National News at a Glance
Posted February 4, 2018 9:40 p.m. EST
Fatal Amtrak Crash in South Carolina Is New Challenge for Rail Service
Amtrak suffered its third high-profile crash in less than seven weeks Sunday when a passenger train slammed into a stationary freight train in South Carolina, killing the train’s engineer and a conductor. Amtrak’s chief executive, Richard H. Anderson, said that a signal system had been down and that dispatchers from another company, CSX, were routing trains at about the time of the wreck. The passenger train, heading south, was diverted onto a rail siding where, while apparently traveling below the speed limit, it crashed into a CSX train that had been loaded with automobiles.
What It May Take to Strike a Segregationist’s Name From a Georgia Bridge: Hundreds of Girl Scouts
Some residents of Savannah, Georgia, have been trying for decades to get the state to rename the bridge that carries Highway 17 into the city, only to see their efforts sputter and die in the backrooms and boardrooms of Atlanta. But this year is different, and state lawmakers could vote in the coming weeks to give the span, which honors the segregationist former Gov. Eugene Talmadge, a less controversial name. Hundreds of Girl Scouts are planning to descend on the Capitol this week to argue that the bridge should celebrate Juliette Gordon Low, the Savannah native who founded their organization.
Trump to Withdraw Nomination of Climate Skeptic as Top Environmental Adviser
The Trump administration plans to withdraw its nomination of Kathleen Hartnett White, a climate change skeptic, to lead the Council on Environmental Quality, an official said. President Donald Trump in October appointed White, a former Texas environmental regulator who has said that carbon dioxide should be considered the “gas of life” rather than a pollutant, to be the White House senior environmental adviser. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee approved White on a party-line vote, but her nomination languished at the end of 2017. That was in part, lawmakers said, because of White’s performance at her hearing.
Democrats Urge Release of Their Own Memo
As Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee backed away Sunday from President Donald Trump’s claim that a newly released memo vindicates him in the Russia investigation, Democrats pressed for the release of their own classified rebuttal, with a vote expected Monday on whether to make it public. Republicans on the committee voted against releasing the Democratic rebuttal memo last Monday, but several of those Republicans have indicated that they now favor releasing the Democratic memo. Democrats have said their 10-page memo corrects mischaracterizations by the Republicans and adds crucial context to actions by the FBI and the Justice Department.
Sessions Silent as Trump Attacks His Department, Risking Autonomy and Morale
As President Donald Trump hammers away at the Justice Department’s credibility, one voice has been notably absent in the department’s defense. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been largely quiet and even yielding as the president leads the most public and prolonged political attack on the department in history, a silence that breaks with a long tradition of attorneys general protecting the institution from such interference. Current and former prosecutors say Sessions’ response reflects efforts to appease Trump, even at the expense of morale among the department’s employees, and has raised fears that prosecutors cannot depend on protection from political interference.
Remembering the Four Chaplains and Their Ultimate Sacrifice
Each year on the first Sunday in February, St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church in Kearny, New Jersey, rings with the remembrance of a selfless act of valor now 75 years old. On Feb. 3, 1943, the USAT Dorchester, a military transport ship carrying 902 U.S. servicemen and civilian workers, was torpedoed by a submarine about 100 miles off the coast of Greenland. Four chaplains, standing on the decks, remained calm, distributing life jackets. When the supply ran out, the chaplains gave the sailors their own. Witnesses recalled seeing the four chaplains standing on the deck, praying, as the ship sunk.