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CNN Poll: Approval ratings for Trump, Mueller fall

WASHINGTON (CNN)As Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election inches closer to the President, approval of Donald Trump’s handling of the investigation has fallen, matching its all-time low in CNN polling. The findings, from a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, come as half of Americans say they think it is likely that the Mueller investigation will implicate the president in wrongdoing. But Mueller’s approval rating is also down in the poll: 43% approve and 40% disapprove. That compares to a 48% approve to 36% disapprove split…

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Accused Russian spy Maria Butina cooperating with federal prosecutors as part of plea deal

Washington (CNN)Maria Butina, an accused Russian spy who nuzzled up to the National Rifle Association before the 2016 election, has begun cooperating with federal prosecutors after agreeing to a plea deal in recent days, according to a source familiar with the matter. ABC News was first to report Butina agreed to cooperate. A plea hearing has been set for 3:15 p.m. Wednesday where a judge will need to sign off on the deal. The developments on Monday come after several weeks of hints that Butina might negotiate an end to…

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Trump’s biggest Mueller problem isn’t Russia. At least not yet.

(CNN)Special counsel Robert Mueller has begun quietly laying his cards down, one at a time, in court filings for three key former associates of President Donald Trump — his former campaign chairman, his former fixer and lawyer and his former top national security adviser. The steady dripping of developments into open court can distract from the totality of what we know and are learning on three distinct and all very damning threads: 2. It is not Russia that has them talking impeachable offenses or criminal charges — While Mueller’s special…

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Senators push to establish new human rights commission honoring McCain

(CNN)On the 70th anniversary of the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, two senators will honor their late colleague, Sen. John McCain, by establishing in his name a commission devoted to the promotion of the rights enshrined in that document. In a statement, Tillis added that the commission would “carry on John McCain’s legacy of shining a light on human rights abuses across the world and building bipartisan coalitions to take action.” After serving Arizona in Congress for 35 years, McCain died in August. Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/09/politics/john-mccain-human-rights-commission/index.html

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Biden says he wants to spend the rest of his life ‘engaged’ on the issues and with his family

(CNN)Former Vice President Joe Biden reflected Sunday on how he wants to spend the rest of his life, saying he wishes to remain “engaged in all the issues that have animated my life” and “spend as much time” as he can with his family. That commitment the former vice president made to his late son Beau Biden is at the center of his memoir, “Promise Me, Dad.” Biden was promoting the paperback version of the book at the event. Biden also discussed his decision not to run for president in…

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Watch ‘Donald Trump’ take on Bob Ross with his trademark humility The Bob Ross Challenge

White House chief of staff John Kelly probably fantasizing about life after the White House.Image: Getty Images The post-election bloodbath within the Trump administration continues as embattled chief-of-staff John Kelly is out, and is expected to be replaced by Vice President Mike Pence’s chief-of-staff Nick Ayers, who is now Trump’s third chief in less than two years, an unprecedented revolving door for a key position. SEE ALSO: Why the Trump administration is terrified of these children Trump confirmed the news himself on Saturday while speaking with reporters on the White…

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Trump admin moves to cut sage grouse protections, opening lands for oil drilling

Washington (CNN)The Trump administration moved to amend Obama-era protections on the habitat of the sage grouse bird, potentially opening up vast areas of land in the western United States for oil and gas drilling. “It’s hard to pretend at this point that Zinke is a steward of America’s public lands: he acts more like a pillager,” said Bobby McEnaney, senior director for the Western Renewable Energy Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This rolls back a conservation plan that was carefully crafted by states, ranchers, conservationists and public officials…

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Republican-led Wisconsin legislature approves bills to diminish executive power after Democratic election wins

(CNN)The Republican-led Wisconsin legislature approved two bills that would diminish the powers of the state’s governor and executive branch after a Democrat was elected to that office in November, Britt Cudaback, spokesman for Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers, told CNN Wednesday morning. It would prevent the state’s department of health and the incoming governor from applying for a change/waiver to the program without getting legislative approval. The second bill includes a measure that would eliminate the state’s Department of Transportation’s authority to transfer state and federal funding between highway programs. If…

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In 2 months we’ll have a real 2020 field

Washington (CNN)In two short months, we’re going to have a real idea of who is actually serious about running for president in 2020 against President Donald Trump — and today was proof. Joe Biden is also not officially running, but he said today that the decision to run or not is coming within the next two months.  THE POINT — NOW ON YOUTUBE! In each episode of his weekly YouTube show, Chris Cillizza will delve a little deeper into the surreal world of politics. Click to subscribe! Kamala Harris also…

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Twitter grapples with the mixed legacy of President George H.W. Bush

How should the world remember George H.W. Bush?Image: MIKE SARGENT/AFP/Getty Images The nation, and the internet, are remembering President George H.W. Bush following his death just after midnight on Dec. 1. Some obituaries and remembrances are highlighting what writers describe as his “civility” — a hot button word that pundits and critics have variably longed for in both the actions of political protesters, and our word-diarrhea prone President. Bush, Sr. was reportedly affable and diplomatic; he certainly did not use dehumanizing language in 280 characters to disparage his enemies while…

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Pompeo reflects on Bush’s ‘remarkable American legacy’

Buenos Aires (CNN)In an exclusive interview just hours after the death of George H.W. Bush, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reflected on the “remarkable American legacy” of the former President. “America is worse off today,” he said, extending condolences on behalf of himself and his wife. Pompeo said contemporary politicians could learn from Bush’s life of service and commitment to his faith. “If you work at it, keep your faith, and keep a commitment to serve, good things can happen. Not only to him, he had a remarkable life, but…

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READ: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s full interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer

(CNN)Read the full transcript of CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer’s exclusive interview Saturday morning with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. BLITZER: Let’s talk about the late President George H.W. Bush. How do you see his legacy? POMPEO: It’s a remarkable American legacy. The don’t make them like that very often. I had a chance to get to know him when I was a member of Congress first, then I held a job that he held at one point, and I remember talking to him just after I was nominated to CIA…

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Records show Whitaker knew of allegations of fraud at Florida scam company

(CNN)Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker continued to sit on the advisory board of a now-shuttered patent company after learning of multiple claims of fraud made against it by disgruntled customers, documents released Friday show. “Dear Matthew can you get a message to scoot cooper you are on his advisory board but what you don’t know is how many people were scammed by him and how fraudulent they are and how much money they robbed from people,” one person wrote to Whitaker in 2016. Whitaker forwarded the email to Scott Cooper,…

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Exclusive: Trump administration to announce final bump stock ban

Washington (CNN)The Trump administration plans to announce the long-anticipated federal rule officially banning bump stocks in the coming days, according to US officials familiar with the matter. At Trump’s direction, however, the Justice Department submitted a proposed final rule earlier this year that upended the Obama-era interpretation, and concluded that bump-fire stocks, “slide-fire” devices, and devices with certain similar characteristics all fall within the prohibition on machine guns by allowing a “shooter of a semiautomatic firearm to initiate a continuous firing cycle with a single pull of the trigger,” and…

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Mississippi Senate runoff: Here’s what you need to know

(CNN)Mississippi voters will decide on Tuesday between Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith and Democrat Mike Espy in the last Senate race to be decided in 2018. The result will finalize the balance of power in the US Senate. As it stands, Republicans will hold 52 seats next year, and Democrats will have 47. A win for the GOP in Mississippi would further pad the party’s majority in the Senate, even as Democrats have taken a solid majority in the House. Contest dominated by racial controversies Hyde-Smith has spent the days leading…

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