A jury found former Penn State University President Graham Spanier guilty Friday of one count of endangering the welfare of a child in connection to the child-molestation case involving Jerry Sandusky. Spanier faced two other charges, including an additional count of child endangerment and one count of conspiracy, though he was acquitted of both. The charges related to Spanier’s handling of allegations that Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach, had sexually abused a boy in the team’s shower—allegations the prosecution claims Spanier failed to report to law enforcement. Last week, former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and former Senior Vice President Gary Schultz pleaded guilty to misdemeanor child-endangerment charges for their part in the scandal, for which each faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Spanier, who was freed on bail until sentencing, faces between three months to one year in prison as a first-time offender, though the penalty could be higher.
—Speaker Paul Ryan informed President Trump at the White House that the health care bill could not pass the House, as blocs of conservatives and moderates resisted a week of frenzied lobbying from the administration and were determined to vote no. More here
—Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, who was deposed in an uprising in 2011, has been freed from prison. More here
—A jury found former Penn State University President Graham Spanier guilty of one count of endangering the welfare of a child in connection to the child-molestation case involving Jerry Sandusky. More here
—We’re tracking the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
Ex-Penn State President Found Guilty of Child Endangerment
Tillerson Reverses Course and Will Attend a Rescheduled NATO Meeting
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will attend the NATO foreign-ministers meeting later this month, just days after it was reported he was skipping the event. The meeting, which was scheduled to be held April 5 and 6, is being rescheduled to March 31, the State Department said. As we reported earlier this week, Tillerson had planned to skip his first NATO meeting, but was scheduled to travel later in April to a meeting of the Group of Seven (G7) industrialized countries in Italy and then to Moscow. The schedule heightened concerns among the U.S.’s NATO allies that are worried about the Trump administration’s commitment to the Atlantic alliance, the bedrock of Western stability since the end of World War II.
UPDATE: Ryan Pulls Vote on the Trump-Backed Health-Care Law
Updated at 4:23 p.m. ET
The House Republican leadership pulled the vote today on the American Health Care Act (AHCA) after it became clear that they couldn’t get enough members of their own party to support the measure, which was supported by President Trump. “Obamacare if the law of the land,” Speaker Paul Ryan told reporters. “We’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” He added the GOP would move onto other legislative priorities. Ryan acknowledged the decision was a “setback,” but added Trump had been “fantastic.” “He gave it his all,” Ryan said. The development is a major setback to the president who had hoped to persuade reluctant Tea Party-allied Republican representatives to support the measure. Ultimately, he could not. Trump, speaking to Robert Costa, the Washington Post reporter, said: “We just pulled it.” He told Maggie Haberman, The New York Times reporter, Democrats were at fault for today’s development. He said he believed they would be ready to deal with him when Obamacare “explodes.”
Our original post at 7:37 a.m. ET
The House of Representatives could vote today on the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the legislation supported by President Trump that is designed to replace the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative achievement that is also called Obamacare. The possible vote comes after a dramatic day that saw a scheduled vote on the measure postponed after the House Republican leadership and the White House realized they had not persuaded enough members of the Republican caucus—especially members of the Tea Party-allied House Freedom Caucus—to support the measure. Democrats oppose the AHCA, and at this time it does not appear to have enough votes to pass the House. The postponed vote led Trump to issue an ultimatum via his top aides to House Republicans: Vote now on the measure and pass it or live with Obamacare. A vote could come as early as this morning. It’s unclear if it will pass. Even if it does, the AHCA faces even more of a struggle in the U.S. Senate where there is bipartisan opposition to it. Russell Berman wrote about Trump’s ultimatum here.
Toronto School District Ends U.S. Trips Over Trump's Travel Ban
The largest school district in Canada said Friday it will end student and staff trips to the U.S. out of concern over the Trump administration’s travel ban, which limits people from certain countries from entering the U.S. The Toronto District School Board said in a statement, “We do not make this decision lightly, but given the uncertainty of these new travel restrictions and when they may come into effect, if at all, we strongly believe that our students should not be placed into these situations of potentially being turned away at the border.” The travel ban blocks people from six majority-Muslim countries from entering the U.S., but there’s confusion over whether it also applies to natives of those countries now living in another country, like Canada. The travel ban has not taken effect, because federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland temporarily blocked the order. Trump has vowed to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court if necessary. The choice by the school district follows a similar one made earlier this month by the Girl Guides of Canada, the country’s equivalent of the Girl Scouts, which said it would stop trips to the U.S. because Trump’s travel ban might limit “the ability of all our members to equally enter. ”
Manafort, Trump's Former Campaign Manager, Will Testify About Alleged Russia Links
House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes said Friday that former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort volunteered to testify about alleged ties between the campaign and Russian officials, as well as the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 election. Nunes said the committee is still negotiating whether Manafort will testify in an open or closed hearing. Nunes also said FBI Director James Comey and Admiral Michael Rogers, the head of the National Security Agency, would return to speak with the panel. Earlier this week, the Associated Press reported that Manafort worked for a Russian billionaire as early as 2005 with the goal of benefiting the Russian government, and that he failed to register as a foreign agent. Since then Democrats, including ranking committee member Adam Schiff, have demanded that Manafort testify. The White House, meanwhile, has distanced itself from Manafort, and said Wednesday Trump was unaware of Manafort’s ties to Russia when he worked on the campaign.
U.S. State Department Issues a Permit for Keystone XL Pipeline
The U.S. State Department issued a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, reversing the Obama administration’s decision to block the project that would carry oil from the Canadian tar sands to Texas. The decision, which was signed today by Thomas Shannon, the under secretary of state for political affairs, authorizes TransCanada, the Canadian energy giant, to “construct, connect, operate, and maintain pipeline facilities at the U.S.-Canadian border in Phillips County, Montana for the importation of crude oil.” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson recused himself from the decision because until recently he served as CEO of Exxon, the energy giant. The decision to issue a permit is in line with a campaign promise made by Donald Trump, who after his election ordered a 60-day review of the project. The State Department has final say over the pipeline because the project crosses an international border. President Obama rejected the project in November 2015, citing a more than six-year study by the State Department that ultimately concluded the pipeline was not in the national interest. Environmentalists, some landowners, and liberal Democrats had opposed the project, arguing against its environmental impact. But supporters—including politicians from both parties, some unions, and energy companies—said the project would create jobs and reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil. The decision to approve the project comes amid a global oil supply glut. The price of crude oil is about $47 per barrel, significantly off the all-time high of about $145 per barrel in July 2008. Part of the reason for this is the U.S. domestic oil industry, which is undergoing something of a renaissance, has made the country one of the top oil producers in the world.
London Police Seek More Information About the Attacker
London Police say they have made two “significant arrests” in connection with Wednesday’s attack near the U.K. Parliament that killed four people. They are also appealing to the public for more information about Khalid Masood, the man identified as the attacker. Masood was killed by police after he fatally stabbed an officer. The fourth victim of the attack was identified as Leslie Rhodes, 75, of London. Rhodes died yesterday. The others killed in Wednesday’s attack were identified as Keith Palmer, the police officer; Aysha Frade, a Spanish teacher; and Kurt Cochran, an American tourist.
For new developments on this story, go here.
Egypt's Mubarak Freed After Six Years in Prison
In 2011, longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was ousted after 18 days of protests against his rule. He was arrested, charged with ordering the deaths of protesters, and convicted in 2012. A year later, he was transferred to hospital because of ill health. A second trial, which followed an appeal by his lawyers, saw him being ordered to be freed in May 2015. But the Egyptian government, now led by President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, Mubarak’s former intelligence chief, was reportedly reluctant to free the ailing leader because of public perception and the fear of more protests. The case went to Egypt’s top court, which earlier this month ordered Mubarak, 88, freed. By most measures Mubarak—and Egypt—fared better than other countries that were part of the Arab Spring, the popular uprisings against long-entrenched leaders in North Africa and the Middle East: Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali lives in exile; Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi was brutally killed and his country is in chaos; Yemen’s Ali Abdullah Saleh was ousted and his country descended into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran; and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad is still firmly in power after six years of civil war that has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and displaced millions of others. Mubarak left the Maadi Military Hospital today by helicopter and was taken to him home in Heliopolis, outside Cairo, where he has a home. He is not expected to return to politics.