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Trump's choice for commerce secretary leaves Russia questions unanswered

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WASHINGTON -- Wilbur Ross is likely to be confirmed as President Donald Trump's secretary of commerce Monday despite unanswered questions about his ownership of a Cyprus bank that caters to wealthy Russians.

Ross, a business turnaround specialist, has not responded to a Feb. 16 letter from six Democratic senators asking him to explain his ...Read more

Guess who is not coming to dinner? Donald Trump

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The annual White House Correspondents dinner will be missing a key guest this year: President Donald Trump.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted he will not be attending the April 29 dinner, considered the premier social event of the Washington press corps--and typically an evening of good-natured bantering between presidents and reporters.

His ...Read more

Doubts hit congressional investigations of Russia's election meddling

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WASHINGTON -- Congressional Democrats are questioning whether recent comments from leading Republicans, made at the request of the White House, have compromised Senate and House investigations into possible Russian influence on the recent election.

The comments were from the chairmen of the Senate and House intelligence committees, which are ...Read more

Democrats select former Labor secretary Tom Perez to lead the DNC

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WASHINGTON--The Democratic Party put its faith in its old guard Saturday to guide it out of the political wilderness, choosing as the new leader of the Democratic National Committee an Obama-era Cabinet secretary over the charismatic congressman backed by the progressive wing of the party.

Tom Perez, a former secretary of Labor with strong ties...Read more

Out of power in Washington and most states, Democrats struggle to preserve Medicaid funds

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WASHINGTON -- Democratic governors came to Washington Saturday in an unusually weakened position.

There are only 16 of them. They don't control Congress or the White House. And they are eager to preserve the expansion of Medicaid, the health care program for lower income people.

Some are turning to a public relations strategy. Some, such as ...Read more

Democrats elect Tom Perez, former labor secretary, as chairman

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ATLANTA -- By a razor-thin margin, Tom Perez was elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee Saturday, putting a veteran of the Obama administration in charge of rebuilding a party devastated by the results of the 2016 elections.

The new Democratic leader immediately promised to make President Donald Trump a one-term president, ...Read more

Suspect in California killing of 3 is arrested in Mississippi

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GULFPORT, Miss. –– A man suspected of killing a woman and her two grandsons in a Sacramento, Calif., housing project last year was arrested in Biloxi, Miss., on panhandling charges before police linked him to the Sacramento crimes.

Jerod Michael Watson of Sacramento, was taken into custody about 3 p.m. Friday, Biloxi Police Chief John ...Read more

Tom Perez, former labor secretary, elected to lead Democratic Party

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ATLANTA--Democratic leaders picked a political veteran with ties to the party's establishment as a new face of the resistance to Donald Trump at a party meeting Saturday in Atlanta.

Perez becomes the first Latino chairman of the party, just as the Trump administration begins to implement the Republican president's promise to build a wall on the...Read more

Protests in South Africa against foreigners get out of hand

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JOHANNESBURG -- South African authorities are under fire for allowing an anti-immigrant "march of hatred" in Pretoria Friday, soon after a series of violent attacks against Somalis, Nigerians and other foreigners.

The results were predictable: Police arrested 136 people, many of them protesters and looters armed with clubs, sticks, pipes and ...Read more

Jared Kushner, who owns federally subsidized apartments, to distance himself from policy discussions

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BALTIMORE -- Jared Kushner, son-in-law and adviser to President Donald Trump, will recuse himself from any policy discussion related to federal rental assistance for low-income tenants because his real estate company's Baltimore-area properties receive money from the U.S. housing department's voucher program, the White House said.

Three ...Read more

GOP Rep. Darrell Issa tells Bill Maher a special prosecutor should investigate Russian election interference

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Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said Friday night that a special prosecutor should be tapped to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, a stance that mirrors the calls of congressional Democrats to sideline the U.S attorney general from such inquiries.

Appearing on HBO's "Real Time With Bill Maher," Issa was prodded by Maher, the ...Read more

Supreme Court to hear challenge to social media ban for sex offenders

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WASHINGTON -- Police arrested Durham, N.C. resident and convicted sex offender Lester G. Packingham, Jr. after he posted a message praising God on Facebook.

On Monday, the Supreme Court will weigh Packingham's challenge to a North Carolina law that bans registered sex offenders from visiting online social networking sites that could be ...Read more

Decades later, Nevada tries for a do-over to ratify Equal Rights Amendment

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LAS VEGAS -- Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman knew her resolution was 35 years late. But that wasn't the point.

The resolution called on Nevada to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, which came close to becoming part of the U.S. Constitution, but never did because fewer than three-quarters of the states ratified it by the 1982 deadline set by ...Read more

Researchers use publicly available information to try to establish what happened in Aleppo

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WASHINGTON -- A report released this past week on the Syrian and Russian offensive that recaptured the city of Aleppo from rebel occupiers could prove to be a test of whether open-source satellite imagery and other publicly available technology can be used to press war crimes charges against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The ...Read more

Wisconsin attorney general appeals redistricting case

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MADISON, Wis. -- Wisconsin Attorney General Brad Schimel asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday to reinstate election maps that a panel of three federal judges found unconstitutional.

Last year, the panel ruled 2-1 that maps of state Assembly districts were so pro-Republican that they violated the voting rights of Democrats. The judges ordered ...Read more

Federal appeals court could reinstate Wisconsin's early voting limits

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CHICAGO – Three federal judges expressed skepticism Friday toward claims that Wisconsin Republicans deliberately made it harder for minorities to vote, raising the prospect they would reinstate limits on early voting.

Judge Frank Easterbrook of the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals said those challenging Wisconsin's voting laws were ...Read more

San Jose flood: Hundreds return home as questions swirl about surprise flood

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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Hundreds more residents were cleared to return to their homes Friday, and city officials said they don't believe any houses were damaged beyond repair after Coyote Creek overspilled its banks Tuesday in San Jose's worst flooding in decades.

City officials also confirmed no structural failure caused the sudden catastrophic ...Read more

California governor to ask for $437 million in flood and emergency relief

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Warning that it will only amount to a small down payment on a large and costly problem, California Gov. Jerry Brown unveiled a $437-million request Friday to speed up flood control efforts in Northern California and boost the readiness of the state's emergency operations.

"These liabilities are a serious cloud, and we have...Read more

Report: Some Latinos fear for their future under Trump administration

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While Latinos are divided about their future in the United States under President Donald Trump, many believe social and political conditions for Latinos will worsen, particularly with mass deportations on the horizon, according to a new survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.

The survey, released Thursday, was administered to 1,000 Latino ...Read more

Nation and world news briefs

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Man who destroyed Trump's Walk of Fame star returns brass pieces to police

LOS ANGELES -- The man who smashed President Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star with a sledgehammer and pickax last year won't be auctioning off the brass pieces as he had hoped. Instead, he's returned the metal bits to police, his attorney said.

After ...Read more