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Exit poll: Putin wins re-election in landslide

Vladimir Putin earned a convincing victory in Sunday’s presidential election in Russia, winning 73.9 percent of the vote as he was re-elected to his fourth term, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

A state-run exit poll revealed the results, which was not a surprise, CNN reported. Pavel Grudinin was second with 11.2 percent of the vote, according to the exit poll that was conducted bt the Russia Public Opinion Research Center.

Putin will serve another four years as president.

The exit polls are not final and official results are expected later Sunday, CNN reported.

Trey Gowdy to Trump, lawyer: 'When you're innocent .. act like it'

Asserting that “when you are innocent … act like it,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) urged President Donald Trump and his lawyer to allow special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to continue, Fox News reported.

>> Read more trending news

Gowdy said that the efforts of Trump’s lawyer, John Dowd, to end Mueller’s probe did the president a “disservice” and that the counsel’s team need the “time, independence and resources” to complete the probe.

Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” Gowdy said “I think the president’s attorney, frankly, does him a disservice when he says that and when he frames the investigation that way. If you have an innocent client, Mr. Dowd, act like it.”

Gowdy is chairman of the House Oversight committee. He said he hoped the president and Dowd would not try to force an end to the investigation. Trump mentioned Mueller for the first time in a tweet Sunday morning.

“Give Bob Mueller the time, independence and resources to do his job,” Gowdy, a former federal prosecutor, told Fox News. “And if you are innocent, act like it. … If you’ve done nothing wrong, you should want the investigation to be as fulsome and thorough as possible.”

Trump slams Mueller, McCabe in Sunday tweets

In a flurry of tweets Sunday morning, President Donald Trump criticized special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team, former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and former FBI Director James Comey, CNN reported.

>> Read more trending news

Trump suggested partisan bias, wondering on Twitter why the Mueller team had “13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?”

Another tweet refuted the news that McCabe had written memos about his interactions with Trump. McCabe told CNN that he had three meetings and one telephone call with the president. 

"Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me," Trump tweeted, calling the memos “fake.”

Trump’s tweets came a day after it was reported that Mueller interviewed McCabe and asked him about Comey’s firing, CNN reported.

Michael Bromwich, McCabe’s attorney, said in a tweet Sunday afternoon that “the whole truth will come out in due course.”

Russia investigation: Special counsel Mueller subpoenas Trump Organization


Special counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and its possible ties to President Donald Trump and his associates, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

The subpoena is the first directly connected to one of Trump’s businesses, The New York Times reported Thursday. The newspaper was the first to report on the subpoena, citing two unidentified sources briefed on the situation.

The breadth of the subpoena was not immediately clear, although some documents sought were related to Russia, the Times reported. According to the newspaper, the subpoena was served “in recent weeks.”

>> More on Robert Mueller's investigation

The Trump Organization has already provided investigators with a range of documents, most focused on the period between when Trump announced his candidacy for president, in June 2015, to his inauguration, in January 2017, CNN reported in January. Citing an unidentified source familiar with the situation, the news network reported that the recently issued subpoena was meant “to ‘clean up’ and to ensure that all related documents are handed over to the special counsel.”

In a statement released to several news outlets Thursday, Alan Futerfas, an attorney representing the Trump Organization, said reports of the subpoena were “old news.”

>> Related: Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates to plead guilty in Mueller investigation

“Since July 2017, we have advised the public that the Trump Organization is fully cooperative with all investigations, including the special counsel, and is responding to their requests,” Futerfas said. “This is old news and our assistance and cooperation with the various investigations remains the same today.”

The decision to subpoena the Trump Organization, which is owned by the president and managed by his children, appeared to mirror the strategy employed by Mueller with the Trump campaign, The Wall Street Journal reported. The newspaper noted that the campaign “voluntarily gave documents to the special counsel for months before receiving a subpoena in October.”

>> Related: Mueller indicts 13 Russians, 3 Russian entities in election meddling probe

Mueller, who headed the FBI from 2001 to 2013, was appointed by the Justice Department in May 2017 to oversee the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His investigation has thus far led to several indictments and a handful of guilty pleas from people connected to Trump.

Mueller indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities last month on accusations that they interfered with American elections and political processes, starting in 2014. On Twitter, Trump claimed that information in the indictments proved his innocence on allegations of colluding with Russia to win the election.

Five people have pleaded guilty to charges levied against them in Mueller's investigation. Most recently, former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleaded guilty to making false statements and conspiring against the United States.

NYT: Democrat Conor Lamb wins PA’s special election, beating Rick Saccone in a Trump stronghold

Update March 14, 2018 7:35 p.m EDT: Democrat Conor Lamb has won Pennsylvania’s special election in the 18th Congressional district, beating Republican Rick Saccone in a GOP stronghold by a thin margin of just over 600 votes, according to The New York Times, which called the election late Wednesday.

Republicans have not conceded the election and are likely to demand a recount, the Times reported.

Update March 14, 2018 2:32 p.m. EDT: Sources told WPXI’s Rick Earle that the Republican party has hired an independent firm to look for voting irregularities in Tuesday’s special election.

Although unofficial results for the race put Democratic candidate Conor Lamb just a few hundred votes ahead of his Republican rival for the 18th Congressional District seat, Rick Saccone, a recount of the vote is unlikely. If the race was one that was statewide, it would trigger an autmoatic recount, as less than .5 percent separates Lamb and Saccone’s tallies. The same rules don’t apply to congressional races.

 >> On Why there may not be a recount in the 18th Congressional District race

A recount can only happen if three or more voters from each precinct petition for a recount due to fraud or errors in the vote counting.

Update March 14, 2018 12:50 a.m. EDT: Democratic candidate Conor Lamb has declared victory over opponent Rick Saccone in the closely watched special election in Pennsylvania for the 18th Congressional District seat.

>> Visit for complete coverage of this developing story

Saccone has not conceded.

The Pennsylvania Secretary of State's election results website currently has Lamb with a 113,111-112,532 edge in votes. However, there are still an unclear number of absentee, provisional and military ballots to count.

>> Read more trending news 

ORIGINAL STORY: Polls have closed in the special election for the 18th Congressional District, a race that has drawn national attention and is seen by some as a referendum on President Donald Trump.

Political newcomer Conor Lamb showed strength in fundraising and the polls for Democrats, who are seeking to control a seat that has been primarily Republican for decades. 

The GOP pinned its hopes to Rick Saccone, a four-term state representative who has tied himself very closely to Trump throughout the campaign.

The seat opened in October when longtime representative Tim Murphy resigned amid a scandal.

The district, which stretches through parts of Greene, Allegheny, Washington and Westmoreland counties, could change by May after the state Supreme Court threw out the electoral map in January, saying it was unconstitutional. 

The court issued a new map intended to take effect by the May primaries, although Republicans have challenged that map in court.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Trump to name Larry Kudlow as top economic adviser after Gary Cohn’s exit: reports

President Donald Trump is expected to name Larry Kudlow as his top economic adviser days after former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn resigned, according to multiple reports.

>> Read more trending news

>> Related: Top economic adviser Gary Cohn resigns amid Trump's threats on steel, aluminum tariffs

Stephen Hawking dead at 76: Celebrities, public figures, scientists pay tribute

Stephen Hawking, the renowned British physicist, professor, author and pop culture icon, died Wednesday at age 76.

>> MORE: Stephen Hawking dead at 76  |  Photos  |  Notable deaths 2018  |  Memorable quotes  |  MORE

Hawking, whose life was chronicled in the 2014 film "The Theory of Everything," had battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – aka ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease – for more than five decades.

Scientists, public figures and celebrities, including astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and pop singer Katy Perry, flocked to social media to pay tribute to Hawking. Here's what they had to say:

Rex Tillerson out as Secretary of State, to be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson was out as secretary of state and said he plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to fill the position amid reports of ongoing tension between Tillerson and Trump.

>> READ MORE: Who is Gina Haspel, the new CIA director nominee?5 things to know about Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson | Pompeo may replace Tillerson under White House plan, reports sayTillerson slams reports he considered resigning, called Trump a 'moron'MORE

5 times Rex Tillerson publicly disagreed with Donald Trump

President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson would be replaced with CIA Director Mike Pompeo following reports of ongoing tension between the two.

>> Read more trending news

The New York Times reported in December that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had developed a plan to replaced Tillerson with Pompeo, but the president denied the report.

>> Related: Pompeo may replace Tillerson under White House plan, reports say

Pompeo will be replaced at the CIA by his deputy, Gina Haspel. She would become the first woman to run the agency.

>> Related: Who is Gina Haspel, the new CIA director nominee?

Tillerson’s departure had been widely anticipated for months, but State Department officials said Tuesday in a statement that Tillerson “did not speak to the president and is unaware of the reason” for his dismissal.

>> Related: Rex Tillerson out as Secretary of State, replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo

>> Related: Trump suggests his IQ is higher than Tillerson's after reported 'moron' jab

The relationship between Tillerson and Trump has been strained by name-calling and public disagreements on multiple major issues.

>> Related: Tillerson slams reports he considered resigning, called Trump a 'moron'

Here are five times Trump and Tillerson publicly disagreed on an issue:

1. When Trump criticized Tillerson’s approach to North Korea and “Little Rocket Man”

In October, President Donald Trump publicly contradicted Tillerson’s stance on a North Korea and tweeted that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate with Little Rocket Man,” Trump’s nickname for North Korea leader Kim Jong Un.

>> Related: Donald Trump brands North Korea's Kim Jong Un with new nickname – 'Rocket Man'

“Save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done,” Trump wrote, and warned of U.S. military action to the country’s escalating nuclear threat.

Trump also told reporters during a photo op at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf course: “As I said, they will be met with fire, fury and frankly, power – the likes of which the world has never seen before.”

>> Related: Haley: Trump's 'fire and fury' comment 'not an idle threat'

This was one day after Tillerson, who would rather avoid military use to reach a consensus with the country, said he was trying to open the door for talks with North Korea.

Others in Congress also spoke against Trump’s approach. 

“North Korea is a global threat that requires American diplomacy,” said Rep. Betty McCollum, D-Minnesota, who labeled Trump’s talk “dangerous and risks war.”

2. When the U.S. pulled out of the Paris climate accord

In August, Tillerson publicly disagreed with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, a pact to voluntarily curb greenhouse gas emissions.

>> Related: What is the Paris climate agreement? 9 things to know 

"I was free to express my views. I took a counter view to the decision that was made," Tillerson said.

The United States is now the only country that has rejected the global pact, according to the Times.

3. When Trump blamed “both sides” for the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, white supremacist rally

Following the Charlottesville, Virginia, rally of white supremacists that resulted in the death of rally protester 32-year-old Heather Heyer, Trump blamed “both sides” for the deadly violence.

>> Related: Trump again blames ‘both sides’ for violence in Charlottesville

Heyer was killed when a neo-Nazi drove a car into her and other demonstrators at the rally.

The president’s comments were widely criticized. United Nations experts, without explicitly naming Trump, said it was “a failure at the highest political level of the United States of America to unequivocally reject and condemn racist violence,” the Times reported.

Amid the backlash to Trump’s comments following the attack, Tillerson addressed State Department interns and staff. 

“We do not honor, nor do we promote or accept, hate speech in any form,” Tillerson said at the event. “Those who embrace it poison our public discourse, and they damage the very country that they claim to love.”

>> Trump slams Lindsey Graham, media over Charlottesville backlash

When asked whether Trump’s response represented “American values,” Tillerson said on Fox News, “The president speaks for himself ... I have spoken. I have made my own comments as to our values as well in a speech I gave to the State Department this past week.”

4. When Tillerson undercut Trump’s Afghanistan strategy

During an address to military personnel in August, Trump repeatedly said the U.S. would win the war in Afghanistan and do so by military action.

"Our troops will fight to win. We will fight to win," he said during an address to military personnel in August. "From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al-Qaida, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge."

>> Related: Donald Trump’s plan in Afghanistan: Transcript from his speech

Tillerson’s approach to the Taliban was more diplomatic and undercut Trump’s.

"You will not win a battlefield victory. We may not win one, but neither will you," he said, addressing the Taliban. "So at some point, we have to come to the negotiating table and find a way to bring this to an end."

“A clear victory,” The Washington Post’s Aaron Blake reported, “is something that basically any military expert will tell you is very difficult to foresee (much less predict) in Afghanistan — especially with only a few thousand more troops on top of already-far-reduced troop levels and an apparently limited amount of patience from the commander in chief.

5. General concern (or lack of) for Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election

Despite growing evidence from the U.S. intelligence community of Russian interference in the election, Trump has repeatledly dismissed or minimized the findings, circling back to U.S. intelligence’s failure 15 years ago regarding Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction to increase doubt about the agencies’ conclusions.

>> Related: Donald Trump stops short — doesn’t accuse Russia of U.S. meddling

"I remember when I was sitting back listening about Iraq, weapons of mass destruction. How everybody was 100 percent sure that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Guess what? That led to one big mess," Trump said. "They were wrong and it led to a mess. So, it was Russia. And I think it was probably others also. And that's been going on for a long period of time."

Tillerson, on the other hand, is concerned about Russian interference. He has said he’s tried "to help [the Russian government] understand just how serious this incident had been and how seriously it had damaged the relationship between the U.S. and the American people and the Russian people.”

>> Related: Trump says he believes Putin’s denials over election meddling

At the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, in July, Tillerson told an associate he was "stunned" by the way Trump had approached Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue, the Times reported.

Trump said he started his meeting with Putin by saying, "I'm going to get this out of the way: Did you do this?" According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Trump accepted firm assertions from Putin that it is not true.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

Who is Mike Pompeo, nominated as US secretary of state?

Rex Tillerson is out as secretary of state and will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday morning.

>> Read more trending news

Pompeo will be replaced at the CIA by his deputy, Gina Haspel. She will become the first woman to run the agency.

According to the Washington Post, Trump last Friday asked Tillerson to step aside, leading him to shorten his trip to Africa and return to Washington on Monday.

"I am proud to nominate the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, Mike Pompeo, to be our new secretary of state," Trump said in a statement to the Post. "Mike graduated first in his class at West Point, served with distinction in the U.S. Army, and graduated with honors from Harvard Law School. He went on to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives with a proven record of working across the aisle."

Trump also lauded Tillerson, with whom he has long clashed, and wished him and his family well.

>> Rex Tillerson out as secretary of state

The president also told reporters Tuesday that he made the decision to oust Tillerson "by myself” and added that Tillerson will be "much happier now.”

Here are seven things to know about Pompeo:

He was born in California

The 54-year-old native of Orange, California, was born Michael Richard Pompeo on Dec. 30, 1963. 

He is married to wife Susan of Wichita, Kansas. They have one son, Nick, and two dogs. 

Pompeo graduated from West Point and Harvard Law School

Pompeo attended West Point and served as a cavalry officer in the Army from 1986 to 1991.

After graduating from Harvard Law School, where Pompeo became editor of the Harvard Law Review, he ran two businesses in Kansas.

He’s a former U.S. congressman

Pompeo was elected as representative in Kansas’ 4th District in 2010 and served for three terms before heading the CIA.

According to U.S. News & World Report, Pompeo’s 2010 campaign was backed by the political arm of Koch Industries, an energy conglomerate based in Wichita, Kansas (Pompeo's district).

>> 5 times Tillerson publicly disagreed with Trump

The top officials of Koch Industries, billionaires David and Charles Koch, are influential backers of conservative causes.

Founder of Thayer Aerospace and Private Security (now Nex-Tech Aerospace)

In 1998, Pompeo and other West Point alumni helped found Thayer Aerospace, which he ran with investment funds from Koch Industries. He sold the company in 2006 and became president of Sentry International, an oilfield equipment company.

He’s a Tea Party advocate with fiscal and socially conservative stances Considered a Trump loyalist, Pompeo has in the past played down the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, but is known to be more hawkish on Russian President Vladimir Putin than Trump.

Pompeo was also highly critical of the Obama administration and its nuclear deal with Iran. He also opposed the Affordable Care Act, shutting down the prison at Guantanamo Bay and accused former secretary of state Hillary Clinton of intentionally misleading Americans about the nature of the attack while serving on the House Select Benghazi Committee.

Following the deadly 2013 Boston marathon bombing, Pompeo was accused of Islamophobia for suggesting some Islamic faith leaders may be encouraging terrorist attacks, according to the BBC.

"When the most devastating terrorist attacks on America in the last 20 years come overwhelmingly from people of a single faith and are performed in the name of that faith a special obligation falls on those that are the leaders of that faith," he said. "Instead of responding, silence has made these Islamic leaders across America potentially complicit in these acts and, more importantly still, in those that may well follow."

He was nominated by Trump for CIA director in November 2016

Trump’s pick for CIA director made headlines in 2016 because Pompeo, who has long been known for his conservative ideologies, would be filling a non-partisan role as CIA director.

He was confirmed to the post by a 66-32 vote and sworn in on Jan. 23, 2017.

Rumors pointed to Pompeo replacing Tillerson

In November 2017, the New York Times reported that Tillerson, who had a rocky relationship with Trump, was on the way out, and Pompeo would be the likely replacement.

Tillerson dismissed the notion as “laughable” as Pompeo remained silent.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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