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Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer

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Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) is undergoing treatment for Stage IV pancreatic cancer, his office announced Sunday.

The big picture: The 79-year-old Lewis is a civil rights icon who has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and is often referred to as “the conscience of the House.” He helped lead the 1963 March on Washington and has served in the House since 1987. Lewis’ decision to come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry in September was seen as one of several significant turning points in the impeachment of President Trump.

What he’s saying:

“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life. I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.”

This month in a routine medical visit, and subsequent tests, doctors discovered Stage IV pancreatic cancer. This diagnosis has been reconfirmed.

While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.

So I have decided to do what I know to do and do what I have always done: I am going to fight it and keep fighting for the Beloved Community. We still have many bridges to cross.

To my constituents: being your representative in Congress is the honor of a lifetime. I will return to Washington in coming days to continue our work and begin my treatment plan, which will occur over the next several weeks. I may miss a few votes during this period, but with God’s grace I will be back on the front lines soon.

Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey.”

Go deeper … “It is not a day of joy”: Lewis gives emotional speech during impeachment debate

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Traded in White Hooded Sheets for White Mask; Nationalists March in Washington With Police Escort

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WASHINGTON (REUTERS) – Police escorted masked members of a white nationalist group on a march through Washington’s National Mall on Saturday that Metropolitan Police said occurred without incident or arrests.

More than 100 members of the Patriot Front, dressed in khaki pants and caps, blue jackets and white face masks, shouted “Reclaim America!” and “Life, liberty, victory!” video of the march showed.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Patriot Front as a white nationalist group that broke off from a similar organization, Vanguard America, in the aftermath of the deadly “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017.

At that rally, self-described neo Nazi James Fields drove his car into a group of counter-protesters, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison in 2018.

U.S. President Donald Trump drew criticism from his fellow Republicans as well as Democrats for saying that “both sides” were to blame for the deadly 2017 incident.

Video of Saturday’s march in Washington posted on the News2Share Facebook page showed occasional hecklers, but there appeared to be no organized counter-protest movement waiting for the Patriot Front as the group marched from the Lincoln Memorial to the U.S. Capitol grounds and later a nearby Wal-Mart parking garage.

They were accompanied by dozens of police, some on bicycles, but it was unclear whether the group had obtained a permit for the march. A spokeswoman for District of Columbia Metropolitan Police said it had no record of a permit for the march. Capitol Police and the National Park Service could not immediately be reached for comment.

The Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said that the “First Amendment demonstration was peaceful with no incidents or arrests.”

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Mitch Mayfield, a 23 soldier killed in Kenya attack identified by family

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The Pentagon has identified the U.S. soldier killed in an al-Shabab attack in Kenya on Sunday.

Army Spc. Henry “Mitch” Mayfield Jr., 23, died while supporting Operation Octave Shield, the name for the mission focused on targeting militant groups in Somalia, the Pentagon said.

He was killed during an attack that included mortars and small arms fire, breached the base’s perimeter and damaged six aircraft. There was no immediate information released regarding how Mayfield was killed during the attack.

Mayfield was assigned to 1st Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment, 164th Theater Airfield Operations Group, out of Fort Rucker, Alabama. His battalion provides expeditionary air traffic control and airfield management.

Mayfield and two DoD contractors died after the attack on Manda Bay Airfield, which is roughly 150 miles south of the Kenya-Somalia border. Two other Defense Department members were also injured in the attack, but remain in stable condition, according to U.S. Africa Command.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Specialist Henry ‘Mitch’ Mayfield’s family, friends and loved ones,” said Col. William Garber, commander of the fallen soldier’s unit. “Mayfield was a dynamic soldier who inspired those he served with to excel both on and off duty. The 164th Theater Airfield Operations Group will miss his leadership and camaraderie.”

Mayfield, a native of Evergreen Park, Illinois, was assigned to 1st Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment, 164th Theater Airfield Operations Group in Fort Rucker, Alabama. The DOD said Mayfield was in Kenya supporting Operation Octave Shield. No further details have been released. U.S. authorities are investigating this incident.

Mayfield is a native of the Chicago, Illinois suburb Hazel Crest. He enlisted into the Army in August 2017. His mother, Carmoneta, said that she last spoke with her son during the New Year’s holiday.

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Trump tells Congress to follow him on Twitter for updates on war with Iran

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After ordering the assassination of a top Iranian commander without giving notice to congressional leaders, Trump has told Congress to follow him on Twitter for updates on his acts of war against Iran.

Today’s dramatic tweet from the president follows another issued on January 4th, in which Trump threatened the destruction of 52 Iranian targets, including cultural sites. (The targeting of cultural sites is considered a war crime.)

Trump has long used Twitter to harass, insult, and demean his enemies, and as president, he has used the platform to issue surprise orders, announcements, and even threats against other nations like North Korea. In 2018, Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by tweet. More generally, federal agencies have struggled to reckon with the president’s use of Twitter during his administration, often wondering whether his mercurial pronouncements should be handled as official government policy.

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