ST. LOUIS (AP) — An attorney who held key roles in the George W. Bush administration and was a senior investigator for the U.S. House committee probing the Jan. 6 insurrection is running for a Missouri U.S. Senate seat as an independent. John F. Wood announced his candidacy Wednesday for retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt’s seat. Wood says he’s a lifelong Republican but thinks both parties’ primaries are a race to the bottom. The announcement comes as some Republican leaders worry that former Gov. Eric Greitens might prevail in the Aug. 2 Republican primary then lose in November because of the scandals that pushed him from office in 2018. To get on the November ballot as an independent, Wood would need to submit petitions signed by 10,000 registered voters by Aug.

Aide: Trump dismissed Jan. 6 threats, wanted to join crowd

WASHINGTON (AP) — The latest testimony about the events surrounding the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has Donald Trump rebuffing his own security’s warnings about armed protesters in the crowd gathering for a rally near the White House. A former White House aide also tells the House committee investigating the attack that Trump desperately attempted to join his supporters as they marched to the Capitol. In her testimony Tuesday, Cassidy Hutchinson described an angry, defiant president who grabbed at the steering wheel of the presidential SUV when the Secret Service refused to allow him go to the Capitol. Trump has dismissed her as “a total phony.”

Colorado GOP rejects candidates who back Trump election lie

DENVER (AP) — Colorado Republicans have rejected two prominent election deniers in primaries Tuesday night. It’s a setback for the movement to install backers of former President Donald Trump’s election lies in positions with power over voting. Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters lost the Republican primary for secretary of state to Pam Anderson, a former clerk in suburban Denver. Peters was indicted for her role in a break-in of her county’s election system. An ally, State Rep. Ron Hanks, lost his bid for the GOP Senate nomination. Hanks attended the Jan. 6 protests. He was beaten by businessman Joe O’Dea, a rare GOP backer of some abortion rights.

San Antonio migrant deaths lead to slow effort to ID victims

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Bodies without identification documents, remote villages without phone service, the need to share fingerprint data across borders and even stolen IDs are complicating efforts to identify the 51 migrants who died after being abandoned in a stifling trailer in San Antonio. The efforts come as families from Mexico to Honduras worry their loved ones could be among them. Few identities of the dead migrants had been made public more than a day after the trailer was found Monday, illustrating the challenges authorities face in tracing people who cross borders clandestinely. Bexar County Commissioner Rebeca Clay-Flores, who represents the district where the truck was abandoned, said that by Tuesday afternoon, medical examiners had potentially identified 34 of the victims.

Ukraine’s leader pushes for fuller NATO embrace, more arms

MADRID (AP) — Ukraine’s president has chided NATO for not embracing his embattled country more fully and asked for more weapons to fight Russia’s invasion. The remarks came as the leaders of the alliance met Wednesday amid what its chief called its biggest crisis since World War II. Russia’s invasion of its neighbor shattered Europe’s peace, drove NATO to pour troops and weapons into eastern Europe on a scale not seen since the Cold War, and is set to give the defense organization two new members in Sweden and Finland. Members of the alliance have also sent billions in military and civilian aid to Ukraine. But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy lamented that NATO’s open-door policy to new members did not apply to Ukraine.

$30B from Russian oligarchs frozen under REPO seizure effort

WASHINGTON (AP) — A multinational task force designed to seize Russian oligarchs’ wealth has blocked and frozen $30 billion in sanctioned individuals’ property and funds in its first 100 days. The Treasury Department says that’s on top of yachts, other vessels and luxury real estate that have been impounded as well as $300 billion in Russian Central Bank funds that have been immobilized. The seizure program is one of several efforts designed to drain Russia of its resources as President Vladimir Putin continues his invasion of Ukraine. But civil rights advocates have raised concerns about potential overreach.

Pelosi receives Communion in Vatican amid abortion debate

ROME (AP) — U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has received Communion during a papal Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, despite her position in support of abortion rights. Pelosi attended the morning Mass on Wednesday marking the feasts of St. Peter and St. Paul. Two people who witnessed the moment said she received Communion along with the rest of the congregants. Pelosi also met with Pope Francis before Mass and received his blessing, according to one of the people. Pelosi’s home archbishop has said he will no longer allow her to receive the sacrament in his archdiocese because of her support for abortion rights.

Clinics scramble to divert patients as states ban abortion

The Supreme Court’s ruling allowing states to regulate abortion has set off a travel scramble in some parts of the U.S., as abortion providers redirect patients to states that still allow the procedure. A growing number of states are moving to mostly banning abortion. Clinics operators are moving, doctors are counseling crying patients, donations are pouring into nonprofits and one group is dispatching vans to administer abortion pills. Some cities _ like Kansas City and St. Louis _ also are drafting plans to help with the travel logistics. Groups are trying to help with everything from gas cards for travel to connecting patients with small aircraft pilots willing to transport them to a clinic in another state.

Verdict looms in trial over 2015 Paris extremist attacks

PARIS (AP) — The historic trial stemming from the 2015 Paris attacks by Islamic State extremists that killed 130 people has reached a conclusion after nine months. The violence in the Bataclan theater, Paris cafes and the national stadium represented France’s deadliest peacetime attack. For victims’ families and survivors, the trial for Salah Abdeslam and suspected accomplices has been excruciating yet crucial in the quest for justice and closure. Abdeslam faces up to life in prison without parole on murder and other counts, the toughest sentence possible under France’s justice system. He has proclaimed his radicalism, wept, apologized and pleaded with judges to forgive his “mistakes.”

Gas lines and scuffles: Sri Lanka faces humanitarian crisis

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka’s economy, which a few years ago enjoyed strong growth that provided jobs and financial security, is now in a state of collapse, dependent on aid from India and other countries as its leaders desperately try to negotiate a bailout with the International Monetary Fund. What’s happening in this country of 22 million is worse than typical financial crises in the developing world: It’s a complete economic breakdown that has left ordinary people struggling to buy food, fuel and other necessities and has brought political unrest and violence and is veering quickly into a humanitarian crisis.

Drug killings leave agony, savage facet to Duterte’s legacy

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The thousands of killings under Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s campaign against illegal drugs have left families in agony and a savage side to his legacy. Duterte ends his turbulent six-year presidency Thursday after building a reputation for expletives-laced outbursts and a disdain for human rights and the West. He’s seen as “a human rights calamity” not only for the deaths in his drug crackdown, but also for his brazen attacks on critical media, the Catholic church and his political opponents. He’s still an endearing, popular character to many Filipinos, however, and state-run TV has been highlighting infrastructure and poverty-alleviating projects of his administration. But in the homes of those lost in the drug war, an air of indignation and mourning permeates.