National News

National News at a Glance

Posted January 7, 2018 10:11 p.m. EST

Bannon Tries Backing Away From Explosive Comments

President Donald Trump’s supporters moved aggressively Sunday to counter revelations in a new book that some of his closest aides believe he is ill equipped for office, an assault that prompted the source of some of the most damning accusations, Stephen Bannon, to issue a mea culpa. The attack was punctuated by an appearance on a Sunday talk show by Stephen Miller, a White House adviser who was once a close ally of Bannon but derided him Sunday as a fame-seeking blowhard. Bannon tried to reverse his statements completely, calling Donald Trump Jr. “both a patriot and a good man.”

Major Donor Reconsiders Support for Democrats Who Urged Franken to Quit

A prominent donor to the Democratic Party says she is considering withdrawing support for senators who urged their colleague Al Franken to resign after he was accused of sexual misconduct. Susie Tompkins Buell has been one of the Democratic Party’s most generous supporters for decades. In particular, she has been a champion of female politicians, including Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Maria Cantwell of Washington. Last month, those senators were among the dozens who called for Franken to resign from the Senate after at least six women accused him of sexual harassment or misconduct.

Pennsylvania Police Chief Is Charged in Sex Sting

The 40-year-old man from a small town in western Pennsylvania met the 14-year-old girl online, prosecutors said. He sent lewd pictures to her and solicited sexual contact and made plans to meet her. On Friday, the man, Michael W. Diebold, showed up at the place where he and the girl had agreed to get together. By day, Diebold is chief of the Leechburg Police Department. And as it turned out, the person Diebold planned to meet Friday was an undercover member of law enforcement, prosecutors said. Diebold was charged Friday with several counts, including two felonies.

Crime Is Falling, But Police Levels Remain Robust

With the close of the year, the tally was in: Crime was down in the 30 largest U.S. cities, and an uptick in urban murders had subsided. More than two decades of safer cities has cleared the way for major changes in the nation’s criminal justice system: fewer prisoners, shorter sentences and more pardons. But fewer crimes have not resulted in fewer police officers. In 2016, there were slightly more officers per capita than in 1991, when violent crime peaked, according to data collected by the FBI. Now, officers deal with half the crimes per capita that they did then.

In Alaska, a Deal Is Made for a Controversial Road Inside a Refuge

The Interior Department is poised to approve a land swap in Alaska that would allow the town of King Cove to build a road through the sensitive wetlands of Izembek National Wildlife Refuge, officials said Saturday. The agreement, first reported by The Washington Post, is expected to be signed this month. The King Cove Corp., a tribal organization that manages the area, will exchange approximately 250 to 500 acres of land for the ability to cut an approximately 200-acre strip through the refuge. The decision will effectively overturn a determination made by former President Barack Obama’s interior secretary in 2013.

JFK Travelers Ask: When Can I Catch a Flight Home?

Kennedy International Airport in New York remained in disarray Sunday, three days after New York City’s first major snowstorm of 2018 disrupted operations. Since the storm, a lingering cold and a series of missteps have contributed to a logjam that has left thousands of travelers stranded and caused hundreds of flights to be canceled or diverted. The disorder at JFK affected passengers as far away as Beijing. Flights headed to New York were forced to turn back, and connecting flights were grounded indefinitely. On Sunday, a water main break in a terminal plunged the airport back into chaos.

New Head of New York City’s Public Hospitals Says He Wants to Focus on Primary Care

The incoming president of NYC Health & Hospitals wants to turn the nation’s largest public health care network into an agency that focuses less on hospitalized care and more on primary care, similar to initiatives carried out nationwide. The new president, Dr. Mitchell H. Katz, who begins his job Monday, also said he would expand the use of eConsult, an electronic health management system to streamline care and reduce wait times for specialty appointments, evaluate staff allocation and consider decreasing administrative services such as “unnecessary consultant expenses” to increase savings and revenue.