Tonight on AC360°, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been released from a hospital in Houston, Texas. We'll talk with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about what's next for her recovery. You may recall, Giffords was shot in the head in January at an event in Tuscon, Arizona. Plus, the White House defends the U.S. military mission in Libya in a 32-page report to Congress. A bipartisan group in the House says Pres. Obama has violated the War Powers Act. We'll have the latest developments and tonight's other headlines.
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(CNN) - U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has been released from the hospital in Houston, Texas, and expects to begin outpatient treatment soon, according to a statement released Wednesday by TIRR Memorial Hermann.
Giffords was shot in the head January 8 during a mass shooting incident in Arizona. She is expected to move into her home in League City, Texas, where she will continue rehabilitation therapy.
"We are very excited that she has reached the next phase of her rehabilitation and can begin outpatient treatment," said Dr. Gerard Francisco, the hospital's chief medical officer. Francisco will continue to supervise Giffords' case.
Giffords will still get intensive therapy as an outpatient and will work with the same rehab team that has been with her from the beginning, the statement said. She has been at TIRR Memorial Hermann since late January.
"Gabby gives her all to everything she does, and that's exactly what she's been doing at TIRR since January 26," said Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, Giffords' husband. "The remarkable progress she has made since then is a testament to both her single-minded determination to get better and the team of medical professionals overseeing her care."
Jared Lee Loughner, 22, is charged in the mass shooting in which six people were killed and 13 others, including Giffords, were wounded in front of a Safeway grocery story in Tucson, Arizona. A federal judge ruled last month that Loughner is not competent to stand trial. His next court date is scheduled for September 21.FULL STORY
(CNN) - Casey Anthony's defense attorneys are seeking to question a convicted felon who served prison time for kidnapping, claiming in court documents he is linked to Anthony's father through cell phone records.
Vasco Thompson, 52, is on an amended witness list filed Tuesday in Anthony's capital murder trial. Orange County Chief Judge Belvin Perry Jr. has not yet ruled on whether Thompson can be deposed or testify in the trial.
Casey Anthony's father, George Anthony, denied knowing Thompson or ever speaking to him in a statement released by his attorney.
Prosecutors allege that Casey Anthony, 25, killed her 2-year-old daughter Caylee in 2008 by using chloroform on her and putting duct tape over her nose and mouth. They allege she then put the little girl's body in black garbage bags and stored it in her trunk before dumping it in woods near her home.
Caylee's skeletal remains were found December 11, 2008. She was last seen June 16, 2008, but her disappearance was not reported until July 15, 2008, after Anthony's mother, Cindy Anthony, demanded answers from her daughter about Caylee's whereabouts.
Anthony faces seven counts in Caylee's death, including first-degree murder, aggravated child abuse and misleading investigators. If convicted, she could face the death penalty. She has pleaded not guilty.
"Mr. Thompson is a recently discovered witness through the ongoing efforts of defense investigators," according to the court documents filed Tuesday. "This witness was connected to George Anthony through his cell phone records."
A background check revealed that Thompson "has a violent criminal history and has served a 10-year prison sentence for kidnapping," according to the court documents.
"Because of the recently discovered and unexplained relationship between George Anthony and Vasco Thompson, their finite contact which, based on cell records, existed only during the relevant time period, and Mr. Thompson's violent criminal history, good cause is shown for the late disclosure of this witness," the defense says in the filing.
Those contacts, they allege, included four contacts on July 14, 2008 - the day before Caylee was reported missing by Cindy Anthony.
The defense said it needs to question Thompson "to determine the existence of relevant admissible evidence in this trial."
Thompson refused to speak with defense investigators and called police when he was questioned, the documents said.
"Mr. Anthony does not know Vasco Dagama Thompson," the Anthonys' attorney, Mark Lippman, said in a statement. "Mr. Anthony does not recall ever speaking with Mr. Vasco Dagama Thompson at any time including July 14, 2008, by any form of communication."
Lippman pointed out the defense has failed to identify who initiated the calls or the length of time of each telephone call.
"This simply appears to be another attempt by the defense to attack my client," Lippman said. "Mr. Anthony has and will continue to maintain the position that he had nothing to do with the death of Caylee Marie Anthony or any of the events that occurred afterward regarding the actions of the defendant Casey Anthony established by the state of Florida in the presentation of their case."
According to records attached to the amended witness list, Thompson was sentenced in 1998 to 40 years in prison for kidnapping. He was required to serve eight years in prison and 30 years on probation. The Florida Department of Corrections website shows he was in and out of custody but was released in 2004.
It was unclear how Thompson might fit into the defense's strategy in the Anthony case.
Prosecutors rested their case earlier Wednesday, and Perry rejected a defense request for a judgment of acquittal, saying the jury must decide what to make of the evidence.
Casey Anthony's defense attorneys will begin presenting their case Thursday. The trial, held in Orlando, is in its fourth week.
The defense has said Caylee was not killed, but rather drowned in the family pool on June 16.FULL STORY
Washington (CNN) - The White House defended to Congress on Wednesday the legality, the costs and accomplishments of the U.S. military mission in Libya.
In a 32-page report titled "United States Activities in Libya," the administration says the cost of military and humanitarian operations through June 3 was slightly more than $700 million. It estimates the total cost through September 30 will be $1.1 billion.
The report was drawn up in response to a House resolution that accused President Barack Obama of failing to consult with Congress over the military effort in the North African country.
It denies the accusation by some members of Congress that Obama has violated the War Powers Resolution by intervening militarily for more than 60 days without seeking approval from Congress.
"Given the important U.S. interests served by U.S. military operations in Libya and the limited nature, scope and duration of the anticipated actions, the president had constitutional authority, as commander-in-chief and chief executive and pursuant to his foreign affairs powers, to address such limited military operations abroad," it says.
"The president is of the view that the current U.S. military operations in Libya are consistent with the War Powers Resolution and do not under that law require further congressional authorization, because U.S. military operations are distinct from the kind of 'hostilities' contemplated by the resolution's 60-day termination provision."
The report was accompanied by a two-page letter jointly signed by legislative affairs officials with the Departments of Defense and State and directed to Speaker John Boehner.
"Taken in response to direct appeals from the Libyan people, and acting with a mandate from the United Nations, the United States mobilized a broad coalition, stopped an advancing army, prevented a massacre, established a no-fly zone, and limited the spread of violence and instability in a region pivotal to U.S. security interests," it says.
In response, Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said, "The creative arguments made by the White House raise a number of questions that must be further explored. Regardless, the commander-in-chief has a responsibility to articulate how U.S. military action is vital to our national security and consistent with American policy goals. With Libya, the president has fallen short on this obligation. We will review the information that was provided today, but hope and expect that this will serve as the beginning, not the end, of the president's explanation for continued American operations in Libya."
The exchange of documents came after a bipartisan group of House members filed a lawsuit Wednesday that challenges U.S. participation in the Libya military mission.FULL STORY
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“My Secret Service codename is now ‘Maverick’.”
“I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, I prefer Dos Equis.”
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) - Pakistan's intelligence agency has detained several people who gave information to the United States before it killed Osama bin Laden, officials in Pakistan said Wednesday.
The agency detained several people who cooperated with the CIA, a Pakistani official said; the official did not know the precise number. One rented a safe house to the CIA in Abbottabad, the Pakistani city where U.S. special forces killed bin Laden early May 2, a Pakistani source familiar with the arrests said Wednesday.
News of the arrests, first reported by The New York Times, is likely to further strain an already rocky relationship between the two countries.FULL STORY
Reporter's Note: Members of Congress are firing complaints at the White House. I’m still firing letters.
Dear Mr. President,
As you have no doubt noticed, some of the congressional crowd seems to be heating up over this business of our military being involved with the NATO attacks in Libya. They want to know all those pesky things like: How much is it costing? What are we hoping to accomplish? When will we be done? (Come to think of it, those are the same questions my family raises every time I start talking about a vacation.)
Related: House members sue Obama administration over Libya mission
You really can’t blame them. As you well know, this business of presidents taking us into war zones is somewhat sensitive, and with good reason. Your predecessor ruffled a lot of feathers on this front, and they haven’t exactly been smoothed down during your time in office. So when we put the lives of our citizens at risk, when we walk onto foreign ground with guns drawn, and when we spend untold fortunes, it would not seem unreasonable for members of Congress to want to be involved in the decisions - if not right at the first, then at least in reasonable course.
Then again, Washington has not often been about “reasonable,” and neither is war.
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