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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
  • After the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it was cutting interest rates for the second time in two months, President Donald Trump skewered the Fed for not being aggressive enough to help the economy, while the Fed chair said too much economic uncertainty was being created by President Trump's various trade fights. 'This is a time of difficult judgments,' Fed chair Jerome Powell told reporters at a Washington news conference, as he indicated that trade gyrations involving the US, China, and other nations, is not helping with domestic economic growth. 'We do feel that trade uncertainty is having an effect,' Powell told reporters. 'We see it in weak business investment, weak exports.' 'Trade policy is not the business of the Fed,' Powell said. 'It's the business of the Congress and of the Administration.' While the President has said further rate cuts would spur even more growth, the Fed continues to forecast that overall economic growth will be just over two percent this year, down from 2018. Democrats in Congress pointed the finger of blame straight at President Trump for creating economic uncertainty, especially for farmers. “Our family farmers need stability right now - not more uncertainty,” said Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN).  “I don’t agree with the reckless trade war we’ve created without a coherent strategy.” Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, lawmakers were at odds over how to deal with President Trump's second bailout for farmers, who have been hit hard by retaliatory tariffs from China and other nations. In a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), raised questions as to where the money was going to come from for the $28 billion in farm bailout payments announced by the President over the last two years. 'For context, that amount is larger than the entire discretionary budget Congress appropriates to USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) each fiscal year,' DeLauro wrote. While Democrats had initially threatened to block approval of that extra money, now party leaders were demanding to know where that bailout money was going. 'That lack of transparency regarding a $28 billion federal program is outrageous,' DeLauro wrote. 'Maybe an accounting of who is getting the money up to this point would be a start,' said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), as Democrats said the GOP was resisting efforts for a public accounting of the farm bailout billions.
  • If you're a fan of the ever-growing food truck scene in Tulsa, there's a good chance you've already seen, and even ordered some chicken and waffles, from the Waffle That food truck. The truck has grown a large and loyal following and often has long lines of people at its usual locations at Guthrie Green and on MLK Boulevard between Pine and Apache. In fact, after just one year or so in operation,  business at the food truck has been so good that owner Roy Tillis is going to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant at the spot on MLK Boulevard. He says it's a simple case of giving the customers what they want. “People always want to try to find us every day, and it's hard with a food truck, getting it open every day,” Tillis says. The restaurant will be housed in a fully renovated building and is set to open next month, but Tillis says the food truck will also still be going out at least three times a week.
  • Since June of 2017 when medical cannabis was on the ballot, voter turnout in Tulsa County has set several records, and by all accounts, that momentum will continue throughout the 2020 presidential election. Tulsa County Election Board Secretary Gwen Freeman tells KRMG “we need a lot of precinct workers, and we need them now.” [Hear the KRMG In-Depth report on the need for poll workers HERE, or use the audio player below] “The folks at the election board who've worked there forever and ever, they all say the same thing,” Freeman said Wednesday. “We think it's going to be unprecedented in terms of turnout (in 2020). If you'll remember, back in November and June of last year during midterms, we had unprecedented numbers that showed up for midterms. Unprecedented numbers of people that actually registered to vote, that sort of thing. We don't see any of that slowing down any time soon.” So, the goal is to get about 500 more precinct workers trained and ready to go, before the busy 2020 election cycle begins. Stephanie Johnson has done the job for years, and now trains others as well. She began at the age of 22 when her mother, a precinct official for some 40 years herself, recruited her during a busy presidential election. “It was a huge and overwhelming experience for a 22-year-old,” Johnson told KRMG, “but the love of it just brought me back, and that's why I'm still here today.” Freeman says the average age of a precinct worker is 75, so naturally they experience fairly high turnover. But many return again and again, much like Johnson. The requirements include residency in Tulsa County, good vision and hearing, a working cell phone, and reliable transportation. Currently, precinct workers get a $25 stipend for taking the eight-hour course to learn the ropes, then between $87 and $97 for their work on election days. That amount will go up next year to between $100 and $110, depending on the position. Precinct officials are also compensated for mileage if they drive over 20 miles (round trip). Classes take place at the Tulsa County Election Board. They run from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and are currently scheduled for: Saturday, Sept. 21st Monday, Sept. 23rd Wednesday, Sept. 25th Tuesday, Oct. 1st Wednesday, Oct. 2nd Saturday, Oct. 5th For more information, or to enroll in a class, call 918-596-5762. You can also get more information online on the Tulsa County Election Board website.
  • A bicyclist in Broken Arrow died Wednesday morning on a busy street. It happened a little after 9:30 on New Orleans St.  Police say 74 year-old John Mathes was crossing New Orleans St. from Aster Ave and entered the intersection in front of an east-bound pickup truck.   Officers don’t believe alcohol was involved in the accident.  Part of New Orleans was closed between Garnett and Olive.  Investigators are still looking for exactly what led to the crash.
  • The number and rate of abortions across the United States have plunged to their lowest levels since the procedure became legal nationwide in 1973, according to new figures released Wednesday. The report from the Guttmacher Institute, a research group that supports abortion rights, counted 862,000 abortions in the U.S. in 2017. That’s down from 926,000 tallied in the group’s previous report for 2014, and from just over 1 million counted for 2011. Guttmacher is the only entity that strives to count all abortions in the U.S., making inquiries of individual providers. Federal data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention excludes California, Maryland and New Hampshire. The new report illustrates that abortions are decreasing in all parts of the country, whether in Republican-controlled states seeking to restrict abortion access or in Democratic-run states protecting abortion rights. Between 2011 and 2017, abortion rates increased in only five states and the District of Columbia. One reason for the decline in abortions is that fewer women are becoming pregnant. The Guttmacher Institute noted that the birth rate, as well as the abortion rate, declined during the years covered by the new report. A likely factor, the report said, is increased accessibility of contraception since 2011, as the Affordable Care Act required most private health insurance plans to cover contraceptives without out-of-pocket costs.

Washington Insider

  • After the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it was cutting interest rates for the second time in two months, President Donald Trump skewered the Fed for not being aggressive enough to help the economy, while the Fed chair said too much economic uncertainty was being created by President Trump's various trade fights. 'This is a time of difficult judgments,' Fed chair Jerome Powell told reporters at a Washington news conference, as he indicated that trade gyrations involving the US, China, and other nations, is not helping with domestic economic growth. 'We do feel that trade uncertainty is having an effect,' Powell told reporters. 'We see it in weak business investment, weak exports.' 'Trade policy is not the business of the Fed,' Powell said. 'It's the business of the Congress and of the Administration.' While the President has said further rate cuts would spur even more growth, the Fed continues to forecast that overall economic growth will be just over two percent this year, down from 2018. Democrats in Congress pointed the finger of blame straight at President Trump for creating economic uncertainty, especially for farmers. “Our family farmers need stability right now - not more uncertainty,” said Rep. Angie Craig (D-MN).  “I don’t agree with the reckless trade war we’ve created without a coherent strategy.” Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, lawmakers were at odds over how to deal with President Trump's second bailout for farmers, who have been hit hard by retaliatory tariffs from China and other nations. In a letter to the Secretary of Agriculture, Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), raised questions as to where the money was going to come from for the $28 billion in farm bailout payments announced by the President over the last two years. 'For context, that amount is larger than the entire discretionary budget Congress appropriates to USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) each fiscal year,' DeLauro wrote. While Democrats had initially threatened to block approval of that extra money, now party leaders were demanding to know where that bailout money was going. 'That lack of transparency regarding a $28 billion federal program is outrageous,' DeLauro wrote. 'Maybe an accounting of who is getting the money up to this point would be a start,' said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), as Democrats said the GOP was resisting efforts for a public accounting of the farm bailout billions.
  • In the face of strong opposition from California elected officials and parts of the auto industry, President Donald Trump on Wednesday announced that his administration will revoke a special waiver which has allowed California to set stricter auto emission and fuel mileage standards than the federal government. 'The Trump Administration is revoking California’s Federal Waiver on emissions in order to produce far less expensive cars for the consumer, while at the same time making the cars substantially SAFER,' President Trump announced in a series of tweets from California. The announcement drew immediate condemnation from California officials and Democrats in the Congress. 'The President is completely wrong,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA). California officials expressed outrage at the President's plans, arguing the main impact would be to create more pollution in the Golden State. 'You have no basis and no authority to pull this waiver,' California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said. 'We’re ready to fight for a future that you seem unable to comprehend; we’ll see you in court if you stand in our way,' Becerra added. The authority for California comes from the federal Clean Air Act, which allowed the feds to grant waivers to states that wanted to set tougher emission standards than the federal government. The announcement opens a second legal fight with the Golden State over auto emission standards, as last week the Trump Administration said it would investigate agreements made between California and major automakers about those standards. 'This investigation appears to be nothing more than a politically motivated act of intimidation,' Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) wrote in a letter to the U.S. Attorney General.
  • A week after ousting top aide John Bolton, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday on Twitter that he was naming Robert O'Brien to replace Bolton, choosing the State Department's top hostage negotiator to fill that important White House post. 'I have worked long and hard with Robert,' the President tweeted from California, where he is currently on a western campaign swing. 'Robert O'Brien is a great choice to be National Security Advisor,' said Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), who labeled the choice an 'exceptional pick.'  'He is a high energy, low ego individual who will do fantastic in this role,' the Congressman added. O'Brien's most recent high profile diplomatic effort was in Sweden, where he headlined U.S. efforts to free rapper A$AP. O'Brien's official title at the State Department was, 'Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.' O'Brien will be the fourth National Security Adviser for President Trump, going through former Defense Intelligence Agency chief Michael Flynn, Army General H.R. McMaster, and then Bolton. Last week, Mr. Trump said Bolton had disagreed with him on a number of major foreign policy issues.
  • In a spirited hearing full of sharp exchanges and pointed verbal barbs, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski confirmed to a U.S. House committee that President Donald Trump had used a White House meeting in 2017 to ask Lewandowski to tell then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to limit the scope of Robert Mueller's probe into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. 'I didn't think the President asked me to do anything illegal,' Lewandowski told the House Judiciary Committee. In the first testimony to Congress by a fact witness involved in the Russia investigation, Lewandowski acknowledged that despite President Trump's request - made at least twice in the summer of 2017 - the Trump adviser admitted that he never followed through on the President's request to pressure Sessions about the Russia probe. Democrats mocked Lewandowski for not having the guts to take the President's message directly to the Attorney General. 'You chickened out,' said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA). 'I went on vacation,' Lewandowski replied, drawing loud laughter from Democrats on the committee. In his multiple hours of testimony, Lewandowski repeatedly refused to delve into details of his conversations with the President, even those which were a part of the Mueller Report, which Lewandowski proudly said he had not read. 'If it's in the report, I consider it to be accurate,' Lewandowski said multiple times. While Republicans denounced the hearing as a 'joke' and more, Democrats zeroed in on Lewandowski in round after round of questioning, accusing him of obstructing justice by not answering certain questions about his talks with the President during the campaign. 'I wasn't asked to do anything illegal,' as Lewandowski said he took notes in a June 2017 meeting on what Mr. Trump wanted to be said to Attorney General Sessions, and then placed the notes in a safe at his home. 'It's a big safe Congressman,' Lewandowski said in a bitter exchange with Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), whom he called “President” at one point - apparently referring to Swalwell's failed White House run.  'There's lots of guns in it,” Lewandowski added about his safe. Asked multiple times if he had turned over his notes to the Special Counsel investigation, Lewandowski would only say that he had complied with all requests from the Mueller probe. Lewandowski also did not directly respond to the basic question of whether he lied to the Special Counsel, or whether he had ever discussed a pardon with the President. 'Not to the best of my recollection,' Lewandowski said multiple times. Democrats also ridiculed Lewandowski's refusal to answer certain questions related to the President, by claiming that there was an issue involving executive privilege. The hearing was notable on one point, in that it was the first time Democrats had been able to question someone who was an actual fact witness interviewed as part of the Mueller Investigation. Two other former White House aides - Rob Porter and Rick Dearborn - were blocked from testifying by the Trump White House. Democrats still want testimony not only from those two former aides, but also former White House Counsel Doug McGahn and others. Maybe the most effective questioning of Lewandowski came at the end of the hearing, when Democrats allowed their outside Judiciary Committee counsel Barry Berke to ask Lewandowski questions for a full 30 minutes. Berke repeatedly took Lewandowski through statements he made in television interviews and to the committee, making it clear that the Trump adviser had not necessarily told the truth. “I have no obligation to be honest with the media,” Lewandowski said at one point, as he tried to bait Berke into a verbal sparring match, dropping in references to where Berke went to college and law school. Here's the entire 30 minutes of their exchanges.
  • Cokie Roberts, who covered Congress and national politics for many years at ABC News and National Public Radio, died Tuesday at age 75, ABC News announced, saying her death was due to complications from breast cancer. 'A mentor, a friend, a legend,' tweeted ABC News correspondent Cecilia Vega. 'Horrible, sad news,' said ABC White House correspondent Karen Travers, as tributes poured in about Roberts. While many knew that Cokie was married to veteran political reporter Steve Roberts, her experience in politics came directly from her family - as both of her parents were members of the U.S. House. Her father, Hale Boggs, might have been Speaker of the House, but a plane he was traveling on in Alaska - disappeared 47 years ago next month - and was never found. Also aboard was Rep. Nick Begich of Alaska; his son, Mark Begich, would later serve in the U.S. Senate. When the plane carrying Begich and Boggs disappeared on October 16, 1972, Boggs was House Majority Leader at the time; after his plane was never found, Democrats in the House elected Rep. Tip O'Neill (D-MA) to be the new Majority Leader. O'Neill would later succeed Rep. Carl Albert (D-OK) as House Speaker. Boggs was succeeded in his House seat by his wife, Rep. Lindy Boggs (D-LA), the first woman ever elected to Congress in Louisiana. Lindy Boggs retired after the 1990 elections.