National News at a Glance
Posted July 23, 2018 9:15 p.m. EDT
Trump Weighs Stripping Security Clearances From Officials Who Criticized Him
President Donald Trump threatened Monday to strip the security clearances of former officials who have criticized his refusal to confront Russia over its election interference. The White House press secretary said Trump was considering revoking the clearances of John Brennan, the former CIA director; James Comey, fired by Trump as FBI director last year; and James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence, among others. The suggestion was an unusual politicization of the security clearance process and is the latest effort by Trump to deflect scrutiny from his meeting last week with President Vladimir Putin of Russia.
Meet With Kavanaugh? Not Until There’s a Deal on His Documents, Democrats Say
Senate Democrats are largely giving Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh the brushoff, refusing the customary “courtesy visits” until Republicans turn over voluminous documents from the Supreme Court nominee’s past. In the two weeks since President Donald Trump nominated him to succeed retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, Kavanaugh has met with 23 Republicans, and not one Democrat. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the Senate minority leader, said Monday that he would not meet with Kavanaugh until the top Republican and the top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee agree on what documents should be produced.
Congratulations, You Are Now a U.S. Citizen. Unless Someone Decides Later You’re Not.
Since President Donald Trump took office, the number of denaturalization cases has been growing, part of a campaign of aggressive immigration enforcement that now promises to include even the most protected class of legal immigrants: naturalized citizens. The government says it is doing what it has always done: Prosecuting cases of fraud among 21.2 million naturalized citizens. But the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency that handles residency and citizenship, is separately opening a new office to investigate thousands of potential denaturalization cases involving identity fraud, even as it approves more new citizenship applications than before.
Smoke Fills Yosemite Valley as Wildfire Rages Near Park
In the 10 days since a massive forest fire erupted near Yosemite National Park, the size of the fire has roughly doubled to more than 33,740 acres. Officials said Monday that they are making progress, but the fire has moved closer to the park. One firefighter was killed while battling the blaze, and six others have been injured. The fire is now about 2 miles from the park. The smoke has blocked views of the valley inside the park, and one of the most scenic routes, Glacier Point Road, has been closed to allow firefighters to assemble in the area.
A Law Tailored for Orthodox Jewish Schools Is Unconstitutional, Lawsuit Says
A lawsuit filed Monday argues that New York is illegally looking the other way when it comes to ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools, loosening restrictions that will ultimately leave students without a basic knowledge of English, math and science. The lawsuit, filed slightly more than a month before the first day of school, is the latest action in a yearslong debate over how to regulate yeshivas, the private religious schools that focus on studying Jewish texts. Under state law, nonpublic schools have to provide an education “substantially equivalent” to that of public schools, including instruction in English, math, U.S. history and science.
Senate Confirms Robert Wilkie as Veterans Affairs Secretary
The Senate on Monday overwhelmingly voted to approve President Donald Trump’s latest pick to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, confirming Robert Wilkie as the next secretary, 86-9. Wilkie, 55, will lead the second-largest department in the federal government, overseeing about 360,000 employees and the vast veterans health care system. He is taking over a department in turmoil. Veterans Affairs, which has struggled for years to provide timely and efficient care, has been without permanent leadership since the previous secretary, David J. Shulkin, was fired in March. The department is also dealing with thousands of job vacancies.
Judge Delays Start of Manafort Trial for Six Days
A federal judge on Monday delayed the financial crimes trial of Paul Manafort for six days to allow Manafort’s lawyers more time to review a trove of documents. The decision by the judge, T.S. Ellis III of the U.S. District Court in Alexandria, Virginia, pushed the start of the trial back to next Tuesday. It is the first of two faced by Manafort, the former campaign chairman for President Donald Trump. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and tax evasion in a case that arose from the investigation into efforts by Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election.