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White House vows total halt to impeachment probe cooperation

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House declared Tuesday it will halt any and all cooperation with what it termed the “illegitimate” impeachment probe by House Democrats, sharpening the constitutional clash between President Donald Trump and Congress.

Trump attorneys sent a lengthy letter to House leaders bluntly stating White House refusal to participate in the inquiry that was given a boost by last week’s release of a whistleblower’s complaint that the president sought political favors from Ukraine.

“Given that your inquiry lacks any legitimate constitutional foundation, any pretense of fairness, or even the most elementary due process protections, the Executive Branch cannot be expected to participate in it,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote.

That means no additional witnesses under administration purview will be permitted to appear in front of Congress or comply with document requests, a senior official said.

The White House is objecting that the House has not voted to begin an impeachment investigation into Trump. It also claims that Trump’s due process rights are being violated.

Trump shifts tone on Turkey in effort to halt Syria invasion

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a span of 24 hours, President Donald Trump moved from threatening to obliterate Turkey’s economy if it invades Syria to inviting its president to visit the White House.

But Trump did not back away Tuesday from a plan to withdraw American troops from Syria as he tried to persuade Turkey not to invade the country and attack the U.S.-allied Kurds — a needle-threading strategy that has angered Republican and Democratic lawmakers and confused U.S. allies.

“This is really dangerous,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

Trump tweeted that while U.S. forces “may be” leaving Syria, the U.S. has not abandoned the Kurds, who stand to be destroyed if Turkey follows through with its planned invasion. The Kurds lead a group of Syria fighters who have been steadfast and effective American allies in combating the Islamic State in Syria. Turkey, however, sees the Kurds as terrorists and a border threat. Joseph Votel, a retired Army general who headed Central Command’s military operations in Syria until last spring, wrote on The Atlantic website Tuesday that mutual trust was a key ingredient in the U.S. partnership with the Kurds.

Johnson & Johnson

hit with $8B verdict

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A Philadelphia jury on Tuesday awarded $8 billion in punitive damages against Johnson & Johnson and one if its subsidiaries over a drug the companies made that the plaintiff’s attorneys say is linked to the abnormal growth of female breast tissue in boys.

Johnson and Johnson immediately denounced the award after the jury’s decision in the Court of Common pleas, saying it’s “excessive and unfounded” and vowing immediate action to overturn it.

The antipsychotic drug Risperdal is at the center of the lawsuit, with the plaintiff’s attorneys arguing it’s linked to abnormal growth of female breast tissue in boys, an incurable condition known as gynecomastia.

Johnson & Johnson used an organized scheme to make billions of dollars while illegally marketing and promoting the drug, attorneys Tom Kline and Jason Itkin said in a statement.

Kline and Itkin said that Johnson & Johnson was “a corporation that valued profits over safety and profits over patients.” Thousands of lawsuits have been filed over the drug, but the attorneys said this was the first in which a jury decided whether to award punitive damages and came up with an amount.

California faces historic outage due to fire danger

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Millions of people were poised to lose electricity throughout northern and central California after Pacific Gas & Electric Co. announced Tuesday it would shut off power in the largest preventive outage in state history to try to avert wildfires caused by faulty lines.

PG&E said it would begin turning off power to 800,000 customers in 34 counties starting after midnight Wednesday amid forecasts of windy, dry weather that create extreme fire danger. To the south, Southern California Edison also said Tuesday that more than 106,000 of its customers in parts of eight counties could face power cuts.

Outages are planned in more than half of California’s 58 counties, although not everyone in those counties will have their power cut.

The news came as residents in the region’s wine country north of San Francisco marked the two-year anniversary of deadly wildfires that killed 44 and destroyed thousands of homes. San Francisco is the only county in the nine-county Bay Area where power will not be affected.

Recuperating Sanders says he may slow down campaigning pace

BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — Bernie Sanders began reintroducing himself to the 2020 campaign on Tuesday, venturing outside his Vermont home to say that he doesn’t plan on leaving the presidential race following last week’s heart attack — but that he may slow down a frenetic pace that might have contributed to his health problems.

“We were doing, in some cases, five or six meetings a day, three or four rallies and town meetings and meeting with groups of people. I don’t think I’m going to do that,” Sanders told reporters when asked what his schedule may look like going forward. “But I certainly intend to be actively campaigning. I think we’re going to change the nature of the campaign a bit. I’ll make sure that I have the strength to do what I have to do.”

Pressed on what that meant, Sanders replied: “Well, probably not doing four rallies a day.”

Sanders’ campaign has said he will be at next week’s Democratic presidential debate in Ohio. But it hasn’t commented on if or when he’ll resume campaigning before that — or what his next steps will be. NBC News announced it would air an “exclusive” interview with Sanders, his first since the heart attack, on Wednesday.

Killer’s lifetime of evil backed up by memory

Samuel Little’s depravity is matched only by his prodigious memory.

Little, a California inmate considered by the FBI to be the most prolific serial killer in U.S. history, has confessed to 93 slayings committed across the country between 1970 and 2005, recounting the crimes with astonishing, near-photographic detail. He even drew color portraits of dozens of the women he strangled.

His case, featured on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, has offered a frightening look inside the mind of a killer and the wrongheaded assumptions on the part of law enforcement that enabled him to escape justice for so long.

Little, who is 79 and has been behind bars since 2012 for several killings, preyed on prostitutes, drug addicts and other women on the margins, many of them black like Little himself, and many of the deaths were originally deemed overdoses or attributed to accidental or undetermined causes.