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Trump blasts Iran, says hard to deal with top ‘terror’ state

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US President Donald Trump said Monday that chances of negotiating with Iran were dwindling, as he cited increasing tensions in the Gulf and blasted the Islamic republic as the world’s top “state of terror.”

The president cited a series of recent conflicts involving Tehran, including the downing of US and Iranian drones and, most recently, Tehran’s announcement that it arrested 17 people in connection to a CIA spy ring, a claim Trump rejected as “lies.”

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“Frankly it’s getting harder for me to want to make a deal with Iran, because they behave very badly,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, as visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan sat at his side.

“I’ll tell you it could go either way, very easily,” Trump added. “And I’m OK either way it goes.”

Washington and Tehran have been at loggerheads since May 2018, when Trump unilaterally withdrew the United States from a landmark 2015 deal that put curbs on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

On Monday, Trump ramped up the rhetoric, attacking Iran’s government as “a religious regime that is badly failing,” and saying the country has “tremendous problems economically.”

He also used menacing language, saying the United States was “ready for the absolute worst.”

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“We are very geared up. They are really the number one state of terror in the world,” Trump said.

The aggressive remarks came as Washington announced it was placing a leading Chinese oil importer on its sanctions blacklist for trading in Iranian crude.

“As part of that maximum pressure campaign, I am announcing that the United States is imposing sanctions on the Chinese entity Zhuhai Zhenrong and its chief executive Youmin Li,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a speech.

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“They violated US law by accepting crude oil,” he added.

The sanctions seek to constrict Zhuhai Zhenrong’s access to global financial markets by banning any US individual or business — including financial institutions with US entities, like most global banks — from doing business with the company.

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Republican analyst thinks the House Republicans are ‘setting up’ Mick Mulvaney to be the fall-guy for Trump

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Republicans were caught off-guard this morning when their key witness, Ambassador Gordon Sondland, started outing key administration officials, as well as the president and vice president, for the bribery efforts with Ukraine.

Republican strategist Amanda Carpenter noted that she doesn't care what White House spokesperson Stephanie Grisham is spinning and twisting.

"What I saw today was he's trying to draw a distinction between the quid pro quo between the White House visits and the aid," Carpenter said. "He owns up to the fact, yeah, we held up the White House visits for the investigations. He doesn't deny that. But every time the discussion got to the money, [he] didn't want to hear anything about this."

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Trump aides and GOP lawmakers ‘freaking out’ after being ‘blindsided’ by Gordon Sondland’s testimony

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Allies of President Donald Trump are "freaking out" after the damning testimony from Ambassador Gordon Sondland, CNN's Jim Acosta reported Wednesday.

The administration had been caught flat-footed by Sondland's testimony.

"White House lawyers pressed in recent days to learn from Sondland’s legal team what the ambassador would tell Congress about the president and claims of a “quid pro quo” in his much-anticipated testimony today," The Washington Post reported Wednesday. "Sondland’s lawyers declined however to provide the White House with an early peek into the account that this key impeachment witness would give lawmakers about his interactions with the president."

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CNN

John Dean says the Republican Party clearly doesn’t know what they’re doing

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Former White House counsel John Dean couldn't help but notice that the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives seem to be in a mess of trouble.

The morning began with the GOP's key witness, Ambassador Gordon Sondland not only didn't give Republicans what they needed, he threw the president, vice president and Secretary of State under the bus, along with the president's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani.

Dean explained that when he was dealing with former President Richard Nixon's impeachment, the GOP was far more organized.

CNN's Jake Tapper asked Dean about his observations during the Watergate era and if the White House kept claiming that everything was awesome.

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