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While students link arms at rallies, Trump hits the links in Florida

As student-led marches and rallies were being held in the United States and around the world Saturday to heighten awareness about gun violence and gun control, President Donald Trump began his first full day of the weekend at his Florida residence. 

>> Read more trending news

Saturday morning, the president left Mar-a-Lago and traveled to Trump International Golf Club in suburban West Palm Beach. 

Deputy White House press secretary Lindsay Walters released a statement one hour before the “March for Our Lives” event was set to begin in Washington:

“We applaud the many courageous young Americans exercising their First Amendment rights today,” the statement said. “Keeping our children safe is a top priority of the President’s, which is why he urged Congress to pass the Fix NICS and STOP School Violence Acts, and signed them into law. Additionally, on Friday, the Department of Justice issued the rule to ban bump stocks, following through on the President’s commitment to ban devices that turn legal weapons into illegal machine guns.”

>> March for Our Lives rallies taking place across the globe

March for Our Lives demonstrators plan to walk Trump’s motorcade route this afternoon.

Palm Beach Post writers Christine Stapleton and George Bennett contributed to this report.

Senate approves $1.3 trillion spending bill

The Senate approved a $1.3 trillion spending measure early Friday morning, The New York Times reported.

>> Read more trending news

The Senate voted 65-32 in favor of the measure, which will keep the federal government open through September;

On Thursday, the House passed the bill by a 256-167 margin.

The measure, which was 2,232 pages in length, was passed less than 24 hours after it had been introduced, the Times reported.

The bill now goes to President Donald Trump for his approval.

The legislation will increase funding for the military and more domestic spending, CNN reported.

The spending package also includes money to fight the opioid epidemic and fund more than $21 billion in infrastructure projects, CNN reported.

The bill does not address the fate of young immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children and have been shielded from deportation by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, the Times reported.

Attorney representing Trump in Russia probe resigns

The top lawyer representing President Donald Trump in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election resigned Thursday, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

Attorney John Dowd’s resignation came days after he called for an end to Mueller’s investigation, claiming it was “manufactured” by former FBI Director James Comey and based on an infamous -- and mostly unverified -- dossier that was funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“I love the president and wish him well,” Dowd wrote Thursday in an email to The Washington Post.

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation

The newspaper reported that Dowd’s departure was “a largely mutual decision” based on Trump’s recent belief that Dowd couldn’t handle Mueller’s investigation and the attorney’s frustration with the president’s recent additions to his legal team. Trump attorney Jay Sekulow earlier this week brought one of his friends, veteran Washington attorney Joseph diGenova, onto the team, according to The New York Times.

It was not immediately clear who would take over as lead of the president’s legal team. 

>> Related: Trump slams Mueller, McCabe in Sunday tweets

“John Dowd is a friend and has been a valuable member of our legal team,” Sekulow said Thursday in a statement to the Times. “We will continue our ongoing representation of the president and our cooperation with the office of special counsel.”

CNN reported that Dowd’s exit could hint that Trump’s legal team plans to become more aggressive in defending the president.

>> Related: Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller investigation

Dowd, who took over Trump’s legal team last summer, has advised the president to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation and refrain from publicly attacking the special counsel, the Times reported. Still, Trump has targeted Mueller for criticism in recent days, repeating his claims that the probe is little more than a politically motivated “witch hunt.”

Last month, Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals and three organizations on charges of interfering in the election. Three of Trump's associates -- former national security adviser Michael Flynn, deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and campaign aide George Papadopoulos -- have pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has pleaded not guilty to a variety of money laundering and other criminal charges.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

FBI investigated Jeff Sessions for possible perjury: reports

The FBI investigated U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions for possible perjury last year amid allegations that he misled lawmakers about his contacts with Russians ahead of the 2016 presidential election, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The investigation into Sessions started before the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is tasked with probing Russian efforts to meddle in the election and possible ties to President Donald Trump and his campaign officials, Sessions’s lawyer, Chuck Cooper, told The New York Times. The investigation into Sessions has since been closed, Cooper said.

>> Related: Who is Jeff Sessions, the new Attorney General?

“The special counsel’s office has informed me that after interviewing the attorney general and conducting additional investigation, the attorney general is not under investigation for false statements or perjury in his confirmation hearing testimony and related written submissions to Congress,” Cooper told the Times in a statement.

Sessions told lawmakers during his January 2017 confirmation hearing that he had no communications with Russians during Trump’s campaign for the White House, but he faced criticism after it was reported by The Washington Post that Sessions met twice with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

>> Related: Democrats call for Sessions' resignation over meetings with Russian ambassador

Sessions claimed he didn’t remember meeting with Kislyak, according to Bloomberg News. He emphasized in a statement released after the Post’s report that he “never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign.”

Unidentified sources told multiple media outlets, including the Times, Bloomberg and ABC News, that Sessions was unaware of the investigation when he announced the decision Friday to fire FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe.

>> Related: Why was Andrew McCabe fired? What we know now

McCabe authorized and oversaw the federal criminal investigation into Sessions, according to ABC News. The news network was the first to report Wednesday on the investigation.

The FBI frequently launches perjury investigations based on congressional referrals, according to the Times, though it’s rare for such investigations to lead to charges.

>> Related: Sessions interviewed by Mueller team as part of Russia probe, report says

Mueller’s team interviewed Sessions in January. Cooper told the Times that officials with the special counsel’s office have since told him that the attorney general was considered a witness in the case.

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.

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