Nightly Brief

Your Wednesday night briefing from the staff of Courthouse News

Top CNS stories for today including several families of U.S. troops killed or wounded in Iraq suing some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies claiming their alleged bribes to officials lengthened the conflict there; an attorney told a federal judge that the government’s objection to the judicial branch’s authority to probe President Donald Trump puts the commander in chief above the law; California’s $17 billion water project reached a tipping point Tuesday after a Silicon Valley water district voted against Gov. Jerry Brown’s approach; a federal judge tossed claims over reporting on payments that a powerful Russian billionaire made to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and more.

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U.S. casualties from Iraq return to Dover Air Force Base in Dover, Delaware. (undated)

1.) In National news  sixty-six families U.S. troops killed or wounded in Iraq sued some of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies Tuesday, claiming they paid millions of dollars in bribes to officials in Iraq’s Health Ministry for lucrative contracts, which financed the Iran-backed Shiite Mahdi Army.

Former FBI director James Comey during his testimony before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

2.) Returning to the Senate Judiciary Committee for the first time since his confirmation, Attorney General Jeff Sessions offered little insight Wednesday into the firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump sits for a radio interview in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

3.)  Defending the judicial branch’s authority to probe President Donald Trump for conflicts of interest, an attorney told a federal judge Wednesday that the government’s logic puts the commander in chief above the law.

Debbie Almontaser, a board member of the Yemeni American Merchants Association, speaks at a news conference outside a federal courthouse in Greenbelt, Md.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
4.) A second federal judge blocked portions of the Trump administration’s travel ban on Wednesday, just a day before the moratorium was set to go into effect.
The Delta viewed from above Sherman Island, with the Sacramento River above and San Joaquin River below.
5.) In Regional news California’s $17 billion water project reached a tipping point Tuesday after a Silicon Valley water district voted against Gov. Jerry Brown’s approach in favor of a less expensive, scaled-back version.

6.) As President Donald Trump prepares to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, the director of a residential treatment facility in West Virginia hopes the renewed federal focus on the epidemic will help her save more of addiction’s littlest victims.

7.) In Environmental news a new technique for estimating the populations of endangered and threatened species – involving the birdwatching public – could make conservation efforts more effective.

8.) In International news an aspiring police officer persuaded Europe’s highest court on Wednesday that Greece’s height requirements for admission to police school may be discriminatory.
Russian metals magnate Oleg Deripaska. (Alexander Zemlianichenko, File/Associated Press)
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