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Senators McCain and Graham to support Tillerson nomination despite Russia ties

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Two senior Republican lawmakers said on Sunday they would vote to approve President Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, despite their concerns over the former ExxonMobil chief’s relationship with Russia’s president.

“After careful consideration, and much discussion with Mr. Tillerson, we have decided to support his nomination to be secretary of state,” Senators John McCain of Arizona and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a statement.

“Though we still have concerns about his past dealings with the Russian government and (Russian) President Vladimir Putin, we believe that Mr. Tillerson can be an effective advocate for U.S. interests,” said the two senators, veteran foreign policy experts.

The Republican-controlled Senate has so far confirmed two of Trump’s nominees for cabinet posts but Tillerson, former chief executive officer at Exxon Mobil Corp, has faced criticism from several prominent Republicans because of his close relationships with Russian officials, including Putin.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was confident that all of Trump’s cabinet nominees will be confirmed. Speaking on “Fox News Sunday,” McConnell also said the Senate would confirm a Supreme Court justice nominee eventually picked by Trump.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is expected to vote on Tillerson’s nomination on Monday, with a full Senate vote coming shortly after.

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(Reporting by Jason Lange; Editing by Paul Simao and Jeffrey Benkoe)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Russians to prod Putin on poverty and his personal life as his ratings tank

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Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

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Trump could turn on Hope Hicks just like Michael Cohen: Trump family biographer warns

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Trump family biographer Emily Jane Fox explained that she didn't think that the president would turn on long-time aide Hope Hicks, but then again, it was the same thought about Michael Cohen as well.

In a panel discussion about Hicks' testimony during MSNBC's Brian Williams' Wednesday show, Fox recalled that Micahel Cohen once said that he would take a bullet for the president. Once it appeared that Trump would throw him under the bus, Cohen began looking for a way out.

The same scenario seems to be happening with Hicks now.

"She works at new Fox, which is a company run by a Murdoch son," Fox said. "It's a company that's brand new. She's the head of communications there. And there are shareholders who would take issue with the fact that a senior member of this company is being put in this situation and being thrust on the world stage."

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Trump jumped to Speaker Pelosi’s defense in marathon Fox News interview

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In a strange twist, President Donald Trump appeared to defend House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during an interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday.

Hannity began by saying to Trump that he believes Pelosi has lost control of her own party, as officials like Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Ilhan Omar (D-MN) continue to call for impeachment.

"I say Nancy Pelosi is the speaker in name only," Hannity told Trump, calling Ocasio-Cortez the real start.

But what Trump said was the unusual point.

"I think Nancy Pelosi probably has control of it, I hear different things, but I think she does," Trump said, appearing to defend the Speaker. "She knows what she's doing. We will see how it all comes out."

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