Donald Trump

MSHA

The U.S. Senate voted along party lines Wednesday, 52 to 46, to narrowly confirm President Trump’s  nominee to lead the Mine Safety and Health Administration, or MSHA. The country’s top mine safety position has been vacant since January as coal mining fatalities have risen to a two-year high. Trump’s choice to fill the post is facing opposition from congressional Democrats and safety advocates. 


Last week in the Russia investigations: Mueller removes all doubt, the imbroglio apparently costs a man a government job and lots of talk — but no silver bullet — on digital interference.


Mueller time

How many more thunderbolts has Zeus in his quiver? Where might the next one strike? Who does the angry lightning-hurler have in his sights — and who will be spared?

comer.house.gov

U.S. Congressman James Comer of Kentucky said the investigation into the Trump administration’s ties to Russia has been a national distraction.

The investigation headed by special prosecutor Robert Mueller led to the indictment of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort on Monday. Manafort was charged with tax fraud and money laundering.

Comer said he supports the legal process but special investigations always go beyond the original intent. 

Five months into his mandate, Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller III unleashed a legal version of "shock and awe" on Monday with criminal charges against President Trump's former campaign chairman and a guilty plea by a foreign policy aide.

Mueller made no public comment about the charges or the next steps in an investigation that's irritating the White House and riveting the nation. But there are some clues in the court documents about where the former FBI director and his investigators may be heading.

Lisa Autry

U.S. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is downplaying the indictment of President Trump’s former campaign manager.   Paul Manafort and an aide are the first to be criminally charged in the investigation into possible Russian influence in U.S. politics. 

Senator Paul says the charges have nothing to do with collusion with Russia and instead accuse Manafort of money laundering and not paying taxes before going ever joining the Trump campaign.

White House video

As bad as the opioid epidemic is across the nation, it is even worse here in the Ohio Valley.

Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia collectively have a rate of opioid-related deaths that is more than twice the national average.

Last year 5,306 people died from opioid overdoses in the three states -- 15 deaths a day. That means that 13 percent of all opioid deaths in the nation occurred in a region with just over 5 percent of the country’s population.


Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Apparent Russian agents began reaching out to Donald Trump's presidential campaign as early as March 2016, the Justice Department established in documents released Monday, with appeals for partnership and offers of help including "dirt" on Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.

That case is made in charging documents in the case of then-Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

University of Kentucky

President Donald Trump is nominating a Lexington engineer to fill the top spot at the federal Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement.

The Department of the Interior announced Thursday that Steven Gardner of Lexington consulting firm ECSI has been tapped for the role. Gardner has more than four decades of experience working with and advocating for the mining industry.

In 2011, he testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources on the Obama administration’s Stream Protection Rule, which tightened regulations on surface coal mining.

Gardner and others raised questions about the justification used for the regulation, saying the Office of Surface Mining had prompted his company to change key calculations to lessen the perceived effect of the rule on jobs and coal production.

President Trump and his allies aren't exactly running the playbook Republicans want him to ahead of the 2018 midterms. And that could be costly for the GOP at the ballot box next year.

public domain

The Trump administration’s plan to lift the ban on giving certain types of military equipment to local governments is unlikely to have major consequences in Kentucky and other states.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the policy change last Monday, telling members of the Fraternal Order of Police that the move would “ensure that you can get the lifesaving gear that you need to do your job and send a strong message that we will not allow criminal activity, violence and lawlessness to become the new normal.”

President Trump has pardoned controversial former Sheriff Joe Arpaio for a misdemeanor criminal contempt conviction.

A statement issued by the White House Friday night said, "Today, President Donald J. Trump granted a Presidential pardon to Joe Arpaio, former Sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona."

Known as "America's Toughest Sheriff," Arpaio gained a reputation for his harsh — his critics would say cruel — treatment of immigrants in the country illegally.

Kentucky Loses Big If Health Care Repeal Revives. Will McConnell Keep Trying?

Aug 25, 2017
Lisa Gillespie

Tricia Petrucci hasn’t quite reached the point where she regrets her vote for President Donald Trump. It would be understandable if she did, because Trump — and her senator, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — are trying to curb the medical services that sustain her 11-year-old stepson, who battles severe cerebral palsy.

She is aware of the irony when she chats with her Louisville neighbor, Ann Pipes, a Democrat whose own son is 11 and struggles with a disability.


With the federal government getting closer to running out of cash to cover all bills on time, companies that evaluate bonds are having to consider how to rate America's creditworthiness.

And their job didn't get any easier on Thursday when President Trump continued his attacks on congressional leaders over their failure to raise the federal debt ceiling.

Other U.S. officials have been trying reassure the financial markets that no default is imminent.

Trump Administration Halts Mining Health Study

Aug 22, 2017
Vivian Stockman and Southwings.

The Trump administration’s Department of the Interior has asked the National Academy of Sciences to suspend research into the health effects of mountaintop removal coal mining.

A team from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine was established last year for a two-year study. The committee has been conducting hearings and investigating accumulating science on the health impacts of surface mining, especially the practice known as mountaintop removal.


Five years ago, before he was a candidate for president, Donald Trump was pretty sure he knew what to do about Afghanistan. It was a losing proposition, "a complete waste" in terms of "blood and treasure."

"Why are we continuing to train these Afghanis who then shoot our soldiers in the back?" he asked on Twitter in 2012. "Afghanistan is a complete waste. Time to come home!"

More recently, candidate Trump was less certain about exactly when the U.S. should exit the struggle that he had railed against continuing.

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