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GOP senator denies knowing Lev Parnas: ‘Rudy gets around and he has some cosmopolitan friends’

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Speaking on Fox News radio earlier this month, Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN) accused Democrats of orchestrating recent revelations from former Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas to come out just as President Trump’s impeachment trial kicked off. But Braun’s words are coming back to haunt him, thanks to some artful trolling by Parnas’s lawyer Joseph Bondy, who posted a photo this Monday of Braun posing with Giuliani and Parnas.

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“Here’s a nice shot of the latest @GOP senator/juror—Mike Braun of Indiana—afraid to call Lev Parnas as a witness at the impeachment trial, posing with, of course, Lev Parnas and @RudyGiuliani,” Bondy tweeted.

Braun was recently asked about the photo again on Fox News this week, and doubled down to Fox host Bill Hemmer, saying the photo was taken before the election and is just an example of the many photos he takes with people he doesn’t know at political events.

“That was back in the campaign a month or so before the election … and a grassroots supporter said that Rudy Giuliani is coming in to do a cameo appearance at one of the campaign stops,” Braun replied. “And of course I remember that but do not remember [Parnas] … all I can tell you is Rudy gets around and he’s got some cosmopolitan friends.”

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Braun tweeted out a clip of his Fox interview, writing that the rally Lev Parnas attended “was organized by the Indiana GOP, was widely publicized, open to the press and there are plenty of pictures of me with people I don’t know. I do not know Lev Parnas or have any relationship with him and to imply anything else is false.”

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Never Trumpers fear for their safety if they dare attend CPAC: report

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On Saturday, Politico profiled a handful of longtime conservatives who have criticized President Donald Trump — and the general consensus was that they feared hostility at this year's annual Conservative Political Action Conference.

One such figure was former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), a Tea Party darling who has since attacked Trump for undermining the rule of law, and briefly mounted a presidential primary challenge. He attended CPAC as a guest of comedian Trevor Noah, and attendees who saw him seemed conflicted. "Torn between catching up with an old colleague and being singled out by observers as talking to a Trump foe, they split the difference — and instead kept asking him how his wife was doing," wrote Tina Nguyen.

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Walkouts as Roman Polanski wins best director at French Oscars

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Roman Polanski won best director for "An Officer and a Spy" at a fractious ceremony for the French Oscars, the Cesars, that ended in walkouts and recrimination in Paris early Saturday.

The entire French academy had been forced to resign earlier this month amid fury that the veteran -- wanted in the US for the statutory rape of a 13-year-old girl in 1977 -- had topped the list of nominations.

Protesters chanting "Lock up Polanski!" tried to storm the theatre where the ceremony was being held before being pushed back by police firing tear gas.

And France's Culture Minister Franck Riester had warned that giving the maker of "Rosemary's Baby" a Cesar would be "symbolically bad given the stance we must take against sexual and sexist violence".

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Trump accuses Democrats of coronavirus ‘hoax’ as confirmed cases in US gather pace

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President Donald Trump accused Democrats of a new “hoax” over criticism of his handling of the coronavirus threat, as US health officials reported Friday a fourth case of novel coronavirus of unknown origin, indicating the disease was spreading in the country.

The latest case is a boy under 18 in Washington State who tested "presumptive positive" and is currently in home isolation in Snohomish County. The high school he attends will be shut until March 3 while it is deep cleaned, the Washington State Department of Health said.

A positive test is treated as "presumptive" until the results have been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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