Washington Times front page headline stories
McConnell aims for Obama’s target to fill Trump’s Cabinet
Pushes to have crucial national security team in place
Mr. McConnell and his Democratic counterpart, Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer of New York, are sparring over what sorts of checks to put the nominees through.
“Everybody will be properly vetted as they have been in the past, and I’m hopeful that we’ll get up to six or seven — particularly the national security team in place — on Day One,” Mr. McConnell told reporters after a confab with Mr. Trump at Trump Tower in New York.
Mr. Trump said he is pleased with the pace on Capitol Hill and expects all of his picks to be approved.
“They are the absolute highest level. I think we’re going to do very well,” he said in a brief appearance at Trump Tower just after noon Monday.
Mr. Schumer countered that questions must be answered and said Democrats are asking for the nominees to meet the same standards — having a completed ethics report, an FBI background check and all documents submitted to the committees — that Republicans requested in 2009 of Mr. Obama’s nominees.
“We’re not doing this for sport. Democrats feel very strongly that pushing for a thorough and thoughtful vetting process is the right thing to do,” he said on the Senate floor.
“It’s really sad,” she said on Fox News. “Promises of hope and change with jobs and educational programs never came.”
In 2009, the year Mr. Obama took office, Chicago recorded 459 homicides. Last year, that number was 762 — an increase of 66 percent — with a total of 4,331 shooting victims. The city’s homicide rate was the highest in 20 years.
Chicago Police Board Chairwoman Lori Lightfoot agreed that the city needs federal help.
“We need to have more federal gun prosecutions in Chicago,” she told NPR. “Our federal partners from the U.S. attorney’s office, the ATF, the FBI need to be much more invested in this overall strategy. The Chicago Police Department cannot tackle this issue by itself.”
Republican unity imperils Planned Parenthood aid
“The Panel recommends Planned Parenthood lose all federal funding, including reimbursements for Medicaid services,” the report concluded. “Further, grants no longer available to Planned Parenthood should be awarded to healthcare providers that provide comprehensive preventative healthcare for their patients and that do not perform abortions.”
The panel was established 15 months ago to investigate Planned Parenthood and others in the market for fetal tissue from abortions. It reported that it found evidence of wrongdoing by several Planned Parenthood affiliates.
Most notably, the final report said Planned Parenthood may have illicitly profited from the sale of fetal tissue from abortions — the central accusation made by pro-life activists in a series of undercover videos released a year and a half ago.
Planned Parenthood repeatedly has denied that accusation, claiming any costs associated with the fetal tissue trade were reimbursements for storage and shipping expenses.
The abortion giant refused to comply with a congressional request for accounting documents that could have confirmed that claim, the report said.
Site Shuts down adult section after scathing report
Accused of posting ads for trafficking minors
Backpage.com, the largest sex-services classified ads page on the web, pulled down the adult section of its site on Monday night after a stunning Senate report accused the company of knowingly allowing ads for sex-trafficked young children.
The company said it was the target of an anti-First Amendment crusade by members of Congress, but an 18-month Senate investigation said the wildly profitable company has long been hoodwinking police by claiming to weed out illegal ads — while instead merely sanitizing them.
Investigators say the company would receive ads offering sexually charged encounters and would delete the words “Lolita,” “young,” “teen” and “little girl” — which, according to documents released by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the company knew were code for underage girls.
After cleaning the offending words through the use of an automatic filter, the company would still run the rest of the ad.
“The Strip Term From Ad filter concealed the illegal nature of countless ads and systematically deleted words indicative of criminality, including child sex trafficking and prostitution of minors,” the investigators concluded. “Of course, the … filter changes nothing about the real age of the person being sold for sex.”
Timing of Iran move against U.S. warship raises suspicions
A U.S. destroyer steaming through the contentious Strait of Hormuz fired multiple warning shots at advancing Iranian attack boats on Monday, breaking the lull in relative calm between Washington and Tehran in the contested regional waters two weeks before the Trump administration is installed.
Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis characterized the Iranian move against the USS Mahan, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, as an “unsafe and unprofessional action.”
President-elect Donald Trump has made strong statements indicating that the U.S. military will take a much harder line against Iranian interests in the region. Among his warnings, he has vowed to shatter President Obama’s nuclear deal with Tehran and threatened to blow Iranian ships out of the water.
The military encounter happened a day after the death of former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, one of the fathers of the 1979 Islamic Revolution who also advocated for stronger ties with the West.