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Tuesday, Jan 24th

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Trump's pick for budget chief could signal major shift on Medicare, Social Security

Budget Director MulvaneyDonald Trump's selection of Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C) to become his budget chief could represent a major shift for the incoming administration on tackling entitlement spending.

Conservatives are hailing the pick, while the left is bracing for significant budget cuts while possibly preparing for a battle over his nomination.

Government spending and the debt wasn't a top issue in the 2016 presidential race, something Mulvaney bemoaned on the House floor earlier this year. On his congressional website, Mulvaney states, "It's disappointing that the discussion about our debt has faded away in the last few years."

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Members of the Electoral College under siege

Electors under siegeOn Monday, members of the Electoral College will cast their historic votes for the next president of the United States. In the meantime, they are under siege.

The nation’s 538 presidential electors have been thrust into the political foreground like never before in American history. In the aftermath of a uniquely polarizing presidential contest, the once-anonymous electors are squarely in the spotlight, targeted by death threats, harassing phone calls and reams of hate mail. One Texas Republican elector said he’s been bombarded with more than 200,000 emails.

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ExxonMobil helped defeat Russia sanctions bill

ExxonMobil helped defeat Russia sanctionsExxonMobil successfully lobbied against a bill that would have made it harder for the next president to lift sanctions against Russia, clearing the way for the oil giant to restart a program worth billions of dollars if Donald Trump eases those restrictions as president.

The company’s effort could be helped by outgoing CEO Rex Tillerson, who, if confirmed as secretary of state, would be a key adviser on the decision.

The bill, known as the STAND for Ukraine Act, would have converted into law for five years President Obama’s measures punishing Russia for annexing Crimea, making it more difficult for Trump to roll them back. The Senate left town on Monday without acting on the bill, making it easier for Trump to end the sanctions with a stroke of the pen.

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Donald Trump accuses China of 'unpresidented' act over US navy drone

Donald tweets 'unpresidented' act by ChinaPresident-elect Donald Trump has risked further inflaming US relations with China, after he used Twitter on Saturday to accuse China of an “unpresidented [sic] act” in its seizing of an unmanned American submarine this week.

“China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act,” Trump said, misspelling “unprecedented”.

The tweet was later reissued with the correct spelling of “unprecedented”. The tweet containing the error was deleted.

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Report: Electoral College members won't get Russia intelligence before vote

Electoral college not to get briefingMore than 50 members of the Electoral College will not be briefed on potential Russian interference in last month's presidential election, sources said Friday.

Fifty-five electoral members -- the ones who actually cast and certify the votes to elect U.S. presidents -- signed a letter this week requesting to be brought up to date on accusations that the Russian government attempted to sway the election in Donald Trump's favor.

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Don’t call it post-truth. There’s a simpler word: lies

Post truth?  No, LIESSixteen years ago, I sat in court 73 of the Royal Courts of Justice in London and felt the ground crumble beneath my feet. I was following the libel trial brought by David Irving, the Holocaust denier and “pro-Nazi polemicist” – to quote the judge’s eventual verdict – against Penguin Books, which had dared publish a text which told the truth about him.

I watched as Irving discarded the usual rules of evidence. The eyewitness testimony of survivors was dismissed as lies. Confessions by the guilty were waved away as fake. Inconvenient documents were written off as forgeries. All that was left was what he wanted to believe.

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Trump taps another retired general to run National Security Council

Gen Keith KelloggPresident-elect Donald Trump announced Thursday that retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg will serve as chief of staff and executive secretary of the National Security Council, placing another former senior military officer in a crucial national security post.

Kellogg, 72, will work directly under retired Army Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Trump's choice for national security adviser, and K.T. McFarland, a Reagan administration official who will serve as Flynn's deputy.

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