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Democratic Rep. Katie Hill to resign amid allegations of improper relationship with staffer

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WASHINGTON — 

Rep. Katie Hill (D-Santa Clarita) announced Sunday that she would resign from Congress after allegations that she engaged in affairs with a congressional aide and a campaign staff member became public this month.

Hill announced the resignation in a letter to constituents, saying she was stepping down “with a broken heart.”

The letter did not specify when the resignation would take effect. Hill will be the first female member of Congress to resign in a post-#MeToo era. Her resignation will also be the first after a House rule banning sexual relationships with staffers was enacted last year in response to nearly a dozen male members of Congress resigning amid sexual harassment allegations.

“This is what needs to happen so that the good people who supported me will no longer be subjected to the pain inflicted by my abusive husband and the brutality of hateful political operatives who seem to happily provide a platform to a monster who is driving a smear campaign built around cyber exploitation,” Hill wrote in the letter.

“I know that as long as I am in Congress, we’ll live fearful of what might come next and how much it will hurt.

“For the mistakes made along the way and the people who have been hurt, I am sorry, and I am learning I am not a perfect person and never pretended to be,” Hill wrote.

Hill is in divorce proceedings with her husband of nine years, Kenneth Heslep. William Strachan, an attorney for Heslep, said his client had no comment when reached by The Times.

Pelosi raised money for Hill during the campaign, and Hill defended Pelosi when some Democrats were calling for new leadership. Hill leveraged the relationship in securing a coveted position among House leadership, a spot on the whip team and the vice chairmanship of the powerful House Oversight Committee.

“Congresswoman Katie Hill came to Congress with a powerful commitment to her community and a bright vision for the future, and has made a great contribution as a leader of the Freshman Class,” Pelosi said in a statement Sunday night. “She has acknowledged errors in judgment that made her continued service as a Member untenable. We must ensure a climate of integrity and dignity in the Congress, and in all workplaces.”

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Kay Hagan, Former North Carolina Senator, Dies at 66

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Kay Hagan, a former US senator from North Carolina and the first female Democratic senator to represent the state, died Monday, her family said in a statement. She was 66. “We are heartbroken to share that Kay left us unexpectedly this morning,” the Hagan family said. “Kay meant everything to us, and we were honored to share her with the people of North Carolina whom she cared for and fought for so passionately as an elected official.”Hagan, a Democrat, served in the Senate from 2009 to 2015 after defeating Elizabeth Dole. She lost her reelection bid in November 2014 to Republican Sen. Thom Tillis. Tillis said in a tweet Monday that he was “heartbroken” by Hagan’s passing and remembered her for her “dedicated and distinguished record of public service to our state & nation.”Hagan is survived by her husband, Chip Hagan, and children Jeanette Hagan, Tilden Hagan and Carrie Hagan Stewart. They remembered her “humor and spirit as the hub of our family” and said in their statement that she had a knack for making people feel welcome. The family did not provide information on the cause of her death, but said they “are deeply grateful for the support shared with our family as Kay worked to regain her strength these last few years after her illness.”

The News & Record, a North Carolina newspaper, reports Hagan was in Washington in 2016 when she fell ill and was admitted to a hospital with encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain. The illness led to a months-long hospitalization at an Atlanta rehabilitation hospital, according to the paper, and her family later said the illness was caused by Powassan virus, which is transmitted to people from ticks.In June, Hagan made a rare public appearance at a groundbreaking ceremony for an air traffic control tower in the state — a project she was credited with advancing during her time in Congress, according to the News & Record. Her husband told the paper at the time that her illness limited her speech capabilities and caused standing and walking difficulties. Though she did not deliver public remarks, she “shared private greetings with well-wishers” at the event, the paper said.Former Vice President Joe Biden said in a statement Monday that he had visited with Hagan in Durham, North Carolina, on Sunday, and remembered her as “a courageous soul who lived every day of her too-short life with incredible dignity and character, even as the days became more difficult physically.”

“She was a champion for North Carolina and a fierce defender of all its citizens. She stood for women’s rights and marriage equality, not because it was politically popular, but because it was right,” Biden said. “As a United States Senator, she was a crucial partner to our administration to pass both the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act.”Hagan’s “legacy of service will continue to live on in new leaders she inspired to follow in her steps,” he said.Former President Barack Obama also offered his condolences to Hagan’s family and remembered her as a “terrific public servant” who was “eager to find common ground, willing to rise above the partisan fray, and always focused on making progress for the people she served.””As President, I deeply appreciated her reasoned, pragmatic voice, whether we were working together to pass the Affordable Care Act, reform Wall Street, support working families, or just make Americans’ lives a little better,” he said in a statement on Monday. “Her record is one all public servants would do well to follow, and her perspective is one we’ll sorely miss.”Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who served alongside Hagan, said in a statement that he and his wife “are deeply saddened by the sudden and untimely loss” of his former colleague.”In our time as Senate colleagues, we worked across the aisle together frequently on issues that we both knew would determine what type of country our children would inherit, from conservation to our common defense,” Burr said, noting that Hagan will be remembered “for her tireless work on behalf of the home and the people she loved.”

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‘Start Here’: NYPD fires officer in Eric Garner death and Planned Parenthood leaves federal funding program

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  1. Strangle hold cop terminated

Five years after Eric Garner’s last words, “I can’t inhale,” touched off across the country challenges, the New York City cop legitimately accused for his strangle hold passing has been terminated.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill reported Officer Daniel Pantaleo’s end on Monday, calling it “an amazingly troublesome choice,” after a departmental judge not long ago prescribed that Pantaleo be terminated for his “rash” activities during Garner’s capture.

Accumulate was slaughtered July 17, 2014, when Pantaleo and his accomplice halted him for purportedly selling untaxed cigarettes. In the experience, recorded on record, Pantaleo snatched Garner from behind and set him in a strangle hold, a move restricted by the NYPD in 1993.

“It didn’t murder him legitimately, yet it added to an asthma assault that the medicinal analyst’s office said did, and that is the place the departmental judge and the police official observed Officer Pantaleo to be foolhardy,” ABC News Senior Investigative Reporter Aaron Katersky says on “Begin Here.”

Pantaleo has denied he utilized the strangle hold on Garner. The Police Benevolent Association blamed the official for picking “legislative issues and his own personal circumstance over the cops he professes to lead.”

2. Title X funding

Planned Parenthood is withdrawing from the federal Title X family planning program, rejecting millions of dollars in funding for low-income women, instead of complying with new rules enacted by the Trump administration.

Title X, started in 1970, already prohibits the use of funding for abortions, but the new restrictions include that participating clinics aren’t allowed to counsel women about where they can receive an abortion, an issue that the federal government has taken different positions on over the years, according to ABC News Legal Analyst Kate Shaw.

“Under the rule that was in effect previously,” she says, “providers could give factual, neutral information about the availability of abortions and could refer people who were pregnant and wanted information about it, or wanted to access abortions, to places that provide them.”

As Planned Parenthood fought the new rule in court, clinics were supposed to submit “compliance” plans to the Department of Health and Human Services by Monday.

3. Trump on guns

As the gun control debate rages on in the wake of the El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, mass shootings, President Donald Trump appears to be softening his stance on new gun legislation.

A few weeks after he told reporters “we have to have very meaningful background checks,” on Sunday he seemed to back off any push for tougher gun sale background checks, saying “Congress is going to be reporting back to me with ideas … but just remember, we already have a lot of background checks.”

His shifting position has lawmakers questioning whether they will have enough political support to pass any gun control legislation when they return to Washington after the August recess, according to ABC News’ Katherine Faulders.

“I think you see the president genuinely wanting to do something about this, but [he’s] being lobbied and pulled by all sorts of different outside forces that it’s just unclear what Congress really has an appetite for,” she says.

4. China’s troll campaign

Twitter and Facebook have removed hundreds of fraudulent accounts linked to China that they say were spreading disinformation about pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

The social media platforms accused China of claiming demonstrators were violent, with some posters likening them to cockroaches and members of ISIS.

“There’s much, much more activity from the social media platforms going out and hunting for this kind of activity and then taking it down,” Ben Nimmo, a digital analyst and director of investigations at the firm Graphika, says on the podcast. “It’s really changed the dynamic of what’s happening online. You’re not just getting troll operations running, but you’re actually getting the platforms acting as troll hunters and going out finding them.”

Twitter said in a blog post on Monday it would update its policies to reject advertising from state-controlled news media entities. Facebook does not ban ads from state-owned media companies, according to the Associated Press.

“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.

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Homegrown hypocrite: Ken Cuccinelli, Trump’s immigration chief, betrays path his own ancestors took to America

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It really is great Virginians rejected Ken Cuccinelli as their senator a couple of years prior and that Republicans in the U.S. Senate don’t need him running the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as he is unmistakably a merciless and insensible man. No big surprise President Trump introduced him as acting migration boss to perpetrate however much harm as could reasonably be expected.

Gabbing on NPR, with regards to the weak Trump changes that will deny green cards to legitimate migrants who use sustenance stamps or Medicaid or Medicare solution inclusion or lodging help, Cuccinelli recommended correcting Emma Lazarus’ imperishable ballad at Lady Liberty’s base to peruse: “Give me your worn out and your poor — who can remain without anyone else two feet and who won’t become an open charge.”

Like his manager Trump, Cuccinelli appears to like just rich workers, not the a huge number of poor strivers escaping persecution and desperation who cruised past the Mother of Exiles in the harbor. You know, the individuals who came looking for work, who constructed this nation, who battled our wars, and whose cutting edge successors carry out the responsibilities the remainder of us don’t need.

Individuals like poor Italian foreigners Dominic Cucciniello and Fortuna Preziosi, Ken Cuccinelli’s distant grandparents.

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