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National Govt & Politics

    A second woman has accused Minnesota Sen. Al Franken of inappropriate touching, saying Monday that he put his hand on her bottom as they posed for a picture at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010 — after he had begun his career in the Senate.Lindsay Menz told CNN that the interaction made her feel 'gross.' She said she immediately told her husband that Franken had 'grabbed' her bottom, and she said she posted about it on Facebook.Menz's allegation comes days after a Los Angeles broadcaster, Leeann Tweeden, accused Franken of forcibly kissing her during a 2006 USO tour. Franken already faced a Senate ethics investigation over Tweeden's allegation, but the Menz allegation is potentially more damaging for Franken because it would be behavior that occurred while he was in office.Franken, a Democrat, told CNN he didn't remember taking the photo with Menz, but said in a statement to the network that he feels badly that she felt disrespected.'I take thousands of photos at the state fair surrounded by hundreds of people, and I certainly don't remember taking this picture,' Franken told CNN. 'I feel badly that Ms. Menz came away from our interaction feeling disrespected.'Franken's office did not immediately respond to Associated Press messages seeking comment.Menz, 33, who now lives in Frisco, Texas, said her father's business was sponsoring a radio booth at the Minnesota fair and that she took photos with several elected officials and political candidates as they stopped at the booth.She said as she posed with Franken, he 'pulled me in really close, like awkward close, and as my husband took the picture, he put his hand full-fledged on my rear,' Menz said. 'It was wrapped tightly around my butt cheek.'Menz said she told her husband, Jeremy Menz, and father Mark Brown about it right away. Both men affirmed that to CNN. Menz also said she posted the photo with Franken on Facebook on Aug. 27, and when her sister commented on the photo, she replied: 'Dude -- Al Franken TOTALLY molested me! Creeper!'The AP was not able to immediately view her account to verify the post.Franken, 66, is the latest public figure to be caught in the deluge of revelations of sexual harassment and misconduct that have crushed careers, ruined reputations and prompted criminal investigations in Hollywood, business and beyond.He has apologized to Tweeden, and she has accepted the apology, but a handful of Democrats have called for him to resign. Republicans, still forced to answer for the multiple allegations facing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, joined in pressing for an expected investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee. Franken said he would welcome it.Franken canceled a sold-out book festival appearance scheduled for Monday in Atlanta to speak and promote his book, 'Al Franken, Giant of the Senate.' He hasn't appeared in public since Tweeden's allegation.
  • New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie may be deeply unpopular in his state, but in his home county he's getting a road named after him.Christie on Monday will be on hand when a new access road to Central Park of Morris County is christened Governor Chris Christie Way.The Republican lives in nearby Mendham Township and served in the county government in the mid-1990s. He's the first governor to hail from the county since the 1800s.Christie easily won re-election in 2013 and was viewed as a top 2016 presidential contender. But his approval rating has plummeted in the wake of the George Washington Bridge lane closure scandal and his failed presidential bid.He leaves office in January, when Democratic Gov.-elect Phil Murphy takes over.
  • For all the lingering tensions between President Donald Trump and former President George W. Bush, Trump's White House shares one thing in common with his Republican predecessor's: People.Trump has installed more than three dozen veterans of the Bush administration, putting them in charge of running agencies, implementing foreign policy and overseeing his schedule. While hiring from the last administration controlled by the same party is common, Trump's staffing moves are notable given his pledges to change politics-as-usual and the frosty relations between the current and former Republican standard-bearers.The Bush influence has only grown stronger recently, as Trump nominated Alex Azar to lead the Health and Human Services Department, where he served under the Bush administration, and tapped Jerome 'Jay' Powell to be chairman of the Federal Reserve. Powell served in the Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush.While the White House says this is standard practice, some Trump allies say the hires don't fit with the president's non-traditional style.'If Donald Trump's presidency fails it will be because he has perhaps inadvertently surrounded himself with' Bush associates, said longtime Trump associate Roger Stone.The Bush alums in the administration include Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who served as Bush's labor secretary, and Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser who oversaw presidential personnel and later served in Bush's State Department as an assistant secretary under Condoleezza Rice. Even the president's schedule and day-to-day operations are overseen by a former member of Bush's inner circle: Joe Hagin, who served as deputy White House chief of staff.Of course, hiring staffers from a past administration brings needed experience.'These are complex jobs and the time is limited,' said Mike Leavitt, a former Utah governor and Health and Human Services secretary under Bush. He pointed to the importance of understanding the complexities of federal regulations, the budget and congressional relations. 'If everyone has to learn it anew the chances of implementing an agenda are substantially reduced and the quality of government isn't as good.'Still, the commingling follows a campaign in which Trump repeatedly dismissed Bush's handling of the Iraq war and his administration's focus on nation-building overseas and branded his brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, as 'low-energy Jeb' during the Republican primaries.In a pointed speech last month, George W. Bush — without mentioning Trump by name — denounced bigotry coursing through present-day American politics, warning that 'we've seen nationalism distorted into nativism,' and the 'return of isolation sentiments, forgetting that American security is directly threatened by the chaos and despair of distant places.'Trump vented his frustration about Bush's speech to a former adviser, arguing that it represented another attack aimed at undermining his presidency, according to a person familiar with the conversation who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the private conversation.Traveling aboard Air Force One at the start of his recent trip to Asia, Trump was asked by reporters to respond to Mark K. Updegrove's new book, 'The Last Republicans,' in which the elder Bush calls Trump a 'blowhard' and George W. Bush wonders if he would be the last Republican president.'I'll comment after we come back. I don't need headlines. I don't want to make their move successful,' Trump said. The president has yet to comment on the recent Bush criticism.Of course, not all former Bush advisers are jumping into the current administration. Bush's former top adviser Karl Rove, for example, has been a vocal critic of Trump, and many former Bush foreign policy advisers denounced Trump's views during the campaign.Trump allies, like Stone, question if the hires are shifting Trump's policies away from his campaign pledges. He said there has been a softening of Trump's isolationist policies, noting his missile strike in Syria and agreement to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan. Stone also questioned the plans to limit tax deductions for state and local taxes as part of a proposed tax overhaul approved Thursday by the House.'If you told me that a Republican president was going to get elected and his tax reform would have me paying more? That's George Bush. He said read my lips, no more new taxes,' Stone said of the 41st president. 'What genius came up with repealing state and local? That's just a tone deaf idea.'White House officials said it was only natural for Trump to cultivate former members of the Bush administration.'I have to imagine there is going to be overlap since he was the last Republican president,' said Marc Short, the White House's director of legislative affairs who worked in the Homeland Security Department during the Bush administration. Indeed, the list is long.Trump's labor secretary, Alex Acosta, was appointed by Bush to the National Labor Relations Board and later served in the Justice Department's civil rights division and as a top federal prosecutor in South Florida. Dan Coats, a former Indiana senator and U.S. ambassador to Germany under Bush, is Trump's director of national intelligence.When the president grappled with a series of debilitating hurricanes in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico this year, his most high-profile responders were from Bush's network, including Tom Bossert, the administration's homeland security adviser; Brock Long, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and Elaine Duke, who took over Homeland Security on an acting basis when Trump named John Kelly his chief of staff.Trump's nominee to head Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, worked for the agency during the Bush administration.'Republicans who have White House experience or broader administration experience, they either got it under Bush 43, or they're pretty old,' said Josh Bolten, White House chief of staff under Bush. 'So it's a natural place to look. It is the farm system.'__On Twitter follow Ken Thomas at @KThomasDC and Catherine Lucey at @Catherine_Lucey.
  • President Donald Trump says the NFL should suspend Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch.Lynch sat during most of the U.S. anthem and stood for the Mexican anthem before Sunday's game against the Patriots at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.Lynch hasn't stood for the national anthem since returning from retirement this season.Trump tweeted early Monday: 'Great disrespect! Next time NFL should suspend him for remainder of season. Attendance and ratings way down.'Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the movement last season when he refused to stand during the anthem to protest racial inequality and police brutality.
  • Anthony Scaramucci may be out at the White House, but the short-lived former communications director says his political career is not over.Scaramucci said in an interview that although he has not spoken to Trump in over a month, he talks to members of the president's inner circle 'regularly' and sees himself working for Trump in the future.'I have very good relationships there still, and you have to remember we were a team for 18 months, and so we all had different roles. And so I'm still playing my role frankly. I'm an advocate for the president, media surrogate when I need to be,' Scaramucci said.Scaramucci is in Israel this week as a guest of the Orthodox Jewish Chamber of Commerce, a U.S.-based group that works with professionals, politicians and community leaders to stimulate business opportunities and influence public policy.Scaramucci, a former Wall Street financier and successful entrepreneur, is not Jewish but said he has longstanding ties with members of the group from New York and is scouting out Israel's vibrant high-tech sector for possible future opportunities.While he said he is currently focused on his business dealings, he expects to return to politics by helping Trump on his re-election campaign. He said a formal role in the administration is unlikely.'At some point I'll probably be more involved from the outside, but more in a re-election capability than from inside the administration,' he said.Scaramucci, a member of Trump's campaign and transition teams, was appointed White House communications director in July. But he was fired after just 11 days on the job after he gave an expletive-laced interview to The New Yorker and made derogatory statements about several members of the Trump administration.In the interview, he complained about unauthorized leaks coming out of the White House. The primary targets of his angry interview, the chief of staff at the time, Reince Priebus, and then-chief strategist Steve Bannon, have since left the administration.Scaramucci, in a dark blue suit, blue tie and crisp white shirt, joked that he had expected his term at the White House to have a longer shelf-life than a 'carton of milk.'But he said he has no regrets and understands that is how politics works. He praised Chief of Staff John Kelly, who dismissed Scaramucci upon taking office, for restoring order to the White House and even claimed to have been successful during his brief stint by helping bring the issue of unauthorized leaks under control.'We identified quickly who many of the leakers were, and they're gone,' he said. 'You and I both know the leaks are down substantially. And that's a positive thing for the president.'Scaramucci, known as 'The Mooch,' remains a staunch defender of his former boss, including Trump's frequent use of Twitter to 'hop over' the mainstream media and reach the public. At times, Trump has come under fire for posting messages seen as inappropriate or offensive, including many that attack or belittle opponents.'By and large, I think he's used it very effectively,' Scaramucci said.'He has certainly put out some tweets that are very controversial. People around him probably don't love those tweets,' he acknowledged. 'But I think he always has a reason behind what he's tweeting. You can argue with him not to do it, but he's going to do it anyway. So what's the sense of that? Let him be himself.'Underneath the unconventional exterior, Trump is a 'very practical and hard-working guy,' Scaramucci said. He said that attitude would be evident when Trump presents an upcoming Mideast peace initiative.Trump's Mideast team, led by his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, has been meeting with Israel, the Palestinians and Arab leaders across the region for nearly a year. Officials say they expect to present a peace proposal, though the timing remains unknown.Scaramucci said Israelis should be 'super excited' because Trump has 'Israel's best interests in mind.'He also played down Palestinian fears that Trump is biased toward Israel. The U.S. peace team is led by Orthodox Jewish Americans with deep ties to Israel and West Bank settlements.Scaramucci urged the Palestinians to enter negotiations with an 'open mind' and give Trump a chance.'This is an American president that is a deal-making American president, incredibly practical,' he said. 'I think you'll find him to be a very balanced and fair guy.
  • The White House says the true cost of the opioid drug epidemic in 2015 was $504 billion, or roughly half a trillion dollars.In an analysis to be released Monday, the Council of Economic Advisers says the figure is more than six times larger than the most recent estimate. The council said a 2016 private study estimated that prescription opioid overdoes, abuse and dependence in the U.S. in 2013 cost $78.5 billion. Most of that was attributed to health care and criminal justice spending, along with lost productivity.The council said its estimate is significantly larger because the epidemic has worsened, with overdose deaths doubling in the past decade, and that some previous studies didn't reflect the number of fatalities blamed on opioids, a powerful but addictive category of painkillers.The council also noted that previous studies had focused exclusively on prescription opioids, while its study also factors in illicit opioids, including heroin.'Previous estimates of the economic cost of the opioid crisis greatly underestimate it by undervaluing the most important component of the loss — fatalities resulting from overdoses,' said the report, which the White House released Sunday night.Last month at the White House, President Donald Trump declared opioid abuse a national public health emergency. Trump announced an advertising campaign to combat what he said is the worst drug crisis in the nation's history, but he did not direct any new federal funding toward the effort.Trump's declaration stopped short of the emergency declaration that had been sought by a federal commission the president created to study the problem. An interim report by the commission argued for an emergency declaration, saying it would free additional money and resources.But in its final report earlier this month, the panel called only for more drug courts, more training for doctors and penalties for insurers that dodge covering addiction treatment. It did not call for new money to address the epidemic.More than 64,000 Americans died from drug overdoses last year, most involving a prescription painkiller or an illicit opioid like heroin.___Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
  • The White House says it's willing to strike a health-care provision from Senate legislation to cut taxes and overhaul the tax code if the provision becomes an impediment to passing one of President Donald Trump's top legislative priorities.The provision would repeal a requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance or pay a fine, but has emerged as a major sticking point for Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, whose vote the White House needs. Collins said Sunday that the issue should be dealt with separately.Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said the White House is open to scrapping the provision, which would repeal a key component of the Affordable Care Act health law enacted by President Barack Obama. Trump had pressed for the provision to be added to the bill, partly to show progress on the GOP goal of undoing the health care law following Congress' failed attempts to repeal it earlier this year.'I don't think anybody doubts where the White House is on repealing and replacing Obamacare. We absolutely want to do it,' Mulvaney said Sunday. 'If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill and have a tax bill that is still a good tax bill that can pass, that's great.'If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we're OK with taking it out,' Mulvaney added.Legislative director Marc Short said Sunday that the White House 'is very comfortable with the House bill,' which does not include the so-called individual mandate. But Short also said the White House views the mandate as a tax and 'we like the fact that the Senate has included it in its bill.'At issue is a provision to repeal the requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance or pay a fine. Eliminating the individual mandate would add an estimated $338 billion in revenue over 10 years that Senate tax-writers used for additional tax cuts.Collins said Sunday that the tax advantage that some middle-income consumers would reap under the tax bill could be wiped out by repealing the mandate. She said they would face higher insurance premiums coupled with the loss of federal subsidies to help them afford coverage.'The fact is that if you do pull this piece of the Affordable Care Act out, for some middle-income families, the increased premium is going to cancel out the tax cut that they would get,' Collins said.Collins said she hasn't decided how to vote on the bill because it will be amended before it reaches the Senate floor. But her vote is crucial in a chamber where Republicans hold a slim 52-48 advantage.Last week, Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin became the first Republican to declare opposition, saying the plan wouldn't cut business taxes enough for partnerships and corporations. GOP Sens. Bob Corker of Tennessee, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, and Rand Paul of Kentucky have also expressed concerns.Republicans can lose just two senators on the final vote, which would allow Vice President Mike Pence to cast a tie-breaking 51st vote in his capacity as president of the Senate. Democrats are not expected to support the bill, as was the case when the House passed its version last week.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the mandate amounts to 'an unfair tax on poor people.'The president thinks we should get rid of it. I think we should get rid of it,' he said, but added: 'We're going to work with the Senate as we go through this.'Mulvaney and Collins were interviewed on CNN's 'State of the Union.' Mnuchin spoke on 'Fox News Sunday.' Collins also appeared on ABC's 'This Week,' as did Short.___The news summary in this story has been revised to correct Mick Mulvaney's first name.___Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
  • A woman accusing Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore of initiating sexual contact when she was 14 said Monday she was 'absolutely not' paid to tell her story publicly.The declaration by Leigh Corfman comes after Moore's supporters claimed without evidence that reporters were offering thousands of dollars to women for accusations. The state election is being closely watched, as several GOP senators have called Moore to drop out, and President Donald Trump remains mostly quiet on the issue.'My bank account has not flourished,' Corfman told NBC's 'Today' show. 'If anything it's gone down because I'm not working.'Corfman said Moore's stature in Alabama — he was a noted attorney who went on to become a powerful judge — prevented her from coming forward years ago.Moore has denied allegations of sexual misconduct. Nevertheless, his victory in the Dec. 12 special election would saddle GOP senators with a colleague accused of abusing and harassing teenagers, a troubling liability heading into the 2018 congressional elections.Republicans hold a 52-48 edge in the Senate, and the narrow majority has already made it difficult for Republicans to push through its agenda. Moore's name cannot be removed from the ballot even if he withdraws from the race, though a write-in campaign remains possible.White House aides said Trump — who faced his own allegations of sexual misconduct and was caught on tape bragging about forcibly grabbing women without their consent — is uncomfortable with the allegations against Moore but thinks voters should decide his fate.Trump 'doesn't know who to believe. I think a lot of folks don't,' said Mick Mulvaney, Trump's budget director.Added White House legislative director Marc Short: 'At this point, we think he has been a public figure in Alabama for decades, and the people of Alabama will make the decision, not the president, not the leader of the Senate, not members in Congress.'In the NBC interview, Corfman described an encounter with Moore in which he pursued her while he was assistant district attorney in the 1970s. She says Moore took her to his house, where he spread out blankets on his living room, removed their clothing and touched her. She said she told him she wasn't comfortable, and he eventually agreed to take her home.'I was a 14-year-old child trying to play in an adult's world, and he was 32 years old,' Corfman said.She later added: 'It took years for me to regain a sense of confidence in myself, and I felt guilty. I felt like I was the one to blame. It was decades before I was able to let that go.'Corfman said immediately after the incident she confided in close friends, who urged her to keep her distance. She eventually told family members, including her children when they became teens. But Corfman said she decided against going public because she was afraid that her kids would be shunned in Alabama, where Moore rose in prominence as a local judge.'When you're in that situation, you do everything you can to protect your own,' she said.Corfman says she agreed to share details only after The Washington Post sought her out and gave her assurances she wasn't the only one accusing Moore of misconduct. Multiple women have accused Moore of pursuing them as teenagers, including one who has detailed a sexual assault encounter in a car.When asked if she was compensated in any way, Corfman said: 'Absolutely not. If anything, this has cost me. I have had to take leave from my job. I have no tickets to Tahiti. And my bank account has not flourished. If anything it's gone down, because currently I'm not working.'Moore, a former state Supreme Court justice twice removed from office, has denied the accusations and pledged to remain in the race. The special election will determine who fills the remainder of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' term, until January 2020.Before the allegations emerged, Trump had backed current GOP Sen. Luther Strange in the Sept. 26 primary to determine Sessions' successor and campaigned in the state, a Republican stronghold.After Moore's victory, Trump made clear he would back Moore as the anti-establishment candidate enthusiastically promoted by former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., are among the many national Republicans who have urged Moore to step aside. Sessions told Congress last week he has 'no reason to doubt' the women.Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., said 'it is in the best interest of the country, as well as the state of Alabama, from my perspective, for Roy Moore to find something else to do.' Scott said he thinks there was 'a strong possibility with a new candidate, a new Republican candidate, a proven conservative, that we can win that race.'Moore's candidacy has left GOP officials in a bind, especially after GOP Gov. Kay Ivey said she will not postpone the election and will vote for Moore. The Alabama Republican Party has also thrown its support behind Moore.McConnell has said Moore would almost certainly face a formal ethics complaint in the Senate if he were elected. Such an ethics complaint could lead to a Senate vote on expelling him.___Follow Hope Yen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/hopeyen1
  • An FBI report on the rise of black 'extremists' is stirring fears of a return to practices used during the civil rights movement, when the bureau spied on activist groups without evidence they had broken any laws.The FBI said it doesn't target specific groups, and the report is one of many its intelligence analysts produce to make law enforcement aware of what they see as emerging trends. A similar bulletin on white supremacists, for example, came out about the same time.The 12-page report, issued in August, says 'black identity extremists' are increasingly targeting law enforcement after police killings of black men, especially since the shooting of Michael Brown roiled Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014. The report describes cases in which 'extremists' had 'acted in retaliation for perceived past police brutality incidents.' It warned that such violence was likely to continue.Black leaders and activists were outraged after Foreign Policy revealed the existence of the report last month. The Congressional Black Caucus, in a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, said the report 'conflates black political activists with dangerous domestic terrorist organizations' and would further erode the frayed relationship between police and minority communities.'I have never met a black extremist. I don't know what the FBI is talking about,' said Chris Phillips, a filmmaker in Ferguson.Before the Trump administration, the report might not have caused such alarm. The FBI noted it issued a similar bulletin warning of retaliatory violence by 'black separatist extremists' in March 2016, when the country had a black president, Barack Obama, and black attorney general, Loretta Lynch.But black voters overwhelmingly opposed Donald Trump. And they are suspicious of his administration, which has been criticized as insensitive on racial issues, including when Trump was slow to condemn white nationalist protesters following a deadly rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a former Alabama senator whose career has been dogged by questions about race and his commitment to civil rights, did not ease lawmakers' concerns when he was unable to answer questions about the report or its origins during a congressional hearing this past week.Sessions said he was aware of 'groups that do have an extraordinary commitment to their racial identity, and some have transformed themselves even into violent activists.' He struggled to answer the same question about white extremists.It wouldn't be unusual for an attorney general not to have seen such an FBI assessment, which the FBI creates on its own to circulate internally among law enforcement agencies. But the exchange with Rep. Karen Bass, a Los Angeles Democrat, presented an uncomfortable moment.'What worries me about this terribly is that this is that it is a flashback to the past,' Bass said after the hearing. She said she was especially concerned after receiving complaints from members of Black Lives Matter, who said they were being monitored and harassed by police in her district.The group rallies after racially charged encounters with police, but it is not mentioned in the FBI's intelligence assessment. Even so, Bass said she worried the report will send a message to police that it's OK to crack down on groups critical of law enforcement.The FBI does not comment on its intelligence bulletins, which usually are not public. In a statement, the FBI said it cannot and will not open an investigation based solely on a person's race or exercise of free speech rights.'Our focus is not on membership in particular groups but on individuals who commit violence and other criminal acts,' the FBI said. 'Furthermore, the FBI does not and will not police ideology. When an individual takes violent action based on belief or ideology and breaks the law, the FBI will enforce the rule of law.'The assessments are designed to help law enforcement agencies stay ahead of emerging problems and should not be seen as a sign of a broader enforcement strategy, said Jeffrey Ringel, a former FBI agent and Joint Terrorism Task force member who now works for the Soufan Group, a private security firm. Agencies can decide for themselves whether the assessment reflects a real problem, he said.Still, some veterans of the black and Latino civil rights movement said the FBI assessment reminded them of the bureau's now-defunct COINTELPRO, a covert and often illegal operation under Director J. Edgar Hoover in the 1950s and 1960s. Agents were assigned at the time to 'expose, disrupt, misdirect, or otherwise neutralize the activities of black nationalists,' Hoover said in a once-classified memo to field agents.David Correia, an American Studies professor at the University of New Mexico, said the new memo carries a similar message.'It's part of their playbook,' he said. 'They try to characterize legitimate concerns about something like police violence as somehow a danger so they can disrupt protests.' The FBI used a similar tactic to try to cause confusion among New Mexico Hispanic land grant activists in the 1960s, he said.The cases listed in the new bulletin include that of a sniper who said he was upset about police treatment of minorities before killing five officers during a protest in Dallas, and a man who wrote of the need to inflict violence on 'bad cops' before killing three in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. In each of the cases, the FBI alleges the suspects were connected to radical ideologies linked to black nationalism.Phillips, who is set to release a film about the shooting of Brown and its aftermath, said if the FBI were really worried about unrest, it should turn its focus to the concerns of the people 'who are protesting in the streets' instead of targeting people who face discrimination daily.__Contreras reported from Albuquerque, New Mexico.__Follow Sadie Gurman at http://twitter.com/sgurman and Russell Contreras at http://twitter.com/russcontreras
  • A Nebraska regulator is set to decide whether to approve the proposed route of the long-delayed Keystone XL oil pipeline through the state.The decision Monday could have a big impact on whether TransCanada Corp. decides to proceed with construction of the project, which was first proposed in 2008 but repeatedly delayed.The five-member Nebraska Public Service Commission vote is the last major regulatory hurdle for Keystone XL, which was approved earlier this year by President Donald Trump in a reversal of the Obama administration's rejection in 2015.Landowners along the route and environmentalists have opposed the project. Some businesses and unions have supported it as a job creator.The commission will not be allowed to take into account an oil spill on the existing Keystone pipeline last week.