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Trump: 'Crazy Joe Biden' would 'go down fast and hard' in a fight

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Thursday to slam Joe Biden over controversial comments that the former vice president made at a rally Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news 

Without a voice, DC reporter Jamie Dupree's work still resonates across the US

A familiar Cox Radio voice is determined to be heard again.

>> On Cox DC bureau reporter loses voice in medical mystery

Cox Media Group Washington correspondent Jamie Dupree has spent more than three decades covering Capitol Hill, but nearly two years ago, his method of communication had to change.

>> The radio silence of Jamie Dupree

Doctors say a rare neurological condition is making it difficult for his brain to tell his tongue what to do while speaking. Placing a pen in his mouth helps him speak.

“It’s hard, but I am working to come back hard,” Dupree tells WSB Radio.

>> Read Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider blog here

He is now hoping a meeting with specialists at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta will help him figure out why he lost his voice. 

And the reporter in him has not quit.

“He still does interviews; he feeds us audio,” WSB Radio News Director Chris Camp says. Dupree also covers Congress via Facebook, Twitter and Cox Media Group websites. 

>> DC reporter Jamie Dupree honored on House floor

“He may not be able to talk, but boy you can hear him awful loud,” Camp adds.

Dupree is thankful to all who have wished him well. While the condition has obviously affected his job, that is not what he says hurts him the most.

“Think about not being able to talk to your kids, or your wife or your father or your friends. While my work is hard and different, life is about a lot more than that.”

>> WATCH: WSB-TVs Berndt Petersen speaks with Jamie about his struggle over the past couple years

Dupree says Emory researchers are trying a new treatment that will slow down the movement of his tongue to make it easier for him to speak. In the meantime, Jamie wants everyone to know his overall health is good.

“Even though he can't speak, Jamie is still the most trusted voice in Washington DC,” WSB Radio’s Bill Caiaccio says of his colleague and friend. “He was already the hardest working reporter in our nation’s capital, and now he works even harder to get the job done.”

WSB Radio anchor Chris Chandler echoes those sentiments, saying, "I've always said Jamie is the most valuable on-air presence on our stations, and he still is.

“There's not a word of news from Washington that he hasn't reported and broken down for us.”

Mark Arum, WSB Radio traffic anchor and talk show host, adds that Dupree is an invaluable resource: “He might have lost his voice, but he still has the drive to get the story and get it right.”

>> Read more trending news 

Sabrina Cupit, who anchors midday for WSB Radio, says Dupree is so much more than his voice: “His knowledge of Washington, his connections, his balanced reporting; they are all still a major part of what we do on air every day here at WSB.

“Personally, I have never met a kinder, more honest or just downright great human being in my life. I am praying for the return of his voice. I do miss hearing it.”

Get Dupree's take on what's happening in Washington delivered to your inbox every weekday by clicking here.

Jamie Dupree is a reporter for the Cox Media Group Washington News Bureau. 

Former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal files lawsuit to speak about alleged Trump affair

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal is suing to break a 2016 contract that reportedly requires her to keep silent about an affair with Donald Trump years before he became president.

>> For the latest Trump coverage, visit Jamie Dupree’s Washington Insider blog

In the complaint — which was obtained by The New York Times — McDougal’s lawyers allege that she had a “10-month relationship with Mr. Trump” in 2006. They say McDougal decided to pursue a lawsuit because “she has become aware of the broad effort to silence and intimidate her and others.”

The former Playmate is suing in the Los Angeles Superior court, and she’s charging American Media Inc. with paying her $150,000 for her story, then killing it. American Media Inc. owns the National Enquirer, which has been friendly to Trump during his candidacy and tenure in the White House.

McDougal also claims that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen was involved in the deal and that she was misled in the proceedings.

>> Read more trending news 

She is the second woman to accuse the president’s personal lawyer of paying her to keep silent about an extramarital relationship with Trump. McDougal says she was paid $150,000 for her silence — earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal outlined payments Cohen made to porn star Stormy Daniels. Both women claim that their affairs with Trump occurred in 2006, after he married Melania Trump.

Daniels is currently being sued by Cohen, who claims that she violated the confidentiality agreement she signed in 2016. Daniels' story doesn’t look like it’s ending anytime soon, as she’s lined up for an interview with “60 Minutes.”

Parents of bullies could face $500 fine if Pennsylvania bill becomes law

A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation that could have parents footing the bill if their child bullies another kid at school.

>> Watch the news report here

It started out as a rule in Sharpsburg.

>> On Parents face fines in new anti-bullying ordinance

WPXI checked with the police officer who enforces the law and he said it is working as a deterrent.

He also said it's raised awareness of how serious bullying is, and the potential consequences.

After Brentwood and Sharpsburg passed local anti-bullying ordinances that fine parents of bullies, a state lawmaker is proposing more encompassing legislation.

State Rep. Frank Burns' bill gives parents three strikes. He's from Cambria County.

>> Read more trending news 

The first time a child bullies someone, the school is required to inform his or her parents how it handled the situation. If it happens a second time, parents would have to take a class on bullying and attend a bullying resolution conference.

The third time, parents would receive a court citation and pay up to a $500 fine.

In a statement issued last week, the Democrat said bullying can lead to physical assaults and suicide.

He said holding students, parents and officials accountable "is the only way to put an end to this scourge."

The proposal also includes an anonymous bullying reporting system requiring the state education department to track bullying incidents and file monthly reports.

Sharpsburg police have yet to file any citations against parents.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ohio lawmaker's bill to name Labrador retriever state dog gets 'ruff' response from PETA

Ohio State Rep. Jeff Rezabek wants to name the Labrador retriever as the official state dog, but People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals would rather that the American mutt get the special designation.

>> PHOTOS: Official state dogs

PETA, an animal rights group with 6.5 million members, fired off a letter to Rezabek, R-Clayton, to tell him that his well-intentioned legislation could end up hurting Labradors.

>> Read more trending news 

Puppy mills would cash in on the demand, while Ohio’s animal shelters would see an uptick in Labradors when new owners discover that they’re expensive, time-consuming and in need of training, according to PETA.

>> On Patio pooch? Bills would let restaurants decide whether to allow dogs

“The last thing that Ohio’s already severely crowded animal shelters need is a deluge of yet another type of dog,” said PETA President Ingrid Newkirk in a written release. “If Ohioans’ hearts are set on naming an official state dog, PETA suggests the humble, healthy and 100 percent lovable all-American mutt.”

>> On Vicious dogs: Ohio moves to change laws on dog owners

Rezabek introduced the Labrador bill earlier this month, and it has yet to receive a hearing. He said he had not yet seen the letter from PETA.

Death penalty for some drug dealers part of Trump opioid plan, report says

President Donald Trump's proposal to fight the nation's growing opioid epidemic reportedly includes pursuing the death penalty for some drug traffickers. 

According to Reuters, Trump will detail his plan – which calls for stronger penalties for dealers, fewer opioid prescriptions, and improvements to drug education and access to treatment – Monday in New Hampshire.

>> Read more trending news 

Andrew Bremberg, Trump's domestic policy director, said the Justice Department "will seek the death penalty against drug traffickers when it's appropriate under current law," Reuters reported. The death penalty currently can be sought for some drug-related murders, the news service reported.

Read more here or here.

NYT: Democrat Conor Lamb wins PA’s special election, beating Rick Saccone in a Trump stronghold

Update March 14, 2018 7:35 p.m EDT: Democrat Conor Lamb has won Pennsylvania’s special election in the 18th Congressional district, beating Republican Rick Saccone in a GOP stronghold by a thin margin of just over 600 votes, according to The New York Times, which called the election late Wednesday.

Republicans have not conceded the election and are likely to demand a recount, the Times reported.

Update March 14, 2018 2:32 p.m. EDT: Sources told WPXI’s Rick Earle that the Republican party has hired an independent firm to look for voting irregularities in Tuesday’s special election.

Although unofficial results for the race put Democratic candidate Conor Lamb just a few hundred votes ahead of his Republican rival for the 18th Congressional District seat, Rick Saccone, a recount of the vote is unlikely. If the race was one that was statewide, it would trigger an autmoatic recount, as less than .5 percent separates Lamb and Saccone’s tallies. The same rules don’t apply to congressional races.

 >> On Why there may not be a recount in the 18th Congressional District race

A recount can only happen if three or more voters from each precinct petition for a recount due to fraud or errors in the vote counting.

Update March 14, 2018 12:50 a.m. EDT: Democratic candidate Conor Lamb has declared victory over opponent Rick Saccone in the closely watched special election in Pennsylvania for the 18th Congressional District seat.

>> Visit for complete coverage of this developing story

Saccone has not conceded.

The Pennsylvania Secretary of State's election results website currently has Lamb with a 113,111-112,532 edge in votes. However, there are still an unclear number of absentee, provisional and military ballots to count.

>> Read more trending news 

ORIGINAL STORY: Polls have closed in the special election for the 18th Congressional District, a race that has drawn national attention and is seen by some as a referendum on President Donald Trump.

Political newcomer Conor Lamb showed strength in fundraising and the polls for Democrats, who are seeking to control a seat that has been primarily Republican for decades. 

The GOP pinned its hopes to Rick Saccone, a four-term state representative who has tied himself very closely to Trump throughout the campaign.

The seat opened in October when longtime representative Tim Murphy resigned amid a scandal.

The district, which stretches through parts of Greene, Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties, could change by May after the state Supreme Court threw out the electoral map in January, saying it was unconstitutional. 

The court issued a new map intended to take effect by the May primaries, although Republicans have challenged that map in court.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Stephen Hawking dead at 76: Celebrities, public figures, scientists pay tribute

Stephen Hawking, the renowned British physicist, professor, author and pop culture icon, died Wednesday at age 76.

>> MORE: Stephen Hawking dead at 76  |  Photos  |  Notable deaths 2018  |  Memorable quotes  |  MORE

Hawking, whose life was chronicled in the 2014 film "The Theory of Everything," had battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – aka ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease – for more than five decades.

Scientists, public figures and celebrities, including astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and pop singer Katy Perry, flocked to social media to pay tribute to Hawking. Here's what they had to say:

Jimmy Carter on North Korea: 'It's good we're going to be talking to them'

Former President Jimmy Carter said Sunday that “while I don’t agree with everything that President Trump has done, I think it’s good that he’s decided to go” meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“If we could avoid a nuclear confrontation with North Korea, that would be a wonderful achievement,” Carter, 93, told his Sunday school class at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia. “It’s good we’re going to be talking to them.”

>> Read more trending news 

Thursday’s announcement that Trump would accept Kim’s invitation to meet has been controversial in some quarters. It was especially timely where Carter was concerned.

“I had made arrangements last week with the White House to have some experts come down and give me an up-to-date briefing on what’s going on concerning North Korea,” he said. “They came down the day that Kim Jong Un invited Trump to come over. So we had a lot to talk about.”

>> On Jimmy Carter to start cutting back on teaching Sunday school

Carter, who recently announced that he would start cutting back on his Sunday school duties, broke some happy news to the class about his wife’s health. Rosalynn Carter, 90, had surgery three weeks ago at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta to remove “troubling scar tissue” from a portion of her small intestine. 

>> On ‘I was deathly afraid.’ Jimmy Carter shares details of wife Rosalynn’s surgery

“She’s been very, very ill,” Carter said about his wife of 71 years, who normally attends Sunday school and the worship service at Maranatha, then stays afterwards to pose for photos with him and hundreds of visitors. Now, though, he said with a smile, “She’s doing fine. As a matter of fact, she just phoned me awhile ago to finally say she’s on her way home. She’ll be there when we get (back from church).”

>> On A 70th wedding anniversary interview with the Carters

Still, Carter suggested, the situation had been a wake-up call of sorts for the famously busy former first couple.

“We’ve said this before and nobody believed us,” Carter said to knowing chuckles from some in the packed church. “We’ll withdraw from some of the things we’ve been doing.”

Florida Senate to vote on school safety bill that excludes ban on assault rifles

The Florida Senate will vote on a school safety bill Monday.

Senators hammered out the legislation during a rare special session in Tallahassee over the weekend.

The push for school safety and gun control measures comes in the wake of the Parkland mass shooting, in which 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day

>> On Trump says arming teachers in schools 'up to states'

The Senate spent nearly eight hours Saturday debating dozens of amendments to the 100-page bill before finally approving the legislation for a final vote on Monday.

Democratic proposals to ban assault rifles and large-capacity magazines were rejected, as was a Democratic proposal to strip language from the bill that would create a program to arm teachers who have gone through law-enforcement training if school districts choose to take part in the so-called marshal plan.

>> On Police advocacy group says it opposes arming teachers

It was clear that senators were divided on the bill, and not just on party lines. While crafted by Republicans, some GOP senators still opposed it because they don't agree with raising the minimum age to buy a rifle from 18 to 21 or requiring a waiting period to buy the weapons.

Democrats believe the legislation doesn't go far enough in some ways and goes too far in others. And while some oppose the bill, others believe it's at least a first step toward gun safety.

>> Company working on bulletproof doors in wake of school shootings

Democrats want to ban weapons such as the AR-15 assault-style rifle, which was used in the Parkland attack. Many also oppose arming teachers. The bill also includes provisions to boost school security, establish new mental health programs in schools, and improve communication between schools, law enforcement and state agencies.

Jeff Xavier, a survivor of the Pulse attack, was hoping the legislation would include a ban on assault rifles.

>> Walmart raising age to buy guns to 21 after Florida high school shooting

“I think that, as Americans, we do have a right to arm ourselves, however, I do not believe that high-powered, high-velocity (guns) should be available to the general public,” said Xavier.

But much of the debate Saturday revolved around gun control and whether people should have a right to own an assault rifle.

"Every constitutional right that we hold dear has a limitation," said Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer. "These are just military-style killing machines and the right of self-defense and the ability to hunt will go on."

Republicans argued that banning such weapons would violate the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

>> Florida school shooting: How difficult is it to purchase a gun in Florida?

"Our founding fathers weren't talking about hunting, and they weren't talking about protecting themselves from the thief down the street who might break in," said Republican Sen. David Simmons. Simmons said people need guns to protect themselves from a tyrannical government.

"Adolf Hitler confiscated all the weapons – took all the weapons, had a registry of everybody – and then on the night of June 30th, 1934, sent out his secret police and murdered all of his political opponents," Simmons said. "You think it doesn't happen in a free society? It does."

>> Read more trending news 

The Legislature wraps up its annual session on Friday. Lawmakers are scrambling to take some kind of action before then. The full House has yet to take up its version of the bill.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott has been lobbying lawmakers to pass his plan to assign at least one law-enforcement officer for every 1,000 students at a school. Scott is opposed to arming teachers.

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