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Tuesday, Feb 19th

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Trump's UN ambassador pick, Heather Nauert, withdraws nomination

Heather Nauert turns down US role

The state department says Donald Trump’s nominee for US ambassador to the United Nation, Heather Nauert, has withdrawn.

The department released a statement on Saturday evening Washington time saying Nauert had withdrawn and another nominee would be announced “soon”.

Nauert said she was grateful to Trump and the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, for “the trust they have placed in me for considering me for the position of US ambassador”.

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New Jersey Attorney General Subpoenas Trump Inaugural Fund

NJ subpoenas Trump Inauguration FundNew Jersey’s attorney general issued an “administrative subpoena” to Trump's inauguration fund for “financial records” that relate to any fundraising done in the state, The New York Times reports.

The New Jersey subpoena, issued last week by the state’s consumer protection office, reportedly demands records pertaining to contributions from foreigners, audits, vendor contracts, and the fund's tax status.

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Sept. 11 victims fund to slash payments by at least 50%

9/11 victims fund to slash payments After a surge in claims over the past year, the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is reducing payments by at least 50 percent, an official with the organization said.

The fund's special master, Rupa Bhattacharyya, said Friday the reductions will be applied to all claims still pending, regardless of when they're filed. Those already filed will be reduced by 50 percent and those filed going forward will face a 70 percent reduction.

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Vatican defrocks ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick after finding him guilty of sexual crimes

Ex Cardinal expelled from Church

Former U.S. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has been defrocked by Pope Francis after Vatican officials found him guilty of sexual crimes against minors and adults, the Vatican said Saturday.

McCarrick was a powerful fundraiser in the church. He is the highest-ranking clergy to be laicized by the clerical state. The action strips McCarrick, 88, of priestly connections and bars him from celebrating Mass.

Hundreds of priests have been defrocked for sexual abuse, but laicizing someone of McCarrick's rank is an “almost revolutionary,” move for the church, Kurt Martens, a Catholic University of America canon law professor, told The New York Times.

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Cummings says new evidence shows Trump attorneys may have misled ethics officials

New evidence Trump lawyers liedWeeks before Michael Cohen reports to federal prison on charges related to hush-money payments he's admitted to making as President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, a top Democrat in Congress says he’s uncovered new information that suggests other Trump lawyers misled ethics officials on the matter.

In separate letters Friday to the White House counsel and the Trump Organization, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, renewed his demand for Cohen-related documents as part of his investigation into payments made to Cohen to help silence women alleging they had extramarital affairs with Trump.

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Mueller: Manafort deserves 19.5 to 24.5 years in prison for Virginia convictions

Manafort deserves 19 to 24 year sentence: Mueller

Robert Mueller’s office recommended on Friday that Paul Manafort get up to 24-and-a-half years in prison for his conviction last summer for financial malfeasance.

The special counsel’s suggestion is the opening move in what will be a two-step sentencing process for the 69-year-old former Trump campaign chairman, who appears to be on track to spend the rest of his life in prison absent a presidential pardon.

A jury in Northern Virginia convicted Manafort after a three-week trial in August on eight felony counts, including filing false tax documents, failing to register foreign bank accounts and bank fraud. A month later, on the eve of another trial in Washington, D.C., Manafort pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in exchange for the special counsel dropping foreign-lobbying and money-laundering charges.

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Police: Shooter dead after killing 5 civilians, wounding 5 Aurora cops

Five dead in Aurora shootingThe suspect in a mass shooting in Aurora that killed five people and wounded five police officers and multiple civilians in an industrial area near Prairie and Highland avenues is dead, authorities said.

Police Chief Kristen Ziman identified the shooter as Gary Martin, 45, of Aurora. She said police believe he was an employee of a 29,000-square-foot manufacturing warehouse at 641 Archer.

Sources with knowledge of the case said the suspect began firing during an afternoon meeting in which he was being terminated.

Ziman said police responded to multiple calls about an active shooter at 1:24 p.m. and arrived four minutes later and were immediately fired upon.

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Aurora police responding to reports of active shooter

Henry Platt shootingAn active shooting situation has been reported at the Henry Pratt Company in southwest suburban Aurora in Kane County.

Officials have asked that residents on the west side of Aurora to remain sheltered until the search for the shooter has ended.

The Henry Pratt company is located in the 400 block of South Highland Avenue. The shooting was confirmed by the Kane County Sheriff.

Note: This is breaking news.  Check for updates.  As of 3:35 pm, ET, unconfirmed reports claim that one police officer is down.

4:05 pm: Aurora police say that they have aprehended a suspect.

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U.S. judge issues gag order in trial of former Trump adviser Roger Stone

Roger Stone given gag order A federal judge has issued a gag order in the criminal case of Roger Stone, a longtime confidant of Donald Trump.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Friday ordered both sides to refrain from making statements to the media or the public that could prejudice the case.

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