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By Maggie Fox

The ongoing federal government shutdown has stopped most food safety inspections, but the Food and Drug Administration is planning to resume at least some of them. To do it, the agency will have to force furloughed workers to come back without pay.

FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb said he is trying to pinpoint the most essential inspections, while making sure that employees do not suffer too much.

“There’s no question of whether it’s business as usual at FDA,” Gottlieb told NBC News.

“It’s not business as usual, and we are not doing all the things we would do under normal circumstances. There are important things we are not doing.”



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Politics

3/4 Dems would back Ocasio-Cortez for president — but she’s not old enough

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By Allan Smith

Freshman Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York isn’t even old enough to run for president, yet nearly three-quarters of Democrats and Democratic-leaning adults would consider voting for her if she could.

A new Axios/Survey Monkey poll shows that 74 percent of Democrats and those who lean toward the party would consider voting for her if she were able to run. As is, the Constitution prevents anyone under the age of 35 from serving as president.

Ocasio-Cortez is 29.

Additionally, the poll found that 17 percent of those adults said they would “definitely” vote for her if she could run.

The youngest member of Congress — who has become a viral sensation on social media — even garners interest among segments of the Republican population. The survey found that 30 percent of Republicans ages 18 to 34 would consider voting for Ocasio-Cortez, while 28 percent of non-white Republicans would consider casting a ballot for the New York City congresswoman.

Ocasio-Cortez has promoted a set of progressive policies, such as a “Green New Deal” to address both climate change and economic inequality and a “Medicare for all” health care system. Following President Donald Trump’s address to the nation on his immigration proposals to end the partial government shutdown, Ocasio-Cortez delivered an impassioned response on MSNBC in which she called the president’s positions “anti-American.”

The survey polled 2,277 U.S. adults and was conducted between Jan. 16 and 18. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.



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Supreme Court takes up gun rights case for first time in a decade

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By Pete Williams

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a challenge to New York City’s restriction on transporting handguns outside the city limits.

It’s the first time in a decade that the court has agreed to hear a case on the nature of gun rights, this time on the nature of the rights outside the home.

Under a city law, residents who have a permit to own a handgun can take it outside the home to a city shooting range, provided the weapon is unloaded and in a locked container. But they cannot take their guns outside the city limits.

New York imposed the restriction after concluding that it was too difficult to determine whether someone found to have a gun in the car was taking it to a local shooting range or one elsewhere.

Three residents challenged the law. Two of them said they wanted to take their guns to ranges outside the city, and the third wanted to take his gun back and forth to a second home in Hancock, New York. They argued that the law violated their Second Amendment rights.

“The city has presented precisely zero empirical evidence that transporting an unloaded handgun locked up in a container separate from its ammunition (an actively that federal law affirmatively protests) poses any material safety risk,” they said in a legal brief.

They also said the city law discourages residents from going to shooting ranges to gain proficiency in using their handguns.

Lower courts upheld the restriction, and the city urged the Supreme Court not to take the cases and instead to let those rulings stand. New York has seven shooting ranges, providing ample facilities for those wishing to improve their skills. And anyone wealthy enough to own a second home can afford to buy a second handgun and keep it there, the city said.

Since ruling in 2008 that the Constitution guarantees a right to keep a handgun at home for self defense, the Supreme Court has declined to hear challenges to other gun laws. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito has said the court’s reluctance to take other gun cases means their colleagues are treating the Second Amendment as a “second class” right.



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Rudy Giuliani says he’s ‘afraid’ his epitaph will say he ‘lied for Trump’

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By Allan Smith

Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, said in an interview with The New Yorker that he is “afraid” his gravestone will say he “lied for Trump.”

Giuliani was asked by the magazine on Sunday if he ever worried that “saying things for Trump, not always being truthful about it” would be his legacy.

“Absolutely,” he responded. “I am afraid it will be on my gravestone. ‘Rudy Giuliani: He lied for Trump. Somehow, I don’t think that will be it. But, if it is, so what do I care? I’ll be dead.”

“I figure I can explain it to St. Peter,” he continued. “He will be on my side, because I am, so far … I don’t think, as a lawyer, I ever said anything that’s untruthful. I have a sense of ethics that is as high as anybody you can imagine. I’ve been doing this forever. I am doing what I believe in. I may not always be right, but I am doing what I believe.”

Giuliani rose to prominence as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York and as mayor of New York City before making a failed bid for the White House in 2008.

Giuliani’s interview with The New Yorker came after he walked back comments he made on the Sunday political talk shows. On NBC’s “Meet the Press, Giuliani said team Trump’s business negotiations to build a Trump Tower in Moscow may have continued as late as November 2016 — months longer than the timeline the president’s former attorney and fixer, Michael Cohen, provided prosecutors.

“The conversations lasted throughout parts of 2016. The president is not sure exactly when they ended. I would say Michael Cohen would have a much better recollection of it than the president,” Giuliani said Sunday morning.

When pressed on what he meant by “throughout 2016,” Giuliani added, “Could be up to as far as October, November. Our answers cover until the election.”

Giuliani later released a statement saying his comments were only “hypothetical” in nature — not based on knowledge.

“My recent statements about discussions during the 2016 campaign between Michael Cohen and then-candidate Donald Trump about a potential Trump Moscow ‘project’ were hypothetical and not based on conversations I had with the president,” he said. “My comments did not represent the actual timing or circumstances of any such discussions.”



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