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Inside Trump (Nov 20th, 2017)

President Trump will add North Korea to the list of countries that sponsor terrorism, in the latest move designed to isolate the regime. The decision, which the President announced on Monday and will formalize on Tuesday, will apparently impose the "highest level" of sanctions on North Korea in history. North Korea had previously appeared on the list of states that sponsor terrorism, but was removed in 2008 as part of ongoing nuclear talks. Though the President recently returned from visiting five Asian countries, this decision had apparently already been in place before his departure. National Security Adviser HR McMaster indicated to reporters that the assassination of Kim Jong-un's half brother at a Malaysian airport in May was a factor in the decision. Other nations appearing on the list include Iran, Sudan and Syria. – THEHILL

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President Trump responded to the death of an on-duty Border Patrol agent on Saturday with a renewed call to build his proposed Mexican border wall. Agent Rogelio Martinez and his partner were responding to a call about activity near the 10 freeway in Van Horn, Texas, when they were both injured. Martinez eventually died while his as-yet-unidentified partner remains in the hospital in serious condition. Though a Customs and Border Protection spokesperson confirmed that the two men had not been shot, the specific nature of the incident and their resulting injuries has not been publicly revealed. The vice president of the National Border Patrol Council's labor union claimed that the agents were attacked with rocks. On Sunday night, President Trump tweeted that "we will seek out and bring to justice those responsible" and that "we will, and must, build the Wall." The FBI in El Paso, Texas, is investigating the incident currently. – TRIBUNE

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The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) this week is expected to begin the process of rolling back net neutrality regulations established during the Obama administration. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has vowed to take "a weed whacker" to the Obama-era rules, intended to block internet service providers (ISPs) from altering the speeds with which consumers can access certain websites and internet applications. Supporters of net neutrality claim that it enables a free and open internet to prosper, whereas opponents claim that loosening the rules allow ISPs "more flexibility" to improve the service on consumers' "favored content." New regulations could be announced as early as Wednesday, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Pai also intends to hold a vote that would repeal a 2015 order that regulates "web traffic throttling," potentially during the FCC's monthly meeting on December 14. Last week, the FCC controversially voted to loosen regulations limiting individual companies from owning multiple broadcast and print media resources within a single market. – THEWEEK

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According to ABC News, the team of special counsel Robert Mueller has ordered the Justice Department (DOJ) to turn over a number of documents relating to the President's firing of former FBI Director James Comey and the decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the investigation. The same report, based on an unnamed source who claims to have been informed about the special counsel's requests, claims that the documents pertain to the charge that the Trump administration attempted to block a federal inquiry into its own connections with the Russian government. They are the first documents requested by the special counsel's office from the Justice Department specifically. The DOJ oversees Mueller's own investigation. Sessions has informed Congress that he would be willing to meet with Mueller, and wants him "to complete his investigation professionally." According to a Washington Post report on Monday, Trump's aides are personally divided on their assessments of how the probe is proceeding, and how much danger the President may face from Mueller's investigation. – ABCNEWS

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President Trump publicly feuded with a number of sports figures on Monday, including media personality LaVar Ball and Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch. LaVar Ball is the father of LiAngelo Ball, one of three UCLA basketball players arrested in China for shoplifting, who was returned to the US after Trump apparently raised the issue with Chinese leader Xi Jinping. After the President publicly requested, and received, a thank you from the UCLA players, the elder Ball told ESPN that he did not believe Trump had been instrumental in ensuring his son's release. "What was he over there for?," Ball asked. "Everyone wants to make it seem like he helped me out." Trump shot back at Ball on Twitter, saying that he "is unaccepting of what I did for his son" and feels that "shoplifting is no big deal," adding "I should have left them in jail!" In a separate set of tweets, Trump also took issue with Lynch's decision to sit during the US national anthem but stand for the Mexican national anthem while playing a Sunday game against the New England Patriots in Mexico City. On Monday, Trump tweeted that he thought Lynch showed "great disrespect!" and called on the NFL to "suspend him for remainder of season." – CNN

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A report in BuzzFeedNews claims that, at a dinner with Oracle CEO Safra Catz in July, National Security Adviser HR McMaster mocked and disparaged President Trump's intelligence. Five unnamed sources contributed to the report, which claims that McMaster "bluntly trashed his boss," calling him an "idiot" and "a dope," and saying he had the intelligence of a "kindergartner." A sixth source, who was not present at the dinner, nonetheless claims to have heard McMaster making similar comments on another occasion. Both the Trump administration and representatives of Oracle denied the comments, and a spokesperson for Catz specifically confirmed that "none of the statements attributed to General McMaster were said." In October, a number of outlets reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had called Trump a "moron" during a July meeting at the Pentagon. – BUZZFEED

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has told reporters that she regrets relating an anecdote about President Trump mistaking her for the wife of Canada's Justin Trudeau. On Sunday, a friend of Ardern's, comedian Tom Sainsbury, told a local radio station the story, which apparently took place at the Apec summit in Vietnam earlier this month. Ardern partially denied the story on Monday in a TV interview, saying that she had believed Trump had correctly identified her, but heard from other onlookers that he seemed confused about her identity. She conceded to have related a "shortened version" of the events to Sainsbury, which then spiraled out of control, and offered that "I should have never recounted the story" to begin with. Ardern took office in October; the Asian trip was her first international excursion as New Zealand's leader. Her meeting with Trump had made headlines at the time for a different reason; after Trump said that Ardern "caused a lot of upset in her country," she shot back "no one marched when I was elected." – BBC

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