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Latest from Rick Couri

    The biggest crowd to cram into HA Chapman stadium will be on hand as the Cowboy’s visit Tulsa for the first of several games in the newly renewed series. Take a look below for all the info you need. THE GAME CAPSULE: The Game: Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys Location: H.A. Chapman Stadium on the TU campus Game time: 2:35 p.m. Hurricane Alley: Opens at 11:30 a.m. on Chapman Commons Team Walk: Approximately 12:15 p.m. from Collins Hall on 8th Street (east of the Fountains) Gates Open: 1:00 p.m. For Tickets: Online at www.TulsaHurricane.com or call 918.631.GoTU (4688) Tickets on Game Day: The Reynolds Center Ticket Office will be open on Saturday from 9-12 p.m. Stadium ticket booths will open at 1:00 p.m. The ticket booths are located at the four corners of the stadium. CASH only is accepted at the ticket booths on east side; credit cards will be accepted at the west side ticket booths. Will Call Windows: Open at 1:00 p.m. Ticket Prices: $75 TV Coverage: ESPN 2 Radio: Big Country 99.5 FM  CAIN’S ON CHAPMAN CONCERT SERIES: Hurricane Alley is located on Chapman Commons and provides fans an entertainment area prior to the game. Hurricane Alley will open at 11:30 a.m. for the Tulsa-Oklahoma State game. Concert with past American Idol contestant and Nashville Recording Artist Emily Brooke will begin at 12:30 p.m. Inflatable games for kids, TU Alumni Association Tent and Beer Garden Open and more is part of the pre-game festivities on Chapman Commons. 11th STREET BLOCK PARTY PRESENTED BY COX: The 11th Street Block party presented by COX will take place on 11th street from 11-2 p.m. (11th street between Harvard and Delaware Avenues will be closed beginning at 7 a.m.) The block party features food trucks, beer & wine, seating areas, inflatable and vendors. TEAM WALK: The Tulsa Team Walk from Collins Hall (east of the Fountains) to the locker room down 8th Street takes place at approximately 12:15 p.m.  PARKING: PAY lots are open on the north side of campus at East 4th and Harvard Ave. and the East 4th Place and Harvard/Keplinger Lot. Other parking lots on campus are designated as credentialed lots.  CLEAR BAG POLICY… The University of Tulsa has implemented a clear bag policy that limits the size and types of bags that may be brought in by fans to ticketed venues. The University strongly encourages all fans not to bring unauthorized types of bags to H.A. Chapman Stadium Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12' x 6' x 12' are allowed.  Fans are able to carry the following style and size of bag, package, or container into the stadium: · One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar). · Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand (4.5” x 6.5”), with or without a handle or strap can be taken into the venue with one of the clear plastic bags. · An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection. · Spectators also will be able to carry other items allowed in such as binoculars and cameras, but their cases will not be allowed. · Working personnel, including accredited news media, will continue to enter through designated gates where they will be subject to screening and bag inspections of the same manner as in the past.  GAMEDAY TWITTER: For up-to-date game day information including stadium information, parking and weather updates follow the Tulsa Golden Hurricane Gameday Operations Twitter Account @TULSA_GameOps  HYDRATION STATIONS: Complimentary hydration stations and cool zones will feature free water and misters for fans to battle the heat.  THE KIDS ZONE: The Kids Zone Area inside the stadium is located behind Section 114 (southwest side of the stadium). This area features bounce houses, games and more.  SEASON TICKET HOLDERS/OTHER VISITORS: Season Ticket Holders and other visitors to the stadium are requested to enter through Gates 1, 1A, 2, 3, 5, 6A & 7.  TICKET PURCHASES: Tickets may be purchased at the ticket booths located at each of the four corners of the stadium beginning 1.5 hours prior to prior to kickoff. Cash only is accepted at the east side ticket booths, credit cards will be accepted at the west side ticket booths.  Will Call: General Will Call tickets can be picked up at the Reynolds Center ticket office. TU Player Pass Will Call (Gate 2) and Visitors’ Will Call (Gate 6). Will Call opens 1.5 hours prior to kickoff.  Student Gate (GATE 6A): TU students are encouraged to enter the stadium through Gate 6A. Students must present a valid TU Student ID card, which will be scanned upon entry.  Handicap: Special entrances are provided at Gates 1, 1A, 6A and 7 for those guests with special needs and disabilities. Handicap Parking is available in the south corner of the Lorton Village Parking Lot, west of the stadium. These spaces are reserved strictly for those vehicles displaying a valid Handicap Parking Permit. Handicap seating is available on the west side of the stadium in Sections 114-117, south end zone in Sections 109, 110 and 113, and Sections 105-108 on the east side of the stadium. Contact the TU Athletic Ticket Office at 918.631.4688 for tickets in the handicap seating areas.  No Re-Entry: There is NO Re-entry allowed, other than for medical emergencies. To ensure a safe and secure environment for everyone at H.A. Chapman Stadium, re-entry will not be allowed once you have left the stadium.  Emergencies: Medical assistance is available in the southwest corner of H.A. Chapman Stadium (near Gate 1). EMSA is present during each game. If an emergency arises, ask the nearest usher for assistance. The emergency phone number for H.A. Chapman Stadium is 918.631.3664 or 918.631.5555.  Telephones: Cell phone charging stations provided by Lexus will be located on the east and west sides of the stadium. There are no public pay phones located in H.A. Chapman Stadium.  ATM: ATM’s are located west of the Press Box, behind Section 116 on Thomas Plaza, and behind Section 107 on the east side of the stadium.  Public Address System: The PA system is intended primarily for spectators’ information concerning the game. Please do not request use of the PA system to make social contacts.  Restrooms: Restrooms are located underneath the stands on the east side of H.A. Chapman Stadium. On the west side, restrooms are located next to the concession stands along Thomas Plaza.  Lost and Found: Lost and found items can be dropped off and claimed at the Security Command Post on the west side of the stadium, north of the Thomas A. Johnston Atrium, behind Section 118.  Concession Stands: Concession stands and food vendors are located throughout the stadium. Main concession areas include underneath the east stands, in the lower level of the apartments west of Thomas Plaza, and throughout Thomas Plaza on the west side of the stadium. Stand-alone beer stands are also available on both sides of the stadium. Beer is sold through the 3rd quarter.  Prohibited Items: The following items are prohibited in H.A. Chapman Stadium: bags larger than 12”x6”x12”, firearms or weapons of any type, camcorders, umbrellas, folding chairs, outside food and beverages, alcoholic beverages, thermos jugs and ice chests. Artificial noisemakers of any kind are prohibited. Use of any tobacco product (including electronic cigarettes) is prohibited in all seating areas, restrooms, elevators, press box levels and on the field. Heightened security measures are in effect. Bag and purse checks will occur prior to entering the stadium.  Banners: H.A. Chapman Stadium banners must be approved the week prior to the game. For approval, contact Drew Friedman via email at drf149@utulsa.edu or by calling 918.631.2323. Unapproved banners may be removed from the stadium by event personnel.  Field Regulations / Press Box: No person is permitted on the playing field before, during, or after the game without proper credentials as issued by The University of Tulsa Department of Intercollegiate Athletics or unless accompanied by athletics personnel. Press Box access is strictly prohibited without proper credential.  Request for Assistance: Requests for assistance should be directed to the ushers located throughout the stadium, or to the Security Command Post (located under the west stands).    
  • Linde Oktoberfest, the annual celebration of German food, music, and culture is less than two months away, and assistance putting on the party is needed! Both USA Today and Condé Nast Traveler Magazine have rated Tulsa’s Oktoberfest as top five in the nation. Title sponsor Linde engineering brings out dozens of people to help, but more than 1,000 volunteers are still needed. Those involved will pour, sell, guide, lift, and Chicken Dance through the run of the show. Everyone pitching in will get a few perks, like a volunteer t-shirt, admittance to the volunteer hospitality zone, and a special invitation for you and a guest to attend the post-festival thank-you party. You can find a way to take part here. Linde Oktoberfest takes over River West Festival Park from October 17th through the 20th.
  • KRMG just received the following note from Sand Springs police. Our 911 service and non-emergency lines have been affected by a fire at the AT&T offices in Tulsa. YOU MAY CALL (918-246-2546) FOR ASSISTANCE from SSPD/SSFD or EMSA. We will only have one line operational right now, so please do not call this number for general questions, only for emergencies. We will stage officers and firefighters who are not assigned to calls to the following locations that you can go to if you need help: City Hall - 100 E. Broadway QT North - 200 S. Highway 97 Charles Page High School - 500 n. Adams Road QT South - 2 E. 41st Corner of 41st and 129th W. Ave.
  • NASA is sending a rover flight to the Red Planet in 2020. They want you to be part of it. On the web page NASA 2020, the agency writes;  'As we get ready to launch this historic Mars mission, we want everyone to share in this journey of exploration,' said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in Washington. ‘It’s an exciting time for NASA, as we embark on this voyage to answer profound questions about our neighboring planet, and even the origins of life itself.’ The opportunity to send your name to Mars comes with a souvenir boarding pass and 'frequent flyer' points. This is part of a public engagement campaign to highlight missions involved with NASA's journey from the Moon to Mars. Miles (or kilometers) are awarded for each 'flight,' with corresponding digital mission patches available for download. More than 2 million names flew on NASA's InSight mission to Mars, giving each 'flyer' about 300 million frequent flyer miles (nearly 500 million frequent flyer kilometers). From now until Sept. 30, you can add your name to the list and obtain a souvenir boarding pass to Mars here. Good luck, we’re not sure if there will be snacks on the flight.
  • With more than 160,000 cubic feet of water per second gushing out of Keystone Dam and more rain expected over the next few days, the city if Tulsa wants you to know more about flooding. The city released an updated flood map you can access by tapping on the link below. Keystone Dam Inundation Map  The map shows the path of the Arkansas river from Keystone Lake all the way past Muskogee, Webers Falls, and into Ft. Smith. The city suggests using the map to get a good idea about how much any property you own or rent could be affected by the release. With more severe weather possible tonight, keep KRMG close-by so you can be prepared and  know the latest about the weather.
  • Reports began coming in to emergency workers just before 8 am, saying the workers platform was “swinging wildly out of control,” at the Devon Energy building in Oklahoma City.  The Oklahoma City Fire department tweeted the video below showing the platform smashing into the building, breaking glass. Crews now report the basket is once again secured and the two workers inside are secure and being checked by medics.
  • Police say Sarah Hill, a non-custodial parent, picked Austin up from school Monday and went missing.  Cops tell is Sarah was driving a maroon, 2007 Mazda CX-7 with license plate EKP237. Police ask anyone with information to call 918-968-2733.                    
  • It’s been a productive first 100 days for Jenks businessman Kevin Stitt. That’s according to the man himself, and those working for him.  “We’ve gone from legislature vs governor, cabinet secretary vs cabinet secretary, to everyone working together,” Commerce secretary Sean Kouplen told us.  Stitt believes his biggest step forward is requiring accountability. But he tells the KRMG Morning News he’s also enjoying the job. “People ask me what’s the biggest surprise, and I tell them it’s how much fun I’m having,” he began. “It’s so cool to get a new job and to really be enjoying it.” Joining the KRMG Morning News for an in-depth hour on his first 100 days, Stitt told us work is getting done in a different way.  “I am bringing a different environment and atmosphere to the capitol.” Lieutenant governor Matt Pinnell is pleased to see the governor instill a sense of accountability. “I come into my cabinet meetings every week and we’re not just sitting around shooting the breeze,” he told KRMG. “We have real metrics,” he added. “ What are our one month goals, what are our two month goals, what are our quarterly and one-year goals,” he went on. Stitt promises to continue his high energy approach, something Kouplen believes will happen. “If I’ve heard him say ‘move the needle’ once, I’ve heard him say it 100 times,” Kouplen chuckled. Join the KRMG Morning News from 8 am-9 am today to hear governor Stitt and some of his key cabinet members as we cover their biggest achievements, and plans for the future. Listen to the entire hour here.
  • Employees at the Skunk Grow Supply near Memorial and 51st say they are hoping to identify a man and woman who allegedly burglarized their business. Officials told FOX23 and KRMG the two walked in and stole a grow tent, worth about $130. But this is the second time they’ve had a similar situation. The first time someone walked out with more than $2,000 worth of equipment. Surveillance video captured the moment the two suspects started running out the door and toward their car in the parking lot. That’s when one of the owners and a customer who had been helping expand the location started chasing the two. One of the men jumped on top of the car. The owner says they’re  concerned for their safety, and plan to take extra safety precautions in the future.
  • The Woody Guthrie Center showcase of memorabilia includes movie posters, movie props, and other items from the Outsiders movie. “We’re thrilled to help support and promote this incredible addition to the Tulsa arts,” Deana McCloud told us during a recent visit to the museum. Her personal favorite in the collection is clear. “Dallas Winston,” she exclaimed while pointing at the leather jacket worn by actor Matt Dillon as he portrayed the character. “Who didn’t love watching Dallas Winston just saunter with that swag, just right down the street,” she went on. The exhibit offers a sneak peek at other items from the Francis Ford Coppola film based on the S.E. Hinton novel McCloud connected with so completely. “I can see myself in this story,” she began. “I can see my friends, this is the real world, not just something an adult wrote.” Included are screen-worn wardrobe items such as Matt Dillon's leather jacket, a hooded sweatshirt worn by C. Thomas Howell in the 'Rumble,' as wells as behind-the-scenes photography, call sheets, and a signed script. The exhibit will remain on display until the opening of the museum, that date is not yet been announced. Listen to the entire interview with Deana here.
  • Rick Couri

    Managing Editor

    Rick Couri began his career with KRMG in 1982 and has since done "everything you could do" at the station. Rick has covered top sporting events such as the Olympic Games, the World Series, football bowl games and championship tennis. He even spent a day with boxing great Muhammad Ali. On the news side Rick was in Joplin and Moore hours after F-5 tornados. He’s also covered political conventions and a presidential visit.

    Rick is entering his 32nd year as the color voice for TU basketball, and 16th year as the play-by-play voice for Union football. He’s also broadcast Tulsa basketball, Oklahoma State football, and spent seven years as the voice of the Tulsa Talons Arena league football team.

    Rick and Christine, his wife of 28-years, have three children. Son Kelly (38), and his wife Jill, are the parents of granddaughters Hayden, and Hannah. 34-year-old daughter Lindsey works for Union public schools, and 21-year-old daughter Delaney Catalina is a senior education major at Texas A&M University. When away from the microphone, Rick is a 22 year PADI scuba instructor. He and his family have a dive instruction company, http://www.okiescuba.com/. While Rick will tell you he is a "sports guy", those familiar with the Tulsa market know Rick's influence extends well outside the circle of sports. As Co-host of the KRMG Morning News, Rick has interviewed everyone from local celebrities to national figures.  A community leader who gives of his time and talent, Rick's commitment to the annual funding campaign for Operation Aware has resulted in over $1.3 million dollars being raised for this important charity. KRMG listeners have learned to appreciate Rick's insightful reporting and have developed a trust unique in today's media personalities. 

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  • 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.