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Expert Voices
An essential plan for gathering global data
server room
Servers at a Facebook data center in Sweden. Photo: Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP / Getty Images

There's a solution in Congress that will help law enforcement gather electronic evidence, often stored on servers abroad, while reducing conflicts of law facing cloud storage providers: the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data (CLOUD) Act.

Why it matters: Data — meaning evidence — is now global. The CLOUD Act makes clear when U.S. warrants apply, considers the applicable laws of other countries, and creates a framework for bilateral cooperative agreements that allow for cross-border data requests to be handled through domestic legal processes. The proposed U.S.-UK agreement is a good model. 

Erica Pandey 5 hours ago
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Democrat wins Kentucky House district Trump won by 49%
Visitors
Visitors at the Kentucky Capitol building. Photo: Bill Pugliano / Getty Images

Democrat Linda Belcher won a special election to represent Kentucky's 49th district in the state House Tuesday. She was elected 68–32 in a district that President Trump won 72–23 in 2016, per the Washington Post.

  • The backdrop: Belcher was first elected in 2008 and then unseated by Republican pastor Dan Johnson. In December 2017, the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting uncovered an incident in which Johnson allegedly molested a 17-year-old girl. Johnson's seat became open after he committed suicide amid the scandal. Belcher's opponent in the special election was Johnson's widow, Rebecca.
  • The trend: Every local race is different, but we've now seen a number of big swings around the country toward the Democrats.
Khorri Atkinson 6 hours ago
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3M settles with Minnesota for $850M over contaminated water
3M headquarters in Woodbury, Minnesota. Photo: KAREN BLEIER / AFP / Getty Images

Industrial group 3M has agreed to pay Minnesota $850 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that its disposed chemicals have contaminated groundwater in the state, Bloomberg reports.

The details: Settlement funds will be used to finance drinking water and sustainability projects, per Bloomberg. The suit, reportedly filed in 2010, sought punitive damages of $5 billion after the state linked the contaminated water to cancer and premature births. The company had denied the state's claims and said the chemicals posed no health risk to its employees who were exposed to higher levels, per Bloomberg.

Khorri Atkinson 7 hours ago
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HHS official placed on leave after posting conspiracy theories
HHS Building
Department of Health and Human Services building. Photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services has placed Jon Cordova, a top agency official, on leave after posting a slew of baseless claims and conspiracy theories on social media, CNN reports. This reportedly comes in after a CNN KFile inquiry about the numerous unsubstantiated smears Cordova posted.

The backdrop: Cordova, who serves as the principal deputy assistant secretary at HHS, had posted stories about Gold Star father Khizr Khan being a "Muslim Brotherhood agent" and made claims about Texas Senator Ted Cruz being involved in a sex scandal. An agency spokesperson told CNN that Cordova “is currently on administrative leave while we look into this issue further.” Cordova served as a delegate from California at the RNC Convention who voted for Trump and worked with the Trump campaign on the communications team in the Golden State.

Axios 7 hours ago
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North Koreans canceled a secret meeting with Pence
Pence in South Korea
President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, his wife Kim Jung-sook, Karen Pence, Mike Pence, above them President of North Korea Kim Yong-nam and Kim Yo-jong, sister of President of North Korea Kim Jong-un during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games. Photo: Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

During his visit to South Korea, Vice President Mike Pence was scheduled to meet with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but it was cancelled two hours before it was supposed to happen, the Washington Post reported and the State Department has now confirmed.

“North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the Vice President softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics.”
— Nick Ayers, the vice president’s chief of staff

Why it matters: Pence took a far more hardline tone against the North Koreans during his trip to Asia, the Post says, in contrast to "the image of progress being promoted by the South Koreans, who would also have been eager to involve the United States in direct talks with the North."

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Dutch lawyer pleads guilty to lying to FBI in Mueller probe
Zwaan.
Alex van der Zwaan. Photo: Samuel Corum / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty at a D.C. district court Tuesday following charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. Van der Zwaan's plea comes after allegations that he lied to the FBI in a November 2017 meeting at Mueller's office in D.C. about his communications related to a report his law firm had prepared on the trial of a Ukrainian politician.

The details: Van der Zwaan was allegedly in talks with Rick Gates, and "Person A," who a Mueller associate identified on Tuesday as one of Manafort and Gates' colleagues based in Ukraine.

Erica Pandey 9 hours ago
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Florida House declines to consider assault weapons ban

The Republican majority of the Florida House struck down a measure to consider a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines in the wake of the Parkland school shooting, the Tampa Bay Times reports. The vote was 71–36, mostly along party lines.

Students from Stoneman Douglas High School had traveled to the state capitol to appeal directly to lawmakers.

Khorri Atkinson 10 hours ago
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Ethics committee investigating Tennessee GOP lawmaker
Tennessee Republican Rep. John Duncan Jr. Photo: Scott J. Ferrell / Congressional Quarterly / Getty Images

The House Ethics Committee said Tuesday it’s launching a probe in to Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.,) who had previously said he’s not running for re-election. The committee said that it was prompted to investigate Duncan by a referral in January from the Office of Congressional Ethics, however they did not explain the details.

What’s happening: The Knoxville News Sentinel reported last year that the congressman paid his son almost $300,000 over five years after pleading guilty to a felony charge of misconduct in office and later resigned as a Knox County Trustee. The ethics committee said it will announce its course of action by April 4.

Neal Rothschild 10 hours ago
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The House seats in Pennsylvania that could flip under the new map
New map of Pennsylvania congressional districts
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

This week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court released a new congressional map to replace the GOP-drawn map. Tuesday, Republicans announced that they'll sue to stop the map from taking effect for this year's midterms. The GOP currently holds 13 of the state's 18 seats.

Bottom line: There are 6 Pennsylvania districts held by Republicans that, under the new map, were carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016 or moved from being double-digit to single-digit Donald Trump territories. Additionally, there is one Democrat-held district carried by Trump.

Axios 10 hours ago
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Trump wants bump stocks banned "very soon"
Donald Trump
Donald Trump in Diplomatic Reception Room. Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

At a Valor Awards Ceremony Tuesday, President Trump announced that he has ordered Attorney General Jeff Sessions to craft regulations banning “bump stocks” and other devices that speed up the rate of fire for semi-automatic firearms.

The president told Sessions he wants new federal guidelines finalized “very soon,” adding that “we can do more to protect our children. We must do more to protect our children." Trump said school safety is now a top priority of his administration.