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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.

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“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.”

Watch the video below, via CNN.

[h/t @RobPulseNews]

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Elections 2016

Betsy DeVos, Ben Carson send anti-trans signals to Trump’s evangelical base

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While Trump grabs headlines, his Cabinet members quietly use transphobia to shore up white evangelical support

The white evangelical vote is almost certainly a lock for Donald Trump in 2020, but it appears the president is taking no chances of losing this critical voting block. One major part of that strategy appears to be quietly deploying his Cabinet members, especially those associated with the Christian right, to generate stories highlighting the Trump administration's overt bigotry toward trans people, and its eagerness to deprive trans Americans of basic rights.

Just this week, both Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson snagged coverage by making community visits that were ostensibly for noble purposes, but were clearly meant to signal to Christian right voters their hostility to trans rights.

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Elections 2016

Intelligence official directly contradicts Trump administration’s excuses for suppressing whistleblower

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A top official in the intelligence community has disputed the factual basis for the Trump administration’s suppression of a whistleblower complaint believed to regard the potential misconduct of the president himself, a new letter released Thursday revealed.

The letter was made public by House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-CA). He is locked into a fierce and potentially explosive dispute with an array of forces within the administration to obtain the complaint, which was made through proper channels by an intelligence official last month to the community’s inspector general. Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson determined that the complaint was “credible” and “urgent,” and subsequent reporting from the Washington Post found that it concerns a “promise” made by Trump in communication with a foreign leader.

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Longtime GOP strategist explains why his party is getting crushed in the war of ideas

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Republican strategist Stuart Stevens on Wednesday warned the GOP that Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) might not be a pushover candidate against President Donald Trump in 2020.

Writing on Twitter, Stevens admitted that he had "no idea" if Warren would beat Trump next year, but he did say that "Trump and supporters are destroying [the] credibility of any center-right argument" thanks to Trump's "corrupt and unstable" governance.

When one of Stevens' followers said that Warren would not be able to fulfill her promises just by taxing the wealthy, he countered that this idea is still more popular than anything Republicans are championing.

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