August 15, 2019

U.S. move halts release of Iranian tanker held in Gibraltar

MADRID — The United States moved on Thursday to halt the release of an Iranian supertanker detained in Gibraltar for breaching international sanctions on oil shipments, thwarting efforts by authorities in London and the British overseas territory to defuse tensions with Tehran.

The Gibraltar government confirmed earlier media reports that the U.S. Department of Justice had sought to extend the detention of the oil tanker Grace 1, prompting the Supreme Court in the territory to adjourn a scheduled decision on whether to release the ship until later in the day.

"The U.S. Department of Justice has applied to seize the Grace 1 on a number of allegations, which are now being considered," the Gibraltar government said in a statement, adding that the matter would be reviewed by the court at 4 p.m. local time.

The Justice Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Britain's Foreign Office said in a statement that the "investigations conducted around the Grace 1 are a matter for the government of Gibr

August 14, 2019

Susan Collins and the GOP court Trump on guns

LINCOLN, Maine — Susan Collins has watched countless gun debates stall out over the years. But this time, she says, will be different.

The Maine moderate has long been a lonely voice on guns in the GOP. She's one of just two Republicans left in the Senate who previously supported a bipartisan background checks bill and the only Republican serving who backed an assault weapons ban. Every time she's gotten close to winning even modest new gun regulations, the effort collapses due to conservative opposition.

But with President Donald Trump talking up new gun regulations, Collins is increasingly optimistic and has assumed a central role in the burgeoning effort to find a consensus among Republicans. She's spoken to Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and White House legislative director Eric Ueland about potential gun safety reforms and plans to talk to Senate Majority

Steve King under fire for questioning if humanity would exist without 'rape and incest'

Embattled Rep. Steve King said the human population might not exist if not for rape and incest on Wednesday, drawing scorn — and renewed calls to resign — from scores of Democrats.

The Iowa Republican, who was speaking at an event in Urbandale, Iowa, was intending to make the case for a GOP policy that bans nearly all abortions, including in cases when the woman is a victim of rape or incest.

"What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?" King said, according to the Des Moines Register, which first reported the comments.

"Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can't say

Harry Reid: I wish Al Franken would run again

Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said he wants to see former Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) return to public office after being forced out of Congress over allegations of sexual impropriety roughly one and a half years ago.

"I wish he would," Reid told The Daily Beast in an interview earlier this month. "But I don't think he will. He just feels hurt. And he was a good senator."

Franken announced his resignation from the Senate in December 2017 after eight women accused the former comedian and talk show host of groping or trying to forcibly kiss them.

Although Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and more than half of all Democratic senators <a href="https://www.politi

Eliot Engel, Michael McCaul condemn China threats as unrest in Hong Kong grows

Bipartisan U.S. concern over the discord in Hong Kong is growing, as the State Department on Wednesday issued a travel warning for the region.

The bipartisan leaders of the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday condemned Chinese authorities' hostility to protesters and threats of military intervention in a joint statement, warning that should Beijing attempt to use force to shut down peaceful demonstrations, they "would be met with universal condemnation and swift consequences."

"The House Foreign Affairs Committee has called upon Beijing to cease encroaching on Hong Kong's autonomy — it is Beijing's actions that are at the root of the frustration among the people of Hong Kong. No foreign powers are fomenting this dissent," Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and ranking member Michael McCaul (R-Texas) wrote. "It is the result of Beijing's successive violations of their commitment to honor the will of the people of Hong Kong."

Engel and McCaul expressed their "deep respect for the brave efforts of Hong Kong people f