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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.

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“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.”

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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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Wall Street is ignoring the omens of recession — here’s why

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The Federal Reserve seems a lot more concerned about the state of the economy than it’s been letting on.

The Fed lowered its target interest rate by a quarter point on Sept. 18, the second such cut since July – and the first reductions since the Great Recession more than 10 years ago.

Judging by the words of Fed Chair Jerome Powell, this isn’t that big a deal. In his statement following the decision, he said: “We took this step to help keep the U.S. economy strong in the face of some notable developments and to provide insurance against ongoing risks.”

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2020 Election

Elizabeth Warren accuses Congress of complicity in Trump’s continued abuses

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Sen. Elizabeth Warren accused the U.S. Congress of complicity in President Donald Trump's continued abuse of power late Friday, after reports surfaced of his alleged attempts to solicit foreign meddling in the 2020 presidential election, and reiterated her demand that Democrats use their majority in the House to pursue impeachment.

Warren's tweeted statement came hours after the Wall Street Journal reported that Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's opposition to a Ukrainian prosecutor in 2016.

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‘Resistance’ liberals love the FBI and CIA — but history says they don’t love you back

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A freaky moment recently transpired on television. In a nonfiction adaptation of “American Horror Story,” Bill Maher, nominally a member of the liberal “Resistance,” led his audience and guests in applauding and paying tribute to the FBI and CIA. To her credit, panelist (and rival talk-show host) Krystal Ball remained stoic, refusing to bring her hands together or smile. But even she allowed the moment to pass without noting the obvious: The CIA and the FBI are two of the most anti-democratic and violent forces in the history of our country.

Maher’s weird and historically illiterate “tribute” to two organizations with endless résumés of human rights violations, political persecution of dissidents and overseas coups directed at democratic governments — not to mention stunning failure at the principal tasks of their mission — punctuated his declaration of gratitude for “our safety” since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The comedian and commentator then tried to dress this right-wing, jingoistic bromide in progressive drag by reminding the crowd that President Trump has “disrespected” both agencies.

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