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US Congress aim to delay border wall funding fight until December

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U.S. Congress negotiators on Thursday moved to put off until after the Nov. 6 elections decisions on future funding for President Donald Trump’s multibillion-dollar southwest border wall, as lawmakers advanced legislation funding many other government programs.

Racing against a Sept. 30 deadline when the current fiscal year ends, Republicans and Democrats were showing unusual cooperation in trying to fund most federal agency functions and avoid an embarrassing government shutdown about a month before congressional elections.

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A trio of massive spending bills were making their way through Congress to fund military, energy and a range of other programs that otherwise would run out of money on Oct. 1.

But House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said that some decisions will have to be put off until Dec. 7, after congressional elections.

That means that Congress would continue to fund agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security at current year levels on a temporary basis.

In recent weeks, Trump has threatened a government shutdown unless he got the money he wanted to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to keep illegal immigrants and illegal drugs out of the United States.

A White House spokeswoman would not say whether Trump would go along with Congress’ plans if lawmakers did not immediately meet his demand for more border wall funding.

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“We look forward to reviewing the bill when it’s released,” said White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters.

Trump campaigned for president in 2016 vowing to build a wall that he said Mexico would finance.

But Mexico has balked and Trump instead has had to turn to Congress for construction funds. Lawmakers provided $1.57 billion this year for physical barriers and related technology along the southwest border.

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Some have estimated the total cost of the edifice at more than $24 billion.

Reporting By Richard Cowan; editing by Grant McCool

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Louisiana Democrat re-elected governor — despite Trump’s rallies for the Republican candidate

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The Associated Press has called the Lousiana's governor's race for incumbent Democrat John Bel Edwards.

Edwards triumphed over Republican businessman Eddie Rispone, who called to concede.

The outcome is another major political loss for President Donald Trump, who had held multiple campaign rallies for Rispone.

During his most recent rally, Trump begged the crowd to give him a "big win" in the election.

Eddie Rispone has conceded the #lagov race to Gov. John Bel Edwards, giving the Democrat four more years in ruby red Louisiana despite Trump’s best efforts to flip the seat. Edwards camp says Rispone called minutes ago to concede. #lagov #lalege

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Press secretary says it is ‘dangerous for the country’ to question whether she is putting out honest info

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Press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Saturday argued it was "dangerous for the country" for anyone to challenge the veracity of her claims.

Grisham made her argument after President Donald Trump went to Walter Reed Hospital for an unannounced doctor's visit, resulting in a great deal of speculation.

Following the visit, Grisham claimed Trump was "healthy" and "without complaints" -- a claim many found unlikely as the president has spent a good deal of time as president airing his many grievances.

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Sondland used WhatsApp to communicate with Ukraine — and won’t turn over the messages: report

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Ambassador Gordon Sondland used WhatsApp to send encrypted messages to a top Ukranian official, The Washington Post reported Saturday.

The communication occurred with Andriy Yermak, a top aide to President Volodymr Zelensky, when Sondland was in Kyiv, the newspaper reported.

"Sondland was also texting back and forth on WhatsApp with Yermak throughout the trip, and had been communicating with other Ukrainian officials over the messaging app in the preceding and subsequent months, according to people familiar with his interactions," The Post reported.

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