News, Straight to the Point

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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News outlets reported late Thursday that the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity chapter at the University of Oklahoma had lawyered up as the fallout continued from a viral video of its members singing a racist chant on a party bus.

The fraternity chapter's board voted to hire high-profile attorney Stephen Jones as it mulled whether to take legal action against the university and its president, David Boren. Boren severed the school's ties with the fraternity chapter earlier in the week and ordered all its members to vacate their frat house.

Jones said in a news conference Friday afternoon that he wouldn't rule out filing a lawsuit against the university, although he and the members of OU's SAE chapter would prefer to come to terms with the university administration outside of the legal arena. Jones said that he'd been retained to ensure that the frat members receive due process before the university and the fraternity's national organization, but also to ensure the students' safety as they face physical threats from other students on campus.

Jones is best known for representing Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, but there are other aspects of his biography that are worth surfacing.

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WASHINGTON — It goes without saying that a Supreme Court ruling against Obamacare would be devastating for President Barack Obama, dealing a blow to his signature domestic achievement, as well as the millions of Americans who would no longer be able to afford health coverage. But it's not a zero-sum game.

The perils of a Court ruling to erase Obamacare subsidies in dozens of states extend to Republican governors who are eying the presidency in 2016.

The justices met Friday morning, two days after oral arguments in King v. Burwell, to cast their votes and decide whether the law restricts health insurance tax subsidies to state-run exchanges, as opposed to the federal exchange.

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The Department of Justice issued a report on Wednesday detailing what it alleged was the Ferguson Police Department's pattern of racial bias and violations of people's Constitutional rights.

Shortly after the release, Attorney General Eric Holder held a news conference in which he said the police had created a "highly toxic environment" for the residents of Ferguson, especially for blacks.

"These policing practices disproportionately harm African American residents," Holder said, according to prepared remarks from the news conference. "In fact, our review of the evidence found no alternative explanation for the disproportionate impact on African American residents other than implicit and explicit racial bias."

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The circumstances surrounding Missouri Auditor Tom Schweich's (R) sudden death last week remained a mystery even as the state's political establishment prepared to pay its respects today to the man who was the GOP's leading gubernatorial candidate.

Schweich died Thursday of an apparent suicide, just minutes after arranging a meeting with reporters to go public with allegations that the state Republican Party's top official had been spreading misinformation about his religion.

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Republican politicians and conservative pundits alike have been apoplectic in recent days over President Obama's approach to combating the Islamic State terror group in the Middle East in general and his administration's hesitance to label the group's militants as Islamic in particular.

The outrage surged against a backdrop of brutal attacks carried out by the terror group, also known as ISIL or ISIS, as well as a pair of shootings at a free speech event and a synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark.

By Thursday, the right's rage had spiraled into a litmus test in which potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders were leaping to tell the public whether they believed Obama really "loves America."

In some ways, the latest test unfolded much the same way as the last one did. In that case, the issue of the moment was unexpectedly and suddenly about vaccine mandates.

Here is a brief look at how the GOP's latest debate took root:

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