Wednesday morning news: July 17, 2019

House passes resolution condemning president’s remarks about congresswoman » Lawmakers in the House passed a resolution Tuesday condemning President Trump’s weekend remarks aimed at several Democratic congresswomen. 

The vote passed largely along party lines 240 to 187—with plenty of drama leading up to the vote. 

Speaker Nancy Pelosi pulled no punches on the House floor. 

PELOSI: The president’s comments about our colleagues this weekend show that he does not share those American values. These comments from the Whtie House are disgraceful and disgusting, and his comments are racist. 

Republican congressman Doug Collins of Georgia objected to the speaker’s choice of words. 

COLLINS: I was just going to give the gentle speaker of the House, if she would like to rephrase that comment. PELOSI: I have cleared my remarks through the parliamentarian before I read them. 

Collins then asked for her words to be taken down. After a lengthy delay, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer announced that the chair ruled Speaker Pelosi’s characterization of the president’s remarks as “racist” was out of order and should not be used in debate.

The chamber then voted on a motion to strike her words from the record. That motion failed, again along party lines. 

The measure carries no legal repercussions for the president. But Democratic Congressman Al Green of Texas seized the moment to introduce articles of impeachment. 

GREEN: Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States of high misdemeanors.

Any member of the House can force an impeachment vote. Green has done so twice before, unsuccessfully.

Democratic leaders have thus far resisted impeachment efforts. 

Mueller not testifying today after committees delay appearance » Some Democrats are hoping that special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony on Capitol Hill will provide fuel for the impeachment push. But they’ll have to wait another week. 

Mueller will not testify today as originally planned. Democrats on the House Intelligence and Judiciary panels postponed his appearance until next Wednesday. 

The change will reportedly allow lawmakers more time to question Mueller about alleged obstruction of justice by President Trump. 

Lawmakers question Defense secretary nominee » But Army Secretary Mark Esper did testify on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee on day one of his confirmation hearing. He is President Trump’s pick to be the next Secretary of Defense. 

Amid a U.S. military buildup in the Middle East, Esper made clear that the Trump administration will continue working to avoid conflict. 

ESPER: I agree, we do not want war with Iran. We are not seeking war with Iran. We need to get back on the diplomatic channel. 

Esper last appeared before the Armed Services panel in 2017, when he was confirmed as Secretary of the Army.

No federal charges for officer in Eric Garner case » Prosecutors will not bring federal civil rights charges against Officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner. The statute of limitations allowing prosecution expires today. 

Five years ago police attempted to arrest Garner, who is African-American, on charges of selling untaxed cigarettes in New York City. When Garner resisted arrest, Pantaleo, who is white, restrained him with a chokehold. Garner went unconscious and later died.  

U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said video shows officers initially did everything by the book—though “the situation deteriorated as it progressed.” But… 

DONOGHUE: The evidence here does not support charging police officer Daniel Pantaleo or any other officer with a federal criminal civil rights violation. 

A state grand jury also declined to indict Pantaleo on any criminal charges. But he still faces departmental charges from the New York Police Department. 

Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said it’s disgraceful Pantaleo has not been charged or fired. 

CARR: Officer Pantaleo and all the officers who was involved in my son’s death that day need to be off the force. The streets of New York City is not safe with them walking around! 

Pantaleo is still with the department but has been removed from patrol duty. Police Commissioner James O’Neill has the final say on whether Pataleo will keep his job. 

Planned Parenthood president fired » Planned Parenthood’s board of directors removed Leana Wen as the organization’s president and CEO on Tuesday. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Wen tweeted that the board fired her after a secret meeting—ending her 8-month term at the abortion giant’s helm. The New York Times cited unnamed sources saying the board wanted “a more aggressive political leader” to fight against efforts to protect unborn children.

Wen said—quote—“I am leaving because the new Board Chairs and I have philosophical differences over the direction and future of Planned Parenthood.” Wen has stated that she sees abortion as a healthcare issue, not a political one.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

John Paul Stevens dies at 99 » Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens has died. He was the third-longest serving justice. Appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975, he served nearly 35 years on the high court. 

Though nominated by a Republican, he unexpectedly emerged as the court’s leading liberal. During his tenure, Stevens acted to limit prayer in schools and establish gay rights.

He acted to limit the death penalty. But also helped to defeat protections for unborn children. 

At first considered a centrist, Stevens came to be seen as staunchly liberal. But he rejected that characterization. He said it only looked that way because the court shifted to the right. 

Stevens died in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida after suffering a stroke on Monday. He was 99.

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) In this Tuesday, May 21, 2019 file photo, Planned Parenthood President Leana Wen speaks during a protest against abortion bans outside the Supreme Court 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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