Trump To Sign Spending Bill; Declare National Emergency to Build Wall; Updates on Trump-Russia Investigations; Amazon Cancels NYC Headquarters Plan Because of Political Opposition; Jussie Smollett Talks About Attack in Interview; Covington Bishop Says Students Did Nothing Wrong After Investigation; One Year Anniversary of Parkland Shooting
Hello, welcome to the Daily Moth! It is Thursday, February 14. Happy Valentine’s Day! Ready for news?
Trump To Sign Spending Bill; Declare National Emergency to Build Wall
Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell announced that President Trump would sign a bill to keep government open and then declare a national emergency so he can build a wall on the southern border.
A national emergency declaration would make it possible for Trump to use his presidential powers to divert funds meant for other projects towards wall construction.
The bill that Trump is expected to sign has about $1.3 billion for physical barriers. Trump has made it clear he wants $5.7 billion and that's the reason why the government shut down last month for a record 35 days.
Now this national emergency declaration will be controversial. Analysts predict lawsuits. Some warned that if Trump does this, future presidents, including Democratic ones, could also declare national emergencies to fulfill their promises.
Sen. McConnell said he supports the national emergency declaration.
The White House said the national emergency is necessary to stop the crisis at the border.
Updates on Trump-Russia Investigations
Here are some updates on the Trump-Russia investigations.
The first — yesterday a federal judge, Amy Berman Jackson, ruled that Paul Manafort lied several times in his interviews with investigators from the Special Counsel Mueller’s office.
Manafort had a plea deal with Mueller that would have reduced his sentence, but now that deal is violated.
The second update — Republican Senator Richard Burr (NC), the leader of the Senate investigation on Trump-Russia election collusion, said they have no factual evidence of collusion after two years of investigation and 200 interviews.
But Democratic senators say the investigation is not over.
The third update — former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said there were discussions within the Department of Justice about using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office after the firing of former FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.
McCabe said the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was involved in the meetings and that he did suggest he wear a wire in meetings with Trump.
Rosenstein said this was not true.
President Trump tweeted that McCabe is pretending to be a “poor little Angel” and suggested he was a corrupt Clinton supporter.
Now, in separate but related news, the Senate confirmed William Barr as the next attorney general. He will replaced Jeff Sessions, who was fired. He will oversee the Mueller investigation as the head of the DOJ.
Amazon Cancels NYC Headquarters Plan Because of Political Opposition
Amazon said they are cancelling their plan to build one of their two new headquarters in New York City because of political opposition.
The site was supposed to be in Long Island City in Queens.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) supported the Amazon deal. It would have brought 25,000 to 40,000 high-paying jobs in the area, in exchange for $3 billion in tax breaks.
But local government officials and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) were opposed to it.
When Amazon announced the Queens site, demand for real estate skyrocketed. Many predicted it would completely change Long Island City. But all of that is going away.
Amazon’s other site for a headquarters is in northern Virginia, just across the river from Washington, D.C. It will still happen.
Amazon said they would not re-open a search for another headquarters.
Jussie Smollett Talks About Attack in Interview
“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett did an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America in which he discussed his report of a hateful attack that is being investigated by Chicago police.
Smollett said he was heartbroken that people questioned if the attack was true.
He told police on January 29 that two people yelled “Empire,” and shouted racial and homophobic slurs, put a noose around his neck, poured a chemical on him, beat him up, and yelled, “This is MAGA country.”
Chicago police haven’t found video of the attack, but released an unclear image of two persons of interest. Police also said Smollett did not give them his cellphone to help with the investigation.
Smollett said he didn’t want to give the phone because there are many private and personal things in it. He believes the two people in the police image are the attackers. He is sure of it.
When he was asked what if the attackers are never found, Smollett started to cry and said he hopes they are found so there can be justice. He said he doesn’t want to see them attacking someone else.
Chicago police said today they have identified the persons of interest and that the two were allegedly in the area. They are questioning them. They are not named as suspects yet.
Covington Bishop Says Students Did Nothing Wrong After Investigation
Remember the face-off between Covington Catholic high school boys and a Native American drummer, Nathan Phillips, in Washington, D.C. last month?
The Roman Catholic bishop of Covington, Kentucky said their investigation concluded that the high school students did not instigate the encounter.
The bishop said the students were placed in a situation that was bizarre and threatening, and their reaction was expected and even laudatory.
When the video clip of the face-off went viral, the Covington Catholic High School and the diocese condemned the students and said some could be expelled.
The bishop did apologize for rushing to judgment in making a statement criticizing the boys. He said the boys are clear of any wrongdoing.
A lawyer representing Sandmann said he would examine the actions of the school, diocese, commentators, and news organizations.
The New York Times said they couldn’t reach Phillips for comment.
The Times reached out to a spokesman for the Indigenous Peoples Movement. He said the investigation showed a serious lack of understanding about the racist culture in the U.S. The spokesperson criticized boys for doing the tomahawk chop.
In the transcript, there is a link to an edited 15-minute YouTube video that provides a timeline of what happened on that day and some background information about Phillips.
The person who made the video said many rushed to judgment.
One Year Anniversary of Parkland Shooting
Today is the one year anniversary of the school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. 17 people died — 14 students and 3 staff members.
AP News reported that there was a moment of silence at the school and over 1,000 other Florida schools at 10:17 a.m. The attack last year was at 2:20 pm, but school officials plan to dismiss students early today so they wouldn’t be on campus at that time and picked 10:17 to honor the 17 killed.
The suspected shooter, Nikolas Cruz (20), is awaiting trial. He was a former student there and was 19 at the time of the shooting. Prosecutors want the death penalty.
The shooting sparked a movement led by many students and several parents to demand more action against gun violence. They formed a group called “March for Our Lives.”
Florida’s legislature changed the legal age limit for buying a rifle from 18 to 21. There were several laws passed nationwide that increased gun regulations, but there were also pro-gun laws passed.
Last year I did an interview with a hard-of-hearing Parkland student who survived the shooting, Olivia Feldman, and her mother, Judy Beldon-Freeman, who is a CODA. The link to the interview is in the transcript.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!
Gallaudet University: [gallaudet.edu]