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Jeff Sessions met repeatedly with Russian ambassador and others as Trump surrogate — not senator

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Jeff Sessions met at least three times with a Russian ambassador as a member of the Trump campaign, according to a new report, and not as part of his duties as a U.S. senator.

The attorney general will testify Tuesday afternoon before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where lawmakers will likely ask why he did not disclose those meetings during his confirmations hearings.

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Sessions confirmed two of those meetings after they were revealed by reporters, although he insists they were part of his official duties as a senator, but The Atlantic reported that he met with Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak at least once more.

“All told, Sessions encountered Kislyak at least three times in five months,” reported The Atlantic‘s Julia Ioffe.

The meetings were among a series Sessions conducted with ambassadors and foreign policy experts, who understood his role to be that of a Trump campaign surrogate and not senator.

“That may seem semantic, but for Sessions, the distinction is crucial,” Ioffe reported. “He has insisted that he did not disclose the meeting with Kislyak in his testimony, because it was a routine part of his Senate duties.”

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Sessions had no reputation for foreign policy before his crash course during the presidential campaign, and even Republicans were surprised that he emerged as a national security adviser for Trump.

“Is that a serious question?” said one Republican Senate staffer. “He’s clueless.”

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Sessions met regularly with Central European and Baltic ambassadors during the campaign, although the White House insists they were part of his duties as a senior member of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee.

But some of the diplomats who met with Sessions said his roles weren’t so clearly defined.

“He was double-headed all the time, so it was very hard to distinguish,” said one European diplomat who met with Sessions multiple times last year.

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The Atlantic reports extensively on Trump’s first foreign policy speech, which took place April 27, 2016, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. — where Sessions and Trump both encountered Kislyak, who sat in the front row as the GOP candidate promised to improve relations between the U.S. and Russia.

The speech was organized by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser, who has fallen under investigation himself for his own meetings with Kislyak and a Russian state-owned bank during the transition period.

A source with direct knowledge told The Atlantic that Trump’s Mayflower speech was written by Richard Burt, a lobbyist for McLarty and Associates who has represented Russian clients like Alfa Bank, which is under investigation by the FBI for a possible computer link to Trump Tower during the campaign.

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Sessions set up a separate office to meet with foreign dignitaries, in order to comply with ethics guidelines, but he continued to invite ambassadors — including Kislyak — to his more impressive office at the Capitol, the magazine reported.

Those meetings abruptly ended three days after Trump’s election, with a Nov. 11 appointment with the German ambassador.

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… 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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Florida teacher removed after bizarre rant about students not standing for the pledge

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Students were faced with a white-board rant in a classroom attacking anyone not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance.

The moment went viral locally on Thursday after students posted Daniel Goodman‘s “inappropriate” message to students at First Coast High School in Duval County, Florida, The Atlanta Black Star reported.

“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960?s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president. The superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man. Mr. Simmons, who now is a DC PS admninistrator.”

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Missouri official choose Dr. Seuss’ ‘Oh the Places You’ll Go’ for swearing-in ceremony instead of ‘The Bible’

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A Missouri county official is being both celebrated and attacked after a decision to forgo The Bible for her swearing-in ceremony and opted for a copy of Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss.

The Friendly Atheist at Patheos captured the story, posting a photo of St. Louis City Councilmember Kelli Dunaway's children holding a copy of the book while she took her oath of office.

This was the scene last week at the STLCO government center. Democrats took back control of the council and @DunawayKelli was sworn in on a copy of “Oh the Places you’ll go” with her children❤️ so proud to be part of #TeamKelli pic.twitter.com/iJ1dxfZ1Zg

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Trump predicts New York Times will go out of business when he’s out of office

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In a permission tweet, President Donald Trump announced that his presidency is the only thing keeping the New York Times in business. Yet, somehow, they're also attacking him and lying about him.

"The New York Times will be out of business soon after I leave office, hopefully in 6 years. They have Zero credibility and are losing a fortune, even now, especially after their massive unfunded liability. I'm fairly certain they'll endorse me just to keep it all going!" he tweeted.

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1163238629730373632

Since taking office, subscriptions for The Times have increased dramatically. According to an August report, The Times boasted a 4.7 million increase in subscribers for the second quarter. Their revenue growth was 5.2 percent. It certainly is a modest increase, but it's also an increase in an era when newspapers are struggling to survive.

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