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Pompeo confirms Trump sent Kim Jong Un letter

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Pompeo confirms Trump sent Kim Jong Un letter

Mike Pompeo, the U.S. secretary of state, on Sunday confirmed reports that President Trump sent North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a letter that was described by Kim in foreign reports as “excellent.”

The White House has maintained that it continuing dialog with Pyongyang. Kim has sent Trump a birthday letter earlier this month.

Last February, Trump and Kim met in Vietnam for a summit that was largely viewed as a failure. Trump abruptly walked out at the time and said he was unwilling to agree to Kim’s terms of lifting all sanctions without securing a meaningful commitment to denuclearization.

Trump has used sanctions as a major tool in his international diplomacy and not just limited to North Korea. He just announced “major” new sanctions for Iran after Tehran’s provocative attack on an unmanned naval drone and alleged attacks on two oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz.

“I can confirm the letter was sent,” Pompeo said. He did not elaborate what was in the note, but North Korea’s state-run news agency reported that Kim is “seriously” contemplating its contents.

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Analysts told the AP that the gesture of sending letters is part of North Korean efforts to present Kim as a legitimate international statesman who is reasonable and capable of negotiating solutions and making deals. Because of the weight of formality they provide, Kim might see personal letters as an important way to communicate with leaders of countries the North never had close ties with, they say.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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Bipartisan House group introduces bill to help those with crippling student debt

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Bipartisan group in House introduces bill to help those with crippling student debt

A bipartisan group on Monday introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to help those with crippling student loan debt avoid default.

Sponsored by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, D-Ore., the representatives say their legislation will help people avoid such consequences as wage garnishments and a loss of Social Security benefits.

Bonamici and the legislation’s co-sponsors — Reps. Paul Mitchell, R-Mich., Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., and Seth Moulton, D-Mass. — aim to help people who can’t afford full loan payments, have defaulted before, are in danger of default or have disabilities.

“Student loan defaults have damaging consequences for borrowers that can last a significant period of time,” Fitzpatrick said. “An investment in one’s education should not lead to long-term financial distress, and borrowers deserve more efficient access to the tools already at their disposal under the law.”

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Automating the process borrowers use to access benefits is the key to preventing defaults, the representatives say, because so many are unaware of the options available to them or fail to register for programs.

The Streamlining Income-driven, Manageable Payments on Loans for Education Act — or The SIMPLE Act — would require the Department of Education to use income and other information from the Treasury Department to verify individuals’ eligibility for these programs so they don’t have to do the paperwork themselves.

As an example, the summary of the bill points out “permanently and totally disabled” borrowers can be released from their student loan payments, but they have to submit paperwork over a three-year period to certify their disability. Otherwise, their loans are reinstated.

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Ninety-eight percent of the 61,000 disabled borrowers who had their loans reinstated in 2015 did so because they didn’t submit the paperwork, the representatives say.

The bill would also automatically register those who have defaulted before or are on their way toward default in income-driven payment plans that allow people to pay back their loans based on their financial ability to do so.

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The lawmakers say those who are in income-driven payment plans are five times less likely to default on their loans than those who aren’t.

Bonamici and Moulton introduced a version of the SIMPLE Act in 2017 with two different sponsors but the bill never made it out of committee.

Fox News’ Tyler Olson contributed to this report. 

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Justice Department tells Mueller his House testimony ‘must remain within the boundaries’ of public report

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Rep. Ilhan Omar fires back at VP Pence for saying she ‘doesn’t know what she’s talking about’ amid Venezuela remarks

A Justice Department official told former Special Counsel Robert Mueller that his upcoming testimony to House lawmakers “must remain within the boundaries” of the public, redacted version of his report, in a letter obtained by Fox News on Monday evening.

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Read the letter: Department of Justice instructs Mueller to keep testimony to information from his report

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Read the letter: Department of Justice instructs Mueller to keep testimony to information from his report

A Justice Department official told former Special Counsel Robert Mueller that his upcoming testimony to House lawmakers “must remain within the boundaries” of the public, redacted version of his report, in a letter obtained by Fox News on Monday evening.

Read the full letter below.

MOBILE USERS, CLICK HERE TO READ THE LETTER

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