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Suspect in Pittsburgh synagogue massacre due in court on Monday

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The man accused of a Pittsburgh synagogue shooting rampage that killed 11 people during Sabbath prayers was due to be arraigned in federal court on Monday, charged with dozens of offenses including murder and hate crimes.

Robert Bowers, who had frequently posted anti-Semitic slurs and conspiracy theories online, is accused of bursting into the Tree of Life synagogue on Oct. 27 armed with three handguns and a semi-automatic rifle, then firing on congregants as he shouted “All Jews must die.” The shooting in the heart of the city’s heavily Jewish Squirrel Hill neighborhood marked the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.

Bowers, a 46-year-old former truck driver, could face the death penalty if convicted.

He pleaded not guilty in November to 44 initial counts, including using a firearm to commit murder and obstruction of religious exercise resulting in death. On Jan. 29, a federal grand jury indicted Bowers on 19 additional charges, including hate crime violations.

Among those killed were a 97-year-old woman, two brothers in their 50s and a married couple in their 80s. Two civilians and five police officers were wounded before the suspect was shot by police and surrendered.

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On the day of the attack, Bowers, a Pittsburgh resident, said online, “I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

The attack followed a wave of politically motivated pipe bombs mailed to prominent Democrats and heightened national tensions ahead of November’s midterm congressional elections.

It also fueled a national debate over the rhetoric of U.S. President Donald Trump, who critics say contributed to a surge in white nationalist and neo-Nazi activity. The Trump administration has rejected the notion he has encouraged far-right extremists who have embraced him.

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Reporting by Chriss Swaney; Additional reporting and writing by Jackie Botts; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected]. Send news tips to: [email protected].
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Gun ownership increases homicides — but only a very specific kind of them: study

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Does the frequency of gun ownership impact the homicide rate? In the broad sense, many studies have shown it does. But how does it do so exactly?

A new study, conducted at the University of Indianapolis and published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, offers a profound hint. The study, which examined homicide rates by state from 1990 to 2016, suggests that most forms of homicide — those committed against friends, acquaintances, and strangers — are negligibly affected by firearm ownership rates. But one particular category of homicide is sharply correlated with the presence of guns: domestic violence.

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DOJ censors Mueller ahead of highly-anticipated congressional testimony

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Claims 'Presidential Privilege'

President Donald Trump's Dept. of Justice is censoring former Special Counsel Robert Mueller ahead of his highly-anticipated congressional testimony Wednesday.

According to Politico the Trump DOJ is claiming anything outside of what is already published in the special counsel's 448-page report falls under "presidential privilege" and cannot be used during his testimony.

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Conservatives are furious over Trump’s budget deal with Democrats — president brags about ‘real compromise’

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Nancy Pelosi clap

House conservatives are livid after President Donald Trump struck a budget deal with Democrats.

"You should veto this bill because it is fiscally irresponsible," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to Trump. "It blows well beyond what was intended with the 2011 [Budget Control Act] caps. Furthermore, it continues spending hundreds of billions more than what we take in a year and does not put our nation on a path towards a balanced budget."

The effort is being driven by first-term Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX).

"As the greatest nation in the history of the world, the least we can do is cut a deal that does not sabotage the fiscal future of our nation while endangering millions of American and migrants because of our porous border," the lawmakers wrote. "We can do better."

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