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Bill Clark/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, the first woman ever to serve on the highest court in the land, has been diagnosed with dementia and is battling the early stages of what is probably Alzheimer's disease, she announced in a public letter addressed to "friends and fellow Americans" on Tuesday.

O'Connor retired from the Supreme Court in 2006 to take care of her husband, John, who also suffered from Alzheimer's. She was nominated to the court by President Ronald Reagan in 1981 when she was 51 years old.

"Some time ago, doctors diagnosed me with the beginning stages of dementia, probably Alzheimer's disease," O'Connor wrote, explaining that the condition has progressed to the point that she can no longer participate in public life. "Since many people have asked about my current status and activities, I want to be open about these changes, and while I am still able, share some personal thoughts," she wrote.

The former justice, who loved telling stories about growing up on the Lazy B Ranch in southwest Arizona before attending Stanford University and eventually settling in Phoenix, plans to remain there for the time being. Before serving on the U.S. Supreme Court, she spent over a decade in public office in Arizona, eventually serving as the GOP majority leader in the state Senate, the first woman to do so anywhere in the country, and then serving on the Arizona Supreme Court of Appeals.

"I will continue living in Phoenix, Arizona, surrounded by dear friends and family," O'Connor wrote. "While the final chapter of my life with dementia may be trying, nothing has diminished my gratitude and deep appreciation for the countless blessings in my life."

One of the most noteworthy cases to come before O'Connor on the Supreme Court was Mississippi University for Women v. Hogan, a 1982 decision concerning a man who sued Mississippi University's all-female nursing school after he was denied admission. The court decided that was a violation of the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. O'Connor, who wrote the majority opinion, argued that not only was determining acceptance on the basis of sex wrong, but that nursing shouldn't be only a woman's job.

O'Connor wrote that "excluding males from admission to the School of Nursing tends to perpetuate the stereotyped view of nursing as an exclusively women's job." The policy, therefore, "lends credibility to the old view that women, not men, should become nurses, and makes the assumption that nursing is a field for women a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Over the course of her two decades on the court, O'Connor was seen as an unpredictable vote, according to Cornell University's law project Oyez. She was the swing vote in reaffirming Roe v. Wade in 1992, which stemmed from the abortion rights case Planned Parenthood v. Casey.

But O'Connor's overriding legacy was as a trailblazer for women. She acknowledged her glass-ceiling achievement in her letter Tuesday.

"I hope that I have inspired young people about civic engagement and helped pave the pathway for women who may have faced obstacles pursuing their careers," she wrote. "As a young cowgirl from the Arizona desert, I never could have imagined that one day I would become the first woman justice on the U.S. Supreme Court."

Though it would be 12 years before she was joined on the bench by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan eventually brought the number of women to have served on the court to four. She also inspired women to jump into the world of law. According to the Sandra Day O'Connor Institute, 36 percent of law school students were women when she was appointed to the court. By the time she retired in 2006, that number stood at 48 percent.

O'Connor spoke of the increased presence of women on the bench in 2010 at an annual Women's Conference.

"I've got to tell you, I went to the Supreme Court recently ... I sat in on an argument, and I looked up at the bench on which I sat for 25 years, and what did I see?" O'Connor said. "I saw on the far right, a woman. On the far left side, a woman. And here in the middle, a woman. And it was dazzling."

"Do you really think at the Supreme Court, where reason prevails, that women bring something unique?" ABC News' Diane Sawyer, the conference moderator, asked.

"Well, I think in most hard legal issues, a wise old woman and a wise old man are going to reach the same conclusion," O'Connor said at the 2010 event. "But there are cases where our experience as women might bring some perspective to the situation before the court."

In response to the news of O'Connor's diagnosis, Elizabeth Wydra, the president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, hailed O'Connor's "pathbreaking service."

"Justice O’Connor has led by example, with the power of a stateswoman and accomplished jurist, showing me and millions of other women and men how to comport ourselves in our chosen profession, and how to respect the institutions of American government handed down to us by our forebears through more than two hundred years of sacrifice and struggle," she said in a statement.

Since retiring from the court 12 years ago, O'Connor's primary goal has been promoting civic engagement – advocating for Americans to "understand our Constitution and unique system of government, and participate actively in their communities."

In her letter Tuesday, she spoke of the program she started, iCivics, which provides free online resources teachers can use in social studies and history classes across the country.

"I can no longer help lead this cause, due to my physical condition. It is time for new leaders to make civic learning and civic engagement a reality for all," she wrote in her letter.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Reports last week that the federal government is attempting to establish a narrow legal definition of gender has prompted swift outrage from psychology, civil liberty and transgender rights organizations.

The upheaval stems from a memo that The New York Times obtained that alleges that the Department of Health and Human Services is working to legally define gender as either male or female.

In doing so, gender would be qualified as “unchangeable, and determined by the genitals that a person is born with,” according to The Times. The memo also reportedly stipulates that any dispute about an individual’s sex would have to be clarified using genetic testing.

ABC News has not been able to independently verify the contents of the memo.

Defining gender as a binary and based on one’s genitalia at birth removes the legal ability for transgender individuals to self-identify as who they really are. The existing medical practices, as implemented and supported by groups like the American Medical Association, acknowledges that an individual’s gender identity does not always a binary choice.

The issue made national headlines when there was widespread debate over various “bathroom bills” that would restrict what facilities transgender individuals could use. When that debate was going on in 2017, Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, a member of the AMA Board of Trustees, released a statement saying that laws "based on biological gender can have immediate and lingering physical consequences, as well as severe mental health repercussions."

Transgender rights activists were immediate with their pushback against the alleged proposals reported in The New York Times article.

"This administration is willing to disregard the established medical and legal view of our rights and ourselves to solidify an archaic, dogmatic, and frightening view of the world,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, in a statement. “This transparent political attack will not succeed administratively, legally, or morally."

The White House initially referred all questions about the Times report to the HHS, but President Trump weighed in Monday saying that his administration was “looking at it.”

"We have a lot of different concepts right now and we have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender right now,” said Trump. “You know that as well as I do and we are looking at it very seriously."

An HHS spokesperson said that the department does not comment on alleged leaked documents, but said that the Obama administration extended the margins of earlier legal precedent in their administration’s handling of issues relating to gender.

Oakley added that HHS will continue to review the issue and “vigorously enforce all laws as written and passed by Congress, prohibiting discrimination in healthcare on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, and disability.”

Transgender rights advocates and other medical professionals however, remain deeply alarmed.

Jessica Henderson Daniel, the president of the American Psychological Association, said that she is "appalled" by the report.

"For decades, researchers have recognized that gender is not necessarily determined by a person’s biological sex assigned at birth, which can be physiologically uncertain in some cases,” Daniel said in a statement. “Purposely ignoring this body of evidence is indefensible and certain to add to the stress and discrimination already experienced by transgender people."

Similar sentiments were expressed by Diana Flynn, the litigation director of Lambda Legal, a civil rights group that advocates for LGBTQ individuals.

“If the New York Times story is accurate, the sheer breadth of what HHS is proposing is jaw-dropping,” Flynn said in a statement. “This is clearly another ideologically-driven attempt by the Trump administration to marginalize transgender people and force them into the shadows.”

The American Civil Liberties Union called the proposals “hateful and hurtful policies” and wrote in a tweet that if the administration moves forward with such plans, “we’ll see them in the courts and in the streets.”

The hashtag #WontBeErased circulated widely on social media over the weekend, and outrage extended into the real world as well.

The National Center for Transgender Equality organized a protest in front of the White House Monday afternoon and several transgender rights groups organized a rally in front of the Los Angeles City Hall Monday evening.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who frequently publicly disagrees with President Donald Trump, said anyone in his party who is a critic of the president is unlikely to do well in Republican primaries this election season.

“There is no room for Trump skeptics, let alone Trump critics, in Republican primaries these days,” Flake said on "The View" on Tuesday.

Flake, who is not seeking re-election, was on “The View” to celebrate the birthday of fellow Arizonan, co-host Meghan McCain.

He reflected on the heated partisanship in the country, with him and McCain sharing that they had spoken about his recollection of being at a congressional softball game in 2017 where GOP Rep. Steve Scalise was shot.

Flake said that as he "watched the bullets pitch off the gravel," he thought to himself, "Why us?"

He said he was in disbelief that a shooter would target "a group of middle-aged men playing baseball," and he decried the level of vitriol between the two parties.

"It's out of control right now," Flake said.

As for speculation that he might run for president in 2020, Flake joked that he has made visits to a very important primary state.

“I’ve been to New Hampshire a couple of times, but just for the weather,” he said.

He suggested that he thinks there should be a challenge against Trump 2020, saying, “I do hope somebody runs on the Republican side,” if for no other reason than to remind the public “what decent politicians look like.”

The Arizona senator was also asked about his vote in favor of confirming now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Flake said he believed the stories and concerns of protesters against Kavanaugh who accosted him on Capitol Hill prior to the vote.

“I felt for them,” Flake said of the two women protesters who confronted him in a Senate elevator. “You could tell that it was genuine and I just want them to know we hear them.”

“I would have liked a broader investigation that started sooner,” he said of the FBI investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct against the Supreme Court nominee, which Kavanaugh categorically denied.

But, he said of his vote in support of Kavanaugh, a “mere allegation with no corroboration” is not a reason to vote against a nominee.

“I wish I had the certitude that some of my colleagues expressed,” Flake said about the vote.

Flake also talked about his long friendship with the late Sen. John McCain, saying that his former colleague was extremely proud of his daughter.

“If John McCain could have put ‘The View’ on in the Senate cloakroom every day he would have,” Flake said.

“Nothing made him happier than to get calls from his family and to see him light up like that,” Flake said of John McCain. “I miss him horribly.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Vice President Mike Pence doubled down Tuesday on the president's assertion that "Middle Easterners" have infiltrated a caravan of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to the U.S. border.

"It's inconceivable that there are not people of Middle Eastern descent in a crowd of more than 7,000 people advancing toward our border," Pence said in a conversation with the Washington Post Tuesday morning.

Pence backed up President Donald Trump's statements that people from the Middle East, as well as MS-13 gang members, were mixed in with the thousands of migrants traveling to the nation's southern border to escape violence and poverty in their countries. Trump made the comments in a tweet Monday and repeated them during a campaign rally in Houston later that night.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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The Washington Post/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In the middle of speaking to a group of voters on a chilly Long Island day, Liuba Grechen Shirley stops.

"Put your coat on baby, it's cold," she said over the microphone, after her 4-year-old daughter took off her jacket and tossed it on the ground.

Shirley continued to address the group, but she's interrupted. It's her daughter again. She sprinted through supporters to give her mother a sticker.

"Thank you, munchkin," chuckled Shirley, who's running for office in New York’s 2nd Congressional District.

With less than a month to the election, Shirley’s children are her two youngest supporters. Her daughter refers to door knocking as "trick or treating for votes" and jumps at the opportunity to tag along, she told "Good Morning America."

Her husband can typically be seen pacing the edges of events with the couple's second child in his arms.

Paving the way for more moms to run for office
"I'm a mom first and I'm running for office because of them," she said. But her children also caused her biggest hesitation.

When she was approached to run for office by Square One politics, an organization started by staffers for former President Obama, they asked her one important question: "What do you need to run?"

"Child care," Shirley responded. At the time, she was a full-time caregiver for her two kids, who were just 1 and 3 years old.

"I would be nursing my son, and my daughter would be playing with my hair and I'd be making phone calls," she recalled. In the first two months of her campaign, she raised $126,000 -- with no paid staff.

Child care, however, was expensive -- a cost Shirley believes keeps many mothers from considering a run for office. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average annual cost of infant child care in New York is $14,144.

The Federal Election Commission, which monitors campaign finances, prohibits using campaign funds for personal use. Shirley decided to put in a request to the FEC to create a ruling that would allow her to use campaign funds from private donors on child care.

"I can make the decision to use these campaign funds on a pizza party for my staff or on more lawn signs or on child care -- and without the child care I wouldn't be able to run for office," she said.

Hillary Clinton wrote in support of Shirley's request, as well as 24 U.S. representatives, including Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga. The decision was approved in a unanimous bipartisan decision.

"This is for people who need to pick up the extra costs of child care to be able to run, because if you're not independently wealthy and you have small children you can't do it. You cannot run for office. And this rule changes that," Shirley explained.

Running to flip a red district blue again
Shirley, who has a Master of Business Administration and previously worked for the United Nations Association, is facing off against Republican incumbent Rep. Peter King in November. King, who has held the seat since 2012, hosted President Donald Trump in the district in May to discuss ways to combat violence and the MS-13 gang.

Although the district leans red, Shirley believes this election is different from previous ones. For starters, although the district voted for Trump in the 2016 election, its constituents voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012.

"The problem is this district was actually redrawn in 2012. We have more Democrats in this district. Peter King is out of touch with people in this district,” she said.

She admits that a lot of Democrats in her district, which includes Long Island's Suffolk County, have voted for King in the past but said it's because there wasn't a serious challenger.

"Maybe they didn't know his voting record, but they knew his name and he seems like a nice guy and so they'll vote for him," she said.

Shirley's opponents call her a socialist, a description she denies.

While King voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Shirley would like to expand upon it. She supports a plan that provides Medicare for All, often championed by former presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. A pro-choice advocate, she would like to protect a woman's access to abortion care. She believes health care is a human right.

"When you knock on doors there are always four issues that people care about: It's health care, taxes, education and the environment,” she said.

Shirley supports legislation that would cut taxes on the middle class. King voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Acts, a measure brought forward by the GOP to rewrite the nation's tax code.

She'd also like to see campaign finance reform.

"There is a disconnect between the people who are in office and the people who live in the community. And that disconnect is there because of campaign finance issues. We need campaign finance reform. We need publicly financed elections," she said.

Shirley, who grew up in the district, has seen it change: "There are a lot of people who have to leave Long Island because they can't afford to live here; who can't find affordable housing; who can't find good paying jobs."

The Long Island home her parents bought in the 1940s has been passed down through generations. After a long day of campaigning, Shirley enters the living room skipping over rocking horses and toy firetrucks. Her daughter decorated toilet lids with colorful stickers and her fridge is covered in her children's artwork.

She admits she's not like other politicians. She said she isn't wealthy and is still paying off student loans while trying to provide for her kids. But she believes that representation is exactly what is needed.

"We need more diversity in Congress," she said. "We need to be having the important conversations and we're not going to have them until we change the dynamics at the table."Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- California Sen. Kamala Harris, a potential contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, began a two-day campaign swing across Iowa on Monday, her first major visit to the state that will hold the first-in-the-nation caucuses in just over 16 months, telling voters to recognize the urgency of electing Democrats in the midterm elections that are just two weeks away.

"This is a pivotal moment, and we’ve got 15 days to get this done," Harris told a crowd at a community college in Ankeny, Iowa.

Harris also cast the midterms as a part of a broader narrative beyond Donald Trump's presidency.

"Let's also recognize," she said, "this moment at some point will pass. We will get beyond this, I promise you. We will get beyond this."

A prominent critic of the Trump administration, Harris also said she rejects the notion that someone is not a patriot if they criticize the direction of the country.

"Sometimes when we're critical about what's not working in our country ... that invites a question about one's love of country," Harris said. "I reject that, because I believe there are two different definitions of what it means to be a patriot. One, the definition that suggests you don't condone the conduct of your country whatever it does. And then the other, being the kind of patriot that I believe most of us end up being. The kind that will fight each and every day for the ideals of our country."

Attendees at Harris' campaign stops today said they view her as an effective and positive messenger for the party, and see her as a legitimate contender to lead the Democratic charge to deny President Trump a second term.

"She's my top choice because she is strong, she is smart, she is insightful," Sarah Zigtema of West Des Moines told ABC News at Harris' stop in Ankeny. "Watching her on Senate committees she asks really good questions and she gets her answers, and I appreciate that about her. Also I'd just love to see her go up against Donald Trump because I think she'd kick his butt."

Carter Winton, a tech consultant from Urbandale, Iowa, said he'd like to see Harris on a presidential ticket with someone like New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, but worries a woman of mixed race would face unfair prejudice in Donald Trump's America.

"My dream ticket would be someone like her and Cory Booker," Winton told ABC News before Harris' speech in Des Moines. "But I don't believe somebody of mixed race and a female would do very well in a general election. So as much as I would love to see her run, I don't know if that's a winning ticket.”

"She’s the type of person that doesn't really take crap," said Darrell Hagans, a 38-year-old software company worker from Des Moines who came to see Harris speak Monday night. "I think that she is a rising star in the Democratic Party. I think that she definitely has the potential, whether it's in this next election or possibly the one afterwards."

Harris is set to campaign in the central and eastern parts of the state, including stops in Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, hoping to boost the Democratic nominee in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District, Cindy Axne, and the Democratic nominee for Iowa Secretary of State, Deidre DeJear.

This is Harris' first visit to the state since 2008, when she campaigned for then-Sen. Barack Obama during her time as the district attorney of San Francisco.

"There is so much on the line this year," Harris said in a statement released by the Iowa Democratic Party last week. "We have seen how Republicans sow the seeds of hate and division throughout our country over the last two years. Now it's time to hold them accountable, at every level of government, and Iowans know that better than anyone."

Harris, first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after serving as California's Attorney General for six years, has been a prominent and fierce critic of the Trump administration during her time on Capitol Hill. She has clashed with numerous administration officials including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and recently called the confirmation hearings of then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme court a "sham and disgrace."

Aside from her high-profile role as Trump administration antagonist, Harris also recently rolled out a new tax proposal called the "LIFT Act," which aims to help U.S. families earning less than $100,000 year become eligible for a monthly tax credit of up to $500, or $6,000 a year.

While Harris has begun to make a name for herself on Capitol Hill as a forceful progressive advocate, the Democrat is still not widely known to much of the American electorate.

A recent poll from CNN had Harris polling at 9 percent, third in a field of potential Democratic 2020 contenders that included former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who campaigned across Iowa this past weekend.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Loren Elliott/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- If the 2016 Republican presidential primary was a bare-knuckle brawl, President Donald Trump did his best to bury the hatchet in Texas on Monday night.

"It got nasty," Trump told a raucous crowd in Houston before calling Senator Ted Cruz, his onetime foe, "a man who has become a really good friend."

"Nobody has helped me more" than Cruz, Trump proclaimed, heaping praise on the Republican senator as he embarks on the home stretch of his unexpectedly competitive reelection race against upstart Democratic Congressman Beto O’Rourke.

The once icy relationship between Senator Cruz and the president has thawed considerably since the tumult of the 2016 election, when the two battled it out for the Republican nomination. Since conceding to Trump and dropping out of the race, Cruz has aligned himself firmly behind the president as a reliable vote in the Senate.

The president responded in kind, thanking Cruz for his legislative support.

"Thanks to Ted, we now have a brand new member of the United States Supreme Court, Justice Brett Kavanaugh," Trump said.

Despite his best efforts on Monday, Trump's chummy relationship with Cruz may not be as iron-clad as the president suggests. Asked by ABC News over the weekend whether he considers Trump a friend or a foe, Cruz refrained from hanging his hat on the former.

"He's the president," Cruz told ABC News' Paula Faris in an interview that aired on "This Week" Sunday. "I work with the president in delivering on our promises."

The president made his presence felt in this heated race long before Air Force One touched down in the Lone Star State Monday evening, bashing O’Rourke on Twitter last week as a "total lightweight" and a "flake."

On Monday, Trump targeted O'Rourke again, calling him "a stone-cold phony."

"O'Rourke pretends to be a moderate, but he is actually a radical, open borders left winger," Trump said.

Despite O’Rourke’s national buzz as a progressive liberal over-performing in the conservative bastion of Texas, he still trails in most polls by nearly ten points. During a debate last week, the typically mild-mannered O’Rourke borrowed a nickname that Trump coined during the 2016 campaign, referring to Cruz as “Lyin’ Ted.”

Departing the White House on Monday afternoon, Trump renounced that moniker and coined a new nickname for Cruz.

"He's not lyin' Ted anymore, he's beautiful Ted,” Trump told ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl. "I call him 'Texas Ted.'"

O’Rourke, who represents El Paso in the House of Representatives, also pledged to vote to impeach President Trump if given the chance.

Again mentioning his "10 percent tax cuts" for the middle class in addition to the "big tax cuts you've already gotten," Trump said that he has been working with Rep. Kevin Brady for three months, and said they are "putting it in next week."

"For all middle income people 10%" the president said.

Trump also spoke at length about the migrant caravan making its way from Central America through Mexico, with its ultimate destination the United States border -- just a couple hundred miles south of Houston -- accusing aspiring migrants of committing "an assault on our country."

"In that caravan you have some very bad people," Trump said. "We can't let that happen to our country."

Trump again claimed, without evidence, that the Democrats are behind the caravan.

"Democrats had something to do with it and now they said I think we made a big mistake. Because people are seeing how bad it is," Trump said, as he called the caravan "an assault on our country."

The total number of migrants now headed to the U.S. border is estimated to be about 7,200, the United Nations said Monday.

Recognizing the potential implications of a senate defeat in a state Trump carried by nine points in 2016, the president set his sights on Cruz’s race back in August, announcing his intention "hold a major rally" in "the biggest stadium in Texas we can find."

The Trump campaign fell slightly short of that promise, initially booking an 8,000-seat arena in Houston’s suburbs. But after a “HUGE and unprecedented” response to ticket sales, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale announced a late change in venue to accommodate a larger audience, landing on Houston’s 18,000-seat basketball arena, the Toyota Center.

As Trump took the stage, Houston's Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted that approximately 3,000 people watched the rally from outside the arena.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Subscribe To This Feed -- President Trump says he is "not satisfied" with Saudi Arabia's response to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, days after the country admitted the Washington Post columnist died in its consulate in Istanbul, but claimed it was part of an interrogation.

"I am not satisfied with what I've heard," Trump told reporters at the White House Monday, adding that the Saudis must hurry up their investigation after they said they may need a month: "That's a long time. There's no reason for that much. Be faster."

Seventeen days after the journalist and royal insider went missing in Turkey, Saudi Arabia admitted to culpability for Khashoggi's death on Friday. But they said it was part of an intelligence operation to convince Khashoggi to return home to the kingdom that was not authorized by senior Saudi leadership and went wrong after Khashoggi tried to leave, was put in a choke-hold, and died.

While the explanation has been dismissed by many U.S. officials and members of Congress as not credible, Trump withheld judgment on Monday until top U.S. intelligence officials could return from a trip to the region. The CIA did not return a request for comment, but there were media reports that its director Gina Haspel had traveled to Turkey on Monday.

"We have people over in Saudi Arabia now. We have top intelligence people in Turkey, and we're going to see what we have. I'll know a lot tomorrow," he said, adding he had spoken to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman again, the young leader said to be the real power behind the throne. He's suspected to be the one responsible for launching the plot against Khashoggi, although Saudi Arabia strongly denies that.

The president would not say whether he believes those denials in an interview with USA Today, but added he does still think it was "a plot gone awry."

The stiffer tone from Trump, however, was softened by his continued defense of U.S.-Saudi economic relations and his expressed desire to not mess with it.

"I don't want to lose all of that investment that's being made in our country. I don't want to lose a million jobs. I don't want to lose a $110 billion in terms of investment," he said.

During his visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017, Trump signed an agreement with the Saudis for them to purchase $110 billion of U.S. weapons, although so far only $43 billion of that has been detailed.

Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, who has a close relationship with the Crown Prince, issued the same caution Monday, saying the administration was "in the fact-finding phase" still.

"We're obviously getting as many facts as we can from the different places, and then we'll determine which facts are credible, and then after that the president and the secretary of state will make a determination as to what we deem to be credible and what actions we think we should take," he said during a forum hosted by CNN.

But he too stressed being "focused on what's good for America, what are our strategic interests."

To that end, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin met with the Crown Prince Monday. While he canceled his participation in a major Saudi investment forum, he still flew to the capital Riyadh to discuss "combating terrorist financing, implementing Iran sanctions, Saudi economic issues and the Khashoggi investigation," according to his spokesperson Tony Sayegh.

American diplomacy came as Turkey ramped up its investigation Monday, searching a car that belongs to the Saudi consulate, but was found in an Istanbul parking lot. CNN also aired surveillance video that Turkish authorities said showed one of the key suspects dressed in Khashoggi's clothes leaving the back of the consulate shortly after he was killed. The suspect is reportedly now in Saudi custody.

It was yet another report citing anonymous Turkish authorities who have consistently leaked details of the investigation to the press to pressure Saudi Arabia and the U.S. But on Tuesday that will change as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan goes on the record with a major address before parliament.

In the first official comments from the Turkish government, Erdogan said he will reveal the details of Turkey's investigation into the plot against Khashoggi: "It will be revealed in full nakedness."

Erdogan's spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin said Monday that while Turkey's "ultimate aim, duty, and responsibility is to enlighten the incident in all its parts," Saudi Arabia remains "an important country for us. It is a brotherly and friendly country... Of course, we would not want this to be harmed."

But in what could be a tease of Erdogan's speech, his political party's spokesperson was much tougher and called Saudi Arabia's operation "a brutally planned [killing] and efforts were made to cover it up. When we look at it through this frame, it's a very complicated murder."

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


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Mark Makela/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former President Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail two weeks before the midterm elections, appearing Monday at a rally at the University of Nevada Las Vegas campus to boost Democrats up and down the ballot.

“I want this to be the capital of voting," Obama told the crowd. "I’m here just to get one thing from you -- and this is for you to vote," he said. “This November’s elections are more important than any in my lifetime and that includes when I was on the ballot.”

“The consequences of you staying home would be profoundly dangerous for our country, for this democracy,” Obama said.

He's particularly focused on Nevada's Senate race, one of the tightest in the country. Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen is challenging Republican incumbent Dean Heller, the only Republican senator up for re-election in a state that Hillary Clinton won in 2016.

Heller has been endorsed by President Trump, who just on Saturday stumped for him in Elko, Nevada, on the same night that Obama's vice president, Joe Biden, campaigned in the state for Rosen.

Obama held nothing back in his disdain for the policies of President Trump and congressional Republicans.

"There is only one real check on abuses of power, one real check on bad policy, it's you and your vote," Obama said to a crowd of 2,000 supporters. Speakers hit hard on the need for high voter turnout throughout the day and advertised that early voting was underway in Nevada. Nevada Democratic Party chair William McCurdy started a chant saying "You vote, we win."

Obama made the case that his administration had put the country on a track that's led to the powerful economy that President Trump takes credit for. He touted the ongoing longest streak of job growth on record, providing health care for millions of Americans, and cutting deficits during his administration.

"When you hear all this talk about economic miracles, remember who started it," Obama said. "I hope people realize there's a pattern that every time [Republicans] run things into the ground and we've got to clean it up."

Obama picked apart a number of current Republican positions including claims by Republican congressional candidates that people with pre-existing conditions would not lose their health insurance. "I know you can bet on anything here in Vegas, but you don't want to bet that Republicans are going to protect your healthcare."

Without mentioning him by name, Obama took a thinly-veiled swipe at President Trump. "Unlike some, I actually try to state facts—I believe in facts- I believe in a fact-based reality, a fact-based politics," he said. "I don’t believe in just making stuff up. I think you should say what’s true."

In her Senate campaign, Rosen has made health care the primary issue of her campaign -- an issue that was also central to Obama's presidency.

One of her supporters, Malerie Stanley, who arrived more than three hours before the rally to ensure she would get inside, said women's rights was the key issue for her in the midterms.

“What has happened in our country recently with Kavanaugh is disgusting. It’s a disgrace,” Stanley said. “People need to be heard and we’re not going to stop fighting until we’re heard.”

Another issue at the top of voters’ minds was health care. Randi Ghrist, a mother of three, worries that her children will be able to get healthcare.

“I can’t just turn a blind eye to what’s happening all around me. My children are on my insurance for now, what happens in a few years?”

Many voters said above any individual issue, ensuring a check on President Trump was what would drive them to the polls.

“I think the most important issue in this election is to put the president in check,” said Mike Blair, a Las Vegas resident. “He has such a rubber stamp in Congress, we need someone who will be a rubber stamp on him.”

Obama is the latest in a string of national surrogates who have visited Nevada in the 2018 midterm cycle and Democrats are hoping some Hollywood star power will invigorate their base. Obama was joined at the rally by "Ugly Betty" actress America Ferrera, and the hip-hop group Salt-N-Pepa.

Steve Sisolak, the Democratic candidate for governor, also appeared at the rally. Sisolak, who's currently the Commission Chairman of Clark County, the county that encompasses Las Vegas, faces Republican candidate Adam Laxalt, the state's attorney general.

It's an open seat race for the seat currently held by Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval, who has reached the end of his term.

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Subscribe To This Feed ANGELES) -- A California judge ruled on Monday that Michael Avenatti, the outspoken attorney for adult-film star Stormy Daniels, is in breach of a personal obligation to pay a $4.85 million debt.

The ruling, by California Superior Court Judge Dennis Landin, is just the latest development in a long-running dispute between Avenatti and Jason Frank, an attorney who once did legal work for Avenatti’s law firm, who contends that Avenatti and his law firm have repeatedly reneged on a multi-million-dollar settlement agreement approved by a bankruptcy court earlier this year.

As Judge Landin called the case from the bench on Monday morning, he asked, “Is there a Mr. Avenatti here?”

There was no response. Avenatti, who has been teasing a potential run for president in 2020, was a no-show. Earlier Monday, he tweeted that he would be in New Hampshire helping to encourage people to get out the vote.

“I’m happy with today’s judgment and look forward to collecting the money that’s been owed to me for five years,” Frank told reporters after the court ruling on Monday.

Avenatti had agreed, according to a court settlement filed in the bankruptcy case of his law firm Eagan Avenatti, to personally guarantee the payments to Frank if his law firm did not pay up.

Frank filed the suit against Avenatti in state court in May when the firm and Avenatti missed a deadline to pay the first of two installments toward the $4.85 million. Frank amended his lawsuit in July after neither the firm nor Avenatti made the second installment of $2.85 million.

Frank is also pursuing a separate federal court action which seeks to collect on a $10 million-dollar judgment against Avenatti’s law firm. At a hearing in that dispute Monday afternoon in Los Angeles, U.S. District Court Judge Virginia Phillips indicated that she was inclined to assume jurisdiction of the case from the bankruptcy court, though she opted to defer a ruling.

Frank is seeking to transfer the bankruptcy case to federal district court in order to pursue subpoenas for corporate and banking records of Avenatti’s law firm as he seeks to recover the award.

In yet another court proceeding on Monday, a judge in Orange County, California issued an order evicting the staff of Eagan Avenatti from their offices in Newport Beach, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

In court filings reviewed by ABC News in advance of the eviction proceedings, the building’s landlord had alleged that Eagan Avenatti had failed for the past four months to make rent payments for its 8,300-square-foot ocean view office space.

According to the Times, the court cancelled the lease and ordered Avenatti’s firm to vacate the space and to pay the landlord the full amount of past-due rent, amounting to more than $200,000 dollars.

Though Avenatti did not oppose Monday’s motion before Judge Landin and failed to appear at the hearing Monday, he has contended in previous court filings in that case and others that Frank is barred from recovering any money. He has asserted that Frank’s law firm is “attempting to use its judgment as a weapon to destroy” Avenatti’s business.

Reached after the court ruling, Avenatti told ABC News that “any judgment issued against me will be deducted from the over $12 million that Jason Frank owes me and my law firm Avenatti & Associates as a result of his fraud.” Avenatti has alleged that Frank improperly ended his contract with his law firm and took clients with him.

Frank’s attorney, Eric George, dismissed that allegation from Avenatti, calling it “more delusional nonsense” and vowed to “immediately start going after” Avenatti’s assets as soon as the court has officially recorded its judgment.

“At the end of the day, until he pays this judgment off, it will follow him around for decades,” George told ABC News in an interview after the court ruling.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Senators who are potential Democratic presidential candidates were quick to weigh in on a New York Times report that the Trump administration is contemplating changing federal policy to narrowly define gender – a move that could gut a number of federal protections for transgender people.

The New York Times reported Sunday that, according to a memo obtained by the newspaper, the Department of Health and Human Services was working to limit the term “gender” to either male or female, unchangeable and determined by a person’s genitals at birth.

ABC News has not seen the memo.

President Donald Trump appeared to confirm that the administration is mulling the move on Monday afternoon. According to a 2016 survey by the Williams Institute at the University of California School of Law, 1.4 million people identify as transgender in the United States, comprising an estimated .6 percent of adults.

“We're looking at it," President Donald Trump said Monday as he left the White House for a campaign event in Texas. "We have a lot of different concepts right now and we have a lot of different things happening with respect to transgender right now. You know that as well as I do and we are looking at it very seriously."

Several possible 2020 candidates quickly condemned the policy shift before Trump confirmed it.

“The Trump administration is trying to make discrimination more available all across the country,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said in an videotaped statement during an event in her home state. “This is just fundamentally wrong. It is not who we are as a country. It does not reflect our best values and I will fight them on this. I will fight for anti-discrimination provisions,” she said.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., who ran for president in 2016 and has been an active campaigner for midterm candidates this cycle, expressed a similar sentiment.

“At a time when we should be doing everything we can to protect our transgender brothers and sisters, Trump and his administration are trying to exclude transgender people from civil rights protections,” he said in a statement. “Trump and his Republican friends must be held responsible for their discrimination and the pain they have caused. We are going to vote them out.”

Warren and Sanders both sit on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, which could exercise its role overseeing measures related to health, education and public welfare, all of which could be affected by a federal attempt to more narrowly define gender than the past administration.

Others, such as Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., the top Democrat on the HELP committee, released a tweet expressing solidarity with the transgender community.

The White House did not brief the HELP committee before the New York Times report came out, a Murray aide said.

Another member of the HELP Committee recommended an existing legislative recourse to address the administration's planned policy shift.

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisc., the first openly gay person elected to the Senate, said Congress should pass her bill, the Equality Act, co-sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Cory Booker, D-N.J. The Equality Act would provide consistent federal protections for people based on sexual orientation and gender identity, two criteria which currently are not protected under existing federal non-discrimination law.

"This is another reason why Congress needs to take action and pass the Equality Act. We cannot allow the Trump Administration to erase transgender people from federal civil rights protections," Baldwin said.

The reports also spurred strong responses from the larger LGBT community, and about 100 people or so participated in a protest sponsored by the National Center for Transgender Rights in Washington D.C. Monday afternoon.

Before Trump himself weighed in, the White House referred comments to HHS, whose spokesperson Caitlin Oakley noted that a 2016 federal court ruling found that the Obama administration had gone beyond federal statute in its own recognition of gender which went beyond a binary designation.

“That court found that the Obama administration regulation was overbroad and inconsistent with the text of the 1972 Title IX law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex. The court order remains in full force and effect today and HHS is bound by it as we continue to review the issue,” Oakley’s statement read in part.

Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., also tweeted their initial disapproval of the new policy without delving into specifics about how they might take congressional action to challenge the policies.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- As thousands of Central American children, parents, elderly and other adults intent on migrating to the United States awoke from a night sleeping on concrete in far-southern Mexico, President Donald Trump resumed tweeting about the migrant caravan as the fault of Democrats and a danger to the U.S.

The caravan of migrants, mostly from Guatemala and Honduras, bedded down Sunday night on the concrete of a town square in Tapachula, Mexico, but awoke Monday determined to resume their arduous journey to the U.S. border still some 1,700 miles away.

Overnight the group was joined by about 1,500 additional migrants who followed them up from Guatemala, organizers told ABC News. The total number of migrants now headed to the U.S. border is estimated to be about 7,200, United Nations Deputy spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters in New York on Monday.

Haq said that the International Organization for Migration reported that migrants continue to stream into Mexico from Guatemala and "are likely to remain in the country for an extended period."

Trump, meanwhile, in a series of tweets asserted that "criminals and unknown Middle Easterners" are amid the crowd, for which he offered no evidence. He also again said Democrats are to blame for not working with his administration on immigration reform.

"Every time you see a Caravan, or people illegally coming, or attempting to come, into our Country illegally, think of and blame the Democrats for not giving us the votes to change our pathetic Immigration Laws! Remember the Midterms! So unfair to those who come in legally," Trump tweeted Monday morning.

He went on to tweet that the Mexican federal police have been unable to stop the sea of humanity. The Mexican officers have been monitoring the caravan since the crowds breached a fence Friday at the Mexico-Guatemalan border and pushed past border patrol agents.

"Sadly, it looks like Mexico's Police and Military are unable to stop the Caravan heading to the Southern Border of the United States," Trump tweeted Monday. "Criminals and unknown Middle Easterners are mixed in. I have alerted Border Patrol and Military that this is a National Emergy. Must change laws!"

Trump offered no evidence that anyone from the Middle East is with the Central American migrants. An ABC News crew traveling with the group has also seen no evidence to support the president's claim.

The president also blasted the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador -- the countries that make up the so-called "Northern Triangle" of Central America -- for failing to prevent the exodus of people from their countries. He threatened to cut off aid.

"Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador were not able to do the job of stopping people from leaving their country and coming illegally to the U.S. We will now begin cutting off, or substantially reducing, the massive foreign aid routinely given to them," Trump tweeted Monday.

As he left the White House Monday afternoon for a campaign rally in Houston for Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Trump slammed the Central American countries during a gaggle with reporters on the South Lawn of the White House.

"We give them tremendous amounts of money ... Hundreds of millions of dollars," said Trump, adding that in return they give "nothing to us."

He also criticized the Mexican government's handling of the caravan.

"I guess it looks like the people are walking right through the middle of Mexico. So I'm not exactly thrilled there either," Trump said.

Responding to a question from ABC News' Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl on whether he has any evidence of terrorists infiltrating the caravan, Trump said: "Go into the middle and search. You're going to find MS-13 [gang members]. You're going to find Middle Easterners. You're going to find everything. Guess what? We are not allowing them in our country. We want safety."

The Senate Democratic leader, Chuck Schumer of New York, dismissed Trump's claim as a diversion from other issues, particularly health care, ahead of the midterm elections.

Rep. Eliot Engle of New York, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said it would be illegal for the president to withhold foreign aid to Central American countries appropriated by Congress.

"Fortunately, Congress -- not the president -- had the power of the purse, and my colleagues and I will not stand idly by as this administration ignores congressional intent," Engle said in a statement Monday.

The migrants in the caravan, many of whom are trudging north on worn shoes or bare feet, with some fainting from dehydration in the hot sun on Sunday. One young girl apparently suffering from dehydration in the heat Sunday fell from a rickshaw into the arms of an ABC News reporter, who helped her back on the rickshaw to be taken to an ambulance.

The rickshaw driver told ABC News on Monday that the girl was treated and was doing better.

Many of the migrants said they are fleeing violence and murderous gangs in their homelands.

"My family is suffering right now, but what's happening in Honduras is worse," one migrant, Blanca, who is traveling with her two young sons and teenage daughter, told ABC News.

Blanca said she fled her Honduras home with her children after her husband was killed by gangs. She said her goal is to reach the United States.

The migrants have been warned by Mexican federal officials that they entered that country illegally and have been advised to go to shelters and apply for asylum to legally remain in the country, at least temporarily.

But many of the those in the caravan told ABC News that they believe the offer of asylum is a ruse to round them up for deportation.

Thousands of migrants walked about 25 miles on Sunday from near the Guatemala border to Tapachula, Mexico, where they spent the night in the town square.

Unlike in previous days, the presence of Mexican federal police and military Blackhawk helicopters were not in sight as the migrants walked north, many holding hands and chanting, "United people will never be defeated!"

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators usually operate in secret, but an ongoing legal fight has forced them to admit publicly that they are examining Donald Trump's longtime confidante Roger Stone.

And while widespread discussion over Stone has often focused on what may have transpired in private, his very public statements and actions alone could put him in legal jeopardy, former federal prosecutors told ABC News.

Trump insists Mueller is on "a witch hunt," reciting the phrase "no collusion" at least 32 times in the past six months alone.

Mueller, however, has yet to offer a final assessment of alleged links between Trump's associates and Russian operatives. And just two weeks ago, FBI Director Chris Wray told lawmakers: "There is a very serious, ongoing criminal investigation" still underway.

Mueller's team is currently fighting – in open court – to compel a former Stone aide to testify before a federal grand jury about Stone and other matters. And last week, ABC News reported that Mueller's team is pressing for answers about Stone from their newest cooperator, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

So what did Stone actually do – and could it even be criminal?


Mueller recently charged 12 Russian spies for interfering in the 2016 presidential election by hacking into Democratic institutions and then orchestrating "the staged release" of stolen documents.

To help execute their "large-scale cyber operations," the Russian operatives created an online identity they named "Guccifer 2.0" and "falsely claimed to be a lone Romanian hacker," according to Mueller.

Their first big release came in July 2016, when Wikileaks published tens of thousands of emails heisted from the Democratic National Committee.

In the months right after the disclosure, Stone praised Guccifer 2.0 as the "hero" who "hacked and leaked" it all, but he also promised – at least a dozen times – that Wikileaks had yet to release its biggest blow against Hillary Clinton's campaign.

He repeatedly called the coming bombshell "an October surprise" because, he later explained to ABC News, an "intermediary" to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange told him early on, "It's coming in October."

Stone's teases offered tantalizing details – he repeatedly said the next release would come from inside the Clinton Foundation, and at one point in August 2016 he pronounced on Twitter that it would soon be "the Podesta's time in the barrel."

Stone has since insisted he was referring not only to Clinton's then-campaign manager John Podesta but also to Podesta's lobbyist brother, whose overseas business dealings were starting to receive media scrutiny.

Nevertheless, four days into October 2016, Guccifer 2.0 publicly claimed to have hacked the Clinton Foundation and posted several documents online. "Many of you have been waiting for this, some even asked me to do it," Guccifer 2.0 wrote.

And that same week, Wikileaks released thousands of emails stolen from John Podesta's personal email account.

There's no indication Stone ever discussed such disclosures with Guccifer 2.0, and he told ABC News it was a journalist's email that first suggested to him the Clinton Foundation had been hacked. But Stone has admitted exchanging "benign, innocent and even banal" private messages with the online persona.

In those exchanges, Stone expressed "delight" over Guccifer 2.0's Twitter account and, at Guccifer 2.0's request, offered minor feedback over a heisted Democratic document just posted online.

Mueller cited the exchanges in his indictment against the 12 Russian spies, describing Stone as someone who discussed "the release of stolen documents" with Guccifer 2.0, which Mueller said was created to "undermine the allegations of Russian responsibility" for the DNC hack.

Throughout the summer of 2016, Stone was engaged in his own effort to discredit those allegations, despite growing evidence from the U.S. intelligence community that Russia was to blame.

And Stone has consistently denied ever believing Guccifer 2.0 was a Russian front, even though media reports at the time insisted that was the case.

In August 2016, Stone published an article about Guccifer 2.0 headlined, "DNC Hack Solved, So Now Stop Blaming Russia."

In the article, Stone posted a link to Guccifer 2.0's website and encouraged the public to "have a look."

The website highlighted by Stone included batches of documents snatched from Democratic operatives and this statement from Guccifer 2.0: "I'm often asked if I'm afraid of being prosecuted by the FBI. My answer is No! I've expected it ... But it won't be that easy to catch me."


Stone's public statements and since-released private messages offer what former federal prosecutor Ed McAndrew called a "robust factual record."

And while there is no law explicitly outlawing the specific act of "collusion," Mueller is looking at a vast array of U.S. statutes that make certain acts of collaboration or assistance a federal crime.

Several former federal prosecutors suspected Mueller has been contemplating whether Stone should face conspiracy-related charges or even "aiding and abetting" or "accessory after the fact" charges.

Those former federal prosecutors were confident Mueller won't seek any indictment unless he has what former assistant U.S. attorney Joe Facciponti called "rock solid" proof.

"I suspect Mueller is looking to develop additional proof ... [and] more facts around Stone's knowledge and intent before bringing charges," said Facciponti, now with the firm Murphy & McGonigle in New York.

If Stone fully knew he was championing a hacker who – by Stone's own acknowledgment – stole and spread private material, "he's looking at 'aiding and abetting,'" according to McAndrew.

"They can show that he is encouraging [or] ... inducing them to engage in this activity. He's teasing it. He's the provocateur," McAndrew said.

If prosecutors conclude Stone was knowingly aiding the hackers, Stone could also be "exposed" to an "accessory after the fact" charge, as McAndrew sees it.

According to federal law, anybody who "comforts or assists" someone they know has committed a federal crime, and does so "to hinder or prevent" apprehension, "is an accessory after the fact."

The charge is rarely used in federal cases, especially by itself, "but it is there for – quite frankly – this type of fact pattern, where someone knows who the bad guys are, knows what they've done, and could be seen ... in any way assisting in avoiding exposure," McAndrew said.

Federal prosecutors have used the charge before in hacking-related cases, including when the global intelligence firm Stratfor suffered a major cyber-heist four years ago.

The Justice Department not only prosecuted the hacker who stole and then released millions of private records, the department also imprisoned Barrett Brown, a loose associate of the hacker, for being an "accessory after the fact."

Acting on behalf of a hacker he only knew as "o," Brown reached out to Stratfor to discuss whether "o" should redact information about certain individuals before releasing it.

Even though Brown didn't know "o's" true identity, prosecutors in Dallas concluded Brown was an "accessory after the fact" because – as a middleman – he created "confusion" over "o's" true identity and "diverted attention away from the hacker," according to documents filed with his plea deal in the case.

He was ultimately sentenced to a year in prison for the "accessory" charge and four more years for two other charges in the case.

Asked by ABC News to assess Stone's actions, a pro-Republican former federal prosecutor with links to Trump's administration said they "do come somewhat close to the line" of taking "affirmative steps" to help the hackers avoid prosecution.

But, speaking on the condition of anonymity so he could talk freely, he still questioned whether there is "sufficient" evidence to warrant an "accessory after the fact" charge, emphasizing, "It does require Stone to be more than a public advocate/cheerleader in support of the hacking."

The attorney who represented Brown four years ago, Ahmed Ghappour, was even more skeptical that Stone could face such charges, noting there's no evidence suggesting Stone's public statements "were at the behest of the Russians" or those specifically behind Guccifer 2.0.

While Stone's public statements and his "direct contact" with Guccifer 2.0 "give rise to legitimate suspicion, I have yet to see any real evidence of criminal wrongdoing," said Ghappour, now a professor at Boston University Law School.

An attorney representing Stone categorically denied his client has committed any crimes.

"Mr. Stone did not conspire, aid, abet, or act as an accessory with any computer hackers, Russian or otherwise," and unless they "work as a lawyer" in Mueller's office, anyone offering their opinion about Stone's potential culpability "is speculating without evidence," attorney Robert Buschnel told ABC News.

Buschnel has previously argued Stone's tweets and public statements were "nothing more than political speech" and "protected by the First Amendment."

Still, Stone recently told ABC News, "It's not outside the realm of possibility that [Mueller] may consider bringing some offense against me."

"A dedicated prosecutor could indict anybody for anything," he said.


The former federal prosecutors who spoke with ABC News emphasized that Stone's fate could rest on what Mueller has gathered in secret.

"The real question is: What does the special counsel's office know beyond what's been made public," said McAndrew, now with the firm Ballard Spahr in Washington.

Mueller's investigators have already interviewed or contacted nearly a dozen associates of Stone, including his longtime aide Andrew Miller, who worked for him during the 2016 presidential campaign.

In June, Mueller's investigators sent a subpoena to Miller demanding he hand over any emails dated between June 2015 and June 2018 that mentioned six specific topics: Stone, Assange, Wikileaks, the DNC, Guccifer 2.0, or the other online Russian front DC Leaks.

Miller gave them a tranche of emails, but Mueller's team wants the former Stone aide to testify under oath to a federal grand jury, and Miller has resisted helping any further. The matter is currently before the U.S. appeals court in Washington.

Meanwhile, Mueller's investigators have access to all sorts of private correspondence from the time and to witness testimony behind closed doors. But perhaps "more importantly" they also have access to classified information secretly collected by the U.S. intelligence community and its allies around the world, McAndrew noted.

"That's the stream we really know next to nothing about," he said.

And such closely-held information is not always incriminating, Facciponti cautioned.

"The public record might just be the tip of the iceberg," but "further investigation might reveal that seemingly suspicious acts have entirely innocent explanations," he said.

Mueller's office declined to comment for this article.

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ABC News(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- California Sen. Kamala Harris, a potential contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, began a two-day campaign swing across the state of Iowa in the town of Ankeny Monday morning, her first major visit to the state that will hold the first-in-the-nation caucuses in just over 16 months.

Harris is set to campaign in the central and eastern parts of the state, including stops in Des Moines, Cedar Falls, Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, hoping to boost the Democratic nominee in Iowa's 3rd Congressional District, Cindy Axne, and the Democratic nominee for Iowa Secretary of State Deidre DeJear.

This is Harris' first visit to the state since 2008, when she campaigned for then-Sen. Barack Obama during her time as the District Attorney of San Francisco.

"There is so much on the line this year," Harris said in a statement released by the Iowa Democratic Party last week, "We have seen how Republicans sow the seeds of hate and division throughout our country over the last two years."

"Now it’s time to hold them accountable, at every level of government, and Iowans know that better than anyone. I’m excited to be coming to Iowa to make sure everyone uses the most powerful tool we can as Americans, our votes, to make real change in Iowa and in our country."

Harris, first elected to the U.S. Senate in 2016 after serving as California's Attorney General for six years, has been a prominent and fierce critic of the Trump administration during her time on Capitol Hill. She has clashed with numerous administration officials like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and recently called the confirmation hearings of then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme court a "sham and disgrace."

"When we wake up in the middle of the night with that thought that has been weighing on us, sometimes we wake up in a cold sweat,” Harris said at a dinner hosted by the Ohio Democratic Party in Columbus earlier this month, "Well, for the vast majority of Americans, when we wake up thinking that thought, it is never through the lens of the party for which we are registered to vote."

Aside from her high-profile role as Trump administration antagonist, Harris also recently rolled out a new tax proposal called the “LIFT Act," which aims to help U.S. families earning less than $100,000 year become eligible for a monthly tax credit of up to $500, or $6,000 a year.

While Harris has begun to make a name for herself on Capitol Hill as a forceful progressive advocate, the Democrat is still not widely known to much of the American electorate.

A recent poll from CNN had Harris polling at 9 percent, third in a field of potential Democratic 2020 contenders that included former Vice President Joe Biden, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who campaigned across Iowa this past weekend.

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ABC News(EL PASO, Texas) -- All eyes have been on the Texas Senate race this cycle, as three-term Congressman Beto O’Rourke takes on Republican incumbent Ted Cruz.

The 45-year-old Democratic hopeful has garnered national attention for his candid campaign style: he recently broke the record for fundraising for a U.S. Senate candidate in a single quarter, raking in $38.1 million for his campaign from July through September.

O’Rourke grew up in a political family in El Paso. His father held various local government seats, including county commissioner and county judge, according to the Dallas News. O’Rourke followed those footsteps after attending Columbia University and returning to El Paso.

He hasn't lost a political race thus far, winning seats twice on the El Paso City Council and three times in the U.S. House.

His appeal, for some, is rooted in his laid-back demeanor.

O’Rourke rides his skateboard into rallies, sweats through all of his t-shirts and livestreams videos of himself jamming to "The Who" after his senatorial debates. He may be a career politician, but he's tried to craft himself for a new era of voters and politics in America.

O’Rourke embraced the progressive agenda from the beginning. According to the Dallas News, O’Rourke recruited progressives for a liberal city council, aiming to work on issues like urban sprawl and development.

O’Rourke has been candid about his 1998 DWI arrest, saying in an August 2017 interview with the Palestine Herald-Press, “I have no excuse for my behavior then. However, since then, I have used my opportunities to serve my community and my state. I’m grateful for the second chance and believe we all deserve second chances.”

He has pinned his platform on education reform, health care, and immigration.

His steadfast embrace of the non-traditional has built him a strong base, but in a deep-red state with a powerful incumbent, he has encountered pushback from a conservative-leaning electorate. Recent polls show him falling behind Cruz in a large single-digit lead.

O'Rourke has signaled his intention to continue his fight to turn the seat blue, saying that he will not share the millions he raised in the third quarter with other candidates, in hopes to close the widening gap between him and Cruz.

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