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Ex-State Dept. diplomat pushed out by Trump urges Tillerson to spill the beans on the president

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A career State Department diplomat fired by President Donald Trump early in his administration had words of encouragement and advice for newly-ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Tuesday afternoon.

Thomas Countryman, who learned he was fired by the president in the first week of his administration while en route to Rome for a meeting on nuclear weapons, told a CNN panel led by host Brooke Baldwin that he could understand what the secretary of state might be going through.

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“I feel empathy for Rex Tillerson,” Countryman said. “It’s no fun to get fired — but it can be liberating.”

“I hope that that’s what he feels tomorrow,” the ex-diplomat said in the moments after Tillerson’s press conference responding to his ouster.

Though Countryman said he disagreed with Tillerson “for not defending adequately the budget and the personnel of the State Department,” he respected him and the role he played — particularly as “somebody who was a restraining influence on the worst instincts of a president who is — I don’t know if the right word is unchained or unhinged.”

“What concerns me now is that there will not be that kind of influence from Secretary [Mike] Pompeo,” he concluded.

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Dutch man arrested for ‘Black Pete’ suicide bomb threat

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Dutch police have arrested a man who threatened in a social media post to blow himself up over plans to sideline "Black Pete", a Christmas-time character provoking accusations of racist stereotyping.

The arrest is the latest controversy over the country's traditional Saint Nicholas side kick, portrayed in winter parades and by many Dutch children with a black face, thick red lips, woolly hair and a golden earring.

"A 49-year-old man from The Hague was arrested Monday afternoon after he threatened to blow himself up in support of the Saint Nicholas tradition," police said in a statement.

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Trump’s claim on halting Ukraine aid contradicted by Pentagon official Laura Cooper

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According to a new report from The Daily Beast, after the Pentagon's June announcement that it would give Ukraine $250 million in aid, Defense Department officials received a list of questions, seemingly originating from President Trump, seeking information about the aid.

“We got a question from my chain of command forwarded down from the chief of staff, I believe, from the Department of Defense, asking for a follow-up on a meeting with the President,” top Pentagon official Laura Cooper testified on Capitol Hill last month. “The way the email was phrased, it said follow-up from POTUS meeting, so follow-up from a meeting with the President. So, you know, I'm thinking that the questions were probably questions from the President. That's how I interpreted that subject line.”

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Kellyanne Conway snaps after Fox News host mentions Adam Schiff

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On Fox News Tuesday, anchor Bill Hemmer asked White House counselor Kellyanne Conway about the impeachment hearings — and she lost her temper as soon as he brought up House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA).

"How concerned is the president over these hearings?" asked Hemmer.

"The president is not concerned at all," said Conway. "The business of the people of this country is not being done ... the Capitol behind me is not a movie set, it is not a cardboard cutout. It’s where your representatives work for you, wasting your money and their time."

"Just to come back to this, I am told that Adam Schiff delivers the opening statement tomorrow," said Hemmer.

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