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LAPD officers accused of raping women while on duty

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Two Los Angeles Police Department officers have been charged with repeated sexual assaults on four women while on duty in their squad car and elsewhere, prosecutors and police said on Wednesday.

The veteran officers, James Nichols, 44, and his partner, Luis Valenzuela, 43, were arrested on Wednesday and were slated to be arraigned on Thursday, with prosecutors expected to ask that bail be set at nearly $4 million for each man, according to the district attorney’s office.

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An 18-count criminal complaint filed on Tuesday charges both officers with numerous instances of forcible rape, rape by threat to arrest or deportation, sexual battery and forcible oral copulation, among other offenses.

The complaint says the two were armed during the majority of the alleged assaults and that most occurred while they were on duty. Valenzuela was also charged with one count of assault with a firearm for allegedly pointing a gun at one of the victims.

If convicted, the two men each face a maximum sentence of life in prison, the district attorney’s office said. They have been suspended without pay since 2013, according to police.

The four women, who were not identified, had all been arrested at various times by Nichols and Valenzuela during drug busts, the D.A.’s office said in a statement.

They ranged in age from 19 to 34 at the time of the alleged assaults, which according to prosecutors began in December 2008 and continued through March 2011.

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Prosecutors said both men had been assigned to the LAPD’s Hollywood division before they were relieved of duty.

“Any officer that abuses the public’s trust is not welcome in the LAPD and we will continue vigorously investigating officers accused of alleged crimes and cooperate fully with the district attorney’s office,” police Chief Charlie Beck said in a statement.

The Los Angeles Times reported in 2013 that Nichols and Valenzuela were narcotics officers under investigation for allegations that they sexually assaulted at least four women they had arrested or used as informants.

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The Times cited a search warrant affidavit as alleging that after coercing the women to get into their squad car with threats of jail, the officers drove their victims to secluded areas where one would demand sex while the other kept watch. The affidavit said that in other cases, the men acted alone.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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CNN

Trump is terrified that Russian interference is ‘undercutting his legitimacy’: ex-DNI lawyer

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," Robert Litt, the former general counsel to the Director of National Intelligence, cut to the heart of President Donald Trump's fury over the ongoing reports Russia is planning to intervene to rig the presidential election in his favor.

"Why do you think he refuses to accept the intelligence, and now, by his behavior and this coincidence that is not a coincidence, seems to be having the same reaction again?" asked host Erin Burnett.

"Well, I don't want to go into psychoanalyzing the president, but it's pretty clear that he views the possibility that the Russians attempted to influence the election on his behalf is undercutting his legitimacy in some respect," said Litt. "He's working backwards from that conclusion to talk about the facts ... this has been a consistent pattern all along of denial of what the intelligence community is finding."

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2020 Election

WATCH LIVE: Donald Trump holds 2020 reelection rally in Colorado Springs

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Donald Trump was late to take the stage at a campaign rally in Colorado Springs after a bombshell report that Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin was one of the president's 2020 supporters.

Trump was scheduled to begin speaking at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time at the Broadmoor World Arena, which has a capacity of 8,000. Trump took the stage 25 minutes later.

The rally is seen as a thank you for Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), who voted to acquit the commander-in-chief following the Senate impeachment trial.

Garner is facing a tough re-election in 2020 in a state that has been trending Democratic.

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Internet explodes over news that Putin is planning to sabotage the election for Trump — yet again

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On Thursday, The New York Times revealed that Russian President Vladimir Putin is prepared to interfere in the 2020 presidential election to help President Donald Trump win a second term — and that Trump's first reaction was outrage that House Democrats had been briefed on the matter.

The news was met with horror and outrage on social media:

Republicans keep blocking election security bills in the Senate, and now we know why:

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