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KT McFarland asks Trump to withdraw her nomination as US envoy to Singapore

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KT McFarland

K.T. McFarland, picked by President Donald Trump as his nominee to be the U.S. ambassador to Singapore, asked him on Friday to withdraw her stalled nomination.

McFarland was on Trump’s presidential transition team and later appointed as the deputy national security adviser under Michael Flynn.

Trump had nominated McFarland last May to be the U.S. envoy to Singapore, but when the U.S. Senate did not act on the nomination by the end of 2017 the White House resubmitted her nomination in early January.

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McFarland’s nomination became stalled due to concerns about her testimony to Congress over communications with Russia, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in December.

“I am asking that you withdraw my nomination to be the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore,” McFarland said in a letter sent to the president, a copy of which was seen by Reuters. “I have come to this decision reluctantly, because I believe in your mission.”

McFarland said in the letter that she believed Trump had “laid the foundations for a new foreign policy that puts America’s interests ahead of, but not at the expense of, our obligations to others.”

“Know that I have no intention of withdrawing from the national debate and I want to help you in whatever way I can,” she said.

McFarland, a former Fox News national security analyst, had said in a written response to a question from a Senate Foreign Relations Committee member that she was “not aware” of communications between Flynn and Sergei Kislyak, when Kislyak was ambassador to Russia.

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The New York Times reported it had obtained an email McFarland sent on Dec. 29, 2016, the day former President Barack Obama’s administration authorized new sanctions against Russia, saying Flynn would talk to Kislyak that evening.

Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation about his contacts with Russia, and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors delving into the actions of Trump’s inner circle before he took office.

(Additional reporting by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Tom Brown and Leslie Adler)

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A historian explains why Robert E. Lee wasn’t a hero — he was a traitor

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There’s a fabled moment from the Battle of Fredericksburg, a gruesome Civil War battle that extinguished several thousand lives, when the commander of a rebel army looked down upon the carnage and said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” That commander, of course, was Robert Lee.

The moment is the stuff of legend. It captures Lee’s humility (he won the battle), compassion, and thoughtfulness. It casts Lee as a reluctant leader who had no choice but to serve his people, and who might have had second thoughts about doing so given the conflict’s tremendous amount of violence and bloodshed. The quote, however, is misleading. Lee was no hero. He was neither noble nor wise. Lee was a traitor who killed United States soldiers, fought for human enslavement, vastly increased the bloodshed of the Civil War, and made embarrassing tactical mistakes.

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Adam Schiff moves to implicate Pence in the Ukraine scandal as Republicans go off the rails

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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2020 Election

Warren criticized for conciliatory remarks on post-coup Bolivia

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Top-tier 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren is under fire from progressives and Indigenous activists for her comments Monday about the recent coup in Bolivia—remarks her critics called too conciliatory to the right-wing un-elected government that seized power after President Evo Morales was forced to resign and flee the country.

"The Bolivian people deserve free and fair elections, as soon as possible," Warren tweeted Monday afternoon. "Bolivia's interim leadership must limit itself to preparing for an early, legitimate election. Bolivia's security forces must protect demonstrators, not commit violence against them."

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