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Russia threatens retaliation if Pentagon bans controversial Kaspersky Lab cybersecurity software

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Communications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov served notice on Friday that the Russian government would retaliate against U.S. companies if Congress bans the Pentagon from using controversial cyber-security software from Kaspersky Lab.

In an interview with Bloomberg, Nikiforov said that any “unilateral political sanctions” put in place by the U.S. government would impact American  companies that provide “a huge proportion of American software and hardware solutions in the IT sphere, even in very sensitive areas,” to Russia.

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The Russian official dismissed concerns about hidden code in the software that could impact computer network security, saying, “Foreign software isn’t necessarily about information risks as it undergoes screening and certification procedures.”

The FBI is currently scrutinizing Kaspersky Lab’s anti-virus software based upon fears that the Moscow-based company is run by executives with extensive ties to Russian intelligence and military agencies.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has asked that the Pentagon be banned “from using software platforms developed by Kaspersky Lab due to reports that the Moscow-based company might be vulnerable to Russian government influence.”

“We are very much concerned about this, very much concerned about the security of our country,” Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said specifically about Kaspersky Lab.

Despite denials from Kaspersky executives that they had any involvement in the alleged hacking of the 2016 presidential election,  FBI agents interviewed over a dozen employees of the Russian company in the past week as part of a counterintelligence probe.

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GOP senators lob out excuses to avoid watching impeachment hearings: ‘Took my kid to school’

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European ambassador Gordon Sondland's impeachment testimony sent shock waves through Washington D.C. on Wednesday -- but they seemingly weren't felt by Republican senators.

Per CNN's Michael Warren, multiple GOP senators said on Wednesday that they were not watching Sondland's testimony, which directly implicated President Donald Trump in a quid-pro-quo scheme with Ukraine.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), for example, said that he "took my kid to school" instead of watching Sondland, while Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) said he was busy "chairing my own hearing."

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Ken Starr says ‘it’s over’ for Trump: Democrats know ‘the president in fact committed the crime of bribery’

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Former independent prosecutor Ken Starr suggested on Wednesday that President Donald Trump impeachment could now be a sure thing.

Following the testimony of European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Fox News host Bret Baier called the witness "very damning" for Trump -- and Starr agreed.

"We've gotten close to the president," Starr said of Sondland's testimony. "The president may have covered himself by saying no quid pro quo, the record is muddled. So we have Gordon Sondland's understanding. It doesn't look good for the president substantively."

Starr compared the current process to the articles of impeachment that were drafted against President Richard Nixon.

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‘Emergency neurological symptoms?’ Internet explodes in laughter over Trump’s bizarre ‘I WANT NOTHING’ notes

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President Donald Trump read handwritten talking points as he departed the White House on Wednesday.

His notes were written in Sharpie marker on a notepad.

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's remarks.

https://twitter.com/samstein/status/1197200696044654593

https://twitter.com/Lawrence/status/1197207906455822340

https://twitter.com/revrrlewis/status/1197203825595170816

https://twitter.com/jean_yoon/status/1197196681542021121

https://twitter.com/AmandaMarcotte/status/1197204127526330368

https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/1197196178057814016

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