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The Department of Justice has informed former Vice President Mike Pence’s legal team that it won't  pursue criminal charges related to the discovery of classified documents at his Indiana home. The department sent a letter to Pence’s attorney on Thursday informing him that, after an investigation into the potential mishandling of classified information, no criminal charges will be sought. The news comes days before Pence plans to launch his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination for president. It's a campaign that would put him in direct competition with former President Donald Trump.

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Former President Donald Trump is keeping up a steady drumbeat of criticism of his chief Republican rival, Ron DeSantis. Trump on Thursday jumped on remarks by the Florida governor on the campaign trail to try to highlight the former president's own strength as the leading GOP presidential candidate. Trump appeared in Iowa as DeSantis campaigned in New Hampshire. Trump made a point of telling about 200 members of a conservative club gathered at a Des Moines-area restaurant they could ask him questions. Trump's offer came not long after DeSantis snapped at an Associated Press reporter who asked him why he wasn't taking questions from voters during his events.

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In the year since the Supreme Court struck down the nationwide right to abortion, America’s religious leaders and denominations have responded in strikingly diverse ways. Some celebrate the state-level bans that have ensued. Others are angry that a conservative Christian cause has changed the law of the land in ways they consider oppressive. The divisions are epitomized in the country’s largest denomination – the Catholic Church. National polls repeatedly show that a majority of U.S. Catholics believe abortion should be legal in most or all cases. Yet the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops supports sweeping bans. Among Protestants, a solid majority of white evangelicals favor outlawing abortion. But most mainline Protestants support the right to abortion.

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Fending off a U.S. default, the Senate has given final approval to a debt ceiling and budget cuts package. It's now on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk to become law before a fast-approaching deadline. The Senate ground through late-night voting Thursday to wrap up work on the hard-fought deal. The compromise package negotiated between Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy leaves neither Republicans nor Democrats fully pleased with the outcome. But the result cuts spending for two years and suspends the debt limit until 2025 after the next presidential election. Biden says he will sign it into law as soon as possible.

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An Iowa task force has completed its search for survivors at the site of a partially collapsed Davenport apartment building without finding three missing people who are feared dead, authorities said Friday. The focus has shifted to shoring up the structure so recovery efforts can begin. Rick Halleran, the task force’s Cedar Rapids division chief, said the search for survivors was completed Thursday evening after electrical equipment connected to the building was controlled. Officials said Friday the building has been unstable and needed to settle before further action could take place. Halleran said, “We do what the building tells us to do."

A frantic 911 call to report at least one person had been fatally shot led law enforcement to discover four bodies at a home in Maine and eventually to arrest a man who fired at vehicles on a nearby highway. That's according to heavily redacted transcripts from 30 emergency calls that the Maine Department of Public Safety provided to The Associated Press on Friday. The first call appears to be about the fatal shootings in Bowdoin. But an hour later, dozens of 911 callers reported gunfire on I-295 and state police quickly joined the dots. Police say Joseph Eaton confessed to the shootings in Bowdoin and on the highway. Authorities identified his parents and two of their friends as the deceased.

A structural engineer report issued just days before an Iowa apartment building partially collapsed indicated a wall of the century-old structure was in imminent risk of crumbling. But neither the owner nor city officials warned residents of the danger days before the building partially collapsed. Officials in the eastern Iowa city of Davenport say three residents of the six-story building are missing. Officials also say there are no immediate plans to demolish what remains of the structure, which remains extremely unstable. The state’s search and rescue team, search dogs and cameras were used Thursday to continue combing the building for missing people.

A judge says three women who claim Cuba Gooding Jr. sexually abused them can testify at a federal civil trial next week to support a woman's claim that the actor raped her in 2013. Judge Paul A. Crotty wrote Friday that the allegations by the women were relevant for a jury deciding if Gooding raped a woman in his Manhattan hotel room after they met at a bar. The judge ruled in a separate order that the woman will have to reveal her true name at the trial set to start Tuesday. She is identified in court papers only as Jane Doe.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee’s administration accused the National Rifle Association of wanting to use involuntary commitment laws “to round up mentally ill people and deprive them of other liberties." The talking points came in memos drafted by the Republican’s staffers as part of their initial attempt to pass a gun control proposal in April. Lee has previously praised the NRA’s help on other legislation. He has since faced its opposition on his proposal to keep guns away from people who pose a threat to themselves or others. Lawmakers are expected to consider the change in an August special session.

Cynthia Weil, a Grammy-winning lyricist of great range and endurance who enjoyed a decades-long partnership with husband Barry Mann and helped write "You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling," "On Broadway," "Walking in the Rain" and dozens of other hits, has died at age 82. Weil and Mann, married in 1961, were one of popular music's most successful teams. They were part of a remarkable pool of talent recruited by impresarios Don Kirshner and Al Nevins and based in Manhattan's Brill Building neighborhood. Weil and Mann were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2010.

The Wegmans supermarket chain is closing one of its largest and most unusual stores because it has not attracted enough business. The company said Thursday that the Natick, Massachusetts store will close this summer. The company's regional human resources director says the location has been unable to attract enough customers for the Rochester, New York company's business model to work. The 134-000-square-food store opened in 2018 covering two floors of a mall once occupied by a department store. It was Wegman’s first two-level store within a major mall, and at one point had a full-service Mexican restaurant. The store's 365 employees are being offered positions at other area locations.

An internal investigation finds that Border Patrol medical staff declined to review the file of an 8-year-old girl with a chronic heart condition and rare blood disorder before died on her ninth day in custody. U.S. Customs and Border Protection has said the Panamanian child’s parents shared the medical history with authorities after being taken into her custody. But CBP's Office of Professional Responsibility says in a statement released Thursday that a nurse practitioner declined to review documents about the girl the day she died and denied requests for an ambulance.

Dev Shah is the champion of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The 14-year-old from Largo, Florida, had his spelling career interrupted by the pandemic, then didn't make it out of his regional bee last year. He was brimming with confidence in his final opportunity, asking precise questions about obscure Greek roots. His winning word was “psammophile,” and his root knowledge made it a layup. Dev takes home the winner's trophy and more than $50,000 in cash and prizes. Charlotte Walsh, a 14-year-old from Arlington, Virginia, was the runner-up.

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