National Politics

Kaul, Toney AG race likely to turn on broader issues

Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul will have to go through an experienced Republican prosecutor to win a second term, setting up a fall race that will likely turn on their stances on major national issues such as abortion, gun restrictions and voter fraud. Fond du Lac County District Attorney Eric Toney bested two sharply conservative rivals in Tuesday's primary to win the GOP nomination. Both he and Kaul are seasoned attorneys, which means they'll have to campaign on their stances on larger issues. Kaul has sued to undo Wisconsin's abortion ban and has advocated for tighter gun control laws. Toney charged several people with violating Gov. Tony Evers' stay-at-home order and is prosecuting a number of others for voter fraud.

Jury is told 2 men wanted to kidnap Whitmer, start revolt

A second trial is underway for two men accused of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Jurors are getting two views of Barry Croft Jr. and Adam Fox. A prosecutor says Fox and Croft wanted to ignite a “second American revolution” in 2020 by kidnapping Whitmer. Defense attorneys say it's a case of entrapment with undercover agents and informants embedded at every critical turn. Fox and Croft are on trial for a second time. In April, a different jury couldn’t reach a unanimous verdict while acquitting two other men. Jurors will hear evidence of a “shoot house” for gun drills as well as two trips to see Whitmer’s northern Michigan home. Two men who pleaded guilty will testify for the government.

Ex-Miss America Mund: Abortion ruling prompted US House run

Former Miss America Cara Mund says her concern about the erosion of abortion rights prompted her independent bid for the U.S. House in her home state of North Dakota. Mund is running against the odds in the deeply conservative state, but says the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the constitutional right to abortion was “just a moment where I knew we need more women in office.” The 28-year-old recent Harvard Law School graduate announced her candidacy Saturday. Her run comes as North Dakota’s only abortion clinic in Fargo is preparing to relocate across the border to Minnesota.

EXPLAINER: Mixed US inflation signs. Where are prices going?

Consumers struggling with skyrocketing prices for food, gas, autos and rent got a tantalizing hint of relief last month, when prices didn’t budge at all from June after 25 straight months of increases. With gas prices continuing to fall, inflation is probably slowing further this month. So has the worst bout of inflation in four decades possibly peaked? Economists say it’s way too soon to know for sure. Even if some prices should keep declining, others — housing costs, for example — are almost sure to remain painfully high. And that means there’s likely still a long way to go before inflation will get anywhere close to the 2% annual pace that Americans were long accustomed to.

Trump ties may come back to haunt in swing state Wisconsin

Donald Trump reasserted his grip on Republicans in Wisconsin’s primary, but both Democrats and Republicans say that the former president’s involvement in the state’s key races for governor and U.S. Senate could come back to hurt them in the swing state. Trump’s endorsed candidate for governor, construction company co-owner Tim Michels, beat out the choice of establishment Republicans. Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said Wednesday that means that Michels now “owns” Trump and he won’t be able to moderate for the general election. Trump also backs Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, who faces Democrat Mandela Barnes in November.

Biden begins summer vacation with family in South Carolina

President Joe Biden has arrived in South Carolina to begin what's expected to be at least a seven-day vacation with members of his family. The Bidens will be in Kiawah Island, noted for its private beach and golf resort, through Tuesday, according to Federal Aviation Administration advisories. The White House did not respond to requests to provide details on Biden’s vacation schedule, activities or when he planned to return to Washington. While Biden is in South Carolina, the House is set to vote to approve a bill full of his priorities, including the most substantial investment in history to fight climate change, some $369 billion over the decade.

Hundreds join anti-Gazprom protest in Bulgarian capital

Hundreds of Bulgarians have taken to the streets of the capital Sofia, voicing fears that the country’s caretaker government could break with the policies of its pro-Western predecessor and revert to close energy ties with Russia. The second in a planned series of protests under the slogan #GAZwithme took place Wednesday in front of the presidential building in Sofia and organizers said they want greater accountability from the caretaker cabinet. The first public statements by the current caretaker government indicate that Bulgaria could restart talks with Russian energy giant Gazprom to avoid natural gas shortages later in the year. “We refuse to be dependent on Gazprom and finance Putin’s outrageous war!” read a banner at the protest.

EU to stop Greek budget watch in formal end to major crisis

The European Commission says it's winding up years of surveillance of Greek government spending. The move, on Aug. 20, will mark a formal end to a major crisis that threatened to see Greece ejected from the euro single currency group. It also imposed severe hardship imposed on Greek citizens and created a deep rift between them and the EU's institutions. But the commission said Wednesday that “Greece has delivered on the bulk of the policy commitments” made to its partners in the 19-country euro area. Greece was granted billions of euros in three bailout funds after 2010 when Athens lost access to international bond markets after admitting it had misreported key financial data.

Anxiety rises over claims in Kenya's close presidential vote

Human rights groups are warning anxious Kenyans over “rising levels of false or misleading information being shared on social media” as the country awaits the results of a close presidential election. The electoral commission says it will be at least Thursday before a winner is declared. High-profile supporters of the two leading candidates were tweeting claims of victory, citing their counts based on results forms posted online by the electoral commission in a gesture of transparency. Kenya media are racing to do their own tallies, but their differing, incomplete results are only adding to public confusion. Turnout in Tuesday’s election was notably lower than in recent votes, but interest in the winner is sharpening.

AP FACT CHECK: GOP skews budget bill’s impact on IRS, taxes

Republican politicians and candidates are distorting how a major economic bill working its way through Congress would overhaul the IRS and affect taxes for the middle class. The Inflation Reduction Act, which awaits a House vote after passing in the Senate on Sunday, would increase the ranks of the IRS. But it wouldn’t create a mob of armed auditors looking to harass middle-class taxpayers, as some Republicans are claiming. And while experts say corporate tax increases could indirectly burden people in the middle class, any claims that they’ll face higher taxes aren't supported by what’s in the legislation.