National News

National News at a Glance

Posted May 15, 2018 10:07 p.m. EDT

Haspel Rejection of Torture Program Seems to Seal Confirmation

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, appeared on Tuesday to have secured the votes to be confirmed after she declared in a letter to the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee that the agency should not have undertaken its interrogation program in which al-Qaida detainees were tortured after the Sept. 11 attacks. She had refused to condemn the program at her confirmation hearing last week. After receiving the letter, three Democratic senators said they, too, would vote for Haspel. The Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote on her confirmation on Wednesday.

Suspect in CIA Breach Faces Charges, but Not for Leaking Secrets

Last year, WikiLeaks released a stolen archive of secret documents about the CIA’s hacking operations, including software exploits designed to take over iPhones and turn smart television sets into surveillance devices. Now, the prime suspect in the breach has been identified: a 29-year-old former CIA software engineer who had designed malware used to break into the computers of terrorism suspects and other targets, The New York Times has learned. It is unclear why, more than a year after Joshua A. Shulte was arrested on child pornography charges, he has not been charged or cleared in connection with Vault 7.

Talking to Senators, President Stays on (His Own) Message

When presidents make the trip to Capitol Hill to address lawmakers, they usually have a request, a policy proposal or an overarching message to deliver. That did not appear to be the case on Tuesday, when President Donald Trump held forth during a closed-door lunch with Republican senators in a monologue that was part political update, part celebration and part comedy routine, according to several people present and others briefed on the meeting. Trump talked about the economy, Iran, North Korea, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem and about his optimism over Republicans’ chances in the fall midterm elections.

New Troops on Border May Watch, With Caveat

The hundreds of National Guard troops deployed by President Donald Trump in April are now busy securing the southern border. But when it comes to surveillance, they are forbidden from looking across it. The troops operating and monitoring high-tech surveillance equipment have been told they are prohibited from using it to look into Mexico. The little-known caveat is part of the legal ground rules for the new National Guard deployment, which calls for troops to operate “up to” the U.S.-Mexico border, state and federal officials said.

Lawmakers Press On With Investigation of Missouri Governor

A day after prosecutors dropped a felony charge against Gov. Eric Greitens, Missouri lawmakers had a message for the governor on Tuesday: Don’t celebrate yet. Greitens has, for now, survived a legal battle over an invasion of privacy charge stemming from accusations that he took an explicit photograph of a woman with whom he had an affair, without her consent. But in the Republican-dominated Missouri Legislature, where Greitens, a Republican, has few friends and many adversaries, the threat of impeachment has only intensified. On Friday, the Missouri House will gavel in for a special session to consider disciplining the governor.

De Blasio Directs Police Dept. to End ‘Unnecessary’ Marijuana Arrests

After years of halting steps, top prosecutors and elected officials in New York City on Tuesday made a sudden dash toward ending many of the marijuana arrests that for decades have entangled mostly black and Hispanic people. With the city now conceding a wide racial gap in arrests, the plans represent a shift that could lead in some parts of the city to people facing no criminal penalties for smoking marijuana. Mayor Bill de Blasio directed the Police Department on Tuesday to have a plan within 30 days to “end unnecessary arrests.”

Baltimore Police Commissioner Quits, the Third to Step Down in Three Years

Baltimore lost its third police commissioner in three years on Tuesday, the latest blow to the city’s efforts to come to grips with problems, including the nation’s highest big-city murder rate and the aftermath of the death of Freddie Gray. Darryl De Sousa, 53, had been in the post for just four months. He resigned after being charged by federal prosecutors with willfully failing to file income tax returns for 2013, 2014 and 2015. The charges are misdemeanors, with a maximum sentence of up to one year in prison and a $25,000 fine for each of the three counts.

Cosby’s Sentencing Is Set for September

Bill Cosby’s sentencing is set for September, five months after he was convicted of drugging and sexually assaulting a woman at his home near Philadelphia in 2004, according to a ruling Tuesday by the Pennsylvania judge who presided at Cosby’s criminal trial. Judge Steven T. O’Neill of the Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas filed a written order scheduling the sentencing hearing for Sept. 24-25. Cosby has been confined to his home outside Philadelphia since April 26, when a jury convicted him of three counts of aggravated indecent assault against Andrea Constand, a Temple University employee at the time.