AP News

AP Top News at 8:15 a.m. EDT

Back home after foreign trip, Trump faces slew of challenges
WASHINGTON (AP) - His whirlwind foreign trip complete, President Donald Trump faces a slew of political and policy challenges at home and mushrooming inquiries into allegations that Russia meddled in the U.S. election and had improper dealings with his campaign and associates. Trump returned to Washington late Saturday after a nine-day trip to the Middle East and Europe, his first trip abroad as president. Awaiting him were reports that his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, spoke with Russia's ambassador to the United States about setting up secret communications with Moscow during the presidential transition. White House aides prepared for potential changes ahead, with the president mulling a staff overhaul amid frustrations over what he views as his communication team's failures to push back against allegations.


AP source: Kushner sought secret communications with Russia
WASHINGTON (AP) - Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a top White House adviser, proposed a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team during a December meeting with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. Kushner spoke with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about creating that line of communication to facilitate sensitive discussions aimed at exploring the incoming administration's options with Russia as it was developing its Syria policy, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press. The intent was to connect Trump's chief national security adviser at the time, Michael Flynn, with Russian military leaders, said this person, who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss private policy deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.


Dems try to enlist military vets in fight for House majority
ATLANTA (AP) - Democrats hope to enlist military veterans in another type of fight - for majority control of the House. Looking ahead to next year's elections, Democrats are trying to recruit at least two dozen military veterans to challenge Republican incumbents, arguing that candidates with military on their resumes appeals to independent voters and can help the party break the GOP grip on Washington. "Veterans have had the experience of putting the country first, before personal politics" and party dictates, said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass, who did four tours of duty in Iraq, left the Marines as a captain and was elected to Congress in 2014.


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Angry BA passengers still face long lines, cancellations
LONDON (AP) - Thousands of British Airways passengers are still facing long lines, confusion and canceled flights as the airline works to restore its computer systems after a global IT failure crippled its services. The airline said that it hoped to operate a "near normal schedule" at Gatwick and the "majority of services" from Heathrow on Sunday, a day after canceling all flights from both London airports. "Work continues to restore all of our IT systems but we expect some further disruption today," BA said in a statement. BA canceled flights from Heathrow and Gatwick Saturday, upending the travel plans of tens of thousands of people on a busy U.K.


UK: Manchester attack investigation still at 'full tilt'
LONDON (AP) - The hunt is still on for suspects in the Manchester bombing, and members of attacker Salman Abedi's network may still be at large, Britain's interior minister said Sunday. "The operation is still at full tilt," Home Secretary Amber Rudd said. Police say that 1,000 people are working on the investigation, trying to track down bomber Salman Abedi's accomplices and piece together his movements in the days before the attack. "Until the operation is complete, we can't be entirely sure that it is closed," Rudd said. Abedi, a 22-year-old Briton of Libyan descent, killed 22 people and himself on May 22 at an Ariana Grande concert.


Rocker Gregg Allman dies at age 69; sang and lived the blues
SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) - Gregg Allman, a survivor of tragedy, knew the blues musically and in a painfully personal way. Raised by a single mother after his father was shot to death, he idolized his guitar-slinging older brother, Duane, and became his musical partner. They formed the nucleus of The Allman Brothers Band, which helped define the Southern rock sound of the 1970s. Their songs such as "Whipping Post," ''Ramblin' Man" and "Midnight Rider" laid the foundation for the genre and opened the doors for groups like Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Marshall Tucker Band. Gregg Allman, whose bluesy vocals and soulful touch on the Hammond B-3 organ helped propel the Allman Brothers Band to superstardom, died Saturday.


Portland shocked by stabbings, suspect's extreme views eyed
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Police said Saturday they'll examine what appears to be the extremist ideology of an Oregon man accused of fatally stabbing two men who tried to intervene when the suspect yelled racial slurs at two young women who appeared to be Muslim on a Portland light-rail train. The attack Friday happened on the first day of Ramadan, the holiest time of the year for Muslims, and it sent shockwaves through a city that prides itself on its tolerance and liberal views. A memorial where the stabbing occurred grew steadily Saturday, and a vigil was planned. "That people feel emboldened to come out and show their racism and bigotry in that way is horrifying to me.


Macron says Trump handshake was 'moment of truth'
PARIS (AP) - French President Emmanuel Macron says his now famous white-knuckle handshake showdown with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump was "a moment of truth" - designed to show that he's no pushover. Macron told a Sunday newspaper in France that "my handshake with him, it wasn't innocent." Macron added: "One must show that you won't make small concessions, even symbolic ones, but also not over-publicize things, either." Macron's office confirmed to The Associated Press the veracity of the president's comments in Le Journal du Dimanche. At their first meeting, ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, the two men locked hands for so long that knuckles started turning white.


Philippines pounds militants as civilians found shot dead
MARAWI, Philippines (AP) - Philippine forces found the bodies of what appeared to be eight executed civilians as authorities launched fresh airstrikes Sunday to drive militants linked to the Islamic State group out of a besieged southern city. The death toll from six days of fighting neared 100. The crisis in Marawi, home to some 200,000 people, has grown increasingly dire as the militants show unexpected tenacity, fending off a military that has unleashed attack helicopters, armored vehicles and scores of soldiers. The violence prompted President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday to declare 60 days of martial law in the southern Philippines, where a Muslim separatist rebellion has raged for decades.


Underdog Cavs insist they have plenty of bite for Finals
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) - Vegas is betting against them and the bookies are hardly alone. Let's be honest, not many are giving the Cleveland Cavaliers much of a chance in the NBA Finals. They may be defending champions and they may have LeBron James, but against Golden State, they are definite underdogs. Just don't try to tell them that. "The whole underdog thing is funny to me, because yeah, at the end of the day we are defending our title," Cavs forward Kevin Love said following Saturday's practice. "We're trying to repeat, which is so hard to do. I think we will use it as fuel.

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