1 Public Hearings In House Impeachment Probe Start Next Week
Democrats and Republicans are sure ready to rumble as public hearings in the House impeachment probe are set to start next week – Wednesday to be exact. Talking with reporters at the Capitol, California Democrat Adam Schiff said the first scheduled witnesses will be State Department officials Bill Taylor and George Kent. A second hearing will feature ousted U.S.-Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch [[yo-VON-ah-vitch]]. Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, added that it is clear that President Trump tried to use Ukraine to "dig up dirt on a political opponent." He called it presidential misconduct. What does the GOP have to say? Earlier this week we told you that Republicans were reportedly ready to start saying that a ‘quid pro quo’ did happen – and that it’s totally legal. That drum appears to be finding a rhythm as Republicans have been stressing the President has done nothing wrong. And yesterday on Capitol Hill? Louisiana Senator John Kennedy told ABC News that “there are perfectly appropriate quid pro quos, and inappropriate quid pro quos.” Meanwhile, a new report suggests President Trump tried to get Attorney General William Barr to clear him in the Ukraine controversy. The “Washington Post” is reporting that Trump wanted Barr to hold a press conference saying the President's phone call with Ukraine's leader didn't break any laws. The paper cites people familiar with the matter as saying Barr declined. Trump apparently made the request around the time the White House revealed a transcript of the infamous July call.
2 Arrest Made In Mexico Over NH Couple's Death In TX
A man is under arrest in Mexico in connection with the death of a New Hampshire couple in Texas. Mexican media reports Adam Williams was captured yesterday in Jalisco on theft charges. Williams is believed to be the man pictured driving James and Michelle Butler's pickup last month as it went into Mexico. The Butlers were found last week in a shallow grave on a North Padre Island beach. They were visiting the state from Rumney. Williams’ companion Amanda Noverr, was also taken into custody. She’s considered to be a person of interest in the case, as she’s believed to be the woman seen sitting next to Williams in the truck. While Williams' bond has been set at $1-million, Noverr is reportedly being held for being in the country illegally.
3 Federal Judge Voids President Trump's 'Conscience Rule'
A federal judge is voiding the Trump Administration's "conscience rule" that allowed health-care providers to refuse to participate in procedures they disagreed with on religious or moral grounds. Under the rule that was set to take effect this month, a doctor could refuse to perform an abortion or other medical procedure if it’s against his/her religious beliefs. Nearly two-dozen mostly Democratic states and municipalities brought the lawsuit challenging the rule as the Feds were threatening to withhold billions of dollars of funding from hospitals, clinics, universities and other healthcare providers that did not comply with the Trump directive. In his 147-page decision., U.S. District Judge Paul Engelmayer said the "conscience rule" is unconstitutional. He noted, “Wherever the outermost line where persuasion gives way to coercion lies, the threat to pull all HHS funding here crosses it.” A government spokeswoman says the decision is being reviewed.