Monday morning news: December 10, 2018

Top Democrats raise prospect of impeachment » Top House Democrats on Sunday raised the prospect of impeaching President Trump.

Among them, California’s Adam Schiff, the soon-to-be chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He said the president could be removed from office if the Russia probe reveals—his words—“a pattern of potential misconduct by the president.” And he added…

SCHIFF: There’s a very real prospect that on the day Donald Trump leaves office, the Justice Department may indict him—that he may be the first president in quite some time to face the real prospect of jail time. 

But other Trump critics say that kind of talk is very premature.

Senator Angus King of Maine, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, told NBC’s Meet the Press

KING: I don’t think that there’s evidence yet available to the public where there would be more or less a consensus that this is an appropriate path.

He said elections are the best form of political accountability.

Democrats are reacting to court filings released Friday in which federal prosecutors said Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen arranged hush money payments to women alleging affairs with his boss. Cohen claims he made those payments at Trump’s direction, which is a possible violation of campaign finance laws. Prosecutors, however, did not accuse the president of a crime.

Meanwhile, the sentencing memo from special counsel Robert Mueller’s office revealed Russians sought “political synergy” with Trump early in his campaign for president. They appealed through Cohen to his business and political interests.

Winter storm slams Southeast » A massive storm brought snow, sleet, and freezing rain across a wide swath of the South on Sunday. The winter storm iced over roads and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people.

Patrick Burke with the Weather Prediction Center says it was cold and wet throughout the region.

BURKE: We saw widespread precipitation across all the southeast United States, and where it was cold enough for snow, there was heavy snow occurring across western North Carolina and southern Virginia. 

Accidents on snow-covered interstates caused major delays. Airports cancelled hundreds of flights.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper strongly urged residents to stay off roads until they’re safe to drive on.

COOPER: Stay safe where you are. Getting out on dangerous roads could put your life at risk.

Cooper said emergency crews, including members of the National Guard, have worked overtime to clear traffic accidents on major roadways.

Jury to recommend sentence for James Alex Fields Jr. » A state jury in Virginia will reconvene today to recommend a sentence for 21-year-old James Alex Fields Jr. Jurors found him guilty on Friday of first-degree murder and eight other charges, including aggravated malicious wounding and hit and run.

Fields killed one person and injured many more in Charlottesville last year when he drove a car into a group of counter protesters outside a white nationalist rally. The jury rejected arguments that he acted in self-defense.

Fields could be eligible for the death penalty if convicted separately on federal hate crime charges. No trial has been scheduled yet on those.

White House chief of staff stepping down » President Trump announced over the weekend that John Kelly is stepping down as White House chief of staff.

TRUMP: John Kelly will be leaving at the end of the year. We will be announcing who will be taking John’s place. It might be on an interim basis. I’ll be announcing that over the next day or two. 

The retired four-star Marine general has served nearly two years in the Trump administration first as Homeland Security secretary. He took over as White House chief of staff in July of last year.

President taps Heather Nauert for U.N. ambassador, William Barr for attorney general » That announcement came just hours after the president named his picks for two other key posts.

On Friday he said he’s tapped State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert to replace the outgoing Nikki Haley as ambassador to the UN.

He also named his choice to head the Justice Department—former U.S. Attorney General William Barr.

The 68-year-old currently works as a private lawyer. He previously served as attorney general in the George H.W. Bush administration from 1991 to 1993.

TRUMP: During his tenure he demonstrated an unwavering adherence to the rule of law. There’s no one more capable or more qualified for this role. He deserves overwhelming bipartisan support. I suspect he’ll probably get it. 

Barr also worked at the CIA for four years in the 1970’s and served in Ronald Reagan’s administration.

If confirmed by the Senate, Barr will succeed Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who resigned last month at Trump’s request.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., expected to become chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, speaks with reporters as he arrives for Democratic leadership elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 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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