Mueller Probes Kushner's Contacts, More Top -2-

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WSJ SCOOP: Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigators are asking questions about White House adviser Jared Kushner's interactions with foreign leaders during the presidential transition and what role he may have played in firing ex-FBI Director James Comey, in a sign of the expansive nature of the special counsel's probe of Russia's alleged meddling in the election, report Peter Nicholas, Aruna Viswanatha and Rebecca Ballhaus, citing people familiar with the matter.

The investigators have asked witnesses questions about the involvement of Mr. Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a senior White House adviser, in a controversy over a U.N. resolution passed Dec. 23, before Mr. Trump took office, that condemned Israel's construction of settlements in disputed territories, these people said. The motivation for the Mueller team's questions about the U.N. is unclear. Investigators typically ask a host of questions over the course of a probe, and inquiries don't necessarily indicate suspicion. Mr. Kushner figures into several events that Mr. Mueller is investigating, including a June 2016 meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer at Trump Tower.

Another element of Mr. Mueller's probe has focused on whether the president obstructed justice in the May firing of Mr. Comey, the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mr. Mueller's prosecutors have asked witnesses detailed questions about Mr. Kushner's views of Mr. Comey and whether Mr. Kushner was in favor of firing him or had staked out a position, said the people familiar with the matter. One aspect of Mr. Mueller's probe concerns whether Mr. Comey's firing was an attempt to obstruct justice, so it is possible he is asking about any Kushner role to get a clearer picture of events leading up to the dismissal. [ Here's the full story .]

From Washington:

President Trump indicated Tuesday he wanted to see Republican Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore elected despite allegations of sexual misconduct, citing the significance of maintaining GOP's slender majority in the chamber. "We don't need a liberal person in there, a Democrat," Mr. Trump said, referring to Mr. Moore's opponent, Doug Jones. Mr. Trump said of Mr. Jones: "I've looked at his record, it's terrible on crime, it's terrible on the border, it's terrible on the military." Previously, the White House said that Mr. Trump believed Mr. Moore should leave the race if the allegations proved to be true.

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Federal regulators' plans for dismantling Obama-era open-internet rules would clear the way for a range of new deals between internet-service providers and online media and other services, in a victory for cable and wireless firms. Internet firms, consumer groups and many Democrats cast the move as a threat to the open internet.

Mr. Trump said AT&T's takeover of Time Warner wouldn't be good for the country. It was the first time he has publicly discussed the transaction since he has been in office. He vowed to block the transaction when he was campaigning for the White House, saying it concentrated too much

power. Plus: WSJ's Brent Kendall profiles Makan Delrahim, the antitrust chief heading up the AT&T-Time Warner lawsuit brought forth by the U.S. who needed just seven weeks to land himself in the middle of the biggest antitrust case in 20 years.

Michigan Rep. John Conyers , the number three House Democrat, acknowledged he settled a wrongful-dismissal claim in 2015 involving a former female employee, but denied allegations of sexual harassment. The revelation adds to the sexual-misconduct claims that have been aired in recent months against powerful men in politics as well as in media and entertainment.

The State Department defended Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's exclusion of Iraq, Afghanistan and Myanmar from a list of countries cited for recruiting and using child soldiers, saying he "thoroughly reviewed all of the evidence and made a determination." The decision went against recommendations from top department officials, Paul Sonne writes. The U.S. supports the Iraqi and Afghan militaries and is seeking cooperation from Myanmar's military in cracking down on North Korea.

The Trump administration imposed an additional set of sanctions against North Korea, a day after announcing that Pyongyang was being placed back onto the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. The sanctions measures announced Tuesday target one individual, 13 entities and 20 ships, Felicia Schwartz reports.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, said in an op-ed Tuesday that she supports repealing the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate, the requirement that most individuals carry health insurance that would be canceled in the Senate tax proposal. The senator was one of three Republicans to oppose the GOP Senate's "skinny repeal" health care effort earlier this year, which would have repealed the individual mandate. She did not say that she supported the GOP tax bill, which is still gathering votes to pass in the Senate.

Federal trade regulators have recommended that the Trump administration impose big tariffs on imported washing machines to protect Whirlpool Corp. and other U.S. manufacturers. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said U.S. officials are reviewing the commissioners' recommendations.

The Trump administration accused Canada and Mexico of refusing to "seriously engage" on controversial U.S. proposals aimed at cutting the U.S. trade deficit. Canadian and Mexican officials agreed that wide gaps remained between the parties after five days of talks, but placed blame squarely on the U.S. for putting forth a list of proposals that they said would weaken the pact and would move its longtime focus away from creating a continental economy among the three partners to one that would do more to favor the U.S. over its neighbors. Plus: One of the biggest potential casualties of the trade scuffle under way between Mexico and the U.S. is also one of America's favorite consumer products: cheap, high-definition, flat-panel televisions.

From across the WSJ:

The U.S. military said it conducted an airstrike in Somalia that killed more than 100 militants linked to al Qaeda-affiliated al-Shabaab. The increased pace of U.S. military operations reflects how Somalia has become a bigger focus under President Trump, who this year provided new military authority to U.S. forces to carry out attacks in parts of Somalia, Jessica Donati reports.

Eight people have been rescued and three are missing after a U.S. Navy aircraft crashed into the sea south of Japan.

Ride-hailing service Uber revealed it paid hackers $100,000 in an effort to conceal a data breach affecting 57 million accounts one year ago. In addition to the names, emails and phone numbers of millions of riders, about 600,000 drivers' license numbers were accessed. With no federal data privacy law, Uber's obligation to report the breach falls under a patchwork of data-breach laws in 48 states that come with differing and often complex notification requirements.

Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri said he was holding off on submitting his resignation at the request of the president, another startling turn in a crisis that has thrust his country back into the middle of a regional power struggle.

Russian President Vladimir Putin held a rare meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad ahead of a summit aimed at shaping a political settlement to end the six-year civil war in the country.

How Zimbabwe happened: The country's 93-year-old president attempted to purge key rivals, sparking a well-coordinated rebellion. Here's the tale of how elite plotters toppled Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman will step down but is open to taking a chief executive gig elsewhere. Ms. Whitman, a Republican, may also be open to a future role in government, but she is not close with the current administration after last year publicly supporting Hillary Clinton over Mr. Trump.

A surge in holiday shopping online has made Amazon a kingmaker. Now, companies are using Amazon's online reviews and marketing on the site as an alternative to persuading traditional retailers to add a new item to store shelves.

Disgraced journalist Charlie Rose is out at CBS News and PBS after allegations of sexual harassment arose earlier this week. Plus: The head of Disney's Pixar studios is set to take a six-month leave of absence, citing unspecified "missteps" on his part, including making some personnel feel "disrespected and uncomfortable."

SEIB VIDEO: HOW WILL CONGRESS END 2017?

What will lawmakers do when they return from Thanksgiving break for the stretch run of 2017? WSJ's Gerald F. Seib explains Congress's agenda.

More video: A North Korean Defector's Desperate Dash

HERE'S A LOOK AT THE DAY AHEAD

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION: President Donald Trump is in Florida for the Thanksgiving holiday.

ECONOMIC INDICATORS: The Labor Department releases weekly jobless claims at 8:30 a.m. The Commerce Department releases durable goods for October at 8:30 a.m. The Federal Reserve releases minutes from its October interest-rate meeting at 2 p.m. Here's what to watch for in the minutes .

WHAT WE'RE READING AROUND THE WEB

The Trump administration is leaning toward naming Thomas Brunell," a Texas professor with no government experience, to the top operational job at the U.S. Census Bureau," report Danny Vinnik and Andrew Restuccia of Politico. "Brunell, a political science professor, has testified more than half a dozen times on behalf of Republican efforts to redraw congressional districts, and is the author of a 2008 book titled 'Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America.'"

The Republican National Committee is "far outpacing their Democratic counterparts, according to the latest filings with the Federal Election Commission," writes Melissa Quinn of The Washington Examiner. The RNC ended October with $42.5 million in the bank and no debt, she writes, while the Democratic National Committee has $5 million cash-on-hand and $3.2 million in debt.

Democrats need to win back the support of religious voters, writes Michael Wear of The Atlantic: "Some quarters of the Democratic party would rather maintain rhetorical and ideological purity than win with a more inclusive coalition. For the sake of the country, the party must turn back to people of faith."

MILESTONE

67: The Nasdaq Composite rose 1.06% Tuesday to end at its 67th record close in 2017, the highest number of record closes in any year.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

November 22, 2017 08:36 ET (13:36 GMT)