Wednesday morning news: June 12, 2019

House votes to let committee leaders sue to enforce subpoenas » Democrats in the House voted on Tuesday to make it easier to sue the Trump administration and potential witnesses. The move paves the way for legal action against those who defy House subpoenas.

AUDIO: On this vote, the yeas are 229, and the nays are 191. The resolution is adopted. 

The House resolution authorizes lawsuits against Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the vote necessary because Congress is entitled to review materials from the executive branch. 

PELOSI: Yet the president and the administration have shown an unprecedented and unjustifiable refusal to furnish Congress with that information. 

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy blasted the vote. He said he agrees with Democrats when they say Congress is facing a constitutional crisis…

MCCARTHY: But not because of Attorney General Barr. The true constitutional crisis is this: when Democrats can’t win, they change the rules. 

The House Judiciary Committee this week struck a deal with the Justice Department to access some of the underlying materials from the Mueller probe. But committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said his panel will move “as quickly as possible” to seek court enforcement of a subpoena against Don McGahn.

Trump, Biden trade jabs in overlapping visits to Iowa » President Trump and his would-be Democratic rival Joe Biden traded jabs during overlapping visits to Iowa on Tuesday.

Speaking to supporters in the town of Ottumwa, Biden took a swipe at the president’s trade policies.

BIDEN: I hope his presence here will be a clarifying event because Iowa farmers have been crushed by his tariff war with China, and no one knows better than the folks in Iowa. 

President Trump shot back, saying he’s the best thing to ever happen to farmers and that Joe Biden has shown weakness with regard to China.

TRUMP: Joe Biden thought that China was not a competitor of ours. Joe Biden is a dummy. 

Biden is the early Democratic frontrunner, both in the Hawkeye State and nationally. He leads an average of Iowa polls with about 24 percent. Nationwide, he’s polling at about 33 percent.

Trump told reporters Tuesday the former vice president doesn’t scare him and—quote—”I’d rather run against Biden than anybody.”

AMA maintains opposition to assisted suicide » The American Medical Association voted this week to uphold its stance on physician-assisted suicide.

More than 70 percent of delegates voted to reaffirm an AMA ethics code that says assisted suicide “is fundamentally incompatible with the physician’s role as healer, would be difficult or impossible to control, and would pose serious societal risks.”

Euthanasia advocates have lobbied the group for years to change its stance on the matter.

Vermont enacts pro-abortion law » Vermont’s Republican governor signed a bill into law this week that limits any opportunity for the state to safeguard unborn babies. WORLD Radio’s Leigh Jones has details.

LEIGH JONES, REPORTER: Governor Phil Scott signed the bill soon after the state’s Democratic-majority legislature sent it to his desk. The law blocks any state or local government entity from taking action to protect unborn babies from abortion.

It states—quote—“The state of Vermont recognizes the fundamental right of every individual who becomes pregnant to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or to have an abortion.”

The state is also in the process of pushing an amendment to the state’s constitution that would make abortion a constitutional right. That proposal would have to pass a second time in the state legislature next year and then get voter approval by referendum in 2022.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Leigh Jones.

Botswana decriminalizes homosexuality » The Botswana High Court on Tuesday ruled the nation’s ban on same-sex relations unconstitutional. The court’s three judges unanimously agreed to scrap the 1965 law, which had carried a seven-year prison sentence.

They wrote that sexual orientation is not a “fashion statement” and that diversity and tolerance are hallmarks of a democratic society.

In 2017, the High Court ordered the Botswana government to issue documentation for a transgender man to match his gender identity.

Vatican backs Biblical view of gender » Meantime, the Vatican released a statement for Catholic educators on Monday criticizing the culture of gender fluidity and reaffirming the biblical view of biological sex. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: The educational branch of the Vatican released the official statement, titled, “Male and Female He Created Them.”

It said the culture of gender fluidity is “often founded on nothing more than a confused concept of freedom in the realm of feelings and wants” and that it’s not based “on the truths of existence.”

The statement still emphasized the importance of listening to others respectfully and avoiding discrimination in the issue of gender identity. But it reminded Catholic teachers that “the Holy Scripture reveals the wisdom of the Creator’s design.”

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

(AP Photo/Nati Harnik) President Donald Trump speaks at Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy, an ethanol producer, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Tuesday, June 11, 2019. 

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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