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WATCH: Acosta gives a cryptic response when asked if Jeffrey Epstein is an intelligence asset

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Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta on Wednesday refused to confirm or deny that financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein was an intelligence asset.

“So there has been reporting to that effect and let me say, there’s been reporting to a lot of effects in this case, not just now but over the years and, again, I would hesitant to take this reporting as fact,” Acosta said during a press conference.

“This was a case that was brought by our office, it was brought based on the facts and I look at the reporting and others, I can’t address it directly because of our guidelines, but I can tell you that a lot of reporting is going down rabbit holes.”

According to investigative reporter Vicky Ward, Acosta told members of Trump’s transition team that he was instructed to “back off” of Epstein a decade ago because Epstein “belonged to intelligence.”

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Illinois GOP embarrasses itself with meme calling four Democratic congresswomen ‘The Jihad Squad’

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Top leaders of the Illinois Republican Party sought to reverse damage on Sunday after posting a movie-style poster on Facebook that depicted four progressive congresswomen who have been repeatedly attacked by President Donald Trump in recent days as "The Jihad Squad."

This article was originally published at Salon

The poster, whose image was reportedly uploaded to the Facebook account of the Republican County Chairmen's Association of Illinois on Friday night, displayed images of the four newly elected congresswomen of color — Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts — who are often nicknamed "The Squad." It showed the lawmakers in film-style action poses with a smiling Pressley aiming a gun and Ocasio-Cortez donning a red evening dress that was on fire. Omar is seen pursing her lips and Tlaib is screaming.

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Democrats, White House near deal to raise debt ceiling

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US Democrats have nearly reached a deal with the Trump administration to raise the debt ceiling, allowing the government to borrow more money and avoid a disastrous default, sources close to the negotiations said Monday.

The "near-final agreement" would suspend the debt limit until the end of July 2021, and increase government spending by raising budget caps on defense and domestic outlays, one source said.

Republicans and Democrats have been hammering out the broad constructs of a deal for weeks as they faced calls to approve the agreement in the House by Friday, when the chamber begins a six-week recess.

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Ivanka Trump visits defense contractor Lockheed Martin to promote apprenticeships

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President Donald Trump's eldest daughter visited defense contractor Lockheed Martin to discuss apprenticeships for minorities.

White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump visited the company's Denver-area facility Monday to discuss its apprenticeship programs and efforts to promote science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) degrees, reported UPI.

The president's daughter and Lockheed CEO Marilyn Hewson heard from several women who benefitted from Lockheed programs, and Trump pointed out that women who earn STEM degrees were more likely to remain in that industry if they receive on-the-job training during school.

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