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Trump VA official barred statement condemning Charlottesville white nationalists: report

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White supremacists march on Charlottesville, VA during the August 2017 "Unite the Right" rally that left a woman dead. Image via Karla Cote/Creative Commons.

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.

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

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Greenland's ice sheet may have shrunk past the point of return, with the ice likely to melt away no matter how quickly the world reduces climate-warming emissions, new research suggests.

Scientists studied data on 234 glaciers across the Arctic territory spanning 34 years through 2018 and found that annual snowfall was no longer enough to replenish glaciers of the snow and ice being lost to summertime melting.

That melting is already causing global seas to rise about a millimeter on average per year. If all of Greenland's ice goes, the water released would push sea levels up by an average of 6 meters -- enough to swamp many coastal cities around the world. This process, however, would take decades.

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2020 Election

Trump’s campaign has plans to disrupt coverage of the Democratic convention: report

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According to a report from Politico, Donald Trump will be hitting the road next week where he will visit battleground states in an effort to steal headlines while the Democrats hold their national convention to select former Vice President Joe Biden as their presidential nominee.

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2020 Election

There’s something much more exciting happening behind the scenes of the Biden-Harris ticket

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Joe Biden’s pick of Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) as his running mate for the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket has generated strong responses. While many Democrats are elated at the idea of seeing a brown-skinned woman of Indian and Jamaican heritage in such a position, progressives are debating one another about Harris’ mixed record on bread-and-butter issues such as criminal justice reform, foreign policy, and health care. In many ways, Harris is not unlike Barack Obama: charismatic, intellectually brilliant, telegenic, and with just the kind of racially diverse background that symbolizes an America that most liberal-minded people want to live in. But far more hopeful than Harris’ achievement is the new crop of staunchly progressive young people of color that is chipping away at the Democratic Party establishment through electoral politics.

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