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Obama expected to nominate Ashton Carter to lead Pentagon

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U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to nominate former Pentagon official Ashton Carter as U.S. defense secretary, CNN reported on Tuesday.

Carter, a former deputy secretary at the Department of Defense, had been considered a leading candidate for the job to replace Chuck Hagel, who is resigning.

A Pentagon spokesman said he was unaware of a decision and referred reporters to the White House, which had no immediate comment on the report. A spokeswoman for Carter also had no immediate comment.

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Other names have been circulated as a possible replacement for Hagel, including former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig and Kurt Campbell, a former Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs who now heads the Asia Group, a strategy and capitol advisory group.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, a former general counsel at the Pentagon who had been believed to be under active consideration, took himself out of consideration, according to a source familiar with the situation.

Carter was the No. 2 official at the Pentagon from October 2011 to December 2013. Previously, he was the Pentagon’s chief arms buyer.

He also served as assistant secretary of defense for international security policy under President Bill Clinton.

Carter has bachelor’s degrees in physics and medieval history from Yale, a doctorate in theoretical physics from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes scholar, according to the Pentagon website.

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Hagel resigned under pressure last week after less than two years at the helm of the Defense Department.

(Reporting by Steve Holland, Andrea Shalal and Bill Trott; Writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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Fox News viewers freak out on Bret Baier for criticizing Trump and calling Yovanavitch ‘sympathetic’

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Fox News host Bret Baier -- and his colleague John Roberts -- infuriated Fox News viewers who follow their Twitter feeds for praising the performance of former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch during her House impeachment testimony while they also condemned Donald Trump for attacking her as she spoke.

According to Roberts in his tweet, "Wow....this is really unprecedented. @realDonaldTrump and Amb Yovanovitch are talking to each other in real time through @Twitter and Television... Something I never thought I would ever see."

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GOP lawmaker mocked after whining Adam Schiff wouldn’t let her break impeachment hearing rules

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During the public hearings in the House impeachment inquiry into President Trump this Friday, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY) attempted to direct a line of questions to former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, but was interrupted by Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who informed Devin Nunes (R-CA) that "under the house resolute 660, you are not allowed to yield time except to minority counsel."

As Stefanik continued to try to speak, Schiff repeatedly cut her off. "The gentlewoman will suspend," Schiff said as he swung the gavel. "You're not recognized."

"This is the fifth time you've interrupted members of Congress -- duly elected members of Congress," Stefanik protested.

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France to host Putin, Zelensky in bid to end Ukraine conflict

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Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Ukranian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky in Paris on December 9 for their first face-to-face encounter, seeking to end the half-decade conflict in Ukraine, the French presidency said Friday.

The leaders will join French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel for the four-way summit aimed at resolving the conflict in the east of Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have declared breakaway regions, the Elysee Palace said.

Macron, who has been spearheading a drive for peace in Ukraine, had hoped to host the summit in September but it was held up by numerous obstacles that highlighted the difficulty of resolving the conflict.

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