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White House Asked FBI To Publicly Refute Reports Trump Associates Had Russia Contacts

The White House is admitting that it discussed with the FBI media reports that Trump campaign officials were in contact with Russian intelligence agents and that Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI to publicly knock down the story. FBI Director James Comey refused. The administration is pushing back on a CNN report that White House officials "sought the help." A senior administration official told reporters Friday morning that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe asked to speak to...

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Donald Trump takes the oath of office
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Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt testifying at a Jan. 18 confirmation hearing on his nomination as administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
C-SPAN

 

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt on Wednesday faced hours of questioning at a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on his qualifications to run the Environmental Protection Agency. The public vetting of president-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the federal government’s largest environmental regulator highlighted sharp and long-standing divisions between environmentalists and industry.

The six-hour hearing in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee split largely along political lines.

Oklahoma state Sen. Gary Stanislawski, R-Tulsa, applauds as students are introduced in the Senate gallery in Oklahoma City, Tuesday, April 9, 2013.
Sue Ogracki / AP

Virtual charter schools would be required to track and report student attendance —something the schools aren’t currently tasked with doing — under a law proposed by an Oklahoma senator.

Oklahoma has five virtual charter schools, enrolling a combined 13,225 students. Two schools reported 100 percent attendance last year, drawing questions and criticism from education advocates.

A live stream of this confirmation hearing is available via C-SPAN.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been among the most controversial picks for Donald Trump's Cabinet. In part, that's because the Environmental Protection Agency nominee has said things like this:

State Asks Judge To Dismiss Liquor Association Lawsuit

Jan 17, 2017
Wine bottles in The Spirit Shop in Norman
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The state of Oklahoma has asked for dismissal of a lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of a liquor law reform measure that was passed by voters in November.

State Question 792 passed with 65 percent of the vote, and amends the state constitution to allow wine and strong beer sales in grocery and convenience stores, permits package liquor stores to refrigerate their products and makes changes to the state’s alcohol distribution system, among other changes. Retail package stores will continue to be the only place to buy spirits.

Oklahoma Lawmaker Takes Another Shot At Vaccination Bill

Jan 16, 2017
Lacey McKay receives a flu shot at the Oklahoma City-County Health Department in Oklahoma City on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017.
Brent Fuchs / Journal Record

As vaccine skeptics gain traction in the federal government, Oklahoma is again considering getting rid of the exemption that lets parents opt out.

President-elect Donald Trump has discussed creating a new commission on autism, which would look into whether vaccines play a role in its development. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., an environmental activist and avid vaccine critic, has told national media that Trump offered him the chairmanship.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt speaking about energy self-sufficiency at the Conservative Political Action Conference in March 2016.
American Conservative Union / C-SPAN

President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to run the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, walked back a legal fight to clean up rivers polluted by chicken manure after accepting tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions linked to the poultry industry, campaign and court records show.

Oklahoma state capitol
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

Perhaps concerned about possible cuts in state programs and business incentives, lobbyists again have spent more on gifts for legislators and state officials in the months heading into the legislative session.

Lawmakers, elected officials and other state employees received about $60,350 in gifts from special-interest groups during the last six months of 2016, according to recently filed lobbying reports.

This is the Manager’s Minute.

Presidential Inauguration Day is Friday, January 20.

KGOU and NPR plan special coverage beginning at 9 a.m. as Donald Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.

NPR’s Steve Inskeep and Audie Cornish will co-host from the Capitol and National Mall, with live reports, interviews, speeches and the oath of office.

At 1 p.m., inauguration coverage continues with Here & Now hosts Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson reporting on the Inaugural Luncheon and Parade.

Dubravka Ugrešić
Jerry Braun

 

Dubravka Ugresic’s books focus on what she calls “the literariness of literature.” She’s fascinated by literature and likes to play with form and style, as she did in her 1993 novel Steffie Speck in the Jaws of Life, which references authors such as Gustave Flaubert and romance novels.

She is the recipient of many awards, including the University of Oklahoma’s Neustadt International Prize for Literature.

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