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Thursday, Feb 23rd

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Neil Gorsuch Gorsuch disheartened by Trump attacks on judges

Neil Gorsuch Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee has told a Democratic senator that he found the president's attacks on the judiciary "disheartening" and "demoralizing."

Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut disclosed the comments from Judge Neil Gorsuch after meeting with the nominee Wednesday.

Trump referred to a Seattle judge who put a stay on his immigrant travel ban as a "so-called judge." Gorsuch's confirmation team confirmed that Gorsuch was referring to that comment and described it as disheartening.

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Steve Bannon Aligns With Vatican Hardliners Who Oppose Pope Francis

Steve BannonWhite House chief strategist Steve Bannon is known to have cultivated ties with far-right parties in Europe, like the National Front in France. He also seems to have forged an alliance with Vatican hardliners who oppose Pope Francis's less rigid approach to Church doctrine. The New York Times reported this week on Bannon's connections at the Vatican.

Before becoming White House chief strategist, Bannon — who is Catholic — was the executive chairman of Breitbart News, which he called a "platform for the alt-right." That's a movement associated with white nationalism.

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Sanders, Dems read Coretta Scott King's letter after Warren silenced

Sanders reads Coretta King letterSenate Democrats are taking to the Senate floor to read Coretta Scott King's letter after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was temporarily banned from speaking.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took the Senate floor on Wednesday to read the 1986 letter King wrote opposing Sen. Jeff Sessions's (R-Ala.) nomination for a federal judgeship.

"The idea that a letter and a statement made by Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr. ... could not be presented and spoken about here on the floor of the Senate is, to me, incomprehensible," he said from the Senate floor.

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Court blocks law limiting Democratic North Carolina governor's powers

Court blocks law limited NC Gov.A North Carolina court on Wednesday temporarily halted a new state law stripping Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper of some of his authority, The Associated Press reported.

The Republican-led state Legislature restricted the incoming governor’s power during a special session in December, slashing the number of government employees he can hire and fire by more than 1,000 and requiring Senate confirmation for Cabinet appointments. The power grab, as Democrats have phrased it, sparked a legal challenge from Cooper.

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Wall Street Journal editor to face critics

Gerry Baker, WSJ editorAmid growing newsroom discontent over his perceived resistance to critical coverage of Donald Trump, Wall Street Journal editor in chief Gerry Baker will host a town hall meeting next week where he is expected to address the paper’s reporting on the new administration and answer questions from his staff.

The meeting, announced in a company email on Wednesday and scheduled for Monday, February 13, is billed as a wide-ranging session on the state of the Journal, but Trump coverage is expected to be high on the list of discussion topics.

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Feds charge Army official for theft of gear, including sniper scopes

Army offical charged with theftAn Army official at Dugway Proving Ground in Utah has been charged with stealing military equipment, including scopes for sniper rifles, worth potentially millions of dollars to sell on the black market, according to court documents and government officials.

Phillip Tomac, director of logistics at Dugway, continues to hold his job but is barred from the Army post, said Robert Saxon, an Army spokesman there. Dugway made headlines in 2015 as ground-zero for the military’s bungled handling of anthrax and other deadly toxins. Tomac is paid about $79,000 per year.

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T.J. Maxx Employees Were Told to Throw Away Ivanka Trump Signs

T J Max dumps IvankaJust a few days after news broke that Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus are dropping Ivanka Trump’s line, the New York Times reports that T.J. Maxx and Marshalls are also moving to distance themselves from the first daughter’s brand. A note from TJX Companies, the parent company of both stores, literally told employees to throw Ivanka Trump signs in the garbage.

“Effective immediately, please remove all Ivanka Trump merchandise from features and mix into the runs,” the note read. “All Ivanka Trump signs should be discarded.” (“Runs” are the clothing racks where the majority of items hang.)

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Trump calls courts 'so political' as travel ban faces scrutiny

trump calls court politicalPresident Donald Trump stepped up his criticism of the U.S. judiciary on Wednesday, saying courts seem to be "so political," a day after his U.S. travel ban on people from seven Muslim-majority countries faced close scrutiny from an appeals court.

A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday heard arguments on the Trump administration's challenge to a lower court order putting his temporary travel ban on hold. Trump on Saturday accused the judge who issued the order of opening the United States to "potential terrorists."

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Six Red Cross aid workers killed in Afghanistan

Red Cross workers killed in AfghanistanSuspected ISIL fighters have killed at least six Afghan employees of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who were carrying supplies in the north of the country to areas hit by deadly snow storms, according to government officials.

Another two employees were unaccounted for after Wednesday's attack in Jowzjan province, said Thomas Glass, ICRC spokesperson, adding that the group  did not know who was responsible for the attack.

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