Joe Biden sought Saturday to clarify his assertion that if the Senate subpoenas him to testify in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial, he will defy the order. But he did not clear up what he would do.
A day earlier, the Democratic presidential contender told The Des Moines Register he stood by his position that he would defy the Republican-controlled Senate if it ordered him to be a witness in the proceedings.
"Correct," he said when asked if that was still his intent. "And the reason I wouldn't (testify) is because it's all designed to deal with Trump doing what he's done his whole life — trying to take the focus off of him."
In a tweet Saturday, Biden said: "I want to clarify something I said yesterday. In my 40 years in public life, I have always complied with a lawful order and in my eight years as VP, my office — unlike Donald Trump and Mike Pence — cooperated with legitimate congressional oversight requests."
Yet he followed with another tweet suggesting that he would consider any subpoena from the Senate Republicans for the impeachment trial to be illegitimate.
"I am just not going to pretend that there is any legal basis for Republican subpoenas for my testimony in the impeachment trial," he tweeted. "That is the point I was making yesterday and I reiterate: this impeachment is about Trump's conduct, not mine."
It has not been established that any witnesses will testify when the Senate takes up the articles of impeachment passed by the House, accusing Trump of abusing office and obstructing Congress.
Democrats want to hear from certain officials close to Trump who did not testify in the House impeachment inquiry. Trump and some of his allies have threatened in response to seek testimony from Biden, his son Hunter, and the anonymous whistleblower whose complaint about Trump's July phone call with Ukraine's leader set off the impeachment inquiry.
On the call, Trump asked the Ukrainian president to open an investigation into the Bidens while holding up military aid for Ukraine. A Ukrainian gas company had hired Hunter Biden when his father was vice president and the Obama administration's point man on Ukraine. There is no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden.
North Korea has opened a high-profile political conference to discuss how to overcome "harsh trials and difficulties," state media reported Sunday, days before a year-end deadline set by Pyongyang for Washington to make concessions in nuclear negotiations.
The ruling Workers' Party meeting is a focus of keen attention as some observers predict North Korea might use the conference to announce it would abandon faltering diplomacy with the U.S. and lift its moratorium on major weapons test.
The Korean Central News Agency reported that leader Kim Jong Un presided over a plenary meeting of the party's Central Committee convened in Pyongyang on Saturday. It called the gathering the "first-day session," suggesting it would continue for at least another day.
The meeting is intended to "overcome the manifold and harsh trials and difficulties and further accelerate the development of the revolution with transparent anti-imperialist independent stand and firm will," KCNA said.
The meeting will also discuss "important matters" in the party and national defense, KCNA said.
KCNA said Kim made a speech on overall state affairs and the work of the Central Committee, but gave no further details.
In April 2018, at the start of nuclear talks with the U.S., North Korea held the same Workers' Party meeting and announced it would suspend nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests and shift its national focus to developing the economy.
After his second summit with President Donald Trump in February in Vietnam failed, Kim gave the U.S. until the end of this year to offer new initiatives to salvage the nuclear negotiations. North Korea has recently warned that its resumption of tests of long-range missiles and nuclear devices depends on U.S. action.
Restarting nuclear and ICBM tests would be a blow to Trump, who has boasted that North Korea's moratorium was a major foreign policy win. But that would also likely completely derail diplomacy with the U.S. and further dim the prospect for North Korea to get badly needed sanctions relief to rebuild its troubled economy, some experts said.
North Korea is pushing to win major sanctions relief in return for limited denuclearization steps, but the U.S. maintains sanctions will stay in place until North Korea takes significant steps toward ridding itself of nuclear weapons and technology.
A small plane en route to a college football playoff game crashed into a post office parking lot in Louisiana shortly after takeoff Saturday, killing five people, including a well-known sports reporter who was the daughter-in-law of one of the team's coaches.
The two-engine Piper Cheyenne crashed in the city of Lafayette about a mile from the regional airport where the flight began, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Tony Molinaro said. Investigators from the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board were investigating, according to Molinaro and an NTSB statement on Twitter.
The plane was an eight-passenger aircraft, said Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit. Six people were on board the plane, five of whom were killed, he said. The sixth, a 37-year-old man, was being treated at an area hospital along with two people who were in the post office.
A person who was either in or near a car on the ground was also "impacted" by the crash and was being treated for injuries, Benoit said. He did not elaborate. A blackened car sat in the post office parking lot, which was carpeted with scattered tree limbs.
Kevin Jackson and other eyewitnesses told KLFY-TV that the plane hit a car as it fell, and that someone could be heard screaming inside the vehicle.
Steven Ensminger Jr., son of the offensive coordinator for the Louisiana State University football team, said his wife, Carley McCord, was on board the flight and died when it crashed. He said the plane was en route to the Peach Bowl playoff game in Atlanta between LSU and Oklahoma.
"I just don't feel like this is real," Ensminger Jr. told the AP in an Instagram message.
Ensminger Jr. said he was unable to go to the game and was at work when the crash happened. He said his father, Steven Ensminger, called him just before the elder Ensminger got to the stadium. The coach had tears in his eyes when he appeared on the field at the start of the game Saturday afternoon, and LSU players embraced him with hugs.
"He's the MVP right now," LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said in an on-air halftime interview. LSU won 63-28.
The Lafayette Fire Department identified the other people who were killed as Ian E. Biggs, 51, the plane's pilot; Robert Vaughn Crisp II, 59; Gretchen D. Vincent, 51; and Michael Walker Vincent, 15. The injured passenger, Stephen Wade Berzas, was in critical condition, said department spokesman Alton Trahan.
The plane went down in a part of the city with a scattering of banks, fast food chains and other businesses. A trail of scorched and burning grass could be seen around the crash site.
Marty Brady, 22, said the lights went out at his apartment a couple of hundred yards (183 meters) or so away from where the plane crashed just as he was making his morning coffee.
Brady said he ran out and saw black smoke and flames from the post office parking lot. He said the plane clipped and knocked down a power line over the gate to his apartment complex.
"If it had been a little lower, it could have been a lot worse," he said.
McCord was a Baton Rouge native and sports reporter for WDSU-TV in New Orleans and appeared as a sideline reporter for ESPN, according to her website. She previously worked in television in Cleveland, and she was a two-time runner-up in the Miss Louisiana pageant.
"We are devastated by the loss of such an amazing talent and valued member of our WDSU family," said WDSU President and General Manager, Joel Vilmenay. "Carley's passion for sports journalism and her deep knowledge of Louisiana sports, from high school to the professional ranks, made her an exceptional journalist. "
McCord was also part of the game-day entertainment staff for the NFL's New Orleans Saints and the NBA's New Orleans Pelicans, regularly appearing in promotional segments broadcast during games.
"Carley was a valued member of both our New Orleans Saints and New Orleans Pelicans family as an in-game host and her infectious personality and knowledge of both teams entertained our fans," the two teams said.
Ensminger Jr. said he and his wife had the same birthday, and he shared a photo of the two celebrating at a restaurant, a dessert with a candle between them. His Instagram account shows photos of the couple and their families at various sporting events and celebrations. He updated the account Saturday to say: "I'll never be the same with out you, Carley! You are, and will forever be my world."
McCord is the second journalist working in the New Orleans area to die in a plane crash this year. On August 16, WVUE news anchor Nancy Parker was doing a story in New Orleans about stunt pilot Franklin Augustus when the plane crashed. Both Parker and Augustus died.
The NTSB announced that Vice Chairman Bruce Landsberg and an eight-person investigative team were being sent to the scene of Saturday's crash.
Landsberg will be there as a spokesman due to the high-profile nature of the crash, NTSB spokesman Terry Williams said.
Lafayette is the fourth-largest city in Louisiana with a population of about 130,000, according to the 2018 census. It is located about 135 miles west of New Orleans.
The full text of China's draft civil code was published on the website of the National People's Congress (NPC) Saturday to solicit public opinions.
The public can either visit the NPC website or send their opinions by mail. The deadline for submitting opinions is Jan. 26.
The 1,260-article draft civil code was deliberated at the just-concluded meeting of the NPC Standing Committee and is scheduled to be submitted to next year's annual NPC session for deliberation.
The Thai Department for Prevention and Mitigation of Public Disasters (DDPM) said on Saturday that 43 people were killed and 466 others injured in 464 road accidents on Friday, the first day of Thailand's "seven dangerous days" of the New Year holiday.
The department said drunk driving was a factor in 30.39 percent of the road accidents, followed by speeding in 24.78 percent.
A total of 80.08 percent of the accidents involved motorcycles, 39.22 percent occurred on highways under the supervision of the Highways Department and 30.60 percent occurred on secondary roads supervised by district administration organizations and villages, the DDPM said in a press release issued on Saturday.
A total of 30.39 percent of the accidents took place between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 29.27 percent of the casualties were people over the age of 50.
A total of 158,453 people were charged for traffic violations, including 42,912 cases of riding without crash helmets and 39,584 cases for carrying no driving licenses.