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Trump choice for Russia ambassador Jon Huntsman: ‘No question’ Russia meddled

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FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman speaks at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, U.S., January 16, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Keane/File Photo

Former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Russia, said on Tuesday there was “no question” Moscow meddled in the 2016 U.S. election, and pledged to bring up the matter with the Russian government.

“There is no question, underline no question, that the Russian government interfered in the U.S. election last year, Huntsman, a former ambassador to China, said at his Senate confirmation hearing.

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“Moscow continues to meddle in the democratic processes of our friends and allies,” he said, taking a tough line welcomed by several members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Many members of Congress, including several of Trump’s fellow Republicans, are concerned the president will not take a hard enough line in dealings with Russia to combat Russian expansionism in eastern Europe or its support for Syria’s government in that country’s civil war.

Despite Trump’s objections, lawmakers in late July passed a tough package of sanctions on Russia that included barring him from easing them without congressional approval.

Huntsman said he thought any action on sanctions should be tied to whether Russia ends its aggression in Ukraine.

Russia has denied interfering in the election, but U.S. intelligence agencies’ conclusion that it did so to boost Trump’s chances of being elected have shadowed his presidency.

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Congressional committees and a special counsel are investigating whether Trump associates colluded with Russia.

The White House has denied any collusion and Russia has denied any involvement.

Huntsman said he would raise the issue with Russian authorities.

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“I will also not hesitate to remind government officials that they are accountable for their actions. Exhibit A is the fact that interference in the U.S. election has led directly to the current low level of trust in the relationship,” he said.

He also said he would try to work with Moscow in areas where the two countries have common interests, such as international efforts to curb North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile development.

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Huntsman, 57, served as ambassador to Beijing under President Barack Obama, a Democrat, and to Singapore under former Republican President George H.W. Bush.

The committee will likely vote to support Huntsman in the coming weeks, paving the way for what is expected to be an easy confirmation by the full Senate.

Senator Chris Coons, a Democratic committee member, called Huntsman “one of the very highest quality nominees for an ambassadorial post I have seen.”

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(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Steve Orlofsky)


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Nebraska racist attacks Black neighbor with chainsaw after assuming she was stealing from him

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A racist Nebraska man attacked his Black neighbor with a chainsaw because he assumed she was stealing from him.

Daniel Stueck confronted the woman Saturday afternoon when she arrived at her Lincoln apartment building, and police said he revved the chainsaw and told her to leave the rental property, reported KLKN-TV.

The woman told police that Stueck called her a racial slur, and continued using racist language and said she "better run."

The 41-year-old Stueck told police that Black people had been stealing from him and he assumed the woman "was guilty because she was Black."

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2020 Election

Federal appeals court grants Trump campaign ‘expedited’ hearing after Giuliani bungles case in Pennsylvania

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The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has granted the Trump campaign's motion for an expedited hearing in a case that is being handled by attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Last week, federal Judge Matthew Brann tossed out a case in which Giuliani had asked for 680,000 ballots to be invalidated in Pennsylvania. But Giuliani's team had removed legal claims about the demand from its motion to the court.

In his ruling, Brann said that Giuliani could not file an amended complaint in his court. The Trump campaign responded by filing an amended motion for expedited review with the Third Circuit of appeals.

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Oklahoma doctor warns ‘unless we have a smart Thanksgiving we’re going to have a sad Christmas’

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Things are so bad in Oklahoma that one doctor is warning the holidays are going to be particularly bad for families who will be mourning loved ones.

Speaking to MSNBC on Monday, NBC News reporter Morgan Chesky said that daily COVID-19 infections have gone up 140 percent while hospitalizations have increased in the state by 130 percent, so far.

"We're seeing cases of patients having to wait up to 24 hours just to get a bed," said Chesky. "And we know that staffing, they are fatigued and worn down simply because the numbers keep going up in spite of the fact that the CDC has recommended not to travel, we know that people all across the nation are going ahead and packing the airports, attending the mass gatherings."

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