August 14th, 2013
03:37 PM ET

Jesse Jackson Jr. gets 30 months

Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., once a rising Democratic star whose political fortunes imploded over the use of campaign finances to support lavish personal spending, was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Wednesday.

"I misled the American people," Jackson, 48, said before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed the term, which she said should be served in Alabama.

The ex-Illinois lawmaker's wife, Sandi, received a 12-month sentence for her role in her husband's misuse of roughly $750,000 in campaign funds over several years.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • District of Columbia • Illinois • Justice • Politics
August 13th, 2013
03:19 AM ET

Calif. broadens transgender students' rights

California has become the first state in the nation to allow transgendered students to choose which school bathrooms and locker rooms to use and which sport teams to join based on their gender identity.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill No. 1266 into law Monday. The law will go in to effect January 1.

The law is the nation's first that specifically requires equal access to public school facilities and activities based on gender identity, though some states have general policies to the same effect, said Shannon Price Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights - one of several groups backing the legislation.

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Filed under: California • Education • Politics • U.S.
Morsy supporters may see fierce crackdown
August 12th, 2013
02:49 AM ET

Morsy supporters may see fierce crackdown

Now that Ramadan and the Muslim festival of Eid are over, staunch supporters of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy are on edge.

Thousands have camped out in the streets of Cairo for more than a month, refusing to budge until Egypt's first democratically elected president is reinstated. But the possibility of a fierce crackdown looms.

On Sunday, when asked about a possible dispersal, an interior ministry source said "all options are on the table," the state-run Ahram Online news site reported. The source added that security forces have beefed up their presence recently near the demonstrations.

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Filed under: Egypt • Politics • World
August 12th, 2013
01:56 AM ET

Clown mocks Obama at Missouri State Fair

A rodeo stunt at the Missouri State Fair has come under criticism after a clown donned a Barack Obama mask and stuck a broom up his backside.

The stunt took place during the bull riding competition on Saturday night.

Rodeo announcer Mark Ficken, president of the Missouri Cowboy Rodeo Association and a school superintendent, announced a special guest: "President Obama."

Working up the crowd, Ficken said, "We're going to stomp Obama now."

"As soon as this bull comes out, Obama, don't you move," he said. "He's going to getcha, getcha getcha, getcha."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • U.S.
August 6th, 2013
03:32 PM ET

George W. Bush gets heart stent

Former President George W. Bush, 67, underwent a procedure Tuesday morning to have a stent placed in his heart one day after a blockage was discovered in an artery, according to a statement from his office.

In the statement released by Bush's spokesman, the procedure was "performed successfully," without complication, at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas.

"President Bush is in high spirits, eager to return home tomorrow and resume his normal schedule on Thursday. He is grateful to the skilled medical professionals who have cared for him," the statement read.

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Filed under: George W. Bush • Politics
August 6th, 2013
04:05 AM ET

U.S. senators out to break Egyptian stalemate

For 35 days and counting, it's been the Muslim Brotherhood against Egypt's military-backed interim government.

Now, two U.S. senators - Republicans John McCain and Lindsay Graham - are playing the role of referee, meeting with both camps to press for a quick return to civilian life.

McCain and Graham are expected to meet with government officials Tuesday. They'll also met separately with the Muslim Brotherhood another time.

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Filed under: Politics • World
August 5th, 2013
03:55 AM ET

San Diego Mayor Filner to enter counseling

This is the day San Diego Mayor Bob Filner enters a behavior counseling clinic for two weeks of what he describes as intensive therapy.

The 70-year-old is battling a tide of sexual harrassment allegations, and is hoping that voluntarily subjecting himself to the counseling will quell the mounting calls for his resignation.

He has repeatedly said he'll not leave the office he was elected to barely eight months ago.

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Filed under: Politics • U.S.
August 4th, 2013
12:06 AM ET

Threat prompts U.S. to close embassies

Fears that al Qaeda may launch attacks in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond in the coming days prompted the United States to close 22 embassies and consulates for a day Sunday - an unprecedented move.

The closures Sunday stretch across a swath of North Africa and the Middle East, from Mauritania to Oman.

Bangladesh and Afghanistan, both majority Muslim nations, also are affected.

Normally, Sunday is the start of the work week in those countries.

The shutdowns could extend beyond Sunday, a senior State Department official said.

A U.S. global travel alert is also in place.

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Filed under: Politics • U.S. • World
Lawmakers press FBI on Benghazi attack
A man holds a rifle outside the burning U.S. consulate compound in Benghazi in September 2012.
July 31st, 2013
10:48 PM ET

Lawmakers press FBI on Benghazi attack

A Republican lawmaker demanded Wednesday to know why investigators have not captured or killed any of the suspects in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, pointing out that CNN was able to find a man who some say was the ringleader in the assault that left the ambassador and three other Americans dead.

Eight GOP lawmakers are asking that incoming FBI Director James Comey brief Congress within 30 days about the investigation. They say the administration's inquiry into the September 11, 2011, attacks in Libya has been "simply unacceptable," according to a draft letter obtained by CNN.

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Filed under: Libya • Politics
Egypt coup: Some shocked, some elated
A man with his face painted in Egyptian colors celebrates in Tahrir Square.
July 4th, 2013
12:19 AM ET

Egypt coup: Some shocked, some elated

  • Today, Egypt swore in an interim president, Adly Mansour
  • Deposed President Mohamed Morsy remains under house arrest
  • The Muslim Brotherhood says Morsy is cut off from communications
  • Tahrir Square is quiet, and some protesters are making plans to clean up the trash there
  • Refresh this page for the latest news we're seeing and hearing. Catch up with our full story here.

[Update 7:00 a.m. ET, 1:00 p.m. in Egypt] ...250...the number of arrest warrants for Muslim Brotherhood members in connection with killings in front of MB headquarters, which came under attack days ago.  Egypt's new prosecutor general, who Morsy had deposed, issued the warrants.

Muslim Brotherhood headquarters after they were attack.

[Updated at 6:50 a.m. ET, 12:50 p.m. in Egypt] Bahrain's King al-Khalifa, who has had to deal with his own popular uprising, enthusiastically congratulated interim President Adly Mansour "on taking over the reins of power in Egypt at this important time in history."  Iran's state-run Mehr News Agency gave Morsy a kick over his religious orientation on his way out: "Sunni Morsi immediately turned into a critical figure against the Iranian Shia government and has not allowed Iran to appoint an ambassador in Cairo."

[Updated at 5:28 a.m. ET, 11:28 a.m. in Egypt] Mansour says the Egyptian people have empowered him to "amend and correct" the revolution.

[Updated at 5:28 a.m. ET, 11:28 a.m. in Egypt] Who is interim President Adly Mansour?  His low-key demeanor might be the very reason the military picked him, analysts say. CNN's Faith Karimi explains.

[Updated at 5:11 a.m. ET, 11:11 a.m. in Egypt] Mansour appears before Egypt's assembly, prepares to speak.

[Updated at 5:11 a.m. ET, 11:11 a.m. in Egypt] Did Morsy's personal style rub Egyptians the wrong way and contribute to his downfall? Read this portrait of the deposed president by CNN's Laura Smith-Spark.

Also, "coup" or no "coup?" CNN's Christian Amanpour does not mince words:

[Updated at 4:50 a.m. ET, 10:50 a.m. in Egypt] Reactions have been pouring in from world leaders. Most of them are along the same lines: carefully formulated, and express respect for the will of the Egyptian people. Among the countries that have sent in reactions are Morocco, Jordan ....

[Updated at 4:38 a.m. ET, 10:38 a.m. in Egypt] CNN's Ian Lee reporting in front of the high court: This is the same place, where Mosry was installed just a year ago.

[Updated at 4:34 a.m. ET, 10:34 a.m. in Egypt] Mansour remains chief justice, as well, Egyptian state TV reports.

[Updated at 4:28 a.m. ET, 10:28 a.m. in Egypt]  Interim Egyptian President Adly Mansour was sworn in in Cairo.

[Updated at 4:16 a.m. ET, 10:16 a.m. in Egypt] Two leading figures of the Muslim Brotherhood were arrested today, Egytian state radio reports. The former speaker of parliament and a member of the party's executive office were taken to Cairo's Torah prison.

[Updated at 4:10 a.m. ET, 10:10 a.m. in Egypt] Today, the European Union called on Egypt to go down the path of democracy, human rights and non-violence.  Its head of foreign affairs and security, Catherine Ashton, said:

"I welcome the peaceful manner in which most demonstrations have been conducted thus far, but I find continuing cases of sexual abuse of female protesters deeply troubling. I urge all sides to show restraint.... Confrontation cannot be a solution."

[Updated at 3:53 a.m. ET, 9:53 a.m. in Egypt]  Egypt's military has arrested Morsy and other members of the Muslim Brotherhood. It shut down pro-MB broadcasters and raided al Jazeera's Cairo office after it aired a statement by the deposed president.  Then army leaders say today that the military will protect Islamists from attacks and intimidation, state-run Nile TV reports.  And they say they will not shut any factions out of political life.  That brings up an interesting question:

[Updated at 2:52 a.m. ET, 8:52 a.m. in Egypt] Human Rights Watch weighs in on what the Muslim Brotherhood should do next:

[Updated at 2:41 a.m. ET, 8:41 a.m. in Egypt] Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has said he is concerned about stability in Egypt but also respects the will of the people. He hopes Egypt will exit the current crisis stronger.

[Updated at 2:28 a.m. ET, 8:28 a.m. in Egypt]  Health officials say 32 people were killed in clashes in Egypt yesterday.

[Updated at 2:10 a.m. ET, 8:10 a.m. in Egypt] This is a statement from the UAE, which says it is "following with satisfaction" the developments in Egypt. In the UAE, the Muslim Brotherhood is a banned organization.

"H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said that the UAE has full confidence that the great people of Egypt will be able to overcome the current difficult moments that the country is experiencing in order to reach a safe and prosperous future. ...

"His Highness added that the great Egyptian army proves, once again, that it is the strong shield and the protector that guarantees that the country is a land of institutions and law that embraces all the components of the Egyptian people."

[Updated at 1:52 a.m. ET, 7:52 a.m. in Egypt] Instagram has put together a collection of the best photos and videos by its users.  View here

View this post on Instagram

#egypt revolts

A post shared by Aisha ✨ عائشة (@aishaalshabrawy) on

(from @AishaalShabrawy)

[Updated at 1:45 a.m. ET, 7:45 a.m. in Egypt] Morsy deprived the opposition of a political process, activist Ahmed El Hawary told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "We don't have - we didn't have any outlets or anyway to be heard unless we go down to the streets and chant our demands, and even though, he ignored us."

[Updated at 1:27 a.m. ET, 7:27 a.m. in Egypt] A popular image on the photo social media site Imgur, allegedly from Egypt.

[Updated at 12:19 a.m. ET Thursday, 6:19 a.m. in Egypt] Welcome to Thursday's Egypt live blog.  With Mohamed Morsy out of power, some of his opponents are making plans to clean up Tahrir Square, while his supporters say they will protest until he is reinstated as president.  CNN's Ben Wedeman, a veteran journalist, who was long based in Cairo, warns that there will likely be no calm after the storm of recent protests.

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Filed under: Arab Spring • Egypt • Elizabeth Warren
June 24th, 2013
02:30 AM ET

U.S. urges Russia to expel Snowden

Washington is urging Moscow to send Edward Snowden back to the United States instead of letting him fly to Ecuador for asylum.

"We expect the Russian government to look at all options available to expel Mr. Snowden back to the U.S. to face justice for the crimes with which he is charged," U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said early Monday.

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Filed under: National security • Politics • Russia • Security • U.S.
June 22nd, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Kerry, key allies in Qatar for talks on Syrian rebels' support

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Qatar early Saturday for meetings with his Western and Mideast counterparts who support Syrian rebels struggling to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

The diplomatic group, known as the London Eleven, is meeting in Doha to help shift the balance of power on the Syrian battlefield away from al-Assad and into the hands of his enemies.

But they are up against support for his government by Russia, China, Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.

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Filed under: John Kerry • Qatar • Syria • Uncategorized • World Update
June 17th, 2013
03:15 AM ET

Russia, U.S. to square off over Syria

Not long after the United States said it will start arming Syrian rebels, Syria's longtime ally Russia fired back by saying the move supports those "who kill their enemies and eat their organs."

The latest dispute sets a riveting backdrop to the Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland on Monday, where the Syrian civil war will likely top the agenda among eight of the world's most powerful countries.

On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin and U.S. President Barack Obama will meet one-on-one to discuss the war that has now killed more than 92,000 people - including thousands of children.

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • Russia • Syria • U.S. • Vladimir Putin • World
Obama taps Susan Rice as next national security adviser
June 5th, 2013
02:25 PM ET

Obama taps Susan Rice as next national security adviser

[Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced he was bringing longtime confidante Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador caught up in political controversy over the Benghazi terrorist attack, to the White House to succeed Tom Donilon as national security adviser.

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Filed under: Politics
Christie: Special election to fill Senate seat
June 4th, 2013
03:16 PM ET

Christie: Special election to fill Senate seat

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for a special election this year to replace Frank Lautenberg, the longtime Democratic senator who died early Monday.

Christie set the primary date as August 13, and said a general election vote will be held October 16. He'll name an interim senator by next week to serve until the special election.

"We must allow our citizens to have their say," Christie said, noting the time between now and the 2014 election would have been too long for an unelected replacement to hold the seat.

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Filed under: New Jersey • Politics
First on CNN: House investigators questioning IRS Cincinnati workers
May 30th, 2013
02:51 PM ET

First on CNN: House investigators questioning IRS Cincinnati workers

House investigators are interviewing two front-line Internal Revenue Service employees from the Cincinnati tax exempt office this week in Washington, and plan to interview two others next week, two congressional sources familiar with the investigation tell CNN.

House investigators are hoping these IRS employees will shed light on exactly why tea party and other conservative groups were inappropriately targeted for excess scrutiny when applying for tax exempt status.

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Filed under: Politics
Suspicious letter for Obama intercepted
A letter addressed to the White House was similar to threatening letters sent to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
May 30th, 2013
02:07 PM ET

Suspicious letter for Obama intercepted

Officials intercepted Thursday a letter addressed to the White House that was similar to threatening letters sent to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a group he founded.

The off-site facility that screens mail addressed to the White House turned the letter over to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force for testing and investigation, U.S. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said.

A U.S. law enforcement official said the letter was addressed to President Obama.

The letters sent to Bloomberg and his group are suspected of containing poison. Preliminary tests indicate ricin was found in the letters, New York Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said Wednesday. Officials have not said whether any such substance was found in the letter sent to the White House.

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Filed under: Crime • Politics
IRS official takes the 5th at congressional hearing
Lois Lerner leaves the House Oversight Committee's hearing Wednesday after refusing to answer the panel's questions.
May 22nd, 2013
10:55 AM ET

IRS official takes the 5th at congressional hearing

An Internal Revenue Service official who headed the division involved in targeting conservative groups invoked her constitutional right against self-incrimination Wednesday and refused to answer questions from a congressional committee.

Lois Lerner read a statement at a House Oversight Committee hearing that declared she did nothing wrong and broke no laws before saying she would not answer any questions.

"I have not done anything wrong. I have not broken any laws. I have not violated any IRS rules and regulations," Lerner said, adding that she never misled or lied to Congress, as contended by some legislators.

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Filed under: Politics
May 17th, 2013
02:33 PM ET

Ousted IRS chief: No intentional political targeting

A huge increase in workload, rather than deliberate targeting, led to "foolish mistakes" and the political discrimination in the Internal Revenue Service cited by an inspector general's report, the agency's outgoing commissioner said Friday.

The testimony by Steven Miller, who was forced to announce his resignation this week as acting IRS commissioner, came at the first congressional hearing on the matter that has put President Barack Obama's administration on the defensive.

Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the Republican-led panel, and other GOP members sought to depict the controversy as indicative of government gone wild, with the IRS abusing conservative groups and other political foes of the administration.

"This kind of reconfirms that, you know what, they can do anything they want to anybody they want any time they want," GOP Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania said about the IRS.

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Filed under: Politics
IRS leader ousted amid scandal
Obama said, "Americans have a right to be angry about it, and I'm angry about it,"
May 15th, 2013
09:30 PM ET

IRS leader ousted amid scandal

President Barack Obama vowed Wednesday to hold accountable those at the Internal Revenue Service involved in the targeting of conservative groups applying for federal tax-exempt status, beginning with the resignation of the agency's acting commissioner who was aware of the practice.

In a brief statement delivered to reporters in the East Room of the White House, the president announced that Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had requested - and accepted - the resignation of acting IRS Commissioner Steven T. Miller.

The president said the "misconduct" detailed in the IRS Inspector General's report released Tuesday over the singling out of conservative groups is "inexcusable."

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Politics • Tea Party
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