Is Mexico the world’s second most dangerous country, as Trump says? That depends

June 24, 2017

(CNN)President Donald Trump rankled Mexico again, this time calling it the second deadliest country in the world. If you go with raw numbers, Trump is right Trump is believed to be citing a report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies; he previously retweeted a link to a CNN story on the report published in May. The British think tank, which produces an annual armed conflict survey, said that in 2016, Mexico’s “intentional homicide total” …

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White House responds to Comey tape inquiry with Trump tweet

June 24, 2017

Washington (CNN)The White House is letting President Donald Trump’s tweet Thursday — asserting that he had not taped former FBI Director James Comey — stand as the President’s official statement. “In response to the Committee’s inquiry, we refer you to President Trump’s June 22, 2017, statement regarding this matter: “With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no …

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State Department plans to eliminate special envoy on Afghanistan, Pakistan

June 24, 2017

Washington (CNN)The State Department is planning to eliminate the position of Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, senior US officials confirmed to CNN Friday. But the decision to eliminate this particular post comes at a time when President Donald Trump’s administration is re-evaluating US military strategy in Afghanistan, potentially paving the way towards sending several thousand more troops to the country. That timing raises questions about where civilian leadership …

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Trump: ‘Bothersome’ that Mueller is ‘very good friends’ with Comey

June 24, 2017

(CNN)President Donald Trump said “we’re going to have to see” when asked about the future of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is reportedly investigating whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice. Trump fired Comey over dissatisfaction with how the FBI head was handling the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein later appointed Mueller, a former FBI director, as special counsel to oversee the …

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Gowdy decries leaks out of Coats meeting with House intelligence

June 23, 2017

Washington (CNN)Rep. Trey Gowdy on Thursday warned his fellow lawmakers about leaking information from closed briefings. His comments came after CNN’s report that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers met individually last week with the Senate intelligence committee in two closed briefings that were described to CNN by Democratic and Republican congressional sources. …

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Little movement on White House probe into voter fraud

June 23, 2017

Washington (CNN)On Super Bowl Sunday this year, President Donald Trump told Fox News that Vice President Mike Pence would head a commission into voter fraud allegations — ones that he made, claiming that between three to five million people voted illegally in the 2016 election. But state-level commission members say if they were to get underway, Russia should be center stage. …

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No tapes? Trump has us through the looking glass

June 23, 2017

(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 have no idea…” …

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

June 22, 2017

(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 …

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Anger over Warmbier death grows amid calls for travel ban

June 21, 2017

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 said military options for North …

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

June 21, 2017

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 filming at the Senate carriage entrance Tuesday between 11:20 a.m. and …

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

June 21, 2017

(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 a member of the committee. …

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Warmbier death raises pressure on White House

June 20, 2017

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 as far as North America. …

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Appeals court clears way for review of immigrant vetting

June 20, 2017

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 executive order that attempted to limit …

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Florida governor: Zuckerberg missed out by skipping Trump meeting

June 20, 2017

(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 year. It’s a bid that Trump …

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There’s a good reason governments aren’t startups

June 19, 2017

Jeb Bush wearing a hoodie in a video message to Mark Zuckerberg.Image: shutterstock/jeb!/mashable composite The hot new name in tech is France, a centuries-old startup that provides security, healthcare, and education in exchange for taxes. Newly elected French president Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that the country needs to “think and move more like a startup” and, presumably, less like a stodgy social democracy. SEE ALSO: Trump’s treasury secretary is ‘not worried …

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Early vote tally foretells soaring turnout in most expensive House race ever

June 19, 2017

(CNN)More than 140,000 voters had cast their ballots by the time early voting in Georgia closed Friday — another indication of sky-high turnout in the closely watched runoff for a House seat between Democrat Jon Ossoff and Republican Karen Handel. The pool of early voters includes more than 36,000 who did not participate in the April primary contest for the seat, which was vacated when former Rep. Tom Price became President Donald Trump’s health and human services secretary, …

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DREAMers get well-deserved reprieve from Trump — for now

June 17, 2017

(CNN)Score a partial victory for immigration activists. Donald Trump’s administration has announced that the so-called DREAMers — young people who were brought to this country illegally as children — will be allowed to stay and work here legally after all. These young people were beneficiaries of President Barack Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which celebrated its fifth anniversary this week. This is welcome news for the young …

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Why we still really need to see Donald Trump’s tax returns

June 17, 2017

(CNN)President Donald Trump released a 98-page financial disclosure form Friday, detailing the broad outlines of his wealth but still leaving a number of unanswered questions about the specifics of not only Trump’s income but also the details of his vast holdings. Trump raked in $288 million from his golf courses alone; he made at least $37 million from Mar-a-Lago, his Florida resort and a frequent weekend stomping ground for the first family. The big problem with financial …

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Washington Post: Mueller investigating Jared Kushner’s business dealings

June 16, 2017

Washington (CNN)The business dealings of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and trusted aide Jared Kushner are being investigated by Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller, the Washington Post reported Thursday, citing officials familiar with the matter. Mueller’s investigation is still in a relatively early phase, and it is unclear if any criminal charges will be brought when it is complete, the Post pointed out. Sources have stressed to CNN that there is no indication …

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Cuba-US relations: 6 key things you need to know

June 16, 2017

Havana (CNN)President Donald Trump is set to announce Friday, before an audience of anti-Castro Cuban exiles in Miami, that he is rolling back parts of the Obama administration’s opening with Cuba. Trump will chill Obama’s warmer relations with Cuba, officials say What Trump has said about Castro …

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Jeff Sessions’ explanation for firing Comey just doesn’t make sense

June 15, 2017

Washington (CNN)Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried to have his cake and eat it too when it came to his explanations during congressional testimony Tuesday for the firing of FBI Director James Comey. On the other hand, Sessions told the Senate intelligence committee that he and deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had discussed removing Comey as FBI director and agreed that it was time for a “fresh start” at the bureau before either man was confirmed to their current …

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Trump makes hospital visit after congressional baseball shooting

June 15, 2017

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump made an evening visit to the hospital where a critically wounded US congressman is receiving treatment Wednesday. The couple brought two large bouquets of white flowers for the injured lawmaker’s wife, as well as for Crystal Griner, a US Capitol Police officer also wounded in the gun attack. His appearance was shorter than his predecessor’s post-shooting statements, and did not contain political overtures, as President Barack …

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5 things we learned at Jeff Sessions’ hearing

June 14, 2017

Washington (CNN)Attorney General Jeff Sessions captivated Washington Tuesday, beating back rumors of a private meeting with Russia’s ambassador to the US and mounting a defense for President Donald Trump, one week after former FBI Director James Comey artfully unloaded on both men. Here are the top five things we learned. …

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VA chief on Cabinet meeting: We weren’t told to do it

June 14, 2017

(CNN)There was no script for President Donald Trump’s first full Cabinet meeting, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin said Tuesday. Shulkin said the meeting was “very productive,” and that he was able to discuss how the Cabinet could help the VA advance its agenda. ‘A very good meeting’ “It was a very good meeting actually,” Shulkin said. “We had a chance … to talk about issues in depth.” One issue President Trump …

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