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The Journal Gazette

Monday, February 11, 2019 1:00 am

Politics

Northam insists he can 'heal' Virginia

News services

RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia's Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam considered resigning amid a scandal that he once wore blackface, but the pediatric neurologist said Sunday that he's “not going anywhere” because the state “needs someone that can heal” it.

Northam made the comments on CBS' “Face the Nation,” saying it's been a difficult week since a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced, showing a person wearing blackface next to a second person wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. Northam initially said he was the one in blackface but denied it the next day, while acknowledging that he did wear blackface to a dance party that same year.

“Virginia needs someone that can heal. There's no better person to do that than a doctor,” Northam said. “Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage and who has a moral compass. And that's why I'm not going anywhere.”

Northam's pledge Sunday to work on healing the state's racial divide was the second he made in as many days.

Schiff vows probe of Trump finances

The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee expressed concern Sunday that special counsel Robert Mueller has not adequately scrutinized President Donald Trump's finances and said House investigators plan to probe Trump's relationship with a bank implicated in Russian money laundering.

“We are not interested in our committee in whether he's a tax cheat or not worth what he says he is,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on the NBC's “Meet the Press.” “What we are interested in is, does the president have business dealings with Russia such that it compromises the United States?”

Schiff said the House panel plans to investigate Trump's two-decade relationship with Deutsche Bank, a German institution that has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in penalties in recent years after admitting its role in a $10 billion money laundering scheme that allowed clients in Russia to move vast sums overseas.

Schiff voiced concern that Mueller has shied away from investigating Trump's ties to the German lender, saying that “if the special counsel hasn't subpoenaed Deutsche Bank, he can't be doing much of a money-laundering investigation.”

GOP lawmaker dies on birthday

Walter Jones Jr., a North Carolina congressman who so enthusiastically supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq that he argued for the french fries and French toast served in House cafeterias to be called “freedom fries” and “freedom toast” died Sunday, on his 76th birthday.

His office confirmed the death in a statement. It had announced on Jan. 26 that the 13-term lawmaker had entered hospice care, his health having declined after a fall in which he broke his hip. Jones had been granted a leave of absence in late 2018 for an unspecified illness.

Jones had favored renaming the food in a jab at France for its opposition to the war, but he later underwent a dramatic change of heart and emerged as a prominent Republican critic of the war.

While Jones held fast to core Republican tenets, he also backed campaign finance reform and increasing the minimum wage. He twice opposed his party's leader, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio, for House speaker.