• Amid partisanship, lawmakers unite for White House picnic
  • Obama on Senate bill: It’s ‘not a health care bill’
  • Little movement on White House probe into voter fraud
  • No tapes? Trump has us through the looking glass
  • Georgia 6th loss isn’t the death knell for Democrats

Amid partisanship, lawmakers unite for White House picnic

Washington (CNN)Lawmakers took a rare break from bitter partisan politics and went to the White House Thursday evening for a good old-fashioned picnic. “We’ve gotten to know many of you over the last weeks and months, and developed many friendships with politicians,” Trump said in brief remarks to lawmakers. “Can you believe it? Some really great people, I have to say, mostly. Mostly. A couple of bad ones, but that’s…

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No tapes? Trump has us through the looking glass

(CNN)As the Mad Hatter of the White House tweeted his response to Congress’s questions on Thursday about the existence of audiotapes related to James B. Comey’s firing as FBI director, he stayed true to character. “I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings,” President Trump announced. But he also added that “with all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I…

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Georgia 6th loss isn’t the death knell for Democrats

(CNN)The facile headlines the morning after the Georgia 6th donnybrook wrote themselves: Politics ain’t horseshoes. A loss is a loss and Democrats lost a race they had hoped to win Tuesday night. Republicans escaped a disaster that would have sent tremors through Capitol Hill. The shaky effort to scrap Obamacare escaped a potentially deadly setback, as a loss would have further shaken timorous Senate Republicans at a critical juncture.

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Father pays tribute to son who died aboard the USS Fitzgerald

(CNN)The words that leaked from Darrold Martin’s lips pulled at the heartstrings of CNN’s Brooke Baldwin — and her audience. One missed call Thirty-six minutes after the collision, 24-year-old Martin tried to reach his father. “The way we communicated was with WhatsApp,” Martin said, referring to the instant-messaging service. Martin could tell from his phone that his son had tried to reach him — likely as water was rushing into…

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What an autopsy may (or may not) have revealed about Otto Warmbier’s death

(CNN)What happened to Otto Warmbier while he was in North Korean custody is a mystery. And it’s likely to remain that way. Following his death on Monday, Warmbier’s parents Cindy and Fred asked the coroner not to perform an autopsy on their son. “No conclusions about the cause and manner of Mr. Warmbier’s death have been drawn at this time, as there are additional medical records and imaging to review…

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New US sanctions on Russia inflame old tensions

Washington (CNN)Russia’s frustration with the Trump administration boiled over Wednesday, with Moscow abruptly canceling talks designed to improve ties with the US and threatening retaliation for sanctions the White House renewed Tuesday. Analysts say that Russia’s leaders also want to convey in no uncertain terms that, after waiting for Trump to establish warmer ties, they’re now ready to get more adversarial if need be.

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Rep. Quigley: Kushner’s clearance ‘absolutely’ should be suspended

(CNN)President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top aide Jared Kushner should “absolutely” have his security clearance suspended, Rep. Mike Quigley told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer in an interview Wednesday afternoon. Cummings’ letter criticized the White House for allowing fired national security adviser Michael Flynn to keep a security clearance despite concerns raised by then-acting Attorney General Sally Yates that he could be vulnerable to blackmail based on intelligence assessments that she reviewed;…

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The secrets behind Kim Jong Un’s personal piggy bank

(CNN)When the world’s most mysterious leader arrives for a parade, he steps out of a black Mercedes Benz and onto a red carpet. “North Korea has blatantly violated international law with their nuclear testing, illicit sales, and the ramping up of their nuclear program,” said Republican Representative Doug Lamborn, a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a leading advocate for missile defense in Washington. It’s nearly impossible to…

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Anger over Warmbier death grows amid calls for travel ban

Washington (CNN)Anger over Otto Warmbier’s fate continued to build Tuesday, with lawmakers declaring his death a “murder” and calling for travel restrictions to North Korea while the Trump administration considered how to respond. The calls for a response come as spy satellites detected new activity at North Korea’s underground nuclear test site for the first time in several weeks, according to two US officials who spoke to CNN. They also…

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Marco Rubio opens Twitter ‘investigation’ into failed Ivanka Trump hug

Washington (CNN)Sen. Marco Rubio went on a tweetstorm Tuesday afternoon after his greeting with Ivanka Trump on Capitol Hill earlier that day went viral. He also added that he and his team were attempting to obtain video footage of the encounter to expose what really happened between himself and the White House adviser and first daughter. A call for help came next, when Rubio asked those who happened to be…

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Conservatives on Capitol Hill anxiously await health care bill

Washington (CNN)Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might be on the verge of releasing a bill to repeal Obamacare, but he’s got conservatives to convince before he can be sure he has the votes to pass it. “I think they’ve forgotten all the rallies where we said we’re going to repeal it. We had thousands of people standing up and cheering us on, saying we’re going to repeal it and now…

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Speier: ‘I absolutely do’ think Trump made up the tapes

(CNN)Throngs of journalists and political pundits are hanging on Trump press secretary Sean Spicer’s every word, hoping he’ll confirm or deny the existence of tapes of conversations between President Donald Trump and fired FBI Director James Comey. The comments from the California Democrat come just days ahead of a deadline set by the House intelligence committee that pushes Trump to address the issue of tapes by week’s end. Speier is…

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Senate intel digs for more Michael Flynn documents

(CNN)The leaders of the Senate Russia investigation are probing for more information from former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a process that is ongoing as he provides additional documents in response to their subpoenas. Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the investigation, said they planned to discuss more what they were looking for in the second batch of documents they are seeking from Flynn.

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Warmbier death raises pressure on White House

Washington (CNN)Otto Warmbier’s death as a result of his treatment in North Korea could increase calls for the US to take a tougher line on China, as the two nations prepare to meet in Washington on Wednesday. It’s an approach that resembles the Obama administration strategy and, observers say, has shown no greater success in slowing Pyongyang’s steady march towards developing nuclear weapons and the missile capability to deliver them…

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Rock band The Slants’ victory in court secures your rights

(CNN)In the 1971 free speech case, Cohen v. California, the Supreme Court said, “One man’s vulgarity is another’s lyric.” That rings very true today. Now, I get to say: “I told you so.” Join us on Twitter and Facebook Justice Kennedy summed it up perfectly: “By mandating positivity, the law here might silence dissent and distort the marketplace of ideas.” Today, because of a little-known band and a naughty word,…

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Rep. Jacky Rosen to challenge Sen. Dean Heller in Nevada

Washington (CNN)Democratic Rep. Jacky Rosen is expected to run for Senate in Nevada, challenging incumbent Republican Sen. Dean Heller, according to sources. The National Republican Senatorial Committee quickly criticized Rosen’s announcement and name-checked senior Democratic Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, a favorite Republican punching bag. “With today’s news, Jacky Rosen confirmed to Nevadans the only reason she’s in elected office is to serve her own ambitions,” said NRSC Spokesman Michael McAdams….

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Appeals court clears way for review of immigrant vetting

Washington (CNN)While the most controversial provisions of the President’s revised ban blocking travel to the US remain tied up in the courts, a federal appeals court formally cleared the way late Monday for different portions of the executive order to move forward. Last week a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals largely affirmed a lower court’s decision to halt the core provisions of President Donald Trump’s revised…

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Alexandria police chief details response to baseball shooting

Washington (CNN)While the FBI conducts its criminal investigation of last week’s congressional baseball practice shooting, on Monday Alexandria’s police chief described to reporters the quick and courageous actions of law enforcement officers and first responders who rushed to the scene at Simpson Park. “You can’t teach the kind of courage and instincts that I saw from (those) three officers,” Brown said.

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Florida governor: Zuckerberg missed out by skipping Trump meeting

(CNN)Many of the nation’s top tech CEOs met with President Donald Trump again at the White House on Monday, but there were some notable exceptions: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk of Tesla and SpaceX. Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott, himself a former businessman, said that created a “missed opportunity” for them. The interview comes as Scott faces growing speculation about whether he will run for the US Senate next…

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China’s Answer to the World Bank Pledges to Do More by Itself

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank pledged to embark on more projects as the sole lender, as it boosts its membership and manages an investment pipeline of up to $7 billion. The fledgling development bank, now in its second year, has already taken on projects by itself and it will do more going forward, AIIB President Jin Liqun said on Saturday in Jeju, South Korea, following the institution’s second annual conference….

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