Liz Benjamin

This user hasn't shared any biographical information

Homepage: http://nystateofpolitics.com


Posts by Liz Benjamin

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public events announced as of yet.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Committee on Fire and Emergency Management meets, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Youth Services meets, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., JCOPE meets, 540 Broadway, Albany.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on For Hire Vehicles meets, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 10:30 a.m., a funeral is held for the late state Sen. Jose Peralta, St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church, 82-00 35th Ave., Queens. Many elected officials will attend, including NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and LG Kathy Hochul.

Also at 10:30 a.m., the Assembly holds a public hearing on the student loan industry and to determine whether legislative action is necessary to guard students from rising student loan debt, Hearing Room C, Legislative Office Building, second floor, Albany.

At 11:30 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Criminal Justice meets, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

At noon, 12 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Immigration meets, 250 Broadway, 14th floor Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at noon, public health and animal welfare advocates gather to protest Kaporos, a ritual sacrifice of chickens that takes place on public streets before Yom Kippur, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 12:30 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Governmental Operations meets, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

At 12:45 p.m., the NYC Council Council Committee on Transportation meets, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Governmental Operations meets jointly with the Committee on Civil Service and Labor, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Justice System meets jointly with the Committee on General Welfare, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., NYC Councilman Justin Brannan announces the introduction of legislation that would require the city Voter Assistance Advisory Committee to set up a program to provide Arabic speaking interpreters at poll sites where they are needed, City Hall steps, Manhattan.

At 4:30 p.m., Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano ushers in the 2018 holiday season with the annual Yonkers City Hall’s Christmas Tree Lighting, Yonkers City Hall, 40 S. Broadway, Yonkers.

At 6 p.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and the Bronx Fathers Taking Action co-host “Fathers & Youth in Unity,” a panel discussion on fatherhood and youth issues, Bronx County Building, Veterans’ Memorial Hall, 851 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

Also at 6 p.m., former NYC Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito launches her bid for public advocate, Richard Harris Terrace, Room S-226, Borough of Manhattan Community College, 199 Chambers St., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., NYC Councilman Jumaane Williams and 200 New Yorkers share Election Day horror stories and discuss solutions, such as early voting and automatic voter registration, First Unitarian Congregational Society, 119 Pierrepont St., Brooklyn.

In the afternoon, de Blasio and his wife, NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray, will deliver remarks at the Mayor’s Fund Advisory Board Meeting. This event is closed press.

Headlines…

Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign chairman, repeatedly lied to federal investigators in breach of a plea agreement he signed two months ago, the special counsel’s office said in a court filing late yesterday.

The 69-year-old Manafort now faces a stiffer prison sentence as the result of his August conviction in Virginia and for his guilty plea in a separate Washington, D.C. case.

The Government Accountability Office has accepted a request from two senators to investigate whether a group of Mar-a-Lago members wielded undue influence over Trump administration policies at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The new president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has built his entire political career on defending the poor. Now, days before he takes office, Trump is testing how firmly he will live up to that.

Trump said the U.S. will close its southern border with Mexico if needed, a day after U.S. agents shot several rounds of tear gas at migrants, some of whom tried to breach a border fence.

A group of House Democrats — dismayed by partisan gridlock — is trying to force changes to the way the House works by leaning into a potential leadership fight, threatening to withhold support for Rep. Nancy Pelosi to be speaker unless she backs an overhaul of the chamber’s rules.

Trump rallied voters for Republican Senate appointee Cindy Hyde-Smith who has found herself in a closer-than-expected runoff contest after comments she made about attending a public hanging drew condemnation.

Unhappy with media coverage of his administration, Trump said that he has grand ideas to rule his own network.

Trump’s reluctance to hold Saudi leadership accountable for the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi reportedly stemmed from a partly aspirational $110 billion arms deal between the U.S. and Saudia Arabia that was inflated at the direction of Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner.

Open Society Foundations, the philanthropic group founded by George Soros, announced that it would stop its operations in Turkey, where the organization and its founder have been assailed by an increasingly authoritarian government.

Costs associated with a deadly Northern California wildfire will likely be in the billions, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said as he returned to the town of Paradise, saying he has never witnessed such devastation.

It’s OK to eat some romaine lettuce again, U.S. health officials said. Just check the label to make sure it doesn’t come from California’s Central Coast region.

Trump criticized the announcement by General Motors that it planned to idle five factories in North America and cut roughly 14,000 jobs in a bid to trim costs. It was a jarring reflection of the auto industry’s adjustment to changing consumer tastes and sluggish sales.

Cancer has pushed New York’s unofficial first lady, or as she says, the “first girlfriend,” Sandra Lee, into the political spotlight. She claims she’s not interested in politics, but has launched what she calls “my campaign” – a nationwide effort to fight breast cancer.

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will visit Iowa next week as he mulls a possible run for president in 2020.

Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is seeking a seat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee even after she clashed with the next chairman of the panel over climate change.

South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham slammed Ocasio-Cortez for comparing Central American asylum seekers in the migrant caravan to Jews fleeing Nazi Germany during WWII.

Just-defeated GOP Rep. Mia Love, of Utah, who was mocked by Trump after Election Day for supposedly not showing him sufficient loyalty, fired back at him in her concession speech.

The culture of the state Capitol is notoriously resistant to change, but New Yorkers can be sure of one small but significant adjustment in the months ahead: At least for now, the days of “three men in a room” are over.

Poised to become the state’s first female Senate majority leader, state Senate Democratic leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins indicated she will continue a tax on the wealthy.

Michael Gianaris, a fierce opponent of the $2.8 billion incentive package to bring Amazon to his Long Island City district, was – as expected – named as deputy majority leader of the state Senate.

More >

Extras

President Donald Trump threatened to close the southern border “permanently” unless Mexico sends asylum-seekers — many of whom he described as “stone cold criminals” — back to where they came from.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg returned to the bench today just weeks after suffering three cracked ribs in a fall.

Roger Stone ally Jerome Corsi said that he has received an offer from special counsel Robert Mueller for a plea deal on one count of perjury, but that he plans to reject it.

Jordan Karem, Trump’s personal aide and “body man” since the 2016 campaign, plans to leave the White House in the coming weeks, an administration official said.

The state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services announced “We Can’t Lose Anyone Else” – a bi-lingual public service campaign designed to inform and educate New Yorkers about opioid addiction and the resources available to help.

The MTA, which is proposing increases of up to 4 percent in fares and tolls to offset a projected $1 billion deficit, has scheduled public hearings throughout the region until Dec. 13.

A federal judge ordered former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos to report to prison today as scheduled, rejecting his last-minute bid to delay his two-week sentence.

Rep. Eliot Engel, a mild-mannered Democrat from the Bronx, is drawing up an aggressive oversight plan for January, when he is expected to seize the gavel of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Actor Alec Baldwin insisted that he’s innocent of allegations he punched a Manhattan motorist over a parking spot — and that he has the video to prove it.

Hundreds of state Senate Republican staffers are expected to be fired before the end of the year when the Democrats take control of the majority – from those who help the daily operations of running the chamber to people in district offices.

General Motors’ Town of Tonawanda and Lockport plants weren’t on the list of plants that the automaker revealed today are poised for shutdown.

Democrat Nate McMurray conceded defeat to Republican Rep. Chris Collins in the NY-27 today – nearly three weeks after the election – but said he would likely run again when the timing is right.

More than a dozen prominent donors and bundlers said they would never again donate to or fundraise for U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand due to anger over her role in former U.S. Sen. Al Franken’s resignation following the sexual misconduct allegations against him – a situation that could complicate her potential 2020 White House run.

CVS Health and Aetna have received the final state approval they need to complete their roughly $69 billion merger and now expect the deal to close “on or about” Nov. 28, the companies said in regulatory filings.

Ramapo Town Board members gave themselves raises of $17,000 to $20,000 in a revised 2019 budget that also hikes property taxes, funds a “litter patrol” and potentially closes two swimming pools.

Some Allegany County residents’ recent success in suing National Fuel Gas to block a pipeline project could have ripple effects on a half-dozen or so other similar lawsuits pending by landowners against the company in Erie and Cattaraugus counties.

A voting reform package will be one of the early agenda items in Albany when the state Legislature – now totally controlled by Democrats – returns in January, and that could include an end to fusion voting.

Outgoing Republican Rep. John Faso doesn’t want federal funds “wasted” on projects where he believes the state’s “Scaffold Law” is driving up costs.

Southold, Long Island officials said they were unaware of — and not happy with — New York State transportation officials’ plan to install a traffic light at a busy town intersection.

One significant question now hanging over state government now that it is about to be entirely controlled by Democrats: how hard left will the Assembly push?

Legislation heading to the governor’s desk promises to reignite a heated debate in the Great Sacandaga Lake community over who should pay the costs for operating the dam that created the massive southern Adirondacks lake in 1930.

NY-21 Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik plans on stepping back from her recruitment role for the NRCC to use her political action committee to support candidates starting in the primary, pointing to the success of organizations like Emily’s List — a powerful group that supports pro-choice Democratic women candidates.

The late state Sen. Jose Peralta, who died on Thanksgiving eve, was memorialized by his colleagues in the Senate chamber.

Syracuse building contractor Dino Dixie and ex-police chief Dennis DuVal paid no money to own shares in a startup medical marijuana business that eventually sold for millions of dollars, a former partner said.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events scheduled as of yet.

State Senate Democrats gather in Albany to make history today as they vote to retain Sen. Andrea Stewart-Cousins as their leader, putting her in the position to be the first woman to head a majority legislative conference when they take control of the chamber in January.

It’s also the first time both the Senate and the Assembly majority conferences will be led by African Americans.

Vice President Mike Pence has lunch with the president, and then delivers remarks at the Hidden Heroes 3rd Annual National Convening at the Capital Hilton.

Pence then departs D.C. en route to Gulfport, Mississippi, where he will participate in the president’s roundtable on the First Step Act, followed by a “Make America Great Again” rally before returning home to Washington.

At 10 a.m., funeral services take place for the late mayor of Rensselaer, Dan Dwyer, Church of St. John the Evangelist and St. Joseph, 53 Herrick St., Rensselaer. (Rensselaer City Hall will be closed to enable city employees to attend).

At 12:30 p.m., a memorial will be held for longtime pollster Mickey Blum, Riverside Chapel, 180 W. 76th St., Manhattan.

Between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., a wake will be held for the late Sen. Jose Peralta, a Queens Democrat who died abruptly of septic shock at the age of 47 on Thanksgiving eve, Joseph Farenga & Sons Funeral Home, Astoria, Queens.

At 3 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Rules, Privileges and Elections holds a hearing, Council chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 5:30 p.m., LG Kathy Hochul attends Winter’s Eve at Lincoln Square Festival and tree lighting, Dante Park, Columbus Avenue and W. 63rd Street, Manhattan.

Also at 5:30 p.m., a panel of “transgender, non-binary, and intersex New Yorkers” meets in an event co-sponsored by Gender Equality New York and Capital District labor organizations to improve public awareness about issues facing their community, Albany Public Library, 161 Washington Ave., Albany.

At 6 p.m., Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa is the featured panelist at the Esperanza Leadership Panel, providing information on breaking down barriers and replacing them with opportunities for Latino youth, Yeshiva University – Washington Heights, Belfer Hall – Weissberg Commons, 2495 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear live on NY1’s Inside City Hall.

Also at 7 p.m., the state Reform Party presents a candidate forum for all announced/potential candidates for NYC public advocate, BKLYN’S PIZZA, Banquet Room, 1406 86th St., Brooklyn.

At 8 p.m., de Blasio will deliver remarks at the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City’s Annual Awards Ceremony where he will be receiving the Theodore Roosevelt Leadership Award, Mutual of America Institutional Funds, Inc., 320 Park Ave., 35th Fl., Manhattan.

Headlines…

U.S. border agents fired tear gas on hundreds of migrants protesting near the border with Mexico after some of them attempted to get through the fencing and wire separating the two countries, and American authorities shut down the nation’s busiest border crossing from the city where thousands are waiting to apply for asylum.

The episode comes at a time of growing tension on both sides of the border and promised to become the newest flash point in the story of a caravan that was the target of President Trump’s anti-immigrant rallying cry during the midterm elections.

Trump’s policy to separate children from their migrant parents at the US border began nine months earlier than the White House acknowledged and could have resulted in more families being broken up than the administration admitted.

The Trump White House, which has defined itself by a willingness to dismiss scientific findings and propose its own facts, on Friday issued a scientific report that directly contradicts its own climate-change policies, though it is widely expected to discount – or even completely ignore – the findings.

A new book by two informal advisers to Trump aims to buttress his claim that he is the victim of a vast conspiracy inside the federal government, and it includes an interview with the president in which he repeats his unfounded assertion that President Barack Obama was complicit in spying against him.

Democrats poised to re-take the House majority are already laying out lines of inquiry that could lead not just to Trump and his White House aides, but also to his immediate family. And Republicans returning to Capitol Hill in 2019 may be forced by the changed political climate to take a harder line toward the Trump family.

Around the time that inflammatory comments by Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi invoking public hangings surfaced on video, Major League Baseball donated $5,000 to her campaign. After word of the donation — the maximum legal amount — broke over the weekend, M.L.B. asked for the money back.

Apple is at the U.S. Supreme Court today to defend the way it sells apps for iPhones against claims by consumers that the company has unfairly monopolized the market.

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich is “very seriously” mulling another bid for president in 2020.

Bill White and his husband, Bryan Eure, are not red state evangelicals or die-hard right-wingers. They used to be among the Manhattan liberal elite and back anti-Trump Democrats, but now they’re raising campaign cash for the president.

The Manhattan district attorney reportedly won’t be bringing a financial crimes case against the once-mighty film mogul, Harvey Weinstein.

Former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky says tying legislative pay raises to any form of police – even worthy reform – is tantamount to blackmail.

To the U.S. District Court in Manhattan, Steven Aiello is a man awaiting sentencing Thursday on two wire fraud-related convictions. But according to a lengthy, passionate pre-sentencing recommendation letter from the Syracuse developer’s attorneys, Aiello is a “strong moral compass” in his community – and more.

The state Assembly is replacing an aging voting and communications system as part of a larger effort to modernize the chamber and create more efficiency.

The NYT editorial board weighs in: “New York legislators deserve higher salaries, but only if they come with new ethics requirements.”

Donations are pouring in to help support the family of late Queens state Sen. José Peralta pay for funeral services, including a $10,000 contribution from the governor.

Cuomo reportedly met last week with more than two dozen union leaders to thank them for their help with his re-election and to talk about moving forward in 2019.

Two key unions with ties to Cuomo and the state Senate Democrats – 32BJ and CWA – will be part of a major push to create a statewide campaign public finance system similar to the one in New York City.

Long Island Republican Sen. Phil Boyle dismissed talk he might be willing to switch to join the Senate Democrats when they take over the majority in January.

Ken Lovett: “If Gov. Cuomo does run for President in 2020, he might seek to use the first few months of the legislative session beginning in January as his springboard.”

More >

The Holiday Weekend That Was

The deadliest and most destructive blaze in California’s history is finally contained, officials said, but hundreds are still missing.

The United States is already feeling the heat from climate change — and the damage could cost hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century if more preventive measures aren’t taken now, a new federal report has found.

Mexico’s incoming government denied a report Saturday that it plans to allow asylum-seekers to wait in the country while their claims move through U.S. immigration courts, one of several options the Trump administration has been pursuing in negotiations for months.

Alan Dershowitz, who has often been critical of Robert Mueller, said that the special counsel’s upcoming report on possible Russian interference in the 2016 election “is going to be devastating” to Trump.

Ricky Jay, one of the most compelling figures in magic who also made numerous appearances in films, died Saturday in Los Angeles of natural causes at the age of 72.

Turning Point USA staffer Anna Paulina issued an apology after she compared Hillary Clinton to herpes during a Fox News segment on Thanksgiving morning.

Clinton issued a stinging critique of the U.S. news media in an interview with the Guardian, but she saved her harshest words for President Trump’s favorite cabler, Fox News.

Clinton attempted to clarify her comments on European migration hailed by some on the far right, saying that immigration reform, “not open borders,” is needed “on both sides of the Atlantic.”

In the year after Clinton’s presidential defeat, donors seemed to abandon the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, with contributions plummeting nearly 58 percent.

Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi says he is negotiating a plea agreement with Mueller.

A federal judge has denied former Trump aide George Papadopoulos’ efforts to stay — or put a hold on — his date for going to jail.

A top Republican senator, Iowa’s Joni Ernst, said she would support “congressional action” against Saudi Arabia over the death of Jamal Khashoggi after Trump gave Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman a pass over the journalist’s murder.

Trump must face a lawsuit over his family foundation by the New York attorney general after the second judge this year refused to accept his argument that sitting presidents can’t be sued in state court.

French police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse violent demonstrators in Paris on Saturday, as thousands gathered in the capital and beyond and staged road blockades to vent anger against rising fuel taxes.

European Union leaders sealed a divorce deal with Britain, and issued a warning to U.K. politicians who within weeks will approve or reject it — this offer is as good as it gets.

U.S. highway safety investigators are probing an alleged defect in 2.7 million pickups and sport utility vehicles built by General Motors Co. that are getting into collisions because drivers are having trouble braking.

CBS News staffers are furious that an investigation into sexual harassment at the network is still ongoing, a year after Charlie Rose’s firing.

The Citizens Budget Commission released “Reviving EMS: Restructuring Emergency Medical Services in New York City,” a report that highlights major inefficiencies in the city’s current emergency medical services and identifies reforms that could enhance performance.

The city could more wisely spend the $1.1 billion it costs to provide emergency medical services, the CBC says, in part by reducing the role fire engines play in responding to 911 calls — and then considering whether it really needs all of its engine companies.

More >

Extras

We’re signing off for the extended holiday weekend here at Capital Tonight, and would like to wish you and yours a very happy – and safe! – Thanksgiving. Again, for those in the CapTon viewing area, there will be no shows Thursday or Friday night. Blogging will be reserved for breaking news only, with regularly scheduled posting resuming on Sunday.

Here are some headlines to peruse while you’re (hopefully) tucked up somewhere nice and warm…If you’re traveling, please be careful, take your time and try not to lose patience with your fellow commuters.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. defended the independence and integrity of the federal judiciary, issuing a statement rebuking President Trump’s criticism of a judge who had ruled against the administration’s asylum policy.

Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani said that special counsel Robert Mueller could still try to seek additional answers from Trump on questions of potential obstruction of justice, but he signaled they will fight any questions they believe violate executive privilege.

Giuliani said Hillary Clinton should “of course” be investigated, adding: “There is plenty of evidence that Hillary obstructed justice by destroying evidence in a gross and massive way.”

Queens Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez endorsed Rep. Nancy Pelosi for speaker, saying the California Democrat “can count on my support.”

After saying for months that he would not back Pelosi’s leadership bid in the next Congress, Buffalo Rep. Brian Higgins reversed course – all because she agreed to prioritize his top two issues: a big infrastructure bill and a measure to open Medicare to people over age 50.

A pardon from Trump ensures that this year’s National Thanksgiving Turkey — now known as Peas — won’t be anyone’s dinner tomorrow, but it’s unlikely he’ll see another Thanksgiving, since the birds don’t tend to live long.

Plummeting temperatures may make this Thanksgiving the coldest in the Big Apple in more than a century.

Organizers of Thanksgiving Day races are warning runners and spectators to brace for blistering cold temperatures and are taking steps to protect volunteers.

In a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, just 28 percent of those planning to be part of a Thanksgiving gathering say they’re even somewhat likely to discuss politics, with 11 percent predicting they’re at least somewhat likely to get into a fight about it. But only 4 percent think such a tiff is very likely.

Two Long Island City lawmakers – Sen. Mike Gianaris, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer – said they declined an invitation from state officials to join a not-yet-announced advisory committee that would negotiate, but ultimately not be allowed to alter, the basic agreement Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio announced with Amazon last week.

Only half of the positions that Amazon.com Inc. has promised to bring to its two new headquarters in New York and Virginia will be tech jobs, government officials in both states say.

One person was killed when three vehicles on the Brooklyn Bridge erupted into flames after a crash today, forcing the shutdown of the bridge during the morning commute, fire officials said.

Michael Avenatti’s domestic-violence case was referred to Los Angeles prosecutors for consideration as a misdemeanor offense.

Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s flirtation with running as a Democrat for the White House has run into some understandable skepticism.

Here’s a closer look at how apparent Democratic Congressman-elect Anthony Brindisi rode his style of moderate politics and ability to connect with people to a victory over Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney in the NY-22 election, one of the most bitterly-contested House races in the nation this year.

Citing “extensive irregularities in the voting process,” Democrat Nate McMurray is not conceding defeat to Republican incumbent Chris Collins in the NY-27 election, and will consult with attorneys as to his next step.

Survivors of childhood sex abuse are pushing back on Cuomo’s comments this week about the Child Victims Act.

Onondaga County elections officials today confirmed that Republican candidate Bob Antonacci won the race for state Senate in the 50th District over Democrat John Mannion.

The seven-episode TV miniseries detailing the escape of David Sweat and Richard Matt from Danemorra was helped in the development process by the 2016 report on the breakout that Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott authored, according to show director Ben Stiller.

Here and Now

Happy Day before Thanksgiving! If you’re traveling, be careful out there. There’s going to be weather, and traffic – a lot of traffic.

Programming note: For those in the Capital Tonight viewing area, there will be no show tomorrow or Friday. There will also be no blogging and no memos, unless there is significant breaking news. All regularly scheduled posting will resume Sunday evening. And the show will resume at 8 p.m. Monday.

Enjoy the holiday, though shoppers stocking up for their Thanksgiving meals will likely pay more than last year, the New York Farm Bureau’s annual Market Basket survey found.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in Albany with no public events scheduled. He often spends Thanksgiving at the executive mansion.

Vice President Mike Pence has no public events scheduled today through Sunday.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Women meets, 250 Broadway, 14th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., Rep. Adriano Espaillat will hold a press conference in collaboration with the Northern Manhattan Coalition for Immigrant Rights and the Legal Aid Society to speak out against the Trump administration’s proposed rule to expand the definition of public charge, 5030 Broadway, Suite 658, Manhattan.

At 11 a.m., “The Capitol Pressroom” features state Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia, Green Education and Legal Fund of New York State Chairman Mark Dunlea and others, WCNY.

At 11:20 a.m., Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker will travel to Manhattan to give remarks to the Joint Terrorism Task Force on national security efforts, 85 10th Ave., 8th Floor.

At 1 p.m., workers start inflating the balloons for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, 73rd Street & Columbus Avenue, Manhattan.

At 3:45 p.m., Whitaker visits JFK’s mail distribution center and gives brief remarks on efforts to combat the opioid crisis, JFK, Queens.

Headlines…

President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former FBI director James Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

Trump finally turned over written answers to questions from Robert Mueller, his legal team said, ending months of back-and-forth negotiations and drawing the special counsel’s Russia investigation one step closer to an end.

The president defended Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Mississippi Republican, who has come under fire for a controversial remark about public hangings.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wants the Department of Justice watchdog to probe Trump’s past communications with acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated that neither he nor COO Sheryl Sandberg are stepping down from the company anytime soon in the wake of a bombshell report that cast fresh scrutiny on their leadership.

Global markets tumbled heading toward the Thanksgiving holiday as the weeks-long swoon in technology stocks deepened and dragged other sectors – including retail – with it.

Romaine lettuce is unsafe to eat in any form, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a broad alert in response to a new outbreak of illnesses caused by a particularly dangerous type of E. coli contamination.

The agency said it was acting out of an abundance of caution after 32 people in 11 states fell sick with a virulent form of E. coli, a bacteria blamed for a number of food-borne outbreaks in recent years.

Trump said the U.S. will not levy additional punitive measures at this time against Saudi Arabia over the killing of Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump, who campaigned in 2016 by aggressively criticizing Clinton’s use of a private email server, dismissed as “fake news” questions about a similar practice by his daughter Ivanka Trump during her early days working in the White House.

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has proposed a major overhaul to the way colleges and universities handle sexual misconduct complaints, adding protections for students accused of assault and harassment and narrowing which cases schools would be required to investigate.

Matthew G. Whitaker, the acting U.S. attorney general, was paid more than $1.2 million in the past few years by a group active in conservative politics that does not reveal its donors, according to financial disclosure statements and other documents.

A Democratic insurgency seeking to force California Rep. Nancy Pelosi to abandon her bid for speaker and install a fresh crop of leaders at the helm of their new majority suffered a setback when Ohio Rep. Marcia L. Fudge, the sole lawmaker to flirt openly with a challenge, dropped the idea and endorsed her.

A judge declared a mistrial in the trial of a Brooklyn man accused of killing and sexually assaulting Queens jogger Karina Vetrano in 2016.

Jurors, who discussed the case hours after they were scheduled to leave for the day, sent a note to the judge just before 9:30 p.m. that they were going nowhere in deciding the guilt or innocence of Chanel Lewis, 22, who stands accused of strangling Vetrano.

One of the nation’s top student loan companies turned out to be a perfect case study on predatory lending — steering clients to higher-cost payments so it could rake in up to $4 billion in profits, according to a report released yesterday.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he wants to see a bill making it easier for victims of child sex abuse to seek justice as adults pass next year, but not in a way that would bankrupt the Catholic Church.

In response to the backlash over the multibillion-dollar Amazon deal, state officials are now promising to hold a public meeting about the project next month.

In an OpEd posted on his state website, Cuomo lashed out at newspapers – including the NY Post and the NY Times – for criticizing the Amazon deal.

Subway leaders say the system is ready for Amazon’s new headquarters in Queens. But the city’s already struggling transportation network faces enormous challenges.

As the dust settles and the Democrats get ready to take control of the state Senate in January, a question hangs over the Capitol: What do all of the special interests that picked the winning side want as a return on their investments? The short answer: much.

Elections officials declared indicted Republican Rep. Chris Collins the apparent winner of the NY-27 race, but not by a lot. Barring court action, he triumphed over Democrat Nate McMurray by 1,384 votes across the district when all outstanding absentee ballots were counted.

More >

Extras

President Donald Trump signaled that he will not take strong action against Saudi Arabia or its Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the death and dismemberment of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

In a lengthy statement, punctuated with eight exclamation points, Trump says that “we may never know all of the facts surrounding” Khashoggi’s death, but “our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.”

Former President Barack Obama offered effusive praise of Nancy Pelosi as the Democratic leader faces opposition to her bid for House Speaker, saying that when the “history is written, (she) will go down as one of the most effective legislative leaders that this country’s ever seen.”

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke blamed “environmental radicals” for the devastating wildfires in California that have killed 79 people, accusing them of blocking forest management practices that would lessen the severity of such blazes.

Rensselaer Mayor Dan Dwyer, a Democrat who was first elected in 2005, died after a long battle with cancer at the age of 84. City Council president Richard Mooney will assume the mayoralty, a part time position, under the city charter.

Dwyer was a throwback “middle class blue collar mayor” who loved his city, flying and the impulse to help other people, according to several of his friends.

The federal prosecutor who convicted Dr. Alain Kaloyeros of bid rigging is recommending a more lenient sentence than the federal guidelines.

Sarah Palin excoriated Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for “fumbling basic civics” by misidentifying the three branches of government — even though the former Alaska governor has been ridiculed for her own series of political blunders.

A former staffer on Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign threatened to “boot” Queens Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan out of office after she expressed support for the controversial Amazon Long Island City project.

Michael Avenatti allegedly dragged his actress girlfriend, Mareli Miniutti, out of bed and called her an “ungrateful (expletive) bitch” during a recent spat over money.

Avenatti on Twitter said that he has “authorized” the release of all video he says will exonerate him of domestic violence allegations.

In the days and weeks following his shocking primary loss, Rep. Joe Crowley’s political action committee “JOE PAC” spent nearly $37,000 on trips to horse racing tracks, hotels, airfare and several high-end restaurants

Embattled Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse is out as the executive director of the city’s Industrial Development Agency.

The latest count of Erie absentee ballots from NY-27 shows Democrat Nate McMurray with 1,061 votes and Republican Rep. Chris Collins with 785, with the pair separated by approximately 2,300 overall votes, and Collins in the lead.

Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said White House adviser and first daughter Ivanka Trump should be saved from scrutiny over her use of a private email account for government business, shooting down criticism as hypocritical “partisan bickering.”

Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and the day after Easter will no longer be official campus holidays at the University at Albany as the school works to accommodate an expanding roster of winter and summer programs.

The mother of Eric Garner, who died in 2014 after being put in a banned NYPD chokehold, demanded that the officer responsible be fired as an internal disciplinary hearing nears.

The CDC is advising that U.S. consumers not eat any romaine lettuce, and retailers and restaurants not serve or sell any, until we learn more about the E. coli outbreak. This investigation is ongoing and the advice will be updated as more information is available.

…The unusually aggressive step, which comes just days before Thanksgiving, signals that government officials have pinned the outbreak on romaine lettuce, but haven’t been able to narrow down the source or region more specifically.

The FDA said it was working with officials in Canada on the outbreak, which has sickened 32 people in 11 states in the U.S. and 18 people in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec. The strain identified is different than the one linked to romaine earlier this year , but it appears similar to one linked to leafy greens last year.

Here and Now

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City with no public events announced or scheduled as of yet.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have lunch at the White House at 1:30 p.m.

At 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Civil and Human Rights holds a hearing on legislation that would prohibit employer discrimination on the basis of an employee’s reproductive health decisions, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on For-Hire Vehicles meets, Committee Room, City Hall, Manhattan.

Also at 10 a.m., the NYC Council Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction meets jointly with the Committee on Aging, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 10:30 a.m., the Assembly Committee on Codes, the Assembly Committee on Health, the Assembly Committee on Governmental Operations and the Assembly Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse hold a public hearing on allowing adult use of marijuana, Buffalo City Hall, Common Council Chambers, 13th floor, 65 Niagara Square, Buffalo.

At 10:45 a.m., Assemblyman Michael Blake attends a regional economy round table with John C. Williams, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the Bronx Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, the Bronx.

At 11 a.m., Rep. Adriano Espaillat hosts a post office renaming ceremony in honor of the Tuskegee Airmen, United States Post Office, 99 Macombs Place, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., Queens Library President and CEO Dennis Walcott welcomes Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, NYC Councilman Donovan Richards and Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato to break ground on the new Far Rockaway Library, 1637 Central Ave., Queens.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson and Assemblywoman Latoya Joyner launch the Findlay House meal and services program for seniors, 1175 Findlay Ave., Bronx.

Also at 11 a.m., LG Kathy Hochul delivers remarks at the opening of affordable housing for residents impacted by severe storms, Peconic Crossing, 11 W. Main St., Riverhead.

Also at 11 a.m., Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. gives opening remarks at the New York Federal Reserve Bank’s Economic Forum, Museum of the Arts, 1040 Grand Concourse, Bronx.

Also at 11 a.m., Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz provides an update on the driving while intoxicated arrests in the county, 95 Franklin St., 16th floor, Buffalo.

At 11:15 a.m., more than 80 city and village officials, including 50 mayors, from across New York converge at the Renaissance Hotel morning to discuss NYCOM’s priorities for the 2019 state budget, DeWitt Ballroom, 144 State St., Albany.

At 1 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Hospitals meets jointly with the Committee on Health, 250 Broadway, 16th floor, Committee Room, Manhattan.

Also at 1 p.m., NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio will make an announcement about NYCHA, Betances Community Center, 547 E. 146th St., the Bronx.

Also at 1 p.m., Assemblyman Ron Kim and Senator-elect Jessica Ramos announce legislation and budgetary policies to end corporate welfare, like the kind given to Amazon, and repurpose taxpayer money toward investing directly in the people of New York, 136-20 38th Ave., Suite 10A, Flushing, Queens.

At 1:30 p.m., Hochul attends a turkey giveaway with state Sen. Brian Benjamin, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. State Office Building, 163 W. 125th St., Suite 912, Manhattan.

At 2 p.m., the NYC Council Committee on Public Safety meets, Council Chambers, City Hall, Manhattan.

At 5:45 p.m., Hochul addresses the Women Builders Council Women of Real Estate event, Anchin, Block & Anchin, 1375 Broadway, Manhattan.

At 6:30 p.m., Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer speaks from the community stage at the Harlem Holiday Lights celebration and parade, West 125th Street and Morningside Avenue, Manhattan.

At 7 p.m., de Blasio will appear on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

Headlines…

In a NYT OpEd, former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who is mulling a 2020 presidential run, tackles the issue of student college debt, and reveals he has given his alma mater, Johns Hopkins, $1.8 billion to allow it to be need blind in its admissions decisions going forward.

The gift, believed to be the largest private donation in modern times to higher education, is a landmark in a growing national movement to make elite universities more accessible to students from low-to-middle income families.

It will enable the private research university in Baltimore to eliminate loans from financial aid packages for incoming students starting next fall, expand grants for those in financial need and even provide relief to many current undergraduates who had previously taken out federal loans to pay their bills.

President Donald Trump said that he plans to visit US troops in war zones, a remark that comes after he received widespread criticism for not visiting an American burial ground outside Paris, France, earlier this month and Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day.

Trump, who last week said he was too busy to visit Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day, lashed out against Navy SEALs and the admiral who led them for taking too long to find Osama Bin Laden.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö denied that he had advised Trump to rake forest floors to prevent wildfires like those currently ravaging California.

Nearly 1,300 people remain unaccounted for and the death toll from the country’s deadliest wildfire in a century climbed to 76, authorities said hours after Trump surveyed what remained of a decimated Northern California community.

A utility accused in a lawsuit of igniting California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire said it contacted a customer about a power line on her property but that sparks were not part of the discussion.

Trump said there is no reason for him to listen to a recording of the “very violent, very vicious” killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which has put him in a diplomatic bind: how to admonish Riyadh for the slaying yet maintain strong ties with a close ally.

So far, a challenger to House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi in the speaker’s race has failed to emerge, though some of her members have made it quite clear they are not happy with her leadership.

Just hours after finishing a tumultuous election recount, Broward Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes submitted her resignation, ending a 15-year tenure full of botched elections, legal disputes and blistering criticism.

With his company at “war,” Mark Zuckerberg’s new approach is causing unprecedented turmoil at Facebook, driving out several key executives and creating tensions with Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.

Anti-Airbnb forces from around the world are set to meet in New York City today to discuss ways to better regulate home-sharing websites.

A writer and political consultant living in Seattle pens a cautionary tale to NYC about Amazon.

Ginia Bellafante: “We have internalized our use of Amazon to such a degree that we have trouble recognizing our complicity in the manufacture of the company’s own arrogance.”

Former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, who used to investigate these sorts of deals when he was an elected official, takes a closer look at what NYC and the state have offered Amazon.

Queens Democratic Sen. Mike Gianaris, a leading critic of the deal to bring Amazon to New York City, will introduce legislation to bar the state from entering into future confidentiality agreements with private companies.

Some New York Democrats who are among the most vociferous opponents of the $2.8 billion package of incentives that the city and state rolled out to land Amazon a new HQ in Queens, are among its 100 million Prime subscribers – including Congresswoman-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand.

A bipartisan bill combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement making its way through Congress has earned the support of a majority of senators, save for a handful – including Gillibrand – that share one thing in common: plans to potentially run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

For at least two decades, the New York City Housing Authority routinely disputed tests that revealed lead in its apartments, and got the Health Department to back down in many cases. Private landlords almost never do this.

More >

The Weekend That Was

President Donald Trump says he “very easily” answered written questions from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, though he speculated that the questions had been “tricked up” to try to catch him in a lie.

Trump said he has no plans to amend the U.S. Constitution in order to run for a third term.

Nearly two decades after voting problems in a handful of Florida counties paralyzed the nation, America’s election grid this month remained a crazy patchwork of inconveniences, confusion and errors, both human-made and mechanical.

The Central Intelligence Agency has concluded that the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, ordered the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi, according to American officials.

A top White House official responsible for American policy toward Saudi Arabia resigned – a move that may suggest fractures inside the Trump administration over the response to the brutal killing of Khashoggi.

Trump acknowledged Friday he shouldn’t have skipped a Veterans Day event honoring the nation’s fallen soldiers, marking a rare showing of regret from the typically remorseless commander-in-chief.

The standoff over Nancy Pelosi’s bid to regain the gavel intensified as Democrats left Washington for the Thanksgiving break, and Trump jumped in Saturday offering to “perform a wonderful service” by rounding up Republican votes for Pelosi’s speaker candidacy.

Democratic Staten Island Congresmsan-Elect Max Rose will not “under any circumstances” vote for Pelosi for speaker, his campaign manager reaffirmed.

In recent weeks, with his electoral prospects two years from now much on his mind, Trump has focused on the person who has most publicly tethered his fortunes to him. In one conversation after another he has asked aides and advisers a pointed question: Is Vice President Mike Pence loyal?

Amid a numbing succession of mass shootings, gun control groups outspent the National Rifle Association in the midterm election cycle, federal filings and additional reporting indicate, upending the usual order in the partisan battle over gun use.

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to restore the press credentials of Jim Acosta of CNN, handing the cable network an early win in its lawsuit against the president and members of his administration.

Trump arrived in Northern California on Saturday to see firsthand the grief and devastation from the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century amid confusion over how many people remain unaccounted for.

The wildfires that have laid waste to vast parts of California are presenting residents with a new danger: air so thick with smoke it ranks among the dirtiest in the world.

Raging flames on both ends of the state have killed 74 people so far, and officials estimate as many as 1,011 were still unaccounted for late Saturday – but one official called that list “dynamic.”

Democrat Stacey Abrams begrudgingly acknowledged Friday that Republican Brian Kemp will be Georgia’s next governor — but she refused to officially concede the race and pledged to launch a lawsuit against the “gross mismanagement of this election.”

Democrat Andrew Gillum ended his hard-fought campaign for Florida governor on Saturday, just hours before counties must turn in their official results following days of recounting ballots.

Republican governor Bill Scott eked out a victory over Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson in the race for Senate in Florida following a hand recount of the votes nearly two weeks after the midterm elections.

Browns general manager John Dorsey said last week that he was open to hiring a woman as Cleveland’s next head coach, and one prominent name is on the team’s wish list to interview: former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

In the culmination of a fierce rivalry between the two men, de Blasio fired Mark Peters, the head of the NYC Department of Investigation, on Friday – the first time in the agency’s 145-year history that its leader was booted by City Hall.

The firing takes effect Wednesday – the day before Thanksgiving – so Peters can “make a public explanation,” which is a requirement of the City Charter. Peters issued a statement saying he would take that opportunity.

The mayor named Margaret Garnett, the state’s executive deputy attorney general for criminal justice and a former federal prosecutor, to replace Peters at the Department of Investigation. Her appointment must be approved by the NYC Council.

Letitia James, the public advocate and incoming state attorney general, denounced Peters’ firing as “Trump-like behavior” and called on the NYC Council to hold hearings to ensure that ongoing investigations of the administration aren’t swept under the rug.

The NYT: “Mr. de Blasio appointed Mr. Peters and has the authority to fire him. But the city has benefited from Mr. Peters’ tenure. Mr. de Blasio’s administration needs rigorous oversight, just as much as the administrations of his predecessors did.”

The New York metro region was all but paralyzed by an early winter storm that led to recriminations and second-guessing Friday about what exactly went wrong.

NYC’s flaky response to last Thursday’s surprisingly heavy snowfall left some legislators wondering if Sanitation Department boss Kathryn Garcia has too much on her plate, and say her job should be re-evaluated.

NYC Schools chief Richard Carranza deserves an F for his handling of the snowstorm aftermath, angry parents said, because he refused to cancel or delay classes, even though countless students endured hours-long rides home the night before, some that lasted past midnight.

More >

Extras

Cesar Sayoc, the Florida man accused of sending pipe bombs to prominent Trump critics, pleaded not guilty to charges carrying a potential mandatory penalty of life in prison.

Stopping short of its threatened ban on flavored e-cigarettes, the Food and Drug Administration said that it would allow stores to continue selling the products, but only from closed-off areas that are inaccessible to minors.

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor said he is requesting the death penalty for five people suspected of involvement in the killing of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi at the country’s consulate in Istanbul.

House Democrats determined to oppose Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s second speaker bid will release a signed letter indicating they have gathered enough support to deny her the 218 votes needed to win the gavel in January – a move they say would complicate her path and force discussion about her stepping aside.

Donald Trump Jr.’s lavish trip to India to sell his family’s luxury condominium projects cost U.S. taxpayers nearly $100,000, documents obtained by The Washington Post show.

Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti, who was busted in LA for domestic violence, has blamed his arrest on far-right conspiracy theorist Jacob Wohl.

Albany County District Attorney David Soares announced he will no longer prosecute the two lowest tiers of marijuana possession cases.

A $238,000 study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) will follow more than 10,000 medical marijuana patients in New York over the next two years to see if their opioid use drops.

State taxpayers will fork over another $4.8 million to help seed a film industry in Syracuse, where New York has already spent more than $16 million on a film hub that is used only sporadically.

New Yorkers may have to start digging deeper into their pockets to ride the subways starting this March, when the MTA will likely raise fares by 4 percent.

As prominent businessman Louis Ciminelli faces a possible prison sentence being handed down in a couple weeks for his role in the Buffalo Billion corruption scandal, friends and family are coming to his defense and pleading for leniency in the form of no time behind bars.

Former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former state Attorney General Robert Abrams are two of the five co-chairs Letitia James tapped to oversee her transition to the state’s top legal post.

Clarkstown Councilman Peter Bradley has apologized, again, for comments that his critics call anti-Semitic (and even supporters said were “stupid”) and that the Congers resident admitted “hurt people.”

Parents worry Amazon’s arrival in Long Island City will strain Queens schools that are already bursting, but also hope the company will bring students new opportunities for training and tech jobs.

The Business Council of Westchester is disappointed that it didn’t win the Amazon sweepstakes, but is bracing for a ripple effect of the Queens development.

The man who killed singer John Lennon in 1980, Mark David Chapman, told a parole board he feels “more and more shame” every year for gunning down the former Beatle outside his Manhattan apartment in 1980. (He did not convince members to release him, and is up again in August 2020).

A top aide to the billionaire liberal mega donor George Soros called for Facebook to conduct a thorough investigation of its lobbying and PR work following a New York Times report.