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March 14, 2017 - 8:54 pm


Trump releases tax info ahead of TV report

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump made more than $150 million in income in 2005 and paid $38 million in income taxes that year.

The acknowledgement comes as MSNBC host Rachel Maddow says she has obtained part of Trump's 2005 tax forms.

The White House is pushing back pre-emptively, saying that publishing those returns would be illegal.

It says, "You know you are desperate for ratings when you are willing to violate the law to push a story about two pages of tax returns from over a decade ago."

The White House adds that it is "totally illegal to steal and publish tax returns" and is bashing the "dishonest media."

Trump refused to release his tax returns during the campaign, claiming he was under audit.


Spicer says Trump confident on wiretap evidence

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump is "extremely confident" that the Justice Department will produce evidence backing up his claim that his predecessor wiretapped his New York skyscraper during the election.

The comments from spokesman Sean Spicer come one day after the Justice Department asked lawmakers for more time to produce that evidence. The House intelligence committee gave the department until March 20, the first day of its hearings on Russia's interference in the 2016 election and possible contacts between Trump advisers and Russians.

Spicer says the president is confident that information yet to be released will "vindicate him."

Earlier this month, Trump accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower during the campaign. Obama has denied the explosive allegations and there has been no evidence backing up Trump's claims.


Reports: Kushner family company in possible Chinese deal

NEW YORK (AP) — The company owned by the family of President Donald Trump's son-in-law is reportedly negotiating to sell a $400 million stake in a New York City skyscraper to a Chinese insurer with ties to that country's ruling party.

The New York Times is reporting that a company run by Jared Kushner's father is hammering out a deal with Anbang Insurance Group for a stake in the family's building at 666 Fifth Avenue. Bloomberg News also reported on the deal. Jared Kushner is married to the president's daughter Ivanka and is a senior adviser to the president.

The deal would unite two politically powerful families in both countries and raise conflicts of interest questions.

A White House spokeswoman tells the Times that Jared Kushner previously sold his interest in the building.


Retired Navy admiral among 9 indicted in bribery case

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A retired Navy admiral is among 9 military officers who have been indicted in a burgeoning bribery scandal involving a Malaysian defense contractor nicknamed "Fat Leonard."

The indictment unsealed Tuesday in federal court in San Diego alleged that retired Adm. Bruce Loveless and the other officers accepted the services of prostitutes, lavish meals and fancy trips from Leonard Francis in exchange for helping his company, Glenn Defense Marine Asia.

Prosecutors say Francis overbilled the Navy of $35 million by overcharging for his company's services supplying Navy ships in the Pacific with food, water, fuel and other necessities.

The new indictment in the three-year-old case also charged a former Marine colonel.

More than two dozen people have been charged so far, including another admiral who was convicted last year.

Francis has pleaded guilty to fraud and is awaiting sentencing. His nickname comes from his wide girth.


Congress sends Trump drug test measure for unemployed

WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress has sent President Donald Trump a measure to expand the number of applicants for jobless benefits who can be drug-tested.

The White House has said Trump will sign the measure into law as a cancellation of "unnecessary regulations."

Lawmakers in the GOP-controlled Congress have complained that under President Barack Obama, the government placed too many limits on states for deciding whether unemployment applicants can be drug-tested. The resolution passed by the House and approved by the Senate Tuesday would cancel those limits.

Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon says the new rule means too many people could be drug-tested, and "if you're looking for work, you're guilty of drug use until being proven innocent."


Pelosi calls for GOP to strip King of chairmanship

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Democrat in the House is calling on Republican leaders to strip Iowa Rep. Steve King of a chairmanship after his inflammatory comments about immigration.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement Tuesday that Speaker Paul Ryan and GOP leaders should immediately take the chairmanship of a House Judiciary subcommittee from King. Pelosi said King's "racist statements must be called out as unacceptable," and complained that the "tepid, brush-off" response from leadership was disgraceful.

King said this weekend that America can't restore "our civilization with somebody else's babies." He stood by those comments in an interview with CNN on Monday.

Ryan said Monday night on Fox News that he disagreed with King. Other Republicans have criticized King's comments.


White nationalist hopes to regain tax exemption

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer says he doesn't have any evidence that his nonprofit organization lost its tax-exempt status for politically motivated reasons.

Spencer told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he is confident his group, the National Policy Institute, can regain its tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. The Los Angeles Times first reported that the U.S. Internal Revenue Service recently revoked the group's tax exemption for failing to file tax returns for three consecutive years.

Spencer describes the move as a "bump in the road" and says he doesn't' see it as "political assassination." He also acknowledged that "ignorance of the law is not an excuse," but he said he delegated the group's bookkeeping responsibilities to others.

The IRS posted a notice of the group's revocation on its website Monday, but the loss of its tax status is retroactive to May 15, 2016, the date when its most recent tax return was due.


Muslim neighbors slain: Defendant faces families in court

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A man accused of gunning down his Muslim neighbors was emotionless during a brief court appearance where he faced his victims' relatives for the first time in nearly two years.

Defendant Craig Hicks appears to have lost a significant amount of weight since the fatal shootings in February 2015. He wore an orange jumpsuit and said nothing during the pretrial hearing Tuesday in which attorneys discussed discovery issues.

Hicks is charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the killings of 23-year-old Deah Barakat; his wife, 21-year-old Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha; and her sister, 19-year-old Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha.

Deah Barakat's brother, Farris, said it was the first time the families had seen Hicks in person since an April 2015 hearing at which a judge ruled that he can face a death penalty trial.


Officer argues he's broke, asks for public defender

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The former South Carolina police officer charged with killing an unarmed black man running from a traffic stop has asked a judge to allow a publicly funded lawyer to represent him.

News outlets report Michael Slager made that request Tuesday during a hearing in Charleston. Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman says he'll issue a ruling later.

Slager says his family of five lives under the poverty line. Slager was fired and charged with murder in the fatal shooting of Walter Scott following an April 2015 traffic stop in North Charleston.

Slager's first trial ended in a hung jury. Prosecutors have said they would retry him, and that's set for August.

Savage still represents Slager in federal court, where he'll be tried on civil rights charges in May.


911 dispatcher in Tamir Rice case suspended for 8 days

CLEVELAND (AP) — A 911 dispatcher who took a call that led to a white police officer's fatal shooting of 12-year-old black boy who'd been playing with a pellet gun outside a Cleveland recreation center has been suspended for eight days.

Police Chief Calvin Williams stated in a disciplinary letter Constance Hollinger violated protocol.

The caller told Hollinger it was probably a juvenile with a fake weapon outside the rec center in 2014. Hollinger is accused of not relaying that to another dispatcher communicating with responders.

Cleveland safety director Michael McGrath handed down a two-day suspension for police officer William Cunningham. Cunningham was working off duty without permission at the rec center where Tamir (tuh-MEER') Rice was shot by another officer.

A message seeking comment on behalf of Hollinger and Cunningham has been left for the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association.


NEW: Former Blazer Robinson discloses brain hemorrhage

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Former Trail Blazer Cliff Robinson says he is recovering from a "minor brain hemorrhage."

Last week, Robinson's family disclosed that the 50-year-old former forward was being treated at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center.

Robinson issued a statement on Tuesday saying he's in the "process of getting better."

"My family and I appreciate the prayers and well-wishes for my recovery," he said. "I had an unfortunate incident with a minor brain hemorrhage which means I'll be in rehabilitation for a while. But I'm excited about trying to get past this speed bump. I'm improving every day."

Robinson was the 36th overall pick in 1989 by the Blazers and he spent eight years with the team. He also played for the Phoenix Suns, Detroit Pistons, Golden State Warriors and New Jersey Nets during his 18-year NBA career.

He averaged 14.2 points and 4.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

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