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Putins Soccer Ball for Trump Had Transmitter Chip, Logo Indicates

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s gift of a soccer ball to U.S. President tweeted, “I’d check the soccer ball for listening devices and never allow it in the White House.” It turns out they weren’t entirely wrong. Markings on the ball indicate that it contained a chip with a tiny antenna that transmits to nearby phones. But rather than a spy device, the chip is an advertised feature of the Adidas AG ball. Photographs from the news conference in Helsinki, where Putin handed the ball to Trump, show it bore a…

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The Accused Russian Agent as Trump Republican

Here are some things we know about Maria Butina. She is a 29-year-old white woman with an enthusiasm for guns who has attended multiple National Rifle Association events, socialized with NRA leaders and repeated NRA talking points. She attended Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's 2015 announcement seeking the Republican nomination for president, and later supported Republican Donald Trump for president. She attended the National Prayer Breakfast, a Republican gathering place, in Washington this year.    Butina published an grifter that is a According to Dusty Johnson, a South Dakota Republican and…

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Charles Krauthammer, Prominent Conservative Voice, Has Died

New York (AP) — Charles Krauthammer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and pundit who helped shape and occasionally dissented from the conservative movement as he evolved from "Great Society" Democrat to Iraq War cheerleader to denouncer of Donald Trump, died Thursday. He was 68. His death was announced by two organizations that were longtime employers, Fox News Channel and The Washington Post. Krauthammer had said publicly a year ago he was being treated for a cancerous tumor in his abdomen and earlier this month revealed that he likely had just weeks…

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Michael Bloomberg: Why Im Supporting Democrats in 2018

I’ve never much liked political parties. I’ve always believed that we should put country before party. Too many politicians practice the reverse, with terrible consequences for the American people. But although I don’t believe in partisanship, I very much believe in the importance of politics and elections. That’s how we make change and progress in a democracy. Over the years, I have supported candidates in both parties who were willing to break with partisanship and the special interests and seek common ground around solutions to make America better. I’ve focused…

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Shale Country Is Out of Workers and Dangling 100% Pay Hikes

Jerry Morales, the mayor of Midland, Texas, and a local restaurateur, is being whipsawed by the latest Permian Basin shale-oil boom. It’s fueling the region and starving it at the same time. Sales-tax revenue is hitting a record high, allowing the city to get around to fixing busted roads. But the crazy-low 2.1 percent unemployment rate is a bear. As the proprietor of Mulberry Cafe and Gerardo’s Casita, Morales is working hard to retain cooks. As a Republican first elected in 2014, he oversees a government payroll 200 employees short…

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Mueller Deflates Trump’s Claim That Russia Meddling Was Hoax

Donald Trump has insisted for more than a year that Russians didn’t try to get him elected. Special Counsel Robert Mueller put an end to those claims on Friday, declaring definitively that they did. A federal grand jury indicted 13 Russian nationals and a so-called “troll farm” in St. Petersburg on Friday for a broad campaign to sway the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. The indictment alleges that the operation was funded to the tune of $1.25 million a month by companies controlled by a Russian businessman close to the…

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IMF Says Global Growth Picking Up as U.S. Tax Cuts Take Hold

The International Monetary Fund warned policymakers to be on guard for the next recession even as it predicted global growth will accelerate to the fastest pace in seven years as U.S. tax cuts spur businesses to invest. The fund raised its forecast for world expansion to 3.9 percent this year and next, up 0.2 percentage point both years from its projection in October. That would be the fastest rate since 2011, when the world was bouncing back from the financial crisis. The strengthening recovery offers a “perfect opportunity now for…

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Senator Calls Trumps Denial of Shithole Comment Not True

A key Democratic senator who was at the Oval Office meeting on immigration said President Donald Trump’s denial that he called Haiti and African nations “shithole countries” is “not true” and that Trump made the “vile and racist” comments. “He said things which were hate-filled, vile and racist,” Senator Dick Durbin, of Illinois, who was at the meeting, told reporters Friday morning. “I cannot believe that in the history of the White House, in that oval office, any president has ever spoken the words that I personally heard our president…

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Trump Says Bannon Lost His Mind After Leaving White House

President Donald Trump denounced his former top strategist, Steve Bannon, on Wednesday in a dramatic break from the man considered an architect of Trump’s populist campaign. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” Trump said in a statement issued after the publication of excerpts of a new book in which Bannon criticizes the president and his family. “Now that he is on his own, Steve is learning that winning isn’t as easy as I make it look.” Bannon has lost the access to…

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Flake: Someone in GOP Will Challenge Trump in Primary, If Not Me

President Donald Trump is likely to face a challenge from an independent candidate, and possibly a fellow Republican, if he runs for a second term, as voters thirst for a more centrist alternative, said Senator Jeff Flake. “If the president is running for re-election, if he continues on the path that he’s on, that’s gonna leave a huge swath of voters looking for something else,” said the Arizona Republican, who plans to leave the Senate at the end of 2018. Flake, who’s emerged as one of the president’s most vocal…

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Trump Signs $1.5 Trillion Tax Cut in First Major Legislative Win

President Donald Trump signed the Republican tax-overhaul bill to little fanfare on Friday, delivering a major tax cut to U.S. corporations along with a package of temporary cuts for other businesses and most individuals. “I consider this very much a bill for the middle class and a bill for jobs,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office before signing the legislation. “Corporations are literally going wild over this. I think even beyond my expectations.” Trump’s signature caps a seven-week sprint that

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Senate Passes Major Business, Individual Cuts: Tax Debate Update

The Senate tax bill is in the midst of a marathon vote session that stretched into early Saturday morning with the goal of holding a final vote in the next several hours. Here are the latest developments, updated throughout the day: Senate Passes Major Business, Individual Cuts (1:51 a.m.) Senate Republicans narrowly approved the most sweeping rewrite of the U.S. tax code in three decades, slashing the corporate tax rate and providing temporary tax-rate cuts for most Americans. The 51-49 vote — achieved only after closed-door deal-making with dissident senators…

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Mulvaney Says Would Be OK to Drop Mandate Repeal in Tax Plan

The White House wouldn’t oppose removing from the Senate tax plan a controversial provision to repeal the individual health-care mandate of the Affordable Care Act, budget director Mick Mulvaney said, a move that could help secure the vote of key Republicans. The provision could be dropped if it becomes “an impediment,” Mulvaney, head of the Office of Management and Budget, said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill and have a tax bill that is still a good…

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One Tax Loophole Untouched So Far: The Trump Golf-Course Break

Republican lawmakers pushing to close dozens of tax loopholes have left open one that’s been good to President the outline for a sweeping tax rewrite on Thursday, a lucrative break for golf-course owners — including the president — remains firmly in place in the House version of the measure. The Obama administration estimated in 2014 that closing the controversial loophole would save more than $600 million over a decade. While Republicans are eliminating many write-offs, the House version of the bill allows golf-course owners to claim deductions for promising never to…

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Taylor Has Complex History to Overcome If Picked as Fed Chair

John Taylor has a complicated history with the U.S. Federal Reserve that could force him into a hard pivot if he’s selected as its next leader. The Stanford University economist, who is on President Donald Trump’s short list to lead the central bank, wrote the monetary policy rule that Fed officials use as a constant reference, and many of the institution’s own economists are schooled in his ideas. On the other hand, he’s been a vocal critic of recent Fed policy, arguing that the institution should hew closer to the…

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