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Tobacco companies tighten hold on Washington under Trump

Tobacco a Deadly BusinessTobacco companies have moved swiftly to strengthen their grip on Washington politics, ramping up lobbying efforts and securing significant regulatory wins in the first six months of the Trump era.

Day one of Donald Trump’s presidency started with tobacco donations, senior figures have been put in place within the Trump administration who have deep ties to tobacco, and lobbying activity has increased significantly.

“As in so many areas, the promise to drain the swamp has been an extraordinary hypocrisy,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, who supported anti-tobacco legislation and was one of the US attorneys general to broker a hundred-billion-dollar settlement with tobacco companies in the 1990s. “Many of his appointees have deep commitments to the tobacco industry,” he said.

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White House silent on producing Ivanka Trump's products in US

Ivanka's products not questioned by WHA White House spokeswoman on Sunday declined to say if a messaging campaign to highlight American-made products would be used to bring production for first daughter Ivanka Trump’s clothing line to the U.S.

“We’ll get back to you on that,” the spokeswoman said in response to a question, according to reporter traveling with President Trump.

The question came as the White House announced a three-week messaging campaign promoting products made in the U.S. ahead of the Senate’s push to reform the tax code.

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Poll: Trump's six-month approval rating hits historic low

Poll : Trump 6 month popularity at all time lowPresident Donald Trump has hit the lowest approval rating of any president during their first nearly-six months in office in 70 years, according to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

Thirty-six percent of those surveyed approve of the president's job performance, which is six points down from his 100-day mark, while 58 percent disapprove of Trump's performance.

Gerald Ford was the last president to be near that mark in the poll half-a-year into his presidency, with a 39 percent approval rating in February 1975. At the six-month mark, both former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush were at 59 percent.

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Politico: I Ran Oppo Research Against Donald Trump. He Has No Idea What He’s Talking About.

I ran opposition against Trump.  He doesn't know what he's talking aboutPresident Donald Trump dismissed concerns about his eldest son’s meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer and a former Soviet spy promising dirt on Hillary Clinton with a wave of his hand. “It’s called opposition research,” he said at a news conference in Paris on Thursday. A day earlier, the president had asserted, “I think many people would have held that meeting.”

As a professional opposition researcher who has been doing it for over a decade, I know nothing is farther from the truth.

During the 2016 election cycle I was the research director at American Bridge 21st Century, where I led the investigative efforts targeting Trump. The opposition research department at Bridge is one of the largest in politics, investigating Republicans at all levels of government to hold them accountable for their actions. Even in a partisan research environment, though, there are rules and standards.

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Peter Smith, GOP operative who sought Clinton emails, committed suicide: Report

Peter Smith committed suicideA Republican opposition researcher who reportedly tried to obtain emails thought to be stolen from Hillary Clinton's private email server committed suicide days after talking to the Wall Street Journal about his efforts, according to a report Thursday.

The Chicago Tribune reviewed public records that show Peter Smith, 81, killed himself in a Minnesota hotel room, leaving behind a statement that police called a suicide note in which said he was in poor health and his life insurance policy was expiring.

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Jared Kushner’s Russia Lawyer Drops Him

Jared Kushner lawyer quitsJamie Gorelick, the lawyer representing White House senior adviser Jared Kushner on matters relating to the Russia investigation, said Friday she will leave.

Gorelick said she is “wrapping up” her work for Kushner related to omissions he made on ethics and security-clearance disclosure forms.

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Digital director of Trump campaign to meet with House investigators

Brad Parscale to meet with federal investigatorsThe digital operations director in President Donald Trump's campaign said Friday he's been called to meet with the House Intelligence Committee this month on the panel's investigation of potential Russian electoral interference.

Brad Parscale said he is "unaware of any Russian involvement" in the digital section of Trump's campaign, but added that he agreed to the interview with the committee and to "sharing with them everything I know."

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