SENATE CONFIRMS WRAY AS FBI CHIEF
WASHINGTON» The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Christopher Wray to lead the FBI, replacing James Comey, who was abruptly fired by President Donald Trump amid the investigation into Russia meddling in last year’s presidential election.
The vote was 92-5 for Wray, a former high-ranking official in President George W. Bush’s Justice Department who oversaw investigations into corporate fraud. Wray, 50, inherits an FBI at a particularly challenging time given Trump’s ousting of Comey, who was admired within the bureau.
“This is a tough time to take this tough job,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, DMinn., said during Senate debate of the nomination. “The previous FBI director, as we know, was fired because of the Russia investigation. The former acting attorney general was fired. And we’ve had a slew of other firings throughout the government over the last few months.”
Wray won unanimous support from the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, with Republicans and Democrats praising his promise never to let politics get in the way of the bureau’s mission.
Lakewood man arrested for possessing 40 pounds of fentanyl.
A 25-year-old man from Lakewood has been arrested on charges of possessing 40 pounds of the highly potent drug fentanyl.
Carlos Ramirez was arraigned Tuesday in Manhattan on charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Authorities said it was the largest Drug Enforcement Administration seizure of fentanyl in New York history.
Prosecutors say Ramirez was arrested June 19 in the Bronx after the powerful opioid was found in his duffel, which contained 17 packages of what authorities originally suspected was heroin.
Prosecutors say the beige powder tested positive for fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin.
Based on the lab results, Ramirez’s bail was increased from $50,000 to $200,000.
Homeland Security will waive laws to build border wall.
DIEGO» The SAN
Trump administration said Tuesday that it will waive environmental reviews and other laws to replace a stretch of border wall in San Diego, moving to make good on one of the president’s signature campaign pledges.
Critics including the Center for Biological Diversity criticized the move as overreach and a threat to the environment.
The Department of Homeland Security said it will publish in “the coming days” in the Federal Register a notice exempting the government from the National Environmental Protection Act, which calls for extensive reviews of environmental impacts, and a host of other laws on 15 miles of border extending east from the Pacific Ocean.
It will mark the sixth time that the department has exercised that authority since 2005 and the first time since 2008.
Three defendants die in escape attempt.
MOSCOW» In a desperate attempt to escape, five defendants charged with multiple murders wrested weapons from their escorts Tuesday at a Moscow courthouse, sparking a shootout with other guards in the building’s corridors. Three of the assailants were killed, and the two others were wounded and recaptured, officials said.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said the attempted getaway began while the five handcuffed men were being escorted by two guards — one male, one female — in an elevator at the Moscow Regional Court. The defendants attacked the escorts and disarmed them, but one of the guards managed to push an alarm button.
Justice Department plans project to sue universities over affirmative action policies.
Justice Department officials are planning a new project to investigate and sue universities over affirmative action admissions policies they determine discriminate against white applicants, according to a U.S. government official.
A spokeswoman for the Education Department did not immediately respond late Tuesday to inquiries about whether the agency would play a role in the effort to challenge affirmative action on college campuses.
But at least one key official has expressed skepticism of race-conscious admissions. Candice Jackson, acting head of the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, has written that such policies dismiss “the very real prices paid by individual people who end up injured by affirmative action.”