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Trump’s special envoy to Iran quits

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The US special representative on Iran, Brian Hook, is holding consultations on the drone downing with key ally Saudi Arabia, which has pushed for a tough approach against its regional arch-rival AFP

The envoy leading President Donald Trump’s hardline push on Iran quit on Thursday, months before an election that could reorient US policy.

Brian Hook, a stalwart Republican considered one of the most powerful figures at the State Department, decided to return to the private sector, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

Hook “has achieved historic results countering the Iranian regime,” Pompeo said in a statement.

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Hook will be replaced by Elliott Abrams, another veteran Republican who was an intellectual architect of the 2003 invasion of Iraq and has been leading Trump’s unsuccessful campaign to oust Venezuela’s leftist president, Nicolas Maduro.

Abrams, known in the 1980s for his staunch defense of right-wing strongmen in Latin America, will handle both Iran and Venezuela, Pompeo said.

Hook has been in the forefront of Trump’s campaign against Iran which has included pulling out of a nuclear accord and imposing sweeping unilateral sanctions.

The decision by Hook, a lawyer, to head to the private sector comes three months before US elections in which Trump is trailing Democrat Joe Biden in the polls.

Biden was a strong backer of the nuclear accord negotiated under former president Barack Obama and has promised to salvage a diplomatic solution.

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Hook exits just as the Trump administration readies a key effort on Iran — seeking to expand a UN arms embargo on the clerical regime.

Pompeo said that the United States will submit a UN Security Council resolution on the arms ban next week, despite opposition to the move from veto-wielding Russia and China.

If the effort fails, Pompeo and Hook have threatened to employ a disputed legal procedure aimed at forcing UN sanctions against Iran.

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Attorney George Conway reveals two ‘great’ questions — that Trump can’t answer

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Prominent Republican attorney and Lincoln Project member George Conway on Monday offered his analysis of how reporters should question President Donald Trump.

Conway, the husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, made his comments after watching video of Trump refusing to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Who do you think poisoned Alexei Navalny in Russia?”

“Uh,” Trump replied. “We’ll talk about that at another time.”

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2020 Election

Jaime Harrison says ‘I am living rent free in Lindsey Graham’s head’ — and he might be right

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Jaime Harrison, the Democrat challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham, on Monday said that his upstart campaign is panicking the incumbent.

Harrison was interviewed on MSNBC by "The Last Word" anchor Lawrence O'Donnell, who noted the most recent polling shows a tied race.

"Have you experienced any extra fund-raising surge over the weekend?" O'Donnell asked.

"Well, Lawrence, we have gotten tremendous support and we really appreciate it," Harrison replied.

"Do you believe you have the resources and the campaign team and the ground troops you need in South Carolina to actually pull this off?" O'Donnell asked later in the interview.

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2020 Election

Outrage against Dianne Feinstein as potential Judiciary chair comes out against Senate reform

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Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) received harsh criticism on Monday after coming out against Senate reform of the filibuster.

“I don't believe in doing that. I think the filibuster serves a purpose," Feinstein argued.

"It is not often used, it's often less used now than when I first came, and I think it's part of the Senate that differentiates itself," Feinstein falsely claimed.

https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/status/1308169580658012160

Feinstein is in line to chair the Senate Judiciary Committee if Democrats regain the Senate, despite never attending law school or having ever tried a case.

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