National News

National News at a Glance

Posted December 6, 2018 9:57 p.m. EST

Making Trump’s Bed: A Housekeeper Without Papers

During more than five years as a housekeeper at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Victorina Morales has made Donald Trump’s bed, cleaned his toilet and dusted his crystal golf trophies. Because of the “outstanding” support she has provided during Trump’s visits, Morales in July was given a certificate from the White House Communications Agency inscribed with her name. Quite an achievement for an immigrant housekeeper living in the country without legal permission. She said she was not the only worker at the club who was in the country illegally.

Trump Plans Major Rollback of Sage Grouse Protections to Spur Oil Exploration

The Trump administration on Thursday detailed its plan to open 9 million acres to drilling and mining by stripping away protections for the sage grouse, an imperiled ground-nesting bird that oil companies have long considered an obstacle to tapping some of the richest deposits in the American West. In one stroke, the action would open more land to drilling than any other step taken by the administration to date, environmental policy experts said. It drew immediate criticism from environmentalists while energy-industry representatives praised the move, saying that the earlier policy represented an overreach of federal authority.

Elizabeth Warren Stands by DNA Test. But Around Her, Worries Abound.

After years of being challenged by President Donald Trump about a decades-old claim of Native American ancestry, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., took a DNA test to prove her stated family origins in the Cherokee and Delaware tribes. But nearly two months after Warren released the test results and drew hostile reactions from prominent tribal leaders, the lingering cloud over her likely presidential campaign has only darkened. Conservatives have continued to ridicule her. And Warren has yet to allay criticism from grassroots progressive groups, liberal political operatives and others who complain that she put too much emphasis on the controversial field of racial science — and played into Trump’s hands.

North Carolina Republicans Express Increasing Doubts on Disputed Election

North Carolina Republicans expressed mounting doubts Thursday about a disputed congressional race that their candidate once seemed to have won, with one of the state party’s most influential figures saying a new election could be appropriate in the wake of fraud allegations. Lawmakers and strategists, effectively abandoning demands that state officials swiftly certify Mark Harris as the winner of the 9th District’s House campaign, said they worried that absentee-ballot fraud may have infected the November election and the Republican primary, which the incumbent, Robert Pittenger, lost in May. The state board has not certified Harris as the winner despite a 905-vote edge over his Democratic opponent, Dan McCready.

Drugmaker Agrees to Pay $360 Million to Settle Investigation Into Charity Kickbacks

Drugmaker Actelion Pharmaceuticals has agreed to a $360 million settlement stemming from an investigation into whether the company illegally funneled kickbacks through a patient-assistance charity, federal prosecutors said Thursday. Actelion, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2017 and makes expensive drugs to treat a rare lung condition, is the latest pharmaceutical company to settle federal inquiries into their ties to patient-assistance groups, including whether companies have used the patient programs to increase the price of their drugs.

Trump Rule Would Limit EPA’s Control Over Water Pollution

The Trump administration is expected to put forth a proposal Tuesday that would significantly weaken a major Obama-era regulation on clean water, according to a memo from the Environmental Protection Agency. The Obama rule was designed to limit pollution in about 60 percent of the nation’s bodies of water, protecting sources of drinking water for about a third of the United States. But it became a target for rural landowners, an important part of President Donald Trump’s political base, since it could have restricted how much pollution from chemical fertilizers and pesticides could seep into water on their property.

Want to Name a New Frog? A Whiskered Mouse? An Orchid? Be the Highest Bidder

There is a wasp named after William Shakespeare, a horse fly named after Beyoncé and a lichen named after Dolly Parton. The privilege of naming a new species typically lies with the person who discovered it. Only in the past few decades have researchers started to delegate that task to someone else: the highest bidder. On Saturday, Rainforest Trust, a conservation nonprofit, will complete its auction of the rights to name 12 newly discovered plant and animal species from South America. The group says the money will be used to buy land where that species lives in an effort to save it from extinction.