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Donald Trump is afraid of the Russia scandal — and he’s having a hard time hiding it

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President Donald Trump might be panicking, according to observers. The new president’s manic behavior seems to be showing itself in his tweets more and more.

As MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted, Trump trying frantically to blame former President Barack Obama for Trump hiring retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn seemed to indicate some anxiety. Trump then decided to suggest former acting attorney general Sally Yates was behind the “illegal leaks” he’s been blaming on ex-Obama staff.

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Trump’s frenzied flood of tweets trying to downplay Yates’ hearing or changing the subject make him look even more desperate. He then decided former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s testimony that claimed there’s “no evidence” of “collusion” between Russia and Trump’s campaign clears him of any possible guilt.

Benen cited Trump’s own profound love of his own tweet that he made it part of his Twitter banner graphic and only changed it after the internet humiliated him with mockery. He wondered what that awkward conversation between the poor White House aide ordered to change the graphic must have been like.

“Trump continues to struggle with reality with a confused understanding of the facts available and his fear is becoming more pronounced,” Benen explained. While Clapper seemed to give Trump a pass, it doesn’t mean the collusion never occurred, merely the investigation is still working to learn more.

When Clapper was asked Monday by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) if he ever found “a situation where a Trump business interest in Russia” gave him “concern.”

Clapper gave a curious response that he didn’t “in the course of the preparation of the intelligence community’s assessment.”

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When pressed further he revealed he can’t comment on anything that could impact an investigation.

Benen included an interview by NBC’s Chuck Todd from a March interview with Clapper on “Meet the Press.” When asked about collusion there, Clapper said, “not to my knowledge.” The quote has been repeated over and over by members of the Trump team. But Monday’s testimony made Trump’s life a little more difficult. He couldn’t comment on an ongoing counterintelligence investigation — meaning there is still an investigation that continues into Trump and Russia.

“He essentially told the Senate subcommittee that he was not in a position to know for certain,” Benen wrote. “This piece of spin should now be buried. Trump can no longer hide behind this one Clapper statement.”

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When it came to specifics on whether the campaign colluded with Russia, Yates said yesterday she couldn’t answer without revealing classified information. As Benen points out, neither of those statements are a win for Trump. Trump’s signature hyperbole and incautious need to spin the facts and quotes he wished people said to make him look even worse.


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Ignorant mask opponents keep using one of the worst analogies imaginable as COVID-19 sweeps across America

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Earlier this year, my college students and I joined our chaplain and a graduate student in traveling to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. The insensitive treatment many attendees gave the terrors that the museum was trying to educate people about are being repeated in a new way: weaponizing the Holocaust against any mask mandates, social distancing, or other health regulations designed to combat the deadly spread of COVID-19.  Amazingly, some of their targets are Jewish.

About a week ago, a couple went into a Minnesota Wal-Mart with swastika masks over their faces.  The Minnesota GOP apologized this month for a Washaba County Republican Party meme comparing mask mandates to Jews having to wear yellow stars.

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2020 Election

Trump feared ‘extreme backlash’ for conducting war on Chicago — but in a second term, he won’t care about that

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Donald Trump isn't the first president to fail on a grand scale, and he certainly isn't the first to test the boundaries of the system to see what he can get away with. But he is unique in certain respects. The full panoply of grotesque personality defects and openly corrupt behaviors is something we've never seen before in someone who ascended to the most powerful office in the land. People will study this era for a very long time to try to figure out just what cultural conditions allowed such an advanced, wealthy nation to end up with such an ignorant, unqualified leader.But that's actually less interesting in some ways that how party officials came to support him so unquestioningly and why so few career bureaucrats and civil servants have publicly stood up to him. What kind of system produces that kind of loyalty for a man who never had the support of more than 45% of the country, and who won by virtue of an anachronistic electoral system that allowed him to take office with nearly 3 million fewer votes than his opponent?Trump may be a uniquely unfit leader, but the party that has backed him without question is not unique. In fact, the last Republican administration showed many of the same characteristics. Robert Draper's new book "To Start a War: How the Bush Administration Took America Into Iraq" reminds us that just 17 years ago, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the George W. Bush administration used propaganda and disinformation to persuade the American people to go along with a war that made no logical sense on its face.
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Trump’s malignant narcissism is making him more and more dangerous as his power slips away: clinical psychologists

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Donald Trump knows he is losing, and that should make us all very afraid, regardless of our political views

On May 31st, The New York Times reported that Trump had been “rushed” into the White House bunker as protestors massed outside the White House in Lafayette Park. Trump was humiliated. It looked like he ran,  like a coward,  from the BLM protesters. To the jeers of comedians and Tweeters, he claimed he was only “inspecting” the bunker while demanding the leaker who revealed his bunker trip be criminally prosecuted.

With Trump that can only mean one thing. He had to strike back viciously.

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