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Tuesday, Dec 11th

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Trump, Democrats battle over wall in Oval Office spat

Trump, Dems get into spat over wall funding

President Trump on Tuesday engaged in an extraordinary argument with Democratic congressional leaders over government funding, threatening a partial shutdown if his demands for border wall money are not met.

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security,” Trump told House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) during a contentious, 17-minute exchange inside the Oval Office.

“I will take the mantle,” the president added. “I will be the one to shut it down, I'm not going to blame you for it.”

Trump's vehemence left Pelosi and Schumer exasperated, with both leaders pleading with the president not to debate the funding request in front of the news media.

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Trump Administration Won’t Back Up President’s Terror Claim

Trump administration won't back his terror claims

President Donald Trump on Tuesday cited the recent apprehension of ten suspected terrorists to bolster his case for building a wall along the southern border, implying that a porous border with Mexico is leaving the country vulnerable to national security threats.

But the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees security and law enforcement at U.S. borders and ports of entry, was unable to provide data to directly substantiate that claim.

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North Carolina 9th District Reportedly Counted Early Votes Before Election Day

NC 9th District Counted votes before election dayThe results of early voting were tallied before Election Day in North Carolina’s now-notorious Ninth Congressional District, and election workers are accused of allowing outsiders to view them.

The election-fraud case in the race has held up certification of the U.S. House contest. Totals from Bladen County’s only early-voting location were reportedly run on the afternoon of Nov. 3, three days before polls closed.

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'Massive power grab': Trump EPA prepares to roll back Obama-era clean water rules

EPA to rollback clean water regulationsThe Trump administration is moving forward with a significant rollback of an Obama-era clean water regulation that has become a rallying cry for farmers and property-rights activists opposed to federal overreach.

The new proposal, unveiled Tuesday morning by Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and other administration officials, would ease Washington's oversight of small bodies of water, undoing a regulation President Donald Trump has called "a massive power grab."

The new rule would replace an Obama administration regulation, known as the "Waters of the United States" rule that expanded federal protections to smaller rivers and streams.

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Time honours Khashoggi, four others as Person of the Year

Time person of the yearTime magazine has named a newspaper and four journalists, including Washington Post's murdered Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi, as its Person of the Year.

The Capital Gazette in the US state of Maryland's Annapolis, two Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Philippine journalist Maria Ressa, as well as Khashoggi, were recognised as "Guardians" of truth, Time's editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal announced on Tuesday.

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44 ex-senators pen op-ed calling Senate to defend democracy as Mueller probe concludes

Op-ed penned by 44 former SenatorsA bipartisan group of more than 40 ex-senators are calling for the current members of the upper chamber to join together to defend democracy, saying that the U.S. is entering a "dangerous period" as the investigation into Russian election interference nears its conclusion.

"We are on the eve of the conclusion of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation and the House’s commencement of investigations of the president and his administration," the 44 senators write in an op-ed addressed to current senators for The Washington Post. "The likely convergence of these two events will occur at a time when simmering regional conflicts and global power confrontations continue to threaten our security, economy and geopolitical stability.

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Trump claims Cohen hush money payment was 'simple private transaction'

Trump claims Cohen hush money was a private transaction

President Donald Trump on Monday sought to downplay the felony his former personal attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to this month, arguing that Cohen’s hush money payments on behalf of Trump were a “simple private transaction” rather than a breach of campaign finance law.

Apparently citing a Fox News segment, Trump insisted on Twitter that there is “no smocking [sic] gun” pointing to coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia that emerged from the closed door congressional testimony of former FBI Director James Comey last week.

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Trump administration hid report revealing Wells Fargo charged high fees to students

Trump held WF report showing they charged high fees to students

The Trump administration for months concealed a report that showed Wells Fargo charged college students fees that were on average several times higher than some of its competitors.

The “unpublished” report was obtained by POLITICO through a Freedom of Information Act request. It was produced by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau office previously led by Seth Frotman, who quit as the bureau’s top student loan official in protest of Trump administration policies. Frotman said in his resignation letter that CFPB leaders had “suppressed the publication” of the report.

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Accused Russian agent Maria Butina asks judge to change plea in conspiracy case

Maria Butina to change pleaMaria Butina, a Russian national charged with conspiracy and acting as the agent of a foreign government, joined prosecutors Monday in asking a judge to schedule a hearing for her to change her plea.

Butina has pleaded innocent so far in the case in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. She has been jailed since July, largely in solitary confinement. But now lawyers for both sides are asking for a plea hearing Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday.

“The parties have resolved this matter,” the two-page filing said.

The latest court filing suggests that Butina could be preparing to plead guilty to charges involving what prosecutors claim were efforts to infiltrate U.S. political organizations in order to advance Russia's interests.

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