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Sunday, Feb 18th

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'Something was weird': Inside the Russian effort to bamboozle Florida

Russia's effort to bamboozle Florida

The scathing indictment unsealed Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller outlines a multi-state scheme to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. But the document makes clear that the operation in Florida, the nation’s largest swing state, was in a class by itself.

The indictment is packed with details of how Russian nationals duped Donald Trump campaign volunteers and grass-roots organizations in Florida into holding rallies they organized and helped fund with foreign cash. And Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio himself was a target of an effort to “denigrate” him and several other presidential candidates.

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Report: Kushner Requests More Intel Than Other White House Staff Despite No Permanent Security Clearance

Kushner requests more Intel than any other WH staff despite lack of security clearanceWhite House senior adviser Jared Trump has made more requests for classified intelligence information than almost any other member of White House staff, despite not having a final security clearance, The Washington Post reports.

Kushner’s requests for information are surpassed only by staffers on the National Security Council, a source familiar with the matter was quoted as saying. Kushner—whose background investigation has hit several snags and is still ongoing more than a year after he joined the Trump administration—is one of dozens of staffers operating with an interim security clearance.

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President Trump's Russia denialism is grounds for impeachment

Mueller indicts 13 Russians, 3 Russian organizationsThe 35 words that make a president: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The eight words in Article III, Section 3 of the Constitution that define “Treason against the United States": “adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”

This is language to remember in light of congressional testimony this week by President Trump's intelligence team.

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25 In a world first, Switzerland deems it illegal to boil a lobster

Swiss ban boiling lobsterWhen it comes to cooking fresh lobster, the Swiss are now saying: We feel your pain.

A law goes into effect March 1 that bans the common cooking method of tossing a live lobster into a big pot of boiling water, quickly killing the tasty crustacean. That practice is being outlawed because the Swiss say it's cruel and lobsters can sense pain.

The first national legislation of its kind in the world calls for a more humane death for lobsters, by “rendering them unconscious” before plunging them into scalding water. Two methods are recommended: Electrocution or sedating the lobster by dipping it into salt water and then thrusting a knife into its brain.

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Pentagon's 'deploy-or-be-removed' policy takes effect

Robert Wilkie, Dept. of Defense The Pentagon on Friday released new policy guidance on retention of non-deployable service members, which could result in nearly 300,000 soldiers being kicked out of the military.

The new directive seeks to improve overall readiness and lethality of forces by reducing the number of service members who cannot be deployed overseas, according to Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Robert Wilkie, who testified before Congress on Wednesday.

"On any given day, about 13 to 14 percent of the force is medically unable to deploy -- that comes out to be around 286,000 service members," Wilkie told the Senate Armed Services Committee's personnel subcommittee on Wednesday.

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Mexico: Minister helicopter's crash kills 13 on ground

Mexico Minister helicopter crash

A military helicopter carrying top Mexican officials has crashed while assessing damage from a powerful earthquake, killing at least 13 people on the ground, according to authorities.

Twelve people died at the scene after the pilot lost control shortly before landing in the southern state of Oaxaca and another person later died in hospital, prosecutors said on Saturday. 

Among the dead were three children, while 15 people were injured.

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7.2 quake damages homes, but Mexico avoids major destruction

7.2 quake hits MexicoMexico appeared Saturday to have escaped major destruction after a magnitude 7.2 earthquake rattled the country, but it rekindled fears in a population that still sees daily reminders of deadly earthquakes that struck five months ago.

The Interior Department said in a statement that 50 homes suffered significant structural damage in Santiago Jamiltepec, Oaxaca state, along with other damage to the city hall and main church. The national electricity commission said nearly 1 million users lost power, but it was expected to be restored over the course of the day.

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Mueller levels new claim of bank fraud against Manafort

Manafort levels new charges against Pul ManafortSpecial counsel Robert Mueller’s office has told a federal judge it has found evidence that Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, committed bank fraud not addressed by the indictment last October in which he was charged with money laundering and failure to register as a foreign agent.

As legal wrangling continues over a $10 million bail package for Manafort, prosecutors this week accused him of submitting false information to a bank in connection with one of his mortgages.

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13 Russians Indicted For Allegedly Interfering in Elections

Mueller'd grand jury indcts 13 Russians for election telegram

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office said Friday that a grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities for alleged interference in the 2016 presidential elections, during which they boosted the candidacy of Donald Trump.

The indictment says that the defendants by early to mid-2016 were "supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump ... and disparaging Hillary Clinton."

The indictment said "the organization," known as the Internet Research Agency LLC, "sought, in part, to conduct what it called 'information warfare against the United States of America' through fictitious U.S. personas on social media platforms and other Internet-based media."

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