WASHINGTON

Billionaire Tom Steyer

launches 2020 campaign

Tom Steyer, the billionaire investor and activist, said Tuesday he's joining the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, reversing course after deciding earlier this year that he would forgo a run.

Steyer, 62, is one of the most visible and deep-pocketed liberals advocating for President Donald Trump's impeachment. He surprised many Democrats in January when he traveled to Iowa, home to the nation's first presidential caucus, to declare that he would focus entirely on the impeachment effort instead of seeking the White House.

 

NEW YORK

Judge blocks lawyers

from quitting census fight

The Justice Department can't replace nine lawyers so late in the dispute over whether to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census without explaining why they are doing so, a judge said Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman, who earlier this year ruled against adding the citizenship question, put the brakes on the government's plans a day after he was given a three-paragraph notification by the Justice Department along with a prediction that the replacement of lawyers won't "cause any disruption in this matter."

 

WASHINGTON

Biden earned $15 million

after White House exit

Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, took in more than $15 million since leaving the Obama White House, according to documents released Tuesday, catapulting the Democratic presidential candidate into millionaire status and denting the working-class aura he's developed over decades.

Long fond of describing himself as "Middle Class Joe" while he took in little more than his government salary, the former vice president stressed his working-class roots from the very beginning of his bid for his party's 2020 presidential nomination. But federal tax returns and a financial disclosure show that since Biden left public office, his income has surged thanks to a lucrative book deal and constant publicity tours that brought in more than $4 million.

 

KABUL, AFGHANISTAN 

Conference brings country

step closer to peace 

All-Afghan talks that brought together Afghanistan's warring sides ended Tuesday with a statement that appeared to push the country a step closer to peace, by laying down the outlines of a roadmap for the country's future and ending nearly 18 years of war.

Washington's Peace Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has said he is hoping for a final agreement by Sept. 1, which would allow the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops. 

 

RICHMOND, VA.

Legislature abruptly

adjourns gun session

Less than two hours after beginning a special session called in response to a mass shooting, Virginia lawmakers abruptly adjourned Tuesday and postponed any movement on gun laws until after the November election.

Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam summoned the Republican-led Legislature to the Capitol to address gun violence in the wake of the May 31 attack that killed a dozen people in Virginia Beach. He put forward a package of eight gun-control measures and called for "votes and laws, not thoughts and prayers" in reaction to the massacre.

But not a single vote was cast on the legislation. Republican leaders said the session was premature and politically motivated.

 

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA

Gas leak at hotel sends

dozens to hospital

Nearly four dozen people were taken to a hospital, at least 15 of them in critical condition, after carbon monoxide leaked inside a hotel in Winnipeg on Tuesday, but no fatalities were expected, officials said.

John Lane, chief of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service, said emergency crews were called to the hotel when an automatic alarm showed there was carbon monoxide gas. He said the leak originated in the hotel's boiler room.

 

NEW YORK

Court to Trump: Don't

block critics on Twitter

President Donald Trump lost a major Twitter fight Tuesday when a federal appeals court said that his daily musings and pronouncements were overwhelmingly official in nature and that he violated the First Amendment whenever he blocked a critic to silence a viewpoint.

The effect of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision is likely to reverberate throughout politics after the Manhattan court warned that any elected official using a social media account "for all manner of official purposes" and then excluding critics violates free speech.

 

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com wires