While You Were Out: Feb. 13, 2020

Drama. Drama. So much drama.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and President Donald Trump met behind closed doors at the White House today, but emerged with no deal as the governor sought to convince the president to lift a ban that prohibits New Yorkers from enrolling in federal secure-traveler programs.

Leading up to his meeting with Cuomo, Trump urged the governor to end the lawsuits against his administration and added a dig at the end about “Fredo.”

Trump appeared to link his administration’s policies toward New York to a demand that the state drop investigations and lawsuits related to his administration as well as his personal business and finances.

The White House says Trump isn’t “bothered” after Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News that the president’s tweets “make it impossible for me to do my job,” in an unusual swipe at the president – although Barr emphasized that Trump “has never asked me to do anything in a criminal case.”

John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff, expressed support for one of the key impeachment witnesses whom Trump abruptly fired last week, drawing a swift response from the president, who tweeted that Kelly “misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut.”

Trump’s former communications director Hope Hicks – one of his most influential confidantes and a longtime loyalist – is expected to return to the White House in an adviser role.

Trump insulted former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg over his height again, prompting the billionaire Democratic presidential candidate to blast Trump as “a carnival barking clown.”

China’s leaders expanded a mass roundup of people possibly sickened with the coronavirus, widening their dragnet well beyond the epicenter of the outbreak to at least two more cities in what the government has called a “wartime” campaign to stamp out the epidemic.

Republican Assembly Member Brian Kolb announced that he won’t see re-election – a development that came a month and a half after he was charged with drunk driving on New Year’s Eve.

Also not seeking re-election: Peter Lawrence, a Republican who represents the towns of Greece, Ogden, and Parma in the 134th Assembly District.

A lawyer for Harvey Weinstein told jurors that he was the victim of an “overzealous prosecution” and that prosecutors were acting like moviemakers, inventing an alternative world in which women are not responsible for their own behavior.

Cuomo rolled out a slate of environmental leaders being enlisted to help push for a proposed $3 billion bond act meant to aid water restoration projects around New York.

Days after it was revealed that the state AG’s office was probing the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Inc., the nonprofit’s chairwoman posted a letter to members trying to assuage concerns about the group’s finances ahead of its annual Caucus Weekend, which kicks off tomorrow in Albany.

State Senate Democrats are on the hot seat after proposing changes to the state’s recently enacted bail reforms.

Progressive groups are calling on one of the state Senate’s top Democrats to get on board with plans to increase taxes on the state’s wealthiest residents.

Bethlehem police arrested a Bethlehem Central High School student for allegedly scribbling on a bathroom wall threats of violence targeting the school, police and school officials said.

A 62-year-old former state mental health official who asked boys to dress in diapers inside his home was sentenced to 60 days in jail.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has called the deal to sell the Indian Point nuclear power plant “very risky” and urged federal safety regulators to consider the state’s concerns before moving ahead.

Tesla’s Elon Musk is personally planning to visit Tesla’s so-called Gigafactory 2 at the RiverBend campus in Buffalo in April, the same month when the plant must meet a key employment goal or pay a $41.2 million penalty to the state.

A 19-year-old construction worker who fell from scaffolding outside an Albany apartment complex today has died, according to city police.

After a man was arrested for making a death threat against a Buffalo reporter who has vigorously covered abuse scandals within the Catholic Church, Albany Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger denounced any threats or harassment against members of the press.

Incumbent Democratic Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, D-Round Lake, has two challengers vying for the Republican line in the 113th District.

Late arriving students at the middle and high schools in Saratoga Springs won’t be marked tardy this year – at least not until the district can hire more bus drivers.

The FDA has issued a Class 1 recall, their most serious type of recall, on over 300,000 insulin pumps used in the U.S. for the treatment of Type 1 diabetes. The devices, the MiniMed 600 Series produced by Medtronic, have been responsible for over 2,000 injuries and 1 death.

Photo credit: George Fazio.

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