Officers opened fire on a woman on U.S. Capitol grounds Wednesday morning after she nearly ran over multiple U.S. Capitol Police officers while fleeing from a traffic stop, authorities said. >> Read more trending stories No injuries were reported. Officers spotted a woman driving erratically around 9 a.m. on Independence Avenue and attempted to stop her car, Capitol police spokeswoman Eva Malecki said. The unidentified woman made a U-turn and fled. She stopped the sedan near the intersection of Washington and Independence avenues, where authorities apparently fired shots at the woman. Malecki declined to say where the bullets landed or how many shots were fired. The incident did not appear to be related to terrorism. “This appears to be criminal in nature with no nexus to terrorism,” Malecki said.
Special prosecutors appointed to put Texas' attorney general on trial are threatening to quit if they don't get paid. Republican Ken Paxton was back in a suburban Dallas courtroom Wednesday. He's charged with felony securities fraud over allegations of duping wealthy investors in a tech startup before becoming Texas' top prosecutor. He has pleaded not guilty. If convicted, Paxton faces 5 to 99 years in prison. The trial is set to begin in May. But two appointed special prosecutors say they're owed more than $200,000 and shouldn't have to work for free. A judge has tied up their invoices after a Paxton supporter filed a lawsuit claiming the case is costing taxpayers too much money. Legal experts say they've never seen a case jeopardized like this.
Apparently President Donald Trump won’t be singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” at Nationals Park on opening day. Trump has declined to perform the tradition when the Washington Nationals host the Miami Marlins Monday, ESPN reported. >> Read more trending news It is due to a scheduling conflict, The Washington Post reported. The tradition of the president throwing out the first pitch at Washington’s opening-day game started more than 100 years ago , when President William Howard Taft threw out the first pitch for the then-Washington Senators in 1910, ESPN reported. In recent history, George W. Bush and Barack Obama threw out ceremonial first pitches on opening day. Overall, 13 presidents been part of the ceremony either for the Senators or the Nationals. There is no word on who will have the honor of throwing out the first pitch. Nats all-star pitcher Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start for Washington. Edinson Volquez is the starter listed for the Marlins. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET on Monday.
Olympic medalist figure skater Michelle Kwan and Rhode Island attorney and political activist Clay Pell are getting divorced. Pell said in a statement Wednesday that it's with 'deep regret' that the couple's 4-year marriage is coming to an end. They married in Providence in 2013. Pell says it's 'a sad and difficult turn of events.' He says he loves Kwan and wishes her the best as her life takes her in a new direction. He is asking for privacy. Pell is the grandson of Rhode Island's late Democratic U.S. Sen. Claiborne Pell. He ran unsuccessfully for Rhode Island governor in 2014. Kwan won Olympic medals in 1998 and 2002. Both were active supporters of Democrat Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year, and Pell was a member of the Electoral College. __ This story has been corrected to show that Kwan was an Olympic medalist, not an Olympic gold medalist.
Lawmakers in both parties used a Congressional hearing to give a stern warning to the head of the IRS on Wednesday, demanding that the tax agency end its practice of seizing huge amounts of money from law-abiding businesses for the simple act of depositing cash in their bank accounts.
“I was never so afraid in my life, not even in combat,” said Andrew Clyde, who runs a gun store in Athens, Georgia, as he described how he felt when two IRS agents showed up at his door, saying they had seized $940,213 from his company’s bank account.
“I trembled when they left,” Clyde said in his testimony.
The agents told Clyde that he had likely committed a felony by making cash deposits of less than $10,000 – that’s the limit set by the feds over which the IRS must be notified – all to help uncover money laundering and other legal activities.
But Clyde – and others who testified – said they had done nothing wrong, and the IRS knew that.
“A felony, how could this be a felony?” Clyde asked. “I was just depositing my own hard earned and legally earned cash in the bank. How can that be a felony?”
“It just looked like they were fishing for anything they could,” said Jeff Hirsch, who runs a company that distributes food and other products to convenience stores outside of New York.
“There wasn’t anything there,” Hirsch said.
In Hirsch’s case, the IRS seized $446,611 from his bank account, alleging that he had “structured” his cash deposits to avoid the $10,000 federal reporting requirement.
“Prior to reading the warrant, I had never heard of the concept of “structuring” and had no idea that depositing cash in amounts
under $10,000 could ever be against the law,” Hirsch told a House committee.
Hirsch accused the IRS of giving him and his lawyers “the run-around” – just as with the gun dealer from Georgia, the feds did not accuse Hirsch of any wrongdoing.
The stories left lawmakers aggravated.
“The IRS grabbed these taxpayers by the throat and squeezed them,” said Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL), as members of both parties vented their frustration to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen at the same hearing.
Koskinen told lawmakers that IRS agents have been instructed to stop these type of bank account seizures – if someone has committed no wrongdoing, like the stories told at Wednesday’s hearing.
“In this country, people are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty,” Hirsch told lawmakers.
“But, in the eyes of the IRS, I was guilty until proven innocent—forced to prove my own innocence to get my property back,” he added.
“I did not serve three combat tours in Iraq only to come home and be extorted by my government’s use of civil forfeiture laws,” Clyde said.
“The concerns are legitimate,” Koskinen acknowledged.
Jamie Dupree is the Radio News Director of the Washington Bureau of the Cox Media Group and writes the Washington Insider blog.
A native of Washington, D.C., Jamie has covered Congress and politics in the nation’s capital since the Reagan Administration, and has been reporting for Cox since 1989.