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Senate panel advances Trump’s nominees for commerce and transportation secretaries

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A U.S. Senate committee swiftly approved Republican President Donald Trump’s nominees for commerce and transportation secretaries by voice vote on Tuesday, signaling that they will face little resistance to approval by the full Senate.

Members of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee voiced no objections to the nominations of billionaire investor Wilbur Ross, 79, as commerce secretary and veteran government administrator Elaine Chao, 63, as transportation secretary.

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Republicans control the Commerce committee by a single vote.

The single voice vote for the two nominees marked a stark contrast from Monday’s 11-10 vote by the Senate Foreign Relations committee to advance the nomination of former Exxon Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson to be secretary of state. All Democrats on that panel voted against Tillerson.

Ross, a corporate turnaround expert who made his fortune investing in distressed steel, textile, auto parts companies and banks, is expected to take a lead role in shaping Trump’s trade policies. These are aimed at protecting U.S. manufacturers from imports, renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and pursuing bilateral trade deals after Trump signed an order on Monday to cancel the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.

Chao would play a key role in Trump’s plan to significantly raise government spending on U.S. infrastructure, including roads and bridges, an initiative that has strong support from Democrats and many Republicans.

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(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis)


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
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Brian Williams compares Corey Lewandowski’s opening statement to the North Korean news lady

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MSNBC host Brian Williams on Tuesday noted the similarities between former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and North Korean news anchor Ri Chun Hee.

"Corey Lewandowski, the former Trump campaign manager who is now considering a Senate run in New Hampshire, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today," Williams reported. "It is likely his North Korean anchorwoman-quality opening remarks were meant were one viewer (Donald Trump)."

Ri, who has earned the nickname "Pink Lady," is known for her enthusiastic reading of government-approved news.

Watch the video below from MSNBC.

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‘Train-wreck of a witness’: Analysts nail ‘obstructive’ Corey Lewandowski for proving the Democrats’ case

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Political commentator Catherine Rampell disagreed with New York Times columnist Frank Bruni that the Democrats faltered during the hearing with Corey Lewandowski Tuesday. Former state and federal prosecutor Elie Honig called Lewandowski a "train-wreck of a witness."

She explained that Democrats had an extremely low bar: they had to prove Trump obstructed justice and that Corey Lewandowski gave one of the examples of such obstructions. In that sense, Rampell said they accomplished their goals.

"I don’t think this was a great day for Corey Lewandowski," she began. "This is a guy who went on TV and announced to the world -- apparently at the same time he is also trying to fundraise for Senate -- that he lies most of the time. Except when he's under oath."

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WATCH: Ana Navarro keeps shouting down Trump booster — even as CNN host cuts to commercial

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President Donald Trump cheered on his top Hispanic advisor Steve Cortes, who appeared before a New Mexico audience. Trump asked Cortes which he loved more, Hispanics or America, which prompted CNN's Ana Navarro to blast the president for racism. Meanwhile, Trump's latest CNN shill cried "political correctness."

"Look, I suspect he didn't want to offend Steve Cortes and I suspect Steve Cortes was not offended," Navarro said. "But really what a stupid thing to say. Right? To somehow ask the question about whether you love the country more than you love Hispanics -- they are one and the same."

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