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Vatican feels ‘sense of regret’ for pope’s meeting with Kim Davis

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Pope Francis did not ask to meet a Kentucky county clerk who had been jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples and did not offer her unconditional support, the Vatican said on Friday.

Looking to limit controversy after last week’s meeting in Washington between the pope and Kim Davis, Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said she was one of “several dozen” people who had been invited by the Vatican ambassador to see Francis.

“The Pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” Lombardi said in a statement.

The meeting with Davis, which was originally kept secret, disappointed many liberal Catholics but delighted conservatives, who saw it as a sign that the pope was clearly condemning a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage.

A senior Vatican official, who declined to be named, said there was a “sense of regret” within the Holy See over the encounter, which sparked widespread debate in the United States, overshadowing almost all other aspects of the pope’s visit.

He added that Davis had been in a line of people the pope had met at the Vatican embassy in Washington before he left for New York.

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“The only real audience granted by the Pope at the Nunciature (Vatican embassy) was with one of his former students and his family,” the statement said.

Davis was jailed for five days in September for refusing to comply with a judge’s order to issue marriage licenses in line with the Supreme Court ruling.

Davis has said her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Her church belongs to a Protestant movement known as Apostolic Pentecostalism.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella, Editing by Crispian Balmer)

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George Conway calls out fears Trump will compromise new US intelligence initiative aimed at Russia

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On Saturday, George Conway drew attention to a specific passage of a new article from The New York Times about the intelligence community's efforts to counterattack the Russian power grid, in response to years of covert Kremlin attacks on our own:

“[O]fficials described...hesitation to go into detail with Mr. Trump about operations against Russia for concern...that he might countermand it or discuss it with foreign officials, as he did in 2017 when he mentioned a sensitive operation...to the Russian foreign minister.” https://t.co/BXTjjXBmia

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Trump goes on ‘TOTAL LOSERS’ tirade with manic tweet attacking ‘totally out of control’ media

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Trump’s hamfisted attempt to wag the dog with Iran unraveled fast

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

We can’t say with any certainty that Iran wasn’t behind the attacks on two ships in the Gulf of Oman this week, but it is clear that the Trump regime’s account of what happened unraveled very quickly. Shortly after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released a video of a small vessel removing something Pompeo said was a mine from the damaged port side of one of the ships, the vessel's owner said that it had actually been struck on its starboard side, above the waterline, by a flying object. If this were in fact an effort to pull a Gulf of Tonkin, then the fact that this was the best dog-wagging they could conjure up would be downright pathetic.    

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