Saturday News: Lock him up, too

KUSHNER REQUESTED USE OF RUSSIAN EMBASSY COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEM FOR BACK CHANNEL: Jared Kushner and Russia's ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Donald Trump's transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring, according to U.S. officials briefed on intelligence reports. The meeting also was attended by Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser. Kislyak reportedly was taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate - a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team.

TRUMP ODD MAN OUT ON CLIMATE AND TRADE AT G7 CONFERENCE: Six members of the Group of Seven would stick with their endorsement of the 2015 Paris deal to rein in greenhouse gas emissions and await a decision from the U.S., said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter before the formal announcement. The source added that G-7 members were still wrestling over a statement on trade and whether it would condemn protectionism, as previous group statements have. The last G-7 meeting in Ise-Shima, Japan in 2016 agreed to "fight all forms of protectionism," or the use of import taxes and regulations to favor domestic producers over imports. U.S. President Donald Trump has pushed back against earlier such statements and has argued trade must be balanced and fair as well as free.

CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACT IF US PULLS OUT OF PARIS AGREEMENT: Calculations suggest it could result in emissions of up to 3 billion tons of additional carbon dioxide in the air a year. When it adds up year after year, scientists said that is enough to melt ice sheets faster, raise seas higher and trigger more extreme weather. "If we lag, the noose tightens," said Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer, co-editor of the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change. The world without U.S. efforts would have a far more difficult time avoiding a dangerous threshold: keeping the planet from warming more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

GOVERNOR COOPER FILES MORE LAWSUITS TO DEFEND HIS AUTHORITY: In a continuing power struggle with Republican lawmakers at the helm of the General Assembly, Gov. Roy Cooper on Friday filed another lawsuit in state court, accusing the legislative leaders of trying to strip him of power to appoint state Court of Appeals judges and N.C. Industrial Commission members. The lawsuit, filed in Wake County Superior Court, is one of a series that Cooper, a Democrat, has filed since taking office in January and breaking up four-year Republican control of the legislative and executive branches of government. The lawsuit names Phil Berger, leader of the state Senate, and Tim Moore, speaker of the state House.

REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN-ELECT HAS ASSAULT CHARGE TO DEAL WITH BEFORE HEADING TO DC: Montana's new congressman hasn't even been sworn into his first public office, but people are already talking about his prospects in 2018 and even 2020. First things first though for Greg Gianforte, who has to deal with a misdemeanor assault charge he received the day before the election after witnesses said he slammed a reporter to the ground. He faces a maximum of 6 months in jail and a $500 fine if convicted. It's rare for people to serve jail time for misdemeanors unless they have serious criminal records. The Gallatin County Attorney is also reviewing the case to see if additional charges are merited. Montana Democrats on Friday quickly called for Gianforte to not be seated in Congress until his legal issues are resolved.