News Roundup | 11.14.18

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Resigns

Former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions resigned on Nov. 7, according to The New York Times. According to his resignation letter, Sessions resigned after President Donald J. Trump requested him to step down. Trump selected former Chief of Staff to the Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker to head the Justice Department until a permanent attorney general is selected and confirmed. The state of Maryland on Tuesday asked Federal Judge Ellen Hollander for an injunction that would declare that Whitaker has no legal standing to be acting attorney general and that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein should assume the role. Democrats called on Whitaker to recuse himself from Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, citing his previous criticism of the investigation and his friendship with Sam Clovis, a former national co-chairman of Trump’s 2016 campaign. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats may force a provision to protect Mueller and his investigation into the next government spending bill, according to USA Today.

12 Dead in Calif. Bar Shooting

A gunman opened fire at a bar in Thousand Oaks, Calif., on Nov. 8, killing 12 and injuring 18 others, according to the Los Angeles Times. Former U.S. Marine machine gunner Ian David Long, the suspected gunman, was found dead at the scene in an apparent murder-suicide. Armed with a 45-caliber handgun, Long entered the bar at about 11 p.m., according to the LA Times. At the time, The Borderline Bar and Grill was packed with college students for a country line-dancing event for people over 18. Long posted on Instagram in the midst of the shooting, writing, “Fact is I had no reason to do it … Life is boring so why not?” according to ABC News.

Appeals Court Upholds DACA in Preliminary Injunction

A three-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit unanimously voted on Nov. 8 to uphold a preliminary injunction that prevents the Trump administration from ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, which was established in 2012 through an executive order by former U.S. President Barack Obama, issues temporary deportation protection for about 800,000 undocumented immigrants who entered the U.S. prior to their 16th birthday. The Trump administration argued that Obama did not have the legal authority to enact DACA, but the appeals court ruled that the federal government has a history of choosing not to enforce immigration policies against certain groups.The suit, along with others around the country, will continue in federal courts while the injunction stands, according to the Associated Press. The Trump administration petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case, but the request was denied in February. The administration again requested on Nov. 5 for the Supreme Court to hear the case.

Calif. Wildfires Kill at Least 40

At least 40 people have died and hundreds are missing in California since the outbreak of three wildfires in the last week, according to The Los Angeles Times. At least 42 of the casualties are from the Camp Fire in Northern California, which has spread through more than 125,000 acres. The fire was 30 percent contained as of Tuesday, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The Woolsey Fire, which has resulted in two deaths and three firefighter injuries, burned nearly 100,000 acres of land in the Los Angeles area. The fire, which spread from Simi Valley to Malibu, has displaced nearly 250,000 residents and destroyed 435 buildings, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Trump approved California Gov. Jerry Brown’s request for a major disaster declaration for the state on Monday, after previously threatening on Twitter to withhold federal funds, falsely citing “gross mismanagement of forests.”

Florida Senate, Governor Races Head for Recount

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered counties on Saturday afternoon to recount votes for the state’s governor and U.S. senator races, in addition to other state races, according to the The New York Times. The recounts, which are legally required for races that fall within a margin of 0.5 percent, must be completed by Thursday. Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum withdrew his concession hours after the announcement of the recount, tweeting that he was replacing his concession with “an unapologetic and uncompromised call to count every vote.” Gillum currently trails behind Republican gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis by 33,684 votes, or 0.4 percent, according to the New York Times. Former Florida Gov. and current Republican U.S. Senate candidate Rick Scott’s lead over incumbent Bill Nelson was reduced to 12,600 votes, or 0.2 percentage points. In response to the recounts, Trump tweeted, “Trying to STEAL two big elections. We are watching closely!”

Java Monkey to Remain Closed Due to Fire

The Java Monkey coffee shop in Decatur, Ga., will be closed for at least a month due to a fire that broke out on Sunday night, according to an announcement on its Facebook page. The cause of the fire is being investigated. The Decatur Fire Department received a report about the fire at 11:30 p.m.

Amazon Announces New York and Virginia as HQ2 locations

Amazon ended its 14-month search for HQ2 locations, announcing on Tuesday that it plans to have two major offices in Long Island City in Queens, N.Y., and Crystal City in Arlington, Va., just outside Washington, D.C. Each of the buildings will house 25,000 employees. The company could potentially receive nearly $2 billion in tax incentives, per the The New York Times. The incentives are tied to the number of jobs created by the new offices.