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White House violated restrictions when it asked FBI to kill Trump-Russia stories: CNN

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President Donald Trump’s White House staff urged the FBI to walk back reports about alleged communications between the Trump team and Russia, according to CNN.

The report reveals multiple U.S. officials briefed on the request verified the request. The FBI was the intelligence agency responsible for monitoring conversations by Russian officials while they were in the United States. It was through those communications that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn was caught allegedly talking about the sanctions then-President Barack Obama placed on Russia after the Russian hacks.

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CNN reports that communication like this was unusual because there have been restrictions in place for decades prohibiting such contacts. The request is a violation of procedures that limit such communication between the two. FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus sat in on a meeting together the day after the story broke that Trump staff allegedly had regular communication with the Russians. A U.S. law enforcement official told CNN that it was during this meeting that Priebus requested the FBI walk back the reports.

One White House official disputes the claim, saying McCabe called Priebus that morning to explain that the New York Times report on the issue overstated what the FBI knows. A law enforcement official said that McCabe didn’t discuss the details of what the FBI had but wouldn’t clarify what was said. FBI Director James Comey rejected the White House request because the alleged communications between Trump staffers and Russians are part of an ongoing FBI investigation.

Justice Department procedure memos from 2007 and 2009 put limits on direct communication on pending investigations between the White House and the FBI.

“Initial communications between the [Justice] Department and the White House concerning pending or contemplated criminal investigations or cases will involve only the Attorney General or the Deputy Attorney General, from the side of the Department, and the Counsel to the President, the Principal Deputy Counsel to the President, the President, or the Vice President from the side of the White House,” the 2009 memo explains.

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Such communications should only occur when it involves the President’s duties and where appropriate, CNN explained.

A spokesman for the Department of Justice said Attorney General Jeff Sessions is examining the memos and “the Department is following the guidelines in its communications with the White House.”


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Swiss holding ‘funeral march’ to mark disappearance of an Alpine glacier

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Dozens of people will undertake a "funeral march" up a steep Swiss mountainside on Sunday to mark the disappearance of an Alpine glacier amid growing global alarm over climate change.

The Pizol "has lost so much substance that from a scientific perspective it is no longer a glacier," Alessandra Degiacomi, of the Swiss Association for Climate Protection, told AFP.

The organisation which helped organise Sunday's march said around 100 people were due to take part in the event, set to take place as the UN gathers youth activists and world leaders in New York to mull the action needed to curb global warming.

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2020 Election

UAW strike ‘threatens to upend the economy in Michigan’ — and could destroy Trump’s re-election: report

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At the end of the first week of a major strike by the United Auto Workers, the employment standoff threatens to upend President Donald Trump's 2020 re-election map, the Chicago Times reported Saturday.

Approximately 46,000 workers have been striking against General Motors.

There are two major threats to Trump's campaign from the strike.

The first is that the strike could cause regional recessions -- threatening Trump's political standing in key Rust Belt states.

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Security forces fired live rounds at protesters calling for the ouster of Egyptian president: report

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Egyptian security forces clashed with hundreds of anti-government protesters in the port city of Suez on Saturday, firing tear gas and live rounds, said several residents who participated in the demonstrations.

A heavy security presence was also maintained in Cairo's Tahrir Square, the epicentre of Egypt's 2011 revolution, after protests in several cities called for the removal of general-turned-president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Such demonstrations are rare after Egypt effectively banned protests under a law passed following the 2013 military ouster of Islamist ex-president Mohamed Morsi.

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