John Hudson
John Hudson
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How Trump decided to kill a top Iranian general

How Trump decided to kill a top Iranian general

On Sunday, President Trump’s most senior national security advisers joined him at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, where Trump was beginning the second week of his holiday vacation. The officials told reporters that U.S. F-15 Strike Eagles had just attacked Iranian-sponsored militia groups at their bases in Iraq and Syria, in response to a series of rocket attacks that had culminated in the death of an American contractor two days earlier. But privately, a different topic had come up with an agitated president: whether to kill Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, whom military leaders...

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January 9, 2020
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Trump officials hindered at least nine key oversight probes, watchdogs said. Some may finally be released in coming months.

Trump officials hindered at least nine key oversight probes, watchdogs said. Some may finally be released in coming months.

ADAlmost as soon as she opened a politically charged investigation in 2019 into whether the Trump White House blocked hurricane relief to a devastated Puerto Rico, the internal watchdog at the Department of Housing and Urban Development ran into obstacles.HUD demanded that their attorneys sit in on witness interviews, a tactic inspectors general said was unusual and could shape witness testimony. White House officials told top agency appointees to withhold their communications, and interviews show. Other records took months to obtain.Four months after Donald Trump’s defeat, Inspector...

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Mar 23
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Hundreds of invitees skip Mike Pompeo’s indoor holiday party at State Department

Hundreds of invitees skip Mike Pompeo’s indoor holiday party at State Department

ADOnly a tiny fraction of the more than 900 guests invited to an indoor holiday party hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan showed up on Tuesday following an outcry from and warning that the reception bore all the hallmarks of a superspreader event, said two U.S. officials familiar with the event.Pompeo, whose name was on the invitation and who was scheduled to speak at the event, canceled his speech and tapped a substitute speaker, said the two officials. The event was dedicated to the family members of diplomats serving overseas in dangerous postings that require...

Dec 16
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Dismissing health concerns, State Department treats 200 guests to holiday drinks, tours and leftover ‘Be Best’ swag

Dismissing health concerns, State Department treats 200 guests to holiday drinks, tours and leftover ‘Be Best’ swag

ADThe State Department hosted roughly 200 guests Tuesday night at the presidential guesthouse despite concerns of public health experts and a new positive case on the premises since last week, according to two U.S. officials.The party included a tour of the White House’s vaunted holiday decorations followed by a self-guided tour across the street at Blair House, where foreign diplomats, their families, U.S. staffers and friends and acquaintances of the State Department’s chief of protocol convened.A State Department spokesman said the “Holiday Cheer” reception that typically follows the...

Dec 9
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Biden calls mass killing of Armenians a ‘genocide’ in break with previous presidents

Biden calls mass killing of Armenians a ‘genocide’ in break with previous presidents

President Biden recognized the massacre of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as a genocide Saturday, a designation that U.S. presidents long avoided for fear of damaging the U.S.-Turkey relationship.The decision follows a lengthy lobbying campaign by members of Congress and Armenian American groups eager to see the White House use a term embraced by many scholars of early 20th century history.“The American people honor all those Armenians who perished in the genocide that began 106 years ago today,” Biden said in a statement. “Let us renew our shared resolve to prevent future atrocities from...

Apr 24
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Trump administration imposes crushing sanctions on Iran in defiance of European humanitarian concerns

Trump administration imposes crushing sanctions on Iran in defiance of European humanitarian concerns

The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on Iran’s financial sector Thursday in defiance of European allies who warned that the move could have devastating humanitarian consequences on a country reeling from the novel coronavirus and a currency crisis.The measures target the few remaining banks not currently subject to secondary sanctions in a step European governments say is likely to diminish channels Iran uses to import humanitarian goods, such as food and medicine, officials said.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin challenged that assertion in a statement, saying that the...

October 8, 2020
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Israel’s Netanyahu brings his dirty laundry to Washington. Literally.

Israel’s Netanyahu brings his dirty laundry to Washington. Literally.

Most politicians go to great lengths to conceal their dirty laundry.And then there’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.Over the years, the Israeli leader has developed a reputation among the staff at the U.S. president’s guesthouse for bringing special cargo on his trips to Washington: bags and suitcases full of dirty laundry, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.The clothes are cleaned for the prime minister free of charge by the U.S. staff, a perk that is available to all foreign leaders but sparingly taken advantage of given the short stays of busy heads of state.“The...

September 23, 2020
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Pompeo invites hundreds to indoor holiday parties after subordinates are warned against hosting ‘non-mission critical events’

Pompeo invites hundreds to indoor holiday parties after subordinates are warned against hosting ‘non-mission critical events’

ADFollowing a sharp spike in cases across the country, State Department leadership sent out a notice to employees one week ago recommending that “any non-mission critical events” be changed to “virtual events as opposed to in-person gatherings.”That same week, U.S. event planners were told that the guidance did not apply to the upcoming functions they were working on: large indoor holiday parties hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife, Susan, on the eighth floor of the State Department involving hundreds of guests, food and drinks.Pompeo’s lineup of parties in the next three...

Dec 2
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