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Sessions off Russia probes...Pence private email...GOP senator: "Secret" healthcare plane

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 2, 2017 at 9:50 p.m.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Any Justice Department investigations into Russian interference in the presidential campaign won't be led by the nation's top law enforcement official. That's because Attorney General Jeff Sessions has removed himself after bipartisan demands for a recusal. Sessions failed to disclose to lawmakers despite being pressed that he had met twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign. He told reporters at a hastily called news conference that he "should have slowed down" and said that he "did 'meet with one Russian official a couple of times.'" President Donald Trump blames Democrats. Some of them are calling for Sessions to resign and the appointment of a special prosecutor.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Add President Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner to the list of aides and campaign officials who have met with Russia's ambassador to the U.S. A White House official says Kushner, and Michael Flynn, who would become national security adviser, met with the ambassador in New York at Trump Tower. Flynn was fired last month because he misled Vice President Mike Pence and other officials about his contacts with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The December meeting involving Flynn and Kushner is being called "a brief courtesy meeting."

WASHINGTON (AP) — The top Republican and Democrat on the House intelligence committee have conflicting takes on a closed-door briefing with FBI Director James Comey on Russian activities during the presidential election. Chairman Devin Nunes says Comey was "forthright" and that the meeting was a "good first step." But Democrat Adam Schiff says the FBI is stonewalling the committee and it will have to contemplate subpoenas. Despite differing views about the briefing, Nunes says the committee is moving forward in bipartisan fashion.

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the vice-presidential candidate, Mike Pence frequently criticized rival Hillary Clinton for using a private email server. Now a newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, is reporting that Pence used a private email account to conduct public business as Indiana's governor. The paper cites public records.. Pence's AOL account was subjected to a phishing scheme last spring. His contacts were sent an email falsely claiming that the governor and his wife were stranded in the Philippines and needed money. A spokesman says any comparison to Clinton's emails is "absurd."

WASHINGTON (AP) — Maverick GOP senator Rand Paul has staged a made-for-TV style scavenger hunt to fight what he considers to be a desertion from a complete repeal of the Affordable Care Act. With cameras in tow, Paul was denied entry to a ground floor room in the House where he said a draft reform proposal to be unveiled next week is being shown to some lawmakers. Paul declared it "the secret office for the secret bill." An aide to Rep. Cathy McMorriss Rogers later said Paul was standing outside her office, not a hideaway for clandestine legislation.

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