WASHINGTON — A powerful Senate committee has given the Justice Department until Thursday to disclose whether it’s investigating reported Ukrainian efforts in the 2016 election on behalf of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

If Justice says it’s not investigating the allegations, the Senate Judiciary Committee’s chairman wants to know why they’re not.

“Are you investigating the Ukrainian government’s intervention in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of the Clinton campaign?” reads the letter from Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. “If not, why not?”

It’s also the third such congressional Republican effort in the last week aimed at launching, or reopening, investigations into Clinton’s campaign. House Judiciary Committee Republicans formally requested documents relating to the FBI’s campaign investigation and 20 committee GOP members sent a seven-page letter to Justice asking a special counsel be named for a Clinton probe. Justice has not responded.

These efforts follow President Donald Trump’s repeated public scolding of his own attorney general as well GOP lawmakers for not investigating Clinton while allowing an investigation of his campaign’s ties to Moscow to deepen.

Ukraine was quick to deny any efforts to interfere in the election.

—McClatchy Washington Bureau


Gianforte to fulfill community service with Montana nonprofit

WASHINGTON — Montana Rep. Greg Gianforte will fulfill his court-ordered community service with a nonprofit that builds wheelchairs for children.

Gianforte infamously body-slammed a Guardian journalist the day before the special election in Montana in May to replace former Rep. Ryan Zinke, who now heads the Department of the Interior. Despite this, the Republican candidate would go on to beat Democrat Rob Quist.

A Gallatin County judge sentenced Gianforte to 20 hours of anger management counseling and 40 hours of community service after he plead guilty.

Gianforte will conduct his community service with a group called ROC Wheels, which builds custom wheelchairs for children around the world, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

Director of Gallatin County Court Services Steve Ette told the newspaper that ROC Wheels will determine how his hours will be spent.

Gianforte has until Nov. 28 to complete both his community service hours.

—CQ Roll Call


Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio found guilty of criminal contempt

Joe Arpaio, the Arizona lawman who once proclaimed himself to be “America’s Toughest Sheriff” and was largely praised by conservatives for his hard-line policing tactics, was found guilty Monday of criminal contempt, bringing his tenure as a relentless crusader against illegal immigration to an end.

More than a month after lawyers wrapped up closing arguments, U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton found Arpaio guilty for defying a judge’s 2011 court order to refrain from racially profiling Latinos during patrols.

The 85-year-old is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 5 and could face up to six months in jail.

Arpaio served six terms as sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County before losing re-election last November.

—Los Angeles Times


US to launch yet another test missile from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base

LOS ANGELES — Days after North Korea fired a rocket into the Sea of Japan, the U.S. Air Force is planning to test launch an unarmed intercontinental ballistic missile Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base.

The unarmed Minuteman III missile will be launched between 12:01 and 6:01 a.m. PDT from the base, about 12 miles northwest of Lompoc, according to Vandenberg’s 30th Space Wing team.

The Air Force Global Strike Command’s missile launch is designed to test the weapon system’s effectiveness, accuracy and readiness, the Air Force said.

The test comes after North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile on Friday — the second in less than a month. The two-stage missile crashed off the coast of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido. Independent defense analysts say the missile may be capable of reaching California and other parts of the West Coast.

The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, said Monday that the Vandenberg test launch “must be viewed as a direct response to the North Korean launch.” The organization has called for diplomacy, not military provocations.


—Los Angeles Times

At least 2 killed in Islamic State attack on Iraq Embassy in Kabul

KABUL, Afghanistan — At least two people were confirmed dead after Islamic State militants attacked the Iraq Embassy in Kabul on Monday, as conflicting reports of fatalities emerged from official sources.

Wahidullah Majroh, a spokesman for the Afghan Public Health Ministry, told dpa that four people were killed and at least six others wounded in the attack, adding that the wounded were taken to hospitals across the city.

However, Najib Danish, a spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry said only two people, a male civilian and a female embassy employee, were killed, while three police officers were wounded.

Danish said only two attackers, including the suicide bomber, were involved.

His comments contradicted an earlier statement from the Interior Ministry, which said that four assailants were involved in the attack.

The statement also said that the Iraqi ambassador, his deputy and all embassy staff had been moved to a safe location and that none of the embassy staff was harmed.


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