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Trump raged against ‘unfair’ law prohibiting bribes to foreign officials: New book

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President Donald Trump reportedly clashed in the early days of his administration with former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson over rolling back a law prohibiting bribery of foreign officials.

Washington Post reporters Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig have a new book about the Trump presidency, “A Very Stable Genius,” based on hundreds of hours of interviews with more than 200 sources, and much of it backed by documentary evidence.

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The book reports that Trump was single-mindedly focused on meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin during the presidential transition, and interrupted an interview with one candidate for secretary of state to ask if he could meet Putin face to face before his inauguration.

Trump and Putin finally did meet in summer 2017 at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, and suddenly the president considered himself more of an expert on Russia than Tillerson — who’d done Exxon corporate business with Russia for decades.

The president also clashed in spring 2017 with his secretary of state, who apparently refused to help Trump get rid of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act prohibiting U.S. firms and individuals from bribing foreign officials for business deals.

“It’s just so unfair that American companies aren’t allowed to pay bribes to get business overseas,” Trump said, according to the book. “We’re going to change that.”

Trump was frustrated by the 1977 law, which remains on the books, because it prevented his company’s executives and his business associates from paying off foreign governments to make deals overseas, the reporters wrote.

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Another fatality in China from SARS-linked virus as mysterious illness spreads to third Asian country

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A second person has died in China from a mysterious SARS-linked virus that has stricken dozens and appeared in two other Asian countries, officials said.

Local authorities said a 69-year-old man died on Wednesday in Wuhan, the central Chinese city believed to be the epicentre of an outbreak of a coronavirus from the same family as the deadly SARS pathogen.

The outbreak has caused alarm because of the link with SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome), which killed 349 people in mainland China and another 299 in Hong Kong in 2002-2003.

At least 41 people have been hit with pneumonia linked to the new virus in China, prompting authorities in Hong Kong to step up detection measures, including temperature checkpoints for inbound travellers.

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Laurence Tribe predicts how John Roberts — his former student — will rule on impeachment witnesses

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The man who taught Constitutional Law to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts expects him to vote to allow witnesses if he needs to cast a tie-breaking vote while presiding over President Donald Trump's impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.

Prof. Laurence Tribe was interviewed by MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Thursday. In addition to having argued three-dozen cases before the highest court, Tribe has taught at Harvard Law for 50 years and even taught the chief justice.

"What do you expect and what are you hoping to see in your former student presiding over this trial, Chief Justice Roberts?" O'Donnell asked.

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Lev Parnas reveals to Maddow how Trump tried to fire Ambassador Yovanovitch ‘four or five times’ — but failed

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Lev Parnas revealed to MSNBC's Rachel Maddow that President Donald Trump repeatedly attempted to fire then-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch -- but failed.

Parnes says Trump tried "four or five times" according to Parnas.

Parnas, who is under federal indictment, described a meeting at Trump Tower -- attended by Donald Trump, Jr. -- where the president ordered the firing of the ambassador.

The indicted Rudy Giuliani associate says both Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and then-National Security Advisor John Bolton both refused to fire Yovanovitch.

He said, "they couldn't get it done" and so they started the public smear campaign against the ambassador to make it easier for her to be removed.

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