Nation and world news briefs

©Tribune News Service

Democrats propose new restraints on White House aimed at Trump

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats on Wednesday rolled out a sweeping draft package of reforms they say would prevent future presidential abuses of power and more effectively combat foreign interference in U.S. elections.

The late congressional session package ranges from bills to expedite enforcement of subpoenas, to curbs on the use of presidential pardons and enhanced federal whistle-blower protections, to requirements for campaigns to report foreign contacts.

Some of these proposals directly relate to the frequent and ongoing stand-offs between President Donald Trump’s administration and Democratic-led House investigative committees, including testing the legal limits of constitutional checks and balances of the two branches of government.

It’s uncertain, however, whether a Democratic-led House would maintain its appetite for advancing those reforms if Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump in November.

“Since taking office, President Trump has placed his own personal and political interests above the national interest by protecting and enriching himself, targeting his political opponents, seeking foreign interference in our elections, eroding transparency, seeking to end accountability, and otherwise abusing the power of his office,” explained seven House committee chairman in a joint written statement, before releasing the package with Pelosi.

Led by Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler and Oversight and Reform Chair Carolyn Maloney, the seven chairmen added: “It is time for Congress to strengthen the bedrock of our democracy and ensure our laws are strong enough to withstand a lawless president.”

Some of the proposals would seek to clear up such matters as empowering courts to levy fines on government officials who deliberately fail to comply with congressional subpoenas, or tackle other issues such as whether presidents and vice presidents can be held accountable for criminal conduct and preventing them from using their offices as a shield to avoid legal consequences.

—Bloomberg News

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Bobcat fire investigation includes Southern California Edison equipment

LOS ANGELES — Federal officials are focusing on utility equipment around Cogswell Dam as part of their investigation into what sparked the massive Bobcat fire, according to paperwork filed with state utility regulators.

In an incident report filed with the California Public Utilities Commission last week, Southern California Edison indicated its grid experienced an issue near the area where the Bobcat fire started. The report was made after U.S. Forest Service investigators requested some of the utility’s equipment for inspection, the report states.

Ignition of the Bobcat fire was reported near the dam at 12:21 p.m. Sept. 6, the utility wrote in its filing.

Five minutes earlier, at 12:16 p.m., “the Jarvis 12 kV circuit out of Dalton Substation experienced a relay operation,” the utility wrote, indicating its equipment detected some kind of abnormal condition or event on the circuit.

The company said there already was smoke developing in the area prior to the activity on its circuit.

U.S. Forest Service officials requested a specific section of the utility’s overhead conductor be removed and handed over for inspection. Investigators were given the equipment Sept. 16, Edison spokesman David Song said.

“Southern California Edison understands this is a difficult time for the many people who are being impacted by the Bobcat fire,” he said. “Our thoughts are also with those affected by the wildfires currently burning across the western United States.”

The utility filed the incident report because of the request for equipment from the Forest Service, Edison officials explained in the filing with the utilities commission.

“While USFS has not alleged that SCE facilities were involved in the ignition of the Bobcat Fire, SCE submits this report in an abundance of caution given USFS’s interest in retaining SCE facilities in connection with its investigation,” the company wrote.

Since it began, the Bobcat fire, has scorched more than 113,000 acres of rugged terrain in and around the Angeles National Forest as it has threatened communities in both the San Gabriel and Antelope valleys. It has destroyed at least 29 structures and continues to threaten the Mount Wilson Observatory. As of Wednesday morning, it was 38% contained.

—Los Angeles Times

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Mike Tyson will vote for first time in 2020 election

Mike Tyson is ready to punch his ballot.

The boxer said he plans to vote for the first time in the 2020 presidential election.

“This election will be my 1st time voting,” Tyson tweeted Tuesday. “I never thought I could because of my felony record. I’m proud to finally vote.”

The former heavyweight champion also shared a link to help others register to vote.

Tyson, 54, served three years in prison after being convicted of rape and two counts of deviant sexual conduct in 1992, according to CNN.

While many states prohibit people convicted of felonies from voting, a law was passed in 2019 in Nevada, where Tyson lives, that restored the right to vote once someone is out of prison.

Tyson, who last fought in 2005, has been training for a boxing comeback, and is scheduled to face off with Roy Jones Jr. on Nov. 28.

—New York Daily News

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