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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.

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.

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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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Hope Hicks denied under oath knowing about Trump’s hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels

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Former White House communications director Hope Hicks on Wednesday denied under oath knowing anything about the hush-money scheme set up by former Trump "fixer" Michael Cohen to pay off President Donald Trump's former mistresses.

"Hicks told lawmakers today that she did not have knowledge during 2016 campaign of hush-money payments made in run-up to election," reports CNN's Manu Raju. "Also she wouldn’t discuss what she learned about those payments during her time at White House because of immunity claims."

Hicks told lawmakers today that she did not have knowledge during 2016 campaign of hush-money payments made in run-up to election, per sources. Also she wouldn’t discuss what she learned about those payments during her time at WH bc of immunity claims https://t.co/GZWqzCzpGX

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2020 Election

Trump’s 2020 campaign strategy is familiar: Troll the libs!

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Late on Tuesday, I got an email from an unusual source. A reporter for the conservative publication the Washington Examiner asked if I'd be interested in sharing thoughts on Joe Biden's history of joking "about 'locking up your daughters'" and on "Biden's view of women and gender relations." This was in light of my previous criticisms of Biden's apparent condescension towards girls and women, and his pockmarked history on gender relations in general.

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Cory Booker rips Biden for praising racist senators: ‘You don’t joke about calling black men boys’

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Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) blasted Joe Biden for praising two segregationist senators he'd served with as a lawmaker.

The former vice president and current Democratic presidential frontrunner reminisced about his relationship with Mississippi Democrat James Eastland and Georgia Democrat Herman Talmadge, two notoriously racist senators during the Civil Rights era, reported The Hill.

“At least there was some civility, we got things done," Biden said, recalling that Eastland had never called him "boy." "We didn't agree on much of anything. We got things done, we got it finished."

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