Tuesday morning news: November 20, 2018

Democratic senators sue over appointment of acting attorney general » Three Senate Democrats are suing to oust Matthew Whitaker as acting U.S. attorney general. Senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island filed the lawsuit on Monday.

Senator Blumenthal said by appointing Whitaker, the president has taken a “dictatorial and autocratic action.”

BLUMENTHAL: To appoint, in effect, a constitutional nobody, a lackey and sycophant is not only bad policy, it is unacceptable as a violation of the Constitution.

The senators bringing the lawsuit say Whitaker’s appointment is unconstitutional because the Senate did not confirm him to the post.

The Department of Justice last week defended the president’s right to appoint a temporary leader without Senate approval under the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

But many Democrats, including Congressman Adam Schiff, worry the president hand picked Whitaker for one reason:

SCHIFF: He was chosen for the purpose of interfering with the Mueller investigation. 

Whitaker has been an outspoken critic of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. But GOP Senator Lindsey Graham says after meeting with Whitaker and the president, he has “zero concern that Mr. Mueller’s job is in jeopardy.”

GRAHAM: There’s a regular order process to review special counsel’s requests and actions. I think that will be followed professionally. 

Whitaker was former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff. President Trump appointed him to the post on an interim basis after Sessions resigned two weeks ago under White House pressure.

Californians hold out hope as volunteers search the ashes in Paradise » AUDIO: [Sound of vigil]

Sounds from a vigil for those missing in Northern California, following the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history. 77 people are now confirmed dead from the Camp wildfire. About a thousand others are still unaccounted for though officials stress that many of the missing may be unharmed but unaware they are on the list.

Hundreds of volunteers are still sifting through ash and debris in the fire-ravaged town of Paradise. They have the grim task of looking for human remains before rains expected later this week complicate their efforts.

White House issues new rules and regulations for press corps » The Trump administration is making new “rules and regulations” for reporters at the White House in the wake of a feud with CNN over one of its reporters.

Jim Acosta clashed with President Trump in a fiery exchange at a press conference earlier this month.

ACOSTA: If I may ask one other question… TRUMP: That’s enough, that’s enough. ACOSTA: Mr. President, if I may ask – the other folks… TRUMP: That’s enough. ACOSTA: Pardon me ma’am I’m… TRUMP: Excuse me, that’s enough. 

Shortly thereafter the administration revoked his White House access. But CNN sued, and a judge temporarily reinstated Acosta’s credentials.

The White House said Monday that as soon as the judge’s order expires, it intends to once again suspend Acosta’s access.

The new press corps rules will permit journalists to ask a single question, granting follow-up questions only at the discretion of White House officials.

Residents in Tijuana, Mexico protest migrant caravan » Residents in the border city of Tijuana, Mexico, this week protested the arrival of about 3,000 Central American migrants seeking asylum in the United States.

While other Mexican cities have given the migrant caravan a warm reception, protesters in Tijuana hurled insults, rocks, and even punches at the migrants.

Tijuana residents waved Mexican flags and chanted, “Out! Out!” They accused the migrants of being a danger to the city, calling the caravan an “invasion.”

The migrants set out more than a month ago from Honduras. They’re likely to wait several months in Tijuana for U.S. authorities to process their asylum applications.

Joni Eareckson Tada diagnosed with cancer » Christian author and advocate for people with disabilities Joni Eareckson Tada announced Monday she’s been diagnosed with cancer for the second time. WORLD Radio’s Paul Butler has that story.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Tada battled stage 3 breast cancer eight years ago and recently underwent a biopsy on a small nodule that developed over the site of her previous mastectomy. She said, “When I received the unexpected news of cancer from my oncological surgeon, I relaxed and smiled knowing that my sovereign God loves me dearly and holds me tightly in His hands.”

Tada requested prayers for her surgery scheduled for next Monday to remove the cancer. And she asked people to pray for—in her words—“this new health challenge [to] become a platform for showcasing His grace and the giving of the gospel.”

Tada is 69 years old. She became quadriplegic 51 years ago in a diving accident. Since then, she founded Joni and Friends, an international ministry to people with disabilities. Tada was WORLD’s Daniel of the Year in 2017.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.

(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais) Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker speaking at the Dept. of Justice’s Annual Veterans Appreciation Day Ceremony, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, at the Justice Department in Washington. 

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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