Columns

Trump orders colleges to back free speech or lose funding

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday requiring U.S. colleges to protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal research funding. The new order directs federal agencies to ensure that any college or university receiving research grants agrees to promote free ...

A harsh president

President Trump made a rare appearance at a church last Sunday. It’s a safe bet the sermon was not based on Proverbs 15:1 — “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” If it was, it didn’t appear to have much effect. Before and after church, the president ...

Poll: Majority has confidence that Mueller probe will be fair

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the special counsel investigation into Donald Trump's presidential campaign winds down, a new poll finds that most Americans are at least moderately confident that Robert Mueller's probe has been fair and impartial. The poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for ...

Shifting hopes as GOP, Democrats await Mueller

WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s a witch hunt, a vendetta, the worst presidential harassment in history. That’s what President Donald Trump has shouted for two years about the special counsel’s Russia probe. Now, barring an eleventh-hour surprise, Trump and his allies are starting to see it as ...

Fox News hires former DNC chief Donna Brazile

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Democratic National Committee chief Donna Brazile, who was fired by CNN for tipping off the Hillary Clinton campaign about debate topics in 2016, has joined Fox News Channel as a political commentator. Brazile said Monday she knows fellow liberals will criticize her ...

Pirro’s Fox show absent after Omar comments

NEW YORK (AP) — Fox News weekend host Jeanine Pirro’s show didn’t air a week after her comments questioning U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar over her wearing a Muslim head covering. No explanation was given. Pirro’s show, “Justice With Judge Jeanine,” was replaced Saturday night by other ...

Synthetic opioids: Worse living through chemistry

WASHINGTON — On Feb. 12, Joaquin Guzman Loera, aka “El Chapo,” was convicted of multiple crimes related to running the Sinaloa drug cartel, Mexico’s largest. Thirteen days before his conviction, authorities seized enough of the synthetic opioid called fentanyl for 100 million lethal ...

Beyond veto: Trump seeks more workarounds to avoid Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s first veto was more than a milestone. It signals a new era of ever perilous relations between the executive and legislative branches of government. Trump’s agenda was stymied even before his party lost unified control of Washington at the start ...

Democratic 2020 field taking shape with O’Rourke entry

WASHINGTON (AP) — The contours of the Democratic presidential primary came into clearer focus this week with Texan Beto O’Rourke’s entry into the race — one of the final puzzle pieces in a contest that will be shaped by questions about race and gender, political ideology and ...

State resolution would make university boards subject to Open Meetings Act

LANSING, Mich. — The Senate Oversight Committee on Tuesday heard testimony on a proposal that would require all meetings of public university governing boards to be open to the public under the Open Meetings Act. Currently, such boards are only required to open self-determined formal ...

Trump faults British leader’s handling of Brexit

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Thursday sharply criticized Britain’s handling of negotiations over leaving the European Union, saying the talks have been bungled and the wrenching debate was dividing the country. “I’m surprised at how badly it’s all gone from the ...

AP: Police officer video often withheld from public

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — The video is brief but disturbing: An officer is seen striking an unarmed suspect with his handgun as the man falls into the grass. An autopsy would later show he died from a gunshot to the back of the head. After the death last July of 26-year-old Daniel Fuller in ...

As papers close, government watchdog role disappears

One of the last investigations Jim Boren oversaw before he retired as executive editor of The Fresno Bee was a four-month examination of substandard housing in the city at the heart of California’s Central Valley. The multimedia project revealed the living conditions imposed on many of the ...

Schiff: Pelosi ‘right’ to hold back on impeachment

WASHINGTON (AP) — A key House investigator said Tuesday that Speaker Nancy Pelosi is “absolutely right” to hold back on impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff sided with Pelosi, who said Democrats shouldn’t pursue ...

Government transparency laws needed in Michigan

Cautious optimism is circulating among legislators, government transparency advocates and journalists this month as the Michigan House, for the third time in the past three sessions, votes on a series of bills called the Legislative Open Records Act, or LORA. The LORA bills, which would ...

In Dems’ ‘Medicare for All’ call, GOP sees ‘20 weapon

WASHINGTON (AP) — “Medicare for All” has become catnip for Democratic presidential candidates and many lawmakers, yet Republicans prepping for next year’s congressional races are also flocking to it — for entirely different reasons. GOP strategists say they’ll use proposals to ...

Town by town, journalism fading away at local level

WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (AP) — Five minutes late, Darrell Todd Maurina sweeps into a meeting room and plugs in his laptop computer. He places a Wi-Fi hotspot on the table and turns on a digital recorder. The earplug in his left ear is attached to a police scanner in his pants pocket. He wears a ...

Trump says Cohen lied about not seeking pardon

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump declared Friday he rejected a personal appeal from his former lawyer Michael Cohen for a pardon, the strongest assertion yet that Cohen may have lied under oath. Trump tweeted his claim after days of swirling questions about Cohen over the issue of ...

Trump aims to stem vet suicide with outreach, local grants

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed an executive order Tuesday aimed at stemming a persistently high number of veteran suicides, urging expanded outreach by awarding grants to community programs. The order creates a Cabinet-level task force that will seek to develop a national ...

Democrats flex power by aiming at money in politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — Flexing their new majority, Democrats are moving to push through the House a comprehensive elections and ethics reform package they say will reduce the role of big money in politics, ensure fair elections and restore ethics and integrity to Washington. The legislation, ...