White House downplays Trump’s ‘treasonous’ label; Sen. Duckworth calls him ‘Cadet Bone...

White House downplays Trump’s ‘treasonous’ label; Sen. Duckworth calls him ‘Cadet Bone Spurs’

By Karen DeWitt   
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Il.) visited the Korean Peninsula DMZ last month. The Iraqi War veteran lost both of her legs in Iraq in 2004.

WASHINGTON – White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said today that President Donald Trump was being “tongue in cheek” with his comments accusing Democrats of “treasonous” behavior.

Gidley told NBC News that Trump was trying to get the message across that people should be happy about positive achievements in the country despite their party.

Trump accused Democrats Monday of exhibiting “treasonous” behavior during his State of the Union address last week.

He took aim at Democratic lawmakers who refused to applaud during his speech when he mentioned his achievements during his first year in office, calling the reaction “un-American.”

Monday evening Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois fired back at Trump for his remarks, saying she swore an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States,” not “to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs.”

Duckworth, a military veteran who lost both of her legs when her helicopter was shot down over Iraq in 2004, was referring to Trump’s multiple deferments from the draft during the Vietnam War. One deferment was for heel spurs, or bone protrusions caused by calcium buildup.

Trump sticking to guns that Nunes memo backs him

President Trump doubled down on his contention that a controversial memo exposed deep political bias at the highest reaches of law enforcement — but some Republicans are dissenting, according to The Hill.

Trump insists the memo, written by the staff of GOP House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes  of California and alleging misdeeds at the FBI and Department of Justice, helps his case that the broader probe into Russia’s election meddling spearheaded by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is a “witch hunt.”

Democrats scoff, but some Republicans back Trump.

Divisions halt GOP legislative movement

Republicans are divided over transportation, immigration and spending coming out of a retreat in West Virginia, clouding the prospect of legislative progress in 2018.

GOP leaders at the retreat focused on the accomplishments of last year more than the divisive issues in front of them as they hope to rally the rank-and-file members ahead of primary season and the November general election.

Internal divisions are a major reason why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky is stressing the need to move bipartisan legislation this year.

He knows the party is divided on key issues and also needs to overcome the 60-vote filibuster threshold in the upper chamber.

2020 census might include controversial citizenship query

Getting an accurate count of the U.S. population is always a challenge and may be even more so for the Census Bureau for 2020 as the agency considers a Department of Justice request to add a controversial question about citizenship status to the census questionnaire.

Census data is used to redraw House districts, and the number of House seats each state receives also plays a part in determining each state’s number of electoral votes.

Experts say a citizenship question could seriously skew the numbers if people are too frightened to respond. 

Colorado deputy killed on 11-year work anniversary

An El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy marking his 11-year anniversary with the force was killed Monday afternoon in a shooting that also left three law enforcement officers wounded, according to USA Today.

The fallen deputy, Micah Flick, 34, is survived by his wife and 7-year-old twins. He was the third officer to be gunned down in the line of duty in the state in the past five weeks.

According to the Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey, the incident began around 4 p.m. MST Monday in the eastern part of the city as a motor vehicle theft investigation, and turned into a chase with shots being fired. One bystander was injured.

Carey said the only suspect was killed.

Trump lawyers advise: Don’t do interview with Mueller

President Trump’s lawyers are urging him to not sit down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller,  according to The New York Times.

Trump’s attorneys have advised him against the interview over concerns that he could be charged with lying to investigators in the probe into Russian election meddling, according to The Times.

Trump publicly said last month that he would be willing to sit down with Mueller, but hedged it by saying it would be up to his lawyers to decide whether or not he would take part in an interview.

Cancer link: Hot tea too hot for smokers and drinkers

Let your hot tea cool down before you enjoy it, otherwise you could increase your risk of esophageal cancer, a new study suggests.

The study in The Annals of Internal Medicine says that drinking “hot” or “burning hot” tea was associated with a two- to five-fold increase in esophageal cancer, but only in people who also smoked or drank alcohol.

Esophageal cancer is the eighth most common cancer in the world and is often fatal, killing approximately 400,000 people every year, according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer. It is usually caused by repeated injury to the esophagus due to smoke, alcohol, acid reflux and  maybe  hot liquids.

Ivanka Trump leads US delegation at Winter Olympics

Ivanka Trump will lead the Presidential delegation to South Korea for the closing ceremony of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic winter games, a White House official tells CNN.

The first daughter and senior adviser was asked to attend the closing ceremony by her father, President Trump, and the United States Olympic Committee, the official said.

Vice President Mike Pence is currently en route to Asia, where he will lead the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremony later this week and attend some events.

Ivanka Trump also will attend some of the sporting events where the U.S. is represented, the official said.

Third homeless man killed in Vegas this year was a veteran and dad

Oneida Lewis-Baker told KLAS-TV in Las Vegas on Monday that the homeless man shot dead on Friday was a Vietnam veteran who served eight years in the Air Force —and was also her father.

Lewis-Baker said she lost contact with 64-year-old James Edgar Lewis years ago but never gave up searching for him.

Las Vegas Metropolitan Police say Lewis was fatally shot point-blank early Friday morning. He is the third man living on the streets of Vegas to be killed this year.

No arrests have been made.

Trump accuser runs for Ohio legislative office

Rachel Crooks @RachelforOhio/Twitter)

Rachel Crooks, a former Bayrock Group receptionist who accused President Donald Trump of kissing her on the mouth without her consent in 2005, is running for office, Cosmopolitan magazine reports.

Crooks is running for the state legislature in Ohio.

Crooks, 35, told the magazine, “Americans are really upset with politics as usual, and I want to be a voice for them.”

The Ohio House Democratic Caucus tweeted a photo of Crooks filing the petitions to run for the 88th State House District.

Haitian president: Trump’s ‘s—hole countries’ comments not good for tourism

Haitian President Jovenel Moise said President Trump’s reported “sh–hole countries” comments have not been good for the  country’s tourism industry.

Moise said in interview with Local 10 News, an ABC affiliate, “These comments haven’t helped our image or tourism industry. But to the rest of the world, I say Haiti is a beautiful place, an amazing place to visit.”

Moise said during the interview that Haitian people are “proud, and aspire for a better future.”

During a White House meeting about immigration last month, Trump reportedly referred to Haiti and African nations as “sh–hole countries.”

Colorado deputy killed on 11-year work anniversary

An El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy marking his 11-year anniversary with the force was killed Monday afternoon in a shooting that also left three law enforcement officers wounded, according to USA Today.

The fallen deputy, Micah Flick, 34, is survived by his wife and 7-year-old twins. He was the third officer to be gunned down in the line of duty in the state in the past five weeks.

According to the Colorado Springs Police Chief Peter Carey, the incident began around 4 p.m. MST Monday in the eastern part of the city as a motor vehicle theft investigation, and turned into a chase with shots being fired. One bystander was injured.

Carey said the only suspect was killed.

Twice deported suspect in Colts’ Edwin Jackson, Uber driver deaths

The man suspected of driving drunk and fatally striking Indianapolis Colts player Edwin Jackson and his Uber driver had twice been deported and was in the country illegally, police confirm, according to USA Today.

Police say Manuel Orrego-Savala, 37, had a blood-alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit when he hit and killed Jackson, a 26-year-old Colts linebacker, and 54-year-old Jeffrey Monroe, Jackson’s Uber driver, around 4 a.m. Sunday.

Orrego-Savala is from Guatemala, according to Indiana State Police. He was first deported in 2007 and again in 2009 following arrests in San Francisco, according to a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. ICE officials say Orrego-Savala has a prior conviction in California for driving under the influence.

Despite subpoena, Bannon won’t appear before House Intelligence Committee

Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon is back in the news today, saying he will not appear before the House Intelligence Committee today, despite a subpoena.

GOP Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, the lawmaker leading the committee’s Russia investigation, says he expects Bannon to answer questions today, but Bannon apparently isn’t going to show up.

The White House and the intelligence panel have not yet reached an agreement on the scope of questions Bannon could face, according to CNN and Reuters.

Ignoring a subpoena issued by the committee could expose Bannon to a possible contempt of Congress charge, the news outlets note.

Carter Page: GOP memo ‘worse than I could’ve possibly imagined’

Former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page said the GOP memo alleging surveillance abuses at the Department of Justice was worse than he could have imagined.

During an interview on Fox News, Page was asked about his reaction to the recently released memo.

Page said, “There was a lot of details that kept dripping out. And it sounded really bad. When I actually saw it, it was even worse than I could’ve possibly imagined.”

The GOP-penned four-page memo accuses senior DOJ officials of improperly using information from the so-called “Steele dossier” — which originated as an opposition research document during the 2016 campaign — to obtain surveillance warrants on Page, who was a member of the Trump transition team and former Trump campaign adviser.

Trump tweeted this past weekend that the memo “totally vindicates” him in the investigation into Russian election interference and possible collusion between his campaign and Moscow.

Trump evangelical adviser: Jesus protects believers from flu

A member of President Trump’s evangelical executive advisory board said Jesus himself “gave us the flu shot,” adding that his believers are “redeemed … from the curse of flu.”

Gloria Copeland — who co-founded the Kenneth Copeland Ministries in Texas with her husband — says in an online video clip posted by Right Wing Watch, says, according to the HuffPost: “We don’t have a flu season and don’t receive it when somebody threatens you with everybody’s getting the flu.”

This year’s flu season is one of the worst on record, and federal officials warn it’s not going to get better anytime soon.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 53 children have died of the flu this season. The disease has also sent more people to the hospital than any other time in recent history.

House GOP plan to boost military funding could lead to second shutdown

House Republican leaders are proposing a long-term boost to military funding in a bill that would give other federal agencies only a short-term extension of current spending levels, according to The Washington Post.

The move stands to heighten tension with Democrats and complicate plans to keep the government open past Thursday.

GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin pitched the plan to his GOP colleagues in a closed-door meeting Monday.

The bill, set for a vote today, would increase Pentagon funding by about $30 billion, to $584 billion, breaking existing spending caps as well as making funding available through September.

The rest of the government would get short-term funding at 2017 levels through March 23, when another funding agreement would be needed.

Trump calls for illegal immigration crackdown after NFL player’s death

President Trump reiterated his call today for a crackdown on illegal immigration after police revealed that the man accused of killing Indianapolis Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson in a suspected drunk driving accident is an undocumented immigrant, according to The Hill.

Trump tweeted, “So disgraceful that a person illegally in our country killed @Colts linebacker Edwin Jackson. This is just one of many such preventable tragedies. We must get the Dems to get tough on the Border, and with illegal immigration, FAST!”

Jackson was killed on Sunday when a Ford F-150 struck him and another man on the side of a highway in Indianapolis. According to CNN, Indiana State Police identified the suspect as Manuel Orrego-Savala, a Guatemalan citizen, who is in the U.S. illegally, and was twice deported.

She’ll take the $560 million Powerball jackpot— just don’t give away her name

The New Hampshire winner of last month’s $560 million Powerball — soon be the world’s newest owner of a nine-digit bank account — wants the money but doesn’t think the public should know her name, according to an article in The Washington Post.

The woman, described in court documents as Jane Doe, is asking a judge to let her keep the cash — and remain anonymous, but the law doesn’t appear to be on her side.

New Hampshire lottery rules require the winner’s name, town and amount won be available for public information, in accordance with open-records laws.  Lottery officials in that state say the integrity of the games depends on the public identification of its winners as a protection against fraud and malfeasance.

Poland’s president to sign controversial Holocaust bill

Polish President Andrzej Duda says he will sign the country’s controversial Holocaust bill but plans to send the bill to the constitutional tribunal for review, according to CNN.

The law would make it illegal to accuse the nation of complicity in crimes committed by Nazi Germany, including the Holocaust.

It would also ban the use of terms such as “Polish death camps” in relation to the 457 camp complexes, such as Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Sobibor, Belzec and Majdanek, which were located in Nazi-occupied Poland.

Violations will be punished by a fine or a jail sentence of up to 3 years.

Why a big utility is embracing wind and solar

Wind and solar plants built from scratch now offer the cheapest power available, even counting old coal, which is why Xcel Energy is pitching a plan to replace two large coal-burning units with renewable energy, according to an article in today’s The New York Times.

Xcel Energy, based in Colorado, has millions of customers in the Midwest, from Michigan to Texas, and expects to save money with the conversion.

In its eight-state system, the company predicts half its electricity will come from renewable sources, cheaper and better.

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