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Trump aide predicts 'hundreds of miles' of border wall by 2020

Trump aide predicts 'hundreds of miles' of border wall by 2020A top adviser to Donald Trump said Sunday that the president’s emergency declaration could allow “hundreds of miles” of barriers to be built on the Mexican border before the 2020 election. “You’re looking at hundreds of miles,” Stephen Miller said on “Fox News Sunday,” “probably a couple hundred miles” by September 2020, two months before the election. Trump has made clear he plans to exploit the issue in his re-election campaign, even amid sharp criticism from Democrats, rights groups, border-state landowners — and several prominent Republicans.



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Congress negotiators finish drafting border security bill: aide

Congress negotiators finish drafting border security bill: aideU.S. lawmakers late on Wednesday completed writing a border security bill that was expected to deny President Donald Trump’s request for $ 5.7 billion to help build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, with the Senate and House of Representatives expected to vote on the bill Thursday. The aide added that the Senate would first vote on the bill sometime on Thursday. If it passes there, the House would then vote on final approval that evening, which would clear it for signing into law by Trump by a Friday deadline.



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Former Trump aide Paul Manafort lied to prosecutors, judge rules

Former Trump aide Paul Manafort lied to prosecutors, judge rulesPaul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman, intentionally lied to investigators and a federal grand jury in the special counsel’s Russia probe, a judge ruled on Wednesday. US District Judge Amy Berman Jackson’s decision was another loss for Manafort, a once-wealthy political consultant who rose to lead Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and now faces years in prison in two criminal cases brought in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. The four-page ruling hurts Manafort’s chance of receiving a reduced sentence, though Jackson said she would decide the exact impact during his sentencing next month. It also resolves a dispute that had provided new insight into how Mueller views Manafort’s actions as part of the broader probe of Russian election interference and any possible coordination with Trump associates. Prosecutors have made clear that they remain deeply interested in Manafort’s interactions with a man the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence.  Manafort arrives for arraignment on charges of witness tampering, at U.S. District Court in Washington Credit: Reuters But it’s unclear exactly what has drawn their attention and whether it relates to election interference because much of the dispute has played out in secret court hearings and blacked out court filings. In her ruling on Wednesday, Jackson provided few new details as she found there was sufficient evidence to say Manafort broke the terms of his plea agreement by lying about three of five matters that prosecutors had singled out. The ruling was largely a rejection of Manafort’s attorneys’ argument that he hadn’t intentionally misled investigators but rather forgot some details until his memory was refreshed. The judge found that Manafort did mislead the FBI, prosecutors and a federal grand jury about his interactions with Konstantin Kilimnik, the co-defendant who the FBI says has ties to Russian intelligence. Prosecutors had accused Manafort of lying about several discussions the two men had including about a possible peace plan to resolve the Russia-Ukraine conflict in Crimea. During a sealed hearing last week, Mueller prosecutor Andrew Weissmann said one of the discussions- an August 2, 2016, meeting at the Grand Havana Club cigar bar in New York- went to the "larger view of what we think is going on" and what "we think the motive here is." Paul Manafort timeline "This goes, I think, very much to the heart of what the Special Counsel’s Office is investigating," Weissmann said, according to a redacted transcript of the hearing. He added: "That meeting and what happened at that meeting is of significance to the special counsel." The meeting occurred while Manafort was still in a high-ranking role in the Trump campaign. Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy and also a Trump campaign aide, attended. And prosecutors say the three men left separately so as not to draw attention to their meeting. Weissmann said investigators were also interested in several other meetings between Kilimnik and Manafort including when Kilimnik travelled to Washington for Mr Trump’s inauguration in January 2017. And Manafort’s attorneys accidentally revealed weeks ago that prosecutors believe Manafort shared polling data with Kilimnik during the 2016 presidential campaign. Profile | Paul Manafort On Wednesday, Jackson found that in addition to his interactions with Kilimnik, there was sufficient evidence that Manafort had lied about a payment to a law firm representing him and about an undisclosed Justice Department investigation. But she found there wasn’t enough evidence to back up two other allegations. The judge said prosecutors failed to show Manafort intentionally lied about Kilimnik’s role in witness tampering or about Manafort’s contacts with the Trump administration in 2017 and 2018. Kilimnik, who lives in Russia, was charged alongside Manafort with conspiracy and obstruction of justice. He has yet to appear in a US court to face the charges. Manafort’s sentencing is set for March 13. He faces up to five years in prison on two felony charges stemming from illegal lobbying he performed on behalf of Ukrainian political interests. Separately, he faces the possibility of a decade in prison in a federal case in Virginia where he was convicted last year of tax and bank fraud crimes. Sentencing in that case was delayed pending Jackson’s ruling in the plea-deal dispute.



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Judge rules that ex-Trump aide Manafort broke plea deal

Judge rules that ex-Trump aide Manafort broke plea dealFormer Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort could face a much longer prison sentence than expected after a Washington judge ruled Wednesday that he had broken his plea deal with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. Federal district judge Amy Berman Jackson agreed with prosecutors that Manafort had “intentionally” lied to investigators about his contacts with a suspected Russian operative, Konstantin Kilimnik in 2016 and 2017, despite having pledged to cooperate as part of his September plea agreement. Jackson also ruled that Manafort had lied about a secretive payment he made to a law firm, and lied on another occasion when investigators queried him about a separate, still secret investigation related to the Mueller probe.



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Saudi crown prince told aide he would use 'a bullet' on Khashoggi: report

Saudi crown prince told aide he would use 'a bullet' on Khashoggi: reportSaudi Arabia’s crown prince told a senior aide he would go after Jamal Khashoggi “with a bullet” a year before the dissident journalist was killed inside the kingdom’s Istanbul consulate, the New York Times reported Thursday quoting US intelligence. US intelligence understood that Mohammed bin Salman, the country’s 33-year-old de facto ruler, was ready to kill the journalist, although he may not have literally meant to shoot him, according to the newspaper. After initially denying any knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance, the kingdom has acknowledged that a team killed him inside the diplomatic mission but described it as a rogue operation that did not involve the crown prince.



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Trump aide sets out 'conditions' for Syria pullout: NBC

Trump aide sets out 'conditions' for Syria pullout: NBCUS President Donald Trump’s national security adviser said Sunday that conditions such as guarantees on the safety of Kurdish allies must be met before American troops are withdrawn from Syria, NBC News said. John Bolton told journalists travelling with him on a trip to Israel that the United States wanted a guarantee from Turkey that Kurds in Syria would be protected, the US news outlet said. Trump’s announcement on December 19 that the US would immediately withdraw its troops from Syria led to concerns among allies, and he has since spoken of “slowly” sending troops home “over a period of time”.



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Trump aide trying to allay Israeli concerns on Syria pullout

Trump aide trying to allay Israeli concerns on Syria pulloutTEL AVIV, Israel (AP) — The White House has sent national security adviser John Bolton on a mission to allay Israel's concerns about President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.



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Trump aide sets conditions for US Syria withdrawal

Trump aide sets conditions for US Syria withdrawalUS President Donald Trump’s national security adviser on Sunday set out conditions for the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, saying the defence of allies must first be assured. The comments by John Bolton during a visit to Israel signalled a far more gradual US withdrawal than initially set out by Trump, whose December 19 announcement concerned allies and led to the resignation of defence secretary Jim Mattis. Trump himself has more recently spoken of “slowly” sending troops home “over a period of time”, and Bolton laid out some of the conditions required before it takes place.



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Government shutdown: White House aide predicts long standoff as Trump talks border closure

Government shutdown: White House aide predicts long standoff as Trump talks border closureThe partial federal government shutdown entered its second week Saturday with no apparent movement towards a resolution.



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Top Trump aide says government shutdown may go into New Year

Top Trump aide says government shutdown may go into New Year“It’s very possible this shutdown will go beyond (December) the 28th and into the new Congress,” Mick Mulvaney said on Fox News Sunday. “I don’t think things are going to move very quickly here for the next few days” because of the Christmas holiday, added Mulvaney, who serves as director of the Office of Management and Budget and was named acting White House chief of staff 10 days ago. Mulvaney said the White House made a “counter-offer” to Democrats on funding for border security that fell between the Democratic offer of $ 1.3 billion and Trump’s demand for $ 5 billion.



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