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  1. https://apnews.com/49fd63d02be24f5daad0bba353edc738 WASHINGTON (AP) — The impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump has thrust Washington into a political crisis. And Trump keeps adding to the chaos. In the four weeks since House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., launched the investigation, Trump has taken steps that have drawn more criticism, not less, repeatedly testing the loyalty of his stalwart Republican allies. His actions have both intensified the questions at the center of the inquiry and opened new areas of concern. Trump angered GOP leaders and U.S. allies by clearing the way for Turkish attacks on Syrian Kurdish fighters, key American partners in the fight against the Islamic State group. He brazenly announced plans to hold next year’s Group of Seven summit at one of his own Florida properties, prompting an outcry from ethics experts and members of both parties that led him to reverse course late Saturday. And Trump and his advisers have repeatedly muddied their defense on the Democratic-led impeachment, initially denying some of the central allegations against the president only to acknowledge them, out loud and on camera. “It is his persona to surround himself with chaos,” said Alice Stewart, a Republican strategist who advised Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign. Chaos has indeed been a hallmark of Trump’s presidency. Each controversy bleeds into the next — often so fast that the public doesn’t have time to absorb the details of any one issue. Whether that is a deliberate Trump strategy or simply the consequence of Americans electing a highly unconventional, nonpolitician as commander in chief remains one of the fundamental questions of his presidency. The most pressing question now is how the cascading controversies will impact Trump at one of his most vulnerable moments since taking office. Already saddled by low approval ratings, he could face reelection with the dubious distinction of being just the third American president ever impeached. Though conviction and removal from office by the Republican-controlled Senate seems virtually impossible, Trump’s handling of the coming weeks could linger with some of the voters he needs to hold in order to win in 2020. His response thus far has been pulled from the standard Trump playbook : hurling deeply personal, sometimes vulgar, insults at his opponents, questioning the legitimacy of the investigations into his actions and distracting with other jarring decisions. For example, there was his public call for China to investigate baseless corruption claims against Democrat Joe Biden just days after Democrats launched impeachment proceedings to probe Trump’s similar request of Ukraine. There are some signs that Trump’s words and actions are being received differently, both in Washington and across the country, from other points in his presidency. Polls now show more Americans in favor of opening the impeachment inquiry than those who are opposed, a shift since earlier this year. A recent Pew Research Center poll found that 54% of Americans approved of the House decision to conduct an inquiry, while 44% disapproved. In a Pew poll conducted a few weeks earlier, the public was evenly divided on the question. A few prominent Republicans have moved in favor of the investigation, which centers in part on whether Trump used his office for personal political gain by asking Ukraine to investigate the unfounded accusations against former Vice President Biden. John Kasich, the former Republican governor of Ohio, is among the Republicans who now back an impeachment inquiry, though he told The Associated Press in an interview that he isn’t ready to call for Trump’s removal from office. “This is an extremely serious matter,” Kasich said. “I wrestled with it for a very long time.” Kasich was persuaded by the White House’s shifting story on why Trump withheld $400 million in military aid for Ukraine, one of the issues under investigation by the House. After insisting there was no quid pro quo at play — and allowing Republicans to use that as a rationale for opposing the impeachment inquiry — acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Thursday that one of the reasons the aid was held up was that Trump wanted Ukrainian officials to investigate a debunked conspiracy involving the Democratic National Committee. Mulvaney later tried to back away from that statement. His televised news conference left some Republicans flabbergasted. Many in the party were already reeling from Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria, allowing Turkey to move into the country and attack Kurdish forces aligned with Washington. Reliable Trump allies such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., panned the president’s move as dangerous and deeply flawed. And Mulvaney opened his news conference by announcing another controversial decision: Trump plans to host world leaders next year at his golf resort near Miami, putting him in position to personally profit from his office. Some Republicans found the move difficult to defend as well. “I am not surprised at all that the president wanted to hold the G-7 at Doral. Never occurred to me that he would want to do anything different,” Stewart said. “I am surprised there’s no one in there who would advise him against doing that.” After two days of intense criticism for his choice of Doral, the president tweeted late Saturday that he would begin the search for a new site “based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility.” In fact, the criticism had been bipartisan. For now, the Republican frustration with Trump’s actions over the past few weeks isn’t affecting the party’s views on the impeachment investigation, which is opposed by the majority of GOP lawmakers and voters. “Republicans have already shown that they’re compartmentalizing this,” said Brendan Buck, an adviser to former House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis. “They’re able to be very upset about Syria in the morning and rationalize the other issues in the afternoon.”
  2. President Trump announced Saturday night that his administration would no longer consider his personal resort in Doral, Florida to host the 2020 G7 summit in Miami, and suggested he might consider Camp David. "Based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020," the president tweeted. "We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!" 36.3K people are talking about this The announcement followed earlier tweets in which he said he thought he "was doing something very good for our Country" by hosting world leaders at his Florida resort next year. “It is big, grand, on hundreds of acres, next to MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, has tremendous ballrooms & meeting rooms, and each delegation would have its own 50 to 70 unit building," he tweeted. 25.5K people are talking about this He followed up by saying that he had offered to host the summit at no profit to himself to avoid concerns about “emoluments violations.” He said that if it were legally permissible, he’d offered to host the summit at no cost to the U.S. Democratic lawmakers claimed Friday that past G7 summits have cost "upwards of $40 million." “But, as usual, the hostile media and their Democrat partners went crazy!” Trump sounded off. White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney announced on Thursday that next year’s G7 meeting will be held at Trump National Doral Golf Club between June 10 and 12, after months of speculation. “The president has made it clear that he doesn’t profit from being here,” Mulvaney said during the briefing. “The resort is doing it at cost…it’s much cheaper to do it at Doral than at other sites [that were being considered.]” Mulvaney said the decision will save taxpayers millions because the resort will provide its services at cost. “The Trump family made their money before they went into politics,” Mulvaney added later to assuage any accusations the president might be profiting from his office. Trump first made the suggestion to have the 2020 G7 at his Doral resort in August at the 2019 summit in France, sparking controversy over the ethics of a president profiting off an official government event. One day after Mulvaney’s announcement, a trio of Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation to block the president from hosting next year’s summit. Reps. Lois Frankel from Florida, Bennie Thompson from Mississippi and Steve Cohen from Tennessee proposed the Trump's Heist Undermines the G-7 (THUG) Act. A companion bill sponsored by Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., will be introduced in the Senate, according to lawmakers. The House bill would prohibit funding for the three-day summit in June. It would also require Trump to submit to Congress documents related to the decision to host the summit at Doral, lawmakers said. Speculation of an emoluments violation rose another time in September after news broke that a number of Air Force flight crews had stayed at a Scottish resort owned by Trump between 2015 and 2019. An Air Force review revealed 18 percent of aircrew who stopped over in Scotland stayed at Trump’s Turnberry resort between those years, and Trump said he had no knowledge of the crews’ stays.
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  13. A desperate mother has shared chilling before and after photos of her son — who she says is addicted to heroin and methamphetamine — in an effort to bring awareness to addiction. Jennifer Salfen-Tracy, of Wentzville, Mo., said her oldest son, Cody Bishop, is suffering from a drug addiction and she's been "hesitant on sharing" the private details of their lives, "but many people ask how things are going so I feel I should share." "The face of heroin and meth," the mother wrote on Facebook Wednesday, "is reality for so many people and families in this world today." Bishop is living in Las Vegas, where he's homeless, Salfen-Tracy said. In two drastically different photos of her son taken seven months apart, Bishop appears wildly different. The "before" shows Bishop seemingly healthy with a stocky build. In the "after" photo, Bishop appears substantially thinner, with markings covering his skin. "That is how fast someone is effected [sic]," Salfen-Tracy said. "Hearing how bad he is doing is hard but not hearing at all is worse. The unknown is what makes a person not sleep at night," she said online. "It is hard to understand how someone who has families and children who love and need them live the life they do." Salfen-Tracy said she prays to God that her son — who, according to KSDK, was an athlete at Wentzville Holt High School in Missouri before graduating in 2011 — "decides he is tired of living like this and wants to come home to get help." The mother wrote that her son's problems with addiction are "not just a problem that my family faces but almost everyone knows someone who has a drug/ heroin addiction." As of Sunday, Salfen-Tracy's post was shared and liked more than 100,000 times, and received more than 26,000 comments. She asks that if her son sees the post, to please call her.
  14. Wisconsin voters are unhappy with how things are going in the country, oppose the border wall, think tariffs hurt the economy, and disapprove of the job President Trump is doing. That gives Democratic candidates the lead in each of the possible 2020 matchups tested in a Fox News Poll of Wisconsin registered voters. Joe Biden bests Trump by 9 points (48-39 percent) and has the only lead outside the poll’s margin of error. Bernie Sanders is up by 5 over Trump (45-40) and Elizabeth Warren has a 4-point edge (45-41). In each case, the remaining 13-14 percent of undecided/third-party voters is enough to shift the race either way. Trump receives 41 percent support or less in each of the matchups -- well below the 47 percent he won the Badger State with in 2016. At the same time, none of the Democrats hit 50 percent. The Democratic candidates mostly owe their advantage to women voters and those with a college degree. Trump does best among white men without a degree and white evangelical Christians. “Wisconsin is a tough nut for Republicans and the president has an uphill climb,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democrat Chris Anderson. “He needs to reassure rural voters who are spooked by the tariffs while persuading suburban voters to buy into his low tax/pro-growth economic vision.” Trump won rural voters by 27 points in 2016. They now back him over Biden by only 2 points. By a 19-point margin Wisconsin voters think tariffs hurt rather than help the economy, and more oppose building a wall along the southern border by 10 points. Those favoring the wall prefer Trump by 73 points, while those opposed go for Biden by 76. Voters who say tariffs hurt the economy prefer Biden by a 61-point margin. Those who think tariffs help support Trump by 65. Trump beat Hillary Clinton in Wisconsin by less than one percentage point, making him the first Republican to win the state since 1984. Ninety-two percent of Clinton voters back Biden, while 83 percent of Trump voters stick with him. Currently, 44 percent of Badger State voters approve of the job Trump is doing and 54 percent disapprove. Views are nearly identical on the direction of the country: 43 percent are satisfied with how things are going vs. 55 percent dissatisfied. Almost half (48 percent) rate the economy as excellent or good, while slightly more (51 percent) say it is in only fair or poor shape. Meanwhile, despite many finding Trump’s dealings with the president of Ukraine troubling (33 percent extremely and 12 percent very), a 54 percent majority says there is zero chance something about the situation would cause them to change their mind about Trump. Forty-two percent want Trump impeached and removed from office, 4 percent say impeached, but not removed, and 45 percent oppose impeachment. More Republicans (90 percent) oppose impeachment than Democrats favor it (82 percent). In the race for the Democratic nomination, Biden is the top choice with 28 percent support, followed by Warren at 22 percent, and Sanders at 17 percent. Pete Buttigieg comes in at 7 percent, Kamala Harris 5 percent, and Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, and Andrew Yang get 2 percent apiece. All others receive 1 percent or less. The Sanders campaign announced Wednesday that he is off the trail indefinitely after undergoing a heart procedure. The poll was conducted Sunday through Wednesday evenings. More Sanders supporters strongly back him (75 percent), compared to Warren (61 percent) and Biden supporters (61 percent). Biden’s strongest groups include moderates, white Catholics and voters without a college degree. Warren does best among college graduates and self-described liberals, and Sanders makes the top three largely because of voters under age 35. More Warren supporters (64 percent) are extremely interested in the election than Sanders (60 percent) or Biden supporters (51 percent). Democratic primary voters place far greater importance on beating Trump than voting for their preferred candidate (52-33 percent). They split, however, when it comes to supporting a candidate who will build on former President Obama’s legacy vs. one who will take a new and different approach (43-47 percent). Biden is the top pick among those who want to build on Obama’s legacy and those who prioritize beating Trump. Democratic primary voters favoring a new approach give roughly equal support to Biden, Warren and Sanders. Conducted September 29-October 2, 2019 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,512 Wisconsin voters who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. Respondents were randomly selected from a statewide voter file, and 663 were screened to identify potential participants in the Democratic presidential primary. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all registered voters and 3.5 points for Democratic primary voters.
  15. (CNN)A series of new firearm laws will go into effect in Texas next month -- further loosening gun restrictions in a state that's had four of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern US history. The laws -- passed before a gunman massacred 22 people and injured dozens in El Paso last weekend -- will make it easier to have guns in a state with some of the most lax weapons restrictions in the nation. Here are the key firearm laws going into effect on September 1: Weapons on school grounds House Bill 1143 says a school district cannot prohibit licensed gun owners, including school employees, from storing a firearm or ammunition in a locked vehicle on a school parking lot -- provided they are not in plain view. Kris Brown, president of gun violence prevention advocacy group Brady, criticized the bill going into effect September 1. "Many states took the opportunity in the last two years to learn lessons from the tragedies in Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, and the every day gun violence that plagues our citizens, and enacted new laws to protect public safety through expanded background checks and extreme risk laws, which allow families and law enforcement to remove guns temporarily from individuals at risk of harming themselves or others," Brown said. "Texas lawmakers, instead of reacting to the horrific shooting in Santa Fe by focusing on keeping guns out of dangerous hands, or even emphasizing safe storage of guns, instead doubled down on an NRA led agenda to encourage guns everywhere, no matter the risks and costs to safety." Marshals at schools House Bill 1387 loosens restrictions on how many armed school marshals a school district can appoint. Guns in foster homes House Bill 2363 allows some foster homes to store firearms and ammunition in a safe and secure place for personal protection. Proper storage must be followed, the bill says, including putting firearms and ammunition together in the same locked locations. It also goes into effect on September 1. Weapons in apartments House Bill 302 bans homeowners or landlords of rental property from prohibiting residents from lawfully possessing, carrying, transporting or storing a firearm or ammunition in the property. Handguns during a disaster House Bill 1177 prohibits residents from being charged with a crime for carrying a handgun while evacuating from a state or local disaster area. Firearms in places of worship Senate Bill 535 clarifies the possession of firearms at churches, synagogues or other places of worship. It allows licensed handgun owners to legally carry their weapons in places of worship -- and comes nearly two years after a gunman killed 26 people at Sutherland Springs church. "We have learned many times over that there is no such thing as a gun free zone. Those with evil intentions will violate the law and carry out their heinous acts no matter what," state Sen. Donna Campbell, co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement. "It makes no sense to disarm the good guys and leave law-abiding citizens defenseless where violent offenders break the law to do great harm." The bill will make things clearer, she said. "The existing statute is confusing and clunky when it comes to clearly stating the rights of licensed Texans to carry on the premises of a church. This bill provides clarity of the Legislature's intent to treat churches in the same manner as other privately owned establishments in Texas."
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