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After ignoring climate at G7, Trump gets back to work killing the planet

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President Trump made a show of opposing his fellow G7 leaders on climate change and Russia. Now back in the United States, Trump is doubling down by helping the Kremlin and gutting greenhouse gas regulations.

This article first appeared in Salon.

Trump spent much of his time at the G7 summit in Biarritz, France, complaining to other leaders that Russian President Vladimir Putin should be allowed back into the group. He even suggested he may invite the Moscow pariah when the United States hosts the next summit. Russia was kicked out of the G7 after it invaded and annexed Crimea from Ukraine.

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“I think it would be better to have Russia inside the tent than outside the tent,” Trump said at a news conference after claiming that Putin had “outsmarted” former President Obama by invading the Ukrainian territory.

Days after Trump returned to the U.S., a senior administration official told Politico that Trump blocked a $250 million military aid package to Ukraine, which the outlet noted was “critical to keeping Russia at bay.”

The official said that Trump asked his national security team to delay and review the funding “in order to ensure the money was being used in the best interest of the United States,” Politico reported, even though the money was allocated by Congress.

“We are aware of an [Office of Management and Budget] hold on funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative,” a House Appropriations Committee spokesperson told Politico. “We have serious concerns about a freeze on these important appropriated funds, and we are urgently inquiring with the administration about why they are holding up these resources.”

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The review comes after the administration pushed to cut billions in aid to numerous countries but former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN that this particular move would be a “gift to Russia.”

Rep. Tom Malinowski, D-N.J., who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Politico that Trump’s move would have “at least a temporary effect.”

“The bigger problem is that Trump is once again showing himself to be an asset to Russia,” he added.

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But that was not the only move Trump made after returning stateside. After skipping the G7’s climate meeting and arguing that oil “wealth” trumps any environmental concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency announced that it would gut federal regulation of methane, a greenhouse gas linked to climate change.

The proposed rule would reverse Obama-era standards requiring oil and gas companies to inspect and prevent methane leaks in drilling wells, pipelines, and storage facilities, The Wall Street Journal reported, and suggests that the federal government does not have the authority to regulate methane.

According to EPA data, methane makes up more than 10 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., with about half of that coming from emissions generated by oil and gas companies.

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The Trump administration estimated that gutting the rules would save the oil and gas industry at least $17 million per year.

Kassie Siegel, who heads the advocacy group Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity, told The Washington Post that the rollback shows “complete contempt for our climate.”

“The Obama rule was like a Band-Aid on a gaping wound,” she said said. “The Trump administration is so fanatical that they couldn’t even live with the Band-Aid. They had to rip off the Band-Aid.”

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Trump also directed Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to gut restrictions preventing logging at Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the Post reported, which would allow logging, drilling and mining at the largest national forest in the country.

Environmental advocates likened the move to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro opening up the Amazon to logging interests, leading to an alarming increase in rainforest wildfires.

“President Trump’s attack on the Tongass National Forest is like the fires burning in the Amazon — it’s a huge threat to a major climate change buffer and to lands and wildlife that have global significance,” Eric Jorgensen, the managing attorney for the Alaska-based advocacy group Earthjustice told Newsweek.

Its old growth trees are the greatest carbon sanctuary in the U.S. national forests, helping us all as a counterweight against climate change. This ecologically rich landscape and all the benefits it brings will be lost if roads and chainsaws are allowed to carve it up. There is no good reason to roll back protections for the Tongass.

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Meanwhile, Trump, who skipped the G7’s meeting on the Amazon fires, came out against the $22 million aid package other G7 leaders offered Brazil to fight the fires.

White House National Security Council spokesman Garret Marquit said in a statement that Trump “did not agree to a joint G7 initiative that failed to include consultations with President Bolsonaro.”

Instead, Trump took to Twitter to praise Bolsonaro after he rejected the G7’s aid.

“He is working very hard on the Amazon fires and in all respects doing a great job for the people of Brazil — Not easy,” Trump wrote. “He and his country have the full and complete support of the USA!”

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John Dean laments Trump probably should be registered as a foreign agent

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While many of President Donald Trump's campaign staffers, advisers or friends have been outed for doing foreign work while being an unregistered foreign agent, one former White House counsel thinks Trump should also probably register.

"In addition to other impeachable offenses, Trump should be charged with failing to register as a foreign agent under FARA," said Twitter user Connie Gruen.

Dean noticed the tweet and retweeted with his own note that it's "sadly" probably true.

"Sadly, this is probably true," agreed Dean. "Mueller did not investigate if Trump is, in fact, a Russian agent. Barr does not believe a POTUS can be investigated for anything, so the FBI is not. Because he acts like a RU agent Congress should be investigating his consistently pro-RU behavior!"

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Kanye ripped for latest Trump defense: Always someone willing to write a check to ‘a black person defending white supremacy’

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Kanye West hugging Trump

A panel discussion on recent concerts put on by Kanye West in Salt Lake City and Howard University turned to his new recent comments he made defending his support for Donald Trump -- with one panelist saying the rapper is getting paid on the side for siding with the president.

Speaking with host Kendis Gibson, guests Danielle Moodie-Mills and Clay Cane were harshly critical of West trying to drum up black support for the president as well as his recent comments on slavery.

"What is going on here?" Gibson began. "So you saw the pictures of Kanye West in the middle of Salt Lake City. He drew about 10,000 people here at Howard University, it was a smaller crowd because they didn't get the e-mail about it until 6:00 a.m. on homecoming weekend. Largely, a lot of people who are going to these shows are black folks. These are some of the scenes in Salt Lake City, so people are wondering: is he sort of like Trump's secret weapon, a secret outreach to the black community? "

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Here are 3 moves a desperate Trump will likely attempt in order to cling to power

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In a column for the Daily Beast, political observer Micheal Tomasky speculated -- and not without good reason -- that a frantic Donald Trump will do anything to remain in office and thereby avoid being slammed with criminal indictments once he departs the Oval Office for good..

As the columnist explained, impeachment seems inevitable and the president will likely take desperate measures and that he has already given hints about three paths he may take -- if not all of them.

Tomasky wrote, "It’s foolish to say that Trump thinks ahead about anything. The late journalist Wayne Barrett said many true things about Trump, but the truest ever was when he observed that Trump says whatever will get him through the next 10 minutes," before adding, "People around him of course are more strategic and are thinking ahead. And they’re all saying and doing and writing things right now that will, if the opportunity presents itself, pave the way for Trump to burn the Constitution."

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