The House Judiciary Committee voted Wednesday to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress over his refusal to turn over the unredacted Mueller report to lawmakers. It’s not clear when the full House of Representatives might vote on a contempt charge, but House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler said he expected a vote “rapidly.” Wednesday’s vote came just hours after the White House said President Trump will claim executive privilege to prevent the release of the full Mueller report to Congress, as well as documents held by former White House counsel Donald McGahn and other top officials. This is Texas Democratic Congressmember Sheila Jackson Lee.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee: “I can only conclude that the president now seeks to take a wrecking ball to the Constitution of the United States of America. For the first time in the history of the United States, a president is now exerting executive privilege over every aspect of life that the American people desire to have information.”
We’ll have more on the constitutional crisis unfolding in Washington after headlines.
The Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Donald Trump Jr. to return to Capitol Hill to testify about his role in matters related to the Russia investigation. It’s the first congressional subpoena compelling one of President Trump’s children to testify. In 2017, Trump Jr. appeared voluntarily before the committee, where he testified he was only “peripherally aware” of plans by the Trump Organization to build a massive skyscraper in Moscow. His statements were later directly contradicted by President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen, who testified he briefed Trump Jr. and his sister Ivanka about the Trump Tower Moscow project about 10 times.
The Trump administration has imposed new sanctions on Iran, saying it will punish countries that purchase Iranian copper, aluminum or other metals. The new sanctions came after Iran announced it will stop complying with parts of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and resume high-level enrichment of uranium in 60 days if other signatories of the deal do not take action to shield Iran’s oil and banking sectors from U.S. sanctions. That move, in turn, came a year after the Trump administration pulled out of the nuclear deal, even as European allies and the United Nations said Iran was in full compliance.
In Arizona, humanitarian aid volunteers recovered four sets of human remains as they searched for a missing migrant in the western desert of Arizona near the U.S.-Mexico border. The group No More Deaths found the bodies over the weekend as they searched for a man who was last seen with badly blistered feet, vomiting blood. The group says it carried out the search after the Border Patrol refused to initiate a rescue. This comes as a federal court in Tucson wrapped up three days of testimony in the trial of Scott Daniel Warren, a No More Deaths volunteer who faces misdemeanor charges for leaving food, water, shelter and clothing for migrant border crossers in the same desert region where the group found the bodies.
New York state lawmakers have moved to make President Trump’s tax records available to the U.S. Congress. On Wednesday, New York’s state Senate approved the TRUST Act, which would allow the Department of Taxation to hand over any state tax return requested by certain congressional leaders. The bill faces a vote in the New York Assembly on Monday, where it’s expected to pass, and Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo has promised to sign the legislation.
President Trump traveled to Panama City Beach in the Florida Panhandle Wednesday for a campaign rally, where he laughed in approval when an audience member shouted that migrants crossing into the United States should be shot. The interaction came as Trump was praising border security workers.
President Donald Trump: “We don’t let them, and we can’t let them, use weapons. We can’t. Other countries do. We can’t. I would never do that. But how do you stop these people?”
Rally participant: “Shoot them!”
President Donald Trump: “That’s only in the Panhandle you can get away with that statement.”
President Trump’s laughter and joke came after the audience member shouted “shoot them!”
In Maryland, a federal judge ruled Wednesday a Coast Guard lieutenant accused of stockpiling weapons, hoping to kill prominent Democrats and journalists, can be released from jail while he awaits trial. U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Day’s ruling, if it holds up on appeal, will allow 50-year-old Christopher Hasson to be supervised by relatives in a 24-hour home detention ahead of his trial on weapons charges. Prosecutors say Hasson espoused white nationalist views, researched the addresses of U.S. Supreme Court justices, sought to assassinate Democratic presidential hopefuls and cable news anchors, and intended to “murder innocent civilians on a scale rarely seen in this country.”
In Afghanistan, the Taliban has claimed responsibility for an attack Wednesday on the offices of a U.S.-based nongovernmental organization in the capital Kabul that killed at least five people and left two dozen others injured. The attack targeted the offices of Counterpart International, a nonprofit based in Arlington, Virginia, that is funded by USAID, the U.S. Agency for International Development. The attack came following a proposed Ramadan ceasefire by Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. The Taliban rejected the proposal amid ongoing peace talks with the United States.
In Lahore, Pakistan, at least 10 people were killed Wednesday morning, and 25 others wounded, after a suicide attacker bombed an 11th century Sufi shrine. The attack was claimed by a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban. In 2010, an attack on the same site killed more than 40 people.
North Korea test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles Thursday, in its latest show of military power after President Trump walked away from denuclearization talks with Kim Jong-un in February. The military drill did not violate a moratorium on long-range, nuclear-capable missile tests, but South Korea’s government called them a “very disturbing development” that won’t help to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
In South Africa, polls closed Wednesday in national elections, with early results showing the governing African National Congress will likely hold its parliamentary majority. With about one-third of districts reporting, the ANC has won about 55% of the vote, with the main opposition Democratic Alliance party in second place with a quarter of the vote. The results do suggest support for the ANC could fall below 60% for the first time since the end of white minority rule. Final results are due on Saturday.
Back in the United States, voters in Denver, Colorado, appear to have approved a ballot measure decriminalizing the recreational use of psychedelic mushrooms. Under the ballot initiative, psychedelic mushrooms will remain illegal to buy, sell or possess, but police are instructed to make enforcement of such laws the lowest possible priority. Recent medical studies have found psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, can have positive effects treating depression, addictions, PTSD, pain and anxiety.
In Baltimore, Maryland, university administrators at Johns Hopkins called in police Wednesday to end a month-long sit-in protest at the campus’s main administration building. Seven protesters were arrested. Students are demanding Johns Hopkins reverse plans to create a private university police force and cancel contracts with ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Click here to see our coverage of the sit-in occupation.
Drivers with the ride-hailing services Uber and Lyft went out on strike in cities worldwide Wednesday to protest low wages and poor working conditions. Drivers in Los Angeles, London, Melbourne, São Paulo, New York and other cities temporarily halted work to demand Uber and other ride-share companies like Lyft treat drivers like full-time employees rather than independent contractors. This is Janet Kwon of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance.
Janet Kwon: “So, right now the amount that passengers pay isn’t regulated. That needs to be regulated; 80 to 85 percent needs to go to the driver because they’re the ones doing the work. We also want to stop unfair deactivations, where drivers are just, you know, basically fired without any just cause.”
The strike came just days before Uber is set to go public valued at an estimated $90 billion—which would make it one of the largest initial public offerings in U.S. history. We’ll have more on the Uber and Lyft strike later in the broadcast.