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Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort's former business partner Rick Gates underwent hours of brutal cross-examination on Tuesday in a vicious courtroom battle over his credibility.

Gates is the marquee witness in the government's case against Manafort, who stands charged with bank and tax fraud.

After Gates described the intricate financial web he says he and Manafort spun to commit financial fraud together, defense attorneys battered Gates with questions about an extramarital affair and asked why anyone should put any stock in what he says now.

There are about 2 million people who work in the federal government. Despite being in charge of the executive branch, the president is limited in the people he can fire.

But could that be about to change?

In Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump has nominated someone to the Supreme Court who believes, as he does, in an expansive view of presidential power.

Could the president hire and fire civil servants at will, for example? That question is at the heart of a concept that likely will come up often at Kavanaugh's confirmation hearings this fall.

A critical House special election on Tuesday could provide some of the biggest clues yet about how much trouble Republicans could be in this November.

In Ohio, the last Republican vs. Democrat matchup before November has become the latest proxy fight for whether Democrats can harness the energy, activism and overperformance in past special elections to pull off an upset in a GOP-held district.

Updated at 9:30 p.m. ET

A widely used loophole for funneling secret "dark money" into political ads closed quietly last weekend, as a federal judge concluded it thwarted Congress' intent to have broad disclosure of political money.

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Now that the Trump administration has pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, it is reimposing sanctions that had been lifted under the deal starting at midnight. NPR's Michele Kelemen reports.

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Michigan Democrats are itching to take back the governor's seat that Republicans have held for eight years. But first, they have to choose their candidate in Tuesday's primary. In a state that went narrowly for President Trump in 2016, for the Democrats, it's all about showing your progressive bona fides.

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Updated at 6:23 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort's former business partner Rick Gates took the witness stand on Monday for the most highly anticipated — and likely crucial — testimony in Manafort's trial on bank and tax fraud charges.

Gates worked as Manafort's right-hand man over the past decade, and prosecutors say he helped Manafort evade taxes and lie to banks to qualify for loans.

YouTube, Apple and Facebook have removed main outlets for conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars website, citing repeated violations of policies against hate speech and glorifying violence. Infowars responded by accusing the companies of censorship.

The streaming service Spotify also expanded a ban imposed last week on some of Jones' content, saying Monday that "The Alex Jones Show has lost access to the Spotify platform."

On Sunday, Apple and iTunes deleted five podcasts related to Infowars and Jones. The other bans then piled up in quick succession.

The Battle for the Beach

Aug 6, 2018

The world is running out of sand. And it’s a problem.

Here’s how Vincent Beiser, writing for Wired, puts it.

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Updated at 12:24 p.m. ET

One of the nation's most vocal promoters of unsubstantiated voter fraud claims hopes to eliminate his own party's sitting governor in Tuesday's primary.

Quentin James was tired of the Democratic Party taking black votes for granted without investing in building black political power. So, in 2016, he started the Collective PAC to fund progressive black politicians. The following year, James, a veteran of the Obama campaign, established a boot camp — the Black Campaign School — to train those candidates.

Bank and tax fraud trials normally aren't very compelling theater.

When it's the former campaign chairman for the current president of the United States, however, and it's the first trial brought by a special counsel tasked with investigating Russian interference in American democracy, things are a bit more interesting.

Updated at 8:03 a.m. ET

It was a tweet that set off a storm. Was President Trump admitting to collusion between his campaign and Russia? Was he stipulating that the now notorious June 2016 Trump Tower meeting arranged by his son Donald Trump Jr. really was all about getting dirt on Hillary Clinton from a Kremlin-linked Russian lawyer and not adoption issues as President Trump had earlier claimed?

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Manafort's Trial Continues

Aug 5, 2018

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the National Rifle Association's federal lawsuit against him is "frivolous." The lawsuit claims that Cuomo's policies are trying to deprive the NRA of its First Amendment rights by making it more difficult for the organization to function in the state.

Cuomo described the NRA as a "group of extremists" and says he hopes that his actions against the group will expand to other states.

Days after the influential Koch political network signaled it would distance itself from President Trump, a major GOP donor is saying "it would be better for them to fall in line."

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Black Pastors And Trump

Aug 5, 2018

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A 'Muslim Wave' Of Candidates In Michigan

Aug 5, 2018

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This Tuesday voters in Michigan go to the polls for the state's primaries. And for Democrats, there's a new wave of candidates. Some are calling it a Muslim wave.

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Five years ago, when George Zimmerman was acquitted in the shooting death of an unarmed 17-year-old named Trayvon Martin, the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter lit up the social media universe and ignited powerful dialogue around racial injustice and police brutality.

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