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Baltimore primary voters back reform candidate for mayor after Freddie Gray unrest

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A Maryland state senator backing law enforcement reform won a narrow victory on Tuesday in the Democratic nominating contest for the mayor of Baltimore, as the city recovers a year after rioting sparked by a black man’s death in police custody.

The primary election in the mostly African-American city of 620,000 people comes as Baltimore residents confront rising violent crime and unrest sparked by the death of Freddie Gray in April, 2015.

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The incident stoked a simmering U.S. debate on treatment of minorities by law enforcement officers and prompted the current mayor to decline to seek re-election.

While the Republican Party and other parties also held primaries, the Democratic race’s winner almost certainly will win November’s general election because Democrats outnumber Republicans 10 to one in Baltimore, about 40 miles (60 km) northeast of Washington.

In the Democratic contest, state Senator Catherine Pugh, the chamber’s majority leader edged out former Mayor Sheila Dixon, 37 percent to 34 percent. Dixon was forced from office in 2010 for allegedly misappropriating gift cards for low-income families.

Pugh defeated a field of 13 Democrats vying for the nomination, including DeRay Mckesson, a nationally known activist with the Black Lives Matter movement that sprang up after police killings of minorities in U.S. cities.

Mckesson logged 12 percent of the vote.

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Pugh, Dixon, Mckesson and Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake are African-Americans. Pugh, who co-chaired a legislative working group on law enforcement reform, has called for greater accountability for Baltimore police and the use of mobile units to help residents find jobs.

Voters said they hoped the election would bring positive change to the port city. At 7.1 percent, Baltimore’s jobless rate is above the national average, and the city has been hit by a surge in murders.

“I think it’s a very important election. It’s time for change,” retiree Diane McCants, 67, said at a polling place in West Baltimore.

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Tyrone Forney, a 52-year-old voter in northeast Baltimore, said the mayor’s race was critical. “We need new faces, new ideas,” he said.

The onetime steelmaking city exploded into world headlines a year ago after Gray, 25, died from a broken neck suffered in police custody.

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His death sparked protests and a day of rioting. Six police officers – three black and three white – have been charged in Gray’s death.

Rawlings-Blake, the mayor since 2010, came under fire for her handling of the crisis. She said in September that she would not seek re-election.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington, Donna Owens in Baltimore and Victoria Cavaliere in New York; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Richard Pullin)

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Fox News reporter and right-wing conspiracy theorists planned to wiretap family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich: report

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The Daily Beast on Monday evening broke a bombshell report on a secret 2017 meeting in Texas on a right-wing conspiracy theory where espionage was discussed.

"One of their topics was responding to online critics of wealthy Texas businessman Ed Butowsky, who had recently been outed as a driving force behind a retracted Fox News story about murdered Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich," The Beast reported. "The group that gathered at Butowsky’s home included a conspiracy theorist, a Fox reporter fighting for her career, a former private intelligence contractor married to star journalist Lara Logan, and a Democratic PR operative who lost his business in the face of sexual assault allegations."

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Maddow breaks down potential ‘direct financial connection’ between the Russian government and Donald Trump

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow read bombshell excerpts from a new book set for release on Tuesday.

The host interviewed David Enrich, finance editor at The New York Times, about his forthcoming book Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction.

The host of "The Rachel Maddow Show" read excerpts from the book.

"There was no doubt that Deutsche Bank had extensive business dealings with Russia, and those dealings included acting as a conduit for dirty money to get out of Russia and into the western financial system," Enrich wrote.

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Congress still has one big tool left to rein in Trump’s corruption: Oversight Committee Democrat

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Senate Republicans may have managed to quash the impeachment trial without calling forth any new witnesses or seriously considering the evidence against President Donald Trump. And the president may feel vindicated and largely invulnerable as a result.

But, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday, that doesn't mean Democrats don't have one last big play to rein in the president's abuses of power. They can use the first and strongest authority delegated to them: the power of the purse.

"What can Democrats really do when it comes to oversight of the president?" asked Cooper. "I mean, now that impeachment is over, does seem like there are fewer and fewer guardrails, if any."

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