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A second law enforcement agency has joined the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation into Fox News, according to a CNN report published Thursday.

Financial crimes experts from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service — which investigates mail and wire fraud and identity theft cases — are involved in the federal investigation into the network, CNN reported, citing four unnamed sources connected to the investigation.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have taken an interest in whether Fox structured sexual harassment settlements worth millions of dollars in settlements so that the network would not have to inform investors. The Southern District of New York launched a grand jury investigation, the New York Times reported in February.

Investigators from both the USPIS and the Justice Department have been conducting interviews in recent weeks — including with some former Fox staffers — to obtain more information about the network’s managers and business practices, the sources said.

Read CNN’s full story here.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — After voting unanimously for a resolution honoring a Confederate general, slave trader and early Ku Klux Klan leader, Tennessee lawmakers denounced the measure Thursday and said they were tricked into supporting it.

“This is a national embarrassment,” said Democratic Rep. Antonio Parkinson, an African-American from Memphis.

Most House members didn’t know they had voted for the resolution until after reading an Associated Press report that described how the language about Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest had been included in a resolution honoring author Shane Kastler.

It was passed 94-0 on April 13 along with other items on the House consent calendar, a slate of bills and resolutions deemed uncontroversial and not requiring any floor debate.

Parkinson told his House colleagues it was unfair to include the resolution honoring Forrest among measures that usually celebrate events like wedding anniversaries and achievers such as school valedictorians, sports teams.

He challenged the chamber’s Republican majority to consider how they would have felt if he had “snuck a resolution” through the House honoring slave uprising leader Nat Turner or Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

“It’s sickening, it’s underhanded, it’s conniving, it’s crafty, it’s shady,” he said.

Days earlier, a separate measure honoring Forrest and the state’s first black state lawmaker was defeated in a House committee.

Republican Rep. Mike Sparks, who sponsored both resolutions honoring Forrest, initially dismissed concerns that he hadn’t explained the content of his resolution to his colleagues before the vote. But he offered an apology on the House floor on Thursday.

“I’m not trying to hurt anybody’s feelings, not trying to use any trickery, or all kind of problems,” he said. “To my colleagues in the Black Caucus, if anybody’s offended, I apologize to y’all.”

Members of the Black Caucus of State Legislators went to the well of the House to issue a statement decrying Sparks’ resolution.

“Slavery is the cruelest, most inhumane part of our history — one that should be learned from, but certainly not celebrated,” said Rep. Raumesh Akbari, the Black Caucus chairwoman.

They were joined by House Republican leader Glen Casada and Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan Williams.

Casada said he agreed with Democrats and the Black Caucus that the resolution should never have been included among the bills to be approved as a package.

“It was an end-run and it was buried in the resolution,” Casada said. “We all stood up as a body and said to the state of Tennessee, we’re sorry, it won’t happen again.”

Republican leaders looked into their options, but found that it was too late to undo their action. House resolutions don’t go to the governor’s desk, meaning Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has no power to veto the measure.

Calls to remove Confederate imagery from public places have multiplied across the South after the 2015 killings of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. Republican Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said at the time that he supported removing a bust of Forrest from the state Capitol, but it remains in the lobby between the House and Senate chambers.

Forrest was famous for his exploits as a Confederate cavalry general who had amassed a fortune as a plantation owner and slave trader in Memphis before the Civil War.

He was accused of ordering black prisoners to be massacred after a Confederate victory at Tennessee’s Fort Pillow in 1864, though the extent of his responsibility is disputed. And following the war, the newly formed Ku Klux Klan elected Forrest its honorary grand wizard, though he publicly denied being involved. Two years later, he ordered the Klan to disband because of the members’ increasing violence.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The Texas House approved a strict ban on “sanctuary cities” Thursday, empowering local police to enforce federal immigration law against anyone they detain and threatening police chiefs and sheriffs who refuse to do so with jail.

A late tweak backed by some of the chamber’s most conservative voices could ensure that law enforcement across the country’s second-largest state can inquire if people are in the country illegally during traffic stops and other fairly common interactions — which opponents say will spark the kind of immigration crackdown that the Trump administration has so far been unsuccessful implementing nationally.

The key 93-54 vote advancing the bill came just before 3 a.m. and followed 15-plus hours of heated, sometimes tearful debate, much of it from outnumbered Democrats unable to stop the bill. Final approval that again broke along party lines helped the proposal clear the House in the late afternoon.

It would allow Texas to withhold funding from county and local governments for acting as sanctuary cities. Other Republican-led states have pushed for similar policies, but Texas would be the first in which police chiefs and other officials could face a misdemeanor criminal charge of official misconduct and be removed from office for not helping enforce immigration law.

An entity failing to follow the law could be subjected to a civil penalty of $1,500 for a first offense and $25,500 for any subsequent violation.

“Sanctuary cities” has no legal definition, but the bill is needed to “keep the public safe and remove bad people from the street,” its House sponsor, Rep. Charlie Geren, said.

“If you don’t do something to get arrested, or hang out with someone who does, this bill isn’t going to affect you,” said Geren, a Fort Worth Republican.

The Texas House proposal originally allowed local law enforcement officers to inquire about federal immigration status only if someone is arrested. A version passed in March by the state Senate went further, permitting immigration questions for anyone detained. But a floor amendment backed by tea party lawmakers extended the House version to apply to those detained as well as those arrested and passed 81-64 — bringing the full bill closer to what the Senate previously approved.

Democrats, and even some veteran Republicans, unsuccessfully opposed the change. The American Civil Liberties Union of Texas said it would “promote racial profiling based on appearance, background and accent.”

The state Senate’s version is still different enough from the House’s that the two chambers must compromise on a finished bill. Similar efforts have collapsed in the past, meaning the issue isn’t yet fully settled.

President Donald Trump is trying to withhold federal funding for sanctuary cities, but a federal judge in California has issued a preliminary injunction preventing him from doing so. Texas, though, is moving forward regardless of what happens nationally.

Sally Hernandez, the sheriff of Travis County, which includes liberal Austin, enraged conservatives by refusing to honor federal requests to hold suspects for possible deportation if they weren’t arrested for immigration offenses or serious crimes such as murder. But Hernandez softened her policy after Gov. Greg Abbott cut grant funding to the county and she has said she’ll conform to the state’s ban if it becomes law.

Hernandez praised House Democrats for spending hours speaking against the bill in a statement Thursday saying, “They recognized the cost of forcing local law enforcement to do the job of the federal government and the liability it places upon us.”

Other sheriffs warn the bill could make their jobs harder if immigrants — including crime victims and witnesses — fear the police.

“Today we’ve made real that fear,” said Roland Gutierrez, a San Antonio Democrat. Many of his colleagues decried what they called a “show me your papers law.”

Wednesday night, dozens of protesters, many waving signs and banners skewering the bill and its supporters, gathered inside the Texas Capitol to chant pro-immigrant slogans in English and Spanish. Some protesters later filed into the House visitors’ gallery to applaud bill opponents on the floor.

“God is watching what you’re doing,” one woman yelled at Republican lawmakers before being escorted out.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

At some point between Feb. 25 and April 26, the Department of the Interior scrubbed nearly any mention of climate change from its webpage on the topic.

What was once a vigorous endorsement of the scientific consensus that the Earth is warming as a result of human activity — “Climate change affects every corner of the American continent. It is making droughts drier and longer, floods more dangerous and hurricanes more severe,” the webpage used to read — has now been whittled down to a single, vanilla paragraph:

“The impacts of climate change have led the Department to focus on how we manage our nation’s public lands and resources. The Department of the Interior contributes sound scientific research to address this and other environmental challenges.”

The department has yet to respond to TPM’s request for comment on the change, first reported by Vice’s Motherboard.

The publication noted similar incidents of sanitization since Trump’s inauguration at the EPA, and a regulatory page belonging to the Bureau of Land Management.

The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, which tracks changes to government websites, flagged the removal on that page, in the new administration’s first week, of rules on oil and gas extraction.

Climate change information on other agencies within the Department of Interior, including the Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management, National Park Service and the U.S. Geological Survey, appears relatively untouched.

Politico reported on March 29 that a supervisor at the Energy Department’s Office for International Climate and Clean Energy had instructed staff not to use the phrases “climate change,” “emissions reduction” or “Paris Agreement” in written communications, though a department spokesperson denied there had been any official change.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) said Thursday that she is “troubled” by reports that former President Barack Obama agreed to speak for $400,000 at a conference run by an investment bank.

“I was troubled by that,” Warren said on SiriusXM show Alter Family Politics. “The influence of dollars on this place is what scares me. I think it ultimately threatens democracy.”

Fox Business reported Monday that Obama agreed to speak at an annual health care conference run by Wall Street firm Cantor Fitzgerald, L.P. for a fee of $400,000. The Financial Times confirmed on Tuesday, citing an unnamed source familiar with the arrangement, that Obama agreed to give a keynote speech at the conference.

“These kinds of objections were raised about President Obama when he was running for office and he got a lot of support from people on Wall Street for his first campaign in 2008,” Obama’s former press secretary Josh Earnest said Thursday morning on MSNBC, where he is a contributor. “But that didn’t in any way limit his ability to put in place the toughest reforms of Wall Street that we had seen in multiple generations.”

“I’ll translate,” Politico and Axios co-founder Jim VandeHei said. “They offered him $400,000, he’s taking it.”

“Capitalism,” Earnest said with a smile.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” anchor Stephanie Ruhle added.

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — It’s being pitched as an educational lifeline for impoverished preschool-aged children and condemned as the latest example of local government overreach sweeping progressive cities from coast to coast.

Voters in New Mexico’s capital city have until Tuesday to decide whether to levy a new tax on sugary drinks that would raise the cost of a can of soda by nearly 25 cents.

The citywide tax on distributors would provide Santa Fe an estimated $7.5 million in its first year to expand early childhood education to roughly 1,000 children whose families cannot afford quality preschool and don’t qualify for state programs.

With the vote, Santa Fe is simultaneously wading into two topics that have provoked heated debates around the country — affordable preschool and the taxation of sugary drinks.

If approved, Santa Fe will join U.S. cities from Philadelphia to San Francisco that have adopted soda taxes in recent years. Billionaire Michael Bloomberg helped pass a ban on large-sized soft drinks when he was mayor of New York only to have it overturned by the courts, but he has since spent millions of dollars pushing soda taxes around the country.

Early voting has been underway since April 12 in Santa Fe, and competing political action committees have blanketed the city with advertisements through radio, TV, social media and mailbox fliers. The campaigns have spurred complaints of deception and questions about some untraceable political spending. An offer of free tacos to the first early voters by a pro-tax group was abandoned amid criticism of vote buying.

The American Beverage Association, the lobbying arm for the soft-drink industry, has contributed nearly $1 million in an attempt to defeat the measure. Pro-tax efforts have been bankrolled by Bloomberg, who has provided $1.1 million to the political committee Pre-K for Santa Fe in cash and direct campaign support.

The debate has even spilled over into interfaith forums, public rallies and fiery group discussions among local business owners.

Santa Fe Roman Catholic Archbishop John C. Wester threw his backing behind the tax, announcing that cities have no other choice than to fund preschool. The endorsement came after a Catholic rector in Santa Fe criticized the tax proposal on social media.

Mayor Javier Gonzales, a Democrat, calls the proposed tax both a moral imperative and a sound public investment, given mounting evidence that children who receive early schooling are less likely to fall behind, drop out and get mired in crime.

The proposal is being decided as working parents living just above poverty in Santa Fe struggle to pay the market rate for child care, despite the city’s $11 minimum wage.

For about half Santa Fe’s 3- and 4-year-olds, formal pre-kindergarten remains out of reach. Most of those families earn too little to benefit from proposed child care tax deductions backed by President Donald Trump and his daughter, Ivanka, who has become a leading advocate on the issue.

Efforts by New Mexico to expand early childhood education have stalled amid a state budget crisis and political resistance. The state currently allocates about $50 million a year to underwrite full- and part-time preschool for about 9,000 children but has been stymied from spending much more by faltering tax revenues.

“When there is a void that exists and when the state fails our community in meeting our responsibility to adequately fund education, I believe our city want us to step up,” Gonzales said.

Opponents of the tax have cast themselves as defenders of Santa Fe’s working poor, while sowing doubts about whether the tax can provide a sustainable source of revenue if it truly discourages consumption of sugary drinks.

“We think this targets hard-working families and small businesses,” said David Huynh, a spokesman for the political committee Better Way for Santa Fe & Pre-K. “There are definitely better ways to fund this without imposing the largest tax of its kind.”

The 2-cents-per-ounce tax would tie with Boulder, Colorado, as the nation’s most expensive. Under Santa Fe’s approach — which does not apply to artificial sweeteners or diet soda — the tax would be devoted solely to funding preschool.

City Councilor Ron Trujillo said he’s been cheered on for opposing the tax and urging city leaders to stick to fixing roads, parks and pipes.

“They feel that Santa Fe city government shouldn’t be telling them what they can drink,” he said.

Anti-tax sentiments were on prominent display as two professional canvassers recently knocked on doors in a working-class neighborhood.

One conversation ended with an abrupt question — “Is this to propose more taxes?” — and the door was quickly closed.

At another doorway, retiree Sheila Hartney offered grudging support.

“I’m not crazy about the idea with a sugar tax like this,” she said. “I like the part about early childhood education because it’s clear to me that there is an enormous need.”

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Government scientists launched an investigation Thursday into an unusually large number of humpback whale deaths from North Carolina to Maine, the first such “unusual mortality event” declaration in a decade.

Forty-one whales have died in the region in 2016 and so far in 2017, far exceeding the average of about 14 per year, said Deborah Fauquier, a veterinary medical officer with National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Marine Fisheries.

Ten of the 20 whales that have been examined so far were killed by collisions with boats, something scientists are currently at a loss to explain because there’s been no corresponding spike in ship traffic.

The investigation will focus on possible common threads like toxins and illness, prey movement that could bring whales into shipping lanes, or other factors, officials said.

Humpbacks can grow to 60 feet long and are found in oceans around the world. They’re popular with whale watchers because of the dramatic way they breach the ocean’s surface, then flop back into the water.

“The humpback is generally people’s favorite because they’re so animated. They’re the ones that like to jump out of the ocean completely,” said Zack Klyver, a naturalist with Bar Harbor Whale Watch Company.

The humpback whale population that feeds in North Atlantic waters each summer was removed from the Endangered Species Act last year when NOAA divided humpback populations into 14 distinct population segments around the world. There are currently about 10,500 in the population that visits North Atlantic waters, scientists say.

While they’re not threatened, federal scientists are nonetheless keeping close tabs on the whales, said NOAA spokeswoman Kate Brogan.

The humpback whale deaths that prompted the “unusual mortality event” designation break down to 26 last year and 15 to date this year.

NOAA also declared “unusual mortality events” involving humpbacks in 2003, 2005 and 2006, Fauquier said. No conclusive cause of the deaths was determined in those investigations, she said.

The 10 confirmed fatal boat strikes far exceeds the annual average of fewer than two per year attributed to boat collisions, officials said.

Whales tend to be somewhat oblivious to boats when they’re feeding or socializing, said Gregory Silber, coordinator of recovery activities for large whales in NOAA’s Office of Protected Resources.

“A vessel of any size can harm a whale. In smaller vessels they tend to be propeller strikes. And in larger vessels they appear to be in the form of blunt trauma, hemorrhaging or broken bones,” he said.

Klyver said any whale death is upsetting. Scientists and whale watchers know many of the whales that visit each summer.

“Each whale has its own personality,” he said. “We are connected to so many of them as individuals that we hate to see any of them perish.”


This story has been corrected to attribute a comment about past mortality events to Deborah Fauquier, a veterinary medical officer with NOAA, instead of Mendy Garron, NOAA’s regional stranding coordinator.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Attorneys for the passenger dragged from a United flight announced Thursday that he has reached a settlement agreement with the airline for an undisclosed amount.

“Dr. David Dao has reached an amicable settlement with United Airlines for the injuries he received in his April 9th ordeal, which was captured on video and viewed worldwide,” Dao’s attorneys wrote in a news release. “A condition of the settlement includes a provision that the amount remain confidential.”

Police removed Dao from the United flight earlier in April after he refused to give up his seat on the full plane to make room for four airline employees. Dao’s attorney said that he lost two front teeth and suffered a broken nose and a concussion while being dragged from the plane.

The White House on Thursday quickly corrected reports that it was proposing changes to the tax treatment of 401(k) retirement plans.

The confusion seemed to arise from CNBC’s Eamon Javers, who asked White House spokesperson Sean Spicer during his daily press briefing about the Trump administration’s detail-free tax proposal and its treatment of “401(k)s and particularly tax deductions surrounding those.”

“Does he imagine removing those deductions entirely along with the other deductions, or is he going to protect those?” Eamon asked.

Spicer responded that “the current plan, right now, both protects charitable giving and mortgage interest and that’s it.”

However, contributions to 401(k)s are not currently tax-deductible. Rather, they are excluded from taxable income in the first place.

“Sean was referring to deductions,” White House spokesperson Natalie Strom told TPM in an email. “Retirement savings is an exemption not a deduction.”

Though there has been intense speculation about the fate of 401(k)s under the new proposal, no administration official has proposed changing their tax treatment yet, press conference confusion aside.