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Republicans blame Obama as Saudi Arabia bombs Yemen rebels

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US Republicans warned Thursday that Saudi-led air-strikes in Yemen, apparently conducted without US coordination, show Arab allies have lost trust in the Obama administration as it navigates delicate nuclear talks with Iran.

As warplanes from Saudi Arabia and other allies pounded Huthi Shiite rebel positions for a second straight day, hawkish US lawmakers expressed alarm at the “proxy war” unfolding in the Middle East, and pinned part of the blame on President Barack Obama’s foreign policy.

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The Saudi-led intervention without notifying Washington ahead of time “signals a reality that the countries in the region no longer have confidence or are willing to work with the United States of America,” Senator John McCain told reporters.

He said he heard “repeatedly from leaders in the region that they believe that we are forming some kind of Faustian bargain with the Iranians, which would then lead to the great danger to those countries.”

Washington and other world powers are in the midst of intense negotiations with Tehran over limiting its nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of Western economic sanctions.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who has signalled he may run for president in 2016, accused Obama of softening America’s power in the Middle East — for example by refusing to engage more directly in Syria’s civil war — in order to not disrupt the delicate nuclear negotiations with Iran.

Such action has “led to the rise of (Islamic State group) ISIL, to their flourishing, and now it’s leading to a full-scale sectarian war” which could spill over into Syria, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon and Jordan, Graham said.

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US engagement has served for decades as a moderating influence in the region, Graham noted.

But “the fact that the Arab coalition no longer trusts us, or feels they need to inform us as what they’re about to do, is chilling,” he said.

General Lloyd Austin, head of US Central Command, told a Senate hearing that he had little advance notice of the Saudi air strikes launched on Wednesday.

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Austin said he was informed by Saudi Arabia about the operation only “shortly before they took action.”


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Mitch McConnell just gave Democrats a huge gift — by publicly tainting any acquittal of Trump: columnist

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It seems all but inevitable that the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump will end with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) mustering the votes to block conviction, no matter what the evidence says and no matter whether Democrats successfully bring in new witnesses and documents.

But McConnell has already handed a victory to Democrats in one key aspect, wrote columnist E. J. Dionne for the Washington Post. His handling of the trial has removed any possibility that impeachment will bolster the president's approval — and emboldened Democrats to take their case to the American people as hard as they can. Indeed, wrote Dionne, Democrats "owe a debt" to McConnell.

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Here is how Jason Crow ‘pulled rank’ on John Roberts — and exposed the Chief Justice’s bias

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Former Army Ranger Jason Crow repeatedly drew upon his experience serving three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan during his prosecution of President Donald Trump as an impeachment manager.

Crow, who was awarded the Bronze Star and retired as a Captain, attended law school after his military service before successfully winning a seat in Congress during the 2018 midterm elections.

Elie Mystal, a justice correspondent for The Nation magazine, explained how Crow pulled rank on Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Mystal broked down how Crow put Roberts in his place with the subtle question of whether senators were getting restless and needed a break.

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Rape trial told Harvey Weinstein a ‘seasoned’ predator

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Harvey Weinstein was a "seasoned" sexual predator and rapist who abused his power as a movie-producing titan to prey on vulnerable aspiring actresses, prosecutors said Wednesday as his trial heard from its first witness.

Weinstein, wearing a dark suit, shook his head as New York Assistant District Attorney Meghan Hast painted a picture of a 300-pound (140 kilogram) bully who violently raped, humiliated and manipulated several women, leaving them traumatized for years.

His defense team hit back by saying the fallen film producer engaged in consensual relationships with his accusers, including a "loving one" in which the woman called Weinstein "her casual boyfriend."

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