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Putin says summit with Trump was ‘very successful’

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday said his summit meeting with US leader Donald Trump was “very successful”, following several hours of talks in Helsinki.

The leaders touched on issues including tensions on the Korean peninsula and the situation in Syria during their first summit, Putin said at a joint press conference.

“I consider them (the talks) very successful and useful,” Putin said, praising the “frank and business-like atmosphere” of the summit.

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He said Trump had raised accusations of Russian interference in US elections.

“I had to repeat what I have already said many times before — the Russian state has never interfered and is not planning to interfere in the USA’s internal affairs,” Putin said.

“It is obvious to everyone that bilateral ties are going through a difficult period. However there are no objective reasons for these difficulties, the current tense atmosphere,” he said.

Putin suggested special prosecutor Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who is looking into interference in the November 2016 vote, send Moscow a request to interview the Russians he suspects of meddling.

In response to a question about whether he had wanted Trump to win the election, Putin said he did, because the businessman had pledged to improve ties between Washington and Moscow.

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Putin praised cooperation between Russian and US security services, adding that he favoured continued cooperation in “the fight against terror and ensuring cyber security”.

The Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said separately that the talks were “better than super” in comments reported by Russian news agencies.

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Billie Eilish: the edgy pop radical rewriting stardom’s rules

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Los Angeles (AFP) - The embodiment of cool with haunting, gravelly vocals and original punk-rock style, Billie Eilish has redefined the contemporary pop star on her blistering path to stardom.

And now the teenage mover and shaker has cemented her place as an establishment leader, posting a banner Grammy night by sweeping the top four categories -- the first woman and youngest artist to do so.

The 18-year-old's phenomenal ascent saw Eilish named Billboard's 2019 woman of the year -- and for good reason.

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Democrats allege a GOP ‘cover-up’ after leaked John Bolton manuscript blows up Trump’s defense

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Democrats stepped up their calls for Senate Republicans to allow witnesses at Donald Trump's impeachment trial after a leaked manuscript for an upcoming memoir by former national security adviser John Bolton undercut the president's defense.

This article was originally published at Salon

Trump told Bolton he wanted to maintain a freeze on $391 million in aid to Ukraine until its leaders agreed to help investigate the Bidens, according to a manuscript turned over by Bolton to the National Security Council for review, which was obtained by The New York Times.

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Doug Collins whines to reporters: It’s not fair that everybody believes John Bolton over Donald Trump

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Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), a member of the president's impeachment defense, complained on Monday that President Donald Trump has less credibility than former National Security Adviser John Bolton.

Collins made the remarks to reporters hours after The New York Times leaked part of a manuscript from Bolton's book, which suggests that the president wanted a quid pro quo before sending military aid to Ukraine.

"It's interesting to hear the questions," Collins said, interrupting another member's answer. "If John Bolton says it, it must be true. Even though the president said it didn't happen, [Attorney General William Barr] said it didn't happen."

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