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Reuters: U.S. will not blacklist Iran's foreign minister, for now

Iran Foreign MinisterThe United States has decided not to impose sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for now, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, in a sign Washington may be holding a door open for diplomacy.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on June 24 had said Zarif would be blacklisted that week, an unusual public stance because the United States typically does not preview such decisions to keep its targets from moving assets out of U.S. jurisdiction.

Blacklisting Iran’s chief negotiator would also be unusual because it could impede any U.S. effort to use diplomacy to resolve its disagreements with Tehran over Iran’s nuclear program, regional activities and missile testing.

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Trump announces end of fight to add citizenship question to census

Trump ends fight to put citizenship on census questionPresident Donald Trump announced Thursday he is backing down from his effort to include a citizenship question on the 2020 census, and will instead take executive action that instructs the Commerce Department to obtain an estimate of U.S. citizenship through other means.

"I am hereby ordering every department and agency in the federal government to provide the Department of Commerce with all requested records regarding the number of citizens and noncitizens in our country," Trump said in a Rose Garden announcement Thursday afternoon. "They must furnish all legally accessible records in their possession immediately. We will utilize these vast federal databases to gain a full, complete, and accurate count of the noncitizen population."

TVNL Comment: The Supreme Court won this one.  Trump and Barr lost.  That's the way the Constitution meant it to go.  We came close to a Constitutional crisis. But justice won this one. 

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Lawyer: Flynn will keep cooperating after co-conspirator revelations

Mike Flynn will continue to cooperate in light of co conspirator chargeMichael Flynn’s attorney Sidney Powell said Thursday that her client doesn’t plan on ending his cooperation with the government, as federal prosecutors say they intend to argue he was a co-conspirator in charges filed against Flynn’s former business partner.
Powell told The Hill that Flynn is “continuing to cooperate.” 

“We're doing everything we possibly can,” she added.

When asked if that could change in the future, Powell replied, “I don’t think so.”

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Trump Joint Chiefs pick: Early Afghanistan withdrawal would be 'strategic mistake'

Army Chief of Staff Mark Milley

President Trump’s pick to be the top uniformed U.S. military official on Thursday said that pulling troops from Afghanistan prematurely would be a “strategic mistake.”

“I think it is slow, it's painful, it's hard, I’ve spent a lot of my life in Afghanistan, but I also think it's necessary,” Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee about the 18-year-old Afghanistan War.

Asked by Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) when the U.S. should say “enough is enough” and withdraw from the ongoing war, Milley replied that the conflict should end “when our interests are met and I think that’ll be met through a negotiated settlement with the Taliban.”

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France Approves Tax on Tech Giants Despite Threats From Trump Administration

France taxes tech giants

France has approved a digital services tax despite threats of retaliation by the US, which argues that it unfairly targets American tech giants.

The 3% tax will be levied on sales generated in France by multinational firms like Google and Facebook.

The French government has argued that such firms headquartered outside the country pay little or no tax.

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House Judiciary approves subpoenas for 12 key witnesses, including Jared Kushner

House Judiciary Committee approves subpenas for 12 key witnesses

The House Judiciary Committee voted on Thursday to authorize subpoenas for 12 crucial witnesses as part of House Democrats’ ongoing investigations targeting President Donald Trump.

On a party-line vote, the committee empowered Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) to issue subpoenas to current and former Trump administration officials who were central figures in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s 22-month investigation of Russian contacts with the Trump campaign.

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Immigration advocates brace for ICE roundups across country: 'The goal is to terrorize'

ICE raids to round up immigrants

Immigrant advocates were bracing Thursday for a massive sweep of arrests and detentions amid reports that a roundup in at least 10 major cities could begin this weekend.

ICE officials would neither confirm nor deny a report Thursday in The New York Times, citing multiple administration officials the newspaper did not name, that the sweep would begin Sunday. President Donald Trump said last week that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement would begin a major sweep "soon."

"No one arrested in the immigration raids should be deported without a fair day in court," the American Immigration Council tweeted. "We are recruiting and training immigration attorneys from around the country to ensure this happens."

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No new legislative momentum after election security briefings

Election cyber security

Sen. Marco Rubio emerged from a closed briefing on the Trump administration’s efforts to secure elections and made a renewed push for his own bipartisan deterrence legislation, even as he acknowledged there has not been momentum.

“In my view, they’re doing everything you can do,” Rubio said of the administration efforts. “Election interference is a broadly used term, and understand this is psychological warfare. It’s designed to weaken America from the inside out, to drive divisions internally so we fight with each other, to undermine our confidence in the elections and in our democracy and particularly to undermine individual candidates either because they don’t like that candidate or because they know someone else.”

TVNL Comment: Another example of GOP obstruction.  What else is new?

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Ford knew Focus, Fiesta models had flawed transmission, sold them anyway

Ford Fiesta sold despite transmission problem

Ford Motor Co. knowingly launched two low-priced, fuel-efficient cars with defective transmissions and continued selling the troubled Focus and Fiesta despite thousands of complaints and an avalanche of repairs, a Free Press investigation found.

The cars, many of which randomly lose power on freeways and have unexpectedly bolted into intersections, were put on sale in 2010-11 as the nation emerged from the Great Recession. At least 1.5 million remain on the road and continue to torment their owners — and Ford.

The automaker pushed past company lawyers’ early safety questions and a veteran development engineer’s warning that the cars weren’t roadworthy, internal emails and documents show. Ford then declined, after the depth of the problem was obvious, to make an expensive change in the transmission technology.

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