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June 12, 2017

Less than a month after Special Counsel Robert Mueller was appointed to head the independent investigation into the Trump team's possible ties to Russian election meddling, President Trump's allies already seem to be thinking about pushing Mueller out. Since Sunday evening, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, conservative pundit Ann Coulter, and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham have tweeted their doubts about Mueller.

Both Gingrich and Ingraham raised questions of how fairly Mueller will be able to carry out the investigation, while Coulter suggested a special counsel is unnecessary now that former FBI Director James Comey confirmed in his congressional testimony last week that Trump was not personally under investigation:

On Sunday, Trump's lawyer Jay Sekulow refused to promise that the president would not fire Mueller. "I can't imagine that that issue is going to arise, but that again is an issue that the president with his advisers would discuss if there was a basis," Sekulow said.

Mueller has been steadily building up his team, recently adding on a top criminal law expert. Becca Stanek

10:24a.m.

At least 60 people were killed and dozens more injured when a speeding train plowed into a crowd of people watching fireworks at a religious festival in northern India Friday night.

Eyewitnesses say the victims did not hear the train coming over the booms of the fireworks display, and the train reportedly did not blow its whistle before striking the crowd. Locals say festival attendees sit on the tracks to watch the show every year.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences on Twitter:

An inquiry into the accident is ongoing. The Railway Board rejected responsibility on the grounds that people "are not expected to be on the tracks." Bonnie Kristian

10:10a.m.

The U.S. and South Korea on Friday canceled plans for a major joint military exercise previously set for December. The schedule change is intended to foster continued progress in diplomacy with North Korea.

"Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis and Minister of National Defense Jeong Kyeong-doo decided to suspend Exercise Vigilant Ace to give the diplomatic process [with North Korea] every opportunity to continue," said chief Pentagon spokesperson Dana White. She also reported Japan was consulted before the decision was made, and said Mattis and Jeong have "pledged to maintain close coordination and evaluate future exercises."

North Korea has long complained of such exercises, calling them "war games." While meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore this past summer, President Trump agreed to suspend some exercises while denuclearization talks proceed. Bonnie Kristian

8:40a.m.

President Trump targeted his ire at migrants who want to come to the United States and the Democratic Party at a campaign rally in Arizona Friday night.

Referring to the caravan of an estimated 4,000 people traveling on foot from Honduras to the U.S. border, Trump alleged "many of those people — a fairly big percentage of those people — are criminals."

"You think they're all wonderful people. You've got some bad people in those groups," Trump said. "You've got some tough people in those groups. And I'll tell you what, this country doesn't want them. Okay?" The caravan includes young children and pregnant women seeking to escape dire economic circumstances and even violence in their home countries.

The president claimed "cuckoo" Democrats want to give illegal immigrants the right to vote, along with "free welfare, free health care, and free education" and a luxury car, like a "Rolls-Royce, made not in America, so I hope that's not what we do." Polling shows a majority of Americans in both major parties oppose allowing non-citizens to vote. Bonnie Kristian

8:08a.m.

Saudi Arabia on Saturday conceded journalist Jamal Khashoggi died inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, as Turkey has alleged. Khashoggi went missing two weeks ago, and Riyadh previously denied all knowledge of his whereabouts.

"Discussions that took place between [Khashoggi] and the persons who met him ... led to a brawl and a fist fight ... which led to his death," said Saudi Attorney General Sheikh Saud al-Mojeb. "The investigations are still underway, and 18 Saudi nationals have been arrested."

An unnamed Saudi official also told Reuters a "group of Saudis" killed Khashoggi when they put him in a "chokehold" as they "were trying to keep him quiet."

Five Saudi officials have reportedly been fired in connection to Khashoggi's death. Saudi Arabia did not say where his body, allegedly dismembered, may be now.

Riyadh provided no evidence to support this account. Nevertheless, President Trump told reporters Friday night he found the explanation credible, calling it "a good first step" and "a big step." "Saudi Arabia has been a great ally," he said. "What happened is unacceptable." White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued a brief statement "acknowledging" the Saudi probe is "progressing."

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, including Trump ally Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), were more skeptical. "The Saudi 'explanation' for murdering journalist and Virginia resident Jamal Khashoggi in a consulate — a fistfight gone wrong — is insulting," said Sen. Tim Kaine (R-Va.), calling for congressional action. Bonnie Kristian

October 19, 2018

A Russian woman who was working for a Russian oligarch-funded project intended to conduct "information warfare against the United States" was charged Friday by the Justice Department, reports CBS News. She is the first person to be charged in relation to interference in the 2018 elections.

The woman, Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, allegedly spread content online that sought to fan the flames of "political intensity through supporting radical groups" and inciting racial tension. The project, dubbed "Project Lakhta," leveraged social media to spread divisive messages. A close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin's, oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin, is allegedly behind two companies that ran the ongoing project to export political discord.

Separately, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said that U.S. intelligence officials haven't seen any evidence that foreign countries are working to interfere in any specific race in the upcoming midterm elections, The Daily Beast reports. Russia, China, and Iran "may seek to influence voter perceptions," he said, but no specific races have been targeted. Read more at about Project Lakhta at CBS News. Summer Meza

October 19, 2018

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is still very intent on returning as House speaker — but she doesn't want to stick around for long.

As Democrats look more and more likely to retake the House this fall, Pelosi has constantly asserted she'll retake Congress' top spot if that's the case. Meanwhile, many progressives have been reluctant to support — or have even outright challenged — that assumption. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times published Friday, Pelosi gave her first indication that she's listening to those concerns.

If and when she retakes the speakership, Pelosi says she sees herself "as a transitional figure." After all, she has "things to do" that don't include leading the House: "Books to write; places to go; grandchildren, first and foremost, to love," she tells the Times.

Pelosi would've stepped down earlier had Hillary Clinton been elected, she tells the Times, saying she feels "a very strong responsibility to stay in this office for at least the next two years" while President Trump is president. But she's not about to "make myself a lame duck" and explicitly reveal when she'll step down, she continued. And when she does leave, Pelosi says it's "not up to me" to choose a successor — though she would like to see another woman on top.

Read more about Pelosi's possible exit strategy at the Los Angeles Times. Kathryn Krawczyk

October 19, 2018

An estimated 4,000-person caravan of Honduran migrants is preparing to push over Guatemala's border with Mexico on their way to America, despite Mexican and U.S. government efforts to hold them back.

After a smaller initial group crossed a river into Mexico on Thursday night, the remaining migrants left a nearby town and reached the Mexico-Guatemala border Friday afternoon. They have since torn down gates at the closed border crossing, but failed to power past police forces and cross a bridge connecting the two countries, The Associated Press reports.

Migrants in the massive caravan, which includes young children and pregnant women, are fleeing dire economic circumstances and in some cases violence in their home country. The group that's at the border has spent nearly a week walking through Honduras and Guatemala on its way to the U.S., while a separate caravan is currently traveling through El Salvador on its way north, reports NBC News.

President Trump on Tuesday threatened to cut off aid to Honduras and any Latin American countries who fail to stop the caravan from reaching the U.S., and on Thursday he pledged to close the southern border. But on Thursday night, the Trump administration agreed to work with the United Nations to identify which of the migrants had "legitimate" asylum claims, and will likely reject the rest, reports USA Today.

BuzzFeed News' Karla Zabludovsky, who is traveling with the caravan, reports that Mexican officials are barring all entries, and some migrants have given up and turned back. Kathryn Krawczyk

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