Manafort has served top US pols and a sketchy cast abroad

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Pick any decade over the past half-century, and Paul Manafort has had a starring role in the rise (and maybe fall) of somebody big. This lobbyist/political operative/hired gun has been there for prominent American politicians including Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole, George H.W. Bush and, more recently, Donald Trump.

North Carolina editorial roundup

Recent editorials from North Carolina newspapers: ___ March 21 The News & Observer of Raleigh on "dark money" fundraising If you can't beat 'em, join 'em apparently is the new mantra for those of the Democratic political persuasion, who now are adopting tried-and-true methods of money-for-access fundraising by Republicans. It's not good and it frankly does not reflect well on Gov. Roy Cooper and his supporters.

Update on the latest news, sports, business and entertainment:

SENATE-SUPREME COURT Gorsuch faces hours of questioning from senators WASHINGTON (AP) -- Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch says "there is a lot" he regrets about the confirmation process, including putting his family through it. President Donald Trump's pick appeared to grow somewhat testy after more than four hours of questioning before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse asked about a 2010 Supreme Court decision allowed for more money in politics.

Colin Farrell tapped to play Oliver North for Amazon

Colin Farrell is slated to star as Oliver North in a limited series from Amazon. Yorgos Lanthimos, who directed Farrell in the film "Lobster," will direct the untitled, one-hour series that will cover the Iran-Contra scandal. Ben Stiller is among the executive producers. North, a decorated U.S.

Court: Student prayers OK at school board meetings

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- A Texas school board can open its meetings with student-led public prayers without running afoul of the Constitution's prohibition against government-established religion, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The ruling by a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans upheld a lower court ruling dismissing a lawsuit against the Birdville Independent School District.

Gorsuch seen by many as smart, modest nominee for high court

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's poker night in a row house on Cranham Street, Oxford, England, and Neil Gorsuch, studying for yet another degree, is feeling down. His housemates decide that what Gorsuch needs is a girlfriend. Accounts differ on whether it was a dare, goading or a gentle prod, but Gorsuch phones a woman he'd clicked with during a school dinner more than a year earlier -- and she doesn't remember him. Awkward.

Disarmingly warm Gorsuch loves 'cold neutrality' of law

WASHINGTON (AP) -- It's poker night in a row house on Cranham Street, Oxford, England, and Neil Gorsuch, studying for yet another degree, is feeling down. His housemates decide that what Gorsuch needs is a girlfriend. Accounts differ on whether it was a dare, goading or a gentle prod, but Gorsuch phones a woman he'd clicked with during a school dinner more than a year earlier -- and she doesn't remember him. Awkward.

33-year veteran Sen. John Courson indicted on ethics charges

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- One of South Carolina's longest-serving senators has been indicted on ethics charges tied to veteran Republican powerbroker Richard Quinn. Solicitor David Pascoe, the prosecutor investigating Statehouse corruption, announced Friday that a state grand jury indicted Republican Sen. John Courson of Columbia on misconduct in office and using campaign donations for personal expenses. All three charges are tied to Courson's payments to Quinn's political consulting firm.

Trump's Muslim rhetoric key issue in travel ban rulings

SEATTLE (AP) -- Federal law gives the president broad authority over immigration. Jimmy Carter used it to deny some Iranians entry to the U.S. during the hostage crisis, Ronald Reagan to bar Cubans who didn't already have relatives here and President Barack Obama to keep out North Korean officials.

SLED requests 2004 document of GOP finances under McMaster

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- State investigators obtained documents showing a temporary infusion of cash from political operatives helped Gov. Henry McMaster get re-elected state Republican Party chairman in 2000, though there's no indication McMaster himself is under investigation. Former party treasurer Glen O'Connell confirmed Thursday he gave his 2004 review of GOP finances to State Law Enforcement Division agents about a month ago. Their request came amid a solicitor's continued investigation into Statehouse corruption.

9th Circuit judges to Congress: Leave us alone

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Three federal judges on Thursday asked Congress not to break up the vast, San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a longtime target of Republicans and a recent foil to President Donald Trump. The 9th Circuit in February refused to immediately reinstate Trump's ban on travelers from seven predominantly Muslim nations, prompting the administration to release a new, narrower ban.

The Latest: Trump would stop money for rural airline service

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on President Donald Trump's budget proposal for the coming fiscal year (all times EDT): 5:35 p.m. President Donald Trump is calling for the elimination of subsidized air service to rural communities, many of which supported his election last year after he promised to create jobs. Trump's proposal is part of his budget plan.

Trump calls for privatizing air traffic control operations

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump is calling for privatizing the nation's air traffic control operations in his budget proposal, a top priority of the airline industry. The proposal says spinning off air traffic operations from the Federal Aviation Administration and placing them under an "independent, non-governmental organization" would make the system "more efficient and innovative while maintaining safety.

Trump's budget boosts military but cuts GOP, Dem favorites

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump's new $1.15 trillion budget would reshape America's government with the broad, conservative strokes he promised as a candidate, ordering generous increases for the military, slashing domestic programs and riling both fellow Republicans and Democrats by going after favored programs. The president's initial budget proposal, submitted to Congress on Thursday, would boost defense spending by $54 billion, the largest increase since Ronald Reagan's military buildup of the 1980s.

Travel ban rulings highlight trouble posed by Trump record

SEATTLE (AP) -- Federal law gives the president broad authority over immigration. Jimmy Carter used it to deny some Iranians entry to the U.S. during the hostage crisis, Ronald Reagan to bar Cubans who didn't already have relatives here and President Obama to keep out North Korean officials.

Trump calls for privatizing air traffic control operations

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump is calling for privatizing the nation's air traffic control operations in his budget proposal, a top priority of the airline industry. The proposal says spinning off air traffic operations from the Federal Aviation Administration and placing them under an "independent, non-governmental organization" would make the system "more efficient and innovative while maintaining safety." There are about 50,000 airline and other aircraft flights a day in the United States.

Democrats say Trump's pick for trade post needs waiver

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Even as they praised him, Senate Democrats said Tuesday that Donald Trump's pick to represent the U.S. in trade negotiations needs a waiver from Congress to legally hold the job because of his previous work for foreign clients. Republicans disagree but the dispute could slow the confirmation of Robert Lighthizer to become the U.S trade representative.

Report: 17-year-olds voted illegally in Wisconsin primary

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Dozens of 17-year-olds voted illegally across Wisconsin during last spring's intense presidential primary, apparently wrongly believing they could cast ballots if they turned 18 ahead of the November general election, according to a new state report. Wisconsin Elections Commission staff examined voter fraud referrals municipal clerks said they made to prosecutors following the 2016 spring primary and general elections.