Tom Steyer, a San Francisco environmentalist and a major political donor, is calling on all Democrats to support the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
In a letter this week to campaign committees and every Democratic member of Congress, Steyer said the president is “not fit for office” and is “engaged in a systematic attack on the future of our children.”
“The public deserves to know where every Democrat stands on the issue of the highest import to the lives of every single American now, before those elections happen,” Steyer wrote. “I am asking you today to make public your position on the impeachment of Donald Trump and call for his removal from office.”
The letter raises the potential of a litmus test for candidates to receive financial backing from Steyer, who has spent tens of millions of dollars supporting Democratic candidates and causes. The party will be attempting to take back control of Congress during next year’s midterm elections.
—Los Angeles Times
Austin man gets 5 years in prison for threats to kill Obama, blow up White House and Houston FBI office
DALLAS — A 21-year-old Austin, Texas, man was sentenced Tuesday to more than five years in federal prison for threatening to kill President Barack Obama and a U.S. district attorney. He also vowed to destroy federal buildings, officials said.
Gavin Friedman pleaded guilty to one count of making a threat against the president and three counts of mailing threatening communications. He was sentenced to 63 months, U.S. Attorney John Parker said.
In January 2016, Friedman mailed a letter threatening Obama’s life and said that the president would be killed so Friedman could be martyred in the name of Allah, according to case documents.
Friedman also sent a letter in September 2016 threatening to use an explosive to destroy the FBI field office in Houston and the White House, documents stated.
He also wrote two letters to the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Texas that threatened to kill him and stated that Friedman had hired people to kidnap and kill the U.S. attorney’s family, Parker said.
“Threats such as these have no place in a civilized society and will be vigorously prosecuted,” Parker said in a written statement.
Friedman has been in custody since he was arrested in December. He was arrested in Kerrville in 2013 on a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to jail records.
—The Dallas Morning News
House tradition of opening legislative day with prayer upheld
WASHINGTON — House Chaplain Patrick Conroy and Paul D. Ryan got a win on Wednesday when the U.S. District Court upheld Congress’ right to open with a prayer.
In the case of Barker v. Conroy, the plaintiff, Daniel Barker, an atheist and the founder of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, filed a federal discrimination and free speech lawsuit against Conroy and Ryan in June 2016 after his request to offer a secular invocation on the floor was declined.
In a statement reacting to the ruling, Ryan, a devout Catholic, said: “Since the first session of the Continental Congress, our nation’s legislature has opened with a prayer to God. Today, that tradition was upheld and the freedom to exercise religion was vindicated. The court rightfully dismissed the claims of an atheist that he had the right to deliver a secular invocation in place of the opening prayer.”
“Recently, especially following the return of Majority Whip Steve Scalise, this institution has been reminded about the power of prayer. I commend the District Court for its decision, and I am grateful that the People’s House can continue to begin its work each day as we have for centuries: taking a moment to pray to God.”
Guest chaplains can lead prayer once they are nominated by a member of the House and selected by Conroy.
UN peacekeepers in Central African Republic suspected of drugging and raping young woman
NEW YORK — U.N. peacekeepers allegedly drugged and raped a teenage girl in the Central African Republic, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
An investigation by local police concluded that one or more Mauritanian peacekeepers raped a young woman in the town of Bambari on Sept. 30, Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser, Joanne Mariner, told dpa.
The alleged victim and her family do not know her exact age, but Amnesty tracked down her birth certificate, which says she is 19 years old, Mariner said.
According to records passed on to the U.N. for investigation, the victim is 16 years old, the chief spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
The U.N. immediately referred the victim to humanitarian partners on the ground and the matter will be referred to the member state for further investigation and action, Stephane Dujarric told reporters in New York.
The young woman passed out after drinking some tea given to her by Mauritanian soldiers from the U.N.’s MINUSCA peacekeeping force who were manning a checkpoint, Amnesty said.
She woke up nearly nude on the ground several hours later and medical staff who treated her told Amnesty they found evidence of drugging and sexual violence.
The woman was treated with emergency contraception and anti-HIV medication.
Amnesty’s team on the ground interviewed 11 people including the alleged victim, members of her family, medical staff who treated her and local police and authorities.
A guard and health worker who treated the alleged victim at a nearby medical clinic said a Mauritanian soldier came looking for her twice while she was in bed receiving intravenous fluids.
Local workers who visited the site of the incident in the early morning said they saw condoms and condom wrappers at the location of the alleged rape.
U.N. blue helmets are immune from prosecution in their host countries and it is up to their home countries to bring them to justice for alleged crimes.
This means the criminal investigation carried out by CAR authorities cannot lead to prosecution.
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