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September 11, 2018

Democrats have nominated a record number of women for Congress this year — 180 candidates, versus the previous record, 120, according to the Rutgers Center for American Women and Politics — but that's just the beginning. When you add in the 133 people of color running for Congress as Democrats, "white men are in the minority in the House Democratic candidate pool," Politico reports. And, 158 Democratic candidates are running for office for the first time. Politico adds:

In the 125 districts where a Democratic incumbent is leaving office or a Republican seat is at risk of flipping, according to Politico's race ratings, more than half the nominees (65) are women. An overlapping group of 30 Democratic primary winners are people of color, and 73 of them have never run for elected office before, tapping into voter disdain for politics as usual. Their success in primaries could herald a major shift in Congress, which is majority-white, majority-male and still mostly made up of former state legislators who climbed the political ladder to Washington. [Politico]

Republicans are running female candidates, too — 52, by Politico's count, including a first-ever Korean-American woman in California and a Latina nominee in Arizona — but their number is "dwarfed by the Democrats' totals," Politico says. And that could spell trouble for Republicans, as female candidates attract votes from suburban women, a demographic that's "not trending toward us right now," says GOP consultant Mike Noble. "Those suburban women are a key bloc that we're tracking, and they're not big fans of Trump." Peter Weber

November 19, 2018

On Monday, the White House announced it had restored CNN reporter Jim Acosta's hard press pass, following a legal battle.

At the same time, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and deputy chief of staff Bill Shine announced new guidelines for journalists covering press conferences. They are only allowed to ask one question, with any follow-ups answered at the discretion of President Trump or the White House official holding the press conference. When a journalist is done asking their question, they must also hand over the microphone. Anyone violating those rules could have their press pass suspended or revoked.

The White House announced it was revoking Acosta's pass on Nov. 7 following a testy exchange with Trump, and his refusal to give the microphone to an aide. CNN took the matter to court, and a judge temporarily restored Acosta's press pass on Friday. Catherine Garcia

November 19, 2018

In 2017, Ivanka Trump used her personal email account to send hundreds of emails to White House aides, her assistants, and Cabinet officials, several people familiar with the matter told The Washington Post.

Many of these emails were in violation of federal records rules, they said, and White House ethics officials found out about her personal email use while responding to a public records lawsuit. Nearly 100 of the emails were about government policies and official White House business, and hundreds were related to her work schedule and travel, the Post reports.

During the 2016 presidential campaign, President Trump made Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server while she was secretary of state a major issue. A spokesman for Ivanka Trump's attorney Abbe Lowell told the Post she did not know about records rules when she sent the emails, and none of her messages contained classified information. "While transitioning into government, after she was given an official account but until the White House provided her the same guidance they had given others who stared before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her personal account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family," Peter Mirijanian said.

Using a personal email account to conduct government business could violate the Presidential Records Act, which requires all White House communications and records be preserved. People close to Trump said she never received reminders sent to White House staffers telling them not to use private email. For more on Trump's use of private email and some of the messages that she sent, visit The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia

November 19, 2018

The 5,800 U.S. troops sent to the southern border to provide assistance to Customs and Border Protection agents should all be home by Christmas, Army Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan told Politico on Monday.

"Our end date right now is 15 December, and I've got no indications from anybody that we'll go beyond that," Buchanan said. The troops were deployed to the border before Election Day, with President Trump saying they were there to deal with an "invasion" of migrants headed to the United States from Central America. Most of the migrants have said they are fleeing their countries because of extreme poverty and violence, and thousands remain hundreds of miles away. After the deployment, Trump was criticized by Democrats and accused of using the troops as part of a political stunt. Catherine Garcia

November 19, 2018

Three people were killed when a gunman opened fire at Mercy Hospital in Chicago on Monday afternoon.

The victims include police officer Samuel Jimenez, a married father of three who joined the Chicago Police Department in 2017, and two hospital employees. The city "lost a doctor, pharmaceutical assistant, and a police officer, all going about their day, all doing what they loved," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "This just tears at the soul of our city. It is the face and a consequence of evil."

The gunman is dead, a police spokesman said, and it's not known at this time if he took his own life or was shot by officers. The Associated Press reports the incident began in the parking lot, when the gunman began arguing with a woman he was in a relationship with, and escalated when a friend intervened. The woman, a hospital employee, was shot and killed, and when police officers arrived, the suspect ran inside the hospital and exchanged gunfire with officers.

This is a developing news story, and has been updated throughout. Catherine Garcia

November 19, 2018

The Trump administration's decision to add a question of citizenship to the 2020 census may have had some political motivations after all.

Census surveys are confidential, but several lawsuits still alleged including a question about citizenship would discourage undocumented immigrants from taking the census. Now, documents filed in a California suit Friday show the census' inherent confidentiality may have been in danger, The Washington Post reports.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross announced in March that the 2020 census would explicitly ask if people were U.S. citizens. Lawsuits across the country quickly challenged the constitutionality of the proposal, and critics said undocumented peoples' fear of taking the survey would lead to undercounts. Questions also arose over the motivation behind adding the question, with some worrying President Trump's hostility toward non-citizens would leave the census results vulnerable to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

As activists and attorneys prodded Trump officials over whether the question results would remain within the Commerce Department, as mandated under the Census Act, at least one official was told to stay silent, per the Post. Friday's court filings show a June 12 email to acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore, in which a Department of Justice attorney told him not to "say too much" about the confidentiality issue because it might "come up later for renewed debate."

The first of several trials challenging the question is currently underway in New York. A hearing over what evidence can be used in these trials, and whether Trump officials' motivations in enacting the question can be considered, is slated for the Supreme Court in February. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 19, 2018

Six people were stuck in an elevator in Chicago's fourth-tallest building on Friday. But firefighters weren't exactly sure where they'd ended up, seeing as a cable had snapped and sent the car plummeting from the 95th floor. And there was no easy way to find out, the Chicago Tribune details.

A pair of Northwestern University law students, a married couple, and two New Zealand tourists stepped into an elevator in the former John Hancock Center just after midnight Friday. But their ride down soon turned bumpy — "like a flight into Chicago," one student told the Tribune. A clacking noise rattled as the passengers fell, and dust poured into the car. Jaime Montemayor, visiting from Mexico with his wife, told CBS Chicago he "believed we were going to die."

The car didn't hit the ground thanks to a few stable cables, but it was hard to tell exactly where it ended up because the blind-shaft elevator had no windows. One student told the Tribune they felt like they'd only fallen "a few floors." Firefighters eventually found the car had plunged 84.

Since the firefighters couldn't safely "come down like Batman" on ropes from the top of the shaft, as one firefighter described it, they had to hack a hole in the wall. Three hours later, the six passengers emerged into an attached parking garage without injury. Read more about the extensive operation at the Chicago Tribune. Kathryn Krawczyk

November 19, 2018

The founder of the Women's March is joining growing calls for its current leaders to step down.

After Teresa Shook's plan for a march against President Trump took off, she handed the reins over to a group of activists. But in a Monday statement, Shook said those new leaders had "steered the movement away from its true course" because they "have allowed anti-Semitism, anti-LBGTQIA sentiment and hateful, racist rhetoric to become a part of the platform."

After Shook launched the idea for a Women's March, activists Bob Bland, Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez, and Linda Sarsour stepped up to organize it. Millions of people around the world marched the day after President Trump's inauguration, inspiring follow-up marches of the same nature.

Months later, criticism began to arise over Mallory, Perez, and Sarsour's ties to Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam leader who has repeatedly made anti-Semitic comments. They've since come short of condemning Farrakhan, prompting conservative calls to boycott future Women's March events. Sarsour has received most of the derision for the Farrakhan ties, as well as other controversial comments.

All of these moves are "in opposition" to the Women's March's principles, Shook said in her Monday statement. So in an effort to bring the movement back to its roots, Shook called for "the current co-chairs to step down" and for leaders who can "restore" the march's "original intent" to step forward. Kathryn Krawczyk

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