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REVEALED: Sean Spicer enlisted CIA director and GOP watchdogs to push back on Russia reports

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White House press secretary Sean Spicer reportedly enlisted the CIA director and a Republican senator in an effort to discredit a newspaper report about the Trump campaign’s communications with Russia.

After the New York Times reported Feb. 15 that Trump campaign aides had “repeated contacts” with Russian intelligence officials, Spicer connected reporters from the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-NC), reported Axios.

Spicer also gave reporters’ phone numbers to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, who offered to make the calls himself but “was in and out of an event,” according to a senior administration official who described the press secretary’s campaign to the website.

The Axios report adds new details and reveals Pompeo was involved in a pushback campaign reported Friday by the Washington Post.

Spicer personally picked up the phone and connected Pompeo and Burr with the reporters and then remained on the line for their brief conversations, Axios reported.

Those calls were orchestrated after White House chief of staff Reince Priebus tried unsuccessfully to get the FBI’s director and deputy director to speak with news organizations to dispute the accuracy of reporting on the alleged campaign ties to Russia, the Post reported.

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Pompeo and Burr told the reporters simply that the Times report was not accurate but frustrated the journalists by declining to offer specifics.

Intelligence officials from the Obama administration told the website that Pompeo’s involvement was unusual because the CIA director rarely speaks with individual reporters but was typically held in reserve to speak with publishers and executive editors in cases where reporting could potentially harm national security.

Democrats have questioned whether public comments about the probe made by Burr and Nunes at the White House’s request have compromised the congressional investigation.

“It’s doubtful that Congress can conduct an objective and independent investigation into ties between this White House and the Russian government if it is collaborating so closely on media pushback with the White House press secretary,” George Little, a top CIA and Pentagon spokesman under Obama, told Axios.

Spicer declined to comment on the Axios report, but the website’s White House source said the press secretary did not know at the time whether an investigation was underway about the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russian intelligence.

Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
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QAnon authors in a fight over doing an audiobook — because they think their followers can’t read

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On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that the authors of a popular book for believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory are in a bitter fight over whether or not to release an audiobook version.

QAnon: An Invitation to The Great Awakening came out last year and peaked near the top of the Amazon bestseller list in March. One of the book's co-authors, Dustin Nemos, is publicly attacking another co-author, who goes by the name of "JoeM," for his "petty and hostile and paranoid" refusal to help produce an audiobook, and notes that it is necessary because a disproportionate number of QAnon believers are elderly, have bad eyesight, and may not be able to read the book as text. JoeM, for his part, has accused Nemos of being a "grifter" who is trying to make a buck off of true believers.

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Missouri governor appoints judge who fundraised for crisis pregnancy center to help decide Planned Parenthood’s license

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On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Gov. Mike Parson (R-MO) has appointed former Macon County Associate Circuit Judge Philip Prewitt to the Administrative Hearing Commission, a state agency that oversees disputes between the state and organizations seeking licensure.

Prewitt, a former Republican candidate for office, once fundraised on Facebook for Ray of Hope Pregnancy Care Ministeries, a "crisis pregnancy center" that masquerades as a health care facility in order to trick women seeking abortions into listening to anti-abortion propaganda. In 2015, the Missouri Supreme Court reprimanded Prewitt for the post encouraging people to donate, saying that it violated judicial ethics rules.

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Trump being a ‘compulsive liar and erratic ignoramus’ is why he failed on Iran: Conservative columnist

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President Donald Trump's highly-criticized decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal has resulted as was warned, with the country reviving its nuclear program, a conservative columnist explained in The Washington Post on Monday.

Conservative Max Boot took a victory lap in the hard-hitting column, reminding that he had signed a March 2016 letter by 121 Republican foreign policy analysts warning about Trump's approach.

"I wish we had been wrong, but we were all too right," Boot wrote.

"Trump has shown no ability to grow in office; but then it’s hard to learn if you all you read is Fox News chyrons. He is today the same compulsive liar and erratic ignoramus he was at the start of the 2016 campaign," Boot said. "Only now, the stakes are much higher."

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