Politics

Leaving federal government service after decades can be, well, liberating.

Just ask James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, and John Brennan, the former leader of the Central Intelligence Agency. They unloaded on President Trump and the "baffling" way he's embraced Russia while criticizing his own intelligence apparatus during a session at the Aspen Security Forum Friday.

Asked whether the president is taking the Russia threat seriously, Clapper replied: "Well, it's hard to tell. Sometimes I think he's about making Russia great again."

An al-Qaida-linked suspect who prosecutors say conspired to murder a Swedish cartoonist has been charged in federal court in Philadelphia, despite the Trump administration's vow that alleged terrorists would be tried in military courts.

Prosecutors say Ali Charaf Damache, 52, an Algerian-born Irish citizen also known as "Black Flag," was allegedly part of an Ireland-based cell that included Colleen R. LaRose, a Pennsylvania woman known as "Jihad Jane." LaRose pled guilty in a U.S. court in 2011 to conspiracy and terrorism-related crimes. She is serving a 10-year sentence.

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We're going to talk more about that kiss with David Brooks of The New York Times. Welcome back.

DAVID BROOKS, BYLINE: Good to be here.

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When Donald Trump Jr. agreed to meet Natalia Veselnitskaya last summer, she was introduced to him as a "Russian government attorney" with dirt on Hillary Clinton. After it turned out that Veselnitskaya couldn't deliver the goods, the meeting ended quickly.

Charges and counter-charges by the White House and top Democrats endured into Friday as the two sides continued trying to work the referees like hard-bitten NBA coaches in the playoffs.

Friday News Roundup - Domestic

8 hours ago

If the news this week has left you with questions, you’re not alone:

“How do you take a job and then recuse yourself?” President Donald Trump asked about Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a revealing interview in the New York Times. But even though his boss seems to regret hiring him, Sessions says he’s not going anywhere.

Friday News Roundup - International

8 hours ago

Syria’s rebels can expect much less help from the CIA. The White House threatens new sanctions against Iran & Venezuela. And Australia reacts to the fatal police shooting of a woman in Minneapolis.

Updated at 8:13 p.m. ET

The White House communications operation underwent a dramatic shake-up Friday. Sean Spicer resigned as press secretary after President Trump appointed Anthony Scaramucci, a wealthy New York financier, as his communications director. Appearing on camera before the White House press corps at a televised press briefing, Scaramucci then announced Sarah Sanders, Spicer's deputy, as the new press secretary.

In statements Friday night, Trump praised Scaramucci and Sanders.

The Affordable Care Act is not "exploding" or "imploding," as President Trump likes to claim. But Trump does hold several keys to sabotaging the insurance marketplaces, should he so choose — one of which his administration is reportedly weighing using.

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Ohio Right To Life

Candidates for political office in Ohio who want to be endorsed by the state’s largest organization opposing abortion will have to meet new criteria.

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The only thing that appears certain in the Senate when it comes to health care is that there will be a vote next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made that clear after a senators-only lunch with President Trump at the White House.

One of the longest-serving Ohioans in Congress is being remembered as a proud Republican, yet nonpartisan public servant. Ralph Regula, who represented Northeast Ohio for 36 years, died Wednesday in his home. He was 92.

'A good man'

People remembering Ralph Regula quickly get to two points.

“He was an exceptional person;” and “he got things done.” 

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The many people moved by the cancer diagnosis of Senator John McCain include one of his former colleagues. He's former Senator and Vice President Al Gore.

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Two things seem pretty certain about Republican Senator Mitch McConnell's health care push at this point. There is going to be a vote next week, and there's going to be a lot of vocal opposition to it.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTEST)

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A brain cancer diagnosis for Senator John McCain is sadly familiar news for one of his friends. Former Secretary of State John Kerry is close to McCain. Kerry was also a Massachusetts colleague of Senator Ted Kennedy, who died of cancer.

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When it comes to U.S. sanctions against Moscow, the Cold War has never really ended.

President Gerald Ford signed off on trade restrictions against the Soviet Union and other communist countries in a 1974 measure known as the Jackson-Vanik amendment, for its congressional sponsors.

The message to Moscow: If you deny basic human rights — in this case, the right of certain people, especially Jews, to emigrate from the Soviet Union — you can't conduct normal business with the United States.

Harry Obst, who worked as a German interpreter for seven U.S. presidents through Bill Clinton, says he can only remember one who ever dispensed with an interpreter during discussions with a foreign leader: Richard Nixon.

It was a bad idea for lots of reasons, the author of White House Interpreter: The Art of Interpretation tells NPR.

If you've checked your retirement account lately or read the business headlines you probably know the stock market is riding high. The major U.S. stock indexes are in record territory. So what's lifting the market? Despite all the turmoil in Washington, is it still the Trump rally?

Since the U.S. election, the S&P 500 is up 16 percent and the Dow is up 18 percent, even though President Trump has yet to deliver on most of his pro-growth policies, including tax cuts and a big infrastructure plan.

The Trump Organization is asking the federal government for special visas to hire scores of foreign workers for two of President Trump's private clubs in Florida — the Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach and the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter.

On Thursday, the Senate unleashed yet another iteration of its effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and with it came another analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. If your head is spinning, you've got plenty of company, us here at Shots included.

Here are the key versions of repeal and/or replace legislation so far this year:

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