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Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks on Sept. 17, 2017 at an event in Florence, Ala.

At a Roy Moore rally in September, one of the only African Americans in the audience asked when Moore thought America was last “great.”

In response, the Republican candidate for Senate for Alabama acknowledged the nation’s history of racial divisions, but said: “I think it was great at the time when families were united — even though we had slavery — they cared for one another…. Our families were strong, our country had a direction.”

At the same event, Moore referred to Native Americans and Asian Americans as “reds and yellows,” and earlier this year he suggested the 9/11 terrorist attacks were divine punishment.

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(Associated Press)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Friday added his voice to growing Trump administration admonitions of longtime ally Saudi Arabia for blocking deliveries of humanitarian aid to war-torn Yemen and other actions in the Middle East.

Saudi Arabia declared diplomatic war on neighboring Gulf state Qatar this year and openly supported, and appeared to control, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri against his country’s Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, which is part of the government.

“I think we would encourage [the Saudis] to be a bit more measured and a bit more thoughtful in those actions to, I think, fully consider the consequences,” Tillerson said in Paris, his latest stop on a visit to Belgium, Austria and France.

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House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) faces the media with leaders on Capitol Hill. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) faces the media with leaders on Capitol Hill. (Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

House Republicans approved legislation Thursday to keep the government running — something they’ve rarely been able to do on their own. The Senate followed suit shortly thereafter, ensuring that a weekend shutdown would be averted.

Most House Democrats refused to support the stopgap measure, which extends government operations through Dec. 22. In a 235-193 vote, only 12 House Democrats voted yes.

Typically, House GOP leaders, even when they hold the majority, have been unable to pass spending measures without significant support from Democrats. They face problems because Republican deficit hawks often refuse to vote for any legislation that adds to the debt without slashing spending elsewhere, while GOP defense hawks demand more money for the military.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Alex Wong / Getty Images)

The White House press briefing reached an ignominious milestone this week when a spokesman stood before reporters aboard Air Force One, read a series of prepared statements, then refused to take on-the-record questions during one of the newsiest days of the Trump presidency.

The briefing for decades has been a mix of spin and information. But under President Trump, a practice established to keep the public informed and the president accountable has increasingly failed to do either, according to academic experts and current and former journalists.

"The briefing is just unrecognizable from the days when it was a very useful tool," said Ann Compton, a former ABC News correspondent who covered seven presidents over a 40-year span from Gerald Ford to Barack Obama.

(Jacquelyn Martin / Associated Press)

Paul Manafort, President Trump’s former campaign manager, is defending his decision to help write an editorial explaining his political work in Ukraine, a decision that the special counsel’s office said violated a judge’s order restricting out-of-court statements on the case.

“All he has tried to do is to correct the public record in Ukraine concerning his consulting activities in Ukraine,” Manafort’s lawyers said in a court filing. Manafort’s freedom of speech was being infringed, and the special counsel wants him to “simply remain silent while his reputation is battered,” the lawyers said.

Manafort is facing multiple charges of fraud, conspiracy and money laundering. He has pleaded not guilty. 

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(Bill Clark / CQ Roll Call)

The House Ethics Committee on Thursday cleared House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes of Tulare of any wrongdoing after a complaint that he had disclosed classified information related to the House’s Russia investigation.

When the complaint was filed, Nunes said he would step away from leading the House investigation into Russian attempts to influence the 2016 presidential election, though he did not formally recuse himself.

In a statement, the ethics committee said experts it interviewed determined that the information Nunes disclosed was not classified.

Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.).
Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.). (Cliff Owen / Associated Press)

Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, one of the most conservative members of the House, resigned Thursday after the House Ethics Committee opened an investigation into allegations that he had sexually harassed staff members.

The Ethics Committee separately announced an investigation into sexual misconduct by a second Republican lawmaker, Rep. Blake Farenthold of Texas.

In a statement, Franks admitted that he had talked with two women who worked for him about bearing a child for him by surrogacy. He insisted he had done nothing wrong, but said he was stepping down because in the “midst of this current cultural and media climate” an investigation would be “distorted and sensationalized.”

(Associated Press)

Administration officials sought Thursday to clarify President Trump’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel but raised more questions than they answered.

David Satterfield, acting assistant secretary of State for Near East affairs, said that although the United States recognizes Jerusalem as the capital, it has taken no position on what the contested city’s borders ultimately should be.

That would seem to leave open the possibility that part of the city could still belong to the Palestinians, as they have long claimed -- or not.

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Rep. John Lewis views images of his arrest for leading a sit-in at Nashville's segregated lunch counters on March 5, 1963.
Rep. John Lewis views images of his arrest for leading a sit-in at Nashville's segregated lunch counters on March 5, 1963. (Rick Diamond/Getty Images)

Rep. John Lewis, a prominent Georgia Democrat and veteran of the civil rights movement, said Thursday that he would boycott the opening of a civil rights museum in Mississippi because President Trump would attend the event.

Lewis is the latest in a growing number of politicians, civil rights groups and activists who have said they will boycott Saturday’s opening ceremony in Jackson, Miss., or have called on Trump to skip it.

“President Trump’s attendance and his hurtful policies are an insult to the people portrayed in this civil rights museum. The struggles represented in this museum exemplify the truth of what really happened in Mississippi,” Lewis said in a statement issued with Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat.

The White House created confusion over whether American athletes would compete in the Winter Olympics in South Korea next year, with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying on Thursday that “no official decision has been made on that.” 

“The goal is to do so,” she said.

She later attempted to clarify, tweeting an “update” that the “U.S. looks forward to participating.”

Olympic figures are projected on the Gwanghwamun Gate in Seoul. The 2018 Winter Games will be held in PyeonChang, South Korea.
Olympic figures are projected on the Gwanghwamun Gate in Seoul. The 2018 Winter Games will be held in PyeonChang, South Korea. (Jeon Heon-Kyun / EPA / Shutterstock)