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It’s practically a dictionary definition to say that banks provide financial services. But when it comes to the new tax law, that’s not how the Treasury Department sees it.

Officials there have decided that nearly 2,000 banks are not financial services firms and therefore their owners qualify for a lower tax liability under the $1.5-trillion Republican tax-cut legislation that took effect Jan. 1.

The determination, sought by the banking industry, was one of dozens in 184 pages of proposed regulations issued this week by the Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service that will allow high-income owners to claim a new tax deduction as part of an expansive interpretation of who gets the break designed for so-called pass-through businesses.

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Keith Davidson, a former lawyer for Stormy Daniels.
Keith Davidson, a former lawyer for Stormy Daniels. (Heidi Gutman / ABC)

A former lawyer for Stormy Daniels dropped a defamation suit Thursday that he filed in June against the porn actress and her attorney Michael Avenatti.

The lawyer, Keith Davidson, negotiated a $130,000 payment in 2016 for Daniels in return for her silence about her alleged affair with Donald Trump.

Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, fired Davidson and replaced him with Avenatti.

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For senators facing reelection in November, the August recess is typically a frantic dash to squeeze in last-minute campaigning back home. And this year the window is even narrower because the summer break is shorter than usual.

Republicans need to keep control of the House to protect President Trump from the Russia investigation, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes said at a recent fundraiser, according to an audio recording released Wednesday.

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The U.S. on Wednesday cleared the way for a new round of sanctions against Russia after the State Department formally concluded that Moscow violated the international ban on chemical weapons with a nerve agent attack this year against a former Soviet spy and his daughter.

Republicans’ brush with defeat in an Ohio congressional district that President Trump easily won fit the nationwide pattern for special elections during his White House tenure: Democrats are faring far better than they did in 2016.

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions at an event July 13, 2018, in Portland, Maine.
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions at an event July 13, 2018, in Portland, Maine. (Robert F. Bukaty / AP)

Federal immigration judges filed a formal grievance Wednesday against Atty. General Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice, saying they want to stop federal law enforcement officials from interfering with their autonomy. 

The complaint from the National Assn. of Immigration Judges comes after Sessions removed Judge Steven Morley from a high-profile immigration case in July and replaced him with another judge who ordered the immigrant at the center of the proceedings swiftly deported.

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  • Congress
Rashida Tlaib outside the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, Mich., in 2008.
Rashida Tlaib outside the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, Mich., in 2008. (Al Goldis / Associated Press)

Former Michigan state Rep. Rashida Tlaib has won the Democratic nomination to run unopposed for the House seat long held by former Rep. John Conyers, setting her up to become the first Muslim woman elected to Congress.

No Republicans or third-party candidates ran in Tuesday's District 13 primary race, meaning Tlaib is set to win the seat in November's election and begin serving a full two-year term in January. The special primary race to serve the last two months of Conyers' term was still too close to call as of early Wednesday morning, with Tlaib and Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones neck and neck. The winner of that race also will run unopposed in November's election.

Tlaib, 42, served in the Michigan House from 2009 until 2014. She defeated five other candidates to win the nomination to run for a full term representing the heavily Democratic district, which covers much of Detroit and some of its suburbs.

  • Midterm Election
In this June 30, 2018, photo, Wesley Bell addresses the crowd during a protest in downtown St. Louis.
In this June 30, 2018, photo, Wesley Bell addresses the crowd during a protest in downtown St. Louis. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

A seven-term prosecuting attorney in St. Louis County who gained national attention for his handling of the investigation of the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., lost a primary challenge Tuesday to a black Ferguson councilman, according to unofficial results. 

With the votes counted from all precincts, the county reported Wesley Bell with a 57% to 43% victory over 67-year-old Bob McCulloch in the Democratic primary. No Republicans were on the ballot, making Bell all but certain to win in November. 

Bell, 43, is an attorney and former municipal judge and prosecutor. He was elected councilman in 2015 as protests continued to rage over Brown's death.