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AP Top Political News at 8:10 a.m. EDT

Trump faces a slew of political and policy challenges at home _ and intensifying inquiries into allegations his campaign had contacts with Russian officials before he entered the White House
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....

Several veterans are emerging as Democratic congressional candidates ahead of the 2018 midterm elections
ATLANTA (AP) -- Democrats hope to enlist military veterans in another type of fight - for majority control of the House....

Minority advocacy groups say President Donald Trump's proposed budget would really hurt their communities if Congress goes along
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Advocates for minority communities say President Donald Trump's proposed budget answers the question he famously posed to black Americans during his campaign: "What the hell do you have to lose?"...

AP source: Trump son-in-law and adviser proposed a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team
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....

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton by the parents of Americans killed in the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A federal judge threw out a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton by the parents of two Americans killed in the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, ruling the former secretary of state didn't defame them when disputing allegations that she had lied....

Scientists, computer simulations calculate what would happen to Earth's environment if US pulls out of 2015 Paris climate change accord _ and it doesn't look good
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Earth is likely to reach more dangerous levels of warming even sooner if the U.S. retreats from its pledge to cut carbon dioxide pollution, scientists said. That's because America contributes so much to rising temperatures....

Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Jimmy Carter, has died
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Well before he went to the White House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was impressed by the views of foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski. That Carter immediately liked the Polish-born academic advising his campaign was a plus....

AP FACT CHECK: Multiple mistold tales on NATO, other issues, from Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's been a muted week for the "real" Donald Trump, the Twitter account where the president normally says a lot of things that are unreal. That respite may have come to a close, though, as he wrapped up his foreign trip with yet another mistold tale about NATO....

The Supreme Court may soon decide how courts are supposed to view presidential power in the age of Trump
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Supreme Court may soon decide how courts are supposed to view presidential power in the age of Donald Trump....

Jim Bunning, a Hall of Fame pitcher who parlayed his sports fame into a political career as a staunch advocate for conservative causes, has died. He was 85.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Jim Bunning was an intimidating figure as a major-league pitcher and was just as hard-nosed and uncompromising as a U.S. senator....

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Minority advocacy groups say President Donald Trump's proposed budget would really hurt their communities if Congress goes along

AP source: Trump son-in-law and adviser proposed a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team

Trump faces a slew of political and policy challenges at home _ and intensifying inquiries into allegations his campaign had contacts with Russian officials before he entered the White House

A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton by the parents of Americans killed in the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya

A new Texas budget that continues spending $800 million on border security but puts little new money into public schools is headed to the desk of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott

A stand-off between Italian riot police and protesters during which police used tear gas has ended without further incident

Gov. Scott Walker wants to make Wisconsin the first state in the country to require able-bodied, childless adults applying for Medicaid health benefits to undergo drug screening

Texas Republicans are moving to weaken a voter ID law and send it to Gov. Greg Abbott after a judge twice ruled that the original version deliberately tried to suppress minority voters

Kimberly Ellis is refusing to concede the race for California Democratic Party chair after party officials said the candidate popular with Bernie Sanders supporters was narrowly defeated