Sessions weighs Clinton investigation — Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a second special counsel to investigate a raft of allegations connected to Hillary Clinton, a move that would fulfill long-standing demands from President Donald Trump and the Republican base. A Justice Department lawyer informed the House Judiciary Committee on Monday that senior prosecutors were looking into whether a special counsel should be appointed to investigate the Clinton Foundation, Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of State, former FBI Director James Comey’s decision not to prosecute Clinton, and a 2010 decision by the Obama administration regarding sales of uranium to a Russian company. Prosecutors will “evaluate certain issues” surrounding the foundation and make recommendations on possible investigative steps — including the appointment of a special counsel, Stephen Boyd, assistant attorney general, wrote in a two-page letter to Rep. Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.
Health secretary nominee — President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly assailed pharmaceutical companies for the high cost of prescription medications in the United States, nominated on Monday a former executive of one of the nation’s largest drug companies to be secretary of health and human services, which has responsibility for regulating the pharmaceutical industry. Trump announced his choice of Alex Azar, a former president of the U.S. division of Eli Lilly and a health official in the George W. Bush administration, on Twitter while traveling in Asia. If confirmed, Azar would succeed Tom Price, who resigned from the post after revelations that he repeatedly used chartered jets for routine government travel. In contrast to Price, an orthopedic surgeon and former Republican congressman, Azar is a lawyer and health care expert who allies predicted would use his deep knowledge of the federal bureaucracy to advance Trump’s agenda of undermining President Barack Obama’s health care law. Azar recently called the Affordable Care Act a “fundamentally broken system.”
White judges — President Donald Trump is nominating white men to America’s federal courts at a rate not seen in nearly 30 years, reversing a slow transformation toward a judiciary that reflects the nation’s diversity. So far, 91 percent of Trump’s nominees are white, and 81 percent are male, an Associated Press analysis has found. Three of every four are white men, with few African-Americans and Hispanics in the mix. The last president to nominate a similarly homogenous group was George H.W. Bush. The shift could prove to be one of Trump’s most enduring legacies. These are lifetime appointments, and Trump has inherited both an unusually high number of vacancies and an aging population of judges.
Trump Jr. confirms WikiLeaks contact — Donald Trump Jr. had multiple online conversations during the 2016 presidential campaign with WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group that last year released a hacked trove of Democrats’ emails, according to four congressional officials. The president’s son in recent weeks handed over Twitter messages he exchanged with WikiLeaks to several congressional committees investigating Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election, according to the officials. It is the second time it has been publicly revealed that Trump Jr. communicated with people and organizations with ties to the Russian government who were trying to undermine the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton.
Iran-Iraq quake toll above 400 — Rescuers dug with their bare hands Monday through the debris of buildings felled by an earthquake that killed more than 430 people in the border region of Iran and Iraq, with nearly all the casualties occurring in an area rebuilt after their ruinous 1980s war. The magnitude-7.3 earthquake struck Sunday at 9:48 p.m. Iran time, just as people were going to bed. The worst damage appeared to be in the Kurdish town of Sarpol-e-Zahab in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, which sits in the Zagros Mountains that divide the two countries. Seven deaths occurred in Iraq and 535 people were injured, all in the country’s northern, semiautonomous Kurdish region, according to its Interior Ministry.
Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s dramatic moves to counter Iran in the region appear to have backfired, significantly ratcheting up regional tensions and setting off a spiral of reactions and anger that seem to have caught the kingdom off guard. Now it’s trying to walk back its escalations in Lebanon and Yemen. On Monday, the kingdom announced that the Saudi-led coalition fighting Shiite rebels in Yemen would begin reopening airports and seaports in the Arab world’s poorest country, days after closing them over a rebel ballistic missile attack on Riyadh. The move came just hours after Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who shocked the nation by announcing his resignation from the Saudi capital Nov. 4, gave an interview saying he would return to his country.