In our news wrap Tuesday, a U.S. federal appeals court ordered the Justice Department to hand over grand jury testimony from the special counsel’s Russia probe. The panel ruled 2-to-1 that the House is entitled to the material as part of ongoing investigations into President Trump. Also, Russia’s parliament laid out a path for President Vladimir Putin to stay in power after his term ends in 2024.
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In the day's other news: Six more states are having their say in the Democratic presidential race, with 352 delegates at stake in today's voting.
Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders faced off in Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, and Washington state. We will take a closer look at all this after the news summary.
A federal appeals court has ordered the U.S. Justice Department to hand over grand jury testimony from the special counsel's Russia investigation. A three-judge panel rule 2-1 today that House Democrats are entitled to the material as part of continuing investigations of President Trump.
The case could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.
In Moscow, Russia's Parliament laid out a path today for President Vladimir Putin to stay in power. Existing law requires him to step down when his latest six-year term ends in 2024. But lawmakers approved a constitutional amendment to change that. Putin welcomed the move.
President Vladimir Putin (through translator):
Technically, today, we could lift the presidential term limits. Such precedents exist in other countries, including our neighbors.
In principle, this option would be possible, if the Constitutional Court gives an official ruling that such an amendment wouldn't contradict the principles and main provisions of the constitution.
Putin is 67 years old. He has been Russia's leader for more than 20 years. If voters approve the proposed constitutional amendment next month, he could stay in power until 2036.
The U.S. general who is overseeing the Middle East warned today that Taliban attacks on Afghan forces have to let up, or U.S. forces may not withdraw as agreed. Marine General Frank McKenzie said that the militants must keep their part of a bargain that calls for cutting U.S. troop levels from 13,000 to about 8,600 by summer.
He spoke at a U.S. House hearing that was livestreamed.
Gen. Frank McKenzie:
They are continuing attacks. Those attacks are relatively low in scale. They are not directed against coalition forces. They are not occurring in city centers. They are occurring at isolated checkpoints, but those attacks are occurring. And they are not consistent with a movement toward a negotiated settlement.
Meanwhile, Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani, signed a decree for the release of 1,500 Taliban prisoners. It is to begin within four days.
And retired Army General Jack Keane received the Presidential Medal of Freedom today. It's the nation's highest civilian honor. President Trump presented the medal in a White House ceremony. Keane had once served as the army's vice chief of staff.