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US nuclear, coal plant bailout plan still being ‘fleshed out’: Rick Perry

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A plan requested by U.S. President Donald Trump to prevent struggling nuclear and coal power plants from shutting is still being “fleshed out” by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the White House, Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Friday.

Trump on June 1 directed Perry to take emergency steps to keep nuclear and coal plants running, in what would amount to an unprecedented intervention in U.S. power markets that has drawn backlash from environmentalists as well as oil, gas and renewable energy companies.

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“This is not just singularly an economic issue,” Perry told reporters at the G20 Energy Ministers’ meeting in Bariloche, Argentina, citing risks of cyberattacks by “nefarious actors” or “terrorist groups” on the civilian electric grid, which also provides U.S. military bases with nearly all their power.
According to the DOE, cyber and physical threats are “minimized” at nuclear and coal plants because they can store months of fuel on site to survive a supply cut. Some experts have said coal infrastructure is just as susceptible to cyber attacks as natural gas pipelines.

The U.S. coal and nuclear power industries have been shrinking for years, under pressure from cheaper natural gas along with advances in solar and wind energy.

“You would not want to wager that your liberties and your freedoms in a country – the United States in this case – should be left solely to the free market,” Perry said.

He did not respond to questions on when the plan would be announced or its details.

Reporting by Luc Cohen; Editing by David Gregorio

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Room erupts in laughter as Democrat Peter Welch destroys Jim Jordan during impeachment hearing

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There was a moment of brevity four-hours into the first televised hearing in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the bombastic Freedom Caucus member who was added to the committee at the last moment by Republicans, had argued that the White House whistleblower started the scandal.

"There’s one witness, one witness that they won’t bring in front of us, they won’t bring in front of the American people, and that’s the guy who started it all, the whistleblower," Jordan argued.

Unfortunately for the wrestling coach turned politician, Jordan was followed by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT).

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Trump ignores impeachment to host Turkey’s Erdogan at the White House

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President Donald Trump greeted his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House for a high-stakes meeting Wednesday that underlined his claim to be ignoring the impeachment drama unfolding simultaneously in Congress.

The two leaders were to hold several hours of meetings, including lunch, before giving a joint news conference.

While Congress listened to evidence against Trump from two diplomats in the impeachment inquiry, the US president met Erdogan on the White House's South Lawn, together with a military honor guard, before heading straight to the Oval Office.

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Dem lawmaker rips apart top GOP anti-impeachment talking point: ‘Attempted extortion’ is still a crime

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Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) on Wednesday tore apart one of the major arguments made by House Republicans during public impeachment hearings.

Throughout the hearing, Republicans argued that there was no scandal in the president's behavior regarding military aid to Ukraine because the aid eventually got delivered.

Castro, during his questioning of impeachment witnesses Bill Taylor and George Kent, expertly pulled this talking point apart by showing that President Donald Trump's efforts to extort Ukraine only failed because he got caught.

Castro began by asking the witnesses why Ukraine didn't actually go through with plans to investigate Burisma, the former employer of Hunter Biden, even though the country had been poised to do so.

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