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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.

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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.”

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 –

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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.

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.

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

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.

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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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Giuliani can’t whine about ‘fair play’ when his boss is denying electoral fairness to the American people: columnist

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President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani has been raging against the impeachment investigation that came about, in large part, due to his own behavior. On Tuesday, he wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal lamenting that the impeachment process is "unprecedented, constitutionally questionable, and an affront to American fair play."

As Danielle Allen wrote for the Washington Post on Wednesday, Giuliani wanting to talk about "fair play" is a rich proposition.

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Trump made a ‘huge mistake’ talking to reporters about impeachment: Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann

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One of former special counsel Robert Mueller's top prosecutors explained on MSNBC how President Donald Trump made a "huge mistake" on Wednesday.

Andrew Weissmann, who is now an MSNBC legal analyst, was interviewed by Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press Daily."

The former federal prosecutor says Trump committed a blunder by denying a call with a Gordon Sondland staffer.

"Why is that?" Todd asked.

"Because he now can’t rebut it," Weissman replied.

"He has now said I don’t remember that phone call. So you’re going to have Sondland testifying to it. You’re going to have a staffer testifying to it," he explained. "If [Trump] doesn’t like their testimony, he’s going to have to say, 'Oh, now I remember that I didn’t say that.'"

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Republicans want Americans to believe Trump cared deeply — about something he never mentioned

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One of the main points made by Republicans during the House hearings on the impeachment claimed that President Donald Trump cared so deeply about corruption in Ukraine that he was holding back the funding. It wasn't bribery because it was all about legitimate foreign policy, according to Trump and the Republicans in Congress.

Their greatest problem is that Trump has never held back speaking out about something he cared for. As the Washington Post noted, the argument doesn't stand up.

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