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April 21, 2017
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The Trump administration has denied ExxonMobil's request for a waiver from U.S. sanctions to work with Russia, The Wall Street Journal reports. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who formerly served as Exxon's CEO, recused himself from the deliberations; the announcement was made by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

The Wall Street Journal noted earlier this week that it is not clear whether Exxon applied for the waiver before or after Tillerson was confirmed as President Trump's secretary of state. Tillerson struck a deal with Russian oil company Rosneft in 2012 to drill in Russia's portion of the Black Sea, but the agreement was hampered by sanctions slapped on Russia in 2014 in response to the annexation of Crimea. Exxon is reportedly worried that if it isn't proactive, it "could get boxed out of the Black Sea," which may hold billions of barrels of oil. Jeva Lange

10:47 a.m. ET
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Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R) was charged Friday with felony computer data tampering for his campaign's alleged use of "data, specifically a donor list owned by The Mission Continues," a charity Greitens founded, for "a political fundraiser."

Greitens is already charged with felony invasion of privacy. He is accused of threatening a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair that he would release an intimate photo of her if she spoke about their relationship.

The governor has refused to resign while his court cases proceed. He denied the new allegations Friday. Bonnie Kristian

10:40 a.m. ET
Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday directed Americans to throw away all romaine that could have been grown near Yuma, Arizona, which is believed to be the source of E. coli contamination on the lettuce. The CDC originally warned against pre-chopped romaine only, but the caution has been expanded to include hearts of romaine and full heads of the lettuce.

Some 53 people in 16 states have been affected by the outbreak. While five have suffered kidney failure from the bacteria, no deaths have been reported so far. Read the CDC's full report on the outbreak here. Bonnie Kristian

10:05 a.m. ET

A California man named Anthony Mele was killed in an apparently random stabbing attack while he held his young daughter at a cafe in Ventura, California, on Wednesday.

A homeless man named Jamal Jackson was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for the attack. Restaurant employees and customers followed Jackson after the stabbing to help police locate him.

"It's horrible," said prosecutor Richard Simon. "You don't think you're going to be killed when you go out to dinner at a nice restaurant with your family." Bonnie Kristian

10:00 a.m. ET

In rapid-fire tweets Saturday morning, President Trump accused New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman — who co-wrote a Friday story on Michael Cohen, Trump's personal attorney — of faking the report in an effort to coerce Cohen into talking to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe:

Trump posted his tweet series twice, the second iteration replacing a first attempt in which Trump misspelled "Haberman" as "Habberman."

The Times story in question suggests Cohen's loyalty to Trump may be fading after years of Trump treating him "poorly, with gratuitous insults, dismissive statements and, at least twice, threats of being fired." "Donald goes out of his way to treat [Cohen] like garbage," said Trump adviser Roger Stone. Bonnie Kristian

8:19 a.m. ET
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the White House he may quit if his second-in-command, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, is fired by President Trump, The Washington Post reported Friday evening. Because Sessions has recused himself from Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe, Rosenstein oversees it, which has made him a target of the president's ire.

Trump's interest in firing Rosenstein has been rumored for months. Sessions reportedly made his show of support for Rosenstein in a phone call with White House Counsel Don McGahn last weekend.

One of the Post's sources said the message was not a threat but a communication of "the untenable position that Rosenstein's firing would" create for Sessions in an already tumultuous administration. Sessions himself has been in Trump's crosshairs in the past, reportedly as recently as this month. Bonnie Kristian

8:00 a.m. ET

North Korea "no longer needs" to test nuclear weapons and missiles, leader Kim Jong Un said Saturday, and will shut down the site of the past six nuclear tests.

Kim cast the decision as a practical matter because Pyongyang has already achieved "the proven condition of complete nuclear weapons," but the announcement was hailed by many as an important gesture of goodwill in advance of Kim's upcoming meeting with President Trump. However, Kim gave no indication he is willing to surrender his current nuclear arsenal, which he views as a bulwark against forcible regime change.

The president responded to Kim's statement on Twitter:

The last North Korean weapons test was in November. Read The Week's Gracy Olmstead on what it would mean to live with a nuclear North Korea. Bonnie Kristian

April 20, 2018
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Beyoncé's music has been metaphorically taking fans to church for years — but now it's going to do it literally.

The Vine at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco is planning to host a Beyoncé-themed mass on April 25, NBC Bay Area reports. The service won't push parishioners to literally worship Beyoncé, but they will be invited "to sing your Beyoncé favorites and discover how her art opens a window into the lives of marginalized and forgotten — particularly black females." The special event comes on the heels of the Houston singer's legendary Coachella show last weekend, and will follow her second festival performance Saturday.

The founding pastor of the Vine, Rev. Jude Harmon, explained in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle that the Beyoncé-centric mass is "designed to be" a "conversation starter." The April 25 service will serve as an introduction to a three-part series called, "Speaking Truth: The Power of Story in Community." "We felt a need to lift up the voices that the church has traditionally suppressed," Harmon said.

Rev. Yolanda Norton, an assistant professor at San Francisco Theological Seminary who teaches a course called "Beyoncé and the Bible," will be joining in on the fun as a speaker at the mass.

While unique, this is not the first time a church in the Bay Area has used music to connect with parishioners: The African Orthodox Church of Saint John Coltrane was founded in honor of the late saxophone legend John Coltrane and uses jazz to show devotion. Amari Pollard

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