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Friday, Jul 20th

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Protester scales Statue of Liberty's base, forces evacuation

Protester scales Statue of LiberyA woman protesting U.S. immigration policy climbed the Statue of Liberty's base and forced the monument's evacuation on the Fourth of July hours after several other demonstrators had hung a banner on the statue's pedestal and had been arrested.

About 100 feet (30 meters) aboveground, the climber engaged in a roughly four-hour standoff with police before two New York Police Department officers climbed up to the base and went over to her. With the dramatic scene unfolding on live television, she and the officers edged carefully around the rim of the statue's robes toward a ladder, and she climbed down about 25 feet (8 meters) to the monument's observationpoint and was taken into custody.

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Pruitt ally decides which of his records see the light of day

Scott Pruitt hid memos of secret meetings

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt placed a former political fundraising ally in charge of an office that has been slow to release his most sensitive documents — including details about his meetings with industry lobbyists and taxpayer-funded travels across the U.S. and Europe.

The role played by Elizabeth Beacham White, the former treasurer of Pruitt’s political action committee, adds to questions about the EPA leader’s pervasive habit of mixing his political, personal and official interests while leading the $8 billion agency. White, who touts an extensive career in the GOP fundraising world, joined EPA in September as director of its Office of the Executive Secretariat, which handles Freedom of Information Act requests for Pruitt’s office.

POLITICO learned of White’s hiring for the EPA job while reviewing internal emails obtained by the Sierra Club under a public records lawsuit.

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Israeli forces wound scores of women in Gaza rally

Israaeli forces wound scores of women in Gaza rally

At least 134 Palestinians have been wounded by Israeli gunfire as thousands of Palestinian women demonstrated along the heavily fortified fence with Israel in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Ashraf al-Qudra, spokesperson for Gaza’s healthy ministry, said in a statement on Tuesday that media representatives covering the event were among those who were injured at the scene, east of the enclave.

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Trump-Russia: more election meddling evidence found, says Senate panel

Trump - Russia: Senat Intel Panel finds more proof of meddlingA Republican-controlled Senate panel has said that further evidence has been found to support a US intelligence assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help elect Donald Trump.

The Senate intelligence committee said “information obtained subsequent to publication” of a January 2017 report by US intelligence agencies “provides further support” to the conclusion that Vladimir Putin and his government aimed to discredit Hillary Clinton and boost Trump. No further detail was given.

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Russia investigators likely got access to NRA's tax filings, secret donors

NRA info in hands of  NRA taxes, donorsFor months, the National Rifle Association has had a stock answer to queries about an investigation into whether Russian money was funneled to the gun rights group to aid Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

The NRA, which spent $30 million-plus backing Trump’s bid, has heard nothing from the FBI or any other law enforcement agency, spokesman Andrew Arulanandam reiterated in an email the other day.

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Trump Warns NATO Allies to Spend More on Defense, or Else

Trump warns NATO "or else'...President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies — including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada — taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with what he said was their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance.

The letters, sent in June, are the latest sign of acrimony between Mr. Trump and American allies as he heads to a NATO summit meeting next week in Brussels that will be a closely watched test of the president’s commitment to the alliance. Mr. Trump has repeatedly questioned its value and has claimed that its members are taking advantage of the United States.

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Higher education group vows to ignore Trump reversal on affirmative action

Trum guideline on affirmative action to br ignored

The Trump administration plans to tell schools they shouldn't consider race in admissions, according to media reports Tuesday — reversing Obama-era guidance just as conservatives see a fresh opening to end affirmative action through a changing Supreme Court.

The move comes as a closely watched court battle over Harvard's admissions policies — which has emerged as the next front in the fight over race-based admissions — heats up. Civil rights groups see the Trump administration's decision as part of a larger effort to scrap affirmative action, which has been upheld repeatedly by the Supreme Court, though that could change with the appointment of a new justice soon to be picked by President Donald Trump.

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Judge rules that Trump administration has been wrongly detaining asylum seekers

Judge rules Trump violating rules for releasing asylum seekersA federal judge ruled on Monday that the Department of Homeland Security has violated its own policies by refusing to release most asylum-seekers from immigration detention even if they are likely to win their asylum case.

District Judge James Boasberg in the District of Columbia ordered the department to stop making blanket determinations against most asylum-seekers and resume the long-standing practice of deciding each applicant's detention status on a case by case basis.

Boasberg pointed to data provided by the nine plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit to show how dramatically detention determinations have changed under President Donald Trump.

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Mom confronts EPA head Scott Pruitt at DC restaurant: I want you to resign

Mom confronts Pruitt in restaurant

A mother confronted President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Monday, asking him to resign.

Kristin Mink wrote on Facebook that she walked up to Pruitt at a Teaism restaurant in Washington, D.C., Monday carrying her 2-year-old son. In a video, Mink is seen telling Pruitt how her son loves animals, breathing clean air and drinking clean water.

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