Politics

Supreme Court orders new look at "swipe fees" law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court is ordering a lower court to take a new look at a New York law that prohibits businesses from imposing fees on credit-card purchases. The court ruled unanimously Wednesday in a case about fees that merchants pay to credit-card issuers each time a customer charges a purchase. The fees typically range from 2 percent to 3 percent and generate more than $50 billion a year.

Justice Dept. watchdog criticizes asset forfeiture program

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A government watchdog on Wednesday identified what it called weaknesses in the Justice Department's asset forfeiture program, including poor data collection and analysis and inadequate training of local and state officers. The program, long criticized by advocacy groups concerned about oversight, permits law enforcement to take possession of cash and property seized during investigations.

Driver plows into Capitol Police cruiser; streets closed

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A woman described as "erratic and aggressive" drove a vehicle into a U.S. Capitol Police cruiser and was taken into custody Wednesday morning, a disruption that closed down streets near the Capitol for nearly three hours. Shots were fired during the arrest attempt, but the event appeared to be criminal in nature with "no nexus to terrorism," said Capitol Police spokeswoman Eva Malecki. No one was injured. She said the U.S.

Questions, answers about funding threats to sanctuary cities

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Trump administration is issuing a fresh threat to withhold or revoke law enforcement grant money from communities that refuse to cooperate with federal efforts to find and deport immigrants in the country illegally. Attorney General Jeff Sessions' announcement this week combined two issues at the fore of the promised crackdown on so-called sanctuary cities.

Priebus a central figure in Trump's White House drama

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In the behind-the-scenes drama of who's up and who's down in Donald Trump's White House, chief of staff Reince Priebus is playing a starring role. Priebus, a genial Midwesterner with deep ties to the Republican establishment that Trump toppled, has faced questions about his future since the day he set foot in the West Wing.

AP FACT CHECK: Trump no factor in Social Security increase

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Widely circulated online reports crediting President Donald Trump for 2017 increases in retirees' Social Security checks don't accurately portray how the system works. Social Security payments are based on a government measure of inflation, and are set automatically without any involvement of the White House. This year's numbers were announced by the Social Security Administration in October, before Trump was elected and took office.

AP FACT CHECK: Spicer says case closed on Russia. It's not

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The question of collusion between Russian interests and Donald Trump's campaign is far from answered, despite repeated assertions by the president's spokesman that it's case closed. Sean Spicer angrily dismissed inquiries about the matter Tuesday, declaring that "every single person who's been briefed on this, as I've said ad nauseam from this podium .

Kushner, taking new White House role, faces rare scrutiny

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Jared Kushner has been a power player able to avoid much of the harsh scrutiny that comes with working in the White House. But this week he's found that even the president's son-in-law takes his turn in the spotlight. In a matter of days, Kushner, a senior Trump adviser, drew headlines for leaving Washington for a ski vacation while a signature campaign promise fell apart.

Fears for Indonesian park's rare species as Trump town rises

GUNUNG GEDE PANGRANGO, Indonesia (AP) -- Shrouded in mist and cloud, the twin volcanoes of the lushly forested Gunung Gede Pangrango national park are the brooding guardians of nature's last stand on teeming Java island. Indonesia's overflowing, polluted capital is a couple of hours north, and with Trump-branded properties being built next to this protected area, Jakarta may soon feel even closer.

Clinton jabs Trump in first major post-election speech

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- A spirited Hillary Clinton took on the Trump administration Tuesday in one of her first public speeches since she lost the presidential election, criticizing the country's Republican leaders on everything from health care to the shortage of women appointees in top administration positions.

White House staff also will skip correspondents dinner

WASHINGTON (AP) -- White House staff will be skipping this year's White House Correspondents' Association Dinner along with President Donald Trump. The White House Correspondents' Association announced Tuesday evening that they'd been informed that staff would not be attending out of "solidarity" with the president, who previously announced his intention to skip the annual dinner.

Trump says he expects a health care deal soon

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump says he expects to make a deal on health care, even though his first attempt failed just a few days ago. Trump is hosting a reception for senators and their spouses at the White House. It attracted both Republicans and Democrats. He says the bipartisan crowd is "a very good thing" and predicts a deal on health care will happen "very quickly.

Ex-Congressman's lawyers: Informant in Schock case broke law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A staffer working for former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock secretly provided the government with a trove of emails, credit card receipts and other documents that violated the now-indicted congressman's constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure, his lawyers argue in new court filings.

Iowa Republicans back 'fetal heartbeat' abortion legislation

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Republicans in the Iowa Legislature are backing newly filed legislation that would ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which would be the strictest ban in the country if enacted. A GOP-led House committee had been set to vote on the provision Tuesday night but lawmakers later adjourned without a decision. It's expected to be taken up again Wednesday.

House GOP blocks effort by Democrats to obtain Trump's taxes

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Republicans on Tuesday blocked more attempts by Democrats to obtain President Donald Trump's tax returns from the IRS. House Democrats tried for a third and a fourth time to use procedural votes to pry loose Trump's returns. Republicans blocked both efforts, one on the House floor and the other in the House Ways and Means Committee. The House voted 228-190 on a mostly party-line vote to block the Democrats' effort.