Breaking with tradition, Trump White House forgoes Ramadan dinner

June 25, 2017

(CNN)For the first time in nearly two decades, the White House did not host an iftar dinner to commemorate Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. “Muslims in the United States joined those around the world during the holy month of Ramadan to focus on acts of faith and charity,” they said. “Now, as they commemorate Eid with family and friends, they carry on the tradition of helping neighbors and breaking bread with people from all walks of life.” …

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We now live in a world in which White House press briefings must be drawn to be seen

June 25, 2017

CNN sent a sketch artist to cover Spicer's Friday meeting.Image: Bill Hennessy When life gives you off-camera White House press briefings, make your Supreme Court sketch artist draw them. That seems to have been CNN’s thought, anyway. SEE ALSO: Twitter comedian Mike Huckabee burns CNN with 100% flawless joke The network sent its Supreme Court sketch artist Bill Hennessy to visit White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s domain on Friday. While he didn’t have his easel to …

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Editor’s Note

June 24, 2017

On June 22, 2017, CNN.com published a story connecting Anthony Scaramucci with investigations into the Russian Direct Investment Fund. …

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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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Amid partisanship, lawmakers unite for White House picnic

June 23, 2017

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 OK.” …

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Obama on Senate bill: It’s ‘not a health care bill’

June 23, 2017

Washington (CNN)President Barack Obama on Thursday spoke out against a proposed GOP Senate bill that dismantles the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The GOP-proposed bill would repeal Obamacare’s individual mandate, drastically cut back federal support of Medicaid, and eliminate Obamacare’s taxes on the wealthy, insurers and others. …

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

June 23, 2017

(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

June 22, 2017

(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 the stricken …

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New US sanctions on Russia inflame old tensions

June 22, 2017

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

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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The secrets behind Kim Jong Un’s personal piggy bank

June 21, 2017

(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 track these illicit …

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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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Conservatives on Capitol Hill anxiously await health care bill

June 21, 2017

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 they’ve gotten pretty weak-kneed and I think they want to keep it,” …

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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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Senate intel digs for more Michael Flynn documents

June 21, 2017

(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

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

June 20, 2017

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 …

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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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