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US Senate to vote on blocking Saudi arms sales

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The US Senate will vote Thursday on whether to block $8.1 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Arab allies, a lawmaker said, as legislators’ outrage with the kingdom grows.

Robert Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that Mitch McConnell, the leader of the Republican-led Senate, had agreed to allow votes on the 22 arms sales that critics say will aggravate the devastating war in Yemen.

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“I want to thank the bipartisan group of cosponsors of these resolutions, the majority leader and our staffs for diligently working through this unprecedented process,” Menendez said late Wednesday on the Senate floor.

President Donald Trump’s administration took the extraordinary step of bypassing Congress to approve the sale of aircraft support maintenance, munitions and other weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as a transfer of existing weapons to Jordan.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the administration was responding to an emergency caused by Saudi Arabia’s historic rival Iran, which backs the Huthi rebels in Yemen.

Senators, including some Republicans, said there were no legitimate grounds to circumvent Congress, which has the right to disapprove arms sales.

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But it will remain a long haul for Congress to come up with a two-thirds vote to overcome a potential veto by Trump.

Critics say that the weapons will help Saudi Arabia mount its offensive in Yemen, where millions remain on the brink of starvation in what the United Nations calls the world’s worst humanitarian catastrophe.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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MSNBC analyst explains how a new poll shows voters will turn out to dump Trump

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A new poll is showing shocking numbers for President Donald Trump this week, according to an MSNBC analyst.

In a Sunday afternoon discussion, conservative commentator Shermichael Singleton explained that he doesn't think Joe Walsh is going to take much out of Trump's delegate count at the Republican convention. He suggested that someone more middle of the road like former Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) would be a better option for to endanger Trump's delegate count.

Democratic strategist Drew Litman agreed, saying that if Walsh was a vice-presidential pick on a third party ticket, there was more of an opportunity to make a difference. He called Walsh just a "lighter" version of Trump.

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Iran Foreign Minister Zarif perfectly Twitter-trolls Trump with photos of meeting with smiling Macron at G7

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Iran Foreign Minister Javad Zarif used Donald Trump's favorite social media platform to get in a dig at the president and rub his nose in the fact that French President Emmanuel took time out from the busy G7 meeting he is hosting to sit down with him.

The White House was reportedly blindsided by Macron's invitation that had been kept a secret from Trump and now, if Trump wanted proof of the meeting, he need only hop on Twitter to see the evidence.

As Zarif wrote, "Iran's active diplomacy in pursuit of constructive engagement continues. Met @EmmanuelMacron on sidelines of #G7Biarritz after extensive talks with @JY_LeDria & Finance Min. followed by a joint briefing for UK/Germany. Road ahead is difficult. But worth trying."

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Hong Kong police fire first gunshot in protest clashes

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Hong Kong police used water cannon for the first time and at least one officer fired his sidearm during pitched battles with protesters Sunday, one of the most violent nights in three months of pro-democracy rallies that have rocked the city.

An afternoon rally in the district of Tsuen Wan spiralled into violent running confrontations between protesters and police, with officers several times caught outnumbered and isolated by masked youths wielding sticks and throwing rocks.

In one instance, several police officers drew their sidearms, an AFP reporter at the scene said.

"According to my understanding, just now a gunshot was fired by a colleague," Superintendent Leung Kwok Win told the press.

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