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    Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an interview posted Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein broached the idea of using the Constitution to oust President Donald Trump, saying the Justice Department official 'discussed it with me in the context of thinking about how many other cabinet officials might support such an effort.' McCabe, in his interview with '60 Minutes,' said Rosenstein was discussing 'counting votes or possible votes' to invoke the Constitution's 25th Amendment, which allows Cabinet members to seek the removal of a president if they conclude that he or she is mentally unfit. Though McCabe wouldn't confirm that Rosenstein was plotting to get rid of Trump, he said: 'What I can say is the deputy attorney general was definitely very concerned about the president, about his capacity and about his intent at that point in time.' The Justice Department issued a statement Thursday that did not deny the conversation but that said Rosenstein believes 'there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment, nor was (he) in a position to consider invoking the 25th Amendment.' CBS News posted the excerpt of its interview after ex-FBI official McCabe issued a statement saying comments of his on the subject had 'been taken out of context and misrepresented.' The interview will air Sunday on '60 Minutes.' CBS released a story Thursday about its interview in which correspondent Scott Pelley said McCabe had confirmed a discussion about the Constitution's 25th Amendment. But the transcript of that section of the interview was not released until Friday, after McCabe spokeswoman Melissa Schwartz sought to downplay McCabe's involvement in any discussions about a potential removal of the president. 'Certain statements made by Mr. McCabe, in interviews associated with the release of his book, have been taken out of context and misrepresented,' the statement said. 'To clarify, at no time did Mr. McCabe participate in any extended discussions about the use of the 25th Amendment, nor is he aware of any such discussions.' The interview was done ahead of the release next week of McCabe's book about his time in the FBI, 'The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump.
  • What is happening to the Democrats? Captivated by a handful of liberal superstars, they are venturing where the party has long feared to tread: Steep taxes on the rich. Abolishing an immigration enforcement agency. Proposing 'economic transformation' to combat climate change. Gleefully waving goodbye to a big business — and its jobs. On Thursday, newly-elected Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led a chorus of cheers as Amazon announced it was abandoning plans to build a sought-after headquarters in New York City. Activists berated the online giant for a $3 billion package of tax breaks she said the city could better invest in hiring teachers or fixing the subway. This is not the Democratic Party of yesteryear. Or even last year. 'The Amazon New York fight is an illustration of how power is moving to the left,' said Ben Wikler, of the liberal group MoveOn. 'One of the world's most powerful organizations doesn't want to pick a fight with progressive activists.' As the liberal flank celebrates its sudden ascendance in the party, energized by the new House freshmen pushing the party toward bold policy solutions, others wonder if the Democrats are veering so far left they're about to fall off a cliff. Matt Bennett, vice president of Third Way, a center-left think tank, says, the leftward drift 'could be trouble' if Democrats aren't offering a vision of the country that speaks to ordinary voters ahead of the 2020 presidential election. 'Bashing Amazon will get you cheers in precincts in the left and online, but that seems bananas to most people who think it would be good to work at a job that pays well,' Bennett said. 'The risk is that the eventual nominee goes too far during this primary process and becomes hard to support for a lot of people who might be interested in getting rid of (President Donald) Trump.' It's a valid debate ahead of a presidential primary season with an unusually robust roster of contenders trying to wrest the White House from Trump. The race comes at a time of shifting party loyalties and eroding confidence in traditional corridors of power, a dynamic that has recast the policy prescriptions of both parties. The big questions for 2020: Will Democrats move beyond the center-left policies that have dominated the party since Bill Clinton's presidency? And if so, will they find the electorate is repelled, as Republicans claim, or will they discover that a country long described as 'center-right' is receptive to a return to liberalism? Democratic pollster John Anzalone said the leftward lurch that's playing out in the Amazon fight wouldn't necessarily hurt the party heading into 2020 and could resonate with voters. 'When you're doing corporate giveaways, whether for a big company or a sports team, it's not as cut-and-dry as most people think,' Anzalone said. 'The fact is there tends to be a belief that these big corporations have a lot of money and use their power to get deals they don't need.' As if to highlight the churn within the party, the 2020 class was mixed in their reactions. A spokesman for former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg didn't respond to a request for comment. Howard Schultz, another business-minded former Democrat who's now weighing an independent bid for president, also declined to comment. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who have long railed against the influence of corporations, weighed in, as did New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. 'The people of New York and America are increasingly concerned about the power of large multinational corporations and the billions in corporate welfare they receive,' Sanders said in a statement. 'Our job is to end the race to the bottom where taxpayers in one city or state are forced to bid against each other for desperately needed jobs. This is what the rigged economy is all about.' Warren tweeted: 'One of the wealthiest companies on the planet - just walked away from billions in taxpayer bribes, all because some elected officials in New York aren't sucking up to them enough. How long will we allow giant corporations to hold our democracy hostage?' And Gillibrand said, 'Walking away so quickly shows that Amazon was interested in the taxpayer assistance and not being a good neighbor in Queens hiring the greatest workers in the world.' As liberal activists across the country welcomed Amazon's decision as a fresh demonstration of the increasing power of the Democratic Party's far-left wing, Republicans highlighted the same thing, using the situation to cast the modern-day Democratic Party as extreme. Following Trump's lead, they pepper their speeches with claims that Democrats are veering toward socialism. 'Now, thousands of #New Yorkers will be deprived of good paying jobs at #amazon because of socialists like @AOC - and unfortunately the promise of a #greenjob won't pay the bills,' former Trump aide Sean Spicer said on Twitter. In New York, Democratic Sen. Todd Kaminsky of Long Island issued a formal 'invitation' to the company to relocate to Nassau County. Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, a member of Republican leadership, said, 'It is so interesting to watch this very hard left turn that the Democrat party has taken. To me, this is just so extreme. It's way out of the mainstream.' On Capitol Hill, it's hard not to compare the arrival of Ocasio-Cortez and the emerging Democratic divide to the tea party class of 2010 that took control of the House and pushed the Republican agenda rightward, ultimately helping give rise to the politics of Trump. It's not just Ocasio-Cortez. She and House colleagues — Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — jointly announced their opposition to the bipartisan border security deal. They want to cut the Department of Homeland Security's budget over the administration's deportation policies, including those that separated families at the border. The four lawmakers were urged on by activists outside the Capitol, protesting what's seen as ICE's unnecessarily harsh deportations and raids against immigrants here illegally. Omar, who is Muslim-American, pushed the party further into conflict this week with comments about Israel that were widely seen as anti-Semitic. She apologized. But the questions she and others are raising about the longstanding U.S. ally reflect a growing unease among some Democrats with Israel's treatment of Palestinians. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the Democratic Party's diversity in the House is its strength, as evidenced by the way her caucus held unified against Trump's demand for money from Congress to build the wall on the border with Mexico. 'Welcome to the Democratic Party,' Pelosi said Thursday. 'We are not a monolith, never have been. And who would want to lead a party that would be described that way?' While some high-profile newcomers are capturing media attention, the House majority was also won with new lawmakers who are more measured in their approach to governing even as they battle Trump. All but 19 Democrats approved the bipartisan border package late Thursday. But other Democrats marvel at how quickly the party has shifted even since the 2016 election. This week, when the Republican leader of the Senate, Mitch McConnell, announced an upcoming vote on the Green New Deal climate change plan as a way to force Democrats into an awkward vote, the Democrats responded, 'Bring it on.' They say Americans want answers on climate change, and Republicans have none. Ocasio-Cortez, who stunned Washington when she knocked off an incumbent party leader during a primary last year, recently suggested a 70 percent marginal tax rate on top earners. 'Anything is possible,' Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Thursday, 'today was the day a group of dedicated, everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon's corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.' ___ Associated Press writer David Klepper in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.
  • After a debate clouded by how the Justice Department will handle the results of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, the Senate voted mainly along party lines Thursday to confirm William Barr for the post of Attorney General, as Barr returns to the Justice Department almost 28 years after holding the same position. The Senate vote was 54-45. “The President made an outstanding choice with Mr. Barr,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD). “He was unanimously confirmed as Attorney General under George H.W. Bush in a Democrat-controlled Senate.” “We know that he can faithfully execute the duties of the office because he has done it before,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). Only one GOP Senator voted against Barr’s nomination – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). President Trump forced out his original Attorney General, former Sen. Jeff Sessions, just after the November 2018 elections, after months of expressing frustration that Sessions did not do enough to shield Mr. Trump from the Russia probe. Among William Barr’s likely first tasks as attorney general: Wrestling with whether to release the findings of Robert Mueller’s investigation. https://t.co/EsA7XJsuWr — Capital Journal (@WSJPolitics) February 14, 2019 At the White House, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the vote a ‘major victory for justice and the rule of law in America.” In debate on the Senate floor, Democratic Senators repeatedly said that Barr was certainly qualified to again take the job of Attorney General, but most of them focused on Barr’s unsolicited memo to the White House which was critical of the Mueller investigation, as reason enough to oppose the nomination. “I find Mr. Barr’s actions in the months leading up to his nomination to be deeply disturbing,” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). “The President believes William Barr will be an Attorney General who will protect him,” said Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI). “Barr’s record shows that he is not the Attorney General America desperately needs,” added Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). William Barr may be the Attorney General that Pres Trump wants: – someone to shield him from questions about abuse of power – someone who believes a president should be able to do whatever he or she wants But Mr. Barr is certainly not the Attorney General this country needs. pic.twitter.com/7NLbZpb2h0 — Senator Patty Murray (@PattyMurray) February 14, 2019 The Senate vote to confirm Barr filled one Cabinet vacancy for the President – but other major posts in the Trump administration remain unfilled, occupied by officials in an ‘acting’ capacity: + Patrick Shanahan is the Acting Secretary of Defense. + David Bernhardt is the Acting Secretary of Interior. + Andrew Wheeler is the Acting head of the EPA. + Jonathan Cohen is the Acting U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. + Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is Acting White House Chief of Staff. The vote on Barr Thursday was much different than his first confirmation for Attorney General in November of 1991 – then, the Senate approved him on a voice vote, with no opposition. Barr joins a very short list of people who have served twice as U.S. Attorney General. John Crittenden was Attorney General twice in the first half of the 19th century. Richard Thornburgh served one very short stint as an Acting Attorney General, and then later was the Attorney General before Barr for the first President Bush.
  • Democratic presidential prospect Michael Bloomberg is promoting a new documentary film on climate change, but the billionaire philanthropist says the one person he thinks should see it most — President Donald Trump — likely never will because 'it won't be running on Fox.' 'The president really could learn a lot from towns and cities featured in the documentary and which are taking action on climate change,' Bloomberg, a former New York City mayor, said Wednesday at a Washington screening of the film 'Paris to Pittsburgh,' which he produced. 'If he's not willing to listen to his own administration's scientific advisers — and he isn't — he should at least listen to the people in this film,' Bloomberg later added. The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night. Bloomberg's film gets its name from Trump. When the president withdrew the United States from the Paris climate agreement in 2017, he said it was because he was elected to 'represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.' But Trump was quickly rebuked by Pittsburgh's mayor, Bill Peduto, who said the decision was 'disastrous for our planet, for cities such as Pittsburgh' and a step that 'has made America weaker.' Bloomberg has not yet said if he will run for president in 2020. But in the run-up to his possible Democratic bid, he has promoted the millions of his own fortune that he has invested in climate change initiatives across the U.S. That's one way he has contrasted himself with many of the other Democrats who are running. Virtually every top Democratic White House contender has embraced the recently proposed Green New Deal. The nonbinding resolution outlined ambitious plans to cut slash greenhouse gas emissions over 10 years while instituting massive investments in wind and solar production, energy-efficient buildings and high-speed rail. But Bloomberg said the likely reality is that nothing will get done in the next two years while Trump is president and Republicans control the Senate. 'Every voter should ask the candidates not just what do you promise to do,' he said, 'but also what have you done, what have you delivered and how can we implement in a practical way your proposals.
  • Republicans who control the Wisconsin Senate refused to mention NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in a resolution honoring Black History Month passed Wednesday, rejecting calls from Democrats who said ignoring the Milwaukee native put them on the wrong side of history. Just as the Wisconsin Assembly did a day earlier, the Senate approved the resolution with no mention of Kaepernick. All Republicans voted in support, with all Democrats against. No Senate Republicans spoke during four hours of debate. Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Lena Taylor, proposed adding a mention of Kaepernick, but that was rejected unanimously by Republicans. Taylor, who is black and from Milwaukee, argued that history will show Republicans as being on the 'wrong side.' 'Often, doing the right thing is controversial,' Taylor said. 'Doing what is right takes courage. Colin Kaepernick showed courage.' Taylor accused 'white Republicans' of telling African-Americans what is best for them, what they should value, who they should honor and what forms of protest are acceptable. Taylor asked each of the Republican senators who hold a 19-14 majority if they would answer a question, but none would. 'I want their voice to be heard ... since you are making a historical moment that lets the nation see you take us back to a time where African-Americans had to ask permission to speak, to read, to think,' Taylor said. 'I want each and every one to answer whether or not they have the courage to tell Wisconsin why they believe a Wisconsin native does not deserve the right to stand up for the injustices that exist.' Kaepernick is a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who drew criticism when he began kneeling before the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality, racial inequality and other social issues. He last played in 2016. President Donald Trump , former Republican Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and others have been highly critical of NFL players and other athletes who kneel during the national anthem. The wording rejected for the Wisconsin resolution referred to Kaepernick as someone 'who has sought to raise attention to racial injustice and systemic oppression.' While no Senate Republicans defended not naming Kaepernick, Assembly Republican leaders on Tuesday said that he was too controversial to name in the resolution. Senate Democrats called that ridiculous and cited other black athletes, including Muhammad Ali, who protested inequities and were later revered by the public. Others named in the resolution as passed include Satchel Paige, the first African-American pitcher to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and Condoleezza Rice, the first black secretary of state. The Assembly voted 95-0 to pass the resolution, but on Wednesday all six members of the Democratic black caucus and several other Democrats said they were changing their votes. While their switch will be noted in the Assembly journal, the official vote is what was recorded in the Assembly and will remain unanimous in support. There are no black Republicans in either the Senate or Assembly. ___ Follow Scott Bauer on Twitter: https://twitter.com/sbauerAP
  • President Donald Trump says he was unaware the owner of the National Enquirer, American Media Inc., had been investigating Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. The Trump-friendly tabloid has a history of trying to help him. It acknowledged paying $150,000 to Playboy centerfold Karen McDougal for the rights to her story about an alleged affair with Trump. The company then buried the story until after the 2016 election. The Enquirer published a story last month about Bezos having an extramarital affair. Trump responded with a mocking tweet days later. It's not unusual for him to lash out at The Washington Post owner. Bezos hired private investigators to learn how the Enquirer obtained risque texts. Trump was asked Tuesday whether he was aware of AMI's investigation and responded, 'No. No, I wasn't.
  • The White House Correspondents' Association condemned on Tuesday an attack the night before of a television cameraman working at President Donald Trump's rally in El Paso, Texas. The association's president, Olivier Knox, said Tuesday the group is relieved that 'this time, no one was seriously hurt.' Knox said the president should make clear to his supporters that violence against reporters is unacceptable. There was a brief scuffle on a press platform away from the stage on Monday night, when a man began shoving members of the news media and was restrained. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the president 'condemns all acts of violence against any individual or group of people — including members of the press.' 'We ask that anyone attending an event do so in a peaceful and respectful manner,' Sanders said. Eleanor Montague, the Washington news editor for the British Broadcasting Company tweeted that BBC cameraman Ron Skeans was attacked at the rally and is doing fine. She said the crowd 'had been whipped up into a frenzy against the media' by the president and other speakers. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and Donald Trump Jr., were also among the speakers at the rally, which focused on border security. Michael Glassner, chief operating officer of Trump's re-election campaign, said an individual 'involved in a physical altercation with a news cameraman' was removed from the rally. He praised 'the swift action from venue security and law enforcement officers.
  • The Latest on congressional border security negotiations and President Donald Trump (all times local): 7:10 p.m. President Donald Trump appears to be grudgingly leaning toward accepting an agreement that would head off a threatened second government shutdown but provide just a fraction of the money he's been demanding for his Mexican border wall. Trump said Tuesday he would need more time to study the plan, but he also declared he was not expecting a shutdown to take place this weekend. The president has been under mounting pressure from fellow Republicans to accept the compromise. Trump strongly signaled that he planned to scrounge up additional dollars for the wall by raiding other federal coffers to deliver on the signature promise of his presidential campaign. Lawmakers have tentatively agreed to provide nearly $1.4 billion for border barriers, about one-fourth of the amount Trump has sought for his wall. ___ 2:55 p.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Donald Trump got a 'pretty good deal' in border security negotiations, even though funding falls short for the long-promised wall with Mexico. McConnell says he spoke with the president and recommended Tuesday that he sign the bill into law. Congress is racing to prevent another partial government shutdown Friday over Trump's $5.7 billion demand for the wall. The tentative deal provides about $1.4 billion. The Republican leader said Trump did 'just fine,' adding he hopes the president agrees. McConnell also said he thinks the president should 'feel free' to use other tools to secure the border. Trump has talked about invoking a national emergency order or other options to build the wall. McConnell had previously cautioned against such a move. __ 12:55 p.m. President Donald Trump says that despite his unhappiness with a tentative agreement to prevent another partial government shutdown, he's 'thrilled' about the direction of border wall construction. He says the bottom line is that 'we're building a lot of wall.' Trump says he's able to do that by 'supplementing things and moving things around.' He says the money is coming from 'far less important areas.' Trump said he needs to look further at the agreement to avert the shutdown, which would grant far less than the $5.7 billion he wants for a long wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Republicans and the White House are anxious to avoid another bruising shutdown. __ 12:15 p.m. President Donald Trump says 'I can't say I'm thrilled' with a congressional compromise on border security designed to avert a second government shutdown. A committee negotiating new border security measures tentatively agreed Monday night to dedicate $1.4 billion to Trump's border wall, far less than his $5.7 billion goal. The huge funding measure, which combines seven spending bills into one, would fund several federal agencies through Sept. 30. The question now is whether Trump will sign the measure. He says he can't say he's happy. Still, he says the wall is getting built. Trump also says he doesn't believe there will be another shutdown. __ 10:40 a.m. The White House says it needs more time to assess a bipartisan border security deal. Spokesman Hogan Gidley says it's difficult to say what will and won't be acceptable before officials have a chance to review details of the proposal House and Senate lawmakers agreed to Monday night. Gidley says the White House wants to focus on what's actually in the document, not 'what could be' in it. President Donald Trump has demanded $5.7 billion to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall but Congress has refused to provide the money. Negotiators instead have tentatively agreed to $1.4 billion for border barriers — well below the amount Trump has sought. Republican Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, a lead negotiator, said Monday that the White House has been consulted 'all along.' __ 10:35 a.m. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer is urging President Donald Trump to accept the emerging border security deal and 'not, not, not cause another shutdown.' Schumer called the tentative accord 'welcome news' and a 'path forward.' The New York senator argued that neither side will achieve everything they wanted from the deal. But he says 'hopefully this agreement means there won't be another government shutdown.' Congress is pushing toward a deadline Friday to fund the government or risk another partial federal shutdown. Trump has not said whether he'll accept the deal reached late Monday by budget negotiators. It provides about $1.4 billion for border barriers, but falls far short of the $5.7 billion Trump was demanding for the border wall with Mexico. __ 10:25 a.m. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says a bipartisan border security deal is 'good news' as Congress races to avert another shutdown by Friday's deadline. McConnell opened the Senate on Tuesday by saying he was hopeful the chamber 'can act on this legislation in short order.' President Donald Trump has been demanding $5.7 billion to build the wall with Mexico along the southern border, but Congress has refused to provide the money. Instead, bipartisan negotiators struck a tentative accord with nearly $1.4 billion for border barriers, far short of what Trump wanted. The emerging deal also drops Democratic demands to seriously limit detentions of immigrants illegally in the U.S. Congress hopes to vote on the measure before Friday's deadline to fund the government. __ 12:30 a.m. A tentative agreement to fund the federal government through the fiscal year averts a shutdown but gives President Donald Trump far less money than he sought for building a border wall with Mexico. The deal hammered out Monday night provides nearly $1.4 billion, not the $5.7 billion the president had demanded and was at the center of the dispute that sparked last month's record shutdown. The agreement calls for 55 miles of metal slats or other types of new fencing, not a concrete wall. The fencing would be built in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. The pact includes money for other border security measures, including advanced screening at border entry points and customs officers. Aides revealed some details under condition of anonymity because the agreement is tentative.
  • The Latest on President Donald Trump and Beto O'Rourke in Texas (all times local): 8:40 p.m. President Donald Trump's rally in El Paso, Texas, to push for his border wall took a strange twist when he began a tangent on dogs. Trump says he's impressed by German shepherds and their ability to sniff out illicit drugs, but doesn't see himself getting a dog while at the White House. Trump says he wouldn't mind having a dog, but he doesn't have the time. He asked the crowd, 'How would I look walking a dog on the White House lawn?' The crowd laughed loudly in response. He then shook off the thought, saying, 'It feels a little phony to me.' He noted that some people have told him it would be good politically to have a dog. He ended up not buying that one though, saying, 'That's not the relationship I have with my people.' __ 8:20 p.m. President Donald Trump says the partial government shutdown showed the country, politicians and the world 'what the hell is happening with the border.' Trump is also downplaying a potential breakthrough to avert a second shutdown, though West Wing aides have acknowledged there is insufficient support among Republicans to sustain another shutdown fight. Trump told thousands at a rally in El Paso, Texas, on Monday that he was told lawmakers are making progress in their bids to avert another shutdown. But he says he told his staff that he didn't want to hear about it and that it was important to speak 'to my people from Texas' first. Trump says, 'I had a choice. I could've stayed out there and listened, or I could have come out to the people of El Paso and Texas, I chose you.' The crowd has chanted back, 'We chose you.' ___ 8 p.m. President Donald Trump is ripping a proposal that some Democrats have embraced to curb global warming, claiming that it would shut down American energy and air travel. Trump says the so-called Green New Deal sounds like a high school term paper that got a low mark. Trump is speaking at a rally in El Paso, Texas. He claims the plan would cost $100 trillion, but no other country would follow suit. He says American companies would end up moving to China. He says, 'That's the way the system works,' but adds, 'Don't worry, it's not going to happen.' The nonbinding resolution outlined ambitious plans to cut all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero over 10 years while instituting massive investments in wind and solar production, energy-efficient buildings and high-speed rail. __ 7:55 p.m. Democrat Beto O'Rourke told a hometown El Paso crowd that it's time to 'show the country that there is nothing to be afraid of when it comes to the U.S.-Mexico border.' O'Rourke spoke Monday at a baseball stadium across the street from the arena from where President Donald Trump was promoting his U.S.-Mexico border wall. Cheers from Trump's fans could be heard at the counter-protest. O'Rourke says, 'The judgment of history is looking back at this moment.' The former congressman is mulling a 2020 presidential run, and many in the crowd yelled for him to announce his candidacy. But O'Rourke said only, 'This is where we make our stand.' Police did not give official estimates on O'Rourke's crowd size, but it appeared to exceed 5,000, in contrast to Trump's estimate of a few hundred. __ 7:45 p.m. President Donald Trump is boasting about the size of the crowd attending his rally in El Paso, Texas, versus that for former Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke. Both are speaking in El Paso. Thousands attended O'Rourke's event, but Trump estimated the crowd at 200 or 300 people. He claimed: 'That may be the end of his presidential bid.' Trump says O'Rourke has little going for himself and noted that he lost a Senate race to Republican Ted Cruz. The president did credit him for having a 'great first name.' The ex-congressman is still deciding on a presidential run. But treating the political world to 2020's first dueling rallies may indicate O'Rourke is ready to join the race. ___ 7:30 p.m. Democrat Beto O'Rourke says El Paso, Texas, is 'one of the safest cities in America — safe not because of walls but in spite of walls.' O'Rourke headlined a protest Monday night across the street from an arena in which President Donald Trump is promoting his long-promised border wall between the United States and Mexico. The former congressman, who is considering a presidential run in 2020, says, 'We are making a stand for the truth.' He says, 'Walls do not save lives, walls end lives,' citing the danger to asylum seekers who are rejected by the U.S. Protesters are chanting 'Beto!' during breaks in O'Rourke's speech. ___ 7:15 p.m. Donald Trump Jr. is telling a crowd in Texas that Democratic lawmakers are fighting more for immigrants in the U.S. illegally than they are for the American people. Trump Jr. spoke Monday night shortly before his father was due to address the crowd in El Paso. He says he loves seeing young conservatives at the rally. He tells them 'to keep up that fight, bring it to your schools. You don't have to be indoctrinated by these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth.' Trump Jr. is also mocking those attending the rally of Democrat Beto O'Rourke, who is marching with thousands of protesters decrying the border wall that the president is in town to promote. Trump Jr. says that if the protesters chanted 'USA' at the O'Rourke rally, 'I don't know what would happen to you, but it wouldn't be good.' ___ 6:55 p.m. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas says that when it comes to immigration, Texans understand something very simple: 'It is time to build the wall.' Cruz warmed up a crowd in El Paso on Monday night before President Donald Trump was due to speak. At the same time, Cruz's 2018 Democratic opponent, Beto O'Rourke, marched with thousands of protesters to decry the border wall Trump was in town to promote. O'Rourke is considering a 2020 presidential run. Cruz says the goal is to 'stop the human traffickers, stop the drug traffickers and build the wall.' Cruz also says Texans welcome legal immigrants, but that they need to 'stand in line' and 'follow the rules.' The crowd roared in agreement. ___ 6:10 p.m. Beto O'Rourke is marching with thousands of protesters through the streets of El Paso, Texas, decrying a border wall that President Donald Trump is in town to promote. Wearing a black fleece pullover and stopping every few steps to hug supporters, O'Rourke is among a group walking close to the U.S.-Mexico border and along the city's existing border fence. The group is heading to a venue across a small side street from the arena where Trump is holding his own a rally. O'Rourke told the crowd, 'You make El Paso proud and you make the country proud.' Protesters chanted 'No wall!' and 'Viva Beto!' as they proceeded. ___ 4 p.m. President Donald Trump headed to the Texas border Monday to argue his case that walls work as Democrats spurn his demands for billions to build such a barrier. Trump is bound for El Paso, aiming to reshape the debate around the wall following a damaging shutdown fight and with his signature 2016 campaign promise hanging in limbo. In a case of pointed political counterprogramming, Beto O'Rourke, the former Democratic congressman from Texas now mulling a presidential run, planned an evening El Paso march and rally against the wall with dozens of local civic, human rights and Hispanic groups. The rallies launch a crucial week for Trump as Democrats and Republicans remain locked in negotiations over border wall funding ahead of a midnight Friday deadline that could force another government shutdown.
  • Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., hopes this season of his popular PBS series 'Finding Your Roots' helps a divided U.S. see how all Americans have unique family links and how those family histories tell the story of the country. Now in its fifth season, the series takes advantage of new advancements in genealogy and genetics to look into the history of American celebrities. In upcoming episodes Gates and his team investigate the pasts of diverse subjects like former U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and 'Game of Thrones' author George R. R. Martin. 'I get lots of letters and lots of comments and they tell me they love the way we can use DNA in combination with the paper trail to solve family mysteries,' said Gates, director of the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University. 'We couldn't do this 10 years ago.' Gates said investigators were able to locate some of Ryan's ancestors in Germany back to 1531. They also found that the former Republican leader is a descendant of Ashkenazi Jews, based on his DNA. 'He almost fell over,' Gates said. 'As the brothers on the streets say: DNA don't lie.' The show on Ryan and Gabbard, who is running for president, airs on most PBS stations on Tuesday. Gates said he's especially proud that a previous show this season was able to help former 'Saturday Night Live' star Andy Samberg find his biological grandmother and grandfather. His mother, who was adopted, never knew her biological mom. She turned out to be from a German-Jewish family that emigrated to Berkeley, California, during World War II. But the show's detectives not only located photos of the missing couple but also found half-siblings and cousins. The series filmed an emotional reunion with Samberg, his mother and their family. ___ Associated Press Writer Russell Contreras is a member of the AP's race and ethnicity team. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/russcontreras

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  • As the investigation of a quadruple shooting in Northwest Jacksonville continues, police now say the situation escalated from a planned fight. JSO responded to Elizabeth Powell Park on Redpoll Avenue Thursday night following reports of a shooting. Police initially said several people were gathered at the basketball courts when a fight broke out and several people on scene shot at each other. In all, a 14-year-old and a 24-year-old were killed, and two other people suffered non-life threatening injuries. Investigators now say the fight was actually planned in advance between two female acquaintances who were in an ongoing dispute. JSO says people learned about the fight and gathered to watch, and several ultimately got involved. Some of those spectators then pulled guns and started shooting. In light of this, JSO says they do not believe the shooting was random. Police are asking for any information you have, including asking people who were at the park or watching the fight to come forward. If anyone has video of the fight or has seen posts on social media, they’re asking those people to let them know. You can contact JSO at 904-630-0500 or JSOCrimeTips@jaxsheriff.org. You can also submit an anonymous tip and be eligible for a possible $3,000 reward by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-866-845-TIPS.
  • A gunman opened fire at the Henry Pratt Company, a valve manufacturer in suburban Chicago on Friday, killing five people and wounding at least five police officers before he was fatally shot, police said. >> Read more trending news Officers arrived within four minutes of receiving reports of a shooting and were fired upon as soon as they entered the 29,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse, Aurora, Police Chief Kristen Ziman said in a news conference. Update 6:45 p.m. EST Feb. 15: The chief of police says five people were killed and five officers were wounded in a shooting at a business in suburban Chicago. Aurora Police Chief, Kristen Ziman, identified the gunman as 45-year-old Gary Martin. Ziman says the gunman was also killed. The five police officers that were injured in the shooting are in stable condition according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Update 5:15 p.m. EST Feb. 15: A spokesman for the coroner’s office says at least one person is dead following a shooting at a business in suburban Chicago.  Kane County coroner’s office spokesman Chris Nelson says at least one person was killed in the attack Friday afternoon at the Henry Pratt Co. building in Aurora. Update 4:45 p.m. EST Feb. 15: A city spokesman told WGN that at least four police officers were injured.  Police have not said if anyone else has been injured. Update 4:15 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Initial reports indicate that the shooter has been apprehended, but the area is still on lockdown. Update 3:55 p.m. EST Feb. 15: A man who said he witnessed Friday’s shooting told WLS-TV that he recognized the person who opened fire at the Henry Pratt Company. The man told WLS-TV that the shooter was one of his co-workers. Update 3:50 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Police confirmed they are continue to respond Friday afternoon to an active shooting reported in Aurora. Update 3:45 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Citing preliminary reports from the scene, the Daily Herald reported several people were injured in the ongoing active shooter situation reported Friday afternoon in Aurora. Police did not immediately confirm the report. Update 3:40 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Authorities with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are responding to the reported shooting, officials said. Check back for updates to this developing story.
  • President Donald Trump declared a national emergency Friday to fund his promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border after Congress passed a bipartisan border security bill that offered only a fraction of the $5.7 billion he had sought. >> Read more trending news  White House officials confirmed Friday afternoon that Trump also signed the spending compromise into law to avoid a partial government shutdown. Update 3:25 p.m. EST Feb. 15:A lawsuit filed Friday by an ethics watchdog group aims to make public documents that could determine whether the president has the legal authority to invoke emergency powers to fund his promised border wall. In a statement, officials with the nonpartisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said the group requested documentation, including legal opinions from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, to determine whether the president wrongfully used his emergency powers. “President Trump’s threatened declaration of a national emergency for these purposes raised some serious questions among the public and Congress that the president was considering actions of doubtful legality based on misstated facts and outright falsehoods to make an end-run round Congress’ constitutional authority to make laws and appropriate funds,” attorneys for CREW said in the lawsuit. >> Read the lawsuit filled by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington  The group said it submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Office of Legal Counsel last month and that it got a response on Feb. 12 that indicated authorities would not be able to expedite the request or respond to it within the 20-day statutory deadline. “Americans deserve to know the true basis for President Trump’s unprecedented decision to enact emergency powers to pay for a border wall,” CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder said in a statement. Officials with the American Civil Liberties Union said the group also plans to file suit. Update 2:30 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump has signed a bill passed by Congress to fund several federal departments until September 30, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Friday afternoon to The Associated Press. Update 12:35 p.m. EST Feb. 15: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, accused Democrats of playing partisan politics in refusing to fund Trump’s border wall. “President Trump’s decision to announce emergency action is the predictable and understandable consequence of Democrats’ decision to put partisan obstruction ahead of the national interest,” McConnell said. Democrats have repeatedly voice opposition to the border wall, which critics say would not effectively address issues like drug trafficking and illegal immigration, which Trump purports such a wall would solve. Update 11:25 a.m. EST Feb. 15: In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, condemned what they called “the president’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist.” “This issue transcends partisan politics and goes to the core of the founders’ conception for America, which commands Congress to limit an overreaching executive. The president’s emergency declaration, if unchecked, would fundamentally alter the balance of powers, inconsistent with our founders’ vision,” the statement said. “We call upon our Republican colleagues to join us to defend the Constitution.” Update 11:10 a.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump said he’s expecting the administration to be sued after he signs a national emergency declaration to fund the building of wall on the southern border. “The order is signed and I'll sign the final papers as soon as I get into the Oval Office,” Trump said Friday while addressing reporters in the Rose Garden.  “I expect to be sued -- I shouldn’t be sued,” Trump said Friday while addressing reporters in the Rose Garden. “I think we’ll be very successful in court. I think it’s clear.” He said he expects the case will likely make it to the Supreme Court, the nation’s highest court. “It’ll go through a process and happily we’ll win, I think,” he said. Update 10:50 a.m. EST Feb. 15: “I’m going to sign a national emergency,” Trump said. “We’re talking about an invasion of our country with drugs, with human traffickers, with all types of criminals and gangs.”  >> National emergency likely to be blocked by courts, DOJ tells White House: reports Update 10:25 a.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump will declare a national emergency and use executive actions to funnel over $6 billion in funds from the Treasury Department and the Pentagon for his border wall, Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree reported. “With the declaration of a national emergency, the President will have access to roughly $8 billion worth of money that can be used to secure the southern border,” Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told reporters in a call before the president’s announcement. >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: White House: Trump using national emergency and executive actions for border wall Update 10 a.m. EST Feb. 15: Trump is expected on Friday morning to deliver remarks from the Rose Garden on the southern border after White House officials said he plans to declare a national emergency to fund his border wall. Update 10 p.m. EST Feb. 14: At 10 a.m. on Friday, President Donald Trump is expected to deliver remarks from the Rose Garden about the southern border. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Congress passes border deal as Trump readies emergency for border wall The White House announced earlier that Trump will declare a national emergency that would enable him to transfer funding from other accounts for additional miles of border fencing. Update 9 p.m. EST Feb. 14: The House easily approved border funding plan, as President Donald Trump prepared an emergency declaration to fund a border wall. The bill also closes a chapter by preventing a second government shutdown at midnight Friday and by providing $333 billion to finance several Cabinet agencies through September. Trump has indicated he’ll sign the measure though he is not happy with it, and for a few hours Thursday he was reportedly having second thoughts. Update 4:30 p.m. EST Feb. 14: The government funding bill that includes $1.375 billion for 55 miles of border wall, passed the Senate with a 83 - 16 vote. The bill will go to the House for a final vote Thursday evening. Update 4 p.m. EST Feb. 14: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says if President Donald Trump declares a national emergency at the border he’s making an “end run around Congress.” “The President is doing an end run around the Congress and the power of the purse,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who reserved the right to lead a legal challenge against any emergency declaration. Pelosi said that there is no crisis at the border with Mexico that requires a national emergency order. >> Trump's border wall: What is a national emergency? She did not say if House Democrats would legally challenge the president. But Pelosi said if Trump invokes an emergency declaration it should be met with “great unease and dismay” as an overreach of executive authority. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Thursday afternoon that the White House is “very prepared” for a legal challenge following the declaration of a National Emergency. Update 3:15 p.m. EST Feb. 14: Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that President Donald Trump is going to sign a border deal and at the same time issue a national emergency declaration. The compromise will keep departments running through the fiscal year but without the $5.7 billion Trump wanted for the border wall with Mexico.  The House is also expected to vote on the bill later Thursday. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders sent a statement confirming that Trump intends to sign the bill and will issue “other executive action - including a national emergency.” An emergency declaration to shift funding from other federal priorities to the border is expected to face swift legal challenge. Update 12:40 p.m. EST Feb. 14: Trump said in a tweet Thursday that he and his team were reviewing the funding bill proposed by legislators. Congress is expected to vote Thursday on the bipartisan accord to prevent another partial federal shutdown ahead of Friday's deadline. Trump has not definitively said whether he’ll sign the bill if it passes the legislature. The bill would fund several departments, including Agriculture, Justice and State, until Sept. 30 but it includes only $1.4 billion to build new barriers on the border. Trump had asked Congress to provide $5.7 billion in funding. Update 9:55 a.m. EST Feb. 14: The more than 1,600-page compromise, made up of seven different funding bills, was unveiled early Thursday. It includes $1.4 billion to build new barriers on the border and over $1 billion to fund other border security measures. If passed, the bill would prevent a partial government shutdown like the 35-day closure that started after lawmakers failed to reach a compromise in December.  >> From Cox Media Group's Jamie Dupree: Five tidbits from the border security funding deal in Congress President Donald Trump has given mixed signals in recent days over whether he plans to sign the bill or not. He’s told reporters in recent days that a second government shutdown as federal workers continue to dig out from the last closure “would be a terrible thing.” However, Adam Kennedy, the deputy director of White House communications, told NPR that the president “doesn’t want his hands tied on border security.” 'I think the president is going to fully review the bill,' Kennedy said. 'I think he wants to review it before he signs it.' Original report: President Donald Trump is expected to sign the deal lawmakers have hammered out to avoid a second shutdown, CNN is reporting. >> From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Trump hints at ‘national emergency’ to funnel money to border wall On Tuesday, Trump said he was “not happy” with the spending plan negotiators came up with Monday night, CNN reported. That deal includes $1.375 billion in funding for border barriers, but not a concrete wall, according to Cox Media Group Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree. “It’s not doing the trick,” Trump said, adding that he is “considering everything” when asked whether a national emergency declaration was on the table. He said that if there is another shutdown, it would be “the Democrats’ fault.” Trump also took to Twitter later Tuesday, claiming that the wall is already being built. >> See the tweet here The Associated Press contributed to this report.
  • As President Donald Trump on Friday announced a pair of executive actions and declared a national emergency to funnel more money into border security, lawmakers in both parties in Congress were left in the dark on how the Pentagon would deal with the largest part of the President’s declaration, carving $3.6 billion out of military construction projects authorized and funded by the U.S. House and Senate. “I strongly believe securing our border should not be done at the expense of previously funded military construction projects,” said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH), whose district is home to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, which received $116 million in 2019 for construction of a new building for the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. “We certainly cannot allow him to rob our military of $3.5 billion for critical construction projects that serve our troops, support our allies, and deter our adversaries,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). Congress approved $10.3 billion for military construction for Fiscal Year 2019, doling out money to dozens of domestic and overseas military facilities, projects which are often prized as bring-home-the-bacon items for Democrats and Republicans alike in Congress. The list of military construction projects in each year’s budget runs the gamut of military needs – from an F-35 maintenance hangar at Camp Pendleton in California, to a training facility at the Mayport Naval Base near Jacksonville, Florida, to a reserve training center at Fort Benning in Georgia, to a dry dock facility at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, and much more. In all, military construction money was approved last fall by lawmakers for defense installations in 38 different states, and at least 14 overseas locations, some of those U.S. possessions. You can read through the list of projects from the bill here. A quick look at the list of military facilities with 2019 funding shows that many of them are located in House districts held by Republican lawmakers – who could find money for their local military project in jeopardy, as the President tries to funnel more money to his signature border wall. Democrats from around the country were quick to issue statements asking that their home state military construction projects be spared from any cuts, and challenging their GOP colleagues to do the same. Trump’s “National Emergency” strips billlions of dollars from base housing construction. Martha will you join me in opposing this farce? Who is more important the military spouses or your obedience to the President? https://t.co/Z56pZ9VRYr — Ruben Gallego (@RubenGallego) February 15, 2019 The President's unconstitutional action threatens to take money away from construction at Nellis Air Force Base, and local national security activities that keep Nevada families safe. I will support the House’s actions to restore order and protect Nevadans. — Rep. Steven Horsford (@RepHorsford) February 15, 2019 Since Trump reportedly plans to take money from existing military construction projects for his #nationalemergency, this could steal millions in approved & necessary funding away from the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. #mepolitics My full statement on his authoritarian power grab pic.twitter.com/djQdIcHmub — Chellie Pingree (@chelliepingree) February 15, 2019 The Pentagon and the White House had no answers for reporters on Friday on which military construction projects would be put on hold, whether from the 2019 budget, or from money approved by Congress, but not yet spent from previous years. “We would be looking at lower priority military construction projects,” a senior administration official told reporters on a Friday conference call before the President’s announcement. That official – and another senior White House official on the call – both downplayed the amount of money being taken from military construction, with one saying the budget was ‘substantially’ more than the $3.6 billion being diverted by the President. But that’s not the case. “I sit on the committee that funds Military Construction,” said Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) tweeted on Friday. “Trump is taking $3.5 billion out of the $10 billion that’s in the account. That’s 35%.” Earlier this month, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee specifically said his biggest concern about an emergency would be taking money out of military construction, a point Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) emphasized again this week. “As I heard in a hearing yesterday, military housing and all military installations are facing disrepair and poor conditions,” Inhofe said. “We cannot afford to allow them to be further impacted.”
  • Can President Donald Trump declare a national emergency in order to fund the wall?  >> Read more trending news Here is a look at the powers that come into play when a president declares a national emergency and just what the law allows him to do. Can he do that? The president, at his or her discretion, has the authority to declare a national emergency. Historically, that authority comes from Congress, which by 1973 had enacted more than 470 statutes pertaining to the president’s authority during a national emergency.  In 1976, Congress enacted the National Emergencies Act that limited the scope of response to declared states of emergency.The act: Revoked the powers that had been granted to the president under the four states of emergency that were still active in 1976. Prescribed procedures for invoking any powers in the future. Declared that states of emergency would automatically end one year after their declaration unless the president publishes a notice of renewal in the Federal Register within 90 days of the termination date. He or she must also officially notify Congress of the renewal. Required each house of Congress meet every six months to consider a vote to end the state of emergency. The incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Adam Smith, D-Washington, agreed that Trump has the authority to declare an emergency and have the U.S. military build the wall. He said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” that while Trump can do it, such an action would likely be challenged in court. >> National emergency likely to be blocked by courts, DOJ tells White House: reports “Unfortunately, the short answer is yes,” Smith said when asked if Trump has the authority to declare a national emergency and build the wall.“I think the president would be wide open to a court challenge saying, ‘Where is the emergency?’ You have to establish that in order to do this,” Smith continued. “But beyond that, this would be a terrible use of Department of Defense dollars.”What is considered a national emergency?What constitutes a national emergency is open to interpretation, but generally, it is seen as an event that threatens the security of the people of the United States. According to the Congressional Review Service, a 1934 Supreme Court majority opinion characterized an emergency in terms of “urgency and relative infrequency of occurrence as well as equivalence to a public calamity resulting from fire, flood, or like disaster not reasonably subject to anticipation.”  What powers does a president have when a national emergency is declared?Through federal law, when an emergency is declared, a variety of powers are available to the president to use. Some of those powers require very little qualification from the president for their use. The Brennan Center for Justice lists 136 special provisions that become available to a president when he declares a national emergency. A CRS report states, 'Under the powers delegated by such statutes, the president may seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens.” However, under the National Emergencies Act, the president must name the specific emergency power he is invoking. How can he get funds for a wall by declaring a national emergency? Where does the money come from? According to U.S. law, a president can divert funds to a federal construction project during a declared national emergency. In the case of the border wall, the money could come from the budget for the Department of Defense under something called “un-obligated” money. Under federal law, un-obligated money in the Department of Defense's budget may be used by the military to fund construction projects during war or emergencies. Department of Defense spokesman Jamie Davis said in a statement that, “To date, there is no plan to build sections of the wall. However, Congress has provided options under Title 10 U.S. Code that could permit the Department of Defense to fund border barrier projects, such as in support of counter drug operations or national emergencies.” Can Congress get around it? Congress can end a president’s call of a national emergency with a joint resolution. A joint resolution is a legislative measure that requires the approval of both the House and the Senate. The resolution is submitted, just as a bill is, to the president for his or her signature, making it a law. 

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