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  • The Latest on President Donald Trump and the Russia probe (all times local): 7:10 a.m. President Donald Trump is tweeting about the 'Criminal Deep State' and says its efforts to undermine him have backfired. He's referring to the FBI's reliance on an outside informant to determine whether Trump's campaign aides were working with Russia ahead of the 2016 election. He tweeted Wednesday: 'SPYGATE could be one of the biggest political scandals in history!' Trump and his GOP supporters in Congress are now demanding information on that informant, suggesting it's proof that the Obama administration was trying to spy on his campaign. Trump also tweeted: 'Look how things have turned around on the Criminal Deep State. They go after Phony Collusion with Russia, a made up Scam, and end up getting caught in a major SPY scandal the likes of which this country may never have seen before! What goes around, comes around!' ___ 12:35 a.m. President Donald Trump is declining to say whether he has confidence in Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after the White House negotiated rare access to classified documents for Trump's congressional allies. Trump was asked Tuesday if he has confidence in Rosenstein, who is overseeing the special counsel's Russia investigation. The president told reporters to move on to another question. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says a meeting to allow House Republicans to review highly classified information on the Russia probe will happen Thursday. Sanders says FBI Director Christopher Wray, National Intelligence Director Dan Coats and Justice Department official Edward O'Callaghan will meet with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Trey Gowdy.
  • A Virginia family is mourning the death of a 2-year-old boy after he was shot and killed by his 4-year-old brother. Tyson Aponte was shot in the chest when his brother picked up what he thought was a toy. In reality it was a loaded gun, WTVR reported. >> Read more trending news  The children’s mother was home when the shooting happened Tuesday morning. Tyson was taken to the University of Virginia Health System where he died, WCAV reported. “It’s of paramount importance to make sure your guns are secured and out of the reach of children and everything,” Major Donald Lowe told WTVR. “At least have them unloaded or a safety lock on them, whatever you have to do to keep them from being discharged accidentally.” Police are investigating. “Our heart breaks for this family ... they’re devastated, naturally, so we want to do everything we can to help them,” Lowe told WTVR.
  • A man wanted following a fatal crash involving a North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper has been captured. >> Shooter dead in Panama City, Florida standoff, reports say Authorities had been looking for 22-year-old Dakota Kape Whitt after Trooper Samuel N. Bullard, 24, of Wilkes County, died late Monday in a crash along Interstate 77 in Yadkin County during a chase. WGHP-TV reports that during the chase, one trooper noticed he did not see a second patrol car behind him. When his attempt at contacting the other trooper failed, he turned around and found the patrol car engulfed in flames. >> Read more trending news  “Our SHP family is devastated by the loss of Trooper Bullard. We are struggling to find words that describe the hurting we feel right now,” said Col. Glenn M. McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol. “Trooper Bullard died as he was fulfilling his promise to the people of North Carolina, protecting and serving his community.”  It happened around 11:30 p.m. on I-77 southbound near NC-67. The area is about 70 miles north of Charlotte and due west of Winston-Salem. >> No leads in fatal drive-by shooting of grandmother; police asking for public’s help Chris Knox with the NCSHP said Bullard was a three-year veteran assigned to Surry County. Troopers said the incident started with a license check. A black BMW did not stop and troopers went after it. Trooper Bullard was involved in a collision at Mile Marker 80. Whitt was taken into custody without incident around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday. He's charged with murder, felony fleeing to elude arrest in a motor vehicle and driving with a revoked license. 
  • Former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams won the Democratic nomination for the state's top office on Tuesday, defeating ex-state Rep. Stacey Evans and advancing her quest to become the nation’s first black female elected governor.  >> Watch the news report here She will face one of two Republicans in November in the race to succeed Gov. Nathan Deal, a competition that will test whether the state is truly competitive after more than a decade of GOP rule.  >> Midterm 2018: Here are the Senate races that you should be watching “We are writing the next chapter of Georgia history, where no one is unseen, no one is unheard and no one is uninspired,” a jubilant Abrams said, adding: “And I know for the journey ahead, we need every voice in our party – and every independent thinker in the state.” Abrams attracted national attention, big-name endorsements and millions of dollars in outside spending with her “unapologetic progressive” platform to flip the Georgia governor’s office for the first time since 2002.  >> On AJC.com: Cagle, Kemp headed to runoff for GOP nomination She overcame a stiff challenge from Evans, who tried to frame herself as the more ardent progressive. Evans fueled her campaign with nearly $2 million of her own money, pummeling Abrams with criticism for supporting a 2011 Republican-backed measure that cut awards to the HOPE scholarship.  Each of the Democratic and Republican candidates tried to carve out his or her niche in a race that attracted more than $22 million in campaign contributions – and flooded the airwaves with more than $13 million in TV ads.  >> Midterm 2018: House races you should be watching Though her Republican opponent is not yet known – Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle will face Secretary of State Brian Kemp in a July 24 showdown – the Georgia GOP quickly attacked her over her financial background.  “I’ve tried to make sense of her personal and professional finances, and my head is spinning,” said Georgia GOP chair John Watson, who called on her to release her tax returns and other financial records.  Abrams owes more than $200,000 in debts, including about $54,000 to the IRS. She has said she’s on payment plan to pay back the debt, and has sought to frame her struggles as evidence she understands the problems that Georgians face. >> Midterm elections 2018: When are the primaries? A state-by-state list Evans, meanwhile, quickly endorsed Abrams and vowed to help Democrats form a united front against President Donald Trump and state Republicans. 'The Democratic Party is trying to find a unified voice to rally against Trump,” said Evans. “We must do that.'  Shifting strategy  The Democrats largely abandoned centrist talk to appeal instead to left-leaning voters with a promise of implementing gun control, increasing financial aid for lower-income families and taking steps toward the decriminalization of marijuana. That’s a stark contrast from more moderate appeals from a generation of Democratic candidates for governor, who often sought the National Rifle Association’s endorsement and touted fiscally conservative policies. They are echoing many in the party’s base who insisted on that shift. Claudia Colichon, who lives in north Atlanta, said she demands candidates who embrace mass transit funding and fight for gun control. >> Midterm 2018: What should you do if you are denied the right to vote? Here are some tips “There needs to be a progressive change,” said Colichon. “People are seeing that conservative policies aren’t working.” Abrams drew support from Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and a string of other high-profile Democrats and raised about two-thirds of her campaign funds from outside the state. National groups chipped in another $2 million worth of ads supporting her.  Evans mounted a lower-key campaign focused on local endorsements and smaller gatherings. The election-eve activities highlighted their differences. While Abrams held a large get-out-the-vote rally, Evans slung beers for supporters at an Atlanta bar.  United and divided  Both Abrams and Evans united around a host of issues, including expanding Medicaid, growing the medical marijuana program and continuing Deal’s criminal justice overhaul. And both are outspoken opponents of “religious liberty” measures they say amount to state-sponsored discrimination.  The two attorneys also both were the products of hardscrabble childhoods that shaped their views of government, served together in the state House in their 30s and had up-close views of the tragic toll of substance abuse on their families with siblings who faced legal trouble. But they’ve clashed on other issues, including how aggressively they oppose the NRA, how they would handle the state’s $26 billion budget and even how they would address Stone Mountain and other Civil War monuments.  The biggest policy divide, however, centered on the HOPE scholarship, which provides tuition aid to Georgia college students who maintain a “B” average.  Evans said Abrams betrayed her party by working with Republicans seeking cost-cutting moves to reduce the program’s awards in 2011. Abrams countered that more “seasoned” Democrats sided with her in that vote because they knew negotiating with the GOP would prevent deeper cuts.  A new philosophy  The other central disagreement in the race involved strategy.  Evans banked on a more conventional Democratic plan to win over independent voters and moderates, particularly suburban women, who have fled to the GOP. Abrams staked her campaign on energizing left-leaning voters, including minorities who rarely cast ballots.  The two competed for support in an increasingly diverse electorate and at times racial tensions surfaced.  There was the moment last year when Abrams supporters shouted down Evans at an Atlanta conference of progressive activists with chants of “support black women.” Evans, who is white, drew scorn with a video at Ebenezer Baptist Church that faded her face into the image of Martin Luther King Jr. For Democrats, the divisive primary for governor was somewhat novel. Jason Carter, the party’s 2014 nominee, faced no Democratic competition. And former Gov. Roy Barnes steamrolled over opposition in 2010 during his failed comeback bid.  >> Read more trending news  The party has also largely avoided fierce primary battles between black and white candidates for governor since the 1990 vote, when then-Lt. Gov. Zell Miller trounced former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young.  Evans, who represented a Smyrna-based district, faced an uphill battle from the moment she entered the race. Black women form the largest bloc of voters in the Democratic primary, and Abrams’ campaign predicted African-American turnout overall could make up 65 percent of the vote.  To make inroads, Evans staged a slate of smaller rallies and meet-and-greets, and she relied heavily on prominent black officials to spread her message. She also spent far more heavily on TV than Abrams, inundating the airwaves with a HOPE-themed pitch.  In her victory speech, Abrams moved to unite the party by praising Evans’ supporters. She pledged to repeal a campus carry law, expand the HOPE scholarship, improve workforce training programs and strengthen labor unions.  And she tried to appeal to more centrist voters by saying she would be the “state’s public education governor” – emphasis on the word “public.”  “Together we will shape a future with a boundless belief in the historic investment of children who are at the very core of every decision we make,” she said.  – AJC staff writer Ariel Hart contributed to this report.
  • Philip Roth – the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of 'American Pastoral' and other highly acclaimed works such as 'Portnoy's Complaint,' 'The Human Stain' and 'The Plot Against America' – has died of congestive heart failure, The Associated Press reported late Tuesday. He was 85. >> PHOTOS: Notable deaths 2018 Fellow writers and public figures took to Twitter to share their condolences and reflect on Roth's novels. Here's what they had to say: >> Read more trending news  – The Associated Press contributed to this report.