The Rundown for January 8, 2020

IRAN LAUNCHES MISSILE ATTACK… Iran launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two bases in Iraq that host U.S. military and coalition troops. The attacks at Ain al-Asad and Irbil bases caused unknown damage, the Pentagon said. Immediately after the attacks, Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned the U.S. and its regional allies against retaliating. President Trump tweeted last night that “All is well” and said he would make a statement this morning.

McCONNELL VOWS GOP WILL SET RULES FOR IMPEACHMENT TRIAL… Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he has enough support from his fellow Republicans to set the rules for President Trump’s impeachment trial. The announcement dealt a blow to Democrats, who argue that it won’t be a fair trial unless they’re able to call several White House officials and Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton to testify. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer warned that Republicans know their constituents want a fair trial and vowed to force votes that put them on record.

PROSECUTORS WANT FLYNN JAILED… Prosecutors reversed course yesterday by urging a federal judge to sentence President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn to up to six months in jail. In their sentencing memo, prosecutors said Flynn has failed to accept responsibility for his actions and undermined a separate criminal case. The 61-year-old Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on January 28, more than two years after pleading guilty to lying to federal investigators.

TRUMP INAUGURATION DONOR CHARGED… A major donor to President Trump’s inaugural committee has been charged with obstructing a federal investigation into illegal contributions made to the president’s inaugural fund. Imaad Zuberi, a Los Angeles-based venture capitalist, is accused of obstructing the probe into contributors to the inaugural fund. Zuberi allegedly backdated a $50,000 check and deleted emails. In a separate recent case, Zuberi pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent, campaign-finance violations and tax evasion.

CONGRESSMAN DUNCAN HUNTER RESIGNS… Republican U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter of California, who pleaded guilty to corruption charges last month, has submitted his resignation letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Governor Gavin Newsom. The resignation is effective January 13. Hunter faces a maximum of five years in prison when he is sentenced on March 17. He and his wife were indicted last summer on five dozen criminal counts, including wire fraud, conspiracy and falsification of records. Hunter allegedly misused $250,000 in campaign funds for personal uses ranging from vacations to extramarital affairs to a plane ticket for his wife’s pet rabbit.

ENTERTAINMENT
WEINSTEIN CASE PROCEEDS… The judge presiding over the Harvey Weinstein sexual assault trial yesterday rejected a defense request for a “cooling-off period” and is pressing ahead with jury selection. Lawyers representing Weinstein requested a delay until after publicity generated by the new charges subsided. In refusing the postponement, Judge James Burke said he is confident the jury will understand that Weinstein is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

ROD STEWART TO TOUR… Rod Stewart has scheduled a 2020 North American summer tour that will feature special guest Cheap Trick. The 21-city tour kicks off on July 21 in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, and ends September 5 in Tinley Park, Illinois. Stewart says he’ll perform a number of his signature hits from throughout his career.

SPORTS
NBA SCORES
Detroit 115 – CLEVELAND 113… The Pistons rallied in the fourth quarter to get past the Cavaliers. Derrick Rose knocked down the winning jumper with 27 seconds left.

Portland 101 – TORONTO 99… Carmelo Anthony’s bucket with 4 seconds remaining lifted the Trail Blazers over the Raptors. Anthony led all scorers with 28 points. Hassan Whiteside grabbed 16 rebounds to go with his 14 points.

Oklahoma City 111 – BROOKLYN 103 (OT)… Chris Paul scored 20 of his 28 points after the third quarter as the Thunder outlasted the Nets. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 22 points. Steven Adams pulled down 18 boards.

MEMPHIS 119 – Minnesota 112… The Grizzlies were too much down the stretch in downing the Timberwolves. They got 28 points from Dillon Brooks and 25 from Ja Morant.

Sacramento 114 – PHOENIX 103… The Kings came from 21 points down in the third quarter to upend the Suns. De’Aaron Fox led the way with 27 points.

L.A. LAKERS 117 – New York 87… LeBron James pumped in 31 points to lead the Lakers in their rout of the Knicks. Four other players scored in double figures for Los Angeles.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Toronto is at Charlotte…
Indiana hosts Miami…
San Antonio is at Boston…
Orlando hosts Washington…
Denver is at Dallas…
Atlanta hosts Houston…
Chicago is at New Orleans…
Utah hosts New York…
Milwaukee is at Golden State

NHL SCORES
TAMPA BAY 9 – Vancouver 2… The Lightning scored six second-period goals to blow away the Canucks. Carter Vergaeghe recorded a hat trick. Brayden Point had a goal and three assists.

Arizona 5 – FLORIDA 2… Taylor Hall netted a tie-breaking goal and had an assist as the Coyotes topped the Panthers for their fourth straight win. Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal and two assists.

N.Y. Islanders 4 – NEW JERSEY 3 (OT)… Anders Lee lit the lamp with 51 seconds left in overtime to send the Islanders past the Devils. Tom Kuhnhackl tied the game with 5:46 left in regulation.

WASHINGTON 6 – Ottawa 1… T.J. Oshie and Alex Ovechkin scored two goals apiece as the Capitals skated past the Senators.

CAROLINA 5 – Philadelphia 4 (OT)… The Hurricanes overcame an early two-goal deficit, then let a two-goal lead slip away before Dougie Hamilton scored the winning goal 1:56 into overtime.

N.Y. RANGERS 5 – Colorado 3… Artemi Panarin scored a goal and assisted on two others in leading the Rangers past the Avalanche. Ryan Strome added a goal and an assist. Goalie Igor Shesterkin stopped 29 shots in his NHL debut.

DETROIT 4 – Montreal 3… Filip Zadina scored a tie-breaking goal with 3:52 remaining and the Red Wings made it stand in their win over the Canadiens. Frans Nielsen scored twice for Detroit.

ST. LOUIS 3 – San Jose 2… David Perron’s goal early in the third period proved to be the difference in the Blues’ defeat of the Sharks. Jordan Binnington made 28 saves at goal.

Boston 6 – NASHVILLE 2… Danton Heinen scored a goal and had an assist for the Bruins. Patrice Bergeron found the net for the third straight game. Goalie Tuukka Rask stopped 33 shots.

Calgary 2 – CHICAGO 1… Elias Lindholm scored twice in the second period and the Flames held on to clip the Blackhawks. Matthew Tkachuk assisted on both goals. Cam Talbot made 31 saves.

Columbus 4 – ANAHEIM 3… Zach Werenski scored with 11 seconds left in the second period and with 1:33 left in the third to carry the Blue Jackets past the Ducks. Pierre-Luc Dubois had three assists.

Pittsburgh 4 – VEGAS 3… The Penguins opened with three straight goals before Brandon Tanev netted the winning in the third period. Dominik Kahun had a goal and an assist.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Winnipeg is at Toronto…
Philadelphia hosts Washington…
Dallas is at Los Angeles

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
#4 Baylor 57, #22 TEXAS TECH 52…
#12 MARYLAND 67, #11 Ohio State 55…
#13 LOUISVILLE 74, Miami (Fla.) 58…
#14 Kentucky 78, GEORGIA 69…
#16 Villanova 64, CREIGHTON 59…
BOSTON COLLEGE 60, #18 Virginia 53…
RUTGERS 72, #20 Penn State 61

NFL COACHING HIRES… The New York Giants have reportedly selected New England Patriots wide receivers coach Joe Judge to become the team’s next head coach. The 38-year-old Judge would replace Pat Shurmur, who was fired last week after two seasons… Baylor coach Matt Rhule has agreed on a seven-year contract to become the Carolina Panthers’ next coach. The 44-year-old Ruhle takes over a Carolina team that finished 5-11 in 2019. He will replace Ron Rivera, who was fired with four games left in the just-concluded regular season.

MLB NEWS: RED SOX INVESTIGATED FOR SIGN STEALING… Major League Baseball is investigating the Boston Red Sox for allegedly using their video replay room to steal signs from opposing pitchers and catchers during their 2018 World Series championship season. The Athletic cited three anonymous people who were with the team in reporting that Boston players would visit the replay room to decipher their opponents’ sign sequence and then relay the information to the dugout. Someone from the Red Sox dugout would then communicate with a baserunner, who would use body movements to relay pitch information to the batter. Red Sox manager Alex Cora, who guided Boston to the World Series title in his debut 2018 season, could also be facing discipline as part of MLB’s investigation of the 2017 Houston Astros for alleged sign stealing. Cora was the Astros’ bench coach that season.

The Rundown for January 7, 2020

BOLTON SAYS HE’S PREPARED TO TESTIFY… Former National Security Adviser John Bolton announced yesterday that he is “prepared to testify” if the Senate issues him a subpoena for President Trump’s impeachment trial. The announcement defies Trump’s repeated efforts to block most senior aides and advisers from testifying in the House inquiry into his dealings with the government of Ukraine. Bolton’s willingness to cooperate is likely to put the spotlight on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has consistently refused to commit to calling witnesses to testify at the trial.

HOUSE TO VOTE ON WAR POWERS RESOLUTION… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will vote this week on a “War Powers Resolution” aimed at setting limits on President Trump’s military actions against Iran. Pelosi sent a letter to Democratic members of Congress explaining that the resolution “reasserts Congress’ long-established oversight responsibilities by mandating that if no further congressional action is taken, the administration’s military hostilities with regard to Iran cease within 30 days.” The Trump administration is deploying thousands of additional troops to the Middle East after last week’s airstrike that killed Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani.

ESPER DENIES IRAQ PULLOUT… Defense Secretary Mark Esper denies that U.S. troops are pulling out of Iraq. The denial came in response to a letter by Brigadier General William H Seely, head of the US military’s task force in Iraq, who wrote that the U.S. would be “repositioning forces in the coming days and weeks” after Iraq’s government had called for them to leave. Esper insists there has been “no decision whatsoever to leave.”

DEFENSE SECRETARY’S CHIEF OF STAFF STEPPING DOWN… Eric Chewning intends to step down as chief of staff to Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the end of the month. He’ll become the most recent high-profile civilian to leave the Pentagon. Chewning will be replaced by Jen Stewart, the top Republican staffer on the House Armed Services Committee and a former top adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

DRONE FLIGHTS INVESTIGATED… The FBI, FAA and U.S. Air Force have joined forces to investigate the mysterious swarms of drones that have been reported in the skies over Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. Authorities in the three states have received more than 30 reports of the flights since mid-December. Several of the reports noted the drones were flying in formation, but the military and local companies have denied responsibility.

ENTERTAINMENT
WEINSTEIN HIT WITH LOS ANGELES RAPE, SEXUAL-ASSAULT CHARGES… Film producer Harvey Weinstein was charged with rape and sexual assault in Los Angeles yesterday while he was appearing in a New York court in a separate case. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said the charges are related to the alleged sexual assault of two women over two days in 2013. If convicted, Weinstein could face up to 28 years in prison.

‘JACKBOYS’ TOPS ALBUM CHART… The Travis Scott-led “Jackboys” project sold 154,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 album chart. Roddy Ricch’s “Please Excuse Me for Being Antisocial” jumped into second place after selling 74,000 units. Post Malone’s “Hollywood Bleeding” rose to third place on sales of 64,000 copies. Last week’s champ, Harry Styles’ “Fine Line,” slipped to fourth place with 54,000 units sold. The “Frozen II” soundtrack capped the top five after selling 46,000 copies.

SPORTS
NBA SCORES
PHILADELPHIA 120 – Oklahoma City 113… Josh Richardson scored 23 points to lead six players in double figures and the 76ers topped the Thunder to snap their five-game skid. Ben Simmons had 17 points and 15 rebounds.

Indiana 115 – CHARLOTTE 104… T.J. Warren pumped in 30 of his 36 points in the second half to lead the Pacers past the Hornets. Domantas Sabonis had 18 points and 12 boards.

WASHINGTON 99 – Boston 94… The Wizards got 27 points from Ish Smith in surprising the Celtics. Four other players scored in double figures for Washington.

ORLANDO 101 – Brooklyn 89… Markelle Fultz scored seven straight points during a 15-1 fourth-quarter run and finished with a career-high 25 points in the Magic’s win over the Nets.

Denver 123 – ATLANTA 115… Nikola Jokic poured in 47 points as the Nuggets downed the Hawks. Will Barton added 28 points.

Utah 128 – NEW ORLEANS 126… The Jazz held on down the stretch to top the Pelicans for their sixth straight win. Bojan Bogdanovic led the way with 35 points. Joe Ingles tossed in 22 points. Rudy Gobert pulled down 19 rebounds to go with his nine points.

SAN ANTONIO 126 – Milwaukee 104… The Spurs knocked down 19 3-pointers on their way past the Bucks. DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 25 points.

DALLAS 118 – Chicago 110… Luka Doncic piled up 38 points, 10 assists and 11 boards in his 11th triple-double of the season and the Mavericks handled the Bulls.

SACRAMENTO 111 – Golden State 98… The Kings built a double-digit halftime lead and coasted past the Warriors. D’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield scored 21 points apiece.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Detroit is at Cleveland…
Toronto hosts Portland…
Oklahoma City is at Brooklyn…
Memphis hosts Minnesota…
Sacramento is at Phoenix…
the L.A. Lakers host New York

NHL SCORES
Edmonton 6 – TORONTO 4… Connor McDavid scored a goal and had three assists in leading the Oilers past the Maple Leafs. A Chiasson and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist.

Winnipeg 3 – MONTREAL 2… Nikolaj Ehlers scored a short-handed goal and had an assist as the Jets held off the Canadiens. Blake Wheeler assisted on two goals.

N.Y. ISLANDERS 1 – Colorado 0… Goalie Semyon Varlamov stopped all 32 shots in the Islanders’ shutout of the Avalanche. Anders Lee scored the game’s only goal at 6:54 of the third period.

Columbus 4 – LOS ANGELES 2… Scott Harrington and scored in the second period to give the Blue Jackets the lead for good in their win over the Kings. Elvis Merzlikins made 37 saves at goal.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Vancouver is at Tampa Bay…
Florida hosts Arizona…
the N.Y. Islanders are at New Jersey…
Washington hosts Ottawa…
Philadelphia is at Carolina…
the N.Y. Rangers host Colorado…
Montreal is at Detroit…
St. Louis hosts San Jose…
Boston is at Nashville…
Chicago hosts Calgary…
Pittsburgh is at Vegas…
Anaheim hosts Columbus

NHL NEWS… The Nashville Predators fired head coach Peter Laviolette and assistant coach Kevin McCarthy yesterday. No interim coach or new head coach was immediately named. Laviolette took over as coach in 2014 and his teams went 248-143-60, reaching the Stanley Cup Final in 2017. Laviolette also reached the finals with the Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers. He won the Cup with Carolina in 2006.

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
#17 West Virginia 55, OKLAHOMA STATE 41

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCORE
Louisiana 27, Miami (OH) 17 in the LendingTree Bowl

The Rundown for January 6, 2020

IRAN ABANDONS TERMS OF NUCLEAR AGREEMENT… Iran’s government announced yesterday that it will no longer abide by terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement following the U.S.’ assassination of Major-General Qassem Soleimani. The announcement followed a meeting of Iran’s National Security Council to discuss the country’s nuclear policy. Iran has vowed to no longer limit its enrichment of uranium along with research and development in its nuclear activities.

TRUMP VOWS ‘DISPROPORTIONATE’ RETALIATION… President Trump declared on Twitter yesterday that Iran can expect “disproportionate” retaliation to any attacks on U.S. citizens or American facilities. Trump also said his Twitter posts “will serve as notification to the United States Congress.” Trump drew widespread condemnation yesterday for a tweet that claimed cultural sites were among potential targets that the U.S. has identified in Iran. Some critics have claimed that actions taken against cultural sites would be a violation of international law.

TO IRAQI PARLIAMENT VOTES TO EXPEL U.S… Iraqi lawmakers voted yesterday to expel U.S. troops from their country. Prior to the vote, they changed “Death to America!” in the parliamentary chambers. The expulsion order will now go before Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, who has suggested he will sign it.

3 AMERICANS KILLED IN KENYA… The Pentagon has confirmed that three Americans were killed in an attack by extremist group al-Shabab early yesterday on Camp Simba in Kenya near the Somalia border. The dead included one U.S. service member and two Department of Defense contractors, according to a statement. Two wounded Americans were evacuated with injuries and reported to be in stable condition. Four of the attackers were reportedly killed when they tried to breach security at the base at Manda Bay Airfield, which is used by the U.S. military.

AT LEAST 5 DEAD IN PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE CRASH… An early-morning crash yesterday on the Pennsylvania Turnpike left at least five people dead and 39 others hospitalized. A tour bus, three tractor-trailers loaded with parcels and a passenger vehicle were involved in the six-vehicle crash, according to the Pennsylvania State Police. Authorities say the tour bus was traveling on a downhill curve in Westmoreland County when it struck an embankment and was hit by vehicles behind it.

ENTERTAINMENT
GOLDEN GLOBES… The World War I film “1917” was honored as Best Motion Picture Drama at last night’s 77th Golden Globe Awards.“Once Upon A Time … In Hollywood” picked up awards for Best Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor for Brad Pitt and Best Musical or Comedy film. Best Actor in a Drama went to Joaquin Phoenix for “Joker,” and best actress to Renee Zellweger in “Judy.” Taron Egerton, who played Elton John in “Rocketman,” won for Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy, while Best Actress in a Comedy was Awkwafina in “The Farewell.” Laura Dern won Best Supporting Actress in a film for “Marriage Story.” “Parasite” was honored as Best Foreign Language film. In television, “Succession” was best drama series, and “Fleabag” was best comedy series. Brian Cox of “Succession,” Olivia Colman of “The Crown,” Phoebe Waller-Bridge of “Fleabag” and Ramy Youssef of “Ramy” were actors who were honored. Stellan Skarsgard of “Chernobyl” and Patricia Arquette of “The Act” won supporting actors awards. “Chernobyl” was named Best Limited Series or Movie.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE… “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” took in $33.7 to remain atop the weekend box office. “Jumanji: The Next Level” finished second with $26.5 million. “Little Women” jumped one spot into third place after bringing in $13.5. “The Grudge” finished fourth with $11.3 million. “Frozen 2” made $11.2 million to finish fifth. The weekend haul made “Frozen s” the biggest-grossing animated movie of all-time with $1.325 billion globally.

SPORTS
NFL WILD-CARD ROUND PLAYOFF SCORES
Minnesota 26 – NEW ORLEANS 20 (OT)… The Vikings recovered to outlast the Saints in their NFC wild-round matchup after letting a 10-point fourth-quarter lead slip away. Kirk Cousins connected with Kyle Rudolph on a 4-yard touchdown pass at 10:40 of overtime. Adam Thielen’s 43-yard reception set up the winning score. Delvin Cook rushed for a pair of scores. Minnesota travels to San Francisco for next Saturday’s divisional-round clash.

Seattle 17 – PHILADELPHIA 9… The Seahawks fought off the Eagles in the other NFC wild-round contest. Marshawn Lynch ran 5 yards in the second quarter for the game’s first touchdown. Russell Wilson threw 53 yards to DK Metcalfe for a third-quarter score and finished with 325 passing yards. Seattle heads to Green Bay for next Sunday’s divisional-round showdown.

NBA SCORES
L.A. CLIPPERS 135 – N.Y. Knicks 132… The Clippers rallied past the Knicks after trailing by 16 heading into the second quarter. Montrezl Harrell scored a game-high 34 points. Paul George and Lou Williams added 32 points apiece. Kawhi Leonard sat out the game with a knee injury.

MIAMI 122 – Portland 111… The Heat built a 19-point lead and coasted past the Trail Blazers. Goran Dragic came off the bench to score 29 points and dish off 13 assists. Miami had six other players score in double figures.

Minnesota 118 – CLEVELAND 103… The Timberwolves regrouped to put away the Cavaliers after letting a 25-point lead slip away. Gorgui Dieng led the way with 22 points. Shabazz Napier added 21 points.

Memphis 121 – PHOENIX 114… The Grizzlies took control with a big third quarter and held off the Suns. Jonas Valanciunas scored 30 points to lead six players in double figures. Devin Booker’s 40 points weren’t enough for Phoenix.

L.A. LAKERS 106 – Detroit 99… The Lakers were too much in the fourth quarter as they pulled past the Pistons. Anthony Davis scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. LeBron James piled up 21 points, 14 boards and 11 assists.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Oklahoma City is at Philadelphia…
Charlotte hosts Indiana…
Boston is at Washington…
Orlando hosts Brooklyn…
Denver is at Atlanta…
New Orleans hosts Utah…
Milwaukee is at San Antonio…
Dallas hosts Chicago…
Golden State is at Sacramento

NHL SCORES
WASHINGTON 5 – San Jose 4 (OT)… The Capitals came from two goals down in the final minute of regulation to outlast the Sharks. After San Jose’s Logan Couture scored what appeared to be a victory-sealing empty-net goal with a minute to go, Jakub Brana found the net with 47 seconds left and T.J. Oshie added the tying goal 32 seconds later. Lars Eller scored the winning goal with 2:59 remaining in overtime.

Florida 4 – PITTSBURGH 1… The Panthers skated past the Penguins to snap their eight-game winning streak. Mike Hoffman had a goal and an assist. Rookie goalie Chris Driedger made 31 saves.

Tampa Bay 3 – CAROLINA 1… The Lightning downed the Hurricanes for their seventh straight win. Steven Stamkos scored a goal and assisted on another. Nikita Kucherov assisted on two goals.

Calgary 5 – MINNESOTA 4 (SO)… Dillon Dube scored the winning goal in the shootout after the Flames trailed the Wild four times in regulation. Mikael Backlund and Johnny Gaudreau each had two assists.

CHICAGO 4 – Detroit 2… The Blackhawks erased a two-goal deficit late in the second period to double up on the Red Wings. Adam Boqvist netted the go-ahead goal in the third period.

ANAHEIM 5 – Nashville 4 (SO)… Ryan Getzlaf scored the winning goal in the shootout as the Ducks outlasted the Predators. Getzlaf had three assists in regulation. Adam Henrique had two goals and an assist.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Edmonton is at Toronto…
Montreal hosts Winnipeg…
Colorado is at the N.Y. Islanders…
Los Angeles hosts Columbus

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
#14 MICHIGAN STATE 87, #12 Michigan 69…
#20 Dayton 80, SAINT JOSEPH’S 67

TODAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
Louisiana plays Miami (OH) in the LendingTree Bowl

The Rundown for January 3, 2020

U.S. AIRSTRIKES IN BAGHDAD… A U.S. airstrike on a convoy in Baghdad airport yesterday killed five members of Iraqi paramilitary groups and two “guests,” according to reports from Iraqi paramilitary groups. The targets included Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. The Pentagon released a statement claiming that Suleimani was planning attacks on American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the Middle East. Soleimani was Iran’s most revered military leader and was hailed as a “living martyr” by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

DEFENSE OFFICIALS FEARED HOLDING OF UKRAINE AID… The national-security forum Just Security has released unredacted emails that reveal Pentagon officials panicking about President Trump’s decision to withhold military aid to Ukraine and the legal ramifications involved. Defense Department officials feared that the decision to hold the promised aid would violate the Impoundment Control Act, which requires the Executive Branch to spend money as agreed by Congress. “Clear direction from POTUS to continue to hold,” associate director of national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget Michael Duffey told acting Pentagon comptroller Elaine McCusker in an August 30 email. The emails didn’t reveal why the aid was withheld, nor why it was later lifted.

MORE MUELLER INVESTIGATION DOCUMENTS RELEASED… The Justice Department yesterday released more than 350 pages of FBI memos from key witness interviews in the special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. The release followed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by CNN and BuzzFeed News. The memos include interviews with Stephen Miller, Sarah Sanders, Rob Porter, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, among others. Highlights included: Trump told White House counsel Don McGahn and then deputy White House counsel Uttam Dhillon that the communications team could not get the story right about the firing of former FBI Director James Comey, so he was going to participate in an interview with NBC’s Lester Holt to say what really happened; White House policy adviser Stephen Miller described the process for crafting the letter that was used to fire Comey; Trump’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen told the FBI at some point he and Trump attorney Jay Sekulow discussed the concept of Trump issuing “pre pardons,” or pardons to everyone so that no one had to comply with the investigations; Translator Ike Kaveladze recalled Donald Trump Jr. asking, “Is there anything you have on HILLARY?” during a June 2016 meeting with Russians in Trump Tower; and Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort’s claim that he used Fox News host Sean Hannity as a “back channel” to Trump in the period between the FBI raid of his apartment and his indictment months later.

CONGRESS WEIGHS IN ON ROE V. WADE… More than 200 members of Congress are asking the Supreme Court to consider overturning Roe v. Wade, which guarantees the right to an abortion. 39 senators and 168 House members have submitted an amicus brief urging the court to uphold a Louisiana law severely restricting abortion. The brief is in response to the case of June Medical Services LLC v. Gee, which the Supreme Court will consider this spring. The plaintiff challenged a Louisiana law passed in 2014 that requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a local hospital within 30 miles of the facility where the abortion is performed. Lawmakers argue that the Supreme Court should uphold the 5th Circuit appeals court decision that found that the law did not place an “undue burden” on women seeking an abortion.

CASTRO ENDS PRESIDENTIAL BID… Julián Castro announced yesterday that he is ending his presidential bid. “I’ve determined that it simply isn’t our time,” the former housing secretary and only Latino candidate in the Democratic nomination field said. Castro rarely scored more than 2 percent support in national or early-voting state surveys and qualified only for the first four primary debates. He nonetheless vowed to continue fighting.

SOME E-CIGARETTE FLAVORS BANNED… The Trump administration has imposed a national ban on some e-cigarette flavors to combat rising vaping among teens. The ban applies to mint and fruit flavors that are offered in cartridge-based e-cigarettes. Menthol and tobacco flavors, as well as fruit flavors delivered in other ways, will be allowed. South Korea, India, Brazil are among dozens of other countries that have announced widespread vaping bans. Restrictions have been imposed in other countries.

ENTERTAINMENT
NETFLIX RENEWS ‘RAISING DON’… Netflix announced yesterday that it is renewing its superhero drama “Raising Dion” for a second season. The series is based on the Dennis Liu comic book and short film of the same name. It follows a young boy who begins to show superhuman abilities after the death of his father. Ja’Siah Young, Michael B. Jordan and Alisha Wainwright star in the series.

IN THEATERS… In “The Grudge,” a vengeful ghost curses a house and dooms those who enter it with a violent death. Tara Westwood and Junko Bailey star in the R-rated horror film.

SPORTS
NBA SCORES
Charlotte 109 – CLEVELAND 106… Devonte Graham knocked down a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 26 seconds remaining and the Hornets hung on to down the Cavaliers. Terry Rozier led all scorers with 30 points.

Denver 124 – INDIANA 116… The Nuggets overcame an early double-digit deficit to get past the Pacers. Michael Porter delivered 25 points off the bench. Nicola Jokic and Jamal Murray tossed in 22 points apiece.

MIAMI 84 – Toronto 76… The Heat clamped down defensively to smother the Raptors. Bam Adebayo led a balanced scoring attack with 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.

MINNESOTA 99 – Golden State 84… The Timberwolves jumped out to a 15-point lead after the first quarter and never looked back in their win over the Warriors. Robert Covington and Shabazz Napier scored 20 points apiece. Covington also had 10 boards.

Utah 102 – CHICAGO 98… The Jazz took control with a 24-4 third-quarter run and held off the Bulls. Bojan Bogdanovic led the way with 19 points.

DALLAS 123 – Brooklyn 111… Luka Doncic scored 15 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks pulled away from the Nets. He also pulled down 13 rebounds. Seth Curry added 25 points off the bench.

Oklahoma City 109 – SAN ANTONIO 103… The Thunder came up big in the fourth quarter to win at San Antonio for the first time in 10 tries. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander pumped in 25 points.

SACRAMENTO 128 – Memphis 123… The Kings rallied past the Grizzlies in the fourth quarter after trailing by 16 points heading into the second quarter. They got 27 points from D’Aaron Fox and 26 from Buddy Hield.

L.A. CLIPPERS 126 – Detroit 112… The Clippers bombed the Pistons 37-16 in the third quarter and coasted to the victory. Montrezl Harrell came off the bench to score 23 points. Lou Williams added 22 points. L.A. had four other players score in double figures.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Miami is at Orlando…
Washington hosts Portland…
Atlanta is at Boston…
Houston hosts Philadelphia…
New York is at Phoenix…
the L.A. Lakers host New Orleans

NHL SCORES
Columbus 2 – BOSTON 1 (OT)… Pierre-Luc Dubois scored the winning goal 52 seconds into overtime to send the Blue Jackets past the Bruins. Goalie Elvis Merzlikins made 25 saves.

BUFFALO 3 – Edmonton 2 (OT)… The Sabres upended the Oilers after spotting them an early two-goal lead. Jack Eichel scored the winning goal on a penalty shot 1:09 into overtime.

Tampa Bay 2 – MONTREAL 1… Nikita Kucherov netted a tie-breaking breaking goal in the first period and the Lightning made it stand in their defeat of the Canadiens. Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 38 shots at goal.

New Jersey 2 – N.Y. ISLANDERS 1… Nico Hischier scored the decisive goal early in the third period as the Devils edged the Islanders. P.K. Subban netted the tying goal with 1:27 left in the second period.

San Jose 3 – PITTSBURGH 2 (OT)… Brent Burns scored 2:02 into overtime to lift the Sharks over the Penguins. Goalie Aaron Dell made 36 saves.

Florida 6 – OTTAWA 3… The Panthers scored four unanswered goals in the second period to put away the Senators. Evgenii Dadonov scored two goals and had an assist.

Toronto 6 – WINNIPEG 3… William Nylander scored two goals and assisted on another as the Maple Leafs doubled up on the Jets. Kasperi Kapanen added a goal and an assist.

CALGARY 4 – N.Y. Rangers 3… The Flames clipped the Rangers after blowing an early two-goal lead. Sean Monahan scored the game-winner in the second period.

ARIZONA 4 – Anaheim 2… The Coyotes scored three straight goals in the third period to double up on the Ducks. Brad Richardson scored the tie-breaking goal.

COLORADO 7 – St. Louis 3… Nazem Kadri netted two goals to lead the Avalanche in their pounding of the Blues. Nathan MacKinnon had a goal and three assists. Samuel Girard assisted on four goals.

VANCOUVER 7 – Chicago 5… Adam Gaudette broke a tie late in the third period and Bo Horvat scored his second goal into an empty net as the Canucks outshot the Blackhawks. J.T. Miller had a goal and three assists.

VEGAS 5 – Philadelphia 4… Max Pacioretty scored two of the Golden Knights’ four first-period goals in the win over the Flyers. Paul Stastny had two assists.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Washington is at Carolina…
Dallas hosts Detroit

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCORES
#21 Cincinnati 38, Boston College 6 in the Birmingham Bowl…
Tennessee 23, Indiana 22 in the Gator Bowl

TODAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
Ohio plays Nevada in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl

SATURDAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
Southern Mississippi plays Tulane in the Armed Forces Bowl

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
#1 Gonzaga 85, PORTLAND 72…
COLORADO 74, #4 Oregon 65…
#14 MICHIGAN STATE 76, Illinois 56…
#20 Dayton 84, LA SALLE 58

SATURDAY’S NFL WILD-CARD ROUND PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Buffalo is at Houston…
New England hosts Tennessee

SUNDAY’S NFL WILD-CARD ROUND PLAYOFF SCHEDULE
Minnesota is at New Orleans…
Philadelphia hosts Seattle

NFL NEWS… Former NFL head coach Sam Wyche, who coached the Cincinnati Bengals to an appearance in Super Bowl XXIII, died yesterday morning after a battle with melanoma. He was 74. Wyche coached the Bengals for eight seasons from 1984 to 1991. He also was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for four seasons from 1992 to 1995.

The Rundown for January 2, 2020

EMBASSY CRISIS IN BAGHDAD OVER… The unrest at the U.S. embassy compound in Baghdad came to an end yesterday after Iran-backed militiamen withdrew after setting fire to the roof. Supporters of the Kataib Hezbollah militia left the compound after trapping diplomats inside. Protesters were angered by U.S. airstrikes that killed 25 fighters in retaliation for a rocket attack that killed an American contractor.

POMPEO POSTPONES UKRAINE TRIP... Rising tensions with Iran has prompted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to delay Friday’s scheduled trip to Ukraine. Pompeo was wet to visit Kyiv as part of a tour that included stops in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Cyprus. Pompeo was to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other high ranking officials.

MARIJUANA BECOMES LEGAL IN ILLINOIS… The sale of marijuana for recreational purposes became legal in Illinois yesterday to the excitement of thousands of consumers who formed long lines at dispensaries. The state became the 11th to legalize recreational cannabis. Some 43 stores in the state had received the necessary permits in time to sell recreational weed, according to the Chicago Tribune. On Tuesday, Governor JB Pritzker issued 11,017 pardons for people convicted of misdemeanor marijuana crimes in the state. Records of the pardoned crimes will be expunged in the coming months.

JUDGE ISSUES TEMPORARY INJUNCTION AGAINST GIG LAW… A federal judge has issued a temporary injunction against California’s gig-worker labor law that was scheduled to impact more than 70,000 independent truckers beginning yesterday. U.S. District Judge Roger Benitez scheduled a hearing for January 13, at which time he will decide whether to make the restraining order permanent. The law would make it harder for gig economy companies to qualify their workers as independent contractors rather than employees. California Governor Gavin Newsom signed the bill into law last September.

5 MISSING AFTER ALASKA CRAB BOAT SINKS… The Coast Guard announced yesterday that two people have been rescued but five people remain missing after a 130-foot crab fishing vessel from Dutch Harbor, Alaska, sank Tuesday night. Authorities say seven crew members were aboard the Scandies Rose when it went down after its captain issued a mayday distress call. A helicopter crew arrived and lifted two survivors from a life raft.

ENTERTAINMENT
MARIAH CAREY TOPS CHARTS AGAIN… Mariah Carey has become the first artist ever to top the Billboard charts in four decades. The singer’s version of the Christmas classic “All I Want For Christmas Is You” gave her a chart-topper on the Billboard Hot 100 in the 2020s after she recorded No. 1 songs in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s. The Billboard Hot 100 data combines radio airplay, sales and streaming data.

‘AVENGER’ ACTRESS CHARGED IN MURDER OF MOTHER… An actress who had a small role in “Captain America: The First Avenger” was arrested Tuesday in Olathe, Kansas, and charged with second-degree murder in the fatal stabbing her mother. Police found the body of the 68-year-old mother inside her home on December 20 after responding to a call of an armed disturbance. Authorities say the case remains under investigation.

SPORTS
NBA SCORES
Orlando 122 – WASHINGTON 101… D.J. Augustin pumped in a season-high 25 points as the Magic cruised past the Wizards. Nicola Vucevic totaled 20 points and 12 rebounds.

NEW YORK 117 – Portland 93… The Knicks used a big fourth quarter to put away the Trail Blazers for their third straight win. Mitchell Robinson came off the bench to make all 11 field-goal attempts on his way to 22 points. Julius Randle added 22 points and 13 boards.

MILWAUKEE 106 – Minnesota 104… The Bucks held on at the end to get past the short-handed Timberwolves. Giannis Antetokounpo had game-highs with 32 points and 17 rebounds.

L.A. LAKERS 117 – Phoenix 107… The Lakers jumped out to a 43-17 lead and withstood a second-half rally to down the Suns. LeBron James racked up 31 points, 13 boards and 12 assists. Anthony Davis added 26 points and 11 rebounds.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Charlotte is at Cleveland…
Indiana hosts Denver…
Toronto is at Miami…
Minnesota hosts Golden State…
Utah is at Chicago…
Dallas hosts Brooklyn…
Oklahoma City is at San Antonio…
Sacramento hosts Memphis…
Detroit is at the L.A. Clippers

FORMER NBA COMMISSIONER DAVID STERN DIES… Former NBA Commissioner David Stern died yesterday after suffering a brain hemorrhage last month. He was 77. Stern served as commissioner of the NBA from 1984 through 2014 and was subsequently named the league’s commissioner emeritus. He was the NBA’s longest-serving commissioner.

NHL SCORE
DALLAS 4 – Nashville 2… The Stars overcame an early two-goal deficit to cruise past the Predators in the Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Mattias Janmark tied the game early in the third period with the first of three straight Dallas goals. A little more than 4 minutes later, Alexander Radulov and Andrej Sekera found the net over a minute-and-a-half span. John Klingberg assisted on two goals.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Columbus is at Boston…
Buffalo hosts Edmonton…
Tampa Bay is at Montreal…
the N.Y. Islanders host New Jersey….
San Jose is at Pittsburgh…
Ottawa hosts Florida…
Toronto is at Winnipeg…
Calgary hosts the N.Y. Rangers…
Anaheim is at Arizona…
Colorado hosts St. Louis…
Chicago is at Vancouver…
Vegas hosts Philadelphia

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCORES
#18 Minnesota 31, #12 Auburn 24 in the Outback Bowl…
#13 Alabama 35, #14 Michigan 16 in the Citrus Bowl…
#6 Oregon 28, #8 Wisconsin 27 in the Rose Bowl…
#5 Georgia 26, #7 Baylor 14 in the Sugar Bowl

TODAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
#21 Cincinnati plays Boston College in the Birmingham Bowl…
Tennessee plays Indiana in the Gator Bowl

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
#13 SAN DIEGO STATE 61, Fresno State 52…
#24 WICHITA STATE 75, East Carolina 69

MLB NEWS
DON LARSEN DIES… Don Larsen, who pitched the only perfect game in World Series history, died yesterday in in Hayden, Idaho, of esophageal cancer. He was 90. Larsen played for seven teams over a 14-year career while posting a lifetime 81-91 record but made history on October 8, 1956, while with the New York Yankees. In Game 5 of the World Series, retired all 27 Brooklyn Dodgers batters and the Yankees went on to win that series in seven games.

The Rundown for December 31, 2019

IRAN VOWS ‘CONSEQUENCES’ FOR AIR STRIKES… Iran warned of “consequences” yesterday following Sunday’s U.S. airstrikes that targeted Iran-backed militia group Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq and Syria. The strikes killed 25 people and wounded at least 51 more, according to CNN. The strikes came weeks after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iranian-backed forces for a series of attacks on American bases in Iraq.

POMPEO TO VISIT UKRAINE… The State Department announced yesterday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv on January 3. The meeting will be part of the first leg of Pompeo’s five-day tour through Eastern Europe and Central Asia. The Ukraine visit will while U.S. Senators are returning from holiday recess and continuing negotiations with congressional leaders over terms for President Trump’s trial on charges related to his withholding of military aid from Ukraine. Trump is accused of using the aid as collateral in pressuring the Ukrainian government to launch investigations into his political rival Joe Biden.

JUDGE TOSSES LAWSUIT OVER WHITE HOUSE AIDE’S SUBPOENA… A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit that sought a ruling on whether former White House aide Charles Kupperman must comply with a congressional subpoena in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. U.S. District Judge Richard Leon called the lawsuit “moot” because a U.S. House of Representatives committee withdrew a subpoena seeking his testimony. House investigators subpoenaed Kupperman in October for his testimony in their investigation into Trump’s dealings with the Ukrainian government. Kupperman, who served as a deputy to former national security adviser John Bolton, listened to a July 25 call Trump made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. The White House instructed him not to comply with the subpoena. Legal observers noted that yesterday’s could force Bolton to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

MORE CHARGES AGAINST HANNUKAH STABBING SUSPECT… Prosecutors have filed federal hate crime charges against Hannukah stabbing suspect Grafton Thomas. The Greenwood Lake, New York, resident has pleaded not guilty to five state counts of attempted murder and one count of burglary stemming from a machete-wielding attack at the home of a Hasidic Jewish rabbi during a Hannukah party on Saturday night. He was ordered held on $5 million bail with his next court appearance Friday. FBI investigators say the 37-year-old Thomas possessed documents that expressed anti-Semitic views and referenced “Nazi culture.”

U.S. POPULATION GROWTH SLOWS… A Census Bureau report released yesterday found that the U.S. population growth rate in 2019 was the slowest in a century due to declining births, increasing deaths and immigration restrictions. The nation’s population grew from 2018 to 2019 by almost 1.5 million people, which is the slowest rate since 1917 to 1918 during World War I, the report claimed. President Trump’s restrictions on immigration, combined with fewer economic opportunities, were cited for a migration drop from 1 million in 2016 to 595,000 in 2019.

ENTERTAINMENT
SHARON STONE HAS DATING-APP ACCOUNT RESTORED… The women-driven dating app Bumble says it has restored the account of actress Sharon Stone. Her account was blocked after the platform’s moderators received several reports of a fake profile. The 62-year-old Stone, who is best-known for starring in the 1992 film “Basic Instinct,” was back up and running after complaining tweeting at Bumble about her block.

HARRY STYLES REMAINS ATOP ALBUM CHART… Harry Styles’ “Fine Line” sold 89,000 units to remain atop the weekend box office. Michael Buble’s “Christmas” rose into second place after selling 77,000 copies. Roddy Ricch’s “Please Excuse me for Being Antisocial” stayed at No. 3 on sales of 73,000 units. Mariah Carey’s “Merry Christmas” rose to fourth place with 71,000 copies sold. Billie Eilish’s “When We Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” finished fifth after selling 63,000 units.

SPORTS
NBA SCORES
WASHINGTON 123 – Miami 105… The Wizards bombed the Heat 42-24 in the second quarter to erase an early double-digit deficit and cruised to the victory. Jordan McRae pumped in 29 points. Garrison Matthews added 28 points and Ian Mahinmi tossed in 25.

Atlanta 101 – ORLANDO 93… The Hawks rallied in the second half to put away the Magic and end their 10-game losing streak. Brandon Goodwin scored 21 points to lead a balanced scoring attack.

Milwaukee 123 – CHICAGO 102… Kris Middleton’s 25 points led seven players in double figures and the Bucks throttled the Bulls. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 23 points and 10 rebounds.

MINNESOTA 122 – Brooklyn 115 (OT)… The Timberwolves outlasted the Nets despite playing without Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. They got 24 points from Shabazz Napier and 21 from Jarrett Culver. Gorgui Dieng pulled down 20 boards to go with his 11 points.

UTAH 104 – Detroit 81… The Jazz pulled away in the second half to rout the Pistons. Donovan Mitchell led the way with 23 points. Jordan Clarkson delivered 20 points off the bench. Rudy Gobert finished with 13 points and 19 rebounds.

Phoenix 122 – PORTLAND 116… The Suns rallied past the Trail Blazers after trailing by 19 heading into the second quarter. They got 33 points from Devin Booker and 29 from Kelly Oubre Jr. Ricky Rubio scored 18 points and dished off 13 assists.

TODAY’S NBA SCHEDULE
Philadelphia is at Indiana…
Charlotte hosts Boston…
the L.A. Clippers are at Sacramento…
San Antonio hosts Golden State
Cleveland is at Toronto…
Houston hosts Denver…
Dallas is at Oklahoma City

NHL SCORES
PITTSBURGH 5 – Ottawa 2… Evgeni Malkin scored two goals and assisted on another in leading the Penguins past the Senators. Jake Guentzel had a goal and two assists before leaving the game with an upper-body injury after being slammed into the boards.

TODAY’S NHL SCHEDULE
Boston is at New Jersey…
Washington hosts the N.Y. Islanders…
Anaheim is at Vegas…
Minnesota hosts Toronto…
Tampa Bay is at Buffalo…
Carolina hosts Montreal…
Florida is at Columbus…
Detroit hosts San Jose…
Winnipeg is at Colorado…
Calgary hosts Chicago…
the N.Y. Rangers are at Edmonton…
Arizona hosts St. Louis…
Philadelphia is at Los Angeles

COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCORES
Western Kentucky 23, Western Michigan 20 in the First Responder Bowl…
Louisville 38, Mississippi State 28 in the Music City Bowl…
California 35, Illinois 20 in the Redbox Bowl…
#9 Florida 36, #24 Virginia 28 in the Orange Bowl

TODAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
Virginia Tech plays Kentucky in the Belk Bowl…
Florida State plays Arizona State in the Sun Bowl…
#23 Navy plays Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl…
Wyoming plays Georgia State in the Arizona Bowl…
#11 Utah plays Texas in the Alamo Bowl

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
#1 GONZAGA 93, Detroit Mercy 72…
#6 BAYLOR 83, Jackson State 57…
#9 MEMPHIS 84, Tulane 73…
#10 VILLANOVA 68, Xavier 62…
#20 DAYTON 77, North Florida 59

The Rundown for December 30, 2019

PENTAGON STRIKES KATA’IB HEZBOLLAH BASES IN IRAQ, SYRIA… The Pentagon announced yesterday that U.S. forces carried out “precision defensive strikes” in Iraq and Syria after a series of attacks targeting bases in Iraq that hosted U.S. service members. The strikes reportedly targeted five locations belonging to the Iran-backed Iraqi paramilitary group Kata’ib Hezbollah in response to attacks on bases that hosted Operation Inherent Resolve coalition forces. According to a Pentagon spokesman, recent Kata’ib Hezbollah strikes have included more than 30 rocket attacks on an Iraqi base near Kirkuk.

TALIBAN AGREES TO CEASE-FIRE… The Taliban announced yesterday that it has agreed to a temporary cease-fire to allow for the signing of a peace deal with the U.S. and the eventual withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. The Associated Press reported that the cease-fire is expected to last for 10 days. Once a peace deal is signed, Afghans on both sides of the conflict would soon begin negotiating a road map for the future of the country, including the role of the Taliban, the report said. The U.S. currently has some 12,000 troops in Afghanistan.

NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM INTERVENED OVER UKRAINE AID… The New York Times reported yesterday that the White House national security team intervened and tried to convince President Trump to reverse his decision soon after it became public knowledge that he had frozen military aid to Ukraine. Former National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly met with Trump in the Oval Office and tried to talk him into releasing the aid. Trump became the third president to be impeached when the House Judiciary Committee found him guilty of abusing is power and obstructing Congress for withholding the aid to Ukraine as part of an effort to pressure the country to dig up dirt on his political rival Joe Biden.

CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS BATTLING CANCER… Georgia Congressman John Lewis announced yesterday that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer. The 79-year-old civil rights icon said he was diagnosed following a routine medical visit and will undergo treatment. Lewis, whose 5th Congressional District includes much of Atlanta, was first elected to the House in 1986.

2 DEAD IN TEXAS CHURCH SHOOTING… A lone gunman was fatally shot by congregation members yesterday morning after opening fire during a service at a church in a suburb of Fort Worth, Texas. The gunman killed a security guard and critically wounded a parishioner at the West Freeway Church in White Settlement. A church elder said the security guard “was trying to do what he needed to do to protect the rest of us.”

ENTERTAINMENT
ZAC EFRON CONFIRMS ILLNESS… Zac Efron has confirmed that he was rushed to a hospital in Brisbane, Australia, for treatment of a “form of typhoid or similar bacterial infection.” The 32-year-old actor reportedly fell ill while filming his show “Killing Zac Efron” in Papua, New Guinea. The series is scheduled to launch April 6 on the short-form streaming service Quibi.

WEEKEND BOX OFFICE… “Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker” took in $72 million to remain atop the weekend box office. “Jumanji: The Next Level” stayed at No. 2 with $35.3 million. “Little Women” finished in third place with $16.52 million. “Frozen II” clipped to No. 4 after bringing in $16.5 million. “Spies in Disguise” made $13.2 million to cap the top five.

SPORTS
NFL POSTSEASON SET… It took until the last Sunday of the regular season for the NFL’s postseason to be finalized. The two available playoff spots and nine seedings became official yesterday…

In the AFC, the North Division champion-Baltimore Ravens (14-2), who already had clinched the division’s top seed, trampled the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-10. Baltimore will take a 12-game winning streak into the postseason… The West Division-champion Kansas City Chiefs (12-4) locked up the second seed and first-round bye in the playoffs with a 31-21 win over the L.A. Chargers… The Tennessee Titans (9-7) clinched a wild-card spot and the 6 seed by downing the South Division-champion Houston Texans 35-14. Tennessee will open the postseason at New England next weekend. The Patriots dropped to the 3 seed by falling to Miami 27-24. Houston (10-6) finished as the 4 seed and will host 5-seeded Buffalo in the first round of the playoffs. The Bills (10-6) fell to the Jets 13-6 in a game that had no bearing on their postseason position…

In the NFC, the San Francisco 49ers (13-3) held on at the end to beat the Seattle Seahawks 26-21 to claim the NFC West crown and the conference’s top seed. Niners linebacker Dre Greenlaw tackled Seattle tight end Jacob Hollister just short of the goal line on fourth down in the final seconds to seal the win. The Seahawks (11-5) enter the postseason as a 5-seeded wild card and will visit the 4-seed Philadelphia Eagles in the opening round. The Eagles (9-7) put away the N.Y. Giants 34-17 to capture the NFC East title… The North Division-champion Green Bay Packers (13-3) got a 33-yard field goal from Mason Crosby as time expired to beat the Detroit Lions 23-20 and claim the 2-seed and first-round bye… The South Division-champion New Orleans Saints (13-3) romped over the Carolina Panthers 42-10 and finished as the NFC’s 3-seed. They’ll host the Minnesota Vikings in their playoff opener. Minnesota (10-6), which had already clinched the 6-seed, fell to the Chicago Bears 21-19.

Other scores from yesterday…
CINCINNATI 33, Cleveland 23…
DALLAS 47, Washington 16…
Atlanta 28, Tampa Bay 22…
L.A. RAMS 31, Arizona 24…
JACKSONVILLE 38, Indianapolis 20…
DENVER 16, Oakland 15

NBA SCORES
Oklahoma City 98 – TORONTO 97… Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made a go-ahead jumper with 36 seconds remaining and the Thunder held on to edge the Raptors for their fifth win in six games. Gilgeous-Alexander finished with a game-high 32 points.

MEMPHIS 117 – Charlotte 104… Dillon Brooks scored 20 points to lead a balanced scoring attack and the Grizzlies dealt the Hornets their fifth straight loss. Jaren Jackson grabbed 12 rebounds to go with his 14 points.

NEW ORLEANS 127 – Houston 112… The Pelicans bombed the Rockets 41-19 in the fourth quarter to win going away. Lonzo Ball made a career-high seven 3-pointers on his way to 27 points and gathered 10 boards. Brandon Ingram also scored 27 points while Jrue Holiday tossed in 25.

DENVER 120 – Sacramento 115… Will Barton and Michael Porter Jr. scored 19 points apiece to lead seven players in double figures and the Nuggets held off the Kings.

L.A. LAKERS 108 – Dallas 95… Anthony Davis pumped in 23 points as the Lakers cruised past the Mavericks. LeBron James scored 13 points and dished off as many assists.

TONIGHT’S NBA SCHEDULE
Miami is at Washington…
Orlando hosts Atlanta…
Brooklyn is at Minnesota…
Chicago hosts Milwaukee…
Detroit is at Utah…
Portland hosts Phoenix

NHL SCORES
ST. LOUIS 4 – Winnipeg 1… Jaden Schwartz netted a pair of goals to lead the Blues past the Jets for their eighth straight win.

New Jersey 4 – OTTAWA 3 (OT)… Jack Hughes found the net 54 seconds into overtime to lift the Devils over the Senators. Sam Vatanen assisted on three goals.

Chicago 3 – COLUMBUS 2 (SO)… The Blackhawks came from two goals down in the third period to outlast the Blue Jackets. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane scored in the shootout.

N.Y. Islanders 3 – MINNESOTA 1… The Islanders scored three unanswered goals in the third period to upend the Wild. Goalie Semyon Varlamov made 25 saves.

BOSTON 3 – Buffalo 2… Jake DeBrusk scored two power-play goals 18 seconds apart in the third period to send the Bruins past the Sabres. David Pastrnak had a goal and an assist.

TAMPA BAY 2 – Detroit 1… Brayden Point’s power-play goal in the third period proved to be the difference in the Lightning’s win over the Red Wings. Ondrej Palat opened the scoring with a second-period goal.

FLORIDA 6 – Montreal 5… Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice over a half-minute span of the second period and assisted on two goals as the Panthers outshot the Canadiens. Aleksander Barkov netted two goals and had an assist.

Dallas 4 – ARIZONA 2… The Stars scored all four goals in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit and top the Coyotes. Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist.

Philadelphia 2 – ANAHEIM 1 (OT)… Kevin Hayes scored the game-winner at 3:53 of overtime as the Flyers edged the Ducks. Brian Elliott stopped 27 shots at goal.

Vancouver 5 – CALGARY 2… Tyler Myers scored the first two of the Canucks’ three first-period goals and had an assist. Jake Virtanen added a goal and an assist.

TONIGHT’S NHL SCHEDULE
Ottawa is at Pittsburgh

TOP 25 MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCORES
#22 West Virginia, 67, #2 OHIO STATE 59…
#5 Kansas 72, STANFORD 56…
#6 OREGON 98, Alabama State 59…
#8 AUBURN 86, Lipscomb 59…
#11 MICHIGAN 86, UMass-Lowell 60…
#13 MARYLAND 84, Bryant 70…
#14 MICHIGAN STATE 95, Western Michigan 62…
#16 VIRGINIA 65, Navy 56…
#20 PENN STATE 90, Cornell 59…
#23 TEXAS TECH 73, Cal-State Bakersfield 58…
#25 IOWA 93, Kennesaw State 51

TODAY’S COLLEGE FOOTBALL BOWL SCHEDULE
Western Kentucky plays Western Michigan in the First Responder Bowl…
Mississippi State plays Louisville in the Music City Bowl…
California plays Illinois in the Redbox Bowl…
#9 Florida plays #24 Virginia in the Orange Bowl