Five Connecticut police officers were charged Monday with cruelly neglecting a Black man after he was partially paralyzed in the back of a police van, despite his repeated and desperate pleas for help. Randy Cox, 36, was being driven to a New Haven police station June 19 for processing on a weapons charge when the driver braked hard at an intersection to avoid a collision, causing Cox to fly headfirst into a metal partition in the van. “I can’t move. I’m going to die like this. Please, please, please help me,” Cox said minutes after the crash. As Cox pleaded for help, some of the officers at the detention center mocked him and accused him of being drunk and faking his injuries, according to dialogue captured by surveillance and body-worn camera footage. Officers dragged Cox by his feet from the van and placed him in a holding cell prior to his eventual transfer to a hospital. “I think I cracked my neck,” Cox said after the van arrived at the detention center. “You didn't crack it, no, you drank too much ... Sit up,” said Sgt. Betsy Segui, one of the five officers charged. Cox was later found to have a fractured neck and was paralyzed. Read more: Columbus police officer fatally shoots girl swinging knife The five New Haven police officers were charged with second-degree reckless endangerment and cruelty, both misdemeanors. The others charged were Officer Oscar Diaz, Officer Ronald Pressley, Officer Jocelyn Lavandier and Officer Luis Rivera. All have been on administrative leave since last summer. Messages seeking comment were sent to attorneys for the officers. Though each officer faces the same charges, some seemed to take Cox's pleas more seriously than others. Diaz, who drove the transport van, pulled over after Cox complained of his injury, spoke to him and requested that an ambulance meet them at the detention center. However, Diaz did not render medical attention to Cox as he lay face down on the floor. The officers turned themselves in at a state police barracks Monday. Each was processed, posted a $25,000 bond and are due back in court Dec. 8, according to a news release from state police. New Haven's police chief, speaking to reporters Monday along with the city's mayor, said it was important for the department to be transparent and accountable. “You can make mistakes, but you can’t treat people poorly, period. You cannot treat people the way Mr. Cox was treated,” said Police Chief Karl Jacobson. The case has drawn outrage from civil rights advocates like the NAACP, along with comparisons to the Freddie Gray case in Baltimore. Gray, who was also Black, died in 2015 after he suffered a spinal injury while handcuffed and shackled in a city police van. Read more: Seven US police shot in deadly stand-off An attorney for Cox's family, Ben Crump, said Monday that the New Haven officers need to be held accountable. “It is important — when you see that video of how they treated Randy Cox and the actions and inactions that led to him being paralyzed from his chest down — that those police officers should be held to the full extent of the law,” Crump said. Cox was arrested June 19 after police said they found him in possession of a handgun at a block party. The charges against him were later dropped. Cox’s family filed a federal lawsuit against the city of New Haven and the five officers in September. The lawsuit alleges negligence, exceeding the speed limit and failure to have proper restraints in the police van. Four of the officers filed motions last week claiming qualified immunity from the lawsuit, arguing that their actions in the case did not violate any “clearly established” legal standard. New Haven officials announced a series of police reforms this summer stemming from the case, including eliminating the use of police vans for most prisoner transports and using marked police vehicles instead. They also require officers to immediately call for an ambulance to respond to their location if the prisoner requests or appears to need medical aid.
A Walmart manager pulled out a handgun before a routine employee meeting and began firing wildly around the break room of a Virginia store, killing six people in the nation’s second high-profile mass shooting in four days, police and witnesses said Wednesday. The gunman was dead when officers arrived late Tuesday at the store in Chesapeake, Virginia's second-largest city. Authorities said he apparently shot himself. Police were trying to determine a motive. One employee described watching “bodies drop” as the assailant fired haphazardly, without saying a word. “He was just shooting all throughout the room. It didn’t matter who he hit. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t look at anybody in any specific type of way," said Briana Tyler, a Walmart employee. Six people were wounded in the shooting, which happened just after 10 p.m. as shoppers were stocking up ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday. Police said they believe about 50 people were in the store at the time. The gunman was identified as Andre Bing, 31, an overnight team leader who had been a Walmart employee since 2010. Police said he had one handgun and several magazines of ammunition. Tyler said the overnight stocking team of 15 to 20 people had just gathered in the break room to go over the morning plan. She said the meeting was about to start, and one team leader said: “All right guys, we have a light night ahead of us.” Then Bing turned around and opened fire on the staff. At first, Tyler doubted the shooting was real, thinking that it was an active shooter drill. “It was all happening so fast,” she said, adding: “It is by the grace of God that a bullet missed me. I saw the smoke leaving the gun, and I literally watched bodies drop. It was crazy.” Police said three of the dead, including Bing, were found in the break room. One of the slain victims was found near the front of the store. Three others were taken to hospitals where they died. Tyler, who started working at Walmart two months ago and had worked with Bing just a night earlier, said she never had a negative encounter with him, but others told her he was “the manager to look out for.” She said Bing had a history of writing people up for no reason. Read more: 5 killed, 18 injured in Colorado nightclub shooting “He just liked to pick, honestly. I think he just looked for little things ... because he had the authority. That’s just the type of person that he was. That’s what a lot of people said about him,” she said. Employee Jessie Wilczewski told Norfolk television station WAVY that she hid under a table, and Bing looked and pointed his gun at her. He told her to go home, and she left. Police said the dead included a 16-year-old boy whose name was being withheld because of his age. The other victims were identified as Brian Pendleton, 38; Kellie Pyle, 52; Lorenzo Gamble, 43; and Randy Blevins, 70, who were all from Chesapeake; and Tyneka Johnson, 22, of nearby Portsmouth. It was not immediately clear whether they were workers or shoppers. Pyle was a “lovely, generous and kind person,” said Gwendolyn Bowe Baker Spencer, who said that her son and Pyle had plans to marry next year. Pyle had adult children in Kentucky who will be traveling to Virginia, Spencer said. “We love her,” Spencer said, adding: "She was an awesome, kind individual.” The attack was the second time in a little more than a week that Virginia has experienced a major shooting. Three University of Virginia football players were fatally shot on a charter bus as they returned to campus from a field trip on Nov. 13. Two other students were wounded. The assault at the Walmart came days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and wounding 17. Last spring, the country was shaken by the deaths of 21 when a gunman stormed an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas. Tuesday night's shooting also brought back memories of another attack at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman who targeted Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso, Texas, and killed 23 people. A database run by The Associated Press, USA Today and Northeastern University that tracks every mass killing in America going back to 2006 shows that the U.S. has now had 40 mass killings so far in 2022. That compares with 45 for all of 2019, the highest year in the database, which defines a mass killing as at least four people killed, not including the killer. According to the database, more than a quarter of the mass killings have occurred since Oct. 21, spanning eight states and claiming 51 lives. Nine of those 11 incidents were shootings. President Joe Biden tweeted that he and the first lady were grieving, adding: “We mourn for those who will have empty seats at their Thanksgiving table because of these tragic events.” Read more: 9 killed in Walmart shooting in Virginia Kimberly Shupe, mother of Walmart employee Jalon Jones, told reporters her 24-year-old son was shot in the back. She said he was in good condition and talking Wednesday, after initially being placed on a ventilator. Shupe said she learned of the shooting from a friend, who went to a family reunification center to learn Jones' whereabouts. “If he’s not answering his phone, he’s not answering text messages and there’s a shooting at his job, you just kind of put two and two together,” Shupe said. “It was shock at first, but ultimately, I just kept thinking, ‘he’s going to be all right.’” Walmart said in a statement that it was working with law enforcement and “focused on doing everything we can to support our associates and their families.” In the aftermath of the El Paso shooting, the company made a decision in September 2019 to discontinue sales of certain kinds of ammunition and asked that customers no longer openly carry firearms in stores. It stopped selling handgun ammunition as well as short-barrel rifle ammunition, such as the .223 caliber and 5.56 caliber used in military style weapons. The company stopped selling handguns in the mid-1990s in every state but Alaska, where sales continued until 2019. The changes marked a complete exit from that business and allowed Walmart to focus on hunting rifles and related ammunition only. Many of its stores are in rural areas where hunters depend on Walmart to get their equipment. Tyler's grandfather, Richard Tate, said he dropped his granddaughter off for her 10 p.m. shift, then parked the car and went in to buy some dish soap. When he first heard the shots, he thought it could be balloons popping. But he soon saw other customers and employees fleeing, and he ran too. Tate reached his car and called his granddaughter. “I could tell that she was upset,” he said. “But I could also tell that she was alive.”
A shooting at a Walmart in Virginia on Tuesday night left several people dead and wounded, though the exact numbers were not immediately known, police said. The shooter was among the dead, officials said. Officers responded to a report of a shooting at the Walmart on Sam’s Circle around 10:15 p.m. and as soon as they arrived they found evidence of a shooting, Chesapeake Officer Leo Kosinski said in a briefing. Over 35 to 40 minutes, officers found multiple dead people and injured people in the store and put rescue and tactical teams together to go inside to tend to victims, he said. Police believe there was one shooter, who is dead, he said. They believe that the shooting had stopped when police arrived, Kosinski said. He did not have a number of dead, but said it was “less than 10, right now.” READ: Gunman kills 5 at Colorado Springs gay club, is subdued by patrons: Police Kosinski said he doesn’t believe police fired shots, but he could not say whether the shooter was dead of a self-inflicted gunshot. “We are shocked at this tragic event at our Chesapeake, Virginia store,” Walmart tweeted early Wednesday. “We’re praying for those impacted, the community and our associates. We’re working closely with law enforcement, and we are focused on supporting our associates,” the tweet said. Mike Kafka, a spokesman for Sentara Healthcare, said in a text message that five patients from the Walmart are being treated at Norfolk General Hospital. Their conditions weren’t immediately available. The Virginia shooting comes three days after a person opened fire at a gay nightclub in Colorado, killing five people and wounding 17. That shooter, who is nonbinary, was arrested after patrons at the club tackled and beat them. The shootings come in a year when the country was shaken by the deaths of 21 in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. READ: Chief: 3 dead in Indiana mall shooting; witness kills gunman Tuesday’s shooting also brought back memories of another shooting at a Walmart in 2019, when a gunman police say was targeting Mexicans opened fire at a store in El Paso and killed 22 people. Walmart didn’t have a security guard on duty that day. U.S. Sen. Mark Warner tweeted that he is “sickened by reports of yet another mass shooting, this time at a Walmart in Chesapeake.” State Sen. Louise Lucas echoed Warner’s sentiment tweeting that she was “absolutely heartbroken that America’s latest mass shooting took place in a Walmart in my district.” Chesapeake police tweeted that a family reunification site has been set up at the Chesapeake Conference Center. This site is only for immediate family members or the emergency contact of those who may have been in the building, the tweet said. Chesapeake is about 7 miles (11 kilometers) south of Norfolk.
A 22-year-old gunman opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle inside a gay nightclub in Colorado Springs, killing five people and leaving 25 injured before he was subdued by “heroic” patrons and arrested by police who arrived within minutes, authorities said Sunday. The suspect used an AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon in the Saturday night shooting at Club Q, a law enforcement official said. A handgun and additional ammunition magazines also were recovered, according to the official, who could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity. On its Facebook page, the club called it a “hate attack.” Investigators were still determining a motive and whether to prosecute it as a hate crime, said El Paso County District Attorney Michael Allen. Charges against the suspect “will likely include first-degree murder,” he said. Police identified the gunman as Anderson Lee Aldrich, who was in custody and being treated for injuries. A man with that name was arrested in 2021 after his mother reported he threatened her with a homemade bomb and other weapons, authorities said. They declined to elaborate on that arrest. No explosives were found, authorities said at the time, and The Gazette in Colorado Springs reported that prosecutors did not pursue any charges and that records were sealed. The attack ended when someone grabbed a handgun from the gunman and hit him with it, Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers told The New York Times. The person who hit the gunman had him pinned down when police arrived. Suthers said the club had operated for 21 years and had not reported any threats before Saturday’s attack. Authorities were called to Club Q at 11:57 p.m. Saturday with a report of a shooting, and the first officer arrived at midnight. Read more: Chief: 3 dead in Indiana mall shooting; witness kills gunman Joshua Thurman said he was in the club with about two dozen other people and was dancing when the shots began. He initially thought it was part of the music, until he heard another shot and said he saw the flash of a gun muzzle. Thurman, 34, said he ran with another person to a dressing room where someone already was hiding. They locked the door, turned off the lights and got on the floor but could hear the violence unfolding, including the gunman getting beaten up, he added. “I could have lost my life — over what? What was the purpose?” he said as tears ran down his cheeks. “We were just enjoying ourselves. We weren’t out harming anyone. We were in our space, our community, our home, enjoying ourselves like everybody else does.” The gunman was confronted by “at least two heroic people” who fought and subdued the suspect, said Police Chief Adrian Vasquez. “We owe them a great debt of thanks,” he added. Detectives also were examining whether anyone had helped Aldrich before the attack, Vasquez said. Police did not give further details on the other guns found at the scene. Of the 25 injured, at least seven were in critical condition, authorities said. Some were hurt trying to flee, and it was unclear if all of the victims were shot, a police spokesperson said. The shooting rekindled memories of the 2016 massacre at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people. Colorado has experienced several mass killings, including at Columbine High School in 1999, a movie theater in suburban Denver in 2012 and at a Boulder supermarket last year. It was the sixth mass killing this month and came in a year when the nation was shaken by the deaths of 21 in a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that features a drag show on Saturdays, according to its website. Club Q’s Facebook page said planned entertainment included a “punk and alternative show” preceding a birthday dance party, with a Sunday all-ages drag brunch. Drag events have become a focus of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and protests recently as opponents, including politicians, have proposed banning children from them, falsely claiming they're used to “groom” children. Attorney General Merrick Garland was briefed on the shooting and the FBI was assisting police with the investigation. To substantiate a hate-crime charge against Aldrich, prosecutors would have to prove he was motivated by the victims’ actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. So far, the suspect has not been cooperative in interviews with investigators and has not given them clear insight yet about the motivation for the attack, according to the official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Read more: Denmark: Gunman acted alone, likely not terror-related President Joe Biden said that while the motive for the shootings was not yet clear, “we know that the LGBTQI+ community has been subjected to horrific hate violence in recent years.” “Places that are supposed to be safe spaces of acceptance and celebration should never be turned into places of terror and violence,” he said. “We cannot and must not tolerate hate.” Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, who became the first openly gay man in the United States to be elected governor in 2018, called the shooting “sickening.” “My heart breaks for the family and friends of those lost, injured and traumatized,” Polis said. “Colorado stands with our LGTBQ community and everyone impacted by this tragedy as we mourn.” A makeshift memorial sprang up Sunday near the club, with flowers, a stuffed animal and candles and a sign saying “Love over hate” next to a rainbow-colored heart. Seth Stang was buying flowers for the memorial when he was told that two of the dead were his friends. The 34-year-old transgender man said it was like having “a bucket of hot water getting dumped on you. ... I’m just tired of running out of places where we can exist safely.” Ryan Johnson, who lives near the club and was there last month, said it was one of only two nightspots for the LGBTQ community in conservative-leaning Colorado Springs. “It’s kind of the go-to for pride,” the 26-year-old said of the club, which is tucked behind other businesses, including a bowling alley and a sandwich shop. Colorado Springs, a city of about 480,000 located 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Denver, is home to the U.S. Air Force Academy, the U.S. Olympic Training Center, as well as Focus on the Family, a prominent evangelical Christian ministry that lobbies against LGBTQ rights. The group condemned the shooting and said it “exposes the evil and wickedness inside the human heart.” In November 2015, three people were killed and eight wounded at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the city when authorities say a gunman targeted the clinic because it performed abortions. “Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club posted on Facebook. “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.” The CEO of a national LGBTQ-rights organization, Kevin Jennings of Lambda Legal, pleaded for tighter restrictions on guns. “America’s toxic mix of bigotry and absurdly easy access to firearms means that such events are all too common and LGBTQ+ people, BIPOC communities, the Jewish community and other vulnerable populations pay the price again and again for our political leadership’s failure to act,” he said in a statement. The shooting came during Transgender Awareness Week and just at the start of Sunday’s International Transgender Day of Remembrance, when events around the world are held to mourn and remember transgender people lost to violence. In June, 31 members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and charged with conspiracy to riot at a Pride event. Experts warned that extremist groups could see anti-gay rhetoric as a call to action. The previous month, a fundamentalist Idaho pastor told his small Boise congregation that gay, lesbian and transgender people should be executed by the government, which lined up with similar sermons from a Texas fundamentalist pastor. Since 2006, there have been 523 mass killings and 2,727 deaths as of Nov. 19, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S.
A shooter opened fire in a gay nightclub late Saturday, killing five people and wounding 18 in the latest mass shooting to befall the country in a year in which anti-gay rhetoric has been amped up among extremists. Lt. Pamela Castro of the Colorado Springs Police Department said police received a report of a shooting at Club Q at 11:57 p.m. Castro said there was one suspect who was injured and was being treated. She said it was not immediately clear whether the attacker had been shot by officers. She said the FBI was on the scene and assisting in the case. The police department tweeted that it planned an 8 a.m. news conference at its operations center. Club Q is a gay and lesbian nightclub that features a “Drag Diva Drag Show” on Saturdays, according to its website. Read: 6 killed after vintage aircraft collide at Dallas air show In addition to the drag show publicized on the website, Club Q’s Facebook page said the night’s planned entertainment included a “punk and alternative show” preceding a birthday dance party, with an “all ages brunch” scheduled to begin at noon on Sunday. “Club Q is devastated by the senseless attack on our community,” the club posted on Facebook. It said its prayers were with victims and families, and “We thank the quick reactions of heroic customers that subdued the gunman and ended this hate attack.” Colorado Springs is a city of about 480,000 located about 70 miles (112 kilometers) south of Denver that is home to the U.S. Air Force Academy. The city has long been an epicenter of American evangelicalism. Focus on the Family, a prominent evangelical Christian ministry, is based in Colorado Springs. In November 2015, three people were killed and eight wounded at a Planned Parenthood clinic in the city when authorities say a man opened fire because he wanted to wage “war” on the clinic because it performed abortions. Read: Journalist killed after police in Haiti open fire The motive behind Saturday’s shooting was not immediately known but it brought back memories of the 2016 massacre at the the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed 49 people. And it occurred in a state that has experienced several notorious mass killings, including at Columbine High School, a movie theater in a Denver suburb in 2012 and a Boulder supermarket last year. In June, 31 members of the neo-Nazi group Patriot Front were arrested in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and charged with conspiracy to riot at a Pride event. Experts warned that extremist groups could see anti-gay rhetoric as a call to action. The previous month, a fundamentalist Idaho pastor told his small Boise congregation that gay, lesbian and transgender people should be executed by the government, which lined up with similar sermons from a Texas fundamentalist pastor. There have been 523 mass killings since 2006 resulting in 2,727 deaths as of Nov. 19, according to The Associated Press/USA Today database on mass killings in the U.S.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that she will not seek a leadership position in the new Congress, a pivotal realignment making way for a new generation of leaders after Democrats lost control of the House to Republicans in the midterm elections. Pelosi announced in a spirited speech on the House floor that she will step aside after leading Democrats for nearly 20 years and in the aftermath of the brutal attack on her husband, Paul, last month in their San Francisco home. The California Democrat, who rose to become the nation’s first woman to wield the speaker’s gavel, said she would remain in Congress as the representative from San Francisco, a position she has held for 35 years, when the new Congress convenes in January. “Now we must move boldly into the future,” Pelosi said. “I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress,” Pelosi said. “For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect.” Pelosi received a standing ovation after her remarks, and lawmakers and guests one by one went up to offer her hugs, many taking selfies of a moment in history. President Joe Biden spoke with Pelosi in the morning and congratulated her on her historic tenure as speaker of the House, the White house said. It’s an unusual choice for a party leader to stay on after withdrawing from congressional leadership but one befitting of Pelosi, who has long defied convention in pursuing power in Washington. Pelosi recapped her career, from seeing the Capitol the first time as a young girl with her father, a former congressman and mayor, to serving as speaker alongside U.S. presidents and doing “the people’s work.” “Every day I am in power of the majestic miracle of American democracy,” she said. Read: Pelosi makes first public remarks since husband’s assault Democrats cheered Pelosi as she arrived in the chamber at noon. On short notice, lawmakers filled the House, at least on the Democratic side, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer joined. The Speaker’s Gallery filled with Pelosi staff and guest. Some Republicans, including some newly-elected members, also attended. Schumer exchanged a long hug and kiss on the cheek with the speaker shortly after she finished her speech. Earlier, Pelosi had noted in a statement after The Associated Press called control of the chamber that, in the next Congress, House Democrats will have “strong leverage over a scant Republican majority.” The first woman to become speaker, and the only person in decades to be twice elected to the role, she has led Democrats through consequential moments, including passage of the Affordable Care Act with President Barack Obama and the impeachments of President Donald Trump. By announcing her decision, Pelosi could launch a domino effect in House Democratic leadership ahead of internal party elections next month as Democrats reorganize as the minority party for the new Congress. Pelosi’s leadership team, with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, has long moved as a triumvirate. Hoyer and Clyburn are also making decisions about their futures. All now in their 80s, the three House Democratic leaders have faced restless colleagues eager for them to step aside and allow a new generation to take charge. Democratic Reps. Hakeem Jeffries of New York, Katherine Clark of Massachusetts and Pete Aguilar of California have similarly moved as a trio, all working toward becoming the next generation of leaders. Jeffries could make history if he enters the race to become the nation’s first Black speaker of the House. One idea circulating on Capitol Hill was that Pelosi and the others could emerge as emeritus leaders as they pass the baton to new Democrats. Clyburn, the highest-ranking Black American in Congress, has said he has no interest in being speaker or leader of the minority at this point in his life but expects to stay in Congress next year. “I do wish to remain at the leadership table,” Clyburn said a week after the midterms. “As to what capacity that will be, I will leave that up to our Democratic caucus.” Hoyer has not spoken publicly of his plans. Read: Pelosi’s Taiwan visit, China’s blockade and what next? First elected in 1987, Pelosi has been a pivotal figure in American politics, long ridiculed by Republicans as a San Francisco liberal while steadily rising as a skilled legislator and fundraising powerhouse. Her own Democratic colleagues have intermittently appreciated but also feared her powerful brand of leadership. Pelosi first became speaker in 2007, saying she had cracked the “marble ceiling,” after Democrats swept to power in the 2006 midterm elections in a backlash to then-President George W. Bush and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When she was poised in 2018 to return as speaker, in the Trump era, she vowed “to show the power of the gavel.” Pelosi has repeatedly withstood leadership challenges over the years and had suggested in 2018 she would serve four more years as leader. But she had not discussed those plans more recently. Typically unsentimental, Pelosi let show a rare moment of emotion on the eve of the midterm elections as she held back tears discussing the grave assault on her husband of nearly 60 years. Paul Pelosi suffered a fractured skull after an intruder broke into their home in the middle the night seeking the Democratic leader. The intruder’s question — “Where is Nancy?” — echoed the chants of the pro-Trump rioters at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, as they hunted for Pelosi and tried to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden’s election victory over Trump. David DePape is being held without bail on attempted murder and other charges in what authorities said was a political attack. Police said DePape broke in and woke up Paul Pelosi, and the two struggled over a hammer before DePape struck the 82-year-old on the head. DePape, 42, has pleaded not guilty to federal charges of attempting to kidnap a federal official and assaulting a federal official’s family member. Paul Pelosi was hospitalized for a week but is expected to recover, though his wife has said it will be a long haul. At the time, Speaker Pelosi would not discuss her political plans but would only disclose that the attack on her husband would impact her decision. Historians have noted that other consequential political figures had careers as rank-and-file members of Congress, including John Quincy Adams, the former president, who went on to serve for nearly 18 years in Congress. Read: After Taiwan, Pelosi meets political leaders in South Korea
The Biden administration declared Thursday that the high office held by Saudi Arabia's crown prince should shield him from lawsuits for his role in the killing of a U.S.-based journalist, a turnaround from Joe Biden's passionate campaign trail denunciations of Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the brutal slaying. The administration said the prince’s official standing should give him immunity in the lawsuit filed by the fiancée of slain Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi and by the rights group he founded, Democracy for the Arab World Now. The request is non-binding and a judge will ultimately decide whether to grant immunity. But it is bound to anger human rights activists and many U.S. lawmakers, coming as Saudi Arabia has stepped up imprisonment and other retaliation against peaceful critics at home and abroad and has cut oil production, a move seen as undercutting efforts by the U.S. and its allies to punish Russia for its war against Ukraine. The State Department on Thursday called the administration's decision to try to protect the Saudi crown prince from U.S. courts in Khashoggi's killing “purely a legal determination." Saudi officials killed Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. They are believed to have dismembered him, although his remains have never been found. The U.S. intelligence community concluded Saudi Arabia’s crown prince had approved the killing of the widely known and respected journalist, who had written critically of Prince Mohammed’s harsh ways of silencing of those he considered rivals or critics. The Biden administration statement Thursday noted visa restrictions and other penalties that it had meted out to lower-ranking Saudi officials in the death. “From the earliest days of this Administration,the United States Government has expressed its grave concerns regarding Saudi agents’ responsibility for Jamal Khashoggi’s murder,” the State Department said. Its statement did not mention the crown prince's own alleged role. Biden as a candidate vowed to make a “pariah” out of Saudi rulers over the 2018 killing of Khashoggi. Read more: US implicates Saudi crown prince in journalist Jamal Khashoggi's killing “I think it was a flat-out murder,” Biden said in a 2019 CNN town hall, as a candidate. “And I think we should have nailed it as that. I publicly said at the time we should treat it that way and there should be consequences relating to how we deal with those — that power.” But Biden as president has sought to ease tensions with the kingdom, including bumping fists with Prince Mohammed on a July trip to the kingdom, as the U.S. works to persuade Saudi Arabia to undo a series of cuts in oil production. Khashoggi's fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, and DAWN sued the crown prince, his top aides and others in Washington federal court over their alleged roles in Khashoggi's killing. Saudi Arabia says the prince had no direct role in the slaying. “It’s beyond ironic that President Biden has singlehandedly assured MBS can escape accountability when it was President Biden who promised the American people he would do everything to hold him accountable," the head of DAWN, Sarah Leah Whitson, said in a statement, using the prince's acronym. Biden in February 2021 had ruled out the U.S. government imposing punishment on Prince Mohammed himself in the killing of Khashoggi, a resident of the Washington area. Biden, speaking after he authorized release of a declassified version of the intelligence community's findings on Prince Mohammed's role in the killing, argued at the time there was no precedent for the U.S. to move against the leader of a strategic partner. The U.S. military long has safeguarded Saudi Arabia from external enemies, in exchange for Saudi Arabia keeping global oil markets afloat. “It’s impossible to read the Biden administration’s move today as anything more than a capitulation to Saudi pressure tactics, including slashing oil output to twist our arms to recognize MBS’s fake immunity ploy,” Whitson said. A federal judge in Washington had given the U.S. government until midnight Thursday to express an opinion on the claim by the crown prince's lawyers that Prince Mohammed's high official standing renders him legally immune in the case. The Biden administration also had the option of not stating an opinion either way. Sovereign immunity, a concept rooted in international law, holds that states and their officials are protected from some legal proceedings in other foreign states’ domestic courts. Upholding the concept of “sovereign immunity” helps ensure that American leaders in turn don’t have to worry about being hauled into foreign courts to face lawsuits in other countries, the State Department said. Read more: Washington Post: Turkish officials say Saudi writer killed Human rights advocates had argued that the Biden administration would embolden Prince Mohammed and other authoritarian leaders around the world in more rights abuses if it supported the crown prince's claim that his high office shielded him from prosecution. Prince Mohammed serves as Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler in the stead of his aged father, King Salman. The Saudi king in September also temporarily transferred his title of prime minister — a title normally held by the Saudi monarch — to Prince Mohammed. Critics called it a bid to strengthen Mohammed’s immunity claim.
Former President Donald Trump is preparing to launch his third campaign for the White House on Tuesday, looking to move on from disappointing midterm defeats and defy history amid signs that his grip on the Republican Party is waning. Trump had hoped to use the GOP's expected gains in last week's elections as a springboard to vault himself to his party's nomination by locking in early support to keep potential challengers at bay. Instead, he now finds himself being blamed for backing a series of losing candidates after disappointing results in which Democrats retained control of the Senate and House control remains too early to call. “Hopefully, tomorrow will turn out to be one of the most important days in the history of our Country!” Trump wrote on his social media network on Monday. An announcement was expected at 9 p.m. EST Tuesday from his club in Palm Beach. Read more: US midterm election: Democrats repel Republicans backed by Trump in several left-leaning states Another campaign is a remarkable turn for any former president, much less one who made history as the first to be impeached twice and whose term ended with his supporters violently storming the U.S. Capitol in a deadly bid to halt the peaceful transition of power on Jan. 6, 2021. Just one president in U.S. history has been elected to two nonconsecutive terms: Grover Cleveland in 1884 and 1892. Trump is also facing a series of intensifying criminal investigations, including a Justice Department probe into the hundreds of documents with classified markings that were discovered in boxes and drawers at his Mar-a-Lago club. Aides and allies had urged Trump to wait until after the midterms were over — and then until after a Dec. 6 Senate runoff election in Georgia — to announce his plans. But Trump, eager to return to the spotlight, is also hoping to stave off a long list of potential challengers, including Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who cruised to reelection last week and is now being urged by many in his party to run for president a well. Trump has tried to blame Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for the GOP’s performance — and McConnell allies have criticized Rick Scott, the Florida senator who heads the Senate Republicans’ campaign committee. However, Trump has received the brunt of criticism for elevating candidates in states like Pennsylvania and Arizona who were unappealing to general election voters because they embraced his lies about 2020 election or held hard-line views on issues like abortion that were out of step with the mainstream. While Trump has the backing of the No. 3 House Republican, Rep. Elise Stefanik, others were already moving on. Read more: Biden, Trump to make final appeals ahead of crucial midterms Asked whether she would endorse Trump in 2024, Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming told reporters Monday: “I don’t think that’s the right question. I think the question is, who is the current leader of the Republican Party?” Asked who that was, she replied: “Ron DeSantis.” Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, a longtime Trump critic, compared Trump to a pitcher who keeps losing after GOP disappointments in 2018, 2020 and now 2022. “He’s been on the mound and lost three straight games. If we want to start winning, we need someone else on the mound. And we’ve got a very strong bench that can come out," Romney said. "I know, there’s some fans that love him. Just like, you know, an aging pitcher, they’re always fans that want to keep them there forever. But if you keep losing games, try to put some new players on the field.” Others expressed concern that Trump’s announcement would be a distraction from the Georgia race and urged potential candidates to focus there. “What’s really important for anybody who wants to be a 2024 candidate is to help us right now in 2022 to finish the cycle by winning the state of Georgia," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. “We obviously had higher expectation in the Senate, which didn’t pan out. I think there are a lot of different things that contribute to that," Thune added. “But I do think that, you know, folks who were unduly focused on the 2020 election, that’s not a winning strategy with independent voices.” Even the former president’s right-flank allies in the House Freedom Caucus kept their distance ahead of Trump's announcement. “I am focused on what’s happening here,” said Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., the Freedom Caucus chairman, as lawmakers returned to Capitol Hill on Monday. “I’m just not paying attention to any of those things, so I don’t want to comment on that.” Meanwhile, in Utah, 86 Republican lawmakers on Monday sent out a news release urging DeSantis to run, reflecting dissatisfaction with having Trump as their party’s standard-bearer. The state’s Mormon majority has long been skeptical of Trump’s isolationism and foul language. And in Michigan, Paul Cordes, chief of staff of the Michigan Republican Party, penned a four-page internal memo that criticized Trump-backed candidates for “statewide sweeps” that will give Democrats full control of the state's government for the first time in 40 years. That includes Tudor Dixon, who lost the governor’s race to Democratic incumbent Gretchen Whitmer by double digits. Trump, Cordes wrote, was “popular amongst our grassroots and a motivating factor for his supporters, but provided challenges on a statewide ballot, especially with independents and women in the midterm election.”
Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto won election to a second term representing Nevada on Saturday, defeating Republican Adam Laxalt to clinch the party’s control of the chamber for the next two years of Joe Biden’s presidency. With Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly’s victory in Arizona on Friday, Democrats now hold a 50-49 edge in the Senate. The party will retain control of the chamber, no matter how next month’s Georgia runoff plays out, by virtue of Vice President Kamala Harris’ tiebreaking vote. Democrats’ hold on the Senate is a blow to Republicans’ high hopes of wresting away control of Congress in a midterm election that typically favors the party out of power. It was still unclear which party would control the House of Representatives as counting continued in razor-tight races in California and a smattering of other states. Cortez Masto, the first Latina in the Senate, was considered the most vulnerable Democratic senator in the midterm elections, and the Republican Party had high hopes of flipping the seat. But despite an influx of spending on attack ads from national GOP groups, Cortez Masto managed to secure her reelection bid. Read more: Senate control may come down to Nevada as count nears end Nevada’s vote count took several days partly because of the mail voting system created by the state Legislature in 2020 that requires counties to accept ballots postmarked by Election Day if they arrive up to four days later. Laxalt had an early lead that dwindled after late-counted ballots came in from the state’s population centers in Las Vegas and Reno. Cortez Masto, the state’s former two-term attorney general, focused her Senate campaign on the increasing threat to abortion access nationwide and worked to court the state’s Spanish-speaking residents and hourly wage earners, pointing out her support of a permanent pathway to citizenship for “Dreamers” and regularly visiting union halls and workers’ groups. Her fundraising far outpaced Laxalt’s. She spent nearly $47 million and had more than $6 million in cash on hand through mid-October, according to OpenSecrets. Laxalt spent nearly $13 million and had about $3 million remaining during the same time. Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general himself who unsuccessfully ran for governor in 2018, focused on rising inflation and a struggling economy for much of his campaign, attempting to tie voters’ financial woes to policies advanced by Democrats in Congress and Biden. Former President Donald Trump, who twice lost Nevada in his White House runs, came to the state twice to rally for Laxalt and other Republican candidates. Democrats had an uphill battle given the nation’s turbulent economy, and Nevada exemplified the party’s challenges. The state is one of the most diverse in the nation, and its largely working class population often lives paycheck to paycheck and has struggled with both inflation and the aftershocks of the shutdown of Las Vegas’ tourist-based economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly three-fourths of Nevada voters said the country is headed in the wrong direction, and about 5 in 10 called the economy the most important issue facing the country, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of 2,100 of the state’s voters. Read more: Democrats hold small but shrinking lead in key Arizona races Voters viewed the economy negatively, with VoteCast finding nearly 8 in 10 saying economic conditions are either not so good or poor. Only about 2 in 10 called the economy excellent or good. And about a third of voters said their families are falling behind financially. But that didn’t necessarily translate into anger at President Joe Biden or his party. About half considered inflation the most important issue facing the U.S., but they were evenly split over whether they think higher prices are due to Biden’s policies or factors outside his control. Nevada is also a famously live-and-let-live state, and Cortez Masto’s message on preserving abortion rights resonated. According to VoteCast, 7 in 10 wanted the procedure kept legal in all or most cases.
Control of the U.S. Senate may come down to Nevada, where a slow ballot count entered its final act Saturday in the nail-biter contest between Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto and Republican challenger Adam Laxalt. Saturday is the last day that mail ballots can arrive and be counted under the state's new voting law. Election officials were hustling to get through a backlog of tens of thousands of ballots to determine the race's winner, with the state's largest county saying it hoped to be effectively done by the evening. The Nevada race took on added importance after Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly was declared the winner of his reelection campaign in Arizona on Friday night, giving his party 49 seats in the chamber. Republicans also have 49. If Cortez Masto wins, Democrats would maintain their control of the Senate given Vice President Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. If Laxalt wins, the Georgia Senate runoff next month would determine which party has the single-vote Senate edge. Cortez Masto was only a few hundred votes behind Laxalt, with most of the remaining uncounted ballots in heavily Democratic Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. Democrats were confident those ballots would vault their candidate into the lead. Laxalt has said he expects to maintain his advantage and be declared the victor. But on Saturday he acknowledged in a tweet that the calculus has changed because Cortez Masto had performed better than Republicans expected in Clark County ballots counted over the past few days. Read more: Democrats hold small but shrinking lead in key Arizona races “This has narrowed our victory window,” he tweeted, acknowledging the race comes down to the final Clark County ballots. “If they are GOP precincts or slightly DEM leaning then we can still win,” Laxalt tweeted. “If they continue to trend heavy DEM then she will overtake us.” If a winner isn't clear by the end of the day on Saturday, attention would shift to a few thousand more ballots that could be added to the totals early next week. Mail ballots with clerical errors can be “cured” by voters until the end of the day Monday, and then added to the totals. And a few thousand provisional ballots also remain, votes that election officials must double-check are legally countable by Tuesday before they can be tallied. “We know that this is a serious count. There are people nationwide who are looking to these results,” Joe Gloria, the registrar in Clark County, said at a press conference Saturday. “We know that people need to see that count. We're not going to delay it any further.” Gloria said all 22,000-plus remaining ballots would be tabulated by Saturday evening. “They’re all being counted,” Gloria said. “My vaults are empty.” Still, state law requires a relative handful of ballots to linger. In Clark County, there are also 7,100 ballots being “cured” and 5,555 provisional ballots. The county accounts for three-quarters of Nevada's population. Gloria noted that it takes a couple of cycles to adjust ballot-counting to the all-mail system that Nevada switched to during the 2020 pandemic. He also noted that state law requires him to accept ballots until Saturday. “We couldn't be done any earlier, even if we wanted to,” Gloria said. In another key race, Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak lost his reelection bid to his Republican challenger, sheriff Joe Lombardo, on Friday night. Nevada, a closely divided swing state, is one of the most racially diverse in the nation, a working class state whose residents have been especially hard hit by inflation and other economic turmoil. Roughly three-fourths of Nevada voters said the country is headed in the wrong direction, and about 5 in 10 called the economy the most important issue facing the country, according to AP VoteCast, a survey of 2,100 of the state’s voters. Read more: GOP moves closer to winning the House; the Senate's fate may depend on a runoff Voters viewed the economy negatively, with VoteCast finding nearly 8 in 10 saying economic conditions are either not so good or poor. Only about 2 in 10 called the economy excellent or good. And about a third of voters said their families are falling behind financially. But that didn’t necessarily translate into anger at President Joe Biden or his party. About half considered inflation the most important issue facing the U.S., but they were evenly split over whether they think higher prices are due to Biden’s policies or factors outside his control. According to VoteCast, 7 in 10 voters in Nevada wanted abortion kept legal in all or most cases, and Cortez Masto and other Democrats made preserving the right a centerpiece of their campaigns. Republicans, however, relentlessly hammered the economic argument, contending it was time for a leadership change. They also sought to capitalize on lingering frustrations about pandemic shutdowns that devastated Las Vegas’ tourist-centric economy in 2020. On Thursday morning, The Associated Press declared Republican Stavros Anthony the winner in the lieutenant governor race, while Republican Andy Mathews was elected state controller. The state’s lone Republican congressman, Mark Amodei, easily won reelection in his mostly rural district in northern Nevada. The state’s three Las Vegas-area Democratic members of the House were also reelected.