Garland: Justice Dept.'s civil rights work is key priority
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland says the early work of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division meant confronting white supremacists who were intimidating Black voters, and the division's work remains urgent 65 years later amid a surge of hate crimes.
French admiral: Air power helps root out 'underground' IS
A French senior naval officer says the Islamic State group is using stealth to regenerate its forces by developing its military capabilities underground and France is deploying its warships and aircraft in the region to help troops on the ground root out the threat.
Biden readies for 1st news conference, White House tradition
AdThe last four presidents, back to Bill Clinton, each held one solo White House news conference in their first 60 days, picking up the pace to varying degrees later. The pandemic has kept foreign leaders away from the White House this year. Eisenhower's news conference Jan. 19, 1955, was one benchmark among several in the history of presidential news conferences tracked by Kumar, an authority on White House practices. But for all of JFK's charms and smarts, he encountered a more aggressive White House press corps, Kumar says. Richard Nixon, like Trump after him, called the press an “enemy.” Yet Nixon was the first to hold White House news conferences in prime time.
The Latest: UNLV now plans in-person spring graduation
(AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)LAS VEGAS — The University of Nevada, Las Vegas is changing course and now plans in-person spring graduation ceremonies in May as the coronavirus outbreak slows. UNLV President Keith Whitfield on Friday announced the change from plans announced in February to hold graduation virtually. ___LONDON — The U.K. says half of the country’s adults have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. AdThe government on Saturday reported cases topping the previous record in June. AdJust one third of Italy’s 7.3 million vaccine doses administered so far have gone to people in that age group.
Buttigieg: Biden plan will usher in a new transportation era
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)WASHINGTON – Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said Thursday that an infrastructure plan expected soon from President Joe Biden will offer a “once in a century” opportunity to remake transportation in the United States, where cars and highways are no longer king. “But I’ll add there are some things that need to be reduced ... sometimes roads need to go on a diet." People also are shifting to other modes of transportation, such as bicycles or scooters, for shorter trips. During the presidential campaign, Biden laid the groundwork by proposing $2 trillion to address infrastructure and climate change. Buttigieg made clear his work on the Biden team is just getting started.
Thousands of service members saying no to COVID-19 vaccine
By the thousands, U.S. service members are refusing or putting off the COVID-19 vaccine, as frustrated commanders scramble to knock down internet rumors and find the right pitch that will convince troops to take the shot. Some Army units are seeing as few as a third agree to the vaccine, others are higher. Service leaders have vigorously campaigned for the vaccine. Officials from individual military services, however, said in interviews with The Associated Press that refusal rates vary widely, depending on a service member's age, unit, location, deployment status and other intangibles. Similar to the general population, younger service members are more likely to decline or ask to wait.
At Camp David retreat, Biden hangs out, shows he's got game
FILE - In this July 1981 file photo released by The White House, U.S. President Ronald Reagan, left, and Vice President George Bush go horseback riding at Camp David, Md. He capped it off by beating one of his granddaughters at Mario Kart during his first presidential visit to Camp David, the historic retreat for U.S. leaders. That’s what Camp David has traditionally offered presidents: a respite from Washington where they can shed their ties and relax with family. Bill Clinton tried to replicate that diplomatic alchemy when he invited Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Camp David for Mideast peace talks in 2000. He said when foreign leaders descend on Camp David, it can be like an “adult sleepover.”“Going to camp in the cabins creates an atmosphere where leaders are very close together.
Biden, at prayer breakfast, calls out 'political extremism'
Biden is expected to address the National Prayer Breakfast, a Washington tradition that calls on political combatants to set aside their differences for one morning. The breakfast has sparked controversy in the past, particularly when President Donald Trump used last year's installment to slam his political opponents and question their faith. Ad“For so many in our nation, this is a dark, dark time,” Biden told those watching the event. During the 2020 breakfast, Trump singled out Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, who had voted to convict the president during his first impeachment trial. The event went entirely virtual this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, with Biden and all other speakers appearing via taped remarks.
Roberts to swear in yet another president who opposed him
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)WASHINGTON – Someday, perhaps, John Roberts will swear in a new president who doesn’t wish someone else was chief justice of the United States. President Donald Trump has castigated the chief justice as a “disgrace” for his role in upholding Obama’s health care overhaul. It’s the first time in American history that the incoming president and vice president have together voted against a majority of the court. If the administration runs into trouble at the Supreme Court, it’s likely to be over a clash of ideologies. President Theodore Roosevelt was enraged when Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes voted against the president in a major antitrust case.
Pence, top congressional leaders get vaccines; Trump absent
Vice President Mike Pence receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House complex, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Washington. Conspicuously absent: President Donald Trump, who has remained largely out of sight five days into the largest vaccination campaign in the nation’s history. Trump did appear at a White House “summit” ahead of the Food and Drug Administration's approval of the Pfizer vaccine last week. “Don’t let Joe Biden take credit for the vaccines,” Trump has told reporters. “It simply isn’t good enough to have Vice President Pence as a proxy."
Inauguration planners rethink how to party in age of virus
The inaugural platform on the Capitol's West Front is going up just like always, but it probably won't be as crowded. Work to build the inaugural platform at the Capitol and the White House reviewing stand began before the Nov. 3 election, as is traditional. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., who heads the congressional inaugural committee, has been careful not to refute Trump’s baseless claims that he won the election. But Waltz said the congressional inaugural committee staff nonetheless is ready to work with Biden's Presidential Inaugural Committee. Even though plans are still taking shape, Biden's inaugural committee is already raising money for such events as balls and concerts.
DeChambeau shoots 70 in 1st round of Masters; 'I got greedy'
But DeChambeau wasn’t able to back that up Thursday in the opening round, shooting a 2-under 70 to end the day five strokes behind leader Paul Casey. It’s still Augusta National, and it’s the Masters. DeChambeau hit his drive 313 yards into the pine straw behind a tree. Not a 5, the score to shoot for for everyone else at Augusta National, from Bobby Jones to President Dwight Eisenhower to Tiger Woods. “Sometimes I can get a little greedy, and I like taking risks,” DeChambeau said.
Voters strip ‘Plantations’ from Rhode Island’s formal name
(AP Photo/Susan E. Bouchard, File)Rhode Island will now be officially known as ... Rhode Island. Officially, Rhode Island was incorporated as The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations when it declared statehood in 1790. Although the word “Plantations” in Rhode Island’s name does not specifically refer to a place where slaves labored, the measure’s backers insisted it still offends, especially since Rhode Island’s ties to the slave trade are undeniably deep. The formal vote for House speaker, however, won’t happen until January, when the new legislature convenes. Mattiello rose to House speaker in 2014 after then-Speaker Gordon Fox resigned amid a public corruption investigation.
Work already underway for presidential inauguration
The committee has voted to hold the inaugural ceremonies on the West Front of the Capitol, a tradition that began under Ronald Reagan. The Architect of the Capitol is busy constructing the inaugural platform from scratch. The platform traditionally holds more than 1,600 people, including the president and vice president, members of Congress, Supreme Court justices, and the outgoing president and vice president. A Presidential Inaugural Committee, a nonprofit representing the president-elect, will be organized following the Nov. 3 election. For the Washington, D.C., metro area, the inauguration has traditionally provided an economic boost as visitors fill local hotels and restaurants.
Colliding crises shake already chaotic campaign's last month
FILE - In this Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020, file photo President Donald Trump walks from Marine One to the White House in Washington as he returns from Minnesota. The Republican president has trailed Democratic challenger Joe Biden in polls for most of the year. Trumps approval ratings barely budge, consistently ranking him as among the weakest first-term presidents in living history. And for five consecutive months, no more than roughly 3 in 10 voters have believed the nation is moving in the right direction. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
Colliding crises shake already chaotic campaign's last month
The Republican president has trailed Democratic challenger Joe Biden in polls for most of the year. The Republican president has trailed Democratic challenger Joe Biden in polls for most of the year. Schmidt, co-founder of the anti-Trump Lincoln Project, is no stranger to final-weeks political drama, having led John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008. “You have an American president threatening political instability ... and at the same time making wild accusations and spreading conspiracy theories about the legitimacy of an American election,” Schmidt said. Amid legal and health concerns, it's difficult for pollsters and campaigns to predict how many voters will ultimately cast ballots.
Of presidents and health, history replete with secrecy, lies
(AP Photo, File)WASHINGTON – Throughout American history, an uncomfortable truth has been evident: Presidents have lied about their health. But with an election coming on, Roosevelt and the White House staff issued a statement saying the problem was far less serious. The first known instance of a so-called pool reporter inside the White House was in 1881 when James A. Garfield was shot. As he lay in bed, Associated Press reporter Franklin Trusdell sat outside the president's sick room, listening to him breathe and sharing updates with other correspondents. “I listen for every sound,” Trusdell wrote to his wife in a note about his overnight Garfield watch at the White House.
31.4% spring slide for a US economy likely to shrink in 2020
WASHINGTON – The U.S. economy plunged at an unprecedented rate this spring and even with a record rebound expected in the just-ended third quarter, the U.S. economy will likely shrink this year, the first time that has happened since the Great Recession. Economists believe the economy will expand at an annual rate of 30% in the current quarter as businesses have re-opened and millions of people have gone back to work. The government will not release its July-September GDP report until Oct. 29, just five days before the presidential election. That drop was followed by the second quarter decline of 31.4%, which was initially estimated two months ago as a drop of 32.9%, and then revised to a decline of 31.7% last month. It was still a record fall at a rate of 33.2%, but last month projections were for a decline of 34.1%.
Letters reveal public distaste for booze in JFK White House
FILE - In this Dec. 6, 1960, file photo, President Dwight Eisenhower poses with President-elect John F. Kennedy at the White House in Washington, before a private conference. Researchers at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in 2020 have found a cache of letters from Americans objecting to JFK's embrace of cocktails at White House events. Case in point: Researchers at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum have found a cache of letters from Americans objecting to JFK's embrace of cocktails at White House events. Can we risk our national and international security on such potential incompetence?Eisenhower was no teetotaler, but historians say he presided over a largely cocktail-free White House. JFK Library archivists say the letters of protest began arriving after newspapers reported on Kennedy's first official event: a January 1961 reception honoring the new president's appointees.
Iran fires missile at mock aircraft carrier amid US tensions
In this Feb. 15, 2020, satellite photo provided on July 27, 2020, by Maxar Technologies, a mockup aircraft carrier built by Iran is seen at Bandar Abbas, Iran, before being put to sea. Iranian commandos also fast-roped down from a helicopter onto the replica in the footage from an exercise called Great Prophet 14." It remains unclear when or if the Nimitz will pass through the Strait of Hormuz or not during its time in the Mideast. The USS Abraham Lincoln, deployed last year as tensions initially spiked, spent months in the Arabian Sea before heading through the strait. We do not seek conflict, but remain ready to defend U.S. forces and interests from maritime threats in the region.___Associated Press journalist Mohammad Nasiri in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.
Iran moves mock aircraft carrier to sea amid US tensions
In this July 26, 2020, satellite photo provided on July 27, by Maxar Technologies, an Iranian fast boat, top left, approaches a mockup aircraft carrier built by Iran in the Strait of Hormuz. Satellite photographs released Monday, July 27, showed Iran has moved the aircraft carrier out to sea likely for naval drills amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S. (Maxar Technologies via AP)DUBAI Iran has moved a mock aircraft carrier to the strategic Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S., satellite photographs released Monday show, likely signalling the Islamic Republic soon plans to use it for live-fire drills. The USS Abraham Lincoln, deployed last year as tensions initially spiked, spent months in the Arabian Sea before heading through the strait. The replica carries 16 mock-ups of fighter jets on its deck, according to the satellite photos taken by Maxar Technologies. Last summer saw a series of attacks and incidents further ramp up tensions between Iran and the U.S.
Barr able to put his stamp on executive power as Trump's AG
They ask Attorney General William Barr about elder fraud. Democrats have suggested he should be impeached and are holding hearings into what they say is the politicization of the Justice Department under his watch. Then, when Bush was elected, Barr joined the Justice Department first as assistant attorney general of the Office of Legal Counsel, then as deputy attorney general, and finally as attorney general. The actions have resulted in open letters signed by thousands of Justice Department alumni who have demanded Barrs resignation. He points to the Justice Department inspector generals report that found flaws in how the FBIs Russia investigation was conducted.
Dodging virus, Navy ships break record for staying at sea
In this May 24, 2020, photo, provided by the U.S. Navy Sailors run on the flight deck aboard the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). As they steamed through the North Arabian Sea on June 25, they notched their 161st consecutive day at sea, breaking the previous Navy record of 160 days. Navy via AP)WASHINGTON The two U.S. warships in the Middle East weren't aiming to break a record. On Thursday, as they steamed through the North Arabian Sea, they notched their 161st consecutive day at sea, breaking the previous Navy record of 160 days. By the time they crossed the Atlantic and moved into the Mediterranean Sea, the virus was escalating.
Cables: US falsely said British queen backed 1953 Iran coup
The shah grew fearful of Mosaddegh's growing power and prepared to flee Iran in February 1953, months before the coup. That suggests Queen Elizabeth herself had sent a message. I dont think the 1953 coup would have happened if the shah had fled then. An initial 1989 release outlining the years surrounding the 1953 coup in Iran whitewashed the U.S. role in the coup. The 1953 coup is their first piece of evidence.
Trump: US may rethink decision to exit surveillance treaty
Senior administration officials say Trump's willingness to leave the Open Skies Treaty is evidence of how prominently arms control verification and compliance will feature in the new talks. The Open Skies Treaty that governs the unarmed overflights was initially set up to promote trust and avert conflict between the U.S. and Russia. He noted that Russian violations are also what prompted Trump last year to pull out of a 1987 nuclear arms treaty with Russia. Russia has offered to extend the treaty, but Trump is holding out in hopes of negotiating a three-way agreement with Russia and China. That prompts arms control experts like Steve Pifer at the Brookings Institution to ask What would be the point?