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The House voted unanimously Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller's forthcoming report must be made public. The non-binding resolution is intended to pressure Attorney General William Barr to release as much information as possible, but it's unclear if the Senate will take it up. Also, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas, is officially running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.
In the day's other news: Britain's House of Commons voted to seek a three-month delay in leaving the European Union. The current date is March 29. Lawmakers already rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal twice.
They also voted against leaving the E.U. without a deal. After today's vote, the opposition Labor Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said the burden is back on May again.
The last few days have also put responsibility on the prime minister, first to publicly accept that both her deal and no-deal are simply no longer viable options, and, secondly, to bring forward the necessary legislation to amend the exit date of the 29th of March.
Prime Minister May has indicated that she will seek a third vote on her Brexit proposal next week.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted unanimously today that special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia report will be made public. The nonbinding resolution is meant to pressure Attorney General William Barr to release as much information as possible. It is unclear if the Senate will take up the issue. Mueller is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election and alleged collusion with the Trump campaign.
Former Texas Congressman Beto O'Rourke has officially entered the 2020 Democratic presidential race. O'Rourke narrowly lost his U.S. Senate bid last year to Republican incumbent Ted Cruz. But his campaign mobilized young and minority voters, and it shattered fund-raising records.
In a video today, he said he is ready to run for the White House.
Beto O’Rourke, D-Texas:
This is going to be a positive campaign that seeks to bring out the very best from every single one of us, that seeks to unite a very divided country. We saw the power of this in Texas, where people allowed no difference, however great or however small, to stand between them and divide us.
O'Rourke is now one of more than a dozen Democrats who are running for the 2020 nomination.
The U.S. peace envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, was sharply criticized today over his handling of peace talks with the Taliban. The Afghan national security adviser accused him of stonewalling Afghan leaders, with an eye toward taking power himself. He also warned that Khalilzad is giving too much away to the Taliban. The U.S. State Department said the criticism could hurt Afghan ties with the U.S.
The Connecticut State Supreme Court ruled today that gun maker Remington may be sued over the Sandy Hook school killings in 2012. The gunman used Remington's semiautomatic Bushmaster rifle to kill 20 children and six staff members.
A lawyer for victims' families said that they will pursue wrongful death claims that the company glorified the gun in its marketing.
Nobody is above the law. That's really the takeaway from the decision. And even a gun company that is powerful, even a gun industry that is politically connected, and even in the face of statutory — some statutory protections, no industry is fully above the law.
Remington has long denied that it did anything wrong. It has also argued that federal law shields gun manufacturers from liability in most cases.
State legislatures in Arkansas and Utah have approved bills to ban most abortions after 18 weeks of pregnancy. The restrictions, adopted Wednesday, would be among the toughest in the nation. Arkansas' Governor is expected to sign the bill before him, while Utah's governor is still weighing his decision.
A wide swathe of the country spent another day under assault from a late-winter storm. It brought whiteout conditions and flooding in Nebraska, plus heavy rain in the Dakotas and Iowa. In Colorado, crews worked to reopen interstates after a blizzard and hurricane-force winds whipped through the region. Meanwhile, a tornado touched ground in Western Kentucky, injuring one person.
Democrats in the U.S. House charged today that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross lied about adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. At a hearing, House Oversight Chair Elijah Cummings said documents show that Ross pushed to add the question, and misled Congress about it.
Missouri Democrat Lacy Clay challenged Ross directly, as the secretary defended his previous statements.
I have never intentionally misled Congress or even intentionally said anything incorrect under oath.
Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo.:
Mr. Secretary, you lied to Congress. You misled the American people. And you are complicit in the Trump administration's intent to suppress the growing political power of the non-white population.
Democrats say the citizenship question would discourage immigrants from taking part in the census. Ross promised that the census data will not be used for immigration enforcement. The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a legal challenge to the question next month.
Television actor Jussie Smollett pled not guilty today to charges that he staged an alleged attack in Chicago. The star of the show "Empire" said nothing publicly before or after the hearing in court. His lawyer submitted the plea to 16 counts of disorderly conduct. Smollett says that he was attacked by two men who were shouting racial and homophobic slurs. Police say he staged it, in a bid for publicity and better pay.
The Chinese telecom giant Huawei has entered a not guilty plea to charges of violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. That came today at an arraignment in Brooklyn, New York. Huawei's chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, was arrested in Canada in December, and is awaiting extradition to the U.S.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained seven points to close near 25710. The Nasdaq fell 12 points, and the S&P 500 slipped two.
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