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Jamie Dupree Washington Insider

    Angered by the outbreak of violence and a Turkish military invasion in areas of northern Syria held by U.S. forces until just last week, members of both parties joined in the House on Wednesday to deliver a clear rebuke of President Trump as lawmakers easily approved a resolution denouncing the policy change. 'This is one of those rare moments in Congress where we see both sides coming together,' said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), as the House voted 354-60 for the resolution. The plan decried 'an abrupt withdrawal of United States military personnel from certain parts of Northeast Syria,' saying the resulting change 'is beneficial to adversaries of the United States government, including Syria, Iran, and Russia.' 'President Trump's decision to pull hastily out of Syria has caused a humanitarian disaster, endangers our Kurdish allies, and could cause the resurgence of ISIS,' said Rep. David Trone (D-MD). 'The President has demonstrated complete disregard for the harmful implications that his erratic decision-making will have on our troops,' tweeted Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO). Even among GOP lawmakers who don't like these type of overseas deployments for the U.S. military, there was the overwhelming sense that the President had hastily decided to withdraw, leaving a vacuum which only benefits Russia and its Syrian allies, along with the Islamic State. After the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lumped additional criticism on the White House, when a briefing for lawmakers on the situation in Syria was scrapped. 'I am deeply concerned that the White House has canceled an all-Member classified briefing on the dangerous situation the President has caused in Syria, denying the Congress its right to be informed as it makes decisions about our national security,' Pelosi said. In the Senate it was much the same, as lawmakers in both parties spent much of Wednesday expressing their outrage over the President's decision, baffled that he would unravel years of work with a minimal number of U.S. troops to hem in Syria and the Islamic State - while partnering with Kurdish forces in the region. 'Withdrawal of U.S. troops gave Turkey a green light to go into Syria,' said Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT). At the White House, the President denied that he had given Turkish leaders the green light - but a White House statement issued when Mr. Trump's withdrawal was announced clearly stated that the U.S. expected Turkey to move forces into Northern Syria. 'I want to get out of the Middle East,' the President said on Wednesday. Not long after the vote, members of both parties met with President Trump about Syria - as the meeting quickly turned sour, with Democrats raising objections to the President's moves in withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, and the President pushing back. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats left the meeting, and told reporters that Mr. Trump had a 'meltdown.' Republican leaders and the White House denied that version of events.
  • Again endorsing the efforts by his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to seek out corruption in Ukraine involving the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump on Wednesday again pressed a conspiracy theory that a DNC computer server hacked by Russia somehow is now in the hands of a company in Ukraine. 'The server - they say - is held by a company whose primary ownership individual is from Ukraine,' the President told reporters in the Oval Office.  Mr. Trump has been pushing the idea that a company brought in by the Democratic National Committee to examine evidence of hacks by Russian intelligence - Crowdstrike - had ties to Ukraine, darkly hinting that Ukraine, and not Russia, may have been behind the DNC hacks in 2016. 'I think it's very important to see the server,' the President said again on Wednesday, even though there is no evidence to support the idea that the DNC server is in Ukraine. During a July phone call with the leader of Ukraine, President Trump made a specific request that Ukraine help track down the DNC server. 'I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike,' the President said according to notes released by the White House.  'I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it,' the transcript states. 'I would like you to get to the bottom of it,' the President is quoted as telling the Ukraine President in that July 25 call. A former top national security aide to President Trump, Thomas Bossert, has sharply criticized the President and top aides in recent weeks for pushing the idea that the DNC server is in Ukraine. 'It's not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked,' Bossert told ABC News in late September. In an interview, Bossert blamed Giuliani and other aides for continuing to talk to the President about the unproven Ukraine involvement in the 2016 hacking, which U.S. Intelligence and the Mueller probe has pinned on Russia. 'I am deeply frustrated with what (Giuliani) and the legal team are doing, in repeating that debunked theory to the President,' Bossert said. 'Let me repeat again, that theory has no validity,' Bossert added.
  • Buoyed by the decisions of a series of witnesses to ignore requests by the Trump Administration not to testify before Congress, House Democratic leaders said Tuesday evening that they would push ahead with their impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, seeing no need to hold an official vote now to authorize a formal probe. 'They can't defend the President, so they're going to process,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a news conference at the U.S. Capitol.  'There's no requirement that we have a vote,' Pelosi pointed out accurately about the rules of the House - though Congress in the past has held such votes to officially launch such an investigation. 'What a SCAM,' said Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), as Republicans complained bitterly about closed door depositions, and their inability to control the narrative about the investigation - a reminder that elections do matter, as Democrats are able to run this probe simply because they won control of the House in 2018. Democrats emerged from a closed door meeting in no hurry to have a vote on the House floor, as some lawmakers worried that voters would not be able to divine the difference between launching an investigation, and actually casting a vote on impeachment. Coming out of a closed door meeting, House Democrats were a loose group, not feeling any pressure to force a vote - arguing it would be a meaningless exercise. 'It seems to me that every day they get more information,' said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), who said there should be no rush to any vote. 'I don't think it matters at this point,' said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). 'An inquiry is ongoing.' There were some Democrats who were still withholding judgment. 'I'm not talking, I'm not saying anything,' said Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who has steadfastly refused to take a position on the impeachment of President Trump. Republicans denounced the effort. 'They know they cannot win at the ballot box with these out of touch ideas, so they are trying to impeach,' said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). Republicans have focused mainly on the closed door aspect of depositions, arguing they undermine the credibility of the impeachment investigation. But GOP lawmakers routinely used closed door questioning during their own investigations of the Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and with controversies like Uranium One - where GOP lawmakers interviewed a man who supposedly held bombshell evidence about wrongdoing involving Hillary Clinton. The Q&A was done in secret; no transcript was ever relased. And the GOP never issued any details of what was said to lawmakers.
  • On a day when another Trump Administration official refused to follow the directive of the President to not cooperate with a U.S. House impeachment investigation, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer told Democrats that he would heed Mr. Trump's call, and refuse to turn over documents and other information to Congress. 'Mr. Giuliani will not participate because this appears to be an unconstitutional, baseless, and illegitimate 'impeachment inquiry,'' wrote Giuliani's own counsel, John Sale. Those words echoed a missive from the White House last week, in which the President's White House Counsel declared that the Executive Branch would not cooperate with the House impeachment investigation. 'In addition, the subpoena is overbroad, unduly burdensome, and seeks documents beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry,' the Giuliani letter continued, as Democrats look for more information on what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine in recent months. Democrats had asked for 'text messages, phone records, and other communications' about his work in Ukraine in a September 30 letter which set Monday as the deadline to produce information. 'He’s solely focused on obstructing the Impeachment Inquiry,' tweeted Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) about President Trump. 'The White House has engaged in stonewalling and outright defiance of Congressional prerogatives,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. Republicans meanwhile complained that Democrats were running an unfair investigation, echoing attacks from the White House. 'The American people are not participants in this process,' said Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), as Republicans said a series of closed door depositions should be made public. As lawmakers in Congress returned from a two week break, some Republicans were reminded of their past statements about figures who refused to honor subpoenas during investigations. Meanwhile, as questioning continued behind closed doors for another State Department witness, an interesting break was developing in this investigation - while high profile witnesses like Giuliani were defying subpoenas, former Trump Administration and State Department officials were not. On Tuesday, George Kent, a State Department official who specializes in Ukraine policy was answering questions, even though he had been directed not to answer any. Wednesday is expected to bring testimony from a former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Michael McKinley abruptly resigned from his State Department post earlier this month.
  • WOKV Washington Insider Jamie Dupree took a short break from covering news on Capitol Hill to receive the Radio Television Digital News Association award for innovation. The national award was the latest mark in what has been a years-long personal battle for Dupree.  Following an illness in 2016, Dupree found himself unable to speak in more than a few words at a time. He eventually received a diagnosis of a rare neurological disorder, tongue protrusion dystonia.  The veteran reporter, who has been staple on WOKV and other Cox Media Group news and talk radio stations, continued to work off the radio by sending stories featuring local lawmakers and writing stories in his Washington Insider Blog.  Then in June of 2018, listeners were able to hear Jamie’s voice once again, as Jamie Dupree 2.0 debuted.  Cox Media Group partnered with Scotland-based tech company CereProc to produce a text-to-speech program that compiles years of Jamie’s actual voice.  “The listeners obviously knew something was very wrong when I disappeared from the radio, and I felt it was important to let them know what was going on – and especially important to let them know that I wasn’t dying,” said Dupree.  The RTDNA said Dupree’s story is innovative not only in multiplatform storytelling, but in the use of technology at the heart of the story.  “Since its initial version, the digital Jamie Dupree 2.0 has been improved to sound more natural and less electronic, and regular listeners have gotten used to it. But not all the feedback has been positive. “In today’s world of social media, I routinely get nasty messages each week from people who celebrate the loss of my voice, tell me that I should lose my job, and more. One of the weirdest things has been the accusations by people that since I lost my real voice, I’ve become biased. I think that’s just a sign of the current political times we are in right now,” said Dupree.”.   Dupree’s condition has not changed much, but he has found ways to innovate in the way he communicated with his wife and kids, as well as colleagues and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.  “Yes, I would much rather be able to speak – but it was great to get this kind of recognition for the work done by our company to find a way to keep me on the radio”, said Dupree.  
  • After dominating the national news in three previous debates, a dozen Democrats will gather just outside Columbus, Ohio on Tuesday evening for their party's fourth Presidential debate, coming at a time when the news focus has shifted away from the Democratic field, crowded out by controversy involving President Donald Trump, and a possible impeachment bid by Democrats in the U.S. House. 'This month was supposed to be all about the 2020 Democrats,' wrote Amy Walter, a veteran political analyst with the Cook Political Report.  'Thanks to impeachment drama, however, this month is all about Trump and Congress,' Walter wrote. Here are some story lines to look for tonight: 1. Joe Biden. His son. Impeachment. President Trump. Biden has been in the spotlight in recent weeks a lot as President Trump has repeatedly attacked him - and Biden's son Hunter. Does that get brought up during tonight's debate? Does Biden bring it up on his own? Do others bring it up in a negative way to attack the former Vice President? 2. This time - 12 candidates are on stage. I'll call it the Democratic Dozen. After complaints about a debate stage with 10 people, this debate will have a dozen Democrats, which may make it more choppy in terms of who gets to talk, and for how long. Let's be honest - trying to balance the time for ten candidates didn't work out that well in the first three debates. Twelve will mean some candidates might disappear for a time during this three hour event. Yes, I said three hours. 3. Bernie Sanders had a heart attack. It's still sort of difficult to believe that one of the major Democratic Party candidates had a heart attack, and has been sidelined for the past two weeks - and it's not making that big of an impact on the race. Sanders spent several days in the hospital in Las Vegas, and has now been back at his home in Vermont, meaning the 78 year old Sanders will have been off the campaign trail for the past 14 days. Sanders has talked about slowing his schedule - his first campaign event won't be until a 'Bernie's Back' rally in New York City on Saturday. As with Biden and impeachment, we'll see how Sanders addresses his health issues tonight; he remains a big player in the Democratic race. 4. What kind of audience will this debate get? Since this debate has been overshadowed by other news in recent weeks, we will have to see just how many people tune in for the Democratic Dozen. The September debate had to deal with a Thursday night NFL game, but this time Democrats will be doing a debate at the same time as the playoffs for Major League Baseball are underway. Ironically, the home team in Washington is playing on Tuesday night, which means some of the politically involved class of people in D.C. might not be watching every single debate question tonight from Westerville, Ohio. 5. Gabbard, Steyer are the new debate faces. Getting enough polls and donations to qualify for the October debate, Tulsi Gabbard returns to the debate stage after missing the September debate. Meanwhile, billionaire Tom Steyer makes his first debate, after not qualifying for the first three. Gabbard had been making noise about boycotting this debate, claiming that the Democratic Party hierarchy was not playing fair. As for Steyer, not only has he qualified for this debate, but he will also be on stage in November for the fifth debate, which will be in Georgia.  For Gabbard, this may be her final debate, unless she finds a way to take a dramatic step forward. 6. Looking ahead to November. The field may well shrink for the November debate, as at this point just eight Democrats have qualified with the necessary poll numbers and campaign donors. On the outside looking in are Amy Klobuchar, Beto O'Rourke, Tulsi Gabbard, and Julian Castro. Klobuchar and O'Rourke need three more polls to qualify. Gabbard and Castro have no polls as yet for November. Already qualified for November are Biden, Sanders, Warren, Harris, Buttigieg, Steyer, Booker and Yang. Remember - the start of the 2020 race isn't far away. Iowa is on February 3. New Hampshire - Feb. 11 Nevada - February 22 South Carolina on February 29
  • With bipartisan condemnation of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw a small group of U.S. soldiers from Syria, Congress returns to Capitol Hill on Tuesday with members of both parties denouncing the President, and lawmakers willing to approve sanctions on Turkey to slow its move into Syria. 'I thought you were going to defeat ISIS, that is why people voted for you,' Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tweeted to President Trump, as Republicans from all corners of the country have denounced the President. 'I urge the President to reverse his decision of removing our troops, and to send a strong message to Turkey,' said Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL). 'President Trump is a populist who wants to put America first and to the detriment of our allies and friends, people we’ve been associated with for decades,' said Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), who denounced Mr. Trump's decision last week, during an interview with KMOX Radio in St. Louis. 'I called my chief of staff in D.C., I said pull my name off the I-support-Donald-Trump-list,' Shimkus added. 'President Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. forces from northern Syria is having sickening and predictable consequences,' said Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY). Members of both parties say they want to quickly approve economic sanctions against Turkey, as a way to try to force the Turks to stop their push into Syria, and halt attacks on groups which had allied with the U.S. military. 'I will be working across party lines in a bicameral fashion to draft sanctions and move quickly,' said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who tweeted on Monday that he already spoken with Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  'The Speaker indicated to me that time was of the essence,' Graham said. But both parties said the President had started this crisis, by giving the green light to the Turks to move troops into Syria, while the U.S. pulled back, as Democrats were also livid. 'The President’s actions in Syria have made the world less safe,' said Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). 'Donald Trump sold out our allies to appease authoritarian dictators, and paved the way for an onslaught of war crimes against the Kurds,' said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).  'The Turkish attacks against the Kurds are attacks against humanity, and our President is sitting back and watching,' said Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA). 'Our enemies - ISIS - are escaping while our partners - Kurdish & Syrian opposition forces - are dying,' tweeted Rep. Chrissy Houlihan (D-PA). 'We are seeing the results of our betrayal of U.S. partners, namely the Syrian Kurds, who were critical to the international fight against ISIS,' said Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI), who worked at both the CIA and Pentagon.
  • With higher tariffs originally scheduled to kick in Tuesday on imported goods from China now on hold, U.S. and Chinese negotiators still need to flesh out the details of a trade deal announced Friday at the White House, as President Donald Trump expressed optimism that the plan would be 'phase one' of a broader trade agreement. 'We have a great deal. We're papering it now,' the President told reporters on Friday. 'Over the next three or four or five weeks, hopefully it'll get finished.' 'I mean, it's an incredible deal for farmers. I think they'll have to go out and buy more land and buy bigger tractors,' Mr. Trump added, as officials said China had agreed to buy between $40 billion and $50 billion in U.S. agricultural products. But other than those ball park figures on farm purchases, there were few details offered by either side on what was agreed, as the U.S. Trade Representative's office put out no statement or specifics on the agreement. In Washington, the announcement drew immediate praise from Republican lawmakers from farm states, who have watched nervously from the sidelines as the U.S. raised tariffs to 25 percent on many Chinese goods, and China retaliated by reducing purchases of American agricultural products. 'This is excellent news, and I look forward to reviewing the specifics,' said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND). 'I’m encouraged by the progress announced on the China trade deal,' said Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI). 'I hope it can be concluded expeditiously.' 'Glad to see this great progress,' tweeted Rep. Roger Marshall (R-KS). 'President Trump’s announcement to postpone the tariff hike is welcome news for American businesses, farmers, and consumers,' said Myron Brilliant, a top official with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. But others pointed out that the progress made this past week in trade talks did not erase the tariffs and trade barriers already in place against American products, as China has reduced its purchases of U.S. products during this trade fight with President Trump. The agreement 'is a break in the clouds, but tariffs continue to cast a pall over the futures of farmers, ranchers and rural America,' said Brian Kuehl with the group Farmers for Free Trade. It wasn't immediately clear when a broader deal would be finished, or signed. 'We’re at point where tariffs have continually escalated since basically spring of 2018 and I think both sides want to see if they can find a way out of this,' said David Salmonsen, the top Washington lobbyist for the American Farm Bureau Federation. 'So, we’re encouraged that this is going on.
  • After months of work where he was never nominated for the job by President Trump, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan handed in his resignation on Friday, continuing an unprecedented amount of turnover in the department that deals with illegal immigration. 'Kevin McAleenan has done an outstanding job as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security' the President said on Twitter. 'We have worked well together with Border Crossings being way down.' 'Kevin’s leadership was instrumental in reducing the flow of migrant children and families at our southwest border,' said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL). But as McAleenan thanked his colleagues at DHS on Friday, it had become apparent in recent weeks that the former head of the border patrol was not going to be around for long. An article filled with quotes from McAleenan on October 1 in the Washington Post made clear his time at DHS might be short, as he was described as isolated inside the Trump Administration. 'What I don’t have control over is the tone, the message, the public face and approach of the department in an increasingly polarized time,' McAleenan said in the Post article. Democrats said the change after six months was evidence of a Department under stress - filled with 'acting' officials. 'This is the 4th DHS Secretary to leave the Trump Admin,' tweeted Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), as Democrats have bitterly fought the President's policies on illegal immigration. 'I am not here to defend Kevin Mcalleenan,' tweeted Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). 'But I will tell you that it is likely to get worse without him.' “The departure of the Acting Homeland Security Secretary is the latest sign of this Administration’s failed leadership, which has worsened the humanitarian situation at the border, injected pain and tragedy into countless lives and done nothing to improve the situation at the border,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
  • In a legal setback for the White House, a federal appeals court panel on Friday upheld a lower court ruling that President Donald Trump's accounting firm must provide the Congress with Mr. Trump's financial records, ruling that the President cannot block a subpoena from a House committee for such financial information. 'Contrary to the President’s arguments, the Committee possesses authority under both the House Rules and the Constitution to issue the subpoena, and Mazars must comply,' the panel's 2-1 majority wrote, referring to Mr. Trump's accounting firm. 'Having considered the weighty interests at stake in this case, we conclude that the subpoena issued by the Committee to Mazars is valid and enforceable, the ruling states. 'We affirm the district court’s judgment in favor of the Oversight Committee and against the Trump Plaintiffs.' In Congress, Democrats hailed the appeals court decision. “Today’s ruling is a fundamental and resounding victory for Congressional oversight, our Constitutional system of checks and balances, and the rule of law,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), who has repeatedly complained about how the Trump Administration has defied subpoenas. The House Oversight Committee issued the subpoena back in April; GOP lawmakers denounced the move at the time as 'an astonishing abuse' of Congressional authority. But twice now, the courts have found otherwise. In a scathing dissent, Judge Naomi Rao argued the only legitimate way for Congress to get access to the President's financial records would be through impeachment. 'The House may not use its legislative power to circumvent the protects and accountability that accompany the impeachment power,' Rao wrote. 'Allowing the Committee to issue this subpoena for legislative purposes would turn Congress into a roving inquisition over a co-equal branch of government,' added Rao, who was put on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals by Mr. Trump. The two other judges involved in the decision were put on the appeals court by President Clinton (Tatel) and President Obama (Millett). The President still has the option of appealing this decision - either to the full D.C. Court of Appeals, or directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • A man was robbed in broad daylight in Brookside on Monday, Tulsa Police say, by a suspect who had a weird choice in weapons: a drill bit. Anthony Anson is accused of threatening the man with the drill bit and taking his phone. But police say the man got to a different phone and called police, who quickly spotted Anson. Anson then tried to claim that HE was the one who had been robbed, police say. “Officer didn't buy it, found that he had the phone is his pocket, and our victim was able to unlock the phone with his code to show that it was his phone,” said Tulsa Police Officer Danny Bean. Anson was arrested.
  • The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation released more details Wednesday on the victims from Tuesday night’s murder-suicide in Miami. Agents says 11-year-old Kayla Billings was shot and killed by her father, 39-year-old David Billings before he turned the gun on himself. Investigators say Wallace also shot his ex-wife and her boyfriend. Melissa Wallace and James Miller were found wounded outside of Miller’s home. Wallace and Miller were taken to a Tulsa hospital in critical condition. Wallace is pregnant. No word on the condition of the unborn child.
  • Angered by the outbreak of violence and a Turkish military invasion in areas of northern Syria held by U.S. forces until just last week, members of both parties joined in the House on Wednesday to deliver a clear rebuke of President Trump as lawmakers easily approved a resolution denouncing the policy change. 'This is one of those rare moments in Congress where we see both sides coming together,' said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), as the House voted 354-60 for the resolution. The plan decried 'an abrupt withdrawal of United States military personnel from certain parts of Northeast Syria,' saying the resulting change 'is beneficial to adversaries of the United States government, including Syria, Iran, and Russia.' 'President Trump's decision to pull hastily out of Syria has caused a humanitarian disaster, endangers our Kurdish allies, and could cause the resurgence of ISIS,' said Rep. David Trone (D-MD). 'The President has demonstrated complete disregard for the harmful implications that his erratic decision-making will have on our troops,' tweeted Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO). Even among GOP lawmakers who don't like these type of overseas deployments for the U.S. military, there was the overwhelming sense that the President had hastily decided to withdraw, leaving a vacuum which only benefits Russia and its Syrian allies, along with the Islamic State. After the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lumped additional criticism on the White House, when a briefing for lawmakers on the situation in Syria was scrapped. 'I am deeply concerned that the White House has canceled an all-Member classified briefing on the dangerous situation the President has caused in Syria, denying the Congress its right to be informed as it makes decisions about our national security,' Pelosi said. In the Senate it was much the same, as lawmakers in both parties spent much of Wednesday expressing their outrage over the President's decision, baffled that he would unravel years of work with a minimal number of U.S. troops to hem in Syria and the Islamic State - while partnering with Kurdish forces in the region. 'Withdrawal of U.S. troops gave Turkey a green light to go into Syria,' said Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT). At the White House, the President denied that he had given Turkish leaders the green light - but a White House statement issued when Mr. Trump's withdrawal was announced clearly stated that the U.S. expected Turkey to move forces into Northern Syria. 'I want to get out of the Middle East,' the President said on Wednesday. Not long after the vote, members of both parties met with President Trump about Syria - as the meeting quickly turned sour, with Democrats raising objections to the President's moves in withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, and the President pushing back. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats left the meeting, and told reporters that Mr. Trump had a 'meltdown.' Republican leaders and the White House denied that version of events.
  • NASA is moving up the first all-female spacewalk to this week because of a power system failure at the International Space Station. Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will now venture out Thursday or Friday, instead of next Monday, to deal with the problem. It will be the first spacewalk by only women in more than a half-century of spacewalking. A critical battery charger failed over the weekend, prompting the change, NASA officials said Monday. The women will replace the broken component, rather than install new batteries, which was their original job. Last week, astronauts conducted the first two of five spacewalks to replace old batteries that make up the station’s solar power network. The remaining spacewalks — originally scheduled for this week and next — have been delayed for at least another few weeks so engineers can determine why the battery charger failed. It’s the second such failure this year. The devices regulate the amount of charge going to and from each battery. One didn’t kick in Friday night, preventing one of the three newly installed lithium-ion batteries from working. The balky charger is 19 years old; the one that failed in the spring was almost as old. Only three spares remain available. “It’s absolutely a concern at this point when you don’t know what’s going on,” said Kenny Todd, a space station manager. “We’re still scratching our heads looking at the data. Hopefully, we can clear that up in relatively short order.”
  • Again endorsing the efforts by his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to seek out corruption in Ukraine involving the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump on Wednesday again pressed a conspiracy theory that a DNC computer server hacked by Russia somehow is now in the hands of a company in Ukraine. 'The server - they say - is held by a company whose primary ownership individual is from Ukraine,' the President told reporters in the Oval Office.  Mr. Trump has been pushing the idea that a company brought in by the Democratic National Committee to examine evidence of hacks by Russian intelligence - Crowdstrike - had ties to Ukraine, darkly hinting that Ukraine, and not Russia, may have been behind the DNC hacks in 2016. 'I think it's very important to see the server,' the President said again on Wednesday, even though there is no evidence to support the idea that the DNC server is in Ukraine. During a July phone call with the leader of Ukraine, President Trump made a specific request that Ukraine help track down the DNC server. 'I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike,' the President said according to notes released by the White House.  'I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it,' the transcript states. 'I would like you to get to the bottom of it,' the President is quoted as telling the Ukraine President in that July 25 call. A former top national security aide to President Trump, Thomas Bossert, has sharply criticized the President and top aides in recent weeks for pushing the idea that the DNC server is in Ukraine. 'It's not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked,' Bossert told ABC News in late September. In an interview, Bossert blamed Giuliani and other aides for continuing to talk to the President about the unproven Ukraine involvement in the 2016 hacking, which U.S. Intelligence and the Mueller probe has pinned on Russia. 'I am deeply frustrated with what (Giuliani) and the legal team are doing, in repeating that debunked theory to the President,' Bossert said. 'Let me repeat again, that theory has no validity,' Bossert added.

Washington Insider

  • Angered by the outbreak of violence and a Turkish military invasion in areas of northern Syria held by U.S. forces until just last week, members of both parties joined in the House on Wednesday to deliver a clear rebuke of President Trump as lawmakers easily approved a resolution denouncing the policy change. 'This is one of those rare moments in Congress where we see both sides coming together,' said Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), as the House voted 354-60 for the resolution. The plan decried 'an abrupt withdrawal of United States military personnel from certain parts of Northeast Syria,' saying the resulting change 'is beneficial to adversaries of the United States government, including Syria, Iran, and Russia.' 'President Trump's decision to pull hastily out of Syria has caused a humanitarian disaster, endangers our Kurdish allies, and could cause the resurgence of ISIS,' said Rep. David Trone (D-MD). 'The President has demonstrated complete disregard for the harmful implications that his erratic decision-making will have on our troops,' tweeted Rep. Joe Neguse (D-CO). Even among GOP lawmakers who don't like these type of overseas deployments for the U.S. military, there was the overwhelming sense that the President had hastily decided to withdraw, leaving a vacuum which only benefits Russia and its Syrian allies, along with the Islamic State. After the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lumped additional criticism on the White House, when a briefing for lawmakers on the situation in Syria was scrapped. 'I am deeply concerned that the White House has canceled an all-Member classified briefing on the dangerous situation the President has caused in Syria, denying the Congress its right to be informed as it makes decisions about our national security,' Pelosi said. In the Senate it was much the same, as lawmakers in both parties spent much of Wednesday expressing their outrage over the President's decision, baffled that he would unravel years of work with a minimal number of U.S. troops to hem in Syria and the Islamic State - while partnering with Kurdish forces in the region. 'Withdrawal of U.S. troops gave Turkey a green light to go into Syria,' said Rep. Ben McAdams (D-UT). At the White House, the President denied that he had given Turkish leaders the green light - but a White House statement issued when Mr. Trump's withdrawal was announced clearly stated that the U.S. expected Turkey to move forces into Northern Syria. 'I want to get out of the Middle East,' the President said on Wednesday. Not long after the vote, members of both parties met with President Trump about Syria - as the meeting quickly turned sour, with Democrats raising objections to the President's moves in withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria, and the President pushing back. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats left the meeting, and told reporters that Mr. Trump had a 'meltdown.' Republican leaders and the White House denied that version of events.
  • Again endorsing the efforts by his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to seek out corruption in Ukraine involving the 2016 elections, President Donald Trump on Wednesday again pressed a conspiracy theory that a DNC computer server hacked by Russia somehow is now in the hands of a company in Ukraine. 'The server - they say - is held by a company whose primary ownership individual is from Ukraine,' the President told reporters in the Oval Office.  Mr. Trump has been pushing the idea that a company brought in by the Democratic National Committee to examine evidence of hacks by Russian intelligence - Crowdstrike - had ties to Ukraine, darkly hinting that Ukraine, and not Russia, may have been behind the DNC hacks in 2016. 'I think it's very important to see the server,' the President said again on Wednesday, even though there is no evidence to support the idea that the DNC server is in Ukraine. During a July phone call with the leader of Ukraine, President Trump made a specific request that Ukraine help track down the DNC server. 'I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike,' the President said according to notes released by the White House.  'I guess you have one of your wealthy people... The server, they say Ukraine has it,' the transcript states. 'I would like you to get to the bottom of it,' the President is quoted as telling the Ukraine President in that July 25 call. A former top national security aide to President Trump, Thomas Bossert, has sharply criticized the President and top aides in recent weeks for pushing the idea that the DNC server is in Ukraine. 'It's not only a conspiracy theory, it is completely debunked,' Bossert told ABC News in late September. In an interview, Bossert blamed Giuliani and other aides for continuing to talk to the President about the unproven Ukraine involvement in the 2016 hacking, which U.S. Intelligence and the Mueller probe has pinned on Russia. 'I am deeply frustrated with what (Giuliani) and the legal team are doing, in repeating that debunked theory to the President,' Bossert said. 'Let me repeat again, that theory has no validity,' Bossert added.
  • Buoyed by the decisions of a series of witnesses to ignore requests by the Trump Administration not to testify before Congress, House Democratic leaders said Tuesday evening that they would push ahead with their impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump, seeing no need to hold an official vote now to authorize a formal probe. 'They can't defend the President, so they're going to process,' said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in a news conference at the U.S. Capitol.  'There's no requirement that we have a vote,' Pelosi pointed out accurately about the rules of the House - though Congress in the past has held such votes to officially launch such an investigation. 'What a SCAM,' said Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA), as Republicans complained bitterly about closed door depositions, and their inability to control the narrative about the investigation - a reminder that elections do matter, as Democrats are able to run this probe simply because they won control of the House in 2018. Democrats emerged from a closed door meeting in no hurry to have a vote on the House floor, as some lawmakers worried that voters would not be able to divine the difference between launching an investigation, and actually casting a vote on impeachment. Coming out of a closed door meeting, House Democrats were a loose group, not feeling any pressure to force a vote - arguing it would be a meaningless exercise. 'It seems to me that every day they get more information,' said Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), who said there should be no rush to any vote. 'I don't think it matters at this point,' said Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). 'An inquiry is ongoing.' There were some Democrats who were still withholding judgment. 'I'm not talking, I'm not saying anything,' said Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), who has steadfastly refused to take a position on the impeachment of President Trump. Republicans denounced the effort. 'They know they cannot win at the ballot box with these out of touch ideas, so they are trying to impeach,' said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC). Republicans have focused mainly on the closed door aspect of depositions, arguing they undermine the credibility of the impeachment investigation. But GOP lawmakers routinely used closed door questioning during their own investigations of the Russian interference in the 2016 elections, and with controversies like Uranium One - where GOP lawmakers interviewed a man who supposedly held bombshell evidence about wrongdoing involving Hillary Clinton. The Q&A was done in secret; no transcript was ever relased. And the GOP never issued any details of what was said to lawmakers.
  • On a day when another Trump Administration official refused to follow the directive of the President to not cooperate with a U.S. House impeachment investigation, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer told Democrats that he would heed Mr. Trump's call, and refuse to turn over documents and other information to Congress. 'Mr. Giuliani will not participate because this appears to be an unconstitutional, baseless, and illegitimate 'impeachment inquiry,'' wrote Giuliani's own counsel, John Sale. Those words echoed a missive from the White House last week, in which the President's White House Counsel declared that the Executive Branch would not cooperate with the House impeachment investigation. 'In addition, the subpoena is overbroad, unduly burdensome, and seeks documents beyond the scope of legitimate inquiry,' the Giuliani letter continued, as Democrats look for more information on what Giuliani was doing in Ukraine in recent months. Democrats had asked for 'text messages, phone records, and other communications' about his work in Ukraine in a September 30 letter which set Monday as the deadline to produce information. 'He’s solely focused on obstructing the Impeachment Inquiry,' tweeted Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) about President Trump. 'The White House has engaged in stonewalling and outright defiance of Congressional prerogatives,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer. Republicans meanwhile complained that Democrats were running an unfair investigation, echoing attacks from the White House. 'The American people are not participants in this process,' said Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX), as Republicans said a series of closed door depositions should be made public. As lawmakers in Congress returned from a two week break, some Republicans were reminded of their past statements about figures who refused to honor subpoenas during investigations. Meanwhile, as questioning continued behind closed doors for another State Department witness, an interesting break was developing in this investigation - while high profile witnesses like Giuliani were defying subpoenas, former Trump Administration and State Department officials were not. On Tuesday, George Kent, a State Department official who specializes in Ukraine policy was answering questions, even though he had been directed not to answer any. Wednesday is expected to bring testimony from a former top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Michael McKinley abruptly resigned from his State Department post earlier this month.
  • WOKV Washington Insider Jamie Dupree took a short break from covering news on Capitol Hill to receive the Radio Television Digital News Association award for innovation. The national award was the latest mark in what has been a years-long personal battle for Dupree.  Following an illness in 2016, Dupree found himself unable to speak in more than a few words at a time. He eventually received a diagnosis of a rare neurological disorder, tongue protrusion dystonia.  The veteran reporter, who has been staple on WOKV and other Cox Media Group news and talk radio stations, continued to work off the radio by sending stories featuring local lawmakers and writing stories in his Washington Insider Blog.  Then in June of 2018, listeners were able to hear Jamie’s voice once again, as Jamie Dupree 2.0 debuted.  Cox Media Group partnered with Scotland-based tech company CereProc to produce a text-to-speech program that compiles years of Jamie’s actual voice.  “The listeners obviously knew something was very wrong when I disappeared from the radio, and I felt it was important to let them know what was going on – and especially important to let them know that I wasn’t dying,” said Dupree.  The RTDNA said Dupree’s story is innovative not only in multiplatform storytelling, but in the use of technology at the heart of the story.  “Since its initial version, the digital Jamie Dupree 2.0 has been improved to sound more natural and less electronic, and regular listeners have gotten used to it. But not all the feedback has been positive. “In today’s world of social media, I routinely get nasty messages each week from people who celebrate the loss of my voice, tell me that I should lose my job, and more. One of the weirdest things has been the accusations by people that since I lost my real voice, I’ve become biased. I think that’s just a sign of the current political times we are in right now,” said Dupree.”.   Dupree’s condition has not changed much, but he has found ways to innovate in the way he communicated with his wife and kids, as well as colleagues and lawmakers on Capitol Hill.  “Yes, I would much rather be able to speak – but it was great to get this kind of recognition for the work done by our company to find a way to keep me on the radio”, said Dupree.