National News at a Glance
Posted May 4, 2018 10:12 p.m. EDT
In Hawaii, Kilauea Volcano Erupts, Spewing Lava and Gases Near Homes
Fresh volcanic eruptions on the southern end of the island of Hawaii on Friday left residents displaced and frightened after days of small earthquakes, as authorities were working to keep people out of evacuation areas. No one was hurt, according to officials, but by Friday afternoon, two homes had been surrounded by lava and officials were warning of dangerous gases. Lava began bubbling up through a new crack in the Kilauea volcano Thursday evening, but the lava flows, at least as of Friday morning, had been small, said Charles Mandeville, coordinator of the Volcano Hazards Program at the U.S. Geological Survey headquarters in Reston, Virginia.
Connecticut Court Reverses Murder Conviction of Michael Skakel
The case was tabloid fodder, and news of it filled books and hours of television. The murder of a 15-year-old girl in a genteel Connecticut suburb went years without arrests, only to turn into a drawn-out legal battle. The latest turn, and possibly the last, came Friday, when the Connecticut Supreme Court vacated the conviction of Michael C. Skakel, who had been found guilty of killing Martha Moxley in 1975. Skakel had been convicted in 2002. But as his legal team waged an appeal, they argued that he had been failed repeatedly by his trial lawyer. Prosecutors will now have to decide whether they will retry the case.
2 FBI Officials, Once Key Advisers to Comey, Leave the Bureau
Two top FBI aides who worked alongside former Director James Comey as he navigated one of the most politically tumultuous periods in the bureau’s history resigned Friday. James A. Baker was the FBI’s top lawyer until December when he was reassigned as the new director, Christopher A. Wray, began installing his own advisers. Lisa Page advised Comey and his deputy, Andrew G. McCabe, on a range of legal issues. She was assailed by conservatives after texts that she had exchanged with the agent overseeing the investigation into links between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia were made public.
Trump Appeals to NRA for Help in Midterm Voting
President Donald Trump made a passionate appeal to the National Rifle Association on Friday to help him in the midterm elections, renewing his long-standing bond with the controversial gun-rights group just months after criticizing members of Congress for being overly deferential to the gun lobby. After a season of tumult in the national debate over gun violence, Trump left little doubt about his political allegiance at the NRA’s annual convention in Texas. The president cast himself as a lock-step ally for the organization and implored its members to vote in November. Trump’s visit, alongside Vice President Mike Pence, amounted to an unreserved show of support for the NRA.
Pence’s Doctor Resigns as White House Medical Shake-Up Continues
Vice President Mike Pence’s physician abruptly resigned Friday with no public explanation, part of a feud that has led to a shake-up in the small medical office that is responsible for treating White House officials. The White House Medical Unit has come under scrutiny in recent days after Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, Trump’s primary physician whom he selected to be secretary of Veterans Affairs, withdrew from consideration amid allegations that he overprescribed medication and was drunk on the job. On Friday, Pence’s office issued a short statement confirming the departure of Dr. Jennifer Pena, but did not elaborate on the reason, suggesting the matter was not handled by the vice president’s staff.
Indiana Serial Killer Pleads Guilty to Murders of Seven Women
An Indiana man charged in the killings of seven women who prosecutors said were among a vulnerable population of drug addicts or prostitutes pleaded guilty to murder charges Friday to avoid facing the death penalty, officials said. Bradley C. Carter, a spokesman for the Lake County prosecutor’s office, said prosecutors agreed to a plea deal in which they would no longer seek the death penalty. He said officials wanted to spare relatives of the victims the prolonged court battles that would have come with a death penalty case. Under the agreement, Vann will be sentenced on May 25 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.