Playing politics
July 3, 2014
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Mississippi Senate candidate Chris McDaniel is stepping up his efforts to overturn his narrow defeat against incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran in last week's Republican primary runoff. His latest move: Offering a $1,000 reward to people who can provide evidence of voter fraud in the election — but first, he's asking his supporters to send in $15 donations to help fund the project.

"To fight the alleged corruption, we need your help," says the McDaniel campaign's official announcement page. "Just $15 will help us begin to eradicate corruption in Mississippi. $15 represents the first steps in helping Chris clean up this mess."

The campaign's message concludes:

If you have evidence that leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in voter fraud on or leading up to the June 24, 2014, Republican primary runoff election in Mississippi, please email it to reward@mcdaniel2014.com or call 601-624-7748 and leave your contact information and someone will follow up with you.

The $15 number is based on an allegation that McDaniel and his supporters have dug up, accusing the Cochran campaign of paying for votes in the primary. Cochran won the runoff with 51 percent, due to an unorthodox strategy of reaching out to the state's black community, which is typically heavily Democratic, to cross over into the Republican primary in order to defeat the Tea Party-backed McDaniel. Eric Kleefeld

2016 Watch
11:39 a.m. ET
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) says he will almost certainly get into the 2016 White House race.

"If I can raise the money, I'll do it," Graham said on Fox News Sunday. When pressed to say how seriously he was considering a presidential bid, Graham pegged his odds of running at the oddly specific "91 percent."

In January, Graham launched a presidential exploratory committee. Sens. Ted Cruz (Texas), Rand Paul (Ky.), and Marco Rubio (Fla.) are the only major GOP candidates to formally declare their candidacies for the White House. Jon Terbush

Foot meet mouth
11:13 a.m. ET
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Poland on Sunday summoned the U.S. ambassador to protest FBI Director James Comey's recent comment casting some blame on Poland for the Holocaust.

"The murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn't do something evil," Comey said in a speech last week, which was then adapted as an opinion piece in The Washington Post. "They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do."

Poland's ambassador to the U.S. denounced the comment as "unacceptable" and a "falsification of history." Soon after, the U.S. Ambassador in Warsaw, Stephen Mull, told reporters that suggestions anyone "apart from the Nazi Germany was responsible for the Holocaust are wrong, harmful and offensive." Jon Terbush

2016 Watch
10:56 a.m. ET
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A slew of declared and potential Republican presidential candidates trekked to New Hampshire this weekend for the two-day Republican Leadership Summit. Close to 20 prospective candidates — ranging from establishment types like New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Jeb Bush, to bottom-tier hopefuls like Donald Trump and John Bolton — used their stage time to discuss policy, ding the president, and assail presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

"When Hillary Clinton travels, there's going to need to be two planes," Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said. "One for her and her entourage, and one for her baggage."

Also at the event, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Clinton represented "the third term of Barack Obama," former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee denounced the "Clinton political machine," and Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) quipped that Clinton was not at the event because it was not being bankrolled by foreign interests. Jon Terbush

Oops?
9:11 a.m. ET
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Almost every examiner in the FBI's hair analysis unit repeatedly overhyped evidence to aid prosecutors over a two-decade period ending in 2000, according to The Washington Post.

The finding comes from an ongoing review of cases conducted by the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Innocence Project in conjunction with the federal government. Per the review, 26 of 28 forensic hair analysts overstated evidence in 95 percent of the 268 trials examined so far.

The FBI and Justice Department acknowledged the errors, saying in a statement they were "committed to ensuring that affected defendants are notified of past errors and that justice is done in every instance."

Read the whole report here. Jon Terbush

This just in
7:58 a.m. ET
Tullio M. Puglia / Getty Images

An estimated 500 to 700 people went missing on Sunday after a boat ferrying migrants to Italy capsized north of Libya in the Mediterranean Sea.

The 65-foot-long fishing boat sent a distress call overnight, but when another vessel approached the migrants huddled to the far side of the ship, causing it to capsize, according to the Italian Coast Guard. Close to 20 ships raced to the site of the tragedy, and rescuers have pulled 28 people from the water so far.

Roughly 900 people are believed to have died this year trying to cross the sea to Italy. Jon Terbush

water wars
April 18, 2015
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California's State Water Resources Control Board released modified proposed conservation restrictions on Saturday, adjusting the planned cuts based on conservation efforts that have already been made by various communities, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A former draft divided water suppliers into four tiers; the new framework places them into one of nine tiers, "to more equitably allocate" cuts. The Associated Press reports that officials from cities which had proactively begun drought-saving efforts were frustrated with the board's original proposal, which answered Gov. Jerry Brown's executive order requiring a 25-percent cutback in urban water usage.

"The fact that we are being dinged additional costs doesn't seem fair,” John Helminski, San Diego's assistant director of public utilities, told AP.

Across the state, depending on their tier, water suppliers will be expected to cut total daily water use by anywhere from 8 percent to 36 percent. Water suppliers that do not meet their cut could face fines of up to $10,000 per day. The board is expected to vote on the revised framework proposal in early May. Sarah Eberspacher

Discoveries
April 18, 2015

Sixty-four years after it was scuttled off California's Farallon Islands, the USS Independence has been re-discovered, resting on the seafloor "amazingly intact," according to NOAA scientists. A survey team made up of representatives from NOAA, the U.S. Navy and private industry parties is working on a two-year project to map and study the more than 300 shipwrecks estimated to be lying off California's coast.

The Independence is thought to be the deepest shipwreck in the Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, which covers nearly 3,300 square miles of water beyond the Golden Gate Bridge.

"After 64 years on the seafloor, Independence sits on the bottom as if ready to launch its planes," James Delgado, chief scientist on the mission, said. "It is a reminder of the industrial might and skill of the 'greatest generation' that sent not only this ship, but their loved ones to war."

The Independence was one of more than 90 vessels used as a target fleet for the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests, in 1946. Before that, it operated out of the central and western Pacific for two years. Scientists used a remote-controlled submarine to take images of the shipwreck; check out the photo, below, and read more about the carrier via the National Marine Sanctuaries' website. —Sarah Eberspacher

(NOAA, Boeing, and Coda Octopus)

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