Nation

Arpaio pardon upheld; question remains about whether conviction will be vacated

A federal judge dismissed the case against former Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Wednesday and upheld President Trump’s power to pardon the controversial ex-law enforcement official — though she left uncertain, for now, whether his conviction and other orders in the case will be vacated, according to Arpaio’s defense attorney and other people involved in the case.

Jack Wilenchik, an attorney for Arpaio, said that US District Judge Susan R. Bolton rejected challenges to the pardon filed by outside groups and indicated that it was valid. He said Bolton dismissed the case but did not immediately rule on a request to vacate all the orders in it, including Arpaio’s conviction.

Arpaio considers that step important to clearing his name, and it could have repercussions in civil suits, Wilenchik said.

washington post

Private travel at Interior under scrutiny in House

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WASHINGTON — Republicans on the House Natural Resources Committee asked the Interior Department on Wednesday to provide documents on use of private charter flights for government business by the past three Interior secretaries, including two who served under President Obama.

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Representatives Rob Bishop of Utah and Bruce Westerman of Arkansas said they are seeking the information following news reports that Trump administration officials, including Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, used noncommercial flights costing taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars. Bishop chairs the Natural Resources panel, while Westerman leads an oversight and investigations subcommittee.

associated press

EPA working to dismantle Obama’s Clean Power Plan

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration will repeal the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s effort to fight climate change, and will ask the public to recommend ways it could be replaced, according to an internal Environmental Protection Agency document.

The draft proposal represents the administration’s first substantive step toward rolling back the plan, which was designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector.

But it also lays the groundwork for new, presumably weaker, regulations by asking for the public and industry to offer ideas for a replacement.

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The document does not explain how the EPA will justify to the courts the decision to eliminate the regulation.

new york times

Congress taking time to re-up kids’ health insuranceWASHINGTON — A divided House committee battled Wednesday over how to pay for an extension of a popular health insurance program for millions of low-income children, suggesting that congressional approval will take time despite growing pressure on lawmakers to act.

The insurance program is backed by both parties, and approval of legislation financing it for the next five years remains virtually certain.

It covers 8.9 million children.

But four days after the program’s federal funding expired, the bill’s progress was complicated as Democrats on the House Energy and Commerce Committee opposed Republican plans for financing the extension and a related community health center bill.

associated press