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DOJ ‘utterly confused and angry’ at Mulvaney for his comments about suspending Ukraine aid: Fox News

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Fox News had a difficult time trying to understand chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s admission that the president held up Ukraine aid for political reasons. According to Fox, the Department of Justice is “utterly confused and angry” that Mulvaney outed the president for using American dollars to bribe Ukraine for 2020 election assistance.

During a press briefing, Mulvaney, who also serves as director of the Office of Management and Budget, confessed that Trump told him Ukraine corruption issues also had to do with the DNC server.

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“That he also mentioned to me that the corruption related to the DNC server, absolutely,” said Mulvaney. “No question about it. That’s it and that’s why we held up the money.”

The president believes a conspiracy theory that somehow Hillary Clinton’s email server is in Ukraine.

Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge said that the comment has sparked “strong and quick reaction” from officials at the Justice Department.

“They have been sending out guidance to us over the last 15 minutes,” she said. “We are told that the Justice Department was ‘utterly confused and angry’ about Mulvaney’s comments that linked the suspension of foreign aid with the cooperation from Ukraine into the Justice Department investigation that’s being led by the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut, John Durham.”

Durham is the person tasked with probing the beginning of the Russia investigation and whether procedures were followed.

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Meanwhile, EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland was testifying on Capitol Hill that he too was told that the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, would be the point person on anything having to do with Ukraine. It was only later that Sondland said he learned that it also included investigations into the former vice president and his family.

“Our view was that the men and women of the State Department, not the president’s personal lawyer should take responsibility for all aspects of U.S. foreign policy towards Ukraine,” Sondland testified in his opening statement.

See the full Fox News report below:

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Google tightens political ads policy in effort to stop abuse

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Google on Wednesday updated how it handles political ads as online platforms remain under pressure to avoid being used to spread misleading information intended to influence voters.

The internet company said its rules already ban any advertiser, including those with political messages, from lying in ads. But it is making its policy more clear and adding examples of how that prohibits content such as doctored or manipulated images or video.

"It's against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim -- whether it's a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died," Google ads product management vice president Scott Spencer said in an online post.

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Pope Francis begins Asia tour with visit to Buddhist temple

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Pope Francis will visit one of Thailand's famed gilded temples Thursday to meet the supreme Buddhist patriarch, on the first full day of his Asian tour aimed at promoting religious harmony.

The 82-year-old pontiff is on his first visit to Buddhist majority Thailand, where he will spend four days before setting off to Japan.

His packed schedule a day after touching down in Bangkok includes a meeting with the king and the prime minister before leading an evening mass expected to draw tens of thousands of people from across Thailand, where just over 0.5 percent of the population is Catholic.

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Hong Kong campus stalemate persists while US congress passes bill of support for democracy protesters

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Hardline Hong Kong protesters held their ground on Thursday in a university besieged for days by police as the US passed a bill lauding the city's pro-democracy movement, setting up a likely clash between Washington and Beijing.

Beijing did not immediately respond to the passage in Washington of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which voices strong support for the "democratic aspirations of the Hong Kong people."

But China had already threatened retaliation if the bill is signed into law by President Donald Trump, and state-run media warned Thursday the legislation would not prevent Beijing from intervening forcefully to stop the "mess" gripping the financial hub.

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