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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The White House communicated with House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes and Senate Intelligence Chairman Sen. Richard Burr about rebutting reports that Trump associates had contacts with Russian officials during the campaign.

The Washington Post first reported on Friday that the White House turned to senior members of the intelligence community and Congress to rebut the news reports after the FBI declined to do so publicly.

The White House maintains that there were no improper communications and that the FBI came to them to discredit an earlier New York Times report on contacts between Trump associates and Russian officials. The White House then asked the FBI if they could help shoot down the story publicly but the bureau declined.

White House Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said that, similarly, a congressman reached out to the White House to refute the New York Times report.

"A congressman who also had the same information also reached or to us not the other way around," Sanders said. "The bigger story here isn't that they called us, but that the New York Times story was false."

The White House acknowledged that in addition to communicating with Nunes, the administration also reached out to Burr.

Burr has yet to respond to an ABC News request for comment, but a spokesman for Nunes maintains that the congressman did nothing wrong in communicating with the White House on refuting the news reports.

"Chairman Nunes did nothing inappropriate," Nunes spokesman Jack Langer said in a statement. "He made inquiries into the allegations published by the New York Times and couldn't find evidence to support them. So he told that to multiple reporters, and then a White House aide asked if he would speak to one more. So he spoke to that reporter as well, telling that person the same thing he told the other reporters."

Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he has "grave concerns" about what role the White House played in seeking help from members of Congress and the intelligence community to rebut the story.

"I have called [CIA Director Mike Pompeo] and Chairman Burr to express my grave concerns about what this means for the independence of this investigation and a bipartisan commitment to follow the facts, and to reinforce that I will not accept any process that is undermined by political interference," Warner said in a statement.

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ABC News(NEW YORK) -- A 4-year-old Syrian girl whose reunion with her family in the United States was delayed by President Donald Trump's travel ban had a joyful return to her parents on Friday.

Muna Khadra and her family have lived in the United States since 2013. After a family trip to visit relatives in Lebanon in October, Muna was the only one denied entry back into the United States because of an issue with her visa. Her family was forced to leave her behind with her grandmother in Jordan, where she has lived since.

Her father, Abdallh Khadra, was trying to get his daughter back into the United States when the president on Jan. 27 signed an executive order temporarily banning the entry of people from seven Muslim-majority countries, including Syria, where Muna was born. Khadra told ABC News at the time that he was told his daughter is now “ineligible for U.S. entry.”

“This is heartbreaking. We cannot believe this happened," said Khadra, who fled Syria with his family after speaking out against the government there. He was vetted and cleared for U.S. entry in 2011 on a religious work visa, and later applied for political asylum.

Trump's executive order has since been put on hold by a federal judge in Seattle.

Muna's father was finally able to get her on a plane back to the United States after four months of their being apart. The child flew into O'Hare International Airport in Chicago with Khadra's sister, Hagar Haltam.

Her family drove from their home in Raleigh, North Carolina, to greet Muna with balloons, hugs and tears.

“She’s part of me. She’s part of me,” Khadra told ABC owned-and-operated station WLS on Friday. “You feel a part of you is missing, so how do you live?”

Haltam captured the emotional reunion in a cellphone video, which was provided to ABC News.

In the video, Abdallh runs through the terminal with open arms upon seeing Muna for the first time in months. The little girl, dressed in pink and carrying a Hello Kitty backpack, wraps her arms around her father’s neck as he scoops her up into an embrace and breaks down in tears. Muna’s mother then kneels by her husband’s side and begins to cry as she takes the little girl into her arms.

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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images(PARIS) -- French President Francois Hollande on Saturday dismissed President Trump's recent remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference about Paris and Europe.

In his speech at the conservative conference, the president said he had a friend named "Jim" that did not want to go to Paris anymore because "Paris is no longer Paris."

"Take a look at what's happening to our world, folks, and we have to be smart... We can't let that happen to us," President Trump said.

At the annual International Agricultural Show in Paris, Hollande responded according to BBC, "It's never good to show distrust toward an ally."

"I won't make comparisons, but here there’s no circulation of firearms. Here we don’t have people who take firearms and shoot at people in order to get the satisfaction of creating drama or tragedy," he said. "There is, sadly, terrorism here. And we have to fight terrorism all together. It’s never good to show distrust toward an ally. I don’t do that to our allies, and I ask the American president to do the same toward France."

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U.S. House of Representatives(WASHINGTON) --  California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa said a special prosecutor is needed to investigate into Russia's alleged meddling in the 2016 presidential election.

Bill Maher asked Issa during an interview on his show Real Time about reports that members of President Trump's campaign had contact with Russian officials.

Maher presented the Republican representative with a hypothetical scenario -- if Russians had hacked the campaign of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney in 2012 and if there had also been contacts between the Obama administration and the Russians.

"You're going to let that slide?" Maher asked Issa.

"No," Issa said.

"So you're not going to let this slide?" Maher followed up, referring to Russia and the Trump campaign.

"No," Issa said again.

When Maher then pushed Issa on the need for an independent investigation, the California Republican agreed that a special prosecutor is necessary. The investigation shouldn't be overseen by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who was appointed by the president and was active in Trump's campaign, Issa said.

"You cannot have somebody -- a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions -- who was on the campaign and who is an appointee," Issa said. "You're going to need to use the special prosecutor's statute and office."

"There may or may not be fault," Issa said.

But he said, "The American people are beginning to understand that Putin ... is a bad guy ... We need to investigate [the Russian leader's] activities and we need to do it because they are bad people."

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ABCNews.com(LAWRENCE, Kan.) -- The family of an Indian man killed in a possible hate crime shooting in Kansas spoke out Friday and urged authorities to thoroughly investigate the matter, which they said they believed was not a random incident.

The Indian government "should voice out this strongly [to U.S. authorities] because our brothers, sisters and our relatives are there," Venu Madhav, a brother of shooting victim Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, told South Asian news agency Asian News International (ANI) on Friday.

Madhav suggested to ANI that he believed the incident was not just a random shooting, saying, that "if you really look into this incident, this is not done by a teenager or a burglar, or something like that [or] a drug addict. It is [allegedly] done by a [51-year-old] man."

Another brother to Kuchibhotla, K.K. Shastri, told ANI that he wants authorities to release Kuchibhotla's body to the family overseas as soon as possible.

"We want the body to be here at the earliest," Shastri said. "We are waiting."

As the brothers spoke to reporters outside of their home in India, other relatives of Kuchibhotla were seen on video mourning quietly in the home, including one woman who was wiping away tears.

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies in the U.S. are investigating whether the shooting that left Kuchibhotla dead was a hate crime.

The shooting happened at the Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas, on Wednesday evening, according to authorities.

 

A day after triple shooting that left one dead outside Austins Bar and Grill in Olathe, flowers adorn a makeshift memorial in front of bar. pic.twitter.com/pjVgYP7GSq

— Toriano Porter (@torianoporter) February 23, 2017

 

The FBI is investigating whether the shooting was a bias crime, according to Kansas City FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Eric Jackson. He said that the FBI was going to investigate "from every angle to "determine what the true facts are."

Local police added that they would also look into whether the shooting was racially motivated.

 

Authorities have done dozens of interviews of witnesses. Asking those w/ info to contact @OlathePolice pic.twitter.com/TK7iQDSuxY

— Laura Ziegler (@laurazig) February 23, 2017

 

The shooting killed Kuchibhotla and injured two others -- Alok Madasani, 32, and Ian Grillot, 24, officials said.

Madasani and Grillot were taken to a local hospital where they were listed in stable condition, officials said.

The suspect, Adam W. Purinton, fled after the shooting, according to Olathe Police Chief Steven Menke.

Purinton was found and arrested early the following morning in Clinton, Missouri, and charged with one count of premeditated murder and two counts of premeditated attempted murder, according to Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe.

Purinton is being held on a $2 million bond, Howe said.

The triple-shooting has shaken many, both in the U.S. and in India.

"I am very disturbed by last night's shooting in Olathe," Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran said in a statement. "I strongly condemn violence of any kind, especially if it is motivated by prejudice and xenophobia."

 

I strongly condemn violence of any kind, especially if it is motivated by prejudice & xenophobia―my statement on the tragedy in Olathe: pic.twitter.com/4Nn079Q3Wv

— Jerry Moran (@JerryMoran) February 24, 2017

 

India's minister of external affairs, Sushma Swaraj, wrote on Twitter that she was "shocked at the shooting incident in Kansas in which Srinivas Kuchibhotla has been killed."

Swaraj said she sent her "heartfelt condolences to [the] bereaved family" and that she has been in contact with Navtej Sarna, India's ambassador to the U.S. Swaraj said Sarna told her that two Indian embassy officials "have rushed to Kansas."

 

I have assured all help and assistance to the family.

— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) February 24, 2017

 

"We will provide all help and assistance to the bereaved family," Swaraj said. "I have spoken to the father and Mr. K.K. Shastri, brother of Srinivas Kuchibhotla, in Hyderabad and conveyed my condolences to the family."

Madasani, who survived the shooting, has been discharged from the hospital, Swaraj noted on Twitter.

Grillot, the other survivor of the shooting, said in an interview from his hospital bed that he was "incredibly lucky."

"I could have never walked again or seen my family again," he said in a video posted online by the University of Kansas Health System.

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JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) -- The fast-acting poison used in the apparent assassination of Kim Jong Nam at a crowded airport terminal in Malaysia last week was the banned chemical weapon VX nerve agent, according to police. Kim Jong Nam is the estranged half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The Royal Malaysia Police said in a statement Friday that a preliminary analysis found VX nerve agent on the eyes and face of the victim, who was allegedly attacked in a departure area of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and died as he was being transported to the hospital on Feb. 13. The man was carrying North Korean travel documents bearing the name Kim Chol with a birth date of June 1970 and birthplace of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

Malaysian police officially use the passport identity, Kim Chol, and have requested DNA from family members to confirm the man’s identity. But Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters last week that the North Korean embassy in Malaysia had confirmed the man was Kim Jong Nam, the eldest sibling of Kim Jong Un who has been living overseas for years.

The South Korean Unification Ministry also said at a press briefing last week that it recognized the victim was “certainly Kim Jong Nam.”

Malaysian police have arrested four people in connection with the attack and said they are searching for additional suspects.

Inspector-general of police, Khalid Abu Bakar, told reporters on Wednesday the two women suspected of fatally poisoning the man were trained to coat their hands with toxic substances and wipe them on his face. Khalid said the women knew what they were doing and had practiced the attack multiple times.

Here’s what is known about the deadly toxin that allegedly killed Kim Jong Nam.

What is VX?


VX is a man-made chemical warfare agent that’s classified as a nerve agent, the most toxic and quick-acting of the known chemical warfare agents. Nerve agents are similar to pesticides in terms of how they work and the noxious effects, but they are much more potent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

VX is an oily liquid that is odorless, tasteless and amber in color. It has the consistency of motor oil and evaporates very slowly, according to the CDC.

The aging half-life for VX is about 48 hours, making it the slowest aging nerve agent, according to the ABC News Medical Unit.

Where is it found?

VX was first produced in the United Kingdom in the early 1950s, according to the CDC.

The nerve agent is banned under the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international treaty which North Korea never signed. Instead, the isolated nation has spent decades developing a complex chemical weapons program that has long worried its neighbors and the international community.

How does it work?


Like all nerve agents, VX unleashes its toxic effects by preventing the proper operation of an enzyme that acts as the body’s “off switch” for glands and muscles. Without this “off switch,” the glands and muscles are stimulated relentlessly. They may tire and no longer be able to sustain breathing function, according to the CDC.

VX enters the body through the skin or inhalation. Its works fastest if inhaled through the lungs, according to the ABC News Medical Unit.

Symptoms will appear within seconds of exposure to the vapor form of VX; for the liquid form, it could take minutes or hours for symptoms to show. Even a tiny amount of this nerve agent can be lethal, according to the CDC.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of VX exposure include blurred vision, confusion, cough, diarrhea, drooling, drowsiness, eye pain, excessive sweating, headache, increased urination, nausea, rapid breathing, runny nose, vomiting, watery eyes and weakness. These symptoms could last for hours after exposure, depending on the amount.

A victim exposed to a large dose of VX may also experience convulsions, loss of consciousness, paralysis or respiratory failure possibly leading to death.

Victims exposed to a small or moderate dose of VX usually recover completely. Those who are severely exposed are not likely to survive, according to the CDC.

Death usually occurs within 15 minutes after absorption of a fatal dose of VX, according to the ABC News Medical Unit.

Is there treatment?


Recovery from VX exposure is possible with treatment, which consists of removing the deadly toxin from the body as soon as possible and providing medical care in a hospital setting. An antidote can be administered by injection but it must be used quickly to be effective, according to the CDC.

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon is expected to deliver a review of its ISIS strategy to the White House early next week that will include new recommendations for how to defeat the group.

On Jan. 28, President Trump issued an executive order that gave Defense Secretary James Mattis 30 days to develop the review.

“We’re on track to deliver it on time,” Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis told reporters Tuesday, adding that any public rollout would only occur after the report was reviewed privately by the president.

The new recommendations from the Pentagon were done in consultation with other departments, the intelligence community, and military commanders on the ground and at the Pentagon, according to Davis.

“This is going to be a comprehensive whole of government plan that’s going to address not only the core ISIS in Iraq and Syria issue, but it’s going to address the other areas where ISIS has sprung up,” Davis said. “And it will include all manner of things, diplomacy, and information, intelligence.”

The tough fight ahead to retake Western Mosul


The current U.S. strategy is to put pressure on ISIS from multiple fronts – assisting Iraqi forces in the retaking of Mosul while also preparing for an offensive in Raqqa, ISIS’ de facto capital in Syria. The U.S. has also taken military action against ISIS in Libya and Afghanistan.

Gen. Joseph Votel, the head of U.S. Central Command, told reporters Wednesday on a trip to the region that “simultaneous pressure on the Islamic State and continuing to present them with lots of dilemmas” has been successful.

But having a new administration in the White House provides an opportunity to assess what could be done differently. It’s a moment former Vice Adm. Robert Harward, who served as deputy commander of U.S. Central Command from 2011 to 2013, called a “reflection point.”

Harward, who last week turned down an offer from President Trump to serve as his national security adviser, said the new administration can take a “fresh look at the problem.”

“We may have a wider range of options that the U.S. is willing to support or initiate,” he told ABC News Thursday. Harward is an ABC News contributor.

In addition to reviewing specific military options to change conditions on the ground, a broader issue will be building a coalition of willing support, Harward said.

“If you have a broader coalition, stronger, more nations involved willing to commit, it puts a lot of pressure on those nations who are not cooperating or staying outside the fold,” he said, adding, “It’s as much political as anything else.”

Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, emphasized the political aspect of the plan as well.

“This plan is a political-military plan, it is not a military plan,” he said during a rare public appearance at the Brookings Institution Thursday. “Anything we do on the ground has to be in the context of political objectives or it’s not going to be successful.”

According to Dunford, the plan will be framed beyond just dealing with ISIS in Syria and Iraq, addressing a “trans-regional threat” that includes al-Qaeda and other groups.

“I’m in the business of providing the President with options and we’re prepared to do that. We’ve been given a task to go to the President to accelerate, accelerate the defeat of ISIS specifically, but obviously other violent extremist groups as well,” Dunford said. “So we’ll go with him a full of range of options from which he can choose.”

“The president has been very direct. He wants to be as aggressive as possible, and I applaud that,” Harward said of the ISIS strategy review. “I think that, in and of itself, will strengthen the coalition and bring more assets to bear throughout the region and other ways as necessary.”

ABC News looks at some of the specific options the Pentagon could present to the president on how to accelerate the fight against ISIS, according to experts and US officials.

More Americans troops inside Syria


The U.S. has 500 special operations troops operating inside Syria, but one option the Pentagon could present is upping that number to assist Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Turkish forces. The SDF includes multiple ethnic forces including Kurds and Arabs.

These American troops would not be placed in direct combat, but serve as enablers who could facilitate operations between the SDF and Turkish forces preparing for the offensive to retake Raqqa, US officials said.

While Turkey has not yet agreed to work with the SDF in that fight, the US is discussing what role they could play. American troops could provide a stabilizing security presence for the rival sides. (Talking to reporters last week in Baghdad, Mattis said of having a strong Turkish element in the Raqqa fighting force, “We’re still sorting it out.”)

“I am very concerned about maintaining momentum,” Votel said. “It could be that we take on a larger burden ourselves. That’s an option,” he added.

A proposal for additional American troops, which could number as many as a few thousand according to US officials, would not necessarily be for special operations forces. A conventional brigade could bring its own infantry troops, artillery equipment, and intelligence units.

“We want to bring the right capabilities forward,” Votel said. “Not all of those are necessarily resident in the Special Operations community. If we need additional artillery or things like that, I want to be able to bring those forward to augment our operations.”

While Harward would not comment on the specific troop numbers, he did caution that in certain instances, having U.S. troops on the ground can be “counterproductive” because of major cultural and language challenges as opposed to their Arab and Turkish counterparts.

Additional support to Syrian Democratic Forces


Another option could be sending additional support to the SDF, such as sending in Apache attack helicopters when needed, U.S. officials said.

While the Obama administration decided to leave the decision of arming the Kurds to the Trump administration, President Obama did approve the use of three Apaches to support Turkish forces fighting for the city of al-Bab, northwest of Aleppo. While approved, the Apaches have not yet been deployed to Syria.

According to U.S. officials, support could also come in the form of regular artillery or HIMARS, a long range artillery rocket system. HIMARS have already been used to good effect against ISIS in Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq, so this system could be beneficial in Syria.

Changing the rules of engagement


Currently airstrikes go through a rigorous vetting process to ensure there are no civilian casualties from a strike.

While maintaining that standard remains a priority, US officials say an additional way to accelerate the fight against ISIS is changing those rules of engagements – the directives governing how force is applied – so that local commanders can approve lower level strikes, giving them more flexibility and the ability to act more quickly.

“Those rules of engagement can be limiting,” Harward said, adding that any changes would be reviewed in line with a change in strategy.

For instance, if additional US troops are in Syria, it becomes appropriate to lower airstrike approval thresholds there because of the trusted intelligence on the ground, he said.

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TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) — Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, had been exposed to nerve agent, police in Malaysia said Thursday.

According to the police, a preliminary analysis found VX nerve agent on the face of the victim, who was killed on Feb. 13.

The Centers for Disease Control says VX "is a human-made chemical warfare agent classified as a nerve agent."

"Nerve agents are the most toxic and rapidly acting of the known chemical warfare agents," the site adds.

Three suspects have been arrested in connection with the apparent assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s exiled half-brother, Kim Jong Nam.

The suspects — two women and a man — were picked up separately by Malaysian police.

According to the Royal Malaysia Police, a North Korean man who “sought initial medical assistance” at the customer service counter in the Kuala Lumpur International Airport died as he was being transported to the hospital. Police said the 46-year-old man was carrying North Korean travel documents bearing the name Kim Choi with a birth date of June 1970 and birthplace of Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea.

The cause of death remains under investigation, police said.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  It was a rocky and scary landing for passengers on board a Flybe flight arriving in the Netherlands today from Edinburgh, Scotland.

"Flybe can confirm that there has been an incident involving one of our aircraft," the airline said in a statement. "The incident occurred at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport at approximately [4:59 p.m.] local time."

In a statement, the airport said the plane's landing gear "collapsed during touchdown," with 59 people on board.

"Nobody is injured," and the "cause of the incident is being investigated," the statement said.

Flybe said all passengers on board the Bombardier Q-400 had been transported to the airport terminal.

"All 59 passengers who were on board have now left the airport to continue their journeys," Flybe said.

In a statement, Flybe CEO Christine Ourmieres-Widener said: "The safety and well-being of our passengers and crew is our greatest concern. ... We will now do all we can to understand the cause of this incident and we have sent a specialist team to offer any assistance it can to the investigation."

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CARLOS BARRIA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) --  Just hours after President Donald Trump described his new deportation policies as “a military operation,” Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly criticized the media for using that term and insisted there will be no "mass deportations."

Kelly, along with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, is in Mexico City for a brief trip, meeting with President Enrique Pena Nieto and his Cabinet amid heightened tensions over the U.S.’s new immigration policies, heated rhetoric and insistence that Mexico will pay for a border wall.

“No, repeat, no, use of military force in immigration operations. None,” said Kelly in a brief press statement alongside his Mexican counterpart. “At least half of you try to get that right because it continually comes up in the reporting.”

Earlier in the day, President Trump told reporters his administration was getting “gang members,” “drug lords,” and “really bad dudes out of this country” at a roundtable with manufacturing CEOs.

“We're getting really bad dudes out of this country, and at a rate that nobody's ever seen before. And they're the bad ones. And it's a military operation because what has been allowed to come into our country, when you see gang violence that you've read about like never before, and all of the things -- much of that is people that are here illegally,” he said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer later clarified that Trump was using the description "as an adjective" and that the process is "happening with precision" and in a "streamlined manner."

Kelly also announced that there will be “no, repeat, no mass deportations” despite concerns that new DHS memos opened the door for law enforcement to deport anyone without legal documentation that they encounter.

“Everything we do in DHS will be done legally and according to human rights and the legal justice system of the United States,” he said.

“All of this will be done, as it always is, in close coordination with the government of Mexico,” he added.

Before Kelly spoke, Tillerson made a rare public statement, saying he and Kelly had productive meetings with their Mexican counterparts and addressed those differences between the two neighbors.

“During the course of our meetings, we discussed the breadth of challenges and opportunities in the U.S.-Mexico relationship,” he said, standing alongside Mexican Foreign Secretary Luis Videgaray. “In our meetings, we jointly acknowledged that in a relationship filled with vibrant colors, two strong sovereign countries from time to time will have differences."

He added: "We listened closely and carefully to each other as we respectfully and patiently raised our respective concerns.”

The amicable tone was shared by Videgaray, but he also made a point to highlight those differences.

“In a moment where we have notorious differences, the best way to solve them is through dialogue,” he said.

Tillerson has been notably quiet since he was sworn in last month. The former ExxonMobil CEO has not done an interview or held a press conference, and the department has not resumed its daily briefing for reporters -- a fixture at Foggy Bottom that goes back to the Eisenhower administration -- since he took office.

The silence has generated headlines that Tillerson and the State Department have been sidelined by a White House that has centralized power, especially on foreign policy decisions. Tillerson did not participate in White House meetings with foreign leaders last week. And top posts at the State Department have still not been filled over a month after inauguration, including the secretary's deputy.

The trip abroad is the first for Kelly and the second for Tillerson, although it is his first one-on-one visit to a foreign country -- a sign of how important the relationship is, according to the State Department.

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iStock/Thinkstock(LONDON) — A new exhibition at Kensington Palace chronicles Princess Diana's evolving style during her life before her tragic death in 1997.

The exhibition, titled "Diana: Her Fashion Story," offers a unique look at Diana's style and features some of her most stunning outfits.

The dress Diana dubbed her "Elvis dress" will be on display. Diana accessorized the white, sleeveless gown, featuring thousands of tiny pearls and sequins, with a matching pearl-encrusted, high-collar jacket. She first wore the Catherine Walker dress to Hong Kong in 1989 and later wore the dress with her favorite tiara, the pearl and diamond Cambridge Lovers Knot Tiara.

One of Diana's dazzling green velvet gowns on display shows a moment in history 20 years after her death. The tiny handprints of a then-3-year-old Prince William and 1-year-old Prince Harry are embedded in the fabric of the Victor Edelstein dress. The handprints appear to show the young princes clutching their mother for a hug.

"Diana: Her Fashion Story" showcases 25 dresses and gowns from Diana's most iconic moments, including the dress she wore to dance with John Travolta at the White House in 1985 and the dress Diana wore when she first appeared in public after her mid-1990s separation from Prince Charles.

The outfits represent Diana's life from her early 20s to the time of her death at age 36.

The exhibition, which is tied to the 20th anniversary of Diana's death, includes several dresses from Catherine Walker, one of Diana's favorite and most prolific designers. Among the dresses by Walker is a floral scoop neck dress Diana wore to a Christie's auction in 1997; the black halter necklace sequined gown Diana donned at Versailles in 1994; and the blush pink suit Diana wore to a children's charity event at the Savoy hotel in 1997.

"Diana: Her Fashion Story" opens at Kensington Palace on Feb. 24. It is organized by Historic Royal Palaces, the charity that oversees exhibitions at Kensington Palace.

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iStock/Thinkstock(PARIS) — A group of Barack Obama devotees in France aren't happy with the homegrown contenders vying for the country's presidency, so they're hoping that the former U.S. president will step in and run for office this spring.

"OBAMA17" posters have been spotted plastered across Paris, urging citizens to visit the group's website and sign a petition to convince Obama to enter the race. The goal is to get 1 million people to sign the petition.

Why Obama? "Because he has the best resume in the world for the job," reads the website, which is in no way connected to Obama.

While this all sounds good, there is one problem. The French president needs to be, well, French. And Obama is not.

The website also says that Obama could be an antidote to the popularity of right-wing parties in the country.

"At a time when France is about to vote massively for the extreme right, we can still give a lesson of democracy to the planet by electing a French President, a foreigner," reads the website in French.

A spokesperson for the group told ABC News Thursday morning, "We started dreaming about this idea two months before the end of Obama's presidency. We dreamed about this possibility to vote for someone we really admire, someone who could lead us to project ourselves in a bright future. Then, we thought, whether it's possible or not, whether or not he is French, we have to do this for real, to give French people hope ... Vive la République, Vive Obama, Vive la France and the U.S.A."

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iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) — Senator John McCain, R-Arizona, made a secret trip to northern Syria last week to meet with U.S. troops and Kurdish fighters amid their longstanding battle to defeat ISIS, his office said Wednesday.

“Senator McCain traveled to northern Syria last week to visit U.S. forces deployed there and to discuss the counter-ISIL [another acronym for ISIS] campaign and ongoing operations to retake Raqqa,” a McCain spokesperson said in an emailed statement on Wednesday, referring to ISIS' Syrian capital. “Senator McCain’s visit was a valuable opportunity to assess dynamic conditions on the ground in Syria and Iraq.“

The trip comes as the Trump administration continues to re-evaluate the U.S. approach and plan to defeat ISIS. On the campaign trail, President Trump frequently criticized the Obama administration's policy to defeat the group that controls territory in both Syria and neighboring Iraq, but which has lost significant territory in the last two years.

McCain's office did not confirm the exact dates he was in Syria.

On Wednesday, the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition pushed further into Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, in a bid to wrest control of it from ISIS, which captured the city in 2014. Meanwhile, the U.S. military and its allies have for months been preparing a campaign to retake Raqqa in Syria, where ISIS has its de facto capital.

Members of Congress rarely travel to Syria as it does not have diplomatic ties to the U.S.

McCain, who is chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also traveled to the country in 2013 to meet with Syrian rebel leaders fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The senator has been a consistent proponent of increased military action in Syria, both against Assad's forces as well as ISIS. He was very critical of the Obama administration's decision not to launch airstrikes against Assad's forces after it came to light that the Syrian president had used chemical weapons against Syrian rebels.

But McCain has also emerged as a critic of aspects of Trump’s foreign policy. During a speech at the Munich Security Conference in Germany on Friday, McCain said the new administration was in a state of "disarray."

Still, McCain agreed with Trump’s order to review the country’s military “strategy and plans to defeat ISIL,” according to the statement provided Wednesday by his office. “Senator McCain looks forward to working with the administration and military leaders to optimize our approach for accomplishing ISIL’s lasting defeat."

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly stepped off a plane in Mexico Wednesday evening, tensions were brewing there over new guidance from the administration about deportations, border patrol and President Trump's long-promised wall on the southern border.

While Kelly's department issued the guidelines, they now threaten to undermine such a high-level trip. Some fear that an immigration crackdown will result, despite the administration's attempts to ensure that mass deportations are not in the works.

The announcement caught the Mexican government by surprise and put officials there on a defensive footing just a day before the visit. But even as the Mexican foreign minister issued a blistering statement, the White House denied that anything was wrong.

“The relationship with Mexico is phenomenal right now,” said White House press secretary Sean Spicer Wednesday.

The foreign trip is the first for Kelly and the second for Tillerson -- although it is his first one-on-one visit to a foreign country.

That’s a sign of how important this relationship is, according to the State Department, and despite the renewed tensions, they are hopeful the visit will be successful in mending the relationship.

So what is on the agenda, and how will Tillerson and Kelly be received?

THE WALL

At the top of the list and the source of much of the tension is the wall.

Trump maintains that Mexico will pay for a wall across the southern U.S. border, a notion which the Mexican government rejects. It’s a fight so bitter that Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a visit to the U.S. last month, leaving the White House scrambling to organize a call between the two leaders the next day.

After some tensions were eased with the call, Tillerson and Kelly were charged with rebuilding the relationship with this trip -- but these new immigration enforcement guidelines brought the same disputes back to the forefront.

 One of the new implementation memos, signed by Kelly, calls on Customs and Border Protection to “immediately begin planning, design, construction and maintenance of a wall” and tasks the under secretary for management in the Department of Homeland Security with identifying all available resources to pay for it.

But it also asks the under secretary to make a list of all direct and indirect U.S. aid to Mexico from the last five fiscal years. The move raised concerns that the White House would threaten to withhold aid down the line.

A senior administration official would only say that, “The Department of Homeland Security will undergo a review and provide that information back to the President as directed.”

Another senior administration official sought to downplay any tension over border security and said the trip was devised to address these issues.

“The wall is just one part of a broader relationship that we have,” they said. “We have clear differences on the payment issue, but agree that we need to work these differences out as part of a comprehensive discussion on all aspects of the bilateral relationship.”

DEPORTATIONS

Another important component of the immigration guidelines involves deportations -- continuing to prioritize immigrants here illegally who have committed crimes, but opening the door for law enforcement to detain and deport nearly anyone without proper documentation.

In addition, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has now been instructed to deport migrants who traveled through Mexico from elsewhere in Central or South America back to “the foreign contiguous territory from which they arrived.” In other words, if they cross the southern border, the migrants will be sent back to Mexico, regardless of where they came from.

 It’s a plan that Mexico opposes, with the Mexican foreign minister issuing a strong statement Wednesday.

“I want to make clear in the most emphatic way that the Mexican government and the people of Mexico do not have to accept provisions that unilaterally one government wants to impose on another, that we will not accept,” said Luis Videgaray, Tillerson’s counterpart.

“The Mexican government is going to act by all means legally possible to defend the human rights of Mexicans abroad, particularly in the United States,” he added.

Tillerson and Videgaray are scheduled to have dinner Wednesday night, along with Kelly, the Mexican Secretary of Defense, and the Mexican Secretary of Navy.

FUTURE OF U.S.-MEXICAN RELATIONS

The U.S. relationship with Mexico has steadily improved over the last couple of decades. A relationship once marked by distrust has thawed into a partnership based on trade, law enforcement, and counternarcotics, and that is what is really at stake here, with heated rhetoric threatening to upend that.

Throughout the campaign, Trump used Mexico as a punching bag, saying while he loved the Mexican people, even appreciated their leaders’ intelligence, he blamed the country for taking American jobs and for a flow of crime and drugs across the border.

 Since he was sworn in, things have unraveled further -- the canceled presidential visit, arguments over the wall and deportations and that tense phone call. The administration, however, sees things as on track.

“We have some differences on specific issues,” acknowledged a senior administration official, but “we continue to look for ways to address the concerns of both countries, produce results for both peoples, and we’re confident that through this process we’ll continue the long and good relationship that we’ve had between the two governments.”

On the other side of the border, though, Mexico may see deeper damage, and it could use these high-profile meetings to make that clear. Perhaps previewing such a move, the Mexican foreign minister even threatened Wednesday to involve international organizations to defend the Mexican people.

“The Mexican government will not hesitate to go to multilateral organizations starting with the United Nations to defend, in accordance with international law, human rights, liberties and due process in favor of Mexicans” abroad, Videgaray said Wednesday.

Thursday’s meetings will determine if such a bold move is necessary.

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iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) --  This past weekend, Iraqi military forces began the assault to retake the western half of Mosul from ISIS in what is expected to be a tough fight.

It took Iraqi military forces 100 days of street-to-street fighting to finally retake the eastern half of Mosul, Iraq's second largest city, but U.S. military officials anticipate that the fight to retake the western side of the city could be even more difficult.

The western side of Mosul, on the left bank of the Tigris River, is more densely populated than the eastern side and it is believed that ISIS fighters will take advantage of the narrow streets to slow down the Iraqi military offensive.

Here's a look at how the second phase of the battle for Mosul could shape up.

A Tough Fight in Western Mosul

"We do expect it to be an extraordinarily difficult fight" Col. John Dorrian, the spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, told Pentagon reporters Wednesday. "The enemy has not given up."

According to Dorrian, the U.S. military believes that between 1,000 and 3,000 ISIS fighters are currently in western Mosul hiding among an estimated 750,000 civilians remaining in the city.

"We do expect it to be a very tough fight because the very narrow areas, the very narrow streets in some parts of the city, the ancient parts of the city, are going to make for a very tough going," said Dorrian.

The narrow streets will limit the Iraqi military's ability to use vehicles in their assault on the city.

But they will also likely prevent ISIS from launching the deadly suicide car bomb attacks it used to slow down the Iraqi military in eastern Mosul. The car bomb attacks resulted in significant casualties among the Iraqi military's elite Counter Terrorism Service that was doing most of the intense fighting in eastern Mosul.

 Iraqi military forces are expected to face even tougher ISIS resistance in western Mosul. Dorrian noted that there were roughly 100,000 buildings in eastern Mosul that had to be cleared by the Iraqi military and that there are a similar number of buildings on the western side of the city in an even more compressed area.

Dorrian said Iraqi forces will face a tough fight because each of "these buildings have to be cleared from rooftop level through every room, every closet, all the way down to ground level, including the tunnels that get dug between buildings."

"It's very, very dangerous and tedious, and the Iraqi security forces have done a really good job of protecting civilians as they've conducted those clearing operations and that's something we expect them to continue." said Dorrian.

What Will the Offensive Look Like?

The offensive for western Mosul has begun with Iraqi forces pressing northward to the southern stretches of the city. In the three days since the start of the offensive, they have already taken back 48 square miles and are now overlooking the city's airport.

It is expected that the Iraqi military will face tougher ISIS resistance in the fight for the airport.

The offensive is being led by the Iraqi Army's Ninth Division and the Iraqi Federal Police who are leading the offensive into western Mosul. It was the emergence of the Iraqi Federal Police in late December that helped turn the tide in eastern Mosul. It is expected that forces from the Counter Terrorism Service will once again play a key role in the push into western Mosul.

For months, Shiite militias have pushed northwest of the city to cut off the main road from Mosul to Tal Afar, another ISIS-controlled city. They are there to block the escape of ISIS fighters to that city.

With the Tigris River to the east blocking possible escape routes as well, ISIS fighters will be effectively encircled in the city's western half.

The battle for Mosul has also led American troops to come closer to combat situations even though they are still required to be at Iraqi unit headquarters beyond enemy lines.

Those restrictions have been less applicable to American special operations forces accompanying their Iraqi counterparts, since those Iraqi commanders are always close to the front lines.

But Dorrian explained Wednesday that other American advisers working with commanders of regular Iraqi Army units are "close enough to direct the battle,” he said, adding: " I don't want to give you the impression they're far removed from the front.”

Americans were close enough at times, Dorrian said, that they took enemy fire and found themselves in a combat situation where they had to fight back. He would not disclose whether any American forces had been wounded by enemy fire in such situations.

American advisers assisting in calling in airstrikes targeting ISIS are also closer to the battlefield. "They're not removed from the front, they're very close to the front, close enough to observe what's going on and provide good advice and assistance,” said Dorrian.

It remains unclear if the fight to retake western Mosul will be helped by additional U.S. support that the Trump administration will soon begin to consider.

On Jan. 28, President Trump tasked the Pentagon to lead a review of the strategy against ISIS and to look for new ways to speed up the fight against the terror group. A Pentagon spokesman said Tuesday that the options could be presented to the White House early next week.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.



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