NEWS OF THE DAY
From Across the Nation
Comey questioning: Former FBI Director James Comey on Friday submitted to closed interviews with two House committees in Washington. It was the first time he answered lawmakers’ questions since an explosive June 2016 hearing in which he asserted that President Trump fired him to interfere with his investigation of Russia’s ties to the Trump campaign. House Republicans questioned Comey on decisions made by the Justice Department during the 2016 presidential election. Democrats also attended. Republicans argue department officials were biased against Trump as they started the investigation into his campaign’s ties with Russia and cleared Democrat Hillary Clinton in a separate probe into her email use.
Transgender student: A Virginia high school teacher who refused to use a transgender student’s preferred pronoun has been fired. The West Point School Board voted to dismiss Peter Vlaming after a hearing Thursday. The French teacher argued that his Christian faith prevented him from using a male pronoun for a student who had informed the school of his transition during the summer. Vlaming’s attorney, Shawn Voyles, said his client offered to use the student’s name and to avoid feminine pronouns, but Voyles says the school was unwilling to accept the compromise. The school system said Vlaming was fired for insubordination.
Bar shooting: A Ventura County sheriff ’s deputy killed in a mass shooting at a bar was shot five times by a gunman who killed 11 others, but was struck fatally by a bullet fired by a California Highway Patrol officer. Ventura County Sheriff Bill Ayub on Friday said Sgt. Ron Helus died from a bullet shot by a CHP who joined him in the gun battle Nov. 7 at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks. Helus was among 12 people killed at the bar during the shootout. Gunman Ian David Long took his own life. Authorities don’t know what drove Long to kill.
Storm damage: Crews on Friday assessed damage and cleanup after a storm brought record rainfall to Los Angeles the day before, snarling traffic and forcing evacuations as debris flows hit areas burned by wildfires. A mudslide shut down roads in and around Malibu neighborhoods charred by a massive wildfire last month. There were no reported injuries associated with debris flows, though multiple people had to be rescued in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties. Downtown Los Angeles set a new rainfall record Thursday with 1.9 inches, nearly double the previous record set in 1997. Contaminated water: A judge on Friday ordered Michigan’s chief medical executive to stand trial on involuntary manslaughter and other charges in a criminal investigation of the Flint water crisis. Dr. Eden Wells is a member of Gov. Rick Snyder’s Cabinet. Five other people also have been charged with involuntary manslaughter tied to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the Flint area. Key officials are accused of knowing about a spike in Legionnaires’ but waiting too long to tell the public.