National News

National News at a Glance

Posted May 21, 2018 9:28 p.m. EDT

Trump Swears in Haspel as CIA Director

President Donald Trump praised Gina Haspel on Monday as she was sworn in to lead the CIA, congratulating her on becoming the first woman to lead what he called “the most elite intelligence professionals on the planet.” But even as Haspel took over as CIA director, conservatives and some Trump allies were accusing her of being part of the “deep state” conspiracy. Trump supporters have been raising questions about Haspel’s loyalty to the president, and urging — without providing any evidence — an examination of what she knew about the intelligence community’s efforts to connect Trump to Russia.

Trump’s Demands Escalate Pressure on Rosenstein to Preserve Justice Department’s Independence

As President Donald Trump and his allies repeatedly take aim at the Justice Department investigation into his campaign’s possible links to Russia’s election meddling, Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general overseeing the inquiry, has mostly evaded the attacks through inventive maneuvers. To protect the inquiry, Rosenstein has agreed to meet increasingly onerous demands from Trump and his allies on Capitol Hill. But legal scholars and former law enforcement officials fear that the measures Rosenstein has resorted to could weaken the Justice Department’s historic independence, allowing the department to be used as a cudgel to attack the president’s political enemies.

Police Confronted Texas School Gunman Within 4 Minutes, Sheriff Says

In many ways, Santa Fe High School followed the playbook for how to confront a school shooting. When gunfire erupted Friday morning, two police officers stationed at the school confronted the gunman within about four minutes, law enforcement officials reported Monday, offering new details on how the police brought the shooting rampage to an end. The Galveston County sheriff, Henry Trochesset, said the officers saved lives by drawing the gunman's attention and fire. Even before then, the students and teachers at Santa Fe High had prepared for how to respond to a shooting through regular active shooter drills.

Hillary and Bill Clinton Go Separate Ways for 2018 Midterm Elections

For years they dominated the party, brandishing their powerful financial network and global fame to pick favorites for primary elections and lift Democrats even in deep-red states. They were viewed as a joint entity, with a shared name that was the most powerful brand in Democratic politics: the Clintons. But in the 2018 election campaign, Hillary and Bill Clinton have veered in sharply different directions. Hillary Clinton appears determined to play at least a limited role in the midterms, bolstering longtime allies and raising money for Democrats in safely liberal areas. Her husband has been all but invisible.

Madame Pele, Hawaii’s Goddess of Volcanoes, Awes Those Living in Lava’s Path

When the rivers of lava forced thousands to flee this month, many people on Hawaii’s Big Island pointed with awe toward the drizzle-shrouded volcanic crater where Pele — known as “the woman who devours the earth” — usually dwells. Hawaiians have endured the overthrow of their kingdom, annexation by the United States and policies aimed at obliterating the Hawaiian language. But in a striking display of the resilience and adaptability of Native Hawaiian culture, the exaltation of Pele has not only persisted through the centuries, but seems to be strengthening with every bone-rattling eruption of Hawaii’s volcanoes.

Lanternflies Eat Everything in Sight. The U.S. Is Looking Delicious.

To some farmers and scientists in the southeastern corner of Pennsylvania, spring marks the beginning of a long season of dread. Their worry is Lycorma delicatula, the spotted lanternfly. It is an invasive pest with a voracious appetite and remarkable reproductive talents. In their native range, lanternflies feed primarily on one type of tree — Ailanthus, the tree of heaven. But, among the lanternfly’s more alarming qualities is an ability to feed on a huge range of plants, including many of commercial value. A nationwide outbreak would be something of a disaster, some scientists believe.