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‘We learned nothing’: Senator who attended Trump’s North Korea briefing confirms it was all for ‘optics’

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Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), who attended a White House meeting on North Korea Wednesday, all-but-verified that the gathering was for show. On CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front,” the Democratic senator told the host that lawmakers “learned nothing [about North Korea] you couldn’t read in the newspaper.”

Donald Trump invited 100 senators to attend a classified briefing at 3p.m. today, bussing in the lawmakers from Capitol Hill to the Eisenhower Executive Office Building auditorium. Several senators who attended said the president discussed issues they were already aware of from the press.

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“Why do you think he had you come to the White House for this?” Burnett asked.

“Oh, complete optics,” Merkley said. “Giving him a chance to say he considers it important enough to have us come to the White house.”

Merkley noted that given the stakes, one could have anticipated that Trump would present a strategy for dealing with North Korea (particularly since—as Vice President Mike Pence noted—“The era of strategic patience is over”).

“They’re not willing to share that yet,” Merkley said. “So we learned nothing you couldn’t read in a newspaper.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Democrat mocks Trump for being the wrong person to lead the charge on mental illness

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President Donald Trump may not be the best person to focus on mental health in America, a Democratic senator explained on MSNBC.

"All In" host Chris Hayes interviewed Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) before a live studio audience.

The two discussed Trump's focus on mental health instead of gun control following the latest mass shootings in America.

"I saw this article about the mental health proposal being floated. I gotta say, the more I hear him talk about mental health, the more freaked out I get, honestly," Hayes explained. "It seems like — like sci-fi dystopia. They want to do something like DARPA, the notorious Pentagon research association called HARPA. It’s going to develop 'breakthrough technologies with high specificity and sensitivity for early diagnosis of neuropsychiatric violence...The document goes on to list a number of widely used technologies it suggests could be used to help collect data, including Apple Watches, Fitbits, Amazon Echo and Google Home."

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Trump’s economic ‘brain trust’ ridiculed as America braces for a trade war recession: report

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President Donald Trump appears unprepared to deal with a potential recession, the Associated Press reported Friday.

"Facing a trade war against China that has shaken the global economy, President Donald Trump gathered his most trusted economic aides in the Oval Office," the AP reported. "The assembled brain trust for Friday’s urgent consultations included an economics chief best known for his stint as a cable TV commentator; a trade adviser whose pro-tariff views are outside the economic mainstream; and a treasury secretary (joining by phone on his way back from vacation) who made millions off the housing crisis and then turned to financing Hollywood movies."

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ICE and Homeland Security busted pushing right-wing propaganda and conspiracy theories

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Donald Trump in Oval Office

Multiple federal departments have been pushing far-right propaganda to federal employees.

"An arm of the Justice Department regularly sent summaries and links to articles from an online white nationalist publication over the last year, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found. In addition, similar newsletters sent to the Labor Department, ICE, HUD and the Department of Homeland Security, included links and content from hyperpartisan and conspiracy-oriented publishers," BuzzFeed News reported Friday.

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