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Trump appointee flails in Senate hearing as he tries to explain contradictory Pentagon statements

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In the wake of news reports that the Trump administration is considering sending an additional 14,000 troops to the Middle East, potentially doubling the current amount of US troops sent to the region since May, the Pentagon’s attempts to deny the revelations aren’t going to well, according to Task & Purpose.

In a statement, Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah said that there are no plans for a troop increase “at this time.”

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“As discussed in the hearing today, we are constantly evaluating the threat situation around the world and considering our options,” Farah said. “We adjust our force posture and troop levels based on adversary action and the dynamic security situation. Secretary Esper spoke to Chairman Inhofe this morning and reaffirmed that we are not considering sending 14,000 additional troops to the Middle East at this time.”

On Wednesday, Farah tweeted that the Wall Street Journal’s initial report about the troop increase “is wrong.”

“The U.S. is not sending 14,000 troops to the Middle East to confront Iran,” she declared. But as Task & Purpose points out, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy John Rood seemingly confirmed the WSJ’s report during a Senate Armed Services Committee Hearing on Thursday.

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“We are always considering — and, in fact, based on the threat situation in the Middle East, our watching that, and as necessary — the secretary of defense has told me he intends to make changes to our force posture there,” he said.


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Here are 7 embarrassing arguments Republicans have tried to use to defend Trump

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With the Senate impeachment trial in full swing, Republicans have launched an aggressive if scattershot campaign to defend President Donald Trump and discredit the Democrats’ case.

It’s not going well. Multiple recent polls have found that a majority of the country thinks Trump should be removed from office and many more think he has done something seriously wrong, even if they think he should remain in the White House until the next election.

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BUSTED: Susan Collins wanted to clear an entire row of the press gallery of reporters — and keep it empty

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The Senate took a dinner break at 6:30 p.m. EST and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) used the break to "loudly" tell Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), John Thune (R-SD) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) that she didn't like where the press was seated.

RollCall reporter K. Tully-McManus tweeted that Collins wanted the press pushed back away from her.

"During the break, Sen. Susan Collins said loudly to Sens Murkowski, Thune & Tillis that she would like the first row of the press gallery to be kept empty and that reporters should only be seated from the second row back, motioning to the sparse remaining press (myself included)

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Trump’s staff has been begging him to ignore Bloomberg’s ads — but he can’t help himself: report

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On Thursday, The New York Times reported that President Donald Trump's advisers have been begging him not to respond to former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's attack ads against him — and while Trump initially heeded their advice, he eventually snapped.

"For weeks, President Trump’s advisers have urged him to ignore Michael R. Bloomberg’s nationally televised needling, warning him that it would only help the low-polling late entrant to the Democratic presidential primary by elevating his standing," wrote Maggie Haberman and Nick Corasaniti. "Mr. Trump heeded the counsel for a while, according to several of his allies, even as he repeatedly expressed anxiety about Mr. Bloomberg’s spending. But as he has tuned into coverage of his Senate impeachment trial, Mr. Trump has been pricked by a deluge of television ads funded by the former New York City mayor — a far wealthier billionaire who has made clear in his public remarks that he doesn’t fear the president."

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