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New EU ambassador accused of being nothing more than a ‘spy for the Trump team’ by ex-Ambassador McFaul

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On MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul warned that President Donald Trump’s new ambassador to the European Union is little more than a puppet to spy for him — and help with pressuring the country into investigating for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden, something the previous ambassador refused to do on principle.

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“You’ve been on the air a lot talking about these back-and-forth conversations, and you made, I think, a really salient point, which is that with all of these different people who are talking back and forth about what Ukraine could do for the United States in these investigations, only one person said this is a bad idea and explicitly said we can’t trade aid for dirt,” said anchor Joy Reid. “Why do you suppose only one person could see that clearly?”

“Joy, that’s a great question,” said McFaul. “I know two of these three individuals. I want to say that from the outset. I’ve known them for a couple of decades. Mr. Volker and Mr. Taylor. Mr. Volcker had a very tough job. His job is not to be the envoy to all of Ukraine. His job is to work with Russians to end the war in eastern Ukraine. I want to be clear about that, and what I think he was trying to do was to keep the policy moving forward and particular on military assistance, and when he run in to the buzzsaw of how the Trump team rolls on this stuff, he decided to take that trade and to do something that I think was wrong, and it is just clear as day. I want your viewers to understand just go read these texts. This is not just one phone call. This is a series of events. A prep before the call, and then after the call as you just pointed out. He says, see you tomorrow, because they were on their way to make this play happen.”

“Ambassador Sondland seems he’s just a Trump guy,” continued McFaul. “He ends up in the European Union ambassadorship. Why on Earth our ambassador to the EU is involved in Ukraine is a giant mystery to me, other than he’s just the political advisor, you know, spy for the Trump team and Taylor, somebody who was appointed — just to be clear about it — appointed after they fired the previous ambassador, he goes out, he’s still there in an interim basis, and he clearly is not part of the Trump team. He looks at this and he says, this is not right and I really think we should applaud what Ambassador Taylor said.”

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New Zealand may postpone general election after 4 test positive for COVID-19: PM Jacinda Ardern

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New Zealand locked down nursing homes nationwide Wednesday after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the outbreak could force her to postpone next month's general election.

Ardern said authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand's borders.

A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday.

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2020 Election

Android phones to get ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warnings — and phones may double as tremor detectors

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Android phones will receive warnings triggered by a "ShakeAlert" earthquake early-warning system implemented on the West Coast by the US Geological Survey and partners.

ShakeAlert uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state to trigger warning messages that "an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent," according to the system's website.

"We saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful earthquake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed," principal software engineer Marc Stogaitis said in a blog post.

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2020 Election

‘Don’t talk about racism, racist’: Trump scorched after claiming Biden-Harris campaign has a ‘racism problem’

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President Donald Trump continued to lash out at Kamala Harris after the California Democrat was chosen to join the 2020 Democratic Party ticket as presumptive nominee Joe Biden's running mate.

At a news conference following the selection, Trump complained about Harris being "nasty."

After 10 p.m. on Monday, Trump tweeted out an attack ad claiming "Joe Biden has a racism problem."

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's line of attack:

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