Conservative activists pressure McConnell on election security

(CNN)Conservative activists are calling on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to support funding to upgrade voting machines across the country that critics argue are out of date and insecure. Norquist said he supports a version of the Secure Elections Act, a bipartisan bill introduced last year by members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, though it’s yet to be reintroduced this year. While generally considered less stringent than other election security bills, the Secure Elections Act would motivate states to replace all-digital voting machines by appropriating funds for replacements only if the money would go toward equipment that relies on paper ballots. Democrats largely place the blame on McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who has refused to pick up various election security …

Texas congressman pulls endorsement from Castro to support Biden

Washington (CNN)Texas Democratic Rep. Vicente Gonzalez on Sunday flipped his support from Julin Castro to Joe Biden for the Democratic presidential nomination, saying now is the time to narrow the 2020 field and unite as Democrats. Gonzalez called the former vice president a “steady ship” with White House experience who can defeat Trump. He called Castro, a former housing and urban development secretary under the Obama administration and former mayor of San Antonio, Texas, a qualified candidate, but said there are a number of qualified candidates. “If you’re polling in the low single digits and you’re not raising resources, I mean it’s clearly a recipe for disaster,” Gonzalez said. In response to the pulled endorsement, Castro campaign spokesman Sawyer Hackett …

Saudi attack likely originated in Iran or Iraq, senior administration official says

Washington (CNN)A day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran for the attack on Saudi oil facilities and argued there is “no evidence the attacks came from Yemen,” a senior administration official briefed CNN on information to back up Pompeo’s claims. “You can’t hit 19 targets with 10 drones like that,” the official said. The official, drawing on commercial satellite imagery shared with CNN, also noted that “all the points of impact on Saudi facilities were on the northwest side of them, which is somewhat difficult to do from Yemen.” The official could not say whether it’s possible drones from Yemen could have angled around to attack northwest facilities. Citing a potential impact on oil prices because of the …

This is what Trump’s Cabinet looks like right now

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump’s third national security adviser, John Bolton, tendered his resignation on Tuesday, marking the latest departure from an administration fraught with turnover. Commerce: Wilbur Ross Defense: Mark Esper White House chief of staff: Mick Mulvaney (acting) State: Mike Pompeo Education: Betsy DeVos Energy: Rick Perry Central Intelligence Agency: Gina Haspel Health and Human Services: Alex Azar Homeland Security: Kevin McAleenan (acting) Housing and Urban Development: Ben Carson Agriculture: Sonny Perdue Interior: David Bernhardt Labor: Patrick Pizzella (acting) Transportation: Elaine Chao Treasury: Steven Mnuchin Veterans Affairs: Robert Wilkie Attorney general: William Barr Environmental Protection Agency: Andrew Wheeler Office of Management and Budget: Russell Vought (acting, though Mulvaney stills holds the title of director) US trade representative: Robert Lighthizer …

Chicago mayor slams Ivanka Trump for ‘misleading’ tweets about the city’s recent gun violence

Washington (CNN)Chicago’s Democratic mayor is pushing back against Ivanka Trump’s “misleading” tweets about recent gun violence in the city, assailing President Donald Trump’s daughter for getting several facts wrong. At a press conference later Tuesday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot called out the tweets from Trump, describing them as “misleading” and suggesting the first daughter doesn’t really care about the violence. “It wasn’t a playground, it was a park. It wasn’t seven dead. It wasn’t 52 wounded in one incident, which is what this suggests. And it’s misleading,” Lightfoot said. “It’s important when we’re talking about people’s lives to actually get the facts correct, which one can easily do if you actually cared about getting it right.” When a reporter noted the …

US believes Osama bin Laden’s son Hamza is dead

(CNN)The US believes late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden‘s son Hamza bin Laden is dead, a US official told CNN on Wednesday. The New York Times, citing two US officials, said “the United States government had a role in the operation that killed the younger Mr. bin Laden, but it was not clear precisely what that role was.” When it offered the reward the US government accused the Saudi Arabia-born Hamza bin Laden of seeking to encourage attacks against the US. While The New York Times said the operation that killed him took place prior to the State Department’s reward offer, his death had yet to be confirmed by the US government. Hamza bin Laden “has released audio and …

Baltimore stands up for its city after Trump tweets ‘no human being would want to live there’

(CNN)The city of Baltimore did not take President Trump’s recent criticism of it lying down. Charm City stood up and fought back. The city’s leaders and residents were quick to defend it. The Twitter hashtag #wearebaltimore was trending Saturday night, with users posting pictures and comments expressing their pride in the city. “It’s completely unacceptable for the political leader of our country to denigrate a vibrant American City like Baltimore, and to viciously attack U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings a patriot and a hero,” Baltimore’s Mayor Jack Young said in a tweeted statement. The Baltimore Sun’s editorial board published a response, highlighting aspects of the city they felt the president left out: the beauty of Inner Harbor, the history of Fort …

Gordon Brown: ‘Boris Johnson could be UK’s last prime minister’

Ex-PM says Johnsons anti-Europe conservatism is seen in Scotland as anti-Scottish Boris Johnson could be the UKs last prime minister, Gordon Brown has warned, after the Conservative leadership frontrunner met Scottish MPs to reassure them of his desire to bolster the union. Johnsons meeting with 11 out of the 13 Scottish Conservatives at Westminster on Wednesday is understood to have covered when he should first visit Scotland if elected, how colleagues north of the border could feed into policy decisions and the future structuring of government Johnson has proposed a union unit within Downing Street. The meeting was described as positive and businesslike. Brown, the former Labour prime minister, warned of an approaching head-on conflict between Johnsons hardline views and …

The surprising history of impeachment and what it means for Trump

Washington (CNN)As Democrats try to square growing calls for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump with hesitation from party leadership — and the political reality of a Republican-controlled Senate — it’s worth understanding what’s behind the concept of impeachment and why it should or shouldn’t apply to Trump. CNN: I found it really interesting the way you tied the idea of impeachment back to the Magna Carta and how lords used it almost as a form of protection against the king. Is there anything left from that original meaning in the way it is applied today? BOWMAN: For centuries, the kings and queens of England were the dictators of their age, with the added advantage that they could claim a …

Mike Pence’s unbelievable answer on whether climate change is a threat

(CNN)Sometimes you have to read something to believe it. Vice President Mike Pence’s pretzel-twisting when asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper whether climate change is a threat to the United States is one of those times. TAPPER: But I want to ask you a question about climate change.

A bipartisan Senate bill would tell you how much Facebook and Google make from your data

(CNN)Two US senators said they are introducing a bill on Monday that could force big tech companies to disclose how much money consumers’ personal information is worth to their businesses. The bill also contains more familiar ideas, such as requiring companies to tell users what information they collect and to give consumers the ability to delete all or parts of their data from a service. Amazon, Facebook, Google and Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The bill was first reported by Axios. By providing more visibility into the tech companies’ businesses, the bill could help antitrust regulators determine whether the platforms may be harming competition, Warner said in a release — an early copy of which was …

Trump and supporters downplay significance of Mueller’s statement

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump and his team on Wednesday sought to downplay the significance of special counsel Robert Mueller’s first public comments about his investigation and the reason he did not draw a conclusion on whether Trump committed a crime. Trump’s personal attorney Jay Sekulow emphasized that Attorney General Bill Barr “determined that there was no obstruction by the President,” and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders hammered home those same conclusions, while urging “everyone” to move on with their lives. “After two years, the special counsel is moving on with his life, and everyone else should do the same,” Sanders said. The responses from the President and his team ignored Mueller’s most damning comments from a lectern at the …

DOJ agrees to make Mueller court activity public, with some redactions

Washington (CNN)The Justice Department said Tuesday it agrees that a federal court in Washington can make public lists describing potentially hundreds of miscellaneous court actions, like search warrants, used in the Mueller investigation. Chief Judge Beryl Howell of the DC District Court has shown the government three lists of unknown length that give limited information about these matters. It is possible that the lists will reveal how often Mueller approached technology and communications companies for access to information — with the targets of many of the warrants not named in these lists. “The government has reviewed the sealed lists of docket information filed on this docket by the Court, and expects to have no objection to the public release of …

How long can Nancy Pelosi hold off impeachment?

(CNN)Nancy Pelosi has made clear — over and over again — that she opposes the Democratic-controlled House trying to impeach President Donald Trump right now. And, Pelosi has, for the most part, been able to enforce that position among her House Democratic colleagues over the intervening few months — even as special counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released and showed multiple occasions in which Trump seemed to commit obstructive behavior in regard to the special counsel probe looking into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Until now. Here’s CNN’s latest reporting on the rising tensions among House Democrats:

Theresa May prepares ‘bold’ last-ditch offer to MPs on Brexit bill

Prime minister will ask her cabinet to sign off on concessions this week Theresa May will ask her cabinet to sign off a package of Brexit concessions this week, as she gears up for one last bid to win over MPs and salvage something concrete from her troubled premiership. With the Conservatives on course for a drubbing in Thursdays European elections, the prime minister hopes the results will focus the minds of her own MPs and persuade them to support the long-awaited withdrawal agreement bill (WAB). Despite the collapse of cross-party talks with Labour, ministers hope some of the measures discussed can still be bolted on to the bill, as part of what May has called a new, bold offer …

Abrams still mulling 2020 bid: ‘I’ll probably jump in myself’ if voter suppression isn’t a top priority for others

(CNN)Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is still weighing a 2020 run for president, she said in an interview Thursday, once again teasing a run for a major office in the coming election. “For me, the most important and urgent conversation of the day is the fight for free and fair elections, because I believe that that is an existential crisis facing our democracy,” she said, later adding, “we can not win elections in America for the people if we do not have candidates who are fighting against voter suppression.” Abrams said the ability to maximize turnout and reframe Democrats’ motivation in the 2020 election are key factors for a winning candidate. “We also have to have candidates who are …