Political news from WNPR

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A poll from Quinnipiac University released on Tuesday found that Donald Trump leads in a Republican presidential primary race in Connecticut, at 34 percent. But he trails leading Democrats in general election matchups.

Chion Wolf / WNPR


A judge in 17th century Connecticut ruled on the thorniest of problems. Some of these included ruling on a piglet’s paternity, who was to blame for faulty shoes, and whether illicit sex had occurred on a boat sailing to Stamford. 

A bruised Hillary Clinton will have much to prove as she takes the debate stage Tuesday evening alongside four of her Democratic presidential challengers. The former secretary of state has been damaged by lingering questions about her private email server and doubts about her trustworthiness.

That has partly enabled Vermont independent Sen. Bernie Sanders to ride a wave of progressive support to a lead over her in New Hampshire and an impressive $25 million fundraising haul last quarter.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Former Hartford Mayor Eddie Perez will have his corruption case heard by the state’s highest court Tuesday, as he continues to fight his 2010 convictions on bribery and extortion-related charges. 

Heather Brandon / WNPR

The plan to build a professional soccer stadium in Hartford is now officially dead, but the controversy around it isn't.

Kevin McCarthy Gone, In 60 Seconds

Oct 9, 2015

There was chaos on Capitol Hill on Thursday after front-runner Rep. Kevin McCarthy withdrew his name from the House speakership election. The closed-door House Republican meeting that was supposed to emerge with a speaker nominee spilled out into the hallway outside of the House Ways and Means Room in the Longworth Office Building. That's where reporters rushed lawmakers to find out exactly what had happened and where the conference might go from here.

Here's a peek into that hallway, in 60 seconds:

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford city Treasurer Adam Cloud has apologized for using his public email to steer private investment to a now off-the-air golf network, but the episode has brought a new focus on the question of ethics.

City of Hartford

  A deal to lease city land to a developer who said he would finance and build a multi-million dollar soccer stadium that would be home to a professional soccer team is all but dead, as news reports about the man behind the deal have caused even its main backer to retreat.

A day after the Russian navy fired cruise missiles at targets in Syria — and two days after Russia's warplanes veered into Turkey's airspace — NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance "is able and ready to defend all allies, including Turkey, against any threat."

Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says there isn't much time. Congress and the White House face two big deadlines to fund the government. It will be an intricate maneuver to meet both deadlines even as congressional leadership changes. And in an interview with NPR, Lew described behind-the-scenes negotiations meant to avert a last-minute crisis.

"There are conversations going on at a staff level," Lew told NPR's Steve Inskeep, "and I think the key is for Democrats and Republicans [in Congress] to talk to each other."

alphaville / Flickr

Justin Lifflander wanted nothing more than to become a spy for the CIA. Growing up during the Cold War, he practiced spying on friends, family, and schoolmates in preparation for what he thought would be a career full of high-tech gadgetry and secret rendezvous. When Lifflander was finally assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in 1987, he thought his dream was coming true.

What followed was something Lifflander could never have predicted. He was a mechanic at the embassy, then an inspector of Soviet missile sights, and then a suspected American agent followed at every turn by the KGB. Lifflander found himself living in a world which very much resembled his childhood dream -- but he was never a spy.

Karen Brown / NEPR

In the fall of 2013, Mark Schand walked out of court in Springfield, Massachusetts a free man, after 27 years in prison for a murder he said he did not commit.

The president of the Springfield, Massachusetts City Council isn’t giving up on getting a popular vote on MGM’s controversial casino redesign.

City Council President Mike Fenton said he’ll appeal to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to order a binding voter referendum on the proposed new design for the Springfield casino.

Fenton said MGM’s plan to eliminate a 25-story hotel from the project substantially changes the host community agreement Springfield voters approved two years ago.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Last March, Onyeka Obiocha of Happiness Lab at the Grove coffee shop in New Haven stepped outside to find his car had been towed.

When he finally got it back and was driving home to Hartford, the car blew a head gasket. The repair bill was prohibitive, so Obiocha said goodbye to owning a car.

Elipongo / Creative Commons

Connecticut is "The Land of Steady Habits," which is why our state budget remains in a state of permanent crisis. Recently, Governor Dan Malloy made emergency cuts to the budget and targeted hospital funding and social services. He was on Where We Live this week and defended his actions and drew more criticism from the hospital community.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

A lawyer for embattled Hartford insurance executive Earl O'Garro said the federal indictment against him should be dismissed because extensive publicity denied him his right to an unbiased grand jury. But federal prosecutors argued the claim has no merit.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy has not ruled out making savings in labor costs to help balance the state’s budget. Speaking on WNPR’s Where We Live, the governor said his administration will look for realism in upcoming negotiations with state labor unions.

Emily Stanchfield / Creative Commons

Our weekly Monday afternoon "Scramble" continues the conversation arising from last week’s school shooting in Oregon. As the number of mass shootings continues to rise, the nationwide discussion has reached a stalemate. Is there a different, more effective way to talk about guns? 

"We, the trade ministers ... are pleased to announce that we have successfully concluded the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiation," U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman announced Monday morning, to a loud round of applause.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Governor Dannel Malloy is less than a year into his second term in office and it doesn’t look like it will be any easier than the first term.

The budget remains in a state of permanent fiscal crisis, forcing a $100 million cut to the budget, just months into a new fiscal year. Those cuts, especially the ones hitting social services and hospitals, have been criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike, and there are calls from editorial boards for a special session to reinstate some of the funding and find new ways to plug budget holes. 

North Korea has returned a New York University student and South Korean national who had been detained in Pyongyang since April.

21-year-old Joo Won-moon was in North Korean custody after he crossed the border from China into North Korea, hoping to help strengthen ties between the two Koreas.

"I thought some great event could happen and hopefully that event could have a good effect in the relationship between the North and the South," Joo told CNN in an interview in May.

Michael S. Gordon / Springfield Republican

Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the presidency to Massachusetts this weekend, speaking in Boston and Springfield. In a speech Saturday to a crowd of about 6,000 at the MassMutual Center, the U.S. senator from Vermont addressed an issue he hasn’t talked about much: gun control.

After Thursday's mass shooting at an Oregon community college, which left nine people dead and more injured, President Obama aired his frustration over gun laws in the U.S. At a news conference Friday, he called on voters to push their representatives to take action.

"You just have to, for a while, be a single-issue voter, because that's what is happening on the other side," Obama said. "And that's going to take some time. I mean, the NRA has had a good start."

President Obama passionately pleaded for stricter gun laws in the aftermath of yet another mass shooting Thursday. Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and others renewed their calls for stricter gun control measures.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET.

Arne Duncan will step down as President Obama's education secretary in December, a White House official confirms to NPR.

Obama has selected Deputy Education Secretary John B. King Jr. to replace Duncan. King is a former New York State education commissioner. (President Obama is making a personnel announcement at 3:30 p.m. ET.)

There will be no voter referendum on the controversial changes proposed in the design of the MGM Springfield casino.

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton, who had hoped to put a non-binding question on the municipal election ballot to gauge public opinion on MGM’s plan to eliminate the high-rise hotel from the casino project, withdrew his resolution.

" We ran out of time," said Fenton.  " I think it is unfortunate because I believe it deserved further review and consideration."

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

After WNPR reported that Hartford city Treasurer Adam Cloud used his work email to steer private investment to the Back9Network -- a business that had financial ties to his family -- Cloud has issued an apology.

For as long as New Hampshire has hosted the nation’s first presidential primary contest, it seems outsiders have been trying to dilute the state’s influence. The latest such attempt comes from the Republican National Committee chairman, Reince Priebus.

In an interview with the National Journal, Priebus says he’s been supportive of early nominating states like New Hampshire and Iowa in the past, but “I don’t think anyone should get too comfortable.”

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

The bill to fund the government through Dec. 11 has been signed into law by President Obama. That beats the midnight deadline for keeping government agencies operating.

Earlier in the day, the Senate and the House passed the bill, which does not strip funding from Planned Parenthood.

Remember, some House Republicans had insisted on no payments to Planned Parenthood before they would vote to extend funding for the whole government.

NPR's Ailsa Chang reported on the bill's progress for our Newscast unit:

Uma Ramiah / WNPR

It turns out that state budget chief Ben Barnes was being dead serious when he said Connecticut was in "permanent fiscal crisis." Recent budget cuts have caused an uproar among hospitals, which get hit hard.