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U.S. weighs blacklisting Haqqani network

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WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is considering placing the Haqqani network on its list of terror groups after blaming the militants for deadly attacks in Afghanistan, a US official said Monday.

Seven leaders of the Haqqani network, which operates from safe havens in Pakistan and was founded by former CIA asset Jalaluddin Haqqani and is run by his son Sirajuddin, have been placed under US sanctions since 2008.

The top US military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, directly accused Pakistan’s intelligence service on Thursday of supporting the Haqqani network’s attack on the US embassy in Kabul, a truck bombing on a NATO outpost and a June attack on Kabul’s InterContinental hotel.

Sangeen Zadran, Sirajuddin and Badruddin Haqqani have been designated by the State Department, while the Treasury has targeted four other Haqqani leaders: Nasiruddin Haqqani, Khalil Haqqani, Ahmed Jan Wazir and Fazl Rabi.

“Certainly FTO (foreign terrorist organization) designation is something under review,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner told reporters.

“But the idea that we haven’t gone after the Haqqani Network at all I think is a mischaracterization.”

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Washington has asked Islamabad in vain to launch on offensive in the restive tribal region of North Waziristan, a Haqqani bastion bordering Afghanistan.

“We believe that these kind of safe havens are extremely troubling and indeed a matter of great concern and dangerous development for both the United States and for Pakistan. So we want to see action taken against them,” Toner said.

The spokesman acknowledged “very clear challenges” in the US relationship with Pakistan, but insisted that President Barack Obama’s administration was committed to “working constructively” with Islamabad.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has called a rare cross-party conference for Thursday, although he dismissed the American allegations as little more than finding a scapegoat for US “disarray” in Afghanistan.

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And his army chief scrapped a visit to London on Monday as Islamabad refused to bow to mounting US demands for action against the Al-Qaeda-linked Haqqani extremists.

The alliance between Pakistan and the United States in the 10-year war in Afghanistan and against Al-Qaeda hit rock bottom this year in the wake of the unilateral American raid that killed Osama bin Laden near Islamabad on May 2.

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Meet the mysterious conservative lawyer who keeps turning up in the Russia probes

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A prominent conservative lawyer keeps showing up in dramas central to the Trump administration and its battles with Congress—and it turns out he has intimate knowledge of Felix Sater’s intelligence work for the U.S. government while he was working with Trump.

The Moscow-born Sater is the financial criminal and violent felon who worked closely with Trump for years while simultaneously serving as a long-term informant for the FBI and other national security agencies.

In 2015 and into mid-2016, Sater pushed for the development of a Trump Tower in Moscow with his old friend Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime fixer, while trying to enlist support from the Russian government for Trump’s campaign.

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House Democrats have a new list of ‘star witnesses’ who are beyond Trump’s reach: report

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According to a report from Politico, House leaders have developed a new plan to get what are called "star witnesses" to appear in public hearings who are outside of Donald Trump's ability to block them from speaking by asserting executive privilege.

With former Oval Office employees avoiding or ignoring subpoenas as the White House runs interference for them, investigators are eyeing people who were close to Donald Trump's 2016 campaign -- but were not government employees.

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How the Iraq war and the Great Recession of 2008 paved the way for the Trump catastrophe

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In my dream, it’s 2021. Donald Trump has lost by the biggest popular vote margin in history. (The Electoral College? Unanimous!) Criminal charges rain down on him. As squad cars ring Trump Tower, a nasal voice shouts, “Come and get me, dirty coppers!” From a bullhorn, the reply issues: “Come out with your tiny hands in the air!”

Nancy Pelosi must have dreams just like it. “Sources” say she seeks to quell impeachment by declaring she’d rather see Trump in jail. Who wouldn’t? But would the next batch of Barrs, Muellers and Rosensteins be any more likely than the last to get the job done? It’s a sweet dream, but a risky bet.

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