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Ex-Trump top aide Manafort pleads not guilty, faces September trial

Manafort pleads guiltySpecial Counsel Robert Mueller, who is running the Russia probe, is dialing up the legal pressure on Manafort, who has opted not to cooperate with investigators.

Manafort’s former business partner Rick Gates, another Trump ex-campaign official, decided last week to cooperate with the investigation.

Manafort is facing two separate indictments on an array of charges, including conspiracy to launder money, filing false tax returns, bank fraud, and failing to register as a foreign agent despite lobbying in the United States for the pro-Kremlin Ukrainian government of former President Viktor Yanukovych.


Democrats Flip Two Seats in Connecticut and New Hampshire, Bringing Trump-Era Total to 39

Dems flip two more seats; total is 39

Two Democrats won state legislative contests on Tuesday night, flipping the seats from Republican hands and marking the 38th and 39th legislative flips since President Trump's inauguration. Democrats have now also flipped six this year alone.

Democrat Phil Spagnuolo won a special election in New Hampshire's Belknap County District 3 on Tuesday night 968-841 (54%-46%).


Pence: Abortion will end in U.S. 'in our time'

Mike Pence: Abortion wlil end in our time

Vice President Pence predicted Tuesday that legal abortion would end in the U.S. "in our time."

"I know in my heart of hearts this will be the generation that restores life in America," Pence said at a luncheon in Nashville, Tenn., hosted by the Susan B. Anthony List & Life Institute, an anti-abortion organization.

"If all of us do all we can, we can once again, in our time, restore the sanctity of life to the center of American law."


Jared/Ivanka spokesman, Joshua Raffel, leaving the White House

Joshua Raffel (r) leaves White House

Senior communications official Josh Raffel is leaving the White House, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Raffel, a former Hollywood PR executive, was originally brought in early last year to run communications for the Office of American Innovation, but quickly became the point man internally for Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Even though Raffel was a Democrat and Hillary Clinton supporter, White House staff (including some Trump originals) told me they were surprised how quickly they grew to like and trust him.

One White House official told me that when there’s a crisis “we call Josh.” The official said he didn’t envy Raffel because “he is always handling the worst stories.”




Kushner loses access to top-secret intelligence

Jared Kushner loses accesss to top clearance

Presidential son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has had his security clearance downgraded — a move that will prevent him from viewing many of the sensitive documents to which he once had unfettered access.

Kushner is not alone. All White House aides working on the highest-level interim clearances — at the Top Secret/SCI-level — were informed in a memo sent Friday that their clearances would be downgraded to the Secret level, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.


Lawsuit: HUD Official ‘Demoted’ for Restricting Ben Carson’s Expensive Office Makeover

Ben CarsonA senior career official in the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has alleged that she was demoted and replaced with a Donald Trump appointee after refusing to break the law by funding an expensive redecoration of Ben Carson’s office.

Helen Foster said she was told “$5,000 will not even buy a decent chair” after informing her bosses this was the legal price limit for improvements to the HUD secretary’s suite at the department’s Washington headquarters.

Foster, 47, claimed that she also faced retaliation for exposing a $10m budget shortfall, and for protesting when she was barred from handling a pair of sensitive freedom of information act (FOIA) requests relating to Trump apparently because she was perceived to be a Democrat.


Hope Hicks appears before House panel in Russia probe

Hope Hicks appears before House Intel CommitteePresident Donald Trump's longtime aide Hope Hicks was meeting with the House intelligence committee Tuesday for a closed-door interview as part of the panel's Russia investigation.

Hicks arrived shortly after 10 a.m. through a rear entrance to the committee's interview space and did not answer shouted questions from reporters.

The panel is investigating contacts between Trump's campaign and Russia, as is special counsel Robert Mueller. Hicks has also been interviewed by Mueller.


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