Politics & Government

Politics, elections, law, military and veteran's affairs

Updated at 5:07 p.m. ET

The top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee is demanding an explanation of President Trump's decision this week to revoke the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan

In a letter to White House chief of staff John Kelly, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., asked for a detailed briefing on the decision and suggested Trump may have failed to follow proper procedures.

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The Colorado baker who won a Supreme Court case over his refusal to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple is suing state officials, alleging religious discrimination over his refusal to make a cake celebrating a gender transition.

Attorneys for Jack Phillips, who owns Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colo., said Wednesday that the state is "continuing to single out Jack for punishment and to exhibit hostility toward his religious beliefs."

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President Trump revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan yesterday. And the White House says he's also reviewing the security clearances of nine other intelligence officials. Most of them are former officials.

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It's hard to imagine politics without dirt being dug up on candidates on both sides. That's what political tracking — the practice of following candidates and constantly filming their public statements — is all about. It has been a common practice in big races, but now candidates for local office are also finding themselves under surveillance; political figures at all levels are struggling to adapt.

In upstate NY, a cell phone video goes viral

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Well, it is back to school season. Millions of teachers across this country are getting their lesson plans together. They're decorating their bulletin boards. Others, though, are busy elsewhere, like on the campaign trail.

North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is one of the most vulnerable Democrats running for re-election in this year's midterm elections. Her future may depend on how closely she can align herself with President Trump without angering members of her own party.

Heitkamp must walk that fine line because she's campaigning in a state that went for Trump by more than 35 points in 2016. That pressure was on display this week after she became one of the first Democrats to meet privately with Judge Brett Kavanaugh, Trump's pick to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

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Several candidates took steps toward making history in yesterday's primaries. In Vermont, Christine Hallquist became the first openly transgender person to win a major party's nomination for governor.

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Today President Trump took aim at one of his harshest critics. He revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. Here is White House press secretary Sarah Sanders reading from the president's statement.

Updated at 5:54 p.m. ET

President Trump has revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, who has become an outspoken critic of the president.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders announced the move on Wednesday following an earlier discussion about pulling the clearance held by Brennan and a group of other targets.

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There are a bunch of historical anniversaries in August. The Watts riots happened 53 years ago. Woodstock was 49 years ago today in fact. And then there's the 46th anniversary of Wattstax.

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The White House was forced to backtrack this week, after wildly misstating the level of job gains by African-Americans under President Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama.

The false claim came during Tuesday's press briefing, which was dominated by questions about Omarosa Manigault Newman. In her new tell-all book and on an accompanying publicity tour, the former reality TV star and presidential assistant has accused Trump of being a racist.

Updated at 1:23 p.m. ET

At Tuesday's White House briefing, press secretary Sarah Sanders misleadingly asserted that the Trump administration's use of nondisclosure agreements both during and after government employment was very common.

"Despite contrary opinion, it's actually very normal. And every administration prior to the Trump administration has had NDAs, particularly specific for anyone that had a security clearance." said Sanders.

Tuesday's elections in four states — Wisconsin, Minnesota, Connecticut and Vermont — produced some noteworthy results.

Here are four takeaways:

1. It was a big night for Democratic diversity

Christine Hallquist, a former energy company executive, became the first openly transgender person to win a major party's nomination for governor. And the Democrat's candidacy may not be one just for the trivia books — she has a chance at winning this fall.

Updated at 7:59 p.m. ET

Jurors are set to begin deliberations in the trial of Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort after prosecutors and defense attorneys delivered their closing arguments on Wednesday.

Prosecutors worked to paint Manafort, who faces 18 tax and bank fraud charges, as a man engulfed in a sea of financial lies.

Defense attorneys countered that the government has failed to make a case beyond a reasonable doubt that he broke the law.

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Morning News Brief

Aug 15, 2018

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It was another primary day yesterday. And in Vermont, voters made history.

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Updated at 12:30 a.m. ET

Vermont voters made history on Tuesday as Christine Hallquist, a transgender woman, won the Democratic primary for governor.

Hallquist, who will now face Vermont Republican Gov. Phil Scott in the general election, becomes the first openly transgender person to ever win a major party's nomination for governor in U.S. history. If she wins in November, she'd be the nation's first transgender governor.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a staunch ally of President Trump, has won the state's razor-thin Republican primary for governor after incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer conceded on Tuesday night.

"This election is probably the closest in America, but the numbers are just not there unless we were to go to extraordinary measures," Colyer said.

Rep. Keith Ellison easily won the Democratic primary for Minnesota attorney general, the Associated Press projected, just hours after the Democratic National Committee said it is reviewing allegations of domestic abuse against Minnesota congressman, who also serves as the party's deputy chair.

In its first statement on the allegations against Ellison, the DNC tells NPR:

"These allegations recently came to light and we are reviewing them. All allegations of domestic abuse are disturbing and should be taken seriously."

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