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CIA Director Mike Pompeo defends meetings with Russian spy chiefs

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CIA Director Mike Pompeo on Thursday defended the practice of meeting with Russian spy chiefs, following reports that top U.S. intelligence officials last week met a Kremlin spymaster who is under U.S. sanctions.

“We periodically meet with our Russian intelligence counterparts for the same reason our predecessors did – to keep Americans safe,” Pompeo said in a letter to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer. There is nothing “untoward” about such meetings, he said.

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“We cover very difficult subjects in which American and Russian interests do not align,” Pompeo said. “We vigorously defend America in these encounters and pull no punches – we never will.”

Sergey Naryshkin, head of Russia’s foreign intelligence agency, held talks outside Washington last week with Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and other U.S. officials, two U.S. sources said. Naryshkin was sanctioned in 2014 as part of the U.S. response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

(Reporting by Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay; Editing by Chris Reese)


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Nancy Pelosi missed a big opportunity in impeachment — but she still has time to fix it

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her reasons for limiting her impeachment articles to offenses stemming from the abuses and violations related to Ukraine. Unfortunately, she declined to pursue a broader impeachment approach that recognizes multiple provable, serious violations of the Constitution. Speaker Pelosi overruled Chairs of Committees, including the Judiciary Committee, and other senior lawmakers who wanted to forward to the Senate a broader array of impeachable offenses.

Having lost four of the last five House elections to the worst Republican Party in history, Speaker Pelosi remains cautious. She is overly worried about the conservative Democrats who won congressional seats in 2018 in Republican, pro-Trump districts. Endangering their seats might, Pelosi fears, lead to the loss of the House in 2020 and, more immediately, risk not having the votes in the House to pass additional impeachable offenses.

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Scrambling Trump promises to ‘save’ social security after threatening to cut it — but it’s seniors who will pay for his recklessness

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It used to be said that cutting Social Security was politics’ third rail, a fatal taking of positions.

If that’s still true, you wouldn’t know it from the emerging attention that cutting Social Security is getting.

Indeed, look at Trump’s handling of Social Security, and you may find real flaws in the armor of a Best-of-All-Time economy cloak that Trump tries to wear.

Even as Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden mix it up over whether Biden did or did not say something supportive about a Republican plan in 2008 by then-Rep. Paul D. Ryan for spending reductions, here comes Donald Trump to promise that he is open to revamping entitlement programs towards the end of the year.

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McConnell under pressure to wrap up Trump impeachment trial quickly without alienating wavering GOP senators

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According to a report from Politico, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is under pressure from the White House and some of his Republican colleagues to move quickly to acquit Donald Trump by speeding up his impeachment trial while not upsetting some wavering GOP lawmakers who are fearful for their reputations in an election year.

The report notes that a Trump acquittal is a foregone conclusion, with GOP lawmakers admitting as much.

“The question is going to come to ‘Have you heard enough to make a decision or do you want witnesses?’ If people say, ‘We’re ready to vote,’ we’re going to vote right then,” explained Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY).

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