GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

Abigail Morris (left) from Amherst, Mass., with Alyssa Helton from Whitesburg, Kentucky.
Karen Brown / New England Public Radio

After the last election, many people felt inspired to mend the country's deep divisions. So when a group of liberal activists in Leverett, Massachusetts, learned that a more conservative community in Letcher County, Kentucky, was open to a cultural exchange, they started to organize.

Government transparency may be one of the casualties of the bipartisan budget deal approved by the General Assembly. The public affairs television network CT-N took a budget hit that may force the network off the air as early as Wednesday when its current contract expires.

Updated at 4:20 p.m. ET

Apparent Russian agents began reaching out to Donald Trump's presidential campaign as early as March 2016, the Justice Department established in documents released Monday, with appeals for partnership and offers of help including "dirt" on Trump's opponent, Hillary Clinton.

That case is made in charging documents in the case of then-Trump foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.

George Papadopoulos, who worked for President Trump's campaign as a foreign policy adviser, has pleaded guilty to lying to FBI agents about meeting a professor with Russian ties who had promised to provide "dirt" on Trump's Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

Paul Manafort, President Trump's former campaign chairman, has been indicted on federal charges that range from conspiracy against the United States to conspiracy to launder money. He was taken into federal custody Monday morning, along with his longtime deputy.

In a court hearing around midday, both Manafort and his co-defendant, Rick Gates, pleaded not guilty.

Robert Murphy, a judge in Springfield District Court.
File photo / The Republican

First up in our news roundup this week: The Massachusetts Senate early Friday morning passed sweeping criminal justice legislation. The bill's sponsor says it will reduce the rates of incarceration, while giving judges more leeway to set bail amounts and sentence offenders.

Sens. Spilka, Brownsberger, and Rosenberg spoke to reporters after the Senate adjourned early Friday morning.
Andy Metzger / State House News Service

The Senate passed legislation early Friday that could make drug traffickers in Massachusetts liable for murder while substantially reducing other criminal penalties for drug dealing in an effort to reduce the state's prison population and give offenders a better chance at turning around their lives.

Updated Oct. 27, 9:50 p.m. ET

The 2,891 records relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy released by the National Archives Thursday contain many interesting tidbits.

  • The FBI tried to track down a stripper known as "Kitty" who may have been an associate of nightclub owner Jack Ruby, who shot Lee Harvey Oswald two days after Oswald killed Kennedy.

President Trump declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency on Thursday, freeing up resources to deal with the epidemic.

Last year, more than 64,000 people died from drug overdoses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics. Many of those overdoses were from heroin, prescription painkillers, fentanyl and other opioids.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

Congress has approved a joint budget resolution, a critical step to paving the way for major tax legislation later this year.

The Senate-approved resolution passed the House narrowly on Thursday, 216-212, with 20 Republicans voting no and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., even having to cast a rare vote to help ensure its passage.

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