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Friday, Feb 24th

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Muslim White House staffer quits, slamming Trump’s travel ban

Muslim White House staffer quitsIn 2011, I was hired, straight out of college, to work at the White House and eventually the National Security Council. My job there was to promote and protect the best of what my country stands for. I am a hijab-wearing Muslim woman––I was the only hijabi in the West Wing––and the Obama administration always made me feel welcome and included.

Like most of my fellow American Muslims, I spent much of 2016 watching with consternation as Donald Trump vilified our community. Despite this––or because of it––I thought I should try to stay on the NSC staff during the Trump Administration, in order to give the new president and his aides a more nuanced view of Islam, and of America's Muslim citizens.

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US private prison program rebooted by Trump administration

US private prison program rebootedThe Trump administration has scrapped Barack Obama’s program of ending the justice department’s use of private prisons, embracing an industry that has come under sharp criticism from civil rights advocates.

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s attorney general, on Thursday rescinded a six-month-old directive for the Federal Bureau of Prisons to wind down contracts with prison companies, claiming that the measure had “impaired the bureau’s ability to meet the future needs of the federal correctional system.

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Trump lawyer pushed pro-Russia deal for Ukraine, politician claims

Micheal Cohen, Trump lawyerThe setting was a Manhattan restaurant, and after 25 minutes what allegedly emerged was a pro-Russian peace plan for Ukraine that its author believes may have ended up in the White House.

In a CNN interview, Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Artemenko said he discussed his left-field proposal for Ukraine in January with US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who offered to deliver the plan to the Trump administration.

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White Supremacist Richard Spencer Thrown Out of CPAC

Richard SpencerRichard Spencer, a neo-Nazi and white supremacist provocateur, was reportedly thrown out of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday morning after holding court with reporters in the lobby for roughly 45 minutes.

Spencer said he was credentialed for the event, and that he had purchased a ticket, but organizers reportedly had security officials strip him of his badge and escort him out of the building. Shortly before he was removed, the American Conservative Union’s Dan Schneider gave a speech in the ballroom specifically condemning the alt-right as a “left-wing, fascist” collective.

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Kelly: No use of US military to enforce immigration

Kelly: No mass deportationsU.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly pledged Thursday that America won't enlist its military to enforce immigration laws and that there will be "no mass deportations."

The declarations came as senior Trump administration officials sought to temper Latin American concerns about a new U.S. immigration crackdown.

Kelly, speaking in Mexico City after he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with their Mexican counterparts, said all deportations will honor human rights and the U.S. legal system. That includes multiple appeals offered top those facing deportation. Kelly said the U.S. approach will involve "close coordination" with Mexico's government.

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Manafort faced blackmail attempt, hacks suggest

ManefortA purported cyberhack of the daughter of political consultant Paul Manafort suggests that he was the victim of a blackmail attempt while he was serving as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign chairman last summer.

The undated communications, which are allegedly from the iPhone of Manafort’s daughter, include a text that appears to come from a Ukrainian parliamentarian named Serhiy Leshchenko, seeking to reach her father, in which he claims to have politically damaging information about both Manafort and Trump.

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Poll: Donald Trump's job approval rating declines to 38 percent

Donald Trump at 38% approval after 35 days in officeA Quinnipiac University poll shows that President Donald Trump's job approval rating has decreased to 38 percent, down 4 percent since he was inaugurated.

In the poll of U.S. voters released Wednesday, Trump has a disapproval rating of 55 percent. He has a 36 percent approval rating among women and a 41 percent approval rating among men.

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