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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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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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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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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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

… Pressure on Trump The young Ohioan’s death may force President Donald Trump to take a tougher line with North Korea, a shift that could increase tensions with Beijing. “Like Obama, Trump has been talking tough, but continuing to pull punches on both North Korea and China,” Klingner said. Klingner pointed in particular to the Trump administration’s failure so far to apply “secondary sanctions” on Chinese companies that do business with North Korea, …

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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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‘The Plot Against America’ is even more relevant today

June 19, 2017

… a stage-managed, last-minute replacement candidate at the deadlocked 1940 GOP convention has an eerie chill to it. I now buy that the party behind tea protests and Trump had that kind of three-ring circus nonsense in its DNA all along. ‘America First’ President Calvin Coolidge,left, presents the National Geographic Society’s Hubbard Medal to Charles Lindbergh in the Capitol. Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock The more you read about Lindbergh’s real life, the more you feel …

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Miley Cyrus and Dolce & Gabbana are in a political Instagram feud. Alright!

June 19, 2017

Miley Cyrus is not noddin' her head like yeah to Dolce & GabbanaImage: Stevan A Henry/Getty Images The greatest celebrity social media beefs are the ones we never saw coming, and Miley Cyrus vs. Dolce & Gabbana over Melania Trump certainly checks that box. What a truly dizzying collection of proper nouns! It started, as these things often do, with one of the less famous members of a famous family getting a pretty sweet modeling gig thanks to his hard work and nothing else. …

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The controversial Trumped-up production of Julius Caesar was interrupted by protestors, and Twitter went off

June 19, 2017

The controversial production of Julius Caesar was hit by alt-right protests.Image: AFP/Getty Images Alt-right figures Jack Posobiec and Laura Loomer attempted to shut down a performance of Shakespeare in the Park’s controversial, Trump-themed production of Julius Caesar by storming the stage and condemning other audience members for their participation in the spectacle. The show was paused, but ultimately, not shut down. Loomer, a writer for right-wing Canadian website Rebel Media, took …

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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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Rosenstein must recuse himself from involvement in Mueller probe

June 17, 2017

… justification for Comey’s surprise termination. Join us on Twitter and Facebook The solicitor general, the lawyer who represents the United States in cases before the Supreme Court, had better stay close to the phone. (Trump has nominated Noel Francisco for that post; the acting solicitor general is Jeffrey Wall.) Like his famous predecessor, the Nixon administration’s Robert Bork, who played a key role in the “Saturday Night Massacre,” the solicitor general …

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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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Trump family makes first visit to Camp David

June 17, 2017

Washington (CNN)Think “Trump orbit” in a recreational sense, and it’s likely golf or gilded interiors come to mind — a vision of uber-comfortable playgrounds replete with ribeye steaks and crystal chandeliers. It’s an unusual decision for the President, who is widely known as someone who doesn’t like to disrupt his daily routine or spend weekends anywhere except at Trump-branded properties. …

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Trump delegates troop decisions, to praise and concern

June 17, 2017

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump’s decision to delegate authority over troop levels in Afghanistan has been lauded by those who feel he’s correcting Obama administration overreach, even as it raises concerns that he may be ceding too much civilian control of the military. Former defense officials say civilian oversight of the military is not just an important check in a healthy democracy, it ensures that larger strategic considerations are taken into account — while …

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