National News

National News at a Glance

Posted January 4, 2018 11:02 p.m. EST

Obstruction Inquiry Shows Trump’s Struggle to Keep Grip on Russia Investigation

President Donald Trump gave instructions in March to the White House’s top lawyer: stop Attorney General Jeff Sessions from recusing himself in the Justice Department’s investigation into whether Trump’s associates helped a Russian campaign to disrupt the 2016 election. But a White House counsel was unsuccessful in lobbying Sessions to remain in charge of the inquiry, according to sources, and the president erupted in anger in front of White House officials. The lobbying of Sessions is one of several previously unreported episodes that special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, has learned about as he investigates whether Trump obstructed the FBI’s Russia inquiry.

‘Bomb Cyclone’: Snow and Bitter Cold Blast the Northeast

From the Spanish moss-canopied sidewalks of Savannah, Georgia, to icy villages in coastal Maine, emergency officials reckoned with the rages, whims and remains of a storm that shut down schools for more than a million children, flooded roadways, filled homeless shelters and forced the cancellations of thousands of flights. In Boston, one of the highest tides on record flooded a subway station, and pipes cracked from New Jersey to North Carolina as millions of people suffered from a winter storm that was notable for a steep drop in atmospheric pressure that forecasters described as a “bomb cyclone.”

Trump Moves to Open Nearly All Offshore Waters to Drilling

The Trump administration said it would allow new offshore oil and gas drilling in nearly all U.S. coastal waters, giving energy companies access to leases off California and opening more than a billion acres in the Arctic and along the Eastern Seaboard. The proposal lifts a ban on such drilling imposed by President Barack Obama near the end of his term. The plan not only signals that the Trump administration is not done unraveling environmental restrictions, but it also puts the White House at odds with a number of coastal states that oppose offshore drilling.

Virginia Official Pulls Republican’s Name From Bowl to Pick Winner of Tied Race

A Virginia elections official pulled the name of David Yancey from a bowl to break a tied race that is pivotal to control of the state House of Delegates. The outcome in favor of Yancey, the Republican incumbent, over Democratic challenger Shelly Simonds means the House remains narrowly in his party’s hands, 51 seats to 49, after a Democratic wave in November propelled by anger at President Donald Trump. Going into the election, the Republicans had a 32-seat advantage. The drawing may not bring finality to the fiercely fought race. By state law, the drawing's loser may request a second recount.

Global Warming’s Toll on Coral Reefs: As if They’re ‘Ravaged by War’

Coral reefs, home to a quarter of all marine fish species, are increasingly threatened as rising ocean temperatures accelerate a phenomenon known as coral bleaching. The frequency of coral bleaching means that reefs no longer have sufficient recovery time between severe episodes, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science. Large-scale coral bleaching events, in which reefs become extremely fragile, were virtually unheard-of before the 1980s. Typically, it takes a decade or more for corals to recover after a severe bleaching event. As bleaching events become more frequent, reefs are unlikely to get a reprieve.

Trump Proposes New Health Plan Options for Small Businesses

The Trump administration proposed new rules that could make it easier for small businesses to band together and create health insurance plans exempt from many of the consumer protections mandated by the Affordable Care Act. As many as 11 million Americans could find coverage under the proposed rules, the Labor Department said. But consumer groups, state officials and Blue Cross plans have opposed the idea for years, saying association health plans will attract employers with younger, healthier workers and drive up prices of plans that fully comply with the health care law. The public will have 60 days to comment.

Donors and Candidates Abandon Bannon After His Break With Trump

Stephen Bannon’s provocative remarks about President Donald Trump and his family, reported in a new book scheduled to be released Friday, and Trump’s angry response, further alienated some of Bannon’s most important backers. The family of hedge fund magnate Robert Mercer was blunt Thursday in cutting the cord, reiterating its support for Trump while disavowing Bannon’s remarks and disowning his political endeavors. Rebekah Mercer, Robert Mercer’s daughter, said in a statement she doesn't support Bannon's recent actions or statements despite having a minority interest in Breitbart News, where Bannon is chairman.