News, Straight to the Point

About 19 months after unexpected lane closures on the George Washington Bridge snarled traffic for several days in the town of Fort Lee, New Jersey, a U.S. attorney announced charges against former allies of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) for their alleged roles in the so-called "BridgeGate" scandal.

Former Port Authority of New York and New Jersey executive David Wildstein pleaded guilty to two conspiracy counts and was cooperating with federal prosecutors. Christie's former chief of staff, Bridget Anne Kelly, and another of his former Port Authority appointees, Bill Baroni, were each indicted on seven counts of conspiracy and fraud.

Christie has repeatedly denied any involvement in the scandal, and emphasized on Friday that the charges did not directly link him to the closures. Yet the scandal landed hard inside the office of the governor, who has been contemplating a run for President in 2016.

Here's are the most significant things we learned about the scandal on Friday:

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's speech on criminal justice reform on Wednesday went beyond a vague set of narrow policy changes on the prison system. Her speech also touched on not only the rioting in Baltimore but also the shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, Tamir Rice in Ohio, and the problematic incarceration rates for African Americans.

Here are the five key points Clinton delivered in her speech:

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Conservative pundits and bloggers searched frantically on Tuesday for any one person (or problem) on which to pin the blame for the chaos and violence this week in Baltimore.

As Fox News host Shepard Smith chided his colleagues Monday afternoon, it's useless to point fingers while the situation on the ground is still unfolding. That didn't stop some from trying to find fault with Baltimore's mayor, President Obama, or the parents of the city's disadvantaged youth.

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Baltimore residents' anger at the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a mysterious spinal injury while in police custody, bubbled over Monday night into widespread looting and violence.

The turmoil in Baltimore was among the most prominent displays of anti-police sentiment since demonstrators marched through the streets of Ferguson, Missouri last fall after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown. Police said at least 15 officers were injured and nearly 200 people were arrested.

While the city's residents demanded answers, much of what happened to Gray remained a mystery. Police have given a timeline of the Gray's April 12 arrest while acknowledging that the timeline contains significant gaps.

An internal investigation into the arrest, which left Gray with a severe spinal injury that he succumbed to a week later, is expected to wrap up later this week. Here's everything we know to date.

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WASHINGTON — Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) is threatening to do something that no Senate minority leader in modern history has attempted: bypass the majority party and force a vote on a high-profile nomination.

That would be Loretta Lynch, President Barack Obama's attorney general nominee who has been twisting in the wind for five months, not because she faces united Senate GOP opposition per se but because her nomination has been caught up in an unrelated fight over abortion and human trafficking.

Reid's daring and seemingly unprecedented move may succeed in shining a spotlight on GOP senators who support Lynch's confirmation but are willing to go along with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in holding up the vote. But the gambit appears unlikely to succeed in securing Lynch's quick confirmation.

Here's what's going on.

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Charlottesville, Va. police said Monday that an investigation had found no evidence an alleged gang rape that was described in a blockbuster Rolling Stone article actually took place at the University of Virginia's Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

But Charlottesville Police Chief Timothy Longo said the case was merely "suspended" -- not closed -- at this point. An external review of the Rolling Stone story, which unraveled after other news outlets discovered discrepancies in a student named "Jackie's" account of her alleged rape, is expected to be published in early April.

Here are five key takeaways from the Charlottesville Police Department's news conference.

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If Washington Post reporter Ben Terris hadn't been sidetracked by the bright red walls in Rep. Aaron Schock's (R-IL) new Capitol Hill office, the congressman's questionable financial habits may not have come to light so quickly, if at all.

Schock announced with a "heavy heart" on Tuesday afternoon that he would resign from Congress effective March 31, citing questions that had been raised about his finances as "a great distraction that has made it too difficult for me to serve the people of the 18th District with the high standards that they deserve and which I have set for myself."

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