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Jeff Sessions steps down as US attorney general

“We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date,” Trump said in a Twitter post.

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US Attorney Jeff Sessions

Washington, Nov 8 (IANS) US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, will be acting attorney general.

Sessions announced his resignation in a letter to Trump, saying that the resignation came “at your request”, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We are pleased to announce that Matthew G. Whitaker, Chief of Staff to Attorney General Jeff Sessions at the Department of Justice, will become our new Acting Attorney General of the United States,” Trump tweeted.

“We thank Attorney General Jeff Sessions for his service, and wish him well! A permanent replacement will be nominated at a later date,” Trump said in a Twitter post.

The move took place shortly after a press conference Trump gave at the White House during which he said Sessions’ fate was under consideration. It marked the first cabinet member exit from the Trump administration after the midterm elections, which ended late Tuesday.

Sessions, a former Senator from Alabama, has been a staunch Trump supporter since early stages of the 2016 presidential campaign, and was one of the first nominated to the Trump cabinet.

Sessions’ relationship with Trump soured after he recused himself from the investigation into potential coordination between the president’s Republican campaign and Russia, which prompted Robert Mueller’s appointment as special counsel leading the inquiry.

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US President Donald Trump says new US envoy to UN remain undecided

While Trump had accepted Haley’s resignation as US ambassador to the UN last month, Haley would remain in the post until the end of the year.

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Nikki Haley

Washington, Nov 10 (IANS) US President Donald Trump here on Friday said that the person to replace Nikki Haley as the new ambassador to the UN is still under consideration.

I’ll make the decision over the next few weeks, but by the end of the year, Trump told reporters at the White House before leaving for France, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We are looking at Heather,” said Trump by referring to Heather Nauert, spokeswoman for the State Department, but also adding that “We’re looking at numerous people.”

While Trump had accepted Haley’s resignation as US ambassador to the UN last month, Haley would remain in the post until the end of the year.

Trump said last week that Nauert was “under very serious consideration” for the post.

Nauert, 48, a former anchor at Fox News Channel, has worked for the State Department as a spokeswoman since April 2017. She was named acting undersecretary for public diplomacy and public affairs earlier this year.

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Trump offers bipartisanship, but not if Democrats ramp up probes

Reporters’ questions about him calling a caravan of several thousand Central Americans marching to the US “invaders” and airing advertisements portraying illegal immigrants scaling the border barriers, brought an angry response that he believed they were invaders.

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New York, Nov 8 : After a midterm election loss of Republican majority in the House of Representatives, US President Donald Trump offered the olive branch of bipartisanship to the Democrats at a news conference that quickly deteriorated into a confrontation with the media.

There “could be a beautiful bipartisan situation,” he said on Wednesday citing infrastructure tax cuts for the middle class and healthcare as areas where they could work together.

He welcomed the offer to work across the divide by Democratic Party leader Nancy Pelosi, who is likely to reclaim speakership. She had had said, “We will have accountability and strive for bipartisanship.”

At the same time, Trump said that if the Democrats took a “warlike approach” to investigating him, he would respond in kind unleashing counter probes.

Criticised for backing out of the Paris climate change agreement, he even said, “Environment is very important to me.”

But he added that he would not do anything on climate change that would affect the US jobs or the economy.

On immigration, he said that “we need people coming to the country,” but they have to come in legally.

With companies relocating to the US and the economy expanding, the US needed more legal immigrants, he added.

But it was questions about immigration that brought the rift with the media to the fore.

Reporters’ questions about him calling a caravan of several thousand Central Americans marching to the US “invaders” and airing advertisements portraying illegal immigrants scaling the border barriers, brought an angry response that he believed they were invaders.

As a reporter persisted, Trump accused the reporter and the media of being hostile to him.

Repeating his controversial statement, he said, “When you report fake news you are enemy of the people.

Trump denied that the loss of the House of Representatives was a defeat for him and compared his performance to that of his predecessor Barack Obama.

He boasted about the Republicans picking up two Senate seats — and possibly three — while in 2010 the Democrats lost six, and said that his party lost only 27 House seats versus the 63 lost by Democrats during Obama’s midterm.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

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White House breaks tradition of Diwali celebrations amid midterms

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New York, Nov 7 : US President Donald Trump broke a 15-year tradition of holding formal Diwali celebrations at the White House this year with the festival falling amid the crucial midterm polls.

The Diwali celebration was started by former President George W. Bush in 2003 and was carried on by his successor Barack Obama.

Continuing the tradition, Trump held the celebration at the Oval Office, where he lit a traditional lamp last year.

This year, however, he is caught up in the elections, which took place on Tuesday after a whirlwind of campaigning that ended on Monday.

On Wednesday, he will be tied up dealing with the aftermath of the elections, which saw his Republican Party lose control of the House of Representatives, the lower chamber of Congress.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his Diwali greeting issued on Wednesday hailed the contributions of Indian Americans.

“As those celebrating decorate their homes with vibrant lights, I would also like to recognize the achievements of our friends in the United States observing Diwali who make important contributions to our country on a daily basis,” said in his message.

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @arulouis)

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