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Chelsea Manning thanks Obama in first TV interview after release

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Chelsea Manning, the transgender U.S. Army soldier who served seven years in prison for leaking classified data, tearfully thanked former President Barack Obama for granting her clemency.

In excerpts of an interview aired on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday, Manning said she had not spoken to Obama since he commuted her sentence five months ago, but that if she could, she would tell him how grateful she was.

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“I was given a chance, that’s all I wanted,” Manning told ABC’s “Nightline” co-anchor Juju Chang, her voice choked with emotion. “That’s all I asked for was a chance, that’s it.”

Manning, 29, was released in May from a U.S. military prison in Kansas where she had been serving time for passing secrets to the WikiLeaks website in the biggest breach of classified data in the history of the United States.

She had been working as an intelligence analyst in Iraq. She was convicted by court-martial in 2013 of espionage and other offenses for furnishing more than 700,000 documents, videos and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, an international organization that publishes information from anonymous sources.

Manning came out as transgendered shortly after her sentencing, but the military denied her request for hormone therapy treatment while behind bars. She was placed in solitary confinement after attempting suicide twice.

Manning continued to fight for the treatment, and the authorities ultimately relented. In her ABC interview, she said the hormone therapy was essential.

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“It’s literally what keeps me alive. It keeps me from feeling like I’m in the wrong body,” Manning said. “I used to get these horrible feelings like I just wanted to rip my body apart.”

(Reporting by Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Bernadette Baum)

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At least Rex Tillerson tried to restrain Trump — Mike Pompeo is ‘nothing but a smirking cheerleader’: conservative columnist

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In August of 2017, conservative writer Max Boot penned an op-ed slamming then-secretary of state Rex Tillerson as having proved himself a "failure at every aspect of being secretary of state," adding that he should "do the country a favor and resign." But in a piece published this Sunday in the Washington Post, Boot would like to offer Tillerson an apology -- an apology for "underestimating his virtues."

"Now that his successor as secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, is verbally assaulting a reporter and refusing to defend a career ambassador from character assassination — and possibly worse — I miss ol’ Rex and his Boy Scout ethos," Boot writes.

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GOP ex-congressman calls on Justice Roberts to override Republican effort to block witnesses

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In a column for the New York Times, former acting Solicitor General Neal Katyal, former Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-OK) and Georgetown law professor Joshua A. Geltzer urged Supreme Court Justice John Roberts to intercede and demand Senate Republicans allow witnesses in light of the latest John Bolton bombshell.

Following a New Times report that stated "President Trump directly tied the withholding of almost $400 million in American security aid to investigations that he sought from Ukrainian officials, according to an unpublished manuscript of a book that John R. Bolton, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, wrote about his time in the White House," the three took to the Times editorial page to implore Roberts to step in.

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Anxious Senate Republicans face a massive blowback after John Bolton bombshell

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The impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump continues this week, with the president's defense team making the case for his acquittal followed by questions from senators. The president's lawyers opened their presentation on Saturday with a mere two hours of arguments.

This article was originally published at Salon

It's clear they are anxious to get this over with so that the Republicans can bring the "vindicated" Trump into the House chamber like a conquering hero on Feb. 4 for the State of the Union address. They certainly don't want him to deliver it in the middle of his impeachment trial. If the incontinence Trump has displayed on his Twitter feed over the last few days is any indication, there's a good chance he'll leap off the dais and try to strangle House manager Adam Schiff with his bare hands.

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