District of Columbia

Trump tweets ‘very nice note’ from Kim

WASHINGTON — President Trump on Thursday tweeted a letter to him from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un heralding “epochal progress” in U.S.-North Korea relations, despite signs that path-finding diplomacy between the adversaries is running into problems.

Trump described the letter as a “very nice note” and said, “Great progress being made!”

The letter is dated July 6. That’s when Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang and seemingly made little progress in fleshing out details of North Korea’s commitment for “complete denuclearization.”

Kim made that commitment when he met Trump in Singapore last month. Kim also agreed then to repatriate remains of U.S. troops who died during the Korean War six decades ago.

A planned meeting Thursday between North Korean and U.S. officials in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas to discuss the return of the remains was postponed.

Pelosi wonders what Russia has on Trump

WASHINGTON — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday she wants to know what leverage the Russians have over President Trump, but wouldn’t say whether she’d favor hearings on the question should Democrats take control of the House next year.

Her comments highlighted Democratic leaders’ balancing act approaching November elections in which they hope to win a House majority.

Some of the party’s most liberal members want to aggressively attack Trump to mobilize progressive voters. Others prefer a more measured approach, concerned that overly focusing on the polarizing president could alienate moderates in suburban swing districts Democrats will need to win to capture House control.

Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters that when Trump meets next Monday with Russian President Vladimir Putin, she wants the president to press Putin on Russian interference in U.S. elections and extract “something more than, ‘I asked him, he said no and that was that.’ ”

GOP eager to set vote

on Dems’ legislation

WASHINGTON — Liberal Democrats unveiled doomed legislation Thursday aimed at abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement, their eyes focused on galvanizing voters for the midterm elections.

The House’s top Republican scoffed that the measure makes him “feel very good” about November. GOP leaders moved toward scheduling a vote on the measure in hopes of embarrassing and dividing Democrats.

The dueling views of the bill’s potential impact are the latest example of how immigration looms as a vote-moving issue this fall, when Democrats hope to wrest control of the House and perhaps the Senate from the GOP. Public concern over the problem shows no signs of receding soon, as the Trump administration struggles to reunite more than 2,000 migrant children they’ve separated from parents caught entering the U.S. illegally.

“It’s the craziest position I’ve ever seen, and they are just tripping over themselves to move too far to the left,” House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told reporters Thursday about Democrats’ bill. “They’re out of the mainstream of America, and that’s one of the reasons why I feel very good about this fall.”

New York

Papa John’s still tied

to founder under fire

NEW YORK — Papa John’s founder John Schnatter is no longer board chairman after using a racial slur, but his image is still part of the pizza chain’s logo and he remains the company’s largest shareholder.

The situation illustrates the difficulty when companies are closely tied to a single person, and that Papa John’s may need to publicly distance itself further from Schnatter after dealing with backlashes brought about by his comments.

However it manages its public image, Schnatter is still enmeshed in the company. He owns nearly 30 percent of the shares, and remains on the board even after ceding his role as chairman.

Papa John’s announced the change in board leadership following Schnatter’s apology for using a racial slur during a conference call in May. He had stepped down as CEO last year after blaming disappointing pizza delivery sales on the outcry surrounding football players kneeling during the national anthem.

Indiana

Third woman publicly details AG groping

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana legislative staffer Thursday became the third woman — and the first Republican — to publicly accuse state Attorney General Curtis Hill of groping her at a March party, saying the Republican office-holder slid his hand down her back and touched her buttocks when she reached to push his hand away.

Niki DaSilva is a legislative assistant for the Indiana Senate Republican Caucus. She writes in her account in The Indianapolis Star that she is the “Employee A” mentioned in an internal legislative memo leaked to media outlets that describes Hill’s alleged drunken groping of four women at an Indianapolis bar.

DaSilva wrote that the allegations that Hill groped her, two other legislative staffers and a state lawmaker early March 15 at a bar party are serious.

“This is not a witch hunt, nor is it a political issue. This is an issue of respect, safety and basic human rights,” she wrote, saying Hill’s alleged actions that night reflect “a deliberate pattern of unacceptable behavior.”

Hill, who was elected to a four-year term in 2016, has denied the allegations and has defiantly rebuffed calls for him to resign.

Wire reports