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February 18, 2019

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is expected to leave the Department of Justice in mid-March, a department official told Reuters on Monday.

It was anticipated that he would step down after a new attorney general was chosen; last week, William Barr was confirmed by the Senate and sworn in as attorney general. In May 2017, Rosenstein appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election and any ties between Russia and the Trump campaign. Catherine Garcia

February 18, 2019

A coalition of 16 states, including California, New York, Maryland, and Illinois, filed a federal lawsuit on Monday over President Trump's attempt to use emergency powers to build a wall along the southern border.

In the suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Northern California, the states argue that Trump cannot construct the wall without permission from Congress, and it is unconstitutional for him to divert money designated for other purposes. The suit also states that the "federal government's own data prove there is no national emergency at the southern border that warrants construction of a wall. Customs and Border Protection data show that unlawful entries are near 45-year lows."

The additional states involved in the suit are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, and Virginia. All have Democratic governors, with the exception of Maryland. Catherine Garcia

February 14, 2019

The House joined the Senate on Thursday, passing a government spending deal that averts a government shutdown and includes $1.375 billion for new border fences, well below the $5.7 billion President Trump wants to fund barriers along the southern U.S. border.

The Senate passed the bill 83-16, and the House 300-128. On Thursday afternoon, the White House said Trump plans to sign the legislation, which prevents a shutdown that would start on Saturday and keeps the government open through Sept. 30, but will declare a national emergency in order to get the rest of the money he wants for the border wall.

Immediately, Democrats and some Republicans criticized the idea of declaring a national emergency, with Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) saying it's a "dangerous step" because "of the precedent it sets" and "because the president is going to get sued and it won't succeed in accomplishing his goal." In a joint statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said this would be "a lawless act, a gross abuse of the power of the presidency and a desperate attempt to distract from the fact that President Trump broke his core promise to have Mexico pay for his wall." Catherine Garcia

February 13, 2019

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that President Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied to Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson found that Manafort "intentionally made multiple false statements to the FBI, the (office of the special counsel), and the grand jury concerning matters that were material to the investigation." She determined that Manafort lied about his interactions with Russian businessman Konstantin Kilimnik; a separate, unidentified Justice Department criminal investigation; and $125,000 he received for his legal bills, CNN reports. Mueller is now released from his contractual obligations in the plea agreement, including asking for Manafort to receive a shorter sentence because of his cooperation.

After being convicted in Virginia on charges of tax and bank fraud, Manafort pleaded guilty in Washington, D.C., last September to conspiracy to defraud the United States and witness tampering, and agreed to cooperate with Mueller. In November, Mueller accused Manafort of violating his plea deal by lying multiple times to investigators; Manafort's attorneys denied that he ever purposely made false statements. Manafort will be sentenced on March 13 for the D.C. crimes. Catherine Garcia

February 11, 2019

After negotiations slowed down over the weekend, lawmakers announced on Monday night they have reached an "agreement in principle" to avoid another government shutdown.

This deal funds the government through the fall, and includes $1.375 billion to install barriers along the southern border, The Washington Post reports. This includes 55 new miles of bollard fencing, with some restrictions on location. Democrats also dropped their demand to limit the number of beds at ICE detention centers for undocumented immigrants. House Appropriations Chairman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said she hopes the negotiators will have the deal finished by Wednesday.

President Trump will have to sign the deal into law before Saturday to prevent another shutdown. The last shutdown — the longest in U.S. history — affected 800,000 federal employees, ending last month after 35 days. Catherine Garcia

January 28, 2019

The Houston Police Department confirmed on Monday evening that four officers were shot and wounded at about 5 p.m. local time while serving a warrant.

The incident took place in southeast Houston, and two suspects were shot and killed. A fifth officer was injured, but not hit by gunfire. Houston Police said the officers were taken to three different hospitals, and their conditions range from "pretty good, to really bad."

Law enforcement sources told The Houston Chronicle that the officers were from the narcotics division, serving a warrant at a house where they once purchased drugs. When they got to the door, gunfire broke out inside, and one officer was shot in the face, the sources said. In a statement, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said the "horrific attack" is a "solemn reminder of the service our brave men and women in law enforcement make every day to keep us safe."

This is a breaking news story, and has been updated throughout. Catherine Garcia

January 17, 2019

President Trump directed Michael Cohen, his longtime personal lawyer and fixer, to lie to Congress about the Moscow Trump Tower project, two federal law enforcement officials with knowledge of the matter told BuzzFeed News.

The officials said Cohen, who was in charge of the project, also came up with a plan to get Trump to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin so he could get negotiations into high gear, with Trump telling him, "Make it happen." While campaigning, Trump said he had no business dealings with Russia, but in reality, he had at least 10 in-person meetings with Cohen about the deal, BuzzFeed News reports, and Cohen also regularly updated Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump about the development. The project could have netted Trump $300 million.

In November, Cohen pleaded guilty to lying about the deal in testimony to the Senate and House intelligence committees. Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office learned that Cohen lied through interviews with witnesses from the Trump Organization and internal company emails and documents, the officials told BuzzFeed News, and Cohen told Mueller that after the election, Trump instructed him to lie about when negotiations ended in order to mask his involvement. Catherine Garcia

January 8, 2019

In their response to President Trump's address on border security, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said it is time for him to "stop manufacturing crises and reopen the government."

Women and children at the southern border are "not a security threat, they are a humanitarian challenge," Pelosi said, and there are several steps that can be taken to "secure our borders while honoring our values." That includes building new infrastructure and roads, installing technology to scan cars as they cross the border, and "hiring personnel to facilitate trade and immigration at the border."

By shutting down the government over border wall funding, Trump has "chosen to hold hostage critical services for the health, safety, and wellbeing of the American people and withhold the paychecks of 800,000 innocent workers across the nation," Pelosi said. Schumer called on Trump to "separate the shutdown from arguments over border security," and let lawmakers pass "bipartisan legislation to reopen the government while allowing debate over border security to continue."

Trump is "hurting millions of Americans over a policy difference," Schumer said, before calling him out for making the address from the Oval Office. "Most presidents have used Oval Office addresses for noble purposes," he said. "This president just used the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis, stoke fear, and divert attention from turmoil in his administration." Catherine Garcia

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