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May 19, 2017
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The ongoing probe into ties between Russia and the Trump campaign has reportedly identified a current White House official as "a significant person of interest," The Washington Post reports. The individual was described by people familiar with the matter as being "someone close to the president," although the sources declined to name names.

So far, President Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, have been the public centers of the investigation. Neither is a part of the current administration. "Current administration officials who have acknowledged contacts with Russian officials include Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, as well as Cabinet members Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson," the Post writes.

Kushner, for one, was a "prominent voice advocating Comey's firing," CBS writes. On Friday, The New York Times reported that Trump told Russian officials he had fired Comey in order to ease the pressure of the ongoing probe.

The White House also has acknowledged that Kushner met with [Sergey] Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the U.S., in late November. Kushner also has acknowledged that he met with the head of a Russian development bank, Vnesheconombank, which has been under U.S. sanctions since July 2014. The president's son-in-law initially omitted contacts with foreign leaders from a national security questionnaire, though his lawyer has said publicly he submitted the form prematurely and informed the FBI soon after he would provide an update.

Vnesheconombank handles development for the state, and in early 2015, a man purporting to be one of its New York-based employees was arrested and accused of being an unregistered spy. [The Washington Post]

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told the Post that "as the president has stated before, a thorough investigation will confirm that there was no collusion between the campaign and any foreign entity."

The Washington Post adds that "people familiar with the matter said investigators on the case are more focused on Russian influence operations and possible financial crimes" and that "the probe has sharpened into something more fraught for the White House, the FBI, and the Justice Department — particularly because of the public steps investigators know they now need to take." Read the full scoop at The Washington Post. Jeva Lange

8:13 a.m. ET

President Trump again referred to Kim Jong Un as "Little Rocket Man" in a tweet Saturday night, the third iteration of the president's favorite new insult in his war of words with the North Korean leader:

On Thursday and Friday, Kim and Trump labeled each other a "mentally deranged U.S. dotard" and "madman," respectively. Trump previously used "Rocket Man" during his United Nations speech Tuesday and at an Alabama campaign rally Friday.

The Saturday tweet came several hours after a group of U.S. bombers and fighter escorts flew well north of the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, staying over international waters but making a clear show of force toward Pyongyang. The Pentagon characterized the flight as a demonstration "that the president has many military options to defeat any threat."

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho said Saturday Trump's insults make a North Korean strike on the U.S. mainland "more inevitable," calling Trump "President Evil." Bonnie Kristian

7:39 a.m. ET

President Trump redoubled his attacks on NFL player Colin Kaepernick — and other athletes who take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice — on Twitter Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning amid broad backlash from pro athletes and other observers:

Early Sunday, he encouraged his supporters to boycott the NFL and claimed this has already begun on a significant scale:

Trump began his critique of Kaepernick while speaking at a campaign rally Friday. Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017

The Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James hit back at President Trump on Twitter Saturday morning in response to Trump's tweeted announcement that the Golden State Warriors will not be invited to the White House to celebrate their NBA championship after point guard Stephen Curry criticized Trump's policies and rhetoric. As James sees it, Curry's Friday statement that he does not want to meet Trump means the president had no invitation to rescind:

James, who is vice president of the NBA Players Association, was not the only pro athlete to take issue with Trump's weekend critiques of Curry and Colin Kaepernick, the latter of whom Trump referred to as a "son of a bitch" for his habit of declining to stand for the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America.

Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, also pushed back on Trump's remarks, calling Trump's comments "divisive" and demonstrative of "an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL." Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017
Alfredo Estrella/Getty Images

Mexico was struck by a 6.2-magnitude earthquake Saturday morning, sparking alarm and suspending ongoing rescue efforts in response to two other recent quakes.

The new tremor follows Tuesday's 7.1-magnitude earthquake, as well as an 8.1-magnitude quake that struck off the coast of Mexico earlier this month. The combined death toll from the earlier quakes has nearly reached 400 people.

Saturday's tremor, believed to be an aftershock of the 8.1 quake, collapsed a bridge in the town of Juchitan and toppled some previously damaged buildings. "Homes that were still standing just fell down," said Bettina Cruz, who lives in Juchitan. "It's hard. We are all in the streets." Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017
Amin Khosroshahi/The Associated Press

Iran has successfully tested a new ballistic missile, state-run media reported Saturday, one day after displaying the weapon at a military parade.

The Khorramshahr missile has a range of 1,200 miles, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani labels it "a deterrent" to guard Iranian security against attack. President Trump has accused Tehran of violating "the spirit" of the 2015 nuclear deal with this sort of test, but Rouhani maintains Iran is committed to upholding the agreement.

The new missile could reach Iranian rivals like Saudi Arabia or Israel and can carry multiple warheads. Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017
Paul J. Richards/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Friday notified 21 states they were targeted for hacking by the Russian government in advance of the 2016 election.

In most cases, this targeting amounted only to research and preparation, and no voting machines were compromised in any state. "What this boils down to is that someone tried the door knob and it was locked," explained Reid Magney of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

DHS announced the 21-state figure several months ago but had not previously communicated to the states in question. Friday's notification is intended to give the targeted states, a complete list of which has not been released, time to beef up security before 2018. "We heard feedback from the secretaries of state that this was an important piece of information," said Bob Kolasky, acting deputy undersecretary of the National Protection and Programs Directorate at DHS. "We agreed that this information would help election officials make security decisions."

In his Friday night speech in Alabama, President Trump again denied election collusion with Moscow. "No, Russia did not help me, that I can tell you, OK?" he said, calling this "hoax" Democrats' greatest achievement of 2016. Bonnie Kristian

September 23, 2017

President Trump announced on Twitter Saturday morning that he is no longer willing to host the Golden State Warriors at the White House, a traditional way to honor their NBA championship victory, because of comments from point guard Stephen Curry:

Trump's tweet comes hours after Curry on Friday told reporters he did not wish to meet the president, alluding to Trump's much-criticized responses to the white nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

"You can talk about all the different personalities that have said things and done things — from [Colin] Kaepernick to what happened with [Michael] Bennett to all sorts of examples of what has gone on in our country that has led to change," Curry said. "We're all trying to do what we can using our platforms, using our opportunities, to shed light on that. That's kind of where I stand on that. I don't think us going to the White House will miraculously make everything better, but this is my opportunity to voice that."

This is Trump's second clash with professional athletes this weekend. On Friday night, he told a campaign rally crowd that NFL players like Kaepernick, who has knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, should be fired. "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now?" Trump said. Bonnie Kristian

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