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Mueller probing Russia contacts at Republican convention: sources

Mueller probing Russia contacts at Republican convention: sourcesInvestigators probing whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia have been questioning witnesses about events at the 2016 Republican National Convention, according to two sources familiar with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiries.

Mueller’s team has been asking about a convention-related event attended by both Russia’s U.S. ambassador and Jeff Sessions, the first U.S. senator to support Trump and now his attorney general, said one source, who requested anonymity due to the ongoing investigation.


Scott Walker Lashes Out After Losing Bid to Prevent Special Elections

Scott Walker loses bid to stop special election

Wisconsin’s Republican Gov. Scott Walker on Thursday finally called for two special elections to fill vacancies in the state’s Senate and Assembly, after declining to do so when they opened in December. And then he got extremely mad online.

The two seats were previously held by Republicans but have been left empty after they joined Walker’s administration. Republican efforts to halt the elections were stymied Wednesday when the Wisconsin Court of Appeals issued a stern ruling calling for the elections to take place.

Walker had previously contended that the elections would be a waste of taxpayer money as there would be elections in November anyway and the Assembly is adjourned for the year.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions says he won't appoint a second special counsel

Attorney Gen. Sessions will not appoint a second counselAttorney General Jeff Sessions will not appoint a second special counsel to review a host of politically charged grievances against the Justice Department and the FBI leveled by Republican lawmakers.

While acknowledging that the Justice Department is "not above criticism," Sessions said in a letter Thursday to three Republican committee chairmen that such an appointment was not necessary.

The attorney general, however, did acknowledge that he had directed Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber to continue an internal review into whether a second counsel may be needed at some point in the future.


Mets hitter Rusty Staub, known after career for work for police and firefighters, dies at 73

Rusty Staub dead at 73Rusty Staub, the orange-haired outfielder who became a huge hit with baseball fans in two countries during an All-Star career that spanned 23 major league seasons, died Thursday. He was 73.

He died after an illness in a hospital in West Palm Beach, Florida -- hours before the start of the baseball season -- the team said in a statement. The Mets learned of the death from friends of Staub who were with him at the time, a team spokesman added.


Relatives await bodies after fire kills 68 at Venezuela jail

Venezuela jail fire kills 68Tormented relatives of 68 people killed in a fire at a Venezuelan police station jail waited Thursday for officials to turn over the remains of their loved ones and demanded accountability from officials.

"I want justice for my son," said Rocky Varlea, 53, whose 27-year-old son was killed in the blaze, his voice shaking. "Those who did this should pay."

The fast-moving fire on Wednesday swept through a station where prisoners were being kept in crowded cells, becoming one of the worst jail catastrophes in Venezuela's history. Human rights advocates quickly blamed authorities for failing to address deteriorating conditions in jails and prisons as the country slides further into economic ruin.


Trump To Replace VA Secretary David Shulkin

David Shulkin out at VA

President Trump intends to replace VA Secretary David Shulkin with the White House physician, Navy Adm. Ronny L. Jackson, the president announced on Twitter Wednesday.

"I am thankful for Dr. David Shulkin's service to our country and to our GREAT VETERANS!," Trump also said online.

"I appreciate the work of Dr. David Shulkin and the many great things we did together at Veterans Affairs, including the VA Accountability Act that he was helpful in getting passed," the president said in an additional statement released by the White House. "He has been a great supporter of veterans across the country and I am grateful for his service."


Pardon Talk Could Put Trump Lawyer in Hot Water

John DowdIf John Dowd discussed the possibility of a presidential pardon with lawyers for Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort while Dowd was serving as Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, it’s a big deal -- definitely for Dowd, and conceivably for Trump.

The president has the inherent power to pardon anyone he wants. But doing so with a corrupt reason -- such as saving the president’s skin -- would be obstruction of justice.

Supposing that Dowd acted after conversations with Trump, the chain of obstruction would lead back to the president. And even if Dowd acted on his own initiative, he himself could be guilty of obstruction of justice.


Protests resume, feds join Sacramento police killing probe

Protests resume in SeattleThe California attorney general’s office on Tuesday joined an investigation into the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man in Sacramento, a move the police chief said he hopes will bring “faith and transparency” to a case that has sparked angry protests.

City officials and community leaders called for calm as they announced the attorney general’s involvement while Sacramento prepares for events memorializing 22-year-old Stephon Clark, where large crowds are expected.


Little-known lawyer to take larger role on Trump defense team

Andrew Ekonomou, 69, is one of a handful of lawyers assiAndrew Ekonomousting Jay Sekulow, the main attorney representing Trump in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

Sekulow told Reuters on Tuesday that after the departure of Washington attorney John Dowd from Trump’s personal legal team last week, Ekonomou will assume a more prominent role.

Ekonomou said he has been working with Sekulow on the Mueller probe since June.


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