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Trump tells Vietnam prime minister he hopes ties will grow stronger

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In a telephone call, U.S. President-elect Donald Trump told Vietnam’s prime minister he wanted to further strengthen fast-warming ties between the two countries, the government of the Southeast Asian nation said on Thursday.

Vietnam has advanced ties with the United States to a new level under the Obama administration as it faces down communist neighbor China’s challenge to its territorial claims in the busy waterway of the South China Sea.

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During Wednesday’s conversation, Vietnamese premier Nguyen Xuan Phuc congratulated Trump on his election win and stressed the importance of maintaining friendship and cooperation.

“President-elect Trump spoke highly of the achievements of Vietnam, as well as the positive developments in bilateral ties,” Vietnam’s government said on its news website.

“He also asserted his wish to cooperate with Vietnam to accelerate the relationship between the two countries.”

Trump has had conversations with several leaders of countries locked in maritime disputes with China, among them Japan, the Philippines and Taiwan.

His trade platform runs counter to Vietnam’s interests, however, with his opposition to a Trans-Pacific Partnership proving a major setback for Southeast Asia’s biggest exporter to the United States.

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Trump and Phuc discussed ways to promote economic ties, trade and investment, the government added.

In a statement, Trump’s transition team confirmed the conversation, saying the two men “discussed a range of shared interests and agreed to work together to continue strengthening the relationship between the two nations”.

Just days after Trump’s win, Phuc told parliament that ratification of the TPP would be shelved because of political changes in the United States, but Vietnam still wanted good relations with Washington.

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In a separate development, a U.S. guided-missile destroyer, the Mustin, visited Cam Ranh international port on Thursday in a routine technical stop, the U.S. embassy said.

The ship’s visit was “an example of the depth of our comprehensive partnership and the importance of strengthening our civilian and military ties,” said U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius.

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Vietnam has expressed support for the United States to maintain its security presence in Asia. Washington fully lifted a U.S. lethal arms embargo on Vietnam in May, allowing closer defense links and some joint military exercises.

(Reporting by My Pham in HANOI; Additional reporting by Steve Holland in WASHINGTON; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


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GOP senator admits she’s hoping Trump’s Ukraine scheme successfully sinks Biden

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In a press conference with reporters on Monday, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) gave the game away by implying she hopes that President Donald Trump's scheme to dig up foreign dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden successfully sinks his candidacy and causes him to lose the Democratic caucuses in her state.

"Iowa caucuses are this next Monday evening. And I'm really interested to see how this discussion today informs and influences the Iowa caucus voters, those Democratic caucus goers. Will they be supporting Vice President Biden at this point?"

The remarks came after White House lawyers spent hours trying to change the subject from Trump's attempts to extort the president of Ukraine with military aid, to the conspiracy theory surrounding Biden's son's work in Ukraine that he had been demanding they pursue.

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Republicans defended ‘a vile scoundrel’ who is ‘racist’ and ‘a petty tyrant’ — and it wasn’t Donald Trump

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President Donald Trump's defense attorneys were blasted for their defense of a different president on Tuesday.

"I mean, of course Trump's lawyers are defending Andrew Johnson. Of course," noted MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes.

"Johnson was a vile scoundrel and a drunk and a racist and a petty tyrant whose presidency brought blood and shame upon this nation," Hayes continued. "That's the kindest characterization I could muster."

The host linked to a 2019 piece on Johnson that he wrote for The New York Times as a book review of "The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation by Brenda Wineapple.

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Trump lawyer cites former GOP senator to discredit impeachment — but leaves out he supports convicting the president

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During the Senate impeachment trial on Monday, White House lawyer Robert Ray attempted to contrast the impeachment of President Donald Trump with that of President Richard Nixon, by arguing that unlike in the former case, Republicans came together with Democrats to call for removing Nixon. As part of the comparison, he brought up then-Rep. William Cohen, who went on to become a U.S. senator from Maine and Secretary of Defense for President Bill Clinton.

"Together these six Republicans made history," said Ray. "They did so with no sense of triumph and no fist bumps."

What Ray chose not to mention, however, is that Cohen has specifically weighed in on the Trump case, and said that he should be impeached and removed over the Ukraine scheme.

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