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Wednesday, Mar 01st

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Issa: Trump-Russia probe requires a special prosecutor

Issa calls for independent prosecutorA Republican congressman who aligned with President Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign called Friday for a special prosecutor to oversee the investigation into Trump associates' contacts with Russia.

Rep. Darrell Issa said on HBO's "Real Time" that Attorney General Jeff Sessions — who Trump appointed as the nation's top law enforcement officer — should not handle the problem.

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Mark Sanford has nothing left to lose. And he’s here to haunt Donald Trump.

SanfordNone of this feels normal. The congressman greets me inside his Washington office wearing a wrinkly collared shirt with its top two buttons undone, faded denim jeans and grungy, navy blue Crocs that expose his leather-textured feet.

Nearing the end of our 30-minute interview, he cancels other appointments and extends our conversation by an hour. He repeatedly brings up his extramarital affair, unsolicited, pointing to the lessons learned and relationships lost. He acknowledges and embraces his own vulnerability—political, emotional and otherwise. He veers on and off the record, asking himself rhetorical questions, occasionally growing teary-eyed, and twice referring to our session as “my Catholic confessional.”

And then he does the strangest thing of all: He lays waste to the president of his own party.

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Trump EPA nominee ordered to release emails with energy industry

Scott PruittAn Oklahoma judge on Thursday ordered President Donald Trump's nominee to run the Environmental Protection Agency to turn over thousands of emails he exchanged with or about the fossil fuel industry by next Tuesday, though he may already be confirmed for the position by then.

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, whose confirmation hearing for head of the EPA is scheduled for Friday, was ordered by Oklahoma County District Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons to fulfill public records requests for more than 3,000 emails by the Center for Media and Democracy.

TVNL Comment;  The Senate vote should be postponed until the contents of the emails are revealed.  But they will vote before Tuesday.  Watch this space.

Yep.  Pruitt was just confirmed.  The swamp increases.

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Trump nominee for Israel ambassador heckled, questioned at Senate

David FriedmanPresident Donald Trump's nominee to be U.S. ambassador to Israel faced repeated heckling at a Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday before he apologized for his stinging criticism of liberal American Jews and promised to be less inflammatory in an official capacity.

David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer Trump has called a longtime friend and trusted adviser, has supported Jewish settlement building and advocated the annexation of the West Bank, which Israel captured from Jordan in the 1967 war.

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Senate abolishes Obama-era rule on gun ownership by mentally disabled

Senate abolishes restiction for mentally ill gun ownersThe U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved a rollback of a rule preventing some receivers of Social Security disability benefits from purchasing guns.

It voted 57 to 43 to strike down a regulation requiring the Social Security Administration to report those with mental health conditions who receive disability benefits to the FBI background check system. The FBI database is used to determine eligibility to purchase firearms; it was expected to add about 75,000 names to the list of those disqualified.

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Oprah gives tape with Puzder abuse allegations to Senate

Oprah gives Senate tapeSenators in both parties have viewed an episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in which President Donald Trump's Labor Secretary nominee Andrew Puzder's former wife leveled allegations of physical abuse against him, according to sources familiar with the matter.

The decades-old video, which is not easily found, has been provided by the Oprah Winfrey Network, those sources said. The video has been provided to senators in a Capitol Hill office building, according to people who have seen it.

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U.S. lawmakers seek deeper probe into Russia ties after Trump aide quits

Congress wants investigationsU.S. lawmakers, including some leading Republicans, called on Tuesday for a deeper inquiry into White House ties to Russia, after national security adviser Michael Flynn resigned in President Donald Trump's biggest staff upheaval so far.

Flynn quit on Monday after only three weeks in the job amid revelations that he had discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with Moscow's ambassador to the United States before Trump took office, in a potentially illegal action, and had later misled Vice President Mike Pence about the conversations.

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