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Pelosi: Netanyahu speech to Congress could wreck Iran talks on nuclear weapons

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s scheduled speech to the U.S. Congress in March could damage the Obama administration’s attempts to broker a deal with Iran on nuclear weapons development, the senior U.S. House of Representatives Democrat said on Wednesday.

“Such a presentation could send the wrong message in terms of giving diplomacy a chance,” said Representative Nancy Pelosi during a news conference on the sidelines of an annual retreat for Democratic lawmakers.

But Pelosi stopped short of saying that the invitation to Netanyahu should be withdrawn by House Speaker John Boehner.

Earlier this month Boehner invited Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of the House and Senate and the speech is scheduled for March 3, just two weeks before the Israeli leader stands for re-election on March 17.

Boehner, who did not consult with the White House before extending the invitation, has defended his surprise invitation.

A spokesman for Pelosi said she spoke by telephone on Wednesday with Netanyahu, but he did not provide further details.

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“It’s a serious big honor that we extend (to Netanyahu). That it should be extended two weeks before an election in the country without collaboration (with) the leaders in Congress and without collaboration with the White House is not appropriate,” Pelosi said.

The Obama administration has been involved in protracted talks with Tehran on stemming Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon. It is hoping to wrap up those talks by the end of March.

Members of Congress have been threatening additional sanctions on Iran if a satisfactory deal is not reached.

(Reporting By Richard Cowan and David Lawder in Philadelphia and Patricia Zengerle in Washington; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Trump’s horsewhip-carrying chief of protocol will resign after intimidating State Department staff: report

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President Donald Trump's chief of protocol plans to step down just ahead of the G-20 summit in Japan, according to Bloomberg News.

Sean Lawler, whose job includes assisting the president in diplomatic talks overseas and with foreign leaders in the White House, faces an investigation from the State Department's inspector general for intimidating subordinates, including carrying a horsewhip around the office.

The president reportedly did not care for Lawler, at one point asking officials why he still works at the White House.

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Jerry Falwell, Jr blasted as ‘un-Christian prat’ after trying to defend Donald Trump in battle with Southern Baptist ethics chief

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Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr. was ripped online for attempting to rationalize President Donald Trump's detention camps for children.

Dr. Russell Moore, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, posted on Twitter an Associated Press story on the "perilous conditions" at a Texas Border Patrol station holding 300 children.

"The reports of the conditions for migrant children at the border should shock all of our consciences. Those created in the image of God should be treated with dignity and compassion, especially those seeking refuge from violence back home. We can do better than this," Moore wrote.

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Prosecutors offered indicted GOP congressman a deal to keep his multiple taxpayer-funded trysts quiet — but he refused

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On Tuesday, CNN reported that Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), facing indictment for stealing campaign funds and falsifying spending reports, was offered a deal by to keep secret the incidents in which he used taxpayer money to finance affairs with lobbyists — but he refused.

"Prosecutors told a judge they tried to cut a deal with Hunter to avoid revealing the alleged tryst, but his attorneys refused," reported CNN's Tom Foreman.

The affairs were made public shortly after it was revealed that Hunter's wife Margaret, an alleged co-conspirator in the scheme, was cooperating with prosecutors. Hunter had previously tried to blame the entire scheme on his wife — a claim that looks increasingly dubious.

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