Sam Easter is a City Government reporter for the Grand Forks Herald. You can reach him with story tips, comments and ideas at 701-330-3441.
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WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump earned wide condemnation from members of Congress on Monday, July 16, after he publicly doubted U.S. intelligence conclusions that Russia interfered in the 2016 elections, saying Russian leader Vladimir Putin — who stood by his side — offered an "extremely strong and powerful ... denial today." Congressional leaders expressed outrage with Trump's performance, which was viewed as a highly public failure to condemn Putin's incursion into the U.S. electoral process. Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., called it "disgraceful."
Steelmakers are happy. But what about everybody else? President Donald Trump's new steel and aluminum tariffs, which went into effect on imports from allies at the beginning of the month, were aimed at reversing American metals producers' economic fortunes. But the move has left others scrambling, with steel prices rising at home and allies slapping their own tariffs on U.S. products around the world, leaving broad tracts of the market wondering what happens next.
President Donald Trump's Monday claim that he can pardon himself garnered little support from North Dakota and Minnesota's leaders, with some even seeming to warn him — or reassure others — about the limits of the presidency's power. "The president may have that authority," Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in a prepared statement. "But the founding fathers built checks and balances into the Constitution between the legislative, executive and judicial branches in order to ensure that the power of the people is protected."
GRAND FORKS—North Dakota has seen sunnier financial days — and if recent calls for budget cuts are any indication, things might stay cloudy for a while. Gov. Doug Burgum proposed cuts in April throughout state government, asking agencies for 5-10 percent cuts in ongoing expenses — with another 3 percent flagged for further reduction if necessary. Burgum also called on many agencies to cut 5 percent of their staff.
WASHINGTON—An attempt to pass a 2018 Farm Bill collapsed in the House of Representatives earlier this month, leaving farmers and ranchers tapping their feet, waiting for Congress to act on the vital package of crop insurance, food assistance and other programs that expires in late September. The bill failed on May 18 in a 213-198 vote. Many Democrats resisted food stamp work requirements, while the chamber's Republicans were divided over a separate immigration dispute — leaving Arthur, N.D., farmer Kevin Skunes hoping to see action soon.
GRAND FORKS—If he could, Chuck Hilger would meet the opioid crisis with a brand-new clinic in Bemidji. It's close enough to reservations to fight a nationwide wave of addiction, one that's taking Native American lives at six times the rate of other Minnesotans. But the world doesn't work that way.
GRAND FORKS—When plans for the Northern Plains Nitrogen fertilizer plant were announced in May 2013, its backers were full of optimism. During an event to unveil the project, there was talk of a 2,000-person corps of construction workers, a staff of 135 and even a wisecrack about the smell of money emanating from the plant. Its completion has been spoken of as a transformative event for Grand Forks—if only the right investors would back it. Nowadays, the years are beginning to add up, and a search for investors for the $2 billion-plus project wears on.
GRAND FORKS — Reporters who covered the Dakota Access Pipeline protests spoke at a panel on UND campus Thursday, April 19, providing some insight — and, at times, a defense — of their work with one of the biggest stories of 2017.
Former FBI Director James Comey's first major interview since his firing by President Donald Trump aired on Sunday night. The interview, in which Comey called Trump "morally unfit," has North Dakota and Minnesota leaders at odds — and it has Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., pressing to keep Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation open and independent.
GRAND FORKS — A brass band piped music through an Alerus Center ballroom on Sunday as members of the North Dakota Army National Guard officially, finally came home.