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Brandon Carter

President Trump addressed the baseless, far-right QAnon conspiracy theory directly for the first time on Wednesday, saying he didn't know much about the online community and its followers other than "they like me very much."

"I heard that these are people who love our country," Trump added in response to a question about the conspiracy community during a press briefing at the White House.

Updated at 7:20 p.m. ET: Live coverage of the caucuses has ended. Subscribe to the NPR Politics Podcast for a recap and analysis of the contest.

Updated at 1:45 p.m. ET

President Trump is set to deliver his third State of the Union address Tuesday night, less than a day before the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on two articles of impeachment against him.

While the scene on Capitol Hill has been tumultuous during the impeachment trial, a senior administration official told reporters last week that Trump's address would use "the great American comeback" as its theme and take an optimistic tone.

Here's what you need to know ahead of tonight's address.

Updated at 1 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives voted Thursday 232-196 to pass a resolution formalizing its impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Just two Democrats voted no — Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.

Amid the debate, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., called it a "sad day."

Catherine Croft, a State Department employee who previously worked on Ukraine issues for the National Security Council, is testifying in the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday.

Croft is among the witnesses called to give depositions behind closed doors in the ongoing investigation into the Trump administration's Ukraine policy and President Trump's July call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Updated at 1:42 p.m. ET

A whistleblower filed a complaint on Aug. 12 about President Trump's conversation with a foreign leader, ultimately setting off a formal impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives.

Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke gave a staunch defense of his gun control plan during Thursday's Democratic presidential primary debate, saying that as president, he would prioritize mandatory buybacks of assault-style weapons.

Quoting the candidate's past comment about selling back AR-15s and AK-47s, moderator David Muir asked O'Rourke: "Are you proposing taking away their guns? And how would this work?"

O'Rourke answered, "Hell, yes, we're going to take your AR-15, your AK-47."

Here's more of what he said:

New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is the latest Democratic presidential candidate to drop out of the 2020 race.

She announced her exit Wednesday afternoon in a video posted on Twitter.

"It's important to know when it's not your time and to know how you can best serve your community and country," Gillibrand said. "I believe I can best serve by helping to unite us to beat Donald Trump in 2020."

Gillibrand thanked her volunteers and supporters in the video, saying "I'm so proud of this campaign and everything we've achieved."

Updated at 11:58 a.m. ET

President Trump on Friday indicated that he supported new legislation on "intelligent" background checks for gun purchases after recent mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

"On background checks, we have tremendous support for really common-sense, sensible, important background checks," Trump told reporters at the White House.

The president said the issue "isn't a question of NRA, Republican or Democrat," and added that he had spoken with the head of the National Rifle Association.

Updated at 1:43 p.m. ET

Former special counsel Robert Mueller is making his much-anticipated appearance on Capitol Hill.

Mueller is testifying before two House committees on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

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