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Monday, Jan 23rd

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Anti-Trump protests to kick off with Washington civil rights march

Al SharptonA week of protests ahead of Donald Trump's inauguration as U.S. president is set to kick off on Saturday with a civil rights march in Washington by activists angry over the Republican's comments on minority groups including Muslims and Mexicans.

Civil rights leader the Reverend Al Sharpton plans to lead a march along the National Mall ending at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, about two miles (3 km) from the steps of the U.S. Capitol, where Trump will be sworn in as president on Jan. 20.

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Poll: Trump’s transition is historically unpopular

Trump transition unpopularPresident-elect Donald Trump’s transition is historically unpopular, according to a new poll released by Gallup.

More Americans disapprove of Trump’s transition than approve, a stark break from past presidents. 44 percent approve of the transition while 51 percent disapprove, Gallup found. By comparison, around the same time in Barack Obama’s 2009 transition, 83 percent of Americans approved of the effort while only 12 percent disapproved.

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Michael Flynn, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, contacted Russia when Obama announced sanctions: report

Michael Flynn and RussiaAn anonymous official is claiming that retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who will soon serve as national security adviser to President-elect Donald Trump, contacted Russia on the day that President Obama announced sanctions against the country for its alleged hacking of the 2016 presidential election.

Flynn allegedly phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak on several occasions on Dec. 29, after President Obama announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other sanctions, according to The Washington Post. It’s unclear what Flynn said during the call, but it may have played a role in Russian dictator Vladimir Putin deciding not to retaliate in order to wait and see how Trump will handle the situation — a decision that Trump praised on Twitter as “very smart.”

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Obama awards Biden Presidential Medal of Freedom

Joe BidenPresident Obama awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to an emotional Vice President Biden during a surprise event Thursday at the White House.

Biden turned around and burst into tears as Obama made the announcement in front of White House staff in the State Dining Room.

The president said he was bestowing the nation’s highest civilian honor on his vice president “for your faith in your fellow Americans, for your love of country and for you lifetime of service that will endure through the generations.”

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Monica Crowley’s Dissertation Plagiarizes Henry Kissinger

Monica Crowley plagiarized Kissinger in her PhD dissertationConservative commentator Monica Crowley, who is slated to serve in a top national security communications role in Donald Trump's presidential administration, plagiarized thousands of words of her 2000 dissertation for her Columbia University Ph.D., a CNN KFile review has found.

On Monday, Politico reported that it found more than a dozen examples of plagiarism in Crowley's Ph.D. dissertation. CNN's KFile has found nearly 40 lengthy instances of Crowley lifting paragraphs from numerous sources, including several scholarly texts, the Associated Press, and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

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Justice, FBI to be investigated over Clinton probes

James ComeyThe Justice Department inspector general on Thursday announced that it will launch an investigation into the FBI’s conduct leading up to the 2016 election.

The probe, which comes in response to requests from numerous chairmen and ranking members of congressional oversight committees, will look into allegations that Director James B. Comey broke bureau policy with his various public disclosures regarding the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

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Mattis breaks with Trump on Iran, Russia

Mattis breaks with TrumpBreaking with President-elect Donald Trump, James Mattis said Thursday in his confirmation hearing to be defense secretary that he supports a permanent U.S. military presence in the Baltics to deter Russia -- and reiterated he believes the U.S. must stick to the Iran nuclear deal even if it is flawed.

The retired Marine Corps general initially tried to dodge the question on Eastern Europe, saying he’d wait until Trump’s national security team was in place. But when panel Chairman John McCain pressed, Mattis said he agreed: “I do, sir."

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