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Elijah Cummings: ‘If the public knew what Congress knows’ they would boycott the inauguration too

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Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) on Thursday asserted that the general public would boycott Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration if they had access to classified information about Russia’s interference in the U.S. election.

During an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Cummings explained that he would be attending the inauguration but he defended the more than 50 Democratic lawmakers who have vowed not to show up.

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“You’ve got to understand that members of Congress have a lot of information that the public does not have,” Cummings said. “And I can tell you over the last week or two, the classified briefings that I have been to, and if the public knew what members of Congress know…”

“Why don’t they?” Cuomo interrupted. “If it’s that important that it’s going to make people not go to the inauguration… shouldn’t people know?”

Cummings argued that Congress needed to move forward with an investigation into the role both Russia and FBI Director James Comey played in influencing the U.S. election so that more information could be released to the public.

“It seems as if the Republicans are sort of letting President-elect Trump sort of just move forward with regard to the conflict of interest issues [and] this whole hacking issue,” the Maryland Democrat noted. “And I’m really concerned that we as Democrats have to push harder on Republicans to do something so that our standards are met and that he gets rid of these conflicts and he also deals with the hacking.”

Cummings said, however, that he would be attending the inauguration.

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“I want to be a witness to history,” he told Cuomo. “But I also want it understood that this our watch and we’ve got to protect this democracy. This, to me, is bigger than President-elect Trump. I’m concerned that we are moving slowly but surely towards a crisis of a legitimacy with regard to our core institutions: CIA, FBI, NSA.”

“Even our Office of Government Ethics has been attacked by the Republicans,” the lawmaker pointed out. “At some point a lot of information is going to come to me as the top person on the Oversight and Government Reform committee and I don’t want anybody to say, ‘Well, he was just one the people that was protesting.’ I want them to understand, this is not about Democrat or Republican.”

“We need Congress 9/11-type panel,” Cummings concluded.

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Watch the video below from CNN, broadcast Jan. 19, 2017.

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Elections 2016

Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines

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Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.

"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.

More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.

At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.

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Elections 2016

Chief Justice John Roberts issues New Year’s Eve warning to stand up for democracy

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In a progressive welcoming move, Chief Justice John Roberts issued his New Year's Eve annual report urging his fellow federal judges to stand up for democracy.

"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he wrote. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability."

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Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why

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According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.

As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."

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