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5 things for August 24: Russia probe, Charlottesville, transgender troops, Qatar

Posted August 24

Let's check in with Rich Hill and make sure he's OK. The Dodgers pitcher threw a nine-inning no-hitter -- and still lost the game. Here's what else-you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Russia investigation

Congressional investigators have unearthed an email from a top aide to Donald Trump that referenced a previously unreported effort to arrange a meeting last year between Trump campaign officials and Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to sources with direct knowledge of the matter.

The aide, Rick Dearborn, who is now President Trump's deputy chief of staff, sent a brief email to campaign officials last year relaying information about an individual who was seeking to connect top Trump officials with Putin, the sources said. The person was only identified in the email as being from "WV," which one source said was a reference to West Virginia. It's unclear who the individual is, what he or she was seeking, or whether Dearborn even acted on the request.

Sources said the email occurred in June 2016 around the time of the Trump Tower meeting where Russians with Kremlin ties met with the president's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., his son-in-law Jared Kushner as well as then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.-Dearborn did not respond to multiple inquiries seeking comment. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to comment, and would not respond to inquiries about Dearborn's email and whether the campaign carried through with that meeting.

2. Charlottesville

The man who's become the face of the Charlottesville protests is in jail.-Christopher Cantwell, who was featured in a documentary about the white supremacist rally, surrendered to police in Lynchburg, Virginia. Cantwell and dozens of others marched through the University of Virginia carrying torches and chanting racist slogans. He was wanted on charges related to the rally, including illegal use of tear gas. Cantwell said he pepper-sprayed someone in self-defense.-Meanwhile, large black tarps were placed over two monuments to Confederate military generals in Charlottesville in a symbol of mourning for counterprotester Heather Heyer, who was killed.

3. Transgender troops

The White House will soon give the Pentagon formal guidance on the President's transgender military ban. It will tell the military to stop admitting transgender people and to consider a transgender service member's ability to deploy when weighing whether to expel them, the Wall Street Journal reported. The Pentagon was surprised last month when President Trump tweeted out that he was reinstating the ban on transgender troops, and military leaders said they wouldn't move on it without more guidance from the White House. Defense Secretary James Mattis will have six months to put the ban into action.

4. Texas voter ID law

The Lone Star State's latest voter ID law discriminates against minorities, a federal judge says, so she's throwing it out. The ruling covers a voter ID law blocked last year by a federal court and a new measure enacted this summer as a replacement. Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos said both laws -- which require people to either show ID before voting or sign a declaration -- discriminate against many blacks and Latinos, so she issued permanent injunctions against both. Texas's attorney general called the ruling "outrageous" and promised to appeal.

5. Gulf nations crisis

Qatar's going to restore diplomatic ties with Iran, in a move sure to tick off its Arab neighbors.-Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have been boycotting Qatar since June, accusing the tiny nation of supporting terrorism and interfering in their internal affairs.-They demanded Qatar cut ties with Iran and terror groups, reduce Turkey's military footprint there and shut down Al Jazeera. Qatar has ignored the demands so far and sought a diplomatic solution to the crisis. Qatar is important to America because it hosts the largest US military base in the Middle East, with 11,000 personnel.



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