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Morning Joe slams Republicans for surrendering to Putin in exchange for tax cuts and conservative court

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MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said Republicans had traded tax cuts and two conservative Supreme Court justices for the NATO alliance that had allowed the U.S. to dominate the last half-century of world history.

The “Morning Joe” host said Trump had thoroughly taken control of the GOP, which has turned a blind eye to the president’s highly questionable relationship with his Russian counterpart.

“Vladimir Putin does not like NATO, Russia hates NATO,” Scarborough said.

“Getting back to bargains conservatives and Republicans made, people make bargains with themselves, but this deal that the Republican Party has made,” he continued, “how the Republican Party is now Trump’s party and people are having to change their, the generational-held views to be in line with Donald Trump.”

He asked whether the trade-off was worth it.

“You know, you get two Supreme Court picks and you get tax cuts,” Scarborough said, “but you also get the destruction of the U.S. order that made us the most powerful country over the past 50 years, and a huge question mark over what Vladimir Putin has on Donald Trump.”

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MSNBC analyst Mike Barnicle said the president appeared to be conspiring with Putin to undermine the European Union.

“We’re on the eve of the president of the United States about to go to Europe, and we have Russia led by Putin trying to dismantle, disrupt and destroy the European Union and lo and behold, the president of the United States is his principal ally in doing this,” Barnicle said. “Incredible.”

Trump is headed to the annual NATO meeting Tuesday, and next week he will meet privately with Putin — whom he has offered nothing but praise.

“He had one thing after another thing after another thing, add more question marks about what does Putin have on Donald Trump?” Scarborough said. “A question we’ve asked time and time again, and then you look and say, what is the one thing that Vladimir Putin — what is his number one geopolitical strategic goal? It would be the breaking up of NATO, the breaking up of the European Union.”

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Pompeo ups pressure on Russia over four MH17 accused

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Moscow must ensure that those charged with murder over the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 face justice, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, after international investigators accused three Russians and a Ukrainian over the disaster.

The trial of the four men with military and intelligence links will start in the Netherlands in March next year, although they are likely to be tried in absentia as neither Russia nor Ukraine extradites their nationals.

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Fed opens door to rate cut amid growing ‘uncertainties’

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The Federal Reserve opened the door to an interest rate cut on Wednesday, vowing to act to keep the economy growing as uncertainties about trade and other issues mount.

US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell said trade friction and slowing growth worldwide have led many central bankers to feel the case for an interest rate cut has "strengthened" but most still want to see more data before making a move.

But one policymaker dissented in the vote, advocating for an immediate cut -- something President Donald Trump has been calling for loudly and which many economists say is necessary given the damage done by the escalating trade frictions.

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Russians to prod Putin on poverty, personal life as ratings fall

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Russians are set to ask President Vladimir Putin about growing poverty at home and tensions abroad during an annual televised phone-in Thursday, which comes following a fall in his approval ratings.

The leader is also likely to face a degree of grilling on his personal life, according to questions submitted by the public online ahead of the live show.

Set to be held for the 17th time since Putin came to power in 1999, the show starts at 0900 GMT and usually lasts several hours.

Ahead of the carefully choreographed show, more than one million questions had been submitted, organisers told Russian news agencies.

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