John Hickenlooper ends 2020 presidential campaign, nods at potential Senate bid

Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

ended his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination on Thursday, releasing a video in which he nodded at

the possibility of a future Senate run

.

“Today, I’m ending my campaign for President,” Hicklenlooper said in the three-minute video. “But I will never stop believing that America can only move forward when we work together.”

He added: “A little over six months ago, I announced my run for President. In almost every aspect, this journey has been more exciting and more rewarding than I ever imagined. Although, of course, I did imagine a very different conclusion.”

Report: Epstein autopsy finds broken bones in his neckAn autopsy performed on Jeffrey Epstein showed he “sustained multiple breaks in his neck bones,” the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

People familiar with the autopsy report told the newspaper the bones broken in Epstein’s neck included the hyoid bone, which is near the Adam’s apple. This sort of break can happen when a person hangs themselves or dies by strangulation, forensics experts told the Post.

Epstein, 66, was found dead in the special housing unit of the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York on Saturday. He was in a cell by himself.

The multimillionaire hedge fund manager had been jailed since early last month, awaiting trial on federal charges accusing him of operating a sex trafficking ring from 2002 to 2005 at his Manhattan mansion and his Palm Beach estate in which he paid girls as young as 14 for sex. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

13 states sue over legal immigration ‘public charge’ ruleThirteen states filed a lawsuit in federal court Wednesday challenging the Trump administration’s new rule that seeks to limit access to green cards for immigrants that receive certain government benefits.

This is the latest legal challenge against the so-called ”public charge” rule, which was released Monday. Immigrants who use benefits such as Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers could have their request for legal permanent status in the U.S. rejected because they would be deemed more likely to need government assistance in the future.

The new lawsuit, led by Washington state, contends that the rule violates federal immigration statutes and unlawfully expands the definition of “public charge.”

The acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Ken Cuccinelli, defended the rule earlier this week, telling CNN’s Erin Burnett Tuesday evening that the “rule is well within the law.”

Gillibrand open to mandatory federal buyback program for assault weapons

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand suggested she supports a mandatory national buyback program for assault weapons and that she would be open to criminal prosecution for those who don’t sell back their firearms.

“I think we should ban assault weapons as well as large magazines. As part of passing that ban, do a buyback program across the country so that those who own them can be compensated for the money they spent,” Gillibrand, a Democratic senator from New York, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Wednesday.

Democrats have dropped the cautious rhetoric on gun control in the aftermath of a pair of mass shootings, a little more than 12 hours apart, in El Paso, Texas, and in Dayton, Ohio, earlier this month. But they have been split over whether a buyback program implemented by the federal government should be mandatory or voluntary.

Critics slam new Labor Department religious liberty proposal as discrimination

The Trump administration has proposed allowing religious organizations that do work for the federal government to base hiring decisions on the “acceptance of or adherence to religious tenets,” a move critics say will allow for discrimination, including against LGBTQ individuals.

The Labor Department proposal would apply to self-identified religious groups and companies with a “religious purpose” that receive federal government contracts. Organizations would still be required to “not discriminate based on other protected bases.”

Critics of the proposal, however, say the Trump administration is working to undercut protections instituted by former President Barack Obama, who in 2014 prohibited workplace discrimination by federal contractors based on sexual orientation or identity in states that did not already have such protections.

The Labor Department said the rule is consistent with recent Supreme Court decisions from recent years, including the Hobby Lobby decision on contraception and the ruling in favor of a Colorado baker.

— From wire reports

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