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Thursday, Feb 21st

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Dems launch investigation into Trump administration's dealings with Saudi Arabia

Elijah Cummings committee to probe Saudi nuclear linkDemocrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee announced Tuesday they are launching an investigation into the Trump administration’s dealings with Saudi Arabia after several whistleblowers expressed concern about efforts to sell the kingdom nuclear technology.

The announcement came in conjunction with the release of a report by committee staff that said senior White House officials pushed for the sale of nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia despite warnings from ethics advisers and national security officials to stop.

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McCabe told Congress 'Gang of 8' leaders about FBI probe into Trump. They had no objection.

McCabe told Gang of Eight about Trumpet probe

Former acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe told NBC's "Today" show on Tuesday that he briefed congressional leaders about the counterintelligence investigation he had opened into President Donald Trump and that "no one objected."

"That's the important part here," McCabe told Savannah Guthrie, who had asked if he had informed the "Gang of Eight" bipartisan group of leaders on the Hill. "No one objected. Not on legal grounds, not on constitutional grounds and not based on the facts."

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Cummings says new evidence shows Trump attorneys may have misled ethics officials

New evidence Trump lawyers liedWeeks before Michael Cohen reports to federal prison on charges related to hush-money payments he's admitted to making as President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, a top Democrat in Congress says he’s uncovered new information that suggests other Trump lawyers misled ethics officials on the matter.

In separate letters Friday to the White House counsel and the Trump Organization, House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings, renewed his demand for Cohen-related documents as part of his investigation into payments made to Cohen to help silence women alleging they had extramarital affairs with Trump.

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Congress approves deal to avert shutdown with Trump poised to declare emergency

Trump to declare emergency

Congress overwhelmingly approved a border security agreement that would prevent a second painful government shutdown, as Donald Trump vowed to declare a national emergency to fund his long-promised border wall with Mexico.

The House passed the spending package late Thursday night in a vote of 300-128, following the Senate’s approval in a vote of 83-16. The bill next goes to the president, who said he would sign it on Friday, and at the same time declare a national emergency.

The border security compromise, tucked into a sweeping, 1,159-page spending bill, would appropriate $1.375bn for 55 miles of new fencing along the border with Mexico, which is far less than the $5.7bn Trump sought for a concrete or steel wall.

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Senate Confirms William Barr As Attorney General

William BarrThe Senate on Thursday confirmed William Barr as attorney general, placing the veteran government official and lawyer atop the Justice Department as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm him, mostly along party lines. Barr, who previously served as attorney general from 1991 to 1993, will succeed Jeff Sessions. Trump pushed Sessions out of office last year after railing against his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

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House Judiciary chairman invites Whitaker to clarify testimony

Acting AG WhitakerHouse Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday invited acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to meet with the House panel in the coming days to "clarify" answers he gave during testimony last week.

In a letter to Whitaker, Nadler said lawmakers from both parties felt that Whitaker gave answers to the committee that were "unsatisfactory, incomplete, or contradicted."

"You repeatedly refused to offer clear responses regarding your communications with the White House, and you were inconsistent in your application of the Department’s policy related to the discussion of ongoing investigations," Nadler added.

Whitaker testified before the Judiciary Committee on Feb. 8, tussling with committee Democrats.

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U.S. senators to try again to pass Russia sanctions bill

Congress wil try again to pass Russia sanctions bill

U.S. Republican and Democratic senators on Wednesday will introduce a bill that would impose sanctions on Russia’s banking and energy sectors and foreign debt for Moscow’s meddling in U.S. elections and aggression against Ukraine.

It will be introduced by Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democratic Senator Bob Menendez, and is a tougher version of the one the two lawmakers backed last year but which failed to pass, Menendez’s office said.

The bill, which was seen by Reuters, may have a better chance of passing Congress now, either as a whole or as amendments to other bills, in the face of growing bipartisan anger over Russia’s interference in other countries’ affairs.

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