UPDATE: Hearings to begin on alleged Russian election hacking; Trump comments
WASHINGTON (AP) -- FBI Director James Comey and NSA director Michael Rogers are expected to testify today at a hearing on Capitol Hill about Russian interference into the U.S. presidential election.
Also of interest to the House Intelligence Committee are President Donald Trump's claims that the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower during the presidential campaign.
Trump is accusing Democrats of fabricating allegations of election interference against Russia and creating more "fake news." This morning, he tweeted, "The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!"
Senate hearings get underway on Trump Supreme Court pick
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Senate hearings begin this morning for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, the man President Donald Trump wants to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia, who died more than a year ago. Gorsuch is a respected, highly credentialed and conservative member of the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
And Democrats head into the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings divided over how hard to fight him.
Ryan willing to make changes in GOP health care
WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan says he'll pursue changes to a GOP health care bill to provide more help to older people.
The new willingness to compromise comes days before a pivotal vote and is a bid for more support from moderate Republicans, who've expressed continuing unease about the plan to replace "Obamacare."
A House vote on the bill is set for Thursday.
AP POLL-YOUNG AMERICANS-TRUMP
Most young Americans don't see Trump as a legitimate leader
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A new poll suggests that Donald Trump's presidency doesn't sit well with most young people.
Fifty-seven percent of people 18 to 30 years old who answered the GenForward survey see Trump's presidency as illegitimate.
And only 53 percent of just white young adults consider Trump a legitimate president. Even among that group, 55 percent disapprove of the job he's doing.
French emissions probe clears Opel; others accused of fraud
PARIS (AP) -- French investigators say they have found evidence of possible emissions fraud in Fiat, Renault, Peugeot-Citroen and Volkswagen cars sold in France, but have found no proof of fraud in Opel vehicles.
The Finance Ministry says its consumer fraud agency has closed its investigation into Opel, having found no "facts constituting an infraction of fraud."
The ministry says the agency has handed documents to French courts showing fraud in emissions controls concerning Volkswagen, Renault, Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot Citroen. Now it is up to the French justice system to determine whether to send the companies to trial.
The ministry says investigations into other carmakers are still under way, prompted by the 2015 discovery that Volkswagen used software to cheat on U.S. diesel emissions tests.
HOME HEALTH AIDE SHORTAGE
Minimum-wage hikes could deepen shortage of health aides
WEST CHAZY, N.Y. (AP) -- Advocates for the disabled, elderly and chronically ill in New York are concerned the state's move to a $15 minimum wage could deepen a shortage of home health aides.
More than 180,000 Medicaid patients in New York are authorized to receive long-term, in-home care, the most in the state's history. But there are increasingly too few aides to go around, especially in the state's remote, rural areas.
It's a national problem that advocates say could get worse when the state's $15 minimum goes statewide by 2021. It could potentially push low-paid health aides into other jobs, in retail or fast-food, that don't require hours of training or the pressure of keeping another person alive.
New York state employs about 326,000 home health workers, but is projected to need another 125,000 by 2024.
Massachusetts panel opens hearings on recreational pot law
BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts lawmakers are vowing to respect the will of the voters, but aren't ruling out changes to the state's recreational marijuana law.
A special legislative committee that's considering revisions to the law opens hearings at the Statehouse on Monday.
Among those expected to testify are members of "Yes on 4," the group that led the ballot initiative that made Massachusetts one of eight states where recreational marijuana use by adults is now legal. The group is demanding that lawmakers leave the measure alone and give it time to work.
State treasurer Deb Goldberg, whose office will oversee regulation of marijuana sales, also is scheduled to appear before the panel.
The Legislature already has moved to postpone the opening of retail pot shops in the state until mid-2018 at the earliest.
COUNTING AMERICANS-MIDDLE EASTERNERS
Counting Americans: New Mideast box in census is sensitive
DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) -- Americans from the Middle East and North Africa may soon be counted in the U.S. census as distinct members of their country, not as "white" or "some other race." But some are wary of singling themselves out a time when President Donald Trump is seeking to ban travel to the U.S. from some majority-Muslim countries.
The Census Bureau has recommended adding a Middle East-North Africa category, saying it would produce a more accurate count. Some worry that could lead to discrimination.
Trump as a candidate linked tighter immigration with national security and spoke favorably of a Muslim registry. As president, he's twice ordered a travel ban on people coming from certain Muslim-majority nations. Federal courts have blocked both orders. The Trump administration says it plans to appeal.
NEW: Donors urged to guard heritage threatened by war, extremism
PARIS (AP) -- France is trying to raise tens of millions of dollars from international donors to protect cultural heritage sites threatened by war and the kind of destruction carried out by Islamic State group militants.
Donors gathered today for a conference at the Louvre (loov) Museum aimed at building an international fund to prevent or stop destruction of historical sites. Organizers also want to create a network of sites around the world to temporarily store endangered artifacts and pay for the restoration of sites damaged by war.
France pledged $30 million toward the fund in December, and backers hope to gather an initial $100 million.
IS militants have stolen or destroyed cultural artifacts, including the ancient Syrian town of Palmyra (pahl-MEER'-uh), the Mosul museum and the 13th century B.C. Assyrian capital of Nimrud.
Nepal to strap Everest climbers with GPS device
KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) -- Some climbers attempting to scale Mount Everest over the next two months will be strapped with a GPS device for their safety and to prevent false claims of reaching the summit.
The chief of Nepal's tourism department says climbers would be hooked with a GPS device during the spring climbing season to track their movement as they attempt to scale the 29,035-foot-high summit.
Hundreds of climbers are expected to attempt to climb the world's highest peak in April and May, but only a few will be fitted with the devices as an experiment.
Last year, an Indian couple claimed they scaled the peak and received a certificate from mountaineering authorities, but it was later determined that they had altered their photo on the summit.