WASHINGTON (CNN) - As time ticks down to July 13 - the recently announced date for the start of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's confirmation hearings - Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are asking Sotomayor for more information about her lengthy legal career that includes almost two decades on the federal bench.
A letter to Sotomayor signed by every Republican on the committee and dated Wednesday states that committee staff "have noted a number of apparent omissions" in the materials Sotomayor recently submitted.
"In addition, we believe that some of your responses are incomplete," the letter also says. The seven Republican senators ask Sotomayor to "revisit the questionnaire and provide another supplement as soon as possible." Alternatively, "[i]f you believe that your questionnaire is fully responsive, we would appreciate an explanation to that effect," the Republicans tell Sotomayor.
Among other things, the letter asks Sotomayor to provide copies of materials she edited while at Yale Law School, to explain why an all-female organization that she belongs to does not violate the federal courts' Code of Judicial Conduct, and to provide more information about nearly 200 speeches, remarks, or lectures she has given.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A proposal to create privatelyoperated
health-insurance cooperatives as an alternative to a government-run health plan is gaining steam in the Senate, several key senators said Wednesday.
The plan is shaping up as possibly the most viable way to bridge a key difference between Democrats and Republicans negotiating a health care overhaul, senators said.
The non-profit co-ops, based on the model of electricity, agricultural and other cooperatives in rural states, would be run and paid for by its members, although an initial infusion of federal funds might be needed to get them off the ground, senators said.
"I'm doing all I can to get a bipartisan solution, and right now the so-called public option is being transformed into a private alternative," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, said as he left a closed-door meeting on the issue. "It may not work. If so, we'll have to find something else. But right now it looks like it has a decent chance of working."
Baucus tasked two senior Democrats - Charles Schumer of New York and Kent Conrad of North Dakota - to develop legislation that might be acceptable to enough lawmakers from both parties to pass.
(CNN) - New Orleans, Louisiana, Mayor Ray Nagin, who was quarantined in China after possible exposure to the H1N1 virus, was released Wednesday to continue an economic development trip.
Nagin told CNN he had left the country in the morning and was headed to Australia.
The mayor had been quarantined since Sunday after flying on a plane that also carried a passenger who is being treated for symptoms suspected to be from the virus, commonly known as swine flu, his staff said.
Ceeon Quiett, the mayor's director of communications, told CNN that Nagin had been sitting beside a passenger who "exhibited the symptoms of H1N1," but Nagin showed no signs of illness.
– CNN's Marylynn Ryan contributed to this report.
(CNN) - The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the former Chicago pastor whose racially-charged sermons threatened to implode President Obama's primary bid last year, is again making waves over recent comments about his current relationship with the commander-in-chief.
"Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me," Wright told Virginia newspaper The Daily Press when asked if he still spoke with Obama. "I told my baby daughter, that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office."
"They will not let him to talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is," he added. "I said from the beginning: He's a politician; I'm a pastor. He's got to do what politicians do."
The former pastor of Chicago's Trinity United Church of Christ, where Obama was a congregant for nearly two decades, also told the paper he holds no grudges against the president's very public break from Wright last year.
The White House issued the following statement Wednesday evening from President Obama:
“I am shocked and saddened by today’s shooting at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. This outrageous act reminds us that we must remain vigilant against anti-Semitism and prejudice in all its forms. No American institution is more important to this effort than the Holocaust Museum, and no act of violence will diminish our determination to honor those who were lost by building a more peaceful and tolerant world.
“Today, we have lost a courageous security guard who stood watch at this place of solemn remembrance. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends in this painful time.”
Related: Guard killed during museum shooting
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Justice Department sources say no preliminary decisions have been made on what charges may be brought against the gunman in the Holocaust Memorial shootings, if the shooter survives his gunshot wounds.
Officials said it was likely that the Metropolitan Police Department may lead the investigation if a decision is made to proceed with firearms or shooting charges, while the FBI will likely be the lead if evidence leads them to file federal civil rights-related charges.
An official says if the shooter survives, charges can be brought against him whether or not he is physically able to appear in court, and if and when he becomes physically able to do so the prosecution would then commence. But it will likely be hours - maybe days - before a decision is made.
Prosecutors had no information on the suspect's medical condition.
UPDATE, 5:55 p.m.: Now that security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns has died, the rifle used by the suspect has potentially become a murder weapon. It is currently in the hands of the U.S. Park Police, which has asked the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to urgently trace the weapon.
The ATF has asked its weapons tracing center in West Virginia to expedite a trace on the rifle, which could be completed by tomorrow. The trace should at a minimum provide the original sale and ownership of the weapon. The ATF is also trying to determine where the weapon has been, and how it came to be used in the deadly shooting at the Holocaust Museum.
One of many questions is whether the suspect was a convicted felon who should either have turned in his weapons or been barred from owning them.
Related: Guard killed during museum shooting
WASHINGTON (CNN) – As the Holocaust Memorial shooting was unfolding and during its aftermath, President Obama received regular updates through the White House Situation Room, according to Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.
"We're in contact with and get updates from [the] Homeland Security Council, and other agencies like the FBI," Gibbs added.
The president was first informed of the shooting by his spokesman prior to the daily briefing. At the time, details were sketchy, and the death of security guard Stephen Tyrone Johns had not yet been confirmed.
Gibbs said everyone is "saddened" by what has happened.
Just last week President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp in Germany, in what senior aides described as an extraordinarily powerful stop.
Related: Guard killed during museum shooting
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) – The government bailout of banks, lenders, Bear Stearns and AIG brought in billions of dollars to the Federal Reserve in the first quarter of 2009.
In the first of a series of monthly reports on its $2.1 trillion balance sheet, the Fed said it earned a net $2.7 billion from January through March. Most of the gains stemmed from new lending facilities that the Fed instituted after the collapse of Lehman Brothers brought the nation's flow of credit to a halt in September.
The U.S. central bank said it took in $1.2 billion on interest in loans in its Term Auction Facility (TAF) and to troubled insurer AIG (AIG, Fortune 500). TAF, which the Fed began at the beginning of the recession in December 2007, lends short-term money to banks in exchange for toxic assets as collateral.
The Fed also made $2.1 billion on its Commercial Paper Funding Facility, in which the government buys up companies' short term debt in exchange for interest and a fee.
Treasury bonds, which performed well in the first three months of the year, made the Fed another $4.6 billion. The Fed began purchasing long-term Treasurys in March in an attempt to reduce bond yields and interest rates that are tied to them.
But the Fed lost a whopping $5.3 billion on assets it took hold of after the Bear Stearns and AIG bailouts. The vast majority ($4.9 billion worth) of the losses were AIG-related, as the central bank bought up nearly $50 billion worth of toxic assets in exchange for loans to the company.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – As the Republican Party struggles to regain its footing following the November elections, a new survey shows that a majority of adult Americans sees no clear leader for the minority political party.
Even more problematic for the GOP is that one-third of Republicans hold an unfavorable view of their party, according to the USA Today/Gallup poll.
When it comes to naming a “main person” who speaks for the GOP, 52 percent of Americans were unable to do so.
Among those who did name a speaker for the GOP, 13 percent identified conservative talk-radio host Rush Limbaugh, while 10 percent named former Vice President Dick Cheney. Arizona Sen. John McCain and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were each named by 6 percent of Americans in the poll.
Related Video: Gingrich takes center stage
Just 3 percent said former President George W. Bush is currently the most prominent Republican speaker, while Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, and House Minority Leader John Boehner were each named by 1 percent of participants in the survey.
“These numbers are troubling for Republicans, who are engaged in a civil war right over the ideological direction of the party,” said CNN Political Editor Mark Preston. “When one-third of Republicans hold an unfavorable view of the party, it makes it difficult to establish a united front to promote GOP policies at the same time opposing President Obama’s agenda.”
A third of Republicans in the poll said the GOP should not moderate its policies in its quest to regain power.
The poll surveyed 1,015 adults on May 29-31 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
RICHMOND, Virginia (CNN) – The three Democrats who battled, at times bitterly, for their party's gubernatorial nomination came together in Richmond on Wednesday and promised to be unified against Republican Bob McDonnell come November.
"We are a stronger party and I am a stronger candidate because of this primary process," said Creigh Deeds, the folksy state Senator who sailed to the nomination last night, buoyed by an unexpectedly large turnout from voters in the Washington suburbs. "We're all better because of it."
Gathered before a fleet of television cameras and accompanied by Virginia's current governor, Tim Kaine, each Democrat promised to do whatever it takes to get Deeds elected this fall. He would be the third consecutive Democrat elected to the governorship if his campaign succeeds.
Former Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe, who finished second in Tuesday's primary, sounded a lot like the man who stood steadfastly alongside Hillary Clinton in 2008 during the long and bruising presidential primary fight against Obama.