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

June 22, 2017

… upon his return to the us. In a news conference last week, they disputed the North Korean regime’s claims that Warmbier had contracted botulism and slipped into a vegetative state after taking a sleeping pill. Dr. Daniel Kanter, director of UC Health’s Neurocritical Care Program, said Warmbier’s MRI scan showed “extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain” but no evidence of a skull fracture. “We have no certain or verifiable knowledge of …

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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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The secrets behind Kim Jong Un’s personal piggy bank

June 21, 2017

… funds accurately, as they’re likely hidden away. But a 2008 Congressional Research Service report said Pyongyang could generate anywhere from $500 million to $1 billion in profits annually from its ill-gotten gains. “North Korea will sell anything to anyone as long as they pay,” Anthony Ruggiero, a former deputy director of the us Treasury Department and an expert in the use of targeted financial measures, said at a panel sponsored by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies …

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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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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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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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Rock band The Slants’ victory in court secures your rights

June 20, 2017

(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, you are all more …

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

June 19, 2017

… un’ignorante. Non abbiamo bisogno dei tuoi post e dei tuoi commenti. La prossima volta ignoraci x favore!! #boycottdolcegabbana We are Italian and we don’t care about politics and mostly neither about the American one! We make dresses and if you think about doing politics with a post it’s simply ignorant. We don’t need your posts or comments so next time please ignore us!! #boycottdolcegabbana A post shared by stefanogabbana (@stefanogabbana) on Jun 17, 2017 at 6:09pm …

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Google exec’s op-ed lists 4-point plan to combat terrorism on YouTube

June 19, 2017

… taking to fight extremists who harness the power of tools like YouTube to spread their messages. “We will now devote more engineering resources to apply our most advanced machine learning research to train new ‘content classifiers’ to help us more quickly identify and remove [extremist and terrorism-related videos],” said Walker. “We will greatly increase the number of independent experts in YouTubes Trusted Flagger programme,” Walker continued, offering …

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Boomer Phelps’ Instagram is the best thing about social media these days

June 19, 2017

… so we did the only logical thing: called his mom. Nicole Phelps, 2010s Miss California usA and mother of the best baby on Instagram, gave us an inside look at all things Boomer, sharing the story behind his account and revealing who runs it, along with her son’s 2032 Olympic plans. But most importantly, she confirmed what we already knew to be true: the kid is freaking adorable. Here are a few of the many things we love about Boomer. Hes a mini Michael Phelps You know that saying, …

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A warning to Washington from Kansas

June 18, 2017

… credit rating intact, which was not the case in Kansas. Join us on Twitter and Facebook The legislation passed last week provides an additional $293 million in school funding, dollars that will help make up for the neglect that forced four of the state’s poorest districts to sue their own state government. Leaders in Washington should take note: constituents notice when programs they rely on every day are targeted. Call it tax reform, call it tax cuts, but it is no longer simple …

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DREAMers get well-deserved reprieve from Trump — for now

June 17, 2017

… people directly affected by DACA. It is a tribute to their activism and advocacy that this sensible plan will continue. But Trump’s decision must be seen in the context of his overall immigration enforcement strategies — because despite this development, immigrants continue to live in fear across the country. The DACA program provides temporary deportation relief and work permits for those who were brought to the us as children, have a clean record and undergo a …

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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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Kamala Harris is every woman who stands up to speak

June 16, 2017

(CNN)Washington may be a tough town where the big boys roam free, but apparently, freshman Sen. Kamala Devi Harris makes these career politicians nervous. Again and again during the Senate intelligence committee hearings into Russian interference in the 2016 elections, Harris, who is of black and Indian descent, has been reprimanded by her all-white male colleagues for simply doing her job: asking direct questions and expecting direct answers in return. Join us on Twitter and …

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Trump gives away his most consequential decision to the Pentagon

June 16, 2017

(CNN)President Trump has given Secretary of Defense James Mattis full authority to set us troop levels in Afghanistan. Fair enough. But there are — and should be — honest concerns about the degree to which the President’s hands-off approach to the military provides for a proper set of checks and balances and is healthy for civil-military relations in this country. This is not a man, let’s remember, well known for accepting personal responsibility for …

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Wenstrup: Baseball aside, we’re all playing for the same team

June 16, 2017

(CNN)I never expected a baseball field in America to feel like being back in a combat zone, but Wednesday morning it did. I was pulling on my batting gloves and heading to the batting cages along the first base line when I heard the crack of a rifle shot. I turned — only to hear my Mississippi colleague and fellow Iraq War veteran Trent Kelly yell, “shooter!” Join us on Twitter and Facebook Ultimately, the attacker in Alexandria was an example of the worst in this …

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Congressional baseball players: We must unite

June 16, 2017

… through violence. But it failed. When the Democratic team learned about what happened, our coach — Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania — gathered us in the dugout for safety and led us all in prayer. As I sat in the dugout, I was horrified as I thought about Whip Scalise, the heroic Capitol Police officers, and the young former and current Capitol Hill staffers who were injured. It could have been any one of us. This wasn’t just an attack on Republicans; it was an attack on our …

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

June 15, 2017

… doing exactly the right thing. You had no criticism of him. You felt that in fact he was a skilled professional prosecutor. You felt that his last statement in October was fully justified. So how can you go from those statements to agreeing with Mr. Rosenstein and then asking the President, or recommending he be fired? SESSIONS: I think, in retrospect, as all of us begin to look at that clearly and talk about it, as perspectives of the Department of Justice, once the director had first got …

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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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