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Islamic State persists despite territory loss: Pompeo

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The Islamic State group remains a threat in Syria and Iraq, and in some areas has even gained power despite the elimination of their “caliphate”, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday.

“There are places where ISIS is more powerful today than they were three or four years ago,” Pompeo said on CBS’s “This Morning” show.

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“But the caliphate is gone in their capacity to conduct external attacks, it’s been made much more difficult,” he said.

“We’ve taken down significant risk. Not all of it, but a significant amount. We’re very pleased with the work that we’ve done.”

US President Donald Trump declared early this year that US-led forces in Syria and Iraq had achieved “100 percent victory” over the Islamic extremist group after a campaign to eliminate their redoubt in the Euphrates river valley in Syria.

But many fighters are believed to have melded into the population, and the group maintains small strong holds in remote locations in Iraq.

A report by the Pentagon’s Inspector General earlier this month said IS is transitioning “from a territory-holding force to an insurgency in Syria,” and has firmed up its insurgent capabilities in Iraq.

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The US drawdown or reassignment of some security forces in the region has left some room for the group to rebuild, the report said.

The Islamic State has “established ‘resurgent cells’ in Syria and sought to expand its command and control nodes in Iraq,” it said.

IS has also become a potent threat in Afghanistan, where it acts independent of the Taliban, which is currently negotiating a peace deal with the United States.

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On Saturday the IS took credit for a suicide bombing of a wedding in Kabul that killed 63.


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‘The cost of acquitting Donald Trump just went up’ for the Republicans: MSNBC’s Joy Ann Reid

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MSNBC host Joy Ann Reid explained during the post-hearing wrap-up that things aren't looking good for Republican senators up for reelection in 2020.

In the wake of EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland's testimony, things are getting more difficult for Republicans faced with a vote on impeachment.

"Even if [the numbers] don't move, the problem is going to be a lot of these people have to run for re-election, letting the president off the hook when it's pretty clear what happened," Reid said. "This is pretty simple, and if I'm Cory Gardener (R-CO), I'm not feeling great."

Brian Williams noted that Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) is one of the many Republicans "who's leaving town on a fast horse." If anyone could be pealed off by Democrats, Williams thinks it is Hurd.

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Indicted Giuliani associate helped Nunes arrange meetings during his overseas trips to discredit the Russia investigation

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On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that Lev Parnas, the Rudy Giuliani associate currently under federal indictment for campaign finance violations, helped Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) arrange meetings in Europe as part of his efforts to discredit the investigation of Russian contacts within President Donald Trump's campaign.

According to congressional records, Nunes, in his capacity as then-House Intelligence Chairman, visited Europe from November 30 to December 3, of last year, during which he was accompanied by three staffers — Derek Harvey, Scott Glabe, and George Pappas — at a taxpayer expense of over $63,000.

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Rick Wilson mocks GOP as impeachment witnesses ‘obliterate’ their talking points: ‘Dumber than a sack of hair’

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On Wednesday, as the House wrapped up another day of bombshell impeachment testimony from multiple foreign service officers, former GOP strategist and Never Trump conservative Rick Wilson mocked President Donald Trump and his Republican allies, pointing out that all of their major talking points to defend the president's conduct in Ukraine have been "obliterated":

1/ Hey committee Republicans! Have you noticed every single line of defense that you've mounted this week for the president has been utterly fucking obliterated?

Is this clear to you yet?

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