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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Donald Trump has dissolved the presidential commission created to investigate his unproven claims that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.The commission, which was created through an executive order of May of last year, was unceremoniously ended Wednesday by another executive order.The White House announced the dissolution in a press release, citing many states' refusal to turn over information needed for the inquiry as the impetus for disbanding the commission.“Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission,” read a statement that appeared to be from the president but was attributed to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.More than 32 states had previously refused to comply with the Trump administration’s request for voter registration data as part of the commission's investigation, with some states being barred by local law to release such information about the voter rolls.In the wake of his 2016 election victory, Trump alleged that the reason Secretary of State Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of some three million votes was because of widespread voter fraud.“No matter what numbers we come up with there are going to be lots of people that did things that we're not going to find out about,” Trump told ABC News' David Muir back in January 2017. "But we will find out because we need a better system where that can't happen."Though neither the White House nor the now-disbanded presidential commission ever produced any evidence to substantiate the president’s claims of widespread voter fraud, Sanders maintained on Wednesday evening that "substantial evidence" exists.While the commission dissolved, the White House said the president has advised the Department of Homeland Security to continue to review the issue of voter fraud and determine future courses of action.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC/ DONNA SVENNEVIK(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney may be edging back onto the national political stage, and it wouldn't be the first time that he's made a comeback.Widespread speculation about a potential run to replace Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, after he announced his retirement Tuesday, means Romney's political life may not be over.Here's a review of Romney's political timeline to date, and a look into his possible future prospects.First foraysPolitics runs in the Romney bloodline: Mitt's father, George, served as governor of Michigan and later Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Richard Nixon.Mitt Romney didn't start his career in politics right away. He instead had a lucrative career in management consulting and later private equity, where he co-founded Bain Capital, where, according to Forbes, his estimated worth in 2012 was $230 million.Romney tested the political waters for the first time when, after taking a leave of absence from Bain Capital, positioned himself as a Republican challenger to longtime Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy in the 1994 election. Kennedy won 58.1 percent of the vote to win the election; Romney, with only 41 percent of the vote, returned to Bain after the failed bid.A few years later, Romney pivoted to another challenge: running the Salt Lake City Olympic Games Organizing Committee. In 1999, he took another leave from Bain to become the organization's president and CEO. It was in financial trouble when Romney first took over, but ended with $100 million profit, according to Fortune.Massachusetts movesRomney caught the political bug again -- but this time in his longtime home state of Massachusetts. According to Utah's Deseret News, Romney was courted by members of the Massachusetts GOP after Romney was "portrayed as [the] savior" of the successful Olympics.Romney answered the call, running and winning the Massachusetts gubernatorial bid in the 2002 election against an embattled Republican incumbent who intended to serve a full term.At one point during the campaign, members of the Massachusetts state Democratic party questioned his Massachusetts residency, arguing that he was actually a resident of Utah – an argument that may be inverted now should he decide to pursue Hatch’s senate seat.He used the gubernatorial platform to raise his presence in national politics, taking a prime slot at the 2004 Republican National Convention.In 2005, just two years into his four-year term, Romney announced that he wouldn't seek re-election. That's when he set his eyes on his next political step.Presidential bidsRomney first targeted the presidency during the 2008 election. His bid failed, though, losing out in the primary to Arizona Senator John McCain.After that loss, Romney's actions made it clear to many that he wasn't out of politics for good. He created a political action committee and continued to give political speeches.He predictably ran for president again in 2012, and this time he won the primary.Romney lost again, though, to the incumbent, Barack Obama. The former president won 51.1 percent to Romney's 47.2 percent.Back and forth with TrumpRomney had a seemingly strong relationship with Donald Trump, back when the then-real estate mogul backed Romney in the 2012 campaign.But those ties didn't seem to bind. Romney lashed out against Trump during the 2016 election, calling him a "con man, a fake" during the primary and trying to urge voters in key states to vote in a way that would stop Trump from getting the party's nomination.The bid didn't work, however, and after Trump eventually won, Romney appeared to make nice with Trump. He was publicly being considered as a possible Secretary of State, having dinner with the then-President-elect in New York City during the transition.The reunion didn't last. After Trump took office, Romney has continued to be critical of the president, calling on him to apologize for his comments after the violence in Charlottesville. Romney eve
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  • Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Indicted former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort filed suit Wednesday against the Justice Department, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Special Counsel Robert Mueller in federal court in Washington, D.C.The suit alleges that Rosenstein’s order appointing Mueller exceeded his authority under Justice Department regulations and thus was, “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion and otherwise not in accordance with the law.” Manafort asks the court to set aside the actions of the special counsel and declare them outside of their legal authority.The suit also alleges Mueller exceeded his authority by “ignoring the boundaries of the jurisdiction granted to the Special Counsel in the Appointment Order.”Mueller was appointed by order of Rosenstein last May after FBI Director James Comey was fired by President Donald Trump. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself of matters involving the presidential campaign.The order appointing Mueller gives him latitude to investigate “(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump, (ii) any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation, [and] (iii) any other matters within the scope” of the special counsel’s jurisdiction under the Code of Federal Regulations.Manafort claims the investigation against him is “completely unmoored” from the special counsel’s original jurisdiction to investigate ties to Russia and the Trump campaign.“The Special Counsel’s investigation and indictment resulted from a violation of numerous DOJ policies and procedures and otherwise far exceeds any lawful authority to investigate links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government.”Last August, the suit claims, Mueller issued more than 100 subpoenas related to Manafort, requesting records going back to 2005.A Justice Department spokesman said in a statement, “The lawsuit is frivolous but the defendant is entitled to file whatever he wants.” The special counsel declined to comment.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Tina Smith, Minnesota’s lieutenant governor, was sworn in as the state's junior senator Wednesday, replacing Al Franken, who officially stepped down Tuesday following allegations of sexual misconduct.Smith, 59, served just under three years as lieutenant governor under Gov. Mark Dayton, who appointed her to the Senate seat in December. She previously worked as chief of staff for Dayton and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak.“Though I never anticipated this moment, I’m resolved to do everything that I can to move Minnesota forward, and I will be a fierce advocate in the United States Senate for economic opportunity and fairness,” Smith said in December.At the Capitol Wednesday, Smith was escorted by former Vice President and Minnesota Sen. Walter Mondale, for whom she managed a brief 2002 Senate campaign following the sudden death of Sen. Paul Wellstone. Smith was additionally accompanied by Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.After being sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence, as per tradition, Smith became the 22nd woman currently serving in the Senate, a record number.Democrat Doug Jones of Alabama was additionally sworn following his upset victory in December over Republican Roy Moore. Jones was joined by Vice President Joe Biden during his ceremony.
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  • Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After a contentious political season rife with issues ranging from sexual misconduct allegations and bitter partisan sparring, Democrats Doug Jones was sworn in Wednesday as the next senator from Alabama.Vice President Mike Pence swore in the new senator as per tradition.Notably, there were three vice presidents on Capitol Hill at the same time – Jones bucked tradition in choosing former Vice President Joe Biden to escort him for the occasion. Typically a senator chooses their home state colleague as their escort.Jones took the oath of office on a family Bible.Jones is now the 49th Democratic member of the Senate, tightening the Republicans’ majority to 51-49.Jones is the first Democrat in 25 years to win a Senate seat in Alabama when he defeated Republican Roy Moore in the December 12 special election to fill the seat vacated nearly a year ago by current Attorney General Jeff Sessions.Though Alabama election officials certified the race results last week, Moore has not conceded and has vowed to challenge the tally. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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