National News at a Glance
Posted November 15, 2018 10:12 p.m. EST
Kroger Shooting Suspect Is Charged With Hate Crimes in Killings of 2 Black People
A federal grand jury on Thursday handed down hate crime charges against Gregory Bush, 51, of Louisville, Kentucky, a white man who officials say shot and killed two black grandparents — Maurice E. Stallard, 69, and Vickie Lee Jones, 67 — at a Kroger supermarket in Kentucky on Oct. 24. The six-count indictment included two counts of shooting or killing a victim based on race or color and one count of attempting to shoot or kill a victim based on race or color. The remaining charges were for firearm-related offenses. If convicted, Bush faces life in prison without parole.
Trump Says He Will Tour Burned Areas
President Donald Trump plans to travel to California on Saturday, where he is expected to land at Beale Air Force Base before traveling to Paradise, the town in northern California decimated by fire. The visit comes a week after Trump blamed state officials for the destructive blazes, erroneously attributing the cause of the fires to poor forest management and threatening to withhold financial payments to the state. But he has since praised the state’s efforts and promised federal assistance. It is unclear just how the president will be received in the state where he is widely derided by public officials, including some from his own party.
Mueller Team Has ‘Gone Absolutely Nuts,’ Trump Says
Fresh off three days of private meetings with his personal lawyers, President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on Thursday on the special counsel investigation, calling it “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!" The barrage, launched on Twitter, ended a period of relative quiet by the president about the investigation, which has ensnared some of his former aides. Trump met with his personal lawyers in private meetings and worked to draft answers to questions posed by the special counsel, Robert Mueller. Mueller’s team has been investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible ties to the Trump campaign. It was unclear what may have motivated Trump’s Twitter posts Thursday.
FDA Seeks Restrictions on Flavored E-Cigarettes, Ban on Menthol Cigarettes
The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday announced a series of restrictions aimed at cutting the use of flavored e-cigarettes and tobacco products that have lured young people into vaping and smoking. The agency also said it would move to outlaw menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars, which disproportionately harm African-Americans. The effort to cut off access to flavored e-cigarettes stopped short of a ban the FDA had threatened in recent months. The agency said it would allow stores to continue selling such flavored products, but only from closed off-areas inaccessible to teenagers. The proposed menthol ban is likely to face a protracted legal battle.
Battle Over Wall Risks Shutdown as Lawmakers Scramble to Fund Government
Republican lawmakers, facing a possible government shutdown in December, are searching for a way around President Donald Trump’s demands that they fully fund his wall on the southern border or risk a veto of legislation to keep the government open. Democrats have little incentive to give the president what he wants unless Republicans are willing to offer significant concessions. And some Democrats hope to attach legislation that would protect the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to one of seven remaining appropriations bills. The bills, which have a Dec. 7 deadline, would fund a number of federal agencies, including the Homeland Security, Agriculture and Commerce departments.
Democrats Grill ICE Nominee About Child Detentions and a Derogatory Tweet
Senate Democrats on Thursday grilled Ronald D. Vitiello, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a former Border Patrol agent who was appointed acting director of ICE in June. Vitiello would be the first permanent director of the agency in the Trump administration. Democrats on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee questioned his role in the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy that led to the separation of migrant children from their parents and a 2015 Twitter post in which Vitiello referred to the Democratic Party as the “liberalcratic party or NeoKlanist Party.” Vitiello said the post was a mistake that he deeply regretted.
Recount Ordered in Florida Senate Contest; Republican Holds Lead in Governor's Race
Florida concluded the first phase of a recount of its midterm election on Thursday, with state officials ordering a manual recount in the Senate race. In the race for governor, Republican Ron DeSantis held a 33,683-vote lead over Andrew Gillum, a margin of 0.41 percentage points — enough to avoid state officials ordering a manual recount. In the Senate race, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, held a 12,603-vote lead over Sen. Bill Nelson, the incumbent Democrat — a 0.15 percentage point margin. Under state law, a manual recount is triggered in contests in which the margin is less than 0.25 of a percentage point.
Couple and Homeless Man Behind Viral GoFundMe Campaign Are Charged With Conspiracy
A New Jersey couple, Mark D’Amico and Kate McClure, and a homeless veteran, Johnny Bobbitt Jr., are all being charged with second-degree conspiracy and theft by deception, after the couple started a GoFundMe campaign for Bobbitt in 2017 that officials say was "predicated on a lie." They face five to 10 years in prison if found guilty, prosecutor Scott Coffina said Thursday. In 2017, McClure claimed she had been out of gas and money when Bobbitt, who was homeless at the time, offered her his last $20 so that she could get home. The GoFundMe campaign went viral; 14,347 people donated $402,706 for Bobbitt. GoFundMe said it would process all refunds to donors in the coming days.