WASHINGTON — The FBI arrested a Tucson, Ariz., man for leaving three threatening phone messages at Arizona Republican Rep. Martha McSally’s congressional office.

Steve Martan, 58, is a campus monitor at a school in the Tucson area. He allegedly left messages telling McSally to “be careful” when she returns to Tucson and that her days “were numbered,” as well as a specific threat to shoot her.

According to a criminal complaint filed Friday, Martan told FBI agents that he was angry about McSally voting to back President Donald Trump’s agenda.

Many Republicans are facing anger from constituents in the wake of the House vote for the GOP’s health care reform bill, which has resulted in many avoiding traditional town hall meetings in their district.

Most constituents have expressed their anger in protests, but some have gone beyond venting.

A Tennessee woman pled not guilty to reckless endangerment charges Monday after she allegedly chased Rep. David Kustoff’s car after a town hall, and screamed and hit its windows after they both stopped. Virginia Republican Rep. Tom Garrett has also received several death threats related to his vote on the health care bill, with one person reportedly saying he would kill Garrett if he lost his health care.

—CQ-Roll Call


Judge rules against group that sued California synagogue over ritual chicken slaughter

LOS ANGELES — A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against an Irvine synagogue by a group seeking to protect poultry.

The suit alleged that accepting donations to slaughter chickens as part of the ancient Yom Kippur atonement rite known as Kaparot constitutes an unfair business practice.

United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit dedicated to the respectful treatment of domestic fowl, argued that Chabad of Irvine charges “a fee of $27 to kill and dispose of each chicken.”

The cost of each chicken is $2, it said, thus providing the synagogue with a $25 profit.

But Judge Andre Birotte Jr. wrote in his decision Friday that “Chabad of Irvine does not participate nor compete as a business in the commercial market by performing a religious atonement ritual that involves donations.”

“We hope this victory will encourage everyone to live in peace and tolerance of everyone’s religious beliefs,” Rabbi Alter Tenenbaum of Chabad of Irvine said in a statement.

“We’re appealing Judge Birotte’s ruling,” Bryan Pease, an attorney representing United Poultry Concerns, said Tuesday.

—Los Angeles Times


Nikki Haley tells countries to choose between US, North Korea

NEW YORK — The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations urged other countries to do more to pressure North Korea over its weapons program, saying, “You either support North Korea or you support us, you are either with North Korea or not.”

Ambassador Nikki Haley made the comments Tuesday, two days after Kim Jong Un’s regime launched a rocket it said could carry a “large-size heavy nuclear warhead.” The launch was the latest defiance of U.N. sanctions and provides an early challenge for South Korea’s new leader, Moon Jae-in, who has vowed to engage with the regime to bring peace to the peninsula.

Flanked by ambassadors from Japan and South Korea, Haley reiterated the U.S. position that it is willing to engage in talks with Kim’s regime if it abandons its nuclear aspirations. North Korea, however, has said it will prepare for more tests.

“We are willing to talk but not until a total stop of the nuclear process and of any tests there,” Haley said.

Monday night, the Security Council condemned North Korea’s seventh missile test this year and vowed to take further measures including sanctions in response to Pyongyang’s “highly destabilizing behavior.”

Ambassadors from France and the U.K. have said they favor tougher sanctions against Pyongyang but a consensus hasn’t been reached in the 15-member Security Council, where Russia, the U.S., U.K., China and France have veto power.

—Bloomberg News


Iran’s moderates rally behind Rouhani to fight hard-line challenge

TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s re-election campaign received a lift as a fellow moderate withdrew from the race, and he was endorsed by the influential grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic.

Eshagh Jahangiri, who from the outset had used his speeches to encourage support for a second Rouhani term when Iranians vote on May 19, announced Tuesday he was pulling out. He had appeared at a Tehran rally alongside Rouhani on Saturday, where he was cheered by the president’s supporters.

“I feel I have fulfilled my responsibility and so along with you I will vote for Rouhani,” Jahangiri, Iran’s vice president, said in an address to supporters in the central province of Fars. “I am here to ask people to help a sincere, caring and capable president.”

The move — along with the endorsement of Hassan Khomeini, whose grandfather Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini led the 1979 Islamic Revolution — came a day after Rouhani’s leading conservative rivals united behind a single candidate in an effort to combine their votes and narrow the gap to the president.

The campaign has been marked by stark differences over economic policy between the investment-friendly Rouhani, the architect of the 2015 nuclear deal, and conservatives who want to expand subsidies for the poor and spur domestic industry. A victory for hard-liners would risk exacerbating tensions with the Trump White House — which has vowed to curtail Iranian influence in the Middle East — and America’s Sunni Gulf allies.

—Bloomberg News

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