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AG nominee William Barr says Trump has never discussed Mueller investigation with him

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President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general, William Barr, told U.S. lawmakers in written comments released on Monday he would not taken any steps to improperly fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller and said Trump has never discussed the substance of Mueller’s Russia investigation with him.

Barr’s written comments were made in response to questions posed by members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which on Tuesday is due to vote on whether to endorse his nomination and send it to the full U.S. Senate for a confirmation vote.

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“The President has not asked me my views about any aspect of the investigation, and he has not asked me about what I would do about anything in the investigation,” Barr wrote in response to questions posed by Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy.

Barr, who previously served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush, has come under criticism from Democrats over a memo he sent to Justice Department and White House officials last year that called Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump committed obstruction of justice “fatally misconceived.”

If confirmed by the Senate, Barr would oversee Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign conspired with Russia. Trump has denied any such collusion and has called Mueller’s probe a witch hunt.

In his confirmation hearing this month, Barr told lawmakers he will let Mueller complete his work and pledged to make as many details of Mueller’s findings public as he can, once the probe is completed. He also said during his hearing and in his written responses he has no plans to overhaul Justice Department regulations so Mueller could be fired at will. Under current rules, Mueller can only be fired for misconduct or other wrongdoing.

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“I would not countenance changing the existing regulations for the purpose of removing Special Counsel Mueller without good cause,” Barr wrote to the senators.

Some Democrats have questioned whether Barr should recuse himself from overseeing the investigation because of his comments in the memo.

Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; Editing by Will Dunham

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Salman Rushdie’s latest book has a Trump-like character ‘slightly off his head and confused about reality’

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Author Salman Rushdie's new book explores the questioning of reality itself. Though he never mentions President Donald Trump's name, it may as well be a fictional description of struggling America.

"There were no rules anymore. And in the Age-of-Anything-Can-Happen, well, anything could happen. Old friends could become new enemies and traditional enemies could be your new besties or even lovers. It was no longer possible to predict the weather, or the likelihood of war, or the outcomes of elections," Ayman Mohyeldin read from Rushdie's Quichotte.

Rushdie said that the last thing he wanted was to give Trump the satisfaction of having his name immortalized in a book.

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Beto O’Rourke looks to reactivate suburban strength in Texas to help Democrats win

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The photo line for Beto O’Rourke here Saturday afternoon quickly turned into something of a reunion.

“Hey, I know who you are!" a characteristically sweat-drenched O'Rourke told one supporter. After talking to another, O'Rourke yelled out to an aide: "Hey, someone who worked on the campaign wants to be plugged in again!"

The vibe was similar a day later in Plano, where O'Rourke rallied in front of signs reading, "Welcome to Beto Country," serving up nostalgia from his near-miss loss to U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz last year. He said the Senate race was the "only reason" he got to run for president, touting the support he built in Collin, Denton, Tarrant and Dallas counties before getting drowned out by cheers.

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Corey Lewandowski may use Judiciary Committee hearing to launch New Hampshire Senate run

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Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski will appear before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday to answer questions about incidents outlined in special counsel Robert Mueller's report. But he may use the appearance as a way to launch his New Hampshire Senate run.

Axios reported Sunday that the former top aide to President Donald Trump is eager for a fiery exchange between him and Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and other Democrats.

“Corey will use [the hearing] as part of the campaign. He will be confrontational to the Democrats. He will be totally loyal to Trump. And he will be playing to the right-wing of the party who need to unite behind him in a primary," said former New Hampshire Attorney General Thomas Rath.

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