DC Roundup: Congressman Critically Injured, Investigation Into Trump, State Dept. Cuts

Developments in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday include Republican members at an early morning baseball practice are attacked by a gunman, Congressman Steve Scalise is critically injured, a newspaper reported that special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating President Donald Trump for possible obstruction of justice, and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says cut in department funding doesn’t equate to overall goal achievement.

Report: Trump Being Investigated for Possible Obstruction of Justice — U.S. President Donald Trump is being investigated by special counsel Robert Mueller for possible obstruction of justice, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified officials.

WATCH: Trump on congressional shooting

US Congressman Scalise in Critical Condition After Shooting — Republican U.S. Congressman Stephen Scalise, who was among five people shot by a gunman Wednesday outside Washington, is in critical condition, according to Medstar Washington Hospital Center in the nation’s capital, where Scalise is undergoing treatment. Trump announced that the gunman suspected of shooting Scalise and the others has died from injuries sustained in a shootout with law enforcement officers.

WATCH: Senator Sanders denounces violence

Shooter at Lawmakers’ Baseball Practice Was Trump Critic, Sanders Fan — The gunman who opened fire at a congressional Republican baseball practice Wednesday was a harsh critic of Trump, according to social media postings, and also was a former campaign volunteer for Vermont independent Senator Bernie Sanders. James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, wounded four people, including Representative Scalise of Louisiana and four others, in the early-morning shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, before being fatally shot by U.S. Capitol Police who were guarding the lawmakers.

WATCH: House Speaker Ryan, House Minority Leader Pelosi speak about shooting

US House Leaders Unite in Call for Humanity in Wake of Shooting Rampage — The top Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives, often at sharp odds over contentious government policies, joined Wednesday in a common plea for humanity in the immediate aftermath of a gunman’s attack on a congressman and four others at a baseball field.

Shooting Victim Steve Scalise Is Third-Ranking US House Republican —  Scalise, the U.S. congressman who was shot while at a practice for an annual baseball game against rival lawmakers, is the third-highest ranking Republican in the House of Representatives.

Tillerson: Funding Level Doesn’t Equate to Goal Achievement — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says he believes the Trump administration can continue to carry out American foreign policy goals despite massive proposed funding cuts to diplomacy programs and foreign aid. Trump’s proposed budget for 2018 would slash State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) spending by 32 percent, but Tillerson said the amount of funding doesn’t necessarily correlate with the results achieved.

US Aims for Stronger Partnership With Central America — Senior American officials say the United States will signal strong commitment to Central America when top leaders from the region gather in Miami this week, despite a 2018 budget that proposes a significant cut in aid to those countries. The Conference on Prosperity and Security in Central America, opening Thursday, will focus on economic, governance and security challenges in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Trump Gives Defense Chief Authority to Set US Troop Levels in Afghanistan — Trump has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan. Speaking to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, Mattis testified that the president had authorized his ability to set troop numbers in Afghanistan on Tuesday, noting that any change to the current troop level of 8,400 would not come immediately.

Pakistan Army Chief Slams US Drone Operation — Pakistan’s military chief is sharply criticizing a suspected U.S. drone strike that killed two key Haqqani network commanders in northwestern Pakistan earlier this week. Pakistani security sources said Tuesday’s pre-dawn missile attack destroyed a suspected militant hideout in the remote district of Hangu.

Marshall Islands Leader Appeals for Help on Climate Change — Marshall Islands President Hilda Heine is appealing for help to convince Trump of the need to fight global warming following his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Heine told European Union lawmakers Wednesday that “we all have a duty to work together to convince President Trump of the importance of climate action.”

Emirati Ambassador: US Should Rethink Qatar Air Base — The United States should consider moving its air base out of Qatar, the Emirati ambassador to the U.S. said Tuesday, encouraging the Trump administration to use its leverage to further pressure Qatar over alleged support for extremism.

White House Denies Trump Wants Mueller Out, But Heat Is On — The White House has finally ended a day of speculation about whether Donald Trump is considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, saying the president has “no intention” of doing so. Still, that statement is unlikely to quell criticism of Mueller from some of Trump’s closest allies — including one of his sons. They have begun questioning whether Mueller’s wide-ranging investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election is becoming too political.

Fact Check: Ethics Checks Move Along Despite Trump Beefs — There’s no sign of foot-dragging at the Office of Government Ethics despite President Trump’s complaint that it has “become very difficult to deal with” as he tries to fill vacancies on his team. It’s actually moving faster on Trump’s nominations than it did under President Barack Obama, data from the office show.

Democratic US Lawmakers Sue Trump Over Foreign State Payments to Businesses — More than 190 Democratic lawmakers sued Trump in federal court on Wednesday, saying he had accepted funds from foreign governments through his businesses without congressional consent in violation of the U.S. Constitution. The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment but has said Trump’s business interests do not violate the Constitution.

Cuba Kicks Off Electoral Process Leading to Castro Handover — Communist-run Cuba said on Wednesday it was calling for municipal elections on Oct. 22, kicking off the electoral procedure that should lead to the handover of power from Raul Castro to the next president. The electoral notice coincides with a period of uncertainty for Cuba as Trump is expected to announce his Cuba policy on Friday, rolling back parts of former President Obama’s opening to the island, which included restoration of relations and reopening of embassies in a diplomatic breakthrough between Cold War foes.

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