A 34-year-old transport minister and lawmaker has been tapped to become Finland's youngest prime minister ever and its third female government leader.
Finland's ruling Social Democratic Party council voted 32-29 late Sunday to name Sanna Marin over rival Antti Lindtman to take over the government's top post from incumbent Antti Rinne.
Having emerged as Finland's largest party in the April election, the Social Democrats can appoint one of their own to the post of prime minister in the Nordic nation of 5.5 million.
Marin has been the party's vice chairwoman, a lawmaker since 2015 and served as until this week as the minster for transport and communications. According to Finland's biggest newspaper Helsingin Sanomat and the Ilta-Sanomat tabloid, Marin will become the world's youngest sitting prime minister.
Finland currently holds the European Union's rotating presidency until the end of the year. Lawmakers are likely to approve the appointment of Marin and her new government quickly so she can represent Finland at the Dec. 12-13 EU leaders' summit in Brussels.
Rinne stepped down Tuesday after a key coalition partner, the Center Party, withdrew its support, citing lack of trust. The Center Party also criticized Rinne's leadership skills prior to a two-week strike by the country's state-owned postal service Posti in November that spread to other industries, including the national flag carrier Finnair.
Rinne's resignation prompted the formal resignation of a coalition of the Social Democrats and the Center Party and three junior partners: the Greens, the Left Alliance and the Swedish People's Party of Finland.
On Sunday, Social Democrats and the four other coalition parties said they are committed to the government program agreed upon after the April election and will continue in Marin's new government. The new government will still have a comfortable majority of 117 seats at the 200-seat Eduskunta, or Parliament.
Social Democrats said Sunday they're seeking to have Rinne, a former trade union leader, become the parliament's vice speaker. He also plans to stay on as the Social Democrats' chairman until a party congress next summer.
The Justice Department's internal watchdog will release a highly anticipated report Monday that is expected to reject President Donald Trump's claims that the Russia investigation was illegitimate and tainted by political bias from FBI leaders. But it is also expected to document errors during the investigation that may animate Trump supporters.
The report, as described by people familiar with its findings, is expected to conclude there was an adequate basis for opening one of the most politically sensitive investigations in FBI history and one that Trump has denounced as a witch hunt. It began in secret during Trump's 2016 presidential run and was ultimately taken over by special counsel Robert Mueller.
The report comes as Trump faces an impeachment inquiry in Congress centered on his efforts to press Ukraine to investigate a political rival, Democrat Joe Biden — a probe the president also claims is politically biased.
Still, the release of Inspector General Michael Horowitz's review is unlikely to quell the partisan battles that have surrounded the Russia investigation for years. It's also not the last word: A separate internal investigation continues, overseen by Trump's attorney general, William Barr and led by a U.S. attorney, John Durham. That investigation is criminal in nature, and Republicans may look to it to uncover wrongdoing that the inspector general wasn't examining.
Trump tweeted Sunday: "I.G. report out tomorrow. That will be the big story!"
He previously has said that he was awaiting Horowitz's report but that Durham's report may be even more important.
Horowitz's report is expected to identify errors and misjudgments by some law enforcement officials, including by an FBI lawyer suspected of altering a document related to the surveillance of a former Trump campaign aide. Those findings probably will fuel arguments by Trump and his supporters that the investigation was flawed from the start.
But the report will not endorse some of the president's theories on the investigation, including that it was a baseless "witch hunt" or that he was targeted by an Obama administration Justice Department desperate to see Republican Trump lose to Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
It also is not expected to undo Mueller's findings or call into question his conclusion that Russia interfered in that election in order to benefit the Trump campaign and that Russians had repeated contacts with Trump associates.
Some of the findings were described to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity by people who were not authorized to discuss a draft of the report before its release. The AP has not viewed a copy of the document.
It is unclear how Barr, a strong defender of Trump, will respond to Horowitz's findings. He has told Congress that he believed "spying" on the Trump campaign did occur and has raised public questions about whether the counterintelligence investigation was done correctly.
The FBI opened its investigation in July 2016 after receiving information from an Australian diplomat that a Trump campaign adviser, George Papadopoulos, had been told before it was publicly known that Russia had dirt on the Clinton campaign in the form of thousands of stolen emails.
By that point, the Democratic National Committee had been hacked, an act that a private security firm — and ultimately U.S. intelligence agencies — attributed to Russia. Prosecutors allege that Papadopoulos learned about the stolen emails from a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud. Papadopoulous pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about that interaction.
The investigation was taken over in May 2017 by Mueller, who charged six Trump associates with various crimes as well as 25 Russians accused of interfering in the election either through hacking or a social media disinformation campaign. Mueller did not find sufficient evidence to charge a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia.
He examined multiple episodes in which Trump sought to seize control of the investigation, including by firing James Comey as FBI director, but declined to decide on whether Trump had illegally obstructed justice.
The inspector general's investigation began in early 2018. It focuses in part on the FBI's surveillance of a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. The FBI applied in the fall of 2016 for a warrant from the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to monitor Page's communications, with officials expressing concern that he may have been targeted for recruitment by the Russian government.
Page was never charged and has denied any wrongdoing.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which is scheduled to hear testimony from Horowitz on Wednesday, said he expected the report would be "damning" about the process of obtaining the warrant.
"I'm looking for evidence of whether or not they manipulated the facts to get the warrant," Graham, R-S.C., said on Fox News Channel's "Sunday Morning Futures."
The warrant was renewed several times, including during the Trump administration. Republicans have attacked the procedures because the application relied in part on information gathered by an ex-British intelligence operative, Christopher Steele, whose opposition research into the Trump campaign's connections to Russia was funded by Democrats and the Clinton campaign.
In pursuing the warrant, the Justice Department referred to Steele as "reliable" from previous dealings with him. Though officials told the court that they suspected the research was aimed at discrediting the Trump campaign, they did not reveal that the work had been paid for by Democrats, according to documents released last year.
Steele's research was compiled into a dossier that was provided to the FBI after it had already opened its investigation.
The report also examined the interactions that senior Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr had with Steele, whom he had met years earlier through a shared professional interest in countering Russian organized crime. Ohr passed along to the FBI information that he had received from Steele but did not alert his Justice Department bosses to those conversations.
Ohr has since been a regular target of Trump's ire, in part because his wife worked as a contractor for Fusion GPS, the political research firm that hired Steele for the investigation.
This is the latest in a series of reports that Horowitz, a former federal prosecutor and an Obama appointee to the watchdog role, has released on FBI actions in politically charged investigations.
Last year, he criticized Comey for a news conference announcing the conclusion of the Clinton email investigation, and for then alerting Congress months later that the probe had been effectively reopened. In that report, too, Horowitz did not find that Comey's actions had been guided by partisan bias.
The political movement of former President President Evo Morales says it will seek consensus candidates for its presidential ticket in the country's new elections and will spend at least a month more consulting its bases.
The announcement came after a gathering Saturday of the Movement Toward Socialism, or MAS, in the central city of Cochabamba failed to decide on candidates.
Party leaders said Morales would be its campaign chief for the elections, which were called when a Oct. 20 vote in which Morales' claimed victory to a fourth straight term was canceled. The date of the new vote has not yet been set.
Party communications secretary Gualberto Arispe said the decision on candidates would be postponed until the next gathering in a month's time.
In the meantime, the party will consult with its social and indigenous bases to find consensus candidates, MAS lawmaker Juan Cala said.
"There are different currents, some which want to rapidly name a pair (of candidates), but no. The time that is necessary needs to be taken, because the candidates need to emerge from the social, indigenous bases," Cala said.
Meanwhile, two opposition figures who had led anti-Morales protests —- Luis Fernando Camacho and Marcos Pumari — decided that they will each mount presidential candidacies and not run together. Former President Carlos Mesa still hasn't said who his running mate will be.
Morales was Bolivia's first indigenous president and after being informed of the decision to name him campaign chief for MAS, he told his followers by telephone that "soon I will be in Bolivia so that we can face the elections together and win them."
On his Twitter account, Morales accepted the post and thanked his supporters.
"We will choose a united candidate and again we will win the elections in the first round. Thank you for not abandoning me, I will always be with you. Together we will continue making history," he tweeted.
The MAS gathering took place three weeks after Morales resigned at the urging of the military and flew to Mexico, which gave him political asylum. He is currently in Cuba for a medical appointment.
Morales, who governed Bolivia for almost 14 years, contends he was ousted in a coup d'état.
His critics say he illegally sought a fourth term in office and used fraud to win the Oct. 20 vote. An Organization of American States' report found evidence of irregularities and manipulation in the vote.
After Morales resigned under pressure from the military, Sen. Jeanine Áñez assumed the presidency temporarily for 90 days.
A possible candidate for prime minister of Lebanon said Sunday he is withdrawing from consideration for the post, prolonging the country's political crisis.
Samir Khatib said the country's top Sunni religious authority told him the community supports the re-appointment of former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, who resigned Oct. 29 under fire from anti-government protesters.
Under Lebanon's sectarian-based political system, the prime minister comes from the Sunni Muslim community, while the president is chosen from the Maronite Christian community. The parliament speaker is chosen from the ranks of Shiite Muslims.
Khatib's announcement came hours before he was expected to be named as the official candidate following consultations between President Michel Aoun and major parliamentary blocs. In light of Khatib's decision, Aoun decided to postpone the consultations for a week.
Hariri resigned amid nationwide protests in which demonstrators accused the political elite of corruption and mismanagement. A stalemate ensued over who should head the new government amid a deepening economic crisis, shortage of liquidity and hard currency.
At the time, Hariri said he reached a dead end with his political rivals over forming an emergency government to deal with the country's crumbling economy.
He said he backed Khatib for the post, but protesters rejected him, saying the prominent businessman and contractor was too close to the ruling elite.
On Sunday, Khatib announced his decision after meeting with Hariri and Lebanon's Grand Mufti, Sheikh Abdul Latif Derian.
Khatib said he has been "subjected to an unfair campaign by some biased people" since his name was floated as a candidate two weeks ago.
Protesters gathered outside parliament after the announcement for scheduled rallies to protest the way the government is being formed and the delays in choosing a candidate amid the downward spiral of the economy. They were quick to denounce Hariri's possible return as a contender for the job.
"We want an independent head of government," said Layal Siblani, one of hundreds of protesters gathered outside parliament. "Hariri is no exception. He is one of the pillars of this authority, he and his family. ... They should not portray him as our savior because he has good international contacts."
Siblani also protested the role of the religious authority in naming or supporting a candidate. "The head of the government is for all people. We should all know that and that there is no room for religious authorities to interfere."
Security forces prevented the protesters from marching to Hariri's office, tightening roadblocks and scuffling with some who tried to push their way out of a cordon. Heavy rains didn't stop dozens of protesters from reaching the outside of Hariri's office chanting: "You will not come back, Hariri," and "Revolution."
Lebanon's national unity government was headed by Hariri, backed by the West, but was dominated by the Iranian-backed Hezbollah group and its allies, including the party of President Michel Aoun.
The Saudi gunman who killed three people at the Pensacola naval base had apparently gone on Twitter shortly before the shooting to blast U.S. support of Israel and accuse America of being anti-Muslim, a U.S. official said Sunday as the FBI confirmed it is operating on the assumption the attack was an act of terrorism.
Investigators are also trying to establish whether the killer, 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, 21, of the Royal Saudi Air Force, acted alone or was part of a larger plot.
Alshamrani, who was killed by a sheriff's deputy during the rampage at a classroom building Friday, was undergoing flight training at Pensacola, where members of foreign militaries routinely receive instruction.
"We are, as we do in most active-shooter investigations, work with the presumption that this was an act of terrorism," said Rachel J. Rojas, the special agent in charge of the FBI's office in Jacksonville.
Authorities believe the gunman made social media posts criticizing the U.S. under a user handle similar to his name, but federal law enforcement officials are investigating whether he authored the words or just posted them, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Also, investigators believe the gunman visited New York City, including Rockefeller Center, days before the shooting and are working to determine the purpose of the trip, the official said.
All foreign students at the Pensacola base have been accounted for, no arrests have been made, and the community is under no immediate threat, Rojas said at a news conference. A Saudi commanding officer has ordered all students from the country to remain at one location at the base, authorities said.
"There are a number of Saudi students who are close to the shooter and continue to cooperate in this investigation," Rojas said. "The Saudi government has pledged to fully cooperate with our investigation."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the investigation was proceeding under "the presumption that this was an act of terrorism"and he called for better vetting of foreigners allowed into the U.S. for training on American bases.
Speaking at a news conference Sunday afternoon, DeSantis also said the gunman had a social media trail and a "deep-seated hatred of the United States."
He said he thought such an attack could have been prevented with better vetting.
"You have to take precautions" to protect the nation, DeSantis said.
"To have this individual be able to take out three of our sailors, to me that's unacceptable," the governor added.
Earlier in the week of the shooting, Alshamrani hosted a dinner party where he and three others watched videos of mass shootings, another U.S. official told the AP on Saturday.
Alshamrani used a Glock 9 mm weapon that had been purchased legally in Florida, Rojas said. DeSantis questioned whether foreigners should continue to be allowed under federal law to buy guns in the U.S. and called it a "federal loophole."
Republican DeSantis said he supports that the Second Amendment but that it "does not apply to Saudi Arabians."
Family members and others identified the three dead as Joshua Kaleb Watson, a 23-year-old graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy; Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Florida, who joined the Navy after graduating from high school last year; and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters, 21, of Richmond Hill, Georgia.
The official who spoke Saturday said one of the three students who attended the dinner party hosted by the attacker recorded video outside the classroom building while the shooting was taking place. Two other Saudi students watched from a car, the official said.
In a statement, the FBI confirmed Sunday that it had obtained base surveillance videos as well as cellphone footage taken by a bystander outside the building, and had also interviewed that person.
Rojas would not directly answer when asked whether other students knew about the attack beforehand or whether there was anything "nefarious" about the making of the video. She said that a lot of information needs to be confirmed by investigators and that she did not want to contribute to "misinformation" circulating about the case.
Rojas said federal authorities are focused on questioning the gunman's friends, classmates and other associates. "Our main goal is to confirm if he acted alone or was he part of a larger network," she said.
President Donald Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, said on CBS' ""Face the Nation" that the shooting looked like "terrorism or akin to terrorism." But he cautioned that the FBI was still investigating.
"Look, to me it appears to be a terrorist attack," he said. "I don't want prejudge the investigation, but it appears that this may be someone that was radicalized." O'Brien said he did not see evidence so far of a "broader plot."
The U.S. has long had a robust training program for Saudis, providing assistance in the U.S. and in the kingdom. More than 850 Saudis are in the United States for various training activities. They are among more than 5,000 foreign students from 153 countries in the U.S. going through military training.
Foreigners allowed into the U.S. for military training are subject to background checks to weed out security risks.
"This has been done for many decades," Trump said on Saturday. "I guess we're going to have to look into the whole procedure. We'll start that immediately."