Morning News: DNC chair in Cincinnati to respond to Trump speech; Tensing opening statements begin; Comey testifies

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez will be in Cincinnati today following President Donald Trump's visit yesterday. Perez, Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper and former mayor Mark Mallory will speak on the region's infrastructure needs

Jun 8, 2017 at 10:55 am

click to enlarge The Brent Spence Bridge
The Brent Spence Bridge

Hello all. We are literally swimming in news over here, so let’s get right to it.

Well, President Donald Trump came, spoke and left in short succession yesterday, talking a lot about how bad Obamacare is, how he won Ohio “by a lot,” and his administration’s bare-bones plan to drum up $1 trillion in infrastructure investment via $200 billion in federal spending. After introducing two Ohio families he says have been “victims” of Obamacare, Trump mostly focused on waterway infrastructure improvement and did what a lot of motorists crossing the Ohio River every morning wish they could do — bypassed the Brent Spence Bridge entirely. Trump didn’t mention the pivotal span that carries I-75 and a good deal of the country’s ground freight across the river, the region’s No. 1 infrastructure priority by far, despite making campaign promises that he would find ways to fund its needed $2.6 billion replacement. Trump also gave a shoutout to some organized labor leaders, whose support will be helpful if the president wants to see Democrats in Congress adopt his proposals.

Protesters from local unions, faith and community groups gathered about a mile and a half away to decry Trump’s agenda. Some specifically targeted potential privatization plans wrapped up in Trump’s infrastructure proposals, while others spoke out against Trump’s immigration policies and the growing cloud of intrigue involving former FBI Director James Comey, former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia. But more on that in a minute.

• Meanwhile, Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez will speak at Smale Riverfront Park today at 1 p.m. to rebut Trump’s infrastructure speech yesterday, according to a news release. Perez, Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper and former mayor Mark Mallory (a member of the DNC) will speak about the need to fund replacements for the Brent Spence Bridge and the Western Hills Viaduct. The visit is part of a tour that will swing through Cleveland and Youngstown tomorrow.

One day after Donald Trump’s attempt to sell massive handouts to Wall Street and special interests as an infrastructure plan, DNC Chair Tom Perez will travel across Ohio to meet with hardworking Ohioans who are demanding real investments in Ohio’s infrastructure that use American products, create jobs for American workers and allow American businesses to grow and thrive,” the news release states.

Opening arguments began today in the retrial of Ray Tensing, the former University of Cincinnati police officer who shot and killed unarmed black motorist Sam DuBose. A jury of seven white women, two white men, one black man and two black women, seated yesterday, will hear the case. After opening statements, the prosecution will present its case, speaking to three other UCPD officers at the scene that day in July 2015 and an eyewitness of the shooting.

• UCPD says it’s been focusing on teaching officers how to de-escalate situations in the aftermath of the DuBose shooting. That’s been the project of new UCPD Chief Anthony Carter and is one of multiple reform efforts being undertaken by the department following a lengthy independent review.

• Oops. The streetcar isn’t running a deficit at all, as The Cincinnati Enquirer reported earlier this week. The paper says it took a closer look at the math behind SORTA’s budget request, which asks for $225,000 more than last year for the streetcar, and found that the transit system is in fact running a $45,523 surplus. That’s a pretty slim margin of error, but it’s a lot better than the half-million-dollar deficit the paper reported.

• A local icon is on a national most wanted list. No, some corruption charge didn’t catch up with one of our beloved elected leaders. It’s much more positive than that. Graeter’s black raspberry chocolate chip ice cream is on this People Magazine list of “Best New Ice Cream Flavors Out This Summer.” I mean, the flavor isn’t new at all, but you know, national media. Look at us, all famous and stuff.

• Finally, former FBI director James Comey, whom President Donald Trump fired last month, will give his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee today. According to written testimony released yesterday, he'll tell that group that Trump asked him for “loyalty” and seemingly told him to make investigations into Trump’s campaign’s ties with Russia go away. That’s some heavy stuff, y’all.