Steve Bullock stakes his 2020 claim on Iowa or bust strategy

Newton, Iowa (CNN)Steve Bullock knows he’s late to the 2020 dance, but nothing he’s seen so far has scared him away from joining the party. “Iowa is important to everyone’s campaign,” Bullock said in an interview Friday as he bounced from stop to stop on his first visit to the state since declaring his candidacy earlier this week. “Iowa has always played that traditional starting out role, but it’s certainly significant to mine.” Neither Joe Biden nor Bernie Sanders, the two early front-runners in the race, kept Bullock from running. The parade of Democratic senators and members of Congress running also didn’t dissuade him, but rather simply amplified his argument that a governor is more prepared to serve in the …

Bipartisan group of attorneys general urge Congress to pass marijuana banking bill

(CNN)A bipartisan group of attorneys general from 33 states and five territories are urging Congress to advance a bill that would allow cannabis businesses access to the federal banking system. They point to the growth of the marijuana industry and argue that the SAFE Banking Act would bring billions of dollars into the banking sector. “The resulting grey market makes it more difficult to track revenues for taxation and regulatory compliance purposes, contributes to a public safety threat as cash-intensive businesses are often targets for criminal activity, and prevents proper tracking of billions in finances across the nation,” the attorneys general wrote. The top law enforcement officials, however, stress that this is not an endorsement of the legalization of marijuana. …

Theresa May rebuffs fresh calls to resign

Prime minister has no plans to step down before getting Brexit deal passed, says No 10 Theresa May has no intention of setting out a fresh timetable for her departure, Downing Street has signalled, with a spokesman insisting she is determined to get Brexit done. The spokesman dismissed calls from Conservative backbenchers for the prime minister to step down, saying she had already made a very generous and bold offer to the 1922 Committee of Photograph: Conservative Party/AFP Was this helpful? Thank you for your feedback. She is here to deliver Brexit in phase one, and then she will leave and make way for new leadership in phase two, the spokesman said. That is the timetable she is working for: …

Dems mock William Barr’s no-show with empty chair and chicken in escalating feud with Justice Department

(CNN)The House Judiciary Committee played to an empty chair on Thursday with a hearing where its witness, Attorney General William Barr, did not appear. Rep. Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, brought in a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and a ceramic chicken, sharing his food with his Democratic colleagues. “Chicken Barr should have shown up today and answered questions,” he told reporters while holding the ceramic chicken. Barr’s absence stemmed from a dispute over whether staff attorneys would be able to question the attorney general in a 30-minute block. After the committee voted to allow it on Wednesday, over Republican objections, the Justice Department told Nadler that Barr would not attend. The hearing itself lasted just 15 minutes, with opening …

Defense Department agrees to send approximately 320 personnel to US southern border

Washington (CNN)Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan on Monday approved a Department of Homeland Security request for additional support at the US southern border, according to a Pentagon spokesman. The request comes after CBP released data showing there were more apprehensions on the US southern border in March than in any other month in more than a decade. President Donald Trump told reporters earlier this month that he was “going to have to call up more military” to the southern border to address the historic increase in the number of migrant apprehensions. Currently there are 3,000 active duty troops and 2,000 National Guard personnel deployed in support of border security. “DoD personnel will not perform any law enforcement functions,” Davis …

Brexit: Irish backstop could undermine EU standards, report says

Study for German Green party says backstop could let UK flout EU green and social standards It is a dastardly trap, designed to lock freedom-loving Britain into the European Unions protectionist customs union: that is the argument against the so-called backstop, cited by hardline Brexit advocates as the main reason why they have thrice voted down Theresa Mays deal with the European Union. But as the dust settles after months of chaos in Westminster, suspicions are growing on the other side of the Channel that the backstop could in fact be the very opposite: a brilliant deception device constructed by crack UK negotiators, which would allow a more reckless British prime minister to undermine the EUs green and social standards …

Mueller’s report leaves open possibility of post-White House criminal exposure for Trump

Washington (CNN)Special counsel Robert Mueller abided by Justice Department guidelines that a sitting president can’t be indicted, but in preparing the detailed 448-page report, the long-time law enforcement official has teed up an investigation into obstruction that could outlive President Donald Trump’s time in the White House and his temporary immunity. Trump’s immediate criminal exposure is protected by his status as president and also by the decision of Attorney General William Barr, whom Trump appointed, to not bring a case. Barr said “the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.” Mueller rejected the legal defenses put forward by Trump’s lawyers about his authority to investigate the president for …

Kim says US must stop ‘current way of calculation’ to continue nuke talks

Seoul (CNN)North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is calling on the US to stop “its current way of calculation” if it is interested in continuing diplomatic talks, according to a report from the country’s state news agency KCNA. Trump, during an Oval Office meeting with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, left open the door to a third summit with Kim but said it’s up to the North Korean dictator. The US President said he wants sanctions on North Korea to remain in place, though he doesn’t want to increase them. In his speech Friday, Kim said, “The United States is talking a lot about holding a third US-NK summit meeting, but we are neither pleased nor willing to see …

Rep. Tim Ryan announces he’s running for president

Washington (CNN)Rep. Tim Ryan announced Thursday that he’s running for president. “As a congressman from Youngstown, Ohio for almost 20 years, I’ve watched the American Dream slip through the fingers of many Americans,” Ryan says on the website. “That’s why I am running for President. It’s time to do something.” Ryan will officially kick off his campaign with a rally in Youngstown on Saturday, according to a Ryan spokeswoman. Ryan, who has served in Congress since 2003, began considering a 2020 bid in 2018, as he traveled across the country stumping for Democrats running for office and, indirectly, testing the waters on a presidential bid. Ryan enters the presidential race as a longshot candidate with less name recognition than most …

Beware the great betrayal myth. This debacle is the work of hard Brexiters | Jonathan Freedland

The true saboteurs of Theresa Mays deal came from the right, says Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland There is no deader horse in the kingdom than the deal brokered by Theresa May. Flogged and flogged again, it harder than it sounds. Even if they somehow pull it off, MPs will have to seek an extension from the increasingly exasperated 27 countries of the EU that were leaving behind. The mood in those EU capitals is hardening, as the Brexit saga has drained any residual goodwill towards the UK. Theyve had enough, they just want us out, says one well-placed source. by the Germans, by the hidden forces of darkness who together conspired against the hardworking men and women of this country. …

Trump: Navy SEAL charged with murder moving to ‘less restrictive confinement’

Washington (CNN)A Navy SEAL charged with murdering a wounded person and shooting at noncombatants will be moved to “less restrictive confinement,” President Donald Trump announced Saturday. Gallagher has been charged with various violations of the Uniform Code of Military Justice while deployed to Mosul, Iraq, in 2017. He has been accused of stabbing and murdering a wounded person, shooting at noncombatants and posing for a photo and performing his re-enlistment ceremony next to a dead body. The Navy did not have a comment on Trump’s announcement and referred CNN to the White House. CNN has reached out to the White House for details. Several dozen members of Congress, led by South Carolina Republican Rep. Ralph Norman, have been pushing to …

Labour considers backing ‘common market 2.0’ soft Brexit

Shadow minister suggests party will whip along policy lines ahead of indicative votes Jeremy Corbyn was considering throwing Labours weight behind a voted on Monday to seize control of the parliamentary timetable to allow the House of Commons to explore whether there could be Labour MPs campaigning for a fresh referendum in the hope of article 50 and remaining in the EU. And some Labour MPs from leave-voting constituencies are likely to have worries about the lack of control over immigration. There were also concerns as to whether Labour could trust May, or any potential successor, to implement a softer Brexit if that is what parliament decides. If we can get a majority for Mays withdrawal agreement plus a customs …

Who is William Barr?

(CNN)Attorney General William Barr, about a month after starting his second stint atop the Justice Department, issued a letter to lawmakers Sunday offering his summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Justice Department veterans celebrated President Donald Trump’s choice of Barr in December to take over the job as attorney general on a permanent basis after his dismissal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions a month earlier. At the time, Barr was a former attorney general under President George H.W. Bush who worked his way up from a night school law student through the ranks of the Justice Department, which he helmed decades ago. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was said to be “elated” by the choice of Barr and Sessions …

Kamala Harris calls for federal investment to raise teachers’ salaries

Washington (CNN)Sen. Kamala Harris called Saturday for allocating a large federal investment to improve teacher salaries nationwide. “And people are going to say, you’re going to hear them say after today, ‘Well, how’s she gonna pay for it?’ Well, here’s the thing,” Harris said. “You understand that your analysis is not how much does it cost, the question is what’s the return on the investment. And on this, the investment will be our future.” Almost all Democrats — nearly 90% — said teachers are underpaid in an April 2018 poll by The Associated Press/NORC Center, compared with 78% of independents and a still-solid 66% majority of Republicans. Harris’ proposal also comes during an uptick of teachers’ strikes across the country. …

ICE arrests drop as the agency shifts toward the surge of migrants at the southern border

(CNN)US immigration arrests are down compared with last year, as illegal migrant crossings spike at the southern border and Immigration and Customs Enforcement has had to shift resources to the deal with the influx. ICE, the agency responsible for enforcing immigration law in the interior of the US, arrested 34,546 undocumented immigrants in the first quarter of fiscal year 2019. During the same time period last year, the agency made 39,328 arrests. “There are less fugitive operations and less criminal alien arrests being done in the interior of the country,” a Department of Homeland Security official told CNN last month. The border surge has also caused a huge increase in releases of migrant families from ICE custody into the interior …

Beto O’Rourke’s launch: Big promises, apologies and unanswered questions

Madison, Wisconsin (CNN)The opening days of Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign were squarely focused on proving that he is the most electable candidate to take on President Donald Trump — in part because he will show up. O’Rourke’s three-day, 13-county swing through mostly rural eastern Iowa included eight counties that Democrats had carried in the 2012 presidential election but lost in 2016. His next four stops — Wisconsin on Sunday, followed this week by Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania — put O’Rourke in the states many Democrats believe are most crucial to winning the presidency in 2020. His ability to maintain a grueling travel schedule is aided by his loss in the Texas Senate race last year: O’Rourke can stay on the …