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White House spokesman refuses to say if Obama will ‘stand by’ Mubarak

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It’s the classic non-answer: At a White House press briefing Friday afternoon, reporters pelted outgoing Press Secretary Robert Gibbs with questions about the revolution in Egypt, but there was one key query he just could not address.

It was Associated Press reporter Ben Feller who lodged the unanswerable, asking Gibbs if President Barack Obama will “stand by” embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

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“Well, we are, again, monitoring a very fluid situation,” Gibbs replied. “I would point you to what I think we’ve said over the course of this, Ben, and that is this is not about picking a person or picking the people of a country.”

Mubarak, over more than three decades as his country’s leader, has been a key US and Israel ally.

The White House response mid-Friday, indicating hesitancy to support a longtime ally, was striking. This was especially so given Vice President Joe Biden’s suggestion Thursday night that Mubarak was not a “dictator” and should not resign in the face of unprecedented protests against his regime.

Gibbs added that the president was “very concerned” about the events in Egypt and would continue following the latest developments.

He further urged Egyptian authorities to turn the country’s Internet access back on, and to be more “responsive” to the people’s demands. Gibbs said the ruling regime must develop a way to address the “grievances” in Egyptian society.

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Above all, he urged Egyptian protesters and government forces to avoid violence at any cost.

At least five people have been killed and up to another 1,000 wounded across Egypt since protests began in earnest on Jan. 25, according to published reports.

This video is from The White House, broadcast Jan. 28, 2011.

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DOJ argues Congress can’t stop Trump Org from taking foreign payments — despite Constitution’s emoluments clause

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The so-called emoluments clause has been the center of a case that many legal scholars have been making that President Donald Trump is regularly violating the Constitution by continuing to accept payments from foreign governments via his businesses.

The Washington Post reports that an attorney from the Trump Department of Justice argued on Monday that the emoluments clause doesn't actually prevent Trump from accepting payments from foreign governments, even though the clause specifically states that "no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."

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Trump unleashes yet another maddening scandal as he opens the door to Saudi Arabian interference

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I don’t often talk about how mad I am. I don’t often talk about how mad I am, because talking often about how mad I am prevents me from speaking clearly and rationally. I want to speak clearly and rationally. There is so much need for speaking clearly and rationally amid the endless streams of waste and filth polluting our public discourse.

This article was originally published at The Editorial Board

But I can’t speak clearly and rationally at the expense of morality. Morality often begins with a feeling. The Gospels tell us of Jesus looking on the poor—he could hear and smell their misery—and he was “moved with pity.” But another way of putting it, another way of translating σπλαγχνισθεὶς, is that the rabbi felt compassion “in his guts.

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US Supreme Court lets stand Kentucky law with abortion restrictions

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The US Supreme Court on Monday let stand a Kentucky law that requires doctors to make patients seeking an abortion look at fetal images taken by echocardiogram and to listen to their heartbeat.

Without explanation, as is customary, the top US court refused to hear a suit challenging the state law, which was passed in 2017.

The law requires doctors to show patients echocardiogram images of the fetus and describe to them its size and organs and have them listen to its heartbeat if it is detectable, even if the patient objects.

Kentucky's authorities justified the measure as needed to obtain the patient's "informed consent" before proceeding with an abortion.

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