Trump declares he’ll ‘never back down’ in shutdown fight
WASHINGTON — With the government mired in shutdown week four, President Donald Trump rejected a short-term legislative fix and dug in for more combat Monday, declaring he would “never ever back down.”
Trump rejected a suggestion to reopen the government for several weeks while negotiations would continue with Democrats over his demands for $5.7 billion for a long, impregnable wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The president also edged further away from the idea of trying to declare a national emergency to circumvent Congress.
“I’m not looking to call a national emergency,” Trump said. “This is so simple we shouldn’t have to.”
No cracks were apparent in the president’s deadlock with lawmakers after a weekend with no negotiations at all. His rejection of the short-term option proposed by Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham removed one path forward, and little else was in sight. Congressional Republicans were watching Trump for a signal for how to move next, and Democrats have not budged from their refusal to fund the wall and their demand that he reopen government before border talks resume.
The White House has been considering reaching out to rank-and-file Democrats rather than dealing with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to try and chip away at Democratic opposition to the wall. A White House official said plans were in the works to call freshman representatives, especially those who initially did not support Pelosi’s bid for the speakership.
Kidnapping suspect targeted girl after seeing her get on bus
BARRON, Wis. — A Wisconsin man accused of abducting 13-year-old Jayme Closs and holding her captive for three months made up his mind to take her when he spotted the teenager getting on a school bus near her home, authorities said Monday.
Jake Thomas Patterson, 21, told detectives that “he knew that was the girl he was going to take,” and he made two aborted trips to her family’s home before finally carrying out an attack in which he fatally shot Jayme’s mother in front of her, according to a criminal complaint filed hours before Patterson’s first court appearance.
Prosecutors charged him with kidnapping Jayme and killing her parents Oct. 15 near Barron, about 90 miles northeast of Minneapolis. He was also charged with armed robbery.
Investigators believe Patterson hid Jayme in a remote cabin before she escaped on Thursday. Police have said the two did not know each other.
Patterson sat expressionless during the court appearance, which he made via video feed from the county jail. He spoke only to acknowledge that his name and address were correct on paperwork and that he agreed to waive a speedy preliminary hearing. The judge set bail at $5 million.
Trump’s AG nominee: Mueller should be allowed to finish work
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general will tell senators “it is vitally important” that special counsel Robert Mueller be allowed to complete his Russia investigation, and said he believes Congress and the public should learn the results, according to remarks prepared for his confirmation hearing.
William Barr also insisted in testimony he’ll deliver Tuesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee that Trump never sought any promises, assurances or commitments before selecting him to be the country’s chief law enforcement officer.
In releasing written testimony ahead of his hearing, the Justice Department moved to pre-empt the most significant questions Barr is likely to face from Democrats on the panel — including whether he can oversee without bias or interference the final stages of Mueller’s probe into potential ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign, and whether he will permit the findings to be made public.
“I believe it is in the best interest of everyone — the President, Congress, and, most importantly, the American people — that this matter be resolved by allowing the Special Counsel to complete his work,” Barr said.
He described Mueller, a former Justice Department colleague, as a friend he has known personally and professionally for 30 years. Mueller headed the department’s criminal division while Barr served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993.
Man who took 2 women hostage at UPS facility is dead
LOGAN TOWNSHIP, N.J. — An armed man who entered a UPS processing facility Monday morning and held two women hostage for several hours was shot and killed by police as he left the building with the women, authorities said.
Several officers fired at William Owens, 39, of Sicklerville, New Jersey, the state Attorney General’s Office said in a news release that did not detail the situation or explain why the suspect was shot.
Owens had entered the business at about 8:45 a.m. and fired shots, which did not strike anyone, before taking the women to a room and barricading himself inside with them, authorities said. Officials believe that Owens had a prior relationship with one of the hostages, Gloucester County Prosecutor Charles Fiore said.
The women escaped without serious injuries after the standoff in Logan Township, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) south of Philadelphia, Fiore said.
“Multiple members of law enforcement fired at the man, who was armed with a handgun. He was pronounced dead at the scene,” the news release said.
GOP Rep. King loses committee posts over racial remarks
WASHINGTON — Veteran Republican Rep. Steve King will be blocked from committee assignments for the next two years after lamenting that white supremacy and white nationalism have become offensive terms.
King, in his ninth term representing Iowa, will not be given committee assignments in the Congress that began this month, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said Monday night. King served on the Agriculture, Small Business and Judiciary committees in the last Congress, and he chaired Judiciary’s subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.
McCarthy, R-Calif., called King’s remarks “beneath the dignity of the Party of Lincoln and the United States of America.”
King’s comments “call into question whether he will treat all Americans equally, without regard for race and ethnicity,” McCarthy said, adding: “House Republicans are clear: We are all in this together, as fellow citizens equal before God and the law.”
The action by the GOP steering committee came after King and McCarthy met Monday to discuss the remarks on white supremacy, the latest in a years-long pattern of racially insensitive remarks by King.
Witnesses: Men in police garb massacred civilians in Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — When a police truck carrying men in uniform pulled into an impoverished neighborhood in the Haitian capital, residents thought it was an official operation.
Maybe police were finally trying to head off a war between the gangs that run protection rackets in the market next to the sprawling collection of cinderblock shacks and low-rise public housing.
Then the men opened fire. Joined by local gang members clad in black, they went house to house with long guns and machetes, pulling unarmed people into the narrow alleys and killing them with single shots or machete blows, witnesses told The Associated Press.
“When I saw them I thought they were providing security but then I realized they were shooting at the population,” said 55-year-old resident Marie-Lourdes Corestan. “They were shooting, and I was running to save my life.”
Witnesses, a human-rights group and a Catholic charity that collected bodies after the Nov. 13 massacre told The Associated Press that at least 21 men were slain over a 24-hour period in the La Saline neighborhood.
‘Miracle’ flight survivors mark decade of thankfulness
NEW YORK — It’s been 10 years, but there isn’t anything Tripp Harris doesn’t remember about the cold January day he cheated death on US Airways flight 1549.
The jolt when the plane collided with a flock of geese and the engines stopped moments after takeoff from New York City’s LaGuardia Airport. The smoke filling the cabin. The electric, burning smell. The panic from the people around him. The calm, steady tone of Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger telling everyone to brace for impact as he steered the Airbus A320-214 into the frigid waters of the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009.
And, of course, he knows the happy ending of the “Miracle on the Hudson”: All 155 people aboard survived.
Harris has also never forgotten what that day taught him about what really mattered: his wife and then-2-year-old son.
“Everything that I could think about was the things I was going to miss,” said Harris, 47, of Charlotte, North Carolina, where the flight was headed. “That fundamentally shifted my priorities.”
UK leader in frantic final push to win Brexit deal backing
LONDON — British Prime Minister Theresa May made a frantic last push Monday to swing lawmakers’ support behind her seemingly doomed Brexit deal, warning that its defeat risked scuttling the U.K.’s departure from the European Union and “betraying the vote of the British people.”
May claimed to have gotten reassurances with “legal force” on key issues from the EU, and said history books would judge Parliament harshly if lawmakers did not back Britain’s orderly exit from the EU when they vote on the agreement Tuesday.
“Over these next 24 hours, give this deal a second look,” May implored skeptical lawmakers in the House of Commons.
“With just 74 days to go until (Brexit day) the 29th of March, the consequences of voting against this deal tomorrow are becoming ever clearer,” she said.
May said rejecting her deal would lead either to a reversal of Brexit — overturning voters’ decision in a 2016 referendum — or to Britain leaving the bloc without a deal, a course that would damage the country’s economy, security and unity.
Saudi refugee in Canada expects more women to flee homeland
CANBERRA, Australia — A Saudi woman accepted as a refugee in Canada has said in an Australian television interview that she expected her experience would inspire other women to flee her homeland.
Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun, 18, told Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview recorded in Toronto and broadcast in Australia on Tuesday that she hoped that the international attention on her flight from oppression in Saudi Arabia will be a catalyst for change.
“I think the number of women fleeing from the Saudi administration and abuse will increase, especially since there is no system to stop them,” Alqunun said.
“I’m sure that there will be a lot more women running away. I hope my story encourages other women to be brave and free. I hope my story prompts a change to the law, especially as it’s been exposed to the world. This might be the agent for change,” she added.
Alqunun fled her family while visiting Kuwait before flying to Bangkok. Once there, she barricaded herself in an airport hotel to avoid deportation and tweeted about her situation.
Jimmy Fallon: Puerto Rican episode a ‘love letter’ to island
LOS ANGELES — Jimmy Fallon said a “Tonight Show” episode taped in Puerto Rico with “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda is a love letter to the island still in hurricane-recovery mode.
“It’s a real celebration of Puerto Rico,” Fallon told The Associated Press of Tuesday’s episode of the NBC late-night show. “It’s not a pity party, it’s a party party.”
The show aims to boost tourism and let viewers know about other ways to help in the rebuilding, Fallon said. In return, the host promised, they’ll get a “full-on variety show.”
“It’s one of the best shows, if not the best show, we’ve ever done. It’s amazing,” he said.
The inspiration to take New York-based “Tonight” to the island came from Miranda, who is of Puerto Rican heritage and told Fallon last year of his plan to stage an island run of “Hamilton,” which opened Friday in San Juan.
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