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This week in the Russia investigation: Paul Manafort turns state's evidence ... what will he tell the government?

St. Paul

After a long career as an advocate for political animals of nearly every kind across the world, Paul Manafort is now going to work for the United States government.

The first potential trial of the six lawsuits over the hotly contested 2020 census citizenship question could kick off the day before voters head to the polls for the upcoming midterm elections.

During a court hearing at Manhattan federal court on Friday, U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman set the tentative start date for Nov. 5, adding that his "strong instinct" is that the two cases before him require a courtroom trial before he can issue a ruling.

FEMA is rolling out a new tool as it begins to deal with now-tropical storm Florence. It's a rumor-control webpage.

Unfounded rumors — what might be called "fake news" — have been a problem in coping with recent disasters, according to Gary Webb, a professor and chair of emergency management and disaster science at the University of North Texas.

"Disasters do create a great deal of uncertainty, confusion and anxiety," Webb said, "and, as a result, there is the potential for rumors to propagate."

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The Week In Politics

Sep 14, 2018

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UPDATED 6:46 p.m. ET

Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh strongly pushed back on an allegation of sexual misconduct from more than 30 years ago. The allegation was made in a letter by a woman who said the incident took place in high school.

"I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time," Kavanaugh said in a statement.

Updated at 2:49 p.m. ET

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort pleaded guilty on Friday and agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller in his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Manafort entered his guilty plea to two felony counts during an hourlong hearing in federal court in Washington, D.C. The plea took place three days before he was to face trial on charges related to his lobbying work for Ukraine and alleged witness tampering.

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As Hurricane Florence makes landfall in the Carolinas, in Washington the focus is how the Trump administration will respond to the storm's aftermath, and the inevitable property damage, power outages and potential loss of life.

The federal response is coordinated by FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The agency's reputation suffered last year following its lagging response to Hurricane Maria. And while President Trump and FEMA officials insist they're ready this time, there have already been missteps that have some believing the agency's confidence may be misplaced.

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Seeking to "evaluate the independence and effectiveness" of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's student loan office, 15 members of the Senate Democratic Caucus sent a terse letter Thursday evening to Mick Mulvaney, the CFPB's acting director. The letter was first obtained by NPR.

Obama Rallies In Ohio

Sep 14, 2018

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Former President Barack Obama spoke last night in Ohio where Democrats hope to take back the governorship. The former president has been defending his record and questioning that of his successor. NPR's Don Gonyea reports from Cleveland.

Botham Jean was remembered Thursday for his dedication to service, his deep faith, and for having a ready smile and an open heart. He will be buried in Saint Lucia, but the service in Texas was a chance for American friends to say goodbye.

"A friend is the family that you choose. And let me tell you Botham chose everyone," said his friend Alexis Stossel. "If Botham was in this room, nobody would ever feel left out."

Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET

The final primary before November's midterm elections saw a progressive challenger fall short of taking down the incumbent Democratic governor in New York.

Andrew Cuomo easily beat back a challenge from actress Cynthia Nixon, putting him on the path to a third term in office. He will be heavily favored against Republican nominee Marc Molinaro this fall.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

The White House is accusing Senate Democrats of an unfounded "11th hour attempt to delay" a vote on the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, released a statement Thursday afternoon disclosing that she had referred "a matter" involving Kavanaugh to "federal investigative authorities."

Obama Rallies For Cordray To Reclaim Ohio

Sep 13, 2018

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Why So Many Nevadans Don't Vote

Sep 13, 2018

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House and Senate negotiators have agreed to a plan to avoid a shutdown fight weeks before the midterm elections in November.

Updated at 12:15 p.m. ET

President Trump denied the death toll of nearly 3,000 from hurricanes Maria and Irma, which swept across Puerto Rico a year ago, in a series of tweets Thursday morning.

"3000 people did not die in the two hurricanes that hit Puerto Rico," he tweeted. "When I left the island, AFTER the storm had hit, they had anywhere from 6 to 18 deaths."

Trump then blamed Democrats for the figures, "to make me look as bad as possible."

Chris Johnson knows all too well how a promising crop can suddenly be ruined — by poor weather, an economic downturn or bad luck.

This year, he and other soybean farmers in North Dakota are contending with something less common but potentially just as destructive: a trade war between the United States and China that has already driven down the price of soybeans sharply.

"Oh, it's a devastating loss. Soybeans are my largest acreage crop," says Johnson, who farms 3,300 acres in Great Bend, in the southern part of the state.

Jagada Chambers was sent to prison for attempted second-degree murder in 2000. The story, as he tells it, was that he was on spring break with friends during college and got into a physical altercation with an acquaintance.

He was released four years later, in August 2004, and his understanding was that his voting rights were gone forever.

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Former Vice President Joe Biden launched a new series on Instagram TV today.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

JOE BIDEN: It's no secret that our immigration system is broken, and for years, there's been a heated debate waged about how to fix it.

Human rights groups have repeatedly accused a Saudi-led coalition of causing disproportionate civilian deaths in the Yemen conflict because of airstrikes that have hit markets, weddings and even a bus carrying children from summer camp.

This summer, the Trump administration transferred nearly $10 million away from the agency that responds to disasters and emergencies, redirecting it toward one of President Trump's top priorities — the deportation of undocumented residents of the U.S.

The funds transfer is prompting the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cut back on training, IT security and infrastructure investments, according to a document sent to Congress and released by Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore.

Updated September 14

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and his staff prepared to embark on a legal fight that would take them to the highest court in the U.S. long before announcing the controversial decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

During an Oval Office briefing on preparations for Hurricane Florence, a reporter asked President Trump if there were lessons to be learned from the widely criticized FEMA response to Hurricane Maria last year in Puerto Rico. Trump's response? In short: Nothing to see here.

In a troubling sign for Republicans less than two months before November's elections, Democrats' advantage on the question of which party Americans are more likely to vote for in November is ballooning, according to a new NPR/Marist poll.

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