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President Trump on Thursday night issued a memo giving Attorney General William Barr the authority to declassify any documents related to surveillance of the Trump campaign in 2016.

Trump also ordered the intelligence community to cooperate with Barr. The memo read: “The heads of elements of the intelligence community… and the heads of each department or agency that includes an element of the intelligence community shall promptly provide such assistance and information as the Attorney General may request in connection with that review.”

“Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election,” Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

“The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s continued disputes are theater aimed at their respective Republican and Democratic voter bases, according to Byron York.

York claimed Thursday on “Special Report” Trump and Pelosi are “playing for their bases” and motivated by trying to keep their voters happy.

“I think a lot of the back-and-forth between them actually is theater,” he said. “The Democratic base wants to see Nancy Pelosi stand up to President Trump, and the Republican base wants to see President Trump stand up to Nancy Pelosi.”

TRUMP GOES AFTER PELOSI, HAS WHITE HOUSE OFFICIALS CONFIRM HE WAS CALM AT MEETING

Pelosi, D-Calif., ripped Trump earlier Thursday, saying she was “praying for” him and suggested his family stage an “intervention.”

Her comments came after Trump cut short a White House meeting on infrastructure, with the president demanding Democrats halt their “phony investigations” before moving forward.

However, despite saying it is still largely theater at present, York said serious political ramifications could be on the table if the dispute continues to fester.

“Somebody is going to have to give,” the Washington Examiner political correspondent said.

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“I think there are going to be Democrats who said ‘if we are going to be serious about this, we have to have an impeachment inquiry’,” York said.

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Do some media hosts owe Americans an explanation for hosting now disgraced anti-Trump attorney Michael Avenatti?

Greg Gutfeld made that argument Thursday on “The Five,” calling out networks and shows who lauded Avenatti and saying that the lawyer explored their “weakness” for attacking the president.

“It is pathetic how quiet they are. [MSNBC host] Stephanie Ruhle should address — she called him brother. Isn’t that sweet? They embrace him. You know why? He showed everyone how easy it is to commandeer the media and exploit their weaknesses and what were their weaknesses?” Gutfeld said.

MICHAEL AVENATTI HIRES LAWYER TO DEFEND HIM IN FEDERAL FRAUD CASE IN CALIFORNIA

Avenatti is facing new criminal charges and is accused of identity theft and fraud against his onetime client, adult film star Stormy Daniels, who alleged she had a sexual relationship with Donald Trump years before he took office as president.

Avenatti allegedly stole $300,000 from Daniels’ book deal advance, which prosecutors claim he used to “maintain his extravagant lifestyle, including to pay for, among other things, a monthly car payment on a Ferrari.” The disgraced attorney already faces dozens of other criminal charges and is looking at the possibility of more than 300 years in federal prison.

The Greg Gutlfeld Show” host continued to criticize the networks for hosting Avenatti, saying they used him to do their “dirty work.”

“He was there do MSNBC’s and CNN’s dirty work.  He jumped on the horse and rode it to CNN’s guest heap,” Gutfeld charged. “But they should — they have a responsibility to address the mistakes. I have done that when I make a mistake.”

However, co-host Juan Williams defended the networks for having Stormy Daniels’ lawyer on air during the coverage of that story, before adding they had no idea what Avenatti was doing.

Gutfeld used Williams’ point to give credit to Fox News host Tucker Carlson.

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“He got vindicated,” Gutfeld said. “So, I think Tucker deserves a pat on the back and everybody at CNN and MSNBC they should come forward and say what they did wrong.”

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wuhlfsohn contributed to this report.

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Numerous doctored video clips of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif, are spreading on social media, deceptively portraying her as if she were intoxicated.

A three-minute clip of Pelosi speaking event with the Center for American Progress from Wednesday was uploaded on Facebook by a group called “Politics WatchDog” was viewed over 1.8 million times with nearly 40,000 shares. The video shows her frequently slurring her words and her voice sounding garbled. Copies of the clip had also been found on Twitter and YouTube, which the latter had removed.

According to a report from The Washington Post, experts believed the original video was slowed down to 75 percent from the original speed and that her pitch was also manipulated in order to present her under the influence.

Computer science and digital forensics expert Berkeley Hany Farid said there was “no question” the video had been tampered with.

PELOSI HITS BACK AT TRUMP: I’LL WORK WITH HIM WHEN HE ‘STARTS ACTING MORE PRESIDENTIAL’

“It is striking that such a simple manipulation can be so effective and believable to some,” he told the Washington Post.

House Speaker Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News for comment.

During that event, Pelosi had doubled down on her claim that President Trump had “engaged in a cover-up.”

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“The fact is, in plain sight, in the public domain,” Pelosi said. “This president is obstructing justice and he’s engaged in a cover-up. And that could be an impeachable offense.”

Both Speaker Pelosi and President Trump have exchanged brutal insults at each other on Thursday. Pelosi expressed that she was “concerned” about the president’s “well-being.” Trump shot back, calling her a “mess” and claimed she was “disintegrating.”

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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., knocked President Trump’s behavior, suggesting he wasn’t “presidential” when he called her “Crazy Nancy” during a news conference on Thursday.

“When the ‘extremely stable genius’ starts acting more presidential, I’ll be happy to work with him on infrastructure, trade and other issues,” she tweeted in response to a quote from Trump.

Trump, during his news conference on Thursday, claimed that Pelosi had “lost it.” “She’s not the same person. She’s lost it.… She is a mess,” he said.

TRUMP CALLS OUT PELOSI FOR ACCUSING HIM OF A ‘COVER-UP’ DURING INFRASTRUCTURE MEETING

Trump, Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., met on Wednesday but the meeting was cut short. Trump left the meeting, declaring that he wouldn’t work with Democrats on infrastructure until they dropped investigations into his administration.

At her weekly news conference on Thursday, Pelosi claimed that Trump had a “temper tantrum” and suggested his associates stage an “intervention.” Trump tried to set the record straight on Thursday by asking his advisors to testify to his “calm” demeanor during the meeting.

Trump has refused to comply with congressional subpoenas while Democrats have continued pressing for more information following Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

KELLYANNE CONWAY, NANCY PELOSI CLASH AFTER TRUMP MEETING WITH DEMOCRATS WAS CUT SHORT

On Twitter, the president defended himself as “extremely calm” and blasted Democrats for continuing to pursue the Russia investigation.

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“When the Democrats in Congress refinish, for the 5th time, their Fake work on their very disappointing Mueller Report finding, they will have the time to get the REAL work of the people done. Move quickly!” he exclaimed.

Fox News’ Frank Miles and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Top Democrats are demanding further probes of President Trump and attacking him because they cannot get past the Russia investigation’s conclusion, Rush Limbaugh said.

The conservative radio host made those claims Thursday on his syndicated program, “The Rush Limbaugh Show.”

Limbaugh claimed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and her fellow Democratic leaders have been “at their wits’ end.”

PELOSI URGES TRUMP AIDES, FAMILY TO STAGE AN INTERVENTION FOR THE ‘GOOD OF THE COUNTRY

“For two years, or two and a half – even the time prior to Trump’s inauguration – they have lived, they have breathed every day the belief that Trump was toast,” Limbaugh claimed.

“This is all about the fact that they got nothing on collusion with Russia. That’s what is driving all of this: their inability to accept that they failed [and] their inability to accept there’s nothing there.”

He claimed Pelosi’s latest attempt to tarnish Trump was her claim of a “cover-up.”

“A cover-up of something that he didn’t do,” he added. “What in the hell is Trump supposed to have covered up?”

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During her weekly press briefing Thursday, Pelosi claimed Trump “pounded the table [and] walked out the door” during their curtailed Wednesday White House meeting.

“Another temper tantrum, again,” she said. “I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family, the administration, and his staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”

Limbaugh said Democrats have, “launched everything they know to launch” at the president but have not been successful.

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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John Walker Lindh, dubbed the “American Taliban,” will certainly go back to terrorism after his release from prison on Thursday, retired Navy Seal Rob O’Neill said.

O’Neill, known for participating in the raid that killed former Al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, told Fox News that viewers could “mark [his] words” on the claim that Lindh would “get back into Jihad.”

“Now he’s going to Northern Virginia where there are a lot of bad Imams, bad apples,” O’Neill said while appearing on “The Daily Briefing.”

He also called Lindh a “smart guy” who happened to believe in a particular ideology. Lindh, he indicated, wouldn’t change his opinions because the U.S. treated him well.

RELEASE OF ‘AMERICAN TALIBAN’ JOHN WALKER LINDH FROM PRISON IS UNCONSCIONABLE, SAYS POMPEO

“They believe in the caliphate here and then they believe in paradise. And that’s where they’re all going,” he said of terrorists’ beliefs.

Lindh was released from prison after serving 17 years for joining and supporting the Taliban. Before the Sept. 11 attacks, he traveled to Afghanistan as a convert to Islam.

O’Neill told Fox News host Dana Perino that the nation had yet to get tough enough in cracking down on radicalization of young people.

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“We’re too light on it and we want to make sure that it’s a peaceful religion,” he said, referring to perceptions of Islam. “For the most part, it is a peaceful religion but there is definitely a radicalized part … They’re not cracking down on it. They’re doing this in the prisons and that radical ideology is in it for the long haul.”

According to O’Neill, victory over terrorism would come with the help of peaceful Muslims, not just militarily action.

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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — As the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s landing approaches next year, there is a growing push to change the Massachusetts state flag because of its depiction of a Native American.

At least 30 municipalities have endorsed a state bill to remove and replace the state’s flag and motto. Cambridge, the fifth largest city in the state, went even further — earlier this month city council members labeled it “offensive” and approved a proposal to remove the state flag from council chambers.

“I found out that there is a lot of imagery on the state flag that I didn’t actually know existed,” said Massachusetts State Rep. Nika Elugardo, who is co-sponsoring the state resolution to replace the flag.

The flag features a Native American holding a bow and arrow. Just overhead is a disembodied arm with a sword. Surrounding the seal is the phrase “Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem,” which roughly translates from Latin to, “By the sword we seek peace, but peace only under liberty.”

Jean-Luc Pierite of the North American Indian Center of Boston said for indigenous people, the imagery harkens back to images of a painful past.

“Our community members are definitely aware of the imagery,” Pierite said in an interview last month. “It’s read a certain way among Native Americans than it would be for the general population.”

ARCHAEOLOGISTS DISCOVER EVIDENCE OF ORIGINAL 1620 PLYMOUTH SETTLEMENT

The Native figure on the seal is said to represent the Wampanoag tribe leader Ousamequin, who signed the first treaty between the tribe and the pilgrims in 1621, part of what is celebrated on the Thanksgiving holiday.

Most objections aren’t with Ousamequin, but the arm and sword overhead. They are said to belong to Myles Standish, an English military officer who helped establish and secure the Plymouth colony.

The Massachusetts state flag on display outside of the State House.

The Massachusetts state flag on display outside of the State House. (ROB DIRIENZO / Fox News)

“He represents the death of native people,” Hartman Deetz, a member of the Wampanoag tribe said in an interview with WGBH. “He represents the threat of the sword, the threat of arms to enforce the will and the place of colonists here to be able to take from us our land and our home.”

Standish, Deetz said, terrorized the state’s natives after luring a man into his home for a trade deal and then killing him.

That’s why Rep. Elugardo wants it gone.

“For many people across the Commonwealth and beyond in this region, that sword represents that story,” Elugardo said. “Really, it is part of our story and part of our history, but not to be celebrated, to be remembered and to honor the dead.”

But the push is facing some backlash from people who feel it’s political correctness gone too far.

“They keep changing things because people are uncomfortable,” said Karen Penrose, who works in Cambridge. “People are always uncomfortable with something. You can’t keep changing the world because of what people are thinking all the time.”

Some also questioned the timing of the proposal.

“Why? I don’t see anything wrong with (the flag) and from my office, I see it every day. I think they need to leave things alone and find something else better to do, something constructive to do. There are better things that need to be done. After all these years, why do that now?” Joyce Stanton, a state employee, told the Boston Herald.

OKLAHOMA MERGES COLUMBUS DAY WITH NATIVE AMERICAN DAY

Elugardo’s resolution in its current form would call for a commission to be formed to come up with a new flag and motto.

“It will bring Indigenous communities and many others across the commonwealth to determine what type of flag and seal would really best represent the values of Massachusetts that we all cherish and share,” Elugardo said.

The seal and motto are featured on Massachusetts State Police cars.

The seal and motto are featured on Massachusetts State Police cars. (ROB DIRIENZO / Fox News)

The resolution comes following similar proposals in Mississippi and Arkansas to remove Confederate imagery from their flags.

The bill is awaiting a hearing before it can move forward in the Massachusetts state legislature.

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“They’re the true natives of this country,” said resident Ron Williams. “And they need to do something that doesn’t feel like they’re being disrespected as a nation.”

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Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., continued criticizing President Trump on Thursday, claiming that he engaged in both “inherently corrupt” actions as well as actions that were corrupt because of his intent.

“Some of the president’s actions were inherently corrupt. Other actions were corrupt — and therefore impeachable — because the president took them to serve his own interests,” Amash tweeted.

His comments expanded on tweets from Saturday in which the Michigan congressman accused Trump of engaging in “impeachable conduct.” Those comments provoked widespread criticism from Republicans like the president, who called him a “total lightweight.”

Amash argued on Thursday that Trump committed a slew of acts that showed him trying to impede the Russia investigation.

Amash also indicated that Trump engaged in criminal activities, including the campaign finance violation committed by his former attorney Michael Cohen.

His comments followed Democratic furor over former White House counsel Don McGahn’s refusal to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Trump’s Justice Department has asserted executive privilege in refusing to comply with Democrats’ subpoenas — sparking outrage from Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., accused the head of that department — Attorney General William Barr — of shirking his responsibilities in the way that he defended Trump.

“I hesitate to call him the attorney general, he’s really more the personal attorney for the president,”  Schiff said during an event on Wednesday. He also claimed that Trump didn’t have an absolute right to fire his personnel.

“The fact that the president has the right to fire an FBI director doesn’t mean that he has the right to fire one for an improper reason any more than an employer who has an at-will employee can fire them because they reject their sexual advances,” he said in response to a controversial memo that Barr issued before his confirmation.

Like Schiff, Amash said on Thursday that Trump’s ability to fire people was limited. “The president has authority to fire federal officials, direct his subordinates, and grant pardons, but he cannot do so for corrupt purposes,” Amash tweeted.

“[O]therwise, he would always be allowed to shut down any investigation into himself or his associates, which would put him above the law.”

In a similar vein, Amash reiterated his suggestion that Trump violated the public’s trust by misusing his authority.

“The president has an obligation not to violate the public trust, including using official powers for corrupt purposes,” he tweeted.

In one of his Saturday tweets, Amash argued that violating public trust was within the scope of “high crimes and misdemeanors” — the constitutional language surrounding impeachment.

While Amash pushed impeachment, Democratic leadership seemed to hesitate and struggle with its other members who forcefully pushed for that course of action.

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The Pentagon on Thursday presented proposals to the White House at a meeting on sending military reinforcements to the Middle East to beef up defenses against Iran amid heightened tensions in the region, Fox News has learned.

Meanwhile, in comments aired by Iranian state-run media, Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, declared that the U.S. was an “arrogant and pharaonic threat” that invited “all Iranians to enter the fields of jihad, full alert, and the mobilization of more power.”

“Our hands are on the trigger and we are firmly prepared to annihilate any aggressor and greedy eyes against the Islamic Iran,” Baqueri added.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters the Defense Department has not yet determined how many troops might be sent to reinforce the existing U.S. military presence in the region.

He disputed reports that the Pentagon was proposing to send up to 10,000 more troops. He said reports citing specific figures were “not correct,” but he would not say whether the number under consideration was higher or lower.

DEMS ‘DEAD WRONG’ TO DOWNPLAY IRAN INTEL, LAWMAKER SAYS

“There is no 10,000 and there is no 5,000. That’s not accurate,” Shanahan said, explaining that those figures had not been proposed.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, left, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speak to members of the media after a classified briefing for members of Congress on Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, left, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speak to members of the media after a classified briefing for members of Congress on Iran, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

“What we’re focused on right now is, do we have the right force protection in the Middle East,” he added, referring to defensive forces. “It may involve sending additional troops.”

He said he was in regular contact with Marine Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, the Central Command chief, about how to shape the U.S. force presence in the Mideast with potential Iranian threats in mind.

Asked whether the U.S. was provoking conflict with Iran, Shanahan countered that the Pentagon was focused on deterring Iran.

“Well, my response is I think they have the same sensitivity as all of us, and that is we want to avoid the risk of Iranian miscalculation,” Shanahan said.  “I think those are fair comments. Our job is deterrence. This is not about war. We have a mission there in the Middle East.”

Some of these additional forces could include more warships to the region with Marines, more Patriot missile batteries, U.S. Army brigades (consisting of roughly 4,000 troops each), or a cruise-missile submarine such as USS Florida, which can hold more than150 Tomahawk cruise missiles.

“Our hands are on the trigger and we are firmly prepared to annihilate any aggressor and greedy eyes against the Islamic Iran.”

— Iranian Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri

The USS Florida was last seen in Souda Bay, Greece two months ago at a naval weapons base where bombs and missiles are stored. In 2011, USS Florida fired over 90 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Libya.

It’s not clear whether the White House would approve sending all of the troops proposed by the Pentagon, whatever the number. Officials said the proposed troop reinforcements are not a response to any new threat from Iran but are aimed at strengthening security for the U.S. forces already in the region. They said the troops would be defensive forces, and the discussions include additional Patriot missile batteries, more ships and increased efforts to monitor Iran.

WATCH: TRUMP TALKS RISING TENSIONS WITH IRAN

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the plans have not been formally announced.

Thursday’s meeting comes as tensions with Iran continue to simmer. Any move to deploy more forces to the Middle East would signal a shift for President Trump, who has repeatedly emphasized the need to reduce America’s troop presence in the region.

In this June 3, 2011, file photo, the Pentagon is seen from air from Air Force One. Nearly two dozen progressive groups are launching a new push to persuade Democratic presidential candidates to support dramatic spending cuts at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

In this June 3, 2011, file photo, the Pentagon is seen from air from Air Force One. Nearly two dozen progressive groups are launching a new push to persuade Democratic presidential candidates to support dramatic spending cuts at the Pentagon. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday Trump was evaluating the force posture in the region “every day.”

“We’re evaluating the risks, making sure that we have it right,” he told “Fox and Friends.”

U.S. officials have provided few details about possible Iranian threats but indicated they initially involved missiles loaded onto small Iranian boats. This week officials said the missiles have been taken off the boats near Iran’s shore, but other maritime threats continue.

Sending more troops could also raise questions on Capitol Hill. During back-to-back closed briefings for the House and Senate on Tuesday, defense leaders told congressional officials the U.S. doesn’t want to go to war with Iran and wants to de-escalate the situation.

Pompeo and Shanahan told lawmakers the U.S. is seeking to deter, not provoke, Iran, even while accusing Tehran of threatening U.S. interests in the Mideast. Shanahan told reporters, “Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation.”

Many in Congress are skeptical of the administration’s approach to Iran, questioning whether it is responding to significant new Iranian threats or escalating a situation that could lead to war.

WATCH: ANTI-TRUMP FORMER CIA DIRECTOR BRENNAN ATTENDS IRAN BRIEFING

The Trump administration has evacuated nonessential personnel from Iraq, amid unspecified threats the administration said are linked to Iranian-backed militias in the country.

n this Jan. 9, 2019, file photo, released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at a meeting in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)

n this Jan. 9, 2019, file photo, released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks at a meeting in Tehran, Iran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)

On Sunday, a rocket was fired into Baghdad’s heavily fortified Green Zone, landing less than a mile from the sprawling U.S. Embassy. There were no injuries and no group claimed responsibility, but the rocket was believed to have been fired from east Baghdad — which is home to Iran-backed Shiite militias.

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Some Democrats say Trump is responsible for drawing Iran’s ire. Last year he abruptly pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal, negotiated during the Obama administration to prevent Iran from nuclear weapons production, without crafting a coherent strategy for how to combat other Iranian behavior like supporting extremist organizations.

He also has reimposed punishing sanctions that have crippled Tehran’s economy, and designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization in April.

“I have yet to see any exhibited strategy,” said Democrat Rep. Abigail Spanberger of Virginia, a former CIA officer. She said she finds many of the administration’s recent statements on Iran to be “deeply troubling.”

On Wednesday, Iran’s supreme leader publicly chastised the country’s moderate president and foreign minister, saying he disagreed with the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal they had negotiated with world powers.

The extraordinary comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the first time he’s criticized both politicians by name, came a year after Washington’s withdrawal from the accord.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: Fox News Politics


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