Trump deepens Goldman ties as he builds out economic team WASHINGTON (AP) - In the heat of the presidential campaign, Donald Trump accused primary rival Ted Cruz of being controlled by Goldman Sachs because his wife, Heidi, previously worked for the Wall Street giant. He slammed Hillary Clinton for receiving speaking fees from the bank. "I know the guys at Goldman Sachs. They have total, total control over him," Trump said of Cruz. "Just like they have total control over Hillary Clinton." Now, Trump is putting Goldman executives at the helm of his administration's economic team. He's expected to name bank president Gary Cohn to an influential White House policy post, according to two people informed of the decision, and has already nominated former Goldman executive Steve Mnuchin to lead the Treasury Department.
Trump jovially rejoins campaign trail, tosses hat to a fan BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Appearing jovial and relaxed, Donald Trump plunged back into election politics Friday, a full month after he won the presidency, enthusiastically prodding Louisiana Republicans to turn out for Saturday's Senate runoff election and protect the party's 52-48 margin in Washington. Addressing a large crowd at an airport hangar, at one point he tossed his trademark "Make America Great Again" hat to a supporter. He noted that he'd been named Time's "Person of the Year" and asked the crowd if the magazine should go back to its former "Man of the Year." Gauging the boisterous response, he declared the answer was yes.
Obama orders review of election-season hacking WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama has ordered intelligence officials to conduct a broad review of election-season cyberattacks, including the email hacks that rattled the presidential campaign and raised fresh concerns about Russia's meddling in U.S. elections, the White House said Friday. The review, led by intelligence agencies, will be a "deep dive" into a possible pattern of increased "malicious cyber activity" timed to the campaign season, White House spokesman Eric Schultz said. The review will look at the tactics, targets, key actors and the U.S. government's response to the recent email hacks, as well as incidents reported in past elections, he said.
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Senate pushes to avert gov't shutdown over miners' benefits WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate pushed to avert a government shutdown at midnight Friday as coal-state Democrats evoked President-elect Donald Trump in pleading for a more generous extension of health care benefits for retired miners. A key Democrat in the rancorous fight over benefits for retired miners facing a loss of coverage at year's end suggested he would beat a tactical retreat and resume the battle next year. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., had hoped to provide a one-year extension for the miners rather than the shorter, four-month fix in the stopgap spending bill. Speaking on the Senate floor late Friday, Manchin stressed the importance of coal as an energy source.
Syrian forces squeeze Aleppo, bring new wave of evacuations BEIRUT (AP) - Nearly two weeks into a crushing blitz, Syrian forces and their allies have taken control of nearly all of what was once an opposition stronghold in eastern Aleppo, touching off a new wave of evacuations Friday and raising concerns about hundreds of men who have disappeared and are feared to have been seized by the government. A flood of civilians streamed out on foot in the wake of the relentless campaign by forces loyal to President Bashar Assad to drive rebels from their rapidly crumbling enclave. They joined tens of thousands who have fled since Nov. 26, seeking shelter from the nonstop bombardment and crippling siege.
Dylann Roof laughed during church slaying confession to FBI CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Dylann Roof wanted the world to know he hated black people and thought they were criminals. He thought about attacking drug dealers, but they might shoot back. So, he told the FBI, he picked a historic black church in Charleston he had learned about online. In a videotaped confession shown Friday during his death penalty trial, Roof laughed several times and made exaggerated gun motions as he recounted the massacre. He explained that he wanted to leave at least one person alive to tell what happened and complained that his victims "complicated things" when they hid under tables.
Conspiracy theorists: 'Pizzagate' shooting just a false flag WASHINGTON (AP) - For conspiracy theorists, the bizarre rumors of "pizzagate" didn't end when a man brought a gun to a Washington restaurant this week in a misguided attempt to rescue nonexistent child sex slaves. Instead, the shooting sparked discussion that the conspiracy runs deeper. On blogs, YouTube channels and internet radio shows devoted to conspiracy theories, the arrest of Edgar Maddison Welch on Sunday was just the latest "false flag," a term for a cover-up or distraction orchestrated by the government or other powerful figures. The persistent belief in the false-flag theory shows just how stubborn fabricated conspiracies can be, according to experts.
It's Trump's war soon: Afghan future is cloudy at best KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan has fallen so far from Americans' consciousness that some may have forgotten it's called the forgotten war. It also is America's longest war. Now in its 16th year and showing little sign of ending, it will soon be the responsibility of Donald Trump, two presidents removed from the October 2001 invasion. During the presidential campaign, neither Trump nor Democrat Hillary Clinton offered new ideas for breaking the battlefield stalemate. They hardly mentioned the country, let alone a strategy. And yet, the war that began as America's response to 9/11 grinds on as nearly 10,000 U.S. troops train and advise the Afghan army and police, hopeful that at some point the Afghans can stand on their own against the Taliban - or better, that peace talks will end the insurgency.
John Glenn, astronaut and senator, to lie in state in Ohio COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - John Glenn will lie in state in Ohio's capitol building before a celebration of his life of military and government service and two history-making voyages into space. The public viewing at the Ohio Statehouse and a memorial service at Ohio State University's Mershon Auditorium are planned for late next week. The dates and times were being worked out Friday, said Hank Wilson, of the John Glenn College of Public Affairs. Statehouse officials meet Monday to authorize the public viewing. Glenn, who died Thursday at age 95, was the first American to orbit the Earth, in 1962, and was the oldest man in space, at age 77 in 1998.
Trump's ties to 'Apprentice' raises conflict issues for NBC NEW YORK (AP) - Donald Trump's continued stake in television's "Celebrity Apprentice" adds to questions about potential conflicts between his personal and public responsibilities, while raising new ones about NBC. If it continues, journalists at NBC News will be covering a president for a corporation whose entertainment division retains ties to the man. The reality show, which returns to NBC's schedule on Jan. 2 with Arnold Schwarzenegger replacing Trump as host, includes the president-elect as one of its executive producers. Trump spokeswoman Kellyanne Conway said Friday on CNN that Trump's ties to the reality show are being reviewed by experts looking into the president-elect's business ties.