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Latest from Dan Potter

    LISTEN HERE It's a KRMG Morning News 8am In-Depth Hour on an Autumn Friday.  A day during which campuses across Green Country are awash in school colors. The football teams are wearing their jerseys to class, the cheerleaders are in their uniforms too and the entire school anticipates what's coming later.  It's a football Friday in Oklahoma. The second most holy day of the week between the beginning of September and early December. Tonight, tens of thousands of Oklahomans will watch their sons and grand-sons play a game that their dads and grandpas played.  Some will play with dreams of going on to play college ball and even in the NFL. Others will play knowing that this is just for now, just for fun. Either way, they will play hard, throwing their bodies and their heads into the game and onto their opponent and without a doubt, some of them will suffer concussions or even multiple concussions.  It used to be that you could chalk that up to being just part of the game. You got you 'bell rung'...you recovered...or, at least, you thought you did....and you got back in the game.  Now though, we know that those concussions, especially the repeated concussions suffered by many football players, take a horrible toll on the players' brains. They are prone to develop dark, dead splotches throughout the interior of their brains, and the resulting symptoms increase in severity until dementia sets in. It sets in way earlier in life than it ever should.  That condition has a name: CTE - Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.  That's the name given to the disease by the man who discovered it: Dr. Bennet Omalu...the Nigerian-American Neuropathologist who discovered CTE while performing an autopsy on former Pittsburgh Steelers Center Mike Webster in 2002.  That was 15 years ago. It's taken this long for Dr. Omalu's discovery to really sink in with players, their families and with organized football, both at the professional and scholastic level.
  • KRMG Morning News Host Dan Potter has perfected his barbecue ribs recipe. Plan to spend several hours cooking, but the results will be well worth it. Dan uses a Hasty-Bake, but you can use your favorite charcoal grill. Yes, charcoal. Ingredients Dry Rub, combine the following: 1 T. ground black pepper 2 t. cayenne pepper 2 T. chili powder 2 T. cumin 2 T. brown sugar 1 T. white sugar 1 T. ground oregano 4 T. paprika 2 T. salt 1 T. ground white pepper 3 T. celery salt 3 T. garlic powder Barbecued Ribs: 2 slabs of pork spare ribs Dry rub (see above) Your favorite BBQ sauce Heavy-duty aluminum foil large, brown paper grocery bag. (This is a key piece of equipment!) Instructions Trim an excess fat from the ribs. At least an hour before cooking, rub generous amounts of your dry rub onto each side of the ribs. You can leave the ribs at room temperature for an hour (plenty of time for the seasonings to mascerate)..any longer and you'll need to wrap them in plastic and refrigerate them. Start with a Hasty Bake grill that's free of any leftover ashes or coals. You'll need 40-50 charcoal briquettes. Push all of the coals to one side of the fire bed, Light the coals. While the grill is warming up, wrap two large handfuls of hickory chips in heavy duty aluminum foil. (You really don't need to soak the wood chips, but if it makes you feel better, go right ahead). Poke several holes in the top of the foil packet. Once the coals are ready, lay the foil-wrapped chips on top of the charcoal. Position the ribs on the grill, OPPOSITE the fire. Set the Hasty Bake fire bed in the “smoke” position and close the lid and side vents. After smoking the ribs for 30 minutes, open the side vents. By controlling air flow and adding coal from time-to-time, try to maintain a temperature around 200 degrees (F). Turn the ribs every half-hour for a total cooking time of about 4-6 hours. Signs of doneness include the meat starting to pull away from the bone. Grab a bone and twist it. If it almost turns in the meat...the ribs are done. Using your grill tongs, lift the slab of ribs. If they bend easily until they’re almost perpendicular to the grill, they’re done. KEY: IMMEDIATELY AFTER TAKING THE RIBS OFF THE GRILL, COMPLETELY WRAP THEM IN HEAVY DUTY FOIL. PUT THE FOIL-WRAPPED RIBS IN THE BROWN PAPER SACK AND FOLD THE SACK TIGHTLY AROUND THE RIBS. ALLOW TO REST AT ROOM TEMPERATURE FOR AN HOUR OR MORE. Unwrap the ribs...swab 'em with the sauce of your choice and enjoy! Dan also makes his own barbecue sauce. Here’s the recipe. Ingredients 4 T. butter 1 small onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 t. paprika 1 T. ground black pepper 2 T. fresh lemon juice 1 t. dry mustard 1/2 t. Cayenne pepper sauce (Tabasco or your favorite) 1/2 t. salt 1/4 C. cider vinegar 1 can (16 oz.) tomato sauce ½ C. brown sugar Instructions Heat butter in a medium sauce pan. Add onions and garlic. Saute until onions soften. Stir in next 6 ingredients. Cook over medium heat to blend flavors, about 5 minutes. Add vinegar and tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer and simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly...about 15-minutes. Stir in brown sugar, taste and adjust salt/pepper and brown sugar to taste.
  • A man calls 911 early Thursday morning, when he hears his neighbor firing a gun.Deputies arrived at a home near West 7th and South Denver, and confronted Michael Pointer.  They spoke with him and then left the property.A short time later, the victim was on Facebook and received a threatening message from Pointer. 'Because TCSO IS A BUNCH OF COWARDS...YOU SHOULD mind your (cuss word) business.'Pointer then went on to dare the victim to call for help again.Deputies say the suspect went back outside and started firing his rifle again.The neighbor took Pointer up on his dare and called 911.This time, he was taken into custody. Pointer's grandmother told deputies he was staying at her place, and was upset with his spouse.
  • You've most likely heard people refer to Tulsa as the 'meth capital of the world.' This week we got a look at new numbers that prove it The CNN Money map published this week tracks the number of contaminated meth labs found in each county in the US from 2004 to last year. Tulsa County had 949 labs. That's more than any other county in the country. Now, the narcotics agents tell us that we have made progress. The number of labs they're finding is actually slowly dropping because of new laws making it hard to get pseudoephedrine, one of the key ingredients in crank. But, even as they say it's improving, they will tell you we won't beat this problem until Sudafed is restricted to prescription-only.
  • According to Reuters, US Airways has made a formal merger proposal to American Airlines parent AMR Corp and its creditors that could value the combined airline at around $8.5 billion. Reuters quotes two sources close to the negotiations. Details of the merger proposal emerged as American Airlines pilots voted to ratify a new union contract on Friday. The new labor contract, approved by nearly three-quarters of the AMR pilots who voted, gives the Allied Pilots' Association a 13.5 percent equity stake in AMR.  
  • When you vote on November 6th, you’ll find more than just the names of candidates on the ballot. There are also six amendments to the state constitution to consider. See the ballot language for all 6 state questions on the Oklahoma Secretary of State's website. This week, KRMG is looking at what each of those ‘state questions’ proposes. Our guide is Heather Hope-Hernandez of the Tulsa Chapter of the League of Women Voters.   We begin with two questions which both deal with capping or eliminating certain kinds of property tax. State Questions 758 and 766: Limitations on property taxes State Question 758 would limit how much property taxes can be raised in any given year. 'Right now,' says Hope-Hernandez, 'increases are limited to 5% of fair cash value in  any taxable year. (SQ 758) will cap the increase to 3% for some property.' Specifically, homestead-exempted property and agricultural land. Hope-Hernandez tells KRMG the League of Women Voters hasn‘t taken a position for or against SQ 758. 'What we are saying is that people need to understand that our property taxes generally go to support common education and that's something to think about when they go to the polls.' State Question 766 also deals with property taxes. It would ban taxes on so-called intangible property, things like patents, inventions, trade secrets, brand names and custom computer software. Read more about State Question 758 and State Question 766 on Ballotpedia.org. State Question 759: Banning Affirmative Action SQ 759 would ban Affirmative Action in state hiring, college scholarships and state business, meaning it would prohibit special treatment based on race or sex in public employment, education and contracts.  The League of Women Voters is strictly non-partisan on candidates and political parties, but Hope-Hernandez says they do take positions on some public policy issues and this is one of them. 'That is a state question the League of Women Voters is opposing,' says Hope-Hernandez, 'The League of Women Voters has a long history of non-discrimination and we feel that Affirmative Action is still an important part of our society to help level the playing field.' Of course, many feel that Affirmative Action is a form of discrimination. 'And,' counters Hope-Hernandez, 'we would disagree with that.' Read more about State Question 759 on Ballotpedia.org Read why the League of Women Voters has taken a position against SQ 759. Read why the American Civil Rights Institute supports SQ 759. State Question 762: Removing the Governor from the parole process for non-violent offenders SQ 762 would take the Governor’s office out of the process of deciding which non-violent state prison inmates get parole. The Tulsa Chapter of the League of Women Voters has only taken a position on two of the state questions, this one included. 'The League of Women Voters supports passage of this one,' says Hope-Hernandez. 'By passing this, the State of Oklahoma will join all of the other states in the nation by removing the Governor and therefore politics, from the parole process.' This question has no organized opposition. Read more about State Question 762 on Ballotpedia.org Read the League of Women Voters position on SQ 762 State Question 764: Allows Oklahoma Water Resources Board to issue bonds Hope-Hernandez says the League of Women Voters has not taken a position on SQ 764. 'Proponents say that this is going to help increase the (board's) leveraging capacity by providing low-interest loans to local governments for water and sewer improvements. We're seeing that there are infrastructure issues all across the state and proponents are saying that this is going to help with those issues. 'Opponents are saying, bottomline, Oklahoma doesn't need to incur any additional debt.' The bonds issued by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board could not exceed $300 million. Read more about State Question 764 on Ballotpedia.org State Question 765: Public Welfare Department amendment 'It abolishes the Department of Human Services.' At least, as it currently exists. Hope-Hernandez says this amendment would move authority for the Human Services Department from the executive to the legislative branch. She says the legislature would then have to 'create a new entity to oversee state care of our neediest children and the aged. 'People who are for this say DHS is out of date and there have been scandals that show that it's not working. 'The opponents of this say that, despite these recent events, the system is not so broken as to require such drastic measures.' Read more about State Question 765 on Ballotpedia.org Additional resources: Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs: State ballot questions at a glance
  • The little ghosts and goblins won't be getting any tricks from Mother Nature this evening. News on 6 Meteorologist Travis Meyer says temperatures should be around 60 when the sun sets. Trav says the winds will be light and there's no chance of rain in the forecast. Temps will fall into the mid 50's by 10 o'clock. The unseasonably warm autumn weather will continue into the weekend with sunshine and daytime highs in the mid 70s. We have a slight chance for showers Saturday night into Sunday. Sunday will be cooler with a high of 66.
  • A young girl was home alone yesterday in Bryan County, Oklahoma when a stranger kicked in  the door of the house. This morning, the young girl is okay and the intruder is nursing a bullet wound. The 12-year-old first called her mom at work. Debra St. Clair told her daughter to get the family gun, go hide in a closet and call 911. The child did as she was told. 'What we understand right now, he was turning the doorknob when she fired through the door,' said the Bryan County Undersheriff Ken Golden. Deputies found the suspect at the end of the block, bleeding. 32-year-old Stacy Jones was treated at a hospital and is now in the Bryan County jail.
  • KRMG SCAM ALERT: If you're on Facebook a lot, you'll recognize this: A message from a friend warning that Facebook soon will no longer be free, unless you act now. Even Rick Brinkley with Tulsa's Better Business Bureau gets them from his friends. 'When I look at it, I know that they've clicked on something that has installed a virus that is now sending that to all of their friends.' Now, there's a new twist on this scam that's as old as Facebook. 'What is happening now,' says the BBB's Brinkley, 'is they're coming back with a second wave of  'join this organization, click here to sign-up to portest that you're not going to pay for Facebook and at that point it begins downloading viruses onto your computer.' He adds, that potentially is lifting private information off your computer. If you get one of these messages, the B-B-B says tell your friend and refer them to Facebook's common myths page. If you believe the message is spam, report it to Facebook. Here's the scam alert from the BBB: How the Scam Works: You spot a friend's post in your newsfeed saying that Facebook will start charging users a monthly fee. The latest version claims a new pricing structure will have different membership tiers, including a 'gold' level for $9.99 per month. However, the post says, you can avoid any fees by just sharing the message. Post it on your wall, and your 'icon will turn blue.' This color change will exempt you from the new charges. Of course, that won't happen, and neither will these new fees. The posts above are really more of an annoying hoax than an actual scam. The scam comes in when users, infuriated by the rumors, visit and/or join Facebook 'protest' groups. These pages have been known to contain viruses. Be extra careful of any links, Facebook applications or requests to download files/software on such pages. I've Found a Fake Facebook Post. What Should I Do?     Tell your friend! These posts circulate because users think they are doing their friends a favor by sharing them. Refer your friends to Facebook's common myths page for confirmation. If the message looks like spam, report it to Facebook. Check out Facebook Help Center's scam page for details.
  • The storms this weekend carry threats like large hail, damaging winds and even the potential for tornadoes. But, you are much more likely to be injured or killed by the threat that seems to get mentioned the least: lightning. On average, lightning kills 58 people a year in the U.S. and injures more than 300. 'Lightning just decided to find my umbrella.' It happened to Lynda Eubanks in 2004. She remembers a big blue flash. 'And, I remember, the hand that was holding my umbrella felt like it exploded. National Weather Service meteorologist Nicole McGavock says lightning can strike at least 10 miles ahead of a thunderstorm. McGavock says, 'No place outdoors is safe when there is lightning in the area.' So, if you can hear it, fear it. Eight years later, Lynda Eubanks still has lingering neurological effects. But, the most lasting effect is a respect for the power of lightning. 'You know, you just always have to be watching and you always have to be careful.' The National Severe Storms Laboratory offers these tips for surviving a lightning storm: While it is difficult to quantify lightning losses, it is estimated that $4-5 billion damage occurs each year. Likewise, the cost of lightning protection to safeguard critical equipment and facilities from lightning strikes during severe weather is enormous. According to the National Weather Service, during the past 30 years (1979-2008) lightning killed an average of 58 people each year. Documented injuries average about 300 per year, although undocumented injuries are likely to be much higher. Most casualties result from inappropriate behavior during thunderstorms, particularly when people are caught outdoors during recreation or organized sports. Being aware of - and following - proven lightning safety guidelines can greatly reduce the risk of injury or death. Cloud-to-ground lightning can kill and injure people by direct or indirect means. It is not known if all people are killed who are directly struck by the flash itself. The lightning current can branch off to a person from a tree, fence, pole, or other tall object. In addition, flashes may conduct their current through the ground to a person after the flash strikes a nearby tree, antenna, or other tall object. The current also may travel through power or telephone lines to a person who is in contact with electric appliances, tools, electronics, or a corded telephone. Lightning can also travel through plumbing pipes and water to a person in contact either with a plumbing fixture or a person in water, including bathtubs, pools, and the running water of a shower. Damage to the human body: Lightning affects the many electrochemical systems in the body. People struck by lightning can suffer from nerve damage, memory loss, personality change, and emotional problems. There is a national support group for lightning and electric shock survivors. An example is some single nerve cells, such as those extending from the brain to the foot, can be as long as 6 feet or more. These types of cells are most prone to lightning damage due to the instantaneous potential difference across the length of the cell as lightning begins to enter the body. The intense heat of the lightning stroke can turn sweat instantly to steam and the tremendous pressure of the steam has been known to blow people's boots, shoes, and clothing off them. In places where metal is in contact with or close proximity to the body, such as jewelry or belt buckles, burn marks are found. Likewise, burn marks are found in places where the body had been sweaty, such as the feet, underarms, and chest. The best defense is plan ahead and avoid exposure to lightning when a thunderstorm occurs. Know where safe shelter is located and leave enough time to reach safe shelter before your danger level is high. Don't be an isolated tall object, and don't be connected to anything that may be an isolated tall object.
  • Dan Potter

    Dan Potter came to KRMG as news director and morning news anchor in 2008. 

    In 2012, Dan was named host of the KRMG Morning News. Three years later, in 2015, he won the National Association of Broadcasters Marconi Award for Best Medium Market Radio Personality in the U.S. In fact, Dan is the recipient of dozens of honors from several broadcast news organizations. Most recently, he was honored as the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters’ 2019 Personality of the Year.

    The Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and the Press Club of Dallas awarded him Best Newscast honors a total of 6 times. He was also elected to two consecutive terms as chairman of the Texas AP Broadcasters. 

    In Oklahoma, Dan has been honored with multiple awards from the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, including two awards for Best Newscast. In 2013, the Tulsa Press Club awarded The KRMG Morning News top honors for Favorite News-Talk Morning Show while Dan was recognized for the Favorite Radio News-Talk Personality. Dan earned the national Edward R. Murrow Award for best large-market radio newscast from the Radio-Television News Directors Association in 2000. He was also part of the reporting team which won broadcast journalism’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize, the DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton, in 2003-2004.

    In his radio journalism career, Dan has witnessed history. He anchored continuous coverage of the 9-11 attacks, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and others, the Oklahoma City bombing, the Branch Davidian siege and the demise of the space shuttle Columbia over North Texas. He also reported live from the inauguration of President George W. Bush in 2001. He’s interviewed everyone from presidential candidates to Senators, from the First Lady to chefs and celebrities. 

    Away from the studio, Dan is celebrity in the world of competitive marching bands and world class drum corps as a stadium announcer and media personality for Drum Corps International and Bands of America. 

    Dan and his wife Martha live in midtown Tulsa with two spoiled dogs and lots of pictures of their 4 kids and one grandchild.

    Read More
  • The first day of impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump will feature two State Department witnesses who raised questions about actions in Ukraine by the President's personal lawyer, with one alarmed by Rudy Giuliani's efforts to undermine the former U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine, and another who saw Giuliani leading an effort to press for investigations desired by Mr. Trump. 'Mr. Giuliani was almost unmissable starting in mid-March,' Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent testified, saying Giuliani conducted a 'campaign of slander' against former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. 'I worried about what I had heard concerning the role of Rudolph Giuliani,' said William Taylor, now the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who said he was worried about entering a 'snake pit' involving Giuliani. Here is some of what we might expect from these two witnesses in the first day of impeachment hearings. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE KENT - After working at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, Kent returned to the State Department in the second half of 2018, taking on a post where he was responsible for Ukraine and five other eastern European nations often targeted by Russia. It was in that position where Kent said he witnessed the media attack which unfolded, spurred by Giuliani and conservative news media organs. In his impeachment deposition, Kent said an article by conservative journalist John Solomon spurred a sudden attack on Ambassador Yovanovitch and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine in general, which was then amplified by Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Kent said much of what was alleged, that Yovanovitch was bad mouthing President Trump, that she was working against Ukraine prosecutors, was simply false. 'It was, if not entirely made up in full cloth,' Kent testified, 'it was primarily non-truths and non-sequiturs.' Kent described how U.S. diplomats were blindsided by what was clearly a concerted campaign against the U.S. Ambassador and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, spread over four days in March of 2019. It started first with arrows aimed at Ambassador Yovanovitch, but then spread to accusations against former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter, along with other charges mentioning conservative bogeyman George Soros - all of it given a push by President Trump, his son, conservative websites, and Fox News. The attacks on Yovanovitch came two weeks after she had been asked by the State Department to stay on in Ukraine until 2020 - but her extension would not survive the conservative media attacks against her. 'I was then abruptly told in late April to come back to Washington from Ukraine 'on the next plane,'' Yovanovitch told Congressional investigators. She will testify on Friday. + WILLIAM TAYLOR, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires IN UKRAINE. With the recall of Ambassador Yovanovitch, Taylor is the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Ukraine - basically the acting Ambassador. Several months after Yovanovitch had been ousted, Taylor described how the work of Giuliani had seemingly led to a situation where U.S. military aid for Ukraine was being withheld - in an effort to gain a quid pro quo - where the government of Ukraine would launch investigations sought by President Trump. 'By mid-Ju1y, it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian influence in the 2016 elections,' Taylor said, referring to a focus on the Bidens, and the debunked theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - was behind the hacks of Democrats in 2016. Taylor said the impetus for the situation was obvious. 'It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani,' Taylor said in his closed door deposition. Mr. Taylor said he had determined that link in 'mid-July' - it was on July 25 that President Trump spoke with the leader of Ukraine, and spelled out the need for Ukraine to launch investigations into the Bidens, and the Ukraine-2016 elections theory, which included the evidence-free allegation that the hacked computer server from the Democratic National Committee was being hidden in Ukraine. Some Republicans have mocked the choice of Taylor as an opening witness, saying he has no firsthand knowledge of why the President would want investigations conducted related to the Bidens or the 2016 elections. 'No, I've never talked to the President,' Taylor said in his deposition. Look for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) to bring this up during the first day of questioning with Taylor. Three hearings have also been set for next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with eight different witnesses.
  • Hongjin Tan pleaded guilty Tuesday in federal court to committing theft of trade secrets from his employer.  Investigators say Tan used a thumb drive to copy hundreds of files.  His job at the company was to develop next generation battery technologies for stationary energy storage.  Tan’s LinkedIn profile lists his employer as Phillips 66 in Bartlesville.  Prosecutors say the defendant stole information on a development downstream energy market product worth more than $1 billion.  “Industrial spies like Hongjin Tan engage in espionage to steal American trade secrets and intellectual property born out of the innovation that is innate in our free market system,” said U.S. Attorney Trent Shores for the Northern District of Oklahoma.  'Trade secret theft is a serious crime which hurts American businesses and taxpayers,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Melissa Godbold of the Oklahoma City Field Office. Sentencing is set for Feb. 12, 2020.
  • While President Donald Trump will welcome the Turkish leader to the White House on Wednesday, the last visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May of 2017 still echoes in Washington, D.C., when security guards for the Turkish President openly attacked protesters in an unprecedented act of violence less than two miles from the White House. With video that showed Erdoğan watching the pitched battle along what's known as 'Embassy Row' in the middle of Washington, D.C. - the Turkish leader's planned return drew sharp comments from Capitol Hill in recent days, as none of his guards were ever held accountable for the violence. 'This behavior is sadly routine for President Erdoğan on Turkish soil,' said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a letter this week to 'immediately' expel any of the guards involved in that 2017 violence if they are on this week's trip to Washington. 'The Erdoğan regime's use of violence against innocent civilians anywhere is inhumane, uncivilized, and unacceptable,' Cheney wrote. This was what the scene looked like on May 16, 2017, as Turkish security forces broke through police lines, and openly attacked protesters on the streets of the nation's capital. Some of the most graphic video was shot by the Voice of America's Turkish Service. At least nine people were injured in the attacks, which took place several hours after the Turkish leader met with President Trump. An in-depth review of multiple videos of the May 16, 2017, violence left no doubt as to the actions of the Erdoğan security detail, with descriptions of guards who 'punched a protestor' or 'kicked man on ground,' and 'knocked over woman, kicked man,' or 'choked, slammed woman.' You can see the New York Times video analysis of the violence at this link. In court documents revealed in recent days, U.S. security officials said the Turkish bodyguards also attacked American Secret Service agents during the incident, but were quickly spirited out of the country, and thus avoided any legal charges. A grand jury in Washington, D.C. indicted 15 Turkish security guards, but most of the charges were ultimately dropped. Several months after the incident, the Turkish leader said in an interview that President Trump had apologized for the incident - the White House denied that had occurred.
  • Voters who braved the cold for an off-year bond election overwhelmingly passed three propositions extending the Improve Our Tulsa package Tuesday.  The three bonds approved include one which addresses streets and transportation systems, a second which will fund improvements to parks and replace old city vehicles, and a third which directs new money into the city's “rainy day” fund. The list of projects is extensive; about 70% of the money, however, is earmarked for roads and transportation, a priority clearly established by voters during a series of town hall meetings held by the mayor and city council before - and after - they drafted the proposal. The majority of the funds will come from bond sales, funded by property taxes; the rest from the extension of existing sales taxes. The city's sales tax rate will remain the same, however the .05 cent (one-twentieth of a penny) sales tax which will fund the “rainy day” account becomes permanent. The Improve Our Tulsa package has a timetable of about six and a half years, at a cost of an estimated $639 million. 

Washington Insider

  • The first day of impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump will feature two State Department witnesses who raised questions about actions in Ukraine by the President's personal lawyer, with one alarmed by Rudy Giuliani's efforts to undermine the former U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine, and another who saw Giuliani leading an effort to press for investigations desired by Mr. Trump. 'Mr. Giuliani was almost unmissable starting in mid-March,' Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent testified, saying Giuliani conducted a 'campaign of slander' against former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch. 'I worried about what I had heard concerning the role of Rudolph Giuliani,' said William Taylor, now the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who said he was worried about entering a 'snake pit' involving Giuliani. Here is some of what we might expect from these two witnesses in the first day of impeachment hearings. DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE KENT - After working at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, Kent returned to the State Department in the second half of 2018, taking on a post where he was responsible for Ukraine and five other eastern European nations often targeted by Russia. It was in that position where Kent said he witnessed the media attack which unfolded, spurred by Giuliani and conservative news media organs. In his impeachment deposition, Kent said an article by conservative journalist John Solomon spurred a sudden attack on Ambassador Yovanovitch and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine in general, which was then amplified by Fox News hosts Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Kent said much of what was alleged, that Yovanovitch was bad mouthing President Trump, that she was working against Ukraine prosecutors, was simply false. 'It was, if not entirely made up in full cloth,' Kent testified, 'it was primarily non-truths and non-sequiturs.' Kent described how U.S. diplomats were blindsided by what was clearly a concerted campaign against the U.S. Ambassador and the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, spread over four days in March of 2019. It started first with arrows aimed at Ambassador Yovanovitch, but then spread to accusations against former Vice President Biden and his son Hunter, along with other charges mentioning conservative bogeyman George Soros - all of it given a push by President Trump, his son, conservative websites, and Fox News. The attacks on Yovanovitch came two weeks after she had been asked by the State Department to stay on in Ukraine until 2020 - but her extension would not survive the conservative media attacks against her. 'I was then abruptly told in late April to come back to Washington from Ukraine 'on the next plane,'' Yovanovitch told Congressional investigators. She will testify on Friday. + WILLIAM TAYLOR, U.S. Chargé d'Affaires IN UKRAINE. With the recall of Ambassador Yovanovitch, Taylor is the top-ranking U.S. diplomat in Ukraine - basically the acting Ambassador. Several months after Yovanovitch had been ousted, Taylor described how the work of Giuliani had seemingly led to a situation where U.S. military aid for Ukraine was being withheld - in an effort to gain a quid pro quo - where the government of Ukraine would launch investigations sought by President Trump. 'By mid-Ju1y, it was becoming clear to me that the meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian influence in the 2016 elections,' Taylor said, referring to a focus on the Bidens, and the debunked theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - was behind the hacks of Democrats in 2016. Taylor said the impetus for the situation was obvious. 'It was also clear that this condition was driven by the irregular policy channel I had come to understand was guided by Mr. Giuliani,' Taylor said in his closed door deposition. Mr. Taylor said he had determined that link in 'mid-July' - it was on July 25 that President Trump spoke with the leader of Ukraine, and spelled out the need for Ukraine to launch investigations into the Bidens, and the Ukraine-2016 elections theory, which included the evidence-free allegation that the hacked computer server from the Democratic National Committee was being hidden in Ukraine. Some Republicans have mocked the choice of Taylor as an opening witness, saying he has no firsthand knowledge of why the President would want investigations conducted related to the Bidens or the 2016 elections. 'No, I've never talked to the President,' Taylor said in his deposition. Look for Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) to bring this up during the first day of questioning with Taylor. Three hearings have also been set for next Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, with eight different witnesses.
  • While President Donald Trump will welcome the Turkish leader to the White House on Wednesday, the last visit of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May of 2017 still echoes in Washington, D.C., when security guards for the Turkish President openly attacked protesters in an unprecedented act of violence less than two miles from the White House. With video that showed Erdoğan watching the pitched battle along what's known as 'Embassy Row' in the middle of Washington, D.C. - the Turkish leader's planned return drew sharp comments from Capitol Hill in recent days, as none of his guards were ever held accountable for the violence. 'This behavior is sadly routine for President Erdoğan on Turkish soil,' said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), who asked Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a letter this week to 'immediately' expel any of the guards involved in that 2017 violence if they are on this week's trip to Washington. 'The Erdoğan regime's use of violence against innocent civilians anywhere is inhumane, uncivilized, and unacceptable,' Cheney wrote. This was what the scene looked like on May 16, 2017, as Turkish security forces broke through police lines, and openly attacked protesters on the streets of the nation's capital. Some of the most graphic video was shot by the Voice of America's Turkish Service. At least nine people were injured in the attacks, which took place several hours after the Turkish leader met with President Trump. An in-depth review of multiple videos of the May 16, 2017, violence left no doubt as to the actions of the Erdoğan security detail, with descriptions of guards who 'punched a protestor' or 'kicked man on ground,' and 'knocked over woman, kicked man,' or 'choked, slammed woman.' You can see the New York Times video analysis of the violence at this link. In court documents revealed in recent days, U.S. security officials said the Turkish bodyguards also attacked American Secret Service agents during the incident, but were quickly spirited out of the country, and thus avoided any legal charges. A grand jury in Washington, D.C. indicted 15 Turkish security guards, but most of the charges were ultimately dropped. Several months after the incident, the Turkish leader said in an interview that President Trump had apologized for the incident - the White House denied that had occurred.
  • On the eve of convening historic impeachment hearings aimed at President Donald Trump, House Democrats publicly set out guidelines for conduct by lawmakers in the proceedings, seemingly anticipating the possibility of procedural tussles with GOP lawmakers when the hearings begin on Wednesday. In a six page memo released by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Schiff directly warned Republicans not to try to use the hearings to veer into certain areas of interest for the GOP. Schiff wrote, 'it is important to underscore that the House’s impeachment inquiry, and the Committee, will not serve as venues for any Member to further the same sham investigations into the Bidens or into debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. election interference.' In his memo, Schiff said the questions should stick to three main areas of inquiry: The Schiff memo also indicated Democrats are still reviewing the requests of GOP lawmakers to call certain witnesses in the hearings. Republicans asked for a series of witnesses on Saturday, headlined by the son of Vice President Biden, Hunter Biden, and the Intelligence Community whistleblower whose complaint kicked off the Ukraine investigation earlier this fall. As for the whistleblower, the Schiff memo warned GOP lawmakers not to make any efforts to use the public hearings to reveal the name of the whistleblower, raising the specter that it could lead to ethics charges. You can read the full memo from Rep. Schiff at this link.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday considers a politically explosive trio of cases on the future of an estimated 700,000 illegal immigrant 'Dreamers' in the United States, and whether the Trump Administration has properly exercised its legal authority to take away the protection those people have had since 2012 to avoid being deported from the United States. Legal experts say the Trump Administration certainly has the right to terminate the DACA program - because it is a discretionary use of authority by the Executive Branch.  But experts also argue that the Trump Administration bungled that simple move, resulting in several years of court challenges, culminating in these arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court. 'This is a program put in place by a government agency - it is not something the Congress put in place - which is important, because now the agency says it can get rid of the program,' said Nicole Saharsky, a lawyer who worked on one of the three DACA cases before the Justices. 'It seemed to me the government had such an easy argument,' Saharsky said at a Georgetown University symposium earlier this fall. 'This is discretionary - we're going to exercise our discretion and not have it anymore.' But Saharsky and other legal experts say the way the Trump Administration went about ending the program undermined its authority to easily make a change. For example, it took the Trump Administration months to produce policy points from the Secretary of Homeland Security - used in a later court case before the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals - to support the reason why the DACA program should be changed. 'Part of the debate is about whether those additional policy reasons are properly before the court or not,' said Irv Gornstein, the Executive Director of the Supreme Court Institute and a Visiting Professor at Georgetown University Law Center. That 'after-the-fact-justification' - as Gornstein labeled it during a Supreme Court preview this fall - is one of a series of administrative matters the Justices must consider, in what otherwise would seem to be a legal slam dunk for the Trump Administration. When lower courts first blocked the feds from changing DACA, law professor Josh Blackman called it 'ludicrous,' denouncing a decision from a federal judge in San Francisco as an 'amateur act of punditry.' But as the issue has wound its way through the courts, Blackman has joined others in acknowledging the Trump Administration fell short in offering the proper rationale for the change. 'Offer other reasons that are legitimate, and the policy can be rescinded,' Blackman argued in a lengthy argument on Twitter earlier this year. The outcome of this case could also find roots in the Supreme Court rebuke of the Trump Administration over the Census, where Chief Justice John Roberts clearly laid out a path for the feds to take without violating the Administrative Procedures Act - which could apply as well to the DACA situation. All of that will play out in 80 minutes of arguments - covering three different cases before the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
  • Just days before impeachment hearings are set to begin the U.S. House, President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress continued to be on different pathways when it comes to defending the President's conduct, as Mr. Trump on Sunday again maintained that he did nothing wrong in his phone call with the leader of Ukraine. 'The call to the Ukrainian President was PERFECT,' Mr. Trump tweeted from Trump Tower in New York. 'Read the Transcript!' But Democrats said the transcript showed behavior which was not acceptable - and there were some GOP lawmakers agreeing in part. 'I believe it was inappropriate,' Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said of the President's request in a July phone call for the government of Ukraine to launch investigations which would have benefited Mr. Trump politically.  'I do not believe it was impeachable,' Thornberry said on ABC's 'This Week.' Mr. Trump argued specifically against that. 'Republicans, don’t be led into the fools trap of saying it was not perfect, but is not impeachable,' he tweeted. The White House document detailing the call - which is not a full, word for word transcript - shows the President clearly asking the leader of Ukraine to investigate the son of Vice President Biden, along with probing the assertion that Ukraine - and not Russia - had hacked Democrats in the 2016 elections. While the White House and Republicans tried to sort out their impeachment arguments, Democrats were blasting the GOP. 'Witness testimony shows that everybody involved in the President’s pressure campaign knew what he wanted,' said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-I), 'political investigations to undermine our free and fair elections.' 'Republicans cried for weeks for open & public impeachment inquiry hearings,' said Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-CA). 'Now that public hearings begin this week, Trump & GOP don’t want them.