The nation in brief: Tennessee decertifies four ex-lawmen

FILE - Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., leaves an intelligence briefing on the unknown aerial objects the U.S. military shot down this weekend at the Capitol in Washington, Feb. 14, 2023. Fetterman's office expects him to return soon to the chamber, although Democratic leaders are giving no timeline five weeks after he sought inpatient treatment for clinical depression. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Tennessee decertifies four ex-lawmen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Four of five former Memphis police officers charged with murder in the beating death of Tyre Nichols cannot work as law enforcement officers again in Tennessee, a state panel decided Friday.

The Peace Officer Standards & Training Commission voted to decertify Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin and Justin Smith, and it approved Desmond Mills' decision to surrender his certification.

The former officers have 30 days to appeal.

The Memphis Police Department has requested the decertification of a total of seven former officers, including one who retired before he could be fired.

Mills' attorney said his client has been wrongly indicted and is "focusing on his freedom." "It's a waste of time," attorney Blake Ballin said. "It is meaningless to him at this stage in his life."

Neither the fired officers nor their attorneys showed up for a hearing in front of the panel Thursday, nor were they present for Friday's vote.

Five of the seven fired officers have been charged with second-degree murder in Nichols' death Jan. 10 after a traffic stop on Jan. 7. They have pleaded innocent.

The fifth former officer charged, Tadarrius Bean, has not yet had his decertification hearing, nor have two former officers who were not charged.

Investing-bill veto survives override try

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. House has failed to override President Joe Biden's first veto -- of a Republican-led bill that would have banned the consideration of environmental, social and governance issues in retirement and other investment decisions.

Republicans failed to mount the necessary two-thirds vote needed in the House to override the president's veto of the investment bill Thursday. The override failed on a 219-200 vote, mostly along party lines.

The standoff was a first test of the strength of the new Republican majority in the House as it confronts the Democratic president.

House Republicans had succeeded in passing the legislation through Congress last month, part of their agenda to undo what they call woke government policies.

The legislation was pushback against the idea of investing that takes into account a company's environmental, social and governance record, including on issues such as climate change.

Including such factors in financial planning has gained in popularity as Americans seek different options for where they park their retirement savings and other investments.

Senator admonished for campaign plea

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Ethics Committee has admonished Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., for soliciting campaign contributions while in a federal building after a 2022 Fox News interview in which he asked viewers to donate to a GOP candidate.

Graham violated Senate rules and standards of conduct because he was in a Senate office building when he did the interview, the leaders of the ethics panel said in a rare public letter released Thursday.

"The public must feel confident that Members use public resources only for official actions in the best interests of the United States, not for partisan political activity," wrote Senate Ethics Committee Chairman Chris Coons, D-Del., and Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, the panel's Republican vice chairman.

"Your actions failed to uphold that standard, resulting in harm to the public trust and confidence in the United States Senate. You are hereby admonished," they added.

Coons and Lankford wrote that Graham solicited campaign contributions for Georgia Senate candidate Herschel Walker's campaign committee five separate times during the Nov. 30 interview on Fox. They noted that Graham reported himself to the committee after the interview was over.

In a statement, Graham said: "It was a mistake. I take responsibility. I will try to do better in the future."

Coons and Lankford noted that this was the senator's second violation, after he similarly solicited campaign contributions for his own campaign during a hallway interview in 2020.

Fetterman back on job soon, office says

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The office of Sen. John Fetterman, D-Pa., said he is expected to return to the chamber soon, although Democratic leaders are giving no timeline five weeks after he sought inpatient treatment for clinical depression.

Asked about when Fetterman might return, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said only that Fetterman is recuperating.

"We want to give him the space to recuperate," Schumer said. "He needs it, it's fair, it's right. There are other people in the Senate who have taken their time to recuperate, but I'm confident he's going to come back and be an outstanding and fine senator."

A spokesperson said Fetterman is getting better and that his recovery is going well.

"He'll be back soon -- at least over a week, but soon," spokesperson Joe Calvello said Thursday.