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July 24, 2017

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US presidential aide Robert Strauss dies at 95

WASHINGTON--Robert Strauss, a Washington insider and lobbyist who led the Democratic Party and advised presidents, died Wednesday. He was 95.

His law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, grieved the loss of a "colleague, mentor and friend."

"To U.S. leaders, he was a trusted counselor and an honest broker. And to those across the aisle or the table, he was a man of integrity who always sought common ground," it added.

"His wisdom, judgment and foresight were matched only by his sense of humanity, and we are as diminished by his loss as we were enriched by his life."

President Ronald Reagan had sought Strauss's advice when his administration got caught up in the Iran-Contra affair that saw senior administration officials secretly carry out arms sales to Iran during an arms embargo and funnel proceeds to buy weapons for U.S.-backed rebels in Nicaragua.

A "deeply saddened" Nancy Reagan recalled that Strauss was one of the first people she and the late Republican president had met when they first arrived in Washington more than three decades ago.

"People ask me how I could be acquainted with him since he was such a staunch Democrat," Reagan recalled in a statement.

"My answer was always quick and firm — it didn't matter to him what political party I belonged to and it certainly didn't matter to me which political convention he attended."

She said Strauss "served this country with great distinction. He will leave a huge void in our nation's capital and I will miss him dearly."

In 1991, president George H.W. Bush, also a Republican, picked the Democratic confidant to serve as U.S. ambassador to the Soviet Union as the communist country crumbled.

Following the collapse of the USSR that year, Strauss served as U.S. ambassador to Russia.

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