Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani- USA, Iran News

"We agreed… that the only solution to these crises is de-escalation from everyone and dialogue," Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani said on what was believed to be his first official visit to the Islamic republic.

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US Military News Today

U.S. officials braced for Iran to respond to the killing of its most powerful general, noting heightened military readiness in the country and preparing for a possible “tit-for-tat” attempt on the life of an American military commander. President Donald Trump ordered the Jan. 2 strike against Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, after the death of an American contractor in Iraq. Now, as the massive demonstrations of Iran’s public mourning period for Soleimani come to a close, officials believe the next steps by America’s longtime foe will determine the ultimate course of the latest crisis. While officials say American intelligence isn’t clear on whether Iran’s latest military moves are designed to bolster Tehran’s defenses or prepare for an offensive strike, the U.S. is continuing to reinforce its own positions in the region, including repositioning some forces. One official said the U.S. anticipated a “major” attack of some type within the next day or two. On Monday, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said no decision had been made about withdrawing troops from Iraq. Pro-Iranian factions in the Iraqi Parliament have pushed to oust American troops following Soleimani’s killing on Iraqi soil. Esper spoke to reporters after a letter from a U.S. Army general circulated that seemed to suggest a withdrawal had been ordered in response to a vote by the Iraqi Parliament over the weekend. “There’s been no decision whatsoever to leave Iraq,” Esper said. Soleimani’s death, which has sparked major protests, further nuclear development and new threatsContinue reading

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Donald Trump vs Qassem Soleimani, US News, Iran Story

“Trump’s dangerous escalation brings us closer to another disastrous war in the Middle East that could cost countless lives and trillions more dollars,” leftist Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said. “Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one.”

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Affordable Care Act, Obamacare - Barack Obama Health Policy

As a candidate for the White House, Donald Trump repeatedly promised that he would “immediately” replace President Barack Obama’s health care law with a plan of his own that would provide “insurance for everybody.” Back then, Trump made it sound that his plan — “much less expensive and much better” than the Affordable Care Act — was imminent. And he put drug companies on notice that their pricing power no longer would be “politically protected.” Nearly three years after taking office, Americans still are waiting for Trump’s big health insurance reveal. Prescription drug prices have edged lower, but with major legislation stuck in Congress it’s unclear if that relief is the start of a trend or merely a blip. Meantime the uninsured rate has gone up on Trump’s watch, rising in 2018 for the first time in nearly a decade to 8.5% of the population, or 27.5 million people, according to the Census Bureau. “Every time Trump utters the words ACA or Obamacare, he ends up frightening more people,” said Andy Slavitt, who served as acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Obama administration. He’s “deepening their fear of what they have to lose.” White House officials argue that the president is improving the health care system in other ways, without dismantling private health care. White House spokesman Judd Deere noted Trump’s signing of the “Right-to-Try” act that allows some patients facing life-threatening diseases to access unapproved treatment, revamping the U.S. kidney donation system andContinue reading

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US Democrats Officially Impeached President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump was impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives, becoming only the third American chief executive to be formally charged under the Constitution’s ultimate remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors. The historic vote split along party lines Wednesday night, much the way it has divided the nation, over a charge that the 45th president abused the power of his office by enlisting a foreign government to investigate a political rival ahead of the 2020 election. The House then approved a second charge, that he obstructed Congress in its investigation. The articles of impeachment, the political equivalent of an indictment, now go to the Senate for trial. If Trump is acquitted by the Republican-led chamber, as expected, he still would have to run for reelection carrying the enduring stain of impeachment on his purposely disruptive presidency. “The president is impeached,” Nancy Pelosi declared after the vote. She called it “great day for the Constitution of the United States, a sad one for America that the president’s reckless activities necessitated us having to introduce articles of impeachment.” Trump, who began Wednesday tweeting his anger at the proceedings, pumped his fist before an evening rally in Battle Creek, Michigan, boasting of “tremendous support” in the Republican Party and saying, “By the way it doesn’t feel like I’m being impeached.” The votes for impeachment were 230-197-1 on the first charge, 229-198-1 on the second. Democrats led Wednesday night’s voting, framed in what many said was their duty to protect the Constitution andContinue reading

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Donald Trump USA News Today

Donald Trump’s relations with his own intelligence services have never been so fraught: The U.S. president doesn’t listen to his spy chiefs, doesn’t seem to rank his sources and makes snap decisions without giving them any warning. The two sides have clashed repeatedly, including in May when, as part of efforts to defend himself against collusion accusations, Trump agreed that files on the investigation into Russian election meddling in 2016 could be declassified. A few weeks later, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats announced he would step down as head of the 17 agencies that make up the intelligence community. Trump proposed as Coats’ replacement John Ratcliffe, a member of Congress known for repeating conspiracy theories on Fox News. Under withering criticism, Ratcliffe withdrew his nomination. But the president passed over Coats’s deputy Sue Gordon, who was in line to serve as acting director. Gordon, who spent a quarter century in the CIA, told the Women’s Foreign Policy Group this month that Trump was the first president “in my experience that had no foundation or framework to understand what the limits of intelligence are, what the purpose of it was and the way that we discuss it.” She said Trump’s typical response in briefings was, “I don’t think that’s true.” Her experience was borne out by a former CIA analyst who now works at a prestigious institution in Washington. “When I was in the CIA, the big thing to do was to get an article in the presidential daily brief.Continue reading

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Republican lawmakers disrupt Trump impeachment inquiry, USA NEWS

House Democrats announced two articles of impeachment Tuesday against President Donald Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — pushing toward historic votes over charges he threatened the integrity of the U.S. election system and endangered national security in his dealings with Ukraine. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, flanked by the chairmen of the impeachment inquiry committees, declared at the U.S. Capitol that thy were upholding their solemn oath to defend the Constitution. Voting is expected in a matter of days in the Judiciary Committee and by Christmas in the full House. Trump swiftly responded in a capital-letters tweet with the words he uses repeatedly to decry the investigations against him: “WITCH HUNT!” The White House said the charges were “baseless,” and his reelection campaign called them “rank partisanship.” In outlining the charges, Democrats said they had no choice but to act because Trump has shown a pattern of behavior that, if left unchecked, poses risks to the democratic process ahead of the 2020 election. “Our president holds the ultimate public trust. When he betrays that trust and puts himself before country, he endangers the Constitution; he endangers our democracy; he endangers our national security,” said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the Judiciary chairman, announcing the charges before a portrait of George Washington. “Our next election is at risk. … That is why we must act now.” Nadler said, “No one, not even the president, is above the law.? Chairman Adam Schiff of the Intelligence Committee said, “We stand here todayContinue reading

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Donald Trump Now Campaigns - USA News Headline

House Democrats are poised to unveil two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump — abuse of power and obstruction of Congress — with an announcement expected early Tuesday. Democratic leaders say Trump put U.S. elections and national security at risk when he asked Ukraine to investigate his rivals, including Joe Biden. Speaker Nancy Pelosi declined during an evening event Monday to discuss the articles or the coming announcement. Details were shared by multiple people familiar with the discussions but unauthorized to discuss them and granted anonymity. When asked if she has enough votes to impeach the president, the Democratic leader said she would let House lawmakers vote their conscience. “On an issue like this, we don’t count the votes. People will just make their voices known on it,” Nancy Pelosi said at The Wall Street Journal CEO Council. “I haven’t counted votes, nor will I.” The outcome, though, appears increasingly set as the House prepares to vote, as it has only three times in history against a U.S. president. Trump spent part of the day tweeting against the impeachment proceedings, but did not immediately respond late Monday. The president and his allies have railed against the “absurd” proceedings. Pelosi convened a meeting of the impeachment committee chairmen at her office in the Capitol late Monday following an acrimonious, nearly 10-hour hearing at the Judiciary Committee, which could vote as soon as this week. “I think there’s a lot of agreement,” Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, the Democratic chairmanContinue reading

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Donald Trump - Nancy Pelosi - USA Politics Today

House Democrats moved aggressively to draw up formal articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump on Thursday, with Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying he “leaves us no choice” but to act swiftly because he’s likely to corrupt the system again unless removed before next year’s election. A strictly partisan effort at this point, derided immediately by Trump and other leading Republicans as a sham and a hoax, it is a politically risky undertaking. Democrats say it is their duty, in the aftermath of the Ukraine probe, while Republicans say it will drive Pelosi’s majority from office. Congress must act, Nancy Pelosi said. “The democracy is what is at stake.” “The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution,” she said in a somber address at the Capitol. “He is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections.” Trump has insisted he did nothing wrong. He tweeted that the Democrats “have gone crazy.” At the core of the impeachment probe is a July phone call with the president of Ukraine, in which Trump pressed the leader to investigate Democrats, including political rival Joe Biden. At the same time the White House was withholding military aid from Ukraine, an ally bordering an aggressive Russia. Youtube video thumbnail Drafting articles of impeachment is a milestone moment, only the fourth time in U.S. history Congress has tried to remove a president, and it intensifiesContinue reading

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U.S. Forces in Syria - American Troops

The United States has completed its military pullback in northeastern Syria, settling into a more stable posture of about 600 troops in the rest of the country after repositioning and reducing forces, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. Esper’s remarks in an interview with Reuters could signal the end of a period of turbulence and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. military presence in Syria after President Donald Trump’s initial withdrawal order in October. Since then, troop levels in Syria have fallen about 40 percent from around 1,000. Esper stressed he retained the ability to move in and out smaller numbers of forces as needed into Syria. But he suggested the number of troops will fluctuate around the 600-level for the foreseeable future. “It will be relatively static around that number. But if we see things happen … I can dial up a little bit,” Esper said late on Wednesday during a flight back from the NATO summit on the outskirts of London. Esper also didn’t rule out being able to reduce U.S. troop levels in Syria further if European allies contributed to the Syria mission. “The coalition is talking a lot again. We could see some allies want to volunteer troops,” Esper said, without suggesting any new contribution was imminent. “If an allied country, a NATO country, decided to give us 50 people, I might be able to turn off 50 people.” The U.S. military says it is focused on preventing a resurgence of Islamic State in Syria and carried out aContinue reading

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Juan Guaido vs Nicolas Maduro - Venezuela News

Venezuela (Reuters) – Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido’s faltering efforts to oust President Nicolas Maduro are facing a new challenge in the form of an influence-peddling scandal that has left disillusioned Venezuelans wondering if Guaido’s moment has passed. Guaido on Sunday said the opposition-controlled congress would investigate alleged wrongdoing within its ranks after website Armando.info reported that nine opposition lawmakers had advocated for a businessman linked to Maduro’s government. To a dozen Venezuelans interviewed by Reuters around the country, the scandal has marked another blow to Guaido’s reputation and to their hopes of seeing the back of the deeply unpopular Maduro, who has presided over a five-year economic crisis and an expanding authoritarian state. For Mario Silva, an engineer waiting by a bus stop in the crumbling western city of Maracaibo, it was time to move on. “Guaido missed his moment,” the 60-year-old said. When Guaido declared an interim presidency in January in a bold challenge to Maduro, Silva joined millions of Venezuelans in celebrating the arrival of a fresh-faced politician who had united the oft-fractured opposition and was untainted by its previous scandals. Silva had backed the “socialist revolution” led by the late Hugo Chavez and for a while supported his successor, Maduro, until, he said, Venezuela’s worsening poverty and widespread corruption became too obvious to ignore. “I saw Guaido as a salvation for the country, but he, like Chavez, disappointed me,” Silva said. Guaido has been recognized by more than 50 countries as Venezuela’s legitimate leader. But, despiteContinue reading

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Hezbollah (Hizbullah) Military Precision Guided Missile Capability

The Trump administration is withholding more than $100 million in U.S. military assistance to Lebanon that has been approved by Congress and is favored by his national security team, an assertion of executive control of foreign aid that is similar to the delay in support for Ukraine at the center of the impeachment inquiry. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday congratulated Lebanon as the country marked its independence day but made no mention of the hold-up in aid that State Department and Pentagon officials have complained about for weeks. It came up in impeachment testimony by David Hale, the No. 3 official in the State Department, according to the transcript of the closed-door hearing released this week. He described growing consternation among diplomats as the administration would neither release the aid nor provide an explanation for the hold. “People started asking: What’s the problem?” Hale told the impeachment investigators. The White House and the Office of Management and Budget have declined to comment on the matter. The $105 million in Foreign Military Funding for the Lebanese Armed Forces has languished for months, awaiting approval from the Office of Management and Budget despite congressional approval, an early September notification to lawmakers that it would be spent and overwhelming support for it from the Pentagon, State Department and National Security Council. As with the Ukraine assistance, OMB has not explained the reason for the delay. However, unlike Ukraine, there is no suggestion that President Donald Trump is seeking “a favor” fromContinue reading

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Donald Trump - USA Politics News

They’ve heard enough. With stunning testimony largely complete, the House, the Senate and the president are swiftly moving on to next steps in the historic impeachment inquiry of Donald J. Trump. “Frankly, I want a trial,” Trump declared Friday, and it looks like he’s going to get it. Democratic House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff’s staff and others are compiling the panel’s findings. By early December, the Judiciary Committee is expected to launch its own high-wire hearings to consider articles of impeachment and a formal recommendation of charges. A vote by the full House could come by Christmas. A Senate trial would follow in 2020. Congress’ impeachment inquiry, only the fourth in U.S. history, has stitched together what Democrats argue is a relatively simple narrative, of the president leveraging the office for personal political gain, despite Republicans’ assertions that it’s complex, contradictory and unsupported by firsthand testimony. House Democrats may yet call additional witnesses first, notably John Bolton, Trump’s former national security adviser. But Senate Republicans are already looking ahead to their turn, the January trial that would follow House approval of impeachment charges. Should they try to dispatch with such a trial in short order, which they may not have the votes to do, despite holding 53 seats in the 100-member Senate. Or should they stretch it out, disrupting the Democrats’ presidential primaries under the assumption that it helps more than hurts the GOP and Trump. At this point it seems very unlikely the 45th president will be removedContinue reading

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Donald Trump vs US Democrats Candidates - USA News Headlines

Democratic presidential candidates clashed in a debate over the future of health care in America, racial inequality and their ability to build a winning coalition to take on President Donald Trump next year. The Wednesday night faceoff came after hours of testimony in the impeachment inquiry of Trump and at a critical juncture in the Democratic race to run against him in 2020. With less than three months before the first voting contests, big questions hang over the front-runners, time is running out for lower tier candidates to make their move and new Democrats are launching improbable last-minute bids for the nomination. But amid the turbulence, the White House hopefuls often found themselves fighting on well-trodden terrain, particularly over whether the party should embrace a sweeping “Medicare for All” program or make more modest changes to the current health care system. Sens. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the field’s most progressive voices, staunchly defended Medicare for All, which would eliminate private insurance coverage in favor of a government-run system. “The American people understand that the current health care system is not only cruel — it is dysfunctional,” Sanders said. Former Vice President Joe Biden countered that many people are happy with private insurance through their jobs, while Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, complained about other candidates seeking to take “the divisive step” of ordering people onto universal health care, “whether they like it or not.” Democrats successfully campaigned on health care last year, winningContinue reading

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Bolivia, Evo Morales

Evo Morales said he would return to Bolivia from Mexico, which has granted him political asylum, if that would contribute to his country’s pacification.

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Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, USA News

Kamala Harris got a much needed boost this past week when the California senator picked up the endorsement of Higher Heights, the country’s largest political organization aimed at electing black women. But Elizabeth Warren would not be outdone. A day after Harris’ announcement, the Massachusetts senator won the backing of more than 100 black female activists. She also picked up the coveted endorsement of Rep. Ayanna Pressley, a black woman from her home state and the only member of the so-called squad of progressive lawmakers not to side with presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. The dueling endorsements signal an emerging battle between Warren and Harris for the support of black women, who are the Democratic Party’s most loyal and consistent voters. Both White House hopefuls are struggling with black voters, who have sided with Joe Biden by large margins. But as the election moves into a critical phase with just months before voting begins, the announcements this week highlight the contrasting styles of the surging progressive firebrand and the lone black woman in the Democratic field. “We’re still on a long road, and black women are still shopping,” said Higher Heights co-founder Glynda Carr. Harris is “exactly what our organization was built on, to be able to help support and invest in qualified black women to run for offices at all levels. At the end of the day, even if she ends up not being your top choice, black women should be celebrating this moment.” Both candidates are expected to keepContinue reading

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Facebook News

Bipartisan hostility against Facebook has been building for months, fueled by a series of privacy scandals, the site’s role in Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign and accusations that Facebook crushes competitors. Now, with the 2020 elections approaching, Democrats especially are homing in on the conduct of the social media giant and its refusal to fact-check political ads and remove false ones. “When you’re the No. 1 monopoly, people are going to come after you,” says John Feehery, a veteran Republican communications strategist. The challenge for Democrats, as he sees it: “They’re facing a base that is very angry and restive. So they have to be much more aggressive in taking on corporations.” Zuckerberg enjoyed a cozy relationship with the Obama administration. But in the face of growing public outrage, the co-founder of the upstart born under the motto “Move fast and break things” is learning the art of smoothing over and piecing back together. His new strategy: a personal blitz featuring serial private meetings in Washington with key lawmakers of both parties and President Donald Trump; small, off-the-record dinners at his California home with conservative journalists and opinion makers; and the occasional public address or TV interview. He’s become lobbyist-in-chief for a tech giant that has about 60 people officially playing that role. The company spent an estimated $12.6 million on federal influencing last year. The political ad issue hits close to home for Democrats. Facebook, as well as Twitter and Google, refused in September to remove aContinue reading

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