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BRANDON RAYGO

Take a look at the stories from around our area and world that are making news today.

Driverless vehicle lanes on I-94 being studied for Foxconn: Rick Romell of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes: "Spurred by Foxconn Technology Group and its plans for a mega-factory in Racine County, state highway planners are studying the possibility of including special lanes for driverless vehicles on I-94. Should that come to pass — and at this point it is only something being contemplated — it would put Wisconsin in the vanguard of what many believe will be a key part of transportation in the future. Driverless cars have been developed and are being tested, but there are no highway lanes dedicated to so-called autonomous vehicles, a spokesman with the U.S. Department of Transportation said. Among those challenges are increased traffic and the problem of getting huge numbers of workers — Foxconn says it will employ as many as 13,000 — to a semi-rural area 8 miles west of downtown Racine and more than 20 miles from downtown Milwaukee. But with state money earmarked to widen I-94 to eight lanes and plans in place to improve local roads, Sheehy said regional officials 'thought we were ahead of the curve' on traffic issues. Then they briefed Foxconn on the accomplishments. 'And we were all dumbstruck,' Sheehy said, 'when they looked at us and said, ‘So where’s the autonomous vehicle lane?’” Read more.


Justice Deptartment eyes inquiry into Clinton Foundation: Michael S. Schmidt and Maggie Haberman of the New York Times write: "The Justice Department said Monday that prosecutors were looking into whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate political rivals President Trump has singled out for scrutiny, including Hillary Clinton. The department, in a letter sent to the House Judiciary Committee, said the prosecutors would examine allegations that donations to the Clinton Foundation were tied to a 2010 decision by the Obama administration to allow a Russian nuclear agency to buy Uranium One, a company that owned access to uranium in the United States, and other issues. The letter appeared to be a direct response to Mr. Trump’s statement on Nov. 3, when he said he was disappointed with his beleaguered attorney general, Jeff Sessions, and that longstanding unproven allegations about the Clintons and the Obama administration should be investigated. Any such investigation would raise questions about the independence of federal investigations under Mr. Trump. Since Watergate, the Justice Department has largely operated independently of political influence on cases related to the president’s opponents." Read more.


The Senate will challenge Trump's ability to use nuclear weapons whenever he wants: Alex Lockie of The Hill writes: "If President Donald Trump wants to fire any number of US nuclear weapons at virtually any target on earth, nobody, not the Secretary of Defense, not Congress, and not even the nuclear launch officer underground in a silo pressing the button could stop him. But on Tuesday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hold a hearing over the president's authority to order the use of nuclear weapons. While the hearing nominally will look at the structure of nuclear command and control that has served all presidents, it's headed by one of Trump's most vocal critics in the ranks of Senate Republicans, Bob Corker. Just a month ago, Corker scolded Trump for acting in a way he found childish, saying that 'the White House has become an adult day care center.' He warned that Trump's brash style of leadership could send the US 'on the path to World War III.' Additionally, Trump has extensively explored the idea of preemptive war with North Korea, a rogue nuclear nation he has verbally sparred with and threatened to 'totally destroy.' 'This discussion is long overdue,' Corker said of the hearing on the president's authority to use nuclear weapons." Read more.


What we know about Trump Jr.'s exchanges with WikiLeaks: Marshall Cohen of CNN writes: "There is a web of connections between the Trump campaign, the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks and the public disclosures it injected into the presidential campaign. Federal investigators are examining some of these relationships and whether any of them were part of an effort to coordinate with Russia's election-meddling efforts. On Monday, it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr. exchanged some private messages on Twitter with WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign. The news was first reported by The Atlantic and later confirmed by Trump Jr., who posted screenshots of the messages. A source familiar with the matter told CNN that Congress has known about these messages for a while and they came up during Trump Jr.'s closed-door testimony in September. The messages show that WikiLeaks reached out fairly often to Trump Jr., who is only known to have replied on two occasions. Trump Jr.'s final response to WikiLeaks was in October 2016, though the WikiLeaks account continued its outreach until July 2017, according to the messages he released. That being said, nothing happens in a vacuum, and while these messages were exchanged, WikiLeaks was busy releasing hacked materials. And all the while, Russian President Vladimir Putin was directing an operation to interfere in the US election, according to the US intelligence community." Read more.

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Locals were troubled by Roy Moore’s interactions with teen girls at the Gadsden mall: Charles Bethea of the New Yorker writes: "Roy Moore, the Republican Senate candidate and former chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was born in Gadsden, a small city flanked by Interstate 59 and the Coosa River, an hour northeast of Birmingham. Gadsden is hilly, woodsy, blue-collar, and religious. 'LEGAL OR NOT, SIN IS SIN,' a sign in front of a church announced yesterday. I saw it as I drove around, crisscrossing George Wallace Drive. I also saw Trump posters, Confederate flags, and dozens of signs for Doug Jones, the Democrat tied with Moore in recent Senate-race polls. Gadsden is the seat of Etowah County, which is a conservative place; Donald Trump received three times as many votes in the county as Hillary Clinton did. (Statewide, he received twice as many.) But I didn’t, in all my driving, see a single yard sign for Moore, the home-town son. Even the parking lot of the one mall in town had more bumper stickers for Luther Strange (four), Moore’s opponent in the Republican primary, than for Moore himself (one)." Read more.


GOP tax plans could fuel the suburban revolt against Trump: Ronald Brownstein of CNN writes: "After a suburban firestorm in last week's elections, House Speaker Paul Ryan is now asking his Republican members from suburbia to put out the fire with gasoline. In the House of Representatives, Republicans representing white-collar districts were understandably unnerved by a roaring backlash against President Donald Trump in last week's elections, which carried Democrats to sweeping victories from northern Virginia to leafy communities outside New York, Philadelphia and Seattle. Just days later, the House leadership is now pressing those same suburban representatives to back a tax reform bill that independent analysts say will raise taxes on many of their constituents, particularly in Democratic-leaning states and around the major metropolitan areas with the highest real estate values. The skittishness of suburban Republicans from blue-leaning states, where Trump is already unpopular, leaves the House GOP facing a narrow road for passing the tax bill, which is expected to reach the floor this week. And if the legislation passes the House, as expected, it could leave Republicans facing an even rockier road in suburbia in 2018." Read more.