Politics

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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Politics
7:36 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Governor Rick Perry Indicted on Two Felony Charges

Texas Governor Rick Perry.
Ben Philpott/KUT News

Editor's note: We are continuing to update this post with reaction and developments in this story.

A Travis County grand jury has indicted Texas Governor Rick Perry on two felony charges related to his 2013 veto of funding for the county's Public Integrity Unit.

He's charged with abuse of official capacity (a first-degree felony) and coercion of a public servant (a third-degree felony). The two felony charges are the first against a Texas governor in nearly a century, and carry possible sentences of up to 99 and 10 years respectively. 

Since he's been charged with a felony, the governor will be booked and arraigned. The date for that is likely to be set Monday. The charges could lead to a trial.

The special prosecutor behind the case, Michael McCrum, said he interviewed over 40 people and reviewed hundreds of documents and dozens of cases to make his case before the Grand Jury. "I looked at the law and I looked at the facts," McCrum said. 

Governor Perry's office responded to the charges with a statement that "the veto in question was made in accordance with the veto authority afforded to every governor under the Texas Constitution." They maintain the governor acted within the law and power of his office. 

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Immigration
7:31 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

National Guard, DPS Border Deployments Cost Texas Up to $18 Million a Month

The presence of Border Patrol agents and National Guard troops cost the state between $17 and 18 million every month, according to the LBB.
Julian Aguilar/Texas Tribune

Sending additional state police and National Guard troops to the border will cost Texas between $17 million and $18 million dollars a month. That's according to a presentation Tuesday by top officials with the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), who told state lawmakers they will have to find a way to keep paying for it. 

About one-third of that cost is for salaries, travel and other expenses of Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers sent to the border as part of "Operation Strong Safety II."  Close to two-thirds of the $18 million will cover salary, meals, lodging and other costs of deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops. 

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2014 Texas Election
12:52 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Davis' Edgy TV Ad: Effective Or Risky?

The Texas Tribune

Originally published on Tue August 12, 2014 12:04 am

Both major candidates for governor have launched statewide television commercials in the past week.  Republican Greg Abbott’s second TV ad is in Spanish and English and features his Hispanic mother-in-law. But it’s Democrat Wendy Davis’ first statewide ad that’s grabbing attention.

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Iraq
2:47 pm
Sat August 9, 2014

Obama: Iraq Must Have Legitimate Government To Combat Insurgency

President Obama speaks on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on Saturday. He said the situation in Iraq amounts to a "long-term project."
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 11:27 am

Updated at 12:25 p.m. ET.

President Obama says that the U.S. will continue to provide Iraq with humanitarian and military assistance, but he ruled out ground troops and reiterated administration calls for Iraq to form a "legitimate" government in order to face the threat from Islamic militants.

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Politics
9:17 am
Sat August 9, 2014

Perry And Cruz Do The Presidential Candidacy Dance

Texas Gov. Rick Perry highlighted his executive leadership at the annual RedState Gathering on Friday.
Tony Gutierrez AP

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 10:40 am

It's the presidential race no one is talking about. Two Texas political stars are testing the waters for a run in 2016 — without mentioning it, of course.

Potential Republican candidates Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Rick Perry spoke Friday at the annual meeting sponsored by the conservative website RedState, and both danced around the candidacy question.

Three years ago, at RedState's South Carolina get-together, Perry announced his 2012 presidential bid. This time, he made no announcement, but Perry sounded like he was giving a campaign speech.

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Abortion and Women's Health
9:37 am
Fri August 8, 2014

State Abortion Laws Face A New Round Of Legal Challenges

A volunteer escort waits outside a clinic that provides abortions in Milwaukee. Wisconsin is one of many states that have passed laws requiring doctors to have hospital privileges if they perform abortions.
Dinesh Ramde AP

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 3:09 pm

Even if you're trying, it's tough to keep score of what's happening with various lawsuits challenging some state abortion laws.

States led by anti-abortion governors and legislatures have been passing a broad array of measures over the past few years aimed at making the procedure more difficult for women to obtain.

About two dozen states enacted 70 such measures in 2013, according to the Guttmacher Institute. Those laws range from imposing waiting periods to requiring ultrasounds to limiting the use of the "abortion pill" mifepristone, or RU486.

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Iraq
8:25 am
Fri August 8, 2014

U.S. Military Strikes Sunni Extremist Fighters In Iraq

Displaced Iraqis wait for aid Friday at a mosque on the outskirts of Irbil in northern Iraq.
AP

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 8:03 pm

(This post was last updated at 8:44 p.m. ET.)

The U.S. military conducted several strikes against Sunni extremist militants near Irbil in Iraq Friday, in what the White House calls a limited engagement.

"Military officials say unmanned aircraft struck a terrorist mortar position," NPR's Tamara Keith reports, "and then when the fighters returned, they were attacked as well. Later, four FA-18 aircraft struck an ISIS convoy and another mortar position using eight laser-guided bombs."

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Ebola
6:15 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Ebola Outbreak Is A Global Health Emergency, WHO Says

A nurse helps a health worker put on protective gear before treating Ebola patients at a clinic in Kailahun, Sierra Leone, in July.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Wed August 13, 2014 4:52 pm

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa won't be stopped until front-line health workers get more support, World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan said Friday at a news conference in Geneva.

After a unanimous vote by a committee of public health and risk management experts, the WHO decided to declare the outbreak an international public health emergency.

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Edward Snowden
6:16 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Russia Gives Edward Snowden 3-Year Residence Permit

FILE - In this image provided by Human Rights Watch, NSA leaker Edward Snowden, center, attends a news conference at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport with in July of 2013.
Tanya Lokshina AP

Originally published on Thu August 7, 2014 9:47 am

Russia is allowing former NSA contractor Edward Snowden to remain in the country for at least three more years.

Speaking to reporters in Moscow on Thursday, attorney Anatoly Kucherena said Snowden's application had been approved Aug. 1.

If you remember, Snowden has been in exile for a little more than a year. He fled the United States when he decided to leak a cache of classified documents that revealed some of the United States' most deeply held security secrets.

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Israel and Gaza
6:12 am
Tue August 5, 2014

As Truce Takes Effect, Israel Withdraws Troops From Gaza

A Palestinian searches for salvageable items from the rubble of his house that was destroyed in Israeli strikes.
Adel Hana AP

Originally published on Tue August 5, 2014 7:02 am

After nearly a month of fighting, a negotiated, three-day peace has taken hold in Gaza.

As NPR's Emily Harris reports, Israel has also ordered all of its troops out of Gaza. But this may not mean the end of the current conflict, because the Israel Defense Forces said its troops would maintain a defensive position and respond to any attacks.

Case in point: By morning just before the truce started, Emily said she heard rocket fire out of Gaza. But things have calmed down and the AP reports that in Gaza "traffic picked up and shops started opening doors."

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Immigration
8:10 am
Mon August 4, 2014

The Texas Border has Relaunched Rick Perry's Presidential Plans

Gov. Rick Perry, seen here announcing he's sending 1,000 troops to the Texas border. Gov. Perry's political capital has risen as Texas's border and immigration issues have increased.
Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Texas Gov. Rick Perry took a beating during his 2012 presidential campaign for what many Tea Party activists considered a soft stance on immigration.

But as Gov. Perry has battled President Obama over the increase of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, his poll numbers for a possible 2016 run are on the rise.

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Africa
7:06 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Africa's Leaders Aim To Change Perception Of The Continent

Scores of African leaders gather in Washington this week at an unprecedented summit organized by President Obama.
Paul J. Richards AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 11:11 am

Africa rarely gets a break — in the news headlines, anyway. But as the spread of the deadly Ebola virus continues to dominate the news cycle, there's a very different story about Africa that threatens to be forgotten.

One way to start that story is with the nearly $1 billion worth of deals to be announced this week between the United States and Africa, at a historic U.S. summit that will bring President Obama together with the leaders of more than 40 African nations.

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Israel and Gaza
7:01 am
Mon August 4, 2014

Gaza Conflict: Israel Begins Redeploying Troops

An Israeli drone circles over Gaza City on Sunday.
Dusan Vranic AP

Originally published on Mon August 4, 2014 10:36 am

There are some signs that the current conflict in Gaza is de-escalating: As the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports, the Israel Defense Forces have started pulling their troops out of Gaza and "stationing the remaining soldiers on hills on the Palestinian side of the border with Israel."

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Border & Immigration
8:50 pm
Fri August 1, 2014

House Approves Border Security Spending Bill, 223-189

Originally published on Mon August 25, 2014 10:22 am

This post was updated at 11 p.m. ET.

In an attempt to weigh in on an immigration issue before Congress leaves Washington for a five-week break, the House has voted 223-189 to approve a $694 million emergency funding bill. The Republican-backed legislation is a response to the rising number of minors who have crossed the U.S. border unaccompanied and without going through the necessary legal steps.

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Israel and Gaza
6:51 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Fighting Resumes In Gaza, As Israeli Military Says Cease-Fire Is Over

Gaza City, located in the northern Gaza Strip, is seen shortly before the start of a proposed cease-fire Friday morning.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Fri August 1, 2014 10:57 am

It was negotiated as a three-day humanitarian cease-fire that was to start at 8 a.m. local time today.

But just hours in, fighting erupted again in Gaza.

Palestinian authorities told The Associated Press that at least 27 people were killed in Gaza after an Israeli tank opened fire. NPR's Emily Harris reports that Israel accused Hamas of continuing its rocket fire.

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NSA
6:28 am
Fri August 1, 2014

Big Data Firm Says It Can Link Snowden Data To Changed Terrorist Behavior

This photo provided by The Guardian in London shows Edward Snowden, who worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency, in Hong Kong last year.
AP

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 4:28 am

Editor's note on Aug. 17 at 11:25 a.m. ET: A clarification and links to the ombudsman's critique of this post have been added.

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Politics
4:04 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

House Cancels Vote On $659 Million Border Security Bill

Texas Parks and Wildlife wardens patrol the Rio Grande on the U.S.-Mexico border in Mission, Texas, earlier this month.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Thu July 31, 2014 7:54 pm

Updated at 8:50 p.m. ET.

House GOP leaders pulled the plug on a $659 million bill to deal with the influx of tens of thousands of unaccompanied minors entering the U.S. from Central America.

The vote on the legislation had been scheduled for this afternoon on the final day before the start of a five-week summer break for Congress.

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