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Kamala Harris in 2020?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

By Veronica Mackey


Attorney General Jeff Sessions was a senator for 20 years before accepting his current post in the Trump Administration.  The seasoned politician knows his way around investigative hearings and knows how to avoid implicating himself under oath.  


Nonetheless, the Alabama Republican came unraveled by a Congressional newcomer during Tuesday’s hearing on Russian interference with the 2016 election.  Freshman Sen. Kamala Harris fired off question after question about Sessions’ meetings with Russian officials and discussions with President Donald Trump.


The questioning was quick and direct. At one point, when Harris asked Sessions about any conversations he had with Russian businessmen at the 2016 Republican convention, he said, “I’m not able to be rushed this fast. It makes me nervous.”  The veteran senator struggled to find definitive answers, and several times said he could not recall what was said.  

A harsh critic of Trump and friend to former President Barack Obama, Sen. Harris is quickly making a name for herself in Washington.  She is California’s former attorney general, whose landmark California Homeowner's Bill of Rights became law in 2013. The bill gives homeowners more "options when fighting to keep their home" and also gives the California Attorney General more power to investigate and prosecute financial fraud.


Already, there is buzz that Harris has her eye on the presidential race in 2020.  None of this talk, however, has been confirmed.  


L.A. Inches Closer to Olympics Bid

Thursday, June 15, 2017

May have to wait until 2028


The United States took another step toward hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games Friday, following the International Olympic Committee executive board’s approval of a plan to award both the 2024 and 2028 Games simultaneously later this year. 


The unprecedented dual award all but guarantees that Los Angeles and Paris—the only bidders left—will become host cities. 


There is speculation that the Summer Games will be held in Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028. Paris is seeking to host the Olympics on the 100-year anniversary of its second time holding the Games. A 2024 bid will also make Paris the second city to host the Olympics three times.  London is the first. 


Los Angeles appears content to wait another 4 years to become the three-time Olympic host city, and the third city to host the Games within the U.S.


The full IOC membership will vote on the executive board’s plan next month. The site for 2024 — and potentially 2028 — would then be officially awarded at the Sept. 13 IOC Session in Lima, Peru.


 “We welcome the IOC executive board's decision to recognize two excellent bids from two of the world's greatest cities. With no new permanent venues to build and unwavering public support, Los Angeles is an eternal Olympic city and ideal partner for the IOC,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said in a statement.


According to the plan, the $2.6 billion stadium being built in Inglewood will be among 4 sports venues to host Games in the L.A. area. The opening ceremony will be jointly held at the Coliseum and at the Inglewood stadium, and gymnastics competition would be held at The Forum in Inglewood.


The Olympics were previously held in Los Angeles in 1932 and 1984. If the United States is awarded hosting duties, it will become the first five-time host of the Olympic Summer Games. The 1996 Olympics were held in Atlanta, and St. Louis was the site of the third modern Olympics in 1904. The United States also has played host to the Winter Games four times: 1932 and 1980 in Lake Placid, New York; 1960 in Squaw Valley, California; and 2002 in Salt Lake City.


The USOC most recently bid for the Summer Games for both 2012 (New York) and 2016 (Chicago).




The trial of a Minnesota police officer who fatally shot a black motorist opened Monday with attorneys offering sharply different accounts of whether the officer saw the motorist’s gun before he began firing, according to AP.


Officer Jeronimo Yanez, a Latino, is charged with manslaughter in the July 6 death of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old elementary school cafeteria worker, in a St. Paul suburb. Castile’s death in little more than a minute after he was pulled over for a broken taillight captured the world’s attention as his girlfriend live-streamed the shooting’s aftermath on Facebook.


Prosecutors played a portion of squad-car video in which Castile told Yanez he was carrying a gun and that he was not reaching for it.  Yanez interrupted him and said, “Don’t pull it out.”


Castile replied, “I’m not pulling it out,” as Yanez opened fire. Castile’s last words were, “I wasn’t reaching for it.”


Prosecutor Rick Dusterhoft said Yanez could be heard telling another officer he didn’t know where the gun was. However, that portion of the video wasn’t played. No one saw the gun until paramedics found it in Castile’s pocket, according to Dusterhoft.  Yanez will testify that he saw Castile’s hand on the grip, then opened fire, believing his life was in danger.


Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds also testified on Monday about the events of the day he died. She was expected to talk about the shooting on Tuesday.   


Defense attorneys unsuccessfully tried to block one of two black jurors from the final group of 15 (12 jurors and 3 alternates), arguing a female immigrant from Ethiopia didn’t understand the criminal justice system well enough to follow the proceedings. Prosecutors said the defense wanted to block the woman because of her race. Judge William Leary III kept her on the jury. The ratio of black jurors matches the black population of Ramsey County, which includes St. Paul and several suburbs. 


Castile had a permit to carry his handgun.  The defense will argue, however, that he obtained the permit illegally in 2016 because he was a marijuana user at the time, and was also high when Yanez stopped him. Minnesota’s gun permit application requires applicants to state they don’t use illegal drugs


By Laurel Wamsley


Andrea Constand walks to the courtroom during Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial in Norristown, Pa., on Tuesday. Cosby is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting Constand at his home outside Philadelphia in 2004.


Matt Rourke/AP


(NPR) - Andrea Constand has said Bill Cosby drugged and assaulted her in 2004 while she was working for Temple University's women's basketball team. On Tuesday, in a Pennsylvania courtroom, she told her story publicly for the first time.


"In my head, I was trying to get my hands to move or my legs to move, but I was frozen," Constand said, according to The Associated Press. "I wasn't able to fight in any way. ... I wanted it to stop."


Cosby, the 79-year-old comedian, is charged with sexually assaulting Constand in his home outside Philadelphia. According to the wire service, Constand was "calm and collected" while she testified and looked at the jury as she described the assault:


"She said Cosby gave her pills he claimed were a natural remedy to ease her stress about a looming career change. 'They're your friends. They'll take the edge off,' she quoted him as saying.


"She told the jury she started feeling woozy after about 20 minutes, with blurred vision, slurred words and legs that felt like rubber. Cosby then [assaulted her], she said.


"She said she was unable to push him away or tell him to stop.


"Afterward, Constand said, 'I felt really humiliated and I felt really confused.'


"Cosby, sitting across the room at the defense table, leaned in to listen, whispered to his lawyer and, at times, shook his head."


According to WHYY reporter Laura Benshoff, who spoke with NPR's All Things Considered, Constand described meeting Cosby at a Temple basketball game, where he inquired about some facilities in the women's locker room. Cosby became a mentor to Constand, and he would sometimes invite her to dinner at his house either alone or with others.


Benshoff says Constand testified that on a previous occasion, Cosby tried to unzip her pants, but she rejected the advance and said, "I'm not here for that. I don't want that."


The defense has highlighted phone records showing that Constand called Cosby 53 times after she says he assaulted her, the AP reports. Constand said the calls mostly concerned the women's basketball team.


"It had more to do with business than it did with me personally," she said.


More than 50 women have said Cosby assaulted them, but the statute of limitations has run out in nearly all cases. Only in Constand's case has Cosby been charged.


Cosby said in a recent interview that he won't testify.


The mostly white jury is composed of seven men and five women, according to WHYY's Bobby Allyn. On Monday, the first day of the trial, prosecutor Kristen Feden asked jurors not to let memories of Cosby as a TV actor and comedian cloud their judgment of what happened to Constand 13 years ago.


The defense attorney, on the other hand, asked jurors to "be the juror you would be if this was your own grandfather," Allyn reports, and pointed to apparent inconsistencies in Constand's statements to suggest that she couldn't be trusted.


In Monday's testimony, a woman identified as "Victim No. 6" described being drugged and sexually molested by Cosby. Allyn reports that the woman was subjected to a tough cross-examination by Cosby's attorney, who attempted to show that her memory was incorrect.


The judge in the case has forbidden cameras in the courtroom, and reporters must turn off their phones throughout the proceedings.



Cosby at courthouse with “Cosby Show” co-star Keshia Knight-Pulliam.


By Benjamin Siegeln


It won't be business as usual on Capitol Hill tomorrow.


Former FBI Director James Comey's appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to captivate lawmakers -- and grind some official business to a halt.


"This will be watched as much as the Watergate hearings," said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, who plans to watch the hearing.


Several House members -– including Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois), and the ubiquitous Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) -- are taking the unusual step of crossing the Capitol on a busy legislative day to sit in on the Senate hearing.


Sens. Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island) and John McCain (R-Arizona), plan to take advantage of their privileges as former committee members: They will be sitting at the dais with the current members and will get to question Comey.


Even members leaving Washington are feeling the pull. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), who is slipping out of town to attend her daughter's graduation from MIT, told ABC News she is planning to sneak in some C-Span in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) will watch the hearing Thursday, but he is worried about Trump retaliating on Twitter in real time.


"He can only hurt [his case]," King said in an interview. "He should just stay quiet."


King, who said Comey's statement released by the Senate Intelligence Committee today was "very positive" for the president -- because it appeared to back up his claim that Comey repeatedly told him he wasn't under investigation -- said Trump should leave any rebuttal to his lawyer.


"The danger is he responds to something inflammatory that some Democratic senator is going to ask, a leading question with a criminal implication ... and the president’s going to tweet quickly without checking all his records," he added.


Also on Thursday, House GOP leaders, forging ahead with their agenda, have scheduled a vote on the Financial CHOICE Act, a consequential proposal to roll back Dodd-Frank that Speaker Paul Ryan has called one of the "crown jewels" of the Republican agenda.


They have also cancelled votes planned for Friday, giving members an opportunity to leave Washington -- and questions from the Capitol Hill press corps about Comey's testimony -- a day early


Source:  ABC News


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