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Former CIA director says the Russians have a name for Trump: ‘Useful idiot’

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Former CIA director Michael Hayden Wednesday implied Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is acting as a “useful idiot” in his refusal to denounce the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Asked by CNN’s Jake tapper about an op-ed written by former CIA deputy director Mike Morell that referred to Trump as an unwitting agent” of Putin, Hayden declined to use Morell’s description, opting instead to launch into a description of his own.

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“There’s a phrase in Russian espionage-lore about ‘useful idiots’: people who don’t know what they’re doing but then do things that seem to fit what the Russians would like them to do.” Hayden said.

“Are you calling Donald Trump a useful idiot,” Tapper asked.

“I did not, I did not,” Hayden said. “I simply referred to what the Russians have a reference to.”

“You seem to be… implying it,” Tapper interjected, as Hayden laughed.

“But he is doing things,” Hayden continued. “He’s refusing to criticize Putin, he doesn’t talk about Putin and the Ukraine. Let me get down to a really basic thing that had to contradict what he got in his intelligence briefings. He said ‘the Russians are fighting ISIS,’ no they’re not—the Russians are bucking up the Assad regime, they are not fighting ISIS.”

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Watch the video below, via CNN.

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[h/t @RobPulseNews]

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Elections 2016

Vietnamese women strive to clear war-era mines

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Inching across a field littered with Vietnam war-era bombs, Ngoc leads an all-women demining team clearing unexploded ordnance that has killed tens of thousands of people -- including her uncle.

"He died in an explosion. I was haunted by memories of him," Le Thi Bich Ngoc tells AFP as she oversees the controlled detonation of a cluster bomb found in a sealed-off site in central Quang Tri province.

More than 6.1 million hectares of land in Vietnam remain blanketed by unexploded munitions -- mainly dropped by US bombers -- decades after the war ended in 1975.

At least 40,000 Vietnamese have since died in related accidents. Victims are often farmers who accidentally trigger explosions, people salvaging scrap metal, or children who mistake bomblets for toys.

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Elections 2016

Chief Justice John Roberts issues New Year’s Eve warning to stand up for democracy

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In a progressive welcoming move, Chief Justice John Roberts issued his New Year's Eve annual report urging his fellow federal judges to stand up for democracy.

"In our age, when social media can instantly spread rumor and false information on a grand scale, the public's need to understand our government, and the protections it provides, is ever more vital," he wrote. "We should celebrate our strong and independent judiciary, a key source of national unity and stability."

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Trump’s next 100 days will dictate whether he can be re-elected or not — here’s why

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According to CNN pollster-in-residence Harry Enten, Donald Trump's next 100 days -- which could include an impeachment trial in the Senate -- will hold the key to whether he will remain president in 2020.

As Eten explains in a column for CNN, "His [Trump's] approval rating has been consistently low during his first term. Yet his supporters could always point out that approval ratings before an election year have not historically been correlated with reelection success. But by mid-March of an election year, approval ratings, though, become more predictive. Presidents with low approval ratings in mid-March of an election year tend to lose, while those with strong approval ratings tend to win in blowouts and those with middling approval ratings usually win by small margins."

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