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Democrats staked an early lead Tuesday night in their bid to control the Washington state Senate and establish single-party reign over the West Coast.

Manka Dhingra, a King County prosecutor, pulled ahead 55% to 45% over Republican Jinyoung Englund, a former congressional aide, in initial returns.

Although Democrats claimed victory, final results in Washington's all-mail election will not be known for several days.

  • White House
A North Korean army officer looks out at the Demilitarized Zone.
A North Korean army officer looks out at the Demilitarized Zone. (Wong Maye-E / Associated Press)

President Trump tried to make a dramatic surprise visit to the highly fortified border between North and South Korea on Tuesday, but his helicopter had to turn back because of bad weather, his spokeswoman said.

Trump intended to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in and stand together at the Demilitarized Zone in a "historic moment" for the presidents of the two nations, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters traveling with the president.

But fog prevented Trump's helicopter from making the trip, she said. The president's retinue waited about an hour to make a second attempt, but the fog got worse instead of better.  

Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions is sworn in during his confirmation hearing in January.
Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions is sworn in during his confirmation hearing in January. (Molly Riley / AFP/Getty Images)

Federal prosecutors have decided to drop a case against a woman arrested in the U.S. Capitol after she laughed during the confirmation hearing for Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions.

Desiree Ali-Fairooz, an activist with the Code Pink organization, was one of three protesters arrested by Capitol Police during the opening statements of Sessions’ January hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.  In court filings, prosecutors alleged she let out bursts of laughter after Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) praised Sessions during his opening remarks.

She was convicted of a misdemeanor in District of Columbia court, but a judge threw out the conviction in July and ordered a new trial. After Ali-Fairooz rejected a plea deal, the U.S. attorney's office in Washington continued to press the case. But prosecutors filed a notice dismissing the charges on Monday, a week before the second trial was to begin.

People visit crosses representing the victims killed at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (Larry W. Smith / EPA / Shutterstock)
People visit crosses representing the victims killed at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. (Larry W. Smith / EPA / Shutterstock)

In the aftermath of the mass shooting at a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the second-ranking Senate Republican said Tuesday that Congress would begin working on legislation to tighten background-check compliances for gun purchases.

The proposal announced by Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the GOP whip, could become one of the rare times congressional Republicans have responded with legislative action following a shooting that caused mass casualties. Twenty-six people were killed when a gunman opened fire on Sunday church services.

"Obviously if things like this can happen in spite of the law, then we need to look at that and try to fix it as best we can," Cornyn said. "This seems to be an area where there is bipartisan support."

The House Ways and Means Committee.
The House Ways and Means Committee. (Chip Somodevilla)

Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday defeated a Democratic attempt to restore the full deduction for state and local taxes, which would be scaled back in the GOP tax overhaul legislation.

The Republican bill would eliminate the deduction for state and local income and sales taxes while allowing individuals to continue deducting local property taxes up to $10,000.

Under the legislation, businesses still would be allowed to deduct all their state and local taxes.

  • Economy

Americans increasingly say jobs are plentiful in their communities, but they continue to worry that their incomes are lagging, according to a new poll released Tuesday.

As with most questions, partisanship strongly shapes how people see the economy. Republican views about the availability of good jobs suddenly improved with President Trump's election, while Democrats' views soured, new figures from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center showed

Even allowing for that, however, the public view of the job picture is at its best level since 2001, Pew found.

Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan commented on the Texas shooting that killed 26 people Sunday, calling for enforcement of existing gun laws. 

He also called for prayers for the victims. 


President Trump said that even with tighter vetting of gun buyers, "there would have been no difference" for those killed in the mass shooting at a South Texas church on Sunday.

Trump made the comments during a news conference in Seoul with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in response to a question about why his promised “extreme vetting” for visa applicants shouldn’t also be applied to gun purchases. 

"If you did what you're suggesting, there would have been no difference three days ago, and you might not have had that very brave person who happened to have a gun in his truck and shoot him, and hit him and neutralize him," Trump said, referring to a neighbor who chased down the gunman.

(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

The Trump administration said Monday it would end a special reprieve from deportation for thousands of Nicaraguans who have been allowed to stay in the U.S. for years, but delayed a decision on similar protections for tens of thousands of Hondurans.

The Department of Homeland Security announced that it would not renew temporary protected status for about 5,300  Nicaraguans whose protections under the program expire on Jan. 5. They will be allowed to stay in the U.S. only until Jan. 5, 2019, unless they qualify to stay under other provisions of immigration law, senior administration officials told reporters.

But the administration gave a six-month reprieve to some 86,000 Hondurans also covered by the program. The officials said that acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke needed more time to determine if conditions in Honduras had improved enough to allow them to return home.

  • Congress
  • Budget

3:39 p.m.: The Tax Policy Center said it has found an error in its analysis and planned to revise the numbers in this report.


The greatest benefit from the House Republican tax bill would go to upper-income households, according to an analysis released Monday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.