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White House considered easing Russian sanctions even after Flynn’s departure: report

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The Trump administration considered “unilaterally” easing sanctions on Russia’s oil industry well after the ouster of former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, the Daily Beast reports.

Former U.S. officials told the Beast the White House tried to argue the sanctions against the Russian oil industry harm the U.S. economy, but State Department officials were able to successfully argue the opposite is true.

“Russia continues to occupy Ukraine including Crimea—conditions that led to the sanctions have not changed,” one State Department official explained to a White House aide, according to emails of that exchange. Barack Obama imposed sanctions against Russia after the country annexed Crimea in 2014.

National Security Council strategist Kevin Harrington was “very aggressively pushing” for officials to determine “whether U.S. national interests were being harmed by sanctions on Russian oil,” according to one former official. Those requests were made in March under General H.R. McMaster, who was named Trump’s national security adviser following Flynn’s departure.

Discussions of sanctions against Russia ultimately sank Flynn’s short-lived tenure at the White House; the president fired Flynn after the administration claimed Flynn lied to Vice President Mike Pence about discussing sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the Trump transition. The nature of those conversations between Flynn and Russian operatives is at the core of multiple Congressional and federal investigations into the Trump team’s contacts with the Russian government.

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Will Hurd becomes first GOP lawmaker to condemn Trump’s ‘racist and xenophobic’ attacks on Dems

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Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) on Monday became the first Republican lawmaker to unequivocally condemn President Donald Trump's racist attacks against four Democratic lawmakers.

When asked by CNN's Christiane Amanpour about Trump's weekend tweets, in which he told Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) to “go back” to their countries despite the fact that all four are American citizens, Hurd did not hold back on repudiating the president's statements.

"Those tweets are racist, and xenophobic," he said. "They’re also inaccurate. The four women he’s referring to are actually citizens of the United States."

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Opponents of Fox News’ racism are ignoring the most important target: columnist

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Over the weekend, Fox News host Tucker Carlson went on a rant against Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (R-MN), claiming that she poses a danger to America and is the reason U.S. immigration laws should be changed.

Writing in The Intercept, columnist Peter Maas points out that while it's important to call out Carlson's racism, journalists shouldn't lose sight of the fact that the real culprits are the Murdoch family, which funds the xenophobia and racism of Fox News.

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Trump says his racist attacks were ‘not at all’ racist as Pelosi preps resolution condemning him

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President Donald Trump on Monday said his racist attacks on four Democratic lawmakers were "not at all" racist, even as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced a congressional resolution to condemn him for his "disgusting" smears.

While taking questions from reporters, the president was asked if he believed his attacks on Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) -- whom Trump told to "go back" to their countries despite the fact that all four are American citizens -- were racist.

"Not at all," the president replied.

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