5.22.19

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05.22.2019 • WedneSday • M 1

ST. LOUIS POST-dISPaTCH • A17

NATION&WORLD DIGEST

WASHINGTON | RUSSIA PROBE

May OKs revote on Brexit referendum

Impeachment calls swell

LONDON — In a major concession, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday offered U.K. lawmakers the chance to vote on whether to hold a new referendum on the country’s membership in the European Union — but only if they back her thrice-rejected Brexit agreement. May made the offer as part of a desperate attempt to persuade Parliament to back a divorce deal that will allow the U.K. make an orderly, if delayed, departure from the EU. She plans to ask the House of Commons to vote in early June on a withdrawal agreement bill, in what May called a “last chance” to seal a Brexit deal. Soon after that vote, she will give a timetable for her departure as Conservative leader and prime minister.

Arizona prisons’ book ban draws ire PHOENIX — Arizona has banned prisoners from reading a book that discusses the impact of the criminal justice system on black men, drawing outcry from First Amendment advocates who say the move is censorship. The American Civil Liberties Union called on the Arizona Department of Corrections this week to rescind the ban on “Chokehold: Policing Black Men.” The book by Paul Butler, a former federal prosecutor, examines law enforcement and mass incarceration through its treatment of African-American men. “In order for them to ban a book, they have to show the restriction is related to a legitimate prison interest,” said Emerson Sykes, an ACLU attorney. “There’s no interest to keep inmates from learning about the criminal justice system and policing.” Butler, a criminal law professor at Georgetown University, said his publisher was notified by email in March that his book had “unauthorized content.” BRIEFLY HUAWEI: The United States on Monday announced that it is delaying some restrictions on U.S. technology sales to Chinese tech powerhouse Huawei in what it calls an effort to ease the blow on Huawei smartphone owners and smaller U.S. telecoms providers that rely on its networking equipment. JOURNALIST RAIDED: San Francisco police agreed in court Tuesday to return property seized from freelance journalist Bryan Carmody in raids aimed at uncovering the source of a leaked police report into the unexpected death of the city’s public defender, Jeff Adachi.

Trump blocks McGahn from testifying; Barr offers committee a deal MARY CLARE JALONICK AND LISA MASCARO

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — More Democrats are calling — and more loudly — for impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump after his latest defiance of Congress by blocking his former White House lawyer from testifying on Tuesday. A growing number of rank-andfile House Democrats, incensed by former Counsel Don McGahn’s empty chair in the Judiciary Committee hearing room, are pushing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders to act. Their impatience is running up against the speaker’s preference for a more methodical approach, including already-unfolding court battles.

POLICE VIOLENCE: Three New Jersey police officers are on paid administrative leave as authorities investigate a violent arrest that was caught on video. The probe stems from the arrest of 19-year-old Cyprian Luke Sunday in Dover. The video shows him being punched repeatedly in the face by officers as he was taken into custody. The officers’ names have not been released and no charges have been filed. IMMIGRATION CZAR: Ken Cuccinelli, the former attorney general of Virginia, will join the Department of Homeland Security as an “immigration czar” to coordinate policy across federal agencies, according to a White House official who spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity. RAIL FUNDING: California sued Tuesday to block the Trump administration from canceling nearly $1 billion for the state’s high-speed rail project, escalating the state’s feud with the federal government. The Federal Railroad Administration announced last week it would not give California the money awarded by Congress nearly a decade ago, arguing that the state has not made enough progress on the project. — Associated Press

and “out of step with America.” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said wryly of Amash’s position, “I don’t think it’s going to be a trend-setting move.” House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler on Tuesday also issued subpoenas for more Trump administration officials — former White House communications director Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson, a former aide in the White House counsel’s office — for documents and testimony. Nadler gaveled open Tuesday’s hearing with a stern warning that McGahn will be held in contempt for failing to appear. “Our subpoenas are not optional,” Nadler said. “We will not allow the president to stop this investigation.” However, Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking Republican on the committee, spoke scornfully of Nadler’s position, calling the session a “circus” and saying the chairman preferred a public “fight

over fact-finding.” Also Tuesday, the Justice Department said it is willing to provide the House Intelligence Committee with documents from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, as long as the panel agrees not to take any action against Attorney General William Barr. The unusual request comes after the committee’s chairman, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, warned that the committee would take an unspecified “enforcement action” against Barr or the Justice Department after they refused to hand over an unredacted version of Mueller’s report and other documents related to the Russia investigation that shadowed Donald Trump’s presidency for nearly two years. Nadler said the committee would vote to hold McGahn in contempt, though that’s not expected until June, after lawmakers return from the Memorial Day recess.

Trump officials: We don’t want a war

SEVERE WEATHER

Shanahan says recent military action was meant to deter Iran LISA MASCARO AND SUSANNAH GEORGE

Associated Press

MIKE SIMONS, TULSA WORLD VIA AP

Michelle Underwood searches through the wreckage of a feed store where she stored most of her belongings Tuesday in Peggs, Okla.

Central US storms leave trail of tornadoes, floods Two dead in Missouri; funnel cloud lands near Tulsa airport JIM SALTER AND KEN MILLER

PARDON-PROOFING: A presidential pardon for federal crimes won’t be enough to clear a person of similar state charges under legislation approved Tuesday by New York state lawmakers. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign the measure into law.

Pelosi summoned some of them — still a small fraction of the House Democratic caucus — to a meeting of investigators Wednesday to assess strategy. Some other Democratic leaders, while backing Pelosi, signaled that a march to impeachment may at some point become inevitable. “We are confronting what might be the largest, broadest cover-up in American history,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said. If a House inquiry “leads to other avenues including impeachment,” the Maryland Democrat said, “so be it.” One Republican congressman, Justin Amash of Michigan, has called for impeachment proceedings. He said Tuesday he thinks other GOP lawmakers should join him — but only after reading special counsel Robert Mueller’s report carefully. Republican House leader Kevin McCarthy dismissed Amash as out of step with House Republicans

Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — Dangerous storms left a string of more than 30 tornadoes across the central U.S., damaging homes in Oklahoma, demolishing a racetrack grandstand in Missouri and inundating the region with water over a short period. Two deaths, both in Missouri, were blamed on the severe weather that started in the Southern Plains Monday night and moved to the northeast. Missouri and parts of Illinois and Arkansas were in the crosshairs Tuesday. By Wednesday, the storm will move into Great Lakes region, where it will weaken. But another storm system was gathering steam for later this week, potentially covering an area from Texas to Chicago, according to the National Weather Service. Patrick Marsh, warning coordination meteorologist for the Na-

tional Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Storm Prediction Center, said eyewitnesses reported 26 tornadoes Monday and six more Tuesday. One, near Tulsa, was a mile wide with winds in the range of 111 mph to 135 mph. “It certainly isn’t anything to mess with,” Marsh said. A tornado early Tuesday near Tulsa International Airport injured one person and damaged about a dozen homes. The airport was unscathed, but passengers were moved into shelters for about 30 minutes and several flights were delayed. Tulsa Area Emergency Management spokeswoman Kim MacLeod said crews rescued a man who was pinned under a tree. In Arkansas, crews worked Tuesday afternoon to free a woman trapped under a tree topped by strong winds. Arkansas Department of Emergency Management spokeswoman Melody Daniel said the woman was alert and talking. StormsMondayeveningflipped campers at Lucas Oil Speedway in Hickory County, Missouri, injuring seven people, four of whom were taken to hospitals.

The speedway’s grandstand also was destroyed, forcing cancellation of racing this weekend that was expected to draw about 3,000 campers. Another twister Tuesday afternoon hit a hit a drive-thru wild animal park in southern Missouri. Webster County Emergency Management Director Tom Simmons said buildings were damaged at the Wild Animal Safari near Strafford, but there were no reports that people or animals were injured. Heavy rain was called a contributing factor in the deaths of two people in a traffic accident Tuesday near Springfield, Missouri. The Missouri State Highway Patrol said an SUV skidded across the center of U.S. 160 and struck a tractor-trailer, killing both people in the SUV. Missouri authorities also reported several water rescues from flash flooding. Among them was an 18-year-old woman who was swept off a flooded road near Joplin Monday and stranded overnight until nearby residents heard her yelling. She had only minor injuries.

WASHINGTON — Tamping down talk of war, top Trump administration officials told Congress on Tuesday that recent actions by the U.S. deterred attacks on American forces, but some lawmakers remained deeply skeptical of the White House approach in the Middle East. After a day of closed-door briefings on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said their objective over recent days was to deter Iran. Now they want to prevent further escalation, Shanahan said. “We’re not about going to war,” Shanahan told reporters. “Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation,” said Shanahan, flanked by Pompeo, after back-to-back briefings for the House and Senate.“We do not want the situation to escalate.” Meanwhile, Yemen’s Iranian-allied Houthi rebels attacked a Saudi airport and military base with a bomb-laden drone Tuesday. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage. The attack on the Saudi city of Najran came after Iran announced it has quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity, though still at a level far lower than needed for atomic weapons, a year after the U.S. withdrew from Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also seeks expanded executive powers to better deal with “economic war” triggered by the Trump’s administration, the staterun IRNA news agency reported. After Tuesday’s meeting with President Donald Trump’s officials, skeptical Democrats sought out a second opinion, holding their own briefing with former Obama administration officials, former CIA Director John Brennan and Wendy Sherman, an architect of the Iran nuclear deal.

Congressional leaders make some progress on budget Lawmakers hope to avoid repeat of 35-day government shutdown ANDREW TAYLOR

Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Top leaders of both parties in Congress made better-than-expected progress Tuesday on two must-do items on the legislative agenda: averting automatic budget cuts and meeting a deadline later this year to increase the government’s borrowing limit. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who’s been a

key force in getting negotiations running, said both the debt limit increase and the outlines of a two-year spending agreement would likely be merged into one package if a deal can be worked out. Driving the bipartisan talks is the desire to avoid automatic spending cuts that threaten to hit the Pentagon and other federal agencies with budget reductions averaging 10 percent. At the same time, increasing the debt limit is required to avert a first-ever, market-quaking default on government obligations like interest payments and Social Security benefits.

It would also minimize the chances of a repeat of the 35-day government shutdown of December and January. Tuesday’s meeting included Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and the top four leaders of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. They returned for a second session later Tuesday and adjourned with plans to reconvene soon. “We’re making progress,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. McConnell met with President Donald Trump last week and

warned him that failure to reach a pact with Democrats could lead to endless bickering over the length of stopgap measures to prevent a government shutdown or put the government on course for $71 billion in cuts to the Pentagon. In his March budget submission, Trump employed bookkeeping gimmicks to protect the defense budget and called for sweeping cuts to domestic programs. Just last week, he decided he went too far in cutting popular environmental restoration programs and reversed those cuts, along with cuts to the Special Olympics that were widely panned.