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national govt & politics

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Net neutrality vote: FCC OKs repeal of Obama-era rules

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 on Thursday to repeal Obama-era net neutrality rules meant to stop broadband companies from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

>> Read more trending news

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who put forth the planned repeal and voted in favor of it Thursday, said it “certainly wasn’t heavy-handed government regulation” that made the internet the “greatest free-market innovation in history.” 

>> Related: State attorneys general ask FCC to delay net neutrality vote

“Quite simply, we are restoring the light-touch framework that has governed the internet for most of its existence,” he said.

Blake Farenthold won't seek re-election amid harassment claims

U.S. Rep. Blake Farenthold announced he won’t seek re-election, less than a week after a House committee opened an investigation into sexual harassment claims from a former aide.

>> Read more trending news

WATCH: Joe Biden puts politics aside on 'The View' in emotional moment with Meghan McCain

Former Vice President Joe Biden set political differences aside on “The View” when he consoled Meghan McCain over the cancer diagnosis of her father, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, telling her that there’s “hope.”

Sen. McCain was recently diagnosed with the glioblastoma, the same cancer that took the life of Biden’s son, Beau, in 2015.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

“The View” co-host brought up her father’s illness while talking with the former vice president on the show Wednesday, saying that she thinks about Beau “almost every day,” but she wasn’t able to talk about it very long before breaking down.

Biden quickly consoled Meghan, telling her “there’s a lot of hope.” He then went on to talk about how Beau and Sen. McCain had become friends years ago and told her how his son talked about her father’s courage.

>> Watch the clip here

The former vice president also talked about how there are cancer therapy breakthroughs every day, but he kept coming back to Sen. McCain’s courage.

“There is hope, and if anybody can make it, your dad [can],” Biden said, before talking about his relationship with John McCain, saying that they were like brothers from “different fathers.”

Biden also joked about his political differences with the ailing senator, but added, “I know if I picked up the phone tonight and called John McCain, and said, ‘John, I’m at Second and Vine in Oshkosh, and I need your help. Come,' he’d get on a plane and come. And I would for him, too.”

>> Read more trending news 

He continued: “Beau insisted on, and your dad’s gonna insist on, you gotta maintain hope. You have to have hope."

Sen. McCain was diagnosed with the deadly form of cancer in July, according to The Hill. He revealed in September that his doctors gave him a “very poor” prognosis, the Arizona Republic reported.

Meghan McCain, who tied the knot last month with Ben Domenech, revealed that she had moved up her wedding because of her father’s diagnosis, saying that she lives from “scan to scan," People reported.

Who was Dan Johnson? Kentucky lawmaker accused of sexual assault dies in suicide, coroner says

A Kentucky state lawmaker accused of sexually assaulting a teenager died Wednesday night of a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Bullitt County Coroner’s Office said Thursday in an autopsy report. 

Here's what we know about Republican state Rep. Dan Johnson, who was elected in 2016:

>> Russell Simmons accused of rape by 3 more woman, but ‘vehemently’ denies it

A woman accused Johnson, pastor of the Heart of Fire church in Louisville, of sexually assaulting her in his basement when she was 17. According to a Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting article published Monday, she reported the alleged incident, which occurred on New Year's Eve 2012, to police, who later closed the case without filing charges. Read more here.

>> PBS suspends ‘Tavis Smiley’ show amid investigation of sexual misconduct

Johnson denied the allegation Tuesday at a news conference at his church. "These are unfounded accusations, totally," the 57-year-old pastor said after he and his supporters sang "O Come All Ye Faithful," the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

He added: "I think this is an assault on all real people. This is an absolute assault on real people. There’s no perfect people. You get into office and all of a sudden, political hacks want to come against you and start accusing you after you’re in office."

This wasn't Johnson's first brush with controversy. When he ran for office in 2016, critics slammed him for sharing racist Facebook memes comparing the Obamas to monkeys, as well as numerous anti-Islam messages, WDRB reported. Although the Republican Party of Kentucky called for Johnson to withdraw his candidacy, he stayed in the race and won.

>> Read more trending news

The following post appeared on Johnson's Facebook page Wednesday shortly before his death:

"The accusations from NPR are false GOD and only GOD knows the truth, nothing is the way they make it out to be. AMERICA will not survive this type of judge and jury fake news . Conservatives take a stand. I LOVE GOD and I LOVE MY WIFE, who is the best WIFE in the world,My Love Forever ! My Mom and Dad my FAMILY and all five of my kids and Nine grandchildren two in tummies and many more to come each of you or a total gift from GOD stay strong, REBECCA needs YOU . 9-11-2001 NYC/WTC, PTSD 24/7 16 years is a sickness that will take my life, I cannot handle it any longer. IT Has Won This Life . BUT HEAVEN IS MY HOME. “PLEASE LISTEN CLOSELY, Only Three things I ask of you to do,if you love me is (1)blame no person,Satan is the accuser, so blame the Devil himself. (2) Forgive and Love everyone especially yourself .(3)most importantly LOVE GOD. P.S. I LOVE MY FRIENDS YOU ARE FAMILY ! GOD LOVES ALL PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT ! "

Officials said Johnson was found dead with a single gunshot wound in a "probable suicide" Wednesday night, WDRB reported. Officers believe he shot himself in front of his car after parking off a road in Mount Washington.

>> Trump on Roy Moore's loss in Alabama Senate race: 'I was right'

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin reacted to the news on Twitter. "Just terrible news from Kentucky tonight on the passing of Rep. Dan Johnson," Paul wrote. "I cannot imagine his pain or the heartbreak his family is dealing with tonight. Kelley and I pray for his loved ones."

Bevin wrote: "Saddened to hear of tonight’s death of KY Representative Dan Johnson...My heart breaks for his family tonight...These are heavy days in Frankfort and in America...May God indeed shed His grace on us all...We sure need it..."

State attorneys general ask FCC to delay net neutrality vote

The attorneys general of nearly 20 states asked the Federal Communications Commission to delay a vote on changing the country’s net neutrality rules as they investigate reports that impersonators posted hundreds of thousands of fake comments on the commission’s notice of the proposed change.

>> Read more trending news

“If the well of public comment has been poisoned by falsified submissions, the Commission may be unable to rely on public comments that would help it reach a legitimate conclusion to the rulemaking process,” the attorneys general of 18 states said in a letter sent Wednesday to the FCC. “Or, it must give less weight to the public comments submitted which also undermines the process.”

The FCC plans to vote Thursday on gutting the Obama-era rules, meant to stop broadband companies such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon from exercising more control over what people watch and see on the internet.

“This is akin to identity theft on a massive scale – and theft of someone’s voice in a democracy is particularly concerning,” said the letter, led by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum and signed by the attorneys general of 17 other states: California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.

>> Read the full letter sent to the FCC on Wednesday

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman accused the FCC last month of stonewalling his office’s investigation into thousands of suspicious comments made the to the commission’s net neutrality rule change notice. Since then, Schneiderman said his office has gotten more than 5,000 complaints from people whose identities were used to submit fake comments to the FCC’s notice.

In its letter to the FCC, the 18 other state attorneys general said they have received similar complaints.

>> Related: New York AG investigating fraudulent net neutrality comments to FCC

“I’m sick to my stomach knowing that somebody stole my identity and used it to push a viewpoint that I do not hold,” an Ohio resident wrote in one of the complaints. “This solidifies my stance that in no way can the FCC use the public comments as a means to justify the vote they will hold here shortly.”

A South Carolina resident said one of the false comments was posted using his or her mother’s information, even though she died in 2009.

“This is terrifying,” a Missouri resident wrote in another complaint. “Who knows what else has been said falsely under my name?”

As many as 2 million comments posted to the notice are believed to have been made using stolen identities, Schneiderman said Wednesday.

“The FCC is moving full steam ahead with a vote based on this corrupted process, while refusing to cooperate with an investigation,” Schneiderman said. “As we’ve told the FCC: moving forward with this vote would make a mockery of our public comment process and reward those who perpetrated this fraud to advance their own hidden agenda. The FCC must postpone this vote and work with us to get to the bottom of what happened.”

Net-neutrality rules bar cable and phone companies from favoring certain websites and apps — such as their own services — and give the FCC more oversight over privacy and the activities of telecom companies. Supporters worry that repealing them would hurt startups and other companies that couldn't afford to pay a broadband company for faster access to customers.

Critics of the rules say that they hurt investment in internet infrastructure and represent too much government involvement in business. Phone and cable companies say the rules aren't necessary because they already support an open internet, and have lobbied hard for their repeal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

#ThankYouAlabama: Doug Jones wins Senate seat over Roy Moore, Twitter celebrates

News that Alabama voters chose Tuesday to send Democrat Doug Jones to the U.S. Senate over embattled Republican Roy Moore was greeted with relief and joy on social media.

>> Read more trending news

Moore was considered a favorite to take the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions early in the race, but his grip on the position slipped amid a flurry of sexual misconduct allegations. Several women told reporters that they were teenagers when Moore made inappropriate sexual advances toward them. 

>> Related: Alabama Senate race: Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore

Moore has denied the allegations.

>> Related: 5 things to know about Doug Jones, winner of the Alabama Senate race

Jubilant revelers took to Twitter to celebrate Jones’s victory, many with messages that included a thank you to the Dixie State:

Omarosa Manigault Newman ‘physically dragged’ from White House, reports say

Omarosa Manigaul Newman, the “Apprentice” star turned White House aide, was removed from the White House Tuesday night,“physically dragged and escorted off the campus,” according to several news reports.

Manigault-Newman announced her resignation on Wednesday, effective next month.

>> Read more trending news

Anderson Cooper's Twitter hacked, CNN says of tweet calling Trump 'pathetic loser'

Anderson Cooper's Twitter account was compromised Wednesday morning when someone replied to one of President Donald Trump's tweets under Cooper's name, CNN said.

>> Trump on Roy Moore's loss in Alabama Senate race: 'I was right'

>> Click here or scroll down for more

>> Read more trending news

Trump on Roy Moore's loss in Alabama Senate race: 'I was right'

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Wednesday to weigh in on Republican Roy Moore's stunning loss in the Alabama Senate race.

>> Who is Doug Jones, Democrat facing Roy Moore in Alabama Senate race?

>> Alabama Senate race: Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore

>> Click here or scroll down for more

>> Read more trending news 

USA Today editorial: Trump 'not fit' to clean Obama library toilets, shine George W. Bush's shoes

USA Today's editorial board blasted President Donald Trump on Tuesday in a scathing response to his controversial tweet about Democratic U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York.

>> Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand calls Trump tweet 'a sexist smear'

Trump's Tuesday morning tweet, which accused Gillibrand of "begging" him for campaign contributions and said she "would do anything for them," was widely criticized as being sexually suggestive. His post came after Gillibrand called for his resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations.

>> See the tweet here

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied claims that Trump's tweet was sexist and said those who read it as suggestive had their minds "in the gutter."

USA Today's editorial board disagreed.

"With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office," the editorial board wrote. "Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low."

>> Alabama Senate race: Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore

The editorial added that Trump "is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush."

"This isn’t about the policy differences we have with all presidents or our disappointment in some of their decisions," the piece continued. "Obama and Bush both failed in many ways. They broke promises and told untruths, but the basic decency of each man was never in doubt."

The editorial described Trump as "uniquely awful" and blasted him for what it called "sickening behavior."

>> Read more trending news 

"The nation doesn’t seek nor expect perfect presidents, and some have certainly been deeply flawed," the piece concluded. "But a president who shows such disrespect for the truth, for ethics, for the basic duties of the job and for decency toward others fails at the very essence of what has always made America great."

Read the editorial here.

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