Pelosi filibuster breaks record
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi staged a record-breaking eight-hour speech Wednesday in an attempt to force a House vote on protections for "Dreamer" immigrants — and to prove to frustrated progressives and activists that she has done all she could. Wearing four-inch heels and forgoing any breaks, the California Democrat spent much of the rare talkathon reading personal letters from the young immigrants whose temporary protection from deportation through DACA is set to expire next month. Pelosi quoted from the Bible and Pope Francis. The Office of the House Historian said it was the longest continuous speech in the chamber on record. "You see, these people are being deported," Pelosi said around hour six of her speech. "We can do something today to at least make whole the children." Pelosi said she opposes a $300 billion, two-year spending deal reached in the Senate on Wednesday unless House Speaker Paul Ryan were to "give this dignity" to the House to debate on several immigration bills and allows the one that gets the most votes to pass.
FBI says no evidence of attack
in Border Patrol agent's death
FBI officials said Wednesday that the investigation into the November death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent has yielded no evidence that there was a "scuffle, altercation or attack" — more than two months after President Donald Trump and others used the suggestion of an attack to promote building a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Investigators have conducted more than 650 interviews and involved 37 field offices in their inquiry, but have not found definitive evidence of an attack, the FBI said. The investigation will continue. Rogelio Martinez died from injuries he sustained while he and his partner were responding to reports of unknown activity late Nov. 18 near Van Horn, a Texas town near the Mexico border. Martinez's partner radioed for help before both agents were airlifted to the hospital, where 36-year-old Martinez died. The partner — who suffered from head injuries — told investigators he could not remember the incident. The FBI release Wednesday noted that a dispatcher, who was interviewed by investigators, took the call from the surviving agent and wrote in his log that, "(He) thinks they (both agents) ran into a culvert." A county autopsy report released Tuesday listed "blunt force trauma" as the cause of death, but said the manner of Martinez's death was undetermined.
Top White House aide resigns after allegations of spousal abuse
One of President Donald Trump's top White House aides resigned Wednesday following allegations of domestic abuse leveled against him by his two ex-wives. Staff secretary Rob Porter, who joined the administration in January 2017, said allegations that became public this week are "outrageous," "simply false" and part of a "coordinated smear campaign." He will leave the White House after a transition period. Porter's former wives recounted physical, verbal and emotional abuse. Colbie Holderness, his first wife, told the DailyMail.com that Porter choked and punched her during their five-year marriage. The publication ran photos of Holderness with a bruised eye socket that she said she suffered after Porter punched her in the face while on vacation in Italy. Jennifer Willoughby, his second wife, also described for the DailyMail.com how Porter once dragged her naked and wet from the shower to yell at her. She filed a protective order against him. Porter, 40, has been credited with working with White House chief of staff John Kelly to control the flow of information to the president. Porter was often seen with Trump during travels and as he signed legislation or proclamations. The DailyMail.com published a statement from Kelly referring to Porter as a "man of true integrity and honor," adding, "I can't say enough good things about him." Even after the photos came out, Kelly was urging him to stay, according to a White House official.
AP: 11.8M enroll for Obamacare
Call it the political equivalent of a death-defying escape: former President Barack Obama's health care law pulled in nearly 11.8 million customers for 2018, despite the Republican campaign to erase it from the books. An Associated Press count found nationwide enrollment was about 3 percent lower than last year. California, with more than 1.5 million sign-ups, was the last state to report Wednesday. Sixteen states increased their enrollment from last year, according to AP's analysis. Six of those were carried by President Donald Trump in 2016, while 10 went for Democrat Hillary Clinton. However, about 6 in 10 people who signed up live in states that went for Trump. "If you had asked me a year ago whether enrollment for 2018 would be almost equal to 2017, I would have laughed at you," said Larry Levitt, who follows the health law for the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
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Sexual assault reports doubled at West Point
The number of sexual assaults reported at the U.S. Military Academy roughly doubled during the last school year, according to data reviewed by the Associated Press, in the latest example of the armed forces' persistent struggle to root out such misbehavior. It's the fourth year in a row that sexual assault reports increased at the school in West Point. There were 50 cases in the school year that ended last summer, compared with 26 made during the 2015-16 school year. By comparison, the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland went from 28 to 29, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado increased from 32 to 33. Defense Department and West Point officials said the big jump at the Military Academy resulted from a concerted effort to encourage victims to come forward. But the dramatic and consistent increases may suggest more assaults are happening.
State ending parental rights of rapists
More than 10 years after supporters began pushing for it, Maryland's legislature has decided — with unanimous votes in the Senate and House — to enable impregnated rape victims to ask judges to end the parental rights of their rapists. Supporters say it has become embarrassing that a state known for its progressive politics is one of the last to adopt such a law. They also credit a growing sense of female empowerment for making the issue a priority. Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, noted last week that he would sign the emergency bill.
'This is really going to sound strange'
A couple has reported a house heist — as in, their vacation home was stolen. KTRK-TV reported Jo and Lonnie Harrison's prefabricated one-bedroom, one-bathroom cabin is missing from their Madisonville property, which they purchased last year. The Harrisons hadn't checked on it since early November, but when Lonnie returned Friday, all he saw "were blocks and pipes sticking out." He then called Jo, who couldn't believe it. When he called police, he started: "This is really going to sound strange, but I need to report a stolen house." — tbt* wires