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‘No facts whatsover’: Princeton scholar worried Trump is being ‘crippled’ by Russia charges

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Stephen F. Cohen, an American expert on Russia who regularly writes for The Nation, gave an interview with Slate’s Isaac Chotiner in which he slammed questions about Trump’s Russia connections as “the No. 1 threat to the United States today.”

During the interview, Cohen said that questions about Trump’s relationship with Russia would leave him no choice except to start World War III simply to prove that he isn’t a puppet of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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“We’re in a moment when we need an American president and a Kremlin leader to act at the highest level of statesmanship,” said Cohen, who is also a professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at NYU and Princeton. “Whether they meet in summit or not is not of great importance, but we need intense negotiations to tamp down this new Cold War, particularly in Syria, but not only. Trump is being crippled by these charges, for which I can find no facts whatsoever.”

Cohen not only dismissed any notion that any members of the Trump administration had been compromised by Russia, he also denied that Putin had ever had any of his political opponents murdered, while pinning the blame for a string of dead Russian journalists on the government of Chechnya.

“And who runs Chechnya?” Chotiner asked him.

“You’re headed now into a complicated turf,” Cohen replied.

“You know who runs Chechnya, and you know who his patron is,” Chotiner shot back.

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“Let me put it to you like this: On the chart of federal authority, Ramzan Kadyrov runs Chechnya, and Putin could remove him,” Cohen acknowledged.

“OK, well, there you go,” Chotiner said.

Later in the interview, Cohen offered a baffling definition of how to distinguish real news from “fake news” about Russia.

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“Opinion, what you and I think, is real news,” he explained. “It’s our news. It’s what we think. But when I read in the newspaper that Carter Page was somehow a Russian agent, I had plenty of reasons to know that that is really a super bogus report.”

Read the whole interview at this link.

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China reports 323 new cases of mysterious virus — as death toll rises to 54

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The number of confirmed deaths from a viral outbreak in China has risen to 54, with authorities in hard-hit Hubei province on Sunday reporting 13 more fatalities and 323 new cases.

The latest numbers from Hubei, the epicentre of the contagion, would put the nationwide total of confirmed infections at 1,610, based on figures previously released by the central government.

President Xi Jinping warned Saturday that China faced a "grave situation" as authorities raced to contain a respiratory illness that has caused the widespread abandonment of Lunar New Year celebrations nationwide and overwhelmed health facilities in Hubei.

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California offers to reimburse Trump for abortions — but he has to free the women from non-disclosure agreements

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The state of California is offering to reimburse President Donald Trump for any abortions he's paid for in the state, but there's a catch.

On Friday, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a "notice of violation" against the state for mandating universal abortion coverage in health insurance plans sold in the state, which the administration claims is "unlawful discrimination."

“Once again, President Trump’s administration is delivering on his promise to protect human life and all Americans’ freedom of conscience,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

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2020 Election

Elizabeth Warren wins coveted Iowa caucuses endorsement from the Des Moines Register newspaper

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) received a coveted endorsement on Saturday evening when her 2020 bid was endorsed by the Des Moines Register newspaper.

"Who would make the best president at this point in the country’s history? At a time when the economic deck has become so stacked against working Americans that the gap between rich and poor is the highest in more than 50 years? At a time when a generation of war has stressed military families and sapped the treasury?" the newspaper asked. "The Des Moines Register editorial board endorses Elizabeth Warren in the 2020 Iowa Democratic caucuses as the best leader for these times."

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