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Monday, Mar 27th

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White House seeks 17 percent budget cut for climate agency

NOAA budget to be cut by 17%The White House is proposing to cut the budget of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a leading government agency on climate science, by a reported 17 percent.

The funding slash would hamper NOAA’s research funding and satellite programs while eliminating altogether funding for smaller programs on coastal management and estuary reserve efforts, among others, according to a memo obtained by the Washington Post Friday. The Commerce Department, which NOAA is a part of, is facing an 18 percent funding cut under the proposal by the Trump administration.

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Obama spokesman: Trump wiretap accusation 'simply false'

Obama: Trump allegation of wiretap simply falseNo Obama administration official interfered in Justice Department investigations or ordered surveillance on any American, much less President Trump, a spokesman for former President Obama said Saturday.

"A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice," Kevin Lewis said in a statement.

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Keystone XL pipeline will not use U.S. steel despite Trump's vow

Keystone pipeline uses imported steelThe Keystone XL oil pipeline will not use American-produced steel during its construction despite President Donald Trump's insistence after signing the controversial directives back in January and referencing the move in his address to Congress, the White House confirmed on Friday.

White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders pointed to language in the presidential directive as to why the proposed cross-border pipeline is not subject to Trump's U.S.-made steel promise.

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United States to suspend premium processing for 'skilled worker' visas

Skilled worker visas suspendedU.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it will suspend its premium processing for H-1B visa petitions next month, possibly making deep cuts in the number of highly skilled workers entering the country.

Immigration services said the temporary suspension of premium processing for visas will begin April 3 and may last up to six months. U.S. companies often use the visas to bring lower-cost skilled workers to the United States.

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Trump claims Obama had his phones wiretapped; no proof cited

TrumpPresident Donald Trump on Saturday accused former President Barack Obama of having Trump Tower telephone lines "wire tapped" during last year's election, but Trump didn't offer any evidence or say what prompted the allegation.

Trump, whose administration has been under siege over campaign contacts with Russian officials, said in a series of early morning tweets that he "just found out that Obama had my 'wires tapped' in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found. This is McCarthyism!'

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DHS Intel Analysis Refutes Trump’s Case for Travel Ban

DHS analysys refutes travel banThe Rachel Maddow Show has obtained, exclusively, a Department of Homeland Security intelligence assessment document. The document, from the Office of Intelligence and Analysis, makes the case that most foreign-born, U.S.-based violent extremists are likely not radicalized when they come to the U.S., but rather become radicalized after living in the U.S. for a number of years.

The document follows another piece of research (pdf) from Homeland Security that undercut President Trump’s rationale for a travel ban as a means of keeping violent extremists out. On Friday, the Associated Press published an analysis from Homeland Security that said citizenship in any given country – including the seven countries listed in the executive order – is likely an unreliable indicator of whether someone poses a terrorist threat.

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DHS considering separating families at border: report

DHS to separate families at borderThe Department of Homeland Security is considering forcefully separating adults and children who are apprehended illegally crossing the border together, Reuters reported Friday.

The report, attributed to three unnamed U.S. government officials, said part of the reason for separating children from the adults who cross with them was to discourage illegal family crossings.

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Former Trump adviser Carter Page also met with Russian envoy

Carter PageWhen Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak traveled to the GOP convention last summer, he met with then Sen. Jeff Sessions, as well as with two other Trump campaign advisers, including oil industry consultant Carter Page.

Page, at the time an unpaid foreign policy adviser to Trump, engaged in a conversation with the ambassador at the same July 20 luncheon in Cleveland where Sessions, now attorney general, and Kislyak chatted, according to J.D. Gordon, a national security adviser to the Trump campaign who was also present at the lunch.

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Two Republicans sign on to effort demanding Trump’s tax returns

Trump Two House Republicans endorsed a Democratic effort on Friday calling on the House and Senate committees with oversight of the Internal Revenue Service to request copies of President Trump’s tax returns.

Reps. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) signed a letter urging the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee to ask for copies of Trump's tax documents from the last decade.

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