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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.

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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.

  • 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.

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  • 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.

Missouri’s bill against compulsory union fees was defeated Tuesday by a 2-to-1 margin.
Missouri’s bill against compulsory union fees was defeated Tuesday by a 2-to-1 margin. (Charlie Riedel / Associated Press)

The steady march of new so-called right-to-work laws in Republican-led states hit a wall in Missouri, where voters resoundingly rejected a measure that could have weakened union finances after national and local labor groups poured millions of dollars into the campaign against it. 

Missouri's law against compulsory union fees was defeated Tuesday by a 2-to-1 margin, nearly a year after the measure adopted by the state's Republican governor and Legislature had been scheduled to take effect. It was put hold after unions successfully petitioned to force a public referendum. 

The election results effectively vetoed the Missouri measure and halted a string of stinging losses for organized labor. Since 2012, five other once historically strong union states had adopted laws limiting mandatory union fees as Republicans gained strength in state capitols, raising the total to 27 states with such laws. 

The Trump administration on Tuesday urged Canada and Saudi Arabia to settle an escalating diplomatic fight but avoided voicing support for the women’s rights activists whose jailing is at the heart of the dispute.

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A courtroom sketch depicts Richard Gates, right, answering questions from prosecutor Greg Andres on Monday.
A courtroom sketch depicts Richard Gates, right, answering questions from prosecutor Greg Andres on Monday. (Dana Verkouteren / via Associated Press)

The government's star witness in the financial fraud trial of Paul Manafort testified Monday that he embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from the former Trump campaign chairman and told jurors he and Manafort committed crimes together.

Richard Gates has been regarded as a crucial witness for the government ever since he pleaded guilty this year to two felony charges and agreed to cooperate in special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's investigation into possible ties between Russia and the Trump campaign.

In the beginning of a hugely anticipated courtroom showdown, Gates told jurors that he siphoned off the money without Manafort's knowledge by filing false expense reports. He also admitted to concealing millions of dollars in foreign bank accounts on Manafort's behalf and to falsifying loan applications and other documents to help Manafort obtain more in bank loans.

Kris Kobach didn’t mention the persistent budget woes plaguing Kansas. He said nothing about the documents released hours earlier that showed a commission he helped lead for President Trump uncovered no evidence to support claims of widespread voter fraud.