National News at a Glance
Posted February 9, 2018 11:27 p.m. EST
Under Fire, Kelly Is Said to Muse About Resigning
John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, told officials in the West Wing on Friday that he was willing to step down over his handling of allegations of spousal abuse against Rob Porter, the staff secretary who resigned in disgrace this week over the accusations, according to two officials aware of the discussions. The officials emphasized that they did not consider a resignation imminent and that Kelly had made no formal offer. President Donald Trump on Friday warmly praised Porter, saying that it was a “tough time” for his former aide and noting that Porter had denied the accusations.
Hotel the Trumps Would Manage Seeks a $6 Million Tax Subsidy
As President Donald Trump’s family business prepares to open a hotel in the Mississippi Delta this fall, its local development partners have asked the state of Mississippi to subsidize the project with up to $6 million in tax breaks, according to documents obtained through an open records request. If approved, the benefits could offset nearly a third of the projected $20 million in costs for the hotel, which is owned by the local developers, Dinesh and Suresh Chawla. Dinesh Chawla said the Trump Organization played no role in the rebate application. Still, the tax rebate could indirectly benefit the president.
Trump Blocks Memo Rebutting Republican Claims
President Donald Trump on Friday blocked the release of a classified Democratic memo rebutting Republican claims that top federal law enforcement officials had abused their powers in spying on a former Trump campaign aide, a move that Democrats denounced as politically motivated hypocrisy. Last week, the president moved quickly to declassify the contents of a rival Republican memo drafted by House Intelligence Committee staff members. But Donald F. McGahn II, the president’s lawyer, said in a letter to the committee Friday night that the Democratic memo could not be released because it “contains numerous properly classified and especially sensitive passages.”
No. 3 at the Justice Department Says She Will Step Down
Rachel L. Brand, the No. 3 official at the Justice Department, plans to step down after nine months on the job as the country’s top law enforcement agency has been under attack by President Donald Trump, according to two people briefed on her decision. Brand’s profile had risen in part because she is next in the line of succession behind the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel’s inquiry into Russian influence in the 2016 election. Trump, who has called the investigation a witch hunt, has considered firing Rosenstein.
Out of Congress, and the White House, Proposals to Lower Drug Prices
The White House released a report Friday recommending changes that would affect drug costs, and President Donald Trump's budget proposal Monday is expected to include some plans to expand drug coverage under Medicare. A spending bill passed by Congress on Friday included a provision that would accelerate closing a payment gap in Medicare for prescription drugs. The report echoed many of the drug industry’s complaints: other countries pay unfairly low prices for medicines and cutting profits will stifle breakthroughs. Trump’s budget proposal is expected to include several measures aimed at lowering out-of-pocket spending for people on Medicare (65 and older).
Las Vegas Gunman’s Brain Exam Only Deepens Mystery of His Actions
Stephen Paddock, the 64-year-old gunman who killed 58 concertgoers in Las Vegas last October in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, had not had a stroke, brain tumor or any of a number of other neurological disorders that might have helped explain his actions, a recent examination of the remains of his brain showed. Paddock’s brain did have changes commonly seen in Americans of his age, including evidence of atherosclerosis. Scattered on the surfaces of his brain were an abnormally high number of tiny deposits that tend to increase with age and accompany some neurological diseases.
Unexpected Opposition Imperils Federal Reserve Nominee
The Trump administration is struggling to muster the necessary Senate votes to put conservative economist Marvin Goodfriend onto the Federal Reserve’s board of governors. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Thursday that he would vote against Goodfriend, who has also yet to attract any support from Democratic senators. In the Senate, that could be enough to sink Goodfriend’s confirmation. The opposition is a setback for the Trump administration, which has struggled to pick qualified candidates for the Fed’s board. The central bank, which sets monetary policy and plays a role in financial regulation, has just three governors on its seven-seat board.
Michigan Teenager Expected to Testify in Rape Trial Is Found Dead
Mujey Dumbuya, a 16-year-old Michigan teenager, had been expected to testify at the trial of a habitual offender who is accused of raping her in a school parking lot last summer. But on Jan. 25, Mujey’s family, who live near Grand Rapids, reported her missing to police. Three days later, her body was found in a wooded area about 50 miles away, the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety said. Police in Kalamazoo are investigating the death as a homicide. Quinn Anthony James, 42, the man accused of sexually assaulting Mujey in July 2017, had been free on bail, WOOD-TV reported.