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John Boehner ‘shocked’ by report Israel spied on Iran nuclear talks

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Speaker of the House John Boehner listens to questions during a news conference (AFP)

The top Republican in Congress said Tuesday he was “shocked” by a report that Israel spied on Iranian nuclear talks but insisted he did not know whether information was shared with US lawmakers.

The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that in addition to Israelis spying on the highly-sensitive negotiations between Tehran and world powers, details were back-channeled to US legislators in an effort to sabotage the deal intended to limit Iran’s nuclear program.

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“Frankly I was a bit shocked, because, there was no information revealed to me whatsoever,” said House Speaker John Boehner, who will visit Israel in coming weeks following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election victory.

On the apparent leaking of details to unnamed members of Congress, Boehner said,”I’m not aware of that at all.”

Many Republicans are opposed to any accord that would not outright eliminate Iran’s entire nuclear program, rather than merely freeze or contain it.

Israel’s outgoing Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman dismissed the Journal report as untrue, adding that “we do not spy on the United States.”

Boehner avoided commenting on the appropriateness of Israelis potentially transferring sensitive negotiation data to members of Congress, saying only that he was “not sure what the information was — but I’m baffled by it.”

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Boehner infuriated Democrats earlier this year when he arranged for Netanyahu to address a joint meeting of Congress on the nuclear negotiations, without consulting with the White House.

Several Democratic lawmakers boycotted the speech, in which Netanyahu warned of the perils of agreeing to an imperfect deal with Iran, and President Barack Obama declined to meet with the Israeli leader during his Washington visit.

Boehner travels to Israel during the congressional Easter recess, which begins late this week, although his office did not provide specific dates.

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He is expected to lead a Republican congressional delegation to Israel and meet with Netanyahu.

A spokesman said Boehner “looks forward to visiting the country, discussing our shared priorities for peace and security in the region, and further strengthening the bond between the United States and Israel.”

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2020 Election

Trump officials could face criminal charges for USPS sabotage — and the president may not be able to pardon them

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Members of the Trump administration could face legal jeopardy over efforts to sabotage U.S. Postal Service operations to interfere with the 2020 presidential elections.

"Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ) made a criminal referral to the New Jersey Attorney General on Friday night, asking him to impanel a grand jury to look at possible breach of state election laws by President Trump, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and others for 'their accelerating arson of the post office,' he said. Alarming headlines have emerged in recent days as many states prepare to facilitate widespread mail balloting due to the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump openly admitted he was withholding federal aid from the postal service to prevent mail-in voting, and USPS has notified 46 states and D.C. that it will struggle to deliver some mail ballots on time," The Daily Beast reported Friday.

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Maddow reveals how one state stood up to Trump’s USPS cuts — and won

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow's opening segment on Friday focused on a positive story of political pressure stopping one of the Trump administration's attacks on the U.S. Postal Service.

Maddow reported how NBC Montana reporter Maritsa Georgiou had doggedly reported on the removal of postal boxes in Missoula, where she is based. Missoula has been a long-time Democratic Party stronghold.

Montana has a competitive U.S. Senate election in 2020, with Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock challenging first-term Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

As Georgiou chased the story, she learned there were also plans to remove boxes in the battleground of Billings. And more planned for the blue town of Bozeman. And other towns.

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2020 Election

Pepsi joins the chorus of people dunking on Tucker Carlson over Kamala Harris

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The Pepsi soda company mocked Fox News personality Tucker Carlson on Friday evening.

On Tuesday, Carlson flipped out after a guest attempted to teach him how to pronounce the name of Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), who is running for vice president on Joe Biden's ticket.

Video of the exchange was posted on Twitter by Nikki McCann Ramirez, a researcher at the watchdog group Media Matters for America.

Tucker Carlson loses it when a guest corrects his pronunciation of Kamala Harris's name pic.twitter.com/1fHIrPGuwN

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