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Donald Trump ‘Politicises’ Thanksgiving Call With Troops

"For having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country," Trump said

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US President Donald Trump struck a political tone during a Thanksgiving call with American service members stationed around the world as he steered the conversation toward controversial political topics, the media reported.

Speaking with a US general in Afghanistan, Trump on Thursday likened the fight against terrorists to his efforts to prevent a group of migrants from illegally entering the US, and he assailed federal judges who have ruled against his administration, reports CNN.

The President also pressed the commanding officer of a Coast Guard ship in Bahrain on trade before touting his trade policies and arguing that “every nation in the world is taking advantage of us”.

US Presidents have traditionally called troops stationed abroad during the holidays to boost morale and remind the country of their service.

After the call wrapped, Trump entertained more than two dozen questions from reporters and once again discredited a CIA assessment about the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Trump also drew on US men and women in uniform to justify his controversial deployment of nearly 6,000 US troops to the southern border.

Without evidence, he painted Air Force Gen. David Lyons as a proponent of his hardline immigration policies after Lyons said US troops are fighting in Afghanistan to prevent terrorists from reaching “our shores again”.

The topic brought Trump to another familiar airing of grievances, as he complained over the phone that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has “become a big thorn in our side”.

“It’s a terrible thing when judges take over your protective services, when they tell you how to protect your border. It’s a disgrace,” Trump said.

Trump also defended his daughter, Ivanka, after it emerged earlier this week that she had used a private email account to discuss or relay official White House business.

He called her use of personal email — which appears to have violated federal records laws — “very innocent”.

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At one point, Donald Trump was asked what he was most thankful for on this Thanksgiving, CNN said.

“For having a great family and for having made a tremendous difference in this country,” Trump said.

“I’ve made a tremendous difference in the country. This country is so much stronger now than it was when I took office that you wouldn’t believe it.” (IANS)

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Googling ‘idiot’ Bringing up Donald Trump Pictures Drags Google in Trouble

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech

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Sundar Pichai
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing "examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices" on Capitol Hill in Washington. VOA

US Democratic Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, in an effort to understand how Google search algorithms work, asked its CEO Sundar Pichai why so many pictures of President Donald Trump appear when she does a Google search for “idiot”.

“Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that,” the California Democrat told Pichai during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday here.

“How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?” Lofgren asked Pichai, according to the Washington Post.

The Google CEO — who was at the hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company’s widely used search engine — said the results were based on billions of keywords ranked according to over 200 factors such as relevance, popularity, how others were using the search term, to determine how to best match a query with results.

“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user?” Lofgren asked. “It’s basically a compilation of what users are generating.”

Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.

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Why googling ‘idiot’ brings up Trump photos, Congresswoman asks Pichai. VOA

In August, Trump said in a tweet that a Google search for “Trump News” showed only reports from “Fake News Media.” He concluded it was “rigged” against him so “almost all stories and news was bad.”

House Republicans said they wanted to hold the hearing — entitled “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices” — to make sure the search giant was being impartial.

“Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honour freedom of speech and champion open dialogue,” Republican House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia said in a statement before the hearing.

The House committee had also questioned YouTube, Twitter and Facebook executives at separate hearings on bias in big tech.

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In response to Republicans who complained about Google searches, Democratic Representative Ted Lieu said: “If you want positive search results, do positive things. If you don’t want negative search results, don’t do negative things.”

“And to some of my colleagues across the aisle, if you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results, don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter, consider blaming yourself.” (IANS)