Midday News Wrap | WYPR

Midday News Wrap

AP Photo by Jacquelyn Martin

As the country falls deeper into the morass of a surging pandemic, President Trump has ignored the coronavirus and most of his other presidential duties, and instead -- through hundreds of Tweets -- has attempted to rile up his supporters around unfounded allegations of massive, Democrat-directed election fraud. 

He fired Christopher Krebs, a respected Department of Homeland Security professional who was in charge of cyber security in the election, in apparent retribution for telling the truth about the integrity of the election. 
And in a press conference yesterday, Rudy Guiliani and other members of the President’s legal team carried on for more than an hour and a half with claims that aren’t even close to true.  Even some of the personalities on Fox News attempted to distance themselves from the claims.  

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

As the 2020 election vote-counting continues in Arizona,  Pennsylvania, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada and Alaska, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is inching closer to being declared President-elect.  Early this morning, Biden overtook President Trump’s early lead in Pennsylvania, as mail in-votes from the Philadelphia area are tallied.  Pennsylvania election officials expect to complete their canvassing of ballots by day's end. 

In Georgia, as mail-in votes from the Atlanta metro area are added to the totals, Mr. Biden has earned the lead in that traditionally red state.  Officials there announced an hour ago that they plan a recount.  In Arizona, a state that has already been called for Mr. Biden by Fox News and the Associated Press, Biden maintains a lead that has grown smaller in the last several hours. In Nevada, Biden’s lead is just over 11,000 votes...

AP Photo

It’s the Midday Newswrap.  The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg continues to make history.  She is lying in state at the Capitol at this hour, the first woman to be so honored. 

President Trump is expected to announce his nominee for Justice Ginsburg’s replacement tomorrow.

Last night, in Baltimore, and in cities around the country, protests continued expressing outrage over the police killing of Breonna Taylor in Louisville last March. 

And on Wednesday afternoon in the White House Briefing Room, in an astonishing statement, President Trump would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election in November.  His comments, made in an exchange with Playboy Magazine reporter Brian Karem, have raised a political furor and stoked new fears that America's constitutionally guaranteed presidential transition process could be in for a rough ride this November.

Joining Tom via Zoom to discuss the controversy is Paula Reid, who covers the White House and the Justice Department for CBS News.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

On today's edition of the News Wrap, Tamara Keith, NPR's White House correspondent and host of its Politics Podcast, joins Tom with her perspectives on a busy news week in Washington, with fewer than 100 days remaining before the November 3rd general election...

AP Photo/Noah Berger

It's another edition of the Midday Newswrap, and this week we spotlight the simmering civil rights street protests in Portland, Oregon, and the forceful and controversial actions taken against demonstrators by teams of camouflaged federal Border Patrol agents, tactical units the Trump Administration deployed to the city against the wishes of the Portland mayor and Oregon's governor and legislators. 

Tom talks first with Washington Post reporter Marissa Lang who's in Portland covering the unrest. She gives us an eyewitness update on this tense and developing situation.  Lang connects with Midday via Zoom.

Then we broaden the focus to other Trump Administration-related news developments, as Tom is joined by Ayesha Rascoe, a White House reporter for NPR.  

AP Photo/Evan Vucci

As we went to air today, the House Judiciary Committee convened an investigative hearing into “political interference and threats to prosecutorial independence” at the U.S. Justice Department.  The hearing opened on the heels of last weekend’s firing of Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  President Trump’s plan to install in his place a political ally with no prosecutorial experience drew pushback from even Trump loyalists like Lindsey Graham.  The Committee chairman, Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, is expected to subpoena US Attorney General William Barr in early July, although whether Mr. Barr will comply is an open question...

AP Photo/ Matt York

Today on the News Wrap, Democrats came out swinging on the debate stage Wednesday night in Las Vegas.  Michael Bloomberg took the most punches, but it remains to be seen if he sustained a knock-out blow.

After Congressional leaders were told that Russia would prefer that Donald Trump remain President in 2021, Mr. Trump showed his preference for a new Acting Director of National Intelligence.  Joseph Maguire is out.  Richard Grenell, the Ambassador to Germany with no intelligence experience, is in. 

Julie Bykowicz of the Wall Street Journal, Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post and Paula Reid of CBS News join us for a look behind the headlines.

AP Photo/ Alberto Pezzali

Today is Brexit day.  At midnight, the United Kingdom will formally leave the European Union.   

But as the door to Europe closes, Britain has opened the door to a new deal with a Chinese telecom giant, Huawei.  NPR Correspondent Frank Langfitt joins us with the latest from London.   

In Annapolis, the MD General Assembly has votes to override 5 vetoes by Gov. Larry Hogan.  Baltimore Sun State House reporter Pamela Wood has an update.

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

On today's edition of the Midday News Wrap, we take a closer look at three stories topping the news this week.

The U.S.-Iran Crisis: The U.S. and Iran teetered on the brink of war after a U.S. drone strike ordered last Friday by President Trump killed the influential Iranian general Qassim Soleimani and others near the Baghdad airport.  Joining Tom on the line to sort out the complexities of the crisis and what might happen next is Steven Simon.  He’s a professor of international relations at Colby College in Waterville, Maine, an analyst at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft in Washington, and a former senior director on the National Security Council for both the Clinton and Obama administrations...

AP Photo/Scott Applewhite

The intense acrimony between Republicans and Democrats was on full display during the impeachment debate and vote in the House of Representatives Wednesday.  During more than six hours of impassioned discourse on two articles concerning abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, lawmakers considered the same set of facts in wildly different ways.  Most of them spent most of the day and early evening talking over each other’s heads, and pining for the sound bite that would merit mention on cable news.  For his part, President Donald Trump flew to Battle Creek Michigan for an invective-filled diatribe about Democrats, living and deceased...

AP Photo/ J. Scott Applewhite

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that she has instructed three committees to draft articles of impeachment, raising the possibility that the House will hold an impeachment vote before the Christmas recess.  On Monday, the Judiciary Committee will hear from lawyers for the House Intelligence Committee about the evidence they have gathered over the past several weeks.

Here in Baltimore, the races for Mayor and President of the City Council get more crowded, and the Department of Public Works is under fire for mismanagement of water bills and trash collecting, as the City Schools' CEO sounds an alarm about a budget shortfall.

AP photo by Seth Wenig.

The eastern European nation (and former Soviet republic) of Ukraine has been thrust into the news this week with the revelations about the phone call this past summer between President Trump and Ukraine's newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.  

What do we know about this young new leader of Ukraine or, for that matter, any of the other figures who are mentioned in the Whistleblower complaint made public yesterday, or referenced by Presidents Trump and Zelenskyy in their infamous phone call on July 25th?  Tom's first guest today knows Ukraine well...  

Photo Courtesy AP / Oded Balilty

Today on the Midday News Wrap, Israel's Knesset remains deadlocked after Tuesday’s election.   

A Whistle Blower in the Intelligence Community raises concerns, but the Justice Department tells Congress it can’t know what those concern are.

And, is a drone attack on a Saudi oil facility last Saturday the latest in a series of Iranian responses to the US campaign of sanctions and maximum pressure?

Tom's guests today are:

David Makovsky is the Ziegler distinguished fellow at the Washington Institute and director of the Project on Arab-Israel Relations.  His latest book is called Be Strong and Of Good Courage: How Israel’s Most Important Leaders Shaped It’s Destiny, which he wrote with Ambassador Dennis Ross.

Julian Borger is the world affairs editor at The Guardian.

Both men join us from NPR studios in Washington.

Photo Courtesy WYPR/ Emily Sullivan

On today's News Wrap: the president of the United States does a drive-by in Baltimore.  The president of the Baltimore City Council joins the race for mayor. And Democratic 2020 presidential wannabes vie for position at an HBCU in Houston. 

Tom and Charles Robinsonpolitics and business reporter with Maryland Public Television News, run down the latest political news. 

Their conversation was livestreamed on WYPR's Facebook page, and you can watch the video here, from 00:00 to 18:22 in the feed.

AP Images / Matt Rourke

Today on the News Wrap, we examine how the internet is fanning the flames of political and racial discord in America.  Guest host Nathan Sterner speaks with writer Dale Beran about how the online message board 8-chan became a platform for far-right extremism.

Then, the latest news out of Baltimore County, including ongoing efforts to finance affordable housing projects.

And we look at a new series by the Baltimore Business Journal spotlighting  Baltimore's public transportation woes.  WYPR reporter John Lee and Baltimore Business Journal staff writer Melody Simmons join us. 

AP Images / Paul Sancya

Today on the Midday News Wrap, we recap the second round of Democratic presidential debates. At a CNN-televised event in Detroit, Michigan, on Tuesday and Wednesday, 20 Democratic contenders took the stage to make their case for the party's presidential nomination. 

Then, we discuss the continuing attacks by President Trump on the city of Baltimore and Rep. Elijah E. Cummings.  The president took his assault a step further at a rally in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Thursday, denigrating several U.S. "inner cities"  run by Democratic mayors.

Who were the stand-out candidates at the debate?  Which candidates will the Democrats choose to run against Trump?  What is the president's purpose in demeaning American cities and citizens? Will the call for oversight outlast the President's grab for the headlines?   On today's Midday News Wrap, Tom considers those questions with two distinguished guests:

NPR National Security editor Franco Ordonez joins us on the line from the NPR studios in Washington.

Julie Bykowicz  reports on money and politics for the Wall Street Journal, and she joins us in studio.

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

On Wednesday, Robert Mueller testified for nearly seven hours in separate hearings before the Democrat-led House Judiciary and Intelligence committees, about his 448-page, two-volume Report on the Investigation Into Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential  Election.  It was Mueller's 90th appearance before Congress during a career in public service that spans more than three decades. 

The 74 year-old former FBI Director and former Special Counsel declined to directly answer his congressional interrogators nearly 200 times, responded to most questions tersely and at times haltingly, and refused to read aloud portions of the report he had submitted to the Attorney General in March.  But now that the dust from Robert Mueller's long-awaited appearance before Congress is beginning to settle, we're faced with a cascade of  questions...

photo from ICE.gov

Today on the Midday News Wrap, WYPR Morning Edition news anchor Nathan Sterner sits in for Tom Hall as we examine some of the week's top news developments.   First, a look at the continuing migrant crisis along the U.S. southern border, and the impending nationwide ICE raids on migrants with deportation orders.  Nathan talks with Seattle-based immigration attorney Minda Thorward -- whose private firm provides legal services to migrant families in the Northwest -- about the roots of the current immigration disaster. 

Then, Nathan is joined by AP White House correspondent Darlene Superville, who describes the Trump Administration’s controversial citizen-count efforts, its aggressive immigration strategies, and how it’s dealing with resigning Labor Secretary Alex Acosta's legal ties with the wealthy financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein.

And later, Nathan talks with Michael Fletcher, a writer with ESPN’s Undefeated, about the US Women’s Soccer Team’s high-profile quest for pay equity, on the heels of their remarkable 4th World Cup victory.

Photo Courtesy AP/ Alex Brandon

On today's News Wrap, Heather Caygle of POLITICO joins us for a look behind some of this week’s national headlines.  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says that Iran was behind the attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Oman yesterday, and for the second time in his Presidency, Donald Trump hoisted Norway into the spotlight this week. 

Here in MD, Delegate Robbyn Lewis tells us about her experience in the Transit Challenge.  And Justin Fenton talks about his new series in the Baltimore Sun which examines the massive criminal enterprise undertaken by an elite unit of the Baltimore City Police Department. 

Photo Courtesy Twitter

Today, analysis of the seismic shifts taking place in MD politics, as Adrienne Jones becomes the first African American, first woman Speaker of the House;  a seasoned political veteran becomes Baltimore’s Mayor; and a young, ambitious councilman becomes President of the City Council. 

With award winning investigative journalist Jayne Miller of WBAL Television; and Andy Green, the Editorial Page Editor of the Baltimore Sun.

This conversation was streamed live on the WYPR Facebook page. You can watch the video here.  

Photo Courtesy AP/ Patrick Semansky

Yesterday afternoon, in a one-paragraph letter addressed to now-Mayor Jack Young, former Mayor Catherine Pugh resigned from office.  Her lawyer read a brief statement and took no questions in a press conference that lasted less than two minutes. Meanwhile, investigations by city, state, and federal authorities are underway into Catherine Pugh’s possible malfeasance in office.

Jean Marbella of the Baltimore Sun joins us to talk about what’s happened and what’s next for our City.

But first, Tom speaks with Washington Post State House reporter Ovetta Wiggins about the historic election of Baltimore County Delegate Adrienne Jones as the first African American and the first woman Speaker of the House.

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Ever since the story of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh's lucrative self-dealing book sales first broke in the Sun March 13th, the city has been on a political roller coaster ride, as an embattled and defiant Mayor was sidelined by pneumonia and took an indefinite leave of absence, while the city council president assumed her duties amid a mounting chorus of calls for Mayor Pugh's resignation.   

The latest turn came at about 6:30 yesterday morning,  when agents from the FBI and the criminal division of the IRS fanned out across Baltimore and executed search warrants in seven different locations, including two of the mayor's homes, and the seat of our city’s government, City Hall. 

Today, Tom speaks with some of the reporters who are covering this rapidly developing story.  A little later, Luke Broadwater of the Baltimore Sun and Jayne Miller of WBAL Television will join us.  We’ll also get the perspective of a defense attorney, William Purpura.  He is not representing Mayor Catherine Pugh, but he has represented people in some very high-profile recent cases. 

But we begin today with the newest member of the WYPR news team, city hall reporter Emily Sullivan

Photo Courtesy AP/Elswick

On today's News Wrap: U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released his redacted version of the Mueller Report, after sharing it with the White House to decide questions of executive privilege. Did Mr. Trump's repeated efforts to shut down the two-year probe into Russian interference in America's 2016 presidential election amount to obstruction of justice?  We'll talk about what Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded and what his report means. 

Tom's guests are Ronald Weich, Dean of the University of Baltimore School of Law, political law attorney Cleta Mitchell, and POLITICO senior legal affairs contributor, Josh Gerstein.  

Photo Courtesy AP/ Manuel Balce Ceneta

On today's News Wrap, President Trump says he’s exonerated, and off the hook.  Democrats in Congress don’t quite agree.  Investigations on numerous fronts continue. 

The President has also moved to completely dismantle Obama Care by joining a legal action that would eliminate the law, and with it, some of its most popular provisions, like coverage for pre-existing conditions.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has wished the President and Speaker Nancy Pelosi good luck in finding a suitable replacement for the ACA. 

Joshua Gerstein of Politico and Darlene Superville of the Associated Press join us to take a look behind the headlines.


On today's News Wrap: the Mayor of Baltimore seems to think that witch hunts aren’t limited to the Trump administration.  As developments in the ever-evolving saga of the University of Maryland Medical System continue to unfurl, Mayor Catherine Pugh is in the eye of the storm, amid allegations of conflict of interest and self-dealing by her, and nearly a third of the UMMS board. Baltimore Sun reporter Luke Broadwater joins me with the latest in this developing story.

Plus, Governor Hogan slams Democrats as spendthrifts and former Baltimore mayors make the case to keep the Preakness at Pimlico.

WYPR's Rachel Baye and the Baltimore Sun's  Pamela Wood join us with updates on the Maryland General Assembly, as lawmakers in Annapolis enter the homestretch of the 2019 legislative session. 

Associated Press

It’s another edition of the Midday NewsWrap

We begin today with analysis of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean President Kim Jong-un, who met this week for the second time. The summit came to an abrupt end yesterday, with no new agreements.

Tom's guest is Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute, an expert on Korean affairs.

Later in the show, Tom discusses some of the week's local news developments with Baltimore Sun State House reporter Luke Broadwater.

AP Photo/ Steve Helber

On today's News Wrap, guest host Nathan Sterner sits in for Tom Hall with a rundown of the stories making headlines in our region this week:

Turmoil in Virginia as a blackface scandal and allegations of sexual assault have led to calls for the resignation of the state's top  political leaders; Baltimore County executive Johnny Olszewski sites "tough challenges" following cuts to the county's education budget; and former New Orleans police superintendent Michael Harrison is set to assume his duties as BPD acting police commissioner on Monday. Pending a final vote by the city council, the incoming top cop is on track to become the Baltimore’s fifth police commissioner in four years. 

Joining Nathan with the latest are Washington Post Senior Regional Correspondent Robert McCartney; WYPR Baltimore County reporter John Lee; and Ian Duncan, City Hall reporter for the Baltimore Sun.

Photo Courtesy AP

On today's Newswrap, an update on the partial government shutdown and the Trump-Pelosi showdown.  Giuliani backpedals on comments about collusion and details from the Buzzfeed News report that President Trump directed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress 

CBS News Correspondent Paula Reid, whose beats include the White House and the Justice Department, joins us this afternoon from the White House.

 And Lisa Dejardins of the PBS News Hour is on the line from Arlington, Virginia.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

Today, it’s another edition of the Midday News Wrap. 

Later in the program Tom will talk about the first three days of the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis with Luke Broadwater, Statehouse and politics reporter for the Baltimore Sun

He’ll also talk with Phil Ewing, NPR's National Security Editor, about the latest developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible connections between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign during the 2016 election. 

But we begin today with the impasse over President Trump’s campaign promise to build a wall on the southern border.  That promise has led to a partial government shutdown.  Today is payday in much of the federal government.  800,000 federal workers will not receive their checks today, and the effects of the shutdown, now in its third week, are beginning to be felt in a variety of ways that were not as evident in the first days of the shutdown, which coincided largely with the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Lisa Mascaro is the Chief Congressional Correspondent for the Associated Press.  She joins Tom on the line from Washington, DC.

News Wrap 12.07.2018

Dec 7, 2018
Associated Press

Join us for another Midday News Wrap.

U.S. Justice Department Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III was the man of the week after new developments in his investigation of Russia’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election. In a heavily redacted court filing, Mueller announced that he would not pursue prison time for President Trump’s former national security advisor, Gen. Michael Flynn, because of his "significant" cooperation with the investigation.  Mueller's prosecutors in DC and a team in the Southern District of New York were scheduled to submit separate sentencing memos on Friday for former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen.

Tom talks with Washington Post national security reporter Devlin Barrett about the Mueller team's multiple ongoing probes.

Those probes weren't the only stories dominating headlines this week: US senators, including some leading Republicans, responded angrily to the murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi after their closed-door briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel; the North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics refused to certify the election of Republican House candidate Mark Harris following reports of systematic voter fraud in the state’s 9th district; and many around the country mourned former President George H.W. Bush after his death last Friday.

NPR lead politics editor Domenico Montanaro joins Tom from NPR studios in Washington to discuss these and other major news developments this week.