National News at a Glance
Posted January 17, 2018 9:45 p.m. EST
Trump Was Not ‘Fully Informed’ in 2016 Vow on Wall, Kelly Says
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff privately told a group of Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday that Trump had not been “fully informed” when promising voters a wall along the Mexican border, and he had persuaded the president it was not necessary. He also expressed optimism that a bipartisan immigration deal could be reached. John F. Kelly told members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he had educated the president about immigration, adding that Trump had “evolved” on the wall. The comments were an unusual instance of a chief of staff seeming to undercut public statements made by the president.
Bannon Agrees to Cooperate With Mueller Inquiry
Stephen K. Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former chief strategist, will be interviewed by investigators working for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III instead of testifying before a grand jury, according to a person familiar with the matter, a sign that Bannon is cooperating with the inquiry. Legal experts have said an earlier subpoena could be a sign that the investigation was accelerating while others said it may have simply been a negotiating tactic to force Bannon to agree to be interviewed. Bannon will be interviewed in the less formal setting of the special counsel’s offices in downtown Washington.
Hard Turn Left for Senate Democrats in Warming Up for 2020 Race
The next presidential election is nearly three years away, but in the Capitol the race is already unfolding, with no fewer than six senators eyeing the Democratic nomination, each angling to get to the left of the others. That is not making life easy for the 10 Democratic senators who must run for re-election this year in states carried by President Donald Trump. The fissure has been on display, as Washington barrels toward a possible government shutdown that can be averted only if lawmakers approve a stopgap spending measure by Friday.
GOP Strains to Keep Pennsylvania House Seat
Republicans are scrambling to save a heavily conservative House seat in western Pennsylvania, sending President Donald Trump to the district on Thursday while preparing a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to stave off another special election defeat. When Rep. Tim Murphy was pushed out of the House last year after the revelation that he encouraged a mistress to have an abortion, Republican leaders gave scant thought to his successor. The March 13 special election is between the Republican nominee, Rick Saccone, a state representative and former Air Force officer, and Conor Lamb, the Democratic nominee and a Marine Corps veteran.
Wisconsin Upset Raises Hopes for Democrats in 2018 Races
A Wisconsin Democrat won a state Senate seat on Tuesday night that had been held by a Republican for 17 years, setting off a flurry of political predictions across a state that President Donald Trump won. Republicans warned that it was a “wake up” call for their party. Patty Schachtner, a Democrat, beat state Rep. Adam Jarchow by 11 percentage points, according to preliminary returns. The election comes at a tense political moment for the state, with a governor’s race and U.S. Senate seat at stake in the fall; and questions about gerrymandering of state political maps in the courts.
Trump’s Physical Revealed Serious Heart Concerns, Outside Experts Say
Cardiologists not associated with the White House said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s physical exam revealed serious heart concerns, including very high levels of bad cholesterol, which raises the risk that Trump could have a heart attack. Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, the White House physician, said Tuesday that Trump was in “excellent” cardiac health despite having an LDL cholesterol level of 143. Several cardiologists said Trump’s goal should be to get his LDL below 100, or even 70. He has a real risk of having a heart attack or stroke, especially considering his weight and lack of exercise, they said.
After Cyclist Deaths, Safer Crosstown Bike Lanes Are Planned for Midtown
After a spate of fatal cycling crashes in the past year, New York City transportation officials are moving to install protected crosstown bike lanes that would be flanked by a sidewalk curb on one side, and a row of parked cars on the other. They would be the first protected lanes in Manhattan that stretch almost all the way from the East River to the Hudson River. Now, most protected bike lanes in Manhattan run north to south. On Wednesday, transportation officials unveiled plans for the first two protected bike lanes. Citywide, 23 bicyclists were killed in crashes in 2017.
Fireball Cuts Through the Sky Over Michigan as Meteor Falls
A fireball from a descending meteor lit up the sky north of Detroit on Tuesday night, creating a brief spectacle that people across the northern United States and parts of Canada reported seeing. The meteor plummeted into view at 8:10 p.m. local time, causing the equivalent of a magnitude 2.0 earthquake, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Videos showed a bright flash of light, followed by a pop. Some people nearby reported hearing a sonic boom. "This particular one is probably a once-a-year, maybe three-times-a-year type of fireball,” said Mike Hankey, operations manager for the American Meteor Society.