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September 21, 2017

As the Russia probe continues to expand, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has informed the Trump administration that he is interested in speaking to former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer. Of particular interest could be "notebook after notebook" that Spicer filled while working for the Republican National Committee, the Trump campaign, and in the White House, Axios reports.

Spicer, for his part, was not feeling too generous about discussing the topic with reporters, Axios' Mike Allen writes:

When we texted Spicer for comment on his note-taking practices, he replied: "Mike, please stop texting/emailing me unsolicited anymore."

When I replied with a "?" (I have known Spicer and his wife for more than a dozen years), he answered: "Not sure what that means. From a legal standpoint I want to be clear: Do not email or text me again. Should you do again I will report to the appropriate authorities." [Axios]

Word of Spicer's notebooks is making some people nervous — in the words of one official, "people are going to wish they'd been nicer to Sean." Another noted, "Sean documented everything." Read the full report at Axios. Jeva Lange

11:22 p.m. ET
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Lindsey Vonn took home a bronze medal Wednesday in Pyeongchang, coming in behind Italy's Sofia Goggia and Norway's Ragnhild Mowinckel in the downhill race.

Vonn finished in 1:39.69, .47 seconds behind Goggia. "I skied a great race today," Vonn told NBC. "Sofia just skied better than I did." Vonn said she had "no regrets" about the event, but it was "tough to contemplate this being my last Olympic downhill race. I struggled to keep the emotions together. But I'm proud of my performance."

Vonn has competed in four Winter Olympics, and won three medals. She won the gold in the downhill race at the 2010 Games in Vancouver, but a knee injury prevented her from participating in the 2014 Games in Sochi. She has one more individual event coming up: the combined on Thursday. Vonn told NBC she's "99.9 percent sure" she won't compete in the 2022 Games in Beijing, "but who knows? Maybe something will come out and they'll fix my knee up and I'll be like Robo-knee and I'll ski for like 10 more years. That'd be ideal." Catherine Garcia

10:51 p.m. ET

Alix and Brett Epps are the perfect match, in more ways than one.

They've been through a lot since their first date in 2014 — that night, Brett started having chest pain, and was later diagnosed with Focal Segmental Glomerulosclerosis (FSGS), a rare form of kidney disease. His friends, family, and even strangers volunteered to donate a kidney, but only one person who was tested ended up being a perfect match: Alix. Brett needed to have dialysis every night and spent a lot of time in the hospital, and during one visit with Alix, Brett popped the question. Just a few weeks later, he received Alix's kidney during a transplant, and in 2017, they married. "It's this extra bond," Alix told ABC News. "I always felt so close."

The Epps' entered a contest to renew their vows on Valentine's Day atop the Empire State Building, and ended up winning. They flew in from North Carolina, and along with 10 other couples, said their "I Do's" again, this time high over New York City. "I'd marry her every day of the week if I could," Brett said. Catherine Garcia

9:32 p.m. ET
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Democrat Linda Belcher won a special election in Kentucky's Bullitt County on Tuesday, defeating Republican Rebecca Johnson with 68.45 percent of the vote.

Belcher is replacing state Rep. Dan Johnson, a Republican and Rebecca Johnson's late husband, in House District 49. Dan Johnson died by suicide last year after a report came out accusing him of molesting a 17-year-old girl at the church where he was pastor. Belcher said she ran a "very positive campaign," which was all about "trying to reach out and touch the people of Bullitt County, and we did. I have to thank them for listening to our message."

Belcher's husband, Larry Belcher, held the seat at the time of his death in October 2008; she replaced him on the ballot, and served in the legislature from 2008 to 2012 and 2014 to 2016, when Johnson won the election. In 2016, the district overwhelmingly went for President Trump, who won with a 72-23 margin. Catherine Garcia

8:52 p.m. ET
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Right before Vice President Mike Pence was set to secretly meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister during the Winter Olympics in South Korea, the North Koreans canceled on him, his office told The Washington Post Tuesday.

Pence and a team were going to meet with Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state, on Feb. 10, but they pulled out of the meeting less than two hours before it was going to start. Pence had been vocal about sanctions and his belief North Korea was using the Winter Games for propaganda purposes, and North Korea made it clear they did not like his remarks, his office said. "This administration will stand in the way of Kim's desire to whitewash their murderous regime with nice photo ops at the Olympics," Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, told the Post.

It took about two weeks to set up the meeting, which was scheduled to take place at South Korea's Blue House. Not long after the cancellation, the state-run Korean Central News Agency blasted Pence, saying he "must know that his frantic acts of abusing the sacred Olympics for confrontational ruckus are as foolish and stupid an act as sweeping the sea with a broom." Catherine Garcia

7:48 p.m. ET
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Inspired by the survivors of last week's deadly school shooting in Florida, who are channeling their anger into action and organizing the March for Our Lives protest against gun violence, Oprah Winfrey announced Tuesday she is donating $500,000 to the rally.

Winfrey is matching a donation made earlier by George and Amal Clooney. On Twitter, Winfrey called the students "inspiring young people" who remind her of "the Freedom Riders of the '60s, who also said we've had ENOUGH and our voices will be heard." In a statement to People, Clooney said he'll be at the March 24 rally in Washington, D.C., with his family, and he made his donation in the name of his 8-month-old twins, Ella and Alexander. The "groundbreaking event" needs to happen, he added, because "our children's lives depend on it." 


Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw also matched the donation made by George and Amal Clooney, Deadline reports. In a statement, Spielberg said the students "are already demonstrating their leadership with a confidence and maturity that belies their ages," and he applauds their "efforts to take a stand for the benefit of this and future generations." Catherine Garcia

6:51 p.m. ET
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The Department of the Army has recognized three of the teenagers killed last week in the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, giving each one a Medal of Heroism, the highest honor for JROTC students.

Peter Wang, Alaina Petty, and Martin Duque were all cadets in the Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps, and their families have either been given or will soon receive keepsake medals. During the attack last week, Wang helped his classmates to safety, and was wearing his uniform when he was shot. It was his dream to attend the United States Military Academy, also known as West Point, and the USMA announced Tuesday it granted Wang posthumous admission. In a statement, West Point called Wang "a brave young man" whose actions "exemplified the tenets of duty, honor, and country." Wang was buried on Tuesday, wearing his uniform. Catherine Garcia

5:24 p.m. ET
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Florida lawmakers denied a motion to bring an assault weapons ban to a vote Tuesday, less than a week after 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, by a teenager armed with a semiautomatic rifle. The effort failed to pass Florida's House by a 71-36 margin, The Associated Press reports.

The proposed assault weapons ban had previously been stalled in committee, but Democratic state Rep. Kionne McGhee pushed the state legislature to consider allowing the bill to be considered anyway. Florida's Spectrum News 13 said McGhee's motion was thwarted by "almost every Republican voting no."

Florida's state Senate, however, was able to make progress Tuesday on some legislation to address the safety of students. The Associated Press reported that the state's Senate Education Committee was able to attach an amendment "to put law enforcement officers in every school in the state" to an education reform bill that is now in consideration. Kelly O'Meara Morales

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