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Woman in affair that brought down ex-GOP Rep. Murphy announces House run

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A Pennsylvania psychologist whose affair with eight-term congressman Tim Murphy led to his resignation said Wednesday that she is pursuing her own bid for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Shannon Edwards, 33, announced that she is seeking the Republican nomination to face Democratic U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle.

Edwards’ candidacy was first reported by The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Murphy, an outspoken opponent of abortion, resigned this past October after the Post-Gazette reported that text messages suggested he wanted Edwards to get an abortion when they thought she might be pregnant.

According to the paper, Edwards texted Murphy that he had “zero issue posting your pro-life stance all over the place when you had no issue asking me to abort our unborn child just last week when we thought that was one of the options.”

A text reply from Murphy’s number said staff was responsible for his anti-abortion messages: “I’ve never written them. Staff does them. I read them and winced. I told staff don’t write any more.”

FILE – In this April 1, 2014, file photo, U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, questions General Motors CEO Mary Barra about safety defects and the recall of 2.6 million cars with faulty ignition switches, during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. On Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported the newspaper obtained text messages suggesting Murphy asked a woman with whom he was having an extramarital affair, Shannon Edwards, to have an abortion when he thought she might be pregnant. Edwards, it turned out, wasn't pregnant. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., was elected to Congress in 2002. He resigned this past October.

 (Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Murphy represented a neighboring district to the one Edwards is running in. A March 13 special election to fill the unexpired portion of Murphy’s term pits Democrat Conor Lamb against GOP state Rep. Rick Saccone.

Edwards met Murphy at a convention in 2015, and then offered to work with him on legislation to improve how Medicaid reimburses psychiatric hospitals, and to establish an official at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to oversee how mental health funds are spent.

“We worked very closely on legislation that did a lot for my patients and clients. I can’t rewrite the past, and I don’t know what other course it could have gone,” she told the Post-Gazette.

Murphy, who had been in Congress since 2002, resigned days after the newspaper first disclosed the texts. He apologized and asked for privacy for his family.

Their affair became public during Edwards’ own divorce proceedings.

Edwards, a native of Cranberry, Pa., has worked as a forensic psychologist with family and criminal courts.

The Post-Gazette described Edwards as a former political independent who is now a registered Republican.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Click for more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

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Cowboys for Trump founder arrested after allegedly leading Capitol rioters in prayer

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A New Mexico county official was arrested Sunday after federal authorities said he entered a restricted section of the U.S. Capitol during the deadly pro-Trump incursion and led rioters in prayer.

Couy Griffin, an Otero County commissioner and founder of Cowboys for Trump, was arrested in Washington. D.C., and faces a single charge of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building without lawful authority, a federal criminal complaint said.

In an affidavit, a Metropolitan Police detective said a Cowboys for Trump videographer told authorities that after he and Griffin saw the group push past security barriers, they scaled the Capitol building’s wall before making their way to an outside deck.

There, Griffin used a bullhorn to lead the group in prayer, the document states.

In a video cited by the affidavit, Griffin also told the crowd that it was a “great day for America” and that “people are showing that they’ve had enough.”

“People are ready for fair and legal elections, or this what you’re going to get,” he said, according to the affidavit.

In a Facebook post on the Cowboys for Trump page, Griffin later said he planned to return to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20 for a possible “2nd Amendment rally” that would include “blood running out of that building,” the affidavit says.

At a Jan. 14 Otero County meeting, Griffin told other officials that he planned on taking a rifle and a revolver when he returned to Washington, according to the affidavit.

Additional information about Griffin’s arrest was not detailed in the document, and it wasn’t clear whether he had retained a lawyer. A message left with Cowboys for Trump was not immediately returned Sunday.

In an interview with police, Griffin said he had gotten “caught up” with the crowd and that authorities never asked him to leave, according to the affidavit.

He told authorities he left the area peacefully and hoped there could be a change in leadership “without a single shot being fired.” He added that there’s “no option that’s off the table for the sake of freedom,” the affidavit says.

Dozens of people have been arrested and charged for allegedly participating in the Capitol takeover, including a Kentucky man who was taken into custody Sunday for appearing to use a rolled-up Trump flag to smash a window in the Speaker’s Lobby, which leads to the House chamber, according to an affidavit filed in federal district court in Washington.

Chad Barrett Jones faces charges of assault on a federal officer, violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and other crimes. It was unclear Sunday if Jones had a lawyer.

Court documents said Jones was arrested when a relative contacted authorities after seeing him in news coverage.

Another person arrested Sunday, Bryan Betancur, was captured on video holding a Confederate battle flag in a restricted section on the west side of the Capitol, the FBI said in court documents.

Betancur, who was on probation for a burglary conviction, was wearing an ankle bracelet, and GPS data showed he was in the area for three hours on Jan. 6, according to the documents.

Betancur faces charges of participating in unlawful activities on restricted grounds and other crimes. It was unclear Sunday night whether he had a lawyer.

In court documents unsealed Sunday, a Colorado man described as an affiliate of the 3 Percenters, a far-right militia group, was charged with assaulting a federal officer, aiding and abetting destruction of federal property and other crimes.

In an affidavit, an FBI agent said the man, Robert Gieswein, was captured on video spraying law enforcement officers with an unknown substance before he and others knocked down a barricade and scrambled into the building.

The agent said Gieswein, who was seen wearing goggles and military-style gear, appears to run a private paramilitary training group, the Woodland Wild Dogs. Court records did not list a lawyer for him.

A University of Kentucky student, Gracyn Courtright, faces charges of theft, knowingly entering a restricted building and other crimes, according to court documents unsealed Sunday.

In Indiana,the FBI announced the arrest of Jon Schaffer, a guitarist with the metal band Iced Earth, who allegedly used pepper spray on Capitol Police. He faces six charges, including engaging in physical violence in the Capitol, the FBI said.

In a Facebook post, Iced Earth’s bassist, Luke Appleton, said other band members “DO NOT condone nor do we support riots or the acts of violence that the rioters were involved in on January 6th at the US Capitol building. We hope that all those involved that day are brought to justice to be investigated and answer for their actions.”

It was unclear Sunday night whether Schaffer had a lawyer.

Authorities still have hundreds of other open cases linked to the riot, in which five people died, including Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. The FBI released photos Sunday of seven men it said assaulted a Washington police officer.

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Biden picks Rohit Chopra to lead consumer protection agency

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WASHINGTON — President-elect Joe Biden has chosen Rohit Chopra to be the next director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, two sources told NBC News.

Chopra, a member of the Federal Trade Commission, helped launch the agency in 2011 and previously served as its assistant director.

He is an ally of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who proposed and built the consumer-focused agency. He is also backed by progressive groups. Bloomberg first reported Chopra’s selection.

Among those who applauded the move Sunday were Randi Weingarten, leader of the American Federation of Teachers, and the consumer advocacy organization Public Citizen, which called him a “fantastic pick who will return the agency to its days of actually fighting for consumers.”

At the CFPB, Chopra worked on student loan issues and helped secure funding for people unlawfully targeted by debt collectors, for-profit colleges and others, according to his agency biography.

At the FTC, he “pushed for aggressive remedies against lawbreaking companies, especially repeat offenders, and has worked to reverse the FTC’s reliance on no-money, no-fault settlements,” his biography says.

Geoff Bennett reported from Washington and Tim Stelloh from California.



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'Bring it on!' Britons back Boris to make UK the 'Singapore of Europe' with new freedom

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BORIS JOHNSON has been urged to make Britain the “Singapore of Europe” with its new-found freedom after Brexit, according to the results of an Express.co.uk poll.

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