Wednesday morning news: May 23, 2018

Republicans call for second special counsel » A group of House Republicans on Tuesday called for the appointment a second special counsel to investigate the Department of Justice.

The lawmakers announced a 12-page resolution which they said details misconduct at the highest level of the Justice Department and the FBI.

BIGGS: The apparent motivation for all of this misconduct, going right back to the Clinton scandal, right on into the current scandal.

Arizona Congressman Andy Biggs. The resolution includes questions about handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe, FISA warrants, and why the Russia investigation began.

They also raised concerns about recent media reports that an FBI informant provided information on the Trump campaign.

Congresswoman Claudia Tenney of New York told reporters:

TENNEY: This seems to me like if the tables were turned, this would be another modern day Watergate.

President Trump over the weekend demanded an investigation into whether any of Justice Department’s actions related to the 20-16 election could have been politically motivated.

Trump casts doubt on meeting with Kim Jong Un » President Trump on Tuesday cast some doubt on a planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, telling reporters—“It may not work out for June 12th.”

His comments came after hosting South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House.

Trump said after weeks of progress, he was troubled to hear some of Kim’s recent negative remarks.

TRUMP: I will say I’m a little disappointed because when Kim Jong Un had the meeting with President Xi in China, the second meeting, I think there was a little change of attitude from Kim Jong Un, so I don’t like that. I don’t like that.

North Korea has complained in recent days about joint military exercises between the U.S. and South Korea. The North also suggested it may not be willing to give up nuclear weapons and threatened to call off the meeting.

Nevertheless, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said yesterday:

POMPEO: We are continuing to prepare both our team and the White House so that in the event that the summit takes place on June 12th we are fully prepared, with the mission statement having not changed at all. 

That mission is to achieve a fully denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

Meantime, a group of reporters from around the world are on the ground in Pyongyang. The North Korean regime invited a hand-picked group of reporters to witness the dismantling of a nuclear test site.

They’re expected to view its destruction only from afar. And the regime is not allowing any international inspectors in to verify the destruction of the test site.

Trump discusses Protect Life rule at Susan B. Anthony gala » The Department of Health and Human Services has announced a move to cut off family planning funds to pro-abortion groups, like Planned Parenthood.

The announcement was timed to coincide with President Trump’s speech at the Susan B. Anthony List Campaign for Life event last night.

TRUMP: My administration has proposed a new rule to prohibit Title X funding from going to any clinic that performs abortions. 

The new rule would bar family planning clinics that receive Title X funding from discussing abortion with women and sharing space with abortion providers. Planned Parenthood takes in about $60 million a year in Title X funds.

Stacey Abrams wins Democratic nomination for Georgia governor » Former state lawmaker Stacey Abrams will battle the eventual Republican nominee for governor in Georgia. Abrams won the Democratic nomination last night, becoming the first African American woman to win a major party’s gubernatorial nomination.

Abrams is a former minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives.

Lt. Governor Casey Cagle was the leading vote-getter for Republicans. But he failed to grab more than 50 percent of the vote, which in Georgia means he’ll face runner up Brian Kemp in a runoff election.

Right To Try legislation heads to President Trump’s desk » Lawmakers in the House passed “right to try” legislation on Tuesday on a vote of 250 to 169. The bill gives patients suffering life-threatening conditions the legal right to try treatments not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration.  

The Senate passed the same version of the bill last August. It now heads to President Trump’s desk, and he has pledged to sign it.

House passes First Step Act » Also on Tuesday, the House passed legislation to make changes to the criminal justice system. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The legislation features multiple measures aimed at helping convicts make a fresh start. It’s designed to incentivize participation in rehabilitation programs, offering—among other things—the possibility of early release. The bill also allocates money for those programs.

It easily passed the House Tuesday evening on a vote 360 to 59.

The bill is titled “The First Step Act,” a name designed to address criticism that the legislation doesn’t go far enough. Its authors say it’s only the beginning, and more action to reform the criminal justice system will follow.  

Still, many critics say by not addressing sentencing reform the bill fails to get to the heart of the issue. And some Democrat and Republican leaders in the Senate say without language to address sentencing guidelines, the bill is dead on arrival there.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Australian archbishop convicted of child sex abuse cover-up (KC✓) (JC✓)

An Australian court this week convicted a Catholic archbishop of covering up child sex abuse. Philip Wilson, archbishop of Adelaide, is the highest-ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church to face legal penalties in the worldwide abuse scandal.

Wilson pleaded not guilty to concealing priest James Fletcher’s abuse of children in the 1970s. The 67-year-old archbishop will be sentenced in June and faces a maximum sentence of two years behind bars.

I’m Jim Henry. Up next: Midterms are six months away. What’s the lay of the land? That’s next on Washington Wednesday. And Janie B. Cheaney on youthful passions and mature understandings. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, Korea Summit Press Pool via AP, File) In this combination of file photos, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on May 16, 2018, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a meeting with South Korean leader Moon Jae-in in Panmunjom, South Korea, on April 27, 2018. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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