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US sanctions on Russia coming soon: Treasury secretary

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Despite President Donald Trump’s public statements appearing to oppose sanctions against Russia, the steps ordered by Congress will be imposed in coming weeks, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday.

In testimony before a House subcommittee, Mnuchin pushed back against the idea that Trump is trying to block the sanctions in response to Russia’s meddling in the 2016 US presidential election, saying Trump is “fully supportive.”

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“We will implement them,” Mnuchin said. “I expect in next several weeks we’ll be going forward with sanctions on Russia.”

Trump’s vocal opposition to the package — which entered into law earlier this year — and his regular praise of Vladimir Putin has raised questions about whether the administration is dragging its feet, which has angered some lawmakers.

Several members of Trump’s campaign have been charged or admitted to lying to the FBI about their contacts with Kremlin-linked officials accused of trying to sway the 2016 vote in Trump’s favor.

Mnuchin assured the legislators that “in recent conversations with the president he is fully supportive of the work we are doing,” and that the sanctions will be enforced.

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At a separate hearing, Dan Coats, director of National Intelligence, said he expects Treasury to announce the Russia sanctions “within a week.”

Democratic representative Mike Quigley said the only step taken so far has been a “laughable report on Russian oligarchs,” but Mnuchin said the classified report given to Congress detailed the efforts to design the package of penalties.

In its report, Treasury publicly identified more than 100 Russian officials and business leaders eligible for sanctions, a list derived from Forbes magazine, among other sources.

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A senior administration official last month said the White House has warned governments around the world that they could face sanctions for “significant transactions” with the Russian military.

That includes NATO ally Turkey, which has publicly announced the purchase of a Russian S-400 air defense missile system, which is regarded as a challenge to US air superiority.


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Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

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Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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The faith of Fox News: How the network’s propaganda warps viewers’ sense of reality

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A longtime sticking point among Fox News employees is their insistent differentiation between its news division, where employees practice actual journalism, and its opinion division, where employees practice actual nativism, spew misinformation, and have been actively campaigning for Donald Trump’s re-election since 2016.  Inside the organization, they claim to believe that the news side is separate from the opinion side, and insist that the audience can tell the difference.

News anchor Shepard Smith once characterized comparing the two as “apples and teaspoons.”

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