1. SHOWDOWN

U.S. Shutting Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Camp

Daniel William McKnight

The Army Corps of Engineers has told those who remain at a camp protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline that they must clear out by 2 p.m. Wednesday. The protest site is on federal land between the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the pipeline route, and has been the location of several clashes between law enforcement and, at times, thousands of demonstrators. Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Maxine Herr said authorities hope to make Wednesday’s evacuation “diplomatic,” but said there could be large-scale arrests at the site if they don’t receive cooperation. Native American activist Chase Iron Eyes said many “will engage in peaceful, civil resistance... holding hands, standing in prayer.” Some protesters reportedly engaged in a ritual burning of their camps in anticipation of being forced to leave.

2. LIVE FREE OR DIE

New Hampshire Ends Concealed Carry Permit Requirement

Brendan McDermid/Reuters

New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has signed so-called “constitutional carry” legislation that legalizes carrying a concealed weapon without a license. “It is common-sense legislation,” he said during a signing ceremony on Wednesday. “This is about making sure that our laws on our books are keeping people safe while remaining true to the live-free-or-die spirit.” New Hampshire is now the 12th in the country to enact the policy, according to a National Rifle Association spokesman, and it is already an open carry state.

3. DESPICABLE

23 New Sex Abuse Charges for Former USA Olympic Doc

Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images

Larry Nassar, the former USA Olympic Gymnastics doctor accused of molesting dozens of former patients, was hit with 23 additional sex-abuse charges on Wednesday. The charges link Nassar to half a dozen women—some under the age of 13—and include criminal sexual conduct in the first and third degree. The Michigan Attorney General leading the probe, Bill Schuette, previously charged Nassar with the repeated molestation of a family friend, beginning when the victim was six years old. At the time of that charge, nearly 60 former patients had filed complaints against the doctor, alledging that he conducted invasive pelvic exams while treating them for sports injuries. The number of complaints has continued to grow, according to the crime logs at Michigan State University where Nassar's practice was located. “I’ve never seen or heard of anything like this,” said James White, a Michigan attorney who represents 13 victims. “Based on the access he had to young girls over the last 20 years, the numbers are staggering.”

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4. ‘YOU’RE WELCOME’

Bill Maher Takes Credit for Milo Yiannopoulos’s Fall

HBO

After taking flak for inviting incendiary alt-right personality Milo Yiannopoulos onto his show Real Time, Bill Maher is now claiming credit for the pundit’s downfall. “What I think people saw was an emotionally needy Ann Coulter wannabe, trying to make a buck off of the left’s propensity for outrage,” Maher said. “And by the end of the weekend, by dinnertime Monday, he’s dropped as a speaker at CPAC. Then he’s dropped by Breitbart, and his book deal falls through. As I say, sunlight is the best disinfectant. You’re welcome.” Maher still distanced himself from the idea that Yiannopoulos’s ideas could do any real harm. “Can he do damage? I suppose he can. To a degree. Not a great degree, I don’t think,” Maher said. “It just rubs me the wrong way when somebody says, ‘I don’t like what this person is saying—he should go away.’” Most of the criticism faced by Maher in the wake of the program centered on the fact that he didn’t correct Yiannopoulos when he misspoke or said something offensive. He responded, “It’s not my job to hold him accountable to everything he’s ever said or done. I had eight minutes with him, on the show itself.” He added, “You know what he is? He’s the little impish, bratty kid brother. And the liberals are his older teenager sisters who are having a sleepover and he puts a spider in their sleeping bag so he can watch them scream.”

6. INSIDE THE GATES

Pruitt Emails Detail Close Ties to Energy Giants, EPA Opponents

Joshua Roberts/Reuters

Emails spanning the tenure of Scott Pruitt's reign as attorney general of Oklahoma, obtained by The New York Times, detail the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s close ties with electric utilities, major oil and gas producers, and outright foes of the organization. The 6,000 pages of emails were the result of a lawsuit by the Center for Media and Democracy, and an Oklahoma judge ordered them released Wednesday. Since his nomination by President Trump, Democrats and EPA staffers have protested Pruitt's ties to energy companies, as well as his long-documented opposition to the agency’s central mission. Matt Ball, an executive at Americans for Prosperity—a Koch brothers-funded nonprofit—sent Pruitt an email in August 2013 that read, “Thank you to your respective bosses and all they are doing to push back against President Obama’s EPA and its axis with liberal environmental groups to increase energy costs for Oklahomans and American families across the states.” He added, “You both work for true champions of freedom and liberty!”

7. 2ND CHANCE

SCOTUS Orders New Hearing for Texas Death Row Inmate Duane Buck

Courtesy Jenevieve Robbins/Texas Dept of Criminal Justice/Handout via Reuters

The Supreme Court has ordered a new court hearing for the case of Texas death-row inmate Duane Buck, who is black, over the claims that improper testimony about his race affected his sentencing. Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented in the 6-2 vote. Buck was convicted in 1995 of killing his ex-girlfriend and another man. Buck's case was centered on the argument that his rights were violated when jurors heard testimony from a defense witness his own lawyers presented—that Buck was more likely to be dangerous because of the color of his skin.

8. HOVA

Jay Z Becomes First Rapper Inducted Into Songwriters Hall of Fame

© Benoit Tessier / Reuters

A week and a half after his wife Beyoncé was snubbed by the Grammy Awards, Jay Z became the first rapper to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this year. Announcing the inductees on CBS This Morning, Nile Rodgers said he believes Jay Z "changed the way we listen to music," and argued that he has not received the respect he deserves, "even though he's had more pop albums than anyone else, because he did it through rap, which isn't traditionally considered part of the normal pop music scene." In addition to Jay Z, this year's honorees include Swedish producer Max Martin; Motown founder Berry Gordy; Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis of The Time; Robert Lamm, James Pankow and Peter Cetera of Chicago; and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds.

9. ON NOTICE

Iran Threatens to Give U.S. a ‘Strong Slap in the Face’

Mahmood Hosseini/TIMA/Reuters

A commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard threatened Wednesday to give the U.S. a “strong slap in the face” if it underestimates Iran’s military. After taking office, President Trump warned Iran that he would be tougher than his predecessor on the Islamic Republic and that the country was “on notice” following a ballistic missile test last month. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour, chief of the Guards’ ground forces, said, “The enemy should not be mistaken in its assessments, and it will receive a strong slap in the face if it does make such a mistake.” He added, “The message of these exercises... for world arrogance is not to do anything stupid... Everyone could see today what power we have on the ground.” Pakpour’s comments came as the Revolutionary Guard concluded three days of military exercises.

10. JUSTICE

Ex-CIA Agent to Be Extradited to Italy Over Kidnapping

REUTERS/Nasser Nuri

Former CIA agent Sabrina De Sousa will be extradited to Italy to serve out a four-year prison sentence for her alleged involvement in a U.S. program that kidnapped terror suspects for interrogation, according to reports. The 61-year-old was convicted in the case, along with 25 other Americans. The group was accused of abducting Osama Moustafa Hassan Nas off a Milan street on Feb. 17, 2003. De Sousa has consistently denied involvement in the kidnapping since her October 2015 arrest in Lisbon on a European warrant. Terror suspects were routinely kidnapped, interrogated, and tortured under the U.S. rendition program in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. The strategy was part of President George W. Bush’s anti-terrorism plan, but President Barack Obama ended the program after he took office. De Sousa has lost several appeals against her extradition, and claims she is unable to properly defend herself without providing classified information about the U.S. government. “We are deeply disappointed in her conviction and sentence,” said acting State Department spokesman Mark Toner. “This is a matter that U.S. officials have been following closely. We have asked our European counterparts what their next steps may be, but we are not in a position to detail those discussions.”