[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/26/art.inhofept0126.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Inhofe, foreground, spoke out Monday about the president's latest executive order."]
(CNN) - Sen. James Inhofe called President Barack Obama’s plan to allow 14 states to regulate their own fuel emission standards “environmental thuggery” in an interview published Monday.
Obama’s executive order seeks to reduce greenhouse gases by allowing states like California to require stricter fuel standards for cars.
The Oklahoma senator a ranking member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee and a longtime global warming skeptic, told CNN Monday the proposed plan would too costly for the beleaguered auto industry. “I think you’re going to see them coming in requesting more bailouts now as a result of this,” said Inhofe.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Barack Obama's Kenyan aunt is in the United States legally, at least for the time being, CNN has learned.
Just days before the November election it was reported that Zeituni Onyango, the half-sister of Mr. Obama's late father, was living in Boston despite a deportation order issued four years earlier when her asylum request was denied.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/26/art.riceshake0126.gi.jpg caption="Dr. Susan Rice, new U.S. ambassador to the U.N., met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon Monday."]
UNITED NATIONS (CNN) - President Barack Obama's ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, arrived for her first day on the job Monday calling the U.N. a "great institution" but saying there is "room for improvement."
Watch: Rice vows cooperation
Rice presented her credentials to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at U.N. headquarters in New York Monday morning. She said the two then spoke for 45 minutes, discussing a wide range of international issues, including the situations in Sudan and the Middle East.
After meeting with Ban, Rice spoke to reporters in front of the U.N. Security Council chambers, laying out several key issues that the Obama administration hopes to accomplish at the United Nations: Strengthening the capacity to engage in complex peace operations, advancing U.S. and "collective" interest on climate change and nuclear proliferation, and putting the United States at the center of poverty reduction and fighting disease, cornerstones of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/26/minnesota.us.senate/art.coleman.gi.jpg caption="Norm Coleman will argue many votes were not recounted properly in his bid for re-election to the U.S. Senate. "]
(CNN) – Former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman has not given up the fight for Minnesota’s Senate seat.
Monday Coleman personally attended the first day of the trial where a three judge panel is considering testimony in his post-election challenge.
In a statement also issued Monday, Coleman took issue with several aspects of the recount recently concluded by a state canvassing board which declared Democrat Al Franken the winner in a very tight race against Coleman.
“I will remain actively engaged through the election contest trial, as I have done through every step of these post-election proceedings,” Coleman said in the statement.
“I have great confidence in my legal team and I remain fully confident that if these issues are properly addressed - if no vote is counted twice, if consistent standards are applied, and if no voter is disenfranchised – I will end up where I was on Election Day: in the lead on my way back to the United States Senate.”
–CNN All Platform Journalist Chris Welch contributed to this report.
(CNN) - Kentucky Lt. Governor Dan Mongiardo, a Democrat and practicing surgeon, announced Monday he plans to challenge Republican Sen. Jim Bunning in 2010.
The move sets up a possible rematch of the memorable 2004 Senate race, in which Bunning ran what was regarded by many as a lackadaisical campaign but still managed to eke out a win over Mongiardo by just 1.4 percentage points.
Mongiardo said in a statement he will “launch a vigorous campaign replace Senator Jim Bunning” and pledged to focus on shoring up America’s health care system if elected.
Bunning, a former Major League All-Star who has served in the Senate since 1998, is seen as one of the most vulnerable incumbents of the 2010 cycle. According to The Hill, some bluegrass Republicans are mulling asking Bunning to stand down to make room for a more energetic candidate.
Mongiardo is the first Democrat to announce a challenge to Bunning, but other state officials are reportedly eyeing the seat as well.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/26/art.blagohand0126.gi.jpg caption="Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich decided not to be present Monday for the start of his impeachment trial in the state senate."]
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CNN) - The Illinois state Senate began its impeachment trial on Monday against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, without the governor present.
Blagojevich said he expects lawmakers to vote to convict him. He is facing federal corruption charges for several allegations, including trying to trade or sell the Senate seat that became vacant after Barack Obama was elected president.
He has boycotted the trial, instead scheduling appearances on several news programs Monday, including CNN's "Larry King Live."
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/26/art.blagotrial0126.cnn.jpg caption="The Blagojevich impeachment trial is airing live on CNN.com/live."]
(CNN) - The Illinois Senate is conducting the impeachment trial of the state's governor, Rod Blagojevich.
Watch it now live on CNN.com/live.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/01/26/obama.emissions/art.traffic.gi.jpg caption="California and 13 other states would be permitted to set their emission standards under President Obama's plan."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - President Obama signed a memorandum Monday requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to reconsider an application by California to set more stringent auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards than required by federal law.
If the EPA grants a waiver allowing California to set its own emissions standards, the nation's largest state will be allowed to require automakers to produce trucks and cars that get better mileage than what is required under the current national standard.
Thirteen other states could take similar action.
"It will be the policy of my administration to reverse our dependence on foreign oil," Obama said.
Increasing fuel efficiency, he said, is a key step in preventing the United States "from being held hostage" to hostile regimes and the threat of global warming.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/26/art.hrcbostate0126.gi.jpg caption="Secretary Clinton's new climate change envoy will add urgency to the president's energy agenda."]
WASHINGTON (CNN ) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will name a former Clinton White House official as her special envoy for climate change, senior State Department officials told CNN on Monday.
The appointment of Todd Stern - a partner with the firm of Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale and Dorr - will add urgency to President Barack Obama and Clinton's promise to make climate change a foreign policy priority.
Stern is also a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, focusing on climate change and environmental issues.
From 1999 to 2001, he served at the Treasury Department as a counselor to the secretary. From 1993 to 1998 he was an assistant to the president for special projects, serving as the senior White House negotiator to climate change negotiations in Kyoto, Japan, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/01/26/art.mcauliffetvad0126.gi.jpg caption="Terry McAuliffe is up with the first television ad his gubernatorial run."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Terry McAuliffe is wasting no time putting his sizable campaign war chest to work in his effort to become Virginia’s next governor.
McAuliffe released “Listened,” his first television ad of the election cycle, Monday. The 30-second spot released Monday focuses on the economy and job creation, and is set to air in the Norfolk region.
McAuliffe is a three-way contest for the Democratic nomination against former state delegate Brian Moran and state senator Creigh Deeds. Joe Trippi, former adviser to John Edwards and Howard Dean, will be acting as a media consultant for Moran.
The winner of the Democratic nomination will face off against Republican Bob McDonnell, currently serving as Virginia’s attorney general.
- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby contributed to this report.