Dec 19, 2017

Pat Leahy regrets calling on Al Franken to resign

Sen. Al Franken (left) and Sen. Patrick Leahy on Capitol Hill in 2011. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said in a statement Monday that he was too quick in calling for Sen. Al Franken's (D-Minn.) resignation instead of waiting on an ethics committee to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct and "make its recommendation," according to the Burlington Free Press.

"I have stood for due process throughout my years as a prosecutor and in chairing the Judiciary Committee," said Leahy. "I regret not doing that this time."

Timing: Franken announced his resignation earlier this month, and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton has appointed Lt. Gov. Tina Smith fill his seat until the 2018 midterm elections.

Take note: Politico initially reported that Leahy had told Franken privately that he regretted his statement calling on Franken to resign.

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America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.