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White House: U.S. would ‘consider’ staying in Iraq past 2011

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The White House said Monday it would “consider” any Iraqi request for a US troop presence past 2011 as the war-torn country mourned the bloodiest violence in more than a year.

Spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that Washington’s “overall” posture “in terms of drawing down” was unchanged after the countrywide attacks, but that if Iraqi leaders “make some kind of request, we?ll certainly consider it.”

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His comments came after attacks in 17 cities across Iraq killed 67 people on Monday, including 40 in twin blasts blamed on Al-Qaeda in the southern city of Kut, in the country’s bloodiest day in more than a year.

The surge of violence raised questions over the competence of Iraq’s forces after its leaders agreed to open talks with the United States over a military training mission to last beyond a projected year-end American withdrawal.

The attacks, which also wounded more than 300 people, were quickly condemned by Iraqi leaders, with parliament speaker Osama al-Nujaifi blaming security leaders for unspecified “violations.”

In the worst attack, an 8:00 am (0500 GMT) roadside bomb in the center of Kut, 160 kilometers (100 miles) south of Baghdad, was followed minutes later by a nearby car bomb, medical and security officials said.

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Carney spoke as US President Barack Obama traveled here to launch a three-day bus tour through states key to his 2012 reelection bid, looking to reassure US voters worried and angry about the sour US economy.


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Ukraine blows up key Trump defense: Top officials knew of military aid freeze before it became public

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Top Ukrainian officials were alerted in early August that $391 million in U.S. military aid had been frozen as President Donald Trump sought to pressure the country to investigate Joe Biden.

That undercuts the president's latest defense arguing that the foreign ally couldn't have felt pressured because Ukraine was not yet aware that the aid had been frozen, reported the New York Times.

Former Ukraine ambassador Bill Taylor told Congress on Tuesday that the freeze was directly related to Trump's demand for an announcement that Biden was under investigation.

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Trump attorney shocks judge by claiming president could shoot somebody on 5th Avenue: ‘Nothing could be done’

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William Consovoy, an attorney for President Donald Trump, argued in court on Wednesday that President Donald Trump is immune from prosecution if he literally shoots someone on Fifth Avenue.

In a hearing before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan, Consovoy took the position that Trump is immune from a subpoena for his financial records, which are being investigated by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr.

At one point, Judge Denny Chin asked Consovoy about what he called the "Fifth Avenue example," referring to a Trump claim that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.

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‘Not a pretty picture’: Second-ranking GOP senator inches closer to impeachment after Bill Taylor testimony

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The second-ranking Republican senator sounded an alarm over testimony by the former Ukraine ambassador.

GOP Whip John Thune (R-SD) reacted to testimony Tuesday by veteran diplomat Bill Taylor, who told lawmakers that President Donald Trump directed efforts to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation of Joe Biden in exchange for congressionally approved military aid.

"The picture coming out based on the reporting we’ve seen is not a good one," Thune told reporters Wednesday, "but I would say until we have a process that allows to see this with full transparency it’s pretty hard to come to hard and fast conclusions."

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