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SOTU Scoop
October 1st, 2014
05:10 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, October 1, 2014

  1. Ebola.  A man being treated at a Dallas hospital is the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States.  The man, identified as Thomas Eric Duncan, traveled from Liberia on September 19 and arrived in Dallas one day later. He went to the hospital on September 26 feeling sick, but was sent home.  He returned to the hospital two days later and was placed in isolation.   Since his arrival in Dallas, Duncan has had contact with five children.  City school officials say none of the children are showing Ebola symptoms, but are being kept at home for monitoring.  "I know parents are extremely concerned about that development, but let me assure you, these children have been identified and are being monitored and the disease cannot be transmitted before having any symptoms," said Texas Gov. Rick Perry.
  1. U.S. Secret Service. The embattled agency's director has resigned.  Julia Pierson, faced calls from lawmakers in both parties to resign after being grilled at a Wednesday hearing about recent security lapses.  It was revealed that a security contractor with a gun was allowed to ride in an elevator with President Obama during his visit to Atlanta last month.  Three days before the Atlanta security breach, a man jumped a White House fence and made it inside the executive mansion before being stopped.  White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Pierson offered her resignation because she believed it was in the best interest of the Secret Service.  Pierson told Bloomberg news that it was "painful" to resign from the agency where she worked for 31 years, "we were at the point where it was going to be hard for the department and president to have confidence in the Secret Service leadership if I didn’t step down."  Pierson became the first woman to head the Secret Service with Obama appointed her 18 months ago.  Joseph Clancy, a former special agent in charge of the Service's presidential protective division, has been appointed as interim acting director.
  1. The war against ISIS.  The U.S. and its allies are hitting more ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria.  The targets include the terror group's command and control centers, heavy weaponry and oil refineries that are a major sources of ISIS funding.  Despite the airstrikes, ISIS is threatening to take control of more territory.  Jihadist fighters are closing in on the town of Kobani on the Syria-Turkey border.
SOTU Scoop
September 25th, 2014
05:09 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Get your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, September 25, 2014

  1. ISIS.  The U.S. and its allies are hitting more ISIS targets in Syria.  Overnight airstrikes pounded oil refineries believed to help fund the terrorist group's operations.  War planes also struck an ISIS headquarters and training camp. Meanwhile FBI Director James Comey says the U.S. believes it has identified the man speaking in the ISIS videos in which Americans James Foley and Steven Sotloff and British aid worker David Haines were murdered.
  1. Subway plot?  U.S. officials say there is no indication of a terrorist plot against U.S. subway systems. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said his country's intelligence agency had uncovered an ISIS plot to target American subways.  "We have not confirmed any specific threat," Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters aboard Air Force One. "We want to review the information from the Iraqis and seek to corroborate that. In terms of specific plotting, we'll have to follow up with the Iraqis."
  1. Syrian rebels.  A group of Syrian rebel commanders have signed off on what they are calling a historic agreement to fight ISIS and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.   Under the agreement, moderate Muslim rebel groups fighting under the Supreme Military Council in Syria will partner with the predominantly Christian Syrian Military Council. The deal also calls for the groups to work together to assure any free Syria will be inclusive of all ethnic, religious and political parties. The agreement follows Congress' approval of President Obama's plan to train and arm moderate rebels to fight ISIS.
  1. Attorney General Eric Holder. The nation's top lawyer is resigning after six years on the job.  His tenure was sometimes marked by controversy, including gun trafficking controversy known as Operation Fast and Furious that led to him being the first sitting cabinet member to be held in contempt of Congress. But Holder's supporters praise his Justice Department's response to the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri as well as his fight against voting restriction laws and advocating for changes in sentencing guidelines in certain non-violent criminal cases.   In announcing Holder's resignation, Obama praised his friend and expressed gratitude for Holder's service.  "I just want to say thank you, Eric, thank you to the men and women of the Justice Department who work day in and out, for the American people, and we could not be more grateful for everything you've done- not just for me and the Administration, but for our country," Obama said.  Holder will remain attorney general until his replacement, who has not been named by Obama, is confirmed.

 

SOTU Scoop
September 4th, 2014
04:53 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, September 4, 2014.

1. NATO Summit. A two-day meeting of the alliance is underway in Wales. On the agenda: the ISIS threat, the crisis in Ukraine and dealing with a post-war Afghanistan. President Obama is under intense pressure domestically for a strong U.S. response to ISIS. In a joint op-ed in the Times of London, Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to fight the terrorist group. "If terrorist think we will weaken in the face of their treats they could not be more wrong. Countries like Britain and America will not be cowed by barbaric killers," the two men wrote.

FULL POST

SOTU Scoop
September 3rd, 2014
04:30 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, September 3, 2014.

1. ISIS. U.S. intelligence officials are examining the terrorist group's latest execution video. They are trying to determine where and when it was shot and whether the man seen beheading American Steven Sotloff is the same person who murdered U.S. photojournalist James Foley. ISIS says the executions of Sotloff and Foley were in retaliation for the ongoing U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. President Obama said Wednesday the United States would not be intimidated by the jihadist group, while Vice President Biden vowed that the U.S. would pursue ISIS "to the gates of hell until they are brought to justice."

FULL POST

SOTU Scoop
August 29th, 2014
05:08 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, August 29, 2014.

1. The terror threat. The British government has raised its terror threat level from "substantial" to "severe," in response to the actions of ISIS in Iraq and Syria. While raising the threat level means a terrorist attack is highly likely, Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May said "there is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is imminent." Prime Minister David Cameron said Islamic extremism is the "root cause" of the terrorist threat in the UK, and that ISIS' fight in Syria and Iraq "is not some foreign conflict thousands of miles from home that we can hope to ignore." Cameron added that he would soon announce plans to keep jihadist sympathizers from traveling to Syria and make it easier to seize their passports. The ISIS fighter who murdered American James Foley is believed to be from Britain, and British authorities estimate that 500 UK nationals have gone to Iraq and Syria to fight alongside Islamic groups.

FULL POST

SOTU Scoop
August 28th, 2014
03:51 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, August 28, 2014

1. Ukraine says it has been invaded by Russia. A U.S. official says as many as 1,000 Russian troops are in Ukraine to aid pro-Russian rebels. Russia denies that it has launched a military invasion or arming the separatists. In a U.N. Security Council emergency meeting on Ukraine, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power accused Russia of lying about its actions. “Russia is not listening, instead they have come before this council to say everything but the truth,” Power said. The latest incident comes just two days after Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko were photographed shaking hands.

FULL POST

SOTU Scoop
August 27th, 2014
05:02 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, August 27, 2014.

1. Steven Sotloff. The American journalist's mother made a plea to ISIS terrorists holding her son hostage. In a video broadcast on Al Arabiya Network, Shirley Sotloff spoke directly to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. "Steven is a journalist who traveled to the Middle East to cover the suffering of Muslims at the hands of tyrants," she said. Steven is a loyal and generous son, brother and grandson. He is an honorable man who has always tried to help the weak." Shirley Sotloff then appealed to al-Baghdadi's self-declared title of caliph of the Islamic State, telling him as caliph, he has the power to grant amnesty to her son. "I ask you to please release my child," she said. Steven Sotloff disappeared while reporting from Syria in August 2013. He was seen in the recent ISIS video showing the beheading of U.S. photojournalist James Foley.

FULL POST

Sunday on State of the Union
August 22nd, 2014
06:49 PM ET

Sunday on State of the Union

The beheading of an American brings the ISIS threat closer to home. But is President Obama doing enough to stop them? Senators Lindsey Graham and Jack Reed on what the U.S. should do next.

The militant who killed American James Foley has a British accent, and there are reports that more British Muslims are fighting for ISIS than British forces.   We talk to Peter Westmacott, the British Ambassador to the United States about the alarming numbers of Westerners fighting in Iraq and Syria.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon remains under fire for his handling of the situation in Ferguson.  He joins us with the latest on the investigation.

Ferguson’s troubles resonate along the thin blue line.  We convene police chiefs from across the country to discuss: Thomas Manger, Chief of Police in Montgomery County Maryland and Vice President of the Police Executive Research Forum, Malik Aziz, Deputy Chief of Police in Dallas and Chair of the National Black Police Association, and James Craig, Chief of Police in Detroit.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley, Sunday at 9a and Noon on CNN.

SOTU Scoop
August 21st, 2014
05:18 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, August 21, 2014

1. Ferguson face-to-face. Things appear to be calming down in the city. There were fewer protesters in the streets Wednesday night. But there is still a strong demand for answers in the August 9 fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. Attorney General Eric Holder, who visited Ferguson Wednesday, promised a fair, thorough and independent investigation into Brown's shooting by the Justice Department. "In my conversations with dozens of people in Ferguson yesterday it was clear that this shooting incident has brought to the surface underlying tensions that have existed for many years. There is a history to these tensions and that history simmers in more communities than just Ferguson," Holder said. Brown's mother Lesley McSpadden, told CNN that meeting with Holder gave her more confidence about the probe into her son's death. "You can read a person. And when you’re looking at them and they’re looking at you in your eyes it puts some trust back there. That you lost. And he did ensure that it will be a fair and thorough investigation," McSpadden said.

FULL POST

SOTU Scoop
August 20th, 2014
05:50 PM ET

SOTU Scoop

By CNN's Tracey Webb

Your daily scoop of what State of the Union is watching today, August 20, 2014.

1. Ferguson. Attorney General Eric Holder is in the St. Louis suburb that has been the center of unrest since the August 9th fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. Holder is meeting with federal investigators as well as community leaders. His visit follows what was a relatively peaceful night in Ferguson. Meanwhile St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said he would begin presenting the Brown case to a grand jury Wednesday, but it will likely be October before the panel has all the evidence.

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