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US Rep. John Ratcliffe to replace Dan Coats as national intelligence director

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President Donald Trump is said to have been pleased by the Texas Republican’s admonishment of former special counsel Robert Mueller in last week’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.

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President Donald Trump said he will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe, a Heath Republican, to replace Dan Coats as director of national intelligence.

Axios broke the news, citing sources who said Trump was thrilled by Ratcliffe’s admonishment of former Special Counsel Robert Mueller in last week’s House Judiciary Committee hearing.

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“The special counsel’s job, nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence or that the special counsel report should determine whether or not to exonerate him,” Ratcliffe said to Mueller during that hearing. He argued that Mueller went beyond his bounds by making clear the investigation didn’t exonerate the president.

Ratcliffe, a former federal prosecutor first elected in 2014, was mayor of Heath before successfully challenging the late Ralph Hall, R-Rockwall, then the dean of the Texas delegation. This isn’t the first time Ratcliffe has been said to be under consideration for a position in this administration. In November, he was on a short list of possible replacements for fired U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

He is also a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

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Axios was followed by several other outlets, including the New York Times, in reporting that Coats is expected to step down soon. Coats has spent his tenure in the administration at odds with the president. The president’s followed that wave of reports.

Assuming Ratcliffe passes Senate confirmation, a special election will take place to succeed him in Congress. His 4th District stretches from the Dallas suburbs east to Texarkana. It is almost certain to stay in the Republican column.

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BY ALANA ROCHA

Abby Livingston also contributed to this story.

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Jay-Z files second civil lawsuit against Mississippi prison for ‘barbaric’ treatment of inmates

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Alleging "barbaric" conditions, rapper and record executive Jay-Z has filed a lawsuit against the Mississippi Department of Corrections on behalf of 152 inmates, The Guardian reports.

The lawsuit states that Parchman prison is responsible for "abhorrent conditions, abuse and constant violence, inadequate health care and mental health care, and overuse of isolation," adding that "the people confined at Parchman live a miserable and hopeless existence confronted daily by imminent risk of substantial harm in violation of their rights under the US Constitution."

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Scottish lawmaker: Reasonable grounds to suspect Trump or his associates ‘have been involved in serious crime’

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A Member of the Scottish Parliament is asking his fellow ministers to investigate President Donald Trump’s deals through which he acquired his properties in Scotland, including Trump’s two multi-million dollar losing golf courses. President Trump prizes his Turnberry, Scotland  resort, but reports that the American president is using the U.S. federal government to help keep it afloat have dogged him.

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Florida woman zips boyfriend into suitcase and lets him suffocate: police

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A Florida woman zipped her boyfriend into a suitcase and recorded video as he suffocated to death, police said.

Sarah Boone was arrested on second-degree murder charges in the death of Jorge Torres Jr., who died inside a suitcase during an apparent domestic dispute, reported WESH-TV.

The 42-year-old Boone told police that she had been drinking chardonnay with Torres, who she said agreed to climb into the suitcase and be zipped inside as a joke.

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