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US Apache helicopters strike Islamic State jihadists for first time in Iraq

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US Apache helicopters have struck an Islamic State target for the first time in Iraq, the Pentagon said Monday.

The sophisticated attack choppers destroyed an IS car bomb Sunday near Qayyarah, which is about 50 miles (80 kilometers) south of Mosul, the group’s main stronghold in Iraq.

“The government of Iraq approved the use of Apaches in support of ISF (Iraqi Security Forces) operations,” Defense Department spokesman Christopher Sherwood said.

“The strike was vetted and approved through the same process the (US-led) coalition uses for all strikes.”

Pentagon chief Ashton Carter has since early December made it clear to the Iraqi government that the US military is willing to use its Apaches based in Iraq to support local forces.

But the government had until now declined. US officials say this is because Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi didn’t want to anger Shiite militias, who oppose the ramping up of US combat operations in Iraq.

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Still, coalition warplanes and drones have since August 2014 been bombing IS targets in Iraq and Syria after the jihadist group overran large parts of the two countries.

The Apache strike came as Iraqi forces advanced towards Qayyarah with the eventual aim of retaking Mosul.

Iraqi forces are also battling IS fighters in Fallujah, which lies 30 miles west of Baghdad and is the group’s other main Iraqi bastion besides Mosul.

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Republican lawmakers ask judge to destroy smoking gun documents proving GOP’s white supremacy

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Republicans on Monday sought a court order to block damning documents from being used against them in a lawsuit.

"North Carolina Republican lawmakers on Monday asked a court to make sure the files of the now-deceased GOP strategist Tom Hofeller are destroyed, or at least kept secret, instead of being used in a high-profile gerrymandering lawsuit," the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

"The filing comes after the groups behind the lawsuit, including Common Cause, accused Republican lawmakers of making false statements in court in a previous gerrymandering case, when the state’s 2011 maps were ruled unconstitutional," the newspaper noted. "That blockbuster accusation made national headlines and was, it said, based on Hofeller’s files which had been secret until recently."

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Maddow slams Trump’s era of government officials ‘saving the country from the commander-in-chief’ with leaks

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Rachel Maddow on Monday worried about the pattern of government officials leaking to the press to stop President Donald Trump from sabotaging United States' interests to help Russia.

The MSNBC anchor broke down the key questions raised by the bombshell New York Times report that officials were keeping secrets from Trump to protect U.S. interests.

Maddow reminded of a June 2017 story by Michael Isikoff.

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Trump angrily demands newspaper reveal unnamed sources behind bombshell report on his Russia policy

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President Donald Trump on Monday evening again lashed out at The New York Times for reporting on his Russia policy.

"The story in The New York Times about the U.S. escalating attacks on Russia’s power grid is fake news, and the failing New York Times knows it," Trump argued in a tweet sent after 10 p.m.

"They should immediately release their sources which, if they exist at all, which I doubt, are phony," he continued.

"Times must be held fully accountable," he demanded.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1140804748423118848

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