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Law enforcement and legal establishment witnesses told senators on Wednesday they want Bill Barr as attorney general. Civil rights and urban advocates, however, want the Senate to reject him.

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

Officials leasing the Old Post Office Building for the Trump International Hotel in Washington improperly ignored the Constitution's anti-corruption clauses when they continued to lease the government property to President Trump even after he won the White House, according to an internal federal government watchdog.

U.S. evangelicals, generally supportive of President Trump, are breaking sharply with him over his planned Syria pullout, saying the move will leave Syrian Christians vulnerable to attack.

Among the groups criticizing Trump's Syria plan is the Family Research Council, a conservative evangelical organization with a mission of advancing "faith, family, and freedom in public policy and the culture from a Christian worldview." In the past, the group has actively supported Christians overseas who face persecution.

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Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Though Houston and Harris County make up one of the most ethnically and racially diverse metro areas in the country, that hasn't always been reflected in its judges. But the region recently took a big step towards representation when it elected a record 19 African-American women to the bench.

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On this edition of Political Rewind, women members of the state senate raise their voices in frustration over committee assignments, and both Democrats and Republicans back a long-time committee chair who was ousted from her seat.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

British Prime Minister Theresa May survived a no-confidence vote in the House of Commons on Wednesday, a day after the stinging defeat there of her Brexit deal with the European Union.

In the vote, 325 lawmakers said they had confidence in May's government, while 306 voted that they did not.

While May withstood the challenge to her leadership, it is yet another indication that Brexit has thrown British politics into chaos.

The partial government shutdown is inflicting far greater damage on the U.S. economy than the Trump administration previously estimated, the White House acknowledged.

President Trump's economists have now doubled projections of how much economic growth is being lost each week.

Updated at 5:42 p.m. ET

Four Americans were killed in an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in northern Syria, according to the Pentagon. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility.

Two U.S. service members, one civilian employee of the Defense Intelligence Agency and one contractor working as an interpreter died in the attack in Manbij. Three service members were injured.

Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET

The annual State of the Union message to Congress may be the latest casualty of the partial government shutdown.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., sent a letter to President Trump on Wednesday, suggesting a postponement until after the shutdown is over. The speech, which the president would deliver to a joint session of Congress and a national broadcast audience, was originally scheduled for Jan. 29.

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Here are some of the questions U.S. senators are posing to William Barr. They are questions to the nominee to serve as attorney general overseeing an investigation into Russia's election support for President Trump.

Updated at 7:18 a.m. ET

Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown took a step towards a 2020 presidential campaign, announcing a tour of states holding early presidential primaries next year.

Seeking to counter President Trump's appeal to white, working-class voters that helped him flip Ohio and other key midwestern states, Brown is launching a "Dignity of Work" tour through Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina.

Hundreds of Honduran migrants have crossed the Guatemalan border as they travel in the direction of the United States.

The group that reached Guatemala on Tuesday is the first wave of a caravan that could consist of thousands. It's the first national border crossed by the migrants on their journey that started Monday night.

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A decade-long fight ended at the Supreme Court this week, when justices refused to hear an appeal by veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan who say that toxic smoke from burn pits made them sick.

A Washington, D.C., judge ruled Tuesday that furloughed federal workers who are not getting paid because of a government shutdown must continue to do their jobs.

It's a setback for the workers who brought the lawsuit against the Trump administration.

"Calling people back to work, as the federal government is doing, without paying them is unlawful," attorney Gregory O'Duden tells NPR. O'Duden is general counsel for the National Treasury Employees Union that brought the suit in consolidation with a claim from the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

More than half of the workforce of the Internal Revenue Service, or about 46,000 employees, will be recalled to work for the tax filing season despite the partial government shutdown, according to a Treasury Department announcement.

The recalled employees will not be paid during the shutdown, now in its fourth week, although all federal workers have been promised back pay when funding is approved.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Let's bring in one of the senators now who was in that Judiciary Committee hearing room today questioning attorney general nominee Bill Barr. That senator is Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island. Senator Whitehouse, welcome.

Updated at 6:57 p.m. ET

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand says she is running for president, joining a growing number of Democrats who are seeking to challenge President Trump in 2020.

Gillbrand announced her decision on CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, saying she is filing her exploratory committee for the White House on Tuesday evening.

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

For analysis of the hearing and of what Bill Barr may do if he's confirmed, let's bring in Jennifer Daskal. She's an associate professor of law at American University. She used to work at the Justice Department. Professor Daskal, welcome.

The Justice Department laid out what it called a series of lies Paul Manafort has told since agreeing to cooperate with the government, but few details are visible in the new court document.

The office of special counsel Robert Mueller filed new documentation on Tuesday that describes what it calls deliberate falsehoods that Manafort has told in support of the government's argument that his plea deal is now void.

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