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ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump continued to fuel GOP accusations that an informant was embedded in his presidential campaign for political purposes, saying Tuesday that “a lot of people are saying” there were spies.

“A lot of people are saying they had spies in my campaign,” President Trump said during his wide-ranging comments in the Oval Office during a press spray of a meeting with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

“If they had spies in my campaign, that would be a disgrace to this country,” Trump continued. “It would be very illegal aside from everything else. It would make probably every political event ever look like small potatoes so we want to make sure there weren't. I hope there weren't frankly.”

“If they had spies in my campaign, during my campaign for political purposes, that would be unprecedented in the history of our country,” he later added.

The president has seized on reports from the New York Times and Washington Post that the FBI sent an informant to meet with members of his campaign. The Times cited unnamed sources that these contacts were made only after the FBI had gathered information that the source’s targets had made suspicious contacts with Russians during the campaign.

The FBI has not confirmed that it used an informant and so far there is no evidence that was one embedded in the Trump campaign.

The president rebuffed ABC News' question about whether he continues to have confidence in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who on Sunday said the DOJ would look into whether there was any improper activities related to the Trump campaign after the president ordered DOJ probe the issue.

“What is your next question, please,” Trump said, passing over the question. “I have the president of South Korea here. He doesn't want to hear these questions, if you don't mind.”

On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to issue a "demand" that the DOJ "look into" whether there was any improper surveillance of his campaign "for political purposes."

Later Sunday, Rosenstein issued a statement saying, “If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action."

Following the weekend tweet, President Trump met on Monday with Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray. Despite the timing of the meeting the day after his tweet demand, the president said Tuesday that the meeting was “very routine."

Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer is among critics who have called it highly inappropriate.

Speaking of the alleged informant, the president said he’s read in news reports that “some person got paid a lot of money” and “that is not a normal situation, the kind of money you are talking about.”

“I think the Department of Justice wants to get down to it and Congress does so hopefully they will all be able to get together,” Trump said. “General Kelly will be setting up a meeting between Congress and the various representatives and they will be able to open up documents, take a look and find out what happened.”

Democrats have raised objections to that meeting as well – demanding to be included and questioning whether Trump and Kelly would be allowed to review classified information about the Mueller investigation that include the identify of any informant.

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Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen raised eyebrows Tuesday when she told reporters on Capitol Hill that she is "not aware" of a conclusion by the U.S. intelligence community that Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election.

Nielsen's statement appeared to directly contradict the findings of a 2017 intelligence assessment on Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election that concluded Putin was interested in hurting Clinton's chances and later helping those of Donald Trump.

She made the remarks in response to a reporter's question after holding a classified meeting on 2018 election security with members of the House of Representatives.

Asked if she had any reason to doubt Vladimir Putin tried to help President Trump win, Nielsen answered she was "not aware" of the conclusion that Putin's "specific intent was to help President Trump win."

A spokesman for Nielsen later said told ABC News that Nielsen has been consistent in her support of the intelligence community findings on Russian meddling and that she was simply taking issue with the premise of the question.

"The Secretary agrees with that [intelligence] assessment, DHS spokesman Tyler Houlton said in a statement to ABC News. "But the question asked by the reporter did not reflect the specific language in the assessment itself, so the Secretary correctly stated she had not seen the conclusion as characterized by the reporter."

A declassified version of the January 2017 report, "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections," found that Russia's goals "were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency." The report also says clearly that, as the influence campaign evolved, "Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump."

It does not say, however, that Putin's aim was to help Trump from the outset but instead says at that point, the Russians were intent on hurting Clinton. Therefore, Nielsen may have simply been taking issue with the reporter's question, without saying so directly.

But given a chance to clarify her remark moments later, she would not directly answer whether she believed Putin ever tried to help Donald Trump, which the intelligence assessment clearly says he eventually did.

"I do believe that Russia did and will continue to try to manipulate Americans' perspective on a whole variety of issues," Nielsen said.

President Trump has always expressed disdain for any suggestion that Vladimir Putin helped him get elected. He calls accusations of campaign collusion an "excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election."

Nevertheless, the intelligence assessment was clear on the point that, eventually, Putin's aim was to help Trump. "We also assess Putin and the Russian Government aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him," the assessment read.

Last week, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said, "the Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself for the purpose of helping Donald Trump and hurting Hillary Clinton."

However, Republicans on the deeply divided House Intelligence Committee recently broke with the assessment of their counterparts in the Senate as well as the intelligence community, issuing a report late last month that concluded Putin did not favor a particular candidate.

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DHS secretary 'not aware' Putin tried to help Trump win 2016 election


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Education Images/UIG via Getty Images(ST. LOUIS) -- The hair stylist who claims Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens used partially nude photos of her to blackmail her into keeping quiet about their love affair told a St. Louis TV station, "I'm not lying."

In her first media interview, the woman told NBC affiliate KSDK-TV that she regrets having the brief fling with Greitens and wishes she could apologize to the Republican governor's wife.

"I'm in the middle of the most difficult, crazy fight that I didn't ask to be a part of," she said. "And I feel like I'm this easy punching bag, yet I haven't thrown any punches.

"I didn't want this," said the woman, who was only identified in court filings by her initials as K.S. and declined to show her face on camera. "I wasn't out to get anyone. I really was just trying to live my life."

Greitens, the married father of two young children, has admitted to having a consensual sexual relationship with the woman in 2015, months before he successfully ran for governor on a platform of family values. He has adamantly rejected any criminal wrongdoing, denying his accuser's allegation that he surreptitiously took cellphone photos of her blindfolded and partially nude during a rendezvous in the basement of his home on March 21, 2015.

"There's no blackmail. The mistake I made was I engaged in a consensual relationship with a woman who wasn't my wife. It is a mistake that I'm deeply sorry for. Sorry to Sheena, my boys and everybody who relied on us," Greitens said in a January interview with Fox affiliate KTVI-TV.

Greitens' former mistress said the governor's denials about parts of their relationship prompted her to speak out.

"The second that he denied the things that were the most hurtful, that were the most hurtful for me to now have to relive, I just realized: now I have this decision," the woman told KSDK. "The only ethical thing I felt that I could do was to tell the truth."

While the compromising photos have never surfaced, Greitens had been scheduled to go on trial this month on a felony invasion of privacy charge stemming from the allegations. The case against Greitens was dropped May 14 by St. Louis prosecutors.

A special prosecutor was appointed this week to determine if the case should be re-filed against Greitens, a former Navy SEAL.

The woman's affair with Greitens was first publicly exposed by her ex-husband, who secretly recorded her admitting to the affair.

Earlier this year, she testified behind closed doors to the Missouri House Special Investigative Committee on Oversight. The committee released excerpts of her testimony this month and said she was a credible witness.

In her testimony, she claimed that Greitens blindfolded her and bound her hands to pull-up rings before he allegedly ripped open her shirt and pulled her pants down. She claimed she then heard what sounded like a picture being taken.

She testified that Greitens later told her, "Don't even mention my name to anybody at all because if you do, I'm going to take these pictures, and I'm going to put them everywhere I can."

In the interview with KSDK, she stood by her story.

“Yes, I do stand by them. They were hard to talk about. Really, really, really hard to talk about, but I absolutely stand by it,” she said. "I have no ill intention, other than not being made to be a liar. I'm not lying. This was hard. It was hard at the time, it's hard to talk about now. I'm not lying. That's it. I want to move on. I want to heal."

She said her one big regret is that she hurt Greitens' wife, Sheena Greitens.

"I would absolutely apologize," she said when asked what she would say if she could speak to the governor's wife. "I shouldn't have been involved with him. I shouldn't have gone into her home. I know that."

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Lucy McBath for Congress(NEW YORK) -- As the nation watched Friday's high school shooting unfold in Texas – the sixth since the attack in Parkland, Fla. – Lucy McBath was on the campaign trail in Georgia.

She knew what the parents were going through.

“I was just as angry and devastated on Friday with Santa Fe as I was for Parkland because Jordan was the same age as all these children that have been gunned down,” she said.

Her son Jordan was 17 when he was shot and killed in 2012 by a stranger at a gas station.

Now, McBath is part of a growing movement: parents who've lost a child to gun violence running for office.

“I never expected this to happen but I know that in light of all my experiences, to not to do anything is a tragedy in itself,” McBath said in an interview with ABC News.

McBath, a former flight attendant and spokesperson for Everytown for Gun Safety, is running for Congress in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

She was originally running for state House but she switched to run for U.S. House in March, after the Parkland shooting.

That deadly shooting inspired others to run as well, including two parents whose teenage daughters were killed at the Florida high school and are now running for seats on their county’s school board.

“I’m sure you'll continue to see more parents like myself who are losing their children standing up. It's just going to happen,” McBath said.

If Georgia’s 6th district sounds familiar, that’s because a special election there last year was widely reported on and viewed as a barometer of public opinion on President Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton nearly turned the district blue in 2016, losing by less than two percentage points to Trump in a district that hasn’t been represented by a Democrat in Congress since 1979.

Democratic hopes were defeated by Republican Rep. Karen Handel, who beat opponent Jon Ossoff and made history by becoming Georgia’s first ever woman to represent the state in Congress. Since that June 2017 special election, however, Democratic enthusiasm has led to pickups in states like Pennsylvania and Alabama.

“We know the eyes and ears of the nation are here, we’re really trying to make sure that democracy works here in our state and make sure that it works for everybody,” McBath said. “At least I am,” the candidate added with a laugh.

McBath will face three other Democratic candidates on Tuesday: former TV news anchor Bobby Kaple, businessman Kevin Abel and management consultant Steve Knight Griffin. Kaple, who had $290,000 in the bank at the end of the pre-primary reporting period, has the endorsement of Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, and numerous prominent Democrats in the state.

McBath finished the pre-primary reporting period with about $69,000 in the bank but recently received a donation a large $540,000 donation from Everytown for Gun Violence for television ads.

Georgia is a red state, which makes it a tough for a candidate running on a platform of stricter gun control.

But Georgia is also a state that faces more firearms deaths than the national average. In 2016, 1,571 people died in Georgia from firearms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — bringing the rate of deaths to 15 per every 100,000 residents. The national average in 2016 was 11.8 per 100,000 population.

But McBath is adamant that she is not an anti-gun candidate. According to her campaign, McBath wants background checks for all gun sales, the defeat of conceal carry reciprocity, a higher minimum age of purchase and laws that ban domestic abusers and criminals from buying guns.

“The thing about it is that I'm not against guns. I’m not against the Second Amendment. I’m not against law-abiding gun owners and hunters owning their guns,” she said.

What she is against, she said, is people who “want to use their guns in a way that is criminal.”

“We have to get a grip on keeping the guns out of hands of people who should not have them,” McBath said.

Throughout her campaign, she’s tried to push back on claims that she’s a one-issue candidate. Knowing what it's like to lose a son, she said, she can understand other issues that hurt families – such as immigration and the fear of losing someone to deportation.

“I know what it's like to tear families apart from gun violence — we shouldn’t be doing that with immigration,” McBath said.

Other parts of her platform are inspired by her experience raising her son and being a single mother. At one point, she was so disappointed in the education system she decided she had to homeschool him.

“I recognized my neighborhood wasn't going to be able to give Jordan the education I wanted him to have,” she said.

“So, yes, guns is a huge part of my platform,” McBath said. “But it's not the only part of my platform because a lot of what I’m talking about I’ve experienced myself. That’s been my reality.”

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ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- The White House is forcefully pushing back on a report that asserts that President Donald Trump’s cell phones are not equipped with sufficiently advanced security features and that the president has resisted efforts to swap out the phones as frequently as they should be.

“The White House is confident in the security protocols in place for the President’s use of communications devices,” a senior White House official told ABC News.

POLITICO reported Monday that the president has resisted efforts to swap out his phone on a monthly basis because it was inconvenient. While the White House declined to say exactly how frequently the president’s devices are rotated, citing security concerns, the senior official stressed that the process is routine and regular.

“The president has accepted every device and process related to mobile phones recommended by White House Information Technology,” the official said.

The president uses at least two separate devices at any given time, according to the White House, with one device being used specifically for Twitter and a separate device used for making calls.

“The call-capable phones are seamlessly swapped out on a regular basis through routine support operations,” said the official, who noted that the phone used for tweeting does not have to be swapped out with as much frequency as the phone for calls.

“Because of the security controls of the Twitter phone and the Twitter account, it does not necessitate regular change out,” the official said.

The POLITICO report further asserted that the president’s cell phone security procedures are a break from the protocols followed by his predecessors. But a White House official insisted that, due to the fast-paced evolution in cell phone technology and security, comparisons can’t be fairly drawn between President Trump’s phone security protocols and those utilized during the Obama-era.

“Due to inherent capabilities and advancement in technologies, these devices are more secure than any Obama era devices,” the official said.

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- House Democrats could ask the Department of Justice to prosecute Blackwater founder Erik Prince on charges he misled Congress about his relationship with the Trump campaign, amid new reports about foreign efforts to influence the campaign, Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Monday In an interview with ABC News.

Schiff said Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are weighing whether to send criminal referrals to the Justice Department for several witnesses they believe lied in testimony in the panel’s Russia investigation.

“We are in the process of doing our research into how we ought to handle the situation when we’re concerned people testified falsely to the committee,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in an interview to ABC News, adding that criminal referrals could “potentially” be one way Democrats handle the issue.

Prince arranged and attended an August 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., an adviser to the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and an Israeli social media specialist who had an offer to help the Trump campaign, according to a New York Times report confirmed by ABC News.

Two sources familiar with the meeting told ABC News that Prince arranged the Trump Tower huddle just weeks before Election Day. A spokesman for Prince, who is Education Secretary Betsy DeVos' brother. declined to comment on the meeting.

Prince, speaking to the committee behind closed doors in November of 2017, told lawmakers he had only met Trump Jr. "at a campaign event" during the election, and “played no official, or, really, unofficial role” with the Trump campaign, according to a transcript released by the committee.

“If the allegations are true that there was this second Trump Tower meeting that Erik Prince participated in, then clearly he wasn’t forthcoming with our committee,” Schiff said.

Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, who led the House Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, declined to comment on questions about Prince’s testimony and said he wasn’t familiar with reports of the August 2016 Trump Tower meeting.

This isn't the first time Prince's testimony to Congress has been questioned: Previously, special counsel Robert Mueller obtained evidence that Prince's January 2017 meeting with a Russian financier in the Seychelles was more than the casual encounter over drinks he described to lawmakers, sources told ABC News.

Prince told congressional investigators he didn’t travel to the Seychelles “to meet any Russian guy” and testified that his trip was there for a meeting with officials from the United Arab Emirates about future business opportunities.

George Nader, a well-connected Lebanese-American businessman, has told Mueller’s investigators that he set up Prince’s meeting with Kiril Dmitriev, the CEO of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund, and briefed Prince on Dmitriev in New York City before Prince traveled to Africa for the meeting, sources familiar with the investigation said.

“If the previous allegations that George Nader set up the meeting in the Seychelles for the purpose of Prince meeting with this Russian banker, if those allegations are true then clearly Prince testified falsely before our committee,” Schiff said.

Republicans have already issued criminal referrals to DOJ for Hillary Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey and former British spy Christopher Steele, among others associated with the presidential campaign and Russia probe.

Even if Democrats decide to ask DOJ to prosecute witnesses -- lying to Congress is a federal crime that comes with up to five years in prison -- the department isn’t required to take up a referral. Anyone can make a criminal referral, but the decision to launch an investigation still rests with federal prosecutors.

But the Justice Department has prosecuted individuals for allegedly lying to Congress in the past, including former pitcher Roger Clemens and Reagan national security adviser John Poindexter.

Clemens, who was charged with lying to lawmakers in 2008 for claiming he never used performance-enhancing drugs, was acquitted four years later of all charges. Poindexter’s conviction for lying to Congress about elements of the Iran-Contra scandal was overturned by a federal appeals court.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Democratic Party is still getting its footing this primary season in its quest to capitalize on a favorable political environment and retake the U.S. House, U.S. Senate, and governorships across the country this November.

When voters in Arkansas, Kentucky, Georgia and Texas head to the polls Tuesday, some of the more contentious battles Democrats have been fighting this year will finally be settled. The results will provide insights into a key debate within the Democratic Party as the midterms draw near: should the focus be on inspiring the base or winning over independents?

Expensive and high-profile primaries for U.S. House seats have been raging from suburban Houston to central Kentucky to the same Georgia district where Democrats narrowly failed to flip the seat that once belonged to President Trump's former Secretary of Health and Human Services -- Tom Price.

In Texas, runoff elections for a number of competitive U.S. House seats will be settled, including in the three GOP-held congressional districts Hillary Clinton captured in the 2016 presidential election. Observers will likely keep the closest eye on Texas' 7th Congressional District -- where Democrats Lizzie Pannill Fletcher and Laura Moser will square off one last time in a race marred by clumsy meddling by the campaign arm of national Democrats.
Also in Georgia, a state national Democrats have been trying to turn blue on the presidential level in recent years, the gubernatorial race highlights tensions in both parties, with Democrats divided between two women with the same first name and Republicans grappling with ultra-conservative candidates talking up their conservative credentials and undying loyalty to President Trump. With crowded primaries aplenty, many races in the state are expected to move to runoff elections in July.

Here is a closer look at some of Tuesday's key races.

A messy Democratic primary in suburban Houston comes to a head

All eyes were on TX-07 in the state’s March primary and the outcome of the runoff will continue to be a crucial barometer of the sentiments of Democratic voters. In Houston’s 7th Congressional District, Democrats are hoping to flip a House seat the GOP has held for 50 years in a district that is at the center of immigration, changing demographics and hurricane reconstruction. It’s one of three districts that Clinton marginally won in the 2016 election which has led it to be a top target amongst the Democratic party.

TX-07 Two democrats – former journalist Laura Moser and lawyer Lizzie Pannill Fletcher – will go head to head in the May runoff in hopes of unseating Rep. John Culberson, who is running for re-election.

This district made national headlines when the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee came out against Moser, a progressive candidate from its own party. In the organization's website post, Moser was described as a “Washington insider who begrudgingly moved to Houston to run for Congress.”

The organization also cited an article in which she reportedly stated she would rather have her teeth pulled out without anesthesia than live in Texas, a comment Moser says was taken out of context. Despite the attacks, Moser advanced in the runoffs.

“In an electorate where many people were voting as much to cast a vote against President Trump as to choose a nominee, Moser served as a great vehicle for that protest,” Rice political science professor Mark Jones said. This race exemplifies “the growing civil war within the Democratic party nationally,” Jones explained.

Since then, it seems the DCCC has quieted its attacks.

“It seemed to many voters here, both Fletcher and Moser supporters that it was unjustified,” Stein said.

While the organization has identified the district as competitive they have not backed a specific candidate in its “Red to Blue” program which sets out to arm candidates with organizational and fundraising support.

Moser is seen as a Democrat who will promote and advocate for a progressive agenda while Fletcher is more to the center. Many Democrats are worried that if Moser advances past the runoff, her views are too progressive to win against Culberson in the November election.

“If Democratic voters are inclined to vote with their hearts and vote for Moser, they’re likely to undercut their ability to defeat John Culberson in the fall. If voters vote with their head instead of their hearts then they’ve increased their possibility of defeating John Culberson in November and eventually helping Democrats retake the majority in the House,” Jones said. But Moser sees it differently “I believe if you stand strong on progressive values you will get more people to the polls,” she told ABC News following the DCCC’s attack.

Another thing to watch in this district is how much the recent shooting at Santa Fe High School will drive voters to the polls.

“More than half of the votes in the runoff have already been cast,” Jones pointed out.

While early voter turnout was high leading up to the primary, political analysts are only expecting six percent of registered voters to participate in the runoff.

“If any of the progressive gun control activists in the Democratic party start turning out, Moser might see a last-minute surge there,” Stein said.

Regardless of which candidate takes the race – a woman will be challenging Culberson in the fall highlighting the so-called “pink wave” and spike in female candidates running for office.

“We have an unprecedented amount of women competing for high profile positions on the Democratic side. It’s pretty much business as usual on the Republican side with a scattering of women no real increase and also a pretty small number,” Jones said.

Georgia governor primaries present a test for both parties

Regardless of the winner in Georgia's Democratic primary for governor on Tuesday, history will be made when the party nominates its first female candidate for governor in the state's history. It just so happens that that woman will have the same first name no matter who comes out victorious.

Stacey Abrams, the African-American former Minority Leader of the Georgia House of Representatives, has been locked in a tight battle with former Georgia State Representative Stacey Evans, who is white.

Abrams has the support of a number of prominent black political leaders in the state, including U.S. congressmen John Lewis, Hank Johnson and David Scott. Abrams also has the backing of U.S. Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Kamala Harris of California, and Hillary Clinton recently recorded a robocall in support of her according to the New York Times.
The daughter of a poor, single mother, she went to college using a popular state scholarship granted to every Georgia high-schooler who graduates with a B average, Evans has portrayed herself as the more centrist option in the race. She has the backing of Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, former Atlanta mayor and U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, and Elaine Lucas, whose husband David is the longest-serving member in the Georgia General Assembly.

On the Republican side, Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has been the presumptive front-runner for months but is also fending off insurgent primary challengers who have embraced President Trump and are offering up heaps of red meat to Georgia Republican primary voters. State Senator Michael Williams has been making noise by driving around the state in a "Deportation Bus" to show his support for Trump's immigration policy, while Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp is airing ads highlighting his support for the Second Amendment, much to the concern of one young man who is interested in dating Kemp's daughter.

Cagle made national news with his forceful response to Delta Airlines' decision to end its relationship with the National Rifle Association. In response to Delta's move, Cagle threatened to end a tax break for the company, which is based in Atlanta.

Two Kentucky Democrats battle to lead party's push into red America

Openly gay Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and former U.S. Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath have been fiercely battling to lead the party's push into redder districts and potentially unseat GOP Congressman Andy Barr in this central Kentucky district.

McGrath burst onto the national political scene with her campaign announcement video that highlighted her barrier-breaking career as the first woman to fly an F-18 in combat. Gray has the benefit of being a known commodity to 6th Congressional District voters. He has been the Mayor of Lexington since 2011 and ran statewide in 2016 in an unsuccessful bid against Kentucky GOP Senator Rand Paul.
The candidates have sparred over who is the "establishment" pick in the race.

While the national party has not officially weighed in on the race, McGrath has attempted to portray Gray as the party's preferred choice. Gray calls claims that he is the "establishment" candidate in the race "delusional."

While Gray may be familiar to voters in the 6th district, LGBTQ individuals make up just 1.3 percent of Members of Congress, according to Nathan Gonzales, the Editor and Publisher of Inside Elections, a non-partisan outlet that analyzes U.S House, Senate and gubernatorial races.

In the last days of the campaign, Gray has launched a TV ad painting McGrath as a carpetbagger who has never lived in the district. Gray also told ABC News in an interview last week that McGrath's large amount of out-of-state campaign donations indicate that she is "new to Kentucky."

Other key races to watch on Tuesday

Texas' 23rd Congressional District

Immigration is taking center stage in Texas’ 23rd Congressional District which stretches from San Antonio to the Mexico border immigration. Rep. Will Hurd, who won reelection in 2016 by only 1.3 points, has earned a reputation for bipartisanship and working across the aisle, including with Rep. Pete Aguilar, a Democrat, on "Dreamer" legislation.

Gina Ortiz Jones, a gay Air Force veteran, is looking to defeat Rick Treviño, a progressive teacher in the Democratic runoff. If she succeeds she would become the first Filipina-American congresswoman. Ortiz Jones has outraised Treviño $1.2 million to $49,000. While she didn’t garner more than 50 percent of the vote in the primary, she did beat Trevino 41 percent to 17 percent.

Texas' 32nd Congressional District

This suburban Dallas district represented by longtime GOP Rep. Pete Sessions is the third and final district Hillary Clinton managed to win in the 2016 election. Sessions has held the seat since 2003, and the House Rules Committee chairman has proved himself a prolific fundraiser and strong campaigner over the years.

Former NFL player Collin Allred, who is part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's (DCCC) "Red to Blue" program for top-tier candidates, is hoping to defeat former Obama administration Agriculture Department staffer Lillian Salerno. Salerno is endorsed by EMILY's List and is hoping to join the field of 12 women that already advanced to November during the first round of primaries back in March.

Texas governor Democratic primary

Onto the race for governor in the state. Incumbent Gov. Greg Abbott won the Republican nomination for governor. Democratic candidates Lupe Valdez, a former sheriff who identifies as a gay Latina and Andrew White, the son of former Gov. Mark White.

“Andrew White comes from a much more conservative part of the Democratic party. Most people like Andrew White are Republicans in Texas not Democrats,” Jones said. As White has tried to move more towards the center, it’s not sticking with Democrats, Jones explains. “He has not convinced the Democratic elite who are sticking with Valdez,” he said.

Valdez received 43 percent of the vote in the March primary but political analysts say she has been garnered little support from editorial boards in the state. “All of the major editorial boards who want to support somebody like Lupe Valdez simply could not endorse her because she doesn’t have a grasp of the public policy challenges facing Texas,” Jones said.

Open seats fuel Democratic hopes

Eight members of Texas' congressional delegation decided not to seek re-election to their seats this cycle, which resulted in an influx of candidates in red and blue districts alike.

But even in longtime Republican seats, like the state's 21st Congressional District where GOP Rep. Lamar Smith is retiring, Democrats see an opportunity to expand the 2018 battleground and put more seats in play. Both parties are facing runoffs in the 21st district.

Democrats are choosing between Army veteran and tech entrepreneur Joseph Kopser and social justice activist Mary Street Wilson. Wilson narrowly edged Kopser in the first round of primary voting, but Kopser has massively outpaced her in fundraising. According to FEC records, Kopser has raised nearly $1.2 million this cycle, while Wilson has failed to top $100,000.

The Republican race is between former Chief of Staff to Texas GOP Senator Ted Cruz and perennial candidate Matt McCall.

Another open seat to keep an eye on is the state's 27th Congressional District. The seat is currently vacant after GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations, and a June special election in the Corpus Christi congressional seat was called by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Tuesday's runoff is to decide candidates for the November general election but may give an early indication as to which candidates are in the strongest position heading into the summer.

Georgia's 2nd Congressional District

Democratic Rep. Sanford Bishop has represented this southwestern Georgia district (that is also the home of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter) in Congress since 1992, is not expected to face a serious race in November. However, Bishop's likely Republican opponent sports a familiar last name to political observers in the south.

Herman West, Jr., a pastor and U.S. Marine Corps veteran, is the brother of former Florida Congressman and conservative firebrand Allen West. Like his brother, West does not shy away from embracing staunchly conservative positions on social and economic issues.

"We cannot continue to allow others to dictate our destiny. It is time for all of us, like the Phoenix, to rise up from our mental ashes," West writes on his campaign website, "Together we must rebuild our lives to make this district great again."

Georgia's 6th Congressional District

Democrats are eyeing the 6th Congressional District, situated in the affluent suburbs north of Atlanta, as a possible pickup opportunity in 2018. Incumbent GOP Rep. Karen Handel narrowly won a 2017 special election over Democrat Jon Ossoff. Handel now faces a potentially tougher race in a year where Democrats have begun to translate their motivated base into electoral progress, winning a special election in Pennsylvania and narrowing the gap in deep red districts across the country.

Four Democrats are hoping to nab the nomination — former TV news anchor Bobby Kaple, businessman Kevin Abel, businesswoman and social justice activist Lucy McBath and management consultant Steve Knight Griffin. Kaple has the endorsement of Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, and numerous prominent Democrats in the state, while McBath — who lost her son to gun violence in 2012 and is an activist for gun control — has the backing of EMILY’s List.

Everytown for Gun Safety recently placed a $540,000 ad buy in support of McBath, who is a national spokeswoman for the organization, hoping to boost her chances of heading to a July runoff.

Georgia's 7th Congressional District

The other suburban Atlanta district held by a Republican in Congress, the state's 7th district is the site of another competitive and crowded Democratic primary. Six Democrats are vying for the nomination to try and unseat GOP Rep. Rob Woodall.

Georgia State University professor Carolyn Bourdeaux has the endorsement of EMILY's List, an outside group that supports female candidates for office and has found considerable success in Pennsylvania and elsewhere this cycle.

Bourdeaux's main opponents on Tuesday include businessman David Kim and attorney Ethan Pham, who have raised $755,000 and $362,000 this cycle respectively, according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records.

Arkansas' 2nd Congressional District

While Arkansas' Republican Governor Asa Hutchinson is up for re-election this year and facing a primary challenger, most expect him to cruise through the fall in this deeply red state that backed President Trump by 27 points in the 2016 presidential election.

The only race expected to be competitive this cycle is in the state's 2nd Congressional District, where national Democrats are eyeing the Little Rock-based seat currently held by GOP Rep. French Hill.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has added State Representative Clarke Tucker to the "Red to Blue" program for top-tier candidates in a sign that they believe he is their best shot to flip the seat and add another ripple to the "blue wave" that could sweep them back into power in the House. Clarke has raised over $600,000 according to filings with the FEC, further bolstering the argument that he is in the best position to beat Hill in November.

Tucker faces a trio of more liberal primary challengers, including two teachers in Gwen Combs and Paul Spencer.

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Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain is nothing if not outspoken.

And the Arizona Republican is true to his reputation in his new book, "The Restless Wave: Good times, Just Causes, Great Fights, and Other Appreciations," in which he provides insights into his historic 2008 presidential race against Barack Obama, his thoughts on Donald Trump's presidency, and his hopes for a return to "regular order" in American politics.

Here are some key takeaways:

McCain suggests his garbled questioning of Comey was related to his brain tumor

In June 2017, former FBI Director James Comey was testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

McCain had just returned from a multi-nation overseas congressional delegation trip just days before Comey was to testify. As an ex-officio member of the committee, McCain was given the courtesy of asking Comey questions at the end of the hearing.

“Something was off. I didn't know exactly what. Fatigue mainly. I felt unusually tired," McCain writes in his memoir, rehashing the days leading up to the hearing.

At one point during the hearing, McCain made a reference to "President Comey." McCain's bizarre performance confused not only viewers but seemingly Comey himself.

"Something happened between reading the question and asking it," McCain writes. "To this day, I'm really not sure what caused it. But as was widely noted at the time, I was incomprehensible. It was a high-profile hearing, carried live by the cable news networks. My strange performance was the focus of commentary on cable and fuel for Twitter. I felt embarrassed for myself and sorry for confusing Comey. It was one of the more mortifying experiences of my public career. Even now, I wince at the memory of it."

At the time, McCain's staff said he had stayed up late watching an Arizona Diamondbacks game.

But in his memoir, McCain suggests his garbled questioning was related to the glioblastoma, which was undiagnosed at the time.

McCain said he tried to "put the whole thing down to a bad bout of jet lag," but "a small concern nagged at me."

Just a few weeks later, a regular physical at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale revealed the need for immediate cranial surgery, which led to his brain-cancer diagnoses.

Steele dossier critics "can go to hell"

McCain acknowledged in January 2017 that he delivered a dossier of "sensitive information" to then-FBI Director Comey.

McCain writes that he "did what duty demanded I do" in passing on the documents.

"I discharged that obligation, and I would do it again. Anyone who doesn't like it can go to hell," McCain said.

"I agreed to receive a copy of what is now referred to as 'the dossier.' I reviewed its contents. The allegations were disturbing, but I had no idea which if any were true. I could not independently verify any of it, and so I did what any American who cares about our nation's security should have done," he writes.

McCain recounts how he put the dossier in a safe in his office and called Comey's office to request a meeting: "I went to see him at his earliest convenience, handed him the dossier, explained how it had come into my possession."

"I said I didn't know what to make of it, and I trusted the FBI would examine it carefully and investigate its claims. With that, I thanked the director and left. The entire meeting had probably not lasted longer than ten minutes. I did what duty demanded I do," McCain concludes.

McCain regrets not tapping Joe Lieberman as his VP candidate

During the 2008 presidential campaign, McCain was set on picking his friend, Joe Lieberman, the Democratic-turned-Independent senator from Connecticut, as his running mate.

He was eventually talked out of the idea by campaign advisers.

"The reality of Republican politics set in. Even were Joe to give assurances that he would be duty bound to uphold my positions on all issues were he to assume the presidency, it wouldn't stop the intraparty brawl that would be the only story coming out of the Republican convention, and would dominate coverage of our campaign in the critical first weeks of the fall campaign," McCain writes.

"They were giving me their best counsel. It was sound advice that I could reason for myself," McCain writes. "But my gut told me to ignore it, and I wished I had. America's security and standing in the world were my principal concerns and the main reason, other than personal ambition, that I ran for President. Joe and I share those priorities, and on most related issues we agree on how best to serve them. I completely trusted, liked, and worked well with Joe."

After his advisers convinced him to nix the idea of tapping Lieberman, McCain writes, "I sulked about it for a little while."

When his advisers raised the possibility of running with Sarah Palin, McCain writes, "I was intrigued."

Despite Palin’s widely-panned performance on the campaign trail, McCain defends her.

"She stumbled in some interviews, and had a few misjudgments in the glare of the ceaseless spotlight and unblinking cameras," McCain writes. "Those missteps, too, are on me. She didn't put herself on the ticket. I did. I asked her to go through an experience that was wearing me down, that wears every candidate down. I made mistakes and misjudgments, too."

This will be McCain’s final term

"This is my last term," he writes.

"If I hadn’t admitted that to myself before this summer, a stage 4 cancer diagnosis acts as ungentle persuasion," McCain continues.

The senator was re-elected in 2016. Senators serve six-year terms.

McCain has spent the last several months in his home state of Arizona recuperating from the side effects of brain-cancer treatment. He was admitted to the hospital in April after undergoing surgery to treat an intestinal infection related to diverticulitis. His office confirmed he is now in stable condition and resting at home.

"I don't know how much longer I'll be here. Maybe I'll have another five years. Maybe with the advances in oncology, they'll find new treatments for my cancer that will extend my life," he writes.

"Maybe I'll be gone before you hear this," he added. "I’m freer than colleagues who will face the voters again. I can speak my mind without fearing the consequences much. And I can vote my conscience without worry. I don't think I'm free to disregard my constituents' wishes, far from it. I don't feel excused from keeping pledges I made. Nor do I wish to harm my party's prospects. But I do feel a pressing responsibility to give Americans my best judgment."

Obama called McCain to thank him for his "thumbs down" vote on health care

McCain details how he received a phone call from Obama following his now-famous "thumbs down" vote on Senate Republicans' attempt to repeal Obama's signature health care law last July.

"Among the people who called to thank me was President Obama," McCain writes.

"I appreciated his call, but, as I said, my purpose hadn't been to preserve his signature accomplishment but to insist on a better alternative, and to give the Senate an opportunity to work together to find one," he writes.

"He hadn't called to lobby me before the vote, which I had appreciated. He had last called me not long after the November election, during the transition to the Trump administration, to congratulate me on my re-election. He added that he was counting on me to be an outspoken and independent voice for the causes I believed in as I had been during his presidency. I thanked him, and said I would try to be."

McCain takes sharp jabs at Trump

In his memoir, McCain has blistering criticisms of Donald Trump's presidency, from his lack of empathy for immigrants and refugees to his praise for "some of the world's worst tyrants."

"I'm not sure what to make of President Trump's convictions," McCain writes. "His lack of empathy for refugees, innocent, persecuted, desperate men, women, and children, is disturbing. The way he speaks about them is appalling, as if welfare or terrorism were the only purposes they could have in coming to our country.

"He has declined to distinguish the actions of our government from the crimes of despotic ones. The appearance of toughness, or a reality show facsimile of toughness, seems to matter more than any of our values. The world expects us to be concerned with the condition of humanity. We should be proud of that reputation. I’m not sure the president understands that."

But McCain writes that "before I leave I'd like to see our politics begin to return to the purposes and practices that distinguish our history from the history of other nations.

"I would like to see us recover our sense that we are more alike than different."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump met Monday at the White House with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray a day after he tweeted that he would "demand" the Justice Department investigate whether his 2016 presidential campaign was improperly "infiltrated or surveilled" for political purposes by an alleged FBI informant contacting Trump campaign associates.

Neither Rosenstein nor Wray spoke after the meeting.

But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders issued a statement indicating that while Trump may not have gone as far as he could have – agreeing to fold his demand into an existing probe – Rosenstein and the others had acceded at least in part to Trump's order, something some critics were calling inappropriate interference.

"Based on the meeting with the President, the Department of Justice has asked the Inspector General to expand its current investigation to include any irregularities with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s or the Department of Justice’s tactics concerning the Trump Campaign. It was also agreed that White House Chief of Staff Kelly will immediately set up a meeting with the FBI, DOJ, and DNI together with Congressional Leaders to review highly classified and other information they have requested," Sanders said in the statement.

It was noteworthy that while congressional leaders were going to be allowed to review the secret information, the White House was still not calling for the pertinent documents to be surrendered to Congress as some Republicans have demanded.

In his Sunday tweet, the president said he would make the order official on Monday but offered no further details about what form he would expect such an inquiry to take.

Trump added that he'd ask whether "any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration."

Later Sunday, Rosenstein issued a statement saying, “If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action."

"The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election," Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement.

"As always the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct," Flores said.

Monday afternoon, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer blasted the president.

"That he would issue such an absurd and abusive demand based on no evidence shows just how little regard the president has for the rule of law," Schumer said during remarks on the Senate floor.

Later Monday, Schumer took issue with the arrangement outlined by the White House.

“The White House plan to arrange a meeting where ‘highly classified and other information’ will be shared with members of Congress is highly irregular and inappropriate. The president and his staff should not be involved in the viewing or dissemination of sensitive investigatory information involving any open investigation, let alone one about his own activities and campaign," Schumer said.

“However, if such a meeting occurs, it must be bipartisan in order to serve as a check on the disturbing tendency of the president’s allies to distort facts and undermine the investigation and the people conducting it,” he said.

A conservative Republican who has been pressing for an outside counsel if the DOJ didn't turn over documents to Congress wasn't happy either.

“I applaud the President’s leadership and push for transparency, and I hope the Department of Justice will follow suit by making the relevant documents available to Congress," Rep. MArk Meadows, R-N.C. said in a statement. "While a referral to the Inspector General is a step in the right direction, the Department has an obligation to comply with Congressional requests for oversight. Their attempt to circumvent this responsibility will not go unnoticed.”

The president's Sunday tweet is the latest escalation by the president in fueling an assertion that the Trump campaign may have been spied on by the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the DOJ. President Trump has sent out a series of tweets in recent days advancing the accusation first voiced by some conservative commentators that the FBI had a spy in the Trump campaign.

The Washington Post and New York Times have reported in recent days that the FBI sent an informant to talk to several Trump campaign aides during the 2016 election. The Times cited unnamed sources that these contacts were made only after the FBI had gathered information that the informant’s targets had made suspicious contacts with Russians during the campaign.

The reports do not assert that there was an informant embedded inside the campaign or that the informant ever acted improperly.

On Saturday, the president in a tweet also called for the congressional review or release of classified DOJ documents that have been sought by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., "regarding a specific individual," according to a letter the Justice Department sent to Nunes rejecting his demand for the information earlier this month.

In rejecting Nunes' request, the Department of Justice warned that the disclosure of such information "can risk severe consequences, including potential loss of human lives."

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Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Even as CIA Director Gina Haspel thanked President Donald Trump at her swearing-in Monday and spoke of becoming the first woman to head the intelligence agency, she said she owed a debt to all the women who had served before her and then paid a tribute to two young girls at the ceremony.

"I also want to express a special thank you and welcome to Eliza and Zoe who have joined us today," said Haspel.

“The notes from these two young ladies ages 6 and 7 sent to me sat on my desk these last two months and motivated me daily,” Haspel said showing her gratitude towards the two girls. “In their own words and pictures, they expressed their excitement about the opportunity my nomination represented.”

“To Eliza and Zoe, I would simply say, “We did it.”

One of the girls gave a double thumbs-up when Haspel mentioned them.

Eliza and Zoe were right there on the stage as the ceremony ended, and after shaking hands with President Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, Haspel walked over to the two girls to shake hands with one of them.

President Trump then came over to give the two girls pats on their backs, talk to them and give kisses on their foreheads.

CIA would not immediately provide further details on the two young participants.

The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm Haspel to lead CIA last week amid concerns regarding her role in the spy agency’s harsh interrogation program. Haspel has spent more than 30 years at CIA, mostly in undercover positions, until she replaced her former boss Mike Pompeo on Monday.

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Republican National Committee has paid nearly half a million dollars to a law firm representing former White House communications director Hope Hicks in the ongoing Russia investigation, Federal Election Commission records show.

The two payments in April, totaling $451,779, were made to Trout Cacheris & Janis for "legal and compliance services." Hicks is represented by the firm’s founder, Robert Trout. Two additional attorneys at the firm represent other witnesses in the Russia probe. The firm has also represented Bijan Kian, the one-time business partner of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

In late February, Hicks appeared before the House Intelligence Committee for a closed-door interview related to Russia interference in the 2016 election but refused to answer questions about her time in the White House, according to Republicans and Democrats on the panel.

One of the few White House staffers who was at Trump's side since the early days of his campaign, Hicks faced questions about the campaign, transition and first year of the administration — including her role in the public statement issued by Donald Trump Jr. in July 2017 in response to a New York Times report last year about Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner's meeting with a Russian lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016.

Hicks has also been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team over a two day period.

The RNC did not respond to a request for comment about whether the payments were for Hicks' legal fees. Hicks’ attorney Robert Trout declined to comment to ABC News. It's not clear whether the payments were for Hicks' legal fees, the other witnesses represented by the firm, or for other matters. Trout Cacheris & Janis did not respond to a request for comment about the payments.

The payments show a continuation of the growing legal fees that the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee are paying.

“Legal fees are typically a small percentage of the overall cost of running a presidential campaign – usually around 5 percent of all the expenditures in the election cycle in which the election takes place,” said Brett Kappel, a veteran federal election lawyer.

The Trump campaign has spent nearly $228,000 to cover some of the legal expenses for President Trump's longtime attorney Michael Cohen, sources familiar with the payments told ABC News raising questions about whether the Trump campaign may have violated campaign finance laws.

Federal Election Commission records show three payments made from the Trump campaign to a firm representing Cohen beginning in 2017. The "legal consulting" payments were made to McDermott Will and Emery — a law firm where Cohen's attorney Stephen Ryan is a partner — between October 2017 and January 2018.

It was those three payments, sources tell ABC News, that were related to Cohen's legal defense.

The Trump campaign spent more than $830,000 on legal consulting during the first three months of 2018, including one payment to the firm representing Cohen, according to FEC reports. The payments made up more than 20 percent of the total campaign expenditures.

In 2017, the Trump campaign also paid legal fees to the attorneys representing top aides -- and family members -- tangled in the ongoing Russia probes.

The Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee paid $514,000 in legal fees for Donald Trump Jr. in 2017 and in January 2018, the Trump campaign paid more than $66,000 to the law firm representing former Trump bodyguard Keith Schiller, who has been a fixture at Trump's side for decades and served as Trump's director of Oval Office operations until September.

The Patriot Legal Defense Fund was established earlier this year to help former Trump campaign staffers and Trump administration officials pay for legal bills associated with the ongoing Russia probes.

It is unclear, however, who has benefited from the fund as it does not disclose its beneficiaries. It's also not clear now much money the fund currently has.

Trump and his immediate family members are excluded from receiving money from the fund, and a source close to Michael Flynn told ABC News in February that he would not accept support from the fund.

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ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- The White House continued its forceful defense Monday of a recent series of remarks by President Donald Trump that described members of the MS-13 gang as "animals."

An email sent to reporters Monday featured the subject line, "WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIOLENT ANIMALS OF MS-13," that includes a description of some of the various crimes carried out by the gang across the country, and uses the word 'animals' a total of 10 times.

"President Trump’s entire Administration is working tirelessly to bring these violent animals to justice," the email reads.

The White House seized on the description after social media backlash to a set of remarks the president delivered last Wednesday during an immigration roundtable.

"We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in – and we're stopping a lot of them – but we're taking people out of the country," Trump said. "You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we're taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that's never happened before."

Some critics seized on the president's remarks as a broader description of undocumented immigrants, though the White House fiercely pushed back and noted that the president made the comments as a response to a panelist's question regarding MS-13.

"If the media and liberals want to defend MS-13, they’re more than welcome to," press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a Thursday briefing with reporters. "Frankly, I don’t think the term that the president used was strong enough."

The president then followed up on Sanders' remarks with his own defense doubling down on the description.

"So when the MS-13 comes in, when the other gang members come into our country, I refer to them as "animals." And guess what? I always will," Trump said.

Democratic lawmakers and left-leaning organizations, however, said the rhetoric paralleled with some of the strongest immigration remarks made by the president during his presidential campaign, including his description of some undocumented immigrants as "rapists."

A White House official tells ABC News the president will visit Long Island, N.Y. on Wednesday where he will hold a roundtable on immigration and MS-13, part of an ongoing public relations pressure campaign against Congress to enact stricter immigration legislation.

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Win McNamee/Getty Images(FRESNO, Calif.) -- The Democratic group Fight Back California is taking cues from Hollywood in its quest to unseat Republican Rep. Devin Nunes.

The independent expenditure campaign Monday launched a new ad campaign attacking Nunes, posting three billboards along Highway 99 – which runs through his 22nd Congressional District in California's Central Valley.

The ad, titled "Three Billboards outside Fresno, California," accuses Nunes of advancing his own career in Washington and seeking notoriety on television while neglecting his job representing the district.

“Why is Devin Nunes hot on Russia…” reads one of the billboards, followed by a second one that reads “While farmers get burned by a trade war with China?”

A third one reads “Congressman Nunes, how could you forget us?”

The district includes parts of Fresno and Tulare counties and voted for President Trump in 2016. It's a traditional Republican stronghold in California, and Nunes – who has become a GOP favorite for his work criticizing the Russia investigation into the Trump campaign as chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and a regular fixture on Fox News Channel – has until recently been expected to win the district.

But a sudden influx of cash to the campaign of Democrat Andrew Janz has upped blue hopes of a battle for the seat.

Neither Nunes nor his campaign has responded to a request for comment.

The group behind the billboards is also reportedly planning to spend more on television and digital against the congressman in the district, one of eight districts it's targeting ahead of the primaries and into the general election.

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ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain's momentous "thumbs down" vote on Republicans' proposal to repeal Obamacare may not have happened if Meghan McCain had gotten her way.

The senator’s famous vote in July 2017 and the impassioned speech he gave that same week on the Senate floor came just about 10 days after he had brain surgery to remove a tumor, said Meghan McCain and the senator's biographer and longtime speech writer, Mark Salter, on "The View" this morning.

Doctors in Arizona warned the veteran senator against flying to Washington, D.C., for the health care vote because "basically your brain could explode if you get on a plane this soon after brain surgery," Meghan McCain recalled.

She opposed the trip and recalled an emotional moment in the hospital room at which Salter was also present.

"I was like, 'You're all crazy, he's gonna die'... and I was screaming which I don't normally do," Meghan McCain said on "The View."

But her dad was determined.

"He said 'It's my life and my choice!'" his daughter said, adding of the subsequent flight to Washington. "That plane ride was horrible."

The seriously ill McCain took the Senate floor on Friday, July 28, surprising his GOP colleagues and the public by voting no to the Republican attempt to undo the Affordable Care Act, ending GOP efforts to repeal Obamacare.

That vote came a few days after the Republican senator helped his party leaders by assenting on a procedural vote on health care and gave a much-heralded speech urging his fellow lawmakers to overcome political polarization.

Salter, who co-authored Sen. McCain's latest book, "The Restless Wave," helped him write the speech.

"He had something that he wanted to say to the Senate, even before he was diagnosed," Salter said on "The View." "He does love the institution" of the Senate.

Also on "The View" on Monday was documentary filmmaker Teddy Kundhardt, who produced and directed the upcoming film, "John McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls."

Salter recalled the moment last year when McCain told him of the brain-cancer diagnosis. The two men were preparing the Senate speech and Salter had to press McCain for information about recent medical tests.

"I said, 'Well, have you gotten the results back?' and he said, 'Yeah,'" Salter said. "And I said, 'What did they say?'"

McCain said, "'Well not good,' and that's all he said at the time," Salter said. "He went right back to talking about the speech ... He wanted to get back to Washington and make that speech and make that vote."

"It was just typical, your dad," Salter said on "The View" to Meghan McCain.

Salter, who played a vital role in McCain's unsuccessful presidential bid in 2008, also discussed a decision from that time that he felt has been "misunderstood."

He said that in spite of reports to the contrary, McCain has never said that he regretted choosing then-Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate because of anything to do with her specifically. It was just that Palin wasn't his first choice, Salter said.

"He did want to pick his friend Joe Lieberman," Salter said, referring to the then-senator from Connecticut who at the time was a Democrat.

"That started to leak out to [GOP] party elders, I guess we could call them," Salter said. Then McCain's campaign advisers, including Salter, convinced him "not to pick Lieberman."

"He didn't regret choosing Gov. Palin, he regretted not picking Joe Lieberman," Salter said. "But once he was persuaded not to, he picked her and he's never said anything, never regretted it private or public since."

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ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump made a rare visit to CIA headquarters on Monday to deliver remarks at incoming director Gina Haspel’s swearing-in ceremony and expressed his optimism for the agency’s future under her leadership.

"There is no one in this country better qualified for this extraordinary office than you," Trump said.

Haspel's nomination followed President Trump's surprise ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who he replaced with Haspel's immediate predecessor Mike Pompeo. President Trump hailed her appointment as the first female director of the CIA as a "proud milestone."

"That's big," Trump said. "Now Gina will lead this agency into its next great chapter."

Early on in the president's remarks, he gave a special shout-out to House Intelligence chairman Devin Nunes as “courageous. ”

It followed the president’s weekend tweets backing up Nunes and other House Republicans looking to increase pressure on the Department of Justice complying with their requests for information reportedly concerning a confidential informant.

The president also briefly alluded to the political fight Haspel underwent during her confirmation, referring to the “very negative politics” that surfaced as lawmakers raised objections over Haspel's reported role running a CIA 'black site' in Thailand.

“It took courage for her to say yes in the face of a lot of very negative politics, and what was supposed to be a negative vote,” Trump said. “But I'll tell you, when you testified before the committee, it was over. There was not much they could say.”

For her part, despite the president’s repeated clashes with the intelligence community, Haspel delivered her own set of remarks describing Trump as a steadfast friend of the CIA.

“You have placed enormous trust in the C.I.A. throughout your presidency,” Haspel said. “And the men and women of C.I.A. do not take that for granted.”

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News bulletin for Tues., May 22, 2018

(**Bulletin)Carpenter's Body found in Chadakoin River Tuesday The body of the Jamestown man reported missing just over a month ago has been found in the Chadakoin River -- just off Harrison...

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