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Trump UN choice Kelly Craft to step back from some climate talks

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President Donald Trump’s pick for ambassador to the United Nations promised Wednesday to allow climate diplomacy to move forward despite her family’s fortune in coal.

Kelly Craft, at a Senate hearing to confirm her for the high-profile post that has been vacant for nearly half a year, said she would not participate personally in discussions at the United Nations in which coal is discussed.

“I will give you my commitment that where coal is part of the conversation within climate change at the UN, I will recuse myself,” she told Democratic Senator Ed Markey, a leading environmentalist.

“I understand that this is an issue that needs to be addressed. I also understand that fossil fuels has played a part in climate change,” she said.

But she showed no daylight with Trump on his decision to pull the United States out of the UN-backed Paris climate accord, which covers virtually every other country, saying: “We don’t have to be part of an agreement to be leaders.”

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She also stopped short of saying she would step back from talks involving all fossil fuels, saying that she was still sorting out details of an ethics agreement.

UN scientists say that the world must drastically curb its use of coal, oil and other fossil fuels by 2030 to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, including intensifying droughts, growing disasters and rising sea levels that could devastate low-lying areas.

Craft, a longtime Republican donor who is married to billionaire coal executive Joe Craft, is serving as ambassador to Canada.

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Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, pressed Craft at the hearing to provide records on how much time she has devoted to her current job.

The news site Politico, quoting State Department records, found that Craft has been absent for more than 300 days since becoming ambassador, or more than half the time since her confirmation.

Craft insisted at the hearing that she was hard at work and was regularly consulting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a revised North American free trade pact.

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Trump’s first ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, left at the end of last year as her star power grows rapidly within the Republican Party.

Trump chose Heather Nauert, a former Fox News anchor who was then the State Department spokeswoman, to succeed her, but the nomination was never formally submitted and Nauert withdrew from consideration.


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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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WATCH: 10 videos show massive flooding hitting Brooklyn and New Jersey after torrential downpour

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A massive flood is once again striking parts of New York City and New Jersey Monday as the heatwave gave way to a torrential downpour.

The storm moved through after 6 p.m. EST, dropping several inches of rain in a short period and causing immense flash flooding during rush hour. Commuters reported unusually large crowds on subway platforms, water flowing down subway stairs and huge leaks in the ceilings.

Airports were also dealing with the storm blowing through with time delays at LaGuardia, JFK and the Newark Airports.

Some folks took the flood in stride, bringing out pool toys to ride the waves:

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Protesters take to the streets outside judge’s home after he approves controversial jail sentence for black judge

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On Monday, angry crowds of people came to the neighborhood of Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker after he ordered former judge Tracie Hunter to serve a six-month prison sentence for mishandling a confidential document.

The scenes from the courtroom were dramatic, with Hunter's supporters screaming as she collapsed upon Dinkelacker upholding the sentence, and officers dragging her limp figure from the courtroom:

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