Friday morning news: February 8, 2019

Trump denounces “presidential harassment” by Democrats » President Trump on Thursday denounced what he called “presidential harassment” on the part of House Democrats.

His remarks came a day after House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said his committee will reopen its Russia probe, which Republicans ended last year. He also announced a sweeping new investigation into Trump’s foreign business dealings.

The president tweeted Thursday that the Democrats and their committees are, quote—“going ‘nuts.’ The Republicans never did this to President Obama.” On Wednesday Trump said of Adam Schiff …

TRUMP:  He’s just a political hack who’s trying to build a name for himself.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday that Democrats won’t be bullied or scared away from investigating the Trump administration.

PELOSI: We will not surrender our constitutional responsibility for oversight. That would make us delinquent in our duties.

Democrats are also exploring efforts to force President Trump to release his personal tax returns.

Senate Judiciary Committee advances attorney general nominee » The Senate Judiciary Committee voted Thursday to advance the nomination of William Barr for attorney general.

AUDIO: Mr. Chairman, the votes are 12 yeas, 10 nays. The nomination will be favorably reported to the floor. 

That was a straight party line vote on the president’s pick to head the Justice Department. It sets up a final confirmation vote on the Senate floor as soon as next week.

Barr previously served as attorney general under President George H.W. Bush from 1991 to 1993. The Senate confirmed him without opposition in 1991. But now Democrats oppose Barr’s confirmation because he has not promised to publicly release the results of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe when it’s finished. Barr said he would be as transparent as possible and share as much as is appropriate while also sticking to Justice Department regulations.

Leaders gather in Washington for 2019 National Prayer Breakfast » Thousands gathered in the nation’s capital Thursday for this year’s National Prayer Breakfast. About 3,500 people, including clergy, diplomats and elected leaders packed a conference hall at the Washington Hilton hotel.

Among the speakers President Trump, who once again took a firm stance on religious liberty and life.

TRUMP: All children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God.

The president added that every life is sacred and he quoted Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.”

And he vowed his administration will continue to defend religious freedom including that of faith-based adoption agencies.

TRUMP: To ensure that people of faith can always contribute to our society. 

At the close of the event, Republican Senator James Lankford and Democratic Senator Chris Coons laid hands on President Trump to pray for him before he left.

Supreme Court blocks Louisiana abortion law » A divided U.S. Supreme Court stopped Louisiana from enforcing new regulations on abortion facilities.

The justices voted 5-to-4 Thursday to block a measure requiring abortion providers to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberal justices in putting a hold on the law, pending a full review of the case.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote a dissenting opinion. He said the court’s action was premature because the state had made clear it would allow abortion providers an additional 45 days to obtain admitting privileges before it started enforcing the law.

The law is similar to a Texas measure the justices struck down three years ago. Roberts dissented in that case.

Fairfax accuser speaks out » The woman who accuses Virginia Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax of sexually assaulting her in 2004 has gone public with her side of the story. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Vanessa Tyson is an associate professor of politics at Scripps College in Claremont, California. She has released a detailed, graphic statement describing the alleged assault.

She said it happened at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004. According to Tyson, the two of them had gone to Fairfax’s hotel room to retrieve documents when they began kissing. That part, she said, was consensual but it turned into something she felt forced to do.

Fairfax says the encounter was entirely consensual and calls the assault claim a “smear.”

Fairfax is next in line for the governorship if fellow Democrat Ralph Northam resigns. Some are calling on him to step down over racist photos in his college yearbook.

Meanwhile, Democratic Attorney General Mark Herring, who is third in line for the governorship, is also under fire after admitting Wednesday that he wore blackface to a party when he was in college.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

Former Rep. John Dingell dead at 92 » Former Congressman John Dingell, the longest-serving congressman in American history, died Thursday at the age of 92.

The Michigan Democrat was considered a master of legislative deal-making and a staunch advocate for the U.S. auto industry. He was first elected in 1955 to fill the House seat vacated by his late father, John Dingell Sr.

DINGELL: It is the highest and most directly elected office in the Constitution, and I’ve been lucky to receive their trust 29 more times. 

Dingell heard there in 2014 announcing that he would not run for a 30th full term.

He suffered a heart attack in September, and recently entered hospice care after a cancer diagnosis.

Baseball Hall of Famer Frank Robinson dies » Also on Thursday, the baseball world said goodbye to Hall of Famer Frank Robinson.

The 12-time All-Star outfielder was the only player to win the MVP award in both leagues. In 1966 he led the Baltimore Orioles to their first World Series championship.

In 2005 President George W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom as much for his accomplishments in the dugout as on the field. In 1975 he became Major League Baseball’s first African-American manager.

In a 2015 interview Robinson recalled his first night managing the Cleveland Indians.

ROBINSON: We wind up winning the game 5 to 3. Gaylord Perry is the pitcher. He gives the last ball—the winning baseball. And afterwards—everything, but I was kind of numb. It was a great moment, and a great moment in the history of baseball. 

He went on to manage three other teams, most recently the Washington Nationals through 2006.

Frank Robinson was 83 years old.

(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) President Donald Trump speaks during the National Prayer Breakfast, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2019, 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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