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February 8, 2016

U.S. federal prosecutors filed charges on Monday against the Iraqi wife of a high-ranking Islamic State official accused of holding Kayla Mueller hostage in Syria.

Mueller, an aid worker from Prescott, Arizona, was abducted from Damascus, Syria, in 2013. She was killed in Syria in February 2015; ISIS claims she died after a Jordanian fighter jet dropped a bomb on the building she was in, while U.S. intelligence officials have said they still do not know how she was killed. Umm Sayyaf, also known as Nisreen Assad Ibrahim Bahar, was charged in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, with conspiring to provide material support to a designated terrorist organization resulting in death. Her husband, Fathi ben Awn ben Jildi Murad al-Tunisi, also known as Abu Sayyaf, was killed during a raid in eastern Syria last May. Umm Sayyaf was captured and taken to Irbil, where she was questioned by the FBI-led High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group, The Washington Post reports.

An affidavit by FBI Special Agent William H. Heaney gives more insight into what life was like for Mueller as a hostage. Umm Sayyaf said she was responsible, along with her husband, for Mueller beginning in September 2014, and she suspected Mueller was either being held for ransom or a prisoner exchange. Her home was used to store money ISIS made from oil and firearms, and sometimes ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi stayed there. Mueller was abused and raped by al-Baghdadi, the affidavit says, and forced to watch ISIS propaganda videos. Along with other captives, she was at times handcuffed and kept in locked rooms, the affidavit states, and called an "infidel" by Umm Sayyaf.

The Iraqis took custody of Umm Sayyaf in August, and while it's unlikely she will ever be brought to the United States, officials say if she is ever part of a prisoner exchange, she can be arrested by the FBI on the federal charges, the Post reports. Catherine Garcia

9:14 p.m. ET

Two nuns who worked as nurse practitioners at a medical clinic in rural Mississippi were found murdered in their home Thursday morning.

Maureen Smith, a spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, said there were signs of a break-in at their home in Durant and their vehicle was missing. Authorities did not release a motive, and said it's unclear if their religion had anything to do with it. They also did not say if there are any suspects. The Rev. Greg Plata told The Associated Press police told him the women, identified as 68-year-old Sister Paula Merrill and Sister Margaret Held, were stabbed. "They were two of the sweetest, most gentle women you can imagine," Plata said. "Their vocation was helping the poor."

While working at the Lexington Medical Clinic, the nuns provided medical care for people who otherwise couldn't afford to go to the doctor. "They'll help anybody they can help," Lexington Medical Clinic manager Lisa Dew told AP. "They'll give you the shirt off their back." Merrill worked for more than 30 years in Mississippi. She was originally from Massachusetts, and joined the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth in Kentucky in 1979. Held was a member of the School Sisters of St. Francis in Milwaukee. Catherine Garcia

8:05 p.m. ET
Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images

Sonia Rykiel, the French designer dubbed the "queen of knitwear" by Women's Wear Daily in the 1960s, died Thursday at her home in Paris. She was 86.

Rykiel was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in the early 1990s. She was born to Russian and Romanian parents outside of Paris in 1930, and in her early twenties, married a Paris boutique owner. She wasn't happy with any of the items he had for sale, and started making her own pieces, beginning with maternity clothes. Her husband sold her work, and the pieces, like the "poor boy" sweater, were so popular she opened her own store on Paris' Left Bank in 1968. Early fans included Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot, and Rykiel's fashion house turned into a multi-million dollar global brand. Her designs have been featured in museums, and she also wrote several books. She is survived by a daughter, Nathalie, and son, Jean-Philippe. Catherine Garcia

7:45 p.m. ET
Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images

American swimmer Ryan Lochte was charged Thursday by Brazilian police with filing a false robbery report during the Rio Olympics.

In a statement, the police said Lochte will be notified and can decide if he wants to introduce a defense in Brazil, The Associated Press reports. The indictment will also be sent to the International Olympic Committee's ethics commission. Lochte had said that while returning to the Olympic Village from a party Aug. 15, he and three other swimmers were robbed at gunpoint by men with badges. Police say a video instead shows an altercation between the swimmers and armed security guards. Lochte later said he was intoxicated at the time and the confrontation was caused by his behavior.

In Brazil, the penalty for filing a false crime report is up to 18 months in prison. If he does not return to Brazil to face the charge, Lochte could be tried in absentia. Catherine Garcia

6:41 p.m. ET
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Donald Trump is not taking back earlier comments he made about Hillary Clinton being a "bigot," and instead is doubling down.

In an interview Thursday with CNN's Anderson Cooper, the Republican presidential nominee said Clinton is a "bigot" who is "selling" minorities "down the tubes because she's not doing anything for those communities. She talks a good game. But she doesn't do anything." Cooper pressed Trump, asking him if he believes Clinton personally hates African-Americans, and Trump replied, "Her policies are bigoted because she knows they're not going to work."

During a speech Thursday in Nevada, Clinton said Trump "has built his campaign on prejudice and paranoia" and is "taking hate groups mainstream and helping a radical fringe take over one of America's two major political parties." Catherine Garcia

4:23 p.m. ET

Hillary Clinton played up the theory of "you are who your friends are" in reference to Donald Trump during a speech in Reno, Nevada, on Thursday. Clinton mentioned Trump's past retweeting of racist Twitter accounts and his hesitancy to disavow former KKK leader David Duke's endorsement as evidence of Trump's improper temperament before pulling out the big guns: zeroing in on Stephen Bannon, Trump's newly minted campaign CEO and the chairman of Breitbart News.

She offered the audience a "flavor" of what Trump's friend Bannon is like, in the form of some of the headlines Breitbart News has published under Bannon's leadership:

"I'm not making this up," Clinton said. Sometimes "show, don't tell" really is the best strategy after all. Becca Stanek

4:15 p.m. ET

Hey, remember Jeb(!) Bush? The former Florida governor and gone-too-soon 2016 Republican presidential candidate — who, by the way, was the original guy to look at American politics and say "hey, I can fix this"? Well, he appeared on New York's 77 WABC Radio to discuss GOP nominee Donald Trump's ever-shifting views on immigration — and he sounded pretty energetic about shooting down Trump's policy flip-flop.

"I can tell you what I'm for, which is meaningful reform across the board so that we secure the border, first and foremost," Bush told host Rita Cosby. He then said he'd support a policy "including an E-Verify system, and including visa reform, because 40 percent of illegal immigrants don't cross the southern border. They come with a legal visa, and they just stay." When Cosby pointed out that Trump's newest stance is strikingly similar to what Bush laid out, the former governor just chuckled:

Bush also said people looking for a comprehensive immigration plan could purchase his 2013 book Immigration Wars, which "probably is a buck-ninety-nine on Amazon these days." Chin up, Jeb: The paperback version of Immigration Wars is currently pulling a whole $16 on the e-retailer. Pick up a copy, or listen to the whole interview here. Kimberly Alters

4:04 p.m. ET
Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton highlighted just how extreme Donald Trump is in a speech in Reno, Nevada, on Thursday, pointing to the Republican presidential nominee's embrace of "discredited conspiracy theories," his "steady stream of bigotry," and his campaign's use of "prejudice and paranoia." Although Trump may be attempting to reposition himself as a more moderate candidate via "some new people putting new words in his mouth," Clinton insisted that we already "know who Trump is."

She then pulled out an old Mexican proverb as evidence: "'Tell me with whom you walk, and I will tell you who you are.'" Trump, Clinton said, is essentially walking with "hate groups," whose support he hesitates to disavow, and with a campaign CEO who has published headlines praising the Confederate flag.

In her appeal to the center-right, Clinton urged voters — no matter what political party they may belong to — to realize this election is about "who we are as a nation." "If he doesn't respect all Americans," Clinton said of Trump, "how can he serve all Americans?" Becca Stanek

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