Thursday morning news: May 23, 2019

White House infrastructure talks give way to war of words » President Trump and Democratic leaders gathered in the Oval Office on Wednesday for what turned out to be a very short meeting. They were scheduled to talk about infrastructure. Instead, the two sides walked out pointing fingers.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer claimed the president was never serious about working together.

SCHUMER: It was planned. When we got in the room the curtains were closed. The president, there was a place for him at the front so he could stand and attempt to tell us why he wouldn’t do infrastructure. 

But President Trump said he was upset when he learned that Democratic leaders huddled that morning to talk about impeaching him.

TRUMP: All of a sudden I hear last night they’re gonna have a meeting right before this meeting to talk about the I-word. The I-word. 

The president said he then told Democratic leaders that he wants to work together on infrastructure but won’t do it amid swirling House investigations and talk of impeachment.

TRUMP: Let them play their games. We’re gonna go down one track at a time. Let them finish up, and we’ll be all set. 

House Democrats issue new subpoenas to Trump admin officials » But committee leaders in the House have no intention of backing down, and the standoff continues.

Hours after former White House counsel Don McGahn defied a House subpoena, the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday issued two new subpoenas.

The panel has ordered former Trump administration officials Hope Hicks and Annie Donaldson to testify. That part of their ongoing probe into whether President Trump obstructed justice or abused his power.

The White House claims executive privilege and instructed officials not to comply with the subpoenas.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the president is hiding something.

PELOSI: We believe that no one is above the law, including the president of the United States. And we believe that the president of the United States is engaged in a coverup. In a coverup. 

The White House says Democrats are abusing their power—using their majority to disguise political opposition research as legitimate probes.

And Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Democrats are upset that the Russia probe found no collusion.

SANDERS: The Mueller report was 100 percent clear that there wasn’t, and Democrats are simply refusing to accept that and they want a do-over. 

Democratic lawmakers in their Wednesday morning meeting tried again to persuade Speaker Pelosi to sign on to impeachment efforts. The speaker still considers that politically perilous for now.

DOJ agrees to turn over documents to House Intel Committee » Though the White House and Democrats continue to clash, the Department of Justice has agreed to turn over documents from the Russia probe to a House panel.

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the DOJ has agreed to provide information from 12 categories of foreign intel and counterintelligence. And it will turn over more documents down the road.

The chairman said he is pleased with the compromise.

SCHIFF: This I should also mention, however, is not substitute in any way shape or form for the appearance of Bob Mueller before our committee and the Judiciary Committee. It’s no substitute for the appearance of Don McGahn and the other witnesses. 

Schiff added that he does believe Mueller will testify before his committee and the Judiciary panel. And he said he’ll insist that his testimony be public.

Severe weather, flooding strikes several states » Officials on Wednesday urged residents of several small towns in Oklahoma and Kansas to leave their homes and move to safety. That as rivers and streams continue to swell. Kim White evacuated from Webbers Falls, Oklahoma.

WHITE: This could be a serious situation, and I just want to take precautions and, you know, get out and have everything safe. 

The Arkansas River is approaching historic highs, while the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers are again rising after days of rain. And forecasters warned of more severe weather today.

Arkansas Governor Kevin Stitt declared a state of emergency in more than 50 counties.

STITT: Right now, I mean, the levees, it’s right up to the top in a lot of different areas. So we’re concerned about flooding.

Rising rivers are also a major concern in southwest Missouri.

Severe weather has spawned more than 50 tornadoes in several states over the past few days. And at least four people have now died in weather-related accidents this week.

“American Taliban” set to walk free from prison » A California man who became known as the American Taliban after his capture in Afghanistan 18 years ago is set to leave prison today. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has more.

LEIGH JONES, NEWS EDITOR: U.S. forces captured John Walker Lindh as he fought for the Taliban after the start of the Afghanistan War in 2001.

The 38-year-old Lindh converted to Islam as a teenager. In 2000, he went to Pakistan and then Afghanistan where he joined the Taliban.

Federal prosecutors accused him of conspiring to kill a CIA agent and providing support to terrorists. He struck a plea bargain and received a 20-year prison sentence.

After nearly two decades behind bars, a court granted him early release but placed special conditions on his parole.

Authorities will monitor software on Lindh’s internet devices. He can only communicate online in English and he’ll undergo mental health counseling.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) In this May 20, 2019, photo, President Donald Trump speaks to reporters on the South Lawn before leaving the White House 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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