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Justice Department warned Trump administration Flynn could be blackmailed by Russians: report

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Gen. Michael Flynn speaks to NBC (screen grab)

Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was fired by Donald Trump last month, personally delivered a message to the president indicating National Security Advisor Michael Flynn misled administration officials about his conversation with the Russian ambassador to the United States, the Washington Post reports.

In her message, Yates also told the new president she believed Flynn to be potentially vulnerable to blackmail by Russian operatives, current and former U.S. officials told the Washington Post. According to one of the officials, Yates’ concerns were shared by former CIA director John Brennan and former director of national intelligence James R. Clapper, who became concerned towards the end of the President Barack Obama’s administration, that “Flynn had put himself in a compromising position” with regards to Russia.

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Flynn spoke to Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in December 2016, offering consolation with regards to the pending sanctions against Russia by then-president Obama. Speaking on Monday. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) revealed Russia could have audio recordings of Flynn speaking with Russian officials during the waning days of the Obama administration. This would indicate Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence, who relayed claims in mid-January that Flynn did not discuss sanctions with Russian officials.

White House aides on Monday gave conflicting reports over Flynn’s standing with the president. Kellyanne Conway insisted Flynn enjoys the “full confidence of the president.” In a brief statement about an hour later, Spicer instead Trump is still “evaluating the situation.”


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Groups plan vigil outside Supreme Court and national solidarity events to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg

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National advocacy groups joined together Saturday to organize a candlelight vigil outside the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.—and encourage solidarity events across the country—to honor the legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday after a long battle with cancer at the age of 87.

"She gave all she could, with literally all she had. Now it's our turn," says a Facebook event for the D.C. gathering, hosted by Women's March, Planned Parenthood Action, Demand Justice, and UltraViolet. "Tonight, join us in front of the U.S. Supreme Court at 8 pm ET" or "in solidarity at your local courthouse."

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Belarus opposition to march after police crackdown

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Belarusian authorities on Sunday brought military trucks and barbed wire into central Minsk ahead of a planned opposition march, a day after police detained hundreds of women demonstrators.

The opposition movement calling for an end to the regime of authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko has kept up a wave of large-scale demonstrations every Sunday since his disputed win in August 9 polls.

The latest opposition protests were set to begin at 2 pm local time (1100 GMT), with opposition social media calling for demonstrators to gather in central Minsk as well as in other cities.

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Activists accuse Italy of halting ship rescue mission

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Rights activists on Sunday accused Italian authorities of blocking migrant rescue ship Sea-Watch 4 from leaving port and resuming its emergency mission in the Mediterranean.

After an inspection on the safety of the vessel to operate in high seas, Italian authorities placed the ship under an administrative blockade, said the German activist groups Sea-Watch and United4Rescue, as well as Doctors without Borders.

It is currently docked in Palermo in southern Italy.

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