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News Wrap: Kellyanne Conway broke law by advocating for Roy Moore, says federal watchdog

In our news wrap Tuesday, a federal watchdog office says White House Senior Adviser Kellyanne Conway illegally tried to influence last year's Senate race in Alabama by advocating for Alabama Republican Roy Moore in TV appearances. Also, President Trump played down concerns about Russian meddling in the midterm elections, saying, “We’ll counteract whatever they do.”

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: President Trump played down concerns about Russian meddling in the midterm elections. He said — quote — "We will counteract whatever they do."

    He also denied that the White House is in chaos. In a morning tweet, he called it fake news. At his news conference, he said, "I like conflict."

    A federal watchdog office says White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway illegally tried to influence last year's U.S. Senate race in Alabama. That's a violation of the Hatch Act against political activity by federal employees. It involved Conway's advocating for Alabama Republican Roy Moore in TV appearances. He lost to Democrat Doug Jones.

    President Trump will decide what, if any, punishment Conway receives.

    In West Virginia, a nine-day statewide teachers strike has ended. The Republican-led legislature unanimously approved a 5 percent pay raise for all state employees today, and spending cuts to make it possible.

    Republican Governor Jim Justice had once opposed the raise, but he told teachers today, a good coach makes adjustments at halftime.

  • Gov. Jim Justice, R-W.Va.:

    We are making an investment to make education and to put education where in my opinion over and over it ought to be, and that is first. That's where it ought to be. So, I thank you. Even though there was times you beat on me pretty bad, I thank you, and I mean that.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Even with the increase, West Virginia teachers will still earn some $10,000 less than the national average pay for teachers.

    In Syria, Russia's military today offered safe passage for rebels and their families to leave Eastern Ghouta. The Damascus suburb is under intense shelling and airstrikes, and a war monitoring group says at least 80 people were killed on Monday alone.

    Breaking is vowing a robust response if it turns out Russia poisoned a former double agent who's been living in Southern England. ®MD-BO¯Sergei Skripal and his daughter are in critical condition after being found unconscious on a park bench. Police say that an unknown substance was involved. There have been similar incidents in the past, but Moscow has denied any involvement.

    Back in this country, the mayor of Nashville, Tennessee, Democrat Megan Barry, resigned today after pleading guilty to theft of city funds. It's linked to official trips she took with her bodyguard while they were having an affair. He pleaded guilty to the same charge. Barry appeared in court today to enter her plea, then spoke at a news conference afterward.

  • Megan Barry:

    While my time today as your mayor concludes, my unwavering love and sincere affection for this wonderful city and its great people will never come to an end.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Barry was elected mayor in 2015. She faces three years of probation.

    And on Wall Street, stocks struggled in a day of choppy trading. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nine points to close at 24884. The Nasdaq rose 41 points, and the S&P 500 added seven.

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