Politics

Joe Arpaio loses 3rd comeback bid in town mayoral race

Joe Arpaio, the 90-year-old former Arizona sheriff who was a once powerful figure in Republican politics, has been defeated in a race for mayor of the affluent suburb where he has lived for more than two decades. His defeat Wednesday in the mayor’s race in Fountain Hills against two-term incumbent Ginny Dickey marks Arpaio’s third failed comeback bid since his 2016 loss after serving 24 years as the sheriff of Maricopa County. Arpaio said he wasn’t conceding the race and instead was going to consult with an attorney to explore whether to challenge the results. Dickey didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

FBI's Wray denounces threats following search of Trump home

The director of the FBI has strong words for supporters of former President Donald Trump who have been using violent rhetoric in the wake of his agency’s search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home. Christopher Wray says threats circulating online against federal agents and the Justice Department are “deplorable and dangerous.” He says, “Violence against law enforcement is not the answer, no matter who you’re upset with.” Wray made the remarks Wednesday following a news conference during a long-planned visit to the agency’s field office in Omaha, Nebraska. He declined to answer questions about the hours-long search Monday of Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, resort.

Japan PM purges Cabinet after support falls over church ties

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has reshuffled his Cabinet in a bid to distance his administration from the conservative Unification Church over its ties to the assassinated leader Shinzo Abe and senior ruling party members. The reshuffle was the second in just 10 months since Kishida took office. He says it's important to gain people’s trust and that the new Cabinet included only those who agreed to strictly review their ties to the church and help the victims of the allegedly fraudulent religious businesses. Abe’s assassination on July 8 and its impact on politics increased uncertainty as public support for Kishida’s Cabinet plunged. Seven ministers were removed including Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi, Abe’s younger brother. The church leader criticized Kishida's purge.

Herrera Beutler third GOP impeacher to fall in primary

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler has become the third congressperson who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump to be ousted in a primary. Herrera Beutler fell to Trump-backed Joe Kent, a former Green Beret, in the 3rd Congressional District contest. The district is in southwest Washington state, across the border from Portland, Oregon. Herrera Beutler, who was first elected to the U.S. House in 2010, lead Kent by about 4,700 votes on election night but her lead shrunk throughout last week, and updated returns Wednesday night put Kent ahead by 1,050 votes. Kent will face Democrat Marie Gluesenkamp Perez in November.

Arizona county that saw election snafu to waive city costs

An Arizona county where last week's primary election was beset with multiple issues that led to the firing of its election director will waive the costs for running municipal elections in 11 cities and towns. Pinal County also plans to hire an outside election expert to review what went wrong and recommend changes before the November election. The county board of supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to waive more than $100,000 it planned to bill cities and towns for running their local elections. Seven had municipal races left off mail ballots. The other four were among those affected by ballot shortages on Election Day that led to a reshuffling of the elections administrators.

Newsom picks 1st Latina state Supreme Court chief justice

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has nominated Patricia Guerrero as the next chief justice of the state Supreme Court. Guerrero has been on the state Supreme Court since March as an associate justice and is its first Latina member. She would replace Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who will step down once her term ends in January. Guerrero's nomination must first be confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments and then by voters in the November general election. If Guerrero is confirmed, Newsom said he plans to appoint Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kelli Evans to fill Guerrero's spot on the Supreme Court.

North Carolina AG in legal bind amid probe over 2020 TV ad

The campaign committee of North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein plans to ask a federal court to block enforcement of a state law looming in a probe of a TV ad aired against Stein's election rival in 2020. The state law makes it illegal to knowingly circulate false reports to damage a candidate’s election chances. Stein beat Republican Jim O'Neill that November. A Stein committee attorney filed the notice Wednesday, after a judge refused to stop a district attorney from potentially using the law to prosecute anyone over the disputed 2020 campaign ad. No one's been charged. Stein's committee argues the law is overly broad and chills political speech.

Russian journalist detained, charged over war criticism

Russian authorities have detained and charged a former state TV journalist who quit after staging an on-air protest against Moscow’s war in Ukraine. Her lawyer says she was charged Wednesday with spreading false information about the Russian armed forces under a new law that penalizes statements against the military. If tried and convicted, Marina Ovsyannikova faces up to 10 years in prison. She used to work as a producer with Russian state-funded Channel One. She made international headlines when she appeared behind the anchor of an evening news broadcast with a poster that said “stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.” The new charges relate to a separate street protest she staged last month.

Primary buoys GOP hopes in Minnesota attorney general race

A primary victory by a political novice has raised Republican hopes for winning the Minnesota attorney general’s office for the first time in over 50 years. Jim Schultz’s win over Doug Wardlow on Tuesday sets him up to challenge Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison in November. The surge in violent crime and threats to abortion rights have already shaped up as major issues. Minnesota Republicans are hungry for a win in November because no GOP candidate has won the attorney general’s race since 1966, and no Republican has won statewide office since 2006. The Minnesota governor's race is also tight.

Trump says he took the Fifth in New York civil investigation

Donald Trump says he invoked the Fifth Amendment and wouldn’t answer questions under oath in the long-running New York civil investigation into his business dealings. Trump arrived at New York Attorney General Letitia James’ offices Wednesday morning, but sent out a statement more than an hour later saying he declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution.” Anything he said during the deposition could have been used against him in a criminal case, if one ensues. While James’ investigation is civil in nature, the Manhattan district attorney is running a parallel criminal probe.

Judge: Walgreens contributed to San Francisco opioid crisis

A federal judge has ruled that Walgreens can be held responsible for contributing to San Francisco’s opioid crisis for over-dispensing opioids for years without proper oversight and failing to identify and report suspicious orders as required by law. San Francisco City Attorney David Chiu says the pharmacy chain failed to track opioid prescriptions, prevented pharmacists from properly vetting prescriptions and missed red flags about over-prescribing doctors. U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer ruled that for 15 years, Walgreens dispensed hundreds of thousands of pills, eventually contributing to the city's hospitals being overwhelmed with opioid patients. Walgreens said it would appeal the ruling, which it said was not supported by “the facts and the law.”

Iranian operative charged in plot to murder John Bolton

The Justice Department says an Iranian operative has been charged in a plot to murder former Trump administration national security adviser John Bolton. Shahram Poursafi is identified by U.S. officials as a member of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. He's wanted by the FBI on charges related to the murder-for-hire plot, which the U.S. assumes was in retaliation for a U.S. airstrike that killed a popular and powerful general in Iran. In a statement Wednesday, Bolton thanked the FBI and Justice Department for their work. He said Iran's rulers are "liars, terrorists, and enemies of the United States.” Iran's foreign ministry spokesman disputed the allegations.

Sen. Graham fights subpoena in Georgia election probe

Prosecutors in Atlanta say U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham may be able to provide insight into the extent of any coordinated efforts to influence the results of the 2020 general election in Georgia. They argued in a federal court hearing Wednesday that that's why they need Graham to testify before a special grand jury. The panel is investigating whether former President Donald Trump and his allies committed crimes as they sought to overturn his narrow election loss in Georgia. Lawyers for Graham argued that his position as a U.S. senator protects him from having to appear before the special grand jury.

Police reform advocates call for meeting on new regulations

Advocates for police reform in Maryland say greater transparency is needed before the state settles on any eligibility requirements regarding who can serve on local police accountability boards. Advocates held a news conference Tuesday to criticize regulations proposed by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission for police accountability boards and administrative charging committees. Members of the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability spoke in front of the State House to urge the legislature’s Joint Committee on Administrative, Executive, and Legislative Review to call a public hearing to increase transparency about the proposals and give the public to chance to comment.

'Self-professed' white supremacist gets jail for Jan. 6 riot

A Maryland man described by the FBI as a white supremacist has been sentenced to four months of incarceration for storming the U.S. Capitol while wearing a court-mandated device that tracked his movements.  U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly sentenced Bryan Betancur on Wednesday. Court records show the judge also ordered one year of supervised release for Betancur after his term of imprisonment. Betancur was on probation for a 2019 burglary conviction and wearing a GPD-enabled device when he joined the mob that attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The FBI believes Betancur aspired to join the far-right Proud Boys extremist group.

Kaul, Toney AG race likely to turn on broader issues

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul will have to go through an experienced Republican prosecutor to win a second term, setting up a fall race that will likely turn on their stances on major national issues such as abortion, gun restrictions and voter fraud. Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney bested two sharply conservative rivals in Tuesday's primary to win the GOP nomination. Both he and Kaul are seasoned attorneys, which means they'll have to campaign on their stances on larger issues. Kaul has sued to undo Wisconsin's abortion ban and has advocated for tighter gun control laws. Toney charged several people with violating Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order and is prosecuting a number of others for voter fraud.