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AP News in Brief at 11:04 p.m. EDT

Trump backs Giuliani, but some aides wish he would cut ties

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Saturday stood behind personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, one of his highest-profile and most vocal defenders, amid reports that federal prosecutors in the city Giuliani led as mayor are eyeing him for possible lobbying violations.

Behind the scenes, however, many of Trump's closest aides and advisers, inside and outside the White House, quietly wish the president would cut ties with Giuliani, whose leadership of New York after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks earned him worldwide admiration and the moniker of "America's mayor."

Giuliani was a force in Trump's defense during the lengthy Russia investigation by the special counsel. Yet the effort to undermine special counsel Robert Mueller led Giuliani to Ukraine, which now entangles the former federal prosecutor and mayor in legal jeopardy and is central to the danger threatening the presidency he labored to protect.

The New York Times reported Friday, citing a pair of anonymous sources familiar with the matter, that the investigation is linked to Giuliani's efforts to undermine Marie Yovanovitch, formerly the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. The U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan has declined to comment on the Times report.

Two Florida businessmen with ties to Giuliani were charged Thursday with federal campaign finance violations. Both played key roles in Giuliani's efforts to get Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation into Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who sat on the board of a gas company there.

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Trump says he's an 'island of one' on Syria

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump says he's an "island of one" for removing U.S. forces from northeastern Syria.

Trump's decision drew swift bipartisan criticism in the U.S. and abroad that he was endangering regional stability and risking the lives of Syrian Kurdish allies who helped the U.S. bring down the Islamic State group in Syria. But Turkey views those Kurdish fighters as terrorists and a threat to its security and has launched a military operation against them.

Trump defended his actions during a speech Saturday to social conservative activists, saying "it's time" to bring U.S. troops home from fighting "endless wars."

He sought to portray the Middle East as a hopeless cause, saying it's less safe, secure and stable despite American involvement "and they fight. That's what they do. They fight."

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Hotel collapse in New Orleans leaves 1 dead, 2 missing

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A large section of a Hard Rock Hotel under construction beside New Orleans' historic French Quarter collapsed Saturday amid blinding dust and flying debris, killing one person and injuring more than 20. Rescue workers searched the largely unstable building until nightfall for two people still unaccounted for.

Nearby buildings were evacuated. A 270-foot (82-meter) construction crane — one of two still looming over the multistory building — also was dangerously unstable, fire officials said. The hunt for the missing was suspended at nightfall over safety concerns. A statement from the project contractor said its representatives would work "throughout the night" with emergency officials on a plan to stabilize the building.

"I heard a huge noise and thought it was a plane crashing," said Sue Hurley, a 68-year-old guest at a hostel across the street that shuddered with the force of the collapse. Hurley said she was reminded of news accounts of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

WWL-TV aired and tweeted a viewer's dramatic video of upper floors falling on top of each other before one side of the building crashed to the street.

Another video on social media showed what looked like a metal structure — part of the building or a piece of construction equipment — tumbling to the ground and people running from the scene as clouds of dust billowed up, obscuring the view like a thick fog.

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Rare Southern Democratic governor battles Republican rivals

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards surged to the lead Saturday in his bid to remain the only Democratic governor in the conservative Deep South, but it was unclear if he would get enough votes to win an outright primary victory and fend off a national GOP offensive aimed at forcing him into a November runoff.

Republicans were trying to hold Edwards under the 50% benchmark the region's only Democratic governor needed to win outright over five others in the field. President Donald Trump made a last-minute appeal to Louisiana's voters to reject Edwards.

Edwards, Louisiana's only Democratic statewide elected official, faced two main GOP challengers, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham and businessman Eddie Rispone. But three lesser-known contenders also threatened to peel off a few percentage points to tip the balance and push Edwards into a Nov. 16 runoff election.

Three Republican statewide elected officials on the ballot won reelection to new four-year terms: Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, Attorney General Jeff Landry and Treasurer John Schroder. Three other GOP incumbents also were seeking to hold on to their jobs, and voters were deciding four proposed constitutional changes.

On Saturday morning, Edwards was in New Orleans at the site of building collapse. A large portion of a Hard Rock Hotel under construction fell, killing one person and injuring more than 20.

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Japan launches major rescue after 'immense' typhoon floods

TOKYO (AP) — Helicopters plucked people from their flooded homes on Sunday as rescue efforts went into full force in wide areas of Japan after a powerful typhoon unleashed heavy rainfall on Tokyo and surrounding areas, leaving at least seven dead and 15 missing.

Public broadcaster NHK gave a higher toll than the government of 10 dead and 16 missing plus 128 injured as more details were coming in the from field, a day after Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo and moved northward.

"The major typhoon has caused immense damage far and wide in eastern Japan," government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters, adding that 27,000 military troops and other rescue crews were deployed for the operation.

News footage showed a rescue helicopter hovering in a flooded area in Nagano prefecture where an embankment of the Chikuma River broke, and streams of water were continuing to spread over residential areas. The chopper plucked those stranded on the second floor of a home submerged in muddy waters.

Aerial footage showed tractors at work trying to control the flooding. Meanwhile, rows of Japan's prized bullet trains, parked in a facility, were sitting in a pool of water.

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Turkish forces say they've captured key Syrian border town

CEYLANPINAR, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's military said it captured a key Syrian border town under heavy bombardment Saturday in its most significant gain since an offensive against Kurdish fighters began four days ago, with no sign of relenting despite mounting international criticism.

Turkish troops entered central Ras al-Ayn, according to Turkey's Defense Ministry and a war monitor group. The ministry tweeted: "Ras al-Ayn's residential center has been taken under control through the successful operations in the east of Euphrates" River. It marked the biggest gain made by Turkey since the invasion began Wednesday.

The continued push by Turkey into Syria comes days after President Donald Trump pulled U.S. forces out of the area, making Turkey's air and ground offensive possible, and said he wanted to stop getting involved with "endless wars." Trump's decision drew swift bipartisan criticism that he was endangering regional stability and risking the lives of Syrian Kurdish allies who brought down the Islamic State group in Syria. The Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces was the main U.S. ally in the fight and lost 11,000 fighters in the nearly five-year battle against IS.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian opposition fighters have made gains recently capturing several northern villages in fighting and bombardment that left dozens of people killed or wounded. The invasion also has forced nearly 100,000 people to flee their homes amid concerns that IS might take advantage of the chaos and try to rise again after its defeat in Syria earlier this year.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, said the United States should carry out its "moral responsibilities" and close northern Syrian airspace to Turkish warplanes, but that it didn't want the U.S. to send its soldiers "to the front lines and put their lives in danger."

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Authorities: 3 deaths tied to Southern California wildfires

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three people have died at the scene of Southern California wildfires this week, authorities said Saturday, as firefighters aided by diminishing winds beat back a blaze on the edge of Los Angeles that damaged or destroyed more than 30 structures and sent a blanket of smoke across a swath of neighborhoods.

Los Angeles officials said the fire in the city's San Fernando Valley area hadn't grown significantly since Friday, and ground crews were tamping down lingering hotspots. Evacuation orders were lifted in all of Los Angeles County and in parts of Riverside County, where a second blaze was burning.

Shortly before 5 p.m., the Los Angeles Police Department said in a tweet: "We thank members of the community for promptly heeding the evacuation orders and their patience as we worked to contain the fire."

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told residents to be cautious returning home to neighborhoods where fire crews could still be operating.

In Los Angeles, one man who tried to fight the blaze died of a heart attack, and one firefighter reported a minor eye injury.

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Andrew Johnson back in spotlight for 1868 impeachment brush

The president traveled the country, fanning racial animus. He viewed the Congress with disdain. He also tried to undo some of the most important achievements of his predecessor, using executive power.

That was not Donald Trump, but another president who faced the ignominy of impeachment: Andrew Johnson.

As the impeachment inquiry of Trump unfolds, Johnson, never among America's most famous presidents, though widely considered one of the worst, is attracting renewed attention.

Johnson was the first president to be impeached, by the House of Representatives in 1868. He escaped removal from office by a single vote short of the required two-thirds after his trial in the Senate, but was so disgraced he was denied his party's nomination that year.

Trump and Johnson came from opposite ends of America's social spectrum — Johnson from deep poverty, Trump from great wealth. Yet they shared bellicose personalities, a disdain for political niceties, and a penchant for divisive, sometimes racist rhetoric.

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump's shoddy info on Syria, impeachment

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump spread shoddy information about Syria, the economy and matters at the heart of the impeachment inquiry against him in a week of caustic rhetoric.

Some examples:

TRUMP, on Hunter Biden, whose father is former Vice President Joe Biden, a Trump political rival: "Guy walks in, no experience, no nothing, walks out with $1.5 billion. Gee, flies in on Air Force 2 with his father, the vice president. ... So China gives his son $1.5 billion. How would you like to have Joe Biden take over negotiations right now with China? I don't think so." — Minneapolis rally Thursday.

THE FACTS: There's no evidence Hunter Biden pocketed $1.5 billion from China. More generally, accusations of criminal wrongdoing by father or son are unsubstantiated.

In 2014, an investment fund started by Hunter Biden and other investors joined with foreign and Chinese private equity firms in an effort to raise $1.5 billion to invest outside China. That's far from giving Hunter Biden such a sum, as Trump describes it.

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Scherzer no-hit try into 7th, Nats top Cards, lead NLCS 2-0

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Max Scherzer was strength and fire. Aníbal Sánchez was artistry and deception.

Two different styles, two absolute gems for the Washington Nationals.

Scherzer followed Sánchez's near no-hitter with a try of his own, and the stingy Nationals beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 on Saturday for a 2-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

"We really want to win here," the hard-charging Scherzer said. "So that's what's going to happen, we're going to compete and win."

Scherzer didn't allow a hit until Paul Goldschmidt led off the seventh inning with a single that left fielder Juan Soto played conservatively with a 1-0 lead. A day earlier, Sánchez held the Cardinals hitless until José Martínez had a pinch single with two down in the eighth.

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