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US official in Cairo in wake of Mubarak downfall

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CAIRO – US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns arrived on Monday to take stock of the situation in Egypt 10 days after the downfall of Hosni Mubarak, the US embassy in Cairo said.

Besides meeting leaders of Egypt’s interim military-led administration, the Arabic-speaking veteran diplomat is to see representatives of civil society, the embassy said.

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In announcing his visit last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the United States would offer Egypt — already a big recipient of US aid — some $150 million to help its political and economic transition.

Burns comes to Cairo as revolt in the Arab world — inspired by the 18-day uprising against longtime president Mubarak and the earlier ouster of his Tunisian counterpart — widens from the Gulf to the Maghreb.

He arrived shortly before British Prime Minister David Cameron flew into Cairo to become the first foreign leader to visit Egypt since Mubarak’s resignation.

Speaking to reporters after a meeting with Arab League chief Amr Mussa, with whom he discussed unfolding developments in Egypt and the Middle East, Burns saluted Egyptians on the “historic transition to democracy”.

Washington looked forward to listening to the priorities of the new government and it would encourage “concrete steps” towards real political change, he said.

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“The United States looks forward to remaining a very strong partner of Egypt and the Egyptians,” Burns added.

“This is a moment of extraordinary promise for Egypt and Egyptians,” he said.

“It’s a historic transition to democracy; it’s a moment when voices and courage and sacrifice and the remarkable peaceful determination of Tahrir Square has been heard around the region and around the world.”

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He added: “We respect and admire what has been achieved — but we know that the way ahead is not going to be easy.”


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2020 Election

Andrea Mitchell knocks Biden for virtual convention speech: ‘How much does that damage the campaign?’

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MSNBC host Andrea Mitchell suggested to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Wednesday that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden could "damage" his campaign by holding a virtual convention speech.

Mitchell made the remark after President Donald Trump said that he was considering holding his convention speech at the White House.

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Pelosi disagreed by insisting that Democrats will hold a "great convention."

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2020 Election

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I’m not being hyperbolic or melodramatic when I say that democracy itself is on the line on November 3. Donald Trump has been on a mission to subvert our democracy and to push it toward an autocracy. No president has ever disavowed democracy like Trump. No president has ever wanted to change our democratic way of life like Trump.

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WATCH: Sally Yates clashes with Lindsey Graham for claiming Flynn was investigated over a policy difference

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Former acting attorney general Sally Yates testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee this Wednesday, answering questions regarding former national security adviser, Michael Flynn and his being the subject of surveillance under a United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court warrant, also known as a FISA warrant.

At one point, Yates went head-to-head with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) who accused her of partaking in a conspiracy to prosecute Flynn over a policy difference.

"You weren't investigating a crime, were you?" Graham asked Yates.

"We were investigating a counter-intelligence threat," Yates responded.

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