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US appeals court narrows Trump birth control ruling

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A U.S. appeals court on Thursday narrowed an order that had blocked President Donald Trump’s administration from enforcing new rules that undermine an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide insurance that covers women’s birth control.

Last year two federal judges, one in Philadelphia and one in Oakland, California, had blocked the government from enforcing rules allowing businesses or nonprofits to obtain exemptions from the contraception policy on moral or religious grounds. The Justice Department appealed both rulings.

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The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Thursday the injunction issued in California should not apply nationwide, but only within the five states that sued over the policy. California’s attorney general filed the case, along with AGs in Delaware, Virginia, Maryland and New York.

Despite the 9th Circuit ruling, a nationwide injunction issued by the Philadelphia judge is still in effect while that case is under appeal at the 3rd Circuit, a spokesman for Pennsylvania’s attorney general said on Thursday.

A U.S. Justice Department spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment. At the time the California injunction was issued, a spokeswoman said: “This administration is committed to defending the religious liberty of all Americans.”

One 9th Circuit judge, an appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush, said he would have revoked the California injunction altogether.

The cases are among several that Democratic state attorneys general filed after the Republican Trump administration revealed the new rules which targeted the contraceptive mandate implemented as part of 2010’s Affordable Care Act, popularly known as Obamacare.

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The rules would let businesses or nonprofits lodge religious or moral objections to obtain an exemption from the law’s mandate that employers provide contraceptive coverage in health insurance with no co-payment.

Conservative Christian activists and congressional Republicans praised the move, while reproductive rights advocates and Democrats criticized it.

Reporting by Dan Levine; editing by Leslie Adler and Richard Chang

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Sondland blasted Rudy Giuliani for messing ‘everything up’ — but with far more colorful language: report

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The first reporter to obtain a copy of David Holmes' opening testimony behind-closed-doors to Congress continued to flush out his reporting on Friday evening.

Holmes' opening was first obtained by CNN's Manu Raju.

"Testimony undercuts key WH defense: That Trump was just concerned about corruption in Ukraine. After talking with Trump, Holmes asked if it was true that Trump didn’t give a 'sh*t' about Ukraine; Sondland responded that Trump only cared about the 'big stuff:' probe into Bidens," Raju reported.

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WATCH: AOC dunks on GOP for ‘beclowning themselves’ during Trump’s impeachment

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) blasted her Republican colleagues on national TV on Friday.

Ocasio-Cortez, also known as AOC, is the youngest woman ever elected to the House of Representatives. She was interviewed on MSNBC's "All In" by anchor Chris Hayes.

"Midway through today's impeachment inquiry, the president was accused of witness tampering," Hayes noted. "One of the sharpest rejoinders came from Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez."

The host read her tweet to the live studio audience.

he*

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 15, 2019

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‘The worst day of the presidency so far for Donald Trump’: Advisor to four presidents

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President Donald Trump has not had a worse day in office than he suffered on Friday, according to a top former White House advisor.

David Gergen served in the administrations of Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. He was interviewed Friday night by CNN's Anderson Cooper.

"If you are looking to throw somebody under the bus, Gordon Sondland would probably be a prime candidate to be next in line to be thrown under the bus," Cooper said.

"I think the president will wait patiently to see what he says and then decide," Gergen replied.

He then offered his analysis of the situation.

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