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    A 14-year-old DeKalb County girl just became the youngest student to ever be admitted to Spelman College! Sydney Wilson, whose birthday was just last week, will start her freshman year at Spelman this fall as the youngest student in the college's history. But what got Wilson into college at such a young age? WIlson has been a standout student all of her life. By the time she hit second grade, she knew she was different than other students in her class. Many of them teased her for being too smart.  Wilson didn't let it bother her. 'I just stayed on my path,' Wilson said. 'I didn't really feel like I needed to be popular ... because, I mean, I like myself.'  Wilson's parents knew they had to do something different, so they enrolled her in Wilson Academy in Lithonia. That's where she started taking high school classes at age 10.  >> Read more trending news  >> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  Just a few months ago, at just 13 years old, she applied to Spelman College. The school sent her dad an email saying his daughter was accepted.  Wilson reacted to the news like most teens: by posting the special moment on social media.  'So, he calls me in and he says, 'Look at the computer!' So I looked at it, and I just melt,' Wilson said. 'I was screaming and I was crying. I ran out to tell my family, and we took a bunch of pictures and posted it on Instagram and everything.' Wilson plans to live on campus like the other students, but she's not worried about the age gap.  'I’ve been with the older kids all my life, so socially, I don’t think it will be a problem for me,' Wilson said.  Wilson plans to major in biology and pursue medical research.
  • A Kentucky student was diagnosed with dyslexia and held back in second grade, but in two weeks she will graduate as one of her high school’s 10 valedictorians. >> Read more trending news  Kendahl Broyles, a senior at J. Graham Brown School in Louisville, will attend Western Kentucky University’s Honors College in the fall, WAVE reported. “I’m looking into maybe nursing or education,” Broyles told the television station. Broyles said she had trouble adjusting at Brown when she was in kindergarten. “In kindergarten, in first grade, school was supposed to be something fun for you to learn but it was really hard for me and it really wasn’t enjoyable,” she told WAVE. Broyles’ fortunes changed after she was diagnosed with dyslexia. She was left back in the second grade and transferred to a private school. Then, she returned to Brown because “It’s always been like a home to me.” Brown began excelling in her work, learning a second language. In middle school she began tutoring younger students, WAVE reported. “Sometimes I think ‘Kendahl, I want to be like you when I grow up,'' Spanish teacher Heather Anderson told the television station. “She’s amazing.” “I enjoy school now because I’ve taught myself, I can do anything I put my mind to -- it just might take me a little longer,” Broyles told WAVE. “The thing I’m most proud of isn’t even really school related. It’s being able to show people like you can do anything and even if it is harder for you, you can still do it.”
  • Police body camera video shows the gripping moments when officers worked to save a man threatening to jump off a 150-foot-high bridge. The video shows a man leaning from a wire along an Athens railroad trestle, threatening to step off the edge. But thanks to some courageous police officers, the man came down safely. For Athens-Clarke County Officer Cody Nix, a routine nighttime patrol turned to a lifesaving mission for him and his partners. Nix spotted the man high above leaning off the North Avenue train trestle in Athens. “How are we going to do this safely, get him off the trestle, get him the help he needed?' Nix said is what was running through his head as the situation unfolded. “Just lean back. Stay where you are. We are going to help you,” Nix’s body camera video showed him yelling to the man. >> Read more trending news  Officer Brendan Branning played the role of negotiator, speaking from a loudspeaker on a patrol car, working to gain the man's trust. “I knew the subject had recently lost a loved one,” Branning said. As Branning kept the man's attention, Nix and Sgt. Von Anderson made it to the top of trestle. “I'm not interested in gymnastics, dude,” Anderson said talking to the man. Anderson took the lead in trying to calm the man and get him to step back from the edge. 'Listen to me. The only reasons we're here is because we are worried about you. I ain’t interested in hurting you or putting you in jail. You ain't done nothing,' Anderson told the man. Body camera video shows how the two officers inched closer to the man and at the right moment, grabbed him from the edge of the bridge and pulled him to safety. “'He was very erratic. He was upset, had some stuff going on. We just held onto him so he calmed down some more,” Nix told Regan. “At the end of the day, it’s all about safety for us and the citizens,' Branning said. The man was taken to a nearby hospital for evaluation. The officers said their 40 hours of crisis intervention training is a lifesaver in these situations.
  • Americans generally do not have enough saved for retirement and Congress is considering a number of measures to address that. There are a few retirement-related bills of note making their way through Congress. One in particular, the Secure Act, gained significant traction this week. The House voted to approve it Thursday and it is widely expected to move forward in the Senate. Some experts are saying it is one the most important potential changes to retirement rules seen in years. ___ WHAT IS IT? The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act, known as Secure Act, is designed to help more people save more for retirement. Its highlights include a provision to make it easier for small businesses to band together to offer retirement plans to employees. It also opens the door for long-term part-time employees to gain access to workplace retirement plans. It would raise the age that Americans must start drawing from retirement savings, known as the required minimum distribution age, from 70½ to 72, as people are living and working longer. It also provides more years for people to contribute to individual retirement accounts, for the same reason. Additionally, it creates new rules that could expand lifetime-income options within workplace plans, such as annuities, to help people establish reliable stream of income in retirement. It would also make it easier for employees to transfer retirement plan assets when they change jobs. There are other notable components, such as allowing employees to withdraw savings penalty free for the birth or adoption of a child. And it would fix a component of the 2017 tax overhaul that raised taxes on benefits received by family members of deceased military veterans, as well as taxes on some students and members of Native American tribes. ___ WHY DOES IT MATTER? Americans are facing a major retirement savings crisis. Almost half of U.S. households led by someone 55 or older had not set aside savings for retirement, according to a report released in March by the Government Accountability Office. About 20% of households did have access to a pension or other defined benefit plan. But 29% of older Americans had neither a pension nor assets in another retirement account. It's a complex problem, driven in part by a shift away from traditional pensions toward a do-it-yourself savings system. Research has shown one of the most effective ways to get people to save is through access to a workplace retirement plan. But millions of Americans do not have access to such plans, particularly at small businesses where the cost and complexity hinders some companies from establishing one. So this legislation is important because it removes some of those barriers, said Phil Waldeck, president of Prudential Retirement. The legislation would eliminate other hurdles that keep other people from saving in other settings. It's not a cure all but experts say it's a step in the right direction. Rhian Horgan, founder and CEO of Kindur, a startup that aims to help people navigate retirement, said she thinks it is 'the most meaningful piece of retirement-focused legislation we've seen in decades.' ___ WHAT'S NEXT? The bill was approved in the House with a 417-3 vote and now goes to the Senate. Given the overwhelming bipartisan support in Congress and among industry leaders, it's likely to move forward, said Elizabeth Kelly, senior vice president of operations at United Income, who once worked as the special assistant to the president on the National Economic Council under the Obama administration. There is a similar Senate bill, known as the Retirement Enhancement and Savings Act, but the Secure Act has many of the same provisions. But even the backers of the Senate bill spoke out in favor of the Secure act Thursday, suggesting its passage is likely. The bill would then head to the president.
  • Prime Minister Theresa May's announcement that she will leave 10 Downing Street has set off a fierce competition to succeed her as Conservative Party leader — and as the next prime minister. These are some of the most prominent names on a list of contenders that is expected to grow in the coming days. ___ BORIS JOHNSON The former foreign secretary has made no secret of his desire to take the top job when May departs. The outspoken Johnson, with his unkempt hair and flamboyant ways, has long been one of Britain's best known politicians, and he is believed to enjoy strong support from rank-and-file Conservative Party members. He was a key leader of the campaign that in 2016 convinced a majority of British voters to cast ballots in favor of leaving the European Union. Johnson, 54, planned a leadership run after that vote but eventually decided not to compete. He has already said he will seek the job this time around. He resigned as foreign secretary in July because of unhappiness with May's Brexit plans. ___ DOMINIC RAAB The former Brexit secretary is banking on his tireless advocacy for leaving the EU to help propel him to 10 Downing Street. He served at the helm of the Brexit department for a relatively short time, taking the position in July and resigning in November over a policy rift with May. Raab said he left the Cabinet because he could not 'in good conscience' support the deal May had reached with EU leaders about the terms of Britain's withdrawal. The 45-year-old has been highly critical of May's approach. He is a longtime admirer of former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who enjoyed a successful career as Conservative Party leader. The buttoned-down, serious Raab is seen by many as a youthful rising star in the conservative movement. ___ JEREMY HUNT Hunt stepped into the role of foreign secretary when Johnson resigned. He has tried to raise his profile by making provocative statements to establish his credentials as a staunch Brexiteer, despite having backed the 'Remain' side during the 2016 referendum. He made headlines at a recent party conference by comparing the EU to the Soviet Union, earning rebukes from some European leaders but perhaps winning supporters among anti-EU members of his party. Hunt, 52, has held a variety of government posts, including a tenure as health secretary, and played an important role in the widely praised production of the 2012 Olympics in London. ___ SAJID JAVID Unlike many of his competitors, the home secretary does not come from an elite background. He is the son of Pakistani immigrants and his father worked as a bus driver and shopkeeper. He enjoyed a successful career in banking with Chase Manhattan and Deutsche Bank before entering politics and winning election to Parliament in 2010. During the Brexit referendum of 2016, Javid was on the 'Remain' side but was noticeably lukewarm in his support for keeping Britain in the EU. He has since embraced Brexit. He has raised his profile in recent months by taking aggressive action to curtail the arrival of small boats carrying migrants across the English Channel. ___ ANDREA LEADSOM Leadsom resigned her key post as leader of the House of Commons this week to put space between herself and May — and to clear the way for what would be a second run for the party leadership. The 56-year-old was in what became a two-woman race with May in 2016 when the party leader spot was last open. Leadsom dropped out before the matter came to a vote, in part because of a backlash against comments in which she suggested she had more of a stake in the future than May because she had raised children. She apologized, but the controversy dampened her chances and helped bring May to Downing Street. Leadsom is an outspoken supporter of Brexit who is seen by many to have been an effective House of Commons leader during an extremely contentious time.
  • They've won the Champions League together, were teammates for three Premier League title-winning campaigns, and stood shoulder to shoulder at World Cups and European Championships. Whether in the blue of Chelsea or the white of England, Frank Lampard and John Terry were often inseparable. Now, with their playing days over, they are going head-to-head as coaches. In a match that has a strong Chelsea flavor, Derby and Aston Villa meet at Wembley Stadium on Monday in the League Championship playoff final. The prize is promotion to the Premier League and a windfall of at least 170 million pounds ($215 million) — making it the most lucrative one-off match in world soccer. Away from the financial implications of the last match in England's domestic season, the most intriguing aspect might be what goes on in the respective dugouts. The 40-year-old Lampard is the rookie manager of Derby, seeking a return to the Premier League for the first time since that infamous 2007-08 season when the team collected only 11 points. The 38-year-old Terry is the assistant manager at Villa, which was last in the top flight in 2016. Both took their first steps in senior management this season and already look ready-made to transition from the field to the manager's office with ease. It's a safe bet that one, if not both, will be manager of their beloved Chelsea one day. That move appears likely to come sooner for Lampard, who has even been linked with taking over from current Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri as early as this offseason. Much will depend on how Derby fares on Monday and how Chelsea gets on in its last game of the season — the Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku, Azerbaijan, on Wednesday. Lampard's iconic status at Chelsea is secure through being the club's record scorer with 211 goals. He was the long-time vice captain to Terry, who was hailed as 'Captain, Leader, Legend' in a banner draped across the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge. This is not the first time Lampard and Terry will have come across each other in the technical area. Villa and Derby, two teams from central England, have met twice in the Championship this season, with Villa winning both games by a combined score of 7-0. Before the first game, Villa's 3-0 away win in November, Lampard — the more visible of the two this season because he has to hold weekly news conferences — spoke about his relationship with Terry being 'tight' even though they are 'different personalities.' On Monday, Terry will also likely come across Derby assistant manager Jody Morris, another former Chelsea player and good friend of Terry. Derby's team includes veteran left back Ashley Cole, a key member of the England and Chelsea teams which Lampard and Terry played for, as well as youngsters Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount, who are on loan from Chelsea. At Villa, the team's star striker is Tammy Abraham, also on loan from Chelsea. In the playoff semifinals, Derby and Villa beat clubs who finished above them in the Championship standings — Leeds and West Bromwich Albion, respectively — on the back of momentum from a strong run of results to end the regular season. Villa, managed by Dean Smith, won 10 straight games from March 2 to April 22 to secure a spot in the playoffs. Derby lost only one of its last 12 matches following the 4-0 loss to Villa on March 2. One team will eventually fall short, though, while the other can look forward to a cash bonanza of about 300 million pounds ($380 million) — mostly from broadcast and commercial revenue — should it avoid relegation from the Premier League in its first season back. Norwich and Sheffield United were promoted automatically from the Championship after finishing as the top two in the regular season. ___ More AP English soccer: https://apnews.com/PremierLeague and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Steve Douglas is at www.twitter.com/sdouglas80
  • North Korea said Friday that nuclear negotiations with the United States will never resume unless the Trump administration moves away from what Pyongyang described as unilateral demands for disarmament. The statement by an unnamed North Korean foreign ministry spokesman published in state media was the country's latest expression of displeasure over the stalled negotiations as it continues to press Washington to soften its stance on enforcing sanctions against the North's crippled economy. It came as President Donald Trump prepares to travel to Japan this weekend for a summit with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in which the North Korean nuclear issue will likely be high on the agenda. In the statement carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency, the North Korean spokesman accused the U.S. of deliberately causing February's collapse of talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un with unilateral and impossible demands. 'We hereby make it clear once again that the United States would not be able to move us even an inch with the device it is now weighing in its mind, and the further its mistrust and hostile acts toward the DPRK grow, the fiercer our reaction will be,' the statement said, referring to North Korea's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. 'Unless the United States puts aside the current method of calculation and comes forward with a new method of calculation, the DPRK-U.S. dialogue will never be resumed and by extension, the prospect for resolving the nuclear issue will be much gloomy,' the statement added. The U.S. has said the Trump-Kim talks broke down because of North Korean demands for sanctions relief in exchange for a partial surrender of its nuclear capabilities. Kim has since declared that the Trump administration has until the end of the year to come up with mutually acceptable terms for a deal. Friday's statement follows two separate launches of short-range missiles earlier this month, which ended a pause in North Korea's ballistic missile launches that began in late 2017 and was seen as measured brinkmanship aimed at increasing pressure on Washington without actually causing the negotiations to collapse. The North has also strongly protested the recent U.S. seizure of a North Korean cargo ship that had been involved in banned coal exports and demanded the vessel to be immediately returned. Following the collapse of the Trump-Kim summit, North Korea also significantly slowed the pace of its engagement with South Korea, which has been eager to improve bilateral relations and help revive discussions between Washington and Pyongyang. South Korea earlier this week vowed to push ahead with plans to resume large-scale humanitarian aid to the North. But it's unclear whether any aid package from South Korea would influence the behavior of North Korea, which has been demanding much bigger concessions from Seoul, such as the resumption of inter-Korean economic projects currently blocked by U.S.-led sanctions against Pyongyang.
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation Friday morning. >> Read more trending news In an announcement from 10 Downing Street, May said her resignation would become effective June 7. May had been under pressure to resign after a backlash by her own party against her latest Brexit plan, the BBC reported. This is a developing story.
  • Warm and muggy weather stick around, be prepared for that Storm chances return for Friday evening Some of the storms could be severe, although not looking at WIDESPREAD severe weather Isolated storm chances stick around through the weekend Rivers and lakes remaining high or in flood stage through next week Warm temperatures remain into Memorial Day Looking ahead: more severe weather is possible for parts of next week WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE for a breakdown of the muggy and warm day   DOWNLOAD THE FOX23 WEATHER APP  Follow the FOX23 Severe Weather team on Facebook.  Click on their photos to link to their individual Facebook pages.  
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation Friday morning, effective June 7. >> Read more trending news Update 6:15 a.m. EDT May 24: Most observers believe a new leader could replace Theresa May as Britain’s prime minister by the end of July, The New York Times reported. Former foreign secretary Boris Johnson appears to be the favorite. Other possibilities include former Brexit secretary Dominic Raab and Andrea Leadsom, who resigned from May’s cabinet this week, The Washington Post reported. Jeremy Hunt, the foreign secretary, and Sajid Javid, the home secretary, have also been mentioned as candidate, the Times reported. Update 5:55 a.m. EDT May 24: Theresa May became prime minister of Britain after a June 2016 referendum, when the country voted to leave the European Union, The Washington Post reported. May tried three times to get Parliament to pass the Brexit withdrawal but the House of Commons rejected it each time, the newspaper reported.  That led to her resignation Friday. 'I will shortly leave the job that it has been the honor of my life to hold,” May said outside 10 Downing Street. “The second female prime minister, but certainly not the last.'I do so with no ill will, but with enormous and enduring gratitude to have had the opportunity to serve the country I love.' Boris Johnson, who once said his chances of becoming prime minister were “about as good as the chances of finding Elvis on Mars,” is now the favorite to become Britain’s 77th prime minister, according to the Post. Update 5:35 a.m. EDT May 24:  Prime Minister Theresa May’s voice shook with emotion as she announced her resignation Friday morning, saying she had “done my best” to try to get Britain out of the European Union, the BBC reported. May said she would step down as leader of the Conservative party on June 7, but will remain prime minister until a successor is chosen, The New York Times reported. “I believe I was right to persevere, even when the odds against success seemed high,” May said. “But it is now clear to me that it is in the best interests of the country for a new prime minister to lead that effort.” May will still be in office when President Donald Trump arrives in Britain on June 3 for a state visit, which will coincide with events marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings during World War II. May had been under pressure to resign after a backlash by her own party against her latest Brexit plan, the BBC reported.
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation Friday morning. >> Read more trending news In an announcement from 10 Downing Street, May said her resignation would become effective June 7. May had been under pressure to resign after a backlash by her own party against her latest Brexit plan, the BBC reported. This is a developing story.
  • The journey of two barges on the Arkansas River has captivated many across the state and the nation. The loose barges reached the dam in Webbers Falls Thursday with little damage to the dam. The barges sank into the river.  Muskogee County Emergency Management spokeswoman Tricia Germany says the barges were carrying a total of about 3,800 pounds of fertilizer.  Germany says the concern was that the barges would block the water flow through the dam. The two barges got stuck in rocks overnight but somehow broke loose this morning as crews tried to secure them.  Residents of Webbers Falls were evacuated on Wednesday. 
  • An escalating trade war between the U.S. and China could mean higher prices on a broad array of products from toys to clothing. But some retailers will be less equipped to handle the pain than others, leaving consumers to carry the load. Analysts say big box giants like Target and Walmart who marked their latest quarter with strong performance are best positioned to absorb the higher costs because of their clout with suppliers. They’re also taking a judicious approach to price increases to lessen the impact. The losers will be the ones that have been struggling all along — the mall-based clothing stores and others that sell commoditized products like basic sweaters or that don’t have the financial wherewithal to absorb extra costs. Consumers, as well as most retailers, had been left largely unscathed by the first several rounds of tariffs that the U.S. imposed on China because they mostly focused on industrial and agricultural products. But that began to change when items like furniture saw an increase in tariffs to 25% two weeks ago. Retailers will absorb the extra costs when those products arrive in U.S. ports in June. But now the Trump administration is preparing to extend the 25% tariffs to practically all Chinese imports not already hit with levies, including toys, shirts, household goods and sneakers. Cowen & Co. estimates shoppers could see as much as 10% to 15% in price increases across all goods imported from China, which would mean an incremental cost of $100 billion or more.
  • The storms caused two barges to detach in a navigation channel near Webbers Falls in Muskogee County Wednesday night. Muskogee County Emergency Management leaders are asking residents to evacuate. The evacuation order also includes nearby areas west of the river. Troopers with the Oklahoma Highway patrol say the problem is possible debris flying from the dam. A shelter is set up in Warner. All lanes of SH-100 and I-40 are closed over the Arkansas River near the Muskogee/Sequoyah County line until further notice.  Drivers can expect significant delays and should avoid the area and seek an alternate route if possible.

Washington Insider

  • Ending months of wrangling over billions of dollars in aid for victims of hurricanes, floods, and wildfires, Congress struck a deal Thursday with President Donald Trump on a $19.1 billion aid package, which includes extra relief money for Puerto Rico, but not several billion for border security efforts sought by the President. 'We have been working on this package for several months, and I am pleased to say that help is finally on the way,' said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), as the Senate voted 85-8 to approve the plan, and send it back to the House for final action. The plan includes $600 million in food aid for Puerto Rico, along with an additional $304 million in housing assistance for the island, as President Trump backed off his opposition to extra aid for the island. 'Puerto Rico has to be treated fairly - and they are,' Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer told reporters. The compromise plan also includes over $3 billion to repair military bases in Florida, North Carolina and Nebraska which were damaged by disasters, and over $3 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to repair damaged waterways infrastructure. The details of the final agreement were just slightly different from a disaster aid package approved earlier in May by the House - that $19.1 billion plan was opposed by President Trump and a majority of GOP lawmakers. 'Now, let's get this bill to the President's desk ASAP,' said Rep. Cindy Axne (D-IA), whose home state has been hit hard by flooding. Ironically, the vote took place in the Senate as a severe storm rolled through the city, setting off alarms inside the Capitol, as police told tourists, reporters, and staffers to shelter in place. After the vote, Republicans praised the agreement, and the work of the President.  “For Florida, this is a big day,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), as the bill included $1.2 billion to help rebuild Tyndall Air Force Base, which was leveled last year by Hurricane Michael. “I just want to tell you how grateful I am to the President,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), as Republicans repeatedly said Mr. Trump had 'broken the logjam' on the disaster bill. Democrats saw it much differently, as they argued if the President had stayed out of the negotiations, the disaster aid would have been agreed to long ago. “He's an erratic, helter-skelter, get nothing done President,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer.   “If he stays out of it and lets us work together, we might get some things done.” The eight Senators who voted against the bill were all Republicans - Blackburn (TN), Braun (IN), Crapo (ID), Lee (UT), McSally (AZ), Paul (KY), Risch (ID), and Romney (UT). The bill would also extend the life of the National Flood Insurance Program, giving lawmakers several more months to consider reforms to the program, which has run up close to $40 billion in losses in the last 15 years. The bill also has specific language to force the Trump Administration to release $16 billion in already approved funding for disasters, but which has been withheld by the White House for months - it includes $4 billion for Texas, and over $8 billion for Puerto Rico. The compromise bill still needs a final vote in the House - that could take place either on Friday, or might have to wait until early June when lawmakers return from a Memorial Day break, as the House had already left town when the disaster deal was struck.
  • In the midst of an escalating trade fight with China which has caused financial pain for many American farmers, the Trump Administration announced on Thursday that $16 billion in trade relief payments would be given to farm producers starting this summer, to help farmers deal with economic impacts of foreign retaliation for U.S. tariffs. 'The plan we are announcing today ensures farmers do not bear the brunt of unfair retaliatory tariffs imposed by China and other trading partners,' said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. The $16 billion would be in addition to $12 billion in trade relief offered last year by the President to U.S. farmers, who have endured lost markets, lower commodity prices, and financial losses as a result of China and other countries retaliating against tariffs authorized by President Trump. Perdue said it would be better to have a trade agreement with China to remove the need for these trade payments, but such an agreement does not seem to be on the horizon. 'We would love for China to come to the table at any time,' Perdue said, adding that President Trump will meet with the Chinese Premier in June. 'It's really in China's court,' Perdue added. The funding for the latest farm bailout would come through the Commodity Credit Corporation, but Perdue and other USDA officials said the increase in revenues from tariffs would offset the cost. 'The President feels very strongly that the tariff revenue is going to be used to support his program, which will come back out and replenish the CCC,' Secretary Perdue said. Those tariff duties are not paid by China - but rather by companies in the United States importing items from the Chinese, as those businesses can either eat the extra import costs, or pass them on to American consumers. Democrats in Congress have grabbed on to the issue of rising costs for consumers in criticizing the President's trade policies - even though many Democrats do support the idea of being much more tough on Beijing over trade matters. Caught in the middle are farmers, who have been more readily - and publicly - voicing their concerns in recent months with the President's trade policies. 'The Farm Bureau believes in fair trade,' said American Farm Bureau Federal chief Zippy Duval. 'Eliminating more tariffs and other trade barriers is critical to achieving that goal.”  A recent poll by the Indiana Farm Bureau found 72 percent of farmers surveyed in that state felt a 'negative impact on commodity prices' because of the current trade dispute between the U.S. and China. Farm County is also mainly Republican - and the continuing pressure on farmers has filtered through in recent polling. The collateral damage for U.S. farmers could increase even more in coming months if there's no deal between the U.S. and China. President Trump has already threatened to raise tariffs on an additional $325 billion in imports from China, which could draw even more trade retaliation from Beijing - with U.S. agriculture being the most obvious target.
  • For the second time in three days, a federal judge rejected arguments by lawyers for President Donald Trump, refusing to block subpoenas issued by a U.S. House committee for financial records held by U.S. banks which did business with the President's companies. 'I think the courts are saying that we are going to uphold the rule of law,' said Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, which has subpoenaed information from the Mazars USA accounting firm. Wednesday's ruling from federal Judge Edgardo Ramos, put on the bench by President Barack Obama, related to subpoenas by two other House panels to Deutsche Bank and Capital One, for records related to Mr. Trump's businesses. Lawyers for the President, the Trump Organization, and Mr. Trump's family had asked that the subpoenas be quashed - the judge made clear that wasn't happening, and also rejected a request to stay his ruling to allow for an appeal. As in investigative matters involving the President's tax returns, and other subpoenas from Democrats, Mr. Trump's legal team argued that there is a limit on the investigative power of the Congress. 'Congress must, among other things, have a legitimate legislative purpose, not exercise law-enforcement authority, not excess the relevant committee's jurisdiction, and not make overbroad or impertinent requests,' the President's lawyers wrote in a brief filed last week. But as with a case in federal court in Washington earlier this week, that argument failed to sway Judge Ramos, who said Deutsche Bank can turn over in the information sought by the House Financial Services Committee and the House Intelligence Committee. In the halls of Congress, Democrats said the legal victories were clear evidence that the resistance of the White House to Congressional investigation could only succeed for so long. 'The White House has attempted to block Congressional oversight, but the law is on our side,' said Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT). And Democrats also were pleased by the quick action of both judges this week, amid worries that multiple legal challenges by the President could cause lengthy delays. 'We should not be slowed down in our work simply by a clock that goes through judicial processes,' said Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-PA). The legal setback for President Trump came several hours after he cut short a White House meeting with top Democrats on infrastructure, saying he would not work with them on major legislation until the House stopped a variety of investigations. 'Get these phony investigations over with,' the President told reporters in the Rose Garden. Mr. Trump seemed especially aggravated by statements earlier on Wednesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who accused the President of resisting subpoenas and other document requests for a reason. 'And we believe the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up, in a cover-up,' Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol.
  • Angered by investigative efforts in Congress pressed by House Democrats, President Donald Trump on Wednesday cut short an Oval Office meeting with Democratic leaders on an infrastructure bill, walking into the Rose Garden to tell reporters that he would not work with Democrats on major legislative initiatives until Congress ends investigations related to the Russia probe and more. 'Get these phony investigations over with,' the President said, clearly aggravated by comments made earlier in the day by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who accused Mr. Trump of engaging in a 'cover-up' by ignoring subpoenas and refusing to turn over documents in a series of investigations led by Democrats. 'I don't do cover-ups,' Mr. Trump said with a distinct note of frustration in his voice, as he again said the Mueller Report should have been the last word on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 elections. 'As President Trump has always said: No Collusion. No Obstruction,' the White House tweeted soon after his impromptu Rose Garden remarks. Returning to the Capitol from the White House, Democrats said the scene seemed like a set up. 'It's clear that this was not a spontaneous move on the President's part,' said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, as Democrats accused the President of doing everything he could to avoid bipartisan agreements on issues like infrastructure, which was the subject of today's sit down at the White House. “I pray for the President,” Speaker Pelosi said afterwards. Just last night, Mr. Trump had sent Democrats a letter asking that infrastructure efforts be delayed until after approval of the US-Mexico-Canada free trade agreement - which still has not even been submitted to the Congress for a vote.
  • Facing pressure within Democratic Party ranks to open an official impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday vowed to 'follow the facts' of any investigations related to the President and his administration, bluntly accusing Mr. Trump of doing all he can to block oversight related to the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. 'We believe it’s important to follow the facts. We believe that no one is above the law including the President of the United States,' Pelosi said after a closed door meeting of House Democrats. 'And we believe the President of the United States is engaged in a cover-up, in a cover-up,' Pelosi told reporters. Pelosi's advice to her House Democratic Caucus has been to hold off on starting any official impeachment effort, and instead focus on holding hearings, getting documents, sending out subpoenas, taking their document fights to the courts, and increasing the pressure on the President with those actions. The Speaker touted the success of one of those efforts on Wednesday, as she noted that the House Intelligence Committee - after using its subpoena power - pressured the Justice Department into providing the panel with more counter intelligence information which was generated by the Russia investigation. 'The Intelligence Committee talked about the documents that the Justice Department is now willing to convey,' Pelosi said, using that as one example of how Democrats are slowly getting information from the Trump Administration - without the need to take a step towards impeachment hearings. 'We have to be patient as we plow along,' said Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), a member of the House Judiciary Committee, who said now is not the time to start an impeachment effort by that panel. 'We've got to have evidence,' Johnson told me. 'We can't just take the Mueller Report.' But Democrats have encountered numerous hurdles set up by the President and the White House in terms of getting the underlying evidence of the Mueller Report, getting testimony from Mueller, hearing from former White House Counsel Don McGahn, and more. 'The potential reasons to cite impeachment have been growing,' said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). 'I believe the facts fully justify an impeachment inquiry,' said Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA), who was joined by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) in calling for a start to official proceedings against the President. For now, Speaker Pelosi is still resisting that course - but making it very plain that she agrees with fellow Democrats about what they are seeing. 'It was a very positive meeting; a respectful sharing of ideas,' Pelosi said.