Alabama's Doug Jones, Minnesota's Tina Smith sworn in as Democratic senators

Published: Wednesday, January 03, 2018 @ 12:25 PM

What You Need To Know: Doug Jones

Congress convened Wednesday to welcome a pair of new Democratic senators – Alabama’s Doug Jones and Minnesota’s Tina Smith. They were sworn in just after noon.

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Jones, a former federal prosecutor, became the first Democratic senator to represent Alabama in 25 years. He beat former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore by more than 20,000 votes in a result certified by officials last week.

>> Related: Roy Moore loses Senate bid as election board certifies Doug Jones as winner

Jones’s victory came after multiple women accused Moore, who was considered a favorite to replace Sessions, of sexual misconduct. Several women told reporters that they were teenagers when Moore made inappropriate sexual advances toward them.

>> Related: Alabama woman says Roy Moore sexually assaulted her when she was 16

Moore has denied the allegations.

Jones was sworn in to replace Luther Strange, who took office in February 2017 after President Donald Trump chose then-Sen. Jeff Sessions to serve as attorney general.

In this Dec. 4, 2017, file photo, then-Democratic senatorial candidate Doug Jones speaks at a news conference in Dolomite, Ala. Jones, the first Alabama Democrat elected to the Senate in a quarter century, is one of two new members who will take the oath of office on the Senate floor at noon on Jan. 3, 2018. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)(Brynn Anderson/AP)

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton named Smith as Al Franken’s replacement last month after the congressman announced his intent to resign amid allegations of sexual misconduct from multiple women. Smith served as Minnesota’s lieutenant governor before Wednesday, a position she had held since 2015.

>> Related: Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill Al Franken's Senate seat

Franken said last month that Smith would “be an effective senator who knows how to work across party lines to get things done for Minnesota.”

In this Jan. 10, 2015, file photo, Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith speaks in St. Paul, Minn. Tina Smith, who was appointed to replace Al Franken following his resignation over accusations of sexual misconduct will be sworn in on Jan. 3, 2018. (Aaron Lavinsky /Star Tribune via AP, File)(Aaron Lavinsky/AP)

Franken announced last month that he would resign after multiple women accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior. Several women told reporters Franken groped them as they posed for photos with him, and at least two women alleged he forcibly kissed them.

Many of the alleged incidents happened before Franken became a senator in 2009, although at least two were alleged to have happened after he was sworn in.

>> Related: Sen. Al Franken accused of kissing, groping news anchor without consent

He was one of at least four federal lawmakers who announced plans to leave office amid sexual misconduct allegations as the “#MeToo” movement encouraged women to speak out about their experiences of sexual harassment and assault.

Rep. John Conyers, the longest-serving member of Congress, submitted his resignation last week after he was accused of sexually harassing several women who worked for him. Conyers, D-Michigan, denied the allegations and said he decided to retire because of health concerns. The 88-year-old congressman was hospitalized in Michigan earlier this month.

>> Related: Congressional investigation launched after sexual harassment allegations against Rep. John Conyers

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, announced last month that he would not seek re-election after the House Ethics Committee launched an investigation into allegations that he made explicit remarks to a former aide and retaliated against her for complaining, according to the Austin American-Statesman. A week earlier, reports surfaced that he settled he settled a lawsuit the aide brought against him with $84,000 of taxpayer money. Farenthold has since said he will pay back the Treasury with his own money.

>> Related: Blake Farenthold won't seek re-election amid harassment claims

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Arizona, said last month that he plans to resign from his seat by the end of January after the House Ethics Committee announced it was investigating allegations of sexual harassment levied against him by his former employees.

Trump campaign ad calls Democrats 'complicit' in killings by undocumented immigrants

Published: Sunday, January 21, 2018 @ 9:07 AM

President Trump’s Physical Exam Results Released

A new ad released by President Donald Trump's campaign is claiming that Democrats are “complicit” in killings by undocumented immigrants. The ad was released after Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to keep the government from shutting down.

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“President Trump is right — build the wall, deport criminals, stop illegal immigration now,” the ad said, showing clips of top Democrats. “Democrats who stand in our way will be complicit in every murder committed by illegal immigrants.”

>> Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

“President Trump will fix our border and keep our families safe,” the ad concluded. The ad was released on the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration.

>> Government shutdown: What closes; will you get your Social Security check; what happens to SNAP, WIC

On Friday, Senate Democrats opposed a short-term spending bill to fund the government and keep it from shutting down after Republicans refused to include a provision to protect thousands of immigrants brought here as children.

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President Trump bashed Democrats after the failed vote, saying that they wanted “unchecked illegal immigration.”

“Democrats are holding our Military hostage over their desire to have unchecked illegal immigration. Can’t let that happen!” he tweeted Saturday morning.

Earlier on Saturday, he again bashed Democratstweeting that they were more “concerned with Illegal Immigrants than they are with our great Military or Safety at our dangerous Southern Border.”

(H/t: The Hill)

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

Women's marches, events taking place across nation

Published: Saturday, January 20, 2018 @ 12:20 PM

WATCH: Scenes From 2018 Women's March

A series of women’s marches, protests and voter registration events are taking place across the country this weekend.

This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. In 2017, the Women’s March on Washington drew a large crowd that marched in protest of Trump’s election. Women’s marches were held across the country and the world.

For 2018, marches and rallies are being held in cities across the country throughout the weekend. There will be a voter registration drive on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Trump cancels Florida trip as government shutdown looms

Published: Friday, January 19, 2018 @ 11:35 AM

What You Need to Know: Government Shutdown

President Donald Trump will not make a planned trip to Mar-a-Lago today because of a looming federal government shutdown, a White House official told The Palm Beach Post on Friday morning.

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Trump was scheduled to arrive at Palm Beach International Airport tonight for a weekend trip that included a Saturday fundraiser for his 2020 re-election campaign at Mar-a-Lago. The official who confirmed today’s travel is off did not address the president’s plans for the remainder of the weekend.

5 Things to Know About Mar-a-Lago

Trump was planning to make the 12th Palm Beach visit of his presidency. But Congress has not reached a spending agreement to keep the federal government operating past midnight.

Saturday is the one-year anniversary of Trump taking office. The Trump campaign recently announced a “special sweepstakes” in which a winner will get to attend dinner Saturday at Mar-a-Lago with Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump.

Trump physical results: 6 things to know

Published: Tuesday, January 16, 2018 @ 5:16 PM

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16:  U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he stops by a Conversations with the Women of America panel at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. The three-part panel features ÒAmerican women from various backgrounds and experiences who will speak with high-level women within the Trump Administration, about what has been accomplished to date to advance women at home, and in the workplace.Ó  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Alex Wong/Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 16: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks as he stops by a Conversations with the Women of America panel at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 18, 2018 in Washington, DC. The three-part panel features ÒAmerican women from various backgrounds and experiences who will speak with high-level women within the Trump Administration, about what has been accomplished to date to advance women at home, and in the workplace.Ó (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump is in excellent health and likely to finish his term in office without any medical issues, a presidential doctor said Tuesday at a news conference, four days after the president underwent a physical exam.

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“The president's overall health is excellent," White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson said Tuesday.

Here are six things to know about the results of the president’s physical:

Jackson: ‘He had great findings across the board’

Trump is in “very, very good health,” Jackson said Tuesday. 

“(I have) no concerns for his heart health,” the presidential physician said. “There are many good things that came from his exam, I think he had great findings across the board. “

>> White House physician releases official report

Jackson said Trump’s good health is likely to last through “the remainder of this tern, and even for the remainder of another term, if he’s elected.” He said he based his assessment on the president’s cardiac results.

“He falls into a category that portends years of event-free living,” Jackson said. “He has incredibly good genes, and that’s just the way God made him.”

Cognitive screening showed no issues

Jackson said he conducted a cognitive screening on Trump at the president’s request, although he felt the test was unnecessary.

“I’ve spent almost every day in the president’s presence,” said Jackson, whose office is near Trump’s. “I’ve got to know him pretty well and I had absolutely no concerns about his cognitive ability or neurological functions.”

He said that in all his conversations with Trump, the president has been “very articulate.”

“I’ve never known him to repeat himself around me,” Jackson said. “He says what he wants to say and speaks his mind.”

Infamous slurred speech incident might have been caused by medication

A December incident in which the president sounded as though he was slurring his speech while announcing a policy shift in Israel was probably due to a medication, Jackson said.

>> Related: Trump’s slurred speech: Is it loose-fitting dentures, dry mouth or something else?

“We evaluated him, we checked everything out and everything was normal,” Jackson said, adding that the incident was likely caused because the president needed water.

He said prior to the Dec. 7 incident, he gave Trump Sudafed, which might have “inadvertently dried up his secretions.”

Why Did President Trump Slur His Words in a Recent Speech?

Trump working to lose 10-15 pounds

At 6-foot-3 and 239 pounds, the president has a body mass index of 29.9, just under the number that would designate him as obese, according to information released Tuesday.

“The president, he and I talked and... I think a reasonable goal over the next year or so is (to lose) 10 or 15 pounds,” Jackson said, adding that a nutritionist would be meeting with White House chefs in the coming weeks and that Trump would be put on an exercise routine.

“He’s more enthusiastic about the diet,” Jackson said.

Jackson not concerned about Trump’s stress levels

Despite concerns from the public and reports that have painted a chaotic White House, Jackson said that he has no concerns about the president’s stress levels.

“I talk to him sometimes about stress just because I think it’s my job as his physician to bring it up on occasion,” he said. “I’ve never seen the president stressed out too much. ... He has a unique ability to push the reset button and he just gets up and he starts a new day. (I think it’s) made him healthier from a stress standpoint.”

Jackson did not test Trump’s hearing

Jackson said he didn’t have enough time to test Trump’s hearing, although he planned to conduct such a test in future physicals.

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