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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump has repeatedly sparked outrage among women since he entered the political fray in the 2016 race.

On one hand, he has garnered praise from some corners for promoting women to top positions within his company and to certain positions within his Cabinet, and can count women such as Kellyanne Conway, his former campaign manager, among his closest advisers.

On the other, he has drawn fire for his comments over the years, including a tape that surfaced just before the election that showed him bragging about groping women, for which he later apologized.

He also faced criticism for a lack of women in key positions in his administration, taking actions during his presidency that some say are detrimental to women's interests and appearing in pictures surrounded by men at forums and executive order signings.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer praised the work that Trump has done for women before his appearance at an event focused on women's empowerment this afternoon.

"Women's History Month is coming to an end, but the Trump administration is committed to empowering women in the workplace. The work that we started this month will not end at the end of this month, but will continue," Spicer said.

Here is a review of the clearest actions affecting women that have been taken by the Trump administration during the first 69 days of his presidency.

Taking action on abortion and women's health


On what Trump considered the first full day of work, Jan. 24, the president issued an executive memorandum reinstating the Mexico City policy, which bars federal funding for overseas groups that provide access to or counseling about abortions.

Introduced by President Ronald Reagan at a United Nations conference in Mexico City in 1984, the policy was dubbed the "Global Gag Rule" by abortion-rights groups.

The policy, which has been heavily criticized by Democrats, has been rescinded and reinstated multiple times since its inception.

Aside from the executive memorandum, the other ways in which the Trump administration would change health care for women were stalled with the decision not to vote on the American Health Care Act last week.

If the health care plan had been adopted, Planned Parenthood effectively would have been stripped of Medicaid clients and largely defunded, and individuals would have been banned from using their federal tax credits on plans that covered abortions, an incentive to insurance companies to stop offering the procedure.

Also, over the next few years, certain "essential health benefits," which currently include maternity care, would no longer be covered by Medicaid.

Photos showing Trump during signings and appearances related to women's issues have raised some eyebrows.

When he signed the Mexico City policy and when Trump and Vice President Mike Pence met with Republican leaders about the health care plan on March 23, pictures showed Trump surrounded only by men. One photo that was tweeted by Cliff Sims, a special assistant to Trump, from the March 23 meeting shows that Conway was in the room, but the photo that Pence chose to share from the same meeting showed 25 men and no women.

Focus on working women


Trump has participated in several roundtable discussions about female entrepreneurs and women-run businesses. The issue is one known to be close to his daughter Ivanka's heart as well.

The topic was discussed at a meeting with women entrepreneurs with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Feb. 13 and earlier this week, Trump hosted a roundtable with women small business owners on Monday March 27.

"Empowering and promoting women in business is an absolute priority in the Trump administration because I know how crucial women are as job creators, role models, and leaders all throughout our communities," he said at the event.

He has also spoken about other issues that directly relate to women at various points in his presidency -- including his joint address to Congress on Feb. 28 -- though he has yet to take action on all of the issues in question.

"My administration wants to work with members of both parties to make childcare accessible and affordable, to help ensure new parents that they have paid family leave to invest in women's health, and to promote clean air and clean water, and to rebuild our military and our infrastructure," he said.

Paid family leave, women's health issues and the promotion of clean air and water are issues that Ivanka Trump addressed during the campaign or met with experts about during the transition.

During her address to the Republican National Convention, Ivanka Trump said: "As President, my father will change the labor laws that were put into place at a time when women were not a significant portion of the workforce. And he will focus on making quality childcare affordable and accessible for all."

Women in the White House


Conway, who became the first female campaign manager of a winning presidential campaign when Trump won, touted Trump's "natural affinity" for "promoting and elevating women."

"I believe that Donald Trump is someone who is not fully understood for how compassionate and what a great boss he is to women. He has been promoting -- he has been promoting and elevating women in the Trump Corporation -- in the Trump campaign, in the Trump Cabinet, certainly in the Trump White House. It's just a very natural affinity for him," she said.

While she is arguably the most prominent woman advising the president now, Conway and Ivanka Trump are the female figures who appear with Trump the most.

Until now, Ivanka Trump did not have a formal title in the administration but did recently have security clearance approved, received a government-issued communication device and an office on the second floor of the West Wing.

On Thursday, she released a statement announcing that she will have the title of special assistant to the president but will not receive a salary.

First lady Melania Trump decided to stay in New York through their son Barron Trump's school year, and she has only spoken at a handful of events since her husband took office including this morning, when she spoke about women's empowerment at the State Department.

The first lady also hosted the International Women's Day Luncheon on March 8.

Trump also counts among his close advisers Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the deputy press secretary, Katie Walsh, the deputy chief of staff, Hope Hicks, director of strategic communications and Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser.

Trump was criticized earlier in his term for what some said was a lack of diversity among his Cabinet. Trump picked four women for cabinet-level positions -- Betsy DeVos (Education), Nikki Haley (U.N. Ambassador), Linda McMahon (Small Business Administration) and Elaine Chao (Transportation) -- which is the lowest number of women since George W. Bush's first cabinet, though he went on to appoint Condoleezza Rice as his secretary of State in his second term.

By contrast, Barack Obama had seven women in Cabinet-level positions at the start of his presidency and Bill Clinton had six; George H.W. Bush had two and Ronald Reagan had one.

For his part, Trump is proud of the women on his team.

“My Cabinet is full of really incredible women leaders,” Trump said Wednesday.

“I’m so proud that the White House and our administration is filled with so many women of such incredible talent,” he said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — It appears to be a tale of two Russian investigations.

There is the probe in the House Intelligence Committee that has been publicly marred by controversy over the actions of the chairman, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., once a member of the Trump transition team, and his wrangling with Democratic counterpart, Adam Schiff, D-Calif.

Then there is the Senate, where, by contrast Wednesday, the leaders of that body's Intelligence Committee presented a united front as they shared details of their ongoing inquiry into Russian interference, including possible collusion with a campaign, and vowed to "get to the bottom of this."

The probes, which are running simultaneously with an FBI investigation into potential collusion between Trump associates and Russian officials, represent a critical juncture in the nascent administration.

The investigations have split lawmakers largely along party lines, with the GOP honing in on leaks of classified information and the "unmasking" of Americans within the intelligence community and Democrats emphasizing Russian meddling in the presidential election.

Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Vice-Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va., appeared together at a Capitol Hill press conference Wednesday and defined the scope of their committee's work.

"An outside foreign adversary effectively sought to hijack our most critical democratic process, the election of a president, and in that process, decided to favor one candidate over another," said Warner. "We're here to assure you, and more importantly, the American people who are watching and listening, that we will get to the bottom of this."

"This is one of the biggest investigations that the Hill has seen in my tenure here," said Burr.

Warner's invocation of his and Burr's long-standing working relationship during their appearance and shared "concern about what the Russians have done and continue to do around the world" stood in stark contrast to the current fracture at the top of the House Intelligence Committee where Nunes is being questioned about his impartiality, willingness to share information and methods in acquiring intelligence.

Since it was revealed Monday that Nunes traveled to the White House grounds last week in order to meet with a source who provided him with information that Americans were swept up in foreign surveillance efforts -- details about which he later briefed the press and the president on before consulting his committee -- a number of congressional leaders, and even one Republican, have called from his recusal from the investigation.

Nunes has refused to remove himself, a stance backed by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

On Tuesday, Nunes cancelled all of this week's House Intelligence Committee meetings. The next day he said his committee has to hear from FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers behind closed doors before the investigation can proceed, but a committee spokesperson said Schiff wouldn't sign the letter inviting Comey back to the Hill.

Schiff told CNN he expected to meet with Nunes Thursday. "We do need to get to the bottom of it. Otherwise there will be this permanent cloud hanging over our investigation," he said.

The intelligence leaders on the Senate side gave no indication Wednesday that they are facing any of the same cooperative difficulties. Burr -- himself an adviser on Trump's campaign who said his Intelligence Committee work "overrides any personal beliefs that I have or loyalties" he has -- ticked off a lengthy list of steps the committee is taking in its probe, including 20 interview requests that "may turn into private and public hearings."

"The staff has been provided an unprecedented amount of documents," said Burr. "Those documents include documents that, up to this point, have only been shared with the Gang of Eight [party and intelligence committee leaders] and staff directors on the house and senate side."

Nunes has yet to share the information he viewed on the White House grounds with members of his committee, though he indicated that he would like to. He apologized last week for how he shared the news of surveillance of Americans of which Trump said made him feel "somewhat" vindicated.

Burr and Warner lauded the diligence of their committee and its bipartisan nature in their remarks and noted that the intelligence community "has been very cooperative." Warner cautioned, however, against the spread of misleading details, not just in Washington but through the public via social media.

"The very technology that has made our lives simpler can be misused in ways to put false information for folks who potentially only get their news off a Twitter feed or a Facebook news feed," said Warner. "And that raises serious questions, even beyond this investigation."

The breadth of the inquiry led both senators to comment upon the amount of time it could take, with Warner saying that "getting it right is more important than getting it done quickly." Burr added that while the investigation is at this stage, it is too soon for anyone to assume definitive outcomes. White House press secretary Sean Spicer has consistently insisted that there is "no connection" between the administration and Russia.

"It would be crazy to try to draw conclusions from where we are in the investigation," said Burr, responding to whether the committee could "definitively rule out" whether there was "coordination between Trump officials and Russian officials during the election."

Moving forward, the senators gave an optimistic estimation of the final outcome of their work, pledging to keep the public abreast of developments and further reinforcing their commitment.

"I have confidence in Richard Burr that we together, with the members of our committee are going to get to the bottom of this," said Warner. "And if you get nothing else from today, take that statement to the bank."
 
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NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — New red flags about Jared Kushner’s business dealings have emerged with his recent disclosure of a December meeting he held with the chief of a Russian development bank, leading Democratic lawmakers tell ABC News.

"Mr. Kushner needs to come clean and be fully transparent with the public — immediately — about all of the businesses that he continues to profit from while he serves in the White House," Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, told ABC News.

Kushner, 36, who is married to Ivanka Trump, played a central role in his father-in-law’s 2016 campaign and has since taken a job as one of President Trump’s senior advisors. He had already faced questions about a December meeting he held with the Russian ambassador when reports surfaced this week about a second contact. The White House confirmed that Kushner met in December with Sergei Gorkov of VneshEconomBank, or VEB Bank, at the suggestion of the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. But the substance of the previously undisclosed meeting remains something of a mystery.

A senior White House official said the conversation was "general and inconsequential" and that Kushner took the meeting as part of his campaign role of interfacing with foreign dignitaries. But the bank described the discussion to ABC News as a "negotiation" in which "the parties discussed the business practices applied by foreign development banks, as well as most promising business lines and sectors."

The December meeting came as the Kushner real estate firm was in the midst of what it has described in public statements as “active, advanced negotiations ... with a number of potential investors” about the redevelopment of the New York City skyscraper it owns at 666 Fifth Avenue.

On Nov. 16, Kushner dined with executives from the China-based Anbang Insurance Group to discuss a potential $4 billion redevelopment of the New York tower – a deal that reportedly fell apart this week, according to published reports. The rumored venture prompted a letter from Congressional Democrats who expressed concern about the company’s entanglements with the Chinese government, and about continued uncertainty about the extent to which Kushner had separated himself from the family real estate business he had until recently overseen.

"Even if Mr. Kushner has in fact divested from 666 Fifth Avenue, it appears his immediate family stands to benefit from a deal with Anbang, potentially violating federal ethics laws that bar '[a]n employee [from using] his public office for his own private gain ... or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity,'" said the March 24 letter signed by Cummings and Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.), Tom Carper (Del.), Sherrod Brown (Ohio) and Gary Peters (Mich.).

To date, neither Kushner nor the family real estate firm has explained the nature of the meeting with VEB Bank. An official representing the Kushner firm responded to ABC News' questions Wednesday evening saying Kushner was the only executive from his family’s real estate firm to attend.

"VEB is not providing financing, lending, or any other services to Kushner Companies," the company official said.

The bank would not make a conventional choice as a business partner as it is operating under the shroud of U.S. sanctions imposed after Russian incursions into Ukraine. Adding to the troubling optics of the meeting, Democrats said, was the recent involvement of a senior VEB Bank executive in a bungled Russian spy ring in New York. In May, a VEB executive named Evgeny Buryakov was sentenced to 30 months in prison for gathering intelligence for the Russian Federation as an agent under non official cover, known as a “NOC.”

Senators overseeing the Russia investigation have already said they expect to ask Kushner about the meeting when he appears before the Intelligence Committee. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told ABC News he also wants Kushner to share more details about the meeting so the public can understand its nature and purpose.

"Mounting evidence implicates the Trump inner circle in possible collusion with Russian meddling," Blumenthal said. "The Trump White House seems increasingly to be an ethically flawed mix of family businesses, special interests, and foreign interference, putting private gain over public interest."

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Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — FBI Director James Comey on Wednesday affirmed the independence of his agency, saying he didn't care whose "political ox is gored by our work."

Speaking at the Intelligence and National Security Alliance Leadership dinner, Comey said if the FBI were ever to "start to think about who will be affected in what way by our decisions in a political sense, we're done."

The crux of his speech was focused on the nature of law enforcement and intelligence, but Comey was invariably asked questions about his role in leading investigations into both Hillary Clinton's email scandal and the Trump administration's alleged Russia ties.

"We are the same today as we were yesterday, we'll be the same tomorrow," Comey said about how the bureau operated, declining to comment on any specific cases or ongoing probes. "We are 'what are the facts?' We really don’t care whose political ox is gored by our work and that is the passion at the heart of the FBI."

Comey stressed that "we’re not on anybody’s side, ever.”

At the same time, Comey acknowledged that ideological polarization in Washington means that the FBI understands that its work will be seized upon by politicians.

"Now we’re not fools," he said. "I know that when I make a hard decision, a storm is going to follow, but honestly I don’t care."

He added, "Now the painful part is we confuse people and the reason we confuse people is most people see the world differently than we do, especially in a hyper-partisan environment."

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vchal/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A Russian opposition activist who has been hospitalized twice in the last year in alleged poisonings by the Putin regime testified on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, in a Senate hearing aimed at establishing counter-Russia funding.

Vladimir Kara-Murza was active in working for a U.S. law passed in 2012 that bans visas and freezes assets of Russian officials involved in repression and corruption. He splits his time between Moscow and Washington as Vice Chairman for Open Russia, an organization that advocates democracy and human rights inside Russia.

In his testimony before the Senate committee on Wednesday, Kara-Murza said the U.S. needs to take a harsher stance against Russia and Vladimir Putin's regime.

Wednesday's hearing of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs was to make the case for a counter-Russia financial account that would help states and organizations fighting back against the Putin regime.

Kara-Murza opened his testimony by listing current issues of oppression in Russia including lack of free and fair elections, silencing independent media outlets and designating some non-profits doing work there as foreign agents or spies.

He said there are currently 100 political prisoners in Russia and, after tens of thousands of people marched through the streets in different cities across Russia over the weekend, more than 1,500 people were arrested.

Kara-Murza said he thinks the U.S. should be honest about what’s happening in Russia and not "enable corrupt or abusive behavior" and "continue to engage with Russia’s civil society."

He said he believes Western democracies have given Putin a pass to interfere in elections because they "have not taken a principled, firm stand against Russia's actions."

The size of protests in Russia last week show that young people the country no longer trust Putin's regime, he said, calling his regime "a dead end for Russia."

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is scheduled to visit Russia in a few weeks and Kara-Murza noted that it will be interesting to see if Tillerson meets with opposition activists, saying it is vital to maintain lines of communication outside the Kremlin and that the U.S. has to play a role in countering propaganda.

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Drew Angerer/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Asked about the possibility of a presidential bid in 2020, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said he isn’t ruling it out.

“You know my personality, go big or go home,” McAuliffe told ABC’s Jonathan Karl and Rick Klein on the Powerhouse Politics podcast. “I’m not thinking about it, but I never take anything off the table.”

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has resurfaced from a period of post-election privacy, giving speeches at events in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. this week.

But does that mean Clinton’s considering throwing her hat in the ring again in 2020? McAuliffe, who was Clinton’s campaign chair when she ran in 2008, says “Hillary’s done with elected politics.”

"She has never been quiet about the issues, nor should she be,” he said, adding that people shouldn’t “read too much into it.”

He said she is an “important voice,” but that she will join the chorus of other progressives calling for change: “There is a choir going on out there and we need all those voices.”

McAuliffe also spoke out about the prospect for bipartisan cooperation on changes to the Affordable Care Act.

Last week, the Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare imploded in a last-minute failure to secure conservative votes. To those who wonder if Democrats might be willing to work with Trump on the second iteration, McAuliffe says, “it’s just not going to happen.”

“Let’s be clear, there is zero chance that one Democrat will work with this administration if it’s going to do anything to undermine or eliminate Obamacare,” McAuliffe said.

While there are areas where McAuliffe sees Democrats being willing to join hands with the new president -- particularly on infrastructure -- he says Trump has been uninterested in collaborating with Democratic governors on his policy initiatives, and that Virginia has suffered under the federal hiring freeze and the travel ban already.

“The president talks a great game on all these big issues, but then he takes the exact opposite approach,” McAuliffe said. “This man has been a one-man wrecking crew ... I’m facing very steep headwinds out of Washington. Get your act together and start doing things to help people.”

Now that the GOP health care bill is off the table, McAuliffe said he hopes to pass Medicaid expansion in his state and that “there are no more excuses” for the Republican-led state legislature.

While he’s not happy with the current administration, McAuliffe sees a light at the end of the tunnel in 2018 and possibly in 2020.

On whether Democrats can take back the House, he said “yes they can.” He pointed to the activism that has been happening at the grassroots level around the country in the wake of Trump’s election as a potential driving force for votes swinging back in Democrats’ favor.

“I've never seen such energy of people coming out to say I'm going to run,” McAuliffe said. “And I'll tell you it was the activists more than anybody -- forget elected officials -- who turned the course on this health care debate. These town halls that are going on across the country. Spectacular.”

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InterestingLight/iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A State Department employee with Top Secret clearance allegedly made unreported contacts with Chinese intelligence officials and accepted thousands of dollars in "gifts and benefits," the Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Candace Marie Claiborne, 60, was arrested Tuesday and charged with "obstructing an official proceeding and making false statements in connection with her alleged concealment and failure to report her improper connections to foreign contacts along with the tens of thousands of dollars in gifts and benefits they provided," according to a statement from U.S. Attorney Channing D. Phillips, of the District of Columbia.

“Claiborne used her position and her access to sensitive diplomatic data for personal profit. Pursuing those who imperil our national security for personal gain will remain a key priority of the National Security Division," said Acting Assistant Attorney General McCord in a statement.

"When a public servant is suspected of potential misconduct or federal crimes that violate the public trust, we vigorously investigate such claims," acting State Department spokesperson Mark Toner told ABC News. "The Department of State is firmly committed to investigating and working with the Department of Justice and our other law enforcement partners to investigate any allegations of criminal activity and bring those who commit crimes to justice."

Claiborne, who has been working for the agency since 1999, was arrested on March 28. She pleaded not guilty at a court appearance Wednesday afternoon.

Another court hearing was set for April 18. Claiborne could face up to 25 years in prison if she is convicted of the charges of making false statements and obstructing an official proceeding.

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Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump's eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, announced today that she will take an official position in her father's administration, according to a statement.

This comes as her unofficial role has grown in recent weeks, and she was granted security clearance and a West Wing office, drawing scrutiny from some.

Ivanka Trump will be a special assistant to the president but will not take a salary, she said in a statement first reported by The New York Times.

How first daughter Ivanka Trump's role at the White House has grown

"I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the president in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House Office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees," she said in a statement today.

"Throughout this process, I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House Counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role."

She is not the only family member in her household to have a title -- Ivanka Trump's husband, Jared Kushner, is a senior adviser to the president.

The White House released its own statement about the title bump, saying that it is "pleased" by the move.

"Ivanka’s service as an unpaid employee furthers our commitment to ethics, transparency, and compliance and affords her increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously," the White House statement reads.

When her increased security clearance and West Wing office were announced, Ivanka Trump acknowledged that "there is no modern precedent for an adult child of the president."

The official title makes her existing role more formalized, though she has been no stranger to the White House. She has been present for family events -- like the various inauguration celebrations -- as well as closed-door meetings and sit-downs with foreign leaders.

In February, she met Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at the White House, where they were part of a roundtable discussion on female entrepreneurs, and she met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited the White House earlier this month, Ivanka Trump was seated right beside her.

Ivanka Trump’s involvement in business roundtable discussions could be attributed to her business background at her namesake fashion label and her father’s real estate empire, but she has also had a say in other causes that she is passionate about. When Donald Trump held a listening session about domestic and international human trafficking on Feb. 23, he started his remarks by thanking Ivanka Trump and then–senior counselor for economic initiatives Dina Powell “for working so hard to set this up.”

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Pete Marovich/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates was fired by President Donald Trump back in January after a career spanning more than 27 years with the Justice Department.

Now it appears that she’s come back to haunt the Trump administration.

Yates was expected to testify on March 28 at a House Intelligence Committee open hearing as part of its probe into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

Last week, committee Chair Devin Nunes, R-California, postponed the opening hearing, the same day Yates’ attorney advised the Trump administration that she would testify about internal discussions had about communications between Trump’s former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Since then, reports have emerged that the Trump administration sought to block Yates' testimony. The White House has pushed back against those reports, maintaining that it took no such action.

Here’s a look at Yates:

Name: Sally Quillian Yates (née Sally Caroline Quillian)

Family: She and her husband, Comer Yates, have a daughter, Kelley, and a son, James “Quill.” Comer Yates is the executive director of Atlanta Speech School, a school for children with hearing and learning disabilities, and is a lawyer by training. Comer Yates also ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1994 and 1996.

Sally Yates comes from a family of lawyers. Her father, Kelley Quillian, was a judge on the Georgia Court of Appeals, and his father and brother were also lawyers. Her grandmother was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia, but because of the times, she did not become a lawyer.

Hometown: Atlanta, Georgia

Age: 56 (Born Aug. 20, 1960)

Education: Sally Yates graduated from the University of Georgia in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She went on to get her law degree at the University of Georgia School of Law.

Her legal career: Sally Yates passed the State Bar of Georgia in 1986 and went to work for three years at the Atlanta office of King & Spalding, as a commercial litigation associate.

She joined the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Atlanta in 1989. She started as assistant U.S. attorney, working her way up to chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section from 1994 to 2002 and then first assistant U.S. attorney from 2002 to 2010.

She was the lead prosecutor in the 1996 trial of Eric Rudolph, the man convicted of the bombing at the Centennial Park during the ‘96 Olympics.

“The Rudolph case was one of the most interesting cases I’ve ever done,” she said in a 2013 interview with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Of all the cases I’ve done, that’s the greatest example of the power of a team.”

Sally Yates became the first woman U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia when she was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010 and held the position for almost five years.

On Jan. 8, 2015, Obama nominated Sally Yates as deputy attorney general and she was confirmed to the position on May 13, 2015.

Her high-profile firing in January

When Loretta Lynch, who become U.S. attorney general when Sally Yates became deputy, left the DOJ on Inauguration Day, Sally Yates stepped in as acting attorney general until then-Sen. Jeff Sessions would be confirmed to lead the DOJ.

Under Trump, Sally Yates’ stint as acting attorney general lasted a total of 10 days.

Sally Yates was fired on Jan. 30 after she instructed the DOJ not to defend Trump’s Jan. 27 executive order barring immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries. The order was later blocked in court.

The White House said in a statement that Sally Yates “betrayed the Department of Justice by refusing to enforce a legal order designed to protect the citizens of the United States.”

“Ms. Yates is an Obama Administration appointee who is weak on borders and very weak on illegal immigration,” the statement read.

In a letter to top DOJ lawyers handling the cases related to Trump’s executive order on immigration, Yates directed them to hold off from defending it.

"At present, I am not convinced that the defense of the Executive Order is consistent with these responsibilities nor am I convinced that the Executive Order is lawful,” Sally Yates wrote.

She continued, "Consequently, for as long as I am the Acting Attorney General, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the Executive Order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so."

Dana Boente took over for Sally Yates after she was fired, and Sessions was confirmed on Feb. 8 as attorney general.

When she warned the White House about Flynn

When she was still acting attorney general, Sally Yates had informed White House Counsel Don McGahn on Jan. 26 that they were misled by Flynn about the nature of his calls with Kislyak before Trump took office.

Sally Yates also conveyed concerns that Russia might try to blackmail Flynn.

Flynn resigned from his position on Feb. 13.

Her exchange with then-Sen. Sessions

During her Senate confirmation hearing on March 24, 2015, Sally Yates had an interesting exchange with then-Sen. Sessions, who is now attorney general.

"Do you think the attorney general has a responsibility to say no to the president if he asks for something that's improper?" Sessions asked Sally Yates.

She replied, "Senator, I believe that the attorney general or the deputy attorney general has an obligation to follow the law and the Constitution, and to give their independent legal advice to the president."

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — As House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes faces growing calls to step aside from the investigation of Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie admitted he didn't agree with Nunes' actions but said recusal is a "personal decision."

The calls for Nunes to recuse himself began after it was revealed that he had visited the White House grounds last week to meet an unnamed source the day before publicly sharing details about surveillance that "incidentally collected" information on associates of President Donald Trump. Nunes' prior role in Trump's transition team has added to concerns that he can't conduct an impartial investigation.

"Wouldn’t have been the way I would’ve done things, but I don't know whether that means he has to recuse himself," Christie said on Good Morning America Wednesday. "That's a personal decision the congressman has to make on his own."

Top Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi as well as the House Intelligence Committee's ranking member, Adam Schiff, all called for Nunes' removal from the House investigation on Monday. Even some Republicans, including Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain, questioned Nunes' actions.

"That’s a very, very personal decision about what congressman Nunes thinks is best to do for him, his constituents and the good of the investigation," Christie told GMA.

"I think we’re over blowing how much personal recusal matters," he added. "Congressman Nunes will make his own judgment in his own time."

Nunes said on Tuesday he has "no idea" why Democrats would call for him to step aside from the investigation.

Nunes raised eyebrows when he held an unexpected press conference on March 22 and then briefed the president -- before making members of his committee aware -- that information about Trump's transition team, and possibly the president himself, had been "incidentally collected" after the election in November. Alhough Nunes maintained that the intelligence gathering was conducted legally, it prompted Trump -- who claimed his predecessor, President Barack Obama, "had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower" -- to say he felt "somewhat" vindicated.

Nunes defended himself in an interview on CNN's The Situation Room on Monday, arguing that his visit to the White House grounds on March 21 was commonplace and part of an investigation into the unmasking of Americans in intelligence reports that began before Trump's wiretapping claims.

"I had been working this for a long time with many different sources and needed a place that I could actually finally go because I knew what I was looking for and I could actually get access to what I needed to see," said Nunes, adding, "It wasn't at night ... nobody was sneaking around, all it was was just a place where I had to go to be able to review this information."

Both the House and Senate intelligence committees are conducting separate investigations on any possible collusion between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign, while FBI Director James Comey said his agency is leading its own inquiry into the matter.

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Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — On Monday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes confirmed that he traveled to the White House last week in order to meet a source and view information related to surveillance that "incidentally collected" information about associates of President Donald Trump.

Nunes' visit to the White House last Tuesday, his move to personally brief President Trump on the matter on Wednesday -- before sharing the information with members of his committee -- and his prior position as a member of Trump's transition team have led to calls for his recusal from his post leading the House investigation into Russian interference into the presidential election.

The top Democrats on Capitol Hill: Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, as well as the House Intelligence Committee's Ranking Member, Adam Schiff, all called for Nunes' removal from the probe Monday. Even some Republicans, like Sens. Lindsey Graham and John McCain questioned Nunes' actions.

Both Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Nunes himself said there would be no recusal, with Nunes saying Tuesday he has "no idea" why Democrats would call for his removal from the investigation.

Nunes has not provided the answers to a few outstanding questions about his activities:

What is in the documents Nunes viewed?


Nunes has provided limited details about the information he obtained over the course of his investigation, but said there are "dozens of reports" showing that "incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition" was gathered during the course of "normal foreign surveillance."

Last week, it was revealed that Nunes was unsure whether associates of Trump participated in the intercepted communications or whether those persons were simply mentioned or referred to by others.

The information seen by Nunes has not yet been shared with others, though the congressman said Tuesday that he hopes to share it with other members of the intelligence committee.

Who cleared Nunes into the White House?


All visitors to the White House, even members of Congress, must be cleared into the complex by someone with access to the area, such as a White House staffer. This process includes submitting personal information to Secret Service to ensure there is no security threat and to keep a record of visitors.

Nunes insisted that a secure location at the White House complex was used because the information he went to view was already available to the executive branch and not to Congress. However, this would not preclude Nunes from using a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) in another location to prevent his conversations or classified information from being breached by those without access.

Who is his source?


Nunes has declined to name the person he met with at the White House complex, but told Bloomberg that it was a member of the intelligence community, not a White House staffer. This information further raises the question of why the meeting was held on the White House grounds. SCIFs are located in the offices of each intelligence agency.

Unless Nunes' source works out of the White House complex, they too would require to be cleared to enter the grounds. However, Nunes later briefed Trump on the information provided by the source, a move that press secretary Sean Spicer said wouldn't make sense if the information originated from the White House -- seemingly indicating that the source works elsewhere.

Given that the source was not someone employed by the White House, it is possible that an additional person was involved in securing Nunes' access to the grounds and to a SCIF. Nunes told CNN Monday that "nobody was sneaking around" and that he wasn't hiding his presence at the White House. Spicer pushed back against suggestions at Monday's press briefing that the administration cooperated with the representative's actions.

What does the White House know?


On Friday, before it was publicly known that Nunes visited the grounds earlier in the week, Spicer was asked if the chairman received the documents showing "incidental collection" from the White House.

"I don't know where he got them from," said Spicer, who didn't mention Nunes' visit.

Asked again about the source of Nunes' information on Monday, Spicer said he was unaware, adding, "I know in his public statements he’s talked about having multiple sources. And so I don't know how he derived the conclusion that he did."

Pressed on whether the details could have come from the White House, Spicer said "anything is possible" despite his earlier claim that the circulation of information from a White House staffer to Nunes and back to Trump wouldn't be logical.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump's staff is following the commander in chief's lead and will skip next month's White House Correspondents' Dinner, the organization announced Tuesday.

"The White House informed the White House Correspondents' Association this evening that White House staff will not be attending this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner out of 'solidarity' with President Trump, who has previously announced that he would skip the event," WHCA president Jeff Mason wrote in a letter to members.

Mason wrote that the "WHCA board regrets this decision very much. We have worked hard to build a constructive relationship with the Trump White House and believe strongly that this goal is possible even with the natural tension between the press and administrations that is a hallmark of a healthy republic."

WHCA statement on White House participation in this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner #WHCD pic.twitter.com/IPUOGFJFqR

— Jeff Mason (@jeffmason1) March 28, 2017

The president announced in February his intentions not to attend the annual event, tweeting, "I will not be attending the White House Correspondents Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!"

I will not be attending the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year. Please wish everyone well and have a great evening!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 25, 2017

The following day, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders acknowledged on ABC's This Week that the president's decision should not come as surprise to the media, given the tenuous relationship between the Oval Office and many media outlets.

"I think it's ... kind of naive of us to think that we can all walk into a room for a couple of hours and pretend that some of that tension isn't there," Sanders told This Week host George Stephanopoulos.

She added, "You know, one of the things we say in the South [is] 'If a Girl Scout egged your house, would you buy cookies from her?' I think that this is a pretty similar scenario. There's no reason for him to go in and sit and pretend like this is going to be just another Saturday night."

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SAN FRANCISCO) — Hillary Clinton condemned former rival Donald Trump Tuesday during a speech in California for the dearth of diversity in his administration and for his staff and supporters' treatment of women.

Giving the keynote address at the Professional Business Women of California Conference in San Francisco, Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, addressed gender inequality, including a moment earlier in the day in which White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer twice chastised journalist April Ryan for shaking her head as they engaged in a back-and-forth.

"Just look at all that's happened in the last two days to women who were simply doing their jobs. April Ryan, a respected journalist with unrivaled integrity, was doing her job just this afternoon in the White House press room when she was patronized and cut off trying to ask a question," said Clinton.

After Ryan asked a question about how the administration can "revamp its image," Spicer accused her of having an "agenda."

"I'm sorry that that disgusts you. You're shaking your head," said Spicer, who added moments later, "Please stop shaking your head again." Ryan later expressed her frustration on Twitter and told MSNBC she was felt like "road kill."

Clinton portrayed the moment as an "indignity" that "too many women -- especially women of color -- have had a lifetime of practice taking… in stride."

"But why should we have to?" asked Clinton. "And any woman who thinks this couldn't be directed at her is living in a dream world."

Clinton further admonished the administration for having the lowest number of female members "in a generation." Two women sit on Trump's cabinet -- Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao -- plus another two occupy cabinet level positions -- Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and Administrator of the Small Business Association Linda McMahon -- out of 24 total posts at that level. During the campaign Clinton promised to fill half the seats with women.

The former first lady and secretary of state also brought up a moment from Fox News' Fox & Friends Tuesday in which conservative commentator Bill O'Reilly attempted to make a joke about Rep. Maxine Waters', D-Calif. appearance. Clinton called the comments a "taunt" and described the joke as "racist."

Clinton's speech turned optimistic when she addressed women's efforts to defeat the Republican-backed replacement for the Affordable Care Act, the American Health Care Act, last week, calling it a sign that efforts to organize could build off the momentum of January's Women's March on Washington.

"There were plenty of people, as you might expect, who wondered whether that level of energy and enthusiasm would be sustained and whether it would make any difference," said Clinton. "Well I'm here to tell you -- last week we saw the first indication that the answer to both of those questions is yes."

"When Congress and the administration tried to jam through a bill that would have kicked 23 million people off their health insurance, defunded Planned Parenthood, jeopardized access to affordable birth control, deprived people with disabilities and the elderly… they were met with a wave of resistance," she added.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) — After he spent weeks supporting and lobbying for a Republican-backed health care plan that ultimately collapsed last Friday, President Donald Trump told a gathering of U.S. senators Tuesday night that they were "going to make a deal on health care."

Trump repeatedly promised an immediate "repeal and replace" of the Affordable Care Act throughout his presidential campaign. When the American Health Care Act was pulled last week from a scheduled vote and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said the ACA would remain the "law of the land," the president then claimed that he preferred for the law known as "Obamacare" to "implode" and "explode" on its own anyway.

When Trump broached the topic Tuesday at a White House reception for senators and their spouses, calling a "deal on health care" "such an easy one" and saying he has "no doubt that that's going to happen very quickly," some in the room laughed before the president continued.

"I think it will actually, I think it's going to happen, because we've all been promising -- Democrat, Republican -- we've all been promising that to the American people," said Trump. "So I think a lot of good things will happen there."

After the AHCA was pulled from a vote on Friday, Trump blamed Democrats for not giving the plan "a single vote" and called Senate and House Minority Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi "losers." He did say at the time that he thought "a real health care bill" could be developed after Obamacare fails, which the president guessed would be "at some point in the near future."

Ryan told a group of donors Monday that the GOP was not going to "abandon" health care reform in the wake of the AHCA's failure and that they would continue to work on a new policy while they "move on with the rest of [their] agenda."

Trump also addressed a desire to work on a bipartisan infrastructure plan at the reception Tuesday and expressed support for the work the military is doing in Iraq after saying he had "a long call" with Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

"We're doing very well in Iraq," said Trump. "Our soldiers are fighting and fighting like never before and the results are very good.”

On Monday, defense officials told ABC News that two additional companies were being sent to Iraq to help Iraqi troops fighting to retake Mosul from ISIS.

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Pete Marovich/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee postponed a hearing featuring former acting Attorney General Sally Yates after her lawyer advised the Trump administration that she was planning to testify about internal discussions about Donald Trump's former national security adviser, Mike Flynn, and his communications with a Russian diplomat, ABC News has learned.

Any claim that those internal discussions are still confidential "has been waived as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials," David O'Neil, an attorney for Yates, wrote in a letter to the White House on Friday — the same day that Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., announced that his committee, which has been investigating Russian meddling in last year's presidential election, would no longer hear planned testimony this week from Yates, former CIA Director John Brennan or former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The White House has denied taking any action to prevent that testimony.

"I hope she testifies. I look forward to it," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday. "We had no objection to her going forward ... To suggest in any way, shape or form that we stood in the way of that is 100 percent false."

Flynn resigned from the Trump administration last month after acknowledging that he gave "incomplete information" to Vice President Mike Pence and others about multiple calls with Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak in the days before Trump took office.

Pence repeated the false information when asked about the situation in January, prompting Yates to inform the White House that Flynn may have misled Pence and other senior officials about his communications with Kislyak.

In her testimony slated for Tuesday, Yates was expected to offer a firsthand account of her discussions with the White House in January.

On Thursday, O'Neil met with attorneys at the Justice Department to discuss — among other things — whether Yates was barred from testifying about certain details of those discussions. But the next morning, the Justice Department sent a letter to O'Neil, telling him any final determination rests with the White House.

"Such communications are likely covered by the presidential communications privilege and possibly the deliberative process privilege. The president owns those privileges. Therefore, to the extent Ms. Yates needs consent to disclose the details of those communications to HPSCI [House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence], she needs to consult with the White House. She need not obtain separate consent from the Department," a Justice Department official wrote to O'Neil on Friday.

O'Neil then wrote his letter to the White House, insisting any claim of executive privilege had been waived "as a result of the multiple public comments of current senior White House officials describing the January 2017 communications. Nevertheless, I am advising the White House of Ms. Yates' intention to provide information."

The White House never responded to his letter — which he wrote would be taken as a green light for Yates to move forward.

"We didn't respond. We encouraged them to go ahead," Spicer said, adding that the White House never considered invoking executive privilege to block her testimony.

Spicer also insisted that Nunes' decision to call off Tuesday's hearing had nothing to do with any pressure from the White House. Jack Langer, a spokesman for Nunes, similarly denied any coordination between the committee and White House over Yates' testimony.

"Neither Chairman Nunes nor any Intelligence Committee staff members had any communication with the White House whatsoever about Sally Yates' testifying to the committee," Langer said in a statement. "The only person the committee has spoken to about her appearing before the committee has been her lawyer. The committee asked her to testify on our own accord, and we still intend to have her speak to us."

The Washington Post first reported on the letters between O'Neil and the Trump administration.

Yates, an Obama administration appointee, was fired by Trump on Jan. 30 after she instructed the Justice Department not to defend his controversial executive order limiting travel and immigration from seven countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Nunes and the congressional inquiry he's leading into alleged Russian interference have come under increasing criticism in recent days, after he first claimed he had discovered "concerning" evidence that the Trump campaign was monitored after the election.

Last week, Nunes announced he obtained "dozens of reports" showing the U.S. intelligence community — through its "normal foreign surveillance" — "incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition."

But Nunes cannot say whether Trump or any of the president's associates personally participated in the communications that were intercepted, meaning it's possible that the information he's citing merely refers to foreign officials talking about Trump transition team members.

Nunes has yet to share the information with other members of the House Intelligence Committee or further explain what it shows. He said Tuesday that he will "never" reveal sources or methods to fellow committee members but that he still hopes to share the documents.

On Monday, without identifying his source, Nunes acknowledged he obtained the information while on White House grounds, an admission Democrats said should force him to at least recuse himself from the committee probe tied to Russia.

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