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Trump administration sent 22-page letter defending Russia — on the eve of impeachment vote: report

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President Donald Trump’s administration was defending Russian President Vladimir Putin’s regime one day before Congress began debating impeachment, The Daily Beast reported Wednesday.

“The Trump administration is quietly fighting a new package of sanctions on Russia, The Daily Beast has learned. A Trump State Department official sent a 22-page letter to a top Senate chairman on Tuesday making a wide-ranging case against a new sanctions bill,” Betsy Woodruff Swan reports.

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The legislation in question was sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and is titled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2019” or DASKA.

“It’s designed to punish Russian individuals and companies over the Kremlin’s targeting of Ukraine, as well as its 2016 election interference in the U.S., its activities in Syria, and its attacks on dissidents,” The Beast explained. “Graham said the legislation’s aggressiveness means it is ‘the sanctions bill from hell,’ per Yahoo Finance. “Trump World, meanwhile, says it is a mess.”

“The administration shares the goal of deterring and countering Russian subversion and aggression,” the letter argued. “However, the Administration strongly opposes this bill in its current form for the reasons detailed below.”

Following the letter, five Republican senators opposed the bill during a Wednesday vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee: Chairman Jim Risch (R-WI), Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Johnny Isacson (R-GA), Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI).

The bill passed out of the Foreign Relations Committee, but it is unclear whether Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will bring it to the floor for a vote. The Kentucky senator has been nicknamed “Moscow Mitch” for his support of policies supported by Putin.

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One of the administration’s complaints was the requirement to certify Russia was no longer interfering with U.S. elections. The administration also complained about a lack of flexibility for the administration to “waive” the sanctions.

Read the full report.

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Trump lobs late-night attacks at Bloomberg after debate flop: ‘Worst in the history of debates!’

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President Donald Trump took a victory lap around Mike Bloomberg after the billionaire candidate flopped in his first Democratic presidential debate.

The former New York City mayor qualified for the debate in Las Vegas just last week, and his rivals were waiting for him with pointed attacks -- especially Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), who eviscerated his record with women -- while Bloomberg appeared unprepared.

"Mini Mike Bloomberg’s debate performance tonight was perhaps the worst in the history of debates, and there have been some really bad ones," Trump tweeted Thursday at 1:19 a.m.

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Devin Nunes’ hometown newspaper blasts ‘authoritarian’ lawmaker: ‘He should step aside’ — and get a job on Fox News

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Rep. Devin Nunes’ war against the free press reached a new low on Tuesday when he barred The Fresno Bee from covering a major water forum in Tulare, Calif.The forum covered matters of crucial public interest. The chief executive officer of Friant Water Authority, a public agency, moderated the event. David Bernhardt, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, also attended. Yet despite the fact that the McClatchy reporters had reserved tickets, Nunes’ staff banned them.“The Fresno Bee learned at 10 a.m. Tuesday that its reporters would not be allowed to cover the event, after receiving ... (more…)

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2020 Election

The ‘Titanic met an iceberg named Elizabeth Warren’: Michael Bloomberg’s first debate performance widely panned

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Former NYC mayor Mike Bloomberg's first presidential debate performance is being widely panned by pundits.

The Root's Dr. Jason Johnson told MSNBC viewers just how bad he thought Bloomberg did at the Democratic debate in Las Vegas: "The most expensive night in Vegas I've ever seen. He lost everything."

"This probably was the most expensive night in Vegas I've ever seen. Bloomberg lost everything.

He stumbled over obvious questions anyone could have anticipated. He's probably doubling the salary of people going into the spin room" --@DrJasonJohnson #DemDebate pic.twitter.com/Vv6bC8xrRI

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