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Trump Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejects call for his resignation by 300 Yale classmates

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Urged by his Yale University classmates to resign as treasury secretary following President Donald Trump’s response to a white nationalist protest, Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday he would stay in office and that Trump “in no way, shape or form” equates neo-Nazis with peaceful protesters.

Mnuchin, along with other members of the cabinet, stood beside the president at a Tuesday news conference as Trump blamed violence in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend on not just white nationalist rally organizers but also counter-protesters, and said there were “very fine people” among both groups.

A letter, dated Aug. 18 and signed by more than 350 members of the Yale class of 1985, argued it was Mnuchin’s “moral obligation to resign” immediately because, it said, Trump had “declared himself a sympathizer with groups whose values are antithetical to those values we consider fundamental to our sacred honor as Americans.”

“We know you are better than this, and we are counting on you to do the right thing,” the letter said.

Mnuchin issued a statement on Saturday responding to his classmates and what he said were many other comments urging him to “speak out.”

“I strongly condemn the actions of those filled with hate and with the intent to harm others,” he said. “They have no defense from me nor do they have any defense from the president or this administration.”

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Mnuchin, who is Jewish, added: “While I find it hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or the president, I feel compelled to let you know that the president in no way, shape or form, believes that neo-Nazi and other hate groups who endorse violence are equivalent to groups that demonstrate in peaceful and lawful ways.”

Ultimately, he said, his classmates should be comforted by his remaining in the administration.

“I don’t believe the allegations against the president are accurate, and I believe that having highly talented men and women in our country surrounding the president in his administration should be reassuring to you and all the American people,” he said.

In his statement, he also noted the policy priorities he hopes to achieve in office, including tax reform, economic growth, and stopping terrorist financing.

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati; Editing by Mary Milliken)

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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Retired admiral could pose serious threat if he decides to run against Iowa Republican: report

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On Wednesday, Iowa Starting Line reported that Ret. Adm. Michael Franken is in talks with state and national Democrats about challenging GOP Sen. Joni Ernst.

Franken, who has served as Deputy for Military Operations for AFRICOM, Director of the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency, and Chief of Legislative Affairs for the Department of the Navy, hails from Sioux Center, a town in the deeply conservative northwest part of the state.

Ernst, who first gained national attention for her 2014 campaign ad about castrating hogs, is a reliable vote for President Donald Trump in the Senate, and the president's poor approval ratings in Iowa have left Democrats hopeful that they can defeat her.

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Here’s why Trump and Putin are only frenemies at this point

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President Trump’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran has hit an obstacle: Russia.

While the United States insists that Iran shot down a U.S. surveillance drone in international airspace last week, Russia rejected the charge on Tuesday and supported Iran’s claim that the Global Hawk drone with a 116-foot wingspan was shot down over Iranian territory.

A top Russian official stated Moscow’s intelligence findings at a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday, according to Haaretz, the Israeli daily.

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2020 Election

How the GOP is embracing more ruthless power grabs in the face of huge political challenges

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On Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on two cases highlighting the collision between partisan power grabs and setting the ground rules for two of the most important elections in America—those for U.S. House and state legislative chambers.

This article was produced by Voting Booth, a project of the Independent Media Institute.

One ruling concerns whether the Trump administration can add a question to the 2020 census that asks if anyone residing in that address is not a U.S. citizen. The other concerns whether hyper-partisanship is unconstitutional when state legislatures run by a single party draw electoral districts to maximize their party’s likelihood of winning elections.

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