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Massachusetts judge requires Exxon to hand over climate documents

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A Massachusetts judge has refused to excuse Exxon Mobil Corp from a request by the state’s attorney general to hand over decades worth of documents on its views on climate change, state officials said on Wednesday.

The decision by Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Heidi Brieger denying Exxon’s request for an order exempting it from handing over the documents represents a legal victory for Attorney General Maura Healey, who is investigating the world’s largest publicly traded oil company’s climate policies.

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“This order affirms our longstanding authority to investigate fraud,” Healey said on Twitter following the decision, adding that Exxon “must come clean about what it knew about climate change.”

Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said the company was “reviewing the decision to determine next steps.”

Healey is one of two state prosecutors, the other being her counterpart in New York, investigating whether Exxon knowingly misled its shareholders and the public as to what it knew about climate change.

The investigations follow separate reports by online news publication Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times showing that Exxon worked to play down the risks of climate change despite its own scientists’ having raised concerns about it decades earlier.

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The news came on the day former Exxon Chief Executive Rex Tillerson faced a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to serve as President-elect Donald Trump’s secretary of state.

Asked during the hearing if he believed human activity was contributing to climate change, Tillerson did not answer yes or no, but said, “The increase in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere are having an effect. Our abilities to predict that effect are very limited.”

(Reporting by Scott Malone; Editing by Toni Reinhold and Leslie Adler)

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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The faith of Fox News: How the network’s propaganda warps viewers’ sense of reality

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A longtime sticking point among Fox News employees is their insistent differentiation between its news division, where employees practice actual journalism, and its opinion division, where employees practice actual nativism, spew misinformation, and have been actively campaigning for Donald Trump’s re-election since 2016.  Inside the organization, they claim to believe that the news side is separate from the opinion side, and insist that the audience can tell the difference.

News anchor Shepard Smith once characterized comparing the two as “apples and teaspoons.”

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2020 Election

Maddow warns Russia is interfering in the 2020 election in ‘exactly the same way’ as they did in 2016

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MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday warned that Russia and the Republicans are running the "exact same play" against Democrats in 2020 -- and this time will be aided by the United States Justice Department.

"And they are playing it again already for the next election. And some of it is happening just like it did in 2016. And some of it is worse and I think it’s going to be more powerful than it was in 2016. In part because this is a second draft for these guys, right? They ran this play in 2016. They worked out some of the kinks," she explained. "Now they’ll do it again with the benefit of knowing what worked for them and what didn’t work the first time around. It’s a second draft. It’s going to be better and more polished."

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