Democratic senators called for Sen. Al Franken to resign on Wednesday, in the wake of a series of allegations of sexual misconduct. Franken lost the support of his Democratic colleagues and faced new pressures to resign over what a fellow senator said was a “clear pattern” of abuse. Another woman has emerged, saying he forcibly tried to kiss her in 2006, bringing to seven the number of women accusing him of sexual impropriety. More than a half dozen female Democratic senators and some men are calling for his resignation.
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President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that the United States will recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and plans to relocate the U.S. embassy there, a controversial move that critics say may further inflame tensions in the Middle East. “I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” the president said during a press conference at the White House.
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Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving current member of the House of Representatives, resigned from Congress on Tuesday, after facing calls to step down over allegations of inappropriate behavior toward female staff members. The 88-year-old civil rights leader announced what he referred to as his “retirement” on Detroit talk radio, while continuing to deny he groped or sexually harassed women who worked for him. He endorsed his son John Conyers III to succeed him.
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Deputy White House Chief of Staff Kirstjen Nielsen has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate to oversee the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Nielsen, a former Homeland Security official nominated by President Trump, was confirmed by the Senate in a 62-37 vote on Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Nielsen understands the department’s daily operations due to her previous experience and is ready to lead on her first day.
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President Trump announced cuts to two of Utah’s sprawling wilderness national monuments on Monday in a bid to boost development, angering tribes and environmental groups. Trump signed two proclamations after his speech; one would reduce the 1.3 million acre Bears Ears National Monument, while the other would cut to the state’s 1.9 million acre Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Tribal leaders representing the five tribes that pushed for the creation of the monument (the Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo of Zuni, Ute Mountain and Ute Indians) said they will take the Trump administration to court.
The Supreme Court is allowing the Trump administration to fully enforce a ban on travel to the United States by residents of six mostly Muslim countries. The justices say in an order Monday that the policy can take full effect even as legal challenges against it make their way through the courts. The ban applies to travelers from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen. Lower courts had said people from those nations with a claim of a “bona fide” relationship with someone in the United States could not be kept out of the country. Grandparents, cousins and other relatives were among those courts said could not be excluded.
John Dowd, President Trump’s personal attorney, has taken responsibility for a tweet that implied President Trump knew his former national security adviser Michael Flynn had lied to the FBI when he demanded his resignation in February. On Sunday, Dowd told NBC News he composed the tweet and sent it to White House social media director Dan Scavino for publishing. Dowd told NBC News the tweet was dictated orally. “I’m out of the tweeting business,” Dowd told NBC. “I did not mean to break news.”
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ABC News announced that Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross had been suspended for four weeks without pay over a botched “exclusive” about former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Ross’ suspension is effective immediately. During a live “special report” Friday morning, Ross reported that Flynn would testify that Donald Trump had ordered him to make contact with Russians about foreign policy while Trump was still a candidate. The report raised the specter of Trump’s impeachment and sent the stock market plummeting.
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President Trump wrote a check to the Department of Health and Human Services that will go toward a public information campaign about the opioid crisis, fulfilling part of his pledge not to take a salary in his role in the Oval Office. The donation is part of Trump’s pledge to give his $400,000-a-year presidential salary away. The latest check will go toward paying for a public awareness campaign that will detail the dangers of opioid addiction, which involves prescription painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin. The awareness campaign was one of the recommendations that Trump’s opioid commission made earlier this month.
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The Trump administration is “considering” a plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, according to an administration official. Though that plan has been discussed inside the White House, it’s unclear when it will happen — or if it will, the source said. Tillerson’s fate has been the subject of much speculation for months amid reports of tension with President Donald Trump. The potential plan also includes filling Pompeo’s slot at CIA with a Republican senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, though there are differing views on whether Cotton should move to the CIA or stay in the Senate.
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