BARR CONFIRMED AS ATTORNEY GENERAL… The Senate voted 54-45 yesterday to confirm William Barr as attorney general to replace Jeff Sessions. Barr previously served as attorney general under the President George H.W. Bush administration. Barr will be tasked with overseeing Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential election. Democrats have pressed Barr to let Mueller finish the probe and release the results publicly. Barr has pledged not to interfere and to keep the investigation free of “partisan politics.”
TRUMP TO SIGN FUNDING BILL, DECLARE A NATIONAL EMERGENCY… The White House has confirmed that President Trump will sign a funding bill to avert another government shutdown, but will also declare a national emergency to fund his desired border wall. The funding bill has passed the Senate and House, but falls well short of the $5.7 billion Trump has demanded to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border. Trump’s emergency declaration faces not only resistance from some Republicans but threats of legal challenges from Democrats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and New York Senator Chuck Schumer said in a joint statement, “Declaring a national emergency would be a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall.” ABC reported last night that the Justice Department has warned the White House a national emergency declaration is nearly certain to be blocked by the courts at least temporarily.
ACLU SUES ASYLUM POLICY… The American Civil Liberties Union has joined other civil rights organizations in filing a federal lawsuit that challenges the Trump administration’s policy of requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their claims are processed in the U.S. The lawsuit argues that the policy violates the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, along with international laws and treaties that prohibit governments from deporting asylum seekers to countries where they may face danger. The lawsuit calls the “war on asylum seekers” a “war on our system of laws.”
FORMER FBI DIRECTOR ANDREW McCABE TALKS TRUMP… Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe says in a CBS interview that he was afraid he would be fired and his replacement might attempt a cover-up to protect President Trump following the firing of FBI Director James Comey. McCabe also indicated that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and other top Justice Department leaders discussed secretly recording Trump or using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from office. The full interview will air Sunday night on “60 Minutes.”
PARKLAND MASSACRE REMEMBERED ON ANNIVERSARY… Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High and other schools nationwide observed a moment of silence yesterday to mark the anniversary of the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at the school. The massacre intensified the nation’s gun debate over guns and made gun-law activists out of many students throughout the country. 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, a former student at the school with a long history of emotional problems and threats, has been charged with the killings and is currently awaiting trial.
PERSONS OF INTEREST QUESTIONED IN JUSSIE SMOLLETT BEATING… Chicago police last night declared that local media reports that the attack against actor Jussie Smollett was a hoax are unconfirmed. The reports surfaced as detectives were questioning two “persons of interest” who were captured on surveillance cameras in the area where Smollett said he was attacked last month. Smollett claims he was attacked by two men who hurled racist and homophobic slurs at him.
IN THEATERS… “Isn’t It Romantic” centers on a young woman who grows disenchanted with love and mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy. Rebel Wilson and Liam Hemsworth star in the PG-13 comedy. In “Alita: Battle Angel,” a deactivated female cyborg is revived, but cannot remember anything of her past life and goes on a quest to find out who she is. Rosa Salazar and Christoph Waltz star in the PG-13 sci-fi thriller.
ORLANDO 127 – Charlotte 89… The Magic jumped out to a 35-point halftime lead and coasted past the Hornets. Terrence Ross scored 21 points to lead a balanced scoring attack. Nikola Vucevic had 17 points and 11 rebounds.
New York 106 – ATLANTA 91… The Knicks cruised past the Hawks to end their 18-game losing streak. Dennis Smith Jr. dropped in 19 points to lead six players in double figures. DeAndre Jordan grabbed 13 boards to go with his 10 points.
NEW ORLEANS 131 – Oklahoma City 122… Julius Randle scored 33 points and brought down 11 rebounds to lead the Pelicans past the Thunder. Jrue Holiday added 32 points.
All-Star Game Sunday in Charlotte
FLORIDA 3 – Calgary 2 (SO)… Vincent Trocheck’s goal in the third round of the shootout lifted the Panthers over the Flames. Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist. Goalie James Reimer stopped 41 shots.
N.Y. Islanders 3 – COLUMBUS 0… Goalie Thomas Greiss made 31 saves in his fourth shutout of the season and the Islanders breezed past the Blue Jackets. Casey Cizikas found the net twice.
DETROIT 3 – Ottawa 2… Andreas Athanasiou scored a pair of goals, including one on a penalty shot, as the Red Wings edged the Senators. Frans Nielsen netted the go-ahead goal in the second period. Jimmy Howard stopped 40 shots at goal in his 500th career game.
TAMPA BAY 6 – Dallas 0… Steven Stamkos scored two goals and assisted on another as the Lightning blanked the Stars. Nikita Kucherov scored a goal and had three assists. Goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 32 shots in his fifth shutout of the season.
NASHVILLE 3 – Montreal 1… The Predators got goals from Viktor Arvidsson, Brian Boyle and Ryan Hartman in skating past the Canadiens. Carey Price stopped 35 shots at goal.
Colorado 4 – WINNIPEG 1… Dominic Toninato and Gabriel Landeskog opened the scoring with back-to-back goals in the first period and the Avalanche coasted past the Jets. Matt Nieto set up two goals.
CHICAGO 5 – New Jersey 2… The Blackhawks made it eight wins in nine games by skating past the Devils. Patrick Kane scored a goal and had two assists. Artem Anisimov and Brandon Saad each had a goal and an assist.
St. Louis 4 – ARIZONA 0… The Blues thrashed the Coyotes and ran their winning streak to eight games. Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals. Joel Edmundson added a goal and an assist.
Toronto 6 – VEGAS 3… The Maple Leafs closed with three straight goals to double up on the Golden Knights. Auston Matthews scored two goals and had an assist. Mitch Marner and Morgan Rielly added a goal and an assist apiece. Kasperi Kapanen and Jake Muzzin each had two assists.
Washington 5 – SAN JOSE 1… The Wizards scored five straight goals to breeze past the Sharks after spotting them an early lead. T.J. Oshie netted a pair of goals and set up another. Alex Ovechkin, Jakub Vrana and Tom Wilson each had a goal and an assist. Nicklas Backstrom assisted on two goals.
Vancouver 4 – LOS ANGELES 3 (SO)… Brock Boeser netted the winning goal in the shootout to give the Canucks a come-from-behind win over the Kings. Adam Gaudette’s goal tied the game with 1:38 left in regulation. Elias Pettersson contributed a goal and an assist.
TONIGHT’S NHL SCHEDULE…
the N.Y. Rangers are at Buffalo…
Carolina hosts Edmonton…
New Jersey is at Minnesota…
Anaheim hosts Boston
TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES…
#3 Gonzaga 73, LOYOLA-MARYMOUNT 60…
#9 Houston 71, CONNECTICUT 63