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White House says Trump undecided on deal to avert another shutdown

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White House says Trump undecided on deal to avert another shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump has not yet decided whether to back a deal hammered out by congressional negotiators to avert another partial government shutdown, the White House said on Tuesday, putting the future of the agreement that contains funds for U.S.-Mexican border security but not his promised wall in doubt.

FILE PHOTO: Workers and U.S border patrol officers stand next to an excavator working in a section of the new wall between El Paso, Texas, in the United States and Ciudad Juarez as seen from the Mexican side of the border in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, February 5, 2019. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez/File Photo

Democratic and Republican negotiators reached the tentative deal on Monday night on border security provisions and money to keep several government agencies including the Department of Homeland Security funded through Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year. Temporary funding for about a quarter of the government is due to expire on Friday.

“I am cautiously optimistic that we will get this through,” Democratic Representative Nita Lowey, who chairs the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, told CNN. “We cannot shut the government down.”

Asked if the Republican president had signaled support for the bipartisan deal, Lowey did not answer directly, but said it had the backing of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other Democrats, who control the chamber.

Trump, who triggered a 35-day partial government shutdown with his December demand for $5.7 billion to help build the border wall, has not yet made up his mind on the deal, said a White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“No decision has been made,” the official said.

Republican Senator Richard Shelby on Monday said the House-Senate committee set up last month at the end of the previous shutdown had an agreement in principle to pay for border security programs.

A final agreement is expected by late on Wednesday. The funding legislation would need to be passed in the House and Senate and signed by Trump.

Trump last month agreed to end the shutdown without getting money for a wall, which is opposed by Democrats. The shutdown roiled financial markets and left hundreds of thousands of federal workers and contractors without pay.

Trump’s long-promised wall was a cornerstone of his presidential campaign. He had said it would be paid for by Mexico and not by U.S. taxpayers.

Congressional sources said the agreement includes $1.37 billion for new fencing along 55 miles (90 km) of the southern border but only with currently used designs, such as “steel bollard” fencing. It will also address immigrant detention beds.

Trump will have to decide whether to sign the measure into law given its backing from congressional Republicans, or side with conservative commentators who have the president’s ear such as Sean Hannity of Fox News, who late on Monday called it a “garbage compromise.” Democrats oppose the wall but support border security efforts.

Trump has threatened to declare a “national emergency” if Congress does not give him wall money.

“Just so you know – we’re building the wall anyway,” Trump said at a rally in the border city of El Paso, Texas, shortly after the deal was reached. “Maybe progress has been made – maybe not.”

Beto O’Rourke, the former Democratic congressman from Texas considering a 2020 White House run, accused Trump at a counter-rally nearby of stoking “false fear” about immigrants and telling “lies” about O’Rourke’s hometown of El Paso.

Without new funds, federal agencies would again have to suspend some activities this weekend, ranging from maintenance of national parks to the publishing of important economic data.

Reporting by Richard Cowan; Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell and Steve Holland in Washington and Roberta Rampton in El Paso, Texas; Editing by Will Dunham

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Amy Klobuchar tried to torpedo staff’s future job prospects: report

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Klobuchar downplays Green New Deal as 'aspirational,' addresses binder-tossing report

2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., is facing yet more reports that she mistreated staff working in her Senate office, including claims that she attempted to torpedo departing employee’s future job opportunities — an allegation the senator denies.

Klobuchar, who announced her presidential intentions earlier this month, has been dogged by claims of mistreating her staff. On Friday The New York Times reported on a bizarre allegation that she’d berated a staff member for failing to bring her a fork with her salad. She is alleged to have chastised the aide, and then ate the salad with a comb before telling the aide to clean the comb.

AMY KLOBUCHAR REPORTEDLY ORDERED STAFFER TO CLEAN COMB AFTER SHE USED IT TO EAT SALAD

It was part of a list of incidents that aides described as being “not just demanding, but often dehumanizing.”

HuffPost, citing multiple Capitol Hill staffers and former Klobuchar employees, reported Friday that Klobuchar is “well known” for calling prospective employees and shutting down job opportunities for her departing staff. That includes at least one opportunity within the Obama Treasury Department, according to the outlet.

Klobuchar’s office denied the claims, telling the outlet: “This is completely false. The senator has never criticized her staff to prospective employees.”

In one example, HuffPost reported that Klobuchar confronted a fellow Democrat and told them she wanted the offer rescinded. The Democrat ignored her and the staffer joined their team.

Former staffers told the outlet that fear of her attempting to kill off a job offer was so well known that the culture in the office was to treat a job offer “like a state secret.”

Klobuchar has been hit by a flood of allegations in outlets such as The Times, HuffPost and Buzzfeed, including that her conduct became so well known that the Senate minority leader at that time, Harry Reid, D-Nev., told her to change her behavior.

AMY KLOBUCHAR’S TREATMENT OF STAFF LED TO REBUKE FROM HARRY REID: REPORT

During an interview with Fox News’ Bret Baier last week, though, Klobuchar said she spoke with Reid, and “he doesn’t remember that and I don’t remember that either.”

But according to a Buzzfeed News report, numerous staffers said Klobuchar routinely sent late-night emails and berated subordinates over minor details and missteps. The report also said, “one aide was accidentally hit with a flying binder, according to someone who saw it happen, though the staffer said the senator did not intend to hit anyone with the binder when she threw it.”

When asked about the report that she threw a binder, she did not flat-out deny it.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP 

“I don’t know, it’s all anonymous. I will say that I’m proud of our staff,” Klobuchar told Fox News last week. “And yes, I can be a tough boss, and push people — that’s obvious. But that’s because I have high expectations of myself, I have high expectations of those who work for me, and I have a high expectation for our country. My chief of staff has worked for me for six years, my state director for seven years, my campaign manager for 14 years.”

Asked specifically whether she had thrown a binder at someone, Klobuchar responded: “If you look at that story, I think you’ll see it said something about me throwing a binder down — not at somebody,” Klobuchar said. “I just know that I should be judged, and I will take responsibility for, everything that happens on this campaign.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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U.S. prosecutors say no leniency needed for Trump ex-aide Manafort

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U.S. prosecutors say no leniency needed for Trump ex-aide Manafort

FILE PHOTO: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives for arraignment on a third superseding indictment against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on charges of witness tampering, at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S. June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

(Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team told a U.S. judge on Saturday that President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort “repeatedly and brazenly” broke the law, and argued he did not deserve leniency at sentencing.

The recommendation from Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election and whether Trump’s campaign conspired with Moscow, increases the likelihood that Manafort will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Manafort pleaded guilty in a federal court in Washington last September to conspiracy against the United States – a charge that includes a range of conduct from money laundering to unregistered lobbying – and conspiracy to obstruct justice for his attempts to tamper with witnesses in his case.

He is due to be sentenced on March 13.

While Mueller did not recommend a specific sentence he portrayed Manafort as a “hardened” criminal who was at risk of repeating criminal behavior once he is released from prison.

“For over a decade, Manafort repeatedly and brazenly violated the law,” Mueller’s office said in a sentencing memorandum released by the court on Saturday.

“His criminal actions were bold, some of which were committed while under a spotlight due to his work as the campaign chairman and, later, while he was out on bail from this Court.”

Manafort, a veteran Republican political consultant, who earned millions of dollars working for pro-Russian politicians in Ukraine, will turn 70 in April and faces a potentially lengthy sentence in a second case in Virginia in which he was convicted last year of financial crimes.

Reporting by Nathan Layne in New York; Editing by Andrea Ricci and Alistair Bell

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U.S. prosecutors say no mitigating factors warranted in Manafort’s sentence

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U.S. prosecutors say no mitigating factors warranted in Manafort's sentence

FILE PHOTO: Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort arrives for arraignment on a third superseding indictment against him by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on charges of witness tampering, at U.S. District Court in Washington, U.S. June 15, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

(Reuters) – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team urged a U.S. judge on Saturday not to consider any mitigating factors in sentencing President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort for two conspiracy charges he pleaded guilty to last year in a cooperation deal with prosecutors that he later breached.

The recommendation from Mueller, who is investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election and whether Trump’s campaign conspired with Moscow, in the criminal case in federal court in Washington increases the likelihood Manafort will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Reporting by Nathan Layne in New York; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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