National News at a Glance
Posted January 3, 2018 10:02 p.m. EST
Snow in Florida Just the Opening Act of an Explosive Storm
A powerful winter storm dealt a chilly blow to the southeastern United States on Wednesday as Floridians marveled at the rare sight of snow and officials warned of icy roads and dangerously low temperatures. All the while, residents of the Northeast prepared for windy, whiteout conditions and potential power failures. The storm, referred to by some meteorologists as a “bomb cyclone” for its sudden drop in atmospheric pressure, prompted flight cancellations up and down the East Coast and forced dozens of school districts to cancel or delay classes along the path of the storm.
‘Furious’ Trump Snaps at Bannon Over His Ridicule
President Donald Trump excommunicated his onetime chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, from his circle Wednesday, ending for now a partnership of convenience that transformed U.S. politics while raising questions about the future of the nationalist-populist movement they cultivated together. The rupture came after Bannon was quoted in a new book disparaging the president’s children, asserting that Donald Trump Jr. had been “treasonous” in meeting with Russians and calling Ivanka Trump “dumb as a brick.” Trump, described by his spokeswoman as “furious, disgusted,” fired back by saying that Bannon had “lost his mind.”
Virginia’s Tiebreaker Drawing Is Back On. But It May Not Settle House Race.
Virginia’s on-again, off-again drawing to break a tie in a state House race is back on, with the winner’s name to be ceremoniously plucked from a bowl on Thursday in Richmond. But the drawing, the latest chapter in an election melodrama that has drawn wide attention, may fail to bring finality, since the loser can request a recount — which would be the second recount of the original vote. Virginia’s Board of Elections plans to choose the winner of House District 94 “by lot,” as state law specifies. The proceedings will be live-streamed.
Trump Disbands Commission on Voter Fraud
President Donald Trump on Wednesday shut down a White House commission he had charged with investigating voter fraud, ending a brief quest for evidence of election theft that generated lawsuits, outrage and some scholarly testimony, but no real evidence that American elections are at all corrupt. Trump did not acknowledge the commission’s inability to find evidence of fraud, but cast the closing as a result of continuing legal challenges. Groups that opposed the president’s commission were quick to declare victory.
Two Democrats Sworn in to U.S. Senate, Cutting GOP Margin to One
Democrats counted their New Year’s blessings Wednesday as two new senators — Doug Jones of Alabama and Tina Smith of Minnesota — joined their caucus, reshaping the balance of power in the Senate after a history-laden swearing-in ceremony attended by three current and former vice presidents. The arrival of Jones, who replaced a Republican (Smith replaced a Democrat) alters the makeup of the Senate, giving Republicans a one-vote majority of 51-49. That could prove just enough to thwart much of President Donald Trump’s legislative agenda.
Manafort Sues Mueller and Asks a Judge to Narrow the Russia Investigation
President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, sued the special counsel, Robert Mueller, on Wednesday and asked a federal court to narrow his authority. The unusual move comes as Trump tries to portray the investigation as a politically motivated witch hunt that has cast a dark cloud over his administration and the country. Manafort’s lawsuit gives voice to one of the common grievances Trump’s supporters have with Mueller: None of the charges he has brought answer the central question of his inquiry. Mueller is investigating the Russian government’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election and whether anyone close to Trump was involved.