The Latest: Dems withdraw subpoena for former WH adviser
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Democrats say they’ve withdrawn a subpoena for testimony from the former deputy national security adviser as part of their impeachment inquiry.
The Democrats say in court papers filed Wednesday that they have no plans to try to compel the testimony of Charles Kupperman as the pace of the impeachment inquiry quickens, with public hearings scheduled to begin next week.
Kupperman may have listened in on the July telephone call between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president that sparked the impeachment inquiry.
Kupperman had asked a judge to decide whether he had to appear before Congress over the White House’s objections.
Democrats say U.S. District Richard Leon should now dismiss Kupperman’s case since he’s no longer facing a subpoena.
MEXICO-BORDER KILLINGS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Mexico official says suspect not tied to attack
GALEANA, Mexico (AP) — Mexican officials say a suspect who was arrested in the border city of Agua Prieta with assault rifles was not involved in the killing of three American women and six children.
Alfonso Durazo, a public security official, said Wednesday that preliminary information indicates that the suspect who was detained Tuesday is not linked to the attack.
Criminal investigators in northern Mexico earlier said the suspect was under investigation for a possible connection to the killings.
ELECTION 2020-JEFF SESSIONS
AP sources: Jeff Sessions to announce Alabama Senate bid
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions will announce he’s running for his old Senate seat in Alabama.
Sessions is expected to make the announcement on Thursday. His decision to run was confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday by two Republicans with direct knowledge of his plans. They were not authorized to discuss it publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.
Sessions long held the seat he will now pursue but stepped down to serve as President Donald Trump’s first attorney general. He was ousted after enduring public mocking from Trump for recusing himself from special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Democratic Sen. Doug Jones won the 2017 special election to fill Sessions’ seat.
Republicans see recapturing the Senate seat in the once-reliably red state as a top priority.
The Latest: Trump predicts GOP House comeback in 2020
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — President Donald Trump is talking optimistically about the 2020 elections, despite the warning signs for Republicans that came out of Kentucky, Virginia and elsewhere Tuesday.
Trump is campaigning in Monroe, Louisiana, for a GOP gubernatorial candidate.
He is attacking House Democrats for their impeachment inquiry, saying their “shameful conduct has created an angry majority.”
Trump says Republicans are “going to take back the House” and says the party will focus on House Democrats who represent districts Trump won in 2016.
Trump points out that he didn’t run in 2018 and notes that while he urged people to go out and vote, “a lot of people said, ‘I’m not going to vote until Trump runs.'”
CHINA-US DRUG TRIAL
China sentences 3 in fentanyl trafficking case after US tip
XINGTAI, China (AP) — A Chinese court has sentenced three fentanyl traffickers in a case that was a culmination of a rare collaboration between Chinese and U.S. law enforcement to crack down on global networks that manufacture and distribute lethal synthetic opioids.
Liu Yong was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve, while Jiang Junhua and Wang Fengxi were sentenced to life in prison Thursday.
Working off a 2017 tip from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Chinese police busted a drug ring based in the northern Chinese city of Xingtai that shipped millions of doses of synthetic drugs to the U.S. and other countries from a gritty clandestine laboratory.
U.S. officials say China’s vast chemicals industry is the main source of illicit fentanyl. Chinese officials deny that.
SAUDIS-TWITTER SPYING-THE LATEST
The Latest: Twitter: Tools protect sensitive accounts
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter has acknowledged that it cooperated in a U.S. investigation of two former employees accused of accessing personal account information on behalf of the Saudi government.
The social media company said in a statement Wednesday it recognizes “the length bad actors will go to try and undermine” its service, and that there are tools in place to protect users with sensitive accounts.
The statement came as U.S. prosecutors detailed a coordinated effort by Saudi officials to recruit employees at the social media giant to look up the private data of thousands of Twitter accounts.
The Saudi government had no immediate comment through its embassy in Washington.
KING BOULEVARD-KANSAS CITY DIVIDE
Kansas City considers moving forward after King debate
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Representatives from both sides of a divisive campaign over naming a street in Kansas City for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. say they are ready to work together after voters approved a ballot measure replacing King’s name with the street’s original name.
On Tuesday, Kansas City voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to change Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard back to The Paseo, the street’s name since it was completed in 1899. The city council voted in January to rename The Paseo for King, after years of advocacy from mostly black leaders in the city.
Mayor Quinton Lucas, who supported the King name, said Wednesday he and city leaders must learn from the vote that they have to engage diverse segments of the community when deciding issues important to its citizens.
Trump plows ahead despite fresh signs of trouble in 2020
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and his Republican supporters are insisting that no course correction is needed despite stinging Republican defeats in battleground suburbs and a Democrat on the verge of victory in the governor’s race in deep-red Kentucky.
But the blue wave that swept through the suburbs in 2018 and gave Democrats control of the U.S. House barreled through communities outside Philadelphia, Washington and Cincinnati on Tuesday.
With nearly a year until the presidential election, there is a risk of drawing firm conclusions about the meaning of Tuesday’s results. But coming amid an intensifying impeachment inquiry, they raise questions about Trump’s ability to help other Republicans across the finish line. Some GOP strategists say the party needs to confront its eroding support in the suburbs.
FILM-CGI JAMES DEAN
A CGI James Dean is cast in new film, sparking an outcry
NEW YORK (AP) — James Dean hasn’t been alive in 64 years, but the “Rebel Without a Cause” actor has been cast in a new film about the Vietnam War.
The filmmakers behind the independent film “Finding Jack” said Wednesday that a computer-generated Dean will play a co-starring role in the upcoming production. The digital Dean is to be assembled through old footage and photos and voiced by another actor.
Digitally manipulated posthumous performances have made some inroads into films. But those have been largely roles the actors already played, including Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing in “Star Wars” movies.
But the prospect of one of the movies’ most beloved former stars being digitally resurrected was met with widespread criticism Wednesday after the news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter .
HAWAII-VACATION RENTALS-THE LATEST
The Latest: Judge allows Hawaii subpoena of Airbnb records
HONOLULU (AP) — A judge is allowing Hawaii tax authorities to subpoena Airbnb to determine whether vacation rental operators have been paying their taxes.
First Circuit Court Judge Bert Ayabe issued the ruling in Honolulu on Wednesday.
Airbnb and the state Department of Taxation have already negotiated what records the company will provide if subpoenaed.
Airbnb says it will give Hawaii the records of 1,000 hosts who received the most revenue from 2016 through 2018.
The company will provide data for hosts who had more than $2,000 in annual revenue during those years, but the identities will remain anonymous. The state may then request individual records for these hosts.