iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A boiling standoff between Republican leaders in the House and Senate is settling.
In a 65-34 vote, the Senate on Thursday passed a long-term, $350 billion highway funding bill that would last six years. The move now sets up discussions with the House over the future course of transportation funding.
"The House has now indicated as a result of our passing a multi-year bill, they intend to do it in early September and we'll go to conference. And the goal of the conference obviously will be to get a result," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said after the vote.
The House began its summer recess on Thursday; senators will begin theirs next Friday.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images(KENNEBUNKPORT, Maine) -- Former President George H.W. Bush tweeted on Thursday thanking those who sent him get-well messages following his fall earlier this month.
Bush tweeted a smiling photo in which he gives two thumbs up, captioned "who knew jumping out of planes was safer than getting out of bed? Thanks to all for your kind get-well messages." In the photo, Bush can be seen wearing a neck brace.
The 41st president has gone skydiving multiple times, including on his 90th birthday.
Bush fell at his Kennebunkport summer home on July 15.
Protesters place stuffed animals on the sign of Dr. Walter Palmer's River Bluff Dental Clinic to call attention to the alleged poaching of Cecil the lion on July 29, 2015 in Bloomington, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)(WASHINGTON) -- The WhiteHouse.gov petition calling for the extradition of Walter Palmer, the Minnesota dentist who recently admitted to killing Cecil the Lion in Zimbabwe, has surpassed 100,000 signatures, meaning the White House will have to respond to the petition.
“We urge the Secretary of State John Kerry and the Attorney General Loretta Lynch to fully cooperate with the Zimbabwe authorities and to extradite Walter Palmer promptly at the Zimbabwe government's request,” the petition reads.
The petition was started on July 28 and currently has over 140,000 signatures.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the petition has “reached the threshold” that would warrant a response but did not offer a time frame. He did note that decisions about prosecution and extradition are made at the DOJ.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which has offered assistance to Zimbabwe in its investigation, has asked Palmer to contact them "immediately."
"The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service is investigating the circumstances surrounding the killing of 'Cecil the lion,'" the agency told ABC News in a statement Thursday. "At this point in time, however, multiple efforts to contact Dr. Walter Palmer have been unsuccessful. We ask that Dr. Palmer or his representative contact us immediately."
David McNew/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Cell phones, chainsaws and "cancer": Some Republican candidates are pulling out all the stops in an effort to make the cut for the first presidential debate just one week from Thursday.
Fox News says that the top 10 candidates in an average of the five most recent national polls will get into the debate. The other seven will be left to a separate forum in the afternoon.
While Donald Trump has been dominating headlines in the last month, candidates near the bottom of the 17-person Republican presidential field have had limited media exposure and struggled to win over voters.
But that hasn’t stopped them from trying to draw media attention — and taking extreme measures in the next seven days to attract the cameras and headlines. Rand Paul
While Rand Paul isn’t on the cusp of missing out on the debate, the Kentucky senator is trying to claw his way into the top tier and recover the potential front runner status he had earlier in the race. Paul raised eyebrows with a new video, showing the presidential contender using a chainsaw to cut up the federal tax code. “How would you kill the tax code?” the video asks as an electric guitar riffs on the national anthem.
According to an ABC News analysis, Rick Perry is currently in 11th place in an average of five national polls, missing the final debate podium by just six-tenths of a percentage point. Carly Fiorina
Currently registering at less than 1 percent support in an ABC analysis of five recent national polls, the former HP executive faces an uphill climb to reach the first debate. But Fiorina, the only woman in the GOP field, turned to Buzzfeed to help her get her message out. The video, titled “If Men Were Treated Like Women In The Office,” features Fiorina asking male coworkers about baking and work-life balance.
The South Carolina senator comes in next-to-last in an ABC analysis of five recent national polls, but he rocketed into the headlines after Donald Trump released his phone number on national television. In response, Graham dropped his phone off a building, burned it, hit it with a golf club and hacked it with a meat cleaver.
Graham also has been campaigning with fellow Republican Sen. John McCain after Trump questioned whether the former POW was a war hero. Graham says using national polls to determine debate participation is unfair because it preempts the role of early states like Iowa and New Hampshire.
Kasich is one of the newest candidates to the 2016 field, but he’s already making a move into the top 10. He just announced his presidential campaign last week — but the timing may work to his advantage. He registered at 5 percent in the latest Quinnipiac poll out Thursday morning, which leaves him hanging on by a thread to the final debate podium, according to an ABC News analysis of five recent national polls. Bobby Jindal
Jindal’s campaign manager pleaded his candidate’s case for the debates on Periscope last week, pointing out Jindal’s climbing favorability numbers in Iowa polls. Still, Jindal sits at just 1.4 percent support in our ABC News analysis — keeping him off the stage in a tie for 12th place. Chris Christie
Chris Christie’s “telling it like it is” brand is struggling to compete with the loud, headline-grabbing comments of Donald Trump. The New Jersey governor vented some of his frustration at the polls earlier this month, when a Monmouth University poll placed him in a tie for ninth place with just 2 percent support. “The Monmouth University poll was created just to aggravate me,” Christie said, according to Politico. Ben Carson
It isn’t likely that retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson has to worry about missing the first debate, but that isn’t stopping him from sharing some of his operating tips. The Republican presidential contender shared his tips for the game Operation — in which a player must carefully remove objects from the patient’s body. “I think Obamacare probably would require a large deductible,” he says at the end of the video.
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Department of Justice Inspector General says that the FBI has failed in the face of growing cyber threats.
An audit released on Thursday found that while the FBI has made progress in implementing the Next Gen Cyber Initiative, it has experience failures in attracting external participants to its task forces, that it did not hire more than one-third of the computer scientists that it was authorized to bring in, and that five FBI field offices did not have a computer scientist assigned to their Cyber Task Force.
In the wake of hacks against the Office of Personnel Management and Sony, the FBI has attempted to use the National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force to "coordinate, integrate and share information related to domestic cyber threat investigations."
The DOJ Inspector General called on the FBI to measure timeliness of the information sharing, work harder to hire computer scientists, continue developing new strategies for recruiting, hiring and retaining cyber professionals and ensure changes to the Cyber Division are strongly communicated.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — House Speaker John Boehner loves golf — just not when it's with the President of the United States.
"The president has suggested, 'Hey, do you think it would be too much trouble to play golf again?' I have to look at him and say, 'Yes,'" Boehner, R-Ohio, said in an interview with the Golf Channel, scheduled to air Monday morning.
Boehner, who held a "golf summit" with Obama in 2011 during budget negotiations, said media scrutiny makes it difficult to enjoy 18 holes with the president.
"Everybody gets bent out of shape, worried about what we’re up to, when all we’re about to do is play golf," he added.
The president has said that Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden are among his favorite golf partners.
Obama usually golfs with a small circle of friends and administration officials at Andrews Air Force Base, but spent a recent Sunday with three House Democrats — Reps. John Yarmuth of Kentucky, Ed Perlmutter of Colorado and Joe Courtney of Connecticut.
While observers wondered whether Obama lobbied the Democrats on the recently-completed Iran deal, Perlmutter said the outing was the fulfillment of a request he made to golf with Obama in 2013, and that the group talked "very little shop."
"It was a lot of fun," he recalled. "We had a blast."
Boehner said he'd never give up golf for the Oval Office.
"You've got to either have a very special calling or be an egomaniac to want to do this," he said. "On top of that, I smoke cigarettes, I drink red wine, I play golf, I cut my own grass and I wash and iron my own shirts. I'm not giving that up to be President of the United States."
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images(TURNBERRY, SCOTLAND) — Where Donald Trump goes, America's political campaign follows.
On an unofficial trip to Turnberry, Scotland, Donald Trump told reporters his sole focus was running for president. "Three months ago I would have said business is more important, but now I'm more a politician, although I hate the word," Trump said.
Turnberry is the location of one of Trump's most lucrative golf courses, where the women's British Open of golf is taking place this week.
Only a week before the first Republican debate in which he is taking part, the outspoken candidate said his only plan was to "show up."
"I am who I am, I'm not a debater," Trump said, before adding he was a "big job builder who gets things done." "Maybe I'll do terribly, maybe I'll do great."
Regarding his earlier comments on Mexicans and illegal immigration, Trump did not show any sign of regret and said he was confident he would win the Hispanic vote.
"I'm not known as a politically correct person, and for a good reason," Trump said.
Asked about how he would deal with foreign powers, Trump said he believed he was a great diplomat, and would get on well with Russia and China.
ABC News(WASHINGTON) — His words may be controversial, but Donald Trump is holding strong among the Republican candidates. A new Quinnipiac University poll out Thursday morning shows Donald Trump continuing to hold a commanding lead in the GOP field.
According to Quinnipiac, “Trump's 20 percent is the largest tally for a Republican contender in any national poll by the independent Quinnipiac University. Behind Trump are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker with 13 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush with 10 percent.
No other Republican tops 6 percent and 12 percent are undecided."
Fox News, which is hosting the first presidential debate one week from Thursday, says it will choose the top 10 candidates from the five most recent national polls, and middle-of-the-pack candidates are jockeying for the final spots on the debate stage.
ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The first Republican presidential debate is just one week away, but the question remains: who will be on stage and who will be watching from home?
Fox News, which is hosting the first debate next Thursday in Cleveland, says that they will include the top 10 candidates from an average of the five most recent national polls. But Fox News isn’t saying which polls they will use to calculate their average, leaving the rest of us to play a guessing game.
With the addition of a new Quinnipiac poll out Thursday morning, an updated ABC News analysis of five recent national polls shows that John Kasich has ousted Rick Perry for the 10th and final podium at the debate -- at least for now. Donald Trump, meanwhile, has solidified his lead over the GOP pack.
We expect a few more national polls to come out in the next seven days -- and we will watch as GOP candidates jockey for every last percentage point they can earn.
Getting onto the debate stage in Cleveland is a major first hurdle in the GOP race that will create a stark division between candidates who are in the running and candidates who have minimal support.
According to an ABC News analysis of five recent major national polls on July 30, eight candidates can likely already book their tickets to the debate. Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson.
Another three candidates are almost certainly going to miss the mark. Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, Lindsey Graham and newly-announced Jim Gilmore have less than 1 percent support. The seven candidates who don’t make the debate will instead participate in a one-hour forum during the afternoon before the debate.
Who's on the Bubble:
But that leaves five candidates who are on the bubble: less than 1 percentage point separates the three candidates between ninth place and 11th place.
Chris Christie and John Kasich, who just announced his candidacy last week, currently hold the last two spots on the debate stage. Rick Perry, who had been in 10th place until Thursday morning, would miss the debate stage by just six-tenths of a percentage point. Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal are close behind, but still watching from home on Aug. 6. These numbers will move slightly with each new poll that comes out in the next week.
FULL STANDINGS (as of July 30 at 6 a.m.):
1. Trump – 19 percent
2. Bush – 13 percent
3. Walker – 12 percent
4. Rubio – 6 percent
5. Paul – 6 percent
6. Huckabee – 5 percent
T7. Carson – 5 percent
T7. Cruz – 5 percent
9. Christie – 3.2 percent
10. Kasich – 2.8 percent
11. Perry - 2.2 percent
T12.Santorum – 1.4 percent
T12.Jindal – 1.4 percent
14. Fiorina – 0.8 percent
15. Pataki – 0.6 percent
16. Graham – 0.4 percent
17. Gilmore - 0.0 percent (only two of five polls)
This analysis includes five recent polls: Quinnipiac on 7/30; CNN/ORC on July 26; ABC/Post on July 20, Fox News on July 17; and USA Today/Suffolk University on July 14.
What We Don't Know
There’s still a lot we don’t know. Fox News says that it gets to decide which national polls it will recognize, saying only that they “must be conducted by major, nationally recognized organizations that use standard methodological techniques.”
But there’s more. Will it try to get more precise numbers from polling companies or just use the whole number reported? There’s a big difference between 4.4 percent and 3.5 percent, but both round to 4 percent. Will Fox News round averages to the nearest whole number? To the nearest tenth of a percent? What qualifies as a tie?
What About Ties?
Fox News has also said that, if there is an apparent tie, the news agency will look at more detailed data to determine who is ahead, according to Politico. And if there is an exact tie, they will add an 11th podium to the stage.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Bernie Sanders held what he said was the largest grassroots campaign event of the 2016 president race so far Wednesday night, broadcasting a video message over his website to tens of thousands of people at gatherings around the country.
“Tonight really is an historic night,” said Sanders. “To the best of our knowledge, there has never been a political online organizing event this early in the campaign which involved 100,000 people in 3,500 locations in every state in the United States of America. And that’s pretty impressive."
While those numbers could not be independently verified, there was a good deal of online chatter leading up to the live broadcast.
The number of people who RSVP'd to the events ranged from four to hundreds of people.
Michelle Tiegs in Souix Falls, South Dakota, said she was not sure what to expect, but then received RSVPs every hour after posting her event. She ended up moving her event to a new location after over 200 people signed up to attend. “We are just completely overwhelmed, mystified by how many people have signed up,” she said.
People signed up to host through the Sanders campaign website and volunteers helped answer questions. “What we gave seen across this campaign is RSVPs actually under-sell the Senator’s events, and we're expecting the same thing tonight,” said the campaign’s digital director Kenneth Pennington. After the senator delivered his message, one of his campaign organizers spoke to viewers about need to turn their enthusiasm into a “coordinated grassroots movement.”
“To win this election and build a real political revolution we need to be everywhere. We need you to bring this movement to your community by doing un-glamorous but essential work like knocking on doors, calling voters,” digital organizing director for the campaign, Claire Sandberg, told those watching online.
Manisha Sharma, who hosted the house party in southeast Washington, D.C. where Sanders delivered his message, said that was why she volunteered to have a party.
“He doesn’t have name recognition,” Sharma said. “He has conscious recognition. I feel he's doing God’s work,” she said. She has a tech start up and said she believed in his message about regulating banks and supporting community banking.
Sharma signed up online like thousands of others about a week ago to host an event, and a few days ago was asked by the campaign if they would let the Senator deliver his message from her party.
Besides the network cameras and intensive internet setup, it looked like a regular house party with homemade signs, guacamole and Bernie cocktails.
Stewart F. House/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry challenged Donald Trump to a pullup contest Wednesday in response to the billionaire’s charge that Perry wasn’t smart enough to join the presidential debate — or as a reporter put it to Perry, not tough enough.
"Let's get a pullup bar out there and see who can do the most pullups,” Perry told a reporter, who told him that Trump “questioned your energy, toughness and quote-unquote, ‘brain power’ that it might require to run a successful campaign.”
In a story in the Daily Mail, Trump said that Perry was "trying so hard."
"But it's not about trying," he said, according to the story. "It's about energy, it's about brainpower, it's about toughness."
Trump, who is competing for the Republican nomination and is polling well ahead of Perry nationally, tweeted earlier this month that Perry "should be forced to take an IQ test before being allowed to enter the GOP debate.”
Trump's camp did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Robin Marchant/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Donald Trump has responded to allegations he had a “meltdown” when a lawyer asked for a break from a deposition to pump breast milk for her newborn daughter by saying the attorney, Elizabeth Beck, wanted to pump in front of him.
In an interview with ABC News, Beck called the claims “not true” and explained she had been pumping in a private conference room during the week of the deposition.
“They don’t cite any support,” Beck said. “I was, for example, not in a state of undress.”
Trump told CNN Wednesday, "She wanted to breast pump in front of me and I may have said that's disgusting, I may have said something else. I thought it was terrible."
Beck said she instead gestured to her pump to explain why she needed to take a break, but stressed she was always going to “pump in private.” It was then Beck said Trump had a “meltdown.”
"He completely lost it," she said. "And he left, ran out of there and the lawyers were just standing there with their mouths hanging open. He didn’t return.”
She said he started to “shake, his face got really red, he pointed his finger and shook it and said, ‘You’re disgusting! You’re disgusting!' Then he bolted and no one saw him again.”
The incident was first reported in the New York Times. Beck also provided a copy of the November 2011 deposition to ABC News. In it Trump also seems to not want to stop the deposition even for a moment to let one of his own attorneys take a bathroom break.
The lawyer asks if he can “take a one-minute break for the restroom,” to which Beck says, “Yes, of course. I was going to say we take a five to ten-minute break.”
Trump then responds: “You have to take a one-minute break? Can we go on and finish this? Let's not take a one-minute break.”
Trump’s attorney Alan Garten — who was in the room during the incident — spoke to ABC News and vigorously denied the situation happened the way Beck described, saying, “she is completely distorting the facts. Her telling of the story is absolutely absurd. She should be ashamed of herself and she should be ashamed of her behavior.”
Garten continued, saying it “has nothing to do with breastfeeding, this is only about one thing, acting professionally in a legal proceeding.” He also said, like Trump, he did think she would pump in front of them.
“That would not shock me,” he said. “It was certainly bizarre behavior and that is consistent with her behavior throughout the case.”
Beck said when it comes to Trump’s presidential aspirations she’s concerned about his “inability to handle stressful situations.”
“If something so innocuous makes this man scream and run out, what else is going to make this man scream and run out? What other weird weaknesses does he have? And are we going to leave it to other countries to find out how our future president may behave when piece of plastic shows up at meetings?,” she said referring to parts of the breast pump.
Jacob Ammentorp Lund/iStock/ThinkStock(WASHINGTON) -- State Department official Daniel Rosen, 45, on Wednesday plead guilty to six counts of voyeurism and five counts of stalking for peering into women’s homes and secretly recording videos. Rosen struck a plea agreement after police found videos of dozens of women in “various states of undress” on his iPhone.
Over a three year period, he recorded at least 20 victims, mostly women, in northwest Washington D.C., by recording through windows, cracked blinds and metal gates into the bathrooms and bedrooms of basement level apartments.
In one instance he recorded a woman from her private backyard as she posed for her boyfriend on Facetime. On another occasion he recorded a different women as she lay naked in the bathtub reading a book.
All of the video recordings took place in the late evening under the cover of darkness, usually while he walked his dog. He went back and filmed some of the women multiple times. His victims were unaware at the time that he was making videos of them.
Rosen was arrested in February in Fairfax County, Virginia for soliciting a minor for sex. Virginia police notified the Metropolitan Police Department once geolocation revealed that videos found on his phone were taken in Washington, D.C. He is still facing charges in the Fairfax case.
Rosen’s wife sat in the courtroom as all 11 counts were read aloud. Rosen stood and listened as the prosecuting attorney read through the salacious details of his actions. He and his wife walked side-by-side out of D.C. Superior Court.
“He pled guilty and he wants to get a grip on his life," said his attorney Bernard Grimm after the hearing. Rosen was put on unpaid administrative leave from the State Department, according to Grimm. Grimm said that his client's security clearance had been revoked and he was not expected to be allowed back to his job.
The State Department refused to comment, citing privacy concerns.
Rosen was released until sentencing under strict home confinement and electronic monitoring. He faces up to 11 years in prison and a possible fine of $11,000.
Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The “shrug” emoticon is just a combination of punctuation marks, but for Senate Democrats like Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, it speaks volumes.
Whitehouse brought a sign featuring little more than the now-universal signal for “I don’t know” to the Senate floor, as he and some Democratic colleagues discussed what they said was the Republican Party’s lack of a plan on climate change.
“We’ve seen exactly nothing,” he said. “That is to say, nothing but complaints.”
The use of a shrug emoticon is more than just a ploy for a senator to get people tweeting out CSPAN screengrabs of their floor speeches (which it does) — it’s part of an organized policy strategy, said Whitehouse’s spokesman Seth Larson.
“It’s a graphic that we worked with Senate Democratic leadership to put together to highlight the fact that the Republicans call the clean power plan a war on coal but at the end of the day they try changing the subject or ignore the reality,” Larson said. “We wanted to drive point home: the Republicans have no credibility, have no plan of their own.”
Larson likened this debate to that over the Affordable Care Act, which he said Republicans complained about but had no plan of their own, and added that using an emoticon is a way to infuse humor to convey a serious point.
And it’s not the first time the shrug has appeared on the Senate floor. Back in May, Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, also a Democrat, used it to demonstrate what he said was the GOP’s plan to respond to the Supreme Court if it decided that Obamacare subsidies in states that were using the federal health exchange were in fact unconstitutional.
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.
In a statement, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said Fattah would be stepping down from his leadership role on the House Appropriations Committee, where he served as the ranking member of the Commerce, Justice and Science subcommittee.
“The charges in the indictment against Congressman Chaka Fattah are deeply saddening. Congressman Fattah has been a tireless and effective advocate for America’s hard-working families across more than 20 years of distinguished service in the House," Pelosi said in the statement.