April 21st, 2010
09:25 AM ET
12 years ago

Rubio says he hasn't been contacted by IRS

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/16/art.rubio.0218f.gi.jpg caption="Rubio said Wednesday he has not been contacted about a reported federal investigation into his use of a state party credit card"](CNN) - Florida Senate hopeful Marco Rubio said Wednesday he has not been contacted about a reported federal investigation into his use of a state party credit card and proclaimed himself innocent of any wrongdoing.

The St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald reported late Tuesday that the IRS has opened a "preliminary" investigation into whether Rubio, former House Speaker Ray Sansom and former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer "misused their party credit cards for personal expenses." The papers cited an anonymous law enforcement source for their story.

News of the investigation interrupts several weeks of momentum for the surging Rubio, who is consolidating GOP support as his primary rival for the Republican nomination, Gov. Charlie Crist, considers abandoning the contest altogether.

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Filed under: Marco Rubio
April 21st, 2010
08:05 AM ET
12 years ago

Blagojevich challenges prosecutor to court showdown

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - If former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has his way, Wednesday's court hearing on his racketeering charges will be a showdown between him and the lead prosecutor in the case.

Blagojevich threw down the gauntlet during a defiant news conference Tuesday, in which he called his accusers "liars" and "cowards," and directly challenged U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, who is heading the prosecution.

Blagojevich accused federal authorities of trying to keep some of the tapes FBI agents made of his phone conversations from being heard by a jury.

"I challenge Mr. Fitzgerald... Why don't you show up in court tomorrow and explain to everybody, explain to the whole world why you don't want the tapes that you made played in court?" Blagojevich said to reporters. "I'll be in court tomorrow. I hope you're man enough to show up," he added, referring to Fitzgerald.

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Filed under: Rod Blagojevich
April 21st, 2010
07:42 AM ET
12 years ago

Obama to discuss Supreme Court pick with party leaders

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.obama.0420d.gi.jpg caption ="President Obama has been reaching out to potential candidates for the pending Supreme Court vacancy."](CNN) - President Obama is expected to meet with key Republican and Democratic leaders Wednesday to discuss a replacement for retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.

Obama has been privately reaching out this week to candidates for the pending Supreme Court vacancy, an administration source said Tuesday.

The president's conversations with potential candidates were conducted over the phone. Specifics of the discussions were not disclosed by the source.

Stevens announced he would retire shortly after the court's current term ends in late June.

White House officials have said they expect the president to pick his nominee by early May.

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Filed under: President Obama • Supreme Court
April 21st, 2010
07:23 AM ET
12 years ago

Trial resumes in Palin e-mail hacking case

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.palin.0808t.gi.jpg caption ="The trial of a man accused of hacking into then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s e-mail account during the 2008 presidential campaign is set to resume Wednesday in Knoxville, Tennessee."](CNN) - The trial of a man accused of hacking into the e-mail account of then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin in 2008 is to resume Wednesday in Knoxville, Tennessee.

David Kernell, 22, faces felony charges of identity theft, wire fraud, intentionally accessing Palin's e-mail account without authorization and obstructing an FBI investigation.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Lawyers gave opening statements Tuesday, and Kernell's roommate, David Omiecinski, testified, according to Kathy Keeton, a manager in the court clerk's office.

Kernell is the son of Tennessee Rep. Mike Kernell, a Memphis Democrat. Authorities say the younger Kernell hacked into Palin's personal e-mail account during the 2008 presidential campaign, when Palin was the running mate of Arizona Sen. John McCain in his Republican presidential bid.

Their campaign called the incident "a shocking invasion of the governor's privacy and a violation of law."

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Filed under: Sarah Palin
April 21st, 2010
07:12 AM ET
12 years ago

Will others follow Arizona's lead on immigration?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/art.arizonafence.07.gi.jpg caption ="State lawmakers have introduced about 1,000 bills dealing with immigration this year."](CNN) - Now that Arizona lawmakers have passed what's considered some of the toughest immigration legislation in the country, other states are watching to see whether they should follow in the state's footsteps or stand back.

Arizona's bill orders immigrants to carry their alien registration documents at all times and requires police to question people if there's reason to suspect they're in the United States illegally. It also targets those who hire illegal immigrant day laborers or knowingly transport them.

Critics, including immigrant advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, are concerned that the legislation will foster racial profiling, arguing that most police officers don't have enough training to look past race while investigating a person's legal status.

The bill made it through the state Senate on Monday after it was passed by the state House last week. It's now awaiting the signature of Republican Gov. Jan Brewer. Supporters of the measure expect her to sign it. Latino members of Congress are calling on Brewer to veto it.

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Filed under: Arizona • Immigration
April 21st, 2010
07:02 AM ET
12 years ago

Congressional group to support Day of Prayer

Washington (CNN) - Members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus will hold a news conference in Washington D.C. Wednesday to respond to a recent federal judge ruling that struck down the National Day of Prayer.

Among those scheduled to be at the 1 p.m. news conference is Congressman J. Randy Forbes, R-Virginia; Congressman Mike McIntyre, D-North Carolina; and Congressman Frank Wolf, R-Virginia.

"Members of Congress, along with leaders of faith organizations, will join together in responding to the federal judge's decision last week, to discuss the history of the National Day of Prayer and affirm the right of Americans to pray according to their faith," a statement on Forbes' Web site said.

Last week, a federal judge struck down the federal statute that established the National Day of Prayer, ruling that it violates the constitutional ban on government-backed religion.

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Filed under: Religion
April 21st, 2010
05:44 AM ET
12 years ago

Stevens gets presidential birthday note

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/20/art.stevens2.gi.jpg caption ="Justice Stevens received a birthday note Tuesday from President Obama."](CNN) – President Obama penned a birthday letter to retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on Tuesday.

Born in 1920, Tuesday marked Stevens' 90th birthday, an occasion President Obama celebrated by congratulating Stevens on his "long and esteemed tenure in public service."

"For the last 35 years of your remarkable 90, the Nation has benefited from the rigor, courage, and integrity," Obama wrote in the letter, released by the Supreme Court press office.

Obama, who is reportedly reaching out this week to possible candidates to succeed Stevens, wished the high court judge much happiness moving forward.

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April 21st, 2010
05:41 AM ET
12 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

ALT TEXT

The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: Goldman Sachs was a top Obama donor
For Goldman Sachs, a large financial investment in President Obama does not appear to be paying off. Wall Street's top investment bank was a generous contributor to Obama's presidential campaign.

The Hill: GOP probes whether Goldman charges were politically timed
A top House Republican wrote the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Tuesday to request documents on whether the commission deliberately timed filing its charges against Goldman Sachs. Rep. Darrell Issa (Calif.), the top Republican member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, wrote SEC Chairwoman Mary Schapiro, asking for evidence as to whether the SEC timed announcing their fraud case against the Wall Street giant to coincide with congressional Democrats' bid to overhaul the nation's financial regulatory infrastructure.

Washington Post: Once critical of financial regulation bill, Republicans change their tone
Key Senate Republicans on Tuesday began to back away from their sharp criticism of proposed new financial regulations and expressed optimism that a bipartisan deal on a bill that would drastically change the way Wall Street operates could emerge in the coming days. After a week of attacking the proposals as paving the way for new taxpayer "bailouts," Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on the Senate floor that he was "heartened to hear that bipartisan talks have resumed in earnest." The change in tone came as the Security and Exchange Commission's lawsuit against Goldman Sachs for allegedly defrauding investors continued to dominate headlines, underscoring public anger at Wall Street and reminding lawmakers of the potential consequences of inaction.

CNN: GOP to unveil campaign pledge after Labor Day
House Republican candidates will be encouraged, but not forced, to sign on to the policy blueprint being crafted by GOP leaders for the midterm elections that's being compared to the 1994 "Contract with America." That set of promises and principles from 16 years ago is widely seen as one of the reasons Republicans succeeded in knocking entrenched Congressional Democrats out of power.

CNN: Stevens gets presidential birthday note
President Obama penned a birthday letter to retiring Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens on Tuesday. Obama, who is reportedly reaching out this week to possible candidates to succeed Stevens, wished the high court judge much happiness moving forward.

CNN: Source: Obama having informal talks with Supreme Court candidates
President Obama has been privately reaching out this week to candidates for the Supreme Court vacancy, an administration source told CNN on Tuesday. The source, who is involved in the ongoing selection process, characterized the talks as "conversations," not formal in-person interviews that are often the last step before a nominee is chosen and announced.

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Filed under: Political Hot Topics
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