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Michael Flynn had ‘potentially illegal’ discussions on US sanctions with Russia: Washington Post

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White House national security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Moscow’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Donald Trump took office, the Washington Post reported on Thursday.

Citing unnamed current and former U.S. officials, the Post said some senior U.S. officials interpreted the contacts as a “potentially illegal” signal to Russia that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions imposed by the Obama administration in December.

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Reuters could not immediately confirm the Washington Post report.

Reuters reported last month, citing three sources familiar with the matter, that Flynn had held five phone calls with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak on Dec. 29, the day then-President Barack Obama retaliated for Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

The Post said Flynn on Wednesday denied that he had discussed sanctions with the Russian ambassador, but on Thursday backed away from the denial through a spokesman.

Flynn “indicated that while he had no recollection of discussing sanctions, he couldn’t be certain that the topic never came up,” the Post quoted the spokesman as saying.

Officials said this week that the FBI is continuing to examine Flynn’s contacts with Kislyak, according to the paper.

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“Several officials emphasized that while sanctions were discussed, they did not see evidence that Flynn had an intent to convey an explicit promise to take action after the inauguration,” the Post said.

(Reporting by Washington Newsroom; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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Chief Justice Roberts admonishes lawyers at Senate impeachment trial

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Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Roberts made his first major intervention in President Donald Trump's impeachment trial shortly before 1 a.m. Wednesday morning.

After House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) finished his closing arguments on why former National Security Advisor John Bolton should testify, the White House team went on the attack. Yelling and demanding apologies, the president's team was more animated than they'd been all night. Roberts then admonished the House and White House on their language.

Claiming the Senate is the "world's greatest deliberative body" -- despite what he had witnessed during 12 hours of the impeachment trial -- Roberts complained about language that was "not conducive to civil discourse."

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White House lawyers begin yelling at Democrats during late-night impeachment trial — after Trump starts tweeting

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President Donald Trump woke up and began tweeting around midnight EST during the Senate impeachment trial over the amendments over the rules. That's when a noticeable thing changed on the Senate floor: Trump's team started yelling.

Nearing 1 a.m. EST Tuesday morning while the president was tweeting about impeachment, his team began attacking Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) personally. They called him a liar and accused him of attacking the president and demanded an apology. After nearly 12 hours this was the first time the White House got even remotely animated after a dull defense of the president.

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2020 Election

Mick Mulvaney released treasure trove of OMB documents — 2 minutes before midnight

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Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney released a huge cache of documents on Tuesday evening -- minutes before the midnight deadline.

The documents were released to the ethics group American oversight, which had pursued a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the department.

"Two minutes before midnight, OMB released 192 pages of Ukraine-related records to American Oversight, including emails that have not been previously released," American Oversight announced.

"The files released tonight include emails sent by OMB Acting Director Russell Vought and Assoc Director for National Security Michael Duffey — two key players in the withholding of Ukraine aid — in on the morning of President Trump’s July 25 call with President Zelensky," the ethics group noted.

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