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Trump VA official barred statement condemning Charlottesville white nationalists: report

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A Donald Trump-appointed official in the Department of Veterans Affairs pressured a VA diversity specialist not to condemn white nationalists after Charlottesville, newly-revealed emails show.

The Washington Post reported that John Ullyot, the VA’s chief communications official, was at odds with diversity expert Georgia Coffey after the senior diversity officer called for a more-forceful condemnation of white nationalism following the “Unite the Right” rally that left one woman dead and several others injured.

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Coffey, the emails shared with the Post by the American Oversight watchdog group showed, called on the agency to issue a statement denouncing the rally’s “repugnant display of hate and bigotry by white supremacists, neo-Nazis, and the Ku Klux Klan.”

The report noted that Ullyot directed the diversity officer to stand down, and that people familiar with the exchange said the Trump appointee “was enforcing a directive from the White House, where officials were scrambling to contain the fallout from Trump’s comments” about the rally in which he both praised and criticized “both sides” of the white supremacist rally.

Curt Cashour, a spokesperson for the VA, denied that such a directive was issued.

Then-VA Secretary David Shulkin issued his own statement after the Charlottesville rally decrying white supremacists in a manner many considered more forceful than Trump’s. The report noted, however, that Ullyot said he was acting under Shulkin’s directions — and that the director was copied on the emails.

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The Post noted that Coffey retired soon after his dispute over the statement.


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Longtime GOP strategist explains why his party is getting crushed in the war of ideas

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Republican strategist Stuart Stevens on Wednesday warned the GOP that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) might not be a pushover candidate against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Writing on Twitter, Stevens admitted that he had "no idea" if Warren would beat Trump next year, but he did say that "Trump and supporters are destroying [the] credibility of any center-right argument" thanks to Trump's "corrupt and unstable" governance.

When one of Stevens' followers said that Warren would not be able to fulfill her promises just by taxing the wealthy, he countered that this idea is still more popular than anything Republicans are championing.

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‘Just like Brett Kavanaugh’: GOP candidate who pleaded guilty to sexual battery claims he was the real victim

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A GOP congressional candidate in Utah is comparing himself to Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — favorably — to explain away his guilty plea to two counts of sexual battery, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.

Cory Green, an Army Reserve and Navy veteran and private security officer running for Utah's 1st Congressional District, was charged with forcible sexual abuse in 2010 after he allegedly brought two teenage masseuses to a Motel 6, performed a sex act with an escort in front of them, and then paid one of the teenage girls for sex. He insists that the girl lied about her age and that his victim extorted him.

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Here’s what really went down with Trump’s Taliban peace talks misadventure

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Donald Trump is not known for finessing foreign policy but for years prior to his election and during his campaign, he was mostly right about Afghanistan. He called it a “total disaster,” said it was “wasting our money” and that we should leave “immediately.”

It seemed that Trump understood the timeless – if sometimes historically inaccurate - tropes about Afghanistan being the “graveyard of empires” and home to “ungovernable” tribesmen who could outwit and humiliate the British, the Soviets – and us.

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