Denmark will temporarily reinstate border controls with Sweden and step up police work along the border after a series of violent crimes and explosions around Copenhagen that Danish authorities say were carried out by perpetrators from Sweden.
The checks, which start Tuesday for six months, will take place at the Oresund Bridge between Copenhagen and the Swedish city of Malmo and also at ferry ports.
Lene Frank of Denmark's National Police said there will be both random and periodic checks of people crossing the border and officers will focus "particularly on cross-border crime involving explosives, weapons and drugs."
Since February, there have been 13 blasts in Copenhagen. Authorities believe an Aug. 6 explosion at the Danish Tax Agency "was committed by criminals that had crossed the border from Sweden." Two Swedish citizens are in custody.
Denmark Justice Minister Nick Haekkerup has called a June 25 double murder — where two Swedish citizens were gunned down in suburban Copenhagen — "a showdown between feuding gangs from Sweden."
On Saturday, one 15-year-old boy was shot dead and another 15-year-old was critically wounded in Malmo, Sweden's third-largest city, which lies just across the water from Copenhagen.
The boys "were well-known to the police despite their young age," senior police officer Stefan Sinteus told a news conference Monday. "It was a somber weekend."
The shooting took place just minutes after an explosion in another Malmo district where a bomb set under a car detonated, destroying the vehicle and damaging other cars. Police said Monday that the blast could have been a diversion from the killing.
No one has been arrested in the Malmo shootings.
Police in Malmo — a Swedish city also hit by explosions and shootings between feuding gangs — will get extra officers to cope with the violence, said Carina Persson, the southern Sweden regional police chief.
Haekkerup said last month that the blast at the headquarters of the Danish Tax Agency and the twin murders in suburban Copenhagen were "examples of the serious crime that can flow over the border from Sweden. We will not accept that."
He said the temporary border controls should protect Denmark against both "foreigners who do not live up to the entrance criteria and foreigners who may intend to commit serious organizes crime or terror in Denmark."
Along with the border checks, authorities plan to have more CCTV surveillance, more surveillance of gang members, more drones and more bomb-sniffing dogs, Haekkerup said.
Back in 1973, tens of millions of Americans tuned in to what Variety called "the hottest daytime soap opera" — the Senate Watergate hearings that eventually led to President Richard Nixon's resignation.
It was a communal experience, and by some estimates, more than 80% of Americans tuned in to at least part of the Watergate telecasts. They were offered by ABC, CBS and NBC, as well as PBS, which won acclaim and viewers by showing not only the live hearings but also the full-length replays in prime time.
Seeing the witnesses lay out the case against the president moved public opinion decidedly in favor of impeachment.
But this time may be different.
When the House impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump begins its public phase on Wednesday, people will be watching on screens large and small. Many, in fact, are likely to be watching the proceedings on more than one screen, with real-time reinforcement of their preexisting views of Trump on social media platforms and other venues that did not exist in Nixon's time.
In the Watergate era, there was no Fox News or nationally prominent conservative talk radio shows, which today are favored by many of Trump's supporters. Nor was there the equivalent of MSNBC, which caters to left-of-center partisans.
"People now have a far greater variety of options as to how to consume this," said professor Tobe Berkovitz, a former political media consultant who teaches communications at Boston University.
"Everyone might watch the same hearing, but then people are going to divide into camps in terms of how they want to engage with the analysis," he said. "You're going to pick who you want to interpret and propagandize."
Two decades before Watergate, Americans had their first collective immersion in live telecasts of a high-stakes Washington hearing when Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wis., polarized the country with his relentless pursuit of suspected communist sympathizers. Joseph Welch, a lawyer representing the Army, is remembered to this day for his question to McCarthy in 1954: "Have you no sense of decency, sir?"
The Watergate hearings produced a comparably memorable catchphrase, when Sen. Howard Baker, R-Tenn., summarized the gist of the complex inquiry into a politically motivated break-in: "What did the president know and when did he know it?" A damning answer eventually surfaced after the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, as the Senate's Watergate Committee was officially called, obtained secret Oval Office tapes that implicated Nixon in a cover-up.
In the runup to President Bill Clinton's impeachment by the House in December 1998 and acquittal by the Senate two months later, there was a similar dramatic twist when disclosure of Monica Lewinsky's semen-stained blue dress undercut Clinton's claim that he had never had sex with her.
Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg Public Policy Center, said Americans expecting an equally dramatic moment in the upcoming impeachment telecasts may be let down, given that so much important testimony already has been presented in closed-door sessions.
"If you're expecting revelation as opposed to confirmation, you're going to be disappointed," Jamieson said. "It's going to seem anticlimactic unless something new is discovered."
She noted another contrast between Watergate and the Trump inquiry. Nixon and his top aides struggled to communicate persuasively with the public as the investigation unfolded, whereas Trump and his advisers are making intensive use of advertising and social media "to make sure his base stays locked down."
Will the upcoming impeachment telecasts change many minds?
Mark Meckler, an early leader in the tea party movement, predicts a lot of Americans won't even watch the broadcasts because they've already reached conclusions.
Many Trump supporters won't tune in "because they think it's a sham process," he said. "And I don't think most people on the left will watch because they already know the conclusion in their minds. To them, the president has been impeachable since before he was elected."
But Darrell West, a longtime political science professor who is now vice president of the Brookings Institution, said the telecasts will boost public interest.
"They will put human faces on the closed-door testimony," he said in an email. "Viewers will be able to observe what people say and how they say it as well as the manner in which they answer questions."
West acknowledged that most people have made up their minds on Trump's guilt or innocence.
"But the testimony doesn't have to shift very many people to be politically influential," he wrote. "If only 10% are affected negatively by the testimony, Trump's removal number jumps from 50 to 60%. That would represent an enormous hit for him and could lead some Republican Senators to consider a vote to remove the President."
Arthur Sanders, a professor of politics at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, recalled that public support for Nixon's impeachment grew as the televised Watergate inquiry progressed, while most Americans remained opposed to Clinton's ouster at every stage of his impeachment process.
"The Democrats hope this follows the Nixon model — Trump has always hoped it follows the Clinton model," Sanders said.
Regardless of how the TV audience shapes up, Sanders knows of some Americans eager to follow the Trump impeachment drama.
"What's going on now is horrible for the country, but it's the best time to teach classes on American politics," he said. "The students are so curious, trying to figure out what's going on — what's normal in American politics and what isn't."
As for PBS, it's not planning a repeat of prime-time impeachment replays but says the daytime telecasts will be available on demand via all of PBS' digital platforms.
Kamala Harris got a much needed boost this past week when the California senator picked up the endorsement of Higher Heights, the country's largest political organization aimed at electing black women.
But Elizabeth Warren would not be outdone. A day after Harris' announcement, the Massachusetts senator won the backing of more than 100 black female activists. She also picked up the coveted endorsement of Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a black woman from her home state and the only member of the so-called squad of progressive lawmakers not to side with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
The dueling endorsements signal an emerging battle between Warren and Harris for the support of black women, who are the Democratic Party's most loyal and consistent voters. Both White House hopefuls are struggling with black voters, who have sided with Joe Biden by large margins. But as the election moves into a critical phase with just months before voting begins, the announcements this week highlight the contrasting styles of the surging progressive firebrand and the lone black woman in the Democratic field.
"We're still on a long road, and black women are still shopping," said Higher Heights co-founder Glynda Carr. Harris is "exactly what our organization was built on, to be able to help support and invest in qualified black women to run for offices at all levels. At the end of the day, even if she ends up not being your top choice, black women should be celebrating this moment."
Both candidates are expected to keep up their outreach in the weeks ahead. Warren will deliver a speech about the legacy of black female workers at historically black Clark Atlanta University later this month. Around the same time, Harris also plans to participate in a South Carolina town hall with Higher Heights.
They've both courted black women almost since the beginning of their campaigns.
When Harris launched her presidential bid on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, many observers assumed her bona fides as a graduate of historically black Howard University and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha — the nation's oldest black sorority — would give her an advantage among the throng of candidates. Many young black women were especially excited about her candidacy. But that hasn't yet translated into support as Harris falls in the polls.
In a call with reporters this week, Harris acknowledged the campaign still has work to do to win black women.
"I am fully aware that we are asking people to believe in something that they've not seen before," Harris said. "This is the challenge I've faced in every office I've run for."
Marcia Fudge, a Democratic congresswoman from Ohio and a Harris surrogate, said the senator is running a campaign of belief that is common for black women.
"We kind of get counted out an awful lot," Fudge said. "Our culture just is not a very trusting culture. We have to convince black women, in particular, that if we support her, we can win. Black women want to support another woman. She's the only other choice. If they believe Kamala is not viable, (Warren) is the fallback position."
Warren began attracting attention from black women this spring after announcing her plan to address racial disparities in maternal mortality at a town hall for female voters of color. At a campaign stop this week at North Carolina A&T University — another HBCU — she was the guest on political strategist Angela Rye's podcast. Pressley also joined her for the event.
As a white woman, Warren, however, faced skepticism from black activists.
"We have experiences on the day-to-day that remind us that white women are likely to throw us under the bus if it means protecting themselves," said Angela Peoples, the director of the organizing group Black Womxn For. She was photographed during the 2017 Women's March sucking a lollipop and holding a sign that read: "Don't Forget White Women Voted For Trump."
But Warren's policy proposals were getting attention. Leslie Mac, another activist involved in organizing this week's endorsement of Warren, said her group text chat with black girlfriends began buzzing about Warren over the summer.
"There was literally that question of 'Have y'all been looking at Elizabeth Warren?'" Mac recalled. "'Is she for real? If we wanted to meet with her, would she come?'"
Warren met with the activists at the Netroots conference in July. Sitting across the table from Warren, they questioned her candidly on her policies and, more fundamentally, whether they could trust her to advocate for them. The senator ultimately committed to several requests from the group to address inequality and promote diversity in her would-be administration.
Mac said her decision to back Warren came down to choosing a candidate who is "organizable and that can be held accountable."
"She has strong plans that will positively affect the material lives of black people," Mac said. "I can appreciate the work Sen. Harris has done in her career and campaign and also feel that she is not the candidate for me."
Charlene Carruthers said despite also being a black woman, Harris was never on her radar because she doesn't view the California Democrat's record or platform as progressive, but said her presence in the race could be a conflict for black women weighing whether to support Warren.
"There is a recognition that her candidacy is important, significant and it matters," said Carruthers, a Chicago-based activist who led a roundtable with Warren and activists in the city earlier this year. "Should (Harris) win the primary, we're in a much different conversation."
Atlanta, Nov 9 (AP/UNB) — During the 2016 campaign, candidate Donald Trump stood in front of largely white crowds and asked black voters to consider, "What the hell do you have to lose?"
Trump offered that same message Friday as he launched a black voters coalition in Atlanta, Georgia. While Trump's campaign had said his message would focus on his record and gains for black Americans under his watch, Trump instead spent most of his time demonizing Democrats and appearing to try to pit minority voters against immigrants.
"The Democrats have let you down," Trump told the crowd of several hundred supporters, including several who wore red "BLACK LIVES MAGA" hats. "They've dismissed you. They've hurt you. They've sabotaged you for far too long."
Trump spoke at the launch of a new "Black Voices for Trump" outreach initiative dedicated to "recruiting and activating Black Americans in support of President Trump," according to the campaign.
Trump predicted he would win reelection in 2020 with "a groundswell of support from hardworking African American patriots."
Such prediction have been met with skepticism from critics, however, given Trump's consistently dismal approval rating with black voters.
Trump has spent much of the last four years engaged in racially charged attacks, going after minority members of Congress, claiming "no human being" would want to live in "rodent infested," majority-minority Baltimore and insisting there were "very fine people on both sides" of the deadly Charlottesville protest against white supremacists.
Shortly after landing in Georgia on Friday, Trump retweeted a call from one black supporter for submissions for a "#MAGACHALLENGE" competition featuring Trump-friendly rap songs. Trump said he would be announcing the winners and inviting them to the White House to meet with him and perform.
"I think black Americans are not the audience for these outreach efforts," said Theodore Johnson, a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice who is an expert in race and politics. While Trump might be able to maintain the low level of black support he received in 2016, or perhaps expand it by 1 or 2 points, Johnson sees little evidence the president can change many minds.
"I think this is not going to move the needle at all," he said.
Before launching the new effort, Trump met with supporters at a fundraiser that was expected to raise about $3.5 million for a joint committee benefiting the Republican National Committee, the Trump campaign and the campaign of Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga. Nearby, a small group of protesters chanted, "Lock him up!"
Scores of protesters also gathered outside the convention center where Trump was speaking, chanting, "Impeach and remove."
Carl Dix, of the group Refuse Fascism, said he thought the launch was aimed at trying to send a message to Trump's white supporters that he's "not a racist. 'I've got black friends.'"
In 2016, 6% of black voters supported Trump, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of people who participated in its polls and were confirmed to have voted. There is no indication his support is growing. Polling shows that African Americans continue to be overwhelmingly negative in their assessments of the president's performance, with his approval hovering around 1 in 10 over the course of his presidency, according to Gallup.
Yet Trump's campaign dismissed the numbers, insisting the campaign has seen favorable movement and arguing the president can increase his margins with black voters by bringing new people into the fold.
"The polls have never been favorable for Trump, and the only poll that matters is on Election Day," said senior campaign adviser Katrina Pierson.
The campaign has launched similar coalitions for women, Latinos and veterans.
Darrell Scott, a black Ohio pastor and a longtime supporter of the president who is co-chair of the new coalition and spoke at Friday's event, said that in 2015 and 2016, supporters trying to sell Trump to black voters could only point forward to things they anticipated from Trump.
"Now that it's 2020, we're able to point backwards and to some very definitive accomplishments that the president has done," Scott said. "He delivered on promises he didn't even make."
During his remarks, Trump pointed to passage of bipartisan criminal justice reform legislation, which Trump signed into law last year, along with his ongoing support for opportunity zones in urban areas and new investments in historically black colleges.
"I don't know anyone who's done that kind of work outside of the president on attacking those big issues or trying to stop drugs from coming into the neighborhood and, at the same time, giving people second chances," said Ja'Ron Smith, deputy assistant to the president and one of the White House's few minority high-ranked officials.
He also pointed to a series of economic gains, including the fact that black unemployment hit a record low last year, with fewer blacks living in poverty. But Trump and his campaign also have a tendency to exaggerate the gains, giving Trump credit for trends that were years in the making, seizing on momentary upticks, cherry-picking favorable statistics and ignoring more troubling ones, such as black homeownership and net worth.
But Trump also worked to demonize the Democratic Party.
"For decades, the Democrats have taken African American voters totally for granted," Trump said claiming, "They didn't do anything for you."
"The betrayal of the black community" by Democrats is "unbelievable," he told them, adding, "It's amazing you've stayed so long, to be honest."
Trump also tried to pit the black community against immigrants, saying Democrats care more for people who have entered the U.S. illegally than African Americans. He wrongly claimed that Democrats had shut down the government last year to secure benefits for illegal immigrants and said they have never done anything similar for the African American community.
A September AP-NORC poll found that only roughly 3 in 10 Americans say the things Trump has done as president have been good for African Americans. And just 4% of African Americans said they think Trump's actions have had a positive impact on African Americans in general, while 81% said they think they've been bad.
Yet even if he can't win over black voters, some suspect that's not the point. As long as the campaign can keep on-the-fence voters from casting their ballots for the eventual Democratic nominee, the campaign will be helping Trump inch closer to a second victory.
"I do think the main objective is to discourage turnout," said Johnson. "I absolutely think this is about creating doubt in black voters' minds about the Democratic nominee" so people feel like "there's almost no one worth voting for."
And he said fears were growing it might work.
"There is a pretty tangible fear among black Americans that Trump is going to win again because black turnout won't be enough to mute the white turnout," Johnson said. "There's a sense that in 2020 he's going to win again."
The Interior Department is proposing to award one of the first contracts for federal water in perpetuity to a powerful rural water district that had employed Secretary David Bernhardt as a lawyer and lobbyist.
Environmental groups and a California Democratic lawmaker oppose giving the contract to the California's Westlands Water District, the nation's largest agricultural water supplier. The water supplier serves some of country's wealthiest and most politically influential corporate farmers.
Bernhardt served as a lobbyist for Westlands until 2016, the year before he joined Interior, initially as deputy secretary.
"The Interior Department needs to look out for the public interest, and not just serve the financial interests of their former lobbying clients," said Rep. Jared Huffman, a Democrat from California.
Responding to questions, Interior spokeswoman Carol Danko said the handling of the Westlands' contract was delegated entirely to California staffers of the Bureau of Reclamation, which is under the Department of Interior. The agency will make a final decision after the legally mandated public comment period, she said.
Conservation groups say Interior is moving forward on the deal without fully disclosing the financial terms and without new environmental reviews.
Doug Obegi, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said Interior "is trying to give Westlands a sweetheart deal."
Bernhardt's past lobbying work — much of it for industries with business before Interior — has led environmental groups and Democratic lawmakers to accuse him of lack of transparency and the appearance of conflict of interest in his work at the agency.
As a lobbyist, he was involved in negotiations on a contentious 2016 federal law that made the Westlands' proposed deal possible, allowing water districts to lock up permanent contracts for water from California's federal water project.
The 2016 law had been sought for decades by water districts in California, where frequent droughts sometimes led to water rationing and dying crops. It reshaped the federal handling of water in the U.S. state with the largest economy.
Environmental groups say a permanent deal would let California's water contractors forgo future negotiations before the public and environmental groups, further threatening the survival of some of the endangered native fish and other wildlife that also need the water.
Interior's Bureau of Reclamation posted notice on its website Oct. 25 of the proposed contract and the 60-day public comment period, which ends over the Christmas holiday. Other water districts are lining up behind Westlands to negotiate their own permanent contracts.
Westland's contract would give it permanent claim to enough water to supply more than 2 million California households, although federal suppliers historically have divvied up water each year based on available supply. The water comes from the federal Central Valley Project, a massive, federally built network of dams, tunnels and canals that pipes water from greener Northern California to farms and cities of the more populated south.
The 2016 law allows Westlands and other water districts to lock in the water contracts for good if they repay the federal government for their share of the Central Valley Project's costs.
Interior said in its statement Thursday that Westlands owes the federal government $480.7 million. Environmental groups say the rural California water district has been seeking to bargain down the payback amount, and want to see what the contract obliges Westlands to pay.
Danko, the Interior spokeswoman, said the proposed deal would result in the government being paid back a decade early.