AP News Summary at 12:06 a.m. EST
Broken Congress: It can’t fix the border, fund allies or impeach Mayorkas as GOP revolts.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas was not, in fact, impeached, by the House. A border security package instantly collapsed in the Senate. And foreign aid for Ukraine as it fights Russia is stubbornly stalled. The broken Congress, which failed in stunning fashion this week as Republicans revolted in new and unimaginable ways against their own agenda, will try to do it all over again – as soon as next week. The dysfunction shows just how deeply the Republican Party, under Speaker Mike Johnson and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, is turning away from its traditional role as a working partner in the U.S.’s two-party system to a new one rooted in Donald Trump’s vision for the GOP.
Blinken says a Hamas-Israel deal is still possible even though the sides remain far apart
TEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken says a cease-fire and hostage-release agreement between Israel and Hamas is still possible, despite the two sides being far apart on the central terms for a deal. Blinken was in the region trying to broker a deal that could bring some respite in Israel’s war against Hamas, which is entering its fifth month. Those efforts were rattled when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu earlier rejected a detailed plan by Hamas that would effectively leave the group in power, a scenario contrary to Israel’s stated war aim.
Special counsel investigating Biden’s handling of classified documents has completed probe, AG says
WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Merrick Garland says the Justice Department special counsel investigating President Joe Biden’s handling of classified documents has completed his inquiry and a report is expected to be made public soon. Garland did not detail the conclusions of the report from special counsel Robert Hur, but did say he was committed to disclosing as much of it as possible once the White House completes a review of the document for potential executive privilege concerns. The yearlong investigation centered on the improper retention of classified documents by Biden from his time as a U.S. senator and as vice president. Sensitive records were found at his Delaware home and at a private office.
Pakistan votes for a new parliament as militant attacks surge and jailed leader’s party cries foul
ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistanis are braving cold winter weather and the threat of violence to vote for a new parliament. Police and paramilitary forces were deployed at polling stations to ensure security and mobile phone service was suspended. Lines of voters formed at polling stations in major cities a day after twin bombings in a restive southwestern province claimed at least 30 lives. The balloting has also been marred by allegations from the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party of imprisoned former Prime Minister Imran Khan that its candidates were denied a fair chance at campaigning. The top contender is the Pakistan Muslim League party of former Prime Minister Sharif, who is free to seek another term after past prison sentences were overturned.
Trump’s presidential bid hangs in the balance in a Supreme Court case that’s broken new legal ground
WASHINGTON (AP) — The fate of former President Donald Trump’s attempt to return to the White House is in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court. On Thursday, the justices will hear arguments in Trump’s appeal of a Colorado Supreme Court ruling that he’s not eligible to run again for president because he violated a provision in the 14th Amendment preventing those who “engaged in insurrection” from holding office. Many legal observers expect the nation’s highest court will reverse the Colorado ruling rather than remove the leading contender for the Republican presidential nomination from the ballot. But it’s always tricky to try to predict a Supreme Court ruling, and the case against Trump has already broken new legal ground.
Nikki Haley hunts for California votes, shrugs off snub in Nevada presidential primary
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Nikki Haley is looking for votes in California after suffering a symbolic snub in Nevada’s primary. Haley held an indoor rally Wednesday near the heart of Los Angeles’ historic Hollywood neighborhood, where she avoided mentioning the Nevada setback and again assured supporters she was in the race “for the long haul.” On Tuesday in Nevada’s primary, GOP voters overwhelmingly chose a “none of these candidates” option on the ballot, bypassing Haley in what amounted to a public rebuke. Trump is favored to take all of Nevada’s delegates in separate caucuses Thursday, and he’s also favored in California, where he could sweep the state’s trove of delegates.
Mexico overtakes China as the leading source of goods imported by US
WASHINGTON (AP) — For the first time in more than two decades, Mexico last year surpassed China as the leading source of goods imported by the United States. The shift reflects the growing tensions between Washington and Beijing as well as U.S. efforts to import from countries that are friendlier and closer to home. Figures released by the U.S. Commerce Department show that the value of goods imported by the United States from Mexico rose nearly 5% from 2022 to 2023, to more than $475 billion. At the same time, the value of Chinese imports imports tumbled 20%. The last time that Mexican goods imported by the United States exceeded the value of China’s imports was in 2002.
Rescue of Marine helicopter with 5 aboard is challenged by snowy California mountains
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Rescuers were battling heavy snow to reach a Marine Corps helicopter carrying five troops that went down in a mountainous area outside San Diego. The aircraft was located Wednesday morning by civil authorities near the mountain community of Pine Valley, about a 45-mile drive from San Diego. But rescue crews said snowy conditions were making access challenging on the ground. The fate of those aboard wasn’t immediately known. Defense officials say the Marines were flying a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter from Creech Air Force Base, northwest of Las Vegas. They said the Marines had been conducting unit-level training and were returning home to Marine Corps Air Station Miramar in San Diego.
US drone strike in Baghdad kills high-ranking militia leader linked to attacks on American troops
BAGHDAD (AP) — The U.S. military says a U.S. drone strike blew up a car in the Iraqi capital Wednesday night, killing a high-ranking commander of the powerful Kataib Hezbollah militia who is responsible for “directly planning and participating in attacks” on American troops in the region. The precision blast hit a main thoroughfare in the Mashtal neighborhood in eastern Baghdad. It came amid roiling tensions in the region, and will likely further anger Iraqi government leaders. U.S. officials say Baghdad was not notified in advance of the strike.
What to know about South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem’s banishment from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation
For the second time as governor of South Dakota, Kristi Noem has been banished from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. The Oglala Sioux Tribe announced last week that Noem is no longer welcome on tribal lands. That’s after she claimed a gang called the Ghost Dancers is affiliated with border-crossing cartels that are killing people on the reservation. The tribe’s president acknowledges the reservation has crime problems. But he said singling out a gang that takes its name from a Native religious ceremony continues a centuries-long history of white officials using the Ghost Dance to instill fear of Native people.
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