Charles Ramsey became an overnight sensation on May 6, 2013, when a video of the Cleveland resident describing the rescue of Michelle Knight, Amanda Berry, and Gina DeJesus from Ariel Castro's house of terror went viral. Ramsey discussed the afternoon in detail, from what he was eating (McDonald's) to how it felt when Berry came looking for help ("Bro, I knew something was wrong when a pretty little white girl ran into a black man's arms. Something is wrong here... dead giveaway.").
A year later, Ramsey is back, having spent the past 12 months reflecting on that fateful day and writing a book (the aptly titled Dead Giveaway). In an interview with WKYC's Russ Mitchell, Ramsey said that while "everyone wants to be in the limelight for some reason... to see my face plastered on national TV all over the place, and my name ringing throughout the city of Cleveland, for a good deed of course, that's overwhelming. I'm still having a hard time taking it in."
Mitchell also brought up the women, asking Ramsey, who has run into Knight several times around the neighborhood, how they have thanked him since the rescue. "You know what they're doing? They're moving on with life," he said. "They're not in a psych ward somewhere. That's how they're thanking me, by just living life to the fullest."
Ramsey gave Mitchell other tidbits about his own life, including that while he does have places to stay, he is technically homeless, and he's toying with the idea of going into stand up comedy. Watch the interview at USA Today. --Catherine Garcia
The House Republican leadership is planning to forge ahead with a Thursday floor vote on the American Health Care Act, the party's proposed health-care bill to replace ObamaCare. As of Wednesday afternoon, the bill is facing long odds in the lower chamber, with more than two dozen GOP members — mostly from the far-right House Freedom Caucus — stating their intention to vote against the bill.
The White House has remained optimistic about the bill's passage, with Press Secretary Sean Spicer saying during Wednesday's press briefing that "member by member, we're seeing tremendous support flow in our direction." Despite the mounting defections, "the count keeps getting stronger for us," Spicer insisted.
Mere hours after Spicer's Wednesday briefing, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) tweeted this:
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) March 22, 2017
Republicans can only afford to lose 22 votes in the lower chamber if they want to push the American Health Care Act through. If the bill does pass the House on Thursday, it will move onto the Senate — where it also faces a steep uphill battle. Kimberly Alters
Supreme Court nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch is facing the Senate Judiciary Committee for a third day of confirmation hearings Wednesday. While he's been praised by Republicans for his strong conservative record and boasts a sterling academic pedigree, Democrats have pointed to the federal appellate judge's rulings on workers' rights and women's issues as points of concern. Some Democrats have also cited the unfair treatment of Judge Merrick Garland's nomination to the same seat by former President Barack Obama as reason to obstruct Gorsuch's nomination.
The Garland argument holds little weight at this point, as Obama has left office and President Trump has nominated Gorsuch to the seat, as is his constitutional right. But if Democrats cannot use the Garland argument or Gorsuch's own judicial record to delay the confirmation, it seems they have developed a third tactic: delegitimizing President Trump's right to nominate Gorsuch in the first place.
In light of FBI Director James Comey's disclosure Monday that the bureau is actively investigating whether the Trump campaign has any untoward ties with Russia, both Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) have indicated they believe Gorsuch's nomination is illegitimate because of the ongoing probe:
— Matt House (@mattwhouse) March 21, 2017
Looks like Elizabeth Warren wants to postpone Gorsuch's nomination while the Trump campaign is under FBI investigation pic.twitter.com/airpuB3Cmu
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) March 21, 2017
Apparently Republicans haven't concocted a health-care back-up plan. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer insisted Wednesday that the American Health Care Act — which is dangerously close to not having enough votes to pass the House in a scheduled floor vote Thursday — is the GOP's one and only bet for repealing and replacing ObamaCare. "There is no plan B," Spicer said at Wednesday's press briefing. "There's a plan A and plan A. We're going to get this done."
Republicans can only afford to lose 22 GOP votes and still get the health-care bill through the House, and at this point 25 members of the House Freedom Caucus have said they will oppose the bill. But when asked if Republicans were "100 percent confident" the bill was going to get through, Spicer insisted the GOP was "going to get it done." "That's it," he said. "Plain and simple."
Watch it below. Becca Stanek
Spicer on healthcare bill that appears to be in trouble: "There's plan A and plan A. We're gonna get this done." pic.twitter.com/6kFKrjvzLc
— Steve Kopack (@SteveKopack) March 22, 2017
Just a day ahead of the House's scheduled vote on the GOP health-care bill, conservative advocacy group FreedomWorks announced its opposition to Republicans' ObamaCare replacement plan. In a letter, FreedomWorks urged Republican lawmakers to vote 'no' on the American Health Care Act, arguing it "does not go far enough to permanently dismantle the ObamaCare framework."
"There are parts of the American Health Care Act that bring about positive reforms, including the expansion of health savings accounts (HSAs), the repeal of most of ObamaCare's taxes, and Medicaid reforms," the letter said. "Unfortunately, even with recently submitted changes, the American Health Care Act has too many ObamaCare-like flaws." The letter warned Republicans that Americans will judge the bill based solely on whether health-insurance premiums decline; if premiums don't go down because the AHCA "leaves in place parts of ObamaCare that have caused premiums to rise, Republicans will pay a price."
FreedomWorks is just the latest conservative group to come out against the GOP health-care bill. Earlier this week, both Heritage Action and Club for Growth warned Republican lawmakers the AHCA does not go far enough to undo ObamaCare.
Trump communications may have been picked up in legal, 'normal foreign surveillance,' House Intelligence Committee chair says
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Wednesday that it's "possible" President Trump and his transition team's communications were picked up through "incidental collection" by intelligence officials doing "normal foreign surveillance." Nunes said the surveillance was legal and does not seem to be connected to the ongoing FBI investigation into alleged ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. This surveillance is also unrelated to Trump's allegations that former President Barack Obama wiretapped his phones at Trump Tower.
Nunes said he learned of the possibility from "sources," and he said he was "alarmed" when he found out. However, Nunes noted it's not yet clear whether the surveillance — which apparently happened in November, December, and January — was "beyond routine foreign surveillance," The Washington Examiner reported.
Nunes said he plans to go to the White House later Wednesday to brief President Trump on the matter. Becca Stanek
Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn apparently never got around to signing his mandatory ethics pledge during his 23 days on the job. The pledge was a part of President Trump's executive order signed Jan. 28 that prohibits political appointees from "lobbying the government in any way for five years after serving in his administration," ABC News reported. The order was intended to help uphold Trump's promise to "drain the swamp."
Flynn, who resigned in February after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about a discussion with a Russian ambassador, "didn't have the opportunity to sign it," Flynn spokesman Price Floyd said. Floyd said Flynn planned to "abide by the pledge" anyway, noting Flynn has not done any lobbying work since he left the post on Feb. 13.
However, Flynn has registered as a foreign agent since his ousting because of his company's lobbying work for a firm linked to the Turkish government. The work was apparently being done while Flynn was serving as a top adviser to Trump's presidential campaign.
On Wednesday, Democrats and Republicans on the House Oversight Committee requested all documents related to Flynn's contact with and payment from "Russian, Turkish, or other foreign sources, including but not limited to payments he received from the Kremlin-backed media outlet known as RT." Becca Stanek
At the ripe old age of 37, Chelsea Clinton will be honored with a lifetime achievement award. Variety magazine announced Tuesday that it's selected the former first daughter to receive the honor at its "Women in Power" luncheon on April 18.
Clinton, mother of two and vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, was selected because of "her work with Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which empowers kids to develop lifelong healthy habits," Variety said.
Other recipients include CBS This Morning's Gayle King; media executive Shari Redstone; and actresses Jessica Chastain, Audra McDonald, and Blake Lively, who is 29 years old. Becca Stanek