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The Latest News about Government and Politics

    Years ago, orthopedic surgeon John Barrasso gave regular health advice on the evening television news, Wyoming-wide exposure that established a reputation as a mild, level-headed caregiver and helped launch his political career. Through 16 years in office, including two elections for the Wyoming Senate and two for the U.S. Senate, Barrasso never faced significant opposition — until now. Dave Dodson, a political newcomer and businessman little known in Wyoming, has made a bold Republican primary bid to tap anger over Barrasso's corporate donations and Washington ties. Dodson has little in common with Donald Trump but it's a Trump-like effort in the state that gave the president his widest margin of victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016. On Tuesday, Wyoming voters will decide whether they're angry enough to bring home a man whose supporters refer to as 'Wyoming's doctor,' or are still happy to have Barrasso, a rising star in the Senate, represent them. 'I'm involved in politics right now because I'm mad and fired up to do something. I never envisioned ever being in political office at all. But I do think that when this country was founded it was envisioned that regular citizens would from time to time raise their hand and say 'I'd like to go to Washington, D.C., and represent my neighborhood,'' Dodson told The Associated Press. 'I actually think that I am doing, if you will, what the Founding Fathers had envisioned.' Dodson has invested in a range of industries, from auto parts to telecommunications, since the 1980s. He teaches part time at the Stanford business school but said he has lived full-time in Jackson Hole since 2011. Barrasso has refused to debate Dodson but isn't taking the threat sitting down. One Barrasso ad says Dodson gave $2,300 to Barack Obama and $1,000 to Bernie Sanders, donations reflected in Federal Election Commission records online. 'So ask David Dodson, who does he really put first?' says the voice-over. In an online statement, Dodson said he donated to Sanders to oppose Clinton, a contribution he later regretted, and that in 2007 he gave $2,300 to Mitt Romney's campaign before his ex-wife gave the same amount to 'her candidate' in his name. Dodson lived in Massachusetts at the time. Less than a week before the primary, Barrasso filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission claiming that several of Dodson's television ads did not meet certain requirements for appearing on screen while stating his approval of them. Dodson responded by pointing out he talks in person in the ads and nobody would seriously doubt that he approved them. Dodson pledged early to spend $1 million of his own money, and as of Aug. 1 had lent his campaign that amount. In addition, he raised $376,000 from individuals, the vast majority from outside Wyoming. He has spent almost all of the $1.4 million. Barrasso has raised almost $5 million in contributions this year and last, the bulk of it from out-of-state individuals and political action committees. He has spent about half. Dodson, 56, launched his campaign as an independent in February, but switched to Republican just before the filing deadline in May. Since then Dodson has crisscrossed the state to campaign and plastered the airwaves and internet with ads pitching his 'Plan to Put Wyoming First.' The 44-page booklet calls for opposing wholesale transfer of federal lands to states and private interests, promoting overseas exports of Wyoming coal, encouraging health care industry competition and boosting career and technical training. Dodson also advocates term limits and reducing the influence of money in politics. 'We need a new way of doing business,' Dodson writes in the booklet mailed to voters. Barrasso, 66, chairs the Senate Republican Policy Committee, making him the fourth-ranking member of GOP leadership in the Senate. He chairs the Environment and Public Works Committee and serves on the Energy and Natural Resources, Indian Affairs and Foreign Relations committees. For years, Barrasso has been one of the most outspoken advocates of repealing the Affordable Care Act. He has key endorsements from the National Rifle Association and Trump. 'As a doctor, I help people get healthy again. Now, a senator, I fight to protect our state and to make our country stronger,' Barrasso says in one ad. Democratic Gov. Dave Freudenthal appointed Barrasso to the U.S. Senate in 2007 after the death of Republican Sen. Craig Thomas. Running against little-known Democrats, Barrasso got 73 percent in a 2008 election to decide who would complete the remaining four years of Thomas' term, and in 2012, he was re-elected with 76 percent of the vote. Barrasso ran unopposed for the Wyoming Senate in 2002 and 2006. Three other Republicans are in the race, most notably former Roman Catholic priest Charlie Hardy, of Cheyenne, who as a Democrat got 17 percent of the vote against Sen. Mike Enzi in 2014. The others, Anthony L. Van Risseghem, of Cheyenne; John Holtz, of Laramie; and Roque 'Rocky' De La Fuente, of San Diego, California; are political unknowns who have campaigned little if at all. The winner will face Wilson businessman Gary Trauner, 59, the lone Democrat seeking the Senate seat. ___ Follow Mead Gruver at https://twitter.com/meadgruver
  • Billie Sutton planned to be a world champion saddle bronc rider, but a rodeo accident that claimed his burgeoning career and his ability to walk led instead to a political rise that could make Sutton the first Democrat elected South Dakota governor in over four decades. A horse flipped over on Sutton in 2007, partially paralyzing him and ending a ride that had brought him among the top 30 in the world for professional rodeo. Sutton said the injury awoke in him a 'service over self' mentality. In the ensuing years, he started a family and became the top state Senate Democrat before launching a bid for governor. 'I was faced with a choice: Take the easy way and give up, or live by the values I was raised with. Do it the cowboy way: Never give up and never quit,' Sutton said at a campaign kickoff last year on his family's ranch. Sutton has since taken in more than $1.2 million — the campaign says he's on track to raise more than any previous Democratic candidate for South Dakota governor — running as a 'pro-life and pro-Second Amendment' moderate and anti-corruption champion seeking to bolster his base by attracting Republican and independent voters in heavily conservative South Dakota. The 34-year-old community bank investment executive has much to overcome: a nearly 100,000-voter GOP advantage and a top-tier opponent, U.S. Rep. Kristi Noem, who has won four terms in Congress and easily triumphed in her June primary election to succeed Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard. Sutton in May reported having about $880,000 in the bank, while Noem had more than $1 million. Sutton has branded Noem 'politics as usual,' contending residents are sick of partisan divisions and that he wants to represent all of South Dakota. Sutton recently chose a Republican businesswoman (she switched parties) to be his running mate. Wearing his cowboy hat and rolling his wheelchair down a line of people at the Sioux Empire Fair, Sutton's standard greeting was, 'Billie Sutton, running for governor.' He quickly encountered a Republican. 'I don't care much about party affiliation,' Sutton said. 'I just think we need to do what's right.' Steve Jarding, a longtime Democratic strategist, said Sutton is making the campaign about his vision, not about his party, and enjoys a strong family name — his grandfather was the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor in 1978. Jarding said Sutton can appeal to mainstream Republicans, particularly supporters of Noem's primary opponent, Attorney General Marty Jackley, whose loss under a barrage of negative ads from Noem may have left a lingering division in the state GOP. Jarding said Sutton 'could break that drought, and Republicans could feel fine about it.' De Knudson, a moderate Republican and former Sioux Falls city councilor, switched her support to Sutton after Jackley's loss. It was a text message from her son on primary night asking Knudson to back Sutton — cemented later by his pick of former Republican Michelle Lavallee as lieutenant governor — that led Knudson to hold a recent campaign fundraiser at her Sioux Falls home. 'After being a senator for eight years, Billie has created a record that is very, very moderate, like so many of you are, about open government, transparency and really reaching across the aisle,' Lavallee told those who attended. But Sutton's strategy to transcend party labels didn't sway 28-year-old computer programmer Adam Jungers, who asked Sutton at the fair, 'As a pro-life conservative, why should I vote for you?' Afterward, Jungers said he would stick with Noem. Noem — first elected to Congress in 2010 — said her values match South Dakota's, invoking a campaign pledge to not raise taxes nor grow state government, improve transparency and fight federal intrusion. She said Sutton is surrounded by liberal Democrats who support Planned Parenthood and labor unions. 'What Democrat Billie Sutton says and what he really believes and what his supporters believe are two very different things,' Noem said. But Sutton did vote for a 20-week abortion ban in 2016, and his campaign notes his support this year for a resolution endorsing South Dakota's right-to-work status. This legislative session, Sutton focused on government transparency, early-childhood education and economic development, but came out of the Republican-controlled Legislature with few victories. Sutton said he launched the governor campaign over frustration with corruption in South Dakota and the GOP-led repeal of a voter-imposed government ethics overhaul in 2017. Voters will decide a similar 'anti-corruption' ballot measure this year, and Sutton has made government integrity a major focus of his bid. Fellow Democratic Sen. Troy Heinert said Sutton approaches lawmaking with the attitude of someone who rides bucking horses for a living: '110 percent focused.' 'What's been bad for him personally has been good for South Dakota,' Heinert said. 'He could still be riding broncs at the National Finals Rodeo, but ... he didn't let his accident stop him.' ___ Sign up for 'Politics in Focus,' a weekly newsletter showcasing the AP's best political reporting from around the country leading up to the midterm elections: http://apne.ws/3Gzcraw
  • The past 10 weeks have been a whirl for Ilhan Omar, who suddenly went from being famous for becoming the country's first Somali-American state legislator to being a likely shoo-in for the first Somali-American congresswoman. 'It's been a really interesting rush,' Omar said in an interview with The Associated Press. She and her rivals had to mount instant campaigns when U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison suddenly decided to leave Minneapolis-area seat to run for state attorney general. She quickly organized a team to nail down the Democratic endorsement to succeed him, then won a six-way primary Tuesday with a strong 48 percent plurality. 'You get what you organize for,' she said. Only Democrats have represented the 5th District since 1963, so Omar is expected to easily win the general election. Still, she said she's not taking it for granted, and want to generate heavy turnout in the district to help boost statewide Democratic candidates. For now Omar, 35, is pausing to focus on getting her three children ready to go back to school. She said she'll figure out everything else about going to Washington later. Omar's family fled Somalia's civil war when she was 8. She spent her childhood in a Kenyan refugee camp and immigrated to the United States at age 12. As a progressive activist who was elected to the Minnesota Legislature in the same year that Donald Trump was elected president, she said she has worked since then to organize resistance to 'destructive and divisive' Trump administration policies. 'I think my job now is to instill hope in people so that they have the strength to continue to resist and to continue to believe that there is an opportunity for us, for the first time, to really talk about the kind of nation we should be and the kind of nation that we deserve,' she said. Omar said 5th District voters are young, so funding for education and college affordability will be a priority for her. She wants to get on the Agriculture Committee, even though she comes from an urban district, so she can promote food security for poor communities. Immigration and criminal justice reform will also be priorities. But she also wants to use her legislative experience to work for federal budgets that include investments in people and communities. 'I look forward to being a voice of reason in fighting for transparent and accountable budgets,' she said. Omar said people want congressional leaders with 'moral clarity and courage' to confront not only Trump's administration but Congress itself, to eliminate corporate influence. She would not say whether that means she'll support or oppose Nancy Pelosi for re-election as the House Democratic leader. Several other Democratic candidates have said they won't. Omar and former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Palestinian-American who recently won a Detroit-area Democratic primary and is running unopposed in November, are expected to become the first two Muslim women in Congress. Omar said she thinks Americans should be excited about this 'because it is a direct response to the politics of fear and scarcity that the president and his administration push.' 'Truly this is a nation that sees itself as one that instills hope and is really about allowing people to pursue their dreams.
  • So-called tort reform has been an easy sell in states controlled by Republicans, and backers of a lawsuit-limiting proposal on the ballot in Arkansas this fall expected little trouble winning passage until they ran into a surprising obstacle from a reliable conservative ally. A Christian group has begun rallying churches and abortion opponents against the measure, saying that limiting damage awards in lawsuits sets an arbitrary value on human life, contrary to anti-abortion beliefs, and conflicts with biblical principles of justice and helping the poor. Proponents of the measure are stunned by the opposition and worried that it could stir dissension among conservatives who must work together on numerous issues. 'The biggest problem is not the damage' to the tort reform proposal, said Republican Rep. Bob Ballinger, a sponsor of that measure. 'The biggest hurdle is the damage to the pro-life cause.' The religious argument also could offer tort reform opponents in other states a new weapon for fighting limits. The legal restrictions have been making headway in recent years as the GOP has won control of roughly two-thirds of state legislatures. Arkansas' measure is an effort by an array of pro-business groups, including the state Chamber of Commerce, to reinstate legal caps that have been chipped away over the years by court rulings. The amendment would cap damages for noneconomic losses, such as pain and psychological distress, to $500,000 and punitive damages to $500,000 or three times the amount of compensatory damages awarded, whichever is higher. It also would cap attorneys' contingency fees at one third of the net amount recovered. The proposal doesn't cap economic damages, which go toward verifiable losses such as medical expenses as well as past and future wages. But the conservative Family Council Action Committee argues that putting a cap on other damages devalues the lives of those with no income, such as the elderly and stay-at-home parents, who would receive little compensation for pain and suffering. The Family Council, which championed Arkansas' ban on gay marriages, is organizing meetings with church leaders to call for the measure's rejection. 'The Bible is full of references to justice, and (the proposal) creates an environment where the powerful can tip the scales of justice against everybody else, but especially the poor,' Jerry Cox, the Family Council's head, said at a recent breakfast meeting with pastors. Pastors were handed informational booklets emblazoned with the words 'Don't Put A Price Tag On Human Life.' Flyers left on each table offered attendees inserts for their church bulletins. Rose Mimms, the head of Arkansas Right to Life, also spoke out against the measure, writing in an editorial on the conservative website townhall.com that it 'erodes our own pro-life efforts in the state.' The organization has not taken an official position on the measure. Industry groups backing the tort reform amendment questioned whether the Family Council's actions were motivated by $150,000 in donations the group received from a Little Rock law firm. Trial lawyers are the leading opponents of the tort reform movement. 'They have sold their brand to trial lawyers to be able to promote this issue,' said Carl Vogelpohl, the campaign manager for Arkansans for Jobs and Justice, which is backing the tort reform proposal. Cox said the donation wasn't a factor and that his group announced its position before receiving the money. Using church meetings to rally opposition especially angered the measure's supporters. 'When you go to church and you hear somebody speak up against something, generally, you're thinking, 'Well, I'm getting a 100 percent clear picture,'' said Republican Rep. Marcus Richmond, the House majority leader. The nearly hourlong presentation to pastors by Cox and two other officials from his group alternated between a seminar and sermon, as they described the types of claims that could be constrained by the measure. 'Can I get an 'amen?'' Cox asked at one point. 'Amen,' the audience repeated back in approval. Stephen Harrison, a pastor who attended the breakfast, said later he wanted to research the proposal before taking a stance. However, Harrison, who pastors the nondenominational Family Church in Pine Bluff, said, 'I don't want to vote for something that will devalue human life or put a price tag on what a life is worth.' Vogelpohl said an equally compelling argument could be made to anti-abortion groups and other Christian conservatives that limiting damages could improve medical care in the state and help attract more doctors. The spending on the effort to rally churches pales in comparison to the more than $3 million both sides of the issue have raised. The measure still faces a lawsuit from a former judge who argues it should be disqualified from the ballot. ___ Follow Andrew DeMillo on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ademillo ___ Sign up for 'Politics in Focus,' a weekly newsletter showcasing the AP's best political reporting from around the country leading up to the midterm elections: http://apne.ws/3Gzcraw
  • As jurors weigh Paul Manafort's fate in a sprawling financial fraud case, the former Trump campaign chairman still has another trial looming in the nation's capital — and prosecutors there have a whole new set of charges and a huge volume of evidence. The trial now underway in Alexandria, Virginia, is the first case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller to go to trial. The jury will return Monday to begin a third day of deliberations on 18 counts, including tax and bank fraud and failure to disclose foreign bank accounts. In the District of Columbia, Manafort is scheduled to go on trial in September on charges including conspiracy to defraud the United States, failing to register as a foreign agent, money laundering, witness tampering and making false statements. Neither case involves allegations of Russian election interference or possible coordination by the Trump campaign, which are at the heart of Mueller's larger investigation. But President Donald Trump has expressed a keen interest in Manafort's fate as he seeks to publicly undermine Mueller's probe. The charges in D.C. could result in an even lengthier sentence than what Manafort faces in Virginia. In a status report filed back in February, prosecutors did a preliminary calculation of how federal sentencing guidelines would apply to Manafort if convicted on all charges. In Virginia, they calculated a sentence of roughly eight to 10 years on the tax fraud charges plus an additional four to five years on the bank fraud. In the District, they calculated a guidelines range of 15 to 20 years, and that was before prosecutors brought the witness tampering charge. Those guidelines are only rough estimates and will be officially calculated by a probation officer before sentencing. And sentencing guidelines are not binding on the judge. The fact that Manafort faces a second trial is entirely of his own choosing. Prosecutors preferred to bring all the charges in the District of Columbia, where their investigation is based and where all other defendants have been charged. But prosecutors lacked venue to bring the tax and bank-fraud charges against Manafort anywhere but Virginia, where Manafort owns a home. Prosecutors requested that Manafort waive his venue rights so all charges could be brought in D.C., but he refused. In some ways, the decision to face some charges in Virginia appears to have paid off for Manafort. Judge T.S. Ellis III has expressed skeptical opinions about the government's case from the outset. In a pretrial hearing, he speculated that prosecutors only decided to bring charges against Manafort to pressure him to 'sing' against Trump. He also questioned the fairness of a special counsel law that has allowed Mueller to commit millions of taxpayer dollars to his investigation. During the trial, prosecutors have been frustrated by comments Ellis has made in front of the jury about the evidence and his frequent exhortations to move the three-week trial along at a quicker pace. Despite those frustrations, prosecutors were able to introduce hundreds of documents, including emails from Manafort himself seeming to acknowledge some of the financial misdeeds prosecutors say are at the heart of the case. In the District, meanwhile, Manafort will face a judge who has already seen fit to put him in jail ahead of trial. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, who will oversee the criminal trial in Washington, ordered Manafort jailed because of concerns about his alleged efforts to contact two witnesses. Prosecutors filed witness tampering charges against him in June. Initially Manafort was confined to a 'VIP' jail in Warsaw, Virginia., where his cell had a private bathroom and he had phone and computer access. But after Manafort's lawyers complained about lengthy 100-mile trips to meet with him, Ellis transferred him to a stricter holding facility in Alexandria. Once a familiarly dapper figure in political circles, known for jet-black dyed hair and a tanned complexion, Manafort is now gaunter and grayer. Officials have not said whether Manafort would be transferred to a jail in the Washington area in advance of the September trial. In the D.C. trial, Manafort may face an even taller stack of evidence. In a court filing Thursday, Manafort's defense lawyer, Kevin Downing, said the special counsel's office has sent him 'well over 1,000 proposed exhibits — most of which have not been a part of the trial before Judge Ellis,' for review ahead of the September trial in the District. ___ Associated Press writer Stephen Braun contributed to this report.
  • The judge in Paul Manafort's financial fraud trial saiys he has received threats and he fears for the 'peace and safety' of the jurors deciding the fate of the former Trump campaign chairman. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III revealed his concerns Friday when explaining why he doesn't intend to make jurors' names public at the end of the trial. Jury lists are presumed to be public unless a judge articulates a reason for keeping them secret. 'I've received criticism and threats,' Ellis said. 'I imagine they would, too.' The judge said he is currently under the protection of U.S. marshals. Jurors ended their second day of deliberations Friday a half-hour early, without reaching a verdict. They sent a note to the judge asking to wrap up at 5 p.m. instead of 5:30 p.m. because a juror had an event to attend. They return Monday morning. The financial fraud trial is the first courtroom test of the Russia probe led by special counsel Robert Mueller. And while the case doesn't involve allegations of Russian election interference or possible coordination by the Trump campaign, it has been closely watched by President Donald Trump as he seeks to publicly undermine Mueller's probe. On Friday, Trump issued a fresh defense of Manafort and called him a 'very good person.' 'I think the whole Manafort trial is very sad,' Trump told reporters at the White House. 'When you look at what's going on, I think it's a very sad day for our country,' he said. 'He worked for me for a very short period of time. But you know what, he happens to be a very good person and I think it's very sad what they've done to Paul Manafort.' Manafort is accused of hiding from the IRS millions that he made advising Russia-backed politicians in Ukraine, and then lying to banks to get loans when the money dried up. He faces 18 felony counts on tax evasion and bank fraud. The case calls on the dozen jurors to follow the complexities of foreign bank accounts and shell companies, loan regulations and tax rules. It exposed details about the lavish lifestyle of the onetime political insider, including a $15,000 jacket made of ostrich leather and $900,000 spent at a boutique retailer in New York via international wire transfer. Manafort's defense says he wasn't culpable because he left the particulars of his finances to others. His attorneys told jurors to question the prosecution's case as they sought to tarnish the credibility of Manafort's longtime protege Rick Gates, who was the government's star witness. Prosecutors say Manafort earned some $60 million consulting for the Russia-backed political party in Ukraine, and hid at least $16 million in income from the IRS between 2010 and 2014. They say Manafort declared only some of his foreign income on his federal income tax returns and repeatedly failed to disclose millions of dollars that streamed into the U.S. to pay for luxury items, services and property. ___ AP writers Darlene Superville and Anne Flaherty contributed to this report. Online: https://apnews.com/8b1cea8ba9ba49f98e06c77782add2ba
  • A former Trump campaign adviser should spend at least some time in prison for lying to the FBI during the Russia probe, prosecutors working for special counsel Robert Mueller said in a court filing Friday that also revealed several new details about the early days of the investigation. The prosecutors disclosed that George Papadopoulos, who served as a foreign policy adviser to President Donald Trump's campaign during the 2016 presidential race, caused irreparable damage to the investigation because he lied repeatedly during a January 2017 interview. Those lies, they said, resulted in the FBI missing an opportunity to properly question a professor Papadopoulos was in contact with during the campaign who told him that the Russians possessed 'dirt' on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails. The filing by the special counsel's office strongly suggests the FBI had contact with Professor Joseph Mifsud while he was in the U.S. during the early part of the investigation into Russian election interference and possible coordination with Trump associates. According to prosecutors, the FBI 'located' the professor in Washington about two weeks after Papadopoulos' interview and Papadopoulos' lies 'substantially hindered investigators' ability to effectively question' him. But it doesn't specifically relate any details of an interview with the professor as it recounts what prosecutors say was a missed opportunity caused by Papadopoulos. 'The defendant's lies undermined investigators' ability to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States,' Mueller's team wrote, noting that the professor left the U.S. in February 2017 and has not returned since. Prosecutors note that investigators also missed an opportunity to interview others about the professor's comments or anyone else at that time who might have known about Russian efforts to obtain derogatory information on Clinton during the campaign. 'Had the defendant told the FBI the truth when he was interviewed in January 2017, the FBI could have quickly taken numerous investigative steps to help determine, for example, how and where the Professor obtained the information, why the Professor provided the information to the defendant, and what the defendant did with the information after receiving it,' according to the court filing. Prosecutors also detail a series of difficult interviews with Papadopoulos after he was arrested in July 2017, saying he didn't provide 'substantial assistance' to the investigation. Papadopoulos later pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI as part of a plea deal. The filing recommends that Papadopoulos spend at least some time incarcerated and pay a nearly $10,000 fine. His recommended sentence under federal guidelines is zero to six months, but prosecutors note another defendant in the case spent 30 days in jail for lying to the FBI. Papadopoulos has played a central role in the Russia investigation since its beginning as an FBI counterintelligence probe in July 2016. In fact, information the U.S. government received about Papadopoulos was what triggered the counterintelligence investigation in the first place. That probe was later take over by Mueller. Papadopoulos was also the first Trump campaign adviser to plead guilty in Mueller's investigation. Since then, Mueller has returned two sweeping indictments that detail a multi-faceted Russian campaign to undermine the U.S. presidential election in an attempt to hurt Clinton's candidacy and help Trump. Thirteen Russian nationals and three companies are charged with participating in a conspiracy to sow discord in the U.S. political system primarily by manipulating social media platforms. In addition, Mueller brought an indictment last month against 12 Russian intelligence operatives, accusing them of hacking into the computer systems of Clinton's presidential campaign and the Democratic Party and then releasing tens of thousands of private emails through WikiLeaks. According to that indictment, by April 2016, the Russian intelligence operatives had already stolen emails from several Democratic groups including the Clinton campaign and were beginning to plan how they were going to release the documents. That same month, according to court papers, Mifsud told Papadopoulos that he had met with senior Russian government officials in Moscow and had learned that they had 'dirt' on Clinton in the form of 'thousands of emails.' ___ Read the sentencing memo: http://apne.ws/tNIPFAC
  • The cancellation of President Donald Trump's Veterans Day parade came swiftly when senior White House and Pentagon leaders saw the estimated $92 million price tag play out in public, setting off a chaotic volley of tweets and accusations between the president and the mayor of the nation's capital. The drama that unfolded Thursday and Friday also highlighted, not for the first time, a disconnect between the Pentagon and the White House when it comes to turning some of Trump's more mercurial ideas into reality. While Defense Secretary Jim Mattis dismissed the price estimate for the parade as fiction — likening the report of it as the work of someone who had been smoking pot — Trump wasn't denying the projected costs. He was lashing out at Washington, D.C., politicians he claimed were to blame for the sky-high price. 'When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it. Never let someone hold you up!' Trump tweeted. He held out hope of holding the parade next year instead, and said this year he would travel to Paris for events marking the centennial of the end of fighting in World War I, which falls on Veterans Day, Nov. 11. 'Now we can buy some more jet fighters!' he added. Despite Trump blaming municipal authorities for the high estimate, the bulk of the cost was the $50 million Pentagon portion that would cover military aircraft, equipment, personnel and other support. The remaining $42 million would cover costs borne by the city and other agencies and largely involved security costs. The Republican president's finger-pointing set off a social media spat with D.C.'s Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser. She shot back on Twitter Friday that she was the one who 'finally got thru to the reality star in the White House with the realities ($21.6M) of parades/events/demonstrations in Trump America (sad).' District of Columbia officials called the price-gouging charge by Trump 'patently false.' A city official said the $21.6 million estimate of the costs the city would incur was their 'best stab at it,' since they did not know what the exact route would be or how long it would last. The official, who wasn't authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said there had been little interaction with the Pentagon and few details provided. Trump decided he wanted a military parade in Washington after he attended France's Bastille Day celebration in the center of Paris last year. Several months later Trump praised the French parade, saying, 'We're going to have to try and top it.' It was a demand that drew criticism not just from Trump's political opponents but some Republicans too. As the Pentagon began planning for the U.S. version, the cost became a politically charged issue — as did the prospect of streets in the nation's capital being churned up by tank treads. According to officials familiar with the unfolding events, senior Pentagon leaders were briefed Wednesday about the parade costs. But officials said the estimates were still preliminary and so were not submitted to Mattis or Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss private meetings and conversations. When details came out publicly Thursday, senior White House officials, including Chief of Staff John Kelly, were angry about the $92 million amount, which was more than triple early estimates of $10 million to $30 million by the White House budget director. It's not clear when Trump was told, but the order to cancel the parade came quickly and was made by the end of the work day. The Pentagon announced the decision just before 8 p.m. Throughout the day, multiple U.S. officials had confirmed the $92 million estimate that was put together by the interagency parade planning group. And Pentagon officials did not push back or at any point suggest the reporting was wrong. Still, when asked about the price Thursday evening, Mattis excoriated the media and said he had seen no such estimate. 'I'm not dignifying that number ($92 million) with a reply. I would discount that, and anybody who said (that number), I'll almost guarantee you one thing: They probably said, 'I need to stay anonymous.' No kidding, because you look like an idiot. And No. 2, whoever wrote it needs to get better sources. I'll just leave it at that,' Mattis told reporters traveling with him. He said that whoever leaked the number to the press was 'probably smoking something that is legal in my state but not in most' — a reference to his home state of Washington, where marijuana use is legal. Mattis' comments came hours after the estimate was made public, and not long after the cancellation decision was made — giving his staff plenty of time to ensure he was made aware of the planning estimate's accuracy. One reason for the political sensitivity was that Trump himself had boasted that the cancellation of a major military exercise with South Korea amid easing tensions with North Korea would save the U.S. 'a tremendous amount of money.' The Pentagon later said the Korea drills, which typically take place every August, would have cost $14 million — an amount dwarfed by the estimated cost of the parade. The cancellation of those drills, like Trump's demand for a parade, initially caught the Defense Department unawares. Mattis was also widely viewed as being unenthusiastic about the president's plans to set up a Space Force as a new branch of the military — but as in the other cases, he has toed the line of the commander in chief. The parade was expected to include troops from all five armed services — the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard — as well as units in period uniforms representing earlier times in the nation's history. It also was expected to involve a number of military aircraft flyovers, which can carry significant costs in personnel, aircraft and support. A Pentagon planning memo released in March said the parade would feature a 'heavy air component,' likely including older, vintage aircraft. It also said there would be 'wheeled vehicles only, no tanks — consideration must be given to minimize damage to local infrastructure.' Big, heavy tanks could tear up streets in the District of Columbia. ___ Associated Press writer Ashraf Khalil contributed to this report.
  • It's not just audiotapes. Omarosa Manigault Newman has a stash of video, emails, text messages and other documentation supporting the claims in her tell-all book about her time in the Trump White House, a person with direct knowledge of the records told The Associated Press Friday. Manigault Newman has made clear that she plans to continue selectively releasing the pieces of evidence if President Donald Trump and his associates continue to attack her credibility and challenge the claims in her book, 'Unhinged.' She's already dribbled out audio recordings of conversations, and video clips, texts or email could follow, according to the person who described what Manigault Newman has called a multimedia 'treasure trove.' The person was not authorized to discuss the issue publicly and asked for anonymity. 'I will not be silenced. I will not be intimidated. I'm not going to be bullied by Donald Trump,' the former Trump aide told The Associated Press this week as she seemed to dismiss a threat from Trump's campaign. She spoke to the AP hours after Trump's campaign announced it was filing an arbitration action against her alleging she'd violated a signed agreement with the campaign that prohibits her from disclosing confidential information. She told PBS in a separate interview this week: 'I have a significant amount, in fact, a treasure trove, of multimedia backup for everything that's not only in 'Unhinged,' but everything that I assert about Donald Trump.' Manigault Newman claims Trump officials offered her a job on the campaign as a way of silencing her, after she was fired from the White House. She's accused Trump of being racist and suffering from a mental decline. The White House has countered by branding Manigault Newman as a disgruntled former staffer with credibility issues who is now trying to profit from a book based on false attacks against an individual she has called a mentor and has admired for more than a decade. Trump has also lashed out at Manigault Newman, calling her a 'lowlife,' ''wacky and deranged' and a 'dog.' Simon & Schuster this week also dismissed threatened legal action from Trump's campaign. A campaign attorney told Simon & Schuster in a letter that 'Unhinged' violated Manigault Newman's confidentiality agreement, but the publisher responded that it was acting 'well within' its rights. 'Unhinged' has spent the past few days at No. 2 on Amazon.com's best-seller list, trailing only Rachel Hollis' lifestyle book 'Girl, Wash Your Face.' Manigault Newman was director of communications for a White House office that networks with various constituency groups until she was fired last December by chief of staff John Kelly, citing 'significant integrity issues.' Before joining the administration, Manigault Newman handled African-American outreach for Trump's presidential campaign. She has known Trump since 2003, when she became a contestant on Trump's TV show, 'The Apprentice.' She has already released several secret audio recordings, including of the meeting in which she was fired by Kelly. In another recording, Trump's daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, is heard offering Manigault Newman $15,000 a month - after she was fired from the White House - for a campaign job requiring her to be 'positive.' Lara Trump is a senior adviser on Trump's re-election campaign. Manigault Newman also alleges that tape exists of Trump using a racial slur while working on 'The Apprentice.' Trump has denied this, saying on Twitter that 'I don't have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up.' ___ AP National Writer Hillel Italie in New York contributed to this report. ___ Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap
  • Alaska's elections director said she's confident the state has enough questioned ballot envelopes and that poll workers will be ready after some Alaskans had their voter registration addresses changed before Tuesday's primary. The issue stems from the implementation of a 2016 ballot initiative during which the state updated some voter registrations using the addresses from residents' applications for the state's oil-wealth fund check. A division spokeswoman has said the division does not have a precise count for how many addresses were changed. Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke said Friday that Alaskans should feel confident that 'this election has integrity and credibility.' She said she's confident the results of the election will reflect the will of voters. Election officials have said that voters who had their information changed — but didn't want a change — can vote a questioned ballot at the polling place based on where they live. According to the division, a voter would be required to vote a questioned ballot if, for example, their name is not on a precinct register or they want a primary ballot type that they're not eligible to vote. Before receiving a ballot, they must fill out a questioned ballot envelope; their voted ballot goes inside. Information provided on the envelope is used to determine the voter's eligibility. People are asked for information such as where they claim residency and their date of birth. Given the number of new voters and issues with implementing the 2016 initiative, officials have worked to ensure precincts have extra questioned ballot envelopes, Bahnke said. It's unclear how many questioned ballots might be voted, she said. The initiative called for the division to register qualified Alaskans to vote when they apply to receive an Alaska Permanent Fund dividend. The division also said the initiative allowed it to use information from the applications to ensure voter registrations are current. According to the division, about 141,000 opt-out notices were mailed in March and April, roughly 36,000 of which were for new voters. The mailer notified people that the information on their check application would be used to update their voter registration or register them to vote unless they opted out within 30 days. Bahnke said about 13,900 opted-out via the mailer. About 6,000 of those were new voters who didn't want to be registered and the rest were for address changes, she said. People also were able to change their information online or by contacting the division ahead of the primary, she said. The deadline for making changes ahead of the primary was July 22. Voters will have a chance to change their information ahead of the November general election. The deadline for that is Oct. 7, and Bahnke said the division planned outreach, including ads and social media activities, to get the word out. The division earlier this year sought tweaks to the initiative law that would have allowed people to decline to register to vote or update their voter information when they apply for the dividend check. That legislation went nowhere.

The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Adam Charles Eades was last seen leaving his home on Cedro Drive in Kissimmee on Friday at around 5:35 p.m. Adam was last seen wearing a white t-shirt, yellow basketball shorts with a red stripe and a Mickey Mouse logo on the side, grey socks and black Crocs. Adam wears glasses and both pinky fingers are crooked.  Adam left in good health and does not take any medications. Anyone who has seen him or knows where he is is asked to call 911 immediately.
  • Orange County detectives are asking for help to identify an armed robber who stole money from a gas station Thursday evening. At 9:47 p.m., the armed robber entered the Townstar/Marathon gas station at 300 North Kirkman Road and pointed a handgun at the cashier, demanding money.  The victim complied and places stacks of cash on the counter. Once the suspect got the money, he ran away on foot heading northbound from the station.  Police describe him as a male in his 20s, about 5'7-5'9'' with a skinny build. He was last seen wearing a black ski mask, gloves, a plaid-style long sleeve shirt, and a black t shirt with the 'punisher' logo on the front.  Anyone with any information is asked to call Crimeline at 800-423-8477.
  • A woman in San Bernardino, California, told CBSLA agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained her husband as they drove to the hospital to deliver their child. >> Read more trending news Maria del Carmen Venegas said that her husband, Joel Arrona-Lara, was driving her to the hospital for a planned Cesarean section Wednesday when ICE agents surrounded their car at a gas station. Venegas, a mother of five, told CBSLA she showed officers her identification, but her husband did not have his ID with him. She said they lived nearby and offered to drive back to the house to get his ID, but officers placed Arrona-Lara into custody, leaving Venegas alone at the gas station, images from the store’s surveillance video showed. She said she drove herself to the hospital to deliver their child. “My husband needs to be here,” Venegas said. “He had to wait for his son for so long, and someone just took him away.” Venegas told CBSLA that her husband has never been in trouble with the law, and they are currently working on finding an attorney to help secure his release. ICE confirmed to the local Univision and Telemundo stations that Arrona-Lara is in custody. “Mr. Arrona-Lara is currently in the custody of ICE pending deportation procedures before the Executive Office of Immigration Review,” a spokesperson said. “All those who violate immigration laws would be subject to an immigration arrest and, if a final order determines their removal, be deported from the United States.”
  • A body was found in a burned car in the parking lot of a mini-golf course at Walt Disney World in Florida Saturday morning, officials said.  >> Read more trending news Orange County deputies began investigating the body in the Fantasia Gardens mini-golf course parking lot on Epcot Resorts Boulevard around 4 a.m. after the Reedy Creek Fire Department called for assistance, WFTV reported. Once firefighters extinguished the car, officials found a body inside, officials said.  Officials did not identify the body or the vehicle’s owner. The fire marshal, homicide detectives and Sector 6 investigators are on scene conducting an investigation, according to the sheriff’s office.  
  • Within weeks of a South Georgia teacher’s disappearance, two of her former students told friends at a party they had killed Tara Grinstead and burned her body, according to documents filed this week in Irwin County Superior Court, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.  >> Read more trending news  Grinstead’s case was featured on the popular true crime podcast, “Up and Vanished.” >>Related: Georgia irresistible to true-crime podcasts Grinstead was reported missing in October 2005, and the following month, Ryan Alexander Duke and Bo Dukes told others they were responsible for her death and it was reported to police, court documents state. But the case remained cold until early 2017, when both Duke and Dukes were arrested.  So did investigators drop the ball? Yes, according to Duke’s attorneys. And because it took so long to arrest the suspects, most of the charges should be dropped due to the statute of limitations, the motion states.  >>Related: Who was Tara Grinstead? “It is undisputed that Irwin County law enforcement knew of these crimes within months of the disappearance of Tara Grinstead,” a court motion states. “In fact, a search of the area where Ms. Grinstead’s body was allegedly burned was conducted...” Grinstead, 30, an Irwin County High School teacher and former beauty queen, was last seen on Oct. 22, 2005, when she left a cookout and said she was going straight home. Two days later, she was reported missing when she didn’t show up to teach history. Ryan Alexander Duke, 33, was arrested and charged with murder in the death of Tara Grinstead. Because Duke and Dukes were identified as suspects later in 2005 but not charged until 2017, all but the murder charge should be dropped, Duke’s public defenders claim in one of two dozen motions filed in the past week.  “Duke and Dukes were identified as suspects and known to law enforcement in 2005,” the motion states. “By a generous application of the statute of limitations of four years, the statute would have run (expired) near December of 2009.” The GBI declined to comment on the allegations in the motion and referred questions to the District Attorney. The District Attorney could not be reached for comment Friday afternoon.  In another motion, Duke’s attorney asks that his indictment be dismissed because the language used is too “vague, ambiguous and indefinite.” In April 2017, a grand jury indicted Duke on six counts, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, burglary and concealing the death of another. In June 2017, Dukes was indicted on charges including concealing a death, tampering with evidence, and hindering apprehension of a criminal.  Dukes “did unlawfully and knowingly destroy physical evidence by burning the body of Tara Faye Grinstead, a human being, at a location off Bowen’s Mill Highway,” in Fitzgerald, the indictment states.  After Duke and Dukes were arrested, the GBI searched woods behind a pecan farm in the area but have not publicly said what was found. A hearing on the motions has been scheduled for Sept. 20 in Irwin County.