Washington (CNN) – Congressional leaders and Secretary of State John Kerry helped dedicate a bust Wednesday of the late British statesman Sir Winston Churchill at Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol.
British dignitaries at the event included Roger Daltrey of "The Who," and Churchill's grandson, Nicholas Soames, who's a member of the British Parliament.
In remarks during a ceremony in the large, ornate hall, Kerry noted two of Churchill's great-grandfathers fought in the American Revolution – both for George Washington's Army.
"One in the Berkshire County Militia, and the other as part of the 4th Massachusetts Regiment," said Kerry, who represented Massachusetts in the Senate for nearly three decades before becoming Secretary of State earlier this year.
Churchill is credited with leading the Allies to victory in World War Two when he was British Prime Minister. He also coined the phrase "special relationship" to describe ties with America.
His mother was an American who married an Englishman.
The bust of Churchill, in dark bronze atop white marble, was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives in time for the 70th Anniversary of Churchill's speechmaking that helped prepare for war.
Wednesday's ceremony focused on statesmanship and diplomacy. One of songs performed by Daltrey was "Stand by Me."
Kerry said honoring Churchill in Statuary Hall "will remind us of the bridges that we must build to span the gaps so that the work of democracy can continue."
Washington (CNN) – A majestic old clock that stands near the U.S. Senate chamber is ticking again after the man in charge of winding it returned from the federal government furlough Thursday.
The "Ohio" clock ran down and stopped with the hands at about 12:15, eight days into the government shutdown, when its mainspring reached the end of its capacity.
Baltimore (CNN) - Acknowledging it is out of the ordinary for city mayors to take a stand on American military policy, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution Monday calling for an early end to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
"This is not a war resolution," said the newly elected president of the group, Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - Federal accident investigators admitted Tuesday they don't really know what caused the deadly crash in Alaska last year of a plane carrying former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens. The longtime Republican was among five people killed, including the pilot, who was taking a group to a fishing camp in the rugged Alaskan terrain.
The best guess from the National Transportation Safety Board points to 62-year-old Terry Smith, an experienced pilot who knew the area well.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - A group of conservative activists slammed the Obama administration Monday for allegedly planning to use its administrative authority to undercut immigration restrictions in the wake of congressional inaction on a comprehensive reform bill.
In a letter sent to the White House, leaders of 17 conservative grass-roots organizations cited reports that the administration is considering using its executive power "to effectively legalize significant numbers of illegal aliens."
"We strongly urge that you refrain pursuing that tactic," they wrote. "We believe that such an abuse of power would further polarize the immigration issue, which already is so controversial that reasonable discussion is confounded."
Only Congress, they argued, "possesses plenary power over making our immigration policy. The administrative branch has limited discretion for dealing with aliens and quite limited policymaking authority."
ALEXANDRIA, Virginia (CNN) – Former U.S. Rep. William Jefferson of Louisiana was convicted Wednesday on 11 of the 16 corruption charges against him.
Jefferson, a 62-year-old Democrat, was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 4, 2007, on corruption charges, about two years after federal agents said they found $90,000 in his freezer. Authorities said the cash was part of a payment in marked bills from an FBI informant in a transaction captured on video.
Jefferson had pleaded not guilty.
The jury convicted him on four counts of bribery, three counts of racketeering, three counts of wire fraud and one count of racketeering. He was acquitted on five other counts including wire fraud and obstruction of justice.
Jefferson had faced a maximum possible sentence of 235 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - It's been more than 60 years since someone tore out the most important page of a handwritten letter from President Lincoln - but the National Archives on Thursday will officially regain custody of that missing document.
The letter, written in 1863, has been circulating among collectors in the time since an unidentified person stripped the central page from a volume held by the U.S. Treasury.
The other half of the letter remained in the bound volume, but scholars and researchers had no idea where the second page had gone. The donor is now giving that page to the National Archives to complete the document. The agency will not say whether the donor will disclose details of the path it has taken since the 1940s.
The agency is also keeping secret what the letter is about until Thursday, when officials plan to display the documents, tell the story, and introduce the donor at a news conference at the National Archives in Washington.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Five members of Congress were among those arrested Monday outside the Embassy of Sudan for crossing a police line during a demonstration against genocide in Darfur.
"You have to find a way to dramatize an issue," Rep. John Lewis (D-Georgia) told CNN as he was led away in handcuffs.
The other U.S. lawmakers who were arrested during the protest are Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts), Donna Edwards (D-Maryland), Keith Ellison (D-Minnesota), and Lynn Woolsey (D-California).
Lewis faces a misdemeanor charge of trespassing, after he refused three warnings from police to stay behind a barricade established toprotect the diplomatic compound located along Washington's Embassy Row.
A champion of the civil rights movement in the 1960s, Lewis said the U.S. cannot afford to wait for Sudan to settle ethnic conflict and massive killings that the State Department has characterized as genocide.
As he was lined up with seven other people to be loaded into a prisoner transport vehicle, Lewis said "this is another step toward helping to free the children of Darfur and put an end to the genocide, to the violence; crimes against humanity."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – As Minnesota begins to re-count the nearly three million ballots cast in the state’s tightly-contested Senate battle, the two candidates in the race - Democrat Al Franken and Republican incumbent Norm Coleman - were on Capitol Hill meeting with Senate leaders.
Franken met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for about 20 minutes on Wednesday morning in Reid’s office on the second floor of the Capitol building. After the meeting, he told reporters he had briefed the Majority Leader on the mechanics of the recount and said he is "cautiously optimistic" he will win.
"We believe that if they're all counted, we think that we’ll prevail given the sort of history of all this,” Franken said of the recount.
The former comedy writer said he had scheduled meetings at the DSCC, where he will meet with experts who know about setting up transition offices and organizational things along those lines. He said it would "be irresponsible not to start thinking about that stuff before in case we do win."
Franken also said his campaign will continue fundraising while the ballots are being counted to pay for field organization and potential legal costs.
"We anticipate that there will be more litigation," Franken said. Lawsuits have been filed by both campaigns.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Indicted Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of scheming to conceal thousands of dollars worth of gifts from an oil-services company.
His lawyer requested that the trial be moved to Alaska from Washington, and that it take place before November because Stevens is up for re-election.
"I want to make a request if at all possible that the trial be in October so that he can clear his name before the general elections," said the attorney, Brendan Sullivan.
He proposed moving the trial to Alaska because a majority of the witnesses are there and the events in question took place there.
Judge Emmet Sullivan, who is not related to Stevens' attorney, said he thought Washington is an appropriate location for the trial but that he will entertain a motion to move it to Alaska.