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Trump says he’s canceling Afghanistan peace talks, secret meeting with Taliban leaders

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President Donald Trump said Saturday he’s calling off “peace negotiations” with Taliban leadership after a U.S. service member was killed in a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Trump tweeted that he was scheduled to hold a secret meeting with Taliban leadership and, separately, the president of Afghanistan, Sunday at Camp David. The United States has been working on a deal to pull troops out of the country that harbored 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden and, in the process, end the nation’s longest war.

The meeting at Camp David would have come just days before the 18th anniversary of 9/11.

“I immediately cancelled the meeting and called off peace negotiations,” Trump tweeted. “What kind of people would kill so many in order to seemingly strengthen their bargaining position?”

The attack in Kabul on Thursday, for which the Taliban took credit, killed 12 and injured 42.

“If they cannot agree to a ceasefire during these very important peace talks, and would even kill 12 innocent people, then they probably don’t have the power to negotiate a meaningful agreement anyway,” Trump tweeted.

The State Department was not immediately available for comment.

The president’s tweets came as the U.S. and the Taliban were poised to clinch an unprecedented agreement that would open the door to a phased withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and launch peace talks between the militants and the Kabul government.

The administration has signaled over the past week that an agreement is imminent, and officials had been planning how to publicly unveil the deal. U.S. special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad has said that the two sides had reached an agreement “in principle” and that it would be up to Trump to approve it.

Before the president’s surprising comments, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had been scheduled to appear on political talk shows Sunday, and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was expected to travel to Washington in the next few days.

The Taliban controls or heavily influences about half the country, and some U.S. officials fear it could invade the other regions.



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Amid mounting pressure, Buttigieg calls on McKinsey consulting firm to release his past client list

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Pete Buttigieg on Friday called on McKinsey & Company, the international consulting firm where he worked for nearly three years, to release his list of clients at the company.

Buttigieg’s request for his former employer to release the list comes as pressure mounts on the 2020 Democratic candidate to be more transparent about his years at McKinsey, amid news stories about the consulting firm’s work with controversial clients like U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — a federal agency that handles immigration enforcement and deportations.

In an interview with New Hampshire Public Radio on Friday, Buttigieg said he felt “that McKinsey should release the client list of the clients that I served.”

“It’s something they can do,” said the South Bend mayor, who worked at McKinsey from 2007-2010. Buttigeig explained that he’d signed a nondisclosure agreement at the firm under which “you promise to keep your client information confidential.”

“But right now I am calling on McKinsey to release that information. Maybe they’re not used to doing that, but they’re not used to having somebody who used to work there being seriously considered for the American presidency,” Buttigieg said. “This information should come up and I’m happy to speak to it when it does.”.

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Buttigieg’s latest comments came one day after The New York Times published an editorial calling on him to reveal more information about his time at McKinsey, including who his clients there were — either by way of having the company release him from his nondisclosure agreement, or by agreeing to a “more permissive” arrangement.

Earlier in the week, The Times reported on how McKinsey had advised the Trump administration on how to carry out its crackdown on immigrants, including providing guidance on “detention savings opportunities” that would help the agency save money by housing detainees in cheaper ways.

When asked by a reporter about Buttigieg’s work at McKinsey, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., one of Buttigieg’s main challengers for the Democratic nomination, was asked about the mayor’s involvement with McKinsey at an event Thursday night, chose to call out her rival for his private fundraising events, not specifically his time at the consulting company.

“I think that voters want to know about possible conflicts of interests,” she said. “It is even more important that the candidates expose possible conflicts of interests right now.”

In addition, four immigration advocacy groups have called on Buttigieg to return campaign contributions made by McKinsey employees.

Buttigieg, for his part, told New Hampshire Public Radio Friday that the reports of McKinsey’s dealings with ICE were “disgusting” and evidence of the “amoral turn of mind that increasingly dominates corporate America.”

Later Friday, during a discussion with New Hampshire voters, Buttigieg responded to a question about his time with McKinsey by saying that, “What I did at McKinsey was consulted for clients and my specialties including grocery pricing, and part of it is publicly available because I worked on a project to fight climate change that involved energy efficiency.”

In an interview with NBC News a day earlier, Buttigieg said he had no regrets about his time at McKinsey.

He responded “no,” when asked if he had regrets about representing any of his clients, about whether he’d ever represented a foreign government, and about whether he’d ever represented a pharmaceutical company.

He said his job at the firm “mostly consisted of preparing spreadsheets and PowerPoints.”

NBC News has reached out to McKinsey directly about Buttigieg’s work there.

Amanda Golden contributed.



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Brexit Party: Election candidate run off the road after death threats from far-left

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A BREXIT Party candidate who was sent sick death threats from far left activists was run off the road while campaigning in Doncaster.

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Brexit latest: Brussels DISTANCES itself from Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal

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BRUSSELS has repeatedly distanced itself from Boris Johnson’s Brexit trade talks timetable in fresh signs Britain could opt for a no deal.

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