Schumer wants funds to go to fighting gun violence instead of to the border wall

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer is preparing to formally request that the $5 billion Trump’s administration would like spent on a border wall instead go to countering gun violence.

“The dual scourges of gun violence and violent white supremacist extremism in this country are a national security threat plain and simple, and it’s time the Trump administration and Republicans in congress starting treating them as such,” the New York Democrat said in a statement. “Now Republicans and this administration need to put their money where their mouth is when it comes to addressing gun violence and stopping the rise of domestic terrorism, especially stemming from white supremacy.”

Schumer said that he was going to make the push in response to what he had called a “clarion call” from FBI Director Christopher Wray for more support to go after extremist threats at home. Wray briefed the Senate Democratic caucus by phone last week, following the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio.

The minority leader’s office cited plans that the Republican-led Senate Appropriations Committee was preparing to provide less funding for a variety of domestic programs including health and education in order to get the resources needed for the wall.

Schumer wants the money to go to a variety of programs including CDC research on gun violence, as well as Homeland Security and FBI programs, his office said.

—CQ-Roll Call

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Trump endorses a Curt Schilling bid for Congress in Arizona: ‘Terrific!’

Former Arizona Diamondbacks and Boston Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling can count on the endorsement of President Donald Trump if he decides to run for Congress in Arizona.

The former Major League Baseball player-turned conservative talk show host is weighing a congressional run in the Copper State, he told the Arizona Republic this week.

Trump took to Twitter on Tuesday to support that potential development, writing that Schilling was a “great pitcher and patriot” and that it is “terrific!” he is considering running in Arizona.

Schilling, who is listed as a Massachusetts resident, has long been one of Major League Baseball’s most politically active former players. In 2016 and 2017, he expressed interest in running to unseat Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts before ultimately backing out of the race. He actively campaigned for Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 and supported President George W. Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004.

He endorsed Trump in 2016 and has vehemently defended the Trump administration as a commentator for the conservative media outlet Blaze TV.

Schilling first publicly speculated about a move to Arizona to run for Congress in 2020 this past Sunday in a radio interview with Armed American Radio’s Mark Walters.

—CQ-Roll Call

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Man charged with weapons offense a day after shooting at VA hospital in Chicago

CHICAGO — A man who walked into a Veterans Affairs hospital on Chicago’s Near West Side Monday with a semi-automatic rifle after firing shots outside the hospital has been charged in federal court with illegally possessing a firearm because of his background as a convicted felon, authorities said.

The criminal complaint alleged that Bernard Harvey, 40, of Indianapolis, had fired shots outside the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center before entering the hospital’s Taylor Street entrance while holding the rifle with its muzzle pointed toward the floor.

Law enforcement officers saw Harvey in the clinic area and ordered him to drop the rifle, according to the charges. He complied and then dropped to the floor himself on orders of the officers, the complaint said. He was then placed under arrest.

Outside, officers found 6 mm casings near the Taylor Street entrance, the complaint said. A witness told officers he saw Harvey firing a gun while walking west on Taylor before entering the hospital.

“We avoided tragedy here in the city of Chicago today,” Jeffrey Sallet, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Chicago office, told reporters after the incident Monday.

Nine months ago, a shooting at Mercy Hospital & Medical Center left three people in addition to the gunman dead.

At Harvey’s initial appearance in the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Susan Cox questioned if Harvey was able to understand the proceedings as she read him his rights.

At one point, the judge asked Harvey to confirm his name and birth date, but Harvey, speaking softly, was unable to give his age.

“Do either of you have any doubts about Mr. Harvey’s competency this afternoon?” Cox asked the prosecutor and Harvey’s court-appointed attorney.

His attorney, Santino Coleman, an assistant federal defender, said he has been trying to reach Harvey’s family and plans to look into his mental health.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Corey Rubenstein said reports from the Illinois Department of Correction indicate Harvey had spent time in psychiatric care but said it was “too early to weigh in on (mental) competency.”

Harvey will remain in custody until at least a detention hearing scheduled for Friday.

—Chicago Tribune

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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Copyright 2019 Tribune Content Agency.

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