have been successful. There have only been four presidents age 46 — the age Yang would be on Inauguration Day — or younger, and the majority of presidents have served as governors, senators, vice presidents or Cabinet members. Only one has not held political office and has no military experience: Trump. So there are voters like Barb Larson, 78, who may not write Yang off. Larson saw Yang speak at a bowling alley in Clinton, Iowa, where the candidate took a few turns bowling after addressing the crowd. Larson, who also is considering Warren, Sanders and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, left the event pleasantly surprised. She said she'll rely on her “gut feeling” come caucus day. “I really, really like what he had to say about what he will do for us,” Larson said. “He’s made me more confused.” ___ Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”
  • The White House is considering dramatically expanding its much-litigated travel ban to additional countries amid a renewed election-year focus on immigration by President Donald Trump, according to six people familiar with the deliberations. A document outlining the plans — timed to coincide with the third anniversary of Trump's January 2017 executive order — has been circulating the White House. But the countries that would be affected if it moves forward are blacked out, according to two of the people, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the measure has yet to be finalized. It's unclear exactly how many countries would be included in the expansion if it proceeds, but two of the people said that seven countries — a majority of them Muslim — would be added to the list. The most recent iteration of the ban includes restrictions on five majority-Muslim nations: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen, as well as Venezuela and North Korea. A different person said the expansion could include several countries that were covered in the first iteration of Trump's ban, but later removed amid rounds of contentious litigation. Iraq, Sudan and Chad, for instance, had originally been affected by the order, which the Supreme Court upheld in a 5-4 vote after the administration released a watered-down version intended to withstand legal scrutiny. Trump, who had floated a banning all Muslims from entering the country during his 2016 campaign, criticized his Justice Department for the changes, tweeting that DOJ “should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.” The countries on the proposed expansion list include allies that fall short on certain security measures. The additional restrictions were proposed by Department of Homeland Security officials following a review of security protocols and “identity management” for about 200 countries, according to the person. White House House spokesman Hogan Gidley declined to confirm the plan, but praised the travel ban for making the country safer. “The Travel Ban has been very successful in protecting our Country and raising the security baseline around the world,' he said in a statement. “While there are no new announcements at this time, common-sense and national security both dictate that if a country wants to fully participate in U.S. immigration programs, they should also comply with all security and counter-terrorism measures -- because we do not want to import terrorism or any other national security threat into the United States.' Several of the people said they expected the announcement to be timed to coincide with the third anniversary of Trump's first, explosive travel ban, which was announced without warning on Jan. 27, 2017 — days after Trump took office. That order sparked an uproar, with massive protests across the nation and chaos at airports where passengers were detained. The current ban suspends immigrant and non-immigrant visas to applicants from the affected countries, but it allows exceptions, including for students and those who have established “significant contacts” in the U.S.. And it represents a significant softening from Trump's initial order, which had suspended travel from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen for 90 days, blocked refugee admissions for 120 days and suspended travel from Syria. That order was immediately blocked by the courts, prompting a months-long effort by the administration to develop clear standards and federal review processes to try to withstand legal muster. Under the current system, restrictions are targeted at countries the Department of Homeland Security says fail to share sufficient information with the U.S. or haven’t taken necessary security precautions, such as issuing electronic passports with biometric information and sharing information about travelers’ terror-related and criminal histories. The new proposal was also quickly drawing sharp criticism. “Different Muslim Ban – same xenophobic Administration,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. “An expanded Muslim Ban will worsen our relationships with countries around the world. It won't do anything to make our country safer. It will harm refugees, alienate our allies and give extremists propaganda for recruitment.” An official with Refugees International, a nonprofit that advocates for the displaced worldwide, said the news was very disappointing. “The news that President Trump is planning to add countries to his travel ban should be heartbreaking to all Americans,' said U.S. Senior Advocate Yael Schacher. 'Thousands of people have been cruelly and unreasonably separated from relatives because of the already existing ban. They have been stranded in conflict zones like Syria, Yemen, and Somalia. This is a shameful attempt by the President to misuse his power to expand a ban that principally impacts individuals from the Muslim world.” Under the existing order, Cabinet secretaries are also required to update the president regularly on whether countries are abiding by the new immigration security benchmarks. Countries that fail to comply risk new restrictions and limitations, while countries that comply can have their restrictions lifted. The discussions come as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prepares to transmit to the Senate the articles of impeachment the Democratic-led House passed against Trump late last year, launching a formal impeachment trial just as the 2020 election year gets underway. Trump in December became just the third president in history to be impeached by the House. The Republican-controlled Senate is not expected to remove him from office. Trump ran his 2016 campaign promising to crack down on illegal immigration and spent much of his first term fighting lawsuits trying to halt his push to build a wall along the southern border, prohibit the entry of citizens from several majority-Muslim countries and crack down on migrants seeking asylum in the U.S., amid other measures. He is expected to press those efforts again this year as he ramps up his reelection campaign and works to energize his base with his signature issue, inevitably stoking Democratic anger. Just this week, a coalition of leading civil rights organizations urged House leaders to take up the No Ban Act, legislation to end Trump’s travel ban and prevent a new one. The bill introduced last year by Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., with Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., in the Senate, would impose limits on the president’s ability to restrict entry to the U.S. It would require the administration to spell out its reasons for the restrictions and specifically prohibit religious discrimination. ___ Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Matthew Lee and Colleen Long contributed to this report from Washington.

The Latest News Headlines

  • Police in Fayetteville, North Carolina, said a man broke into a home and forced a woman and a 1-month-old boy into a car at gunpoint, according to WTVD. The home invasion and kidnapping happened Monday at 1:12 a.m. Wani Thomas broke into a home on Tangerine Drive and forced Jasmine Livermore and the baby boy, Nathaniel Thomas, into a vehicle, police said. Authorities are currently searching for all three. Thomas is considered armed and dangerous and last seen wearing a brown jacket with blue jeans. Livermore, 20, was last seen wearing gray pants, a brown shirt and a camouflage jacket. Anyone with information should call Fayetteville police at (910) 676-2597 or Cumberland County Crimestoppers at (910) 483-8477.
  • The Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department rescued a man that was stuck in a tree in Atlantic Beach Sunday afternoon.  Video taken from the scene shows a ladder truck ascending into a large oak tree.   JFRD tweeted that the man was rescued from the tree safely and was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries.
  • As many as six people were shot in a violent weekend across Jacksonville. And the common thing in all these cases, no arrests. Two of the shootings happened within a block of each other on Justina Road in Arlington.  A man was sitting at a bus stop by when he was shot by someone in a red SUV on Saturday afternoon.  Hours later a person was shot nearby and hospitalized with injuries.  Late Sunday night a man was shot in the leg on Old Kings near Edgewood. The man was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.  On Friday night two men in their 20's were injured in a shooting off Kings Road on the northwest side.  One man was hit in the lower leg and the other was struck in the upper torso. Both were taken to a local hospital for treatment.  JSO says the shooting happened in a Shot Spotter area, and the technology system captured three gunshots.  On Friday around 8pm, a man in his 30’s was shot and killed on Brooklyn Road in the Moncrief area. JSO detectives were trying to locate any witnesses or video surveillance. 
  • Coming off a weekend in the 70's, a strong cold front brought drenching rain on Sunday afternoon, followed by a chill. Action News Jax Meteorologist Corey Simma is tracking temps well below average.  “Mostly sunny and cold with temperatures in the 50’s all day. And then clear and cold Monday night and Tuesday morning with some patchy inland frost”, said Simma.   Tuesday looks to be the coldest day this week, as we’ll struggle to reach 50 degrees. A breeze will keep it feeling even colder. We stay below average on Wednesday, with temperatures only in the 50’s.  The mid-60’s return on Thursday, and on Friday we’ll be near 70 but with scattered showers. 
  • The Jacksonville Humane Society and Animal Care and Protective Services announced the city of Jacksonville, once again, earned the no-kill designation for the year of 2019. According to Best Friends Animal Society, “A no-kill community is a city or town in which every brick-and-mortar shelter serving and/or located within that community has reached a 90% save rate or higher and adheres to the no-kill philosophy, saving every animal who can be saved.'  According to a release put out by the JHS, the save rate for APCS was 90 percent and for JHS it was 95 percent, making a citywide save rate of 93 percent.  In total, 16,874 animals entered the JHS shelters in 2019, which is a significant decrease from 19,366 animals in 2018, according to the JHS.  According to JHS, Jacksonville earned the distinction of being the largest city in the United States to earn a no-kill status. The city has maintained that status until last year when ACPS save rate fell to 86 percent.  “Examining the data and trends in 2017 and 2018 resulted in our renewed focus on cats and kittens in 2019,” said Deisler. “As a community, we had to take a look at ourselves ask – what can we do to save those lives? We knew that with the help of our community, a return to no-kill was possible. We are excited about the results from 2019 and even more excited for 2020. Thank you, Jacksonville!”

The Latest News Videos