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discus63/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- As questions about Russian interference in the 2020 presidential election continue to loom over both the president’s reelection campaign and the Democratic primary, President Donald Trump on Tuesday again denied that he’s receiving help from Russia, stressing he doesn’t want any assistance from any foreign powers.

“First of all, I want no help from any country, and I haven't been given help from any country,” Trump told reporters Tuesday, despite his telling less than a year ago ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos that he would accept damaging information against his 2020 rivals.

For the better part of a week, the White House has maintained that the president was not personally briefed on the intelligence community’s reported findings that Russia is again delivering a misinformation campaign aimed at helping Trump win reelection.

During a news conference in New Delhi, Trump again said “nobody ever told me” Russia is helping his campaign and again pointed at his national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, who joined Trump on his trip to India, to validate his denial.

On Sunday, on ABC's "This Week," O'Brien also denied that he or Trump have been briefed that Russia is meddling in the election to help the president.

“We have Ambassador O’Brien in the audience. He can tell you that this was never discussed with us,” Trump said. “So I think it's terrible. They ought to stop the leaking from Intelligence Committee.”

At the news conference, Trump again accused House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of leaking classified information from a briefing the administration gave the committee earlier this month, where Shelby Pierson, a senior election security official in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told lawmakers that Russia is spreading disinformation on social media aimed at helping Trump win another four years in office this fall.

“I think it was leaks from the Intelligence Committee, House version. And I think that they leaked it, I think probably Schiff leaked, and some people within there,” Trump said, repeating an unfounded allegation he first cast on Sunday as he departed the White House for the two-day trip abroad. “Schiff leaked it, in my opinion, and he shouldn't be leaking things like that.”

While denying Russia is helping his own campaign, Trump has instead seized on reports that Russia is helping Democratic presidential front-runner Sen. Bernie Sanders win the party’s nomination.

He’s focused on reports that some Democrats are concerned about Sanders’ surging candidacy, charging that the Democratic establishment is working to keep the self-described democratic socialist from locking up nomination.

“He has a head of steam and they maybe don't want him, for obvious reasons. So they don’t want him, so they put out a thing that Russia is backing him. This is what [Democrats] do,” Trump said following reports Russia is boosting Sanders in the Vermont senator’s quest for the Democratic nomination. “I have gone through it for a long time. I get it. I get the game better than anybody. And that's the way it is.”

The conflicting accounts have created competing narratives about who Russia is helping, although it’s possible that Russia’s social media blitz is pumping up both Trump and Sanders.

After three top Senate Democrats urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to sanction Russia over its 2020 election interference, Pompeo condemned election interference, though he expressed doubt on whether Russia is actively interfering.

While he did not announce any new penalties against Russia, Pompeo said election meddling is "unacceptable" and the administration "will always work to protect the integrity of our elections, period, full stop."

"Should Russia or any foreign actor take steps to undermine our democratic processes, we will take action in response," Pompeo told reporters at the State Department Tuesday.

Pompeo has consistently downplayed Russia's interference in the 2016 election, saying Moscow has interfered in U.S. presidential elections for decades or -- as he did today -- saying it's not unique to America, with Russian agents "sowing division and distrust" among many countries' citizens, "from Belarus to Zimbabwe."

Pompeo said he warned Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov against Russian interference in U.S. elections when they met on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference on Feb. 14.

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Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(WASHINGTON) -- As the novel coronavirus continues to spread around the globe, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused the governments of China and Iran of censoring information about the outbreaks in their countries and putting the rest of the world at greater risk of its spread.

The top U.S. diplomat's sharp tone towards Beijing was matched by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, who told Congress on Tuesday that the world is not getting reliable data out of China on issues like mortality rates.

But President Donald Trump seems to be out of sync with both of his Cabinet members and other top officials, praising Chinese President Xi Jinping and his government's handling of the outbreak even as his own administration's response comes under fire from Republican and Democratic members of Congress.

"Censorship. It can have deadly consequences," Pompeo said Tuesday at the State Department. "Had China permitted its own and foreign journalists and medical personnel to speak and investigate freely, Chinese officials and other nations would have been far better prepared to address the challenge."

The flow of accurate information out of China, he added, is critical to assisting not just the Chinese people, but also "citizens across the world." He called on all governments to "tell the truth about coronavirus and cooperate with international aid organizations."

Testifying before the Senate Appropriations Committee, Azar said the administration is also uncertain if the data provided by China on the novel coronavirus outbreak has been full and transparent.

But both of those were at odds with Trump's own remarks just two days ago, praising Xi for "working very, very hard" and "doing a very good job."

"It's a big problem, but President Xi, he's working very hard to solve the problem, and he will solve the problem," Trump told reporters at the White House Sunday.

Trump also showered praise on his own administration's response in the U.S., saying Tuesday in India, "We have very few people with it. ... We're really down to probably 10. Most of the people are outside of danger now."

There have been 57 confirmed cases of the virus in the U.S., with three now released from hospital and no longer thought to be contagious. The majority of those -- 43 of the 57 -- are Americans repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship or Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak. Only 14 are individuals that either arrived in the U.S. from China and checked into a hospital or caught the virus in the U.S. from a loved one who had traveled overseas.

But officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Tuesday that the most recent data suggests another level of virus spread globally, with cases identified in more countries now and another level of virus spread.

"The data over the last week has raised our level of concern," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

During his news conference in India, Trump also said the U.S. is "very close to a vaccine."

But his acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told Congress Tuesday the U.S. was at least "months" away from developing one, with other advisers testifying one was still a full year away.

The various answers vexed Republican Sen. John Kennedy, who told Wolf his "numbers aren't the same as the CDC's. ... Don't you think you oughta contact them?"

Trump's administration has requested $2.5 billion from Congress for emergency supplemental funds to combat COVID-19, the virus's formal name. That funding would come from a $1.25 billion emergency cash requested from Congress as well as reprogramming existing money, including money Congress allocated to fight Ebola.

Democrats condemned the move as both insufficient to deal with the crisis and a short-sighted effort "to steal funds dedicated to fight Ebola," in the words of Sen. Chuck Schumer, amid the second largest outbreak of that deadly disease still lingering the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The request "is indicative of his towering incompetence and further proof that he and his administration aren’t taking the coronavirus crisis as seriously as they need to be," the Senate Democratic Minority Leader added Monday.

It's not just Democrats, however, who have challenged the administration's response. Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told Azar the administration's "request... is low-balling it possibly, and you can't afford to do that. ... If you low-ball something like this, you'll pay for it later."

Trump's top diplomat for Europe and his State Department also warned that Russia was spreading disinformation about the novel coronavirus outbreak on Saturday. Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Europe Philip Reeker and the agency's Global Engagement Center, which combats terrorist propaganda and foreign government disinformation, told AFP news agency that thousands of Russian-linked social media accounts are actively spreading alarm about the outbreak in a coordinated effort, including accusing the U.S. of creating the virus.

Pompeo said nothing about Russia's role Tuesday. But he did attack Iran's government for censorship as well.

"The United States is deeply concerned by information indicating the Iranian regime may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak in that country," he said, noting Iran is second to China in COVID-19 deaths.

Dr. Iraj Harirchi, the head of Iran's counter-coronavirus task force, tested positive for the virus himself, authorities announced Tuesday -- one day after he appeared at a news conference downplaying the danger posed by the outbreak in Iran and opposing a quarantine of Qom, the city with the largest number of infected patients and fatalities in Iran.

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Courtesy of Brad Kane(NEW YORK) -- The race is on to find a rare duck who was spotted in Central Park with a piece of plastic stuck between its beak.

Veteran bird watcher Brad Kane took a picture of the female Common Merganser, which is not common to the park, swimming in the park's lake and posted it on Twitter Saturday. Kane noticed what appeared to be either a rubber band or a piece of plastic that was stuck between its beak and neck.

Kane told ABC News this is extremely dangerous for the bird because the plastic prevents it from eating and diving for food.

"It’s almost like a bridle and preventing it from closing its mouth. It’s a fish-eating bird so if it can’t dive it can’t eat," he said. "It's awful. It means it's going through a long and painful suffering."

After Kane's photo went viral, park rangers searched the pond Monday and Tuesday for the duck, but as of Tuesday evening they had found no sign of it.

In the duck's current condition it's still able to fly and swim, according to Megan Moriarty, a spokeswoman for the New York City Parks Department.

"The goal is to rescue the bird, remove the plastic, and transport the animal to the Wild Bird Fund so they can assess its overall health," she said in a statement.

The Parks Department is urging anyone who spots the bird to call park rangers at 212-360-2774.

This weekend, New York state will institute a ban on plastic bags at all grocery stores in an attempt to curb the amount of plastic in the environment. Kane said the ban is beneficial for the city's wildlife and would prevent incidents like this.

"No one likes to see nature suffer, and that is indeed what’s happening to this bird," he said. "It brings home the message of how dangerous plastic is to wildlife."

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tonefotografia/iStock(NEW YORK) -- It's an all-too-common complaint among families who fly: pay an additional charge to make sure you children are seated with you or run the risk of having even babies and toddlers seated among strangers.

The practice of paying for an advance seat assignment used to apply only to low-cost, no frills carriers like Spirit. But in recent years, major airlines like American, Delta and United have also tacked on a fee that consumer advocates say disproportionately targets families.

"Airlines can easily fix this, but they haven’t. Doing so would mean giving up millions of dollars in fees from parents who simply want to keep their kids safe," reads a new petition from Consumer Reports, which has more than 60,000 signatures so far.

It comes after Consumer Reports used the Freedom of Information Act to look at complaints against the airlines on this topic.

"In multiple cases, children under 5 years old were seated apart from the adults traveling with them," an article read. "Consumers resorted to asking strangers to trade seats or, when that failed, were asked to deplane or chose to leave out of concern for their children. In the worst cases, families who had to re-book their flight to ensure they were seated together paid thousands of dollars more, in one case totaling $4,341 more and in another case totaling an additional $14,084."

Consumer Reports filed the FOIA request in the summer of 2018 to find out the status of the 2016 Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016, which included a provision that required the Department of Transportation to review airline family seating policies to ensure young children can sit with their families on airplanes at no cost.

"One year later [after the summer 2018 request], CR got a response to its FOIA request and learned that the agency doesn't plan to ask the airlines to make any changes to their family seating policies," Consumer Reports told "Good Morning America" via email. "The DOT cited a lack of complaints for its decision not to act. This fall, CR began publicizing the issue and, in just two weeks, generated three times as many complaints as the DOT received in the previous two years."

The petition, found here, reads:

"To American, Delta, and United Airlines:

"Children 13 or under should sit with their families while flying, and should not be charged extra fees to do so. Complaints have been filed against your airline for separating children as young as age 2 from their families. This is a security hazard for the child and a safety threat to all passengers during emergencies. It also puts an inappropriate burden on customers who sit next to an unaccompanied child.

"I expect you to put safety over profits, and seat children with their families without charging them extra for it."

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ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) -- Sure, he starred as the titular hero Darkman back in the day, and played the heavy Ra's al Ghul in Batman Begins, but Liam Neeson says he's done with superhero movies.

While he doesn't go full Scorsese -- expressing he does "admire" them -- Neeson tells Entertainment Tonight, "I'm really not a huge fan of the genre."

He adds, "I think it's Hollywood with all the bells and whistles and the technical achievements and stuff -- which I admire -- but I have no desire to go into the gym for three hours every day to pump myself up to squeeze into a Velcro suit with a cape."

He adds, diplomatically, "I admire the actors and I know some of the actors who do it, and do it fantastically."

For that matter, while he did revisit his Star Wars: Episode I character Qui-Gon Jinn -- at least in voiceover, in both Star Wars: The Clone Wars, and in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker -- fans shouldn't expect Neeson to wield a lightsaber again, either.

"The first Star Wars, I was in that, that was 22 years ago, and I enjoyed that, because it was novel and that was new. I was acting to tennis balls, which were ultimately going to be little fuzzy, furry creatures and stuff. That was interesting, acting-wise, to try and make that seem real, but that was the last. It's quite exhausting."

However, Neeson, who in his 60s became an action movie star with the Taken series and similar thrillers, isn't similarly done with that genre.

"I'm just trying to make them real, even though they're absolutely crazy Tom and Jerry-esque type situations. But I try. If it's dumb dialogue..."

He confesses, "Sometimes it works, other times, it doesn't."

Neeson currently co-stars in the drama Ordinary Love.

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ABC News(DAEGU, South Korea) -- A family member of a U.S. service member has been diagnosed with coronavirus -- officially called COVID-19 -- in South Korea, as the number of cases in that country continues to explode and the U.S. military considers scaling back its exercises with South Korean forces due to the virus.

In a press release on Monday, U.S. Forces Korea announced that it had been informed by South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that a military dependent living in Daegu had tested positive for COVID-19. It marks the first time a U.S. Forces Korea-related individual tested positive for the virus, the release said.

In a tweet on Monday, the commander of U.S. Forces Korea Gen. Robert Abrams identified the 61-year old female patient as the widow of a retired soldier.

"We are saddened to hear of her contracting the virus," Abrams tweeted. "We pray for her recovery."

According to the release, the woman visited the Camp Walker Post Exchange on Feb. 12 and 15. Korean and American military health professionals are now "actively conducting contact tracing to determine whether any others may have been exposed."

In response, U.S. Forces Korea has ordered personnel to limit non-mission essential in-person meetings, gatherings, and temporary duty travel and assignments. It's also warned personnel to "expect longer wait times, possible temperature checks and screening questionnaires at gates to access installations" and instructed personnel to limit off-installation travel. The overall risk of COVID-19 to U.S. military personnel on the Korean Peninsula is now characterized as "high."

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Monday that the U.S. may scale back military exercises with South Korean forces due to the spread of the virus.

At a Pentagon press conference with the South Korean defense minister, Esper said that military commanders "are looking at scaling back the command post training due to concerns about the coronavirus," though no decision has been made.

Over the weekend, the U.S. State Department raised the travel advisory level for South Korea and Japan to level 2, citing the COVID-19 outbreak. The alerts say that "sustained community spread has been reported in South Korea," meaning people in both countries "have been infected with the virus, but how or where they became infected is not known, and the spread is ongoing."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also issued its highest travel warning for South Korea on Monday, telling Americans to avoid non-essential travel and citing limited access to medical care in areas affected by the virus.

As of Tuesday, more than 975 cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in South Korea, many in the southeastern city of Daegu where the soldier's widow contracted the virus. The nation has also seen 11 COVID-19 related deaths.

Alex Johnson, an American living in Daegu with his family, told ABC News on Sunday that "daily life has changed for us."

"Everybody's wearing masks and gloves," he said.

Video taken by Johnson showed empty streets and closed restaurants.

"And if you look at this coffee shop here, this says right here: Corona-19 Virus," Johnson said pointing to a sign on the coffee shop window. "They're closed because of the virus. They're not closed because they had a virus problem here, but they're closed because they had a safety. So basically, most people in our neighborhood are just staying indoors and they're not going out and doing anything."

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TuelekZa/iStock(NEW YORK) -- The Puerto Rico women’s basketball team is going to the 2020 Olympics and are making history in the process.

The team has qualified for the Olympics for the first time ever, according to the International Basketball Federation. Although they lost to France in an 89-51 final at the qualifying tournament on Feb. 9, the team secured their spot after Brazil was eliminated by Australia.

“It was an emotional moment ... an exciting moment," Tayra Meléndez, a forward on the national team, told ABC News about their triumphant win.

The women's basketball team has now become the fifth team in Puerto Rico's history to participate in the Olympic games, following men's basketball, baseball, women's volleyball and women's softball.

Inspiring an Island

The team’s victory is especially significant as the island continues to reel from recent deadly earthquakes, including a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that rattled the island on Jan. 7, leaving one person dead, destroying several homes and leaving thousands without power. Residents on the island are also still recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Maria’s devastation in September 2017.

"Hurricane Maria was big for us ... it was hard. It was a time where everybody suffered on the island. It was really, really tough," Gerardo "Jerry" Batista, the head coach of the team, told ABC News.

"[We were] trying to bring some good news to the people of Puerto Rico. That was great for us ... that was the goal, that was the motivation," Batista said.

Meléndez, 26, was born in Puerto Rico and later moved to Massachusetts with her parents. During her childhood, she recalls growing up on the island with her grandmother, who later passed away. Meléndez, who changed her jersey number in memory of her grandmother, said that she's grateful for the chance to carry on her family's legacy.

“She loved Puerto Rico more than anything in this world ... when I put that jersey on, it’s a reminder of everything beautiful that is that island," Meléndez said.

She said that despite all the obstacles that her fellow teammates have faced both "emotionally and physically," every challenge has only brought them closer together as a team.

"We are a family within each other," Meléndez said.

Supporting Women in Sports

Coach Batista believes that the island’s commitment and investment into the team have played a major role in the team’s success. He said that Yum Ramos, president of the Puerto Rican Basketball Federation, is among those supporters.

Ramos, who was elected to the role in 2016 after serving as tournament director for the women’s professional league, said his administration has consistently ensured that the Puerto Rico women’s basketball team was made a priority.

Not only did the team receive additional financial support, including new uniforms and increased salaries, but their financial support has now matched their male counterparts.

For Ramos, his personal dedication to the team derives from his upbringing with his mom teaching him the importance of "treating women equally."

"We believe in them ... and gave them everything they needed to be successful," Ramos told ABC News.

Meléndez, who was named director of Basketball Operations at Bryant University in Rhode Island last year, said she's especially proud of how far the team has come considering the sacrifices that many of the players have made to play -- including several of them also balancing other side gigs.

"My advice to any young girl would be to love the process ... love every minute of it. The good days and the bad days ... [and] with time, you’ll see the results," she said.

The 2020 Olympics kick off on July 24 in Tokyo.

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