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May 16, 2017

President Trump reportedly asked former FBI Director James Comey to end the investigation into ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn just one day after Flynn resigned, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Comey apparently wrote a memo about the exchange immediately after speaking with Trump in mid-February.

Comey apparently created "similar memos" for every phone call and meeting he had with the president, the Times reports. His account of the mid-February conversation about Flynn reportedly indicates Trump explicitly sought to meddle in an FBI investigation:

The existence of Mr. Trump's request is the clearest evidence that the president has tried to directly influence the Justice Department and FBI investigation into links between Mr. Trump's associates and Russia.

Mr. Comey wrote the memo detailing his conversation with the president immediately after the meeting, which took place the day after Mr. Flynn resigned, according to two people who read the memo. The memo was part of a paper trail Mr. Comey created documenting what he perceived as the president's improper efforts to influence an ongoing investigation. An FBI agent's contemporaneous notes are widely held up in court as credible evidence of conversations.

[...] "I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," Mr. Trump told Mr. Comey, according to the memo. "He is a good guy." [The New York Times]

Comey apparently did not respond to Trump's request, only agreeing that Flynn "is a good guy," per his memo. The New York Times did not view the memo, which is not classified; an "associate" of Comey's read parts of the document aloud to a Times reporter.

The White House denied the report, saying, "The president has never asked Mr. Comey or anyone else to end any investigation." An FBI spokesman declined to comment to the Times. Read more about Trump's reported appeal to Comey at The New York Times. Kimberly Alters

February 20, 2018

Stephen Colbert believes the children are our future, and not in some ironic way. After last week's mass shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, he said on Tuesday's Late Show, he was "sickened and heartbroken, not only by the attack and the loss of innocent life, but by what I feared would be the complete lack of action by our leaders." He singled out Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who quickly took to the Senate floor to argue that gun laws won't work. "Okay, as long as we're being clear and honest, senator, your position as a lawmaker is: 'The laws are useless — everyone into the Thunderdome!'?" he asked. "Then why do we need you? It seems a house plant would do a better job, and it would probably need a little less water."

"But there is one group that does give me hope that we can do something to protect the children, and sadly, it's the children," Colbert said. The students from Parkland "saw their leaders doing nothing and said, 'Hold my root beer.'" He played some clips. Student David Hogg is right, "the adults aren't cutting it anymore," he said. "I think we need to change the voting age — until we do something about guns, you can't vote if you're over 18."

Parkland students, who have organized a nationwide march and class walkout, bussed down to Tallahassee to beg lawmakers to reinstate an assault weapons ban, only to watch those lawmakers vote no. "Well, I hope these kids don't give up," Colbert said. "Because this is their lives, and their future. Someone else may be in power, but this country belongs to them. And there is reason for hope. Look at the #MeToo movement — a lot of men in power did not see that coming, but it proved that change can happen overnight." Watch below. Peter Weber

February 20, 2018
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Lindsey Vonn took home a bronze medal Wednesday in Pyeongchang, coming in behind Italy's Sofia Goggia and Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel in the downhill race.

Vonn finished in 1:39.69, 0.47 seconds behind Goggia. "I skied a great race today," Vonn told NBC. "Sofia just skied better than I did." Vonn said she had "no regrets" about the event, but it was "tough to contemplate this being my last Olympic downhill race. I struggled to keep the emotions together. But I'm proud of my performance."

Vonn has competed in four Winter Olympics and won three medals. She won the gold in the downhill race at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, but a knee injury prevented her from participating in the 2014 Games in Sochi. She has one more individual event coming up: the combined on Thursday. Vonn told NBC she's "99.9 percent sure" she won't compete in the 2022 Games in Beijing, "but who knows? Maybe something will come out and they'll fix my knee up and I'll be like Robo-knee and I'll ski for like 10 more years. That'd be ideal." Catherine Garcia

February 20, 2018

Alix and Brett Epps are the perfect match, in more ways than one.

They've been through a lot since their first date in 2014 — that night, Brett started having chest pain, and was later diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare form of kidney disease. His friends, family, and even strangers volunteered to donate a kidney, but only one person who was tested ended up being a perfect match: Alix. Brett needed to have dialysis every night and spent a lot of time in the hospital, and during one visit with Alix, Brett popped the question. Just a few weeks later, he received Alix's kidney during a transplant, and in 2017, they married. "It's this extra bond," Alix told ABC News. "I always felt so close."

The Epps' entered a contest to renew their vows on Valentine's Day atop the Empire State Building, and ended up winning. They flew in from North Carolina, and along with 10 other couples, said their "I Do's" again, this time high over New York City. "I'd marry her every day of the week if I could," Brett said. Catherine Garcia

February 20, 2018
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Democrat Linda Belcher won a special election in Kentucky's Bullitt County on Tuesday, defeating Republican Rebecca Johnson with 68.45 percent of the vote.

Belcher is replacing state Rep. Dan Johnson (R), Rebecca Johnson's late husband, in House District 49. Dan Johnson died by suicide last year after a report came out accusing him of molesting a 17-year-old girl at the church where he was pastor. Belcher said she ran a "very positive campaign," which was all about "trying to reach out and touch the people of Bullitt County, and we did. I have to thank them for listening to our message."

Belcher's husband, Larry Belcher, held the seat at the time of his death in October 2008; she replaced him on the ballot and served in the legislature from 2008 to 2012 and 2014 to 2016, when Johnson won the election. In 2016, the district overwhelmingly went for President Trump, who won with a 72-23 percent margin. Catherine Garcia

February 20, 2018
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Right before Vice President Mike Pence was set to secretly meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister during the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the North Koreans canceled on him, his office told The Washington Post on Tuesday.

Pence and a team were going to meet with Kim Yo Jong, Kim's sister, and Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state, on Feb. 10, but the Koreans pulled out of the meeting less than two hours before it was scheduled to start. Pence had been vocal about sanctions and his belief that North Korea was using the Winter Games for propaganda purposes, and North Korea made it clear they did not like his remarks, Pence's office said. "This administration will stand in the way of Kim's desire to whitewash their murderous regime with nice photo ops at the Olympics," Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, told the Post.

It took about two weeks to set up the meeting, which was supposed to take place at South Korea's Blue House. Not long after the cancellation, the state-run Korean Central News Agency blasted Pence, saying he "must know that his frantic acts of abusing the sacred Olympics for confrontational ruckus are as foolish and stupid an act as sweeping the sea with a broom." Catherine Garcia

February 20, 2018
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Inspired by the survivors of last week's deadly school shooting in Florida, who are channeling their anger into action and organizing the March for Our Lives protest against gun violence, Oprah Winfrey announced Tuesday she is donating $500,000 to the rally.

Winfrey is matching a donation made earlier by George and Amal Clooney. On Twitter, Winfrey called the students "inspiring young people" who remind her of "the Freedom Riders of the '60s, who also said we've had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard." In a statement to People, Clooney said he'll be at the March 24 rally in Washington, D.C., with his family, and he made his donation in the name of his 8-month-old twins, Ella and Alexander. The "groundbreaking event" needs to happen, he added, because "our children's lives depend on it." 


Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw also matched the donation made by George and Amal Clooney, Deadline reports. In a statement, Spielberg said the students "are already demonstrating their leadership with a confidence and maturity that belies their ages," and he applauds their "efforts to take a stand for the benefit of this and future generations." Catherine Garcia

February 20, 2018
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The Department of the Army has recognized three of the teenagers killed last week in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, giving each one a Medal of Heroism, the highest honor for JROTC students.

Peter Wang, Alaina Petty, and Martin Duque were all cadets in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and their families have either been given or will soon receive keepsake medals. During the attack last week, Wang helped his classmates to safety, and was wearing his uniform when he was shot. It was his dream to attend the United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, and the USMA announced Tuesday it granted Wang posthumous admission. In a statement, West Point called Wang "a brave young man" whose actions "exemplified the tenets of duty, honor, and country." Wang was buried on Tuesday, wearing his uniform. Catherine Garcia

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