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GOP Congressman demands Trump declassify any evidence that supports Obama wiretap claim

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Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) demanded that President Donald Trump declassify any evidence he has that former President Barack Obama wiretapped him at Trump Tower.

In an interview, Monday with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Stewart, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, said that he knows of no evidence that this claim is true. Still, he called on Trump to provide some kind of evidence to support the claim.

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He explained that Congress began an investigation in September about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia and urged others to refrain from “political grandstanding” so that they can focus on the investigation instead of “on the cameras.”

“On the issue of wiretapping, the president could clear this up so quickly, if there’s proof he knows about it,” Burnett said. “If a request to wiretap him came, he has the ability to declassify that request, he could that right now and that would mean you, me, the if the request exists why isn’t he declassifying it and letting us all see the classified information?”

Stewart agreed with her premise, saying that he thinks the quicker the evidence comes out the better.

“If the president has information and he could declassify that without endangering national security, I would encourage him to do that,” Stewart continued. “We’re left doing our work and doing the very best we can to answer these questions for the American people.”

Stewart also came to the defense of FBI Direct James Comey, calling him “one of the finest men in government.” If Obama ordered a wiretap it would have been through the FBI and Comey would have knowledge of it. However, Comey announced it never happened and asked the Department of Justice to come out against the claim.

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Republican response to potential pandemic aims at protecting Trump with cowardice, hypocrisy and outright lies

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The last time a deadly virus spread quickly across continents, Republicans in Congress ramped up xenophobic rhetoric to fear-monger ahead of the 2014 midterm elections. Echoing Donald Trump, who at the time hosted a weekly "Fox & Friends," Republicans called for a travel ban and spread misinformation. "[President] Obama should apologize to the American people & resign!" Trump tweeted in October of 2014. Public polls right before the midterm elections showed that nearly 80% of Republicans thought the U.S. government should quarantine people who had recently been in a West African country with a major Ebola outbreak and nearly 50% worried they would be exposed to the Ebola virus. It was a catastrophic election for Democrats, with Republicans winning nine Senate seats and 13 House seats.

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MSNBC’s Morning Joe bashes Mike Pence for sucking up to Trump during coronavirus briefing

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough gave credit to President Donald Trump for delivering a news conference on the coronavirus, but he bashed Vice President Mike Pence for "kowtowing" to his boss after he was tasked with leading the response to the outbreak.

The president placed Pence in charge of the administration's response, but the "Morning Joe" host said the vice president embarrassed himself by praising Trump during the White House briefing.

"Of course, we're grading on a lower scale and, of course, we had to listen to poor Mike Pence bow and scrape and talk about how great Donald Trump was every three seconds," Scarborough said. "But, again, all that aside, the president came out, got the message out. Yes, he was being overly optimistic, but there were several times, I believe, during that press conference, where he said, yes, it could get worse, and his health official said, that's what we need to prepare communities for, and this is what communities need to do."

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Japan PM calls for nationwide closure of schools over virus

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Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Thursday urged schools nationwide to close for several weeks to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, as authorities reported the country's fourth death linked to the outbreak.

The move comes as crew members from the Diamond Princess, a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship quarantined off Japan, began leaving the vessel where more than 700 people have tested positive for the disease.

"The government considers the health and safety of children above anything else," Abe said.

"We request all primary, junior high and high schools... across the nation to close temporarily from March 2 next week until their spring break."

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