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Senate confirms Trump’s pick for Homeland Security secretary

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The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a post that opened after John Kelly became Trump’s chief of staff earlier this year.

Senators voted 62-37 to confirm Kirstjen Nielsen, formerly Kelly’s deputy in the White House and his chief of staff when he led DHS. She is considered a cyber security expert and previously served in the administration of Republican President George W. Bush.

Nielsen, 45, will take the reins of a department with more than 240,000 employees responsible for immigration enforcement, U.S. border and airport security, disaster response, and protecting U.S. infrastructure from cyber attacks.

The agency is at the center of Trump’s efforts to enact broad changes to the U.S. immigration system.

Elaine Duke, a civil servant and the DHS deputy secretary, had been serving as acting secretary since Kelly’s departure for the White House in July.

In the last five months she ha been responsible for several controversial DHS decisions, including the end of temporary protected status for thousands of immigrants living in the United States. And the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a DHS entity, came under criticism for its response to the humanitarian disaster wrought by Hurricane Maria when it struck Puerto Rico in September.

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In a statement, Duke said she looked forward to working as Nielsen’s deputy, and said Nielsen has “a deep understanding of the issues facing the Department.”

Eleven Democrats voted with nearly all Republicans to confirm Nielsen. Republican Senator Lamar Alexander did not vote, and no Republicans voted against her confirmation.

House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican, said in a statement that Nielsen would bring “the expertise and leadership needed to successfully run the Department.”

Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson said in a statement that Nielsen had not yet shown “she has the ability to lead a workforce of 240,000 while keeping the country safe and secure,” and said DHS had so far been used as a “political tool of the White House.”

(Reporting by Yeganeh Torbati and Rick Cowan in WashingtonEditing by Sandra Maler)

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Trump ridiculed for babbling Oval Office talk about ‘manned drones’: We call those ‘planes’

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During a press availability in the Oval Office with Canadian Prime Minister, Donald Trump was naturally asked about Iran reportedly shooting down a U.S. drone in international airspace, which led to the president rambling in the way he does about what a drone is and does.

His explanation was not what one might call knowledgeable or smooth.

“I think probably Iran made a mistake,” the president replied when asked about the international incident. “I would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down. Fortunately, that drone was unarmed. There was no man in it and there was no — it was just — it was over international waters, clearly over international waters, but we didn’t have a man or woman in the drone. We had nobody in the drone. It would have made a big difference, let me tell you. It would have made a big, big difference."

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GOP lawmaker’s secret Christian magic shop exposed after he seeks Tennessee House leadership

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A Tennessee Republican is facing questions about a Christian magic supply business he operates out of his basement, but hasn't registered or disclosed with the state.

Deputy Speaker Matthew Hill (R-Jonesborough) is handing out campaign checks to Republican colleagues as he hopes to drum up support to become the state's next House Speaker, but he's facing new questions about his religiously themed business and ties to two companies that do political work, reported the Tennessean.

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Emotional vulnerability that is at the source of male gun ownership explored in new documentary

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On the surface, the gun debate almost appears on the surface to be a debate between men and women, as Moms Against Gun Violence dominates the anti-NRA conversation. It's given the pro-gun argument a twinge of masculinity at the heart of gun culture, but it's taken out of the debate about gun violence.

A short Washington Post documentary explores the statistic that more than 80 percent of the mass shootings, suicides with a gun and homicides with a gun are committed by men.

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