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Trump to visit Utah next week, expected to announce land decision

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President Donald Trump is set to visit Utah on Monday and is expected to announce his decision on whether to reduce the size of two national monuments where drilling and mining are banned, an administration official said on Tuesday.

Trump is expected shrink the Bears Ears National Monument, set aside by former Democratic President Barack Obama, and the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, preserved by former Democratic President Bill Clinton. The trip was first reported by the Salt Lake Tribune.

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Trump has pushed to roll back regulations that prevent development. To that end, he had ordered a review of the size of 27 monuments: land with cultural, historical or scientific importance preserved from development by past presidents under the Antiquities Act.

Last month, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said Trump would travel to Utah in early December, and U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, said Trump would reduce the size of the monuments.

Industry groups like the oil lobbying organization the American Petroleum Institute have said in the past that both Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante were unfairly designated as monuments and needed to be reviewed.

The decision is expected to touch off a legal battle with environmental groups and Native American tribes.

(Reporting by Steve Holland and Roberta Rampton; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Chinese fans grieve for NBA superstar Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

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NBA star Kobe Bryant's death triggered an outpouring of grief on Monday in China, where he was beloved by fans, with a hashtag of the news drawing more than a billion views.

Nine people were killed in a helicopter crash including Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Los Angeles officials confirmed on Sunday.

Basketball is arguably the most popular sport in China, and Bryant -- a five-time NBA champion who blogged for Chinese internet giant SINA in 2009 -- was among the first American stars to garner a large fan base in the country.

He remained popular in China after his retirement in 2016, frequently engaging via social media with Chinese fans.

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Bolton’s firsthand evidence puts senators in the difficult position of believing ‘bizarro’ Trump team argument: Legal experts

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Former Acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal and Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe agreed that the recent revelations from John Bolton, puts Republicans in a difficult position. Bolton's manuscript confirmed that President Donald Trump's bribery scheme puts senators in the difficult position of being faced with firsthand witnesses they've tried to block.

Republicans were given multiple opportunities to agree that they would like to hear witnesses and new evidence as part of the impeachment trial in the Senate, but each time, they voted against it. But with the news Bolton released Sunday night, it forces senators to acknowledge they deny even firsthand evidence of Trump's guilt.

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Democratic senator says she gets more ‘disheartened’ every day hearing GOP deny evidence and witnesses

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Day after day, Republicans senators find new excuses to dismiss the evidence they hear that in any courtroom would convict an ordinary American citizen. It was enough to make normally happy Sen. Debbie Stabenow (R-MI) feel "disheartened" by the whole process.

"As somebody from Michigan, we believe in commonsense, and you can't look at all this and say, 'is this how somebody would act if they were innocent?'" said Stabenow. "And you can't look at this and say, 'Is this how somebody would act if they were innocent?' All of this coming out over and over again. I'll never forget Adam Schiff on the floor saying to all of us, 'Nobody's saying, well, gosh, Donald Trump would never do that.' The truth is it's all about will he get away with it? It's all about, are they going to be successful in hiding it and so on?"

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