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Far-right Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini in Washington to stress Italy’s closeness to Trump administration

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Matteo Salvini, the far-right Italian deputy prime minister, spoke during a visit to Washington on Monday of his “closeness” to President Donald Trump’s administration.

Salvini, whose powerful League party did well in last month’s European Parliament elections, met Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and was due to meet later with Vice President Mike Pence in the White House.

Salvini, whose party is often at odds with their coalition partners, the Five Star Movement, played down his own role in cracking down on boats trying to save migrants crossing the Mediterranean from North Africa.

He focused instead on a “shared vision” with the Trump administration of “Iran, Venezuela, Libya, the situation in the Middle East, Israel’s right to exist” and “concerns about Chinese arrogance towards Europe and the African continent.”

Like Trump, he called for dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin in order to “bring Moscow closer to the system of western values rather than be driven into Beijing’s arms.”

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Also like the US president, he defended massive tax cuts despite concerns in Brussels about Rome’s soaring debt, and went as far as calling for a “Trumpian budget” in his country.

– Invitation to Pompeo –

Salvini also distanced himself from Italy’s signing of an accord that saw it become the first G7 member to join China’s “New Silk Road” global trade network, which the United States views with suspicion as a means of expanding Chinese hegemony.

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He also denounced the government’s failure to formally recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president, as Washington and other European countries have done. “If it was up to me, we would have already recognized him,” he said during a press briefing.

As for the European Union, which Trump has often targeted, Salvini criticized “weaknesses” before laying into the EU’s chief diplomat and fellow Italian Federica Mogherini a day before she makes her own visit to Washington.

Trump and his administration have not made any secret of their affinity for the populist government in Rome.

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Salvini said he had persuaded Pompeo to visit Italy’s central Abruzzo region, where his grandparents came from, and played up the ideological links with other countries.

Between Italy, the United States, Israel, Brazil, Poland and Hungary, there is a closeness in their vision of the world, of rights and values,” he said, insisting that the League was not “isolated.”


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2020 Election

‘The people of Montana are no fools’: Liberian refugee taking on Trump-loving Senator Steve Daines

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First-term Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) was one of the few members of Congress to praise President Donald Trump's racist "go back" taunts that his supporters turned into a "send her back" chant against a black former refugee.

https://twitter.com/SteveDaines/status/1150859069084905472

In response, the Billings Gazette chastised Daines in an editorial, saying, "Montanans are more sickened by the never-ending torrent of childish, bigoted views that are shoveled from the White House that make the country look like bigots and idiots. And we're nauseous when folks like Daines invoke our state in defending a spoiled New York developer who would get tongue-lashed by most Montanans for the way he takes to Twitter."

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Democrat who lived under a dictatorship explains why she believes it is time to impeach Trump

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One of the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee who will be interviewing special counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday explained to MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell why she believes it is time to initiate impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL) immigrated to the United States from Ecuador as a child. When Mucarsel-Powell was sworn-in to office following the 2018 midterm elections, she became the first Ecuadorian-American and first South American immigrant member of Congress.

"Most Americans don't have time to read a 448-page report," Mucarsel-Powell said. "We found substantial evidence that shows us that the president obstructed justice. "And I think it is critical for the American public to understand that and that’s why this hearing will be very important on Wednesday."

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Watch Rachel Maddow broadcast ‘exclusive story’ that undermines Mike Pence’s claims

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MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Monday presented an "exclusive story" -- that undermines public claims by the Trump administration.

Vice President Mike Pence has been among the biggest defenders of the detention camps the administration is running near the southern border.

Pence has described the treatment of detainees as "compassionate" and "excellent."

https://twitter.com/VP/status/1149879335454515200

But that was not what Maddow reported on Monday.

"You haven’t seen this anywhere else," she introduced. "This is the first time this has been broadcast."

The story was an exclusive interview NBC News correspondent Julia Ainsley conducted with a child refugee from Guatemala who was held in one of the camps for eleven days.

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