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Pentagon plays down US-South Korean drills after North suspends talks

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The Pentagon on Tuesday played down ongoing military exercises with South Korea, saying they were routine and defensive in nature after North Korea blamed them for its decision to suspend high-level talks with Seoul scheduled for Wednesday.

“Republic of Korea (ROK) and U.S. military forces are currently engaged in the recurring, annual ROK-U.S. spring exercises, to include exercises Foal Eagle 2018 and Max Thunder 2018,” a Pentagon spokesman said, adding that the Max Thunder air combat drills were scheduled to run from May 14-25.

“These defensive exercises are part of the ROK-U.S. Alliance’s routine, annual training program to maintain a foundation of military readiness.”

 
Reporting by Phil Stewart and Eric Beech; Editing by James Dalgleish

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‘Massive lie to the American people’: Congressman says Trump enlisted Hope Hicks to cover up hush payments

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On Thursday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) discussed ex-White House Communications Director Hope Hicks' testimony before the House Judiciary Committee regarding President Donald Trump — particularly her claim that she did not know whether the denial Trump directed her to give about the hush payments to women during the 2016 campaign was true.

"I don't believe her, because that was such a huge fact that she was repeating on behalf of Donald Trump, and it turned out to be a massive lie," Lieu told anchor Erin Burnett. "When she realized that it was a lie, she was not able to talk about that, because she got that information while she was at the White House, and [the lawyers] objected to everything about her tenure at the White House, but she did confirm that essentially Donald Trump directed her to make this massive lie to American people."

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‘This is ridiculous’: ex-prosecutor rips Democrats for not even swearing-in Hope Hicks before her testimony

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The House Judiciary Committee failed in how they went about interviewing Hope Hicks, the longtime Trump advisor who rose to White House communications director.

On Thursday, the committee released a 273-page transcript of Hicks testimony behind closed doors.

For analysis, MSNBC "Hardball" anchor Chris Matthews interviewed former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne.

Lawyers representing Hicks repeatedly objected to her answer questions.

"What is this thing, this word objection? This is loaded, all this wasted paper, a lot of this paper simply has the word objection on it," Matthews said, holding up a 271-page printout of Hicks' transcript.

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Trump campaign brags Mexico is paying for an imaginary wall — while Americans are stuck with the very real tab

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On Thursday's edition of MSNBC's "The Beat," Ari Melber confronted Marc Lotter, a campaign official with President Donald Trump's 2020 efforts, on his broken promise to make Mexico pay for the wall. Lotter's response was to insist that Mexico was, in fact, paying for a wall — sort of.

"Donald Trump assured everyone, including his base, he says is going to be key, he promised them one thing about the wall. You know what it is. He promised them that somebody else would pay for it," said Melber, playing clip after clip of Trump saying Mexico would pay. "As president, Donald Trump has fought hard, shut down the government, and even used executive powers to seize funds to make Americans pay for the wall. Do you think that's sort of the toughest broken promise for the re-election campaign?"

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