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Trump: 'Wasn't aware' of meetings...Trump touts defense boost...Two Oscars accountants get protection

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — President Donald Trump says he "wasn't aware" that his attorney general — former Sen. Jeff Sessions — had contact with the Russian ambassador during last year's White House campaign. Trump made the comment in Newport News, Virginia, before giving a speech aboard the USS Gerald Ford. Sessions spoke twice with Russia's ambassador to the United States during the campaign. Those conversations appear to contradict Sessions' testimony to Congress during his confirmation hearings. Some Democrats are demanding that Sessions resign over the contact, while other Democrats and some Republicans say Sessions should step aside from a federal investigation into Russian interference in the election.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) — Aboard a next-generation Naval aircraft, President Donald Trump has vowed to carry out "one of the largest" defense spending increases in history. Wearing an olive-green military jacket and a blue cap, Trump today said, "Hopefully it's power we don't have to use, but if we do, they're in big, big trouble." He spoke from the Gerald R. Ford. It's a nearly $13 billion warship that is expected to be commissioned this year after cost overruns and delays. The president also toured the carrier and met with sailors and military leaders.

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Attorneys for four Kansas school districts that are suing the state to increase school funding say a new ruling from the state Supreme Court will require a funding boost of at least $800 million per year. The Kansas Supreme Court ruled today that the state isn't spending enough money on its schools to provide a suitable education to every child, which the state constitution requires. The justices did not set a specific figure for how much more the state must spend a year.

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The fire chief in a rural Oregon town says a house fire that killed four children and critically burned three other people was caused by a portable space heater. The family bought the space heater to stay warm until they could get the fireplace repaired. Four children ages 4 to 13 died in the blaze. Two adults and a 13-year-old are in critical condition at a Portland hospital.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A spokeswoman for the PwC auditing firm says the company has hired protection for the two accountants responsible for the best-picture flub at the Oscars. The spokesman says the company is providing security to Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz. They are the accountants who mishandled the winners' envelopes at Sunday's 89th Academy Awards. The film academy says they won't be allowed to work at future Academy Awards ceremonies. PwC says it hired security for the two partners after their home addresses and photos of their family members were published in the media. The company says Cullinan and Ruiz made "a series of mistakes" and failed to follow established backstage protocols.

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