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Cruz and Kasich won’t actually explain why they wouldn’t punish women for abortion like Trump

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This story has been updated.

The other Republican campaigns are responding to Donald Trump’s statement that after banning abortion, there should be “some form of punishment” for women who get them. But while his GOP rivals all oppose the idea, none of them are actually offering a fully thought-out reason for why not.

“No, absolutely not,” John Kasich told Chuck Todd on MSNBC. “And I mean, I do have exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. But of course women shouldn’t be punished. Look, you know, I think probably Donald Trump will figure out a way to say that he didn’t say it, or he was misquoted, or whatever. But I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s an appropriate response, and it’s a difficult enough situation to try to punish somebody.”

“Let me ask you this,” Todd responded. “How do you enforce a ban on abortion?”

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“Well, look, I think it’s rape, incest, life of the mother, and you build some restrictions around it,” Kasich said. “But I think you have to be very careful in the way you do it. We’re a long way from there.”

Ted Cruz has not yet responded publicly. But the Cruz campaign’s rapid response director, Brian Phillips, duly responded in a rapid fashion — by tweeting out that Trump is simply a fraud on the issue. Here are the highlights of his tweets — which literally begin by telling people not to think too much about the idea:

Cruz campaign chairman Chad Sweet then appeared on CNN, to explain the candidate’s position.

“Sen. Cruz shares the views of the pro-life movement, which for years has focused on punishing those who perform the abortions — not the women who get them,” Sweet declared. “And unfortunately, this has been another example of Donald Trump misstepping. Why? Because he’s a charlatan. This is a man who for the vast majority of his life didn’t just embrace abortion — he embraced extreme forms of abortion, all the way to partial-birth abortion.”

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UPDATE, 6:30 p.m. ET: The Cruz campaign released a statement in the evening from the candidate himself, voicing his disagreement with Trump’s comment.

“Once again Donald Trump has demonstrated that he hasn’t seriously thought through the issues, and he’ll say anything just to get attention,” Cruz said. “On the important issue of the sanctity of life, what’s far too often neglected is that being pro-life is not simply about the unborn child; it’s also about the mother — and creating a culture that respects her and embraces life. Of course we shouldn’t be talking about punishing women; we should affirm their dignity and the incredible gift they have to bring life into the world.”

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CNN

If Trump really believed he was falsely accused ‘that is not a corrupt motive’ for removing the special counsel: Bill Barr

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Attorney General William Barr told Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) that if President Donald Trump really and truly thought he was being falsely accused of collaborating with Russia to steal the 2016 presidential election, that it was "not a corrupt motive" for firing Robert Mueller, a stunning statement from the nation's highest law enforcement officer.

"As a matter of law, I think the department's position would be that the president can direct the termination or the replacement of a special counsel," said Barr. "And as a matter of law, the obstruction statute does not reach that conduct."

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2020 Election

Trump ‘shirking his duty to protect the country’ by ignoring Russia election threat: Ex-CIA agent

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Ex-CIA agent Evan McMullin told CNN on Wednesday that President Donald Trump was "shirking his duty to protect the country" by ignoring the fact that Russia plans to attack the 2020 election.

"He's shirking his responsibility to protect the country," McMullin said. "We are in a new era of information warfare."

"Countries can be defeated without a shot being fired," he went on. "We just learned from the Mueller report that the president was aware that we were undergoing, as a country, an information warfare attack during 2016. He sought to benefit from it."

"A lot of times we say 'look, the president's ego is wounded' when we talk about how the Russians attacked us, and may have helped him get elected," McMullin continued. "But I actually think that we are a little naive to buy into that narrative. I think that is a fig leaf for the president. How can we ignore that this president barely won the electoral college?"

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Elections 2016

White House made it clear they were ‘trying to hide’ evidence from Mueller: Omarosa

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Omarosa Manigault, former political aide to President Donald Trump, told MSNBC Wednesday that the while the White House never "directly" ordered her to destroy documents related to the Mueller report, they made it quite clear they were "trying to hide" evidence.

"He wants to run out the clock," Manigault said. "He thinks he can run down the clock and that people will stop being concerned about it. We should really not just focus about what he is telling people to do or say, but how he's asked people to destroy documents, to destroy e-mails, in my case two boxes of campaign-related materials that the White House still has in their possession, that they claim they don't have or don't know what happened to it."

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