Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment at 5:20 a.m. EDT

April 01, 2017 - 5:37 am


Hands raised, Trump aides rush to try to testify on Russia

WASHINGTON (AP) — Crisis management experts say it's wise for President Donald Trump's associates caught up in the debate about Trump and Russia to show they have nothing to hide.

Those associates are volunteering to testify before committees investigating Russian meddling in the U.S. election and potential Trump campaign collusion.

Usually testifying on such matter is an exercise most people would typically avoid, especially if there's a chance they're being scrutinized in a parallel FBI investigation.

It's unlikely the FBI is as enthusiastic about such voluntary testimony because appearing before Congress can complicate a criminal investigation if witnesses are granted immunity

A special counsel to President Bill Clinton during his impeachment hearings, Lanny Davis, advises that in such circumstances: "Tell it early, tell it all, tell it yourself."


Congressman says he's the 1 to lead Russia probe

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — An embattled congressman from California shows no signs of giving up leadership of an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Rep. Devin Nunes (NOON-es) on Friday told KSEE-TV (http://bit.ly/2ojNJep ) in Fresno that there's nobody better to handle the tough job than him.

The Republican congressman chairs a House intelligence committee investigating Russia's interference in the election.

Nunes has been criticized for announcing he had evidence showing President Donald Trump's communications were collected during the election and briefing Trump before telling fellow committee members.

Nunes says he answers to voters, and the issue he briefed Trump on had nothing to do with Russia. Nunes on Friday also addressed the Ag Lenders Society, ducking in and out of the event to avoid hundreds of protesters outside.


Once-booming gun industry now recalibrating under Trump

WEBSTER, Texas (AP) — President Donald Trump promised to revive manufacturing in the United States, but there's one once-burgeoning sector poised to shrink under his watch: the gun industry.

Fears of government limits on guns led to a surge in demand during President Barack Obama's tenure and manufacturers leapt to keep up.

Over the decade ending in 2015, the number of U.S. companies licensed to make firearms jumped a whopping 362 percent.

But sales are down and the bubble appears to be bursting with a staunch advocate for gun rights in the White House and Republicans ruling Congress.


Venezuela leader urges court to review ruling on congress

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is urging the country's Supreme Court to review its decision stripping congress of its last powers, a ruling that set off a storm of criticism from the opposition and foreign governments.

In an address early Saturday after a meeting presided over by Maduro, the National Security Council has announced that is supporting a review by the court "with the goal of maintaining institutional stability."

The announcement capped an extraordinary day in which Venezuela's chief prosecutor and long-time loyalist of the socialist government broke with the Maduro administration and denounced the court ruling. Luisa Ortega Diaz said it was her "unavoidable historical duty" as the nation's top judicial authority to decry the ruling against the opposition-controlled National Assembly as a "rupture" of the constitutional order.


Witness account highlights dangers of texting while driving

HOUSTON (AP) — A witness says the driver of a pickup truck that collided with a church minibus in rural Texas, killing 13 people, acknowledged he had been texting while driving.

The development highlights the dangers of sending messages on smartphones while behind the wheel.

Texas Department of Public Safety Sgt. Conrad Hein wouldn't comment Friday on whether texting might have played a role in Wednesday's collision on a two-lane road about 75 miles west (120 km) of San Antonio, near the town of Concan. But officials have said the truck driver appeared to have crossed the center line.

Jennifer Morrison, who's in charge of the team from the National Transportation Safety Board, would only say distracted driving will be among the issues investigated.

The witness talked to The Associated Press on Friday.


The Latest: Sen. McCaskill says she will oppose Gorsuch

WASHINGTON (AP) — A day after saying she was torn over the decision, Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill says she will oppose Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and will vote with fellow Democrats to filibuster his nomination.

McCaskill, who is up for re-election next year, says she's opposing the federal appeals court judge because his opinions favor corporations over workers and he's shown "a stunning lack of humanity."

McCaskill says President Donald Trump promised working people he would lift them up, but "nominated a judge who can't even see them."

McCaskill says she's worried about increasingly polarized politics. If the filibuster is successful, Republican leaders are expected to change Senate rules to confirm Gorsuch and make it easier to confirm justices in the future.


UConn's 111-game winning streak ends, Miss St wins at buzzer

DALLAS (AP) — UConn's record 111-game winning streak came to a startling end when Mississippi State pulled off perhaps the biggest upset in women's basketball history, shocking the Huskies 66-64 on Morgan William's overtime buzzer beater in the national semifinals Friday night.

William hit a 15-footer to cap it, moments after a replay review awarded UConn two free throws for a flagrant 1 foul call that tied the game with 26.6 seconds left.

The Bulldogs (34-4) will play South Carolina for the national championship Sunday night in a matchup of two SEC teams.

Mississippi State and UConn met in the Sweet 16 last season and the Huskies won by 60 points — the biggest win in regional semifinals history. All season long the Bulldogs had that humiliating loss on their minds.

Now they've erased that defeat, beating UConn (36-1) — which had won the last four national championships — on the grandest stage in one of the sport's greatest games.


Businesses give mixed reviews to 'bathroom bill' rollback

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Tense negotiations over a deal to undo North Carolina's "bathroom bill" have given way to uncertainty.

Will the compromise Gov. Roy Cooper signed Thursday quash the furor that made businesses, sporting events, conventions and entertainers pull out of the state in a yearlong economic backlash?

State Democratic and Republican leaders are declaring that their compromise will restore North Carolina's reputation as a welcoming place to do business. But some business leaders are doubtful, some entertainment industry leaders are scornful, and LGBT advocates are outraged.

Critics said Friday that House Bill 142, titled "AN ACT TO RESET" the law created by House Bill 2, is not a true repeal.


White House to share financial information about top staff

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says it will share financial information about some top staff members on its website late Friday.

President Donald Trump, a billionaire New York businessman, has hired some of the wealthiest people to ever serve in government. Their financial assets must be detailed in documents accessible to the public, and the White House has agreed to continue President Barack Obama's tradition of warehousing that paperwork on the website.

Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump just this week agreed to serve as a government employee, triggering the need for her to file financial disclosures. Her husband, Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to Trump, also must file, as must economic adviser Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive.

It is unclear whether the Friday disclosures include all of the aides.


Media reports: Israeli PM orders settlement slowdown

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli media are reporting that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a slowdown of settlement construction as a gesture to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Haaretz and other media on Friday reported Netanyahu announced the policy at a meeting the night before in which his Cabinet approved the first West Bank settlement in two decades as compensation for a settler outpost demolished in February.

Netanyahu told ministers to take Trump's position "into consideration" and said construction will be limited to settlement boundaries with no new outposts allowed.

Trump had indicated he would be more sympathetic to settlements than predecessor Barak Obama and the international community, who consider them illegal. But he appears to have backpedaled since taking office.

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