Biden open to shortening length of programs in spending bill
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — President Joe Biden said Friday he would prefer to cut the duration of programs in his big social services and climate change package rather than eliminate some entirely, as Democrats struggle to win support from moderates by trimming what had been a $3.5 trillion proposal.
Biden's comments, reassuring progressives on what he hopes will be a landmark piece of his legacy, marked his clearest comments yet on how he hopes negotiations over the bill will play out. Appearing to side with a strategy preferred by progressive lawmakers, it marked at least a subtle break with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has suggested that most Democrats prefer to focus on establishing a few enduring programs.
He also said there is no deadline for a deal.
“I’m of the view that it’s important to establish the principle on a whole range of issues without guaranteeing to get the whole 10 years,” Biden told reporters before boarding Air Force One to return to Washington from a trip to Connecticut. "It matters to establish it.”
“So what happens is, you pass the principle and you build on it,” he added. “You look back and either it works or it doesn’t work.”
Authorities call fatal stabbing of UK lawmaker terrorist act
LEIGH-ON-SEA, England (AP) — A long-serving member of Parliament was stabbed to death Friday during a meeting with constituents at a church in England, in what police said was a terrorist incident. A 25-year-old man was arrested in connection with the attack, which united Britain's fractious politicians in shock and sorrow.
Counterterrorism officers were leading the investigation into the slaying of Conservative lawmaker David Amess. In a statement early Saturday, the Metropolitan Police described the attack as terrorism and said the early investigation “has revealed a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism.”
Amess, 69, was attacked around midday Friday at a Methodist church in Leigh-on-Sea, a town about 40 miles (62 kilometers) east of London. Paramedics tried without success to save him. Police arrested the suspect and recovered a knife.
They did not identify the suspect, who was held on suspicion of murder. Police said they believed the suspect acted alone, and were not seeking anyone else in connection with the killing, though investigations continue.
The slaying came five years after another MP, Jo Cox, was murdered by a far-right extremist in her small-town constituency, and it renewed concern about the risks politicians run as they go about their work representing voters. British politicians generally are not given police protection when they meet with their constituents.
Watchdog: Psaki violated ethics law by promoting McAuliffe
WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog group said Friday that it had filed an ethics complaint against White House press secretary Jen Psaki for a comment she made about former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat who is running for election to his old post.
Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said Psaki violated the Hatch Act when she appeared to endorse McAuliffe during a White House press briefing on Thursday. The Hatch Act prevents federal employees from engaging in political work while performing their official duties.
In response to a reporter's question about Virginia's Nov. 2 election, Psaki said, "We’re going to do everything we can to help former Gov. McAuliffe, and we believe in the agenda he’s representing.”
Immediately before making the comment in support of McAuliffe, Psaki said she needed to be “careful about how much political analysis” she offered in her official capacity.
After CREW filed its complaint, Psaki said in a CNN interview Friday that she should have used the word “he” instead of “we" in response to the question.
Jill Biden travels to Virginia, New Jersey to help Democrats
HENRICO, Va. (AP) — First lady Jill Biden campaigned Friday for Democrats in governors' races in Virginia and New Jersey, saying "this election will set a course for a year from now” during her first political trip of her husband's presidency.
Biden spoke at an early voting rally at Middlesex College in Edison, New Jersey, where Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy is running against Republican Jack Ciattarelli, an ex-state Assembly member. She also hit an evening event in suburban Richmond, Virginia, alongside Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former governor who is running to regain the post and facing a tighter race than expected against Republican Glenn Youngkin, a businessman.
“We can’t get complacent. We have to get to work,” the first lady, who was born in New Jersey and clapped on stage to “It’s My Life,” by New Jersey icon and President Biden supporter Jon Bon Jovi, told the crowd in Edison. The loudest applause of the event came when Jill Biden joked, “Heck, today’s Friday. So go grab a beer and go vote.”
Democrats, eager to boost turnout for the off-year elections, dispatched the first lady to rally support in the Nov. 2 governors' races. It marks the first time that Biden has been back on the campaign trial since stumping for her husband in last year’s presidential campaign, and it underscores the political stakes for the White House.
In Virginia especially, which President Joe Biden won by a comfortable 10 percentage points last year, a defeat in the governor's race could spell trouble for Democrats in the 2022 midterms, when control of Congress is at risk of flipping to Republicans. The president’s approval ratings have fallen to some of the lowest levels of his White House tenure amid congressional fights over infrastructure and voting rights.
Trump's not going away — and neither is investigator Schiff
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly a year out of the White House, Donald Trump continues to circle the Republican Party, commanding attention and influence as he ponders another run for the presidency.
And still circling Trump is Rep. Adam Schiff.
Schiff, the Intelligence Committee chairman who rose to national prominence probing Russian election interference and leading the first Trump impeachment, says there's nothing less than democracy at stake with the former president's continued presence on the national political stage.
As a key member of the House Select Committee on the Jan. 6 Insurrection at the Capitol, the congressman whom Trump mercilessly mocks with derisive nicknames is turning his attention to Trump's role in that deadly riot.
“We want to show the country just how Jan. 6 came about -- and not just the mechanics of that day, in terms of the participation of the white nationalist groups ... but rather how this big falsehood about our elections propelled thousands of people to attack their own government,” Schiff says in an interview on C-SPAN's Book TV, airing a week from Sunday.
DOJ will ask Supreme Court to halt Texas abortion law
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Biden administration said Friday it will turn next to the U.S. Supreme Court in another attempt to halt a Texas law that has banned most abortions since September.
The move comes as the Texas clinics are running out of avenues to stop the GOP-engineered law that bans abortions once cardiac activity is detected, which is usually around six weeks. It amounts to the nation's biggest curb to abortion in nearly 50 years and makes no exception for cases of rape or incest.
By going to the Supreme Court, the Justice Department is taking the route that clinics have sought as other legal challenges have failed. In the meantime, Texas women have turned to abortion clinics in neighboring states, some driving hours through the middle of the night and including patients as young as 12 years old.
“People are scared, confused, and other than very early abortion, have nowhere to turn to access safe, legal abortion unless they are able to travel hundreds of miles to another state," said Jeffrey Hons, president of Planned Parenthood South Texas, whose clinics have stopped offering all abortion services since the law took effect Sept. 1.
The latest defeat for clinics came Thursday night when a federal appeals panel in New Orleans, in a 2-1 decision, allowed the restrictions to remain in place for a third time in the last several weeks alone. Justice Department spokesman Anthony Coley said the federal government will now ask the Supreme Court to reverse that decision but did not say how quickly.
Prosecutors: Capitol cop told Jan. 6 rioter to hide evidence
WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. Capitol Police officer has been indicted on obstruction of justice charges after prosecutors say he helped to hide evidence of a rioter's involvement in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The officer, Michael A. Riley, is accused of tipping off someone who participated in the riot by telling them to remove posts from Facebook that had showed the person inside the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack, according to court documents.
Riley, 50, appeared virtually in federal court in Washington and was released with several conditions, including that he surrender any firearms and not travel outside the U.S. without permission from a judge. He was ordered to return to court later this month.
Riley, who responded to a report of a pipe bomb on Jan. 6 and has been a Capitol Police officer for about 25 years, had sent the person a message telling them that he was an officer with the police force who “agrees with your political stance,” an indictment against him says.
The indictment spells out how Riley sent dozens of messages to the unidentified person, encouraging them to remove incriminating photos and videos and telling them how the FBI was investigating to identify rioters.
'Lawless city?' Worry after Portland police don't stop chaos
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A crowd of 100 people wreaked havoc in downtown Portland, Oregon, this week – smashing storefront windows, lighting dumpsters on fire and causing at least $500,000 in damage – but police officers didn't stop them.
Portland Police Bureau officials say that's because of legislation passed by Oregon lawmakers this year, which restricts the tools they can use to confront people vandalizing buildings and causing mayhem.
“The reason that we did not intervene goes back to what we talked about last month with House Bill 2928 and the restrictions placed on us in a crowd control environment,” KOIN reports that Portland Police Lt. Jake Jensen said in a neighborhood meeting Thursday.
Residents frustrated by the latest round of destructive demonstrations Tuesday questioned whether that meant anything goes now in Portland.
“Does that mean we are now like a lawless city?” Linda Witt asked during the meeting with police. Jensen replied saying people can still face consequences later.
US vows to pay relatives of Afghans killed in drone strike
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Defense Department said Friday that it is committed to offering condolence payments to relatives of the 10 people who were killed in an errant U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, in August.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement that the Defense Department was also working with the State Department to help surviving family members relocate to the United States.
Kirby said the matter arose in a meeting Thursday between Dr. Colin Kahl, under secretary of defense for policy, and Dr. Steven Kwon, founder and president of the nonprofit group Nutrition & Education International.
“Dr. Kahl reiterated Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s commitment to the families, including offering ex gratia condolence payments,” Kirby said. He did not say how much money would be offered.
On Aug. 29, a U.S. Hellfire missile struck a car driven by Zemerai Ahmadi, who had just pulled into the driveway of the Ahmadi family compound. In all, 10 members of the family, including seven children, were killed in the strike.
In trial over Arbery death, racial reckoning looms large
BRUNSWICK, Ga. (AP) — A framed photo on the wall of Travis Riddle's soul food restaurant shows the local sheriff arresting a gray-bearded white man with hands cuffed behind his back, a reminder to all who enter that for Riddle justice still waits to be served in the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery.
It shows Greg McMichael on the day last year that he and his son, Travis McMichael, were jailed on murder charges in the 25-year-old Black man's killing.
The McMichaels are charged with chasing Arbery in a pickup truck and fatally shooting him after spotting him running in their neighborhood. More than two months passed before their arrests after video of the shooting was leaked online and sparked a national outcry.
Jury selection in the murder trial of the McMichaels and William “Roddie” Bryan, a neighbor who joined the pursuit and took the video, is scheduled to begin Monday. For many, it’s not just the three white defendants on trial, but rather a justice system that allowed them to remain free for weeks after they pursued and killed a Black man.
“You’ve got the corruption, then the good ole boy system, then the racism — that’s how I see it,” said Riddle, who hopes to break away from his restaurant, Country Boy Cooking, to attend some of the trial.
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