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AP News in Brief at 6:04 a.m. EST

January 15, 2019

Trump’s AG pick to steer through Dem, GOP queries at hearing

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s attorney general nominee will have to navigate his confirmation hearing skillfully, emphasizing his support for President Donald Trump’s policies while assuring Democrats he will act independently and won’t interfere with the special counsel’s Russia investigation.

Barr will face questions Tuesday from the Senate Judiciary Committee about his relationship with Trump and his views on executive powers.

Barr plans to tell legislators that Trump never sought any promises, assurances or commitments — and that he didn’t offer Trump any — before he was nominated for the post.

Trump has repeatedly complained that his first attorney general, Jeff Sessions, was insufficiently loyal because he recused himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into potential ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. Trump ultimately forced Sessions from office.

Barr, 68, is expected to be confirmed, unless there is a major surprise during the hearing. It would be his second stint as attorney general, a position he held from 1991 to 1993 during the George H.W. Bush administration.

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Trump says solution to shutdown impasse ‘so simple’

WASHINGTON (AP) — With the government mired in shutdown week four, President Donald Trump rejected a short-term legislative fix and dug in for more combat, 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 Monday. “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.

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The shutdown today: Trump says he’ll ‘never, ever back down’

What’s up with the partial government shutdown on Day 25:

WHAT’S NEW

With the government mired in shutdown week four, President Donald Trump is rejecting a short-term legislative fix and digging in for a fight, declaring he will “never ever back down.”

Air travelers endured waits of more than an hour to get through domestic checkpoints at the world’s busiest airport in Atlanta on Monday. No-shows among screeners across the nation soared Sunday and again Monday, when the Transportation Security Administration reported a national absence rate of 7.6 percent, compared with 3.2 percent on the comparable Monday a year ago.

Like some of his recent predecessors, Trump is carefully picking and choosing where he’ll travel during the partial government shutdown.

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10 Things to Know for Today

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today:

1. BIG DAY FOR BREXIT’S SURVIVAL

British lawmakers are set to vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s deal with the European Union and all indications are that she will suffer a heavy defeat.

2. ‘NEVER EVER BACK DOWN’

With the government mired in the fourth week of a shutdown, Trump rejects a short-term legislative fix and digs in for more combat.

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Complaint: Kidnapping suspect kept Wisconsin girl under bed

BARRON, Wis. (AP) — For nearly three months, 13-year-old Jayme Closs was forced to hide in a 2½-foot space beneath her kidnapper’s bed, going without food, water or a bathroom for hours, too terrified to flee from a man she knew had fatally shot both of her parents.

But when Jake Thomas Patterson left the remote cabin on the 88th day of her captivity, she finally made a break for freedom, authorities said. She put on Patterson’s sneakers so hastily that they ended up on the wrong feet. After a neighbor called 911, Patterson was soon captured as he drove around the rural area searching for her.

“She’s 13 years old, and if you read the criminal complaint, you can see the amount of control that he was exerting over her,” Barron County District Attorney Brian Wright said. “And at some point, she found it within herself at 13 years old to say, ‘I’m going to get myself out of this situation.’ I think it’s incredible.”

The complaint filed Monday offered the most detailed account yet of the attack on the Closs couple and the cruel conditions under which their daughter was held.

Patterson, 21, was charged Monday with two counts of intentional homicide, one count of kidnapping and one count of armed burglary. A judge set his bail at $5 million cash. Prosecutors say more charges could come later.

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UK lawmakers prepare to deliver verdict on EU divorce deal

LONDON (AP) — British lawmakers were preparing to deliver their verdict on Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce deal with the European Union on Tuesday after more than two years of political upheaval.

All signs point to it receiving a resounding thumbs-down from Parliament, a development that would throw British politics further into turmoil, just 10 weeks before Britain is due to leave the EU on March 29.

Despite a last-ditch plea from May for legislators to give the deal “a second look,” it faces deep opposition, primarily because of measures designed to prevent the reintroduction of border controls between the U.K.’s Northern Ireland and EU member Ireland.

Pro-Brexit lawmakers say the deal will leave Britain bound indefinitely to EU rules, while pro-EU politicians favor an even closer economic relationship with the bloc.

That leaves the agreement facing likely defeat on a day that could bring a very British mix of high drama, low insults and convoluted parliamentary procedure.

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Iran says it’s launched a satellite that didn’t reach orbit

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran on Tuesday conducted one of at least two satellite launches it plans despite criticism from the United States, but the satellite failed to reach orbit.

The rocket carrying the Payam satellite failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of its launch, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said.

Jahromi said the rocket had successfully passed its first and second stages before developing problems in the third. He did not elaborate on what caused the rocket failure, but promised that Iranian scientists would continue their work.

Tuesday’s launch took place at Imam Khomeini Space Center in Iran’s Semnan province, a facility under the control of the country’s Defense Ministry, Jahromi said. Satellite images published last week and first reported by CNN showed activity at the launch site. Given the facility’s launching corridor, the satellite likely fell in the Indian Ocean.

Iran had said that it plans to send two satellites, Payam and Doosti, into the orbit. Payam means “message” in Farsi, while Doosti means “friendship.”

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Iowa’s King off House committees after remarks about race

WASHINGTON (AP) — 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.

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Huawei founder says company would not share user secrets

SHENZHEN, China (AP) — The founder of Huawei, in a new effort to allay Western security concerns, said Tuesday that the Chinese tech giant would not comply with Chinese government requests to disclose confidential information about its foreign customers and their communication networks.

Ren Zhengfei spoke in a rare meeting with foreign reporters as Huawei Technologies Ltd. counters concerns that threaten to hamper its access to global markets. Telecom carriers are preparing to spend billions of dollars on next-generation technology.

Ren’s comments were the 74-year-old former military engineer’s first public response to foreign accusations his company is controlled by the ruling Communist Party or is required to facilitate Chinese spying.

The United States, Australia, Japan and some other governments have imposed curbs on using Huawei technology over such concerns.

Asked how the company would respond to an official demand for confidential details about its customers and their operations, Ren said, “We would definitely say no to such a request.”

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Lovin’ it: Trump fetes champion Clemson with burgers, fries

WASHINGTON (AP) — The scent of burgers, fries and victory wafted through the stately White House on Monday as President Donald Trump saluted college football’s Clemson Tigers for winning the national championship.

Trump, a fast food lover, said he even paid for their meal himself because of the partial government shutdown. He did not disclose the tab.

“We ordered American fast food, paid for by me. Lots of hamburgers, lots of pizza,” Trump said after returning to the White House from a trip to New Orleans. “We have some very large people that like eating, so I think we’re going to have a little fun.”

Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said much of the staff in the White House residence has been furloughed because of the shutdown, “so the president is personally paying for the event to be catered with some of everyone’s favorite fast foods.”

An impressive — and highly unusual — White House smorgasbord greeted the players. Silver trays held stacks of wrapped burgers from Wendy’s. Also on offer were boxed burgers from McDonald’s, including Big Macs.

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