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Al-Qaeda says ‘meticulously executed’ Benghazi attack ‘revenge’ for number two’s death

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Al-Qaeda said the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya was in revenge for the killing of the network’s number two Sheikh Abu Yahya al-Libi, SITE Intelligence Group reported Saturday.

“The killing of Sheikh Abu Yahya only increased the enthusiasm and determination of the sons of (Libyan independence hero) Omar al-Mokhtar to take revenge upon those who attack our Prophet,” Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said in a statement, quoted by the US-based monitoring group.

Al-Qaeda’s Yemen-based offshoot did not claim direct responsibility for Tuesday’s attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans.

But it stressed that “the uprising of our people in Libya, Egypt and Yemen against America and its embassies is a sign to notify the United States that its war is not directed against groups and organisations … but against the Islamic nation that has rebelled against injustice.”

The statement comes four days after Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri issued a video eulogising Libi, his late deputy and propaganda chief who was killed in a drone strike in June.

Mohammed al-Megaryef, the head of Libya’s national assembly, said on Saturday that the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi was planned and “meticulously executed.”

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Tuesday’s attack by armed men in the eastern city of Benghazi came amid a wave of protests in the Muslim world against a US-made amateur Internet film deemed insulting to the Prophet Mohammed.

Suspected Islamic militants fired on the consulate with rocket-propelled grenades and set it ablaze on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States claimed by Al-Qaeda.

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Hope Hicks denied under oath knowing about Trump’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels

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Former White House communications director Hope Hicks on Wednesday denied under oath knowing anything about the hush-money scheme set up by former Trump "fixer" Michael Cohen to pay off President Donald Trump's former mistresses.

"Hicks told lawmakers today that she did not have knowledge during 2016 campaign of hush-money payments made in run-up to election," reports CNN's Manu Raju. "Also she wouldn’t discuss what she learned about those payments during her time at White House because of immunity claims."

Hicks told lawmakers today that she did not have knowledge during 2016 campaign of hush-money payments made in run-up to election, per sources. Also she wouldn’t discuss what she learned about those payments during her time at WH bc of immunity claims https://t.co/GZWqzCzpGX

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Federal Reserve chair defiant in face of Trump threats: ‘The law is clear — I have a four-year term’

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell sounded a defiant note on Wednesday as he announced that there would be no further cuts to interest rates for the time being.

Even though President Donald Trump has been publicly calling for a rate cut to spur additional economic growth ahead of his reelection campaign, Powell kept interest rates at their current level and signaled that he did not foresee any interest rate cuts for the rest of the year.

Powell was asked by a reporter if he was concerned about being "demoted" by Trump in the wake of this announcement, the Federal Reserve Chairman said he wasn't worried.

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John Dean explains the big mistake Hope Hicks made by stonewalling Congress

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Former White House counsel John Dean, a key figure in the Watergate scandal, said Wednesday on CNN that there was a serious flaw in the attempt to prevent longtime Trump confidant Hope Hicks from testifying to Congress.

White House lawyers have asserted that Hicks has absolute immunity and is not legally required to testify about her time as Trump's director of communications. Hicks testified Wednesday during a closed-door hearing before the House Judiciary Committee — where she reportedly refused to answer questions about her White House job.

"Privilege is not being asserted here. Instead, the White House says that Hicks has absolute immunity regarding the time that she spent at 1600 Pennsylvania. Does absolute immunity even exist? And if so, can you explain to me the difference between the two?" CNN host Brooke Baldwin asked Dean.

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