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AP Top Political News at 4:27 a.m. EDT

Trump defends Confederate statues, berates his critics
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. (AP) -- With prominent Republicans openly questioning his competence and moral leadership, President Donald Trump burrowed deeper into the racially charged debate over Confederate memorials and lashed out at members of his own party in the latest controversy to engulf his presidency....

Senior officer on damaged ship to be relieved of command
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The captain of a Navy warship that lost seven sailors in a collision with a commercial container ship in June will be relieved of command and nearly a dozen others face punishment, the Navy's second-ranking admiral said Thursday....

US condemns Spanish attack, pledges justice for terrorists
BRIDGWATER, N.J. (AP) -- The United States swiftly condemned Thursday's deadly attack in Barcelona and offered assistance to authorities in Spain....

Colleges brace for more violence amid rash of hate on campus
BOSTON (AP) -- Nicholas Fuentes is dropping out of Boston University and heading south, pressing ahead with his right-wing politics despite receiving online death threats....

Estimates of North Korea's nuclear weapons hard to nail down
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. intelligence agencies' assessments of the size of North Korea's nuclear arsenal have a wide gap between high and low estimates. Size matters and not knowing makes it harder for the United States to develop a policy for deterrence and defend itself and allies in the region....

GOP senator says Trump hasn't shown stability, competence
WASHINGTON (AP) -- A prominent Republican senator delivered a stinging rebuke Thursday of Donald Trump's short time in office, declaring he has not shown the stability or competence required for an American president to succeed....

Pelosi calls for removal of Confederate statues from Capitol
WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called Thursday for the removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol as the contentious debate over the appropriateness of such memorials moved to the halls of Congress....

AP Explains: Why does a WWI general merit a Trump tweet?
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump is being criticized once again for lauding the alleged tactics of Gen. John Pershing in dealing with Islamic extremists in the Philippines at the turn of the last century....

Pence tours Panama Canal as he wraps up Latin America trip
PANAMA CITY (AP) -- Vice President Mike Pence toured the newly expanded Panama Canal Thursday as he wrapped up a truncated trip to Latin America....

The Latest: Trump won't back down on Confederate monuments
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Latest on President Donald Trump (all times EDT):...