Lawyers argue whether the Constitution’s ‘insurrection’ clause blocks Trump from the 2024 ballot
Lawyers for a group of Colorado voters are focusing on the January 2021 assault on the U.S. Capitol and former President Donald Trump’s words and actions in a hearing that could determine whether the Constitution’s insurrection clause bars Trump from running again for the White House.
Biden to deliver democracy speech and pay tribute to John McCain in Arizona next week
President Joe Biden will travel to Arizona next week to deliver a democracy-focused address that will also pay tribute to the late John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential candidate who represented the state in the U.S. Senate for more than three decades.
DeSantis super PAC tackles tricky task of organizing support for him in Iowa without the candidate
The super political action committee promoting Ron DeSantis plans to shoulder the load of organizing support for him in Iowa while the Florida governor moves toward launching a 2024 presidential campaign.
Dodge, deny or fib: Candidates stay vague on 2024 plans
Presidential aspirants running for reelection while dreaming of the highest office in the land often face an uncomfortable question: Will they commit to serving a full term — should they win one — when their best moment to take a shot at the White House may come sooner than that.
Arizona Gov. Ducey hails Taiwan semiconductor investment
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey is hailing economic and educational cooperation with Taiwan, marked by a $12 billion investment in his state by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. Ducey spoke Thursday at a meeting with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen, the latest of a series of visits by U.S. political leaders that have stirred the ire of China, which claims Taiwan as its own territory and condemns all official contacts between Taipei and foreign governments that recognize Beijing.
Biden to award Medal of Freedom to Biles, McCain, Giffords
The White House says President Joe Biden will present the nation's highest civilian honor to 17 people, including gymnast Simone Biles, actor Denzel Washington and the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, with whom Biden served in the Senate.
With ambassador picks, Biden faces donor vs. diversity test
President Joe Biden is facing a fresh challenge to his oft-repeated commitment to diversity in his administration: assembling a diplomatic corps that gives a nod to key political allies and donors while staying true to a campaign pledge to appoint ambassadors who look like America.
With Cuomo under fire, No. 2 Kathy Hochul treads carefully
Kathy Hochul delivers her remarks after taking the oath of office, on Ellis Island in New York Harbor. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)BUFFALO, N.Y. – As a chorus of top Democrats demanded New York Gov. Kathy Hochul delivered virtual remarks at an array of small events statewide. Baruch College political science Professor Doug Muzzio said Hochul is probably preparing herself now in case she’s called on to step in. “The next stage of the game is if he resigns and Hochul becomes governor.
Democratic Arizona Rep. Kirkpatrick won't seek reelection
FILE - IN this Nov. 8, 2016 file photo, Democratic senatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., speaks to supporters during an election night party in Phoenix. Kirkpatrick, a five-term Arizona Democrat, announced Friday, March 12, 2021, she won't run for reelection in 2022. (AP Photo/Matt York, File)TUCSON, Ariz. – U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, a five-term Arizona Democrat, announced Friday she won't run for reelection in 2022. The district has been competitive in recent elections but Kirkpatrick defeated Republican challenger Brandon Marlin by a nearly 40,000-vote margin in November. After redistricting made that district more Democratic, Gosar switched districts and Kirkpatrick won the 1st District seat again in 2012 and was reelected in 2014.
Sunshine State dims for Dems amid election losses, cash woes
Democrats hope to make deeper strides in changing their fortunes in a state that has become friendlier place for Republicans. And that was despite $100 million spent by Michael Bloomberg to help Democrats in the state. When the spending tally is complete, the last election cycle in Florida is expected to rank as among the most expensive in state history. Ad“I don’t know anybody who’s happy with investing $100 million and not winning,” said Manny Diaz, the new chair of the Florida Democratic Party. Diaz, the state party chairman, is trying to reverse the slide in its voter registration advantage over Republicans.
'We can do big things,' Schumer says as Senate approves aid
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., leaves the chamber just after the Senate narrowly approved a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill, at the Capitol in Washington, Saturday, March 6, 2021. Senate passage sets up final congressional approval by the House next week so lawmakers can send it to President Joe Biden for his signature. Ad“Lessons learned: If we have unity, we can do big things,” Schumer told The Associated Press in an interview after the vote. The outcome “gives us optimism about doing more big things in the future — because it worked,” he said. He and Schumer spoke often as the Senate leader steered the pandemic aid to approval.
No winners: UK waits for Harry, Meghan's take on royal split
(AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)LONDON – The timing couldn’t be worse for Harry and Meghan. “Harry and Meghan are hugely popular,’’ Pauline Maclaran, a professor of marketing and author of “Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture,” told The Associated Press. “The firm” is a nickname for the royal family, sometimes used with affection and sometimes with a note of criticism. More damaging for the palace was the interview Prince Andrew, Harry’s uncle, did with the BBC in 2019. “It’s just such a mess,” said Penny Junor, who has written several books about the royals, including a biography of Harry.
Eager to act, Biden and Democrats leave Republicans behind
But lawmakers and advocates are racing to capitalize on House rules that allow any bill to bypass lengthy committee hearings if brought forward by April 1. Senate Republicans are now threatening similar delays. Ad“We’ll be fighting this in every way that we can,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said about the COVID-19 package. McConnell wants Senate Republicans to vote in lockstep against the virus aid, calling it a bloated liberal wish list, following the lead of House Republicans who gave it zero support. That leaves Democrats negotiating with themselves on the COVID-19 package, with Biden warning they won’t like every aspect as he courts centrists.
Bergdahl appeals court-martial over Trump, McCain comments
Bowe Bergdahl filed the complaint in federal court in Washington, D.C. last month, asking a judge to overturn his court martial conviction. Bergdahl says Trump's statements and actions by the late U.S. Sen. John McCain and his military judge violated his Fifth Amendment right to a fair trial. In his appeal, Bergdahl said McCain intensely pressured the Army to charge him, calling Bergdahl a “deserter” and threatening to hold a hearing in the Senate Armed Services Committee if Bergdahl went unpunished. But around that same time, Nance was appointed by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions — a member of Trump’s cabinet — to the immigration judge post, effective the following year. He wants a federal judge to overturn his conviction and sentence and expunge it from his record, restoring his military rights.
Cindy McCain memoir about late husband coming in April
FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2020, file photo Cindy McCain, widow of Sen. John McCain, waves to the crowd at the opening day of the legislative session at the Capitol in Phoenix. Forum, a Penguin Random House imprint, announced Tuesday that McCains Stronger: Courage, Hope, and Humor In My Life With John McCain will be released April 27. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)NEW YORK – Cindy McCain, widow of Sen. John McCain, will have a memoir out this spring. Forum, a Penguin Random House imprint, announced Tuesday that McCain's “Stronger: Courage, Hope, and Humor In My Life With John McCain” will be released April 27. “Being married to John for 38 years was an adventure,” Cindy McCain said in a statement.
A Biden edge in COVID-19 bill: Dems reluctant to wound him
Internal Democratic disputes remain over raising the minimum wage, how much aid to funnel to struggling state and local governments and whether to extend emergency unemployment benefits another month. The issue that's provoked the deepest divisions is a progressive-led drive to boost the federal minimum wage to $15 hourly over five years. More ominously, the Senate parliamentarian is expected to rule soon on whether the minimum wage provision must be tossed from the bill. Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., his chamber's chief minimum wage sponsor, said Democrats must “act boldly” and approve a package with the minimum wage increase. AdRepublicans said the measure's higher minimum wage and increased unemployment benefits would cost jobs or discourage people from seeking work, and said much of the spending was wasteful.
How a leading anti-Trump group ignored a crisis in its ranks
In this Jan. 20, 2016 file photo, John Weaver is shown on a campaign bus in Bow, N.H. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)WASHINGTON – Last June, the Lincoln Project was on a high. Of the $90 million Lincoln Project has raised, more than $50 million has gone to firms controlled by the group's leaders. Others used the money earned during their time with Lincoln Project to refinance homes, or purchase a new one. AdAt least two Lincoln Project employees were targeted last year, including an intern who was finishing law school, and a communications staffer.
Former Indiana first lady Susan Bayh dies at 61 from cancer
FILE - This Nov. 4, 2004 file photo shows Susan Bayh with husband Sen. Evan Bayh, D-Ind., in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy, FILE)INDIANAPOLIS – Former Indiana first lady Susan Bayh, an attorney and wife of former Gov. Evan Bayh, has died at age 61 “after a long and courageous fight" against brain cancer, her family announced Saturday. Susan Bayh died Friday night in McLean, Virginia, a family spokesman said. Susan Bayh first underwent brain surgery in 2015 to remove a benign tumor.
Apaches' fight over Arizona copper mine goes before US court
The Forest Service says it's doing what Congress mandated. ___OTHER LAWSUITSThe Apache Stronghold lawsuit is one of three filed over the copper mine, some of which have overlapping arguments. The San Carlos Apache Tribe, and a coalition of environmentalists, tribes and the Arizona Mining Reform Coalition, also sued the U.S. Forest Service. Apache Stronghold contends the land belongs to Western Apaches under an 1852 treaty with the United States. AdReuben Schifman, a U.S. Department of Justice Attorney representing the Forest Service, said Apache Stronghold can't assert ownership rights because it's not a federally recognized tribe.
Trump team hires 2 ex-prosecutors with ethics experience
(Senate Television via AP)COLUMBIA, S.C. – Donald Trump has added two more former federal prosecutors from South Carolina to his impeachment legal team, according to one of the lawyers. Harris and Gasser join a team that includes Butch Bowers, a noted South Carolina ethics and elections lawyer called an “anchor tenant” of the team by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. It's in part on the advice of Graham that Trump is turning to the South Carolina team after other legal allies passed on the case. It’s a notable departure from his 2020 impeachment trial, when Trump had a stable of nationally known attorneys, including Alan Dershowitz, Jay Sekulow and Kenneth Starr. Bowers has years of experience representing elected officials and political candidates, including former South Carolina Gov.
GOP signals unwillingness to part with Trump after riot
But as the Senate prepares for an impeachment trial for Trump's incitement of the riot, few seem willing to hold the former president accountable. “The political winds within the Republican Party have blown in the opposite direction,” said Ralph Reed, chair of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and a Trump ally. After Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer backed impeachment, Republican Tom Norton announced a primary challenge. “We’re getting ready for an impeachment trial — that’s really the focus,” said Trump adviser Jason Miller. And that his political activism or whatever role he would play going forward would be with the Republican Party, not as a third party,” Cramer said.
Lawyer group: Trump adds ex-prosecutor to impeachment team
(AP Photo/Bruce Smith, File)COLUMBIA, S.C. – Donald Trump is adding another South Carolina attorney to his impeachment legal team, according to a trial lawyer group in the state. Barbier joins Bowers, a Columbia attorney with years of experience representing elected officials and political candidates, including former South Carolina Gov. In part on the advice of Graham, the South Carolina senator, Trump is turning to Bowers and Barbier after other legal allies passed on the case. That's a notable departure from his 2020 impeachment trial, when Trump had a stable of nationally known attorneys, including Alan Dershowitz, Jay Sekulow and Kenneth Starr. If convicted, Trump could be barred from holding public office again, ending any hopes of mounting another White House bid in 2024.
Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain, GOP governor
FILE - In this Jan. 13, 2020, file photo Cindy McCain, wife of former Arizona Sen. John McCain, waves to the crowd after being acknowledged by Arizona Republican Gov. Arizona Republicans voted Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 to censure Cindy McCain and two prominent GOP officials who have found themselves crosswise with former President Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)PHOENIX – Arizona Republicans voted Saturday to censure Cindy McCain and two prominent GOP members who have found themselves crosswise with former President Donald Trump. John McCain was censured by the state GOP in 2014 and went on to comfortably win a Republican primary over Ward and a general election. The self-described maverick, known best for his willingness to buck his party, had strained relations with the state party for much of his career but was consistently reelected by wide margins.
Trump shuns 'ex-presidents club' — and the feeling is mutual
Now that he's left office, it's hard to see him embracing the stately, exclusive club of living former presidents. “He kind of laughed at the very notion that he would be accepted in the presidents club,” said Kate Andersen Brower, who interviewed Trump in 2019 for her book “Team of Five: The Presidents’ Club in the Age of Trump." Obama, Bush and Clinton recorded their video after accompanying Biden to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider following the inauguration. When Hurricane Katrina blasted the Gulf Coast, Bush, father of the then-current president George W. Bush, called on Clinton to boost Katrina fundraising relief efforts. Obama tapped Clinton and the younger President Bush to boost fundraising efforts for Haiti after its devastating 2010 earthquake.
Trial ahead, Trump turns to ethics lawyer for his defense
Trump turned to Bowers, a familiar figure in Republican legal circles, after other legal allies passed on the case. The first impeachment trial turned on charges that Trump improperly solicited Ukraine’s help for his reelection campaign. Pat McCrory and the South Carolina Election Commission in litigation over voter ID laws, as well as a former South Carolina sheriff who pleaded guilty to embezzlement and misconduct in office. In 2018, he was attorney for University of South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley in her successful defamation suit against Missouri’s athletics director. With degrees from the University of South Carolina and College of Charleston, Bowers graduated from Tulane University School of Law in 1998.
Apaches object to Forest Service review of huge copper mine
The Forest Service now has 60 days to turn over a tract of land in Tonto National Forest east of Phoenix to Resolution Copper Mining, a joint venture of the international mining companies Rio Tinto and BHP. Environmentalists contend the Forest Service was pressured to push the review over the finish line before President Donald Trump leaves office, complicating their efforts to reverse the land swap. The Forest Service said that's not true, while the mining company contends the publication already was delayed by months. It also contends the Forest Service legally can't transfer the land because it belongs to Apaches under an 1852 treaty. Resolution Copper is set to receive 3.75 square miles (9.71 square kilometers) of Forest Service land in exchange for eight parcels the company owns elsewhere in Arizona.
Sheldon Adelson, casino mogul and GOP donor, dies at 87
Adelson died Monday night from complications related to treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Las Vegas Sands announced Tuesday. “If you do things differently, success will follow you like a shadow,” he said during a 2014 talk to the gambling industry in Las Vegas. In politics, Adelson was a record-breaking campaign donor who had the ear of domestic and international leaders, including President Donald Trump. Late in 2015, Adelson secretly purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Soon his Macao revenue outstripped that of his Las Vegas holdings.
Arizona's Kelly is sworn into Senate, narrowing GOP edge
(Nicholas Kamm/Pool via AP)WASHINGTON – Arizona Democrat and former astronaut Mark Kelly was sworn into the Senate on Wednesday, narrowing Republican control of the chamber and underscoring his state's shift from red to blue. Kelly, 56, defeated GOP Sen. Martha McSally in last month's election, making her one of only three incumbents to lose. Kelly's Arizona colleague, Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, held the Bible on which he took his oath. In what was one of the country's most expensive Senate races, Kelly raised $89 million. That was second only to the $108 million collected by defeated South Carolina Democratic Senate candidate Jaime Harrison, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
Arizona certifies Biden's narrow victory over Trump
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, left, and Arizona Gov. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool)PHOENIX – Arizona officials certified the state's election results on Monday, formalizing Democrat Joe Biden’s narrow victory over Donald Trump even as the Republican president's attorneys continued to make baseless claims of fraud about the state's vote count. In the final tally, he beat Trump by 10,457 votes, or 0.3 percent of the nearly 3.4 million ballots cast. Nine Republican state lawmakers attended the meeting. A judge in Phoenix has scheduled a Thursday trial in Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward’s lawsuit that seeks to annul Biden’s victory in the state.
SpaceX flying ex-football players, flight controller, Scout
The three Americans and one Japanese should reach the International Space Station late Monday for a five- to six-month stay, following Sunday's liftoff from NASA's Kennedy Space Center. A brief look at each:—Crew commander Mike Hopkins, 51, is an Air Force colonel and former space station resident who grew up on a hog and cattle farm in Missouri. He played football for the University of Illinois and, before becoming an astronaut in 2009, worked at the Pentagon. —Shannon Walker, 55, a Houston-born-and-raised physicist, also has lived before on the space station. She worked as a flight controller at NASA’s Johnson Space Center and then behind the scenes in the space station program, before becoming an astronaut in 2004.
Trump putting democracy to the test after his loss to Biden
All of this an effort to discredit the outcome and, in the process, put democracy itself on trial. Trump is using not just his sway over the party but also the levers of government to keep Biden at bay at least for a while longer. In 2016, Trump won Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania by a combined 77,000 votes; Democrat Hillary Clinton called him on election night and publicly conceded the next day. Her advantage in the popular vote of nearly 3 million has animated the grievances of her supporters to this day, but the Electoral College arithmetic was inexorable and not to be challenged. Obama then welcomed Trump to the White House in a display to the world of the rituals of an American democratic transition.
Candidate concessions have been colorful, funny — or absent
FILE - In this Nov. 4, 1992, file photo, President George H.W. Bill Clinton won the 1992 president election. Most concessions are gracious — less about the loser and more about closure for the country. “Just moments ago I spoke with George W. Bush and congratulated him on becoming the 43rd president of the United States. President John Adams was glum, too.
Cat at Northeast's highest peak dies after 12 years on duty
NORTH CONWAY, N.H. – A cat who patrolled the highest peak in the northeast U.S. for a dozen years as its weather observatory's mascot has died. Marty, a black Maine coon cat, succumbed to “an unforeseen illness," Mount Washington Summit Operations Manager Rebecca Scholand said in a news release Monday. The Mount Washington Observatory staff have had a cat at the 6,288-foot (1,915-meter) summit, called the “home of the world's worst weather," since 1932. The observatory had recently shared the news that Marty would retire from the mountain early in 2021. Marty, a shelter cat, won 53% of the Mount Washington Mascot Primary in January 2008, the same time that Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican John McCain won their respective races in New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary.
How Biden navigated pandemic politics to win the White House
“It was a hard call,” said Jake Sullivan, a senior Biden adviser. He held large-scale events on the South Lawn of the White House, including the introduction of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett less than a week before his diagnosis. After three nights in the hospital, Trump, who was still infectious, staged a dramatic return to the White House. ___Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders knew his White House ambitions were over. Trump had been roundly criticized after mostly peaceful protesters were forcibly removed from a street near the White House in June.
Without Ginsburg, high court support for health law in doubt
Five Supreme Court justices who had twice preserved the Obama-era health care law remained on the bench and seemed unlikely votes to dismantle it. A court ruling invalidating the entire law would threaten coverage for more than 23 million people. It's their first time hearing a major case over the health law as justices, although Kavanaugh took part in the the first round of suits over it when he was a federal appeals court judge. Enrollment in the law's insurance markets stayed relatively stable at more than 11 million people, even after the effective date of the penalty’s elimination in 2019. The case could also be rendered irrelevant if the new Congress were to restore a modest penalty for not buying health insurance.
EXPLAINER: A closer look at Arizona
Election officials arrive for work at the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Phoenix. The Associated Press has called the race in Arizona for Democrat Joe Biden. “The Associated Press continues to watch and analyze vote count results from Arizona as they come in,” said Sally Buzbee, AP’s executive editor. Many of the gains have been driven by the shifting politics of Maricopa County, which is home to Phoenix and its suburbs. Maricopa County accounts for 60% of the state’s vote.
Democrats losing paths to Senate control as GOP hangs on
Republican Senate candidate Sen. Mitch McConnell, second from right, and his wife, Elaine Chao, right, look on as aides show him the election results in Louisville, Ky., Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)WASHINGTON – Hopes fading for Senate control, Democrats had a disappointing election night as Republicans swatted down an onslaught of challengers and fought to retain their fragile majority. Democrats contested seats from New England to the Deep South and the Midwest to the Mountain West, reaching deep into GOP strongholds. The Democrats' gains were in Colorado and Arizona, where former astronaut Mark Kelly beat GOP incumbent Martha McSally. Republican Cynthia Lummis, the former congresswoman from Wyoming, won the Senate seat being vacated by Republican Mike Enzi.
GOP tries to save its Senate majority, with or without Trump
Republican senators are fighting to save their majority against an onslaught of challengers in states once off limits to Democrats that are now hotbeds of the backlash to President Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans are fighting to save their majority, a final election push against the onslaught of challengers in states once off limits to Democrats but now hotbeds of a potential backlash to President Donald Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill. With it, a reelected Trump could confirm his nominees and ensure a backstop against legislation from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. With the chamber now split, 53-47, three or four seats will determine Senate control, depending on which party wins the White House. Swooping in to fill the gap for Republicans is the Senate Leadership Fund, tapping deep-pocketed donors.
Paris train attack hero makes bid for Congress from Oregon
This summer, the worst wildfires on record burned in Oregon, with climate change and overgrown forests worsening fire conditions. A possible factor in Skarlatos' favor: Thousands of students at the University of Oregon and Oregon State University, who would normally vote in those towns, are learning remotely amid the coronavirus pandemic. His name recognition went only so far, said Christopher McKnight Nichols, associate professor of history at Oregon State University. Of his campaign war chest, over 60% comes from out of state, DeFazio said during their debate. Several GOP state lawmakers display the group's regalia in their Capitol offices.
Final Trump-Biden debate marked by clashes but less chaos
The button was among a handful of changes implemented by the nonpartisan debate commission to help ensure a more orderly debate following the raucous and widely criticized opening debate 23 days ago. Coronavirus restrictions also remained in place, with attendees required to wear masks at all times and audience members distanced. The debate commission also tightened its rules on masks, with organizers saying that any audience member who refused to wear one would be removed. Audience members were seated in accordance with social distancing recommendations; several empty seats separated each person or small group. All audience members and support staff were required to undergo coronavirus testing onsite and wore colored wristbands as evidence of their negative tests.
In Tennessee, final debate puts surging virus in spotlight
It’s a strikingly different landscape from 2008, when Nashville last hosted a presidential debate between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican challenger John McCain at Belmont University. Fast-forward to a year of unprecedented disruption to live music and other public gatherings, and Tennessee health officials are now reporting record-breaking virus numbers in the days leading up to the debate. But Belmont University President Bob Fisher says canceling the debate never crossed his mind. He says he was always confident Belmont could pull off the debate, even in a pandemic. Approximately 150 people are expected in the debate hall, including up to 35 Belmont students working as ushers.