Senate Confirms Pick for Justice Department Criminal Division Chief

Posted: July 11, 2018, 9:03 pm

Senate Confirms Pick for Justice Department Criminal Division Chief FILE – Brian Benczkowski, then the Republican staff director of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sits behind the committee's ranking Republican, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., during a committee hearing on Capitol Hill, June 18, 2009. WASHINGTON — The Senate voted along party lines Wednesday to confirm a lawyer who briefly represented a Russian bank with ties to the Kremlin to head the Justice Department’s criminal division.
The confirmation of Brian Benczkowski came two days after Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee urged President Donald Trump to pull his nomination, saying Benczkowski’s lack of prosecutorial experience and representation of Alfa Bank disqualified him for the job.
As a partner in the Washington office of the Kirkland & Ellis law firm, Benczkowski, 48, represented Alfa Bank early last year when it was being investigated by the FBI over a series of data transmissions between computer se..

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McMaster to Release Book in 2020

Posted: July 11, 2018, 8:50 pm

McMaster to Release Book in 2020 FILE – In this March 16, 2018, file photo, national security adviser H.R. McMaster waves as he walks into the West Wing of the White House in Washington. President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser H.R. McMaster has signed a book deal.
Battlegrounds will cover the retired lieutenant general’s 34-year military career and his time in the Trump administration.
The book is expected to be released in 2020, when Trump is expected to run for a second term in office.
McMaster had a tumultuous one year on Trump’s staff. He was picked to replace Michael Flynn, who was forced to resign after it was revealed that he'd lied about his dealings with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
McMaster resigned in March and was replaced by John Bolton.
The book is expected to take a harsher view of the administration than books by former Trump staffers Sean Spicer and Anthony Scaramucci.
Publisher Harper Collins released a statement by McMaster in whi..

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Nobelist Malala Slams US Child Separation Policy

Posted: July 11, 2018, 7:34 pm

Nobelist Malala Slams US Child Separation Policy Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai is pictured with teenage girls from Complexo da Penha, who work with football organization Street Child United, at Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil July 11, 2018. RIO DE JANEIRO — Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai described as “cruel” a policy launched by U.S. President Donald Trump to separate children of illegal
immigrants from their families, during her first visit to South America to promote girls' education.
More than 2,300 children were separated from their parents after the Trump administration began a “zero tolerance” policy on illegal immigrants in early May, seeking to prosecute all adults who cross the border illegally from Mexico into the United States. Trump stopped separating families last month
following public outrage and court challenges.
“This is cruel, this is unfair and this is inhumane. I don't know how anyone could do that,” Yousafzai told Reu..

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Acting US Environmental Chief to Continue Deregulation

Posted: July 11, 2018, 7:10 pm

Acting US Environmental Chief to Continue Deregulation Environmental Protection Agency Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler speaks to EPA staff, July 11, 2018, at EPA headquarters in Washington. The acting head of the Environmental Protection Agency plans to keep cutting anti-pollution rules and regulations on industry.
Andrew Wheeler held his first meeting with EPA employees Wednesday after taking over the job for Scott Pruitt, who resigned last week amid allegations of ethics violations.
Wheeler, like Pruitt and President Donald Trump, believes the nation's air and water can still be protected without what they say are job-killing regulations and pollution standards on industry.
Wheeler said the EPA would make cleaning up Superfund industrial waste sites and investing in water infrastructure priorities.
He promised to listen to all voices within the agency. “I value your input and your feedback, and you will find me and my team ready to listen,” Wheeler told staffers.

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Trump’s Broadside Against Germany at NATO Finds Some Republican Support

Posted: July 11, 2018, 5:31 pm

Trump's Broadside Against Germany at NATO Finds Some Republican Support (L-R) German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. President Donald Trump, watch a fly-by during a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels, July 11, 2018. They might not have agreed with the U.S. president calling Germany a “captive” of Russia, but some Republican lawmakers on Wednesday said they believe Donald Trump is right to shame one of America's most important allies into spending more on defense.
The Republican president, in Brussels for the NATO summit, took a swipe at Germany for supporting a new pipeline for Russian gas, saying at a pre-summit meeting: “We're supposed to be guarding against Russia and Germany goes out and pays billions and billions of dollars a year to Russia.”
Trump kept up his assault on NATO members, particularly Germany, for failing to spend a target two percen..

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Partisan Divide Deepens Over Trump’s Supreme Court Pick

Posted: July 11, 2018, 2:33 pm

Partisan Divide Deepens Over Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh leaves a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on Capitol Hill, July 11, 2018. CAPITOL HILL — A partisan divide over U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh deepened Wednesday, with Republican senators extolling his judicial record while Democrats demanded time to thoroughly vet his writings and opinions on matters ranging from environmental regulation to executive authority.
“Judge Kavanaugh is the real deal,” Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, said one day after a closed-door meeting with the nominee. “He has the all-star legal resume, top-flight academic credentials. His extensive judicial record is defined by fairness, thoughtfulness, thoroughness and analytical precision.”
President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh, 53, on Monday, making his second high court pick in as many years.
FILE – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell greets S..

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Trump Picks Pakistan Ambassador for Under Secretary as State

Posted: July 10, 2018, 11:55 pm

Trump Picks Pakistan Ambassador for Under Secretary as State FILE – David Hale, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, speaks at the Pakistan Stock Exchange in Karachi, Pakistan, July 26, 2016. President Donald Trump has nominated career diplomat David Hale to be the next under secretary of state for political affairs.
Hale has been serving as U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan since 2015. Before that he was the ambassador to Lebanon and Jordan.
He has also served in Tunisia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Nations.
In Washington, Hale served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Israel, Egypt and the Levant; director for Israel-Palestinian Affairs and executive assistant to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright.
He speaks Arabic, is a graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a native of New Jersey.

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Battle Lines Form Over Trump’s Court Nominee

Posted: July 10, 2018, 9:23 pm

Battle lines began to form Tuesday in Washington for the upcoming Senate confirmation fight over President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, federal Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Republicans have embraced Kavanaugh as a nominee who could shift the Supreme Court in a more conservative direction for a generation. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

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Trump High Court Pick Kavanaugh May Face Contentious Cases Soon

Posted: July 10, 2018, 7:55 pm

Trump High Court Pick Kavanaugh May Face Contentious Cases Soon With the U.S. Supreme Court building in the background, Supreme Court nominee judge Brett Kavanaugh arrives prior to meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 10, 2018. WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee may not have to wait too long for controversial cases if he is confirmed to the job, with disputes involving abortion, immigration, gay rights, voting rights and transgender troops possibly heading toward the justices soon.
Republicans are hoping Brett Kavanaugh, the conservative U.S. appeals court judge selected on Monday by Trump to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, will be confirmed by the Senate before the next Supreme Court term opens in October.
There are no blockbusters among the 38 cases already on the docket for the justices, but they could add disputes on controversial issues being appealed from lower courts.
Legal ba..

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Trump Replacement for Obama Climate Plan Moves Forward

Posted: July 10, 2018, 6:56 pm

Trump Replacement for Obama Climate Plan Moves Forward FILE – Smoke rises from the Colstrip Steam Electric Station, a coal-burning power plant in Colstrip, Mont., July 1, 2013. The Trump administration is advancing its plan to replace the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's efforts against global warming with a new rule expected to be more friendly to the coal industry. BILLINGS, MONTANA — The Trump administration is advancing a proposal for electric utilities that would supplant President Barack Obama's principal attempt to curtail U.S. contributions to global warming, with a new rule that's expected to go easier on the coal industry.
The Environmental Protection Agency disclosed Tuesday that it sent the new rule the White House for review. The document itself was not released, but President Donald Trump has been outspoken in his desire to prop up the ailing coal industry by rolling back what he considers burdensome regulations.
Burning coal to generate electricit..

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