National News

National News at a Glance

Posted May 6, 2018 9:38 p.m. EDT

Nominee to Lead CIA Offered to Withdraw

President Donald Trump’s pick to run the CIA, Gina Haspel, told White House officials last week that she would withdraw her nomination if they were concerned her role in the brutal interrogation of an al-Qaida suspect would scuttle her confirmation and draw the intelligence agency into a controversy over a program it disavowed years ago, administration officials and others familiar with the discussions said. Top aides headed to CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, to prevent Haspel from dropping out, these people said. Haspel was convinced not to withdraw and is expected to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday.

President May Plead Fifth to Mueller, Giuliani Says

Rudy Giuliani, reeling after a chaotic first week as President Donald Trump’s lawyer, tried again Sunday to straighten out his client’s story. But Giuliani raised new questions about whether Trump had paid hush money to other women and suggested the president might invoke the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying in the special counsel’s Russia investigation. Giuliani, a former federal prosecutor hired by Trump to smooth communication between the White House and the special counsel, Robert Mueller, instead painted Mueller as an out-of-control prosecutor bent on trapping Trump into committing perjury. The president, he said, could defy a subpoena to testify.

GOP at Risk of Falling Off California Map

For anyone wondering about the state of the Republican Party in California these days, consider this: There may be no Republican candidate for governor or U.S. senator on the state’s ballot this November. That possibility is beginning to sink in for California Republicans, against the backdrop of a debate among its candidates and leaders on how the party can become competitive again in a state where Ronald Reagan was elected twice as governor. Democrats make up nearly 45 percent of the total number of registered voters in the state. Republicans account for about 25 percent, just slightly ahead of the percentage of voters who declined to pick a party registration.

Drug Firms Gearing Up for a Fight Over Prices

In January, President Donald Trump made a promise: “You’ll be seeing drug prices falling very substantially in the not-too-distant future,” he said. But Big Pharma is pouring money into a lobbying campaign to thwart any efforts to rein in prescription drug prices before a presidential speech this month where Trump plans to lay out his drug pricing proposals. Spending by the main lobby for the industry, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, surged in the first quarter of this year, to $10 million, up from $8 million in the first quarter of last year, the trade association said.

Thrifty Brooklyn Secretary Leaves $8 Million for Needy Students

A recent $6.24 million donation to the Henry Street Settlement on the Lower East Side was a whopper — the largest single gift from an individual to the social service group in its 125-year history. It was not donated by some billionaire benefactor, but by a frugal legal secretary from Brooklyn who toiled for the same law firm for 67 years until she retired at 96 and died not long afterward in 2016. Her name was Sylvia Bloom and even her closest relatives had no idea she had amassed a fortune. She did this by observing investments made by lawyers she served.

On 99 Acres, Priced to Sell: A Former Prison in Upstate New York

For sale: 99 acres located 90 minutes from Montreal with 98,000 square feet of space spread over 30 buildings. Amenities include kitchens with walk-in freezers, a dining hall and a backup diesel generator. The property, a former New York prison called Chateaugay Correctional Facility, is being sold by the state at auction. Closed since 2014 because of declining incarceration rates, the former prison will be auctioned July 24 at the Chateaugay Town Hall, almost exactly four years to the day after it closed. The minimum bid is $100,000. The prison is one of 13 the state has closed since 2011.

President of Jewish Seminary Killed in Plane Crash in Hudson Valley

The president of a leading Jewish seminary died Saturday morning after the small plane he was piloting crashed about 70 miles northwest of Manhattan, according to the institution. The death of the president, Rabbi Aaron D. Panken of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, was announced by Jean Bloch Rosensaft, a spokeswoman for the seminary, late Saturday. The Federal Aviation Administration said an Aeronca 7AC aircraft crashed just after takeoff from Randall Airport in Orange County, New York, on Saturday morning. FAA officials said two people were aboard the plane but did not release their names and conditions.