Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) — The Department of Justice indicted Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah and four associates for their alleged role in a conspiracy that involved misdirecting funds for Fattah’s and other’s political benefit.
In a statement, the DOJ said they were charging Fattah, 58, his congressional district director, a lobbyist and two others with 29 counts of racketeering conspiracy and other crimes.
The DOJ detailed several allegations, including that Fattah redirected a political contribution for his own use, tried to repay a campaign consultant by arranging the award of federal grant funds, used campaign funds to repay his son’s student loan debt.
The DOJ also alleged that the lawmaker accepted bribes in exchange for Fattah’s efforts in securing an appointment to the U.S. Trade Commission for one of the others charged.
The case is being investigated by the FBI and IRS.
Fattah, a Democrat, represents parts of Philadelphia and is currently serving his 11th term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Hillary Clinton has staunchly defended Planned Parenthood in the wake of recently released videos that an anti-abortion group claims to show employees with the organization discussing the sale of aborted fetal tissue.
But, in a new interview, she calls the graphic videos “disturbing” and says there should be a national investigation into that practice.
“I have seen pictures from them and obviously find them disturbing,” the Democratic presidential candidate told the New Hampshire Union Leader on Tuesday in regards to the videos, which were released by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress. “Planned Parenthood is answering questions and will continue to answer questions.”
Clinton, however, did not waiver in her overall support of the organization, and said there are two points to make: “One, Planned Parenthood for more than a century has done a lot of really good work for women: cancer screenings, family planning, all kinds of health services. And this raises not questions about Planned Parenthood so much as it raises questions about the whole process, that is, not just involving Planned Parenthood, but many institutions in our country.”
Clinton added that if there’s going to be a congressional inquiry into the videos, “it should look at everything,” and not just one organization.
Clinton made the remark on the same day the Center for Medical Progress released a third video which it says shows the harvesting of fetal tissue, as well as current and former Planned Parenthood employees discussing the procedures and pricing.
Several Republicans -- including many GOP presidential candidates -- have cited these videos as a reason why Planned Parenthood should lose federal funding. And Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul has called for Clinton to return the group’s donations to her campaign.
In response to the claims of illegal behavior in the video, Planned Parenthood has asserted that all of its actions are legal as well as ethical.
In addition, the organization said the video was “heavily edited,” stating that “similar false accusations have been put forth by opponents of abortion services for decades.”
“Planned Parenthood has broken no laws," Cecile Richards, the president of the non-profit, said on ABC News’ This Week. "We have the highest standards. The care and health care and safety of our patients is our most important priority."
Clinton, who is pro-choice, vowed to defend Planned Parenthood over the weekend, even adding in a new line to her campaign stump speech.
“I will defend a woman’s right to choose,” Clinton said in Iowa and New Hampshire this week, “and I will defend Planned Parenthood."
Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(WASHINGTON) -- Kirsten Gillibrand and Patty Murray were among a group of senators speaking before a committee Wednesday on ways to deal with sexual assaults on university campuses.
Sen. Murray, D-Wash, said the issue impacts a huge number of college students.
"The harsh reality is that one out of five women is sexually assaulted in college, and men as well," she said.
As far as the perpetrators, Sen. Gillibrand, D-N.Y., argued that colleges have allowed many to stay on campus.
"They'll routinely kick you out if you cheat on a test, but the statistics for students who have violated other students, who have sexually assaulted or raped them and found responsible show that only one-third are actually expelled for the crime," Gillibrand said.
"What does it say about our schools' priorities if some colleges have tougher justice for a student cheating on an exam than for someone who has raped another student? she asked.
The group of senators is proposing legislation to revise higher education laws to make colleges more accountable, requiring confidential assault advisers, annual confidential surveys and clear legal processes for both the victims and accused perpetrators.
ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Where will the 2016 presidential candidates be on Wednesday?
Read below to find out their campaign schedules:
The AFL-CIO Executive Council meets in Silver Spring, Maryland to host several presidential candidates including Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, Jim Webb, and Mike Huckabee is the lone Republican.
The candidates will try and woo the important union and while it's very unlikely Huckabee would get the group's backing, he's there to push his populist message.
The AFL-CIO describes the meetings as "individual discussions about working people and the AFL-CIO's Raising Wages Agenda."
Trump is off the trail and leaving Wednesday for the Women's British Open in Scotland. The Open is at the Trump Turnberry resort.
The senator from Vermont is in Washington, D.C., and his campaign is hosting thousands of video livestream parties in all 50 states at 7:30 p.m. ET.
New Jersey’s governor is in New Hampshire. On Wednesday morning, Christie attended a "meet and greet" at Robie's Country Store in Hooksett. At 11:30 a.m. ET, Christie attends the Americans for Peace, Prosperity & Security Forum in Manchester.
The governor from Texas is in New York City Wednesday. He will lay out his plan for Wall Street reform at an event hosted by the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. He will speak at 1:20 p.m. ET at the Yale Club.
ABC News(WASHINGTON) — Voters want to know where Hillary Clinton stands on the Keystone XL issue, but the former Secretary of State has yet to take up the issue.
At an event in New Hampshire Tuesday, Hillary Clinton was asked by a voter for a "yes or no" answer on whether she would vote to approve the Keystone pipeline. Once again, she punted, saying it's "President Obama's decision.” She did, however, give a little more insight into when she might take a stance.
"If it is undecided when I become president, I will answer your question,” she said.
READ CLINTON’S FULL RESPONSE:
“No other presidential candidate was secretary of state when this process started, and I put together a very thorough deliberative, evidence based process to evaluate the environmental impact and other considerations of Keystone. As such, I know that there is a very careful evaluation continuing, and at the final decisions pending to be made by Secretary Kerry and President Obama, very simply, the evaluation is determined whether this pipeline is in our nation’s interest and I’m confident that the pipeline’s impact on global greenhouse gas emissions will be a major factor in that decision, as the president has said. So I will refrain from commenting because I had a leading role in getting that process started and we have to let it run its course.”
Democratic presidential candidate and Clinton rival Bernie Sanders has, for a long time, said Keystone was one of the defining differences between him and Clinton.
On Tuesday, he put out the following statement:
"We have to address the planetary crisis of climate change and there is no question that we must move aggressively toward energy efficiency and the development of sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. That is why I have introduced legislation that would create 10 million solar rooftops on homes and businesses in the United States. So I agree with Secretary Clinton about the need for substantial investment in sustainable energy.”
“But that is not enough,” Sanders added. “We must make significant reductions in carbon emissions and break our dependency on fossil fuels. That is why I have helped lead the fight in the Senate against the Keystone pipeline which would transport some of the dirtiest fossil fuel in the world. It is hard for me to understand how one can be concerned about climate change but not vigorously oppose the Keystone pipeline.”
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- An anti-abortion group has released another undercover video showing Planned Parenthood workers discussing prices to process and ship fetal tissue.
Three Republican presidential candidates on Tuesday said that the video is enough reason to cut off the organization's funding.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said at a Washington DC rally, "The US department of justice should open a criminal investigation into whether Planned Parenthood nationally is a criminal enterprise breaking the law."
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said, "The Senate will vote on de-funding Planned Parenthood before we go home in August."
Planned Parenthood leaders insist they are doing everything legally and that they can legally charge preparation and shipping fees for discarded fetal tissue.
Catuncia/iStock/ThinkStock(WASHINGTON) -- House and Senate leaders have agreed on a last minute deal to keep highway projects going this summer and VA hospitals open for now.
The bill would not only keep money flowing to bridge and road project, but it would also reallocate $3 billion dollars in VA funding to prevent the agency from closing hospitals and imposing a hiring freeze.
The House is expected to vote on a three month extension for the bill on Wednesday.
The Senate will receive the bill aftewards and then the president will receive it before the funds dry up on July 31.
ABCNews.com(PORTLAND, Ore.) -- The FBI says that suspicious letters and packages sent to government offices throughout Oregon don't appear to contain any hazardous materials, despite some initial concern.
The FBI, Oregon State Police and U.S. Postal Inspection Service are working "to determine the origin and nature" of about 20 letters sent to Oregon sheriffs or their offices, the FBI said in a statement Tuesday. The pieces of mail began arriving Monday.
By Tuesday afternoon, the FBI said it had found "no evidence of a visible powder to be found in any" of the letters.
In addition, field testing by hazardous materials crews "has shown NO toxic substance on any letter or in any envelope," the FBI said in the statement.
Grant County Sheriff Glenn Palmer was taken to the hospital on Monday night after opening up one piece of mail and developing a rash on his arms. But he was released within hours, according to KGW-TV in Portland.
Efforts to reach Palmer were not successful.
The Jackson County Sheriff's Office, meanwhile, had to be evacuated because of a suspicious package. About 60 people had to leave once it was noticed. At least two county courthouses in the state were also evacuated.
The FBI and U.S. Postal Service are assisting local officials as they work to determine precisely what substance was sent through the mail system, and who sent it. Officials said at least 10 letters appeared to be from the same person.
Nevertheless, the state police are urging the public to look out for any mail "that has excessive postage, no return address, excessive tape to secure [it], misspelled words … strange odors, and oily stains, discolorations, [or] crystallization" on the packaging.
Win McNamee/Getty ImagesFull name: James S. "Jim" Gilmore III
What he does now: Gilmore serves as a member of the National Rifle Association’s Board of Directors. He’s also the President and CEO of the Free Congress Foundation, a conservative think tank founded in 1977.
What he used to do: He served as the governor of Virginia from 1998 to 2002. He chaired the Republican National Convention from January to December of 2001. Gilmore was elected as Virginia’s attorney general in 1993. And after graduating college in 1971, Gilmore joined the Army and worked as an intelligence officer until 1974.
Expected to declare as a candidate: Early August 2015.
In his own words: “I am committed to addressing the central problems facing the nation.”
Family tree: Gilmore grew up in a working class area of Richmond. His father was a butcher and his mother was a church secretary.
Double legacy: Gilmore completed both his undergraduate and his law degrees at the University of Virginia.
Claim to fame: Gilmore headed the Gilmore Commission during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. The commission’s purpose was to advise presidents on how to handle terrorist incidents in the U.S. that involved weapons of mass destruction. He was also Virginia’s governor during the September 11 terrorist attacks when a plane flew into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.
Might have wished for a do-over: Gilmore resigned from his post as RNC chair after less than a year in the position, saying, “Neither I nor my family can see any light at the end of this tunnel,” according to The Washington Post. While President George W. Bush called Gilmore a, “close friend and valuable ally,” his departure came after two gubernatorial losses for the GOP in the same year.
Biggest disagreement with President Obama: Gilmore sharply criticized President Obama’s comparison of the brutality of ISIS militants to actions committed by Christians during the medieval Crusades, calling the president’s comments, “the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime.” He told the New York Times that Obama had “offended every believing Christian in the United States.”
A bilingual president: Jim Gilmore is fluent in German. Gilmore was stationed in Germany from 1971 to 1974 doing counter-intelligence work to protect American military bases in Europe.
What could hold him back: Gilmore’s gubernatorial race was won without much fanfare and that could hurt his visibility since the GOP field has several prominent governors-turned-candidates including Jeb Bush and Scott Walker. A Washington Post article called his race “the bland leading the bland,” and quoted a University of Virginia political science professor who referred to the race as, “a charisma-free zone.”
Comfort food (and drink): When it comes to favorite foods, Jim Gilmore says his favorite restaurant is Pizza Hut. According to the Washington Post, he drinks Miller Genuine Draft.
Woodwinds in the White House?: According to Gilmore, “All I did in high school was play music.” He played clarinet in several bands during his high school years and served as drum major of his school’s marching band and president of his school’s concert band.
Ron Galella/WireImage(NEW YORK) — Donald Trump's first wife, Ivana Trump, said Tuesday that she is "the best of friends" with her ex-husband, responding to a report in the Daily Beast on Monday that cited her 1989 divorce case deposition in which the former Mrs. Trump claimed Trump allegedly raped her once.
A statement Tuesday from Ivana Trump appeared to refute the allegations in the deposition, which were revealed in a 1993 book, The Lost Tycoon: The Many Lives of Donald J. Trump.
"I have recently read some comments attributed to me from nearly 30 years ago at a time of very high tension during my divorce from Donald," she said in the statement today. "The story is totally without merit. Donald and I are the best of friends and together have raised 3 children that we love and are very proud of."
Ivana Trump had already walked back the rape allegation in 1993 as the book was about to be published.
“During a deposition given by me in connection with my matrimonial case, I stated that my husband had raped me,” Ivana Trump said in a statement at the time, as the Daily Beast reported. "[O]n one occasion during 1989, Mr. Trump and I had marital relations in which he behaved very differently toward me than he had during our marriage. As a woman, I felt violated, as the love and tenderness, which he normally exhibited towards me, was absent. I referred to this as a 'rape,' but I do not want my words to be interpreted in a literal or criminal sense."
A Trump campaign spokesman responded Monday night to the Daily Beast article, saying, "This is an event that has been widely reported on in the past, it is old news and it never happened. It is a standard lawyer technique, which was used to exploit more money from Mr. Trump especially since he had an ironclad prenuptial agreement. It is just a way for the badly failing and money losing Daily Beast, which has been reporting inaccurately on Mr. Trump for years, to get some publicity for itself."
Trump's special counsel, Michael Cohen, also fired back Monday denying the charge, telling the Daily Beast there was case law that stated clearly "you cannot rape a spouse."
In a follow-up statement, the Trump campaign distanced itself from Cohen’s remarks saying, "Mr. Trump didn't know of his [Cohen's] comments, but disagrees with them."
"Nobody speaks for Mr. Trump but Mr. Trump," a Trump campaign spokesperson said Monday night.
Cohen later clarified the statement he made to the Daily Beast. "As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism. They hit me at my core," Cohen said. "Rarely am I surprised by the press, but the gall of this particular reporter to make such a reprehensible and false allegation against Mr. Trump truly stunned me. In my moment of shock and anger, I made an inarticulate comment -- which I do not believe — and which I apologize for entirely."
Ivana has three children with Trump: Donald Jr., Ivanka and Eric — all of whom work with their father as part of the Trump Organization.
In a statement released Tuesday morning, Ivana said she has "nothing but fondness for Donald and wish him the best of luck on his campaign. Incidentally, I think he would make an incredible president."
iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It was a macabre “who’s who” of gun violence: family members whose loved ones were killed in Charleston, Aurora, and in several other high-profile shootings, standing together to urge Congress to vote on tighter background check laws.
Speaking on Capitol Hill, they uttered the locations of the latest episodes of gun violence, whose families join their tragic club: Chattanooga and Lafayette.
“It's my turn to rise. It’s my turn to rise for Chattanooga. It’s my turn to rise for Lafayette. For the 88 Americans killed every day by gun violence,” said Reverend Sharon Risher, who lost her mother Ethel Lance and cousins Susie Jackson and Tywanza Sanders in the Mother Emanuel shooting.
“We've experienced Charleston, Chattanooga and Lafayette,” said Lucy McBath, whose son Jordan Davis was shot and killed in the so-called “loud music shooting” of 2012. “I fight for Jordan. I fight for Charleston, Chattanooga and Lafayette.”
“I don't want any other parent in America to experience the crushing loss of our family,” said Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher was killed in the Isla Vista shooting at UC Santa Barbara in 2014.
Connecticut Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as New York’s Chuck Schumer, attended the press conference and said they continued to push to get a vote on background checks in Congress.
But for all the powerful sound this group made, the senators suggested they think they will have more luck if they use public pressure to get gun retailers to change their background check policies voluntarily.
“There is certainly precedent for the bully pulpit of congress and these advocacy groups making these corporations change their minds,” Murphy said.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The White House isn’t interested in pardoning NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
The president’s Homeland Security and Counterterrorism adviser Lisa Monaco responded Tuesday to a petition calling for Snowden to be pardoned, saying that he should return to the U.S. to “be judged by a jury of his peers” rather than “running away from the consequences of his actions.”
“If he felt his actions were consistent with civil disobedience, then he should do what those who have taken issue with their own government do: Challenge it, speak out, engage in a constructive act of protest, and — importantly — accept the consequences of his actions. He should come home to the United States, and be judged by a jury of his peers — not hide behind the cover of an authoritarian regime. Right now, he's running away from the consequences of his actions,” Monaco writes a newly posted response.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) -- President Obama departed Ethiopia on Air Force One Tuesday after capping off his five-day, two-country visit to Africa with a speech before the African Union -- the first time a U.S. president has addressed the 54-country body.
“I stand before you as a proud American. I also stand before you as the son of an African,” the president said in a speech to the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “Africa and its people helped to shape America and allowed it to become the great nation that it is, and Africa and its people have helped shape who I am and how I see the world.”
“In the villages of Kenya where my father was born, I learned of my ancestors and the life of my grandfather, the dreams of my father, the bonds of family that connect us all as Africans and Americans,” he added.
In his nearly hour-long speech, Obama touched on everything ranging from Africa’s counterterrorism efforts to empowering women and girls to expanding business and trade with the region.
The president also addressed human rights and encouraged Ethiopia to extend more freedom to the press -- an issue the president was adamant the U.S. would continue to stress even if other countries would not.
“I believe Ethiopia will not fully unleash the potential of its people if journalists are restricted or legitimate opposition groups can't participate in the campaign process, and to his credit, the prime minister acknowledged that more work will need to be done for Ethiopia to be a full-fledged sustainable democracy,” Obama said. “These are conversations we have to have as friends. You know, American democracy's not perfect. We've worked for many years, but one thing we do is we continually reexamine to figure how we can make our democracy better. And that's a source of strength for us, being willing to look and see honestly what we need to be doing to fulfill the promise of our founding documents.”
“I know that there are some countries that don't say anything, and maybe that's easier to, you know, for leaders to deal with. But you're kind of stuck with us, this is how we are,” he said. “We believe in these things, we're going to keep on talking about them.”
The president said standing up for journalists should be of particular importance to people whose culture has been oppressed in the past.
“This is especially important, I believe, for those of us of African descent because we've known what it feels like to be on the receiving end of injustice, we know what it means to be discriminated against, we know what it means to be jailed,” he said. “So how can we stand by when it's happening to somebody else?”
As he did in Kenya, Obama briefly cited gay rights as he argued everyone should be treated equally no matter “who they love.”
Just before departing from Ethiopia, the president viewed a Boeing airliner owned by Ethiopian Airlines that was sitting on the tarmac by Air Force One.
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) -- President Obama thinks he ‘could win’ a third term in the White House if he wasn’t barred from running again.
“I actually think I’m a pretty good president,” Obama said Tuesday in a speech before the African Union in Ethiopia. “I think if I ran, I could win. But I can’t.”
The president’s comments came as he explained he does “not understand” why some leaders are insistent they remain in power when their term limit ends.
“The point is I don't understand why people want to stay so long. Especially when they've got a lot of money,” he said. “When a leader tries to change the rules in the middle of the game just to stay in office, it risks instability and strife, as we've seen in Burundi."
As he advocated for term limits, Obama said “old people think in old ways” before making a joke about his own aging.
“You can see my gray hair, I’m getting old,” he said to laughter.
The president also shared what he looks forward to doing once he leaves the White House.
“I'll be honest with you, I'm looking forward to life after being president. I won't have such a big security detail all the time,” he said. “It means I can go take a walk, I can spend time with my family, I can find other ways to serve, I can visit Africa more often.”
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia) -- On the last day of his five-day, two-country visit to Africa, President Obama toured a food factory in Ethiopia Tuesday morning, highlighting efforts to promote food security in the region.
Donning a USAID cap, the president spoke with a local farmer at the Faffa Foods plants and touted the U.S. government’s Feed the Future program, the U.S. global hunger and food security initiative.
“The goal is to drastically increase productivity of farmers throughout Africa,” Obama said. “With just a few smart innovations…they can make huge improvements in their overall yield."
"Historically part of the problem is even if you have food grown here the process is done somewhere else...you don't get the kind of integrated food industries locally," he said.
Feed the Future supports the Faffa Foods plant by incorporating private sector partnerships to help improve food security and counter malnutrition in Ethiopia.
At one point on his tour, Obama noticed the reporters assembled in the travel pool were required to wear hair nets on the food tour.
“Everybody looks great in their hairnet,” he joked. He later posed for a photo with the hair-net-wearing travel pool. The president donned only a hat and not a hair net.
Later on Tuesday, Obama will speak before the African Union -- the first time a U.S. president addresses the group of African leaders.