Politics

Politics
1:35 pm
Sun August 31, 2014

What to Expect Now That Greg Abbott's Dropped Out of the Gubernatorial Debate

Attorney General Greg Abbott says he won't participate in the only scheduled gubernatorial debate against his opponent Wendy Davis.
Photo courtesy The Texas Tribune for KUT News

Republican candidate Greg Abbott has reversed his decision to appear in the only gubernatorial debate to be broadcast on statewide television. 

Abbot and his Democractic opponent, Wendy Davis, had both agreed to participate in a roundtable debate in Dallas on Sept. 30 broadcast on WFAA.  But Abbott's team reversed an earlier decision and said it will not participate because of disagreements with the round-table format. 

Emily Ramshaw, editor of the Texas Tribune, joins Texas Standard host David Brown to discuss Abbott's decision and whether the 2016 presidential election speculations are over-shadowing the Texas governor's race.  

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Ukraine
7:40 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Obama Blames Russia For Violence In Ukraine; Calls Moves 'Incursion'

President Obama said at a White House news conference Thursday that Russia is to blame for the violence in eastern Ukraine.
Larry Downing Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 9:26 am

Updated at 4:47 p.m.

President Obama blamed Russia for the violence in Ukraine and said its "incursion" into the former Soviet state will only carry additional costs.

"Russia has deliberately and repeatedly violated the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, and the new images of Russian forces inside Ukraine make that plain for the world to see," Obama said at a White House news conference on Thursday.

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Border & Immigration
12:23 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Who Exactly Are the Local, State & Federal Authorities on the Texas-Mexico Border?

Gov. Perry authorized the deployment of 1,000 troops to the Texas-Mexico border to supplement DPS troopers securing the border.
Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Security at the Texas-Mexico border has grown exponentially after an influx of undocumented, and often unaccompanied, migrant children in recent months. In response to the surge, Texas Governor Rick Perry has deployed up to one thousand National Guard troops. In addition, there's been a surge in federal Border Patrol agents and Department of Public Safety troopers.

Suffice to say, there are a lot of boots on the ground along the Rio Grande. But what exactly is the role and responsibility of every local, state and federal agency in securing the border?

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Syria
6:43 am
Wed August 27, 2014

American Reportedly Fighting Alongside Extremists In Syria Dies

Originally published on Wed August 27, 2014 8:39 am

A U.S. citizen reportedly fighting alongside a terrorist group in Syria has died, the White House says.

The National Security Council has not said whether Douglas McAuthur McCain was fighting for the group that calls itself the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL), NPR's Dina Temple-Raston reports. The Islamic State has claimed him, though.

"They actually put out a statement that said that he had died in battle," Temple-Raston tells our Newscast Desk.

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Politics
6:34 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Reports: U.S. Authorizes Surveillance Flights Over Syria

Fighters from the Islamic State during a parade in Raqqa, Syria.
AP

Originally published on Tue August 26, 2014 2:41 pm

President Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, The Associated Press and The New York Times are reporting this morning, citing unnamed U.S.

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Perry Indictment
11:52 am
Mon August 25, 2014

In Court Filing, Perry Lawyers Challenge Indictment

Credit Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

Lawyers for Gov. Rick Perry challenged his indictment in legal filings Monday, calling the charges unconstitutional and asking the courts to throw them out.

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Politics
10:48 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Should The GOP Rethink Gay Marriage?

Protestors gather in downtown Houston in support of gay rights.
flickr.com/us006409

Mark McKinnon is best known as a longtime advisor for President George W. Bush, but recently he’s been taking a surprisingly liberal stance on a popular topic – gay marriage. In opposition to many of his GOP compatriots, McKinnon has been campaigning to bring same sex marriage to the Lone Star State. The Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with McKinnon on his stance and how he plans to go about it.

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Ferguson
6:59 am
Mon August 25, 2014

At Michael Brown's Funeral, A Call For A Day Of Reckoning

Supporters of the fatally shot Michael Brown hold hands in solidarity as they are led by Tracy Martin, father of Trayvon Martin, at the Peace Fest rally Sunday in St. Louis.
Adrees Latif Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 2:22 pm

After two weeks of sometimes violent protests, the family of Michael Brown finally took some time to mourn on Monday.

The funeral service for the unarmed 18-year-old killed by officer Darren Wilson was held in a St. Louis megachurch.

Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, and his father, Michael Brown Sr., entered the church in silence.

At a rally on Sunday, that's what Brown called for: calm and peace while his son was laid to rest.

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Syria
6:09 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Al-Qaida's Syrian Affiliate Frees U.S. Journalist Held Since 2012

In this image made from undated video obtained by The Associated Press, a man believed to be Peter Theo Curtis, a U.S. citizen held hostage by an al-Qaida linked group in Syria, delivers a statement.
AP

Originally published on Sun August 24, 2014 6:13 pm

Updated at 5:05 p.m. ET

A week after the gruesome beheading of American journalist James Foley by Islamic State militants, another extremist group, the official al-Qaida affiliate operating in Syria, has quietly freed another U.S. journalist held for nearly two years.

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Politics
4:40 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Interview: Rick Perry's Indictment is About More Than a Veto

During a press conference at the Texas State Capitol, Gov. Rick Perry called the indictment against him a farce and an "abuse of power."
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

The indictment of Texas Gov. Rick Perry on criminal charges has gained national attention – particularly since Gov. Perry is being seen as a possible presidential contender.

In a speech given at the conservative Heritage Foundation, Perry defended himself by saying he was acting within the constitutional boundaries of his veto authority. While much of the debate has centered around Perry’s veto authority, the real legal debate is much more serious. 

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Texas Standard
2:47 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Evan Smith on the Rick Perry Indictment: 'Nobody Knows Anything'

Texas Tribune editor Evan Smith says Rick Perry's indictment – which launched many memes – will be settled in court. "These rallies and public relations efforts and expensive lawyers and ice cream cones … it does not make a bit of difference."

This week was a big week for Texas Politics. Evan Smith, editor-in-chief of The Texas Tribune, joins Texas Standard host David Brown to talk about Rick Perry's indictment and whether or not the controversy will be a political win for the self-described "awesome" governor.

"They sound serious, but we don’t know what they’re about," Smith says of the charges. "The reality is that nobody knows what they’re about."

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Perry Indictment
12:20 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Perry Lawyers Will File Motion to Dismiss Indictments

Governor Rick Perry speaks to the press and supporters outside the Travis County Criminal Justice Complex on August 19, 2014.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT

A Travis County judge is giving Governor Rick Perry’s criminal defense attorneys until next Friday to file a motion to dismiss the two felony charges against him.

Perry was indicted by a grand jury in Austin on felony charges for abuse of his office. He allegedly threatened to veto funds for Travis County's Public Integrity Unit, an anti-corruption unit, unless Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg, didn’t resign in the wake of drunk driving arrest in 2013.

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Politics
9:19 am
Thu August 21, 2014

Perry Will Tap Campaign Account to Pay Attorneys

Governor Rick Perry speaks to the press and supporters outside the Travis County Criminal Justice Complex on August 19, 2014.
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon/KUT News

Gov. Rick Perry, who has been using taxpayer dollars to pay his defense lawyers, will tap campaign funds from now on to compensate the attorneys who are fighting his felony indictments, his spokesman said Wednesday night.

Perry spokesman Felix Browne said the governor, who has blasted the indictments as a "farce," did not want to saddle taxpayers with the cost of a wrongful prosecution.

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Ferguson
7:49 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Ferguson Update: Holder Writes Op-Ed; City Calls For Nighttime Calm

Protesters walk on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo., on Tuesday. Protests have been going on for more than a week after the police shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
Michael B. Thomas AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue August 19, 2014 7:26 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder has made a pledge to Ferguson, Mo., where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer on Aug. 9.

"Our investigation into this matter will be full, it will be fair, and it will be independent," he wrote in an op-ed for the St. Louis Dispatch. He added, "Long after the events of Aug. 9 have receded from the headlines, the Justice Department will continue to stand with this community."

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Islamic State
6:40 am
Wed August 20, 2014

U.S. Authenticates Video Of Militants Beheading American Journalist

James Foley in Aleppo, Syria, in September 2012.
Manu Brabo/freejamesfoley.org AP

Originally published on Wed August 20, 2014 3:40 pm

This post was updated at 2:25 p.m. ET.

A video that was released online Tuesday in which the extremist group the Islamic State claimed to behead American journalist James Foley is authentic, according to U.S. intelligence analysts. Foley was abducted in Syria in 2012.

The video was uploaded to YouTube on Tuesday afternoon and later removed; since then, it has resurfaced elsewhere online. The images show Foley kneeling next to a masked militant and reciting comments against the U.S. before being killed.

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Perry Indictment
11:21 am
Sun August 17, 2014

Perry Compares Indictment to IRS Scandal

Texas Governor Rick Perry appearing on Fox News Sunday on August 17, 2014.
Fox News Sunday

The indictment of Governor Rick Perry on charges of abuse of power and coercion follows a general pattern in the U.S. of the “rule of law not being followed,” Perry said this morning on Fox News Sunday, adding it’s partly the result of a “government out of control.”

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Perry Indictment
4:43 pm
Sat August 16, 2014

Demystifying Legal Language Around Perry Indictment

During a press conference at the State Capitol Saturday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry calls the indictment against him a "farce" and an "abuse of power."
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

Texas Governor Rick Perry is facing accusations he broke the law two times when he threatened to veto state funding for a unit of the Travis County District Attorney’s Office that investigates public corruption. The story includes a lot of legal terminology, so here’s a decoder.

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Perry indictment
2:56 pm
Sat August 16, 2014

Governor Perry Blasts Indictment as “Farce”

During a press conference at the State Capitol, Texas Gov. Rick Perry calls the indictment against him a "farce" and an "abuse of power."
Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon, KUT

Texas Governor Rick Perry firmly rejected criminal charges connected to his 2013 veto of state funding for a public corruption unit in the Travis County District Attorney’s Office, labeling the prosecution a “farce” and promising to defend himself vigorously.

“I cannot and I will not allow this to happen,” Perry said at a brief news conference at the State Capitol this afternoon.

“I intend to fight against those who would erode our state’s constitution and laws purely for political purposes, and I intend to win,” he said.

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Perry Indictment
9:09 am
Sat August 16, 2014

What's Behind Those Abuse-Of-Power Charges Against Perry?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry speaks at the Des Moines Register's Political Soapbox at the Iowa State Fair on Tuesday. Late Friday, Perry was indicted on abuse-of-power charges.
Charlie Neibergall AP

Originally published on Sat August 16, 2014 12:20 pm

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, considered a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2016, was indicted on felony abuse-of-power charges late Friday in connection with his veto of funding for state public corruption prosecutors.

The case, which has been bubbling for months, is complicated. Here's a closer look at what we know from various sources:

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Politics
8:31 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

TIMELINE: Governor Rick Perry's Felony Indictment

Gov. Rick Perry holds his Texas driver's license and his wallet as he heads to a west Austin early voting site on October 30, 2013.
Credit Bob Daemmrich via Texas Tribune

For the first time in nearly a century, the Texas governor is facing felony charges.

Rick Perry has been indicted by a Travis County grand jury for abuse of office and coercion. The charges mean the sitting governor will be booked and arraigned (with fingerprints and a mugshot); they carry possible jail sentences up to 109 years.

At the heart of the charges is whether or not Perry abused his power by threatening to veto $7.5 million in state funding for the Travis County District Attorney's Public Integrity Unit.

How did we get here? We've collected KUT's coverage of this story up until this point to bring you up to date. It begins with the arrest of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg last year.

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