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Sunday, Feb 18th

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NYT: Rachel Brand, Number Three at Justice Department Stepping Down

Rachel Brand to step downAssociate Attorney General Rachel L. Brand is stepping down from the Justice Department after only nine months on the job, according to The New York Times.

Brand is currently in the third-highest ranking position at the Department of Justice, reporting directly to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. According to the report, she plans to move to the private sector after serving in politically-appointed positions at the DOJ for the past three presidential administrations.

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Report: White House Counsel Knew of Porter Abuse Claims for Full Year

WH knew of Porter chargesWhite House counsel Don McGahn was aware of domestic-violence allegations against staff secretary Rob Porter for a full year before the claims were made public this week, The Washington Post reports, citing two sources familiar with the matter.

McGahn allowed Porter to continue serving as an aide to President Trump despite the allegations, while Chief of Staff John Kelly actually gave Porter more responsibilities this past fall after learning of the abuse claims, according to the report.

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White House officials knew about Porter's abuse allegations and scrambled to protect him

Rob PorterSenior aides to President Donald Trump knew for months about allegations of domestic abuse levied against top White House staffer Rob Porter by his ex-wives, even as Porter's stock in the West Wing continued to rise, multiple sources told CNN on Wednesday.

Porter denied the allegations but resigned on Wednesday.
A scramble ensued inside the West Wing to defend him when the claims became public this week, the sources said. That effort continues even after his resignation.

George W. Bush: 'Clear evidence Russians meddled' in election

George W. Bush : Clear evidence of Russian interference in the electionFormer president George W. Bush appeared to take aim at President Trump on Thursday when he said at an economic summit that there was "pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled" in the 2016 U.S. election.

Bush did not directly name Trump during his talk in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. He appeared there as part of a conference by the Milken Institute, a think tank based in Santa Monica, Calif.

"Whether (Russia) affected the outcome is another question," Bush said. "It’s problematic that a foreign nation is involved in our election system. Our democracy is only as good as people trust the results."

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Russia successfully penetrated voter rolls in some states: report

Russia successfully penetraed state voting rolls

A U.S. cybersecurity official said Wednesday that Russia "successfully penetrated" the voter rolls in a small number of states in 2016, NBC News reported.

Jeanette Manfra, the head of cybersecurity at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), told the news outlet that Russia targeted 21 states and “an exceptionally small number of them were actually successfully penetrated.”

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White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigns amid abuse allegations

Rob Port resigns amid allegations of wife abuse

White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned today after his two ex-wives came forward with abuse allegations.

What we're hearing: Nobody pressured him to resign, per multiple officials. A White House official said senior officials were trying to convince Porter “to stay and fight.” Those officials included Chief of Staff John Kelly.

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Democrat Flips Deep-Red House Seat in Missouri

Democrat Mike Revis flips red seat to blue in Missouri

Democratic candidate Mike Revis on Tuesday flipped what had been a deep-red State House seat in Missouri by a 108-vote margin over his Republican opponent.

Revis defeated GOP candidate David C. Linton in the special election to replace Rep. John McCaherty, who left the office to focus on his run for Jefferson County executive.

President Trump won the heavily Republican district by a 61-33 margin in the 2016 election. There were three other special elections in the state on Tuesday night, all of which the Republican party defended. However, there were major net swings towards Democrats.

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